Black and Cuba is now featured in the University of New Mexico library!

Black and Cuba is now featured in the University of New Mexico library!

Buy your own copy at http://blackandcuba.tumblr.com/buydvd and watch the award-winning documentary at http://blackandcuba.tumblr.com/watchnow today!

Black and Cuba and the University of New Mexico

Alejandro de la Fuente’s Race, National Discourse, and Politics in Cuba: An Overview

TEACHERS: Alejandro de la Fuente’s Race, National Discourse, and Politics in Cuba: An Overview is an academic source that is essential to understanding the Cuban Revolution and post-revolution Cuba in terms of race. Integrate it easily into your classroom with our complete syllabus guide based on Black and Cuba!

http://blackandcuba.tumblr.com/CollegesandUniversities

Alejandro meme

Jafari Allen’s ¡Venceremos? The Erotics of Black Self-making in Cuba

EDUCATORS: Jafari Allen’s ¡Venceremos? The Erotics of Black Self-making in Cuba is a ground-breaking book that is essential to understanding the post-revolution Cuba in terms of issues of race, gender, sexuality, and so on. Integrate it easily into your classroom with our complete syllabus guide based on Black and Cuba!

http://blackandcuba.tumblr.com/CollegesandUniversities

Jafari meme

Black and Cuba is now featured in the Stanford University library!

Buy your own copy at http://blackandcuba.tumblr.com/buydvd and watch the award-winning documentary at http://blackandcuba.tumblr.com/watchnow today!

Black and Cuba Stanford University

Dr. Christina Greer’s “Let’s Think About Cuba,”

Dr. Christina Greer’s article in the New York Amsterdam News, “Let’s Think About Cuba,” discusses the current issues surrounding the US embargo of Cuba.

Read it here:http://amsterdamnews.com/news/2015/jul/09/lets-think-about-cuba/

Greer meme

Black and Cuba is now featured in the Lehigh University library!

Buy your own copy at http://blackandcuba.tumblr.com/buydvd and watch the award-winning documentary at http://blackandcuba.tumblr.com/watchnow today!

Black and Cuba Lehigh University

First National M4BL Convention a Beacon of Hope

The Movement for Black Lives poster hung on upper level balcony of the Student Center

The Movement for Black Lives banner hung on upper level balcony of the Student Center.

I attended the first national Movement for Black Lives (M4BL) Convening in Cleveland, Ohio and return to say that the movement is alive and strong. This past weekend’s events called into memory our Black elders and youth, our LGB, Queer, and Trans brothers and sisters, and all others whose lives were taken along the way as we struggle for the right to Black humanity. The movement breathes because we breathe, and we work, and we sacrifice.

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Attendees celebrate after taking time to heal together on the Student Center Atrium. Healer [center right] cleanses the space with burning sage [out of frame] as she dances.

That said, revolutionary work is being done because M4BL was a huge success. Nearly one thousand beautiful Black faces showed up in downtown Cleveland for the weekend of July 24th to find community and collectively re-imagine the future of Black society. Culture, organizing, healing, and imagining were some of the focal points of the broad range of activities available for attendees. I had the pleasure of participating in dialogues on Black workers, self-determination through food justice and agriculture, anti-Blackness, and a panel discussion with four ex-Panthers.

What was profound for me at this Convening was the power that emanated from the space, brought on by the union of passionate Black individuals across generations. I felt this energy from my very first session, “#BlackWorkersMatter: The State of Black Worker Organizing in the U.S.”  The fact of our very presence, a collective of black people organizing together when our communities are so often divided, was a sentiment that I heard many in the room echo. Panelist Kimberly Freeman Brown took a moment to publicly acknowledge the intergenerational space, a rarity in her work as a labor organizer, and let the feeling simmer for a while before beginning. One woman exclaimed in a small group discussion that she was experiencing culture shock, seeing so many young people in a space organized around the labor movement.

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Packed classroom full of intergenerational organizers at the Black Workers Matter dialogue.

What made this workshop so powerful, and this held true for the Conference as a whole, was the collective memory generated by the display of ages in the room. We had elders who were more closely touched by the labors of the 20th century civil rights movement, retired union workers, veteran leaders, students, educators, young community leadership, and laborers themselves. Each of us brought our own segment of the Black existential condition from which we came. The result was a lively and impassioned discussion about the kind of labor movement we need to enable economic justice and ensure the health of Black communities. Our conversations were cut short in the interest of time, but we had built up so much momentum that most stuck around to build connections with other community organizers and share experiences. What happened in the #BlackWorkersMatter session was not a rarity. Each of my four sessions, as well as those I observed in passing was pulsing with that same creative, productive energy that will be essential in our next strides towards liberation.

Attendees work together to install activist textile art between organizer sessions.

