Tuesday, June 30, 2020

The Long Flight of Jim Crow

This week marked the 51st anniversary of the Stonewall Riot.  Featured this week are photos of area activists coming together to use their platform to promote the BLM movement, especially Black LGBTQ and Trans lives.  And keeping with remembering our not-so-shining history, our resident historian takes a look at the long history of racial discrimination in America. Is there an end to it in sight?

The Long Flight of Jim Crow 
by Coast Watcher
photos by C.A. Matthews

Even the name Jim Crow is racist. The original Jim Crow was a black minstrel character found on the Victorian vaudeville circuit, but the term defines the collection of state and local statutes that legalized racial discrimination in the United States.

The history: 19th century

Beginning from 1865—immediately following the Civil War—these laws crept into the statute books as white legislators and their rich white sponsors sought to circumvent the Thirteenth Amendment. By enacting Jim Crow laws they aimed to marginalize black and colored people by denying them the right to vote, hold good jobs, live in decent housing, find an education or do anything else a pre-emancipation slave couldn’t do. Those who fought against the blatant discrimination often faced arrest, fines, jail sentences and death at the hands of lynch mobs.

By means of Black Codes, formerly enslaved people were restricted in how, where and when they could work, and for how much compensation. By creative use of legislature whites forced black and colored people into indentured servitude and even seized children for labor purposes.

For decades after the Civil War, former Confederate soldiers working as civic authorities, police officers and judges ensured the black population of the South would never rise above their former slave status. It became nearly impossible for legal representatives working on behalf of black people to win a court case with such opposition stacked against them.

The Jim Crow laws were designed to work in conjunction with labor camps where prisoners were treated like slaves. Black and colored offenders received longer sentences than their white counterparts. Because of the conditions in which these incarcerated individuals had to live and the appallingly hard work, they often didn’t live out their entire sentence.

About the only bright spots in the whole horrible saga were to be found in the big cities of the South. Greater populations tend to lead to greater freedoms under law. By the 1880s this had led to substantial numbers of black citizens moving to the cities where they would face less oppression. Unfortunately this migration led to a commensurate decrease in the very freedoms that had attracted them. White city dwellers began to feel threatened by the increasing black population of their communities and demanded the enactment of Jim Crow laws to restrict and control African Americans.

This rise in support for their racist measures enabled the white legislators to expand the Jim Crow laws throughout the South and to increase their harshness. Segregation became the way of life, with public transport waiting rooms, restrooms, water fountains, elevators, cemeteries and even amusement-park cashier windows being designated Black and Colored Only. It didn’t end there. Neighborhoods became African American only. Public swimming pools, hospitals, asylums, jails and residential homes also fell under this racist legislation. It was common for towns to set up signs banning African Americans the right of residence or even passage through the township limits.

In the field of education, the old edicts banning the teaching of black people to read and write resurfaced in a new, more oppressive form. Some states required separate textbooks for black and white students. New Orleans regulated prostitutes according to race. In the courtrooms of Atlanta, Georgia, African Americans were even given a separate Bible to whites upon which to place their hand upon and swear. Marriage and even cohabitation between races was outlawed.

This is not to say there wasn’t firm push-back against these increasingly harsh restrictions as we'll soon see.

The 20th Century

As the twentieth century progressed the oppression of African Americans began to be marked by increasing violence. Lynching incidents rose significantly in number and frequency. As they rose, so too did race riots. As the lethal Spanish Flu pandemic began to subside in 1919, twenty-five such riots occurred across the country. The scale of these uprisings led to the period earning the name the "Red Summer." One of the last incidents of that summer was not a race riot yet proved the deadliest of them all. Some two hundred African Americans died in and around the city of Elaine, Arkansas, following an all-out assault by armed white men afraid of a Communist insurrection by black workers. The final death toll is uncertain, as witnesses spoke of seeing black people taken by whites—including US army troops—off to undisclosed locations never to be seen again.

The 1920s saw a significant migration of educated black people into the North, which had its own Jim Crow-style laws. Some states required black citizens to own property before they could vote. Segregation had even infected the cities with black only neighborhoods and schools. The pervasive influence of segregation extended nationwide with the popular "Green Book" travel guides having a separate African Americans only issue listing places where they could stay, visit or find entertainment.

