In Arizona, the Tohono O’odham Nation has said it will fight Trump’s plan to build a wall across the entire length of the U.S.-Mexico border. The Native American reservation spans 75 miles of the border, and the Tohono O’odham’s ancestral lands extend across both Arizona and Sonora, Mexico. This is Tohono O’odham Nation Vice Chairman Verlon Jose.
Verlon Jose: “Over my dead body will a wall be built. I don’t wish to die, but I wish to work together with people so we can truly protect the homeland of this place they call the United States of America, not only for my people, not only for our Tohono O’odham Nation members, but for the American people.”
Students Demand 100+ Colleges Become “Sanctuary Campuses”
Students at as many as 100 colleges and universities across the United States Wednesday held protests demanding their schools become “sanctuary campuses” that refuse to cooperate with immigration authorities carrying out Trump’s plan to deport millions of undocumented people. Speaking on “60 Minutes” Sunday, Trump vowed to immediately deport up to 3 million people. During his campaign, Trump also said he’d reverse President Obama’s executive orders, which include the program DACA—Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals—which has shielded 750,000 young people from deportation. This is María Maes of Columbia University.
María Muratalla Maes: “I’m here to demand that President Bollinger of Columbia University make my school, our school, a sanctuary campus and also protect the financial aid of undocumented students on this campus and their ability to work on campus.”
15 Journalism Groups Write Open Letter to Trump Demanding Access
Journalists are also fighting back against Trump after he ditched his press pool for the second time in less than a week Tuesday night. It’s a long-standing tradition in U.S. politics that presidents and presidents-elect travel with a “pool” of reporters. In response, 15 journalism groups, from the National Press Club to the Society of Professional Journalists, wrote an open letter to Trump saying, “The role of the press pool is critically important to our country … This isn’t about access for the press itself, it’s about access for Americans in diverse communities across the country.” Trump also bucked press traditions during his campaign, when he banned journalists from nearly two dozen media outlets, including The Washington Post, from covering his events.
BLM Leaders Issue First Statement on Donald Trump’s Election
The leaders of the Black Lives Matter Network have issued their first statement on Trump’s election. In the statement, they called Trump a white supremacist and said, “Today, like every day before it, we demand reparations, economic justice, a commitment to black futures and an end to the war on black people, in the United States and around the world. The work will be harder, but the work is the same.”
Twitter Suspends Accounts of Alt-Right Leaders
Meanwhile, Twitter has suspended several accounts of prominent members of the “alt-right” movement, criticized for being a haven for white nationalists. But Twitter has not suspended the account of Stephen Bannon, Donald Trump’s chief strategist and a leader of the alt-right movement. Feminists and people of color have for years called on Twitter to crack down on online harassment and abuse. This year, best-selling author and feminist writer Jessica Valenti quit using social media after she received a rape threat aimed at her child.
Minnesota Officer Charged in Killing of Philando Castile
In Minnesota, police officer Jeronimo Yanez has been charged with second-degree manslaughter for killing African American Philando Castile during a traffic stop. Castile’s death was live-streamed on Facebook by his girlfriend, Diamond “Lavish” Reynolds, in an extraordinary video in which she narrated the aftermath of the shooting while she was still in the car, with a police officer pointing a gun at her and her four-year-old daughter as her boyfriend lay dying next to her. Yanez has also been charged with felony charges of endangering the safety of Reynolds and her daughter. It’s the first time in at least 30 years that a police officer in Minnesota has faced charges for killing someone while on duty, and comes after nationwide demonstrations protesting Castile’s killing.
Elouise Cobell Wins Presidential 2016 Medal of Freedom
And President Obama has awarded Blackfeet Nation tribal leader Elouise Cobell the Presidential Medal of Freedom. She was the lead plaintiff in a landmark 1996 lawsuit claiming the U.S. Department of Interior had misspent, lost or stolen hundreds of billions of dollars meant for Native American land trust account holders dating back to the 1880s. After a nearly 15-year legal battle, the U.S. government settled for $3.4 billion, the largest government class action settlement in U.S. history. This is Elouise Cobell speaking on Democracy Now! in 2008.
Elouise Cobell: “In our communities, in our Indian communities, people are living in dire poverty. People that have oil wells pumping in their backyards are not receiving their money. And they don’t have homes. They can’t send their children to school. And it’s a very sad condition. It doesn’t take you very long to drive through an Indian community and see all these wonderful resources, but seeing our communities living in dire poverty. And then, after you find out—and what we found out through this lawsuit is the fact that, well, the government was just using our money to reduce the national debt.”
That was Elouise Cobell. She died in 2011. Other recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom award this year include artist Maya Lin, actor and environmentalist Robert Redford, singer and songwriter Bruce Springsteen, and basketball legends Michael Jordan and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
Posted By Maya Dukmasova on 11.17.16
- DANIELLE A. SCRUGGS
- Angela Davis at the University of Chicago’s Rockefeller Chapel
Some 1,600 people packed the University of Chicago’s Rockefeller Chapel Wednesday evening to hear a lecture by legendary radical feminist and academic Angela Davis. The onetime Black Panther leader urged the rapt audience to move beyond mourning and embrace grassroots political organizing in the face of the impending presidency of Donald Trump.