Attendees work together to install activist textile art between organizer sessions.

A moment ago I mentioned that the Convening was a place where “collective memory” arose. Collective memory refers to a people’s understanding of the world and themselves throughout time as formed by the group’s constituents. The refusal of Black collective memory by White supremacist colonial power has been laden in the fabric of global societies since the origins of the African Diaspora. Our people have been systematically enslaved, colonized, sterilized, incarcerated, mis-educated, and murdered. Our children are born targets for law enforcement and government agencies like Foster Care. Black society is entangled in a world of social deaths that prevent our masses from attaining the cohesion and stability necessary to reconstruct that collective memory which has been withheld from us. With a revived collective memory, we may learn to know and love ourselves as ourselves and not through the lens of Whiteness.

Ex-Panthers [left to right ]Ashanti Alston, Pam Hannah, Dhoruba Bin-Wahad, and Hank Jones reflect on Black liberation's past and present movements.

Ex-Panthers [left to right ]Ashanti Alston, Pam Hannah, Dhoruba Bin-Wahad, and Hank Jones reflect on Black liberation’s past and present movements.

So, when I say that was an essence of collective memory at M4BL, I foresaw a future of opportunity for our communities to grow and heal as we work across generations in solidarity. When I attended the panel led by former Black Panthers Ashanti Alston, Pam Hannah, Dhoruba Bin-Wahad, and Hank Jones (San Francisco 8), they expressed to us that they were not certain they would live to see “the movement” live like this again. This nod from our elders in the struggle is a sign that we have “connected the dots” throughout our history and are on the path to building something great.

M4BL was as educational as it was inspiring, and it reminded me of the need for Black Studies programming in communities. What better way to build collective memory than to educate the masses about Black history, culture, and ideology? When the Black Panther Party was still active, one could not be granted general membership until they had completed a political education class. In their Ten-Point Program, a declaration of ideals, the Panthers wrote, “We believe in an educational system that will give our people a knowledge of self. If a man does not have knowledge of himself and his position in society and the world, then he has little chance to relate to anything else.” The Panthers were active in one of the nation’s peak moments of Black resistance, and they knew that education would be vital the integrity of their struggle. The M4BL Convening was a step towards this reality, as organizers shared their understanding of the Black condition. Black Studies programming with be another step towards the reification of our humanity.

On the closing of the second day of M4BL, after hearing words from the families of our recently slain, trans activist Miss Major, and other community organizers, we entered into a chant. Together we repeated, “It is our duty to fight for our freedom. It is our duty to win. We must love and support one another. We have nothing to lose but our chains.” We shouted this aloud a few times and on our last round, Kendrick Lamar’s Alright began to play on the auditorium speakers. The crowd burst into celebration. While there is much work to do, I left Cleveland excited for what is to come. I am hopeful and optimistic, because in time, I know “We gon’ be alright.”

A child runs through a large circle of attendees performing a ritual of healing and solidarity.

A child runs through a large circle of attendees performing a ritual of healing and solidarity.

by Rhyston Mays
rhyston.m@progressivepupil.org

Amiri Baraka’s Cuba Libre

TEACHERS: Black radical Amiri Baraka’s groundbreaking 1966 essay Cuba Libre is a must-have for your class on Cuba and African Americans/Afro-Cubans this fall! Integrate it easily into your classroom with our complete syllabus guide based on Black and Cuba!

http://blackandcuba.tumblr.com/CollegesandUniversities

Andrea Smith, Rachel Dolezal and Reading Realness

(from l. to r.) Rachel Dolezal, Dorian Corey and Andrea Smith

(from l. to r.) Rachel Dolezal, Dorian Corey and Andrea Smith

I am, in the words of Black twitter, #ActualBlack.  I say this not to endorse “identity policing” but to point out:

  1. I have parents, grandparents and great grandparents who were forced to cope with the following forms of White supremacy (in chronological order): the TransAtlantic Slave Trade, lynching, segregation, mass incarceration, and microaggressions.
  2. My body, skin, hair, voice, accent (or lack of accent), sashay, and personal aesthetics are to some degree disturbing in all public and private institutions (except for prisons and the morgue).
  3. I did not sign up for this club, but I am proud to be a member.

In all seriousness,  I have been thinking a lot about  the question: Why has the outing of Rachel Dolezal and Andrea Smith as  White – allegedly – caused such a sensation?

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Identifying As Queer

Ricky Tucker / Him, He, His / Goldsmiths, University of London: M.A Creative Writing/Education candidate

Ricky Tucker / Him, He, His

Queer.

It evokes a lot: things old, things new- all things different- and not just sexually. I’m not sure of my first encounter with the word Queer, but I certainly remember my first impressionable moment with the word, it lingers in crevices I’m still trying to clear out today.
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