Category: Race

January 18, 2019 Mikka Macdonald

Mixed Feelings: Exploring Multiracial Identity in America

Race has always been a defining issue of this country: an undercurrent, bubbling up to tension points, changing and pushing the country in different directions. In 2019, race is at […]

Voices of Everyday Leaders

Ayanna Albertson

As spring graduation draws near, college seniors are faced with several time-sensitive responsibilities. From securing their grades, to paying graduation fees and all remaining tuition balances, to the grueling process […]

Voices of Everyday Leaders

Willie Francois

And the Young Shall Save Us So many economic protections are at stake with this new Congress. The most consequential midterm elections of our lifetime awaited our robust participation last […]

Voices of Everyday Leaders

Maya Boddie

Last week, Community Change partners from across the country united in Washington, D.C. on the campus of Gallaudet University, to share, learn, and discuss what organizing will look like as […]

Voices of Everyday Leaders

Tomicka Robinson

Roquesha Oneal is an everyday leader, a woman of fortitude and generosity. She resides in Detroit with her 15-year-old child with a disability and enjoys visits with her two adult […]

Voices of Everyday Leaders

Willie Francois

Cutting “Food Stamps” is Child Abuse Every Sunday Jose “Frankie” Benjamin-Nay, an 18-year old Puerto Rican-American, darkens the doors of Mount Zion Baptist Church to provide technical support for the […]

Voices of Everyday Leaders

Ayanna Albertson

Beyond the Ballots – Keeping the Momentum The U.S. midterms was a big deal for many communities and candidates alike. Whether people agreed with the overall decisions made within their […]

We All Matter

Ayanna Albertson

I’ve only had the chance to vote in two presidential elections: 2012 and 2016. My first election was monumental. I was a part of making history. I remember the overwhelming […]

Voices of Everyday Leaders

Bobbi Dempsey

PA Group Strives to Bust Myths About SNAP—and People Who Use It Lisa Raditz cringes when she overhears some of the comments people make about SNAP recipients based on common […]

Column: Voices of Everyday Leaders

Wandra Green

I, like so many Americans of my era, believed… After 12 and a half years in an often stress-filled role as an associate director in public relations at a local […]

We Are Called to Deeply Listen to Those Impacted by Police Violence

Nissa Tzun

Hearing families who have been impacted by police violence speak is always a transformative and powerful experience for me. While I have been working with impacted families since 2009, the […]

Colin Kaepernick, Christine Blasey Ford, and the America’s Bad Conscience

Darryl Lorenzo Wellington

In recent weeks, two Americans galvanized media attention for their bravery, taking  stances that inspired gratitude and support for their causes. Neither is a politician or has run for public […]

Column: Voices of Everyday Leaders

Tomicka Robinson

Why we vote I’ve been asked a lot lately “why I knock on doors” to encourage people to vote. Mainly because of my background in social justice work. I’ve used […]

Voices of Everyday Leaders

Melissa Chadburn

The work of community organizers is daunting. Late nights. Endless knocking on doors. Rallies and protests to protect our healthcare, ensure we all have enough food to eat and keep […]

From zero tolerance to zero harm: steps for mending shattered migrant families

Esther Calzada

By Catherine LaBrenz, John Sullivan and Esther Calzada We’ve all seen the excitement in a child’s eyes when they play with their parents in the park, or the calm that […]

This Land is Our Land: Outgrowing Our Roots

Mikka Macdonald

This Land is Our Land is a series about diversity in the American outdoors. You can read part one here. Today, approximately eighty percent of park visitors are white, and […]

This Land Is Our Land: Diversity and Access in the Great Outdoors

Mikka Macdonald

The United States’ National Park Service and wilderness recreation industry have never been more popular—and yet the American outdoor space is still largely and systematically out of reach for people […]

We need to sweep white supremacists out of office before we can really confront racism

Thomas Kennedy

Last month, a viral video depicting New York lawyer Aaron Schlossberg’s racist rant against two Spanish speaking employees in a Manhattan deli seems to have left many shocked. Not me […]

With payday loan , Trump again shows he’s not out to help the working class. He’s out to get them.

