Monthly Archives: January 2016

Ferguson Response Network Podcast Ep 27 – #SlaveryWithASmile

@LeslieMac & Ricky from @AUADOTORG are joined by Mikki Kendall, Roni Dean-Burren, Edith Campbell & Allyson Criner Brown to discuss #ReclaimMLK 2016 and the current, historical and on-going saga of the #SlaveryWithASmile narrative in children’s literature.

Subscribe to the Ferguson Response Network Podcast via:

Join the Movement:

Fundraising Websites – Crowdrise

Host Contact:


Ricky L. Hinds II

Guest Contact:

Allyson Criner Brown

Roni Dean-Burren

Edith Campbell

Mikki Kendall

Continue reading Ferguson Response Network Podcast Ep 27 – #SlaveryWithASmile

Flint Water Crisis

UPDATE 1/25: We successfully delivered over 1,000 gallons of water to Flint on Sunday 1/24. We also made direct contact with an amazing (Black Female) local organizer who we will be supporting and working with moving forward.

In addition to the water deliver, we were able to work with local organizers to translate their specific demands, pay for copies of the demands to be distributed locally and provide financial support for the local organizer. We also help in research of methods such as water filtration units installed in homes, to see if they could offer assistance after taking a moment to consider Water Filter Way’s articles and other resources on the matter. Please continue to donate & share the link so we can help this amazing woman do what is needed to make real change for her community in Flint.

Ferguson Response will be headed to Flint, MI to bring water
Fundraising Websites – Crowdrise

TCZH2F6gUMAEIeNFhe Flint Water Crisis has left those most in need of help with little support. Current mechanisms have left Public Housing & jail/prison inmates out of the donation cycle.

Ferguson Response is headed to Flint with members of BLM-Kalamazoo and needs help renting a truck & securing water for folks in need.

Our efforts will solely focus on deliver to Public Housing in Flint and in gaining access to inmates to give them clean water. Inmates in Flint are STILL 100% on contaminated water with no filters – they are forgotten and this needs to change. Please donate today.

#MLKNOW – Celebrating the Words and Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

By Guest Blogger Natalie Jeffers

I woke up this monday morning feeling so blessed and privileged to have been present in body and mind at the historic #MLKNow event. My soul was touched deeper than ever before as i connected with powerful radical words that resonated from our past, delivered by new voices heard as fresh as when first spoken.

The Riverside Church in Harlem is a true spiritual place, it’s a building that on entering you can feel without touching. It was here in this space that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr gave his speech “Beyond Vietnam: A Time To Break Silence.” – A speech that most agree guaranteed his ‘murder’ warrant \ MLK looked over the mountain and beyond the walls of the US and connected US State oppression to other lands, and outlined a plan for economic divestment that offered a strategy to limit the powers of corporate America in more ways than the bus boycott previously had. Riverside has a strong activist history and provides a safe space where the Black radical voice can speak freely, in a way that almost seems protected by its looming walls that saw the moral titans of past and present prophetic resistance. Animated by its long tradition of community, it is a space so strong in its identity and proud of its heritage that 60 years later the beneficiaries of MLK’s legacy could safely regroup and reclaim the message in the tone that MLK had intended.


Continue reading #MLKNOW – Celebrating the Words and Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.


CLICK BELOW TO LISTEN TO Ferguson Response Podcast – #SlaveryWithASmile

@LeslieMac & Ricky from @AUADOTORG are joined by Mikki Kendall, Roni Dean-Burren,Edith Campbell & Allyson Criner Brown to discuss #ReclaimMLK 2016 and the current, historical and on-going saga of the #SlaveryWithASmile narrative in children’s literature.



Since this post was published Scholastic released a statement pulling “A Birthday Cake for George Washington” from shelves.

You can read my updated Storify with my thoughts below

We also recommend the following places to find additional information and context for this important discussion:

Debbie Reese curated this page which includes a running list of posts & articles related to this book and the fall out.


By Ferguson Response Founder Leslie Mac

Last year we saw the book A Fine Dessert released to large acclaim. This children’s book about a dessert – Blackberry Fool – as made by 4 different families in 4 different eras includes a slave woman & her daughter making the dessert for the slave owner.

You can read a few pieces about this critically acclaimed piece of children’s literature here & here & the author’s response to criticism of her portrayal of #SlaveryWithASmile here.

Most importantly I suggest watching author DJ Older’s thoughts on the book & the depiction of slavery in kid-lit:

Now in 2016 we have another entry in the #SlaveryWithASmile genre with Scholastic’s new book “A Birthday Cake for George Washington”. This books release was accompanied with a pre-emptive explanation of the language & imagery used to tell the story of one of George Washington’s slave cook Hercules. You can read that piece written by Black editor Andrea Davis Pinkney here.

