Ayman

Ayman is a co-founder of Existence is Resistance, an organization that recently traveled to besieged Gaza and the West Bank and links progressive hip hop artist from the US with those in Palestine to raise awareness against the occupation. Growing up in both New York and war-torn Lebanon shaped his outlook on the world. Over the past ten years he has been an anti-war activist and a supporter of freeing political prisoners such as Mumia Abu-Jamal. He has also organized against police brutality and cuts to CUNY.

Mar 152014
 

20140315-153330.jpg

Good News on the Vegan Front
By Omowale Adewale

The first quarter of my 100 vegan campaign is soon coming to an end. I am happy to report on Julie Chang Schulman and Tamrah Little who have been vegan for 74 days and both lost 30lbs and 42lbs respectively. Wow!!

Truth is, I have never met anyone who has turned vegan and adopted an approach that absorbs nutrition from a variety of whole foods and sustains an active lifestyle not lose unwanted weight quickly and naturally.

Tamrah and Julie have thoughtfully credited me and the #GoVeg2014 campaign for inspiring their switch, but the reality is it takes true compassion and love for living things and a strong understanding for justice to make yourself happy. And that inspires me.

Tamrah reported on March 6th after going vegan on January 1, 2014, the launch of #GoVeg2014, “…Though I’ve had plenty of slip ups on this journey so far, I know my health, my family, the planet and of course the animals are benefiting from it.” She also recognized her family and friends as being supportive to her vegan efforts.

These slip ups she revealed are eating products with whey, casein or “natural flavor” (which may mean animal product). These common issues will be ironed out when new vegans become more aware in religiously reading their labels and as we as a community push for more transparency in nutrition labeling with sensible legislation.

Tamrah, like many new vegans also found difficulty in maintaining her new lifestyle outside of the home when she goes out to restaurants. Julie also does what many vegans do in this predicament: eat French fries. But they have stayed true.

This is America and a lifestyle change can have its bumps and bruises. Some American cities are just less vegan-friendly than others, but as time goes on, being vegan does get easier.

Vegans will choose restaurants with less death on their plates; they will ask what’s available and if there are compassionate substitutions. I don’t have to reiterate what the benefit is. However, I will inform you if you’ve been thinking it over with your conscience, resiliency and/or weight management issues you can only win by learning to find solutions in a world of healthy alternatives.

Today, I am over a year being vegan. Although, I have been vegetarian for 20 years prior to, I feel the positive difference immensely. My strength has continued to increase and so has my recovery during training for tonight’s mixed-martial arts fight. This is why professional boxer Timothy Bradley turns vegan during his training and I am hoping he will live a lifestyle this way soon! You feel awesome, but, there’s a game plan.

Many vegans have their favorite foods. However, getting a nutritionally balanced-meal in for the length of the day or week is the key to a long and healthy life. That means raw foods in the morning like cereal made from granola or rolled oats with raisins and bananas helps give you your fruit and grains.

20140315-153610.jpg

A fun option for lunch can be an eggplant hero w/out cheese, make the cheese yourself from nut-milk or buy a substitute “cheese” from your local supermarket. With your lunch, have a seaweed and sunflower seed salad. Make a bean burrito and or burger out of beans and rice.

20140315-153645.jpg

Dinner can be a split-pea or lentil soup with onions and tomatoes. This way, vegans not only get their vegetables and legumes, you eat a meal with complete protein and sufficient iron, calcium and b12 for the entire day.

For more background on 100 vegans in 2014 aka #GoVeg2014, check out my new radio interview with Our Hen House. If you are interested in reaping all the reward of going vegan and need support for recipes, exercises, vegan locations in your area and other tips find “Going Vegan 2014” on facebook and register at #GoVeg2014 for live conversations and our mailing list.

