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Bryann Guyton Cover Story by Sarajanee’ Davis

Typically, dreamers are thought to be overly-optimistic idealists who are either out of touch with reality or lacking the will power to change their circumstances Bryann Guyton, our first dreamer, laughs in the face of such dismissive definitions. She shows what not only what her dreams are made of, but also makes plain how accomplishing them will change the world.

Hailing from Richfield, Minnesota, Bryann literally has service in her blood. Early on, her parents instilled in her the importance of thinking of and doing for others. Not merely paying lip service, both her mother and father dedicated their lives to helping others. Her father continues to work for the local Ronald McDonald House and her mother has contributed to the success of several non profit organizations over the years. The lessons her parents instilled proved necessary much earlier than anyone could have imagined. At an age when most young adults are figuring out who exactly they want to be or what their dreams are, the intensification of her mother’s illness forced Bryann to grow up very quickly. Nonetheless, the strength forged during those tough moments propelled Bryann to begin her collegiate education at North Dakota State University. After successfully completing her first year, she stepped even farther out on her own, transferring to Shaw University in Raleigh, North Carolina on a basketball scholarship.

Less than a year away from completing her bachelor’s degree in business administration, Bryann has already accomplished many of the goals she set when she first matriculated to Shaw. In those first days in Raleigh, she knew that she wanted to be an active community member. During her reign as Miss Black and Gold of The Beta Rho Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated she has worked in multiple leadership capacities for the Movement of Youth organization. This student led non-profit organization is a mentorship program for young people in the surrounding community. Bryann’s work as a mentor is critical not only to her future endeavors, but also to pay homage to the mentors who have molded her into the astute young business woman she has become.

Looking forward, Bryann hopes to own multiple successful businesses and to reside in the southern region of the United States. Of course, she will maintain her commitment to service and faithfully volunteer in her local community. In the more immediate future Bryann will continue to expand the Movement of Youth on Shaw’s campus, by the close of the academic year the group will be a chartered organization. Additionally, she is planning two conferences with Vitalink, HBCUgrow, and Innovation Lab. In her free time, Bryann will continue freelance modeling and exploring new art exhibits. In both her professional and personal endeavors Bryann embodies servant leadership and models how individual success can lead to communal growth.

Bryann’s story reminds us of what dreams can do. Dreams can pull us through dark moments and inspire our greatest achievements. Our dreams enable us to set achievable goals in order to better our communities and ourselves. In a world that continuously denies our humanity, dreams give us something to believe in, more importantly, they help us to believe in ourselves.
We wish you well Bryann, peace.

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Up From the Ashes by Niya Bates

On the night of Wednesday, June 17, after sitting in Bible Study with the Pastor and a small group of members of Mother Emanuel Baptist Church in Charleston, SC, Dylann Roof opened fire killing nine people. In the weeks following this act of domestic terrorism, at least 8 historically Black churches burned fueling fear and panic that Black Churches were once again under attack by the KKK or other white supremacist organizations. Most recently, confederate flags were placed outside of Dr. Martin Luther King’s Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta. Dylann Roof’s manifesto revealed his allegiance to white supremacist groups and countries known for particularly vile racial policies lending even more validation to those fears. The string of fires prompted media outlets from The Root to The Atlantic to ask, “Who is Burning Black Churches?” and “Why?”

 

“Arson at religious institutions has decreased significantly over the past two decades, but the symbolism remains haunting.”- Emma Green, The Atlantic 07.01.2015

 

Churches like Mother Emanuel Baptist Church in Charleston, have been pillars of the Black community since the Reconstruction Era. For many communities, churches were among the first buildings constructed. The Black church, regardless of its denomination, has endured 150 years as a target of white supremacist attacks while still serving as a primary meeting place for civil rights organizations like SNCC and SCLC in the 1950s and 60s, the Black Panthers in the 1970s, and most recently organizers for the Black Lives Matter movement. With many congregations tightening security, what happens when our communities cannot rely on churches to always have wide open doors? How would that impact the movement?

