Jason Howard Green

Jason Howard Green

Monday, October 4, 2010

Wisdom From The West

Saturday evening I was thrilled to be able to attend a lecture by the phenomenally brilliant Dr. Cornel West. His visit to Phoenix was strictly to address SB 1070, the Arizona Immigration Law that has the entire country focused on our state. In a standing room only auditorium at North High School, Dr. West spoke on how important it is for everyone to stand in solidarity with our Latino brothers and sisters in ending this dispicable law. He also assured the progressive constituents of Arizona that inspite of the image the media is painting, we are in the right and we have many allies around the country cheering for us and ready to come to Arizona and stand with us in this fight.

Dr. West's ability to inspire an audience while simultaneously infusing references to George Clinton and the P Funk, Sly and the Family Stone, and other R&B greats is amazing. At the end of his lecture as everyone stood to their feet in applause I wasn't sure if I should take my notes and exit or light a blunt and pass it. The man just has a way with words.

Considering my feelings towards Arizona as of late, this was inspirational news for me, a guy that is growing sick of living here. When I hear things like 70% of the state is in favor of the immigration law or that governor Jan Brewer is the likely person to win November's election, it makes me want to pack my bags and get the hell up out of here. Did his words make me change my mind and want to stay . . . well no, they didn't have that kind of power. But none the less, they were still inspiring.

One of the most amazing parts of the evening for me happened almost at the conclusion of the event. Each member of the panel gave their closing statements and Mr. West was the last to speak. He spoke of the importance of all communities of color to come together to fight for inclusion and equality. He then opened his comment to include the LGBT community. He spoke of the homophobia of this country that has recently caused several teenagers to take their own lives. After hearing that I knew I had to go and meet him when this was over. I felt compelled to thank him as a member of the same-gender loving community for that sentiment. He said this in a room full of black and brown people that needed to hear this.

Dr. West once said, "You can't lead the people if you don't love the people. And you can't save the people if you don't serve the people." Cornell is a man that loves the people (all people) and serves the people. He and the panel of individuals that spoke Saturday did a phenomenal job debunking all the lies were hearing from the media. I have a feeling this will not be our last time seeing him. He promised he would return with others to help us carry out this fight.

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