Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Sandra Bland: Grand Jury Declines to Indict

The New York Times reports that:
CHICAGO — Grand jurors in Texas declined on Monday to indict anyone in connection to the July death of a Chicago-area woman, Sandra Bland, who was found hanged in her cell at the Waller County jail, one of the special prosecutors assigned to the case said.

But Darrell Jordan, the special prosecutor, said that “the case is still open,” and that grand jurors would reconvene next month to discuss other aspects of it.

Many activists have called for charges against Brian Encinia, the Texas state trooper who arrested Ms. Bland after a routine traffic stop in Prairie View, northwest of Houston, turned contentious. Mr. Jordan said Monday’s decision not to indict anyone related only to Ms. Bland’s death and to the conduct of the jail staff.

“It’s all in the way you phrase it,” said Mr. Jordan, one of five special prosecutors in the case. “The case is not over. That’s what I’m stressing right now. The case is not over.”

Ms. Bland, who was 28 and black, had recently moved to Texas from Illinois to accept a job at Prairie View A&M University, her alma mater, when she was pulled over on July 10. Her death days later attracted international attention and added momentum to a national debate over the treatment of black people by white police officers. Her family has publicly disputed the authorities’ findings that she committed suicide.
I do not know if Sandra Bland committed suicide or not. She was a Black Lives Matter activist. As such, I find it difficult to believe that she took her own black life.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Freddie Gray: A Mistrial Declared in the William Porter Case

The Baltimore Sun reports that:

A judge declared a mistrial Wednesday in the case of Baltimore Police Officer William G. Porter after jurors said they had failed to reach an agreement on any of the charges against him in the death of Freddie Gray.

The decision, which came a day after jurors told Baltimore Circuit Judge Barry Williams they were deadlocked, frustrated activists who had watched the first trial in Gray's death closely. Outside the downtown courtroom, city officials and community leaders pleaded for calm, and authorities reported two arrests, but no violence or serious disruptions.

Porter, 26, the first of six police officers to be tried in Gray's death, remains charged with involuntary manslaughter, second-degree assault, reckless endangerment and misconduct in office. Gray, 25, died in April after suffering a severe spinal cord injury in the back of a police van.

Jurors deliberated for three days before Williams declared the mistrial. The decision now throws the other trials into flux.

Prosecutors chose to try Porter first, planning to use him as a witness at the trial of Officer Caesar Goodson. Goodson, who is charged with second-degree murder, was slated for trial in the first week of January.

fter the mistrial, attorneys were to meet with Williams Thursday about scheduling a new trial for Porter.

Gray's family said they were hopeful prosecutors would retry Porter. Gray's stepfather, Richard Shipley, said jurors "did the best that they could," while Gray's twin sister, Fredericka, joined protesters.

The Gray family's attorney said, "This saga is not over."

"This hung jury does not mean it's the end of Officer Porter's case," attorney Billy Murphy said. "It's just a bump on the road to justice. And you know the road to justice has a lot of bumps."
Some of the protesters do not share Mr. Murphy's optimism.

The Mayor said that we must respect for the outcome of the judicial process. I disagree.

We do not have to respect a system that denies us justice. We do not have to respect a system that callously disregards our black lives. We will only respect a system that respects us. The protests must continue until justice prevails. Justice for Freddie Gray.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Officer Daniel Holtzclaw Found Guilty of Raping Black Women

The Atlantic reported that:
An Oklahoma County jury handed down a series of guilty verdicts on Thursday night in the trial of former Oklahoma City Police Department officer Daniel Holtzclaw, who allegedly raped and sexually assaulted at least 13 black women in the neighborhood he patrolled.
Holtzclaw, who turned 29 years old on Thursday, faced 36 charges in total. The jury found him guilty of 18 of them, including four of the six counts of first-degree rape. For each of those charges, the jury recommended a sentence of 30 years. The other charges against him ranged from indecent exposure to sexual battery and forcible oral rape. Jurors deliberated for four days over the extensive indictment before rendering their verdicts.

For the victims' stories, please read the BuzzFeed article entitled The 13 Women Who Accuse A Cop Of Sexual Assault, In Their Own Words

In the YouTube video, below I provide my commentary.

Freddie Gray: William Porter Jury is Deadlocked

The Baltimore Sun reports that:
Judge Barry G. Williams on Tuesday ordered a deadlocked jury back to work, asking them to try harder to reach a consensus on Officer William G. Porter's guilt or innocence in the death of Freddie Gray.

The 12-member panel is charged with reaching a verdict on four charges against Porter: involuntary manslaughter, second-degree assault, reckless endangerment and misconduct in office. If they cannot, Williams will be forced to declare a mistrial on the undecided counts, leaving it to prosecutors to decide whether to retry the case.

After 10 hours of deliberations that began Monday afternoon, jury members sent a note to Williams on Tuesday afternoon indicating that they were deadlocked. The panel did not elaborate on whether the members were split on one, some or all of the charges, or which way they were leaning.

Williams, meeting the jurors in open court, instructed them to return to deliberations. He read from a portion of the jury instructions that said the members must come to a unanimous decision in order to reach a conviction or acquittal. Jurors then deliberated for about two more hours before breaking for the day.

They will return Wednesday morning.

The weight of their work in a secluded jury room within the Baltimore Circuit Court could be felt throughout the city.

Gray, 25, suffered a broken neck and severe spinal cord injury in the back of a police transport van after his arrest on April 12. His death a week later prompted widespread protests against police brutality, and his funeral was followed by the most intense rioting and looting in the city since the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968.

Baltimore State's Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby charged Porter and five other officers in Gray's arrest and death on May 1, and many have watched the proceedings in Porter's trial closely.
As reported on CBS Baltimore, "out of the 12 jurors chosen, eight are women, four are men; five are African American women, three are African American men, three are white women and one is a white man."

I wonder if the jury is divided along racial lines. Hopefully, the jury will make progress and render a fair and just verdict soon. In order for this City to heal, we need justice for Freddie Gray. No justice, no peace.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Freddie Gray: Baltimore Awaits William Porter Verdict and Prepares for Rebellion

The Baltimore Sun reports that:

The mayor activated an emergency headquarters, the city school system warned students against violence and even the Obama administration asked for calm Monday as Baltimore began the wait for a verdict in the first trial of a police officer in the Freddie Gray case.

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said she wants business to continue as usual across the city but activated the Emergency Operations Center on Monday morning "out of an abundance of caution." The move put representatives from the city's police, fire, transportation, health and public works agencies in the same room, "coordinated to respond if needed," she said...

The jury began to deliberate Monday afternoon in the criminal trial of Officer William G. Porter, who is charged with involuntary manslaughter, second-degree assault, misconduct in office and reckless endangerment.

Bmore Bloc, which has led marches against alleged police brutality, called for a protest if Porter is acquitted. "If Porter walks, shut it down," the group said on social media. The People's Power Assembly said it would hold a protest and vigil outside the courthouse during jury deliberations until a verdict is reached.

The city's preparations stem from the looting, violence and arson that followed a week of peaceful protests after Gray's death in April. The rioting started with a confrontation between city students and police outside Mondawmin Mall on April 27. Rawlings-Blake's administration was widely criticized as being unprepared.
For assessments of the case, check out the video commentary from attorney Warren A. Brown and Real News Reporter Jaisal Noor.

Justice for Freddie Gray!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Is Donald Trump the New Hitler?

Yesterday, I watched the documentary Apocalypse Hitler. While watching the documentary, I was alarmed by the similarities between Nazi Leader Adolf Hitler and Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump.

In Germany, there was a devastating economic depression. In order to ascend to power, Hitler exploited the German people's fear and the feeling of powerlessness. Using his superior oratory skills and theatrical effects, Hitler projected strengthen at time when a weak people needed a protector. Hitler studied theater and used that knowledge to inflame the passions and emotions of the people.

