All posts filed under: activism

Lessons I Learned from #BlackLivesMatters

Originally posted on Joshua Lawrence Lazard:
A Sunday morning Facebook post asked “Is Black Lives Matter still a thing?” and I immediately did an eye-roll. The technical answer is in the affirmative. They still are a thing. I still get emails from them. I also know that in many activist circles that Black Lives Matters functions as a real, almost tangible entity. But, I know that that’s not what the social media post really meant. The post was getting at the sentiment that most people are wondering or have finally stopped caring about: why haven’t we heard from Black Lives Matter the way we did before the election of Donald Trump? I read this post and proceeded to climb up the intellectual mountain from which that question was generated–for whatever reason, when I wake up sometimes my mind brings a piercing alacrity to a thought–and I realized that there was a marked shift in how I personally discussed things and in how I engaged in this subjects in and around Black Lives Matter. In fact, I…

Your Life Matters

Originally posted on Doing Wells:
A Time to Mourn. I don’t often cry on my way to work. Normally it’s just a dull drive in, weaving between the slow drivers while trying not to get rear-ended by the fast ones. But this past week, I found myself sitting in traffic with a tear on my cheek. I was listening to a panel discussion at the Village Church. Pastor Matt Chandler was interviewing four African-American believers about how they reacted to the shootings in Minnesota, Baton Rouge, and frankly every state in America at this point. As they shared how they felt,  I found myself weeping with their pain. I guess I was fulfilling Romans 12:15: Weep with those who weep. In our world, this means we must weep with African-Americans AND with law enforcement officers. In our world, this means we must be weeping a lot. Almost unceasingly. Yet, it’s so easy to get callous toward these events. They’re happening so often, and the rapid fire of shooting tragedies has caused my heart to grow hard. To move on so…

The Case of the E Cigarettes v. Australia

As some of you know, I am currently in the sunny land of Australia. Home of beautiful beaches, exotic wildlife and stunning scenery. Australia has been an amazing experience. It is very tempting to stay here forever. There are, however, some pretty big differences between here and my native homeland of the UK. Whilst some are very positive (free swimming anyone?) others are more disconcerting. The one that has really struck me is Australia’s approach to smokers, and particularly to e cigarettes. E cigarettes that contain nicotine are apparently illegal in Australia. I have a confession to make here folks. I was a smoker. A dirty nicotine fuelled smoker. I smoked cigarettes for quite a long time before I switched to e cigarettes. While I understand the controversy and negative feelings towards any form of smoking, I personally am a big believer in the mighty e cigarette. I don’t know what it’s like in America, but e cigarettes have taken England by storm. They are still relatively new. They became mainstream about four years ago, but …

Slacktivism: How powerful is online activism?

Originally posted on The Scribble Bug:
Slacktivism is a funny little hybrid word – a portmanteau of ‘slacker’ and ‘activism’.  It applies to ‘actions taken to bring about political or social change but requiring only minimal commitment, effort, or risk’, but more generally referring to the casual liking or retweeting of political or issue-led content online in lieu of mobilising IRL. Over the last two years it’s received a serious amount of mixed press. On the one hand, it’s drawing attention to campaigns and causes that need them. On the other, slacktivism carries a pejorative undertone – implies people are interacting online to look good or feel good rather than actually engaging or committing to a cause. Is this all it is? Is it just a lot of talk but not a lot of do?  As a digital native who often finds themselves writing about activism – in particular those related to climate change, mental health, and equality – this is something that has increasingly bothered me. And you know me – if something causes a bother then it’s time to ask some questions and find…

Here’s What I Mean When I Say “Pro Black Doesn’t Mean Anti-White”

Originally posted on Black Millennials:
To be pro-Black does not mean to be anti-white. To be pro-Black means to be anti-white supremacy. I wrote these words in a piece about interracial dating some months ago. The piece argues that being pro-Black means to affirm Black bodies, spirit, and culture while denouncing the evils of white supremacy as unnatural, deadly, and unsustainable. Pro-Blackness is a value system that demands the centering of Black people in a structural world designed by the white ruling corporatist class. Some elements of pro-Blackness posit the belief that white supremacy must be thoroughly destroyed for everlasting Black survival. Upon writing that piece, I’ve seen and heard many — mostly Black folk — similarly express that the pro-Black value system does not ultimately condemn “all” white people, just the omnipotent network of institutions, structures, systems, and constructs derived from white supremacist ideology, and the individual agents that empower them. From social media feeds to think pieces, I’ve seen these expressions manifested in digital space. In the physical realm, I’ve seen nonprofit professionals try to embed the sentiment in grant proposals.…

