Looking Beyond the Hoodie, even as Bobby Rush is Booted off the House Floor

Today Congressman Bobby Rush from Chicago got kicked off the House Floor for wearing a Hoodie. He like many others had dawned the attire to bring attention to the case surrounding Trayvon Martin. It was a noble gesture. It helps keep the case in the spotlight, but this has got to go beyond Hoodies. Too many of us are focusing on that and not some of the larger issues at hand.

For example, all of us should be asking; ‘whats the story behind Sanford Police Chief Bill Lee?’ Most of us protesting around Trayvon don’t  know his name. All we know is the police chief stepped down and very few of us are bringing him up in conversation and demanding he be brought to task? He’s just as guilty as George Zimmerman.

Sandford Florida Police Chief Bill Lee

Why was Chief Sanders and his department so sloppy with the initial investigation? Why didn’t they follow standard police procedure of collecting evidence like; keeping Zimmerman’s  gun and running ballistic tests or checking to make sure Zimmerman wasn’t high or drunk? We need to know why Standford police didn’t notify Trayvon’s family for after he was killed and his body was in the morgue.. Martin’s father found out after he filed a missing person’s report. We are just finding out that one of the early investigators wanted to charge Zimmerman with manslaughter. Why wasn’t that allowed to happen?

We need to know what’s the deal with State Attorney Norman R. Wolfinger, why didn’t he press charges? We need to know if there’s a connection with George Zimmerman’s dad Robert Zimmerman a former magistrate and the lawmakers here in Florida?

All of us should be asking those questions and when we see a Congressman like Bobby Rush wearing a hoodie on the house floor, he is not only asking those questions but ideally if he’s being escorted off  the floor it’s because he’s attempting to hold hearings where many of those questions can get answered.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ougHdwR8PhI

We need to see Rush and other members of the Congressional Black Caucus hold more briefings and hearings like they did with yesterday’s  Protecting a “Suspect” Community: Racial Profiling & Hate Crimes. We need to see hearings on police misconduct. We can start with the frequent leaks coming from the police departments designed to smear Trayvon’s name. In many states, including Florida, they have in place a Policeman’s Bill of Rights. In many places those Policeman’s Bill of Rights make it difficult to get a hold of personnel files to review complaints against an officer  (I’m not sure if Florida has the same provisions as California where officers are shielded).

In any case all of us need to continuously connect the dots.. Trayvon’s killing can’t be seen in isolation to last week’s brutal vigilante killing of Shaima Alawadi in Lakeside California or the ‘drive by’ shooting death of Rekia Boyd by an off duty Chicago cop who claims he saw a man standing next to Boyd draw gun. Boyd was an innocent bystander yet her shooting was deemed justified even though the police found no weapons on the scene.

These incidents and scores of others need to be investigated. We need to make sure that these incidents are not connected to a larger more sinister plan of action. Are we experiencing co-ordinated and deleibarte terrorist attacks or are people just angry and acting out? Hopefully Rush and the CBC can lead the charge on Capitol Hill and start to really dig into those questions while we start looking into this amongst ourselves in our communities.

Lastly, lets not get caught up in the hoodie thing as if Black people are only suspicious when wearing them.. Try driving a nice car and your suspicious… Try walking around a nice department store and your suspicious.. Try cashing a large check and your suspicious..

Racist People are suspicious of President Obama, with or without a hoodie

This suspiciousness is rooted in racist people holding on to the notion that Black people not being in ‘their place‘ when they do something that defies stereotypes. This is why we see the racial attacks on President Barack Obama who is constantly under suspicion..We already seen the disrespect directed to him by business mogul Donald Trump, who demanded to see the President’s birth certificate. Even after it was shown, we now have Arizona sheriff Joe Arpiao conducting an investigation to make sure it’s not fake..

Sadly we are suspicious of each other..Long after this Trayvon/ Zimmerman thing dies down, even if he’s arrested and convicted, many of us are still gonna be running around not trusting the Black repairman, the Black lawyer, the Black accountant.. Black men will claim they can’t trust ‘skeezing, gold digging sistas and sistas will say they can’t trust these ‘trifling scheming azz’ men..and nobody trusts the kids..How do we intend to change that?.

