civil rights

My Christmas Gift from Michelle Smith – my New Soul Sister. 

Just before the holidays, most teaching professionals gripe about grading papers on social media. Professor Smith’s experience is going viral and garnered at least two articles by online publications, besides the entry in her own blog entitled, “Maybe We Do Need White History Month or Millennials Don’t Know Shit About Slavery or Picking Appropriate Essay Topics or Being a Black English Adjunct Sucks Sometimes–Merry Christmas”.

Smith reviews an essay on the benefits of slavery turned in by one of her students with a thought provoking essay of her own. For a young adult to determine any social or political benefit from slavery to African Americans is disturbing. We have not done our jobs. Do we seem too complacent in our damage and recovery? Smith’s essay lays groundwork for new national conversations, if we would only listen.

This is definitely going to be a Merry, Merry Christmas.

Source: Maybe We Do Need White History Month or Millennials Don’t Know Shit About Slavery or Picking Appropriate Essay Topics or Being a Black English Adjunct Sucks Sometimes–Merry Christmas

Ferguson and beyond: how a new civil rights movement began – and won’t end | DeRay McKesson | Comment is free | The Guardian

DeRay McKesson, like most of our young protesters, has had to have a thick skin during the past year. He has been the subject of many attacks surely aimed at the #BlackLivesMatter movement and is now referred to by some journalist and agencies as a “professional protester.” Now, Yale University is giving this new civil rights activist and chronicler a platform to show that he is more than any of the disparaging symbols forced on our conscience.

Those that have not supported McKesson, nor championed his energy during the many protests against Black genocide held around the country, may have to rethink all of what they have heard and seen. What lies behind the mask?  
If not for Twitter and Instagram, Missouri officials would have convinced you, one year ago, that we simply did not exist. Or that we were the aggressors, rather than the victims. That we, and not they, were the violent ones.

But social media was our weapon against erasure. It is how many of us first became aware of the protests and how we learned where to go, or what to do when teargassed, or who to trust. We were able to both counter the narrative being spun by officials while connecting with each other in unprecedented ways. Many of us became friends digitally, first. And then we, the protestors, met in person.

Social media allowed us to become our own storytellers. With it, we seized the power of our truth.

Source: Ferguson and beyond: how a new civil rights movement began – and won’t end | DeRay McKesson | Comment is free | The Guardian

Rev. Dr. William Barber II, NC NAACP President | Politico Magazine

President-NC NAACP

REV. DR. WILLIAM J. BARBER, II
PRESIDENT OF THE NC NAACP

Rev. Dr. William Barber II, NC NAACP President | Politico Magazine

Rev. Dr. William Barber II, NC NAACP President | Politico Magazine

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.

James Meredith on 50 Years of Civil Rights Activism | Witnify

James Meredith and the last conversation.

“I’ve always been at war with a system, not people”. On October 1, 1962, James Meredith became the first African-American student admitted to the University of Mississippi. Meredith’s enrollment sparked protests and riots at the University’s campus, causing President Kennedy to call in troops from the U.S. Marshals, U.S. Army and Mississippi Army National Guard to get things under control. Reflecting on his admission, Meredith states: “My job was finished once I put the President of the United States in the position where he had to use the military might of the United States of America to protect my rights as a citizen. Everything else was somebody else’s job”.

via James Meredith on 50 Years of Civil Rights Activism | Witnify.

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.

Barriers Rooted in Race and Gender Bias Harm Educational Outcomes of African American Girls and Must Be Addressed, New Report Shows | NAACP LDF | OYRchallenge

This article is based on the NAACP report, Unlocking Opportunity For African American Girls: A Call to Action for Educational Equity. One premise that has held true since the 1960’s, is that the quality of teaching usurps all other factors in a child’s life. “One growing body of research shows that student achievement is more heavily influenced by teacher quality than by students’ race, class, prior academic record, or a school a student attends. This is especially true for students from low-income families and African American students. The benefits associated with being taught by good teachers are cumulative.” African American Girls education