The Great Depression marked yet another upswing in lynchings. World War II created a kind of intermission because everyone was needed for the war effort, yet black veterans returning from the war were still met with discrimination and violence. Suburban developments both North and South were built with segregation in mind. Blacks found it difficult to impossible to find mortgages in some locations. The city of St. Louis, Missouri, was not alone in having an entire real estate industry dedicated to keeping black and white property owners in separate neighborhoods.

Jim Crow crashes and burns...

Inevitably the pendulum of history began to swing back the other way. In 1948 President Harry S. Truman ordered the integration of the US military. Before this date African American troops mostly saw service in labor battalions or as transport drivers. Increasing awareness of civil rights in the African American population led to increased focus on the right of blacks to vote. The Jim Crow laws began to erode, starting with the famous 1954 Brown vs. the Board of Education, a landmark Supreme Court ruling for desegregation of schools across the country. President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act in 1964 which legally ended the segregation brought about by Jim Crow laws. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 stopped efforts to prevent minorities from voting, and the Fair Housing Act of 1968 ended discrimination in the property market.

The 21st Century—Has anything truly changed?

Not much. If anything the rise of white supremacists under the Trump presidency has made matters worse. Police forces across the country are guilty of killing African Americans with little to zero provocation. Black Americans account for around 13% of the US population yet the percentage of those shot and killed is twice as high as that of white Americans. Black Lives Matter protests are frequently harassed by armed gangs of white supremacists, and sometimes with the full cooperation of the local police departments. Lynchings are back, with a number of black men killed recently in California and the Carolinas. Incarceration of African American citizens is at an all-time high as unscrupulous capitalists take advantage of the involuntary servitude clause of the Thirteenth Amendment to exploit their free labor in prison sweatshops.

In 2012 Trayvon Martin was shot and killed by a neighborhood watch volunteer. In August 2014 the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, led to days of rioting. This year the death on camera of George Floyd ignited protests worldwide. In Louisville, Kentucky, Breonna Taylor was shot dead by cops while asleep in her own home. Louisville business owner David McAtee was shot dead by officers from that same police department during a protest over Breonna Taylor’s death. Many others have died at the hands of the police before and since simply for the crime of not being white.

Perhaps things are finally changing as the momentum of the Black Lives Matter movement grows. Perhaps white liberals are getting involved because it’s "fashionable." In any case, the country is now addressing the blatant discrimination against those who happen to have a darker skin color. Statues of well known racists are toppling across the world. 

With Trump’s popularity declining—poll numbers show his support dwindling daily even in his heartland states—it looks like the GOP may lose control of the White House and Senate come November. However, I very much doubt Joe Biden will be much better as president in protecting the civil liberties of persons of color. This is the man who helped to create the Patriot Act and supported segregation in Delaware when he served as their senator, after all. Regardless of the duopolist political party sitting in the White House, the BLM movement has gathered such a pace that it appears nothing can stop it. It's high time to bury all the legislation of Jim Crow and his bastard children, too.

BIO: Coast Watcher studies history and hates to see it repeat itself over and over again in violent and oppressive cycles. Now is the time for us to fight free from this destructive pattern. Black Lives Matter!




Related Articles:

Finally Healing the Wounds of Jim Crow

Black Lives Matter Want To End Police Brutality. History Suggests It Will Go Much Further

Trump Made Racist Joke in a Phoenix Megachurch and the Crowd Went Wild

3 North Carolina Police Officers Fired Over Racist Remarks

Colorado Governor Appoints Special Prosecutor to Reopen Probe of Young Black Man Killed in Police Custody

This introverted 23-year-old was just walking home when he was murdered for being Black. Charge these killer cops, now!
Sign Now

"I'm an introvert. I'm just different. That's all. I'm so sorry. I have no gun. I don't do that stuff... You all are phenomenal. You are beautiful. And I love you. Try to forgive me. I am a mood Gemini. I'm sorry. I'm so sorry. Ow, that really hurt. You all are very strong."
Those are the final words of young Elijah McClain, a Black massage therapist who loved to play the violin for lonely shelter cats to calm them down. After going out to buy his brother an iced tea, he was walking home and listening to music when someone called the police to report "suspicious behavior" because they couldn't see his face. Elijah had anemia, so he often felt cold and wore many layers and a mask to stay warm. When three police officers arrived, they didn't even wait for him to take his headphones out of his ears before they pounced, locking him in a chokehold.
As he sobbed and repeatedly vomited, authorities injected the 23-year-old with twice the amount of ketamine needed to subdue someone as small as him. He suffered two heart attacks, and by the time he arrived at a nearby hospital, he was brain dead. Police clearly don't want us to know about this. They claim that all three of their body cameras mysterious fell off, but audio recorded at the scene captured one officer telling another, "move your [body] camera, dude." To this day, not one of these cops have been fired or charged with murder. All three are still out patrolling the streets of Aurora, Colorado, even though they have blood on their hands. Sign the petition to demand justice for Elijah!
Thank you for all that you do,
Miranda B.
The Care2 Petitions Team
P.S. Police from killed him just for wearing a mask while Black, even as he forgave and praised them. Demand that these sadistic murderers finally face real justice now!

