A touching portrait of men from the Ferguson Missouri community that played back drop to the slaying of Michael Brown.
Now that #Ferguson is no longer trending and the media hype has died down a bit, what’s been going on in the St. Louis suburb that held national attention over the last month? Things in the small city are far from back to normal since the August 9th shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown which brought issues of racial profiling and excessive force to the forefront. Here are a few updates you should know:
1. No Federal Charges Have Been Filed Against Darren Wilson.
Even the emergence of video footage captured in the moments right after unarmed Michael Brown was gunned down, Darren Wilson is a free man. St. Louis County Circuit Judge Carolyn Whittington has extended the grand jury’s deadline to consider whether the Ferguson police officer should be criminally charged to January 7th. Officer Brown has been suspended during the investigation. The Justice Department is also conducting a civil rights investigation into the Ferguson police force’s conduct, use of force, traffic stops, searches and the treatment of detainees. In August, protesters led by Attorney Malik Zulu Shabazz filed a $40 million federal lawsuit in against the Ferguson police department for violation of civil rights and excessive force used against protesters. The lawsuit names Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson, St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar, Ferguson officer Justin Cosma and several unnamed officers.
Sometimes the way we say things make them easier to hear…. I honestly find pain to be at the root of a lot of beautiful art… Mr.Jeff Dess proves to us that this is true….
At any given moment my name could be a hashtag
A social place holder love remembrance
At any given moment my neighborhood could be a hashtag
Hashtag Jamaica Queens
Hashtag the Bronx
Hashtag Jersey City
At any given moment we could be the ones in tears
With milk running down our cheeks sudden smells of burning flesh
At any given moment my face could be the one
Attached to the unknown soul
Hashtag you’re it
If they gunned me down please remind the world of all my missteps
If they gunned me down please remind the world
of my use a foul language
Let them know I listened to trap music and gangsta rap
Let them know I illegally downloaded movies
And don’t forget that I stole basketball cards from the corner store in the ninth grade
And once wore white tees two sizes too big
And Timberland boots and hooded sweatshirts
But what is one to wear when a hoodie is removed and replaced by a coat of unarmed armor
When it’s too hot for hoods and the summer nights have reached boiling points
Thankfully there are buckets of ice water to be spilled
But unfortunately there are pints of blood also spilled
But neither will soothe the pain of tear gas
Wonderfully millions were raised
But sadly millions of questions went unanswered
And the scariest part is that no one was surprised
And maybe that’s because
so many times the words protect and serve
seem to transform into seek and destroy
And maybe that’s because bullies don’t understand logic
But they do know about bloody noses
And maybe that’s because peace and tranquility is often on sale
But one can never find the aisle for freedom
One cannot be stunned by the nights when you’re born in the shadows
Being labeled as the unknown is never a shock
One cannot be stunned by the night
Because the curfews have been set for centuries
And they always start at the crack of dawn
One cannot be stunned by the night
If when the rainbows appear you still fade to black
The veils had been removed
But the cloak of darkness has always remained
At any given moment my name could be a hashtag
But this was never about me
And this was never simply about the police
And this was never simply about the government
And this was never simply about our local communities
It extends further than any purple mountain majesty
You see we once signed a contract expecting freedom
But instead were met with exit interviews
Liberty and justice for fill in the blank
Please don’t shoot
I cannot breath
Reaching for strange fruits from the poplar trees
Published on Aug 28, 2014
This poem was inspired by the pain of young black men and women
This poem was inspired by the pain of our communities
This poem was inspired by the countless names of young brothers and sisters lost
By Urban Cusp
Six black kids from #Ferguson, MO bluntly and sarcastically educate white America about the racist reality in 2014. Recruited from the very block where unarmed black teen Michael Brown was gunned down by a white police officer, these kids ranging in age from 6 to 13 years old, use sometimes uncomfortable humor to show white people the continued racism their generation faces. Armed ONLY with statistics (hands up, don’t shoot) these articulate and adorable kids are not having it while much of white America would rather pretend racism is over.
***UPDATE***:ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — A law enforcement official says he sent a video of Ray Rice punching his then-fiancee to an NFL executive three months ago, while league officers have insisted they didn’t see the violent images until this week.
The person played The Associated Press a 12-second voicemail from an NFL office number on April 9 confirming the video arrived. A female voice expresses thanks and says: “You’re right. It’s terrible.”
The official, speaking to the AP on condition of anonymity because of the ongoing investigation, says the NFL never followed up. The person can’t confirm if anyone at the NFL watched the video.
The person said he shared the video — which he was unauthorized to release — because he wanted the NFL to have it before deciding on Rice’s punishment.
