Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf on BAM Business District: "Oh, Marvin, I'm so excited!"

Mayor Libby Schaaf issued a proclamation on last year's 50th anniversary of the Black Arts Movement. The celebration was at Laney College. L to R: Mrs. Gay Plair Cobb, Marvin X, Mayor Schaaf, Laney College President Dr. Elnora T. Webb, Dr. Nathan Hare, father of Black and Ethnic Studies in America; Post News Group Publisher, Paul Cobb.
photo Ken Johnson

Oakland City Hall
January 19, 2016

After BAM workers Val Serrant, Duane Deterville and Marvin X spoke before the full City Council meeting tonight, Marvin departed the chamber. As he exited the building, he ran into Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf. They embraced. She said, "Oh, Marvin, Black Arts Movement Business District! I'm so excited!" Marvin replied, "Mayor, let's talk soon!" 

BAM co-founder Marvin X and Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf at 2015 BAM 50th anniversary  celebration at Laney College. 

On January 19, 2016, Marvin X says, "We appreciate the Mayor for supporting the BAM Business District, but we want her to understand BAM is on the side of Black Lives Matter Movement as per justice for those citizens suffering from  police abuse under the color of law. We love you Mayor Schaaf, but you must get on the side of justice! The Black Lives Matter people are only trying to achieve justice for those families suffering trauma and unresolved grief--in fact, the entire community is suffering, alas, the entire nation of North American Africans here in the wilderness of North America want justice. Nobody wants more than justice, nobody wants less!"
photo Jahahara

Mayor Libby Schaaf replies to Marvin X

Oakland Black Artists: Left to Right: front row, Khalid Wajid; second row: Hasain Rasheed, Duane Deterville, Tureada Mikell, Marvin X, Jahaninh Omi Bahari, Jahneah Taylor, Crsna Cox; Next row: Ptah Allah El, Chanfil Brown, Blystk Kmba, Eric Arnold, Jaenal Peterson, DeMar-con Gibson, Amir Aziz
 photo Adam Turner

 photo Adam Turner

 Later comers on Front row: Judy Juanita, Eric Arnold, Tarika Lewis; 2nd row, Yancey Taylor; back row: Mikel Free
 photo Adam Turner

Prior to the City Council meeting, Oakland Black artists did a photo shoot outside City Hall. BAM co-founder Marvin X was excited to see so many young artists show up for the photo shoot. He stressed to them that elder artists are passing the baton. Indeed, the City of Oakland's downtown plan is for the next fifty to one hundred years, so elders have no illusion it is time to pass the baton to the next generation of artistic freedom fighters. 

BAM Queen Sonia Sanchez 

Earlier in the day, Marvin had a phone conversation with BAM Queen Sonia Sanchez. She congratulated him and the people of Oakland for establishing the BAM Business District. She said,"This is so nice! I don't know of anywhere in America where there is a Black Arts Movement Business District. This is great, Marvin!" 

Sonia expects to be in the Bay Area for the screening of her BAM flim BAAAAAD. He told her he'd heard Sister Bernice of Sweet Honey in the Rock discuss Sonia's poem Letter to Martin Luther King, Jr. Sonia said she's never seen the video so he told her to go to Youtube, Letter to Martin Luther King, Jr, Sweet Honey in the Rock, Townhall. Sweet Honey in the Rock did a most beautiful dramatization of Sonia's poem. "I'm overcome when I think about how beautifully Sweet Honey did her poem, " says poet/dramatist/organizer Marvin X. 

FYI, the Oakland City Council has included Marvin's Academy of da Corner at 14th and Broadway as part of the BAM Business District. He has taught there for the last ten years when in Oakland. In association with his comrades Drs. Julia and Nathan Hare, he gives out free books to the poor. The most touching moment was when he gave a free book to a brother and he took a couple of steps then stopped. Marvin asked the brother, "What's the problem?" The brother said, "I don't know what to do, no one has given me nothing in my life before!" He broke down in tears.

Marvin X at his Academy of da Corner, 14th and Broadway. Ishmael Reed says, "If you want motivation and inspiration, don't spend all that money going to workshops and seminars, just go stand at 14th and Broadway and watch Marvin X at work. He's Plato teaching on the streets of Oakland."
BAM Elders at City Hall today: Tureada Mikell, Val Serrant and Tarika Lewis

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