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19 April 2015

The Truth Surrounding Assata Shakur & Her Fight for Vindication


'Statement of Facts in the New Jersey Trial of Assata Shakur' 

     By her  appeal attorney {2005} & written by Evelyn A. Williams 

*There is also an account of the incident in "Assata's own words"
Read an article the other day in which the fate of Assata Shakur was again in a fragile state subsequent to President Obama's indication that he intends to remove Cuba from the list of nations that sponsor terrorists.
I really thought this had been settled when Cuban authorities initially indicated that they would not be releasing those who've sought political asylum in their country when the Obama administration began establishing ties with the Cuban government.


As most of you know who've followed my blog for some time; I've maintained that Ms. Shakur was framed and that she was not responsible for the death of a New Jersey State Trooper in 1973. At the time of the incident, she and the others in their car were involved in the  human rights struggle and NJ police were notorious for harassing black travelers on the turnpike. Assata Shakur was critically injured and Zayd Malik Shakur, a passenger was killed.  For many years after she escaped imprisonment; there were many who were unsure of her fate and when it was common knowledge that she was granted asylum in Cuba and living reasonably well; there was a sigh of relief.  Subsequent tapes of her made in Cuba became available and viewed worldwide  She was very clear about what happened the day of the shootout and her journey since then.                                                                                  
There have been many articles written about her, however, Mychal Denzel Smith, wise beyond his years and very talented wrote an article in The Nation, titled Assata Shakur Is Not a Terrorist which is one of the better assessments of the events surrounding this woman's flight to Cuba under the most horrendous  circumstances. His rally cry in that article was 'Hands off Assata, now and forever.'

Needless to say, {but I will} that I'm against all forms of terrorism,domestic or global for I view it as the pinnacle of bullyism and shameful collateral deaths.  Ms. Shakur is NOT a terrorist and I hope that can be proven without her return to captivity by the New Jersey Criminal Justice System.  It is also my hope  that the Cuban officials will maintain their stance on not releasing her.  My rally cry for Cuba is..remain steadfast in honoring your agreement with Ms. Shakur.

11 April 2015

BlackCommentator.com Apr 09, 2015 - Issue 601 - Extra: What Walter Scott's Death Reminds Us - Includes Video By David A. Love, JD, BC Executive Editor - BlackCommentator.com

"HOW LONG...NOT LONG" WE NEED THE RE-MOBILIZATION OF THE  'BLACK LIVES MATTER' MOVEMENT MORE THAN EVER FOR THIS IS SYSTEMIC & WIDESPREAD!

The murder of Walter Scott by rogue cop, Michael Slager was addressed on my side bar under the "Black Lives Matter" site page. As I thought more about the aftermath of events and viewed a number of articles in the blogosphere about this senseless tragedy; I decided to share this article written by David Love, JD, Executive Editor of The Black Commentator.  It is worth the read and this is one of the few websites that I support  where the truth is pure regardless of the facts and video footage for you see we've viewed video images of police misconduct before and the latter were exonerated. The 'Let's Be Clear'  blog article on these events also brings a perspective that
is illuminating, straight ....no chaser and also worth the read.



'Our Family' Page of Funeral Program


On a personal note, Mr. Scott had a family who loved him dearly, many friends and acquaintances who viewed him as a 'laid back...fun loving man". The digging has begun and we've learned that he was arrested in 1987 on an assault charge with several charges of note over the years--one includes failure to pay child support and although he received a honorable discharge from the Coast Guard, he was forced to leave due to a drug offense. We were told by some family members that he avoided the police  given his fear of imprisonment for failure to pay back child support which may have led to the initial flight from the scene. There are gaps, however, it is reported that Michael Slager shot Mr. Scott 6 times {5 in the back & 1 in the ear} and he was not in fear of imminent danger and that he and a fellow cop falsified the incident reports. Oh yes, we have that footage of 'the kill' but again we've viewed these "snuff" videos  before which led to the initiation of the  "Black Lives Movement".  Mr. Scott's life was multidimensional and it doesn't really matter to me what else they reveal to somehow diminish the importance of his life for he was murdered by a cop who decided he was going to be the  judge and executioner on the worth of his being.  We'll see if a jury or the legal system will make sure justice is served. Until then, a host of folks will be watching, recording and working for change.  Bountiful blessings to the family/friends and may Mr. Scott rest in peace.



BlackCommentator.com Apr 09, 2015 - Issue 601 - Extra: What Walter Scott's Death Reminds Us - Includes Video By David A. Love, JD, BC Executive Editor - BlackCommentator.com

20 March 2015

Black Right Wing Conservatives: Really?

