The Yarn Mission

The Yarn Mission is a knitting collective that is purposefully Pro-Black, Pro-Rebellion, and Pro-Community for the achievement of Black Liberation. Our three principles guide the work that we do and how we do it as artists. First, in being pro-Black, The Yarn Mission centers the lives and livelihood of Black Women. We seek to support Black folks wherever they are with whatever they are doing (whether that is knitting related or not). It is a fact that once Black folks are free, all people will be free. This is necessary true due to an inclusive understanding of freedom and the real intersections that exist between Blackness and all other identities. Second, on pro-rebellion, we encourage and support rebellious, anti-oppressive, and liberatory work. For instance, we have a strong relationship with the Million Artist Movement (www.millionartist.movement.com). In our own organizing, we are growing to reject capitalism in favor of cooperative economics. Moreover, we proclaim people over everything (systems, money, buildings, etc) and refuse to condemn responses to oppression that do not involve oppression. Third, pro-community means that we respond to the desires and guidance of chosen and/or geographically defined communities. In particular, we show up when community organizes and intentionally meet in community. When we meet in community to teach knitting, we stress accessibility by having supplies available for free and choosing accessible spaces (in terms of navigability and transportation access).

 

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The International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement

Founded in 1991 by the African People’s Socialist Party, InPDUM is the leading organization in the struggle for Bread, Peace and Black Power in the 21st Century.

Now located in three continents around the world, INPDUM has always demanded reparations, state power and self government for African people worldwide!  InPDUM knows that the politicians in city hall and the white house will never fight for Black Power to the African community. InPDUM knows that it takes revolutionary organization to protect and defend our own, wherever we may be, whoever we may be.

 

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Georgetown Students Agree to Create Reparations Fund

Students at Georgetown University voted on Thursday to increase their tuition to benefit descendants of the 272 enslaved Africans that the Jesuits who ran the school sold nearly two centuries ago to secure its financial future.

The fund they voted to create would represent the first instance of reparations for slavery by a prominent American organization.

The proposal passed with two-thirds of the vote, but the student-led referendum was nonbinding, and the university’s board of directors must approve the measure before it can take effect.

“We value the engagement of our students and appreciate that they are making their voices heard and contributing to an important national conversation,” Todd Olson, vice president for student affairs, said in a statement on Thursday.

The undergraduate student body voted to add a new fee of $27.20 per student per semester to their tuition bill, with the proceeds devoted to supporting education and health care programs in Louisiana and Maryland, where many of 4,000 known living descendants of the 272 enslaved people now reside.

A 2016 article in The New York Times described the 1838 sale by what was then Georgetown College, the premier Catholic institution of higher learning in America at the time.

The college relied on Jesuit-owned plantations in Maryland that were no longer producing a reliable income to support it, so the Jesuit priests who founded and ran Georgetown decided to raise cash by selling virtually all its slaves, receiving the equivalent of about $3.3 million in today’s money.

“The school wouldn’t be here without them,” said Shepard Thomas, a junior from New Orleans who is part of the campus group, Students for the GU272, that worked to hold the referendum. Mr. Thomas, a psychology major, is descended from slaves who were part of the 1838 sale.

“Students here always talk about changing the world after they graduate,” he said. “Why not change the world when you’re here?”

Mr. Thomas said the amount of the fee, $27.20, was chosen to evoke the number of people sold but not be too onerous for students. Tuition and fees for a full-time student per semester is $27,720.00.

Georgetown University agreed in 2016 to give admissions preference to descendants of the 272 slaves; Mr. Thomas was one of the first to be admitted under the policy. The school also formally apologized for its role in slavery, and has renamed two buildings on its campus to acknowledge the lives of slaves; one is now named for Isaac Hawkins, the first person listed in the 1838 sale.

The university has about 7,000 undergraduates, so the fee would raise about $380,000 a year for the fund.

“It makes me feel happy that we, as students, decided to set a precedent for the betterment of people’s lives,” Mr. Thomas said.

 

Originally posted by Adeel Hassan at The New York Times

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Privileged

When the police break your teammate’s leg, you’d think it would wake you up a little.

When they arrest him on a New York street, throw him in jail for the night, and leave him with a season-ending injury, you’d think it would sink in. You’d think you’d know there was more to the story.

You’d think.

But nope.

I still remember my reaction when I first heard what happened to Thabo. It was 2015, late in the season. Thabo and I were teammates on the Hawks, and we’d flown into New York late after a game in Atlanta. When I woke up the next morning, our team group text was going nuts. Details were still hazy, but guys were saying, Thabo hurt his leg? During an arrest? Wait — he spent the night in jail?! Everyone was pretty upset and confused.

Well, almost everyone. My response was….. different. I’m embarrassed to admit it.

Which is why I want to share it today.

Before I tell the rest of this story, let me just say real quick — Thabo wasn’t some random teammate of mine, or some guy in the league who I knew a little bit. We’d become legitimate friends that year in our downtime. He was my go-to teammate to talk with about stuff beyond the basketball world. Politics, religion, culture, you name it — Thabo brought a perspective that wasn’t typical of an NBA player. And it’s easy to see why: Before we were teammates in Atlanta, the guy had played professional ball in France, Turkey and Italy. He spoke three languages! Thabo’s mother was from Switzerland, and his father was from South Africa. They lived together in South Africa before Thabo was born, then left because of apartheid.

It didn’t take long for me to figure out that Thabo was one of the most interesting people I’d ever been around. We respected each other. We were cool, you know? We had each other’s backs.

Anyway — on the morning I found out that Thabo had been arrested, want to know what my first thought was? About my friend and teammate? My first thought was: What was Thabo doing out at a club on a back-to-back??

Yeah. Not, How’s he doing? Not, What happened during the arrest?? Not, Something seems off with this story. Nothing like that. Before I knew the full story, and before I’d even had the chance to talk to Thabo….. I sort of blamed Thabo.

