Seeing (Red): Why Buying a T-Shirt Will Never End AIDS

| March 8, 2007 - 4:35 am

Tags: Africa, AIDS, capitalism, consumerism, economics, philanthropy, progressive, the gap

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By Laura Hadden

It sounds innocent enough.

Bono & The (Red) Campaign simply want to "empower" us as consumers to use our dollars to create change.  Hand over your credit card and in exchange, they will hand back an overpriced t-shirt/cell phone/iPod and the knowledge that "a portion of the profits" will help buy medicine for AIDS patients in Africa.  

But all this feel-good philanthropy simply fails to address the real issues.  Rather than question and challenge the price of America's overconsumption and exploitation in those "developing" countries, we embrace our product-obsessed culture, buy a t-shirt, and feel like we've done our part and erase our collective guilty conscience.  Instead of talking about community organizing or political action to end AIDS, we're encouraged to take a trip to the mall and celebrate our "power as consumers" in solidarity with our "dying brothers and sisters in Africa".  

Like, totally awesome...

the true political correctness

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With the needs to know the languages of life and learn about other peoples, and the need for your actions to speak louder than your words, there is a third element to the ways of communcation. This third element is your actual speech. I hope that your actions embody your words that come out of your mouth. This now brings us to very specifically the words we all use, the most common language of life. Do the words you use offend people? Are you politically correct in your speech? Is that speech progressive?

Trying to do it all!

| February 14, 2007 - 12:02 pm

Tags: activism, blueprints, planning, progressive

So, here I am back from YP4. After a few weeks delay of getting my ish together I'm working towards getting it all done.

As of this second I'm:

Trying to kick off my blue print

Planning a volunteer trip to New Orleans

Trying to start a microfinancing club

and

Trying desperartly hard to get the contact information for Kofi Annan so he can come to my school for a lecture on the situations in Darfur and Northern Uganda.

So...........

Maybe I'm the only one, but does it seem as though some of us in the progressive community are trying to do it all?

I mean if you really think about it the progressive cause champions so many different areas of human rights; and if you're a humanitarian then you probably have an arm (or leg....or any other appendage for that matter) in every pot thats brewing for social change.

So I guess the question is how do we "triangle-arrow-circle" (one time for the YP4 staff) our way to a world in which we don't have to "triangle-arrow-circle" anymore?

Trying to do it all!

| February 13, 2007 - 8:09 pm

Tags: activism, blueprint, Darfur, microfinance, New Orleans, progressive

So, here I am back from YP4. After a few weeks delay of getting my ish together I'm working towards getting it all done.

As of this second I'm:

Trying to kick off my blue print

Planning a volunteer trip to New Orleans

Trying to start a microfinancing club

and

Trying desperartly hard to get the contact information for Kofi Annan so he can come to my school for a lecture on the situations in Darfur and Northern Uganda.

So...........

Maybe I'm the only one, but does it seem as though some of us in the progressive community are trying to do it all?

I mean if you really think about it the progressive cause champions so many different areas of human rights; and if you're a humanitarian then you probably have an arm (or leg....or any other appendage for that matter) in every pot thats brewing for social change.

So I guess the question is how do we "triangle-arrow-circle" (one time for the YP4 staff) our way to a world in which we don't have to "triangle-arrow-circle" anymore?

being progressive

| February 10, 2007 - 4:27 pm

Tags: anti-American, Oxford American Dictionary, progress, progressive, society, troops

The other night I attended a student government meeting that dealt with the validity of a certain group on the funding board which is supposed to deal with bringing progressive issues to the campus population. There was a bill in contention to remove this group because it brought in a speaker that was anti-semetic, anti-American, and anti-troops. What I heard that night was a lot of debate that I should have heard a year ago before the controversial event took place. This nine hour meeting made me ponder the true meaning of being progressive.

Universities struggle to maintain diversity with affirmative action bans

| January 26, 2007 - 11:21 am

Tags: affirmative action, civil rights, education, progressive

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Colleges and universities are being forced to come up with creative ways to attract more minority students in states where affirmative action laws have been repealed.  Ohio State University is recruiting in minority neighborhoods and using minority students to help recruit.  Wayne State is using factors such as living on an Indian reservation or in mostly black or hispanic neighborhoods without specifically asking about race on applications.

Ward Connerly, the black business man and mastermind of the affirmative action bans of Michigan, Florida, Washington and California, is planning for similar ballot initiatives in at least 9 other states. At the same time universities are struggling to find new ways to maintain diversity on their campuses.

Public universitites have the most to lose - especially since their private counterparts have more discretion over admission policies which could serve as an advantage in attracting a diverse pool of applicants.

Article Read on NYC Radio Station..Regarding Black People...Please Read and Pass on

| January 16, 2007 - 4:17 pm

Tags: civil rights, education, minorities, progressive

The sad thing about this article is that the essence of it is true. The

truth hurts. I just hope this sets more Black people in motion towards

making real progress. Chris Rock, a Black comedian, even joked that

Blacks don't read.

Help prove them wrong! Read and pass on.

Please Note:

For those of you who heard it, this is the article Dee Lee was reading

this morning on a New York radio station. For those of you who didn't

hear it, this is very deep. This is a heavy piece and a Caucasian wrote

it.

Strength in numbers

| January 15, 2007 - 9:28 am

Tags: progressive

One of the greatest things I'll be taking from this summit is realizing that the progressive movement has many friends in sometimes odd places. We should especially look for the unlikely allies, because we often overlook those focusing on different issues. If we look for those who share our values, however, we can gain much more momentum. This is also important to keep in mind when others come to us for help. We may not be concerned with their issues, but perhaps their values are worth fighting for.

great minds think . . .differently

| January 13, 2007 - 4:15 pm

Tags: activism, advocacy, Africa, future, hip hop, progressive, Young People For

A national summit of the next generation of progressive leaders, a coalition of dedicated individuals with passionate causes, a gathering of some of the greatest minds that the world will ever have the privilege meet. Some of us care about LBGT rights, some women's rights, some human rights, some the right to health, and a variety of other issues under the sun. We are all different, yet defined in the same manner: Progressive!

This summit has been, for me, a great way to meet many other inspiring students working on the real issues and doing their work in incredible ways. The summit has made me rethink my position in this great world system and re-evaluate my course of action.

I stand for progress and the following thoughts are compiled from the last few days.

new world discovered

| December 28, 2006 - 10:38 pm

Tags: Africa, developing, poverty, progressive, Third World, Zambia

Somewhere out there, in the deep and expansive universe there lies a world. Circling the misty reaches of space and swirling in an almost unrecognizable fog. A world where there are vast deserts and jungles, mountains and volcanoes, long droughts and rainy seasons. A world of vibrant color and cloaking mystery.