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Teaching The Past To Improve The Future

Last fall in Southlake, Texas, a Carroll Independent School District (ISD) school administrator provided baffling guidance to a group of teachers following the passage of a state law banning the teaching of critical race theory (CRT). Heard in a secret recording, she tells the teachers to present multiple viewpoints on contentious subjects and specifically names the Holocaust. “Make sure that if you have a book on the Holocaust that you have one that has an opposing…that has other perspectives,” the administrator says. There are audible gasps. One teacher asks, “How do you oppose the Holocaust?” An author of the Texas bill subsequently argued that school administrators misrepresented what is in the new law.

On Rituals And Revolutions In The Mines Of Bolivia

The small K’illi K’illi park sits at the top of one of the hillsides cradling the valley that is home to Bolivia’s administrative capital La Paz, providing a striking view of the city below. To the east lies Illimani, a towering, snow-covered mountain. Below and to the west is the tree-lined Plaza Murillo, home to the seat of government and the site of dozens of coups and countless protests. Across the valley, set on the sweeping plains of the altiplano, is El Alto, a booming home to millions of largely Aymara working-class people. The hills hold the rich past of this city in the clouds. Indigenous rebel Túpac Katari launched crucial assaults on Spanish-controlled colonial La Paz from K’illi K’illi during his army’s 1781 siege. After his brutal quartering by the Spanish, Katari’s head was put on display on this same hill to terrorize his followers.

Grief Belongs In Social Movements

The morning my mother died was cold and dark, and the snow fall outside was frenzied and piling high. I’d put my headphones on in the night to block out the loud hiss and moan of my mother’s oxygen machine. I was tired. Less than six months after founding the Youth Media Council, which would later become the organization MediaJustice, doctors told my sister and me that sickle cell anemia, a fatal genetic blood disorder, was finally and actively taking my mother’s life. For three years following the end-stage diagnosis I flew home from Oakland to Brooklyn for one week every month to relieve my sister of caregiving duties. As I stood above my mother’s deathbed, her body curved like a crescent moon, my hands a sickled semi-circle around her, a feeling of abject failure gurgled in my throat. I couldn’t swallow it. I couldn’t spit it out.

Palestinians In Chicago Nurture Connection To A Homeland Far Away

An Estimated 85,000 Palestinians Live In Greater Chicago — 60% Of The Area’s Arab Population. The Connection Some Of Them Feel To Their Homeland Was On Full Display During Street Protests In The Loop In Late May.

When We Talk About Cultural Appropriation, We Should Be Talking About Power

The word “appropriation” gets a bad rap. Centuries old, it denotes an act of transport—some item or motif or a bit of property changing hands. An artist might appropriate an ancient symbol in a painting or a government might appropriate monies through taxes to fund public education. Taking only the root of the word, the meaning seems clear. To make something appropriate for another context. In some circles, the word is still used this way. But colloquially? Not so much.

US’s Culture Of Violence Contributes To Sanctification Of Second Amendment

Because the federal government, especially the judiciary in the beginning, was the conduit for civil rights reform victories, white nationalists, non-governmental organizations, as well as elected officials in the former Confederate states and in Indian Country west of the Mississippi adopted anti-federal government politics. The NRA was a part of that trajectory that sought to shrink federal government powers, again focusing on the Supreme Court, but increasingly dominating US Congress and the presidency. "Freedom" was and is the watchword for this white nationalist agenda: freedom from the federal government, which has led to the related neoliberal politics of privatization of public goods. The culture of violence is inherent to colonialism of any type.

Annual Indigenous Peoples’ Sunrise Gathering On Alcatraz Island

By Nanette Bradley Deetz for Native News Online - Executive Director of International Indian Treaty Council, Andrea Carmen (Yaqui) reminded everyone that we are here to reclaim our rightful places and to commemorate truth in ceremony. “In 1637 the Governor of Massachusetts John Winthrop declared a day of celebration for the slaughter of hundreds of Pequot Indians; men, women, and children. But we are here to thank Creator for the beating of our hearts, that we still have life. In 1969 the original occupation of Alcatraz began, led by a young student at SF State Univ., Richard Oakes (Mohawk) along with many other brave and courageous students and their allies from many Indian tribes. In June of 1974 the International Indian Treaty Council was founded in Mobridge, South Dakota. I want to conclude by remembering the many contributions of the late professor and activist, Dr. Lehman Brightman who was our faculty advisor at the time, and encouraged me in 1975 to research the forced sterilization of so many of our Native women. He also introduced me to the late Bill Wahpepah. Dr. Brightman risked everything, his freedom, his home, and his family to shelter the late co-founder of AIM Dennis Banks, while he hid from authorities. My relatives, we have much to remember, and to be thankful for on this beautiful morning,” stated Carmen. Morning Star Gali (Pitt River/Apache) served as the event Mistress of Ceremony and helped organize presenters and performers for the event.

Arizona Unconstitutionally Banned Mexican-American Studies Classes

By Roque Planas for The Huffington Post. PHOENIX ― A federal judge ruled Tuesday that the state of Arizona violated students’ rights by banning a Mexican-American studies program from Tucson public schools. The ruling issued by U.S. District Judge A. Wallace Tashima found that a law passed by Arizona’s Republican-dominated state legislature in 2010 violated both the First and 14th Amendments. It marks a major victory for educators and activists who viewed the ethnic studies law as a flatly discriminatory effort by Arizona Republicans to keep Hispanic students from learning about their history or studying writers of color that are often ignored in public schools. Curtis Acosta, one of the former teachers of the banned program, celebrated the ruling on Twitter.

Act Out! in Paris [5] – Culture for Climate

By Staff of Occupy - As we mentioned during our coverage of the Art Not Oil protest, culture dictates politics. And if your culture is vapid, your politics will be too - as evidenced by - well, pick anyone. Art in all of its iterations has played a big role in COP21 and La Gaite Lyrique is the "center of culture for climate." Anais, part of the ArtCOP21 team, explains what that means and again, why culture is so important in the fight for climate justice.

Campaign To Demand Museums Divest From Fossil Fuels

By Go Fossil Free - To the American Museum of Natural History, the Field Museum, California Academy of Sciences, North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, & the Natural History Museum of Utah: In the face of climate catastrophe, we urge you to take leadership by doing more than observing and documenting history — by standing up to help make it. Please divest your funds from the fossil fuel industry. This spring The Natural History Museum, a new mobile museum that champions climate action, released an unprecedented letter signed by dozens of the world’s top scientists calling on science and natural history museums to cut all ties to the fossil fuel industry. Now we’re joining our voices with theirs to call for divestment. This moment calls for leaders that are willing to do more than observe and curate history — it calls for leaders who are ready to help make it. We believe museums of science and natural history can be those leaders.

Cornel West: The Fire Of A New Generation

By George Yancy and Cornel West in NYTimes - The black prophetic fire among the younger generation in Ferguson was intense and wonderful. Ferguson is ground zero for the struggle against police brutality and police murder. I just wanted to be a small part of that collective fight back that puts one’s body on the line. It was beautiful because part of the crowd was chanting, “This is what democracy looks like,” which echoes W.E.B. DuBois and the older generation’s critique of capitalist civilization and imperialist power. And you also had people chanting, “We gon’ be alright,” which is from rap artist Kendrick Lamar, who is concerned with the black body, decrepit schools, indecent housing. This chant is in many ways emerging as a kind of anthem of the movement for the younger generation. So, we had both the old school and the new school and I try to be a kind of link between these two schools. There was a polyphonic, antiphonal, call and response, all the way down and all the way live.

Indigenous Grad Students Protest Boy Scouts

By Matthew Argillander and Ryan Kryska in The State News - If you've been on MSU's campus this week, you have most likely noticed the presence of the Boy Scouts of America and the Order of the Arrow for their centennial exhibition. After Phillip Rice, a music composition graduate student and member of the Order of the Arrow, sent an opinion letter to The State News expressing displeasure with the event being held at MSU, Shelbi Meissner, a member of the Indigenous Graduate Student Collective and descendent of the Luiseno and Cupeño in Southern-California, teamed up with Rice at Spartan Statue to protest the group's use of Native American culture and imagery.

Rapper-Poet Akala: ‘Slavery Was Foundation Of European Capitalism’

By Dan Glazebrook - Hip-hop, and the entertainment industry in general, is known more for encouraging artists to become one-dimensional caricatures of themselves than for nurturing a culture of political engagement, revolutionary love and serious historical research. But then Akala is not your typical entertainer. Kingslee James Daley, whose stage name is Akala, is a genuine polymath. Since the start of his music career in 2003, the English rapper, poet and writer has remained fiercely independent, releasing material solely through his own label and refusing to kowtow to the mainstream. A MOBO award-winning rapper, Akala is also a campaigning journalist, lecturer and founder of a company that teaches Shakespeare to schoolchildren.

Protesters Tell Smithsonian To Drop Fossil Fuels

By Lee Stewart for Popular Resistance. WASHINGTON, DC - While the Board of the Smithsonian met at the Smithsonian Institute Building during the height of DC’s midday heat on Monday, over 100 protesters picketed outside after delivering 430,000 signatures to Smithsonian Press Secretary John Gibbons demanding David Koch be kicked off the Board. The petition delivery comes after the release of an open letter signed by the world’s top scientists, including several Nobel Prize winners, calling on museums of science and natural history to cut all ties to the fossil fuel industry. The letter specifically mentions the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in DC, where David Koch, a notorious funder of climate change denial, sits on the Board, is a donor, and sponsors exhibits.

“Yes Men Are Revolting”: Anti-Capitalist Pranksters Face Crisis, Hope

By Andrew O'Hehir in Salon - I have nothing but love – well, let’s say almost nothing – for the Yes Men, the pair of activists, performance artists and culture-jammers who have repeatedly proved that it’s impossible to go too far in making fun of capitalist greed. These are the guys who have staged several of the most epic attention-getting pranks in recent political history, including driving down Dow Chemical’s stock price by staging a press conference to announce that Dow was taking full responsibility for the 1984 disaster that killed nearly 4,000 people in Bhopal, India, and would spend up to $12 billion on medical care, environmental cleanup and related research. As with the Yes Men’s other most effective actions, the key to the Dow ventriloquism lay in stretching plausibility not quite to the breaking point – is it dimly conceivable that a multinational chemical corporation might actually behave like a responsible global citizen?
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