By Askia Muhammad
Updated Oct 26, 2007, 11:59 pm
WASHINGTON (FinalCall.com) – Hundreds of demonstrators, most from Mt. Ennon Baptist Church in nearby Clinton, Md., continued their weekly Saturday protest against the â€œderogatory images and negative messagesâ€ about Black people that air on Black Entertainment Television (BET) Oct. 6, on the sidewalk in front of the home of the networkâ€™s President, Debra Lee.
Under the banner of â€œEnough is Enough!â€ the protestors carried signs reading, â€œI am not a pimp,â€ and â€œI am not a bit-h.â€
The Enough is Enough campaign is demanding corporate responsibility in entertainment, and to protest the â€œcommercialization and marketing of negative and derogatory images of Black men and women in the entertainment media.â€
The campaign is demanding that media and music companies develop â€œuniversal creative standardsâ€ which prohibit lyrical and visual content that â€œobjectifies, degrades, or promotes violence against women, promotes illegal activity, and portrays Black and Latino men as gangsters, pimps, thugs and players,â€ according to campaign literature.
The campaign extends to advertisers on television and radio, and demands that the Federal Communications Commission and Congress regulate indecency between the hours of 6:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m.; to investigate â€œpayolaâ€ in the entertainment industry; and for the local, state and federal governments to divest public tax dollars and contracts from corporations which refuse to end their sponsorship of offensive content.
â€œWeâ€™ve had people whoâ€™ve said they are going to wait us out,â€ attorney Dr. E. Faye Williams, President of the National Congress of Black Women told the crowd. â€œWell, my brothers and my sisters, theyâ€™ve got a long time to wait. Nearly 15 years ago, Dr. C. Delores Tucker and the National Congress of Black Women saw where this disrespect for women, disrespect for Black people, saw where this was going and decided then that enough was enough.
â€œIt was very lonely 15 years ago when we tried to tell our people where this was going… Weâ€™re here to tell them weâ€™re not going away. Weâ€™ll be here every Saturday until we, as the song says, â€˜get some satisfaction.â€™â€
The movement recognizes the power of media and entertainment corporations to shape attitudes in this country, according to the Rev. Dr. Delman Coates, Pastor of Mt. Ennon Baptist Church. â€œThis is not a partisan issue. Itâ€™s not a Republican issue. Itâ€™s not a Democratic issue. Itâ€™s not a liberal issue. Itâ€™s not a conservative issue,â€ the Rev. Coates told the crowd. â€œThere are people on both sides that might disagree on a variety of other issues, but they stand in solidarity on this one issue, and that is that it is not right to denigrate and degrade Black women and people of color.
â€œChristians, preachers and ministers are going to have to get beyond those issues that divide us and come together around those issues that unite us. Iâ€™m so glad to be here as a Christian Black minister, pastor, with the National Congress of Black Women, and with the National Organization for Women (NOW), the Feminist Majority, and whomever. This is an issue that brings together all of Godâ€™s people,â€ he said.
Keith Silver, D.C. Coordinator for the Southern Christian Leadership Coordinating Committee (SCLC), activist Dick Gregory, Prince Georgeâ€™s County Council member Tony Knotts, also expressed solidarity for the campaign.
â€œYou know you hear a lot of talk,â€ said Mr. Gregory. â€œYou hear the right-wing Black folks, the right-wing White folks talk about â€˜family values.â€™ This is family values. Theyâ€™re talking about White-family-values. They donâ€™t care nothing about ours.
â€œI just say to you, that what you do here…donâ€™t think youâ€™re here by yourself. NBC, CBS, they be looking. All them other folks, they donâ€™t know whoâ€™s going to be next. If we be here a year, Iâ€™ll be here with you. This house weâ€™re standing in front of now, if it wasnâ€™t for the Civil Rights movement, she couldnâ€™t live there. She couldnâ€™t live there. Again, I just say, donâ€™t underestimate yourself.â€
The campaign began in August, and the demonstrations at the BET presidentâ€™s home in an exclusive neighborhood surrounded by embassy chanceries and a luxury hotel began Sept. 15, and have grown in size each week, to as many as 500 participants.
â€œPeople ask us why we are demonstrating in front of Miss Debra Leeâ€™s home,â€ Dr. Williams said. â€œShe says that itâ€™s endangering the life of her and her child. Well, let me say to you every day that we turn on BET thereâ€™s an endangerment to the minds of our children, and we will be here until we get some satisfaction.
