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“A Peace Warrior”: Poet, Civil Rights Activist Maya Angelou Remembered by Sonia Sanchez

On the Pulse of Morning

A Rock, A River, A Tree
Hosts to species long since departed,
Marked the mastodon.

The dinosaur, who left dry tokens
Of their sojourn here
On our planet floor,
Any broad alarm of their hastening doom
Is lost in the gloom of dust and ages.

But today, the Rock cries out to us, clearly, forcefully,
Come, you may stand upon my
Back and face your distant destiny,
But seek no haven in my shadow.

I will give you no more hiding place down here.

You, created only a little lower than
The angels, have crouched too long in
The bruising darkness,
Have lain too long
Face down in ignorance.

Your mouths spilling words
Armed for slaughter.

The Rock cries out today, you may stand on me,
But do not hide your face.

Across the wall of the world,
A River sings a beautiful song,
Come rest here by my side.

Each of you a bordered country,
Delicate and strangely made proud,
Yet thrusting perpetually under siege.

Your armed struggles for profit
Have left collars of waste upon
My shore, currents of debris upon my breast.

Yet, today I call you to my riverside,
If you will study war no more. Come,

Clad in peace and I will sing the songs
The Creator gave to me when I and the
Tree and the stone were one.

Before cynicism was a bloody sear across your
Brow and when you yet knew you still
Knew nothing.

The River sings and sings on.

There is a true yearning to respond to
The singing River and the wise Rock.

So say the Asian, the Hispanic, the Jew
The African and Native American, the Sioux,
The Catholic, the Muslim, the French, the Greek
The Irish, the Rabbi, the Priest, the Sheikh,
The Gay, the Straight, the Preacher,
The privileged, the homeless, the Teacher.
They hear. They all hear
The speaking of the Tree.

Today, the first and last of every Tree
Speaks to humankind. Come to me, here beside the River.

Plant yourself beside me, here beside the River.

Each of you, descendant of some passed
On traveller, has been paid for.

You, who gave me my first name, you
Pawnee, Apache and Seneca, you
Cherokee Nation, who rested with me, then
Forced on bloody feet, left me to the employment of
Other seekers – desperate for gain,
Starving for gold.

You, the Turk, the Swede, the German, the Scot …
You the Ashanti, the Yoruba, the Kru, bought
Sold, stolen, arriving on a nightmare
Praying for a dream.

Here, root yourselves beside me.

I am the Tree planted by the River,
Which will not be moved.

I, the Rock, I the River, I the Tree I am yours – your Passages have been paid.

Lift up your faces, you have a piercing need
For this bright morning dawning for you.

History, despite its wrenching pain,
Cannot be unlived, and if faced
With courage, need not be lived again.

Lift up your eyes upon
The day breaking for you.

Give birth again
To the dream.

Women, children, men,
Take it into the palms of your hands.

Mold it into the shape of your most
Private need. Sculpt it into
The image of your most public self.
Lift up your hearts
Each new hour holds new chances
For new beginnings.

Do not be wedded forever
To fear, yoked eternally
To brutishness.

The horizon leans forward,
Offering you space to place new steps of change.
Here, on the pulse of this fine day
You may have the courage
To look up and out upon me, the
Rock, the River, the Tree, your country.

No less to Midas than the mendicant.

No less to you now than the mastodon then.

Here on the pulse of this new day
You may have the grace to look up and out
And into your sister’s eyes, into
Your brother’s face, your country
And say simply
Very simply
With hope
Good morning.

http://www.democracynow.org/2014/5/29/a_peace_warrior_poet_civil_rights

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Maya Angelou Dies at 86

Maya Angelou Dies at 86

Maya Angelou died at her home in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, on Wednesday, said her literary agent, Helen Brann. R.I.P. to a great one!

She was a poet, writer, professor, director, actress, dancer, singer and activist. In 2010, President Barack Obama named her the recipient of the Medal of Freedom, the country’s highest civilian honor.
She published seven autobiographies, three books of essays, and several books of poetry, and is credited with a list of plays, movies, and television shows spanning more than fifty years. She received dozens of awards and over thirty honorary doctoral degrees.

