Wednesday, October 31, 2007
He attempts to right the records because, as he says: “I should know. I live in Jena. My wife has taught at Jena High School for many years. And most important, I am probably the only reporter who has covered these events from the very beginning.” So, he sets out to debunk 12 myths about Jena, Louisiana and the case against six black boys charged with “aggravated assault”.
According to Franklin:
Myth 1: The Whites-Only Tree. There has never been a "whites-only" tree… When a student asked during an assembly at the start of school last year if anyone could sit under the tree, it evoked laughter from everyone present – blacks and whites… the question was asked to make a joke...
Myth 2: Nooses a Signal to Black Students. An investigation by school officials, police, and an FBI agent revealed the true motivation behind the placing of two nooses in the tree the day after the assembly. According to the expulsion committee, the crudely constructed nooses were not aimed at black students. Instead, they were understood to be a prank by three white students aimed at their fellow white friends, members of the school rodeo team… Another myth concerns their punishment, which was not a three-day suspension, but rather nine days at an alternative facility followed by two weeks of in-school suspension, Saturday detentions, attendance at Discipline Court, and evaluation by licensed mental-health professionals...
Myth 3: Nooses Were a Hate Crime. Although many believe the three white students should have been prosecuted for a hate crime for hanging the nooses, the incident did not meet the legal criteria for a federal hate crime...
Myth 11: Jena Is One of the Most Racist Towns in America. Actually, Jena is a wonderful place to live for both whites and blacks. The media's distortion and outright lies concerning the case have given this rural Louisiana town a label it doesn't deserve.
Craig Franklin looks back on Jena’s history with blurred hindsight. A more accurate record can be gleaned from TownTalk.Com which provided a blow-by-blow daily account of Jena events from the first day the nooses were reported.
September 6, 2006 report: Black parents and students met Tuesday (09-05-06) to discuss what to do about a purported racial incident Friday (09-01-06) at Jena High School… The group met for about 45 minutes at L&A Missionary Baptist Church along U.S. Highway 84 West to discuss what response should be made to the discovery of two ropes fashioned as nooses found hanging from a tree on the school campus.
"I feel like something needs to be done," said parent Dan Brown... He has three children attending the high school. "They come to school, and this is what they come to... Friday's incident was the talk of the town over the Labor Day weekend, "and everyone's upset about it," Brown said. "I feel like they (school officials) took it like a joke."
Tracy Bowens, who helped organize the meeting, said she didn't witness the incident, but added that a teacher supposedly cut down the ropes. "I feel like if it was a black (person) who did something like that ... something would have been done. They would have been kicked out of school," she said.
Lawyer Krystal Todd, the main speaker at Tuesday's meeting, urged parents to contact the LaSalle Parish School Board office today and before Monday's scheduled meeting. Todd suggested that those involved be punished by being expelling for the rest of the school year, not suspended for three days or home schooled.
"We have to do something. It's time to take a stand and not let it get swept under the rug," Todd said. "As parents, we have to --- if we don't stop it now" such incidents will "continue the cycle."
"I have a son who goes to Jena High School, and I won't tolerate this," parent Renea Ogletree said. "This racism, this stuff, won't be tolerated at all."
Shirley Bowens, 55, of Jena, told the crowd that she was more concerned about the way the school officials handled the incident. "The right thing would have been to start action that day," she said. "This need not to happen anymore" she said to the students. "You're in school to take care of business."
About 16 students who claimed to have witnessed the incident were called to stand in front of the crowd. The students didn't speak publicly, but one later confirmed the incident.
Eddie Griffin Critique
Franklin’s Myth 11 declares that Jena is "a wonderful place to live for both whites and blacks". But following the September 1, 2006 noose incident, blacks in the community were meeting and expressing outrage. Do Dan Brown, Tracy Bowens, Krystal Todd, Renea Ogletree, and Shirley Bowens characterize Jena as “a wonderful place to live for both whites and blacks”?
Who is putting words into whose mouth and concocting a myth and a lie?
September 8, 2006: Three white Jena High School students now face expulsion after they allegedly taunted black students on Sept. 1 by fashioning ropes in the form of nooses and hanging them from a tree on school grounds… The racial tensions remained strong this week, with at least one fight among students reported at the school Wednesday.
The unrest prompted a student assembly Wednesday, where officials including District Attorney Reed Walters stressed the importance of remaining calm, said one student, Kieangela Nash, a sophomore... The Sept. 1 incident "kinda made people a little upset," Angela Nash said… She said news about the incident spread around town quickly, witnessed by a number of black and white students on the last day of school before the Labor Day weekend.
In an interview in his office Thursday, Jena High School Principal Scott Windham would say only that "the situation has been investigated, the ones responsible have been identified, and appropriate actions have been taken... Windham said he has recommended that the three students, all males, be expelled from school… LaSalle Parish Schools Superintendent Roy Breithaupt... and other school officials held a hearing Thursday morning at the school district office concerning the three teenagers' scholastic future...
The students have been taken out of Jena High and now are attending an alternative school in the parish usually reserved for suspended students, said Breithaupt, who would not reveal the students' names or grade levels... He did confirm that there was at least one fight Wednesday stemming from the provocation.
"Yes, there was an incident," Breithaupt said, and an investigation within the school system is ongoing of the altercation.
Neither the Jena Police Department nor the LaSalle Parish Sheriff's Office has been asked to investigate.
However, Kieangela Nash, the Jena High 10th-grader, said one student was handcuffed and taken to jail by city police Wednesday following a fight.
That assertion was denied by a city police officer, who said she knew of no student being arrested.
Kieangela also said there were at least five fights among students Wednesday, all along racial lines.
According to earlier news reports, the trouble started with black students' efforts to sit alongside white students outside, under the tree from which the ropes later were found hanging.
Following the discovery of the nooses, a group of black parents and students met Tuesday for about 45 minutes at L&A Missionary Baptist Church to discuss what to do about the incident. Breithaupt said the weeklong tensions are being quelled, the ones responsible are being dealt with… He also said the district would not tolerate racial bigotry.
Eddie Griffin Critique
Kieangela Nash, the 10th grader, gives insight into what happened in school during the first week after the nooses first appeared. In her own words, people were “kinda upset” after word of the noose incident spread around town. There were fights in school along racial lines- Kieangela asserts at least five fights, wherein LaSalle Parish Schools Superintendent Roy Breithaupt admits only one fight resulting from the “provocation”.
From Franklin’s Myth 2: According to the expulsion committee, the crudely constructed nooses were not aimed at black students. Instead, they were understood to be a prank by three white students aimed at their fellow white friends, members of the school rodeo team...
For the legal records, they record the noose incident as a prank “aimed at fellow white friends”. Did somebody forget to tell the black students before all the fights broke out? Or, are they pretending the rash of fights never happened, that black students were “not provoked” to violence? And, who was the student reportedly taken away from the school in handcuffs, which officials denied happened?
September 9, 2006: Three white Jena High School students have been suspended, not expelled, in the wake of an incident on Sept. 1 when hangman's nooses were found dangling from a tree on school grounds, inciting racial tensions in the LaSalle Parish seat.
LaSalle Parish Schools Superintendent Roy D. Breithaupt said Friday afternoon that an expulsion hearing committee, which also involved crisis management team officials, "came out with a different recommendation" than that of Jena High School Principal Scott Windham, who had recommended that the students be expelled for allegedly hanging the ropes… The students already had been taken out of Jena High and now are attending an alternative school in the parish usually reserved for suspended students, Breithaupt said earlier in the week.
As to reports Friday morning of a lockdown at Jena High School, Breithaupt said there had been rumors that the school was unsafe and that local law enforcement had come to check the school… LaSalle Parish Sheriff Carl Smith said Friday that one deputy had been at the school throughout the day on Thursday and Friday.
The sheriff said there had been no problems... at the school… no problems outside... Smith said he is aware of rumors circulating of problems in the town but said they were just that – rumors...
Breithaupt said there are no plans to bring the matter before the School Board at either its regularly scheduled meeting on Sept. 18 or a meeting Monday in which the board is scheduled to meet in special session concerning the school district's 2006-07 budget.
