Only revolution can win our freedom

first_imgTalk given at WWP conference by Eva Panjwani.In preparing my remarks today on the revolutionary potential of my generation, especially Black and Brown young people, I want to first ask you all, brothers and ­sisters, 50 years after the March on Washington, are we free?Living in the age of empire, language loses meaning. When “democracy” means neoliberal capitalism, “­reform” means repression, and the phrase “humanitarian intervention” is merely a part of the public relations campaign for the next imperialist war and occupation, what is freedom, after all?I vividly remember, in the aftermath of 9/11, the mainstream capitalist media wound up xenophobic sentiment by repeatedly posing the question, “Why do they hate us?” and allowing the reactionary forces to answer, “They hate us because of our freedoms.”How tragic it felt then, that when fear-mongering was baiting Muslims, Arabs and Third World immigrants, white America was asking the very same question that Black and Brown kinder­garteners ask their parents every year about white America — “Why do they hate us?”When people of color are pushed out of their neighborhoods and into specific areas of their cities, unconstitutionally stopped and frisked at alarming rates by the NYPD, our plight does not greatly differ from the people of Gaza stopped daily at checkpoints under the Israeli occupation of Palestine. Youth of color are either locked up in the system of mass incarceration that jails us, or locked out of higher education and good jobs, forming a new racial undercaste within the United States. We are a generation under siege.To my understanding, to be free is to live a life without fear. But a life without fear is a promise we could not yet assure youth of color. For young people — Jonathan Farrell in my home state of North Carolina and Renisha McBride in Detroit, Mich. — the stories are eerily similar. Two Black youth in two different car accidents approached nearby homes for help, for assistance in their moments of vulnerability, and had their lives cut tragically short when their blackness held them seemingly complicit in the white supremacist mentality that they were guilty, dangerous, a threat until proven otherwise.Jonathan was killed by police officers in a misguided attempt to guard private property, while Renisha was shot in a manner similar to the murder of Trayvon Martin, by a white man who saw her as a threat. For it wasn’t just pain and anger at the acquittal of George Zimmerman that sent my generation to the streets, our pain and anger was coupled by a refusal to accept that somehow 17-year-old, unarmed Trayvon was found fatally guilty by a society that criminalized his very existence.The desire to live a life without fear is the very hope that capitalism extinguishes for undocumented youth. Countless young people have suffered the extreme mental and emotional consequences of a life lived in the shadows. Policies like Secure Communities terrorize our neighborhoods while we are told that border militarization is the price we must pay when seeking immigration reform. So again, I ask you, brothers and sisters, are we free?Connecting our future to the pastYoung revolutionaries before me, like Huey Newton of the Black Panther Party, asked these very same questions in previous generations. Huey taught us that modern capitalism takes away our sense of community, of togetherness, of shared purpose. It promotes individualism and fear. And when Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his “I Have a Dream” speech 50 years ago, he too reminded the crowd that it had been 100 years since the Emancipation Proclamation had been signed, but the “colored” man was not yet free.Us rebels and activists are quick to remind folks of the other profound words of Dr. King, on capitalism, on poverty, on war. But when Dr. King spoke his now iconic words — “I have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream” — it sparked something in the imagination of generations to come.Young people across the nation continue to rally around the promise of a dream. From the DREAM Act and United We Dream, to the undocumented youth known as the Dreamers, to the Dream Defenders occupying the Florida state Capitol for Trayvon’s Law, we are the products of a generation that had a dream. We are the products of a dream deferred. We are the sons and daughters of farm workers and slaves, dedicated to repainting the canvas of history with the paintbrushes given to us by Malcolm, by Huey, by Gloria, by Assata, by Cesar, by Sam Marcy and Dottie Ballan.FIST Youth are a growing coalition of youth and students committed to replacing jails with schools, ending the war on the undocumented, dismantling the systems that criminalize us, and fighting for self-determination for our communities.We hear your whispered questions, “Where are the youth?” We know our revolution cannot be retweeted and assure you all, even when you may have begun to lose hope, there is a new generation of organizers, marchers, fighters, activists, lovers and dreamers arriving and we are ready. We are a generation forgotten by trade unions, yet from Bangladesh to Baltimore we’ve taken to the streets to demand a living wage. You may doubt our discipline but just watch as we join hands to take up the torch — we are ready. Wearing butterfly wings and graduation robes we will march against injustice and win the fight for freedom in our lifetime.FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

