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In Marching For Our Lives We Recognize That Black Lives Matter

The Educate to Liberate collective (comprised of conscious scholars, educators, activists and others aligned with an academic, liberation ideology), wholly salute the #MarchForOurLives movement for its inclusivity. We acknowledge this initiative as a powerful platform to prioritize both the uncompromising survivor spirit of Parkland students who were very recently victimized by gun violence; and to highlight the pivotal, unfiltered voices of Black youth, whose very existence has always been unjustly traumatized by violence. Given that violence is a tangible accompaniment and by-product of America’s embedded system of institutionalized racism, Black youth are passionate and informed advocates. Though all-too-often marginalized, the courageous voice and historic revolutionary activism of Black youth can now begin to duly earn a righteous position of esteem in the youth leadership canon. The recognition that Black lives, do indeed matter, is long overdue. And in order to truly be meaningful it is incumbent upon this and all other viable movements, to increasingly sustain deep inclusiveness to engender respect and/or to impact history as an authentic, revolutionary force of change.

It is an inarguable fact that Black youth have long laid an exemplary foundation with which to usher in this modern, clarion call for anti-violence activism and systemic change. The uncompromising, valued and painfully self-aware narratives of Black youth have repeatedly been sounded: in Oakland-on behalf of Oscar Grant; in Chicago-on behalf of Hadiya Pendleton; in Ferguson-on behalf of Mike Brown; in Baltimore-on behalf of Freddie Grey; and perhaps most tragically, in New York-as evidenced by Erica Garner’s unscripted, martyrdom-aligned supreme sacrifice on behalf of her unlawfully murdered father, Eric Garner. In fact, because the articulate and impassioned voices of Black youth have so long been ignored by mainstream media-it is glaringly apparent that the #MarchForOurLives youth movement stands on mighty shoulders.

Judging by the passion and eloquence of the conscious youth of all ethnicities able to utilize this national platform to our collective advantage, the selective omission of past injustice upon oppressed masses (in particular that of Black people), has clearly not been lost on this informed, social media armed and politically savvy generation. As a matter of documented record, today’s youth are literally screaming: “Representation Matters” in the most poignant ways conceivable, as they speak truth to power on behalf of the issues of gun reform, marginalization of the needs of American youth and misplaced political allegiances. Undoubtedly, the notion of inclusion is itself a Revolutionary act.

Based on the widespread success of the #MarchForOurLives initiatives around the country the empowered, collective message of our youth is clear: enough is indeed enough and it seems NRA funded politicians are being put on notice, at the same time the media is being duly forewarned that the whitewashing of the anti-violence movement, is unacceptable. It is both transparent and disingenuous for the mass media to continually capitalize upon the abject suffering of the Black masses in a vacuum as merely “a Black problem”. Violence in the Black community has been intentionally used as a means to further perpetuate the myth of White supremacy, exacerbate the oppression of impoverished schools, neighborhoods and/or to increasingly promote injustice, racism and the systemic extinction of Black people. Clearly gun violence (and the extremist right-wing, hate propaganda determined to have repeatedly fueled the countless young, White, terrorist shooters), has now officially backfired on America. As such, violence can no longer be falsely characterized as a norm of the Black experience, but is an unprecedented enigma which encompasses the entire American experience…

The #MarchForOurLives movement leaders are duly noted for their conscious, moral barometer and strategic, inclusive attempts to engage a few key voices of Black youth in this initiative. It is becoming more apparent that the experienced voices of Black people are no longer considered incidental to the youth leadership narrative, but rather worthy of a vital national platform of significance, which should have been here all the time. No longer will the Black experience be overwhelmingly ignored and omitted from the public platform of the national anti-violence stage. Our dues have been paid and our investment is in blood, sweat, tears and the incalculable loss of Black lives.

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And A Child Shall Lead Them…

The youth of America have spoken. Their message is loud and clear. And like @LittleMissFlint their impassioned plea and powerful, uncompromising leadership will resonate throughout the annals of history, as far more than just a mere 17-minutes, non-violent demonstration. The wave of meaningful student activism, sparked by the outspoken survivors of the most recent school shooting massacre (at the now infamous, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida), has only just begun to reveal the leadership potential of this savvy demographic. As the world watched, our children officially forged a firm place in international history on Wednesday, March 14, 2018 also known as #NationalWalkoutDay in concert with what is bound to morph into a formidable youth-led movement to stand the test of time. The simple yet significant takeaway from this historic movement? #Enough.

This entire generation was raised in the literal crossfire of countless episodes of school violence – rendered more disastrous by the widespread proliferation of U.S. assault weapons. Therefore, no other population is more acutely affected, painfully aware and ultimately more qualified to comprise this organic movement and address the prevalent U.S. school gun violence issue than our children. In terms of specific demands, the youth driven, @NationalSchoolWalkout platform realistically advocated for the following 3 Congressional actions:

-Ban assault weapons;

-Require universal background checks prior to gun sales;

-Pass pivotal gun violence legislation empowering U.S. courts to disarm people who display warning signs of violent behavior.