"We feel like we've handled this situation using our school policies and procedures," he said.
Tracy Bowens, one of the organizers of the church meeting, said Friday that she plans to attend the Monday meeting to voice her opinions on the decision made in the incident. Many of the parents who met Tuesday said they wanted the students involved expelled rather than suspended.
Myth 4: DA's Threat to Black Students. When District Attorney Reed Walters spoke to Jena High students at an assembly in September, he did not tell black students that he could make their life miserable with "the stroke of a pen... Mr. Walters had been called to the assembly by police, who had been at the school earlier that day dealing with some students who were causing disturbances… I said, 'Look, I can be your best friend or your worst enemy. With the stroke of a pen I can make your life miserable..."
Eddie Griffin Critique
There were reports from black students that Reed Walters’ warning was directed at them and even after the warning, white students continued to taunt black students. Franklin proceeds to concoct Myth 5 and Myth 6, based on December 1-2, 2006 off-campus incidents. (See below)
Myth 5: The Fair Barn Party Incident. On Dec. 1, 2006, a private party – not an all-white party as reported – was held at the local community center called the Fair Barn. Robert Bailey Jr., soon to be one of the Jena 6, came to the party with others seeking admittance… a white male named Justin Sloan (not a Jena High student) at the party attacked Bailey and hit him in the face with his fist… (and) was prosecuted for simple battery…
Myth 6: The "Gotta-Go" Grocery Incident. On Dec. 2, 2006, Bailey and two other black Jena High students were involved in an altercation at this local convenience store, stemming from the incident that occurred the night before. The three were accused by police of jumping a white man as he entered the store and stealing a shotgun from him. The two parties gave conflicting statements to police. However, two unrelated eye witnesses of the event gave statements that corresponded with that of the white male.
Eddie Griffin Critique
But there is no mention of the arson to the schools administration building reported on December 1, coinciding with these incidents. And, to date, no suspect behind the blaze has been found. However, in all three incidents, Jena officials denied that there were any connections to the noose incident- a line which it maintains today.
Myth 8: The Attack Is Linked to the Nooses. Nowhere in any of the evidence, including statements by witnesses and defendants, is there any reference to the noose incident that occurred three months prior.
Myth 7: The Schoolyard Fight. The event on Dec. 4, 2006 was consistently labeled a "schoolyard fight"… Several black students, including those now known as the Jena 6, barricaded an exit to the school's gym as they lay in wait for Justin Barker to exit… he was hit from behind by Mychal Bell. Multiple witnesses confirmed that Barker was immediately knocked unconscious and lay on the floor defenseless as several other black students joined together to kick and stomp him, with most of the blows striking his head. Police speculate that the motivation for the attack was related to the racially charged fights that had occurred during the previous weekend.
Eddie Griffin Critique
Robert Bailey, Jr. was assaulted by Justin Sloan on December 1, and the very next night has a shotgun drawn on him by another white male. Instead of charging the perpetrator with assault with a deadly weapon, Bailey and three of his fellow schoolmates were charged with robbery when they took the weapon.
On December 4, Justin Barker made a remark about Bailey getting his butt kicked at the party and the Gotta Go Grocery store incident. This provoked the fight that would lead to Bailey and five other black youth being charged with attempted murder and conspiracy to commit murder.
If there is a true myth, it would be this: The noose incident on September 1, 2006 led to an unbroken chain of events and eventually to black students’ retaliation upon a white student on December 4, 2006. This issue is not a question of assault, but whether black students were sufficiently provoked to retaliate.
The records speak for themselves, despite Craig Franklin’s hindsight fabrications of myths.
Town Talk Chronicle of Jena Reports
• September 6, 2006: Jena High noose incident triggers parental protests
• September 8, 2006: 3 Jena students face possible expulsion
• September 9, 2006: Jena students suspended, not expelled, over incident
• September 12, 2006: LaSalle board skips over noose incident
• September 19, 2006: LaSalle Board hears Jena High incident complaint
• December 1, 2006: Investigators say arson is to blame
• December 1, 2006: District proposes use of existing buildings
• December 2, 2006: Jena High staff gets ready for school to resume Monday
• December 3, 2006: No arrests in Jena fire Saturday
• December 5, 2006: Jena High School reopens 4 days after arson blaze
• December 5, 2006: LaSalle board declares state of emergency after Jena fire
• December 5, 2006: Jena High School student beaten
• December 6, 2006: Arrests made in 2 Jena fights
• December 7, 2006: More arrests made in Jena High fight
• December 8, 2006: Jena High fight counts upgraded to attempted murder charges
• December 12, 2006: 4 teens booked in Jena school fight still jailed
• December 14, 2006: Clergy hold service to heal community
• December 16, 2006: Teen in Jena fight charged as adult
• December 21, 2006: Jena-based clergy meet tonight on school woes
• December 21, 2007: School Board to get report on students in Jena fight
• December 22, 2006: Jena ministers discuss next step in easing racial tensions
• December 27, 2006: Jena High fire, racial tension dominate news in LaSalle Parish
• January 3, 2007: Few have answers for Jena's next steps
• January 4, 2007: Ministers greet Jena students returning to classes Wednesday
• January 4, 2007: 3 of 6 youths charged in Dec. 4 Jena fight released on bail bond
• January 7, 2007: Relatives say 6 Jena High School students expelled
• January 9, 2007: LaSalle School Board receives $50,000 to refurbish Jena High
• January 25, 2007: LaSalle School Board meets Monday to hear expulsion appeals
• February 28, 2007: LaSalle officials look to future for new school
• May 3, 2007: Groups to protest until charges dropped or reduced
• May 11, 2007: Jena victim allegedly brought gun on campus
• May 12, 2007: Student may be expelled for a year
• May 22, 2007: 'Jena Six' trial delayed for more than month
• June 11, 2007: Documents give details about fight
• June 11, 2007: Case gets attention from all over world
• June 15, 2007: CNN postpones Jena segment
• June 26, 2007: Plea deals turned down; trial continues today
• June 27, 2007: All white jury selected for first 'Jena Six' trial
• June 28, 2007: Jury may get case today
• June 29, 2007: 'Jena Six' defendant faces years in jail
• June 30, 2007: Crowd of 30 says conviction was a 'miscarriage of justice'
• July 10, 2007: Part of Jena High to be demolished today
• July 14, 2007: Two men accused of running over sign
• July 26, 2007: Forum may ease tension in Jena
• July 27, 2007: Attendees at LaSalle forum on ‘Jena Six’ case lament lack of audience diversity
• July 27, 2007: Handling of ‘Jena Six’ case called ‘outrage’
• July 31, 2007: Official sought to clear up 'Jena Six' 'misinformation'
• July 31, 2007: Jena High 'noose' tree cut down
• August 1, 2007: Marchers rally to support Jena Six
• August 1, 2007: What was said in Jena on Tuesday
• August 2, 2007: Jackson, Sharpton plan trips to Jena
• August 5, 2007: Jena's Bell missing from Cenla's elite
• August 6, 2007: Civil rights leader visits LaSalle to back families
• August 6, 2007: Jena residents have mixed reaction to Sharpton's visit
• August 7, 2007: Sharpton learned of 'Jena Six' case about 4 weeks ago
• August 11, 2007: Sharpton, M.L. King III to speak in Jena Tuesday
• August 15, 2007: MLK III to continue fight for 'Jena Six'
• August 15, 2007: Bell's attorneys file motion to void his conviction
• August 16, 2007: Some intentionally stayed away from rally for 'Jena 6'
• August 16, 2007: Defense attorney says Bell case should be in juvenile system
• August 18, 2007: Calm marks first day at Jena High
• August 20, 2007: 'We lost Jena'
• August 25, 2007: Bell denied bond due to criminal history
• August 29, 2007: Jena High School bans 'Free the Jena 6' T-shirts
• September 5, 2007: Judge throws out one of Bell's convictions
• September 9, 2007: No rules governing how schools handle lawbreaking athletes