During her childhood while in the care of her grandmother Mrs. Bertha Flowers, she was introduced to authors such as Charles Dickens, William Shakespeare, Edgar Allan Poe, Douglas Johnson, and James Weldon Johnson, authors that would affect her life and career, as well as black female artists like Frances Harper, Anne Spencer, and Jessie Fauset.

While living in In Accra, Ghana she became close friends with Malcolm X during his visit in the early 1960s. Angelou returned to the U.S. in 1965 to help him build a new civil rights organization, the Organization of Afro-American Unity; he was assassinated shortly afterward. Devastated and adrift, she joined her brother in Hawaii, where she resumed her singing career, and then moved back to Los Angeles to focus on her writing career. She worked as a market researcher in Watts and witnessed the riots in the summer of 1965.

In 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. asked Angelou to organize a march. She agreed, but “postpones again”, and in what Gillespie calls “a macabre twist of fate”, he was assassinated on her 40th birthday (April 4). Devastated again, she was encouraged out of her depression by her friend James Baldwin. As Gillespie states, “If 1968 was a year of great pain, loss, and sadness, it was also the year when America first witnessed the breadth and depth of Maya Angelou’s spirit and creative genius”. Despite almost no experience, she wrote, produced, and narrated “Blacks, Blues, Black!”, a ten-part series of documentaries about the connection between blues music and black Americans’ African heritage and what Angelou called the “Africanisms still current in the U.S.” for National Educational Television, the precursor of PBS. Also in 1968, inspired at a dinner party she attended with good friend James Baldwin, cartoonist Jules Feiffer, and his wife Judy, and challenged by Random House editor Robert Loomis, she wrote her first autobiography, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, published in 1969, which brought her international recognition and acclaim.

She went on the write articles, short stories, TV scripts and documentaries, autobiographies and poetry, produced plays, and was named visiting professors of several colleges and universities. Angelou appeared in a supporting role in the television mini-series Roots. She was given a multitude of awards during this period, including over thirty honorary degrees from colleges and universities from all over the world.

In the late 1970s, Angelou met Oprah Winfrey when Winfrey was a TV anchor in Baltimore, Maryland; Angelou would later become Winfrey’s close friend and mentor. In 1993, Angelou recited her poem “On the Pulse of Morning” at the inauguration of President Bill Clinton, becoming the first poet to make an inaugural recitation since Robert Frost at John F. Kennedy’s inauguration in 1961. Angelou achieved her goal of directing a feature film in 1996, Down in the Delta, which featured actors such as Alfre Woodard and Wesley Snipes.

Over thirty years after Angelou began writing her life story, she completed her sixth autobiography A Song Flung Up to Heaven, in 2002. In 2013, at the age of 85, she published the seventh autobiography in her series, Mom & Me & Mom, which focused on her relationship with her mother.

She was a woman of many talents and a brilliant mind. She will forever be remembered.

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YesAllWomen: Rebecca Solnit on the Santa Barbara Massacre & Viral Response to Misogynist Violence

This world’s view on women will not change until our leaders think or are female and male feminists.
Santa Barbara is grieving after a 22-year-old man killed six college students just after posting a misogynistic video online vowing to take his revenge on women for sexually rejecting him. The massacre prompted an unprecedented reaction online with tens of thousands of women joining together to tell their stories of sexual violence, harassment and intimidation. By Sunday, the hashtag #YesAllWomen had gone viral. In speaking out, women were placing the shooting inside a broader context of misogynist violence that often goes ignored. In her new book, “Men Explain Things to Me,” author and historian Rebecca Solnit tackles this issue and many others. “We have an abundance of rape and violence against women in this country and on this Earth, though it’s almost never treated as a civil rights or human rights issue, or a crisis, or even a pattern,” Solnit says. “Violence doesn’t have a race, a class, a religion, or a nationality, but it does have a gender.”

Source: http://www.democracynow.org/2014/5/27/yesallwomen_rebecca_solnit_on_the_santa

As I listened to this man and his reasoning for killing, I automatically sensed how he felt entitlement as a male to women (their bodies). This is from culture, religion and/or the way boys are taught at a young age so seek women for pleasure, in which they should submit themselves to.

