Since President Trump’s inauguration, millions have taken the streets in protest of his agenda of war, racism and attacks on the poor. Even before he took office, people were looking for an outlet to express their anger and frustration with not only President Trump, but also the system that created Trump and gave people the choice between him and widely-hated war-monger Hillary Clinton. It was in this atmosphere that the ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism) Coalition’s Los Angeles chapter opened up its office for the community to come together and express their anger, frustration and art every last Sunday of the month.
This gave birth to the ANSWER-LA open mic series Feedback Sunday. ANSWER has been a key component of the anti-war movement in Los Angeles and is now offering a platform for visual art, poetry, song and all forms of expression to come together as one. Some of the artists who featured at Feedback Sunday include:
Feedback Sunday featured artists such as Féi Hernandez. Féi is a Trans Non-Binary, immigrant, poet and artists from Inglewood, California and a full-time 6th grade art teacher, spoken word instructor, reiki practitioner, tarot card reader, performing poet and artist, and VONA fellow. Féi was also featured in ‘Her Campus’ after performing at Feedback Sunday. Her Campus is the #1 new-media brand for the empowered college women. Later, Fei was also featured in ‘We are mitu’ (www.wearemitu.com) which is a home away from home for Latinos in the United States and inspires to create authentic, culturally relevant stories. (Link)
Mike Davis AKA Hood Profet, is a community organizer for going on 6 years, focusing on dismantling the school to prison pipeline and working with youth in south central Los Angeles. He now devotes his time and energy to organizing for poetry, teaching folks that your artistry is resistance and it is okay to reclaim that.
Feedback Sunday also featured KING. KING is an intellectually ratchet organizer with Black Lives Matter Los Angeles as well as LA chapter chair of Black Star Liberation Party. They are a nationally acclaimed poet who has competed on Da Poetry Lounge’s slam team and has been featured on platforms like Afropunk, Huffington Post, Instyle Magazine, and more. They believe in using art as a liberatory practice all while sarcastically fulfilling the angry Black girl stereotype. Their art focuses on their story from being non binary and Black- to being radical and an organizer to currently battling blood cancer and the system.
Bernie is a poet from Ontario, CA and a recent graduate from Cal Poly Pomona with a degree in Gender, Ethnic and Multicultural Studies. After years of sexual and emotional abuse, Bernadette decided to become a certified sexual assault counselor in 2014, and she continues to speak out against sexual violence in her life and through her poetry. Her goal is to one day create a space and see a world where survivors of abuse can share their stories without fear of being shamed, not believed and retaliated against. She sees a little bit more of that world every time she gets on stage.
Feedback Sunday also featured short films. Like this short film by Kwanza Gooden and Andrea Lewis. Film Name: Black Girl Magic – Film bio: Black women are no strangers to the injustices that plague this world. Though constantly facing disparities in the workplace, the justice system, and in mainstream media, they’ve remained resilient and continue to be pillars in their families, communities, and in the fight against oppression. The term Black Girl Magic was created to remind black women of their strength, and to celebrate their ever-growing achievements. In this short documentary film, created by Andrea Lewis and Kwanza Gooden, several women reveal what the term means to them, and how they define their own magic. Here is the link to the short film: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Fb1BNMOOPk
Feedback Sunday hosts local activists and poets such as Eddy & Stephanie also known as STEADY. They are spoken word artists and community organizers based in Los Angeles. They are co-founders of Sunday Jump, an open mic series in Historic Filipinotown, and leaders of Kabataang maka-Bayan or KmB / Pro-People Youth, Los Angeles, a progressive organization that raises the next generation’s social consciousness.
Lastly, Feedback Sunday also featured Lifter, a Los Angeles based rap artist and an organizer with the People’s Congress of Resistance-Los Angeles is among the long list of performers that were featured at Feedback Sunday this year.
ANSWER has played an important role in the fight against racist and religious profiling, in support of immigrant and workers’ rights, and for economic and social justice for all. Feedback Sunday has continued that fight and has now brought artist from all walks of life together as one at a time where all sectors of society are being attacked by President Trump and Congress. Feedback Sunday was also featured in FEM, UCLA’s feminist newsmagazine that is dedicated to the empowerment of all women, the promotion of human rights, the recognition of gender diversity, and the application of intersectional feminism. (https://femmagazine.com/feedback-sundays-what-does-black-history-mean-to-you/)
In its first year, Feedback Sunday brought in hundreds of people supporting their local artist and performers. Feedback Sunday purposed itself as more than an ordinary open-mic but to also facilitate dialogue for social change and awareness. It featured revolutionary artist and journalist Abby Martin, Creator of the Empire Files, Founder of Media Roots News. Abby was featured as Feedback Sunday honored International Women’s Day in March. She spoke on many issues, one being the number of women in the journalism and how it is dominated by men.
Feedback Sunday also featured local DJ artist Marco AKA Anatta from Boyle Heights. Marco is founding member of Condina Records, a musical collective. Marco and Condina records have been featured in We Are Mitu (https://www.facebook.com/pg/wearemitu/videos/?ref=page_internal) as well as MARACA (https://www.facebook.com/pg/MaracaTV/videos/?ref=page_internal).
Feedback Sunday functioned as an energized space for local artist, poets and activist to grant acceptance that does not exist in our current culture and political climate. The series opened up dialogue for discussion of capitalism, imperialism, anti-blackness, patriarchy and everything that marginalizes our community. In unsettling times, spaces and events such as Feedback Sunday are vital for building community and people power.
In the last 9 months ANSWER-LA organizers has been busy in multiple actions, including protests on the day of Trump’s Inauguration, International Women’s Day and May Day, the Defend DACA march, and various spontaneous actions where the community has come out in solidarity with those targeted by the system. ANSWER-LA organizers have also been involved in solidarity efforts for Puerto Rico, Cuba and the Caribbean islands affected by the hurricanes.
We are looking forward to continue these efforts and community work in January 2018 for season two of Feedback Sunday.