Not to digress too much… Again we must be clear and push forward with justice and the dismantling of institutionalized racism and oppression as a goal. Our hoodies have got to be connected larger political agenda or understanding. Are we wearing a hoodie to show solidarity?  If so, who or  what are we in solidarity with? Are we wearing the hoodies as an act of defiance? If so what exactly are we defying?   All of us should learned the lesson of what happened after Obama got elected. His historic victory was quickly erased by this onslaught of racist killings all over the country. From Oscar Grant to Trayvon and beyond. If we’re not mindful of this, we will quickly find ourselves back at square one even if Zimmerman is carted off to jail for life or given a death sentence. Bottom line: What good is a symbol if its not connected to a larger politic and plan of action?

written by Davey D

An Open Letter from Singer Sinead O’Connor About Trayvon Martin, Racism Pop Culture & Music

Singer/ activist Sinead O’Connor just penned a powerful piece about Trayvon Martin, Racism, Loving ourselves and Hip Hop Music… It comes from her blog which is located at: http://sineadoconnor.com/

Here’s what she wrote the other day:

I would like to extend my very deepest sympathies to the family and other loved ones of murdered teenager, Treyvon Martin. I am very sad today (and am certain the whole of Ireland is) to learn of poor Treyvon’s terrifying ordeal and horrified by the fact his known and named and admitted killer has not been arrested, despite the crime having taken place a month ago. This is a disgrace to the entire human race.

For those out there who believe black people to be less than pure royalty, let me inform you of a little known, but scientifically proven, many times over, FACT. Which after reading, you will hopefully feel both very stupid and very sorry. For you dishonor your own mothers and grandmothers.

EVERY human being on earth, no matter what their culture, creed, skin colour, or nationality, shares one gene traceable back to one African woman. Scientists have named it ‘The Eve Gene’. This means ALL of us, even ridiculously stupid, ignorant, perverted, blaspheming racists are the descendants of one African woman.

One African woman is the mother of all of us. Africa was the first world. You come from there! Your skin may be ‘white’.. because you didn’t need it to be black any more where you lived. But as Curtis Mayfield said.. “You’re just the surface of our dark, deep well”. So you’re being morons. And God is having the last laugh at your ignorant expense.

If you hate black people, its yourself you hate. And the mother who bore you. If you kill or wish ill on black people, its yourself you kill and wish ill on. As well as the mother who bore you.

When you dishonor the the utter glory and majesty of black people, you lie. Your heart lies to you and you let it. Despite seeing every day, all your life, how you and your country would be less than wonderfully functioning and inspiring to the world, without the manifold and glorious contributions made by the descendants of African slaves, who did not by the way actually ask to go to America and leave their future families there to be disrespected for eternity.

What are you doing hating yourself by hating your brothers and sisters who daily show you nothing but inspiration and love, despite having NOTHING, in their own country? Despite having barely a chance of anything, because of racism. Despite being granted no ‘permission’ for proper self-esteem.

These beautiful people continue to believe in and even manifest Jesus Christ better than you do. That alone could stand as the greatest reason your racism is blasphemy, were it not for all the other reasons.

These people you hate and fear ARE the body of Christ, just as we all are. Every child, woman or man. And they know it. Maybe thats why you cant bear to look at them. Because you see Jesus Christ and you cant stand the light.

Stop this ridiculous and uneducated attitude. You would be dead without black people. Think of all the greatest music ever composed. The greatest songs. The greatest inspirational heroes.. Muhammad Ali, Mandela, Martin Luther King, Harriet Tubman, Soujourner Truth, Bob Marley, Nina Simone, Curtis Mayfield. So many absolute angels, sent from God.

Without the inspiration of these people many millions of so-called ‘white’ people, including myself would not have had the strength to pay the price of life.

And black youth in America. I’m talking to you here too. I love you. So I don’t mean to sound cross, I’m just being a mother.. Why are you killing each other? Why are you hating yourselves? You are the most important people God ever sent to this earth, every man, woman and child among you! Don’t let uneducated people win and take your self-esteem or your esteem for each other, and make you kill each other. over guns, drugs, bling, or any other nonsense.

You are now entering YOUR version of a sort of civil rights movement and you’re gonna see history being made in what has certainly the profoundest potential to become THE most wonderful country on earth. Because soon ALL ‘isms’ and ‘sits” will end. including racism, as the people of the earth begin to understand, we are all one.

We came from one mother. We are all brothers and sisters. And we CAN get beyond this ILLUSION of separateness. With prayer and love. It CAN change. It WILL change. And YOU guys (young people of all kinds) are the ones who are gonna GENTLY change it. And you know where it starts? With MUSIC.

