The Innovators: people moving big ideas in 2007.AS WE BEGIN 2007, ColorLines starts the year profiling a list of trendsetters and tastemakers we call The Innovators. Leaders in politics, art, music and even style, our lineup is filled with the people behind the big ideas you'll see move in 2007. From celebrity activism and training young leaders The Young Leaders' Programme is run alongside the main Explorer Scout Programme. It is a formalisation of what was happening in many Groups and Districts across the country where older Scouts were returning to help the younger sections. to an activist judge and a court-martialed soldier, The Innovators are the ones to watch.
We don't think you'll be disappointed.
Adrienne Maree Brown
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, THE RUCKUS SOCIETY The Ruckus Society is an organization that sponsors skill-sharing and direct action training camps for activists from impacted communities working on social justice, human rights and environmental justice.
Training a new generation of leaders
ADRIENNE MAREE BROWN is the head of The Ruckus Society, an institute that has trained social justice organizers for more than a decade. A writer, singer and organizer, Brown was also a founder of the League of Young Voters and the co-editor of How to Get Stupid White Men Out of Office.
Can you talk a little about your vision, big picture, but also the work you're doing now at Ruckus? I think in a word, my vision is really about leadership--being able to see strong leaders in communities that really need leadership right now. I feel like we're in a moment of peaked resources at every level: human resources The fancy word for "people." The human resources department within an organization, years ago known as the "personnel department," manages the administrative aspects of the employees. , fiscal resources, oil, water, air. We have reached the point of running ourselves out of what we most need.
This is a time when it's crucial to have powerful, smart, flexible leaders. My vision is for a world in which we have tons of people who can respond to the things that are happening to them in a proactive way, in a sustainable way and in a way that's going to leave a sustainable world.
On the smaller scale, I think a really important piece of the work I do is helping people think through their vision. It's helping organizations find their vision, to figure out the work they are meant to do rather than what may be most obvious to them. How do you build sustainable organizations in an unsustainable world? It always starts with having a shared vision.
There's been a good deal of discussion about the presidential election in 2008. One of the big holes is that there isn't a lot of talk about what's happening at polls. With the League of Young Voters, I got a pretty intense look at voter organizing in the country. I was frankly surprised that there wasn't more work being done around election protection when it became glaringly apparent that's where the key problem was. We were registering our folks, we got people mobilized, we got them educated, we did voter guides. Then people would show up to the polls. Disenfranchisement dis·en·fran·chise
tr.v. dis·en·fran·chised, dis·en·fran·chis·ing, dis·en·fran·chis·es
dis combined with fraud was so high that there was no chance for a democratic process to happen.
We're doing election rapid response teams that are happening all across the country. We have some of our best folks in the field coordinating responsive action to the crap that happens at the polls. If you don't have a population that's trained in how to respond to disenfranchisement in the moment, there's no way they're going to be able to respond.
We're doing all this to make sure people are voting. We don't want them to be voting with invisible ink invisible ink
Ink that is colorless and invisible until treated by a chemical, heat, or special light. Also called sympathetic ink. .
Tell me about IP3, the Indigenous Peoples The term indigenous peoples has no universal, standard or fixed definition, but can be used about any ethnic group who inhabit the geographic region with which they have the earliest historical connection. Power Project. The idea came out of an Action Camp a few years ago. At that camp, the community actually demanded that Ruckus help develop a Native training circle so that they no longer had to have this training coming from folks outside of their community.
It's clearly the smartest and most strategic move as well. All of the resources that people are discussing are under the ground of indigenous folks, who have been continuously disenfranchised, continually disempowered, continually attacked. That's just the frontline, and that's where we send our reinforcements. And those reinforcements need to come in the form of indigenous leaders.
What threads these folks together is the way that they're disenfranchised and the fact that they have an internal struggle with their local leadership that needs to be dealt with as much as mass general struggle. These are the next leaders in these communities, and they have to make sure that they have direct action as one of the tools under their belt. That's probably the most exciting project that I'm working on.
What's driving you to continue this work in 2007? To see it work is driving me forward. Investing in community organizers on the front line. I'm starting to see it pay off.
We're starting to see what happens when we're really invested in a long period of time. I'm always motivated by the fact that we're in this crucial point in history; we've gone beyond our resources and now have to figure out what this next period looks like. It's going to be a continual struggle to redefine the problem if we're going to be the visionaries and dream up a solution to save us all.
