Immortal Technique & Hip Hop Chess Federation to Address Escalating Latino Gang Violence in SF

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Hip-Hop Chess Federation and Immortal Technique Unite to Address Escalation of Latino Gang Violence
Rapper Immortal Technique, The Brown Berets and Author Cesar Cruz to Speak at John O’Connell High School
 
Immortaltechniquered-225Nov. 3rd 20090- San Francisco, CA– The Hip-Hop Chess Federation (HHCF) is proud to announce that it will host Immortal Technique at John O’Connell High school in San Francisco, CA on Nov. 5th. He will address the rising climate of violence by Latino gangs in the SF Mission District.  This is a closed door event, specifically for John O’Connell students. Immortal Technique will be accompanied by the Brown Berets of Watsonville. Additionally Cesar Cruz, author of History of North & South: Bang for Freedom will be showing a short documentary on past peace resolutions made by Norteno and Sureno gangs.
 
“I have had a long history of working with street organizations and with community leaders that come together to try and avert self destructive actions such as the ones we face here.” stated Immortal Technique. “I do not claim to have all the answers but I am more than willing to share my time and energy to try and look at the roots of this and other conflicts to find solutions rather than just continue a cycle of hatred and vengeance.”
 
“Our children are murdering one another with no sense of remorse” stated the HHCF’sCEO, Adisa Banjoko. “The Hip-Hop Chess Federation remains committed to fusing music, chess and martial arts to promote unity, strategy and non-violence. Immortal Technique is a Hip-Hop artist who has a special place in the hearts of Latino youth. He’s been a true ally of the HHCF for a long time. John O’Connell High Schools faculty and staff have always been proactive in their approach to keeping their students effectively informed. We’re honored to have Immortal Technique and the Brown Berets share their ideas on the best moves we can all make, to reach an authentic and enduring peace on these streets.”
 
For more information contact Adisa Banjoko: bishop@hiphopchessfederation.org 

For more info on the Hip-Hop Chess Federation visit: www.hiphopchessfederation.org 

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A History of Black-Brown, Unity, Tensions & Struggle

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Former SNCC member and Professor Mario Salas

Former SNCC member and Professor Mario Salas

We sat down with Professor Mario Salas of San Antonio’s NW Vista College and talked with him about the history of Black-Brown unity here in the United States and in Mexico.

Salas who is mixed Black and Mexican and a former member of SNCC  gave us a serious lesson that touched upon slavery, colonialism and the back drop behind some of the famous wars along the border of Mexico and Texas.

Salas started out by talking about the history between the Black Panthers and Brown Berets who are still active in San Antonio. He talked about how recently the Berets came to the aid of the African American community and helped them get a community radio station. he explained that the two groups were always able to work together because the Panthers didn’t employ cultural nationalist politics. Both groups had a revolutionary philosophy which allowed for coalitions to form.

Salas talked about the original Rainbow Coalition which was conceived by Chairman Fred Hampton who headed up the Chicago chapter of the Black Panthers. This was years before Jesse Jackson came along. The basic premise was for groups to unite around principles. One could and should have cultural pride but not at the expense of dissing or excluding other groups.

In our conversation we talked at length about immigration and how that issue has been framed and narrow-casted to only have a Brown face. Today when we say immigration we think of Mexicans trying to come to the United States and forget that there are dozens of African ethnic groups facing similar challenges in other parts of the country. Most notable are Haitians.

Salas gives us an insightful history into immigration history along the border which includes shedding light on Poncho Villa who he explained was half Black and commanded a Black army. Salas talked about how Buffalo soldiers deserted their position in the US Army and went to fight for Poncho Villa. He also talked about an army of made up of African women who came from Mexico. Salas also talked about the Afro-Mexican population in Vera Cruz.  He also talked about the African influence on ‘mexican’ culture including the song La Bamba which was made famous by singer Richie Valens. He explained the song and word are African in origin.

During our interview we talked about language and how both Africans and Mexicans who were originally indigenous. Professor Salas talked about how the Spaniards literally beat the native languages out of Indigenous peoples and forced them to speak Spanish. he talked about how people were beaten in the streets of Mexico City until they spoke Spanish. This was similar to what happened with African slaves brought over to the US were beaten until they stopped using their native tongue and spoke English. With regards to Mexicans people crossing the border were beaten until they stopped speaking Spanish and started speaking English. I’m not sure people realize the level of brutality that was imposed upon slaves and native peoples by those who colonized these lands. Salas went on to add in great detail about the origins of Mexican identity  and how this led to the  erasing the history of indigenous people’s tribes and cultural heritage.

