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~Honor In God Verses The World’s Version of Honor~

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It was my duty to shoot the enemy, and I don’t regret it. My regrets are for the people I couldn’t save: Marines, soldiers, buddies. I’m not naive, and I don’t romanticize war. The worst moments of my life have come as a SEAL. But I can stand before God with a clear conscience about doing my job.

Chris Kyle

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This is the day that the Lord has made and also a day that we who served in the United States Military Armed Forces were honored at Kansas Avenue SDA Church for our service and dedication to our country. Today was a day that I watched along with many others, my husband Chief Petty Officer Aaron Dejohn Pratt be honored with a standing ovation from the entire congregation for his service as a Navy SEAL, a POW and as a Mighty Man of God. I can truly say that I have never been as proud as I was today to see the love and respect of others who never knew that Aaron was “more” than a Man of God, but also a dedicated soldier who served his country with all that he had, even as a POW.

I would like to thank Colonel Bill Howe for including me and my husband in today’s celebration of freedom and liberty, and for his steadfastness in honoring my husband as a Navy SEAL.

Loyalty to Country, Team and Teammate
• Serve with Honor and Integrity On and Off the Battlefield
• Ready to Lead, Ready to Follow, Never Quit
• Take responsibility for your actions and the actions of your teammates
• Excel as Warriors through Discipline and Innovation
• Train for War, Fight to Win, Defeat our Nation’s Enemies
• Earn your Trident everyday

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May and I are always excited about going to the house of worship on Sunday, Saturday or mid week. We are doubly honored when Crown of Life Ministries and Pastor Jones and his wife Sandra allow us to be incorporated within the functions of that church as well. We have been in hot pursuit of opening our dream business “Second Chance Alliance” and in performing the work required we have been side by side with several City and State officials, but never the chief of Police of Riverside County and two Councilmen of 7th District and 2nd District of Riverside. May was throw a back for real when she was given the opportunity to take this photo with one of the original Tuskegee Airmen.

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Sometimes a little book can make a big difference in how people think about right and wrong.

Harriet Beecher Stowe’s 1852 novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, profoundly affected the way white Americans perceived slavery. Ten years later and across the Atlantic, Henry Dunant published another revolutionary book, A Memory of Solferino: his eyewitness account of the aftermath of one of Europe’s bloodiest battles.

Dunant’s book is rarely read today. But if you are outraged when bombs, rockets, or artillery shells fall on hospitals, schools, and places of worship, you can trace that presumption—that these should be safe places—to Dunant.

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Across cultures and time, honor and manliness have been inextricably tied together. In many cases, they were synonymous. Honor lost was manhood lost. Because honor was such a central aspect of a man’s masculine identity, men would go to great lengths to win honor and prevent its loss.

If we take even a cursory look at history, honor pops up over and over again as a central theme in literature and life. The epic poems of Homer are primarily about honor and man’s quest to achieve and maintain it. If you read Shakespeare’s plays with a close eye, you’ll find that honor and manhood take center stage as reoccurring themes. During the 17th and all the way into the early 20th century, upperclass men in Europe and the United States regularly engaged in duels on “fields of honor” to defend their manhood. When signing the Declaration of Independence, the American Founding Fathers “mutually pledged to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.”

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But what exactly is honor?

We throw the word around quite a bit in our modern lexicon and give it a lot of lip service, but if you were to ask someone, “What is honor?” you’ll likely be answered with furrowed brows and head scratches. We think we know what it is, but often find it difficult to articulate when pressed. If you’re lucky enough to get an answer out of someone, they’ll likely say that honor means being true to a set of personal ideals, or being a man of integrity.

Honor=integrity is the point to which the definition of honor has evolved and what it generally means in our society today. Honor as I understand it is defined in a book called, The Art of Manliness Manvotionals

That definition of honor, while correct in our modern use of the word, doesn’t really capture the concept of honor that Homer wrote about, that countless duelists died for, and that our Founding Fathers swore upon. Except for a few pockets of society like the military, fire departments, and criminal gangs, honor, as millions of men from the past understood it, barely exists in the modern West. When folks in the mainstream do bring up this type of honor, it’s usually done in jest. (See Man Code or Bro Code).