Similarly, in the wake of terrorists attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, many of the American people are fearful and vulnerable. They want a strong President who will keep the American people safe. Using his good oratory skills and talent as a reality show actor, Trump projects strengthen at a time when the American people need someone to protect them from terrorism. In fact, Trump boasted about how he rises in the polls whenever a tragedy occurs. Similar to Hitler's mastery of theatrical technique, Donald Trump learned how to appeal to an audience through his successful reality television program, the Apprentice.

As documented on Apocalypse Hitler, Hitler was a master of falsifying history. Recently, Trump has been falsifying history of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Despite the complete lack of any evidence whatsoever, Trump continues to fan the flames of hate by lying about Muslims in New Jersey celebrating the horrific 9/11 terror attacks. No matter how many news reports debunk his fallacious assertions, Trump's supporters, like pigs to a slop, devour his untruths to satiate their deep-seated prejudice and hatred against Muslims.

Like Hitler, Trump practices demagoguery. Trump stokes fear and panders to hate and prejudice.  Hitler despised an entire religious group, the Jews. Hitler was an anti-Semite. In his demented mind, Jews were responsible for all of Germany's problems.  Prior to carrying out the "Final Solution" of genocide, Hitler discriminated against the Jews. He forced Jews to wear badges to distinguish themselves from the rest of the population. As noted on Wikipedia, Hitler excluded Jews from civil service, barred Jews from owning farms, barred Jews from owning newspapers, disbarred Jewish lawyers and excluded Jews from schools and universities. Hitler burned down synagogues.

Similarly, Trump despises an entire religious group, the Muslims. Trump is an Islamophobe. If elected, Trump plans to discriminate against Muslims. In his twisted mind, all Muslims should be collective blamed and punished for the actions of a maniacal, barbaric fringe minority.  Like the Nazi badges for Jews, Trump does not oppose requiring Muslims to carry special IDs.  He does not oppose requiring Muslims to register in a database. Furthermore, Trump advocates increased surveillance of Muslims and the closing of mosques. Despite opposition from Republicans and Democrats, Trump wants to ban all Muslims from entering the country. Unfortunately, the political establishment's opposition only emboldens Trump and fires up his delusional supporters.

At least for now, Trump's proposed discriminatory measures are not nearly as draconian as Hitler's discriminatory measures. However, if Donald Trump is elected President, we do not know what will happen. He could be the new Hitler. The Nazi Party started with gradual discriminatory measures that eventually led to unspeakable horrors. We must do everything in our power to prevent Trump from the Republican nominee. The world cannot afford another Hitler.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

4 People Arrested for Shooting Black Lives Matter Protesters

The New York Times reports that:
MINNEAPOLIS — The police on Wednesday released the names of four men arrested in connection with a shooting during a Black Lives Matter protest outside a police station that injured five protesters.

The shooting erupted on Monday, during the ninth day of protests demanding action against two white Minneapolis police officers involved in the fatal shooting of Jamar Clark, 24, an unarmed black man, on Nov. 15. None of the wounded protesters had life-threatening injuries, the authorities said.

On Wednesday, protesters paused for the first time as Mr. Clark’s funeral was held, and hundreds gathered to commemorate him at Shiloh Temple International Ministries, calling for a day of peace.

The authorities identified the suspects in the shooting as Allen Lawrence Scarsella, 23; Nathan Gustavsson, 21; Daniel Macey, 26; and Joseph Backman, 27. All are white and were arrested in the Minneapolis area. The police also detained a 32-year-old Hispanic man, but he was released after questioning.

The four men are being held at the Hennepin County jail and have yet to be charged.

According to Sun This Week,
Scarsella was identified as one of two masked men in a You Tube video in a dome-lit vehicle who say they were driving to the protest at Minneapolis’ Fourth Precinct police headquarters for a “recon” mission.

The driver identifies himself as “SaigaMarine” and Scarsella as “Black Powder Ranger,” and says they are “locked and loaded” as he displays a black pistol.
Today, eyewitness Leslie Redmond appeared on Democracy Now. On the program, she suggested that the police may have been involved in the shooting. The shooting occurred right down the street from the police precinct. According to Ms. Redmond, the protesters heard over 10 shots fired. Despite the fact that shooting occurred right down the street from the police precinct, it took the police and the ambulance an unusually long period of time to arrive at the scene. When the police finally arrived, they maced protesters and witnesses. The police allegedly did not interview the witnesses until an hour later. Ms. Redmond further stated that the police wore similar masks as the white supremacist gunmen.

Check out the video below.

In addition to investigating the killing of Jamar Clark, we must demand that the U.S. Department of Justice investigate the Minneapolis Police Department's practices and possible involvement in the shooting.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Justice for Laquan McDonald

The New York Times reports that:
CHICAGO — A white Chicago police officer was charged with first-degree murder on Tuesday in the death of a 17-year-old black man, just hours before city officials appealed for calm as they released a chilling video of the officer shooting the teenager as he lay crumpled on the ground.

The grainy, nighttime dashboard camera video, which a judge ordered released last week, shows the young man running and then walking past officers in the middle of the street and spinning when bullets suddenly strike him down. For a moment, lying on the ground, he moves but then is still after he appears to be shot several more times. An officer kicks an object away from his body. The video shows none of the officers on the scene offering assistance to the teenager, Laquan McDonald...

On the evening of Oct. 20, 2014, police officers approached Mr. McDonald on the city’s Southwest Side, prosecutors said, after a resident reported seeing him breaking into trucks and stealing radios. Mr. McDonald, who had the folding knife in his hand, walked away as officers arrived. Someone called for a police unit with a stun gun, though it was not clear whether anyone ever appeared with one. At one point, Mr. McDonald “popped” the tire on a police car, apparently with his knife, the prosecutors said.

With more officers arriving car by car, Mr. McDonald kept walking and jogging along, not responding to orders to drop the knife, prosecutors said. Near a Burger King along a busy stretch of Pulaski Road, Officer Van Dyke’s marked Chevrolet Tahoe pulled up alongside other police vehicles, including one containing a dashboard camera. Officer Van Dyke was on the scene for fewer than 30 seconds, prosecutors said, before he began shooting his service weapon, which had a 16-round capacity.

The shooting spanned 14 or 15 seconds, and in about 13 of those seconds, prosecutors say, Mr. McDonald was lying on the ground. He was hit 16 times, including in his backside. An autopsy showed the presence of the drug PCP in his system.
This tragic story raises two important questions. Why did it take Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez a whole damn year to file charges against Officer Van Dyke? The video clearly shows that Laquan McDonald was approximately 15 feet away from the officers. He did not lunge toward, approach or threaten the officers with the knife. In fact, Laquan was attempting to walk past the officers. While Laquan was on the ground, Officer Van Dyke fired most of his shots. It does not take an entire year to figure out the obvious. Officer Van Dyke murdered Laquan.

As reported in The Times-Pacayune, when two black Marksville, Louisiana police officers, Norris Greenhouse Jr., 23, and Lt. Derrick Stafford, 32, killed a six year-old white boy, Jeremy Mardis, those officers were arrested and charged with second-degree murder three days after the killing. In the Jeremy Mardis case, there was video evidence from body cameras. In Marksville, the authorities did not need a whole year to analyze the footage and interview thousands of witnesses. They only needed three days to reach a decision.

Yet, the Cook County State's Attorney actually expects us to actually believe that she needed an entire year to reach an obvious conclusion. There is no rational justification for Cook County's delay in filing charges against that Office Van Dyke.  Apparently, when the victim is white, justice is swift. When the victim is black, justice is frequently delayed and denied.

