Activist author talks politics and diversity

Melissa De Piñeres

The San Diego City College Diversity Committee brought activist and author Kevin Powell to talk about his latest book, “The Education of Kevin Powell: A boy’s journey to manhood.” The event was held in the V building on Feb. 27.

Powell opened the forum by bringing up the recent Oscar’s award ceremony. He discussed the nominated movies and has talked about the importance of diversity throughout his tour. “There is a lack of diversity in Hollywood because there are no films about Muslims, Asians, Latinos, you take away “Moonlight” and there is no LGBT movies,” Powell said. “We have work to do: movies like “Hidden Figures” about black women who help NASA put the first man into space should not be a shock. There are thousands of stories like this but not enough movies like this put on the regular basis.”

Powell made his first television appearance on MTV’s first season of “The Real World,” after battling with alcohol addiction. He made a run for Congress which led him to become a political activist and author of twelve books, according to his website. During his tour, “What do we do now? America in the age of Trump,” Powell talked about historical events that led to Trump’s presidency.

“Trump is not a new phenomenon. He is saying the same things that have been going since 1964 and 1980,” Powell said.

Politics aside, the activist explained to the City College audience that regardless of the political parties, the people are the ones that make democracy. Powell compares his life with a hip hop insight which led him to interview Tupac Shakur before his death.

“The definition of hip hop is making something out of nothing; poor African-Americans and poor Latinos created hip hop,” Powell said.

Growing up as a poor African-American with a single mother, Powell reminded listeners of the importance of education and diversity. “What kind of human beings are we?” Powell asked. “I don’t want to live in a country where a small percentage of people get to control the decisions for the rest of us and we have to accept those decisions, that’s not called a democracy,” Powell explained.

“I don’t care if you’re Republican, liberal, Democrat what kind of human beings are we?” Powell asked the audience. Although Powell is no fan of Trump he shared that this presidency leaves space to fight back. “I believe in justice for all people,” said Powell. “I am a heterosexual black man, but if a queer sister or brother is hurting I feel it.”

In his recent autobiography, Powell shares a memoir of his life as a heterosexual African-American growing up in a poor class neighborhood. He describes how he dealt with race and gender issues not growing up with a father role, and the impact that it took in his life. He has traveled all 50 states to present his book in colleges and schools.

“For me the most valuable schools in America are the schools like this one (San Diego City College), because of the diversity,” Powell said. “This is the real America.”