 

In 2015, it seems young people are less and less likely to be found in the churches that their parents and grandparents frequented, but these cultural centers still retain a lot of genealogical and social history critical to understanding and learning Black history. When those buildings burn, we not only lose gathering spaces and critical venues for social dialog, but also decades worth of documentary history. Perhaps this is why they continue to be singled out for violent arsons. It is also possible that shifting demographics in areas that were once majority Black could be leaving churches without congregations to ensure their security. In the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, have we integrated into a burning house?

 

When Fox and other conservative media outlets can listen to a mass murderer tell reporters that he almost didn’t go through with his plan because the members of Mother Emanuel were too kind to him and still insists it was attack on faith not motivated by race, one has to wonder where the moral compass of our country actually stands. Why is it so difficult to acknowledge and confront white supremacy, systemic racism and inequality, and unjust policing practices? What are we supposed to do when Cecil the Lion causes more outrage than Mike Brown’s body lying in the street uncovered for hours after his death at the hands of Ferguson PD? When churches are burning again and young unarmed African American men and women keep dying in police custody, it feels impossible to distinguish 2015 from 1963. Whatever happens next, it is clear that our churches need protecting just as urgently as our neighborhoods and children do. Where should we go from the ashes of our most sacred spaces?

““It is important and right that all privileges of the law be ours, but it is vastly more important that we be prepared for the exercise of those privileges.” – Booker T. Washington

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Balancing Act: Student Activism by Desmera Gatewood

At a time when direct action and mobilization is at a national resurgence, student organizers are diving into action across the country.  Efforts ranging from electoral initiatives to civil disobediences are underway and led by youth in various capacities.  The Black Youth Project, The NAACP Youth and College Division, IgniteNC, and the Dream Defenders among others, have boasted significant engagement and participation from a plethora of energetic youth, particularly college students.  As social justice issues seem to multiply without relent, it may be a challenge for youth, particularly college students, to juggle the calls of the movement with the demands of formal education.  Thus, this article seeks to provide some helpful tips to college students who would like to maintain balance while remaining effective in activism.

1. Self- CareListen to your body and value your health.  It may be tempting to order takeout and skip days of sleep in the moments leading up to a big action, but your effectiveness as an organizer is directly impacted by your health.  Missing sleep and sacrificing nutrition can interfere with your reasoning, energy, mood and memory.  Staying physically and mentally fit will enhance your endurance and stamina during strenuous tasks.  Get some moderate physical activity in (yoga, cardio, walking, basketball, swimming) at least four times a week.

2. Listen and Learn

“The man who knows  something knows that he knows nothing at all” , one of my favorite quotes by Confucious!  In many organizing spaces, significant value is placed on experience and knowledge.  Therefore, there may be unnecessary pressure on young organizers to prove their validity to the movement.  Given this climate, it may prove difficult for one to admit to ignorance and readily receive knowledge.

Humility and a willingness to listen is key to effective organizing.  Elders, peers, mentors, professors, fellow-organizers, loved-ones and even our foes all have something to teach us.   We gain when we learn; we learn when we listen.  Lend your time to studying, observing, and watching the actions of those around you.  What lessons can you draw and apply?

3. Commitments

There will ALWAYS be a battle to be fought on the road to victory.  There will also always be a conference call, a fundraiser, a plenary workshop, a convention, a rally, a press conference, a phone bank, a canvass, a teach-in, a screening or some initiative for folks in the movement to involve themselves in.  This is one the many beautiful aspects of the movement, the endless outpour of creativity, urgency and energy.  However, those of us who are dedicated to justice and equality may feel tempted (and at times even pressured) to commit to everything that comes at us!  Nevertheless, if you want to maintain your energy (and sanity) only commit to what you feel absolutely compelled to do.    Do not feel guilty for missing out on some events and actions to take time for your health, your social interactions and your studies.  Organizing is needed and very important, but remember that your credit hour completion is contingent upon your assigned school work!

Whatever you decide to commit to, do it with your utmost dedication.  Committing to what you can is so important, because your ability to follow through with commitments can eventually make or destroy your reputation.  The strength of your reputation is necessary for building bonds, creating a base and generating support for your initiatives.  People want to trust that as a leader or ally, you can be depended on to follow through.

