43 Dead in Chicago, Will Obama Come to Chicago to Speak on Gun Violence?

15 year old Hadiya was shot and killed in a random act of violence in Chicago

15 year old Hadiya was shot and killed in a random act of violence in Chicago

I wanted to follow-up last week’s article we ran on the shooting death of 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton..It was titled ‘How many Black Children Must Die Before We get a Sandy Hook Response‘.. . It was written by community activist La’Keisha Gray-Sewell who heads up the organization Girls Like Me..In the article she spoke about the urgency that displayed in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook tragedy in Newton, Ct..

She stressed that while it would be great to have that type of societal response, the reality is in America where Black folks are scapegoats and their concerns often dismissed , we will have to amount a Sandy Hook response ourselves. We will have to put forth an urgency that leads to us ending violence that plagues our community..

We brought La ‘Keisha on our radio show and here’s what she had to say with respect to her widely read article..

Since that interview there’s been a big push to get president Obama to come back home to Chicago to address the issue of Gun Violence..Over the weekend Cathy Cohen who heads of the Black Youth project appeared on MSNBC’s Melissa Harris Perry Show to explain whats going on and why the push:

Asked what such a speech could accomplish, Cohen said Obama can use his “bully pulpit” to “rally the country to understand this issue,” as well as help to encourage groups to coordinate on fighting gun violence.

 “symbolically,” people have seen Obama in Newtown, Conn., and Aurora, Colo., as they should have — but Chicago needs to feel that “our children are worthy also.”

She said that in addition to the short-term need to reduce violence as quickly as possible, “This is about also young people that don’t have jobs and who don’t see a future. This is about young people who don’t, in fact, have quality education. We have almost 50 percent of young African-American men not graduating from high school, right. There are immediate issues that have to be dealt with and then there are broader, longer structural issues. And we have to hold the mayor accountable, but we also have to hold the president accountable.”

You can peep the video and accompanying article and information on the petition  HERE..

Obama got a game plan about this gun control stuff

Obama got a game plan about this gun control stuff

One thing that comes to mind when seeing folks having to petition President Obama to come to Chicago and address the fact that since the start of the new year 43 people have been shot and killed in the Windy City. The fact that he hasn’t shown up on his own and has to be pushed and agitated speaks volumes. It’s a stark reminder that Black people and Black death are still toxic in political arenas and when they are spoken about its done after being weighed from a political lens..In other words there’s a lot of concern about how a Black president addressing gun violence in the Black community will play out in the mainstream..

While I understand the importance of pushing this President to do what he should do intuitively so that money and resources could be released to address the situation, there is a still a need to be cautious..Will Obama use the backdrop of Black shooting deaths in Chicago to heal those who have been traumatized or will he use this as a way to further criminalize youth as he emphasizes, law and order?

Yes those who have guns and do violence in the hood  need to be stopped and held accountable.. How will that happen? Will it be more militarization of the police? Will it mean entire communities and groups of people being subjected to profiling tactics, increased surveillance and stop and frisk type tactics?

Personally I think our communities need to be healed and people need to be made whole, where we embrace life versus dissing it..  We have to get to the root causes of violence and hopefully if Obama does come to Chicago, thats the direction he’s pushed in vs wanting to lock everyone up..


Jasiri X Releases Official Video for “Ascension”


Filmed in San Francisco and Los Angeles, “Ascension” symbolically tells the story of the death, resurrection and ascension of Hip-Hop. “Ascension” was produced by Rel!g!on and directed by Hayden Baptiste. “Ascension” is the first leak and title track off Jasiri X’s new album. Produced entirely by Rel!g!on, “Ascension” hits iTunes and all other digital retailers on March 26th, 2013 through Wandering Worx Music and will distributed by Green Streets/Nature Sounds.

Remembering Rosa Parks as We Celebrate Her 100th Birthday

Rosa ParksToday is Rosa Parks 100th birthday… She has long been considered the mother of the Civil Rights Movement and for the most part that’s true..This was the sister whose act of defiance on December 1st 1955 set off the Montgomery Bus Boycott.. Unfortunately what’s been downplayed his her courage and the fact that she was not somebody who simply refused to give up her seat on  the bus to a white man at the height of Jim Crow..

Parks had planned it out and was looking to push the envelope and fight for change.. She was not someone willing to just go along with the program and call it a day.. and that’s important to note.. Parks was an activist. She had linked up with the Highlander School in Tennessee where activists are trained to this day to fight racial injustice.. She was also the secretary of the Montgomery chapter of the NAACP.

Below is a clip from 1956 where Rosa Parks is breaking down what she did and why..


There is a nice write up on Rosa Parks in last week’s New York Times that focuses on a new book about her called “The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks,” by Jeanne Theoharis. here’s an excerpt from that article…which can be found HERE

Parks was mostly raised by her grandparents. Her grandfather, a follower of Marcus Garvey, often sat vigil on the porch with a rifle in case the Klan came. She sometimes sat with him because, as the book says she put it, “I wanted to see him kill a Ku Kluxer.”

When she was a child, a young white man taunted her. In turn, she threatened him with a brick. Her grandmother reprimanded her as “too high-strung,” warning that Rosa would be lynched before the age of 20. Rosa responded, “I would be lynched rather than be run over by them.”

It’s sad to note that for many in recent generations came to know Ms Parks because of two controversies. The first was when popular rap group Outkast did a song using her name and Ms Parks and her people objected. She didn’t appreciate the language  and thought it had nothing to do with her  and her work.  The group said it was their way of paying homage.

Outkast caused quite abit of controversy with their Rosa Parks song

Outkast caused quite abit of controversy with their Rosa Parks song

A lawsuit was filed against Outkast and their label and was later dismissed. Famed attorney Johnny Cochran got involved and took the case on appeal.. The US 6th district court upheld the earlier decision of dismissal.. Another case was filed this time Parks asked for 5 Billion dollars in damages.

It was at that point that members of Park’s family intervened and spoke up noting that they felt Rosa who was starting to suffer from dementia was being used by lawyers and handlers who were trying to make a quick buck. They said Rosa would never go all out to ruin the lives of young people like Big Boi and Andre 3000.. The entire issue eventually got settled out of court in April 2005, with group members agreeing to do work for the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for self Development.

The second controversy popped off  when the movie Barbershop came out and the character played by comedian Cedric the Entertainer made a joke saying Rosa Parks was tired.. and didn’t really do much but sit ‘her Black ass’ down.. That got many Civil Rights leaders heated. They felt a line had been crossed and Rosa’s legacy was tarnished.


We hope as we look back at Rosa Park’s 100 birthday folks take time to dig deep and understand that she was someone who truly loved her people and did what many refused to do, step up and make noise with the intent of bringing about a brighter tomorrow. As we reflect on her life and times.. we should be asking ourselves who is the future Rosa Parks.. Who is set to take fight for justice to the next level the way she did back in 1955?