Elvira Arellano Elvira Arellano (born 1975) is a Mexican citizen from San Miguel Curahuango, Michoacán, notable for living illegally in the United States. Facing deportation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Arellano took sanctuary in the Adalberto United Methodist Church on Division
IMMIGRANT RIGHTS LEADER
Taking sanctuary, taking a stand
THE CHURCH IS JUST A SMALL STOREFRONT on Division Street in Chicago's Humboldt Park neighbor-hood. Outside its doors, a storm raged from August through the fall last year with civil rights marches, media from around the world and Minutemen in attendance.
The woman at the center of the storm is a slight, shy 31-year-old single mother, former airport worker and undocumented immigrant. On Aug. 15, 2006, instead of reporting to immigration authorities immigration authorities npl → servicio sg de inmigración
immigration authorities npl → service m de l'immigration
for her deportation order deportation order n → orden f de expulsión or deportación
deportation order n → arrêté m d'expulsion
deportation order , Arellano took her 7-year-old son Saul and entered Adalberto United Methodist church United Methodist Church, in the United States, religious body formed by the union in 1968 of the Evangelical United Brethren Church and the Methodist Church (see Methodism). , launching the first church sanctuary case in the United States United States, officially United States of America, republic (2005 est. pop. 295,734,000), 3,539,227 sq mi (9,166,598 sq km), North America. The United States is the world's third largest country in population and the fourth largest country in area. since the 1980s sanctuary movement The Sanctuary movement was a religious and political movement of approximately 500 congregations in the U.S. that helped Central American refugees by sheltering them from Immigration and Naturalization Service authorities. The movement flourished between 1982 and 1992. for Central American Central America
A region of southern North America extending from the southern border of Mexico to the northern border of Colombia. It separates the Caribbean Sea from the Pacific Ocean and is linked to South America by the Isthmus of Panama. refugees.
Her standoff with the Department of Homeland Security Noun 1. Department of Homeland Security - the federal department that administers all matters relating to homeland security
executive department - a federal department in the executive branch of the government of the United States , whose agents have said they won't hesitate to enter the church to arrest her at a time of their own choosing, has provided the immigrant rights movement with an important act of civil disobedience civil disobedience, refusal to obey a law or follow a policy believed to be unjust. Practitioners of civil disobediance basing their actions on moral right and usually employ the nonviolent technique of passive resistance in order to bring wider attention to the during a time when raids continue to target 600,000 "fugitives" and the possibility of positive national reform remains distant.
Her case also raised a public debate over morality versus an inhumane in·hu·mane
Lacking pity or compassion.
inhu·manely adv. immigration law This article or section contains information about scheduled or expected future events.
It may contain tentative information; the content may change as the event approaches and more information becomes available. that even referenced the abolitionists' defiance of the Fugitive Slave In the history of slavery in the United States, a fugitive slave was a slave who had escaped his or her enslaver often with the intention of traveling to a place where the state of his or her enslavement was either illegal or not enforced. Act. Meanwhile, organizers at Centro Sin Fronteras and La Familia This article is about the Polish political party. For other uses, see Familia (disambiguation).
Familia ("The Family," from the Romain familia Latina Unida, which Arellano helped found, used the momentum to push ahead with a call for a moratorium on raids and deportations until "the broken law is fixed."
With a strong dose of religious faith and a simple message about a mother's love, Arellano has firmly asserted the reality of undocumented families and their 4 million U.S.-born children into the immigration immigration, entrance of a person (an alien) into a new country for the purpose of establishing permanent residence. Motives for immigration, like those for migration generally, are often economic, although religious or political factors may be very important. debate.
"I've learned so much, and I feel strong and peaceful," Arellano said. "I have faith that it will be possible for me to stay in this country and for all families to stay together."--Tram Nguyen
First Lieutenant Ehren Watada Ehren Watada (born 1978) is a First Lieutenant (1LT) of the United States Army who in June 2006 publicly refused to deploy to Iraq for his unit's assigned rotation to Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Refusing to serve in an illegal, unjust war
AT 28, THE HONOLULU-BORN and raised Lt. Watada is the highest ranking U.S. officer to decline a commission in Iraq. A First Lieutenant with over three years' service, Watada is currently being court-martialed by the U.S. government.
How did you come to the final decision to decline your commission? First: the truth. You have to read and read and read to really find out the horrors of what people we have entrusted to govern and protect us are doing behind closed doors. I had to decide what I really believed and what I was willing to sacrifice for those beliefs. I believe our country is in danger from within. Our most basic rights are in peril from those we entrusted to govern us. Our soldiers are being sent to die in a war that violates every tenet of international law, humanity and peace. An estimated 655,000 Iraqis have died because of our invasion. More than 2,800 troops have lost their lives, over 20,000 wounded, half of those maimed maim
tr.v. maimed, maim·ing, maims
1. To disable or disfigure, usually by depriving of the use of a limb or other part of the body. See Synonyms at batter1.