Don’t be guided by rap. Gangsta or otherwise. Sure.. enjoy it.. adore it.as I do.. but realize this.. rap ain’t about your civil or spiritual rights, baby boys and girls. It.. along with most music nowadays.. is about falsenesses and vanities. Bling, drugs, sex, guns and people- dissing. Its giving you the message you ain’t ‘good enough’ if you don’t have bling and ting.. and money. Or if you’re not what it deems ‘sexy’.

(This is true of all popular music not rap alone. I know. Its tragically true of all popular youth culture the world over).

Poor Curtis Mayfield must be crying all day and night ALL day and night in heaven, every day and night.. To see what has been so successfully achieved by those who sent guns, drugs, and bling to squash the civil rights movement. Now you all don’t have to be murdered by racists any more.. you’re murdering each other FOR them! And your parents and grandparents are left crying.

Go back to strong black musical guides who left you information in the 60s and 70s. when they were living through the civil rights struggle. Curtis Mayfield. The Impressions. Nina Simone, Mahalia Jackson. Sing back the Holy Spirit ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, as those artists did.

Forget bling. Forget “Get Rich Or Die Trying”. That is an evil message. Evil my dears is only life backwards. Turn it the right way up. With music. The messages American black youth are being given through music are not about the spiritual and therefore strong and conquering but PEACEFUL making of YOUR country into the wonderful place it secretly is and can be.. BECAUSE OF YOU, and BY YOU!!

You know not how you are adored, appreciated, valued, loved, cried for,smiled for, prayed for, all over the world. You know not how much inspiration and uplift-ment of heart you give to millions just by your presence on earth.

These musical guides will give you self-esteem. When you have self-esteem you can achieve anything. You can stand in the street as many did yesterday and change your country peacefully and with song. Chant down Babylon as the Rastas say. Rastafari will also give you self esteem. Investigate it.

You will notice, my beautiful sons and daughters, when you study, as you must, footage of all civil rights gatherings, how singing and music and sound and voice and the Holy Spirit were all employed and were so much part of the energy which moved things along.. just as running was in the South African gatherings I saw on tv in my own childhood, which inspired me to survive my own horrors.

What you listen to musically and whether or not you employ the Holy Spirit’s highest will for your life is whats gonna make you transcend all you’re having to suffer (the worst of which is low self-esteem.. or esteem based upon material ‘success’ or ‘sexiness’)) as a result of being the descendants of people who didn’t ask to be stolen and leave you where you are. Delete bling. Get conscious with your music. Demand conscious music from your artists. Go back to the artists who left you proper guidance.

This is some serious stuff and we (all manner of musical artists) are too silent on matters of enormous spiritual importance. Lemme ask you.. Jayzee and Eminem et al. Why was it always the black people only worked in the post rooms of record companies, which was always in the basement? Why was it that as each floor went up the skins got paler till it was fuckin ghosts at the top? And all us artists.. even me.. said nothing? Those buildings (record companies) always struck me as being a microcosm or painting of America, racially speaking. Christ almighty.. if its like that in the music business how is anything ever going to change?

We, musical artists are too silent on important stuff. And it is our job to be the gate-keepers of truth. ALL the people of this earth must come together eventually and see that we are one. ALL artists must stand up. Black, white, yellow, green, pink, fucking polka dot.. and be a light in these times.

The world is going to shift massively this year.. spiritually speaking. Musical artists are to be a massive part of that shift. Get up, lets all of us. And light Jah fire.. and BE lights.

Where’s the fire gone from music? Where is the love? the oneness? The knowing that music CAN and WILL move things in the right spiritual direction without hatred or violence? We must box clever. Sing the devil to sleep at your feet. Thats what Curtis teaches. He is the master of ALL musical masters. forget, forget, forget and forget again bling and guns and drugs and the worship of fame and money. Its time to wake up. We KNOW the power of music. Why aren’t we using it to change anything important?

Musicians all over the world should now gently demand this child’s killer be arrested immediately and the family of Treyvon Martin be immediately apologized to upon bended knee. Frankly. I myself would like an apology! America is a country I love and adore. what this man has done is un-American in the most horrific extreme.

Him not being arrested is extremely embarrassing and does absolutely NOT paint the true picture of of a country and a people who for the 90% majority are the kindest, most loving, intelligent, and wonderful people you could know.

