Sunday, May 12, 2013

The archival record of youth's role in social transformation

Young people were a central part of the US Civil Rights Movement & thousands of them were attacked & arrested. Some were killed. In 1963, an estimated 40% of kids at one Birmingham high school were skipping school daily to protest & they filled the jail cells to capacity. Here the Birmingham cops are arresting a group for violating Birmingham’s apartheid laws. Blacks & whites attended different schools & churches, weren’t allowed to play together, couldn’t eat in the same room, & had physical barriers defining where each could sit or stand at public events.

The intransigent spirit of children & youth in the Civil Rights Movement certainly explains the monstrous & violent war on Black youth in the US today. Resegregation of public education, police violence against youth under the guise of the war on drugs, & railroading thousands into jail for minor offenses is part of a strategy to prevent the emergence of a new civil rights movement by demoralizing & incapacitating the young.

Palestinian youth are playing the same leading role today in the fight against Zionist colonization & apartheid--& facing the same violent opposition & incarceration. Resistance to oppression is contagious so it’s imperative for Palestinian solidarity & the BDS movement to forge bonds of solidarity with Black youth also under siege.

(Photo by Danny Lyons)

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