• September 9, 2007: 'Jena Six' all ran together -- on the field and off
• September 9, 2007: Jackson to speak today in Jena
• September 9, 2007: College coaches looking for standouts, stand-up citizens
• September 10, 2007: Jackson calls for Jena march
• September 11, 2007: Charges reduced for another 'Jena Six' member
• September 11, 2007: LaSalle official: No damage to Goodpine school
• September 14, 2007: Jena-area schools to be closed during sentencing of Bell
• September 15, 2007: Bell’s conviction overturned
• September 17, 2007: Officers from across state to help police LaSalle Parish march
• September 17, 2007: Area hotels booked solid prior to event
• September 18, 2007: Some Jena businesses will close Thursday because of rally
• September 18, 2007: Thousands traveling by bus to Jena for protest
• September 18, 2007: Attorney seeks Bell's release
• September 19, 2007: Facilities readied for Thursday events
• September 19, 2007: Mayor says order to be maintained during march
• September 19, 2007: Black entertainers plan to attend rally
• September 19, 2007: Rally planned in Alexandria today
• September 19, 2007: City bus terminal relocated Thursday
• September 19, 2007: Gay rights group to attend Jena rally
• September 20, 2007: On eve of huge rally, chaos reigns
• September 20, 2007: Sharpton says all eyes will be on Jena march
• September 20, 2007: City, jury not sponsoring events
• September 20, 2007: Local officers ready to handle traffic woes
• September 20, 2007: Supporters from across nation coverge
• September 20, 2007: Students flock to Jena in support of civil rights
• September 20, 2007: Jena Notebook
• September 20, 2007: Jena Timeline
• September 21, 2007: Town’s worst fears fail to materialize
• September 21, 2007: Full day of events began early in Jena
• September 21, 2007: Bell bond hearing may come today
• September 21, 2007: Thursday’s second rally held in Alexandria
• September 21, 2007: People from churches in 36 states attend events
• September 21, 2007: Few people go to NAACP town hall-style meeting
• September 21, 2007: Jena march, rally draw visitors from near and far
• September 21, 2007: March on Jena Notebook
• September 21, 2007: Rally peaceful, but heat too much for some
• September 22, 2007: Bell again denied bond
• September 22, 2007: Two teens charged after nooses spotted hanging from truck
• September 22, 2007: Barkers say they were duped in white supremacists's interview
• September 23, 2007: Days since Jena rallies marked by nooses, threats
• September 23, 2007: Communication, cooperation cited for rallies' success
• September 23, 2007: Jena resident upset officials didn't provide prior notice
• September 23, 2007: Teen released on bond after noose incident
• September 25, 2007: Students debate 'Jena Six'
• September 25, 2007: Officials say visitors, residents behaved well during rally in Jena
• September 26, 2007: Threats don't deter 'Jena Six'
• September 27, 2007: Blanco: Bell case to be decided in juvenile court
• September 27, 2007: New Black Panthers say they will patrol Jena
• September 27, 2007: LaSalle DA defends handling of 'Jena Six' case
• September 28, 2007: Bell out on bail
• September 28, 2007: Walters says victim's interests best served by not appealing
• September 28, 2007: 'Jena Six' notebook
• September 30, 2007: 'Jena Six' case shows power of Internet
• September 30, 2007: 'Jena Six' impacts high school students
• October 3, 2007: Bell has first hearing in juvenile court system
• October 3, 2007: ‘Jena Six’ case threats continue
• October 3, 2007: Alexandrian posts parody of ‘Jena Six’ incident
• October 3, 2007: Lafayette 'Jena Six' protest aimed at U.S. attorney
• October 4, 2007: Mellencamp ditty about 'Jena Six' case posted on Web
• October 4, 2007: Jena approves panel to study race relations
• October 4, 2007: 'Jena Six' parody video to lead to sensitivity training at ULM
• October 5, 2007: U.S. Senate passes Jena-related resolution
• October 8, 2007: Jena High rises above
• October 12, 2007: Mychal Bell taken back into custody
• October 13, 2007: DA group, Gov. Blanco say Bell's case routine
• October 16, 2007: 'Jena Six' hearings today in D.C., national rallies planned
• October 17, 2007: Justice Dept. pressed to probe handling of LaSalle controversy
• October 17, 2007: Students also discuss 'Jena Six' case
• October 19, 2007: Two of 'Jena Six' defendants present BET award
• October 23, 2007: Bell case records sought
• October 26, 2007: Attorneys file more motions to open Bell hearing, data
• October 27, 2007: Nationalist Movement plans to hold rally in Jena
• Timeline of the 'Jena Six' case
• Answers to frequently asked questions about 'Jena Six'
• Frequently asked questions surrounding the 'Jena Six"
Monday, October 29, 2007
AfroSpear bloggers are encouraging Blacks to give "the gift of technology" to their children, parents and others, to empower them to communicate in the Internet Age, with recommended gifts of computers, digicams, broadband and open source software.
This Christmas, the same AfroSpear Black bloggers who organized the March on Jena are spear-heading the "AfroSpear Freedom Technology Christmas" (FTC) campaign.
Sixty-thousand Blacks Responded to the AfroSpear's Call.
The AfroSpear's Field Negro, courtesy LA Times.
The AfroSpear's Eddie G. Griffin (BASG) believes word will spread.
Shawn Williams, AfroSpear's Dallas South Blog
"The gift of communication technology like computers and webcams is the best gift that you can give your children and family, because it empowers them to educate and advocate for the Black community and for themselves," said the African American Political Pundit. "Black blogging encourages writing skills and critical thinking, which are precisely the skills our children need," said the African American Political Pundit.
“Black children are going to jail at a rate 6 times higher than that of white children in America”, said Eddie G. Griffin (BASG), a leader of the AfroSpear's Black Accused Support Groups movement.
Freedom Technology Christmas presents have dramatically improved communication among AfroSpear bloggers in five countries and four continents," said Atty. Holland.
Freedom Technology Christmas recommended gifts are laptop or home computers, headphones with microphones and webcams (for computer- to-computer conversations), digital cameras and camera "memory sticks," "pen drives" for saving documents, photographs and music, foreign language software, music production software and writing skills software.
Many excellent Christmas computer software presents are available for free. Open Source alternatives are abundant. For example, the cost of Microsoft Vista Home Premium at Amazon: $219.99, Cost of Ubuntu Linux: $0; Cost of Adobe Photoshop CS3 at Amazon: $619.99, Cost of Gimp: $0; Cost of Microsoft Office Standard 2007 at Amazon: $324.99, Cost of Open Office: $0, and Cost of Adobe Dreamweaver CS3 at Amazon: 398.99, Cost of Nvu: $0.
Many communication programs are available for free download and include Skype (free computer telephone), ooVoo (free televideo communication) Yahoo and MSN (e-mail and instant messages), all available at Download.Com.
Contact: Francis L. Holland email@example.com
AfroSpear Freedom Technology Blog http://afrospear-ftc.blogspot.com
AfroSpear Bloggers in the News http://afrospear-news.blogspot.com
AfroSpear Think Tank Blog http://afrospear.wordpress.com
Friday, October 26, 2007
Remember the 17-year old black kid in Georgia who was sentenced to 10 years for having consensual sex with a 15-year old girl? Just as some people were backing off supporting the Wilson’s case, asserting that the videotaping of the sex act may constitute “child pornography”, the Georgia’s Supreme Court saw it differently. In a 4-3 split decision, the Court ruled that Wilson’s 10-year prison sentence was “cruel and unusual punishment”. The Court ordered him released.
According to ABC News report: Chief Justice Leah Ward Sears wrote in the majority opinion that the changes in the law "represent a seismic shift in the legislature's view of the gravity of oral sex between two willing teenage participants…” that Wilson's crime did not rise to the “level of adults who prey on children.”
Wilson, who is now 21, was convicted of “aggravated child molestation” following a 2003 New Year's Eve party at a Douglas County hotel room where he was videotaped having oral sex with a 15-year-old girl. The 1995 Georgia law under which he was convicted was changed in 2006 making oral sex between teens close in age a misdemeanor. At that point, Genarlow Wilson should have been set free. But the new law could not be applied retroactively.