From UltraViolet:

Imagine a world where the website that's home to some of the "most violently racist content" on the Internet bans hate speech.1

It may sound unbelievable, but together we can make it happen.
Reddit has long harbored white nationalists, extreme misogynists, the alt-right, and other hate groups. But in this moment of reckoning on systemic racism and hate, millions of Reddit users, tech leaders, and UltraViolet members have come together to say it's time for Reddit to be on the right side of history. Right now, the COO of Reddit is speaking on a virtual panel about the importance of community. If Reddit truly wants to build community, it must ban hate speech against protected groups, ban hateful users and moderators, hire more women and people of color, and hire paid community managers.

Can you take a moment to send a tweet to tell Reddit that if it wants to build community, it must ban hate speech?

Send a tweet now: Reddit must ban racism and hate speech--and hire more women and people of color.
Share on Twitter ►
Reddit has shown that it will listen to complaints about hateful pages on its site, and together we can push Reddit to act now. Reddit even shut down one so-called men's rights group for inciting violence against women after a petition and negative publicity. By showing public support for the demands of Reddit community members, we can force Reddit to take action and stop the spread of white male supremacy online.

As long as Reddit continues to allow racist, sexist, homophobic, and transphobic groups to have a home on its website, it is complicit in promoting violence and hate.

Send a tweet to demand that Reddit ban racism, sexism, and other hate speech on its platform.

Thanks for speaking out!
--Shaunna, Kat, Kathy, Anathea, Sonja, Melody, Lindsay, Pam, Maria, Kimberly, Katie, and Elisa, the UltraViolet team
1. Reddit Is Finally Facing Its Legacy of Racism, The Atlantic, June 12, 2020

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

We Won't Be Silent Anymore

Happy Juneteenth!
Which side are you on? If you choose to remain neutral in situations of injustice,  Bishop Desmond Tutu states you have chosen the side of the oppressor. The following are some photos of a local Juneteenth march and community event celebrated by those who have chosen to take the side of the oppressed. They have chosen to take this message to the streets and declare boldly, "Black Lives Matter!"
Juneteenth celebrates the date June 19, 1865, the day when the last of the slaves in the defeated Confederacy were informed of the Emancipation Proclamation. If you're not familiar with it, you're not alone. It's not a holiday that's taught much in American schools because history texts are written predominantly by the "winners," and we all know from the past 155 years that white supremacy has reigned in the good ol' U.S. of A.
But this year the holiday has taken on special meaning in the wake of the George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery killings (among others). It has become a wake up call that freedom for all may be proclaimed by those in power, but in reality it doesn't exist until all are free from the tyranny of police brutality and governmental manipulation.
There was music, singing and public declarations of solidarity once the marchers made it to their destination at the Frederick Douglass Community Center. This is the beauty of Juneteenth--the continued freeing of the minds of those enslaved by the predominant racist culture in America.
As the song says, "Somebody is hurting our people, and it's been going on far too long. And we won't be silent anymore!" 2020 is the year to break both the chains of bondage and silence that keep the immoral oligarchs in power.

Our lives begin to end the day that we become silent about things that matter. --MLK
We Won't Be Silent Anymore
by C.A. Matthews
This past Saturday, June 20, the first day of summer, the Poor People's Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival was to take place in Washington, DC. Unfortunately the coronavirus pandemic shut down the marches, protests and speeches that were planned to be given live in our nation's capital. Still, this seemingly insurmountable obstacle didn't stop the PPC organizers.

