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!

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!

Keep the Pressure, Save Our Black Males!

Black Lives Matter

Black Lives Matter

Well, as it turns out – I am as guilty as many people are regarding continuing the fight for justice. I am equally mortified at myself along with those who have systematically continued to wrongly take the lives of black men all around the country. Why? Because when the television cameras went off and the glorified coverage ceased after the Eric Garner and Michael Brown cases, I (as well as many of you) went back to our lives as usual. I neglected my blog post regarding events around the world that were affecting black communities. I stopped researching accounts of police brutality (which by the way continued even after the media coverage ceased). Regrettably; when the media decided everything was fine, when they sucked all the sensationalism that they could out of these tragic events and implemented “the spin” that everything was back to normal in the world, I fell in line, followed suit and quieted down.

“The protesting pressure”, as I affectionately call it, stopped. The marching stopped, the organization of leaders disappeared once again to their ivory towers. Holding conferences on how we can get through the turmoil (together) stopped. For all intents and purposes everything was ok in the black community. We went back to life as usual – with the sad assumption or disbelief that we had achieved our goal of equal rights, civil rights, and justice for those wrongfully murdered.  Sadly, there was no justice achieved and in both cases the individuals were not even charged.

Now fast forward to April 12th, 2015. Another young black male murdered.  He was not gunned down nor was he choked to death, but young Freddy Gray suffered a torturous death that no doubt was long and painful.  To sever someones spine in multiple places as well as crush someones larynx, is definitely not a quick suffering. Now we’re back to square one in the city of Baltimore, MA.

Commentator, Ed Gordon made a comment on a radio program (Steve Harvey Morning Show) which struck me as bothersome. He called for the individuals in Baltimore to stop rioting, take a minute and be silent. Isn’t that what we have been doing? Haven’t we been silent for the past 30 years? Sitting in this pseudo comfort, afraid to make waves for fear that we will be seen as agitators, trouble makers and in turn be on the end of a retaliation of some kind that may result our own brutal murder or but possible police harassment.

Although the systematic devouring of our black males in no way began just a few years ago, we just recently began our public outrage in standing up and saying “no more”. We began our outrage in Ferguson over nine months ago, with a mayhem that may not have lead to the arrest of the perpertrators i the Michael Brown or Eric Garner cases, but clearer had an impact on getting some changes made in the law enforcement positions and security amongst a police department that proved to have obvious racial problems for many years. As a people and as a community, we united as one with fostered momentum in the eyes of evil and danger. We stood collectively shouting from the highest pitches of our voices “Black Lives Matter!” and we did this day after day, week after week, month after month. Untiring and uncompromising we held vigil after vigil, rally after rally and march after march. We cross state lines to come together at the nation’s capital gathering at a moment’s notice and insisted on change.

But at some point we failed ourselves and neglected to keep the pressure strong.  This fight will not end in a week, a month or a year.  This fight for racial equality will take years of pressure, years of continuously keeping the issue in the fore front of the media and keeping the pressure for “the wrong type of law enforcement officers” to be held accountable for their actions.

The media coverage should not be a gauge for call to action, our desire to fight for the black and brown communities, our brothers, our uncles and our sons should stay constant!

BLACK LIVES MATTER!

“They Say Get Back!…We Say Fight Back!”

October 14, 2014 a group of civil rights activist and protestors stood against injustice.

October 14, 2014 a group of civil rights activist and protestors stood against injustice.

I stepped onto the Staten Island Ferry and made my way to the civil rights vigil in memory of Eric Garner, a 43 year old father of six who was brutally murdered by a member of the Staten Island police department almost 90 days ago. I felt uneasy as I stared out through the dusty plexiglas ferry windows, gazing at the vastness of the water that served as the connection of these two islands. It was a feeling that could only be attributed to what this vigil represented the awareness of the blatant injustice that black people continue to endure at the hands of “authorities”. Its meaning was twofold: to memorialize the life of Eric Garner and as equally important to continue to speak out and demand justice. This realization became more and more evident as I neared my destination.

I disembarked the ferry and instantly a calm took over my body. A native New Yorker, however; oddly enough it was my first time on Staten Island. I felt that this was the perfect reason to become acquainted.   To take a stand for justice would be the ideal introduction.

