Hey Man. What Are You Doing Out Here?

 Speaking at The Armory in Pasadena, CA for Listen Los Angeles

Speaking at The Armory in Pasadena, CA for Listen Los Angeles

I've been challenged to write about why I'm writing. Talk about going meta.

I changed my site from AndreHenryMusic to AndreRHenry because I felt a seismic shift in mission in the middle of 2016. I tell the story all the time. The police-involved deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile in that same week was a watershed moment for me.

That week I pledged myself to begin studying the influence of race on the criminal justice and political systems in the U.S. in a deeper and more intentional way. What I found was that racism was a much more pervasive and deeply entrenched problem than I had previously understood. I decided that somehow, some way, I must invest my actual body in the pursuit of racial justice.

Since then, I've become an enthusiast about social movements, a student of racial justice, and a seeker of hope. I want to learn everything I can about how the world has changed for the better so that I can help others see how it can change in the future. 

In his book Political Process and the Development of Black Insurgency: 1930-1970, sociologist Doug McAdam talks about the importance of "cognitive liberation" in the emergence of social movements. Basically, although people have the power to change society, they will not use that power until they come to understand the status quo as unjust and subject to change. I see a lot of my work, truthtelling, as a part of that crucial part of movement building.

Without the right mental frameworks, people will not start movements. So I'm writing to expose injustice, create frameworks for viewing those injustices, and to inspire people to act. 

That's what I'm writing for: to provoke people to actively pursue racial justice.

You can read more about this on my about page.