Remember that time you chained yourself to a tree in college to prevent “the man” from cutting it down? Contrary to what you tell yourself now (something about being pulled into young activist drama?), you may have been acting rationally.

People who are more sensitive to the ideas of fairness and equity are driven by logic, not emotion, according to a recent University of Chicago study published in the Journal of Neuroscience.

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Happy Birthday to Lorraine Hansberry! Writer, activist, and Daughter of Bilitis, Hansberry found success as a playwright for her work A Raisin in the Sun, but died of pancreatic cancer at the tender age of 34, leaving behind an unfinished novel and several other plays.

Images above are taken from the book To Be Young, Gifted and Black: Lorraine Hansberry in Her Own Words, adapted by ex-husband Robert Nemiroff.

Mozambique activists protest against rape law

Rights activists in Mozambique have marched through the capital Maputo to protest a colonial era law still included in new legislation that allows rapists to go unpunished if they marry their victims.

The “marriage effect” clause sees convicted rapists given a five-year suspended sentence if they marry their victims and stipulates that the perpetrator should stay married to the victim for at least five years.

Though it had fallen into disuse, the clause has been retained in a new legislation replacing the colonial Portuguese penal code of 1886, which is currently before parliament.

But, in a country where women make up 40 percent of parliament, activists are outraged.

International rights group Amnesty International has launched a campaign against the controversial legislation, leading similar campaigns in Algeria and Tunisia, where such laws also exist.

Attack on women

At the protest, a young woman dressed in a blood-spattered wedding gown led a group of about 300 mostly female protesters as they marched to parliament.

"It is an attack on us as women," protester Aulzira Camacho told the AFP news agency.

"Marry the rapist? No!" read a banner carried by another protester.

The new penal code was rushed through parliament in December, where it was approved in a preliminary vote. It is now under discussion by special parliamentary groups before going back to the assembly for a final vote.

The draft code also terms rape in marriage as adultery rather than an offence.

Activists in the southern African country reject the text, where 12 percent of women fall victim to sexual abuse, according to 2011 health statistics.

Keep reading via aljazeera

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Dedicated to the Cultural Preservation of the African Aesthetic

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All across the world, males are advocating for gender equality in powerful and unique ways. Here are five extraordinary examples:

-Mali singer Bafing Kul, who writes anti-female genital mutilation messages into his lyrics. 

-Plastic surgeon Dr. Mohammad Jawad, who repairs facial injuries of Pakistani women survivors of acid attacks.

-Ziauddin Yousafzai, who travels the world with his daughter, Malala, to advocate for female education.

-Arunachalam Muruganantham, who prevented women living in rural India from having to endure social restrictions during menstruation by inventing a machine that makes low-cost sanitary pads.

-Reverend Timothy Njoya, a Kenyan cleric who founded Men for the Equality of Men and Women to challenge men’s perceptions of what it means to be a man in his country. 

Read more about these men via Thomson Reuters Foundation.  

Activists/Actvism:

There are quiet a few problems I have with how people define activism. Whether it’s the usual liberal feel-good activism, or the so called “radical” groups who rely on different tactics in order to enact their activism (for example, hiding behind academic jargon, using overly colorful language that the people who are being ‘saved’ often don’t understand). Here are some of my main problems with activism/activists:

