African American poet Langston Hughes’ 113th birthday

This video says about itself:

Langston Hughes‘ 113th Birthday Google Doodle

31 January 2015

Animated Google Doodle celebrating Langston Hughes, and his poem “I Dream A World“.

Music – Typewriter – The Boston Typewriter Orchestra

Piano – Adam Ever-Hadani

Big bird art exhibition on the Internet

This video says about itself:

7 May 2014

This amazing bird dance from the island of New Guinea was [recorded] as a result of more than one decade of hard work of biologist Ed Scrolls and photographer Tim Leaman.

From the American Museum of Natural History, in New York City in the USA:

Extraordinary Birds

This online exhibit is based on the book, Natural Histories: Extraordinary Birds, Rare Book Selections from the American Museum of Natural History Library, by Paul Sweet, Collections Manager of the Ornithology Department in the Division of Vertebrate Zoology at the American Museum of Natural History. The second volume in the Natural Histories series, this volume highlights a selection of the magnificent art work contained in the Museum’s renowned Rare Book Collection in the field of ornithology.

The wonderfully colorful plates featured in Extraordinary Birds are notable for their profound aesthetic beauty, and for the fine detail which highlights the significant role the art played in the history of ornithology, as well as the skill and time that went into producing each piece. This a perfect marriage between the Museum Library’s distinguished Rare Book Collection and the Museum’s Department of Ornithology, which maintains one of the largest and important collections of bird specimens in the world.

The colorful illustrations capture the birds with a view of their natural habitat, often complete with nests, tree branches, and flowers. In addition to studying the history of ornithology through this artwork, one can also examine print-making techniques, which are further discussed in Extraordinary Birds with three essays by the Museum Library’s Conservator, Barbara Rhodes. The artwork in the featured volumes, says Sweet “…are not only important historical documents, but also serve as the basis of bird taxonomy, or the discipline of naming and classifying birds.”

This Digital Special Collections exhibit allows the viewer to browse images by choosing topics from the menu to the right, a compilation of themes created from Extraordinary Birds: Birds of the World, with examples from Asia, Africa, Europe, Australia and Oceania, North America, and South America, and followed by Printing Technique with the artists’ technique noted for several illustrations. Additional images in the print version of Extraordinary Birds include many avian species and the Library’s Rare Book Collection includes more topics in the study of Ornithology, maps, illustrations, book covers, and frontispieces, which can be found by searching these topics from the Rare Book Collection in the AMNH Library’s Digital Special Collections. To enlarge any image and to see the accompanying information, simply click on an image or its title. Information can be accessed about the rare book from the Library’s catalog records, and the exhibit images can be further explored by selecting authors, artists, titles, and subjects.

Extraordinary Birds, Rare Book Selections from the American Museum of Natural History Library published by Sterling Signature, is available at the American Museum of Natural History bookshop and wherever books are sold.

Stacy J. Schiff, AMNH Library Visual Resources Librarian, with assistance from Museum Library interns Beth Saffer and Andrew Ward

Black lives matter, movement and music in the USA

This video from the USA says about itself:

Mall Of America Protests. Ferguson Black Lives Matter Arrests

20 December 2014

A protest in Bloomington Minnesota at the Mall of America MOA. It was a protest for Black Lives Matter protesting the death of Mike Brown and cop violence.

By Deonna N. Anderson in the USA:

How Music is Fueling the #BlackLivesMatter Movement

LONG BEACH — I still remember the first time I heard Lupe Fiasco’s “All Black Everything.” I was in my apartment in Davis, California where I attended college. When I heard the words, I was reminded of the history of Black people in America. It made me want to learn even more about my history. Everyone has a sphere of influence, and the music made me ask myself: “How am I using mine?”

Since August, when unarmed teenager Michael Brown was killed by police officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Mo., young people have rallied in the streets of Ferguson, New York, Oakland, Los Angeles and other towns across the nation and the world. In Long Beach, young people recently began organizing around the slogan #BlackLivesMatter, a campaign born in 2012 after Trayvon Martin’s killer, George Zimmerman, was acquitted for his crime.

Throughout, music has been an undeniable part of the protests, the latest reminder that when used the right way, music can inspire social change.

“Music can be considered the heartbeat of social movements,” says Eric Tandoc, a DJ and a community organizer at the Filipino Migrant Center in Long Beach. Tandoc regularly uses art to inspire youth to take action on social and political issues.

“Not everyone is going to listen to a speech or read a book, but people will listen to a 3-minute song,” he says.

