message to grassroots

“Just got off a healthcare coalition call with Senator Schumer. His message:

1. Grassroots pressure will determine whether this passes.
2. They’re not seeing nearly the response there was to the House bill. That needs to change.
3. It’s make or break this week. Unlikely McConnell will drag this on past next week because he wants to move on to tax cuts.
4. The following Senators are wavering and need to be flooded with contacts:

1. Heller is the most important (R-NV) (202) 224-6244
2. Collins (R-ME) (202) 224-2523
3. Murkowski (R-AK) (202) 224-6665
4. Capito (R-WV) (202) 224-6472
5. Cassidy (R-LA) (202) 224-5824
6. Flake (R-AZ) (202) 224-4521
7. Gardner (R-CO) (202) 224-5941
8. Portman (R-OH) (202) 224-3353
9. Cruz (yes, that Cruz - he’s facing a tough reelection battle) (R-TX) (202) 224-5922
10. Paul (R-KY) (202) 224-4343
11. Lee (R-UT) (202) 224-5444
12. Sasse (R-NE) (202) 224-4224

Share this list on social media and find people who live in those states and impress the urgency of this on them. Those phones need to ring like crazy starting today.”

please PLEASE call.

It’s just like when you’ve got some coffee that’s too black, which means it’s too strong. What do you do? You integrate it with cream, you make it weak. But if you pour too much cream in it, you won’t even know you ever had coffee. It used to be hot, it becomes cool. It used to be strong, it becomes weak. It used to wake you up, now it puts you to sleep.
—  Malcolm X, Message to the Grassroots
5 things I learned about Rosa Parks

Once upon a time there was segregation, Rosa Parks sat on a bus, then there was a boycott and segregation ended. The end.  This is the story that has been regurgitated countless of times through publics schools and its black history curriculum. Ask any student to name a historical black figure and you’ll probably hear Rosa, Martin, and Frederick. If you’re lucky, you may even hear Malcolm. Earlier last week I had the honor of attending the Annual Rosa Parks Luncheon followed by a book discussion and signing of The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks by Dr. Jeanne Theoharis. Here are five facts that I learned about Rosa Parks from these past events

1.)   She was involved in social justice activism before the boycott.

She had worked with the NAACP on the Scottsboro case with trying to prove their innoncence.

2.)   She was broke.

After the boycott, her and her husband were fired and left for broke. She would tour the country to speak about the boycott but would not really ask for money

3.)   She lived in Detroit.

Her and her husband had to leave Alabama and had family in Detroit. There she was still involved with the NAACP and she continued to battle social justice.

4.)   She was down with the black power movement

Although she was a quiet church going lady, she had a fiery side and was angry at social injustice. She admired the young people and their vigor to bring about change. She attended her fair share of black power events

5.)   She was a huge fan of Malcolm X.

Parks had admired Malcolm X and she had met him on a few occasions. One time would be when he delivered his great “Message to the Grassroots” speech.  Malcolm X was also a fan of her too and when they met he signed her program and the two spoke privately for a few minutes. A week later Malcolm X was assassinated .�.

PUBLIC ENEMY

PUBLIC ENEMY, IT TAKES A NATION OF MILLIONS TO HOLD US BACK (1988)

An inventive and innovative record that holds up to this day, It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back, features energetic and visceral beats, vocals, and excerpt political lyrics that communicate a message that shocked Americans. The leader and writer of the group, Chuck D, delves into topics such as self-empowerment for African Americans, critiques of white supremacy, and exploitation of the music industry, all characterized by black nationalist rhetoric. As explained by BBC Music, “the message was that black music could be reclaimed and re-tooled as a semantic crowbar – screaming to the world that rhythm was as eloquent as words when reminding us of the world’s inequalities”, and so it was. It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back incorporated speeches from historical figures such as Jesse Jackson and Malcolm X. Taking from Malcolm X’s Message to the Grassroots speech, Public Enemy sampled the lyrics “too black, too strong/too black, too strong”. These lyrics reference to Malcolm X’s coffee analogy, which describes the results of a white America diluting the interest of black people:

