Saturday, July 19, 2014

NYPD Cop Chokes A Brother to Death

Daily News Reports that:

A 400-pound asthmatic Staten Island dad died Thursday after a cop put him in a chokehold and other officers appeared to slam his head against the sidewalk, video of the incident shows.

“I can’t breathe! I can’t breathe!” Eric Garner, 43, repeatedly screamed after at least five NYPD officers took him down in front of a Tompkinsville beauty supply store when he balked at being handcuffed.

Within moments Garner, a married father of six children with two grandchildren, stopped struggling and appeared to be unconscious as police called paramedics to the scene. An angry crowd gathered, some recording with smartphones.

“When I kissed my husband this morning, I never thought it would be for the last time,” Garner’s wife, Esaw, told the Daily News.

She got no details from police until after she had gone to the hospital to identify his body, she said.

Read more: 

News Day reports that:

Chokeholds are prohibited by the New York City Police Department and most departments," Bratton said at the news conference. The commissioner added that "Mr. Garner repeatedly complained of difficulty breathing as the officers wrestled him to the ground."

An ambulance was called and Garner went into cardiac arrest while he was being taken to Richmond University Medical Center, where he was later pronounced dead, Bratton said. However, he added that the medical examiner will rule on the cause of death.

De Blasio and Bratton said that a final determination of any breaking of law or departmental regulations would be made after an investigation by the Staten Island District Attorney's office and police internal affairs.


Here is yet another example of police brutality and racism. The police did not have a legitimate reason to stop and arrest Eric Garner.  He was not violating any law. Mr. Garner did not pose a threat to the police. Obviously, the brother did not deserve to have his life choked away. Now, his family must sadly mourn the lost a husband, a father and a grandfather gone too soon.

Many African Americans voted for De Blasio based on his promise to improve the relationship between the black community and the police. The killing of Eric Garner is a brutal reminder that institutional racism will not automatically disappear with an election. In fact, police brutality and racial profiling may be permanent fixtures in the American life. 

How many black men must die at the hands of the cops?! How many justice marches and rallies must we have?  Every other day, there is a new victim and a new demand for justice. Today's rallying cry is justice for Eric Garner. Unfortunately, tomorrow, it will be someone else.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Black Men March Against Violence in Baltimore

The Afro reports that:
Taking yet another opportunity to send the message that Baltimore men are committed to stopping the violence in this city, they gathered, 300 strong at the west end of North Avenue, July 11, supported by neighbors and friends.

The annual event, a 10 mile march, was organized by the 300 Men March Movement, an outreach initiative created by community activist Munir Bahar and Baltimore City Councilman Brandon Scott, according to the organization’s website. In addition to holding the annual march, the group trains men for direct engagement in communities plagued by violence...

The march involved men of all ages and races. Brownfish mentioned an 80-year-old White man who made all 10 miles of this year’s march.

The march was hardly an all-male affair, however. Baltimore City Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake spoke at the opening of the demonstration, and many women helped to serve as floating registrars, signing up men who would join the march as it progressed eastward and back, as well as providing water and moral support for the demonstrators.

Read more here.
Real men and women do not quietly sit down while their communities are being ravaged by drugs and violence. The courageous stand up. The courageous fight. The courageous struggle. The courageous strive to rescue their communities from the clutches of despair and hopelessness.

We need more movements like the 300 Men March Movement. Whether one lives in the suburbs or the city, each one of us should join and actively participate in stop the violence organizations.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Anthony Brown May Become Maryland's First African American Governor

CBS Baltimore reports:

The results are in! Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown and Larry Hogan will go head-to-head in the race for governor in November.

Mary Bubala reports from Brown’s campaign headquarters in College Park, where Brown thanked supporters.

The 52-year-old Democratic nominee says he is ready to lead the state of Maryland.

“Each of us is part of something bigger. Each of us is part of that mission, each of us is part of that purpose, each of us is part of that goal to build a better Maryland for Marylanders,” Brown told supporters in his victory speech.

The victory marked a major step forward toward Brown becoming Maryland’s first black governor in a state where registered Democrats outnumber Republicans by a 2-to-1 margin. Brown also would be the state’s first lieutenant governor to win the governorship.

“I just feel so thankful to God that he’s allowed me to be able to help the first African American become president and now the first African American to become governor of the state of Maryland–in my state,” said Congressman Elijah Cummings.
Congratulations, Anthony Brown! Your nomination is a true symbol of progress in Maryland and America.

I hope that you are elected Governor. However, your election must be more than a symbol. You must harness your power to bring about tangible progress in the urban communities of Baltimore and Prince George's County. Symbols are good, but quantifiable results are better. Otherwise, your election will be a personal victory, instead of a victory for the African American community.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Honoring Brother Malcolm X

Malcolm X was born on May 19, 1925.  No other black leader has had a greater impact on my life than brother Malcolm X. My road to black consciousness, activism and Islam began with a documentary about the life of Malcolm X. I began reading and listening to his bold, courageous and uncompromising speeches.  I read the Autobiography of Malcolm X and other books about him.  His speeches were not watered down for mass consumption and pacification.  They were raw and uncut.  The brother was independent and strong. 

His opinions were not for sell.  He did not have to answer to corporate funders.  He only answered to Allah.  He did not cow tow to anyone. Unlike many of today's so-called black leaders, he was not about self promotion and opportunism. He was not seeking to peddle books.  He was not seeking to have a television program or a radio show.  He was focused on the struggle for the black liberation. He was a brave soldier for the people. We need more soldiers like Malcolm X.

