While I am happy the students of the Parkland Massacre have been so well received, I must admit I feel cheated.
The many calls to action for gun control and reform by the Black community seemed to fall on deaf ears. We organized, marched in the streets, protested on social media, but support was limited to thoughts and prayers. The ability to donate to Black Lives Matter passively through our Amazon purchases is nice, but nothing compared to the large donations of $500,000 each by Oprah, The Clooneys, and countless others. The outpouring of public support, rallying of officials to openly commit to making changes, and then implementing them is unprecedented. BLM never received more than the utterance of three words during opportune moments in the political spotlight where it would only serve to benefit politicians who paid our community dust. Through all of this, the media continues to paint these young activists as the new bastion of civil rights leaders and that leaves an ugly stain on my heart. I am not angry with their success, just curious — Where was the support for Black Americans struggling to make sense of our nation in the aftermath of countless deaths?
In 2013, African-Americans stood by in horror, grief, and rage as George Zimmerman was acquitted of the heinous shooting death of Trayvon Martin. This event prompted the use of #BlackLivesMatter across all social media platforms but the group would not take center stage until the demonstrations surrounding the events of Michael Brown’s death in Ferguson. After countless hashtags to raise awareness about the massacre of unarmed Black citizens that followed, Black Lives Matter has struggled to gain ground in their good fight to unite our community to crush the systems of oppression that guard privileged White Americans. To their detriment and our own, we have been out-organized and the truth of this is laid bare when evaluating the progress high school students with proper support are making. BLM lacks the political representation, wealth, and notable endorsements of other movements which continues to cripple our progress, but there’s room for growth.
This is in no way a means to discredit or detract from past, current, or future actions taken by BLM. This is also not meant to direct any negativity toward the hundreds of students and families affected by the Parkland tragedy. I am simply using them as examples of community efforts seeking change for the sake of comparison. Having visited BLM’s website as recently as Feb. 27th, 2018, it remains out of date with no posts since January 30th. Their ‘Channel Black’ programming initiative hasn’t had new content since 2017. Even the official BLM shop has yet to launch. The three queer black women who formed BLM are not enough and should not be expected to be enough to support the weight of an entire revolution. This is where community involvement comes in. This is where local politicians and leaders are expected to stand in the gap as representatives for their respective communities to rally for political change. While this process is arduous, it’s where we lacked the representation. However, the opportunity to break the wheel has come in the form of mid-term elections.
Time for Change
Politics are an avenue where Black Americans across the country need support. Motivated by the outcome of the 2016 Presidential election, more people of color are running for office in 2018 than in previous years. Although not all represent our values or have our best interests at heart (looking at you Stacey Dash), we owe it to them to do our due diligence and take into consideration that as a culture we are attempting to navigate a system that is not invested in our success. While I anticipate positive results from these mid-term elections, I say this with the utmost affection and respect for my people—We need to do a better job of holding each other accountable. We must be as fervently involved in our communities as our Caucasian counterparts. We have to respect and participate in the political process regardless of whether we believe it is manipulated or that results are pre-determined. 503 Black women are running for federal, state, and local seats in the US government. 285 of them are running in red states. We owe it to ourselves not to fail these or any other person of color candidate that means to truly serve the people.
What do you think we can do as a community to continue marching toward success? Will you be voting this year?
Tone Deaf and Colorblind : The State of America
This is America. This has always been America.
The infamous quote from James Baldwin that states “To be Black and conscious in America is to be in a constant state of rage,” is not an exaggeration. I feel that it’s true for all persons of color in this country now. We are a nation built on a foundation of broken bodies held together with our ancestors’ shed blood as the mortar. The atrocities perpetrated against the people of the First Nations, stolen Africans, and Indigenous peoples of Mexico have led us where we are today. Yet, not once has an apology been issued or compensation been rendered for the horrors that saw families ripped apart, men broken, and women abused.
How could America even begin to repair the rift between the oppressor and the oppressed when even now families are destroyed by aggressive anti-immigration laws enacted by territorial usurpers?
I saw this photo floating around and didn’t know if it was real.
Children of immigrants are being held in cages, like dogs, at ICE detention centers, sleeping on the floor. It’s an abomination.
— Shaun King (@ShaunKing) May 27, 2018
At this moment, immigrant children are sleeping in detainment centers in cages on bare floors separated from their mothers. They are separated by age and gender, robbing many of the slight comfort having their siblings close by could bring. These children are facing neglect and abuse.
Thanks to the FOIA request by the ACLU, we now know the span of trauma immigrant detainees are up against. The Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL) within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) revealed approximately 4,600 pages of records documenting the complaints submitted by legal service providers and immigrants’ rights advocates on behalf of the children.How could America even begin to repair the rift between the oppressor and the oppressed when even now families are destroyed by aggressive anti-immigration laws enacted by territorial usurpers? Click To Tweet
Many of the victims were seeking asylum and suffered physical, verbal, or sexual abuse from Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials. While the report is truly expansive, it is imperative that we understand this may be just the tip of the iceberg. We have no idea how much has gone unreported for fear of retaliation.
In addition to the threat of physical or mental harm, the fear of never being reunited with their families looms heavy in their hearts. During the last three months of 2017, Steven Wagner, a top official within the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), admitted to something heinous. The Office of Refugee Resettlement, which is part of the DHHS, LOST 1,475 children it had placed into the homes of sponsors. How this happened is beyond the comprehension of many because of the stringent requirements and documentation necessary for sponsorship to be effective.
Sponsorship for immigrants is a legally enforceable contract, meaning the government or the sponsored immigrant can take the sponsor to court if the sponsor fails to provide acceptable support to the immigrant. An applicant must first complete an I-864, an affidavit of financial support. Defaulting on such an agreement can result in fines. With all of this at stake, the government office of DHHS insists it is not legally responsible, but if it were it would require a significant increase in funds/resources. If this were happening to anyone else in another country, the American government would be outraged.
