Podcast: Is Altruism Real?

Does true selflessness exist? Is the non-profit sector doing more harm than good in communities of color? Black and Cuba director Dr. Robin J. Hayes sits with human rights activist Chitra Ayar – director of the Sadie Nash Project in Queens – to discuss how to fundraise with integrity this holiday season.

https://w.soundcloud.com/icon/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fsoundcloud.com%2Fprogressive-pupil&color=orange_white&size=64Follow Breaking Down Racism podcast series on Soundcloud.

Pictured Philanthropists Dr. Priscilla Chan (l.) and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg (r.) 2012 Courtesy Forbes magazine.

Produced/Directed/Written by:
Miranda Fay
Patricia Lee
Racquel Samuel

Recorded at TNS_Logo1_Small_RGB in New York City.

Pictured: philanthropists Dr. Priscilla Chan (l.) and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg (r.) 2012 courtesy Forbes magazine

What does Activism do?

ACTIVISMROW2014logo_Final-page-001

Happy Black August!

AFROPUNK and Progressive Pupil are co-curating Activism Row: an interactive, inspirational and informative experience to be featured at AFROPUNK Fest 2014 (August 23 and 24 at Commodore Barry Park, Brooklyn). Activism Row’s goals are to facilitate voter registration, inform youth about civic participation opportunities and to encourage the festival’s multicultural audience to envision themselves making a difference. Highlighting social justice as a work of art, Activism Row shows activism lives today in communities of color.

Today, Activism Row launched an Indigegogo campaign to raise funds for the costs associated with producing the festival, which include staff, signage and programs.  You can support this effort by making a tax-deductible contribution and sharing the link (http://igg.me/at/AFROPUNKActivismRow14) with your friends, family and colleagues. Rock star perks are available for your generosity including VIP passes to the festival, which features D’Angelo and Meshell Ndegeocello, a chance to get on stage and more.

Activism Row features local non-profits that advance racial equality by solving urgent community problems such as violence, mass incarceration and HIV/AIDS. In addition, voter registration will be available. On-line and in person, Activism Row will provide AFROPUNK’s audience—who are predominately youth—the empowering opportunity to see themselves as agents of social change. By showing #ActivismLives, this exciting exhibition reveals that the best time for social change is NOW!

I hope to see you later this month at AFROPUNK FEST.  If you have suggestions for organizations that should participate in Activism Row, please share at facebook.com/ProgressivePupil.

In solidarity,

robin-signature

 

 

 

 

 

Robin J. Hayes, PhD

Principal Organizer

Instagram @robinjhayes

progressivepupil.org

facebook.com/progressivepupil

twitter.com/@PPupil

The Problems Are So Big. What Can I Do?

A young girl at a demonstration for the release of Nelson Mandela circa the 1960s. Photo courtesy of the ANC archives.

A young girl at a demonstration for the release of Nelson Mandela circa the 1960s. Photo courtesy of the ANC archives.

I am optimistic that we can create change because I meet so many people from different walks of life who ask me the same question: “What can I do?” Because they know I’m a Black studies professor and documentary filmmaker, many airplane seatmates, taxi drivers, the owner of the bodega around the corner, my friends who work in advertising and corporate law and other everyday people I encounter share their profound concerns about racial inequality with me. I don’t need to convince them that violence is causing a crisis in Black communities around the world, that there is not enough educational opportunity and health care access or that our prison system is unjust. They are well aware that the world needs to change, yet these same intelligent and capable folks are rarely involved in any organization that is trying to make a difference. They often ask me, “Robin, the problems are so big. What can I do?”

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See Yourself Clearly

Faces and Phases Exhibition.  South African lesbian artist Zanele Muholi. Courtesy of artnews.org

Faces and Phases Exhibition. South African lesbian artist Zanele Muholi. Courtesy of artnews.org

Is your nonprofit organizing an empowering local event? Is a neighborhood gallery or community-based museum exhibiting your art? Are you an independent filmmaker, writer or musician creating work that inspires and excites? Share your creativity and political action with us so we can share it with the world. Email community@progressivepupil.org a photo or video clip with a few words about your event, art exhibition or current project so that you and other progressive pupils can see your work clearly on our blog, Facebook and Twitter.

Commencements

Congratulations to our interns Rebecca Alvy and Alexis Hancock for earning their Master’s in Management from The New School.

Congratulations to our former interns Rebecca Alvy and Alexis Hancock for earning their Master’s in Management from The New School.

¡Viva Class of 2013! Progressive Pupil celebrates the achievements of graduates who are fighting for racial equality and human rights. Their diplomas and tassels symbolize the aspirations of many young people to learn and improve — aspirations that too few are able to fulfill. After the understandable euphoria of commencement settles into the reality of work life (or the reality of searching for work), I hope this cohort continues their commitment to making this dream possible for others.