Even when, on July 13, 2007, Monroe County Superior Court Judge Thomas Wilson ordered Wilson’s release, calling the sentence a “miscarriage of justice”, Attorney General Thurbert E. Baker, an African-American, blocked the release by appealing to the higher court. Incensed by Genarlow’s original sentence, Judge Wilson had declared: “If this court, or any court, cannot recognize the injustice of what has occurred here, then our court system has lost sight of the goal our judicial system has always strived to accomplish… justice being served in a fair and equal manner.”
The case was brought to national attention when Jeremy Redmon of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported a prayer vigil trying to win the black youth’s freedom, led by Rev. Joseph Lowery, former president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. (June 28).
In September, presidential candidate Barack Obama said: "Going forward, we have to fix our criminal justice system. Whether it’s Jena 6 or Genarlow Wilson, it’s long past time for us to admit that we have more work to do to ensure that our criminal justice system is fair…”
In an article dated June 29 entitled “Can We Save a Black Boy”, Eddie Griffin wrote: The only way to save a black boy is one child at a time. Today, it is Genarlow Wilson, The Jena Six, and Memory of Ron Pettiway.
Lord, help us. See how much time and energy it takes to try and save one black boy at a time. There must be a more expedient way.
Thursday, October 25, 2007
From her home town, Anne she observes:
If you throw away the tomato from your hamburger, you are defacing a hamburger and could be fined. Sounds crazy, doesnt it? They have the same law in Los Angeles. Supposedly its a sneaky way of generating money for the city and getting homeless people off the streets - they end up doing jail time because they can't pay the fine. Many jails and prisons are actually owned by corporations. The state pays them well (with our taxes) to house prisoners - its a business. On top of that, prisoners will work manufacturing products for less than a dollar a day. Why do they do this more to poor people? Maybe poor people are easier targets. Something needs to be done.
In response, Spadoman writes: There has been racial profiling, and many people have heard of it, but there has also been socioeconomic profiling… Ever watch "Cops" on TV? What do you see when the cops move in? Not the people who are driving the Lexus.
SpongyBones writes: This crap happens here in the midwest too. It's awful.
A naysayer Woozie writes about the planned November 2 Boycott: Never, ever, going to happen. Not on a large enough scale to make a real difference. Not enough people know about/care enough about injustices such as these.
Anne replies: Woozie - the probability of your being right is in direct proportion to how much you do.
Eddie Griffin sez: Way to go, Anne. Get all the “woozies” out of the way. They are what their name implies.
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
What about Darfur? What can we do about it?
Someone suggested: 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?
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Why does this address the Megan Williams torture case and ignore Dunbar Village an equally horrific torture and rape of a Black woman and her child? Not to mention the implications of the City of West Palm Beach cordoning off poor African Americans into a slum and then leaving them to rot and die without police protection.
Eddie Griffin responds:
Thank you for your response, some of which I wish to address publicly for the sake of those who share your sentiments.
As a man who walks by faith and not by sight, it is not necessary for me to see the light at the end of the tunnel before I step out into the abyss. I am just truly appreciative that you read and responded to my article “US Economic Boycott Set for November 2”.
Re: JENA 6
I was inspired to write the article after receiving several emails calling for the boycott. In an earlier article, “Beyond Jena”, I wrote: “By now, we should be three miles down the road past Jena, with contingency planning as to where do we go from here.” At the time, I believed that the then-upcoming September 20 mass demonstration would not be enough to change the situation in this part of Louisiana. Therefore, I eagerly endorsed subsequent strategic actions.
Personally speaking, however, I would have isolated and targeted the state of Louisiana, particularly its riverboat gambling operations and the New Orleans relief effort. The state of Louisiana is well known for its corruption. For example, recently, two judges were either indicted or convicted for accepting bribes. Putting these factors together, you might infer some kind of connection.
Secondly, Jena is David Duke territory. This is where he reigned as Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan. Third, Louisiana, historically, has had the highest number of recorded lynchings, more than any other state in the union. Considering that fact, the Jena nooses represented a real threat to the black students at Jena High.
We do not know what would have happened had not this fight occurred. For sure, the outside world would still been in the dark. And, I am confident that the Jena 6 youth did exactly what we would have done back in the old days. Simply put, they defended themselves and their families against the threats and intimidations of the Klan. They risked their lives and their futures, just as some of us did in the 60s and 70s. You must realize that some of the grandfathers of these Jena boys are still in prison for taking a stand against white terrorism in their communities- and nobody has yet to say thanks.
Re: MEGAN WILLIAMS and DUNBAR VILLAGES Torture Cases
Both torture cases, I agree, were so horrific that one case can not be weighed more importantly than the other in terms of shock. Also, I have read your stories of Dunbar Village on your blog. Although I have never been clear as to how to effectively deal with the Palm Beach, Florida situation without a local effort initiating the drive. And, I have not read a plan of action. (Maybe I’m missing something and you can update me).
Here are some of the excerpts I found in your writings about the issue:
So in light of everything that is "happening" in West Palm Beach, I would like to offer some "observations" perhaps even a critique or two as I am prone to do. If you live in West Palm Beach, now would be the time that you stopped reading this post if you are "tender hearted" and have a heaping pile of civic pride… Lots of movement, if not progress, seems to be occurring in West Palm Beach. I fear, however, that all this "movement" is all style and no substance…
1. Dunbar Village was a crime against humanity, not some petty theft of a bicycle. So what does that mean? It means that although the crime happened in West Palm Beach in a place called Dunbar Village, all of civil society has a vested interest in making sure that the conditions that facilitated this crime are stamped out…
2. Clearly intervention from the State of Florida is required…. You can't have roving militaristic gangs running around committing crimes against humanity as a matter of course…
3. The Federal government needs to get involved if the State of Florida will not… Second, the victim was clearly targeted based on her gender- HATE CRIME and possibly her national origin- HATE CRIME!
4. What kind of civil society will we have if the freedom of movement for women and girls is restricted because little Dunbar Villages start popping up all over the country?
5. If ever there was something to be POLITICAL, how local and state leaders deal with this disaster should be POLITICAL…
Eddie Griffin Commentary:
I believe that gangs should never have the dominant influence in the community. But they can only rule if there is an absence of local leadership. If local community leaders are MIA, then calling for state and federal intervention essentially means putting the neighborhood under police or military quarantine. Does the state of Florida need to declare martial law to deal with gangs?
Frankly speaking, I do not know how bad the situation is. It is bad enough to ghettorize the black community. Given that fact, martial law and state militia does not seem the solution to the psychotic culture that breeds inside of Dunbar Villages. True and good leadership suppresses criminal tendencies before a crime wave breaks out, and that means working with youth and channeling their energies into productive paths. It is all a matter of who is in control.
We call our influence in the community a “footprint” because some things get squashed before it ever gets started. I would recommend leadership training before militarization.
Re: Genarlow Wilson
Eddie Griffin wrote: What about Genarlow Wilson, the 17-year old black boy sentenced to 10 years in prison for having consensual sex with a 15-year old girl in the state of Georgia, under an antiquated law that has since been changed? Not that this boy-meets-girl scenario is outrageously unusual, but the fact that Genarlow is still incarcerated and will be marred as a sex offender for the rest of his life.
Gina responded: I take take umbrage at the characterization of the facts in the Genarlow Wilson case. That was not a scene out of Romeo and Juliet. A group of older boys made a 15 year old girl their entertainment and they video taped it (child porn) and the tape of the 17 year old girl, at least the portions release on media outlets was not "usual" or ordinary. In fact, they were outright disturbing. Let's have an 8th amendment argument without tossing young Black girls overboard. Consider revising that paragraph on Wilson, he does not have to be a saint for the constitutional protections to apply to him, but let's not minimize the fact that the lives of two girls were also changed that night in Douglasville, GA. Maybe it is a gender thing, but consider a revision.
Eddie Griffin replies:
I had to go back to Webster and look up “umbrage” because I don’t get very many of those. But I admit the “gender thing”, insofar as it is impossible for me to think as a woman- although I have seen men in prison who can no longer think as men.
From my understanding, the case of Genarlow Wilson was “consensual sex” between teens. Nowhere have I read that the girl was forced into the act. This is typical adolescent behavior, unless something in human nature has changed since I was a teenager.
But I did not typify this behavior based upon my own personal experience. In December 2004, eleven Fort Worth Trimble Tech High School basketball boys were suspended for basically the same things.
