Feb 24: Ginny Sullivan and cycling along the Underground Railroad route; Abayomi Azikiwe on the meaning of Black History Month; Rockin’ Robbie in studio singing the Blues…

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MARCH 2 UPDATE: Here’s an article of interests related to this entry:

Beyond the Underground Railroad


Technical assistance: Moses Frimpong:

Listen to entire program here:

February is Black History month and in recognition of this we heard about a new way to get up close and personal with the Underground Railroad thanks to an initiative by the Adventure Cycling Association. The association bills itself as the “…premier bicycle-travel organization in North America with over 43, 500 members.” The organization seeks to “… inspire people of all ages to travel by bicycle.” Also, the organization has mapped 41, 399 miles in the Adventure Cycling Route Network and “…gives cyclists the tools and confidence to create their own bike-travel adventures.”  Five years ago, the Missoula, Montana based organization opened up its 2,000 mile Underground railroad Bicycle Route, and this week representatives were in Detroit to unveil the 518 mile Detroit Alternative route which gives cyclists the ability to access sites of interest between Oberlin, Ohio and Owen Sound, Ontario.

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This initiative seems to allow people to merge a passion for cycling with the lived experiences of African Americans who traveled the same routes at great risk for freedom.

On the phone from Missoula, Montana was Ginny Sullivan, Special Projects Director at the Adventure Cycling Association. She “manages two major projects for Adventure Cycling – the U.S. Bicycle Route System and the Underground Railroad Bicycle Route.”

Ginny Sullivan (Click image for more on Adventure Cycling)

Ginny Sullivan on the development of routes along the UGRR. In this clip she mentions the song Follow the Drinking Gourd :

Sullivan also commented on the success of working with cycling enthusiasts in Windsor and Detroit, while also seeming to challenge Windsorites to do more to make our history come alive by building more cycling infrastructure:

The New Center for Health Equity was an important partner with Adventure Cycling, both in terms of bridging the geographical distance between Montana, where the association is based, and the people and history of the states and provinces where the UGRR is:


In the second half hour, I spoke with Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan African Newswire on the meaning of Black History Month.

Click image for more on the Pan African Newswire

He described how the concept was formed and implemented and what he was involved in during the month:

Featured Music:

Rockin’ Robbie performed in the studio and picked out a couple of songs honouring Black musicians:

Rockin' Robbie

Weak Brain Narrow Mind:

On the Dock of the Bay:

Other Music:

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Dec. 16: Jack Gibbons of the Ontario Clean Air Alliance; Abayomi Azikiwe and the Defense Authorization Act in the US

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Listen to entire program here:

Jack Gibbons: @ 5:31

Abayomi Azikiwe: @ 41:10

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In the first half hour of the program we endeavored to grapple with energy strategies in Ontario with Jack Gibbons,  Chair of the Ontario Clean Air Alliance.  The alliance, according to the website, “…is a coalition of individuals and approximately 90 organizations (health and environmental organizations, faith communities, municipalities, utilities, unions and corporations) that represent over six million Ontarians.” The alliance was “…established in 1997 to achieve the phase-out of Ontario’s dirty coal-fired power plants and to move Ontario towards a renewable electricity future.” In Windsor we know that green energy is a cornerstone of efforts to revitalize the local economy with Samsung coming to the city to build wind turbine towers. How sound is the Ontario government’s strategy for energy efficiency and what could be done to improve it? The Ontario Clean Air Alliance works to make sure we are moving in the right direction for a renewable electricity future and has published a report for energy efficiency as well as a six point plan for lower energy bills linked to a strong economy. During the discussion of the six point plan Gibbons mentions Combined Heat and Power (CHP) operations and listed several around the province. The one listed in Windsor is next to the Ford engine assembly plant.  Be sure to stay aware of  the coming campaign by the OCAA regarding the high cost of nuclear energy by clicking on image below:

In the second half hour we spoke with Abayomi Azikiwe in Detroit to get a handle on the National Defense Authorization Act about which one report says “…  writes into law an assumed role for the military in domestic counterterrorism that did not exist before.”

Click image for more on Occupy Detroit and Azikiwe's role.

Azikiwe also spoke on Occupy Detroit and the Emergency Manager law – a draconian tool of the State meant to ram through cuts to city services while a comopliant media drums up a crisis atmosphere demanding drastic action.

Featured CD – The Original Lady Eyes:

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Sept. 9: Prof Jim Winter and the digital journalism program at UWindsor; Abayomi Azikiwe and the 9/11 Wars

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Listen to entire program here: 

Prof. Jim Winter: 3:01

Abayomi Azikiwe: 36:13

In the first half hour I spoke with Professor Jim Winter in the studio about the plans for a digital journalism program at UWindsor and what that might mean for the Communication, Media and Film program. The discussion ranged from the move to a downtown location for parts of the CMF program, to how the university seems to be silencing critical voices in the faculty. Critical journalism is crucial today, perhaps more than ever, as we move into the post-democratic age in which managed messages – propaganda – pass as fact and questions are suppressed. 

