Tag Archives: community

BLM and Wichita Police Hold a Cookout

This is a big difference from what we see on the racist Faux News, where ex-cops are paid to berate the BLM Movement, call them murders and terrorists…

Never mind that many of the ex-cops Faux News pays to appear are ex-Cops because of their own criminal activities. Drag in a few paid Lawn Jockeys, and you have the universe of Fox News racism.

The Wichita Police took what I would call and “adult” way to approach things. Why not invite the BLM protesters to a cookout, where Cops and the community could sit down and hold an honest conversation. For a lot of black folks, especially in Urban areas, this provides an opportunity to meet and get to know local Police on a personal level – instead of when they have you pulled over for something. For Police, it is an opportunity to meet the ordinary folks who make up the majority of people in the community.

Black Lives Matter protesters have friendly cookout with Wichita police

When a group of Kansas police officers spotted members of the Black Lives Matter movement protesting near a highway last week, they didn’t try to put a stop to it.

Instead, the Wichita officers suggested holding a cookout, where members of the community and cops could gather for food, dance and an open discussion. The Black Lives Matter protesters happily agreed.

Now the city is being praised for its response — with many people suggesting communities across the country should follow their example.

Conlee Borchard, whose fiancé is in the Wichita Police Academy, said protesters stood in line on Sunday and waited patiently to ask officials, including Wichita Police Chief Gordon Ramsay, questions.

“They asked hard questions, such as, ‘What are you doing to make sure our officers are held accountable?’ ‘What do we do if we have a complaint against an officer?'” Borchard told CBS News.

Image result for BLM Wichita Police

When the Q&A ended, the dancing began, and Borchard captured an inspiring sight on camera. A video of an energetic officer doing the “Cha Cha Slide” with Wichita residents went viral with more than 14 million views on Facebook.

Some applauded the heartwarming video as a welcome alternative to the tensions escalating between communities and police across the U.S.

“Other states are rioting, and killing…Were eating BBQ and dancing with the police!” one Facebook user commented.

“So proud of our hometown for making a ‘slide’ in the right direction,” another replied.

Borchard said it was a productive event.Image result for BLM Wichita Police

“It felt like coming into the future,” she explained. “In such a short amount of time there was so much restoration. Everyone walked away with hope.”

In a Facebook Live video posted on Monday, Chief Ramsay thanked everyone for making the “First Steps Community Cookout” a success.

“I really want to thank those who came out and were a part of this; it can’t just be the police that make these changes,” Ramsay said in the video. “It takes two parties to make a healthy relationship.”


Posted by on August 25, 2016 in BlackLivesMatter, The Post-Racial Life


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Black Deaths Matter

Police overreach, brutality, and killings are just one part of black American frustration with their Police Departments. The other is the massive ineffectiveness in solving or stopping violent crime.


Black Deaths Matter

On the morning of March 11, 2008, shortly after the bus picked up his twin brothers for preschool, Emill Smith stopped by the house of his mother, Valerie Maxwell, in Chester, Pennsylvania. At 22, he was stocky and athletic, with dark eyes, faint facial hair, and a cursive tattoo on his right hand: “R.I.P. James,” in memory of his father, who died in his sleep when Emill was 12. They talked for a while, and he asked if he could pick the twins up from school that afternoon so they could spend time together.

That afternoon, Emill took the four-year-olds to McDonald’s and his place before dropping them off at Valerie’s: “They almost set the apartment on fire,” he joked. “Here, you can have them.” As he walked out, he stopped.



“I love you.”

“I love you more.”

At 7:15 p.m. that night, Valerie dialed Emill’s number to make sure he was home in time for his 7:30 curfew, part of his probation for disorderly conduct in a domestic dispute. No answer. A few minutes later, one of Emill’s friends rushed in and collapsed.

Emill had been to a neighborhood bar, where a security camera recorded him dancing, hanging out by the pool table, and kissing an old friend on the forehead before leaving. As he got into his car, someone walked up and shot him several times. No one was ever arrested in connection with the crime, and odds are no one will be. That’s because, while Chester has one of the nation’s highest homicide rates, it has a far lower than average “clearance rate.” Not even one-third of last year’s 30 homicides have been solved, a rate less than half the national average. Since 2005, 144 killings have gone unsolved.

