ON SOUTH CAROLINA LOWERING THE CONFEDERATE FLAG AND LAKE CALHOUN
July 13, 2015
Save the Kids (STK), a fully-volunteer national grass-roots organization with over ten chapters throughout the U.S., is dedicated to alternatives to and the end of the incarceration of all youth and the school to prison pipeline. STK works to end all oppression such as racism as represented by the Confederate Flag, a symbol which many people wear as t-shirts and hats and have as stickers on their cars and trucks. The Confederate Flag is an unquestionable symbol of a history of racism. South Carolina lowering the Confederate Flag in front of the South Carolina State House was not caused by high power lobbyists, or nonprofits, but by a movement of people who were not paid and who fight day in and day out for racial justice. Social change will not happen by being nice or working with the system that opposes you. Malcolm X said it best, “Nobody can give you freedom. Nobody can give you equality or justice or anything. If you’re a [person] you take it.” Bree Newsome “took justice” by climbing up the flag pole and taking it down. The lowering of the flag is a drop in the ocean of fighting racism nationally and globally. Racism is not going to end because of the lowering of the flag. Five acts that will significantly end racism in the U.S. include the following: 1) Giving all the land back to Native Americans that the U.S. stole, 2) offering reparations and the end of the monetary inheritance system, 3) apologizing and financially assisting all those who the U.S. went to war with (this includes atrocities that the government allowed, such as the genocide in Rwanda), 4) doing away with the U.S. propaganda curriculum within public education, and 5) ending the U.S. punitive justice system. Part of the school to prison pipeline is school pushouts. If we do not teach in school and home the history of racism, slavery, genocide, war, sexism, and prisons, we will be doomed to repeat it. The hardest battle is for schools to teach the facts and the whole truth. Moreover, it is critical for schools, streets, highways, buildings, parks, and lakes to change their names if they are named after slave owners and racists. In Minneapolis, Minnesota, Lake Calhoun is a prime example. People are demanding the city change the name of the lake because John C. Calhoun, former senator and vice president, supported slavery as a “positive good.” STK suggests public spaces be named after social justice figures such as Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, Mumia Abu-Jamal, Harvey Milk, Cesar Chavez, Nelson Mandela, Fred Hampton, George Jackson, Bayard Rustin, Lucy Parson, Emma Goldman, and Malcolm X.
This statement is endorsed by Save the Kids, Poetry Behind the Walls, Wisdom Behind the Walls, Education Behind the Walls, Save the Kids Radio, Institute for Hip Hop Activism, The Journal of Hip Hop Studies, and Transformative Justice Journal.