October 31, 2007

Wordless Wednesday: Megan Williams

Remember The Name of Megan Williams

And never forget what happened...

Wear Red on October 31 * Stop Violence Against Women

Villagers recognize that violence against women is sadly, not a new phenomenon in our country or in the world, however, in the last year women of color have experienced brutal forms of violence, torture, rape and injustice which have gone unnoticed, received little to no media coverage, or a limited community response. Electronic Village joins other progressive bloggers that want to stand up to violence against women!

  • Be bold, be brave, be red. Wear red on October 31, 2007.

  • Take Your Red to the Streets! Know of a location where violence occurred against a woman of color? Have a public location where you feel women of color are often ignored? Make violence against women of color visible by decorating the space in red.

  • Rally! Gather your friends, family, and community to rally.

  • Check out the Document the Silence website for the litany we’re asking participants to read together on October 31st.

Would you like to publically announce your support for this effort to denounce violence against women?

October 30, 2007

Where Are They Now: Cleveland Middle School Teachers

What ever became of the teachers that brought the 'slavery is good lessons' to their sixth grade students at the Grover Cleveland Middle School in New Jersey?

Why a March to Support Megan Williams and Oppose Hate Crimes?

Villagers, the drums are beating about a historic National March taking place in Charleston, West Virginia on November 3, 2007. This call to action is to support young Megan Williams, who is the victim of one of the worst hate crimes in United States history. The March is also called to address an unacceptable rise in hate crimes and incidents of injustices currently perpetrated against Blacks or African Americans.

On September 12, 2007, and in subsequent preliminary hearings, it was revealed that Megan Williams, a twenty year old Black Woman, was lured into a nearby Logan county trailer house of hatred. Young Megan, who also has special disability needs, was repeatedly raped, choked, stabbed, forced to eat dog and rat feces as her six white tormentors berated her calling her "nigger" incessantly. Arrested are: Frankie Brewster, 49, and her son Bobby Brewster, 24., Karen Burton, 46; her daughter Alisha, 23; Danny Combs, 20, and George Messer, 27 –six whites from nearby Logan County, West Virginia.

According to evidence gathered, Megan was sodomized with a stick and a noose was tied around her neck for lengthy periods during this week long ordeal that is verified by confessions from several of the co-defendants. At one point, she was sexually assaulted while scalding water and melting hot wax from a candle was poured on her body. At another point she was forced to lick the toes of the sadistic defendants. She was stabbed in the leg at least four times and both of her ankles were cut by a female suspect who allegedly taunted her, saying, "This one is for Kunta Kinte, and that's what we do to niggers around here."

This is an ugly and outrageous ordeal. Prosecutors said. "Every time they stabbed her, they called her 'nigger."

Carmen Williams, the mother, told The Charleston Gazette. "She wakes up in the middle of the night screaming, 'Mommy.' What's really, really bad is, we don't know everything they did to her. She is crying all the time." No doubt, had she not been rescued they were going to kill her and throw her in a nearby lake.

"The Megan Williams case is beyond a doubt, one of the worst hate crimes in U.S. History. The Megan Williams case is even worse than the case of the Jena 6,"said Attorney Malik Shabazz Esq., Megan Williams Family Attorney and Spokesman for Black Lawyers For Justice.

Shabazz also said, "The number of outright hate crimes and injustice cases against Blacks is rising so rapidly it’s hard for our office to keep track of. We are calling for every concerned person in our community to respond to this national crisis with vigor and due diligence. The November 3rd March in Charleston is a big step in the direction of organizing to challenge the tide of attacks occurring against Blacks".

Villagers, spread the word about this national march ... and if you are near West Virginia on November 3rd ... please support the event in person! Bottomline? We need to stop the continued rape of our Black women in this country. Period.

Jena 6 Myths and Myth-Busters

'Only when lions get to write history, will hunters cease to be heroes'. That is an African proverb that seems to describe the current situation in the mainstream media and the white-controlled blogosphere. Both groups are working overtime to re-write history as it relates to the Jena Six case.

Both groups have given wide marketing to a local reporter from Jena, LA area who woke up one day and decided that he needed to add his spin on the facts.

"The media got most of the basics wrong," he writes. "In fact, I have never before witnessed such a disgrace in professional journalism. Myths replaced facts, and journalists abdicated their solemn duty to investigate every claim because they were seduced by a powerfully appealing but false narrative of racial injustice."

The Jena reporter provides his take on a dozen points from the Jena Six storyline:

  • Myth 1: The Whites-Only Tree.
  • Myth 2: Nooses a Signal to Black Students.
  • Myth 3: Nooses Were a Hate Crime.
  • Myth 4: DA's Threat to Black Students.
  • Myth 5: The Fair Barn Party Incident.
  • Myth 6: The "Gotta-Go" Grocery Incident.
  • Myth 7: The Schoolyard Fight.
  • Myth 8: The Attack Is Linked to the Nooses.
  • Myth 9: Mychal Bell's All-White Jury.
  • Myth 10: Jena 6 as Model Youth.
  • Myth 11: Jena Is One of the Most Racist Towns in America.
  • Myth 12: Two Levels of Justice.Myth 2: Nooses a Signal to Black Students.

Fortunately, we have some lions in the nubian regions of the blogosphere that are more than willing to bust the myths. I encourage all villagers that followed the Jena story to check out the myth-busting response by Prometheus 6.

The rhinos in our village love to run with lions such as Prometheus 6!

October 29, 2007

Bring The Olympic Dream to Darfur - Staples

Danielle (Modern Musings) and Purple Zoe (Ultraviolet Underground) encouraged their readers to communicate with the sponsors of the 2008 Beijing Olympics to encourage them to urge Chinese government to use their influence to end the genocide in Darfur. I received my first response today from Staples:

Thank you for your recent email to Staples expressing your concern about the Darfur issue and encouraging Staples to urge the Chinese government and the International Olympic Committee to use their leverage to help end the crisis in Sudan.

As you may know, Staples is not a sponsor of 2008 Beijing Olympics. Rather, we are the exclusive supplier of office furniture to the Olympics, including the Olympic Committee as well as official Olympic locations. This is the first time Staples has been involved in the Olympic Games.

As a company that does business around the world, Staples takes very seriously its obligations as a corporate citizen. However, corporate pressure is no substitute for the coordinated international diplomacy that is required to resolve the conflict in Sudan.