4. Inclusion

Seek as many opportunities as possible to include people across as many spectrums as possible when building, launching initiatives, planning actions.  Diversity is essential, because efforts are strengthened when multiple lenses, perspectives and experiences are considered.  Everyone has something about them that is valuable, so find ways to bring that value to initiatives.  People are more likely to support and take ownership of a process they feel included in.   Exclusion and alienation are the very oppressive tactics social justice seekers should look to combat.  Inclusion on all levels can aid in this effort.

In organizing spaces, people will differ in principles, values, experiences, truths, ideology, philosophy, appearance,  background and infinite unnamed categories.  It is important to acknowledge these differences and appreciate the value that they bring to the space.  It is equally important to recognize what commonalities are present and how those can be emphasized.  It is necessary to be aware of differences, but one’s differences are never sole permittance  for  exclusion.

5. Following is as important as leading, and leading is as important as following

Leading is fulfilling a role. Following is fulfilling a role.  Neither role has any greater practical value than the other.  Both the leader and follower must be present in order for the relationship to even exist.  There will be times in which some folks are leaders and other folks are followers. Throughout human history this notion has remained.  Leadership does not have to encompass destructive practices such as alienation, control, corruption, abuse of power, arrogance etc.  Leadership can come about in any instance where one may have the ability, insight or knowledge to lead others to completing a goal.  In order to be an effective and fair leader, trust, transparency and inclusiveness are vital.

Following is very important!  In your role as a follower you can encourage other followers along the way, learn from leadership and advise leaders on ways to improve their practices.  Look for opportunities to lead and follow.  Both provide invaluable opportunities for growth and personal evolution.

Though this article is intended for students, these tips have been helpful to me as an activist on and off of campus. Much of my experience has also taught me to show grace to myself if there are still practices I am looking to improve on.  Everyone’s journey is unique.  As fortunate as I have been to learn these helpful practices, I still have to remind myself that much of organizing (and life) is trial and error!

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PWI vs HBCU by Jasmine Wright

Students at the University of North Carolina – Charlotte are outraged after rumors of staff members allegedly making racial comments. On September 24th, African American students were called to meet with the Dean of Students after the SGA Administration supposedly stated that they feel that “Black people hold too many leadership positions on campus and how they are trying to turn a PWI into an HBCU,” in reference to UNCC’s Homecoming Court. Why does it matter if UNCC has a black Homecoming Queen? Most importantly why do staff members of an “elite” UNC School System have a problem with people of color taking initiative to get involved in their University?

To be honest I feel I can answer some of those questions through some of my own experiences at my former University, a Predominately White Institute in South Carolina. My third year in school I served as Community Relations chair for the Student Government Association. My twin sister served as Vice President of the student body. We unknowingly ran our campaign with a strategically formed group of members of a “predominately white fraternity,” an organization known to be decedents of the Ku Klux Klan (it’s relevant, I promise)! After working closely with this group through the Student Government Association we met some great friends and some true leaders, however through time we began to see true colors form as well as intentions.

As positive leaders on campus, my sister and I could easily sway the masses of our student body. Those strategic group of students knew that as well. Running for leadership positions with them almost seemed too good to be true. Everyone on our ticket won the positions they ran for, at that point I knew we had made it! I also came to understand how politics work. One night a group of my fellow classmates and myself, who are all of color, had been invited to a party at the Frat House of this strategic group. That night I found out what Asher Roth meant when he say “I Love College.” I learned two new line dances and now understand the difficulties and procedures of a keg stand. I had a great time that night, until the cops came. Things got hectic and we forced into hiding in a room, walking through a confederate flag that hung as a door.

There we were, the minorities of the house, standing in a dark room with a confederate entrance. That didn’t last long however! When the cops left and the lights came on we were greeted with a “What the hell,” and “Get the f*@k out of my room you f*@#ers!” Maybe it was the essence of the confederate flag that hung from the door, and the shouting of an angry, drunk white male, but in my mind being seen as “niggers” was the first thing I thought of. The party continued after the brief altercation, but my friends and I knew that we had outworn our welcome.