And while there are certainly some very troubling aspects of honor as it was understood in the past , I believe that part of the decline of manhood in America and other Western countries can be traced in part to a lack of a positive notion and healthy appreciation of the kind of classic honor that compelled (and checked) our manly ancestors.

Question: “What does the Bible say about honor?”

Answer:As a noun,honor in the Bible means “esteem, value, or great respect.” To honor someone is to value him highly or bestow value upon him. The Bible exhorts us to express honor and esteem toward certain people: our parents, the aged, and those in authority (Ephesians 6:2;Leviticus 19:32;Romans 13:1). But we must understand that all authority and honor belong to God alone (1 Chronicles 29:11;1 Timothy 1:17;Revelation 5:13). Though He can delegate His authority to others, it still belongs to Him (Ephesians 4:11-12).

Peter tells us to “honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king” (1 Peter 2:17). The idea of honoring others, especially those in authority (the king), comes from the fact that they represent God’s ultimate authority. A classic example is the command to “submit to the governing authorities because they have been established by God” (Romans 13:1-6). Therefore, “he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves” (Romans 13:2). This means it is incumbent upon Christians to honor those whom God has placed over us through our obedience and demonstration of respect. To do otherwise is to dishonor God.

The Bible speaks of another noteworthy group of people who are deserving of “double honor,” the leadership of the church, called elders: “Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching” (1 Timothy 5:17). In the first-century church, some elders labored in word and doctrine by devoting their time to preaching and teaching, while others did so privately. However, all elders gave attention to the interests of the church and the welfare of its members. These men were entitled to double honor of both respect and deference for their position, as well as material or monetary support. This was especially significant because the New Testament was not yet available.

The Bible also gives us the command to honor one another in our employer/employee relationships (1 Timothy 3:17;6:1;Ephesians 6:5-9), as well as in the marriage relationship with the husband and wife being in submission to and honoring one another (Hebrews 13:4;Ephesians 5:23-33). Interestingly enough, of all the commands to honor one another, the most oft-repeated pertains to that of honoring one’s father and mother (Exodus 20:12;Matthew 15:4). This command was so important to God that if anyone cursed or struck his parent, he was to be put to death (Exodus 21:7).

The wordloveis also sometimes synonymous for honor. Paul commands us to “be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves” (Romans 12:10). Honoring others, however, goes against our natural instinct, which is to honor and value ourselves. It is only by being imbued with humility by the power of the Holy Spirit that we can esteem and honor our fellow man more than ourselves (Romans 12:3;Philippians 2:3).

The book of Proverbs illustrates the association of a one’s behavior with its resulting honor. For example, “He who pursues righteousness and love finds life, prosperity and honor” (Proverbs 21:21; see alsoProverbs 22:4;29:23). Often, honor is conferred upon those of wisdom and intelligence, thereby earning praise and adoration (1 Kings 10:6-7). Another kind of honor pertains to those who have great wealth or fame (Joshua 6:27). Correspondingly, we also know that such worldly honor, fame and wealth, in the end, is meaningless and short-lived (Ecclesiastes 1:14;James 4:14).

Honor as taught in the Scriptures is far different from the type of honor sought after by the world. Honor and awards are heaped upon those with wealth, political clout, worldly power, and celebrity status. Those who thrive on this world’s fleeting honor and stature are unmindful that “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble” (1 Peter 5:5; see alsoProverbs 16:5;Isaiah 13:11). Such were the Pharisees of Jesus’ time, who sought honor and accolades from men. But in truth, Jesus rejected them. He said, “Everything they do is done for men to see” (Matthew 23:5). He not only labeled them as hypocrites, but “snakes” and “vipers,” essentially condemning them to hell (Matthew 23:29-33).

