Augie Art Museum Hosts Rainbow Coalition Panel

Aug 31, 2017

Original members of the Rainbow Coalition joined a panel discussion at Augustana College Wednesday night. The multi-racial Coalition was formed in Chicago during the 1960s to work against racism, poverty and oppression. 

(from left) Hy Thurman, Antonio Lopez, Michael James and Stan McKinney discuss the Rainbow Coalition at a panel hosted by the Augustana Teaching Museum of Art, moderated by Brian Lovato (right).
Credit Lacy Scarmana

The Young Lords began as a turf gang in Chicago's Lincoln Park neighborhood and grew into a national civil rights organization.

Current member Antonio Lopez says a lot of people didn't have confidence in the idea of different groups coming together to work toward a common goal.

"There were people who were actually saying, no, we need to be racially separated," Lopez says. "This was hard work to try to put together this kind of original Rainbow Coalition vision that recognized solidarity and self-determination."

The Rainbow Coalition formed largely due to the leadership of Fred Hampton from the Illinois Black Panther Party. Party member Stan McKinney says the Black Panthers' 10-point platform is still relevant today as people continue to fight against oppression.

"Number seven spoke to police brutality; we want an end to police brutality and murder," McKinney says. "Those same conditions really exist today when we look at the shooting of Laquan McDonald and many African Americans throughout this country."

The discussion was hosted by the Augustana Teaching Museum of Art as part of the exhibit "Organize Your Own: The Politics and Poetics of Self-Determination Movements." The exhibit is on display through October 28.

Panelists included Antonio Lopez (Young Lords), Stan McKinney (Illinois Black Panther Party), Hy Thurman (Young Patriots) and Michael James (Rising Up Angry).