Of course many of us have had more to say about this book, it’s subject matter and the general subject of depicting #SlaveryWithASmile

This topic is not a new one. Academics, educators, writers & publishers have discussed how to tell the stories of Black people with nuance & truth for decades. But this disturbing push to depict #SlaveryWithASmile and portray the lives of slaves & their interactions with their owners without including the truth & barbaric truths of slavery is getting out of control.

A week from today I will be sitting down for an in depth discussion about #SlaveryWithASmile on Ferguson Response Podcast. I will be joined by some amazing women Roni Dean Burren, Edi Campell & Mikki Kendall. I look forward to this enlightening & honest conversation about how our past as Black people us portrayed in literature.

NOTE: I have reached out & invited both the author & editor of A Birthday Cake for George Washington to join us – neither have responded to the invitation.

FRN Must List – January 11, 2016

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Reclaiming Our Future – The Black Radical Tradition In Our Time – Philadelphia, PA  Continue reading FRN Must List – January 11, 2016


We are pleased to share this piece from Julian Long originally posted via Facebook. Click here to FOLLOW (not Friend) Julian on Facebook.


I do not much care for Blaxplaining the way the world works. I get emotionally exhausted trying to answer “why” questions that have no answer just to show empathy with you showing empathy with me. Blaxplaining makes my intestines itch.

I point out obvious things. Signs in the sky that indicate changing weather.

But I don’t often explain why the weather has changed.

I’m making an exception today, because there’s a darkening in the skies and, in the present context of 150 white men overtaking a federal building, I’m going to try and Blaxplain how this unrest sits with us with hope that some of you, who often read my words but don’t comment, don’t share and don’t “like” them (literally or figuratively) can explain to me what you think comes next.

In August of 2014, in a small suburb of St. Louis called ?#?Ferguson? , our nation sent The National Guard along with militarized police to squelch the protests of a few scores (that later grew to be hundreds) of citizens who were appalled at the grizzly murder of ?#?MikeBrown?. These protesters were largely Black, unarmed civilians. There was some property damage. Luckily for some store owners they have insurance from somewhere similar to this Commercial Insurance Broker Toronto company or somewhere more local to them. The media continually called it rioting.

Dozens were arrested. Beaten. Pepper Sprayed. Shot with rubber bullets. And whilst some managed to defend themselves with the most powerful stun gun they could get, more were unable to do anything against the onslaught.

Some months later we pointed out how in a town in ––New Hampshire, I believe –– I dunno, someplace that just sounded really white, large groups of white unarmed civilians overturned cars, burned property, took to the streets over…pumpkins. The media called them revelers. The police were called but they didn’t bring their tanks.

It was whitesplained to us that this was different –– because it wasn’t a hot-button issue and likelihood of severe damage or loss of life was minimal. The Ferguson protests went on for DAYS, we were told – THATS why it had to come to the boiling point that it did.

We didn’t accept that. But we knew it would become the company line. Drawn in the blood on the pavement. Never to be crossed.

So then…Baltimore. ?#?FreddieGray? was given a “rough ride” that severed his spine. And the city went nuts. Students were beaten, corralled into a mall. The police leaked a false rumor about a “Purge” that they were supposedly defending against and so militarized police were called in. Again too, the National Guard. We saw images. Stark, powerful images –– of a man thrown by his dreadlocks to the ground, pepper sprayed in the face for literally doing NOTHING. We saw a gleeful cop flash a Kool-Aid smile to the camera as he tackled this Black man,like a big game hunter after he’d just sniped a lion with a scope on a high-powered rifle from 300 yards away. But no. Can’t be that. We cry for lions. We mourn fallen lions. (?#?RIPCecil?)

There were other images too.

Continue reading #BlackCloudsForMyWhiteFriends

Ferguson Response Network Podcast Ep 26 – The Year We Stepped Into Our Power – 2015 Year End Recap

@LeslieMac & Ricky from @AUADOTORG are joined by Jonathan Newsome, @AbsurdistWords, @VeryWhiteGuy & Komesia Umstead to talk all about the year that was 2015. Including: #TamirRice, #BlackXmas, Bree Newsome, #M4BL, #StoneMountain7, #ConcernedStudent1950, Freddie Gray & #BaltimoreUprising, #TransLiberationTuesday, #StayMadAbby, Women’s Freedom Conference and more. 

Subscribe to the Ferguson Response Network Podcast via:

Join the Movement:

Host Contact:


Ricky L. Hinds II

Guest Contact:

Absurdist Words:


Jonathan Newton

Komesia Umstead

Continue reading Ferguson Response Network Podcast Ep 26 – The Year We Stepped Into Our Power – 2015 Year End Recap