Following in the footsteps of trailblazer Melissa Harris Perry, two more braincrushes just launched shows on MSNBC’s Shift streaming media brand.
Maria Teresa Kumar, co-founder of Voto Latino with Rosario Dawson, is now anchoring “Changing America.”
And Janet Mock, the queen of Redefining Realness, is set to launch her progressive pop culture show this week. We will update here when the clip is available.
Something else happened that day. I realized that I really liked being an anonymous kid on a street corner in L.A. I realized that I really liked not giving a solitary fuck about what anyone was doing, not even myself. I realized that in some way it was my natural state.
Two days later, I started dressing differently.
I cut my own hair into a weird nappy mushroom top. I took this goofy trench coat I had and sliced it at the waist with a pair of scissors. On the chest I sewed the patch that I earned in a middle school spelling bee. I wrote graffiti on the sleeve in Sharpie. I took to wearing pajama bottoms and black chucks.
In short, the combination of Parliament and Hollywood had instantly funked me out.
And it worked, because the first time I left the house in this new uniform, I experienced something that I never had before. You might call it freedom. Abandon. Cultural immunity. I had a self. It was adolescent and awkward and trying too hard. But it was my very own self. It was a me that was all mine. It didn’t matter what anyone thought about it. For a brief moment in time, I simply didn’t give a fuck.
And that’s an important thing. When you have come to regard your very skin color as an insufferable disease, when you have to punch other people in the mouth just so you can be ok with who you are, not giving a fuck is the single most divine experience you can ever have.
- Carvell Wallace, “How to Raise Hell in Three Steps: on RUN-D.M.C, Parliament, Blackness and Revolution,” Pitchfork
Eddie Bautista, the longtime environmental justice advocate and director of the New York City Environmental Justice Alliance, was quoted in the article saying about Garner’s death, “There are [a] number of ways that racism plays out … The asthma is just one more example.”
I thought the article used a poor occasion to illuminate racial asthma disparities. Bautista explained the larger context to me, though, saying, “The [article] doesn’t take the cops off the hook; on the contrary, it further indicts institutionalized racism in the U.S. for permeating the very air we breathe.”
I initially resisted this notion, refusing to see the connection. In my mind, there was the cop killing Garner in one hand, and Garner’s asthma in another — unrelated. And despite the millions of words I’ve spent over the years showing natural linkage between environmental problems, health problems, and racial justice, my anger with the Garner tragedy only allowed me to realize the police racism and violence. Just because I couldn’t see, or refused to see, the asthma link, though, did not mean it didn’t matter.
“Limiting the conversation about racism to just about how we’re policed is a lost opportunity,” Bautista wrote to me. “Folks should care not only about how racism kills quickly (via the police), but how racism also kills slowly and insidiously. ”
- Brentin Mock, “Why environmentalists should support the Black Lives Matter protests“
A day after a grand jury decided not to indict a New York City police officer in connection with the death of Eric Garner, protests calling for justice in his name — alongside that of Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, John Crawford, Tanisha Anderson and others — have been scheduled in cities around this country beginning on Thursday.
We’ve listed some of them below, per information from the Ferguson National Response Network. While the #ICantBreathe tag was used extensively for Wednesday night’s protests in New York City, organizers are using the tags #ThisStopsToday and #JusticeForEricGarner for this weekend’s actions. If you know of any in your area, you are encouraged to list it in the comments.
All Times Local
- Detroit: Campus Maritius Park, 800 Woodward Ave., 12:03 p.m.
- Durham: Duke University Chapel Lawn, 401 Chapel Dr., 1:45 p.m.
- Washington, D.C.: Justice Department building, 950 Pennsylvania, Ave. NW, 4 p.m.
- Houston: Houston Police Department, 1200 Travis St., 4:30 p.m.
- Note: A separate action in Houston is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Sarah D. Roosevelt Park, on Houston between Forsyth and Christie.
- Baltimore: McKeldin Square, intersection of Light St. and Pratt, 5 p.m.
- Atlanta: Downtown Underground, 50 Upper Alabama St., 5:30 p.m.
- Indianapolis: 1 Monument Circle, 5:30 p.m.
- New York City: Foley Square, 111 Worth St., 5:30 p.m.
- Boston: Boston Common, Park St. entrance, across from the Lowes movie theatre, 7 p.m.
- Dallas: Dallas Police Department, 1400 S. Lamar St., 7:30 p.m.
The full listing can be found at the Ferguson National Response Network website.
There will be those who will reduce Monday night to the sights of burning buildings and tear gas around Ferguson, Missouri, and use that to excuse and explain the police violence that both incited and accompanied them.
But the reality is, demonstrators marched — peacefully — both in Ferguson and around the country not long after a local grand jury decided not to indict Officer Darren Wilson for shooting and killing 18-year-old Michael Brown on Aug. 9. These activists were not alone, and they will not be the last. This space is to recognize their presence, despite the insistence of certain narratives that they were not.
From the program description:
This year and next we will celebrate the anniversaries of major racial justice victories like the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts. In this plenary, big thinkers will reflect on trends and strategies for the next half century.
With the Voting Rights Act itself under political assault, the conference’s final plenary feels more timely — and more needed — than ever. The discussion will feature:
The conference’s final plenary begins at 4:30 p.m. EST, and can be seen below.
The second day of Facing Race kicks off at 10:15 a.m. EST with a plenary session describing current activist movements in the American South, a region many people still feel stopped being a hotbed of civic organizing during the Civil Rights Movement. The three speakers featured in this session have played active roles in forging a new legacy of activism for the region:
- Bishop Tonyia Rawls, founder and executive director of the Freedom Center for Social Justice, as well as a member of the governing board for the North Carolina Council of Churches and the founding pastor of the Freedom Temple Ministries and Sacred Souls Community Church. The Freedom Center launched a legal center focusing on the LGBTQ communities and an employment program helping the southern trans community — both the first of their kind for the region.
- Cristina Tzintzún is the executive director of Workers Defense Project/Proyecto Defensa Laboral. Besides being featured in national news outlets like USA Today and the New York Times, Tzintzún’s work has led to her winning the national Trabajadora Community Leader award from the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement. Last year, Southern Living Magazine named her one of its Heroes of the New South.
- Chokwe Antar Lumumba played a vital role in the development of the People’s Platform in Jackson, SC, where his father, longtime activist Chokwe Lumumba, was elected mayor in 2013 on a platform emphasizing community development and the elimination of the gender-based pay gap. Antar Lumumba’s drive to help his community was also instilled in him by his mother, Nubia Lumumba, and he went on to become the managing partner at Lumumba & Associates, a law firm following those principles, as well as a member of the leadership team for Free Christian Church Ministries.
From the program description:
For the many of us- people of color, immigrants communities, LGBTQ people – who populate and call this region home, we experience and understand “the South” as not only the place where race, power, and revolution is best understood but also where history and legacies give way to 21st century innovation for our movements. Our dynamic plenary speakers, spanning the Southern region, will offer their insight on some of the challenges and opportunities facing the region and our movements to achieve racial justice and equity. From the continuing legacy of youth organizing and direct action in Florida; the role of faith in building inclusive communities and organizing for social change in NC; the realities of shifting demographics and the opportunities for worker organizing in Texas; and implementing community centered methods to build real economic, political and community power in Jackson this plenary will highlight how the South continues to build on its history and towards freedom.
The plenary, as posted online, can be seen in the livestream below.