COLUMN: Uveino says goodbye to Intrepid, SBU

By Jeff Uveino

The weather matched the collective mood of the campus community.

As clouds leaked rain across the Southern Tier of Western New York, St. Bonaventure University sat in disbelief over the previous day’s decision.

It was a Monday, and the calendar read March 14, 2016. My first visit to SBU.

The day before, an NCAA selection committee decided to leave the Bona men’s basketball team out of its championship tournament field. Despite a 22-8 record and a share of the Atlantic 10 regular-season title, the committee excluded the Bonnies from March Madness.

“The snub,” as Bona fans now commonly refer to the incident.

To my parents and I, however, the disservice done to this private, Franciscan university of about 2,000 undergraduates located 75 miles south of Buffalo didn’t matter much.

We were there to learn about the university’s journalism school. Not its basketball sob story.

Each person we met mentioned the snub. It was as if a hammer had been dropped on the head of the school’s soul. The pain radiated from each passer-by, a campus community dumbfounded over the exclusion of its beloved Bonnies.

It’s not that we didn’t care. We just didn’t understand.

Five years later, I spent March 14 sitting court-side at University of Dayton Arena.

There, the Bonnies played VCU for the 2021 A-10 men’s basketball championship and the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.

The six-hour drive to Dayton to watch the game? A small ask for myself and the dozens of Bona students that will become lifelong friends.

After all, that dreary post-snub visit to campus had all but convinced me to attend the university’s Jandoli School of Communication. With that decision came an abundance of professional opportunities, including covering that A-10 final for student media.

The Bonnies beat VCU handily. 

On the outside, objectivity fueled my stoic demeanor from the media section. My heart, however, filled with a sense of pride that could only be matched by the hundreds of Bonnies fans that scrambled toward the court to join the celebration.

Five years prior, those moments would have meant nothing. Now, the image of the confetti-laden, on-court celebration will stay with me forever.

That’s the impact that St. Bonaventure University has on its family members.

It’s hard to find the words to describe the school’s dynamic to those who haven’t attended. SBU alumni refer to the community as a family, while outsiders often prefer the term “cult.”

I still remember the guide that led my parents and I through that rainy, downtrodden tour over five years ago. He and I shared a drink over the matter a few years later.

I could write dozens of cliches to convey my love for SBU, but have been taught better than to do so.

All I can say is that the best four years of my life have been spent in the Enchanted Mountains. Thank you to every single person who has made that statement possible.

Writer, activist and revolutionary: remembering Eldridge Cleaver

By Akim Hudson

“You don’t have to teach people how to be human. You have to teach them how to stop being inhuman.” –Eldridge Cleaver 

No one is ever certain of where life will take them, nor how our respective experiences will construct our future. There are countless anecdotes of people throughout history that rearranged the trajectory of their lives after initially starting their life immersed in utter dismay.  

Eldridge Cleaver would also become one who completely rearranged his life for the better. As a juvenile, trouble always managed to find Cleaver.

Cleaver would spend a majority of his adolescence committing crimes. Some were relatively petty, such as possession of marijuana and bike theft. Others were unjustifiable and impermissible, like rape, and assault with intentions of murder. 

Needless to say, Cleaver needed to be reeled in, or at least find a refuge to get his mind right. And after being sent to two reform schools within his youth and not showing any indication(s) of rehabilitation, he would be sent to the big boys. While serving a two-year sentence at Soledad Prison, he wrote his most notable classic, Soul on Ice, which in the words of Cleaver, details, “What it [means] to be Black in white America”. 

 A year after serving that two-year bid, Cleaver was sentenced to 2-15 years in San Quentin prison for the rapes, assaults and trafficking of marijuana that he committed. Then, amid his transition from San Quentin to Folsom, he converted to Islam like his idol, El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz (Malcolm X), and wrote a proposal to Beverly Axelrod, a lawyer, for a potential parole plea. 