The Poor People's Moral March on Washington went digital instead. The three and half hour broadcast was available on Facebook and other online platforms and gathered an audience of (at last count) two million and a half. It was filled with interviews, songs, sermons and prayers, but most of all it was filled primarily with the visuals and the voices of the poor themselves--people of all colors, ethnicities and religions, children, LGBTQ folks, immigrants (documented and undocumented), indigenous Americans, the elderly, the health challenged, workers making slave wages, unprotected "essential" pandemic workers, workers who are persecuted when they try to organize into unions for their own welfare and protection...

These are the voices that need to be heard after all--not those of celebrities or the ordained clergy who sympathize with the plight of America's poor. The poor can eloquently and succinctly tell their own stories, thank you very much. There's no need to patronize them or treat them as less than able. There's no need to have an overly self-entitled, educated person "interpret" the poor and their life stories as many in the mainstream media are wont to do.

The strength of this "Call for Moral Revival" comes from the unvarnished, uncensored narratives of those affected directly and intensely by racial discrimination, sexual harassment, police violence, capitalist exploitation, environmental devastation of their communities and lack of adequate health care. The Poor People's Campaign gives these voiceless people a voice and a chance to change their narrative for the better.

But will those who hoard the nation's wealth and power listen to these newly-voiced poor? It remains to be seen. But perhaps, combined with millions of masked activists marching in the streets this summer, our voices will at last be heard and become an undeniable fact to the immoral status quo. Perhaps, at last, we will be able to cry out as Martin Luther King Jr. did over fifty years ago and sincerely mean it, "Free at last, free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"

For those who didn't get a chance to watch the broadcast, the following link will get you up to speed on the Poor People's Campaign.


PPC co-chair Dr. Barber speaks at about 2 hours 48 minutes into this video. (Thanks to The Tim Black Show for recording the broadcast on their You Tube channel.)


The Sunday before the Moral March, Dr. Barber gave the sermon at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C.  It's a "truth to power" talk you can't afford not to hear. His spirited oratory is very reminiscent of the late Dr. Martin Luther King's. Listen carefully to his outline for how we can make life better for all Americans. Let your elected officials know that you support the PPC and want them to heed Dr. Barber as well.

Related articles:

A Moral Agenda for a Troubled America

Greta Thunberg on Black Lives Matter Protests: People Are Starting to Find Their Voice


Trump ally Senator Rick Scott is calling for sanctioning countries that request aid from Cuba’s medical missions, including the teams fighting COVID-19 around the world! For Trump & friends, spreading lies is more important than saving lives!
Trump and his allies are at it again, trying to convince the world that Cuban medical volunteers treating COVID-19 in 27 countries are actually victims of human trafficking. This time Senator Rick Scott (R-FL) is the one peddling the lie, and he’s gone so far as to ask the White House to sanction countries that receive help from Cuban doctors!
We know the truth: Cuban doctors are working all over the world as an expression of solidarity and love. As we formally launch the campaign to award the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize to Cuba’s Henry Reeve International Medical Brigade, we must also fight the vicious smears they are receiving. 
Click here to tell Senator Scott that demonizing Cuba’s medical missions is cruel, completely misguided and irresponsible, particularly during a global pandemic!
The claims about human trafficking are completely baseless. Cuban medical personnel volunteer for their missions abroad and earn more money on these missions than they make at home. Not all the missions earn revenue - only the countries that can afford it actually pay for the services. Some of this revenue goes to the doctors, while most goes directly to Cuba, where it is then reinvested in education and healthcare, thereby contributing to the wellbeing of the Cuban people and enabling Cuba to send even more missions abroad. That is a far cry from human trafficking, but Trump and his allies are more interested in spreading lies than in saving lives!
This is part of a coordinated plan to ruin Cuba’s economy. Just last week, the Trump administration imposed new sanctions on Cuba’s tourism industry and on its ability to handle remittances. Cuba’s medical cooperation is another important part of its economy. Rather than exporting weapons and violence, like the U.S., Cuba exports medical assistance!
Tell Senator Rick Scott that Cuba’s medical missions are an example of solidarity we should imitate, not sanction! Medea will deliver the petition to his office in Miami later this week.
Of course, the best response to Trump, Scott and their allies would be for Cuban medical personnel to win the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize. CODEPINK is proud to be part of an international coalition seeking to recognize Cuba’s solidarity and internationalism. Check out the links in the p.s. for more info!
In friendship,Medea, Teri, Michelle and Leonardo
P.S. The Cuba Nobel campaign officially launched this week! Here’s what you can do to follow this campaign:
  1. If you haven’t already, sign the petition!
  2. Like and follow the campaign on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram 
  3. Check out the campaign’s website!
  4. Tell your friends about the campaign and help it grow!
  5. Check out Medea and Leonardo’s article on the Trump administration’s latest sanctions and threats towards Cuba
P.P.S. On Thursday at 11 a.m. Eastern / 8 p.m. Pacific, listen to Medea Benjamin talk about the campaign on CODEPINK radio!

