Up & Coming Weekly

June 15, 2021

Up and Coming Weekly is a weekly publication in Fayetteville, NC and Fort Bragg, NC area offering local news, views, arts, entertainment and community event and business information.

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Page 13 of 24

WWW.UPANDCOMINGWEEKLY.COM JUNE 16-22, 2021 UCW 13 COVER Considering recent events and the racial injustic- es being highlighted in the country, what can we do as individuals in terms of activism, education and more, to be supportive and fight injustice? Dr. Fagan: Fighting injustice requires one to be a strong proponent of social justice, equity, inclusion and diversity. Having said that, one must be willing to learn, think, examine one's personal values and take a stand. e Black Lives Matter movement encompasses people from all races, ethnicities, etc. is has been somewhat downplayed by media. Black Lives Mat- ter is a vehicle through which all people can take a stand for equity and inclusion. Over fifty years ago, the Freedom Riders, young people — Black and white — risked their lives to integrate interstate transportation. ey took a stand. One of the ways change takes place is by commu- nicating, one-on-one, with a person with a different point of view. We must communicate with people who view African Americans as less than, and, one by one, deconstruct their arguments. is requires that we have the facts to back up our points. ere are still people out there who respond positively to facts. When you witness a micro-aggression or implicit bias, don't just ignore it. If someone tells a racist joke in your presence, call them on it. We must learn to have the courage of our convictions. If you witness unwarranted aggression against Af- rican Americans, speak up. And, yes, doing the right thing is not always the easiest thing. Elected officials at every level make policy that impacts social justice. We must elect people to office who support equity and inclusion. Sadly, we have learned that bias transcends political party. We must carefully scrutinize the positions of candidates regarding social justice. Are there any books, clubs, movies that can help educate people? Dr. Fagan: ere is a wealth of information out there. We just need to want to find it. Some of my favorites are: "13th " directed by Ava Duvernay on YouTube and Netflix; "Amend" on Netflix, and any book written by Ibram X. Kendi ("Stamped From the Beginning"). Authors James Baldwin, Audre Lorde, bell hooks, Michelle Alexander, Ijeoma Oluo are among my favorites. Circa 1865 is an organiza tion in Fayetteville that will sponsor a Juneteenth Virtual Festival this year. Organizing Against Racism Cumberland County is committed to educate the community and take action against racial inequities, wherever they exist. Juneteenth.com, is a repository of information about this historic day. You marched and participated in the civil rights movement in the 1960s. What can you share about your experiences? Dr. Fagan: Growing up in New York City, I did not regularly experience overt racism. I could eat a hotdog and drink a Nehi at the counter in Wool- worths on 125th Street in Harlem as a child in the early 1950's thanks to the efforts of Adam Clayton Powell. I remember visiting family in North Caro- lina, moving to the back of the bus, drinking from the "colored" water fountain, sitting in the balcony in the movie theater in Plymouth, North Carolina, and not fully understanding why. I first became aware of the bigger issues at age 10 when I brought an article for current events to school that was about a boycott in Clarendon County, South Carolina. When my teacher asked me why I chose that article, my response was that I felt sorry for the people who were conducting the boycott because they were losing their jobs because they were fighting for civil rights. Further discussion led to a food drive by my elementary school to sup- port the people of Clarendon County participating in the boycott. Growing up in New York City (Brooklyn) gave me opportunities I probably would never have had in other parts of the country. I attended Hunter College High School after elementary school. I had to pass a test to get into Hunter. I attended City College of New York (now City College of CUNY) — free tuition — and am a founding member of the Onyx Society, the first Black student organization at CCNY. Upon graduation, I worked full time in corporate New York. I joined the Student Non-Violent Coor- dinating Committee (SNCC) and volunteered in the New York office. I later joined the Black Panther Party. e activism of my youth taught me many lessons. I learned that the country that I thought I was a citizen in was the country that wanted to keep me oppressed, depressed and a failure. But I was blessed to have the tools to fight back and that is what I did. Is there a parting thought you'd like to share with our readers? Dr. Fagan: If you shake a bottle of soda and take off the top, the explosion is all that Juneteenth brings forth when an African American is asked to respond to it. Juneteenth is celebration, intro- spection, raising awareness, intrusion, education, frustration. Juneteenth can invoke anger, pain, grief, emotions that keep us connected to our reality. is is a huge topic, needing much more than one article to do it justice, but this is a good start. ank you for the opportunity! KEYURI PARAB, Editorial Assistant COMMENTS? Editor@upandcomin- gweekly.com 910-484-6200. Leaders marching from the Washington Monument to the Lincoln Memorial on Aug. 28, 1963. (Photo courtesy National Archives) Photograph of the Civil Rights March on Washington Aug. 28, 1963. (Photo courtesy National Archives) A plaque in Texas commemorates Juneteenth. (Photo courtesy Wikipedia)

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