Icons: Rastafarians

Musical group Israel Vibration

Musical group Israel Vibration

When the word Rastafarian comes to mind, many people tend to think of ganja smoking Jamaicans. Though being of Jamaican descent myself, I never took a closer look at the Rastafarian movement (I just knew my mother would kill me if I ever dated one). It wasn’t until I first watched the Bob Marley documentary Marley that I learned the rich set of principles that guides the Rastafarian way of life.

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Glossary: Environmental Racism

Image Courtesy of The Cross Roads Fund

Image Courtesy of The Cross Roads Fund

The trip through ER can be a scary, threatening and life changing experience for people of color.

I am not talking about a trip to the emergency room, but a trip through life for the people who have to deal with environmental racism. If you are unfamiliar, environmental racism is the oppression of people of color through environmental degradation. According to Do Something, African Americans are 79 percent more likely to live in areas with industrial waste facilities, compared to Whites. The effects of living within close proximity to toxic dumping sites can have long-term effects on community well-being, specifically affecting the neighborhood water, air, and food quality.
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Black & Angry

Image Courtesy of #ITooAmHarvard Campaign

Image Courtesy of #ITooAmHarvard Campaign

Avoid. Accommodate. Compromise. Repeat.

In their renowned text The Managerial Grid, Blake and Mouton describe 5 methods of coping with conflict: Collaborating, Competing, Accommodating, Avoiding and Compromising. Given racist stereotypes about Black people being violent, angry, and overly emotional – do African Americans choose too frequently to accommodate, avoid, and compromise to fit in? What are the consequences to their mental and physical health as a result?
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Today at 2pm EST: Black and Cuba Director Featured on New York’s WBAI

Hayes Photo 2014 10Dr. Robin J. Hayes, director of the award-winning documentary Black and Cuba will be on New York City’s WBAI today Tuesday April 14 at 2pm EST to discuss the film and “Feeling a Foreigner” on the Artsy Fartsy Show.  Listen live or download here.

Black Resistance Screening: The Waiting Room

It’s 9:30pm and you’ve been waiting in your local public emergency room for 6 hours. You have yet to see a doctor and don’t know when you will actually be able to. I’ve certainly been there on many occasions. As a student and a diabetic with limit financial resources and no insurance, New York City’s Bellevue Hospital is where I can receive care and very low-cost medication (insulin for $2…unheard of!). And so have millions of Americans. In today’s economy, many find themselves uninsured and without a primary care provider. Because of this, ER doctors wind up treating anything from a common cold, to serious complications. Unfortunately this has been an all too familiar scenario for many in underserved communities of color, where a trip to the ER seems more feasible for immediate treatment, than the expense of continual preventative care (regular check-ups, medical prescriptions, and supplies).
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Black Women Breastfeeding

When I was pregnant, many of my friends told me how wonderful it is to breastfeed your child. Constantly referring it to “liquid gold” and its endless health benefits. But when the time came, I felt tremendous anxiety. I had so many questions that I ultimately found myself sharing my struggles with my friends, upon which they responded with answers and encouragement.

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African LGBT Activists & Allies

Image Courtesy of Institute for Security Studies.

Image Courtesy of Institute for Security Studies.

I recently listened to an interview about Eliot Elisofon’s exhibit at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art. Elisofon was a photojournalist for LIFE Magazine and major influence on America’s view of life in Africa. Contrary to much of the reporting on Africa, during his time, Elisofon chose to photograph a more positive reality. He again came to mind when I was considering how discouraging it can be to discover that many internet searches for activists for LGBT rights in Africa result in biographies about fearless leaders whose lives have ended in brutal murder, such as Ugandan activist and teacher, David Kato Kisule. As did Elisofon with his photography, I am hoping to highlight a few activists who, despite the risk of being ostracized, attacked and jailed, continue to be vocal in the fight for LGBT rights in Africa.
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“Black and Cuba” Now Streaming on Vimeo on Demand

The Harlem Chorus, narrators of Black and Cuba, following the Black studies tradition

                            The Harlem Chorus, narrators of Black and Cuba

The award-winning documentary Black and Cuba is now available for streaming.  The film follows street smart students who are outcast at their elite university, band together and adventure to Cuba, whose population is 60% Black.  Black and Cuba’s release comes on the heels of President Obama’s announcement that the US will thaw relations with Cuba and ease travel restrictions to the island.  See the film and see Cuba for yourself.  This weekend only, the filmmakers are offering a limited number of 10% discounts to subscribers in order to express their gratitude for your support.  Go to Vimeo on Demand and use the promo code SHAKUR15. 

Glossary: Broken Windows

Vintage Policing

Any theory is just a theory. It can never be fully proven, but it can always be debunked. The Broken Windows Theory has been used to justify aggressive policing of identified ‘unsafe‘ areas. Broken Windows policing violates rights, moral ground, and creates a perception of criminality amongst certain communities. Introduced in 1982, the criminological theory is rooted in the belief that people view disorder as a breeding ground for crime. The example often used (and the theory’s namesake) is a broken window in a building or a car, more damage to the car or building would encourage several undesirable actions including, vandalism, loitering, and squatting. Ultimately, the theory alludes that police can make an area, or an entire city, safer by focusing on smaller crimes that may build up to larger acts of crime.
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Black Resistance Film Screening: Out In The Night

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Out in the Night is Director Blair Dorosh-Walther’s first feature documentary (74 min), which reveals the story of “The New Jersey Four”—Venice Brown, Terrain Dandridge, Renata Hill and Patreese Johnson—from their perspective. Click here to watch the trailer.

On August 18, 2006, these four women, along with three friends, left their homes in Newark for a girls’ night out in New York City’s West Village. All seven women are African American, non-gender conforming, and (at that time) in their teens and twenties. In Newark, where they lived, threats of (and sometimes actual) violence prompted by homophobia were commonplace. On their night out, the friends looked forward to enjoying an evening together in New York’s gay-friendly neighborhood, where they could “be themselves.”
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