Second, why was Officer Van Dyke never disciplined for prior offenses?  As reported on ABC 7 News, at least 18 prior citizen complaints were filed against Officer Van Dyke. Eight of those complaints alleged excessive force and two involved use a firearm. According to the news reports, some of the complaints allege that Officer Van Dyke used racial slurs. Yet, the Police Department never disciplined Office Van Dyke. Instead, they unleashed that rabid dog on the people of Chicago.

Unfortunately, this is not a case of "one bad apple." It is about a police department that is rotten to the core. The police department failed to hold that officer responsible for his conduct. If Officer Van Dyke was properly disciplined for his prior alleged misconduct, perhaps Laquan would still be alive today. Laquan's blood is on Officer Van Dyke's hands and the Chicago Police Department's hands.

No amount of blood money paid to Laquan's family will silence the people's righteous demand for justice. We will remain vigilant.  Enough is enough. Justice for Laquan McDonald, Jamar Clark and everybody else.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The War Against Black People: White Supremacists Shoot 5 Protesters

The AP reports that:
Dozens of demonstrators huddled around bonfires Saturday evening, maintaining their presence at a Minneapolis police station where they have established an encampment following the death of a black man who was shot by police last weekend.

Minneapolis civil rights activist Mel Reeves said the primary goal of the protests is to see the officers involved in the death of Jamar Clark prosecuted based on statements of people who say they saw the shooting. He said the officers should face charges and "go through the same procedures that we do. We think they're guilty, but let the court decide."

...Protesters, led by leaders from the NAACP and Black Lives Matter, also have called for the release of surveillance footage taken at the scene of the deadly encounter early Sunday...

Authorities have said the footage — from an ambulance, mobile police camera, public housing cameras and people's cellphones — doesn't show the full incident and that releasing the recordings would also taint a review by the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.

Mica Grimm of Black Lives Matter said she was at the meeting and told officials the protests won't end until the community says it's OK. She said she wants to ensure the "safety of this community after we leave this space."

Both officers involved in the shooting, Mark Ringgenberg and Dustin Schwarze, have been placed on standard administrative leave. Authorities haven't said who fired the fatal shot.

Police have said the officers were responding to an assault call and found the 24-year-old Clark interfering with paramedics. Authorities say there was a struggle. The head of the Minneapolis police union has said Clark was shot after reaching for an officer's gun. Protesters have said they don't believe that version of events...

Some people say they saw him handcuffed at the time of the shooting — a claim police have disputed. McKnight, speaking for the family, said that's not something they're concerned with.

"That's not the point. The point is: He was unarmed, on the ground, now he's dead," she said.

On Monday evening, white supremacists shot of the five protesters. Salon reports that:
Five people were shot at a Black Lives Matter protest in Minneapolis late Monday night. The Associated Press spoke with Minneapolis police who confirmed the shootings. Police spokesman John Elder told AP all five have injuries that are not life-threatening.

The local newspaper The Star Tribune reported that the five people shot were protesters. Black Lives Matter media contact Miski Noor told The Star Tribune “a group of white supremacists showed up at the protest, as they have done most nights.” When the activists tried to get the white supremacists to leave, Noor said the racists “opened fire on about six protesters.” Five were allegedly hit.
According to the New York Times,
Mica Grimm, an organizer with Black Lives Matter who said she arrived on the scene soon after the shooting, said two people were shot in the leg, another in the arm and a fourth in the stomach. None suffered life-threatening injuries.
Days before the shooting, white supremacists got on video and threatened the protesters.

The killing of Jamar Clark and the shooting of Black Lives Matter protesters are reminders that we are at war. That war began when we were brought us to this country in chains. Even with a black President in the White House, that relentless and ruthless war against black people continues today.

Sadly, we face a more imminent threat than foreign terrorists wearing black fatigues and ski masks. We face domestic terrorists wearing blue uniforms and shiny badges. Too often, instead of protecting and serving the black community, the police harass and brutalize the black community with impunity. Every other day, there is a new black person killed by the police. Every other day, there is a new hashtag on Twitter for another fallen black man, woman or child killed by the police. Today, the victim is Jamar Clark. Tomorrow, it will be someone else.

Not only do we face a threat from the police, we face an imminent threat from the rising white supremacist movement in this country. They are a greater threat to us than extremist Muslim terrorist groups. Monday night's shooting poignantly illustrates the very real danger that white supremacists continue to pose. Other recent examples include the Charleston massacre, the recent Virginia race war plot and racist threats against black students around the country.

How many more warning signs do we need before we finally wake up? We have a moral and legal right to defend ourselves. It is time for us to exercise that right. Speeches, marches and vigils are good, but we need soldiers, guns and bullets. Otherwise, we will continue to be sheep preyed upon by racist wolves.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Reflecting on #BenFields and the #AssaultAtSpringValleyHigh

Hello, family. In his classic song Umi Says, Mos Def sings, "I don't wanna write this down. I want to tell you how I feel right now." I feel that. Often, instead doing a written blog, I tell the world how I feel at that moment on my YouTube channel. I encourage you guys to subscribed to the channel.

In the YouTube videos below, I reflect upon the recent incident of police brutality that occurred at Spring Valley High School in Richland County, South Carolina.

This video is my initial response to the situation.

After I posted that first video, I received a flood of callous and racist comments. I deleted some of those comments. Here are a few examples that remain:

"The negress was acting stupid and brought this all on herself. Why do blacks act so stupid?"

"When you act like an animal you get treated like one. Common sense. Mr.Dindunuffin."

"Why cant Negroes go to school and just Learn?"

"She deserved it."

"Looks like the cop deserves an award. Enough of these kids acting badly."

"Another example of blacks manipulating the media in order to gain a free lunch.
Show the entire video you racist black piece of shit."

"To the officer that did this, GOOD JOB! And remember, Jesus had enemies, too."

In response to those and other insensitive comments, I posted a second video.

Later, I read a news article about how Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott suggested that officer Ben Fields was not racist because he is dating an African American woman. When I heard that nonsense, I had to do yet another YouTube video.

I welcome your feedback.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Assessing the Justice or Else March

The people marched for Walter Scott, Sam DuBose. Rekia Boyd, Freddie Gray, Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis, Jonathan Ferrell, Eric Garner, Michael Brown and other countless victims of police brutality and racist violence.

We are sick and tired of the police killing unarmed black people. We are sick and tired of the courts allowing the killers to strut free. Enough is enough. That is why hundreds of thousands of people came to Washington.  The March sent a powerful message to police departments, mayors, governors and other elected officials all around this nation. We are out of patience. We are not going to take it anymore. The Justice or Else March was a beautiful display of righteous indignation decorated with fiery speeches and moving songs.

No one is personifies that rage more eloquently than Minister Louis Farrakhan. The success of March is clear indication that his message resonates with the masses. It is a living testimony to Farrakhan's prowess as a leader. Unlike many other black leaders, he does not have to tone down his message to appease corporate donors and white liberal supporters. He is not beholden to the Democrats or the Republicans. He is a free black man.  He is manhood. He is courage. He is unafraid of the establishment. He speaks boldly and powerfully without wavering and without hesitation. Despite our ideological, theological and political differences, that is why we support brother Farrakhan. He speaks to our anger and frustration. He forcefully condemns the system that has failed us.

Anger is a commanding mobilizing tool. However, anger alone is not an effective organizing tool. Organization must be focused and results oriented. Like the Million Man March 20 years ago, the Justice or Else March had no legislative agenda. The brother gathered hundreds of thousands of black people to Nation's Capital during a Presidential election and presented no legislative agenda. Unfortunately, the March squandered a good opportunity to do so.