Black men were found hanging from trees, but police dismissed their deaths as suicides. Demand justice now!


Sign Now

White Americans are increasingly waking up to the reality of racist police brutality, and now we're being faced with yet another terrible realization: that the evil of lynchings isn't confined to the past. In the last two weeks, three Black men have been found dead in public areas, their corpses dangling from ropes strung up in trees. The symbolism of using a noose to hang African Americans shouldn't be lost on anyone — this is directly related to hundreds of years of terror that have been inflicted on Black people. Yet police near Los Angeles and in New York don't seem to care about that.
In fact, in all three cases, officials have jumped to label the deaths as "suicides" — before autopsies had even been performed. In one case, police even lied about there being "no security cameras" nearby that could have recorded the murder, when in fact at least four existed. Malcolm Harsch, Robert Fuller, and Dominique Alexander all had full lives ahead of them. They had families who loved them, dreams, and aspirations. Now all three are dead, and the police have been reluctant to take their hangings seriously. Sign the petition to demand that police investigate these men's deaths as homicides, and that the U.S. Department of Justice review them as probable hate crimes!
Thank you for all that you do,
Miranda B.
The Care2 Petitions Team
P.S. At a time when the public is increasingly demanding police accountability, it's disturbing that they're so quick to assume "no foul play" in these lynchings. Demand that authorities find the racists who murdered these three men!

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Symbolism and Incrementalism Are No Longer Enough

Another week--another half dozen or more local protests in support of Black Lives Matter and against police brutality and militarization. A local group of Muslim activists and allies stand on a busy street corner and receive many positive honks and waves from passers-by. It seems more and more ordinary Americans feel that we can no longer wait and simply hope things get better. Now is the time for change, and now is the time to take action!
Our special guest blogger has a lot to say to those who think little (or no) change to our current corrupt system is what Americans need to survive and thrive in 2020. He's not afraid to lay it out in no uncertain terms, either.

The current protests are not only a condemnation of police brutality, but a condemnation of everyone who has been in power who have opted to kick the can down the road as opposed to truly reforming this entire system.
An Open Letter to the DNC, Corporate Media and The People: Why Symbolism and Incrementalism Are No Longer Enough! 
By The Independent Reformist

To the Democratic Party:

Recently, the House Democrats (led by House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi) unveiled their bill to address police reform. According to Vox, the key details are as follows:

The Justice in Policing Act of 2020 contains a number of measures that make it easier to prosecute police misconduct and demilitarize police departments around the country.
The bill’s biggest provision seeks to end qualified immunity, a thorny legal issue that gives police officers and other public officials broad immunity from civil lawsuits. The US Supreme Court, which has upheld the qualified-immunity doctrine in past rulings, is currently deciding whether to hear arguments next term in a case challenging qualified immunity.
The legislation also incorporates a proposal from Sen. Cory Booker that would create a new national registry to track misconduct as a way to prevent repeat offenders from being rehired at other police departments.
In addition, the bill seeks to ban the use of chokeholds and certain no-knock warrants at the federal level, as well as to incentivize state and local governments to do the same. Both tactics have been factors in police killings of unarmed black people: A no-knock warrant used by police in Kentucky in March ended in the death of Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old EMT who died after officers broke down her door without warning and fatally shot her.  --Vox: Democrats' Sweeping New Police Reform Bill, Explained by Ella Nilsen and Li Zhou

There is some decent legislation in this bill, but before we get too excited, let’s take a step back for a moment. This bill will likely never make it into law as long as Mitch McConnell and the Republicans hold the Senate, and Donald Trump is president. At present, Mitch McConnell and other Republicans have avoided criticizing Barr’s authorization of force used to peaceful protesters for Trump’s recent photo op in front of a church.