The point to be made here is that the world in which we reside is corrupt (Deuteronomy 32:5;Philippians 2:15) because it does not give to God the honor He deserves. The one who honors the world and the things of it makes himself an enemy of God (James 4:4). The apostle Paul wrote, “For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened” (Romans 1:21). The Bible teaches that honor is found in God and His Son and in our being like Him (John 15:8). We are to give obeisance to Him through the fruits of our labors (Proverbs 3:9;1 Corinthians 10:31), as well as through the care and nurture of our bodies (1 Corinthians 6:19). To esteem God as first in our lives (Matthew 22:37-38) is thereby expressed in both the total commitment of our lives and devotion of our possessions to His service and glory (Colossians 3:17). Though we are in this world, we are not of this world (John 15:18-21). This means, as we honor God through our godly character, we will reap dishonor from those of the world. In fact, the Bible teaches us that “everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Timothy 3:12).

After all is said and done, we do know this: as the heavens and all therein raise their voices in honor and praise to God, we are to do likewise: “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for You created all things, and by Your will they were created and have their being” (Revelation 4:11). There has never been, nor will there ever be, anyone in any position of power or worldly influence who can claim such an honor (1 Timothy 6:16). God alone is the Creator and sustainer of all the heavens and the earth (Revelation 14:7).

All true believers are to honor God and His Son, Jesus Christ, through our acknowledgement and confession that He is the one and only God (Exodus 20:3;John 14:6;Romans 10:9). We are to honor God in our recognition that the gift of life eternal and the very salvation of our souls come through Jesus Christ and Him alone (John 11:25;Acts 4:12;1 Timothy 2:5). Knowing this, we give honor and obeisance to our Savior through our humble adoration and obedience to His will (John 14:23-24;1 John 2:6). As such, He will honor us when He seats us on His throne in heaven (Revelation 3:21).

When Will I See “We Shall Overcome” In America?

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Are African Americans part of the “Lost Tribes” mentioned in the Bible? Discover the true 10,000 year history of Black people — and why others tried to erase it! What happened to the doctors, writers, scientists, builders, educators and spiritual leaders from Africa’s Golden Age? And who did they really capture and sell into slavery? Are all African Americans suffering from mental illness because of this conspiracy to hide the truth? Read Psychic Trauma, and take the test on page 22 of this book and find out!

I speak today for the dignity of man and the destiny of Democracy. I urge every member of both parties, Americans of all religions and of all colors, from every section of this country, to join me in this cause.

At times, history and fate meet at a single time in a single place to shape a turning point in man’s unending search for freedom. So it was at Lexington and Concord. So it was a century ago at Appomattox. So it was on the night of February 26, 2012, in Sanford, Florida, United States. There, long suffering men and women peacefully protested the denial of their rights as Americans. Many of them were verbally assaulted. Many blacks have fallen in this part of the country without reprisals.

There is no cause for pride in what has happened in Sanford, Florida. There is no cause for self-satisfaction in the long denial of equal rights of millions of Americans. But there is cause for hope and for faith in our Democracy in what is happening here and now. For the cries of pain and the hymns and protests of oppressed people have summoned into convocation all the majesty of this great government–the government of the greatest nation on earth. Our mission is at once the oldest and the most basic of this country–to right wrong, to do justice, to serve man. In our time we have come to live with the moments of great crises. Our lives have been marked with debate about great issues, issues of war and peace, issues of prosperity and depression.

But rarely in any time does an issue lay bare the secret heart of America itself. Rarely are we met with a challenge, not to our growth or abundance, or our welfare or our security, but rather to the values and the purposes and the meaning of our beloved nation. The issue of equal rights for African Americans is such an issue. And should we defeat every enemy, and should we double our wealth and conquer the stars, and still be unequal to this issue, then we will have failed as a people and as a nation. For, with a country as with a person, “what is a man profited if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?”

There is no Black problem. There is no Southern problem. There is no Northern problem. There is only an American problem.

And we are met here today as Americans–not as Democrats or Republicans; we’re met here as Americans to solve that problem. This was the first nation in the history of the world to be founded with a purpose.

The great phrases of that purpose still sound in every American heart, North and South: “All men are created equal.” “Government by consent of the governed.” “Give me liberty or give me death.” And those are not just clever words, and those are not just empty theories. In their name Americans have fought and died for two centuries and tonight around the world they stand there as guardians of our liberty risking their lives. Those words are promised to every citizen that he shall share in the dignity of man. This dignity cannot be found in a man’s possessions. It cannot be found in his power or in his position. It really rests on his right to be treated as a man equal in opportunity to all others. It says that he shall share in freedom. He shall choose his leaders, educate his children, provide for his family according to his ability and his merits as a human being.