Nationally, respected musicians such as Questlove of the hip-hop group The Roots have urged musicians to create more protest songs, and artists are responding.

The truth of the matter is, musicians have more influence than I do, and even more influence than they had in the 1980s or 1960s. In the age of social media, the possibility of communication between musicians and their fans has been brought to an all time high. If young people see their favorite musician talking about social change, they might pay more attention to what is happening and be inclined to get involved in making a positive impact.

In his song “Hands Up,” north Long Beach native Vince Staples raps, “Raidin’ homes without a warrant/Shoot him first without a warning/And they expect respect and non-violence/I refuse the right to be silent.” Fellow Long Beach rapper Crooked I, recently going by Kxing Crooked, released “I Can’t Breathe” in which he raps, “So, no, I can’t buy that pellet gun/They might try to Tamir Rice you.” Tamir Rice was a 12-year old Black boy who was killed by a police officer last month in Cleveland, OH.

But lyrics about the current events aren’t just happening locally in Long Beach. Let’s go down the list:

• Six days after Brown’s death, hip-hop artist J. Cole recorded and released “Be Free.”
• Lauryn Hill belted out the lyrics, “Black rage is founded on two-thirds a person/Rapings and beatings and suffering that worsens,” on “Black Rage,” which she released a couple weeks after Brown’s death.
• The Game brought together over ten hip-hop and R&B artists including Rick Ross, 2 Chainz, Wale, Swizz Beatz, Curren$y, and TGT to produce “Don’t Shoot.”
• Tink sang and rapped on “Tell the Children” a few days after the grand jury decided not to indict Wilson for the murder.
Rapper Dizzy Wright also released a song called “I Need Answers.”

These songs are the 21st century protest songs. While each of these songs were created as a response to the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, they speak to an issue Black communities around the country have been dealing with for centuries. They are reminiscent of Nina Simone’s “Mississippi Goddam,” Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On?” and Public Enemy’s “Fight the Power.” The themes don’t seem to have changed much since the 1960s or 1980s.

When famous musicians don’t speak out, some are critical.

A few years ago, singer, actor and civil rights activist Harry Belafonte called out two of today’s biggest musicians, Jay-Z and Beyoncé, saying that they “turned their back on social responsibility.” To Belafonte, those two megastars and other popular artists are at fault for not using their influence to have a positive impact on their fans.

As a young person, I agree with Belafonte: it’s a waste of influence when famous musicians don’t speak up. While it doesn’t necessarily affect whether or not I will continue listening to their music, I personally wish that they would speak at times when there needs to be some action.

Hip-hop artist Yasiin Bey, formerly known as Mos Def, put it best in his monologue addressing the happenings in Ferguson: “I think many of us are becoming even more aware of where we are, and [there is] urgency to change this miserable condition on this Earth, [as] Malcolm X said.” (Listen to the full audio here.)

This video from the USA says about itself:

Yasiin Bey talks about Eric Garner, Ferguson, Worldstarhiphop, Malcolm X and more

5 December 2014

Artist and Stop Being Famous contributor Yasiin Bey had the following statement to share regarding the Eric Garner grand jury decision, ongoing unrest in Ferguson, Missouri and around the world.

The Deonna N. Anderson article continues:

If all artists spoke up, I truly believe that it could wake up many more young people to demand change and join causes.

“I think music can play an important role in sparking the motivation in wanting to do something,” Tandoc said, while adding, “The long term organizing is where the true power is.”

Deonna N. Anderson writes for VoiceWaves, a youth-led community news website and trilingual print publication serving Long Beach, Calif., and founded by New America Media.

Young Ferguson Activists Take Black Celebrities To Task For Their Noninvolvement In the Protests: here.

From Essence magazine in the USA:

December 25, 2014 | 5:22 PM

Protesters Gather on Christmas Eve in Honor of Antonio Martin

By Dominique Hobdy

On the heels of the recent police shooting of Antonio Martin, protestors gathered outside the Cathedral Basilica in St. Louis, Missouri to mourn his death.

According to the Huffington Post, the demonstrators lit candles and held posters in memory of Martin, the 18-year-old who was shot Tuesday evening by Berkeley, Missouri police.

“The intent is to gather people in honor of him and other people who have been slain by police,” Lydia Marie, 23, an intern for Amnesty International and coordinator for the demonstration. “This is another Christmas Eve a family is spending without their child who was lost to police violence.”

Keanna Brown, Martin’s girlfriend remarked on the events saying that he “didn’t deserve to die.” “I should’ve been there to protect him. That’s all I wanted,” said Brown.

