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A cypher is where emcee’s bust rhymes, b-boys do their thing, it’s 360’s of knowledge, wisdom and understanding. Hip Hop Congress (HHC) has partnered with the People’s Tribune to connect Hip Hop and other cultural   movements to the practical struggles engaged all over the U.S. For more information on how you can get involved, please visit www.hiphopcongress.com. The mission of HHC is to provide the tools, resources and opportunities for the Hip Hop generation to make an impact in their local, regional, national or online community. — Shamako Noble,  Page Editor







F Street
F Street Protest.
PHOTO /HIP HOP CONGRESS
By Brandon Greene aka Prodash

In October 2008, when the residents in the historic Las Vegas Westside community discovered that two major streets (“D” & “F”) were scheduled for permanent closure without being properly notified, a coalition called Stop the F Street Closure was formed.  After receiving voided responses from key city and state officials about the reason for the closures, the representing attorney, Matthew Callister, filed a lawsuit against the City of Las Vegas and National Department of Transportation (NDOT) on December 24, 2008, claiming a gross violation of their civil rights was committed according to federal code Title IV.
    
Frustrations rose even greater when the community discovered that Mayor Oscar Goodman  had plans to build a 6 billion dollar “new downtown” located less than 100 feet away from the closures.  A sense of segregation and redlining began to emerge leaving a very bitter taste in the air.  On February 23, 2009, the federal courts accepted the case claiming just cause on behalf of the residents. The date of the trial is pending.  
 
On Wednesday January 7, 2009, a protest march of 150 people stormed city hall to attend the City of Las Vegas Redevelopment meeting expressing their opinions about the closing of “D” and “F” Street and how they have made various attempts to do so in the past but failed in the face of opposition.  On April 18, 2009, a second protest march and sit in is planned for the Las Vegas Strip and the Las Vegas Convention Center during the National Association of Broadcastors (NAB) convention.  National organizations, civil rights attorneys, activists, and unions will join forces with the coalition in this fight for justice and equality.  
Since 1939, this historic community known as the Westside has fought for its rights to have access to public and private health, safety and governmental services and facilities. In the 1950s, residents petitioned the City of Las Vegas to install a sewer system, build decent homes, remove the cable wires from the dirt roads, and give access to public accommodations but were denied. Two years later, the mayor, C.D. Baker, agreed to the demands only if they allowed him to build the freeway through the neighborhood.   

In 1968, the city and Nevada Public Highway closed seven streets to build the I-15 freeway, walling off the area from downtown Fremont Street. The residents rose up and marched to city hall in protest of the closing, which was led by Ethel Pearson. The next day, the city agreed to open “D” and “F” Street only. In October 2008, the community discovered that the city was permanently closing “D” and “F” once again without notification.  In addition to the lawsuit, the coalition requested that the federal government research the reason why this historic black neighborhood is so grossly underdeveloped, and has been for 41 years.  The closing of “F” Street means that the community no longer has through access to the commercial agencies.   

The Stop the F Street Closure is opposed to the closing of the two major streets, the attempt to redline and segregate the community from the soon to be “new downtown” without considering the safety and health concerns of the residents in that area, and the lack of redevelopment in the community for 41 years  For more information, please contact: Brandon Greene, 702-606-3068, agreenemansdream@gmail.com, www.westlv.org 





UPC
UPC in Seattle. PHOTO /HIP HOP CONGRESS

By HHC
        
February 2009 was historical for Hip Hop Congress (HHC). Fresh off of two successful national events, HHC presented “A Day in the Life of HHC West Coast.” The aim was to coordinate and broadcast Hip Hop cultural and political activity in four states, two capitols, and twenty-four hours. Focusing on the Oscar Grant protests in Sacramento, California, a Northwest Hip Hop caravan featuring M-1 and OneBeLo through Washington and Oregon, and the “Stop the F Street Closure” struggle in Las Vegas, Nevada, HHC communicated in real time via blogs, email, text message and social networking sites to spotlight the power and practical application of Hip Hop in community organizing and movement work. The project demonstrated to the world the strength and on-the-ground reach of the organization’s rapid response network, as well as the importance of cultural organizing in the new movement.

HHC was active in the Oscar Grant rally which took place at the California Capitol Building in Sacramento. The rally was organized as a five-bus caravan and included an extensive list of Hip Hop artists, promoters, activists, student organizers, and others from around the region. “I asked, ‘What can HHC do to help the cause without reinventing the wheel?’ The response I got was to help spread information to the streets, in the hood, at the colleges, and to youth through art and events,” said DLabrie who coordinated the HHC network from the California region, “This is our strong point. We are planning a series of music compilations to inform the community about the Oscar Grant murder and speak out against Police Brutality through the voices of artists from all over the world.”

North, M1 of the Hip Hop duo dead prez, along with Midwest artist One Be Lo met community members and Unite for Youth Coalition members at the Umojafest P.E.A.C.E. Center (UPC), which is being developed as the first community-owned Hip Hop youth center in Seattle’s Central District. They were given a tour and a chance to dialogue about root causes of youth violence and the misallocation of resources for youth service spending in the city. “It’s good to see a center by us for us right in the hood,” said OneBeLo. “It shows solidarity amongst many individuals and organizations, I want to take this energy back home and on the road.”  The caravan that included artists, community media makers, and students, then traveled to Evergreen State College for a lecture and Q&A.  M-1 announced his new position as national spokesperson for HHC saying, “I want to help build a social tool we can use as a weapon to defend our people’s rights.” From there, it was to Portland for a show and a community HHC meeting before returning to Seattle in the morning.

The process of managing the real-time updates was headed by HHC’s Brandon “Pro-Dash” Green, who is active in the Stop the F Street Closure Coalition in Las Vegas. “They are creating walls between the hood and the new project which will attract tourists but keep us Vegas natives out,” stated Pro-Dash. “We feel it’s important for the Wes Las Vegas community and oppressed communities across the globe to stand up and be heard for economic and social justice,” he stated.
“We believe that the youth have questions that we need to answer, that artists have struggles and deserve our support, and that the community can resolve its own problems better than today’s politicians and law enforcement officials acknowledge,” said HHC president Shamako Noble, “It is time to stop talking and start doing.” For full article and more information visit www.hiphopcongress.com.


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