August 31, 2007

Sharpton Visits Savannah to Support Family of David Willis

The Reverend Al Sharpton went to a Savannah church last night to help raise money for the family of a man shot and killed by police. The funds raised will support 22-year-old David Willis' three children - one of them unborn. Willis, who is Black, was fatally shot Aug. 18 near downtown Savannah after police pulled over the car he was driving, which officers on an anti-robbery taskforce said they considered suspicious because it had no license plates and tinted windows. Willis' girlfriend and their 5-month-old daughter were in the back seat, and two of his friends were in the car, when the shooting occurred at about 3:40 a.m. No one else was injured. Willis' family didn't speak at the event, but they believe the shooting was not justified.

Sharpton has never met Willis before but feels this is a fight he and the rest of the community need to be involved in. Before he entered the church he took time to explain why he was here, saying this case is suspicious to him. "The fact that this man's child was in the car, the fact that he was unarmed, the fact that you can even suggest that in the presence of his baby he'd be doing something illegal. It's like we're always guilty until proven innocent," said Sharpton.

Over 300 people listened to strong words from Reverend Al Sharpton:

"Maybe we are beginning around this country are beginning to wake up, and realize that a lot of things we thought had changed had not changed. Seems like you follow the rule book and you go by the training on one side of town and you shoot first and ask questions later on our side of town."
Organizers of the fundraiser say the event isn't meant to point fingers - but to provide a future for Willis' three children. "I'm not here to be the police and jury. I wasn't there, but I tell you I want to help the family, I want to help those children," says Reverend Michael Lewis of the Second St. John Baptist Church. "We are here tonight to raise some funds, and raise the consciousness of people, and from the looks of it, it's been raised, cause people are here," Lewis adds. In addition to the monies raised Thursday, a college fund for Willis' children has been set up at Carver State Bank in Savannah.

But Sharpton has a broader message for this crowd:

"If someone commits a crime, they need to be arrested and tried by the courts, and not tried in the streets. We must respect police, and uphold them, but they must respect the law. Otherwise we have the right to question that, and I'm here to be part of that. "

Villagers, what say u?

August 30, 2007

Jena 6: An American Tragedy

[NOTE: The AfroSpear called for 8/30/07 to be a Day of Blogging for Justice. We want to focus the attention of the nation on the Jena 6 case. As such, I am re-running a post that I created earlier this month. It provides a comprehensive background for those that may be coming late to the party. There are some action steps for you take listed at the end of this post. Injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere. Let's show these young students in Jena, LA that we have their back. peace, Villager]

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
In a small highly segregated rural Louisiana town of Jena in September 2006, a Black student asked permission from school administrators to sit under the shade of a tree commonly reserved for the enjoyment of white students. School officials advised the Black students to sit wherever they wanted and they did. The next day, three nooses, in the school colors, were hanging from the same tree.


The Jena high school principal found that three white students were responsible and recommended expulsion. The white superintendent of schools over-ruled the principal and gave the students a three day suspension, saying that the nooses were "a youthful stunt." Black students decided to resist and organized a sit-in under the tree to protest the lenient treatment given to the noose-hanging white students.

Racial tensions remained elevated throughout the fall. On Monday, December 4 2006, a white student (Justin Barker, photo shown to the right) who allegedly had been racially taunting Black students in support of the students who hung the nooses got into a fight with Black students. Allegedly, the white student was taken to the hospital treated, released, reportedly attended a social function later that evening.

As a result of this incident, six Black Jena students were arrested and charged with attempted second degree murder. All six were expelled from school. The six charged were: 17-year-old Robert Bailey Junior whose bail was set at $138,000; 17-year-old Theo Shaw - bail $130,000; 18-year-old Carwin Jones--bail $100,000; 17-year-old Bryant Purvis--bail $70,000; 16 year old Mychal Bell, a sophomore in high school who was charged as an adult and for whom bail was set at $90,000; and a still unidentified minor.

On the morning of the trial, the District Attorney reduced the charges from attempted second degree murder to second degree aggravated battery and conspiracy. Aggravated battery in Louisiana law demands the attack be with a dangerous weapon. The prosecutor was allowed to argue to the jury that the tennis shoes worn by Bell could be considered a dangerous weapon.
When the pool of potential jurors was summoned, fifty people appeared, all white. The jury deliberated for less than three hours and found Mychal Bell guilty on the maximum possible charges of aggravated second degree battery and conspiracy. He faces up to a maximum of 22 years in prison.

