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
The Chicago art show includes photographs, posters, leaflets and newspapers from the Black Panthers, Young Lords, Young Patriots, Rising Up Angry and others who accepted the Panther's assessment of social and economic inequalities and used their "Ten Point Program" as a model in their own communities. It closes October 7.
On the evening of September 9 a panel spoke to a packed house at the Chicago gallery and a lively discussion followed. The panelists included:
- Billy “Che” Brooks: The former Deputy Minister of Education for the Illinois Black Panther Party
- Dr. Robert Brinkman: A doctor who worked at the at Patriot Organization Clinic
- Brian Boyer: A Sun-Times reporter who helped expose the police lies around the assassination of Fred Hampton.
- Omar Lopez: Former Education Minister for the Young Lords Organization
- Mario Phillips: An Englewood activist who spoke on behalf of Mother’s Against Senseless Killings (MASK) an anti-violence group based in Englewood.
- Andy Willis: A local Chicago activist who moderated the program
The Uri-Eichen Gallery is planning a weekend of films about the original Rainbow Coalition on October 1-2 and a closing panel to discuss how Rainbow Coalition’s actions and ideas relate to today’s struggles.