We spoke about the Battle of Alamo where Professor Salas explained that it was essentially a ‘slave owner rebellion’  that centered around  Mexico’s President at the time whowas Afro-Mexican banning slavery.  He gives the full history of  this and talks about General Santa Ana who is immortalized in the break beat song ‘The Mexican’ by Babe Ruth

We talked at length about the caste system in Mexico which was imposed by the Spaniards who brought over 300 thousand African slaves and forced to breed and marry to lighten up the race.  Salas explained that certain last names were given to people to indicate that they were African vs Native. Names like Moreno and Grito are two of the many.

blackandbrownunity-225We concluded into our conversation by talking about the challenge both Blacks and Browns have in the US. They include buying into White Supremacy, Sharing Power and avoiding Divide and Conquer tactics.  Salas said it was important that we support those who share the same goals and principles and not just a Brown or Black face. he talked about the miscalculation it was for some Black organizations to support Clarence Thomas and for some Mexican organizations to support Alberto Gonzalez. Salas noted that we should all strive to have a global perspective, be fully engaged and aware of policies we have toward Latin America and to connect the dots where ever possible.

We also talked about the opportunity and role that President Obamahas in enhancing Black-Brown unity. We talked about regional differences and how Black Brown unity has different faces and challenges in various parts of the country. Texas has a unique history which is different then what takes place in California which is different than what takes place in New York or Miami. He noted in Texas the history may even be different in various parts of the state. For example, in east texas, the culture is more Southern. In other parts Texas is much more Southwestern.

Professor Salas suggested we read books like ‘Black and Brown’ by Gerald Horne which is filled with historical facts and highlights points of unity. He said we should also read Texis Devils by Michael Collardwhich focuses on the history of ther Texas Rangers who were essentially a Ku Klux Klan force that terroized the Mexican population in Texas.

Below is a video which gives a short exceprt of our conversation.. T o hear the entire entire peep our Breakdown FM podcast

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Breakdown FM Podcast: Black and Brown Unity-The History

http://odeo.com/episodes/25043444-Black-and-Brown-Unity-pt1-The-History

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IlSM4p5fkQQ

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Black and Brown Unity pt2-the Immigration Debate

We spoke with popular Washington DC based blogger Carlos Quiroz  from

Carlos In DC

Carlos In DC

Washinton DC about Black-Brown Unity and Immigration reform.. During the Immigration Panel at Netroots Convention the topic of Black-Brown unity came up and generated a lot of discussion both within and outside of the panel…

The main concerns that were raised was the types of prejudices and disdain being expressed on the left as opposed to the right side of the political spectrum. The question was raised as to whether or not in cities where there are Black/Brown tensions like Los Angeles, if there would be a manipulation of rage in the same vein that fear was manipulated during the Healthcare debates. Expressed was the concern that ‘spokespersons’ for our respective communities would be handpicked by corporate media outlets so they could go on various shows and espouse inflammatory remarks. Thats definitely been happening in LA.  

In this discussion we cover a lot of ground. We dwell into those questions and more. Carlos who is Peruvian drops keen insight into how colonialism has impacted the way people view race in many parts of Latin America. He talks about the opportunity to build coalitions and how that is happening in some places.

Also featured is our comrad Faviana Rodriguez, a popular artis/paintert out of Oakland. We build with her on this topic as well. We talk to her about the role art and cultural expression play in politicizing people and moving folks to action..

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Breakdown FM Podcast: Black and Brown Unity pt2-The Immigration Debate

http://odeo.com/episodes/25043313-Black-and-Brown-Unity-pt2-the-Immigration-debate

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Adding to this discussion is the interview I did I  for Carlos’ blog here are the links to that…

http://carlosqc.blogspot.com/2009/08/african-american-and-mexican-racial.html

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T5ScoavEyRU&feature=related

Return to Davey D’s Hip Hop Corner

An Open Letter to the Hip Hop Community About Immigration

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An Open Letter to the Hip Hop Community About Immigration

by Adisa Banjoko
original article-April 20 2006
 
Below is a speech I gave in Watsonville, CA on April 17th 2006. I was invited to come down and speak by the Watsonville Brown Berets. Fred Hampton Jr. of the P.O.C.C. and Immortal Technique also represented HARD that day.
               