  1. The feel-good activism: This type of arm-chair activism relies on the happiness of the activist. This activist can support capitalism/uphold companies who exploit their workers as long as they promise a band-aid solution (e.g. TOMS “One for One” initiative which promises that “when you buy a pair of TOMS Shoes, you’re also helping improve the health, education and well-being of a child." and the "One Day Without Shoes" movement for name a few). This activism, the corporations-for-the-people relies on band-aid "solutions" without challenging the structural (imperial) hierarchies this activism functions under. Moreover, the activist here engages in action such as choosing not to wear shoes for a day to show their sympathy, understanding nothing but how cheap and easy their feel-good-activism is.
  2. Western Individualism and the notion of ‘empowerment’: This type of activist uses the idea of activism to push for personal empowerment and enrichment of character rather than challenging structural imbalances of power. Although individual empowerment can be political, when activism turns into, again, a feel-good gathering event they become problematic. As Lierra Keith said “activism has turned into one big group therapy session. It doesn’t matter what we accomplish—what matters is how we feel about it. The goal of the action isn’t to change the material balance of power, it’s to feel “empowered”… This rerouting of the goal from political change to inner change is the reaction of both a spoiled, self-absorbed people, and the utterly desperate, desperate to do something, anything.
  3. Power relationship between activists and those who are being represented: Often activism relies on the power imbalance between activists/the represented people — there needs to be voiceless victims for overzealous activist to engage with them and their identities. These activists are anyone from those who keep the power intact via academic jargon to the structurally-privileged who use their privileged status to ‘help’ people, however,there is a need for the people these activists represent to exist in confusion/gray area. Rather than eradicating it, this type of activism relies on various imbalances of power.
  4. Activist-as-Identity: This activist treats activism as an identity — one is an “activist” and not “engaging in activism”. This type of activism relies on identity politics, on who can/is and who isn’t/cannot be an “Activist” rather than engaging in practice of it. Activism becomes a mere identity rather than a set of praxis (the process through which various theories/ideas are practiced). This activism often relies on all other types of activism mentioned above: the feel-good activism, the personal empowerment, and the use of power over others. Moreover, this type of activism “excludes those who do not speak the language of elites and thus reinforces social relations of domination. Educated elites typically claim that only they are qualified to produce theory and believe that only they can interpret not only their own but everyone else’s experiences. Moreover, educated elites often use this belief to uphold their own privilege.

Just as Edward Said wrote in Culture and Imperialism "theory is taught so as to make the student believe that he or she can become a Marxist, a feminist, an Afrocentrist, or a deconstructionist with about the same effort and commitment required in choosing items from a menu.” Activism is made into a menu in which people can choose day-long/feel-good actions to undergo. The identity as an “activist” requires no commitment, attention, or real change — being an activist becomes a mere activity.

Today in history: Ella Baker - December 13, 1903 - December 13, 1986.

Ella Baker was a key but mostly behind the scenes leader in the Black freedom struggle from the 1930s until she passed in 1986. She worked together with well known leaders such as W. E. B. Du Bois, A. Philip Randolph, and Martin Luther King Jr., working in the NAACP, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), and playing a key initiating and mentoring role with the historic Black student movement of the 1960s, helping guide and train the leaders of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). Her leadership was key in the historic freedom rides, the sit-in movement and the voter registration movement in the Deep South. She also helped form the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP) which challenged the all-white Mississippi Democratic Party causing a national crisis at the DNC in 1964. After the early 1960s she continued to struggle for the rest of her life on many issues like freeing Angela Davis, in support of Puerto Rican political prisoners, the anti-apartheid movement, women’s movement and peace movement. Baker emphasized the importance of linking the struggles for civil rights and civil liberties.

Sweet Honey in the Rock wrote a song in her honor, Ella’s Song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U6Uus—gFrc

Via Freedom Road Socialist Organization (Fight Back!)

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On this day, June 21, 1964, three Freedom Summer volunteers were murdered by the KKK & the Neshoba County Sheriffs Department in Mississippi.

During the summer of 1964, Andrew Goodman, James Chaney & Michael Schwerner (ages: 20, 21, & 24, respectively) volunteered for Freedom Summer in an effort to register members of Mississippi’s black communities to vote.

The 3 young men had set out to investigate the burning and destruction of a church, telling other volunteers to search for them if they were not back by 4pm. 

While on the road, the 3 were pulled over by Deputy Cecil Price (a member of the KKK) and arrested. 

They were jailed briefly and released that night. While on the road again, they were stopped by the KKK who shot and killed all 3 of them, and buried them beneath a 15ft earthen dam. 

The bodies of the young men were found 44 days later after an informant tipped off the FBI. 

The federal government initially charged 18 men with the crime, but were only able to secure convictions for 7 of them. The charges were not for murder, but for conspiring to deprive the 3 murdered men of their civil rights. 

