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We Gotta Have It!

Letters Last Updated: Sep 19th, 2012 - 22:41:39

Stand Our Ground
A CALL FOR ART AND ACTION: Like so many of us across the nation, I was disgusted and outraged at the senseless killing of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman back in February. Later that same month I would learn about the tragic case of Marissa Alexander...It is with this in mind that I began organizing Stand Our Ground: Poems for Trayvon Martin and Marissa Alexander.
By Ewuare X. Osayande

Jul 13, 2012, 10:34

Our Hair is Unprofessional?
MarKeese Warner was told by Six Flags that her locks are "unprofessional."
As many young people like myself are looking for summer jobs, Six Flags has a strict policy that prohibits employees from having dreadlocks (or "locks" as some people call them) as they classify them as an “extreme” hairstyle and unprofessional. Please join me in asking Six Flags to stop discriminating against people with locks.
By MarKeese Warner

Jun 12, 2012, 15:04

On 'Identity Politics'
Artwork from the book Identity Before Identity Politics by Linda Nicholson
The term “identity politics” is always used in a negative way as if the person who bought up their history, culture or gender has made some kind of error or violation. Sent from the African Women's Charity Organization

May 3, 2012, 22:12

Petition To Arrest A Killer
The parents of Trayvon Martin want his admitted killer arrested.
The family of Trayvon Martin, the unarmed Black teen-ager shot and killed in Florida by a White vigilante, have posted this petition at to have his killer arrested. Click this link for more information and to go to the petition and sign it.

Mar 16, 2012, 12:57

Blacks Need Not Apply
Report: the company that owns Red Lobster, which is popular among African Americans, actually discriminates against Black employees.
Darden Restaurants, the company that owns and operates Olive Garden, Red Lobster, LongHorn Steakhouse and the high-end Capital Grille, is a "serial offender" in discriminating against Black employees, even though the CEO is Black! Read on and sign this petition for Color of Change.

Feb 14, 2012, 11:59

Nat'l Call-In to Congress
United for Peace and Justice is banding together with more than 20 national groups for a call-in to Congress on Tuesday May 24 demanding an end to the war in Afghanistan. The Friends Committee on National Legislation is providing a toll-free number 1-888-231-9276.

May 24, 2011, 13:03

LETTER: About Farrakhan
Talk show host Bev Smith doesn't want anyone telling her who to invite to her town hall meeting.
In this open letter, talk show host Bev Smith comments on the March 11th town hall meeting in Pittsburgh, Pa. featuring Minister Louis Farrakhan. Her letter is in response to a recent article in The Jewish Chronicle titled, "Purpose Of Town Hall Defeated With Farrakhan Appearance." This letter was sent to us by Pittsburgh Urban Media.

Mar 4, 2011, 16:03

A Double-Consciousness
Two recent submissions to, one from the US-based Black Left Unity Network and another from Kevin Powell, reminded us of the double-consciousness that many African Americans (and Africans of the Diaspora in general) have about the tremendous uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt. We support the people's uprisings but many of us have also experienced racism from Arabs and other peoples of the "Middle East."

Feb 23, 2011, 13:27

Send A Letter To Holder
To Eric Holder, US Attorney General:
We write to you with a sense of grave concern and outrage about the US Supreme Court's denial of a hearing to Mumia Abu-Jamal on the issue of racial bias in jury selection... Inasmuch as there is no other court to which Abu-Jamal can appeal for justice, we turn to you for remedy of a 27- year history of gross violations of US constitutional law and international standards of justice as documented by Amnesty International and many other legal groups around the world.

Feb 1, 2010, 12:26

Haiti: Blessed, Not Cursed
"We are humbled by the tribulations of the people of Haiti. At this time of destruction, suffering, death, and survival, we offer our condolences, our prayers, and our aid. At the same time, as scholars of the African and African-American experience, we are dismayed by the inhumanity of those who have used this tragedy as an opportunity to espouse groundless explanations for Haiti's troubles..."
--the Department of African & African American Studies at Duke University

Jan 29, 2010, 11:35

BET, Why Do You Hate Us?
A teenager writes to BET: All of the values that my parents seek to instill in me and my brothers seem to be contradicted by a more powerful force from the media, and your shows are at the forefront.
By Janita Patrick

Aug 3, 2009, 12:02

Meetings to Support Mumia
Meetings and events are being held to support Mumia Abu-Jamal. On April 6, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected Abu-Jamal's appeal for a new guilt-phase trial. The Supreme Court has not yet decided whether to consider the Philadelphia DA's separate appeal, which is attempting to execute Abu-Jamal WITHOUT a new sentencing hearing. NEW EVENTS ADDED FOR LOS ANGELES, HOUSTON AND BALTIMORE.
From the Free Mumia Coalition