I wish that was the only thing I’ve experienced with this particular group of student strategist. Campus politics had become real and things were starting to shape that I could no longer agree with. I am far from being a quitter, but I no longer felt that I was doing any good for the student body of my campus anymore so I resigned my position at the height of the semester. I was simply just following the status quo from administration with the University’s “ideal group” of guidance. After resigning my chair position with the Student Government Association I began to focus my time and attention on my school’s chapter of the NAACP. My sister went on to preside over Student Government Association meetings as Vice President. After while she too knew that her service to the student body wasn’t what she expected. At most schools SGA is considered the school’s deciding factor when it came to campus organizations and events. Like most school’s, my former university was no different.

One day during a General Senate meeting an LGBTQ campus organization had requested funds for an event they wanted to host. During this meeting members of the organization presented their event to the senate and the senate had to decide whether or not they can allocate the funds. As Vice President my sister had to represent the study body and can only preside over the meeting, her voice at this point is voiceless. Senate members of the strategically formed group suggested that funds shouldn’t be allocated, because “the organization doesn’t represent us or what we stand for.” Guess what majority sat in the senate and held finalizing decisions? If you guessed that strategically formed group you would indeed be correct. Senate members of the group either agreed or sat silent, while my sister had been deemed silent. The suggestion still caused debate however so the LGBTQ organization’s bill had been tabled to the next meeting. After the meeting my sister had caught up with some of the senate members and pulled them to the side and asked them what their thoughts were on the previous bill? She knew she couldn’t be the only one who thought they were wrong and that this did not represent our school’s student body. Some members of the strategic group had approached in the midst of their concluding conversation for small talk.

The next day, a few days away from the school’s pageant that my sister had recently entered, she had been called to the office of the Dean of Students. My sister had no idea of the purpose of the meeting. She figured it was either related to the pageant or SGA. My sister left that office in tears of frustration and anger after being accused of calling members of the certain organization racist.  The Dean expressed how disappointed she was in my sister and couldn’t believe that she would make those kind of remarks towards a student or an organization threatening her position in the pageant. In all honesty if I had been sitting in that chair it may have been more believable than coming from my sister. She could only imagine how her meeting was arranged, although the thought had already been determined. A few of the senate members my sister and I are close with had confirmed where the accusations came from. I didn’t think it could happen. That moment when you’ve realized that you have officially become the school’s target, after being their mascots for years. During my third and soon to be final year at my former institution, my friends I had series of misfortunes as well as multiple run ins with campus police. I am thankful that SLED stepped in when they did, when one the university’s campus officer drew their weapon on an unarmed student, being detained, especially after mourning the loss of Trayvon Martin. Predominately White Institutions or PWIs as we now call them have a history of confederate roots.

There are cultural, geographical, and modern day evidence that suggests the constant demise of black student leadership and engagement from within a school’s system. PWIs in the southern regions, especially within the “Bible Belt,” are historically located in an area where the Confederates had supreme reign over people of color for centuries. Evidence are often found within our school’s halls, on the name of university buildings, and even within the legacy built through the founding of campus organizations. Members of Sigma Alpha Epsilon at the University of Oklahoma is the perfect example of modern day evidence. In this new age of technology members were filmed performing racially insensitive songs, using the word “niggers” and referencing lynching. On June 27th a personal friend and mentor of mines, Bree Newsome, had scaled a 30ft flag pole, taking down the Confederate Battle Flag from South Carolina’s state capitol. On July 29th a UNC Charlotte professor had been placed in the limelight after defending the Confederate Flag and it’s history. These are elite Universities where students of color are hoping to achieve their goals and grow.

I will never forget my experience at my former university. I had some great times and had met some of the most amazing people, some of them I feel are closer than family. I received guidance from mentors that now shape the way I think to this day. I look at my experience at a PWI as a learning one, it was one of many lessons, but I do not regret it. Otherwise I wouldn’t be where I am today which is currently in love with a HBCU! After my third year in college I transferred to Johnson C. Smith University, Charlotte’s “Premier HBCU.” From the beginning, my time at my HBCU has been used to create opportunities of my own through hands on experiences while taking advantage of the use of the education that I am receiving. I am now closely connected to my campus as well as it’s surrounding communities. Student leaders are encouraged to being just that regardless of race, color, or creed. I am simply learning life through living it and I credit my HBCU for making me see that. Those points alone can open and close a debate of PWI vs HBCU, one of which will be held on the campus of UNCC Sept. 30th between the History Clubs and NAACPs against it’s neighbor HBCU, Johnson C. Smith University.