Seventy-two-year-old Davis looked regal, her gray-gold Afro in a halo around her face, her gap-toothed smile and lilting voice as captivating as it was 50 years ago. She was depicted in the media as a dangerous terrorist then. In the early 70s she was placed on the FBI’s most wanted list, then tried and acquitted on charges of being an accomplice to the killing of a California judge (charges widely seen as then-governor Ronald Reagan’s retribution for her radical activism). Today, the professor emerita at University of California, Santa Cruz, is still an icon, regularly publishing influential feminist and anticapitalists treatises and lecturing widely around the country.
The crowd was a racially diverse who’s who of progressive and radical Chicago—including Chicago Teachers Union president Karen Lewis, and the leadership of Black Lives Matter Chicago, Black Youth Project 100, Assata’s Daughters, and the #LetUsBreathe Collective. Two of Sandra Bland’s sisters were there. John Cusack sat in a front pew with black baseball cap pulled low.
Whatever the original intent of the lecture Wednesday, much of the event was devoted to a discussion of the election.
“I feel really invigorated to be here, in Chicago, at this moment,” Davis announced, punctuating her words by leaning closer to the microphone as applause and cheers intensified. “How do we begin to recover from this shock? By experiencing and building and rebuilding and consolidating community. Community is the answer.”
Davis said that she has long seen Chicago as one of her “political homes,” an “antiracist, anticapitalist, feminist political community.” But in the context of the election, she underscored the need to “struggle over the coming period as we have never struggled before.” She reminded the audience that Trump hadn’t won the popular vote, that most people who cast their ballot did so against him, and that the millions of people who didn’t vote at all shouldn’t be forgotten by organizers and activists. She urged everyone to think critically about “representations of divisions in this country.”
Nevertheless, the election was a reminder that we can’t underestimate “the extent of the ideological influences of racism, of islamophobia, anti-Semitism, heteropatriarchy, xenophobia,” Davis said, adding that the problems of the electoral college system have never been more apparent. “This is a time to reflect on the extent to which we are living with the relics and ghosts of slavery.”
But Davis, who in September stated her intent to vote for Hillary Clinton, also took time to examine the deep deficiencies in the campaign of the would-be first woman president, particularly its “outmoded notion of feminism that revolved around white, middle-class, and bourgeois women.”
Davis then read from civil rights leader Anne Braden’s 1972 “Letter to Southern White Women” :
I believe that no white woman reared in the south—or perhaps anywhere in this racist country—can find freedom as a woman until she deals in her own consciousness with the question of race. We grow up little girls . . . . absorbing the stereotypes of race, the picture of ourselves as somehow privileged because of the color of our skin. The two mythologies become intertwined, and there is no way to free ourselves from one without dealing with the other.
“It seems like Hillary Clinton should have read her,” Davis concluded, and the echoey chapel nave filled with laughter.
- DANIELLE A. SCRUGGS
- Sandra Bland’s sisters stand to be recognized by the audience at Rockefeller Chapel.
She then tackled the shortcomings of Bernie Sanders. Though he was able to bring a critique of capitalism to the national political arena and talk about the “working class” in a way that hadn’t been heard in decades, “he seemed to be just learning how to incorporate a critique of racism,” David said. “He should have sat down with some people and said, ‘You know, I need a crash course on intersectionality.'”
As she concluded her lecture, Davis highlighted the importance of the Black Lives Matter movement in the country’s slow progress toward understanding intersectionality; she called for free health care and free education, emphasized the usefulness of civil disobedience and the need to organize women’s labor, underscored Islamophobia as “the most salient form of global racism today,” and said that every city should be a sanctuary city for immigrants. She also repeated her decades-old call for the abolition of prisons and policing , “because we need new notions of security. Why do we accept forms of security that are fundamentally grounded in violence?” she demanded as the audience exploded in applause. “Violence and security contradict each other.”
Davis then read from an open letter James Baldwin—whom she called Jimmy—wrote to her while she was in jail:
The enormous revolution in black consciousness which has occurred in your generation, my dear sister, means the beginning or the end of America. Some of us, white and black, know how great a price has already been paid to bring into existence a new consciousness, a new people, an unprecedented nation. If we know, and do nothing, we are worse than the murderers hired in our name. If we know, then we must fight for your life as though it were our own—which it is—and render impassable with our bodies the corridor to the gas chamber. For, if they take you in the morning, they will be coming for us that night.
Following the lecture, Davis engaged in conversation with Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, a rising star in African-American studies who teaches at Princeton University. The majority of questions (submitted on note cards anonymously by audience members) were about what to do in the the face of a Trump presidency. Davis didn’t have any easy answers. “Whatever we are already doing, we need to do more,” she said. “We need to accelerate our activism.”
Davis also said that we should be cautious of views of Trump as a “wake-up call” that might finally bring the country to mobilize behind a progressive agenda. “I remember the Nixon era, when we all went to jail,” she said. Too much time and energy had to be spent on legal defense then, to the detriment of the various radical movements of the era, she explained.
The last question of the night, a plea for advice and hope for the future, came from a group of high school students Davis asked to stand up and be recognized. “I think that you are the hope,” she told them. “Even though I’ve been around for a very long time, I don’t see myself as having all the answers. . . . The young people need to show the rest of us the way.”
Tags: Angela Davis, election, Donald Trump, police abolition, Chicago Teacher’s Union, Karen Lewis, John Cusack, Black Lives Matter, BYP 100, #LetUsBreathe Collective, Assata’s Daughters, Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, University of Chicago, Princeton University, Haymarket Books, radical feminism, radical activism, Image