The rest of the Jena 6 await similar trials. Theodore Shaw is due to go on trial shortly. Mychal Bell's sentencing has been delayed. If he gets the maximum sentence he will not be out of prison until he is nearly 40.

The AfroSpear encourages all villagers to realize the following:

  1. In light of the circumstances surrounding Mychal Bell's case, we urge all villagers to support the call for a new trial.

  2. It is unacceptable to selectively enforce the law based on race. Prosecutorial discretion should be used in a fair and equitable manner.

  3. The Jena Six should be tried by juries that reflect the racial and ethnic demographics of Jena, LA.

  4. The hanging of nooses is not a "youthful stunt" or "prank." It is a hate crime. Such hate crimes should not be tolerated at any school. Jena High School must establish a curriculum which promotes cultural sensitivity and understanding.

  5. The AfroSpear calls on Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco and Louisiana Attorney General Charles Foti to thoroughly investigate and monitor the trials of Mychal Bell, Robert Bailey, Jr., Theo Shaw, Carwin Jones, Bryant Purvis and John Doe. The Governor and State Attorney General should do everything in their power to ensure that these young men's constitutional rights are protected.

  6. All villagers should reach out to their own congressman and senators requesting a federal investigation of this racist behavior in Jena, LA.

  7. All villagers should sign the online petition as well

We will keep this factual timeline updated over the coming weeks. Please let us know if you hear of any new information on the Jena 6!

President Bush, Why Are We in Iraq?


President Bush, didn't you tell us already that we won this war? 'Mission accomplished', you said on that battleship. Why are we still in this dayum war if the mission was accomplished? Did you lie to us again?

Villagers, did you see that our commander-in-chief feels that 'we are kicking ass' in Iraq. Does anyone else think that our commander-in-chief is unable to give an honest assessment of this war on terror?

I have not used this blog to talk about the war in Iraq very much. I don't have any immediate relatives in the military. As such, my engagement in this war is at a different level than many others. However, I must say that the commander-in-chief has truly phuqed this war up in my view. He lied to us when he and his team, including Colin and Condi, told us that mushroom clouds would flow if US troops didn't invade Iraq. Of course, there were no WMDs. Just another bald-faced lie from our commander-in-chief.

We get into this thing and run through the Iraqi army; capture Saddam in a ditch; and have him executed. The Iraqis are cheering. Statues are tumbling. That is when we should have left the country. That would have been 'mission accomplished'. That would have been a proud legacy for W and his cronies.

But, our commander-in-chief couldn't leave well enough alone. Instead he allowed Cheney, Halliburton and other corporate interests to blind him to the obvious. Now, our country is in the middle of a civil war with no winning end game. Bush told us on national television in January,

"So I've committed more than 20,000 additional American troops to Iraq. The vast majority of them -- five brigades -- will be deployed to Baghdad. These troops will work alongside Iraqi units and be embedded in their formations. Our troops will have a well-defined mission: to help Iraqis clear and secure neighborhoods, to help them protect the local population, and to help ensure that the Iraqi forces left behind are capable of providing the security that Baghdad needs."
Almost 4,000 Americans have been killed. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have been killed. The 2006 elections in November 2006 clearly called for the end of Bush's war. Bush told us in January that he wanted this surge. In June, Bush said he wanted everyone to be patient until a military report could be issued in September 2007. Now we are told that we need to wait until next summer.

Today, we had the top U.S. general in Iraq, David Petraeus, sharing his plans for withdrawal of 30,000 troops by next summer, drawing praise from the White House but a chilly reception from anti-war Democrats. Gen. David Petraeus said a 2,000-member Marine unit would return home this month without replacement in the first sizable cut since a 2003 U.S-led invasion toppled Saddam Hussein and unleashed sectarian violence.

Villagers, I am still trying to figure out why we insist on staying in Iraq. We have over 169,000 troops in that country right now. Why? Five years from now the country will be run by our enemy ... not the current democratically-elected government. Everyone seems to agree that the current Iraq prime minister is not strong enough to survive as anything more than Bush's puppet ... propped up by 169k American troops. Can any villager tell me why we are still in this unnecessary war?
Why??


Anyhow, villagers, I can tell you what victory in Iraq looks like. It is photos with children walking down the street going to school. It is photos with businesses selling groceries, gasoline and other basic necessities of life. It is photos without bombed out cars on every block and children running around with rifles.

Victory in this war on terror is even simpler. I will know we are winning the war on terror when Osama bin Laden is doing a perp-walk into a jail cell.