2. for life. When is someone going to stand up and put a stop to all of this? When is someone going to hold the people who perpetrated this unlawful war accountable? I didn't stand much of a chance. But before I could expect others to act, I had to do something myself--no matter what the costs.
How will the outcome of your case affect others, in particular vocal opponents of the war in Iraq? The military justice system is not the same as a civilian court. For the most part, the military will do what it wants to do unless the people care and show their concern. The vocal opponents can yell all they want, the politicians simply close their windows and turn up the TV. Only when the vast mainstream of America shows their willingness to be involved will anything change.
What are the penalties you're facing? What comes next if you are found guilty or innocent? The seven charges carry a maximum penalty of eight and a half years confinement, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, and dismissal (dishonorable discharge dishonorable discharge
Discharge from the armed forces for a grave offense, such as cowardice, murder, sabotage, or espionage.
Noun 1. ).
The unfortunate aspect of these charges is that it doesn't matter what rationale prevented you from doing what you were supposed to do--it only matters whether you did or did not do your job. The ACLU ACLU: see American Civil Liberties Union. has presented an amicus brief that is very supportive of what I specifically said and, in general, the free speech rights of service members. Fssor the military to punish me for those actions would establish a dangerous precedent.
Bringing contemporary American Indians American Indians: see Americas, antiquity and prehistory of the; Natives, Middle American; Natives, North American; Natives, South American. to the big screen
WHEN CHRIS EYRE'S DEBUT FILM Smoke Signals won the audience award at the Sundance film festival in 1998, the industry paid attention. The first American First American may refer to:
On the verge On the Verge (or The Geography of Yearning) is a play written by Eric Overmyer. It makes extensive use of esoteric language and pop culture references from the late nineteenth century to 1955. of two major projects set to recast the popular image of American Indians on screen, the director, who is a member of the Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes of Oklahoma, keeps a sense of humor Noun 1. sense of humor - the trait of appreciating (and being able to express) the humorous; "she didn't appreciate my humor"; "you can't survive in the army without a sense of humor"
sense of humour, humor, humour about being the preeminent Indian filmmaker of his time.
"I always joke, 'How come you don't see Indians in McDonald's commercials? Per capita [Latin, By the heads or polls.] A term used in the Descent and Distribution of the estate of one who dies without a will. It means to share and share alike according to the number of individuals. , we serve more McDonalds than any other group," he says before a New York New York, state, United States
New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of screening of his latest film, Imprint, "But seriously, we are invisible in terms of mainstream contemporary images."
The desire to tell the story of contemporary American Indians is at the heart of Imprint, a thriller about a woman experiencing a haunting A Haunting is a television series on Discovery Channel that, according to its website chronicles the "terrifying true stories of the paranormal told by people who experienced real-life horror tales. that forces her to reexamine re·ex·am·ine also re-ex·am·ine
tr.v. re·ex·am·ined, re·ex·am·in·ing, re·ex·am·ines
1. To examine again or anew; review.
2. Law To question (a witness) again after cross-examination. beliefs she thought she'd left behind. When asked about his turn toward an audience-pleasing thriller, his response is quick and passionate.
"My newfound commitment and vision is to put the eclectic, contemporary, elusive Native American image on screen. I want to see characters I've never seen before, and I want the audience to feel everything they feel for other characters: anger, love, hate. I can get lost in that narrative."
In 2007, Eyre will drive that vision with Imprint and a film version of Howard Zinn's progressive retelling re·tell·ing
A new account or an adaptation of a story: a retelling of a Roman myth. of the American story, A People's History A people's history is a type of historical work which attempts to account for historical events from the perspective of common people. Description
A people's history is the history of the world that is the story of mass movements and of the outsiders. of the United States. Between the two, the filmmaker is poised to bring a new understanding of the contemporary American Indian American Indian
or Native American or Amerindian or indigenous American
Any member of the various aboriginal peoples of the Western Hemisphere, with the exception of the Eskimos (Inuit) and the Aleuts. culture through a commitment to tell the vivid and evocative "living history" of his people.
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, MISSISSIPPI AMERICAN CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), nonpartisan organization devoted to the preservation and extension of the basic rights set forth in the U.S. Constitution. (ACLU)
Reclaiming civil rights for thousands
SEVERAL STATES throughout the country have laws limiting the voting rights Voting rights
The right to vote on matters that are put to a vote of security holders. For example the right to vote for directors.
