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When the past is present…

 

LeBron James wears ‘I Can’t Breathe’ t-shirt for warmups

By Brian Mahoney,   theGrio.com

NEW YORK (AP) — LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and several Brooklyn players are wearing “I Can’t Breathe” shirts as they warm up for Monday’s game between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Nets.

LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers wears an 'I Can't Breathe' shirt during warmups before his game against the Brooklyn Nets during their game at the Barclays Center (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers wears an ‘I Can’t Breathe’ shirt during warmups before his game against the Brooklyn Nets during their game at the Barclays Center (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

Kevin Garnett and Deron Williams were among four Nets wearing the shirts in support of the family of Eric Garner, who died July 17 after a police officer placed him in a chokehold when he was being arrested for selling loose, untaxed cigarettes.

“It was a message to the family. That I’m sorry for their loss, sorry to his wife. That’s what it’s about,” James said after the Cavaliers’ 110-88 victory. “I think everybody else gets caught up in everything else besides who’s really feeling it, and that’s the family. That’s what it’s about.”

Chicago star Derrick Rose wore one before a game Saturday and James said Sunday he wanted one. He got it from Nets guard Jarrett Jack, who provided them to players on both teams. A few NFL players had the saying written on different items of gear and shirts during pregame warmups before games on Sunday, including St. Louis Rams guard Davin Joseph, Detroit Lions running back Reggie Bush and Cleveland Browns cornerback Johnson Bademosi.

James said he and Irving did not discuss their plans to wear the jerseys beforehand. Irving went to warm up first, and at that point James was still saying it was only a “possibility” that he would be wearing it.

“We’re our own men, and we didn’t talk about it,” James said. “When we seen each other wearing the shirts, we looked at each other and just gave the nod. It goes from there.” The statement from the players came before a game that was attended by Britain’s Prince William and his wife, Kate, as well as NBA Commissioner Adam Silver.“I respect Derrick Rose and all of our players for voicing their personal views on important issues but my preference would be for players to abide by our on-court attire rules,” Silver said.

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New York Mayor Details Talk with Biracial Son on Dealing with Police

BY: , theroot.com

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio hugs his son Dante de Blasio at his election night party on November 5, 2013 in New York City.

New York mayor Bill de Blasio made waves with the police union last week after comments that his biracial son needed to take special precautions when dealing with police.

According to the Huffington Post, De Blasio commented that after the Staten Island grand jury decided not to indict an officer responsible for the choking death of 43-year-old Eric Garner, he and his wife “had to literally train” Dante on how to handle dealing with police.  

“The head of the city’s police union said De Blasio’s statement ‘threw cops under the bus,” the Huffington Post notes.

De Balsio, who has refused to endorse the grand jury’s Eric Garner decision, didn’t back down from his position that the country, and the way children of color are policed is different from their white counterparts.

“It’s different for a white child. That’s just the reality in this country,” de Blasio said on ABC’sThis Week with George Stephanopoulos on Sunday. “And with Dante, very early on with my son, we said, look, if a police officer stops you, do everything he tells you to do, don’t move suddenly, don’t reach for your cell phone, because we knew, sadly, there’s a greater chance it might be misinterpreted if it was a young man of color.”

De Blasio noted that he didn’t believe that he was any different from any of father who has children of color.

“I’m just saying what people are actually experiencing and have been for decades,” de Blasio said Sunday. “I’ve talked to a lot of families of color, well before this time, because I’ve said things like this before. And they’ve said to me over and over and over again that they appreciate someone finally acknowledging that they have that conversation with their sons. It’s a painful conversation. You can sense there’s a contradiction in that conversation.”

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Daniel Pantaleo’s ‘Apology’ to Eric Garner’s Family Was Just Plain Sorry

BY: , theroot.com

Demonstrators walk together during a protest Dec. 3, 2014, in New York City after a grand jury decided not to indict Officer Daniel Pantaleo for the death of Eric Garner, who died after being put in a choke hold on July 17, 2014.

We’ve heard much over the past week about how Ferguson, Mo., police Officer Darren Wilson’s description of Michael Brown as a “demon” suggests that Wilson didn’t see Brown—and by extension doesn’t see black people in general—as fully human. And while these are different cases, in the wake of the failure to indict Eric Garner’s killer, I can only think of New York City police Officer Daniel Pantaleo’s less overt, but no less insidious, demonization of Garner in his version of an acknowledgment and “apology” for what he did.

His words are so incommensurate with what he did that they strain belief as having come from someone who, months ago, killed someone with his bare hands for nothing anyone would consider even a serious provocation.

“Harm” is a formal word; it comes from a clinical distance and also implies survivability. Someone with a dog bite is harmed. Calling someone choked to death “harmed” verges on abdication of responsibility.

“I feel very bad … ” Me, too—about the time I forgot to keep a neighbor’s lawn watered when she was on vacation once. If I had choked a man to death, however, I would express horror, guilt, the task of carrying the burden to my own grave. Pantaleo just feels bad. Aw.

“ … about the death of Mr. Garner.” Why the noun “death”? Here, using the noun connotes formality and therefore, again, distance: that is, his recoil from his having caused this death. More appropriate here would be “that I killed Mr. Garner” or even “that Mr. Garner died because of my actions.” A noun versus a verb can say much. Imagine someone who always said “since my marriage” as opposed to “since I got married.” Note that you would immediately smell that the person felt a certain distance from his or her spouse.

