Black Internet Crashes the Gates

by: Matt Stoller

Mon Nov 12, 2007 at 15:07


The Jena 6 protests, which were some of the largest protests around civil rights in years, were organized by ColorOfChange.org.  Because of its success, the group has been attacked by DJ Michael Baisden, who accused the group of taking money meant for the Jena 6.  Baisden has been forced to apologize, as Howard Witt reported.

Only one national civil rights group, Color of Change, has fully disclosed how the $212,000 it collected for the Jena 6 via a massive Internet campaign has been distributed. The grassroots group, which has nearly 400,000 members, has posted images of cancelled checks and other signed documents on its website showing that all but $1,230 was paid out in October in roughly equal amounts to attorneys for the Jena youths.

You can see all this information here.  What I find fascinating is how the group outdid the NAACP.  Here's Jill Tubman:

NAACP: 500,000 members, almost $20,000 raised for Jena 6, 0% of funds disbursed to families and lawyers to date

Color of Change: 400,000 members, over $200,000 raised for Jena 6, 100% of funds disbursed to date

Color of Change raised about $10k of the money that went to Donna Edwards last week, and began working on the CBC with the fight against the Fox News/CBC Institute debate.  This is a very important group, because it is serving as a bridge for African-American activists who have not had a way to involve themselves in the political process.  It serves as a Moveon-style organization, working among black radio, black blogs, and political elites. 

ColorofChange and its dynamic director James Rucker has arrived as a serious force in progressive politics.

Matt Stoller :: Black Internet Crashes the Gates

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Awesome (0.00 / 0)
$200,000 for the Jena 6 is damned impressive.

I support John McCain because children are too healthy anyway.

Please take care with language (4.00 / 1)
"This is a very important group, because it is serving as a bridge for African-American activists who have not had a way to involve themselves in the political process.  It serves as a Moveon-style organization, working among black radio, black blogs, and political elites."

I found this phrase to be a bit upsetting, and since words are the tools of bloggers, I think it is important to be careful what words you choose to use.

You state that African-American activists have not had a way to involve themselves in the political process.  This can't be the full intent of this sentence.  There have been African-American activists involving themselves in the political process as long as there have been African-Americans in this country.

Also, there are African-American bloggers, and just because you have not recognized them before now, does not mean that they are not out there. 

Read (not bloggers) Patricia Hill Collins or Audre Lord for a better perspective on how majority groups tend to discount other voices of activists.  Take care not to silence the voices of people that you have decided not to include in your dialogue. This pattern tends to exist in all social movements, and I hope that you will work to not include this pattern here as well.

I'm assuming you didn't mean to offend, but it is important to be careful how you frame an issue.


Getting Thier Attention (0.00 / 0)
I'm not African-American but I did go to a majority AA high school and did work for a now-retired charter member of the Congressional Black Caucus.  All I can say is that a Donna Edwards victory over Al Wynn would be huge and would really, REALLY get the attention of Black Caucus members.  Many of them dismiss the power of the blogosphere in the black community and joke about bloggers as frustrated white grad students who never change out of thier boxers.  The jokes would stop instantly if Donna Edwards wins and one thing is sure, there is no way that anyone but the Democratic Nominee will ever win in Maryland's 4th District.  Viva Color of Change!

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