The type of voting and the amount of control held by the owners of a class of stock. of ex-felons, but Mississippi's is one of the worst. If you are convicted of any of 10 crimes, you lose your voting rights permanently. (Yes, that's right, forever.) And in 2005, the Attorney General moved to add an additional 11 crimes to the list making the reach of the law even broader, particularly in Black communities that are most affected in a system of disproportionate policing and racial profiling The consideration of race, ethnicity, or national origin by an officer of the law in deciding when and how to intervene in an enforcement capacity.
Police officers often profile certain types of individuals who are more likely to perpetrate crimes. .
Enter Nsombi Lambright.
With a background working in service and social justice organizations throughout the state, Lambright joined the ACLU three years ago to tackle the triple threat of racial profiling, juvenile justice and felon An individual who commits a crime of a serious nature, such as Burglary or murder. A person who commits a felony.
felon n. a person who has been convicted of a felony, which is a crime punishable by death or a term in state or federal prison. disenfranchisement, When she came to the ACLU and hooked up with the national Right to Vote coalition, no one in Mississippi had a plan for getting the state's Black electorate back on the rolls and educating and mobilizing the mass of eligible voters intimidated by years of miseducation and racist enforcement of election law.
In 2007, under Lambright's leadership, they will mount the first-ever challenge to the law that arbitrarily strikes people from the rolls. "No person should be disenfranchised in Mississippi," Lambright says from her office in Jackson, Mississippi Jackson is the capital and the most populous city of the U.S. State of Mississippi. It is one of the county seats of Hinds County; Raymond is the other county seat. As of the 2000 census Jackson's population was 184,256. , A simple statement of a big idea that she and her colleagues are moving throughout the state. And if the ACLU succeeds in proving that the law is unconstitutional, the door will open to thousands of voters across the state, unleashing new potential to affect local, state and national politics.
While the courts work, Lambright is also educating and registering people all over the state who, until now, believed they were denied the franchise for life.
"After Katrina, more people are paying attention Noun 1. paying attention - paying particular notice (as to children or helpless people); "his attentiveness to her wishes"; "he spends without heed to the consequences"
attentiveness, heed, regard to who's in office and how their leadership affects their lives," she asserts. "It serves as a wake-up call, and people are getting more involved in the city, state and federal government; they want their voices heard."
Don Cheadle Donald Frank Cheadle (born November 29, 1964) is an Academy Award-nominated and Golden Globe Award-winning American actor. Biography
Cheadle was born in Kansas City, Missouri to Donald Cheadle, a child psychologist, and Betty, a bank manager and a
ACTOR, PRODUCER, ACTIVIST
Celebrity activism making policy, not just headlines
WHEN DON CHEADLE made his star turn in 2004's Hotel Rwanda, he attracted the attention of not only Academy Award voters, but also a legion of followers wanting to know more about the horrific 1994 genocide that cost more than 800,000 lives in a 100-day killing spree. The film arrived at a particular political moment: just as the 10th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide The Rwandan Genocide was the 1994 mass killing of hundreds of thousands of ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutu sympathizers in Rwanda and was the largest atrocity during the Rwandan Civil War. brought promises of "never again" from governments whose neglect drove the 1994 tragedy, the armed conflict in Darfur, Sudan, emerged as the next genocide to rock the continent.
Like many celebs before and after, Cheadle could have ridden out the moment, boosted his box office numbers and moved on. But two years later, the 42-year-old actor remains one of the most effective and outspoken critics on the genocide in Darfur. He has lent his name and voice to raise awareness about the brutal and systemic violence against women while rallying other celebrity friends to the cause.
But perhaps most significantly, he's supporting divestment strategies across the country that are forcing significant players, like the state of California, to pull money out of the country until the government moves to stop the genocide that has already cost 100,000 lives and displaced more that one million people from their homes. Unlike most of the feel-good gloss of Hollywood politics, Cheadle is actually working to change policy to directly impact one of the most dramatic instances of racial injustice in our lifetime.
He may have said it best in a Wall Street Journal opinion piece co-authored with John Prendergast John Prendergast is an American human rights activist focused on bringing international attention to the genocide in Sudan and the atrocities of the Lord's Resistance Army in Northern Uganda. of the International Crisis Group: "What is the real reason why the U.S. has not responded as it should have? The truth is that combating crimes against humanity is simply not considered a national security issue ... We need to make it a little warmer, a little more uncomfortable for those politicians who would look away. Just a few more degrees. Just a few more thousand letters. It is, frankly, that simple."
Ibrahim Abdul Matin mat·in also mat·in·al
Of or relating to matins or to the early part of the day.
[Middle English, from Old French, sing. of matines, matins; see matins.]
TECHNOLOGY ORGANIZER, MOVEMENT STRATEGIES CENTER
myBLOC.net--social networking with a conscience
"THIS IS AN INTERVENTION."
