Category Archives: Blog Posts

An Empowering Movement begins at the 1st annual Malcolm X Sōl Food & Music Festival

It was a lively occasion when the Malcolm X Sōl Food + Music Festival (MX Sol Fest) took place in Omaha, Nebraska August 25th, 2018  at the Malcolm X Memorial Foundation. Around 200 guests took in the sights and sounds of poetry, dance performances, reggae, spoken word and Afro-soul music. Food and artisan vendors encircled the new greenhouse and festival stage. Omaha’s immense talent was represented by young performers and veterans of the local and international arts scene.

Native Jamaicans and students of Marcus Garvey, Ras Takura and Richie Innocent highlighted the festival as international spoken word artists. Planning and accommodations were coordinated by a subcommittee of the Malcolm X Memorial Foundation, the MX Sol Fest Committee. Ras Takura worked closely with the Committee to bring Omaha a festival similar to his Dis Poem Wordz & Agro Festival. Dis Poem, is held annually in Port Antonio, Jamaica. The final Sunday of April, poetry, food, and heirloom seed exchange are on display in what has been described as Jamaica’s most well kept parish, Portland parish.

The MX Soōl Fest mirrored the artistic integrity and community energy of Dis Poem. A strong dose of collaboration by local community members made this festival possible. University of Nebraska at Omaha, Outrspaces, Hi-Fi House, Falcolnwood Park & Hullabaloo music festival, City Sprouts, Aframerican Bookstore, and Homer’s music are some of the local organizations that lended their energy to the fest. Plans are already underway to secure the annual success of this festival. Look out for more community happenings centered around food security by the Shabazz Community Garden and the MX Sol Fest Committee online at facebook.com/MXFoodFest.

By: Shomari Huggins

Malcolm X Foundation | FACT SHEET | 2018

History of the Organization

The Malcolm X Foundation was created in 1971 by Rowena Moore as a memorial for the birth site of El Hajj Malik El Shabazz, most commonly known as Malcolm X in the heart of North Omaha at 3448 Evans Street. Established by Rowena Moore, the grounds serve the purpose of bringing residents together to remember the legacy of Malcolm X through educational programs, a community radio station, town hall forums and special events.

 

Organizational Overview

We were established to educate through the teachings of Malcolm X’s legacy on a local, national and international scale. We own 17 acres of land including the former home site of Malcolm X who was born here in Omaha, Ne. The organization is operated by an Advisory Board of 11 members and five volunteer committees. Below are the main organizational focuses of the foundation:

  • Birth site memorial & grounds maintenance
  • Community Center & and Neighborhood Association
  • Low Power FM Radio Station (101.3 FM Mind & Soul)
  • Shabazz Community Garden
  • Annual Malcolm X Birthday Celebration

 

Top 10 events/moments at Malcolm X Foundation

  • Malcolm X Birthday Celebration held annually – check our facebook for upcoming events
  • Shabazz Garden established (established in the 1980s)
  • Formally recognized as a historical landmark by the State of Nebraska (1984)
  • Black August Festival (2006)
  • Official collaborators for the Nebraska Humanities Council Speakers Bureau Established (2008)
  • Acquiring the former Jehovah’s Witness church as the main facility (Dec. 2010)
  • Grounds development to include the main pavilion and pathway between the facility and the gardens (2011)
  • Launch of 101.3 FM Radio Station (2016) – website here.
  • Kwanzaa Celebration honoring the strength of women in the North Omaha Community (2017) – View Photos here.
  • MX Sol Food & Music Festival (Summer 2018).

Contact info:

EMAIL: info@malcolmxfoundation.org

PHONE: (800) 645-9287

Hours of Operation: Monday-Friday, by appointment only | Saturdays, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. | Sundays, closed to the public.