In pursuit of freedom, the brother paid the ultimate price, death. The oppressor may have killed the brother's body, but his spirit and message live on through us.  Malcolm X inspired generations of African Americans to stand up for freedom, justice and equality.  His example of progress, evolution and righteousness continues to motivate many to improve their lives. 

Rest in peace, dear beloved brother.  We will pick up your baton and continue the race towards self-determination and empowerment.  

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Affirmative Action, Color Blindness and Tyranny

Last month, the Supreme Court decided a major civil rights case, Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action. Throughout the opinion, the justices stated that the case was not about merits of affirmative action. According to justices, the case was simply about the political process doctrine. However, in fact, that case was all about the future of affirmative action. The case served as a proxy battlefield in the fight over affirmative action.

For now, the conservative justices prevailed.  The majority essentially gave states the blueprint to effectively dismantle affirmative action. As this Nation approached the 60th anniversary of Brown v. The Board of Education, the U.S. Supreme Court basically said that the white majority can change the rules of the game in the middle of the game and make it more difficult for African Americans to enact and/or pursue policies, like affirmative action, that benefit us.

In Michigan, others may simply lobby university board members if they seek to changes university admission policies regarding legacies, geography and athleticism. On the other hand, African Americans and other minorities seeking to create race sensitive admission policies must obtain the vote of two thirds of both Houses of the Michigan legislature. Alternatively, we must 10 percent of the voters sign a petition in order to get the matter on a ballot. After getting the matter on the ballot, the majority of the voters must vote to lift the ban on affirmative action. In light of the current political climate in Michigan, such obstacles are virtually insurmountable. Unfortunately, as a result of Court's decision, the tyranny of the white majority will prevail over the minority.

In the name of promoting a so-called color blind society, the Supreme Court is gradually reversing the gains of the civil rights movement. As Justice Sotomayor points out in her powerful dissenting opinion, race neutral alternatives are not an effective substitute for affirmative action. After Michigan amended its constitution to ban affirmative action, there has been a 25% decline in black admissions to the University of Michigan.

Sadly, this is just the beginning. It may be an omen of the end of affirmative action nationwide. The doors of opportunity will slam in the faces of our youth and their precious dreams will be snuffed out like the flame on the tip of a cigarette.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Nigeria and the White Man's Burden

I support the #BringBackOurGirls campaign. It is an indigenous campaign created by Ibrahim M Abdullahi, a Nigerian attorney. I hope that each girl is safety returned to their families. Clearly,  the Nigerian government has a moral and legal duty to rescue and protect those precious girls. The world community must continue to pressure the Nigerian government to take immediate, decisive and effective action against Boko Haram. Moreover, the world community should aid the Nigerians by providing training, equipment and intelligence assistance.

However, I strongly oppose U.S. military intervention in Nigeria. Ultimately, Nigeria and the African Union must be the ones to fight those despicable terrorists. U.S. military action will endanger American and Nigerian lives. It will only fuel Nigeria's civil war.

Who knows how long the U.S. would remain in Nigeria? After all of these years, American troops remain in Afghanistan. The military action may begin with the narrow mission of rescuing the girls and then morph into the much broader mission of nation building.

We cannot allow the West to exploit this crisis and come into Nigerian like a Trojan horse under the guise of generosity. Like a thief in the night, they may utilize this tragic and sad situation to further plunder Nigeria's oil and other natural resources. Nigeria's sovereignty should not be trampled upon in order to fulfill the white man's so-called burden. Africa does not need Western paternalism and militarism. We do not need another Somalia or Libya.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Ras Baraka is Elected Mayor of Newark

The New York Times reports that:
Councilman Ras Baraka, the fiery scion of a militant poet, was elected mayor of Newark on Tuesday, signaling a likely shift in the direction that New Jersey’s largest city had embarked upon for most of the last decade.

Mr. Baraka rebuffed a spirited late surge from a political newcomer, Shavar Jeffries, a law professor with an improbable Horatio Alger-like life story, in a bitter contest marred by incendiary rhetoric, arrests and charges of vandalism. With 96 percent of the precincts reporting, Mr. Baraka was leading with about 54 percent of the vote, compared with 46 percent for Mr. Jeffries, according to unofficial results.

“We are the mayor!” Mr. Baraka shouted at his victory party, as a six-piece funk band played an original song with the refrain, “Who did we vote for? Raaaaas Baraka.” Mr. Baraka added, “The people of Newark are not for sale.”

The race between the two Democrats was expected to be Newark’s most expensive election ever. Mr. Jeffries enjoyed a sizable financial advantage thanks to outside groups, while Mr. Baraka relied on his family’s name and fervent union support, and he tapped into misgivings about the previous mayor.

That mayor, of course, was Cory A. Booker, who won the first of two terms in 2006 as a fresh reformer. Yet while Mr. Booker unquestionably raised the profile of his adopted city, attracting hundreds of millions of dollars, he never could erase lingering suspicions among some of Newark’s power brokers that he was an outsider.

Mr. Booker left office last year after winning election to the United States Senate. When an interim mayor, Luis A. Quintana, indicated that he was not running for office, the dynamics were set for what some viewed as a referendum on Mr. Booker, as well as a watershed moment for the future.

“Baraka’s win suggests that the Booker years didn’t vanquish the old guard,” said Andra Gillespie, a professor at Emory University and author of “The New Black Politician: Cory Booker, Newark and Post-Racial America.”
When the masses are united and organized, we can and will prevail over the power elite. Baraka's election is a reminder that the progressives can fight the power and seize power. Elections matter, people. Congratulations, Mayor Elect Ras Baraka!