Tag Archives: Kevin Alexander Gray

Coming Soon! ~ Killing Trayvons: An Anthology of American Violence

Killing Trayvons

Skin privilege. When you’re black it seems the hardest thing to explain to whites. Even the most conscious or liberal whites sometimes don’t quite get it. Or as Langston Hughes once said, “A liberal is one who complains about segregated railroad cars but rides in the all white section.”

The killing of Trayvon Martin in February 2012 rang yet another alarm about the costs of that privilege. Killing Trayvons: An Anthology of American Violence tracks the case and explores why Trayvon’s name and George Zimmerman’s not guilty verdict symbolized all the grieving, the injustice, the profiling and free passes based on white privilege and police power: the long list of Trayvons known and unknown.

With contributions from Robin D.G. Kelley, Rita Dove, Cornel West and Amy Goodman, Thandisizwe Chimurenga, Alexander Cockburn, Etan Thomas, Tara Skurtu, bell hooks and Quassan Castro, June Jordan, Jesse Jackson, Tim Wise, Patricia Williams, Alexis Pauline Gumbs, Vijay Prashad, Rodolfo Acuna, Jesmyn Ward and more, Killing Trayvons is an essential addition to the literature on race, violence and resistance.

Killing Trayvons: An Anthology of American Violence is set to be released early Summer 2014.

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Editors:

Kevin Alexander Gray is a civil rights organizer in South Carolina and author of Waiting for Lightning to Strike!: The Fundamentals of Black Politics.

Jeffrey St. Clair is the editor of CounterPunch. His books include Whiteout (with Alexander Cockburn), Grand Theft Pentagon, and Born Under a Bad Sky.

JoAnn Wypijewski regularly writes for The Nation and CounterPunch. Her books include Painting by Numbers.

Published by CounterPunch Books.

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LIVE AT THE ICE HOUSE: EPISODE 4 ~ “ROCK AND ROLE MODELS”

Judah 1

American roots-rock duo William Pilgrim & The All Grows Up return with a brand new episode of Live at the Ice House, the duo’s socially conscious ongoing music web series. In the latest installment, titled “Rock & Role Models,” Ishmael Herring, aka William Pilgrim, and his musical cohort PM Romero, take the show on the road to East West Studios in Hollywood, CA, where they are currently finishing a new record for Orange County-based label, Moonlight Graham Records that is scheduled for release in early 2014.


Exene Cervenka and Kevin Alexander Gray

Exene Cervenka and Kevin Alexander Gray

In this episode, William Pilgrim and PM Romero are joined by the legendary Blind Boys Of Alabama, and other friends from previous Live at the Ice House segments including Modern Poet and Renaissance Man David “Judah 1” Oliver from Episode 3, singer Lesedi Lo-Fi from Episode 2, and Exene Cervenka of the celebrated band X, who narrated the series’ debut episode that focused on teen homelessness. Social and political blogger/author Kevin Alexander Gray also stops by for a heated but good natured and insightful discussion with Pilgrim and Romero.

Blind Boys Of Alabama at East West Studios In Hollywood

PM Romero with the Blind Boys Of Alabama & friends at East West Studios In Hollywood

The Blind Boys of Alabama are notably featured on a track on William Pilgrim & The All Grows Up’s forthcoming sophomore release, titled Epic Endings. The five-time Grammy Award winning gospel group was in the process of cutting tracks at East West Studios and, drawn to the message of Live at the Ice House, asked to join in the roundtable discussions. The Blind Boys’ soulful style and spirituality prove an ideal complement to William Pilgrim’s haunting, bluesy vocals. X singer Exene Cervenka is also featured in a duet with William Pilgrim on the upcoming release and in this Live at the Ice House episode she speaks on the inspirations and meanings behind that song.

Ishmael Herring, aka William Pilgrim and Kevin Alexander Gray

Ishmael Herring, aka William Pilgrim and Kevin Alexander Gray

“Last episode we tried to demonstrate the power we all have with the words we choose and how we use them,” says William Pilgrim. “In this episode we move to focus more on music.  Music was an integral part of the 60′s fight for civil rights and it spoke out against our destruction of the people of Vietnam and to the tightening grip of American business over our government and public policy.  We believe music, performers and songwriters have a responsibility today to pick up where our 60′s predecessors left off.”

“Music is a tremendously powerful force for change and can inform and raise awareness but also impact people on a deeply emotional level, and this is where the seed for real social change must take root,” says PM Romero. “With no resonating voice within government or the media to challenge our misguided understandings of civics, economics and history, music and the artists that craft songs can become major influences to break through our corrupted common sense and reason.  Music can be the voice that unifies and organizes people around a common good.”

Live at the Ice House, “Rock & Role Models,”  is also available now on http://liveicehouse.com.

Live at the ICE HOUSE

Live at the ICE HOUSE

Additional information on William Pilgrim & The All Grows Up Is available at: https://www.facebook.com/williampilgrimmusic.

