Friday, April 6, 2012

The American Spring - Occupy Our Hood

 For those who are concerned with the direction that America is taking or who are interested in actually getting involved with the growing mass movement emerging throughout the Nation. Dr. Ben Chavis offers an insightful article on the Occupy Consciousness. I believe this article expresses the spirit that most of us felt as the various groups came together and made possible the election of Barack Obama to the position of President of the United States. I personally believe, that it was as much a question of diverse portions of our society, wanting to come together to move forward as a nation, as it was anything to do with Barack Obama the politician. The fact of Obama being a "Black man" coupled with the promise of "Change" is what I believe led to his election. It was a brilliant campaign that sold the idea, of what greater change could we have than to change the "race" of the President. The 1% knew that we truly wanted (and still do want ) change and they spent a whole bunch of millions of dollars in order to convince us that Barack Obama represented "that change we could believe in".

 Well, as our civil rights continue to be eroded, the rich continue to get richer, the foreclosures haven't slowed pace, the labor unions are under attack the prisons are still overflowing with African Americans, the wall is still under construction between Mexico and the US plus the "undocumented alien" problem is still with us, the cost of health and education is spiralinging out of reach, the war budget is as outrageous as ever, all the while Wall Street and the Banks are raking in the dough like never before and Americans are being turned against one another as much or more than ever, I don't believe these were the changes we  had in mind. I also don't believe that we can leave it completely up to politicians and lobbyists to decide which direction it is that we are going to take. We had all hoped that Obama was going to lead us in bringing the changes we wanted but that is clearly not working out. It won't help if the other political party comes back into power either. In my mind at least, it's coming clear, that if we don't get involved directly, the changes we want will not be forthcoming. Things may not be as bad as they look on the surface because it all just might cause, those in America who feel in their hearts that the right thing has to be done by the people, to coalesce and realize the full potential of the 99%.  Forget the Tea Party, let's assemble the 99% and form "The We Party"

Occupy Consciousness: The American Spring arrives

By Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr.
24 MARCH 2012

Thursday, April 5, 2012

5 Ex-New Orleans cops get "hard time" in Danziger Bridge shootings ‎

This time justice was served. We still have a long way to go so don't get too complacent.

Katrina also had it's own instances of "vigilante law" that were very questionable.

By CAIN BURDEAU | Associated Press – April 4, 2012

NEW ORLEANS — Five former New Orleans police officers were sentenced
Wednesday to prison terms ranging from six to 65 years for their roles in
deadly shootings of unarmed residents on a bridge after Hurricane Katrina.

Kenneth Bowen, Robert Gisevius, Anthony Villavaso and Robert Faulcon were
convicted of firearms charges in the shootings. Retired Sgt. Arthur
"Archie" Kaufman, who was assigned to investigate the shootings, was
convicted of helping orchestrate the cover-up.

Faulcon received the stiffest sentence of 65 years. Bowen and Gisevius
each got 40 years while Villavaso was sentenced to 38 years. Kaufman
received the lightest sentence at six years.

A federal jury convicted the officers in August 2011 of civil rights
violations in the shootings on the Danziger Bridge and the cover-up.

Police shot six people, killing two, less than a week after the storm's
landfall on Aug. 29, 2005. To make the shootings appear justified,
officers conspired to plant a gun, fabricate witnesses and falsify

The case became the centerpiece of the Justice Department's push to clean
up the troubled New Orleans Police Department.

U.S. District Kurt Engelhardt heard hours of testimony earlier in the day
from prosecutors, defense attorneys, relatives of shooting victims and the

A review (Democracy Now) 2007

The official story started floating out soon after the hurricane hit that there were snipers on the Danziger Bridge, which connects two neighborhoods flooded by the hurricane, that the police had taken them out and killed some of them. But there were other stories, too: that police had chased down and massacred innocent people fleeing the storm.
Last December seven police officers were indicted for killing two people walking across the bridge. They were from two families, the Bartholomews and the Madisons. James Brisette, a young man who was a friend of the Bartholomews was killed by seven bullets in his back and legs. Susan Bartholomew’s arm was partially blown off, her daughter and husband had three gunshot wounds each. Their trial is ongoing.
Ronald Madison, a forty year-old mentally disabled man, was one of the two people killed. He was walking across the bridge with his older brother Lance when, according to police, he was shot in the back and died. Lance was initially arrested and jailed for attempting to murder the police officers. He was later released after a grand jury cleared his name.
Dr. Rommel Madison is the brother of Lance and Ronald Madison. He is a dentist and testified Thursday at the International Tribunal on Hurricane Katrina. He joins us in the Lower Ninth Ward in New Orleans. We’re also joined by Rosana Cruz the co-director of * Safe Streets, Strong Communities* a grassroots organization focused on transforming the criminal justice system in New Orleans.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Spring is Coming To - Occupy The Hood