In recent months the Chinese government has begun to raise the Darfur issue with the government of Sudan and has finally supported the deployment of a UN peacekeeping force in the region. There have been some hopeful developments on the international diplomatic front as well. While the conflict and the humanitarian toll it has taken are far from over, these developments suggest that the best course for resolving the crisis in Darfur is a vigorous and concerted diplomatic effort.
The reply was not signed by a person. Nor was there any contact information provided for follow-up or clarification. Rather, it appears that Staples (a) denies that they are a sponsor of the 2008 Beijing Olympics and (b) tells us that China is doing better.

I wonder how the other corporations will respond? I wonder if they will each respond ... or if some will ignore the issue entirely? But, at the end of the day, I wonder if other villagers will join in effort to end the genocide in Darfur?

Manic Monday: Trick or Treat

Morgen asked that we post our Manic Monday meme on Trick or Treats this week. Trick. Many ways to go with that word. I thought of Magicians. There is a new show on network TV called "Phenomenon" that seeks out the next great magician. I wasn't surprised that there wasn't a person of African descent in the contestants. After all, few of us think of African Americans being magicians.

However, one of America's first successful stage magician, hypnotist and ventriloquist was a brother named Richard Potter (1783-1835). Potter was the son of an English baronet and an African servant woman. He was educated in Europe before beginning his 25 year career as a performer in post-Revolutionary America. He lived with his father in Hopkinton, NH and married (his wife name was Sally) and had 3 children. In fact, Potter is a favorite son of New Hampshire.

Potter performed in Boston, throughout New England and Canada. Potter was able to climb a rope and disappear while performing outdoors surrounded by spectators. Officially, his best known illusion was "crawling through a log" and Potter could skillfully throw his voice, especially using bird sounds. Whether he was the first to use a ventriloquist’s doll or dummy isn’t known. In 1813 Potters success allowed him to buy a 175-acre farm in Andover, NH, in the village now known as Potter’s Place. His story intrigued Harry Houdini who included Potter in his popular magazine of magic.

Today, there is a little-known Brotherhood of American Minority Magicians with a handful of members. I must admit that I've only seen one Black magician in my life. I don't recall his name ... he was entertainment at a conference I attended back in the day. He was quite good. One source of information on Black magicians is Magical Heroes: The Lives and Legends of Great African American Magicians

Anyway, I hope that you've learned something new from my Manic Monday meme this week!

October 28, 2007

Columbus Mayor Endorses Obama

I usually don't have many kind words for Columbus, OH ... the 15th largest city in the nation. After all, Columbus is the home of Ohio State Buckeyes ... and my favorite college team since I was a kid is the University of Michigan (UM). My parents met in Ann Arbor as UM undergraduates and both my maternal grandparents have post-graduate degrees from UM. Wolverine fans ordinarily don't have nice things to say about Columbus, OH.

Today is different. I learned today that Mike Coleman, mayor of Columbus, publically endorsed Barack Obama in his run for the presidency. Coleman joins other big-city mayors like Richard Daley of Chicago and Adrian Fenty of Washington, who also endorsed Obama.

Today I've learned that not everything about Columbus OH is bad!

October 27, 2007

The Noose: An American Nightmare

UPDATE: This special report has been upstaged in the past week by the California wild fires. The Electronic Village learned today that the show will be broadcast in its entirety on November 1 @ 8 pm (ET).

Since July, there have been more than a dozen reported incidents of nooses being displayed around the nation apparently intended to intimidate Black people. CNN investigates whether the upsurge in these acts are associated with the events surrounding "The Jena 6" in Louisiana or part of a growing, more widespread racial intolerance. CNN’s Kyra Phillips will anchor a special one-hour report, CNN: Special Investigations Unit – The Noose: An American Nightmare, on Tuesday, Oct. 23, at 8 p.m. (ET). It will re-air on Saturday, Nov. 3 and Sunday, Nov. 4 at 8pm ET/PT.

Nooses have been found in small towns like Winchester, Ky. and Elgin, Ill., as well as in cities like Philadelphia and New York, where a noose was hung on the door of a Columbia University professor’s office. The Coast Guard Academy, in New London, Conn., is also investigating two separate noose incidents.

Through interviews with historian James Allan and Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center, Phillips will trace America’s history of lynchings – an atrocity that gives the noose its horrifying meaning. Phillips also examines law enforcement efforts led by the bias crimes coordinator with Nassau County (N.Y.) Police, which tracks downs those who commit hate crimes. She also talks to educators in Philadelphia about what young people are being taught about the nation’s history of racial hatred.

Kyra Phillips was excellent in her in-depth investigation, Judgment in Jena, that aired on the day of the Jena March. I encourage villagers to check out her new investigative show on nooses. Let us know what you think about the show. OK?

October 26, 2007

Genarlow Wilson is Free!

Villagers, we asked you earlier this year to tell us why Genarlow Wilson was still in prison. We thought that the Georgia prosecutors were fools for fighting against freedom for Genarlow Wilson.

So we are proud to beat the drums with the news that the young brother is free.

The Supreme Court set him free today. Here is a copy of the court order along with a video showing Genarlow Wilson leaving prison.

To be clear, the brother is no angel. Group sex with a 15-year old isn't something to be proud about. However, a 10-year jail sentence is cruel and unusual punishment. We knew that all along. The Georgia Supreme Court agreed with us today.

What are your thoughts on this case?

More Nooses? Or Do We Just See Them More?

There are 37 reported noose incidents around the country in recent months. A number of the recent incidents were occurring in the Nassau County (New York) area.

As such, I am pleased to see that Nassau County authorities plan to spend the next month scrutinizing county crime statistics to figure out whether there has been an actual spike in the bias crimes or whether the incidents are just getting extra publicity. Nassau's analysis will look at characteristics such as age and neighborhood to find any patterns in the bias attacks among particular groups, the accused and the victims.

"I don't know, are people more hateful today than they've been historically? I hope that's not the case," County Executive Thomas Suozzi said.

Recent noose discoveries on a forklift in the Hempstead Town garage, in a locker room at the Hempstead village police station, and in Roosevelt, where one included a stuffed animal with its fur blackened -- have garnered prominent newspaper and television coverage including on this blog.

"We've seen a lot more media reports about these type of incidents over the past two months," Suozzi said. "So is that because the media's more interested than usual or is it because there's a lot more events going on?"

One African American lawmaker, Roger Corbin (D-Westbury), deputy presiding officer of the Nassau County Legislature, held up a book with graphic depictions of Jim Crow-era lynchings. "This is what this means when Black folks in this country were lynched in every state in this union and the law protected the perpetrators. Shame on us if we tolerate this", said Corbin.

Perhaps it is time to change the law so that horrific symbols representing hate, discrimination, violence and murder can have harsher penalites. Villagers were glad to see the New York State Senate unanimously pass a bill that would more harshly punish people who draw, paint or place nooses on public and private property. This follows an amendment to NY state law enacted last year that made the use of swastikas and burning crosses a felony.