To my leaders of color at PWIs in the South I want you to know that I see it. I’ve experienced it. We are no longer blind to our school’s history and culture. To my leaders of color at UNC Charlotte I hate that you even have to go through a situation of this nature and I am sure this is something you’ll overcome. It can also start by joining us in Washington, D.C. on 10.10.15 for the 20th Anniversary of the Million March as we gather in the name of true Justice.

In the end as young leaders in this day and age it really doesn’t matter what type of university or school you go to. In fact as someone coming right of high school I would really suggest going to a technical college first. That way you can see if school is really right for you without paying a four year tuition at a major university. As long as you just do something positive with your life, take advantage of all growing opportunities, and just live it to the fullest.

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Salaam Muhammad The Soul of Art by Gentel M. Blair

Expression of art and soul combined is what Salaam Muhammad creates. A talented artist with a story needs to be heard.

 

Muhammad was born in Elizabeth, New Jersey where he spent 15 years, raised by his father. In 2008, Kadir Nelson sparked Muhammad’s interest in art, after seeing Nelson’s artwork he went to Walmart to get a paint pad to start creating his own.

 

Through high school he kept practicing and decided to go to the Bridge View Arts Academy to further his skill set in basic development of anatomy while simultaneously  learning the craft of a true artist. Once Muhammad was comfortable with his craft he started selling his artwork on social media networks such as MySpace and Facebook.

 

Around 2012-2013 Muhammad moved to Manhattan, New York and was able to host his first art show. After his show he acknowledged all the positive feedback that was given to him. Muhammad knew what he had to do next, he created business cards, a logo, a website to develop his brand. In 2014, Muhammad moved to Brooklyn.

 

When he got settled in Brooklyn Muhammad had a talk with one of his good Muslim brothers who inspired him to create his own business and get his business license. A year later he was in the Harlem Fine Art Festival where his artwork got noticed and he finally received the exposure that he has been waiting for. His work was reaching another level of success.  The way Muhammad describes his exposure is that it went from “0 to 100 “ real quick, because in 2012 Muhammad lost everything, his car, his shelter, and his money. Muhammad dropped out of the Academy school and became successful off of fate and trusting in the lord.

Now Muhammad’s artwork is all over the internet and is being re-posted on Instagram by the likes of Teyana Taylor, Karruche, Eniko, and others.

 

Muhammad explains how he “has this gift that he knows God gave him to shine.” Muhammad is an artist for the cultural revolution and injustice in the community. He says when people look at his artwork he wants it to “touch their souls.”  Muhammad then goes on to say that society is a reflection of images painted by the dominant culture and he uses his artwork to paint these images to mirror the future.

 

The power of the images of his ancestors is not to change the people; it’s to affect them. Muhammad did not get all of his inspiration on his own, there are a few more artists he looks up to, mainly Edwin Lester and Frank Morrison.”

 

Muhammad has created phenomenal pieces of art such as Brown Sugar, Kendrick Souls; She Is Music, which is a series for black women standing up, speaking truth to power to secure a strong nation. Muhammad is working on more pieces of art right now, and wants to make children books.

 

He said always keep faith first, vision second, and action third. If you can see it in your mind you can do it, no matter what obstacles you are facing. “God works through men and women, and if I continue God will continue to bless me.”

 

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A Bigger Picture: Cover Story by Robert X

Young ladies in the world need guidance and leadership, to lead them in the right direction, success, and stability. Chanel Evans who is 24 years old from Sterling, VA, has just the tools to get young ladies on the right track. Evans is the founder of “A Bigger Picture.” This non profit organization is to make a lasting difference in the lives of girls in 7th to 10th grade. Once she gets young women in her program her vision is to provide the fundamentals and exposure that pushes them to reach their highest aptitude.

 

ABP is important to Evans because she knows that she is making a difference in her community. Evans has already impacted over 250 young women, considering she has just started her non profit organization.

