Racial Justice & Human Dignity

race fact sheet

Latest

  • Politicians Can Stop Police Killings, by Ben Jealous

    In presidential election years, most of the energy and focus goes to the top of the ticket. And that’s essential this year. But we can’t ignore the fact that we have been through a spring and summer of traumatizing televised murders of Black people.

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  • What’s at stake, by Ben Jealous

    The push by President Trump and Senate Republicans to pack the U.S. Supreme Court while ignoring the urgent needs of our community and our demands for justice is the ultimate evidence of how important this election is to America, especially to Black America.

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  • America's Moment of Reckoning: Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor & Cornel West on Uprising Against Racism

    Following the killing of George Floyd, West and Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor respond to the global uprising against racism and police violence. Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor is an American academic, writer, and activist. 

    This episode originally aired on July 3, 2020

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  • Danny Glover on George Floyd and Possibly Reviving ‘Lethal Weapon’

    In an exclusive interview with Nick Vivarelli from Variety magazine, Glover discusses immigration, the murder of George Floyd, the fight for racial justice, and how these narratives can be democratized through “cultural production.”

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  • Cornel West on This Moment of ‘Escalating Consciousness’ and the Need for Radical Democracy

    Salon’s Chauncey Devega talks with Cornel West.  “In this conversation, West counsels that the American people must prepare for a long and brutal reaction from the country's right-wing elites to the rising demands for social justice.”

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  • What Could Possibly Go Right: Episode 2 with Bill McKibben

    In this episode of What Could Possibly Go Right? Conversations with Cultural Scouts, host Vicki Robins interviews McKibben about our concurrent crises of climate change, the pandemic, and racial injustice, and the lessons we can glean to build solidarity to make systemic change.

    This episode originally aired on June 25, 2020

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  • What Stands in the Way of Making the Climate a Priority

    Inertia and vested interest, it seems to me, are the two forces that make changing the system for the better so rare. Once things are as they are, some group benefits from them-and that group usually has more of a stake in maintaining the status quo than others have in changing it. This article is part of McKibben’s New Yorker series, Annals of a Warming Planet

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  • Cornel West on Protest, Politics and More

    On radio WNYC's The Brian Lehrer Show, Cornell talks about the latest news surround the protests against racisim and police brutality.  

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  • Dr. Cornel West on Useful Idiots, Interview Only

    Dr. Cornel West joins Rolling Stone's Useful Idiots  for a wide-ranging conversation about his new podcast The Tightrope, what went wrong for Bernie’s campaign and why he had endorsed Sanders again in 2020, and the tactical efficacy of violent vs. nonviolent protesting.

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  • After the Floyd Murder: Are We Ready to Change?

    With the backdrop of his own history of involvement in the fight for civil rights, Zogby discusses why the protests against police violence today may be a sign that we are ready to fully address this country’s history.

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  • Solidarity Means Dismantling the System Everywhere

    Varoufakis joins Noam Chomsky, Aruna Roy, Elizabeth Gómez Alcorta, Ece Temelkuan, and Renata Avila among others in writing this piece on the infrastructure of racist policing for Open Democracy.

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  • Racism, Police Violence, and the Climate Are Not Separate Issues

    McKibben discusses the reasons why the two groups of Americans who care most about climate change are Latinx Americans and African-Americans.  This article is part of McKibben’s New Yorker series, Annals of a Warming Planet

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  • Former NAACP President Ben Jealous Calls for National Policing Standards

    Carlo Versano summarises Jealous’ interview with Cheddar on Tuesday [June 2, 2020] as cities across the country awoke from another night of civil unrest over the police killing of George Floyd, Jealous said that the anger that sparked the current wave of protests is as old as the country itself.

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  • Cornel West: Nationwide Uprisings Herald America's Moment of Reckoning

    As thousands across the country and around the world took to the streets this weekend to protest the state-sanctioned killing of Black community members, West says it signals the implosion of the U.S. empire, "its foundations being shaken with uprising from below."

    This episode originally aired on June 1, 2020

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  • A Boot is Crushing the Neck of American Democracy

    Here we go again. Another black person killed by the US police. Another wave of multiracial resistance. Another cycle of race talk on the corporate media. Another display of diversity with neoliberal leaders, and another white backlash soon to come. Yet this time might be a turning point. 

     

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  • Ben Jealous on The 11th Hour With Brian Williams

    Jealous argues that the fight against police brutality has been a multi-racial fight for generations and while the “spark” of these protests is police brutality, the “tinder” is economic injustice.

