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It has been exceedingly difficult to write about the Trump presidency, seemingly crumbling before our eyes. In part that’s because of the sheer pace of new revelations, scandals superseded by new scandals, the inane utterances – and tweets – of the president, a daily cascade of craziness. Part of this is the news media, which rushes at us on a 24-hour clock, with no sense of cessation. Part of it is Trump’s sheer obsession with social media.
The Greenlining Institute brought its 24th annual Economic Summit to the organization’s new hometown of Oakland April 14. At a moment when communities of color are under attack nationwide, the Summit – which brings together community leaders and grassroots organizers from California and around the U.S. – felt surprisingly like a celebration: a celebration of defiance, resistance and persistence in the face of threats to our communities.
Back during the Black Power Era, if you were down for the cause, people called you “aware.” In the Hip Hop Era, the term for being politically up to date was “conscious.” Now, with the Millennials, if you are in tune with what’s going on in the world, you are referred to as “woke.” For the past few years, since the murder of Trayvon Martin, there has been a steady rise in cultural awareness within the Black community. The Black truth now gets as much traction as the white mainstream news on Facebook. So why is the church, arguably the spiritual center of the Black community, still running two steps behind?
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.
Do they think that we are stupid? We were there. We have the pictures. We have the video. We heard what they said. We saw what they did. Yet, publications blatantly misrepresent the truth, posing serious harm to Black lives. These misrepresentations actively push forth a narrative that absolves law enforcement of the brutality and racism they inflict and, ultimately, blame victims for their own repression. We are not here for it.
Frisco filmmaker Kevin Epps is at it again with his weapon of choice, his camera. This time, the “Straight Outta Hunters Point” filmmaker just released his new film, “Solutions Not Suspensions,” which takes a look at who is being suspended from the San Francisco Unified School District and under what circumstance. He is taking a stand on an issue that does not get a lot of attention in our community.
My message is not just to the men and women in these solitary holes. I myself am in one right now. My message is to the whole 2.5 million victims of mass incarceration and prison slavery. Everyone! All of us around the country, let’s just shut down. Wherever you are, just stop working. If you are in solitary confinement, spread the word to those rotating in and out. When they try to lock up those who organize and lead the shutdowns in population, don’t even give up.
Mississippi Freedom Summer 50th Anniversary Conference is underway! Join us through June 29 at Tougaloo College in Jackson, Miss., as we bring everything full circle. Just as in 1964, young people will be at the center of the Freedom Summer 50th commemoration with their own Youth Congress. The Youth Congress will cover topics like voting rights, education, healthcare and workers’ rights, but with a definite nod to a younger audience.
Rev. Jesse Jackson led a delegation to the Hewlett Packard annual shareholder meeting on March 19, calling attention to the lack of minority inclusion in Silicon Valley. He emphasized the virtual absence of African Americans in corporate boardrooms, corporate suites, financial transactions, advertising and professional services. The following day, he met with community leaders in the East Palo Alto city offices.
Movie-goers across the country are embroiled in heavy social media discussions or water cooler arguments about Quentin Tarantino’s use and Spike Lee’s criticism of use of the infamous N-word in the blockbuster hit “Django Unchained.” During the last couple of decades there has been an interesting ongoing dialogue concerning the use, misuse and exploitation of the so-called N-word.
The situation in public housing projects in Coney Island, Brooklyn remains a “humanitarian crisis” in which the government and the Red Cross have been nearly completely absent, according to Eric Moed, a volunteer aid worker with Occupy Sandy. The projects in Coney Island remain without power and often without water and necessities in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.
I just watched Good Morning America, where the anchors denied that there were any social or economic justice concerns driving the London rioters. They were all just criminals and copycats apparently. Shame on you, Robin and Christiane; you’re both a lot smarter than that.
I got a letter today from Yogi Bear, Hugo Antonio Lyons Pinell. As most of you know, Yogi has been tortured in the Pelican Bay SHU since 1990 and in other California gulags since the early 1970s. He began his incarceration in 1964 at age 19. He has joined the hunger strike and writes ...
Gerald Perreira has lived and worked in Libya as an organizer and journalist and has been giving regular reports to Block Report Radio and the San Francisco Bay View newspaper. It is important to develop our own media and experts who can speak from an African perspective.
The fundamental stimulus of the attack on Libya is greed, not the protection of the Libyan people. In fact, the people of Libya have suffered more during this bombardment by Western powers and their allies than during the entire 41 years of the leadership of Muammar al-Gaddafi. We must be clear that the attack on Libya is an attack on Africa. The great danger of the attacks on Libya is that they are being used by the U.S. to test the effectiveness of AFRICOM, the African Command, and this adventure will open the door to direct military intervention in Africa.
The Egyptian revolution was successful because it had no leaders, only coordinators of bottom-up energy. This new form of leadership among Egypt’s – and ultimately the world’s – young people suggests there will be many more such surprises in the future, both at home and abroad.