Please.. ALL Americans should deplore this crime. As should ALL people of ALL nations. And deplore the fact this man has not been arrested. All Irish people should do the same. And I ask that we here in Ireland should express through our American embassy that we would like to see this man arrested this very minute. Because racism is not acceptable. Nor is vigilantism. And this was very clearly in no way at all a case of self-defense.

I leave you with some lyrics of Curtis Mayfield’s which I feel are appropriate for this situation. I am certain Curtis would have wanted to contribute to discussion on the issue of Treyvon’s murder and the condition of young black people in America today.. so here goes.. the song is called This Is My Country.. from the album of the same name.

Some people think we don’t have the right
to say its my country
before they give in
they’d rather fuss and fight
than say its my country
I’ve paid three hundred years or more
of slave-driving sweat and welts on my back
This is my country

Too many have died in protecting my pride
for me to go second class
We’ve survived a hard blow and I want you to know
that you must face us at last
And I know you will give consideration
shall we perish unjust or live equal as a nation?
This is my country.

written by

-Sinead O’Connor-

Editorial: To Those Who Keep Asking; ‘Why ya’ll don’t care when Black folks kill Black folks’

This is for those folks who ask the question “Why ya’ll don’t care when Black folks kill Black folks all the time?”

Black people are just as hurt and concerned and angry when Black men die from gang violence, driveby shootings and “being caught up” every single day, as we are when white racist representatives of governmental institutions (that are supposed to protect and serve us) and ordinary white racist citizens murder us in cold blood.

Black people are just as hurt and concerned and angry when Black women die from domestic violence – murdered by those who say they love us – AND gang violence AND driveby shootings AND “being caught up” as we are when white racist representatives of governmental institutions (that are supposed to protect and serve us) – like Mitrice Richardson and the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department – and ordinary white racist citizens murder us in cold blood.

BUT:

1.  If you are dependent on the mainstream media to tell you that, you will not see it; they have no stake in that.

2.  If you are dependent on Black media, you may not see it there either; they may not have the resources to do it consistently.

3.  If you are not in close proximity to Black institutions or Black people – in other words, if you don’t know the folks that know – you are OOL – Out Of Luck.

In answer to your question “Why ya’ll don’t care when Black folks kill Black folks all the time?”  I say this:  “How come YOU don’t you care?”  It appears that this question ONLY gets raised when Black people vent their RIGHTEOUS indignation and anger over unjustified, racist murders.

If YOU really cared, then you would know about the organizations that exist to stop the senseless, every day murders of Black people by Black people:

1. You would know the names of these organizations

2. You would know when their meetings are

3.  You would know where their meetings were

4.  You would know the people who are a part of these organizations by name

5.  You would know the people who are a part of these organizations by sight

6.  You would go to their meetings

7.  You would ask them, “What can I do to help ya’ll?”

8.  You would ask your Black and mainstream media, “How come ya’ll don’t write/broadcast anything about these organizations on a REGULAR basis?”

9.  You would give them much needed money

10.  You would give them much needed money.

I live in Los Angeles, California.  These are the names I know:  Cease Fire, 2nd Call, Unity One, Unity Two, Professional Community Intervention Training Institute, Project Cry No More, Mothers of the Community, Unity in the Community, Peace in the Streets

What city do you live in?  Do you know the names?  Why not?

That’s what I thought.

If you genuinely and sincerely wanted to know the answer to that question, then I apologize for my tone.  If you just like to stir up crap and make a scene because you’d rather the attention be on you, instead of JUSTICE for Trayvon Martin AND ALL THE OTHERS, you are a sick, sad creature.

written byThandisizwe Chimurenga

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Davey D Notes:

I’m glad my sista and fellow journalist/activist, Thandi wrote this piece… It needed to be said, and quite frankly a few folks needed to be called out on this. Folks who are guilty of this; are well-meaning but flawed at best and disingenuous at worse.

I been hit with the question/ assertion all this week and calmly had to point out that I had been to three well attended marches, town hall actions dealing with trauma and drama in our own communities.where were the folks asking? 

