2023 Civics Edition
February 28, 2023
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A View From the Ground

News and information about politics, government, civic participation and engagement from URL Media's network of Black and Brown publishers.
A man dressed in a suit stands in front of a podium.

Dr. David Thomas, president of Morehouse College, speaks to a crowd at the Atlanta University Center Consortium, part of both Morehouse and Clark Atlanta University on Jan. 11, 2022, in Atlanta. Megan Varner for Getty Images 

What good are HBCUs if they mirror the anti-Blackness of the US?: The creation of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) is admirable, writes Patrick Darrington for Prism, but what good are they if institutional leaders choose to routinely stand with white supremacist structures and fail to address the concerns of students, faculties and communities? 

"Many students come to [HBCUs] to climb the social ladder, become wealthy, and help the 'Black community' all at the same time," he adds. "This naivete fuels graduates’ belief that they can change inherently racist institutions from the inside. Yet, these same entities destroy Black institutions and movements from the inside-out." The author opens the conversation with Atlanta's escalating Stop Cop City movement — and its response from Morehouse College. Read his argument here.

Minn. police killing of Yia Xiong sparks ongoing protests: In Minnesota, community members are reeling from yet another police killing. In this case, the victim, a 65-year-old man who was hard of hearing and did not speak English, was Yia Xiong. “When you call the police, they don’t come to solve a problem,” said Valeria Castile, the mother of Philando Castile, who was among the protesters outside the St. Paul Police Western District office. “They aren’t coming to negotiate and see what is wrong. There was something wrong. [Yia Xiong] needed help, but [police] didn’t want to help. That’s too much work for them. They [came] to kill.” 

Xiong, a resident of the Winslow Commons Apartments, was fatally shot by St. Paul police on Feb. 11 after they responded to a call that a resident was threatening others with a knife, reports Sahan Journal. Read to learn more about the demands of Xiong’s family, community and protestors.

+: Hmong elders lead campaign for answers in St. Paul police killing of Yia Xiong

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🎧 In an interview with Solomon Jones of Wake Up With WURD, Temple University (Temple U) President Jason Wingard discussed the recent killing of Temple U Officer Chris Fitzgerald. "[Officer Fitzgerald] was a good one," says Wingard. "He was a mentor to young Black and Brown boys and girls. He loved his job at Temple University. He loved providing safety and service to the city of Philadelphia." He talks about the disconnect between Temple U’s relationship with the greater Philadelphia community, as well as his plan to bridge it. Listen to the full interview.

‘The need is not going away’: an update from NYC food pantries: Epicenter-NYC caught up with four food pantries to find out how they're doing since they last spoke this past summer. Even three years into the pandemic, the team learned that the need has practically remained the same — and, in many instances, has worsened due to rising food prices. Volunteering and donations are key to keeping these pantries open. One pantry in Astoria, Queens, leveraged donations from its end-of-year donation drive to stabilize its distribution cycle. Read on to learn more about these pantries' ongoing challenges and what you can do to support them.
CARICOM prefers diplomacy over military intervention in Haiti: The future of Haiti remains uncertain, writes Juhakenson Blaise for The Haitian Times. Armed gangs have created a climate of insecurity, and politicians have criticized the lack of consensus among the various agreements aimed at resolving the nation's ongoing humanitarian crisis. But one message is clear from the region: The solution to this crisis must be Haitian-led. Read the full story here

Why AIM chose to occupy Wounded Knee 50 Years ago: Publisher of Native News Online Levi Rickert wrote an op-ed commemorating the 50th anniversary of the AIM's (American Indian Movement) takeover of Wounded Knee on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation on Feb. 27, 1973. Almost every night during the siege, which began on Feb. 27 and lasted 71 days, federal officers and AIM members exchanged gunfire. Known as the Battle of Wounded Knee, this occupation demanded that the US government uphold its treaty obligations to the Oglala Lakota people and changed the course of history for Native Americans. 

Rickert writes that the longer the siege lasted, the greater the pride of being an American Indian resonated for many throughout the country. Read to learn about the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Wounded Knee.

🎧 The censorship of Black history and its impact on students, teachers and society: In the latest episode of Our Body Politic, guest host Natasha Alford, senior correspondent at The Grio, interviews Dr. Keisha Blain from Brown University and Sommer Brugal from the Miami Herald to discuss how the removal of key concepts from the College Board's Advanced Placement African American Studies course is affecting students today. During the episode, Brugal shares what she learned from three Florida students taking the pilot course. 

We also hear from student organizer and co-founder of Black Lives Matter Youth Vanguard Amara Abdullah, who discusses her efforts to promote justice for Black students in schools, and author Marisa Renee Lee, who discusses how the erasure of Black history can prevent communities from healing. Listen to this critical discussion now

+: Florida college students and educators plan to continue resisting DeSantis' censorship (Prism)

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