All this bandwagon Ray Rice bashing and scape goating is missing the point. Yes Mr. Rice was wrong, but the NFL had ALREADY punished him. The release of this video doesn’t change any of the facts! We saw the same incident from another angle in which it is clear how hard he had to have hit her in order to produce the end result, but harsh punishment wasn’t handed out until now…why? Do you honestly expect us to believe that the prosecutor’s office and Rice’s attorneys had this footage but the NFL NEVER saw it? This has become a public relations disaster for the league, that is the only reason we are seeing this type of delayed action. Victim blaming runs rampant when a celebrity or sports star is involved. Have we already forgotten Jovan Belcher and his girlfriend? If the league and its endorsements are walking away from Rice, who actually admitted he hit his fiancee from the beginning, then why haven’t we walked away from any of the other players accused in similar cases but who still continued to play in the league? Ray McDonald of the 49’s has been charged with the same crime and played this past Sunday…the difference: it wasn’t caught on tape…
I’ll let Michelle Jaworski‘s write up give you a few additional examples….
This story contains descriptions of domestic violence and may be triggering for some readers.
Update: The Ravens ended Rice’s contract Monday afternoon, the team announced on Twitter.
The outrage against Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice has been sparked anew after TMZ published new footage of him beating his then-fiancée (and now-wife), Janay Rice (née Palmer), unconscious.
The video, which is violent and graphic in nature and depicts scenes of domestic violence, showed Rice punching Palmer in the face in an elevator at the now-closed Revel Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City. Previously, the public had only seen what transpired after the fight in the elevator: Rice dragging an unconscious Palmer out of the elevator and into a casino.
Rice entered a one-year diversionary program that, once completed, would allow the third-degree aggravated assault charges against him to be dropped, but the NFL took a different approach. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and other officials with the NFL and the Ravens met with Rice and Palmer to discuss the events, which many feel prohibited her from speaking freely while her abuser was in the same room.
Janay Rice says she deeply regrets the role that she played the night of the incident.
— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens)May 23, 2014
Rice was suspended for two games and fined $58,000, a punishment many saw as not harsh enough and the NFL has now said it got wrong. The new rules, which wouldn’t apply to Rice, called for an automatic six-game suspension without pay for policies regarding “assault, battery, domestic violence or sexual assault that involve physical force” and those who have a second offense will be banned from the NFL.Two more cases of domestic violence by NFL players have already come up in the two weeks since the NFL changed their policy on domestic violence.
At the time, Sports Illustrated’s Peter King wrote that “the NFL and some Ravens officials have seen” the other videotape, which captured the altercation (and has since reported otherwise), while ProFootballTalk’s Mike Florio said that the NFL hadn’t seen the video.
The NFL’s official statement to TMZ Monday says that while they requested all information related to the incident, “that video was not made available to us and no one in our office has seen it until today.”
It’s unclear if the NFL will reopen the investigation into Rice. Many people are finding it hard to believe that Goodell hasn’t seen the video footage until now and are even more outraged at Rice’s punishment than before. And it does absolutely nothing to quell the growing idea that the NFL doesn’t care about women (unless it’s their money) and that sexism runs rampid.
No less than 29 players were suspended going into the first week (including Rice), the majority of them for substance abuse or performance-enhancing drugs. USA Today has been keeping a log of every NFL player arrested since 2000, and in 2012, Slate published findings showing that 21 of the 32 NFL teams had employed a player who had a record domestic violence or sexual assault charge.
But how does that compare to other NFL players convicted of domestic violence, and even those who have been suspended on testing positive for banned substances? In comparison, Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon got suspended for an entire season after failing another drug test, and it left a bad taste in the mouths of fans. And if you look at the NFL’s past stance on domestic violence, that taste doesn’t go away, even a little bit.
1) A.J. Jefferson, Minnesota Vikings cornerback
Jefferson, who was charged with felony domestic violence after his girlfriend told police that he choked her in November 2013, got swiftly dropped by the Vikings, but he didn’t stay unemployed for too long. Picked up by the Seattle Seahawks, the most recent Super Bowl champions, he’s currently on the injured reserve list after injuring his ankle in a preseason game. The NFL as a whole didn’t punish him.
2) Chad Johnson, Miami Dolphins wide receiver
At one time one of the most visible NFL players on Twitter, Johnson was arrested in August 2012 and charged with misdemeanor domestic battery after his then-wife, who he married the month before, accused him of headbutting her during an argument. The Dolphins dropped him a day later, but he received no further punishment from the NFL. He hasn’t played on a team since.
3) Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys wide receiver
Bryant turned himself in and was charged with misdemeanor domestic violence charges in 2012 after he allegedly pushed his mother during an argument. He was never punished by the NFL, and he still plays for the Cowboys, even having a part in the disastrous season opener against the 49ers. Last year, he said that he was “done with domestic abuse.”
