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Homelessness and Racism
14 years ago
| Blue Label
Cops brutalized homeless elder "black for a long time" Copyright 2005 The Chronicle Publishing Co. The San Francisco Chronicle MARCH 23, 2005, WEDNESDAY, FINAL EDITION BAY AREA; Pg. B2 SAN JOSE; Racial bias raised in police brutality trial Chronicle Staff Writer Maria Alicia Gaura A man testifying in the brutality trial of two Palo Alto police officers told a Santa Clara County jury Tuesday that he felt trouble coming when one officer drove past the car he was sitting in and looked directly into his eyes. "I've been black for a long time," said Albert Hopkins, 61, adding that as an African American man he was frequently targeted by police for trivial reasons. "He looks at me, and I look at him, and something in my mind says it's going to be a long night. I'm going to see him again. Something is going to happen." Hopkins is the key prosecution witness in the trial that began last week in a San Jose courtroom. Palo Alto officers Craig Lee, 42, and Michael Kan, 27, are charged with felony police brutality and misdemeanor assault for allegedly beating Hopkins with batons and pepper-spraying him July 13, 2003. If convicted, they face up to three years in jail. The defendants, whose lawyers say they used force to restrain Hopkins because he was uncooperative and threatening, plan to take the stand in their own defense, and are expected to testify in one to two weeks. Hopkins told the jury that at the time of the confrontation, he was estranged from his wife and had spent two years living in his car to avoid selling the family's Palo Alto home, where his three children lived. "At the time, I was living in my car, and taking all the money I made to my family," Hopkins said, breaking into tears several times during his testimony. "At times I had only one dollar per day to live on. I would go to the Jack in the Box and buy one hamburger, and cut it in half for lunch and dinner." He said he worked days for $10 an hour at the Marriott Hotel, and had developed a routine for parking late at night when neighbors were less likely to be frightened by his presence. He told the jury that on the night he was beaten, he saw the police car pass his car twice before it finally pulled up behind him, shining a spotlight on his car. Hopkins said he was upset. "I was tired, I had worked an 8-hour day, and I was just trying to rest before I went to bed," Hopkins told the jury. "I felt like (Lee) was contacting me because I was black." Santa Clara County Deputy District Attorney Peter Waite asked if defiance was the right approach. "Why not just tone it down?" Waite asked. "Say 'yes sir,' 'no sir'?" "I was well within my rights," Hopkins hotly replied. Hopkins said Lee ordered him to stay in his car and demanded to see his identification. But Hopkins said that when he rummaged through the glove compartment, he saw the officer's hand move to his gun and decided he would sit still rather than risk getting shot. Kan arrived to back up Lee, Hopkins said, and tried to yank him from the car, but failed. Hopkins told the jury that he emerged from the car and was beaten with steel batons and sprayed with pepper spray. Under cross-examination, defense attorneys Craig Brown and Harry Stern challenged Hopkins' version of events, saying the officers gave ample verbal warnings and that Hopkins acted aggressively, actually pulling Kan partly into the car when the slightly built officer tried to yank Hopkins out. Brown asked Hopkins why he didn't explain to Lee why he stopped searching for his wallet and identification. "Did you think he was going to shoot you for speaking?" Brown asked. "People have been shot for less," Hopkins replied. Hopkins appeared flustered under the defense's questioning and contradicted himself repeatedly. At several points, the witness grew visibly agitated and yelled at the defense attorneys, before Superior Court Judge Andrea Bryan ended proceedings early. Hopkins was never charged with a crime in the incident with police, and the city of Palo Alto later settled a civil complaint from him for $250,000 -- two facts that will not be revealed to the jury in this case. Hopkins' testimony will resume today at 9 a.m.E-mail Maria Alicia Gaura at March 23, 2005 Copyright © 2005 LexisNexis, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Black Veterans for Social Justice
14 years ago MISSION Black Veterans for Social Justice, Inc. (BVSJ) Founders believe that despite the injustices suffered by individuals at the hands of the military and society at large, most people, and particularly veterans, want to do the right thing and will respond positively and productively, if given a helping hand. BVSJ is committed to assisting military personnel in making a smooth transition from active duty to civilian life. We are dedicated to servicing military personnel, veterans and their families in the areas of social readjustment, housing, employment, compensation, disability, substance abuse, medical treatment, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, family intervention, prison counseling, relocation into the community, and legal advocacy. We provide tender loving care and an interested ear. PHILOSOPHY The Founders reject the seemingly social notion of "human cast asides" or "non-contributors". We know that our population was well disciplined, well trained with versatile skills, sensitive to the essence of life and death and were professionally trained in top quality performance. We understood racism and the rigorous demands the military heaps on individuals, the shortcomings of the military and the injustices that exist in and out of the Armed Forces. Therefore, we believe that all persons could be productive, positive contributors to society, no matter what sex, race, social class, military labels or problems that may beset us. We believe that all humans wish to do the right thing, but do not often get the opportunity. The Founders also believed that their clients, like others, possess within them a divine force, a spirit, a motivator, and a redeemer. This force, no matter how traumatic the problems, would eventually elevate a person to be an achiever, a builder, and a contributor to society. Our belief is that given a boost, a helping hand, all people, particularly veterans would respond positively and productively.
14 years ago
What happened to "Protect and Serve"?  Even the homeless are citizens deserving of the same protection!  They are not just targets for the amusement of others.  It is bad enough when most people refuse to 'see' the homeless, but when the police begin to abuse their authority and do things like this, that is an attrocity! 
TOP TWENTY MEANEST CITIES (it's still racism)
14 years ago

15 MARCH 2005   Racism.

The top 20 meanest U.S. cities:

Little Rock, Arkansas Atlanta, Georgia Cincinnati, Ohio Las Vegas, Nevada Gainesville, Florida New York City, New York Los Angeles, California San Francisco, California Honolulu, Hawaii Austin, Texas Sarasota, Florida Key West, Florida Nashville, Tennessee Berkeley, California Dallas, Texas Fresno, California San Antonio, Texas Milwaukee, Wisconsin St. Paul, Minnesota Manchester, New Hampshire The top four meanest states:

California Florida Hawaii Texas.....

How pathetic.


Report finds blacks, Latinos pay more for home loans
14 years ago
(Thanks to BlazingS for posting this article in his HomelessWorld group at yahoo!) Report finds blacks, Latinos pay more for home loans Black and Latino homebuyers in some of California's largest cities, including Sacramento, pay more for mortgage loans than other customers, according to a report on the lending patterns of seven large lenders. The report, "Who Really Gets Home Loans: Year Eleven," documents a high-priced credit system for minority households in the cities of Fresno, Los Angeles, Oakland, Sacramento and San Diego. The report was compiled by the Bay Area-based California Reinvestment Coalition, which looks at the mortgage lending patterns of seven major lenders: Citigroup, Countrywide, H&R Block, HSBC, National City, Washington Mutual and Wells Fargo. Among the report's findings was that the higher interest rates often paid by black and Latino homebuyers was not explained by income. Upper-income black and Latino borrowers were more likely to be turned down for a lower-cost loan than white borrowers who had lower incomes, according to the report. Upper-income blacks and Latinos were 3.9 times and 3.3 times, respectively, as likely to get higher-cost subprime loans as whites with the same income. Overall, the study found that black borrowers getting a loan from one of the seven lenders analyzed were more than three times as likely as white borrowers to be paying for a higher-cost loan. Three of the lenders, Citigroup, HSBC and Wells Fargo, each made home loans that cost blacks and Latinos more than 2½ times as much as most other bank customers, according to the report. Mortgage rates and rate disparities are based on many factors, said Anissa Yates, spokeswoman with the California Bankers Association, in response to the report. "Mortgage lending decisions are not made haphazardly. They are decisions that are risk-based and that rely primarily on credit scores," she said. The report, based on federal Home Mortgage Disclosure Act and state lending data, is the 11th in an annual series of investigations by the nonprofit California Reinvestment Coalition into lending practices. © 2005 American City Business Journals Inc. ============================ FAIR USE ============================ Harmony- So many things contribute to homelessness. Making it harder for people of color to buy homes is definitely one of them- and a hate crime, IMO.
Interesting,but not surprising!!
14 years ago
There was recently an investigation into some practices of lenders here in Atlanta,GA.I dont have any links as of yet,but i know from experience that there is truth to what you say!!
14 years ago
I now everywhere i go carry a federal civil rights acts lawbook and a copy of the universal declaration of human rights on my person at all times.I have still been detained and jailed even though i use these resources as a legal defense,basically to inform the officers that i don't want their public pretenders to defend me.the beatings have stopped on me personally,but just watching the other situattions escalate,and i find the the caucasian populace that initially thought there was nothing wrong with this are the ones who now have to vote these corrupt officials out of office,because our voices are not heard.and if they are,most whites would say that we are angry,and should just suffer this treatment.
An artist is a terrible thing to waste
14 years ago Legislation introduced by Mark Leno could save public arts programs in schools and communities by Tiny, aka Lisa Garcia-Gray POOR Magazine, Poor News Network “Y’all gonna come back next year?” the voice was small and muffled by an oversized hoodie drooping over huge dark chocolate eyes. It took me a full minute to realize that it was in fact the painfully quiet, rare to ever speak, 14-year-old African Descendent young man named William who, along with 17 other students, participated in a workshop taught by POOR Magazine in an Oakland high school that, with its low test scores, high drop-out rates, high rates of poverty, hidden rates of homelessness and meager school budget, could easily be labeled one of the “drop-out factories” written about in a recent Bay View. “I am gonna try, but we lost our funding and so I might have to get another job, which means it will be really hard.” “Oh.” His oh and my sad excuse for why I wouldn’t be coming back to his school to teach literary art and media resistance ranks among one of the saddest conversations I have had in my life. In POOR’s fat years of 2000-2002 we had among other things a California Arts Council (CAC) grant to teach creative writing, poetry, prose, spoken word, with more than a little poverty studies taught by people who were themselves struggling with poverty plus media justice and media literacy thrown in. Every kid in our classes was engaged and excited. Kids who were having literacy problems started writing articles and what POOR calls poetryjournalism. Kids who would otherwise spend the entire day capping on other kids and disrupting the class started to care about listening and participating and learning and caring. But the most tragic and the most amazing were kids like William, who literally never spoke, rarely looked up from his desk and out of his hoodie and NEVER ever wrote anything. But by the end of our 12 week workshop, he penned an entire story on his life, and in the process revealed that he and his mom were homeless. In William’s case, like a lot of the kids we taught, our discussion of poverty and its consequences was life changing. It allowed him to not feel shame for his family’s poverty for the first time in his life. In 2003 California was robbed by Enron and their big business buddies. The state surplus that fed the California Arts Council disappeared, and all of the Williams just became another statistic to be used, abused and intentionally misunderstood by all the legislator-haters, corporate welfare frauders and Schwarzeneggers. “The arts program at Alvarado began several years ago with an artist, Ruth Asawa, who brought artists in to work alongside teachers. Recently arts education has undergone serious cuts. The arts are no longer prevalent in public schools.” As I listened to the voice of David Weiner, principal at Alvarado elementary school in Noe Valley, speak at a press conference to introduce State Assemblyman Mark Leno, who is introducing a piece of legislation that has a chance of saving and resurrecting the California Arts Council to at least some semblance of its former self, I was brought back to the sorrow of that last day in that classroom. “Today in California, we rank 50 out of 52 states for arts funding, behind Missisipippi and Alabama. Presently we are at about $.30 per capita; currently New York spends approximately $3.00 per capita in arts funding.” Mark Leno began his presentation with a breakdown of how California’s sad state of the arts compares to other parts of this country. California became the lowest-ranking state in the nation in per capita arts spending in fiscal year 2003-04, when the California Arts Council suffered a 94 percent budget cut, a drop from $18 million to $1.1 million in annual funding. “Schwarzenegger says we have to starve the beast of state government.” Leno went on to relay the frightening words that the Govenator uses to describe our basic services while never going after the aforementioned energy corporations, because of course he owns stock in many of them. “This is the beast that provides our elders with health care, educates our children and takes care of our roads and infrastructure. This is the beast that he says we have to starve.” Leno continued after a rousing boo from the crowd of over 100 children, artists and educators gathered to listen and support this bill on the asphalt playground of Alavarado school with the beautiful millennium mural, created with the kids of Alvarado and a CAC-funded artist in residence, as a backdrop. “Clearly we have to find some new and dedicated way to fund the arts in California, so we have come up with an idea that we think is quite workable, quite feasable – and quite reasonable – and that will raise somewhere in the range of $25-$30 million dollars annually for the CAC programs.” Leno went on to break down the innovative concept of the bill, AB 655, which proposes a 1 percent fee on all artistic entertainment events and venues for which admission is charged. That breaks down to a mere 9 cents for a $9 movie ticket and 50 cents for a $50 dollar theatre ticket. “Now when I floated this idea to the governor, he said he would be willing to keep an open mind to this idea – as long as it didn’t include a tax on sports events – at which point I thought maybe we should do a 2 percent tax, because I am just as concerned about physical education. So 1 percent could go to the arts and 1 percent could go to physical education” (continued next post)
An artist is a terrible thing to waste, part 2
14 years ago
Leno concluded by reminding folks that “children who study music and arts do better in reading and math and have lower rates of dropping out and higher test scores,” to which my discouraged mind became reminded again of my belief that much of this robbery of our public education system is orchestrated by the “powers that always be’s” agenda to dumb down our poor children so they continue to destroy each other and their communities rather than focus on the real. “Are you gonna keep writing, William?” “I dunno. I mean if y’all aren’t here, who’s gonna care?” POOR is still in contact with William, who did in fact drop out of school soon after that last workshop. But just recently his family finally got permanent housing and we are encouraging him to return to school. And above all, he is still writing, with the goal of being a journalist someday, citing our workshop as his most important inspiration. To support this very important bill, please contact your local legislator as this bill is now before the first round of committees, and at this point there is little or no support for any arts funding in Sacramento. To read more art and journalism on issues of poverty and racism written by the folks who experience it first-hand, go on-line to ============= FAIR USE for examining homelessness-related issues, racism, etc. =============
OZ-Cane toads and the homeless under attack
14 years ago Cane toads and the homeless under attack 11:25 AEST Fri Jun 3 2005 AAP Cane toads and chronic drunks are under attack as Northern Territory politicians campaign for the June 18 election. Federal Country Liberal Party MP David Tollner made headlines earlier this year by declaring children should bash the toads with bats and golf clubs to stop their advance into Darwin. As campaigning continues ahead of the NT poll, Labor this week chose cane toad traps as their weapon of choice - promising $100,000 to subsidise the cost of traps by $30 each if re-elected. A front line of thousands of cane toads is now just 40 km from Darwin, having spread through the world heritage listed Kakadu National Park. "We are determined to protect our unique territory lifestyle from the spread of this toxic pest," Parks and Wildlife Minister Chris Burns said. Country Liberal Party leader Denis Burke said he supported a trap subsidy, and would roll out the party's environment policies in coming weeks. The territory's chronic drunks - mostly Aboriginal itinerants who sleep in the long grasses around Darwin - are also high on the political agenda. Aboriginal and legal groups have expressed alarm at Labor's plan to jail chronic drunks who refuse treatment, saying it was racist and would lead to even higher Aboriginal imprisonment rates. But the party continued to roll out new initiatives amid public outrage - particularly in the crucial northern suburbs seats - about homeless people fighting, begging, swearing and defecating in public. NT Police Minister Paul Henderson promised more Aboriginal community police to specifically target street crime and drunk hotspots, and a second mobile police station. "This is all about breaking that cycle of abusive behaviour, of people who have got chronic alcohol problems, breaking that cycle and getting people into rehabilitation wherever possible," Mr Henderson said. The opposition Country Liberal Party - which has a similar zero tolerance approach to anti-social behaviour - has accused Labor of making up policies on the run. "It is simply not good enough 16 days before the election to somehow get interested and so-called tough on issues that ... have been there for years," Mr Burke said. Mr Burke launched more of his own policies on Thursday, committing an extra $14.6 million and vowing to fix up the NT's hospital system. He said Labor had increased spending on health by 50 per cent since coming to power in 2001, but there had been little improvement in services. Mr Burke also pledged to hand over the CLP's promises to the NT Treasury for analysis before the election. ©AAP 2005 ============= FAIR USE for looking at homelessness and racism-related issues, civil rights, criminalization of poor and homeless, civil liberties, social and economic injustice, etc. =============
home ownership and racism
14 years ago Friday, June 03, 2005, 09:53 A.M. Pacific Homeowners find records still hold blot of racism By Lornet Turnbull Seattle Times staff reporter Residents of Innis Arden, an upper-middle-class neighborhood overlooking Puget Sound, have been trying to collect enough signatures to erase an embarrassing little secret from their record books. Racial restrictions, validated by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1926, then ruled unenforceable by the same court 22 years later, are linked to the original deeds of the 500-plus homes, north of Seattle in Shoreline. Written into the neighborhood's bylaws by Boeing founder Bill Boeing, the 60-year-old restrictions prohibited the sale or lease of the homes to anyone who wasn't white. Blacks and Asians, the restrictions said, could occupy the homes only as domestic servants. Though long since invalidated, the covenants still occasionally show up in documents when a home changes hands — to the surprise of some buyers and sellers. For Peris Joyner, who is black, the painful language was like a punch in the gut when a neighbor first showed it to him 18 or so years ago. "I think I did my kids a disservice" by raising them in a neighborhood designed to be exclusive, said Joyner, 51, a former banker who now does volunteer work full time. He has lived in Innis Arden 21 years. "If I'd known then what I know now and had this to do all over again, I don't think I would live here." Ugly vestiges of early 20th-century America, the covenants are not unique to Innis Arden. They exist in the records rooms of government offices across the country — including Seattle, where students in a history-department project at the University of Washington found them linked to homes from White Center to Ballard and in such modern-day liberal enclaves as Capitol Hill, Madrona and Green Lake. A resolution introduced in Congress last month condemns the covenants as psychologically damaging to Americans and urges states to pass legislation permitting homeowners and neighborhood associations to remove the language from record books. But eradicating the covenants has proven all but impossible. While original documents may be amended, they can never be repealed. Typically, before a home changes hands, a title search is done to find encumbrances — liens, unpaid taxes, unsatisfied mortgages, restrictions. If covenants exist, a title company might photocopy the restrictive language, sometimes including racial restrictions. "There's no consistency: Some blank it out; some make an attachment showing it as invalid or amended, and some simply show it," said Peter Eglick, attorney for the Innis Arden Club, the local homeowners association. So despite a previous attempt by Innis Arden to amend the documents — and despite a Supreme Court ruling rendering them unenforceable, the 1968 U.S. Fair Housing Act that invalidated them and a state law voiding them — the covenants still occasionally turn up when homes in Innis Arden sell, Eglick said. Dwight Bickel, Northwest region counsel for LandAmerica, which represents three major title companies, said that should never happen — that "in 2005 you don't need to show that offensive language and you don't have to describe it, either." By attempting once again to amend the records, Innis Arden is trying to right a historic wrong, Eglick said. The neighborhood needs notarized signatures from two-thirds of the households in the development — 360 in all — before it can file amended documents with King County to replace the old ones. But after almost a year, only 122 signatures have been collected. Some residents say that's because the neighborhood has been preoccupied with a different kind of battle — one over tree heights and waterfront views. Eglick said another reason is that getting signatures notarized can be a hassle. To make it easier, one resident recently was certified as a notary public so she can go door-to-door explaining the petition to residents and collecting signatures. "There are so many things that tell people these are no longer enforceable, not acceptable; they've been invalidated, repealed, rejected," Eglick said. "It's one of those things that at some point we've done all we can do — other than burning down the buildings where they are stored." Era of segregation The language that led to the exclusion of Asians, blacks and often Jews from neighborhoods across the country was written into deeds or housing plats during the first half of the 20th century. The covenants became more prevalent in the late 1920s after the U.S. Supreme Court validated them. Inserted into the bylaws of subdivisions or attached to the deeds of homes by developers, real-estate agents or landowners themselves, the covenants were often condoned, encouraged and defended by cities and zoning authorities. In fact, the U.S. Federal Housing Administration, created under the National Housing Act of 1934, provided developers a model form of a restrictive covenant, with language similar to that of Innis Arden's. Some lending institutions even made them a requirement for loans. Many people lived and died in racially restricted homes without ever knowing it. John F. Kennedy lived in a racially restricted neighborhood before he became president. And reports show that the North Dallas home sold by George W. Bush in 1995 had a deed provision that restricted ownership to whites. Although the federal courts ruled such covenants unenforceable years earlier, private agreements kept them alive at least into the 1960s — the decade of emergence for the civil-rights movement. The Fair Housing Act of 1968 rendered them illegal. (continued next post)
home ownership and racism,2
14 years ago
"They're the reason for the ghetto," said Quintard Taylor Jr., a University of Washington professor of American history. "In Seattle, blacks and Asians were restricted to the areas not covered by restrictive covenants. They got what was left over, often the least-desirable parts of the city." Much of Seattle's black, Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, Indian, Latino and sometimes Jewish populations were concentrated in an L-shaped district of some 30 square blocks in the city's Central Area. "Many places that didn't have covenants still practiced exclusion," said Alan Sugiyama, a Japanese activist who is executive director of a nonprofit group called the Center for Career Alternatives. The Seattle City Council passed its open-housing ordinance in 1968, but it "took at least 15 years for housing to truly open up," Sugiyama said. "It's really not been that long. And when it did open it, it wasn't your average minority that was let in." New light on history Restrictive covenants are only one element of the UW's Seattle Civil Rights and Labor History Project, which aims to tell the little-told story of the struggle for equality in this region. "You say 'civil-rights struggle' to many young people and they say 'Alabama,' " said James Gregory, executive director of the project and a UW history professor. "You say 'civil-rights heroes' and they say 'Martin Luther King' and 'Rosa Parks.' We had a unique history here in this region, with alliances between different communities of color." The project is developing a Web site that will be a compendium of interviews, historical photos and other information chronicling the fight for rights in this region. Students across the region will have access to it. The Web site will list more than 120 racially restrictive deeds recorded in King County between 1926 and 1935 — many with identical verbiage because they were written by the same companies or individuals. Consider the 1920s and 1930s deeds for homes in White Center, Ballard and Broadmoor: "No part of said property hereby conveyed shall ever be used or occupied by any Hebrew or by any person of the Ethiopian (black), Malay (Filipino) or any Asiatic Race (Asian) ... excepting only employees in the domestic service ... Craig Duncan, president of the homeowners association at Broadmoor, one of only a few gated communities in Seattle, was surprised to learn that racial restrictions were once in his neighborhood's bylaws. They aren't now, he points out. Marc Reguera, a 36-year-old finance controller at Microsoft who lives in Broadmoor with his wife, who is Filipino, said he believes the neighborhood's lack of diversity these days results from economics — not racism. "I love and appreciate diversity," said Reguera, who is white. "I couldn't live in a neighborhood that had a [racist] stigma." Taylor, the UW history professor, believes a different kind of re-segregation is occurring in high-priced neighborhoods like Broadmoor — not driven by racist language, but based on the idea of exclusivity. He concedes that in a free market, people buy what they can afford. "But what some social scientists point out is that the very price of a home is in some ways determined by the absence of diversity." At Innis Arden, Joyner wonders how much impact the covenants had in keeping minorities out of the neighborhood, where blacks and Asians today represent 7 percent of residents. "I have to believe there are [white] people who didn't move into Innis Arden because that covenant was in place," he said. "I don't know who they are, but I salute them for taking that stand." Lornet Turnbull: 206-464-2420; Times researcher Gene Balk contributed to this report. Copyright . ========== FAIR USE for learning about racism, whether homeless or homed, civil rights and civil liberties, social and economic justice, etc. ==========
14 years ago
This article brings up a common and familiar problem.

