Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Bulletproof Part 8: Your Voice, Your Vote

Selma March 1966
        Just like many of you, I'm already tired of the ads on television; hearing President Obama and former governor Romney approve this message, listening the narrator tell me why one or the other is bad for me.  No matter how many times the media tells me we're in the final lap of the election, I still cringe at the sight of these attack ads!  Yeah, I get it, we have to hear where each candidate stands on certain issues, but I truly don't appreciate being bombarded with so many ads!
        At the same time, what I have observed over recent months has got me truly afraid for what America has in store for our future.  The great abolitionist and civil rights activist, Frederick Douglass once said: "America is false to the past, false to the present, and solemnly binds herself to be false to the future."  And from what I've been seeing in the last few months has been nothing but falsehoods and an attempt to pull the wool over the eyes of the People!  But one thing is clear (it's so clear that if you can't see it then you're either blind or ignorant) many of these Conservative politicians have brought to light some "old traditions" that we all knew were still around, but here we are looking at them straight in the face.
        Yeah, I'll admit to you that I do have a bias due to my support of the Democrats and President Obama, but though I can admit that I do have a partisanship what I want to do here is not suffocate you all with pro-Obama propaganda, but to bring back to your consciousness an important right we MUST exercise this year and every year for that matter!
        Even before 2012, I noticed that a lot of my young Black brothas and sistahs have decided that they were not going to participate in the electoral process.  From what I have seen, this has been mainly because of  two reasons:

  1. They have been told, or came to the conclusion that their vote doesn't count
  2. They don't like who's in office or who is running to take that office
        I can understand why many would not be happy with President Obama and I can even more closely understand why anyone wouldn't want to put someone like Mitt Romney in as the leader of our country, but what I don't understand is why anyone would think that their vote doesn't count.
        Why wouldn't you believe that your vote doesn't count?!  Have you taken into consideration our history in this country?!  For instance:
        If your vote doesn't count, why wouldn't they give us the right to vote in the first place?!
        If your vote doesn't count, why would the KKK kill Black men as they went to the polls?!
        If your vote doesn't count, why would a man assassinate a president when he proclaimed that he was going to give the Black man the right to vote?!
        If your vote doesn't count, why would they wait until the early 20th century to give women the right to vote?!
        If your vote doesn't count, why for so many years did evil white supremacists systematically try to take away our vote?!
41st and 42nd Congress of the U.S.
        But alas, for something that doesn't count, history tells a story of people trying so hard to take our vote away.   Probably the most phenomenal piece of history that shows the power of the vote, can be found during the Reconstruction Era where Black men came out in droves!  They voted so many Black men into Congress!--well it's not like the white people were going to do it.  But we haven't had such success since because this white supremacist society made sure of that.  For over one hundred years though, WE FOUGHT BACK!
        The 1960s became the decade in which the blood that had been spilled for so many generations was finally being brought to television screens!  Freedom Summer, murders in Mississippi, church bombings, beatings, police dogs, assassinations, etc.!  Theses occurrences didn't happen because your vote didn't count!
Murdered Civil Rights Workers