The boys went to Granbury, Texas to play in a tournament, met some girls, sneaked onto a school bus and had sex. Instead of videotaping the incident, they took cell phone pictures.
Of course, this is not Romeo and Juliet of Shakespeare’s day, but surely it is a sign of the time in which we live. The purpose of the cell phone photos, no doubt the same as with Genarlow, was for sharing nude photos with other teens. Maybe the videotaping could be interpreted as child pornography by a stretch of the imagination. Even further stretching the law, it can be made a prosecutable criminal offense. But never were any of these Trimble Tech boys remotely threatened with 10 years of imprisonment. In fact, local religious leaders fought to keep them in public school, instead of being banished to alternative school.
I believe that we can save the child if we treat them as children and minimize the offense to match the seriousness of the juvenile offense. It must be remembered that these are immature children, though they may physically look like adults. By virtue of their age, they cannot possibly think as adults, let alone be held responsible for their underdeveloped mentality. They will do as children do. Teenagers will do juvenile things. But a sin, in this instance, is not a prosecutorial crime.
You suggest: Let's have an 8th amendment argument without tossing young Black girls overboard.
Better yet, let’s have an 8th amendment argument without tossing young black girls and boys overboard in cases of consensual sex where the age differential is within three years. I believe this is the reason none of the Trimble Tech basketball boys were prosecuted. All parties were within the same age range, and equally immature.
Monday, October 22, 2007
After last month’s mass demonstration in Jena, Louisiana, you would think that the country would wake up to the plight of African-American youth being routed out of the school system into prisons. But no, there seems to be this mad insistence in prosecuting six black boys for a schoolyard fight that was instigated by nooses looped over a tree by fellow white students. And to make matters worse, nooses keep cropping up all over the country to reiterate the point that black people still cannot get any respect.
Now people across the United States are asking: What do we do now? We are faced with a situation: Damned if you do and damned if you don’t.
On the one hand, when we demand action from the government, we are criticized, for one reason or another. They say we want the federal government to usurp states’ rights to prosecute whomever they will for whatever reason they desire. They say we want big government and a welfare state, without saying anything about equal treatment under the law or that the only protectorate of black people in America has historically been by way of the federal government.
They criticized the protest and claim that black leaders merely pimp the public and pandering to the media, even though they themselves admit the charges against the youth are too harsh.
What do we do now? There is no alternative except to take our money out of circulation, if only for a day. November 2, 2007 is marked as Economic Blackout Day in America. This, according to proponents and radio talk show hosts, is the logical next phase in escalating the struggle to win justice for black youth.
The Jena 6 cases has opened the eyes of many to something we thought no longer existed. There is a pandemic of racism in the backwoods of America. And, the powers-that-be are dogmatically determined to run roughshod over our children’s civil rights.
They think that by characterizing these six black boys as “thugs” they will convince enough Americans that this case is justice as it should be. But as Malcolm X once said, “You can stick a cat in the oven it still does not make it a biscuit.”
They said the same of Shaquanda Cotton, the 14-year old Paris, Texas high school freshman before they sent her to juvenile detention for up to seven years for simply shoving a teacher’s aide. And worse, the appeals court upheld the conviction.
And, what about Genarlow Wilson, the 17-year old black boy sentenced to 10 years in prison for having consensual sex with a 15-year old girl in the state of Georgia, under an antiquated law that has since been changed? Not that this boy-meets-girl scenario is outrageously unusual, but the fact that Geralow is still incarcerated and will be marred as a sex offender for the rest of his life.
No longer can we accept this persecution as business-as-usual. If most American people can outwardly condemn these over-prosecuted cases and still do nothing about it, we must have reason to fear for all of our black children and their future. No, the problem is out of the hands of America. It is personal. It is our problem to solve.
We only thought it was horrendous to see juveniles incarcerated in Texas Youth Commission facilities being raped and sodomized by high level prison officials, only to see legislators sweep their investigation under a rug, under the auspices of confidentiality due to the ages of the victims. We only thought it was outrageous that 473 youth were incarcerated past their release date. We only imagined ourselves appalled at the horrible conditions of their incarceration while private prison contractors like GEO raked in profits, and dried up hellhole prison towns sucked the life out of our youth for the sake of their economies.
We thought that we were shocked when James Byrd was hitched to the back of a truck and dragged along the back roads of Jasper, Texas until his body parts were completely disassembled. By the time we read of Megan Williams being raped and tortured and sodomized with sticks, forced to eat dog and rat feces, by six white assailants who repeated lambasting her with racial epithets, America had lost its collective sense of what constitutes torture and hate crimes.
No More! Not one dollar more on November 2! America should volunteer herself to go to the gallows- for all past, current, and future contemplated hate crimes.
So, we ask you and every decent human being left in America and around the world to just hold your money on that day (November 2). Boycott American products, goods, and services. Maybe then, and only then, will we gain some respect for ourselves and our children.
Thursday, October 18, 2007
When the government claims that it does not torture people, it’s merely a technicality. I am an expert of “sensory deprivation”, a technique developed by the Communist Chinese used to destroy men’s minds. I am also an expert on another techniques used during integration called “sleep deprivation”, being forced by captors to remain awake, all night, every night, until the awake state and the sleep state is indistinguishable.
Lastly, I was thrown into a refrigerated strip cell, wearing nothing but my BVDs, in the middle of winter, and only granted running water for 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes in the evening, held incommunicado. The object was to freeze me to death slowly.
I remember the prison guard who slid the food tray to me through the steel-door slot. He could not look me in the eye, and when he did, he cried.
For days and weeks, I sat in one spot, on a bar steel bench for a bed, staring out into space, and constantly blinking to keep my tear ducts from freezing up.
I saw through the blue vale haze, a ship frozen at sea. The sea was crystal ice, and nothing could move, because nothing could break the ice.
I was a dead man with a body screaming from the spirit world in hell on earth. How can they do this to me, I wondered, flushed by self-pity? How could they kill me like this?
There are men being release from prison having survived long periods of time in isolation under the most horrid conditions. I am just one. My name is Eddie Griffin, author of “Breaking Men’s Minds”, now published and sold by the U.S. Department of Justice, National Criminal Justice Reference Service, (NCJ Number: NCJ 141852).
My writings helped the U.S. government perfect torture techniques that are now “re-classified” and non-torture. One such technique is “Sensory Deprivation”, cutting off as much sensory input to the human nervous system and insulation from the electro-magnetic field of the earth. The subject becomes “ionized”.
What does that mean?
They subject suffers electrical discharges in the brain, creating “white flashes”, and ultimately “white-outs”, a state of consciousness without awareness.
After a year of being locked into an isolated deprivation chamber with a steel door, I was released to re-join other prisoners in communal population. There was a major difference between other prisoners and myself. Whenever I touched metal or plastic, electrical sparks would leap out of my fingers, out of my body- so visible that other prisoners would joke that Eddie Griffin glowed in the dark.
I spent a lot of time in solitary confinement because I was a prison writer who got too much publicity. This was the reason I was placed on the list of “no human contact” status. “Breaking Men’s Minds” had gone international and the Soviets were using it as propaganda in the international human rights debate. Over night, I became an international figure, doing newspaper, radio, and television interviews from inside prison on a daily basis. Angela Davis' organization, National Alliance Against Racism and Political Repression, had christened me as the voice of the prisoner human rights campaign.
The government and the prison administration attempted to silence me by segregation and total isolation.
Today, prisoners still refer to “Breaking Men’s Minds” on the legal subject of torture and inhumane treatment. Basically, the theme is about placing a man in an isolated environment and treating him like an animal.
Can they change human behavior into animal behavior?
Search the recidivism records and look for the most horrible crimes committed by ex-offenders, then go back to his isolated cell.
I remember a man so angry in the “box car” deprivation chamber that whenever he belched he growled like a roaring lion. Prison guards had to throw him his food.
This is not the kind of guy you would want to roll out the red carpet and say, “Welcome back to America.” Nevertheless, every day, thousands of prisoners are released back onto the streets of America, as "damaged goods", having this prison experience.