Now, not all men think this way. There are a large number of men who respect, love and appreciate what a woman has to offer in an equally distributed relationship whether it be strictly sexual or mental.

But, there are most men who feel women are here to serve their sexual needs. Sexism is real and rapes happen everyday. Voices of women are not to be shunned because she may have been drunk, dressed a certain way, knew her rapist or even had a relationship with in the past. No means No!

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Nigerian Official Says Location of Missing Girls Known

Nigerian Official Says Location of Missing Girls Known

A top military official in Nigeria has said officials have located the nearly 300 schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram, but will not risk going in with force to attempt a rescue. Air Marshal Alex Badeh reportedly made the remarks in the capital Abuja as demonstrators there rallied to demand the girls’ return. They have been missing for six weeks. U.S. military specialists have been participating in the search. Over the weekend, Nigeria was rocked by further violence, including an attack by gunmen in the northeast that killed 20 people at a market.

Source: http://www.democracynow.org/2014/5/27/headlines#5272

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Malik Ferraud Samples Tupac On New Single And Says “Changes” Still Need To Be Made

Song posted @ http://thesource.com/2014/05/21/malik-ferraud-samples-tupac-on-new-single-and-says-changes-still-need-to-be-made/
* Baltimore native Malik Ferraud brings light to personal and globally overlooked issues with his powerful new song, Changes.

Its sad that a young black man / artist as Malik Ferraud gets only a few | hundred views on his music while these so-called artists get thousands of plays for trashy music.

We as a ppl need to uplift and be uplifted by each other. He’s talking about real ish! Does anybody want to hear the truth?
Or do we just to be a society of dumbed-down bad bishes & ni66as…??

Malik Ferraud – “Changes” Prod. Black Diamond
6th Official Release From Upcoming LP (date/name TBA)

Twitter: @MalikFerraud
FB: Facebook.com/MalikFerraud
IG: @MalikFerraud

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Remembering Historian Vincent Harding, Who Drafted Dr. Martin Luther King’s Anti-Vietnam War Speech

He passed this Monday 5:19:14
R.I.P. to one of our greats ones…

Vincent Harding, the historian, author and civil rights activist died Monday at the age of 82. He was a friend and speechwriter for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and co-wrote King’s famous antiwar address, “Beyond Vietnam.”

Speaking on Democracy Now! in 2008, Vincent Harding talked about the speech:
“King saw the natural connection between what was happening to the poor in the U.S.A., why young men and women were rising up in anger, frustration, desperation, saw that action as deeply related to the attention that the country was paying to the devastation it was doing in Vietnam,” Harding said. “And so, King was actually trying to bring the country together to sense the relationship between its sickness at home to the sickness of its policy overseas.”

See other interviews at: http://www.democracynow.org/blog/2014/5/20/rip_vincent_g_harding_historian_who

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Brazil’s Dance With the Devil: Dave Zirin on the People’s Revolt Challenging 2014 World Cup

Via http://www.democracynow.org./2014/5/22/brazils_dance_with_the_devil_dave

In his new book, “Brazil’s Dance With the Devil: The World Cup, The Olympics and the Fight for Democracy,” sportswriter Dave Zirin tackles the growing unrest in Brazil in the leadup to one of sport’s biggest spectacles. Thousands of police officers have joined bus drivers for day two of a massive strike in São Paulo, just weeks before the World Cup is set to begin. Meanwhile, more than ten thousand people have occupied a lot next to one of the arenas that will host the World Cup’s opening match. They call their protest, “The People’s Cup” and are opposing the nearly half a billion dollars spent on the stadium, even as their communities lack adequate hospitals and schools. Demonstrations throughout the country have called attention to similar concerns. Zirin joins Democracy Now to discuss the protests rocking Brazil, as well as the biggest sporting controversy in the United States — the NBA’s attempt to oust owner Donald Sterling over his racist comments about African Americans. Zirin is a sports columnist for The Nation magazine and host of Edge of Sports Radio on Sirius/XM.

