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.
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.
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 Guardian, The 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.
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.”
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.
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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.
Executive Produced by:
Dr. Robin J. Hayes
Recorded in New York City at
“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.
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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
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.