Tag Archives: ferguson

When The Photo You Want To Use For Your Blog Post Belongs To A Racist Photographer

28 Feb

Young Protestors, Ferguson, Missouri, Photo credit: IB Times

I wanted to find a lead photo to go with my most recent blog post, Let Us Listen To All Of Our Young People’s Cries For Help To End Gun Violence, and I wanted the photo to represent black and brown youth who cried out in pain over the unjust deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Trayvon Martin in Florida, and Tamir Rice in Cleveland. I wanted to represent the black and brown youth who have worried for years about gun violence in their neighborhoods, and have had to carry a fear heavier than their backpacks, as they pray to make it to and from school without being shot. I wanted to represent the black and brown youth who have been crying out for years when no one was watching or listening. Though the nation watched on television only when the protests took to the streets in Ferguson, and in Baltimore, there has never been the swell of support like we see now for the young people in Florida who have risen up in the midst of the Parkland school shooting. And, while I, and as I have gleaned that many black people and people of color, too, have great admiration and stand by these rising, young activists, the lack of inclusion of the gun violence issues faced by black and brown young people in their communities is sadly noted.

As I searched online for the photo to accompany the post, I found one of young black children with a placard that read, We Are The Village. It was a deep and beautiful photograph. I downloaded it. I looked up the photographer, who turned out to be a white man, and emailed him through his website to ask permission to use the photograph. Then I searched his site because he seemed to be a prolific artist–a photographer, journalist, and author. I clicked on his Essays tab, and landed on a piece he wrote, titled, The Negro Racist. I began to read: […]

Let Us Listen To All Of Our Young People’s Cries For Help To End Gun Violence

21 Feb

photo credit: IBTimes UK

While this nation mourns the losses of the lives of the seventeen students and teachers who were killed by a former student with an AR-15 assault rifle on Valentines Day at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, the nation is also inspired by the student survivors who are speaking out and taking action.

I am inspired by their passion, conviction, and ability to rise up after the devastation and trauma they experienced just last week. These brilliant young people have had enough, and are calling on the adults to keep them safe so that what happened at Parkland never happens again. And, yes, it is a pity that the adults who possess the political power to create better gun control laws, and to ban assault rifles, have thus far done nothing to heed the calls for change–not after Columbine, 19 years ago, not after Virginia Tech, not after Sandy Hook,  not after the Florida night club, not after Las Vegas, and not after Parkland.

Through tweets to the President, and videos gone viral, our young people know how to use social media to mobilize, and to gain widespread attention. The young students at Parkland, out of self-proclaimed necessity, have become overnight anti-gun violence activists. Student Emma Gonzalez’s 10-minute brave and direct speech, has been seen by over 1 million people. Reporters and journalists are contacting and following the students’ activities, which include a planned National March Against Gun Violence in Washington D.C. on March 24th. Here is Emma’s inspirational speech, if you have not yet seen it: […]

Selma: The Movie and Community Dialogue in Providence, RI

12 Jan

This past weekend, I attended a private screening party of Ava DuVernay’s film, Selma, which was held at the Providence Place Mall Cinema.  The event was sponsored by the Providence NAACP, and the Rhode Island Chapter of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women.

DuVernay’s Selma, focuses on Martin Luther King, Jr.’s work and planned marches from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama in 1965, and the many working with him, and against him, to further civil rights causes, in particular the fight to pass the Voting Rights Act.  Like many who  during the post-film dialogue referenced the ages they were during this time period, I remembered how old I was– […]

Happy New Year and Thank You

1 Jan

anchor symbol of hope
Anchor Symbol of Hope

it’s lil’ Rhody’s (my home state of RI) symbol of hope.

Happy New Year, WJSS Readers!

I am going to try to keep this brief because I am still recovering from recent surgery (middle-age woman stuff, and yes, thanks, I am doing fine) which for me is a feat since my last post, a “summary” of the 2014 National Center for Race Amity Conference turned into a 3,000 word article.

Like any year, and like life itself, there are great big shiny moments, and wondrously small magnificent moments, and there are small petty pain-in-the butt moments and great big horrific moments.  This year is no exception, and I, and I know many of you, can’t help but go to the remembrance of the recent heartbreaking horrific moments: of the non-indictments of the officers involved in the Michael Brown and Eric Garner cases,  I have witnessed friends’ and strangers’, locally and globally–their sadness, frustration, and anger, over the inequity of the justice system, and couldn’t help but notice the divisiveness across color lines these cases provoked.

Yet, I now keep saying to friends that aside from these feelings of despair, I have hope.  I have hope that things were so out of whack that the people of Ferguson, Missouri, and people all over the United States, and all over the world, have said, “Enough!”  That people are making their voices heard through protest, live and on social media, and through one-on-one dialogue that things have to change for the better.  That we need a more equitable justice system.  That we need to take a closer look at dismantling the seemingly invisible, to many white people especially, systems of privilege, unconscious bias, and structural racism that make black people feel that their lives don’t matter.

Wendy Jane’s Soul Shake was never intended to be a blog about racism.  It is supposed to be about where people intersect across color lines and what happens there.  For things to change for the better, I feel white people have to let go of their fears of engaging in honest, open dialogues about racism and the invisible to us systems that our white privilege affords us.  We have to listen, and validate what black people are saying are their experiences.  And, then we have to figure out a way to make things fair and equitable for everyone, with everyone–black, white, and brown, having a say in how that happens–not just one person’s story, not just one race’s perspective on how to shape things.  It is our responsibility to do that, and not just sit silently because we have the luxury of turning off discussions about race whenever we feel like it.

You, my readers have always told me you appreciate that I am not soapboxy here on WJSS, but I’m afraid over the past two years in some of my posts I have been.  I can’t help myself because I feel the only way we can move forward is if we see the problems of racism and the solutions of eradicating racism as everyone’s responsibility.

It is a new year.  We can do something every day to make connections across color lines, to understand one another’s perspectives, and to bridge the barriers to mixing it up that most of us socially exist within.  I know that this is on my slate for every day for the rest of my life now.

I want to thank all of you so very much for subscribing to and/or reading Wendy Jane’s Soul Shake in 2014.  I thank you for your comments here, on Facebook, and on twitter, and for what you share with me publicly and privately about how certain posts have made you think or feel.  You have rewarded me with your feedback, questions and insights, which gives me new inspiration to dig deeper.

Here’s to digging deeper.  Here’s to hope that the events in 2014 will make things better in 2015.  Here’s to highlighting here the positive interactions and work that does happen across colorlines every day, and of course, here’s to a few MJ stories sprinkled in throughout the year for good measure.

Thank you.

 

 

 

 

Wendy Jane’s Weekend Sounds: J. Cole – Be Free (Michael Brown tribute)

24 Aug

Here’s hip-hop artist J. Cole’s heartfelt tribute song he wrote in honor of Michael Brown, the young, black man who was shot by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri.

We need to value the lives of black boys and black men.

 

www.youtube.com , J. Cole, Be Free, Tribute song for Michael Brown, posted by PaperChaserDotCom