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My life began in the Jim Crow South, in Houston, Texas. I remember the segregated world I was born into … the separate water fountains, the back of the bus, the going around to the back door of Mr. Fontnoe’s grocery store to buy milk for my mother and grandmother. I recall the segregated section of the movie theaters – and the long, seemingly endless net partitioning the giant sandy beaches, separating the “Colored” folks from the “Whites.” Can you imagine that it once was a reality, a segregated beach!
Sometime in the early 19th century, former United States President Thomas Jefferson stated, “Unchecked power twisted white men’s characters.” Since he was a slave owner and an oppressor, he should know what he speaks about! Here in the early 21st century, it still seems that within the hands of America’s criminal justice system as a whole, unchecked power has indeed “twisted” certain white people’s characters.
Nine people were killed at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, co-founded by Denmark Vesey, whose rebellion was planned for June 17, 193 years ago. Victims included South Carolina Sen. Clementa Pinckney, pastor of the historic church. This is nothing short of a terrorist assassination. Watch the videos updating this story, including President Obama's eulogy of Pastor Pinckney on June 26 and the removal of the Confederate flag from the South Carolina capitol grounds by a Black woman, Bree Newsome on June 27.
This week tens of thousands of people in the United States flooded the streets to demand racial justice. It is one of many issues that have been building for years, reaching the tipping point and seeming to explode in a national awakening. We also saw that in the last two weeks with national protests for living wages. Four years ago we listed 15 crisis issues that the country needed to face; poverty wages and the injustice in criminal enforcement, including racially abusive police practices, were two of them.
Black Philanthropy Month 2013 is being celebrated nationwide this month and it is the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington. A highlight is the African Dream Summer Ball on Saturday, Aug. 17, hosted by the Bay Area organization Ebusua to benefit AWDF USA’s African Maternal Mortality Crisis campaign.
It is time to call for and mobilize “People United to Combat Media and Government Emasculation of Martin Luther King Jr.” It must be recognized that by consistently imposing upon the public the image of a person who had a dream and was essentially innocuous, the U.S. government and the country’s commercial media are emasculating a man in death whom they could not weaken or intimidate in life.
Dropout rates, infant mortality rates and incarceration rates - all often associated with economic injustice - are skyrocketing in cities and states across the nation.