Tuesday, December 30, 2014

#BlackStorytellersSpeak about #BlackLivesMatter Movement

The recent highly publicized homicides by police of unarmed black men Eric Garner in Staten Island and Mike Brown in Ferguson, MO have sparked protests around the globe. The issue of systemic racial inequalities is widely debated on news outlets and on social media. Many have proclaimed it the #BlackLivesMatter Movement.

The feeling that this country has once again reached a precipice in race relation seems undeniable. The activists of this movement are much like those of the past: every day folk who will no longer stand by and let the injustice continue. Artists are using their art form to illuminate the issues and possible solutions. The National Association of Black Storytellers (NABS) has launched a video project, #BlackStorytellersSpeak, to capture the current and past stories to advanced the #BlackLivesMatter movement. On NABS' website they state,
"The National Association of Black Storytellers will be joining other artists and concerned activists by lending our voices in solidarity to movements fighting against racial injustice, inequalities in the judiciary system..."
Carolise Frink Reed, chairperson of the NABS Education Committee, is spearheading #BlackStorytellersSpeak says this project allows their members to join other artists "who have transmitted their artistic energy to this just cause."

To that end, I offered the following story.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Black Poets Speak about #BlackLivesMatter

The nation has taken to the streets to protests the sustained and continuous murdering of Black people by law enforcement. The spark THIS TIME was the killing of unarmed teenager, Mike Brown, in Ferguson, MO. Just like in countless times in the past, those leading the protests are young people. To use the words of one of the most influential women of the Civil Rights Movement, Ella Baker,
"I believe young people come first. They have the courage where we fail."
For months my internal struggle has intensified, as I struggle as Black person, as mother, and artist to find what it is for me to do. As I grapple to find a way to add my voice to this critical conversation and protest, a dear friend and fellow storyteller, Emily Hooper Lansana, told me of a movement by Black Poets. Black Poets Speak has galvanized and organized poets to submit videos of poetry recitations that speak to the continued injustice in this country that seeks to dismiss black lives and perpetuate white supremacy.

Each video opens with the poet stating, "I am a Black Poet who will not remain silent while the nation murders Black people. I have a right to be angry. I have a right to be sad. I have a right to express my feelings." Below is a video from one of the poets, Natasha Ria El-Scari.  May her words serve you.

Ella Baker's words once again seems fitting.
"Not needing to clutch to power. Not needing the light to shine on me. Just needing to be one in that number to stand up against tyranny."