On Location: March for Racial Justice/Black Women March in Washington DC

By
K.G. Bethlehem

Photo by K.G. Bethlehem / Some’n Unique Magazine, LLC

On September 30, 2017, the March for Racial Justice started at Lincoln Park in the northeast section of Washington DC. The start time for this demonstration was at noon, but serendipitously it was joined by the March for Black Women that had started at 10 am. The venue was filled with people from many different cultures, ethnic backgrounds, genders, ages, and social/religious backgrounds. Signs ranging from “Black Lives Matter” to “White Silence Equals Violence” and “Protect Immigration” were touted in a sea of progressive expressions.

The excitement was rising as advocates like Ana Rondon, an organizer and immigration activist from Many Languages One Voice; Valerie Castile, mother of Philando Castile, founder of Philando Castile Relief Foundation; and Steven Douglass, Washington DC pastor, activist, and representative for Terrence Sterling began speaking. Their powerful voices influenced the energy of the crowd as chants of “No Justice, No Peace” and “No how, No way, No Racist Police or KKK” echoed throughout the congregation. The crowd had grown to close a thousand voices, and with the addition of the March for Black Women it grew even larger.

The congregation left from Lincoln Park and headed toward the Capitol. The organizers of both marches led them; two groups chanting and singing to make their voices, frustrations, concerns, and solutions heard. Conscious entertainment groups such as; Rising Hearts Drum Circle, The Juney Band, and Allison Bucket Drum Brigade, were positioned through the crowd to continue the flow of energy.

K.G. Bethlehem At March For Racial Justice

At one point in the march, the Washington DC police escort had to relinquish its position as they crossed into the jurisdiction of the Federal Capitol Police. Tensions rose as a commander of the Capitol Police shouted through the intercom from his patrol SUV for the congregation to get on the sidewalk.  This task was impossible since there were over a thousand people participating in the march. Most tried to follow instructions, others did not. The ones who did pointed out that there wasn’t enough room on the sidewalk to accommodate such a request, and that the streets belonged to the taxpayers. This back and forth between the commander and the activists went on for a few minutes until the commander stopped demanding such a challenging, if not impossible, directive. It seemed from the protesters’ point of view that it was an attempt to cause friction and ultimately a confrontation between them and law enforcement. Thankfully there was no confrontation, and the march proceeded.

When the protesters reached the front of Trump International Hotel, the march halted for a short time. The crowd booed and expressed their displeasure toward the current president by razzing his family business. People laid down in the streets, some took a knee, and mostly all chanted, “People of Color Matter!” It was a surreal moment, especially when a man, presumably a patron of the hotel, walked out in front and started to take pictures. Maybe it was simply that he wanted to capture a moment in history, but who actually knows why he was photographing that day, that moment, at that location.

The march wrapped up at the National Mall. The crowd rested, but was attentive to the speeches that continued. Protesters were talking with different representatives of community organizations that were present. They discussed progressive ideas such as fair living wages, Medicare for all/single payer healthcare, ending mass incarceration, ending violence against women, ending unfair drug laws, immigration rights, protecting women’s healthcare, free college education, and many others. The hope for the promotion and education about these types of ideas and issues is that it would not only help with those particular issues, but that they would ultimately help end systemic racial injustice and social/economical oppression.

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ON LOCATION: St. Louis Hispanic Heritage Festival

By
F. Kenneth Taylor

Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated each year from September 15th to October 15th .  Much like Black History Month, Hispanic Heritage Month was created to acknowledge and honor the contributions Hispanics have made in the United States.  As of 2010, according to a PEW study, the Hispanic population in the U.S. had grown to approximately 50 million.  During this month; Hispanic history, culture, and traditions are also recognized.

Photographer Unk. Title Unk. http://www.STLToday.com. Oct. 8th, 2017

‘Hispanic(s)’ gives reference to natives and descendants of any of the 22 Spanish speaking countries including; Cuba, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and many others.  Alongside their native language of ‘Spanish’, which one-fifth of the world now speaks. Hispanic influence can be seen most evident in United States from city and state names to politics. Nevada, Colorado, San Diego, Florida, San Antonio, are just a few U.S cities and states with Hispanic titles.

Prominent Hispanics in American politics include; Jorge Ramos, a Mexican-American Journalist and News Anchor who has been hailed as “The Walter Cronkite of Latin America.”  Justice Sonia Sotomayor was appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court in 2009 by former President, Barrack Obama. Senators Ted Cruz and Marc Rubio, both emigrated from Cuba and became most known as Republican Presidential Candidates in the 2016 Presidential Election. Eva Longoria, who many know as an actress, has a Masters in Chicano Studies, and founded The Eva Longoria Foundation, which aids in STEM funding, and focuses on Latino Entrepreneurship. Finally, Antonia C. Novello, is not only the first female Surgeon General, but also the first Hispanic to hold the position.

