October 31, 2008

Obama Effigy Lynched at University of Kentucky

UPDATE: UK senior Joe Fischer and his friend Hunter Bush were arrested for hanging a life-sized likeness of Barack Obama from a tree on the campus.

America is being poisoned by our own 'strange fruit'. University of Kentucky officials said an effigy of Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama was found hanging from a tree on campus.

Lee Todd, the university president, said the effigy of the Illinois senator, who could become the nation's first African American president if he is elected, was first noticed by a professor riding his bicycle.

Todd said it is not yet known whether a student was responsible for the effigy and the incident is being investigated by the University Police Department and the Lexington Police Department. He said the Secret Service has been notified.

"It's a very embarrassing situation that has happened on our campus, regardless of who did it," Todd said.

He described hanging the effigy as a "despicable act."

"We certainly believe in political expression, just not in this form," he said.

Villagers, unless you're living in the early 1800s out in the wild west and somebody stole your horse ... there is NEVER a good reason to hang a fellow citizen in a lynching rope. Period. Doesn't matter if it is Sarah Palin or Barack Obama. It is horrific image to promote in our country.

This nonsense must end. I hope that John McCain and Sarah Palin will stop the dog-whistle racism that leads their supporters to do such things. I hope that the UK perps are punished sufficiently when they are found.

October 30, 2008

Obama Effigy Removed in California

A Redondo Beach resident has removed an effigy of Barack Obama hanging from her balcony with a giant butcher knife through its neck. Lisa Castaneda put up the blood-covered figure with a placard that read "Nobama."

Castaneda, a mother of two who supports John McCain, says she didn't mean to be racist or offensive. But the display drew immediate criticism and she took it down last night at the request of a local McCain campaign representative.

The end of this election cycle can't come to soon...

Obama Effigy Lynched in Indiana

UPDATE: This man's son removed the effigy from the tree.

Villagers, we have another American citizen who thinks it is good politics to show Barack Obama being lynched from a tree in his front yard.

School children, neighbors and others in Clarksville, Indiana can plainly see the Obama effigy hanging by a noose in the front yard of Kirk Deddo. Deddo called it a Halloween decoration, saying it was the most frightening one he could find.

Deddo said the effigy had nothing to do with race, and he put it up because he doesn't like Obama's stance toward the military.

Someone should tell Deddo that he can VOTE to express his opinion. Lynching an image of an American citizen ... whether it is Sarah Palin or Barack Obama ... is wrong. Period. Doesn't anyone remember how horrific it was in America when lynching was a regular form of torture, intimidation and murder in this country?

'Wassup' Video for Barack Obama

Villagers, do you remember the 'Wassup' craze that swept the nation back in the day. Those boys that were selling beer by saying 'Wassup' to each other? Well, they are back ... this time with the 'Wassup' perspective on 2008 presidential politics. Check it out!

By the way, over in the left-hand sidebar you will see us flip the script on John McCain's denigrating 'That One' statement from the debates. Click on the 'That One 2008' image whenever you visit. We plan to update it regularly for the rest of the calendar year.

October 29, 2008

Female Voters Respond to John McCain

NAACP Leaders Talk with Black Bloggers

NAACP President Ben Jealous has been engaged in the Vote Hard Bus Tour going through four states down south. However, he took time yesterday to continue his dialogue with Black bloggers. Garlin Gilchrest II, Chris Rabb and I were the bloggers on this month's conference call. You can see summary of last month's call here.

NAACP leaders introduced to us by President Jealous included Rev. William Barber (North Carolina), Chris Smitherman (Cincinnati) and Angela Ciccolo (NAACP General Counsel).

Here are the highlights from the call:

  • Rev. William Barber (NAACP North Carolina Conference) - He shared history of the 'early voting' initiative that began two years ago in North Carolina. This year the state has 15 sites open for Sunday voting. Over 1.2 million NC residents have voted already ... 400,000 of them are African American. Over 6,500 Charlotte citizens voted this past Sunday. Two voter suppression challenges that NAACP NC Conference dealt with recently involved (a) out-of-state college students registered to vote in NC and (b) ex-felon voting rights. Finally, Rev. Barber encouraged everyone to check out the Million Voting March information in print and video.

  • Chris Smitherman (NAACP Cincinnati Branch) -President Smitherman highlighted the importance of early voting by spending the night in order to be the first person to cast a vote in Hamilton County. Over 15,600 citizens followed his lead as of yesterday. The goal is to have over 25,000 early voters in Hamilton County. He noted that Hamilton County went to Pres. Bush in the 2004 election cycle by only 27,000 votes. NAACP worked with a number of strategic partners including the Greater Cincinnati Urban League, Cincinnati Public Schools (CPS), SEIU and others in a variety of early voting efforts. CPS provided two busses to help get 18-year old high school seniors to voting booths! NAACP Cincinnati Branch wants citizens to 'own the ballot'. As such, the branch is actively promoting support for local ballot initiatives.

  • Angela Ciccola (NAACP Headquarters) - She acknowledged the powerful work being done by local branch and state leaders such as Barber and Smitherman. She pointed out that the NAACP is aggressively fighting voter suppression and voter intimidation situations in places like Lake County (IN), Indianapolis (IN) and Virginia.