â€œWe are just absolutely in shock that there are not more pastors who can see the need to be out here to clean up the airwaves.
â€œWeâ€™ve been getting beaten up for 15 years. Weâ€™ve been getting talked about, but weâ€™re still standing. We want you to throw your arms around your pastor, because we know heâ€™s been getting a tough time too. Heâ€™s been getting threats just like we have. But I want you to know, we can stand up to whatever goes on out there. I want you to keep on coming every Saturday until they stop the filthy talk, stop putting down Black people, stop putting down Black women in particular.â€
â€œEnough is enough,â€ shouted members of the crowd.
â€œEnough is enough, and we must continue to say it!â€ Dr. Williams continued.
Posted 5 years, 6 months ago at 8:52 am. Add a comment
The following was emailed to me.Â I do not no the name of the writer, but would like to have the writer to contact me in the comment section of this blog.Â I would just comment that in 1957, you would not have lived to write about this encounter.Â Did anyone get the bagde numbers of the officers?
I had the pleasure and duty to attend this rally.Â I hope that we allunderstand the importance of our attention to the injustices that are atwork in our criminal justice system and the nation at large.Â Some mayview the disparate treatment of African-American males as anAfrican-American problem.Â From unequal treatment in restaurants, toquestionable negotiation processes in the financial realm, inappropriatelunch and cocktail hour conversations, to my most recent encounter withour ugly American past this Wednesday night on the way to the rally inJena, Louisiana… There are many places in America where justice,fairness and equality are not blind.Â I’ve been profiled many timesbefore, but this one is worth telling.Â To the two men that were therewith me that night, we became more than friends that night.Â I’m proudto have been there with them.
At approximately 11:30 PM, September 19, 2007, my friends (Charles Reeves
and Anthony Payne) and I found ourselves on the side of the road outside
the town of Tylertown, Mississippi.
After riding for a short while behind the squad car that emerged from
the wooded roadside, he pulled behind us and promptly turned on his
lights and siren.Â There was no question that we were driving lawfully,
as we were driving on cruise control, five miles under the speed limit.
Ironically, we had chosen to do this to avoid being pulled over on the
notorious stretch of Mississippi road known as “Bloody 98″.Â Â Â His first
question as he approached the car: Do you all have licenses?Â His second
question: So… Where are ya’ll headed?Â After I responded that we were
headed to Vidalia (a town thirty miles from Jena, Louisiana where we had
hotel reservations), he continued to ask several questions regarding
Vidalia.Â Not one related to my registration, driving or a potential
traffic violation. But instead:
Officer 1:Â Â “So, what are you going to do in Vidalia?”
MTF:Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â “I’m going to Comfort Suites in Vidalia.”
Officer 1:Â Â “Is that it, just going to a hotel?”, “There’s nothing to
do in Vidalia, is that all you’re going there for?”, “You have any
friends or family there?”
MTF:Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â (cutting him off) “I’m going to a hotel in Vidalia.”
Officer 1:Â Â “So, really, Vidalia, you going anywhere else?”, “Can you
step outside to the back of the car please”
The conversation continued at the back of the car.Â Fog lights blared in
my face as I became increasingly angry and antagonistic.Â My friends are
still in the car with fog lights beaming into the back of the car.
After several refused attempts to get me to answer something other than
“I’m going to a hotel in Vidalia”, he moved to my vehicle.
Officer 1:Â Â Â Â Â Â Â “So, are you aware that my computer shows that your
tag is expired?”
MTF:Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â “No it is not.Â I have the registration, decals and
you’re welcome to run it.Â Do you mind telling me what the problem is?”
Officer 1:Â Â Â Â Â Â Â “Well, maybe my computer’s wrong.Â But you were
swerving back there did you know that?”
MTF:Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â “I don’t believe that I was, but I can’t say anything
about that. Do you want to tell me what the problem is?”
Officer 1:Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â “Ok. Give me a minute.Â I’m just conducting my
He returned to his car and came back.
Officer 1:Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â “Do you have any drugs or illegal items in the car?”
MTF:Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â “No, I don’t.Â I don’t keep illegal items in my car.
I’m an attorney.Â I don’tÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â keep any illegal items on my
person or in my car.Â I have a bar cardÂ if you would like to see that as well”
Officer 1:Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â “Really? What law school did you go to?