“It’s just like when you’ve got some coffee that’s too black, which means it’s too strong. What you do? You integrate it with cream; you make it weak. If you pour too much cream in, you won’t even know you ever had coffee. It used to be hot, it becomes cool. It used to be strong, it becomes weak. It used to wake you up, now it’ll put you to sleep.” - Malcolm X

This single, along with “Don’t Believe the Hype”, conveyed their message so fiercely and with so much flow, that it caused immediate tension in the press and genuine fear. The record as a whole is an explosive masterpiece that delivers its lyrics with an infectious controlled anger. It’s an album that speaks to you and begs for a debate. 

PUBLIC ENEMY, FEAR OF A BLACK PLANET (1990)

Two years later, Public Enemy released Fear of a Black Planet, an equally sonically and lyrically ambitious project. The song “Fight the Power” from this record would go on to become the theme song for Spike Lee’s film, Do the Right Thing, “a chilling morality tale of police brutality, telling the story of a deadly choke hold by police, sparking a race riot” (abc news). The film is now recognized as a masterpiece for its superb production, style, and message to the extent that it’s being taught in schools. Even president Barack Obama recognized and praised the film for “holding a mirror up to society”.

SPIKE LEE, DO THE RIGHT THING (1989) PUBLIC ENEMY, “FIGHT THE POWER” (1989)

“Fight the Power” is a testament to African-American culture with its mentions of civil rights exhortations, black church services and more. The song accurately reflected the tone of Do the Right Thing and became Public Enemy’s most famous song, and considered one of the best songs of all time.

Why We Should Never Forget Malcolm X On His Birthday

The self-defined “Black Nationalist Freedom Fighter” Minister Malcolm X would have been 89 years old on May 19, 2014. While the American spin doctors have been largely successful in shaping a narrative of Dr. Martin Luther King into a two second sound bite of “I have a dream”, they have been less victorious in painting Malcolm into the corner of “By any means necessary”. The image makers of society are more than happy to dismiss Malcolm X and leave him in the dusk bin of history as irrelevant. These two iconic martyrs of the 1960’s era are still dangerous to the status-quo today in 2014, if properly researched and understood.

They both were real human beings, with strengths and shortcomings. They were not angelic figures without faults. They were sons, husbands, fathers etc. just like many of us. They both were apart of organizations, Martin (Southern Christian Leadership Conference), Malcolm (Nation of Islam, later Organization for Afro-American Unity & Muslim Mosque Inc.). These men didn’t not operate as lone superstars, rather were key figures in their respective organizations and a larger movement with many formations.

Minister Malcolm X stood at the crossroads in many ways for great contributing groups to the African/Black community in America and around the world. Looking backward and forward in his life we will find him intersecting and influencing formations including: Universal Negro Improvement Association, Nation of Islam, Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, Black Panther Party, Revolutionary Action Movement, Republic of New Africa, African Independence Movements/Countries, Civil Rights and Black Power formations of all stripes. His analysis and communication skills are worthy of our attention today.

The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Alex Haley, his speeches “Message to the Grassroots” and “The Ballot or the Bullet” are good starting points for study. It is our responsibility to define for ourselves who and what is important in our history. Minister Malcolm X is very important, happy birthday ancestor!

Written by Kofi Taharka

HAPPY BIRTHDAY

Brother Malcolm “ El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz” X

A revolution is bloody. Revolution is hostile. Revolution knows no compromise. Revolution overturns and destroys everything that gets in its way. And you, sitting around here like a knot on the wall, saying, “I’m going to love these folks no matter how much they hate me.” No, you need a revolution. Whoever heard of a revolution where they lock arms, as Reverend Cleage was pointing out beautifully, singing “We Shall Overcome”? Just tell me. You don’t do that in a revolution. You don’t do any singing; you’re too busy swinging. It’s based on land. A revolutionary wants land so he can set up his own nation, an independent nation. These Negroes aren’t asking for no nation. They’re trying to crawl back on the plantation.
—  malcolm x, message to grassroots, october 10, 1963.