It's hard to watch. Guns aimed at the dark. Loud yells. Loud salvo. Night drizzle in the tactical lights. Cops mistook his cell phone for a gun. I know already, he's dead. I finished watching the video of Stephon Clark's murder. Days later, White House Press Secretary, Sarah Sanders labeled it a "local matter."
In the fires of a burning city, James Cone saw the face of God. He was a young theologian transfixed by newsreels of the 1967 Detroit uprising. For five days, Black people fought soldiers as buildings burned in the night. Two years later, his Black Theology & Black Power hit bookstores; God, he said was on the side of the protesters. Cone died last month. Although mourned by many, his legacy is in question. Millennials have left behind the church in the internet age. What role does Cone’s theology have now? What can we do with a faith that once linked us to our ancestors?
Puerto Rico still had no power. Weeks after Hurricane Maria battered the island, streetlights were like dead iron flowers and the avenues, draped in shadows. I came to find family and report for my newspaper. Parking near Borinquen Plaza, I got out and saw boys popping wheelies on bikes. Couples drank on benches. A crowd cheered on old men, who played dominoes. I was a little embarrassed and said, “Why aren’t you suffering more?” The air was prickly, almost electric with freedom. Like a carnival. The next day, I drove around the island, interviewing people and found immense suffering. In the mountains, families starved, the old and sick were desperate. People had died. Yet everyone I talked with always admitted the same guilty secret. They loved the renewed connection. Family. Friends. Even the land. It all was powerfully present.
Psychedelics is a "white thing". It is a common idea. Many people of color view "tripping" as an effete practice of the privileged that the oppressed cannot afford. The sentiment is mirrored by the near invisibility of race as a topic in official, often all white, psychedelic conferences. Against white silence and black suspicion, more youth of color, some affluent and integrated are experimenting with psychotropics. Using literature, history and personal testimony, we can map how psychedelics have been interpreted by Black America.
“Here’s where the hurricane tore off my roof,” she pointed upward. We look at exposed wood beams under open sky. “It was horrible,” Ruth crossed her arms. “Doors shook. Water came into the house.” Her son tugged on her pant leg and she lifted him. “We hid in the bathroom.” Patting his head, she leaned … Continue reading Island of Light, Island of Shadow
Published in The Indypendent September 19, 2017 Issue 29 U.S.–Mexican Border “People are dying,” the reporter’s voice cracked. At his feet, skeletal families raised thin arms. He pointed to the refugees around him, tens of thousands, panting with cracked lips, dying in the dust. Their eyes gazed north, to the soldiers and the great wall … Continue reading The Road to the Sun
“Now I’m afraid,” she said. “I wasn’t before. Too privileged to feel fear.” The protest at Trump Tower was loud, so we, leaned in to each other as if whispering secrets. Another war chant rose from the people at the barricades. “After seeing the car hit the marchers. Kill that girl,” her eyes fixed on … Continue reading Can’t Beat Hate with Hate
"Black Masks, Rainbow Bodies: Race and Psychedelics" Psychedelics is a "white thing". It is a common idea. Many people of color view "tripping" as an effete practice of the privileged that the oppressed cannot afford. The sentiment is mirrored by the near invisibility of race as a topic in official, often all white, psychedelic conferences. Against white silence and black suspicion, more youth of color, some affluent and integrated are experimenting with psychotropics. Using literature, history and personal testimony, we can map how psychedelics have been interpreted by Black America.
"It's not a question of what happens to the Negro," Baldwin said in an early [episode] of "The Dick Cavett Show." Eyebrows arched, he looked at Cavett, "The real question is what's going to happen to this country." The film cuts to cops arresting Black Lives Matters activists. Peck edits Baldwin speaking in the past, alongside today's protests throughout I Am Not Your Negro. It drives the overall theme that our nation is again at a turning point. The US will rise or fall to the degree it heeds Baldwin's warning. The film commands: Look beyond the self-serving stereotypes of Black people or collapse from the weight of your hypocrisy.
I left the hospital,” she said in jagged breaths. An hour earlier, my girlfriend texted me that she slipped and cut her hand. Friends rushed her to an emergency room but she left before treatment. I was confused and angry. “Why are you walking home in pain,” I asked her. “I. Can’t. Afford. Another. Bill,” … Continue reading Life in the Balance