The movie Harriet about my favorite woman historical figure debuts Friday, November 1. Harriet, whoohoo!
HUD Secretary Ben Carson continues to set and seek policies geared to make life more difficult for United States society’s most vulnerable residents. The website #keepfamiliestogether reports on a recent HUD ruling proposal that could lead to mixed-immigration status family members either being separated from one another or losing their HUD housing subsidy if they remain together.
On May 10, 2019, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) published a proposed rule that would prohibit “mixed-status” families from living in public and other subsidized housing. Mixed-status families are households that include both members who are eligible and ineligible for housing assistance based on their immigration status. Both statute and regulation allow families to live together in subsidized housing even if one family member is ineligible so long as the housing subsidy is decreased to exclude the ineligible person from the assistance. Importantly, just because a household member is an “ineligible” immigrant, it doesn’t mean that they are undocumented. Immigrants can have legal status and still not be eligible for public housing and Section 8 programs.
The rule would further require all residents under the age of 62 to have their immigration status screened through the Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements Program (SAVE), which is operated by the Department of Homeland Security. Families with members who are deemed “ineligible” will be evicted from subsidized housing after 18 months or sooner.
The grandson of a survivor of the Tulsa massacre is a senior program manager at the National Museum of African American History and Culture, where now resides the manuscript detailing the Tulsa, Oklahoma massacre and its impact on Black Wall Street residents. It is a first person account written by attorney Buck Colbert Franklin (1879-1960), who survived the massacre although his law practice was burned to the ground.“I could see planes circling in mid-air. They grew in number and hummed, darted and dipped low. I could hear something like hail falling upon the top of my office building. Down East Archer, I saw the old Mid-Way hotel on fire, burning from its top, and then another and another and another building began to burn from their top,” he wrote.
Franklin writes that he left his law office, locked the door, and descended to the foot of the steps … “The side-walks were literally covered with burning turpentine balls. I knew all too well where they came from, and I knew all too well why every burning building first caught from the top,” he continues. “I paused and waited for an opportune time to escape. ‘Where oh where is our splendid fire department with its half dozen stations?’ I asked myself. ‘Is the city in conspiracy with the mob?’”
Bernie’s taking heat for his supposed position on reparations for the US slave trade but do we know what he actually said? A Sanders America would be one where justice, equity, fairness and inclusion are goals that we strive to reach as a nation, with support from our president and national leadership. That’s exactly why Power is united in working so hard against Bernie:
“Media outlets like CNN … stacked the audience with well connected questioners at a town hall this past Monday.
One of them, who asked about the suddenly hot button issue of reparations for slavery, worked for the centrist Aspen Institute and now works for a non-profit whose board includes executives for the world’s biggest private equity firm, the Carlyle Group and the former employer of leaker Edward Snowden, Booz Allen Hamilton. This and other obvious conflicts were not disclosed by the network who presented the questioners as ordinary voters.
On the issue of reparations itself, as Briahna Gray of the Intercept wrote after the town hall, Sanders gave the right answer to the question, that first it will be important to define what the term means, as centrists Kamala Harris and Cory Booker are using it to describe different programs, none of which are directly focused on redressing the historic grievances of African Americans and the inequalities that persist in these communities to this day.”
Two New Jersey State Senators proposed legislation to end prison-base gerrymandering and it was approved by the senate 25-9.
This is how prison-based gerrymandering works and why it’s so destructive to the families of incarcerated individuals:
This system makes it possible for districts where prisons are located to appear to have a low median income by claiming inmates as residents. Because inmates don’t earn money, when they are counted as residents of the district they lower the median income for the entire population. Meanwhile, back at home where his family lives, the no-wage prisoner is not being claimed as a resident and the income for that district is artificially high – so his home district doesn’t get funding and all of the attendant resources that could provide real help to the single parents left behind who are struggling to keep their families well, despite one parent being away and unable to contribute to the family coffers.
Prisoners’ families don’t get that funding, because the communities where parents are being jailed are the ones getting it – even though those communities don’t need the funding anywhere near as much as the home communities do.
In fact, residents of towns where prisons are located can live comfortably on the perks associated with having a prison in town. Besides benefiting from extra funding for their district due to prison-based gerrymandering, residents also benefit from prison jobs … and local businesses are bolstered by sales to prison workers and maybe, also by selling goods to the prison itself. The prison industry provides for folk in the towns where prisons are located, pretty well overall.
6th USCT member Ari Lopez Wei filmed this short video of the troop at the 2018 Three Centuries of Black Soldiers event at the Trenton Barracks Museum which took place the last weekend of Black History Month. It is sponsored by the museum and the 6th USCT re-enactment troop.
