A "black" progressive.



My homie (and Liberator reader/contributor) Moe was featured in Newsday the other day as a part of their Black History Month series. Tell em why you mad sun!

(Newsday) The progressive approach: Maurice Mitchell, 29, is the lead organizer for the Long Island Progressive Coalition and downstate organizing director for Citizen Action of New York. He trains activists to advocate for better schools as well as affordable housing and health care. Mitchell, who was born to immigrants from Grenada and Trinidad, graduated from Long Beach High School in 1997 and Howard University in 2001. He lives in Long Beach.

"What drew me into activism was my parents' sense of justice, the stories they would tell me about their journey from poverty in the West Indies to the United States. The bedtime stories were about historical stories of the black struggle in South Africa, the United States and the Caribbean. I identify as a black American, but I also see through the lens of an immigrant.

"When you look at any indicators for a society's health - like education and housing - they're all racialized. We still live in a segregated country, a segregated island. We have so much work ahead of us. I'd just like to be remembered as somebody who tried in his own way, and humbly, to make a difference, and I carried that out with some level of integrity.

"One of the most significant successes we had was around equity in school funding. It's the simple idea that no matter what community children come from, regardless of how much money their parents make, their racial background, their ethnic background, their immigration status - if you're in a school you're going to get quality education.

"It took us seven years. We built a grass-roots movement from around the state, just regular, everyday people and regular, everyday students, just fighting for that principle ... it built to a crescendo. We were able to pressure the government to change the way we fund schools. That was due to political pressure happening from students and parents in Central Islip, Wyandanch, Brentwood, Hempstead ... coming together, organizing, finding little pressure points they could apply pressure on in state government. The result is billions of dollars in education [funding] we're hoping will translate into marked differences in the quality of education for students." (source)