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Notes on Yesterday’s Phone Conference with Rev. Barber, “The Third Reconstruction: How a Moral Movement is Overcoming the Politics of Division and Fear”

The Reverend Dr. William J. Barber II is president of the North Carolina chapter of the NAACP, pastor at Greenleaf Christian Church in Goldsboro, North Carolina, and founder of Repairers of the Breach.
The Reverend Dr. William J. Barber II is president of the North Carolina chapter of the NAACP, pastor at Greenleaf Christian Church in Goldsboro, North Carolina, and founder of Repairers of the Breach.

Yesterday the call went out to clergy and lay leaders for a telephone gathering to discuss the U.S. presidential orders issued during the first week of the new administration, which I notice lately some are calling a “regime.” These orders are efforts to undermine voting rights, encourage racism and sexism, and to punish sanctuary cities.The concern is that if we don’t respond immediately to these threats, they will become the new normal.

The Rev. Dr. William Barber, president of the North Carolina NAACP and author of The Third Reconstruction, Catherine Orsborn of Shoulder to Shoulder, Standing with American Muslims: Upholding American Values and Valerie Kaur presented. Valerie is an award-winning filmmaker, civil rights lawyer, media commentator, Sikh activist and interfaith leader who uses storytelling much as we use poetry – for social change.

The emphasis of the discussion was:

  • solidarity,
  • the upholding of American ideals, and
  • rapid response.

The combination of noise on the line and my hearing made it difficult for me to track the entire conversation, but as best I could determine among the encouraged actions were:

  • Frequent phone calls to members of Congress. Numbers for the members of the House of Representatives are HERE. Numbers for the Senate members are HERE.
  • Exercise resistance in our own spheres. Use social media and take part in local resistance efforts.

Rev. Barber said this is a historic moment but not a new moment in terms of extremism and hate and not the worst moment.

“In the great stream of injustice down through the ages, this is not the worst thing we have suffered. To say so is to dishonor those whose lives were dishonored in holocausts, lynchings and Jim Crow [and other human abuses].” 

Nonviolent civil disobedience is encouraged. Rev. Barber advises self-purification, prayer, and fasting to prepare for moral resistance, for nonviolent direct action against immoral public policy agenda at the state and federal levels. Suggestions for these processes are to be found at Repairers of the Breach.

“Now is not a time to wait and see. Now is a time for action.”

Here is a video in which Rev. Barber gives us some background on the Third Reconstruction and its place in history. It’s worth your time. (if you are reading this via an email subscription you will have to link through to the site to view the video) 

RELATED:

The photograph of Rev. Barber and the description below it are from his Amazon page.


51qqbcpwhul-_sx332_bo1204203200_The Third Reconstruction: How a Moral Movement is Overcoming the Politics of Division and Fear by the Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II is this week’s recommended read.  If you plan to purchase this book and use the link here it will help to support this site.
Thank you!

I, too, sing America … Langston Hughes poem at the opening of the Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture

National Museum of African American History and Culture, opens September 24, 2016
National Museum of African American History and Culture.  Opens September 24, 2016

AMERICAN POETRY: Langston Hughes’ I, too, sing America will be used in the opening ceremonies on Saturday for the National Museum of African American History and Culture at the Smithsonian in DC.

The poem predates the Civil Rights Movement by about ten years:

I, too, sing America.

I am the darker brother.
They send me to eat in the kitchen
When company comes,
But I laugh,
And eat well,
And grow strong.

Tomorrow,
I’ll be at the table
When company comes.
Nobody’ll dare
Say to me,
“Eat in the kitchen,”
Then.

Besides,
They’ll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed–

I, too, am America.

– Langston Hughes

The website with details on the grand opening is HERE.