Our commander-in-chief is simply an embarrassment. I can hardly wait until Obama or Clinton or Edwards can get into the White House to bring honor back to our nation.

Villagers, how about you? What are your thoughts on the General Padreus report given today? What is your thoughts on our commander-in-chief?

August 29, 2007

Wordless Wednesday: Day of Presence

"When communities are rebuilt, they must be even better and stronger than before the storm. Within the Gulf region are some of the most beautiful and historic places in America. As all of us saw on television, there's also some deep, persistent poverty in this region, as well. That poverty has roots in a history of racial discrimination, which cut off generations from the opportunity of America. We have a duty to confront this poverty with bold action. So let us restore all that we have cherished from yesterday, and let us rise above the legacy of inequality. When the streets are rebuilt, there should be many new businesses, including minority-owned businesses, along those streets. When the houses are rebuilt, more families should own, not rent, those houses. When the regional economy revives, local people should be prepared for the jobs being created. Americans want the Gulf Coast not just to survive, but to thrive; not just to cope, but to overcome. We want evacuees to come home, for the best of reasons -- because they have a real chance at a better life in a place they love." - President George W. Bush, September 15, 2005


When words and actions do not agree, believe the actions. - African proverb.



Wednesday, August 29, 2007
A Day of Presence for the People of New Orleans
We matter. We care. We act.


August 26, 2007

Nothing Good Happens After 3:00 AM


It is rough to be a Blackman in Georgia. Michael Vick. Genarlow Wilson. Ron Pettaway. Turns out that DeKalb County (GA) police had a dozen fatal shootings in 2006 and Atlanta officers shot an elderly woman to death during a botched police raid on her home. It seems that the police in that state don't understand the concept of positive community-police relations.

It happened again a few days ago. A 22 year old Savannah man was shot and killed by a police officer. Savannah Chatham Police said Patrolman Kevin McKoon shot David Willis early Saturday morning when Willis tried to run him over during a traffic stop. Family members and witnesses dispute that claim, saying it was impossible for Willis' sedan to move at the time because it was blocked by other vehicles.

My understanding is that Willis' 5-month-old daughter, Davasha, was in the car at the time of the shooting. How this police officer could feel threatened while a 5-month old baby was in the car is beyond imagination.

Willis's mother said she had to learn what happened to her son from his friends. Now, she's demanding answers. "I would love to see the man who shot down my child and ask him, why?" she said. "Give me some answers. Why did he shoot him? Why I couldn't see my child? Why I couldn't touch my child?"

Willis said she should have learned what happened from police, not her son's friends once they were released from police questioning. The family said they had to call police themselves, then wait for someone to speak with them.

"I'm angry and I want some answers," said Cynthia Willis.

Savannah Chatham Police are calling the shooting, "unfortunate, but lawful." Patrolman Kevin McKoon is on paid leave, which is standard police procedure, while detectives, the George Bureau of Investigation and the District Attorney's office investigate.

"They place no value on Black life," said Yusef Shabazz, who led a vigil of 200 community supporters, as he referred to white people and police. When a white life is taken on the streets," he said, the public is outraged. "When a Black life is taken, there are no tears."

I understand that Rev. Sharpton will be in Savannah on Thursday evening at a rally being called by a local church in support of the Willis family.

Villagers, here is an observation that I can share with you. Nothing good can happen for a brother out in the streets after 3:00 am. If you haven't found your companion for the evening by closing time ... then just go home alone.
Brothers ... just go home! Start a blog! Do something to keep from ruining (or losing) your life.

August 25, 2007

Kenneth Foster Will Live!

The brother made some bad decisions as a youth. However, he didn't deserve to lose his life at the hands of the state for a crime in which he didn't have the gun that took the life. He does deserve to be in jail for a very long time. Texas governor Rick Perry felt the same way. As a result, Kenneth Foster will live.
In a last ditch appeal from supporters around the world to save Foster's life, along with recommendations from the Texas Pardons and Parole Board, Gov. Perry stayed the execution, that had been set to take place tonight ... he commuted Foster's sentence to life.

"After carefully considering the facts of this case, along with the recommendation from the Board of Pardons and Paroles, I believe the right and just decision is to commute Foster's sentence from the death penalty to life imprisonment," Perry said in a statement.

"I am concerned about Texas law that allowed capital murder defendants to be tried simultaneously and it is an issue I think the legislature should examine."

