Justice or Else: Black Out Black Friday

Count down to Black Friday. What’s more important to you? Buying gifts or uniting for justice and equality. Stand for something! If 1 million of us don’t shop on Black Friday, on that day alone, we can control well over 500 million dollars in this country. What can we do with the money? We can put that back into our communities, start rebuilding, start implementing social and educational programs in or community. Take control of the economic system in this country and utilize it to gain equality for black and brown people in America.
Alternatives:
1. If you feel compelled to shop at least support small black and brown businesses, discontinue giving money to large corporations that don’t have our best interest in mind.
2. If you feel compelled to shop at least cutdown on the amount you purchase, let’s get back to understanding that there is no need to purchase thousands of dollars worth of merchandise for this one day. Purchase one meaningful gift for children, let’s go back to teaching them to be grateful for what they have received and start rebuilding strong characters agains.
As the Football team at the University of Missouri showed, the power is in the dollar. Justice Or Else! Not a Moment a Movement!

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CAN’T SLEEP!

I’m exhausted but I “Can’t Sleep”.  There’s too much work to be done in our communities, we are on the brink of annihilation if we don’t band together, come together and stand up for our rights as a black community – as human beings.

Stay tuned….coming soon the debut of Can’t Sleep by Assata Afua

Excerpt:

Can’t sleep
Cause I’m longing for a collective agency
For a black revolution
An active movement
A charge
A call to arms
To action
Let’s sit in
…stand up
…stand tall
…shout loud
…push back
…fight back
Revolt for what’s right
Against this constant struggle
For equality and justice
Or there will be no peace!!….

The New Black Movement!

Dark Nation Rising: #RiseUpOctober

 

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Coming in October 2015, the dark nation will rise in the form of a national march focused on shining the light on the oppressions of black and brown people in NYC and across the country – with a demand to end the systematic annihilation of a people. The endeavor will be a collaboration of organizations, businesses, groups and individuals from all over the country; of every race, social, economic and religious background who are fed up with the constant occurrence of oppression manifested as unjust killings and systematic brutality aimed against black and brown individuals. The “Which Side Are you On?” March, set for October 24, 2015 in NYC will be the first of its kind. The focus will be to immerse the city with people from all over the country with like minds and kindred souls that are tired of the current status within this society. The founders of the march are imploring the country to take a stand and join the movement through the #RiseUpOctober campaign, which will build over the next 3 ½ months leading up to the historical march.

In the “Rise Up October” preliminary meeting on Tuesday June 30th, crowds slowly congregated at approximately 6:30 pm, by following a maze of make shift signs leading to the basement hall of the Unitarian Church of All Souls, located in Manhattan at Lexington Ave and 80th street. Speakers Dr. Cornel West and Mr. Carl Dix spoke to a packed crowd with a focus on lending their expertise, ideas, insight and passion to ensure that the march moved forward successfully and on a grand scale.

Mr. Dix talked in general about the tragic acts of excessive force, police brutality and murder that have plagued the black and brown communities with increased frequency over the past few years. However, the main topic of discussion was led by the recent tragedy in Charleston, SC where a self-proclaimed white supremacist took 9 innocent black lives during a bible study session at the historical Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. This tragic event, unfortunately, is not an isolate incident, and more and more frequently there are increased murders, not only as a result of police brutality, but also by civilian attackers with pure hate pumping through their hearts.

During the meeting, Mr. Dix spoke eloquently about the antiquated ideology of forgiving those that are acting against you simply based on the color of your skin. He iterated: “Being forgiving is what the ruling class wants and you can’t end oppression by forgiving your oppressors.” Mr. Dix went on to say “Together we need to draw a line and ask each individual, “What Side Are You On?” Mr. Dix also talked about the need to stop responding to each individual outrage as a separate, isolate event in this country. When a person is killed or brutalized, we march, protest and then activities die down, then silence until the next tragic even occurs and then we begin the process over again. There needs to be a constant push and a constant rise that only ends when we have reached our goal.

