We’ll, here we go again with a new spin off.
It’s been one year since the launch of the Strategy and Soul Movement Center, and we realized that it’s time to move faster both physically and politically full force into a Black South LA. So for us, the first thing is to get property, get it fast, and build large centers of resistance. So we’ve bought a Craftsman House on Crenshaw and Venice—where we plan to move the Strategy Center’s administrative offices that have been on the top floor of the Wiltern for 25 years. This year our goal is to raise $100,000 and to fully build out Strategy and Soul and The Crenshaw House.
“We’ve been here through all time…”
For 20 years, the Strategy Center has been organizing in South LA. Our Bus Riders Union has been on Metro buses 210, 710, 207, 757, 204, 754, 40, 115, 111, 105, 107, and the 305. Our Community Rights organizers have worked at Crenshaw High School, Manuel Arts, Augustus Hawkins, and Westchester. We’ve also worked at Trade Tech, South West College, LACC, and West LA Community Colleges. But now it is focused at the corner of King and Crenshaw—Strategy and Soul—where we have Strategy and Soul Films, Strategy and Soul Books, Strategy and Soul Food, and our Fight for the Soul of the Cities movement office.
We are Building a Machine to Take on the System. We need your help to make our efforts explode.
Strategy and Soul
This year at Strategy and Soul, we’ve hosted more than 10 great events including film showings, book signings, community meetings, and political discussions.
We hosted our first Revolutionary in Residence: Kamozi Woodard. Kamozi worked closely with Amiri Baraka and the Black Arts Movement in Newark New Jersey. He spent a week with Strategy Center Organizers, Taking Action High School Students, and the HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and University) LA Interns this summer teaching us about his own revolutionary past, and teaching his book: A Nation within a Nation: Amiri Baraka and Black Power Politics.
We hosted book signings with Kelly Lytle Hernandez City of inmates: Conquest, Rebellion, and the Rise of Human Caging in Los Angeles, 1771–1965 and Thandi Chimurenga No Doubt: The Murder(s) of Oscar Grant
The Pan African Film Festival hosts their film festival every February in the Crenshaw Baldwin Hills Mall, and every summer they put on a 3-day marathon of the films for their volunteers. We’re proud to have sponsored four films in the festival and to have partnered this year with Ayuko Babu and Asantewa Olatunji to host their summer volunteer festival at the new State of the Art Strategy and Soul Theater. We had around 100 volunteers each night, and a great working team that used every inch of Strategy and Soul to create a successful event.
The Fight for the Soul of the Cities has been on the move. This year we brought a Federal Complaint to the Department of Transportation charging the LA MTA with violating the civil and human rights of Black Passengers. We spent the entire summer on the Trains collecting stories from mostly Black passengers, who told us and me about their experiences of police brutality, harassment, being ticketed, intimidated, and in some cases arrested. So far we’ve collected over 120 surveys from passengers describing the violations of the MTA. In all of the stories we’ve collected, at least 75% of the incidents began with an armed officer walking up to them and asking to see their tap card. In August the Long Beach Telegram reported the murder of Cesar Rodriguez on the Metro Blue Line at the hands of MTA contracted Long Beach Police. I want to be clear that Fare Evasion is not a crime. According to the United Nations one of the definitions of Genocide is: “Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part”. When Black people are only 20% of MTA ridership, and 9% of the city population, but receive 55-60% of all tickets and arrests on Public Transportation, it is clear to me that the MTA is deliberately carrying out Genocide against the Black Nation. We have brought a Federal Complaint to the Department of Transportation, and we’re bringing a civil rights lawsuit against MTA.
Now we need your help to launch the Crenshaw House with flying colors—the Strategy Center’s administrative office, a future Strategy Center University, and every other possible idea—we have more imagination than funds to carry it out.
I Joined the Bus Riders Union 10 year ago, and although I was not around for the great movements of the 1960s, and 1970s, I’ve seen the movement through the eyes of The Strategy Center as we have accomplished a lot amazing things. The Strategy Center won 2.5 billion dollars in improvements to Public Transportation, Ended the LAUSD’s truancy tickets for high school students, helped to pass the LAUSD School Climate Bill of Rights. Graduated many classes of Revolutionaries from the National School of Strategic Organizing, and most recently got LAUSD, the 2nd largest school district in the country to return military grade weapons they requested from the department of defense 1033 program. I plan to give generously; I hope you will join me in in doing so.
Please Donate Generously
Channing L Martinez