Fourth Annual "Say it Loud" Fashion Show

February 29, 2008


Beautiful young models from Youth Uprising pose for a group photo during the 4th Annual ‘Say it Loud’ 70s Fashion Show held Feb. 2 in the Laney Theater. ‘Say it Loud’ was produced by New Breed Entertainment and Mario B. Productions.


Photos Courtesy of Mario B. Productions
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Black Caucus Conference held at El Camino College

February 28, 2008



The Black Caucus of the California Student Association of Community Colleges (CalSACC) held its 10th Annual Black Caucus Leadership Conference (ABCLC), “Sankofa: Honoring our Past, Celebrating the Present, Building our Future,” February 15–16 at El Camino College.

Friday’s activities were kicked off with African drumming and dance, followed by the opening session “Hip Hop Comes to School” by Bryant K. Smith.

Black Caucus Secretary Reginald James deftly facilitated the “Harambee” workshop simultaneously in two separate rooms prior to the dinner speech by Assembly Member Mervyn Dymally at dinner. The night closed with the film ‘Sankofa.”

Saturday morning began with the Soulful breakfast with a keynote address by the California Community Colleges Board of Governors’ Rev. Dr. J. Alfred Smith. After two morning education sessions by Lasana Hotep and Alonzo Jones, students attended an inspiring keynote address by Congresswoman Maxine Waters during lunch.

Following three motivating afternoon education sessions, schools in attendance elected their representatives for the upcoming academic year.


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Ancestral Nationality

February 27, 2008

By Dr. Mujahidun Sumchai
SPECIAL TO THE DEFENDER

“Mental bondage is invisible violence. Formal physical slavery has ended in the United States. Mental slavery continues to this present day....it is worse than physical slavery....the person who is in mental bondage will be “self-contained”. Not only will that person fail to challenge beliefs and patterns of thought which control him, he will defend and protect those beliefs and patterns of thought virtually with his last dying effort.”
–Asa Hilliard

In the minds and hearts of all Americans, especially African Americans, are the painful connections and liberation truths of the past. Yet we are not victims.

We are living our victory.

The present American heart and mind is in recovery, trying to find the language and behaviour that makes our truths of today new for tomorrow.
We are looking for a new medicine language, which includes a bunker government for some, a Black president, a democratic society, education that leaves no child behind with highly qualified teachers in the classroom and a country without racism, classism, sexism, ageism and mindism––forever more.

The American future is both sure on one hand and uncertain on the other. All Americans, but especially African Americans are in need of new ideas that respect and honor our cultural traditions, norms, values and way of life.

Our ways of knowing, being, truthing and universing are culecopolsomatic as we seek survival-purpose justice-solutions. America’s behavioral aesthetics are transforming.

We are looking for a new medicine language, which includes a bunker government for some, a Black president, a democratic society, education that leaves no child behind with highly qualified teachers in the classroom and a country without racism, classism, sexism, ageism and mindism––forever more.
Ancestral nationality is the embodiment of the new American medicine language.
In instead of using skin color descriptive characterizations when talking and writing about others and ourselves, we could use ancestral nationality.
Our actions and words must have the ability to hold Culecopolsologic (CEPS) healing conversations or else we stay injured and in pain.

Today’s CEPS healing conversations must respect and honor our ancestral nationality.
Our ancestral gene pool is our biological reality that shall not be denied–except perhaps in error. We would not be here but for our fathers and mother’s and their parents is all I am really saying.

Today’s healing conversation must also respect and honor the geophysical place in which we act out our daily life and living, of community, work, education, family relations, personal and professional relations, art and science.

Ancestral nationality is the embodiment of the new American medicine language.
In instead of using skin color descriptive characterizations when talking and writing about others and ourselves, we could use ancestral nationality.
Skin color descriptive characterization in speech and writing is the last hinge on the door of racism both international and domestic.
Ethnic descriptions using Ancestral Nationality

• African American

• European American

• Asian African American

• European African American

• Mexican American

• Pacific Islander American

• African Asian

• American African

• European African

• Pacific Islander African

• Irish American

• Greek American

• American Italian

• Japanese American

• American Japanese

• African American Mexican

• French American

• French African

• German American

The applications are endless and limitless within the finite populations of our country, our planet and our imaginations. Skin color descriptive characterization in speech and writing is the last hinge on the door of racism both international and domestic.