FOR GENERATIONS, BLACK frustration with policing has been best described in a two-part statement: Cops don’t care enough to solve crimes in our neighborhoods—they just come and harass our kids. NovelistWalter Mosley even built a best-selling detective series around a tough private investigator who does all the serving and protecting that cops won’t do on the black side of town.

The bitter irony is that it was this same complaint that helped spawn the aggressive policing tactics now under attack from Ferguson to New York City. In the 1980s, when crack and heroin syndicates swept through black neighborhoods, black parents and pastors were some of the first and loudest voices to demand a war on drugs. What they got was “broken windows” policing—an emphasis on curbing petty offenses to prevent more serious crime.

What they also got were mandatory minimum sentences for shoplifters, indiscriminate stop-and-frisk sweeps, and deadly choke holds on men selling loose cigarettes. There’s little evidence that these tactics contributed much to the national decline in crime. But they did erode trust in law enforcement across many communities—leaving places like Chester increasingly bereft of the protection they badly need. With residents both fearful of police and worried about being targeted for talking to them, detectives can’t find the witnesses they need to solve crimes, breeding further distrust and a vicious cycle of frustration. A 2014 New York Daily News investigation found that in 2013, police solved about 86 percent of homicides in which the victim was white. For black victims, the number was just 45 percent. And in high-minority communities like Chester, says David Kennedy, a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, clearance rates for murder—and even more so for nonfatal shootings—can get “pathetically low. They can easily fall down to single digits.”…Read the Rest Here

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Posted by on May 20, 2016 in BlackLivesMatter


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Chicago Police and Minorities

No big surprise here.

Chicago police ‘have no regard’ for lives of minorities, report says

The Chicago Police Department is failing to hold officers accountable and not doing enough to combat a “justified” lack of trust from the community, according to a sweeping report released Wednesday by a task force assembled by Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

The task force’s report was unsparing when it came to the department’s problems with race, saying that its members “heard over and over again from a range of voices” who feel that the Chicago police are racist.

In the 22-page report, the task force pointed to data from the Chicago police that it said “gives validity to the widely held belief the police have no regard for the sanctity of life when it comes to people of color.”

The task force looked at more than 400 shootings in Chicago from 2008 to 2015 and found that about three-quarters of the people wounded or killed in police shootings were black. Hispanic people accounted for 14 percent of those shot, while white people made up 8 percent of them.

Similar proportions were found among people hit with Tasers in recent years. Census data show that black, Hispanic and white people make up nearly equal slices of the city’s population.

“Residents of Chicago spoke of random police stops in which they are treated with disdain, and fearful that any interaction with police could lead to violence against them,” Victor Dickson, member of the task force and head of a non-profit that helps people with criminal records, said in a statement. “Unfortunately, our research supports those perceptions.”

The task force’s report said that some people in the community “do not feel safe in any encounter with the police.”

The report said that evidence showed that “people of color— particularly African-Americans—have had disproportionately negative experiences with the police over an extended period of time,” something that the task force’s members said continues today “the use of force, foot and traffic stops and bias in the police oversight system itself.”

Before the report was released, Emanuel (D) said he would be open to any recommendations from the group about how to help the country’s second-largest local law enforcement agency.

“I don’t really think you need a task force to know that we have racism in America, we have racism in Illinois or that there is racism that exists in the city of Chicago and obviously can be in our departments,” Emanuel said Wednesday, before he received a copy of the report.

Emanuel said he felt the city was taking positive steps forward, including pushing to diversify the ranks of its police force and the department’s leadership.

“The question isn’t, ‘Do we have racism?’ We do,” Emanuel said. “The question is, ‘what are you going to do about it?’”

Last December, Emanuel announced that he was creating the task force amid protests prompted by video footage of a white Chicago police officer firing 16 shots at Laquan McDonald, a black teenager.

Laquan’s Murderer

Since the McDonald video was released — over the objections of city officials — Emanuel and the Chicago police force have been under a national microscope, even as the city faces a surge in violence….Read More Here



Posted by on April 14, 2016 in BlackLivesMatter


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California Drops Grand Juries in the Case of Police Shootings


After a string of questionable decision by Grand Juries leading to non-indictments of Policemen being tried for Murder, at least one state has said “Enough” to a corrupt system which illegitimately favors the Police over finding truth.

The Ferguson Grand Jury leading to the release of Officer Wilson even drew the ire of Arch-conservative Supreme Court Judge Antonin Scalia.

The System needs to be re-evaluated for accountability…And in at leat one State that has happened.