As another good deed besides getting Cleaver out of prison and on parole, Axelord also assisted on getting Cleaver’s essays that formulated into Soul on Ice published.  

Upon Cleaver’s release in 1966, he’d become allies with Huey Newton and Bobby Seale, co-founders of the Black Panther Party. He’d become the minister of the party shortly after befriending Newton and Seale. But unfortunately, all that was brewing whilst being a member of the Black Panther Party was a whole heap of trouble.

If you know anything about the Black Panther Party, you’d know that they were a militant organization, and prided themselves on being the front line of defense of the Black community in Oakland because the police in Oakland were notorious for brutalizing and oppressing Blacks.

So, one day, there was a shootout between the Black Panther Party and the Oakland Police Department. Obviously, a parolee cannot partake in shootouts, so after being identified as one of the people responsible for the wounding of an officer, Cleaver fled to Algeria, where he’d restart his life again.  

When he returned to the United States, Cleaver was the polar opposite of himself. A Christian, in fact. The radicalism of Cleaver was merely a thing of the past. He was slowly becoming a shell of himself, and battled with addiction, and out of respect to him and his spirit, I won’t get into the semantics.  

Cleaver died in 1998, and may have rubbed many people the wrong way with his radicalism and tainted past. But, what some may view as a notorious criminal, I view a revolutionary who released one of the most important pieces of literature in Afro-American history.

I see the man that said, “If you are not part of the solution, you are a part of the problem,” and, “The price of hating other human beings is loving oneself less.”

These are powerful sentiments that are pertinent to any era in history.  

Hero and role model? Perhaps not, but all things considered, Eldridge Cleaver left his mark on revolution, as he intended to.  

Black Hero of the Day: Shirley Chisholm

By Akim Hudson

“Reagan is the prez but I voted for Shirley Chisholm”-Biz Markie 

For someone to accomplish all that Shirley Chisholm achieved in her lifetime, she is relatively under-appreciated historically and culturally.  

The Brooklyn-born Democrat was the eldest of four daughters. Chisholm was the offspring of two immigrant parents: a Guyanese father and a Barbadian mother, to be specific. Her father, Charles, was a factory worker, and her mother, Ruby, was a seamstress. So, as you can see, Shirley Chisholm came from humble beginnings, and speaking from experience as one from humble beginnings, it builds character and ambition that could never be wavered.

Something indicative of Chisholm’s tenacity was graduating cum laude from Brooklyn College in 1946. She would garner acclaim on the college’s debate team, and many professors egged her on to pursue a career in politics, but Chisholm humbly dismissed the compliments and suggestions due to being at the major disadvantage of being both a woman and Black in the United States of America.

In 1951, Chisholm would receive her master’s degree in childhood education from Columbia University, whilst being a nursery school teacher. Come 1960, Chisholm was an advisor for the New York City of Day Care. But Chisholm stayed busy in politics simultaneously, becoming a colleague, member and advocate of a phalanx of sociopolitical coalitions, such as the League of Women Voters, NAACP (Nation Association for the Advancement of Colored People), and the Democratic Party club in Bedford-Stuyvesest, a neighborhood in Brooklyn.

In 1964, Chisholm became the second Black member of the New York State Legislature and was very active and progressive during her time in the house. Cultivating advancements in unemployment benefits by making them accessible to domestic workers, and sponsoring the SEEK program (Search for Education, Elevation, and Knowledge) to New York State, providing an opportunity for disenfranchised students to go to college. 

Though Chisholm was proactive and made her impact be known while a member of the legislature, it would only be a matter of time before she would pursue an even bigger role in politics. In 1968, Chisholm’s legend would be solidified, as she became the first Black woman elected to Congress. Almost immediately, Chisholm was effective, as she always was at every stage of her adult life. Contributing to the expansion of food stamp programs, essential in the creation of WIC (Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Woman, Infants and Children), and frankly too many to list, needless to say, Chisholm had her fingerprints all over reform, progression and advocation for marginalized peoples.  