“It’s going to take a revolution to stop the horrors of this society!” Mr. Dix exclaimed.

The next speaker, Dr. Cornel West, electrified the crowd with a distinction only known to him. His insightful and dynamic way of expression not only motivates, but keeps the crowd thinking beyond the current events but to a deeper more spiritual existence which is needed in today’s society. Dr. West, spoke (as notably prone to do) quoting the prolificacy of musicians, he spoke about being “everyday people”, as Sly and the Family Stone sang about in the 70s. He reminded the captivated audience that this march is a call for everyone to “straightened up their backs to ensure that no one can ride your back”. Dr. West also ensure the crowd that he “Came into this world swinging, is still swinging and will go down swinging” and encouraged the members, organizers and participates of the Rise Up movement to “emerge as a fighter and emerge swinging” when it comes to fighting for justice and equality. There was one important point that Dr. West stressed and that was the need of new leaders, younger leaders to head the fight. You spoke about an awareness and understanding that is needed today, an understanding that all organizations nor will all groups agree on religion, on ideological views or even the status of our society in their eyes, but one thing they have to agree on is that there needs to be an end to all the hate in the country today and with bolstering enthusiasm he proclaimed “Count Me in Against Hate!”

The #RiseUpOctober Movement and “What Side Are You On?” March is in direct response to the constant injustices and the constant crimes against black and brown people not only by police but by the white supremacist extremist that are as prevalent in today’s society as they were 40 & 50 years ago.

This march will definitely prove to be an historical event of magnanimous proportions. Anyone seeking to assist in getting the word out, volunteering their time or need further information please contact me through www.blackawarenessforum.com or www.stopmassincareration.net.

Show your support, passion and your intended participation in the march by spreading the word using: #RiseUpOctober via Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and all personal websites and social media forums and make sure you are a part of the movement this October.

 

Continued Heartache in the Black Community

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Candlelight Vigil held at Barclay Center in Brooklyn, NY Photo by Stephanie Strickland

When will the heartache subside?  Will my people ever be safe? Year after year, month after month and minute after minute these senseless killings of members of the black community continue.

A week ago another senseless killing occurred in Charleston, South Carolina. The killing of 9 black members of the Emanuel AME African Methodist Episcopal Church. In an almost eery resemblance of times past, this historic structure continues to be engulfed by racism, bigotry and hate dating back hundreds of years.  In the late 1700s Emanuel AME  church was started by blacks and slaves. Denmark Vesey organized and stood for the right for blacks to not only organize but congregate together for pray, only for racist bigotry to burn the church down and execute many members including Vesey. Today the challenges and plight of black people has not progressed as much as we would hope.

This is evident with the murder of 9 innocent people of the black community at the hands of a white racist.  Race crimes are on the rise in recent years and with the influx of police brutality targeted towards the black community you have to ask yourself, how far have we actually come and where do we go from here? Rev. Clementa Pinckney and the other 8 members suffered the same fate as Vesey and the 34 that were executed at Emanuel AME so many years ago.  History is coming full circle for the black community. And the question remains – where do we go from here?

No one seems to have any answers on how to keep the members of  black communities safe from systematic annihilation. No one seems to have the pulse on a community that is running around in circles, continually protesting, continually marching, continually praying, continually mourning, continually burying loved ones and as we have for hundreds and hundreds of years – continually live in fear for our lives as blacks and fear for the lives of our loved ones – sadly with no reprieve in sight.

The weight of the black community is heavy right now and I am not sure who can carry that burden on their shoulders. One thing is clear – we can’t go much longer the way things are.

Black Lives Matter!

The Struggle is Real and Continues!

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As we await the grand jury decision in the unlawful chokehold and murder of 43 year old, Eric Garner in Staten Island, NY as well as the decision to formally charge the officer who shot and killed 18 year old, Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, we must remain vigilant in standing up and speaking out for justice.  The stall tactics in both these cases are fueled by a desire to calm the masses and lessen the outrage of these horrendous crimes.  Please understand that the struggle is real and it continues.  Let’s not become weary nor complacent. These black men and so many others should not die in vain!