Darryl Lorenzo Wellington

During his campaign, and again and again since becoming president, the Tweeter-in-Chief has brashly portrayed himself as “a populist,” a protector of the working class. His style, his rhetoric, and […]

Hollywood empowerment: From Coco to Black Panther to Crazy Rich Asians

Karl Catarata

This piece was originally published in AndACTION. These past few months, Latinx family pride and Black excellence dominated Hollywood with the blockbuster releases of “Coco” and “Black Panther.” And now, […]

The Starbucks incident highlights the daily indignities that Black people face

Darryl Lorenzo Wellington

A good friend of mine commented on his Facebook page about the now viral video of the “Starbucks arrest incident,” which showed two black men being arrested in a Philadelphia Starbucks […]

How to live with racism in times like these

Darryl Lorenzo Wellington

This week marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King. And it is making me even more reflective of what it means to be black at […]

The Austin Bomber case shows we are quick to label POCs, but not whites, when they do wrong

Thomas Kennedy

Photo credit: Ted Eytan, Flickr Creative Commons   The citizens of Austin were terrorized by a series of bombings that left two people dead, and injuring others. The suspect ultimately blew […]

Ideas of MLK, RFK still needed today

Dorian Warren

This piece originally published in the Memphis Commercial Appeal. When President Lyndon B. Johnson launched the War on Poverty in 1964, his audacious goal was to end poverty in the […]

Trump’s efforts to keep immigrant families apart hearkens to our racist immigration past

Mikka Macdonald

Our country’s modern history of immigration is built on white men’s attempts to create a whiter nation. Donald Trump’s efforts to tear at family reunification in the name of ‘ending […]

Jim Crow lives in Nevada’s elections

Cassandra Little

Several weeks ago, a gentleman came to a Progressive Leadership Alliance Nevada (PLAN) meeting and asked for help restoring his right to vote. After 12 years, he was now eligible, […]

Keepers of memory: Remembering Trayvon Martin

Jamilah Sabur

This year marks the sixth year since the death of Trayvon Martin, and I do not want us to forget. Six years and we find ourselves living in an America with a president who has been endorsed by white nationalists and a country more divided than ever.

We are killing our children and militarizing their schools won’t make them safe

Thomas Kennedy

It is easy to pick on craven politicians who evade questions, speak in platitudes, and offer no actual policy commitments. Yet our society needs to deeply reflect on whether the answer to these mass shootings is really the further militarization of our society.

Black Panther shows us heroism is not perfect

Jeremiah Chapman

It was less than a year ago that I moved to Oakland, California – home of the Black Panther Party. I remember being so excited after years of emulating the […]

Voting to protect our families is not a privilege; it’s a necessity.

Kica Matos

There is a line in the opening scene of Goethe’s play Faust that reads, “A man sees in the world what he carries in his heart.” It is a sentiment […]

Florida gets a second chance to make amends for its racist past

Thomas Kennedy

Back in late 2016, a grassroots coalition of volunteers accomplished a remarkable feat. More than 68,314 petition signatures were collected in Florida, triggering a Supreme Court review on a ballot […]

Xenophobia is not foreign to America

Mikka Macdonald

After the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, advertisements for “Jap Hunting Licenses” hung in store windows. Life Magazine ran the article, “How to tell your friends from the Japs.” […]

Universal pre-K won’t solve poverty. Better jobs will.

Wendi C. Thomas

Memphis council members promote politically safe investment in children while ignoring underpaid parents

Investor deposits lessons in financial literacy, freedom for a new generation

Wendi C. Thomas

Despite persistent barriers to black wealth building, Memphis-based fund manager Floyd Tyler says it can be done—and it is

Four ideas on how to take down Memphis’ Confederate monuments now

Wendi C. Thomas

If there’s the will, Memphis leaders can find a way to remove these symbols of white supremacy.