And to add on top of the legend of Chisholm, in 1972, she ran for president. She wasn’t allowed the access to participate in nationally televised primary debates, and only allowed to recite one single speech. Inevitably, she lost.

In 1982, Chisholm retired from Congress and resumed her life as an educator, being named the Purington Chair at Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts, an all-women’s institution. This gave her the leeway to educate in an array of departments while not being a member of one specific department. SOON, Chisholm was back contributing to and cultivating more coalitions for marginalized peoples. In 1984, Chisholm and C. Delores Tucker created the National Congress of Black Women; and in 1990, Chisholm was at the forefront of fifteen other colleagues who co-founded African-American Women for Reproductive Freedom. 

At this point, you’re probably wondering, when is the limit? When will Chisholm finally have time to herself and relax? It’d be shortly after her last hoorah in the co-founding of the African-American Women for Reproductive Freedom in 1991. Unfortunately, due to withering health conditions, Chisholm would decline President Clinton’s nomination to become the United States Ambassador of Jamaica in 1993, but on a good note, she was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame, and rightfully so. There aren’t many people that I can think of that was as versatile in activism as Chisholm. Such a long career with all the credentials, acclaim, and impact to show for it.  

Though she died in 2005, Chisholm’s legacy than is larger than life and is certainly a tough act to follow. To do this much and be as underrated as Shirley Chisholm is, should be a damn crime, honestly. Peace to the spirit of this queen and all of her contributions.   

Black Hero of the Day: Gil Scott-Heron

By Akim Hudson

Another year has come to pass, which means that another Black History Month is in effect. 

Within this month, long reflection and observation of excellence, eminence and significance of a phalanx of Black figures, who have not yet been emblazoned to the extent in which they should. This series will include entertainers, activists in all departments, political advocates, artists, athletes and pop culture icons.  

Today’s Black hero is Gil Scott-Heron. Scott-Heron was a poet, pro-Black human rights activist, jazz artist and soul artist. In short—Scottt-Heron was a jack of all trades. Before elaborating on Scott-Heron’s influences that made him an unsung hero and legend, let’s first take a brief gander into Scott-Heron’s life and upbringing.  

Scott-Heron was brought up in the destitute town of Lincoln, Tennessee before moving to the Bronx, which would quickly become his home and where he’d flourish. 

In his adolescence, Scott-Heron began to put together a collection of his poems and writings, and by the age of 19, he wrote his first novel, The Vulture

The motifs utilized in this murder mystery were drug abuse in the Black community and the hardships caused by it, which would become the basis on which Scott-Heron built upon for the rest of his 40-year career. After Scott-Heron’s ensuing college departure from Lincoln, he would release an array of conscious masterpieces, and this is where the legend of Gil Scott-Heron began.  

His debut album, New Black Poet Small Talk at 125th and Lennox, would feature some of his most popular, influential (and personal favorite) spoken word poems. Comment #1, a verbal onslaught on the farce of what the United States considers liberty. The Revolution Will Not Televised, which Scott-Heron applies pressure for all revolutionaries to enact on reform urgently, to not be complacent and wait for what the media  may tell you is going on. 

And, lastly, Whitey On The Moon, heavily criticizing the gratuitous spending by the United States government amid great desolation of the United States.  

Scott-Heron would solidify his legacy with his legacy with the release of Pieces of A Man in 1971, with his most famous song, Home Is Where The Hatred Is. Detailing the inner-conflict of a broken addict within in a broken home. How running away from your home doesn’t negate one’s problems. 

Supplying the masses with an unadulterated perspective on the life a majority of Blacks were living in the 60s and 70s.  

Scott-Heron has been dubbed as “The Godfather of Hip-Hop” due to the subject matter in which he wrote about and his cadences whilst uttering his lyrics. The art reflects the environment of the artist, what Scott-Heron innovated was vulnerability on a song, without having to be a great vocalist. 