Adams Lake (all girl) Indian Band’s “Worthy” carries a message of hope for youth:
The light will glow and inspire your journey … when you get a little older everything will be all right… you are worthy, you are worthy
“Many Paths” with Kawacatoose First Nation youth
I’m going to keep my head up and make better decisions. You have to walk in my shoes to understand my position … If there’s one thing that a native people lack, the love and care – so unfair as I’m looking back … We walk the land of many paths, a narrow road that will lead us back to a life that we had …
“When the Dust Settles” by Oxford House, Manitoba
… so many can relate with these broken-down homes … with a little bit of pride and a little bit of hope … we have been blinded with all we have been through, we’re always reminded it’s time we live true. When the dust settled you can see clearly, there’s hope where our home is, hold your tears.
Newark, NJ – Governor Phil Murphy has announced that he intends to allocate $2.1M to fund free legal representation for immigrants facing detention or deportation who cannot afford private attorneys. In New Jersey, the vast majority of immigrant detainees fight their deportation cases without an attorney. It is not surprising that only 14% of unrepresented detainees are successful and able to remain in the United States, given the complexities of our immigration laws and the challenges of gathering evidence while incarcerated. Individuals facing deportation have no right to appointed counsel.
“While the funding will not be enough to ensure representation for all of the approximately 2,000 immigrants currently detained in New Jersey detention facilities for civil immigration violations, it is a promising first step towards protecting the due process rights of both long-time New Jersey residents with deep ties to our communities and who have families who would be devastated by their detention and deportation, as well as recently arrived immigrants fleeing violence and persecution in their home countries,” said Nicole Miller, Legal Services Director for the American Friends Service Committee’s Immigrant Rights Program (AFSC) in Newark, NJ. “AFSC has been representing immigrant detainees for over 20 years in New Jersey and we have seen firsthand the significant impact that legal representation has on a detainee’s ability to present their case to an immigration judge. It also ensures that detainees are treated with dignity and respect as they navigate a dehumanizing immigration system that tears families and communities apart.”
“We will continue to advocate on behalf of immigrant detainees and look forward to a day where the state of New Jersey fully funds a universal representation program that provides access to counsel to all immigrants detained in New Jersey and facing deportation,” stated Chia-Chia Wang, AFSC’s Director of Organizing and Advocacy.
AFSC, the ACLU of New Jersey and the Seton Hall Law School Immigrant Rights Clinic recently issued a report entitled “The Meaning of Counsel in the Immigration System: New Jersey Case Stories”, that highlights the importance of access to counsel for detained immigrants in New Jersey by documenting the stories of eleven New Jersey immigrants detained in immigration detention centers, many of whom are AFSC clients.
Join the conversation with John Legend on his listening tour of American prisons for the FreeAmerica project.
“FreeAmerica is a multi-year culture campaign initiated by John Legend to change the national conversation about our country’s misguided policies and transform America’s criminal justice system.”
Its ambitious goal is to end mass incarceration in the United States of America. Get involved.
Author of Unfinished Agenda: Urban Politics in the Era of Black Power Dr. Junius Williams introduces The North multimedia storytelling project with these words:
THESE STORIES MUST BE TOLD
Sometime ago, those of us who entered political movements for change walked on our first picket line or marched in our first demonstration. At some point we got hooked on concepts like “Freedom”, “Direct Action” and “Resistance” to get rid of Jim Crow racism. Eventually we came to learn how to spend time in jail, survive police and vigilante violence; to organize poor and working class black people; to extract perks and building blocks from federal programs and build coalitions among unpredictable community groups; to fight city hall; to negotiate agreements that produced opportunities and skill development for community development; and to manage campaigns to elect black politicians.
But then one day we looked around and realized that many of our friends (and enemies) who made that journey, or similar journeys, were no longer with us….to laugh with, relive old conquests, or just tell lies. Too many have moved to places unknown, gotten sick, or passed on to the next life.
So many of our collective stories go untold.
These stories must be told, and hence the evolution of this project entitled, The North: Civil Rights and Beyond in Urban America.
Visit the project’s website Rise Up Newark to hear and read stories about the growing empowerment of black people and other communities in New Jersey’s largest city. Photograph slideshows tell more.
The project was built to be youth friendly but learners of all ages will find a visit very worthwhile. Moreover, your own stories and thoughts can become part of this body of knowledge: at every step along the journey of learning and discovery it presents, site visitors are invited to, “Share Your Reaction Here!”
I’d love it if you also leave a comment on Facebook or on this blog to let me know how you like this resource.
