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Diversity in the Outdoors

One place you can pretty reliably not find black folks is in the great outdoors. Some folks are trying to change that…

BTW – BTx3’s Outdoor adventures this year are kayaking fishing, and at least one night camping on an ocean beach.

Diversity in the outdoors, one hashtag at a time

A conversation with Teresa Baker, founder of Hike Like a Girl.

TrailPosse is a series produced in partnership with The Trail Posse focused on the relationship between people of color and Western public lands.

During the past three years, Teresa Baker of Martinez, Calif., has organized some of the most significant events in the movement to diversify and improve inclusion in the outdoors: The African American National Parks Event, the Buffalo Soldiers Trail Retracing, the Muir Campfire Discussion on Relevancy and Inclusion in Outdoor Organizations, and the convening on Relevancy and Inclusion in Outdoor Organizations.

Her latest brainchild, Hike Like a Girl, a campaign to encourage females to take to the trails, solo or in groups, took place on May 14. The event followed a familiar formula: Working with partner organizations, Baker encourages people to engage in outdoor activities on a certain day (or days), then record, post and hashtag on social media to raise further awareness.

Recently featured as one of Patagonia’s Women Active Activists, Baker is a former high-school point guard and former trip leader for Outdoor Afro, a national network that uses meetups and education to encourage African Americans to get outside. She’s evolved into a one-woman force of nature. She says her mother didn’t like her “being defiant and going against the grain as a girl,” but adds, “My dad told me daily, that I could not back down to anyone or I would do it for the rest of my life. So he encouraged me to speak up and not be afraid to live my true life.” HCNcontributing editor Glenn Nelson recently caught up with Baker.

High Country News Most people of color don’t have a background in the outdoors growing up, but that wasn’t the case with you, was it?

Teresa Baker I was the only girl in a family of eight boys and was determined not to be outdone by anything my brothers did. So when they went hiking, I went hiking; when they played basketball, I played basketball. When they and the other guys in the neighborhood would talk trash about how girls weren’t capable of keeping up with guys, I’d prove them wrong. That’s where my love of the outdoors began. We lived directly across from a city park, so every day we were outdoors with other neighborhood kids, playing every sport imaginable, but my favorite by far was hiking.

I was part of an after-school program where we would go hiking in Tilden Park almost every week. We would also visit a ranch that belonged to the owners of the program. There we learned how to care for animals and the land. We would ride horses and hike the surrounding area. I absolutely loved it and to this day reminisce on how at peace I felt out on this ranch.

In 1978 my mother made me join the Girl’s Club, which I fought tooth and nail. I didn’t want to be around a bunch of girls who would probably not embrace my love of the outdoors. I was only partially right. In the summer of 1979, we went to Yosemite National Park for my first official camping trip. That was it for me; I fell in love with Yosemite and have remained so to this very day.

HCN What inspired you to start the African American National Park Event?

Baker I take off for Yosemite at the drop of a dime, no long-term planning needed. On one of my Yosemite visits in 2012, I started to take notice of how many African Americans I encountered. At the end of my second day in the park, I had not seen one other African American. I started to research people of color in our national parks – not just in visitation, but in the makeup of the National Park Service. The lack of diversity was surprising because I had never really paid much attention to it. The next year, I created an event to encourage African American communities across the country to get outdoors in a national park site during the month of June. The larger concern is that if we don’t start creating welcoming environments in the outdoors for people of color, in 20 years when the majority demographic in this country is black and brown faces, no one will be around to care about these open spaces. That’s the urgency of this issue.

The involvement I have now with the outdoors wasn’t planned. I simply wanted to create an event to get people of color outdoors. That turned in to talking engagements and written article after article about the lack of diversity in our national parks. That’s how I ended up doing this work, I feel it is my calling. It’s certainly my passion. And connecting with others who are just as passionate about this work has been an honor. I’m committed to the challenges that are ahead of me and will work diligently to bring about a change that will last beyond my lifetime.