  • NAACP has a number of election 'watch parties' taking place next Tuesday night. I imagine that most NAACP members and supporters will be watching the election results next Tuesday all over the country.

    I understand that the issue of the NAACP Youth Entrepreneurship Institute will be on the agenda for our call next month. NAACP would like to see more bloggers of African descent on these monthly conference calls. Let me know if you're interested and I'll forward your information on to them so you will be notified.

    Wordless Wednesday: Haunted Houses

    October 28, 2008

    November 5th Etiquette Tips for Obama Supporters

    Villagers, I've been watching crowds of over 100,000 supporters coming out to Obama campaign rallys in Portland, St. Louis and Denver. I noticed that Obama and Biden swept all four debates with their opponents. I see that the early voting enthusiasm and the polls are suggesting that Obama may win this election on November 4.

    Barack Obama might win the election on November 4!

    If he wins there will be a lot of people (some of our co-workers included) who will be afraid that an Obama presidency will usher in the end of days. They'll be watching us on November 5th (the day after the election) for signs of the end times.

    To keep the peace and keep a lot of folks from getting nervous, we should develop a list of celebrations and behaviors we should probably avoid on November 5th:

    1. No crying, hugging or shouting "Thank you Lord" - at least not in public.

    2. No high-fives - at least not unless the area is clear and there are no witnesses

    3. No laughing at the McCain-Palin supporters

    4. No calling in sick on November 5th. They'll get nervous if too many of us don't show up.

    5. We're allowed to give each other knowing winks or nods in passing. Just try to keep from grinning too hard.

    6. No singing loudly, "We've Come This Far By Faith" (it will be acceptable to hum softly)

    7. No bringing of barbeque ribs or fried chicken for lunch in the company
      lunchroom for at least a week (no chittlings at all ... this may make us seem too ethnic).

    8. No leaving Kool-Aid packages at the water fountain (this might be a sign that poor folks might be getting too uppity).

    9. No Cupid Shuffle during breaks (this could indicate a little too much excitement.)

    10. Please no "Moving On Up" music (we are going to try to remain humble.

    11. No doing your private "Happy Dance" (unless you're in your office with the door closed)

    12. Please try not to yell --- BOOOO YAH!

    13. Just in case you're wondering, doing the 'Running Man', 'Cabbage Patch'
      or a backhand spring on the highway is 100% okay

    Feel free to add to the list. We just want to make sure villagers all on the same page when Obama brings this thing home on November 5th.

    Now go get your early vote on and let's make this thing happen!!!

    October 27, 2008

    Am I Not Human? America's Prison System

    We proudly participate in the monthly 'Am I Not Human?' blogging campaign on the 27th of each month. Our hope is to shine a light on human rights abuses. I'm shining my light this morning on the junkie-like appetite of America to putting our citizens behind bars.

    There are more than 2.2 million persons in US prisons and jails, an increase of 500 percent from 30 years ago. A June 2007 report by the Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) found that the incarcerated population continued to grow in 2006, experiencing its largest one-year increase in six years. The United States now has both the largest incarcerated population and the highest per capita incarceration rate in the world, with a rate five times that of England and Wales, seven times that of Canada, and more than 10 times that of Japan.

    The sheer numbers alone should be cause for concern. These 2.2 million felons weren't born criminals. What is it about our criminal justice system that results in such large numbers?

    Many of us think that racism is one reason for these horrendous numbers.

    The burden of incarceration falls disproportionately on members of racial and ethnic minorities. Black men are incarcerated at 6.5 times the rate of white men, and 11.7 percent of all Black males age 25 to 29 are in prison or jail. The US government failed to explain or address these rates in its 2007 report to the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

    As the prison population grows, so does the challenge of providing adequate medical and mental health care. A September 2006 BJS report found that more than half of all prisoners—and nearly three-quarters of all female prisoners—suffer from a mental health problem such as major depression or a psychotic disorder.

    In California a federal judge found that medical care in the state’s prisons violated the US Constitution’s prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment. In 2006 the judge appointed a receiver to oversee prison medical care, stripping that function from the state government. In September 2007 the receiver issued a report finding that 15 percent of California prisoner deaths were either preventable or possibly preventable. New ideas for reducing prison population floated in California earlier this year.

    Enacted by the US Congress in 1996, the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) creates a variety of obstacles for prisoners seeking to challenge their conditions of confinement or otherwise vindicate their rights in court. In January 2007 the US Supreme Court issued a decision overturning some particularly restrictive interpretations of the PLRA by lower federal courts.

    Often we think of places like Darfur, Haiti or Tibet whenever we discuss 'human rights abuses'. However, these abuses can take place in America ... and the men and women in our US Prison System are human beings ... not animals.

    Any thoughts on ways to improve the system of incarceration in America? Are mandatory sentences helping or hurting? Wouldn't it make sense to decriminalize drug use? Put a druggie in prison if they rob or steal ... put them in a hospital if they are addicted. Couldn't we cut our prison population in half if we stopped putting people in jail for being high on drugs?

