“As I said in my letter to Columbia,” Winter Tangerine Review editor-in-chief Yasmin Belkhyr shared with me, “how many women of color have not been able to enter writing competitions because of reading fees? How many are not able to pursue writing because of the high cost of workshops? One is too many.”
You just don’t wake up one morning and start enacting social change. There is a moment when you become racially conscious and from that day on, you cannot shake this political awareness–it sticks with you. Everyone’s path to wokeness is different. No matter the different paths that are taken, young Black people are doing good work, changing what it means to be a Black activist today.
In this edition of our Black Youth Spotlight series, we highlight Blake Simons. He is the Deputy Communications director for the Afrikan Black Coalition, a Black organization in the UC colleges that strives to promote Black culture, awareness, and leadership. Blake believes that the celebration of Black History should not be limited to a single month—it should happen everyday. Right now through the Afrikan Black Coalition, he is spreading his political awareness of what it means to be Black during a time where innocent lives are lost and threatened due to senseless acts of violence.
The Black Panther Party, a revolutionary Black Nationalist and socialist party with a large and radical agenda based around activism of all sorts, is getting a documentary.
PBS will air The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution tomorrow, February 16, at 9PM/8 CST. The documentary explores the Black Panther Party by focusing on “its significance to the broader American culture, its cultural and political awakening for black people, and the painful lessons wrought a movement derails.”
BYP100 has created the Agenda to Build Black Futures and it is a must-read.
They have outlined problems, solutions, and their proposed agenda for the preservation Black lives on their website.
The problems that BYP100 are fighting include the state of Black Youth in the U.S. economy where “it is hard to measure the extent of harm done to Black bodies, minds and souls as a result of systemic and longstanding economic violence, but we have to look at some of the numbers”, the unemployment rates among millennials, corporations that are making a profit on the prison system by creating products and services for them, the devaluation of Black women, the marginalization or trans- and queer Black people, and barriers that halt the Black community to garner wealth and assets.
Everyone keeps asking why there aren’t more Black STEM students and professionals. But few are discussing the difficulties faced by first-generation Black students.
I am not shy about my experiences as an engineering student at the University of Southern California and STEM professional in Orange County, California. To put it lightly, it wasn’t fun. Actually, it was horrible. That’s why all of these articles asking why there aren’t more Black coders or more Black scientists or more Black students in STEM majors irritate me to no end. The focus on Black and STEM students and professionals and their invisibility is a much more nuanced conversation than many of these articles let on.
Besides the Internet breaking last weekend when Beyoncé snatched all of our edges, it was clear that White people were perturbed. No actually, they were downright terrified of the unapologetic blackness Beyoncé displayed in her new video for the song “Formation” and her subsequent Super Bowl performance. Apparently, SNL caught the fuss and made a hilarious skit about it called “The Day Beyoncé Turned Black.”
On Monday Feb 8th, 2016, Eric Harris, a 22nd year old Black man was killed by deputies from the Jefferson Parish Sherriff’s Office (JPSO) in the Central City neighborhood of New Orleans. Authorities have attempted to justify the shooting by claiming they acted in self-defense after Harris crashed his car into a pole. It was claimed that his tail lights went on, putting his vehicle in reverse, though his girlfriend and passenger that evening offered a conflicting report that accuses JPSO of making up crucial details in order to justify the shooting. According to The Advocate, Harris’ girlfriend reports that after crashing, Harris was too dazed and disoriented to put the car in reverse, “I never saw him try to back up” she says, “As soon as he asked me if I was all right, they started shooting at the car. I just felt like they was mad that they chased us.”
Hampton University brings more diversity to its campus as it welcomes its first LGBTQ organization.
On February 4, 2016, the students at Hampton University heard that the first LGBTQ organization had been approved by administration. It’s called Mosaic, which is an acronym for “Motivating Open-Minded Social Acceptance and Inspiring Change.” This group will be a safe space for queer Hampton University students and allies to come together and promote acceptance, tolerance, and awareness of sexual orientation and gender identity.
The Justice Department had joined the fight against the city of Ferguson, as an investigation, which took months, uncovered a multitude of problems in the way that police and courts treat poor people and minorities in the St. Louis suburb.
The office of Black Youth Project 100 is a few blocks from President Barack Obama’s private residence in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood. The organization’s national director, Charlene Carruthers, like Obama in his younger activist days, is a Chicago community organizer. The similarities may stop there. Indeed, Carruthers has been loudly calling for the resignation of Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Obama’s longtime Chicago political ally who served as his White House chief of staff. Her complaint: Emanuel’s negligent leadership in the Chicago police shooting death of a black teenager in 2014.