In 2014, Detroit hosted The Praxis Project’s annual gathering, Roots & Remedies, just three weeks after Grace Lee Boggs turned 99 years old. Our agenda for the three day gathering was inspired by Ms. Grace’s urgent question she asked throughout her life as a speaker, writer, philosopher, organizer and visionary: “What time is it on the clock of the world?”
On July 10-12, 2015, close to 300 freedom fighters from across the nation convened on the campus of Shaw University in Raleigh, NC, the first historically black institution of higher education in the South. We deepened our shared analysis of root causes and elevated practices and policies – remedies – to inform how we're using this momentum to Build a Better Movement!
Almost one year ago in Ferguson, MO, police officer Darren Wilson shot and killed Mike Brown and left him lying in the street. Since then, the list of names of unarmed Black people whose lives have been taken by the police keeps growing.
One day after South Carolina removed the Confederate flag off the state’s capitol, close to 300 freedom fighters from across the nation convened in Raleigh, NC at Shaw University to connect, plot and build a better movement. Also fresh in our memories was the image of Bree Newsome climbing the flag pole in South Carolina just a week before and stating to the press, “The southern heritage I embrace is the legacy of a people unbowed by racial oppression.”
The greatest public health threat and catastrophe of our time is climate change, and the South is at its epicenter. Rising oceans are taking coastal lands, destroying communities, cultures, and whole ways of life, while dramatically altered weather patterns are leaving inland areas in historic droughts.
The South’s rich history of “bottoms-up leadership”, while not covered by mainstream media during the Selma 50th Anniversary Jubilee, was worn on the chests of hundreds of marchers from the Southern Movement Assembly during the “Backwards March.” Hundreds of marchers wore yellow sashes with the words: We are the Peoples Movement, Leadership from the Bottom-up. The march’s purpose is to ‘go back, get it right and go forward with everyone who has been forgotten or left behind,’ according to Rev. Kenneth Glasgow who has been organizing the march since 2007.
Today, thousands of students chanting “Hey! Hey! Ho! Ho! The PARCC test has got to go!” walked out of New Mexico’s public schools in protest of the controversial standardized test associated with Common Core standards. New Mexico launched the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) this school year. The standardized test links results to school funding, teacher pay and graduation requirements.
Praxis has been reflecting on policing of late - its basic paradigm of "us vs them"; the deep level of dehumanization that takes place in the way officers are trained and socialized, and in how they are trained to perceive those around them that they are paid to protect and serve. If police were actually trained and deployed as if they were to protect and serve, life would be very different for so many of us. So many more of our children would be alive today. So many more mothers and fathers would never know the horror of losing a child.