    What say u?

    Manic Monday: Ghosts (Day of Prayer and Fasting)

    The theme for this week's Manic Monday meme is 'Ghosts'. It made me wonder what our American ghosts are thinkg about as we move towards next week's elections.

    Americans have the ghosts of Medgar Evers, John Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr., El Hajj Malik El-Shabazz and Emmett Till watching down on this election. These great Americans paid the ultimate price for their dream of a country that lived up to its ideals.

    Each of those ghosts died before their dream was realized.

    Now we sit with 9 days to go until our next national elections. This election cycle has been long and rough. However, the chance exists for the dream of our American ghosts to be realized.

    We are 9 days away from the possibility of a Black man being elected as President of the United States. Robert Kennedy predicted the possibility 40 years ago. MLK wanted America to judge a man by the content of his character. 14-year old Emmett Till died before America was willing to overcome its racism.

    Our American ghosts are looking down with interest in the election next week.

    As such, it is fitting that a Day of Prayer & Fasting for Barack Obama has now been called for November 3rd, the day before our national elections.

    I encourage all villagers to join me and others throughout the world in prayer and fasting for Senator Barack Obama. If you are so inclined, I'm also asking that you help spread the word.

    When: November 3, 2008
    Time: 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

    Instead of eating, let us all "join hands in prayer" and give up one meal that day for:
    1. The Hand of God to move in a mighty way over this election.

    2. The election to be handled in a fair and honest manner and in a way that pleases God.

    3. The protection of Barack Obama and his family.

    4. The results of the election will not result in any activity or events that will further divide the citizenry of this Nation.

    Think about our American ghosts during that lunch hour of prayer and fasting. Amen!

    October 26, 2008

    Israelis for Obama

    My blog focuses on issues from an afrocentric point of view. As such, I don't have much commentary from 'villagers' on issues related to Israel. Therefore I watched the following video with interest.

    What is your take from the message coming out of this video?

    Obamacans: Republicans for Obama

    Have you noticed that a lot of big-time Republicans are publically announcing that they are supporting Barack Obama this year? On the other hand, Joe Lieberman is the only Democrat that I know is supporting John McCain.

    Both McCain and Obama have told us about their ability to reach out across the aisle to get support on issues. It seems that Obama is proving that he can bring Republicans with him towards a common purpose.

    Here are some recent high-profile Republicans that have endorsed Obama:
    1. Ken Adelman (Reagan's director of arms controls)

    2. Wick Allison (former publisher of the National Review)

    3. Andrew Bacevich (conservative author)

    4. Christopher Buckley (son of William F. Buckley)

    5. Arne Carlson (former governor of Minnesota)

    6. Lincoln Chafee (former governor of Rhode Island)

    7. Susan Eisenhower (granddaughter of President Dwight Eisenhower)

    8. Charles Fried (former John McCain advisor)

    9. CC Goldwater (granddaughter of Barry Goldwater)

    10. Joel Haugen (Congressional candidate in Oregon)

    11. Linwood Holton (former governor of Virginia)

    12. Larry Hunter (Reagan's chief economist)

    13. Doug Kmiec (Republican lawyer to Reagan and Bush-41)

    14. Jim Leach (former Iowa congressman)

    15. Scott McClellan (former White House press secretary)

    16. Colin Powell (former Secretary of State)

    17. Michael Smerconish (conservative talk-show host)

    18. Lowell Weicker (former US senator from Connecticut)

    19. William Weld (former governor of Massachusetts)

    20. Jim Whitaker (mayor of Fairbanks, Alaska)

    Hey Rush Limbaugh ... Are all of these conservative Republicans supporting Barack Obama because of their race? To my knowledge, all of the folks on this list (except Gen. Powell) are white.

    Perhaps they are supporting Obama because of his temperment, leadership skills, platform and forward-looking vision for our country? You think?

    October 25, 2008

    Electronic Village Milestone: 1,000 Posts!

    I had no idea that I would post 1,000 posts when I first started this blog back in January 2007. I didn't have a vision for the blog when I first created it. My sister told me that I could start a blog for free ... and that was pretty much my only motivation.

    However, this blog evolved over the past 1,000 posts. We seek to provide information that uplifts people of African descent here in America. Our most favorite topics have been 'Barack Obama', 'Election-2008' and 'Criminal Justice'. It should be interesting to see how we evolve in the coming weeks as the 2008 election cycle comes to an end.

    I am very grateful to all the villagers that have supported this blog. Cliff, Danielle, Field, Gattina, Iya, Keith, Kyra, Mike, Mrs. Grapevine, Pam, Purple Zoe, Regina, Sojourner and so many others have shared comments, insights and suggestions.

    My hope is that I discover a way to encourage more COMMENTS from those of you that visit. That is going to be a focus for me over the coming weeks.

    Anyhow, I decided to go back and find my favorite posts within the ten 100-post intervals since we began this thing. Here is what I came up with.
    1. Posts 1 - 100: Manic Monday: Graphic - Manic Monday is a weekly meme that helped introduce me to some remarkable bloggers. I use it to research Black history and Black culture. Anyhow, this post focused on the inhuman legacy of lynching in America. Unfortunately, I find myself referencing this post often ... including just recently when a McCain supporter hung Obama in effigy.

