Levees Not War
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Posts Tagged ‘New Orleans schools’

Rising Tide X Is Aug. 29, Tenth Anniversary of Katrina

Saturday, August 15th, 2015

DeRay Mckesson, Social Justice Activist, Is Keynote Speaker

We are registered and all kinds of psyched for the 10th annual Rising Tide conference—“the premier annual new media conference in the GulfSouth”—to be held on Sat., Aug. 29, at Xavier University in New Orleans. Admission is free,  and the lineup is great. Check it out.

The keynote speaker will be civil rights activist (detail of) DeRay Mckesson Sid Hastings:for WDeRay Mckesson, a former school administrator recently profiled by The New York Times Magazine for his organizing genius in using Twitter and other social media to publicize police violence in Ferguson, Mo., Baltimore, Charleston, and beyond, and in popularizing the Black Lives Matter movement. Rising Tide organizer Mark Moseley says Mckesson is “at the forefront of an innovative digital movement to expose and resist systems of racial oppression.” (More about DeRay Mckesson and the NYT profile below.)

Another guest speaker we’re eager to hear—we met him at an RTX planning meeting in May—is former New York Times reporter Gary Rivlin, author of the new Katrina: After the Flood, recently published by Simon & Schuster. Rivlin has been praised by Nathaniel Rich as “a sharp observer and a dogged reporter . . . unerringly compassionate toward his subjects.”

Panel Discussions on Environment, Transportation, and Schools

RTX poster from RT-FB.bIn the great Rising Tide tradition, there will be informative talks on such perennial concerns as the environment, and education, and transportation in New Orleans.

The environment panel—of keen interest to this blog—will be moderated by Anne Rolfes of the Louisiana Bucket Brigade (based in Lafayette) and including Pulitzer Prize–winning reporter Bob Marshall (now of The Lens, formerly of The Times-Picayune) and Jonathan Henderson of the Gulf Restoration Network. (Click here to see Anne Rolfes and Bob Marshall at Rising Tide 6 in 2011, commenting on the BP oil spill.)

The talk about transportation around New Orleans—“a conversation about how New Orleans makes infrastructure an obstacle course”—will be moderated by Megan B. Capone of Public Transit Tuesdays, with Dan Favre of Bike Easy, Rachel Heiligman of Ride NOLA, Jeff Januszek of Fix My Streets, and Amanda Soprano from #NOLATwitter.

The education panel, “Education in New Orleans: The Next 10 Years,” is moderated by Dr. Andre Perry, columnist and 2014’s keynote speaker, and brings together Amanda Aiken, principal of Crocker Elementary; Sharon Clark, principal of Sophie B. Wright Charter School; Karran Harper Royal, parent advocate; Jamar MckNeely, CEO of the Inspire Network; Dana Peterson, deputy superintendent, Recovery School District; and Lamont Douglass, parent and PTA member at Wilson Elementary.

Among other attractions, BrassyBrown.com—“Where women of color are first in line”—presents Black Women Writers, “10 Writers for 10 Years”; Cynthia Joyce, editor of the new anthology Please Forward: How Blogging Reconnected New Orleans After Katrina; Scott Sternberg talks politics; and Dr. Beth Blankenship surveys social services and domestic violence issues in post-Katrina New Orleans.

And there’s much more. See the Rising Tide blog for further details about the program and the participants, how to register—it’s free—and more.

Click here for Levees Not War’s live-blogging and other coverage of Rising Tide, since 2007.

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Johnetta Elzie & DeRayMckessonNYTMag

More about DeRay McKesson

In a profile of Mckesson and Johnetta Elzie in The New York Times Magazine (shown at MoKaBe’s Coffeehouse in St. Louis) titled “Our Demand Is Simple: Stop Killing Us,” Jay Caspian Kang writes about the protests in Baltimore following the death-by-police of 25-year-old Freddie Gray:

One protester was DeRay Mckesson, a 29-year-old former school administrator who has spent much of the past nine months attending and catalyzing such protests, from Ferguson, Mo., last summer and fall, to New York City and Milwaukee in December, to North Charleston, S.C., in April. Mckesson, who is from Baltimore, had returned to his hometown not long after Gray’s death to join the protests. . . .

Since Aug. 9, 2014, when Officer Darren Wilson of the Ferguson Police Department shot and killed Michael Brown, Mckesson and a core group of other activists [including Johnetta Elzie] have built the most formidable American protest movement of the 21st century to date. Their innovation has been to marry the strengths of social media—the swift, morally blunt consensus that can be created by hashtags; the personal connection that a charismatic online persona can make with followers; the broad networks that allow for the easy distribution of documentary photos and videos—with an effort to quickly mobilize protests in each new city where a police shooting occurs.

The Los Angeles Times reports that Mckesson and Elzie have helped launch the National Police Violence Map at MappingPoliceViolence.org, a collection of data on police violence fatalities—at least 197 black people have been killed by police so far in 2015—for which they were honored with the PEN New England 2015 Howard Zinn Freedom to Write Award.

Rising Tide has had many distinguished keynote speakers over the years, solid authorities on all kinds of important subjects—from historian John M. Barry and and Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré  to actor Harry Shearer and Treme creator David Simon—but this year’s guest speaker may be one of the most compelling yet. Mckesson will certainly bring a brave and passionate commitment to social justice and a can-do spirit about democracy that we all need to hear.

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Click here for links to previous Rising Tide posts here at Levees Not War. We’ve been going, as often as possible, since 2007, and we hope to see you there.

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Top photo of DeRay Mckesson by Sid Hastings for The Washington Post. Rising Tide X illustration by Varg. Photograph of DeRay Mckesson and Johnetta Elzie by Christaan Felber for The New York Times Magazine.

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