Tru Colors

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Last week, in the face of ongoing campus and community pushback against Eastern Michigan University’s targeting of Black student protestors, Media Relationship Manager Geoff Larcom announced to MLive that, rather than follow the ACLU’s recommendation to drop all disciplinary charges against students, EMU was going to dig in its heels:

“EMU Police and the Conduct Office are continuing to investigate the matter,” Larcom said. “Many of the students who stayed in the building refused to provide their names or IDs. As additional identifications are established, they also will be subject to the student conduct process.”

Yesterday we learned that the university had issued disciplinary summonses to an additional eleven Black students, bringing the total to fifteen. We’re infuriated, but not surprised (glance at the bios of these Regents—all but one of whom are white Snyder-appointees—and you’ll get a sense of why campus protest activity might be met with repression rather than compassion). It’s not only a dumb move, it’s also a dangerous one. As one EMU student put it:

Notice since EMU started taking action against students, the racists have stopped. They’re satisfied with EMU doing the job for them.

The longer EMU Regents and administrators continue to harass the Black students who are organizing to counteract expressions of hatred left around campus by white supremacists, the more it is that white supremacists—on campus, in town, across the county—receive this message: If you inflict trauma on our Black students, we’ll close the loop by bringing them into the disciplinary system when they speak out about it.

Add to this that it’s the end of the semester for these students, and you’ll understand why it’s imperative each of us let these and all Black students know we’ve got their backs.

Combating Repression Following the Kinross Prison Uprising: New Perspectives, New Efforts

Almost three months ago, prisoners at Kinross Correctional Facility participated in a nationally-coordinated prison strike that took place on September 9th. The work stoppage quickly escalated into a mass protest in the prison yard demonstrating the unity of the prisoners and, when faced with violent reprisal by the guards, escalated again into an all-out riot.

Following the events of September 9th and 10th, approximately 250 prisoners were transferred from Kinross to other facilities in the Michigan prison system, most being placed into Administrative Segregation (the hole), being charged with “Inciting a Riot or Strike” and “Rioting or Striking Misconduct,” and having their security statuses raised.

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FRDM HALL #4

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Join Keep Ypsi Black for a screening of Henry Louis Gates, Jr.’s Black America Since MLK: And Still I Rise—Part 1, which will be followed by an open mic.

Most of Us Are Already Illegal

Cindy Milstein

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Freshly painted mural art, on side of building next to new hipster-gentrifying club in SW Detroit, November 28, 2016. Photo by Cindy Milstein.

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Rainy, gray-gloomy day. News across Turtle Island of white supremacist attacks and even murder as well as white supremacist infrastructure readying its brutal, annihilationist power. Politicians on all sides, from “moderates” to Michigan’s already-cruel governor Rick Snyder, urge support for Trump or to at least give him a chance; liberals and progressives, too, mouth similar sentiments, coded as “it’ll be better in four years.” People hang onto the already-torn thread of “rights” and “rule of law”; they cling to safety pins, electoral counts and electoral college, or greeting-card platitudes of “love not hate.”

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White Epiphany #17

Wearing a safety pin is like giving change to someone living on the street.

Wearing a safety pin is like a Bernie sticker on a Land Rover.

Wearing a safety pin is like working in finance and shopping at the coop.

Wearing a safety pin is like waking up hopeful after sleeping soundly since Ferguson.

Wearing a safety pin is like a Sex Pistols poster in a Midtown loft.

Wearing a safety pin is like inviting neighbors to dinner and serving little bowls of sugar.

Wearing a safety pin is like dog-earing a page in a self-help book.

Wearing a safety pin is like going to confession.

Wearing a safety pin is like premium unleaded.

Wearing a safety pin is like traveling to a forest fire with a potted sapling.

Wearing a safety pin is like holding open a door for someone in a wheelchair because they may thank you.

Wearing a safety pin is like going to a tanning salon.

Wearing a safety pin is like switching from Rolex to Shinola.

Wearing a safety pin is like witnessing an assault then speaking up on Facebook.

Wearing a safety pin is like biking to work to heal the planet.

Wearing a safety pin is like paying reparations with bus passes.

Wearing a safety pin is like getting a massage.

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As performed by The N-Word, Inc.:

A Letter from France to Our American Cousins: Trump Was Elected, Enough with the Chattering

And so, the Joker has taken the White House. And no one saw it coming in the script. He didn’t need a truck full of explosives or a countdown on a giant LCD screen. It was enough to simply run in the election—the most democratic election in the world—and he won it.

The news was universally met with incredulity, afflicted for some, exultant for others. It’s always an event, in this world, when a truth comes to light and manifests itself; and so it’s customary to bury this truth as soon as possible under a cartload of “commentary,” “explanations” and other blabbing. We dismiss the truth on the grounds that it shouldn’t have happened, that it was an accident. The problem is that as the accident becomes the rule, as Brexit has done in the U.K. or as the bloody Duterte has done in the Philippines, it becomes harder and harder to mask the unreality of “what should be.” Moreover, to disqualify as “fascist” the result of processes we consider and celebrate as “democratic” does nothing but add to the dishonesty and to the aberration.

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Eagle Puppets

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EMU students were reminded today that if you’re Black and you creatively organize against campus hate crime, the administration’s going to come down on you. Appeals from faculty protesters and even racial justice attorneys were met with ice-cold recalcitrance from the administration, via Geoff Larcom: regardless of moral context, EMU takes a hard line against Black activists.

And though administration refused to allow ACLU attorney Mark Fancher to accompany faculty into a heated meeting with Vice President Phillips, they can’t bar the public from reading the letter the ACLU published the very same day.

The RAW community has a message for EMU administrators and their puppeteers the white Regents: we see through your front line (media relations professionals, cops, and other Level-1 brand managers), and we’ll continue to support students at Eastern until Black Life matters on their campus, and the Black Student 10 has been implemented.

Black Protester to President Smith

Hello all,

As you know, I am one of the four black male students being pursued for my accused role in a campus sit-in protesting racist vandalism, and seeking safe space to gather. I have no statement to issue on my, nor the other black men being accused behalves. What I will say is that in this move to sanction us, the real victims are the entire black student body.

The very same black student body who has fought tirelessly since being allowed on campuses such as Eastern Michigan University for one thing, the right to belong. This fight is not something we are unfamiliar with, rather one we have inherited. Our skin has made our lives into a battle we didn’t ask for but are determined to win.

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After Trump: What the Resistance Must Look Like

Robin D. G. Kelley

If we are to keep the enormity of the forces aligned against us from establishing a false hierarchy of oppression, we must school ourselves to recognize that any attack against Blacks, any attack against women, is an attack against all of us who recognize that our interests are not being served by the systems we support. Each one of us here is a link in the connection between antipoor legislation, gay shootings, the burning of synagogues, street harassment, attacks against women, and resurgent violence against Black people. —Audre Lorde, “Learning from the 60s”

Donald J. Trump’s election was a national trauma, an epic catastrophe that has left millions in the United States and around the world in a state of utter shock, uncertainty, deep depression, and genuine fear. The fear is palpable and justified, especially for those Trump and his acolytes targeted—the undocumented, Muslims, anyone who “looks” undocumented or Muslim, people of color, Jews, the LGBTQ community, the disabled, women, activists of all kinds (especially Black Lives Matter and allied movements resisting state-sanctioned violence), trade unions…. the list is long. And the attacks have begun; as I write these words, reports of hate crimes and racist violence are flooding my inbox.

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