    2. Posts 101 - 200: Jena 6, Racism in America - Black bloggers brought this story to the attention of the mainstream media. The result was the largest civil rights march in over a decade on 9/20/2007. I provided villagers with an overview of the Jena 6 case in this post.

    3. Posts 201 - 300: Only A Dad - I posted this photo and poem a few days after my father passed away. I miss him everyday.

    4. Posts 301 - 400: Iowa Victory Speech - I watched this speech with my Mom. She didn't notice ... but, I cried. I was already an Obama supporter, however, this speech was the first time that I realized deep down in my soul that he had a chance to win. This remains my favorite Obama speech of all-time.

    5. Posts 401 - 500: Evolution of the AfroSpear - My blog has grown exponentially since I hooked up with the kinfolk in this alliance of progressive Black bloggers. This post provided an overview of the AfroSpear for my blog readers.

    6. Posts 501 - 600: Al Sharpton & NAACP Are Wrong - It felt good to be part of the online activism that supported the woman terrorized by the gang of rapists in Dunbar Village. We forced Al Sharpton and NAACP to revisit their approach to the situation down in Florida.

    7. Posts 601 - 700: Justice for LaVena Johnson - I introduced the late Pfc. LaVena Johnson to my blog readers with this post. We still have work to do. We need to get Congress to investigate her wrongful death while serving in Iraq.

    8. Posts 701 - 800: Blogging While Brown Conference - This was the first time in history that bloggers of color gathered together under one roof to learn and motivate one another in a serious way. This post gave my review of the BWB Conference to my blog readers.

    9. Posts 801 - 900: African Americans & Sarah Palin - The hits on my blog have increased almost three-fold since I published this post on what African Americans in Alaska thought about Sarah Palin. I will miss Gov. Palin when she goes back to obscurity after November 4.

    10. Posts 901 - 1,000: NAACP's Ben Jealous Meets With Black Bloggers - My relationship with the NAACP evolved over the past year. My first NAACP post was entitled, "Is the NAACP Relevant?". Now, I find myself with other Black bloggers talking to the NAACP president. Only in America!

    Let's turn this into an OPEN THREAD until our next milestone post. Feel free to share your thoughts, ideas, memories and anything else on your mind as it relates to the Electronic Village blog. What's on your mind?

    Blog Safari #17

    There are truly remarkable bloggers sharing humorous, insightful and meaningful posts being shared with us. I hope that you take a few moments to enjoy this week's 'Blog Safari'. Share some love with these blogs from other parts of the afrosphere.
    Let us know if you come across any remarkable posts that should be shared in our next Blog Safari!

    October 24, 2008

    Barack & Curtis: Manhood, Power & Respect

    Have you seen this short documentary film examining the contrasting styles of manhood exhibited by Barack Obama and Curtis Jackson, aka 50 Cent?

    What did you think?

    25-Day Stay of Execution: Troy Davis

    After the Supreme Court refused to hear the Troy Davis appeal for a new trial, Georgia scheduled a new date for his execution - Monday, October 27. However, this morning the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a 25-day stay of execution.

    Many Sojourners and villagers have been following this story, writing letters, and signing petitions urging that Troy's execution be stayed. We will continue to use our blog to keep you informed.

    Found: Tekenya Wooten (Durham NC)

    Tekenya Wooten, a pregnant 12-year-old girl who had been missing since Saturday was found this morning in Durham, police said. [SOURCE]

    Durham police officers found Tekenya on a local street at about 11:45 a.m. today. She appeared to be unharmed.

    Wooten was living in a Durham group home that operates as a residential and maternity child care facility. Investigators were treating her disappearance as a runaway case and did not trigger the state's Amber Alert program in this week's search. Durham Police Chief Lopez shares his thoughts on this case here.

    Our prayers remain with Tekenya Wooten as she struggles with the reality of being pregnant at such a young age. Our appreciation is for all villagers that supported our efforts to raise the alarm for this young girl.

    It appears that we can turn off the Lakeesha Alert now.

    Old School Friday: Ready for the World

    Mrs. Grapevine established 'One-Hit Wonders' as the theme for this week's Old School Friday meme. There were a couple of groups that came to mind for me, including Force MDs, The Jones Girls, Anita Ward and even the Sugar Hill Gang.

    However, at the end of the day I settled on Ready for the World. They had a #1 hit called, 'Oh Sheila' ... a song originally written by Prince to honor Sheila E.

    by papafonk

    Backstage Interview with RFTW

    October 23, 2008

    This Week in Blackness: Debate, Obama Bucks, Powell, OH MY!

    We are supporting the comedic satire of Elon James White. However, we will talk with the brother about providing the work-friendly version of the weekly messages in the future. Anyhow, here is Episode #11 (uncensored version):

    Lakeesha Alert: Tekenya Wooten (Durham NC)

    The Amber Alert system isn't working for our nubian sister, Tekenya Wooten. It is time to see if the Lakeesha Alert system can make a difference.

