Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Good is What You Do

It looks like this project will be a once a month (or less) occurrence for me right now due to health and other personal issues.

So I want to leave you with this in the meantime - Jay Smooth's "How I Learn to Stop Worrying and Love Discussing Race" TEDx talk at Hampshire College. (Closed captions are available.)

As with all things of this nature, being a better and more aware person is a constant process, not a single achievement or something that happens overnight. It's not so much a goal as a way of living. 
I can show you the language we use to talk about systems of oppression, and the ways in which many (Western) societies are built and how they work. But what is most important is using that knowledge to grow every single day. 
Being told you hold harmful beliefs is not automatically a statement of your character. It's someone telling you that you can do better. Take the defensive feelings and learn from them. We all make "mistakes." What matters is how we learn from them and how we react. Don't defend, listen and do better. 
Good is not what you are, it's what you do.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Privilege, Part 2 - Intersectionality

Layers of Privilege, or "Your Activism will be Intersectional or It Will Be BS"

Privilege, while in many ways constant, is also always relative. You can have privilege in one aspect of your life - say, being white - and not in others - living in poverty. Just as identities and labels shift depending on context, where you stand at any point in time is dependent upon your social context and the privileges and identities of those around you.

However, the areas in which you aren't privileged do not negate your other privileges. You can still be part of a dominant, privileged group while belonging to another marginalized group. A white gay person still has white privilege, even if they will face discrimination and oppression for being gay. LGBTQ+ people of color will face discrimination for being both LGBTQ+ and for being people of color, and for being both at the same time.

Multiple areas of marginalization compound and create a unique system of discrimination against people who fit into that subcategory. It is vital that we account for and explore the ways in which intragroup differences affect discrimination, systems of power, and the ways in which we talk about them. We call this framework intersectionality. This term was coined by scholar KimberlĂ© Crenshaw (pdf), in regards to the way that black women exist as both targets of sexism and racism. These systems of oppression intersect to form a blend of racialized sexism (referred to as misogynoir when discussing black women, and transmisogynoir when it's specifically only transgender black women) that specifically affects those women in ways that women of other races do not experience. Intersectionality seeks to re-center and reframe issues around these unique combinations instead of from the viewpoint of a dominant group. Instead of looking at an issue from the outside and trying to force a single narrative, we look at it from another perspective entirely. Intersectionality is not an ideology so much as it is a method and a framework for how we look at marginalized identities.

[Image description - asterisk-like graph depicting various axes of oppression and privilege. At each end of a line, there is a privilege and its corresponding system of oppression, and group or identity of those disadvantaged.]

There are infinite ways in which axes of oppression can intersect, and infinite ways in which any person can have privilege - as many ways as there are identities. 

Identity is not just a static equation. We are the sum of our parts but also a whole being. Intersectionality looks at how the sum of the parts affects the experiences of the whole being. No one wakes up in the morning and asks themselves "Am I Black today or bisexual first?" but far too often we're expected to by those who make up the "default" or norm -- those within a group who have the least disadvantages. Ignoring intersectionality often forces people within groups to choose which identity to support at a time, rather than looking at the whole package. 

Let's look at some real world examples. 

In feminist discussion many talk a lot about how the "damsel in distress" trope isn't empowering but infantilizing, because it assumes that women are delicate and aren't capable of saving themselves. That narrative isn't the case, however, for women of color, who historically have always been expected to save themselves, and, with the exception of most stereotypes of East Asian women, are very rarely in history described as delicate. In reframing this discussion around the experiences of women of color (instead of holding those of white women as the standard), we find it's far more empowering and humanizing for WOC to be portrayed as damsels than otherwise - than the dehumanizing Mammies, always expected to take care of everyone else; or the Strong Black Woman, the "mule," expected to carry the weight of the world on her shoulders; the Fiery Latina, etc. Intersectionality allows us to fully deconstruct issues within large identity groups by examining the ways in which overlapping identities change the story.

Perhaps this past week you watched the Academy Awards and heard a speech given by Patricia Arquette about the wage gap - how men in the USA, as a group, earn more money per hour than women do. While studies have shown that the wage gap is a verifiable reality (and not a myth as many would like you to believe), what Ms. Arquette completely failed to take into account is intersectionality and how systems of oppression are related to each other. Her views of the statistic are centered around women like her (white cisgender able-bodied women) and are not a reflection of all women's experiences. White women still benefit from white privilege.