One of the activities, was a town hall with Too Short focusing on teen violence and misogyny at jam -packed Oakland City Hall.. I posted up the entire video and article so folks could see and experience themselves, Not one person who asserted that Black people don’t care had bothered to pass / share around that video and write up..You can peep the article and video HERE

Nor did they pass around the flyer and article about local rap artists and activist including T-Kash running a marathon this weekend to stop gun violence..Its something he frequently does…You can peep the info HERE

We have cats like Adisa Banjoko and the Hip Hop Chess Federation.. Not only is working w/ T-Kash, but he frequently does events that focus on martial arts, chess and Hip Hop.

He works with youngstas in the Mission district of San Francisco as well as goes to prisons to work with young brothas..His events are always free, well attended and inspiring… He was just up at SF State at our Hip Hop class working with folks and offering up internships for students to help with his efforts.. he also writes quite few columns for News One about what we can and should do to improve our communities.. You can peep him HERE

None who ask where the outcry for Black on Black crime, bothered to join the thousand plus folks who showed up at Allen Temple Church 3 weeks ago to address the issue of human trafficking/ teenage pimping and prostitution. It was put together by author/ activist Reverend Harry Williams who heads up a organization called Street Disciples/ Hood Movement 21 They are out and about every week in the streets trying to turn lives around.. 2 months ago they had a big gathering for community groups to come together and maximize efforts.. Reach him HERE

Almost none of the naysayers got on board to support the efforts of the 44% Coalition , a group of Black, Latina women along with a number of male allies who stepped to both Too Short and XXL Magazine around the issue of sexual assaults on Black and Latina women..

Apparently these folks weren’t up on the Detroit 300 who are patrolling their neighborhoods and coming after those seek to do harm… or 1Hood out of Pittsburgh, PA  where they not only patrolled the streets but set up youth media academy with the purpose of changing our image. Many of the videos done by Jasiri-x were put together by youth they work with and now train..You can see one of the projects they did about Pittsburgh HERE

These folks don’t seem to know about the tireless work and documentaries put together by former gang member Silky Slim out of Baton Rouge..This brother keeps himself on the front line of trying to stop the killings and turn people around from a life that he once led. You can peep his organization Stop the Killing Inc HERE

These folks don’t seem to know about United Roots, Urban Peace Movement, Silence the Violence, Love Life Foundation, Youth Speaks, United Playza , Homey, Barrios Unidos, Leadership Excellence  the Sista Circle, Homeboy Hotline, Dereca Blackmon’s Gender Walk,  Susan Taylor’s National Cares Mentoring Movement or the tireless work graph writers/ organizer like Refa 1 does .. I think it was last weekend he was out putting in work..and is gearing up[ to do a big event in the summer called Aerosoul  You can peep his work HERE

Maybe they don’t know about the work of Truth Minista Paul Scott out of North Carolina who frequently writes about ways for us to improve our community and backs it up with action.. You can read his columns HERE You can peep the video of him stepping to a malt liquor company -BLAST who he felt was trying to poison his neighborhood..HERE 

Maybe they dont know about artist like Mistah FAB who frequently goes to schools, does keep the Peace rallies, gives away school supplies and tries to give back..You can peep that HERE

He’s one of scores of artists I can name from Rebel Diaz in NY to dead prez to Ise Lyfe to Naughty By Nature, KRS-One, Bambu, Bun B, Kiwi, Metro P, Fly Benzo, Mystic, Mommas Hip Hop Kitchen, NY Oil, Wise Intelligent  who are always in their communities working to uplift, heal and end violence.

Maybe they don’t know about the work local artist Jahi does with young men who he takes under his wings.. A couple of months back they did a Guns Down Stop the Violence actions..Here’s a video

http://vimeo.com/34697057

There are so many more organizations and people to mention..Forgive me if I overlooked anyone.. because the list is super long, but I think folks get the point.. People are putting in work everyday in our communities, often unsung and highlighted in the media.. That doesn’t mean they don’t exist, nor does it mean work isn’t being done..

I will also add from my own experience, many of those who organize to heal our communities also organize around egregious incidents like Trayvon Martin, Oscar Grant or Sean Bell. They do it because life is precious and they step up whether or not its done by a cop or it comes at the hands of each other..They do when the cameras are there and when they are not there..

But hey, as was pointed out in the article, there are many who ask the question ‘where’s the Black community when we kill each other?’ who are simply waiting for BET or CNN to cover it and blow things up-Don’t hold your breath..or even worse, maybe these folks simply can’t help but think the worse when it comes to us.. Like we somehow don’t care… 

-Davey D-