Angela Davis visits Radford, supports youth activism

Angela Davis called upon the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to drive a new march toward progress, transformation, and advocacy for our community.

She brought this idea to the staff and students of Radford University on January 20 in Preston Hall from 6-8 pm.

Davis is a long-lasting activist. She was a member of the Black Panther Party, and a leader of the Communist Party USA. Davis founded Critical Resistance, an organization wishing to remove the prison industrial complex.

In 1969, Ronald Reagan requested to bar her from teaching at any university in California, a response to her membership in Communist Party USA, which she isno longer a member of. She later joined the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism. This group broke away from Communist Party USA for their support of a Soviet coup attempt in 1991.

Davis thinks a new form of security is in order, one that is beyond the reformation of prisons and the police.

“It seems to me that it means jobs and education and housing and health care and mental health care. And when I say housing, I’m not referring to housing that costs a half of one third of one’s income. And when I say health care, I’m not talking about health care that is being held captive by a capitalist system that places more value on the degree to which profit can be generated than the health of human beings,” said Davis.

Before these closing lines, she addressed several problems in democracy, capitalism, prison and the police. Davis tipped her hat to demonstrators, and argued their help in transforming society.

“Davis thinks a new form of security is in order, one that is beyond the reformation of prisons and the police.”

“Activism by such organizations as Black Lives Matter, The Dream Defenders and many important youth organizations that have emerged in the last period. And so, I want to begin, by thanking in the name of Dr. Martin Luther King all of the young women and men who are responsible for the contemporary upsurge in radical activism,” said Davis.

All Lives Matter as a response to Black Lives Matter serves as colorblindness that she thinks covers racism. To her, All Lives Matter addresses the universal, but fails to see specific issues.

The subject of poverty ran deep in Davis’ speech. She thinks poverty resulted from a system that displaces the many from the few.

“The dispossessed of this nation, the poor, both white and Negro live in a cruelly unjust society,” said Davis in reciting a passage from Dr. King’s The Trumpet of Conscience.

“But today, CEOs make just under 300 times the income of typical workers,” said Davis.

As members of Unions have decreased, the amount of people in jail have risen. This includes both men and women. She thinks women that are both in and outside jails do not get enough attention.