When a group of youth organizers sat down at a conference in 1999 and formed the BLOC Network (Building Leadership, Organizing Communities) few could have imagined that just under a decade later the group would be on the verge of launching an online social networking site A Web site that provides a virtual community for people interested in a particular subject or just to "hang out" together. Members create their own online "profile" with biographical data, pictures, likes, dislikes and any other information they choose to post. for progressives of color not of the white race; - commonly meaning, esp. in the United States, of negro blood, pure or mixed.
See also: Color . Poised to challenge the industry behemoths MySpace and FaceBook, myBLOC.net under Matin's stewardship just might change the way social justice movements engage and incorporate technology.
"At myBLOC, individuals develop their own principles and purpose, so what they do reflects their theory of change," Matin offers. "We're getting a generation of people to identify with others who have similar values. And as a power-based strategy, it's preparing a new generation of leaders to govern."
Matin, 30, and the Movement Strategy Center teamed up with San Francisco Bay Area “Bay Area” redirects here. For other uses, see Bay Area (disambiguation).
The San Francisco Bay Area, colloquially known as the Bay Area or The Bay design firm Tumis and other members of the BLOC network to build the site based on a few simple ideas: it should be user-centric, filled with the tools and content visitors want; the software itself should be open-source to encourage cross-platform work across the globe; and it should be developed by organizer technologists, those tech-savvy justice makers who have an eye for new technologies and their roots in social justice movements. They also managed to assemble an all-people-of-color team of designers and developers.
Aside from a new place to post your profile, myBLOC.net is set up to host self-selecting groups, create alumni circles to provide long-term connection between participants at a training or conference and individually tailor learning circles to strategize on particular issues or campaigns on your block, or globally. The site connects individuals to organizations, and to each other, as well.
Shepherding a huge national project from start to finish, with stakeholders from coast to coast, a team of tech gurus and a laundry list laundry list A popular term for a long list of Sx, diseases, or etiologies that share something in common–eg, differential diagnosis of acute abdomen of lofty ideas doesn't seem to leave Matin out of step with the big picture:
"At the end of the day, it's a tool," he adds. "It's not going to change the world. We have to do that."
Eddie Palmieri Eddie Palmieri (born December 15, 1936 in New York City) - pianist and bandleader. Palmieri is a Puerto Rican-American musician, best known for combining jazz piano and instrumental solos with Latin rhythms.
Inspiring after 50 years
What are your inspirations? The issues that inspired my work in the '60s began when I took courses in political economy, in particular the Henry George Henry George (September 2, 1839 – October 29, 1897) was an American political economist and the most influential proponent of the "Single Tax" on land. He was the author of Progress and Poverty, written in 1879. theory of "Progress & Poverty" which then became a stepping stone for me to write compositions like "Justicia" and "La Libertad La Libertad can refer to:
You've been politically active throughout your career. How did that start? I became involved with activist causes because of the conditions that existed and plagued poor communities. So my conviction led me to perform at functions that benefited organizations such as the Phoenix House in New York, Cesar Chavez Noun 1. Cesar Chavez - United States labor leader who organized farm workers (born 1927)
Cesar Estrada Chavez, Chavez and the farm workers in San Francisco San Francisco (săn frănsĭs`kō), city (1990 pop. 723,959), coextensive with San Francisco co., W Calif., on the tip of a peninsula between the Pacific Ocean and San Francisco Bay, which are connected by the strait known as the Golden , and, of course, for prisoners at Rikers Island Ri·kers Island
An island in the East River off the south coast of the Bronx, New York City. Part of the Bronx borough, it is the site of a large penitentiary. , Sing Sing Prison, Attica and Greenhaven. I recorded a live album at one of my visits to Sing Sing.
What's your favorite album? My favorite My Favorite is an independent synthpop band from Long Island, New York. They released two CDs: Love at Absolute Zero and Happiest Days of Our Lives. My Favorite broke up on September 14, 2005, when singer Andrea Vaughn left the band. album is a difficult question but I will narrow it down to three.
Azucar Pa Ti. At that time the record companies had a strict policy that each composition must be 2:45 seconds for radio play. When I recorded "Azucar," [our band] La Perfecta La Perfecta was a French Antillean big band whose styles included cadence and compas. Discography
The Sun of Latin Music will always be one of my favorites because it was the first Grammy ever presented in Latin Music and I was blessed to win. The composition "Un Dia Bonito bonito: see mackerel.
Swift, predaceous schooling fishes (genus Sarda) of the mackerel family (Scombridae). Bonitos, found worldwide, have a striped back and silvery belly and grow to about 30 in. (75 cm) long. " and the orchestration were spectacular and to this day must be respected.