It was an amazing display of racial, political, religious and Hip Hop unity. There were b-boy circles, tons of performers, spoken word poets and vocal performers. Mexican, Black, Asian, White, Arab and Native Americans all came together in peace. There was no violence and no threats of violence. I must commend the Berets on making everyone feel welcome, secure and for running an efficient schedule. I dont have the official numbers but I estimated about 700 people to have been in attendance.
 
With me representing the west, Fred Hampton Jr. representing the Midwest and Immortal Technique repping the east- it was an unprecedented display of nationwide unity on the issue of justice for immigrants and justice for the youth. I was honored to have been a part of this event. I hope more people do their homework and research on the Brown Berets, the Black Panthers and why unity between Black and Brown is so important in this these times. My speech was entitled Keys to the True Unification of Black and Brown Peoples. Big shout out to Anas, JR, Mike Perry, Tomas, Scape Martinez and my man Apakalips from the Universal Zulu Nation. The beauty and power of this day will live in my heart forever, inshallah. 
 
Peace,
Adisa Banjoko
 
As Salaam Alaikum,
 
My name is Adisa Banjoko. I am the author of Lyrical Swords Vol. 2: Westside Rebellion. It deals with Black and Brown unity. It deals with a lot of political and social issues that we face every day. I speak in a lot of places. Some times its prisons, sometimes its universities. Today I am honored to be here with the Brown Berets. I am honored to be here with the beautiful people of Watsonville.
 
I came today to talk about peace and unity. Peace and unity is something that we absolutely have to have in this moment, dealing with the Bush administration and the things we face today. The Black people of America cannot do it alone. The Latino people cannot do it alone. The Arab cannot do it alone. The Muslim, the Christian and the Jew cannot do it alone. The Buddhist cannot do it alone. We have to be unified in this moment.
 
Peace and unity are both byproducts of knowledge. Meaning that when I fist got into knowledge of self, as an African American, I was only focused on that. It took me a moment to learn about the beauty of the Mayan people, of the Aztec people, of Cesar Chavez and Delores Huerta.
 
I had to do that to be a true humanist. You have to read about humanity! If all I read about is me, and all I care about are the struggles of the Black man- then Im going to have a very small window [to see the spectrum of life through].
 
We have to take the time to defend one another. We cannot be afraid to defend one another. I am here defending you. Defending what you stand for. Defending your rights. This is your land. I wont pretend that its not. I stand here today as a descendent of slaves. I descendent of SLAVES.
 
I am Muslim. But the Dali Lama was here in the Bay Area just the other day with Hamza Yusuf from the Zaytuna Institute. They built upon the peaceful nature of both of these faiths. My faith has been demonized by the press.
 
 Since 911, many people from Saudi Arabia, many people from Pakistan, many people from Palestine, Iran and Yemen were harassed. They were sent to prison and abused by this Bush Administration. This was because of their faith, because of their race.
 
We must make America live up to its words on paper. Not just for my sake. Not just for your sake. Its for the sake of all people who walk on this soil. We deserve this justice. We are not asking for anything that is not already on paper. We are not asking for anything we dont already know that belongs to us here. It belongs to us here!
 
When you look at the ghettos across America, were very lucky to be on the west coast. Out integration levels are much higher than in other places like NY. The Blacks and Latinos dont always mesh [out there]. Thats tragic.
 
But thats why the Bay Area is so special. Thats why we have to seize this moment right now. Thats why we cannot hesitate to defend one another in this moment. My father is originally from New Orleans- from the Magnolia projects. My mother is originally from Monroe Louisiana.
 
But when my father came to the Bay in his youth, he grew up in the Mission District. As a young boy I was always around Delores Park. I was always around 24th and Mission. I was always around my Latino peoples.
 
I dont have another frame of reference for Latino peoples than my brothers. I have no other frame of reference. Its the first brotherhood I knew.  
 
Whether you are Mexican, Nicaraguan, Panamanian, Brazilian, Puerto Rican- we are all in the ghetto together! Oppressed by the same people. Struggling to get the same knowledge- that they hide from us in the schools. Struggling, to not be abused by the police. Struggling to find work and provide for our families, for our children and be safe.
 
Unity is the key. Arab unity. Black unity. Latino, Muslim, Christian, Buddhist Jew. The realest of us. THE REALEST OF US! We are all attacked by this administration. But there is another enemy.
 
Before I get to the other enemy I must mention that these people who attack usWho dont like events like thisThis is why todays event is so important. These people dont respect our history and they dont want our children to know it. They dont want your children to know their beautiful history- of Aztlan. They dont want my children to know the beautiful history of Africa.
 
