"Stop Killing Us" 3 Things to Do With Your Grief and Rage

Posted on 7 CommentsPosted in #BlackLivesMatter, Activists, Allies, Artists, Field Notes, Parents, Prisoners, Scholars, Students, Teachers, Uncategorized


Police dressed in riot gear accost peaceful protester in sundress. Baton Rouge. Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Reuters.

To be candid, this past week I’ve struggled to write Field Notes. As you know, at Progressive Pupil we strive to remain optimistic. A steadfast faith in the power of collective action and community-based leadership, rooted in the successes of social movements in the past, drives our work. Hearing the news of the killing of Philando Castile in Minneapolis, Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, and Delrawn Small in New York, as well as witnessing the grief of their children, tested that faith.

I lost my mother and grandfather (who was a surrogate father to me) a few years ago and understand the pain of losing a parent as an adult. I can only begin to imagine the despair losing a parent causes a child. Seeing Alton Sterling’s 15 year-old burst into tears, nearly collapsing from grief, while his mother expressed outrage about his father’s death overwhelmed me with sadness and frustration. At a press conference, they stood in front of a sign that read “Stop Killing Us.”

Limonade III: Healing the Haitian Diaspora

Posted on 4 CommentsPosted in Activists, Allies, Artists, Authors, Black Resistance Reading List, Books, Field Notes, Parents, Scholars, Students, Teachers

Haitian American musician Wyclef Jean with Haiti’s flag 

During the Caribbean Studies Association 2016 conference I met a number of brilliant young Haitian-Americans, including a 20-something Cornell PhD candidate whose project focuses on Black feminist political theory in contemporary novels by Caribbean authors. Her mother emigrated from Haiti before she was born and left the country permanently in the early aughts. I had to admit to her my ignorance of the precise details of Haitian history that motivated her mom to leave Haiti.

Podcast: What's Art Got to Do With IT?

Posted on 2 CommentsPosted in Activists, Allies, Artists, Breaking Down Racism, Scholars, Uncategorized

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Can art help to erase racism? In this episode of BREAKING DOWN RACISM, dancer, choreographer and activist Paloma Mcgregor discusses how artists can be effective activists?

Produced/Written/Directed by: Crista Carter, Johanna Galomb and Benjamin Jackson

Host/Executive Producer/Series Creator Robin J. Hayes, PhD

Recorded at The New School in New York City

PICTURED Alvin Ailey Dance Theater, “Revelations” 2012 courtesy Alvin Ailey Theater

The Greatest

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Activists, Allies, Artists, Black Resistance Screening List, Prisoners, Scholars, Students, Teachers, Uncategorized
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                           Muhammad Ali (l.) and Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. (r.) in Louisville                                 (AP Photo via The Nation)

“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.

Podcast: Diversity vs. Inclusion

Posted on 2 CommentsPosted in Activists, Allies, Breaking Down Racism, Scholars, Students, Teachers, Uncategorized

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When will race no longer be a barrier to educational success? In this episode of BREAKING DOWN RACISM, a former Deputy Director of Prep for Prep–a leadership development and educational access program for young people of color–discusses his take on the future of equality in private education. Could your school do a better job with diversity and inclusion? Tell us about it in the comment section below.

Writers: John Dumey, Layla Nunez, Noemi Morales
Director: Layla Ninez
Producer: John Dumey, Noemi Morales
Featured Guest: Peter Bordonaro
Host/Executive Producer/Series Creator: Robin J. Hayes, PhD
Production Assistant: Enrique Prieto Mancia

#TIBH: George Washington Carver

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George Washington Carver (front row, center) with faculty colleagues at the historically Black Tuskegee Institute 1906. Frances Benjamin Johnston, photographer. Courtesy Library of Congress.

Today in Black History, George Washington Carver was born into slavery in Missouri in 1864 (or possibly 1861). A pioneering American scientist, Prof. Carver encouraged the diversification of crops in the South using alternatives such as peanuts and soybeans.  He invented over 100 uses for the peanut including gasoline and nitroglycerin. Although Carver never legally married, he was survived by his longtime companion, fellow scientist and Tuskegee professor Austin W. Curtis, Jr.

Haitian Independence Day

Posted on 1 CommentPosted in Activists, Allies, Artists, Authors, Black Resistance Reading List, Books, Scholars, Students, Teachers, Uncategorized
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To Preserve Their Freedom by African American artist Jacob Lawrence           from his series the Life of Toussaint L’Ouverture

 

January 1, 1804 the Haitian revolution succeeds. To learn more about Haitian history, Progressive Pupil suggests The Black Jacobins by C.L.R. James and The Uses of Haiti by Paul Farmer.  What are some of the biggest misconceptions we have about Haiti today?

"I Wish to Inquire for My People"

Posted on 2 CommentsPosted in Activists, Allies, Artists, Authors, Parents, Prisoners, Scholars, Students, Teachers, Uncategorized

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On January 1, 1863 President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation making slavery illegal in the US.  Soon afterwards, newspapers such as the Southwestern Christian Advocate in New Orleans were flooded with letters and advertisements by freedmen searching for their mothers, children, and spouses who had been sold or disappeared, or who had fled the brutality of plantation owners.  These letters reveal no one ever adjusted to slavery. And the trauma the experience caused endured long after Lincoln’s decree. How does slavery continue to impact African American families today?

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#TBT Podcast Where is the African Diaspora?

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Allies, Artists, Breaking Down Racism, Scholars, Students, Teachers

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Happy New Year!! In this episode from Season 1 of Breaking Down Racism, Sudanese rapper Oddisee, Afro-Dominican singer Fanesha Fabre, Ethiopian journalist Hanna Giorgies and others discuss the diversity of the Black community and the meaning of diaspora today.

 

Written by: Regine Nehy
Produced by: Regine Nehy and Ladin Awad
Executive Producer: Robin J. Hayes, PhD
Directed by: Tsige Tafesse and Sequana Williams
Edited by: Ladin Awad

Breaking Down Racism is brought to you by Progressive Pupil, which “makes Black studies for everybody.” The series was created by Robin J. Hayes, PhD.