Far from wanted to be seen as a threat, [Stewart] Rhodes [President of Oath Keepers] explained that his group traveled to Ferguson with weapons in tow as a lesson to those who have bought into the “false choice being presented to the American people that the only way to stop arson and looters is to trample on the First Amendment rights of the protesters or to have a hypermilitarized police state.”
This election year, if your local, state, and national candidates are silent about #BlackLivesMatter, – they are not your candidates. Print #BlackLivesMatter on your ballot.
Published on Aug 13, 2015
Janelle Monae and the entire Wondaland records family perform her socially conscious song “Hell You Talm Bout” live at the kickoff night of the Eephus Tour at Union Transfer in Philadelphia, PA
Despite the legislation which emanated from the Civil Rights Movement, Black people are not free and they have no power, including power over their own communities. The larger society will not employ us, but they will imprison us, as they have by the multitudes, separating our families and destroying our communities, as we are used as raw materials for the prison factories.
And whether by the police, the courts, or vigilantes, this society continues to kill Black women, children and men—in the streets, in the police car, in the jail house and elsewhere, all because we have no power, and they know it.
REV. DR. WILLIAM J. BARBER, II
PRESIDENT OF THE NC NAACP
President of the North Carolina NAACP and convener of the Historic Thousands on Jones Street (HKonJ) Peoples Assembly Coalition, a broad alliance of more than 140 progressive organizations with over 2 million memberships to champion a 14 point anti-racism, anti-poverty, anti-war agenda, Dr. Barber is very much in the national spotlight. Dr. Barber and this coalition has aided in the passage of the Racial Justice Act of 2009, which allowed death row inmates to appeal their sentences on the grounds of racial bias in the court system; and successfully advocated for voting reforms such as same-day registration and early voting, and has re-framed marriage equality as a civil rights issue and helped mobilized black churches to support a ballot initiative in 2012.
In opposition to regressive policies pushed by the governor and state legislature including draconian cuts to Medicaid, unemployment benefits, and public education funding, Dr. Barber has mobilized the Forward Together Moral Monday Movement, a multi-racial, multi-generational movement of thousands for protests at the NC General Assembly the people’s house, and around the state. Hundreds, including Dr. Barber himself, have also engaged in non-violent civil disobedience to expose what the politicians in North Carolina are trying to do in the dark.
via President-NC NAACP.
Janessa Robinson‘s article explicates the angst that many conscious Black voters have faced each election cycle since they have been allowed to vote. Mind you I said conscious. Conversations on social media have been dripping with Black and White Democrats urgently proclaiming, pre-general election, that any Democrat is better than a Republican politician. Considering the overt racist bent of the Republican Party, I do not argue this point. What Robinson and informed voters argue is that while we are still riffling through our picks in the Primary elections, why not consider just who is best to champion the already late unpacking of a racist system.
The short excerpt of a concise history and present mirror of Black voter manipulation below offers a glimpse of the disregard for Black intelligence. But reading the article to completion will embolden those who genuinely seek leadership willing to take on the most overlooked egregious politicking committed by both White Liberals and some of our own Black leaders. Good job, Janessa Robinson. Read on:
White liberals generally do not want to be racist, although not many truly understand systemic racism, but they fear how they will protect their white and class privilege in the event that the blatantly racist political party takes power. How will they sustain policies that benefit the white middle class without the black voting base? Will they need to shift their racial attitudes to align with the repugnant right in an attempt to infiltrate the Republican Party? Either way, they are surely not concerned with the opinions or experiences of black people, as they chastise and attempt to bully us into supporting their candidates. Black people are lambasted for daring to vocalize our disillusionment with the political system — and it doesn’t take long for the white liberal who once posed as an ally to employ the “black people don’t vote” negative stereotype to back us into the corner of choosing to either refute the trope or investing time into invalidating it.
When the Florida courts handed down the verdict freeing George Zimmerman for the death of young Trayvon Martin, there was little response from those in my locale, from those near enough for me to judge the impact on our cities in Upstate New York. Our problems flash. We are startled, and then we return to nothingness. I thought, “Wow. What heartless beasts we have become.” Still, I kept up with subsequent news articles on social media and reposted as many articles as I could find on Trayvon, his family, even the lunacies of Zimmerman. Alicia Garza of Black Lives Matter helped me to understand that what I determined to be coldness was a slow rising unfathomable fear. Garza, her husband, and another couple were at a bar when she heard the news. She tells “The Guardian:”
“Everything went quiet, everything and everyone,” Garza says now. “And then people started to leave en masse. The one thing I remember from that evening, other than crying myself to sleep that night, was the way in which as a black person, I felt incredibly vulnerable, incredibly exposed and incredibly enraged. Seeing these black people leaving the bar, and it was like we couldn’t look at each other. We were carrying this burden around with us every day: of racism and white supremacy. It was a verdict that said: black people are not safe in America.”
