Activist Archiving 101

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Hello,

During our recent trip to Detroit, we collaborated with Sine Hwang Jensen, librarian at the UC Berkeley Ethnic Studies Library, to present a session at the 19th annual Allied Media Conference entitled Activist Archiving 101. Held every summer in Detroit, the Allied Media Conference brings together a vibrant and diverse community of people using media to incite change: filmmakers, radio producers, technologists, youth organizers, writers, cultural artists and more.

 

Our session was intended to empower activists to be stewards of their and/or organizational archives and share basic tools, strategies and resources that already exist that we can draw from to ensure that future generations will have access to our ideas, materials, experiences and lessons. Important conversations around the importance of human relationships and accountability to our communities, blurring the line between documentation and journalism and corporate control of social media made for a vibrant and engaging session. We were thrilled to be joined by over 50 people clearly demonstrating that documentation and the legacy of our movements is something many people are thinking about.

You can find tools, resources, principles from our session on activist archiving and more HERE. More from our trip to Detroit soon!

Also, if you haven’t gotten a chance to donate to our summer fundraising campaign, please take a moment and help us continue the important work we do. Your SUPPORT makes all this possible.

-Nathaniel

Grassroots Organizing for Change

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Hello there! My name is Jesse Escalante and I am a 21 year old student at San Francisco State University majoring in Sociology and Dance. This past semester I took Grassroots Organizing for Change in Communities of Color that focused on what it actually means to organize and the work that goes into it. One of the requirements was to volunteer at a local grassroots organization. Each week, we had guest speakers from various local organizations speak of their work and how it related to our class material. This is how I first heard of the Freedom Archives and with the help of my professor; I began to volunteer with them.

During my time at Freedom Archives, I added to the collection on control units and super-max prisons, specifically focusing on ADX Florence in Colorado. During this project, I was able to explore the archives and engage with various materials regarding control units (used inter-changeably with super-max) and ADX Florence. I read articles, interviews, letters from prisoners and accessed various media resources, such as video and audio files, which furthered my knowledge about the history of super-max prisons. By the end of my project, I not only had a better grasp of the work Freedom Archives does, but also more information into the use of control units.

Volunteering with Freedom Archives has given me an insight into what it means to be a grassroots organization. Although the work done here is vastly different than the work done in some large non-profit organizations, it still has an impact. Since my internship, I have been able to reflect upon my own K-12 educations compared to college.  I had never even heard the term “super-max prisons” until my internship. Now, I have a better understanding of the ways in which control unit prisons repress movements, torture those locked inside them and isolate people from their community and family. All this information is accessible through their website. Freedom Archives is providing a service greatly needed, especially in a political climate like now. I have benefited from their work and I know others will too. If you’d like to make a donation to support the work of the Freedom Archives, you can do it here.

-Jesse

No Justice No Peace

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Hello,

This clip is taken from a 1988 speech by Ahmed Obafemi of the New Afrikan People’s Organization in San Francisco. Obafemi speaks of the death of Michael Griffith, a Black youth murdered in a racist attack in Howard Beach, New York., and how the Black community came together following Michael’s murder.

 

Learn more about New Afrikan politics here.

No Justice, No Peace!

-Nathaniel

The Story of Manuel Ramos

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Hello,

This article in the Movement (June 1969) covers the the murder of Manuel Ramos. Manuel was a 20 year old member of the Young Lords Organization (YLO) in Chicago, IL. On May 4th, 1969 Manuel was shot and killed by a police officer outside of the apartment of another member of the Young Lords at 2am. Another member of the Young Lords was wounded and four others were arrested. Manuel was unarmed at the time of his murder.

As the details of the case surfaced, the Chicago police department did the best they could to cover up Manuel’s murder including trying to plant a weapon into evidence and claiming in the media that a police officer had been critically wounded in the incident. Both of these were exposed as lies soon after.

Over the next weeks, in response to the police violence, cover up and lack of judicial transparency, the Rainbow Coalition [Black Panther Party; Young Lords Organization and Young Patriots Organization] and community members organized numerous protests and a funeral attended by several hundred people. These protests culminated in the takeover of McCormick Seminary.

On May 15th, the Young Lords, supported by Panthers, Patriots, SDS and McCormick Seminary students seized the brand new W. Clement Stone Academic-Administration Building and renamed it the Manuel Ramos Memorial Building. McCormick Seminary is located in the Lincoln Park neighborhood in Chicago and although it maintained a liberal facade, it restricted community members from entering its property (community members had to walk several blocks around the seminary to get to a shopping strip), using its playground, enjoying its ample green space, or using its library. W. Clement Stone was also Richard Nixon’s largest contributor, further exemplifying the institutions’ detachment from the community.

The Young Lords presented 10 demands to the administration at McCormick Seminary. With support and material assistance being supplied by community member coalition allies, the YLO stayed in the Manuel Ramos Memorial Building for a full week despite constant threats of physical eviction by the police. By the end of the week, the administration had agreed to all of the Young Lords’ demands including pledging nearly $700,000 (and institutional support) for the creation of a low-income housing development, a children’s center, and a Puerto Rican cultural center. Unfortunately, it is unclear how much of the money pledged by McCormick leaders was actually delivered. In the fall of 1969 the YLO claimed in their newspaper that “McCormick still wasn’t coming through.”

The mobilizations around the murder of Manuel Ramos demonstrate not only the decisive and effective actions taken by the Young Lords Organization (Chicago) but also the importance of cross class and cross racial organizing in achieving ones’ demands.

-Laura

 

New Additions to the Freedom Archives

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Hello,

We’ve got some great new materials up on our search site!

Statements from International Women’s Day: Statements in honor of International Women’s Day, 1983, in solidarity with all freedom fighters and prisoners of war. Published by Women Against Imperialism.

3 poems from Chicano Poet Tomas Vigil: Originally recorded by SF Bay Area radio collective Comunicacion Aztlan.

Critica:

Marche:

Nation:

 

I-Hotel Calendar: This calendar focuses on the struggle to keep the tenants of the International Hotel from being evicted during 1977. Each month has a pertaining photo that features photography from the protests, personal photos of tenants in their rooms, poetry and more.

Don’t hesitate to contact us info [at] freedomarchives [dot] org if you want to donate archival materials to the Freedom Archives and stay tuned for new arrivals.

-Nathaniel

 

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