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Politics

Looking back at Black Lives Matter and Parkland

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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? 

Black tears that fall in America add color to the pages of our past, present, and future, telling a painful story about the value of African-American lives in this nation. Click To Tweet 

Uphill Battle

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.

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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?

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Politics

Steve Bannon Arrested on Border Wall Fundraising Scheme

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Steve Bannon, Donald Trump’s former political adviser, and three other leaders of the“We Build the Wall” online fundraising campaign have been indicted on wire fraud and money laundering charges by federal prosecutors. 

Federal agents and officials from the United States Postal Inspection arrested Bannon while he was on a boat located off the eastern coast of Connecticut.


Bannon is expected to make his initial court appearance in New York later today, according to the US attorney’s office. Bannon’s attorney, Bill Burck, declined to comment on the matter. 

Audrey Strauss, acting Manhattan U.S attorney, issued the following statement: 

“As alleged, the defendants defrauded hundreds of thousands of donors, capitalizing on their interest in funding a border wall to raise millions of dollars, under the false pretense that all of that money would be spent on construction. While repeatedly assuring donors that Brian Kolfage, the founder and public face of We Build the Wall, would not be paid a cent, the defendants secretly schemed to pass hundreds of thousands of dollars to Kolfage, which he used to fund his lavish lifestyle. We thank the USPIS for their partnership in investigating this case, and we remain dedicated to rooting out and prosecuting fraud wherever we find it.” 

According to the charges, Kolfage—one of the crowdfunding organizers, spent more than $350,000 of the donations on personal expenses. These expenses include a luxury SUV, a golf cart, cosmetic surgery, home renovations, jewelry, personal tax payments,  and credit card debt. 

The four individuals being charged—Bannon, Kolfage, Andrew Badolato, and Timothy Shea—are charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, CNN reports

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Politics

Trump Panders to Feminists with Posthumous Pardon of Susan B. Anthony, then Attacks Michelle Obama

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At an event aimed at celebrating the 100th anniversary of women’s voting rights, a pivotal moment in history for gender equality, President Donald Trump pardoned Susan B. Anthony, then attacked one of the most respected women in America, Michelle Obama. 

The attack ensued after the enamored Michelle criticized him in a 19-minute long speech, which was presented at the Democratic National Convention on Monday. 

“He has had more than enough time to prove that he can do the job, but he is clearly in over his head,” Obama said. “He cannot meet this moment. He simply cannot be who we need him to be for us.” She then quoted Trump’s apathetic response when asked about those who died due to complications caused by the novel COVID-19 infection, “It is what it is.” 

Trump retaliated at the event, which housed the suburban housewives he pandered to on Twitter last week—and their husbands. “Well, she’s in over her head,” he said. “And frankly, she should [have] made the speech live, which she didn’t do.” He then took more jabs at her by calling her speech “extremely divisive” before discussing drug pricing. 

Michelle Obama is added to the long list of prominent women that Donald Trump has used his platform to attack.

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Entertainment

Ava DuVernay Defends Kamala Harris; Sparks Backlash

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Ava, girl, what is you on? Our good I’m-not-your-Auntie decided it best to make an Instagram post about the critique surrounding Kamala Harris’ vice-presidential candidacy.

“Oh but, Kamala did this or she didn’t do that. I hear you. I know. And I don’t care.”

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There is no debate anymore. There’s no room for it in my book. We either make this happen. Or literally, more of us perish. People are dying. Someone I love died. This virus is real. If it hasn’t visited your doorstep, it will. Oh but, Kamala did this or she didn’t do that. I hear you. I know. And I don’t care. Because what she DIDN’T DO is abandon citizens in a pandemic, rip babies from their mother’s arms at the border, send federal troops to terrorize protestors, manufacture new ways to suppress Black and Brown votes, actively disrespect Indigenous people and land, traffic in white supremacist rhetoric in an effort to stir racist violence at every turn, attempt to dismantle most American democratic systems of checks and balance, degrade women all day everyday, infect the Supreme Court with another misogynist hack, demolish America’s standing on climate, actively cultivate and further white supremacist structures and systems across all aspects of American daily life. I mean, that’s what she DIDN’T do. So I don’t wanna hear anything bad about her. It doesn’t matter to me. Vote them in and then let’s hold them accountable. Anything other than that is insanity. It’s ego. It’s against our own interests. It’s selfish. It’s disrespectful to our elders. It’s nonsense. It’s talking to hear yourself talk. This is a matter of life or death. We need all our energy focused. This is a fight for more than can be expressed here. There is no debate anymore. Not for me anyway. #voteblue2020

A post shared by Ava DuVernay (@ava) on

Ava, director of the movie 13th seems to be under the impression that we haven’t also lost family members, spouses, friends. She seems to believe that her pain should take precedent. Twitter didn’t like that:

All that can be said that hasn’t been said here is that Ava’s actions should be critiqued just as much as Kamala Harris. Ava, like many of the Black folk in Hollywood is only outraged for the benefit of the cameras, for the prestige she may garner as a result.

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