 Back in November 2011 I saw an article in The Michigan Citizen regarding a challenge that was put to the youth of African descent to improve their world. Now as spring is coming into bloom  the organization that made that challenge - OCCUPY THE HOOD (OTH) is also starting to show some buds. There are now chapters  in 17 US cities coast to coast and north to south with more in the works.  Their official web site seems to be a bit slow at the moment so rather than link to their mission statement, I'll just include it in this post. October and November saw a lot of activity on the official OTH website but at the moment they tell me their webmaster is a bit overwhelmed for the time being (Read- could use some help). If you want to keep current on OTH activity they suggest following your local chapter on Facebook or Twitter.

 Remember an organization like this can only be as effective as the people involved and their dedication to their cause. Keep in mind that every little bit that you can do, will go towards making the movement into something that can bring some improvements into your hood. People working together on a project can always accomplish more than those same people could working separately.  So check into your local chapter in your Hood or if there is no local chapter the talk to the folks on the corner or the barber shop or the salon or in school or where ever you meet and get something started. Lets don't forget that youth includes the young at heart.  SPRING IS COMING TO THE HOOD.

Malik Rhasaan, co-founder of Occupy the Hood, talks with Sue Hilderbrand of KZFR radio (Chico, CA) about marginalized voices in the Occupy Movement, racism in society, white privilege and more. Recorded live on 1/28/2012.

See the excellent article -Why I support Occupy The Hood
by Lorenzo Kom'boa Ervin on Monday, October 10, 2011

