Between Reality TV, Media Pressure and Social Status, we now live in a world where people feel the need to live in someone else’s shoes. We have leaders walking around as followers and followers perpetrating as leaders. This comes from a lack of personal and cultural Identity. This is a battle that a lot of us have struggled with and some of us even find ourselves now.
Dubbing themselves The Resistance, a group of Bronx students have decided to “Occupy” public education, releasing a 10 point plan for reforming New York City’s public school system.
This is exactly the kind of action we need to see across this country; young people seizing the moment and taking the lead in public discourse regarding the issues that are impacting their lives.
Some of their demands include “a healthy, safe environment that does not expect our failure or anticipate our criminality,” class sizes that are “humane and productive,” and “student assessments and evaluations that reflect the variety of ways that we learn and think.”
AMEN! Check out a video of members of the Resistance introducing their reforms, as well as text of their full ten-point plan, below.
Around the same time period as the University’s initial cover-up of Sandusky’s alleged transgressions, Black Penn State students were receiving very aggressive and very sincere hate mail. Eventually the hate mail became death threats, culminating in the discovery of a Black man’s dead body near campus.
Students feared for their lives on a daily basis; even at graduation. And the University did nothing.
We hear it everyday, “Somebody should do something about…” or “this generation needs a good leader”. I have found that in my generation there is hope for such remarks. Many of my peers are not only in agreement but actively pursuing leadership in different ways from leading marches for a trauma center on the south side of Chicago to working Obama’s campaign. I am inspired by the power that we have as youth but also cautious because power without direction can be fatal. I find myself examining my role in this climate of change.
A recent experience in a school caused me to look my responsibility in the face.
Check out this fascinating article about Occupy Harlem, and why the Occupy movement ain’t just a “white thing.”
There are definitely prominent Black voices in the movement. Activists and scholars like Angela Davis and Cornell West have been major supporters of the movement since practically day one; Dr. West was even arrested on October 21st with 30 others in Harlem, protesting that racist “stop and frisk” program.
And by now I’m sure you’ve heard of Occupy The Hood.
The 99% percent is made up of a variety of people from a variety of backgrounds, with a variety of priorities. What unites them are a few common enemies; namely greed, corruption and economic inequality.
But will it be possible for such a complicated, motley collective to build a coalition strong enough to affect change in a way that will benefit everyone involved?
From the Huffington Post:
The black hipster: a sneaker pimp wearing nothing other than Levi skinnies below the waist and a vintage Public Enemy snap back above the forehead, selects weapons of change from an arsenal of flannels and graphic tees. In the local boutique shelves, such as Leaders 1354 in Chicago, lie images of Huey P. Newton, Rosa Parks, Malcolm Little (Malcom X) and Martin Luther King Jr. on pieces on cotton. The people that rock these shirts continue to enunciate our message to the world, the world that only wants us to conform within the ideals of whiteness quietly. Although our struggle survives through style, it sounds like gibberish if it stays cotton-deep.
Last week we all had the opportunity to watch Barack Obama’s healthcare speech.
A couple of weeks ago I asked, where is Obama’s Political Saavy? And in the above speech I believe not only did he find it, but he remembered what the people who voted him into office [overwhelmingly] mandated. So needless to say I was happy…
I couldn’t help but be impressed with the way in which liberals/progressives managed to lobby Obama to get the kind of healthcare plan they wanted from him. Not even a couple of weeks ago, Obama was seriously wavering on the public option, but in the above speech, he was clear about his belief that it should be included in whatever health care bill was passed.
But I couldn’t help but wonder… why don’t we see this kind of political pressure from black activists and lobbyists? Everyday I get another email from a liberal/progressive group asking me to email/fax/call my representative/president, asking me to change my facebook status or asking me to attend (fill in the blank) rally.