By: Nick Meriwether, Busboys and Poets tribe member

My father used to talk a lot about 1968 – a year of great change. Protests. Assassinations. Hot Wars, cold wars, civil rights, and scandal. Some day, I will tell my kids about the summer of 2013. The summer of anger, the summer of revolution. But let’s not pretend that history isn’t repeating itself.
Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in a landmark decision the Facebook generation has quickly likened to the collapse of de jure segregation. Ironically, merely two days before the same Court gutted the most enduring legal protections for African Americans since the days of mass lynchings and bombings in Birmingham. Also on Tuesday, the U.S. rapidly accelerated its hunt for fugitive whistleblower Edward Snowden, the man currently exiled to a dingy Moscow airport hotel for leaking information about massive, unprecedented 1984-style data mining and surveillance programs. Alongside revelations about secret drones, CIA black sites, and assassinations, these newest leaks have forced a series of awkward geopolitical conversations with our “friends” in Europe and around the dinner tables of polite liberals. Deregulated marijuana and reproductive rights are just around the corner of impending progress. “Traditional marriage” is a dying cow, we caught the Boston bombers, and Barack gave us a “clean” end to a messy decade in Mesopotamia. But a year of NSA embarrassment, Guantanamo hunger strikes, and blown-up kids in Waziristan begs the question – have we sacrificed our humanity for social progress? Have we lost our minds?
The rainbow confetti is still falling in DuPont Circle and persecuted smokers are lighting up in Colorado, Washington, and recently New Hampshire. There are also economic riots on every major continent, an active genocide in the Middle East, a downspiraling global economy, and ongoing authoritarian surveillance and extrajudicial murder by our own government. Let’s not even mention things like peak oil, dead jarheads in Helmand Province, runaway climate change, or the vanishing of the honeybees. The simple fact is while we pat each other on the backs and clink glasses to a new era of progressivism, the world is devolving into a maelstrom eerily reminiscent of post-Depression Europe – a place where the angry people tell the scared people what to think. If you turn on the news, you can already hear the fear cracking their measured tones and watch the populist anger marching in the streets.
An era of great change is upon us – and unlike the revolutions of old, we now have the information and connectivity to shape history in our favor. We must refuse to be distracted by social pandering and ask the tough questions about the physical and economic devastation committed in our name across the globe. It begins with holding our leaders accountable, just like scores of demonstrators in Brazil, Turkey, Europe, Syria, and Egypt. I recommend starting with a simple Google search – Scahill, Stuxnet, Snowden – and take the information at face value. The reality of the world is at our fingertips. All we have to do is connect the dots.

 

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A Reflective Minute: The Crown Act Mural Unveiling in Anacostia

Busboys and Poets is built, in part, on the premise of being a place where, “arts, politics and culture intentionally collide.” So there is no better place for Candice Taylor’s Crown Act Mural to be displayed than on the side of a wall of Busboys and Poets in Anacostia. The 2019 Crown Act was created … Continued

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Busboys and Poets – Baltimore

You may have noticed the new mural being installed on the windows of the new Busboys and Poets location Charles Village – 3224 St Paul Street Baltimore, MD This mural is titled: The Busboy and the Poet by Mia Duvall The name Busboys and Poets refers to American poet Langston Hughes, who worked as a … Continued

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Everest Base Camp #20

FINAL POSTING FOR EVEREST BASE CAMP TRAVEL LOG. Thank you for staying with me and for your beautiful comments. Hope to see at least some of you soon. Why I am here. It is 7:15 am. Our flight out of Lukla is at 8. I savor a yak cheese omelette and my last Himalayan coffee. … Continued

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The Nepal Chronicles #1

March 2, 2021… For the next couple of weeks I will be blogging on Facebook about a trip that I have been planning the day I turned 65, which was about a year ago. I am heading to Everest Base Camp and hoping to celebrate my 66th there. I got the all clear from my … Continued

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Community Resources for COVID-19

Here are some resources that you may be able to take advantage of: Find COVID-19 vaccine locations near you Back To School After Lockdown – Tips From An NHS Psychologist One Fair Wage – Emergency Funding for Tipped Employees/Service WorkersRWCF- Restaurant Workers COVID-19 Crisis Relief Fund USBG- COVID-19 Relief Grants for Bartenders Restaurant Opportunities Centers- United … Continued

Busboys and Poets Books Review: From Headshops to Whole Foods

Busboys and Poets Books Review: From Headshops to Whole Foods

From Head Shops to Whole Foods by Joshua Clark Davis is a scholarly examination of activist entrepreneurs who use business as a tool to enact social and political change. It’s a far-reaching subject to dedicate this sort of academic rigor to, and the author limits his examination to four subjects: African American bookstores, head shops, … Continued

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Calling All Southeast DC Artists!

We’re amping up to open the doors of Busboys and Poets Anacostia and are seeking southeast DC resident artists for a mural or mural commission! Sound like something you’re interested in? Submit an email of interest along with five to seven sample images of your work to art@busboysandpoets.com by January 25, 2019. Artists will be … Continued

Busboys and Poets Book Review: Young, Gifted, and Black

Busboys and Poets Book Review: Young, Gifted, and Black

Bearing the same name as Nina Simone’s iconic song, “Young, Gifted, and Black” explores the lives of 52 black people, both past and present, who have helped shaped different aspects of black culture. As author Jamia Wilson explains in the foreword, “this book is a love letter to our ancestors and the next generation of … Continued

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Busboys and Poets Book Review: Anger is a Gift

Mark Oshiro’s contemporary YA fiction is an incredibly moving story about community, about love, and about taking a stand against prejudice and violence, even when it seems completely hopeless, and it is especially difficult to read. Especially for someone like me, caught up in my own privilege and ignorant of the struggles faced by people … Continued