Tag Archives: Freedom Archives

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

Youth Empowerment at the Freedom Archives

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PL cover Spring 2016Hello,

This past spring, the Progressive Librarian, a journal for Critical Studies and Progressive Politics in Librarianship, published an article we wrote entitled “Don’t Trust Anyone Over the Age of 30”: Youth Empowerment and Community Archives. The spring issue recently became available online and we wanted to share the article with you! You can read the article by clicking here.

We’re happy to have been able to share our experiences working with young people and we are excited to welcome two new young people beginning internships with us in the next couple of weeks. You can find more about internships at the Freedom Archives here. Come build with us!!

-Nathaniel

Illuminating the Voices of Liberation

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Hello,

Taken from BLU Magazine Issue 13

Today we honor the birthdays of Ho Chi Minh, Malcolm X, Yuri Kochiyama and Lorraine Hansberry. All were extremely important in their unyielding fight for self-determination, national liberation and against racism in all its forms. We’re happy to have all of their voices contained somewhere in the Freedom Archives along with other archival materials like Ho Chi Minh’s poetry and former political prisoner and member of the Angola 3 Robert King Wilkerson interviewing Yuri Kochiyama. Below are a couple of the many digitized materials we have featuring Malcolm X and Ho Chi Minh.

An essential component of the Freedom Archives is to preserve and spread the wisdom and lessons of our movement elders. Connecting issues of today with historical content is an important task in building strong, sustainable and inter-generational movements. Your financial support plays a key role in making all this work happen, creating greater access for newer generations to use our materials and helping to broaden their vision for a more just future.

Ho Chi Minh Speaks to the US Anti-War Movement (in English):

 

Malcolm X on African Liberation:

 

Supporting the archives is easy. You can send us a check or click here to give online. You can also donate by clicking the donate button on our FB page.

Thanks so much and visit our search site to check out our entire collection.

-Nathaniel

The Search for Identity

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arianaDuring my third semester at the Freedom Archives I cataloged the raw audio materials of Colin Edwards’ series on Californians of Mexican Descent. In this ten part radio program from the early 1960s, Edwards interviewed Mexican-Americans from various socioeconomic backgrounds in order to create a comprehensive series that grasps the multiplicity of the Mexican-American experience. Through a series of patterned questions asked to each interviewee, themes including conflict over identities, pressures towards assimilation and divisions between generations, were all explored. It was interesting to find that many of the themes present in this series are sentiments that still exist within Chicano/as community. There is an underlying sense of not qualifying as solely Mexican or American, but rather needing to successfully navigate through and occupy both spheres. Although there were many relatable issues, one thing that struck me when listening to these interviews was the various outlooks towards discrimination faced by the Mexican-American community.

Accounts of racial, social and economic discrimination varied amongst the interviewees but having grown up in a predominantly Latino community, I was unaware of discrimination towards Chican@s in educational or professional settings. I never felt like a “minority” in the community which I grew up in and those surrounding me I was always part of a majority population where there was no discrimination based on being “other”. It was not until I moved away for college that I was made so conscious of my ethnicity and culture. At home, it was easy to navigate being Mexican-American because most people were Latino so there was a semblance of a shared experience. Now that I have left that comfort zone and I interact with diverse populations I feel the need to be an American who simultaneously embodies and educates others on the whole Latino experience, who points out the intersections of gender, race and economic standing. In college, a defining feature of my identity is the fact that I am Mexican. I am often questioned about my language, customs and asked to challenge ill-informed stereotypes. At home I am seen as too American because I am not fluent in Spanish and I don’t retain traditional customs and beliefs, I am deviating from my upbringing.

After listening to individuals sharing their sentiments and experiences, I felt a sort of validation. Never before had I worked with materials in an academic setting that explores what for me is a lived reality. Seeing this specific form of social history documented and studied in such a way reinforces the importance of individual lived realities. Even in institutions of higher education where students are actually given the chance to study different histories, they don’t always get the chance to work with such personal accounts that resonate with and reinforce overarching historical themes.

If you would like to support our internship program you can make a donation here.

-Ariana Varela

The Burning Urgency of Now

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herman bell imageDo not condemn these men to prison for life as they’ve already spent decades there. Be not in a rush to throw fresh stones at this misfortune without taking a long look in your own mirror and see the face of injustice that has long been a bane to the long suffering of Black people so that others might exact from the sweat of their brow, stripes across their backs, and terrorist lynchings to attain the untold wealth and prosperity that this nation currently enjoys. And even today you continuously lock them in your prisons in unprecedented numbers. The urgency of now is upon us.

When is “enough is enough?” The burning urgency of now calls for change, for a sharp turn into the headwinds of new possibilities for ourselves, for our children and for our nation. We want these men home. Release of them would be symbolic. Thus retribution for retribution sake is liken to a dead letter with no forwarding address.

-Taken from a recent letter written by political prisoner Herman Bell. Read at Freeing Our Political Prisoners, San Francisco, California on October 23, 2015. Herman Bell is a former Black Panther who has been locked up since 1973. Since his imprisonment, Herman has continued his work as an educator and activist.

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