Tag Archives: civil rights

Winning students’ films explore Black Panthers and homelessness

By Anthony Beron

A 17-year-old Skyline sophomore’s video based on an R & B song by Moria Moore that uses footage of the history of Black Panthers won the Judges Award last week at  Project YouthView.

Lily Yu, a Chinese immigrant who plays jazz bass, created the R&B film Limitations, which revisits the Black Panther Party’s lasting presence in West Oakland.  She won a $500 cash prize, a Kindle and and a private screening of her film and luncheon at the Dolby studios in San Francisco.

Organized by Alternatives in Action, Project YouthView, which took place last Thursday at the Alameda Theatre in Alameda, screened films by nine finalists. “Human,” a film by Fremont High School graduates Andy To and Dara So, which tells the story of a local homeless man, won the Audience award.

For Yu, film was a new venture. “I really love music,” Yu says, “I’m in my school’s jazz band. I had just started in film, and I didn’t know much about it, so I decided to do a music video.”

Since filming Limitations, she’s contributed to three videos for KQED chronicling the Oakland dropout crisis.

The Skyline High School student came to film through the Bay Area Video Coalition, or BAVC, a group that organizes classes, events, after-school programs, and resources to help students. Yu found her inspiration in BAVC member, Moria Moore, who has since moved to Los Angeles.

“[Limitations] talks about African- Americans, and it came from Moria Moore’s album, History in the Streets,” Yu says. “I used found footage from documentaries about the Black Panthers, and I decided to focus the video on that. You’ll see [Moore] in the spots that the Black Panthers were in many years ago,” she told Oakland Magazine.

Yu said she did not show her family the video until it was completed, as it was so different from anything she’d created before. “I didn’t know if they’d understand,” she said. But they did.

Her BAVC mentors helped her shape her story. ” I had to write out locations for each shot—‘Where do I imagine this part of the song?’”

Power, Energy and Tea

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By Khristan Antoine

The work is not finished.

Or so we learned at the first annual Delilah Beasley Tea, which honored the first female African-American columnist who wrote for The Oakland Tribune from 1915-1934. She unearthed histories of African-American gold miners, lobbied for anti-lynching law and spoke out for literacy and voting rights. She fought against the use of the word “darkie” and the N word in newspapers.

We need that kind of energy today.

It was clear that Belva Davis  — also honored at the event — followed in Beasley’s footsteps in her political reporting. Congresswoman Barbara Lee called Davis “a true living legend.”  Davis charted the course for women in the whole country, said Lee,  paving the way for women in journalism.

Have the times changed? Not really. Davis remembers when she had to use a typewriter and do research from journalism clips, articles cut out from the newspaper. But even now with Google and YouTube,  she says, “nothing is recorded in history without human interference.”

Interference means action. The CEO of Girls Inc, Linda Bossehecker, was part of the celebration and announced the opening of a chapter building in downtown Oakland at 510 16th street, one block away from the BART station. “We are expanding to provide nutrition, school counseling and fitness with greater accessibility.”

Girls Inc will do outreach to West Oakland girls in neighborhood schools.  Bossehecker said, “If Girls Inc can’t go to girls, they can come to us.”

At least one Oakland student agreed. Oakland Tech student Munirah Harris, 14, found the message “empowering.” “All these powerful women in one place give me hope.”