If Republicans can’t criticize their leaders when excessive force is used on non-violent protestors, how can we expect that they will support a meaningful police reform bill? --MSNBC, MTP Daily: “GOP Senators Avoid Comments On Trump’s Photo-Op, Use Of Tear Gas On Protestors”

Assuming that this is the case, then the question becomes, “What will happen if Democrats gain power?” It would be their responsibility to push this and a couple of other tweaks and get it done early into the new term. If history is a guide, the push for reforms stop as soon as the cameras stop. This cannot happen. Understand that if Democrats end up taking power it will be because a lot of leftists and independents held their nose to get rid of Trump as opposed to supporting Biden.

Part of the disconnect with the left and left-leaning independents is that the Democrats are as guilty of serving the wealthy and the powerful as Republicans are. Also, Democrats sometimes act as though they are about reform when they are out of power, but only do the smallest reforms (if any) when they gain power. Years of this tired strategy has made people less aligned with parties and helped to increase the percentage of independent voters and non-voters.

After their announcement, Democrat took a symbolic knee to show solidarity with protesters of the murder of George Floyd. If there is anything that politicians are good at, it is using symbolism to score political points and sometime hijack the purpose of a movement. Symbolism is fine and dandy, but symbols aren’t the same as real reform. The lack of real reform is the reason that people are out in the streets in great numbers across the nation and around the world. 

People are tired of seeing the same game played. This is why you have the AOCs, Rashida Tlaibs and Ilhan Omars winning elections. This is why insurgent candidates are mounting real challenges to the seats of long entrenched power-brokers within the DNC. People are done with symbols. It’s all about results and quality, tangible reforms now. If you are not truly interested in fighting for and bringing about the reforms that the people in the streets want, it is time for you to step aside for someone who is willing to do so. If that’s you, then you too are culpable for the police violence and the protests in our streets right now. Do better, resign, or be ready to be voted out of office.

To The Corporate Media:

Recently, you have been covering and complaining rightfully about the abuse of fellow members covering protests. Your journalists have been shot at and arrested live on TV and on the internet. You have every right to be unhappy about the injustices that your members have experienced.

CNN journalists being arrested by police in Minneapolis, MN

Welcome to the rest of us. You have only experienced a taste of what people of color have experienced their entire lives. It is only recently that your employees have had to look over their shoulders for police with their media credentials in full display. You have been “safe” and “protected”.

Imagine for a moment that you did not have your media credentials to protect you. Imagine that you did not have a multi-million dollar corporation and its multi-millionaire owner available to make a call to the police and demand your release--and it actually worked. Think about that for a moment. One phone call by a wealthy tycoon and press credentials were the only things that separate you from being treated like the rest of us.

  • Put yourself or someone you love in the shoes of nonviolent protesters who get shoved to the ground or beaten. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j3DX3SLGB34
  • Imagine it is you or someone you love who was going about their life and had the life choked out of them by police.
  • Imagine it is you or someone you love who is shot in a car by police just because you informed them you had a weapon in your glove box, and the officer claimed you reached for it.
  • Imagine it is you or someone you love who is going for a run and gets chased and gunned down by a couple of people in pickup trucks who claim you were stealing.
  • Imagine it is you or someone you love who is being killed by two cops who are using mag lights to beat you to death. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7HMYEgrv-ho
  • Now imagine that this happens (and many of these cases were recorded on video) but the police are never charged and never convicted!

How would you feel if this happened to you and your family repeatedly for decades? Each time no substantive reforms are made to policing, and the rest of society only cared for two or three weeks. How would that make you feel about the people around you? What would you think about the people who only paid lip service to your plight while continuing to arm police with more military grade equipment? Would you not be angry?

Part of the problem is that media only follows the flavor of the moment and quickly moves on. The families of the victims don’t get to move on after two weeks. The people who constantly have to live in fear of racists in society don’t get to move on after two weeks. They don’t have that luxury.

Your job is to be the watchdog of democracy and justice. This is the entire reason that you are protected by The First Amendment. It is your job to hold all facets of government accountable and keep the light shined on their wrong doing even after the news cycle has ended. Now that you have had a taste of what a police state could look like perhaps now you will pay closer attention to what the police and the government are doing. That being said, I’m not holding my breath.

This is why independent online media is growing so quickly. No one, left or right, trusts you to actually do your job. Being part of the DNC’s “McResistance” is not the same as accuracy in reporting and being an advocate for justice. Take time to think on this, and don't say you’ll do better but actually do better.

