The Affluenza Defense for Police 

Betty Shelby is pleading not guilty because she said the stress of Terence Crutcher caused temporary deafness, resulting in her not knowing that another police officer was going to tase him. What kind of mess is that? Is this going to be the affluenza defense for police officers? Can the families of murder victims use this defense/excuse in their civil suits?

Michael Brown didn’t hear you due to the stress of the situation. Tamir Rice didn’t hear you due to the stress of the situation. Freddie Gray didn’t hear you due to the stress of the situation. Tyre King didn’t hear you due to the stress of the situation. Alfred Olango didn’t hear you due to the stress of the situation. 

The list could go on for days, and unfortunately, there will probably be more by this time next week. This list will continue to grow until we hold people accountable. 

Wake Up! #AltonSterling

People want to sign petitions against Jesse Williams for speaking the truth. Fans of Lecrae threaten to stop listening for posting the truth. Politicians threaten to walk away and not support a single bill because President Obama wants to uplift communities and speak their truth. Facebook shuts down pages because they write the truth. Well hear this truth…

Our people are continuing to be brutalized and killed by the police on a daily basis. For each Alton Sterling, Sandra Bland, Eric Garner, Alexia Christian, Michael Brown, Rekia Boyd, there are many others that you never hear about. People killed while handcuffed in police cruisers, people sitting in their homes, people having mental health issues, and kids playing with their toys. Many are captured on tape, but many Americans still do not believe that police brutality is a systemic problem. When will  people wake up???

 

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Independence Day

Today is the great day known as Independence Day. Many are celebrating with their family and friends. They may be having a cookout in their backyard, enjoying a local parade, going to the shore, or enjoying a local concert. This great day of celebrating will end with a grandiose display of fireworks set to a mix of contemporary music and patriotic tunes that make us proud to be an American. We sit back, smile, and reflect. Wow…it’s so great that we are independent and free. Whoa hold up…

I’m not sure about you, but I don’t think that all of us are so independent and free. Many people are still fighting for equality. We are still fighting to live in a nation where privilege is not limited to only white, cis men. We are fighting for equal sentencing where someone’s daddy is not worried that he won’t have steak for six months. We are fighting to have less regulation over women. Why do guns get a better deal than my body? We are fighting against police brutality—Michael Brown, Rekia Boyd, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Tanisha Anderson, Freddie Gray, Mya Hall, Jonathan Sanders, and Sandra Bland should never be forgotten. We are fighting to keep families together instead of building walls and deporting anyone with melanin. How do you plan to make America great again? Do you plan on pushing everyone out based on the one drop rule?

As we continue in this year, let’s continue our fight for equality for all. Fight hate and discrimination with your words and actions. And as always…march to the beat of your drum. 

Jesse Williams: 2016 BET Humanitarian Award Speech

“Peace peace. Thank you, Debra. Thank you, BET. Thank you Nate Parker, Harry and Debbie Allen for participating in that (video).

Before we get into it, I just want to say I brought my parents out tonight. I just want to thank them for being here, for teaching me to focus on comprehension over career, and that they make sure I learn what the schools were afraid to teach us. And also thank my amazing wife for changing my life.

Now, this award—this is not for me. This is for the real organizers all over the country—the activists, the civil rights attorneys, the struggling parents, the families, the teachers, the students that are realizing that a system built to divide and impoverish and destroy us cannot stand if we do.

It’s kind of basic mathematics—the more we learn about who we are and how we got here, the more we will mobilize.

Now, this is also in particular for the black women in particular who have spent their lifetimes dedicated to nurturing everyone before themselves. We can and will do better for you.

Now, what we’ve been doing is looking at the data and we know that police somehow manage to de-escalate, disarm and not kill white people every day. So what’s going to happen is we are going to have equal rights and justice in our own country or we will restructure their function and ours.