This is a foundation of early hip-hop music, and has been used ever since. Due to Scott-Heron’s ability to express the state of the urban Black community within the era of post Dr. Martin Luther King and early Black Panther party he garnered notoriety and acclaim that lasted throughout his 40-year career.  

Though Scott-Heron has often been sampled and alluded to in many classic hip-hop tracks, kudos to Kanye West mostly, he remains a relatively unknown musical genius and poet.

His work and legacy is esoteric for the most part, but the offspring of such has been a beautiful thing to witness come into fruition. May Scott-Heron’s legacy live on infinitely.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Dead at 87

photo: Lindsey Dedario/Reuters

By Nic Gelyon

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the most senior liberal justice on the United States Supreme Court, died Friday night of complications from metastatic cancer of the pancreas, according to a statement from the Supreme Court.  

Ginsburg was a cancer survivor. She was treated in 1999 for colorectal cancer, and in 2009 for stage I pancreatic cancer. In 2018, she underwent surgery to remove part of her left lung. 

She continued to work, however, through her numerous bouts with the disease. Democrats had been calling for her retirement during the Barack Obama administration, so that the president could appoint a younger liberal justice. 

But Ginsburg stood firm.

She did not miss a day of argument in more than 27 years serving on the nation’s highest court, having been confirmed by the Senate on August 3, 1993.  

Ginsburg graduated from Cornell University in 1954. She went on to study at both Harvard and Columbia, the latter of which she finished tied for first in her class. 

Throughout this time, the former Ms. Bader had gotten married to Martin Ginsburg, and had a daughter, Jane, born in July 1955.

She was caring for Martin, who was diagnosed with testicular cancer around the same time. But she never shrank in the face of adversity; she graduated from Harvard Law School and finished tied for first in her class at Columbia Law School.

She served on both schools’ law reviews. 

Ginsburg not only had the wherewithal to work in law, but the work ethic, as well. But she still found it difficult to attain work in the field. 

After her son, James, was born in 1965, Ginsburg was identified not only as a woman, but as a mother of two. She did, however, eventually settle at Rutgers Law School in 1963 as an assistant professor. 

Ginsburg used her growing stature to fight for what she cared about. She, undeniably, was no political football. 

She fought for women’s equality with the American Civil Liberties Union, attacking issues such as special benefits for men, voluntary jury duty for women, and women needing more Social Security money than men. 

She won her cases with an astonishing rate of success: Ginsburg won five of her six cases in front of the Supreme Court. 

In 1980, she was appointed to one of the most prestigious circuit courts in the country, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in Washington, D.C., where she served for 13 years.  

The rest is history.  

Today, Ginsburg has become the public face of the U.S. Supreme Court. She’s made headlines for her comments on President Donald Trump and former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick. She’s used strong language in calling out her colleagues during dissents.

Further publicizing her feisty reputation has been comedian Kate McKinnon’s portrayal of the justice on the sketch comedy show “Saturday Night Live.” A video of McKinnon’s impression, neckpiece and all, has upwards of 1.8 million views on YouTube.

The video was an ‘editorial’ from McKinnon’s Ginsburg on those calls for her retirement. 

Ginsburg braved her way through twenty-one years of cancer to voice her position on issues such as voting rights, women’s pay, and – in a strongly worded dissenting opinion – the Florida presidential election controversy. 

Her fight is one every human should try and emulate. If every person put into their lives what the late Justice Ginsburg put into hers, society would be able to achieve things we’ve never even dreamed of.

We should appreciate what Justice Ginsburg gave to the United States and in return take from her the strength with which she put the country on her back.

Black hero of the day: DJ Kool Herc

By: Akim Hudson 

Black History Month has been revered as a month long emblazon for the black masses. Although it is the shortest month of the year, everyday we celebrate, reflect, and express gratitude for the royalty that we are predecessors of. Within this month, I will fulfill the obligation of educating St. Bonaventure on the legendary black revolutionaries that isn’t  taught in the United States’ “education” system. Peace, God, I hope you enjoy your 29 days of enlightenment, beloved.

