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When the past is present…

 

Why blacks are urging a Black Friday boycott

By Soledad O’Brien and Rose Arce, CNN.com

[Editor’s note: Soledad O’Brien, CEO of Starfish Media Group, produced the CNN documentary “Black and Blue,” which airs at 11 tonight on CNN. Rose Arce is Starfish Media Group’s executive producer.]

(CNN) — Once again, the streets are electric with anger after a white police officer evades charges for fatally shooting a black man. Sirens screech and wood batons push back marchers protesting from Missouri to New York to Los Angeles. This time the cadence of “No Justice, No Peace” has been replaced with “Hand’s Up. Don’t Shoot.”…

Blk Fri Boycott 2A loose network led by African Americans in the film and arts world has emerged from the fog of tear gas to call for a quiet riot in response: a boycott of Black Friday shopping. Ryan Coogler, who directed the 2013 film about police brutality called “Fruitvale Station,” told us he was confounded by the eruptions of “human rights violations committed by public servants.”

“There are three ways you can express yourself,” Coogler said. “You can vote. You can protest. You can choose how you spend your money that goes to America’s corporations that hold a lot of power.”

“We’ve got to fight the powers that be!” proclaimed Public Enemy’s Chuck D in 1989. With the embers of Ferguson still smoldering, it is clear that the struggle continues. But by taking their purchasing power away on retailers’ favorite day of the year, the voice of blacks in America, and their allies, may echo more loudly in its absence from shopping malls and big box stores.

Earning less than whites and unemployed at more than double the national average, African Americans still have $1 trillion in buying power, according to Nielsen. They spend more on media, watch more television, shop more frequently off and online and spend more on beauty products than any other ethnic group in the country. That is serious sway.

Blck Fri Boycott

Black film directors, including Ryan Coogler and Ava DuVernay, are calling for African Americans to withhold their considerable spending power today as an effective means of protesting the failure to indict the policeman who killed Mike Brown.

People who make movies also have sway — people such as Ava DuVernay, director of the upcoming film “Selma” and actors Michael B. Jordan (“The Wire”) and Nate Parker (“The Secret Life of Bees”). #BlackOutBlackFriday has even produced its own minifilms to fuel this modern version of the bus boycotts. One of them features an interview with the daughter of Eric Garner, who describes losing her father to police violence. Garner was choked to death by police who suspected he might be selling “loosies” or loose cigarettes…

 

Read the full article here.

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Social Worker/PhD Student Makes the Largest Donation So Far to Our Book Fundraiser!

Lanetta Greer of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, fosters ten troubled teenaged girls AND is finishing her PhD dissertation AND teaches social work part time at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Ms. Greer sees a connection between the betrayal and trauma her girls experienced and the lynching that James Cameron experienced at sixteen. He was nearly beaten to death by people he knew and, with the rope already tightening around his neck, was miraculously spared a hanging.

In this 1.5 minute video, Lanetta shares her thoughts about giving such a generous donation.

 

 

We at ABHM are more than a little grateful on this day of thanksgiving for Lantetta’s generosity to us and her ongoing contributions to our community. You go, girl!

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Head Griot Reggie Jackson Presents about Ferguson in Racine

By A.J. Bayatpou, fox6now.com

[Last night] Reggie Jackson, chairman of the board of America’s Black Holocaust Museum, gave a presentation [at the Racine Public Library] on the officer-involved shooting in Ferguson, and some of the people involved.

He says he wasn’t surprised by the outcome in Ferguson, just disappointed. He says he understands why he was able to draw a considerable crowd on Tuesday evening.

“I think it’s an issue that’s touched a lot of people from a lot of different communities and people are really very emotional. People want to express that and get that out of their system and also learn more about why those things happened,” Jackson said.

The event has been in the works since Michael Brown was shot in August.

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Don’t Label Me Gay or African-American

By: Huffington Post

At 28 years old, Raven-Symoné has a very clear sense of who she is. The former “Cosby Show” actress and star of “That’s So Raven” recently sat down with Oprah and opened up about her strong sense of self, including her sexuality.