        Now coming back to the present.  The economy is not great, Black unemployment is above the national average, American citizens that want to continue their education are DEEP in debt, and there is so much more to list.  I know many of you are not happy with what the president has or has not done, and again, my mission here isn't to get you to vote for President Obama...MY MISSION IS TO GET YOU TO VOTE! To get you to understand the importance of your vote!
        In 2008, they saw what we could do when we came together!  That's why in 2012, they are trying to take away the vote! And let's be honest, it's been the GOP enacting these ridiculous voter suppression laws to prevent the non-exsistant problem of "voter fraud".  Yes, for the sake of saying it, it happens, but it has happened less than 10 times in a 10 year period!  Voter ID laws, preventing early voting, being very strict on the registration drives, which are usually mostly held in the Black and Latino communities, read between the lines!  This is the 1960s, and even before then, all over again!
They're going to have people looking over our shoulders at the polls! They want us to pay for extra IDs that we don't need! They don't want us to vote early to make it so much more inconvenient! They even eliminated Sunday voting in some places!  (I will have links below for you to get involved in fighting and learning about voter suppression.)  And you're telling me that your vote doesn't count?!
        The reason why our ancestors fought so hard to get the vote, the reason many died or were beaten for the vote was because that piece of paper gave us a voice.  With voting rights, we had the chance to have a say in what went on in the government because if we don't speak up for ourselves, who will?  I know, many of us, including me, can't stand how this government works and how corrupt it is, but what I can say is that without participating in the political process, we're just standing by letting the government walk all over us!  I say "Power to the People" often because it's something I sincerely believe in.  But how can the People get the Power when they're letting the structure they want to change walk all over them.  So I propose this: if you don't like President Obama...don't vote for him.  If you don't like Mitt Romney...don't vote for him.  By all means...VOTE! Vote for someone you like, vote for an issue that you feel has your interest at heart! VOTE! VOTE! VOTE!  As W.E.B. Du Bois put it: "With a vote in our hands, we are freemen."
Stokely Carmichael
        (Even those radical figures and organizations we all admire were involved in voting rights.  For instance: Bobby Seale of the Black Panther Party didn't like how things were ran in Oakland, so he ran for mayor! Even Stokely Carmichael was down in Mississippi to register Blacks to vote! He was actually a key figure in creating a new political party that would accept Black Mississipians: The Lowndes County Freedom Organization in Ala., or Lowndes County Black Panther Party, which would inspire young Huey Newton and others in Oakland, Calif.)
        Once again, I understand all the frustration with the government, but that's why you need to take a stand and make a change!  Actually, by you not voting...you're doing exactly what the system wants you to do.  If you haven't noticed, a lot of people don't want you to have a say!  John Boehner, the Speak of the House, even said he "hopes that Blacks and Latinos don't come out to vote."  Do you want to fulfill his wish? I hope not.
        Let's silence those that oppress! Let's stand up and come out in droves on election day! More importantly, let's make Frederick Douglass, Ida B. Wells, W.E.B. Du Bois, Fannie Lou Hamer, Andrew Goodman, James Chaney, Michael Schwerner, and many more, proud!  So I urge all that aren't registered to vote to go out and register! I urge those that are registered to go out and help register voters! And I urge everyone to go out and vote this November because our future TRULY hangs in the balance!  And if you stand on the sidelines and not do anything...you have no right to complain about the issues.  So if you want your voice heard, please go out and vote!  And let's continue the mission to give All Power to the People!


Links about voter suppression and getting involved

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Bulletproof Part 7:Am I Suspicious?

     I go about life everyday as I have been for the past few months.  I get dressed, sometimes I worry about my hair, I wonder what I'm going to wear, and I think about boys.  I'm actually a little bit different than the conventional girl because I don't dwell on those things as long as a lot of other girls do, but hey, I think about it.  Throughout the day I text my friends, call my family, laugh, and some of the other things a young adult does.  And there are times when I think about how those 90's babies are finally growing up.  Then I have those sad instances where some of those 90's babies that are suppose to be right up here with me are not because of the various problems that occur in our society.  Back in 2009, reality hit when a 16 year boy named Derrion Albert was beaten to death in Chicago.  Derrion and I were around the same grade, I was 14 about to turn 15 in the fall, and we both were just regular teens.
     I just turned 18 last fall, and I am now a freshman in college.  So I got to go through prom, graduation, and living on my own as a college student.  All these things a lot of youth will never get to experience because of the various problems with our society.  Recently, I have relived the sadness that I once felt for Derrion Albert after I learned about the tragic death of Trayvon Martin.  Trayvon was 17 years old, a high school junior, athletic, social, handsome.  He's about a year younger than me, but was so close to being in my position.  I can't imagine how happy his parents would have been to see him in his cap and gown, or to see him go to prom, and head to his dream college.  But that imminent happiness has faded into unimaginable despair that Trayvon's family probably want so badly to change.
     I remember the first time I saw this story on the Huffington Post's Black Voices: "Unarmed Black Teen Killed By White Neighborhood Watch Captain".  I brushed it off thinking  "oh not the race card again...no, they must be mistaken".  It's not that I didn't believe it, it's that I didn't want to believe it.  I know how things like this affect me, and I have studied many atrocities that have occurred against Black people back in the day, and that just doesn't seem to sadden me...it motivates me to fight for the Cause.  Then I have to face the reality that I'm in the new millennium and things like lynchings, unjust police killings, racially motivated murders, as well as Black-on-Black violence is occurring in my time and among Black people my age!  These issues are real!  These issues still occur!
     Those that are familiar with the details of the case know the story of this injustice, and to briefly reiterate this heartbreaking story: Trayvon Martin was killed in a gated community in Sanford, Fla. on February 26 by George Zimmerman, a 28 year old self-appointed watch captain.  Note: Trayvon was unarmed, actually according to reports he only had a cellphone, Skittles, and an iced tea.  George Zimmerman was armed with a 9mm semi-automatic pistol. (Click here for more information)
     I know the story detail-by-detail from what has been released, and every time I see Trayvon's face I go into this state of shock.  I don't know.  I guess I can't fathom what type of world we live in, and what type of system we have been living through for so many years!  I mean, I wonder how someone could fall deaf ear to someone's cries for help and pleads for their life, and just shoot them in the chest.  I can't even imagine what was going through Trayvon's mind when Zimmerman first pulled out that gun and fired the first shot, which missed him.  And it is so hard to hear Trayvon screaming for help in the background of those 9-1-1 tapes...
     Sometimes I imagined what would have happened if I could go back and change one little thing about that day that would have changed the course of the events that unfolded.  I mean, there was nothing I could do personally for Trayvon seeing as I'm in Washington D.C., but there are times where I wish I was living in one of those houses, heard Trayvon's screams, and then I could have gone outside to confront Zimmerman.  But it just hurts me because there was truly nothing I could have done to prevent this, and there is nothing I can do to change it.  
     I remember the first time I had heard Trayvon's screams I couldn't get to sleep that night.  Actually, I was wide awake and I heard the screams and the gunshots as if it was happening outside my window!  It was as if I was being haunted by the mere entity of this tragedy.  Then I found myself looking at the past to see how my People dealt with occurrences like this back in the day, and boy was I inspired and motivated!
     I am so very fortunate to be attending Howard University, and I am very aware of it's rich history of fighting against this oppressive system, even fighting the injustices here on campus.  So we have been organizing to make sure that Trayvon Martin's death is not in vain!   
We need to arrest George Zimmerman!
We need to investigate the corruption in the Sanford Police Department!
We need to make sure that the Department of Justice does their jobs!
And we need to grow as a People!
     Look at what we face here! We have this grown man profiling a teenage boy because he's a Black male!  And not only profiling, but killing!  What type of place do we live in where those that are sworn to protect and serve oppress?! What type of America is this where the killer just walks free?!  What type of society is this where images of a people through the media determine how someone is treated and whether or not they live or die!  This system needs to be abolished because there have been others that have come before Trayvon Martin!  And if we don't fight against this whole system, there will be others after him, if there haven't been already!  The key word is WE because the system is not going to fight itself! So it is up to US...the People to do what we have to do to stop the cycle of oppression! 
     Yes, catching Zimmerman and convicting him is going to bring about a much needed justice...for the short term.  I do want Zimmerman to be punished for killing Trayvon, but what is putting this one man in prison going to do? It definitely won't stop the other injustices that occur, and this is why we can't stop mobilizing after Zimmerman is arrested and prosecuted!  We have to take down the whole system! And I pray that this momentum for Trayvon will not fade because THIS right here is the incident that is suppose to propel us to fight just as Emmet Till propelled Rosa Parks to refuse her seat, which started a movement! So let us be angry, let us be saddened, let us be sickened, but o let us be strengthened by our own power and our solidarity to advance ourselves!
     On the contrary, I do tear up when I see Trayvon's beautiful smile, and I've never met him a day in my life, but I just can't believe that this has happened to him.  I can't explain it, but when I look at his pictures, I am just flabbergasted that this happened and angered that those same problems our ancestors faced is still here.  Even more angered that people can get away with things like this...but I have to push on.  If Trayvon's parents can do it, so can I.
     And I did not write this article with the intent to bombard you with evidence of this and that, I wanted to sink into your consciousness.  I wanted to make you aware that though Trayvon Martin is very important, this issue is bigger than just Trayvon and Zimmerman, but this is a whole system! We have to attack the system and the people that feed it!  So PLEASE don't let this start and stop with Trayvon!  Let us unite! Let us continue on! 
Justice For Trayvon!--Sign the Petition to Prosecute Zimmerman!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Bulletproof Part 6, Morals vs. Politics 4: Strange Fruit

all power to the People my brothas and sistahs.

America?  I just don't understand this country!  I don't even want to claim this country because it functions mainly on injustice rather than Democracy!  And to be honest, I don't believe that there is any place in this world where Democracy truly exists and I am sad to admit that I have officially lost faith in the American "justice system".  If there was any faith to have in it at all, but because of this whole Troy Davis ordeal, I believe that I have finally come to the conclusion that the death penalty is wrong, and needs to be abolished immediately!
       Onto Troy Davis, the first thing we have to remember is that the Troy Davis case is not JUST a Black problem, but moreover, it is an American problem!  It is a problem that we have to fix in America, and it is a problem that America swore they were to prevent, but then again you realize that capital punishment was carried over from British traditions, but weren't the so called "Forefathers" of this country trying to separate itself from Britain? Back to America though, it is immoral American ideology that made it all right for the government of this country to take someone's life, even if he's innocent!  It is immoral American ideology that makes it okay for the police of this country to put power before morality, and for the politicians, and I know that I say this over and over again, do the same thing by putting politics over morality!  Now what we have to realize is that this is not a Democracy!  Democracy is not supposed to allow injustice to prevail over justice, righteousness, and human rights!
      The next thing to remember, which is the most important, is that we are the People! You know, it's funny how many dignitaries forget that the People fought for this country, it was created by the People, and to serve the People; not to change the society created by the People into this immoral political machine!  These politicians seem to be too afraid to take a stand against injustice such as discrimination, poverty, and racism for fear of not getting re-elected!  What happened to those politicians that were not afraid to stand with and touch the People?  The fancy conventions and town hall meetings are all right, nothing new, but what about coming out into the streets where the American people are so that you can better understand our trials and tribulations, our struggles?  Oh, they don't do that that's for sure!  They think they know what's right for us when in reality that really don't know because they haven't taken time out of their days from enjoying all the money they make from being an elected official,  to see what the People see, to in a sense be the People because once you get elected into that office, you are no longer among the People because you start to forget about American citizens and about humane values!  And that is so crazy that we the People can't have our say because it's so rare that they listen to us!
      Now you have to remember that this here is a Black problem for it is a legal lynching!  And not too long ago, I stumbled upon two Malcolm X quotes that work great for this situation.  The first one that made me passionately nod my head was when he said "I live in a society for who's social system is based on the castration of the Black man, for who's political system is based on the castration of the Black man, and who's economic system is based on the castration of the Black man...No matter how many bills passed, Black people in that country where I'm from [AMERICA], still our lives aren't worth two cents..."  It's so sad how true that is!  Troy Davis had the misfortune of not only being accused of killing a white man, but a white cop!  Now when you have cases in which a white cop is either killed or injured, your chances of cruel and unusual punishment heighten!   Then you also need to consider the color and ethnicity of the alleged gunman, and if his skin is the same color of the white cop, then he will most likely get at the most life in prison without parole, but if your skin happens to be Black?...You A DEAD MAN!  Most of the time, Blacks accused of killing a white cop get convicted and in most cases, executed, and in the case of Troy Davis, there is also the situation in which the police have no idea who has done it for sure, but their way of "justice" is to find the first Black person they see so that they may give that white family their "justice" as soon as possible.  Oh my goodness, I've really had to stop myself from saying bad words about the McPhail family, but they really disgusted me on how adamant they were on this man dying!  Then the one woman in the McPhail family had the nerve to cry about how much they've been through, but what the hell do they think Troy has been through?!  Troy has been close to death so many times, it's a wonder how he never went insane!  But of course, they really didn't want to believe in the evidence that the police department used illegal tactics to get people to testify against Troy!  Wouldn't you at least be curious to know if the real killer is out there somewhere?  And most importantly, how is killing someone, let alone an innocent person, going to bring about "justice"?!  So thanks to the McPhail family, whom I can't bring myself to feel sympathy for, I hate the death penalty and I want it to be abolished! I will be working toward that goal for as long as I can, and I can't wait for the day when we prove to the McPhail family that Troy is innocent and make them look real stupid!  Shoot, we'll make America look real stupid!
      Lastly, America will have to look forward to a changed Blackness!  See, I've noticed in the past few days that I have become a little bit more radical, even though I still do love Dr. King but Malcolm X is kind of starting to sound a lot more appealing than usual!  Then when I learned that they were still going to go on with the execution of Troy Davis, I decided that it was about time that I not play the part of a Black Panther, but to in a way be a Black Panther!  So just like H. Rap Brown said, "we stand on the eve of a Black revolution brothas.  Masses of our People are in the streets...The rebellion that we see are merely rehearsals for the revolution that is to come..."  I woke up this morning seeing America through a different lens and I can't help but to feel so much resentment toward a country that I formally held so dear.  I knew things like this existed, but watching it first hand is a whole different thing.  I am very proud of my Howard University classmates for marching for Troy because we All are Troy Davis!  And this means that we all need to fight this system together, and I don't have any resentment toward all white people because there were some white people that marched with us yesterday but still, Black nationalism, depending on your definition of it, doesn't seem that bad to be honest.  Sad that I lost so much faith in this country that I've changed my political and social views, shoot, I don't even know what to say about Obama!  But what I will say to the American public is this final quote that I take from Malcolm X: "...Where anytime you live in a society supposedly based upon law and it doesn't support its own laws because the color of your skin happens to be 'wrong', then I say those people happen to be justified to resort to any means necessary to bring about justice where the government can't give them justice..."

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

"Injustice Anywhere Is A Threat To Justice Everywhere!"--MLK Part Two!

I am not going to blog about this injustice in the case of Troy Davis today, but I will post the letter from President Ben Jealous so that you have the instructions on the actions to take!  Please spread the word!  Send this post to your friends and family so that they may be able to help stop this man from being unjustly executed.  Also please click on the link on the bottom of the page to sign a petition to get him a new trial!  HURRY!  HIS LIFE IS ON THE LINE!
Dear That Black Pride Readers,

We've just received terrible news: The state of Georgia has set Troy Davis's execution date for midnight on September 21st, just two weeks from today.

This is our justice system at its very worst, and we are alive to witness it. There is just too much doubt.

Even though seven out of nine witnesses have recanted their statements, a judge labeled his own ruling as "not ironclad" and the original prosecutor has voiced reservations about Davis's guilt, the state of Georgia is set to execute Troy anyway.

Time is running out, and this is truly Troy's last chance for life.

But through the frustration and the tears, there is one thing to remain focused on: We are now Troy Davis's only hope. And I know we won't let him down.

There are three steps you can take to help Troy:

1. Send a message of support to Troy as he fights for justice on what may be the final days of his life:

http://action.naacp.org/LettersOfSupport

2. Sign the name wall, if you haven't already. And if you have, send it to your friends and family. Each name means a more united front for justice:

http://action.naacp.org/Name-Wall

3. Make sure everyone knows about this injustice. Spread the word on Facebook andTwitter (using the hashtag #TooMuchDoubt) so that Troy Davis's story can be heard. We still have a chance to save his life, but only if people are willing to speak out against injustice.

Today, the state of Georgia has declared their intention to execute a man even though the majority of the people who put him on the row now say he is innocent and many implicate one of the other witnesses as the actual killer. Now that a date has been set, we cannot relent. We must redouble our efforts.
Thank you. Please act quickly and forward this message to all who believe the justice system defeats itself when it allows a man to be executed amid so much doubt.
Ben
Benjamin Todd Jealous
President and CEO
NAACP
Sign The Petition Today!


