Harriett Tubman

October 20, 2007


African American Studies in Danger

Unless students organize and speak up and speak out, in a matter of time, there will be no more African-American Studies at Laney. We now have no full-time faculty in the classroom.

In less than four months, Laney lost two full-time instructors (Ray Richardson and Dr. Carole Ward-Allen) and the Ethnic Studies department chair Toni Cook.

On Tues. Oct. 23 at 12 PM (noon), the Black Student Union will be hosting a rally and speak out to keep ‘Black Studies” alive.

We need students to share their experiences in African-American Studies and why Laney needs to fund the program. On Tues. night at 5:45 PM, we need as many students as possible to come to the Peralta Colleges Board of Trustees meeting and have your presence felt.

In the meantime, email Laney President Dr. Frank Chong at fchong@peralta.edu and ask him to allocate funds for us.


Farrakhan speaks 'live' at Laney

October 18, 2007

Nation of Islam Minister Louis Farrakhan leader gives lively speech during the ‘Holy Day of Atonement’

Nearly 350 people came to the Laney College Forum on Oct. 16 to hear the Nation of Islam's (NOI) leader, the Hon. Minister Louis Farrakhan, speak live via webcast.

The program, which was co-sponsored by the Oakland Muhammad Mosque and the Laney Black Student Union, commemorated the 12th anniversary of the historic Million Man March of 1995 when over one million African-American men descended upon Washington, D.C. for "atonement, reconciliation, and responsiblity."

Farrakhan touched on global warming, religion, HipHop, politics, and the need for African-Americans to create a new society that benefits the masses of people in the world.

"Pharoah has nothing else for us to do but to fight in his unjust wars and serve his prison industrial complex," said Farrakhan, alluding to the biblical parallel of Africans in Americans and the Israelites in Egypt.

The 74-year old Farrakhan, who was recently ill, spoke passionately for nearly two-and-a half hours, cautioned the nearly 15 million viewers not to believe the media "tomorrow."

"Don't let the media tell you about 'an ailing Farrakhan,' tell them you saw a strong Farrakhan, who spoke for two hours and could've spoken for two more."

Following the speech, Oakland Minister Keith Muhammad, reflected on Farrakhan's words.

"I hope all the students and the people heard the words the minister shared," said Muhammad. "And I hope that we can and will act upon what he said."


October 2007

October 15, 2007

Jena 6 gets Laney support


Ebony & Johnny lights up West Oakland

October 12, 2007

Urban Romeo and Juliet adaptation explores violence, classism and relationships

Put in a little Shakespeare, plus some Bay Area slang, and critical sociological analysis of Oakland’s Black community, and what do you get?

“Ebony & Johnny: A Hood Tale” is just that; a hood tale. Now, don’t let your stereotypes of the hood cloud your thinking and assume that this is some low-budget “I’m ‘Bout it” or something like that.

Ebony & Johnny explores a variety of issues affecting the Oakland through the experiences of two hood-crossed lovers. Creatively engaging both Shakesperean English with Oakland Ebonics, the plays language forces the audience to broaden its understanding of human dynamics and relationships amongst people.

Ebony moved to the hills while Johnny lives in the flatlands. Their families don’t get along for a variety of reasons.

There is an underriding theme of classism amongst the Black community in the play which makes one question, “What is Black?” Do you have to be in poverty to be Black? Do you have to act ignorant to keep it real?

The urban adaption of Romeo and Juliet featured a few faces familiar around Laney
BSU Member Ernie Rocker, aka DJ Ego, starred as Paris while President Davis played Benvolio. Tybalt was played by Antonio "Dalaylo" Butler while the Tatiana Monet was featured as Ebony. Former Laney student Siraj Fowler plays opposite Tatiana as Johnny.

The Lower Bottoms Playas performance was under the direction of Ayodele “Wordslanger” Nzinga, MA, MFA. Wordslanger is a renounced writer and spoken word artist, and also wrote “Mack” a “gangster tale.”

Wordslanger told the tale of so many people’s odyssey from the hood to the hills and the challenge to “keep it real.”

Wordslanger’s cast gives a heartwrenching performance showing the futility of urban violence. Black-on-Black violence reveals its hateful face and the audience is moved to reach out to prevent the senseless murder of human beings. We can stop our community from losing more Ebony’s and Johnnys to violence on the streets of Oakland.


Jena 6 gets Laney support

October 7, 2007

Students rally in quad, gather signatures

A noose like this (l) was hung from a tree for ‘whites-only’ in Jena, LA (above) one day after three Black youth sat underneath it. While the District Attorney was unable to charge the white youth responsible for a ‘hate crime,’ he was able to charge six Black youth who fought a white youth with attempted murder. On Sept. 20, in solidary thousands of college students throught the country, the Laney Black Student Union held a rally in the quad to support the Jena Six. Over 20,000 people showed up in Jena for the National Day of Protest while a hundred students were in the Laney quad for the rally.

Students signed petitions and letters addressed to the Governor of Louisiana and the District Attorney in the Jena 6 Case.

The Laney BSU collected over a hundred signatures that were mailed out asking that all charges of attempted murder be dropped.

Last year, after three Black students sat under a ‘whites-only’ tree, a noose was hung from the tree. Nooses, for Black people, represent the nooses our ancestors were once hung from.

Soon after a number of white-on-black violence occured, including an incident in which a white man pulled a gun out on youth who liberated the gun, turned it in to police, and were charged with robbery.

The man who pulled out the weapon was not charged.

BSU members at Los Angeles Valley College in solidarity with Laney BSU and others for Justice for Jena Six, photo courtesy of LA Valley StarFinally, in retaliation for jumping a Black youth, a white young man was beat up in aschool yard fight. The six youth involved, called the Jena 6, were charged with attempted murder and conspiracy.

Following the Sept. 20 protests the youngest of the group was released; however, at press time, Mychal Bell is back in jail.

"We all live in Jena," according to Hip-Hop artist Mos Def who called for a walk-out on Oct. 1.

For more information on how to support the Jena 6 please visit Color of Change

Back to Laney Defender's October 2007 issue.

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