Former Patrolman 1st Class Michael T. Slager shooting a fleeing Walter L. Scott in he back


California Bans Use Of Grand Juries In Police Shooting Cases

California will no longer use grand juries in cases involving police shootings of civilians after Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signed a bill Tuesday banning the secret deliberations.

SB 227, authored by state Sen. Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles), makes California the first state to ban the use of grand juries to decide whether law enforcement should face criminal charges in use-of-force cases. The ban, which will go into effect next year, comes after grand juries failed to indict police officers who killed unarmed black men in Ferguson, Missouri, and Staten Island, New York, last year, heightening scrutiny of the process.

Mitchell argues that the grand jury process, during which evidence is presented to a panel of civilians in secret, fosters a lack of trust in the system.

“One doesn’t have to be a lawyer to understand why SB227 makes sense,”  Mitchell said in a statement, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. “The use of the criminal grand jury process, and the refusal to indict as occurred in Ferguson and other communities of color, has fostered an atmosphere of suspicion that threatens to compromise our justice system.”

Under the new rules, prosecutors must decide whether police officers should face criminal charges for killing someone in the line of duty.

Brown also signed the Right to Record Act Tuesday, which clarifies civilians’ right to record police officers.


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Posted by on August 13, 2015 in BlackLivesMatter


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What role for the Black Church?

Historically the Black Church has been instrumental in advocating and advancing Civil Rights, and was central to organizing the protests and coalescing the voice of black people into actionable agendas.

MLK speaking before Ebenezer Baptist’s Congregation

The question today is, with the fundamental changes within the Black Church, is it possible anymore that the Church may regain it’s mantle as a central platform for the battle for Civil Rights?

Arguing against that is the reality that the Black Church in many places isn’t fully tied to it’s geographic community. As black folks have moved out of Urban areas to the burbs, the communities they have left behind, largely become “Commuter Communities”. Ergo, the expats drive to the old black community for services, whether it is a barbershop or beauty salon, or still maintain an allegiance to the old Church. They likely maintain friendships, or have relatives living in the old community. However, the issues with being black in America’s suburbs, and in the inner city are likely to be quite different.

Second is the fractionation of the community by the very Church which should be bringing it back together. Male participation in the Black Church has dropped to historic lows. Part of that has to do with personality cultism on the part of some male Preachers, part has to do with the belief the church really isn’t interested in the problems of black males, whether that perception is fair or not. An interesting analysis was published last year in the Atlanta Black Star – 6 Reasons Young Black People Are Leaving The Church.

Summed by Tony Carter who serves as the Lead Pastor of East Point Church in East Point, Georgia.The article suggest the rise in economic opportunities and social progress is making the church irrelevant. Secondly, in an ever-changing digital age, the church appears stagnant, old fashioned, and unattractive. Thirdly, today’s educated black man and woman have less use for faith in an enlightened age where reason and science answer most of their questions. Fourthly, there is a growing discontent among this generation of blacks with biblical passages that seemingly tolerate or advocate for such social ills as slavery and genocide. Fifthly, the church comes off as intolerant, judgmental, and simplistic when it comes to issues of sexual activity, sexual orientation, and living holy in a sexually free society. Lastly, the article suggested that this generation seeks authenticity whereas the black church today gives the impression that everyone has it all together. In other words, black millennials want to stop pretending.

I believe there is another reason. Far too many black churches have adopted a policy of exclusionism, requiring their parishioners to marry or date only people who believe as they do. That just isn’t a formula for long term success. -especially in a society where only about 42% of black women will ever marry.

Black Churches Led The Civil Rights Movement. Can They Do It Again In Baltimore?

…Many of today’s black pastors, some young activists argue, have moved away from the black church’s traditional role as a center for African-American mobilization. “Today, what we see is churches being appendages of the kind of status-quo body politic,” said Dayvon Love, 28, director of public policy at the Baltimore think tank and activist group Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle. “This has happened generally post-integration, post-civil rights. You have cadres of individual back people who get positioned in white-dominated institutions, and their presence is used as a way to deflect from structural change.”

It sounds like a radical critique, but senior clergy have similar concerns. “If you are a church that’s never in ‘good’ trouble with the powers, then you’re probably in bed with the powers,” the Rev. Raphael Warnock, who holds Martin Luther King Jr.’s former pulpit at Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church,told NPR recently. “We’re doing precious little to actually dismantle the American prison-industrial complex, which is the new Jim Crow.”