For Code Crew founders, paying a living wage is the right thing to do

Melonee Gaines

The nonprofit trains youth of color to be the next generation of techies and practices the economic justice MLK preached

Our Fellow American Citizens Need Food, Water, Electricity And Fuel, Not Paper Towels Thrown At Them.

Thomas Kennedy

Puerto Rico needs help: Food, electricity, clean water, clean up and the restoration of its infrastructure. Yet Donald Trump has once again proven he is unfit for office after his […]

#TakeAKnee Is A Patriotic Protest Against Police Brutality And Injustice

Thomas Kennedy

It seems clear that Donald Trump will manufacture or grasp at anything he can to divide Americans from each other. Even use one of America’s favorite past times: football. Trump […]

American Racism: Charlottesville Provides Another Example Of The Never-ending ‘Here We Go Again’

Darryl Lorenzo Wellington

For as long as millions of whites choose to let their voices remain muted, silence remains complicity.

The time that guerilla art made Nathan Bedford Forrest’s statue disappear

Wendi C. Thomas

In 2009, performance art blocked the view of the statue of the Klan’s first grand wizard and slave trader

Black and Brown Families United in the Era of Political Dysfunction

Paige DeLoach

This article originally appeared in the Huffington Post. By Paige DeLoach When I visited home for the first time after the 2016 election, my mother spoke to me in a […]

Policing the Protesters

Micaela Watts

This article originally appeared on MLK50. When the interim director of the Memphis Police Department linked arms with organizers of a protest that shut down traffic on the city’s Interstate […]

Sunday rally planned to mark one-year anniversary of Memphis bridge protest

Wendi C. Thomas

This article originally appeared on MLK50. On Sunday, organizers will gather at Tom Lee Park to mark the anniversary of the July 10, 2016 protest that shut down the Hernando-Desoto […]

“Take it to the bridge”

Wendi C. Thomas

This article originally appeared on MLK50. MEMPHIS — July 10 marks the anniversary of the largest spontaneous act of civil disobedience in the city’s modern history. The spark: The police killings of […]

Reparations well-intentioned, but insufficient for the debt owed

Wendi C. Thomas

This article originally appeared on MLK50. On Thursday, the city of Memphis announced it would pay what can only be described as reparations for decades of shorting the retirement funds […]

St. Louis Case: Another Black Man Shot, Another Excuse

Fred McKissack Jr.

This article first appeared on The Progressive. The June 21 shooting of a black police officer in St. Louis County by another officer has been  described as “friendly fire.” That’s a laughably […]

Attorney General Sessions brings tough-on-crime message to Memphis

Micaela Watts

Appearance coincides with mayor’s, police director’s demands for more city police

Why Trump’s Supporters Haven’t Abandoned Him

Darryl Lorenzo Wellington

Just 100 days into his presidency, Americans no longer expect President Donald Trump to keep the promises that got him elected. He walked back his promises on China, delivered nothing […]

Frances Bean Cobain and the Graffiti of Privilege

Alison Stine

A friend saw it, driving in Los Angeles. A billboard for tony fashion line Marc Jacobs, featuring Frances Bean Cobain as the model, had been defaced with graffiti. And then […]

How Long Must We Sing This Song?

Fred McKissack Jr.

As we walked through St. Louis’ Missouri Historical Museum’s current civil rights exhibit, I was reminded of how change comes from the bottom up. School history is, too often, from […]

The Dismantling of the EPA Should Really Worry People of Color

Wendi C. Thomas

It matters because so many of us often live near toxic facilities

Learning Black History Is Learning American History

Darryl Lorenzo Wellington

Pride in Black history must be a national pride, not exclusive to African Americans

Welcome to A Prairie Homeboy Companion

Fred McKissack Jr.