Let's keep our eyes out for the results of the Nassau County study ... and let's hope that similiar studies are being conducted in other places around the league.

October 25, 2007

Day of Action for Darfur

One of the most powerful statements that I've seen by any blogger on the genocide in Darfur is posted by Purple Zoe over on the Ultraviolet Underground. Here is a taste of her message:

"My Pledge to Boycott the US sponsors of the Olympic Games Hosted by China

After having written to the sponsors of the Olympic Games and receiving empty letters of some (not all) of the sponsors that basically refused to apply pressure (Adidas was even sarcastic in nature and advised they are a sneaker company and not a grassroots political organization...), I am boycotting the corporate sponsors of the Olympic games who will not use their strength to persuade China to take serious action in regards to the genocide in Darfur, a region they have a great deal of economic influence over.

These companies will not receive a dime of my money as long they support China without challenging more resolute action for aiding Darfur. I may not spend a dime with them for the duration of the genocide in Darfur, and may never spend a dime with them again. Plain and simple.

Here are their names: Adidas; Anheuser-Busch; Atos Origin; BHPBilliton; Coca-Cola; General Electric; Johnson & Johnson; Kodak; Lenovo Group Limited; Manulife; McDonalds; Microsoft; Panasonic; Samsung; Staples; Swatch; UPS; Visa; and Volkswagen."

Villagers, I encourage to take a moment to read her full post on actions that we can take to end the genocide in Darfur. The question we must ask ourselves ... what are we going to do?

October 24, 2007

Happy Belated Birthday to Archbishop Tutu from Minnesota

Drumbeats came our way from Dibusse Tande blog with some good news on information we shared with villagers earlier this month. It turns out that Father Dennis Dease, president of the University of St. Thomas, reversed his ban on Archbishop Desmond Tutu. He announced the decision in a letter to students and faculty of the university. Here is the full text of the letter:

Dear members of the St. Thomas community,

One of the strengths of a university is the opportunity that it provides to speak freely and to be open to other points of view on a wide variety of issues. And, I might add, to change our minds.

Therefore, I feel both humbled and proud to extend an invitation to Archbishop Desmond Tutu to speak at the University of St. Thomas. I have wrestled with what is the right thing to do in this situation, and I have concluded that I made the wrong decision earlier this year not to invite the archbishop. Although well-intentioned, I did not have all of the facts and points of view, but now I do.

PeaceJam International may well choose to keep the alternative arrangements that it has made for its April 2008 conference, but I want the organization and Archbishop Tutu to know that we would be honored to hold the conference at St. Thomas.

In any event, St. Thomas will extend an invitation to Archbishop Tutu to participate in a forum to foster constructive dialogue on the issues that have been raised. I hope he accepts my invitation. The Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas has agreed to serve as a co-sponsor of the forum, and I expect other organizations also to join as co-sponsors.

Details about issues to be addressed will be determined later, but I would look forward to a candid discussion about how a civil and democratic society can pursue reasoned debate on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and other emotionally charged issues.

I also want to encourage a thoughtful examination of St. Thomas’ policies regarding controversial speech and controversial speakers. In the past, we have been criticized externally and internally when we have invited controversial speakers to campus – as well as when we have not. Rather than just move from controversy to controversy, might there be a positive role that this university could play in fostering thoughtful conversation around difficult and highly charged issues? We also might explore how to more clearly express in our policies and practices our commitment to civility when discussing such issues.

I have asked Dr. Nancy Zingale, professor of political science and my former executive adviser, to oversee the planning for the forum. If you have suggestions regarding either the topic or other participants, please contact her at nhzingale@stthomas.edu.

I sincerely hope Archbishop Tutu will accept our invitation. I continue to have nothing but the utmost respect for his witness of faith, for his humanitarian accomplishments and especially for his leadership in helping to end apartheid in South Africa.

Father Dennis Dease

Wordless Wednesday: Darfur

Today we made a commitment to Blog Against Genocide in Darfur. We shared the details on this global tragedy earlier in the year. Today, I encourage all villagers to Join us in this Day of Action for Darfur.

Mail letter to our Frat Boy (props to Field Negro for this nickname) in the White House. You may need to send him the map so that he knows where to find Darfur. I don't think that Frat Boy knows much about world geography beyond Iraq or Iran.

You may need to remind him that Sudan is the largest country in Africa, located just south of Egypt on the eastern edge of the Sahara desert. The country's major economic resource is oil. But, as in other developing countries with oil, this resource is not being developed for the benefit of the Sudanese people, but instead, for an elite few in the government and society.

One aspect of the conflict that we need to understand is the impact China has on the situation. I suspect that the issue of China's support of the Sudanese government will become much more visible as we get closer to the 2008 Olympics being hosted by China.

Villagers, do you think that it is time to consider a boycott of the Olympic games if China doesn't act on their influence over Sudan to stop the genocide?

October 23, 2007

Black Blogger Calls Out Civil Rights Leaders re: Obama

I encourage all villagers to take a moment to check out the full post. Here is a sample of what Marty had to say:
Well destiny has presented us with the candidate they fought and marched for in the Jim Crow era and now they all want to use the "electability" excuse. It’s now or never and I for one plan on holding our elders (social and political) accountable for their fear and innaction. Finally, Medgar Evers and Martin Luther King’s dreams can be fulfilled. From marching on the White House to occupying it by election. Right here, right now. Not later. This is the 21st damn century and January 2008 is the time to change the complexion of the seat of power. Alright, O.K. Maybe I need to put it musically the way the P-Funk family phrased it a few years ago…time to Paint the White House Black.

And hey, isn’t it the Civil Rights Generation who always spoke about representing the race, being loyal to the race and creating opportunity for the race? You remember this line from your old man or your old lady when you were a kid, right? "…one day you could be president little Black boy or Black girl…" But now in the 21st century, they want to get stuck on some crazy old slavish thinking instead of taking the millenial opportunity to actually make the most historic advance in American history. Bullshit. I will truly be disappointed in our parents generation if they don’t do their duty and create a new legacy for the country and a final substantive legacy for their generation.

Do I sound pissed? Yep, I am and I’m calling out all of alleged leaders for not actually leading. Some of them may have already committed and I just haven’t heard about it yet. To those I’ll apologize when I learn otherwise. Until then, I’m calling out Maxine Waters, Tavis Smiley, Al Sharpton, Kwame Kilpatrick, Andrew Young, everyone in the Congressional Black Caucus, Nancy Pelosi, Jimmy Carter, Ted Kennedy - yeah, white powerbrokers included - John Conyers and others too numerous to list. The old guard can finally make the greatest difference in American history and it would literally reverberate throughout the entire world. Forget the transformation of the American phsyche (yes, the United States does need a psychological enema). I’m talking about the whole damn planet.
Click here to read the full post.