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  • Cornel West to Anderson Cooper on CNN: America is a Failed Social Experiment

    West discusses the protests following the murder of George Floyd, the breakdown of our capitalist and racist system, and the failure of the nation to deliver its citizens’ their most basic needs and rights.

    This video originally aired on May 29, 2020

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  • Nina Turner: Workers' Movement Grows as Sanitation, McDonald's Workers Strike

    On Rising with Krystal & Saagar, Senator Turner draws parallels between New Orleans sanitation workers' strike, and the Memphis sanitation strike led by Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968.

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  • 'Economic Viruses Were Already at Work Before Coronavirus': A Conversation with Dr. Cornel West

    In this episode of The Takeaway, West discusses Covid-19 and argues that ‘this crisis is just revealing the problems in our world, that have been simmering under the surface for years.’

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  • How the Arts Foster Community and Create Change

    In an area with such stark inequality as the Bay Area, with pressing human needs such as poverty and homelessness, why should foundations and philanthropists support artists and arts organizations? In this opinion piece, Danny Glover and Congresswoman Barbara Lee explore the important relationship between artists and their communities.

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  • Cornel West: There is 'a neo-fascist in the White House'

    Up Front host Mehdi Hasaan interviews West on issues of inequality, the escalation of white supremacy and the threat of neo fascism in America.

    This interview originally aired on November 29, 2019.

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  • Protecting Democracy – An Interview with Sen. Nina Turner

    In this wide-ranging interview, Senator Turner discusses civic engagement, building the electoral and political power of black women, and healthcare disparities, with Terri L. Crawford of The Omaha Star.

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  • Cornel West on Hope and Resistance in the Age of Trump: We Must "Find Joy in the Struggle"

    Salon’s Chauncey Devega interviews West on why he criticized Obama, why he's backing Bernie and how black people taught America love.

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  • If You Are Black and in a Mental Health Crisis, 911 Can Be a Death Sentence

    There’s a pattern of black families calling the police for a relative in a mental health crisis - and the police then kill that person.  King is a regular contributor to The Intercept.

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  • Bounty Hunters Are a Lethal Weapon in a Justice System Corrupted by Money

    A group of bounty hunters and bondsmen, in pursuit of money, killed an innocent man in Tennessee. They were mostly let off by a jury.  King is a regular contributor to The Intercept.

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  • Racism Is an Impeachable Offense

    In a better time, his (Trump’s) racist behavior would have prevented him from ever being elected, but here we are. He’s president and now he’s openly carrying that bigotry right into the Oval Office.  King is a regular contributor to The Intercept.

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  • Actor Danny Glover: My parents proudly worked for the US Postal Service. Don't destroy it.

    African Americans have the most to lose from Postal Service cuts and the most to gain from innovative reforms that help the poor, like postal banking. In this opinion piece, Danny Glover talks about the Postal Service and its continued importance to Black communities.

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  • Mass Shootings, Dinner, and the Cognitive Dissonance of Just Living in America

    To get through dinner, a movie, or a game, we must temporarily suspend our knowledge that people are being slaughtered all around us. King is a regular contributor to The Intercept.

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  • The Big Ideas: What is Power?

    In this interview by Professor George Yancy, West talks about power and love. ‘Power Is Everywhere, but Love Is Supreme.  Even when intellectual, moral and spiritual power are under siege, they have the potential to be the most profound.’  Yancy is a professor at Emory University.

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  • Civil Rights, Immigration & Human Dignity

    Civil rights, immigration, climate change, and the economy - all are connected and tied directly to the issues of justice and human rights.

    At the Sanders Institute Gathering, Dr. Jim Zogby moderated a panel on civil rights, immigration, and human dignity with Dr. Radhika Balakrishnan, Representative Tulsi Gabbard, Susan Sarandon, and Ben Jealous. The panelists talked about how climate change and economic injustice are creating conflicts across the world and contributing to mass migration. This in turn has impacted several countries fostering xenophobic far-right movements. They discussed the importance of judging a country's economy, not on how large it is, but on whether it is just and meets the test of providing equal opportunity for all. And they talked about the history of the United States and how genocide against indigenous peoples, indentured servitude, slavery, and disenfranchisement defined the United States' beginning and still shapes our social and our political realities.

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  • My Morehouse Brother Chinedu Okobi Died After Being Electrocuted by Police. Tasers Are Not “Less Lethal” Weapons.

    In this article, Shaun King describes the death of a classmate by taser. King decries the use of excessive violence in the United States - whether it is through guns, tasers, or other means - and demonstrates how this excessive violence has a vastly disparate effect on black and brown communities than it does on white communities.  

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  • Ben Jealous Talks Run For Governor Of Maryland, NAACP Presidency, Funding Education & More

    In a wide-ranging interview on Breakfast Club Power 105.1 FM, Jealous discusses his campaign for Governor, properly funding education, and the role of the NAACP.

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  • The Best Evidence That the NFL Effectively Banned Colin Kaepernick? His Name Is Eric Reid.

    In this article, Shaun King makes the case for racism against two men, Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid, who should be playing in the NFL right now, but lost everything because they knelt in protest during the national anthem. 

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  • Senator Nina Turner Speaks at the Inaugural She the People Summit

    Senator Turner talks about the power of love bringing together “women of a rainbow mosaic” to  challenge the systemic injustices of our nation.

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  • Why We Should Be Protesting the National Anthem

    So let me say it: I am protesting the anthem.

    I am protesting its deeply bigoted author - who owned human beings for convenience and profit.

    And I am protesting injustice in this nation on behalf of so many families that continue to experience systematic racism, police brutality, and inequality — all while others expect us to get up and sing with a heart full of happiness.

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  • Harry Belafonte and ‘The Long Road to Freedom’

    On the anniversary of the March on Washington, YES! reporter Sarah Van Gelder revisits an interview with the musician and civil rights activist about his anthology of Black music.  This story from the YES! Media archives was originally published in the Spring 2002 issue of YES! Magazine.

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  • Nina Turner on Strengthening the Democratic Party, Her New Podcast, Bernie Sanders, and More

    Senator Turner joins The Breakfast Club to discuss investing in a new social contract for America, transforming the Democratic Party, and empowering the human dignity of people of all races.

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  • Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Leads Legislation to Expand Nationwide Domestic Violence Prevention and Protection

     “Every year in Hawai‘i, more than 50,000 women are victims of domestic violence. While domestic violence continues to be an epidemic in our country and we have much more work to do, funding through the Violence Against Women Act has been critical to providing survivors and their families with resources, support, and care and also holding those responsible accountable. However these funds run out on September 30th - there is no time to waste. Congress needs to rise above partisan politics and come together to pass this life-saving legislation now.”

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  • Conversation with Harry Belafonte on Art and Activism

    In this public conversation at the historic Hostos Center for the Arts & Culture, presented by Red Bull Music and Jill Newman Productions, Harry Belafonte speeks with writer and curator Kimberly Drew about balancing art and activism, legacy and the power of folk art.

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  • To Realize Martin Luther King Jr.’s Dream, White America Needs To Change Course

    To mark the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination, special correspondent Charlayne Hunter-Gault sits down with one of his closest friends, artist and activist Harry Belafonte, who remembers how they met and what made King so special, as well as why he says America is more racially divided than any other moment in his life.

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  • MLK Called For a Revolution of Values

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  • 'King in the Wilderness' Trailer

    "It is not so important how long you live, it is important how well you live." Premiering in April of 2018, this documentary follows Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. during the last few years of his life, from the vital role he played in the Voting Rights Act of 1965 to his assassination in 1968. 

  • Beyond 'The Talk': How I Plan To Address Police Violence in Black Communities

    My son is only 5 years old and we’ve already had “the talk.” I can recall being a little older when my grandfather, a probation officer, had the same talk with me. It’s the same talk that has been given time and again in black families following the deaths of Eric Garner, Terence Crutcher and Michael Brown, all unarmed black civilians who lost their lives at the hands of police.

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  • Harry Belafonte On His Inspirations, Activism, and Confronting Racism

    "Artists are the gatekeepers of truth." 

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  • Roma and African Americans share a common struggle

    Despite the abolition of Roma and African American slavery, criminalization and demonization continues

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  • Ben Jealous Reminds Us to ‘Agitate!’ on Frederick Douglass’ 200th Birthday

    A few weeks before his death, 77-year-old Frederick Douglass was asked what advice he would give to a young black American.

    “Agitate! Agitate! Agitate!” was his reply.

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  • Mass Incarceration Imprisons More Lives Than Just Those Behind Bars

    There are over 2.2 million families in America for whom the holiday season is extremely difficult. As co-workers, fellow parishioners, friends and colleagues wish them happy holidays and inquire whether they will be getting together with family, they cringe and struggle to respond in a way that does not reveal that for them the holidays are a harsh reminder of the pain, separation and loneliness that incarceration means for them. For them, there is no holiday dinner at a nice restaurant, shopping outing for gifts, decorating a tree or attending a religious service. On New Year’s Eve they will not share a kiss at midnight or hold each other tightly. In fact, the words “Happy New Year” ring hollow and reopen the wounds of separation.