First, when a torture victim reaches his limit, he feels no pain, anymore. He went beyond the threshold of death. Essentially, he is a dead man walking in a clay body, speaking at you from the spirit world. He cannot ever be hurt again. Therefore, there is no fear of death.
Shoot him once, you will have to shoot him a thousand times, and he is still not dead. He is a Zombie, made in America.
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
After a nationwide fight to get young 17-year old Mychal Bell out of jail, and posting a $45,000 bail, we as a people had hardly licked our wound before they sent him back to jail- this time with an 18-month prison sentence, under the technical auspices of probation violation.
Call it the Devil’s Catch-22: At the allegation of a second offense, the probated first offense can be revoked without consideration of Due Process.
If the judge and the prosecutor concurred not to pursue the schoolyard fight as an assault, they would not have revoked his probation.
So, why did they let Bell out of jail on a $45,000 bail? They took his money one day and put him back in jail the next day, but only because they were ordered by the higher court to give the child a bail hearing. After nine months of incarceration, minus bail money provided by thousands of well-wishers, he was back where he started-in jail- worse, in prison doing 18-months. Maliciously delicious to the Devil’s appetite because, by law, no one can save the little black boy- don’t call him Mychal, call him Sambo for breakfast.
There is something fishy here. Are the others of the Jena 6 going to be devoured before our eyes also? Here is an update:
Theodore Shaw - According to Robert McDuff, one of three legal representatives for Shaw, there will be a hearing on Nov. 7 and the trial is slated to begin on Jan. 28, 2008. Shaw has not received any formal education since he was expelled by the school board in December 2006.
Ryan Simmons has the least amount of charges, according to his attorney, William Whatley. His family moved away from Jena, La. No trial date has been set.
Robert Bailey has more charges than any other defendant. According to his attorney, Jim Boren, there will be a motion hearing on Nov. 7. Bailey's trial is scheduled to begin on Nov. 28. The day after the rally, his mother, Caseptla Bailey, said her son has also not received any education since he was expelled. Several attempts to reinstate Bailey have failed. The family still lives in Jena, La.
Bryan Purvis has a hearing on Nov. 7. According to his mother, Tina Jones, he has moved to another state. He attended private school last year but is attending public school this year.
Carwin Jones, the youngest member of the group, has retained a team of attorneys but little else has been reported about his case.
Saturday, October 13, 2007
Friday, October 12, 2007
What part of world opinion don’t these inbred retards of Louisiana understand?
First, it was three nooses dangled over a segregated schoolyard tree after black students had requested to sit under its shade during lunchtime like the white students. When black students protested, District Attorney Reed Walters came in and made his infamous threat directed at the black students- how that he can wipe out their lives with “the stroke of a pen”.
There are the nooses on one hand and the law on the other. (Talk about being caught between a rock and a hard place). How can this not be interpreted as suppression of a people by use of fear and intimidation? (Fear of the lynch rope and Intimidation by the law). What choice does these black children have, except to "accept it" or fight against it?
Some people want us to fast-forward our minds to December 4, 2006, without taking into account the chain-reaction of events leading up to the schoolyard fight.
They called the nooses “a prank”. How did they know the purpose of the nooses and the intent of the heart of the noose-hangers? (Am I missing a secret conversation somewhere?) How are African-Americans supposed to automatically know that the nooses were only a prank, in a state with the highest number of recorded lynching, deep in the middle of KKK country, where (heretofore) no outside media dared to venture? (If a black person screamed in Jena, no one would hear it, because the traditional press doesn’t carry small town stories like this).
What the nooses could not do legally, rest assured that DA Reed Walters can do with just the stroke of his pen- lynch by law.
Stacking the jury with all-white citizens, including friends of the so-called victim, is ho-hum business as usual to Jena, but it is an aberration of justice in the eyes of the world. (A recent DA manual on how to exclude minorities from jury panel created some local controversy in my hometown). Nevertheless, this follows a southern tradition: Accuse a black man of anything and you can get a conviction, the odds being better with an all-white jury. And, if a man is falsely accused and convicted, who will hear him scream, anyway? (The Innocence Project has exonerated some 208 people who have been wrongly convicted. It is no wonder district attorneys oppose the establishment of Innocence Commissions to investigate claims of wrongful convictions).
Jena: A Rule by Terroristic Fear and Intimidation
When some 50,000 people heard the cry of the Jena 6 teenagers, they descended on the small backwoods town of 3,000. To avoid the protesting crowd and the media spectacle, the whole town closed its doors on the September 20 march.
The case of Mychal Bell was overturned by the appeals court and returned to be heard in juvenile court. The case was an international embarrassment. President George Bush spoke out about the injustice- likewise presidential candidates Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco “urged” the citizens of Jena to come together and resolve their race problem.
With one hand, they give. With the other, they take away.
In his lamentations about how his town as been mischaracterized, Jena Mayor Murphy McMillan, bemoans the continued protest. He speaks about how hospitable the people of Jena were to allow the protesters to come into his community (not to mention, everybody closed shop and went fishing). On the other hand, DA Reed Walters goes on public record to make a statement from God. Had not Jesus Christ intervened, he asserts, the protesters would have destroyed the town. (This reminds me of assertions during slavery- how God protected the minority white people against the red savages and rebellious black slaves.) How did God do it? Through “divine intervention”, says Walters. In the past, God always protected his “blessed people” from the cursed race of people, by putting his hands on them and keep them “in their place”.
It is no surprise that the popularity of this myth continues in the South, which only emboldens the Jena absurdities.
Do not connect the dots.
If the DA can prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the act of assault happened in a vacuum- disconnected from surrounding circumstance-the daily taunting of by white students, and all the previous assaults upon black students- then there is no such thing in nature as cause and effect. Things just happen out of a spiritual nowhere, and one day, out of the sky-blue, here comes the assailant Mychal Bell with some crazy obsessed notion to hurt somebody (and it’s important that the DA points out that that somebody is white, not just a high school teenager like his counterpart). It was an “assault” upon a “white person”, the most heinous crime imaginable because it defies the social (divine) order.
Thursday, October 11, 2007
October 7, 2007
NATIONAL MARCH AGAINST HATE CRIMES:
MEGAN WILLIAMS: KIDNAP, TORTURE AND RAPE VICTIM IS FOCUS OF NATIONAL CALL TO ACTION
When: Saturday November 3, 2007 12:00 noon
Location: Charleston, West Virginia. Beginning in front of West Virginia State University and Marching to the West Virginia State Capitol in Charleston.
March Purpose: 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 Blacks/African Americans 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 in the instant case. They are also demanding Congressional hearings on hate crimes against Black residents as well a wide range of actions to combat the growing attacks on Blacks in America.
Who are the Organizers? The primary march organizers are Black Lawyers For Justice (BLFJ) and the Support Committee For Megan Williams. This march will be endorsed by at least 100 Black organizations, student groups, clergy and leaders of every stripe. An initial endorsement list will be produced on 10-15-07.
Contact: Black Lawyers For Justice (BLFJ) / Malik Shabazz, Esq.
Attorney/ advocate for Megan Williams and the Williams Family
Ph: NATIONAL (202) 397-3577 local (304) 657-1493
WHY A MARCH TO SUPPORT MEGAN WILLIAMS AND OPPOSE HATE CRIMES?
On November 3, 2007 a historic National March will take place in Charleston, West Virginia. 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. 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 several of co-defendants signed confessions. This is an this 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, and 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.
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. The suspects took turns beating, stabbing, choking and sexually abusing Williams, while consistently threatening her with death, according to criminal complaints. A rope was placed around Williams’ neck, her hair was ripped out and she was made to eat dog and rat feces, drink from a toilet and lick up blood, the complaint charges. 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.”
“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, speaking at the October 3rd preliminary hearing in Logan County, West VA.
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”.
