Today is Angela Davis’ birthday and instead of writing a post on her life achievements I wanted to shed life on how the long-time political activist has helped shape my own personal politics and identity. That might not seem important for a lot of people but very few people have that effect on me and I wanted to take this time to acknowledge how her life, sacrifices and wisdom has given me the courage to be admirable, mindful and active in my own community.
I have been trying to see Angela Davis in person for years now. Every time I made aware of her giving a lecture I would get upset because I felt denied the privilege to sit in the same room as thee Dr.Angela Davis. I was determined to see her by any means necessary.
A link was shared on Facebook stated Angela Davis would be having a lecture in honor of MLK Day and would be in Philadelphia on Jan. 17th. That’s a Wednesday and I immediately bought a bus ticket and RSVP’d. I was finally going to meet my hero, even though I probably wouldn’t be able to talk to up close and personal, I was just thrilled to be in the same room with her as she dropped her jewels especially in this political climate.
The event was set to start at 5:30 pm and I arrived around shortly after six. It was already packed and I didn’t mind because I had Shuri with me and it was best for us to sit in the back in case she started crying. I walked in on her already talking about the injustice of Palestine.
Davis is adamant that Palestine needs to be free and reserves the right to exist. In fact, for the past several years, no matter the conversation she has she always make sure to bring up the fact that Palestine needs to be free.
Angela Davis on prisons
Davis says as long as capitalism thrives so will prisons. She also noted that people think places like Switzerland and the Netherlands are mostly safe spaces for Black and Brown folks but the truth is those places have the largest southern global inmate rate that includes mostly Central and South Americans.
Angela Davis on Black Lives Matter
“Black Lives Matter helps transform how we talk about race”.
Davis talks about how the movement has helped the younger generation continue the legacy of the Freedom Rights Movement from the 60s and 70s. Davis also believes if Dr. King were alive today he would be a prison abolitionist.
Angela Davis practices self-care by listening to jazz
She also gave her opinions on future issues that are going to be the center of politics which includes climate change and food resources.
Being able to listen to her words was surreal to me. Traveling to Philly to hear her drop jewels was the best thing I could have done. Listening to her reaffirm that Black women and Black feminism are pivotal to American politics. She even said that Black women are the smartest voters. She defended her position for voting for Hillary Clinton in 2016 even though she heavily critiqued her “glass shattering feminism”. She notes that voting for Clinton would have given organizers more room to effectively organize and not be on the defense as much. She also stressed the importance of voting.
The self-described communist solidified a lot of ideas I have political and socially as it pertains to feminism and politics. Hearing her confirm and put into words my ideas gives me the confidence to want to strive to not just do better but remain resilient.
Happy Birthday, Dr. Davis and even though we have never met, I thank you for changing my life and inspiring people like me who are striving to be their best selves while supporting folks who want to do more positive in our communities.