The Revolution Will Be Digitized: Discussing the 21st Century Civil Rights Movement

By Megha Goel Understanding the civil rights movements of yesterday and today is essential to understanding American history. The landscape of today goes beyond racial inequities with recent Supreme Court […]

July 2, 2020 // EYEJ // No Comments //

By Megha Goel

Understanding the civil rights movements of yesterday and today is essential to understanding American history. The landscape of today goes beyond racial inequities with recent Supreme Court rulings increasing protections for DACA status immigrants and protection nationally for the LGBTQ community in the workplace. Growing in Cleveland is the need to address broadband access and the digital divide, a conversation that’s at the forefront of the Youth Council’s advocacy work. Additionally, with the recent murders of African Americans across the country, discussions about racism, civil rights, and equity have been at the forefront of the national conversation. With so many conversations about civil rights, how do we
ensure that youth continue to lend their voice to the conversation? And, how will youth continue to shape civil rights work in America?

The June 25th episode of EYEJ Speaks brought together a dynamic and diverse panel of speakers to discuss the past, present, and future of Civil Rights. Led by EYEJ Speaks Producer, Kenyatta Skyles; the panel included awesome keynotes from some of the most brain-tickling thought leaders:

  • Mai Moore, Founder and Executive Director, EYEJ
  • Gordon Friedman, Criminal Defense Attorney at Friedman & Gilbert Adjunct Professor, Cleveland-Marshall College of Law
  • Andre Hampton, EYEJSpeaks Podcast Producer and Veteran
  • Emily Martin, Communications & Outreach Specialist Fair Housing Center for Rights and Research;
  • Lori Painter, Field Education Advisor, Jack Joseph & Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Services at CWRU.

The session also highlighted the youth perspective on policing, racism, and unjust systems from Maranda Priah, Case Western University Student and Youth Speaker.

The 1-hour discussion covered issues of broadband access, community relations with law enforcement, housing discrimination, and the role of youth in addressing civil rights. EYEJ Founder Mai Moore brought the conversation of digital access to the forefront when she stated: “Cleveland Municipal School Districts includes 38,000 students in 27,000 families. 40% of those families do not have access to the internet.” Some of the other program highlights include:

CIVIL RIGHTS HIGHLIGHTS

Digital Inequality

Coalition Building in the Fight for Equal Rights

How Can White Allies Help the Civil Rights Movement?

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  1. Teaching youth about the Civil Rights Movement, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights is essential. Only when they are taught about the past, they will help protect and uphold their rights in the present and in the future. “In a report by the Southern Poverty Law Center, 35 states received grade ‘F’ because they neither covered the civil rights movement in their state standards nor provided resources to teach the students.”
  2. Privilege is power. Privilege is an opportunity. Acknowledging the privilege you have and using them to help the ones without it will help reduce the gap in society. Since white people hold authority and occupy most positions of decision-making power, they need to speak up on behalf of the less privileged to address issues of racism and inequality. Constant education on civil rights, having conversations on racial identity, and discussing the impact it has on society must happen among communities. It’s time to come together as one nation and make a systematic change.
  3. Systemic racism persists everywhere; from educational institutions, offices of employment, courts, and police departments. Additionally, redlining which barred people of colour from living the American dream of having a house, though outlawed 50 years ago, still exists. As a consequence, black Americans are found living in neighbourhoods that lack resources and opportunities; even basic essentials like nutritious food and the internet.

Panelist Emily Martin ended the discussion best by saying, “Youth may just be a key part in breaking this cycle of discrimination and oppression. If communities are still so segregated more than 80 years after redlining maps were drawn, what can be done to ensure that in another 80 years, these maps will not still look the same as they do today?”

Additional information about equity through fair housing can be found on Emily’s EYEJ blog post.


To watch the entire episode of EYEJ Speaks on Civil Rights visit our Facebook page. Listen to the behind the scenes conversation with guests on the EYEJ Podcast on Apple Podcast, Spotify, and Google Podcast. Achieving a Positive Mindset is the next episode of the Facebook Live discussion series taking place on Thursday, July 2, 2020 at 10 am ET. Please be sure to register and join this community conversation.

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