HCN The Buffalo Soldiers are important to the history of both African Americans and the National Park Service because, as all-black troops in the 9th Cavalry Regiment and 24th Infantry, they were among the nation’s first park rangers, patrolling Yosemite, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks in 1899, 1903 and 1904. Their commanding officer, Capt. Charles Young, was the first African American park superintendent, at Sequoia in 1903. What led you to retracing the Buffalo Soldiers’ route from the Presidio, where they once were garrisoned, to Yosemite?

Baker After several visits to the Presidio of San Francisco, I started to learn about the legacy of the Buffalo Soldiers. I read about their participation in the military and how they were actually stationed right here in the Bay Area. Then I saw a documentary about Yosemite ranger Shelton Johnson and how he portrayed Buffalo Soldiers in the High Sierras. This was life-changing for me. Here I am, in love with Yosemite and concerned with the lack of African Americans in our national parks, then one day I find out the very first rangers in our national parks were African Americans. I was beside myself with pride and curiosity. In 2013, as an Outdoor Afro leader, I went to the Presidio and asked the park service if they would work with me on putting together a program to honor the Buffalo Soldiers at the Presidio. They agreed and my commitment to telling their story began….Read the Rest Here

 
 

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Black Folks on the (confederate) Dollar

Happy darkie slaves working for Massa…Seems back in the “Good Old Days”, white Republicans loved putting black folks on the money when they were slaves.

Now that black folks are free…Not so much.

 

 
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Posted by on April 22, 2016 in American Genocide, Black History

 

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Black Lawn Jockey Trump Preacher

Black people don’t exist! Yup – He says it right about the 8:50 mark.

Trump had to get a discount rate on this clown.

 

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Why Black Folks Need Encryption

The battle between Apple Computer and the FBI is not just about the encrypted messages on one iPhone. What it is really about is expanding the legal ability of the Federal Government to spy on it’s citizens.  This has been an ongoing battle largely behind the scenes between tech developers and Government agencies such as NIST and the NSA. Indeed in 1988 the Government forced standards groups to make TCP/IP the telecom standard upon which the Internet is based, and rejected the OSI standard in large part because the OSI Standard included encryption that was difficult to break, and features which allowed the development of advanced security technologies at the “transmission” level, whereas TCP had none, and was easily compromised by government spooks, who had been using and testing the vulnerabilities of the protocol stack for years. The Internet is not secure, and by design – can never be secured, which is why the Government defense and intelligence agencies use a custom variation of TCP/IP which incorporates capabilities to enhance secure communication.

There are roughly 7 major Commercial Off The Shelf encryption systems in use today. In order to sell those in the US, NSA requires that security “backdoors” be built in such that the systems may be easily compromised by the NSA, and we would assume law enforcement agencies. This requirement does not cover, and has not covered to this point encryption systems on devices which store information internally in flash memory or disk drives. As such manufacturers and equipment owners have been free to encrypt an secure their data by any means they deem appropriate.

There is no such thing as unbreakable encryption. Even that used by the most secret agencies in the Government isn’t unbreakable. What it is is a system which is difficult enough to break that only another government or massive corporation has access to the computer horsepower and scientists to do so – which costs lots and lots of money. So it is actually a race to develop new, more complex systems as the previous system is broken. And I can tell you from personal experience that two guys in a garage that against odds come up with something new and radical which might give those systems heartburn – are in for a visit by the guys in black suits shortly after letting the world know you’ve developed it.

Now – most of what you see on TV about the technology is bullshit. You are not breaking into a unknown secured local network just in time for the hero to do his thing with your trusty laptop. There is no such thing as a 100% secure network, if it has any connection at all to the Internet. The Internet of Things (IoT) which is a hot-button meme right now in the industry isn’t going to happen, because the security in wireless systems is so poor (on purpose and by design).

So…If you are using commercial off the shelf products like cell phones and computers – you can’t stop them from listening in. What you can do is make it difficult enough that unless somebody like the NSA comes after you, you have security. Which is exactly what Apple did.