 

Evans grew up in Sterling, VA but also lived in Seattle, Chicago, and North Carolina. Evans went to a private high school, Notre Dame Academy, in Middleburg, VA. She also has two older siblings, one brother and one sister.

 

When Evans first started ABP she only had the vision of the organization, and believed stepping out on faith  was the hardest part. Though starting the non-profit organization was the most confusing and scariest time for Evans, when she reflects it is one of the greatest things she has ever done.

 

Everything that Evans does, is for the girls that she works with. “The late nights, the long hours, is so that we can make a difference in their future.” One moment in particular has really inspired Evans. In 2014, ABP held their first youth conference and hosted over 100 girls for free. It was a one-day conference designed to encourage young women and boost self-confidence. What really touched Evans was a parent  e-mail that included a note that one of the girls wrote. It said: “Thank you Ms. Chanel for the best day ever. I feel more confident about myself.” Evans says “It’s the little things like that moment that make it all worth it, that inspires me.”

 

Evans hopes to expand the traveling component of the program from domestic travel to international travel. Within five years Evans sees her non-profit organization including a strong international program and expanding throughout schools in the DC and Maryland area.

 

“Giving back to my community is everything, it’s our purpose.” Evans live by the quote, “If everyone does a little no one has to do a lot.” Evans also believes, “If everyone does a little the world and community would be a better place.” Evans hopes to make the world a better place with another major projects that she is currently working. Normally, Evans takes the young ladies to New York for an end of the year program, however, this year she is expanding the trip to Chicago is currently in the process of putting the trip together.

 

Evans has tremendous goals for AB Pand she plans on turning her dreams into reality. The three resources that Evans uses to turn her dreams into reality are faith, hard work, and vision. She encourages all to not be afraid to turn your dreams into a reality because you can change a life in the process.

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In defense of Farrakhan and Justice or Else by Salih Muhammed

On October 10, 2015, I, along with million(s) of other people will be in Washington D.C., for the 20th anniversary of the Million Man March, #JusticeOrElse. This is a major call, never before seen int he history of our people. Equally important, the call for #JusticeOrElse has been made by a man with a truly defendable track record. Unfortunately, however, many have tweeted, written, blogged, and vlogged, words of condemnation and discontent. What would cause individuals to do that in such a moment? Nonetheless, I’ll use a few words below to address some of the main points.

Point 1: Minister Farrakhan is trying to start a race war.

I find this critique very interesting. It seems to imply that Minister Farrakhan has the authority to call a race war. Secondly, it indicates very explicitly that we are not currently at war. Recently, young people took the case of the murders of our people to the UN on the charge of Genocide. Genoese is an act of war. If these you people can see it, why cant you?

 

Point 2: Physical Retaliation is…impossible

This seems to be cowardice hidden behind an unintellectual argument. There are countless examples of people with a smaller army winning battles. Fidel and Che Guevara are an excellent example. In Eritrea, a small team of 4 million beat back 60 million to earn their freedom. In fact, all over the world, this has been the case.

 

Even more, Young people today are tired, sick and tired. We’ve tried every method of recourse and since we’re being murdered with impunity as young as 7 years old, we might as well die with cause. The truth is, we ALL know how to stop this. Most of us are just too afraid. #10000Strong.

 

Blessed are those who struggle,

oppression is worse than the grave,

it is better to die for a noble cause,

than to live and die as a slave.

 

Point 3: There’s no clear plan

What kind of military general lays out the outline for warfare on YouTube, Facebook, or Twitter? Minister Farrakhan has a 62 year record of uncompromising and incomparable planning and execution of the vision of the Hon. Elijah Muhammad. I trust 100% that he is, once again, guiding us aright.

 

Point 4: We might scare sympathetic white folks

It seems they’re scared anyway. How many police officers saw the Boogeyman int he form of a Young Black Man? At least, now, the fear can be based on a legitimate challenge – that is, there is a consequence for killing us! Moreover, I have to wonder where this sympathy has bene the last 450 years. Black Power > White Sympathy.

 

Point 5: Farrakhan is…untrustworthy and won’t put his men on the line.