Martin’s death took place just a few miles from where unarmed teenager Michael Brown was shot and killed by Ferguson, Missouri police Officer Darren Wilson.

On Tuesday evening, 18 year-old Antonio Martin was killed in an altercation with a police officer outside a Mobil gas station in the Missouri suburb of Berkeley, a working class area just northwest of St. Louis. The killing immediately sparked protests in the surrounding community as hundreds gathered to oppose another police homicide. The killing comes amid weeks of protests throughout the US in response to police violence: here.

At least a thousand students at the University of Virginia took part in a rally Wednesday night to protest the police attack on Martese Johnson, a 20 year-old African American honors student at the university. As many as several thousand took part in the protests, according to media reports: here.

A protest at the Mall of America last December against police violence was monitored by an FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force cell in close collaboration with local police and mall security, emails obtained by the Intercept show. The protest, called by Black Lives Matter in response to the wave of police killings last year, drew 3,000 demonstrators to the second largest mall in the United States, located in Bloomington, Minnesota, near Minneapolis: here.

Michael Brown, Eric Garner solidarity in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, 28 December

This 8 December 2014 video from the USA is called Black Lives Matter.

On Sunday 28 December, at 12:30, a march will start in the Vondelpark in Amsterdam, the Netherlands; at the Mama Baranka statue.

The slogan of this march is Black Life Matters. It is in solidarity with the pro-justice movement which arose in the USA after the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner.

The Facebook page about this event is here.

Ferguson solidarity demonstrators, Amsterdam, 28 December 2014

United States rabbi on Michael Brown’s death

This video from the USA says about itself:

New York Jewish Community Sings and Protests for Eric Garner

5 December 2014

A coalition of the Upper West Side Jewish community blocked traffic at the intersection of 96 and Broadway and sang Oseh Shalom in support of Eric Garner as NYPD and SWAT arrived.

From the Jewish Journal in the USA:

Rabbi Harold M. Schulweis: Why Ferguson matters to Jews, and what makes a rabbi’s life well-lived

by Janice Kaminer-Reznik

8 hours ago

Rabbi Schulweis was not just our rabbi and teacher and not just a social philosopher and idea generator; and, he was not just the man who called on our community to start an organization to fight genocide. For Jewish World Watch he has been so much more. He has been was an active leader in realizing the organization’s vision, day-in day-out for the past decade. …

He loved speaking with the priests, headmasters and students in Catholic and Christian schools; he forged our relationship with the Armenian community, making sure that JWW would become the first Jewish organization to support long overdue legislation (which sadly, still has not been enacted), recognizing the Armenian genocide. …

Of all of the visits and conversations I have had with Rabbi Schulweis, it is our very last conversation less than two weeks ago that was perhaps the most profound. It will stay with me forever. Already in quite a weakened state, Rabbi Schulweis was notably agitated about the events that lead to the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson Missouri, and the chokehold that killed Eric Garner in New York. He said that these police practices are intolerable and racially biased. He asked why he was not hearing a louder voice of protest from the American Jewish community.

Rabbi Schulweis was a man who simply could not tolerate injustice…even as his heart was fading — even as he knew his end was near…he would not give up his pursuit of and for justice. And his expectation of us was clear as well— to continue this sacred work:

“The fringes of the tallit placed on my body are torn, for the dead cannot praise You, O Lord.
The dead have no mitzvot.
But your tallit is whole and you are alive and alive you are called to mitzvot.
You can choose, you can act, you can transform the world.”

Eric Garner & Michael Brown News: More than 200 Children Stage Die-In in Busy Philadelphia Street to Protest Legal Injustices: here.

A MASS of demonstrators chanting: “Black lives matter” converged in the Mall of America rotunda in Minnesota on Saturday as part of the continuing nationwide protest against police brutality: here.

ACLU sues Kansas City Public Schools for punishing the Ferguson-related silent protest at Lincoln Prep: here.

How women are leading the #BlackLivesMatter movement: here.

The fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager by a white police officer in the Ferguson County in the U.S state of Missouri four months ago and ensuing widespread protests drew mixed, particularly critical, reactions from the international community: here.

Millions of Eric Garner justice activists blamed for suicidal loner killing two policemen

This video from the USA says about itself:

Notre Dame Women’s Basketball Team Wear I Can’t Breathe T-Shirts During Pre-Game Warmup

20 December 2014

Notre Dame’s women basketball players came out for pregame warmups Saturday wearing “I Can’t Breathe” shirts.

The Irish joined a growing list of teams wearing similar shirts in support of the family of Eric Garner, who died in July after a New York police officer placed him in a chokehold while trying to arrest him.

