Category Archives: Dirty South

Things I’ll Miss About the ATL: Walking With The Wind

All good things must come to an end. I’m leaving Atlanta at the end of May, so a lot of posts in the next few months are going to be dedicated to “Things I’ll miss about the ATL.”


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John Lewis, former chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) during the Civil Rights Movement and a US Congressman representing Atlanta for decades (I’m proud to say I live in his district), is the man (even though he’s made some shitty votes in the past. The Patriot Act, John? Seriously?).

His memoir, Walking With the Wind, is probably the best book on the Civil Rights Movement that I’ve read. His recollections are so vivid that he really does transport you back right into the thick of it. Living in Atlanta has been very special to me in terms of the history of the place. I mean, some of SNCC’s meeting notes and agendas are actually archived in the libraries and museums out here, which is awesome. The book is dope and I highly recommend it. My only knock against it might be that he puts a little too much faith in the Democratic Party than I would. Still,  I think studying this time period in US history is very relevant in thinking about our organizing strategies today

Josh Smith Classic

Tough loss to the Suns, but damn…J-Smoove is a beast.

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Lewis, Luda, T.I. & Jeezy for Jim Martin

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Unfortunately, US Senatorial candidate Jim Martin lost the runoff election here in Georgia yesterday to incumbent Republican Senator Saxby Chambliss. I liked Martin because he was pretty progressive on a lot of issues, which is a big deal in the ragingly conservative stronghold that is Georgia.

However, the homie Sara posted some great pics from a Martin rally that took place last Monday evening, the night before the election. Congressman John Lewis, a legendary organizer in the Civil Rights Movement, was in attendance, along with rappers Young Jeezy, Ludacris & T.I. Much love to celebrities using their influence to engage in politics! It was good to see a symbolic bridge between representatives from the Civil Rights generation and the Hip Hop generation, folks that are so often pitted against each other.

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Stay hopeful, Georgia, us progressive Georgians are going to keep on grinding.

Anthony Morrow is a Beast

The Warriors gave undrafted rookie gaurd Athony Morrow his first NBA start Saturday afternoon against the LA Clippers and he proceeded to beast out for 37 points, breaking the rookie record for most points as a first time starter. It was especially gratifying because we were playing against the Clippers, who we traded stars with in the offseason (former Warriors star point gaurd Baron Davis went to the Clips, while the Dubs got former Clipper forward Corey Magette). Furthermore, Morrow went to college at Georgia Tech here in Atlanta, so I’m loving another BAY-TL connection. Go Dubs!

Post-Election Thoughts: Bittersweet but Hopeful

(This is written as part of the Youth Media Blog-a-thon, sponsored by Youth Outlook and WireTap.)

I know I’m a little late on this, but thought I should weigh in on some post-election thoughts now that I’ve had some time to digest.

My feelings on the election results have been a weird mix of joyful relief and bittersweetness. Both the homies Colin and Rage have posted their own thoughts, and they had similar sentiments.

On the one hand, I was very fortunate to be able to celebrate Obama’s victory at Martin Luther King, Jr.’s church, Ebenezer Baptist, on Auburn Ave in Atlanta’s historic Old Fourth Ward on election night, and the joyous, celebratory mood was amazing. There were literally hundreds, maybe thousands, of people outside, dancing in the street. The traffic on Auburn Ave was stopped and people were just parking their cars in the middle of the street and getting out to dance, hug, and celebrate with all the other people there. I have never seen such excitement around an American political election in my life, and could not deny the historical significance of the moment, especially since I’m now living in the South, in one of the hearts of the Civil Rights Movement no less.

And to top it off…hundreds of people started doing the Cupid Shuffle on the corner we stood on:

Cupid shuffling for Obama? Pretty dope.

It is no small thing that we in 2008 America have progressed to the point where we can collectively elect a Black man to the office of President, in a country where those in power have and continue to demonstrate a clear hatred towards the African American community. It is no small thing that, even if on a completely superficial level, Obama’s image symbolizes to children of color that they have the ability to pursue many different paths in life (as opposed to narrowing them down to say, being entertainers or pro athletes). It is no small thing that we have a President who demonstrates an image of masculinity that includes being a loving, respectful, supportive husband/partner/father.

However, after the joyous celebrating in reaching this step on the path to progress, I was then very sad and disappointed to find out that in my home state of California, voters passed Proposition 8, effectively amending the state constitution to define the state-recognized version of marriage as that between a man and a woman. Now I know the issue of sexuality is a controversial one in our society, but I’m staunchly against any laws that take away freedoms from a group of people based on criteria like race, gender, class and yes, sexuality/sexual preference. And seeing as how a lot of California’s fucked up policies get spread to other states (Three Strikes laws, anyone? How about private prison development?), I couldn’t help but feel like we as a people had taken some very small steps forward, but many steps back as well.