The worst claim of all. It is outright wrong and deceitful to claim that Minister Farrakhan and/or the Nation of Islam is untrustworthy of calling Black people. Firstly, it should be note that he has DONE THIS BEFORE. Here’s a GLIMPSE of the record:

 

In 1934, the NOI suffered persecution from police and government for teaching our babies. We were arrested for teaching our babies. A fight erupted INSIDE the courtroom. We Won.

 

Prisoners rights: In the 1950’s and 60’s, the Nation of Islam spearheaded the legal fight to afford prisoner’s constitutional rights. Furthermore, the NOI has remained a light in darkness in prisons across America for nearly 80 years.

 

Anti-war stance: In 1942, Elijah Muhammad and the followers of Islam became the first major Black Organization to take an anti-war stance, for which Elijah Muhammad and others were falsely incarcerated. Later, Muhammad Ali became the stalwart representative of anti-war int he Vietnam era. Consequently, anti-war movements live on today.

 

Libya: In 1986, Minister Farrakhan went on a trip to Libya, successfully warning Col. Ghadaffi of impending assassination attempts. On his return, Pres. Reagan attempted to jail Minister Farrakhan for traveling, as a free Black man, of his own accord.

 

Congressional Censure: In 1987 the US Senate voted 95-0 to censure Minister Farrakhan.

 

Million Man March: In 1995, Minister Farrakhan & the NOI successfully called the largest gathering of Black people, in America, EVER. Nearly two Million Blackmen gathered for Atonement, Reconciliation, and Responsibility. What greater threat is their to white society than Black Excellence toward each other?

 

Ava Muhammad: Since the early 1908’s, Ava Muhammad has been a Sister Minister – breaking traditions of barrier for both Muslims and Christians. Even more, the NOI has a long history of elevating the Black Woman. As Bayinnah Sharieff articulates, there is “no substantial evidence” that points toward subjugation of women in the NOI. She continues, “Contrary to commonly held views, the gender relations within the Nation were comparatively Utopian for women, particularly when juxtaposed with life for women outside the Nation’s community.”  Lastly on this point, Minister Farrakhan and the NOI have been consistent – and have publicly stated that the murder of our women, girls, of children, MUST be the last straw for our people.
I hope this clarifies some things about the Man ( Min. Farrakhan), the Mission (Liberation), and the call (Justice or Else). We hope to see you there!

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Is My News Not News Too? by Jasmine Wright

“Evelyn had bought some newspaper clippings and it was obvious the press was trying to railroad me, to make me seem like a monster. According to them I was a common criminal” (Shakur, 1987,p.49). The media had turned Assata Shakur into a monster, and Hoover had turned her into one of “America’s Most Wanted.” However, Shakur wanted her side to be heard. Shakur tells her story in her book Assata: An autobiography versus the ones newspapers in particular, that later led to her conviction. “I had to make a statement. I had to talk to my people and let them know what I was about, where I was really coming from” (Shakur, 1987, p50). Shakur (1987) mentions that without TV stations or newspapers of their own, it was easy for the news media to make African Americans, “victims of the justice system, leaders of prominent black organizations and other members to be portrayed as criminals and terrorist.”

Major media corporations were set up to compliment the same exact systems that still oppresses people to this day, through bias views and the framing of major issues. As a communications arts major I understand that my news sources are just as credible as national news if not more, without hidden agendas or bias views. Grass roots, world news or any other popular black sources and even social media are often downplayed or overlooked when it comes to news. According to a professor they aren’t even considered a legitimate news source. Agenda setting and framing both deals with how issues or objects are depicted in the media, however framing includes a broader range of thinking processes – moral evaluations, casual reasoning, and appeals. Our news has such a huge effect on how the public views what’s going on in the world. Like Assata’s our stories should be heard and now I find myself asking why is my news not news too?
They say “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised,” well I beg to differ. I’m making it my mission to televise the Revolution. I am creating a voice of our own, using my background in communications to document and promote our organizing efforts, particularly through social media and in the process I am turning my words into action. I challenge you to do the same by making a “Pledge for Justice.” I am making a pledge calling for justice for the 45.3 million people living in poverty, the 1.5 million college graduates out of work or underemployed, and for the people of color who will be murdered every 28 hours by the police. Tell us why you “Pledge for Justice.” Upload your “Pledge for Justice” video to your social media sites or webpage and tag @dreamin.diamonds to turn your words into action and make history televising the revolution.
National news had been strongly insisted with little to no acceptance as to what we consider as news too. According to professors McCombs and Shaw in Griffin’s, Communication, Communication, Communication, the “mass media have the ability to transfer the salience of items on their news agenda to the public agenda” (359). With all that has been going on we hope to have a media source that we can trust to tell our stories. On Tuesday April 28th, 2015, in the mist of the Baltimore riots and the case of Freddie Gray, CNN had mistaken a Divine 9 Greek letter organization as gang members. While members of the Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc. attended a meeting at the Town Hall in Baltimore and were hoping to assist in bringing peace back to the city when CNN news anchor Erin Burnett seemed to get them confused with the Crips.“We’ve got gang members right there….” Burnett said referring to members of the active sorority. If this is the type of news that we expect to tell our stories we are sadly mistaken.