Apr 10, 2009, 07:45

A Black Music Avant Garde?
Art Credit: Afroasiatic Mokkassar
Is there a Black American avant garde under the age of 50? I speak of the Black American because that is what I am and that is what I will be no matter where I go. What does the Black American musician / artist do now with the space s/he has been given?
By Morgan Craft

Mar 5, 2009, 14:42

Simulating Murder
(On The New York Post Simulation of the Murder of The President of The United States). This is not just racism, it is a threat to the chief executive of the United States. What are we going to do about it?
By Amiri Baraka

Feb 20, 2009, 16:21

Your President is Black
Dear Daughters,
Your president is Black. I never thought that I'd ever say those words to you; in fact I can't say that I even imagined what it would be like to say those words to you.
By Mark Anthony Neal

Feb 6, 2009, 12:45

Now, I Will Fly the Flag
On Jan. 20, 2009, I will hang a flag in my front yard for the first time in my life and the flag will be flying upright.

By Verna Avery-Brown

Jan 9, 2009, 13:08

Fighting Voter Suppression
Bertha Lewis
The real issue in reports about alleged "voter fraud" is a coordinated attempt by the GOP to discourage people from voting.
By Bertha Lewis, ACORN

Oct 24, 2008, 13:36

Va. African Burial Ground
An African burial ground in Richmond, Va. is covered by a university parking lot.
A Call to Action: It’s Time to Reclaim Richmond’s African Burial Ground! The Richmond, Va. community, especially Richmond’s Black community, is facing an immediate and historic challenge: Can we rescue the city’s oldest Black cemetery?
By The Defenders’ Sacred Ground Project

Jul 1, 2008, 10:32

'No' to R. Kelly
Statement and Petition from Black Men Against the Exploitation of Black Women: "This is about more than R. Kelly's claims to innocence. It is about our survival as a community. Until we believe that our daughters, sisters, mothers, wives and friends are worthy of justice, until we believe that rape, domestic violence and the casual sexism that permeates our culture are absolutely unacceptable, until we recognize that the first priority of any community is the protection of its young, we will remain in this tragic dead-end."
Sent by William Jelani Cobb

Jun 18, 2008, 12:36

Pride and Prejudice
Helen Burleson, a 78-year-old Black African American woman in Chicago, has received email and calls from around the world about her letter circulated on the Internet that defends Michelle Obama's statement that this is the first time in her adult life that she has been proud to be an American. Here is Burleson's letter.

Jun 18, 2008, 12:11

The ABC Debate Travesty
If you missed the Democratic presidential debate on ABC Wednesday night, Editor & Publisher called it "perhaps the most embarrassing performance by the media in a major presidential debate in years." Sign a petition here to tell ABC News what you think.

Apr 18, 2008, 10:07

Letter from Assata Shakur
On her 60th birthday, Black Panther fugitive Assata Shakur sends greetings from Cuba, where she has lived for nearly 25 years. She says: "In some ways it was easier for my generation. Racism was blatant and obvious...Not much has changed, but the system of lies and tricknology is much more sophisticated."

Apr 1, 2008, 11:24

FOX Attacks Obama
Reporters like NBC's Tim Russert focused on the "Reverend Wright controversy" only after FOX and other right-wing media did. It happens over and over: FOX airs a right-wing smear and the mass media repeat it. has launched a petition demanding the big networks stop parroting FOX and distracting Americans from real issues.

Mar 21, 2008, 17:04

No to Illegal Surveillance
Please join the emergency petition to STOP TELECOM IMMUNITY. Check out the video of Americans speaking out against warrantless surveillance and retroactive immunity to the telecommunications companies that may have aided the Bush administration's illegal domestic wiretapping. From People for the American Way

Feb 28, 2008, 17:56

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We Gotta Have It
Order Esther Iverem’s We Gotta Have It: Twenty Years of Seeing Black at the Movies. 1986-2006. An essential overview of the “New Wave” in Black cinema—a complex, often surprising perspective on art, society, and history.  More than 400 reviews, plus essays and interviews from your favorite movie critic.

Early raves for We Gotta Have It:

"Esther Iverem brings a voice that is deft, insightful and good-humored to the subject of African American culture."
      --Tavis Smiley

"Esther Iverem… is, hands down, one the smartest cultural critics of her generation. This wonderful romp through the last two decades of black-subject films will have you visiting your local video store on the regular.  It’s one of those book we gotta have."
      --Robin D. G. Kelley

"The work of African American filmmakers continues to out pace critiques and commentary by African American film critics. Esther Iverem closes this gap.
      --Warrington Hudlin

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