The report, Unlocking Opportunity for African American Girls:  A Call to Action for Educational Equity, outlines what are sometimes insurmountable barriers to staying in school and how poor educational outcomes result in limited job opportunities, lower lifetime earnings, and increased risk of economic insecurity for African American women. In 2013, 43 percent of African American women without a high school diploma were living in poverty, compared to nine percent of African American women with at least a bachelor’s degree. The report examines roadblocks faced by both African American girls and boys—such as under-resourced schools—and emphasizes those that have a distinct impact on African American girls due to the intersection of gender and race stereotypes. These barriers include lack of access to college-and career-preparatory curricula in schools; limited access to athletics and other extracurricular activities; disproportionate and overly punitive disciplinary practices that exclude them from school for minor and subjective infractions, such as dress code violations and wearing natural hairstyles; discrimination against pregnant and parenting students; and pervasive sexual harassment and violence.

via Barriers Rooted in Race and Gender Bias Harm Educational Outcomes of African American Girls and Must Be Addressed, New Report Shows | NAACP LDF.

“To obtain a copy of the report, please contact:

LDF Communications Department

40 Rector Street, 5th Floor

New York, NY 10006

E-mail requests for hard copies of the report to

seehersucceed@naacpldf.org

To download a copy, please visit:

http://www.naacpldf.org or http://www.nwlc.org “

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

TIME

We’re now a month out from the killing of Michael Brown by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, and a month away from when a grand jury is likely to decide whether or not to indict him. Yet we still have no answers and no respect in the state of Missouri.

In Saint Louis County, the police have a history of racial profiling and abusing the power of the shield. Racial profiling in North County has transformed into a problem of monstrous proportions. Young black men and women have sadly realized that the police are here to do us more harm than good. We don’t drive certain places in our very own community after a certain time of night. We avoid suburban communities as much as possible because we fear being unjustifiably locked up and thrown into jail. In Saint Louis County all of the cards are stacked against young black…

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“Saints” Teach Gun ownership in Detroit | #OYRchallenge

America, the land of the free and home of the brave, is embroiled in a battle with on-going violent episodes in schools, city streets, homes, and other public venues. Do we re-think our politics, leadership choices, and daily behaviors leading up to these altercations? Why? We are in another era of highly politically charged rhetoric, party grievances, marginalization, quick fixes, and fast facts. We pick an object or race as the culprit. Race discrimination has garnered too much intellectual theory for a quick trip to the pulpit, so we look for something that won’t talk back. The buzz word for garnering votes is now, “Gun.”

Mixed-Race Open Carry Group Strolls Through Detroit. Guess Who Gets Arrested? | Crooks and Liars.

Gun ownership is one prominent battle of the day among communities across the US. The battle, mostly between urban crime-ridden communities suffering through gang violence, robberies, murders, and other poverty-related maladies; and suburban and rural gun-owning communities serves as fodder suppressing the voices of population marginalization, poverty, and a tanked economy.  Local and national politicians and pundits utilize this battle to garner votes, divert residents away from social corruption, and create discourse manageable by the poor and ignorant. The urbanites and insane claim guns kill people. They check social media posts and newspapers for daily reports of school shootings (infrequent, but occur), gun accidents, gun rallies, and any gun-related horror to support their problem. Most suburbanites and rural residents know that people kill people, since many have owned guns all of their lives without incident. No gun ever walked out of their closet and went on a rampage. Their doors are unlocked. Their children, at 12-year-old, attend small weapons training at the local fish and game clubs. The guns normally come out for sporting events or hunting and fishing trips. This is the heartland prospective. They are free; therefore any impingement on that freedom, as in the oppressed urban areas, must be halted immediately. And their politicians don’t want their guns tampered with either.

A group of multi-racial, – the article stressed “multi-racial,” gun owners took to the urban streets of Detroit to educate citizens on their right to carry guns and solicit questions on the particulars of national and local legislation guarding that right. The September 17, 2014 “Crooks and Liars” article goes more into the details of their interactions with law enforcement, mostly peaceful, and responses from residents, who spontaneously associated (as explained by one Black and female police officer) guns with trouble, until this group meekly explains their purpose. The group’s videos served to examine relevant points in the discourse of who are recognized as legitimate communities and those depicted as, and therefore adopt the persona of,  savage charges in need of protection and limitation; whether they personally embody these characteristics or not. Similarly, as with the word “Gun,” the groups chosen label may automatically bring the savage mind to recoil, – “Hell’s Saints.” But considering Detroit’s economic and social deprivation, reaching the bottom of most US urban areas, the moniker is definitely on point. Watch the videos.

#OYRchallenge