This short post shares interviews from two women–Hedy Epstein and Angela Davis–each speaking about the interconnections among different struggles for justice and equity.
The first clip is Democracy Now! Journalist Amy Goldman’s interview with Hedy Epstein, the newly famous 90-year-old Holocaust survivor arrested in St. Louis during a protest demanding justice for Mike Brown’s death. When Amy questioned Hedy about the arrest, and asked “what keeps her going?” Hedy responded that because of her experience being oppressed, she must act “because anyone who stands idly by becomes complicit.”
1. Democracy Now! “Stop the Violence from Ferguson to Gaza: 90-Year-Old Holocaust Survivor Arrested in St. Louis.” August 20, 2014. http://www.democracynow.org/2014/8/20/stop_the_violence_from_ferguson_to
The second clip comes from a speech Angela Davis gave when she was honored by the UK-based anti-poverty organization War on Want. Among the topics she addressed was the passing of Nelson Mandela, and how “Mandela urged us to see connections in freedom struggles” to find solidarity among the people of South Africa, the American South, Vietnam, and Latin America. She also commented that we are living in the legacies of these struggles, and quotes Mandela directly: “We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.”
2. Colorlines. “Angela Davis on Palestine and the Prison Industrial Complex.” July 22, 2014. http://colorlines.com/archives/2014/07/angela_davis_on_palestine_and_the_prison_industrial_complex.html
Two articles crossed my path today, and although each article covers immigration in different countries, the common themes of how painful histories and destructive polices create diasporas is cause for contemplation.
1. Kathryn Johnson and Lydia White Cocom. Upside Down World. “US Policies Exacerbate Migration Crisis in Guatemala.” July 29, 2014. http://upsidedownworld.org/main/guatemala-archives-33/4962-us-policies-exacerbate-migration-crisis-in-guatemala
This article, co-written by The Guatemala Human Rights Commission’s Assistant Director, blends testimonies from Guatemalan youth who have migrated to the United States to flee violence with facts from the Organization of American States, UNHCR, and UNICEF to effectively illustrate how United States’ policies are contributing to the migration crisis in Central America.
2. Americas Quarterly. “The Dominican Republic and Haiti: A Shared View from the Diaspora.” Summer 2014. http://americasquarterly.org/content/dominican-republic-and-haiti-shared-view-diaspora
I was intrigued to learn that in September 2013, the Dominican Republic’s Constitutional Court ruled that the children of undocumented Haitian migrants, including those born in the Dominican Republic, are no longer citizens of the D.R. In the linked interview, Dominican author Junot Diaz and Haitian author Edwige Danticat “discuss the roots and legacies of racism and conflict in the neighboring nations, the impact of the court’s ruling, and the responsibility of the diaspora to build bridges between Dominicans and Haitians.”
These articles are not so new, but I certainly think they are noteworthy. I took a week to think about why I wanted to put these two articles together: one from Pacific Standard Magazine, an exploration of the sudden spread of the hipster fad for “artisanal toast.” What begins as the author’s tongue-in-check scavenger hunt for the source of the trend, leads him to Trouble Cafe owner Giulietta Carrelli, and her fascinating life story of how intimate and shallow relationships have affected her life. The second article is from Autostraddle magazine, and discusses how homophobic polices in Africa, which its so easy for us in the Global North to look down upon, have in fact resulted from colonial influence.
Both these articles are very different in tone and address very different topics, but what they have in common is the propulsion of ideas–be they toast or homophobia and the inter-relationships along the way that facilitate their migration from coast to coat or continent to continent.
