Archive for April, 2012

“We” Happens…a shout out to the coalition builders

Posted in Uncategorized on April 29, 2012 by Josslyn Luckett

This April 29, 2012 morning I’m meditating on coalition.  I am not only the daughter of my pro-miscegenation Mississippi and Maine ma and pops who got their MSW degrees at University of Hawaii in the mid 60s, I consider myself a daughter of the third world student strikes and resulting departments of ethnic studies that steeped me in black brown filipino chinese chicano navaho korean caribbean solidarity. 

Hallelujah shout out to the elders and the ancestors I was blessed to learn from in those UCBerkeley late 80s:  Barbara Christian (first photo), Loni Ding (2nd photo), Carlos Munoz, Albert Johnson, Carla Trujillo, Rudy Busto, Ron Takaki, Marlon Riggs, June Jordan, Caridad Souza, Margaret Wilkerson, Elaine Kim, Beatriz Manz, Ishmael Reed, Charles Henry….   I recently found a photo of Ling-Chi Wang handing me my diploma after Ron Takaki called my name and Elaine Kim is smiling at me…this was May 1991…and I wonder about a world, a Los Angeles where more girls and boys like me had been given the opportunity to commune with the faculty and students (tiny roll call of my heavyweight classmates still near and dear: Ruth Forman, Sarita Echavez See, Rahdi Taylor, Rona Taylor-Jack, Debbie Mukamal, Michael Datcher, Ricardo Bracho, Terrell Tilford…) I was blessed to commune and collaborate with…where would we be today?  and where will we be 20 years from now as ethnic studies departments are vanishing and even becoming illegal???  What? 

I advocated for a joint graduation celebration last week at Harvard Divinity School honoring our black and latino student groups/grads.  The lines below came to me in my sleep the night before our celebration.  And now today, as we look back on the verdict and the fires that followed April 29, 1992, I say again, we must insist on we and be emboldened by all the times and places where we happens.  Course it was my natural instinct to begin with bebop…


dizzy gillespie and chano pozo getting manteca greasy and inter-be-bopping american culture forever

we cherrie moraga and audre lorde breaking silence and breaking bread at kitchen table press

we fidel castro and malcolm x whispering revolution at the hotel theresa when the rest of manhattan said there was no room at the inn

we coretta scott king and cesar chavez arm and arm in arizona

we david carrasco and toni morrison from princeton to mexico city to the library of congress

we stephanie garza and kenny wiley singing/preaching/witnessing good friday funky uu stylee

we james brown and celia cruz singing for muhammad ali in zaire

we ellegba and yemaya from nigeria to havana to bahia to the bronx ancient and always

we nuestra voz and harambee right here right now at harvard divinity school

we speak this truth of we to the widespread lie that black and brown stand divided

hear me george zimmerman, hear me fox news all cable news networks

we are bigger than fear

wider than miles of borderland fences,

too ntozake complicated and complicated for one note profiling,

too verbally voluptuous for english only

we are third world student strike strong

we are this bridge called my back emboldened

we are jonathan walton and mayra rivera rivera ’bout to turn this div school out,

i hope they turn this div school out

if we insist on we

if we keep loving we, keep praying we, insha’allah we

who believe in we will not rest until we come

(by josslyn luckett for harambee/nuestra voz rites of passage/transiciones ceremony, hds, april 25, 2012)