"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.”

9 Grams

Posted on 3 CommentsPosted in Uncategorized


Produced by Progressive Pupil’s Executive Director Robin J. Hayes, the 9 Grams play follows a Hollywood screenwriter (Maisha Yearwood) who is placed in solitary confinenent in a Turkish prison because of where she’s from and how she loves. The play is part of a transmedia project that aims to illuminate Black women and the LGBTQ community are impacted by mass incarceration.  The next staged reading of the play is part of the ProudAF Theater Festival in New York City. July 16, 2016. Tickets available at thetanknyc.org. 

Limonade II: Of Zora and Zombies

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Authors, Black Resistance Reading List, Books, Field Notes, Uncategorized

Clockwise from left: author Zora Neale Hurston, Hurston and her partner Percival Punter, and Haitian “zombie” photographed by Hurston during her fieldwork 1936-1937.

On the tap-tap (Port-au-Prince take on the dollar cab/combi/collectivo) from Touissaint Louverture airport yesterday, I had the good fortune of running into Prof. Daphne LaMothe of Smith College. An expert in African American literature, Prof. LaMothe shared with me that Zora Neale Hurston wrote the essential novel Their Eyes Were Watching God here in Haiti in just seven weeks. 

Limonade

Posted on 1 CommentPosted in Uncategorized


Off to Haiti! Black and Cuba will be screening at the annual Caribbean Studies Association conference. I’ll be answering questions and hearing feedback afterwards. It is my first trip to Haiti and I’ve already learned so much in preparation. 

Did you know:

  • Haiti has a lower homicide rate than the Dominican Republic and Jamaica?
  •  Vodun which we call “Voodoo” accepts followers of all genders and sexual orientations? 
  • The first place Columbus landed in Haiti in 1492 was renamed Limonade ?

Being a Black revolutionary often requires making lemons into Limonade. I’ll be sharing more of my journey during the next two weeks on The Progress and Instagram @robinjhayes.

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

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

[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/238316267″ params=”auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&visual=true” width=”100%” height=’450′ iframe=”true” /]

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

Podcast: Black Moms

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Activists, Allies, Authors, Black Resistance Reading List, Breaking Down Racism, Uncategorized

[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/238306689″ params=”auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&visual=true” width=”100%” height=’450′ iframe=”true” /]

In this episode of “Breaking Down Racism,” blogger and author GaBrilla Ballard opens up about how the challenges of discussing race with children and pushing aside stereotypical assumptions of what it means to be a Black Mom.

Produced by Azra Samiee
Directed by Chris Stafford
Written by Caroline Batzdorf
Host/Executive Producer Robin J. Hayes, PhD

Recorded at The New School in New York City.

Pictured Chicago mother and child. 1973. photographed by John H. White for the Environmental Protection Agency.

The Greatest

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Activists, Allies, Artists, Black Resistance Screening List, Prisoners, Scholars, Students, Teachers, Uncategorized
muhammad_ali_dr._king_ap_img
                           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

[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/238289467″ params=”auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&visual=true” width=”100%” height=’450′ iframe=”true” /]

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