I thought, Well, if I’d been in Thabo’s shoes, out at a club late at night, the police wouldn’t have arrested me. Not unless I was doing something wrong.

Cringe.

It’s not like it was a conscious thought. It was pure reflex — the first thing to pop into my head.

And I was worried about him, no doubt.

But still. Cringe.

A few months later, a jury found Thabo not guilty on all charges. He settled with the city over the NYPD’s use of force against him. And then the story just sort of….. disappeared. It fell away from the news. Thabo had surgery and went through rehab. Pretty soon, another NBA season began — and we were back on the court again.

Life went on.

But I still couldn’t shake my discomfort.

I mean, I hadn’t been involved in the incident. I hadn’t even been there. So why did I feel like I’d let my friend down?

Why did I feel like I’d let myself down?


A few weeks ago, something happened at a Jazz home game that brought back many of those old questions.

Maybe you saw it: We were playing against the Thunder, and Russell Westbrook and a fan in the crowd exchanged words during the game. I didn’t actually see or hear what happened, and if you were following on TV or on Twitter, maybe you had a similar initial viewing of it. Then, after the game, one of our reporters asked me for my response to what had gone down between Russ and the fan. I told him I hadn’t seen it — and added something like, But you know Russ. He gets into it with the crowd a lot.

Of course, the full story came out later that night. What actually happened was that a fan had said some really ugly things at close range to Russ. Russ had then responded. After the game, he’d said he felt the comments were racially charged.

The incident struck a nerve with our team.

In a closed-door meeting with the president of the Jazz the next day, my teammates shared stories of similar experiences they’d had — of feeling degraded in ways that went beyond acceptable heckling. One teammate talked about how his mom had called him right after the game, concerned for his safety in SLC. One teammate said the night felt like being “in a zoo.” One of the guys in the meeting was Thabo — he’s my teammate in Utah now. I looked over at him, and remembered his night in NYC.

Everyone was upset. I was upset — and embarrassed, too. But there was another emotion in the room that day, one that was harder to put a finger on. It was almost like….. disappointment, mixed with exhaustion. Guys were just sick and tired of it all.

This wasn’t the first time they’d taken part in conversations about race in their NBA careers, and it wasn’t the first time they’d had to address the hateful actions of others. And one big thing that got brought up a lot in the meeting was how incidents like this — they weren’t only about the people directly involved. This wasn’t only about Russ and some heckler. It was about more than that.

It was about what it means just to exist right now — as a person of color in a mostly white space.

It was about racism in America.

Before the meeting ended, I joined the team’s demand for a swift response and a promise from the Jazz organization that it would address the concerns we had. I think my teammates and I all felt it was a step in the right direction.

But I don’t think anyone felt satisfied.


There’s an elephant in the room that I’ve been thinking about a lot over these last few weeks. It’s the fact that, demographically, if we’re being honest: I have more in common with the fans in the crowd at your average NBA game than I have with the players on the court.

And after the events in Salt Lake City last month, and as we’ve been discussing them since, I’ve really started to recognize the role those demographics play in my privilege. It’s like — I may be Thabo’s friend, or Ekpe’s teammate, or Russ’s colleague; I may work with those guys. And I absolutely 100% stand with them.

But I look like the other guy.

And whether I like it or not? I’m beginning to understand how that means something.

What I’m realizing is, no matter how passionately I commit to being an ally, and no matter how unwavering my support is for NBA and WNBA players of color….. I’m still in this conversation from the privileged perspective of opting in to it. Which of course means that on the flip side, I could just as easily opt out of it. Every day, I’m given that choice — I’m granted that privilege — based on the color of my skin.

In other words, I can say every right thing in the world: I can voice my solidarity with Russ after what happened in Utah. I can evolve my position on what happened to Thabo in New York. I can be that weird dude in Get Out bragging about how he’d have voted for Obama a third term. I can condemn every racist heckler I’ve ever known.

But I can also fade into the crowd, and my face can blend in with the faces of those hecklers, any time I want.

I realize that now. And maybe in years past, just realizing something would’ve felt like progress. But it’s NOT years past — it’s today. And I know I have to do better. So I’m trying to push myself further.

I’m trying to ask myself what I should actually do.

How can I — as a white man, part of this systemic problem — become part of the solution when it comes to racism in my workplace? In my community? In this country?

These are the questions that I’ve been asking myself lately.

And I don’t think I have all the answers yet — but here are the ones that are starting to ring the most true:

I have to continue to educate myself on the history of racism in America.

I have to listen. I’ll say it again, because it’s that important. I have to listen.

I have to support leaders who see racial justice as fundamental — as something that’s at the heart of nearly every major issue in our country today. And I have to support policies that do the same.

I have to do my best to recognize when to get out of the way — in order to amplify the voices of marginalized groups that so often get lost.

But maybe more than anything?

I know that, as a white man, I have to hold my fellow white men accountable.

We all have to hold each other accountable.

And we all have to be accountable — period. Not just for our own actions, but also for the ways that our inaction can create a “safe” space for toxic behavior.

And I think the standard that we have to hold ourselves to, in this crucial moment….. it’s higher than it’s ever been. We have to be active. We have to be actively supporting the causes of those who’ve been marginalized — precisely because they’ve been marginalized.


Two concepts that I’ve been thinking about a lot lately are guilt and responsibility.

When it comes to racism in America, I think that guilt and responsibility tend to be seen as more or less the same thing. But I’m beginning to understand how there’s a real difference.

As white people, are we guilty of the sins of our forefathers? No, I don’t think so.

But are we responsible for them? Yes, I believe we are.

And I guess I’ve come to realize that when we talk about solutions to systemic racism — police reform, workplace diversity, affirmative action, better access to healthcare, even reparations? It’s not about guilt. It’s not about pointing fingers, or passing blame.

