The 13th Amendment reads in Section One: “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, nor any place subject to their jurisdiction.” Understanding this contradictory character of the 13th Amendment sheds light on the utilization of the criminal justice system in the perpetuation of bondage for the purpose of institutional racism and class exploitation.
Take Em Down NOLA is a multi-ethnic, multi-generational coalition of organizers committed to the removal of ALL symbols of White Supremacy in the city of New Orleans, including but not limited to school names, public parks, street names and monuments. This struggle is a part of the greater struggle for racial and economic justice in New Orleans. Now you may wonder why, amidst all the manifestations of social injustice, we choose to focus on symbols.
When you find yourself in a suddenly darkened room, what do you do? Some rush blindly to where they think the door might be. Others stand still, let their eyes adjust to the different environment, re-orient themselves, then, cautiously and sensitively, move forward. Some search out people who might be able to show the way. Post-election, a lot of people are re-assessing and searching for the best way forward. Here are some ideas from experienced, thoughtful people who are organizing on the front lines.
Donald Trump is the consequence of an America in which a white man with money is automatically bestowed with power and political freedom. Despite his blatant stupidity, repulsiveness and toxic influence, he remains a presidential candidate – to me this is ridiculous. An imposed hierarchy means that my voice as a Black woman is the last to be heard. Cue Solange Knowles and Michelle Obama to deliver me from this angst.
“The Black Arts Movement and Its Influences” conference will be going down with a host of legendary Black artists who have contributed to the liberation of our minds over the last 50 years. People like Askia Toure, Umar Bin Hasan of the Last Poets, Emory Douglas, the Minister of Culture of the Black Panther Party, Avotcja, Ayodele Nzinga, Ras Baraka and Ishmael Reed, to name a few, will be participating.
We feel it’s important to be a part of this conversation. If there’s a national and international conversation going on against capitalism and imperialism, we need to be a part of that. But folks also gotta undersand that racism needs to be talked about and that white privilege still exists.
Minister of Information JR interviews Jessica Holter, Bay Area erotic poet, AIDS awareness worker and founder of the Punany Poets. Jessica talks with JR about sexuality, hip hop, HIV and erotica.