The original 1926 deed to my house states that it is "for the enjoyment of the white race only." A later addition states that the clause is unenforcable, but the original document is still a part of the package that I must live with and pass on to the next buyer.

While I agree with the author of the article, and the people quoted, that it would be nice to be able to take that out of the record for my own comfort, it's important that it stay there for at least two good reasons.

1) If we're not to repeat the mistakes of the past, we cannot erase reminders of those mistakes. An embarrasing line in the pages of documents that go along with a piece of property is a stinging reminder of our not-so-distant past. Painful, yes, but a necessary reminder.

2) Speaking strictly legally, I'm pleased that in the title search and documents that come with buying property that nothing can be [legally] erased. There was much helpful information in those documents as well. If homeowners could pick and choose what information goes into the record and what is left out, you could be buying a whole lot of problems (no pun intended). Property line disputes, utility easements... there are plenty of things that a homeowner might want to hide from the next buyer; but they can't.

Bottom line: I'm pleased to have my complete file, even with the racist reminder that in 1926 the property was originally developed "for the enjoyment of the white race only."
Racism in libraries...
14 years ago

First, Ken, that's kinda funny when other are convinced you are not racist..., it is like the immigrant that was the paternal to my maternal, back in 1409 Stugart, I found records that (all was in German) this immigrant had  a bitof a shot-gun wedding then was MADE to leave the country - he had gotten a prostitue pregnant!!! All my ancestry are devoted....!!


Homeless gravitate toward public buildings   By Sarah Arnquist

FAIRFIELD - They read at the library, drink coffee at the senior center and on hot days they seek air-conditioned relief at the mall just like everybody else.

Except they are homeless.

Public facilities such as libraries have always been "safe and neutral" places for the homeless to go, said Ann Cousineau, director of Solano County Libraries.

"It's kind of the nature of working in a public building," she said.

In the last few years some public building directors have noticed an increase in homeless people using their facilities.

The Continuum of Care - a Solano County task force designated to house the homeless - estimates that between 4,800 and 5,000 people are homeless on any given night in Solano County, and 12,000 people experience a period of homelessness each year.

Fairfield used to have a day shelter for the homeless on West Texas Street where the Park Crossing Apartment complex is now located. People lounged all day at the shelter, and it created problems with surrounding businesses until it closed in October 2001.

The Homeless Day Center provided basic services that included showers, mail, telephone, transportation, case management and shelter during the day.

Mission Solano, the county's largest homeless shelter located in Fairfield, works closely with public offices to provide services to the homeless, but it does not offer a day shelter, said spokesman Kevin Miller.

The Mission provides a bed, breakfast, dinner and a sack lunch but not a place to lounge for the day, because "if you're jobless and homeless, your task is really to look for a job and a home," Miller said.

Those not inclined to search for a job spend their days in public parks and buildings.

The Fairfield Senior Center is a public building where many homeless seek refuge. Facility Director Ted Stine said more homeless people are using the facility now than a few years ago. Six months ago some people were living around the center, but that has ended and for the most part there are no problems, Stine said.

John Young, 74, spends most of his days playing pool and socializing at the senior center. Young raised his concerns at the last Senior Advocacy Committee meeting that more homeless people are using the facility. Committee president Jo-Ann Fenton reminded him that the senior center is open to all, including the homeless.

"This is a public building and if they are seniors they are to have access to this building, but they are to abide by the same rules," Fenton said.

Young said he paid taxes all his adult life and also pays for many of the services at the senior center. It irks him to see homeless people abusing services at the senior center, he said. For the most part, Young said, though, they do not create many problems.

The community should understand that homeless people do read, and there are homeless seniors, Miller said. As long as they do not bother people, they have the right to access those community services available to them, he said.

"You kind of have an issue of people's personal comfort zones," Miller said. "If it is a loitering problem then you have a police issue."

Mission Solano wants the community to send people who need services to the shelter, Miller said. Mission Solano has a full mail service and a phone available to the homeless for outgoing calls and takes incoming calls as messages.

Libraries are open to the whole community - for those with and without homes, Cousineau said. On any given day, four to five homeless people might be in the Fairfield library, and as long as they abide by the same rules that apply to the general public they are welcome, she said.

"We don't turn them away," Cousineau said.


I, then many others have used libraries to whittle away days in homeless situations, yet, they are publlic - homeless is public?! We like to to read, use the computers, a less than .002 percentile that always makes a something look bad ~ always mars 'it' for the 'rest'. Bad cops, mar, good cops! Bad postmen mar good postman... I bet a whole bunch of us didn't even look "like" homeless...

14 years ago

Published Saturday, June 11, 2005

Baby of Woman From India Is Taken by DCF
TAMPA -- A 22-year-old woman visiting from India is fighting to get her newborn baby back after the state's social services agency, thinking the child may be in an unsafe situation, took custody last month.

The Department of Children & Families removed Parita Patel's 4-pound baby girl, named Krinna, about two weeks after she was born at Tampa General Hospital, according to Patel and her Tampa lawyer, Scott Davis. She has been to court twice trying to get the baby back.

Because Patel, from Gujarat, India, is in the country on a visitor's visa and is not permitted to work, DCF is concerned that she will not be able to care for the baby, according to Davis.

"A substantial part of it is a language barrier, and they (DCF) believe she is homeless and has no resources," Davis said. "That's not correct at all." {SO DCF GETS TO TAKE AWAY BABIES BECAUSE THE PARENT IS ? HOMELESS,  boy I am proud to be an American}

Davis said Patel is married and has land and a home in India. When she arrived last fall to visit friends, she was unaware she was pregnant, he said.

DCF declined comment on the case because of confidentiality issues, but spokesman Andy Ritter said that generally a child is removed after the department has determined it has no stable housing and may be in an unsafe situation.

In January, Patel was struck by a car in New Jersey. The injury complicated her pregnancy, prompting the premature birth of her daughter, according to her medical records.

Her husband, Vikesh Patel, who is in India, advised her to see friends in Florida who could help her and the baby. She arrived in Tampa on April 13, staying with friends. Doctors induced labor a month later.
Australia- A Government that Aborigines Want
14 years ago A government that Aborigines want By John Ah Kit June 22, 2005 Page Tools * Email to a friend * Printer format * * Grog, not race, was the issue in this week's Northern Territory poll. Let's clear it up once and for all. Last week's Northern Territory election, perhaps for the first time, was not based on playing "the race card", as suggested by the editorial in yesterday's Age ("Race to embrace wedge politics, territory-style"). Nor was it - despite enthusiastic and widespread reporting to the contrary - based on proposals by the overwhelmingly successful Labor Government of Clare Martin to allegedly discriminate against indigenous Territorians by criminalising drunkenness and introducing mandatory sentencing for drunks. It has been said in some quarters, with curious delight, that the proposals of the Labor Government - from which I have just retired - have promoted racism. In my view, this position has no credibility, and indeed actively ignores indigenous rights. And I'll tell you why. First, Labor did not propose mandatory jailing of drunks. Our proposal was simple. Those people identified as chronic, habitual drunks - that is, those placed in protective custody for drunkenness six times in three months - are on notice. If they are convicted of a crime committed while drunk, a refusal to participate in alcohol rehabilitation treatment may be taken into account by a magistrate or judge as an aggravating factor in sentencing. Depending on the seriousness of the conviction, the habitual drunk may well face jail as a consequence; discretion will remain absolutely with the judiciary. It follows from the Community Harmony Project we rolled out across the territory over the past three years, which for the first time has confronted the serious social problems Aborigines face in dealing with homelessness and cultural and social dislocation. The key to our proposal is that for the first time chronic drunkenness and its consequences are linked with the possibility of rehabilitation, and we are backing that with record funding for treatment. This is entirely consistent with the many jurisdictions in Australia that link the sentences of drug addicts with willingness to undertake treatment - not to mention more widespread and similar treatment of drunk drivers who are obliged to undertake alcohol counselling. Second, and more important, our approach is not based on the ideas of some sort of pointy-headed theoretical think tank. It is based on the demands of the people most affected: indigenous Territorians. This has gone virtually unreported in the debate of the past few weeks. None of the Aboriginal members of the territory Parliament shy away from the fact that most of the habitual drunks that affect us so much are our fellow Aborigines. There are now five indigenous MPs - 20 per cent of the Legislative Assembly, and all Labor. All urban centres in the territory are affected by the behaviour of drunks; I have long said that the behaviour of drunks, beggars and people swearing and defecating in our streets is entirely unacceptable. It makes me ashamed - but it begs the question of who are most affected. Marion Scrymgour, Australia's first Aboriginal woman minister, has made the most powerful argument. She points out that the real breach of human rights, the real racism, lies in the fact that the victims of drunks are largely our Aboriginal children and women and that this has been ignored for far too long. They are the ones who go hungry and homeless. They suffer the violence. They are deprived of the cultural stability that is being destroyed by alcohol. And it is our elders - the Mala group from the Top End, the Yalu women from Galiwin'ku, the Larrakia traditional owners of Darwin, the elders of the desert - who told us we must act. It is the woman from Milingimbi - whose words I took to cabinet - who told me that she no longer wanted "our people being brought back in boxes", whom we listened to. What makes me angry is the suggestion from some commentators that it is an issue that can be ignored because drunks are only bashing each other. It is our relations - our brothers, sisters, aunties, uncles, grannies, cousins and kids - who are the victims, and whose plight we heeded. So if playing the race card is listening to Aboriginal people, so be it. Of course, many of our critics predicted Aboriginal Territorians would desert Labor. The average swing to Labor last week in seats with predominantly Aboriginal constituencies was 15 per cent - 3 per cent above the general swing in a record Labor vote. In one seat held by the Country Liberal Party, the swing was 34 per cent; in my old seat of Arnhem, Barbara McCarthy now holds one of the safest seats in the nation at 76.2 per cent. Our urban member, Matty Bonson, saw a 22 per cent Labor swing in a seat with a significant Aboriginal constituency. It now appears likely there will be more Aboriginal members of parliament than members of the CLP - the party that failed indigenous Northern Territory people for so long. So don't tell me about racism and playing the race card. Aboriginal Territorians have defied the armchair pundits and philosophers and voted to act on something that is killing our people. And I am immensely gratified that non-indigenous Territorians were also prepared to support our position without responding to the race card. John Ah Kit is a former member and first Aboriginal minister of the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly. He was minister for community development, and minister assisting the chief minister on indigenous affairs. ============= FAIR USE for studying homelessness and racism-related issues,etc. =============
14 years ago

Thea Kielt Jarvis interviews A.B. Short

A.B. (ARTHUR BURT) SHORT GREW UP AS A CHILD of the Old South, where racial and social boundaries were clearly drawn. Breaching those boundaries, he eventually found a lifestyle "compatible with my faith perspective." Short answered the gospel call he heard "to build bridges and be in relationship with the poor." He founded the Community of Hospitality in Atlanta, which includes the nation's first restaurant for the homeless and a recovery program.

His Cafe 458 has inspired similar restaurants in Chicago, New York, and many other cities. "We provide a service to the homeless," says Short, "but at the same time we have something to learn and receive from them if we listen and pay attention."

S A SALES REP FOR A MAJOR TRANSPORTATION company in the late 1970s, I was living the middle-class dream. I had a new home in the Jackson, Mississippi suburbs, a ski boat for weekends, two cars, and the first Weedeater on the block. I was a "good old boy," taking customers to dinner and ball games, telling jokes, drinking too much.

But it took its toll physically and spiritually. I got tired of waking up in the morning feeling like I had a dirty sock in my mouth. Corporate life had become a nightmare.

When the Pearl River flooded and volunteers were needed to make sandwiches for prisoners sandbagging the levee in Jackson, I went to the Salvation Army and put mayonnaise on bread. People were working and laughing together, a real community. That one night of making sandwiches rekindled the calling I had felt at age 16.

GREW UP IN MERIDIAN, MISSISSIPPI in a neighborhood of poor rural whites and blacks. There I witnessed racism and acts of violence against blacks that affected me deeply. The owner of the convenience store on the next block was indicted for providing the gloves the Klan used in killing the three civil-rights workers in Philadelphia, Mississippi.

Another neighbor was involved in the actual murders.

I was the first in my extended family to graduate from high school, go to college, and earn a master's degree. After college, I went straight to Baptist seminary to become a pastor. It was at the height of the civil-rights movement, and I felt theologically and politically different from other seminary students.

In 1980 I decided to take a position as marketing director for the Atlanta Community Food Bank. Here in Atlanta I found kindred spirits, people struggling to integrate their faith with the way they lived out their lives. At Oakhurst Baptist Church, a group of us opened a winter shelter for the homeless, and we began meeting for prayer and reflection. We studied the writings of Dorothy Day, Jean Vanier, Henri Nouwen, and liberation theology and talked about starting a hospitality ministry.

The philosophy we developed there became the basis for the Community of Hospitality (COH) and Cafe 458: keep it small and focus on relationships.

IKE MOST PEOPLE, WHEN SOMEBODY on the street asked me for a handout, I used to not know whether to give money. I used to cross the street just to avoid the uncomfortable interaction.

But when you develop relationships with poor or devalued people, your life changes, too. Sleeping on the floor next to homeless people at Oakhurst, having breakfast with them, hearing their stories, their humor, they became individuals with names.

Many had backgrounds similar to mine, common interests, stuff to talk about. I was drawn to them. Matthew 25 became my foundation: "Insofar as you do this to the least of my brothers, you do it to me."

N 1982 I BOUGHT AN OLD HOUSE AND INVITED some Oakhurst guests to help renovate it and move there with my wife and me. Eventually others came to live and share the work. COH was modeled on Dorothy Day's Catholic Worker house: a place of unconditional acceptance and love.

Cafe 458 grew out of my conversations with Atlanta Food Bank chairman Bob Freeman. As a soup-kitchen volunteer, Bob regretted the lack of opportunities for interaction with the homeless. "What I really enjoy is going out and having dinner, sitting and chatting over a glass of tea or cup of coffee," I had told Bob. "It would be neat if homeless and non-homeless people could do that together." 

Homelessness/Housing CONT
14 years ago
We envisioned a space that wouldn't segregate the homeless, an operation that from all appearances would be like a commercial restaurant, a place where people could focus on resources that would help them take the next step in a new life. The end product wasn't food. Food was simply a reason to get together and do the work.

A boarded-up building at 458 Edgewood Avenue seemed ideal. Built in the late '40s as a drive-through liquor store, it looked like an old diner. "That's the building," I said as soon as I saw it.

CAFE 458 OPENED IN 1988 with a "reservations only" policy. Without it, Atlanta's large homeless population—10,000 to 15,000—would have been lining up around the block. Reservations are made by referring social-service agencies, mental-health workers, or church volunteers. As long as a guest follows cafe guidelines, reservations are good for a month and renewed automatically.

COH is the residential staff support for the cafe, developing relationships with guests, listening to their stories, helping them set goals.

"If you're comfortable, tell me a little bit about yourself," they might ask. "Where do you want to go? What are your dreams?" Early on, it was probably a little invasive, offensive. It took a while to establish that we're not simply about food and that there is a powerful healing value in telling and hearing your story.

On our blackboard menu, we have a choice of two or three entrees, vegetables, and a salad, a couple of desserts and beverages. It's just like any other restaurant—fresh flowers on the table, waiters and waitresses—you just don't get a bill at the end of the meal. Every day we see the progress of individuals who begin to reclaim their lives. That's when we get our rewards.

FOUR YEARS AGO, CAFE 458 OPENED a residential treatment program based on the 12-step model of Alcoholics Anonymous. It's been the most exciting and important thing COH has done.

Cafe guests actively using alcohol and drugs weren't meeting their goals because the disease of addiction controlled their lives. The cafe was already offering legal and medical services, mental health counseling, haircuts, resumes. Why not expand the menu to include support for recovery?

Participants are asked to give us six months minimum without worrying about outside work. "We'll help you find a job," we tell them. "You work on getting healthy." Music classes, journal writing, theater, recreation, ethnic studies, Outward Bound help them discover their gifts and talents and recover self-esteem. Group support is crucial because, in my experience, recovery can only happen in community.

HOWARD WAS THE OLDEST TO ENTER the program, an alcohol and drug user who had never been in treatment. He was 48, illiterate, and had spent most of his life in prison. Now he's like a flower that's bloomed at 50, a beautiful person.

Howard had a hard time opening up, trusting the process. One day, when he was ready to walk out, I said, "Howard, this is nothing compared to prison. If you can put up with prison, you can put up with this." All of a sudden, it hit him. "Yeah, I can do this," he said. From then on, he began working on his problems. He wanted to succeed, to read, to be clean and sober.

After he graduated from the recovery program, Howard went to work as a custodian. He got an apartment—the first one he ever had—and a bicycle. He bought himself a TV and a VCR. I helped him put the VCR together and showed him how to use it. He has a little garden and brought some tomatoes by the other day. It's a whole new world for him.

JESUS TELLS THE STORY OF THE BANQUET. It's an invitation to come to the table, to participate in life. There's no coercion, and nobody can do it for you. The Community of Hospitality, Cafe 458, and the recovery program are like that—affirming, inviting, loving. The individuals have to do the hard work, but they have a place of acceptance where good things can happen, where they can throw off the chains of their bondage.

There are times when I ask myself, "Am I a fool? I don't have any investments, any retirement package. What happens if I get sick? What am I going to do when I 'grow up'?" But when I stop and think, I realize what's important to me. I've been on the other side, and I wasn't happy.—END

© 1997 by Claretian Publications 



FAIR USE Homeless Information

This is a highlight from last post....
14 years ago

""""I GREW UP IN MERIDIAN, MISSISSIPPI in a neighborhood of poor rural whites and blacks. There I witnessed racism and acts of violence against blacks that affected me deeply. The owner of the convenience store on the next block was indicted for providing the gloves the Klan used in killing the three civil-rights workers in Philadelphia, Mississippi.

Another neighbor was involved in the actual murders. """""

Some closure came for the victim's families this week, it has been all over the news. It was hard for me to watch the old men who got up on the stand then continued to TRY to lie. Over 40 years, justice was finally served.

When the above article was written, there was not a thought of justice...


Marchers rally for King and queen
14 years ago


Sridevi and Vishakha of Hare Krishna danced before the start of the Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade yesterday at Ala Moana Park. The annual parade went through Waikiki and ended at Kapiolani Park.
Supporters gather around the
isles for Martin Luther King Jr.
and Queen Lydia Liliuokalani

Thousands marched down Kalakaua Avenue yesterday in an event that could only happen in Hawaii: a joint commemoration of 1960s civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. and Queen Lydia Liliuokalani and the 1893 overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy.

Yesterday, Jan. 17, marked the official King holiday and the 112th anniversary of the overthrow.

Supporters of each cause marched together, some saying they thought about the separate struggles each fought for freedom and against racism.

Similar gatherings took place throughout the islands. On Maui some 30 people from various Hawaiian groups, including Na Kupuna O Maui, waved signs along the sidewalk outside Queen Kaahumanu Center in Kahului.

They held a number of Hawaii state flags in an upside-down position, indicating distress. "We're here to let you guys know we still here," the Rev. Kenneth Ho'opai Jr. told passing motorists through a loudspeaker.

"We're going to continue to be here until you guys get it right."

On the Big Island some 150 people, including native Hawaiians, conducted the Liliuokalani observance along with those honoring King at a state park in Hilo.


Native Hawaiians held a demonstration yesterday near the Queen Kaahumanu Center in Kahului in observance of the Jan. 17, 1893, overthrow of Queen Liliuokalani.

Marchers rally for King and queen
14 years ago

Moanikeala Akaka, a former trustee with the state Office of Hawaiian Affairs, said more than half of the homeless in Hawaii are native Hawaiians.

"Our people are in dismal straits. Hawaii is becoming a have and have-not place," she said.

In Honolulu and along Waikiki's parade route, the dual commemoration drew large crowds. "As long as we still have injustice and discrimination, we need to march," Alphonso Braggs, president of the Honolulu-Hawaii NAACP, told a large crowd.

And yes, he told his listeners, "individual action can effect positive change."

Many people came to Kapiolani Park for the politics and speeches, but others came for the music, food and the cool ocean breeze. Stalls sold catfish, barbecue and collard greens, shave ice, fried noodles, sushi and musubi.

There were civil-rights advocates and sovereignty activists along with Freemasons, war protesters and teens wearing Martin Luther King or red Hawaiian rights T-shirts. There were gospel singers, evangelical groups, Hari Krishnas and Baptists. Many in the crowd wore the familiar red shirts of the Hawaiian rights movement. Foot-stomping gospel music brought grandmas to their feet with the beat.

