Mike's blog

More words from Dr. Cornel West

The death and funeral of Emmett Till was the first event of the Civil Rights era. It is believed that about 250,000 people walked past the open casket of Emmett Till. It was three months before sister Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat in a bus and kicked the Civil Rights movement into another gear.

Emmett was a 14 year old boy from Chicago who whistled at a white woman in a grocery store in Money, Mississippi. Emmett was black and he was brutally murdered for the crime of whistling at a white woman. When his body was returned to Chicago for the funeral, Emmett’s mother, Mamie Till, insisted on an open casket. She wanted the world to see the mangled body of her child, but she said, I don’t have a minute to hate. I have the rest of my life to work for justice. This is the gift and knowledge that the blues people bring to America. What kind of people do we want to be. When we are attacked and murdered do we want to say I don’t have a minute for hate, or do we want to talk about hunting people down like cockroaches, bringing them to justice, dead or alive?

The imperial conservative system is cracking, the rulers are scared. So many children living in poverty in the richest nation in the world. What kind of nation are we? Shall we be well-adjusted to injustice or shall we stand up straight and work with courage and hope? When we stand before a coffin at a funeral we see the past and realize that all that is gone. We stand before a coffin in the present and have an opportunity to ask what kind of person do we want to be? What kind of stories do we want to leave behind?

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Truth, courage and hope from Dr. Cornel West

What an event! The event had a certain rockstar quality from the first as a large, diverse community arrived and promptly formed the thousand person march into the Evergreen State College Recreation Center.

The gym was free now of the excitement of the NCAA basketball tourney, but the space was still ringing with the excitement of earlier crowds who had thrilled to the excitement of the Geoducks annual trek to the Final Four and the National Championship.

True enough that the Geoducks did not win it all this year, but images of the streaking Geoduck fast break ending with the spectacle of a frankly pornographic bi-valve attempting to dunk a basketball still hung in the air. But the season was over and there was only a slight smell of tennis shoes and clam left and this night belonged to Cornel West.

Herewith some notes from the man: The blues is a matter of choice not skin pigmentation. It takes courage to live the blues. The blues people have something to teach, a gift for the world.

Tavis Smiley stepped on stage to talk about his friend, telling us that Cornell had told him you cannot lead the people if you don't love the people. You can't save the people, if you won't serve the people. Then the stage belonged to Cornel again.

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Whoo Hooo! Break Out the Brown Shirts, the Nazis are Coming to Town.

Plans for Sunday, April 2nd Rallies

We believe that the Nazi group, the National Socialist Movement (NSM) will be having their hate rally, tomorrow, Sunday, April 2nd. They have announced they will meet at Sylvester Park, they may not be there. Various groups including Unity in the Community, Olympia Movement for Justice and Peace (OMJP) and others are planning the following response. Our purpose is to make it clear that the Nazis are not welcome in Olympia or any town, that while we resist them we are committed to building a movement against racism and all forms of oppression, and for liberation and equality. We will not permit the Nazis to use the name of Rachel Corrie, a woman committed to fighting anti-Semitism as she worked for Palestinian and human rights.

1. There will be a gathering at Sylvester Park beginning, Sunday, April 2nd at 11:00 A.M. Please bring signs, banners, noisemakers, musical instruments and many friends. We hope to in a non-violent manner put forward our message, concerns and turn their attempted racist rally into one for immigrant rights and for racial, economic and social justice. Let us be creative and challenge them strongly and with dignity.

2. There will be a rally at Heritage Park, Not in our Town, Not in Rachel’s Name, beginning at Noon on Sunday, April 2nd celebrating diversity and equality. There will be music and speakers. This rally will take place whether or not the NSM comes to Olympia.

3. We will have a marching line of people, hopefully 50 or more marching between Sylvester Park and Heritage Park, giving out flyers to passersby and connecting these two rallies. So make some big signs that will put forward our message of equality.

How You Can Help: 1. Show Up tomorrow, tell others! Bring signs, magic markers, poster board, musical instruments, creativity, plan and perform a guerilla theater skit.

2. Help publicize tomorrow’s events. There is a flyer explaining our rally and protest tomorrow and giving derailed information about the events. It can be downloaded from the OMJP web-site, www.omjp.org . You can also pick up a copy of this flyer at Traditions, the Westside or Eastside Coop after 12 P.M. today, Saturday. Pass them out. Make announcements at events you attend. Please send a copy of this email to everyone you know and/or call them.

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