Q&A with Hamda Yusuf for the Seattle Globalist

Talking with Hamda at UWPublished by the Seattle Globalist:

Meet Hamda Yusuf: She’s 19, she’s a local slam poetry champion, and she wants to be the US ambassador to Somalia.

At the Youth Speaks! Poetry Grand Slam last month, most of the poems performed on stage were punctuated by supportive hoots and shouts of, “Youth speaks!” from the packed crowd, culminating in rowdy choruses of applause. But only a few poets earned multiple sets of straight 10s from the judges.

One of them was Hamda Yusuf.

Incredibly, only ten years ago she didn’t speak English. Her family had just migrated from Somalia.

Today she’s a 19-year-old UW freshman pursuing a degree in international studies. But she already has a wealth of global experience under her belt, having lived on three continents.

After advancing through the preliminaries, Yusuf took the opportunity at the Grand Slam final to evoke ancient Somali traditions and stoke the crowd’s indignation at Islamophobia. What set her apart, though, was the earnest humor and moments of mundane Americaness mixed into her poetry—all delivered with a sublime confidence.

Read the rest here.

Heading to Mexico for authentic journalism training in February

I’ve been accepted to the Narco News 2010 School of Authentic Journalism, along with thirty other media-makers from around the world! Narco News relies entirely on support from its readers, so consider donating to offset my travel costs and support this vital alternative media project, and thanks.

New hip-hop tackles white privilege

As a kind of update to a heavily-trafficked list of decent white rappers I posted a while ago, I want to shout out two new songs directly addressing white (and light skin) privilege and its role in hip-hop culture and society at large. Credit to these guys for taking on a difficult subject and shedding light. There is way too much 50 Cent and Soulja Boy on the radio here in Haiti… Listen: Wale’s “Shades featuring Chrisette Michelle” and Macklemore’s “White Privilege.” (Macklemore is white and from my hometown of Seattle.)

What Can Radicals Learn from the Young Lords Party, 40 Years Later?

On Sunday leading former members of the Young Lords Party, a militant Puerto Rican community organization active from 1969 to 1971, gathered at the First Spanish Methodist Church in East Harlem for a forum to reflect on the impact of the group. The New York Young Lords took over the church the first time in 1969 in an attempt to use it as a base for community food and health programs. Months later they occupied it again, this time brandishing weapons, in protest of the hanging of Julio Roldan, a Young Lords member who was found dead in his cell after a police raid.

It’s unfortunate that the Young Lords are not as well known among the broader public as the Black Panthers. The group was arguably more progressive for its time. Patriarchy and other oppression within the Young Lords started to break down quickly when members challenged those hierarchies inherited from society. The Lords had deep roots in and support from the “El Barrio” community.

Which makes the New York Lords’ sudden and swift decline all the more puzzling. Why did the group fall apart after just two years of success? What can radicals learn from the Young Lords?

I cannot find any audio or video from Sunday’s forum online, oddly, to help answer those questions. You can hear Democracy Now co-host and Lords co-founder Juan Gonzalez speak on his experience in this interview.

I attempted to answer the question posed above myself last year in a paper for a ‘Radical Social Movements’ class. I’m posting it online now, to share it with y’all and Google’s indexer. It’s entitled “The Young Lords: Examining Its Deficit of Democracy and Decline. Read it here.

An opening summary paragraph is below . Continue reading “What Can Radicals Learn from the Young Lords Party, 40 Years Later?”

Podcast with pictures: Texans march against Hutto detention center on World Refugee Day

Click the arrow button in the bottom right-hand corner below for a better view. (Sorry about the wind noise, folks!)

This was my second time traveling out to Hutto. Transcript and more information below. Continue reading “Podcast with pictures: Texans march against Hutto detention center on World Refugee Day”

Bay Area youth walk out on I.C.E.

I’m a bit late in posting this, but youth-led protests like this one are so awesome!  Over 400 youth across the Bay Area walked out of their schools on Halloween to protest Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s unannounced raids and terrorizing of Latino and immigrant communities over the past two years.  Joshua Kahn Russell has an exciting report-back up at his blog.  Via Indymedia.