King, a Baptist minister like his father, rallied the civil-rights movement, and in 1963 he gave his famous "I have a dream" speech before more than 200,000 marchers in Washington, D.C.

Winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964, King continued to work for civil rights until his assassination on the balcony of a Memphis motel on April 4, 1968.

Queen Lydia Liliuokalani inherited the throne and a weakened monarchy from her brother King Kalakaua in 1891. She wanted rights for native Hawaiians and a new constitution at a time when others plotted the end of the monarchy and a new republic in its place.

On Jan. 17, 1893, she was overthrown. And in 1898, Hawaii was annexed to the United States, and the queen was forced to give up her throne.

Wearing his red Hawaiian sovereignty T-shirt, Poka Laenui of Living Nation told the crowd: "There are similarities between Dr. King and the queen. Both were people of peace and justice. One is identified with an American civil rights movement, and the other with the Hawaiian human rights movement."

"We marched to show solidarity for a great American patriot," said John Condello, chaplain with the Honolulu chapter of the Lodge of Freemasons. "More than anything, Martin Luther King taught us what the Constitution means in modern times."


Homeless helping African Americans
13 years ago,1,6630836.story?coll=bal-local-headlines

Originally published July 24, 2005
William Wingo

Occupation: Pastor of Chestnut Grove African Methodist Episcopal Church in Street, Harford County. In the news: Wingo organized demonstrations on street corners near the exclusive Elkridge Club, which straddles the Baltimore city-county line, every morning last week. He hired the homeless to display signs demanding that the club accept black members, which it has not done in its 127-year history, and has created a Web log,, to discuss the issue. The club has been in the news because Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. held a $100,000 golf fundraiser there last month, drawing criticism from black leaders.

Career highlights: Wingo has been a minister for 15 years and has been at Chestnut Grove since 2002. He is the publisher of Power magazine, which seeks to empower the faith community. A 49-year Baltimore resident, Wingo is a 1967 graduate of City College. He holds a bachelor's degree from Sojourner-Douglass College in Baltimore.

Personal: Wingo, 56, is married with four children, and lives in Mount Washington.

Philosophy: "I'm an African-American. It's astounding to me that a country club right in Baltimore City doesn't have any African-American membership. It is beyond my comprehension in 2005. ... I felt that this was something God showed me that needed to be addressed."

- David Nitkin

the racist angle- overheard in Washington
13 years ago The Voice of the White House September 1, 2005: “The terrible disaster in New Orleans was not unforeseen. In spite of his too-little too-late bleatings, Bush personally scrapped a multi-million dollar program to strengthen the dikes around that flooded mass of tragedy but took the money for his criminal war in Iraq. We now see a genuine phenomenon with dozens of American television reporters, on the ground and on the scene in New Orleans and southern Mississippi, turning against both the Administration and the governments of both Louisiana and Mississippi for their utter failure to relieve the terrible suffering of hundreds of thousands of trapped, starving and sick citizens. I would like to add something to the bubbling pot that might cast a light on the disgusting official breakdown of rescue and support. This afternoon, I was having lunch at the Cosmos Club out on Massachusetts Avenue. A good friend is a member of the posh club (that once was the elegant town home of Sumner Welles), and while at lunch, I was privy to a very vocal conversation at one of the big round center tables in the club dining room. One man was giving an overview of the situation to a group of his friends. The speaker was an undersecretary of an important department, well -liked by Bush and often in the White House to consult. The others ranged from an academic economist whose writings can be seen in a right wing paper and a number of Washington-based businessmen, all of whom are active and heavy contributors to the Bush White House. The loud one had obviously had a few drinks at the bar and this is probably why he was not more discreet. The gist of his comments was horrible to contemplate and it sounded like a top Nazi discussing Jews. It is well known here that the Bush family and many of the top advisers at the White House are racists but instead of detesting Jews, in this case, they all detest blacks. Their rationale, aside from their view of racial superiority, is that blacks are all “welfare queens, unwed mothers and drug dealers.” It was the very firmly stated view of the host that it was better for everyone that New Orleans was under water for the time being. In that way, we were told (and I was not the only person in the dining room who heard all this), this served to “chase out the %#&!*%” and permit Bush-supporting businessmen from buying up the soon-to-be condemned sodden houses for five cents on the dollar from friendly insurance companies (which one of them was a CEO of) and put up an enlarged and very profitable combination of industrial park and office building section. The money for this would, naturally, come from government grants which a terrified Congress (Mid Term elections are coming) had just voted for and the contracts to demolish the wrecked low-income slums would go, as a no-bid contract, to another stellar Bush supporter. As for the refugees, our table of proto-fascists all commented on the fact that most of them were on welfare and probably all voted Democratic so they could all be shipped to California or Chicago at the public expense and allowed to occupy less valuable public housing there. This conversation went on in a similar vein for some time and it was difficult for both myself and my host to refrain from making nasty comments or, for that matter, to enjoy our meal. These people are greedy and purely evil and I am positive from the overall conversations that Bush is conversant with this attitude and has no intentions of interfering with it. He had an unparalleled opportunity to revive his sagging opinion polls and make an appearance in New Orleans, naturally with an army of sycophants and eager media, and be seen (in a safe place…probably in Baton Rouge…because the desperate black citizens of New Orleans have taken to shooting at people and Bush is scared to death of violence) holding a small and photogenic black child whilst comforting its mother. Instead, Bush, typically, opted to sail overhead in his luxury Air Force One and having seen the inundated city below, retired to his small but elegant dining room for a nice lunch with some of his top aides. I should also note here that Bush now has added the Mayor of New Orleans and a half a dozen irate and very articulate news reporters to his hate list because they have dared to criticize him to a very large audience. Maybe this time, the Democrats will organize and nail him and his friends to a wall somewhere and then open the flood gates and watch them drown like the rats that they are.” ================= Harmony- I am not surprised by anything anymore. DISGUSTED and REPELLED, yes indeed. ANGRY, you betcha. =================
I Told Ya!
13 years ago

....he waited 3 days hoping the vile nasty aftermath would just kill blacks...

He is white, he has a 'ranch' in Texas...

....way too early for me to rant, read other postings...


"""I am doing my damdest to keep GB name out of my mouth - I did not vote for him but he has made me ashamed of being a REAL TEXAN.

I want out of this state - this is cruel - usual punishment - we can all expect form GB, ya'll don't forget Texas Govennor Rick Perry was GB vice at one time - he is a real "pretty boy" ...

Here is some slight 101... between the Texas Rangers, to the KKK, this state has remained a state of confusion to so many... Texas rangers were/ are a lawless group from the early 1840s...

I don't know the exact year the KKK was formed - it is not dead in Texas nor in the police or sheriff's departments... the "mob" years back just blended in with all the "rich" & famous,

I ain't lying, "they" have to fire one (KKK) every once in awhile on the police side of life to keep things good...

I would love to live in a real state, with real concerns for their population... real resources, no propaganda on the television... yep, its like that when you don't live in Texas...

Texas has big big problems with Mexico just now - will someone send me the news????

I guess we always chat about polly tics when we CLEAN HOUSE!"""

I am looking forward to a nomadic move or something - I know the fine Texas b.s., I know what a Texas poker face is... I have told some tall tales in my Texas life...

I promise you there is ulterior motives besides being a "fine" president. He is nothing but a human being with a dick-tator attitude.

Good Luck Mr Bush - yer gonna need all of it. Grand Dragging of 911 ?!?!?!?!???

Humans - President George W Bush is one - he is no different from the rest... so "Fact or Fiction" ?? do we have a racist president...?

I am



13 years ago

This falls under civil rights or or or whatever human right it has tripped over...

I did just post a net-mail with this very question.

5 days ago I heard a guestion by a FOX News person to an on site reporter about the 'prisnors' in the area of New Orleans... how are they going to get them out was the question...?

" they have already been evacuated"

That question was not suppose to asked. "THEY" went quickly to another question.

Prisnors are a commodity of the state - do the math - money for heads for beds. Them boys got their commodities outta there - huh?

Waaaaaay before evacuees were ever sought after.




This is a sick shafted evacuating deal...

"We the people" can't all be president... "We the people" are not stupid... "We the people" are a definate minority...


Indigenous Women Are Facing Racism
13 years ago Kamala Sarup - 9/12/2005 On December 10, 1992, indigenous leaders from more than fifty countries told the UN that "governments continue to desecrate and appropriate religious and sacred places and objects, depriving indigenous nations around the world of their basic spiritual ways of life." Indigenous people often find that the mainstream culture tries to undermine their culture. More than 370 Million indigenous people - more than 10 percent of the global population - in 70 countries worldwide were discussing these and other issues on the occasion of the World Indigenous Day on August 9. Approximately, three-quarters of the world's 6,000 languages are spoken by indigenous people. And yet, how do we define indigenous people? The people occupying an area before it was found by other people are indigenous. Guatemala's Nobel Peace Prize laureate Rigoberta Menchú - who belongs to indigenous community - said, "The International Day is also an occasion to vigorously condemn the grave and systematic violation of the inalienable rights of indigenous peoples, which even affects the right to life. In some countries, extinction is threatening indigenous people, while in others they suffer starvation; and the conditions of marginalization, segregation, oppression and racism of which they are victims have generally not been eliminated." She further added, "It is hypocritical of the UN and of governments to declare a day for indigenous people and then do nothing about it". Among the indigenous people women are facing more poverty and violence. Violence against indigenous women has become a global threat. Even after the Beijing Conference, indigenous women's issues have not been taken seriously. Indigenous women's issues were not specifically mentioned in the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. The majority of Indigenous women from rural areas do not know about the conferences. They are not empowered to use them as effective tools in their country to change their lives. Without poor and rural indigenous women's activism UN or any international decisions will not be implemented in practice, no matter how good they are on books or on paper. For Indigenous women, gender-based violence is fueled by racism and as well as sexism. They are marginalized and abused. They are facing discrimination in their pursuit for access to employment and education hence they are incapable of fighting for their rights. Indigenous women have been targeted for rape and forced displacement. Indigenous people including women have been victims of so-called development and globalisation. Globally, the media shows little interest in indigenous women's issues. The media does not seem to be giving adequate attention. Many indigenous people and women do not have the legal right to live on their lands. Today, many of the world's war zones are inhabited by indigenous people and women. Thousands of indigenous women have died and many more have been injured or left homeless worldwide. Statistics compiled by HealthInfoNet website indicate that the incidence of HIV infection among indigenous women in Australia is much higher, over 18 percent, compared to five percent for non-indigenous women as a result of heterosexual intercourse, accounting for 30 percent of indigenous AIDS cases as opposed to 7 percent for the general population. The ABS, Ausrtalia, report further says, "The health of people and women in remote communities is affected by their isolation and limited access to health services as well as factors relevant to the indigenous population as a whole." According to the 1991 census indigenous people comprise 35.6 percent of the total population of Nepal. The current constitution and laws discriminate against indigenous people including women in various ways in Nepal. According to the Nepal Federation of Nationalities, there are more than 25 constitutional and more than 40 legal provisions that are discriminatory vis a vis the indigenous people (NEFEN 2000, Subba et. al., 2000). It is high time such discriminatory provisions are removed and indigenous people are accommodated in the national mainstream. And, we must not forget that a democratic dispensation, not an authoritarian regime, can guarantee justice, equality and equal opportunity to all the citizens including the indigenous people. Kamala Sarup is an editor of ============= FAIR USE =============
Katrina crisis and Racism- articles from The Black Commentator
13 years ago
articles from The Black Commentator 2:21 PM September 22 2005 Issue 151 is published every Thursday. Radio BC: The Black Caucus is in Trouble Cover Story: CBC Monitor - Watchdogs of the Black Caucus Rescue Came from the Grass Roots Cartoon: No Interracial Movement Without Shared Resources Freedom Rider: Where was Dick Cheney During Katrina? A Pitiable Response to Katrina Think Piece: Vote or Die - The Lessons of Katrina Art Form: The Axis of Life New Orleans Unmasks Apartheid, American Style Wade in the Water: Reflections on Race, Class and Katrina Brighter Prospects? Ms. Bush and White America’s Rhetoric of Limited Alternatives Ready for Revolution: A message for Barbara Bush
"Global Apartheid and America's New Racial Domain"
13 years ago by Manning Marable In 1900, the great African-American scholar W.E.B. Du Bois, predicted that the “problem of the twentieth century” would be the “problem of the color line,” the unequal relationship between the lighter vs. darker races of humankind. Although Du Bois was primarily focused on the racial contradiction of the United States, he was fully aware that the processes of what scholars today describe as “racialization” – the construction of racially unequal social hierarchies characterized by dominant and subordinate social relations between groups – was an international and global problem. Du Bois’s color line included not just the racially segregated, Jim Crow South and the racial oppression of South Africa; but also included British, French, Belgian, and Portuguese colonial domination in Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean among indigenous populations. Building on Du Bois’s insights, we can therefore say that the problem of the twenty-first century is the problem of global apartheid: the racialized division and stratification of resources, wealth, and power that separates Europe, North America, and Japan from the billions of mostly black, brown, indigenous, undocumented immigrant and poor people across the planet. “Apartheid,” was the term used by the former white minority regime of South Africa to describe its policies of strict racial segregation. Apartheid was based on the racist concept of “herrenvolk,” a white “master race,” who was supposedly destined to rule non-Europeans. Under “global apartheid” today, the racist logic of herrenvolk, the master race, still exists. That new racial inequality is represented by patterns of unequal economic exchange that penalizes African, south Asian, Caribbean, and poor nations by the predatory policies of structural adjustment and exorbitant loan payments to multinational banks. Inside the United States, the processes of global apartheid are best represented by what I call the “New Racial Domain” or the NRD. This New Racial Domain is different from other earlier forms of racial domination, such as slavery, Jim Crow segregation, and ghettoization, or strict residential segregation, in several key respects. These earlier systems of racial domination were based primarily, if not exclusively, in the political economy of U.S. capitalism. Anti-racist or protest movements led by blacks and other people of color were organized within the realities of domestic economic markets, and the policies of the U.S. nation-state. Meaningful social reforms, such as the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, were debated and implemented almost entirely within an economic context of America’s growth and prosperity. Today’s economic context for the “New Racial Domain,” by contrast, is entirely different. It is driven and largely determined by the forces of transnational corporations, an environment of economic uncertainty, and the austere public policies of neoliberalism. From the vantagepoint of the most oppressed U.S. populations, the New Racial Domain of today rests on an unholy trinity, or deadly triad, of structural barriers to a decent life. This unholy trinity consists of mass unemployment, mass incarceration, and mass disfranchisement. Each factor directly feeds and accelerates the others, creating an ever-widening circle of social disadvantage, poverty, and civil death, negatively affecting the lives of tens of millions of U.S. people. Millions of African Americans and Latinos never experienced the economic prosperity of the Clinton era, and with the coming of the Bush administration, were pushed even further into poverty and permanent unemployment. Chronic joblessness inevitably feeds the growth of our prisons. About one-third of all prisoners were unemployed at the time of their arrests, and others averaged less than $20,000 annual incomes in the year prior to their incarceration. When the Attica prison insurrection occurred in upstate New York in 1971, there were only 12,500 prisoners in New York State’s correctional facilities, and about 300,000 prisoners nationwide. By 2001, New York State held over 71,000 women and men in its prisons; nationally, 2.1 million were imprisoned. Today about five to six million Americans are arrested annually, and roughly one in five Americans possess a criminal record. Mandatory-minimum sentencing laws adopted in the 1980s and 1990s in many states stripped judges of their discretionary powers in sentencing, imposing draconian terms on first-time and non-violent offenders. Parole has been made more restrictive as well, and in 1995 Pell grant subsidies supporting educational programs for prisoners were ended. For those fortunate enough to successfully navigate the criminal justice bureaucracy and emerge from incarceration, they discover that both the federal law and state governments explicitly prohibit the employment of convicted ex-felons in hundreds of vocations. The cycle of unemployment frequently starts again. Mass incarceration, of course, breeds mass political disfranchisement. Nearly 5 million Americans cannot vote. In seven states, former prisoners convicted of a felony lose their voting rights for life. In the majority of states, individuals on parole and probation cannot vote. About 15 percent of all African-American males nationally are either permanently or currently disfranchised. In Mississippi, one-third of all black men are unable to vote for the remainder of their lives. In Florida, 818,000 residents cannot vote for life. (continued next post)
"Global Apartheid and America's New Racial Domain"
13 years ago
Even temporary disfranchisement fosters a disruption of civic engagement and involvement in public affairs. This can lead to “civil death,” the destruction of the capacity for collective agency and resistance. This process of depolitization undermines even grassroots, non-electoral-oriented organizing. The unholy trinity or deadly triangle of the New Racial Domain constantly and continuously grows unchecked. What are the long-term implications of these terribly destructive processes? We are heading toward an unequal, two-tiered, uncivil society, characterized by a governing hierarchy of middle- to upper-class “citizens” who own nearly all private property and financial assets, and a vast, brutally oppressed group of quasi- or subcitizens, encumbered beneath the cruel weight of permanent unemployment, fiercely discriminatory courts and harsh sentencing procedures, dehumanized prisons, voting disfranchisement, extreme residential segregation, and the elimination of most public services for the poor. The latter group will soon be virtually excluded from any influence in a national public policy. Institutions that once provided space for upward mobility and resistance for working people such as unions are now being largely dismantled. Integral to all of this is racism, sometimes openly vicious and unambiguous, but much more frequently presented in race neutral, “color-blind” language. Global apartheid and America’s New Racial Domain represent the true face of 21st century world racism, but most African-American and Latino leaders haven’t yet fully recognized this. The traditional civil rights establishment and elected officials don’t understand the new economic context we have entered. Effective leadership will require a new language and bold strategies of resistance, as well as the ability to build new multiracial, multiclass alliances, with oppressed people all over the world. Home *fair use*
from The Black Commentator- google search on "homelessness"
13 years ago
The Black Commentator - From Public Housing to Homelessness - Issue 96 This article originally appeared in POOR Magazine, dedicated to reframing the news, issues and solutions from low and no income communities, ... - 34k - Cached - Similar pages The Black Commentator - Unbearable Crime on the Mississippi ... ... is comfortable with these realities of our ongoing unemployment, overcrowding, homelessness, drug and alcohol addiction, neighborhood crime and despair. ... - 39k - Cached - Similar pages The Black Commentator - A Different Global Vision - Issue 88 The VA estimates that during the year as many as half a million veterans experience homelessness. Conservatively, one out of every four homeless males who ... - 44k - Cached - Similar pages The Black Commentator - An Asterisk for Major League Baseball ... At a time in American history of pre-emptive wars, unchecked corporate looting, increasing poverty and homelessness, continuing assaults on the Bill of ... - 40k - Cached - Similar pages The Black Commentator - e-Mailbox: Black church sexually ... Illiteracy, the criminalization of our youth and black males in particular, single mothers, ever crushing poverty, joblessness and homelessness. ... - 72k - Cached - Similar pages
from Poor Magazine
13 years ago
Excellent articles/commentaries on poverty, housing, racism Titles of various articles on the URL above: *Affordable (to Who).. Housing and other myths of Redevelopment *I used to live in the Bayview….then I became homeless *The Message of Mary Jesus *How much can the body stand *HUD's New Homeless Homeland Security Program * Section 8 Restored...sort of… *Amerikka's Un-American Housing Policy *No Peace in the Streets!-(Alameda/HUD Resistance #2) *A dysfunctioning Rent Board *Just Keep them poor people rolling ….(Alameda/HUD Resistance#1) *From Public Housing To Homelessness *No Surplus People- Just Surplus Property!! *Shockwaves Throughout the Country - Section 8 Program in Crisis *Eviction without conviction *this is my home *Eviction for Oakland Residents *Lawrence Chan Endorses Displacement and Homelessness *The Struggle at Effie's House *Jerry-Fication *Global Trend Of Evictions *Evictions - Western Style - On the Rise *One Year Rent Free…! *Where Oh Where Can We Put The Homeless? * From NY to LA: Creative, futile solutions to homelessness *Listen to the 6th Street Community! *The Word Grace Means Hope... *Let Us In!!!! *Housing: Build it, Preserve it, Take it back! *Bedbug Manor *Get Up, Get Down, Theres a Houzin' Crisis in This Town *R is for Relinquishment of Renters Rights *Dismissed (The Sloan Family pt. 3) *I Can't Leave Here (Grace Wells pt.3) *Long Live The I-Hotel *I mean, we're not against the Indians *MONUMENT TO A PRINCE *a hot day of resistance *TENANT GENOCIDE *The Roots of Displacement *Letters to the Editor...on Eviction, Art and Resistance... *DON'T BLAME THE POOR FOR POVERTY: An editorial *Class War of The Rich on The Poor *Low-Income Housing is Not Their Obligation *The County is Taking My Mothers Property... *Homes Not Cars *Her own Personal Mansion *I can't do no movin' or packin' (The Grace Well Story- Pt 1) *Nowhere to Go (The Sloan Family story Pt 1) *Dad, We've Been Evicted. *I Could Hear The Gritos *No Renticide!!!! *We Waited, and Waited, and Then We Won!! *Justice Kept Waiting *Waiting for Years to Get a Home!! *The Proper Systems Model *For Rent: One Stretch of Concrete *We all have The right to a Roof!! *“This is just the beginning…”(West Oakland Gentrification) *De-Prioritization *Not In My Backyard... *Sangri a sus Manos (Blood on his hands) *The Myth On Market Street series: Who is behind the Myth? *Tenant Victory In Oakland *How much is hype? *Gentrification Under the Veneer of Revitalization: The Housing Authority's Hope IV program *Playground For the Rich *Eviction *EVICTION CITY IS BORN.... *HARD-WORKING POOR EVICTED BY RICH INDUSTRIALIST *I am Not Leaving... (Oakland) *Da-bate....(PNN 2000/Prop L & K) *Death by eviction *Master leasing (PNN 2000) *Japan Town Gets Organized *One Strike Gentrification Policy *Smack-Down!!! *Just Cause..... .......tenants need it!(Oakland) *SHUT-OUT; PAC-BELL PARK;$350,000,000... *I don't Want to slumify Oakland.. *The Dot-Con Game *A Short Breath *Dot-Colonization 2: *Homeless Lawsuit Settled *Housing Resistance, Tenants Rights, Eviction, Gentrification and Redevelopment
San Francisco suspends police officer over video
13 years ago San Francisco suspends police officer over video Published: Saturday, 10 December, 2005, 09:34 AM Doha Time SAN FRANCISCO: A police officer who produced videos parodying life on the force was suspended on Thursday after the mayor and police chief blasted the vignettes as racist, sexist and homophobic. Officer Andrew Cohen, 39, said he was suspended for posting inappropriate and unauthorised pictures about the department on the Internet. “I don’t know what’s going on,” Cohen said. “I’ve never been in trouble before.” Cohen is one of about 20 officers expected to be disciplined for video clips that Police Chief Heather Fong called “egregious, shameful and despicable.” The skits featured uniformed and plainclothes officers making fun of Asians, blacks, women and gay and transgender people, Mayor Gavin Newsom said. He was particularly offended by a scene showing a white officer in a patrol car running over a black homeless woman. “It is shameful, it is offensive, it is sexist, it is homophobic and it is racist,” Newsom said. “We’re going to make sure that it ends, it ends immediately.” The video spoofs were shot over more than a year for a Christmas party, Cohen said. Most of the officers involved, including a captain, worked at the Bayview Station in the city’s roughest section, an industrial area with a large minority population and high crime rate. The department’s internal affairs division launched an investigation after the videos were discovered on Cohen’s Web site, Inside the SFPD. Other city commissions also were assigned to look into the matter. Cohen said Fong asked him to meet with her December 14 and he will eventually have a hearing before the Police Commission. The department did not release the names or ranks of the officers. “I’m sorry they did it, and I’m sure they are sorry they did it, but do not confuse these videos with how these officers perform in the real world,” said Gary Delagnes, president of the San Francisco Police Officers Association. “These were meant as comic relief, parodies of police work.” Cohen’s lawyer, Daniel Horowitz, said his client was slandered by officials who drew attention to the matter and took the videos out of context. “I think they wanted to be the poster children for the politically correct attitudes in the city and they misrepresented the contents of the tapes,” Horowitz said. He added that the videos, which have been pulled from the Web site, were not insensitive, although some of the content was sophomoric. Newsom’s spokesman, Peter Ragone, disagreed. “Perhaps Mr. Horowitz is the kind of lawyer who thinks that a white police officer running over a black woman is something to laugh at. We think he stands alone. *fair use* Harmony- any way I think about it, the nature of the contents of this video offends me. The fact that a human mind can waste itself coming up with a video like this offends me.
Racial Poverty Gaps in U.S. a Human Rights Violation, Says U.N. Expert
13 years ago
Racial Poverty Gaps in U.S. a Human Rights Violation, Says U.N. Expert Racial Poverty Gaps in U.S. Amount to Human Rights Violation, Says U.N. Expert Racial Poverty Gaps in U.S. Amount to Human Rights Violation, Says U.N. Expert Haider Rizvi OneWorld US Wed., Nov. 30, 2005 UNITED NATIONS, Nov 29 (OneWorld) - Despite enormous wealth and various federal and social welfare schemes at work, the United States is failing to help millions of its people trying to get out of poverty, according to an independent United Nations rights expert. "Resource constraints have limited the reach of the assistance programs and social discrimination has aggravated the problems in many situations resulting in poverty clearly seen as a violation of human rights," Dr. Arjun Sengupta declared after visiting the United States last month. "If the United States government designed and implemented the policies according to human rights standards much of the problem of poverty could be resolved," he added. Dr. Sengupta, an expert on human rights and extreme poverty of the world body's Commission on Human Rights, said he chose to visit the United States because he wanted to illustrate that extreme poverty was not only prevalent in developing countries, but a phenomenon that is found in most nations in the world, according to U.N. officials. "The case of the United States was particularly interesting as it presented an apparent paradox: as the wealthiest country on Earth, with higher per capita income levels than any other country, the United States has also had one of the highest incidences of poverty among the rich industrialized nations," Dr. Sengupta said. The official statistics released in his report to the U.N. show that over 12 percent of the United States population--or about 37 million people--lived in poverty in 2004, with nearly 16 percent--or about 46 million--having no health insurance. The report indicates that more than 38 million people, including 14 million children, are threatened by lack of food. Dr. Sengupta's report also shows that ethnic minorities are suffering more from extreme poverty than white Americans. Compared to one in ten Whites, nearly one in four Blacks and more than one out of every five Latinos are extremely poor in the United States. Moreover, despite the overall U.S. economic recovery, the report says the incidence of poverty, including food insecurity and homelessness, has been on the rise over the past years. During his two-week fact-finding mission, Dr. Sengupta visited neighborhoods in New York, Florida, Washington, D.C., and in many other cities, including New Orleans, where he met with a number of civil society groups and constitutional lawyers. U.N. officials say the purpose of the visit was to "consider and learn from experiences" of the United States in addressing the different aspects of extreme poverty: income poverty, human development poverty, and social exclusion. The independent expert noted that a multitude of federal and state benefit systems and means-tested programs have been designed to provide assistance to poor people, but noted that there were "significant gaps" in the current system. The report identifies high costs of healthcare, inadequate access to quality education and vocational training, low wages, limited protection of tenants, and lack of low-cost housing as major factors that pose "serious obstacles" to people struggling to get out of poverty. "Poverty is not only deprivation of economic or material resources, but a violation of human rights too," according to the Geneva-based U.N. Commission on Human Rights. "No social phenomenon is as comprehensive in its assault on human rights as poverty," it says. "Poverty erodes or nullifies economic and social rights such as the right to health, adequate housing, food, safe water, and the right to education." In addition to Dr. Sengupta's findings, a similar report is also under circulation at the world body, which point to human rights abuses in the United States. In response to the U.S. State Department's annual documentation of human rights violations worldwide, the Chinese government released its own report on the subject with scathing criticism of Washington's economic and social policies. "Black people have not only fewer job opportunities, but also earn less than white people," says the Chinese report, "The Human Rights Record of the United States in 2004," noting that some fifty years after the landmark Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision, "white children and black children in the United States still lead largely separate lives." "About a third [of southern Black students] attend schools that are at least 90 percent minority," the report points out, citing a Washington Post article. "The Declaration of Independence said all men are created equal, so the gap between black and white people is simply an insult to the founding essence of the United States," the report said. Related links U.N. Press Release on Independent Expert's Findings Post-Katrina Poll: Ending Poverty Should Be Number One Priority ( American Friends Service Committee Campaigns for Economic Justice in the United States Stay Informed with OneWorld's Daily Headlines - Subscribe Today! (free)
Canada's Missing Women
13 years ago Canada's Missing Women Hundreds of Aboriginal Women Disappearing in Canada, Some on the "Highway of Tears" By Joan Delaney Epoch Times Victoria Staff Dec 15, 2005 Nineteen-year-old Helen Betty Osborne was sexually assaulted and brutally murdered in The Pas, Manitoba on November 12, 1971. Three decades later, on March 25, 2003, Helen's cousin, Felicia Solomon, went missing in Winnipeg. Her body parts were found three months later, but her killer has yet to be found. In the years between these two murders, more than 500 Aboriginal women have gone missing across Canada, from Vancouver to Ottawa, Edmonton to Halifax. Some have been murdered, some are missing and presumed dead, and others seem to have disappeared into thin air. A large number of the missing women were drug addicts and prostitutes living out a desperate existence in some of Canada's seediest districts. Police Protection? Local governments and police insist they are doing all they can to halt the deadly trend. But the Native Women's Association of Canada (NWAC) says there is a failure on the part of the authorities to acknowledge that a disproportionate number of murdered and missing Canadian women are of aboriginal descent and that much more needs to be done. "It's important that the general population begin to understand the devastating effects this has had on aboriginal communities and families," says NWAC's executive director Sherry Lewis. "People haven't really been exposed to the magnitude of the problem." In 1996, a shocking government statistic showed that aboriginal women were five times more likely to die as a result of violence than any other group of Canadian women. In their 2004 "Stolen Sisters" report, Amnesty International said that while there has been a lack of effective action on the part of police and government agencies, the "social and economic marginalization" of indigenous women is the reason so many end up living in dangerous situations. The report cites a history of governmental policies that have torn apart aboriginal families and communities, eventually propelling a large percentage of women into extreme poverty, homelessness and prostitution. The vulnerability of these women is in turn exploited by "indigenous and non-indigenous men to carry out acts of extreme brutality against them." Amnesty says that acts of violence against these women are due to racism and perpetrators realizing there is little chance of repercussion as the authorities seem indifferent to the welfare of native women. Amidst allegations of racism and neglect by the people of The Pas after Helen Betty Osborne's murder, a 1999 inquiry into how the investigation was conducted found that racism played a significant part in the case. It also found that police had long been aware that white men were preying on young native women in the town but "did not feel that the practice necessitated any particular vigilance." The inquiry recommended that the same mistakes not be repeated and that an apology be issued to the Osborne family. Director Lewis says "there are issues" regarding racism in the police force. "Sisters in Spirit," a campaign launched by NWAC in 2004 in response to the alarmingly high levels of violence against aboriginal women, plans to interact with police at various levels to improve issues such as a lack of trust between natives and police. "Highway of Tears" Lewis says the missing persons reporting process is a key area that needs to be improved because in many cases police will not file a report until after someone has been missing for 48 hours, by which time the trail has gone cold. She adds that Sisters in Spirit will also develop a media strategy because historically the media is much more likely to report the disappearance or death of a Caucasian than that of an aboriginal. "When a number of aboriginal women had gone missing along the Highway of Tears, little or no media attention was paid," says Lewis. "But when Nicole Hoar, a non-aboriginal woman, disappeared on that same highway there was a media frenzy." Amnesty estimates that at least 32 native women have disappeared on Highway 16, the notorious "Highway of Tears." The long and desolate stretch of road runs between Prince Rupert and Terrace, British Columbia. Many people hitchhike along this highway, but some, mostly young native women, never reach their destinations. Serial Killers Other "hotspots" where native women have been disappearing are near the Halifax Airport and in and around Edmonton, where 12 prostitutes have been murdered in the last 16 years—five since January 2003. AIDS educator Amber O'Hara, who gives HIV/AIDS workshops on reserves across the country and is writing a book on the disappearances, says there is no doubt that serial killers are operating in many parts of Canada. She believes there have been at least five serial killers preying on women in B.C. at different times. The disappearances along highway 16, she says, are the work of one man. Approximately half the 67 women missing from the Vancouver downtown east side are native, and many of those are thought to have been victims of Robert Pickton, a serial killer from Port Coquitlam who has so far been charged with the murders of 27 women, most of them prostitutes. Police, who are actively investigating seven of the deaths that occurred on Highway 16, have said there is no evidence that it is the work a serial killer but have not completely ruled out the possibility. (continued)
Canada's Missing Women
13 years ago
O'Hara says that for years before Pickton was caught, the Vancouver police refused to believe there was a serial killer operating in the area. O'Hara also finds it frustrating that there aren't more treatment and detoxification programs available, saying that many of the women who went missing from Vancouver's downtown eastside were on waiting lists for drug treatment. She believes that if women were given adequate support and a safe place to recover, ninety percent of them would turn their life around. "Our government just doesn't see addiction as the disease that it is," says O'Hara. "Nobody grew up wanting to be a drug addict or a prostitute. I'm tired of hearing the government say they don't have the money." Amazed She's Still Alive Sadie Morris, a 20-something native girl who currently lives on the streets of Calgary, says that the disappearances of aboriginal girls is often tied to drugs debts. "That's what most of the people die from," she says. "Owing money and, you know, doing too many drugs. "They owe money to somebody and they can't get out of it…so they wind up dead or stabbed or something." Morris, who began working the streets as a prostitute in Vancouver at age 13, says she is amazed she's still alive. "I've seen lots in Vancouver. I've seen girls in dumpsters….I've seen girls get stabbed right in the middle of the street and get taken away, just like that. And there's nothing you can do about it or else you'll end up like that." Morris's account is corroborated by another young native girl on the streets of Calgary, who wishes only to be known as Larisha. Larisha believes many young native girls find themselves on the streets because of drug problems. Both she and Sadie identify crack and cocaine as the most pandemic. Disappearances are often the result of girls fleeing either from abusive men or drug debts, or being killed for their debts. Larisha recounts the story of a friend of hers who had been involved in prostitution and developed a drug problem. "I guess she owed some money for drugs," she says, holding back tears. "It wasn't good, I tried to stop her from doing that stuff, but it didn't work." Last year, police found her friend's body in a Calgary river, suspecting the girl had been raped and killed. *fair use*
13 years ago
I had a few on minutes... not my computer... I flipped the thread! I enjoy this thread especially the fact we are getting more news in many aspects...