Feb 282014
 

20140228-093309.jpg

Black History, Veganized
By Omowale Adewale

Yesterday, I completed a 10-mile run in hopes of elevating my training to another level prior to my March 15th mixed martial arts fight. The shredded oats, granola (I like oats), raisins, hemp seeds and goji berries in almond milk helped me prepare for this sudden long haul. One cup has over 30 grams of complete protein, 100+ grams of carbohydrates, and sufficient amounts of calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, niacin, vitamin C and other vitamins and minerals. Vitamin B12 can be obtained from rice milk, yeast extract and organic soy products. 1

For two weeks, I relied on weight training and no running. Muscles act as shocks which absorbs the concrete ground impact thus weakening your muscles. I’ve sworn off running into the double-digit numbers solely based on my poor legs, feet and battle-ridden knees. Years of sports has eroded much of the cartilage in my knees. The hard pavement provides no soft impact for worn knees. Nonetheless, long distance runners will always prefer the outdoors to treadmills. But, at age 35, my right shin is a bit bruised and my left foot alone has a couple sprains. So, why start my run after 12:30am? Triumph. Accomplish a crazy dare to myself. But especially, to provide my bruised soul some solace. My heart aches.

Two days ago, a giant in the movement for people’s justice, Chokwe Lumumba died. Some may not be familiar with that name. It doesn’t have the resounding effect as Jay-Z or Barack Obama. Without casting blame on the ignorant, if we’re fair, there’s a profound contradiction with that ignorance. You know of celebrities and leaders of symbolism, but not of men who’ve spent their lives fighting for justice. The Honorable Lumumba had worked on numerous fronts of justice; as both a civil servant as the Mayor of Jackson, MS and as a lifelong revolutionary. He was the founder of the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement and a former member of the Republic for New Afrika. As an attorney his clients included Assata Shakur and the ancestors Geronimo Pratt and Tupac Shakur. 2

I knew of his work, but I had only met the Honorable Chokwe Lumumba one time only days before his Mayoral run-off. His daughter Rukia Lumumba, a dear friend and comrade introduced me to him at a support event in New York. While, it was a pretty relaxed event, I had to be the most casually dressed person there. I was in the midst of training. Rukia said a few words about my work, yet, I felt disheveled and off. Luckily, for me, candidates such as Lumumba are more interested in tangibles over appearances and symbols. Later, my mentor and elected revolutionary Charles Barron walks in and the three of us begin discussing politics. As I reflect back to our discussion time with the two foremost elected revolutionary men in office, a huge void has become heartbreakingly apparent to me. It will take maybe a thousand souls and several hundred years of combined experience to adequately complement the legacy, integrity and work that the Honorable Lumumba left behind. As I send all my hopes and positive energies into the atmosphere wishing that the whirlwind of hurt subsides sooner than later for the Lumumba family, I realize that not only did the black community, but the world community concerned for social, political and economic justice suffered a setback.

20140228-093219.jpg

At about the seventh or eighth mile I was ready to stop. My legs were breaking down. I jog with weights on both ankles and dumbbells in my hands. It signifies the weight my opponent prepares to place upon me during competition. I thought about how small this sacrifice was to just one of Harriet Tubman’s journey’s toward the North and then the weight on the backs of those rotting away in the “free world” for their political beliefs, our black political prisoners. I completed that run with my body broken down and prepared for more work, higher work. I want to support 5-10 black activists become vegans as part of the campaign to help 100 people go vegan in 2014. #GoVeg2014

After posting my article “Weight Training for Vegans” several nutritionists responded about how much extra protein one would need to accomplish going vegan. The fact that they would place their professions on the line with such inaccuracies was unfathomable. There isn’t a protein deficiency plaguing the black community, or in any part of America. Heart disease is the reigning number one killer in the black community. Last time I checked, cholesterol, a micronutrient generated by your body’s liver is heavily stacked in the three main ingredients on a roll of bacon, egg and cheese is the main contributor to LDL (low-density lipoPROTEIN), which is known to causes stroke and cardiac arrest through clogging. 3

