Racial Justice Must Be Central To Our Movements

Howard University student Troy Duffie with fellow student Kaylah Clark near the statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee in Charlottesville, Va., last week. Some 50 Howard students visited the statue and the site where Heather Heyer was killed while she was protesting a white nationalist rally Aug. 12. (Cliff Owen / AP)

By Sonali Kolhatkar for Truth Dig – If progressives are to learn one lesson about American politics in the period between last November’s election and the recent Charlottesville, Va., clashes, let it be this: To win social progress on many fronts at once, we have to address racism first and foremost. That’s because this nation was founded on the white domination of people of color, and especially African-Americans and Native Americans. Until we collectively face this fact and work for a redress of the impacts of persistent and relentless racism, we will continue to witness the emergence of white populist racists like Donald Trump and the resurgence of white supremacist and Nazi groups. Meanwhile, a minority of wealthy elites will continue to laugh all the way to the bank, smug over having avoided blame for capitalism’s built-in failings once again. There is no better symbolism of our failure to address the horrors of slavery and Jim Crow segregation than the current controversy over Confederate statues. Yohuru Williams, history professor and dean of the University of St. Thomas’ College of Arts and Science, explained to me in an interview that many Confederate statues were not erected before or during the Civil War but soon after, “by groups like the Daughters of the Confederacy, who were doing this to commemorate a lost cause—the idea that the South would rise again.”

Colin Kaepernick Is Being Blackballed By Billionaire NFL Owners. Here’s Why.

Colin Kaepernick launched the Colin Kaepernick Foundation in 2016 “to fight oppression of all kinds globally, through education and social activism.” (Kaepernick7.com)

By Colin Jenkins for Truth Dig – Colin Kaepernick took a courageous and principled stand last season by kneeling during the national anthem before NFL games. This was done in response to a society that continues to systematically, culturally, and institutionally devalue black lives. This devaluation is played out in many areas, including politics, economics, housing, employment, and perhaps most notably, within the criminal punishment system. Black lives are routinely extinguished by police in the streets without recourse, in the courts without pause, and in the prisons without hesitation. Entire generations of black Americans have essentially been destroyed through the “school-to-prison pipeline” and a system of mass incarceration, for which author Michelle Alexander has properly deemed, The New Jim Crow. Kaepernick recognized this and felt compelled to bring attention to it. He openly protested the national anthem, donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to community agencies, and started a national youth camp program to teach children from marginalized communities about self-empowerment.

The Forgotten, Radical Martin Luther King Jr.

In Chicago in 1967, Martin Luther King delivers a speech calling for an end to fighting in Vietnam. (AP Photo/Charles Harrity)

By Matt Berman for National Journal. Martin Luther King Jr. was not just the safe-for-all-political-stripes civil-rights activist he is often portrayed as today. He was never just the “I Have a Dream” speech. He was an antiwar, anti-materialist activist whose views on American power would shock many of the same politicians who now scramble to sing his praises. The total spectrum of his beliefs may not be as easy as “let freedom ring,” but the full MLK was much larger than the safe-for-everyone caricature that is often presented today. King’s more radical worldview came out clearly in a speech to an overflow crowd of more than 3,000 people at Riverside Church in New York City on April 4, 1967. “The recent statement of your executive committee are the sentiments of my own heart and I found myself in full accord when I read its opening lines: ‘A time comes when silence is betrayal,’ ” he began.

