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Looking In The Mirror: We All Make A Difference

DETROIT (May 22) — Rev. Al Sharpton the Civil rights activist gave a rousing eulogy on Saturday May 22, 2010 for a 7-year-old girl killed in a police raid, challenging the hundreds of mourners to take responsibility and help stop a spiral of violence that has swept the city.

Sharpton lobbed some criticism at Detroit police, whose explanation of how Aiyana Stanley-Jones died from a gunshot has been contradicted by the girl’s family. But he mostly offered a broad cultural message to a city where at least three children and an officer have been killed in recent weeks.

“I’d rather tell you to start looking at the man in the mirror. We’ve all done something that contributed to this,” he said referring to Aiyana’s death.

“This is it,” Sharpton said at Second Ebenezer Church. “This child is the breaking point.”

Is this child’s senseless murder truly the breaking point or is this just more talk with no action to follow? By no means am I questioning the sincerity of Reverend Sharpton. I’m certainly not jumping on the band wagon with Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox, who criticized Sharpton’s visit, by saying he was disgusted and accusing the Action Network New Yorker of a “drive-by at the scene of a tragedy.” It should be noted that Mr. Cox is a Republican running for governor and any criticism by him might be considered as a self serving political statement.

In response to gubernatorial candidate Mike Cox, Sharpton made the following statement: “I’m disgusted when I look at a 7-year-old baby in a casket,” and rather turn to each other, we name-call and ego-tripping and trying to jump in front of a camera rather than stand up and say, ‘Enough is enough.”

The congregation stood and applauded Sharpton, who was the final speaker at a nearly two-hour service that included stirring gospel music and remarks from clergy.

Aiyana was shot in the neck while sleeping on a couch May 16. Police hunting for a murder suspect say an officer’s gun accidentally fired inside the house after he was jostled by, or collided with, her grandmother. A stun grenade was also thrown through a window.

The question still remains will African Americans step up to the plate? Is this merely talk where on Monday morning middle class blacks who fled Aiyana’s community in their BMW and Mercedes Benz will continue to act as if the problem in our black community is not their problem because they no longer reside inside the hood?

Our ancestors survived the middle passage shackled to other Africans belonging to different tribes. They were shackled to Africans whose stench of death they had to inhale along with their own stench in every breath they took in that darken sweat hole packed like sardines. Our ancestors regardless of tribe affiliation were shackled together in slavery in this country that prides itself on being a democracy. Our ancestors regardless of skin tone and hair texture was shackled together during reconstruction. Our ancestors no matter what educational background, were shackled together in segregation. Our ancestors were shackled together in the civil rights movement, and it’s a fact of life here in America that the civil rights movement has not ended, but continues.

Another fact of life is that as a people no matter where we live, we will always continue to be shackled together.

When some of our brothers and sister drove up in their BMW with college educations to buy that dream home in the suburbs, they were handed a sub-prime loan with a smile. Never mind that many qualified for a low fixed interest rate. A matter of fact companies like Wells Fargo hired people like Tavis Smiley, the influential creator of the State Of Black America Union to target us. Now some of us are hustling to make those payments on homes that have lost a good deal of their value. For what it’s worth these folks may as well be renting. For others, they have simply lost their homes to foreclosure.

A good deal of these are homes had been in the family for generations. Because African Americans accumulate wealth through home ownership, (and not with BMWs and Mercedes Benz which loses a great deal of value whe driven off the car lot), 50% of the wealth of the people of color have been taken away.

Further, when it came time for the recovery that was supposed to take place, communities of color got shut out again because banks refused to cooperate to modify loans or restructure mortgages to help families stay in their homes resulting in foreclosures and the mortgage payment hustle.

It’s no getting around it, economic and political power is the order of the day. That is so apparent in the Tea Party movement, a movement copied from our civil rights movement. Interestingly, the goal is said to be the removal of politicians who represent special interest groups at the expense of their constituents running this country into the ground financially. However, members of this movement blame President Obama who acquired the plethra of problems create by other administration for not remedying the problems in his first year. Further they unapologetically advocate the destruction of the civil rights our ancestors fought and died for in civil right marches and sit-ins. Collectively they threaten the court cases like Brown v. Board of Education along with all the civil rights lawsderived thereof. You might think that their aim is the hood, but if they are successful in electing people who support their thinking, it will have a negative impact on all regardless of where you live or what kind of car you drive.

People of color cannot have political power unless we elect people who will support our rights and existence in both state and local governments as well as the federal government. We know that our voter base was eroded by felony convictions and murders over turf in the 80s’ drug epidemic, that still exist. That erosion also includes our drugged out brothers and sisters who commit petty crimes, mostly misdemeanors, to finance their drug dependency. Voting is neither a priority nor a reality to them. Although drugs is a problem in the suburbs, it destructive impact is all too visible in the hood. Some had their rights restored during the last Presidential campaign, and certainly helped in the election of the first African American President.