The actual statistics in regards to the wage gap are as follows, circa 2010:
For every dollar that a white man makes, white women earn on average 77-80 cents. Black men earn less than white women, an average of 75 cents. Black and Latina women earn even less than that (70 cents and 60 cents respectively).

[Image - chart of The Wage Gap by Gender and Race, from 1970 to 2010. Source is the U.S. Current Population Survey and the National Committe on Pay Equity, & Bureau of Labor Statistics: Weekly and Hourly Earnings Data from the Current Population Survey]

As you can see, it's not just gender that makes a difference. But this chart is still missing huge amounts of data. Transgender status, disability, orientation, and other marginalized identities also affect wages. (There are disabled people in this country making less than 20 cents an hour - and their employers are legally allowed to do so. Disabled people on average make 37% less than people without disabilities.) And the more identities overlap, the bigger the difference it makes.

Regarding that same speech - the concept of intersectionality also comes into play when discussing the comments that came afterwards. Ms. Arquette said that people of color and LGBTQ people should be supporting her feminist struggle because "she's fought for [us]." This is an intersectionality fail because the categories of "people of color" and "LGBTQ" also contain women. Women who, due to their belonging in multiple marginalized identity groups (and  ossibly all three mentioned) are far more likely than Ms. Arquette to be affected - and more - by wage gaps and wealth inequality. In her statement, Ms. Arquette essentially set women of color and women within the LGBTQ community aside from her concept of "women," turning them into the "other." (And as I said on the very first day of this blog, intentions are irrelevant. The omission/accidental often speaks louder than words.) She failed to take into account the ways that identities are not completely separate from each other, and in doing so, demonstrated her privilege. She still faces sexism for being a woman, but across multiple power structures and systems of oppression she still has more advantages than many other women and still contributes to their oppression.

Let's look at one last example - many celebrate the spread of same-gender marriage as a great victory for equality for LGBTQ+ people around the world without ever taking into account that marriage itself is 1. not a priority for the majority because 2. most have far greater and more pressing issues to deal with that are being ignored in favor of marriage. Generally, those within the community pushing for marriage as the Number 1 issue are financially better off, more likely to be white and cisgender; and as far as representation goes, men are more likely to be the face of the cause. The LGBTQ community is largely made up of women of color, many of whom are transgender and multisexual/mutiple-gender attracted. However the narrative being pushed to the front is that of those whose voices are the "loudest" - those with the most privilege/advantages within the entire grouping. It is not by any means a homogenous group just because there is a "shared" label.

Failing to take into account "subgroup" identities has actually caused more inequality within the "community." Trans women, who were at the forefront of the rights movements, are shoved aside, ignored, and/or told to either hop on the marriage bandwagon or stay silent about their pain. Homeless people, many of whom are young, trans, and of color, will not suddenly get safe housing because they can legally marry someone of the same gender when they're old enough. Marriage won't protect against job discrimination, or racism, cissexism, ableism, and misogyny both within the "community" and out. Trans people of color, mostly trans women of color, are far more likely to be the victims of hate crimes or commit suicide - according to GLAAD, in 2011 about 87% of murder victims were people of color.

In Praxis - In Practice

"Intersectionality means more than realizing that people have multiple marginalized identities. It is a framework that requires recognition that overlapping marginalized identities impact the way people experience oppression and, thus, must impact the way advocates do work. Simply put, intersectionality is not an ideology; it's a methodology. And without it, we quite simply are not working for those most vulnerable within the community."
-- Maya Rupert for the Huffington Post, Listening to #TheseOrgsAintLoyal [Source, 9/6/2014]

Intersectionality is in and of itself a practice requiring us to either transform and rework or altogether scrap existing frameworks and take another look at all of the ways in which a system of oppression can affect others within any group. As stated prior, a person can be a part of a marginalized group and still hold privilege over others within that same group. You may still be complicit in one or more of the power structures that actively harm them. [As with Ms. Arquette's example - We see this when modern feminists laud activists such as Susan B. Anthony, who chose to cast aside Black women in favor of winning voting rights exclusively for white women (because she was insulted that Black men won the right to vote before she did); and Margaret Sanger who supported eugenics and xenophobia as national policy and called for the forced sterilization of "undesirable/inferior" women, whether disabled or women of color (or both). All of these examples are still misogynistic in nature, enacting harm against women despite being in the name of women's rights and viewing history from a single lens instead of an intersectional lens. Privilege still exists within these spaces.]