4) Brandon Marshall, Chicago Bears wide receiver
The Bears player was charged with domestic violence not once, but twice, and has the lengthy and troubling rap sheet to go along with it. He’s been involved in 10 separate disputes (many of them involving women) for which he’s never been charged. With everything he’s been charged or accused of over the years, he’s only been suspended one game in 2009 due to charges that he abused his girlfriend (for which he’s been acquitted), and he’s completed anger management after another arrest after he prevented a girlfriend’s taxi from leaving his house.
5) Quinn Ojinnaka, Atlanta Falcons offensive lineman
He received a one-game suspension from the NFL after he was arrested for pushing his wife down the stairs during an argument. He played for three more teams after leaving the Falcons and even started a professional wrestling career.
6) James Harrison, Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker
He was arrested after allegedly hitting his girlfriend, but prosecutors droppedthe charges after he entered counseling and his girlfriend didn’t press charges. He was never punished by the NFL. Eventually released by the Steelers because they couldn’t agree on a pay cut, he played with the Cincinnati Bengals before retiring as a Steeler on Sept. 5.
7) Greg Hardy, Carolina Panthers defensive end
He was found guilty of assaulting and threatening a woman by a jury back in July and sentenced to 18 months’ probation. He faces that mandatory six-game suspension recently implemented by the NFL if his guilty verdict isn’t overturned, but right now he is still allowed to play and faces something far more trivial: a fine for violating the NFL dress code if he wears face paint of the “Kraken,” his on-field alterego.
Everything we’ve been told about food and exercise for the past 30 years is dead wrong. FED UP is the film the food industry doesn’t want you to see. From Katie Couric, Laurie David (Oscar winning producer of AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH) and director Stephanie Soechtig, FED UP will change the way you eat forever.
Check out the website fedupmovie.com and make sure to follow the film makers on Twitter for up to date information.
The video you are about watch may be disturbing to some, but not for the reasons you assume.
I was deeply disturbed by the description of events detailed in the video below. More so, I probably would have been skeptical of these details had there not been multiple witnesses(two of which were Police officers).
Watch the video before scrolling…
Now do you understand my distress? For the longest I have been trying to explain that although race plays a role when it comes to discriminatory policing, it isn’t the only factor:
✔ Law Enforcement: demographics, moral, training, leadership accountability
✔ Municipal Leadership Demographics
all play major roles as well.The identities of the 4 officers (the three who just passed by and the one writing the ticket) that were not suspended have not been released; however, the identity of the only suspended officer has. Senior Corporal Les Richards, initially asked the victim what was going on and then upon finding out, allegedly fled the scene. He is a 26 year old veteran of the force, and he is BLACK. He shared color, culture, and history with the victim but clearly there was no inbreed sympathy for a citizen in dire need of assistance.
We can’t blame this police disservice on the catch all culprit of racism. I’m starting to think the only way to fix things is transparency and the fear of being caught in the wrong. I am now, more than ever, on board with the idea of every cop being outfitted with a streaming on-body camera. It’s a proven fact that mirrors in stores limit thefts because possible thieves can see themselves and become either too paranoid, embarrassed, or ashamed to commit the act. If both Police and criminals understood that their every move was being watched, and if officers were given performance reviews based on actual video of their interaction with the people they should be serving, crime and rights abuses would both drop. If instead of militarizing the local P.D. we armed them with mediation training, we might actually create less bitter and biased law enforcers and more of a trusting relationship between the cops and those who care to improve their neighborhood.
The world is an ever evolving place technologically, but people haven’t really changed over the millennia. We have better weapons but still haven’t figured out how to relate to each other universally or how to treat each other the way we would chose to be treated.
Let’s just stop, drop the guns, and evolve… Either that or leave the following generations a far worse world than we inherited.
BY LAUREN CROOM Follow @LOSTBELOTHEFOLD
It was before dawn 59 years ago today when a boy, rousted out the bed he shared with his cousins, was kidnapped from his uncle’s home by gun point, and forced into the back of a truck; never to be seen alive again by those who loved him. The child’s body surfaced three days later and his mother arranged for an open casket funeral, so that the world would be confronted by the brutality her son faced. The boy’s great uncle identified the two men who kidnapped and killed his nephew in open court. The jury deliberated for 67 minutes before acquitting the men of murder. The County grand jury refused to indict the men for kidnapping and they went free. The following year, the two men are paid $4000 to recount, for a magazine, the details of brutally beating the boy. The killers detail with pride, trucking the boy to the edge of a local River, shooting him in the head, fastening a large metal fan used for ginning cotton to his neck with barbed wire, and pushing his lifeless body into the murky depths.
Emmett Till was 14 years old. He wasn’t the first, or the last child to meet a violent death because of his complexion. Take the time to check out a few reflections on his life in addition to the climate of the time period. Then pause for a moment for self-reflection. Ask yourself; how much ground have we gained towards unlearning racism and better yet, how much further must we strive to eradicate it?
BY LAUREN CROOM