Social Media Pages:

  • Facebook (531,000) @MalcolmXFound
  • Twitter (2,523) – @MalcolmXFound
  • Instagram Hashtags: #MalcolmXFoundation

Advisory Board Roles

    • President: Sharif Liwaru
    • Vice Presidents: Marshall Taylor & Lizabet Arellano
    • Treasurer: Shari Thompson
    • Administrative Director: Walter Brooks
    • Community Outreach: Leo Louis & JoAnna LeFlore

Committee Opportunities

  • Grounds & Facilities
  • Communications & Events
  • Shabazz Garden & Greenhouse

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The Shabazz Garden’s Renewal

Volunteers work to install edible landscaping on Shabazz Garden as an expansion on the North East side of the Malcolm X Birthplace

 

Friends and Family, we are excited to announce the progress of revamping our Shabazz Garden, located on the South East end of our property adjacent to Adams Park (Malcolm X Avenue and Bedford Street). Below are a few photos of the progress. Mr. Jackson of Jacksons concrete supports the Shabazz Garden and has donated the sidewalk blocks from the AMES AVE project. Mike Dunn of Asphalt Maintenance has graded the property for installing the raised beds.

Accomplishments as of April 2018 – September 2018

  • 1/2 Acres of land dedicated to the construction and maintenance of a community garden
  • Distributed over 400 Letters door-to-door in the 68111 Zip immediately surrounding the garden
  • Established 6 Business supporters of the Shabazz Garden
  • Prepared over 600 seed bags for distribution to community members
  • Planted of 400+ Seeds in Partnership with BlackBurn Alternative High School
  • Received $2700 in donations since April 1st
  •  Successfully grown over 400 Plants in the garden

  • Over 50 Volunteers (mostly from 68111) and surrounding zip codes participated in the Brick By Brick Building Day on May 12th. The following week on May 19th over 40 volunteers continued the efforts to finish building garden beds and our rubber tire planting wall.

    Thank to all who have helped and supported!

(Left: Tree Chips donated by B & E Tree Service and GreenLeaf Tree and Landscaping; Right: Seed Planting at Blackburn Alternative High)
(Left: Tree Chips donated by B & E Tree Service and GreenLeaf Tree and Landscaping; Right: Seed Planting at Blackburn Alternative High)

(Top: Recycled Concrete Pieces donated by Jacksons Complete Concrete; Bottom: Apr. 7 Garden Committee)
(Top: Recycled Concrete Pieces donated by Jacksons Complete Concrete; Bottom: Apr. 7 Garden Committee)

 

We are currently seeking volunteers to join our family! If interested, reach out to us at info@malcolmxfoundation.org for more details. Be sure to check our Upcoming Programs page for details on how to join the garden committee and get involved!

More images from the progress and completion:

Mural at J-N-J

New Mural at J-N-J Grocery Store Honors Malcolm X and The Omaha Star

The Malcolm X Memorial Foundation, supported by the Nebraska Arts Council and the Nebraska Cultural Endowment, commissioned a 15-foot x 34-foot mural on the east wall of North Omaha’s J-N-J Grocery store, 3247 N. 42nd Street.  The mural was publicly unveiled on Nov. 9.

Omaha artist Gabrielle Gaines-Liwaru, founder of G. D’Ebony Outreach, and Lincoln, Nebraska artist Ben Jones, founder of Anti-Oppression Art, collaborated on the mural project.   An inscription from Malcolm X states, “We need more light about each other… Light creates understanding, understanding creates love, love creates patience and patience creates UNITY.”  Chéamera Liwaru, an Omaha North High School student, researched and found the inspirational quote by Malcolm X. Lethaniel Bradford, an Omaha Benson High School student, painted the inscription on the mural.

The Malcolm X Memorial Foundation values youth leadership and character development through the arts and encouraged neighborhood youth participation in the creation of the mural. Several young people, ranging from grade school to freshmen in college, assisted with the mural.

“I do what I do to honor my ancestors by making the world a better place for our descendants.” Ben Jones said.  “In art I hope my work might inspire others towards the same.”

During the painting process, neighborhood residents stopped by and shared life experiences and positive feedback with the artists.

“I didn’t come to J-N-J Grocery just to paint,” says Gaines-Liwaru, “I came to listen to the voices of the neighborhood.”