HATE CRIMES DOCUMENTED
In addition to the Megan Williams case, criminal acts of hatred and intimidation using hanging nooses have sprung up all over the nation. The hanging noose, central to the Jena case, is used by racists as an actionable threat to the safety and well being of Blacks, who have suffered innumerable historical injustices via hanging ropes and lynchings. On Sept 7th, a three foot noose was found hung at the University of Maryland, College Park, roiling the campus. On October 4th, the Pittsburgh Tribune Review reported that police were investigating several cases in which nooses were left at workplaces to intimidate black employees in the Pittsburgh area. The Tribune reported, “a supervisor at the Verizon Wireless Business Services Center in Marshall found a black doll with a noose around its neck and racial slurs directed at it.” Several similar hate crime incidents have been reported in the Pittsburgh area in the last month. In Long Island, New York last month, police found a noose hanging in the locker room. Many believed it was hung by a police officer and was in response to the newly elected Black police chief. Last month, in North Carolina, nooses were found hung at a public school. On October 3rd in Washington D.C., white students and historical Galluadet University for the deaf, reportedly held a Black student hostage for over an hour and repeatedly wrote “KKK” all over his body with markers. All over the U.S., Police assaulting and killing unarmed Black victims is on the rise again.
A FOLLOW UP TO JENA
The November 3rd National March against Hate Crimes is also an effort to end the continued persecution of the Jena 6. Mychal Bell and the Jena 6 are still facing jail after responding to racist persecution at the High school in Jena, Louisiana. Also the addresses and phone numbers of the Jena 6 Families were posted on Neo-Nazi/Klan websites, subsequently, white supremacists have committed acts of aggression near their homes and BLFJ has copies of letters from various Ku Klux Klan organizations directly threatening the Jena 6 families. Members of the Jena 6 are endorsing and are expected at this march.
Over 100 organizations, student groups, youth organizations, clergy, rappers, and leaders are set to endorse the November 3rd March (a list will be released on 10/15/07) Like in Jena, organizers going to get busses, travel the highway and organize to support Megan Williams and organize against these attacks.
SCHEDULE OF EVENTS
Friday November 2nd 7:00 pm: A pre march remembrance/ prayer vigil will take place at the Logan County trailer home where Megan Williams was kidnapped and tortured
Saturday November 3rd 12:00 noon: National March against Hate Crimes, Charleston, West VA. March will begin in front of West Virginia State University.
Saturday November 3rd 5:00 pm: Fundraiser for Megan Williams and Town Hall Meeting on Race Relations to take place at Rehoboth Cathedral of Christ in Charleston, West Virginia- Bishop James Carter III is the host pastor.
To Endorse This March Or For Updates And Further Details, Visit The Website: Www.Blacklawyersforjustice.Org Or Call (202) 397 -4577 The Email Is Shabazzlaw@aol.Com
Tuesday, October 9, 2007
Now here is a pundit who admits not knowing what the noose-hangers meant “to symbolize”. Nevertheless, he proceeds to give his expert opinion on why he thinks “the Jena 6 in Jena, La., greatly overreacted at the sight of nooses hanging from a tree next to their school”.
On the other hand.
“I do not want to diminish the impression that the hanging of the nooses has had on good people,” Jena Mayor Murphy R. McMillin wrote. “I do recognize that what happened is insulting and hurtful… To put the incident in Jena in the same league as those who were murdered in the 1960s cheapens their sacrifice and insults their memory.”
It is one thing to claim that all this stuff is a product of my imagination, but what about this counter-argument of an “overactive imagination” and an “over-reactive response”? Other than “insulting and hurtful”, we would be led to believe the whole Jena 6 case is blown out of proportion.
How can anyone “cheapen” the sacrifice and “insult” the memory of African-Americans who were lynched in the South? Every time I hear about nooses made for lynching black people, I remember the words of Mrs. Mamie Till Bradley: “Look at what they did to my boy”, she cried. Her son was Emmitt Till, a black boy lynched in Money, Mississippi in August 1955.
I was 10-years old and can remember, unto this day, the words of the grieving mother, insisting that the casket be opened at the funeral so she could show the world what race hatred looked like. I saw the horrible picture published in Jet Magazine and never forgot it. Emmitt Louis Till was only 14 years old when he was slain.
This was not just a lynching. Emmitt Till was the most tortured person in human history. Two white men came to the home of Till’s great-uncle in the middle of the night, wanting to talk to the boy about “wolf whistling at a white woman”, which was another ex-post facto Jim Crow Law. They dragged the young man away as he screamed and hollered for his helpless uncle to save him. In a barn, they tortured him all nights, according to the testimony of a passerby who heard Till’s un-muffled screams.
They beat him, gouged out his eye, smashed his head in, draped him in barbwire, dangled him over the Tallahatchie River Bridge, and shot him in the head. When they found him dead with the weight of fan tied around his neck in the river, hamstrung and handcuffed with barbwire, the local newspapers initially reported it as a suicide.
That was the way I remembered it from 1955, although there have been many white revisions of history before and since. Nevertheless, it is still a story some people do no want school children to hear. They would rather they hear a whitewashed version of the Civil Right Movement. As a result, our children are totally ignorant of these happenings, although this is where the movement began to stir, when the white defendants were acquitted and later confessed to a Look Magazine writer.
This made us sick for a whole generation, which generation still lives today, not to mention how James Byrd was dragged behind a pickup truck in Jasper, Texas in 1998. The blood of the dismembered body parts is still soaked into the back roads of this small East Texas town.
I can still hear the screaming in my ear, at night, in my dreams, and whenever I hear men like Jena Mayor McMillin and District Attorney Reed Walters trying to minimize the terrorism black people feel at the sight of a lynch noose. The graves of lynch victims are screaming- screaming not to be forgotten- screaming for justice. For too long, their stories have been silenced.
And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? (Revelation 6:9-10)
From the collection of Milford F. Plaines’ African American Holocaust.
Friday, October 5, 2007
Report Date: Friday, October 05, 2007
PURPOSE: Joint Economic Committee to Examine Economic Costs of Surge in U.S. Prison Population and Possible Solutions
October 04, 2007
Washington, DC – Senator Jim Webb conducted a Joint Economic Committee (JEC) hearing to explore the steep increase in the U.S. prison population and the economic and social costs of mass incarceration.
HAT TIP TO GRITSFORBREAKFAST
Mass Incarceration: At What Cost?
Doc Berman of Sentencing Law & Policy reports on the October 4, 2007 Joint Economic Committee (JEC) hearing: "Mass Incarceration in the United States: At What Cost?".
GRITS writes: It appears as though Senator Jim Webb put this program together; his webpage now has interesting links to "Facts about the United States prison system" (posted below) and "Floor Charts and Graphs" that spotlight, inter alia, that the "composition of prison admissions has ... shifted toward less serious offenses, characterized by parole violations and drug offenses."
FACTS ABOUT THE PRISON SYSTEM IN THE UNITED STATES
RATIONALE FOR HEARING
The hearing entitled “Mass Incarceration in the United States: At What Cost?” will host a number of experts in the field to examine the reasons behind this growth in the prison population, whether it correlates with decreases in crime, the economic costs of maintaining the prison system, and the long-term labor market and social costs of mass incarceration.
• The United States has the highest reported incarceration rate in the world. While the United States currently incarcerates 750 inmates per 100,000 persons, the world average rate is 166 per 100,000 persons. Russia, the country with the second highest incarceration rate, imprisons 624 per 100,000 persons. Compared to its democratic, advanced market economy counterparts, the United States has more people in prison by several orders of magnitude. Although crime rates have decreased since 1990, the rate of imprisonment has continued to increase.
• Growth in the prison population is due to changing policy, not increased crime. Many criminal justice experts have found that the increase in the incarceration rate is the product of changes in penal policy and practice, not changes in crime rates. Changes in sentencing, both in terms of time served and the range of offenses meriting incarceration, underlie the growth in the prison population.
• Changes in drug policy have had the single greatest impact on criminal justice policy. The Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986 created mandatory minimum sentences for possession of specific amounts of cocaine. The Act instituted a 100-to-1 differential in the treatment of powder and crack cocaine, treating possession of 5 grams of crack cocaine the same as possession of 500 grams of powder cocaine. Crack cocaine is typically consumed by the poor, while powder cocaine, a significantly more expensive drug, is consumed by wealthier users. Mandatory minimum sentences for low-level crack-cocaine users are comparable (and harsher in certain cases) to sentences for major drug dealers.