To be sure, the protest tradition is alive and kicking in some Baltimore churches. Just last month, the Rev. Jamal Bryant, pastor of Empowerment Temple, led a group that briefly shut down a major highway into the city during the morning rush hour to denounce plans for a new juvenile jail.

And the Rev. Ron Owens, a former pastor who organized the Freddie Gray funeral, bristles at the notion that local clergy have been co-opted by the powers that be.

The same group of pastors who led the funeral and the march through the riot were instrumental in getting the U.S. Department of Justice to launch a full-blown investigation of Baltimore police, Owens said. In the week after the riot, Owens said, the group requested meetings with Justice Department officials and held separate sessions with the department’s civil rights chief, Vanita Gupta, and with Attorney General Loretta Lynch.

But Owens said it’s fair to say that such action should have come sooner, and that Baltimore clergy were previously silent on the issue of policing abuses -– even though some had experienced the problem personally. Owens himself recalled a police officer pulling him over and asking why he drove such a nice car. The Freddie Gray case has served as a wake-up call, Owens said.

“I’m glad that the alarm clock has sounded,” Owens said. “I’m the first to say that we were asleep.”…

Pastors who find the critique of co-optation too radical say another charge weighs more heavily: that they have become disengaged from the communities that surround them.

The Rev. Melvin Russell is assistant pastor at Baltimore’s New Beginnings Ministries. But his day job is as a lieutenant colonel in the Baltimore Police Department, where he leads the community partnership division. “When I was coming up,” Russell said, “the churches were community churches. We’re no longer community churches. We have devolved into commuter churches.”

And gaps between congregants and neighborhoods have political consequences, said Michael Leo Owens, a political scientist at Emory University in Atlanta who has studied urban black churches. “Many of the people who we could argue are most affected by some of the problems that we see with something like, say, the Baltimore Police Department are folks that are not in the pews of these churches,” he said. “So there’s this tremendous disconnect.”

Russell previously served as commander of Baltimore’s Eastern police district, where he pushed hard for residents and community leaders -– including clergy –- to engage directly with people involved in drugs and crime. His message to the church, Russell said, was that they had failed.

“You’ve can’t have a church in a community and at the same time have an open-air drug market right outside the church,” he said. “Something’s wrong with that picture as far as I’m concerned.”

The recent spate of violence has prompted actions that Russell should like: Bryant, the pastor who led last month’s highway shutdown, has announcedthat clergy and other volunteers will patrol hot spots of violence on weekend nights this summer. Bryant also promised midnight basketball tournaments and a Father’s Day march to highlight the violence.

Meanwhile, Hickman is turning Southern Baptist Church church into a center for community redevelopment, building senior housing and other amenities for his East Baltimore neighborhood.

“Politicians and bureaucrats have ignored the church as a community stakeholder and developer and looked for others to come in and save the city,” he said. “But I believe that the church is the ideal place to start with what should happen within the community.”…(more)

In the end analysis, I believe the answer is probably not. The big reason in my mind is that the Black Community in America has changed so radically (geographically, economically, and in vision). The second is that advancing Civil Rights in this day and age involves the exercise of Political power. The simple fact is, black politicians have dropped the ball largely in knee-jerk fighting flash fires, or focusing on the wrong problems. In my view the 42 black Congressmen sitting on the Hill are probably the most useless excuses for elected officials in the country. They have been utterly co-opted. I really find it hard to believe that 20% of the elected official in Congress can’t use the parliamentary tricks commonly used by Republicans to add riders to Bills which advance the cause. If there is some sort of lucid strategy there…

I certainly don’t see it.

If you go back and do some research on how the Civil Rights movement was strategized, and planned – you will  find a group of individuals who laid out a practical strategy and executed it ruthlessly. It took a lot more than organizers or politicians showing up on the front steps of 1st Baptist mouthing their slippery/slithery support.

In the end this is why I think the grass roots organizations rising up around “Black Lives Matter” are a far more effective tool.

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Posted by on June 14, 2015 in The New Jim Crow


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The REAL Black Panthers

A lot of young folks nowdays don’t really understand what the Black Panthers were – and what they really stood for.

There is even an imitation “Panther Party” of about 10 whack jobs who have captured conservative media imagination – and not much else. According to conservatives the appearance of two of these guys on the street outside of a polling place in 2008 constituted “voter fraud” and was directly responsible for a black man being elected President. In a conservative world where 1 black person on a street corner is “trouble”, 2 is a “conspiracy”, and 3 is a “riot” – the emergence of half a dozen black “militants” is cause for 24×7 wall-to-wall fearmongering. “The Nigras is out to get ya!”

