Use Your Power

Progressive Pupil New Leader for Social Change Claudie Mabry Registers Voters


Today, too few of us will make our voices heard at ballot boxes throughout the United States.  The representatives chosen to speak and decide for us at local, state and national levels in these mid-term elections will have a great deal of power over many of the things that matter to us most: such as how our children are educated, whether we feel safe with police officers in the street, the conditions in which we work, and how much we are compensated for our work.  Voting is an important way we can use our power, but too many of us have been falsely convinced that we do not have any power at all. (Click here to find out about the voter identification laws in your state).

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They Came Before Columbus


Photo courtesy of

Ivan Van Sertima was a literary critic, linguist, anthropologist, and the author of the Holte Prize winning book They Came Before Columbus: The African Presence in Ancient America. Van Sertima believed that mariners from West African nations such as Ghana, Mali, and Songhay landed in North America long before any European and had a persistently ignored influence on Indigenous American culture.


Submissions-Indigenous Peoples Month


Progressive Pupil is looking forward to celebrating Indigenous Peoples Month in November and we need your help! Artists, teachers, activists, local business leaders, we want to hear your stories about working for racial justice in your community and share your struggles and triumphs with our readership. Essays, photo journals, film reviews and creative fiction are all welcome. Please limit submissions to 750 words or less and include at least one photo or video. Send submissions to:

by Justin Jones

Reclaim and Renew the Indigenous Image

Dolce & Gabbana face criticism after they debuted these earrings at Milan Fashion Week.

On Halloween people who are aware of cultural appropriation get increasingly squeamish about the slew of “tribal” costumes – Native American headdresses and even blackface. Although Halloween is often blatant in its racist and insensitive displays, cultural appropriation is a regular occurrence in Western fashion, art and media. Recently, Dolce & Gabbana drew criticism after they sent racist “Blackamoor” earrings down the runway. These images are recognizable in the U.S. as “Aunt Jemima” figures and demonstrates blatant insensitivity to their connection to colonialism and slavery.

Approximately 350 million indigenous people – identified as descendants of people who lived in a country before the conquest or settling of dominant groups – live in over 70 countries today. Recognition and protection of indigenous people’s rights is, unfortunately, deplorably low. In Africa, only the Republic of Congo has enacted laws to enforce indigenous peoples’ rights. It is crucial for dominant cultures to respectfully relate to the culture of indigenous groups and for indigenous people to have a voice in contemporary culture.