Albert Einstein once said, “Problems generated by one way of thinking can not be solved by that same way of thinking.” Race and racism are a problem that is the result of a certain way of thinking. Thinking precedes action in most instances of our daily life and living. If we think a certain way we act a certain way.

Ancestral nationality is a new way of thinking and being in America. Our time for healing is a gift, it isn’t quick and sometimes it appears as if there are no results. We change slowly each and every day with small moves and deep breaths. What if ancestral nationality could be a helpful innovation in our thinking, being, truthing, universing and healing?
Race and racism are a problem that is the result of a certain way of thinking. Thinking precedes action in most instances of our daily life and living. If we think a certain way we act a certain way. Ancestral nationality is a new way of thinking and being in America.

W. E. B. Du Bois said in 1903, “The problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color-line, –– the relation of the darker to the lighter races of men in Asia and Africa, in America and the islands of the sea.”

In Du Bois’s day and time (the 20th century) this idea was appropriate for the slowly changing American landscape. We are more than a century later and still too many people are thinking in the century past.

We need another way of thinking and being about this American dilemma with its peculiar institutions and badges of color.

The American challenge of the 21st century is ancestral nationality, so that the respect and honor we must show for our mothers and fathers and country helps us to change ever so slowly with small moves and deep breaths.

The late Stephen Jay Gould quotes Darwin’s Voyage of the Beagle, “If the misery of our poor be caused not by nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin.”

Dr. Mujahidun Sumchai, J.D. is a professor of African American Studies at Laney College in Oakland and the Laney BSU advisor.
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Marcus Garvey

February 20, 2008

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Black History is more than 28 days

February 10, 2008

Black history is about more than the past; it is about present day and the future which we create.

There is a running joke within the Black community about Black history month that; again, we received the short end of the stick since February usually has only 28 days.

This is based on the assumption that Black History Month was given to us by some omnipotent figure, known as the “man,” who handed out this menial token of recognition.

Some may find some pride that we recieved an extra day thanks to leap year (and the man). But, Black History Month is more than just 28 (or 29) days.

Black History Month has come far from its humble beginnings to become a time of cultural celebration, education and community service (as well as a magnet for token-corporate sponsorship opportunities).

Originally started as “Negro History Week” in 1926, Harvard educated scholar, Carter G. Woodson, hoped to eliminate prejudicial segregation and racism by educating whites with a more accurate depiction of Black people.

Woodson, who founded the Association for the Study of African American Life and History in 1915, to train black historians, selected the second week of February in honor of Frederick Douglas’ birthday.

There are still many inequities in our society today which stem from the unequal founding of this country.
Soon after, Woodson was overwhelmed with curriculum requests. Woodson is often called the “father of black history month,” and when it became nationally recognized in 1976, it became his legacy.

There are still many inequities in our society today which stem from the unequal founding of this country.

Malcolm X said, “Of all our studies, history is best qualified to reward our research.”

Black history is about more than the past; it is about present day and the future which we create.

Celebrate Black History Month by learning your history. Everyone should learn more about Black history, not just Black people.

Black history month isn’t just about education; it is about action.
People who have recently come to this country should learn about the civil rights movement and how Blacks advocated for the rights they enjoy today.

Black history month isn’t just about education; it is about action. Get involved on your campus, your community. By the way, it’s called “Black Liberation Month” at Laney.

Reginald “Brother Reggie” James is Defender Editor. Email him at reggiegeneral@yahoo.com.

*Parts of this column were originally published published in the Laney Tower in
Spring 2006.


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'Eye Gotcha Covered'

February 2, 2008

Laney fine arts graduate Milton Bowens multi-media exhibit “Eye Gotcha Covered” examines contemporary and historical views of African Americans in the media.