Intersecting identities create different sets of circumstances, social structures, and systems of oppression that are unique from any of the "main" groups. It is impossible (and unethical) to force people to choose which parts of themselves are allowed to matter most at any time. Every single part of someone's identity has an impact on how they experience the world, and on how the world with treat them. Many mainstream rights movements have left the most vulnerable out in the cold because they don't account for intersections, whether in practice as seen above or in theory and discussion. It is never as simple as a "one size fits all" for any category because there is no singular identity. Therefore our attempts at finding solutions need to always reflect that. Otherwise, we're only continuing to perpetuate the same cycles of oppression against our peers, exercising our privileges and participating in harmful power structures instead of helping to dismantle them. We cannot obtain any kind of justice without addressing these facts.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Privilege, Part 1

Well, I did say this project would be done in my spare time. For the past few weeks, I've had less time than anticipated. My apologies.

This week, I really want to talk about privilege and what it means. It's very common for someone to get defensive about this subject when it's brought up. No one likes to think they're benefiting (whether intentionally or unintentionally) from someone else's pain, myself included. So again, I want to remind everyone that these things will undoubtedly make us uncomfortable, and that is the point of talking about them - to unsettle and challenge the status quo. Discomfort is how we learn.

So let's make this personal.

Here's what you need to know about me - I'm in my mid 20s, Black, US-born with an immigrant parent and grandparents, (several but not all, on both sides of my family), from an upper middle class background (though now, we're lower middle/working class according to updated income levels. This is very common for my demographic.), private school & college educated, relatively able-bodied [I suffer from chronic and recurring pain, among other things, but most days it's manageable. I have no visible disabilities.], allistic (not autistic) but neuroatypical, raised Roman Catholic but now a secular pagan for lack of a better term, and I am neither straight nor cisgender. (And for the record, no the A does not stand for allies. It's Asexual and Aromantic.)

This is is a combination of both areas of privilege and oppression. Can you figure out which is which, what they are, and why? (See the chart at the end of this post for some hints.)

Take some time to think about your own background in this same way. Think about how your life would be different if any of these things were changed. How would it affect your daily activities? Where you live and what schools you went to? How well you did in school? The clothes you wear, types of jobs you might be able to get, the people you hang out with on a regular basis? How the people around you treat you and what they say about you?

All of this is privilege in action.

What is Privilege really, and where does it come from?

Due to the way many, if not most societies are set up, everyone on earth is given some kind of privilege over others. People are "equal" as far as we all deserve the same respect and we are "all human." But socially speaking, equality is still very much a myth and not a reality. We may all be human, but we aren't all treated in the same way. We do not all have the same chances to succeed in life, the same opportunities, the same experiences or histories. Social mobility is limited by systemic marginalization. Some people will have an easier time working and moving within the system simply because of who they are and what groups they belong to. Access to those groups means two things - that there are certain obstacles they won't have to face, and that their group is the one who put those obstacles there for others so that their group can maintain the advantage. This is the system of privilege.

This setup is intentional, deliberate, and at the cornerstone of all systems of oppression. As a person with any kind of systemic privilege, you have been intentionally set up to succeed at the expense of others. In order for anyone to obtain and maintain power, someone must be subjugated. One group is benefiting from the exploitation and manufactured misfortune of another.

Societies are set up so that those with privilege are not meant to be aware that they have it. If you are blind to the advantages you are given by the system, then you will believe that everything in life is fair and just when it's not and has never been, and you're more likely to fight to keep things as they are. You won't  even realize that there's a problem. So yes, it is always about race, always about gender, always about these things. They affect far more than you are meant to realize.

Becoming aware of your privilege and how it shapes both your life and how you interact with others is the first step in making equality a reality.

Let me make this clear - 

Privilege is not in and of itself an assessment of how wonderful, easy, or difficult your life is. 

Privilege is not anyone telling you that your life is perfect and that you will never have any problems.

It's not a judgement of who you are as an individual person.

It is a statement of where society has placed you on a social and political hierarchy, based solely on an aspect of your identity, and relative to those of other identity groups.