Raven has been relatively quiet about her personal life, but last year, when the Supreme Court ruled the ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional, Raven tweeted a status that many saw as her way of coming out…

Twitter post by Raven Symone

Twitter post by Raven Symone

“That was my way of saying I’m proud of the country,” she says. “But, I will say that I’m in an amazing, happy relationship with my partner. A woman.”

Raven’s reluctance to open up about her private life is something she has practiced since her early days as a young star, under her parents’ guidance. “People in my family, they’ve taught me to keep my personal life to myself as much as possible. So, I try my best to hold the fence where I can,” Raven says. “But I am proud to be who I am and what I am.”…

“I don’t want to be labeled ‘gay,'” Raven says. “I want to be labeled ‘a human who loves humans.'”

Raven Symone with AzMarie Livingston; Rick Diamond via Getty Images

Raven Symone with AzMarie Livingston; Rick Diamond via Getty Images

In fact, Raven tells Oprah that she rejects the notion of labels completely in all areas of her life. “I’m tired of being labeled,” she says. “I’m an American. I’m not an African-American; I’m an American.”…

“I mean, I don’t know where my roots go to,” Raven explains. “I don’t know how far back they go… I don’t know what country in Africa I’m from, but I do know that my roots are in Louisiana. I’m an American. And that’s a colorless person.”

“You’re going to get a lot of flak for saying you’re not African-American. You know that, right?” Oprah asks.

Raven puts her hands up. “I don’t label myself,” she reiterates. “I have darker skin. I have a nice, interesting grade of hair. I connect with Caucasian, I connect with Asian, I connect with Black, I connect with Indian, I connect with each culture.”

 

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MO Governor Declares State Of Emergency Ahead Of Grand Jury Decision

By Ashley Alman, HuffingtonPost.com

Gov. Jay Nixon (D) issued an executive order on Monday declaring a state of emergency in Missouri as the nation awaits a grand jury decision in the case of the fatal shooting of Michael Brown by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson.

People protest Monday, Aug. 18, 2014, for Michael Brown

People protest Monday, Aug. 18, 2014, for Michael Brown

Citing “periods of unrest” in the city of Ferguson and other places in the St. Louis area following Brown’s Aug. 9 death, Nixon announced the executive order as a measure to protect the citizens and businesses of Missouri from “violence and damage.”

“I further direct the Missouri State Highway Patrol together with the St. Louis County Police Department and the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department to operate as a Unified Command to protect civil rights and ensure public safety in the City of Ferguson and the St. Louis region,” Nixon wrote in the order, noting that citizens reserve their right to assemble peacefully.

Protesters have already begun demonstrating throughout Ferguson, St. Louis and the surrounding areas, as the grand jury’s decision on whether to indict Wilson could come at any moment. On Monday, a group of protesters gathered in Clayton, where the grand jury is deliberating. Others staged a “die-in” in University City, lying down on the street and pretending to have been shot…

Read full article and executive order here.

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EBONY To Honor Top 100 Black Influencers Of 2014

By , thehuffingtonpost.com

Ebony Magazine has a history of celebrating influential African Americans.

As usual, the magazine’s annual ‘Power 100′ list of standout figures in the Black community does not disappoint. Fourteen categories from “Cultural Influencers” to “Community Crusaders,” list dynamite game changers who make it impossible to imagine 2014 without. Lupita Nyong’o, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Laverne Cox, Levar Burton, and Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche are just a few of the names included on Ebony’s knockout list.

Lupita Nyong’o

This year’s honorees will be celebrated at Ebony’s Power 100 Gala on Wednesday in Los Angeles, including music legend Quincy Jones, who is set to receive Ebony’s 2014 Achievement Award.

Marc Lamont Hill, a 2014 honoree, told HuffPost how he felt to have made the cut.

“I’m so honored to be listed among so many important and influential people. While we don’t do this work for accolades, it’s gratifying to be recognized by my community.”

