January 1 is the day to celebrate independence in Haiti. On that day in 1804 the slave revolt prevailed against the European colonists, and the Caribbean island was declared independent and slavery-free. The Haitian Revolution is marked as the first and only slave revolt that has led to the founding of a state.
All posts for the month January, 2014
Posted by Progressive Pupil on January 30, 2014
Review – Melissa Higgins’ The Night Dad Went to Jail, What to Expect When Someone You Love Goes to Jail
Melissa Higgins’ The Night My Daddy Went to Jail, What to Expect When Someone You Love Goes to Jail is a children’s book that tells the story of a young bunny nicknamed Sketch. Sketch is a young boy whose father, whom he loves deeply, is taken to jail and sentenced to six years in prison. Sketch must deal with the painful reality of witnessing his parent being taken away in handcuffs, dealing with peers mocking his pain and a major change in his family dynamic. Higgins uses a book full of colorful pictures to explain the steps that a child goes through when their parent has gone through prison. The book covers most topics (arrests, social workers, bullying, visiting prison, etc.) as honestly as possible while remaining sensitive to the age of the reader. While using a bunny to remain neutral to race and ethnicity, it also helps the child empathize with a character that they can relate to in the form of fantasy.
Posted by Progressive Pupil on January 28, 2014
As the credits rolled at the end of Eugene Jarecki’s powerful documentary, The House I Live In, we hear Frank Sinatra singing the title song, urging for tolerance in the mid-1940’s. Nearly 70 years later, with his documentary detailing the profound impact the war on drugs has had on minority communities, Jarecki is doing the same.
Posted by Progressive Pupil on January 21, 2014
The African Che Guevera was a nickname used often to describe the passions and actions of Burkina Faso’s Thomas Sankara. What many do not know is that this military captain, at the age of 33, led a coup d’état to reclaim what was the French colony Upper Volta. As president, he renamed the country Burkina Faso which translates into “the upright men.” As a self proclaimed revolutionary, Sankara was influenced by Marx, Guevara, and Castro. Many of his programs were created to support and maintain a self sustaining country. He once said, “…asking for food aid is counterproductive when your country is able to provide more than enough,” and his aim was to disassociate completely from the corruption and dominance of the country’s former French colonizers. Sankara transformed the country completely: those working in public service were required to wear garments created by local seamstresses and the government’s fleets of Mercedes cars were downgraded to something more practical. Sankara was one of the first African leaders to speak publicly about women’s rights and implement programs to support their development and role in society. France was not the fondest of his regime, employing Sankara’s right hand man Blaise Compaoré to assassinate him. Unfortunately France had a greater hold on Compaoré and he succumbed to their demands. Was Sankara’s reform that radical? Many of his ideas of self reliance and women’s rights are current efforts of African countries today. Maybe his ideas were just before his time.
By LaKeisha Jefferson
Posted by Progressive Pupil on January 14, 2014
It is an unfortunate truth that there are still prevalent cases of police brutality, unlawful arrests, and your run-of-the-mill instances of abusing authority. In reality, most of us do not really know or understand our rights when stopped by the Police – but thankfully, community based organization Copwatch has created comprehensive guides outlining the laws in place to protect you if you’re ever in a sticky situation with the Cops (or you happen to witness an unlawful interaction!).
Some of the important points to know if you get stopped or arrested:
- STAY CALM! Respectfully stand your ground if your rights are being violated, and be mindful of an officer’s attempts to escalate the situation as a means to arrest you. Never respond physically! Its important to stress that you don’t handle all the problems in the moment. That’s what courts are for.
- Upon contact with an officer, make a point to note their name and badge ID number. Try to retain any and all details of the incident including witnesses, location, date, and time. This also goes for instances when you see someone being stopped.
- You are allowed to ask why you are being detained or stopped. There must be “reasonable suspicion” you are involved in a crime. If they don’t have reasonable suspicion, they are not legally allowed to keep you, and it should be treated as a “consensual stop.”
- You are only required to give personal information (name, address) if being detained or arrested.
- If detained, a cop can do a PAT search which frisks over your clothing to search for weapons. This does not mean they can go into your pockets or bags. As a female, you can usually request a female officers to search your person.
- Without a warrant, a cop cannot search you, your house, or your car. Opening your trunk or door without them asking inadvertently gives them permission to search.
- When being interviewed, police are allowed to lie and misrepresent as a means of coercion.
- Exercise your right to remain silent! Do not say anything, regardless of how harmless you think it may be, until you have a lawyer present – this includes speaking to other people in jail.
For more information, and downloadable pamphlets to hand out (because knowledge is power) go to http://destructables.org/node/85. Since laws also vary state by state, it is best to look into your local Copwatch affiliate. Don’t have one? Organize your own!
by Angie Carpio
Posted by Progressive Pupil on January 11, 2014
I remember hearing those words last year when I traveled to Cape Town as part of an internship program. Upon learning that Mandela’s birthday would be occurring during my time here, I shared my excitement with a fellow grassroots activist here. Surely, there will be some sort of cool parade or public event where I can take pictures to send home, I thought, only to have my wide-eyed excitement shot down by these two words. How could he say something like that about Mandela? The Nelson Mandela. As an African-American child of pan-African parents, Mandela was one of the few revolutionaries who managed to outlive prison and assassination attempts in order to witness his beloved country become free for all with the downfall of apartheid. I mean seriously, even the twins Sandra gave birth to on The Cosby Show were named after Nelson Mandela and his wife, Winnie. Nelson Mandela even outlived Michael Jackson. Michael friggin’ Jackson! So how could this activist, who lives in modern-day South Africa and reaps the benefit of all that Nelson Mandela fought for, have the gall to say such vile words about our honorable elder?
Posted by Progressive Pupil on January 9, 2014
With the recent news of Nelson Mandela’s death, I’ve been thinking a lot about the friends I made while I was in South Africa and what he may have meant to them, and to their country as a whole. I can’t claim any true understanding of their perception of him as a leader and political figure; opinions are opinions, after all. However, during this time, I’ve begun wondering what his passing will mean for his political party, and perhaps more importantly where his political party stands in the country these days.
Posted by Progressive Pupil on January 7, 2014
The Maroons were former slaves turned mountain dwelling militia men and settlers throughout American slavery. They were prevalent in the United State, South America and Jamaica. Being fugitives they were a nomadic people. The largest Maroon community lived in the heart of the Great Dismal Swamp, along the border between Virginia and North Carolina. About two thousand fugitives chose to live and raised their families in this harsh wilderness rather than submit to slavery.
Posted by Progressive Pupil on January 3, 2014