The AfroSpear caused me to make a phone call earlier this morning to the governor's office. I spoke with a harried receptionist who asked if I was in favor or against the execution. She indicated that she was keeping a "tally". Evidently, the tally was part of the flow of information to the governor that made the difference. Kenneth Foster should be glad that this Texas governor isn't running for president. The last Texas governor to run for president didn't have that level of compassion or reason.

Anyhow, much love to Eddie Griffin for leading the charge here in the afrosphere to raise this issue to an international audience.
Shaquanda Cotton, Hot Ghetto Mess, Kenneth Foster. When the history is told by cyberspace griots in the future it appears that we will have many positive moments to reflect on. Kenneth Foster being alive should be part of our cyberspace griot's story.

Please take a moment to share your thoughts on this case and today's outcome!

August 24, 2007

Gotta Get Goals


Theo Johnson is the creative genius behind the Now That is What I'm Talking About blog. He tagged me with a meme on goals back in April 2007. The original meme was started by Alex Shalman. It has taken over five months ... but, the rhinos in my Electronic Village have elephant-like tendencies ... we never forget! My goals are actually quite simple at this stage of life.
  1. Be a better father, son, brother and uncle - This takes many forms. First, I recognize that I need to be a better role model, including showing my children the importance of having God in your life. African proverb says that when there is a difference between a man's actions and his words ... believe his actions. My actions need to improve drastically in terms of my attendance and support of church. It is a tangible action that would be meaningful for my young son and daughters. It would also be something that my mother and sister would like. One thing is certain, I will be a great witness for others based on the ups & downs that I've had in my life. Finally, my nieces could use a positive male role model ... and Uncle Villager is ready to take on that role for the next few decades. I plan to write, call and visit with my sister, nieces and parents on a regular basis. We are located on the four corners of the continent ... so it will take some doing ... but, this is an important goal.
  2. Become financially independent - I read with interest a post from Field Negro earlier this weekend. It reminded me of the financial roll that I was on a few years ago. Black Enterprises magazine once gave stats that showed I was in the top 2% of Black folks in terms of family income. However, that house of cards crashed when I managed to mess up my marriage ... get divorced ... and get hit with some whopper child support payments. At the exact same time, I left my corporate gig to start my own business ... and for a few years it seems that I lived off of credit cards and such. In other words, I dug a very big financial hole for myself. Over the past year I have been taking steps on a day-by-day basis to get my sh*t together. My credit score is moving up and my child support payments are timely. My new motto is ,'Start Late, Finish Rich'. I enjoy reading about bloggers that are making big bank. They are an inspiration as well. My former wife is also an inspiration in this regard. Anyhow, my goal is to become financially independent within the next five years.
  3. Grow my business - I became a full-time entrepreneur on July 5, 2002. That is when I began my business in earnest. My largest contract was signed with the Cincinnati Business Incubator about a year later. I currently have 48 clients under contract at the incubator. These are some dedicated entrepreneurs and business owners that are looking to create jobs and economic growth in the community. Our most successful incubator client is a 3-year old firm, World Pac Paper, that is now one of the top six Black-owned companies in the city. My consultancy added other contracts and clients over the past year. The joy is that I have been a 1099-brother since July 2002. Those of you who own your own business will understand what that means! Now, I need to take my business to the next level. One thing that I need to do is update and implement a revised business plan. The steps that I took to get my consulting business started have run their course. I now need to take different steps to grow my consulting business over the long-term. As such, my immediate goal is to have a new business plan in place before the end of the year.
  4. Provide four-year scholarships for BDPA students - I am the executive director for the BDPA Education & Technology Foundation. I was blessed last month to be able to hand out $40,000 in scholarships to students from Chattanooga, TN; Detroit, MI; Chicago, IL; New York, NY; and Rochester, MN. The scholarships ranged from $500/student to $3,000/student for the winning team from Southern Minnesota. My vision is to hand out 4-year scholarships to these students. If baseball, basketball and football players can get full rides from high school to competing colleges ... why can't these talented information technology students have those same benefits and opportunities. I created the BETF-Blog so that we can communicate more effectively. I hope to hand out the first full 4-year scholarship at the 30th annual BDPA Technology Conference in August 2008.
I have other goals in life that revolve around relationships and such. However, these are the ones that bubbled to the top as I typed out this post today. It is always good to put your goals in writing. We'll need to come back every once in awhile to see how these turn out. My thanx again to Theo for tagging me with this meme. I see that Vanessa and Benin were much more timely in their response to Theo's tag. I gotta get rid of this procrastination-habit!