“Personal condolences” is a phrase one finds on cards sold in pharmacies. It’s so antique and overused that in this context it stands in relation to actual feeling as the phrase “How are you?” does to actually wanting to know. What’s next—a box of Whitman’s chocolates?

It is painfully clear from this statement that Pantaleo lacks the true feeling of horror we would expect of someone responsible for taking someone else from this earth for all but nothing. And it may well be that if he had killed a white man, his expression of responsibility would be equally chilly and distant. However, we are justified in suspecting not, given the realities of American psychology.

I am aware that some will say that it’s hasty of me to bring race into Pantaleo’s statement at all. However, it surely isn’t hasty to note that too many black men get killed by cops for murky reasons in this country. With not just Garner but also with Michael Brown, Akai Gurley, Tamir Rice and John Crawford all within one year, it’s time we turned a corner. What kind of nation is this, in which a race of people think of how the cops treat them, or mistreat them, as a core facet of their very identity?

Anybody who thinks that saying this is to bring up race unnecessarily is, frankly, not thinking very hard.

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Ferguson Activists Predict Uphill Battle

By:  and , huffingtonpost.com

WASHINGTON — Activists involved with the Ferguson, Missouri, protests followed their presidential meeting on Monday with words of caution: There’s a long fight ahead to make crucial changes to police practices in the St. Louis region and across the country.

Several of those who met with President Barack Obama said they were generally encouraged, and they framed the White House meeting as an indication that their movement is having an impact. They said they saw some progress in the moderate initiatives on police training and push for police body cameras announced by the White House on Monday, though they agreed there was a lot more to be done. A list of goals released by multiple activists demands that the federal government, among other actions, get more aggressive in prosecuting police officers who kill people and stop sending money to local police departments that use excessive force or engage in racial profiling.

 

“We’re definitely going to keep doing the work on the ground, but meeting with the president, for me — well, I’ll say for everybody — is just an affirmation that this movement is working,” said Ashley Yates, co-founder of the group Millennial Activists United, in a conference call with reporters on Tuesday. Yates, who goes by@BrownBlaze on Twitter, posted a selfie with Vice President Joe Biden following the meeting.

Phillip Agnew, of the group Dream Defenders, said on the call, “This moment has awakened the consciousness of folks around the country, and what we’ve seen — as much coordination as folks in Ferguson, folks around Ferguson, folks on this line have done to ensure that there’s infrastructure for this movement — there are people around the country that are waking up and acting on their own.”

“And that’s a hallmark of this movement: It is decentralized,” he said.

Leaders of more established civil rights organizations struck a similar tone, declaring that the changes that will grow out of the protests following the death of Michael Brown have just begun.

Sherrilyn Ifill, president of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, said in a statement Tuesday that the White House meeting was “a significant first step in acknowledging the problem of racial bias in policing and searching for real, concrete measures for change.”

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‘Icon Of Hope’

By , huffingtonpost.com

As photos around the web show images of nationwide protests

12-year-old Devonte Hart hugs a Portland police officer during a local Ferguson rally. | Johnny Nguyen

in reaction to the events in Ferguson, Missouri, one particular image has received widespread attention.

Earlier this week, freelance photographer Johnny Nguyen captured a photo of 12-year-old Devonte Hart during a Ferguson-related rally in Portland, Oregon.

Hart, an African-American boy, was holding a sign that read “Free Hugs,” and the image Nguyen took shows Hart with tears streaming down his face while in a heartfelt hug with a white police officer.

“It was an interesting juxtaposition that had to be captured. It fired me up,” Nguyen told The Huffington Post on Sunday. “I started shooting and before I knew it, they were hugging it out. I knew I had something special, something powerful.”

Nguyen said the photo has since been shared more than 400,000 times on Facebook and reposted on more than 68,000 Tumblr accounts.

According to The Oregonian, which was the first outlet to publish the photo, the officer pictured in the image is Portland Police Sgt. Bret Barnum, who reportedly saw Hart holding his sign and called him over to engage in a quick conversation about the protest, school and life.

Barnum then asked Hart for a hug — and it was during this moment that Nguyen captured the touching photo that he shared with the world.

“I’ve been told this photo has become an icon of hope in regards to race in America,” Nguyen said.

“Prior to that day, I would scroll through the Internet and see the photos of images out of Ferguson, which all showed some violence and anger — some even to the point of hatred and destruction. This was the first photo I saw that showed something positive. It showed humanity.”

Following the protest, Hart’s parents — Sarah and Jen Hart – wrote a Facebook post that detailed more about their son and the events that led to the moment captured in the photo.

“My son has a heart of a gold, compassion beyond anything I’ve ever experienced, yet struggles with living fearlessly when it comes to the police and people that don’t understand the complexity of racism that is prevalent in our society,” the post read. “It was one of the most emotionally charged experiences I’ve had as a mother.”

As the photo continues to spread across the web, Nguyen said he hopes it will provide some people with a sense of peace along with a message of love and compassion.

“In order to move on and progress toward real change, we need every reason for hope that can be garnered,” he said.

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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…

 

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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…

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