Well villagers, we need you to share your village voice on this matter of national importance. On a side note, have any Civil Rights era leaders, Congressional Black Caucus members or white power brokers in your city or state endorsed Obama?

October 22, 2007

Blogging While Brown Conference

I have only been a blogger since January 2007. When I first entered the blogosphere the only blogger that I knew was my sister. Over the past few months I have enjoyed the exchange of ideas with bloggers of all nationalities, politics and geography. With one or two exceptions ... every blogger that I've met has been through my computer screen ... out here in cyberspace.

Perhaps it is time for us to meet face-to-face?!

The 2008 Blogging While Brown conference is my opportunity to meet some of these talented brothers and sisters in the so-called real world. The Electronic Village plans to attend this conference next year. Early Registration is now open for Blogging While Brown 2008. In the spirit of Ujamaa I plan to take advantage of the $100 early registration rate. It will never get less expensive!

The purpose of the event is to give Bloggers of Color an opportunity to meet each other for the first time, discuss current issues affecting Bloggers of Color, and learn about the latest technology that will assist them with publishing their work.

Blogging While Brown was created in response to widespread dissatisfaction with the amount of diversity in some of the largest blogging conferences. A critical mass of Bloggers of Color have yet to attend these established conferences, however the initial response from Bloggers of Color to the idea of holding their own conference has been overwhelmingly enthusiastic.

Bloggers of Color are excited about a conference, for, by and about them and look forward to moving beyond the single panel or discussion focusing on diversity that are typically featured at some of the larger blogging conferences.

The conference is in Atlanta, GA on July 25-27, 2008. The host hotel is the Hilton Atlanta Downtown. Pass this on to your friends and readers.

Those of you that share your village voices by posting comments on the Electronic Village are just as important as I am to the growing success of our online community. As such, this invitation to attend the 2008 Blogging While Brown conference is open to any of the active villagers that come here regularly.

Stay tuned! I understand that the Conference Planning Committee will provide guidelines for workshop suggestions and facilitator proposals in the near future. Get on board now because 2008 will be an amazing year for bloggers! Blogging While Brown is the first international conference for, by, and about Bloggers of Color and the readers who love and comment on them.

Will you be in attendance?

October 21, 2007

Barack Obama Questions Attorney General Nominee

George Bush truly phuqued up the Justice Department over the past six years. The inability of the Justice Department to protect the civil rights of African Americans and others leads to a nation that is rife with examples of hate crimes popping up all over in apparent defiance of authority. As such, it is important that our next president put someone in as Attorney General with a commitment to enhance voting rights, enforce the Voting Rights Act and end racial profiling.

I was pleased to read the contents of the letter that Barack Obama (D-IL) sent to Attorney General-Designate, Judge Michael Mukasey, asking him how he intends to protect the civil rights of all Americans if he is confirmed Attorney General. In recent years, there has been a systematic failure by the Department of Justice to exhibit any significant commitment to upholding civil rights – particularly in the cases of the photo identification requirement for voting in Georgia, the Jena 6 in Louisiana, the death of a young man at a boot camp in Florida, and concerns that Blacks have been steered into high-cost subprime loans.

The text of the letter is below:

Dear Judge Mukasey:

I write to you at a moment in our nation’s history that is fraught with unprecedented legal challenges and constitutional questions – a moment that highlights the extraordinary importance of the position for which you have been nominated. By all accounts, your distinguished legal career reflects a commitment to our Constitution and the rule of law.

Unfortunately, this Administration – and your predecessors as Attorney General – have a poor track record in the area of investigating discrimination against racial minorities, while inexplicably focusing resources on a few, exceptional cases involving white victims. From attempts in Georgia to enact a voter identification requirement to the Jena 6 case in Louisiana to concerns that minorities have been steered into high-cost subprime loans, we have seen a systematic failure by the Department of Justice to exhibit any significant commitment to upholding civil rights.

At such a critical time in our nation’s history, we need an Attorney General determined to protect the rights of all Americans – in particular, those traditionally disadvantaged – and not someone who views his mission as serving as the President’s personal attorney. Since I am not a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, I will not have the opportunity today to ask you questions about your views on civil rights.

For that reason, I ask that you provide responses to the following questions:

  1. In recent years, the Department of Justice has demonstrated a clear preference for investigating isolated examples of voter fraud, rather than more widespread allegations of disenfranchisement of minority voters. As Attorney General, will you commit to a program of enforcement that is aimed at enhancing, rather than diminishing, the ability of racial and ethnic minorities to vote? Will you commit to applying the Voting Rights Act to challenge voter identification laws such as those attempted in Georgia and other states?

  2. The Department of Justice seems to have weakened its stance on the enforcement of apparent racial profiling cases under 42 U.S.C 14141, which allows for civil lawsuits to be brought by the Department against racial profiling by our nation’s police departments. Will you commit to opening investigations and pursuing lawsuits against police departments that reveal a pattern or practice of police misconduct?

  3. In recent months, our nation’s attention has been focused on the racial strife in Jena, Louisiana, and the disparate treatment of six African American youths. As Attorney General, will you commit the investigative resources of the Civil Rights Division to ensuring the fair treatment and execution of the law in cases such as the Jena 6, as well as the recent acquittal by an all-white jury of eight prison guards accused of killing a young black male at a juvenile detention center in Florida?

  4. Several studies have found that black and Hispanic borrowers were more likely to be steered into high-cost subprime loans than other borrowers, even after controlling for factors such as income, loan size, and property location. Although multiple concerns have been raised in recent years about discrimination in the housing market, the number of housing cases filed by the Housing and Civil Enforcement Section has fallen from 53 in 2001 to 31 in 2006, and cases involving discrimination have fallen by 60%. In 2003, the Justice Department announced that it would no longer file disparate impact cases involving housing discrimination – a sharp break from DOJ’s longstanding and bipartisan policy to aggressively litigate these cases. In light of recent reports of stark racial disparities in the subprime lending market and the sharp drop in housing discrimination enforcement actions, what steps will you take to ensure that the nation's housing discrimination laws are vigorously enforced? Will you commit the Housing and Civil Enforcement Division to investigating whether the practices of the mortgage lending industry violate the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, Fair Housing Act, or other federal antidiscrimination statutes?