No - not all enjoying the reasons for this terrible news; I know a lot of people read this group.

Many I have known is word of mouth to teach, or show one who is homeless.

Sadly to know then teach about safety or police brutality even simple robbies...


for Harmony!

Black manhood and survival hinge on work with dignity
13 years ago Black manhood and survival hinge on work with dignity By: Elizabeth Ellis Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder Originally posted 4/12/2006 Bob Herbert’s column “Riots Release Black Anger but Don’t Change a Thing” (Int’l Herald Tribune, 4/20/01) underscores my husband’s wariness of and assertion of injustice in a “criminal justice system that works one way for Whites and another for Blacks.” Herbert also cites employment discrimination as “the everyday reality of life for Blacks in America.” On the temp jobs my husband worked, invariably he heard, “You’re different” from supervisors. “You’re not like the others” was customary when he worked hard or diligently with great ambition. He was only trying to guarantee a chance for full-time employment, a crack at an opening, a good impression, a chance to get called back, and the prospect of being taken on permanent. Temp status is a persistent job interview; it’s perpetual probation. “America will have to shut down,” he’d assert, “before they can keep me from working!” My husband told me that he was always thrashing with the negative perceptions that preceded him on job sites, hindering him with baggage that was not his, but was his weighty sack to carry. When my husband visited a homeless shelter in Atlanta, Georgia, the other residents would be notified of job possibilities that he encouraged them to take, but they couldn’t be bothered, they told him; they would neither go out to apply nor make the effort. “For them,” Patricia McKissack wrote in Color Me Dark of any earlier generation of poor Blacks, “hope had died.” My husband’s prerogative was to work even menial temp jobs as a laborer to maintain his energy level, his go get ’em, his will to get out of bed in the morning in order to postpone the slippery slide downward into complacency. “They like you, don’t they?” a colleague once remarked to my husband when he would jump at the chance — even to assemble holiday fruit baskets — when work was available. Even plasma-donor cash spends better than unemployment. “A garbageman is dignified as any diplomat,” wrote Gwendolyn Brooks. “Men must work,” a cohort once said, “to feel good about themselves,” and Bertrand Russell put it thus: “Continuity of purpose is one of the most essential ingredients of happiness in the long run, and for most men this comes chiefly through their work.” And my husband heard it again, “You’re different,” from the other Atlanta shelter residents who declined meager pickings for work they considered to be without relief or reward. They lapsed into passivity and inertia, lost their zest for life, were discouraged and defeated. “Success,” John Singleton says, “is a matter of being able to work in the field you choose.” Chicago’s Southside is 78 percent Black (America Behind the Color Line, by Henry Louis Gates Jr.). Of these, one in every five Black men is in jail or prison or on parole; 69 percent of children are in single-parent homes; the average lifespan is 59 years; unemployment is 45 percent; and 29 percent live below the poverty line. Chicago’s Cook County Jail is intended for 11,000 inmates. Of these, 70 percent are Black; 50 percent are recidivists. Without fun, love, power, freedom and belonging — to paraphrase a quote of Dr. William Glasser’s in Gates’ book — gangs, drugs, teen pregnancy, breakdown of the family, racism and lack of role models add up to Southside hopelessness. Hopelessness and rage. “You’ll find that kind of maddening, simmering rage everywhere you find Black people in the United States,” Bob Herbert states. “Black people are angry because there is more than ample reason to be angry.” Despite “the rage that comes from living in a society where every day there are humiliating reminders of one’s debased status,” to quote Herbert, “There is an incredible amount of magic and feistiness in Black men,” counters author Toni Morrison, “that nobody has been able to wipe out, but everybody has tried.“ This joie de vivre, this sparkle, this “mystique,” wrote former NFL player Jim Brown, “is a powerful force.” Ask a woman who cares about a Black man. Elizabeth Ellis is the mother of three grown children, a college graduate, a 10-year veteran of the Foreign Service and a native of the Twin Cities. She welcomes reader responses *fair use*
Jenissa Ryan: the violent death of an Australian aboriginal teenager
13 years ago By Susan Allan 27 April 2006 In early April, front-page articles appeared in the Melbourne and Sydney press reporting the horrific death of aboriginal teenager Jenissa Ryan in the remote outback town of Alice Springs, in central Australia. Jenissa was only 15-years-old. She had been allegedly assaulted and raped by several teenagers. While her death had taken place several months earlier, it went unreported beyond the immediate locality—like most other tragedies affecting indigenous people. It only became newsworthy because Jenissa turned out to be the great granddaughter of one of the most famous Australian aboriginal artists, Albert Namatjira (1902-1959). Details are scarce, but it appears that Jenissa was discovered, severely beaten and unconscious, lying near the entrance to the Centralian Secondary Senior College (CSSC) at around 10.30 a.m. on Saturday January 29. She had allegedly been assaulted by two young people, aged 15 and 16, several hours earlier, and had attempted to make her way home to Hidden Valley—one of many impoverished indigenous town camps on the outskirts of Alice Springs. Jenissa collapsed before she got home, and was found by three other indigenous teenagers. Instead of calling for help, they took advantage of her vulnerability, and sexually assaulted her. A CSSC employee found her in the morning. She was taken by ambulance to Alice Springs hospital, and later flown to the Adelaide Women and Children’s Hospital in a critical condition. Not long after, the young girl died. Five teenagers have since been arrested. Two, a male and a female, have been charged with aggravated assault and causing grievous bodily harm. Three others, aged 14, 15 and 16, have been charged with sexual assault. All five were due to appear for a committal hearing in mid-April. The greatest tragedy of all is that Jenissa’s life and death were entirely unremarkable. Her fate has been, and continues to be, the same as that of countless other aboriginal youth, forced to exist in poverty and neglect in camps such as Hidden Valley, with no jobs, no dignity and no hope. In a physical sense, the five youth directly involved may be responsible for Jenissa’s death. But in reality, responsibility lies with successive state, federal and territory governments, who continue to treat the vast majority of Australia’s aboriginal population with contempt. Nearly 50 years ago, Jenissa’s great grandfather died in Alice Springs. He was the first indigenous artist to receive national recognition for his European-style watercolors of Central Australia, and was awarded the Queen’s Coronation Medal for his extraordinary achievements. Aged 57, Albert Namatjira was charged with supplying alcohol to his relatives—a charge he denied. Nevertheless, he was sentenced to six months jail, where he suffered severe depression. He was released after two months, but suffered a heart attack soon after and died in the Alice Springs hospital. His entire life was marked by discrimination and neglect. In the five decades since, nothing fundamental has changed. Life in the town camps There are 19 town camps in the area surrounding Alice Springs, with an indigenous population that has doubled in the last three years. Alice Springs itself has grown to be the second largest city in the Northern Territory with a population of 28,000. In addition to being a hub for around half a million tourists each year, the town services over 260 remote communities, where around 30 percent of the region’s indigenous population lives. Conditions in these communities are routinely described as “fourth world”. There are no decent jobs, apart from CDEP schemes, which are nothing but “work-for-the-dole” schemes. There are no health facilities, no youth facilities and no educational institutions, beyond poorly-funded and badly-resourced primary schools. Not surprisingly substance abuse, including alcoholism and epidemic levels of petrol/gasoline sniffing, is rife, and it regularly disables and kills many young people. As more and more services have been eliminated through government cuts, many families and youth in the remote settlements have drifted into Alice Springs’ town camps seeking health care, jobs, sporting events and entertainment. In the past five years, the camps’ population has increased from 973 to well over 3,000. The majority of the 192 houses in the camps are overcrowded and in a state of ruin. They have no proper kitchens, washing facilities or toilets. Each dwelling usually houses from 12 to 20 residents at any one time, becoming an inevitable breeding ground for health and other social problems, including alcoholism, crime, domestic violence and sexual abuse. Overcrowding and poor housing have long been recognised as key contributors to the high rates of infectious—particularly intestinal and respiratory—diseases, which continue to be the leading cause of hospitalisation of indigenous infants under 5 years of age. The rates of acute rheumatic fever and other serious chronic illnesses among Australia’s indigenous children are now the highest in the world. Among older people, official statistics show that 82 percent of hospital admissions are alcohol related, with 25 percent of these due to violence within the indigenous community. In the 12 months to December, the number of assaults in the camps, including sexual assault, jumped from 205 cases to 316. In the past eight months, 11 people in the camps—the vast majority indigenous—have died in violent circumstances. (more)
Jenissa Ryan-continued from previous post
13 years ago
One third of the camp population is less than 16 years of age, and these young people are forced to grow up surrounded by a vicious cycle of poverty, unemployment, substance abuse and violence that must deeply influence the way they relate to each other. What happened to Jenissa Ryan simply echoes the experiences many teenagers in the camps have come to regard as commonplace. In an interview with the Melbourne Age, Jenissa Ryan’s mother referred to the brutality of life in the camps. The families there, she said, had “become ashamed, women were being bashed and children being neglected, made homeless and physically and sexually abused.” “Half the women fear for their children, who have been physically abused or have witnessed violence in their homes. Some children are too frightened to go back to their parents.” Calling for urgent action by governments she said that community organisations needed to protect those families who sought to nurture skills in young people. Such calls on the government, however, will fall on deaf ears, as they have for decades. Responding to Jenissa Ryan’s death, federal Community Services Minister Joe Hockey cried a few crocodile tears, compared Alice Springs’ town camps with the nightmarish conditions of the Soweto shantytowns in South Africa, and then palmed off all responsibility to the Northern Territory government. Blair McFarland, a youth worker with the Central Australian Youth Link-Up Service, told WSWS that conditions for indigenous teenagers in the town camps were “third world”. “The town camps are seriously under-resourced,” he said. “You have 20 people living per three-bedroom house, with a constant drift through of people from remote communities.” McFarland explained that there had been a program for youth, funded by the Commonwealth government, in one of the camps, but that was due to cease in June. “It is tragic for that town camp,” he said, “because that program was able to break a cycle of substance abuse that had run for three, four, five generations. Without ongoing support, the community will revert back to the old problems, the way it was before.” He pointed out that this had happened before. “It is always the problem of no recurrent funding. This was a trial program and it ran for five years and it proved that it worked. But now it will be cut off...” Asked about the five teenagers charged over Jenissa Ryan’s death, McFarland observed: “They are in the same boat as Jenissa. They are all as disadvantaged as her. If they are involved in substance abuse, with health damage, they are looking at dying 20 years earlier than most people... If they are imprisoned, and they come out into the same environment they left, then nothing will have changed.” *fair use*
Black Males Locked Out of Jobs
13 years ago Black Males Locked Out of Jobs White ex-cons as likely to find work than black men with no criminal record By Brenda Porter April 27, 2006 -- A study from a team of Princeton University sociology professors revealed that race and criminal history continue to play a role in gaining employment. As part of the study, which began in February 2004, 13 applicants went on nearly 3,500 job interviews with 1,470 private companies. All jobs were entry level. The men were given the same qualifications and experience, while criminal history was randomly assigned. The most striking results of the study were that white males with criminal records were just as likely as blacks with no criminal history to find employment. Also, having a criminal record reduced the number of positive responses from employers by 57% for black applicants but only by 35% for their white counterparts. Latinos also fared better than blacks. "A felony conviction confers roughly the same penalty to job applicants as does minority status," wrote Professors Devah Pager and Bruce Western in Discrimination in Low-Wage Labor Markets. "These findings are consistent with the hypothesis that employer discrimination along the lines of race, ethnicity, and criminal conviction status remains a salient source of inequality in contemporary urban labor markets." Gerald D. Jaynes, a member of the BLACK ENTERPRISE Board of Economists, says he is not surprised by the results. "What's going on here is the employer thinks, 'I have a young white man who made a mistake. I can give him a second chance. On the other hand I have a young black man who grew up in the ghetto committing crime and I don't want to take a chance,'" says Jaynes. Western says he hopes the study highlights these issues to the entire nation. "I hope our research can alert people to the problems of discrimination," he says. *fair use*
Arsonist Leaves KC Family Homeless
13 years ago Arsonist Leaves KC Family Homeless Fire Destroys House At 34th, Benton POSTED: 9:46 pm CDT May 19, 2006 UPDATED: 10:32 pm CDT May 19, 2006 KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- An arsonist has left a local family homeless. Miki Robinson said she left her house near 34th Street and Benton Boulevard for only a few minutes. When she returned, her three-story home was engulfed in flames. Now, she has nothing left. "I was devastated. I was crying," Robinson told KMBC's Chris Nagus. "We have nothing left, no clothes except for what's on our backs. Basically, that's it -- we don't have anything." After sifting through the debris, Robinson found no sign of her most valuable possessions. "All my children's pictures. I've been saving pictures for 15 years," she said. She said the fact that it's arson makes the whole situation worse. "For someone to do this to me, it really hurts. I didn't get any sleep last night. It's scary," Robinson said. Bomb and arson detectives said they have a suspect in mind, but no one is in custody. Robinson said she hopes the catch the person responsible. "You reap what you sow. You do the crime, you do the time," she said. Without insurance or savings, Robinson worries she'll be living in a shelter with her three children, who are between 2 and 15 years old She said she can't stop wondering why her family was targeted by the arsonist. "I just can't imagine. I've never done anything to anybody. Who should have made them want to do this to me?" Robinson said. She said in addition to her three children, an uncle and Robinson's mother also lived in the house. All of them are out of a home. If you have clothing or items that are appropriate for a 2-year-old boy, a 13-year-old girl or a 15-year-old boy and would like to donate to Robinson's family, call (816) 352-8459. #E-Mail: Contact Chris Nagus Previous Stories: * May 18, 2006: House Fire Breaks Out At 34th, Benton Copyright 2006 by All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. *fair use, as described on the front page of this group* Harmony- I don't know that the arson has racism involved- but then, I don't know that it isn't... hopefully more will be revealed. In the meantime, this family needs help!!
Arsonist Leaves KC Family Homeless, continued
13 years ago