At my own school’s commencement ceremony this year, I was reminded of the true value of an education. I watched with my fellow professors as each student grinned with anticipation of hearing their name, proudly shook the Dean’s hand and triumphantly posed with their degrees for a personal crowd of supporters who cheered and demanded poses for a camera. Afterward, my colleagues and I met our students’ parents, partners, aunts and cousins and for the first time connected faces to the life experiences students brought to our classrooms.

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What Do You Think?

Girl reading comic book in newsstand, c. 1940–1945. Photograph by Charles “Teenie” Harris courtesy of Eyes on Pittsburgh and the Carnegie Museum of Art

Girl reading comic book in newsstand, c. 1940–1945. Photograph by Charles “Teenie” Harris courtesy of Eyes on Pittsburgh and the Carnegie Museum of Art.

This blog along with Progressive Pupil’s social media, internship program and the documentary Black and Cuba are all how we fulfill our goal to make Black studies for everybody and encourage participation in grassroots organizations. We want to help you be informed, empowered and supported.

Your input is essential to our success. Any Black studies questions you’d like us to answer? Any issues or organizations you want to see more of? Want us to spread the word about your great nonprofit or activist collective? Would you like to share your art, poetry or upcoming film? Get in touch with us so we can share what you need. You can reach us in the comments section of this post or by emailing us at vedan.a@progressivepupil.org. You can also let us know what you think on Facebook or Twitter. We’re already excited to hear from you!

The Old Jim Crow in the New South

In a country where Latino and Black communities will soon become the majority, the United States is faced with a political dilemma. Should undocumented immigrants be allowed to become citizens or should politicians tighten border policing and increase deportation rates?

This hotly debated topic has views that fall on opposite ends of the spectrum. While President Obama deported as many people in his first term as George Bush did in two, some progressive measures have been advocated by his administration. In June of 2012, President Obama issued a Department of Homeland Security directive to stop the deportation of undocumented immigrants under the age of 30 who obtained a high school diploma, its equivalent or served in the military. Meanwhile, many Republican legislators who rejected proposals like the DREAM Act derided the President’s decree, equating it to amnesty. In the same month then-presidential candidate Mitt Romney claimed he would veto the DREAM Act if it came across his desk, but he would work hard to pave the way for legal residency – a move away from his previous recommendation of “self deportation.” This type of immigration policy focuses on exploiting financial gains from legal immigrant labor instead of granting migrants what they really need – citizenship and voting power to improve their access to basic human rights like healthcare, education and labor protections. If an estimated 11.5 million undocumented immigrants – a large portion of which are anticipated to vote democratic – are granted citizenship, they could put the Republican Party in danger of losing political strong holds like Texas and Arizona.

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Making it Home

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Photo courtesy of Global Fund for Women and Josh Warren-White.

In the United States – whether we are aware of it or not – domestic workers play a huge role in most of our lives. Some of us had nannies growing up, have relatives that work as in-home caretakers for elderly people, or babysat our way through college. Furthermore, 47 percent of Americans have used or would consider using household cleaning help. In any case, we know that these types of jobs require the employer to put the people and things they care about the most into the hands of another person. And yet, until recently, domestic workers had very few rights. While they work tirelessly to maintain homes and care for loved ones, they struggle to support their own families – living on low wages and often no health care. How is it possible that the basic rights of a group – totaling 1.8 million in the United States – could be disregarded for so many years?

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Fighting for a DREAM

Supporters of the DREAM Act rallied in Fresno, California on November 19, 2010. Photo courtesy of Mike Rhodes.

Supporters of the DREAM Act rallied in Fresno, California on November 19, 2010. Photo courtesy of Mike Rhodes.

Take a moment and imagine yourself at your dream college or university. You have worked extremely hard to get yourself to where you stand and are about to graduate. Your adviser, parents, close family and friends all commend you on your successes but there is one dilemma. You will have earned this degree with excellent grades and exceptional knowledge but you are undocumented, which will prevent you from joining the workforce.

Thousands of undocumented students graduate from high schools and colleges every year with hopes of a decent future. Their ineligibility to legally work and receive financial aid stalls, diverts and derails their educational and economic trajectories, often bringing their dreams, successes and ambitions to a screeching halt. Perhaps even more terrifying, these youth are fearful that they will be deported at any time to an unfamiliar country that most of them left when they were infants.

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Request Lines are Open

Don Cheadle, as legendary Washington DC activist and radio DJ Petey Greene in the 2007 film Talk to To Me.

Your voice is important and powerful. We want you to be heard. Want us to spread the word about your great nonprofit or activist collective? Any Black studies questions you’d like us to answer?  Would you like Progressive Pupil to share your art, poetry or upcoming film screening? Our request lines are always open.

Get in touch so we can share more of what you need on the Progressive Pupil’s blog and social media. You can reach us by leaving a comment or by emailing us at progressivepupil@beautifulmes.com. You can also let us know what you think on Facebook or Twitter.

We are excited to hear from you. Your input is essential to our success.