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Yasiin Bey Banned from entering the United States

Yasiin Bey Banned from entering the United States

Via http://thesource.com/2014/05/21/mos-def-banned-from-returning-to-the-united-states/

Together Boston, the music festival in the United States that Mos Def Yasiin Bey was set to perform at on May 15th, missed one of its headlining acts because Bey wasn’t allowed back into the United States. An official statement from the organization that curated the festival reads as follows:

We regret to inform you that due to immigration / legal issues Yasiin Bey is unable to enter back into the United States and his upcoming U.S. tour has been canceled, including May 15th, Together Boston’s show at The Wilbur Theatre. Individual ticket refunds for this show are available at point of sale.

Yasiin Bey’s interview w| Rolling Stone on his move to South Africa:

“So many fantastic people in almost every area of endeavor. And yet, I see the same dynamic people, many of them doubtful or fearful, or feeling like what they have to offer is beautiful only to them and not valued by the world, and that there’s not quite a place in the world for it. And I find it curious that all of this enthusiasm that all of the rest of the world has for Africa in general and South Africa in particular is not really shared as heartily by Africans themselves. I find that to be very, very, very curious. Because I’ve seen some beautiful places. I’ve been to Brazil numerous times, all throughout Asia, all throughout the best places in Europe, the best places in the States, even as far as some of Scandanavia. Amazing talent, amazing places. But nobody, excluding any place, is like Africa. Nobody. And that’s not a past-time or history, that’s today—the arts, the crafts, the thoughts, the concepts, the energy, the people that are comin out of this continent are unlike any other in the world”.

Now I wonder why the U.S. government wouldn’t let him back into the country… Maybe because he is a conscious hip hop artist who has something to say about the way in which the United States conducts foreign and at home policies when it comes to people of color and immigrants.

In this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GOb77uMIztM Yasiin Bey demonstrates, and is unable to go through fully with the process of force feeding prisoners in Guantánamo Bay.

He has spoken out loud against this corrupt government, and history has shown that people who do so are titled terrorists / criminals. This country and others alike feel the urgency to label persons who speak out consciously against governmental crimes, yes I said crimes by this government. Yasiin Bey and others who share the same humane thoughts for a better world are targeted and surveilled as if they’ve relinquished their right as citizens, as humans who have a right to privacy, free speech and minds of their own.

The U.S. government is the true terrorist.

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Bring Our Girls Back

Bring Our Girls Back

Via http://www.democracynow.org

The Nigerian government has reversed its rejection of talks with Boko Haram militants on freeing the nearly 300 kidnapped schoolgirls held captive for more than a month. On Tuesday, Nigerian Special Duties Minister Taminu Turaki said he is open to negotiations, including over the girls’ fate. The Nigerian government had previously dismissed an apparent offer from the Boko Haram to free the girls in return for the government’s release of the group’s jailed members. In Washington, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney confirmed U.S. forces are flying surveillance planes over Nigeria in a bid to find the girls. Carney also voiced opposition to ransom talks with the Boko Haram, but said the United States will follow Nigeria’s lead.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney: “We’re focused on working with the Nigerian government to locate and bring home those girls. That includes a team of individuals that I itemized yesterday. It also includes manned reconnaissance flights that I can confirm we are conducting in cooperation with the Nigerian government. When it comes to the approach to Boko Haram in this case, Nigeria of course has the lead, and we play a supporting role. It is the policy of the United States to deny kidnappers the benefits of their criminal acts, and that includes ransoms or concessions.”

Daily protests continue in Nigeria for the girls’ return. In Lagos, women’s rights activist Joei Odumakin vowed to march on the town where the girls were seized if they are not returned safely.

Joei Odumakin: “The girls must be rescued now, and that should be done while they are still alive. And that is the essence of this protest, and that’s why all of us are gathered here. And we are kickstarting with Lagos on Tuesday. We are moving to the east on Wednesday. That’s Enugu. Wednesday, we’ll be in Lokoja. Thursday, we’ll be in Onitsha, Onitsha and Kaduna. We are going to be in Jigawa. At the end of 14 days of the nationwide protests, if nothing is done, God forbid, all of us are going to protest half-naked inside Chibok. We are going there, and we are ready to lay down our lives.”