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  • Dr. Cornel West Reflects on 25th Anniversary of Seminal Book

    In 1993, Dr. Cornel West released his classic Race Matters, which immediately became a best-seller and situated him as one of the most important Black intellectuals of our time.

    Tags: Race Matters
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  • Creating a Culture of Sustainable Activism

    On Martin Luther King Jr. day, actor, activist, and Founding Fellow of the Sanders Institute Danny Glover received the President's Award at the NAACP Image Awards held on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, which highlight the work of people of color in film, TV and other fields. 

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  • Harry Belafonte, who will visit USF, Reflects on Friendship with Martin Luther King Jr.

    In this interview with Tampa Bay Times reporter Piper Castillo, Belafonte reflects on his intellectual interests, Martin Luther King Jr.’s speeches and legacy, and civic engagement.

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  • Danny Glover on Kamau Right Now! Live from Laney College

    On August 17th, 2017 Danny Glover participated in a live podcast recording of "Kamau Right Now!" with comedian Irene Tu and Anita Sarkeesian, founder of Feminist Frequency.  “Kamau Right Now!,” a debate, discussion and comedy show, records in front of a live audience and broadcasts on San Francisco’s KALW, the oldest FM station west of the Mississippi.

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  • Video & Transcript: The Consumer Watchdog Rage for Justice Awards 2017

    Consumer Watchdog hosts the Rage for Justice Awards to honor the heroes and heroines of the public interest movement. The awards are named after Congressman Phillip Burton, one of the most productive and driven progressive legislators in American history. His story is told in John Jacobs’ acclaimed book A Rage for Justice.

    This year's honorees included Bernie & Jane Sanders, Chris Spagnoli, and Jackson Browne.

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  • Facts About The Death Penalty

    There have been 1448 executions in the United States since 1976. 

    This fact sheet covers some key facts and figures about the death penalty, from which 31 states have the death penalty, to the discrepancies between races of the defendants who are executed and the race of the victims in death penalty cases. It specifically looks at racial discrepancies within the criminal justice system overall and within certain states. 

    DeathPenalty Race Facts

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  • Senator Bernie Sanders' MLK Address

    On MLK day 2017 Senator Sanders gave a speech recognizing the work done by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. including issues that he fought for that are still relevant to politics today.

    The Senator addresses the vision that many people have of MLK and talks about some of his less well known, but still important, initiatives. "It is easy for us today in the year 2017 as the whole country celebrates Dr. King to forget that in the last few years of his life if you think that Governors and Senators and Mayors were standing up saying what a great man Dr. King was, read history because you are sorely mistaken." Senator Sanders specifically looks at Dr. Martin Luther King's commitment to poor people and protests against the Vietnam war in the last years of his life.

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  • Senator Nina Turner At The We Will Not Be Moved Rally

    On Saturday January 14th, 2017, former Ohio State Senator Nina Turner delivered a speech in front of the Martin Luther King Jr. memorial in Washington D.C. at National Action Network's We Will Not Be Moved rally. 

    She calls on the crowd to not be discouraged by the situation that they find themselves in. Rather, they should look back at where they and their ancestors have come from and gain courage from that struggle and many of the successes that have led to a better (but not yet perfect) world. 

    Senator Turner also mentions other groups including the LGBTQ community as well as the hispanic and latino community that are with the African American community fighting for "social, economic, and political justice." She states that: “We may not have gotten here on the same ship but we are in the same boat right now.” 

    Tags: Civil Rights
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  • Beyond Berets: The Black Panthers as Health Activists

    This article from the American Journal of Public Medicine describes a little-known aspect of the Black Panthers: Their dedication to health as a human right.

    "The Party took up the right to health... its vision hewed closely to the fundamentally radical idea that achieving health for all demands a more just and equitable world. To model ways in which such a world might work, the Black Panthers opened free health clinics across the country. Eventually 13 were established."

    The Black Panther party saw the lack of healthcare as another injustice that kept oppressed people oppressed and fought to change that situation for all oppressed people in America.

    The article ends by connecting this vision to the protestors and progressive movements of today, "That health is a right, not a privilege, remains true. It is a proud legacy, one built by many, still unachieved, and still worth fighting for today."

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  • Harry Belafonte: Movements Don't Die

    Harry Belafonte has been an activist for his entire life. He grew up in Harlem surrounded by activist leaders and went on to be a critical part of the Civil Rights Movement.

    This article describes his thinking about the continuation of activism and movements in the US and around the world. 