Whether we like it or not, we are shackled to each other. For there can be no true economic and political base without the support of all. Every vote counts, and with a vote comes a voice. Some of us have tried in vain to ignore that voice as not being one that sounds like we have sought to hear in the confines of our suburban homes. In reality, it is the voice of the hood that we hear as foreclosure looms or we tire from the endless hustle to make a mortgage payment on a property that isn’t worth its’ purchase price of two years ago. The truth of the matter, we can no longer afford to ignore that voice. Remember a violation of civil rights is an injustice and an injustice to one is an injustice to all including yourself.

Yes yourself. Looking in the mirror we not only see our image but we see that our lives are really no different than our brothers and sisters we left in the hood. We may have moved out of the hood but the hood and all the racial problems follow us no matter where we live.

The bottom line: we can’t ignore the stench that stinks to high heaven when a promising life such as Aiyana Stanley-Jones is taken senselessly. It happened in the hood and like the sub-prime loan scam, if we don’t step up to the plate especially during the mid-term elections local, state and federal, it will happen to us in the suburbs. As we sleep they think of ways to redistribute our minimal wealth to themselves and at the same time take away the civil rights and voting rights our ancestors fought and died to regain after reconstruction. There is no denying that we have provided a helping hand by leaving and ignoring a viable community which had served as both a political and economic base in the days of segregation, and not turning out for local and state elections as well as federal midterm elections. We’re discovering that the grass is not greener in the white suburbs.

As Reverend Al Sharpton has said, we are all responsible in some way, for little Aiyana’s demise. Therefore, we must look at ourselves in the mirror and determine how we will come together to stop the madness, for we all make a difference.

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    Posted 4 years, 5 months ago at 3:44 pm. Add a comment

    Is Rand Paul And The Tea Party A Threat To the Civil Rights Act?

    Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

    Rand Paul, the winner of the Kentucky Republican primary is a prime example as to why minority voter turnout is important in non-Presidential races.

    After his win, Paul delivered a message from his tea party supporters. That message is that the tea party wants their government back.

    Later Paul made it clear that he has issues with the Civil Rights Act as it relates to private businesses. When asked if he felt it was okay to have segregated lunch counters, Paul blew smoke out of his ass by trying to focus the right to carry a gun inside a private restaurant. On Rachel Maddow he was asked in a way that only required a yes or no answer, and he continued his smoke blowing tactics which strongly suggest that Mr. Rand Paul opposes the the civil rights act as it relates to public accommodations that are operated as private enterprises, and as a U.S. Senator would not vote to extend it.

    Unfortunately minorities in this country which includes African Americans, Latinos, Jews and women must depend on this act to avoid being discriminated against because of their protected class. This also extends to our gay brothers and sisters.

    Rand Paul is supported by the Tea Party who has already recommended going back to literacy test as a way to qualify to vote. It is clear that minority’s civil rights are not supported by the tea party. In fact minority civil rights are threatened by tea party members who crusade around the country in an attempt to dip their archaic superiority ideology down the throats of people who differ in skin tone, language, religion and sexual preference.

    Minorities in Kentucky might want to participate in the November election and send Rand Paul and his tea party a message:
    This too is our country and we’re not going back to the black codes or the Jim Crow days and ways. We’re not swallowing your superiority philosophy. We’re just not having it!

    Above are the interviews of Rand by NPR and Rachel Maddow on the issue of civil rights. Take a look and see if you agree.

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      Posted 4 years, 5 months ago at 6:50 am. Add a comment

      Sam Curtis: The Same Ole Schickardy As Black & Hispanic Kids Are Ousted From Swimming Pool

      HUNTINGDON VALLEY, Pa. (July 9) – Members and officials of a private swimming pool in a predominantly white Philadelphia suburb reacted to a visiting group of minority children by asking them not to return and pulling other kids out of the water, a day camp director said, and the state is investigating.

      The Creative Steps camp in northeast Philadelphia had contracted for the 65 children at the day camp to go each Monday afternoon to The Valley Club in Huntingdon Valley, camp director Alethea Wright said Thursday. But shortly after they arrived June 29, she said, some black and Hispanic children reported hearing racial comments.

      “A couple of the children ran down saying, ‘Miss Wright, Miss Wright, they’re up there saying, “What are those black kids doing here?”’” she said.

      The gated club is on a leafy hillside in a village that straddles two townships with overwhelmingly white populations. It says it has a diverse, multi-ethnic membership.

      Wright said she went to talk to a group of members at the top of the hill and heard one woman say she would see to it that the group, made of up of children in kindergarten through seventh grade, did not return.
      “Some of the members began pulling their children out of the pool and were standing around with their arms folded,” Wright said. “Only three members left their children in the pool with us.”

