Obama's election dealt a historic blow against racism. At long last, a popular majority elected an African-American to the U.S. presidency in a country built on slavery. Yet as Obama takes office there are still more Black men in U.S. prisons than there were slaves in 1840, and they are being used for the same purpose; working for private corporations at 16 to 20 cents an hour. Half the states have private, for-profit prisons, whose lobbyists are demanding longer mandatory-minimum prison sentences. Indeed, American Blacks are incarcerated at nearly eight times the level of South African blacks during the height of apartheid. African Americans are 12 percent of the U.S. population, but 42 percent of prisoners on deathrow. Of the over 18,000 executions that have taken place in this country's history, only 42 involved a white person being punished for killing a Black person. Come discuss the significance of Obama's victory, the history of the multi-racial struggle for black liberation, and how we can use it to inform our struggle today.
Featuring Jesse Hagopian: a teacher in Seattle Public Schools, former campaign manager for Aaron Dixon's 2006 Green Party senatorial candidacy and leading member in the Troops Home Now Coalition and Educators, Students and Parents for a Better Vision (ESP Vision). His writing in defense of public education has appeared in the Seattle Times, the Seattle PI and Commondreams.org. His essays against war and racism have appeared in Counter Punch and Socialist Worker. Jesse is a member of the International Socialist Organization.
More info at http://www.portlandsocialists.org