"Miki Robinson's family is homeless after an arsonist destroyed their house and all of their belongings." no photo credit given- fair use for humanitarian purposes

Arsonist Leaves KC Family Homeless, continued
13 years ago

Miki Robinson

quote from "Making the Local/Global Connection"
13 years ago
Making the Local/Global Connection by Homeless Scholar clip: "Of course, the neo-liberal transformation itself is but the continuation of hundreds of years old historical legacies of European global conquest and global capitalist expansion. Global forces - and, in particular, European imperialism - have been shaping poverty and social marginalization in the Americas for many centuries. The historical legacy of racist European imperialism continues to play out today in the racial dynamics of homelessness in local US cities and in the vast overrepresentation of people of color amongst homeless people. The way that global historical legacies of racist imperialism connect to today can be illustrated by the example of three communities of color in America: 1) natives, 2) blacks, and 3) latinos. First, the conquest of America by Europeans, including the genocide of the native inhabitants of this continent lead to displacement of thousands of communities. The historical legacy of this genocide continues to play out today in the hardships experienced by Native American communities and homeless Native Americans. Second, the global slave trade brought African slaves to America as totally dehumanized and abused people. The historical legacy of slavery continued to play out even after emancipation - first, through legal segregation - and now through the Urban Ghetto, the prison systems, the high rates of black homelessness, and the relative lack of wealth amongst black communities. Finally, US economic and military imperialism has destroyed the lives and economic prospects of millions of people in Latin America. As a result, many Latin Americans, and especially Mexicans, immigrate to the United States in search of a better life and economic opportunities. When they arrive these immigrants experience tremendous barriers from legal status issues, from anti-immigrant sentiment, from language, and from racism. Many end up deeply poor and homeless. Again, we see here a historical legacy of global imperialism shaping poverty in local US communities."
UK- Homelessness criticism
13 years ago Homelessness criticism More needs to be done to help black people avoid and escape homelessness in Merton, according to an independent report. Inspectors from the Audit Commission who rated the council's services for homeless as fair but likely to improve but they were critical of the fact that there is no resettlement support provided for people leaving temporary accommodation. On a scale from zero to three stars the Audit Commission independent inspection team gave the service one star. This is because there have been a number of improvements to the service as well as improved performance. continued... Hugh Boatswain, lead inspector for London, said applicants had good access to the service and were given realistic housing options without having to go into temporary accommodation. The inspectors found a number of strengths, including officers and their customers having easy access to the in-house translation service, the service provides a sensitive service to vulnerable applicants and the level of housing advice provided is of a good standard. The inspectors recommended the council should take steps to ensure residents leaving temporary accommodation should be helped to resettle and ensure that there are appropriate plans in place to address the over representation of black and ethnic minorities among the homeless. The inspection focused on the housing advice, homelessness assessment and temporary accommodation services. 1:38pm Thursday 1st June 2006 *fair use*
Race and Homelessness- John A. Powell
12 years ago
Harmony- This is a powerpoint presentation by John A. Powell found on the Kirwin Insitute I can't find a current link to this document on the website- the nearest "viewable" source is google's "view as HTML":
Forced Evictions- Innocent Until Proven Black or Poor
12 years ago "People were dragged out of the building..." Evicted San Francisco residents commemorate the 23rd anniversary of the International Hotel eviction. By:Kaponda The melodic sound waves from the Xylophone and Gardigan instruments did not, alone, inspire the expressions of exultation. Nor could the warmth of the brilliant sun claim all the credit for the joyous faces. The groundbreaking ceremony and commemoration of the 23rd anniversity of the eviction of Asian tenants from the International Hotel fashioned the smiles on the faces of the many people at the juncture of Kearney and Jackson streets. "One of the things that we are very committed to do is to make this happen, come hell or high waters. Many individuals died because of the International Hotel." Supervisor Leland Yee was very emotional as he expressed his thoughts during an interview with me after he had addressed the predominantly Asian-Amercian audience. "There memories cannot go in vain. The reason it is important to build this project is so that their memory and legacy will live on from now and into eternity." Although the Housing and Urban Development had awarded $7.7 million and the Mayor's Office of Housing had committed another $5.5 for construction of an affordable housing project, there was still a tone of skepticism in Supervisor Lee's voice as we talked. I asked if a groundbreaking of the new building at the site where the International Hotel had been located would occur during the Fall of 2000? "This is a done deal to the extent that all of the plans and all of the agreements are there, but we have still not somehow pulled it all together yet. But somehow and some way we've got to make it happen. There are still some last glitches in terms of right-of-way and so on that will be dealt with." The Internatinoal Hotel was built during the 19th century on the corner of Kearney and Jackson streets. Its occupants were single Filipino and Chinese men who worked as longshoremen and seamen. Due to its proximity to the wharf, the International Hotel provided a convenient location for the Filipino and Chinese community. Since a single room rented for $45.00 per month, it provided affordable housing as well. Between 1960 and 1977, during the golden age of the Kearney street corridor, the Filipino community stretched more than four blocks. This enclave was dubbed, "Manilatown" and the International Hotel would play a key role in the Asian Community. Like a shark in a frenzy from the scent of fresh blood, in 1968, commercial developers sensed huge profits along the Kearney Street corridor. Since that time, construction of buildings such as the Holiday Inn, Transamerica and Bank of America have taken place. In 1968, notices to vacate were given to nearly 200 residents of the International Hotel. It was learned that a permit to demolish the hotel was issued, so that construction of a multi-leveled parking lot could began. The tenants -- most of whom were elderly -- were only given until January 1st of the new year of 1969 to pack up and move out. That eviction notice was the catalyst of a cohesiveness that would propel a fierce, nine-year battle in the Asisan community over racism and civil rights. After nine-years and three mayoral administrations of legal gridlock, on August 4, 1977, at three o'clock in the terror of the morning, the elderly and all other tenants of the International Hotel were forcibly evicted from their homes. It was a night when injustice and racism bellowed every aspect of their tyrannous power. The forced evictions would result in the dispersal of the historical and cultural roots of a first-generation of Filipinos whose origin went back to the beginning of the 20th century. A resident of the International Hotel in 1977, Emil De Guzman, who is now affiliated with the Manilatown Heritage Foundation, a community-based organization formed to assist in the development of a new Manilatown Center, shared with me his first-person experience of that night. "On August 4, 1977, 200 police, sheriffs and firemen forced their way through thousands of protesters into the International Hotel. The San Francisco Fire Department trucks were used to hoist policemen onto the rooftop of the International Hotel. People were dragged out of the building." The Reverend Cecil Williams of Glide Memorial called the hole in the ground where the International Hotel had been, "The most important civil rights' issue in San Francisco." Furthermore, he went on to state as he spoke on the raised platform at the 23rd anniversary of the forced eviction, "We have to make sure this will never happen again." I remembered the words of Gandhi, "If the cause is right, the means will come," when I heard Nancy Hom of the Kearney Street Workshop, encourage the crowd by stating, "When the cause is right, the human spirit will prevail....Its what's in the heart that matters." Many people were in the audience who were personally involved in the struggle from its beginning. (MORE)
Forced Evictions- Innocent Until Proven Black or Poor, ct'd
12 years ago
Bill Sorro, an organizer, activist and former tenant was married at the International Hotel. He had lived there since May of 1970. Bill did not disguise his frustration while discussing his feelings with me. "Quite frankly, more and more people need to say, 'screw you, I ain't leaving' [to any future landlords with plans for gentrification]. I know a lot of people who were there and were hurt. During the '70's, horses were a legal weapon used to control crowds, and so policemen came into the crowds on horses wielding billy clubs." Peter Rubin of Local 261 acted as a member of a security team outside of the hotel that helped form the barricade around the hotel to deter the police from storming the building on the night of August 4, 1977. Many members of Local 261 were sympathetic to the people's struggle to resist the vacate notices by the owners of the International Hotel because the members of Local 261 understood the nature of the struggle. According to Peter, "The sheriff himself came down here and smashed in some of the doors to get to the tenants who were locked inside their rooms. When we found out that the police were coming we set up our barricade around the building. It was six-people deep around the building. The police came from Washington Street. The San Francisco Fire Department occupied the adjacent parking lot so that police units and sheriffs could successfully occupy the roof. The police were pretty violent. Police were riding on horses, swinging their clubs" Marshall Werner, a part of the San Francisco community at-large, shared her thoughts with me about the night of August 4, 1977. "It was not just activists who were involved. Rather, it was a citywide effort that saw people from all of the Bay Area providing support to tenants of the International Hotel. This act [of eviction] by the hotel owners was viewed as a precedence for developers in San Francisco to seize land from tenants and the working class for commercial development. Looking back, historically, it has become true. In addition, the emergence of greed began to gain politically power among local politicians. We are no longer able to form the alliances to stop the rapid displacements in all of the districts in San Francisco. " As the band, Scratch Pickles, filled the air, I watched Pearl Ubungen and Wailana Sim Cock interpret the International Hotel eviction through a dance performance on the barren sidewalk filling the atmosphere with hope, resistance and revolution. "By virtue of its nature, change must occur. Whether a radical or positive force effects that change depends on you......" Kaponda, August 8, 2000. *fair use*
13 accuse job agency of racism
12 years ago 13 accuse job agency of racism By TIM HIGGINS REGISTER STAFF WRITER COPYRIGHT 2006, THE DES MOINES REGISTER AND TRIBUNE COMPANY October 1, 2006 Iowa Workforce Development passed over Beverly Clark, a black woman from Des Moines, at least 56 times in four years for job promotions. Yolanda Shook, another black woman from Des Moines, twice took a pre-employment test at the department - each time scoring higher than Iowa Workforce Development's director did - but she was told she failed and would not be considered for a promotion. The agency's affirmative action officer, Harvey Andrews, a black man, was demoted and replaced by a white woman not trained to know whether all aspects of the agency's hiring and promotion practices complied with federal labor laws. Their stories are not unique. Thirteen people have complained recently about discriminatory hiring and promotion practices at the government agency that is responsible for enforcing workplace laws and helping Iowans find jobs. Last year, the state agreed to pay Clark and her lawyers about $247,000 to settle her lawsuit, which accused Iowa Workforce Development of discrimination. In May, 11 people filed a civil rights complaint on behalf of themselves and all black people who were denied career opportunities by the agency. The complaint accuses the agency of "systemic" discrimination. A former top official at Iowa Workforce Development calls the allegations of racism "ridiculous." State officials point to the fact that the agency employs a higher percentage of minorities than state government as a whole, and the percentage of minorities on the staff of the agency exceeds the percentage that minorities represent in Iowa's overall work force population. "Since about 1990, Iowa Workforce Development's employment policies and practices have been examined by outside entities - entities that have concluded that Iowa Workforce Development has not violated state and federal anti-discrimination laws," agency spokeswoman Kerry Koonce said. Nevertheless, an investigation by the Des Moines Sunday Register found signs of problems in the agency's hiring practices. Interviews with job applicants and government officials and the examination of numerous court documents and other state records found: - Iowa Workforce Development used a screening test - one statistically proven to have a negative effect on the scores of minorities, particularly blacks - to weed out applicants for jobs at the agency. - The agency continued using the test for outside applicants, even after discontinuing its use for internal promotions, when questions were raised about its fairness and possible racial bias. The agency's director took the test after questions were raised about it, and he said it was not an "appropriate or accurate" screening tool. But his staff continued to use the test for about three more years. - State officials ignored multiple warnings that problems existed in the agency's hiring and promotion practices. Policies sometimes were ignored and recommended changes were not made. Discrimination complaints tied to top levels of agency The Sunday Register's examination of Iowa Workforce Development comes at a time when the agency is under considerable public scrutiny for not properly monitoring the use of money funneled to the Central Iowa Employment and Training Consortium, or CIETC, a Des Moines-based jobs training program. Gov. Tom Vilsack, a Democrat, demanded, and received, the resignation of the top administrator at Iowa Workforce Development, director Richard Running. His deputy, Jane Barto, also agreed to leave. The Iowa Department of Administrative Services opened a brief investigation last spring into the management lapses at Iowa Workforce Development. The investigation found that employees of the agency were improperly given jobs, pay raises and bonuses. Not mentioned in the investigative report were several complaints of discrimination tied to top levels of Iowa Workforce Development. Eleven people filed complaints in May with the Iowa Civil Rights Commission, alleging racism at Iowa Workforce Development. At the heart of the complaints is a report by Beverly Clark's lawyers, Thomas Newkirk and Michael Carroll. Their brief called on Vilsack to overhaul Iowa Workforce Development to clean out seeds of racism. "We have identified within Iowa Workforce Development systemic racial discrimination practices focused on African Americans but likely bleeding into other non-white groups, combined with continuous intentional retaliation toward any who seek to challenge or expose the discrimination," the brief said. It added: "IWD does not refuse to hire all African Americans. IWD takes steps to keep the numbers of black employees hired at or just below the requirements of the state affirmative action plan. In other words, they use that plan as a ceiling, rather than a floor." Newkirk and Carroll said the Iowa Civil Rights Commission is too underfunded to properly investigate such complaints against an agency. The lawyers also said Attorney General Tom Miller is defending Iowa Workforce Development against discrimination complaints, rather than helping expose abuses. While acknowledging no wrongdoing in the Beverly Clark case, the state settled with her, in part because officials feared they could lose the lawsuit and Iowa Workforce Development could come under court-ordered monitoring for violating employees' civil rights. In June, state officials announced that six Iowa Workforce Development employees would be laid off in a cost-saving move, including Jackie Mallory, who headed the agency's human resources division. Mallory was the target of the report by Newkirk and Carroll. (MORE)
13 accuse job agency of racism, continued
12 years ago
State officials said the layoffs had nothing to do with the report or the discrimination complaints. The Sunday Register sought comment several times from Vilsack's office. Spokeswoman Jennifer Mullin declined to speak about specifics, citing concerns about pending litigation. The office issued a written statement: "While I can't comment on the quality of the employment screening tests used by IWD during certain periods of time, I can say the Vilsack/Pederson administration has been committed to hiring and retaining a diverse workforce in state government. ... Promoting and nurturing diverse populations is important to keeping our communities vibrant, and that is true of our state government community as well." Applicants question fairness of screening test To Beverly Clark, Yolanda Shook and Linda Pippen, the customer service test that Iowa Workforce Development used in screening job applicants was unfair. Clark began working at the department in August 1998 as a secretary. She could not score high enough on the test to get an interview for the job of work force adviser when those positions were open. Shook scored higher on the test than Richard Running, the agency's director at the time. But Shook said she was told she scored too low to be considered for a work force adviser job. Pippen, who joined Iowa Workforce Development in 1998 as a work force associate, scored high on the screening test, and her supervisor wanted to promote her, but a white woman who initially scored below the cutoff score was given the job instead. Work force advisers are the frontline employees at Iowa Workforce Development who are responsible for helping Iowans apply for unemployment benefits. There now are about 250 such advisers in the agency, and they are paid between $34,000 and $50,000 annually, said Koonce, the spokeswoman. About 13 percent of the 250 work force advisers are minorities, she said. The agency has about 750 full-time employees, of which about 14 percent are classified as minorities by the state, according to its most recent report in 2005. The state government's work force as a whole is 5 percent minority, while Iowa's work force is 6 percent minority. Because of the job's popularity, the department began using a test in 1998 to examine potential applicants' customer service skills. To get into the pool of applicants eligible to interview for work force adviser jobs, a person had to meet certain minimum job requirements and score 140 of 188 points on the customer service test, testimony and records show. In some cases, the required minimum test score changed, depending on the number of people to be considered, said Mallory, the agency's former human resources official. But records and interviews contradict her. Beverly Clark had worked in state government since 1996. She had an associate's degree from Scott Community College. In May 1999, Iowa Workforce Development honored her with an award for her customer service skills. Yet she did poorly on the department's customer service test. Clark took the test four times - twice in 1998; twice in 1999 - but she failed to score high enough to be considered for an interview. The highest she scored was 138, records indicate. She was told 140 was the minimum score she needed. "I couldn't believe that I got a score like that," Clark remembered. It frustrated her. The test seemed simple enough: She watched a video of common office situations and selected from among four responses. The video covered situations, such as the copy machine breaking down. Do you ask a co-worker for help, go to the boss, scream at it, kick it? Clark said the answers seemed like common sense and she couldn't understand how she scored so poorly. Officials in Iowa Workforce Development's human resources office would not allow Clark to see the test answers, so she could not see what she was doing wrong. When she complained that the test did not seem fair, Mallory told her that it wasn't discriminatory. The Sunday Register requested access to the test this summer under Iowa's open records law, but a spokeswoman for the department said the test could not be found. Reports showed blacks scored lower on exam In January 2000, Clark took her complaints about the test to Iowa Workforce Development Director Richard Running, a former Democratic legislator from Cedar Rapids. "I simply would like to know where did I go wrong and what can be done to increase my score," Clark told Running in a March 1, 2000, letter. "I would like to retake the test, but until I find out the results of the prior tests I don't feel comfortable taking it again." The department purchased the test in 1997 from Ergometrics and Applied Personnel Research Inc. of Edmonds, Wash. The purchase occurred two years after the company reviewed the test and found that blacks statistically did worse on it than whites. "The test has demonstrated some significant adverse impact based on ethnicity," the company's report said. Despite that, the report said the test could be used in pre-employment screening because the test was evaluating specific skills critical to the success of the job and the employer. State officials insist they never saw that report, but another Ergometrics report the state did receive hinted at the likelihood of adverse effects on the scores achieved by minorities taking the test. Mallory said she believed the screening test was a fair way of narrowing a field of candidates. She also said that Cynthia Eisenhauer, now Vilsack's chief of staff, authorized the purchase and use of the test when she was director of Iowa Workforce Development. Eisenhauer's aides in the governor's office dispute that statement, and Iowa Workforce Development could not locate documents pertaining to the purchase of the test. (MORE)
13 accuse job agency of racism, continued
12 years ago
Running, Eisenhauer's replacement at Iowa Workforce Development, said in testimony in February 2005 that he questioned the screening test after Clark complained about it in early 2000. He asked to take the test. Afterward, he said the agency should stop using the exam. "I was a community college business and industry trainer in one of my previous lives, and I did training in ... quality customer service," Running testified. "I, after taking the test, just didn't think it was the most appropriate or accurate tool of measuring ability for customer service kinds of positions." State records show Running scored 143 on the exam. To be considered for a work force adviser job, applicants needed at least 140, according to records sent to Clark. The highest Clark scored was 138. Although Running ordered Iowa Workforce Development to stop using the screening test, records show the agency continued to use it to screen applicants who applied from outside of the department. Running declined to be interviewed for this article. But his lawyer said Running did not believe the test was discriminatory. Test use continues, despite complaints Clark was neither the first person nor the only person to raise questions about the customer service test. In 1998, Harvey Andrews, Iowa Workforce Development's officer responsible for ensuring the agency complied with federal affirmative action laws, asked Mallory if the test had any negative effect on women, minorities or the disabled, testimony shows. Mallory never answered, and in 2002 Andrews was demoted in what he was told was a cost-saving step. His duties were given to a white woman, Ramona Kintz, who said under oath in 2005 that she was not qualified to judge whether the test was discriminatory. Andrews could not be reached for comment. Kintz lost her job in the June layoffs. A black man has been named the affirmative action officer. Top officials of Iowa Workforce Development received a formal complaint about the customer service test in 1999. Karen von Behren, an investigator with Iowa Workforce Development in Burlington, thought the test sounded unfair and filed a complaint through the union grievance process. State records show her complaint was initially denied by Shanell Wagler, an official in the department's human resources division, who wrote that the complaint was untimely, not contractual and involved an issue left up to management. Clark's complaints spurred an investigation by work force development officials. Dan Adair, at the time an official with the Iowa Department of Personnel, and Russ Coleman, then a work force development division head, looked at the test and recommended the agency stop using it. "The customer service examination should be eliminated as part of the screening process for all applicants," Adair and Coleman said in a memorandum to officials in 2000. "In our opinion, there are other methods available that would be sufficient indicators of a person's customer service ability such as interviews, reference checks, and applicable education and experience." The agency stopped using the test for internal promotions. Despite the recommendation from Adair and Coleman, the department continued to use the exam to screen external applicants until 2003, Mallory said. With Iowa Workforce Development no longer using the screening test internally, Clark thought she would have an easier time getting a promotion at the agency. Running instructed her to see Mallory, the human resources manager, about applying for a new job. That new job never came. Application after application, Clark was rejected in what she now believes was retaliation for complaining about the test. Work force development officials told her that was not the case. Nevertheless, Clark lost promotions to a younger woman with less experience who applied after the application deadline and to a less educated white man who worked in the mailroom, records show. She sued the state in 2002, claiming she was passed over for 56 jobs in four years. The state settled last year right before the case went before a jury, agreeing to pay her and her lawyers about $247,000. In records regarding the court case, a memo from Attorney General Tom Miller's staff explained the rationale for settling the case: "The agency adamantly denies any intentional use of race as any factor in its decisions, much less a 'motivating' factor as is required by the federal and state statutes," Gordon Allen, then the deputy attorney general, wrote in the April 21, 2005, letter. "However, our defense was hampered by incomplete memories of witnesses due to the passage of time and the number of decisions being challenged. Given that, there was a substantial and very real risk of a large jury verdict, with subsequent court-ordered equitable relief and court monitoring, under the Iowa Civil Rights Act." Job goes to white woman with lower exam score The decisions of some Iowa Workforce Development managers have left the agency open to claims of plots to fire certain employees who are minorities or disabled. Linda Pippen, the woman who scored high on the customer service test but saw the promotion go to a white woman, is one who felt wronged. Pippen, a work force associate in the Waterloo office in 1999, scored 155 points on the screening test. Her supervisor told the human resources office in Des Moines that he wanted to promote her to an open work force adviser job. Pippen "gets along with every person" and has "a very positive attitude toward work," her boss wrote. Yet the Des Moines office balked, and the job went to a white woman who scored 125 on the test that supposedly required a minimum score of 140 to pass. The woman was invited to retake the test and scored 160. (MORE)
13 accuse job agency of racism, continued
12 years ago
Pippen complained to the Iowa Civil Rights Commission. State officials who investigated did not find probable cause to believe there was discrimination. The investigation report noted that the white woman had a better resume than Pippen. The investigator did take issue with how Pippen was treated. "The management methods used by IWD does nothing to enhance good employee morale," the report in 2000 by Roger Halleck said. Halleck found it "rather disturbing" that agency officials downgraded the Waterloo job to a lower-paying position as soon as the white woman transferred to another division. "Who would be the expected candidates for her replacement?" Halleck asked. "The answer is the three African American workforce associates." Work force development officials said the position was downgraded to save money. Black woman told of plot to force her to quit While the Iowa Civil Rights Commission investigation into Linda Pippen's complaint hinted at a perception of a plot to not hire blacks for higher-level jobs, others have complained directly about that. In 2001, Violet Ann LeFlore, a black woman who was a work force associate in Cedar Rapids, filed a complaint with the civil rights commission after she learned of an attempt by some Iowa Workforce Development managers to put pressure on her so she would quit. She learned of the plan from Carl Scharff, an executive who lost his job two weeks before his probationary period ended in 2001. Scharff told her he was meeting with regional supervisors when he heard them discuss an idea to promote LeFlore, then put pressure on her in hopes that she would quit. He said those supervisors thought she was lazy, but he protested after looking at her employment record, which contradicted the statements. The managers did not follow through with the plan. "What so upset me about what they did to Ann was that she was well qualified," Scharff told the Sunday Register. "... They were talking, 'This gal is black,' and one of the statements made was, 'These kinds of people don't get things done.' " Mallory, the former head of work force development's human resources office, questioned Scharff's timing, noting that his accusations only came to light after he lost his job. "I was disgruntled because people were treated unfairly," Scharff said. State records show Iowa Workforce Development conducted an administrative investigation into the matter in January 2002. The investigation backed up Scharff's statements about the plot, but the department decided there was no discrimination or harassment. "There is evidence, however, that IWD internal policies and procedures are not being consistently or properly applied by management in Region 10," state records to the civil rights commission noted. Two other women, Phyllis Maskarina, who is Hispanic, and Rene Kipper-Dunbar, who is black, sued the department, claiming discrimination and retaliation. The women were work force associates in the department's office in Mason City until they were told in 1998 that because of state budget problems they would have to transfer to Fort Dodge and Oelwein, respectively, or lose their jobs. Both had worked in Mason City for about 10 years, and neither wanted to move, so they left the agency. They filed discrimination complaints with the Iowa Civil Rights Commission, claiming the transfers were part of a plan to get rid of them. They also complained that their co-workers in the Mason City office used racially offensive comments, such as "%#&!*%," and talked about eagerly awaiting the day when affirmative action would end so "we can go back to like it was before." About a year later, they both learned of an opening in the Mason City office for a work force adviser job. They applied, but the job went to Linda Svoboda, a lawyer and former Democratic state representative from the 1970s. Both sued the state. Last spring, a judge dismissed the lawsuit, ruling that they failed to prove their case. They were in the process of appealing when the state settled, paying them each $2,500. Printed e-mails detail conspiracy to avoid hire The lawyer for the Iowa Workforce Development employees and prospective workers points to the case of a white woman to illustrate the lengths top department officials went to to avoid hiring certain people. E-mail records outline a plan in May 2004 by Mallory and Jane Barto, then the department's deputy director, to avoid hiring Linda Hubbard. Hubbard had a right to a job in the department under union rules. Mallory suggested using temporary employees to fill a vacancy to get around having to hire Hubbard. "The woman is back on the recall list because she had carpel tunnel surgery and now is ready to return to work," Mallory wrote in e-mails obtained by the Sunday Register. "I don't want another bad apple." Byron Orton, the state labor commissioner at the time, expressed his dismay with the idea. "This is a violation of the collective bargaining agreement and most likely a violation of the ADA," he said in an e-mail to Mallory and Barto, referring to the Americans with Disabilities Act. The agency eventually hired Hubbard. Continuing pattern of discrimination alleged After years of frustration watching their complaints to the Iowa Civil Rights Commission lead to no changes, 11 people filed a new complaint in May with the commission on their behalf and on behalf of all black people who had suffered similar treatment. The complaint was the precursor to a class-action lawsuit. The complaint includes familiar names: Beverly Clark, Linda Pippen, Yolanda Shook and Violet Ann LeFlore. (MORE)
13 accuse job agency of racism, continued
12 years ago
In the Iowa Civil Rights Commission complaint, the 11 employees state: "There is a continuing pattern of discrimination to prevent the hiring and retention of African American managers or African Americans in positions where they would be able to monitor or modify the racially biased hiring practices of management within IWD." Shook's husband, Shane Shook, who is black, is part of the group. He took the screening test and was told he failed, he said. Records show he scored 143 - above the 140 that other applicants were told was the minimum needed to pass. He said part of the blame for the hiring practices rests with Vilsack. Shane Shook said there have been many indications of problems at the department in recent years, but the governor never interceded. "He just doesn't want to get his hands dirty," said Shane Shook. No laws were violated, work force agency says Koonce said the civil rights commission has investigated past claims against the agency but "has never concluded that there was reasonable cause to believe Iowa Workforce Development had violated state or federal anti-discrimination laws." She said the agency has successfully defended itself in other discrimination lawsuits and noted that over the years they had "enacted a number of initiatives to promote a culture that promoted the building of a diverse work force and policies to ensure the diverse work force was respected." Mallory, who lost her job during the summer, defended herself and said claims of discrimination under her watch were "absolutely ridiculous." "We make an effort to hire the best-qualified," she said. "If you're black and you're the best qualified, we'll hire you. ... We will not go around the system." Reporter Tim Higgins can be reached at (515) 284-8039 or Fair Use Notice This humanitarian focused group posts messages which may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not specifically been authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in an effort to advance the understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific, religious, spiritual, and social justice issues. We believe this constitutes a "fair use" of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for nonprofit educational and research purposes, and in the hope that more people will awaken and begin to think for themselves, as is so sorely needed in these times. For more information on fair use, please go to: If you wish to use copyrighted material for purposes of your own which go beyond "fair use," we suggest that you obtain permission from the copyright wner.
Escondido council approves illegal immigrant rental ban
12 years ago Friday, October 20, 2006 Last modified Thursday, October 5, 2006 3:33 PM PDT Escondido council approves illegal immigrant rental ban By: DAVID FRIED - Staff Writer ESCONDIDO -- Escondido became the first California city to ban renting property to illegal immigrants on Wednesday, bringing to a head months of divisive arguments in the community, and possibly setting the city up for a protracted legal battle. View A Video - View A Slide Show Streamed Council Meetings At the end of a contentious, late-night meeting, the measure passed by a margin of 3-2, with Council members Ed Gallo, Sam Abed and Marie Waldron ---- who proposed the ban ---- in support. Mayor Lori Holt Pfeiler and Councilman Ron Newman voted against it. Despite hearing two hours of often-emotional public testimony pleading both sides of the issue, the outcome of the vote was never in question, as Gallo, Waldron and Abed had regularly made public comments in support of the law. Waldron argued that the ordinance was needed to counter what she called a lack of initiative to address illegal immigration at the federal level, and that the country's sovereignty was under attack by a wave of illegal immigrants. "If there was ever a time more important to stand up for our sovereignty, our nation and community, this is it," Waldron said. In passing the ban, Escondido became the sixth city in the country to adopt local legislation penalizing landlords who rent to illegal immigrants. The ordinance must come back to the council on Oct. 18 for a second vote before it can be enacted 30 days later. Several civil rights groups have already promised to challenge the ban in court, something that could delay its enactment. The law was proposed as a way of addressing residential overcrowding in the city. And in explaining the motives behind their votes, the council majority often referred to a city-commissioned study of the Mission Park neighborhood downtown. That study found that roughly 80 percent of the 16,000 residents in the area were foreign-born, mostly from Mexico, and often lived in overcrowded conditions. "Illegals are willing to live in horrible conditions," Gallo said, citing problems with health and safety of overcrowded units. "This leads to a lot of other issues." Newman and Pfeiler said they recognized immigration was a popular issue, resulting from mounting frustration with federal enforcement. But they said the ordinance would do little to actually resolve those issues, since it is based on federal verification of documents. "We're telling you we're going to do something, and in reality, we're not," Newman said. He also said Waldron's attempt to address immigration at the local level was simply based on discrimination. "To suggest that this ordinance is something other than going after Latinos and Mexicans in our community is really false," Newman said. "That's clearly what it's about." The controversial proposal drew crowds that filled council chambers and overflowed into the courtyard in front of City Hall, where TVs broadcasting the meeting were set up. Demonstrators from both sides spent the hours before the meeting rallying outside, chanting slogans in support or in opposition to the law. To handle the crowds, dozens of officers patrolled the civic center area, including representatives from at least a half-dozen other county law enforcement agencies. And only individuals holding one of 200 tickets handed out before the meeting were allowed inside. Everyone who entered the building had to pass through metal detectors. The council's discussion also generated a storm of media attention, with news outlets from around Southern California covering what for most weeks is a sleepy, mundane meeting. Under the rental ban, the city would only take action after a complaint is filed with the city's business license division by a resident, official or business owner. Complaints would have to describe the alleged violators. However any complaint based primarily on a person's race, ethnicity or national origin would be discarded. Complaints deemed valid would be investigated by the city, and landlords would be required to submit identification documents for the tenants in question. The city would verify the documents with federal immigration agencies. If the renters are found to be in the country illegally, landlords would be required to remove the tenants within 10 business days, or have their business license suspended, meaning they could not legally collect rent or lease their property. Landlords who repeatedly violate the ban would face misdemeanor charges, which carry penalties of up to $1,000 and/or six months in jail. Civil rights groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union and Mexican-American Legal Defense and Education Fund, have promised to take the city to court to prevent the ban from taking effect. They say the law is unconstitutional and would violate federal fair housing laws. Many speakers said the law was necessary to counter what they called federal inaction on illegal immigration. "One by one, American cities are going to be doing the same," said Claudia Spencer. "And one by one, Americans are going to be getting their cities back." That trend began earlier this summer. Escondido's ordinance was modeled after a similar measure in Hazleton, Pa., which in July became the first American city to adopt its own immigration law. Since then other cities in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Missouri have passed their own ordinances. (MORE)