Anyhow, I get to tag others now. My choices are:
As we used to say when we were kids ... TAG YOU'RE IT!

August 23, 2007

Live From the Bottom Shelf: Kyra Hicks

I've been blogging about serious issues impacting on our community. It's a holiday weekend. As such, let's lighten things up a bit with an update on my sister. Kyra Hicks, the distinguished author and quilter extraordinaire was recently interviewed on the Bottom Shelf blog. The interview focused on her children's picture book, Martha Ann's Quilt For Queen Victoria, which is based on the true story about a former slave who moves to Liberia with her family, and whose determination leads her to a personal meeting with the Queen of England (back when being the Queen of England actually meant more than just wearing funny hats).

Villagers, I invite you to take a moment to read Kyra's answers to Five Picture Book Related Questions.

Any other quilters or creative artists here in the Village?

August 22, 2007

I Want to be Proud of My Next President

I've voted Democratic for all of my adult life. Ronald Ray-gun was enough for me to realize that the Republicans had no love for me or others of African descent here in America. I enjoyed the Bill Clinton years. What wasn't to enjoy. The federal deficit built up by Reagan and the first George Bush was wiped out during Clinton's administration. I don't need to go through all of the good things that happened during his 8 years as president. His record speaks for itself. The sad thing is that Newt Gingrich, Special Prosecutor Starr and others were so jealous (envious?) of his success that they used a sexual indiscretion with Monica Lewensky to go through an entire impeachment process. As a result, Clinton limped through the final years of his administration.

Fast forward to 2007. Does it seem that karma is in full effect?

Not only is George Bush limping through the final years of his administration. The party that Bush leads loudly proclaims that it is the bastion of 'family values'. What a joke that turned out to be.
  • Republican Larry Craig - one of the 100 senators that serve at the top levels of our government ... was arrested at Minneapolis airport in June. Arrest document reportedly alleges Craig signaled desire for "lewd conduct". Craig pleaded guilty to the charges and is currently serving on probation for his efforts to engage in male restroom. Craig had to quit his leadership position in the presidential campaign of Mitt Romney.
  • Louisiana Sen. David Vitter - was a client of the 'D.C. Madam' was the way in which the senator himself disclosed it. Vitter was outed by Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt. Vitter's relationship with prostitutes in Washington DC is not unusual. After all, he was accused by a member of the Louisiana Republican State Central Committee of carrying on a lengthy affair with a prostitute in New Orleans's French Quarter in his first Senate campaign. Anyhow, Vitter had to quit his leadership position in the presidential campaign of Rudy Giuliani.
  • Florida congressman Mark Foley after being outed as a quasi-pedophile inappropriately reaching out to teenage pages in the House of Representatives. - resigned
  • Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfield after the Republicans got run out of the congressional leadership as result of the November 2006 mid-term elections. It is likely that Rumsfield will be remembered as the worst Secretary of Defense in the nation's history based on his running of the Iraq War. -fired/resigned
  • US Attorney General Albert Gonzales/resigned today after having his honesty and credibility questioned on a daily basis for the past 18 months. My Hispanic brothers and are likly ashamed of Gonzales in much the same way that most Black folks are ashamed of Clarence Thomas. The one advantage that my Hispanic brothers and sisters have is that Gonzales wasn't appointed to a lifetime position, therefore, he can now fade ingloriously into the past. At best, Gonzales was a simple puppet of the White House. At worst, he was a conniving, lying lawyer for George Bush who knowingly lied and connived for purposes of helping his sugar daddy (President George Bush). - fired
Personally, I'm waiting for the next presidency in the hopes that karma is finished and we can have a president that will make all of us proud. My preference would be Barack Obama. I would be comfortable with Clinton or Edwards. I just want the next president to be someone we can look to with pride.

Villagers, what do you think?

August 20, 2007

Jena 6: Blogging for Justice

The AfroSpear is sponsoring a 'Day of Blogging for Justice' for any blogger interested in posting about the criminal just-us system of Jena, LA. Click here to get background on the Jena 6 situation.

The AfroSpear seeks action-oriented bloggers to adopt the media strategy initiated by BlackPerspectives.net and others. We need to raise the national consciousness about this event because of the social, political and legal relevance for people of African descent in this country. A press release is going out to the national media asking them to pick up on this story. We’re hoping the 'Day Of Blogging For Justice' can serve as a catalyst to support the end of the injustices being forced on these six students in Jena, LA.