Cincinnatti OTH support for Treyvon Martin 

 OTH Mission statement
Occupy The Hood is an autonomous national grassroots movement comprised of activists, organizers and community members working with like-minded individuals and organizations across the US. Occupy The Hood stands in solidarity with any progressive organization or movement who desires and works towards the liberation, benefit and improvement of the quality of life of disenfranchised People of Color.
From Occupation to Liberation, De-Colonize, Empower The Hood.
People of Color, and in particular Black, Brown and Native/Indigenous People, have been disproportionately affected by the issues that the Occupy Movement has recently raised.
Unemployment rates double nationwide, disproportionate incarceration rates, wealth gap, subprime mortgages/foreclosures.
OTH seeks to present solutions to our collective problems and effect changes in policy that will improve our condition.
OTH is relying on methods of organization that have been going on prior to the origin of the Occupy Movement in the realization that we must craft a movement that uniquely and directly speaks to the issues of People of Color.  Occupy The Hood looks forward to see what develops from the Occupy Movement.  Occupy The Hood will work to re-establish a goal based National Black Agenda combining new energy with pre-existing efforts.
Occupy The Hood will work to address many critical issues affecting our communities:
un/under employment, poverty, mass incarceration, political prisoners, school to prison pipeline, police brutality, racial profiling, violence/murders/illegal guns, housing/foreclosures/homelessness/gentrification, health care disparities, educational disparities, food deserts, community development, reparations, economic development, entrepreneurship, gender-specific programs, youth programs, environmental justice, civic engagement, discrimination/racism
Occupy The Hood is officially active in the following Cities:
NYC (NY), Detroit (MI), Pittsburgh (PA), Seattle (WA), Philadelphia (PA), Atlanta (GA), Boston (MA), Tacoma (WA), Dallas (TX), Nola (LA), Cincinnati (OH), Portland (OR), St. Louis (MO), Cleveland (OH), Washington (DC), Richmond (VA), Los Angeles (CA) and growing
Occupy The Hood recognizes previous movements and efforts by People of Color for Liberation:
Civil Rights Movement, Black Power Movement, Poor Peoples Campaign, March on Washington, Million Man March, “Arab Spring”
Occupy The Hood acknowledges the philosophies and ideologies of:
Afrocentrism, Pan-Afrikanism,
Occupy The Hood recognizes the tremendous sacrifice and individual revolutionary examples of:
Martin Luther King jr., Malcolm X, Marcus Garvey, Harriet Tubman, Ida B. Wells, Black Panthers, Kwame Nkrumah, Stokely Carmichael (Kwame Ture),  Fredrick Douglass, Toussaint L’Ouverture, W.E.B. DuBois, Amilcar Cabral, Paul Robeson, A. Philip Randolph, Ella Baker, CLR James, Fannie Lou Hamer, Frantz Fanon, Anna Julia Cooper, Bell Hooks, Angela Davis, Audre Lorde, Pedro Albizu Campos, Cesar Chavez, Luisa Moreno, Harry Pachon, Chicano Movement, Brown Berets, Young Lords, Che Gueverra and the numerous others from our rich, ancient and continuing History.
Occupy The Hood recognizes the holocausts and genocides of our People:
-The Native/Indigenous Holocaust; Jamestown, VA., Plymouth, MA., Trail of Tears
-Colombus’ assault on the Americas/Caribbean; W. Indies, Central, South, Latin America
-The African Holocaust; Trans-Atlantic Slave trade (MAAFA) and Slavery in America
-Jim Crow & Over 5000 Lynchings in America, Black Wall Street, Hate Crimes
-African genocides fueled by US & European interests theft of natural resources (Gold, Diamonds, Oil)
-The Colonization of our people by: England, France, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, The Dutch
It has been said that:
“Black People are on the bottom of every list that is good, and on the top of every list that is bad”
“When White America has a cold, Black America has pneumonia”
* Black unemployment is almost double the national average and in many cities/states is triple and quadruple. Unemployment rates nationally for specific groups such as Black Men and Black Teenagers are even more glaring.
USA Unemployment = 9.1%  Black Unemployment = 16.2 % Black males = 17.5%  Black teens almost 41%
*Black and Latino incarceration rates
Black man = 1 in 3 (32%) Latino man = 1 in 6 (17%) White man has = 1 in 17 (5.9%)
It costs $35-50,000 annually (varies state/federal) to incarcerate
*Black and Latino Wealth Gap
The wealth gaps between whites and minorities have grown to their widest levels in a quarter-century. The recession and uneven recovery have erased decades of minority gains, leaving whites on average with 20 times the net worth of blacks and 18 times that of Hispanics, according to an analysis of new Census data
*People of Color Poverty Rates
Poverty rates for blacks and Hispanics greatly exceed the national average. In 2010, 27.4 percent of Blacks and 26.6 percent of Hispanics were poor, compared to 9.9 percent of non-Hispanic whites and 12.1 percent of Asians.
Poverty rates are highest for families headed by single women, particularly if they are Black or Hispanic. In 2010, 31.6 percent of households headed by single women were poor, while 15.8 percent of households headed by single men and 6.2 percent of married-couple households lived in poverty.
There are also differences between native-born and foreign-born residents. In 2010, 19.9 percent of foreign-born residents lived in poverty, compared to 14.4 percent of residents born in the United States. Foreign-born, non-citizens had an even higher incidence of poverty, at a rate of 26.7 percent.
Our voices are going to blend as one.
Malik Rashaan, Founder of The Official Occupy The Hood
PreachdaTruth Freedom, Co-Founder of The Official Occupy The Hood
We Reserve all rights to the official name “Occupy The Hood”…
We are NOT affiliated with anyone who is misrepresenting “Occupy The Hood” or looking to profit from the use of the name “Occupy The Hood” .

Monday, April 2, 2012

The 1971 Attica Prison Rebellion

This story is about the circumstances under which many young Black men find themselves, imprisoned. Whether they are there rightly or wrongly, it still remains for us to find a way to resolve the situation. When I say find a way, I don't mean to oversimplify. I realize that there are many different routes by which a Black man can end up in prison. Our goal needs to be to block these routes by the most effective means possible. Things are already way too far out of hand and it's going to take inordinate amount of effort to turn this thing around. This event took place over 40 years ago, see if you can detect any similarities or differences.

 Attica Prison 1971

"Most of the Attica prisoners were there as a result of plea bargaining. Of 32,000 felony indictments a year in New York State, 4,000 to 5,000 were tried. The rest (about 75%) were disposed of by deals made under duress, called “plea bargaining,” described as follows in the Report of the Joint Legislative Committee on Crime in New York:

The final climactic act in the plea bargaining procedure is a charade which in itself has aspects of dishonesty which rival the original crime in many instances. The accused is made to assert publicly his guilt on a specific crime, which in many cases he has not committed; in some cases he pleads guilty to a non-existing crime. He must further indicate that he is entering his plea freely… and that he is not doing so because of any promises made to him.

In plea bargaining, the accused pleads guilty, whether he is or not, and saves the state the trouble of a trial in return for the promise of a less severe punishment."

     "There were several hundred thousand in prison in 1971 - now there are two million."
                                                        (Click to Read Full Story)  on

 (This is a 30 minute audio file about the Attica Rebellion on found Freedom Archives)