The EBONY Power 100 issue will hit newsstands in December.

Read full article here.

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NFL Commissioner Suspends Adrian Peterson Without Pay for Remainder of the Season

By Diana Ozemebhoya Eromosele, theRoot.com

Adrian Peterson

NFL running back Adrian Peterson of the Minnesota Vikings addresses the media after pleading no contest to a lesser misdemeanor charge of reckless assault Nov. 4, 2014, in Conroe, Texas. BOB LEVEY/GETTY IMAGES

The NFL sent Adrian Peterson a letter on Tuesday, notifying the Minnesota Vikings running back that he would be suspended for the remainder of the 2014-2015 season without pay, CNN is reporting.

“The timing of your potential reinstatement will be based on the results of the counseling and treatment program set forth in this decision,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in the letter.

Peterson was charged with felony child abuse in September for disciplining his 4-year-old son with a switch. He was initially placed on the NFL’s exempt/commissioner’s permission list—an employment status that allowed him to get paid but that kept him off the playing field. He eventually pleaded no contest to a charge of misdemeanor reckless assault.

Now the NFL wants Peterson to complete a rehabilitation program that the league has constructed for him. “Under this two-step approach, the precise length of the suspension will depend on your actions. We are prepared to put in place a program that can help you to succeed, but no program can succeed without your genuine and continuing engagement,” Goodell said in the letter.

The National Football League Players Association, the labor union representing NFL players, has expressed reservations about the suspension and will work with Peterson in his appeal of the league’s decision. The NFLPA “will ‘demand that a neutral arbitrator oversee the appeal,’ ” CNN reports.

“A hearing will now be scheduled and Peterson—with the counsel of a lawyer and the NFL Players Association—can present evidence in support of his appeal. He will remain on the commissioner’s exempt list until the appeal has run its course,” the report explains.

See CNN video here.

Read more Breaking News here.

 

KKK Threatens ‘Lethal Force’ Against Ferguson Protesters

Letter obtained by Vice News

BY: , theroot.com

As a nation awaits a grand jury decision in the Ferguson, Mo., police shooting case that has divided some Americans along racial lines, members of a Missouri-based KKK chapter have been distributing fliers that promise to use “lethal force” against “terrorists masquerading as ‘peaceful protesters,’’’ Vice News reports.

The fliers, reportedly distributed by the Traditionalist American Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, began appearing recently in the St. Louis, Mo., area and on social media, after the group says protesters threatened the lives of police officers and their families, the site says

“You have been warned by the Ku Klux Klan!” states the flier obtained by Vice. “There will be consequences for your acts of violence against the peaceful, law-abiding citizens of Missouri.”

It’s the second time the Klan, “known as a hate group for its history of persecuting and abusing minorities,” has reared its head in Ferguson, a suburb of St. Louis, after unarmed black teen Michael Brown was shot and killed this summer by white Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson. This case, which has sparked ongoing protests against law enforcement’s use of excessive force in the black community, has unmasked deep racial fissures not only in St. Louis, Mo.-area, but also across the nation. A grand jury is meeting now to decide whether to indict Wilson.

Last summer, a different KKK chapter declared that it was raising money for Wilson and his family. At the time, some members expressed skepticism about the fundraiser, noting that the group’s presence would only heighten tensions. But weeks of protests that also call for Wilson’s arrest have only served to boost recruitment numbers, leaders told the news site.

Read full article here.

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Why Do We Still Care About the Confederate Flag?

By Hanna Kozlowska, The New York Times

When and where is it OK to display the "Ole Stars and Bars"? (Courtesy of Sam Dean/The Roanoke Times, via AP)

When and where is it OK to display the “Ole Stars and Bars”? In public or private spaces? On government grounds? It is still a racist symbol that cannot be ignored or simply a harmless emblem of Southern pride? (Courtesy of Sam Dean/The Roanoke Times, via AP)

…Nearly 150 years after the Civil War ended, the Confederate flag is still one of the nation’s most divisive emblems. Many a Yankee will attest to the shock and horror they feel upon seeing the multitude of Confederate flags when they first arrive in the South. For them, it’s a symbol of slavery, of oppression and systemic racism. But many Southerners see it as a point of local pride and a celebration of their heritage, putting the flag on their bumper stickers and on their lawns.