Here’s why civil rights activists are siding with the tech giant.

Last night, the FBI, saying that it may be able to crack an iPhone without Apple’s help, convinced a federal judge to delay the trial over its encryption dispute with the tech company. In February, you may recall, US magistrate judge Sheri Pym ruledthat Apple had to help the FBI access data from a phone used by one of the San Bernadino shooters. Apple refused, arguing that it would have to invent software that amounts to a master key for iPhones—software that doesn’t exist for the explicit reason that it would put the privacy of millions of iPhone users at risk. The FBI now has two weeks to determine whether its new method is viable. If it is, the whole trial could be moot.

That would be a mixed blessing for racial justice activists, some of them affiliated with Black Lives Matter, who recently wrote to Judge Pym and laid out some reasons she should rule against the FBI. Theletter—one of dozens sent by Apple supporters—cited the FBI’s history of spying on civil rights organizers and shared some of the signatories’ personal experiences with government overreach.

“One need only look to the days of J. Edgar Hoover and wiretapping of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. to recognize the FBI has not always respected the right to privacy for groups it did not agree with,” they wrote. (Targeted surveillance of civil rights leaders was also a focus of a recent PBS documentary on the Black Panther Party.) Nor is this sort of thing ancient history, they argued: “Many of us, as civil rights advocates, have become targets of government surveillance for no reason beyond our advocacy or provision of social services for the underrepresented.”

Black Lives Matter organizers have good reason to be concerned. Last summer, I reported that a Baltimore cyber-security firm had identified prominent Ferguson organizer (and Baltimore mayoral candidate) Deray McKesson as a “threat actor” who needed “continuous monitoring” to ensure public safety. The firm—Zero Fox—briefed members of an FBI intelligence partnership program about the data it had collected on Freddie Gray protest organizers. It later passed the information along to Baltimore city officials.

Department of Homeland Security emails, meanwhile, have indicated that Homeland tracked the movements of protesters and attendees of a black cultural event in Washington, DC, last spring. Emails from New York City’s Metropolitan Transit Authority and the Metro-North Railroad showed that undercover police officers monitored the activities of known organizers at Grand Central Station police brutality protests. The monitoring was part of a joint surveillance effort by MTA counter-terrorism agents and NYPD intelligence officers. (There are also well-documentedinstances of authorities spying on Occupy Wall Street activists.)

In December 2014, Chicago activists, citing a leaked police radio transmissionalleged that city police used a surveillance device called a Stingray to intercept their texts and phone calls during protests over the death of Eric Garner. The device, designed by military and space technology giant Harris Corporation, forces all cell phones within a given radius to connect to it, reroutes communications through the Stingray, and allows officers to read texts and listen to phone calls—as well as track a phone’s location. (According to theACLU, at least 63 law enforcement agencies in 21 states use Stingrays in police work—frequently without a warrant—and that’s probably an underestimate, since departments must signagreements saying they will not disclose their use of the device.)

In addition to the official reports, several prominent Black Lives organizers in Baltimore, New York City, and Ferguson, Missouri, shared anecdotes of being followed and/or harassed by law enforcement even when they weren’t protesting. One activist told me how a National Guard humvee had tailed her home one day in 2014 during the Ferguson unrest, matching her diversions turn for turn. Another organizer was greeted by dozens of officers during a benign trip to a Ferguson-area Wal-Mart, despite having never made public where she was going.

In light of the history and their own personal experiences, many activists have been taking extra precautions. “We know that lawful democratic activism is being monitored illegally without a warrant,” says Malkia Cyril, director of the Center for Media Justice in Oakland and a signatory on the Apple-FBI letter. “In response, we are using encrypted technologies so that we can exercise our democratic First and Fourth Amendment rights.” Asked whether she believes the FBI’s promises to use any software Apple creates to break into the San Bernadino phone only, Cyril responds: “Absolutely not.”

