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Archive for the ‘women of color’ Category

—> —>  Click here: Mumia_Youth_Rising_2000 to get a closer look at this striking piece of movement literature produced by SLAM! members along with high school student activist interns for a massive hip-hop concert at Hunter College in June 2000. The magazine features an interview with organizer Rachèl LaForest, a poem by Suheir Hammad, an article by Mumia Abu-Jamal, articles by the high school students, and more!

Click on the bold, red text above to see the entire, full-size pdf!

YRfreeYRcoverSuheirPoem

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Download this new pamphlet as a pdf for reading by clicking here, or the printable version by clicking here. See the end of this post for helpful printing instructions.

Less than a year after the global justice movement dramatically announced its arrival in the U.S. by shutting down the World Trade Organization meetings in Seattle, thousands of activists from the global justice movement took the streets of Philadelphia for direct action against police brutality and the prison industrial complex on August 1, 2000, during the Republican National Convention. We called it R2K. SLAM members were instrumental in the planning and participation.

With “Where Was the Color in Seattle?” Elizabeth “Betita” Martinez challenged the emerging global justice movement to grow its roots deep. SLAM had some ideas for how to do that. Along with people of color and allies in Philadelphia, SLAM argued for R2K to focus on issues vital to communities of color in the U.S. (See “Activists of Color in the New Movement: Lessons from RNC Organizing” by Philadelphia activist Amadee Braxton, and the film A is for Anarchist, B is for Brown).

More than 400 activists were arrested during R2K, many in a raid on puppet-makers early August 1st. While in jail for up to 3 weeks, (more…)

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R2K+10 honors the 10th anniversary of the direct action mobilization against the Republican National Convention in Philadelphia in the year 2000.

Please enjoy these audio interviews with 6 former SLAM members who participated in R2K! Here is a short segment with wisdom from everyone:

Kai, Nermeen, Sandra, Anna, Mariano, and Kazembe talk about R2K

Below are the bios of each person and a list of audio segments with descriptions. All interviews were conducted and edited by Suzy Subways.

Kazembe is a writer and cultural organizer from the Bronx, NY, who works at the Brecht Forum. Click on the links below to listen to these audio segments:

SLAM’s direct action experience on access to CUNY, police brutality, and political prisoners

Kazembe on R2K’s historical moment

Kazembe on the raid of the Puppet Warehouse

Kazembe’s arrest and jail experience

Kazembe on the lessons of R2K

Complete interview with Kazembe

Nermeen was a SLAM member for 5 years. She is a mother and works with senior community members in Queens. Click on the links below to listen to these audio segments:

Nermeen on how the puppets worked with the lockdowns

Nermeen on supporting comrades in jail

Nermeen on flying squads vs. civil disobedience

Nermeen on the tactical successes of R2K

Nermeen on how mentoring worked in SLAM

Complete interview with Nermeen

Kai works with Critical Resistance and has been doing organizing around the prison industrial complex (PIC), which is inclusive of police violence, prisons, jails, courts, surveillance, and political prisoners, since 1978. She also merges visual art and organizing in an effort to reach the imagination and to help spark liberation, whether that’s imagining PIC abolition or being in the year 2078 with multiple genitalia. Click on the links below to listen to these audio segments: (more…)

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photo by Jed

photo by Jed

On June 5th in Philadelphia, Slamistas Kazembe Balagun, Lenina Nadal, Jed Brandt, John Kim, and Sasa Ynoa spoke about SLAM’s innovative approach to organizing and why we were fighting for free university education. This was a combined event called “How do we build radical movements?” with Dan Berger, who (along with Chris Dixon) interviewed people in four revolutionary study groups – Another Politics is Possible (NY), the Activist Study Circles (SF), the LA Crew, and the New York Study Group – talking about leadership, organization, and politics. Their article and an interview by Suzy Subways with 5 women of color from SLAM appeared in the radical journal Upping the Anti, issue #8.

Click on the following links to hear the audio:

Dan Berger

Kazembe Balagun

Q&A with Kazembe, Lenina, Jed, John Kim and Suzy

Q&A continued, with Sasa too

Q&A continued

Due to battery-related challenges, the audio recorder ran out before
the end of the event. Video will be coming soon!

