Sunday, November 30, 2014
Open letter to Mayor elect Libby Shaaf, et al.
Dear Mayor elect Libby Shaaf and Oakland
City Councilwomen Desley Brooks and Lynette Gibson McElhaney
On behalf of the Black Arts Movement, we congratulate you all for declaring support of the Black Arts Movement 50th Anniversary. Because of our role as artistic freedom fighters (Paul Robeson) we have often been marginalized, books banned, language censored, denied employment, especially by those in academia and other sectors of society who have taken on the role of culture police.
Your letters of support indicates a level of understanding that we appreciate. We are confident the City of Oakland will provide us with the necessary funding to make our Oakland celebration a success. We especially appreciate your call for age-appropriate Black Arts Movement literature in the schools. I must add, BAM literature must reach parents as well.
While we have the BAM Isaiah 61 Project in partnership with Paul Cobb and the Post News Group, and will make every effort to provide literature to the incarcerated, we agree with Paul, "Crack a book before you are booked for Crack!" We know BAM literature can inspire our children with cultural consciousness, purpose and direction as they navigate their perilous mental landscape, not to mention this world full of pitfalls and land mines they must overcome.
Your endorsement of the Black Arts Movement District along 14th Street is outstanding. Growing up on 7th Street in West Oakland, along with Paul Cobb, we feel the creation of a BAM District would allow Oakland's North American Africans to experience the culture and art we enjoyed on 7th Street, Harlem of the West.
Trust me, your letters of support should silence the doubters that such a project will be realized in their lifetime.
Marvin X. Jackmon, M.A.
BAM 27 City Tour