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Black Lives Matter - Ghosts Can't Tell Stories

Season 1, Ep. 15

This emergency episode was made quickly during a time of uprising following the killing of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and countless other African Americans by police.


We hear readings of “A Small Needful Fact” by Ross Gay.  


perhaps, in all likelihood,

he put gently into the earth

some plants which, most likely,

some of them, in all likelihood,

continue to grow, continue

to do what such plants do


Fellow-AIDS scholars, Drs. Jih-Fei Cheng and Nishant Shahani (co-editors with me of the book AIDS and the Distribution of Crises, Duke 2020) make resonant connections between ecology, blackness, strength, and violence. How plants, earth, and seeds center rather than scatter us. This reminds Nishant of the daily bounties of the earth, the mundane and sustaining connection to the food we grow and eat, another poem: Eve Ewing’s “I saw Emmett Till this week at the grocery store.” 


The histories of violence written into plants and fruit—seeds, tobacco, and viruses—and attendant histories of pleasure, labor, medicine, and colonial and global capitalist theft will then focus Jih-Fei’s reflections, also borne from poetry and protest.


Eric Garner and Emmet Till were silenced by violence. But their stories persist -- voluminous, angry, peaceful, and mundane -- through the words of poets and critics. In this way, we connect to the hardtruth #69 written for the online primer on digital media literacy, “ghosts can’t tell stories” by Quito Zeigler


Poems are not a solution but rather an invitation and an invocation to act and do a little differently, perhaps as plants do: help us breathe so we can engage together to better the internet and ourselves. Join us in the change!  


Read or respond to a poem or hardtruth found at the online primer of digital media literacy, #100hardtruths-#fakenews or fakenews-poetry.org.


To read Jih-Fei and Nishant's full pieces of writing on which this episode relies, please see "Following A Small Needful Fact," by Jih-Fei Cheng and "Thinking about Small, Needful Facts," by Nishant Shahani on the Duke University Press blog: Dispatches on AIDS and COVID-19: Continuing Conversations from AIDS and the Distribution of Crises (Dispatch Three).


Organize your own Fake News Poetry Workshop.

Reach out with questions or content @ 100hardtruths@gmail.com.

Twitter: @100HardTruths

Instagram: #100HardTruths

YouTube: 100 Hard Truths

#BlackLivesMatter

More Episodes

8/21/2020

Black Lives Matter - Speak and Spell, Teach and Tell, Count and Swell

Season 1, Ep. 17
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8/14/2020

Resist How We Are Framed

Season 1, Ep. 16
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Season 1, Ep. 14
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