South Bronx Teacher Explains “Black and Cuba” is Essential

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This past May, Progressive Pupil held a Work-in-Progress screening of “Black and Cuba” at Aspire Preparatory School, a charter school located in the South Bronx. Aspire is made up of a large student body with about 100% Black and Latino youth. Our film was shown to 7th and 8th grade students in Uraline Hager’s special education class. In this video, Ms. Hager addresses her thoughts on “Black and Cuba” to parents and teachers. She specifically speaks about the significance of showing this film to young students of color, and how “Black and Cuba” can be an educational tool for youth that helps them connect to real world issues they are faced with that are ironically not taught in the classroom.

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An Open Letter to Barney’s CEO Mark Lee re: “Shop and Frisk”

Trayon Christian, who alleges he was arrested for legally purchasing an item at Barney’s New York. Courtesy msn.com

Trayon Christian, who alleges he was arrested for legally purchasing an item at Barney’s New York. Courtesy msn.com

Mark Lee, CEO

Barney’s New York

660 Madison Avenue

New York, NY 10065

Re: “Shop and Frisk”

October 31, 2013

Dear Mr. Lee:

You might remember me from such recent purchases as a pair of Robert Clergerie boots and Céline sunglasses ($350).  I write to inform you and everyone else who reads this open letter that after 21 years as an enthusiastic Barney’s customer, I will no longer be patronizing your Madison Avenue store, Coop stores, outlets, Warehouse Sale, or online sites.

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A Tale of Two Abuses

This photo of a man being arrested was taken on March 13, 2013 during a protest against the shooting of Kimani Gray. The photo is courtesy of Press TV and accessed via their Facebook Page

This photo of a man being arrested was taken on March 13, 2013 during a protest against the shooting of Kimani Gray. The photo is courtesy of Press TV and accessed via their Facebook Page

After visiting the country for two months last year, I decided to move to Cape Town, South Africa after completing my Masters at The New School. One of the reasons I decided to make this international move was that  it was easy for me to see how the struggle for change within Black and Brown communities in the States and the struggle for true freedom here in South Africa are so connected. I marveled at the similarities of experience. While people of color may be in very different lanes economically, the likeness between the two countries comes from a close-knit beginning. The colonization of both Cape Town and New York began with the Dutch East India Company settlements only 25 years apart. Beyond this, the sharing of ideas regarding discrimination and subjugation between the South Africa and the United States – from business development to urban planning to laws – has been historically commonplace. The Civil Rights Movement of the 1960 in the United States and the Black Consciousness Movement in South Africa along with the historical impact of the Harlem Renaissance and Négritude Movement in Francophone Africa helped produce the work of notable change-makers like Steve BikoMamphela Ramphele and Barney Pityana. Even the marriage between Miriam Makeba and Stokely Carmichael was symbolic of the synergy between the two countries and the continuing feelings of discontent caused by racial injustice. Following the successes of the Civil Rights Movement and the liberation of South Africa from apartheid rule, people from both sides seem to forget that everything is not rainbows and sunshine and that there is still a need for further reform.

And yet in 2013, we have the case of Kimani Gray in Brooklyn and Mido Macia in Daveyton, South Africa.

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