“A ventriloquist can always find a good dummy. The extreme right wing down here (in South Carolina) finds a black guy to be senator and claims he’s the first black senator since Reconstruction and then he goes to Washington, D.C., and articulates the agenda of the Tea Party.”
~ Rev. William Barber II, President of North Carolina NAACP ~
Re: Tim Scott , Conservative 'Tea Party' Republican

The above quote by Rev. Barber of North Carolina reflects a feeling/viewpoint  that many of us progressive wing folks and  independents have been struggling with for some time. The continual rise of the black conservative movement with a continuum that is blurred or well defined, dependent on the subject matter . There is the far right which includes the above Senator Tim Scott, Star Parker, Larry Elder, Armstrong Williams, Herman Cain, Allen West, Shelby Steele, Ben Carson, Alveda King  and others.  The latter are the most aggressive and insensitive when it comes to the socioeconomic arenas and their impact on black people.  They spew out phrases like 'welfare mentality', with no consideration or lip service given to the exceptional number of white people who are taking advantage of entitlement programs and engage in anti-social activities as well. The culture of poverty lends to many of the dysfunctional behaviors and need based programs that they assign to black folks. There is no distinct racial group that dominates this culture. Their attacks are usually very personal and scathing to black folks who advocate for the oppressed.  The onus for the suffering of many people of color by the justice system, big business and other societal systems are placed squarely on their shoulders. The conservatives  offer excuses for the injustices that dominate the daily newscasts. Somehow it is always something that black folks are doing that result in these injustices. Mr. Thindwa on the 'Credibility Gap of Black Conservatives' provides a splendid analysis on "How Black Conservatives Hurt Their Cause" .   This racial shaming by the conservatives is laden with class bias as well and  intertwined with a animus and group loathing that leaves one to distrust their viewpoints for they reek of self-interest at the expense of the group.

 There is one other point of contention with this group and their mindset which is the accusation that the majority of blacks suffer from a "herd mentality".  They like to cite that Frederick Douglas and Martin Luther King were Republicans which is so disingenuous. Dr. King was dealing with the Dixiecrats aka Southern Democrats which would make the Republican party the lesser of the two evils and Frederick Douglas' Republican Party was a far better choice than the Dixiecrats who were fighting for the system of slavery and states rights.  It is historically documented that when Lyndon Johnson signed the 1964 Civil Rights Bill, he indicated that the south would go Republican and the Dixiecrats joined in droves and what we have now is a right wing and tea party mentality under the banner of the Republican party.  The GOP of the Jack Kemp ideology has been sidelined and silenced. The sad truth is that many of these Black Republicans have joined forces with the ideologies of Dixiecrats/Tea Party folks and have been rewarded handsomely for their loyalty and their attack dog tactics on black leaders and the populace who believe in giving people a viable helping hand and not just a handout.

BTW:  I must say that I've encountered black folks and scholars whom I admire who will provide a caveat before they list their concerns about Black (Right Wing) Republicans.  It goes like this normally, they recognize that 'one side doesn't have a monopoly on truth...so, I do give the conservative side the benefit of the doubt'Well...I don't  for the stakes are higher now and there are forces that have been so distressed by a Black Presidency {although a moderate one} and a browning of America  that I fear an aftermath of a 3rd Reconstruction is on the horizon.  The First Reconstruction after slavery was abolished and the Second Reconstruction after the Civil Rights /Voting Bills were best predictors of what we are experiencing now with a significant increase of conservative blacks jockeying to keep what they have by joining forces with the right wing conservatives.


You might find the article written by Egberto Willies on the debate Ta-Nehisi Coates had with Shelby Steele on reparations interesting.  Those viewpoints expressed by the latter keep forward thinking people up at night! 

06 March 2015

WE REMEMBER SELMA FIFTY YEARS LATER. 'OH THE MEMORIES...HOW THEY LINGER'


Photo Credit:  Public Domain
How poignant and telling these images of yesteryear are as we've witnessed SCOTUS eviscerating  the Voting Rights Act of 1965.  Many states have already started employing barriers with  voting policies that are reminiscent of the era when many marched, suffered and lost their lives to claim their inalienable rights as United States citizens. As I've stated before in previous posts, our history in this country tends to be cyclic and as we remember the Civil Rights Act of 1964, we find ourselves again trying to regain protection under the law that will not only ensure equal access to ballot box, but resolve the many injustices in this society.  Current responses to these inequities are mirrored by the rally cry that "Black Lives Matter" as we address police brutality and discriminatory acts by the Criminal Justice System that stubbornly remain the headliners of our lives.  The struggle continues in other areas as well and the question becomes....is there ever any rest for the weary? 
 