The reality of this lapse is that it is very possible nearly 1500 children have been lost to human trafficking under the nose of the American government. An excerpt of the reports shows just what these minors could be facing.
As we wait in anger and disgust at the delay of response by Trump, many questions what actions we can take as citizens to get justice for the lost. The numbers below provide a way for us to reach beyond our borders in an effort to report or glean more information about the crisis affecting these youth.
International Human Rights Watch 212-290-4700 United Nations Human Rights 212-415-4026
Rosa Parks Didn’t Sit & Rep Maxine Waters Didn’t Yield!
On May 8th, California congresswoman Rep Maxine Waters and Rep Mike Kelly of Pennsylvania had a rather uncomfortable exchange at a meeting of the House Committee on Financial Services.
Sparks flew, when Kelly addressed Waters in a way that devalued and diminished the importance of legislation put into place during Obamas administration, to protect consumers from racial discrimination by car loan providers.
Rep Kelly stated, “We are trying to make sure that we’re making America great every day and every way, the best way to do that is to stop talking about discrimination and start talking about the nation.” After his remarks he then yielded to the floor.
Visibly appalled and offended, Rep Waters immediately addressed Kelly asking him to not leave, stating: “Don’t tell me that we don’t understand,” she said. “That’s the attitude that’s been given towards women time and time again. Don’t you dare talk to me like that and think that somehow women don’t understand what goes on on the floors of automobile dealers.”
Chairman Tom McClintock attempted to redirect Waters remarks to him, however she asserted ,”I don’t appreciate that you did not interrupt him while he was making those outrageous remarks about him knowing more about discrimination than I know about discrimination. I resent that,” she said. “Having said that, I reserve the balance of my time and, no, I do not yield not one second to you.”
“I do not yield not one second to you!“
DROP THE MIC ON THEM REP WATERS!
My mother always told me, “if you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.”
Watch Full Exchange Below:
It takes great resolve and resiliency to be one of the only African Americans on Capitol Hill, fighting for the rights and equitable treatment of minorities and women.
How inappropriate is it, for a man that has the benefit of white privilege, to suggest a conversation about an issue that he has NEVER and will never be affected by, be halted? Discrimination or prejudicial treatment is not his problem or his concern. Hence the reason why legislation that protects marginalized and disenfranchised groups of people are needed.
However, if anyone is able to go toe to toe with the good ol’ boys, it’s Rep Maxine Waters. She is the voice for the voiceless. A modern day Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King and Malcolm X.
Thanks for not yielding Mrs. Waters, not even 1 sec.
“CHAINED TO THE CITY” Black Inequity In The American Justice System
Recently 2 big names in Hip Hop, Meek Mill and Kevin Gates were released from prison, after spending a combined 14-month prison sentence.
Gates was released January 10, 2018, from an Illinois State prison after serving 9 out of a 30-month sentence, for a felonious weapons charge. In 2015, Gates was also convicted of battery and served 180 days in Polk County, Florida, after he kicked a female fan with force because she grabbed him. As a result of Gates criminal past, he is unable to carry a weapon or leave the state of Illinois.
“CHAINED TO THE CITY”
Last week, Gate’s wife Dreka, took to his Instagram page to update his fans and express her frustrations. She captioned the video “chained to the city”. In the video, she states that:
“Kevin is unable to make it to the shows this weekend and next weekend. The Illinois Dept. of Corrections has prevented Kevin from leaving the state of Illinois. He isn’t even allowed to come home to California where we live, and since he was released in January he has not been able to come home not 1 time.”
She then went on to apologize for his absence but reassured the fans that he would make it up to them and that he is in the studio going hard.
ENOUGH IS ENOUGH
At what point is enough, enough? He has already served time for his mistakes. He has permanently lost his right to bear arms. Now it appears that the justice system is attempting to take his livelihood as well.
When you look at the system and how it is designed to keep men of color oppressed. It is no wonder why often times they feel forced to regress back to their old lifestyles and street mentality. If men of color with status, money, and power are being derailed and unfairly treated, it is without question that thousands and thousands of black men caught in the prison system are just like the proverbial hamster wheel, just spinning and spinning, but getting nowhere, but exactly where they started.
Meek Mill, was also released from prison on Apr 23, 2018, in Pennsylvania, after serving 5 months of a possible 2 to a 4-year prison sentence for POPPING WHEELIES on a dirt bike and getting into a scuffle. These two offenses violated probation from charges stemming from a drug and gun case in 2008.
It is unconscionable that an entire decade later, that Mill is still paying for the non-violent transgressions, which resulted in his early adulthood.
Fortunately, Mill has garnered support from all over the world, many of whom are celebrities and individuals with money and power. Even Queen Bey herself was talking about “FREE MEEK”.
But what about the disenfranchised brother who doesn’t have the support of JAY Z, TI, and MICHAEL RUBIN?
Debt To Society = PAID IN FULL
Both Gates and Mill have paid their debt to society. But in the eyes of the American Justice System, which is just another form of modern day slavery, their offenses are unforgivable. Not because the nature of the crimes are so atrocious, but because the individuals that committed the crimes are deemed as a menace to society, simply because of the color of their skin.
If this is happening to high profile celebrities, who are able to afford elite legal counsel to represent them, it is without question that thousands of black men and women across the country are experiencing an even higher level of inequity and disparity.
Mill has promised to fight the good fight, for others who have also been unfairly imprisoned for offenses that deserve a bit of grace. Hopefully, now that celebrity light has been shed on this age-old issue, the shift for fair and equal rights will begin. Then and only then, will America truly be great, with LIBERTY and JUST for ALL!!!
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