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Author Topic: CIVIL RIGHTS WARRIOR - Harry Belafonte  (Read 78 times)
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« on: June 23, 2008, 10:40:35 pm »

Harry Belafonte
with daughters, Gina Belafonte (L) and Sheri Belafonte-Harper

What bothers Belafonte today is the lack of young leaders. So he has been trying - "on my own dime" - to bring young people into political action. He was recently galvanised by seeing on television a five-year-old girl being taken away from a Florida school in handcuffs. "Her only crime was that she was unruly in class. She did nothing threatening, she stabbed no one, there was no violence. There was a time you brought in a counsellor or a social worker, but now you incarcerate them and take their fingerprints. It so shamed me that I called a meeting of the old civil rights leaders and many younger activists to discuss the plight of children and the justice system."

The meeting was held in Atlanta - to be near King's vision - and was so successful it was followed by conferences of young people in Alabama, California, upstate New York and Tennessee. "They have chosen to call themselves the Gathering. It hasn't found its Dr King yet, but it's building a life of its own."

These days Belafonte sees himself as working "outside the box" of conventional politics. He's not impressed with the presidential choices offered by the Democratic party, but he does see Barack Obama as someone who could play a positive role. "There's a place for him, but he's the final determinant as to whether he achieves that or not. He needs to capture the imagination of a universe hungry for decent thought and passion. All he has to do is be truthful and have a vision for what to do and stop playing a goddamn game of politics. If he does that, he'll get everything he needs."

Obama recalls in his autobiography: "More than once my mother would point out: 'Harry Belafonte is the best-looking man on the planet.'" But clearly he will need more than flattery to win over a man hardened to the superficiality of American politics.
« Last Edit: June 23, 2008, 10:47:17 pm by Bianca » Report Spam   Logged

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