To apply any other test, to deny a man his hopes because of his color or race or his religion or the place of his birth is not only to do injustice, it is to deny Americans and to dishonor the dead who gave their lives for American freedom. Our fathers believed that if this noble view of the rights of man was to flourish it must be rooted in democracy. This most basic right of all was the right to choose your own leaders. The history of this country in large measure is the history of expansion of the right to all of our people.

Many of the issues of civil rights are very complex and most difficult. But about this there can and should be no argument: every American citizen must have an equal right to vote, the equal right to life and liberty and prosperity. There is no reason which can excuse the denial of those rights. There is no duty which weighs more heavily on us than the duty we have to insure those rights. Yet the harsh fact is that in many places in this country men and women are kept from voting and simply walking the streets and working simply because they are Black.

Every device of which human ingenuity is capable, has been used to deny these rights. The Black citizen may go to register only to be told that the day is wrong, or the hour is late, or the official in charge is absent. And if he persists and, if he manages to present himself to the registrar, he may be disqualified because he did not spell out his middle name, or because he abbreviated a word on the application. And if he manages to fill out an application, he is given a test. The registrar is the sole judge of whether he passes this test. He may be asked to recite the entire Constitution, or explain the most complex provisions of state law. He may even be asked for Identification and the most ingenious new question, “Are you a felon”? All of which have been devised to oppress a tribe of people that only want equality.

And even a college degree cannot be used to prove that he can read and write. For the fact is that the only way to pass these barriers is to show a white skin. Experience has clearly shown that the existing process of law cannot overcome systematic and ingenious discrimination. The “Stand Your Ground Laws” Disenfranchisement laws for equality to work for felons and let us not forget the NRA’s secretive believes such as “WWB’ and BWWH.(walking while black or Black wearing hoody) laws that allows all blacks to be open season for those who care to get a stab at the American dream of book deal after the senseless murder of black humans. No law that we now have on the books, can insure the right to vote, work or live or co-exist with a white supremacy agenda when local officials are determined to deny it. In such a case, our duty must be clear to all of us. The Constitution says that no person shall be kept from voting or equality because of his race or his color.

And we shall overcome.

A century has passed–more than 100 years–since equality was promised, and yet the Black is not equal. A century has passed since the day of promise, and the promise is unkept. The time of justice has now come, and I tell you that I believe sincerely that no force can hold it back. It is right in the eyes of man and God that it should come, and when it does, I think that day will brighten the lives of every American. For Blacks are not the only victims. How many white children have gone uneducated? How many white families have lived in stark poverty? How many white lives have been scarred by fear, because we wasted energy and our substance to maintain the barriers of hatred and terror?

And so I say to all of you here and to all in the nation tonight that those who appeal to you to hold on to the past do so at the cost of denying you your future. This great rich, restless country can offer opportunity and education and hope to all–all, black and white, North and South, sharecropper and city dweller. These are the enemies: poverty, ignorance, disease. They are our enemies, not our fellow man, not our neighbor.

And these enemies too–poverty, disease and ignorance–we shall overcome.

Now let none of us in any section look with prideful righteousness on the troubles in another section or the problems of our neighbors. There is really no part of America where the promise of equality has been fully kept. In Chicago as well as in Los Angeles, in Sanford Florida as well as Washington, D.C., Americans are struggling for the fruits of freedom.

This is one nation. What happens in Sanford and Chicago is a matter of legitimate concern to every American. But let each of us look within our own hearts and our own communities and let each of us put our shoulder to the wheel to root out injustice wherever it exists.

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“Right-wing conservatives and left-wing radicals here in the U.S. must be willing and able to sit down at the same table, look across the table at each other and see not an enemy, a target or a statistic, but a brother, a sister, a fellow American, another child of God. We must expand our hearts and enlarge our identity beyond ‘my people’ to include and embrace all of Creation.”

