With the Freddie Gray uprising as a catalyst, Baltimore residents voted in the $12 million Children & Youth Fund. Here's how local activists in this majority Black city ensured that young, people-of-color-led, grassroots groups had a seat at the table.

 

Originally Published on Colorlines.com (August 30, 2018)

By Bakari Kitwana

Three years after the police killing of Freddie Gray triggered an uprising in Baltimore, little has changed for Black residents who make up 63 percent of its population. Attempts to prosecute Gray’s killers...

Nine months after the Women's March, a surprisingly diverse crowd of 5,000 met in Detroit for the inaugural Women's Convention. Their mission? To transform the energy of the march into strategy, bridge gaps and build power.

Originally Published on Colorlines.com (October 31, 2017)

By Bakari Kitwana

When I arrived at 10 a.m. on Saturday (October 28), thousands of women from across the United States had already filled Detroit’s Cobo Center for the inaugural Women’s Convention, a followup to January’s historic Women’s March. From its inception this summer,...

I first met Miss Brooks in the late 80s when I was an editor at Third World Press. In those days she was still living around the corner from Third World Press’s office, at  75th...

A townhall discussion on the legacy and feasibility of Reparations, featuring Dr. Amilcar Shabazz and Attorney Deadria Farmer-Paellmann, moderated by Bakari Kitwana (Executive Director, Rap Sessions). With breakout sessions featuring: Amy Hanaeuer (Policy Matters, Ohio), David Rothstein (Neighborhood Housing Services of Greater Cleveland), Angela Woodson (Gelic Group / GROUND UP Strategy Inc, Former Director of Outreach for Ohio Governer’s Office of Faith-based Initiatives), Demareo Cooper (Ohio Organizing Collaborative), Shakyra Diaz (Cuyahoga Place Matters), Ed Little (The Collaborative for a Safe, Fair and Just Cleveland / Cleveland 8), Indigo Bishop (Neighborhood Connections), Basheer Jones (Cleveland...

Highsnobiety gives me the last word in their piece on How Hip-Hop Took Over the Fashion World, quoting my Black Book article from 2004: “We didn’t sell out. We brought the hood to the suburbs, Jay-Z tells me, explaining that he hasn’t acquiesced to the status quo. “Out of nothing we made something,” he says repeating a phrase he’s incorporated into his lyrics on several occasions. Then, references his King of New York predecessor, the Notorious B.I.G., he adds, “We went from ashy to classy.” It’s a fine line and raises two important questions. First, has hip-hop betrayed it’s ghetto origins as a voice for the voiceless? Second, has hip-hop’s arrival in mainstream culture changed what it means to be bourgeois?" Read the full article:...

 

On the Current Fight For Justice For Tamir Rice

By Bakari Kitwana

Originally Published on Ebony.com (June 23, 2015)

Two weeks ago today, I, along with seven other Cleveland area activists, filed affidavits with the municipal court calling for the arrest of Police Officers Timothy Loehmann and Frank Garmback for their involvement in the killing of 12 year-old Tamir Rice. Tamir was gunned down in less than two seconds in a park at a community center near his home. While many in the community have applauded our approach as a breath of fresh air toward obtaining justice, Police Patrolmen’s Association...

By Bakari Kitwana

What can I say of this beautiful, amazing and talented brother to a brother, Lasana Kenny Mack?

I first met Lasana Kenny Mack in the mid 80s when I was an undergraduate and he was a graduate student at the University of Rochester. He had just finished his undergraduate degree at Howard University. In addition to his focus on his studies, he was a very talented pool player. (Brotherman carried his own pool stick.) He was also a pretty skilled pick-up basketball player. And he wouldn’t hesitate to show off his DC style, breaking ankles of NYC kids before that became en vogue. Likewise, he was a spoken word poet, long before it was fashionable. I remember the birth of his first child around...

On Friday March 21st Sybrina Fulton, the mother of Trayvon Martin, will headline a community townhall style gathering in Rochester, New York focused on solutions to Black youth profiling and criminalization in the US. The discussion is one in a series of events that Rap Sessions is conducting around the nation in 2014 under the theme, “America’s Most Wanted: Hip-Hop, The Media and the Prison Industrial Complex.”

 

The event, hosted by the University of Rochester, hopes to engage area youth in a candid, consciousness-raising discussion about the ways entrenched economic and criminal justice public policy continue to contribute to the school to prison pipeline...

It is impossible to be Black & political in the 60s/70s/80s/90s/2000s & not have been transformed by the vision and genius of Amiri Baraka, a towering intellectual and activist who reminded us loudly and often to commit ourselves to "the tradition of our liberation struggle." Deepest sympathy to his family.

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BEYOND JAY-Z / BELAFONTE BEEF TO ACTION

By Bakari Kitwana

published on August 2, 2013...

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