LIT study highlights student experience of sexual aggression

first_img Previous articleNew phase of Wild Atlantic Way to include LimerickNext articleOpinion – World in Union #RWC2015 Staff Reporter Advertisement Linkedin WhatsApp Andrew [email protected] up for the weekly Limerick Post newsletter Sign Up ONE in every four students have experienced unwanted and aggressive sexual behaviour, including groping, sexualised verbal abuse and unwanted sexual contact, according to a study conducted at a Limerick third level college.Limerick Institute of Technology (LIT) research collective, Social Science ConneXions, has found that up to 25 per cent of students surveyed earlier this year reported having experienced a “sexually unwanted or aggressive incident”.The survey was conducted online across all four LIT campuses. 338 responses were received and the key findings also showed that five per cent had experienced a non-consensual sexual encounter and five per cent of male respondents had experienced a sexually unwanted or aggressive incident.Karen Sugrue, Sociology lecturer and researcher with Social Science ConneXions said that while there was an enormous amount of evidence that students were particularly vulnerable to sexual assault and unwanted sexual behaviour, they wanted to find out if this was also the case for LIT students.“We’re delighted with the response from the management team at LIT who have taken the issue extremely seriously”, she added.LIT lecturer Jennifer Moran Stritch, who is director of the Loss and Grief research group, said that some people believed that the only type of sexual assault is rape.“We are also aware of the importance of verbal abuse, atmosphere and the sense of feeling intimidated. We want our students to live and study in an environment where they feel safe and know how and where to access supports should they need them”.Mairead Keogh, Vice President of LIT Students Union said that prevention of unwanted or aggressive incidents was the key to ensuring a safer environment for students and the students union strongly support the measures implemented.LIT Registrar Terry Twomey said that LIT had an exemplary record in student safety on campus.“We have had no reported incidents here at LIT, and we take pre-emptive action through our Student Safety Programme to ensure that we maintain our exemplary record. Nonetheless, as part of LIT’s Student Safety Programme, our Social Science Connexions unit carried out a small pilot survey of students on any experience of sexual harassment they might have had”.He added that because LIT had no reported incidents, the negative experiences reported most likely related to life off-campus.“Still, the institute is taking no chances. Last week, LIT introduced a new presentation on consent to all new students as part of our Student Safety Programme. LIT is leading the sector in this way and our objective is to maintain our exemplary record of student safety,” he concluded.National research indicates that only about 1 in 10 incidents are reported. To address this and support students, LIT ran a programme of discussion about consent during September induction days for 1st year students that ties in with the No Grey Areas campaign launched nationally by Minister for Justice Equality and Law Reform, Francis Fitzgerald, last Friday. Emailcenter_img Print Twitter Facebook NewsLIT study highlights student experience of sexual aggressionBy Staff Reporter – September 24, 2015 1100 last_img read more

Parents: Lack of answers from school board after 5th-grader’s death ‘makes no sense’

first_imgFamily Photo(WALTERBORO, S.C.) —  Parents in a South Carolina community say they are irate by the lack of information being shared by school board members after the death of Raniya Wright, a fifth-grader who was gravely injured during a classroom fight with another student.Raniya, 10, died Wednesday morning after she was involved in what authorities called a physical altercation with another girl Monday at Forest Hills Elementary School in Walterboro, according to the Colleton County Sheriff’s Office. Authorities did not release the names of the students because they were younger than 17, but on Wednesday, the Colleton County School District identified the student as Raniya.The Colleton County school board held an emergency meeting Thursday about Monday’s incident. Board member Tim Mabry said specific details from the discussion could not be shared because of the investigation and student-privacy laws.Furious parents who’d waited two hours outside the private meeting told ABC News that they needed answers.“It’s ridiculous,” Shawnya Sanders said. “It’s awful because they’re telling us don’t speculate and don’t start rumors but they’re not telling us anything. … It makes no sense.”In its news release Wednesday, the district said Raniya was a wonderful student who loved to write, play basketball and spend time with her friends.A staff member at the elementary school called 911 on Monday to report that a student had collapsed, an incident report released by the Colleton County Sheriff’s Office said.When first responders arrived, the student was at the nurse’s station unconscious but breathing, the report said. She was taken to a medical center and later airlifted to the Medical University of South Carolina Childrens’ Health in Charleston, according to the Colleton County School District.In a statement on its website, the district said that after the “fight” occurred in Raniya’s classroom, “school administrators promptly secured the scene, ended the fight and called emergency medical services to the school.”The family said that she’d been unresponsive and in critical condition since the incident, according to ABC News affiliate WCIV-TV. Raniya’s mother, Ashley Wright, shared her grief Wednesday in a public Facebook post, saying, “My baby girl has (gained) her wings.”The family was planning her funeral Thursday.On Thursday, a GoFundMe page for Raniya’s family had raised more than $45,000 in two days.William Bowman, a school board member, told WCIV-TV on Wednesday that the devastating incident had hit the community like a “hurricane.”“We’re gonna have to look into situations, look at the situation, and see if there (are) any avenues that we can take in order to make our schools even safer,” he said. “We’re gonna continue to push, you know, to get funds to apply different safety measures or needed safety measures.”No weapons were involved, said Shalane Lowes, a police information officer for the Colleton County Sheriff’s Office.The district said students, staff and family members were getting guidance and counseling services.“She was actively involved in her church as a junior usher,” the district said of Raniya. “She will be missed greatly by her family, friends and the entire school community.”The other student involved in the altercation was suspended from school “until the investigation is complete,” the school district said. “Our community has suffered a tremendous loss. We are deeply saddened. … Our thoughts and prayers will continue to be with this family in the difficult days ahead,” the district said in a news release. “The district is cooperating fully with law enforcement as this matter is investigated.”Lowes said police were still investigating the incident and that an autopsy for the victim was scheduled for Friday morning.Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.last_img read more