Saturday Oct. 14, 2017 3:30 to 6 pm
New thinking on race a conversation Frank Joyce
22331 Woodward Ave Ferndale MI 248 545-4467 ___________________________
Grace Lee Boggs, “I Must Love the Questions Themselves” 1985
Loving your people and loving questions are, I believe, the two most important qualities that an individual needs today to help create the new kind of politics we need to bring about fundamental social change in our country. Even if the people of our respective communities or of our country are acting in ways that we believe are unworthy of human beings, we must still care enough for them so that their lives and ours, their questions and ours, become inseparable. At the same time we must love the questions themselves, first, because every time we act on our convictions, we create new contradictions or new questions; and secondly, because we have no models for revolutionary social change in a country as technologically advanced and politically backwards as ours.
Living for Change News
October 9th, 2017
Thinking for Ourselves
Truth Telling Days
What we choose to honor in our past shapes our future. That is why efforts to rethink Columbus Day and establish Indigenous Peoples Day are welcome. Across the country this year, the first holiday since the massive resistance to the Dakota Pipeline, people are reflecting on how we look at our history, whose voices we care about, and whose lives matter.
Detroit joined a number of cities creating new ways to think about who we are, where we come from, and where we need to go. Activists, artists, and community groups gathered for an Indigenous and African solidarity feast featuring Hip Hop, poetry, drumming and a potluck. Donations were collected for people in the Caribbean struggling after the recent hurricanes.
This week the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted 14 to 1 to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day. Supervisor Hilda Solis, who introduced the motion along with Sheila Kuehl said, “The motion, let me be clear, is not about erasing history. This is about understanding that for centuries, America’s ancestors oppressed certain groups of people. And while we can’t change the past, we can acknowledge and make that history right today.”
Since 1991 there has been a strong national effort to rethink how we talk about the European invasion of this Continent. This rethinking was motivated by right wing efforts to celebrate the 500th anniversary of Columbus’s first voyage to these shores uncritically. In response, often lead by Indigenous scholars, artists and activists, cities, schools, universities, towns and states have begun to question what the myth of Columbus means and why we continue to perpetuate it.
Bill Bigelow of Rethinking Schools and the Zinn Education Project noted recently that in spite of nearly 30 years of scholarship, organizing, and expanding consciousness, many people continue to embrace the images of Columbus as positive. He observed that in the wake of a national discussion about Confederate statutes and the murder in Charlottesville, the New York Times described how removing statues of confederate generals raised fears in some people that it would expand to those where “the symbolism is far murkier, like Christopher Columbus.”
There is nothing “murky” about Columbus. He brought to this land the ethos of exploitation, lust for personal wealth at any cost, and the practices of genocide and slavery. Most historians acknowledge that Columbus launched the Atlantic slave trade when he enslaved Tainos and shipped more than two dozen men, women and children to Spain in 1494. A year later, with dreams of increasing riches, he ordered his men to round up nearly 2000 people, sending over 500 of them to Spain and giving those left behind to his men as slaves.
The resistance to this brutality by the Tainos is well documented, as is the absolute savage violence of Columbus to destroy them.
Reality is not self-evident. It is shaped by the stories we tell, the dreams we share, the lives we honor, and the values we hold.
Today, we are living in a country where those who live for freedom and dignity are labeled terrorists. Recently, FBI documents leaked to the press warn of “Black Identity Extremists” whose “perception of police brutality “ is unfounded. They are accused of spurring violence against police officers. This kind of twisting of reality, so essential for the maintenance of white power, has to be met at every level. Resistance requires telling the truths of our past, even as we acknowledge the pain of our present. There is no other way to a just future.
Peace Freedom School Fam!
Today is #IndigenousPeoplesDay
Yesterday at ONE MILE we celebrated our Collaborative Spirit of Resistance + Resilience thanx to Antonio Rafael of The Raiz Up bringing us all together to #WageLove. Photos courtest of Valerie Jean.
What We’re Reading
The Detroit Black Community Food Security Network is creating other ways for Black people to circulate healthy food—and wealth.
A decade ago, researchers reported that more than half of Detroit residents live in a food desert—an area where access to fresh and affordable healthy foods is limited because grocery stores are too far away. Efforts since then to bring more grocery stores—and food security—to predominantly Black neighborhoods haven’t worked.
But that’s looking to change.
Malik Yakini is executive director of the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network, a coalition of people and groups that promotes urban agriculture, co-operative buying, and healthy eating. His organization is helping Black people in the city take matters into their own hands by creating their own grocery store, The Detroit People’s Co-op. The grocery will sit in the city’s North End neighborhood, where about 92 percent of residents are Black and nearly 40 percent have a household income less than $15,000.
“This new store will give the people more control over the food they eat and its production and preparation.”
“We found that a co-op grocery store was imperative,” says Yakini, adding that the members began to conceptualize the co-op in 2010 after they surveyed hundreds of Detroiters on their dietary eating habits, wants, and needs. “This new store will give the people more control over the food they eat and its production and preparation,” he says…
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These questions are at the root of the work of resisting the
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