Lambton Tower: current home of the CMF program at UWindsor

In the second half hour we heard Detroit activist Abayomi Azikiwe in the 911 aftermath.

Click on image for more on Abayomi Azikiwe

The deaths and destruction 10 years ago unleashed a devastating US response, especially in Iraq and Afghanistan.  That response has had a huge cost in terms of lives and wealth – lives of people lost who had no connection to the alleged 911 attackers.  We went on to discuss the mobilization of  the peace/anti-war  movement aiming to confront the NATO/G8 meeting in Chicago next May.

We seem to have a stark choice: permanent war and economic “austerity” at home, or mobilize for peace and an economy that includes all.

Featured CD:

Click on Image for more about this Windsor band: What Seas What Shores

OPIRG Calendar:

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July 29: Jennifer Nalbone and Asian carp; Rayven Howard performs live; Abayomi Azikiwe 1967 conference update

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Jennifer Nalbone: 6:50

Rayven Howard: 33:30

Abayomi Azikiwe: 43:00

In Windsor/Detroit we are surrounded by the Great Lakes ecosystem. It’s easy to forget that the Detroit River flows along a route that originates at Lake Superior and makes its way to the Atlantic Ocean. It’s also easy to take all that water for granted even as we know full well of the stress put on the local eco-system by everything from recreational use to the threat of pollution by chemicals and nuclear power plants.

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The complex dynamics of the Great Lakes system is managed and watched over by various government agencies in Canada and the United States as well as by independent coalitions. Listeners have no doubt heard of a new threat posed by an invasive species: the Asian carp, specifically the silver carp.

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We talked to Jennifer Nalbone (6:50 mark) of Great Lakes United about the threat posed by Asian carp in the Great Lakes.  In the interview Fisheries and Oceans Canada was  mentioned and information is here. Nalbone stressed the point that Canadians need to take the issue of Asian carp more seriously than we are now. You’ll notice that Fisheries and Oceans Canada have the carp near the bottom of a long list of invasive species already in our waters. However, we simply cannot let a rapacious species like this to get into the Great Lakes system.

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The argument for hydrologic separation is made in this report.

And as mentioned, in the second half hour Rayven Howard (33:30 mark) played two songs for us. Rayven will appear Aug. 5 at the FM Lounge, Aug 12 at The Phog Lounge, and Aug. 20 at MacKenzie Hall. Thanks to Victoria Townsend for giving us the heads up on Rayven when she heard her play at Taloola’s!

Abayomi Azikiwe ( 43:00 mark) provided an update about last week’s story on a historical review of the 1967 Detroit rebellion.

Featured CD:

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July 22: Sue Breeze and Canada Boat to Gaza; Abayomi Azikiwe and the 1967 Detroit rebellion

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Listen to entire program here: 

Sue Breeze: 8m 25sec.

Abayomi Azikiwe: 38m 55sec.

In the first half hour we talked to Sue Breeze who was a participant in the Canadian Boat to Gaza effort when it was forced back to port on July 4th as it took part in the International Freedom Flotilla II; an attempt to break the blockade of Gaza by the Israeli government. As listeners will remember, we have talked to David Heap and Sandra Ruch, both organizers for the Canadian effort. The flotilla set out from the port of Aghios Nikolaos on the island of Crete, only to be stopped, boarded and forced back to port by the Greek coastguard. This was apparently done at the request of the Israeli government. Activists said that in effect, the blockade and siege of Gaza now extends to Greece. The whole point of this endeavour and the one last year that cost the lives of nine Turkish activists, is to draw attention to Israel’s illegal blockade of Gaza.

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As we talk to Sue Breeze, we’ll get an eyewitness account of the action that day,what it was like in Crete waiting to get underway and on the vessel, the Tahrir, and a sense of why the activists were moved to take part in this flotilla.

Detroit 1967

In the second half hour listen to Abayomi Azikiwe describe Saturday’s historical review of the 1967 Detroit Rebellion and how people can learn from that fight for justice against continuing racism, poverty, and police brutality.

Music featured on the program:

Naked Ape: Yellow Grain (1996)

(no pic available)

June 3: Abayomi Azikiwe in Detroit and the extension of the US Patriot Act; Detroit fightback campaign

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Listen to entire program here: 

We were unable to connect with Richard Sanders of the Coalition Against the Arms Trade, and will have him on the program June 10 to catch up on the CANSEC  arms bazaar recently held in Ottawa.

