Breaking this Cycle- Mark Johnson

Breaking this Cycle
This evil cycle should have been broken a long time ago.
Now it’s just become a part of our existence, and not allowing us to grow.
Society’s chains are extremely heavy and hard to break.
I wonder if that’s the reason so many people are now so fake..

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The Luxury of Colorblindness - Sevgi Fernandez

The Luxury of Colorblindness 


Written by: Sevgi Fernandez

Excerpt from the book Why Black Lives Matter Too, available on Amazon


 It is a luxury to walk through life not having to constantly be aware of your race. As a mixed woman, racial labels have followed me wherever I've gone, and I'm keenly aware that the darker a person's skin, the more this statement is true.  
“I am Colorblind” or “I don’t see color”, are statements many of you have either heard or have said yourselves. I truly believe the only people who can “choose” to be colorblind, are whites. It is a luxury not to have to think about race. In a workshop I held last fall, we watched the documentary, A Conversation with White People on Race. Some of the statements, although simple, were profound. For example, a thirty something white man said, “I don't think about being white, I just don’t.” This was followed by a middle aged white woman who said, “I really did not know I had a racial identity. I had no idea what that meant, how that shaped my outlook on life, my sense of optimism, sense of belonging, sense of safety.”

 

 

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We Support Marilyn Mosby

PLEASE SHARE.

If you feel like I do, that we must rally around Marilyn Mosby, our embattled State's Attorney, please repost this on your page. We must let it be known that the community has this Sista's back, and while we realize that the Freddie Gray cases have not been perfectly prosecuted, still, we respect the job she has done since taking office, and have absolute confidence in her ability to lead, moving forward.

"I applaud Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby for having the courage to pursue justice against the historically“untouchable” Baltimore City Police Department, and stand with her against the sexist and racist insults and attacks on her character and professional conduct she has suffered, and the violent terrorist threats made on her life."

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HBCU's and Sexual Assault - Carol Laborde

On 5/19/2015,  Emma Salkowicz, graduated from Columbia University, carrying a mattress she had taken everywhere on campus for the past year as a part of her visual arts thesis.  It represented her sexual assault by a fellow senior student who was never convicted or expelled from the campus.  She brought attention to a federal complaint levied against the school for failing to properly adjudicate cases of campus assault.  Columbia along with 90 other colleges is under federal investigation for violation of Title IX, a law prohibiting gender based sexual assault on college campuses.  Schools found guilty of violating this law may lose federal funding.  




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Sorry Not All Lives Matter

Sorry, Not ALL Lives Matter.....

  
By Sevgi Fernandez

In case you are one of the disillusioned that still believes your life matters to the police that are sworn to protect and serve, read on. 

I'll state this before I go any further. Not ALL cops are bad, there are many who perform their jobs with care, integrity, bravery and humanity. However, there is a population in law enforcement that have a very scary and dangerous attitude towards human lives.

The following is a Facebook post written by officer William James Manifold, with an introduction by the Colorado Fraternal Order of Police.

Sorry, Not All Lives Matter

"This insightful and impassioned public commentary was written and posted to Facebook by William James Manifold. It is a powerful commentary that we felt needed to be repeated. Here it is in its entirety with a minor edit."(FOP)

The post reads:

"So last night I noticed on my newsfeed, one of my Facebook friends made a statement that really pissed me off. Something along the lines of "Why do people have to hashtag when in mourning that certain lives matter…all lives matter". This comment was obviously in response to the community outpouring of support for Ofc. Kerrie Orozco who ended her watch yesterday afternoon. I wanted to take a moment to respond.
First I beg to differ with you. All lives don’t matter. Now there’s a shocking statement, but it deserves repeating. All lives don’t matter…all lives have the potential to matter…but most certainly all lives don’t matter. Allow me to explain:
Ofc Kerrie Orozco, now her life mattered. Why, well let me tell you a little about her. First she chose to serve her community, state and country by being a protector, a defender, a part of a thin blue line, a line of individuals past and present that stand between lawlessness and order, between the monsters and the weak, between good and evil. Every morning she pinned her badge on her uniform, or belt and walked out the door not really knowing if she would walk back in.
Not only was she a dedicated law enforcement officer. She was a wife and mother. She was a coach to disadvantaged kids in the community which she served. She was a leader; and to quote her Chief “was a Top Notch person”. She made a difference in the lives of those she touched. She worked in a gang infested part of the city, and reached out to the children of that community each and every day to show them that there was a better way of life. In short, she made a difference…her life mattered. The Omaha metropolitan area will sorely miss her presence. A good cop died today.