“I don’t think it’s any secret that activists are using encryption methods,” says Lawrence Grandpre, an organizer with Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle in Baltimore. Grandpre says he and others used an encrypted texting app to communicate during the Freddie Gray protests. He declined to name the app, but said it assigns a PIN to each phone that has been approved to access messages sent within a particular group of people. If an unapproved device tries to receive a message, the app notifies the sender and blocks the message from being sent. Grandpre says he received these notifications during the Freddie Gray protests: “Multiple times we couldn’t send text messages because the program said there’s a possibility of interception.”

Cyril says “all of the activists I know” use a texting and call-encryption app calledSignal to communicate, and that the implication of a court verdict in favor of the FBI would be increased surveillance of the civil rights community. “It’s unprecedented for a tech company—for any company—to be compelled in this way,” Cyril says….

 

 
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Posted by on March 25, 2016 in BlackLivesMatter

 

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Cornel West Endorses Bernie Sanders

Looks like Bernie is stealing Hillary’s thunder with black folks…

Why Brother Bernie Is Better for Black People Than Sister Hillary

The future of American democracy depends on our response to the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. And that legacy is not just about defending civil rights; it’s also about fighting to fix our rigged economy, which yields grotesque wealth inequality; our narcissistic culture, which unleashes obscene greed; our market-driven media, which thrives on xenophobic entertainment; and our militaristic prowess, which promotes hawkish policies around the world. The fundamental aim of black voters—and any voters with a deep moral concern for our public interest and common good—should be to put a smile on Martin’s face from the grave.

The conventional wisdom holds that, in the Democratic primary, Hillary Clinton is the candidate who will win over African-American voters—that her rival, Bernie Sanders, performed well in Iowa and won New Hampshire on account of those states’ disproportionate whiteness, and that Clinton’s odds are better in the upcoming contests in South Carolina and Nevada, two highly diverse states.

But in fact, when it comes to advancing Dr. King’s legacy, a vote for Clinton not only falls far short of the mark; it prevents us from giving new life to King’s legacy. Instead, it is Sanders who has championed that legacy in word and in deed for 50 years. This election is not a mere campaign; it is a crusade to resurrect democracy—King-style—in our time. In 2016, Sanders is the one leading that crusade.

Clinton has touted the fact that, in 1962, she met King after seeing him speak, an experience she says allowed her to appreciate King’s “moral clarity.” Yet two years later, as a high schooler, Clinton campaigned vigorously for Barry Goldwater—a figure King called “morally indefensible” owing to his staunch opposition to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. And she attended the Republican convention in 1968! Meanwhile, at this same moment in history, Sanders was getting arrested for protesting segregation in Chicago and marching in Washington with none other than King itself. That’s real moral clarity.

Needless to say, some moral clarity set in as Clinton’s politics moved to the left in her college years. After graduating from law school, she joined the Children’s Defense Fund as a staff attorney, working under the great King disciple, Marian Wright Edelman, with whom she struck up a friendship. Yet that relationship soured. This came after Hillary Clinton—in defending her husband’s punitive crime bill and its drastic escalation of the mass incarceration of poor people, especially black and brown people—referred callously to gang-related youth as “superpredators.” And it was Bill Clinton who signed a welfare reform bill that all but eliminated the safety net for poor women and children—a Machiavellian attempt to promote right-wing policies in order to “neutralize” the Republican Party. In protest, Peter Edelman, Marian’s courageous husband, resigned from his assistant secretary post at the Department of Health and Human Services.

The Clintons’ neoliberal economic policies—principally, the repeal of the Glass-Steagall banking legislation, apparently under the influence of Wall Street’s money—have also hurt King’s cause. The Clinton Machine—celebrated by the centrist wing of the Democratic Party, white and black—did produce economic growth. But it came at the expense of poor people (more hopeless and prison-bound) and working people (also decimated by the Clinton-sponsored North American Free Trade Agreement).

