Find out what we're reading and what art has piqued our interest
Find out what we're reading and what art has piqued our interest
would be little. Likewise, literature has taught me to ask and answer questions that may not be easily asked or answered - leading me to Political Science and Ethnic Studies, fields of study that both diagnose pessimism and prescribe optimism. After all, as Angela Davis once said: “Walls turned sideways are bridges.” And so I will continue to create and to communicate with gratitude to those who fought for my right to do so.
You can find Bound to Be on Instagram - we’re currently reading Isabel Wilkerson’s Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents.
In Conversation with Rosa Clemente: Black and Brown Organizing Histories to Inform Revolutionary Resistance
“Hide nothing from the masses of our people. Tell no lies. Expose lies whenever they are told. Mask no difficulties, mistakes, failures. Claim no easy victories...”
-Amilcar Cabral, Revolution in Guinea: Selected Texts
Seasoned community organizer, activist-scholar, and independent journalist, Rosa Clemente, reflects in conversation with Maria Hinojosa from Latino USA on the urgencies of confronting anti-Blackness in Latinx communities and the importance of forging Black and Latinx alliances that can mobilize to resist and disrupt the assemblages of anti-Blackness, white supremacy and racial violence.
Drawing from her own personal experiences as a Black Puerto Rican woman with decades of experience as a community organizer in New York, Rosa reminds us of the importance of Black and Brown liberation struggles, of the histories of multi-racial solidarity and movement building that can inform our present and future. By describing the coalitions formed between the Brown Berets, the Young Lords and the Black Panthers, we are reminded that in unity there is strength. More than strength there is resistance, revolution and radical hope to carry forward movements for liberation and humanizing possibilities.
Noting the awakening of a racial consciousness among Latinx communities, including members of her familia, in the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd, Rosa calls upon us to engage in the disruption of anti-Blackness within Latinx communities, discourses and spaces. At the same time she reminds us of the importance of setting boundaries, even within our own families, to ensure that the radical revolutionary work of organizing for systemic change goes beyond the interpersonal. Political discernment of when and where, and how to push and resist, even among those most close to us, is a necessary strategy to sustain racial justice activism and organizing.
As the founder of the Black-Latinx Organizing Project, a non-profit committed to challenging anti-Blackness in Latinx communities, Rosa urges us to dive deep into our own colonial past and mindsets -- to unsettle and uproot the internalized racial logics that produce soul-wounds, both within individuals and communities -- and that keep us from actualizing racial justice and the humanizing affirmation that Black lives matter. In deconstructing the romanization of Latinidad, she urges Latinx to reckon with a history of colonial violence and the erasure of Afro-diasporic identities and experiences in the Americas.
Affirmed by the reflections of white privilege acknowledged by her brother, and in bearing witness to the activism and mobilizing of the younger generation, including her daughter, Rosa’s words -- along with her tears -- underscore that racial violence and anti-Black racism “has to end and our generation has to stop this.” Urging Latinx families to begin the process of deconstructing anti-Blackness within and among themselves, and at the kitchen table, Rosa affirms for us through her own personal experiences that radical revolutionary change and resistance begins through dialogue and connection. And indeed, in conversation.
Check out the work mentioned in the podcast, consider buying from a Black owned bookstore
Writings by Rosa Clemente
This fascinating conversation between Dr. Marc Lamont Hill and Dr. Imani Perry covers Perry’s recent work, process, overarching questions of the work, aspirations, rituals of writing, daily writing, and the contemporary literary renaissance. Perry speaks to working on multiple projects at once and accepting where we are with the work and the writing. It is clear through the questions he poses that Hill knows Perry’s writing deeply. He is a really wonderful interviewer and a conversationalist. This is what makes a podcast truly good—that one can listen and also fully imagine being in the space through the dynamic between the speakers.
Perry speaks to the process of writing her most recent texts, including (title and links.) On Breathe: A Letter to My Sons, Perry describes it as a “a three-part letter.” Perry explains that the text examines “what it means to come of age in this moment that is so fraught and so difficult.” She continues,
Written directly to her sons, the letter meditates on “how one fashions a life under difficult circumstances that can nevertheless be beautiful” and also “how to build a life that is deeply meaningful and in service to the world” as well as what it means for a Black child to have “to watch for how people are watching [them]” and how this speaks to the experience of being, at a young age, “burdened with managing White people’s anxieties.”
Later in the podcast, Perry discusses how reading is a critical process of writing and how beginning with a question allows for an openness in the process. In response to a question Hill poses about how her work that exists across disciplines and genres and traditions, Perry responds by articulating how “every piece of writing is a methodological exercise” and how the work has to be rooted in one’s own passion and connected to what one identifies as meaningful rather than the trajectories that academia can impose as the only routes or ways of doing and being.
In terms of the larger questions that guide her scholarship, Perry responds with two questions which reflect the role of processing pain to access possibility for and within Black community and intellectual space.
For Perry, the first question is:
Knowing the answer to this is necessary for liberation. The second question guiding the work for Perry is
In the podcast conversation, Perry cites Mariame Kaba’s approach that “hope is a discipline” as well as Hortense Spillers’s foundational essay, “Mama’s Baby, Papa’s Maybe: An American Grammar Book” (1987).
Check out the books mentioned in the podcast, all images are linked to Black owned bookstores
Work by Imani Perry
Marc Lamont Hill's Latest Book
Books referenced in this podcast