Day 40 8/30 '20
Fred Hampton "radicalized" me (as much as one can look at me, my life, my beliefs and my actions and consider me "radical")
(which is to say, "not at all")
My family has been in the City of Chicago since before the Fire. And in my early 30s, I spent a lot of time at Harold Washington Library and the Newberry Library and the Cultural Center, looking at exhibits, listening to lectures, watching documentaries.
Of course, you learn the bare bones. The condensed, tourism-friendly, chamber of commerce endorsed versions. You hear the majority agenda assessment. And usually there is one voice, urging you to consider the deeper story, the more important aspects of the man's life or beliefs.
But from there, I learned about tbe radical mutual aid movements. I learned who the Black Panthers really were and the respect they deserved. I engaged with the story of the MOVE bombing. I had read the Autobiography of Malcolm X more than a decade before, but Fred Hampton's Chicago brought me to a better curiosity about the true progressives--black men and women, Latine men and women, queer and trans men and women--in America.
I'm a middle-aged white lady. I vote for the most progressive person offered me. In the primaries, I donate to and work for the most progressive option. Then I make my regular phone calls and mail my regular letters to my vaguely conscientious and barely moderately liberal legislators and govermors, telling them I want more. I show up when I can and shout the response to the call.
I know the radical ideas are the ones we need, are the ones that might actually save us. I struggle with whether I have any power to make those ideas catch hold. I don't believe that I do.