The photograph is by Fuzheado under CC BY-SA 4.0 license

ONE WOBBLIE’S LIFE … Joe Hill, labor activist and songwriter

Joe Hill (1879-1915), born Joel Emmanuel Hägglund, Swedish-American labor activist, song writer, and member of the Industrial Workers of the World (the "Wobblies")
Joe Hill (1879-1915), born Joel Emmanuel Hägglund, Swedish-American labor activist, song writer, and member of the Industrial Workers of the World (the “Wobblies”)

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Hill wrote "The Rebel Girl," which was inspired by Elizabeth Gurley Flynn , founder of the American Civil Liberties Union
Hill wrote “The Rebel Girl,” which was inspired by Elizabeth Gurley Flynn , founder of the American Civil Liberties Union

Music – the sister art to poetry – is always an engaging subject and labor rights and history are – or should be –  of serious interest for those of us in the 99%. Hence what a delight to learn that HamiltonSeen, a Canadian film production company, is in the process of exploring the life, work and relevance of Swedish-American labor activist and songwriter, Joe Hill.  In this interview, Zena Hagerty, producer and musician, explains …

JAMIE: How did the project Who Was Joe Hill get started?

ZENA: After finishing our film Harperman: A Dissident Serenade (releasing online in September), we felt  strongly about showcasing the strength that music has in protest and in political movements. There is a power in voices that rise together. Joe Hill was an early American musical hero who brought about real change in the Union Movement and who died under terrible and strange circumstances in front of a firing squad.

JAMIE: How many shows and what kind of content? Why should people be interested and how is Joe Hill’s life and work relevant to our times?

ZENA: We’re going to be creating twelve episodes that explore who Joe was, what shines forward to today from his life, his music, and his legacy, and we’re going to take a hard look at whether many of the same battles for freedom that were being fought in his time are still being fought today. The plan is to speak to the musicians who carry forward his spirit and use their thoughts and words to draw a picture of now through the lens of Joe Hill.

JAMIE: What do you hope to accomplish?

ZENA: Our mission (yes, it’s that important) with every film or series is to shed illumination from a new perspective on a topic that points to the very heart of who we are as human beings. Now, that sounds intense, but what it really means is that in our work we seek to find the emotional core, to enable viewers to connect to the importance of the subject matter.

JAMIE: When is the release scheduled?

ZENA: Our release schedule is very dependent on budget at this point, with a goal of series’ completion by second quarter of 2017. It should be sold for television by that point. We’d love to see it as a weekly series over three months with an online or Netflix release to follow.

If you are reading this post from email and want to view this trailer, you’ll probably have to link through to the site to do so.

HamiltonSeen:
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Producer Zena Hagerty
has a long history of community engagement and involvement in the arts scenes of Hamilton and San Francisco and seeks to further strengthen the human spirit with her work. Zena has broad experience in media, including recording albums, performing her own music, radio broadcasting, graphic design, and many others. As director of Sublimatus as a band, an art gallery, and an entity that inspires the creative spirit within all, Zena honed a skillset that includes the ability to drive and complete large projects with expansive intentions.

Director Cody Lanktree is most inspired by dialogue created by the connection between time, beauty, and our personal truths. In the six years since HamiltonSeen’s inception, Cody has guided the company from small commercial production to whiteboxing partnerships with major marketing firms, and finally to the creation of documentaries focused on community and social issues. His vision is one that will not stop at less than fundamentally changing and challenging perspectives and the world.

Jessica Sovie is a journalism student at Mohawk College and intern with HamiltonSeen. As the project lead for The Soapbox, Jessica provides direction, insight, camera operation, and editing skills that are creating a platform for the voice of the public. She is a purebred eccentric, supporter of music and of the arts, and aims to be a champion of the underdog and underrepresented through the use and continuous growth of her skillset.

Photo credits: Joe Hill’s photograph,”The Rebel Girl,” Joe Hill’s signature and death certificate are in public domain; Zena Hagerty’s photograph is hers and under copyright.

A LOOK BACK TONIGHT: To the first Woman and first Black to run for the U.S. presidential nomination of the Democratic Party

Shirley Chishom, 1925-2005
Shirley Chisholm, 1925-2005

Shirley Anita St. Hill Chisholm (November 30, 1924 – January 1, 2005) was an American politician, educator, and author. In 1968, she became the first African-American woman elected to the United States Congress, and represented New York’s 12th Congressional District for seven terms from 1969 to 1983. In 1972, she became the first major-party black candidate for President of the United States, and the first woman to run for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination.

In 2015, Chisholm was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

In Memory

Brooklyn Girls Rock!