Don’t Be Alarmed

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in #BlackLivesMatter, Activists, Allies, Field Notes, Parents, Scholars, Students, Teachers

It is so easy to focus on the negative right now. To endlessly repeat in our minds everything that is wrong, wrong, wrong about White supremacy, fascism and the deplorable people who hold those ideals dear. It has taken me a minute to quiet my own mind and gain some clarity.

The swastikas brandished in Charlottesville last weekend are no different than those placed in dormitories at The New School last November. The murder of ally Heather Heyer is along the same despicable lines as the killing of Black student Richard Collins on the University of Maryland’s campus. For some time now, White supremacist violence has been resurging. And that is terrifying. I am everything these people hate. So many of my loved ones are everything they want to disappear.

The good news is- as Nobel laureate Toni Morrison pointed out-this outbreak of hate is the quaking desperation of people who are losing. Losing ground. Losing support. Losing power. Even with champions in The White House.

The most important thing we can do now is to raise the already swelling tide of opposition to this latest iteration of fascism. A simple way to help is to invigorate dialogues in our communities that promote equality. Events such as diversity trainings or timely programs for Latino Heritage Month are proven to build compassion and acceptance.

Progressive Pupil offers workshops and programs that can help. If our work is not right for your school, place of worship, or company; please also consider the services of The People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond.

Don’t be alarmed. Be part of the solution.

Bigots can’t win.

Yours with Love and Solidarity,

Recognize

Posted on 8 CommentsPosted in #BlackLivesMatter, Activists, Allies, Artists, Field Notes, Parents, Prisoners, Scholars, Students, Teachers

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Happy Labor Day Weekend!

Between screening Black and Cuba and working on my new multi-platform project 9 GRAMS, I’ve spent some time this summer thinking about the Black woman’s image.  Of course in one way or another I’ve been thinking about it my entire life by looking in the mirror and beholding the relentless glamour of my mother and grandmother while I was growing up. In creating films that center Black women’s perspectives and – frankly- a lifetime of struggling to valorize my own, I’ve come to realize the most empowering and aesthetically beautiful representations of Black women are the ones we create ourselves.

Last Chance

Posted on 10 CommentsPosted in #BlackLivesMatter, Activists, Allies, Artists, Authors, Field Notes, Parents, Prisoners, Scholars, Students, Teachers, Uncategorized

Today, the New York Times reported in an astonishing video on racist, islamophobic, homophobic and misogynist statements emboldened by the Orange one at his campaign rallies. One attendee remarks, “this is the last chance…to preserve the culture I grew up in.” Please share with a friend who is considering not voting this election year.

 

The Counted

Posted on 5 CommentsPosted in #BlackLivesMatter, Activists, Allies, Parents, Prisoners, Scholars, Students, Teachers, Uncategorized
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Korryn Davies, 23, now among The Counted

In memory of Korryn Gaines, who was killed today in front of her 5 year old son by Baltimore police, please take a moment and look at The Counted. Published by The GuardianThe Counted is an online database of people killed by police in the U.S. It appears Korryn Gaines will be number 631 in 2016.

The police officers involved attempted to arrest Korryn for failing to appear in court to answer nonviolent traffic charges.

"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: Schools or Prisons?

Posted on 4 CommentsPosted in #BlackLivesMatter, #ThisStopsToday, Activists, Allies, Breaking Down Racism, Parents, Students, Teachers

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In some neighborhoods, public schools feel more like prisons than schools. In this episode, former social worker and attorney Helen Higginbotham discusses the policing of children in schools with BLACK AND CUBA director Robin J. Hayes.

Written/Directed/Produced by:
Ariana Arancibia
Phyllis Ellington
Echo Sutterfield

Executive Produced by:
Dr. Robin J. Hayes

Recorded in New York City at TNS_Logo1_Small_RGB

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.