It means that there are certain types of obstacles in life, particularly types of prejudice and discrimination, that you will never experience because of "what" you are and what that status affords you. If someone tells you to be aware of your privilege, they're telling you that you have status within a dominant social group that they do not, that gives you an unearned advantage and a clearer, less complicated path.

In Part 2, we'll take a closer look at some specific examples of privilege, "layers" and intersections of privileges, and how they work in conjunction with each other.

Some additional sources around the web:

Anti-Racist Toolkit on Power, Privilege and Oppression

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Due to family obligations, this week's post has been postponed til next.

In the meantime, you can check out some of the links on the new Additional Resources page.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Definitions (& The Dictionary Defense)

Sexism & Misogyny

These are just a few of the most basic names for the systems I'd like to talk about on this blog. Take a moment to look at each word and think about how you personally define each one and how you learned that definition. Over the next few weeks I will be breaking each topic down further. Let's get started.

"But the dictionary says..." And Why That Doesn't Matter.

The dictionary definitions of most words we use to talk about these things are either wrong or extremely oversimplified to the point where they're not actually useful. All of the nuance and real-world applications of the terms are lost, either for the sake of brevity or because of social structures and political agendas.

We refer to these topics as systemic they are built into the very fabric of society. They're the default -- no matter how much you want to think of yourself as above them or unrelated to them, you're not. No one is. And the only way to address that is to know what it is you're supposed to be looking for and examine what role you play.

Everything has a political agenda.

There is nothing in any society that isn't in some way affected by these structures and politics, and that includes everything we "know" to be true or false. It's why we speak the way we do, why we dress the way we do, why we act the way we do. Why certain trends become popular.

You may have heard "History is always written by the winners." (I believe that particular phrasing is attributed to Dan Brown. The Napoleon Bonaparte version is "What is history, but a fable agreed upon?") Everything we know about the world, everything that gets written in textbooks and magazines, etc, is written by those who have social and political power. There are people who decide what goes into textbooks and what children should learn about the world. They are not neutral or infallible; they are human just like the rest of us. Everything we know is both created and carefully controlled. There is no neutrality in knowledge. (For example, scientifically speaking, a tomato is a fruit, not a vegetable. Well, did you know in 1893 the Supreme Court decided it was a vegetable so that tomatoes could be taxed, as there was no tax on fruit? [Source, US Supreme Court Nix v. Hedden.] Guess which definition made it into the dictionary?)

I'm sure by now you catch my meaning - the dictionary is only a rudimentary source at best, especially for subjects as complex as race and oppression, and language changes with the times. Dictionaries get updated at an excruciatingly slow pace. Definitions invented in the 1800s are no longer relevant. The dictionary is not an authority on language but a resource.

So, with all of that in mind:

Let's get to the root of where we need to get going.

I don't always work or think within this framework (because sometimes it's a little too simple for intragroup issues), but almost all of these definitions can be addressed via the same basic formula -
Power + Privilege. 
Almost all of them have the same basic components - prejudice, discrimination, privilege. There is a class of people who are subjugated and left out of that privilege (oppressed/marginalized) and, in most cases, a class of people (generally everyone who does not belong to that group) who reinforce the oppression, whether intentionally or passively. While we may say people are equal, it's not exactly true.

Power - the ability to influence or control people's behavior. Society as a whole can grant power to groups of individuals as a means of elevating them above another group. We call that power (and the perks that come with being a part of that powerful group):

Privilege - unearned power and advantages one group has, generally at the expense of another.

Stereotype - a widely held and oversimplified generalization of a group.

Prejudice - a feeling of dislike towards a person or group of persons, typically based in stereotypes.

Discrimination - acting on prejudice, whether on an individual level, or a group level (which requires power)

A phrase you may see me say often is "generalization of the minority hurts the minority. Generalization of the majority protects the minority." Stereotypes are not equal. When a member of privileged group engages in stereotyping someone of a marginalized group, they are using their collective group power against that person. It is always hurtful and always contributing to the history of oppression. When a member of that marginalized group generalizes the group with power, it is a defensive reaction designed to protect themselves from the powerful group. They do not have the power to hurt more than feelings - they cannot contribute to a system of oppression that never existed. (This is why there is no such thing as a reverse oppression. Power doesn't go both ways.)