Welcome to A Prairie Homeboy Companion, a weekly blog exploring progressive activism in the Midwest, as well as an occasional platform for my own thoughts on pop culture, politics, and […]

Looking for “Whitelash”

Wendi C. Thomas

Originally published by Neiman Reports.  The signs that someone like Donald Trump was coming were right there, in online comments lousy with creatively spelled racial slurs that slipped past even […]

‘Saturday Night Live’ Skit Has People Talking About Who and What Really is Dividing Us

Wendi C. Thomas

Originally published by The Undefeated. Did a Saturday Night Live sketch last week hint at a future hard to envision in today’s bitter political climate — a future in which […]

Black Lives Matter Less Even in Drug Addiction

Fred McKissack Jr.

Originally published on the Huffington Post.  A heroin needle. Photo credits to Wheeler Cowperthwaite via Flickr Creative Commons. Even when it comes to drug addiction, black lives matter less. Consider […]

What Living in a High-Poverty Neighborhood Taught Me About Protests

Darryl Lorenzo Wellington

Photo credits to Dorret.  Originally published in TalkPoverty.  About 13 years ago, I lived in Charleston, South Carolina, where I was trying to make ends meet as a freelance writer.  […]

My Multiracial Son Embraces His Black Identity

Fred McKissack Jr.

Originally published by the Indianapolis Star.  The wispy-haired 4-month-old Mark is held timeless in a frame in front of me. The 12-year-old, shaggy-haired Mark is fast asleep in the room […]

White Supremacy Kills, No Matter Who Pulls the Trigger

Wendi C. Thomas

Photo credits to Fuseboxradio. Originally published on The Undefeated. I want to watch the video of Terence Crutcher being killed by Tulsa, Oklahoma, police, because I want to see something […]

Lack of Black Children’s Books Are Still a Problem

Fred McKissack Jr.

Photo credits to Pettifoggist.  Originally published on The Undefeated. My mother and my father remember chatting with friends at a nondescript table at the 1989 American Library Association (ALA) annual […]

There Is Reason for Black Women to Fear Traffic Stops

Wendi C. Thomas

Photo credits to Luca Venturi.  Originally published on The Undefeated.  Not long after I arrived in Cambridge, Massachusetts, last August for a yearlong fellowship, a friend back in Memphis, Tennessee, asked […]

Free-Range Parenting Is A Privilege For The White And Affluent

Stephanie Land

Photo credits to Ryan Dickey.  Originally published in The Establishment.  At first glance, my 9-year-old daughter doesn’t look “poor.” She meticulously chooses her outfits for school, often sleeping in them—even […]

Police Already Have Broad Powers to Detain Us; And the Supreme Court Gave Them Even More

Darryl Lorenzo Wellington

Photo credits: Tony Webster. Source: Flickr Creative Commons.  Originally published on Common Dreams.  I don’t want to end up like Alton Sterling. Or Philando Castile. Or Eric Garner. Or Freddie […]

We Need to Rethink the Role of Police in Our Lives

Wendi C. Thomas

Photo credits to B. C. Lorio. Originally posted on The Huffington Post.  It was only a matter of time before actor activist Jesse Williams‘ all-the-way woke speech on BET the last […]

Comic W. Kamau Bell: We Are Living In The ‘Most Racial America’

Wendi C. Thomas

Originally published on the Huffington Post.  PITTSBURGH – Police have one standard for black people and another for white people – and as proof, comic W. Kamau Bell played at […]

Doing The Right Thing Can Still Get You Killed … If You Are Black

Wendi C. Thomas

Photo Credits to Fibonacci Blue.  Originally published on The Undefeated.  I don’t know how other people buy cellphones. Me, I make sure I’m getting all the gigabytes I can. Just in […]

‘Unlocking Opportunities’ Policy Brief

Joseph Pate

By: Dorian T. Warren, Chirag Mehta, Steve Savner Imagine a 21st-century jobs program that puts families first, makes extensive investments in America’s most impoverished places and creates millions of good […]

The Answer is Muhammad Ali: Who else?

Darryl Lorenzo Wellington

Originally published in the Huffington Post. For most of my life, I haven’t idolized sports heroes. I may be the exception to the great American male rule-of-thumb. There have been […]

Prince Was The Only Person Who Defined Himself

Fred McKissack Jr.

