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Tone Deaf and Colorblind : The State of America

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Children restrained and detained by ICE Ross D Franklin/AP

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?

 

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

Vile Treatment

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.

#WhereAreTheChildren

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

 

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Politics

Federal Watchdog Agency Claims Kellyanne Conway Violated Hatch Act

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It has been recommended that Kellyanne Conway be removed from federal office for a violation of the Hatch Act. Defined as engaging in political activity in the course of one’s work, Conway’s continuous tv appearances and social media presence have gotten her called out by a federal watchdog organization.

The Office of Special Counsel made the recommendation that Kellyanne Conway be immediately removed from her position as the senior-most advisor to Donald Trump Thursday. In a lengthy report provided to Trump, the investigation described Conway as a repeat offender, violating the Hatch Act on numerous occasions. Through disparaging remarks to Democratic presidential candidates, to speaking in her official capacity in television appearance and on social media, Conway has crossed several boundaries. The implications that her actions violate the Hatch Act have been deemed “unprecedented.”

Special Counsel Henry Kerner noted that his suggestion to fire Conway was unheard of. However, the basis for his decision rests on the example set by Conway’s behavior. Discussing the recommendation in an interview, Kerner said, “In interview after interview, she uses her official capacity to disparage announced candidates, which is not allowed. What kind of example does that send to the federal workforce? If you’re high enough up in the White House, you break the law, but if you’re a postal carrier or a regular federal worker, you lose your job?” While many have called for Conway’s termination of employment since she assumed the role as his advisor in 2017, the decision rests solely upon Donald Trump.

In predictable fashion, the White House is refusing to accept the Special Counsel’s recommendation. Instead, they have issued a letter calling for the federal watchdog agency to withdraw the suggestion of Conway’s removal. However, the Office of Special Counsel immediately declined. They are choosing not to overlook Conway’s unethical behavior but cannot force the President to take action in their favor.

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Taraji Saving Black Lives

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UPI

Taraji P. Henson has been a leader in our community by shedding light on the reality of mental health for black youth. On June 7th, 2019, Henson testified on Capitol Hill during the Congressional Black Caucus Taskforce forum on suicide among black youth. Specifically, Henson brought the room into deep thought when she reflected on her own experiences.

Henson’s father Boris Lawrence Henson passed away in 2006. Prior to that, Henson’s son’s father was murdered in Washington D.C. Now, these two traumatic events have affected her but it has also fostered a wealth of issues for her son. As a result, things get worse when young people are not able to vocalize their hurt and pain.

In her statement, Henson stated, “We’ve been taught to pray our problems away.” Henson is making it known that in the African-American community we do not discuss mental health. Instead, we let our emotions build up. If the problem is not addressed it will always be there. There will be strings attached if one doesn’t confront what is holding them back from prospering in life.

Lastly, a few years ago, Henson launched the Boris Lawrence Henson foundation with a goal to eliminate any stigmas associated with mental health. Mental health should be normalized and it should be taught in schools just like Henson stated in her statement.

I recommend everyone to watch her statement.

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Politics

Is Dr. Ben Carson Gifted in Politics?

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The Hero That Many Look Up To

Dr. Ben Carson is recognized as the most accomplished neurosurgeon in history. In 1987, he was the lead surgeon among a plethora of surgical members to separate conjoined twins. Many people can assume that this is a grueling procedure for not only the patients but the team doing the surgery. Furthermore, many black parents use Dr. Carson as a success story for their children. Specifically, Gifted Hands was the movie every black family watched and made sure their children knew.

 Moreover, Based on the movie, many of us know that Dr. Carson is aware of what it’s like to be the on the receiving end of a government that takes advantage of low-income neighborhoods. For this reason, it makes sense that Dr. Carson could serve as the United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under President Donald Trump. In this role, he is called to increase homeownership and increase access to minorities who are often discriminated against when trying to search for housing opportunities.

The Problem With Dr. Carson In This Role

Recently, Dr. Carson testified at the House Financial Services Committee and he had two exchanges that the media and public are not taking to lightly. The first exchange was with Representative Katie Porter of California. Rep. Porter asked Dr. Carson what an REO is and he thought that she was referring to an Oreo. Now, I am not a politician, but even I know that was not what she was referring to. He is undermining the problem and he perceives it as a joke. It is, in fact, a very serious issue. He is one of the reasons many homes are going for closure which result in people losing their homes and it enables calumny.

In addition, the second exchange was with Representative Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts. Rep. Pressley asked him a simple question. Her question was “Yes or no — is stable and safe housing a social determinant of health?” Dr. Carson refused to answer her question and kept dancing around the subject by laughing and quoting our Dear Auntie Maxine Waters quote “reclaiming my time”.

To sum up, this was unacceptable. Dr. Carson could not articulate competent answers to the questions. It is clear to the American people that Dr. Ben Carson is not fit or qualified for this role. It is upsetting because he has the power to help marginalized communities obtain better housing. Instead, he is spending $31,00 on furniture from government funds that are supposed to help communities.

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