All the World’s Futures


From Urban Requiem, 2015 by Barthélémy Tuguo Cameroon at the Venice Biennale

Saluti dall’Italia! Greetings from Italy!

I hope you’ll join me in congratulating two new alumni of the New Leaders for Social Change program—Xiomara Pedraza and Justyn Richardson—who both earned their Master’s degrees in Urban Policy from The New School last week. During their time with Progressive Pupil, Xiomara and Justyn have blossomed from exceptionally intelligent and dedicated youth to experienced resourceful professionals. Although their time in our office has ended, their careers as social justice advocates are just commencing.  I look forward to the impactful things they will accomplish in their work as social justice advocates.

I am currently attending the 2nd NYU Black Portraitures Conference in Florence—convened by Henry Louis Gates, Thelma Golden, Deborah Willis, and Cheryl Finley among others—which focuses on “imaging the Black body” and “re-staging history.”  Given these themes, it is especially fitting that I will be giving a presentation about portraits of Black radicalism in Black and Cuba this Sunday.

Making Black studies for everybody requires creating fresh, empowering images of not only Black bodies, but of Black life and history.  It also requires re-staging history so that it can be seen from the perspective of communities who have struggled to be seen as human and heard as citizens.

Earlier this week I was fortunate to see the “All the Worlds Futures” exhibition at the Venice Biennale.   This year is the first time in history an African artist—Okwui Enwezor—has curated the exhibition and that 25% of the artists exhibiting have been Black.  The diverse, explicitly political work on display revealed that there is a global and vocal chorus of artists, activists, teachers, and allies who have a clear vision of the world’s futures—which include an end to exploitation and marginalization for everyone. I’ve posted some highlights of the exhibition, including work by Jason Moran, on my instagram @robinjhayes.

Yours in Solidarity and Ciao,


Robin J. Hayes

Principal Organizer, Progressive Pupil

Director, Black and Cuba [Available on Vimeo on Demand and DVD]

The Color of Gods & Kings


Contrary to popular belief, we’re not far from the days of Blackface, Yellowface, Brownface and Redface in Hollywood. We’ve moved on though–in a different way. Moved away from the blatantly offensive practice of soaking white actors in makeup to portray offensive stereotypes, to the casting of white actors for roles that would be perfectly suited for people of color, or roles that certainly call for a person of color as a performer. Whitewashing is all the rage.

Are Asians the New White?


Wikipedia defines the Model Minority Myth (MMM):
refers to a minority group (whether ethnic, racial, or religious) in certain countries whose members are most often perceived to achieve a higher degree of success than the population average. This success is typically measured in income, education, and related factors such as low crime rate and high family stability.”


Afro Asian Liberation

Fred Ho - NYTimes

Fred Ho was a baritone saxophonist, composer, writer and activist who was known for the way he so eloquently, sometimes chaotically, fused jazz and traditional Chinese music to both captivate audiences and advance his political ideology. Drawn to the Black Power and Black Arts movements as a teenager, he began speaking out against injustices toward Blacks and Asians at an early age. As a young man, Ho focused more on activism than music, creating the East Coast Asian Students Union (while studying at Harvard) and later co-founding the Asian American Arts Alliance. When he took a class and was exposed to the writings of Malcolm X and other anti-oppression authors, this began to change the way that Ho saw himself. He adopted a Chinese American identity and sought not to assimilate but to walk his own path, a path that would eventually lead him back to music.

Glossary: Asian Solidarity, an Invisible Race?


“Here is what I sometimes suspect my face signifies to other Americans: an invisible person, barely distinguishable from a mass of faces that resemble it. A conspicuous person standing apart from the crowd and yet devoid of any individuality. An icon of so much that the culture pretends to honor but that it in fact patronizes and exploits…a mass of stifled, repressed, abused, conformist quasi-robots who simply do not matter, socially or culturally…” Wesley Lang

Cuba: Looking Ahead

Untitled-2 copy 2-3

Join us for a discussion about the changing Cuban landscape

Thursday, May 7th at 5PM at The New School

Visionary Organizing

Grace Lee Boggs’ message to Occupy Wall Street from American Revolutionary.

At the age of 96, Chinese American grassroots activist, organizer, philosopher and author Grace Lee Boggs has more than seven decades of experience in Civil Rights activism, the Black Power movement, feminism, labor rights, Asian American rights, and environmental and food justice. Boggs, along with her husband and fellow activist, James Boggs, founded Detroit Summer — a multiracial, inter-generational collective based in Detroit. This collective has been working to transform communities through youth leadership, creativity and collective action for over 20 years.




All over the country the #BlackLivesMatter movement has spread, making an impact here at The New School as well. I am only an ally to the cause; I don’t personally know what it is like to be Black in this country. However, I do know what it is like to be a person of color and the challenges that comes with it. I understand the discrimination communities of color face.