While students across the country marched to enact Revolutionary and grassroots level reforms to end gun violence and ensure school safety, the U.S. House of Representatives simultaneously passed a bill to fund security measures within our nation’s schools. This bipartisan bill was a definite start in the right direction, however it admittedly fell short of the intended goal due to its conspicuous lack of inclusion of any of the aforementioned platform demands. Of course, as a potential form of adult-inspired and nonsensical distraction, there is also an increasing debate about whether or not to arm teachers (who already suffer from the criminal absence of tangible resources and a respectful increase in meager pay wages to empower the successful education of our students), but alas…I digress. The most significant and newsworthy caveat to this powerful youth movement which bears mentioning for its admirable ‘Bad-Assness’, is that the youth overwhelmingly frown upon any form of traditional, sell-out, NRA-aligned, hence ‘deep political pockets’ financed gun control initiatives; but opt instead to ‘give the finger’ to the status quo, which openly prioritizes guns over their lives.

In a nutshell, our children are courageously paving the way for entire generations of seemingly clueless adults, as well as future generations yet to be born. The youth are righting the wrongs they unintentionally inherited from us-their beloved parents-and in the case of the #NationalSchoolWalkout movement, they are literally fighting for their lives. This radical changing of the guard is the fulfillment of prophecy of all successful movements and is – as it should be – an uncompromising force teeming with independent thought, interracial/intergenerational support and replete with lasting change agent capabilities. Our legendary Civil Rights Movement predecessors would be proud. I am wholly inspired and deeply ecstatic to witness this remarkable show of well organized, civil disobedience. As adults let’s agree to remove the limiting constraints of either Democrat or Republican party agendas and reserve our trademark and otherwise woefully misplaced judgment to simply stand in awe of our children’s collective ascendancy to leadership. Our future is in good, capable (and assault weapons-free), hands.

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White Supremacy in The Trump Era

The Metro Detroit area has always been marked by the racially divisive undertones of White v. Black separation and as so goes Detroit, the rest of the country mirrors this pattern. In a curious paradox, Detroit is just as noteworthy for our historic alignment to figures like Detroit Red/Malcolm X and the infamous Rebellion (erroneously referred to as a riot) in the 60s; as we are for the storied legacy of White Flight, segregated city and suburban population trends and for a history of active, continuous Klan activity in areas like Howell, Mason, and even within the heart of the city. With Detroit area locations like the Little Caesar’s Arena and area artists like Kid Rock serving as the veritable ‘poster child’ for confederate flag wearing forms of institutionalized oppression – it is timely for all Detroit area residents to #StayWoke and to continually #EducateToLiberate the marked surge in White supremacy in the Trump era, particularly as it manifests in this city.

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The age of Trump marks a curios surge in White supremacy activity nationwide and this area is certainly no exception. This weekend, Alt-Right attorney Kyle Bristow has convened a conference of like-minded White supremacists (to be held in a ‘secret’ location in Detroit), and this is not surprising given that this area is not unlike other metropolitan areas in this country, which have become a hub for White supremacist and neo-Nazi activities. Perhaps as a public and unprecedented show of the Trump administration’s support of such endeavors, Vice President Pence is uncharacteristically ‘visiting’ Detroit today as well…(things that make you go Hmmm).

As Bristow’s organization comprised exclusively of White men, Foundation for the Marketplace of Ideas, Inc. spearheads this White supremacist conference event and America’s de-facto, alt-right spokesperson Richard Spencer converges on the Michigan State University campus on Monday, March 5, 2018 – it is imperative for grassroots and social activists, city residents and all people of good conscience to #StayWoke and not be lulled into a haze of complacency or mis-guided media propaganda. Informed activists have always suspected that the Fox-led media leanings to the alt-right intentionally focuses public attention on that which is reactionary or insignificant, rather than ensuring that we as a people are well-informed and proactive in our knowledge base. Therefore, it is our responsibility to monitor and effectively ring the alarm of such incendiary, White supremacist activities as they crop up nationwide. The prevalent surge in White supremacy is a poignant reminder of our collective obligation to be mindful of all of the Holocaust reminiscent ‘ethnic cleansing’ tactics of the Trump administration and to #StayWoke as we conduct our everyday lives.

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The Chickens Keep Coming Home to Roost

We live in a country that so readily sensationalizes violence, rewards mediocrity and de-values education that mass destruction in our schools, at the hands of young people no less, is America’s collective and inevitable inheritance.

The presence of an NRA-financed, bought and paid for, Nazi-apologist President only exacerbates this nation’s problems. His failed leadership and that of our equally culpable electorate, increasingly frames the U.S. as the laughing-stock of global civilization. Mind you our educational system has long suffered this fate only now, our politics and day-to-day life matches our sub-standard regard for knowledge acquisition.

There is no secret that Mis-education is the American way. For far too long we have allowed education to be an afterthought of our economic and political priorities. Adding insult to injury, we have intentionally designed schools to overwhelmingly fail countless Black, brown and underprivileged students (erroneously thinking the repercussions would be limited to those communities), and via our insistence on ignoring the neon blinking signs – school safety is now a relic of the past. So, it really comes as no surprise that our children have begun to effectively mimic the sins of their fathers in opting to resort to AR-Rifles rather than a sound education, to command attention and respect.

When our “Shining Black Prince”, the beloved Malcolm X, El Hajj Malik El Shabazz, initially diagnosed America’s fate as synonymous with the inescapable reality of our own chickens coming home to roost in our very own corrupt and disreputable yard, he was widely disparaged for having been prophetic enough to speak the truth. Now that our children continue to die in mass numbers at the muzzle of assault weapons while in schools…the only real question at hand is how long must teachers, administrators and our children exist as sacrificial lambs at the altar of America’s contemptible priorities?