Photo Credit:  Public Domain

*UPDATE:  AND THEY CAME....HAVE MERCY! {MARCH 8, 2015}


Photo Credit:  Butch Dill, AP
Photo Credit:  Daily Mail
  
 Articles related to this anniversary are as follows:
 Bloody Sunday 50th Anniversary:  Thousands Crowd Selma Bridge
John Lewis On Democracy Now: "I Thought I Saw Death"
Leonard Pitts, Jr.:  'What Was Won in Selma 50 Years Ago Being Lost Today'
Earl Ofari Hutchinson: 'Why We Need Selma Today'
Ari Berman: '50 Years  After Bloody Sunday in Selma, Everything and Nothing Has Changed'
'Malcolm X Should Be Recognized in Selma'
The Grio: 'GOP Leaders to Skip Selma Anniversary'  

11 February 2015

'Loretta Lynch is Condoleeza Rice With A Law Degree': The BAR

Bruce Nixon, The Managing Editor, at Black Agenda Report wrote an interesting exposé on Loretta Lynch that deserves our attention and analysis. I must confess I was trying to ascertain if this particular nominee would be one we could trust given that she received kudos from conservatives and those invested in the status quo. In fact, I was struck by the hearings in which congressional leaders who've opposed Eric Holder since appointed by President Obama hammered her with discerning questions as to whether or not she'll continue with his policies.  I wanted to know what she believed the Attorney General's objectives and goals should be especially in the areas of police brutality, voting violations, corporate fraud, immigration, unfair practices of the criminal justice/penal systems, drug enforcement and white collar crime in general. This article has provided some insight regarding my concerns. 

03 February 2015

BlackCommentator.com Jan 29, 2015 - Issue 591 Cover Story: Boehner and Netanyahu Wouldn't Treat a White President Like This - Color of Law By David A. Love, JD, BC Executive Editor

The above article written in the 'Black Commentator' really struck a chord and I immediately clicked the share button. It was gratifying to see that there are some of us who aren't fearful of being labeled as 'race pimps' when there is evidence to support the racist behaviors of those who've opposed any policy changes or recommendations proposed by this administration.  I've not been pleased with some of the nominations and policies the President has compromised on in an exceptional manner, however, I bristle at the disrespect and hostile racial animus directed towards the President and the inability of the opposition to honor the OFFICE of the Presidency.

There are many who've indicated that they've never seen a member of congress shout "you lie" to any President during the State of the Union as well as other overt and very public denunciations towards him.  His numbers were impressive as the American people voted on his vision and goals for two terms. The members of Congress, many political pundits, politicians across the nation and average citizens have been so blinded by their prejudice and incredulity that a man of color could occupy the highest office in the nation; that they've relied less on 'dog whistle' issues.  Mitch and other conservatives  made it clear from the onset of this administration that they were going to do all that they could to ruin it and make sure that he wouldn't be a two term President.  Well...that didn't happen as the President reminded them during the State of the Union 2015 when they rudely responded to his statement "I have no more campaigns to run".  His retort was clever and witty..."I know because I won both of them". The next day the Republicans  whined and fretted over his rather mild retort to their usual rudeness and disrespect of him and the office.

01 January 2015

2015: A YEAR OF CHALLENGES/OPTIMISM/RESOLVE


 Here I am again with feelings of gratitude, hopefulness, frustration, righteous anger and sadness permeating my life as we begin 2015. The latter two have become more intense given the unjust killing of people of color by rogue police without consequences for their actions. These conflicting, yet, common emotions have also dogged me for the past 3 years as we've embarked on previous New Year celebrations and I had hoped for some reprieve from the most disparaging ones.  That doesn't seem to be the case with all the tumult in America and worldwide. As one of my favorite passages in the Tale of Two Cities cites:

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to heaven, we were all going direct the other way.

I've created a page for Black Lives Matter: A Movement for Justice and Reform to keep up with the freedom movements for justice and true equality and showcasing the great thinkers in the blogosphere/internet regarding politics, economics and social commentary and what we must do to maintain this momentum. A dominant Republican Congress is rather daunting given that when they were in the minority in the Senate and as of 2010 the majority in the House; there was an appalling record of do nothingness and oppositional stances towards the Obama Administration.  It's short of a miracle that he got anything done. I suspect the forecast is far dismal for the working and middle class of this country.  Environmental concerns, escalation of conflicts on a global scale and regressive policies on women's issues can be overwhelming for many of us. That adage hope springs eternal is sorely needed now.

There are sites like 'Good Black News"and others featured on this blog that I frequent to ascertain some balance.  Human beings are doing great things; technological discoveries are startling, medical breakthroughs are turning lethal diseases into chronic and less distressing maladies or actual cures. The stories of people going to extraordinary lengths to help others and promote their own growth abound.  A magnificent accompaniment to all of this is the creative nature of the Arts and for some the  participation in faith-related organizations that continue to sustain and nourish the soul for which I'm grateful.   Indeed!