Marginalized people can definitely have prejudice against a privileged group, can definitely discriminate against that group, but again, often these are for their own protection and do not constitute oppression because the group lacks the institutional power to dominate.

For example, there is a stereotype that black people aren't smart or aren't as smart as white people. Aside from the obvious hurtful implications of such a comment, they're also based in a long history of anti-black oppression. Black people in America were not allowed to be educated, were systematically excluded from educational establishments, were punished for learning how to read and write, and continue to be further pushed aside because of it. (As a note, yes, this is why affirmative action was created. To attempt to correct this history by giving "minorities" a boost to bIt doesn't work the way

There is also a stereotype that white people like expensive coffee. Aside from hurt feelings.... There's not much else to it.

Take any other racial stereotypes (and various practices) and I guarantee you they can be broken down exactly like this.

Oppression - the patterns of prejudice and discrimination that are normalized throughout a society, socially and politically. An entire population using collective power to code discrimination into law and behavior in a way that makes it nearly impossible not to discriminate (often by punishing or ostracizing those who dissent)

Again, discrimination is not in and of itself oppression.

When we're talking about race, this is racism (the systematic marginalization and oppression of people of color), also known as white supremacy. There is no such thing as reverse racism or white oppression. Any negatives you face as a white person are a result of white supremacy.

When we're talking about gender, this is sexism, misogyny, cissexism (the idea that people who identify with the gender they were assigned at birth are better than those who do not; the oppression of transgender and intersex people), transphobia (another name for cissexism and the fear/dislike of people who are transgender) and transmisogyny (transphobia, cissexism and misogyny directed at transgender women). There is no such thing as misandry or male oppression, or cis oppression. Any negatives you face as a man are a result of the systems sexism and misogyny. Any negatives you face as a cisgender person are typically also a result of sexism, misogyny, cissexism.

When we're talking about sexual orientation, this is heterosexism, homophobia, biphobia, etc. There is not such thing as heterophobia or straight oppression. Any negatives you face as a straight person are a result of heterosexism.

You can have privilege under one system and not others, and all of these systems overlap. There are hierarchies created under each one, even within marginalized groups.

This is the basis of everything. I'll leave it at this today. Over the next few days I'll share some links to more information. Next topic is likely to be privilege.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Nothing to Lose, Everything to Gain. An Introduction.

"Look closely at the present you are constructing. It should look like the future you are dreaming." -- Alice Walker

After the experience I had the other night and over the past 6 months in regards to racism and completely oblivious people (to put it gently), I decided I need a more public archive and outlet. It's difficult to bring attention to current events and why they're happening when your audience isn't aware of the underlying causes and how everything fits together or isn't interested in seeing it past an isolated incident instead of the epidemic or symptom it is. It's downright impossible to cram several decades' worth of information into a short message or tweet when you're just trying to make a simple statement of fact that you forget not everyone knows.

I realized again early yesterday morning just how insular "activist"-type communities can be - we log in and everyone around us is at the same or similar levels of awareness of social issues. Our beliefs are ingrained in our every thought and action. We're always immersed in actively practicing and revising what we preach, so sometimes it feels like a culture shock everywhere else.  And as much as I love those communities and prefer to be around others like me, I think it may be intimidating to those who aren't a part of that world. It's a lot to take in, often the language used isn't the most accessible, and you're expected to know the basics even when they're being further explained. When you've been in that world for years, it's hard to start back at the beginning when you've already moved far beyond the basics.

Unlearning oppressive behaviors is a never-ending process, something everyone must continue to work through for our entire lives. It's not easy either, and yes, sometimes it may seem extreme in comparison to the status quo - because every bit of this is designed to deconstruct the status quo and make the world a better place for everyone instead of just a select few.

I would much rather be thought of as an "extremist" than not do what is within my abilities to make this world and global society the best it can be for all. I want us and future generations to live in a world free from systemic oppression and inequity. Call it idealism but I want to believe that could be a possibility. I refuse to settle for anything less. And I cannot in good conscience watch as people continue think the things they say and do are never affected by institutionalized systems (to oversimplify, prejudice intentionally set up and reinforced, explicitly and covertly, in a society, on a grand scale) - even when they don't realize what they're saying/doing is harmful. (And frankly, it's depressing that "treating people like the human beings they are and making the world a safer place for all" is considered extreme. But if "extremism" worked for MLK and Jesus in their times simply for being just and speaking out, I suppose it's worth it. I may never be as prolific and well known, nor do I aspire to be, but it's the attempt that counts. I will not be silent. I've gained more real friends in this fight than lost them. I live my truth. It's worth it.)

