To be Counted, We Must be Heard

Ella Baker, official of the Southern Conference Educational Fund. January 3, 1968. Photograph courtesy of the Associated Press.

Without exercising one collective voice, we are unable to influence policies and laws that impact our lives.

-Ella Jo Baker

Access to basic human rights is the lesser of the two evils. But what happens when you don’t exercise those basic rights? Consequently, you forfeit the privilege to participate in the conversation.

Ella Josephine Baker (December 13, 1903 – December 13, 1986) is known for her behind-the-scenes contributions to the Civil Rights Movement. Her efforts to organize voter registration drives and raise educational awareness were significant in the 1958 and 1960 elections. With a career as a civil and human rights activist that spanned five decades, Baker strongly believed “voting was key to freedom.”

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The Black Power Mixtape

Black is beautiful, but black isn’t power. Knowledge is power.

-Lewis H. Michaux

As a young girl who grew up in the Bronx and attended public school, my US history courses touched on the subject of the Civil Rights Movement in the most basic ways: Martin Luther King, Jr. was good, Malcolm X was bad. As a pillar of our community, I aspired to be like Martin Luther King, changing the world through nonviolent action and community development. Of course, as a black Latina, I was also aware of the Young Lords Party, a Puerto Rican nationalist group with chapters in many US cities – most notably in New York and Chicago. Unfortunately, I didn’t know much about the Black Panther Party because they weren’t brought up in school or in my family.

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