My album entitled EP, also known as The White Album, is one of my favorites because of the impeccable synchronization of the entire orchestra. All trumpet parts were done by Vitin Paz, and all trombones were done by my best bandstand buddy, Barry Rogers Barron W. Rogers (born in The Bronx on May 22, 1935; died 1991) was a salsa musician and jazz fusion trombonist best known as Barry Rogers.
Barron Rogers descended from Polish Jews and was raised in Spanish Harlem. .
What's next in 2007? My goals for this upcoming year have been the same over my 50-year career. And that is to continue to present my culture throughout the world with the integrity that it deserves. With that mindset mind·set or mind-set
1. A fixed mental attitude or disposition that predetermines a person's responses to and interpretations of situations.
2. An inclination or a habit. , I will always be blessed performing my music and being a role model for the younger generation.
After more than 50 years in the business, who do you find innovative? Innovators, in my opinion, are hard to find nowadays, so I must answer this question simply by stressing to young people that they must study and prepare themselves sincerely for whatever they pursue in life. That is why I believe in the Multicultural Music Group. This organization, dedicated to free music education as a path to academic and personal success, strives to teach young people that commitment and dedication will lead you to the path to success with integrity. Those that teach our youth how to be positive members of our society are innovators!--Donna Hernandez
Michael Knight Michael Knight may refer to several people or things:
Moving a new Black style from the ATL (Active Template Library) A set of software routines from Microsoft that provide the basic framework for creating ActiveX and COM objects. Stemming from the standard template library (STL) that comes with C++ compilers, ATL includes an object wizard that sets up to the tents at Bryant Park
HE DIDN'T WIN, but you wanted him to.
The people's champion in the third season of Bravo's runaway hit Project Runway, Michael Knight has gone from Georgia peach to couture superstar in less time than it takes Michael Kors or host Heidi Klum to question your "taste level." From his first garment, constructed entirely of coffee filters, to the more polished collection shown under the tents at Bryant Park, Knight has brought the sleek, bold and undeniably Black style of his adopted Atlanta into the spotlight and maybe soon to a store near you.
And in 2007?
"I'm going to continue to work with my clients. I'm going to produce a collection for a few boutiques. I'm going to make an album. I'm doing a cologne, a home line, a fashion magazine, a pattern-making company. I'm going to do it all," Knight said in his exit video for the show.
We just hope he does it well.
Judge Arthur Hunter
Defending the rights of prisoners in New Orleans
MORE THAN ONE YEAR after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina and the miserable federal response that followed, New Orleans remains devastated dev·as·tate
tr.v. dev·as·tat·ed, dev·as·tat·ing, dev·as·tates
1. To lay waste; destroy.
2. To overwhelm; confound; stun: was devastated by the rude remark. in virtually every sector. Judge Arthur Hunter of the city's criminal court will tell you without reservation that the long-ailing justice system is no exception.
In 2006, Hunter appointed an investigator to determine the ability of the public defender's office to provide lawyers for the many prisoners arrested before and after the storm and held indefinitely in New Orleans jails. What did he find? The public defender's office, financed largely by the now economically decimated city, was flat broke. "They fired most of the attorneys and laid off the support staff," according to the investigator's report. The result: thousands of prisoners, mostly poor and Black, stuck in a system that could not afford to guarantee their constitutional right to due process under the law. (In New Orleans, a defendant can't even make a plea without a lawyer.)
For Hunter, a veteran of the bench, the investigator's report was more than a dismal reminder of the city's long road to recovery; it was a call to arms. So, in fall 2006, he began suspending prosecutions of defendants for crimes requiring public defenders and, alone among his fellow justices, released prisoners facing charges without access to a lawyer.
Arguing that not only the public defender's office but also the district attorney, clerk's and sheriff's offices must become viable, Hunter is not prepared to wait for the city and state legislature to infuse in·fuse
1. To steep or soak without boiling in order to extract soluble elements or active principles.
2. To introduce a solution into the body through a vein for therapeutic purposes. desperately needed funds.
"I have no idea what the legislature will do in 2007. My duty is to defend constitutional rights. That is my focus."
But defending those rights has come with a price. Hunter has faced his share of critics. The public defender's office is working to block the order that released several prisoners in October.
He may be targeted, but it's a role he seems glad to play:
"Criminal justice is only a microcosm of New Orleans and the entire Gulf region: from housing and education to problems facing our youth and the medical system. If I'm a lightning rod, I would hope that lightning would strike in every facet of life in New Orleans."
