A Story of Camaraderie: Building the Malcolm X. Academy for Afrikan Education
by mel charles & Jordan McGowan
in june 2020, we met in a political education workshop series being taught by mel over zoom. this was the same summer Jordan launched Neighbor Program on Nisenan Land. Jordan was getting ready to run a political education series of his own and thought “wow this sista right here has got it figured out!” When Jordan saw the outline for mel’s class it only made sense to join the class, and hopefully pick her brain on how she structured her series out. mel, in true educator form, took over an hour of her time after class to stay on zoom and speak with Jordan about the classes she was teaching, how she was structuring lessons and ultimately teaching pedagogy.
mel, who had come from an organizing background had been teaching a black studies course to first-year Afrikans at uc-berkeley for 5 years at this time, and began developing the things she’d learned from that time into a larger-scale outlet for community education in service of liberation movements under what would later be named “Agápe Movement.” Jordan, who had grown up with a father who schooled him on a revolutionary politic, began working alongside a team, building out programs to meet the material needs of the People in order to create viable alternative solutions to the oppressive systems of the empire. it was at this point in time that our paths intersected.
we instantly connected over the fact that, ultimately, our politic is rooted in a sense of love. In the type of love that Assata spoke of, because we both agree that r/evolution is love. in particular, the kind of love depicted within our spiritual and religious backgrounds which emphasized a practice of serving the people. This love, which transcends worldly thoughts, feelings and actions, must be what Huey meant when he said “I think what motivates people is not great hate, but great love for other people.”
since then, we have been building together as educators dedicated to the liberation of all Afrikans.
one of the main things i know to be true about Jordan is that he will do the work it takes to show up for his people. despite his leo tendencies, he moves in space with a centered level of humility and authenticity when it comes to building alongside folks at all levels. it is what makes him a strong educator. it is what makes him a successful coach. it is what makes him the father…