1. Gravois, John. “A Toast Story.” Pacific Standard Magazine. January 13, 2014. http://www.psmag.com/navigation/health-and-behavior/toast-story-latest-artisanal-food-craze-72676/#.UuBbo46RvRc.facebook
2. McDonald, Helen. “We Need To Talk About Colonialism Before We Criticize International Anti-LGBTQ Legislation.” Autostraddle. January 22, 2014. http://www.autostraddle.com/we-need-to-talk-about-colonialism-before-we-criticize-international-anti-lgbtq-legislation-218306/
1. This past week, Katie Couric interviewed trans model Carmen Carrera and actress Laverne Cox. When Katie expressed her voyeuristic curiosity about the women’s transitions, they both responded with eloquence and grace about why her questioning was inappropriate. Colorlines. “Laverne Cox remembers Islan Nettles while Schooling Katie Couric.” January 7. 2014. http://bit.ly/19ZXgZo
2. Last week, I participated in a training on Disability Justice, and re-read this “oldie but goodie” staple of the disability rights movement. This essay fits in well with the above interview, because Douglas Bayton describes how the belief that oppressed groups are disabled has been a reason for their exclusion throughout history, and sadly a counter response has involved the oppressed group insisting that they are not disabled, not denying that disability is a valid basis for exclusion. Baynton, Douglas C. “Disability and the Justification of Inequality in American History.” 2001. http://www.disabilitymuseum.org/dhm/edu/essay.html?id=70
3. The radio show Democracy Now! dedicated an episode to exploring the life and legacy to Amiri Baraka, a poet, playwright, and political activist, who passed away on January 9, 2014. Amiri Baraka started the Black Arts Movement, and in the 1960s the FBI identified him as “”the person who will probably emerge as the leader of the pan-African movement in the United States.” Democracy Now! “Amiri Baraka (1934-2014): Poet-Playwright-Activist Who Shaped Revolutionary Politics, Black Culture.” January 10, 2014. http://www.democracynow.org/2014/1/10/amiri_baraka_1934_2014_poet_playwright?autostart=true
Correction/Reflection on August 21, 2014–re-reading this post, I’m confused about why I included the tribute to Amiri Baraka with the other two topics, and even more irritated at myself that I had misspelled his name. I wonder what I was thinking–it seems more than a little “one of these things is different than the others” since Amiri Baraka was a virtuoso who used his considerable talent in progress toward equity via the Black Arts Movement. I think I probably just wanted to write about Amiri Baraka, and I will in a future post. For now, here is Questlove’s (drummer for The Roots) tribute to Amiri Baraka in the New York Times.
In a brief post just before 2013 draws to a close, two stories have recently caught my attention. It is funny to note how 2013 has been a year full of Internet outcry moments in response to celebrities of all sorts. There is so much to unpack in terms of intersecting oppressions due to race, class, and gender, and the links below blend wit and insight into this analysis.
1. Tim Wise’s twitter rants undermining his professed principles. Critical Spontaneity.
“Tim Wise, informed by Tim Wise.” August 15, 2013. http://criticalspontaneity.com/2013/08/15/tim-wise-informed-by-tim-wise/
2. Ani DiFranco’s plan to host her “Righteous Retreat” on a Louisiana plantation. Bitch Media. “Five Perspectives on Ani DiFranco’s Planned Retreat at a Former Plantation.” December 31, 2013. http://bitchmagazine.org/post/five-perspectives-on-ani-difrancos-planned-retreat-at-a-former-plantation
September is nearly over, but I would like to highlight two important special interest months
1. Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Month http://www.unitedspinal.org/september-is-national-spinal-cord-injury-awareness-month/
2. Hispanic Heritage Awareness Month http://www.hispanicheritagemonth.org/
On August 24th, I participated in the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington. I had the sense that I was marching in a spiral–in the inner rung was a tribute to the past. A tribute to the Civil Rights Heroes who marched 50 years ago, Myrlie Evers and John Lewis, who shared their resounding voices on the podium. In the outer rung was one of many reminders of the dream unfulfilled of jobs and freedom that I and so many were marching for, present in the fast food workers strike held the following day.
Recordings from March on Washington & 50th Anniversary via Democracy Now!
Present Day Labor Struggles — Fast Food Workers Walkouts
March set to Music