Category Archives: ORGANIZE!

REPARATIONS: From Conversation to ACTION

Nationally and locally in the United States, we see political leaders who in both word and deed are seeking to exploit racial divisions through using racist language and by enacting legislation negatively targeting Black, Brown, and Indigenous populations. These cynical and destructive actions feed cycles of increasing racial inequity with respect to employment, education, housing, and other socioeconomic indicators. Against this backdrop, what are the possibilities for reparative action and are there any signs of forward progress? The FOR or Fellowship of Reconciliation has organized a panel of leading global thinkers and organizers on reparations for slavery and the racial oppression of people of African descent to discuss how to move from informed concern to action.  Register now to join a public conversation with 6 distinguished speakers:
* Dr. Iva Carruthers, General Secretary, Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference (Chicago IL) * Rev. Lucas Johnson, Coordinator, International FOR (Amsterdam, The Netherlands) * Jodie Geddes, President, Coming to the Table Board of Managers (Oakland CA) * Dr. Amilcar Shabazz, Vice President, National Council for Black Studies (Amherst MA)
The panel will be co-moderated by: * Chrissi Jackson, Co-Director, The Truth Telling Project (San Diego CA) * Dr. David Ragland, Senior Bayard Rustin Fellow, FOR (Brooklyn NY / St. Louis MO)
Click to learn more about how to register to join the discussion that takes place Jan 30, 2018, at 7:00 PM in Eastern Time (US and Canada)  

Black Liberation Matters as Movement and Moment

One senses that black people are having a moment. Around the world, the wretched of the earth are saying “Look, a Black Life” — does it matter? does anybody care? A Negro, death, young and old, but especially the young, the trans, the LGBTQ, women, children, the incarcerated, the communities more vulnerable to environmental racism, to the proliferation of guns and drugs, to for-profit institutionalized white supremacy. Yes, out of relative obscurity at any moment in time movements spring and for their time accomplish goals, or not, that contribution in net positive or negative ways to the struggle of oppressed people. We are living in a time where a movement is in the making from the might river of the black freedom struggle.

Many date the current movement moment from the death of Trayvon Martin and the subsequent acquittal of his murderer, George Zimmerman. I think we should look a few years before to the Jena 6 case. In the aftermath of Katrina, the young, digital generation began formulating a capacity to flash respond to critical instances injustice. That internetworked capacity tweeted out in a massive way the call for a Jena 6 National Walk-Out Day on 10/1/2007.

The execution of Troy Davis in Georgia on September 21, 2011, was another day when the emergence of a movement was evident. Twitter recorded 7671 tweets per second in the moments before word of Davis’s execution, making his death the second most active Twitter event in 2011. Rallies were held all over the country protesting his being put to death. “I am Troy Davis” was the battle cry.

So it was on the shoulders of these various campaigns that the killing of Trayvon Benjamin Martin  on February 26, 2012, sparked a massive response. The network began to look at ways to organize a campaign that would demand justice for 17-year-old African American youth. As case after case of homicide of young New Afrikans at the hands of white police as well as armed white civilians the movement for black lives has formally organized itself with its own agenda, principles of unity, campaigns, and rules of engagement.

2013 JUNETEENTH JAMBOREE in the Pioneer Valley



Juneteenth observes the June 19th, 1865, proclamation of the abolition of slavery in Texas. It celebrates freedom for people of all backgrounds, with a focus on its meaning for today’s youth.


Wednesday, June 19, 2013, 1-7PM | Amherst Town Commons map

Amherst Human Rights Commissioner Kathleen Anderson invites you:


Additional events to take place in Springfield along with special Amherst Human Rights Commission awards ceremony, details below:

We will focus on Youth Empowerment and offer community recognitions to a number of individuals who have made significant contributions to freedom in our community

All proceeds raised will benefit The Youth Action

This event is organized by the Sankofa Coalition which is made up of many organizations and individuals working together, including:

Town of Amherst Human Rights Commission:

PAHMUSA, The Pan-African Historical Museum USA in Springfield, MA:

Preecha Kungo and Igziabeher                                Onawumi Jean Moss. Your Soulful Storyteller

2050 Legacy:                    TRGGR Media Collective:

Trevor Baptiste, Member of the Amherst-Pelham Regional School CommitteeEdward Cage, Vice President and Chair of the Fundraising Committee of the Amherst Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People; and Amilcar Shabazz, Vice Chair of the Amherst Regional Public School Committee.


Portions of the various event will be videotaped for airing on Amherst Media and on the web.

