By Maria Marroquin
Adelante First Year Programs Social Justice Plactica on Thursday brought awareness to students about the struggles and similarities between the black and brown communities.
Tyson Amir, author of Black Boy Poems, was the speaker of the platica. The publication of his book had a meaningful date for him because it was on the 50th anniversary of the foundation of the Black Panther party.
He spoke about the legacy that came from his father, who was member of the Black Panther party. As a kid, Amir said he was exposed to everything related to historical, cultural and political knowledge in fighting for freedom.
“I don’t identify as an MC (a freestyle rapper), I don’t identify as a poet, I don’t identify as an author. I identify as a freedom fighter,” Amir said, after reciting a poem.
According to Amir, the Black Panther party was founded out of the fight for human rights and now the immigrant community is facing similar treatment.
“This is the time to be revolutionary. Y’all are students, but you can be more, you can do more,” Amir said.
He spoke about the president’s comments regarding immigrants, and how the foundation of his campaign was bottling all the Latino people into one single category: such as rapists and drug dealers.
He said he stands in solidarity of our indigenous people, our Latino people, our Asian people and everyone in between that is oppressed by the same system the black community is, and has been oppressed with for centuries.
“He was from the Black Panthers, but he did not focus only on black, he focused on all the American people. It was so powerful, because if the system victimizes one group, they can victimize all groups,” Ryan Astango, an audience member who spoke in a discussion after the event.
“Our worth in their eyes is somewhere between feline and pigeon,” Amir said, quoting from his poem “Between Huey and Malcolm” after an audience member said this was a powerful lie.
He compared minorities such as the homeless, Latino, black and Asian communities seen in society as cats. The powerful people, the people running our country are the canines, the alpha dogs. He said that pets have higher acceptance in our society than the people in need.
He compared it to homelessness and how they can’t get healthcare, but yet we have animal hospitals and hotels for dogs, while our people are dying in the streets.
Amir was presented with an appreciation award from the Adelante First Year Experience program. “This appreciation award was presented to him in appreciation for his work, coming from the Bay area to talk to us and giving us his time before having to catch a plane to North Carolina,” ambassador of the FYE program Jesus Ruiz said.
“Personally, I love that we have so many different people representing aspects of our community coming together and having a conversation that I hope is really moving for everyone,” Amir said. He also added that he loves what ELAC is doing to bring awareness and involvement and he hopes to be a part of it.
“We brought Tyson because we wanted to make sure that we show the connection between the black and brown people, because as he said in his talk, when we unite as people, we become really powerful,” Associate Dean of FYE Vanessa Ochoa said.
“He was talking to us and telling us what his people went through, but he was inclusive of everyone. Mexicans, Salvadorans and the Asian community. It’s not just about black power, it’s about community,” said Jairo Perez, a student.