Escondido council approves illegal immigrant rental ban, continued
12 years ago
Those who argued Wednesday in favor of the Escondido ban said that it was necessary to stem a roaring tide of illegal immigration into the region, and that it would improve the quality of life for legal residents of Escondido. Those opposing the measure called it an embarrassment for the city and said it would unfairly target Latinos. They warned that the rental ban would be detrimental for Escondido's community, its businesses and its image. About 42 percent of the city's 140,000 residents are Latino, according to the San Diego Association of Governments. Since Waldron proposed the ban in July, the matter has generated divisions among many parts of the community. Those divisions were clear in the public comments to the council, where immigrants, landlords, business owners and local residents all argued for and against the ban. Jim Brabant, an Escondido landlord, said he would be happy to comply with the ordinance. He said that immigration across the border may be chaotic, "but the effects of that chaos is felt locally in Escondido" Many other landlords, however, said the council was making a grave mistake. Jackie Grant, an Escondido landlord, said they would never have bought property here, if they had known the council planned to pass what she called a racially motivated attack on immigrants. "We are totally embarrassed by this," said Grant, who moved here two years ago. "We don't want landlords to be a scapegoat for a problem that's way, way, way bigger than this (ordinance)." Deborah Szekely, and many others in the city's business community, said the measure was certain to drive potential business investment away from Escondido. "Our city will be identified worldwide as racist and our people will be seen as looking to the past instead of the future," Szekely said. The council also voted 4-1 to track the effectiveness of the ordinance, including how often it results in complaints, evictions an the costs of enforcement and defending the law to any legal challenges that might result. Gallo opposed the tracking measure. -- Contact staff writer David Fried at (760) 740-5416 or *fair use*
Leave or die: America's hidden history of racial expulsions
12 years ago !Leave or die America's hidden history of racial expulsions is exposed in this explicit account Many driven off in violent, swift purgings By Elliot Jaspin, Cox News Service Editor's note: Please be advised this story contains explicit racial slurs. It is America's family secret. Beginning in 1864 and continuing for approximately 60 years, whites across the United States conducted a series of racial expulsions, driving thousands of blacks from their homes to make communities lily-white."
Black Information Link: Editorial - Weasel-worded slavery apology worthless
12 years ago Editorial - Weasel-worded slavery apology worthless Editorial 26/11/2006 ANY WEASEL-WORDED half apology for slavery from Tony Blair would be a massive insult to the memory of millions who died in the black holocaust. Only a full-blooded, unequivocal apology - which leaves the door open for reparations - will be acceptable to many in the black community. For much of Blair’s premiership the official government position has been that slavery is not a crime against humanity because it was legal at the time. This ridiculous position has been maintained in the face of derision from anti-slavery campaigners. Now Blair plans to tell parliament: ‘It is hard to believe that what would now be a crime against humanity was legal at the time.’ There is very little difference between the British position at the UN World Conference Against Racism in Durban in 2001, and Blair’s position today. This minor change is now being spun into an “historic statement”, just in time for the bicentenary of abolition next year. In fact, the slight shift occurred two years ago when the then Home Office minister Fiona MacTaggart said: ‘slavery is a crime against humanity. Slavery and the slave trade were, and are, appalling tragedies in the history of humanity.’ Two years ago the criticism of this statement was that it stopped short of endorsing reparations. The same will be true of Blair’s statement this week. In one way, Blair’s statement will be a step backwards because he will deny a link between historical slavery and the legacy, which continues to deeply affect the African Diaspora today. Blair will say: ‘Personally I believe the bicentenary offers us a chance not just to say how profoundly shameful the slave trade was - how we condemn its existence utterly and praise those who fought for its abolition, but also to express our deep sorrow that it ever happened, that it ever could have happened and to rejoice at the different and better times we live in today.’ There are three problems with this. First, we cannot “rejoice” because the legacy of slavery is evident in statistics showing disproportionate levels of black people going through the criminal justice and mental health systems. It is also clear from unemployment, exam results, mortality rates, health, and HOMELESSNESS figures. Second, expressing a personal “deep sorry” about slavery avoids acknowledging the state’s regret and acceptance of blame. This “sorry” is no more than the personal apologies given over the Irish potato famine, the Bloody Sunday shootings and the imprisonment of the Guildford Four. And third, condemning the “existence” of slavery as “profoundly shameful” is a start, but is skirting around the reality of how truly horrific slavery was. There is no mention of how many millions of people died, and no mention of who benefited. Blair, the lawyer, has cleverly divorced slavery from the economic trade in order to avoid reparations. We must not be fooled by this slight of hand. Slavery provided the human and material resources to fuel the industrial boom and make Britain a world power. This history cannot be rewritten. *fair use* Harmony- the capitalized word, "HOMELESSNESS" in the fourth paragraph from the end of the article is my emphasis.
World Players Anti-racism conference
12 years ago Tuesday, September 26, 2006 World Players Anti-racism conference Scene from the Homeless World Cup 2006, Cape Town. Under the shadow of Table Mountain and the blue South African sky FIFPro held an anti-racism conference to coincide with the launch of the Homeless World Cup which kicked off in Cape Town, South Africa, on 23 September 2006. The seminar was attended by 150 delegates from the 48 countries who are participating in the Homeless World Cup. The highlight of the conference was the speech of the South African freedom fighter, Tokyo Sexwale, who is also a member of the FIFA 2010 Local organising committee. Pictured left to right are: Tokyo Sexwale (South African Sports Minister, Eusebio, Lesley Hinds (Lord Provist of Edinburgh), Tony Higgins (Scottish PFA) and below: Thulaganyo Gaoshubelwe and Chris Fortuin (both SAFPU). Portuguese legend Eusebio attended as the FIFPro anti-racism ambassador and was given a standing ovation by the delegates. President of the FIFPro anti-racism committee, Tony Higgins, outlined to the delegates and the worlds press FIFPro's work in ensuring professional players from all over the world continue to lead the way in delivering the anti-racism message. "Racism and homelessness are strongly linked as they are both results of discrimination and that is why FIFPro decided to hold our conference in Cape Town to coincide with the Homeless World Cup." said Higgins. He also announced that the South Africa players union, SAFPU, has been chosen to develop FIFPro's anti-racism project for 2007. A question and answer session followed various presentations from invited guests including Lord Provist of Edinburgh, Lesley Hinds, Chris Fortuin, SAFPU, Piara Power, FARE, Fran Gavin, FIFPro and Tokyo Sexwale. Also in attendance was William Gaillard from UEFA posted by Garrett Mullan at 11:50 AM *fair use*
related thread here in HCRCL
12 years ago
"Approximately 59 percent of the sheltered homeless were members of minority groups. While 12 percent of the total US population is black, blacks account for 45 percent of the homeless population." Also see related thread here in HCRCL:
Taking Back the Southwest: Being a Zapatista Where You Live
12 years ago by John Ross March 18, 2007 CounterPunch The snow was frozen to the gutters and a gritty wind blowing hard out of the north this past Valentine's Day when I kicked off this odyssey at an anarcho outpost down by the railroad yards, La Semilla, in Albuquerque. Two hardscrabble hoboes eyed me through the chain link fence when I walked out into the front yard to bust a joint. Could they come inside and get warm, the white guy asked. He was from New Jersey and the black man with him from Brooklyn. That's what he called him: "Brooklyn." The two were heading west, California if they could get there. No, it wasn't a pleasure trip. The railroads bulls had kicked them off the freight they had hopped in Texas and they had pooled their change to buy a short dog of wine to keep out the cold. The black man squatted stoically by the wood stove and said nothing. What kind of place was this anyway, New Jersey wanted to know? "We're Wobblies, the IWW, one big union" Clay told him and called the rescue van to book them a bed at the shelter. There are a lot of homeless people walking the streets of Albuquerque this winter. They get booted off the freight trains or are thrown out by the family or just got out of prison with no fixed destination. Sasha just sent me a clip that reported there are 16,000,000 Americans living in deep poverty in this, the most overfed nation on the Planet Earth, a 26%increase in the six years since Bush declared the Terror War. We have 2,000,000 more locked down behind bars in American prisons - they're not included in the mix - and 7,000,000 undocumented workers who are not counted anywhere. That's about ten times the number of troops in the U.S. Armed Forces who are otherwise occupied with getting whacked in Iraq and Afghanistan. The numbers of the hopeless should be enough to incite serious social disruption but the fuse is damp. How can we jumpstart the revolution? That's what I'm trying to find out out here on the road. New Mexico is outlaw country. It is up near the top of all U.S.A jurisdictions in incarcerations per capita, heroin deaths, drunk driving arrests, radioactive contamination, and private prisons. The nuclear poisons are in the wind, leaking out of Los Alamos and Alamogordo and the slag heaps of yellow cake up in Navajo country. The skag comes up the pipeline from Sinaloa, Mexican Brown, and has cut a swatch of death through northern New Mexico. Read Chellis Glendinning's "Chiva" to weigh its deadly embrace. Chellis lives out in Chimayo and knows where the bodies are buried. My pal Tilda knows its terrible toll only too well. She lost her eldest to an o.d. and her second son is in his ninth year of a stretch for a teenage convenience store heist. Nine years! He was supposed to have been paroled in November but just got jacked up again for getting in his p.o.'s face and now his mom can't even visit him. To stay sane, Tilda channels her rage into the prisoners' rights movement, stalking the legislature up in Santa Fe for change. Tilda came down from Pecos to a session at the Albuquerque Peace & Justice Center on "being Zapatistas where we live", an interchange between activists that I've been convoking as I travel between the coasts. By being a Zapatista where we live I mostly mean doing our work in a Zapatista way under the governing principal of "mandar obedeciendo", that is serving the community and taking decisions together without hierarchies or patriarchy, confronting power with truth, ripping the mask off capitalist exploitation and building a new American left from the bottom up. Like the compas down south, we need to get off the mal gobierno's grid and construct autonomous spaces and become the subjects of our own destiny. We can't do this alone. We have to do battle with sectarianism, spread solidarity, and make coalitions. Talk to each other, I'm always urging the folks who come to these meetings. I saw this being a Zapatista thing where we live taking root at South Central Farms in L.A, last summer where Zapatista solidarity people and white anarchists, undocumented workers and Chicano activists took on Wal-Mart and the Sheriff's deputies and the first Mexican-American mayor of the city since 1842. Up and down the coast, Zapatista groups were working on immigrant rights and issues of homelessness, racism, juvenile justice, and the war. In New Mexico, activists circled up and spoke about taking on the prison system, water rights and the asequias of the pueblos, childcare, coal power plants and the trashing of the state's once pristine environment. The Wobblies are trying to organize Starbucks and the war is driving people to take risks. The Hispanic community in particular is paying an awful price for the carnage in Iraq. Up in Taos where the domestic Zapatistas gathered at an oasis with an "openly subversive" sign planted in the front yard, the issue was what to do about Donald Rumsfeld who has lived in that weird burg for too many years. Now the anarchists are carrying around paper towels and asking Rummy to wipe the blood off his hands whenever they spot him prowling the upscale haunts. Keith McHenry, the big papa of Food Not Bombs is in residence these days fanning the flames in New Mexico these days and back in Burque, a posse of youngish anarchos decked out in red and black escorted me to the Mexican bus on their skateboards the morning I lit out for Las Cruces and the border. (MORE)
12 years ago
Jeff Conant, a colleague who was kicked out of Chiapas back in '98 for celebrating the advent of the autonomia named for the old anarchist Ricardo Flores Magon (Jeff returned to San Francisco to paint the mural the army had rubbed out on the wall of City Lights bookstore facing Jack Kerouac alley) thinks there's a lot of "The Almanac of the Dead" in everyday New Mexico - the magic realist novel written by the Native American writer Leslie Marman Silko that prophesized the Zapatista rebellion. Jeff took me along to see a purported Mayan shaman living east of Albuquerque where he would hold a mic in front of Flor de Mayo for an interview someone else was conducting from the Bay Area. Flor de Mayo turned out to be a short stocky woman in a gorgeous huipil who resembled a cross between Mother Jones and a pit bulldog and spoke in a sensational Bronx accent - she claimed that she had been spirited off to New York as a young girl from the jungles of Central America. Although Flor de Mayo appeared to know no Mayan, she did produce a volume bound in red leather that bore the legend "El Destino" ("The Destiny") which fixed the final day of the current Mayan cycle at November 28th 2011. You read it here first. The volume sat cheek by howl on the bookshelf above her desk with a book on how to sail. Flor de Mayos's husband restored old Airstreams - several were parked in the back yard. She spoke of flying up Mount Everest in a helicopter with the Dali Lama and didn't think much of the Zapatistas. Shamans, healers, fakirs, high priests, Ayahuascos, peyote eaters, and other variegated visionaries have always formed an important part of the northern New Mexico tax base. II. The border runs like a raw scar through the desert. The U.S. military, private contractors, and Israeli advisers are building The Wall to keep the global south from penetrating Fortress Amerikkka. Small mammals and reptiles will be denied passage between the two sides. Migratory birds will have to get visas to maneuver the flyway in from Canada. Larger mammals are being captured in record numbers (the toxically-named "Operation Return to Sender") or else being taken as trophies by armed safaris. At the Sleep Inn outside of Las Cruces, the National Guardsmen and women sporting their best Baghdad camou were changing shifts. "Kill a few for me!" I heard one incoming murderer yell joyfully at a comrade on his way down to patrol the border at Columbus where Pancho Villa once invaded. Where is the old revolutionary when we need him? I decided not to wear my kaffia down to the complimentary breakfast that morning for fear of triggering a flashback or being busted for impersonating a haji. El Paso-Juarez is right at the heart of the war zone. A lot of bodies turn up floating face down in the Rio Bravo. Life is cheap on the southern bank of the river where 300 women have been slaughtered in the past 12 years and it's not worth much more on El Otro Lado. The Zapatista solidarity movement was chartered here back in the '90s but the revolution has been spread by the four winds since then. Back then, we would send our old clothes to Chiapas to express solidarity - Subcomandante Marcos walked around with one pink pump (size six) in his rucksack, the "Cinderella Syndrome" he called it, to illustrate his frustration at such useless "material" aid. Now we are trying to do solidarity in a different way by being Zapatistas where we live. Bobby Byrd, the soul of Cinco Puntos Press (Lee Byrd is the heart), the border booksellers who defied the National Council on the Arts by publishing Marcos's "Story of Colors", took me out to dinner in Paso del Norte with Reyes Tejirina, the legendary leader of the 1967 raid on the courthouse at Tierra Amarilla New Mexico, since enshrined in Chicano history - although if the truth be told, the bold, armed action was actually in defense of the land grants the Spanish Crown had bestowed upon the first Hispanics to settle the land which, of course, really belonged to the Indian pueblos. Despite the confusion, the raid, coming at a moment when the Panthers were picking up the gun and the Nation of Aztlan was being reborn, galvanized identity politics in America for a generation of would-be revolutionaries. Reyes is in his 80s now, broke and unwell. When we picked him up at the El Paso apartment Bobby found for him, he seemed so enfeebled that I thought he might give up the ghost over supper. But a big steaming bowl of Pho seemed to revive him and he was soon boiling over with unruly advice. Marcos needed the Indians more than the Indians needed Marcos, he opined and I agreed. Could I name the Seven Jews who had built the Atom Bomb? (I could - my uncle was one of them.) The old man, still as chiseled and ruggedly handsome as he was as a younger icon with a great shock of white hair under his battered Stetson, seemed obsessed with the Jews. He had been to the Holy Land and stood with the Palestinians against "the Synagogue of Satan" (Apocalypse 2,9 and 3.9 - you could look it up.) Despite the looniness, sitting down to table with Reyes was like eating dinner with history and I handed him the new Zapatista book to chew on. He rang me up the next morning and called me "a warrior" and said he loved me and I carry that conversation proudly as I stumble through the country trying to convince another generation of American rebels to be Zapatistas where they are. Over on the other end of Texas, I would meet other folks being Zapatistas where they live. Dianne Wilson, an unreasonable woman, was one. She's the shrimp boat captain who launched hunger strikes and scuttled her own shrimper to protest Big Plastics' poisoning of the Gulf, then flew off to Baghdad to try and stop the war and even took herself to Washington where she sat and starved in front of the White House for a while in pursuit of the justice of which we have all been denied. (MORE)
Taking Back the Southwest: Being a Zapatista Where You Live, ctd
12 years ago
I bumped into this valiant companera at the Texas Bend Social Forum over in Corpus Christi where we both keynoted the conclave, about 150 souls out there in the wilderness learning how to be Zapatistas in their own backyard. Some of those backyards are the Colonias where unscrupulous land speculators have sold off squalid lots without any services whatsoever to impoverished families of undocumented workers, converting the south Texas scrubland into an extension of squatter colonies that now extend from Nuevo Laredo all the way to Tierra del Fuego. The southwest leg of this endless perambulation took me back through Austin and Houston for a hot reading with old camaradas - ex-Sandanista guerrillero Roberto Vargas and the honored elder Raul Salinas at his Resistencia bookstore, and an afternoon with the prescient Mexican historian of anarchist uprising John Hart. and even a day with Lluvia, the three year-old granddaughter of la bella Elizabeth, my eternal editor, who played the strings of my heart like it was a busted ukulele. But something was missing in Tejas this time around. Maybe it was its sense of humor. They have taken Molly Ivins from us and suddenly George Bush and the rest of those bastards are not so funny. The business about which we are about is so serious, Subcomandante Marcos once counseled, that if we can't laugh at ourselves we will soon go nuts. I fear for the country. Molly Ivins, presente! Next stop, the New Old South. John Ross is on the road at Cape Fear North Carolina with his latest opus ZAPATISTAS! Making Another World Possible--Chronicles of Resistance 2000-2006. and will be touring the south (North Carolina, Berea Kentucky, Atlanta Georgia, New Orleans) and the Midwest (Minneapolis, Madison, Chicago, Cincinnati) in March before hitting the east coast in April. He can be reached at: *fair use*
Housing discrimination
12 years ago
Via email, courtesy of Ruben Botello On patrol for fair housing (Napa Valley Register) By KEVIN COURTNEY Register Staff Writer Saturday, April 14, 2007 The many forms of housing discrimination against Latinos was the topic of a presentation to local attorneys and real estate professionals on Friday. Local complaints of housing discrimination by Latinos shot up 300 percent in 2006, resulting in 37 cases investigated by local and state agencies, said Kathryn Winter, executive director of Fair Housing Napa Valley. Landlords can usually identify a caller’s ethnicity over the phone, and as a result they sometimes choose to withhold information about vacant units, said Liza Cristol-Deman, an attorney with Brancart & Brancart, a Northern California firm. Some landlords ask for proof of citizenship or legal status or require proficiency in English as a way of weeding out applications from immigrants, she said. It is legal for prospective landlords to ask applicants for proof of citizenship or legal status, Cristol-Deman said. But if only Latinos are questioned, laws prohibiting discrimination based on national origin may be broken, she said. State and federal laws prohibit housing discrimination based on such factors as national origin, race, religion, sex, disabilities and whether the applicants have children, Cristol-Deman said. State law is even more restrictive, prohibiting the use of age, source of income, sexual orientation, marital status and any “arbitrary reason” for turning away renters or buyers, Cristol-Deman said. It’s rare these days that a seller or landlord blatantly rejects someone because of their country of origin, she said. Rather, discrimination takes more subtle forms. Landlords may filter out Latinos by listening to their voices on answering machines and not returning their calls, she said. Latinos can be told that there are no vacancies, whereas an Anglo-sounding voice is told the contrary, she said. Latinos are often asked to pay higher security deposits or meet a tougher income eligibility requirements. Often requirements are waived for white applicants, but not Hispanics, she said. When her law firm files cases alleging housing discrimination, statistical evidence can be used to prove wrong-doing, Cristol-Deman said. If the ethnic composition of a housing development is wildly out of sync with the neighborhood, that can be persuasive, she said. When her firm investigates complaints, they usually find that one act of discriminatory behavior leads to many others, Cristol-Deman said. It can be illegal to harass renters by threatening to turn them into federal immigration authorities, she said. Attorneys have asserted discrimination when a rental requirement can be shown to have an unequal impact on Latino and non-Latino families, she said. It might seem fair to ask all applicants to produce a driver’s license or Social Security card, but not if puts one ethnic group at a disadvantage, Cristol-Deman said. A landlord can ask for other forms of identification. To determine credit-worthiness, they can ask for bank records, rental histories or get a co-signer, she said. Fair Housing Napa Valley investigates allegations of housing discrimination and helps tenants and landlords resolve disputes. There were 115 fair housing cases investigated in 2006, Winter said. The greatest number of cases, 49, involved people with disabilities or handicaps who were not accommodated by their landlord, Winter said. The 37 national origin cases represented the second largest group, followed by 21 cases involving families with children who were harassed or denied housing. Most cases are resolved through mediation, Winter said, although some are referred to private attorneys and state and federal agencies for action. Fair housing laws in California do not apply to someone who is renting a room in their house, Winter said. Owners of duplexes and larger rental housing developments are subject to the law, she said. *fair use*
Death raises questions about stun guns
11 years ago Death raises questions about stun guns 2007/6 By MURRAY EVANS, Associated Press Writer 11 minutes ago OKLAHOMA CITY - A woman confronted by police outside a homeless shelter is the latest example of someone who died after being shocked with a Taser, an electric stun gun designed to help officers subdue violent suspects without nightsticks or guns. "It‘s a legitimate law-enforcement tool," said Florida State University criminology professor George Kirkham, a former police officer. "But it‘s supposed to be used as a defensive weapon. The problem we‘re seeing around the country is it‘s being used abusively." A blurry surveillance video shows Thompson running near the homeless shelter, seemingly agitated. The picture is poor, so exactly what happens next is unclear, but at some point she struggles with officers and is shocked. Police Chief Bill Citty insisted officers acted appropriately because the 6-foot, 260-pound Thompson was kicking and posed a danger, even though her hands were shackled. Tasers have been officially listed as a contributing factor in about 12 deaths nationwide, said Steve Tuttle, a spokesman for Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Taser International, which makes the weapon. He said 11,000 U.S. law enforcement agencies use Tasers. Taser International and police say that no weapon is risk-free and that Tasers actually save lives by helping officers avoid more dangerous weapons. In the Virginia case, federal civil-rights charges were filed against the two officers involved, but a judge exonerated both. In Pensacola, a fired sheriff‘s deputy was cleared of wrongdoing last month but was not given his job back. In Ohio, the officer involved was reinstated. In Austin, two officers were acquitted of official oppression. In Oklahoma City, the police chief said, two officers were investigating a report of drug activity near the homeless shelter when they encountered Thompson. She ran up to the officers twice and was being disruptive, so police put her in handcuffs, Citty said. Her husband, Marvell Thompson, disputes the police report and contends his wife was shocked 20 times. "They did use excessive force on my wife," he said. He said she ran toward officers because she had found a crack pipe and wanted to give it to them. Gassaway said they overreacted and used the Taser after having trouble getting Thompson in the patrol car. "There were a substantial amount of people there, and we surmise the police wanted to give them a show of force," Gassaway said. "So they simply used Mrs. Thompson as their example of what would happen to other people." Thompson‘s family has filed a $1.5 million lawsuit against Oklahoma City, accusing the police of excessive force and failure to train officers properly. "The Taser should not be used at all, especially on women," Marvell Thompson said. "There are other ways to control people." © 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. *fair use* Also see HCRCL thread: Okla. homeless woman dies after Tasered Also see: Black Chronicle: Woman Dead After Police Subdue Her Police Say She, Inexplicably, Attacks Cops 05/25/07 By THOMAS E. SEWARD Email this story to a friend A 35-year-old woman, police said, inexplicably, attacked officers who had arrived at the City Rescue Mission on Saturday evening, and she was subdued with the use of a Taser weapon. After officers noticed that Milisha Thompson “was in distress,” a police department spokesman said, an ambulance was called, and Mrs. Thompson died while being taken to a hospital. Lieut. Don Holland, a spokesman for the Oklahoma City Police Department, said police used the Taser weapon to subdue Mrs. Thompson after she assaulted an officer. Lieut. Holland said police had been in the area to respond to a drug-dealing complaint they received at about 5:20 p.m. Mrs. Thompson and her husband, Marvell Thompson, had been living at the mission, Lieut. Holland said. Mr. Thompson told the Oklahoman that his wife will now no longer have to contend with controlling her schizophrenia, being homeless or her ongoing battle with a drug addiction. Police said they were called to the mission about a group selling drugs. Although Mrs. Thompson was not thought to be involved, police said she screamed profanities at them before attacking an officer. That officer pushed her away, Sgt. Paco Balderrama, another police department spokesman, said, but she ran across the street and knocked over a bystander before attacking a second officer. “At that time, she was taken to the ground and handcuffed,” Sgt. Balderrama said. Tiphanie LaDay, who said she witnessed the incident, told the Oklahoman that Mrs. Thompson was on the ground and was handcuffed when officers began using the Taser weapon on her neck. The witness said Mrs. Thompson had not taken her medication, and was “freaking out,” and asking officers for help. Sgt. Balderrama, the police spokesman, said Mrs. Thompson repeatedly kicked and attacked officers, even after being stunned with the Taser. “You killed her! You killed her!” onlookers began yelling, another witness, Edwin Davis, told the Oklahoman. Marvell Thompson, the dead woman’s husband, said his wife may have been having a schizophrenic episode on Saturday, causing her to feel threatened. He said he and his wife were homeless and living at the rescue mission while recovering from drug addiction. Sgt. Balderrama said police found a pipe used for smoking crack cocaine in Milisha Thompson’s possession at the time of her death. He said a toxicology exam will determine whether she was using drugs. Officer Eddie Grimes and Sgt Ray Vasquez, the two policemen involved in the incident, have been placed on paid administrative leave. *fair use*
Black Street Hawker busted for badmouthing business downtown
11 years ago
The Oklahoma Police should change their Motto
11 years ago
Black Veterans- Back From the War... and Into Homelessness
11 years ago The African World By Bill Fletcher, Jr. BC Editorial Board The report this past week confirmed what veterans’ advocates have been saying for some time: one quarter of the homeless are veterans! While this came as a shock to many people, anyone of age at the time of the Vietnam War would not have been surprised at all. In the 1960s and 1970s we saw returning veterans discarded by the government that had placed them in harm’s way. Many returned strung out on heroin and were completely unable to adjust to life at home. As homelessness became a national phenomenon in the 1980s, we often saw the face of the Vietnam War veteran staring back at us on the streets of the USA. Yet few of us stop and realize that the mistreatment of veterans is not just peculiar to Iraq or Vietnam. After each major military conflict, with the possible exception of World War II, soldiers who were drafted or enlisted in the context of a patriotic fervor, returned home to a society that rarely knew what to do with them and, sometimes depending on the nature of the conflict, found them to be an embarrassment. The years following World War I are an example of this. Veterans, including a great uncle of mine, returned from the war scarred for life physically and/or psychologically, yet the government was unwilling to step forward and assist them in achieving any degree of normalcy. This recurring situation is what infuriated me in the lead up to the illegal and immoral US invasion of Iraq. At the same time that the Bush administration was fanning the flames of war hysteria with misinformation, half-truths, fear and calls to patriotism, it was simultaneously cutting back on funds for the Department of Veterans Affairs. At a moment when soldiers needed assurance of US government support, should they return injured or otherwise facing adjustment issues (including needing assistance in finding housing, jobs and psychological/emotional counseling), the Bush administration was quietly cutting back; some would say, cutting the soon-to-be veterans adrift. I have found myself wondering each time the US — and especially the Bush administration — beats the drums of war, why and how we so easily forget this history, and particularly the disposability of the citizen soldiers after they have served the objectives of whomever happened to have been in power. Given the racist reality of the USA, it should come as no surprise that the crisis of the veteran becomes the catastrophe for Black and Latino veterans. I saw this after Vietnam and I am seeing it again with Iraq. But even in Black America, there are few voices speaking up for the veteran. Perhaps we simply think that the issues they face are just another variant of those which we all suffer. While there is a truth to this, such a view is nevertheless unacceptable. Particularly in an environment of dramatic Black opposition to the US aggression against Iraq, we have to make sure that we do not transfer our hostility to the war to hostility toward the veteran. This totality necessitates a Black veterans’ movement that reaches out to other Black veterans, provides a leading voice against the war and all future plans of aggression and also becomes a means to help our community focus our collective opposition to the war. It necessitates as well as advances the demand that the government take care of those it was willing to sacrifice for a lie. Let’s hear the voice of the Black veteran! Editorial Board member, Bill Fletcher, Jr. is a labor and international writer and activist, a Senior Scholar with the Institute for Policy Studies and the immediate past president of TransAfrica Forum. Click here to contact Mr. Fletcher. *fair use*
Minorities Hit Hardest by Housing Crisis
11 years ago Published on Monday, November 26, 2007 by Reuters Minorities Hit Hardest by Housing Crisis by Dana Ford LOS ANGELES - In May, Alvin Clavon received a foreclosure notice on the simple, Spanish-style house in South Los Angeles that he shares with his wife and three boys. Clavon bought the place in 2003 with a fixed-rate loan. They painted the walls, fixed the yard and made friends with the neighbors, who let the Clavon boys pick their basil. In 2005, he worked with a mortgage broker to refinance his home with another fixed-rate loan. But on the night before signing, the family was offered an interest-only, adjustable-rate mortgage. Clavon, a 35-year-old executive assistant at a bank, said he felt stuck. The ball was rolling, he trusted his broker and so the next day, he signed the loan. “Turned out to be the worst thing I could have done,” said Clavon, who like so many others in danger of losing their home to the U.S. housing crisis, is African American. The Clavons live in a zip code, 90047, with one of the largest black populations in the city, and also one of the highest rates of foreclosure — a common combination. Researchers agree minorities are more likely than whites to get high-cost mortgages, but analysts can’t agree why. Does the 90047 zip code have a high foreclosure rate because African Americans were forced into high-cost loans? Or is the area’s foreclosure rate the result of economics? Either way, say some minority and housing activists, the fact that minorities are disproportionately hurt by lending practices in the United States is real — and so are its consequences. RACE OR RISK? Study after study show that minorities are more likely than whites to get subprime mortgages, which are high-cost loans made to people with poor credit. In its heyday earlier this decade, the subprime market was cheered as an avenue through which historically shut-out borrowers could get loans. That frequently meant minorities. So long as home prices rose, the subprime market seemed a positive example of how to increase home ownership, but as the housing market weakened this year, many began to question whether the loans were fairly priced. In September, the Federal Reserve released a study that found 52.8 percent of African-Americans got a high-cost home loan when they refinanced in 2006, compared to 37.7 percent of Latinos and just 25.7 percent of whites in the same year. A similar study by the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, known by its acronym ACORN, in September found the same pattern even when income was equal. According to ACORN, upper-income blacks were 3.3 times, and Latinos 3 times, more likely than upper-income whites to have a high-cost loan when purchasing a home in 2006. “I keep hoping one day I’ll do a study where race doesn’t play a part,” said Liz Wolff, author of the ACORN study. “But clearly, there is a racial bias,” she added. Jay Brinkmann, vice president of research and economics at the Mortgage Bankers Association, disagrees. He believes that if researchers could account for all the factors that go into pricing a mortgage, they would find race doesn’t matter. “The pricing is based on risk, not race,” said Brinkmann. THE AMERICAN DREAM The answer may be decided in court. In July, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, or NAACP, filed a discrimination suit against 11 of the country’s largest lenders, saying minorities are steered toward high-cost loans more often than whites, even after all risk factors are considered. The ACORN study found that high foreclosure rates cause higher rates of crime, lower tax revenue and property values. In other words, whole minority communities, not just individuals, are hurt when houses go under, said Hilary Shelton, director of the Washington D.C. Bureau of the NAACP. “The individual stories are heart-wrenching,” said Shelton. “Part of the American dream, is being able to have a safe secure home where you can raise your family.” “But if we go beyond that and see how it affects entire groups … we know there is a racial factor,” said Shelton. Despite the foreclosure notice on his house, Clavon still owns it. He’d like to sell, but can’t find a buyer. “The facts are there. So-called minorities are disproportionately represented in these loans,” Clavon said about subprime lending. “You can make out of that what you will.” (Editing by Peter Henderson, Mary Milliken and Eddie Evans) *fair use*
Fair Use
11 years ago
1126 01
Not charged, a homeless black man spends 3 months in jail - forgotten
11 years ago

