Adrienne Maree Brown

On The 45th Anniversary of Malcolm X's Assassination, Feeling El-Hajj

elhajj_45years_022210.jpgThis post originally appeared on Adrienne Maree Brown's blog. Detroit Red is someone we all know. Bright, beautiful, hustling, trying everything, wanting more, with the unhealed recent familial and current experiences of racism all around like four walls, eyes bigger than hands, prison immanent. Malcolm X is someone we all know.

Alien Apartheid? A Race-Aware Viewing Guide for District 9

district9.jpg just watched district 9. before i went, i heard a variety of reviews, from “totally racist” to “comprehensive critique on humanity” to “awesome action flick”. all i heard was: aliens in slums outside johannesberg and i knew i had to see for myself. upon watching it, i could totally see how folks could walk away offended on a number of fronts.

Ignore the Haters, Sierra Club!!: Open Letter to Allison Chin

Dear Allison, Yesterday, the Sierra Club published a post on their Insider blog - "Yep, We're Too White". It's a very short post highlighting that last week, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson called for more "diversity" in environmental movements, and you, Sierra Club President Allison Chin, responded that the Club is increasing it's diversity, and that your election as the first Asian-American president is proof positive of the changes.

A Deeper Dive

We've all heard about the incident at the Philly pool. Color of Change put out a great incident report in case you missed it. The incident is a classic whites-only racism incident, and it's reminded me that as responsible racial justice thinkers we must always look at incidental racism as tips of icebergs.

What's UP with the US Social Forum?

In 2010, the second US Social Forum will take place in Detroit Mi, from June 22-26. I keep meaning to write a piece that gives an inside look at what’s up with the forum, but time passes when you’re working hard. I want to say first and foremost that the majority of people I have met and worked with on the forum are truly humbled by the movement building happening on a global level, especially in the global south, and want to make sure that we are a part of that process.

Michael Jackson - Who's Loving You?

While he lived, he was quite possibly the most listened to person alive. The most sampled and copied. The most played. The youngest person to make people move. The person most people tried to move like. He made us move like zombies, like water, like freedom. He made us trip and fall backwards trying to moonwalk, and trip and fall forward trying to see if the lean in ‘Smooth Criminal’ was possible. He showed us his mad genius world in videos, songs, movies, tv specials. He injected sex into our hips. He got us wearing shiny gloves and overwought leather jackets.

Vulnerability and Malcolm X

via yesterday was malcolm x’s 84th birthday. happy birthday el-hajj malik el-shabazz.

What's the New-Old?

you know i often hear forrest gump in my head. “i may not be a smart man, but i know what love is.” this economic moment has been crystallizing that phrase to me. i’ve been thinking a lot about what love is, and what it is not. in the face of the fall of wall street, the fall of our mega-corporate banking systems and the crumbling of the faith of american people in false wealth, it seems imperative to point towards the light, to remind ourselves how to love.

Shifting Power

The environmental movement is changing, slowly but surely. I weave in and out of the throng at Powershift 2009. Last year the conference was in Maryland, and the throng was spread out all over a campus. I spoke then on organizing, on racism in the environmental movement, and on direct action. The faces were majority white, with a little bit of representation from other races. This year there are 11,000 people, mostly young, flooding through the Convention Center in downtown DC, wearing green t-shirts and badges and hungry faces.

The Darkness

Now, at this moment, we have a black president. Black like many black people are, with a lot of other stories woven into his blackness, having organized for justice for years. Black in ways that many black people are not, with known relatives in Kenya and a clear knowledge of his ties to Africa. He and his wife and their daughters are moving slowly through Washington, D.C. This day means so much to so many - there are people who are proudly opting out of feeling much in this moment, but I don't envy them.

National Day of Nonviolent Action: Oscar Grant

Tomorrow there will be a National Day of Nonviolent Action across the country in solidarity with the Praying for Peace, Marching for Justice Rally/March in Oakland, CA. Over the past week, clergy, young folks from Oakland, small business owners, non-profit organizations, collectives and individual organizers from all backgrounds and political outlooks have come together to stand with the Coalition Against Police Executions (CAPE) and support the family of Oscar Grant, III.

