The Turbulence of Resistance

root - Posted on 31 December 1969

PoorNewsnetwork reporters seize media access at The National Association of Broadcasters.

by Kaponda

It was the kind of warmth that could fuel the turbulence of resistance simmering beneath the calm skies of a quiet morning. An emotional combustion of invectives and warnings were discharged at the few who monopolize the vast majority of the airwaves -- locally and nationally. Most eyes zoomed in on the motorcade as it whisked past the antics of artists from Los Cybrids, Billionaires for Bush & Gore and Poor Magazine. The former Joint Chiefs of Staff had been flicked away from the scene of protesters like a child being hustled away from a Howard Sternum radio talk show. After Lisa Gray-Garcia, Andrea Buffa and Janine Jackson had bolstered our spirits with their rage against denial of access to people of color by the corporate media, members of Poor Magazine forayed inside the territory of the National Association of Broadcasters.

The drama increased inside the Moscone Center as members of Poor Magazine demanded press badges to gain access into the Esplanade Ballroom, where the son of Jamaican immigrants was speaking. We did not anticipate the power of the few individuals who have for years denied many people of color access to the airwaves. We were witnessing, first-hand, a manifestation of the hostility of the media. As a reporter for Poor Magazine, I was outraged when the clerk initially failed to provide to me access to the Esplanade Ballroom. It was an affront to my dignity and induced flash backs of the days of overt discrimination in America.

Denial of access is the path of psychologically destructive behavior which leads the mind into disrepair. In the winter of 1999, Supervisor Mabel Teng introduced the Equal Access to Services Act and stated that she has been working on the issue of access with many Asian American groups to make sure that Asian American residents in San Francisco can access resources. In the August 24th edition of AsianWeek, she stated that "Asian Americans are very concerned about equal access and equal opportunity." In the same edition of AsianWeek, Supervisor Michael Yaki stated, "....I think we [Asian Americans] have concerns about access to services." Leland Yee also stated that an important concern among Chinese Americans is access to the children and family services and public safety available to most San Franciscans.

As reporters, students and the leadership of Poor Magazine patiently waited to receive press badges in time to listen to and conduct an interview, head-on, with Colin Powell, we were broadsided by an apparatus with a blue uniform.

As my editor and the manager of the press registration department left the stage to go on-line for verification of our claim as a legitimate magazine, one of our students, Anna Morrow, decided to capture an image of a San Francisco Police Officer. He abruptly walked over, pointed his finger near her nose and blared, "You cannot take a photograph of me unless I give you permission!" After Anna challenged him on the law, he blathered on about going to 850 Bryant Street to "See for yourself."

The policeman symbolized everything that the members of Independent Media Center, Media Alliance, Coalition on Homelessness, Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, Los Cybrids and the Billionaires for Bush & Gore were protesting against. He grasped at the first opportunity he could to disrupt our mission. He threatened to lock a member of our magazine away. Also, he attempted to interfere with our getting access to the event.

During his freshmen year at City College of New York, the keynote speaker at the event sponsored by the National Association of Broadcasters, Colin Powell, was directly affected by racism. He was told that because of the color of his skin, he was denied access to Best Cadet for the entire encampment. He recalled vividly in his book, My American Journey, how his family was proud to move into a neighborhood in transition. He recounted the days when he drove from the South back to New York and was forced to use the toilet designated for "colors." In his book he recalled the time when his white driver could not worship with him in a Gainesville, Georgia church "for fear it might not sit well with the local whites." The Four-star General and former National Security Adviser asked the world in his book, about "the lunatic code that made it wrong for two men to sit together in a house of God, or share a meal in a restaurant or use the same restroom."

By the time the impartial observer who monitored the event had intervened into the conflict between Anna Morrow and the policeman, Anna was backed up to the tip of my shoes. The observer escorted them outside the room where, according to Anna, the police officer apologized for a misunderstanding.

When it was clear to everyone in the press registration room that the frolicsome behavior displayed by the members of Poor Magazine outside the Moscone Center had remained outside the Moscone Center, and that Lisa Gray-Garcia, Anna Morrow, Barbara Huntley, Joe Bolden and I had come inside to gain ACCESSto cover a media event and the keynote speaker, Colin Powell, the corporate decision makers immediately authorized our press badges. That we will no longer tolerate the ethics practiced by the National Association of Broadcasters is the statement every protester came to make at the Moscone Center, North on Thursday, September 21, 2000. This message will soon be echoed throughout Corporate America, and it will ring true in the ears of spoken wordsmiths, poets and artists whose gifts make up the voices of diversity in America.


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