Celebrating The Nation
I wanted to share about two stories I encountered this morning online. The first I found when I tuned into one of my favorite news sources Democracy Now and learned that it is the 150th anniversary of The Nation, a magazine started by abolitionists first published on July 6th, 1865 shortly after the end of the civil war. The Nation was home profound writers such as Emily Dickinson, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Toni Morrison, W. E. B. DuBois, Willa Cather, Kurt Vonnegut, Cornel West, and many more. The Democracy Now clip below reminded me how important it is that we as individuals take up the responsibility of protecting and loving our neighbors through Mindfulness and action.
The story drew my attention to the numerous human struggles that we, as a nation and a world, have faced over the last 150 years and how relevant and alive they are today.
In 1966 James Baldwin wrote A From Report Occupied Territory about the systematic targeting of Black Americans through the No Knock, Stop and Frisk laws.
the citizens of Harlem who, as we have seen, can come to grief at any hour in the streets, and who are not safe at their windows, are forbidden the very air. They are safe only in their houses—or were, until the city passed the No Knock, Stop and Frisk laws, which permit a policeman to enter one’s home without knocking and to stop anyone on the streets, at will, at any hour, and search him. Harlem believes, and I certainly agree, that these laws are directed against Negroes. They are certainly not directed against anybody else.
I have witnessed and endured the brutality of the police many more times than once—but, of course, I cannot prove it. I cannot prove it because the Police Department investigates itself, quite as though it were answerable only to itself. But it cannot be allowed to be answerable only to itself. It must be made to answer to the community which pays it, and which it is legally sworn to protect, and if American Negroes are not a part of the American community, then all of the American professions are a fraud.
This flashback to 1966 is a startling reminder of how relevant the struggles for freedom are alive today. According to the NYCLU, Today’s New York Stop and Frisk policy mainly targets Black and Latino people, of which, 9 out of 10 are completely innocent. Another high profile example is the damning report from the U.S. Justice Department, demonstrating how police, and government officials in Ferguson, MO. systematically target people of color for the benefit of an almost exclusively white governing body.
We are in a Movement Moment
It’s a Movement Moment
~Katrina Vanden Heuvel
The recent controversial legislation in Indiana and Arkansas highlight there are powerful, public movements to restrict the basic rights of human beings in a country where most Americans believe in equality under the law.
The second story I encountered today, also by Amy Goodman from Democracy Now, described how the Iraq war and subsequent violence has claimed over a million lives. A war which was fought under false pretenses and has resulted in the deaths of millions and has left an entire region of the world in a violent spreading chaos. The invasion of Iraq was spawned out of our government’s thirst for power, and many citizen’s apathetic response, fueled by paranoia and misinformation.
Katrina Vanden Heuvel points out in the clip about The Nation, we are in a Movement Moment. I totally agree and I believe we have an opportunity to really change the nature of our existence in this world. We live in a time where we have access to a tremendous amount of information about the fruits of our actions or inactions. Technology has made history accessible and it is time that we learn from our past and get present to our impact. The people of our world and our world itself is in need of our attention and care. We have seen and many participated in powerful movements for change in America. Movements like Occupy Wall Street, The People’s Climate March, and Hands Up United to name a few. I am excited for a day where activism for the benefit of our neighbors is a part of our culture and mainstream ideals. I am excited for the day when I live that value fully.