I Stand With Mizzou

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We are living in a time where there is an all out war against Black bodies. You thought that this war was just for your grandparents and parents. If you’re still thinking that after the Civil Rights Movement everything was all peace, love, and happiness, then you need to wake up. Nowhere is safe. People who are still living in a Plessy vs. Ferguson world think that Blackness is a sickness infecting our society. They’re trying to get rid of it any way possible.

Despite college campuses being a place of intellectual growth, in 2015, it’s still a breeding ground for racist, idiocy. Online, a white student at the University of Missouri threatened to shoot every Black person that he saw on campus. Rightfully so, this threat has led to fear and anger circulating throughout Missouri’s campus. Yes, the president has stepped down and the student responsible for making those threats has been taken into custody, but when are things going to change?

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University of Missouri, like many colleges and universities, has been plagued by racism for years. However, due to how engrained  racism is in our education, nothing has been done. These universities have their presidents resign, but do not fully address the problem. Change only happens when they fear that their endowment or enrollment is in jeopardy.

There needs to be a fundamental change in how colleges and universities discuss racism and race relations on college campuses. The tone-deaf boys and girls who think it’s fun to wear blackface, dress up as a “chola”, draw a swastika in feces on campus, hang a picture of a lynched Black woman on a student’s door, pet Black people’s hair like they are a part of human zoo are the same men and women who start running companies, teaching classes, working anywhere as they spread the racism that they thought was funny in college.

I stand with Mizzou, but I’m done seeing my bothers and sisters fall to racism. Every time a Black life is lost, we are reminded that every fabric of this privileged society is failing everyone. In this 21-century, we are fighting the same battles that our ancestors died for. I am ashamed to say that I am a citizen of  this country, which my ancestors were used to build. Even though our backs burned from labor and centuries of physical abuse and violence, I still do not feel safe walking down the street or going to college. Our ancestors are weeping because in a world where we can like something by simply tapping a button, we’re still able to spread so much hate.

Spring Valley, SC and the School to Prison Pipeline of Black girls

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The video of  Ben Fields assaulting a young black student at Spring Valley High School in South Carolina is disgusting to watch as a young black student is being slammed and flipped over out of her desk. The hard reality is the place that students go on to pursue their aspirations and dreams to contribute to their country violate their basic civil liberties and becomes a pipeline to prison.This video was an example of the School to Prison Pipeline of  Black Girls. The officer there, Officer Ben Fields was a School Resource Officer. After Columbine, the influx of school resource officers in schools began happening in the early 2000. Since the zero tolerance policy has been enacted the policy by federal government was used to punish any infraction of a rule, regardless of accidental mistakes or ignorance in schools.During that time, the number of officers in schools arose from 9,000 to 400,000 SROs.

The sad thing is that the young lady was living in foster care after her mother had passed away. Statistics show that children out of foster care have a higher than likely chance to be at-risk youth and that young girl certainly was that at the moment, vulnerable and probably pissed at the world that she has to live under her conditions for the use of force to be used over a cell phone. The zero tolerance culture dominates as result of that policy that Instituted the cell phone bans, there has been more police in schools.Kimberly Crenshaw and the African American policy form have already pointed out the way that black girls are routinely pushed out of “education” due to the School to Prison Pipeline.When a student from a predominantly white neighborhood is discipline they go through all procedural steps in order to not criminalize that young student, on the other hand African American students get disciplinary action given to them based off of talking back or their attitude. These instances have caused higher suspension rates particularly among those of color and treating black kids like prisoners. When white middle class students are throwing chairs at a teacher the calm the situation down. Mass shooters of schools and churches are often racist and hate women such as the shooting in the state South Carolina.

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There have  been too many recent encounters that  black people are having to deal with as a result of police brutality such as in Baltimore, Maryland and Ferguson, Missouri. I don’d believe in respectability politics when it comes to talking about civil rights or micro-aggression because if that’s the case if a man feels as though his wife disrespected him and he slapped her does that give him a ride to put his hands on her?NO so miss me when you say “if you would just pull up your pants” ,analogy, “then the officers would have taking you seriously”… therefore you would have gotten shot at?!.Kidding me. That’s what’s going on with this little girl in South Carolina and The School to Prison Pipeline is particularly high in our communities.You have to look at the intersectionality of race, class, and gender. Women face high rates of domestic violence and it’s mixed in with rape culture. Sexual assault on campus often go unresolved. If this was a white female student would he have reprimanded her they way he did the young lady in the video?
There is a long history of criminalizing black people and I do believe that this officer was doing just that.As a southern State that fought to take down a symbol of hatred and go through a mass shooting in Charleston in which nine people were gunned down during church service.South Carolina has a major past of racial hatred. There is no justification for officer Fields to have done this and was improper protocol his procedures. Perhaps we should have waited for the story to turn into her being to death the way Eric Garner was choked to death in New York City by NYPD because he has improperly arrested. This young lady deserves justice for her body being dragged across a room and sustaining scars physically, psychologically, and to those young black, queer,straight, gay, lesbian, bi , cis, trans non-conforming women that experienced this in silence.

