activism

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Hollywood Won’t Save Us: Instead, Let’s Build a Revitalized Radical Feminism

By Barbara Ransby | Truthout

With the rise of the #MeToo moment and the #TimesUp campaign, Hollywood has discovered activism, and with it, a new lexicon and fledgling new identity. This is potentially a blessing and a curse for those of us who have been fighting feminist and anti-racist battles long before “intersectionality” was uttered from the stage at the Oscars, long before activists formed a phalanx of silent sentinels to serve as props for celebrity performances. This scene was politically counterbalanced, by the way, with a celebratory tribute to war and militarism. But this is the world we live in. And like with every industry and institution, there are a handful of genuine change-seekers in Hollywood — people who have risked their careers and livelihoods to wage uphill battles for greater justice in the arts and media. And we have to give them the opportunity to be better allies going forward, in the spirit of Eslanda and Paul Robeson and others. How do we do this work, and dance this dance, with greater attention to the principles that ground us?

Making Visible the Lives and Deaths of People in Custody

Illinois Deaths in Custody Project

“Those who commit the murders write the reports.”  — Ida B. Wells, Lynch Law In All Its Phases, 1893

In 2017, at least twenty-two people died at Chicago’s Cook County Jail (CCJ). This news is not readily available. Rather, multiple Freedom of Information (FOI) Requests filed by the Illinois Deaths in Custody Project (IDCP) with Cook County entities to confirm names and glean a few more institutionally produced “facts” produced the following: Clifford V. Nelson, 49, died while being transferred; Lopez House, 47, collapsed and died at the jail; Lindbert McIntosh, 57, died in his sleep; Jerome Monroe, 56, also died in his sleep at CCJ. By November of 2017, a few of these deaths, somewhat surprisingly, began to make local news.

Yet, the deaths are not actually that surprising. Death is business as usual in our nation’s prisons and jails.

Rethink Shinola

By Rebekah Modrak

RETHINK SHINOLA is a multi-part, Internet-based artwork analyzing and critiquing the branding messages publicized by the company Shinola, founded in 2011. Shinola’s name is “a nod” to the former Shinola, a shoe polish company that promoted its products using racist caricatures of African Americans. The “new” Shinola company planted itself in Detroit and leverages and profiteers from the extreme conditions and image of the city as a site of grit and resilience. The brand creates representations of patriarchal whiteness to enforce perceptions of their “leadership” and circulates images of African American employees being grateful for this so-called governance. In Shinola’s narratives, the “wild” Detroit environment needs a civilized savior who can first identify with and then tame and civilize the savage.

The Movement to #FreeMarissa: Building towards #SurvivedAndPunished

By Love and Protect and Survived and Punished

In 2010, Marissa Alexander, a mother of three from Jacksonville, FL, was violently attacked by her abusive, estranged husband. Just nine days after giving birth, Marissa’s husband strangled her, and tried to prevent her from escaping her home. Marissa was able to make it to the garage where her car was parked but could not open the garage door. Trapped, she retrieved her permitted gun from the car and re-entered her home where her husband lunged at her, yelling, “Bitch, I will kill you.” At that moment, Marissa fired a single warning shot upwards into the wall, causing no injuries, but saving her life.

The Lit Review: No Justice, No Pride

The Praxis Center is proud to feature The Lit Review’s weekly interviews conducted by hosts Monica Trinidad and Page May. Every week, the hosts of The Lit Review chat with people they love and respect about relevant books on Black struggle, movement history, gender, cultural organizing, speculative fiction, political theory and more. Sparked by the urgency of November 2016, they recognized that political study is not accessible to many for a variety of reasons, and their hope is that his will make critical knowledge more accessible to the masses.

The Dangers of Drinking Coffee Alone: The Precarity and Isolation of Social Justice Work

By Shayna Plaut, Contributing Editor, Human Rights

What does it mean to “have a coffee?” It is a fairly universal expression – but it is not just a verb, it is an event. An invitation. To “have a coffee,” means to get together with someone and talk. This talking may be about work. Or family. Or politics. Or your latest crush. You may be complaining or conspiring or commiserating and there may, or may not, be coffee involved. I have “had a coffee” in bars and in parks as well as in coffee shops. What distinguishes “drinking coffee” from “having a coffee” is setting aside the time to connect with someone in an unscripted manner. It is in this space that ideas flow, relationships strengthen and trust is maintained. After having a coffee, I go back to my life of work, family and revolution knowing that I have shared and am not alone. I return rejuvenated with connection.

MLK Called for a “Radical Revolution of Values.” The Movement for Black Lives Delivers One.

By Barbara Ransby | In These Times

50 years ago today, King blasted militarism, racism and poverty in his “Beyond Vietnam” speech. The new Beyond the Moment campaign carries forward his radical vision.

April 4 marks the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s historic 1967 “Beyond Vietnam” speech. At a gathering in New York’s Riverside Church convened by the antiwar group Clergy and Laity Concerned About Vietnam, he condemned war, U.S. imperialism, materialism, racism and the excesses of capitalism. Exactly one year later, King was assassinated on a balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee.

Resisting the Trump/DeVos Education Agenda: What Will It Take?

By Pauline Lipman

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, a millionaire privatizer, made her name in Michigan with for-profit charter schools and a preference for private Christian schools. Her vision is to gut public education and teacher unions and replace public schools with vouchers. But to be clear, the ground for De Vos’ frontal assault on public education was prepared by the neoliberal policies of previous administrations. Neoliberal restructuring of public education has been a bi-partisan agenda in the U.S., going back to Ronald Reagan, so the challenges we face today are, in some ways, not new.

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