Here is the PERFORMANCE SCHEDULE thus far:

1 to 3PM – Sounds of Freedom

Preecha Kungo and Igziabeher — roots reggae music

Black Kasbah — outer space sounds

TRGGR Media Collective — “aesthetics of justice” hip hop music

3 to 4:45PM – BHM Unplugged Program Segment

Emceed by Amherst Reg. High School Students: Camila Carpio &c

Storyteller: Onawumi Jean Moss

2050 Legacy | Musical-Poetry Set, 20 minutes

Speaker: Tosh Foerster, Governor’s Statewide Youth Council

New Africa House Ensemble | Jazz Set, 20 minutes

Speakers and Other youth performances on historical and current struggles

4:45 to 6:15PM – Human Rights Commission’s Heroism Awards ceremony

4:50 – 5:00 PM Greg Bascomb opens 9th Annual Amherst Human Rights Youth Heroism Award Picnic, invites ticket-holders to eat, introduces MCs, Dr. Peters, Higher Help, & ACT SMART

5:00 – 5:05 PM Song by Higher Help

5:05 – 5:35 PM ACT SMART

5:35 – 5:45 PM MCs: HRC Commissioner Liam Brodigan and Sajo Jefferson bring on Guest Speaker – Madeline Peters [UMASS disability office is making the award to Zhuli]

5:45 – 5:50 PM Song by Higher Help

5:50 – 6:10 PM Youth Awards [approx. 2 minutes @]: Jenna and April Schilling at Fort River, Eva Ross- Perkins, Daudy Guerrero and Wesley Killough-Hill at Crocker Farm, and Xaq Kruezer- Land, Benjamin Thiessen, James Kirwan, Regina East, Dominik Doemer and Zhui Adams at the high school.

6:10 – 6:20 PM Thanks for Joining Us – Song by Higher Help

6:20 to 7PM – Sankofa Coalition’s closing piece

Rebirth Neo-Soul Set, 30 minutes Concluding Remarks and upcoming events

7PM:  Invite help with task force to clean up the Commons to be out before 8 pm.

Links for Further Study:

Selected Presentations on Juneteenth by Amilcar Shabazz:

Justice for Charles Wilhite Juneteenth Celebration by Blackstonian (Springfield, MA). 6/23/2012

Juneteenth highlights pride in Fourth Ward.” By Mike Tolson for the Houston Chronicle | June 18, 2006. Quoting from my speech at  at Mount Horeb MSB (Houston, TX). 6/17/2006

“Educational Equality & the Heart of Texas’ Freedom Struggle: From Juneteenth to LBJ.” Sam Houston State University History Department Annual Lecture (Huntsville, TX). 3/30/2004

“On the Meaning of Juneteenth.” The Safehouse Historic Museum of Black Belt Cultural and Civil Rights History Juneteenth Freedom Festival (Greensboro, AL). 6/28/2003

“Juneteenth: Origins and Significance.” The Texas Emancipation Juneteenth Historical Commission’s History Symposium at the State Capitol; (Austin, TX). 12/11/1998

“The Pillars of Freedom: Constructing Community after Juneteenth.” University of Texas Institute of Texan Cultures (San Antonio, TX). 1/26/1997

The actual Juneteenth proclamation went along these lines: 

Headquarters, District of Texas
Galveston, Texas, June 19, 1865

General Orders, No. 3.

The people are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property, between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them, becomes that between employer and hired labor. — The Freedmen are advised to remain at their present homes, and work for wages. They are informed that they will not be allowed to collect at military posts; and that they will not be supported in idleness either there or elsewhere. By order of Major General Granger

(Signed,) F. W. Emery, Maj. & A.A.G.

As reported in The Galveston Daily News, June 21, 1865

Thus, the Emancipation Proclamation’s effective date of January 1, 1863, nor the end of the Civil War on April 9, 1865, mark the official end of African American enslavement in the U.S. It was June 19, 1865, when the end of slavery was enforced in Texas. Of course, the Thirteenth Amendment, effective December 1865, abolished slavery throughout the entire United States, including the Border states and the Indian territories. Juneteenth is celebrated with the conviction that slavery was abolished only when it was abolished for all.

The Fire Next Time Colloquium Spring 2008


“How Equality is Constructed & Deconstructed in Immigration, Education, and Occupational Opportunity in America”

Featuring a panel of professors from the UMass Sociology Department–
Enobong Anna Branch * David Cort * Melissa Wooten
& from the UMass Anthropology Department–
Amanda Walker Johnson

Wednesday, April 30th @ 4:30 p.m.
CCEBMS Library — 2nd Floor, New Africa House

Conference Pulls TRGGR for Change

Breakin for Lunch

It was an day! The Triggering Change 2008 Conference: Hip-Hop, Media Justice & Social Responsibility was off the mediated change. Above is a moment before lunch (tastefully catered by Salsarengue Restaurant & Seafood of 392 High Street in Holyoke, MA, 01040; Phone: 413-533-1850) with some Springfield crunkers tearing it up for the crowd. The presentations and the conversations were informative, inspiring, and constructive. The were at least 300 unique participants in the conference to say nothing of the hundreds under the hip hop on the Hampshire College campus to rock to performances by Dead Prez, Rebel Diaz and local groups. More to come from/on this one!