A New Age of Black Civil Rights Leaders

Black History Month is a time to celebrate African-American culture and the positive impact that prominent African-American leaders have had on our country. However, it seems that every year we revert to discussing the black leaders of the Civil Rights Movement in the ‘50s and ‘60s. We forget that there are African American voices of our generation continuing to fight for the rights of the black community.

They have become leaders, stepping up to finish what had been started in the 50s. On that note, take time this February to appreciate the lesser-known black activists of our time along with the great black leaders and thinkers of the past.

Patrisse Cullors, Alicia Garza, and Opal Tometi

Cullors, Garza, and Tometi met through the Black Organizing for Leadership & Dignity (BOLD) organization and together founded the #BlackLivesMatter movement in the wake of the death of Trayvon Martin.

#BlackLivesMatter has grown on such a grand scale and gained such a large following that it is almost an entity of its own, making it so that the trio has faded into the background of their work. Though they may go unnoticed, the movement they’ve created, which addresses police brutality and the deadly shootings of unarmed black men, certainly has not.

Jonathan Butler

In 2015, a series of racially-based incidents at the University of Missouri (also known as Mizzou) sparked protests from many of the school’s students, as well as students from around the country, against the lack of action towards the racism that was present on campus.

Butler was one of these protestors and he took a different approach than that of his fellow peers: he went on a hunger strike. Butler vowed not to eat until Mizzou administrator Tim Wolfe, whom students felt was not acting upon their concerns, was removed or resigned from his position.

In addition to Butler’s protest, the school’s football team and a black student group called Concerned Student 1950, pressured Wolfe to resign from his position.

Jesse Williams

Most noted for his role as Dr. Jason Avery on the hit show Grey’s Anatomy, Williams is also gaining recognition for his work as a black activist, earning the Humanitarian Award at the 2016 BET Awards.

His twitter, which has gained a substantial following, is the platform on which he speaks out against issues such as police brutality and discrimination. He is on the board of directors of the Advancement Project, a national, multi-racial organization focused on fighting issues of racial justice. He is also a spokesperson for The California Endowment’s Sons and Brothers campaign which helps youth of color.

Amandla Stenberg

Stenberg, known to most for her portrayal of Rue in The Hunger Games, has made a name for herself as a black activist at just 18 years old. In 2015, she was one of Time’s Most Influential Teens of the year. She speaks passionately about societal issues such as gender identity, sexuality, feminism, race, and racism.

She is also a spokesperson of the organization No Kid Hungry which is a charity that works to combat hunger in American children.

Benjamin Jealous

Jealous was the youngest president to head the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and has been deemed “one of the nation’s most prominent civil rights leaders” by The Washington Post. During his term as the NAACP’s president, he went to great lengths to increase the organization’s membership, stabilize its financials, and broaden its presence on social media.

Even as far back as elementary school, Jealous was an advocate for black people as he protested his school library’s lack of books on African-Americans. Later in his life, as an undergraduate student, he was suspended from Columbia University after protesting the school’s aim to demolish Malcolm X’s assassination site.

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Monday in Midtown

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

since feeling is first

I’m a little late for Valentine’s Day, but it’s still the season of love so I felt it appropriate to share a love poem. This one is a bit sad because the true lovers aren’t together in the end, but it is a love poem nonetheless and one that I love for it’s unorthodox, E.E. Cummigs-esque style.

since feeling is first

By: E. E. Cummings

since feeling is first
who pays any attention
to the syntax of things
will never wholly kiss you;

wholly to be a fool
while Spring is in the world

my blood approves,
and kisses are a better fate
than wisdom
lady i swear by all flowers. Don’t cry
– the best gesture of my brain is less than
your eyelids’ flutter which says

we are for each other; then
laugh, leaning back in my arms
for life’s not a paragraph

And death i think is no parenthesis

#PhotographIt

Last week everyone in the Pinkroom started the #PhotographIt challenge. It’s a twitter challenge between just us Pinkroom staff that started last year and has been brought back for 2017. The challenge is a way for us to develop our photography skills while having fun and taking a break from the usual stress of being a Cambridge student, so I’ll be chronicling my progress here.

January 31, 2017

February 7, 2017

February 9, 2017

February 16, 2017

February 21, 2017

February 23, 2017

February 28, 2017

March 2, 2017

March 9, 2017

March 14, 2017

March 16, 2017

March 28, 2017

April 4, 2017

Super Bowl LI Commercial Recap

I know the title says recap, but if you’re looking for actual talk of sports, you’ve come to the wrong place. I’m not a fan of the game so the most I will say is that I was rooting for the Falcons (for their awesome name and the giant lead they had throughout the first three quarters) but I’m not entirely upset that the Patriots won. It made for an interesting end to an otherwise boring game and I’m glad that I was watching as the first overtime Super Bowl in history unfolded.

What I’m really here to talk about is the commercials. While Lady Gaga did an amazing job and it deserves to be talked about, it’s the commercials and their politically charged messages that really captivated me. I felt that most of the commercials were dull and pointless, but there were some that were overflowing with emotion and almost left me in tears.

For their astounding impact, my favorite Super Bowl LI commercials are (in alphabetical order):

84 Lumber

Airbnb

Audi

Budweiser

Coca-Cola

These commercials promoted the message of unity and acceptance. They told immigrant stories and embraced differences in race, religion, and sexual orientation. They make clear statements that the companies are taking a stand and supporting those that many in our nation are trying to persecute and ostracize. This time of intense political division is the perfect time for such politically charged ads, and I am so glad that these companies put the money and effort into creating them.

 

Take Your Child to Work Day

Today was Take Your Child to Work Day, and while I have abstained from participating for several years now, I was talking to my mom and was reminded of how much I loved days like Take Your Child to Work Day when I was younger. I used to go to my mom’s office and file and shred and staple and highlight, and even though they were small tasks, they gave me a sense of importance. It was fun to experience a little bit of what my mom handled on a daily basis, even if I wasn’t always working alongside her or fulfilling any of her actual duties.

Another of my favorite days tied with Take Your Child to Work Day and second to Hibernation Day, the day we’d come to school in pajamas, have a party, and take a napwas Career Day. While we were exposed to many interesting careers on Career Day (like martial arts training, limo driving, and being an officer of the K-9 unit)  my alltime favorite was pest control. My classmate’s father specialized in bird and bee removal and his presentation got the undevided attention of the entire crowd of usually restless children every year. If you’re wondering how that’s possible, it’s because it’s incredibly easy to capture a child’s attention when you drive a firetruck decorated with a honeycomb pattern and you give them sticks of honey.

Throughout my years of elementary school I looked forward to Career Day, however, when I was in about second grade I stopped going to Take Your Child to Work Day. My mom has been working in the same office for about as long as I’ve been alive and I’d already seen all there was to be seen; if I ever did want to visit her at work again, there would always be another opportunity. I decided to go to school second grade year and I’ve done the same every year since because there is something so wonderfully strange about going to school on Take Your Child to Work Day. Going to school on Take Your Child to Work Day is like going to school on a weekend or really early in the morning for a field trip the hallways are practically deserted and it seems like by being one of the few people there you’ve become part of a big secret. It’s a silly feeling, but ask any kid and they’ll tell you the same thing. The best part about being in on the secret is that your teachers treat you differently. There is no lesson or classwork or homework there are only a handful of students to a class anyway so it’s not like there’s any point in giving assignments instead, you get to play board games, watch movies, or even roam freely. And to students who’ve grown tired of doing the same thing every day, the change in classroom activities is welcomed as a godsend.