Like a lot of the folks involved in the 60’s struggles, the author of this piece evolved. Jamal Joseph is now a Professor – but he maintains his activism.

Black Panthers, Guns and Star Trek

I was 15 years old when I walked into a Black Panther office and asked for a gun so I could kill a white man.

It was 1968, Dr. King had been murdered. Ghettoes across America were going up in riots and flames and I was a fatherless, angry man child who had been called “nigger” and smacked around by white cops a few too many times.

I was an honor student, a choir boy and a member of the N.A.A.C.P. youth council. My adoptive grandmother, “Noonie”, did her best as a single parent to instill her Baptist Church rooted values of “love they neighbor.” I dreamed of college, becoming a lawyer or in moments of liberated imagination a star ship commander like Captain Kirk from my favorite TV show Star Trek.

I worked part time as a stock and delivery boy at the supermarket so that Noonie wouldn’t have to give me allowance from her tight income that was a combination of social security and part time housekeeping work. I would sweep, mop and vacuum so that Noonie would not have to do anymore bending or scrubbing when she pulled her tired, body up the stairs to our second floor apartment.

jamal josephNoonie and I were close. I loved and respected her. But she was 70 and I was 15 — and the hip, cool path to manhood was on the streets. The Bronx and Harlem street corners I passed and sometimes hung out on had gangs, drugs, craps games, fights, hustlers, foxy ladies and patrolling cops that had to be eluded even when you were doing no wrong. The teens and men who held court there were living examples of how to walk, talk, swagger and fight your way into the manhood ranking system of being a “cool”, “bad” or “crazy dude” — which was highest honor.

The corners also had “warrior prophets” who talked about Black pride, progress and revolution. Some would be respected “bad” and “crazy” dudes who had gone to prison or to the Vietnam War and came back with something they called “Black Consciousness.” They critiqued drugs, hustling and violence as tools of oppression. They not only gave the corner contrast — they gave it context, and I was fascinated!

The evening news was filled with images of civil rights marchers and anti war protestors being beaten and tear gassed by Cops and National Guard Troops. Black Militant leaders like H.Rap Brown would appear on the news urging armed self defense and revolution. The Afros, dashikis and denim jackets the militants wore became the style of the day from schools to the street corners. We wore our Afros and dashikis to church, marches and N.A.A.C.P. meetings. The elders frowned but tolerated us with memories of the “wild styles” they wore when they were young. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on June 20, 2012 in Giant Negros


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Musical history of the blues found in juke joints – CBS News

A few of the old Juke Joints still survive. Wynton Marsalis takes on a trip down History Lane finding several Juke Joints still operating.
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Musical history of the blues found in juke joints

In a downhome neighborhood on the outskirts of Birmingham, Ala., Rita James bought an abandoned building and built a happy home for the blues. Her tiny, unmarked Red Wolf club invites the entire community.

Just four years old, The Red Wolf is a real juke joint. It’s roots go all the way back to Emancipation. In the old South, poverty made life more extreme. So folks found barns, shacks, anywhere – to play, sing and dance their sorrows away. Over time, these places became known as juke joints. Within their walls the blues were born.

Every Wednesday night, Wilson takes the microphone and gets the people on their feet. But it’s the music that brings them together.

“I just make them feel good,” Wilson said. “That’s just me period. Anywhere. I make the crippled feel good – make them think they can walk again.”

First-timer BJ Miller drove 500 miles from St. Louis for a chance to blow her trombone in a place where spirits are served, and freed.

“It’s not that they just serve alcohol,” Miller said. “It’s that they are serving musicians the opportunity to express themselves – and that’s not everywhere.”

“The blues has good and sad, so it’s for good too,” Wilson said. “And you know I like the blues. I like music period, I like all music, so music cheer me on and make me feel good.”

The blues are good for the soul. Their rhythms are inseparable from the American identity, and they’re not naive. The blues tell us bad things happen all the time, and they do, and we can engage with them. The blues are like a vaccine. If you want to get rid of something, give yourself a little bit of it, and when the real thing comes – you’re ready for it.

If Rita has any say in the matter, they’ll be an integral and constant part of the future. Wilson said her club will stay open, “until I drop.”


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