The Black Radical Traditions Conf was held at Temple U, organized by an inter-generational team, to bring together “honest and committed intellectuals and activists…to imagine a different future and suggest strategies and tactics to fight for it.” Conf organizers expected a few hundred participants but had to cut off pre-registration at 1000 before the conference even began. Proof that people are looking for radical discussions/spaces/orgs! That’s why it made sense for the Black Left Unity Network to caucus during the conference to discuss its next steps. Black radicalism is alive but not necessarily well. That is the challenge facing us–to rebuild a viable Black Left, like yesterday.
I don’t need to give too much commentary as the whole conference was livestreamed and now available. I was honored to be invited and to participate in a panel with Robin Kelley and umi selah. Not usually star-struck, I did get a lil giddy when I met Emory Douglas, best known for his artwork in the Black Panther Party newspaper. Hearing the strong, unwavering voice of Mumia Abu Jamal patched into the assembly brought me to tears. Not that long ago, Mumia was near death and supporters had to fight to get the medical attention from his captors that he so desperately needed.
Check out the proceedings-the idea is to keep the discussions going. http://www.theblackradicaltradition.org/livestream
While in Philly, I was asked to meet with a group of young activists/organizers who convened at a private home to talk strategy. I was impressed by their questions, their work, their optimism. Our movement will get stronger as they get stronger ideologically, politically and organizationally.
There were two media groups at the conference, composed on mainly young people. Media Mobilizing Project was responsible for videotaping the entire conference. Also in the space was The Black Tribune, a relatively new group who were doing interviews with conference participants. I was intrigued with the group because several of them were from Missouri, a few from my hometown of Kansas City.
Deep gratitude to Bro. Hakim at Black and Nobel (Philly) and the fab staff at Red Emma’s (Baltimore). The event at RE’s was co-sponsored by Baltimore Racial Justice Action, a local anti-racist group, and repped by Maggie P, Harriet, Betty R.
The entire week was like a happy reunion. I was excited to reconnect with my Black Radical Congress Fam (Jane E., Cam B., Asantewaa N-T, Ewuare X, Ashaki B., Rose B, Cornel W. Angela D., ), my KC fam (Kai A. & crew), STL transplants (Bill G, Retta M.), assorted orgs from Progressive Communicators Network (PCN) to Miami Workers Center (ChrisRabb, Sushma, Rishi A, Cazembe J., Christine A., Ocielie H., Anna G., Alia T., Erica C.,) and many more.
If I crossed paths with you in Philly and Baltimore, let me know. I’m keeping a journal of my book tour.