It’s about responsibility. It’s about understanding that when we’ve said the word “equality,” for generations, what we’ve really meant is equality for a certain group of people. It’s about understanding that when we’ve said the word “inequality,” for generations, what we’ve really meant is slavery, and its aftermath — which is still being felt to this day. It’s about understanding on a fundamental level that black people and white people, they still have it different in America. And that those differences come from an ugly history….. not some random divide.

And it’s about understanding that Black Lives Matter, and movements like it, matter, because — well, let’s face it: I probably would’ve been safe on the street that one night in New York. And Thabo wasn’t. And I was safe on the court that one night in Utah. And Russell wasn’t.


But as disgraceful as it is that we have to deal with racist hecklers in NBA arenas in 2019? The truth is, you could argue that that kind of racism is “easier” to deal with.

Because at least in those cases, the racism is loud and clear. There’s no ambiguity — not in the act itself, and thankfully not in the response: we throw the guy out of the building, and then we ban him for life.

But in many ways the more dangerous form of racism isn’t that loud and stupid kind. It isn’t the kind that announces itself when it walks into the arena. It’s the quiet and subtle kind. The kind that almost hides itself in plain view. It’s the person who does and says all the “right” things in public: They’re perfectly friendly when they meet a person of color. They’re very polite. But in private? Well….. they sort of wish that everyone would stop making everything “about race” all the time.

It’s the kind of racism that can seem almost invisible — which is one of the main reasons why it’s allowed to persist.

And so, again, banning a guy like Russ’s heckler? To me, that’s the “easy” part. But if we’re really going to make a difference as a league, as a community, and as a country on this issue….. it’s like I said — I just think we need to push ourselves another step further.

First, by identifying that less visible, less obvious behavior as what it is: racism.

And then second, by denouncing that racism — actively, and at every level.

That’s the bare minimum of where we have to get to, I think, if we’re going to consider the NBA — or any workplace — as anything close to part of the solution in 2019.


I’ll wrap this up in a minute — but first I have one last thought.

The NBA is over 75% players of color.

Seventy-five percent.

People of color, they built this league. They’ve grown this league. People of color have made this league into what it is today. And I guess I just wanted to say that if you can’t find it in your heart to support them — now? And I mean actively support them?

If the best that you can do for their cause is to passively “tolerate” it? If that’s the standard we’re going to hold ourselves to — to blend in, and opt out?

Well, that’s not good enough. It’s not even close.

I know I’m in a strange position, as one of the more recognized white players in the NBA. It’s a position that comes with a lot of….. interesting undertones. And it’s a position that makes me a symbol for a lot of things, for a lot of people — often people who don’t know anything about me. Usually, I just ignore them. But this doesn’t feel like a “usually” moment.

This feels like a moment to draw a line in the sand.

I believe that what’s happening to people of color in this country — right now, in 2019 — is wrong.

The fact that black Americans are more than five times as likely to be incarcerated as white Americans is wrong. The fact that black Americans are more than twice as likely to live in poverty as white Americans is wrong. The fact that black unemployment rates nationally are double that of overall unemployment rates is wrong. The fact that black imprisonment rates for drug charges are almost six times higher nationally than white imprisonment rates for drug charges is wrong. The fact that black Americans own approximately one-tenth of the wealth that white Americans own is wrong.

The fact that inequality is built so deeply into so many of our most trusted institutions is wrong.

And I believe it’s the responsibility of anyone on the privileged end of those inequalities to help make things right.

So if you don’t want to know anything about me, outside of basketball, then listen — I get it. But if you do want to know something? Know I believe that.

Know that about me.

If you’re wearing my jersey at a game? Know that about me. If you’re planning to buy my jersey for someone else…… know that about me. If you’re following me on social media….. know that about me. If you’re coming to Jazz games and rooting for me….. know that about me.

And if you’re claiming my name, or likeness, for your own cause, in any way….. know that about me. Know that I believe this matters.

Thanks for reading.

Time for me to shut up and listen.

 

Originally posted by Kyle Korver on theplayerstribune.com

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Reparations: A Conversation Worth Having

The debate on when it is relevant to apologize and pay reparations for misdeeds and human rights violations tells us that the past is never dead.

 

Supporters of American slavery reparations in Washington in 2002.CreditCreditManny Ceneta/Getty Images

MEXICO CITY — Three weeks ago and 500 years after the arrival of Hernán Cortés in Veracruz, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador of Mexico sent a letter to the king of Spain. In it, he demanded an apology for the abuses inflicted on the indigenous peoples of Mexico by Spain, in view of what the Spaniards now consider “human rights violations.”

And last week the prime minister of Belgium apologized in Parliament for the kidnapping, deportation and forced adoption of thousands of children born to mixed-race couples in its former African colonies.

National apologies for misdeeds, crimes and odious behavior are not new. The West German government of Konrad Adenauer paid billionsin reparations to the state of Israel and Jewish people for Nazi crimes. Former President Jacques Chirac of France apologized for deporting thousands of Jews to Nazi death camps.

The reparations debate in the United States continues. A bill known as H.R. 40 was introduced in the House of Representatives by Representative John Conyers every year from 1989 until his resignation in 2017. It called for a formal study of the impact of slavery on African-Americans living today and the development of a proposal for reparations, among other things. The bill was reintroduced this year by Representative Sheila Jackson Lee. Most recently, several contenders for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination, most notably Elizabeth Warren, have expressed some level of support for reparations for the descendants of enslaved men and women.

The past five centuries of world history have featured conquests, plunder, torture, genocide, slavery, occupation and worse. The trend toward asking forgiveness and making reparations is overall a good thing. It acknowledges history while pointing a way forward, whether it be consolidating a national identity in Mexico, apologizing for atrocious colonial misdeeds in Africa or addressing inequality between blacks and whites in America.