Contrast that to the individual that took her life yesterday. We’ll refer to him as Mr. POS as he doesn’t deserve to have his name mentioned. He was a gang member, drug dealer, convicted felon. His rap sheet included multiple shootings, accessory to murder, and the list goes on and on. He made a choice to be a menace to his community. His only contribution was pain and suffering. In my opinion…he did nothing to make his life matter, he made no difference…his life didn’t matter. His most outstanding contribution to the Omaha Metro area was that he also died yesterday.
The original hashtag of “lives matter” came from a group of misguided individuals in Ferguson, MO who believed that law enforcement officers get up every day with the goal of shooting, or harassing, or arresting someone of a particular race. I can tell you that is absolutely false. Every officer I know or knew, worked with, served with all became an officer for one reason…to make a difference, because God knows it wasn’t for the money. Believe me when I say that almost all officers go out of their way to help those in the communities they serve, and when we find one that doesn’t fit this mold, we take care of that problem. They are educated, relieved of duty or arrested. There are so many examples just this year of law enforcement policing their own ranks. The hashtag #BlueLivesMatter was in response to the misguided notion that only people of certain race are being targeted, when in fact today law enforcement officers in every city are being actively targeted.
In case you haven’t noticed…there is a war going on in our own streets today…it’s a war on law enforcement and unless YOU want to walk the line between good and evil, maybe YOU should do something to stop that war. Only YOU can make a difference and WE as a community everywhere must take a stand against those who would like to see our law enforcement officers neutered and defenseless. Our officers need to know that they are supported by their community and their leadership. Far too many today are more worried about being sued when they have to make a split second life or death decision that will experience days, weeks, months or years of armchair quarterbacking by the ill-informed.
I’ve walked that thin line. I have many members of my family that walk that thin line still today. I have many friends who I call brother or sister that walk that thin line, and many more that have recently left the line. For those I say their lives matter, they made a difference, they did something that mattered, and when one of them dies…guess what, I’ll hashtag the hell out of my mourning because by whatever God you worship or don’t, by all things holy, #BlueLivesMatter.
“And maybe remind the few if ill of us they speak, that we are all that stands between the monsters and the weak.”
So far this year we have lost 45 lives that mattered, 45 people that served their communities, 45 people that made a difference, 45 brave souls that walked and stood on that thin line, 45 men and women that few will remember. Take a look at this picture; these are 4 of the last 7 officers that died in the line of duty in May protecting you and your family. Take a close look, these 7 are lives that mattered:
Instead of you getting on some high horse thinking that you are being so damned enlightened with your “All Lives Matter” bullshit, you should be getting on your knees thanking each and every one of those people who gave their live so you can sleep at night, so you can walk the street, so you can enjoy the safety that they provide. Will any of them ever ask for your thanks, no. Do they deserve it, you bet they do.

If I’ve offended you, I honestly don’t give a shit. You’re an adult, get over it or move on. And honestly, if you get offended that easily and don’t or won’t support our law enforcement officers then I really don’t have the time for you so good riddance. You are part of the problem.
So circling back to my original thought, do all lives matter? No, all lives have the potential to matter. It’s up to the individual whether they want to matter or not. Everyone can make a difference; everyone has that opportunity to matter. What have YOU done with your life that matters?
To my brothers and sisters still walking the line Omni Cedo Domus…Everyone goes home. You matter. To those that enjoy the blanket of protection they provide, show your support; turn on a blue light at night, thank an officer, attend a Citizens Police Academy, join a neighborhood watch, or just give a kind wave and a smile. You matter. To those that choose to walk on the “other side” of the line, well just keep walking, they’ll get to you eventually…you don’t matter. Ni Baolach Don Olcas Mise…only evil need fear me.
May St. Michael keep watch over those still walking the line, and may God keep those who have ended their watch. #BlueLivesMatter #SupportBlue
Author: William James Manifold

So let me get this straight, this man, this police officer, believes he has the right to determine who's lives matter? This is the mindset of a man who has been given the authority to carry a weapon and use it at his discretion?  It's frightening and I don't know of any black person or person of color for that matter who hasn't either directly or indirectly suffered at the hands of, or due to the actions of the police. Although officer Manifold was the one who wrote this post, it's clear that he has a nation of police officers behind him. The officers who don't stand behind his ideology, stand behind him with their silence. To Manifold's statement, "only evil need fear me", we all must fear you and you officer embody EVIL.