Photographer Unk. Title Unk. http://www.constitutioncenter.org. Oct. 8th, 2017

For slightly over 2 decades, St. Louis has presented a Hispanic Heritage Festival for its Hispanic population and city residents. In a YouTube video, Festival Board Member, Elisa Bender, tells us how the event grew from a single-day function in Chesterfield, with a $500 budget to a major, 3-day event in Downtown St. Louis.

Photographer Unk. Title Unk. http://www.stlmag.com. Oct. 8th, 2017

This year, the festival was held in St. Louis’ Historic Soulard District, at Soulard Park. During the weekend, the festival highlights Hispanic/Latina music with live bands, vocalists, and dancers from Panama, Mexico, Venezuela, and Bolivia.  The dancers and dances are most recognized for their vibrant and elegantly sewn dresses, colors, amazing choreography, and story-telling routines. The festival’s food vendors are also from various countries as well like; Argentina, Columbia, and Peru, just to name a few. Other booths and vendors display crafts such as the Children’s Pavilion, which allows kids a more interactive, hands-on learning experience.

Farm animals which included; a camel, goats, pigs, and chickens, were on-site at the festival for kids and festival-goers to see. Jump-houses, kiddie-train rides, rock climbing, and mechanical bull rides for all ages, were also available. There’s plenty to see and do at The St. Louis Hispanic Heritage Festival.

 

Sources:
  • Wikipedia.com
  • YouTube.com

“The Leaders Need To Come Together”: African Nationals Speak Out

By
Sa’ad Ahmed Shaikh

Attacks earlier this year (2017), on African nationals in Greater Noida, has again raised the issue of the unwarranted racism on foreigners in India. In March 2017, African nationals were targeted when a 19 year old student, Manish Khari, reportedly died of a drug overdose. From beating African students mercilessly with steel chairs in shopping mallsto dragging a Kenyan woman out of a cab and assaulting her; the attacks have re-ignited the bitter animosity harboured by misguided Indians towards those with a darker skin tone than their own. Some’n Unique Magazine spoke to African nationals living in India.

Endurance Amarawa, a victim of the mob attack recuperating in a hospital. || Image courtesy: Narendra Kaushik, Firstpost.com, April 2017, Web.

Their replies echoed the message of love and peace for all. This is what Jorge, an Arts student from Mozambique, had to say:

“It is shameful and sad when instead of unifying ourselves, we are discriminating against each other. Racial discrimination destroys nations, families, culture and basically the identity of one country. I cannot feel indifferent towards this situation; there is no superior race than another, we all share the same environment and the colour of our skin should not engender struggles. . . Let’s stand together against racism, let’s stop destroying nations.”

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Indian policemen and onlookers surround African nationals in a shopping mall in Greater Noida, India. || Image courtesy: AFP, scmp.com, Web, April 2017.

Another African student requesting anonymity for security purposes implored that the leaders of the African nations and India address this issue as a priority. She says:

“The attack in Noida is just absolutely terrifying and sad because it’s not the first attack in India against Africans. This is my third year in India and over the years I’ve seen many such assaults. . . I think this needs to go out there to the leaders, our diplomats, all those repre-sentatives in Delhi; those representing the unions and the relationship between India and Africa, they need to stand together with the leaders from India to spread the message that truly there is beauty in diversity. . .I just want to say that the leaders need to come together and inform and educate everyone because that’s an essential need of the hour. Because awareness is better than silence.

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2016, African students holding a protest against the racial assault on a Tanzanian woman. || Image courtesy: AP, livemint.com, Web, April 2017.

Edgar, a Zimbabwean student, adds, “I haven’t been attacked physically but I have been on the receiving end of insults and derogatory terms whilst in and around the city. My message to the Indians who engage in such acts of violence is that; do to others as you would want them to do unto you. We live in a global village and such mindless actions should be avoided because it will only reflect a biased outlook of the psyche of the Indian people.”

One thing is clear. This irrational fear and hatred needs to stop now. This can only be achieved by properly educating the masses and with the help of Indian leaders addressing the matter on a national level. Some Unique Magazine, LLC stands in solidarity with all those suffering from racial abuse around the world. Peace and understanding is the way forward.

Foreign students protest in Jalandhar
Students in Jalandhar, India, holding a peaceful protest against the recent racial attacks. || Image Courtesy: PTI, Web, April 2017, indianexpress.com