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Tag: Ferguson


Professor Bill Banfield: Reboot Our Codes of Social Commitment

Bill Banfield

Bill Banfield

Bill Banfield is a professor of Africana Studies/ Music and Society and director of the Center for Africana Studies and programs at Berklee. An award-winning composer, jazz guitarist /recording artist, and public radio show host, he has authored five books for Scarecrow Press on music, arts, cultural criticism, and history.



. . . Social movements generate new knowledge, new theories, new questions. . . concrete intellectual engagement. . . for confronting systems of oppression. . . Progressive social movements. . . the best ones do what great poetry does, transport us to another place, compel us to relive horrors, and more importantly, enable us to imagine a new society .

From Freedom Dreams: The Black Radical Imagination by Robin D.G. Kelley

We’ve all been seeing in our country a televised, necessary convulsion of consciousness over the unjust killing of young black men, and talking more and more about why it’s happening at a senseless, visible rate.

Over and over we’ve seen now film images of gangs of police officers singly and together pounding, choking, enforcing brutal suppression, and more killing. And then there are the never-ending global conflicts in which murder and mangling of bodies is the tactic of terror that justifies a group’s positions of political dissatisfaction or engrained hatred. This all contributes we are sure, to a heavy feeling of human loss and doom.

What strikes my chords is that we must do things now to change the direction of our actions forward on many sides. In a conversation with a friend, I admitted my frustrations and said I believe we need a systematic reboot of our codes of social commitment. That is, how we redefine and refine how we must be in the world we live in today and beyond.

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Professor Jetro Da Silva: Racism Beyond the Headlines

Professor Jetro Da Silva (far right) stands with Berklee president Roger H. Brown (middle) and members of the Laboriel family.

Professor Jetro Da Silva (far right) stands with, from left: Abe Laboriel Jr. ’93, Abraham Laboriel Sr. ’72, Berklee president Roger H. Brown, and Mateo Laboriel ’03.

Jetro Da Silva is an artist, educator, producer, and researcher. Da Silva’s experience, training as a keyboardist, producer, and arranger has increased his opportunities to work with people such as: Whitney Houston, Jamie Foxx, Patti LaBelle, Pastor Andrae Crouch, Earth Wind and Fire, Chaka Khan, the Pointer Sisters, Gladys Knight, Brandy, Sheila E., Namie Amuro, Bonnie Raitt, Stevie Wonder, Luther Vandross, Kem, Celine Dion, Patti Austin, Emilio Santiago, Monica, Mary Mary, and many others.

Last week, the Berklee community gathered to reflect and respond to developments in the Ferguson, Missouri coverage. Berklee professor Jetro Da Silva was among those who shared thoughts and personal experiences. The following post from Da Silva builds on those initial thoughts.

I remember when I first met our dear college president, Roger H. Brown. He was very enthusiastic when he found out that I was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and with a great smile he said something like (I am paraphrasing here), “I have an impression that Brazil has less of the stark racism than we have in the U.S.?” I responded saying, “No, Roger—I am sorry to disappoint you, but this is not true.” I could see in his face an expression of disappointment or surprise.

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