    Belafonte has not stopped being an activist, even with 90 years under his belt. In fact he recently led a music festival to support his charity Sankofa.org and encourage young artists to speak out about current issues. Belafonte believes that while there is an increasing number of black artists and athletes, they have a duty to speak out about the issues in the black community. 

    Ultimately, Belafonte will never stop being an activist and galvanizing people to speak about issues that are important to them and their communities.: "The same things needed now are the same things needed before,” he went on. “Movements don’t die because struggle doesn’t die.”

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  • What Former Presidential Candidate Shirley Chisholm Said About Facing Gender Discrimination

    This article from PBS delves into Representative Shirley Chisholm's presidential run in 1972. She made history as the first African American woman elected to the House of representatives and then again when she was the first African American woman to run for president.

    She was not only an advocate for African American rights, she saw her role in advocating for all Americans. “I am not the candidate of black America, although I am black and proud...,I am not the candidate of the women’s movement of this country, although I am a woman, and I am equally proud of that. I am the candidate of the people of America.”

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  • Harry Belafonte On Kaepernick's National Anthem Protest

    In this interview, Harry Belafonte describes his reaction to the Kaepernick National Anthem Protest - where Kaepernick took a knee during the national anthem in protest against the treatment of African Americans in the United States. 

    Belafonte states that he thinks that Kaepernick was not only right in doing it but that it was a "noble and courageous act." He states, "It takes a lot of courage to stand up in the face of that onslaught and not bend to the wind."

    The backlash that Kaepernick has received due to his protest is very similar to situations that Belafonte found himself in during the height of his career. Belafonte describes that during his most successful years, "The machinery of oppression was always trying to discredit me" by attempting to portray him as a communist and anti-American.

    Belafonte ends the interview by describing his disappointment that other black athletes and celebrities have not joined Kaepernick in his protest and brought to light more African American issues. 

    Tags: NFL, Civil Rights
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  • Ben Jealous On Race Relations In The U.S. Today

    In this interview with CBSN, Ben Jealous reacts to some of the prominent events and issues around race relations in the United States.

    First, he is questioned about a recent poll that indicates that almost seven-in-ten Americans think that race relations in this country are bad. Jealous points to the unprecedented sadness and rawness that characterized the 2016 presidential debate. 

    Next, Jealous addresses the Black Lives Matter movement. He sees BLM as a continuation of many of the early civil rights movements - with a tradition of truth telling and shedding light on localities that are not performing morally in order to "take our country to a higher and better place." When asked why BLM does not have a unified message, Jealous points out, that when you step back from the individual protestors and individual tweets, the BLM movement has a very strong message: that "Black Lives Matter" and that the police killings have to stop. 

    When asked about celebrities talking about this issue, Jealous supports their actions. Many people, especially children, look to athletes and celebrities as their heroes. Jealous states that for these "heroes" to come out and say "I am afraid too" can help galvanize people who look up to them - "I am your hero and now I need you to be my hero and join with all of us to help move this country forward."

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  • Reparatory Justice

    On March 29 2016 Danny Glover gave a speech to the OAS countries. 

    In it, he reflects on his life, his heritage and the experience of Afro-Descendants - not only in the United States but across the world.

    "In my country, the United States of America, which is the richest and arguably most developed country of the world, there are forty-million Afro Descendants, many of Caribbean and Latin American heritage. On a daily basis, U.S. news is inundated with disturbing and saddening stories of Black women and men, particularly the young, being killed by law enforcement officers and vigilantes or being incarcerated; of young black people facing high rates of under and unemployment, poverty, lack of access to education and health care, and consequently succumbing to high rates of illness and death. The current state of democracy, justice, and socio-economic development for Afro Descendants in the United States is disappointing and tragic."

    He ends his speech with three calls: a call for respect, a call for justice, and a call for development.

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  • Full Speech at MLK Now Event

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  • Black Lives Matter: Eliminating Racial Inequity In The Criminal Justice System

    "Like an avalanche, racial disparity grows cumulatively as people traverse the criminal justice system. This report identifies four key features of the criminal justice system that produce racially unequal outcomes and showcases initiatives to abate these sources of inequity in adult and juvenile justice systems around the country."

    This paper stresses three conclusions:

    1) Criminal justice practitioners’ use of discretion is - often unintentionally – influenced by racial bias.

    2) Key segments of the criminal justice system are underfunded, putting blacks and Latinos – who are disproportionately low-income – at a disadvantage.

    3) Criminal justice policies exacerbate socioeconomic inequalities by imposing collateral consequences on those with criminal records and by diverting public spending.