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, FIRELIGHT MEDIA, DOCUMENTARY FILMMAKER
Interrogating the present by documenting history
MARCIA A. SMITH IS A WRITER and executive director of Firelight Media, a not-for-profit company that produces documentary films on history and contemporary social issues. Smith won the Writer's Guild Award and was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award The Primetime Emmy Awards are awards presented by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences in recognition of excellence in American primetime television programming. First awarded in 1949, they were originally referred to as just the "Emmy Awards" until the first Daytime Emmy for writing The Murder of Emmett Till and in 2006 released the critically acclaimed Jonestown: Life and Death of People's Temple.
How has Jonestown been received across the country? The reception has been fantastic. This is our first film in theaters, and as of now, we are booked in 16 cities in the U.S. and Canada. For young people, the whole thing [the story of the mass suicide at Jonestown] is new ... and we're thrilled that we are up on YouTube and over 150,000 people have seen the trailer there--most of them young people, I presume.
I think one thing that attracts people is that they really don't understand what happened. Our tendency, mine included, is to want to push away the people that committed suicide and draw a line between them and us, putting them on the "crazy" side. Well, what we found doing the film is that Peoples Temple members were motivated by high social ideals and wanted what we all want--to live a meaningful life, to be part of something larger than ourselves. Jonestown also represents a very human capacity for destruction and self-destruction, which we've seen other terrible examples of throughout history.
What are your upcoming projects and plans for 2007? We've just started working on the last hour of a five-hour series for PBS PBS
in full Public Broadcasting Service
Private, nonprofit U.S. corporation of public television stations. PBS provides its member stations, which are supported by public funds and private contributions rather than by commercials, with educational, cultural, on Native American history. The hour we're doing is about the contemporary Indian movement of the 1960s and 1970s: the takeover of Alcatraz, the BIA BIA
Bureau of Indian Affairs building in D.C. and, especially, the occupation of Wounded Knee in 1973. It's an incredible story and has a lot of lessons for all of us. I feel really privileged to be working on it; I also feel a tremendous responsibility to get the nuances of the story straight. That's what's weighing on me right now. Lastly, we're developing a film on Black sexuality in Hollywood.--Megan Izen
DIRECTOR, TRANSNATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR GRASSROOTS RESEARCH AND ACTION (TIGRA TIGRA Thermostimulated Inert Gas Release Analysis )
Recasting remittances, starting a global movement
TIGRA, THE BRAINCHILD of veteran organizer Francis Calpotura and started in late 2004, is a project that promotes financial justice through the economic power of immigrants--those who send billions of dollars to families they've left behind in their countries of origin. According to World Bank estimates, immigrants in the United States sent home nearly $100 billion in 2005. Most used the services of a money transfer agency and were charged 8 to 15 percent in fees and commissions, resulting in billions of lost income for low-income workers and their families.
"The companies," Calpotura exclaims, "have turned deep human affection for family and community into immense profit margins."
In partnership with community and ethnic associations, TIGRA is organizing Million Dollar Clubs in immigrant neighborhoods (networked as an association of remitters transnationally) that can advocate for "transnational community benefits agreements" with industry leaders to support community reinvestment strategies.
Remittances have become the fastest-growing revenue source for many developing countries, outpacing income generated from oil (Mexico), coffee (El Salvador and Bolivia) and textiles (Philippines and India). "Money from the diaspora has become the single most important source of reducing poverty in the Global South," he says.
"But it's plain wrong to place the burden of poverty reduction on the backs of those who were displaced by grinding poverty in the first place, because the policies and practices by governments and corporations that created these conditions continue to be in place."
The end goal: challenge the dominance of the international financial institutions by leveraging the wealth of low-income immigrants and their families to force reinvestment in communities decimated by corporate globalization globalization
Process by which the experience of everyday life, marked by the diffusion of commodities and ideas, is becoming standardized around the world. Factors that have contributed to globalization include increasingly sophisticated communications and transportation .
A big idea, indeed.
Mee Moua and the Minnesota Legislators of Color
Bridging the racial divide
YOU MIGHT NOT THINK OF MINNESOTA as the frontline in the fight for racial justice. In fact, by 2030, the percentage of people of color Noun 1. people of color - a race with skin pigmentation different from the white race (especially Blacks)
people of colour, colour, color
race - people who are believed to belong to the same genetic stock; "some biologists doubt that there are important in Minnesota will surpass the percentage of registered voters who voted in their last primary election. Yet, as the state grows more diverse, it remains plagued by disparities. White students are graduating at a rate 40 percent higher than Black students, and the unemployment rate for Black Minnesotans is three times that of their white neighbors.
