February 25, 2013

February 25, 2013

Deverick Murray in front of the proposed juvenile detention facility. Photo By: Casey McKeel

Casey McKeel interviews hip-hop artist and activist, DevRock, in front of the site of the proposed juvenile detention center about the release of his new Mixtape.

Zapatistas march in Ocosingo, December 21, 2012. Source: Roarmag.org

On December 21st of last year, as many across the world were speculating about the end of the Mayan calendar, 40,000 actual Mayans marched silently into five cities in Chiapas, Mexico, putting the Zapatistas and the Zapatista Army for National Liberation (EZLN) back into the forefront of grassroots political discourse the world over, and mainstream political discourse in Mexico. A stream of provocative communiques from the EZLN's spokesperson, Subcomandante Marcos, have followed.

Photo by Bill Hughes.

On Wednesday afternoon, Feb. 20, 2013, activists from CODEPINK, a Peace & Justice organization, staged a demonstration in the Atrium of the U.S. Senate Hart Office Building in Washington, D.C. In its press release, CODEPINK said it organized the action to show the growing grass roots opposition to the use of “killer drones and doubts about John Brennan.” Brennan is currently under consideration by the Congress for the post of CIA Director. On the evening of Feb. 21, 2013, a “prison chic”-styled party—aka “Prison Reception”—was held at the au courant Hays-Adams Hotel, in Washington, D.C., only blocks from the ex-Constitutional Law Professor Barack Obama’s White House.

Guest columnist Renard Barton is a graduate from Heritage High School, and currently attends the University of Baltimore.

(Renard Barton, a former student of Iris Kirsch, is a guest columnist for Future Imperfect: An Education Report for Tense Times. Iris Kirsch will return to her column on March 11th.)

As a teacher, it is better to have a loving classroom environment than a fearful classroom environment. Of course there are pros and cons to both. But from a little research it is possible to determine whether one outweighs the other. Although it is the teacher’s job to determine how they are going to run their classroom, it is generally better for student achievement to have a loving classroom environment.

Image source: www.anteropietila.com

In “Not in my Neighborhood: How Bigotry Shaped a Great American City,” former Sun reporter and editor Antero Pietila focuses in on one facet of Baltimore’s history: namely, how housing patterns have evolved in Baltimore City along racial and religious lines over the last hundred years. With a journalist’s eye for detail, Pietila describes many colorful characters involved in the real estate scene, including politicians, civic leaders, bureaucrats, homeowners, developers and agents. For local activists, the book provides food for thought about an issue that strikes close to home, if you will forgive the pun.

A black man wears a shirt that reads, "Not Chris Dorner Please Do Not Shoot". Image source: newsone.com.

The mainstream White media represented Dorner as a loony with a grudge and an assault rifle. But an amazing thing happened in the alternative and social media outlets. Although African Americans did not support Dorner’s murder spree, many supported Dorner. The difference between how Black people saw this and White people viewed Dorner was like the parting of the Red Sea. It was like the O.J. case: Blacks on one side and Whites on the other. The issue for some Black people was Dorner’s blowing the cover off the racist, brutal tactics of police bullies in poor black and brown communities. For White people it was just the case of a murderer on the loose.

Protestors in a neighborhood adjacent to Ofer Prison. Photo By: Joshua Stephens

By now, the world is beginning to hear about Arafat Jaradat. A young Palestinian father, imprisoned three months without charge, in the notorious Israeli Megiddo Military Prison. Allegedly, he'd been involved in throwing stones. Two nights ago, he died, still in custody. Still without charge or trial.