Not charged, transient spends 3 months in jail -- forgotten By LEWIS KAMB P-I INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER Spending even one night in jail was questionable enough, but an arrest for obstructing a public officer last year landed one homeless Seattle man behind bars for more than three months. Darrell Arthur Williams hadn't even been charged with the crime. After a Seattle bicycle cop on "proactive patrol" arrested the 40-year-old black transient for what amounted to interfering with a public urination investigation, Williams was booked into King County Jail for the night. But the next morning, a city prosecutor who reviewed the officer's report quickly declined to press charges, citing "interests of justice." With that, Williams was supposed to be released from jail immediately. That was Feb. 17, 2007. Instead, Williams remained incarcerated through May 23 -- what amounted to a short prison term. He was essentially forgotten behind bars. "There were some moments that were pretty hectic," Williams said this week of his stint in jail. "I just didn't want to make an ordeal out of it." Court administrators call the matter an unusual paperwork error. Defense attorneys call it something else: False imprisonment. "That's outrageous, like something you'd expect in a Third World country," said noted Seattle defense attorney Lem Howell. In Howell's opinion, Williams has a solid claim against the city. But Williams, a polite, strong-willed man who regularly patronizes Seattle homeless shelters, is reluctant to pursue the matter. What's past is past, he said, adding he's fearful of further involvement with the court system. "I got over it," he said late Thursday, from a Pioneer Square street corner outside the Bread of Life Mission men's shelter. "I just want to get it past me. It was a mistake, and they clarified it. It wasn't any major harm done." After finding his case during a review of more than 300 Seattle Municipal Court files involving recent Seattle police obstruction arrests, the Seattle P-I eventually tracked Williams down through a local service agency for the homeless. An Illinois native, Williams has been estranged from his family for years. His mother, Loretta Williams, 61, feared her son was dead when a reporter called her in Chicago earlier this month in an effort to locate him. "He stayed in jail for three months?" his mother asked, when told details about her son's case. "Oh my God." But she added, "So he's alive then." "Lil' Darrell," as he's known to his family, "always was a wanderer," Loretta Williams said. "At 5 years old, I found him at a gas station with his clothes packed. He'd leave and wouldn't tell anyone." But never for this long, she said, noting relatives haven't heard from him since 2004. Darrell Williams' older brother recently had a Chicago police detective search law enforcement databases for his younger brother, without success. The dead-end computer search makes sense. Williams has garnered tickets only for minor infractions, some still unresolved, court records show. But he'd never been arrested in this city before -- until last year. About 7:20 p.m. on Feb. 16, 2007, Seattle Police Officer Steven Bale and a partner were working a "random proactive bicycle patrol" when they spotted Williams in Cal Anderson Park on Capitol Hill. Williams was "standing next to a tree ... urinating," the officer wrote. When police questioned Williams, he became "increasingly belligerent," Bale wrote. He accused Bale of spying on him, then pointed and shook his hand and finger at the officer, Bale's report says. "Williams refused to comply with my instructions and continued closing the distance, approx 5 feet, while repeating, 'I'll show you,' and came within 1 foot of my face with the tip of his pointed finger," Bale wrote. "I was unable to continue my investigation into the urination incident and was required to direct my attention towards (Williams') aggressive actions to avoid a physical altercation or my being assaulted." That's not what happened, Williams said. "I was just startled. It was a reaction, that's all. He creeped up behind me, and I didn't see him. It was just a startled reaction on my part. I wasn't going to hurt anyone." For public urination, Williams was issued a ticket. But police arrested and booked him for obstructing. The next morning, prosecutors didn't even bother to have Williams transported from the jail to the courtroom for a mandatory hearing, records show. Instead, the case was quickly dropped and the court ordered Williams released. Defendants typically aren't brought to court if the case is going to be dropped, explained Deputy City Attorney Mike Finkle. "It saves (the jail) from having to transport defendants," he said. Unaware the case was dead, Williams believed authorities had the right to hold him. "They can hold you for 90 days, I thought," Williams said. "That's what another inmate told me -- that's as long as they can hold you. Ninety days." More than three months passed before a court clerk made an embarrassing discovery. "Evidently, Mr. Williams' case was (not charged) on 2/17/07 ... but release paperwork did not get filled out," the clerk wrote in an e-mail dated May 23, 2007, to a supervisor. "He is still in Jail." Seattle Municipal Court Administrator Yolande Williams this week called the matter a regrettable mistake. "Unfortunately, the (release) paperwork wasn't processed in a timely fashion," she explained. "We just need to be much more diligent in ensuring proper protocol is met." Maj. William Hayes, spokesman for the King County Correctional Facility, said jail records show "no red flags" to indicate Williams was being improperly detained. (more)