  5. In 2002, the Bush Administration placed political appointees in charge of hiring new attorneys in the Civil Rights Division – departing from the longstanding practice of giving this hiring authority to career professionals. Since then, less than half of new hires in the Division’s important Appellate, Employment Litigation, and Voting Sections have had any prior civil rights experience – and less than a quarter have had any prior experience enforcing the nation’s civil rights laws. The others, according to a Boston Globe analysis, “gained their experience either by defending employers against discrimination lawsuits or by fighting against race-conscious policies.” Will you pledge to restore professionalism and end the practice of politicized hires within the Civil Rights Division? What specific steps will you take to reverse these trends in hiring?

  6. What is your opinion of the Deceptive Practices and Voter Intimidation Prevention Act, which I introduced in January 2007 and which recently passed the Senate Judiciary Committee? Do you agree that this legislation is necessary?

I believe that with the proper leadership, the Department of Justice can reclaim its historical leadership role in fighting racial discrimination and ensuring equal protection under the law. I appreciate your attention to my questions, and I look forward to your response. Thank you.

Barack Obama
United States Senator

October 20, 2007

Black Governor Wants a Black President

Only about ten weeks until voters in Iowa and New Hampshire make a choice on presidential candidates. Barack Obama received good news this week when Gov. Deval Patrick (D-Mass) ... former Clinton aide ... announced that he endorses Obama for the presidency over Hilary Clinton. He wrote,

"As a Democrat, I am proud that the field of Democratic contenders is so strong. Many are friends and colleagues with whom I have worked over the years. But frankly, I believe the importance of this election transcends friendships and party. I believe we need unifying, visionary leadership. I believe we need a President who will level with the American people. I believe we need Barack Obama."

Hopefully, the political machine that Deval Patrick used to get into the governor's office last month can have a positive impact on Obama's chances in New Hampshire primary.

Villagers, have you settled in on a candidate that you will support in the upcoming elections?

October 19, 2007

AfroSpear Blogger Field Negro In The News

I was in Los Angeles for the past week visiting with my family. I woke up the other morning and opened the paper to see one of my favorite bloggers in the Los Angeles Times! Click here to see the full article on the Field Negro.

Field (which is how I think of him) disclosed his true identity for the reporter. We now know that the brother is Wayne Bennett, a lawyer in Philadelphia PA. His blog gets over 1,200 hits each day. I admit that I check out the brother's blog each and every day. His posts are on point and usually give me a reason to smile.

Villagers have heard about Field in the past. I've nominated him in the past for a Blogging Star Award and a Thinking Blogger Award. He won the 2007 Black Weblog Award as the 'Best Political Blog' in the universe.

All of this recognition is well-deserved. The brother simply comes correct each and every time ... whether it is with his Coonies Award or his hard stance against the frat boy!

I am proud to be a colleague of Field through The AfroSpear. Field Negro currently stands at #23 on the growing list of Black Blogs that we are tracking each month. If he keeps getting this type of national pub ... he should be riding to #1 with a bullet.

Villagers, what are your thoughts on Field Negro (in particular) or The AfroSpear (in general)?

Nobel Peace Prize Winner Says Blacks Are Talented, But Less Intelligent Than Whites

I must admit that I don't pay much attention to the annual Nobel Peace Prize process. I know that Martin Luther King, Jr won the prize back in the day. Of course, Al Gore was a big winner this year.

So, it is no surprise that I didn't know that an American professor named James Watson won the Nobel prize back in 1962. Obviously, the guy has some book smarts to do the things he did with DNA research back in the 1950s and 1960s.

However, the downside for white guys living as adults in America back in the 1950s and 1960s is that they have some whack ideas about race. So, it was also not a surprise to know that Dr. James Watson harbors racist thoughts. I am surprised that the old guy allowed his inner demons out in public. The old boy was quoted as saying that he is "inherently gloomy about the prospect of Africa" because "all our social policies are based on the fact that their intelligence is the same as ours, whereas all the testing says not really."

Watson also asserted there was no reason to believe different races separated by geography should have evolved identically, and he said that while he hoped everyone was equal, "people who have to deal with Black employees find this is not true."

Of course, he is apologizing all over himself now. Not because he thought the racist thoughts ... but, because he got so comfortable that he said them out loud. His cozy position at a New York university is gone as they suspended him immediately upon reading the article. I imagine that Dr. Watson was feeling good about all the nooses showing up in Noose York and elsewhere in the country ... so he thought it was OK for him to let on that Black folks are less intelligent than whites.

Just goes to show that a Nobel Peace Prize doesn't make you a good person.

More Hate Hanging in Noose York and Noose Jersey

Villagers, this is becoming a recurring nightmare. A 3rd noose incident in Hempstead, NY ... and nooses found hanging in a New Jersey Home Depot.

The Noose Watch continues to grow and multiply.

October 18, 2007

Finally ... Punishment for Noose Prankster!

Did you see where a Muncie, IN sanitation worker was suspended 30 days for hanging a noose on his trash truck as he went out into the community? The suspension is the longest suspension handed out to a Muncie sanitary worker. Click here to see the full story.

Some of his co-workers think that the penalty was too harsh. Personally, I think that it is about time that we send messages to these punks and pranksters so that they realize that bringing a noose into the workplace is unacceptable. There is nothing funny about this symbol of death, hatred and racism.

I wish that the guy had been fired. More to the point, I applaud the management in Muncie for taking decisive action to nip this deplorable behavior in the bud.

What do you think of the punishment?

October 17, 2007

Two More Nooses Found in Long Island

Villagers, two more nooses have been found in the Long Island, NY area. The number of incidents continues to grow. The number of perpetrators being caught for these hate crimes is not growing fast enough.

Darren Bryant reported the nooses dangling from the back of a yellow forklift - one with a tarred stuffed animal hanging from the end - said it didn't register as a mere prank.

"I was shocked. I couldn't believe it was happening here in my own community. I don't know what message they were trying to send, but I felt it personally."
Click here for the full story as reported in Long Island newspaper.

October 16, 2007

Philadelphia Calls Nooses a Joke

AfroSpear blogger Field Negro often rails against the rising murder rate in Philadelphia. However, we see that evidence of hate in our society doesn't always end in murder. All-too-often, it is ending with the appearance of a noose.

Black tradesmen allege that racism is common among the city's building and trades unions and that official statements calling a recent racially-charged incident at the Comcast Tower construction site a bad joke is an attempt to sweep the incident under the rug.

The incident, which took place Oct. 1, involved an African American hoist operator who claimed that a white co-worker allegedly dangled a noose at him threateningly.