    Gina McCauley laid out the challenge for all warriors in the afrosphere. It is not good enough to simply 'feel bad' about the fact that Tekenya Wooten and her unborn child are missing. When a 12-year old Black girl is missing it is time for all of us to get serious.

    We need to get with the authorities in Durham NC so that this situation is resolved within hours ... not days ... not weeks.

    The 12-year old girl is 8-months pregnant. I don't know the full story ... but, it appears that she was raped by someone. After all, you don't make mature adult decisions about sexual intercourse when you are in the 6th grade.

    Anyhow, I'm following the lead of Gina. I have a client conference call shortly ... but, I'm going to make some calls. Can you do the same?

    We need you to follow up today by e-mail, by phone, by fax, by African drums!

    The News & Observer * (919) 829-4500, Ask for the 'News Department'.

    I wanted to talk with the reporter assigned to the Tekenya Wooten story. I got as far as the voicemail for the paper's news department. I think that his name is Tad Author ... although, I could be wrong. It was difficult to understand it on his voicemail.

    Anyhow, I let him know about my concern that the story of a missing 12-year old girl walking the streets of Durham while 8-months pregnant did not seem to be considered newsworthy by the Durham media. I expressed appreciation for the online bulletin ... however I thought that the newspaper should show more interest when a 12-year old victim of a crime (rape) was overlooked by the county-operated 'group home' in which she lived ... and that this 8-month pregnant child was not being searched for in any type of aggressive manner by the police, mayor or media. The young girl is obviously in danger and needs help. Why do only blonde-haired missing girls get media coverage? Why isn't this 12-year old nubian child being sought by all levels of Durham authorities?

    The News & Observer
    215 South McDowell Street
    P.O. Box 191
    Raleigh, NC 27602
    Main: (919) 829-4500
    Customer Service: (800) 522-4205

    Villagers, please follow up with the News and Observer REPEATEDLY throughout the day.

    Ask them why this didn’t make it to the print edition of the paper? Ask them why it isn’t newsworthy that North Carolina lost a child in their custody. Ask them why it isn’t newsworthy that you have a 12-year-old running around who is about to give birth any second. Ask them why the Durham Police Department thinks that sending out a random email with no follow up is a sufficient expenditure of law enforcement resources in light of the fact that there are TWO children’s lives at stake?

    WRAL * (919) 821-8600, Fax: (919) 821-8541 * Updated Alert from WRAL
    I talked with Sally. I explained the situation, especially the concern about the Durham Police Department treating this as a simple runaway and not as a more serious 'HIGH RISK' case. Sally informed me that Erin Hartness was the reporter assigned to the case. Sally indicated she would pass along my concerns to Ms. Hartness. I appreciate the bulletin posted by WRAL, however, this is a much more serious case and it requires a much more forceful local media presence. After all, Tekenya is 12. She’s 8-month’s pregnant. If she’s not high risk, what about her child? What about the fact that Black women under the age of 20 are the most likely to be the victims of maternal homicide? What about the fact that this little girl was likely impregnated when she was 11-years-old? That ain’t high risk?

    Durham Police Department - Chief Jose Lopez, Sr. (919) 560-4322 jose.lopez@durhamnc.gov

    I was transferred to voicemail of Toya Littlejohn. I left voicemail for her to pass along to the chief. I called back. This time I asked for the detective assigned to the Tekenya Wooten case. Instead I was given to Deputy Chief Ronald Hodge.

    He indicated that the police had no evidence that she was "kidnapped". In fact, the police feel that she "left voluntarily" from the group home. How does a 12-year old girl who is 8-months pregant leave a county-owned facility VOLUNTARILY without the knowledge of the home administrators?. I asked that question to Deputy Chief Hodge. He told me that the "criteria established by the state of North Carolina" for listing Tekenya's case as 'HIGH RISK' had not been met. I pointed out that the young girl had already been victimized and raped earlier this year ...judging from her age and pregnancy. Deputy Chief Hodge told me that he didn't know if she was raped or not ... "it depends on the age of the other person and other factors."

    Finally, I was able to ask again if the Durham Police Department would take another look at their designation of this case as a simple runaway instead of the 'HIGH RISK' designation that would kick in Amber Alerts and such throughout the city, county and state. Deputy Chief Hodge didn't want to answer that one. He said, "I have nothing more to say." Then he hung up.

    Durham City Manager- Thomas Bonfield (919) 560-4222 tom.bonfield@durhamnc.gov
    I spoke with his assistant, Edie Aikens. I provided my concern about the lack of urgency being displayed by the Durham Police Department. I informed her that the Durham Police Department is wrong for its refusal to designate this case as 'HIGH RISK'. This case will not receive media attention without the 'HIGH RISK' designation by the police department.

    Ms. Aikens indicated that she spoke earlier in the day with the police department. Patrol cars are aware of this missing child. The bus routes that Tekenya was known to use have been alerted. The police are trying to track down another photo in addition to the cellphone photo that has currently been released.

    Ms. Aikens indicated that I might hear later today from the city manager on my request to have the case upgraded to 'HIGH RISK'.

