“Peace and love my white panther Young Patriot brother” is how Bobby Lee would greet me every time we would talk. I would respond with "Peace and love, my Black Panther brother,” because neither of us considered himself a former Panther or Patriot. Bobby kept his identity as a Black Panther up to the end of his life. Bobby lived what he preached. He wanted peace, love and equality for all people.Read More
The Rainbow Blog
Jon Langford and Martin Billheimer have recorded a song written by Doug Youngblood, one of the original Young Patriots in Uptown. Jon sings lead and plays guitar and banjo, while Martin sings back up and plays the harp. You can listen to the mp3 in this blog post.
Jon and Martin have a band called Bad Luck Jonathan with an upcoming self-titled album due in November from Blue Arrow Records.
They intend to record a whole bunch more songs from the YPO songbook.
Hy Thurman, a member of the original YPO, reports that on October 8, the Young Patriot Huntsville, Alabama Chapter will officially launch. One of its first acts will be to join the call for a 2017 New Poor People's Campaign for Today. According to Hy, the Alabama people are "really fired up" about the prospects for a 2017 New Poor People's Campaign.
2017 will mark the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King's December 4, 1967 call for a multiracial Poor People's Campaign that would present radical demands in Washington to deal with the nation's poverty. You can read more about how these demands were drawn up by following this LINK.
Dr King was assassinated in April of 1968 but the Campaign went ahead. With the US government waging war on poor people in Vietnam, the Campaign fell short of King's vision. Hy Thurmond was among those people from Chicago's Uptown neighborhood who participated in the 1968 Poor People's Campaign.
The Kairos Center for Religions, Rights, and Social Justice is one of the groups who is involved in organizing the 2017 New Poor People's Campaign. Here's why:
" Today, nearly 50 years later, we are experiencing unprecedented poverty in the midst of plenty and unnecessary abandonment in spite of unheard abundance. According to official data, at least 46.5 million people, including 1 of every 5 children, are living in poverty, an increase of more than 9 million since 2008. An additional 97.3 million people are officially designated as low income. Taken together, this means that 48% of the U.S. population, nearly one in every two people, is poor or low income. At the same time, racial and gender inequality remains as deep as ever. "
For more information about the call for a 2017 New Poor People's Campaign please visit poorpeoplescampaign.org. We will share details about the 2017 New Poor People's Campaign plans as they become known.
The YPO now has new colorful brochure we will be using to inform people about our history and our plans for for the future. The brochure is available as a PDF download.
The mission statement is on the front of the brochure and reads:
"To find, support, inspire, offer resources and train residents of poor
and working class communities to become leaders in the policies that
affect their daily lives by building upon the accomplishments of the
original Young Patriots and the original Rainbow Coalition. We will
carry out our mission by direct contact with grassroots community groups
to offer them a model to build coalitions (in many areas interracial
Please circulate this brochure widely and help get the message of the Young Patriots out to the people.
September 9 2016 was a big day for veterans of the Original Rainbow Coalition. It was the opening for a display of Rainbow memorabilia at the Uri-Eichen Gallery on Chicago’s South Side. On the same day in New York City, Hy Thurman, a former member of the Young Patriot Organization and James Tracy, author of Hillbilly Nationalists, Urban Race Rebels, and Black Power: Community Organizing in Radical Times
were panelists on a webcast sponsored by the Kairos Center for Religion, Rights and Social Justice at Union Theological Seminary. A complete audio recording of the webcast can be heard HERE
We’ve been very busy since the last posting. Among our activities were a successful musical fundraiser at The Hideout and a presentation about the history of the Rainbow Coalition at Columbia College. Progress on building the Blues to Bluegrass music organization continue. More details soon.
We have two important upcoming events:Read More
The YPO is now sharing office space with the Chicago Grassroots Curriculum Resource Center at 4554 N Broadway at Wilson Ave.
We've been busy over the past few months with activities including the Organize Your Own exhibit at the Averill and Bernard Leviton Gallery at Columbia College, a fundraising concert at the Hideout in Chicago that featured Jake LaBotz, Sally Timms and Jon Langford, a neighborhood tour of Uptown, the book release of Against the Picture Window: A Time of the Phoenix that included a special night at Carol's Pub, plans for an Organizer Institute and speakers bureau, as well as a revival of the Blues to Bluegrass organization which will be the musical wing of the Young Patriots Organization.
José “Cha-Cha” Jiménez, a founder of the Young Lords Organization, has been assembling an impressive digital collection of Young Lords documentary material at the Grand Valley State University Library. The Young Lords emerged in the 1960's as a political force in the Lincoln Park area, then a working class neighborhood.Read More
Apologies for the long delay between posts but we have been doing a lot of organizing since you last heard from us.
First things first. There is a traveling exhibit that is just finishing up a successful run in Philadelphia. Organized by Daniel Tucker, “Organize Your Own: The Politics and Poetics of Self-Determination Movements”, is a multi-city exhibition and event series taking place in Philadelphia at Kelly Writers House (January 14 – February 17, 2016) and in Chicago at The Averill and Bernard Leviton Gallery (March 3 – April 9, 2016), with events taking place in both cities throughout the exhibitions.
We still have plenty of material to add. Look for more info about the Young Patriots, the Young Lords and Black Panther Panther Party as well as the Patriot Party, Peoples Party II, Brown Berets and other organizations around the country who were influenced by the rainbow model.
We have public exhibits planned in 3 cities for 2016 about reinterpreting white anti-racist organizing from the 1970s. The primary documents the contributors have been asked to respond to include a collection of Young Patriot out-of-print books titled Time of the Phoenix: a collection of poems, songs, and stories of poor residents ranging from missing country living, southern culture in northern cities, urban renewal, police brutality, whiteness, cross-racial solidarity and race relations in general.