The debate over the Spanish and Portuguese conquests of what is now called Latin America took on a new meaning after 1992, when the former colonial powers and former colonies met to revisit and discuss Columbus’s arrival in the New World.

The Mexican case is especially complicated. Several polls showed Mexicans disagreed on Mr. López Obrador’s call for an apology as well as the issue’s relevance. Historians also made several points against his stance.

First, the historians stated that Tenochtitlán, the Aztec capital, was captured thanks as much to Cortés’s allies among the other indigenous peoples of the time as to the Spaniards themselves. Then they recalled that the Aztecs were no choir children: They resorted to cannibalism, human sacrifice, local wars to subjugate other peoples and violent repression of their enemies. Finally, and most important, they noted that Mexicans have always held an ambivalent position on their own national identity.

During the past decades, children’s textbooks have implied that today’s inhabitants of Mexico are descended from indigenous people and not from the Spanish. The official narrative for more than a century now in Mexico is that it is the mestizo country par excellence. As the nameplate at the National Anthropology Museum and Tlatelolco Square, where the final defeat of the Aztecs occurred, proclaims, “Neither a victory nor a defeat, here took place the painful birth of the mestizo people that today is Mexico.”

There can be no “mestizaje” without both civilizations — the Spanish and the original peoples — taking part in it. However violent their encounter may have been, and acknowledging the brutal nature of the conquest, Mexicans seem to prefer to let sleeping dogs lie. While racism against indigenous minorities in Mexico is undeniable, and the country’s European-origin tiny minority frequently resorts to racist attitudes toward mestizos, an overwhelming majority of the people of Mexico are mestizos today. There are myriad things to fix in Mexico, but discrimination by mestizos against mestizos is not one of them.

Mr. López Obrador said in his letter to King Philip VI that he was not requesting reparations; the conquest cannot be repaired. The apology he demanded was immediately rejected by the government in Madrid, and in all likelihood, the entire affair will fade away. The Mexican president’s ploy was almost certainly demagogic in intent and motivation, invoking an anti-Spanish sentiment that he believes exists in Mexico, though polls suggest otherwise.

Mexico does not need an apology, because it has no conflict with Spain today. But beyond the Mexican populist gesture, and the debates in the United States, Europe and Canada, however, lies a conversation waiting to be held. There are challenges for other peoples and groups that require atonement or forgiveness in order to be addressed. In some cases, it can make an enormous difference, as with African-Americans, race and slavery in the United States. In others, it can disentangle complicated questions of national identity and victimization, as in Mexico. Reparations may be ultimately relevant only in some cases. But history is always relevant.

Originally post by Jorge G. Castañeda at the New York Times

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FORBES – Only Large Policy Interventions Such As Reparations Can Shrink The Racial Wealth Gap

As this presidential campaign season gets under way, the racial wealth gap is getting a fair amount of attention. African-Americans typically have about one-tenth the wealth of whites. Several presidential hopefuls such as former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro as well as Sens. Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren have supported the idea of reparations for the descendants of slaves to rectify this massive inequality born out of an unspeakable historic injustice.

A new paper from researchers at the Cleveland Federal Reserve now argues that almost all of the wealth gap between African-Americans and whites is driven by the racial income gap – African-Americans earning about half of what whites earn. One of the main findings of the paper rests on hypothetical scenario that sets African-Americans’ earnings equal to that of whites from 1962 to the present and finds that African-Americans would have had 90% of the wealth of white by 2007. The paper concludes by arguing that addressing the racial wealth gap would require focusing on fixing the racial income gap.

The single focus on income as the driver of racial wealth inequality rests on a model that strips away all of the systematic biases that result in lower incomes for African-Americans. Many of these directly relate to the racial wealth gap and the policy biases that favor whites. After all, income builds wealth, but wealth also generates future incomes and systematic obstacles in building enough wealth hold back African-Americans from getting a fair shot at equal pay. Focusing then only on income ignores the real importance of enacting policies that can quickly close the racial wealth gap, such as reparations.

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The racial wealth gap is the result of decades, even centuries of systematic economic barriers to African-Americans’ economic progress . Starting with slavery to the Jim Crow era to today’s mass incarceration, U.S. policy has held back African-Americans and denied them an equal opportunity for centuries. The factors contributing to the racial wealth gap are multitude and their interplay is complex and differs from community to community, from time period to time period. It is virtually impossible to identify one single leading cause for the massive racial wealth gap.

Earning the same money as whites then requires African-Americans to have more wealth to begin with than is currently the case, so that they can actually catch up to whites. After all, current earnings in no small part depend on people’s past opportunities, afforded to them by their families’ wealth. These include, but are not limited to the quality of neighborhoods, schools and colleges. More wealth will allow people to move to better schools, to send their children to better schools, and to support their college education. Many African-Americans do not have these choices because of a lack of wealth. They then cannot gain the income that would give them and their children the same opportunities as whites have.

 

Additional policy interventions need to occur to make sure that when African-Americans have the same amount of income, they can also build the same amount of wealth as whites. The evidence shows that at comparable income and education levels, for instance, African-Americans have systematically much less wealth than whites. Their incomes often don’t translate into the same amount of wealth because they face additional obstacles such as housing and mortgage market discrimination, resulting in residential segregation and fewer economic educational and labor market opportunities.

The link between higher earnings and more wealth needs to be the same for African-Americans as for whites and that means eliminating systematic biases in housing, mortgage, credit, labor markets and education to begin with. For instance, even when African-Americans enjoy the same opportunities at an education, they often face systematic obstacles in the labor market, which means lower earnings and fewer benefits. A college education for African-Americans still goes along with lower earnings, more unemployment and less wealth than is the case for whites. Systematic obstacles such as outright discrimination, mass incarceration, occupational steering and residential segregation cost African-Americans income right now. Several of these obstacles can be overcome with more wealth that would allow people to move to safer, more diverse neighborhoods, to access similar education opportunities, among other changes.