In the first half hour we welcomed new OPIRG volunteer Victoria Townsend who will help produce the program, and went through local announcements:

Windsor Bicycling Committee

The Windsor Bicycling Committee is hosting a FREE BREAKFAST at City Hall, to kick off Bike To Work Week and promote cycling as a viable commuting option. The breakfast will be served from 6am – 10am by members of the committee and members of city council on June 6th, 2011, and the breakfast will take place at City Hall Square (University Ave. East, across from Charles Clark Square).

Bagels and cream cheese, coffee, juice and fresh fruit will be served to cyclists commuting to work or running errands by bike. Information about the various cycling clubs in Windsor, as well as info about Windsor’s current and future bike lanes and trails, will be available for those interested in learning more about cycling in Windsor. Free bike lights and bells will also be available for those looking to increase their safety while riding.

There will be a  Promotional Draw- one lucky winner will score a $300 gift certificate to a local bike shop! Tickets for the draw will be available at all of the Bike Month events happening in June… the more events you attend, the more chances you have at winning! The winner will be chosen on July 2nd, 2011, at the Downtown Windsor Farmers’ Market, at 10am.

 Bike to UWindsor, get breakfast!

June 7, 8 and 9th • 8:00am – 10:00am

Breakfast will be available for all campus participants from Tuesday to Thursday from 8:00 to 10:00am. There will be tables set up at the bike shelter directly in front of the main entrance to Essex Hall.

 OpenMedia.ca is preparing two major initiatives to help make the Internet in Canada open, accessible, and affordable.

July 11th – July 16th is the CRTC hearing on Internet metering. OpenMedia.ca will be appearing at the hearing to strongly oppose Big Telecom price gouging and will be encouraging all Internet loving Canadians to continue to sign the Stop The Meter petition.

In addition, in concert with the pro-Internet community we are preparing a major pan-Canadian campaign opposing a proposed “Lawful Access” crime bill. Internet Service Providers would be forced to create a blanket digital surveillance system, which law enforcement official would be able to access without a warrant. It would be akin to Ottawa setting up surveillance cameras in every home in the country that police would be able to turn on whenever they deem appropriate. It’s a serious affront to the open Internet.

To indicate how you would like to help stop Internet metering and warrantless digital surveillance visit:


In the second half hour we caught up with activist Abayomi Azikiwe in Detroit for his view on the extension of the US Patriot Act in the US. He also announced a fightback conference:

How the Banks Destroyed Detroit and How We Can Fight Back!

Saturday – June 11, 2011 – 9 AM to 3 PM

UAW Local 22 Hall 4300 Michigan Ave., Detroit (west of W. Grand Blvd.)

Lunch will be served – $5 donation; unemployed, students-$1; no one turned away

Sponsored by the Moratorium NOW! Coalition to Stop Foreclosures, Evictions, and Utility Shutoffs.

Music Featured:

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April 29: Susan Gold Smith and MayWorks 2011; Ameen Hassan: the election and social networking; Abayomi Azikiwe: view from Detroit

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Listen to entire program here:

My opening remarks for the program were as follows:

The election campaign is in the final stretch and polls suggest a so-called orange tide as the NDP is, as they say, surging in the polls. This could mean a Harper majority as the liberals and NDP split the vote or that the NDP will be so close to power as to have a defining role. The spectre of not only Bob Rae but of Obama’s call for change throws a shadow over any idea of real change in this country even with an NDP majority or head of a minority government. The austerity agenda will come to Canada as surely as elsewhere and the NDP will not challenge it anymore than Obama did in the US.

We let the election be on this program with the exception of an interview with Cara Zwibel of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association on open governance and freedom of information – concepts not embraced by Stephen Harper. His government fell because it refused to provide parliament with proper information on spending – it fell because it is a criminal enterprise, whether it is handing over Afghans to certain torture, denying climate change, and allowing the Tar Sands project to function are all matters that are harming people directly. Party platforms are superfluous in the face of Harper’s flagrant disregard for the people, yet the election campaign got underway, and as always, has had little regard for substance. After Monday, we will continue to struggle over the real issue facing the working class: a global economic system in collapse and the trend toward authoritarianism to keep populations disempowered and cowed. The struggle to confront and transform this dismal state of affairs will be continue to be the focus of this program after May 2, and even a Jack Layton majority will not change the challenges before the working class.

Today, in the first half hour, Professor Susan Gold Smith, professor in the Visual Arts program at UWindsor will take us through the itinerary of Mayworks 2011 which got underway yesterday, actually, with the Workers’ day of Mourning, and continues this weekend with a Mayday parade and rally. And Ameen will take us through his thoughts on the election campaign and social media.

Susan Gold Smith and Mayworks 2011

Later in the program we’ll hear from Abayomi Azikiwe in Detroit and catch up on what has been happening across the river.

Music featured on the program:

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Opening night of the Abilene Paradox:

Susan Gold Smith and opening night. Click on image for more info.

Abilene Paradox opening night at Artcite