Black U.S. Movers and Shakers in Solidarity with Palestine
One thousand Black American activists, artists and academics have signed a petition backing the global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against the Israeli apartheid regime. In addition to garnering support from scholars and artists, “it’s a really important moment to have Blacks activists that represent movements from the 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s signing on with people who are just cutting their teeth” in social justice politics, said petition coordinator Kristian Davis Bailey. The petition makes the connection between the conditions of life for Blacks in the U.S. and Palestinians under Israeli rule. “Black people definitely have the experience of suffering under a regime of legal violence apartheid, state violence in terms of mass incarceration and police brutality, and just the everyday insidiousness of living in a society that views their very existence as threatening or criminal,” said Bailey.
St. Louis Police Create “War Zone” in Black Community
Police last week used tear gas and riot equipment to suppress protests against the killing of teenager Mansur Bey, whom cops claimed pulled a gun on officers. Nine demonstrators were arrested. The cops “doubled down” on their old tactics and “deployed aggressive, militarized crowd control responses that brutalized peaceful protesters and transformed portions of our community into war zone,” said Montague Simmons, of the Organization of Black Struggle. “This is the stuff of a police state. It demands large scale structural action to transform – not reform – our society,” he told a press conference. St. Louis County also reopened misdemeanor cases against about 1,000 demonstrators, bystanders and journalists arrested during a year of protests since police killed Michael Brown.
Dhoruba Bin Wahad Assaulted by “New” Black Panther Party Members
Former Black Panther Dhoruba Bin Wahad, a co-founder of the Black Liberation Army who spent 19 years as a political prisoner, was attacked and seriously injured in an Atlanta hotel, earlier this month, under the orders of New Black Panther leader Malik Zulu Shabazz. Among the five men accompanying Wahad was Kalonji Jama Changa, of the Free the People Movement. “We have our disagreements” with the ‘New’ Black Panthers, said Changa, explaining the men’s decision to go to the hotel. “We recognize their contradictions, but our intention was definitely not to cause harm to them, and certainly not to kill them based on politics.” Dhoruba Bin Wahad also attended the press conference, but could not speak because his jaw was wired shut. A commemoration of the original Black Panther Party is set for October, in Atlanta.
Education of Black Students is Under Attack
Marilyn Zuniga, the young teacher that was fired this year by the Orange, New Jersey, school board after her third grade students sent get-well letters to political prisoner Mumia Abu Jamal, plans to speak on campuses “about, not only my case, but the broader aspects of our educational system and how it’s affecting Black and brown students – everything from the school-to-prison pipeline to how teachers are being marginalized for teaching history to the children. Black schools are under attack, education of Black students is under attack.” Asked if she has been black-listed from employment, Zuniga replied that lot’s of principals in New Jersey have said they would like to hire someone like her. However, most urban districts are controlled by the state, “and so, when it comes to hiring practices, the districts are extremely limited in what they can do and who they can employ.”
Rally to Reinstate African American Studies Professor
Supporters of Dr. Anthony Monteiro rallied to demand that Philadelphia’s Temple University rehire the Duboisian scholar and social activist. Monteiro was fired last year by African American Studies chairman Molefi Asante, who then dubbed it the Department of Africology. “Wearing a dashiki and taking on an African name doesn’t make you a freedom fighter,” said Monteiro. He recalled being told by Temple’s dean of liberal arts that it was not important to study the works of W.E.B. Dubois. “If you don’t need Dubois,” Monteiro asked the crowd, “who do you need? If you don’t need James Baldwin, who do you need? If you don’t need Toni Morrison, if you don’t need Cornel West, who do you need?” The Black radical tradition, said Monteiro, expresses the dominant historical worldview among African Americans.