Mychal Bell's bond-reduction hearing on Friday failed. His bond was not reduced. His parents cannot afford the current bond, therefore, the young man sits in prison while his appeal is going through the system. He needs our personal show of support to keep his spirits high. Please take a moment to send him a postcard or a letter. It can make all the difference in the world to know that you're not alone. Mychal Bell needs to know that he isn't alone.

Checkout Freethejena6.org for other news, information and resources.

August 18, 2007

National Day of Protest Against Gun Violence




In 2004, guns murdered:

  • 5 people in New Zealand
  • 37 people in Sweden
  • 56 people in Australia
  • 73 people in England and Wales
  • 184 people in Canada
  • 11,344 in the United States

Black Weblog Award finalist Field Negro blogs on the high rate of murders in Philadelphia and the orphans of violence. Here in Cincinnati the gun violence is so endemic that the mayor promotes an 'out of the crossfire' program. Personally, I have never owned a handgun. To my knowledge, my Dad never owned one either. However, a gun was involved in my brother's death. So, I understand the need to stop the violence enabled by having guns so readily available in our lives.

In response to rising violence Rev. Jesse Jackson has called for a national day of protest against illegal guns. Activists from Rainbow PUSH Coalition, Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, Million Mom March Chapters, ProtestEasyGuns, and other local gun-violence prevention organizations will be participating in events in more than 20 cities across America on August 28. The August 28 rallies will focus the public and push leaders at all levels of government to take action against the illegal gun market and to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous individuals.
Cities with activities on the 28th include:
Nationwide, there will be candlelight vigils, memorial bell-ringing ceremonies, marches, rallies, press conferences, and “lie-ins” in which 32 people lie down to represent the 32 people murdered with guns every day in America. Rev. Jackson called for these protests to take place on August 28 – the anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s historic March on Washington – to demand action against the gun violence plaguing our cities.

I encourage all Villagers that are able to support this National Day of Protest Against Gun Violence.

August 17, 2007

Fox News Debate Fades to Black


Village drumbeats from the African American Political Pundit tell us that Fox News and the Congressional Black Caucus decided to cancel the Sept. 23 Democratic presidential debate in Detroit. The campaigns of U.S. Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama and former Sen. John Edwards had said they would not participate in the debate. The AfroSpear, Color-of-Change and other criticized Fox as biased against Democrats.

The debate was to have been held in the D Spot's Fox Theatre.

Institute chairman U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., said:

"The overwhelming number of party presidential debates has created a scheduling challenge. Revisiting the CBC Institute's debate schedule will allow the time necessary to complete all debate logistics in an effective manner," he said. The group had said it planned to sponsor two Democratic and two Republican presidential debates."

[Villager note to Bennie for consideration in future statements on this topic. Bennie, think back to when we were kids and you were in this type of situation. You can reduce your statement to a single word:

UNCLE!!!

August 16, 2007

BDPA Education & Technology Foundation

Villagers, I invite you to visit a new blog that I created earlier this month to support the efforts of the BDPA Education & Technology Foundation (BETF). BDPA exists to advance the careers of African Americans in the information technology industry from the classroom to the boardroom.

If this mission resonates with you ... then you should take a moment to check out our new BETF blog!

August 15, 2007

Jena 6: Mychal Bell Back in Court

The latest on the Jena 6/Mychal Bell situation courtesy of Matt Olson - Mychal Bell’s Upcoming Court Hearings via post on Pursuing Holiness.

Mychal Bell’s Upcoming Court Hearings


The latest out of Jena, Louisiana is that Mychal Bell, who was convicted of second-degree battery on thin and contradictory evidence but has new legal counsel, will have a bond reduction hearing on August 24.
…A motion hearing will be held at LaSalle Parish Courthouse on September 4 to determine whether Bell’s case should have been under the jurisdiction of the juvenile courts when his charges were reduced from second-degree attempted murder to second-degree battery just before his trial. This would effectively void his conviction in adult court.
The entire Jena 6 situation remains an American tragedy as I explained in an earlier post. At the end of the day ... this was a high school fight. The white kids were dealt with by school discipline. That is how the six Black youths should have been dealt with as well.

Instead, Mychal Bell has been in jail since September. The gameplan is to have him released on August 24 at the bond reduction hearing. Then the courts will be asked to reconsider decision to try him as an adult, instead of as a juvenile. This is critical for the others that are awaiting trial. Juvenile justice system is much more forgiving in terms of punishment for a school fight.

In any case Mychal Bell has already lost his football scholarships for college. He lost chance to enjoy New Year's Eve with his friends. He lost chance to celebrate his 17th birthday with his family. for a high school fight. The young brother faces the fight of his life.