During his speech, Minister Farrakhan expressed a deep seated pessimism toward the Congress. He understandably questioned the federal government's ability to render justice and affect change. The minister made antiquated and fantastical calls for separatism. He compared the federal government to the pharaoh in the Bible and spoke of the need for a black exodus. Although that language is pleasing to the ears of the outraged, it is not a practical, probable or immediate solution to our current problems.

Our sweat, our blood, our tears, our history and our very lives are interwoven into the fabric of America. We are not going to any imaginary black utopia. Instead running away to some mystic black fantasy island, lets seize control over the communities and cities under our feet. In words of Malcolm, we must control the politics and the economy of our communities. Despite the continuing problems of police brutality and racism, this is a different era. We have many black mayors, city council members, state representatives, Congress members and black Senators. Today, pharaoh is not some evil "white devil." He is a moderate black man with a Muslim name. Whether one is willing to acknowledge it or not, that black pharaoh has helped pass laws that benefit black people. Maybe not as forcefully as we would like, that black pharaoh has spoken out against police brutality.

U.S. Representative Danny K. Davis, a black man, helped pass a resolution allowing the Nation of Islam to hold the Justice or Else March. Why not work with that same congressman to pass the Federal End Racial Profiling Act and other laws to designed to combat police brutality? As a result of mass mobilization, organization and vigilant struggle, the Congress that passed the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act, the Fair Housing Act and many other laws that ended Jim Crow in this country. Such laws brought about substantial progress and change in this country. Why not pressure Congress today? With proper organization, we will have the ability to affect change.

Hopefully, the organizers of the Justice or Else March will develop and/or embrace a modern day legislative agenda to address our modern day problems. Perhaps, Farrakhan did that when he met with black professionals after the March. After the agenda has been formulated, it must be pushed and passed. Otherwise, like a rock concert or circus, the March will have been just another feel good moment, producing absolutely nothing of substance. We do not need good moments. We need change.

We must end police brutality and racial profiling. Otherwise, there will be more Fergusons and more Baltimores. As one of the speakers said at the March, Ferguson will be "or Else."

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Dr. Ben Carson and the GOP Hate Olympics

"I was out-niggered, and I will never be out-niggered again." George Wallace

The GOP Presidential Primary has degenerated into the Hate Olympics. In the words of segregationist George Wallace, the top candidates are now trying to "out-nigger" each other. Today, the new niggers are the Muslims and the immigrants. Candidates are rewarded for displaying the most acrimony towards the new niggers.

For instance, Donald Trump catapulted to the top of the field by bashing Mexican immigrants. As reported on NPR, he stated that:
"When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending their best. They're sending people that have lots of problems. They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists, and some, I assume, are good people."
Every since he uttered that racist and hateful statement, he has been leading on all of the major polls. His campaign is fueled by bigotry, sexism, nastiness and mean spirited attitudes. Instead being hurt by his sexist insults directed towards women news analysts and women politicians, grunting GOP Neanderthals continue to flock to Trump like sheep.

In order to compete with Trump, Dr. Ben Carson is placating the GOP's xenophobic, blood thirsty vampires by throwing them a new food source to devour, Muslims. As religious scholar Reza Aslan noted on CNN and as stated on the AP,
Carson’s campaign reported strong fundraising and more than 100,000 new Facebook friends in the 24 hours after he told NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday, “I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation.”

His campaign manager Barry Bennett told The Associated Press on Monday: “While the left wing is huffing and puffing over it, Republican primary voters are with us at least 80-20.”

“People in Iowa particularly, are like, ‘Yeah! We’re not going to vote for a Muslim either,” Bennett said. “I don’t mind the hubbub. It’s not hurting us, that’s for sure.”
Like sex, hate sells. Despite his soft spoken nature and gentle image, Dr. Carson is now pandering to hate and bigotry. Similar to Donald Trump, Dr. Carson is catering to racist birthers. He is shining the shoes of right wing imbeciles who suffer from cognitive dissonance. Contrary to all of the evidence, those fools continue to believe that Obama is an uncover Muslim from Kenya. Like Mantan in Spike Lee's Bamboozled, Dr. Carson is tap dancing to the tune of those who bigots.

Even brash and outspoken Trump remained silent when a member of his audience falsely said that the Obama is a Muslim. Trump remained silent because he realizes that you cannot win the Hate Olympics by speaking out against the haters. To win, one appease them. The haters are not governed by logic and reason. They are governed by enmity towards those who are different.

Islamophobia is illogical. Islamophobia relies on hasty generalizations. Terrorists and radical fundamentalists are only a small minority of the Muslim population. It is wrong to condemn and discriminate against an entire religion based on the extremist actions of a few of its purported adherents. Most American Muslims are law abiding, patriotic citizens who love American democratic values. They proudly serve in America's military and in Congress.  Islamophobia is analogous to racial profiling and anti-Semitism.

For example, just because some black people sell drugs and kill people, one should not assume that most black people do. The negative actions of a few do not justify stopping and frisking thousands innocent, law abiding black people. It does not justify an employer refusing to hire or appoint black people. Similarly, the actions of small segment of the Muslim population does not justify discrimination against innocent Muslims. As an African American, Dr. Carson should understand that. Moreover, many Muslims such Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Muhammad Ali, Mos Def and myself are African Americans. By discriminating against Muslims, he is also discriminating against his own black people.

Dr. Carson and others cloak their grotesque animus under the beautiful red, white and blue robes of patriotism. A true patriot believes in upholding and protecting the U.S. Constitution. Article 6 of the Constitution states that:
The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the members of the several state legislatures, and all executive and judicial officers, both of the United States and of the several states, shall be bound by oath or affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States. (Emphasis added)
By supporting a religious test for the Presidency, Dr. Carson is shredding on the very Constitution that he professes to love. He is trashing the noble ideals of American democracy. If he made the same rancorous statements about Jews, Baptists, Catholics, Methodists and any other religious group, he would have been forced to withdraw from the campaign. Sadly, due to media programming, animosity towards Muslims is widely accepted in this society.

Unfortunately, reason and logic do not matter win you are striving to win the Hate Olympics by out-niggering your opponents. Dr. Carson will never win that contest. In the eyes of many of the Islamophobes, Dr. Carson is just another nigger. A black man will never be able out-nigger a white man.

Friday, September 11, 2015

The Freddie Gray Case Will Be Tried in Baltimore

The Baltimore Sun reports that:
A Baltimore Circuit Court judge ruled Thursday that the trials of six police officers charged in the arrest and death of Freddie Gray will stay in Baltimore, saying the defense had failed to prove that the officers cannot receive a fair trial in the city.

Judge Barry Williams said it was premature to conclude the jury pool was tainted, and that potential jurors should be first screened. His comments left open the possibility that the trial could still be moved if that process is unsuccessful.

"The citizens of Baltimore are not monolithic," Williams said in his ruling. "They think for themselves."
Read more here.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Freddie Gray's Family Reaches A $6.4 million Settlement With the City

The Baltimore Sun states that:
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake's decision to pay Freddie Gray's family a $6.4 million civil settlement drew praise and criticism Tuesday, with some Baltimore leaders saying the move will help heal the city and others calling it premature.

Former Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke said the settlement — expected to be approved Wednesday by the city's spending panel — was a "very positive development for the city."

"The mayor and her staff are trying to do all they can to heal the wounds in the community, and this is a step in the right direction," said Schmoke, president of the University of Baltimore. "This settlement will give some people in the community at least some sense of justice."

Del. Curt Anderson, a Baltimore Democrat, rejected the idea that the settlement could help bring peace to the city. Baltimore will be calm when there is "justice for Freddie Gray," he said. That means "trials, well reported, well attended, and decisions that were well reasoned as a result. I am not seeing any signs out there saying, 'Freddie Gray's family needs a payday.' I see signs that say, 'Justice for Freddie Gray.'"

