Jackson Rising: Participatory Democracy, Solidarity Economy, and the
Struggle for Racial Justice in Jackson, Mississippi
Thursday, November 8th, 2018, 4-6pm, Robert Crown Center
In 2017, newly elected mayor Antar Lumumba pledged to make Jackson “the most radical city on the planet,” building on decades of work toward the creation of a solidarity economy and alternative institutions like people’s assemblies and workers cooperatives. Join our intergenerational panel of brilliant political strategists Rukia Lumumba, Dr. Safiya Omari, and Charles Taylor as they discuss the history of organizing for economic democracy, Black self-determination, and political transformation in Jackson and beyond. Book signing and reception to follow lecture.

Workshop and Activist Exchange: Cooperation Jackson and Soul Fire Farm
Friday, November 9th, 2018, 12-3pm
Join us for this exciting lunch presentation & activist exchange, followed by an interactive People’s Assembly, to learn about Black-lead cooperative economics, food sovereignty, and the role of environmental justice in the fight against racism and state violence. Keynote speakers Rukia Lumumba and Charles Taylor will join Iya’falola Omobola, Jackson-based political strategist, and Leah Penniman, Co-Founder and Co-Executive Director of Soul Fire Farm and author of Farming While Black, for an opportunity to learn from one another’s experiences. This workshop is open to all. Please stay tuned for more details and RSVP information.

Co-sponsored by the Eqbal Ahmad Initiative, Office of the President, Ethics and the Common Good, and a grant from the Roddenberry Foundation. All Symposium events are free, open to the public, and wheelchair accessible. For questions or to request interpretation, please email mmedina@hampshire.edu

A legal professional, community organizer and daughter of the late Mayor Chokwe Lumumba and Nubia Lumumba, Rukia Lumumba is founder of the People’s Advocacy Institute, co-coordinator of the Electoral Justice Project and campaign manager of the Committee to Elect Chokwe Antar Lumumba for mayor of Jackson, Mississippi. She spent the past 11 years defending the human rights of those inside prison cells, working with community, advocates and system stakeholders to alter the landscape of injustice in American courts and prisons. She is currently leading the Democratic Visioning initiative in Jackson, Mississippi to create a community governance model that increases community resources and governmental power.

Charles Taylor is a graduate of Morehouse College (Philosophy) and member of Freedom Side, a national collective of social justice community organizers. He served as a state organizer for the Mississippi Conference NAACP 2012 “This is My Vote” campaign which registered 29,000+ African American to vote in Mississippi. Taylor was a field director and campaign coordinator for the Better Schools, Better Jobs (Initiative 42 in MS to fully fund education). Recently, he consults for One Voice, Inc. as a data manager and a community organizer for Energy Democracy. Taylor is the principal of Peyton Strategies, LLC, a political data management firm.

Hailing from Cleveland, OH in 1955, raised by activist parents, Iya’falola H. Omobola has followed the path of spiritually political activism her entire life. She founded and directed a cultural youth intervention program called Tomorrow’s Child for a number of years in Illinois and Ohio. She helped found Tepi Au Ra – a society seeking sovereignty in Pembroke Township, IL. She is one of the co-founders and served as co-director for Cooperation Jackson, in Mississippi for five years. A citizen of the RNA, she serves on their Election Commission. She is also a spiritual priest of Orisha Ifa and author of three books.

Leah Penniman is a Black Kreyol educator, farmer/peyizan, author, and food justice activist from Soul Fire Farm in Grafton, NY. She co-founded Soul Fire Farm in 2011 with the mission to end racism in the food system and reclaim our ancestral connection to land. As co-Executive Director, Leah is part of a team that facilitates powerful food sovereignty programs – including farmer trainings for Black & Brown people, a subsidized farm food distribution program for people living under food apartheid, and regional organizing toward equity in the food system. Leah holds an MA in Science Education and BA in Environmental Science and International Development from Clark University, and is a Manye (Queen Mother) in Vodun. Leah has been farming since 1996 and teaching since 2002. The work of Leah and Soul Fire Farm has been recognized by the Soros Racial Justice Fellowship, Fulbright Program, Omega Sustainability Leadership Award, Presidential Award for Science Teaching, NYS Health Emerging Innovator Awards, and Andrew Goodman Foundation, among others. Her book, Farming While Black: Soul Fire Farm’s Practical Guide to Liberation on the Land is a love song for the land and her people.

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