#BlackLivesMatter

Decolonize Your World [HD] | Capital Area Against Mass Incarceration

Reclaiming history one community at a time.

The Capital Region, New York produced this short-film in celebration of Native American Day, 2015.

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We Know Why More Black Voters Aren’t Feeling the Bern? | Habari Gani, America!

The protest movement is the factor that may well determine which Democratic candidate wins the black vote. Economic equality is certainly a priority for black Americans, but the number-one issue on most black voters’ minds is police brutality — a subject that neither Sanders nor any other candidate has discussed extensively until protesters have forced their hand.

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Why Aren’t More Black Voters Feeling the Bern? The article is half right – the half that would reply, “All Lives Matter,” while railing against racial inequalities. It is the man standing in the watchtower overlooking a great plantation. A whistle blows, no one moves, and he assumes that those below are deaf. But they are not deaf. They are trapped between the whip on the left and the gun on the right.

Black Americans have been in this quandary, stuck between parties, ever since the first African American was allowed to vote in these United States. Currently, it is expected that most, if not all, African Americans will vote Democratic. Anyone outside of the 1% who votes Republican would be a fool according to some social media memes, but Ben Carson is not doing too shabby in the polls. And you know how we love dormant, almost near dead representation. So don’t think that those Black votes trailing off of the Democratic pot are going into limbo.

Why Doesn’t Bernie Feel Black Voters?

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One specific quote in Terrell Jermaine Starr’s article caught my eye.

Lauren Victoria, a political strategist, says the senator’s tone was flippant. “He’s got to understand that the Democratic Party will not win this election without black voters, period,” she said. “So, the Democratic nominee, whether it is Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton, or anyone else, has to acknowledge that black voters are important.

As I have commented many times, trying to frighten impoverished Black people with Republican rule, more poverty, consistent war expenditures, state-sanctioned murder, and mass incarceration will not motivate them to vote. This simply means to the already generationally impoverished and targeted, longer lines at the food pantry, the unemployment and social service offices, and for a bed at the shelters. Recriminations for not voting are even more barefaced considering after the election of either stripe (Republican or Democrat); the most impoverished see little difference in their lives. Most have been eliminated from employment statistics as unemployable or not actively seeking employment. A whole cast of votes disappears down the rabbit hole. Sanders is aware of this and the catch.

Bernie Sanders’ history with the Civil Rights Era and its aftermath – the Big Sleep, assures him that most Black people who vote will vote Democrat. He understands that the church-going Black working poor, state, and middle-class will vote their pastor’s conscience. They have learned to pray through workplace racial attacks, employment discrimination, housing discrimination, DWB (Driving While Black), and the fallout from the last elected candidate who graced their meeting grounds. Sanders must make the church rounds and photo ops three weeks before the election and those votes are in the bag. He was also depending on respectability politics to curtail any overt discussion of race.

Sanders did not expect a group of young Black Lives Matter protestors to hijack his platform at the 2015 Netroots Nation assembly. Starr writes:

During [Sanders] time on stage, activists repeatedly challenged him (they also challenged Martin O’Malley) to narrow his traditional message of economic and social justice to address police brutality. Sanders seemed befuddled and agitated; at one point, he asked Jose Antonio Vargas, the moderator, if he should leave. 

Why would Bernie ask if he should leave? Liberals and Democrats failed to understand three great changes since they last marched for civil rights; which is making all the difference at present. When shows like “90210” aired on television depicting young adults controlling their world and their parents, African American children also had televisions. Secondly, despite the complaint that African Americans own a miniscule amount of media space, our young journalist, pundits, authors, celebs, and populous have coopted space in all forms of communications. Black Twitter has earned its own LA Times beat reporter. Our young and willing old are fed and feed current events, opinions, histories, and mysteries with very little supervision or censorship. With access to information in a digitized world comes the third change – confidence and critical thinking. These are our young voters. They are watching people die on their cellphones. These are Black Lives Matter and they want answers.

Black Lives Matter has added Black accountability and Black issues to the main stage. The indifferent Hillary Clinton posture and Sanders tacking racial inequality on the tail end of his list will not be offset by hiring a team to Black-speak. From the grocer who sends the Black stock boy to the register when the fruit is rotten, the one Black manager layered between White supervisors and upper management in racially charged workplaces, to the Black car salesman who runs to his White colleague’s side – after a Black person is sold a lemon. We have seen it all -the warning stink-eyed “brother,” the patronizing hallelujah sister, and most deadly – the Black political head of Black affairs.