You don’t have to teach people how to be human. You have to teach them how to stop being inhuman.
Eldridge Cleaver

I feel that I am a citizen of the American dream and that the revolutionary struggle of which I am a part is a struggle against the American nightmare.
Eldridge Cleaver

What America demands in her black champions is a brilliant, powerful body and a dull, bestial mind.
Eldridge Cleaver

The “paper tiger” hero, James Bond, offering the whites a triumphant image of themselves, is saying what many whites want desperately to hear reaffirmed: I am still the White Man, lord of the land, licensed to kill, and the world is still an empire at my feet.
Eldridge Cleaver

I have always said that the basic problem in America is confusion. I know I am an American; I am an Afro-American, which means that I’m Afro and I’m American. I know the American people, and I know the ideals that are instilled in one. I know how they are imbedded in the heart, you see. You have to look at the process of the formation of the American character structure, look at the children in American grammar schools, the high schools and look at the ideals that are implanted in them there. The children of America are the ones I consider to be the citizens of the American dream. First this foundation, all these ideals–the Bill of Rights, the Constitution and the Rights of Man, the Lord’s Prayer, all of these things that no one can really attack, these things that have inspired people everywhere–are implanted in the hearts and minds of the children of America. (Conversations With Eldridge Cleaver, 1970)

Eldridge Cleaver, convict and black activist, wrote Soul on Ice, his memoir to illustrate his view of America’s black population prior to and during the 1960s. America, the staunch supporter of liberty, yet the vehement condoner of slavery, had its paradox hurled at its face. The nation awoke to grim reality—America’s innards, the basis of 200 years of political action, were being ripped to shreds. Realizing that the nation was on the highroad to political equality, Cleaver plunged into a reverie of self-discovery. At first, he loathed the white man, showing his hatred by raping white women because he felt compelled to avenge his black sisters raped by white slaveholders. Then, he joined the Black Muslims, who followed Elijah Muhammad and his racist gospels. However, the revolutionary zeal of the white youth snared at him, and he was soon arm in arm with Malcolm X and his acceptance of white civil rights supporters. Revealing America’s racist innards inside its façade of equality and fraternity, Cleaver’s Soul on Ice communicates the militant and disgusted mindset of black power supporters.

Cleaver first grew aware of his status as a Black American at San Quentin prison. He instantly hated the white oppressors and America’s elevated slavery. Resenting “how the white man…used the black woman” in the days of slavery, Cleaver rapes a white girl, spitting on the white man’s laws, and reaping pleasure from “defiling his women.”1 He repudiates the notion that black men find white women attractive; rather, the white supremacy drills its idea of beauty into the black man simply by its omnipresence. From their youth, blacks were forced “to see the white woman as more beautiful and desirable than his own black woman.”2 Thus, the rape was a rebellion—a way to get back at the overlords. Cleaver’s fellow black convicts feel the same way about white women and would do the same thing. This vehement anger and resentment turns slowly to Cleaver’s loneliness. With passionate rhetoric, Cleaver longs for a woman’s company to feel warm and radiant once more, and Beverly Axelrod, his lawyer, fills that need. They fall in love, and correspond. Cleaver believes this is unusual: the convict does not “hold on [to] the ideals and sentiments of civilization,” because all society “shows the convict its ass” and expects him to “kiss it.”3 Although it was strange for a convict to fall in love with such a mindset, the fact that he feels this love towards his lawyer makes the situation astonishing. No matter how bizarre the relationship, Cleaver claims that she was the beacon that pulled him out of dark, slow death.

Cleaver dives into a passionate recalling of “the Christ”, the man who taught him to be tolerant of other races. “The Christ,” whose actual name was Lovdjieff, refused to grade Eldridge Cleaver’s paper because it was racist, and forced him to entertain the thought of unity with the white race. The next few pages follow Eldridge Cleaver through his day at Folsom prison, where the librarian refuses to give him books about sex or controversial issues. Eldridge Cleaver comments on the Watts revolution, and expresses the pride of several of the black prisoners: “Watts was a place of shame,” but blacks soon exclaimed, “I’m from Watts, Baby!”4 The uprising at Watts had made the blacks proud because they saw a usurpation of the American social order.