Policymakers need to consider the challenges of shrinking the racial wealth gap comprehensively. There is no single driver of this gap, but a system that is still heavily stacked against African-Americans . Without massive policy changes it would take African-Americans 260 years to get 90% of the wealth of whites. This just underscores that the massive systematic historic and current hurdles for African-Americans to get ahead will not go away by themselves. Because there are many factors at play here and because this injustice has gone for far too long, addressing wealth inequality will require a large and expeditious approach to fix it. Such a comprehensive approach will likely have to include large-scale reparations for past injustices in some form as an approach to shrink the wealth gap in a meaningful way. The alternative is the continuation of piece meal, gradual approaches that have not made a dent in the racial wealth gap.

 

Original Post on Forbes.com by Christian Weller

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The Selma Center for Nonviolence Truth & Reconciliation

The mission of the Selma Center for Nonviolence, Truth, & Reconciliation (Selma CTNR) is to partner with institutions to promote love, the establishment of justice and build the Beloved Community. The Selma CNTR is committed to transforming and healing the root causes of physical, political, psychological, environmental, economic and racial violence at personal, family, community and systemic levels.

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Restorative Justice For Oakland Youth (RJOY)

Punitive school discipline and juvenile justice policies activate tragic cycles of violence, incarceration, and wasted lives for youth of color. Founded in 2005, RJOY works to interrupt these cycles by promoting institutional shifts toward restorative approaches that actively engage families, communities, and systems to repair harm and prevent re-offending. RJOY focuses on reducing racial disparities and public costs associated with high rates of incarceration, suspension, and expulsion. We provide education, training, and technical assistance and collaboratively launch demonstration programs with our school, community, juvenile justice, and research partners.

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The United Methodist Church Support Reparations for African Americans

WHEREAS, the General Conference acknowledges and profoundly regrets the massive human suffering and the tragic plight of millions of men, women, and children caused by slavery and the transatlantic slave trade; and

WHEREAS, at the conclusion of the Civil War, the plan for the economic redistribution of land and resources on behalf of the former slaves of the Confederacy was never enacted; and

WHEREAS, the failure to distribute land prevented newly freed Blacks from achieving true autonomy and made their civil and political rights all but meaningless; and

WHEREAS, conditions comparable to “economic depression” continue for millions of African Americans in communities where unemployment often exceeds 50 percent; and

WHEREAS, justice requires that African American descendants of the transatlantic slave trade be assured of having access to effective and appropriate protection and remedies, including the right to seek just and adequate reparation or satisfaction for the legacy of damages, consequent structures of racism and racial discrimination suffered as a result of the slave trade; and

WHEREAS, Isaiah 61:1-3 provides a model for reparations: “He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives, . . . to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor,&ellipsis; and provide for those who grieve in Zion-to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.”; and,

WHEREAS, January 5, 1993, Congressman John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.) introduced H.R. 40 to the House of Representatives, calling for the establishment of the Commission to Study Reparation Proposals for African Americans, “acknowledging the fundamental injustice, cruelty, brutality and inhumanity of slavery in the United States from 1619 to the present day,” for the purpose of submitting a report to Congress for further action and consideration with respect to slavery’s effects on African American lives, economics, and politics;

Therefore, be it resolved:

  1. that we support the discussion and study of reparation for African Americans;
  2. that we petition the President, the Vice President, and the United States House of Representatives to support the passage and signing of H.R. 40;
  3. that a written copy of this petition be delivered to the President and Vice President of the United States, the United States Senate Majority Leader, the House Speaker, and House Member John Conyers Jr.
  4. that the General Commission on Religion and Race and the General Board of Church and Society develop a strategy for interpretation and support of passage of H.R. 40;
  5. That the appropriate general boards and agencies of The United Methodist Church develop and make available to its members data on the history of slavery and the role of theology in validating and supporting both the institution and the abolition of the slave trade; and
  6. That we call upon The United Methodist Church to acknowledge the memory of the victims of past tragedies and affirm that, wherever and whenever these tragedies occur, they must be condemned and their recurrence prevented

adopted 1996
amended and Adopted 2004
resolution #62, 2004 book of resolutions
resolution #56, 2000 book of resolutions

See Social Principles, ¶ 162A.

From The Book of Resolutions of The United Methodist Church – 2008. Copyright © 2008 by The United Methodist Publishing House. Used by permission.

 

Originally posted by UMC.org

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Southern Baptist Convention’s flagship seminary details its racist, slave-owning past in stark report

The Rev. R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, on Oct. 5, 2015. (Bruce Schreiner/AP)

December 12, 2018

More than two decades after the Southern Baptist Convention — the country’s second-largest faith group — apologized to African Americans for its active defense of slavery in the 1800s, its flagship seminary on Wednesday released a stark report further delineating its ties to institutionalized racism.

The year-long study by the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary found that all four founding faculty members owned slaves and “were deeply complicit in the defense of slavery,” R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of the seminary, wrote in his introduction to the 72-page report he commissioned.

The report also noted that the seminary’s most important donor and chairman of its Board of Trustees in the late 1800s, Joseph E. Brown, “earned much of his fortune by the exploitation of mostly black convict lease laborers,” employing in his coal mines and iron furnaces “the same brutal punishments and tortures formerly employed by slave drivers.”

The report provided largely harsh assessments of the seminary’s past actions, even as it at times lauded the institution for racial strides.

Many of the founding faculty members’ “throughout the period of Reconstruction and well into the twentieth century, advocated segregation, the inferiority of African-Americans, and openly embraced the ideology of the Lost Cause of southern slavery,” that recast the South as an idyllic place for both slaves and masters and the Civil War as a battle fought over Southern honor, not slavery, Mohler wrote in his introduction.