Gubernatorial candidate Kim Guadagno released a TV ad on October 12 reiterating her statement from the first gubernatorial debate referring to undocumented immigrants as “murderers and rapists”, using disparaging language like that of Donald Trump.
“Phil Murphy was very clear in the debate that he condemns murderous acts committed by anyone and that the people who commit those crimes should be prosecuted,” said Chris Estevez, President of the Latino Action Network. “Guadagno’s Trump-like approach paints all immigrants and Latinos as murderers and rapists.” LAN has condemned Guadagno’s statement.
According to Rudy Rodas, another LAN official, “Programs that deputize local police to carry out federal immigration enforcement, like that instituted by Kim Guadagno when she served as Sherriff of Monmouth County, make communities less safe since law abiding immigrants are less likely to report crimes or cooperate with police investigations when they fear that they will also be detained.”
“We have faith that New Jersey voters are intelligent people who won’t fall for Kim Guadagno’s Donald Trump impersonation and her hateful and divisive speech toward immigrants,” concluded Estevez.
Photo source: Steve Rhodes via Flickr under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 license
The Nation reported on October 12, “San Juan Mayor Carmen Cruz woke up to Trump’s vindictive tweets on Thursday, and she texted a long message to Representative Luis Gutierrez of Chicago, who shared it with reporters.”
Follow Mayor Cruz on Twitter
What you do when devastation hits you and there is no help in the horizon. We will make it. pic.twitter.com/Powj7UDeFe
— Carmen Yulín Cruz (@CarmenYulinCruz) October 8, 2017
Here’s the body of the Mayor’s message:
Puerto Ricans have suffered greatly in the past month. Two hurricanes devastated our homes and our electrical infrastructure leaving us without the essentials to survive: drinkable water, food and medicine. But perhaps more frustrating has been the devastating actions, time after time, by a President whose tweets, comments and actions seem to be taken out of a book on “how to add insult to injury” rather than a book on “how to help during a humanitarian crisis”. He is simply incapable of understanding the contributions, the sacrifices and the commitment to democratic values that Puerto Ricans have shown over decades. His actions are unbecoming of a leader of the free world.
Mr President, you seem to want to disregard the moral imperative that your administration has been unable to fulfill. Your replacement of the FEMA Coordinator in Puerto Rico is an admission that things are not going the way they should. Your tweets and comments just show desperation and underscore the inadequacy of your government’s response to this humanitarian crisis. It is not that you do not get it, it is that you are incapable of empathy and frankly simply cannot get the job done.
Ever since this ordeal began, San Juan has had over 300 sustained volunteers from the United States. Good, hard working people from New York, Florida, California, Texas and many others who embody the fundamental values of compassion, ingenuity and hard work that you are certainly unable to express. These men and women, most of them union workers, have literally taken care of our bodies and souls. They did not come for a photo op or to throw paper towels and insults at us. They came to help, something you seem to be unable to grasp. These volunteers have seen the horror that you continue to want to dismiss. They embody the true spirit of the American values that you dismiss with every inappropriate and derogatory action and comment.
Tweet away your hate to mask your administration’s mishandling of this humanitarian crisis. While you are amusing yourself throwing paper towels at us, your compatriots and the world are sending love and help our way. Condemn us to a slow death of non drinkable water, lack of food, lack of medicine while you keep others eager to help from reaching us since they face the impediment of the Jones Act.
I ask every American that has love, and not hate in their hearts, to stand with Puerto Rico and let this President know we WILL NOT BE LEFT TO DIE. I ask the United Nations, UNICEF and the world to stand with the people of Puerto Rico and stop the genocide that will result from the lack of appropriate action of a President that just does not get it because he has been incapable of looking in our eyes and seeing the pride that burns fiercely in our hearts and souls.
No one needs an invitation to help, to feed the hungry, to cure the sick, to give a helping hand to those in need. Simply put: HELP US. WITHOUT ROBUST and CONSISTENT HELP, WE WILL DIE.
Mr. President fulfill your moral imperative towards the people of Puerto Rico.
Carmen Yulin Cruz
Mayor of San Juan
Southern California Public Radio shares images of the damage to Puerto Rico in pictures.
Published Sep 24, 2017
Stand For what?!
You want me to stand for a song that continues to remind me of all the harms that have done me wrong?
Stand for what?!
For your Army that none of our sons truly belong
Stand for what?
The 100 years it took them to convince Congress to become the anthem after 40 failed attempts
Stand for what?
Your forefathers who really just Pimps.
Stand for What?
A song about War, not freedom
That’s how you want to lead them
Brainwash your people? that’s how you want to treat em
Slavemasters whips to Cops night sticks, that’s how you continue to beat em.
