2008 feels so long ago, and the feelings I had then are so foreign now. But I remember clearly how a handsome, brilliant, and charming Black man once convinced me and so many other Black folks to hope for the world to change. I remember how he assured me that the violence of anti-Blackness I experienced as a Black kid living in America’s poorest city would one day be no more, despite there being no reckoning with the sins of this country’s past. I remember all of his promises to help make that happen.
7-year-old Leah Flynn is using her talent to bring peace to Ferguson.
The violinist has performed as a soloist at numerous concerts and venues. She hopes use her talent to calm the unrest happening in Ferguson, Missouri.
The composer of Princeton University’s orchestra has created a ballad in Trayvon Martin’s memory. Anthony D.J. Branker, who will celebrate his 25th year as Princeton’s founder and director of the program in jazz studies, composed the piece of music after being “moved to the core” upon hearing about Trayvon’s death.
You are not alone! Yes I get it, the struggle is real. A lot of times in life we get to these plateau’s and we hate where we are. Once we get to this place, we feel like we will be stuck here forever. You’ve put in so much hard work, you’ve shed so many tears, you’ve tried to do everything right like everyone has said, but you still find yourself starring hardships and disparity in the face. A lot of times we sweep these feelings under the rug and will try to carry on our merry way as if nothing bothers us, but truth be told you’re dying on the inside.
So I’m sick and tired of conversations about the state of Black youth ending with the same played-out solutions—restoring strong family values. Now don’t get me wrong, of course family is important, but we are mistaken if we think that broken homes are the main factors fueling gang violence. If we should blame anything it should be the freedom of humyn kind. That’s right, all moral impositions—respect, honest work, luck—remain fluid and vulnerable to one’s departure. It’s the social situation that determines the logic and integrity of any value.
This is a New Year and being the black Christian feminist/womanist perennial thinker that I am, I want my first blog in the New Year to be about a sustainable hope for a better world. The video above is captivating. And, perhaps, captivating does not capture the feeling of unfettered hope one receives from watching the video. Rarely, do I post a YouTube video clip as my featured blog. Of course, this does not count my addiction to all things Awkward Black Girl web series video clips. However, there are times when I come across a YouTube clip that literally steals my breath and I must share.
Though the focus of the Black Youth Project is on all things related to empowering black youth and black communities, I think that this mission in part is creating a world of hope for people and communities who are caught at the “intersections” of multiple systems of oppression. Therefore, the title of the video above is “A Message of Hope.” It talks about how we as lovers of life and others can change the world by first beginning with ourselves. We can change the world by examining how we treat others and ourselves. Often, when we hate, love, and fight others we hate things within ourselves, love things within ourselves, and fight things within ourselves. I know this to be a truism for my own life. I have written about such things before on this blog. Just click on the links below.
This past week I had the opportunity to attend two great events on the south side. A showing of the Kartemquin film, The Interrupters, and an all day event dedicated to youth activism past and present, which included a showing of The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975. Both events were well attended by both community members and college kids, which made for some much needed face time as well as discourse. While the different participants came to both events to see the same presentation, it became clear in the aftermath that they came for different reasons and with prior assumptions in mind. It also became quite clear that some points regarding trust in the Black community hold so true for individuals that open discourse isn’t enough.
Specifically, I was struck by The Interrupters film itself and the cease fire strategy, which utilizes trust building as an integral role. As presented in the film, many of the interrupters are former street organization members and affiliates who have served time on the streets and behind bars. This grimmer past seemed to serve as motivation for the interrupters work and an identification point with those being interrupted. Again, trust becomes more than a desire but a bare minimum when acting in such a high stakes situation of gun violence.
In the past few weeks I have observed the occupy movement show up in more headlines, gain substantial attention, and impact crips and bloods alike who identify as the 99%. In light of this movement I am led to wonder why this moment has been chosen as the breaking point for so many who feel disenfranchised. Furthermore, I question what the basis of such a movement must be in order to create and sustain the momentum we are witnessing with the occupy movement. The foundation of the occupy political stance as I understand it is about exploitation of the everyday person and lack of accountability of the elite.
While I am not able to assert that the occupy movement is a political stance colored by race, it does remind me of a film I watched about racism in all its ugly forms. Below is a link to an excerpt of The Color of Fear where Victor passionatelyexplains his belief that in this present day every man is not enabled to stand on their own ground.
Should Black people care about marriage equality?
Writer, activist and friend of BYP.com, Maya Rupert has written a fascinating article for the Huffington Post on this very controversial topic.
We implore you to check it out.
Rupert is the Federal Policy Director at the National Center for Lesbian Rights. In a recent article entitled “Is Marriage Equality for White People,” Rupert condemns the increasingly popular position that marriage equality for LGBT people is a “white issue.”
“This narrative is untrue, and it is time we stop acting like marriage equality is only for white people. In fact, the fight for marriage equality is very much a fight about racial justice. Opponents of marriage equality are waging a culture war and, while the LGBT community may be the stated target, families of color are and will continue to be the collateral damage.”
Do you agree?
Today is National Coming Out Day; a celebration of the bravery it takes to come out, and the positive impact it can have on the LGBT community at large.
The Black Youth Project wishes our readers a wonderful and liberating Coming Out Day. If you do choose this is to be the day that you reveal your sexuality to family or friends, we want you to know that you have our love and support.
And feel free to send us your “Coming Out” stories. Hearing about your personal journey can make a world of difference to a young, struggling LBGT youth looking for some type of affirmation or hope.
However, we also want to make it very clear that all of us – regardless of age, gender, race or socioeconomic status – are on our own journeys.
Nobody knows the best time for you to come out BUT YOU.