    Ms. Aikens ended our call by stating that 'the hearts of the city go out to this young girl. The city of Durham cares about all our children ... regardless of race ... when they go missing.'

    Mayor of Durham (919) 560-4333 ext. 269 Bill.Bell@durhamnc.gov
    I was told that Mayor Bell is at a meeting. I left him a voicemail message with my name, phone number and email address. I told him about our concern that his city administration is not dealing with this matter correctly. A 12-year 'HIGH RISK' little girl is running around in the Durham streets and nobody in the city seems to care. Somebody needs to recognize that this young statutory rape victim is 8 months pregnant and doesn't have pre-natal care to ensure the safety of her or her unborn child. The police are treating this as a simple 'runaway'. How can anything be simple with a 6th or 7th grader is out there unprotected and unappreciated. Is Durham only interested in its new convention center ... or does the city have any concern for its children? Who will speak for Tekenya Wooten in Durham?

    Villagers, If you have the time, in addition to the mayor, you can drop a note to each and every one of the Durham city council members their names are here and if you click on their names, their names and number will appear.

    Durham Child Protective Services * Diane Pankey (919) 560-8424

    Evidently the group home on 3529 Manford Drive is where Tekenya Wooten was staying before she went missing. Anyhow, it appears that this group home is under the domain of Diane Pankey.

    I left a voicemail with Ms. Pankey expressing concern that one of her group homes could lose a 12-month girl that is 8 months pregnant. How does that happen? Isn't their any type of supervision for such a 'HIGH RISK' girl? Anyhow, I left her a voicemail message and we'll see what happens.

    Villagers, I join with Gina McCauley in sending out this call to action for all of us in the afrosphere. We need you to TAKE ACTION right now.

    We want to know where she is. We want to know where they think she is. We want to know why she was classified as a runaway and how they make that determination. We want to know how much “investigation” took place because it appears that Tekenya Wooten should be listed as a 'HIGH RISK' missing person. We want to know what, if any, steps have been taken beyond the electronic crime bulletin to find this little girl. If you know where she is and she is safe. Let us know. If not, let us know why you haven’t found her.

    Brothers and sisters ... it was OK to feel bad when you first heard about Tekenya Wooten. Now it is time to pick up a spear and search the jungle for the young sister. MAKE A CALL and send some emails today! Let us know what you find out!

    Save the NAACP Youth Entrepreneurship Institute

    This is an 'Open Letter to NAACP President Ben Jealous'. I invite everyone to voice their own thoughts in the COMMENTS section below. My hope is that we will receive some type of response from Mr. Jealous himself over time.

    Dear President Jealous:

    The Electronic Village offers our sincere congratulations on your appointment as President and CEO of the NAACP. The afrosphere stands ready to assist you in any way we can. Black bloggers are optimistic about the outreach that you have made to our online community. Your recent conference calls displayed the power of working cooperatively, thus, serving notice that the NAACP will stand for equity in the public arena, fairness in the corporate sector, and impartial treatment in the criminal justice system.

    After talking with you last week I took a deeper look at the NAACP website. It gave me great hope to learn about the Reginald Lewis Youth Entrepreneurship Institute (YEI). For over five years I ran a small business incubator here in Cincinnati. As such, I know the power of entrepreneurship ... especially in these volatile economic times when unemployment is sweeping through the Black community.

    You can imagine how disappointed I am to learn that you have decided to cancel this valuable youth entrepreneuship program.

    Learning how to become entrepreneurs is so vital to our children and the future they face. It would be wonderful to see such a program located here in Cincinnati. Our town was recently named by Entrepreneur Magazine as a region with three of the top 25 college entrepreneurship programs, University of Cincinnati, Xavier University, and Miami University (Oxford, Ohio), not to mention an outstanding program at Northern Kentucky University just a cross the Ohio River from Cincinnati as well.

    In addition, our school board created an entrepreneurship high school eight years ago. Also, our city is the home of a powerful brother, Jim Clingman, who advocates for economic empowerment and youth entrepreneurship in his nationally syndicated newspaper column.

    Mr. Jealous, the YEI Program would be a great asset to Cincinnati, as it has been to other cities, and this is a request for your reconsideration of maintaining the program as an individual offering of the NAACP.

    Thank you in advance for your courteous consideration of this request.

    Villager, blogger
    Electronic Village
    Member: The AfroSpear

    Missing: Tekenya Wooten, Pregnant 12-Year Old Girl is Missing

    Drumbeats from 'What About Our Daughters' and 'Black and Missing But Not Forgotten' led us to this posting. Our hope is that others in the afrosphere will take up this call as well.

    Tekenya Wooten, 12, reportedly ran away from her home on Manford Drive in Durham. She is a 12-year-old Black female, 4 feet 5 inches tall and 100 pounds. She is 8 months pregnant.

    When last seen, she was wearing a white T-shirt, blue jeans and silver shoes.

    Anyone with information about her whereabouts should contact Detective T.M. Ochman at (919)560-4440 ext. 289 or Durham Crime Stoppers at (919) 683-1200.

    Please say a prayer for Tekenya, her unborn child and her family as they struggle through this challenging time.