    Sentencing Project Chances of Incarceration

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  • No More Fear: It’s Time To Reform Policing In Baltimore

    In this article, Ben Jealous looks at a specific encounter that an African American woman, Ashley Overbey, had with the police in Baltimore. He uses it as an example of why the police system in this country, and particularly in Baltimore, needs to be changed. 

    Jealous points to a report released by grassroots activists and community organizations in Baltimore that suggests six reforms for policing in Baltimore:

    1) Fire police officers who have demonstrated corruption or unnecessary violence

    2) Remove the “gag order” on victims of police misconduct that silenced Ashley Overbey

    3) Speed up the distribution of body cameras

    4) Promote community policing; publish all police department policies online

    5) Improve de-escalation training

    Jealous uses Cincinnati as an example that this sort of reform can happen. "In response to community demands, the department shifted to a community-policing model, encouraged officers to interact more with community members, started tracking officers who received an abnormal number of complaints and took steps to improve transparency." He states that "Over the next 15 years, Cincinnati saw a 69 percent drop in police use-of-force incidents, a 42 percent drop in citizen complaints and a 56 percent drop in injuries experienced by citizens during encounters with police. Importantly, violent crime dropped from a high of 4,137 incidents in the year after Timothy Thomas’ death to 2,352 incidents in 2014."

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  • Dr. Cornel West And Chris Hedges In Conversation: Wages Of Rebellion

    In his new book, Wages of Rebellion, Chris Hedges-who has long chronicled the malaise of a society in moral decline — investigates what social and psychological factors cause revolution, rebellion, and resistance. In what was a timely and thought-provoking conversation, Cornel West engaged Hedges’ on his message that popular uprisings in the United States and around the world are inevitable in the face of environmental destruction and wealth polarization and together discuss the moral imperative of revolt.

    This conversation challenges and questions ideas of political correctness, anti-establishment movements, global climate change, and capitalism itself.

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  • Danny Glover And The New Civil Rights Movement

    In this video, Chris Hayes speaks with Danny Glover about the evolution of the civil rights movement in the 1960s to the modern Black Lives Matter movement.

    Glover points out that many of the issues that were being fought in the 60s are still being fought today and that the continual struggle has been to "change the narrative" for persons of color in the United States. He specifically calls for focus on tangible issues - How political decisions will change people's lives.

    He also describes that protests have been successful before - from many of the successes of the civil rights movement to the ways in which protests changed how the Vietnam war was reported and therefore, how the American public reacted to it. Today, there are different instruments for protests (e.g. social media). However, that does not change their power.

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  • Understanding the Environmental Contexts of Boys and Young Men of Color

    The environments in which children grow up profoundly shape their socio-emotional health and development and set the stage for future success.

    This essay provides a framework for understanding how various settings influence lives of boys and young men of color. Failure to take these environments into account treats the problems experienced by this group as entirely of their own making and ignores the role that external forces play in contributing to poor outcomes. This essay provides a context for future research and analysis, in hopes that it will examine the lives and circumstances of boys and young men of color using more complex and nuanced perspectives.

    Influence Circle

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  • The Battle To Protect The Vote

    In this report, Ben Jealous and his colleague Ryan Haygood investigate the effects of the Supreme Court's 2013 decision Shelby County, Alabama v. Holder that "invalidated core protections in the Voting Rights Act"

    They specifically look at 5 states that enacted laws that would have been, or were, considered discriminatory and therefore would not have been put into effect for the 2014 elections. These states are: Texas, Alabama, North Carolina, Virginia, and Georgia

    The report finds that "it is clear that the number of people predicted to face increased difficulties in voting during this election either approaches or exceeds the margins of victory for competitive statewide races." In addition, "Consistent with a recent report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office, or GAO, finding that photo ID laws lower voter turnout, especially among voters of color."

    Battle Vote Table 1

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  • Dr. Cornel West on Icons of African American History

    A week after his arrest during protests in Ferguson, Dr. Cornel WestUnion Theological Seminary professor, and author of (in dialogue with and edited by Christa Buschendorf) Black Prophetic Fire (Beacon Press, 2014), talks about his latest work, a reexamination of the lives and legacies of leading black activists Frederick Douglass, W. E. B. Du Bois, Martin Luther King Jr., Ella Baker, Malcolm X, and Ida B. Wells - and what today’s civil rights activists need to remember about them.

    This interview originally appeared on WNYC on October 21, 2014.

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  • The Black Power Mixtape: A Conversation at The New School

    The New School (http://www.newschool.edu) and Haymarket Books (http://www.haymarketbooks.org) present: Danny Glover, Kathleen Cleaver, and Brian Jones discussing the new book: The Black Power Mixtape: 1967-1975. Moderated by School of Media Studies Assistant Professor, Michelle Materre.