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Student Activists Under Attack at City College of New York for Honoring Black and Puerto Rican Liberation Heroes

Door to The Morales / Shakur Community and Student Center

by Brad Sigal | Fight Back News Service

December 18, 2006

New York, NY – The New York Police Department is on the defensive because of mass outrage over the police’s murder of Sean Bell. Bell, a 23-year old unarmed African American man was killed by the NYPD in a hail of 50 bullets Nov. 25 a few hours before he was going to be married. His murder has sparked large protests against racist police brutality.

Two weeks later, the right-wing New York Daily News tried to create a diversion from the issue of racist police brutality by attacking student activists at the City College of New York (CCNY), accusing them of promoting “cop killers” and “terrorists.” On Dec.12 the Daily News ran a cover story and editorial attacking CCNY’s Guillermo Morales/Assata Shakur Community and Student Center, a student-run activist space on the flagship Harlem campus of the City University of New York (CUNY). The Daily News editorial demanded that Shakur and Morales’s names be removed from the Center. (more…)

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A Culture of Resistance

Lessons Learned from the Student Liberation Action Movement (SLAM)

By Suzy Subways

This interview with 5 women of color from SLAM appeared in the radical journal Upping the Anti, issue #8.

In March 1995, 20,000 students from City University of New York (CUNY) were attacked by police after surrounding city hall to protest a draconian tuition increase. This protest, organized by the CUNY Coalition Against the Cuts, marked an upsurge in student movement activity that continued into 1996, when the group transformed into the Student Liberation Action Movement (SLAM), a multiracial radical organization. Before disbanding in 2004, SLAM established chapters at CUNY colleges in all five boroughs of the city. This roundtable focuses on the chapter at Hunter College in Manhattan and explores SLAM’s legacy of building a left culture in New York City and across the country. (more…)

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[This is a SLAM! informational flier that was produced in Spring 1996.  Some of the data and information may be dated.]


Workfare and CUNY Students

What would you rather do with your time–go to college, or pick up trash in parks for no pay?  If you’re on Public Assistance, the city has decided that you no longer have a choice.  7,000 CUNY students have already been forced to leave school to “work off” their monthly check of less than $500, which already leaves students and their children way below the poverty line.  The Work Experience Program does not give people real jobs. It just prevents people from getting the education that they need to get a decent one in the future.

  • 10% of the students at CUNY — 20,000 people — receive Public Assistance.
  • There are now about 35,000 to 40,000 New Yorkers in the Work Experience Program (WEP). Mayor Giuliani wants to put 100,000 more people into the program this year.
  • WEP workers are supposed to be assigned jobs based on their skills and interests, but almost all are placed in Parks and Sanitation, where they get no training, no skills, and are not given basic information about the unsafe conditions they are often working under.
  • There are no job openings for WEP workers to move into. In fact, the city is laying off union workers.
  • Student mothers are hit especially hard. WEP workers are supposed to get childcare or money to cover it, but usually neither is provided. Childcare facilities at CUNY have long waiting lists and often have no evening hours.
  • 40% of CUNY students are immigrants, many of whom will be losing eligibility for Public Assistance under the Federal Personal Responsibility Act, which President Clinton signed last year.
  • Governor Pataki has proposed deep cuts to welfare, as well as a $400 tuition increase for CUNY schools.  More poor students than ever will be forced to leave.
  • This is not about helping people to get off welfare. 87% of welfare recipients who get a 4-year college degree never need welfare again.

If you are at risk of being forced to leave school because of a workfare assignment, call the Welfare Rights Initiative: 212-772-4091. CUNY Law School students and attorneys may be able to assist you with your case.

a SLAM! flier
Student Liberation Action Movement

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Lenina Nadal, December 27, 2008

Lenina Nadal was a founding member of the CUNY Coalition Against the Cuts and SLAM. Having graduated in 1997, she returned in 2000 to help create SLAM’s organizer training institute. She is a filmmaker, playwright, and poet, and works for the Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition. Visit http://www.performingprofound.com

interviewed by Suzy Subways

Suzy: I was thinking about how SLAM started at Hunter and how the different clubs kind of created SLAM together, right? What’s the story of that? There was the Palestinian Club, the Black Student Union and, from the beginning, how did they come together and work in the CUNY Coalition and start SLAM?