20140228-093609.jpg

It’s not difficult being vegan. It’s difficult being a radical vegan. Explaining to some in plain language about the health of living creatures and the health of humans becomes testy and more about taste buds and tradition. Traditionally, in America black people were brought to this country as slaves to work for white America. That tradition has made some reliant on black slaves, as there are 2 million people tied to prisons. Tradition is not a good argument for eating meat. I should point out that using the argument of animals being enslaved in some comparison to blacks having been enslaved is not a bright one. If it were so equitable and plain, all radical vegans would recognize and wrestle with their white privilege.

What is real justice? Justice, aside from objectively righting a wrong is supporting that which is not always in your personal, sole, limited, subjective and self-interest. That is whites challenging white privilege and white power globally in the face of their own racial status and bank accounts. It looks like men standing up to men for women whenever necessary in the face of our jewels and born patriarchy. That looks like human-beings becoming vegan in spite of our stomachs or what’s fashionable.

Some of you may gripe about these issues. Know that I genuinely care and I am accessible to you. But also know that justice is not limited to your personal story, your job title or your feelings. Until justice can be achieved there can be none. I invite you to break bread with me and discuss politics and veganism this Saturday March 1st at the NYC Vegetarian Food Festival. From 1-2pm, I will be at table #6 as a guest of Gardein. And from 3-6pm, I will be at table #28 (note this new table) as a guest of Amrita Health Foods.

Visit nycvegfoodfest.com for more information.

#GoVeg2014

1 http://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/6386?fg=&man=&lfacet=&format=&count=&max=25&offset=&sort=&qlookup=oats

2 http://www.thenation.com/article/178546/chokwe-lumumba-revolutionary-end#

3 http://www.heart.org/idc/groups/heart-public/@wcm/@hcm/documents/downloadable/ucm_300301.pdf

Feb 252014
 

BE SEKOU by M-1 & Divine

Written and Performed by M-1 and Divine

Produced by M-1, Divine, and Digitalglo

Video Directed by Jamal Joseph

Photography, Editing, Visual Effects by Joel Davenport – www.gugohi.com

Produced by Jamal Joseph and Joel Davenport

Production Manager: Dietrice Bolden

Additional Photography: Ryce

Featuring:

Impact Repertory Theater
Abiodun Oyewole
Hassan “GIANT” Yasin
The Bartendaz
The Order of the Feather Fraternity

Special Thanks:

Sister Dequi
The Sekou Odinga Defense Committee
Brother Bullwhip
Neal Shoemaker & Harlem Heritage Tours
The Dwyer Cultural Center
A Harlem Film Company/New Heritage Films Production

20140225-195845.jpg

Feb 052014
 

20140205-124542.jpg

Do Not Turn Killer George Zimmerman into a Reality Show Star

By Ayman El-Sayed

As if we do not have enough crappy reality TV shows and people doing whatever embarrassing or outlandish things to become reality TV stars now the murderer of 17 year old Trayvon Martin is weaseling his way into becoming one by asking to fight a celebrity.

Rapper The Game accepted the challenge but now reports are that DMX will be the one fighting Zimmerman instead. I’m opposed to celebrities or anyone for that matter accepting his offer for several reasons.

First of all, he will be profiting off of the killing of Trayvon Martin by possibly getting a paycheck for this fight. He is using his “fame” or notoriety after getting away with shooting to death a young unarmed teenager as a way to get his foot into the reality show world.

His offer to fight a celebrity has garnered him a lot of attention and that is his goal. I believe he is using this fight opportunity to eventually pitch a new reality show or to join one of the countless ones in existence already.

Second of all, it won’t bring justice or peace to the Martin family even if Zimmerman loses and gets beaten. Many have argued that they will be joyed to see Zimmerman get beat up and their feelings are understandable but if it’s going to lead him to more money making opportunities then it’s not worth it.