"Absolutely, I know it is. I know that's what they're doing. This happens all the time at construction sites," said Anthony Fullard, executive vice president of Millennium 3 Management. Fullard, who was an ironworker for 15 years and who ran his own construction firm, KKAJ Incorporated said he often had racial confrontations.

"You often see racial slurs, usually in the port-a-potties. This is the normal practice and Blacks in the building trades go through this all the time," Fullard said. "I even saw it at sites where my company was working a job. I mean this was coming from people I was paying."

The incident took place when an African American hoist operator, Peter Solomon, engaged in a verbal confrontation with a White construction worker who allegedly dangled a noose in his direction. An investigation by law enforcement authorities from the Philadelphia Police Department told a different story; that the White co-worker was making a joke that the noose was "a new necklace" for his wife.

Solomon said there's no doubt in his mind that it was a racial insult.

"Initially, he said he wanted to hang someone. The wife statement came later and I think it was just an attempt to water it down." Solomon said. "He was looking right at me when he said he wanted to hang someone."

"The statement about his wife came when we were in the elevator. He said he was only playing around but I said, 'Man, you don't play like that.' They're trying to sugar coat this. I know what he said to me and I did not laugh or joke about it. He shook that noose in my face. I think law enforcement is taking this guy's position over mine, but I know what happened. All I can do is report it to the proper authorities."

Click here for more interviews and the rest of this particular story.

Villagers, perhaps it is time for all of us to make plans to support the National March Against Hate Crimes on November 3rd in West Virginia.

October 15, 2007

Manic Monday: Bat

Manic Monday word for the week is "Bat". It is October ... time for the World Series and my thoughts turned to baseball. I'm proud to know that my ancestors have been playing professional baseball since right after the Civil War. In 1867, the National Association of Base Ball Players rejected a request for membership by the all-Black Philadelphia Pythians baseball club. However, on September 18, 1869, the Pythians did become the first all-Black team to play an exhibition game against an all-white team, the City Items. The Pythians won 27-17. Despite refusal to enter the professional leagues, African Americans fielded their own amateur and professional teams. On of the best known all-Black professional teams were the Cuban Giants.

One of the greatest African American players of the 19th century may have been Frank Grant who played second base for the Buffalo Bisons of the International Association. By the age of 20, he led the International League in hitting, but he was also subjected to constant harassment from opposing teams.

Moses Fleetwood Walker studied at Oberlin College where he started a varsity baseball team with the help of his younger brother. In 1884, Moses Fleetwood Walker was the first Black to play in the major leagues. He played as a catcher for the American Association Toledo Blue Stockings. His own teammates refused to play with him. Threatening letters called for the removal of Walker from the team.

In 1887, Fleetwood Walker, Bud Fowler, Frank Grant, Robert Higgins, George Stovey, and three other Black players went to play in the newly organized International League. Playing in the International League was also difficult for Blacks. Teams were comprised of both white and Black players and the Black players were often treated unkindly by the white players.

Racism in the International League continued to grow. One umpire said he would make calls against the team with Black players. In an effort to avoid the constant confrontation, major league owners made an agreement to no longer sign Black players. The minor leagues followed suite and declared that Black players would no longer be welcome on their teams. Teams stopped recruiting Black players, and they soon disappeared from organized white baseball. Black players would not return to white organized baseball for over sixty years. During the late 19th century at least 70 Black players played some level of organized baseball. Beyond this involvement, Blacks were on the outside looking in on the game of professional baseball.

Andrew "Rube" Foster was one of the most prominent individuals in the history of Black baseball. Born in 1879 in Calvert Texas, Foster pitched for several other teams throughout his career and was considered one of the best of his era.

Following his spectacular playing career, Foster became a manager, at which he greatly excelled; utilizing the bunt, stealing, and the hit-and-run. In 1920, he created the National Association of Professional Baseball Clubs, also known as the Negro League which was comprised of teams from Chicago (Giants and American Giants), Detroit (Stars), St. Louis (Giants), Dayton (Marcos), Indianapolis (ABCs) and the Cuban Giants. There was one exception however, the Kansas City Monarchs - founded in 1920 and controlled by white businessman J.L. Wilkinson. The league was disbanded in 1931 after the death of Rube Foster.

Other great Black ballplayers that you may know include Hall of Fame players Martin Dihigo, James "Cool Papa" Bell, Judy Johnson, Josh Gibson (shown in photo), and Buck Leonard.

Sometimes we think that Blacks in baseball began with Jackie Robinson. I hope that you've enjoyed the journey back into the original heroes of the game. Who are you rooting for in this year's World Series?

October 14, 2007

Final Call Interview with Megan Williams

Police say 20-year-old Megan Williams of Charleston, West Virginia was held captive in a chamber of horrors while six white perpetrators physically assaulted, raped and tortured her for five days.

"We received a tip that a subject was being held against their will at Big Creek," said Logan County Deputy Jeffrey Robinette.
Deputy Robinette testified during a preliminary hearing that when he arrived at the residence to investigate the "tip," he saw Frankie Brewster another defendant and the owner of the house on the porch. When he questioned her, she stated that she was the only person in the house. It was at that time, Deputy Robinette stated during testimony that victim Megan Williams burst out of the doors with "her arms outstretched sayings ‘help me.’"

A bruised and battered Megan Williams appeared with swollen and blood-bruised eyes, lacerations around her neck and ankles, splotches in her head where her hair had been ripped out and multiple stab wounds on her left leg.

The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan sent a delegation consisting of Attorney Abdul Arif Muhammad, editor-in-chief of The Final Call newspaper, Student in the Ministry Abdul Khadir Muhammad of Washington, D.C. and Final Call Contributing Writer Ashahed M. Muhammad to Charleston, West Virginia to determine the facts of the case, and also to minister unto the family of the young woman who was the victim of this heinous and barbaric attack.

The one-on-one interview with Megan Williams is chilling in its detail. Megan Williams is a young woman who experienced something that no human being should ever experience.

What are the lessons that each of us can learn from the crimes committed against her?

October 13, 2007

Call to Action for Megan Williams: National March Against Hate Crimes

Villagers are encouraged to support the November 3rd National March Against Hate Crimes to be held in Charleston, WV. The march begins in front of West Virginia State University and concludes at the West Virginia State Capitol in Charleston.

The purpose of this march is to bring national and statewide support to Charleston resident Megan Williams, the Williams Family and victims of other hate crimes nationwide. The Jena 6 case, the rise in the hanging of nooses and other current acts of injustices and intimidation against people of African descent will all be highlighted at this National March Against Hate Crimes. Families and victims of hate crimes that are occurring throughout the nation will attend. Black Lawyers For Justice, the Williams Family and organizers are demanding that Federal Hate Crimes charges be brought against the five hillbillies charged for rape, torture and kidnapping. They are also demanding Congressional hearings on hate crimes against African American citizens as well a wide range of actions to combat the growing attacks on African Americans around the country.