For those of you who take issue with the #Blacklivesmatter movement I say this...

Black people have been systematically oppressed, discriminated against and brutalized SIMPLY because of their race since they were brought to this country as slaves. The system was set up to deny what should be our HUMAN rights and that system is still at play today. We as people of color certainly believe ALL lives matter, yet ALL people haven't had the daily struggles faced by blacks in this country.  ALL people aren't being shot, hung and choked to death by police. So read on and learn. There are facts that cannot be denied.

Below I share some disturbing studies that look at the mentality that seems to be the norm in our criminal justice system, specifically our police departments.

In a national study of 5,042 police departments examining the abuse of police authority, it's easy to see the parallels between the findings and what we are seeing across the country.  The study consisted of 91.5% males and 8.5% females. The following shows the participants level of education as well as the racial breakdown in percentages.

Education Level of Officers

  • 0.5% -Some High School 
  • 14.7% -High School Diploma/GED
  • 33.1% -Some College 
  • 18.6% -Associate's Degree 
  • 27.6% -Bachelor's Degree 
  • 2.0% -Some Graduate Work
  • 3.2% -Master's Degree
  • 0.3% -Doctoral or Law Degree

Racial Breakdown:

  • White 80.8%
  • African American 10.7%
  • Hispanic 9.6%
  • American Indian or Alaskan Native 0.8%
  • Asian 0.8%
  • Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander 0.3%
  • Other 4.3%
  • Mixed Race 2.4%

* as a mixed race woman this is the FIRST time I've seen a survey in which we are not required to pick "other". If any of you follow me regularly you know I just had to point that out.

In response to whether police officers in their particular city used excessive force to make an arrest, 21.7% said "sometimes, often, or always" with 62.4% saying "seldom".
In response to whether officers in their departments responded to verbal abuse with physical force,14.7% said, "sometimes, often, or always" and 53.5% said, "seldom".

It's pertinent to add here that the Department of Justice found that the Albuquerque PD, and Cleveland PD, “engages in a pattern or practice of use of excessive force, including deadly force, in violation of the Fourth Amendment".  The DOJ also found the Ferguson PD has, “clear racial disparities” and “discriminatory intent”.  Each of these departments are staffed by predominantly white officers. That being the case one can understand these statistics and also see the need for thorough and extensive training for these officers in the areas of cultural/racial awareness and sensitivity, implicit and explicit biases and working with those with emotional and mental issues.  

The study also found:

Police officers often treat whites better than they do African Americans and other minorities 

  • 0.7 %- Whites
  • 4.6 %- African Americans -  Strongly Agree
  • 2.4 %- Other Minorities 
  • 11.2 %- Whites
  • 46.7 %- African Americans. -  Agree
  • 21.0 %- Other Minorities

Police officers are more likely to use physical force against African Americans and other minorities than against whites in similar situations 

  • 0.6 %- Whites 
  • 9.4 %- African Americans -  Strongly Agree 
  • 2.4 %- Other Minorities
  • 4.5 %- Whites 
  • 47.7 %-African Americans -  Agree 
  • 10.0 %-Other Minorities

Police officers are more likely to use physical force against poor people than against middle-class people in similar situations 

  • 0.8 %- Whites 
  • 9.1 % -African Americans - Strongly Agree
  • 4.2 %- Other Minorities 
  • 8.0 %- Whites
  • 45.3 %- African Americans -  Agree 
  • 13.0 %-Other Minorities

An officer who reports another officer’s mis- conduct is likely to be given the “cold shoulder” by fellow officers. 
56.4% Agree 

It is not unusual for a police officer to turn a blind eye to improper conduct by other officers. 
50.6% Agree 

These numbers correlate with the disturbing conduct by officers in cases like the death of Sandra Bland in Texas and the shooting death of Samuel Dubose in Cleveland in which officer Ray Tensing was just indicted for murder. There seems to be a collaboration to cover up information by the police department where Sandra Bland died. We see this again in the murder of Samuel Dubose in which two officers, Phillip Kidd and Eric Weibel, lied to corroborate Ray Tensling's story.
The "Code of Silence" is a very real, dangerous and pervasive part of our criminal Justice system.

