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Say No to Hate: Christopher Hollis

Atlanta and America have never participated in reparations for its genocide, land theft, and displacement of indigenous peoples, its kidnapping and enslavement of African peoples, or its destabilization, colonization and assassinations in other nations. So, in 2018, what we are still faced with is the displacement, incarceration, and murder of black and brown people in this city, this country, and this globe.

Christopher Hollis
Photo credit: Credit: Ryan Vizzions / IG: @amodernghost

Christopher Hollis is a musician, painter, and activist grounded in Atlanta. He studies creative writing at Georgia State University and is an active volunteer at Radio Free Georgia (WRFG 89.3FM) where he hosts Rhythm and Resistance, a bimonthly program that broadcasts independent music and community activists.

Say No To Hate 1

Christopher Hollis: Atlanta and America have never participated in reparations for its genocide, land theft, and displacement of indigenous peoples, its kidnapping and enslavement of African peoples, or its destabilization, colonization and assassinations in other nations.

So, in 2018, what we are still faced with is the displacement, incarceration, and murder of black and brown people in this city, this country, and this globe.

Pick an issue and it can be categorized within that reality. Here in Atlanta we speak the names Deravis Caine Rogers, Kathryn Johnston, and Anthony Hill; all murdered by the state. Atlanta sends its officers into an apartheid state, Israel, to train in militarized techniques used on Palestinians. It’s called GILEE, and its home is with Georgia State, the university that bought Turner Field and wouldn’t enter into a community benefits agreement with the neighborhood organizations, where the Beltline runs through, and the privatization of public resources looms. There is no one, isolated problem. There is a systemic problem.

Say No To Hate 2

Christopher Hollis: Engage in a diversity of tactics. Specific solutions vary, but the best visions for a better world are articulated when engaging with those who experience the oppression. This is true no matter the tactic — literature, music, legislation, and activism. We must support those most affected and the organizations that do the work, in whatever service we have in this life.

Today, as I write this on August 21, the national prison strike has begun. It’s still Black August. Just this morning, Freedom University released a report detailing the experiences and conditions of undocumented students in Georgia, where they are unable to attend higher education at major public education institutions. Project South recently released a report about the conditions “Inside Atlanta’s Immigrant Cages,” and they echo the call with other organizations like GLAHR (Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights) to shut down ACDC (Atlanta City Detention Center) and end the city’s contract with ICE. Tenant organizers such as those at the Forest Cove apartments in Thomasville, along with the Housing Justice League, are demanding better living conditions and the right to return to their apartments. Sanitation workers are striking. College faculty and students are fighting for a union. The trial for Robert Olsen, who murdered Anthony Hill, will be coming up soon.

Say No To Hate 3

Christopher Hollis: I participate in protesting in the streets. I believe in visibility and reclamation of space in times of mourning and resistance. Or any time. I beat the drum. But I don’t want to default to that as the touchstone for grassroots activism.

This past week, my mind has been engaged with the memory and life of two beautiful black organizers that transitioned on: Monte Qarlo and Kiwan Benson. Both engaged in grassroots activism through performance, curations, and relationships in and around black TLGBQ identity and experience. Where they saw fit to critique, they engaged with their community and created music, identity, solidarity, and principle, all rooted in liberation and abolition. Wherever one finds a home, creates a home with and for their people, amidst all this pain in life, that is where you will find the flower. That is where the grassroots come out of.

Say No To Hate 4

Christopher Hollis: It’s a tool. Use it. Strategically. These platforms, these technologies, are extensions of ourselves, as Marshall McLuhan would point out. We are curating our own broadcasting through these communities, and there have been great exchanges of information and organizing with them. However, always be in control of your own narrative and your own history. Share these ideas and strategies outside of those networks. We must not forget about those who don’t participate, for many reasons, in various technologies. Oftentimes the most impactful exchanges are in person, in the grass, amongst the roots.

Say No To Hate 5

Christopher Hollis: WRFG Atlanta 89.3FM. Radio Free Georgia. One of our best sources for local progressive media. My participation as a listener and volunteer with the station has been fundamental in my political education and community activism. In its 45 years, WRFG has and continues to broadcast the voices and information of those who experience oppression and exploitation and those who resist it.

Say No To Hate 6

Christopher Hollis: I would like to trouble the word Hate. It can often make us see the perpetration as individual instead of systemic. I’m also very concerned at how hate crime legislation has directed funds to the very police and prisons that are murdering and incarcerating oppressed people. But I think one of the things we can do is identify it. Call it out by its name. Don’t be afraid to voice what you are critiquing. Let it be heard and let it be righteous. Folks like to be universalist sometimes, but we just don’t all experience the same oppression or lived experiences. So we need to participate in solidarity. Say No to apartheid. Say No to deportations. Say No to oil pipelines. Say No to prisons. And then engage.

What moves you? What’s your jam? Do you cook, paint, phone-bank, donate, play music, legal observe, put a stamp on an envelope? There is a way to incorporate your service to movement. It is moving, it is kinetic, it engages. What’s unacceptable is non-participation.




{DIV(class="other")}Related:
Say No to Hate Main Page
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Echos of the '60s — MC5 founder Wayne Kramer discusses the problems of today
From the stage to the streets — an interview with Atlanta musician Ray Dafrico
Activist Organizations in Atlanta
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