MTF:Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â “Howard University School of Law”
Officer 1:Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â “Do you mind if I search your car?”
MTF:Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â “As a matter of fact I do. No you cannot.”
At this time another squad car pulls up.Â Another two officers and a
young African-American male in street clothes hops out.Â He greets me:
“What’s up” My response: SILENCE (In my mind, I’m saying F$%^ you and
what’s up!)”.Â The irony of that… The unknown “brother”, forever known
as Travares, smooths me over with “What’s up.” as his “friends” proceed
to launch a full scale “investigation”.Â There are now three officers,
and two people in plain clothes outside of two police cars.Â Apparently,
all here only to investigate the reason we were traveling to Vidalia.
Not a traffic violation, but why we were going to Vidalia.
I turn to the new officer…
MTF:Â Â Â “Look, your officer says my tag showed as expired (although it
was pitch black and my year decal is covered with an Omega Psi Phi frame
plate) and I was swerving.Â I have shown him my license, registration,
tag registration and insurance card.Â I am ready to take any test that
you have to give.Â But first, will you all please tell me what the
problem is, because I do not understand.”
Officer 2: “Well, where are you guys headed?”
MTF: “Vidalia. Do you have a problem with me going to Vidalia?”
Officer 2: “Hold on. I’m just asking you some questions. Let me talk to
your friend. Could you please step to the back of the squad car please?”
He approaches my friend in the front passenger seat and asks him out of
the car. He takes him to the other side of the second squad car and
performs a search of his person.Â This officer went as far as to dig
into his pockets and around the inside of his waistband.Â He questions
Officer 2: “So you guys are going to Jena huh?”
AP:Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â “I’m going to Vidalia.”
Officer 2: “So, you’re just going to Vidalia, when are you leaving?”
AP:Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â “Tomorrow.”
Officer 2:Â “So you’re just going to stay there one night and then
AP:Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â “Go home.”
Officer 2:Â “You do know what’s going on in Jena right?”
AP:Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â “Yes. I do.”
Officer 2:Â Â “So you’re going to Vidalia, huh”
He then left to go and question the second passenger in the back seat.
Officer 2: “Put your hands on the headrest and don’t move them! Where
are you headed?”
CR:Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â “Vidalia.”
Officer 2:Â “Where are you coming from?”
CR:Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â “Mobile, Alabama”
Officer 2:Â “How old are you?”
CR:Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â “32″
Officer two leaves the car.
Officer one returns to me as I’m standing at the back of the squad car.
MTF:Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â “Do you want to tell me what the problem is now?”
Officer 1:Â Â Â “I’m going to ask you again, so you don’t want me to
search your car.”
MTF:Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â “No.”
Officer 1:Â Â Â Â “I’m just curious to know why you won’t let me search
MTF:Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â “Because you have neither reasonable suspicion nor
probable cause to conduct a search on my car. No, you cannot.”
Officer 1:Â Â Â Â “You have a nice day.”
Anthony returned to the car shortly after.Â We left, and were officially
welcomed to the year 1957… For thirty minutes on the side of that
rode, we were part of something bigger than a random stop.Â We were part
of the reason that buildings burned in this country.Â We were a part of
a bigger struggle.Â We arrived in Jena the next day, as planned.Â No
thanks to the law officers of Tylertown, Mississippi.Â Imagine how many
others faced similar circumstances while traveling on the 20th of
September.Â Then consider how many go through similar experiences daily.
An attorney, a finance collections manager and a TV productions manager
were on the side of a dark Mississippi road in the dead of night
surrounded by five suspicious Mississippi law enforcement officers and
the “brother” who will forever be known as “Travares the Traitor”.
There were weapons shown, shaky hands, and the ominous smell of chewing
tobacco.Â There were fog lights glaring.Â Our only crime: Being
suspected of driving to participate in a demonstration that has become
one of the purest forms of American “free speech”.Â Apparently, it’s not
free for all.Â We had nearly a hundred years of experience and life
experience to guide them through what could have been another tragic
news story.Â If one of our youth was in that same predicament, would the
outcome have been the same?Â You be the judge?Â Is there still work to
be done?Â Maybe it was all just a coincidence.
Take note. Take heed.Â When appropriate… Take action.Â It is real.
God bless everyone who is reading this.Â This letter was not written in
hate or anger, but in concern.Â I can protect myself, what about those
Peace. Cause we really need it.
Posted 5 years, 6 months ago at 7:36 am. Add a comment