The faculty opposed racial equality after Emancipation and advocated for the maintenance of white political control and against extending suffrage to African Americans, the report said. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, the seminary faculty relied on pseudoscience to justify its white-supremacist positions, concluding that “supposed black moral inferiority was connected to biological inferiority,” according to the report. And decades later, the seminary was slow to offer full support for the civil rights movement, advocating a “moderate approach.”

The seminary’s public reckoning comes as universities grapple with the darker corners of their pasts amid passionate challenges from students and faculty. At colleges across the country, protesters have toppled some Confederate monuments, while other statues remain the subjects of fierce debate.

“It is past time that The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary — the first and oldest institution of the Southern Baptist Convention, must face a reckoning of our own,” Mohler wrote.

Colby Adams, a spokesman for Mohler, said the theologian launched the historical investigation because people asked him specific questions “he didn’t know the answer to. We knew there was involvement. We didn’t know the full history.”

The report has elicited a lukewarm reaction from experts who said while the seminary should be commended for admitting its racist history in writing, the revelations don’t come as a surprise, especially given the fact that the Southern Baptist Convention was formed in 1845 after a split with northern Baptists over slavery. The SBC is now the largest Protestant denomination in the country, with over 15 million members.

What does matter, the experts said, are the actions the seminary takes from here and whether it makes reparations.

Jemar Tisby, a historian who writes about race and Christianity, said he expects many white Evangelicals will push back on the report by saying the seminary is being divisive and re-litigating its past. The school’s leadership needs to sit down with racial and ethnic minorities and “let themselves be led” to racial reconciliation, Tisby said. “They are at the very beginning of the journey,” he said. “What this document does is open up a new phase of the seminary on racial justice.”

Critics and other observers said the Southern Baptist Convention for too long has been hesitant to take full ownership of its past, for decades framing its split with northern Baptists as one over theological differences, not slavery.

By commissioning the seminary’s report, Mohler may have been trying to change that., said Lawrence Ware, a professor at Oklahoma State University who studies race and religion. “I think that what he’s trying to do is he’s trying to force the Convention to have a conversation on race and racism that the Convention has really not wanted to have,” Ware told The Washington Post.

Ware said that while the report is “a step in the right direction,” some sections seem to soften the severity of the seminary’s racist actions. He called the report’s description of faculty’s mixed record on the civil rights movement “double-handed” and said the document fails to account for the seminary’s lack of diversity among top leadership.

The seminary’s progress in the area of civil rights was slow. The Louisville school began admitting black students to degree programs in 1940 and fully integrated 11 years later. The report said that the seminary was skeptical of the civil rights movement’s direct-action tactics, but noted that faculty in the 1960s urged support for civil rights in general and invited the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. to speak at the seminary in 1961.

In 1995, the Southern Baptist Convention adopted a resolution stating its explicit connection to slavery:

“Our relationship to African-Americans has been hindered from the beginning by the role that slavery played in the formation of the Southern Baptist Convention; many of our Southern Baptist forbears defended the right to own slaves, and either participated in, supported, or acquiesced in the particularly inhumane nature of American slavery; and in later years Southern Baptists failed, in many cases, to support, and in some cases opposed, legitimate initiatives to secure the civil rights of African-Americans.”

Many Southern Baptists hoped the resolution would be the last time they would have to confront the denomination’s racist past, Mohler wrote in the report.

“At that time, I think it is safe to say that most Southern Baptists, having made this painful acknowledgment and lamenting this history, hoped to dwell no longer on the painful aspects of our legacy. That is not possible, nor is it right,” he wrote. “We have been guilty of a sinful absence of historical curiosity. We knew, and we could not fail to know, that slavery and deep racism were in the story.”

“[T]he moral burden of history requires a more direct and far more candid acknowledgment of the legacy of this school in the horrifying realities of American slavery, Jim Crow segregation, racism and even the avowal of white racial supremacy,” Mohler wrote in the report. “The fact that these horrors of history are shared with the region, the nation, and with so many prominent institutions does not excuse our failure to expose our own history, our own story, our own cherished heroes, to an honest accounting — to ourselves and to the watching world.”

The denomination has focused in recent years on efforts toward racial reconciliation and progress. In 2012, it elected its first African American president, Fred Luter. And in April, on the 50th anniversary of King’s death, the SBC’s public policy arm — the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission — organized what it thought would be a small conference in Memphis about efforts to end racism. About 3,500 pastors and lay leaders showed up.

“Father, Lord, would you have mercy on us sinners?” ERLC Commission President Russell Moore prayed at the Memphis event.

There have also been notable stumbles.

The group voted at its annual meeting in 2017 to condemn the known as the alt-right — which seeks a whites-only state — but only after it faced backlash to an earlier decision not to vote on the issue.

The same year, a professor at a different Southern Baptist seminary posted to Twitter a photo appearing to show five white professors posing in hoodies and gold chains, with some pointing their fingers like guns. Barry McCarty, a professor of preaching and rhetoric at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Texas, later posted that the photo was meant to be a send-off for a professor who occasionally raps.

Originally posted via The Washington Post

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Black Reparations (1969)

Black Reparations: Part 1 (1969) | feat. Father Paul M. Washington

Black Reparations: Part 2 (1969) | feat. Rev. James E. Woodruff

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Reparations Begin In The Body

A look at why the first and most crucial poetic gesture for a black poet in the West is a knowledge and mastery of her body

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Look for me in the whirlwind

She teaches us that voodoo was used as a means, during slavery, for slaves to break free from the slave master. When the slave wanted to break free from the master, the only way to get out a lot of times was to die. That’s right, to die. And they had an antidote in voodoo that would cause the body to stop, the heart to stop, and all that, the consciousness to leave the body and move to the nervous system, and the slave master would just come to check to see that the slave was dead, check the pulse or whatever, and let the slaves bury them, but the family would be in and knowing that nah, he’s not dead, or she’s not dead. We’re just faking out master, so we can get him or her off the land, so that they can go get us some help so we can break free from the plantation. (Excerpt from Hollywood Forever)

This is not life! This is death disguised as life. I know what life is. Life is s p l e n d i d!    Sun Ra riffs in a gorgeous, generous poem /\ song somewhere between inheritance and transcendence. And what if he’s right. Would we worry, or zombie a little less, or invent more verbs, or honor the restlessness lurking in our performed domesticity; if we knew we were involuntary participants in a grand and oh-so-fatalistic suicide culture that began with black bodies as capital/ real estate, and fantasizes about ending there or in a carefully disguised eternal return we name entertainment, sports, mass incarceration—would we opt out or go harder?

It seems the evidence is everywhere. We earn our continued oppression day by day, labor for it. What a genius mystic like Sun Ra accomplishes with his urgent call, is naming it, creating a double entendre for so what, and etching a map toward the exodus that devalues ‘progress’ as we know it, an understanding of the casual merits of an ancient future, a scoffing in the face of exclusivity, an overturning of the toxic myth that we have somehow ‘made it,’ or been civilized, when it’s clear that we’ve deteriorated as spirit beings, and physically: been degraded, degraded and diluted ourselves, become puppets for our own subjugation. And then one day we kneel for the national anthem before a football game and this is protest?, and then the next the new Drake anthem is out, started from the bottom… now we’re …  at rock bottom.

But to have been seduced into acting as agents of our own devolution as a people, we had to be given words, phrases, an entire syntax and meaning factory and way of moving through space and time, in the service of that steady diminishing. Where do those words hide or how are they glorified or embedded in common action so deeply that we miss them? How did we manage to become so disembodied that we lost track of what life is? How do you expect to write effective poetry from outside of yourself, always gazing on your own spirit as ‘other’ and looking for ways to contain it with art as opposed to using this cryptic and encrypted English language to liberate the spirit?

Henrietta Lacks’s Cells

Henrietta Lacks was a cervical cancer patient at Johns Hopkins hospital when she unwittingly became the queen mother of stem cell research. Without any informed consent, her cancer cells were cloned and survived the arduous cloning process. For years researches had been trying to clone the cells of white men and women, and failing. It was discovered that the cells of black people are so resilient that, even when cancerous, they can survive the cloning process and replicate interminably. After her cell line, deemed the Immortal Cell Line, was successfully cloned in 1955, its traces became staples in cosmetics, household products, and all areas of medical research. In order to patent a semi biological substance, it must derive from cloned not original cells, so yet another form of free labor was born in this transaction. Decades later the adulteration of Lacks’s body was acknowledged first by Morehouse College and then by additional institutions. Her family has not been paid for the secret harvesting of her cells that continues today as an open secret. Henrietta Lacks’s cells know what life is. It never bows…

Okra and Hog Calling

After having been abducted and transported across the Atlantic at manifold angles and velocities, and upon arrival on the auction block and then at the miserable slave quarters on their respective plantations, African men and women refused to eat the food they were given by their cannibal captors. Scraps of dead animal flesh, meals of blood and starch, were bitterly, indifferently, refused. Hunger strikes are among the most natural responses humans have to trauma; they reflect the integrity of our impulse to heal. When you are sick, or made sick by circumstance, food only deepens the illness, and codes itself with the suffering one is enduring while eating, becomes about emotions more than nourishment, and negative, desperate emotions at that, the opposite of its purpose in nature. When lost, the prophets fasted, when ecstatic, the prophets fasted, when suffering, the prophets fasted; feasting was the symbolic exception.

But Africans had been stolen and tortured at sea only so they could provide the free labor that would build and sustain the parasitic economies of the Americas, so starving themselves was not an option for their captors. The mentally ill plantation owners had discovered the boundaries of their persuasion, and had to return to Africa for Okra and fonio, wild rice, greens, whole indigenous uncultivated foods and herbs, to keep their human capital from starving. It was only after distorting the contents of scripture, which instructs to only eat the flesh of animals, and only the animals who are herbivores themselves “the clean animals” in times of flood, famine, or dire need, it was only after converting slaves to Christianity and linking the religion with the West’s putrid dietary habits, that slave masters managed to create a race of primarily flesh and starch eating slaves whose thinking would often reflect those misguided tastes. Who would relate to one another using those tastes as their foundation.  Around this same time degenerative diseases sprung up in the African slaves, who were slowly becoming American in culture and psychology. And doctors purchased some slave solely to test new surgeries and medicines on them with no thought of anesthesia or side effects. Now with the new science of Epigenitics we are learning that these kinds of traumas are handed down in the genes, memories are genetic, déjà vu is no myth.

Even the quality of sunlight in North America contributes to the undermining of black bodies. It is unlike the light in West Africa, or near the equator. The UVB rays needed to melinate bodies and to produce adequate amounts of vitamin D only hit North America (with the exception of Florida, Georgia, and Southern California) between April to September, from 11:00 to 3:00 in the afternoon, and are only absorbed if you are 60 percent naked in those places at those times, and not overly calcified with dairy and other toxins. And yet with all of this working against most of us, the immortal cell line comes from a black woman who had cancer. Life  is     splendid.

Dr. Sebi

A self-taught black man and master herbalist from Honduras cured dozens of AIDS patients in the 1980s, removing all traces of the disease in them, and most all other diseases he was asked to help heal, by first declaring them non-existent, figments of our covetous western thinking, and then weaning his patients off of all that slave food and the slave mentality that came with it. He even made it onto Worldstar, echo W O R L D S T A R! head start for half stepping, his teachings almost went mainstream. He was mysteriously arrested and killed for his work, along with more than 50 additional holistic practitioners just this year.