Zimmerman should be shunned and isolated from greater society for what he has done. He should live every moment thinking about that night and his assumptions and decisions that led him to murder a teenager walking home from the store. He should live with regret and struggle to make ends meet as a form of punishment since the justice system failed the family of Trayvon Martin. Instead he is making money off of what he did in the form of a painting he drew which sold for $100,000 on eBay and now with this fight.

Even if George Zimmerman loses the fight he still wins. He wins by getting paid for the fight. He wins by using the fight as a way to catapult himself into more reality TV. He wins by trivializing the death of Trayvon Martin and turning this very serious injustice into a mockery.

20140205-125018.jpg

Third, we should be talking about racial profiling, the stand your ground law, the ways the cops handled the case, the injustice in the court verdict and the double standards of it all not focusing on a boxing match that will only benefit a murderer and not the Martin family.

Racist killings of innocent black men and women have continued even after the murder of Trayvon Martin. All of us, including these celebrities, should be putting our energy into organizing people and speaking out against injustice, racial profiling and murder.

One way to honor Trayvon Martin and his family would be to stop another racist killing like that from happening not allowing the killer to profit from it.

The opinions reflected in this article are those of Ayman El-Sayed and do not necessarily represent the views of Existence is Resistance.

Feb 032014
 

lah tere palestine

Cushi: Being Black in Israel – Palestine

This film will document the conditions and treatment of several Black communities within Israel/Palestine in an effort to bring them together.

The term “Cushi” is the only Israeli word for blacks literally translating to “Nigger”. The fact that this is the only word in Hebrew to describe people of African decent or those with dark skin, denotes the racism prevalent in Israeli society today.

For the past 1.5 years, Existence is Resistance along with filmmakers and activists from the US and UK committed to bringing social justice through the use of cultural mediums have been working together to produce a documentary which would highlight the conditions and treatment of various Black communities within Israel/Palestine. Additionally, this film seeks to create a platform for these different groups to tell their stories and connect with each other. This documentary would start with the Black communities within Israel eventually moving into the West Bank. The group will spend two to three days in each community, speaking and connecting with people of all ages who will guide us through their daily lives. Once each destination has been visited and documented, the group will bring one person from each community to spend three days together. This would culminate in ten people of African descent in Israel/Palestine connecting together for the first time.

What We Need & What You Get

  • The funds we are asking for is at a minimal covering expenses for all involved during the 1.5 months of filming (this includes transportation, accommodations, translators etc). None of the funding is allocated towards editing this film as the filmmakers are donating their time to the editing process.  For a copy of our proposed budget plan, please email us at eir.nyc@gmail.com with “Cushi Budget request” in the subject.
  • Our vision is to have all donors involved in the making of this film as much as possible. In addition to inviting all donors to the screening of the first cut of this film, all those who cannot physically be present, will receive a copy in order for ALL to give feedback.
  • Should we not reach the entire funding goal, we will start the documentary and edit any footage we shoot in an attempt to convey the importance of this project in order to continue fundraising.

The Impact

  • As you are reading this over 2000 African immigrants have already been deported from Israel back to their home countries and thousands more are confined to unsanitary deportation centers in the desert not knowing what will happen from one day to the next. The ill treatment and racism experienced by Blacks in Israel/Palestine is unfortunately not confined to those nations alone.  Anti-Black racism is rampant the world over and this film seeks to draw the connections between the struggle of the African diaspora through highlighting what is happening in Israel/Palestine. We feel that this film will help build long standing relationships between different black communities in Israel/Palestine which we hope will eventually lead to them supporting one another.

Other Ways You Can Help

  • Its simple….every little bit helps. Please share this with all your friends and family.
  • If you are interested in setting up a screening for the future please email us eir.nyc@gmail.com
For more information on Existence is Resistance please visit us at:
 

Contribute Now

 Posted by at 3:25 pm