Originally published on the Huffington Post.  Last night, my 12-year-old son was in his room reading and listening to music. His musical tastes run from modern pop and hip-hop to […]

Black Lives Matter Movement and Opportunities Deprived Go Hand In Hand

Fred McKissack Jr.

Originally published on Equal Voice.  What does it say about the value of Black lives when too many of those lives are in crumbling schools, drinking poisoned water, finding themselves […]

Native Voices Once Silenced, Now Heard

Darryl Lorenzo Wellington

Autumn Harry enjoys her beloved Pyramid Lake. Photo courtesy of Autumn Harry. Autumn Harry has spent her twenty three years living on the Paiute reservation in northern Nevada. She will […]

The Flint Lesson: When the Poor Talk, We Must Listen

Wendi C. Thomas

Photo courtesy of Steve Neavling/Motor City Muckraker Imagine the harm that could have been avoided in Flint if only government officials believed the residents. As far back as May 2014, […]

There’s a Reason Black Youth Call Chicago ‘Chiraq’ and It’s Not Just Criminals Doing the Shooting

Fred McKissack Jr.

Written by Center for Communtiy Change Writing Fellow Fred McKissack. There’s a reason why young black people call Chicago “Chiraq.” It’s like a war zone in some neighborhoods. And it’s […]

Reinvesting In Poor Communities Must Be A Priority

Joseph Pate

Written by Anthony Newby, executive director for Neighborhoods Organizing for Change in Minneapolis and Dorian Warren, Center for Community Change board chairman. Originally posted on the Al Jazeera America. The […]

What I Learned After My Mother’s Near-Arrest in St. Louis

Fred McKissack Jr.

Twenty years ago, I packed my gold Chevy Nova and drove across the Mississippi River toward Madison, Wisconsin. Like so many others who uproot from their hometowns, I did so […]

Missouri Athletes Bust Through Intolerance

Fred McKissack Jr.

Originally published by The Progressive.  With the walk-out that led to the resignation of a university president and chancellor, the University of Missouri’s black football players showed their power to […]

It Is Easier to Have a ‘Spirited’ Child When You Are a White Parent

Stephanie Land

Originally published on The Guardian.  I have what’s known as a “spirited” child. Mia has run me ragged since she knew how to walk. She’d run across soccer fields as […]

What working families in Memphis want to GOP candidates to address on Thursday

Wendi C. Thomas

Pictured to the right: Ella Collins at a Home Care Fight for $15 rally Ten Republican presidential candidates will take the stage in Cleveland Thursday for the GOP’s first televised primary […]

Supporting Community Organizing to Build a More Inclusive Society

Center for Community Change

By Connie Heller Pictured to the left: A portion of a quilt created by Connie Heller in honor of Trayvon Martin. A better world is possible. A world in which […]

Netroots, #BlackLivesMatter and the Putting Families First campaign

Olivia Chow

This week we have seen a phenomenal shift in the conversation around race and poverty.  We are beginning to see a movement’s narrative take hold in the public debate and […]

Building Coalitions at the 2015 White House AAPI Youth Forum

Angela Zhao

Last Thursday, July 9th, over 150 Asian American and Pacific Islander college students from across the nation convened at the White House for the 2015 White House Initiative on Asian […]

Terror for Profit

Ronnie Galvin

America made Dylann Storm Roof. His act of terrorism didn’t happen in isolation. He is the physical and present-day manifestation of a deeply-ingrained mindset that says white Americans are superior […]

Committed to Lies

Wendi C. Thomas

This post was originally published in The Memphis Flyer. Emancipation by veracity is a beautiful, if elusive, concept. People in search of comfort may turn to scripture after last week’s […]

The Politics of Hate

Kica Matos

This piece was originally published on The Hill. Last week was one of those moments in history when the politics of hatred seized hold and as a nation we fell […]