Not charged, a homeless black man spends 3 months in jail,ct'd
11 years ago

If an inmate thinks he's being wrongfully held, he said, that inmate usually voices concerns. "But it sounds like the inmate didn't even go to the court hearing, so he didn't know he was released," Hayes said. "And if the court doesn't send the paperwork to us, indicating he is released, we're not going to release him." As time went by, Williams said he did raise the issue to jail officers several times. "I kept reminding them on it," he said. "I told them about it and (thought) they researched it." Breakdowns also occurred beyond paperwork. Officials for cities that contract with the jail usually scrutinize lists of inmates who are billed to their cities through an automated system, Hayes said. Nothing indicates the city of Seattle objected to paying the standard $103 per night fee for Williams' stay, which cost taxpayers $9,785 for the 95 nights he spent in jail. Told Darrell Williams is homeless, Hayes replied that it's possible Williams didn't want to be released. "A lot of these guys, unfortunately, are living on the street," said Hayes, who noted jail records show Williams behaved well while in custody. "Staying in jail during the winter months, it might actually be better for them. "Of course, I'm just speculating. He had three meals and a cot a day." Williams said he did want out of jail. But he added that his stay behind bars wasn't that bad -- not unlike staying at the homeless shelters he frequents. "Time went by quickly, really," he said, before disappearing into the shelter for the night. "It was kind of like a bed and breakfast for a while." P-I SPECIAL REPORT:THE STRONG ARMOF THE LAW THE SERIES THURSDAY: A Seattle P-I investigation finds racial disparity and a high dismissal rate for arrests for obstructing a public officer. FRIDAY: The West Precinct Anti-Crime Team is a nimble strike force that is used effectively to combat crime, Seattle Police Department officials say. But one defense lawyer says the team sometimes "creates crime" in its interactions with citizens. TODAY: He was arrested for obstructing a public officer after police say he urinated in a park. Prosecutors declined to press charges. So how did this Seattle man remain in jail for three months? SEATTLEPI.COM To read previous stories and to see documents related to these stories, see P-I reporter Lewis Kamb can be reached at 206-448-8336 or Related content Case files: - Seattle Police incident report describing Officer Steven Bale's arrest of Darrell Williams: - E-mail from court clerk to supervisors explaining how Williams wasn't charged on Feb. 17, 2007, but remained in jail because of a lapse in release paperwork *fair use* Harmony- By the way, March 3rd just happens to be the anniversary of the Rodney King beating in Los Angeles. 1991 - Rodney King was severely beaten by Los Angeles police officers. The scene was captured on amateur video.

related info to last post on homeless black man jailed for 3 months
11 years ago

Blacks are arrested on 'contempt of cop' charge at higher rate
Blacks are booked by Seattle police for obstructing a public officer eight times as often as whites when population is taken into account.
- Police respond to our conclusions
- Department to urge review of 'obstruct' busts
- How we analyzed the data

Housing critics never visited N.O.
11 years ago

2 blast demolitions ahead of U.N. vote
Thursday, March 06, 2008
By David Hammer

A United Nations panel will decide Friday whether the U.S. government's response to Hurricane Katrina violated a treaty on racism, and its ruling could be influenced by a controversial statement from two U.N. advisers who last week labeled the planned demolition of four New Orleans public housing complexes as "discriminatory" even though neither visited the city to research the issue.

Last week's statement drew international media coverage and was hailed by opponents of a plan to replace the four housing complexes with mixed-income neighborhoods, although the plan also calls for the Department of Housing and Urban Development to retain several other public housing complexes in New Orleans. HUD also has provided vouchers through which former public housing residents can rent private apartments across the city.

The U.N. specialists now acknowledge that they haven't been to New Orleans since Hurricane Katrina and were basing their opinion largely on the views of activists who have waged an unsuccessful campaign to halt the demolitions.

Miloon Kothari of New Delhi, India, the U.N. Human Rights Council's specialist on adequate housing, and Gay McDougall of Washington, D.C., the U.N. independent expert on minority issues, joined ranks with opponents of the demolitions already under way at the St. Bernard, C.J. Peete and B.W. Cooper complexes.

The statement implied that the demolition of public housing in New Orleans would end up "increasing poverty and homelessness," particularly for black hurricane victims. It called for more planning input from residents and former residents. It also dismissed the HUD plans as too slow and insufficient for the 5,000 residents of traditional public housing units displaced after the storm.

Local and federal public housing officials argue that public housing families who want to return are being served through traditional public housing or private apartments. And they say plans for a shift to mixed-income housing will better serve the families who remain.

World watching

Although the duo say they released the statement to influence the U.S. Congress, the timing of their comments could have broader influence.

The statement was released in Geneva, Switzerland, last Thursday, a day before a U.N. treaty enforcement panel -- meeting in the same European city but with no link to the two advisers -- was to discuss U.S. government responses to Hurricane Katrina. That committee is scheduled to decide Friday whether 12 nations, including the United States, are adhering to the International Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.

The committee isn't likely to go beyond a public shaming if it finds the United States in violation of the treaty, but even that step could be damaging. In the past, the panel has denounced Australia's policies toward Aborigines and genocide in the Darfur region of Sudan.

CONTINUED   1 | 2 | 3  Next

Facing oppression
11 years ago


The makeshift shelter in one part of the tunnel draws attention to homelessness, a problem that still persists in the United States. Resident Assistant Robyn Ray depicts a homeless person.
Media Credit: Brian Cetina
The makeshift shelter in one part of the tunnel draws attention to homelessness, a problem that still persists in the United States. Resident Assistant Robyn Ray depicts a homeless person.

"I didn't realize so much hatred still existed in 2008."

That was junior Justine Banks's reaction after experiencing the Tunnel of Oppression on campus Monday.

Described by the the Office of Housing and Residence Life as a "multi-sensory event that displays different forms of oppression," the Tunnel of Oppression runs today from 9 a.m to 5 p.m. in Kilcawley Center's Presidential Suites.

Resident Assistant Phillip Rauscher said the goal of the activity is acceptance.

Sophomore Kay Brown said it was sad to see that problems like racism, sexual discrimination and religious oppression still exist.

Brown said, "The display made me ask myself, 'Am I like this?'"
Pras Michel on Skid Row
10 years ago
Pras Michel on Skid Row By Katie Halper, AlterNet
Posted on April 12, 2008, Printed on April 12, 2008

In his latest project, hip hop artist, actor, and filmmaker Pras Michel (The Fugees) goes undercover for 9 days and nights as a homeless person in downtown LA's notorious Skid Row. I met up with Pras in a hotel lobby in Manhattan to discuss Skid Row, the documentary based on his time on the street living with 90,000 people in a 50 square block area. Pras talked to me about Muhammed Ali, why he likes Obama and doesn't go for Bill Cosby, how Oprah and Snoop could help the "lost African-American" generation by meeting face to face, and why we're in a "transitional moment."

Check out to find where it's showing near you.

Why did you make this movie?

To make people aware. The majority of Americans just want to be able to work and provide. People on Skid Row ... they just want to be able to work, they don't care what it is. A lot of people think if something's going on over here and not where they are, then it doesn't affect them. We have to get away from that mindset. Keeping the masses ignorant is hurting the country. If people were educated, they would learn to not pollute. I know the theory about short term vs. long term. But you gotta think about your children, your children's children ... things that we think don't affect us, come back and affect us.

We saw this mindset during the AIDS crisis. No one cared because it apparently was only for homosexuals. Then AIDS showed that it did not discriminate. That's what's happening with homelessness. The health care crisis and the foreclosure crisis are distant, if not near cousins of homelessness. Millions of people losing their homes. Not all of them have people to stay with until they figure out their situation. This project is supposed to make people aware, to build a community. The globe has gotten smaller, more interconnected. We gotta start thinking like that. My job is to get people to realize that. Our goal isn't to say we have a solution because we don't. But we can show people that thinking "I'm gonna make it on my own. and if I'm successful I did it on my own, forget about everybody else" is wrong.

Did your own success make it hard for you to stay grounded and feel connected to the community?

I think the person that I am now, innately, has always been inside me. Success doesn't change us, it amplifies who we really are. If I'm an asshole, I'm gonna become a major asshole with power and money. If I'm a hermit, I'm gonna build a moat around my house so no one can come near me.

Pras Michel on Skid Row, continued
10 years ago

What surprised you most about Skid Row?

I met someone who said he hadn't been distracted by women in three years. That's how he stayed clean. Any little distraction and he would have slipped back. In my world, I think about sex -- I mean I don't think I think about sex like the average man does --

Which is 24/7?

Which is 24/7, I'm probably like ...



No really, more like 22/7 right?

Yeah ... I can't lie to you -- sex was nowhere on my mind. Maybe because I was getting acclimated. But if I was there longer, I probably would have adapted.

And I surprised myself. When you're homeless a lot of things go out the window because it's all about survival. I had to do certain things I don't do. Like I'm not one of those people who smiles. It doesn't mean I'm not happy. It's just not part of my temperament. I never had to do that before. But on Skid Row, when I was looking for money, a guy said to "smile". He was gay. I'm not homophobic, far from it. Most guys would get offended. I wouldn't get offended, I just wouldn't smile. But on Skid Row when this guy offered me $5 to smile, I'm thinking, I have to eat. So I smiled for him. And another woman said to me, "Come on brother, it can't be that bad. Smile." And I smiled for her too.

I was really surprised by how nice people were to you and how much they opened up to you. Was it your smile?

Well they saw me as part of the community. They saw me around. It wasn't like I was an outsider. They saw me on the sidewalk. And they would save my little section for me when I came back late. That was New York's [Pras's alias] little home.

How did you feel about going undercover? Did you feel conflicted about violating people's trust, even if it was in order to raise awareness?

No because I walked the walk.

So how did people respond when you told them who you were?

They thought it was good that we were exposing it, and exposing it in the realest form. It wasn't some Tyra Banks thing, going in there for two hours with no makeup. This was real.

What was the scariest part?

The unknown. Somebody got shot around the corner from where I slept. Someone could stab with you a needle and then you're done.

What did you learn on Skid Row?

I learned a lot. I learned a lot from the people on Skid Row. I was a student down in Skid Row. I was like a student at Oxford University. Like Philly [who lives on Skid Row] is brilliant. He builds computers. This dude is a computer geek ... I mean we adapt to our situation. You take Philly and you take him from the street and put him in a corporate job -- everything he learned he's able to upgrade it to a level, to a corporate side. Just like if you're corporate and not street-smart and you become homeless, you're gonna be able to downgrade it to make it work on the street. That's how you're able to survive.

Pras Michel on Skid Row, continued
10 years ago

Is hip hop still political?

Hip hop is just a mild version of what Reverend Wright was saying to his community. And it just got acceptable because it had music behind it and people said, "They're entertaining us. They don't really mean it." Then hip hop became successful, got away from what the agenda was, started doing the gangster stuff. So hip hop lost all edge, all credibility. But it used to be the black CNN.

Are there any hip hop artists who still have the edge and credibility?

Mos Def, Talib Kweli, but it's such a cult thing. The African-American generation is lost. They're not being represented correctly. The leaders, the Bill Cosbies, the Oprahs, instead of sitting down, they'd rather just criticize and point fingers. And they don't understand. Oprah, instead of saying, "Snoop is misogynist," can call Snoop and say, "Come see me in Chicago." He'll be more than happy to. And she can say, "Snoop, explain to me the disrespect of women, the homophobic thing, the gangster thing. Explain to me how is that advancing the community." And then he's gonna express it. And you're gonna have a form of dialogue. And guess what? Whatever she says, he may not totally agree, but it's going to influence him. Then maybe Snoop will come out and say, "Listen ... it's all about the community now. I'm not saying I'm making mom and pop songs but I'm gonna be a little more conscious. I wanna do more. " Because we know Oprah is the god.

So you're saying if there was dialogue, instead of finger-pointing ... ?

Oprah and Bill Cosby know you're not supposed to do certain things. But if you come from a broken home, you grew up without a father, how are you supposed to know? Just because black people don't relate to Oprah doesn't mean they don't respect how gangster she is. They know she is a beast. You can't deny who she is. Oprah can make the argument -- "Listen, I came from a hard life." But you take 10 people and put them through the same thing, maybe 2 of them will come out of it OK. So we need a dialogue, we need communication.

What about the Cornell Wests of the world?

I love Cornell West. I respect him. But a black kid on the street don't have a clue who he is. Look, When Muhammed Ali came out ... the reason he's "the people's champ" ... is because he was defiant, he went against the U.S. government when they wanted to ship him to Vietnam. And he stood by it and people stood by him. Nobody called Michael Jordan "the people's champ." ... Michael Jordan is a sell-out. There are lots of black sell-outs.

Somebody said to me you only like Obama because he's black. Well I can think of a couple black people I wouldn't vote for. I'm not into black power. And on the other end of the spectrum, you got the Uncle Toms, the Clarence Thomas, Condoleezza Rice ... I'm not into that either. Obama is a uniter. He's perfectly comfortable with the skin he's in. He's not gonna sell out. That's a man of great principle.

The African-American generation is a lost generation unless something happens quickly. You have a generation of kids who are lost. Twelve-year-olds having sex and not understanding the meaning of that ... People don't understand the power of having someone on a certain level that you can identity with. Five months ago, young African-American people didn't care about politics. Until Obama. If you are a young black person, you can relate to him because he's black and he's running for the highest office and he has a real good shot. He's articulate, he's smart, he's smooth. The people in the black community, in the urban community, are changing their style, the way they dress, because they see someone they relate to. He's not Charlie Rangel. He's only 46. He's 10 years older than me. He probably listens to hip hop and Mozart and jazz at the same time. I'm telling you, people don't realize the power of that speech Obama gave. Trying to hide and act like it didn't happen is like having a wound that can never heal. Obama is walking a tightrope. But we need to talk about this stuff. It's like if you're in a relationship with someone and something's not going well and you try not to talk about it because you hope it's going to disappear. It's not. I thought it was brilliant ... By the way, I don't formally support Obama. I just want people to know I really like him.

Pras Michel on Skid Row, continued
10 years ago

I do not believe governments change willingly. LBJ didn't sign the Civil Rights Act because he wanted to. It was the pressure of the times. The times inspired Rosa Parks. The times inspired Martin Luther King, to stand up as a leader. It inspired white people who supported black people to come out of the closet and not be called a "%#&!*%-lover." It inspired black people to say, "We can do this." It inspired a whole nation, which led to the Civil Rights Movement, which led to the Civil Rights Bill. The people are going to make the change -- you can feel it. It's brewing in the air. You see it in the way we eat, the way we interact at work, the way we watch TV, movies, interact with the Internet. We're in a transitional moment.

Katie Halper is a co-founder of Laughing Liberally, one of the national directors of Living Liberally and artistic director and comedy curator at The Tank. Katie blogs regularly for the Huffington Post, Working Life, Culture Kitchen and the political comedy site 23/6. Katie is working on a documentary about Camp Kinderland, the "Summer Camp with a Conscience."

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