Stardust

We know that blackness is just condensed light and that every nigga is a star © Kendrick Lamar by way of Boris Gardner. Light and sound are our first nutrients and all true food and water is just different densities and frequencies of light and sound translated into electromagnetic energy and given form and lifeforce by its own unique dynamic between electricity and magnetism. We know that this planet is not our home, nor this country, that we are diaspora here, and that on every level we are the custodians nonetheless. Do we know that we come from star matter, that our role here is to translate the light into information like plants do, do we know that niggas don’t need electricity because we are electric, and so too our food must be. Normativity will not save us. Justice is not the right to consume what the oppressor does, that is injustice at it’s most advanced and clandestine. Why are we destiny? Because we know what life is. We know what light is.

Curfew in Charlotte

The history of the West is the history of everyone but black people, realizing that we are its most valuable resource, that our bodies are superhuman conductors, our hearts, brilliant minds, and our language visceral and poetic even when used absentmindedly. Melanin is a technology that renders the black body masterful but can also turn on it if not acknowledged. Without adequate light and proper sounds you can turn a nation of demi-gods into demons against their own selves. The soil in the west also lacks the minerals needed to compensate for the poor quality of light and the dismal acoustics here. In that weakened condition it’s easier for a fascist police state to feed off of our anguish and even criminalize it until we all but give up on retaliation. It’s easy for police to kill black children and harvest their organs the way Henrietta Lacks’ cells have been harvested.  It’s easy to turn Griots into madmen.

We are the only ones, because we don’t know our value, who remain blind to the what’s behind our genocide. If we wanted to, we could run the world, the world runs on our vibrations, just look at the dominant images and listen to the universal music. At the early antebellum picnics we were lynched cooked, and eaten. Which is why the mummies were missing. They ate them all. Now we love bbq too. But what does any of this have to do with poetry?

A land where the sun kills questions

Just as we cannot allow ourselves to forget, or be naive enough to think that anything offered us by this society is benevolent, from the 13th amendment, with its hideous exception, to the so-called ‘good job’ that has us inside all day degrading our light-processing engines, we also cannot ignore what ails or controls our bodies, from the new curfew renewed every time we mobilize to protest state violence, to the comfort food addiction renewed with every collective trauma, to trap beats we twerk to over Henny under dimmed fluorescent lights and Future’s intoxicating timbre, to the church pews we kneel on to worship white Jesus.  The grammar of blackness in the West must be ruthlessly examined from within, on a cellular, molecular level, and reconfigured, if we are to move from signifying the tragic and soulful beauty of an oppressed group of electric spirits, to signifying the triumph of organic power and talent over the weaker but much more evil force that has been out to contain and exploit it for centuries. The very desire to contain and oppress is a sign of internal weakness.

Our poetry must become ruthless as we ruthlessly deploy our bodies to rectify our situation/ship with the Western gaze. Perhaps if we stop trying to seduce white America and its sad satellites, we will gain the courage to act worthy of ourselves and of our superconductor immortal cells and the healers who give their lives to remind us of our greatness from musicians to herbalists to poets to mothers. I don’t think any such maneuvers are possible unless we first understand our anatomy and physiology. Know thyself. Know how what you do with your body affects it, how what you put into your body instructs it to behave. And how those instructions become in our poems. Fetishized melancholy, willful forgetting, shadows of the show lights of the new curfew, shoals of our lost knowledge returning. Reparations begin in the body, and that is where our poems must begin; our poems must teach us new ways to use our bodies, must watch with us and walk with us and burst through us as new light, even if it hurts, even if it means we have to relearn self-love through the eyes of a truer more unified self.

Korrine Gaines , Mary J. Blige

Korrine Gaines is huddled in a pool of her own blood after having been shot by a Baltimore cop, and instructs her five-year-old son to keep filming, while Mary J. Blige limply holds Hillary Clinton’s hand to chant a hymn about how to be polite in the face of your own murder. On 59th and Columbus, Judith Jamison is instructing an Ailey principal dancer how to cry without tears, in your torso, from the womb, in the place where mourning shifts from vengeful to detoxifying and even becomes a kind of forgiveness of self. Regenerative sorrow.

We have reached a time where accidental cooning or lack of intimacy and disembodied thinking could kill us and sabotage our art, as a dancer first I’ve always known this but as our bodies fall deeper and deeper under siege in this age of casual fascism, the only relevant poems will be those which force both ourselves and the state to contend with the full power of our forms. Throughout this month I’ll discuss poems and poetic acts that reinstall spirit language and re-embody the act of writing and of thinking in that fashion, accessing the brave vulnerability that is the key to self-mastery here.

Stellar Entropy

Until now we have survived by denying our physical otherness or asserting it so aggressively it becomes parody, we have tried to fit into a context whose first intention is to extort us in every way possible, we have praised invisibility as a skill and perhaps felt guilty for being great on our own terms, gone deaf to those terms and yearnings.  In the process of all of this pandering, we have often used language as a tool to access the few token spaces for us to supposedly ‘prosper’ in the western world, rather than training the language to obey us, we have proven that we can be tamed and undermined by it. Our bodies, and how we use them, are testaments to how we use language both on and off the page. Today’s poems need to break up rigged thought patterns rather than look for new ways to restate and validate them, and today’s black poets and all who love us, must master our bodies and their histories the way soldiers do, for our words must be directed toward saving the souls these vessels carry from suffering the fate of monopoly capitalism into fascism and back into barbarism; that’s the trajectory we are on if we remain mere witnesses, if we remain abstract to ourselves.

Poetry is the space wherein the facts we learn through true study and understanding of self can perform as archetypes and symbols and syncopation, so that these hard facts are easier to bear, but it is not a space we should use to escape the facts of our essence or our condition. If you ignore what happens to your body, what is happening to black bodies everywhere, your poems will ignore you back and lack the resonance we need from them to free ourselves or become our true selves again. But how do we remain that present without putting our bodies in danger or under scrutiny in order to reclaim their richest language?

Originally Posted by Poetry Foundation

 

 

 

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