 

From Exploitation to Annihilation…The New Lynching Era.

We were donned in black cloth for the Jena Six, we sported our gray hoodies for Trayvon Martin and now we are throwing our hands up for Michael Brown.
Yet our black males continue to be gunned down or condemned to prison, day after day. The practice of methodical acts of injustice against Blacks is increasingly occurring all across the United States. “United” or is “separated states” a more appropriate description of the land we live in. Blacks have always been separated from American society, American laws and American justice and that separation holds no exception today moving only from exploitation to annihilation.

As Blacks… (I use that term purposely rather than using the label that the government has given us. African-American is a label with the sole intention to appease us and give the false belief that we are perceived as equals. The term in itself indicates that we are half African and half America. This is the twoness that Du Bois spoke of. The double consciousness, the sense of always looking at oneself through the eyes of others; by measuring ones soul by a tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity (Du Bois 1989). African-American; an insinuation that as Africans alone we are not complete as a race, insinuating that we need a portion of another heritage to be whole and to be viewed as a class of people that warrant respect). This psychological warfare is used as a means to appear as a sympathetic government and society that promotes unity when in fact its actions are doing the opposite.

… As Blacks we applaud ourselves as we step out from in front of the television in hopes standing up for something when in all actuality our grandiose symbolic gestures stand for nothing. Our blood boils immediately after the senseless killing of a member of our black community by the hands of so called authority. We are collectively outraged as their blood continues to spill in the streets. We are hurried to gather, take to the streets in protest and to trash our own communities – in the name of justice. Our blood boils in anger and shortly thereafter we simmer, then warm and then cool until the next black male is hunted and gunned down.

What progress has ever been made by a sporadic stance against wrongdoing and injustice? Those fights must be unabated, unwavering, uncompromising, with vigilance and without trepidation.

History has shown us with the racially fueled riots in the mid-60s and 70s; the riots after the Rodney King beating (and keep in mind if Mr. King would have had the strength to stand up during that beating that would have been the reason to shoot him “in self-defense”- because even without a weapon one black man surrounded by five or six armed police officers is perceived as dangerous, if not more dangerous, than a man of any other race with a weapon), the riots for the Jena Six, the riots across the country for Trayvon Martin and now the upheaval of a city in Ferguson, Missouri rioting in remembrance of the unjust murder of Michael Brown. Although the intentions are noble these periodic outbursts against these injustices are futile. The laws are still the same, the legal system still operates with bias and our plight is still real.
Young black males from Emmitt Till, those before him and so many after him have continuously had their lives taken by a society that continually abuses, criminalizes and murders them.
As a black community we need to realize that standing up for your rights and being outraged by the systematic devaluation of our people must be on going. We need to realize that proudly protesting and shouting for your rights and the rights of your children means nothing if you only protest during the times when there is a horrendous act that has been brought to public attention by the media. And we must keep in mind that for every one incident of police brutality that makes headlines, there’s so many more that are not shown.
Unfortunately we will continue to be victims and we will continue to be hunted and we will continue to be killed like wild animals in the streets unless we make a conscious decision to stand up for our rights as Black people. We cannot only stand up in outrage during the weeks immediately after the senseless killings of Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, Tryon Lewis, Timothy Thomas, Oscar Grant, Michael Brown and countless other Blacks. We must stand up and speak out in the months and years following these tragedies until a change is made in how black males are currently being criminalized and subsequently annihilated “in the name of justice”. Those fights must be unabated, unwavering, uncompromising, with vigilance and without trepidation.
We have to make a conscious decision to stand up not only during the trials against those that were meant to protect and serve but instead opted to murder. The black community must stand up and speak out during the months and years after that verdict is handed down and be outraged for the months and years following the acquittals and the slaps on the wrist of those that were meant to protect and serve our communities but rather chose to hunt and kill the members of our communities.