Stand for what
the beginning of Slavery in 1619
Or the end of those Black Marines of 1814
That’s really what the lyrics are about
They may have taken the word slave out
but they forget to remove the slave connotations from their brains and they mouth The mentality to make America Greater than your imagination is how you pout
Hating because we burned down their White House
Gave proof through the night, that its light out
For the old elitist white man thinking
Drunk off they ass with power at baseball games singing and drinking
Man stand for what?
Stand for something or fall for dumb shit!
Stand for what
To salute the Red White and Blue, on a Flag where my Colors not reflected
Stand for what
To uphold laws that were embedded to have my community negatively affected
Stand for what
Your racist systemic melodies of mind manipulating rhetoric?
Did you know the government pays Sports organizations for plays, to make people more patriotic
This MK Ultra Soul control needs to stop it
I can still love my country and hate that fucked up song about rockets, and bombs bursting air
Reminds me of Charlottesville’s vicious glares
And police shootings with no care like the dash cameras wasn’t there.
Stand for what
Monuments and statues of old slave masters
Constant reminders of our nations disasters
The Heros in Houston, the Doctors, the Poets and the Pastors.
That’s who I want to shape our greatness after
I honor and respect our men and women of service
But we’ve been taught to idolize wars without purpose
The majority of our Militaries casualties are minority soldiers
So let’s make statues of those warriors because they truly deserve it
Mt Rushmore was built by the Ku Klux Klan, so why the fuck should I have respect for those men
Damn, This is not my country and it’s not yours either.
Go back to Africa? I wish we never had to leave it
But the entire World is our neighborhood
So why do we perceive certain blocks to be bad and other blocks to be good?
Instead of glorifying the past we gotta focus on the future
Dick Gregory warned me if U speak up They probably gonna shoot ya!
But I shout for his eternal voice along with Martin, Malcolm and Marcus Garvey and
march wholeheartedly for their legacy
Because I’ll say it loud as you can see
Fuck Francis Scott Key and Robert E. Lee
They don’t represent me and neither do either of these hypocritical political parties
I am a native to the cosmic and Universal God Energy.
Even though the constitution really doesn’t apply to me
I’ll try to exercise my freedom of speech
So you can tell them you heard it from me.
Yeah I said it
Brutality, Historic Fallacies and
All war is wrong and so is that fucking song!
It’s Been way too long!
It’s time to make a change and acknowledge that your home of the brave was built on the back of a Slave.
So bowing down to a true King
Is the only way to let freedom ring
Stand for what?
I ain’t standing For Shit… except Kaepernick!
Lily Seville posted this story on Facebook August 18 and made it publicly available so it can be shared.
I haven’t told any stories from England since I got home but it seems like maybe we could all use a good story about a civil war statue, a good story about an American President, and a good story about the power of the common people against the rich and powerful, so I’m going to start with this one. It’s probably for the best that you’re reading this here because I haven’t managed to tell this story in person without crying.
I was in Manchester with a bit of time to spare on a cool, sometimes rainy morning that reminded me of home. Since I had a minute I turned on Pokemon Go on the off chance that there would be a Mr. Mime in range. As luck would have it there was one only two blocks away from my intended destination! The game led me to a small square and as I approached I could’ve sworn that it had an enormous statue of Abraham Lincoln right in the middle of it. Much to my dismay the closer I got, the more it looked like Lincoln. When I was close enough to read the inscription I learned that it was in fact, a statue of Lincoln. What was a statue of Lincoln doing in a lonely square in Northern England?!
Then it got weirder.
There was a large blue sticker that was somewhat haphazardly stuck onto the base of the statue that said something along the lines of “talking statues of Manchester” and had a QR code with no further explanation. There was no question, I had to know what that QR code said! I immediately installed a QR scanner and no sooner had I clicked the shutter button then my phone rang. That was weird and more than a little creepy, but if they say one thing about me when I’ve gone it will be that I never passed on an adventure.
I answered the phone.
There was no preamble, no explanation, just a man’s voice saying “to the working men of Manchester” he then continued in beautiful, archaic prose to praise the workers of Manchester and thank them for their courage and sacrifice. It seemed to be a letter and when it came to an end it was signed “Abraham Lincoln”. When he had finished uttering his name President Lincoln hung up on me. It was a tantalizing letter to a child of Lincoln’s far future standing alone in a rainy square, 4,500 miles away from home. President Lincoln did not bother to list the brave acts or to sum up the sacrifice. Why would he? The people of Manchester knew what they had done.