Anderson said that he's not opposed to Gray's family being compensated, but that it's too early to know what amount is appropriate. "I am not sure how much time the city law department has had to look at the strengths and weaknesses of the case against the city when no case has even been filed," he said.

Under the proposed settlement, the city is accepting all civil liability in the April arrest and death of the 25-year-old Gray, who suffered a spinal injury while in police custody. The city does not acknowledge any wrongdoing by police, according to a statement from Rawlings-Blake.
This agreement is a significant step towards justice. It is a significant victory for the Gray family and the people of Baltimore. However, we must remain focused and vigilant. We must continue to fight until the practices that led to Freddie Gray's death end. We must struggle until Freddie Gray's killers are tried and convicted.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

New Developments in the Freddie Gray Case

The Baltimore Sun reports that:
Circuit court judge on Wednesday ruled that the case against six Baltimore police officers charged in the arrest and death of Freddie Gray will go forward in separate trials, with Baltimore State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby remaining at the helm of the prosecution.

During a day of hearings in a downtown courtroom, Judge Barry Williams swiftly sliced through complex legal arguments in the first motions hearing. In three key rulings issued from the bench, he refused to dismiss the charges or recuse Mosby and decided the case should be split to ensure each officer gets a fair trial.

Williams said that trying the officers together would not be "in the interest of justice" because key evidence that's admissible with regards to one officer may be inadmissible for another. The officers are charged with a range of offenses, from murder to misconduct, as each played a different role in Gray's arrest and transport.

The case has sparked widespread protests in Baltimore — that continued Wednesday — and become part of a national dialogue about police treatment of black citizens. Gray, 25, died in April one week after suffering a severe spinal cord injury while in police custody.

Outside the courtroom, dozens of protesters gathered in peaceful demonstrations and marches through downtown that resulted in one arrest and snarled traffic. Even at this early stage of the court proceedings, organizers said they wanted their voices heard.

Good morning, family. Justice for Freddie Gray!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

In Defense of Black Lives Matter

There is a war on Black Lives Matters. There is a deliberate effort to discredit and neutralize that progressive movement. The opposition has desperately tried to link the movement to the killing of Harris County Deputy Darren Goforth. The critics assert that the movement's rhetoric and slogans inspired the violence. Fox News described the movement as a "murder movement" and a "hate group."

There are two problems with such assertions. First of all, Black Lives Matter does not advocate violence against police. The opposition cannot point to any statements made by Black Lives leaders explicitly encouraging violence against law enforcement. If they had such proof, they would have repeatedly broad casted such statements on Fox News and other news stations.

The protest chants that Fox News did broadcast are ambiguous at best. By the way, the term "pig" is not a reference to all police officers. Pigs are police officers who abuse their authority and abuse the people. Pigs are those who unjustifiably harass, intimidate, humiliate, racially profile, beat and kill black people. Such criminals masquerading as police officers have earned our condemnation. Such condemnation is not the same as advocating indiscriminate violence against police.

Second, there is absolutely no connection between the movement and the killer. In fact, Harris County Sheriff Ron Hickman acknowledged that he has no "details of a motive." There is no proof that alleged killer, Shannon J. Miles, was affiliated with the Black Lives Matters movement. There is no proof that he was inspired by the movement. Instead of blaming and condemning Black Lives Matter, the critics should blame and condemn the alleged killer, Shannon J. Miles.

In addition, people have attacked the slogan "Black Lives Matter." During his press conference, Harris County Sheriff Ron Hickman said we should "drop the qualifiers" and say "lives matter." Obviously, the Movement is not saying that non-black lives do not matter. They are emphasizing black lives because American society devalues black lives. For example, police disproportionately target and kill black people. As reported on the Huffington Post,
Young black males in recent years were at a far greater risk of being shot dead by police than their white counterparts – 21 times greater, according to a ProPublica analysis of federally collected data on fatal police shootings.

The 1,217 deadly police shootings from 2010 to 2012 captured in the federal data show that blacks, age 15 to 19, were killed at a rate of 31.17 per million, while just 1.47 per million white males in that age range died at the hands of police...

ProPublica's risk analysis on young males killed by police certainly seems to support what has been an article of faith in the African American community for decades: Blacks are being killed at disturbing rates when set against the rest of the American population.
Often, when the police kill black people, the police are not prosecuted. On the rare occasions when they are prosecuted, they are not convicted. For that reason, the emphasis on black lives is appropriate. Washington Post reports:
“To charge an officer in a fatal shooting, it takes something so egregious, so over the top that it cannot be explained in any rational way,” said Philip M. Stinson, a criminologist at Bowling Green who studies arrests of police. “It also has to be a case that prosecutors are willing to hang their reputation on.”

But even in these most extreme instances, the majority of the officers whose cases have been resolved have not been convicted, The Post analysis found.

And when they are convicted or plead guilty, they’ve tended to get little time behind bars, on average four years and sometimes only weeks. Jurors are very reluctant to punish police officers, tending to view them as guardians of order, according to prosecutors and defense lawyers...

Among the officers charged since 2005 for fatal shootings, more than three-quarters were white. Two-thirds of their victims were minorities, all but two of them black.

Nearly all other cases­ involved black officers who killed black victims. In one other instance, a Latino officer fatally shot a white person and in another an Asian officer killed a black person. There were a total of 49 victims.
Such alarming statistics regarding low prosecution rates and low conviction rates generate righteous black outrage. In light of the statistical disparities, it is simply ridiculous for Kelvin Jackson to dismiss the movement as "nonsense."

We have to understand that this is nothing new. The opposition often deploys Negro proxies to discredit the movement. Those black surrogates buffer claims of racism and add legitimacy to the racist opposition. They use official mouthpieces like Kevin Jackson and Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke to justify racial profiling and police brutality. Sheriff Clarke actually claimed that Black Lives Matter has weakened policing.

Police accountability does not weaken policing. Police do not have to resort to unjustified brutality in order to be effective.  Furthermore, racial profiling wastes resources by unnecessarily targeting innocent black and Latino people based solely on the color of their skin. Such resources should be devoted to targeting actual criminals. Racial profiling and police brutality undermine policing by breeding animosity and distrust in the black community. Without trust, the people are less likely to report crime, and they are less likely to cooperate with the police.

Not only does the opposition use official Negro spokespeople, they exploit gullible, uninformed African Americans on social media. When African Americans get on camera and attack the Black Lives Matter Movement and other prominent civil rights groups, the opposition and corporate media share, promote and make those videos go viral.  Such videos deflect away from police brutality and over emphasize so-called black-on-black violence. They focus on elements of so-called black dysfunction and virtually ignore the police brutality.  Police brutality and inner city violence are two completely separate issues. Those issues must be addressed separately. The suggestion that urban violence must end before we can address police brutality is absurd.

We must defend the Black Lives Matter movement. We should not allow anyone to label the movement as a hate group. In the words of Malcolm X, "a label can kill you." Remember the government labeled the original Black Panther Party ("BPP") as a hate group. While the larger black community just sat back and watched, BPP leaders and members were jailed and killed. We cannot allow that to happen Black Lives Matter. We must defend, protect and strengthen them.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Jonathan Ferrell's Life Does Not Matter

CNN reports that:
Prosecutors in North Carolina will not seek a retrial of a police officer charged in the shooting death of an unarmed man, according to a letter from the state attorney general's office.

Officer Randall Kerrick of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department was charged with voluntary manslaughter after he shot and killed Jonathan Ferrell, a college student and football player, in 2013.

A judge last week declared a mistrial after the jury could not reach a verdict.

Prosecutors made their decision after speaking with jurors from the original trial. They said they will submit paperwork for dismissal of the charge.

