Trayvon Martin

Cornel West, Others Arrested At Ferguson Protest – NBC News.com | #OYRchallenge


By Patrick Howell O’Neill on October 13, 2014

Activist and academic Dr. Cornel West was arrested during demonstrations in Ferguson, Mo. He was on the scene to protest police brutality against black males, including the August shooting death of Michael Brown and another incident on Saturday, another 18-year-old killed by police just miles from Ferguson.Here’s Fusion’s livestream of the protests:

via Dr. Cornel West arrested in Ferguson.

Demonstrators interrupt STL symphony singing a ‘Requiem for Mike Brown’ – YouTube | #OYRchallenge


Published on Oct 4, 2014

By Rebecca Rivas Of The St. Louis American

Just after intermission, about 50 people interrupted the St. Louis Symphony’s performance of Brahms Requiem on Saturday night, singing “Justice for Mike Brown.”As symphony conductor Markus Stenz raised his baton to begin the second act of German Requiem, one middle-aged African-American man stood up in the middle of the theater and sang, “What side are you on friend, what side are you on?” In an operatic voice, another woman located a few rows away stood up and joined him singing, “Justice for Mike Brown is justice for us all.” Several more audience members sprinkled throughout the theater and in the balcony rose up and joined in the singing.Those in the balcony lowered white banners about 15 feet long with black spray-painted letters that said, “ Requiem for Mike Brown 1996-2014” and “Racism lives here,” with an arrow pointed to a picture of the St. Louis Arch. Another banner said, “Rise up and join the movement.” Stenz stood stoically and listened to the demonstrators’ performance. Some onlookers were outraged and start spewing expletives. Others stood up and started clapping. Most seemed stunned and simply watched. The singing only went on for two minutes before the demonstrators started chanting, “Black lives matter.” Then they all marched out together and left the theater. While they marched out, they received a round of applause from almost all of the audience members – as well as the musicians on stage.Outside, symphony administrators huddled together discussing the demonstration. When asked if they wanted to comment, they said no.

via Demonstrators interrupt STL symphony singing a ‘Requiem for Mike Brown’ – YouTube.

Dear White Folks, Please Stop Being So ‘Surprised’ When White Cops Shoot Unarmed Black People | #OYRchallenge

The Daily Kos posted this article on September 29, 2014.  Since then the avalanche of written and video arguments against asking people to “check your privilege” has skyrocketed across social media. Comparative yeahs and nos are equal. But the understanding of what privilege really means is, sometimes by default, becoming patently clear. Surprisingly, some even feel victimized when asked to respect the boundaries of others. Amazing.

Nice work by chaunceydevegaDaily Kos

However well-intentioned and sincere the concern and surprise by the white American public and some in the chattering classes towards the events in Ferguson, the shooting of Jones by Groubert, or the panoply of unarmed black men by the police ever 28 hours in America may be, their response is still colored by white privilege.Black and brown Americans have been complaining about, organizing in response to, and publicly discussing police brutality and extra-judicial violence against their communities for several hundred years. Those concerns have largely been ignored by the white public.

via Dear White Folks, Please Stop Being So ‘Surprised’ When White Cops Shoot Unarmed Black People.

Video Shows South Carolina Cop Shooting Black Man Without Any Apparent Provocation | ThinkProgress | #OYRchallenge

In September 2014, Sean Groubert, a South Carolina State Trooper shot a young African American man, Levar Jones, on his way home from work, seconds after asking for his driver license. Jones was only shot in the hip but the video shows the lightning attack on him by Groubert as he reached for the requested document.

What’s striking about this case is how swiftly Groubert escalated the incident from a routine traffic stop to the use of potentially deadly force — and the fact that he did so without any apparent provocation whatsoever. Only four seconds pass between when Groubert asks Jones for his license, and when Groubert fires the first of four shots at the unarmed driver.The other thing that’s striking about this case, however, is the fact that Groubert will actually face criminal charges for his actions. According to The State, Groubert faces up to 20 years in prison if he is convicted. He was also fired by the highway patrol on Friday.

via Video Shows South Carolina Cop Shooting Black Man Without Any Apparent Provocation | ThinkProgress.

On Being Seen: An Interview with Claudia Rankine from Ferguson – The New Yorker | #OYRchallenge

Alexandra Schwartz frames her interview with poet Claudia Rankine visiting Ferguson, Mo. Rankine’s visit to Ferguson had nothing to do with Mike Brown, but a promotion of her new book, write Schwartz. It is steep in Langston Hughes’ Let America Be America Again and Zora Neale Hurston blackness. Memorable  piece and will send you running through you collection of Harlem Renaissance poetry.

My favorite lines of this article, “I don’t want to be naïvely optimistic. But I do think that one of the great things about social media today is that we can all see, at least, what it looks like. And hear from everybody. And then you have to decide whether you’re going to be silent or whether you’re going to stand in the corner and let things happen. But at least we know about it.” It pulses and examines us as spectators to a history we can either observe or experience. #OYRchallenge

See the complete rendition of Langston Hughes’ poem below.from The New Yorker

I think it’s interesting because so far the people I’ve spoken with—the black people, the African-Americans that I’ve spoken with—there’s something about the fact that Michael Brown was shot in the head twice that they can’t—that’s the sticking point. Not that the first bullet wasn’t a problem. But the sort of execution-style shooting takes it to this whole other place that starts approaching the language of lynching, and public lynching, and bodies in the street that people are walking around. There’s that video of the police just pacing back and forth and the uncovered body just lying there for hours; where no ambulance, no anything.

via On Being Seen: An Interview with Claudia Rankine from Ferguson – The New Yorker.

