Category Archives: Pop Ed

Junot Diaz and Toni Morrison

Beautiful conversation between Junot Diaz and Toni Morrison at the New York Public Library.

Morrison on unlocking books:

I always felt that the narrative that African Americans, particularly political ones, told — if they were manipulated by or in the hands of mainstream publishing — it was going to automatically be restrained…  It’s sort of like Frederick Douglass and those slave stories.  You can feel them withholding because they’re writing for abolitionists and they don’t want to upset them too much.  And that gaze and that control, to me, is obvious.

It’s even there in some African American fiction where I can feel that gaze.  That they’re really not talking to me.  If you write a book and call it invisible man, invisible to who?  Not me.

Beloved and mothers:

At the time – this book came out in ’83 or something – but at that time, women who were being progressive and trying to knock down barriers and crack open ceilings, they were intonating that one of the things that would make a woman free was to not have children.  Therefore, she should be able to have access to abortion.  And that was understood to be freedom.

And I was thinking just the opposite.  I never felt more free in my life until I had children.  They were just the opposite of a burden…

But for black women, enslaved, to have a child that you were responsible for, that was really yours, that was really freedom.  Because they took those children.  You didn’t have children.   You may have produced them, but they weren’t yours.  They could be sold.  Were sold.  To be a mother was the unbelievable freedom.

So when Margaret Garner cut that girl’s neck, she was saying ‘this child is mine.’  And to claim her, even if it had to go and become bloody.  Nevertheless that was the freedom, that was the ability, that was the mothering.

On her characters:

I expect them to give it up.  I mean, who do they think they are?  I’m writing so, come on.  I notice that if I don’t have their names right, they don’t talk, but if I get their names right, they are very talkative.  I understand them completely and they sortof understand what the job is.  So it’s an intimate relationship and I’m more grateful than surprised.

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High School Coop

My favorite teacher, Mr. A-K, is helping his high school students start their own clothing coop!

Can’t wait to see what they come up with.

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Beautiful and necessary piece by Arundhati Roy.  Some excerpts:

India’s nuclear tests, the manner in which they were conducted, the euphoria with which they have been greeted (by us) is indefensible. To me, it signifies dreadful things. The end of imagination.

… Railing against the past will not heal us. History has happened. It’s over and done with. All we can do is to change its course by encouraging what we love instead of destroying what we don’t. There is beauty yet in this brutal, damaged world of ours. Hidden, fierce, immense. Beauty that is uniquely ours and beauty that we have received with grace from others, enhanced, re-invented and made our own. We have to seek it out, nurture it, love it. Making bombs will only destroy us. It doesn’t matter whether we use them or not. They will destroy us either way.

The End of Imagination

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We Are Made of Stories

Eduardo Galeano on Democracy Now this morning:

Scientists say that human beings are made of atoms, but a little bird told me that we are also made of stories.  So each one has something to tell that deserves to be heard.

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Poetry

Feeling moved today.

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Pledge

Spent a few days this week at a pretty amazing elementary school in Oakland.  Instead of reciting the pledge of allegiance each morning, the students say another pledge — to themselves, their classmates, teachers, families and communities.

Grass Valley Pledge

My favorite part is when they put their fists in the air and say, “I have the power to make my people proud!”

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Backyard History

Just spent the afternoon in Berkeley hearing stories of badass South Asian organizing from 1908 til’ today.  Here’s Anirvan sharing how 8,000 South Asians on the West Coast took up arms and went back to India to overthrow the British empire during the time of the Ghadar movement.

Part performance, part oral history, and all around great storytelling on Anirvan Chatterjee and Barnali Ghosh’s Berkeley South Asian Radical History Tour.

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Life is Living

Spent a whole afternoon in the sun at Life is Living this weekend.

Stumbled on The Great Integration mixing up hip hop, poetry, theater and instrumentals.

Inspired to try something creative and to grow things again.

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Art and Not-So-Conspiracy

Got to see some beautiful murals by MearOne in LA last week.

Earlier this week, KSDK did a story on the US army testing radioactive compounds on people in Texas and Missouri in the ’50s and ’60s.

Sounds like MearOne’s artwork is not-so-conspiracy after all.

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Radio Venceremos

Just got back from An Afternoon w/ Santiago in SF.  Here’s a short video history (with English subtitles) of Radio Venceremos, Ten Years of Taking the Sky by Storm:

Most of his talk focused on the Museo de la Palabra y la Imagen.  It’s a museum of people’s stories and memories in San Salvador.

He said that they put out a call to all Salvadoran people, “you have a piece of Salvadoran history in your trunks” and encouraged them to share their memories publicly.  From there, they created traveling exhibitions that brought these memories to rural areas on pickup trucks and asked people from everywhere to contribute.

He focused so much on young people in his talk.  The Museo created a trivia game for kids, and a series of animated videos specifically geared toward young people with stories from Cuentos de Cipotes.  This is the first video in the series (Spanish, no subtitles):

Although the FMLN is in control of government today, Santiago says the Museo keeps its distance from power because memory needs its own wings to fly.  You can catch him tomorrow and Tuesday too at USF:

Monday April 2, 2012, 6:00-8:00 PM, MCL 251

Radio Days in Times of War, Historical Memory in Times of Peace/Dias de Radio en tiempos de guerra, memoria histórica en tiempos de paz

Carlos Henríquez Consalvi “Santiago” founded Radio Venceremos in 1981. For the next 11 years, he served as the voice of the clandestine FMLN radio, broadcasting his reports while constantly evading capture by the military in the northeastern hills of the nation. Radio Venceremos was one of the few sources of oppositional press in El Salvador during the reign of the repressive military regime. As such, “Santiago” and his team were among the first to report on the infamous massacre at El Mozote and other atrocities committed by government troops, played a major role in recruiting campesino support for the revolutionary cause, and provided popular education about socialist ideals and Salvadoran history. Carlos Henríquez Consalvi is the founder and director of a museum, El Museo de la Palabra y la Imagen, in San Salvador.

Tuesday, April 3, 5:30–8:30 p.m., McLaren 251

Violence and Media Panel

A forum about community/citizens media in contexts of violence and conflict. Panelists will discuss several experiences and projects illustrating the multiple roles that the media have played and play in different times, historical periods, and locations within the Americas, ranging from civil wars in the 1980s to current violence related to paramilitary groups, drug trafficking, and anti-immigrant policies.

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