HipHop Against Policy Brutality, ACLU of Texas and Abilene NAACP to Co-Host Youth Summit

Affiliate: ACLU of Texas
June 15, 2007 12:00 am

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Groups Urge Young People to “Express, Empower, & Educate” Themselves

ABILENE, TX – Three civil rights organizations are joining forces to host the first annual Abilene HipHop Summit. The HipHop Summit will be held Saturday, June 16, 2007 at the Abilene Civic Center, 1100 North 6th St. Abilene, Texas from 10 am to 2pm. Registration will begin at 9:30am. The HipHop Summit theme urges young people to “Express, Empower, and Educate” themselves to become positive agents for change in their schools and community.

“The theme summarizes what we hope to accomplish with the summit,” said Crystal Wiley, who is one of the organizers of the HipHop Summit and an active member of the Abilene chapter of the NAACP. “We want young people to use hip hop culture as a way to empower, educate and express themselves on issues that closely affect them and their respective communities. We understand that commercial hip hop music has been under attack for its language, violence and misogyny, and rightly so, but we wish to show that hip hop can be a positive agent for social change.”

Speakers Kenavon “KC” Carter from HipHop Against Police Brutality, and Veronica Garcia of the ACLU of Texas, will discuss issues concerning racial profiling and police misconduct and what is popularly known as the “school to prison pipeline.” Young people will also undergo “know your rights training” to understand how to advocate for themselves both in school and when confronted by the police.

“It is important that young people understand their rights whether in the classroom or on the streets and how to safely protect those rights when confronted by a police officer,” said Carter, whose organization uses hip hop to organize young people and communities of color around police misconduct and racial profiling.

In addition to “know your rights” trainings, the HipHop Summit will have speakers addressing how hip hop can be used as a way to empower and express oneself. Matt Worthington will teach a session on hip hop and the bible titled, “HipHop and the Prophets.” Crystal Wiley will conduct a session on “Rhymes and Lyrics,” while Kirby Wilkerson will demonstrate how individuals can express themselves though hip hop dance.

Lastly, the HipHop Summit will show the award winning documentary “Hip Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes,” that originally premiered on PBS in February. “Beyond Beats and Rhymes” takes an in-depth look at masculinity and manhood in hip hop, where creative lyrics collide with violence and misogyny and how it affects young people and the community.

“The NAACP is excited about the Summit. We must continue to fight for our kids, and equip them with the tools they need to be productive citizens in our community,” said Petty Hunter, President of the local chapter of the NAACP. “Hip hop is a way that we can get young people involved in that process.”

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