By Brianna McAdoo, Special to the AFRO
In the spirit of “inspiring social change,” Washington D.C.’s very own Busboys and Poets on K Street Northwest welcomed the legendary activist, author and scholar Angela Davis, Oct. 11, with an intimate conversation with Democracy Now’s Amy Goodman.
An energetic Busboys server, doubled as the emcee for “An Evening with Angela Davis” making sure to emphasize the mission of Busboys at the beginning of the night. “Busboys and Poets is a community where racial and cultural connections are consciously uplifted… a place to take a deliberate pause and feed your mind, body and soul… a space for art, culture and politics to intentionally collide,” the server told the audience.
The evening began with a dynamic performance from the internationally acclaimed acapella ensemble, Sweet Honey in the Rock, followed by a poem dedicated to Angela Davis by the 2014 National Poetry Slam Champions, the Beltway Slam team.
The exchange between host and guest was an intimate conversation that took the audience on a journey through the life and the politics of Angela Davis. Within the span of two hours, they discussed everything from the presidential election of 2016, the global effects of Donald Trump as president, to what led to Davis’s going “underground” in 1970.
When asked about why she went “underground,” Davis jokingly admitted, “Well, I wasn’t gonna turn myself in.”
Although there were many moments of laughter, Davis was incredibly vulnerable about the trauma she experienced as a political prisoner and the loss that both she and her comrades experienced due to state sanctioned violence.
Davis recounted growing up in Birmingham, Ala. and the routine burnings and bombings of Black homes and churches, including her home church that burned down when she was 11 as a result of her church holding an interracial discussion group.
Davis spoke about Black women’s history of resistance within politics and her solution during difficult times. “Follow Black women. If you follow Black women, you can’t go wrong.”
By the end of the evening, Davis had called for the abolition of prisons, expressed her support of emerging LGBTQA and feminist movements, critiqued Barack Obama’s choice to go to war in Afghanistan and reminded people that you can be both supportive and critical of people in positions of power.
Before the night ended, Davis made sure to remind the audience where their hope lies.
“I know the world always appears to be so chaotic and sometimes we can’t see a way out, but I think the work that we have to do is to guarantee we pass our legacy to the next group, to the next generation and that’s our only hope for achieving change.”
Busboys and Poets is a multi-purposed restaurant that also doubles as a coffee shop, event venue and book store. Founded in 2005 by Andy Shallal, Busboys has made its mark on the Washington, D.C. community not only as a popular restaurant but as an inclusive community space.
Entry to this event was granted with a purchase of any book written by Angela Davis. And additionally seating was offered at the start time of the conversation on a first come first serve basis.