In the words of Assata Shakur, "Theory without practice is just as incomplete as practice without theory." 

I have spent so much of my post-college years learning and teaching about anti-racism and dismantling systems of oppression. I fully intend to become a social worker someday and continue this work professionally. (It's with that intention that I promise here and now to make an attempt to curb my language. But if the occasional "fuck" slips in, I can give you an entire list of reasons why it doesn't make a difference. Trust me, I do know my shit.) I left college and delayed my grad school applications because, aside from the financial impossibility, I wanted to gain more real world knowledge before being locked away in the Ivory Tower for another 4 or 5 years. This is not just my academic background; it's literally my life.

This is not just textbook theory and academic jargon, it is the lived experiences of millions of people throughout all of history, and the legacy we leave behind for future generations.

So why this brand new blog, when I have several long-established public blogs already?

I have dealt with many people over the years demanding I educate them for free, even when I pointed them the resources to find the answers themselves, as though they were somehow entitled to my time, energy, and patience. I've had people demand to know every detail of what I'm doing to make a difference, as though my life-long work, even when I didn't know a fraction of what I do now, wasn't obvious enough on it's own. I've had people assert that nothing online could possibly make a difference in the world -- and far more others telling me how much I've helped them become better people.

So I thought, if I could offhand teach random strangers on the internet how to be better about racism and other systems of oppression, using the knowledge others have taught me, why can't I set up a new way to share this information with "friends" in an accessible way? The information to start this process is out there if you're willing to look for it. Hundreds of thousands of articles, blog posts, tweets, artwork, even Vines.

But I'll make it a little simpler. I'll start from the top, at the most basic of information. I'm hoping to offer a clearer perspective of the practical side of sociology, social theory, and social justice in our everyday lives. Think of it as the online, interactive, most comprehensive 101 level class we deserved in school but never had. I will be focusing on the US and Western systems and their role in the world, as that is what I know and can speak on.

But before we begin, let's get one thing straight - No one is entitled to demand anything of me, nothing more than I offer. 

I'm not required to do this. I am choosing to. I'm working on this in my spare time, partially to clear up some misconceptions people have about why any of us do this work and what our goals are. I may add some affiliate links to books (as well as a wish list, should anyone care to gift books to further my studies), but I'm not being paid to do this. All of the work that I do is just as much for my benefit as it is for all other marginalized people, and I'm learning from it as well. I typically do not make the extra effort to reason with people I don't think have the potential and the willingness to listen. I have been in that position myself and I know how difficult it is to accept that you may be wrong (and not even know it). If you're not willing to try to understand, I can't and won't try to convince you otherwise -- and that is entirely for the sake of my mental health and well being. I've tried to argue it far too many times and it was not worth the time or effort. If I feel the need to disengage and reclaim this as a safe space, I will. Again, I'm choosing to do this as a free service for those who are willing to listen and learn.

What I say and share will without a doubt make you uncomfortable - that is the point. You should be uncomfortable, because that is how we learn and change and grow. You may be angry, you may be disbelieving, but remember that I'm not saying this to hurt you but to make you aware, make you question what you believe and why you believe it, and to show you that even the best of intentions are not always as pure and unprejudiced as we may believe them to be. It is not about you as an individual person but about you as a part of a larger social structure.

And with that in mind, I do want to be clear that comments on this blog will be moderated.
I encourage people to ask questions and ask for clarification when needed, suggest topics or blog improvements and even ask personal questions within reason (I reserve the right to answer at my own discretion). But this isn't a forum for debate. My humanity is not up for debate. Don't abuse the comment system, and don't abuse me.

So here we go. First topic will be the most basic definitions, "rules," and why all of this matters. I'm expecting to do a big post every Friday, with sporadic articles, readings, activities, and quotes throughout the week -- but I will try to keep the bolding and blocks of text to a minimum next time.

"It is our duty to fight for our freedom.
It is our duty to win.
We must love each other and support each other.
We have nothing to lose but our chains." 

-- Assata Shakur