Luckily, after the phone call ended a screen popped up offering links to learn more. I stood in the drizzle, read an amazing story and wondered why I had never heard it before.
As you probably know during the Civil War the North imposed a Naval blockade on the South. The economic hardship that this caused was an important factor in the North’s victory. What I didn’t know was that the blockade also badly hurt the people of Lancashire, England. At that time the mills of Northern England produced the fabric that clothed the world. Seventy five percent of all the cotton grown on Southern plantations was sent to Lancashire where it was spun, dyed, and woven.
A year into the war and the embargo found Northern England in real distress. Sixty percent of its mills were shuttered, thousands of people were without work. The desperate wealthy mill owners started lobbying the British government to send the British Navy to break the blockade and let the cotton through.
Then an amazing thing happened. The workers themselves organized a mass meeting in the Manchester Union Hall to discuss the matter and those working class men, who had the very most to lose, chose to refuse cotton grown by enslaved hands. The blockade held and the men did indeed lose. In one town alone only five out of thirty-nine mills continued to operate. People went without fuel for heat, there was wide spread starvation, families lost their homes. And still–an ocean and a world away from a war in a place they had never seen–the people of Manchester chose to live and die by their values. They would not support slavery.
When the war ended that letter came from President Lincoln and it was followed shortly after by ships loaded with food and supplies for the people of Lancashire from the people of America, in gratitude.
And that is how I ended up crying in the rain 4,500 miles from home, in a square named for Lincoln in a country that he never set foot in.
I also caught my Mr. Mime.
If you are interested in reading the letter you can do so here.
I have made this post public so that it can be easily shared if you know someone who could use a hopeful story too ~ Lily Seville
Ed note: This story came to me via Han Broekman. Thanks for the beautiful share, Han.
“Injustice Anywhere is a threat to Justice everywhere.” ~ Dr. King
This is an update from a Standing Rock volunteer. It’s not pleasant.
I have returned from Standing Rock with my mind blown, my heart broken and my spirit troubled with foreboding of a deepening tragedy. Volunteering as a legal observer with the Water Protector Legal Collective I witnessed several confrontations between Water Protectors (WP) and law enforcement: national guard, sheriffs and private security (LE).
On 1/18/17 – 1/19/17 I observed WP with their hands in the air chanting “hands up don’t shoot” being fired upon at a range of 10 to 15 feet. Tear gas canisters and rubber bullets ( rubber bullets are regular bullets covered in rubber) were used against unarmed WP who had been singing and praying. I observed national guard chasing WP off the Backwater bridge, firing at people running away. I heard people choking and gagging from tear gas. I saw access to the WP medic vehicles being blocked. I spoke with medics and WP who described bullets penetrating flesh and causing terrible injuries, including to one media person who nearly lost his finger when his camera was targeted.
I talked with a media person and was told of 4 media people on the bridge that night, 3 had their recording devices shot and the 4th, his hand. I saw a photo of a sheriff aiming a rifle directly at a media woman who was standing apart from the crowd. I heard testimony of the back of the medic pickup truck being awash in blood after evacuating wounded.
I watched, and then, inadvertently became a part of, WP being forced off the bridge by national guard who were hiding behind WP vehicles parked along the road and firing rubber bullets at fleeing people. Many people were shot in the back, the neck, the head. When LE fired at people at close range, many were shot in the genitals or in the face. I received information about DAPL security breaching the short wave radio channels of the WP with taunts such as ”come out and fight like men you faggots or we will come to Camp and fuck your women.”
There are some young warriors, who, without the support of their elders, many who want the camps cleared to mitigate the economic and social damage being suffered by the local community in having the bridge closed, have vowed to not leave the camps or to let the last section of pipeline be built.
Driving away from the area on Monday I saw a convoy of construction vehicles heading to the drill pad. Last night an indigenous website live streamed reports of drilling and construction noises coming from the drill pad.
Without the eyes of a free press these attacks and trespasses continue, with the human rights and sovereignty of indigenous peoples denied. The UN Committee on Transnational Corporations and Human Right Abuses was in Standing Rock this week to take testimony of the many transgressions against people: crop dusters spraying poison pesticides and fertilizers on the camps; hair samples indicating the presence of these chemicals; people who have been injured, beat up, arrested, strip searched; media and medics being targeted by snipers; (one medic told me he stopped wearing his Red Cross vest due to medics being targeted); praying people being attacked and the refusal of DAPL and our government to abide by the Rule of Law.
We need to stand up for our brothers and our sisters, for their way of life and, I believe, for our social contract as a democracy which is now threatened.
Please share this so word gets out what is happening, thank you.