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REACH: Stories of Black Men and the Communities that Shaped Them


REACH: Stories of Black Men and the Communities that Shaped Them

Tracey Ross

After the killing of Michael Brown last summer, the nation’s attention turned towards Ferguson, Missouri – a small town with a history mirroring that of many communities across the country.


I explain to my friends abroad that basically when a black man reaches the age of 18 in the U.S., he is immediately awarded a criminal record which prevents him from getting a good job, voting, subsidized housing and other benefits reserved for white people. When they ask me what crime do black men commit, I tell them the basics… jay walking, loitering or pretty much just being poor.
What is needed is a guaranteed income for all Americans, a universal right to vote for everyone (regardless of a criminal record), universal healthcare, immediate job placements for people leaving prison, a raising of the minimum wage to at least $17 an hour and a return to Affirmative Action. Instead we will get… tax cuts for the rich, service cuts for the poor, more expensive health insurance, an increase in the prison population, more minimum wage jobs ranging from workers at McDonalds to nurses and teachers and more and more billions pumped into the production of weapons of war. Unfortunately, improving the lot of minorities in America will require the white portion of the population to become politically active and push for such reforms. It appears that “equality for all” isn’t even on the radar for most people.


Now along with this legacy, consider Indigenous peoples, entire worldviews marginalized for 500+ years as the consequences of that marginalization, writ large in its financialization iteration of colonizing premise, - what of my questions are tied by this legacy? Untie the knots along the journey - but first love engagement with the journey. Like the Islamic youth engaging the social experiment posted by Abby today.

Behemoth mining, petroleum, futures in agribusiness, pollution, raiding of legitimate Social Security for speculation, Detroit, Chicago, water, ‘bomb trains’ for tar sands, NSA spying, the trope of no alternatives, climate instability, poverty, genocide, militarism, the usurpation by the globalized accounting firms …

I’m reminded that the biblical notion of apocalypse contains the core concept of revelation. Human love, empathy, creativity, collaboration, 70% of the worlds people are fed by small farms, the planet is a living sentient organism - of which we are a part.