“Like Muhammad Ali puts it, we are all—black and brown and poor—victims of the same system of oppression.” – Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Happy Birthday Muhammad Ali! Mainstream media continues to revere him for his extraordinary achievements as an athlete and his influential oratory style (How many of us have alleged to “float like a butterfly, sting like a bee”?). However, Ali is beloved to the progressive community and the African diaspora for his candid criticism of racial discrimination and poverty as well as his refusal to be inducted in the US Army during the Vietnam War due to his religious beliefs. Ali could have exercised his class privilege, entered the army and fought entertaining exhibition bouts without ever being in any physical danger. Instead, he chose to take a principled stand which in the short run cost him millions of dollars and some of his peak years as a boxing champion. In the long run, Ali’s example made him a legend.
To learn more about Muhammad Ali, see the Academy Award-winning film When we Were Kings, or read this Dave Zirin article in The Nation.
I am, in the words of Black twitter, #ActualBlack. I say this not to endorse “identity policing” but to point out:
- I have parents, grandparents and great grandparents who were forced to cope with the following forms of White supremacy (in chronological order): the TransAtlantic Slave Trade, lynching, segregation, mass incarceration, and microaggressions.
- My body, skin, hair, voice, accent (or lack of accent), sashay, and personal aesthetics are to some degree disturbing in all public and private institutions (except for prisons and the morgue).
- I did not sign up for this club, but I am proud to be a member.
In all seriousness, I have been thinking a lot about the question: Why has the outing of Rachel Dolezal and Andrea Smith as White – allegedly – caused such a sensation?
Black and Cuba director Robin J. Hayes discusses “Socially Engaged Art as a Tool for Social Justice” at UnionDocs Socially Engaged Documentary Art Seminar Sunday June 21, 2015 10:30am 322 Union Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11211. For filmmakers, artists and cultural producers, the seminar offers vital information about the theory and practice of documentary making with a purpose. Tell them Progressive Pupil sent you and get 20% off conference registration with promocode SEDA15. Learn more at http://www.uniondocs.org/socially-engaged-documentary-art/. Share with a friend who wants to make films for their communities.
[vimeo 30514311 w=500 h=281]
At the age of 96, Chinese American grassroots activist, organizer, philosopher and author Grace Lee Boggs has more than seven decades of experience in Civil Rights activism, the Black Power movement, feminism, labor rights, Asian American rights, and environmental and food justice. Boggs, along with her husband and fellow activist, James Boggs, founded Detroit Summer — a multiracial, inter-generational collective based in Detroit. This collective has been working to transform communities through youth leadership, creativity and collective action for over 20 years.
Dr. Robin J. Hayes, director of the award-winning documentary Black and Cuba will be on New York City’s WBAI today Tuesday April 14 at 2pm EST to discuss the film and “Feeling a Foreigner” on the Artsy Fartsy Show. Listen live or download here.
It’s 9:30pm and you’ve been waiting in your local public emergency room for 6 hours. You have yet to see a doctor and don’t know when you will actually be able to. I’ve certainly been there on many occasions. As a student and a diabetic with limit financial resources and no insurance, New York City’s Bellevue Hospital is where I can receive care and very low-cost medication (insulin for $2…unheard of!). And so have millions of Americans. In today’s economy, many find themselves uninsured and without a primary care provider. Because of this, ER doctors wind up treating anything from a common cold, to serious complications. Unfortunately this has been an all too familiar scenario for many in underserved communities of color, where a trip to the ER seems more feasible for immediate treatment, than the expense of continual preventative care (regular check-ups, medical prescriptions, and supplies).