Source: Why Aren’t More Black Voters Feeling the Bern? | Alternet

John Mercer Langston

Black Then | Denied Admission To Law School Because Of His Race, This Man Passed The Bar & Helped Establish The First Law School At Howard University

At fourteen [John Mercer] Langston began his studies at the Preparatory Department at Oberlin College. Known for its radicalism and abolitionist politics, Oberlin was the first college in the United States to admit black and white students.  Langston completed his studies in 1849, becoming the fifth #African American male to graduate from Oberlin’s Collegiate Department.  Denied admission to law schools in New York & Ohio because of his race,John studied law (or “read law”,as was the common practice then) under attorney and Republican US Congressman Philemon Bliss; he was admitted to the Ohio Bar in 1854.

John Mercer Langston

John Mercer Langston | BlackThen.com

Source: Black Then | Denied Admission To Law School Because Of His Race, This Man Passed The Bar & Helped Establish The First Law School At Howard University

Black Americans Wearing African Clothing Is NOT Cultural Appropriation | Our Legaci

Source: Black Americans Wearing African Clothing Is NOT Cultural Appropriation | Our Legaci

Cultural appropriation is when a dominant culture takes, claims and establishes itself the creator of the cultural heritage and artifacts of a minority and or marginalized culture thereby erasing the history of the marginalized culture.

Cheryl Barnes, Largest Voice the World Forgot | Habari Gani, America!

The first time I heard Cheryl Barnes sing was at a Brooklyn theater where a group of friends and I went to see a 1979 highly advertised film, “Hair.” The music and choreography were amazing. It was filmed in New York, which made it ever so homey while full of energy. The leading cast was young and multicultural.

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Leading with the cast, Cheryl Barnes ushers in the excitement that is Hair. Later on in the film a Black woman, played by Barnes, child in tow appeared giving context to the character LaFayette “Hud” Johnson, played by Dorsey Wright. She was the nameless fiance and represented all of the women and children left behind as our men took on the world. This representation may have been missed except for the voice that suddenly sparked, “Hooow Can People Be So Heartless…” The theater was torn. We were all captured and wanted more.

In the hunt for what became of Cheryl Barnes, I found that many bought the soundtrack to “Hair” just to get another moment of “Easy To Be Hard.” Over the years as I transferred the album to cassette and later bought a digital version, I often wondered why Barnes with such a strong voice disappeared from the stage considering her great talent.

This short bio was provided by IMDB (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0055540/board/thread/59895317):

“Cheryl Barnes – Raised in New Jersey, Cheryl has sang with groups such as the Classics Five and Ten Wheel Drive. She was also a back up singer for Genya Raven. Cheryl performed in Leonard Bernstein’s “Mass” and on Broadway in last Sweet Days of Isaac, Godspell and Jesus Christ Superstar. She portrayed Deena, the handmaiden in Doug Henning’s “The Magic Show”.

You can experience the depth and breath of Barnes’s voice in her performance of “Solid Silver Platform Shoes” in “The Magic Show.”

Cheryl Barnes also had a single out, “Save and Spend” in 1977 during the Disco era.

There are various stories traversing the internet as to the history of Barnes, but one holds true. Barnes was also the original Effie in the stage production of  “Dreamgirls” on Broadway previous to Jennifer Holliday.

In 1987, Cheryl Barnes reappeared as a contestant on “Star Search,” hosted by Ed McMahon, winning $100,00 in the Female Competition.

Cheryl Barnes has many fans researching her past and present location. There are many conspiracy theories lurking about on the internet. This may be part of her charm along with an outstanding voice. We may have more to add to this posting, but we can only hope.

