Post Wakanda, the movement continues! Let’s connect and collaborate!
Addressing the issues of today and building the reality of tomorrow. Light refreshments will be served.
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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.”
Sharif Liwaru has joined the Nebraska Humanities Council as a speaker on Malik El Shabazz (Malcolm X) .This presentation can be made possible by the Nebraska Humanities Council as part of the NHC Speakers Bureau.
What did Malcolm X stand for and what significance does he have to the radical politics and movements of his time? Liwaru will share his life as he describes it, as a “chronology of changes”, presenting a view of Malcolm’s life and the changes he underwent, as well as the relevance of his social, political, and even spiritual thought. The challenge is to take Malcolm X, all of him, and present this information in an accessible manner.
Malik El Shabazz (Malcolm X) is one of approximately 300 programs offered through the Nebraska Humanities Council Speakers Bureau. The more than 165 available speakers include acclaimed scholars, writers, musicians, storytellers and folklorists on topics ranging from pioneer heritage to ethics and law to international and multicultural issues, making it the largest humanities speakers bureau in the nation!
Most speakers are available to any non-profit organization in Nebraska at the cost of just $50 for each. Each program lasts 30 minutes to an hour, plus a question-and-answer period. The most frequent users of the NHC Speakers Bureau are primary and secondary schools, colleges and universities, libraries, museums and historical societies, agencies for the elderly, rural organizations, churches, arts organizations and ethnic organizations. The Nebraska Humanities Council sponsors the largest Speakers Bureau program in the U.S. according to the
National Endowment for the Humanities.
For a information detailing the available speakers and guidelines for booking them, please access our website at www.nebraskahumanities.org (Speakers and Resources page) or contact the Nebraska Humanities Council at 215 Centennial Mall South, Suite 330, Lincoln, NE 68508, phone (402) 474-2131, fax (402) 474-4852 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Adapted from “Why the arts are important?” by Dee Dickenson
-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.
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.
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 email@example.com or 402-471-4745 if you have any questions.
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
Parks, Charles O., Jr.
Preceded in death by parents, Charles O. Parks, Sr., and Mary G. Parks. Survived by wife, Vickey Parks; son, Charles O. Parks, III, Omaha; daughter, Mulana Parks, Greensboro, NC; 2 sisters, Cheryl (Allen) Butler, Washington, DC, Carole (Charlie) Samples, Omaha; special friend, James G. (Lula) Brown, Omaha; 6 grandchildren; 1 great-grandchild; nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, cousins, other relatives. VIEWING 9am-12 noon Friday at mortuary. SERVICES 1pm Friday at Malcolm X Center, 3448 Evans St. Interment, Forest Lawn Cemetery. THOMAS FUNERAL HOME
3920 N. 24th St. 402-453-7111
This is a secular, people’s struggle for justice — not a religious one.
By Larry Pinkney
“If we bring up religion, we’ll be in an argument, and the best way to keep away from arguments and differences, as I said earlier, [is to] put your religion at home — in the closet. Keep it between you and your God . . .” –Malcolm X [el-Hajj Malik el-Shabazz]
The struggle for social, political, and economic justice derives its fundamental authority from the legitimate yearnings and needs of all people — be they Black, White, Brown, Red, or Yellow. The human right to social, political, and economic justice is not bound by color, gender, or religion, etc. One of the great strengths of the people’s struggle for justice is that it is inclusive, not exclusive.
We must continue to be steadfast in our sustained, ongoing efforts to organize for human rights, and not allow ourselves to be stymied into a non-secular pitfall. Let us remember, that as we engage in this people’s struggle, the right to religious freedom, for example, must also include the right to be free of or from religion. Thus, it is imperative that we stay focused upon the people’s struggle in the context of full social, political, and economic justice for all peoples.
There are far too few citizens of this nation, and immigrants in this nation, that are aware of the long and rich history, and secular nature of ongoing and successful people’s struggles in the United States. Indeed, the corporate media, the government, and many ‘educational’ institutions endeavor to obfuscate, confuse, and divide everyday Black, White, Brown, Red, and Yellow people by injecting, among other things, religion as a controlling factor into the political narrative of the people’s struggle. This is extremely dangerous, and we must not succumb to this divisive, pigeon-holing, and distracting tactic.
In the context of the struggle for social, economic, and political justice [i.e. human rights], it is essentially irrelevant as to whether one is a believer in Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Agnosticism, or Atheism, etc. Our struggle is not confined to being a religious or a non-religious one; it is a people’s struggle for justice — and nothing short of that. The principles of justice are, and must be, all encompassing.
Even as political repression, including the de facto gutting of the U.S. Constitution, continues unabated in this nation, so must our determination to resist and reverse this repression. Yes, even as joblessness, homelessness, home foreclosures, racism, and mass incarceration steadily rise, we must seize the time to educate, agitate, and organize for a sane and equitable society and world.
As the perpetual, unconscionable and bloody U.S. wars and conflicts drag on in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, and elsewhere on this planet, it is incumbent upon us to be creative revolutionaries in the people’s struggle for social, political, and economic justice. We must not allow the unconstitutional, heavy-handed, and Machiavellian tactics (replete with cynical, so-called ‘plausible deniability’) on the part of the Obama / Biden regime, the NSA (National Security Agency), the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency), the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation), or any other local, state, or federal agency, to chill, stifle, or neutralize our efforts and activities as a part of the legitimate and necessary people’s struggle for social, economic, and political justice. Nor must we allow, or succumb to, the hegemony on the part of the corporate / military elite.
This people’s struggle for justice is rooted firmly in the determination to exercise our human rights in this nation and throughout the world. In a word, what is at stake in this struggle for the present and the future is quite literally, everything. We know that the alleged ‘war on terrorism’ conducted by the U.S. Government and its allies is, in reality, a war on the fundamental human rights of the people of this nation and planet. It is a war intended to stifle dissent — to discredit, imprison, and silence the truth tellers. To reiterate: at stake in this people’s struggle is literally everything.
It should be crystal clear by now that placing our belief in the insidiously articulate Mr. ‘hope and change,’ Nobel peace prize-toting, drone missile-president, Barack Obama, or in his corporate accomplices of the Democratic Party foxes and the Republican Party wolves is a recipe for unmitigated disaster for everyday Black, White, Brown, Red, and Yellow people nationally and globally. Our belief must be in ourselves and each other collectively. Whatever differences we everyday common people might have with one another should be, as Malcolm X so aptly said, addressed and dealt with “in the closet;” and we must step out of that proverbial “closet” — more united and determined than ever before. The urgency of this cannot be overemphasized. Be exhorted by the ever timely words of Joe Hill, and “Don’t Mourn. ORGANIZE!”
Onward now, my sisters and brothers! Onward!
BlackCommentator.com Editorial Board Member Larry Pinkney is a veteran of the Black Panther Party, the former Minister of Interior of the Republic of New Africa, a former political prisoner and the only American to have successfully self-authored his civil/political rights case to the United Nations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. In connection with his political organizing activities in opposition to voter suppression, etc., Pinkney was interviewed in 1988 on the nationally televised PBS NewsHour, formerly known as TheMacNeil/LehrerNewsHour. For more about Larry Pinkney see the book, Saying No to Power: Autobiography of a 20th Century Activist and Thinker, by William Mandel [Introduction by Howard Zinn]. (Click here to read excerpts from the book). Click here to contact Mr. Pinkney.
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