Last night, on the second anniversary of Trayvon Martin‘s death by murder, an important multigenerational gap was being bridged at The New School. Mr. Harry Belafonte, Dream Defenders‘ Phillip Agnew, Dr. Khalil Muhammad, and me wrapped up the The American Race Crisis Lectures with a panel discussion. Titled THE CRISIS CONTINUES, aimed to answer two major questions: Have the civil rights era passed the torch to those fighting for justice and equality today? (Short answer: I would argue, no, not really.) and Where do we go from here? (Short answer: In order to move forward we need to face our collective Identity Crisis.)
The panel—see the full video below—delves into the aforementioned questions, and explores an array of other issues. I believe in a holistic approach: revolution starts within, with the self. We can not coalesce into a movement without building a strong foundation. Until we address this fundamental issue, this Identity Crisis, we will continue to see reincarnations of Emmett Till in the form of Trayvon Martin and, more recently, Jordan Davis, and scores of children whose faces and names we will never know. We must start getting to know ourselves, our history, and one another. If Zimmerman—and maybe this is a stretch—saw the historical and social and cultural similarities, the shared experiences, between his mother’s background and those of Black-Americans, he may not have acted like a scared-to-death wild cowboy. We will never know.
Do you agree or disagree with any of the points we made in the video? Please share. Let’s inform one another.
Before I go, I wanted to give an extra special shout-out to Clarisse Rosaz Shariyf and Ladi’Sasha Jones of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture for giving me the platform to talk about these critical issues. As the only woman to have participated in the series (including 1964!), their inclusion of a female perspective was crucial.