Activist speaks for Black History Month

By Brook Stallings.
Why is Black History Month important? Boots Riley, hip-hop artist and political activist, gave 140 BCC community members his answer at his speech on Wednesday at N201.
“History in general is like looking at a map,” Riley said. “It helps you decide where you are, it helps you identify yourself.”
Raymond “Boots” Riley was raised in Oakland, California. The son of a lawyer and progressive activist, he was a co-founder of The Coup in 1991. Their latest album is “Pick a Bigger Weapon” in 2006, which Rolling Stone called “the rare record that makes revolution sound like hot fun on a Saturday night.”
He continues to be a progressive activist and hip-hop artist in Oakland, and travels around the country speaking on progressive issues.
Riley has thought of himself as a progressive, and most of the time, a revolutionary, he said, since he was 15 years old.
“I thought the system needed to change,” he said. “This system works for a very small group of very wealthy folks, and all of us make them rich.”
Black history is one that contains a heavy lot of struggle, according to Riley. “Even the little changes only came through struggle,” he said.
However, we don’t hear about the disruptive tactics used by the civil rights movement. One little-known fact is that Rosa Parks didn’t just decide not to give up her seat one day, Riley said. Parks’ action was part of a coordinated effort to get black people and black churches