As a leader, organizer, and activist who has attended multiple protests and rallies I see what’s going on behind the scenes, from Ferguson to Baltimore. Major national news sources has time and legacy behind them, but I now know that their legacy was not meant for an audience like myself. If media is considered the Fourth Branch of government why not consider it to be true? For years the media tell people what the three branches of government are doing to keep citizens informed, serving as the ultimate “watchdog.” Unfortunately in our case it doesn’t work to the advantage of the people. Thanks to social media I am able to see what’s going on in the streets as it happens from the people who are making it happen. Our voices will be heard as we fight for justice across the nation and as we make our way to D.C. and I am televising the revolution because my news is news too.

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In the Name of Aspirations by Delia McGee

In the Name of Aspirations by X

When I graduated college, I decided I need to bolster my reading list with Black authors, people who not only influenced the movements of their time, but changed ways of thinking. One of the best books I’ve read so far is The Miseducation of the Negro by Carter G. Woodson. He made a few points that are directly applicable to the present day issues Black peoples are facing. Throughout the book Woodson references the ways in which Black people have been taught certain things as a means of control. He defines some of America’s most impressive and oppressive constructs based on the ways in which learned behavior of Black folk contributed to their success. He specifically discusses the nature of controlling the thoughts of others. He states, “If you can control a man’s thinking you do not have to worry about his action. When you determine what a man shall think you do not have to concern yourself about what he will do” (Woodson, 1933, p. 60). He continues to discuss the notion that because Black people were made to historically believe they were inferior, Blacks as a community continuously only seek what we think we deserve. What struck the chord for me was the idea that Black folks only seek to aspire to what others have done, i.e. we seek to be the first Black something, but not the first ever.

Barack Obama is the first Black president, not the first president. Oprah Winfrey is the first Black female billionaire in history according to Forbes, but not the first billionaire. Jackie Robinson was the first Black male to play in major league baseball, not the first to play. This list is endless and you guys probably get my point. Our aspirations are limited to those that have been presented to us and do not exceed what others think we are capable of.

When I go to work every day, I am the only Black female on the floor of my office. Most days I wonder, not just where the other Black women are, but what can I do first that no one else has done to prove that we deserve to be here. I realized that Mr. Woodson touched my creativity in a way I never knew possible, mostly because of how that statement from over 80 years ago applies to me today and how right he was and still is. What made me nervous is that he’s not just right about me, he’s right about a lot of us.

Black people have limited scope on the potential we have as a unit; it is evident in the ways in which we are stifled in this country. The rate at which Black people are incarcerated and do not have access to higher education (re: The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander) severely decreases the likelihood of arriving at a corporate desk and having even a fraction of the wealth that the majority have is quite low. It can be discouraging to realize that the probability of being able to change our entire race’s way of thinking is far reaching.

We are living in a time where our hidden promise must be revealed. At work, I actively strive to make my presence known in such a way to dispel stereotypes, while enforcing my own potential. My purpose here is to share experiences that I’ve had in relation to Black culture in corporate America and ways in which we can create a more positive perspective of ourselves, while being harshly outnumbered, in such an environment. Our differences make us excellent, and we need to aspire to be our best selves on our own standard and not that of the majority. More to come.