Lyrics to “Easy To Be Hard”

How can people be so heartless?
How can people be so cruel?
Easy to be hard
Easy to be cold
How can people have no feelings?
How can they ignore their friends?
Easy to be proud
Easy to say no
And especially people
Who care about strangers
Who care about evil
And social injustice
Do you only
Care about the bleeding crowd?
How about a needing friend?
I need a friend
How can people be so heartless
You know I’m hung up on you
Easy to give in
Easy to help out
And especially people
Who care about strangers
Who say they care about social injustice
Do you only
Care about the bleeding crowd
How about a needing friend?
I need a friend
How can people have no feelings
How can they ignore their friends
Easy to be hard
Easy to be cold
Easy to be proud
Easy to say no

Bryant Gumbel: ‘My Son Was Arrested for Walking While Black’ (Aug. 6, 2015) | Charlie Rose

Bryant Gumbel to Charlie Rose:

“It’s like, NO! Stop! Stop! This has nothing to do with the victims. This has everything to do with the culture of demeaning a person of color. And… and there is no justification for society where my son has a far greater chance of being stopped, held, killed than your son.”

Bryant Gumbel‘s statements in this video isolated the main point of the #BlackLivesMatter movement away from the detracting “blame the victim” or the personal claims of those in communities with a lesser chance of experiencing institutional brutalities en masse.

Social Media has been ravaged with videos, memes, and postings decrying #BlackLivesMatter with Black on Black crime scenarios. We would expect this backlash from the ignorant and racist poor counterculture. Sadly, however, some Black individuals, too ignorant of the separation in discourse, have also hijacked the same rhetoric, not realizing its self-deprecating and dangerous implications.

Whites killing Whites, Hispanics killing Hispanics, Blacks killing Blacks, Europeans killing Europeans, and Africans killing Africans need their own hashtags. They are not to be commingled into a conversation which is politically, visually, and academically set apart to be addressed. In other words, if you are so concerned about the amount of violence in your ethnicity, race, class, or gender, study it, write about it, encapsulate it to the point that when those outside of that intra-conversation attempt to open their mouths, their breaths are as starved as their brains for lack of oxygen.

Published on Aug 6, 2015

via Bryant Gumbel: ‘My Son Was Arrested for Walking While Black’ (Aug. 6, 2015) | Charlie Rose – YouTube.

On #BlackLivesMatter and Defending Bernie Sanders – YouTube

Jay Smooth puts the moment in sync once again.
My two cents on the disruption of the Bernie Sanders speech in Seattle last week, and the pushback it sparked from some Sanders supporters.

via On #BlackLivesMatter and Defending Bernie Sanders – YouTube.

Published on Aug 15, 2015
http://twitter.com/jsmooth995

Bernie Sander’s supporters are quite upset with the women of #BlackLivesMatter. #BlackLifeMatter is not playing fair. Sander’s supporters have always been the catalyst for liberal and progressive change. But they have also been the gatekeepers monitoring Black dialogue leading to Black Progress.
The #BlackLivesMatter movement does recognize, yet storms the gates of the past Liberal parenting fortress.  These women mean business. They want a candidate that can articulate his intentions toward righting centuries of Black trauma. If this is Bernie, he had better speak up.

Falling in Love with the Work of Black British Filmmaker Cecile Emeke | ForHarriet

Cecile Emeke

Cecile Emeke, courtesy of ForHarriet.com

I grew up listening to stories of greatness in the Caribbean seas. My formal education is in American culture. I often wondered why I trip over photos of MLKing everywhere, while Sir Cuthbert Montraville Sebastian of St. Kitts, my childhood hero, is seldom noticed. Thank you, #ForHarriet. #Cecile Emeke

Excerpt:

There is a large number of people who feel as though the focal point of black activism and black success is and has always been centred on Black Americans. With powerful Black American men and women from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Angela Davis, to Barack Obama and Oprah Winfrey inspiring black individuals from around the world, people forget about the complexities of Black life and experiences outside of the U.S. Trying to put together a similar list of powerful Black British men is difficult. And to trying to compile a list of powerful Black British women even more so.

via Falling in Love with the Work of Black British Filmmaker Cecile Emeke.

#BlackLivesMatter: the birth of a new civil rights movement | World news | The Guardian

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.”

#BlackLivesMatter: the birth of a new civil rights movement | World news | The Guardian

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.

Ta-Nehisi Coates and a Generation Waking Up – The New Yorker

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.T. Coates|New Yorker Mag 2015

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.

via Ta-Nehisi Coates and a Generation Waking Up – The New Yorker.