Gaines-Liwaru also said:

“We want to thank Dr. Marguerita Washinton, publisher of The Omaha Star, for giving the project her blessing. This endeavor was a labor of love and a mission of anti-oppression. That best sums the overall experience for both Ben Jones and myself.

“We came to paint, and to unite with a team of people who believe in helping bring people in the neighborhood a sense of personal empowerment. J-N-J grocery store sits in the middle of an area that features the Omaha Street School, the Turning Point campus with Big Mama’s Kitchen & Catering, and the Malcolm X Memorial Foundation Center and Park. So the message of the mural is meant to reflect the beating heart for neighborhood social change that all of these entities are working toward.

“The inscription from Malcolm X on the wall is a truthful and a tough love message that people will not reject as militant. The double imagery of the Malcolm X pointing upward signifies a seriousness and urgency to revitalize love, understanding, patience and unity to our community.  We do need more light about each other.  In this case lights means understanding God’s connected purpose for us all, to expand and show truth in a way that more people can understand and accept it themselves and our community. A lot of people have associated 42nd and Bedford Avenue as a place of crime and negativity, but we never experienced any of that during more than 45 working hours developing the mural.

“We hope this project will serve as a teaching tool and a source of inspiration for people to live better, to look for things that will bring light and positivity to North Omaha and further evidence of what our community can accomplish through the collaboration of positive, hope-filled people.”

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7 Reasons Why Arts are Important

  1. They are languages that all people speak that cut across racial, cultural, social, educational, and economic barriers and enhance cultural appreciation and awareness.
  2. They provide opportunities for self-expression, bringing the inner world into the outer world of concrete reality.
  3. They develop both independence and collaboration.
  4. They make it possible to use personal strengths in meaningful ways and to bridge into understanding sometimes difficult abstractions through these strengths.
  5. They improve academic achievement — enhancing test scores, attitudes, social skills, critical and creative thinking.
  6. They exercise and develop higher order thinking skills including analysis, synthesis, evaluation, and “problem-finding.”
  7. They provide the means for every student to learn.

Adapted from “Why the arts are important?” by Dee Dickenson

10 Important reasons for reading

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-Reading is an active mental process: Unlike sitting in front of the idiot box (TV), reading makes you use your brain. While reading you would be forced to reason out many things which are unfamiliar to you. In this process you would use the grey cells of your brain to think and become smarter.
-Reading improves your vocabulary: Remember in elementary school when you learned how to infer the meaning of one word by reading the context of the other words in the sentence? You get the same benefit from book reading. While reading books, especially challenging ones, you will find yourself exposed to many new words you wouldn’t be otherwise.
-Gives you a glimpse into other cultures and places of the world: How would you know about the life of people in Mexico if you don’t read about it? Reading gives you an insight into the diversity of ethnicity of people, their customs, their lifestyles etc. You become more aware about the different places and the code of conduct in those places.
Improves concentration and focus: It requires you to focus on what you are reading for long periods. Unlike magazines, Internet posts or e-Mails that might contain small chunks of information, books tell the whole story. Since you must concentrate in order to read, like a muscle, you will get better at concentration.
-Builds self-esteem: The more you read, the more knowledgeable you become. With more knowledge comes more confidence. More confidence builds self-esteem. So it’s a chain reaction. Since you are so well read, people look to you for answers. Your feelings about yourself can only get better.
-Improves memory: Many studies show if you don’t use your memory, you lose it. Crossword puzzles are an example of a word game that staves off Alzheimer’s. Reading, although not a game, helps you stretch your memory muscles in a similar way. Reading requires remembering details, facts and figures and in literature, plot lines, themes and characters.
-Improves your discipline: Making time to read is something we all know we should do, but who schedules book reading time every day? Very few… That’s why adding book reading to your daily schedule and sticking to it, improves discipline.
-Improves creativity: Reading about diversity of life and exposing yourself to new ideas and more information helps to develop the creative side of the brain as it imbibes innovation into your thinking process.
-You always have something to talk about: Have you ever found yourself in an embarrassing situation where you didn’t have anything to talk about? Did you hate yourself for making a fool of yourself? Do you want a remedy for this? It’s simple. Start reading. Reading widens your horizon of information. You’ll always have something to talk about. You can discuss various plots in the novels you read, you can discuss the stuff you are learning in the business books you are reading as well. The possibilities of sharing become endless.
-Reduces boredom: One of the rules I have is if I am feeling bored, I will pick up a book and start reading. What I’ve found by sticking to this is that I become interested in the book’s subject and stop being bored. I mean, if you’re bored anyway, you might as well be reading a good book, right?
If you want to break the monotony of a lazy, uncreative and boring life, go and grab an interesting book. Turn the pages to explore a new world filled with information and ingenuity.