Walter Rodney And Racial Underpinnings Of Global Inequality

Flickr/ jamieskinner00

By Tianna Paschel for SSRC – The concentration of wealth in fewer and fewer hands has been at the center of increased political contestation and media attention in recent years. In this period, massive protests have erupted in the global North and South against neoliberal reforms, the solidification of flexible labor regimes, and austerity policies. The current moment, in the global North and South, is also one where these new forms and sentiments of precariousness in economic life have come alongside a reconfiguration of the relationship between the state and the economy…

UN Report Highlights US History Of Slavery, Segregation & Racial Terror

Edmon de Haro

By Staff for OCHR – The colonial history, the legacy of enslavement, racial subordination and segregation, racial terrorism, and racial inequality in the US remains a serious challenge as there has been no real commitment to reparations and to truth and reconciliation for people of African descent. Despite substantial changes since the end of the enforcement of Jim Crow and the fight for civil rights, ideology ensuring the domination of one group over another, continues to negatively impact the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of African Americans today

Two Biggest Movements In U.S. Team Up To Demand Economic And Racial Justice


By Bryce Covert for Think Progress – On Monday, Rev. William Barber II’s Moral Mondays movement stormed the grounds of state capitols in 31 states, what he claims is the largest simultaneous protest of its kind in the country’s history. And low-wage workers who have been part of the rapidly growing Fight for 15 movement were part of the demonstrations to tie their fight for economic justice to other fights.

In America, UN Finds Rights To Peaceful Assembly And Association Eroded


By Thaddeus Talbot for ACLU – The U.N.’s special rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association completed a 17-day mission to the United States this week, and he drew some concerning conclusions about the state of those rights in this country. Maini Kiai covered an impressive 10 cities in 17 days. He observed protests at the political conventions in Cleveland and Philadelphia and visited cities rocked by the police killings of Black men, like Baton Rouge, Baltimore, and Ferguson.

'Justice Or Else' For Black, Brown And Indigenous Americans

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By Reggie Harris for The Huffington Post – Twenty years ago, there was a gathering of men in the U.S. Capital to address the exact issues that Black, Brown and Indigenous Americans are struggling against today. That gathering is known as the Million Man March. Its purpose was to bring attention to the issues of mass incarceration, low-paying jobs, joblessness, poverty, police brutality, low-quality education and inadequate housing among many others. The Honorable Louis Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam served as the lead organization in bringing all of the March participants together, and the country hasn’t seen anything like it since. Twenty years later, the struggle of Black, Brown and Indigenous Americans is getting worse.

Black Activists Host Venezuelan President Maduro In Harlem

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By Sharmini Peries and David Dougherty for The Real News Network – Leaders of African descendants convened in the historic black cultural center of Harlem, New York for the People of African Descent Leadership Summit. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro visiting New York for the United Nations General Assembly attended the summit, which coincides with the UN’s declaration of 2015-2024 as the official decade for people of African descent. Black Lives Matter co-founder Opal Tometi was one of the invited speakers.

Tom Morello On Ferguson Visit: 'Not A Humanitarian; I'm A Hell-Raiser'

Tom Morello visited Ferguson, Missouri, to commemorate the first anniversary of Michael Brown's shooting. Larry Busacca/Getty  Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/features/tom-morello-on-ferguson-visit-im-not-a-humanitarian-im-a-hell-raiser-20150810#ixzz3n2tGPXIA  Follow us: @rollingstone on Twitter | RollingStone on Facebook

By Brittany Spanos in Rolling Stone – Yeah, there are thousands of cases, countless cases of white police officers murdering unarmed black people and getting off scot-free. What happened in Ferguson was that the community reacted in a way that was newsworthy on a global scale. If there had been one prayer circle and everybody singing “Kumbaya,” that would’ve been completely swept under the rug. The outrage of there being no indictment really cast a global light on the kind of racism that is America’s original sin. The Michael Brown case was the first domino in the 21st Century that we’ve seen. I don’t need to remind you how; all you have to do is turn on the news every two to three days. Horrendous incidents. But now people have their cameras. If there had not been an uprising in Ferguson, there would not have been indictments in Baltimore. There’s a greater vigilance.

#BlackWorkersMatter: A Better Movement For Economic Justice

Photo provided by Elizabeth Cooke. Bleu Rainer, a McDonald’s worker from Tampa, joined low wage workers gathered in NYC at he Fight for $15 march on April 15.

