Sidney Poitier: Nobody You Can Boss Around

Sidney Poitier: a class act…

Working-Class Perspectives

In the 10 days since we learned of Sidney Poitier’s death there have been hundreds of tributes to Poitier—an undeniable icon. Most of these tributes have focused on Poitier’s brilliant acting, for which he received innumerable awards, as well as his advocacy for Civil Rights. As CNN notes, for example, in 1963 Poitier joined Harry Belafonte on a dangerous mission to fund Civil Rights work in Mississippi.

Many tributes also acknowledge Poitier’s humble beginnings. The youngest of seven, Poitier grew up in the Bahamas, without electricity and running water. His parents were tomato farmers who traveled to Miami by boat in order to sell their produce. On one of those trips, Poitier’s mother was pregnant with him and gave birth while on the job in Miami, making him a US citizen.

In 1937, when Poitier was 15 years old, his parents sent him to the United States to live…

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“Portland’s Burning Heart”

Portland’s Burning Heart uses a combination of iPhone footage, on-the-ground photography and haunting voice over to tell the story of Portland’s ongoing street protests from the perspective of a woman who knows them well: Emmy-winning photojournalist Beth Nakamura of The Oregonian. Beth is the burning heart at the center of the film, and over the course of its 13 minutes we watch as she evolves from local reporter to teargas-dodging, stab-vest-wearing conflict journalist.

“Commissioned by the Dutch public network HUMAN in anticipation of the 2020 US elections, the film is a collaboration between Nakamura and the Tim Hetherington Visionary Award-winning filmmaking team Jongsma + O’Neill.”

I’ve been wondering if sending Federal “law enforcement” to Portland was an attempt, in a general sort of way, for Trump (or perhaps his minions) to emulate Ronald Reagan and Peoples Park. Just asking for a friend…

The Blood is at the Doorstep

This documentary by Eric Ljung may be a look in the rear view mirror but if you have an hour and a half, you’ll find it worth your while. There’s a lot to unpack and, as a former political activist, I’m left with some questions that the filmmakers did not choose to explore though they touched upon a few of them. This is not a criticism but rather a recognition that the politics of community organizing can be complicated and historical. You’re not going to get it all in 90 minutes.

 

The Blood is at the Doorstep is a story about one family’s quest for answers, justice, and reform after Dontre Hamilton is shot 14 times and killed by a Milwaukee Police Officer responding to a non-emergency wellness check.

“Filmed over the course of three years in the direct aftermath of Dontre’s death, this intimate verite documentary follows his family as they channel their grief into community organizing in an attempt to reset the narrative. Offering a painfully realistic glimpse inside a movement born out of tragedy in what the Hollywood Reporter calls ‘a clear-eyed film that finds hope within terrible circumstances, and strength
within heartbreak.'”

“We Are George Floyd”

From Julian Marshall, featuring Cornel West and Killer Mike:

“On May 25th, 2020, Derek Chauvin, a Minneapolis police officer, murdered George Floyd, a black man, by driving his knee into George’s neck for 8 minutes and 45 seconds until he died. This film chronicles New York City’s overwhelming response. Please help me share this film with the world.”

Listen Up!

I wish I could claim credit for the graphic, but its origin seems to be a post on one or another reddit.com “community.” I got it from author John Scalzi’s Twitter feed. (No, I’m not on Twitter, but I sometimes watch from a distance.)

With some exceptions, trolling is just rude and offensive behavior. I usually try to be polite. This graphic was just too cute for me to resist. As a lefty, I’ve heard “love it or leave it” too many times to not contemplate possible answers to a jibe that really doesn’t merit a reply, seeing as the jibe is from a closed, cramped and hateful mind. And of course, Our Dear President recently used this line of “argument.”

But I say to the “love it or leave it” crowd: No… don’t leave; America wouldn’t be the same without you. Not unless you really want to. In which case, don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

The Trial

Kafka Lives!

“Alka Pradhan, James Connell and Sterling Thomas are lawyers for Ammar al-Baluchi, one of the five men facing the death penalty for plotting the 2001 terrorist attacks in New York.

“The Trial provides a window into the build-up to the largest criminal trial in US history and reflects on the impact of a rarely seen part of the war on terror: the lack of accountability for the legacy of torture.”