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Monique Reymond interviews Kevin Alexander Gray

So, I’m sitting on a bench outside the recording studio on Sunset and a woman dressed all in black rolls up on her bike and asks can she interview me… ~

Monique Reymond

Monique Reymond

The woman asking the questions is “Foley Artist” Monique Reymond.  Ms. Reymond is also a comedian.

 | July 13, 2013 ~ Why the Zimmerman Trial Made Me Ill ~ http://progressive.org/zimmerman-trial-made-me-ill

| July 17, 2013 ~ “No Rights That Any White Man is Bound to Respect” - http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/07/17/what-it-feels-like-to-be-black-in-america/

| July 17, 2013 ~ Why the Zimmerman verdict is more important that O.J. ~ http://progressive.org/zimmerman-verdict-more-important-than-oj

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Shooting Cans | By Kevin Alexander Gray

The Racist Assault on the 14th Amendment

One of the many racist jokes I heard in the 70s during my time in the military starts with two white soldiers on the rifle range. One soldier asks the other how he learned to shoot so well. “I like shooting cans right off the fence,” the other soldier says, “Af-ri-cans, Por-to-ri-cans and Mex-i-cans.”

The joke came to mind when I heard Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina saying, “birthright citizenship is a mistake,” followed by his GOP cohorts’ claim that immigrants have “anchor babies” as a way to tie themselves to the benefits of U.S. citizenship. Graham says he’s considering introducing a bill to rescind Section 1 of the 14th Amendment, which generally guarantees U.S. citizenship to those who are born within U.S. borders.

That is not all it does. The section reads:

“All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

Also called the “due process” clause or the “equal protection” clause, this part of the 14th Amendment is the very foundation of U.S. civil rights law. The new nullifiers who talk of getting rid of it thus signal the nature of their purpose and the intrinsic unity of those they hold in contempt, like so many cans on the fence.

“Anchor babies” makes for better headlines, and it’s diverting. “People come here to have babies,” says Graham. “They come here to drop a child. It’s called, ‘drop and leave.’ To have a child in America, they cross the border, they go to the emergency room, have a child, and that child’s automatically an American citizen. That shouldn’t be the case.”

“Drop a child.” It’s as if he were talking about animals.

Graham is not up for re-election, but his child-dropping potshot is designed to appease a right wing that is angry because he’s “too liberal,” he’s “no Jim DeMint,” saddled up with the Tea Party and the likes of Ollie North and Tom Tancredo. A Greenville County Republican committee even voted to bar Graham from future meetings and events, censuring him “for his cooperation and support of President Obama and the Democratic Party’s liberal agenda.”
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Talking Joint Political Strategy @ 2010 US Social Forum

Green Party & Progressive Democrat Leaders, Community Organizers and Others Talk Joint Political Strategy @ US Social Forum – June 24th 

2010 US Social Forum

Five organizations have collaborated to organize a “progressive strategy dialogue” at the United States Social Forum in Detroit, Michigan. The dialogue will be one of 50 People’s Movement Assemblies during the USSF. It will take place on Thursday afternoon, June 24th, from 1 to 5:30 pm in Cobo Hall, room W2-67.

The dialogue was initiated by the Independent Progressive Politics Network, which has organized similar dialogues a number of times over the past decade. Co-sponsors are the Green Party of the United States, League of Revolutionaries for a New America, Progressive Democrats of America and the Program on Corporations, Law and Democracy.

Three major issues will be addressed:

  • What can be done to stimulate independent, grassroots activism around key issues like unemployment, the housing crisis, racial justice, the climate crisis, corporate control of elections, immigrant rights, war and empire and universal health care;
  • An assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of the progressive wing of the Democratic Party as far as the building of a popular progressive movement; and,
  • How to develop a “united progressives” network that brings together Greens and other third party activists, progressive Democrats, and labor, community and issue-based organizers into an on-going, independent, progressive alternative to our corporate-dominated political system.

Among those participating in this dialogue:

  • Tim Carpenter, executive director, Progressive Democrats of America
  • David Cobb, leader of the Program on Corporations, Law and Democracy, Green Party 2004 Presidential candidate
  • Sanda Everette, co-chair of the Green Party of the United States
  • Ted Glick, co-founder of the Climate Crisis Coalition
  • Kevin Alexander Gray, South Carolina community organizer and author
  • Logan Martinez, leader of National Jobs for All
  • Brent McMillan, executive director, Green Party of the United States
  • Sandra Rivers, education activist, former Harlem, N.Y. school board member
  • Jerome Scott, leader of the League of Revolutionaries for a New America
  • Laura Wells, Green Party of California gubernatorial candidate

 All USSF attendees are welcome to take part in this dialogue.