"In consideration of the jurors' comments, the evidence available to the State, and our background in criminal trials, it is our prosecutors' unanimous belief a retrial will not yield a different result," said the state attorney general's letter to the Mecklenburg County District Attorney's Office.

North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper said at a new conference on Friday that he still stands by the decision to bring the case to trial.

"The loss of Jonathan Ferrell's life is a tragedy -- it should not have happened," Cooper said. "Our prosecutors have talked with Jonathan's mother about this decision. It was the right thing to bring this case before a jury and seek a conviction, but now we need to listen to what the jury said."
This is a disgrace. It is an act of cowardice. Instead of having the fortitude to retry the case, the prosecution caved under pressure like some weak chumps. The prosecution should have presented the case to a new jury and let the jury decide. In lieu of that, Attorney General Roy Cooper essentially decided the case for them.

Despite all of the pleasantries and phony expressions of concern, his message is loud and clear: Jonathan Ferrell's life does not matter. Black lives do not matter.  They never have, and probably, never will.  Now, another black man is dead, and another white killer cop walks free. In fact, Randall Kerrick will probably be rewarded for killing Jonathan Ferrell. Kerrick will probably receive thousands of dollars for interviews.

Unfortunately, we are to blame for this outcome as well. We allowed ourselves to be pacified by a grand jury indictment and a trial. We lost focus and fell asleep at our post. For a second, we were deluded. We actually thought that justice was in sight. We stopped protesting and blogging about this case.

With virtually no pressure from the public, it was easy for the prosecutor to decide not the pursue the case. The prosecutor made his announcement on a Friday for a reason. Sadly, many of our people are more concerned about going to the club than they are about pursuing justice. By Monday, it will be business as usual and no one will give a damn about our brother Jonathan Ferrell.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

The Black Lives Matter Movement Now Has A Legislative Agenda

Yesterday, a faction from the Black Lives Matters movement finally followed the advice of critics. The movement developed and released a comprehensive legislative agenda. The Guardian reports that:
Leaders in the new civil rights movement campaigning against the killings of African Americans by police set out their most comprehensive set of policies and demands so far on Friday, as they moved to intensify their rapidly increasing influence on US politics.

The coalition of protesters outlined proposals for new laws at federal and state levels such as restricting the use of deadly force by officers, outlawing the supply of military equipment to police departments, instituting training to prevent racial bias and forcing the US government to keep a comprehensive record of fatal incidents.

“We must end police violence so we can live and feel safe in this country,” the group stated on a new website, Campaign Zero, which also establishes an issue-by-issue system for monitoring the policy positions of candidates for the Democratic and Republican US presidential nominations...

These policies, like our resistance, will save lives and introduce a new way of viewing political strategy,” said Aurielle Lucier, the co-founder of the Atlanta-based activist group It’s Bigger Than You. “This is a blueprint for ending police violence,” said DeRay McKesson, another leading activist involved in the project.

The manifesto was shared with the Guardian in advance of its publication. It calls for the establishment of a new national standard authorising police officers to use deadly force “only when there is an imminent threat to an officer’s life or the life of another person” and the use of deadly force is “strictly unavoidable”. Under a 1985 US supreme court ruling, officers may currently use deadly force if they believe a fleeing suspect poses “a significant threat” of killing or seriously injuring someone.

The protesters’ platform also requests further legislation mandating all police officers to wear body cameras, lowering the standard of proof for convictions in federal civil rights inquiries, and banning police union contracts that they say obstruct investigations into officers responsible for fatalities.
Now, that the Black Lives Matter movement has an agenda, it must effectively push that agenda. It must demand that all local, state and federal governments adopt that agenda. They must pressure Democrats and Republicans to embrace that agenda. Before disrupting campaign rallies and other political gatherings, the Movement should make a diligent effort to meet with the candidates to discuss the agenda.

If the politicians fail to meet with the movement, the disruptions will be justified. By the way, when asked about meeting with Black Lives Matter, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (R) called the idea "ridiculous." He has an earned a disruption or two. We must demand that both parties pass legislation to end racial profiling and police brutality.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Shaun King and the White Savior Syndrome

Breitbart reported that:
An investigative blogger has accused Shaun King, a key figure in the Black Lives Matter movement, of misleading media icon Oprah Winfrey by pretending to be biracial in order to qualify for an “Oprah scholarship” to historically black Morehouse College. The blogger says King is white and has been lying about his ethnicity for years.

King is a high-profile campaigner against “police brutality” and “justice correspondent” for the liberal Daily Kos website who told Rebel magazine in 2012 that he was biracial, with the magazine reporting that he is the “son of a Caucasian mother and an African-American father.” He has also described himself as “mixed with a black family” on Twitter.

King has been lionised by the press, praised as hero of civil rights and social activism. He has written extensively about a childhood in which he was terrorised by “decades old racial tensions.” He claims to have been “the focus of constant abuse of the resident rednecks of my school.”

Yet, in recent weeks, rumours have been circulating about his ethnicity. A 1995 police incident report lists Shaun King’s ethnicity as white. And blogger Vicki Pate, who has been assembling forensic accounts of Shaun King’s background and family tree on her blog, “Re-NewsIt!,” has published her findings.

She claims that King is entirely white and says a birth certificate, which Breitbart has since independently acquired from the Kentucky Office of Vital Statistics, names a white man as his father.

King’s case echoes that of Rachel Dolezal, a civil rights activist from Washington who claimed to be biracial while in fact being of caucasian origin. Dolezal continues to insist she “identifies as black,” despite her parents revealing that she is entirely white.

If Pate is right, Shaun King, who often uses black and white photographs of himself online rather than colour images, may have misled African-American hero Winfrey by applying for and accepting an Oprah Scholarship to the historically black Morehouse College. Oprah Scholarships are given exclusively to black men.
In response to this controversy, Shaun King wrote, in part:
The reports about my race, about my past, and about the pain I’ve endured are all lies. My mother is a senior citizen. I refuse to speak in detail about the nature of my mother’s past, or her sexual partners, and I am gravely embarrassed to even be saying this now, but I have been told for most of my life that the white man on my birth certificate is not my biological father and that my actual biological father is a light-skinned black man. My mother and I have discussed her affair. She was a young woman in a bad relationship and I have no judgment. This has been my lived reality for nearly 30 of my 35 years on earth. I am not ashamed of it, or of who I am—never that—but I was advised by my pastor nearly 20 years ago that this was not a mess of my doing and it was not my responsibility to fix it. All of my siblings and I have different parents. I'm actually not even sure how many siblings I have.
I do not know if Shaun King is black or white. Since Breitfart is an unreliable, biased source with a right wing agenda, I will reserve judgment until all of the facts have been revealed.

Throughout American history, progressive whites have been involved in various social justice movements. They participated in the Abolitionist Movement and the Civil Rights Movement. Many of them dedicated their lives to the fight for equal rights and justice. People like John Brown,Michael Schwerner, Andrew Goodman and many others were martyrs for the struggle. That history must be acknowledged, appreciated and respected. Obviously, one does not have to be black to be involved in the African American struggle for justice.

For that reason, it is completely baffling that some people like Rachel Dolezal, and possibly Shaun King, feel compelled to virtually masquerade around in black face. People who engage in such deception are not worthy of leading any organization, especially not a black organization. When one lies about basic things such as their identity, how can anyone believe a word that comes from their mouth? Those people should not be spokespersons for the movement. They completely undermine the credibility of the organizations that they claim to represent. When they speak on important issues such as police brutality, racial profiling and mass incarceration, people will question the veracity of their statements. The movement cannot afford that.