Bill apologized for the effects of his crime bill, after devastating thousands of black and poor lives. Will Hillary apologize for supporting the same measures?

It’s no accident that Goldman Sachs paid Hillary Clinton $675,000 for a mere three speeches in 2013, or that the firm has given hundreds of thousands of dollars to her campaigns or that, in total, it has paid her and her husband more than $150 million in speaking fees since 2001. This is the same Goldman Sachs that engaged in predatory lending of sub-prime mortgages that collapsed in 2008, disproportionately hurting black Americans.

These ties are far from being “old news” or an “artful smear,” as Hillary Clinton recently put it. Rather, they perfectly underscore how it is Sanders, not Clinton, who is building on King’s legacy. Sanders’ specific policies—in support of a $15 minimum wage, a massive federal jobs program with a living wage, free tuition for public college and universities, and Medicare for all—would undeniably lessen black social misery. In addition, he has specifically made the promise, at a Black Lives Matter meeting in Chicago, to significantly shrink mass incarceration and to prioritize fixing the broken criminal justice system, including eliminating all for-profit prisons.

Clinton has made similar promises. But how can we take them seriously when the Ready for Hillary PAC received more than $133,000 from lobbying firms that do work for the GEO Group and Corrections Corporation of America—two major private prison groups whose aim is to expand mass incarceration for profit? It was only after this fact was reported that Clinton pledged to stop accepting campaign donations from such groups. Similarly, without Sanders in the race to challenge her, there’s no question Clinton would otherwise be relatively silent about Wall Street.

The battle now raging in Black America over the Clinton-Sanders election is principally a battle between a declining neoliberal black political and chattering class still on the decaying Clinton bandwagon (and gravy train!) and an emerging populism among black poor, working and middle class people fed up with the Clinton establishment in the Democratic Party. It is easy to use one’s gender identity, as Clinton has, or racial identity, as the Congressional Black Caucus recently did in endorsing her, to hide one’s allegiance to the multi-cultural and multi-gendered Establishment. But a vote for Clinton forecloses the new day for all of us and keeps us captive to the trap of wealth inequality, greed (“everybody else is doing it”), corporate media propaganda and militarism abroad—all of which are detrimental to black America.

In the age of Barack Obama, this battle remained latent, with dissenting voices vilified. As a black president, Obama has tended to talk progressive but walk neoliberal in the face of outrageous right-wing opposition. Black child poverty has increased since 2008, with more than 45 percent of black children under age 6 living in poverty today. Sanders talks and walks populist, and he is committed to targeting child poverty. As president, he would be a more progressive than not just Clinton but also Obama—and that means better for black America.

Now, with Obama’s departure from the White House, we shall see clearly where black America stands in relation to King’s legacy. Will voters put a smile on Martin’s face? It’s clear how we can do it. King smiles at Sanders’ deep integrity and genuine conviction, while he weeps at the Clinton machine’s crass opportunism and the inequality and injustice it breeds.

 

 
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Posted by on February 14, 2016 in Democrat Primary

 

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The War That Never Ended – John Horse and the Seminoles

Met a Seminole Chief many years ago, and got a real education about what was called by the US “The Seminole Wars”, which were actually a 50 year series of battles between the US Government and the Seminoles, and their black allies, sometimes referred to as Black Seminole because some of the leaders of this revolt were black. The longest and most expensive War fought by the US prior to the Civil War, and the most expensive of the “Indian Wars” in terms of GDP by the US. Which never officially ended.

Wiki actually has a reasonably good write-up of this period to get an understanding from the “65.000 ft view”.

 
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Posted by on January 15, 2016 in Black History

 

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19 Cops Show Up to Accost Black Woman Entering Her Own Apartment

It now takes 19 Cops to take down a 110lb black woman! Santa Monica?

And as for Mr. Palmer…I think it’s a pretty safe assumption your local Bank Robber and thug life isn’t running around in a Toyota Prius. I mean “Excuse me officer, it’s been 40 miles – would you guys please hold on for 12 hours while I recharge the car?”