    October 22, 2008

    45 People Are Shot and Killed Daily in America

    Congressman Bobby Rush (D-Il) focused on urban violence recently. He shared some stats that blew me away when I saw them:

    More Americans are killed in America than American soldiers killed in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan combined. The Department of Justice reports that, on average, 45 people are shot and killed daily in America. Annually, there are 16,000-17,000 gun deaths in America.

    In contrast, the total number of American casualties in Iraq, over the entire span of the war (5 years), is about 4,155 and for Afghanistan, it's at least 500. The combined total of casualties for Iraq and Afghanistan is less than 5,000 since both wars began.

    Rep. Rush is sponsoring The Communities in Action Neighborhood Defense and Opportunity (CAN DO) bill in congress. This is an attempt to provide a comprehensive, community-oriented approach to address the issue of gun violence, especially as it affects our youth. The object is to accurately frame the issue of gun violence as a matter of public safety, rather than as a Second Amendment issue or strictly a gun control issue, while also addressing the root causes of the violence.

    45 deaths every dayum day of the year!

    That is an impact not just on the 45 people each day that stopped breathing ... it impacts on the 45 killers. It is impossible to take another life and not have it affect your soul ... not to mention your freedom if you are caught and convicted.

    What is the lost opportunity in our community as a result of this urban violence? Did we lose a future doctor? a future scientist? a future Nobel Prize winner? a future father or mother?

    Villagers, as the election comes to a conclusion it may be time to look at other ways that we can make a difference.
    What is your thought about urban violence? Does it impact your community?

    Wordless Wednesday: October Surprise?

    October 21, 2008

    Fairfield City Leaders Condemn Mike Lunsford's Effigy of Obama

    City and school district leaders have "condemned" the actions of a Fairfield resident who last week hung Barack Obama in effigy from a tree by a noose. [SOURCE]

    Mike Lunsford said he hung the ghost in his front yard as a Halloween decoration and later decided to write "Hussain" in green marker on it. Lunsford also attached part of a campaign yard sign with Obama's last name to his ghost decoration.

    "I just disagree with his views," Lunsford said of Obama. "I am a white man and I want to see a Christian that supports my values (as president)."

    Fairfield police received calls from neighbors and passersby but decided Lunsford had not committed any crime.

    Fairfield Police Chief Mike Dickey said that — after a Secret Service investigation — it was determined there was no threat to a presidential candidate. The display also is protected under the First Amendment right to freedom of speech, he said.

    However, the city's mayor, city council and Fairfield school district leaders decided to speak out against Lunsford's display.

    In an e-mail on Monday, Oct. 20, school district Superintendent Cathy Milligan and Fairfield school board President Mark Morris wrote, "Standing up against racism makes Fairfield a better place for our employees to work and for our students to learn and grow."

    Mayor Ron D'Epifanio, along with city council members, wanted people to know they do not agree with Lunsford's display. In a statement issued on Monday, the mayor and city council members said: "This individual's isolated opinion, as depicted in a yard display, does not represent the values of our community."

    I'm glad to see local officials taking on this racist fool.

    I hope that his employer steps up as well! What does it say to African American co-workers and customers to have Mike Lunsford working with them? Can they ever trust that this man will treat them with respect and dignity after seeing what he is publically doing in his front yard?

    Blog Safari #16

    I wonder how bloggers are going to adjust on November 5th ... when the election is over? Anyhow, we still have a number of election and non-election posts in this week's 'Blog Safari'. Share some love with these blogs from other parts of the afrosphere.
    Let us know if you come across any remarkable posts that should be shared in our next Blog Safari!

    October 20, 2008

    Execution of Troy Davis

    As you may already know, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear Troy Davis' case. Hence, Georgia Department of Corrections re-scheduled the execution for October 27, 2008.

    Many of us believe that Troy Davis was improperly convicted. Davis is Black, and he is accused of killing a white police officer, Mark MacPhail, in Savannah, Ga., in 1989. There is no physical evidence linking him to the crime--no murder weapon, no fingerprints or DNA, no tests showing gunpowder residue.

    Davis was convicted entirely because of eyewitness testimony. But seven of the nine witnesses who testified against Davis have since recanted, with many saying they were coerced by police who were frantic to pin the murder of a fellow officer on someone. Of the two witnesses who stick to their stories, one at first couldn't identify Davis for police, and the other, Sylvester Coles, was initially the cops' prime suspect. In the years since, five people have come forward to say they heard Coles admit he killed MacPhail.

    The Atlanta district attorney sees it differently.

    If you believe Troy Davis is innocent and will be wrongly executed, please act now.

    Contact Carlo Musso. Dr. Musso's company has a contract with the GA Department of Corrections (GDC) to participate in executions. GDC policy dictates that two doctors must be present to allow for an execution to be carried out. This is of course in addition to the other medical professionals who facilitate executions including nurses that prepare the IVs through which poison will flow to Troy Davis' veins.

    Please take a moment to send a letter (sample below) to Dr. Musso, president of Rainbow Medical Associates and ask him to remember his humanity and decide NOT to participate in the execution of a man who may be innocent.