The exhibit is sponsored by the June Steingart Art Gallery in the Tower building. The gallery is open Monday–Thursday from 11 A.M.–5 P.M. A reception will take place Feb. 5 from 4:30 P.M.–7:30 P.M.

The Laney Black Student Union (Laney BSU) is co–sponsoring this exhibit.
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'Say it Loud' at Laney

February 1, 2008

‘Say it Loud!’ takes you on a hip-trip back to the 70’s, where the look, sound, and attitude was colorful, loud and proud.
Mark Elliott, producer
Have you ever seen an Afro so big its owner couldn’t walk through the door? Or how about a dashiki so colorfully loud and proud that you thought you were back in the motherland?

If you answered ‘Yes!’ to either of these questions, you are more than likely a product of the 70’s. Now for those who missed this era, don’t fret; your chance to experience a fantastic funky voyage has arrived.

The 4th “Say it Loud” Youth Fashion Show comes to the Laney College Theatre Feb. 2 at 8 p.m. for Black History Month fusing bell-bottoms, dashikis and soulful 70's sounds.
This show is designed to bridge the generation gap between young and old, mixing hip hop with old school as a new breed of fashionable entertainment.
Mario Benton, director
There will be really big Afros too.

“ ‘Say it Loud!’ takes you on a hip-trip back to the 70’s, where the look, sound, and attitude was colorful, loud and proud.” said Mark Elliott, the show’s producer. The shows theme draws the infamous Black Power call-and-response anthem in which James Brown sang the lyrics, “Say it Loud,” to cries of “I’m Black and I’m proud.”

Director Mario Benton said “This show is designed to bridge the generation gap between young and old, mixing hip hop with old school as a new breed of fashionable entertainment.”
Benton and Elliott capture the vibe using fly fashion, cool skits and classic soul music from the likes of James Brown, Curtis Mayfield and Aretha Franklin. The combination of funky grooves and hip threads creates a show hipper than any other 70’s show around.
“We want to bring back a sense of unity and pride in our community,” Benton added.

Benton and Elliott capture the vibe using fly fashion, cool skits and classic soul music from the likes of James Brown, Curtis Mayfield and Aretha Franklin. The combination of funky grooves and hip threads creates a show hipper than any other 70’s show around.

The soulful fashion extravaganza introduces a cast of proud inner city youth, who participate in the Mario B. Youth Modeling Program, to the world of fashion. The program, which was founded in 2001, has enrolled over 300 students from throughout the Bay Area. The program is currently supported by Youth Uprising Center in East Oakland, where students learn basic modeling technique, runway sills, photography, and fashion design.
We are all about bridging gaps and connecting peoples.
Laney BSU VP Andrea Spearman
This year’s production is being co-sponsored by Destiny Arts and the Laney Black Student Union (BSU).

“We are all about bridging gaps and connecting peoples,” said BSU Vice-President Andrea Spearman. “I can’t wait to see the reaction from Laney students to the mixture of 70’s culture and today’s youth.”

Doors open at 7 p.m., and the doors open at 8 p.m. Advance tickets $10. $15 at the door. For more information, call either (510) 978-8170 or (510) 472-0782 or email newbreed2me@yahoo.com or mariobpro@yahoo.com.
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Former Laney English faculty shares memoir

Adam David Miller presents his memoir at Laney CollegeAdam David Miller, poet, writer, editor/publisher, and former laney College English instructor will read from his recently published and highly acclaimed memoir, "Ticket to Exile," 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. Wed. Feb. 3 in Tower 450.

This coming of age story explores a life dominated by legal racism and governed by a strict code of race relations, little more than half a century after the emancipation of blacks from slavery.
Miller's reading celebrates Black History Month at Laney College. Refreshments will be served. "Ticket to Exile" chronicles African American family life and culture of the segregated South during the 1920s and 1930s in Orangeburg, South Carolina. This coming of age story explores a life dominated by legal racism and governed by a strict code of race relations, little more than half a century after the emancipation of blacks from slavery.

Miller, a smart, intuitive and sensitive adolescent, violates the code and pays for this life-threatening breach with exile.