19 Officers Swarm Black Woman As She Tries To Get Into Her Own Apartment

Faye Wells

A black woman who got locked out of her Santa Monica apartment is claiming that the actions of police were racially motivated when 19 officers showed up outside her door, some pointing guns at her, in response to her neighbor’s report of a break-in.

Fay Wells, who is the vice president of strategy at a multinational corporation, penned a piece inThe Washington Post today, detailing the harrowing ordeal that took place on Sept. 6 and how she is still shaken up. She writes, “I’m heartbroken that the place I called home no longer feels safe.”

Wells had just gotten back from her weekly soccer game and found that she had locked herself out of her home, and hired a locksmith to open the door for her. But after she got inside her apartment, that’s when things escalated. A large dog was barking in her stairwell, and officers pointed guns at her. They entered her apartment, and an officer pulled Wells’ hands behind her back and took her outside. That’s when she saw an “ocean of officers.” Though Wells says that the officers at the time wouldn’t explain to her why they were there, she later found out that a total of 19 were dispatched and that her white neighbor had reported a burglary at her apartment.

Wells writes:

It didn’t matter that I told the cops I’d lived there for seven months, told them about the locksmith, offered to show a receipt for his services and my ID. It didn’t matter that I went to Duke, that I have an MBA from Dartmouth, that I’m a vice president of strategy at a multinational corporation. It didn’t matter that I’ve never had so much as a speeding ticket. It didn’t matter that I calmly, continually asked them what was happening. It also didn’t matter that I didn’t match the description of the person they were looking for — my neighbor described me as Hispanic when he called 911. What mattered was that I was a woman of color trying to get into her apartment — in an almost entirely white apartment complex in a mostly white city — and a white man who lived in another building called the cops because he’d never seen me before.

It’s still been an uphill battle for Wells, who says she’s had to jump through hoops to get from the Santa Monica Police Department the names of the officers who showed up that night. Even then, the facts don’t match up. She only received 17 of the 19 names from authorities, and the Washington Post got 17 names that didn’t all match up with the list Wells received. She’s since filed an official complaint with internal affairs. The department told the Washington Post that it was within protocol based on this type of call to warrant “a very substantial police response.”

 

Her complaint comes just months after the Santa Monica-Venice branch of the NAACP called for an investigation into the Santa Monica Police Department after 36-year-old Justin Palmer wasarrested and pepper-sprayed by officers while he was charging his electric car at Virginia Avenue Park. Palmer said that officers told him on April 21 that the park was closed at 11 p.m. and he couldn’t be there, even though it wasn’t 11 p.m. yet. Police told him they needed his ID, and he asked why they needed it when he did nothing wrong. Palmer told KTLA that an officer threw him to the ground, his head hit the ground and he blacked out.

Authorities said Palmer “actively resisted” the arrest, but nearly two weeks later, the Santa Monica City Attorney’s Office said they would not be filing any charges against Palmer, saying it was partly because the signs at the park weren’t clear about the parking lot being subject to the park hours and “a question concerning when Mr. Palmer arrived in the parking lot and when officers made their initial contact with him.”

The NAACP said in a statement: “This act of excessive force points towards racial profiling that has become a central concern as other residents that are not African American have said they have never been approached by SMPD for charging their vehicles after 11:00 p.m. at Virginia Avenue Park.”

Palmer filed a complained against the city of Santa Monica, claiming the police used excessive force, but the city denied the claim in June. However, Justin Sanders, the attorney of Palmer, who is black, said this isn’t about race, but rather “this can happen to anybody, no matter what your station in life is.”

Wells writes that the NAACP requested info from the Santa Monica Police Department for “demographic information on all traffic, public transportation and pedestrian stops; so far, the department has promised to release a report of detailed arrest data next year.”

 
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Posted by on November 19, 2015 in BlackLivesMatter

 

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