The black people were an ignorant bunch. Cleaver claims that in the 1960s, most of them were afraid of General Motor, and in the dark as to how to get their share of money. Most blacks “have no bank accounts, only bills to pay.”5 The poverty of the black people limit them from rising to any kind of economic power level that might influence politics. The police also subdue blacks as well. As the armed “guardians of the social order,” they are the only serious threat to the black population’s march for freedom. Cleaver states that there is a great sense of property amongst Americans as seen through the soldier in Vietnam is only following orders like a mindless toy, like he belongs to someone else. It’s this property mindset that keeps the black people in constant humiliation—they have nothing.

Cleaver sums up the rest of his memoir with passionate letters to Miss Beverly Axelrod, his lawyer, and an analysis of sexuality in society’s classes. The “Omnipotent Administrators” prefer mind over body: “he is markedly effeminate and delicate by reason of his explicit repudiation …of his body.”6 These men are of the elite, and their women, the “Ultrafeminine,” abdicate their domestic functions to become, in contrast to weak elite men, more delicate. Ultrafemininity bathes in the envy of the women of the lower classes. The Ultrafeminine reject the domestic apparatus of the female hemisphere, and thrust it onto the women of the lower classes: the Amazons. The Amazons envy the Ultrafeminines. They are attracted to the power embodied in the elite man because he is the mind, while the “Supermasculine” Menial, men of the lower classes, are the body. Power, the primeval envy of the Amazon, attracts her to elite men, but “she is also attracted to the body of the Supermasculine Menial,” for physical strength.7 Thus she is lost between two worlds. Cleaver explains that men and women of the elite and lower classes are opposing sides of a Primeval sphere, which for the reasons of strength and power—physical and mental—pull one toward the other.

In harsh, unforgiving tones, using key events of the Sixties as examples, Cleaver hurls accusations at the white race and reveals the mindset of many Black Power activists of the Sixties. Muhammad Ali vs. Floyd Patterson, the confrontation between the rebels and the “Uncle Toms,” rocked America’s foundations. Ali “was the first ‘free’ black champion ever to confront” the “Uncle Toms,” black suppressors of the Negroes. Consisting of movie and sports celebrities, Uncle Toms cooled the revolutionary masses down in the name of the white overlords, promising extensive reforms and quoting any minute civil rights bill. The Uncle Toms were the white man’s slave: Floyd Patterson “reflected a desire to force the Negro …back in his ‘place.’”8 When Muhammad Ali knocked Patterson out, the older generation received a concussion to its head. America was a land of paradoxes with no common ground in between. The differences therefore had to be kept separate and the ugly sides to the land of freedom had to be buried. This odd paradox existed because of the notion of white superiority. In order to justify slavery and segregation, the white man “elaborated a complex and pervasive myth which at one time classified the black man as subhuman beasts of burden.”9 With the guiding star of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States, both forged by white men, he believed justice was bestowed upon all; the white received the privileges since they possessed the intellect clearly seen on the plantations, and the black received what the pea-brained, good-for-nothing slave justly deserved in white eyes. On the plantation, it was easy to differentiate the black and the white; the white did the thinking and gave the orders, the black did the work. This practice created the myth of white man’s superior intelligence.
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Attorney General Eric Holder blasted “stand-your-ground laws” in the wake of the acquittal of George Zimmerman for fatally shooting Trayvon Martin—saying such laws cause more violence than they prevent.

Mr. Holder, speaking to the NAACP Annual Convention in Orlando, Fla., not far from where Mr. Zimmerman was acquitted last week, took direct aim at stand-your-ground laws, which say a person can use force in self-defense without first attempting to retreat from the situation.

“Separate and apart from the case that has drawn the nation’s attention, it’s time to question laws that senselessly expand the concept of self-defense and sow dangerous conflict in our neighborhoods,” Mr. Holder said, according to his prepared remarks.

In speaking out publicly against such laws for the first time, Mr. Holder is taking aim at the gun-rights groups that promote such laws and linking them to the death of Trayvon Martin.

Twenty-five states, including Florida, have adopted some version of stand-your-ground laws. While the law was a factor in the initial investigation of the Martin shooting, lawyers for Mr. Zimmerman didn’t base their defense on the law, arguing instead that their client had no option of retreat, and therefore the stand-your-ground principle didn’t apply.