Although I do not object to white involvement in the movement, I do have a problem with white "saviors" infiltrating, leading, dominating and controlling the movement. We cannot possibly be so desperate. We should not allow any and everyone to lead us.  Black organizations should be led and controlled by black people. We must shape our own destiny as a people. Whites and others can support us without joining and leading our organizations.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

The New Black Panther Party is A Fraud

Shout out and hat tip to fellow Howard University alum Bro. Kofi Khalfani!

On August 13, 2015, the New Afrikan Press International issued the following press release:
Movement Activists Violently Attacked at Atlanta Conference

On Saturday, August 8, 2015, a group of six Black Liberation Movement activists were violently attacked at a downtown Atlanta hotel. The group included members of the Free The People Movement, including their Coordinator, Kalonji Jama Changa, members of the Nation of Gods and Earths and Dhoruba Bin Wahad, the internationally recognized former Black Panther Party leader and political prisoner of 19 years. The group was jumped by 25 to 30 members of The New Black Panther Party at “The Power Belongs to the People 2015 Summit” in Atlanta, Georgia, an event hosted by the New Black Panther Party.

According to eyewitnesses, 71 year-old Dhoruba Bin Wahad and the others approached the side of the stage where attorney Malik Zulu Shabazz was speaking. While standing there, Shabazz, leader of the New Black Panther Party asked, “Who is that?” Bin Wahad replied, “You know who I am!” Shabazz responded “WAHAD! We’ll deal with you later!” Bin Wahad countered with “You can deal with me now…” Knowing that Dhoruba Bin Wahad was there with information that would publicly expose Shabazz’s government affiliations that contradict his stance as a Nationalist and activist for Black liberation, Shabazz immediately ordered the NBPP members in attendance to “Get his b*tch ass out of here!” At that point the whole group was mobbed and violently attacked by at least 25 members of the audience. As they defended themselves, the men were struck with chairs and other objects. Bin Wahad’s jaw was broken in three places, one of his associates was choked unconscious and others received head gashes that required staples.

As of this release, Bin Wahad is undergoing a 6-hour surgery to reconstruct his jaw and the others have been treated and released. More details will follow as information is gathered.
Dhoruba Bin Wahad was a real Black Panther Party leader. When the F.B.I. declared war on the real Black Panther Party, the brother joined the Black Liberation Army. As a result of the F.B.I.'s Cointelpro Program, Mr. Wahad spend 19 years in prison. He is a veteran of the Black Liberation Movement. His love for the people and the movement cannot be questioned.  He deserves our respect for his commitment, dedication and sacrifice.

The people who attacked Mr. Wahad are a fraud. They claim to be committed to movement.  Yet, they brutalize a veteran of the movement.  Not only that, they stole the real Black Panther Party's name, imagery, logos and trademarks. Anyone who has studied the history of the real Black Panther Party knows that the New Black Panther Party("NBPP") is a cheap, rip-off, bootlegged organization. The NBPP opposes the very principles and ideals that the real Black Party stood for. As noted on Huey Newton Foundation website,
In response from numerous requests from individual’s seeking information on the “New Black Panthers,” the Dr. Huey P. Newton Foundation issues this public statement to correct the distorted record being made in the media by a small band of African Americans calling themselves the New Black Panthers. As guardian of the true history of the Black Panther Party, the Foundation, which includes former leading members of the Party, denounces this group’s exploitation of the Party’s name and history. Failing to find its own legitimacy in the black community, this band would graft the Party’s name upon itself, which we condemn...

Secondly, they denigrate the Party’s name by promoting concepts absolutely counter to the revolutionary principles on which the Party was founded. Their alleged media assault on the Ku Klux Klan serves to incite hatred rather than resolve it. The Party’s fundamental principle, as best articulated by the great revolutionary Ernesto “Che” Guevara, was: “A true revolutionary is guided by great feelings of love.” The Black Panthers were never a group of angry young militants full of fury toward the “white establishment.” The Party operated on love for black people, not hatred of white people.
Instead of being a true movement for black liberation, the NBPP is a creature and tool of Fox News. The Right exploits the NBPP to stoke White America's fears. The Right manipulates that fear to drive reactionary anti-black positions and policies.

For the vicious and senseless attack on our dear brother Wahad, the NBPP and Malik Zulu Shabazz must be condemned, rejected, isolated and held fully accountable.  Through their sickening and violent actions, they have exposed and discredited themselves.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Brothers March Against Violence in Baltimore

"You need to have a rally in your own living room! Have a rally in your own kitchen! You need to have an occupy my house rally! That's what you need!" Newark Mayor Ras Baraka

The Baltimore Sun reports that:
Striding backwards at the head of about 40 men and boys who had walked 29 miles from Baltimore and had more than a half-dozen to go under the scorching summer sun Monday morning, Munir Bahar focused his gaze on the line of five boys at the front.

They had linked their arms around each other's shoulders in an expression of solidarity to propel them forward through the pain.

Each was a member of Bahar's Youth COR, which is tapping young people to serve as community ambassadors in the wake of the unrest after the death of Freddie Gray in April and the unprecedented spate of homicides across the city since...

Their journey from Baltimore to Washington was part of an effort by Bahar and his 300 Men March organization to shine a national spotlight on the group's anti-violence work at a time when the killing in Baltimore is spiraling out of control. The city has seen more than 200 homicides this year, with a spike in recent months that has pushed the count far ahead of last year's pace.

"We're just trying to show love," said Eric Baker, 19. "Love is action. It can actually have a huge impact."

The 300 Men March puts men who share an "enough is enough" mindset on the streets for regular walks through some of Baltimore's most violent neighborhoods.

As Bahar sees it, with the right resources, the model could be scaled up across the city.

Bahar intended the 35-mile march from Baltimore to Washington on Sunday and Monday to draw attention to the program and the "Emergency Operating Plan" he has created as a pitch to potential donors.
Despite assertions to the contrary, black people regularly protest against inner city violence. We hold countless prayer vigils for young men and women gone too soon. The courageous work of the 300 Men March is just one of many examples. I commend those brothers for their bold commitment to peace and decency. I hope that the group receives many donations to fund their important work.

We must save our communities from self-destruction. To paraphrase Newark Mayor Ras Baraka, we need to rally in our own homes. We must ensure that our sons, daughters, nieces, nephews, brothers and sisters are not entangled in this sick culture of death and mayhem. As my imam says, this is "our community and our responsibility."  We must rally against benign neglect, poverty, failing schools and unemployment as well. Those problems fuel the violence.

Lastly, we must hold our elected officials accountable for failing to adequately address the out-of-control carnage in Baltimore. We must march to the polls and vote out the politicians who have failed us. We must elect politicians who actually have concrete and viable plans to improve this city.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Remembering Julian Bond

Yesterday, I was scrolling down my Facebook news feed and I noticed that a colleague posted an article announcing the passing of civil rights icon Julian Bond. I was stunned, shocked and speechless as you can tell from my last post.  Often, we assume that people are going to be here forever. Yet, we are aware of our morality.  We are all just visitors passing through this place called life.

As many people know, I work for the NAACP. When I first began working for the Association in 2004, Julian Bond was the Chairman of the NAACP National Board of Directors. Although I have been in the same room with him on many occasions, I did not know Mr. Bond. I never had a single conversation with him. I regret that.  Unlike many of colleagues, I never took an individual photo with him.  However, I did meet him once and shook his hand. For that, I am proud. Although I have great respect and admiration for the man, I was just too reserved to play the role of fan. Quietly, I was in awe to be in his presence.