But thanks to the leadership of the four (and only four) members of color in the Minnesota State Legislature, the state is taking serious steps to bridge its deepening racial divide. With people of color pouring in and inequities deepening, elected officials like State Senator Mee Moua are using their positions to move progressive bills on immigration, public health and criminal justice. The first Hmong official in the nation, Moua's election was a symbolic victory for her community and a marker in the state. As the face of Minnesota changes, it seems its leaders will as well.
Moua's commitment, echoed by her colleagues, might set a precedent in a state (and a nation) desperate for a framework to address the historical legacy of racism while battling contemporary inequality. In her words, "When it comes to issues of racial justice and racial disparity, public policy ought to be the place where we start to find solutions."
Creating art, echoing life
What is the role of the artist in changing the political landscape? How does your work do this? For the artists who choose this path, our role is to expose injustice. A single painting cannot save anyone but can serve as a catalyst to evoke a change in someone to begin the work that can indeed save us.
With my own work, I seek to fill voids with innovative methods of presenting the images we don't usually see, but should. I paint brown goddesses because young women of color often have trouble viewing themselves as sacred. I paint mothers as saints because the everyday woman is worthy of praise. I paint freedom fighters because today we are taught that to resist is to be a troublemaker and that to go against the powers that be when we are in disagreement is to be ungrateful.
I paint the harsh realities in a world that masks truth behind a bling-bling generation attempting to convince us that we're all comfortable and living well.
What are you working on in 2007? In early 2007, I will be debuting a new project that examines the impact of industrialization industrialization
Process of converting to a socioeconomic order in which industry is dominant. The changes that took place in Britain during the Industrial Revolution of the late 18th and 19th century led the way for the early industrializing nations of western Europe and and militarism Militarism
See also Soldiering.
leader of the Seven against Thebes. [Gk. Myth.: Iliad]
killed many enemies; led many troops to victory. [Ger. Lit. Nibelungenlied] on our environment and on us as people. My inspiration for this piece is Puerto Rico, whose agricultural economy severely declined in an effort to industrialize in·dus·tri·al·ize
v. in·dus·tri·al·ized, in·dus·tri·al·iz·ing, in·dus·tri·al·iz·es
1. To develop industry in (a country or society, for example).
2. the island for foreign benefits and to have military bases set up across three islands of this archipelago.
For this project, I will be exploring more alternative materials: natural, ephemeral materials as well as industrial scraps and urban debris to create a juxtaposition between the fragility of human lives and the destruction bred by the quest for power that manifests through war and capitalism.
Who are your "Innovators"? I think we've come to a new place in the struggle for socio/political and economic justice where all the more we need each and every one of us as individuals to be our own innovators. We can no longer rely solely on "leaders."
You can find more about Yasmin and her upcoming projects at www.yasminhernandez.com.
Minister of Communications
AFTER MONTHS ON THE ROAD prepping communications teams in 10 states and managing a media blitz on election day with the League of Young Voters, Merv Marcano arrives back in New York City New York City: see New York, city.
New York City
City (pop., 2000: 8,008,278), southeastern New York, at the mouth of the Hudson River. The largest city in the U.S. tired but victorious. The House and Senate, along with multiple statehouses, have gone blue, and the young people he worked to mobilize were a critical part of the historic sweep.
All this, from a guy who started off throwing parties.
According to Marcano, when he started the Ministry of Communications, a private PR firm that merges New York's vibrant nightlife with political flavor, his ambitions were simple, if not modest: "The Ministry is about politicizing our social moments and engaging our politics in a social scene that we love," says Marcano, a native and current resident of Brooklyn. "It's more than a party for a cause. We look at what moves people in their lives, what makes them happy, and we turn a concert, an installation, a film into a strategy for political mobilization."
Though only 21, Marcano is already a seasoned communications pro. As the former communications director for Right to Vote, the successful national campaign to restore voting rights for ex-felons, cofounder co·found
tr.v. co·found·ed, co·found·ing, co·founds
To establish or found in concert with another or others.
co·found of The Rashawn Brazell Memorial Fund (created to challenge the media's response to hate crimes against queer Black youth) and briefly a crisis communicator for a global PR firm, the experience he brings to the Ministry is broad and tested. In the next year, he says, these experiences will move new progressive organizing strategies that bridge the gap between politics and entertainment, creating a new model for that ever-changing set of activities we call "activism".
"In an era of Web 2.0 and design-forward entertainment, our political marketing has to be just as savvy, but driven by our progressive values," Marcano reflects when asked what makes his strategy unique in a crowded political scene. "There is a misconception that young people will respond to a message just because it's been crafted with them in mind. That's terribly wrong. The secret is to work peer-to-peer, to know instinctively what moves your people. When we bring the elements together, good politics, a sense of humor, and sleek design with a home-grown edge, it works."