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Open Letter to Raven Symoné

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Hey Ms. Symoné, 20-something Black girl here. So, I heard some of your comments and read your apology and—oh snap. It’s great that you’re an equal opportunity employer. We are so relieved to hear that you wouldn’t discriminate someone because of his or her name. For a moment I was worried that you would’ve discriminated against me. My name is normal, but with me being a Black feminist and all, it could’ve made things a bit awkward.

Then again Ms. Symoné, I’m not sure that I want to work for you. After all, you did agree with the people who said our First Lady looked like a monkey. That was disrespectful and uncalled for. Perhaps, you did it to raise ratings on The View. Maybe, you thought the monkey joke would fuel your dying stardom, but it was a cruel and uncalled for joke. These days you keep rambling and spewing antics. It feels like you’re that drunk uncle at Christmas party who keeps touching people inappropriately and spewing racists rants.

We excuse the behavior because drunk uncle doesn’t know any better. Somehow, people were able to forget that you insulted our First Lady, and said that you don’t believe in there being a race. A few people were surprised at your nouveau noir tendencies; however, for the rest of us it was just another Raven day.

Not everyone has to be an advocate for fighting against discrimination. We get it—it’s not your thing. Raven, you might feel that you don’t need to talk about racism because it’s so passé. Plus, you have money and might feel that racism doesn’t affect you anymore. You have the right to keep thinking this way, but not addressing the issues circulating in the Black community is toxic and can reinforce modern day racism. Nowadays, racism is stronger than ever. Racism has moved from the overt to covert. We’re recruiting agents to stop it and if you don’t want to want to be down with the cause, that’s fine. I hear the ratings for The View are dropping.

Janelle Monae Crusade Against Police Brutality

Janelle Monae

#BlackLivesMatters is more than a hashtag but a movement against police brutality, specifically for African Americans. No one shows the dynamics of the movement better than musician and activist Janelle Monae.

Continue reading “Janelle Monae Crusade Against Police Brutality”

Is Trenton Ferguson? Lessons Trenton, NJ congregations can learn from Ferguson

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Is Trenton Ferguson? Part 2

Dr. Leah Gunning Francis visited Trenton to focus on what congregations and houses of worship in Trenton, NJ can do to address the recent police shooting of 14-year-old Radazz Hearns, who was shot seven-times on Friday, August 7th by a NJ State Trooper and a Mercer County Sheriff’s Officer.

What lessons can congregations in Trenton, NJ learn from congregations in Ferguson, MO, who responded and acted to the Michael Brown shooting just over a year ago in 2014?

Rev. Dr. Leah Gunning Francis
Rev. Dr. Leah Gunning Francis

Continue reading “Is Trenton Ferguson? Lessons Trenton, NJ congregations can learn from Ferguson”

We got 99 questions and Justice ain’t one?!

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After 19 Days of Community Engagement and Protest 14 year old, Radazz Hearns is being charged with aggravated assault and weapons offenses but how engaged in the city’s youth out there in the open?

Is Trenton Ferguson? Unarmed 14 Year Old Shot 7 Times by Police Trenton, NJ

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Unarmed 14 Year Old Shot 7 Times by Police Trenton, NJ

On August 7th, 2015 14 year old Radazz Hearns was shot 7 Times in Trenton, NJ by State Police while he was running from them unarmed.

Two State Police Officers and a Mercer County Sheriffs officer approached Radazz Hearns and his friends and began questioning them after a report of shooting at near by apartments.When Police began  questioning Radazz and the two other males, Radazz began running from officers but policed fired at Radazz shooting 10 rounds. Seven of those bullets hit the teenage boy, putting him in critical condition and in Regional Hospital. A .22-caliber handgun was recovered nearby from under a car on Calhoun Street 12 hours after the shooting, on a dark side street. An eyewitness sitting on her porch said that Radazz was running and was pulling up his pants waist as he was running and saw no intention of him pulling out a handgun.The Hearns family is seeking an active investigation by the NJ attorney general. The officers have been placed on Administartive Leave as the investigation begins.

Is Trenton Ferguson?

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I’ve been doing a lot of inner city traveling this summer, and after this past African American Cultural Festival in Trenton this weekend, we are a culturally diverse autonomous  community but in that we have legacy. We know we’re Black, African descendants along with Native American. Our legacy of Blackness is expressed in many different ways and comes in many different shades we know this.Yet, cities across New Jersey all share one common thing poverty and our communities legacy to overcome poverty and racism. Across Trenton, Irvington, Patterson, Newark, Camden, Jersey City, Rahway, Elizabeth it doesn’t take long to find an abandoned building and organizations willing to push Black communities out of their own city, gentrification..marginalization. I am so proud of what my generation was able to do. We were the first generation to elect a Black President and the generation continuing  to challenge presidential candidates #blacklivesmatter. So when we start letting kids get shot at under police brutality then it is an issue we need to address. Because Black Lives Do Matter.