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Venus Sings by Reza Rites

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September 2015

The sunshine yesterday, the drumming, and that fountain! #3amblack and #rezarites at Africa Nyaga. #streetart #poetry #photography #musicmovesreza #stickers #zine

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It’s a beautiful day for African drumming and #3amblack down at Burnside Park, #providence. 3 AM IS THE NEW BLACK: High art. Street art. Critical Social Discourse:

I May Move: A New #3amblack and #RezaRites Flick

I May Move: A New #3amblack and #RezaRites Flick

Sometimes you have something to say. And sometimes it’s time to walk away and move on. But where do you go? That is one way to describe the newest short film – and question – produced by 3 AM is the New Black and Reza Clifton called “I May Move.” The video features a short poem written by Clifton as well as photographs, drumming and…

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I May Move: A New #3amblack and #RezaRites Flick


Sometimes you have something to say. And sometimes it’s time to walk away and move on. But where do you go?

That is one way to describe the newest short film – and question – produced by 3 AM is the New Black and Reza Clifton called “I May Move.” The video features a short poem written by Clifton as well as photographs, drumming and an audio clip from a graduation program honoring adults and teens who completed a community-based Black Studies course on August 14, 2015 in Providence, RI. Clifton served as the graduation speaker, delivering an address she called “Getting the Revolutionary Word Heard.”

Click on the video above, or here, to view the film. Learn more about the class, talk and partners involved by visiting the links provided below.

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ADDITIONAL LINKS:

To learn about, donate to, and read class materials from the DARE Black Studies Program
http://dareblackstudies.com/

To read more #3amblack poetry from Reza Clifton
http://3amblackpoetry.tumblr.com/

To read the full Washington Post article referenced in the talk
http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonkblog/wp/2015/08/12/black-poverty-differs-from-white-poverty/

To see the “PVD Black Resistance Zine” produced by the first graduating class of the Fred Hampton Institute for Resistance
http://issuu.com/sophiarwright/docs/pvd_black_resistance_zine_-_color_-?e=18914926/15234109

To read/follow #3amblack updates and other arts/culture updates
http://venussings.com/

For access to Reza’s “Confessions of an AmbitiousBlackFeminist” blog
http://ambitiousblackfeminist.tumblr.com/

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FILM CREDITS

Producer/Director: Reza Clifton

Poetry/Graduation Address: Reza Clifton

Photography: Reza Clifton, Fred Hampton Institute for Resistance

Video: Reza Clifton

Music/Drumming: Sidy Maiga, Rachel Nguyen, Marco McWilliams

Additional Thank you’s to: Direct Action for Rights and Equality (DARE), Rheem Brooks, Marco McWilliams, Cherise Morris, Kabir Olawale Lambo, and Sophia Wright

salon:

1. Limits on ATM Withdrawals for Welfare Recipients in Kansas

Governor Sam Brownback and his supporters in the state legislature of Kansas have turned their state into dystopian inspiration for a post-apocalyptic thriller, slashing social services, and leaving the poor to suffer — and in many cases actually die — for lack of basic essentials. In April, Brownback signed a bill making it illegal for welfare recipients to withdraw more than $25 from an ATM at one time. Although the policy might violate federal law, state officials have recently expressed steadfast commitment to its implementation and enforcement. The policy manages to achieve the trifecta of mean-spiritedness, dangerous negligence of human needs, and Orwellian intervention into the private lives of citizens from the state.

2. Revocation of Driver’s License in Montana and Iowa For Missing Student Loan Payments

Failure to make student loan payments in Iowa and Montana will result in delinquent borrowers losing their driver’s licenses. With student loan defaults on the rise, and rates of poverty, even among the college educated, increasing, states are developing punitive measures to damage the lives of those already buried in student debt. Tennessee, for example, will revoke the nursing license of a nurse who fails to make student loan payments. Iowa and Montana are the worst offenders, however. Losing the ability to drive, especially in largely rural states without sophisticated public transit, will reduce the potential for poor people to work, take children to school, and take any step toward escaping poverty.

3. Arkansas Arrests and Prosecutes People for Missing Rent Payments

According to an in-depth, detailed investigation by Human Rights Watch, “Arkansas is the only US state where tenants can end up as convicted criminals because they did not pay their rent on time.” Arkansas has a unique and singularly monstrous “failure to vacate” law. Failure to Vacate allows prosecutors to charge tenants as criminals without any evidence outside the landlord’s testimony. Tenants face fines far exceeding the rent they owe, and in many cases, a sentence of jail time.

4. Using the Poor as ATMs: Harsh Financial Penalties for Minor Infractions and Traffic Violations

The Justice Department did not find cause to prosecute former Ferguson, Missouri police officer Darren Wilson in the killing of Michael Brown, but it did gather undeniable evidence proving that the poor, and in this case, mostly black residents of Ferguson live under occupation from the Ferguson police force. “Officers routinely conduct stops that have little relation to public safety and a questionable basis in law,” the Department of Justice explained. “Issuing three or four charges in one stop is not uncommon,” according to the report, “Officers sometimes write six, eight, or, in at least one instance, fourteen citations for a single encounter.” In 2012, 19 percent of Ferguson’s budget derived from the imposition of fines and court fees.

5. The Return of Debtors’ Prisons

After an exhaustive study of legal harassment and predatory targeting of the poor in Louisiana, Michigan, Ohio, Georgia, and Washington, the ACLU concluded “that poor defendants are being jailed at increasingly alarming rates for failing to pay legal debts they can never hope to afford.” The Supreme Court ruled the imprisonment of poor people for failure to pay legal fees unconstitutional, but many states ignore the law with impunity, as their powerless victims have little recourse to challenge their jailers. In Georgia, to cite one egregious example, authorities prosecuted a mentally ill teenager for stealing school supplies. The cost of her incarceration in juvenile detention centers came to a total of $4,000. The teenage girl was released only after her mother was able to pay the bill in full. In the Georgia case, and many others across America, the state functions as hostage taker, demanding family members pay ransom for the release of their loved ones.

6. Voter Identification Requirements Suppress Poor People’s Votes

Voter Identification requirements in southern states, and elsewhere, make it much more difficult for the poor to exercise their civic right to oppose the very policies, such as those enumerated above, that damage them.

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