When I saw Der Vang’s 2017 Womxn of Color Reading Challenge on Facebook, I knew I had to participate. I decided to start with Angela Davis’s new book Freedom is a Constant Struggle. Published in 2016, the book follows other works written by Davis that center a radical critique of current geopolitical systems. In this case, Davis draws parallels between Ferguson, Palestine, and the movements that sprung up in response to the mistreatment of disenfranchised people in each region.
The challenge includes a list of 50 books which Vang, but readers are encouraged to follow the list based on the following:
1. Calling all folks who want to read more books, and stay woke, in 2017
2. All books must be written by womxn of color
3. You do not have to identify as a womxn of color
4. Choose one book for each challenge
5. Borrow from your local or campus library, or purchase your own books
6. Go in whichever order makes meaning to you
7. Share your literary journey! — I’m still figuring this part out. We’ll be in touch ?
I choose this book to cross off #3 on Vang’s list ‘A book that has been on your reading list for way too long.’ I have always admired Angela Davis. I had the opportunity to meet her when she visited my university. I spoke with her about my interest in making technology accessible for the very communities #BlackLivesMatter galvanized around. I also have watched the Black Power Mixtape and read Are Prisons Obsolete.
This book has been on my reading list since it came out. The case for the interrelations among the Black and Palestinian Freedom Struggles isn’t necessarily new. When I coded tweets associated with Ferguson and #BlackLivesMatter, I discovered interactions between Palestinians and people on the ground in Ferguson. Palestinians provided tips about tear gas to protestors that gathered in Ferguson after Mike Brown died.
I remember feeling fascinated by the ways the two groups easily identified the similarities within their struggles. This particular position comes in stark contrast to some of the more mysterious beliefs I’ve been taught about the Black Freedom Struggle.
For instance, Reggae songs identify formerly enslaved Africans as ‘Israelites.’ I’ve seen similar assertions within Afrocentric circles. The claim is Blacks are the true Hebrews/Jews and therefore the Jewish story (i.e. the Bible) is a Black story. I’m more inclined to see the parallels between Black struggles and the current status of Palestinians, especially in regard to nation and citizenship.
I have only started reading the first few pages. I’m excited to see a reference to Black feminism:
Black feminism emerged as a theoretical and practical effort demonstrating that race, gender, and class are inseparable in the social worlds we inhabit…Insisting on the connections between struggles and racism in the US and struggles against the Israeli repression of Palestinians, in this sense, is a feminist process.
I’ll write a blog on the book once I finish. In the meantime check out Der Vang’s challenge here.