Tag Archives: black lives matter

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In Two Seconds: Tamir Rice 2002-2014

by Mark Doty

the boy’s face
climbed back down the twelve-year tunnel

of its becoming,  a charcoal sunflower
swallowing itself. Who has eyes to see,

or ears to hear? If you could see
what happens fastest, unmaking

the human irreplaceable, a star
falling into complete gravitational

darkness from all points of itself, all this:

the held loved body into which entered
milk and music,  honeying the cells of him:

who sang to him, stroked the nap
of the scalp, kissed the flesh-knot

after the cord completed its work
of fueling into him the long history

of those whose suffering
was made more bearable

by the as-yet-unknown of him,

playing alone in some unthinkable
future city, a Cleveland,

whatever that might be.
Two seconds. To elapse:

the arc of joy in the conception bed,
the labor of hands repeated until

the hands no longer required attention,
so that as the woman folded

her hopes for him sank into the fabric
of his shirts and underpants. Down

they go, swirling down into the maw
of a greater dark. Treasure box,

comic books, pocket knife, bell from a lost cat’s collar,
why even begin to enumerate them

when behind every tributary
poured into him comes rushing backward

all he hasn’t been yet. Everything
that boy could have thought or made,

sung or theorized, built on the quavering
but continuous structure

that had preceded him sank into
an absence in the shape of a boy

playing with a plastic gun in a city park
in Ohio, in the middle of the afternoon.

When I say two seconds, I don’t mean the time
it took him to die. I mean the lapse between

the instant the cruiser braked to a halt
on the grass, between that moment

and the one in which the officer fired his weapon.
The two seconds taken to assess the situation.

I believe it is part of the work
of poetry to try on at least
the moment and skin of another,

for this hour I respectfully decline.

I refuse it. May that officer
be visited every night of his life
by an enormity collapsing in front of him

into an incomprehensible bloom,
and the voice that howls out of it.

If this is no poem then…

But that voice –- erased boy,
beloved of time, who did nothing
to no one and became

nothing because of it –- I know that voice
is one of the things we call poetry.
It isn’t only to his killer he’s speaking.


In Two Seconds: Tamir Rice, 2002-2014″ previously appeared in vol. 44, no. 3 of American Poetry Review. Copyright © 2015 by Mark Doty. Used with permission of the author.


Author Biography

Mark Doty is the author of several collections of poetry, including Fire to Fire: New and Selected Poems, which received the 2008 National Book Award. He served as a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets from 2011 to 2016.

Photo by Miki Jourdan via flickr (cc-by-nc-nd)

Getting Involved In the Movement for Social Justice

If you are looking for ways to develop or deepen your involvement in racial justice, below you’ll find a collection of resources to help get you started, whether it be by donating, marching, signing a petition or writing your local and federal elected officials.

Articles and Resources

Photo by Johnny Silvercloud via flickr (cc-by-sa)

Black Communities Leading the Movement for Economic Democracy

By Rebecca Lurie

Black History Month is here — and we must declare Black Lives Matter well beyond any one month.

Dr. Phil Thompson shares some important facts and insights in a recent article in the New Labor Forum, “The Future of Urban Populism: Will Cities Turn the Political Tide? He clearly lays out that the generations of inequality and disparate opportunities between the races stems from capitalism and its use of race as a tool to create and maintain the underclass, slavery, disenfranchisement, mass incarceration, poverty, low mortality rates and economic injustice.

Thompson identifies all the challenges for a new progressivism, and yet notes that, “…change is very possible. There are already hundreds, if not thousands, of small initiatives underway in cities to disrupt or reverse these dominant negative trends.” He then challenges us to make a movement of these efforts. Continue reading Black Communities Leading the Movement for Economic Democracy

Community-Driven Social Change in the Age of the Non-Profit Industrial Complex

How can we make sense of the organizing coming out of today’s social change and resistance movements?

In a new article coming out in the Fordham Urban Law Journal, Professor Michael Haber connects many of today’s most important movements—from post-Occupy community organizing to the rise of the worker co-op movement to parts of the Movement for Black Lives—by looking at how activists’ growing understanding of the non-profit industrial complex has led to the creation of a new framework for social change practice, what he calls the community counter-institution. Continue reading Community-Driven Social Change in the Age of the Non-Profit Industrial Complex

New Labor Forum Highlights: July 11th, 2016

The New Labor Forum has launched a bi-weekly newsletter on current topics in labor, curated by the some of the most insightful scholars and activists in the labor world today. Check out some highlights from the latest edition below.

The 2016 election season has simmered with both an inchoate and occasionally crystal clear sense that there is something intrinsically wrong with the U.S. political economy. Despite macroeconomic indicators of post Great Recession recovery, the 99 percent remains strangled by low and flat-lined wages, increasingly precarious work, mountains of personal debt, and political disenfranchisement. The resulting anger and distress, of course, can sometimes lead to constructive possibilities.

This issue of Highlights considers the transformational potential of the present moment. We begin with a proposal for large-scale organizing aimed at asserting control over wealth and capital in the interest of poor and working-class people. In “Organizing in a Brave New World,” Stephen Lerner and Saqib Bhatti make an argument for bold campaigns that confront financialized capitalism head-on and address the racial disparities at its core.

We also take a look at a new report by Tom Liacas and Jason Mogus, “Behind Today’s Breakthrough Advocacy Campaigns.” It’s a clear and helpful guide to some of the newest and best organizing taking place today by groups that aren’t following the usual scripts, including Black Lives Matter and the Bernie Sanders campaign.

Last but not least, we include a fresh article from John Nichols about the ongoing struggle over the Democratic Party Platform. That struggle — which peaked this past weekend in Orlando — represents a fascinating window into the divide between movement activists and electoral campaigners.

Contents:

  1. Organizing in a Brave New World by Stephen Lerner and Saqib Bhatti
  2. Behind Today’s Breakthrough Advocacy Campaigns by Tom Liacas & Jason Mogus, Stanford Social Innovation Review
  3. Democrats Toughen Trade Stance—but Reject Formal Opposition to the TPP by John Nichols

Photo by Tony Website via flickr (CC-BY-SA)

“Black Lives Matter/Fight For $15: A New Social Movement” Sparks Conversation

On October 19th, the Murphy Institute had a packed house for “Black Lives Matter/Fight For $15: A New Social Movement,” sponsored by the Murphy Institute and the Sidney Hillman Foundation.

The forum panelists highlighted that the growing movements, Black Lives Matter and Fight For $15, share in the struggle for access to justice and equality. These movements not only intersect but recognize that together there is the opportunity to create significant change. Continue reading “Black Lives Matter/Fight For $15: A New Social Movement” Sparks Conversation