“Moral Mondays” Preacher Barber, Forbes

Dr. James A Forbes, Jr of New York and Rev. Dr. William J Barber II of North Carolina, perhaps best known for his impassioned testimony against his state’s so-called “bathroom bill,” drew a crowd from  all races, genders, and walks of life to Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Milwaukee Wednesday for the final stop of their Moral Revival tour.“The Revival: Time for a Moral Revolution of Values” is a national, multi-state tour to redefine morality in American politics. The tour includes over 20 stops.

The evening began with a call to action. The leader asked, “what do we want?” the congregation then replied, “moral revival!” That moment led to worship with songs to get the crowd warmed up and filled with motivation – motivation that would lead to wanting to make a change.

Following an impassioned singing of “I woke up with my mind stayed on freedom” — with plenty of clapping along — Barber started off saying that we will no longer hide our deepest moral values. “Forward together. Not one step back. Now get out to vote,” he said. (more…)

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Addressing Social Segregation in Mixed-Income Communities

Much scholarly attention has been given to metropolitan and city-level segregation; however, comparatively little consideration has been devoted to within community segregation. In some newly created mixed-income, mixed-race communities, we are witnessing “diversity segregation,” where people of different backgrounds, races, ethnicity and incomes live next to one another but not alongside one another. In these diverse communities, micro-level segregation is thwarting meaningful interactions, making it less likely that these “integrated” communities will enhance the life chances of the poor.

For over a decade, I have studied transitioning low-income minority communities that became more racially, ethnically, and economically diverse in New York City, Chicago, and Washington, D.C. Additionally, as a public housing authority board chair, I have overseen the financing, construction, and maintenance of mixed-income housing projects in Alexandria, Virginia. During this work, I constantly ask myself, “Are these diverse communities and housing developments sufficiently designed to facilitate social interactions that benefit low-income residents?” (more…)

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Hidden-Figures
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Hidden-Figures

 

One of the most toxic attempts to dismiss the prevalence of racism is what Jenée Desmond-Harris calls “vanity sizing for racism,” the idea that a large number of Americans cannot be racist. That “racist” is a hurtful term that only really describes people so outwardly bigoted that they use racial slurs and harass people of color. But in reality, a large number, even a majority, of white Americans can be racist. Their racism is not necessarily overt; rather it is oftentimes more insidious in its subtlety.

Hidden Figures understands this. The film tells the story of three black women at NASA who were pivotal in Project Mercury, the mission that sent the first American to orbit the planet in 1962. The three brilliant women, Katherine Goble Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer), and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe), struggle throughout the film to have their skills utilized, let alone recognized, by their white “superiors.” They are confronted with misogynoir at every turn, whether it be Dorothy trying to get a book from the whites-only section of the library or Mary trying to receive an engineering degree at a white-only school. Segregation is an inescapable part of their lives.

But their oppressors are not the typical racists depicted in film. It is not random blue-collar white men who advocate for racial violence, but rather professionals in fancy clothing who use “precedent” and “rules” to deny black women access to the resources and basic needs they are entitled to. NASA is segregated, with Katherine, Dorothy, and Mary working at the West Area Computing facility, which lacks the technology granted to the white Langley Research Center. However, the three black woman continually prove themselves to be deserving of what they ask for. Eventually, when their skills are finally realized to be essential to the mission, they are allowed to enter white spaces. (more…)

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