Deirdra Reed

This blog was originally published on  When my sister-in-law was pregnant with her first child, she drove me crazy, calling me at all hours to tell me about every little […]

Officer Friendly Encounters That Old Black Magic

Tamika Middleton

This post originally appeared on  Georgia State Senator Vincent Fort and members of Atlanta activist groups gathered in front of Atlanta police headquarters last Monday, May 4, to call […]

Afraid to Love

Wendi C. Thomas

This piece was originally posted in The Memphis Flyer. I am afraid to love my 18-month-old nephew because he is a black boy, and in my country, police hunt and […]

Reflections from Selma

Tamika Middleton

Savannah Williams remembers where she was on March 7, 1965. “When Bloody Sunday happened, “ she explained, “I was at my first job working for the United States Department of Agriculture […]

Three Years after Trayvon: Power Built from Tragedy

Chris Dasan Ahanu Massenburg

Three years ago today, 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was fatally shot by George Zimmerman in Sanford, Florida. The circumstances surrounding the case led to a nationwide outcry for justice. Many were […]

Detroit’s Walking Man: Beyond Click-Through Generosity

Wendi C. Thomas

It’s fitting that James Robertson’s good luck falls during Black History Month. Robertson, 56, started riding four buses and walking 21 miles round-trip to get from his Detroit home to […]

“I believe that we will win!”

Tamika Middleton

At 7:30 am, about 100 airport people marched into the atrium of the world’s busiest airport chanting, “We can’t survive on $7.25.” The crowd got bigger as they rallied, with […]

MLK and the “Beloved Community”

Ronnie Galvin

On Friday, January 16th, Kica Matos, Director of Immigrant Rights and Racial Justice at the Center for Community Change, delivered the keynote address at the Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum’s 30th […]

In commemoration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Center for Community Change

Earlier this week leaders in the movement to end mass incarceration gathered in Atlanta to share lessons learned and organize. Partners from across the country were graciously hosted by the […]

Kwanzaa is the perfect holiday for activism

Wendi C. Thomas

When I think of the holidays, I think of mistletoe and tinsel, Nativity scenes and presents under the tree. But this year, visions of sugarplums have been replaced by the […]

Working Families’ Lives Matter

Tamika Middleton

For the past several weeks, cities across the country have seen a multitude of protests and acts of civil disobedience following announcements that police officers would not be indicted in […]

Solidarity in Memphis against police brutality

Center for Community Change

By: Wendi C. Thomas Wendi C. Thomas is an award-winning Memphis-based journalist, a visiting scholar at the University of Memphis, the founder of the grassroots racial justice organization Common Ground […]

A Mother’s Love, An Activist’s Mind

Allie Carter

Below is a post from Tammy Thomas Miles, Field Organizer with CCC — Each year at Thanksgiving I often take the time to reflect on all the things which I […]

Salve for Salt-filled Wounds: Healing after Mike Brown

Tamika Middleton

Pictured here: Tamika Middleton, left, holds her daughter Asha at a rally for Mike Brown. Photo credit: Tamieka Atkins  I didn’t cry Monday night.  I turned off Prosecutor Bob McCulloch’s press conference […]

Things we should freak out over instead of Ebola

Olivia Chow

Dear everybody — Please stop freaking out about Ebola. I’m not making light of illness, I’m just trying to bring some sanity back to what the real threats in our […]

Reflection on Ferguson, Missouri

Tammy Thomas-Miles

Field Organizer Tammy Thomas-Miles went to Ferguson, Missouri over the Labor Day weekend as part of a strategy session with other organizers. Here is Tammy’s first person account of the […]

When Enough Gets to Be Enough

Tamika Middleton

This blog was originally posted on the Voices for Human Needs blog.  On Monday night, thousands of people marched through downtown Atlanta in the pouring rain.  Most of them I […]

Poverty in Color: Race, Class and Television

Loryn Wilson

Last week, NPR ran a story about who is poor on TV –and how some television shows depict poor people. Two of those shows were Good Times and The Wire, […]

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