“I said a hip hop the hippie the hippie To the hip hip hop and you don’t stop The rock it to the bang bang boogie Say up jump the boogie to the rhythm of the boogie, the beat”, classic, historical, and iconic hook by Wonder Mike of the Sugarhill Gang. Hip-Hop, more than music, it is the culture. The concept of hip-hop music has been around approximately forty three years, and has yet to decelerate. The current state of hip-hop has fallen off in the facet of quality, but has reached its zenith as far as popularity goes. Hip-hop is the most popular genre in music, and the man who is credited for creating it, DJ Kool Herc. DJ Kool Herc is a Jamaican-American man who created hip-hop in the South Bronx, NY. The first to create “the break” on a turntable that rocked block parties for b-boys to dance to. Soon, other DJs would learn to scratch, mix, and sample like Herc. Without Herc, we wouldn’t have been blessed with all the culture that hip-hip has brought to the United States and the world (and sense I’m Jamaican, this makes this article that much sweeter).

Black hero of the day: Huey P. Newton

By: Akim Hudson

Black History Month has been revered as a month long emblazon for the black masses. Although it is the shortest month of the year, everyday we celebrate, reflect, and express gratitude for the royalty that we are predecessors of. Within this month, I will fulfill the obligation of educating St. Bonaventure on the legendary black revolutionaries that isn’t  taught in the United States’ “education” system. Peace, God, I hope you enjoy your 29 days of enlightenment, beloved.

After Malcolm X and Dr. King were both murdered, the black community’s patience and tranquility had exceeded its limits. There was a need for something or someone that the black community could turn to, and The Black Panthers rose to the occasion. Huey P. Newton was the co-creator of this coalition, along with Bobby Seale. While at college, the two met each other and formed the panthers to combat the police brutality and racial discrimination that was prominent in Oakland, California. By the late 60’s, The Black Panther Party rose to its utmost prominence. Gaining affiliation from Stokely Carmichael, H. Rap Brown, Angela Davis, Bobby Seale, Fred Hampton, Assata Shakur, Mumia Abu-Jamal, Pete O’Neal, and many others. Together they created a wave of black existentialism and reform. Newton was quite the samaritan, providing the black community in Oakland with food, and other necessities.

Newton has had many run-ins with the law, none more important than his incarceration in 1967 for an alleged murder of an Oakland police officer. While serving his voluntary manslaughter charge, “Free Huey” became a popular chant and the many rallies along with the chant heavily influenced his early release in 1970. After being charged for murder in 1974, Newton fled to Cuba. Ultimately I believe the federal government played a role in his demise, but Newton suffered from alcoholism, drug addiction, and poverty before his death in 1989. The feds attempted to paint a bad image of Newton, but in the black community, he will always be a hero and a revolutionary. Peace and prosperity, beloved.

Black hero of the day: Patricia Hill-Collins

By: Akim Hudson

Black History Month has been revered as a month long emblazon for the black masses. Although it is the shortest month of the year, everyday we celebrate, reflect, and express gratitude for the royalty that we are predecessors of. Within this month, I will fulfill the obligation of educating St. Bonaventure on the legendary black revolutionaries that isn’t  taught in the United States’ “education” system. Peace, God, I hope you enjoy your 29 days of enlightenment, beloved.

Influenced by the great black feminist before her such as Alice Walker, Angela Davis, and Audre Lorde; Collins specializes in inequities of race, class, and gender. Currently a professor of Sociology at the University of Maryland, College Park. Collins served as the 100th President of the American Sociological Association in 2009. She broke out with her monumental article, “Learning from the Outsider Within” in 1989, and Hill-Collins would continue to captivate the minds with her book Black Feminist Thought: Knowledge, Consciousness, and the Politics of Empowerment. With an array of books that exhibit the inequity of black women in the United States, Hill-Collins garnered her success. As always, I am grateful to have to opportunity to educate others about these great black revolutionaries. Peace and prosperity, beloved.