To The People:

First, thank you to the people who are protesting the injustices that happen every day to people of color. It can be difficult to understand what it is like to be in another persons shoes until you have walked a mile in them. The fact that you have done so is truly appreciated. Secondly, this solidarity that we see right now is what needs to happen everyday. The conditions that brought this about are entrenched and systemic. This is a long term fight, and we will need every ally to overcome it.

For those who don’t understand what people are calling for when they say “Defund the police,” let’s start by what the majority are not calling for.

  • It is NOT having absolutely a lack of law enforcement in the community.
  • It is NOT throwing more money toward the police departments for “training.”
  • It is NOT leaving the structure in place as it is.

Here is what the idea is:

  • Completely rebuild the police department from the ground up. You can’t expect to reform an institution that is corrupt all the way to its foundation with the same foundation in place. It must be demolished and rebuilt!
  • The new institution will allow for applications from everyone and include former police officers, but there will be no favoritism and past records of violent tendencies will disqualify applicants.
  • The current system that protects police from being prosecuted and convicted for unwarranted violent actions will be abolished. Being a representative of the law does not exempt you from the consequences of breaking those laws. We must have equal justice under the law. Period.
  • The current amount of money spend on policing will be reduced. The remained of what would be previously budgeted would be allocated towards other programs for the city such as education, job training, mental health and other social programs.

Collectively, the country spends approximately $100 billion on policing as well as a further $80 billion on incarceration.  Source: Statista, “How Much Do U.S. Cities Spend On Policing?” by Niall McCarthy https://www.statista.com/chart/10593/how-much-do-us-cities-spend-on-policing/

One of the many reasons offered to justify increasing police funding is the argument “more police equals less crime.” While there are some publications that support this argument, there are others that indicate that it may not be accurate. According to Statista:

Cities across the United States have been setting larger amounts of money aside in recent years in order to fund their police departments. Collectively, the country spends approximately $100 billion on policing as well as a further $80 billion on incarceration. Crime levels have dropped substantially over the past three years, in tandem with larger police budgets. A report published last month argues that the drop off in crime is not directly related to the larger budgets, however.
--Statista, “How Much Do U.S. Cities Spend On Policing?” by Niall McCarthy https://www.statista.com/chart/10593/how-much-do-us-cities-spend-on-policing/

If the increase in police funding is not what is lowering overall crime, what is? A link references a second article stating the following:

The analysis of crime in the United States is generally split into two broad categories, violent crime and property crime... A tracking of crime rates over the last 20 years shows that violent crime in the United States has been on the decline. In 2018, reported violent crime was down almost 50 percent from 1990. However Americans still perceive a crime problem in their country, despite evidence to the contrary. Some 60 percent of the population felt there was more crime in 2018 than the year prior. --Statista, “Crime in the United States – statistics & facts” Published by Statista Research Department, Oct 29, 2019 https://www.statista.com/chart/10593/how-much-do-us-cities-spend-on-policing/

Brookings, which references a research paper by the National Bureau of Economic Research, suggest a different idea. Providing health care may have a big impact on lowering both violent and financial crime rates.

Most people who cycle through our criminal justice system have serious health care needs. Three out of every five state prisoners and sentenced jail inmates have a substance abuse problem. Half of state and federal prisoners and two thirds of jail inmates are in serious psychological distress or have a history of mental illness. Substance abuse and mental illness surely contribute to the difficulty many individuals have escaping the criminal justice system: two-thirds of those released from prison will be rearrested within three years. Jails and prisons provide some treatment services, but what if we increased access to treatment in communities, so that people could get help before they get into trouble? New research shows that offering broad access to treatment for these problems is not only compassionate, but also a cost-effective way to reduce crime rates.
One way to increase access to care is to open more treatment facilities throughout the country. Existing facilities often operate at capacity because of limited funding, so that those who want treatment cannot always find help. Sam Bondurant, Jason Lindo, and Isaac Swensen studied what happened to crime when local substance abuse treatment facilities opened or closed. Because facilities are likely to be located in communities where the need is greatest, a simple cross-sectional analysis might show that the presence of a treatment facility is correlated with higher crime rates. Instead, the authors looked at within-county changes over time in the number of facilities and crime rates. This allowed them to see whether a change in access to treatment led to a change in crime, after controlling for a variety of other factors that might independently affect crime (like unemployment rates and the size of the police force). The authors found that an increase in the number of treatment facilities causes a reduction in both violent and financially-motivated crime. This is likely due to a combination of forces: reducing drug abuse can reduce violent behavior that is caused by particular drugs, as well as property crimes like theft committed to fund an addiction. Reducing demand for illegal drugs might also reduce violence associated with the illegal drug trade.
Brookings, “New evidence that access to health care reduces crime” by Jennifer L. Doleac, Wednesday, January 3, 2018

