Tag: racial segregation
Currently, two historic events are being characterized in a manner that erases the significant contributions of Black women. The #MeToo Movement is being recast in the national narrative to fit into a more comfortable version of U.S. history. A seminal moment within this movement was when white celebrities began to use the hashtag to make people aware of the extent of sexual abuse suffered by women in this country. But this moment came 10 years after the movement was begun by a Black woman, Tarana Burke.
It’s Friday afternoon at the drop-in center known as Mother Brown’s on the corner of Jennings Street and Van Dyke Avenue. Despite the iron-gated door fronting the entrance, people drop in freely to check their mail, take a shower, do laundry or chill out in the reception area. For a nominal fee, Mother Brown’s rents out lockers. Gwendolyn Westbrook, the director of the United Council of Human Services – the official name of Mother Brown’s – as well as staff, describe the place as a community center. Client Johnny Scott likens Mother Brown’s to a family. “This here is a place where people get along,” he says.
These prison profiteers and imperialist oppressors aren’t feeling the recent show of power and solidarity among prisoners throughout AmeriKKKa. In the same manner, the FBI’s COINTELPRO sought to thwart the emergence of a Black Messiah, mass incarceration in Amerika seeks to sabotage the emergence of any movement which challenges the capitalist-imperialist plan to lock up, exploit, disenfranchise, poison and in some cases even kill the poorest cross-section of Amerikan society.
To those of us who were alive and sentient, the name Huey P. Newton evokes an era of mass resistance, of Black popular protest and of the rise of revolutionary organizations across the land. To those of subsequent eras – youth in their 20s – the name is largely unknown, as is the name of its greatest creation: the Black Panther Party. It is up to the oppressed of every generation to plumb the depths of history and to excavate the ore of understanding, to teach us not what happened yesterday, but to teach us why today is like it is, so that we may learn ideas to change it.
Gordon Roger Alexander Buchanan Parks (1912 – 2006), pre-eminent photographer, musician, activist, filmmaker and writer, would have been 103 years old this year. This is not as outlandish a figure as it might seem, given that there have recently been a flood of centenarians living well into the turn of the next century. But did you know that he was born dead? Watch the wonderful documentary, “Half Past Autumn: The Life and work of Gordon Parks,” to find out more!
Dr. King led a movement that issued a stirring call for justice. Lyndon Johnson used his remarkable skills to drive an unprecedented response to that call. The prophet and the president were both remarkable leaders. We may not look on their like again. But even so, one thing is still clear: When we build the demand for change, leaders will arise to offer the response.
I have no doubt that Dr. King would be mounting a nonviolent poor people campaign to end rampant hunger, homelessness and poverty today. Let’s honor and follow Dr. King by building a beloved community in America where all have enough to eat, a place to sleep, enough work at decent wages. Dr. King is not coming back. It’s up to us to redeem the soul of America. He told us what to do. Let’s do it.
West Harlem streets around City College of New York were suddenly filled with angry workers’ chants on May 10: Black and Latino construction workers protesting the construction of City College’s new dormitory by a White-owned firm, while legitimate Harlem-based Black and Latino contractors were not hired, a pattern City College has followed for 30 years. Read how Harlem Fightback! and other coalitions have fought and are once again fighting back.