We mourn our sister’s passing and give the Creator thanks for her purposeful and inspirational life that enriched us so very much and made us so much stronger and more resolute in struggle.
She was in every sense a kindred spirit and a clarion voice, making the medium of poetry work in ways that many traditionalists found bewildering, especially in the academy.
As synchronicity would have it, we are remembering and celebrating all she gave to us even as we are congratulating our brother Linton Kwesi Johnson for his equally unique bending of the medium in the service of the Jamaican language and his dynamic bilingualism as a world first that eminently qualified him for the Golden Pen award.
May we ever celebrate and validate our prophetic voices and see them as the gifts of the Universe that they are, loaned to us for a purpose and for a time, and abandon the tendency to take them and their presence among us and as part of us for granted.
Our Sister Jayne remains very much a part of us through the impact she has had, the way she touched us individually and through the immortality of her words and of her fighting and liberating spirit. Continue reading
It is with profound sadness that I write about the passing of Jayne Cortez, globally renowned poet and cultural activist and a dear friend of the International Book Fair of Radical Black and Third World Books and its successor, the George Padmore Institute.
I was a member of the Book Fair organizing committee and a founder trustee of the George Padmore Institute.
Many will recall Jayne’s electrifying poetry readings at the Book Fair festival and her participation in the literary debates at the Book Fair. The very first Book Fair in 1982 was opened by the late CLR James and was followed by annual and then bi-annual fairs until 1995. Jayne attended most if not all and was a star performer at poetry evenings at the Book Fair festival. She thus became a well-loved member of the International Book Fair family. Continue reading
“Chelsea vs Manchester City : 2″ by Crystian Cruz (Flickr – CC BY-ND 2.0)
What is it about football as a sport that makes it so difficult for those who control and regulate it to even conceive that black players could exercise their right to self-organisation and self-defence against the racism they suffer?
It will soon be 20 years since Herman Ouseley kick started the Kick Racism Out of Football campaign. Yet, an unprecedented number of racist incidents involving players, a referee and fans during 2012 have led Lord Ouseley to threaten to resign as Chair of Kick It Out (which Kick Racism… became in 1997).
In a speech in London last week, he lamented the fact that English football has become complacent about race. He is quoted as saying: “I believe there has been a collective failure on the part of people running the game” (Mihir Bose, Evening Standard, 11 December 2012).
Since 2001, Kick It Out (KIO) as a campaigning anti-discrimination organization has held a week of action annually. Continue reading
High profile racist incidents during premium league games in recent times have led to more open public debate about racist abuse of black players by white players and fans.
Such sort of practice has been commonplace in professional football since pioneers such as Cyrille Regis, Laurie Cunningham and Viv Anderson took to the pitch in the post-Second World War period. They had been famously preceded, of course, by Andrew Watson (1857-1902), the British Guiana born first black Association footballer who won caps three times at international level for Scotland, and Ghanaian Arthur Wharton (1865 – 1930), the first black player to play professional football in Britain.
The story of Andrew Watson’s success in the 1880s and of Wharton’s story, sensitively told by Phil Vasili in his book: The First Black Footballer, Arthur Wharton 1865–1930, with a Foreword by Irvine Welsh and an Introduction by Tony Whelan, should be compulsory reading for every white footballer and fan in Britain. Continue reading
On October 31st, professor Gus John delivered a research seminar entitled “Intercultural Dialogue and Mutual Respect between Europe and Islam – The challenge for Education” at the University of Birmingham. Here is the lecture in full:
Let me thank my friend and comrade Dave Gillborn for nominating me to deliver this lecture and thank the School of Education for the invitation to do so.
Professor David Gillborn is one of the few academics in this country who has courageously and consistently engaged education practitioners, policymakers and fellow academics on the issue of race, ethnicity and education in the last period, especially in this era of neo-liberalism and the marketization of schooling and education. We owe a lot to him for his clarity of vision, the incisiveness of his analysis, the relevance of his research and his perseverance in encouraging teachers, students and voluntary education projects to be bold, to think outside the box and to challenge establishment ‘wisdom’. Activists for children’s education rights, like myself, in communities across the country, continue to look to him for academic research evidence and policy analysis to support our perennial struggles. For me, and I dare to say it in this forum, that is an even more critical endorsement for any academic than the validation of one’s peers. It therefore gives me great pleasure to be able to share some thoughts with you today to mark the start of Prof Gillborn’s professorship at this university.