BLFJ and the Support Committee For Megan Williams are the primary organizers for this march. This march will be endorsed by at least 100 Black organizations, student groups, clergy and leaders of every stripe. You can reach out to BLFJ by phone (304.657-1493) or email (shabazzlaw@aol.com).

October 12, 2007

Help Override Bush Veto of SCHIP Legislation

Did you know that Rep. Charles Rangel sponsored the SCHIP legislation? Anyhow, President Bush used a veto on H.R. 976, the recently passed children's health insurance bill. The President objects to the $35 billion increase in the bill and has said that it represents a step towards universal government health care. Others have expressed concern that parents might drop out of private insurance plans and enroll their children in the government program instead.

Bottomline ... more uninsured children will have health insurance if congress overrides the Bush veto. The Senate passed the bill with 67 votes, enough to override the President's veto in that chamber. In the House of Representatives, however, the bill received about two dozen votes less than would be needed to override the veto.

Villagers are encouraged to click here to TAKE ACTION necessary to override Bush. I hope you will take a moment to do so...

October 11, 2007

Doctor Calls Pleajhia Mervin a Liar

I see that the mainstream media now looks to discredit the 16-year old victim, Pleajhia Mervin, who was beatdown on videotape by a 300-pound security guard in Palmdale, CA. ABC News reports that the young lady and her mother lied about her wrist being broken. Earlier this week the security guard claimed that the young lady lied about him calling her 'nappy head'.

Villager, some things ... like a videotape of the incident ... simply do not lie. Mychal Bell also had bad news when police placed him back in custody on charges unrelated to the Jena 6 case.

October 9, 2007

Security Guard Calls Pleajhia Mervin a Liar

Security guard Chris Niemeyer responds for the first time to the videotape evidence against him. He maintains that he was a professional who never called Pleajhia Mervin a "nappy head". In fact, Niemeyer claims that the 15-year old threw the cake at this feet and screamed obsencities in his face. The security guard feels that he used "measured force".

"Measured force" resulted in a 15-year old girl having her wrist broken; three young people expelled from school; and four people arrested ... all while the security guard gets paid to sit at home and watch Tyra Banks re-runs.

Niemeyer gave exclusive interview to a local television station. He says,
"I'm not racist and never have been. The issue that occurred at Pete Knight High School has nothing to do with race. I don't see color, I see people. Accusations that were made regarding myself are false. I thought I handled the situation professionally and I don't second-guess my actions. During the incident I remained calm, never jumped out of my character. Our job as security officers is the safety and security of all students and staff on the high school campuses in the Antelope Valley. Security staff at Pete Knight High School has done an excellent job at making the campus safe and will continue to do so in the future."
How hard an investigation does this have to be? It is like the Rodney King affair back in the day ... we saw the tape!

Al Sharpton and Security Guard's Parents Weigh In On Teen's Beat-Down

The wheels of justice turn slowly for Black folks. Pleajhai Mervin is the 15-year old student in Palmdale, CA who had her wrist broken by a 300-pound security guard back on Sept 18.

Three weeks later and she is still expelled from school. Three weeks later and the security guard is still getting paid. There is a video tape showing the beat-down by the guard ... yet he is still getting paid. In fact, his parents are writing editorials to the local paper doing what parents do ... telling anyone who will listen that their child is an angel and everyone that saw the tape misunderstood what they saw.
"This whole incident was caused by students not following the rules of the school. Period. It had nothing to do with race. If the students had followed the rules, no one would be in this situation. Latrisha Majors, her mother, should not have made a rush to judgment. We are parents, too. We understand the need to protect our children. The worst thing she could do was to run to the school and create a situation before she knew all the facts.

"We have watched the video over and over. Chris is not raising Pleajhai's arms behind her back nor is he twisting them. He also does not have her pinned on the table, he is standing to the side. He is not screaming at her, he looks very calm. He did not say the racial slur that he is accused of saying. There are numerous other adults in the video. If Chris was so violent as to break a girl's arm, wouldn't you think one of them would have stopped him or at least said something to him?"
Parents gathered for a 3-hour town hall meeting last week. Al Sharpton flew into Palmdale to show support for the victims of this abusive behavior. The authorities are investigating the security guard ... but nobody appears to be thinking about the negative impact on the lives of the 15-year olds that are the center of the activity.

There is a call for a gathering in Palmdale on November 19.

Personally, I tire of this disrespect by authorities for our children. When will we learn? When will we take matters into our hands and create communities that we control so that mayors, district attorneys and school principals think about Black folks at least as much as they think about the white folks? Here a Jena, there a Jena, Everywhere a Jena-Jena ....

October 8, 2007

I Love Your Blog Award

There are many villagers that quietly join us to enjoy the posts and comments without sharing their village voice. You never know if your work as a blogger is appreciated by those stealth villagers.

One of our stealth villagers is Tey, a busy working Filipina mom living in Toronto. Tey publishes a blog titled, 'My Daily Thoughts'. We were surprised when Tey presented the 'I Love Your Blog Award' to "Villager for his informative posts about Black people (just love it)."

Tey, I appreciate the love. Following Tey's lead, we want to show a little love for other blogs that deserve it. The Electronic Village presents the 'I Love Your Blog Award' to five others that we read and enjoy often. They are more than welcome to pass along the award to other blogs which they love to read as well and so on.
  1. The Field Negro - Field provides the best social and political commentary on the Internet for people of African descent. Period.
  2. Too Sense - This brother is part of the upcoming revolution of thought that will free the minds of our people.
  3. Eddie Griffin, BASG - Eddie brought Black bloggers into prominence with his work on Shaquanda Cotton case.
  4. Dallas South Blog - Shawn went to Jena, LA for the march on 9/20/07. He is becoming the face of Black bloggers for mainstream media.
  5. Black and Missing, But Not Forgotten - Deidra breaks the silence on all the missing Black women in America.
Congratulations to all of you and thanks for writing such great blogs. Villagers, who are the blogs and bloggers that YOU love?

October 7, 2007

Happy Birthday Desmond Tutu From Everyone Except Folks in Minnesota

Drumbeats from Retabile tell us about St. Thomas University decision to ban Desmond Tutu from speaking on their campus. It turns out that having an enemy of the state speak on a college campus is easier than getting permission for a Nobel Laureate who was instrumental in ending apartheid in South Africa. C'mon St. Thomas University ... where is the love?