By Sandy English in the USA:

New York City police pledge “wartime” response to killing of two officers

22 December 2014

The fatal shooting of two New York City police officers on Saturday has been followed by a series of extraordinary statements from the police union and its political allies. Charging that New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has “blood on his hands,” the police are demanding a crackdown on protests and the criminalization of all opposition to police killings.

Officers Raphael Ramos and Wenjian Liu were sitting in their vehicle in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn when, shortly before 3 pm on Saturday, the apparent shooter, Ismaaiyl Brinsley, approached the car and killed both.

Brinsley, 28, had driven from a suburb of Baltimore, Maryland to Brooklyn after shooting and wounding his former girlfriend. The young man, who was clearly mentally unbalanced and evidently suicidal, seems to have been motivated in part by the police killings of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri and Eric Garner in New York City.

After he shot Ramos and Liu, Brinsley was pursued by police into a nearby subway station, where he killed himself.

The response of the police has bordered on mutiny. As Mayor de Blasio walked to a press conference on Saturday, dozens of police officers demonstratively turned their backs on him.

Police have issued a series of denunciations of de Blasio for having indicated some sympathy for demonstrations against police violence held in the wake of a grand jury’s decision not to charge NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo for the chokehold death of Garner.

The Sergeants Benevolent Association tweeted on Saturday, “The blood of 2 executed police officers is on the hands of Mayor de Blasio.”

Patrick Lynch, the president of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association (PBA), the police union, echoed these remarks while seeking to link the anti-police violence protests to the killings by a mentally unbalanced individual. “Those that incited violence on the street, under the guise of protest, that tried to tear down what New York City police officers did every day. We tried to warn—‘it must not go on, it cannot be tolerated,’” he said on Saturday.

This is nothing less than a call to attack and ban any public criticism of police abuse as an illegitimate incitement to violence.

“That blood on the hands, starts on the steps of City Hall, in the office of the mayor,” Lynch declared.

A twitter post by a managing editor at AOL News reproduced a memo, attributed to the PBA, declaring: “The mayor’s hands are literally dripping with our blood because of his words, actions, and policies. We have, for the first time in many years, become a ‘wartime’ police department. We will act accordingly.”

A PBA spokesman has denied that the memo came officially came from the organization.

However, these remarks were immediately endorsed by former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, who declared on Fox News on Sunday: “We’ve had four months of propaganda starting with the president that everybody should hate the police. The protests are being embraced, the protests are being encouraged. The protests, even the ones that don’t lead to violence, a lot of them lead to violence, all of them lead to a conclusion. The police are bad, the police are racist. That is completely wrong.”

In response to these fascistic statements, which reek of a police-state mentality, de Blasio released a tepid statement criticizing the “irresponsible, overheated rhetoric that angers and divides people,” while reiterating his support for the police and “the entire NYPD community.”

The pledge of a “wartime” response from the police should be taken as an ominous warning. It is yet another manifestation of the enormous power that has been built up in these state institutions and the deep decay of democratic rights in the United States, fueled by endless war abroad and immense social inequality within the country.

The police forces act more and more as independent sources of authority. They have been given the power to kill with impunity—in the case of Brown, Garner and countless others. In response to popular outrage over these killings, the ruling class has deployed its highly militarized police against demonstrations.

The police themselves work in close coordination with the military and the intelligence agencies. In response to protests in Ferguson, Democratic Party Governor Jay Nixon activated the National Guard, a branch of the Armed Forces, and declared a preemptive state of emergency.

On Saturday, Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin activated the National Guard in preparation for further protests over the police killing of Dontre Hamilton, an unarmed schizophrenic black man who was shot 14 times by a Milwaukee police officer in April.

A Republican senator attributed the assassination-style killing of two NYC police officers to the protests in Ferguson, Missouri following the killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown. Appearing on KMBZ in Kansas City on Monday, Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) speculated that criticism of police tactics from his own constituents in the aftermath of the shooting may have “led to the deaths of those two officers”: here.

NYPD AND THE CHOKEHOLD “The similarities are striking. Both Anthony Baez and Eric Garner, in their final moments, were put into chokeholds by officers from the New York City Police Department. Both of the cops involved were white, while Baez and Garner were minorities and unarmed. Both men’s deaths set off protests across the city, their names added to a long list of black and Latino men who have died in altercations with police. But Francis Livoti, the officer who killed Baez, ultimately spent seven years in a federal prison. In December, a Staten Island grand jury decided not to indict NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo in Garner’s death.” [HuffPost]