Again, those fights must be unabated, unwavering, uncompromising, with vigilance and without trepidation. The decision must be made to speak up and speak out and let the world know that we refuse to be victims. We have to fight for our sons and daughters during a time when it appears that there is no apathy in regards to the value of their lives. Right now it appears that there is no one looking out for his or her well being or protecting him or her against this evil. And make no mistake these injustices being committed against Blacks are evils that are being openly practiced right here in American under the guise of the American justice system.

Looking at the systematic American campaigns against Blacks we see that after the exploitation of slavery there was the subordination of Jim Crow and after Jim Crow there is the marginalization of mass incarceration. Currently nationwide attention is being placed on the inference of mass incarceration as an under caste system. The system purports reform on the current racial issues while a new more detrimental system emerges. This new system is the modern day lynching disguised as “justifiable shootings” of unarmed blacks. As Blacks we have been subjected to exploitation, subordination, marginalization and now annihilation.

For decades the black community has been criminalized and victimized by unbalanced laws and unbalanced punishments. For the black community the criminal justice system is not meant to prevent or control crime but rather used as a ploy to establish an under caste and implement mass incarceration, not throughout the country but specifically in black communities. It’s typical when perpetrators who killed the likes of Emmitt Till, Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown and others like them are acquitted; where instances of rarity are the Hispanic police officer who shot and killed an unarmed black male in Miami Florida in1989 and was “rightfully” convicted of manslaughter. This example leads us to believe that the laws of justice do apply although often those that are held up to the punishments that fit their crimes are directed to black and brown police officers; they are used as scape goats, set up as collateral damage to bring forth the illusion that the system will try and convict their own if they unlawfully murder – but only if that individual is of color.

It’s a disheartening situation and as a black community we reach out for guidance from our leaders but there are few if any. In today’s times we lack organization and we lack leadership. We lack leaders that are willing to jeopardize their financial worth, their position and status in this oppressive society and to fully stand up for their own people. These individuals don’t want to go back to when ‘they’ were followed in the store under suspicion of criminal activity based on their skin color; back when they were stopped and frisked; back when they were wrongly accused and they were victimized by authorities solely due to the color of their skin. Who would want to return to slavery? Who would want to return to Jim Crow? No intelligent person would.
The few blacks that are in positions of power and positions of change are labeled as the exception to the rule of black society in America’s eyes. These exceptions will sooner turn their back on injustice as not to tumble from their place on the totem pole. These Blacks feel accepted; they are comfortable and content with what America has afforded them. This can’t continue. We have to remove ourselves from the illusions of those comfort zones because until all blacks are respected as an entire race then no single black is truly respected. Empirically we understand that as a community and as a race there has to be systematic movement of reform raged on a society that has chosen to openly seek out, hunt and kill a group of people solely based on the color of their skin. We must fight against this injustice not just now, not just today while the headlines and coverage are in the forefront but each and every day!

During an interview at the University of California Berkeley on October 11, 1963, Malcolm X stated: “There will come a time when black people wake up and become intellectually independent enough to think for themselves as other humans are intellectually independent enough to think for themselves; then the black man will think like a black man and he will feel for other black people; and this new thinking and feeling will cause black people to stick together and then at that point you will have a situation where when you attack one black man you are attacking all black men; and this type of black thinking will cause all black people to stick together and this type of thinking also will bring an end to the brutality inflicted upon black people by white people and this is the only thing that will bring the end to it, no federal court, state court or city court will bring an end to it – it is something the black man has to bring an end to himself.“ (Godiva, 2012)

“A time must come when there is a conscious decision by our people to be constant in our complaint, unwavering in our fight, uncompromising in our beliefs and act with vigilance and without trepidation. I hope that this is finally that time.”

– S. Strickland

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Du Bois, W. B. (Copyright 1903, Reprint 1989). The Souls of Black Folk. Classic Edition, p. 2-3. Bantum Books.

Godiva. (2012, October 20). Malcolm X: University of California Berkeley- October 11, 1963. Retrieved from http:..www.youtube.com/wacth?v=iTOn8JtN4c0&sns=em.