Now…I got more y’all—yesterday would have been young Tamir Rice’s 14th birthday so I don’t want to hear any more about how far we’ve come when paid public servants can pull a drive-by on 12-year-old playing alone in the park in broad daylight, killing him on television and then going home to make a sandwich. Tell Rekia Boyd how it’s so much better than it is to live in 2012 than it is to live in 1612 or 1712. Tell that to Eric Garner. Tell that to Sandra Bland. Tell that to Dorian Hunt.

Now the thing is, though, all of us in here getting money—that alone isn’t gonna stop this. Alright, now dedicating our lives, dedicating our lives to getting money just to give it right back for someone’s brand on our body when we spent centuries praying with brands on our bodies, and now we pray to get paid for brands on our bodies.

There has been no war that we have not fought and died on the front lines of. There has been no job we haven’t done. There is no tax they haven’t levied against us—and we’ve paid all of them. But freedom is somehow always conditional here. “You’re free,” they keep telling us. But she would have been alive if she hadn’t acted so…free.

Now, freedom is always coming in the hereafter, but you know what, though, the hereafter is a hustle. We want it now.

And let’s get a couple things straight, just a little side note—the burden of the brutalized is not to comfort the bystander. That’s not our job, alright—stop with all that. If you have a critique for the resistance, for our resistance, then you better have an established record of critique of our oppression. If you have no interest, if you have no interest in equal rights for black people then do not make suggestions to those who do. Sit down.

We’ve been floating this country on credit for centuries, yo, and we’re done watching and waiting while this invention called whiteness uses and abuses us, burying black people out of sight and out of mind while extracting our culture, our dollars, our entertainment like oil—black gold, ghettoizing and demeaning our creations then stealing them, gentrifying our genius and then trying us on like costumes before discarding our bodies like rinds of strange fruit. The thing is though…the thing is that just because we’re magic doesn’t mean we’re not real.

Thank you.”

Jesse Williams, 2016 BET Humanitarian Award Speech

Jesse Williams Dropping Serious Knowledge #BETAwards

“Freedom is always coming in the hereafter. But the hereafter is the hustle. We want it now.” –Jesse Williams

Jesse Williams spoke the truth at the 2016 BET Awards. I hope people weren’t just emotional for the moment. Rather, let’s continue to take action.

Demand A Plan To End Toy Gun Violence

Yesterday, I was saddened to learn about the police-involved shooting of a black male youth in Baltimore. On the one-year anniversary of the Freddie Gray riots, I was concerned that this shooting could create another uprising. Thankfully, my former home remained calm.

The youth was brandishing a BB gun, which unfortunately looked like a real gun. When police officers commanded him to stop running and to drop the gun, the youth did not respond to the commands. Ultimately, he was shot twice with non-life-threatening injuries.

This post, interestingly enough, is not about police shootings. If you follow me on Facebook, you know I am a victims’ advocate. In fact, this post isn’t really about the victim. That may be another post or article. Rather, I want to focus on the third party within this sad tale—the BB gun.

In an age where Tamir Rice was shot for playing with a toy gun—one that was even identified by a 9-1-1 caller as probably being fake. Would you allow your child to play with a gun that looks real? In fact, would you play with a BB gun in the streets? I posed this question on Facebook, and most agreed that in this climate, we are all too scared to let our children play with any type of toy guns—BB guns, water guns, or NERF guns. They could be black, yellow, orange, or green. We are all scared of how the community, and in turn, law enforcement will respond when a 9-1-1 call is received about a black boy brandishing a gun outside.

Yet, we have greater problems on our hand. How can we get back to a time when there will not be a fear about our children playing with toy guns? What can we do so that our children are not afraid of police officers? Our children should see the police as their friends and protectors. If we do not see that, how can we expect our children to believe that? We know there are many good police officers in the streets, but people like Daniel Holtzclaw, Brian Encina, George Zimmerman, and Daniel Pantaleo have tainted the profession.

There is no immediate solution. Rather, we must all work together. The community, the schools, the police, and our government officials have to change the underlying tones that are running rampant throughout our cities and suburbs. Until then, I am fearful that we will be sharing many more stories about ending toy gun violence.

 

Idea for featured image from publichealthwatch

Idea for featured image from publichealthwatch