The speech marked the second day in a row that Mr. Holder spoke publicly about the Martin killing. Mr. Zimmerman over the weekend was found not guilty of all charges in the case, a decision that sparked protests across the country, and some rioting in Los Angeles Monday night.

Mr. Martin, a black teenager, was walking to his father’s house in Sanford, Fla., from a nearby convenience store in the early evening when he was spotted by Mr. Zimmerman, a neighborhood-watch volunteer who thought Mr. Martin was suspicious. Mr. Zimmerman, who is Hispanic, called 911 and began following Mr. Martin, leading to a confrontation in which the 29-year-old Mr. Zimmerman shot the teenager.

Mr. Holder’s Justice Department is investigating Mr. Zimmerman to see if he should be charged with federal hate crimes or civil-rights violations, but legal experts say the chances of such charges being filed—or won in court—are small.

Mr. Holder’s remarks echo comments made by gun-control advocates following the Zimmerman verdict, including New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has said “stand your ground” promotes a “shoot first” approach to public confrontations.

“These laws try to fix something that was never broken,” Mr. Holder argued, saying pre-existing self-defense law allowed the use of deadly force if no safe retreat is possible. If a person is attacked in their own home, there is no duty to retreat.

“By allowing—and perhaps encouraging—violent situations to escalate in public, such laws undermine public safety,” Mr. Holder said. “We must stand our ground to ensure that our laws reduce violence, and take a hard look at laws that contribute to more violence than they prevent.”

In his turn of the century treatise, The Souls of Black Folk, W.E.B. Du Bois wrote,

“Between me and the other world there is ever an unasked question: unasked by some through feelings of delicacy; by others through the difficulty of rightly framing it. All, nevertheless, flutter round it. How does it feel to be a problem?”

Everyone has problems. It is the human condition. No amount of wealth. No racial privilege. No righteousness of purpose and action leads to a life without problems. Everyone has them.

But Du Bois was pointing to something different. Not just having problems, but being a problem. How does it feel to be a problem? To have your very body and the bodies of your children to be assume to be criminal, violent, malignant.

How does it feel to be trapped on the roof of your home as the flood waters rise and be called a refugee?

How does it feel to wear the symbol of your faith and be assumed to be a terrorist threat to your own nation?

How does it feel to have the president who looks like you demanded to produce proof of his citizenship?

How does it feel to know that when you speak the language of your parents, you will be assumed to be illegal?

How does it feel to know that if you marry the person you love, some will say you are destroying the very fabric of the nation?

How does it feel to fear sending your son to the 7-Eleven for a bag of Skittles on a rainy night?

Du Bois wrote of black men,

“He simply wishes to make it possible for a man to be both a Negro and an American, without being cursed and spit upon by his fellows, without having the doors of Opportunity closed roughly in his face. This, then, is the end of his striving: to be a co-worker in the kingdom of culture, to escape both death and isolation, to husband and use his best powers and his latent genius.”

This is the dream that will guide us as we continue the struggle.

Why did Marissa Alexander get a 20-year sentence despite invoking ‘Stand Your Ground’?

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It’s been 50 years and we as a nation of people of a dark decent haven’t made any head way to equality. I am so appalled at the tragedy of this “Young black man” that never got to say good night mom and dad. It’s been 50 years and we still can see the water hoses being sprayed on us because we want justice and equality. Its been 50 years and I can see our struggle still existing.

I served this country well, distinguished service. I came home to nothing but the same thing that was here when I left. I turned 50 this year and I am seeing my young black men, babies being executed. I see the puzzle being set-up for future blacks and humans to be locked up or on drugs or families subjected to war torn country mental abuse. “STAND YOUR GROUND” Jesus love “US”.

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yspZ30TSuu0&feature=player_embedded
Late Saturday evening, George Zimmerman was found not guilty in the death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. The issue of self-defense played a central role in Zimmerman’s not guilty plea and his defense’s argument against the second-degree murder charges, and his acquittal is drawing comparisons in the media to the verdict of another high-profile Florida shooting incident: the case of Marissa Alexander.