For more information contact George Friday – ippn@igc.org    704-691-3627

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The Novocaine Effect | Obama and Black America | By Kevin Alexander Gray

“It’s like when you go to the dentist, and the man’s going to take your tooth. You’re going to fight him when he starts pulling. So he squirts some stuff in your jaw called novocaine, to make you think they’re not doing anything to you. So you sit there and ’cause you’ve got all of that novocaine in your jaw, you suffer peacefully. Blood running all down your jaw, and you don’t know what’s happening. ’Cause someone has taught you to suffer – peacefully.”

Malik Shabazz (Malcolm X), Message to the Grassroots (1964).

There’s a picture of Barack Obama next to one of Jesus in the front window of the small, black art gallery that I drive past almost every­day. And I still see someone wearing an Obama t-shirt maybe once a week, but sometimes it’s the same guy. If you’re looking, you can a find a variety of shirts in just about every corner store where I live. They’re on the wall, next to the Bob Marley, Tupac, Biggie Smalls and Al Pacino “Scarface” t-shirts. You can get an Obama hat and a presidential calendar there too. There are still a few Obama yard signs in the neighborhood, usually in a window. A few people still have an Obama bumper sticker on their cars. Not as many as some might think. Certainly not as many as the number of Confederate flags on vehicles in this part of the country.

Racial solidarity is the mood that helped get Obama into the White House. The traditional source of power and sur­vival among blacks, it is also the novo­caine of the moment, a numbing agent as people suffer through what, despite the more hopeful official forecasts, feels like a full-blown depression where I live. The pride is real, but so is the pain, and it’s coming in sharp stabs despite the shot. The novocaine is still working, just not so well, and the result is a discomfiting confusion.

In late September I spoke at a ‘‘Black Male Summit” about 80 miles north­west of Columbia in Rock Hill, South Carolina, which is famous in civil rights’ lore as the first stop in the Deep South for the Freedom Riders testing the 1960 Supreme Court decision outlawing ra­cial segregation in all interstate public facilities. Rock Hill is where Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) activist John Lewis and another man stepped off the bus and were beaten by a white mob. The town is mentioned in Chuck Berry’s “Promised Land” – only the “poor boy” on the Greyhound is lucky as his bus “bypassed Rock Hill” in the song. Things are still tough in the town just south of Charlotte. Since February of 2008 the number of jobs here has fallen by 15 per cent, and the average salary for people lucky enough to be employed is about $28,000. In June of this year, Yvette Williams, a 15 year-old black girl, was shot and killed by two police officers after she robbed a grocery store. The two of­ficers fired on Williams five times after she pointed a gun at them and refused to drop it, according to Rock Hill Police Chief John Gregory. He said he felt the police response was justified. A witness who lives across the street from where the shooting happened, told the local paper she was in bed when she heard shots and got up, looked out her window and saw the girl fall to the ground. She said she then saw an officer shoot again.

The theme I was asked to speak on in Rock Hill was “How do we restore dignity back to black communities?” My initial response was I didn’t know we’d lost it. But I knew the idea was a nod to Obama’s tough-love trick bag. “Post-racialism” is nonsense, but as an ideological concept it’s real, with real political consequences. On the right, it is license for white blow­hards to go on any racist tirade they like so long as they don’t actually broadcast the word “nigger.” In the black communi­ty it’s alive wherever blacks argue among themselves as to whether they are indi­vidually or collectively responsible for the conditions they face, or if they’re as criminal or immoral or lazy or violent or promiscuous or stupid as racists believe them to be. Sherman Porterfield, one of the organizers of the event, was quoted in the local paper, “Obama talked about it,” this claimed loss of dignity; “he has challenged us. The question now is, are we up to the challenge? Our young peo­ple are dropping out of school in record numbers, and it’s our fault. Nobody is shooting water hoses at us anymore. But we are allowing our young brothers to shoot each other. And that is not accept­able.” Continue reading

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A Candid Debate On Black Manhood, Homosexuality and Civil Rights | Cleo Manago, Tony Wafford & Kevin Alexander Gray

more about “Candid Debate On Black Manhood, Homos…“, posted with vodpod

 

 

Social architect/activist Cleo Manago participated in a candid debate on homosexuality in Black communities, civil rights and attitudes behind Black resistance to affirming homosexuals at Al Sharpton’s National Action Network’s 2009 Summer Conference held in Atlanta, GA. Manago was joined by author/activist Kevin Alexander Gray, and National Action Network’s Director of Health & Wellness, Tony Wafford.

According to Manago, “often when I have these discussions in the Black community, someone gets up talking about production, to produce or to not produce being the measure of who deserves the most rights or who deserves the most respect, which is not logical because most sex people have, including heterosexual sex, is not to reproduce.”

Manago further went on to discuss that while HIV is killing us [the Black community] it’s difficult getting heterosexual men involved in part based on myths, judgments and under-discussed issues around manhood in the Black community.

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