He needs our support and prayers. Juliette Aiyana suggested that the The AfroSpear and others write Mychal a postcard or letter. It can be short. The key is simply that it's hearfelt. You can send your cards and letters to:


Mychal Bell
Inmate, A-Dorm
LaSalle Correctional Center
15976 Highway 165
Olla, LA 71465-4801


Villagers, a few moments of your time could really brighten this young man's spirit.

August 14, 2007

Michael Vick Enters Hall of Shame

I imagine that any of us that manage to get caught up in the criminal injustice system are fools of one sort or another. However, any fool who is arrogant enough to create a dog-fighting company on the down-low while signing a $130 million contract in the public eye ... well that is a special kind of fool.
Michael Vick decided that the weight of the evidence against him was too much to fight. As such, he will plead guilty to the charges in the 18-page indictment laid out against him last month. He joins other high-profile atheletes who thought that their sh*t didn't stink.

Check out this Hall of Shame:

  1. Mark Bell - hockey player
  2. Rae Carruth - football player
  3. Maurice Clarett - football player
  4. Mike Danton - hockey player
  5. Doc Gooden - baseball player
  6. Hollywood Henderson - football player
  7. Jamal Lewis - football player
  8. Denny McLain - baseball player
  9. Bob Probert - hockey players
  10. Pete Rose - baseball player
  11. Art Schlicter - football players
  12. Darryl Strawberry - baseball player
  13. Mike Tyson - boxer
Villagers, do you have any other athletes to add to this Hall of Shame?

August 13, 2007

AfroSpear Bloggers in Black Weblog Awards


I'm back!. Most of the few weeks were spent living out of a suitcase. I visited my parents in Los Angeles at the early part of the month. Last week I was in Washington DC for 29th annual BDPA Technology Conference in Washington DC. I have quite a bit to catch up on. So this is just a quick reminder that all villagers should take a moment right now to cast their The AfroSpear:
You are on your own for the rest of your votes, however, Paula Mooney reviews some of the contestants and shares info on some of the judges as well. Anyhow, make sure that you get your votes in before the polls close on August 31, 2007 ... with winners announced on September 5.

August 12, 2007

Wordless Wednesday: First Family?

America's Next First Family?

Maya Soetoro-Ng, Barack's Half Sister


Obama's grandmother, Madelyn Dunham, a bank vice president, and grandfather, Stanley Dunham, a salesman


Sarah Hussein Obama * Barack Obama's grandmother

August 11, 2007

Kenneth Foster Needs Mary Winkler's Legal Team!

It's rough keeping an open-mind on the progress of race relations in America when you realize that a white woman kills ... gets convicted ... and serves about 8 weeks in prison, while a Black man kills and is scheduled to be executed later this month.

The AfroSpear encourages you to take a moment to read the letter Kenneth Foster wrote to the Texas governor. Sign the petition to save the young brother's life if you are moved to do so.

Methinks that Kenneth Foster's legal team needs to make a call to Mary Winkler's legal team for some tips!

August 6, 2007

King is Ours; Not 'Made in China'!


Villagers, some things simply don't make any sense. Having a monument shipped to Washington DC from China with a sticker that says, "Made in China" makes no sense. Don't we have any talented African American artists that can have opportunity to shine with this unique project?

I have just signed an online petition: "King is Ours!" and I'm asking you to do the same.

The planned monument to our beloved Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. has been awarded to an artist from a country with a reprehensible history of civil rights violations against its people. The granite to be used for King's sculpture will be harvested using slave labor--Chinese workers are not even provided masks to protect their lungs from the silica dust. They die in droves because the Chinese government considers them just as important as the students who protested in Tienamen Square. The world watched the tanks roll over them. No human rights, No civil rights, and yet the honor of sculpting Dr. Martin Luther King?
Villagers, some things simply don't make any sense.

We cannot sit back and watch an artist famous for his statues of the murderer Mao Tse Dung, and tool of a government that labeled King a "reactionary running dog," sculpt the King Monument. Would we allow an artist famous for his statues of Hitler to sculpt Ann Frank? Combine these facts with another: There is not ONE national monument to a leader of any country anywhere on this planet with the name of an African American artist on its base.

Villagers, some things don't make any sense. Perhaps it is time for us to demand the right to interpret and present our own historic proclamation in this first ever national monument to an African American man or woman. Please take a moment to read about this important issue, and join me in signing the petition. It takes just 30 seconds, but can truly make a difference.