The 7 men found guilty of murder were sentenced to 3-10 years in prison, none of them served more than 6 years.

The FBI referred to the investigation of the 3 missing Freedom Summer volunteers as, Mississippi Burning. The movie, with the same title, was inspired by the events of that summer and the trial that followed. 

If you don’t know what Freedom Summer was, I encourage you to research it.

#NeverForget #FreedomSummer

Malala and Kailash Satyarthi win Nobel Peace Prize

Pakistani child education activist Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi, an Indian child rights campaigner, have jointly won the Nobel Peace Prize.

At the age of just 17, Malala is the youngest ever recipient of the prize.

The teenager was shot in the head by Taliban gunmen in October 2012 for campaigning for girls’ education. She now lives in Birmingham in the UK.

The Nobel committee praised the pair’s “struggle against the suppression of children and young people”.

Mr Satyarthi has maintained the tradition of Mahatma Gandhi and headed various forms of peaceful protests, “focusing on the grave exploitation of children for financial gain,” the committee said at the Nobel Institute in Oslo.

The 60-year-old founded Bachpan Bachao Andolan, or the Save the Childhood Movement, which campaigns for child rights and an end to human trafficking.

Keep reading on BBC

Revolutionary black trans woman CeCe McDonald has inspired many people with not only her survival from a racist, transphobic, and misogynistic hate crime and her criminalization for that survival, but also how she has emerged from that experience as a brilliant and passionate advocate. Now out of prison since January, CeCe is in a very precarious financial situation and is practically homeless. She needs the community’s support and love to help her gain some financial stability so that she can thrive and do her incredible activism. For example, CeCe currently does not own a computer and her phone was recently temporarily disconnected because she couldn’t pay the bill. Please support her however you can!

Please support CeCe McDonald! Forwarding the link isn’t enough - make a contribution yourself if it is at all feasible (especially if you identify as an ally - put your money where your mouth is, as the saying goes).

(For more inspiration, follow me on Instagram: soulrevision)

The world needs more ‘nobodies’ who truly believe that they can make a difference; the ones who will go to the ends of the world to fight for what is right & just, even if it means that they will have to stand & fight alone.

Here’s to the rest of the ‘nobodies’ in this world!

"We didn’t take no shit from nobody. We had nothing to lose. You all had rights. We had nothing to lose. I’ll be the first one to step on any organization, any politician’s toes if I have to, to get the rights for my community."

Sylvia Rivera (1951 – 2002) 

Rivera was an American bisexual transgender activist and trans woman. She was a founding member of both the Gay Liberation Front and the Gay Activists Allianceand helped found Street Transgender Action Revolutionaries (STAR), a group dedicated to helping homeless young street drag queens and trans women, with her friend Marsha P. Johnson (quoted from Wikipedia).

Artist: Angelica Becerra

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Ocean Defender Tour Philippines 

  • Greenpeace activists showing their message at Apo Island while a green sea turtle blends into to the reef.
  • What used to be the healthy corals of the MPA of Apo Island now resemble a coral graveyard.
  • Scientists and volunteers put a coral module at the MPA of Apo Island. These modules are made up out of old coral rubble and cement and can encourage coral growth so the reef can recover quickly. (x)
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New York City: Protesters gather at the inauguration of New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, January 1, 2014.

A few dozen hearty souls from New Yorkers Against Bratton, ACT UP and Occupy Wall St. came out to protest at the inauguration of New York’s new mayor, Bill de Blasio. They came to slam de Blasio’s choice of racist stop-and-frisk advocate Bill Bratton to head the NYPD, his lack of a plan to fight HIV/AIDS, and remind the city of the many ambitious promises he made to get the votes of poor and working people. De Blasio was sworn in before a who’s who of neoliberal politicians, including Bill and Hillary Clinton and Andrew Cuomo.

My sis & I, @him_malaya, at the rally. We met last year in August & worked together on some direct actions, she captured my heart ever since.

She is another woman on the front lines leading many efforts for Ohio Student Association. One of the boldest activists I know. #HandsUp #Ferguson #FergusonOctober