    The American Medical Associate Code of Medical Ethics explicitly provide that "A physician, as a member of the profession dedicated to preserving life when there is hope of doing so, should not be a participant in a state execution." With these letters, we can remind Dr. Musso of his oath to facilitate healing, not killing.

    You can fax Dr. Musso the letter on (770) 692-4754.

    You can send the letter to him via the Internet: copy and paste the letter in their online contact form

    Here is the sample letter:


    October 16, 2008
    Carlo Musso, MD.
    President, Rainbow Medical Associates
    c/o CorrectHealth
    9020 Peridot Parkway
    Stockbridge, GA 30281

    Dear Dr. Musso,

    We are writing today to urge you and your company, Rainbow Medical Associates, to decline involvement with the pending execution of Troy Anthony Davis on October 27, 2008 at 7:00pm at Georgia Diagnostic & Classification Prison in Jackson, Georgia.

    The execution of Troy Davis would be immoral and wrong. Almost all of the witnesses against him have recanted or changed their stories and no physical evidence was used to convict him. The courts and the parole board have failed to use their power to prevent this imminent miscarriage of justice. However, Troy Davis' execution cannot take place unless human beings participate. You can refuse to help the state of Georgia put Troy Davis to death.

    The American Medical Association Code of Medical Ethics explicitly provides that "A physician, as a member of the profession dedicated to preserving life when there is hope of doing so, should not be a participant in a state execution." We implore you to remember your humanity and respect you and your firm's oath to facilitate healing, not killing.

    We thank you in advance for choosing not to participate in the execution of a man who may well be innocent. Such an act would be irreversible, immoral and deeply damaging to the reputation of our state and the confidence in our justice system.

    Your Name
    Email or Phone Number

    If you aren't able to send a letter ... then please send a prayer for Troy Davis and his family.

    Police Remove Obama Effigy from Mike Lunsford's Lynching Tree

    Mike Lunsford took the effigy of Barack Obama down from his front yard lynching tree this morning at the request of the local police. The ghost still sits on Mike Lunsford's Fairfield front yard. The rope still hangs from the tree in front of the Symmes Road duplex.

    Not surprisingly, Lunsford's family said some people had threatened him over the display. I wonder what they expected when they brought fresh thought to the idea of public lynchings in America?

    The ghost has "Hussain" written in green ink on the front, referring to Obama's middle name, Hussein.

    Lunsford said he might put it back up again soon.

    When News 5's Karin Johnson asked if the display was political or racist, Lunsford said it was a political statement. But when pressed, Johnson said Lunsford admitted it might be racist, too.

    How can John McCain and Sarah Palin sleep at night knowing the results of the silent dog whistle that their campaign is sending to racists in Ohio, Oregon and elsewhere?

    Sarah Palin's World Map

    Colin Powell Endorses Barack Obama

    We asked villagers about possible Colin Powell endorsement back in April. It turns out that Powell waited until today to make that endorsement. His endorsement of Barack Obama should go a long way to attracting moderates and wayward Republicans to the Democratic presidential candidate. [Video]

    Over the years, Powell himself has been touted as a potential presidential or vice presidential candidate. The former national security adviser served as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the 1991 Persian Gulf War. He was secretary of state for the younger President Bush.

    His tenure is most notable for presenting to the U.N. Security Council evidence that Iraq was pursuing weapons of mass destruction. His presentation led to a resolution endorsing military action against that country. He later described his role as a "blot" on his record.

    It seems difficult to say that Obama doesn't have the experience to serve as our POTUS when people like Warren Buffet and Gen. Powell are endorsing him for the office.

    Manic Monday: Bite (Black Vampires)

    The theme for this week's Manic Monday is 'Bite'. I debated about talking about dentists or vampires. You're not surprised that I went for vampires, are you?

    The first Black vampire that I ever heard about was Blackula, the 1972 blaxploitation film [movie trailer]. Interior decorators buy the coffin of Manuwalde, an African prince bitten by Dracula centuries before and bring it back to Los Angeles. The African prince starts feeding his hunger while following a woman who looks like his departed wife.

    The second Black vampire that I ever heard about was Maximillan, the Vampire in Brooklyn [movie trailer]. Maximillian is the only survivor from a race of vampires on a Caribbean Island, and as a vampire, he must find a mate to keep the line from ending. He knows that a child had been born to a woman who had a vampire father, and he searches for her in Brooklyn. Rita's mother, who has died in an asylum, was that woman and Rita has nightmares that she does not understand. Not knowing that she is part vampire, Max woos her and attempts to bring her to her blood sucking destiny.

    On the other side of the spectrum, we find folks who hate those who bite ... vampire slayers. Buffy is the most famous. However, Damali Richards might be the most important vampire hunter in a millennium. However, unfortunately for the inexperienced young huntress, the vampires and demons have both discovered her existence. An age-old war escalates to unprecedented heights of violence as the dark forces strive to slay Damali before she comes of age and gains her full powers. You can read all about Damali in the 11-part Vampire Huntress series.

    Finally, I imagine that another great vampire slayer is Blade. He was played by Wesley Snipes in a movie trilogy. I doubt we will see another one as Wesley Snipes was bitten by the IRS recently!