This is a community grieving. Not just over the murder of a single unarmed young man, though that was terrible enough. What I learned painting stencils with the children of that neighborhood today was this did not occur in some back alley. Where they shot him 6 times was right in the middle of a street, surrounded by multi level apartment complexes filled with children. If the shots did not get their attention the 4 hours they left the body in the middle of the street did. Several of those children did not have parents home.
Social Security’s right-wing critics like to argue that a program guaranteeing a minimal income in old age undermines the family by discouraging working people from having children—and that the resulting decline in the birthrate undermines Social Security. Yet, the right also likes to vilify people of color who have too many children. Could it be that we’ve got a double standard here?
Since I first read about him two decades ago, the oversized figure of John Brown has held a steady, awkward place in my conscience. As a white man who was willing discard his racial privilege and lay down his life to end slavery, I can think of no better inspiration with whom to identify. His daring acts were the kind I can only wish I’d have the fortitude to carry out if they made sense today.
I spent 12 years of my life in St. Louis. I went to college there. Got married. Landed my first teaching job. Bought my first house. Between door-knocking for candidates and causes, driving around on ice cold nights in a homeless shelter van, and breaking bread in people’s homes and churches and synagogues, I came to know the metropolis well. I came to love and admire its many communities — including Ferguson: so tenacious, so full of hardworking families trying to stay afloat, trying to dismantle racial apartheid and make a better life for their children.
In Chicago and across the country, whites looking to achieve the American dream could rely on a legitimate credit system backed by the government. Blacks were herded into the sights of unscrupulous lenders who took them for money and for sport. “It was like people who like to go out and shoot lions in Africa. It was the same thrill,” a housing attorney told the historian Beryl Satter in her 2009 book, Family Properties. “The thrill of the chase and the kill.”
Poverty in America is an enormous problem. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 15 percent of Americans, or 46.5 million people, lived below the poverty line in 2012. And the poor are increasingly isolated across America. As Sean Reardon and Kendra Bischoff have documented, between 1970 and 2009 the proportion of poor families living in poor neighborhoods more than doubled, from 8 to 18 percent. And the trend shows no signs of abating.
During his 2004 Senate run and again during the 2008 presidential campaign, Barack Obama stood firm in his opposition to reparations for the descendants of enslaved Africans here in the United States. "I have said in the past - and I'll repeat again - that the best reparations we can provide are good schools in the inner city and jobs for people who are unemployed," he said in 2008 right before his historic election.
Which side of history do you stand on? Do you stand with the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 that made every neighborhood watched by the slave patrols. Do you stand with the courts, police and juries that time and time again acquitted anyone accused of lynching a Black person? Do you stand with the White Citizenship Councils who were the most “respected” men of their community, who defended Jim Crow apartheid? Do you stand with the Klu Klux Klan who were the first to make the argument that the Voting Rights Act and Affirmative Action gave “special rights” to Blacks, an argument that quickly became a rally crying for white Americans around the country.
“Let me tell you what this verdict means to me,” he said. He was the only Black person in our circle of mostly white friends, and we had gathered together, enraged confused and in pain. “I know we all believe in social justice, but for me to be here with you, I need to tell you what this night means to me as Black person.”
Nicknamed the Black Panthers, a new self-defence brigade wants to protect themselves from racists who are targeting people who are not ethnic Greeks Michael Chege (Screengrab from Channel 4) Michael Chege (Screengrab from Channel 4) Fed up of being the target of Golden Dawn gangs, a group of Athens residents has decided to take on the extremists by setting up night-time patrols in their neighbourhoods.