By Chris Kromm in Southern Studies – In 2010, on the heels of the Great Recession — the nation’s biggest economic calamity since the Great Depression — one out of 10 people looking for work couldn’t find a job. The crisis was widely felt in communities large and small across the country. But the effects were far from equal. For example, the peak of unemployment for white workers who were unemployed in 2010 soared to 8 percent. But as Algernon Austin, a researcher at the Economic Policy Institute, noted in the report “#BlackWorkersMatter” [pdf] earlier this year, such devastating levels of joblessness were nothing new to African Americans. Over the last 52 years, Austin writes: [T]he annual unemployment rate for blacks has averaged nearly 12 percent. The typical African-American community faces a severe unemployment crisis year after year after year. The key role of race in chronic joblessness is just one of the reasons that African-American, labor and community leaders are calling for a new national commitment to organizing black workers.

The Sun As Center Of New Campaign For Economic & Racial Justice

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By George Lakey in Waging Non-Violence – Another indication of how crazy this country has become: Some people are coming out against solar energy. Solar technology has dropped in cost to become competitive with other sources for electricity. Some energy companies are apparently worried that their fossil fuel and nuclear sources will become financial liabilities; coal already is with the new EPA regulations. Instead of welcoming the opportunity to come into the new age of renewable energy, the dinosaurs among us are resisting the change. In over 20 states there is push-back, reportedly coordinated by the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, supported by fossil fuel kings the Koch Brothers. One method is to take away subsidies given to homeowners who want to solarize their roofs. Another is to charge an additional fee for homeowners who succeed.

Student Hangs Jim Crow Restroom Signs To Protest ‘White Privilege’

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A University at Buffalo student has sparked outrage and cries of racism after she put up “White Only” and “Black Only” signs on campus, hearkening back to the days of segregation. Ashley Powell, 25, who is black, admitted to plastering the Jim Crow-esque signs near several bathrooms and water fountains in a dorm as an art project to express her struggles with being a minority in the U.S. and to “expose white privilege.” “I am in pain,” the graduate student wrote in a lengthy explanation posted on Facebook and published by the UB student newspaper. “My art practice is a remnant of my suffering. White privilege and compliance only exacerbate my symptoms.” Powell said she hung up the signs to see how many white people would see the signs and do something about it, although she claims it was not a “social experiment.”

Ten Ten: Million Man March


By Million Man March. Washington, DC – On October 10, 2015 in Washington, D.C., at the National Mall, The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan will convene the 20th Anniversary of the Million Man March under the theme: Justice or Else! We want justice! We want equal justice under the law. We want justice applied equally regardless to creed or class or color. Justice is the birthright of every human being. Justice is a prerequisite to life. We cannot live without justice and where there is no justice there is no peace. Justice is one of the eternal principals that the Creator of the Heavens and the Earth has decreed that every creature should have the freedom to be what God created it to be. Freedom, Justice and Equality are not conferred on us by the Constitution, but the Creator confers Freedom, Justice and Equality on every human being.

Marchers From Selma To DC Demand Restoration Of Voting Rights

Demonstrators gather and display signs at the Restore the VRA rally in Washington, DC, September 16, 2015. (Photo: NAACP / ADC National)

By Candice Bernd in Truth Out – Clad in yellow shirts, hundreds of marchers streamed across the Arlington Memorial Bridge on September 15, and ended their nearly 1,000-mile “Journey for Justice” march at the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. Many of those marchers set out six weeks ago to retrace the historic “Bloody Sunday” civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, in 1965, which was instrumental to the passage of the landmark Voting Rights Act (VRA) that year. More than 50 years later, activists have taken their own civil rights march even farther than Montgomery – to the halls of Congress, to demand that legislators pass the Voting Rights Advancement Act (VRAA) and press for the advancement of a broader racial justice agenda around education, income inequality and reforms to the criminal legal system.