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Open Letter to Nebraska Hall of Fame Commission

by Tm Heller
I write in support of the admission of Malcolm X to the Nebraska Hall of Fame. I regret that I was unable to attend the initial hearings due to other commitments. But, I want to submit to you my opinions.

I am not African-American.

I am not Muslim.

In fact, I am a white, Roman Catholic, Conservative.

Yet, I believe quite strongly that Malcolm X, aka Malcolm Little, deserves to be in the Nebraska Hall of Fame. Please allow me to explain why.

You are most likely familiar with his story. Malcolm’s autobiography has been a best-seller and a major motion picture. But, you are not aware of how I came to learn of him. I have spent most of my life in Omaha, but it wasn’t until the mid-90s that I was made aware that Omaha was the site of his birth. I was the Chairman of the Omaha Young Republicans at the time. One of my members, Dean Mathisen, pointed out to me that Malcolm’s birthsite in Omaha at 34th & Pinkney had become a dumping ground, in spite of the fact that a historical marker sits on the site. He urged me to consider an outreach project of cleaning up the grounds. I knew little of Malcolm, other than that he was a highly vocal, racially charged leader in the civil rights movement who had been assassinated. At Dean’s urging (actually he gave me the book) I read Malcolm’s autobiography.

I won’t lie to you. For the first three-fifths of the the book, I was wondering, “Why in the world am I even considering this? This man is so racist and anti-peace! Malcolm was as racist and bigoted as the KKK or Margaret Sanger. But, as I finished the book, I developed a profound respect for Malcolm and his continued quest for knowledge and the evolution of his mind.

Malcolm was, very much,a product of his environment. He grew up poor and was taught racial intolerance from both his father, a follower of Marcus Garvey and the the bigots and racists who tormented him throughout his life. Seeing little chance for success, he turned to a life a crime. His incarceration was one of the pivotal moments in Malcolm’s life.

In prison, Malcolm took advantages of the opportunities presented to him to feed his mind. Sadly, he fed it poorly. He succumbed, like many to the “blame game.” (“This isn’t my fault, this is the fault of someone else,” philosophy) That being said, he educated himself. He took up his cause and fought for it. The cause was right, the methods were not. He advocated hatred and revolution as the means to an end. Revolution is sometimes necessary, but hatred as a motivator is not.

But, Malcolm had an insatiable quest for knowledge. He possessed a keen intellect. As he traveled, speaking against racial oppression and engaging in spirited debates, the blinders of hatred that kept him focused, were gradually lifted. He began to question what he had been taught. There were things that didn’t add up. His mentors were not who he thought they were. Through his own efforts, he became self-aware. Tormented by what he knew and didn’t know, like Galileo, he sought the truth. Like Galileo, he was urged to be silent.

He traveled to Mecca, on his own accord, another pivotal moment. He learned the truth, “that “all men are created equal”. He brought that back to the Nation of Islam to enlighten them. And for that, he was silenced…murdered by the Nation of Islam.

With that knowledge, I organized the Omaha Young Republicans to engage in regular clean-ups of the site. We acquired numerous dumpsters. more than I can number and filled them to overflowing. (These were semi-sized dumpsters, not the small ones.) Gradually, revealing a landscape that been occluded by time and disdain. I lobbied the City of Omaha to put up signs indicative of the birthsite, so that people of Omaha would know what was there.