    The Black Power Mixtape: 1967 -- 1975 is an extraordinary window into the black freedom struggle in the United States, offering a treasure trove of fresh archival information about the Black Power movement from 1967 to 1975 and vivid portraits of some of its most dynamic participants, including Angela Davis and Stokely Carmichael. The book - like the documentary film that inspired it — includes historical speeches and interviews by: Stokely Carmichael (Kwame Ture), Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Eldridge Cleaver, Bobby Seale, Huey P. Newton, Emile de Antonio, and Angela Davis. And it also features new commentary voiced by: Erykah Badu, Talib Kweli, Harry Belafonte, Kathleen Cleaver, Angela Davis, Robin Kelley, Abiodun Oyewole, Sonia Sanchez, Bobby Seale, John Forte, and Questlove.

    Presented by the New School for Public Engagement | http://www.newschool.edu/public-engag... The Black Power Mixtape available at: http://www.haymarketbooks.org/pb/The-... Location: The Auditorium, Alvin Johnson/J.M. Kaplan Hall Monday, May 5 2014 at 8 pm

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  • It’s Time To End Profiling Of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual And Transgender People Of Color

    The fight against profiling by law enforcement is at a critical moment. Ben Jealous talks about racial profiling, the steps that have been taken to mitigate it, and the steps that still need to be taken to get rid of it. 

    Jealous states that "Members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community are significantly overrepresented in all aspects of the penal system." The problem is even worse for LGBT individuals of color who face multiple types of discrimination. Jealous believes that this racial profiling demands a response from the federal government. He suggests that that the federal government:

    1) Ensures that protections against all forms of profiling extend across the country by linking funding to the adoption of bans on profiling.

    2) Encourage prosecutors to stop confiscating and citing possession of condoms as evidence.

    3) End immigration-enforcement programs that encourage and expand the consequences of discriminatory profiling. 

    Jealous ends with the statement "We need to end institutionalized homophobia and transphobia, just as we need to end institutionalized racism. Let us be sure to leave no one behind."

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  • Race Is Fiction. Racism Is Not.

    In this Tedx talk, Francys Johnson looks at the promises that the United States of American has made to its citizens through its ideals, and founding documents, and yet how through racists laws and policies, a large segment has heed restricted from many of those ideals - among them: "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."

    Johnson states that there are three things that he knows about American racism:

    1. Race itself is a fiction. There is no scientific, biological, proof of different races and in actuality, race is a complete social construct. Therefore, “All persons possess the same faculties for attaining the highest levels of intellectual, economic, political, social, and educational achievements” and where there are gaps they are not on account of the color of a person’s skin. They cannot be attributed to race but they can be attributed to racism and discrimination.
    2. Racism matters. Race plays and exaggerated role in American culture and in Americans's lives, especially those of African Americans who have higher chance of dying during infancy, mothers not having pre-natal care, fathers more likely to be unemployed, (and those who are employed can expect to earn only 72% of their white counterparts.) They are more likely to attend underperforming schools, more likely to be treated differently in the criminal justice system - whether they are tried as a juvenile or not, what kind of plea bargains they are given, if they will be tried under the death penalty. 
    3. People matter more. There are many values put forward by America's founding documents that are shared by all Americans. Johnson states that if we put people over politics (who gets what when where and how) we will find the solution to overcoming race.

    Ultimately, Johnson believes that "We have the ability to struggle with and confront race and deconstruct it where it legally exists. We need to stop separating people. If we root out and destroy any benefit created by race classification, it is only then that we will overcome it."

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  • Harry Belafonte NAACP Award Speech

    In 2013, Harry Belafonte was awarded the Spingarn Medal by the NAACP. The Spingarn Medal is awarded annually by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) for outstanding achievement by an African American.

    In his acceptance speech, Harry Belafonte call upon all artists to use their art and their positions as celebrities to address many of the unfairness and discrimination leveled at the black community. Belafonte specifically focuses on gun and criminal justice issues.

    He points out that "The group most devastated by America’ obsession with the gun is African Americans" and that the majority of the prison population in the United States is African American. When white America talks about Constitutional rights, no one is talking about the "Racial carnage" that is affecting the black America. 

    Belafonte ends his speech calling on the artist community to make a difference: "Our nation hungers for today’s artists radical songs. Let us not sit back silently. Let us not be charged with patriotic treason...Our children, those who are waiting in the prisons of America are waiting for us to change the system."