Elizabeth Day’s article on the history of the Black Lives Matter, so far, tells a few stories. The changing face of Black activism such as appropriating spaces and audiences once held captive by main mass media outlets, the agile network of local activist working together nationally, power shifting from convention conservative leadership to the masses, and utilizing social media hashtags to create forums and meeting houses.
Samuel Sinyangwe, Black Lives Matter data guru states:
“We have been holding a mirror up to the nation. And we’ve shown what has been going on for a very long time: that we are being brutalised. That the state is being violent against us… The nation is now aware of the problem. Whether we can agree on a solution or not is another question but at least they acknowledge something is going on and that’s a great first step.”
But what happens after that first step? Zuckerman warns that although social media can give the illusion of empowerment, it also runs the risk of diverting attention away from the knottier problems of longer-lasting policy change.
“We’re at a moment where trust in our major institutions is at an all-time low,” he says. “When you start losing trust in those institutions, you start losing your ability to change things. Social media is a place where people feel they can move the wheel, and they’re right – they can change the representation of a gun victim in mainstream media. They can build momentum around removing the Confederate flag. But the fear is that it might be harder to make these much bigger structural changes in education or wage policy or to have a conversation about our gun culture.”
Read the entire article at The Guardian via #BlackLivesMatter: the birth of a new civil rights movement | World news | The Guardian.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s “I Have A Dream” speech and all of his peace-filled sermons are treasured tools of the American race catalog. They are the slices of King’s life that please us most. The problem with this is the same with all great leaders, – men grow up over time. All leaders eventually face realities beyond the heart and those realities are the ones of nightmares. Martin Luther King, Jr had those same revelations in the last years of his life, a secret heavily under guard.
Published on Jul 16, 2015
Minister Louis Farrakhan has advised all to study the last speeches of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and to reflect on the evolution of his message—from one of an integrationist “Dreamer” in 1963, to one of a true wide-awake revolutionary in 1968 when he was murdered.
Published on Jul 17, 2015
Times are hard, and some people are really dumb. But you’re not alone.
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The racial climate (sidenote: what a weird term) isn’t always so great in America, and with the past two years being some of the bloodiest post civil-rights-era, you have to learn to take care of yourself and not lose your mind.
Published on Jul 16, 2015
In this installment of the Illipsis, Jay takes on the Confederate flag and considers the ways in which Southerners can take pride in their culture without celebrating symbols of white supremacy. Jay has a message for Northerners too, namely, that they aren’t exempt from the need to grapple with the uglier parts of United States history.
Brit Bennett’s review of “Between the World and Me” by Ta-Nehisi Coates, for The New Yorker magazine, is the best I have read so far. Bennett writes from an African American Feminist perspective drawing clean lines between what it means to be black and female in America. You can expect classy and exact references examining the relationship of black authors to black women, the black father to his son, and their relationship within the scope of institutional racism.
My favorite paragraph from Bennett is as follows:
As a child, I once heard that slavery was worse for black men than black women, because black men were pained by their inability to protect the women they loved. In this retelling, black women’s pain is incidental. The systemic, relentless rape that black women endured is only meaningful because of how it hurt black men. I believed this for a time, in deference to the black elder who told me, until I realized that trauma is not a competition, that there is no better or worse; there is only pain, and a woman’s pain is equally worthy of mourning.
Bennett’s piece opens:
The night Trayvon Martin’s killer walked free, I stood outside a Los Angeles movie theater, in line to watch “Fruitvale Station.” Maybe I would’ve picked a different movie had I foreseen the verdict, but I was young and hopeful, and I believed that someone would be held accountable for snuffing out a seventeen-year-old’s life. Instead, I blinked back tears as a well-meaning white woman approached—she couldn’t believe that verdict, she said, the injustice of it all. I didn’t want to hear her disappointment. I didn’t want to be a conduit for her guilt. I wanted to understand how a jury could determine that a child’s unarmed black body posed more of a threat than a grown man with a gun.