Langston Hughes, 1902 – 1967

 Let America be America again.

Let it be the dream it used to be.

Let it be the pioneer on the plain

Seeking a home where he himself is free.

(America never was America to me.)

Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed—

Let it be that great strong land of love

Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme

That any man be crushed by one above.

(It never was America to me.)

O, let my land be a land where Liberty

Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,

But opportunity is real, and life is free,

Equality is in the air we breathe.

(There’s never been equality for me,

Nor freedom in this “homeland of the free.”)

Say, who are you that mumbles in the dark?

And who are you that draws your veil across the stars?

I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart,

I am the Negro bearing slavery’s scars.

I am the red man driven from the land,

I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek—

And finding only the same old stupid plan

Of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak.

I am the young man, full of strength and hope,

Tangled in that ancient endless chain

Of profit, power, gain, of grab the land!

Of grab the gold! Of grab the ways of satisfying need!

Of work the men! Of take the pay!

Of owning everything for one’s own greed!

I am the farmer, bondsman to the soil.

I am the worker sold to the machine.

I am the Negro, servant to you all.

I am the people, humble, hungry, mean—

Hungry yet today despite the dream.

Beaten yet today—O, Pioneers!

I am the man who never got ahead,

The poorest worker bartered through the years.

Yet I’m the one who dreamt our basic dream

In the Old World while still a serf of kings,

Who dreamt a dream so strong, so brave, so true,

That even yet its mighty daring sings

In every brick and stone, in every furrow turned

That’s made America the land it has become.

O, I’m the man who sailed those early seas

In search of what I meant to be my home—

For I’m the one who left dark Ireland’s shore,

And Poland’s plain, and England’s grassy lea,

And torn from Black Africa’s strand I came

To build a “homeland of the free.”

The free?

Who said the free?  Not me?

Surely not me?  The millions on relief today?

The millions shot down when we strike?

The millions who have nothing for our pay?

For all the dreams we’ve dreamed

And all the songs we’ve sung

And all the hopes we’ve held

And all the flags we’ve hung,

The millions who have nothing for our pay—

Except the dream that’s almost dead today.

O, let America be America again—

The land that never has been yet—

And yet must be—the land where every man is free.

The land that’s mine—the poor man’s, Indian’s, Negro’s, ME—

Who made America,

Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain,

Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain,

Must bring back our mighty dream again.

Sure, call me any ugly name you choose—

The steel of freedom does not stain.

From those who live like leeches on the people’s lives,

We must take back our land again,

America!

O, yes,

I say it plain,

America never was America to me,

And yet I swear this oath—

America will be!

Out of the rack and ruin of our gangster death,

The rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies,

We, the people, must redeem

The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers.

The mountains and the endless plain—

All, all the stretch of these great green states—

And make America again!

Mike Brown’s shooting and Jim Crow lynchings have too much in common. It’s time for America to own up | Isabel Wilkerson | Comment is free | theguardian.com | #OYRchallenge

Ferguson Lynching

At left: Ferguson, Missouri, 2014, where a body was left in the street for four hours in the August sun. At right: Paris, Texas, 1893. Photographs: JB Forbes / St Louis Post-Dispatch via AP; Wikimedia Commons

the guardian photo

Not terribly long ago in a country that many people misremember, if they knew it at all, a black person was killed in public every four days for often the most mundane of infractions, or rather accusation of infractions – for taking a hog, making boastful remarks, for stealing 75 cents. For the most banal of missteps, the penalty could be an hours-long spectacle of torture and lynching. No trial, no jury, no judge, no appeal. Now, well into a new century, as a family in Ferguson, Missouri, buries yet another American teenager killed at the hands of authorities, the rate of police killings of black Americans is nearly the same as the rate of lynchings in the early decades of the 20th century.

 

via Mike Brown’s shooting and Jim Crow lynchings have too much in common. It’s time for America to own up | Isabel Wilkerson | Comment is free | theguardian.com.

Watch This Young Black Man Give A Near Perfect Response To A White Male Who’s Ignorant About The Systematic Oppression of Black People – Atlanta Blackstar | #OYRchallenge

A young Black man explains the concept of Dream Defenders and the complex discourse surrounding Black Men in America.

Watch This Young Black Man Give A Near Perfect Response To A White Male Who’s Ignorant About The Systematic Oppression of Black People – Atlanta Blackstar.

Ferguson Rapper Tef Poe: Barack Obama Has Forsaken Us, But We Will Not Stop Fighting Injustice | #OYRchallenge

“In the blink of an eye, I felt as if I were living in 1963. A week before all of this madness, I never thought I would see German shepherds and sniper rifles directed toward children and adults alike with my very own eyes.”

Ferguson Community Continues To Demonstrate Over Police Shooting Death Of Michael Brown