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?
Jerome Armstrong and Markos Moulitsas Zuniga spoke at Orca books last night, on tour for their new book "Crashing the Gate: Netroots, Grassroots, and the Rise of People-Powered Politics." In fact, they didn't have prepared remarks, but launched right into Q&A. As one might have expected, given the interactive nature of what they do on-line, what occured was a conversation between the authors and the audience.
Here's a choice quote from the book to get started:
Theocons like Roberson and Dobson rail against the debased American culture, flooding the FCC with complaints of "indecency" on television, and attempting to extend FCC reach into satellite radio and cable television. But their moral crusade only extends to issues of sex -- premarital sex, homosexual sex, televised sex, presidential sex, adulterous sex, online sex. They see no moral issue involved in killing thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians, or as Pat Robertson publicly called for, in assassinating Hugo Chavez, the democratically elected president of Venezuela, because he threatened to cut off oil shipments to America. Assassination is not a moral question for such theocons, but oral sex among consenting adults or the fleeting flash of a singer's breast on TV -- now that could lay the nation's soul to waste.
Somehow, it doesn't matter that the Republicans never deliver the goods. The authors made the point last night that the Republical Party still gets far more small donations than the Democratic Party. So, ma and pa from Oklahoma send $50 to the Republicans, even though they never get what they want from them, in fact, they get the opposite: almost total corporate control of government (documented in the book). In essence, the Republican foxes have figured out a way to rule the hen house while the hens donate to their campaigns. This disconnect between the voter's interests on the one hand, and the reality of what's happening between the Republican Party and its looting of government is truly astounding.
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.
Olympia is such a political and cultural mecca that we find ourselves in the position of having two very interesting events scheduled at exactly the same time (tonight @ 7:00 pm):
So, what to do? I'm going to the blogfest, personally. Anyone going to see Dr. West? Wanna take notes and write it up for the rest of us?
Please join us for a Panel Presentation entitled:
"What to do When Hate Groups Come to Town; Responses &
7 pm on Wednesday, April 19th
Koyinia Hall, First Christian Church
7th & Franklin in Downtown Olympia
Zoltan Grossman, speaking about his experiences of working with communities in Northern Wisconsin and Chicago to respond to hate groups.
Reiko Callner, speaking on her experiences as one of the founding members of Unity in the Community and as the author of the City of Olympia's Hate Crime ordinance.
Larry Mosqueda, speaking on his experiences of working with the Olympia Movement for Justice & Peace about his involvement in organizing recent responses to Nazi activity.
At the conclusion of the panelists' remarks, the audience will break down into small groups to share perspectives on how our community should respond and what we think the repercussions of those actions will be. The goal for this panel is to foster open dialogue on our diverse approaches and beliefs, and from there to build a stronger coalition for action.
Service was pleasant and prompt. We were ushered over to a booth with a view of a "babbling brook," or, in the other direction, the informal parking lot. (More spaces, please!) We didn't stop chowing down until our bellies burst with shortcake drenched in butter and fresh strawberries, big enough to split.
Did I mention the pork?
From Northwest Asian Weekly:
Northwest native Joy Osmanski, who graduated from college with a degree in creative writing and studio art and began her acting career on a whim, has a supporting role on Twentieth Century Fox’s “The Loop,” a situation comedy that debuted on March 15.
The show, which first aired after “American Idol,” has a home on Fox Thursday evenings at 8:30.
“The Loop,” set in Chicago, follows the story of Sam, played by Bret Harrison, who is the youngest executive at the corporation headquarters of a major airline and the first of his friends to get a real job. Sam struggles to juggle his serious career and the social demands of his three roommates.
Osmanski plays Darcy, Sam’s overqualified and bitter secretary.
“She’s very bitter because she went to MIT and she’s working a grunt job,” Osmanski said. “I love my character.”
Osmanski, a Korean American, said when she was cast the writers began tailoring the part for her, seeking her input, and playing off aspects of her ethnicity.
Born in Seoul, she was adopted by Kathleen and Al Osmanski at seven months of age, and grew up in Olympia.
A celebration of the sacred through the uplifting music & dance of the world
Saturday May 13, 2006 at Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd, Olympia WA USA
Suggested donation $5-10 at door
Check out the schedule right here.