Members of the “From Colonization to Reparations” panel. From left to right: Jean-Jacob Bicep, the interpreter and Mireille Fanon-Mendès
Day three of the World Social Forum gave us the opportunity to participate in a meaningful discussion about colonization and reparations hosted by the Conseil Représentatif des Associations Noires de France (Representative Council of Black French Associations, or CRAN) and the Fondation Frantz Fanon (Frantz Fanon Foundation). While many of the panel and audience members were native French speakers – from France, Tunisia, Algeria, Martinique, Guadeloupe and Quebec, Canada – the Forum had a translator who helped break down the language barrier and enabled us to participate fully. Engaging with people throughout the diaspora about colonialism is helpful to our grassroots organizing in the United States because it showed us that there are international successes and obstacles that we can learn from.
Posted by Progressive Pupil on March 30, 2013
A picture of the Combahee River from the realtor Plantation Services which sells property along the river.
As Black feminists we are made constantly and painfully aware of how little effort white women have made to understand and combat their racism, which requires among other things that they have a more than superficial comprehension of race, color, and Black history and culture. Eliminating racism in the white women’s movement is by definition work for white women to do, but we will continue to speak to and demand accountability on this issue.
From The Combahee River Statement
Throughout the mid-70s and early 1980s, a group of Black women gathered for weekly meetings in Boston to discuss Black feminism. Their Combahee River Statement has become a key document in the principles of contemporary Black feminism. While reading the statement, I was reminded of the poem And When You Leave Take Your Pictures With You by Jo Carrillo.
Posted by Progressive Pupil on March 30, 2013
Image Activist Michaela Angela Davis encourages us to “bury the ratchet.”
What is “ratchet” and why is there a campaign to end it? The phrase “ratchet” gained its popularity when the Ratchet Girl Anthem–an original song that was created by two young men–went viral in the spring of 2012. The word “ratchet” is a disparaging term used to describe “ghetto” women. According to Urban Dictionary “ratchet” is,
A diva, mostly from urban cities and ghettos that has reason to believe she is every man’s eye candy. Unfortunately, she’s wrong.
Image Activist Michaela Angela Davis is spearheading a campaign at Spelman College to increase consciousness and decrease the negative messages generated by many reality television shows and have become synonymous with women of color. In the process, “ratchet” has been launched into another realm as Davis moves forward with her campaign which has the goal of publicizing how people of color feel about the ways they are portrayed by large media corporations. Davis will be hosting a talk at Spelman College with community leaders and scholars on topics around African American women, culture and society this month. To learn about the various events that are planned, check out #MADFREE, Davis’ monthly newsletter.
Posted by Progressive Pupil on March 28, 2013
Claudette Colvin at age 15. This undated file photo was taken around the year 1953. Courtesy of AP/Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
As a substitute teacher at a New York City Charter School, I have the privilege of teaching a variety of subjects for 5th-8th graders. This week my coverage involved a 6th Grade History class. Once my scholars were working on their assignment, I took a break and asked the class, “Does anyone know who Rosa Parks is?” All twenty-two students raised their hands with confidence. I then asked the class, “Does anyone know who Claudette Colvin is?” One boy shyly raised his hand and questioned if it had anything to do with Black History. One girl raised her hand and stated, “She was a 15-year old girl who sat in the middle of the bus during the Civil Rights Movement and was arrested before Rosa Parks.”
If so many of our students are aware of Rosa Parks’ involvement in the Civil Rights Movement, why are so few familiar Claudette Colvin?
Posted by Progressive Pupil on March 23, 2013
Screen shot from the film Just Another Girl on the I.R.T.
As a young Black woman living in a low-income neighborhood in New York City with dreams of becoming a doctor, Chantel Mitchell had a lot of obstacles to overcome. The 1992 film Just Another Girl on the I.R.T., written and directed Leslie Harris, explores some of these challenges. Chantel is an outstanding student and outgoing woman who loves to speak her mind freely of the social injustices of African American people in her history class but her sharp tongue gets her into trouble in high school. She becomes romantically involved with a young man named Tyrone and the two teenagers become sexually active. Unfortunately, Chantel does not use her birth control properly and several weeks later she realizes she’s pregnant.
Posted by Progressive Pupil on March 19, 2013
Thanks to your support, this year Progressive Pupil has already made exciting progress on Black and Cuba. Enthusiastic audiences at work-in-progress screenings in Greenwich Village, San Diego, East Harlem and San Juan have given us informative and affirming feedback about the project. We have also outlined a plan to share the film with grassroots organizations, Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Hispanic Serving Institutions, places of worship and other community spaces throughout the US, Canada, Latin America, the Caribbean, Europe and Africa.
Classroom at Moncada Baracks, site of the first action of the Cuban revolution, now a museum and public school
Our goals for this groundbreaking project remain the same: to increase participation in anti-racist organizing, end the US embargo of Cuba and raise awareness that racial discrimination and economic injustice are international human rights issues. Black and Cuba addresses concerns that are as relevant as ever. Throughout the world, activists and their allies are demanding more peaceful communities, better public education, broader access to health care, police accountability and an end to the US government’s outdated and internationally condemned foreign policy toward Cuba. In addition, a new generation of diverse urban audiences is increasingly vocal about their desire to see humanizing representations of Black and Latino culture. Now is the time for Black and Cuba’s inspiring and enlightening message about how people from all walks of life can band together to create change.
Help make our vision a reality by making a tax-deductible donation today. Your participation will help us complete the film, continue our grassroots outreach and begin showing the documentary at film festivals. You can also show your support for Black and Cuba by sharing this post with friends, family and colleagues by liking us on Facebook and Twitter. Thank you for traveling with us on this important journey!
Posted by Progressive Pupil on March 16, 2013