Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 Was a Very Good Year

Exactly one year ago I began receiving emails announcing that Lynne Stewart, the people's lawyer, was awarded compassionate release from federal prison. I and many others were also asked to greet her at Laguardia airport the next day. I did, and that January 1st began an amazing year.

On February 14th I joined with other fans of Lynne to wish her a happy birthday. Here I am with Lynne and Nellie Bailey. (Photo by Tony Savino)

I was deeply honored when Vanderbilt University professors Jemima Pierre and Peter Hudson asked me to join an illustrious group (Kevin Alexander Gray, Dr. Christina Sharpe, David Austin, Dr. Maboula Soumahoro, Dr. Emira Woods, Glen Ford, Kevin Edmonds, Dr. Aaron Kamugisha, 
Dr. Naomi Beth Reed, Dr. Johnny Eric Williams, Sokari Ekine, and Dr. Rinaldo Walcott) to speak at a workshop entitled Black Folk in Dark Times.  Here I am with my fellow panelists.

Ah spring. In New York City that means Left Forum. As always, Black Agenda Report convened a panel. This year our theme was "Black America and the Empire in Crisis."

Bruce Dixon, yours truly, Dr. Anthony Monteiro, Dr. Marsha Coleman-Adebayo, Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey in front.

In September I joined my comrades at the United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC) as we presented the panel "War and the Climate Crisis" at the Climate Convergence Conference.

In October, Counterpunch published "Killing Trayvons: An Anthology of American Violence." Thanks to Kevin Alexander Gray, I contributed one of my Black Agenda Report columns, "Obama Dog Whistles Over Trayvon." 

I was very busy in October. On October 10th I was interviewed on Presstv to discuss my column on the ebola epidemic.

On October 10th I joined by Marty Goodman to speak after a showing of the powerful documentary Miners Shot Down at Maysles Cinema in Harlem.

October 24th the Black Agenda Report team presented our annual fundraiser at Riverside church. This year's theme, "After Ferguson."

The very next day, October 25th (yes, I got up the next morning bright and early) to join another UNAC panel, "End the U.S. Wars Around the World and At Home."

More good news came in November. Professor Johnny Eric Williams invited me to speak at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut. My topic was "Black America in a System in Crisis." 

All of this hard work paid off in November. The Anti-Globalization Movement of Russia invited UNAC to speak at a conference on December 13th. I was asked to join and speak on the anti police brutality protests which began in Ferguson, Missouri. The other members of our delegation were Bill Dores, Joe Lombardo, Joe Iosbaker, and Mo Hannah. Unfortunately Mo is not in this picture. 

We were all interviewed by Russian media and I was a guest on Govorit Moskva, Moscow Speaks, for an hour long interview with call-in from listeners. These were my first experiences working with translators and it was all very exciting. 

You can read a not very good translation of my radio interview here but better to download on that page so you can hear it.

I love being a tourist.

I left before others in our group and so I missed a protest at the U.S. embassy in Moscow. One of our hosts, Alexander Ionov, is in this photo.

When I returned I got right back to work. I gave another interview on Presstv on December 20th on police violence and the ensuing protests.

There were times that I felt overwhelmed with some of my commitments and wondered if I should slow down. I have learned that sometimes biting off more than I think I can chew is a great way to make progress.

I had no idea in January that I would be going to Moscow in December, but my work made it all possible. It was a wonderful ride which happened because I kept doing what I really love, which is writing and speaking and joining with like minded people whenever possible.

Work hard at whatever you love. That is the moral of this story.