• The composition of prison admissions has also shifted toward less serious offenses, characterized by parole violations and drug offenses. In 2005, four out of five drug arrests were for possession and one out of five were for sales. The crime history for three-quarters of drug offenders in state prisons involved non-violent or drug offenses.
• The prison system has a disproportionate impact on minority communities. African Americans, who make-up 12.4 percent of the population, represent more than half of all prison inmates, compared to one-third twenty years ago. Although African Americans constitute 14 percent of regular drug users, they are 37 percent of those arrested for drug offenses, and 56 percent of persons in state prisons for drug crimes. African Americans serve nearly as much time in federal prisons for drug offenses as whites do for violent crimes.
• The U.S. prison system has enormous economic costs associated with prison construction and operation, productivity losses, and wage effects. In 2006, states spent an estimated $2 billion on prison construction, three times the amount they were spending fifteen years earlier. The combined expenditures of local governments, state governments, and the federal government for law enforcement and corrections total over $200 billion annually. In addition to these costs, the incarceration rate has significant costs associated with the productivity of both prisoners and ex-offenders. The economic output of prisoners is mostly lost to society while they are imprisoned. Negative productivity effects continue after release. This wage penalty grows with time, as previous imprisonment can reduce the wage growth of young men by some 30 percent.
• Prisons are housing many of the nation’s mentally ill. Prisons are absorbing the cost of housing the nation’s mentally ill. The number of mentally ill in prison is nearly five times the number in inpatient mental hospitals. Large numbers of mentally ill inmates, as well as inmates with HIV, tuberculosis, and hepatitis also raise serious questions regarding the costs and distribution of health care resources.
• The United States faces enormous problems of offender reentry and recidivism. The number of ex-offenders reentering their communities has increased fourfold in the past two decades. On average, however, two out of every three released prisoners will be rearrested and one in two will return to prison within three years of release.
STATEMENTS & GRAPHICS
Senator Webb's Opening Statement
Congresswoman Maloney's Opening Statement
Congressman Robert Scott's Statement
Dr. Glenn Loury, Economics and Social Sciences Professor, Brown University
Dr. Bruce Western, Director Inequality and Social Policy Program, Harvard University
Alphonso Albert, Executive Director, Second Chances
Michael Jacobson, Executive Director, Vera Institute for Justice
Pat Nolan, Vice President, Prison Fellowship, Reston, Virginia
The Incarceration Rate Has Continued to Rise Despite Falling Crime Rates
Institutionalization Rates Have Skyrocketed for Black Men
The Incarceration Rate for Black Males Remains Much Higher than Other Democgraphic Groups
The U.S. Incarceration Rate is the Highest in the World
Chart Submitted by Glenn Loury: Incarceration Rates by Neighborhood in New York City from 1985-1996
Chart Submitted by Glenn Loury: Marijuana Arrests in New York City from 1977-2006
Chart Submitted by Glenn Loury: Marijuana Arrests in New York City by Race from 1986-2006
Chart Submitted by Bruce Western: Black Male High School Drop-Outs Have Much Greater Risk of Ending Up in Prison than Other Demographics
Table Submitted by Bruce Western: Black Males are More Likely to be Incarcerated than to be Married
Table Submitted by Bruce Western: Pay and Employment Among Ex-Prisoners
Thursday, October 4, 2007
A sweeping City Hall corruption probe that has produced federal charges against a dozen black civic and political leaders is renewing suspicions of racism in a city with a long history of combative minority relations… Sixteen people - 12 of them black - were named in corruption indictments unsealed this week. Most of them were charged in what the FBI said was a kickback and bribery scheme involving the awarding of contracts to white developers to build affordable housing, mostly in black neighborhoods… Among the blacks indicted are a former City Council member, a former city planner, businessmen, state Rep. Terri Hodge of Dallas, and former Mayor Pro Tem Don Hill, who was considered a front-runner for mayor in June but was hurt by the investigation. He was defeated in the first round of elections. Four white developers were also charged. (Source: “Dallas indictment raises race issues”, Star-Telegram, Thursday, October 04, 2007)
Oh horror of horrors! Black officials and white bribers, again I should be shocked.
Normally, I leave Dallas to the crazies, given the city’s recent history in race relations. But before the cow jumps over the moon, I gotta say: “Woo! Wait a minute.” How did this get to be a race-bait investigation and incrimination?
“I refuse to subscribe that this was racially motivated,” said Michael Sorrell, president of the city's historically black Paul Quinn College. “But given all the factors, what is the statistical likelihood of producing that ratio?”
I am not a particular fan of the FBI because of the dark legacy of J. Edgar Hoover. But I must admit the agency has some pretty good bloodhounds, and these guys don’t move in for the kill with this kind of widespread Mafioso roundup unless they smell corruption.
I am the last person qualified to go in and condemn what may very well be “good, legitimate police work”. If I must do time for my own crime, let every lawbreaker’s chips lay upon the pyres of justice. Let the guilty be punished and the innocent go free, no matter the color of their skin.
What befuddles me is not the long list of prominent Dallas blacks now cast under a cloud of criminal suspicion. I have seen this movie before- many, many times- especially in the area of federal housing where there is a high concentration of black professionals. Even the City of Fort Worth has its own housing scandal and rumors of favoritism, sweetheart contracts, and kickbacks. What confounds me is the scenario of white rats and black mice, where the black mice eat the cheese and the white rats turn state evidence. These are the words of a former black outlaw who knows something about the tricks and the traps of the white double-cross. (And, you would think the next black mouse coming along would realize that the green cheese is bait).
I have warned many of my brothers and sisters in offices to beware of the “Dirty Dollar” from bribe artists. Sometimes it’s not always cash, like in the case of the Louisiana congressional representative who stashed $90,000 in his freezer. Sometimes it is as innocuous as the loan of a company car or a rent-free apartment. Looks innocent and legal enough, but if you accept gifts from Greeks, the hook is in the mouth for good. One illegal transaction obligates the benefactor to a lifetime of bribe-taking.
But this is not simply a hook in the Dallas investigation. It’s a net, and a pretty wide dragnet, at that. It looks like 12 maze-bound black mice and 4 dirty white rats. Now who bribed whom, and who is going to be prosecuted, defamed, and sent to prison?
Don’t you know it? Somebody is going to sing like the songbird of Alcatraz, and I bet there will not be but maybe one black snitch among them.
Before we get hyped up on the race thing, we need to follow the bloodhound’s scent. Did someone get entrapped, or was this another infamous “sting operation”? I bet somebody is asking how in the world they got themselves into this trap.
Looking at the illustrious careers of these African-Americans, the last thing they probably expected while on their way to college degrees and high salaried positions was to end up in handcuffs. No, this was more than a fall from power and loss of esteem. It was a disgrace in the eyes of black admirers who looked upon these leaders as “role models”. Graciously, they al made bail arrangements before being arrested, otherwise we would have to endure the shame of their being carted away in handcuffs, like ENRON’s Kenneth Lay and Jeffrey Skilling.
What irk me are the white contractors- kickbacks and bribery- and how unfair it makes the field of business deal-making. While minority businesspeople go to city leaders every day on their hands and knees begging for contracting opportunities, trying to play the game by the rules, there are white businessmen going through the back door and undermining the selection process with gifts, grafts, bribes, and kickbacks.
This is how America does business every day. And, when things go afoul, the bribery rats jump ship, and leave the little black mice to sink or swim. I’ve been there. I’ve been offered money to bribe black elected officials on behalf of white contractors. I’ve been offered money to fabricate financial records in order for a Mexican national to file back taxes and become a US citizen. Criminal solicitation is a crime, but do I report it? No. Why? Because no crime is committed, in my book, until a conspiracy goes into effect, and I know all too well how the devil gets his hands into your pockets… Good Heavens! I’ve lived on both sides of the law and I know how criminal schemers think.
Like the Godfather said about an “offer that cannot be refused”, in the crime world they say that every man has a price. And, they truly believe in finding it if “the mark” holds public office.
Getting out of the trap is another thing, once in. White rats will give up grandma before they do hard time, but black mice will wonder for daze how they got into this maze.
To confound the issue, the newspaper raises the “race issue”- for what? We need to know more about how the trap was fixed and how it was sprung.