Which leaves us where? Right here:

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Right back in the streets, demanding justice. Proposition 8’s passing has fired up opponents to be out protesting in the streets, particularly targeting Mormon Churches, many of whom which, along with Catholic congregations, contributed millions of dollars and countless hours of work to get the initiative passed. The
media has also pointed to the high percentage of African American voters who supported Prop. 8 as a factor contributing to its success, but I would caution against falling into that divisive trap. To pin the outcome of an election on another group of oppressed people who make up a tiny portion of the total electorate (Blacks make up 6.2% of CA’s population, and an even smaller percentage of it’s eligible voting population) is ridiculous, and seems more like a classic strategy by the powers that be to divide different oppressed groups against each other. That’s not to say that homophobia in communities of color does not exist, or excuse it, I’m just trying to keep everything in perspective.

Interesting times we find ourselves in. A Black President, although a definite sign of progress, is not going to solve all of our societal problems, and Obama in particular has clearly demonstrated he is a moderate Democrat at best, or at least very willing to move to the center, no matter where his true beliefs may be situated.

Still, I am inspired by him to continue to fight for the world I would like to see, in any way that I am able to. Change only comes with struggle, and no one understands that lesson more than the people out in the streets demanding equal justice. I draw inspiration from my GLBTQ brothers and sisters out there fighting for equality. As much as we’d like to think so, a courtroom or policy change alone oftentimes doesn’t bring about the real changes we want to see in our communities, in our culture, in our society. When the institutional avenues available to us do not work, you have to take it to the streets. I have hope that we will make sure that our communities are well informed and organized to take action and demand that the government recognize that it is created by us, the people, and it will be held accountable to a progressive vision for the world.

“Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.”

~Arundhati Roy

Elections ’08: Troy Davis & The Death Penalty

(This is written as part of the Youth Media Blog-a-thon, sponsored by Youth Outlook and WireTap.)

Troy Davis was scheduled to be executed on Monday, October 27th, 2008, but today received a stay of execution by the Federal Appeals Court in Atlanta. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution states that: “Davis, 40, sits on death row for the Aug. 19, 1989, murder of 27-year-old Savannah police Officer Mark Allen MacPhail. Since Davis’ trial, seven of nine key prosecution witnesses have recanted their testimony.” There is no physical evidence in this case implicating Davis. No gun, no bullet, no nothing, just “witness” testimony, the majority of which have since recanted said testimony, saying they were pressured to implicate Davis by the police and others.

For anyone who has been keeping up with this case, it has been a rollercoaster ride, with Davis being granted stays of execution sometimes mere minutes before he is scheduled to die.

I stood out with hundreds of other people last night at a rally for Davis organized by Georgians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty (GFADP) on the steps of the Georgia State Capitol. In freezing cold weather, we were fired up by chants of “I am Troy Davis!” It was thus great news that we were greeted with this morning, upon hearing of the Court’s decision. The fight for Troy’s life is not over by any means, but the stay has given Troy more days to live, and has given us more time to strategize, fight and hope.

Sadly, Troy’s story is not unique. He is one of 3,300 people on Death Row in the United States. The NAACP Legal Defense Fund states that of that 3,300:

“…Over 41 percent are African-American—more than three times their representation in the general population. According to the Death Penalty Information Center, since 1973 there have been 130 people exonerated—people wrongly sentenced to death—in 26 different states, including five exonerated on death row in Georgia. Evidence even suggests that at least four innocent people have been executed in recent years.”

This is not an equal system of justice. The Death Penalty is a system that overwhelmingly kills poor people of color, many of whom are found to be innocent of the crimes they are accused of. And with that reality, in the midst of a Presidential election in 2008 America that has constantly thrust race in the spotlight, the two mainstream candidates, John McCain and Barack Obama, have both pledged their support to continue this barbaric, disgustingly racist system.

Troy Davis has not escaped being executed by the State due to the significant evidence casting doubt on his guilty conviction alone. Decision makers have had to rethink their rulings in regard to him because of the hundreds and thousands of people who have been taking to the streets and demanding that if there is but one inkling of evidence suggesting his innocence, the man at the very least deserves another trial.

No matter who we choose to vote for in the upcoming election, a vote alone does not bring about progressive social change. It takes organizing our communities to take collective action in demanding the justice that we deserve. It takes educating and informing ourselves and our communities about what’s really going on. It takes passing on to our children and communities lessons that value the lives of human beings, and not violent vengeance.

We will not let the State kill another innocent human being in our names, with our tax dollars. We will not let the State continue to profit off of killing innocent human beings in our names, with our tax dollars. We are Troy Davis. I am Troy Davis.

Please check the GFADP website regularly for updates on the Troy Davis campaign and for info on how you can take action.

Troy Davis

Yesterday, the US Supreme Court delayed the scheduled execution of Troy Davis, a Georgia resident convicted of killing a police officer in 1989. Strong evidence suggests that Davis is in fact innocent, and the court will now review the case this Monday, 9/29, to decide if he is to be granted a new trial. The stay of execution came two hours before he was scheduled to be killed, so it was a huge celebration for us anti-death penalty folks in Georgia, with a series of what were supposed to be vigils across the state turning into celebratory events.

However, the fight is not over. Regardless of your views on the death penalty, the sketchy evidence in this case at least warrants a new trial. The Cheddar Box urges folks to please take action by clicking on the link below and following the instructions:

www.amnestyusa.org/troydavis

Troy has another week to live, and it is another week for us to fight hard and hope. We will not stand by and let the state of Georgia kill an innocent man in our names.