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A Civil Rights Leader, Underrated: Rev. Jesse Jackson

By Linden Beckford Jr.

Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. is a man who needs to be recognized as a Civil Rights Warrior. They say that you can judge a man by his track record. It can never be said that Rev. Jackson has not put in much work. Not only has he put in work, he continues to be putting in work in 2017.

As a young man, Jackson stood for his rights and dignity in the early 1960’s. This was while he was an undergraduate student at North Carolina AT&T University. His activism in the movement goes back to this time. He is truly a man who has earned his stripes!

It is a fact that we all are all a sum of our life experiences. With that said, Jim Crow in South Carolina during the youth of Rev.Jackson as well as his first year at University of Illinois, shaped and molded him. He comes from the generation of Stokely Carmichael, Huey P.Newton, Ray “Masai”Hewitt, Alprentice “Bunchy” Carter and Muhammad Ali.

One of things that makes Rev. Jackson stand out is that he was able to represent the bridge between traditional Afro-American culture and the rising militants of the 1960’s. We tend to overlook Rev. Jackson’s participation in the Selma to Montgomery marches. The documentary “Eyes on The Prize” as well as the movie “Selma” do not show Rev. Jesse Jackson!

It is disturbing to see how the younger generation is being brainwashed to believe that Rev. Jesse Jackson is an “ambulance chaser” when it comes to injustices in the Black community. I beg your pardon!! Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. selected Rev. Jackson to head the Chicago branch of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference’s (SCLC) economic arm, Operation Breadbasket.

As time progressed, Rev.Jackson’s chant, “I Am Somebody,” was in concert with Dr. King’s declaration “Black Is Beautiful.” Anyone who suggests that Dr. King was not preaching Blackness is ill informed. Jackson would sport a big Afro and sport a colorful dashiki. He would clearly exhibit how unapologetically Afro-American he is. This is something that present day haters do not get! His running for the President during the 1980’s opened the door for Barack Obama. Therefore, without Rev. Jesse Jackson, there would have been no President Barack Obama!

Let us not forget, Rev. Jackson having Africa on the brain. He was involved in the Anti-Apartheid Movement during the 1980’s and was very influential in having Blacks in North America referring to ourselves as African-Americans. That was a positive move. Do not pay attention to the naysayer/reactionary elements!

Rev. Jackson has demonstrated that he is “No Coward Soldier”. There is no doubt that when the “Great Getting’ Up Morning” comes, the Lord will say to Rev. Jackson, “Servant, Well Done!”

Foster Youth Lead in Film Festival at 3rd Annual Real to Reel

By Naomi K. Bonman

The opportunities for people of color in the entertainment industry have increased; however, getting in the industry is still very competitive and opportunities are far and few in between. Then you have programs, such as Better Youth, that provide outlets for young people to utilize the tools to get a few steps ahead of the competition and to build experience.

Real to Reel is one of the outlets. Founded by former foster youth Johna Rivers and Syd Stewart, the two of them together realized a dying need in the industry and have put forth together a momentous event. Each year this red-carpet celebrity studded event gets even better with entertainment vets who come out to speak and spark inspiration to these talented youths. Every film in the festival is shot, produced, and edited by youth. This year was even more powerful than others because every film submitted was by foster youth.

The day started with morning workshops facilitated by Akuyoe Graham (acting workshop), Ruben from AT&T (New Media), and Ullisses from Wells Fargo (Financial Literacy). Following the morning workshops was the red-carpet session which led to the panels and film screenings.

Casting Director Leah Daniels opened the festival with a presentation of special awards, with a surprise awards that was given to herself on behalf of Real to Reel. Edwina Findley also spoke and following her were a few performances. A panel took place after the films were shown.

To view the interview with Syd Stewart and to hear Leah Daniels speech, please visit www.purposelyawakened.com.

Activist and Author Bree Newsome to Speak at UC Riverside

RIVERSIDE, CA- In June 2015, Bree Newsome drew national attention to South Carolina when she scaled a 30-foot flagpole outside the state capitol building and unhooked its Confederate flag as an act of civil disobedience against what she perceived as “racist symbolism.”

On Wednesday, October 18, Newsome will speak about the experience and her work as a community organizer and activist during a lecture at the University of California, Riverside titled “Tearing Hatred from the Sky.” Sponsored by UCR’s Women’s Resource Center, the event will take place at 7 p.m. in Room 302 of the Highlander Union Building (HUB).

Denise Davis, director of the Women’s Resource Center, said Newsome’s talk will draw connections between a variety of historic milestones — including the 1960s heyday of the civil rights movement — and contemporary activism designed to combat systemic racism and other forms of social inequality.

“Bree is sure to be an inspiring speaker who can comment on both her lived experience as a Black woman and how her personal piece of activism fits into our moment’s continuation of the civil rights movement,” Davis said. “I’m also hoping that she’ll be able to offer some advice as to where we go from here.”

Newsome’s highly visible act of protest, committed June 27, 2015, came just one day after President Barack Obama delivered a eulogy at the funeral of Clementa Pinckney, a Black pastor and South Carolina state senator who had been killed weeks earlier during a mass shooting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston.

“Five days before the action, we huddled in a small living room. What united us was a moral calling and a commitment to doing the right thing, recognizing the power we had as individuals coming together to act as one,” Newsome wrote in an August 2017 op-ed published by The Washington Post.

“With awareness of history and belief in a better future, we decided to attack a symbol of systemic racism with a direct action that symbolized its dismantling. We almost immediately settled on removing the flag, both as an act of civil disobedience and as a demonstration of the power people have when we work together.”

South Carolina’s Senate voted to officially remove the flag from the capitol’s grounds on July 6, 2015. In the wake of the event, Newsome became a prolific author and commentator, regularly sharing her perspectives on newsworthy happenings such as the recent debates over the removal of Confederate monuments across the country and the impact of Colin Kaepernick’s ongoing protests during the NFL national anthem.

Newsome’s upcoming talk at UCR is free and open to the public, and registration is not required to attend. The event’s supporting sponsors include the Center for Ideas & Society, the Department of Gender and Sexuality Studies, and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion.