https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7o6kbRBFLdI Dr. Tammy L. Brown, a writer, artist and professor at Miami University of Ohio, explores the notion that art and creativity can be used as a weapon to combat past and ongoing social injustice.
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.
“Little by little the raindrops swell the river.” (African Proverb)
All over this country, and the world, women (and some male allies) marched on Saturday, January 21st, 2017. Each woman who marched was a rain drop in a river of resistance to an increasing turn by demagogic leaning world leaders toward policies that trample on human rights. For us in the United States those world leaders are Donald Trump and Mike Pence and their allies in the Republican led Congress: Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell and others.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P8rBeFw147E Chris Hedges discusses building successful non-violent mass movements with Bill Ayers, author of “Demand the Impossible.” Ayers reflects on his experience as one of the co-founders of the Weather Underground, a communist revolutionary group from the late 1960s that was dedicated to the violent overthrow of the U.S. government. RT Correspondent Anya Parampil looks at the rise and demise of the Weather Underground.
In our pursuit of a world powered by love and reaching toward joy and justice, imagination is our most formidable and unyielding ally—the people’s common asset, an endowment to each one and the indispensable weapon of the powerless. Yes, they control the massive military-industrial complex, the sophisticated surveillance systems, the prison cells, and the organized propaganda—and these are on constant display as if to remind us every minute that there is no hope of a world without the instruments of death and oppression—and we have only our minds, our desires, and our dreams—and each other. And, yes, in a fixed war or a traditional conflict we are finished before we start. But it’s also true that there’s no power on earth stronger than the imagination unleashed and the collective human soul on fire. In irregular combat or a guerrilla struggle that pits our free imaginations against the stillborn and stunted imaginations of the war-makers and the mercenaries, we will win.
https://youtu.be/nyE5nI1nRJI 150 Years to the day following the unconditional Confederate surrender to the Union Army, Freddie Gray was arrested in Baltimore and severely beaten. His subsequent death, and that of other African Americans at the hand of police, exposed the factual chasm between formal equality before the law and actual self-determination and self possession inherent to actual freedom. Recorded at TEDxBaltimore January 2016.
Bill Ayers’ Demand the Impossible!: A Radical Manifesto urges a re-imagining of society as we know it. An insurgent educator and an activist for 50 years, Ayers says that staying within the boundaries of what is considered politically realistic limits our thinking. At a time when police violence and mass incarceration, war and environmental destruction, economic crisis and corrupt political systems are wreaking havoc on our lives, somebody has to step up and demand the impossible. And that is exactly what Ayers does in this book, a decidedly accessible text that insists that human beings have the capacity to remake a world with more peace, more justice, more transparency and more democracy.
Ayers critiques the world we live in — from the prison industrial complex to the health care system — to help us better understand the world in which we live. But more than that, he pushes his readers to unleash their radical imaginations so that we can fundamentally transform it.
This course is for students interested in learning how to create social change through collective action. The dual aims of the course are to enrich our understanding of the mechanics of social change and to critically examine the relationship between law, lawyers, and social movements. Together, we will develop a nuanced understanding of law as a complex tool that has the potential to both coopt social movements and support liberation. We will take a historical and theoretical case-study approach, with emphasis on the civil rights and Black Power movements in the United States. We will also draw lessons from contemporary movement-building efforts. Throughout the semester, guest speakers on the front lines of racial and economic justice movements here in Michigan will join us to share their insights and ground our discussion. Visit the PDF version of Law, Process, and Social Movements to access the full syllabus. Dr. Amanda Alexander University…
By Alice Kim, Editor
In Chicago, the #LetUsBreathe Collective has transformed a lot adjacent to the Homan Square facility, exposed as a Chicago Police Department “black site” by The Guardian last year, into a beautiful organizing space aptly called Freedom Square. While the city continues to divest social resources from our communities, this site of torture has become a site of freedom and visionary love in a neighborhood that is over-policed and over-incarcerated. According to Million Dollar Blocks, North Lawndale committed nearly $241 million to incarceration in 2005-2009.