Miller's reading is sponsored by the Laney College Library, the Laney Black Student Union and the Peralta Association of African American Affairs.

For more information, contact Margaret Traylor at 464-3502.

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El Camino College Hosts Black Caucus Leadership Conference

Two hundred-fifty community college students of African descent from throughout California expected to attend

Hundreds of community college students of African Descent are expected to attend the 10th Annual Black Caucus Leadership Conference being held at El Camino College in Torrance Feb. 15-16, 2008.

This year's conference theme is "Sankofa: Honoring our past, celebrating the present, building our future," commemorating the organization's history and growing legacy. The first two conferences were held at El Camino College in 1999 and 2000 and over 1500 students have attended since.

"When you look at all of the past conferences and the development of our organization, the historical significance of this conference is amazing," said Black Caucus President Marlene C. Hurd, who was elected at last year's conference at Laney College in Oakland. "It is as if we are revisiting all our past struggles, accomplishments, and conference themes, and are in the future now, but we still have work to do."

The conference features a weekend filled with inspiring keynote speakers, enlightening entertainment and empowering presentations.

California Assembly Member Mervyn Dymally (D–Compton) will be the keynote speaker at dinner Friday evening. It is expected he will address the 2006 takeover of Compton College by El Camino College.

California Community Colleges Board of Governor’s Member Rev. Dr. J. Alfred Smith of Oakland will be the keynote speaker Saturday morning at the Soulful Breakfast. Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D–Los Angeles) will be the keynote speaker during lunch on Saturday afternoon. She previously spoke at the 5th annual conference in Compton.

Workshops, or "Education sessions" empower student leaders of African ancestry; feature successful models and practices that build community on campus; foster community outreach and involvement; and address development issues of Afro-centric organizations at community colleges.

"The conference occurs each year during Black History Month and is scheduled during the Presidents Day weekend so students can have a substantive leadership and cultural experience without missing classes," said Black Caucus Advisor Don Dorsey, dean of students at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills.

"It is an amazing opportunity for our students to gain knowledge about their history and culture," said Hurd, "And it is so powerful that they will go back to their campuses to get involved."

For more information, contact Conference Chair Marlene C. Hurd at mchurd@sbcglobal.net.

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February 2008

February 2008 Laney BSU Defender PDF

News
El Camino hosts Black Caucus Leadership Conference
Hundreds of community college students of African Descent are expected to attend the 10th Annual Black Caucus Leadership Conference being held at El Camino College in Torrance Feb. 15-16, 2008.

Arts
'Say it Loud' at Laney
The 4th “Say it Loud” Youth Fashion Show comes to the Laney College Theatre Feb. 2 at 8 p.m. for Black History Month fusing bell-bottoms, dashikis and soulful 70's sounds.

'Eye Gotcha Covered'
Laney fine arts graduate Milton Bowens multi-media exhibit “Eye Gotcha Covered” examines contemporary and historical views of African Americans in the media.

Former Laney English faculty shares memoir
Adam David Miller, poet, writer, editor/publisher, and former laney College English instructor will read from his recently published and highly acclaimed memoir, "Ticket to Exile," 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. Wed. Feb. 3 in Tower 450.

Culture
BSU honors King
The Laney BSU, in collaboration with Club Knowledge, hosted “The Real King: More than a Dreamer,” Jan. 22 at noon on the Laney Quad.

Opinion
Ancestral Nationality
In the minds and hearts of all Americans, especially African Americans, are the painful connections and liberation truths of the past. Yet we are not victims.



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West African drum stolen from BSU room

A West African “djembe,” hand drum was reported stolen at 4:41 p.m. Wed. Jan. 23 from room 403 in the Laney Student Center.

The BSU member first noticed the drum was missing on the first day of the spring semester, but assumed that someone may have borrowed the drum. He late contacted Peralta Police Services to report the drum stolen.

The wooden drum is red with red/black symbols on the sides. The drum was valued at $140, but has cultural, sentimental value.

Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of the drum are asked to contact the Laney BSU at laneybsu@gmail.com.
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