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Left Forum: Remembering Bob Lee, Peggy Terry and the Original Rainbow Coalitions

AT THE LEFT FORUM SUNDAY JUNE 4th, 3:40pm John Jay College New York City

ROOM 1.125

Must be registered Discounted admission available

Bob Lee who passed away in March was a member of the Illinois Black Panther Party and was dispatched to build the “Original Rainbow Coalition” with the poor white Young Patriots, Young Lords and Rising Up Angry.

Peggy Terry was a white southern migrant worker who broke from a Klan family history to work with the Congress of Racial Equity and Jobs Or Income Now, while mentoring new generations of activists in Chicago.

This panel of people who knew and worked with Lee and Terry will explore their political legacies and the lessons they hold for those energized by the Black Lives Matter, immigrant defense, and anti-Trump movements.


Jakobi Williams, From the Bullet to the Ballot The Illinois Chapter of the Black Panther Party and Racial Coalition Politics in Chicago

Melody James, former member Jobs or Income Now Community Union

Hy Thurman, Young Patriots Organization

James Tracy, Co-author Hillbilly Nationalists, Urban Race Rebels and Black Power: Community Organizing in Radical Times

Asantewaa Nkrumah-Ture, Global Women’s Strike

Moderator: Collen Wessell-Mc Coy, Kairos Center NYC



Freedom Budgets

Thanks to Rooflines, the blog of the National Housing Institute for running this piece a co-authored with Gordon Mantler about the Freedom Budget for all Americans, authored by longtime civil rights activist and March on Washington organizer Bayard Rustin, was a “step-by-step plan for wiping out poverty in America during the next 10 years.” Written in 1967, it offers a counter-balance to debates about Trump’s first budget. Roundly criticized at the time for being too moderate, most of the proposal’s ideas would be considered far-left by today’s standards of discourse. (In the United States, at least.) Take a look here:

Where Do We Go From Here? Toward a New Freedom Budget.

For further reading: A Freedom Budget for All Americans: Recapturing the Promise of the Civil Rights Movement in the Struggle for Economic Justice Today by Paul Le Blanc and Michael D. Yates.



Poor Whites & the Black Panther Party

14721628_10208059266495646_4584833943452439742_nThis recording was made at the 50th Anniversary Celebration of the Black Panther Party for Self Defense. The panel “Poor Whites & the Black Panther Party,” packed the the conference room at the Oakland Museum of California. There are a ton of critical issues discussed here around the intersections of class, race  and gender in contemporary organizing.

Panelists: Marilyn Katz (Jobs or Income Now!) Chuck Armsbury (Patriot Party) Hy Thurman (Young Patriots Organization), Amy Sonnie (Co-author Hillbilly Nationalists, Urban Race Rebels and Black Power: Community Organizing in Radical Times)

Moderator: Chance Grable, UC Berkeley.

Listen here:


About half way in, an excerpt from the documentary American Revolution II was screened. You can watch that here:


It’s Going Down Interviews with Armsbury and Thurman


It’s Going has posted excellent interviews Chuck Armsbury (Patriot Party) and Hy Thurman (Young Patriots) exploring the histories of their organizations and the possibilities of multiracial alliances in left politics. These interviews provide an welcome antidote to the liberal scapegoating of poor and working-class white people for the rise of Trump. These long interviews are well worth the listen.

Visit these links:


Audio From The Original Rainbow Coalition Online Seminar

bpp8If you missed the online seminar for the Lessons From the Original Rainbow Coalitions (9/9/16), you can listen to the audio here:

Thanks to the Kairos Center for having Hy Thurman and myself over to tell the story of how the Young Patriots, Young Lords, Black Panthers and Rising Up Angry catalyzed the Original Rainbow Coalitions. Please note that this audio recording references some photos we shared on the conference. I’ll be working on a combined audio/visual version of this in the near future.


NYC Event: Reboot the Rainbow: Lessons From the Original Rainbow Coalitions and the Poor People’s Campaign



__www_baystatebanner_com-files-Natl17d-2____No matter who wins the White House in November, the forces of white reaction and right-wing nationalism will emerge stronger than they have been for decades. Using the Original Rainbow Coalition and the Poor People’s Campaign as starting points, we’ll pull lessons from past movements that can be applied to the present day. The event will be interactive, with speakers including: Hy Thurman of the Young Patriots Organization, Lynn Lewis (Picture the Homeless) , Sasha Hammad (formerly Retail Action Project & Young Workers United) James Tracy (co-author Hillbilly Nationalists, Urban Race Rebels and Black Power) Willie Baptist (Kairos Center, author of Pedagogy of the Poor) and John Wessel Mc Coy (Kairos Center). Together, we will arrive at concrete ideas for fighting for social justice in the contemporary era.

You can get a “ticket” here. No one will be turned away for lack of funds, but your donations will help with the travel costs for Hy Thurman, one of the leaders of the Young Patriots’ Organization which brought poor whites into the Rainbow Coalition.


Online Seminar: the Original Rainbow Coalition

The Original Rainbow Coalition, formed in Chicago in the late 1960’s, was the alliance between the Chicago Black Panther Party, Puerto Rican Young Lords, and Poor White Young Patriots Organization. It was one of the moments in the history of this country where poor people came together across racial lines to build power, support each other, and fight for their shared interests.

The Original Rainbow Coalition represented a real threat to the established powers both locally in Chicago and nationally. The Chicago police conspired with the FBI to assassinate Fred Hampton, one of the key figures from the Black Panther Party, in his bed and to seriously undermine the Rainbow Coalition effort.

On Friday, September 9th at 12pm EST, the Kairos Center will  hold an online seminar about the history of the Original Rainbow Coalition and its lessons for today. We’ll be led by James Tracy, co-author of Hillbilly Nationalists, Urban Race Rebels, and Black Power: Community Organizing in Radical Times and Hy Thurman, who was a leader in the Young Patriots Organization at the time of the Rainbow Coalition.

To register, please visit: the Kairos Center’s website: