Philadelphia police beat a blind man!
A man legally blind in both eyes beaten after attacking an officer during a nighttime police investigation into a suspected drug deal where officers did not recover any drugs or money normally involved in drug deals?
Philadelphia police officials are investigating this “alleged” August assault on Darrell Holloway in West Philly that left the 22-year-old blind man facing a slew of traditional attack-on-cops charges, according to an article by Philadelphia Tribune crime reporter Larry Miller and other media coverage.
Eyewitnesses refute police claims of Holloway attacking an officer.
Police contend this blind man apparently utilizes some kind of super-human radar/sonar enabling his targeting capabilities for battering a cop he couldn’t see.
Police officials contend Holloway punched an officer who was detaining him, leading to a violent scuffle where two officers sustained minor injuries.
During that scuffle (get this) when other officers separated the attacking Holloway from his arresting officer, Holloway charged after the arresting officer — again the blind man seeing enough to see where the arresting officer was — in the dark.
Holloway’s attorney told the Tribune’s Miller that a police officer grabbed his client, slammed Holloway on a car and started punching him.
A Philadelphia Municipal Court judge, despite questioning the lack of eyesight angle, bound Holloway over for trial on the charges filed by the police instead of (courageously) exercising her judicial powers to toss those seemingly fabricated assault-on-cop charges into the dismissed trash bin.
A cell phone video of the incident, that is too dark to reliably see what is happening, does contain distinctive audio of eyewitnesses shouting, telling police that Holloway is blind including one man who issued the “he’s-blind” notice twenty times during one minute/eleven-seconds.
The audio on that video contains eyewitness comments like “Why you hitting a blind man” — “He hit a F-ing blind man” and “This is crazy!”
Questionable court procedures kept evidence/eyewitnesses countering police claims against Holloway from that municipal court proceeding thus setting up the expense and court-system clutter of a Common Pleas Court trial or out-of-court resolution.
Sadly, this “alleged” beating of a blind man is not an isolated incident for Philadelphia police who continue their perverse patterns of brutality that stretch back into the late decades of the 1800s.
The Pittsburgh Courier newspaper in its July 4, 1931 edition reported a Philadelphia incident where a Philly police captain and three officers beat a Black man with a rubber hose and then denied it claiming “the man struck (the captain) with a policeman’s club.”
As respected Philadelphia Tribune editor/journalist Eustace Gay wrote in a December 1950 commentary, “Philadelphia policemen know only one thing when handling certain types of citizens — the use of the club, unnecessary physical force, brutality…”
One discernable distinction between Philly police abuse during most of the 20th century and that in the 21st century is that the top police officials now offering explanations (and/or excuses) are Black.
Policing is dangerous business as evidenced by the recent fatal stabbing of a veteran police officer in Delaware while responding to what was initially logged a disorderly conduct call.
The law gives police latitude to employ force necessary to handle the often violent and/or recalcitrant suspects they encounter. Most fair minded members of the public accept the common sense reality of police having such latitude.
Problems arise, particularly for persons of color, when police abuse that latitude as a license for brutal I’m-the-LAW-F-U abuse — abuse that’s blindly accepted by police officials, prosecutors, politicians and judges.
Misconduct by cops extends beyond the borders of Philadelphia across America and across the Atlantic.
Juan Gonzalez, the renowned New York Daily News columnist and Democracy Now co-host, recently wrote about NYC’s finest roughing up and handcuffing a NYC Councilman after disregarding the City Council ID that dreadlock-wearing Councilman produced for police.
In August, paralleling the Philly police assault on Holloway, destructive and deadly riots rocked London triggered by yet another police abuse incident.
Those riots around London and across England erupted during a peaceful protest at a North London police station over the fatal police shooting of a young Black man when police clubbed a 16-year-old female protestor who — allegedly — threw something at police.
Since those August riots four other men have died in the custody of British police, London activist Cristel Amiss said during an interview last week.
“Police won’t investigate charges of rape but they will send a dozen police on armed raids against sex workers. This is wrong,” said Amiss, who works with the Black Women’s Rape Action Project. “These killings are like genocide against us.”
The standard response for addressing police misconduct is “better training.”
Tribune editor Gay’s 1950 column called for training police in “human relations.”
Despite the value of enhanced training, an effective counter to persistent misconduct by police is treating law-breaking officers as criminals. Assault is a crime and those committing the crime of assault are criminals.
“Make it a basic rule that any officer found guilty of unnecessary brutality will be immediately dismissed from the police force,” Philadelphia Tribune columnist Dorothy Anderson wrote in a June 1960 article.
Forty years later state elected official LeAnna Washington proposed a similar approach in July 2000 calling for the prosecution of brutal officers “to the fullest extent of state and federal law.”
Linn Washington Jr. is a graduate of the Yale Law Journalism Fellowship Program.
Karl Rove, a star political strategist, is outraged that Donald Trump, a star real-estate mogul and reality show host, is staging a reality show with real Republican presidential candidates and calling it a debate. Yet, with all due respect, Trump is only exploiting a process that political strategists like Rove already hijacked.
Trump, you may recall, earlier this year considered a presidential run and says he might yet consider one again. Meanwhile, he will host a debate on Dec. 27 in Iowa that will be televised on the conservative Newsmax website and the ION cable television network.
And with the typical Trump hyperbole that would embarrass P.T. Barnum, the website describes the event as “the most important meeting of the major Republican candidates before the Iowa caucus and primaries in New Hampshire, South Carolina and Florida!” Exclamation theirs.
But Rove, speaking on Fox News Channel Monday, sees the event as an abomination.
He accused Trump of helping to “trivialize the most important decision that we Americans have, which is who we're going to elect as our president.”
Forgive me, but I see a certain poetic justice that Rove is riled. After all, he is one of the reigning kings of the political spin-doctor community, an industry that has taken over the political process in the TV age with the gusto of Occupy Wall Street protestors planting themselves in city parks.
Yet, with or without the consultants, TV is a reality that candidates cannot ignore. With that in mind, Rove, now a Fox News contributor, raises at least a couple of legitimate points for anyone who might mistake Trump’s event for a conventional debate. One, Trump has said he intends to endorse one of the candidates later. Indeed, don’t look for impartiality in this debate moderator. Look instead for something like the glowing respect paid to The Donald by the contestants on his reality show “Celebrity Apprentice.”
And, “More importantly, what the heck are the Republican candidates doing showing up at a debate with a guy who says ‘I may run for president next year as an independent,’” said Rove. “I think the Republican National chairman ought to step in and say we strongly discourage every candidate from appearing in a debate moderated by somebody who’s going to run for president.”
Trump characteristically responded by attacking Rove. The mogul called the consultant-commentator “highly overrated,” not “a smart person” and “basically ... a loser.” That’s also pretty much how Trump described Jon Huntsman and Ron Paul, the first candidates to flatly turn down his invitation.
By contrast, Trump was all smiles after a meeting Monday with current frontrunner Newt Gingrich, who accepted Trump’s invite in keeping with Newt’s tradition of taking advantage of every offered microphone.
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus washed his hands of the spat Sunday, leaving it up to individual candidates to make up their own minds. That’s wise. Leave it up to the candidates and ultimately the voters — and TV viewers — to decide whether Trump’s latest reality show is worth watching.
By the way, I’m using “reality” in the way the broadcasting industry uses it, not to imply that I believe, say, “Jersey Shore” or the Kardashian family’s televised adventures reveal anything very real. That is, unless your concept of reality is talent-free people clowning it up for ever-present TV cameras.
“Unscripted” is more accurate description. It is the possibility of surprise — like Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s “Oops!” as he forgot one of three government departments that he wanted to cut — that keeps the curiosity suckers, uh, seekers coming back for more.
In that spirit, I offer this suggestion to Trump: Why not go all the way? Bring in some guest judges from “American Idol” or “Dancing with the Stars,” to help the audience make up its mind.
Imagine, say, “American Idol” judge Randy Jackson gushing, “I really dug your deficit reduction plan, dawg!”
Or “Dancing With the Stars” judge Bruno Tonioli, with his grand hyperbole. “Mah-vel-lous! Your rhetoric soars! It glides like a drone missile over Islamabad!”
Hey, we want to get more people to care about politics. Maybe a little show biz is the price we pay.
I’m often asked, what’s wrong with our children? Too often we focus on the negative without celebrating young people who, despite the odds unfairly stacked against them, overcome great adversity, demonstrate academic excellence, and give back to their community and country. Each year, the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) takes time to honor examples of these inspiring youths through our Beat the Odds® scholarship and leadership development program. Each student receives a $10,000 scholarship, a laptop computer, guidance through the college admissions process and an invitation to join CDF’s leadership training programs — putting them on the path to college, successful adulthood and sustained child advocacy. Beat the Odds celebrations are held annually across the country. On November 15, we will honor five high school students from Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia; on December 1, five in Los Angeles; and on December 14, five in New York City. All are succeeding and moving on to college despite overwhelming challenges. This year, CDF’s state offices honored 19 resilient students in Dallas, Houston, Minneapolis-St. Paul and New Orleans. Since 1990 when CDF began Beat the Odds celebrations, about 700 youths have won scholarships, and I could not be prouder of them. They are lawyers and educators and college professors and teachers and Peace Corps volunteers, and outstanding citizens. They make clear that no one has a right to give up on any child and that all of us lose when we waste the fine minds and great potential of millions of children every year. Their lives also make clear what a difference one or a few caring adults can make.
Thurman Anderson’s mother, a high school dropout, rarely worked. To provide for his siblings, Thurman sold candy and then drugs while still in elementary school. When he was nine years old, Thurman and his siblings were removed from their home and separated by the foster care system. Four years and five foster home placements later, Thurman met Jon and Nia West-Bey, who became his adoptive parents. He described them as the first people who could “provide a home where I could finally find my place and where people wanted me.” Thurman is now a student at Washington Latin Public Charter School where he is passionate about being a leader and mentors fellow students. Thurman is excited that he will be the first in his biological family to attend and graduate from college.
Andrew Finein came into the world facing daunting odds. He was born mute, unable to utter a sound until he was two and a half years old. Diagnosed with a host of mental and physical problems, doctors told his mother he would never be able to care for himself. Andrew’s early years were spent in therapy learning to speak and to do basic tasks like tying his shoes. But years of hard work and therapy paid off, and today, 17-year-old Andrew is already taking several college level classes and excels academically. Adults who know Andrew marvel at his positive attitude and strong work ethic.
As a child, Leland Kraatz’s home life was filled with anger and despair. His alcoholic father terrorized the whole family. When Leland was 10, his father was arrested after Leland’s two sisters revealed he had been abusing them. Leland’s mother became severely depressed and struggled to make ends meet. Home-schooled for years, the children were left to educate themselves. By the time Child Protective Services intervened, Leland had never had formal schooling and was years behind academically. He and his sister, Chelsea, moved in with their aunt and uncle. “For the first time in my life I was truly part of a real, functioning family the way it should be,” said Leland. Since then, he has worked extremely hard to adjust academically and socially. Although he entered formal school for the first time in ninth grade, he has maintained a 3.82 grade point average, tutors other students, and is thriving in his new life despite his tumultuous childhood.
Anh Luong is the youngest of five children born to Vietnamese immigrants. She grew up in extreme poverty in an unstable home with parents who battled substance abuse. When Anh was nine years old, she was assaulted by a family friend. She stopped going to school and failed fourth grade. She and her two older brothers then bounced back and forth between foster care and their parents’ home for the next few years. She remembers vividly the fear and despair she felt during this time. Anh said she wanted to “give up on life. I began thinking that my life was cursed.” But she didn’t give up, and today, Anh is a hard working senior on the path to college. “I have learned that if I share my story and share the struggles that I’ve been through, then I can reach out to others and help them to overcome as well,” she said.
When Mustafaa Nuraldin’s teachers describe him, they paint the picture of an ideal student — thoughtful, serious and polite — but just a few years ago Mustafaa was failing most of his classes. A precocious child, Mustafaa learned to read early and excelled in elementary school but a hostile environment in a new middle school disturbed him. He described it as “rowdy and violent, so much so that metal detectors were necessary. In addition to the crazed student body, there were a number of teachers who didn’t do their job.” Mustafaa started skipping school, choosing to read at a local bookstore. After his mother and grandmother enrolled Mustafaa at Washington Latin Charter School where teachers have encouraged his love of reading and creative writing, his attitude toward school changed completely. He plans to study philosophy or creative writing in college and is described by one of his teachers as “an old soul, a wise young man, a student with perfect moral pitch.”
All of the stories over the years including this year’s Washington, D.C. Beat the Odds scholarship recipients described here show the remarkable resiliency of children and the power of determination and hard work. They also show how much a caring adult can make a difference. Beat the Odds celebrations send a clear message to young people that we see and care about their plight, and understand what it takes to succeed in school and life when faced with huge obstacles. Millions of children struggling against the odds can succeed if each of us reaches out to and celebrates them rather than write them off as failures. To learn more about how you can support young people at Beat the Odds events around the country, go to the Children’s Defense Fund website. In a Thanksgiving season when many Americans pause to count their blessings, it should also be a season of giving back and sharing with those less fortunate. You can also help by being a voice for voiceless children. Tell your Senators and Representatives that you want children protected from budget cuts and you want Congress to invest in their health, education, and well-being. Together as a community of caring adults we can and must change the odds for all children. — (NNPA)
Marian Wright Edelman is a lifelong advocate for disadvantaged Americans and is the president of the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF). Under her leadership, the CDF has become the nation’s strongest voice for children and families.
On April 16, 2007, our nation suffered its deadliest shooting incident ever by a single gunman when a student killed 32 people and wounded 25 others at Virginia Tech University before committing suicide. Five years later, have we learned anything about controlling our national gun and gun violence epidemic? A look at just a few of the sad headlines across the country so far this year suggests we haven’t learned much, if anything at all.
In February of this year, a 17-year-old high school senior, who other students described as an outcast who’d been bullied, shot and killed three fellow students and injured two more at Chardon High School in suburban Cleveland, Ohio. Would this have happened without a gun?
In Washington state, three children were victims of gun violence during a three-week period at the end of February and at the end of March. A three-year-old died after shooting himself in the head with a gun left under the front seat of the car while his family stopped for gas. The 7-year-old daughter of a police officer was shot and killed by her younger brother after he found one of their father’s guns in the glove compartment of the family van. And an 8-year-old girl was critically wounded at school when her 9-year-old classmate brought in a gun he found at home that accidentally went off in his backpack. Would this have happened without a gun?
There already has been a rash of shootings in Chicago this year, including the especially violent weekend in mid-March when 49 people were shot and 10 were killed. One of the victims was a 6-year-old girl who was sitting on her front porch with her mother getting her hair brushed before a birthday party when she was killed by shots fired from a passing pickup truck. Would this have happened without a gun?
And in Florida, unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin was shot and killed walking home from the store in February after being followed by self-appointed “neighborhood watch captain” George Zimmerman. Would Trayvon’s death have happened without a gun? Now that George Zimmerman has been arrested and charged with second-degree murder, Trayvon Martin’s family is finally moving forward in their quest for justice.
As a nation we can’t afford to keep waiting for common-sense gun control laws that would protect our children and all of us from indefensible gun violence. It’s time to repeal senseless gun laws such as the “Stand Your Ground” laws enacted by 21 states. The laws have grabbed so much attention in Trayvon’s case and allow people in Florida to defend themselves with deadly force anytime and anywhere if they feel threatened. More than 2 million people have signed online petitions saying they want to repeal these laws. It’s time to require consumer safety standards and childproof safety features for all guns and strengthen child access prevention laws that ensure guns are stored safely and securely to prevent unnecessary tragedies like those in Washington state. And in a political environment where the too secretive and powerful advocacy group American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) pushed “Stand Your Ground” laws in other states along with other “model bills” that benefit some corporate bottom lines or special interests such as the NRA, it’s time for all of ALEC’s corporate sponsors to walk away from enabling or acquiescing destructive laws that protect guns, not children.
It’s a tragedy that five years after Virginia Tech so little has changed. How many years must we wait until tragic headlines about school shootings, children dying, and people using the “shoot first and ask questions later” defense to take the law into their own hands go away? When will we finally get the courage to stand up as a nation and say enough to the deadly proliferation of guns and gun violence that endanger children’s and public safety? — (NNPA)
Marian Wright Edelman is president of the Children’s Defense Fund.
The way America has been “saving Africa” is racist, heavy-handed and condescending. When will African Americans put a stop to practices that carry all the tenor and tone of an “imperialist power” taking the locals to the cleansers?
We need a re-set from the paradigm put it place over the last 15 years by predominately-white Christian and Jewish coalitions. Their practices have resulted in more than 3 million lives lost and a formal division of Africa’s largest country into what is now Sudan and Southern Sudan. Leading up to South Sudan’s succession, President Barack Obama offered the North full diplomatic ties, lifting of economic sanctions, and the removal of from the list of countries labeled as “sponsors of terrorism” for compliance in the referendum. Helping to father the world’s 193rd country may come back to haunt President Obama.
After the South’s vote, Sudan’s Foreign Minister Ali Karti sought out U.S. officials to lift the sanctions. “We have delivered what we promised…and want all sanctions to be lifted,” Karti said. But, it seems that he is going to find it difficult collecting on the Obama promise. The North’s problem is the image it has allowed the people “saving Sudan” to spawn for them. The Khartoum government has been accused of every evil atrocity against mankind, including slavery practices, ethnic cleansing and genocide. Now, the Obama team is saying that Khartoum is the source of bombings of refugees and camps in South Sudan; so, it’s no surprise that Obama, and his staffers trot out the same old tripe: “Khartoum’s policies had not yet improved enough to warrant their removal.”
Sanctions are “an act of war,” and Obama has shown he plans to continue that haughty attitude with the Sudanese. The debate is an old one; a result of two civil wars between the North and South for all but 15 years of Sudan’ independence. Ostensibly to “save” starving Africans, coalitions of predominately white humanitarian and religious groups have engineered numerous “interventions” in Sudan. These “interventions” have mostly involved getting lots of land with oil on it. Sadly, many African Americans bought into the flim flam. Before being prove fraudulent, the Sudan Slave Redemption Industry deception garnered millions of donations “to obtain freedom for fellow human beings.” The “slave redemption” trick mobilized a “pariah” public opinion status for Sudan and billions of dollars and legislation to continue the conflicts in its borders. The Congressional Sudan Caucus has had great success passing legislation benefiting rebels in the South.
For Black Americans, there are two conflicting currents in the issue of Southern Sudan. Many African-American Muslims espouse a religious solidarity with the government of Omar Hassan al-Bashir and say, “Western forces are conspiring to undermine Islam.” On the opposite side is mainly Black Christian leaders like the Rev. Al Sharpton and talk-show host Joe Madison, who’ve advocated overthrow of the North since the 1990s.
So who among us is going to push the Obama administration to lift sanctions? Even Southern Sudan officials want the U.S. to remove the economic sanctions so that the south’s oil exports won’t suffer financially when they move through northern Sudan’s oil pipelines. Obama’s current order maintains several sets of U.S. sanctions imposed since 1997 that restrict trade and investment with Sudan.
As would be expected, Sudan’s foreign ministry condemns the extension of the sanctions. Foreign Minister Karti said he’d hoped the peaceful conduct of the succession vote would provide an opening for economic opportunities for his country. "The sanctions imposed by the U.S. administration are political sanctions and are aimed at damaging Sudan’s vital interests by hindering development ambitions,” says Karti.
The African-American impact on Africa should be better and more positive. The African-American U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, has been biased against Khartoum for decades, and is a well-known opponent of President al-Bashir. Rice and Obama head a racist American practice toward Africans that deploy a coercive type of diplomacy, one full of threats, unrealistic demands and promises of incentives that revive images of old colonialists. — (NNPA)
William Reed is available for speaking/seminar projects via BaileyGroup.org
As long as I can remember, Philadelphians have laid claim to being a “City of Neighborhoods.”
When you ask people in the largest city in Colorado, where they live, they quickly say “Denver.” When you ask people in the largest city in North Carolina, where they live, they proudly say “Charlotte.”
On the other hand, when you ask people in Pennsylvania’s largest city, where they live, they are likely to say “North Philly, South Philly,” or “West Philly.”
In Philadelphia, you see, we’ve always taken our neighborhood roots very seriously, sometimes more seriously than we have taken our overall municipal identification.
That cuts several different ways.
For one thing, it can “bend us out of shape,” unnecessarily, when we see racial and ethnic shifts in housing patterns that affect our old notions of who actually owns one of our beloved “neighborhoods.”
In that regard, I recently noticed that New York City’s legendarily African-American Harlem community has experienced a 400 percent increase in white residents, since the year 2000, and is no longer a majority Black neighborhood.
Over the same period, Bedford-Stuyvesant, that longtime Black, residential stronghold in Brooklyn, has seen its own white population increase by an astounding 633 percent, while its Black population has declined to 60 percent and its real estate prices have doubled.
That news sent me back to the June 2011 report by Pew’s Philadelphia Research Initiative that disclosed that Philadelphia’s white population had declined by 31.9 percent (263,254 people), over the past twenty years or so, and that there is clear evidence that demographic shifts very much akin to the Harlem and Bed-Stuy experiences have also occurred in certain sections of the “City that Loves You Back.”
For example, over that period, the greatest white population increase in the city was a seven-zip-code-area that includes western North Philadelphia (49.1 percent), Brewerytown (270.7 percent), North Philadelphia/Yorktown (55.8 percent), Fairmount South (16.5 percent), Washington Square (38.2 percent), Society Hill (40.3 percent), and North Philadelphia/Northern Liberties (103.5 percent), all neighborhoods that had been predominantly African-American, over 50 previous years.
So, while the overall number of whites in the city declined about one-third, the white population in the recently gentrified areas actually increased by an average of 82 percent.
The report also indicates that the Black population count increased by only 3.3 percent, over the last twenty years, as hard as that may be to believe, while the number of Hispanics increased by 110.3 percent, and the number of Asians rose by 126.6 percent.
The flip side of the gentrification issue, of course, is the question of where Black Philadelphians move to, after they are displaced from their “traditional” neighborhoods. As their numbers dropped in the city’s “historically Black” communities, Pew points out, African Americans fled to far-flung areas in the city and near suburbs, where real estate was cheaper, property taxes were lower, and which had previously been overwhelming white. The actual numbers are quite shocking. The Black population, over the period, dropped by 35.2 percent in Fairmount North (zip code 19121), by 23.4 percent in Kingsessing/South West Philadelphia (zip code 19143), and 26.1 percent in Northern Liberties (zip code 19123).
At the same time, the Black Philadelphia presence increased from 1.2 percent to 16.1 percent in Tacony; from 0.3 percent to 21.5 percent in Mayfair/Oxford Circle; from 0.6 percent to 19.7 percent in Fox Chase; and from 8.7 percent to 30.5 percent in Frankford.
Who would have thought?
Let me say, at the outset, that what is happening here — this sweeping demographic shift, wherein the most desirable, most accessible-to-work, most well-built-homes and neighborhoods are being gentrified — is just the most recent manifestation of economically and racially based housing pattern shifts that have routinely taken place in our city, and in other cities, north and south, over the past 100 years, or so.
Thirty and forty years ago, the recently gentrified sections or North Central, South Central and West Philadelphia’s “Bottom,” (now called University City) were overwhelmingly African-American neighborhoods.
In the main, that was the case because ethnic whites — Italians, Jews, Irish and Germans — who previously “owned” those communities and raised their families there, left in droves, fleeing the northern migration of Blacks from the South. They also left Philadelphia, and other cities, to take advantage of racially discriminatory FHA and commercial bank residential mortgage policies.
That didn’t happen so long ago, but it was far enough back that too many Black folks now mistakenly believe that Strawberry Mansion, right near beautiful Fairmount Park, was always predominantly Black; that the stately mansion-style homes in West Philadelphia, that were built for wealthy whites, from about 34th Street out to 63rd Street, were always predominantly occupied by Black people. Many of them also mistakenly believe that formerly bustling urban shopping districts, such as parts of Ridge and Wadsworth Avenues, had always been situated in Black communities.
Wrong, wrong, wrong and wrong, again.
The truth is that those and many other neighborhoods became Jewish, after the Irish and Germans left for the suburbs and for the edges of the city. Only when the Jewish residents subsequently left, did those communities turn predominantly Black.
As young Black people, we, naively used to wonder whose “bright idea” it had been to locate so many Jewish businesses in the middle of our “Black” community, in North Central Philadelphia. What we didn’t appreciate is that those businesses didn’t move into those neighborhoods to serve us, at all. They were there; in the first place, to service the specific needs of a resident Jewish clientele. They just happened to be among the last of their community to leave what had, over time, become “our” neighborhood.
Indeed, many Black families in North Philadelphia, West Philadelphia, or Lower Germantown have members who clearly remember being the “first Blacks on their street” and then, sadly, having to witness the disappearance of their new white neighbors, virtually overnight.
Well, they’re b - a - a - a - c - k!
If we have perspective, a sense of history and good common sense, we will begin to grow comfortable with the realization that, even though we’ve lived in those communities, as Black people, for at least five or six generations, now, they aren’t now and, really, never were, “ours.”
We have no “right” to them that transcends an ability to purchase a property. Never have.
In my opinion, African Americans shouldn’t get overly nostalgic or possessive about neighborhood identification. On the other hand, we should develop our political and economic leverage, so that we can live wherever we choose, including being able to afford the new prices and increased tax rates in what had been our old neighborhoods. That’s a “change” in approach we’re going to have to master.
At the end of the day, Barack Obama’s use of the “change” slogan in his campaign for U.S. president, in 2008, has proved to be just that — a slogan.
Regrettably, his “handlers” never took the time to help us understand that we should be preparing ourselves for so much more than an ad campaign, or for more than the simple “change,” from a white U.S. president, to one who happens to be non-white.
As Alvin Toffler, author of “Future Shock,” warned his readers many years ago, “Change is not merely necessary to life — it is life.”
On the other hand, too many African Americans mistakenly came to believe that the “change” we needed had effectively been completed, once the last vote had been counted in 2008.
Maybe now we will realize, as Toffler pointed out so clearly, that “change” is never-ending, and that it is certainly something that we, ourselves, will have to learn how to manage.
A. Bruce Crawley is president and principal owner of Millennium 3 Management Inc.
As we approach the Thanksgiving Holiday, there is a tremendous opportunity for each of us to touch the lives of the many people who are suffering as the result of this economy. This year we have seen so much devastation throughout our country, with hurricanes, floods and earthquakes. These, along with the unbelievable economy, have left countless people in need of help. What better time than this Thanksgiving season to offer our support to those in need?
As a people, we must move beyond the traditional Thanksgiving meal and football games and extend ourselves to families who need our support. We have discovered that the government can’t do it all — in fact in some cases, the government has turned its back on those who need help the most. It is the church and the people of God, who are called upon to be concerned about the least, the lost and the lonely — to have compassion for those who live in our streets, and the unemployed who need shelter and clothing, or just need a friend. I have said on many occasions that the church has abandoned its commitment to meet the needs of God’s people. This is not an option, but a mandate. We are compelled to take care of our brothers and sisters. Jesus the Master teacher spoke often about His concern for the least. The Gospel of Matthew, 25:35–36 reads, “For I was hungry and you gave me food; I was thirsty and you gave me drink; I was a stranger and you took me in; I was naked and you clothed me; I was sick and you visited me; I was in prison and you came to me.” This is just one illustration of how the Master spoke to us about our need to extend ourselves to others. This is not simply something we should do on Thanksgiving, but I use Thanksgiving for an opportunity for us to begin, if we have not already started, to meet the needs of God’s people, with the sheer act of “giving.”
As a Rotarian, I am moved by their theme, “Humanity in Motion.” That is to say, we show our humanity and our love for people by giving. In my humble opinion that is profound. When we realize that we are all part of God’s creation, our humanity is shown in how we care for one another. This takes us beyond color lines, educational lines, class lines and gender lines. We of all people know what it is to be hungry, jobless, or to be left out of society. Therefore we have a greater responsibility to reach back and give to the less fortunate. The Word says, “To whom much is given, much is required.”
Those of us who have been blessed are challenged to give back, not just to sit at our tables at Thanksgiving with our families and have a wonderful meal, and to enjoy the comfort of family and friends. We are called to be equally concerned about those in the cold who have no place to eat or friends to talk with.
We can make a difference; we must make a difference. I challenge you today to reach within to embrace humanity. Someone has said, “If I can help somebody along the way, then my living will not be in vain.” Someone needs your help; help them and your life will be so much richer. There are a few practical things you can do this Thanksgiving — purchase food for a food pantry, cook a meal for a needy family, invite someone to your home for dinner that might need the warmth and friendship of a loved family; visit a nursing home; spend some time with a child who is without parental support; donate good clean clothing to someone in need; practice patience and kindness; forgive someone; the list can go on and on.
Make Thanksgiving Day 2011 your greatest Thanksgiving yet by giving back to others. Keep it real — just put your Humanity in Motion.
Rev. Charles Quann is pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Penlyn.
The Fort Worth Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. held its annual Sisterhood Luncheon last Saturday, and I was privileged and honored to be the keynote speaker. A cloud hovered over the luncheon, though, and the media were there to talk about it. Four Delta women have been raped in the Dallas-Fort Worth area in the last year by a serial rapist who appears to be targeting women in their 50s and 60s. The rapes have caused such alarm that the national president of our sorority, Cynthia Butler McIntyre, has issued an alert, suggesting caution in displaying Delta identification on automobiles, and in wearing identifying T-shirts and sweaters.
Every two minutes, someone is sexually assaulted. More than 200,000 people, mostly women, are sexually assaulted each year. But only one in 16 rapists will spend even a moment in jail — more than 60 percent of all rapes are not reported to the police. Most rapes occur within a mile of a victim’s home, or in her home, and almost two-thirds of all rapes are committed by someone the victim actually knows. Nearly 80 percent of all rapes are perpetrated on women under 30, so the Delta rapes are unusual in many respects. Still, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority has the opportunity to turn the pain of these rapes into an empowering moment by organizing to stop the violence against women.
The Violence Against Women Act was authored by Vice-President Joe Biden when he was the senator from Delaware. It became law in 1994, and was reauthorized in 2000 and 2005. It is up for reauthorization again this year, and while it should face no trouble in Congress, who knows with this Congress? While there should be no resistance to this reauthorization, it is important for women to remind their congressional representatives that this critical legislation must be reauthorized.
Additionally, there is a federal agency that focuses on implementing the act by providing resources to organizations dedicated to preventing violence against women. The Office on Violence against Women (ww.ovw.usdoj.gov) is part of the Department of Justice. Earlier this fall, it held a meeting of university chancellors and presidents to talk about campus safety and violence against women, since college-aged young people are more likely to be victims of such violence than others are. The office urges people needing assistance to reach out to the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1 (800) 799-SAFE or the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1 (800) 656-HOPE.
Although we are well into the 21st century, we still treat the crime of rape with 19th-century sensibilities. Many women lack the courage that the Guinean victim of former World Bank President Dominique Strauss-Kahn (also known as DSK) showed. Yet her treatment is a cautionary tale about why so many victims are silent. After Naffissatou Diallo spoke up, we learned all her business — that she cleaned rooms for $25 an hour in New York, that she had an acquaintance or fiancé who may have been involved in drugs and was incarcerated in Arizona, that she may have lied on her immigration application, and that she may have earned income that she did not report. Before it was all said and done, charges were dropped. Then DSK fled back to France where he spoke of an “inappropriate relationship” with Diallo. Give me a break! When does spilling your semen on someone you do not know constitute a relationship? I digress. The point is that many women don’t speak out because they don’t want to be dragged through the media mud of scrutiny into their past lives. Even a prostitute can be raped, but the prostitute wouldn’t likely get a fair trail, especially if her abuser were rich and powerful. The victim’s character is still placed on trial, and that shouldn’t be the case. And yet, how many women judge victims of rape with the same harsh scrutiny that others have. What was she wearing? Was she asking for it? Was it just miscommunication?
The Violence Against Women Act does not address many of these questions, and perhaps it cannot. We have to change the culture so that rape is so repugnant an act that most people will not consider it as an option, that penalties are so harsh that people can be thrown under the jail for such crimes. Four members of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority were violated in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, and more than 200,000 people are violated in our nation each year. Delta can use the pain of these rapes to lead the nation in drawing a line in the sand. Enough is enough. It is time to stop the violence against women. — (NNPA)
Julianne Malveaux is president of Bennett College for Women in Greensboro, N.C.
Sooner or later, we all make mistakes.
Our fates and fortunes are often measured not by those mistakes, but by our reaction upon discovery of our error. Those who run away from their mistakes — or engage in efforts to cover up those mistakes, or worse, blame others — reveal only their own shallowness of character and hinder their self-improvement. The more enlightened among us acknowledge their mistakes to themselves and others, and make a concerted effort not to repeat the same mistake.
This newspaper made a mistake in 2008 when we endorsed John “Johnny Doc” Dougherty, business manager for electricians’ union Local 98, for the state Senate seat vacated by Vince Fumo. First District Sen. Larry Farnese, who by all accounts has done an outstanding job in his short tenure, won that election.
Concerning that endorsement, one could say in hindsight we were duped, or that we believed what we wished to believe; or that we simply failed to take the long view. We’ll take that.
We had our reservations at the time, questioning Dougherty’s commitment to Philadelphia’s Black community. His union, like far too many of the building trades in our city, does not reflect the city’s diverse population. The conspicuous absence of Blacks and other minorities among Philadelphia’s working union trades cannot be passed off as coincidence.
Our mistake was in buying Dougherty’s promise to remedy the situation: that he would train and apprentice unprecedented numbers of minority candidates, who would go on to secure family-sustaining union jobs. Taking advantage of a construction boom which continues to this day, Dougherty swore to put Black Philadelphians to work in his union, often rebuilding their own neighborhoods.
We believed it, and we endorsed him. And now, we’re sorry as hell.
The construction boom continues, and work sites are buzzing with activity all over the city. Look at the racial makeup of those work crews. Sadly, they are as overwhelmingly white, and overwhelmingly non-Philadelphian, as they always were.
Black laborers, many well qualified, continue to battle unemployment while watching white construction crews with New Jersey plates on their trucks rebuild houses in their own communities. Long-promised apprenticeship programs fail to produce even barely acceptable numbers of Black building trades unionists.
Ask Johnny Doc how many Black electricians are full-time working members of Electricians Local 98 compared with five or ten years ago. Chances are you won’t get a straight answer, because the truth is that his union has failed to diversify — and that effort is deliberate.
He further insulted the Black community through a vicious, unprovoked attack on Ameenah Young, CEO of the Pennsylvania Convention Center and a woman whose commitment to her community through her work as an entrepreneur and business executive are beyond reproach, and who serves as a mentor and shining example to young Black girls not just in Philadelphia, but nationwide.
John Dougherty is an ambitious politician whose quest for power demands he maintain working relationships with select members of the Black community. By being overly generous to the few, he hopes to ignore the many. He is not the first politician to employ this strategy, and not the first to be successful at it, but we hope to make him the last.
It is possible that in our 2008 endorsement, we were so focused on creating a level playing field that we overlooked a snake in the grass. It is a mistake we will not repeat.
We will work diligently to force Dougherty to live up to his empty promises and failed attempts at inclusion in his union, and all Philadelphia building trades unions. We will follow up on every commitment, we will keep hammering, we will never give up fighting for our communities, especially for the most vulnerable among us.
We will maintain a watchful eye on Dougherty, and on those in elected positions that he sponsors, whether Black or white. We will hold liable those Black politicians who gladly take his money while keeping silent on his abysmal record of inclusion and minority relations. We will question those white politicians who blindly accept intolerance and injustice as the price of his sponsorship.
We will ensure that the power of public office and the power of positive change remain in the hands of the people of Philadelphia.
Someone has sold all of us on the “fact” that Black Americans are more criminally inclined, that they deserve to be disproportionately incarcerated, and that they are fundamentally unemployable, in a high-tech society.
Since 1953, the United States has worked through an agency called the United States Information Agency (USIA), shaping world opinion about every issue in which our country has an interest. The agency maintains 190 offices in 142 countries and reports to the U.S. State Department. It clears and instructs all external messages about the United States, so none of the things that people in Europe, Asia, Latin America, or the Middle East hear about our country is the result of happenstance. It’s all very strategic and very focused.
That ability to sell and to influence doesn’t begin and end overseas, certainly. The U.S. communications juggernaut has also been especially effective at selling goods, services, elected officials and political issues to poor, unsuspecting, domestic, Black people, and to other Americans.
Both the federal government and Corporate America have always been very good at this stuff. They’ve been especially effective because the “customer” usually didn’t even realize that he/she had been “sold.”
In that context, one of the things we’ve been “sold,” as a Black community and as a nation, is the new, inherently criminal image of Black people. African Americans have been here for nearly 400 years but, it’s only been over the past 35 years that someone has sold us on the fact, and we have accepted, being classified as America’s permanent, criminal underclass.
As a result of these efforts, the U.S. has changed the image of African Americans from “hard working,” “industrious,” “family-oriented” and “honest” (what we were, for all but the last 35 years we’ve been in this country) to “lazy,” “irresponsible” and “inherently criminal” and it has all happened, as I have said, in the past 35 years of our 392-year tenure in this country.
It’s really not too difficult to trace the point in time when all of the new imagery about Black Americans began to emerge.
Older African Americans will tell you, for example, that they can recall when their community was not called “the ghetto,” or the “the hood,” but, simply, the Black neighborhood. They’ll also mention that they can recall when people believed that Black folks had a real sense of community, that they really did support one other, worked hard, and, yes, partied hard. They also, no matter where in the country they live, are quick to point out that in the Black community — in the South and in the North, right up to about the late 1960s — you could sleep with your windows open and your front doors unlocked, without fear or concern.
As the most visible example of how strong Black communities had grown and how much talent and vibrance they had, there is the so-called “Harlem Renaissance.”
Those words described conditions in New York City’s substantially Black Harlem community, following the Great Migration of Black, former farm workers, from the South to the North.
They came not to be “lazy,” “irresponsible,” or to be engaged in criminal activities. They came North — and, specifically, to Harlem, by the thousands — to escape blatant, overt Southern racism, to work in factories in the industrialized North, to write, to play music, to exercise their other creative talents and to build a community.
It’s been said that “by 1918, Harlem, New York had the highest concentration of Black people in the world.” It was there that W.E.B. DuBois (author of “The Philadelphia Negro”) and others formed the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). It was there, working out of the same heightened sense of racial pride and dignity that the legendary Jamaican-born activist Marcus Garvey founded the United Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) and initiated his “Back To Africa” movement.
Having survived the Great Depression and World War II, Harlem, like North Philadelphia, parts of South and West Philadelphia, and many other large Black communities across the country, could not as easily withstand the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), passed by the U.S. Congress in 1970, and the related importation of wholesale amounts of illicit drugs into Black communities. Those drugs were brought into the country and transported to Black communities to be sold at the retail level by small, Black “Amway/Tupperware”-type distribution methods. Those “dealers” were the people subject to arrest and conviction, even though they wouldn’t be in “business” at all, unless some other more-wealthy, more-influential trafficker, with global connections, didn’t import the product into their communities, in the first place.
The Controlled Substances Act “changed the nature of federal drug law and policy, expanded the scope of federal drug laws and expanded federal police power enormously.” The CSA has had dramatic effect on the national Black community because it really did coincide with massive increases in drug importation, even as government leaders told the country to “Just Say No.”
The fact is that, from 1925 to 1975, the Black rate of prison incarceration had ranged from about 60,000 per year to about 130,000 per year. Surging in 1970, at about the same time of the implementation of the new, harsher penalties for “controlled substances,” including marijuana, cocaine and heroin, the Black incarceration rate grew to about 750,000 per year, by 1990.
Since 1972, the U.S. prison population has increased seven-fold and that upsurge has affected young Black men more than any other group. In 2004, the white incarceration rate was 393 per 100,000, the Latino incarceration rate was 957 per 100,000 and the Black rate of incarceration was 2531 per 100,000, nearly seven times greater than the white rate.
It was also true, at that point, that one in three Black men between the ages of 20 and 29 were under some form of criminal justice control. By that same year, it was disclosed, a Black male born in 1991 stood a 29 percent chance of being imprisoned, at some point in his life, compared to 4 percent, for a white man born that year. In a related issue, 1.4 million Black men, or 13 percent of the African-American adult male population, have lost the right to vote due to their involvement in the criminal justice system.
Here’s the problem: The government has categorized marijuana, for example as a controlled substance, even while it recognizes that that very drug, had grown, by 2006, to be America’s number one cash crop ($35.8 billion for marijuana, $23.3 billion for corn, $17.3 billion for soy beans, $12.3 billion for hay, $7.4 billion for wheat, etc.). That situation clearly gives the appearance that the recent history of wholesale Black criminalization may very well be orchestrated by those who are not actually members, themselves, of the Black community.
As a recent example, 15 percent of all arrests in NYC, in 2010, were marijuana possession-related and 86 percent of those included in low-level marijuana arrests in that city are Black or Latino, even though whites use the drug at higher rates.
Its also clear that if one in three Black men are largely, through these processes, now under some form of criminal justice control, then it’s going to be difficult, in the foreseeable future, to find gainful employment opportunities for a significant part of the Black community.
Ask yourself: Just who is making these decisions?
When will Black Americans begin to have more substantial input in shaping their own futures?
And, finally, whether you believe or not that all of this is taking place with input from the previously described, government-sponsored U.S. image makers — I hope it isn’t so.
A. Bruce Crawley is president and principal owner of Millennium 3 Management Inc.