Olympic Medalist, John Carlos connects the Black Power movement to the Black Lives Matter movement at Garfield High School

1/22/15

Close to 600 people packed  the Quincy Jones Performance Center at Garfield High School, for a panel discussion with John Carlos, 200m bronze medalist, made famous by raising a black gloved fist with Tommie Smith in what Smith called a “human rights salute” on the medal stand at the 1968 Olympics.

Joining the panel was Aretha Basu, community activist in the Black Lives Matter movement and Women of Color for Systemic Change, Marissa Jenae, community activist and organizer with Outside Agitators 206, Gerald Hankerson, president of the Seattle-King County NAACP, Jesse Hagopian, member of Seattle Equality Educators, teacher at Garfield High School, and recipient of the 2013 Secondary Teacher of the Year Award from the National Academy of Education Arts and Sciences, and Dave Zirin, host of Edge of Sports and sports writer for The Nation Magazine.

A few words from the panel…

“To not act is an injustice, itself”- Aretha Basu

“As an ally, it is imperative that we center blackness, that is what this movement is about. It is not about everyone’s oppression. I am an Indian woman, and the oppression against my community is different than what my black sisters and brothers are experiencing. As allies, we need to claim our privilege and understand our roles. We must use our privilege to further the movement. I know have the privilege to choose whether or not I’m a part of this movement. I have the privilege of continuing my daily life without this issue directly affecting me. You don’t see cops targeting the South Asians the way they do the black and African American Community. In addition to the criminal justice system increasing it’s persecution, the system has continually and blatantly devalued, dehumanized, and dismissed the black and African American Community. So how does a non-black, person of color be a good ally? Because being a person of color ally is quite different from being a white ally. People of color have experienced systemic oppression, but what we must remember, is that this is not the oppression Olympics.” – Aretha Basu

“The night that Darren Wilson was not indicted, was the first time I’ve ever been to a protest or a demonstration…I was thrown into a radical community of people who speak truth and sacrifice for each other, and love each other.”- Marissa Jenae

“Nobody is talking about our situation in the terms that we need to talk about it. People aren’t getting arrested, they’re getting kidnapped. This is not police brutality, it’s genocide.”- Marissa Jenae

“Agitation work is key to what we’re doing here…agitation is accountability, going out and making somebody feel uncomfortable, going out and hitting [someones] paycheck, going out and stopping an intersection, that’s really important. It paves the way for the good work people already want to do.”- Marissa Jenae

“We all have power in our different spaces to be resisting.”- Marissa Jenae

“I came out to the streets because of Mike Brown and I stayed because of the Seattle Police Department. They are untrained, they are unruly, and they are unaccountable and we cannot let it continue.”- Marissa Jenae

“There can be no youth jail built in this city. I don’t care if we have to chain ourselves, I don’t care if we have to stop every street in this city, I don’t care if I have to chase Ed Murray out of every event he goes to, but we cannot let a youth jail be built in this city. – Marissa Jenae

“I had the unfortunate reality to experience the system from inside and outside. I was 17 when I came to Seattle for the first time, from Georgia, just to come meet my mother. In one year, I was tried, convicted, accused and sentenced, to spend the rest of my life in prison for a crime I didn’t commit. Which is no different from the thousands of stories around the country right now…I was the first man, in the history of Washington state, to ever be released from prison after being sentenced to die.”- Gerald Hankerson

“You need to come to this community and ask us what we need, then go out and do it.”- Gerald Hankerson

“I no longer want to sit down and have this debate anymore, because I’m tired. My grandmother had these debates, my grandfather, my great-grandfather, and many of yours as well…give me the solution.” – Gerald Hankerson

“Why did I get pepper sprayed in the face? Do you think that this officer was really frightened of me turning away, on my cellphone, on the side walk? I don’t think that was it, I think this officer was afraid of three words, Black Lives Matter. What they realize, is that the phrase Black Lives Matter, it isn’t just a simple declaration that we’re human beings, it’s actually an indictment of a whole political system, of a whole economic system. An indictment of capitalism, a system that was born in slavery, and grew up on Jim Crow, and and has now developed into this institutional racist system we see today…the people that take your money by the billions and trillions and use it to go murder people in the middle East, those people are honored with medals, while our young black youth are shot down in the street with impunity. That’s how this system works, and when we talk Black Lives Matter…it would take a complete upturning of this system, an undoing of the entire social order and political order, and capitalism being replaced by something humane.” – Jesse Hagopian

The Patriots are cheats. I bring that up, because if you see sports as the sort of endeavor, where all that matters is if you win, and nothing else matters, you actually perform a very, very jacked up function in this society, all that matters is if you win, and nothing else means a damn thing. That’s why I’m so proud to introduce Dr. John Carlos, is because he represents a very different kind of tradition, that says the kind of world we live in means a hell of a lot more than the medals dangling from your chest, or the rings on your fingers.” – David Zirin

“I think about the same fear I see amongst guys here, not all those inside this room, but all those without the courage to come in this room. They have fear for offending their oppressors.”- John Carlos

“Racism is something that’s taught, you’re not born into this world as a racist.” – John Carlos

One thought on “Olympic Medalist, John Carlos connects the Black Power movement to the Black Lives Matter movement at Garfield High School

  1. Pingback: Garfield High School Goes on Bended Knee for Black Lives | I AM AN EDUCATOR

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