Selective Outrage Won’t Get Us Free

Originally posted on Black Millennials:
Jamar Clark was killed execution-style while handcuffed in Minneapolis. Black activists most notably affiliated with the local Black Lives Matter chapter and the local NAACP shut down highways and occupied the 4th police precinct. National media is starting to pick up on the local unrest, especially after white supremacist terrorists shot five Black Lives Matter protestors. In Chicago, video released shows LaQuan McDonald being shot some sixteen times by a white police officer. His murderer has been charged, and thousands are mobilizing. Traditional media is focusing on the clashes between protesters and police, while social media is aflame. The gruesome video (which I admittedly haven’t watched) lives on the pages of many. Heated debate about the discomfiting consumption of Black death and pain is — once again — underway. Not one to homogenize Black murder and resulting unrest, I can’t help but draw striking parallels to Ferguson and Baltimore. From the expansive number of mass mobilizations and frontline energies, to the tweets of solidarity, frenetic live-streaming, and the viciously heavy-handed responses…

We’re Black in Havana, and Still Can’t Breathe

Originally posted on Black Millennials:
By Jasmine Hall and Moriah Ray Displaced: to force someone to leave their home, typically because of war, persecution, or natural disasters. This war being waged on black bodies is resulting in our persecution, and there is nothing natural about this disaster. It is methodological, institutionalized and heavily funded.   As we entered our embassy, which is supposed to serve as our “safe haven,” we found ourselves displaced. As we nervously walked through a barrage of bulletproof doors and body scanners, the face of a black man on the wall – our Commander in Chief – provided us momentary relief before we entered the main lobby. There, we were reminded of the threat that black women pose to the system. Posted on the edifice walls, we saw nothing more than a freedom fighting black women labeled a “TERRORIST.” She fought – and continues to fight – against the system so we can breathe. One million dollar reward for anyone who could return the women in “traditional African clothing” who was…

No, Winnie: I Don’t Feel “Loved” When White People Steal Our Culture

Originally posted on Black Millennials:
Le sigh. This weekend was one of healing. I got over 20 hours of sleep, lined my pockets in overtime pay, and cleaned up both my room and iTunes library to perfection. I woke up this morning feeling refreshed and re-nourished. And then I came across a debilitating article that reminded me that, despite my restful weekend, I still live in a world where the most oppressed of us lack personal ownership, cultural authority, or a critical analysis that centers our existence with no apology or compromise. Winnie Harlow, the Canadian-born Black model who lives with vitiligo — a chronic skin condition that causes discoloration — took a major L in dopeness when she (basically) said that cultural appropriation is a sign of love, unicorns, and rainbows. Ever since gaining international recognition as a conspicuous standout in an industry notorious for its eurocentric beauty standards, Winnie Harlow has become a martyr of sorts — with many viewing her ascension and visibility as a mark against the suffocating status quo. Some…

I Could Have Been #SandraBland

Originally posted on dionna camille:
That is what kept me silently outraged for weeks. This one hit TOO close to home. They all hit close to home. I have a brother and fiancé that I worry about tirelessly. Black men are a target. But as I take the necessary steps to finally get my driver’s license, what will I do when I get pulled over? Will my fear keep my docile and agreeable? Or will my outrage and blanket disdain for why is happening to men and women that look like me keep me from biting my tongue or “getting smart”. How far will “knowing my rights” get me if they feel they don’t apply to me in the first place? We too are now a target. Women. Black women. #SandraBland #RekiaBoyd #ShellyFrey #YvetteSmith #MyaHall #KendraJames #NatashaMcKenna #AiyanaStanleyJones I used to fear and speak up for my Black men because many felt their voices were too loud. But who will speak for us? The women whose voices are now too soft. #sayhername dionnacamille

Voting with Our Feet (and other essential body parts)

Originally posted on Jinny's Occasional Poems:
Voting with Our Feet (and other essential body parts)   —by Jinny Batterson Recent retirees like me get a lot of health-related information—mailers, email reminders, targeted Internet advertising.  Fairly often, these messages tout the benefits of regular exercise. Walking gets mentioned a lot—helps our circulation, requires little special equipment, can be done anywhere, anytime. So, even in the heat of summer, I try to keep up a regular walking routine. Over the past several seasons, I’ve been doing a good bit of more targeted walking, too, participating in protest marches and fundraisers for causes I think are important.  One of those is global climate change; another is voting. Last September, I joined hundreds of thousands in New York City to draw global attention both to the problems we’re creating with our profligate use of fossil fuels and to possible alternatives, including the low-tech, available-to-nearly-everyone switch to walking more and using our vehicles less. I got a walker’s high moving along with the varied and huge crowd around me,…