The small board that owned the land took notice. Inspired, they have turned a dumping ground into a growing memorial to a native Nebraskan who changed the landscape of racial politics and the civil rights movement. Mr. Liwaru and his associates on the board have done well. I applaud them for their efforts.

On a personal note, during one of her visits to Omaha I was able to meet and talk with Malcolm’s daughter, Attallah Shabbazz. We discussed, at some length, the work I had organized and her father’s life. As we parted, Ms. Shabbazz remarked to me that, “Of these people, you best understand my father.” I remain truly humbled by that statement. It is why I am so motivated to write to you about Malcolm. He is often misunderstood and judged by his errors and not by the good he accomplished and the vision he achieved.

I believe Malcolm exemplifies the spirit of Nebraska. Our Nebraska virtues and values of: Determination, Leadership, Vision, Knowledge, Courage, Justice and Truth and as such deserves to be recognized by the Nebraska Hall of Fame..

Like others before and since, Malcolm X paid the ultimate price for his beliefs. Sadly, at the hands of his friends, who blinded by their hatred of others destroyed a life that would have opened their eyes.

Like those already installed, Malcolm exhibited a willingness to stand up for what is right. He showed determination in the face of insurmountable obstacles. He was passionate about his cause. He had a inquisitive mind that opened his eyes, and ours, to new possibilities. Like those already installed, Malcolm let an indelible fingerprint on our state, our nation and our world.

Like Governor Norris, he was a reformer.
Like Willa Cather, he was a visionary with heart.
Like General Pershing, he was a motivator of men and a strong able leader.
Like Lorne Eiseley, he was a philosopher.
Like Fr. Flanagan, he had a great heart and a desire to change society for the better.
Like Buffalo Bill, he was a rebel and a showman.
Like William Jennings Bryan, he was a gifted orator and religious leader.
Like Bess Aldrich, his story has been translated into innumerable languages.
Like John G. Neihardt, we was a gifted writer.
Like Susette Tibbles, he sought rights for the oppressed.
Like J. Sterling Morton, he was working for the future.
Like Red Cloud, he worked for his people.
Like Grace Abbott, he was a pioneer for social legislation.
Like Charles Bessey, he was tireless in pursuit of his goals.
Like Mari Sandoz, he believed and lived in the stimulation of the mind.

Like Standing Bear, he found a better way.

Unlike these, the was assassinated for doing what was right.
Unlike these, he remains largely unknown to Nebraskans.

To the Members of the Nebraska Hall of Fame Commission:

I strongly urge the admission of Malcolm Little (Malcolm X/El Hajj Malik El Shabbazz) to the Nebraska Hall of Fame.

Nebraska Hall of Fame Commission Meetings, Hearings, and Testimony

Nebraska Hall of Fame Commission Meetings, Hearings, and Testimony.

2014 Hall of Fame Nomination Decision Meeting on Friday, November 16, 2012, 2:00 p.m. in Lincoln, NE.

Please click the link above for the agenda for the Hall of Fame Commission meeting scheduled for Friday, November 16, 2012, 2:00 p.m. in hearing room #1113 located on the ground floor of the Capitol. Hearing room #1113 is located in the southwest quadrant of the ground floor.

Parking: Street parking around the State Capitol building is available.

The agenda has been set so that there will be about an hour for general discussion by the Commission, concerning the candidates. Oral testimony pertaining to the nominees will not be taken at this meeting given the fact that the required three public hearings were held and all Commissioners have both the notes of those hearings and all written testimony submitted to date. Anyone wishing to submit additional written comments should send them to the Secretary of the Commission by November 9. Following the discussion, the Commission will try to reach a decision on the one inductee to be inducted for the five year period of 2010-2014.

 This meeting will be conducted in strict accordance with the Nebraska Open Meetings Act. All discussion and deliberation will be conducted in open session; all votes will be roll call votes.

Please contact Michael J. Smith, Secretary to the Hall of Fame Commission at michael.smith@nebraska.gov or 402-471-4745 if you have any questions.

America’s Lone Justice

http://www.thereader.com/index.php/site/comments/americas_lone_justice/

Ramsey Clark implores Nebraska to “Free Ed and Mondo”

BY KIETRYN ZYCHAL
“After forty-two years in prison, how can we help them?”