      Several days later, the club refunded the camp’s $1,950 without explanation, said Wright, who added that some parents are “weighing their options” on legal action.

      The question here is what are their legal options.

      Title II of the Civil Rights Act exempts “any private club or other establishment not in fact open to the public, except to the extent that the facilities of such establishment are made available to the customers or patrons of a place of public accommodation.

      Court decisions under other civil rights legislation indicate that the burden of proof will always be on the party claiming the exemption to establish the facts showing that it is a private club. Under Title II of the Civil Rights Act, the courts have generally held that an entity is truly a private club based upon a number of factors.

      These factors include:

      . Whether members exercise a high degree of control over club operations,

      . Whether the membership selection process is highly selective,

      . Whether substantial membership fees are charged,

      . Whether the entity is operated on a non-profit basis,

      . Whether the club was founded specifically to avoid compliance with federal civil rights laws,

      . Whether the entity strictly observes organizational formalities (e.g., bylaws, meetings, and membership cards),

      . Whether the entity has a legitimate purpose, and

      . Whether non-members may use the club.

      Facilities of a private club lose their exemption to the extent that the facilities of the private club are available to customers or patrons of a place of public accommodation.

      The fact that they contracted with the Creative Steps camp to utilize their swimming facilities each Monday suggest that the Valley Club in Huntingdon Valley is truly not a private club.

      The Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission will immediately investigate, chairman Stephen A. Glassman said Thursday.

      “Allegedly, this group was denied the use of a pool based on their race,” Glassman said. “If the allegations prove to be true, this is illegal discrimination.”

      The investigation was requested by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
      Sen. Arlen Specter, D-Pa., issued a statement calling the allegations “extremely disturbing” and said he was looking into the matter.

      The United States’ highest-profile black swimmer, Olympic gold medalist Cullen Jones, said “hearing about what’s happened to these 65 kids is both disturbing and appalling.”

      Chuck Wielgus, executive director of USA Swimming, the governing body for the U.S. swim team, was stunned at the accusations.

      “This is the sort of thing you’d hear about in 1966, during the height of the civil rights movement, not in 2009, and not in the City of Brotherly Love, of all places,” he said.

      Club president John Duesler told Philadelphia television station WTXF that several club members complained because the children “fundamentally changed the atmosphere” at the pool but that the complaints didn’t involve race.

      WCAU-TV, NBC 10 in Philadelphia, reported Duesler issued a statement saying, “There was concern that a lot of kids would change the complexion … of the club.”

      In a statement released on its Web site Thursday afternoon, the club called the allegations of racial discrimination “completely untrue” and claimed overcrowding from more than one outside camp was the problem.

      “We had originally agreed to invite the camps to use our facility, knowing full well that the children from the camps were from multiethnic backgrounds,” it said. “Unfortunately, we quickly learned that we underestimated the capacity of our facilities and realized that we could not accommodate the number of children from these camps.”

      The club said it “deplores discrimination.”

      “Whatever comments may or may not have been made by an individual member is an opinion not shared by The Valley Club Board,” it said.

      Amy Goldman said she’s been a member of the club for two years. She said the pool wasn’t particularly crowded and the children from Creative Steps were “well behaved and respectful.”

      She said there had been black members at the club in the past, though she couldn’t remember seeing any this year.

      The club appeared closed Thursday afternoon, and the guard station at the entrance was unattended.
      About two dozen protesters, most of them white, held signs in front of the club’s locked gates and chanted slogans including, “Jim Crow swims here!”

      Spencer Lewis, from Conshohocken, showed up with some young nieces and nephews and said he believes the club owes the children an apology.

      “I don’t believe everyone here has racist thoughts, but what was said was insulting and offensive,” said Lewis, who’s black.

      Wright rejected the overcrowding explanation, saying the club covers 10 acres with a “nice-sized” pool and a separate pool for younger children. The board, she said, knew that her group included 65 children, and none of them had misbehaved.

      “We were not welcome, once the members saw who we were,” she said.

      Wright said that the children were upset and that she was looking for a psychologist to speak to them next week. Some children have asked her whether they are “too dark” to swim in the pool, she said.
      Day camp member Araceli Carvalho, 9, said she was upset when told she wouldn’t be allowed to return.
      “I said, ‘That’s not right,’” she said.

      But when asked if she wants to return now, she said, “I don’t want to swim here anymore.”
      Wright said Girard College, a boarding school for poor children in first through 12th grades, has offered to host the camp children for the summer.

      As we approach the confirmation hearings for the first Hispanic to be nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court by the first African American President, it’s the same ole schickady just a different butt-hole. However, if you wish to change the situation at Huntingdon Valley please take a look at Star Jones Blog. Positively Star

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        Posted 5 years, 3 months ago at 6:57 am. Add a comment