Milwaukee, WI – Professional athletes have always been engaged in politics because sports, like everything else, cannot be removed from the broader political environment. Black athletes like Colin Kaepernick joined their voices with the Black Lives Matter movement in 2016, condemning the epidemic of police crimes impacting oppressed communities. The movement of athletes taking a knee swept across the country and across sports, from professional football to soccer and everywhere in between.
Beachgoers stumbling on human femur bones in the sand – just a few feet from world-class resorts. Families sifting through corpses, decayed beyond recognition and piled up on the beach, in search of missing loved ones. Roadways littered with human heads impaled on bamboo spears. Ordinary homes and buildings converted into charnel houses of unspeakable torture. Parents ripped from their beds in the middle of the night and led deep into the jungle by their captors, for all-night, around-the-clock execution sessions.
Chicago, IL – I have lived into my sixties without giving really serious thought to 19th century English literature. My Catholic school teachers like Sister Irene and Sister Bridget continuously tried, but 45 years ago I was living the life of Eric Forman from That 70s Show. Younger and hipper lay teachers successfully introduced me to African American authors like Claude Brown, Richard Wright, Langston Hughes and James Baldwin. As a result, at the time I consumed Charles Dickens’ literature largely through a series of second-rate movies, cartoons and uneven theatrical performances that typically undermined the author’s work.
Why review a book that the Russian revolutionary V.I. Lenin began in 1901 and finished in 1902? The short answer is the book is just that good and it has endured the test of time, and the 150th anniversary of Lenin’s birth is a good occasion for it.
Jacksonville, FL – I'm not sure how we'll look back at film in the 2010s. Much of it already seems like a blur, leaving me asking questions like, “Was that the Batman movie with Ben Affleck or Christian Bale?” or “Which of the five Spider-Man and five Star Wars movies did you like the best?”
In 2019, we saw workers take to picket lines and we saw mass movements hit the streets in the U.S. and around the world. And when there’s an upsurge with lots of people hitting the streets, you can bet it will be accompanied by protest music. This year has been no exception.
Today, I am proud to be Latin American. Today I will not complain about injustices. Today I will not cry. Today, in addition to celebrating our heritage, we must reflect and begin to love our America, just as José Martí, to really love her! It is time to be proud, to raise your forehead high and not be afraid. It is time to feel the pride of coming from a land where the cosmic race was born, where people from all over the world were merged into a clash where there was death, blood, conquest and colonialism. But from this brutal change, hope was born ... a new culture, with strong roots, mixed with earth, mud, stone and full of life. Today I want to tell all of you, old, young and children to discover your roots! This way you can have the pride of being who you are and want to fight for what is yours.
Hoy, me siento orgulloso de ser latinoamericano. Hoy no me voy a quejar de las injusticias, hoy no voy a llorar. Hoy, además de celebrar en una Buena fiesta, es tiempo de reflexionar y empezar a querer a nuestra América, como lo hizo José Martí, ¡a quererla de verdad! Es tiempo de tener orgullo, de levantar la frente en alto y no tener miedo. Mejor sentir el orgullo de venir de una tierra donde nació la raza cósmica, donde se fundieron gente de todo el mundo en un choque donde hubo muerte, sangre, conquista y colonialismo. Pero de este cambio brutal nació la esperanza… una cultura nueva, con raíces fuertes, mezcladas con tierra, lodo, piedra y llenas de vida. ¡Hoy quiero decirle a todos ustedes, viejos, jóvenes y niños que descubran sus raíces! Y así podrán tener el orgullo de ser quienes son y querrán luchar por lo suyo.
Jacksonville, FL – It’s tempting to say the outrageous moral panic and woke-scolding over Joker made it a less effective movie. Tempting but wrong. What really undid this Scorsese-esque ‘supervillain’ film was the rampant over-production of comic book movies (and television shows) in the last three decades.
Chicago, IL – Frank Chapman’s new book, The Damned Don’t Cry: Pages from the Life of a Black Prisoner and Organizer, is getting a great reception. About 30 people attended a book signing at the office of the Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, July 2. Chapman’s autobiography is available here.