I think that one of the problems that exists in the United States and in many places in the world is that people don't believe that they can make a difference. So a lot of times we're defeated before we even start. We've become consumers of a world vision, of Kentucky Fried Chicken, of McDonalds.
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To have one's race brutally treated for so many years, even after the end of slavery and segregation, people are going to rise up with violence to attain what they believe is rightfully theirs. The most important thing at this time is raising the awareness of everyone; people need to be educated everywhere about all aspects of racism and how it affects people still today.
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I realized that I was connected to Africa. I wasn't just a Colored girl. I was part of a whole world that wanted a better life. I'm part of a majority and not a minority. My life has been a life of growth. If you're not growing, you're not going to understand real love. If you're not reaching out to help others then you're shrinking. My life has been active. I'm not a spectator
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That was one of the big problems in the [Black Panther] Party. Criticism and self-criticism were not encouraged, and the little that was given often wasn't taken seriously. Constructive criticism and self-criticism are extremely important for any revolutionary organization. Without them, people tend to drown in their mistakes, not learn from them.
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Manhattan Community College had not one course on Peurto Rican history. The Peurto Rican sisters and brothers who knew what was happening became our teachers... once you understand something about the history of a people, their heroes, their hardships, and their sacrifices, it's easier to struggle with them. To support their struggle. For a lot of peole in this country, people who live in other places have no faces. And this is the way the U.S. government wants it to be. They figure as long as the people have no faces and the country has no form, amerikans will not protest when they send in the marines to wipe them out.
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Most of us felt that taking control of our neighborhoods was the first step toward liberation... First, we would take control of the schools; then we would take control of the hospitals; then we would take control of the colleges, the housing, etc., etc. We would have community controlled employment, welfare centers, and city, state, and federal agencies. 'Hold on for a minute, ' somebody said. 'Where are y'all gonna get the money to run all that stuff?' 'We'll take community control of the banks, ' someone answered. 'You'd better take community control of the army, too, because those banks aren't gonna just let you take their money lying down." 'We'll take control of the political institutions in our community. Then we'll take control of the congressional seats, the senate seats, the city council seats, the mayor's office, and every other office you can take control of. We'll take control of the political offices so we can allocate money to the people who need it.' 'Y'all just wishing and hoping, ' someone said. 'You can control the social institutions and the political institutions, but unless you control the economic and military institutions, you can only go so far.
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It seemed that there was no time to catch up with all the things that were happening. I would be at the construction workers' demonstration one day and then marching with the welfare mothers the next. We got down with everything - the rent strikes, the sit-ins, the takeover of the Harlem state office building, whatever it was. If we agreed with it, we would try to give active support in some way. The more active i became, the more i liked it. It was like medicine, making me well, making me whole... My energy just couldn't stop dancing. I was caught up in the music of the struggle and i wanted to dance. I was never bored and never lonely, and the brothers and sisters who became my friends were so beautiful to me.
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