This week, the Trump Administration released its budget, which includes $9 billion cuts to the Department of Education. The budget seeks to eliminate subsidized student loans, public service loan forgiveness, and many other programs that help millions of students afford higher education and succeed in school. These proposed changed are extremely harmful to public education as we know it today.
Contrary to popular belief, the Movement for Black Lives is not solely about police brutality. Bigger than body cameras and electoral politics, the Movement is about Black liberation and freedom for all Black people.
Liberation and freedom are unconventional in the sense that the system under which society currently operates makes those two realities impossible. In order to achieve them we need radical transformation, but how do we get there?
By Lamont Lilly
Poetry has long sustained Black people. And, its role in the revolutionary work of freedom fighters cnnot be denied.
These poems are meant to be angry. They are also reminders to keep pushing, keep fighting and keep supporting each other, as we all seek the liberation and justice we so deserve. The last piece, “Sister Amina” is an ode to the Black women who brought us over — the aunties, the grandmothers, the nannies, the domestic workers. We certainly can never forget them!
This submission is dedicated to Edward Crawford — the soldier, thewarrior, the fallen.
message from the grassroots
in spite of your tanks
teargas and detention centers.
your prisons, tasers and paid informants.
there will still be honor, love and understanding.
there will still be giving, justice and solidarity.
there will still be life
in the ghetto
black babies will still be born
taught to hate you.
black poets will still launch words
meant to kill.
rank and file
bring your homemade signs
and wooden sticks.
bring your mic and megaphone
to loan voice.
bring your rocks
and molotov cocktails
in case they bring it.
bring your fire
for the teargas
that’s sure to come.
tell the scouts
to stay awake out there
we’re depending on them.
bring the women
so we can stand together
and fire back.
from the master’s huts
and humble slums
grew strong men.
from the open fields
and vast auction blocks
grew diamond rocks.
from their battered hopes
and buried dreams
that refused to bow
or be broken.
(inspired by Gordon Parks and “American Gothic”)
she was amazing
beautiful like the kind
you don’t see very often.
even with that iron
and heavy vacuum cleaner.
even with that
broom and dust pan
in her left hand.
cleaning for ms. jane
cuz she was too dang lazy.
she was amazing
beautiful like the kind
you don’t see very often.
even the dirt, grease
and ms. jane
couldn’t hide her.
Copyright © 2017 by Lamont Lilly. All rights reserved.
Lamont Lilly was the 2016 Workers World Party Vice-Presidential Candidate. In 2015 he was an Indy Week “Citizen Award” winner for his activism and journalism. The presented selections are from his forthcoming debut Honor in the Ghetto. Plain but poignant, his poetry directly derives from the marginalized, from the streets of mass struggle, from the Black experience and U.S. South.
Last week, something Trumpian must have sparked a race between major publications to put out the most fucked up writings on the topic of slavery.
On Tuesday, The New York Times compared Saartje Baartman–an enslaved Black woman who, in addition to the many other horrors she suffered both before and after her death, was forced to perform in freak shows due to her curvaceousness–to Kim Kardashian. Not to be outdone, The Atlantic’s June cover story, “My Family’s Slave”, written by the late Pulitzer Prize winner Alex Tizon, ignited an even bigger controversy with the tale of an abused Filipino maid, Eudocia “Lola” Tomas Pulida, who spent 56 years taking care of Tizon and his family without pay.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions is pointedly undoing the progress that anti-prison and criminal justice reform advocates have worked for over the years.
By Myles E. Johnson
“Solitude can be a must-be-desired condition. In silence, we listen to ourselves, and in the quietude we may even hear the voice of God.” – Maya Angelou
The search, as it were, began in wanting to deep-dive into something that was about me, and it began early. I wanted a nappy-headed God. I wanted a history dipped in tar, baby, and I wanted to know about political leaders with Jackson 5 nostrils. This history was not being served to me anywhere, so I reimagined my middle-school classes as spaces for me to find this new world where I was the sun, where I was centered. While my teacher taught the day’s arithmetic, I was slowly, quietly being radicalized by the contents of books. With each page turn, a bomb exploded, and a window was being opened, and nobody was any the wiser.
The authors that I discovered–including Alex Haley, Frederick Douglass, and WEB Dubois–are part of what guided my 13 year-old brain into the place it is currently, and where it is developing into. However, I had a desire for something that made sense of the world I was occupying the way religion does for a new initiate.
Zoa Stigler was just doing her job this past weekend when she stopped to help Matthew De Leon. De Leon, 23, was throwing up outside of a building where Stigler, 46, was working as a security guard early Sunday morning.
After Stigler asked if he needed any help, she asked him and his friends to move so she could wash the vomit off the sidewalk. De Leon then threw a bottle of water at her and punched her in the face.
I am a non-voter who has the audacity to still be upset that my people are dying. I have been told innumerable times that I am not supposed to be allowed this. “If you don’t vote, you can’t complain” is perhaps the most common non-voter shaming refrain I’ve heard, right up there with “your ancestors died for the right to vote.”
But I am not generally one to accept what society allows me to do as gospel.
I learned this from those very same ancestors, who, as even non-voter shamers acknowledge, lost their lives so that I could do what they weren’t allowed. Some say their deaths were only for my right to vote, but I know they died to get closer to freedom. I know they died also to be able to refuse the vote if it does not work towards that freedom. I know that my people are still dying–still died even when I did vote–and, if anything, my ancestors lost their lives so that I would never let anything get in the way of raising hell about it.
By Blake Simons
The present day Movement for Black Lives, which I argue was revived by the people of Oakland after the murder of Oscar Grant, and came into fruition because of the rebellion that working class Black folks started in Ferguson after the murder of Mike Brown, has been co-opted by Black capitalistic neo-liberals.
By Sherronda Brown
“When I want something, it’s fucking easy for me.” – Miley Cyrus, the self-ordained savior of our nation
The words “Dumpster Fyre” hover above the head of Miley Cyrus on the cover of Billboard Magazine. Even though they refer to the debacle at Fyre Festival in which rich white kids were finessed out of thousands of dollars and found themselves in a trash pile with bologna sandwiches rather than at the lavish resort they were promised, these words are perhaps more fitting for the interview with the 24-year-old.
Billboard explains that the Disney Alum “has left behind the pasties, hip-hop bangerz and, yes, weed for her new incarnation: countrified singer-songwriter and hopeful unifier of a divided nation.” Standing among waist-high greenery with her hands in her free-flowing hair, Miley dons a simple pink farm girl dress with frilly lace about the sleeves and bodice. The expression on her face is plain and unassuming. Save for the sporadic miniature tattoos peppering the length of her arms, she is a vision of white Southern Belle innocence and propriety.