Morals vs. Politics Part 3

In Yahoo, it was reported that President Obama's approval ratings have dropped to an "all time low" at 44%.  It is reported that most people don't approve of how he's handling the economy.  They also say that Congress has even lower approval ratings where 82% of people disapprove of how they are handling the economy, which happens to be the highest disapproval rating since the poll has been around.  So what does that say about how politics is coming into play before the People themselves.  Sad how American government is messed up like that, huh?
First off, not too long ago, I heard of a theory about the reason the economy is not doing so well, and to be honest, it's not as crazy as it may sound.  So I also want you all to consider some things along with the initial hypothesis.  All right.  By all means, I am not a scientist, a political expert, or some type of scholar with a doctoral degree, I'm just in my first year in college...at Howard University!  But I don't think it would be far fetched to say that the Republicans in the government, just as well as Tea Party leaders, and just straight out racists, are purposely not letting the economy prosper because they want to make President Obama look bad.  Even before the man took office, they said that they were going to make sure he was going to be a one-term president.  So how could it be so far fetched that the United States government would do some very systematic things to prevent this man from helping this country recover from its financial crisis?
Consider this:  Back during the Civil Rights Movement, with the reign of J Edgar Hoover over the FBI, the government was involved in doing some very crazy things to break up many civil rights organizations that not only include pitting the SCLC against the NAACP, but also turning Black people against themselves.  The Black Panther Party was very radical for its day, but this party was mainly about unifying Black People so they may take charge of their own communities and fight the injustice they faced from the oppressive government.  Almost immediately after they were formed, the government began to monitor them very closely, and they eventually named them Public Enemy Number One.  Is it just me, or is it kind of funny and ironic that the government felt that the greatest threat to democracy was Black people working together?
Once the Black Panther Party was crippled, they began sending letters to many of the head leaders of the organization to pit people against each other.  For example, while Eldridge Cleaver was in Africa, they would send him letters "supposedly" from Huey P. Newton talking bad about him to create animosity.  In Chicago, when Fred Hampton was actually working with Chicago gangs to help them be more productive in society, the FBI sent letters to the gang claiming untruths to make sure they were not on Fred Hampton's side.  The government also orchestrated the murders of many of the greatest civil rights leaders, including Martin Luther King Jr, and Black Panther leaders such as Fred Hampton.  The government even planted drugs in the Black community to keep Black people from doing something positive in their communities, and to keep them off of politics and social issues which could actually make some positive change!  The planting of these drugs was what destroyed the Black Panther Party, and even Huey P. Newton, and because of these drugs Black people were more about working against each other instead of working together to fight injustice, which is just what the government wanted, especially the FBI.
With this, I sincerely believe that the government we have today, even in the absence of J Edgar Hoover, is still as conniving and systematically oppressive as it has been in the past.  And people may not believe that race is a factor in almost everything, but when it comes to being the President of one of the most racist countries in the world, race is a huge factor.  There are some people that can look past race, but politics doesn't turn a blind eye to it one bit.  Politics is very evil and is what is destroying this country, not the President!  Even though most people can agree to the fact that they really did not care for Bush or his father, but they didn't give Bush as hard of a time that they are giving President Obama!  Haven't you noticed? Though Bush was a failure, they didn't treat him the way they are treating this BLACK man!  Many White news reporters won't call him "President", so many newspapers, and critics have called him some of the degrading names that they have called us Black folk for generations!  A man even hung an object named after him from a noose in his front yard, and was too afraid to come on camera and say something about it!  No one can deny that if Obama was "fully" White, he would not be facing the issues with Congress as he is today!  So it is time, America, that we see that race plays a larger role with politics than many people think.
On a different note though, why are these politicians trying to get back at this man at the expense of the People?  Their resentment is making the People suffer, and I would know because I and you are the People!  Even though I may not be entirely favorable of the Founding Fathers, whom I do honor, but they created these positions to serve the People.  Politicians, you are elected by the People and should serve to better the People!  I don't care if the president is democrat or republican, black, white, blue or orange, you have to compromise!  You have to at least try to reason, and if you don't agree with something, don't act like a kindergardener and hold out till the government almost goes in default because you have a deep dislike for the president, LET YOUR VOICE BE HEARD!  Like in Ohio, we got over 10 times the signatures needed to put SB 5 on the ballot, and that's what can happen if the People, meaning you, come together to make positive change in this country!  Morals seem to never come over politics, just like when President Hayes removed the troops from the south during the last leg of Reconstruction, which enabled the Ku Klux Klan to reign over the South and kill many Blacks that were trying to exercise their newly found rights that they were guaranteed in the 15th Amendment.  So politicians, please just take a second to think about what it morally right for the People before you decide that you are going to do everything in you power to bring one man down at their expense.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

48 Years of Celebrating the Dream (Part3)

Here is Part 3! Enjoy!
In the comments, please share why you believe this speech is so important, and where do you believe we stand today?!  THANK YOU!