Villagers, some things don't make any sense. What say u?

August 5, 2007

YouTube Challenge for Peace in Iraq

One Million Blogs for Peace is hosting a YouTube Challenge that looks for videos promoting peace in Iraq. Anyone who signs up as part of One Million Blogs for Peace is eligible to win by simply submitting a video posted to YouTube from August 15 thru September 30, 2007. The winner gets a $50 Amazon.com gift certificate and some other stuff. However, the real winners are the rest of us that will be motivated and encouraged by the creative peace-based videos on YouTube!

I encourage all Villagers participating in this contest to let us know about it with a comment to this post! The Electronic Village is proud to be one in a million as a blog that wants peace in Iraq.

Do you see your favorite blog on this list yet?

August 2, 2007

Control Debt Before Debt Controls You

There are too many people in our community suffering the hangover from poor financial decisions related to credit card. I'm still dealing with credit card decisions that I made years ago. Learning how to deal with debt is critical for our growth as a people and as a nation.

I used to enjoy a blogger called A Grown Azzed Woman because of her daily efforts to live a debt-free life. I wish that I knew of other bloggers out there that provided motivation and support for those of us that want to get out of debt. It would be great to see a blog chronicle the various ways one can get out of debt.

I did see an online debt poll showing how others felt about their debt situation. It is important to calculate your options so that you know whether or not you need debt settlement, credit counseling, debt consolidation or bankruptcy. For many of us inaction is not an option.

Ask yourself these questions:
  • Are your monthly expenses exceeding your earned income?
  • Are you using your credit cards to get by so you can afford to live?
  • Are you considering Bankruptcy as an option?
  • Are your credit cards reaching the limit?
  • Are you receiving collection letters or phone calls from creditors?
  • Have you used all of your available resources to keep up with payments?
  • Are your minimum payments becoming a struggle?
  • Has a recent event caused you to go into default?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you could be experiencing serious financial troubles in the near future.

Perhaps you can avoid the trap by reaching out to Clear Debt Solution. Clear Debt Solution can help eliminate your debt. Click here if you're serious about avoiding bankruptcy and getting help immediately. Or you can receive a free consultation from the folks at Clear Debt Solution by calling (888) 207-4455. Clear Debt Solution charges a 14% service fee which is calculated on the total amount of debt that an individual brings into our debt settlement program.

This is a Sponsored Post

August 1, 2007

Manic Monday: Drop


Morgen's Manic Monday word today is DROP. Have you heard the term DROP-dead gorgeous before? I remember when I was growing up the most beautiful woman in the world showed up on my television on July 16, 1977 when Janelle 'Penny' Commissiong of Trinidad and Tobago became the first Black winner in the history of the Miss Universe pageant.

"I felt like a ray of sunshine was around me" is how Janelle described the feeling that night.

It's odd. I still remember where I was when she won the contest. I was on summer vacation out by a lake in Michigan with my grandparents, uncle and such. I understand that when Janelle was announced as the new Miss Universe, Trinidad and Tobago went wild. Evidently, Trinidadian television aired repeats of the pageant for days. The 24 year-old Caribbean beauty declared that she "believed her election would contribute to erasing racial barriers." Proud of her victory, she noted, "Beauty belongs to all people; it has no racial or geographic boundaries."

Today, Janelle runs the largest boat-building company in the Caribbean and maintains a low profile.

My definition of beauty evolved later in life. Halle Berry became the DROP-dead gorgeous woman of my dreams. Halle started out as a beauty queen and model and later became a pioneer for Black women in Hollywood. One of her first roles as a crack addict in Jungle Fever was impressive. She had minor roles in a number of movies such as The Last Boy Scout, Boomerang and The Flintstones.

In 1999 Berry realized a lifelong dream and won an acting Emmy when she produced and starred in the TV biopic Introducing Dorothy Dandridge, about the first Black performer to be nominated for an Oscar as best actress. The part proved prophetic when Berry became the first Black actress to win that coveted award in 2002 for her unglamorous turn as a woman coping with a husband on death row in Monster's Ball. Billy Bob Thornton is still my hero as a result of his role in that movie!
Berry's personal life is a mess with high-profile divorces from professional baseball player David Justice and singer Eric Benet, and a hit-and-run accident and subsequent civil suit in 2000.

Currently, the two DROP-dead gorgeous women that I would love to see in our village are Meagan Good and Serena Williams! Well villagers, care to share your thoughts on a DROP-dead gorgeous man or woman on your mind?