Valuing Self-Education in Organizing Spaces

Thinking of activism and organizing, but this short post can apply widely — and is definitely inspired by models of collective pedagogy and education that educators are developing today.

When someone says something in a didactic way to an audience that more or less already agrees with them, we often say “Don’t preach to the choir.”

The sharp retort certainly has merit.

It reminds us of a bunch of truths, like:

  • We need to widen our audience. There’s a whole world out there. not just those you already know.
  • We need to stop lecturing at people who already know. A…

Updated July 16, 9am EST

My friend and classmate Siphiwe Ka Baleka, an African-American swimmer, is fighting back against the ruling that he cannot participate in the Tokyo Olympics.

As reported in Swim Swam, he has formally appealed this decision at the Court of Arbitrarion for Sport. Since Siphiwe has the qualifying times, let’s hope the bureaucratic obstacles are cleared in time for him to join fellow athletes in Tokyo.

Anything you do to support him in the next few days would be greatly appreciated.

David E. Klutho | Sports Illustrated

Siphiwe hopes to make history as a 50 year old Olympic swimmer. He has extensively…

Rest in Power, Dear Comrade

From BLM Syracuse page (1 of 2)

Since we heard the news a few days ago, I’ve been looking for some words in the silence, for some light in the darkness.

Our comrade Nikeeta Slade gave us and taught us so much, with her sharp mind, her laughter, her bold attacks on systems of power, her heartfelt solidarity and internationalism, her ability to debate and challenge in good faith, with utmost sincerity, and her voice as a queer Black woman.

I say never had the opportunity to organize in the same city with Nikeeta. To witness her day-to-day presence in activist spaces. But her impact was felt…

Brilliant as always. But especially poignant to me right now because of the perspective it offers on our city and the question of justice. There's something about this place that somehow smiles and grins and acts like it's too police for straight-up racism, even as all sorts of atrocities, with violent results, go down every day.

On the day of Brother Mumia’s heart surgery

Today I want to tell you about what might be one of the most profound experiences I’ve had in my twenty-five years in activist circles: the connection I’ve developed with Mumia Abu-Jamal since 2015. Mumia, as many of you know, is a freedom fighter, writer, and journalist who was with the Black Panther Party and a supporter of MOVE in Philadelphia. Mumia has been incarcerated since since the early 1980s.

For various reasons, as I’ll explain, I’ve had to hold this story close to the chest. And I won’t say everything here. …

Mumia Abu-Jamal, the freedom fighter with the Black Panther Party and supporter of MOVE in Philadelphia who has been incarcerated since since the early 1980s, is having heart surgery today.

If you already know this internationally renowned writer and journalist and if — like me — you were radicalized by his writings and words, please drop what you’re doing and write him a letter of support and solidarity.

Here is the address:

Mumia Abu-Jamal

Smart Communications/PADOC

Mumia Abu-Jamal, AM 8335

SCI Mahanoy

c/o PO Box 33028

St Petersburg, FL 33733

(Florida is not a misprint, letters to Mumia are sent…

In the middle of the very difficult period we’re living in, I haven’t been able to share my article, “Staying in Our Lanes: Desi Childhoods, Gandhi Statues, and the Hard Work of Solidarity,” published over a month ago.

Here’s the link, with some comments to follow.

As some of you know or will see, this was incredibly difficult to write. I often write about solidarity — but it’s usually either at a distance from my own experience or, if I speak of myself, it’s part of a broad political call to come together.

There’s a political call here too, but…

Intersectionality 101

Reposting from a Facebook post I made the day after the Atlanta killings. There are many other brilliant Asian and women-of-color activists and scholars making the same points, and have taught me so much in these days. Like here, here, here, and here. You can see the impact of such thinking in our statement by Asian American Studies at Ohio State.

The current news from Atlanta is showing exactly why we need an intersectional approach to understanding racism.

The killer — with the stamp of approval from the cops — says his issue was sex addition, that he was not…

On March 18, I published this statement as Director of Asian American Studies. I’m reposting it here.

Dear members of the Ohio State community:

The Asian American Studies Program at Ohio State (AAS) strongly condemns the murders of six Asian/Asian American women — along with two other victims — by an Atlanta shooter on the night of March 16. We mourn the loss of life and keep the victims’ families in our thoughts at a time of unimaginable grief.

This tragedy is a terrible reminder of the violent and combined impact of white supremacy, misogyny, and patriarchy on Asian women…

For some reason, we in the US have decided that when faced with a name we can’t pronounce, it’s ok — even polite — to begin with the preface: “I don’t want to butcher your name.”

And what happens to those of us on the other end, going through this for the millionth time?

We take a breath, sit there, and wait to see how this particular episode of the life-long series Why is Your Name So Unpronounceable? will end.

Depending on the person, this phrase is preceded by

  • A period in which the person stumbles a few times and…

Pranav Jani

Associate Professor of English (Postcolonial & Critical Ethnic Studies), The Ohio State University. He/him. Opinions are my own. @redguju

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