The protests we see are the expected result of years upon years of making marginal changes. People have tried have tried body cameras, lawsuits and peaceful protests that only went on for a week. Still things have not improved enough to where this isn’t a concern. They are tired of being ignored. They demand that this be taken seriously.

Bear in mind that the cases that are most covered on the big news networks are mostly the one caught on camera. How many more cases are occurring without being caught on video? How many more have been swept under the rug? How long can you expect people to put up with it before they snap? Everyone has a breaking point.

Kimberly Jones expresses the frustration in the black community extremely well in the video below.

Black people, people of color and others who are protesting have good reason to be angry. It’s time to actually fix the numerous problems instead of deploying more rhetoric, symbolism and half measures.
Source: ThinkLogical, Author Kimberly Jones Explains Why People Protest, Riot & Loot During Racial Distress https://youtu.be/tuxukAH3lk8

If you still don’t understand how this effects you, consider this. During this period, the police have beaten, maced, arrested or shot with rubber bullets people who were:

  • White
  • Black
  • Hispanic
  • Asian
  • Male
  • Female
  • Relgious
  • Non-religious

In other words, it doesn’t matter what you look like or how you identify. The militarized police have shown that they are willing to crush dissent, nonviolent or otherwise. If you turn a blind eye, you will potentially empowered a police state. If at some point you decide to protest something, you may very well be a victim of the same treatment that you may be cheering on.

David Doel shows video from numerous times when police have escalated and attacked non-violent protests. Source: The Rational National, Watch Police Instigate & Escalate All Across The U.S. , https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j3DX3SLGB34
If your solution to that issue is the gun, then it will be costly in terms of lives lost on both sides. The least costly option is to deal with the issue now and prevent a police state from ever taking hold. You may think that not doing so is to your benefit, but ignoring a problem doesn’t make it go away--it only further empowers potential dictators to crush all opposition. Eventually, it will come to your doorstep.
I will close this with a famous quote, First They Came, by Pastor Martin Niemöller:

First they came for the Communists, And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Communist
Then they came for the Socialists, And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Socialist
Then they came for the trade unionists, And I did not speak out
Because I was not a trade unionist
Then they came for the Jews, And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Jew
Then they came for me, And there was no one left
To speak out for me

Image: 2020.06.06 Protesting the Murder of George Floyd, Washington, DC USA 158 20208, by Ted Eytan, https://www.flickr.com/photos/taedc/49978001278/in/pool-837331@N24

Article: “Democrats’ sweeping new police reform bill, explained” By Ella Nilsen and Li Zhou Jun 8, 2020, https://www.vox.com/2020/6/8/21283841/democrats-police-reform-bill-explained-george-floyd

Video: MSNBC, MTP Daily, “GOP Senators Avoid Comments On Trump’s Photo-Op, Use Of Tear Gas On Protestors” , https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VN_E1iB63Ko

Video: WXYZ-TV Detroit | Channel, 7 VIDEO ARCHIVE: Malice Green dies at the hands of Detroit police officers Larry Nevers and Walter Budzyn, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7HMYEgrv-ho

Graphic & Quote: Statista, “How Much Do U.S. Cities Spend On Policing?” by Niall McCarthy https://www.statista.com/chart/10593/how-much-do-us-cities-spend-on-policing/

Quote: Statista, “Crime in the United States – statistics & facts” Published by Statista Research Department, Oct 29, 2019 https://www.statista.com/chart/10593/how-much-do-us-cities-spend-on-policing/

Quote: Brookings, “New evidence that access to health care reduces crime” by Jennifer L. Doleac, Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Video: Think Logical, Author Kimberly Jones Explains Why People Protest, Riot & Loot During Racial Distress https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tuxukAH3lk8

Video: The Rational National, Watch Police Instigate & Escalate All Across The U.S. , https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j3DX3SLGB34