     

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  • Danny Glover On His Documentary: The House I Live In

    In this interview, Danny Glover talks about the documentary "The House I Live In" and the broader societal issues that are addressed in the documentary about the war on drugs that Glover summarizes with the statement: “The war on drugs is not a war on drugs itself, it is a war on people.”

    The issues that Glover specifically mentions are the rotating prison pipeline where individuals "are caught up in this perpetual chain of in and out of jail", the disenfranchisement of the population who has served time in jail, and ultimately the "unintended consequences of [the war on drugs] policy" that has adversely affected the African American community. 

    Glover mentions that it is important for society to take a step back and conduct a civilized conversation about this situation. He states that "we have abandoned certain groups and said that the value of their live if not as important as the value of someone else" and therefore, it is important for people have conversations about their experiences and humanize that population. In so doing, we can raise awareness about the policy, its effects, and demand change.

    He believes that we need to take a step back and question the status quo.

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  • Interview: Faced With Oppression, I Had To Act

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  • Sing Your Song

    Sing Your Song is an up close look at a great American, Harry Belafonte. A patriot to the last and a champion for worldwide human rights, Belafonte is one of the truly heroic cultural and political figures of the past 60 years. Told from Harry’s point of view, the film charts his life from a boy born in New York and raised in Jamaica, who returns to Harlem in his early teens where he discovers the American Negro Theater and the magic of performing.

    From there the film follows Belafonte’s rise from the jazz and folk clubs of Greenwich Village and Harlem to his emergence as a star. However, even as a superstar, the life of a black man in 1960s America was far from easy and Belafonte was confronted with the same Jim Crow laws and prejudices that every other black man, woman and child in America was facing.

    Among other things, the film presents a brief look at the Civil Rights Movement through the eyes of an insider, someone who despite his high profile, wasn’t afraid to spend time in the trenches.

    From Harlem to Mississippi to Africa and South Central Los Angeles, Sing Your Song takes us on a journey through Harry Belafonte’s life, work and most of all, his conscience, as it inspires us all to action!

  • Danny Glover And Göran Olsson Talk 'The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975'

    In this video "Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975" Director Göran Olsson and Producer Danny Glover sit down and talk about the film and why the ideas that were brought to light by the Black Power Movement are still relevant today.

    They begin with a discussion of how the film came about - through a discovery of high quality footage of prominent Black Power leaders in Swedish archives and then discussions with prominent individuals like Danny Glover who were exposed to the Black Power, its leaders, and ideas during their youths. 

    Glover explains that the importance of this documentary is not only showing more footage of the Black Power Movement - it is changing and challenging the accepted narrative of the movement. He describes that this footage gives viewers a glimpse into these people's minds in a much more humanized way than the history books teach. The film educates, enlightens, and will hopefully spark conversation about that period in time and the Black Power movement. 

    Glover also points out that the ultimate goal of the Black Power Movement was "a re-imagining" of democracy; this is a goal that did not start with the Black Power Movement, or the Civil Rights Movement, and it has not ended. Glover states that there are always issues in this country that need to be challenged - unemployment, and women's rights, through to senior citizens rights. He believes that this documentary provides its watchers with an opportunity to take what they can learn from the Black Power Movement and apply it to their own lives.

    The video ends with a conversation about the power of film.

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  • Harry Belafonte Reflects On Life As A Singer, Actor, And Activist

    In this interview, Harry Belafonte reflects on his life as an activist, singer, and actor, and describes that to him, they are not separate career paths. 

    Belafonte explains that "What attracted me to the arts was that I saw theater as a social force, a political force."

    He goes on to explain his relationships with some of the leaders of the Civil Rights Movement, his friendship and connection with MLK. He even speaks about King's legacy beyond just the United States. 

    When asked about his connection to leaders around the world who have not consistently been seen as American allies, he defends his choice by saying that it is important to be open to people from all over the world who have different view points than ours. 

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  • The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975

    The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975 is a documentary directed by Goran Hugo Olsson and co-produced by Danny Glover.  It was created using archival footage of from the time period including footage of interviews of prominent leaders in the Black Power community. 

    The documentary follows prominent events in the Black Power movement from 1967 through to 1975 while using voiceovers from those at the time, as well as modern individuals. 

    It includes interviews of prominent Black Power movement leaders including Stokely Carmichael, Bobby Seale, Angela Davis and Eldridge Cleaver who talked both about the events that they were experiencing at the time (e.g. Angela Davis' incarceration) as well as the broader ideas and ideals of the Black Power movement. 

    The result is a clear depiction ot the evolution of the Black Power movement through a very tumultuous time in American history. 

    To watch the full documentary, click here.

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