I thought that the decision to cancel Desmond Tutu from speaking on campus was simply a misguided birthday present of some sort. Today (October 7) is Desmond Tutu's birthday. But, it appears that the university officials were concerned that Jewish contributors might be offended by having a Nobel Laureate on their rooty-poot campus. Can you believe it? Who knew that Jewish power brokers held such power in Minnesota. I wouldn't be surprised if these same jerks at St. Thomas University aren't found regularly in Larry Craig's stall at the Minnesota airport.

I hope that some other major university will seize upon the opportunity to invite Desmond Tutu to speak on their campus since St. Thomas is too afraid of the dark to do so. Villagers, any thoughts you care to share on this issue?

October 6, 2007

Lyrics Anger Jena Mayor More Than Nooses Ever Did

Drumbeats from Kristi told us about flap between John Mellencamp and Jena mayor. I saw Mellencamp in a movie called Falling From Grace back in the day. Earlier this year he wrote a song called 'Jena'. Mellencamp's song opens, "An all-white jury hides the executioner's face; See how we are, me and you?"

As he sings, images of Jena, the high school and the tree are followed by video from the 1960s, including civil rights marchers, police beatings, and President John F. Kennedy and the Rev. Martin Luther King speaking. Still images include one of a protest sign reading, "God demands segregation," a stylized drawing of people in Ku Klux Klan robes and an older image of a black man in shackles, begging.

The mayor of Jena is pissed off about the song and video. The mayor wrote, "The town of Jena has for months been mischaracterized in the media and portrayed as the epicenter of hatred, racism and a place where justice is denied".

The mayor said he had previously stayed quiet, hoping that the town's courtesy to people who have visited over the past year would speak for itself. "However, the Mellencamp video is so inflammatory, so defamatory, that a line has been crossed and enough is enough."

Perhaps the outrage over Jena never materializes if Mayor McMillin showed this anger about the whites only tree in the local high school or if the Jena City Council didn't feel that nooses being hung in trees were no more than a prank.

Villagers, you be the judge. Click here to see the video or read below to see the lyrics:

An all white jury hides the executioner's face
See how we are, me and you?
Everyone here needs to know their place
Let's keep this blackbird hidden in the flue

Oh oh oh Jena
Oh oh oh Jena
Oh oh oh Jena

Take your nooses down
So what becomes of boys that cannot think straight
Particularly those with paper bag skin
Yes sir, no sir we'll wipe that smile right off your face
We've got our rules here and you must fit in

Oh oh oh Jena
Oh oh oh Jena
Oh oh oh Jena

Take your nooses down
Some day some way sanity will prevail
But who knows when that day might come
A shot in the dark, well it just might find its way
To the hearts of those that hold the keys to kingdom come

Oh oh oh Jena
Oh oh oh Jena
Oh oh oh Jena

Take those nooses down

Oh oh hey Jena
Oh oh Jena
Oh oh Jena

Take your nooses down
Take those nooses all down

Villagers, what say u?

Noose Threatens Construction Worker in Pittsburgh

A worker at a construction site in the Pittsburgh area found a noose on the second floor of the site in his work area. The construction company, Zambrano, turned the incident over to the O'Hara Township police and the FBI. This is the third similar incident in the Pittsburgh region this week.

On Wednesday, a Verizon worker said someone left a noose around a doll's neck with a note saying she didn't deserve a promotion. The doll was left on her desk in an inner-office envelope at the Verizon Wireless complex in Cranberry. Verizon is still investigating.

On Monday, a doll bearing a racial slur was found hanging in the hallway of the Port Authority's East Liberty garage. Officials said the threat was not directed at a specific person. Police are investigating, but no arrests have been made.

Villagers, it is more and more evident that the three child 'pranksters' in Jena, LA that hung those nooses on the white tree at the local high school have unleashed a virulent form of racist behavior in our country. Law enforcement officials need to catch some of these fools before the stakes are elevated by an actual lynching attempt. We see more and more incidents ... however, we are not seeing anyone getting arrested for these hate crimes. What's up with that?

October 5, 2007

Noose Investigation at Coast Guard is Re-Opened

Villagers, you may recall that a 6-inch string tied as a noose was found in an African American cadet's sea bag in July while he was serving aboard the historic tall ship Eagle. And during race-relations training in August -- set up in response to the first incident -- a white female civil rights instructor found a small noose in her office at the academy in New London, Connecticut. Neither incident became public until last week. Initial investigations failed to discover who was responsible.
The Coast Guard Academy has about 980 cadets, about 14 percent of whom are minorities, compared with 16 percent in 1991. African Americans make up about 4 Minorities comprised only 7 percent of the faculty and staff, and fewer than 1 percent of captains on active duty are Black.

Last week, after the incidents became public, the Coast Guard agreed to investigate further. The head of the U.S. Coast Guard, Admiral Thad Allen, and Congressman Elijah Cummings (D-MD) spoke to cadets at the Coast Guard Academy about the discovery this summer of two small hangman's nooses on Coast Guard properties.

Click here to see video of remarks by Allen and Cummings

The noose, to African Americans, is a symbol of hatred and it takes us back to the times when Black folks were being lynched regularly. Villagers, we need to keep our eyes open about this disturbing trend that is flowing through America since the three young 'pranksters' hung those three nooses on the so-called white tree in Jena, LA. If justice on those three had been swift and severe ... we may not be in our current deteriorating race relations climate.

Villagers, what say u?

October 4, 2007

Swastika, 'KKK' Written on Deaf Black Student

Drumbeats from Boo Goo Doo Boom informed us that hate crimes occur in the deaf community as well as in Jena, LA. We have posted in the past about the struggles experienced by African Americans in the deaf community.

Now we learn that a group of white and Black students got "angry with each other" over the weekend on Gallaudet University campus. Six white students and one Black student -- all between the ages of 15 and 19 -- took a Black student into a dorm room and "held him there against his will." The seven bullies in this case used markers to write 'KKK' and draw swastikas on the Black student.

Click here for the full CNN article

All seven of the teens engaged in the attack have been identified and expelled from school. They could face criminal charges with enhanced penalties because it is a hate crime. The school is a residential high school on the campus of Gallaudet University, a higher education facility for deaf and hard of hearing people.

Villagers, what do we need to do in order to have a safe and supportive learning enviornment for our children? The words of Jim Clingman are ringing loudly in my ears -- 'Here a Jena, There a Jena, Everywhere a Jena-Jena'.

I am left to wonder what we can do to protect our children from these overtly racist behaviors? And what was that Black child thinking when he wrote 'KKK' on one of his nubian classmates?