I anxiously made my way down the street toward the faint chants in the distance. I couldn’t make out the words that were being spoken but the rhythm of their chants fueled my energy. My stride got wider with anticipation; my shoulders pressed back almost intuitively, my chin rose just a bit higher with pride. I knew that this was something I wanted to be a part of; something I wanted to document and a cause I wanted to rally for! I wanted justice for Eric Garner and justice for all black males across the country that had recently been systematically targeted solely based on the color of their skin.

I inched closer to the federal building on Bay Street; the small crowd of protestors was now visible. They were few in number but their spirit and power of their message rang as loud as if there were thousands. The protestors held self-made signs high with pride yet with an abundance of sadness. Some signs simply read: “ERIC” undoubtedly noting that he was not forgotten and forever in their minds. I stood back and visually panned the small crowd and a single figure rocked my body to the core. Set in the middle of that crowd perched in a chair holding a sign that read: “Help Stop the Violence” was Eric Garner’s mother. At that moment my heart was filled with sadness which quickly brought water to well up in my eyes. No mother should have to endure a pain as great as losing a child but especially losing one at the hands of those that have sworn to protect. As I focused on her the protestors continued their mantras.

“THEY SAY GET BACK!…WE SAY FIGHT BACK!” they chanted in unison lead by the energetic Staten Island National Action Network president and relative of Eric Garner, Cynthia Davis. There were moments when her voice was labored and strained but she was not wavered by fatigue or by heartache – only motivated to press on in the name of justice. She held her bullhorn close and with each breath she was determined to extinguish the injustices that have recently plagued her community and countless communities across the United States, a plaque that has now hit her so close to home.

“WHAT DO WE WANT?” she cued. “JUSTICE!” The protestors replied. “WHEN DO WE WANT IT? Cynthia bellowed. “NOW!”

With conviction; Cynthia Davis lead the charge of that small crowd in front of the Federal Building as passing cars slowed down momentarily to blow their horns as a gesture of solidarity and community support.

The awareness that Cynthia Davis, Eric Garner’s mother and countless protestors are diligently spreading is the fact that the officer who killed Eric Garner has not been charged. As the protestors stand out in front of the Federal Building in the chill of an October evening holding up signs and asking for the “end to violence” and asking for justice for a son and for a father – Eric Garner’s murderer sits home. It’s truly disheartening that our society is slowly moving back to a time reminiscent of the sixties when brutal attacks against blacks were the norm and went unpunished.

Family member, Stephanie Skinner spoke about the pain the family is in but she also spoke about change. “We are determined to make a difference and speak out and openly about the injustices occurring in our community and other communities around the world; we are not just doing this for black people but for all people regardless of race.” She stated. The family has made that commitment to stand up for justice knowing that we cannot continue to allow these murders to continue without proper recourse and without holding these individuals accountable for their actions.

90 days have passed and the crowds of protestors are dwindling. However; the Garner family has resolved to keep the memory of what happened to Eric in the fore fronts of the minds and hearts of all that will hear their cries for justice.

As I board the Staten Island Ferry back to Manhattan I gaze back peering at the mound of land that becomes smaller and smaller in the distance. The tension returns to my body with the vivid cognizance of the ominous dark cloud hovering over that island. The ferry removes me further and further away from the situation but the family’s pain and a communities’ turmoil remains constant and will remain this way for days, weeks and months to come. Eric Garner’s family is forever broken. Eric was the father of six children who will never have time with him again; his mother, countless family members and friends will mourn his loss and continue to ask themselves why did he have to die? Where’s the justice?

So let’s not let the momentum die down, we can’t get tired, we cannot become complacent. We have to continue to demand that these individuals who are put in a position to protect but instead are systematically killing people of color are stopped and held accountable for their actions.

No Justice! No Peace!

Vigils for Eric Garner will be held in front of the Federal Building at 41 Bay Street, Staten Island, NY every Tuesday and Thursday at 4:00 pm until charges are filed against his murderer. For more information visit: www.nationalactionnetwork.net.

 

*2014 www.blackawarenessforum.com*

 

 

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

————————————-

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.