These are examples of this "unwritten rule":

  • Say as little as possible.
  • Answer only the question asked.
  • Don't give details.
  • Deny all accusations.
  • Say "I don't remember, I didn't see that, or I don't know."

How is it that our justice system is trusted to protect us with this kind of mentality? Again, we see another way in which our lives do not matter.  A persons LIFE can, and often is, taken or forever impacted by codes within the police system just like this.  Where is the Equality and Justice for All in this system?

The Pew Research Center conducted a study on whether Michael Brown's shooting brought needed attention to issues regarding race. The findings were along the same lines as the police abuse study in that whites saw less of a problem. 80% of Blacks overwhelmingly believed the incident raised important issues around race. Alternatively, 47% of whites thought race was getting more attention than it deserved.

The study also looked at whether or not the public had confidence in the police investigation following the shooting. Again, the divide along racial lines is staggering with over half of the whites reporting high confidence in the investigation compared to over three quarters of blacks who reported having little to no confidence in the process.

Sadly these statistics are not going to come as as shock to people of color given we LIVE this reality. The reality that our lives truly don't matter outside of our own communities for the most part. I believe there are a growing number of whites who are concerned about this racial divide and equality for people of color. I see more whites challenging themselves and asking the hard questions regarding their white privilege and implicit biases. I think the movement from the black community over the past year specifically has garnered much needed attention in mainstream and social media. This has enabled our messages related to the extreme state of racism and inequality in this country to reach whites who otherwise would have continued on unaware. I am seeing more and more whites participating in protests and dialogues on the issues. 

  
That being said, the state of this nation has also clearly spotlighted those who are in complete support of the continuation of the inequality and institutionalized, oppressive racism that "their" country has run on all these years. These are the people behind the statistics we are seeing in these studies. These are the people behind the confederate flag. These are the people in our police departments that are killing our brothers and sisters.

So what have we learned here?

  • Racism is not in the past
  • Racism is a very real and contributing factor in how an individual is treated by police
  • Police cannot be trusted to police themselves 
  • Higher standards in education and training for police officers are needed 
  • The racial divide between many whites and people of color in this country is extreme
  • Blacks and people of color cannot automatically expect to be protected by the police 
  • The public outcry for police accountability must continue consistently 

Michael Brown, it's been one year today since you were senselessly murdered. You did not die in vain. We remember you, we fight for you. Rest in Peace brother👊🏾

#BlackLivesMatter

#EndPoliceBrutality

#KnowYourRights

#Humanity

Sources:

THE ABUSE OF POLICE AUTHORITY, 
David Weisburd Rosann Greenspan Edwin E. Hamilton Kellie A. Bryant Hubert Williams
A National Study of Police Officers’Attitudes, 2001
 

http://journalistsresource.org/studies/government/criminal-justice/police-reasonable-force-brutality-race-research-review-statistics#sthash.hxqmLIQw.dpuf

http://www.abuseofpower.info/Culture_Brotherhood.htm

RICHARD PÉREZ-PEÑA, JULY 29, 2015, University of Cincinnati Officer Indicted in Shooting Death of Samuel Dubose http://mobile.nytimes.com/

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First Blog Post

 
By Sevgi Fernandez

Civil War! We've been in one! Race war! It's been here! We are going to all have to engage in this fight in order for it to end. It WILL get worse before it gets better. They are fearful, they know they have already lost and they will do anything to hold on. The United States is no longer a nation that will be run by the racist white elite. The civil rights movement began what our revolution will finish! We cannot do it divided. We must come together, it can't just be about individual communities. Natives, Muslims, Immigrants, Blacks, Asians, Christians, LGBTQs, we are all one community that must unite against the hate and oppression. We must garner our power and hold each other up through this most important battle. Losing IS NOT AN OPTION!#TogetherWeStand

#TheRevolutionIsHere

Like Together We Stand on Facebook and help us advocate for victims of racism, discrimination and police brutality!

https://m.facebook.com/Together-We-Stand-1535933513365584/?ref=bookmarks

Follow us on Twitter @TWSrevolution

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