But this other enemy- they are people within BOTH of our cultures. We have to work against the people who look like me- but they are against Black and Brown unity. We need to work against the people who look like YOU- but they are against Black and Brown unity. Because they can hurt this more than the Bush Administration, more than right wing republicans. More than any of them! We need to cleanse our own people, of the bigotry, and the fear [that causes distrust in our hearts].
 
I will take it on, on my side. But I need you to take it on, on your side so we can be truly united. I spoke just a few weeks ago at San Quentin Prison. I was on the exercise yard and I spoke to every group of people on the yard. Two minutes after I left there was a fight on the yard between Black and Brown. This is unacceptable.
 
I was just talking to them right before it happened. I said Yall need to be going back to the Brown Berets and yall need to be going back to the Panthers. Understand that I was speaking on the same soil where George Jackson and Jonathan Jackson were killed. We need to get back to that [ way of living together].
 
But a lot of the conflicts that do happen between Black and Brown happens because of drugs. It deals with crack, it deals with meth, it deals with ecstasy. It deals with things that dehumanize both of our people. Drugs have been used to destroy Black and Brown people.
 
We have to keep our children out of gangs. We have to be dedicated to that. We have to keep our children knowing that there is more beauty in knowing about Aztlan than knowing about the blunts. We have to let them know there is more beauty in then knowing about Africa, than knowing about crack, and thizzin and going dumb. We need to get smart in this moment.
 
We need to get smart in this moment! We need to fight in this moment! We cannot be afraid in this moment!
 
Cesar Chavez, Delores Huerta the Brown Berets the Black Panthers are better than any drug they can try and feed our children.
 
We have to be open enough to learn about other faiths. I do my best to read about other faiths all the time. I am a nonviolent man of God. I follow a Prophet of Peace. The Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him. But I am not afraid to die for this. Im not afraid to die for anybody in this room. Im not afraid to die for the truth that Malcolm, that Martin that all of these freedom fighters before us- [loud applause roar]. If they did not do it, WE would not be here today. Lets be honest about that.
 
But yo, nothings going to hold me back, or block me. They gonna have to pop me to stop me. This is why Im here.
 
The corporate media machine does a great job of brainwashing our children. Of having our children wish that they were in jail. Of having our children on dope and violent against one another. They make it easy for them to fight against one another. We have to start taking the time privately and publicly to start squashing that.
 
An organization that I represent is called Project Islamic H.O.P.E. Its based in LA and led proudly by Najee Ali. If you go to www.islamichope.org you can see that hes working with the Mayor of Los Angeles to host a beautiful Black and Brown unity conference (June 3rd 2006).
 
I hope everybody goes to that. One day will not solve this. We have to make sure we are working tomorrow. We have to make sure we are working next month. We have to make sure that we are reading and reaching out.
 
I was just talking to my brother, Anas, on the way down. He said Look we have to utilize the internet. All of the organizers before us never had the ability to use the internet as a tool to organize. Just to find out our respective histories, let alone have direct contact. We have to use all levels of technology and all levels of online and offline strategies.
 
But you know brothers like Davey D promoted this event real hard. He was one of the ONLY people who went down to LA and supported yall in that march. Im sorry that more African American leaders from the old guard havent supported you. I dont know whats going on with them. I dont know what it says about their original intent that more of them did not step up and openly support you in Los Angeles.
 
But I am here. The young Muslim leadership is here. The young Black leadership is here. This is our time and I am with you. My people are with you. I promise you that. My man Apakalips from the Universal Zulu Nation is with you. Shamako Noble from the Hip Hop Congress is with you. Artists like Paris, T-Kash, Aya De Leon, Immortal Technique, Dilated Peoples, Nate Mezmer, Self Scientific. Follow those artists! Support those artists! They love you. They are rappin for you right now. You must support them.
 
Dont let your kids watch BET. Dont let your kids sit down in front of MTV. We have to be honest about this. Right now my man D Labrie from East Oakland is gonna spit this piece called Black & Brown. I told him I was doing this event, he kicked it to me over the phone and I had to have him come down and let you hear this. Thats my time. ALLAH U AKBAR! God is the greatest. May God bless ALL in this room so we can unite and fight every day.   
 
Adisa Banjokos next lecture is entitled Lyrical Warfare: Hip Hop,Religion and Politics in the New Century, at Dickinson College in Pennsylvania on Monday April 24th @ 7 PM. Rapper One Be Low will be ripping the mic at the close of the lecture. For more information email pr@lyricalswords.com .