Update on Fruitvale BART Protest

As I write this there are no less than 6 helicopters circling overhead in downtown Oakland. On the first day of the 10th year since Amadou Diallo was brutally gunned down by police in New York City, Oscar Grant was fatally shot in the back by a BART police officer, and the event was caught on video. As I write this, rumors are flying and media is fanning the riot flames - car and trash fires, police in riot gear and tanks, restaurant windows being smashed, tear gas and rubber bullets being used.

Real Justice

If you are in the Bay Area tomorrow, come out to the Fruitvale BART Station between 3-7pm to grieve, and protest. These have been days of bloody images. By now we have all seen the footage of young Oscar Grant being shot in the back while face down on the Fruitvale BART platform. Oscar was a young father with his hands raised, pleading for his life. Oscar was submitting to the police. Another man, the officer who killed Oscar, has yet to step forward and claim responsibility, make any statement, apologize.

Why Gaza Matters To Us

On December 30, I attended a rally/memorial for Gaza in Dearborn, Michigan. Dearborn is home to the largest community of Arab and Arab-American people within US borders. I went with two young women who have focused on Palestinian human rights, and were in Palestine last year doing work with youth to develop a creative and nonviolent response to the wall, and a third young woman who is learning about the situation much as I am. One point of the conversation on the way to the rally focused on how, in the Geneva conventions, collective punishment is a war crime.

Closing Plenary: Race and the Global Economy

Wow - Liepollo L. Pheko is amazing!! I caught the end of her talk, she's part of The Trade Collective. She's talking about global trade and global respect for human rights in trade. She just told a story of the crocodile, and a young woman swimming across a shark and crocodile infested river and making it to the other side. When she gets there people asked her why did she do it? and How? And the young woman responded that she didn't have a why, she fell in! And then she kept going.

Creating a Culture of Racial Justice at Facing Race

I'm sitting here at the tail end of a wonderful panel at Facing Race called Creating a Culture of Racial Justice. This is the panel that in many ways most excites me, because I think so much of the framing of racial justice is a cultural framing. We look for art that makes us feel one, or beautiful, or illuminated. How do we make racial justice a beautiful image, full of righteous anger when that justice is not achieved, and gives people a vision of what that justice looks like, making it desirable.

Post Election Reflections at Facing Race

This is Adrienne Maree Brown checking in as a live blogger for the Facing Race Conference. I'm at the first plenary, Post-Election Reflections: Examining Race in the Presidential Campaign. The speakers cover the range from writers to election organizers. Unfortunately, I have arrived late, right as Donita Judge was reviewing the kinds of election protection problems we saw in the 2008 federal election. She's on point and pulling no punches, expounding on the slow down and long lines due to machine malfunction, and called out the flyers and text messages that misguided folks.

Welcome to the Age of Yes!

Obama did not tell us this, or lead us into it - he arrived in response to it, he exposed that we wanted to hear it. Tired of political platforms, which seem to only exist to be jumped off of into treacherous familiar waters, the small minority of the global population (all of whom are impacted by this election, many of whom are actually more directly impacted by the American election than American citizens are) that could vote in this election voted for the candidate whose message, energy, campaign strategy and belief system spoke to a deeper need, deeper than policy or race redemption.

My Big Gay Blog Post

Today I came home to find a “Yes on Prop 8? sticker slapped onto the Barbara Lee campaign sign in front of my building. Prop 8 is the proposition to ban gay marriage that passed in California last night. The sticker wasn’t there yesterday. Driving around the neighborhood tonight, I didn’t see anymore stickers, just the one in front of our building. Our building is full of beautiful queer and queer friendly folks, most in happy couples or pairings of some sort.

Call to Action: Stay The Line!!

Situation: There are tons of election issues happening and being documented across the country. (866 Our Vote had 30,000 calls before 1pm, and the various War Room listserve spaces we’re in are buzzing with reports.) The main issues are broken or missing machines (now where did I leave that damn machine?), extremely long lines (some at polling places that never opened) and folks finding that their names aren’t on the list. Negative Effect: Folks are leaving the lines because they can’t wait any longer for issue to be resolved.