The first question asked after Ramsey Clark’s speech last weekend does not have an easy answer. Clark, 84, a former Attorney General who served under Lyndon Johnson, traveled to Nebraska on a humanitarian mission to visit Ed Poindexter and Mondo We Langa (David Rice) at the Nebraska State Penitentiary. The men, now 68 and 66 years old, have been incarcerated for forty-two years for the 1970 bombing death of an Omaha police officer, a crime they insist they did not commit.
The state’s main witness was a 15-year old youth named Duane Peak who testified that the pair made a suitcase bomb and instructed him to put it in a vacant house and call 911 to lure police to the house. Peak was subpoenaed to submit to voice analysis in 2006. His voice was ruled out as the caller, but the courts did not grant a new trial based on the voice analysis. Poindexter and We Langa currently have no appeals pending. Clark spoke to about 75 people at the Malcolm X Foundation the day after he visited them.

“I think these two men are certainly innocent of the acts for which they’ve been accused and by our system convicted,” he said. “But I don’t think that’s the real question. The real question is what kind of people are we that we would incarcerate two such valuable citizens for life?”

He praised both men for their intellectual accomplishments and ability to stay strong under the circumstances. “If you could see them, you would be inspired. When you see someone who has been in there a long time who still understands who he is…” He finished his sentence by saying, “They are our hope.” Clark called the men “uncrushable.”

To the first questioner who asked how to help, he responded, “Work with organizations that are already working to free them. There are people all over the place. Write to the governor, state senators and legislators. Write to the superintendent of corrections. Tell them, ‘As a Nebraska citizen, I’m very distressed that they have been in prison so long. It’s barbaric.’”

The second questioner voiced frustration shared by Ed and Mondo’s supporters. “It doesn’t matter what evidence comes out that they are innocent, Nebraska says you’re going to stay there until you die. So, what can be done about that? ‘Cause there’s been new evidence, but it doesn’t make any difference.” Clark told him, “The solution is not in finding new evidence. It doesn’t matter at this stage. The only decent and just thing to do is to say to your elected officials, ‘It’s been far too long, we want them free now.’”

He cited Norway as a country that does not believe in punitive prison sentences. “They consider 20 years to be a long sentence,” he said.

Nebraskans for Justice, a non-profit organization that advocates for the release of Poindexter and We Langa, arranged for Clark’s visit and the lecture. They advertised for anyone with information about the bombing to come forward. No one did, however one man in the audience told of his personal connection to the explosion that took the life of police officer Larry Minard.

“I lived across the street from the bombing. I was 15 years old. It blew out five windows in my house. I smelled the gun powder. I went to the screen because I could hear the police. I knew the vacant house. William King’s family had lived there until they moved to the projects. I knew Duane Peak. I grew up with Duane, he lived on that street, too. I heard the 911 call they said he made. That was not Duane Peak’s voice. I also knew David Rice. He couldn’t play basketball but he was brilliant. They just wanted him and Ed off the street.”

Poindexter and We Langa were members of Omaha’s Black Panther Party until it was disbanded by the national headquarters for inaction. Subsequently, they formed other organizations including the United Front Against Fascism and the National Committee to Combat Fascism. Homemade newsletters printed by these groups used inflammatory language to protest police actions, forming the basis for suspicion that members of the group were responsible for the bombing when entered as evidence at their trial.

Others in the audience brought up the role of the FBI’s secret investigation of political groups during this era, code named COINTELPRO, for counter intelligence program. Many believe COINTELPRO played a role in the prosecution of Poindexter and We Langa. Clark stressed, “It was not just the FBI. Other federal agencies also participated with state and local police. Police investigation is always important for the public to survey carefully. It’s where our human rights are protected or violated,” he said.

After the speech, audience members approached Clark to shake his hand or have their picture taken with him. He was heard joking with one of them, “This photo will ruin your reputation.”

Click the link for full audio of Duane Peak’s 2006 voice analysis:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f_QgQ0Pv1ug