For me, Mr. Bond was an unapproachable, larger than life figure, walking history. The legendary brother was a contemporary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Roy Wilkins, Ella Baker, Fannie Lou Hamer, Stokely Carmichael, Thurgood Marshall and many other great black men and women. From the early 1960s until the day of his passing, Mr. Bond was at the forefront of the fight for equal rights and social justice. He was a trail blazer. Mr. Bond supported "marriage equality" before many of his colleagues. He supported it before it became popular and mainstream. Although I still do not support gay marriage, I recognize and commend Mr. Bond for having to the courage to stand by his convictions. I commend him for his consistency and vision.

When Bond was Chairman, I always looked forward to hearing his powerful speeches at the NAACP National Convention. During those days, the Bush Administration was in power. I enjoyed hearing him rail against the extreme right with brutal honesty and unadulterated truth. Not only did he challenge the right, he challenged the left as well.  He did not spare so-called progressives such as former President Bill Clinton. Not only were his speeches fiery, inspiring and entertaining, they were truly educational. Every speech was an informative, scholarly and engaging history lesson. During every speech, class was in session. I miss that. We will all miss Chairman Bond. He was one of a kind. May he rest in peace and power.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

The Legendary Julian Bond Joins the Ancestors

NPR reports that:
Julian Bond, a civil rights activist and longtime board chairman of the NAACP, died Saturday night, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

He was 75.

Bond died in Fort Walton Beach, Florida after a brief illness, the SPLC said in a statement released Sunday morning.

The Nashville, Tenn. native was considered a symbol and icon of the 1960s civil rights movement. As a Morehouse College student, Bond helped found the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee and as its communications director, he was on the front lines of protests that led to the nation's landmark civil rights laws.

Bond later served as board chairman of the 500,000-member NAACP for 10 years but declined to run again for another one-year term in 2010.

The SPLC said Bond was a "visionary" and "tireless champion" for civil and human rights.

"With Julian's passing, the country has lost one of its most passionate and eloquent voices for the cause of justice," SPLC co-founder Morris Dees said in a statement. "He advocated not just for African Americans, but for every group, indeed every person subject to oppression and discrimination, because he recognized the common humanity in us all."

Bond also served in the Georgia state legislature and was a professor at American University and the University of Virginia.

Julian is survived by his wife, Pamela Horowitz, a former SPLC staff attorney; his five children, Phyllis Jane Bond-McMillan, Horace Mann Bond II, Michael Julian Bond, Jeffrey Alvin Bond, and Julia Louise Bond; his brother, James Bond; and his sister, Jane Bond Moore.

Rest in peace, brother Julian Bond. May God bless and comfort your family. Inspired by your bold and courageous example, we will continue the righteous fight for justice and equality.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

LeBron James Will Help 1,100 Kids Go to College

The Huffington Post reports that:
The deep ties LeBron James shares with his hometown of Akron, Ohio, aren't news to anyone. It's as much a part of the LeBron brand as the player's moves on the court.

Well, King James is taking the love one step further, announcing that he will fund over 1,000 kids' educations with a scholarship to the University of Akron, ESPN reported.

Through a partnership between the school and his LeBron James Family Foundation, the 1,100 children currently in his "I Promise" program will receive a fully sponsored scholarship.

"I think it's probably one of the best things I've ever been a part of," James said.

He continued, "This is very special to me. As a kid growing up in the inner city and as an African-American kid, you don't really think past high school because it's not possible or your family can't support you."
Good morning, family. I salute LeBron James for giving back to the community. He was blessed with great opportunity. Now, he is sharing that blessing with many others. Due to his great generosity, 1,000 kids will be able to attend college. Much respect.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Cointelpro 2.0: The Government Monitors @deray and #BlackLivesMatter

"For, if they take you in the morning, they will be coming for us that night.” Angela Y. Davis
"I'm probably on some government list for my rhymin." Talib Kweli

The Root and Vice News report that:
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has monitored the Twitter account of prominent civil rights activist DeRay Mckesson, referring to him as a "professional protester" who is "known to law enforcement," according to documents obtained by VICE News in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.

Mckesson's Twitter and other social media accounts were being monitored by DHS last May during the height of the protests in Baltimore that followed the death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man who was critically injured while in police custody. DHS took note when McKesson, a former Minneapolis public school official and an activist in the Black Lives Matter movement, posted details to his Twitter account about a planned protest in Baltimore.

One email said DHS "social media monitors have reported that a professional demonstrator/protester known to law enforcement (Deray Mckesson) has post on his social media account that there is going to be a 3:00 pm rally at the FOP#3 lodge located @ 3920 Baltimore Ave, Baltimore, MD 21211 … This is early raw unevaluated and uncorroborated reporting at this time."
As reported in Intercept last month, the Department of Homeland Security has been monitoring the Black Lives Matter movement. Intercept reports that:
The Department of Homeland Security has been monitoring the Black Lives Matter movement since anti-police protests erupted in Ferguson, Missouri last summer, according to hundreds of documents obtained by The Intercept through a Freedom of Information Act request.

The documents, released by the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Operations Coordination, indicate that the department frequently collects information, including location data, on Black Lives Matter activities from public social media accounts, including on Facebook, Twitter, and Vine, even for events expected to be peaceful. The reports confirm social media surveillance of the protest movement and ostensibly related events in the cities of Ferguson, Baltimore, Washington, DC, and New York.

They also show the department watching over gatherings that seem benign and even mundane. For example, DHS circulated information on a nationwide series of silent vigils and a DHS-funded agency planned to monitor a funk music parade and a walk to end breast cancer in the nation’s capital...

Brendan McQuade, a visiting assistant professor at DePaul University who researches the DHS’s intelligence-gathering fusion centers, believes that the DHS and its affiliated counterterror organizations monitor Black Lives Matter to such a exacting degree because the terrorist threats they were created to stop are exceedingly remote. “Fusion centers were set up for counterterrorism, but it became ‘all crimes, all threats, all hazards’ because terrorism isn’t a real threat. You are four times more likely to be struck by lighting than killed by a terrorist,” says McQuade. “Even at their moment of emergence it was clear that counterterrorism wasn’t going to be enough.”

Raven Rakia, a journalist who investigates state surveillance and policing, said that the DHS’ decision to monitor Black Lives Matter is hardly surprising, given the federal government’s well documented history of spying on and suppressing black social movements and groups like the Black Panthers. “There’s a long history of the federal agencies, especially the FBI, seeing black resistance organizations as a threat to national security,” says Rakia.

Mitchell, the Blackbird activist, says that this continuing surveillance serves not only to keep tabs on black activists, but also to deter them from pushing forward. “Surveillance is a tool of fear. When the police are videotaping you at a protest or pulling you over because you’re a well known activist — all of these techniques are designed to create a chilling effect on people’s organizing. This is no different. The level of surveillance, however, isn’t going to stop us. After all, we organize because our lives depend on it.” (Emphasis added)
During the 60s and 70s, the FBI implemented Cointelpro, the Counter Intelligence Program. Cointelpro was designed to "to expose, disrupt, misdirect, discredit, or otherwise neutralize the activities of black nationalist hate-type organizations and groupings, their leadership, spokesmen, membership, and supporters, and to counter their propensity for violence and civil disorder." Even nonviolent civil rights leaders and organizations were targeted.  Under Cointelpro, not only did the FBI monitor black leaders and black organizations, it destroyed them. Many black leaders were jailed and even killed by the FBI.

Today, even with a black man in the White House, the government continues to target black activists. With the advent of social media such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, it is far easier to monitor black leaders and organizations. History teaches us that surveillance is only the beginning of the repression. Just for peacefully organizing to end police brutality, we are treated like terrorists.

As a result of the so-called War on Terror, the government's ability to monitor American citizens has increased substantially. Our fear of foreign Arab terrorists made it easy for us to voluntarily surrender some of our civil liberties. When the Arabs and Muslims were targets of surveillance, no one cared. Now that is us again, we have no choice but to care. The struggle continues.