But when that lawn belongs to a government institution, the flag becomes a political problem.

South Carolina’s Republican Gov. Nikki Haley recently got herself into hot water when she defended the flag standing on the grounds of the South Carolina State House. While she acknowledged that it was a sensitive issue, she also underlined that over the course of her term and many phone conversations with chief executives, she did not have “one conversation with a single C.E.O. about the Confederate flag.” She also said that South Carolina’s image problem was “fixed” with her election, as an Indian-American, and with the appointment of an African-American Senator, Tim Scott.

The MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry wrote a letter to Governor Haley, defining herself as a “Southern girl” who grew up surrounded by the Confederate flag. She says that black Americans are, by and large, Southerners, that their history is “deeply intertwined with Southern history,” that their experience includes slavery and Jim Crow but also “church picnics, HBCU football games and jazz music.” As black Southerners, Ms. Harris-Perry writes, “we have a complicated relationship to the ’ol stars and bars. We rarely paint it on our pick-ups but we do not automatically flinch and recoil when we see it.”

But, she says, Ms. Haley is not just a Southerner, she is “a duly elected governor in the United States of America.” Displaying the Confederate flag on state-owned grounds suggests “honor upon an act of treason,” she says. “To remember that we are one nation-indivisible — we fly the flag of our union.”…

Rapper Kanye West decided to "take back" the flag, wearing it on his clothing and selling it on merchandise.

Rapper Kanye West decided to “take back” the flag, wearing it on his clothing and selling it on merchandise.

Some say that the entire debate over the Confederate flag is pointless. Writing several weeks after the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., John McWhorter said at The Daily Beastthat we should focus our energies elsewhere. “A serious approach to racism in this country will be about black men and the police,” Mr. McWhorter writes. The discussion is a “futile endeavor” because of the various meanings assigned to the flag and because of the fact that in the absence of the Confederate flag, the racist constituency would just choose a different symbol.

Read the full article here.

Read more Breaking News here.

 

It Looks Like the Ferguson Grand Jury Decision Will Be Announced Monday

BY: , theroot.com

According to sources familiar with a Wednesday conference call that included key elected officials, the St. Louis County grand jury’s decision in the case of Ferguson, Mo., police Officer Darren Wilson is expected to be announced publicly Monday. And sources close to the investigation state that they are not expecting Wilson to be indicted.

A number of key issues in the matter were yet to be fully resolved. Among them, the duty status of Wilson—who shot and killed teenager Michael Brown Aug. 9 after confronting him and another pedestrian for jaywalking—was an issue discussed on the conference call, along with that of Ferguson police Chief Thomas Jackson. News swirled recently that Jackson would resign after the controversy surrounding Brown’s death, but his future with the Ferguson Police Department has yet be confirmed.

Several elected officials on the call were said to be pushing for no punishment or career repercussions for Wilson or Jackson—meaning that they not be fired from their respective positions after the grand jury’s announcement. That sentiment did not go over well with other officials on the call, who, according to sources, were pushing for both to be fired before the grand jury announces its decision.

In a press release issued Wednesday, the Department of Justice outlined Attorney General Eric Holder’s role in the conversation, including his expectations for police conduct, and the conduct of citizen demonstrations, once the grand jury decision is announced: “The attorney general stressed that going forward, it will be more important than ever that the law-enforcement response to the demonstrations always seeks to deescalate tensions and respect the rights of protesters. At the same time, the attorney general said, it must be clearly communicated that any acts of violence by the demonstrators, or other attempts to provoke law enforcement, are unacceptable.”

Read full article here.

Read more Breaking News here.