Giving Thanks Part 2
In commemoration of this week's Thanksgiving holiday, we'll be sharing reflections from the team at the Ella Baker Center about thankfulness all this week. Ella's Voice continued the series by asking folks Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on our ancestors and the freedom fighters that came before us; when you think of them what are you thankful for?
-- This holiday season I'm grateful for the path our freedom fighting ancestors, like Sister Ella, laid for us. They kept moving forward when the nights were dark, mean-spirited white people hunted down and hung their darker skin peers, they kept moving forward despite all the cruelties inflicted on their minds, bodies and spirit. Today, we're moving forward on that path. I'm grateful when I am reminded, "someday we'll all be free..." I've got to believe that. -- Shiree Teng, Chair of the Ella Baker Center Board of Directors
-- I am so thankful to get guidance and inspiration from previous generations of social justice leaders in my life. Last week I was fortunate to spend an evening with veteran political activist and writer Amiri Baraka along with other young organizers and elders. Pam and Ben Lee organized this gathering so that Amiri could meet and talk with younger activists they know. Amiri emphasized several themes, two of which I will share. First, any time we make progress, there will be a backlash. Obama's election and the recent right-wing advance in national elections is an example of this. It's important that we work to push back against the spread of reactionary efforts like the anti-immigrant legislation in Arizona. Second, we must sustain the structure of our alliances, especially after progressive candidates are elected into office. It's after their election that the real work begins, and our ability to hold them accountable to our communities is a test of our strength. This point is particularly timely given the election of Jean Quan for Oakland mayor. As movement activists, we must have a long-term view of social struggle. That's why it's so important that we maintain a connection to our movement elders. -- Owen Li
-- Their tenacity. These folks were bold. I am so thankful that they pushed the limits time and time again and did their best to not simply accept the world around them but press on for change. -- Abel Habtegeorgis
-- I have learned so much about Miss Ella Jo Baker this year and I am awed and inspired by her. She led in a way not easily recognized and not often celebrated- by giving youth and marginalized people the space to find their own solutions to the problems they faced. I am so grateful for the dignity and dedication she gave to the movement and am grateful to be a small part in honoring her legacy at the Ella Baker Center. -- Meredith Fenton
My first recognition must go to my mother and grandmother for bearing the children that created my life. I also give thanks to those before them to fought for interracial relationships to be recognized and protected by the law. Without that fight I may not be here. -- Crystallee Crain