Posts Tagged ‘black-latino unity’

Historic Black Latino Summit Previews Power of Solidarity- & Intimacy

October 8, 2008

I had the privilege and pleasure to attend this week’s Black-Latino Summit (BLS) held in Los Angeles on Sunday and Monday. Organized by Policy Link and the William C. Velazquez Institute, the BLS brought together more than 500 black and Latino leaders and activists who spent 2 days debating and discussing the history and future and concerns and shared agenda of our respective communities.

To their credit, BLS organizers opted not to include the media in their event, which , I think, says much about the commitment to go beyond much of the foto op opportunism that usually passes for “Black-brown unity.” I believe they are sincerely trying to develop an agenda. While I’m not at liberty to provide details of the intense planning that took place, I can say that they distributed and discussed position papers (see the Summit web page) around a number of critical issues including criminal justice, education and jobs, immigration and several other issues. And issues of the spirit and heart were also at the center of discussions.

One preliminary learning I bring back with me has to do with the enormous challenge we have before us in terms of moving the ripples of such momentous events beyond the local discussion of the 500 attendees. More specifically, I realized that one of, perhaps the, primary antidotes to the mediation of black-Latino relations by the MSM is obvious, fundamental, yet elusive: intimacy. Listening to the attendees articulate and struggle with feelings, thoughts and plans, it became clear to me that we need to short circuit the electric organization of our senses and thoughts by our increasingly noxious media system, especially around race. The struggle to allow ourselves to be vulnerable within our selves and with others, is the best way I know to dispel and decimate the racial workings that really do divide us. More on this later. For now, stay tuned for the next, more public events of the BLS beginning with a followup meeting in Washington DC in the Spring, when the new President will be greeted with a well-thought out and defined agenda for the Blacks, Latinos and the entire country. Stay tuned to the BLS website.

Why State Violence Displayed in Immigration Raids, Sean Bell Case May Build Black-Latino Unity

May 21, 2008

Just look at those beautiful young people who united for something beyond Benetton. Will the media report that these black and Latino youth were at each other’s throats as they were hauled into the paddy wagon for protesting the violence perpetrated by the criminals who shot Sean Bell 50 times? Look. Look at them and what do you see? What does the press see?

I see how these young people involved in the civil disobedience, marches and other responses to the Sean Bell killing, the immigration raids and the deaths of immigrant detainees are marking a much-needed political and moral response to the very dangerous normalization of official violence on the part of local, state and federal law enforcement officials. The 50 bullets pumped into Shawn Bell by the NYPD and the devastation wrought on the 66 immigrants killed by the neglect and violence of the ICE and it private contractors, make painfully transparent that law enforcement is doing the 3 things it does best in times of profound economic crisis: repress, repress, and repress.

But in the process, the increased violence of local police, ICE agents and other government officials may help us move beyond the myths of “black-latino tensions” manufactured by the media.

Nicole Bell (wife of Sean Bell), Rev. Sharpton and the growing numbers of those taking on the state’s ongoing war on crime should accelerate discussion with those combating the army of interests undertaking -and profiting from-the war on immigrants. Making the connection between these two intersecting wars will do much to bypass the inanities and distractions of the “black-Latino tensions” manufactured by mainstream media as if it were a state-sanctioned propaganda ministry. Who benefits from diverting our attention from these commonalities in the black and Latino communities? Just look at this growing list of commonalities in our communities:

increased and ongoing official violence against unarmed members of our communities

imprisonment of large numbers of youth, men, women and others from poor communities

stock-indexed companies profiting handsomely from the industries that feed off of and plan for the incarceration of generations (ie; the future value of some prison stocks is projected out based on the grades of black and Latino 3rd graders)

rural communities in decline grow addicted to the economy of prisons

politicians reaping votes, campaign contributions and patronage from “get tough” politics targeting blacks and Latinos

Black and Latino elected officials in the Democratic party unwilling to say, much less do ANYTHING about the plague of violence and incarceration for fear of losing elections and appointments

These and other commonalities may, indeed, provide something of a foundation for a more informed and less infantile discussion about blacks and Latinos in the U.S.

Much more to follow on this, including stuff on what is to be done. So, please share your thoughts, plans, ideas and dreams. Now is the time.