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Moses comes to Portland

Bob Moses comes to Portland on Thursday, February 20, 2003.

The legendary civil rights activist and teacher will speak from 5-6:30 PM at 327 Smith Memorial Student Union, Portland State University, downtown Portland, Oregon. "The Presumption of Innocence, Sharecropper Education, and America's Ideals"
What would you say if a former progressive presidential candidate, author, researcher,noted public speaker, and famed human rights activist came to Portland to speak against the war against the Iraqi people?

What would you say if he was preceded to the podium at a large Northeast Portland church by a standing ovation from the audience, welcoming speeches and spoken word raps, as well as a famed drum group? And that happened on February 8,2003.

No, it wasn't that guy who ran with Winona LaDuke. Guess that's why nothing has appeared on Portland Indy Media about the speech.

Dick Gregory, who ran for president in 1968 from his jail cell, spoke at the Marantha Church in Northeast Portland to an enthusiastic audience mainly composed of African-Americans. Gregory, who was a comedian on the order of Eddie Murphy or Chris Rock before he openly supported the civil rights movement, tore into the Bush administration and repeatedly called on the two hundred people in the audience to join the anti-war movement. "This movement has arisen faster than any other ever." he told the folks who had paid $25 a head to hear him, "And you know what else? Its slogans are 'Stop the War. End Racism."

Okay, maybe you didn't know about Dick Gregory being in Portland because you have nothing to do with the African American community in Portland. You didn't know that Gregory was being beaten by Southern cops while Ralph Nader was stuck in his law books. You didn't know that Gregory was fasting against the war in Vietnam while Al Gore was serving in the military and George W.Bush was playing with jets. You don't read the Skanner, it wasn't in the Mercury, you didn't have $25, you don't patronize Black businesses, you don't work with or talk with Black folks. Hey, it wasn't your fault and nobody posted anything on Indy Media about it.

You're not racist.

Okay, I am telling you now that Robert Moses, the near-legendary SNCC organizer in the South in the early 1960's, is coming to Portland to speak this Thursday.

What was SNCC? The Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee. The people who transformed the shape of U.S.culture by destroying segregation. Read Alice Walker's novel Meridian if you need to know some of the truth about SNCC.

Moses is going to speak about "The Presumption of Innocence, Sharecropper Education, and America's Ideals". Thursday, February 20, 2003. 5-6:30 PM, 327 Smith Memorial Student Union, Portland State University, Portland, Oregon.

I cannot guarantee that he will give a speech like Dick Gregory's (Gregory is one of the best speakers in the U.S. Only he could tell anti-religious jokes in the middle of the church sanctuary and have the minister trying to keep his laughter hidden. If Nader could speak like that he would have won the election).

I can guarantee that you will uncover some of your own (hidden)history. I can predict that those of you who are wondering how to deal with the education crisis in Portland would learn some things. Moses is one of the people who created the Freedom Schools in the deep South in the 1960's - and helped save the soul of this nation.

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Word to those folks who will object that "you are the media. If you don't post it, it won't be on Indy Media." That, of course, is a pretty puny excuse when we consider the resources that are available in Portland. Every burp of protest against the war is being reported now, yet Gregory's major speech managed to elude notice.
I am just pointing out that Indy Media Portland has little connection to communities of color. When a pattern of behavior continues over years, we should ask "Why?" In South Africa such a pattern was called apartheid, in Portland we call it activism.
How About... 18.Feb.2003 09:25

Free Time

...posting the Gregory speech here, &/or posting the other speech on the calendar?

How about... 18.Feb.2003 12:02

Buck Rogers

...People not charging you up the ass to hear them speak. I said the same thing when Parinti came to town: Great fuckin' ideas, but who cares when you can't afford to go? This is a money thing not a race thing. I mean shit, Dick Gregroy is the man, but for 25 bones I could go down to Powells and get like all of his old books plus a few more. If you wanna share your ideas with me and have me pay your bills in the prosess I got news for you; I can't pay my own bills. Now do your talk for free in the park, and I can propably borrow a digital recorder so it can be put up on the IMC. Win, Win, if you ask me...

How about... 18.Feb.2003 12:02

Buck Rogers

...People not charging you up the ass to hear them speak. I said the same thing when Parinti came to town: Great fuckin' ideas, but who cares when you can't afford to go? This is a money thing not a race thing. I mean shit, Dick Gregroy is the man, but for 25 bones I could go down to Powells and get like all of his old books plus a few more. If you wanna share your ideas with me and have me pay your bills in the prosess I got news for you; I can't pay my own bills. Now do your talk for free in the park, and I can propably borrow a digital recorder so it can be put up on the IMC. Win, Win, if you ask me...

How about... 18.Feb.2003 12:04

Buck Rogers

...People not charging you up the ass to hear them speak. I said the same thing when Parinti came to town: Great fuckin' ideas, but who cares when you can't afford to go? This is a money thing not a race thing. I mean shit, Dick Gregroy is the man, but for 25 bones I could go down to Powells and get like all of his old books plus a few more. If you wanna share your ideas with me and have me pay your bills in the prosess I got news for you; I can't pay my own bills. Now do your talk for free in the park, and I can propably borrow a digital recorder so it can be put up on the IMC. Win, Win, if you ask me...

How about... 18.Feb.2003 12:06

Buck Rogers

...People not charging you up the ass to hear them speak. I said the same thing when Parinti came to town: Great fuckin' ideas, but who cares when you can't afford to go? This is a money thing not a race thing. I mean shit, Dick Gregroy is the man, but for 25 bones I could go down to Powells and get like all of his old books plus a few more. If you wanna share your ideas with me and have me pay your bills in the prosess I got news for you; I can't pay my own bills. Now do your talk for free in the park, and I can propably borrow a digital recorder so it can be put up on the IMC. Win, Win, if you ask me...

I thought you mean Charlton Heston 18.Feb.2003 20:32

!

oh well...

Media is not the "Field of Dreams!" 19.Feb.2003 12:28

David M. Baker lotusvotary@hotmail.com

hi, folks:

The complaint about Portland IndyMedia not covering the Dick Gregory event has merit, but I would really encourage the person who posted the complaint to think a little harder about the best avenue for solving this problem.

If you have identified a disconnect between PIM and communities of colour, then by all means point it out. But please don't do so in a manner which is less than constructive and, in the case of the post in question, somewhat inflammatory.

I'm sure it's frustrating to have your event missed, and even more so when the event is completely within the purvue of the media outlet in question. What is equally frustrating, however, is the pointing of fingers, the veiled accusations of racism (which should *always* be used as an adjective, and never as a noun--at least if we wish to avoid labeling one another), and the apparent lack of responsibility on the part of organisers to ensure adequate coverage of their events (which does not necessarily imply that organisers didn't promote the event, but clearly if PIM missed covering it, it stands to reason that there could be more than one factor (i.e. racism) in play.

As a communications professional who specialises in community and nonprofit media advocacy, I am happy to help navigate this situation before it degenerates. In that same capacity, I am happy to offer advice, pro bono, on how to achieve better media results. And, by way of an example of how difficult getting coverage can be (even with friendly media outlets): I made pitch calls to more than 30 media outlets for a recent event. Of those 30 calls, I got two hits--meaning, less than 10% of the outlets contacted actually covered and printed/broadcast the story. BUT, I consider these results HIGHLY successful, since *we got covereage!* It's almost always like this.

My offer to help is open. Si, se puede!

be peace,

david m. baker
vox populi communications
503.740.2982

503.740.2982