Revolution #232, May 15, 2011
Cornel West and Carl Dix Dialogue Comes to UCLA:
In the Age of Obama…
Police Terror, Incarceration,
No Jobs, Mis-education:
WHAT FUTURE FOR OUR YOUTH?
On April 29 the dialogue between Cornel West and Carl Dix came to UCLA: In the Age of Obama… Police Terror, Incarceration, No Jobs, Mis-education: What Future for Our Youth?
The response was extraordinary, a sign of how broadly this event was resonating with people who share a thirst and hunger for answers to the question “What Future for Our Youth?”; and more fundamentally, “Why is the situation today the way it is, and how could it be changed?” Over 700 people, the great majority students, filled the auditorium and overflow room, while another 400 had to be turned away. There were a significant number of Black students in the audience, together with students of other nationalities and people from different communities.
After giving the speakers a standing ovation when they first entered the room, for the next several hours people listened closely and reacted repeatedly to the searing exposure of the crimes being committed by this system against the youth. They wrestled with the challenge the speakers put to them to get involved and dedicate themselves to building resistance against these crimes, and to putting an end to them. And a great many students left changed by the experience; inspired by a new sense of possibilities for making fundamental change, and feeling compelled to reconsider what they want their lives to be about.
The following quotes from the beginning of the presentations give a taste of the event.
“UCLA is a crucial site of contestation, of critical reflection, of having your soul and your mind and your heart and your body reoriented in such a way that you don’t end up well-adjusted to injustice. That’s the last thing we need. The last thing we need is folks walking around wanting to be the smartest one in the room but cowardly when it comes to telling the truth about poor and working people. That’s the last thing we need. The last thing we need are highly sophisticated folk obsessed with their achievement and their accomplishments but they’re well-adapted to indifference when it comes to poor and working people. We don’t need that. Grandmomma and granddaddy and Martin Luther King and Fannie Lou and Stokely Carmichael didn’t die so young people could be well-adapted and well-adjusted that way.”
“The campus of UCLA is an excellent place to have this discussion. Now, it is an excellent place to have this discussion because young intellectuals like a lot of the folks that I see in this room today have always had great influence and great responsibility in determining the future direction of society. Look, I’m from the 1960s. That’s when powerful movements developed that rocked this country back on its heels. Who was in the middle of pulling those movements together? Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee; Students for a Democratic Society. Even the Black Panther Party was started by Huey Newton and Bobby Seale, two college students. See, young people and young students can play this role because you are up here grappling with these complex ideas and you can look at and see the gap between the way the world is and the way it should be. And then also being young, you ain’t yet locked into that there is nothing to bridge that gap. Well, I’m here tonight to tell you that this gap can and must be bridged. And I’m also here to challenge you to get with the movement for revolution that the Revolutionary Communist Party is building because we are aiming to bridge that gap to making revolution and getting rid of this system. Now let’s get started.”
Full coverage is coming in the next issue of Revolution.
Revolution interviewed people before and after the program. Go to revcom.us for excerpts.
The Host Committee
Associate Vice Provost
Professor Cheryl Harris
Chante Henderson, Assistant Director, Academic Advancement Program
High Quality Speakers Bureau
Jasmine Hill, President USAC
Professor Darnell Hunt
Professor Edmund Keller
Professor Claudia Mitchell Kernan
Vice Chancellor Janina Montero
Tierra Moore, Chief of Staff for USAC President
Professor David Myer
LaMonica Peters, President, UCLA Black Alumni Association
Professor Juan Gómez Quiñones
Reverend Meri Ka Ra
Vice Provost Judi Smith
Professor Brenda Stevenson
Professor Abel Valenzuela
Professor Paul Von Blum
Clyde Young, Initiator of the Dialogue at UCLA
Academic Advancement Program
The Graduate Division
Undergraduate Students Association Council (USAC)
Black Alumni Association
Black Male Institute
Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies
UCLA History Department
Chicano Studies Research Center
Critical Thinking at UCLA
Political Science Department
Cesar E. Chavez Department of Chicana/o Studies
Office of Residential Life
Writing Success Program, Incarcerated Youth Tutorial Project (IYTP)
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