Power to the People | The Movement Continues
Updated: Jun 11
It's hard to believe we are already halfway through 2021. There have been some amazing moments in art and culture this year (the Obama Portraits go on tour to Chicago, Brooklyn, L.A., the ATL, and Houston, Howard University named its College of Fine Arts after Chadwick Boseman and the school also announced actress and alumna Phylicia Rashad as Dean of that department) and one that resonated with me profoundly and rocked my militant spirit was the paramount film Judas and the Black Messiah. The storyline, the actors, the soundtrack were all stellar. And what a year for British actor Daniel Kaluuya who snagged five awards for his performance as Deputy Chairman, Fred Hampton in the film, including the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor, the Critics' Choice Movie Award for Best Supporting Actor, the BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role and the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance. While he certainly earned and deserved every award, the Black Delegation has been fully aware of his talents since his performance in Get Out (2017), Black Panther (2018), Widows (2018), and Queen and Slim (2019).
Watching Kaluuya's performance in the film reminded me of my research a few years ago on the Black Panther Party for a gallery exhibition that featured the work of Emory Douglas, graphic artist and the party's Minister of Culture. My research also reminded me of the BPP's ten-point program and how relevant each point is today. Written in 1966 by the party's founders Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale, the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense Ten-Point Platform and Program was a foundational doucment and outline addressing concerns for Black and oppressed people. Before we get into the Juneteenth vs. July 4th debate remember, the ten-point program was the party's "combination of the Bill of Rights and the Declaration of Independence." Each point represents the desire for justice and equality for people of color and the oppressed and speaks to conditions in the black community that we continue to face even in 2021.
The Black Panther Party for Self-Defense Ten-Point Platform and Program:
We want freedom. We want power to determine the destiny of our Black and oppressed communities.
We want full employment for our people.
We want an end to the robbery by the capitalist of our Black and oppressed communities.
We want decent housing, fit for the shelter of human beings.
We want education for our people that exposes the true nature of this decadent American society. We want education that teaches us our true history and our role in the present-day society. (Did someone say the 1619 Project, thank you Nikole Hannah-Jones!)
We want completely free health care for all Black and oppressed people.
We want an immediate end to police brutality and murder of Black people, other people of color, all oppressed people inside the United States. (very long exhale!)
We want an immediate end to all wars of aggression.
We want freedom for all Black and poor oppressed people now held in U.S. federal, state, county, city and military prisons and jails. We want trials by a jury of peers for all persons charged with so-called crimes under the laws of this country.
We want land, bread, housing, education, clothing, justice, peace and people's community control of modern technology.
These words were penned fifty-five years ago. The struggle is real, ever-present, and unrelenting. Today, the movement continues!