Lenina: To be honest, I remember a couple of individuals, Chris Day being one of them, who did what Chris Day does, which is put something provocative on a flier and start stapling it around the entire campus. It was only a couple of individuals that said, “there’s something going on here.” At the time, I was working with the New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG), so we had our own campaign where we had began to tell students that tuition was going to be raised $1,000. So there was already publicity around campus saying that this is what’s going to happen. And then students started talking about this in classes. So even really before any particular clubs got involved, there was a lot of anxiety among the masses of students on campus, because $1,000 just seemed like a tremendous amount of money. However, I would say that there was one group, which was the Black Student Union, where you had members like Takala, a poet and activist, and Asha Bandele. So Asha Bandele and Takala at the time were in the leadership of the BSU, along with Kim Wade and a few other activists. And they were responsible for some of the major takeovers of the Hunter campus and other CUNY campuses in like 1990, 91. By the time 1995 rolled around, they were still in leadership, and while they didn’t play the central role anymore, they were continuing to raise consciousness among Black students on campus on these issues, and continuing to help the movement grow in their own way. And the other clubs that had a sort of political consciousness included the Palestinian Club and the Arab Club, which were very strongly affiliated, and right across the hall was the Puerto Rican Club, and that had some progressive membership that was kind of in and out. And I’d say those were the three that kind of solidified a people of color Left in terms of organizations on campus that were doing work.

But I would say that when it began, it was really a few students that said, “We’re going to do something about this. This is crazy.” And the only alternative that we were being offered was from NYPIRG, which was like, “Let’s go to our congresspeople, let’s go to our senators, let’s lobby, let’s see if we can change it from within.” But the frustration was already building up. And a lot of it was because working class students were feeling like their financial aid was going to be cut, their tuition was going to be increased, and this might be the last chance they had at a CUNY education. So the stakes were very. very high for all students. It was really a mass movement. It’s like most movements – the leadership can claim it, but they have to claim it after the masses have already said, “This is what we want.” Those of us who had been part of organizations or who grew up with leftist parents, we started to get to know each other and kind of see that we had something to offer to sustain a movement. In that sense, that’s how some of that leadership started to come together.

(more…)

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This video honoring SLAM was put together by the SLAM X Media Committee (Lenina, Eddy, Nas and Bravo) for SLAM’s 10th anniversary in March 2006. Directed by Eddy Nelson Rivera.

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To listen to these sound files, recorded Oct. 17, 2008, in Harlem at the CUNY Social Forum, click on the links below:

Maria Arettines (moderator), a CUNY Social Forum organizer and Hunter College student: “What are our desires?” (5 minutes, 23 seconds)

Hank Williams, veteran of the Student Liberation Action Movement (SLAM!) and organizer with the Africana Studies Group at the CUNY Graduate Center: The CUNY movement, women of color feminism, and our vision of the university in the aftermath of losing Open Admissions (12 minutes, 31 seconds)

Vanessa James, Parents in Action for Leadership and Human Rights: Fighting Children’s Services for the human right to keep our children from being taken away (10 minutes, 58 seconds)

Mark Torres, former City College student activist, member of the Hostos Educators’ Association: Building organizational power – “Educate, agitate, organize!” (11 minutes, 33 seconds)

Dr. Leonard Jeffries, department of political science, City College; former chair of Black Studies Department: From shattered consciousness and fractured identities to a blueprint for people’s power (21 minutes, 36 seconds)

Luz Schreiber, co-founder of Hunter Parent Union, former member of SLAM and founding member of Ollin Imagination: Dreaming revolution, imagining collective solutions (9 minutes, 40 seconds)

Q&A – Movement elders and students speak and ask questions (41 minutes, 18 seconds)

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