Alexander, an African-American Florida woman, was sentenced to 20 years in prison in 2012 for shooting what she described as warning shots into a wall during a confrontation with her husband. Alexander’s lawyers claimed self-defense in the case, and said her husband had a history of abuse in their relationship. They invoked Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law, which gives people the right to use lethal force if they feel their life is threatened. The jury ultimately sided with prosecutors in deciding Alexander’s actions were not in self-defense, WJXT reported.

Her sentencing fell under the guidelines of what’s known in Florida as the “10-20-Life” law, which set certain mandatory minimum sentences for crimes committed with a firearm. The law enacted in 1999 requires that any crime committed with a gun earns the perpetrator a minimum ten year sentence, as the Florida Department of Corrections explains. If the firearm is discharged, the convicted will receive a 20-year minimum sentence, and if shots fired from the gun injure or kill anyone, the minimum sentence is 25-years to life.

Angela Corey, who oversaw the prosecution of Zimmerman, also tried the case against Alexander, and defended the sentencing at the time.

“When she [Alexander] discharges a firearm in the direction of human beings, the legislature says it’s dangerous,” Corey said, according to the Florida Times-Union. “And one of the reasons is because the bullet went through the wall where one of the children was standing. It happened to deflect up into the ceiling, but if it had deflected down it could have hit one of the children.”
http://youtu.be/nay31hvEvrY

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•Baptist minister and civil rights leader who preaches leftwing politics
•Admires and publicly honors leftists like Danny Glover and Cynthia McKinney
•Rallied to defense of Jean-Bertrand Aristide while condemning the U.S.
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Born in 1922 in Alabama, the Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth emerged as one of the most active and storied figures of the early civil rights movement. In 1957 Shuttlesworth allied with Martin Luther King, Jr., Ralph David Abernathy, and Bayard Rustin to found the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). It was the late Dr. King who would describe the famously fiery Shuttlesworth as the “most courageous civil rights fighter in the South,” a distinction well earned by the man who survived bombing attempts, vicious beatings by chain-wielding racists, and widespread discrimination in his fight to further the cause of black civil rights and overturn America’s Jim Crow laws. The story of Shuttlesworth’s civil rights activism was later chronicled in a 1999 biography, by Andrew M. Manis, titled A Fire You Can’t Put Out: The Civil Rights Life of Birmingham’s Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth.

These accomplishments notwithstanding, Shuttlesworth’s stint as the president of the SCLC would make for a decidedly less inspired book. After the SCLC’s board of directors suspended Shuttlesworth in early November 2004, he resigned in bitterness over the financial mismanagement and internal bickering that had marred the organization’s operations in recent years. Lamenting that the SCLC was at “the low point in its history,” Shuttlesworth penned an incendiary resignation letter in which he charged: “For years, deceit, mistrust and a lack of spiritual discipline and truth have eaten away at the core of this once-hallowed organization.”

Shuttlesworth was far less forthcoming about his own responsibility for the SCLC’s much-maligned reputation. In March of 2004, for instance, he enlisted his credentials as a respected civil rights leader in the service of defending Haitian dictator Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Working in partnership with the Congressional Black Caucus, Shuttlesworth, rather than condemning the crimes of the Aristide government—which included fraudulent elections, pervasive drug running, and a banking racket that had brought about the ruin of the country’s diminutive middle class—chastised the United States, calling for a special investigation to look into the U.S. role in Aristide’s ouster. Demonstrating the kind of moral equivalency that has become a cornerstone of the SCLC in recent years, Shuttlesworth saw fit to draw parallels between Haitian autocracy and American democracy in order to score a political point against the U.S. government.

Claimed Shuttlesworth, “As a nation of laws, we cannot randomly choose when to stand up for the principles of Democracy. How can we in good consciousness claim to be building a democratic society in Afghanistan and Iraq on the other side of the world, while sitting idly by while a democratically elected leader is forced from office less than two hundred miles from the shores of the United States. Such conduct further weakens the United State’s moral authority to hold countries accountable for human rights abuses.”

Nor did Shuttlesworth confine himself to this diatribe. Indulging a penchant for race-baiting that has become the SCLC’s modus operandi, Shuttlesworth unsubtly intimated that the Bush administration’s unwillingness to abide the Aristide regime was actuated by an underlying indifference to the welfare of blacks: “In reality we should not expect anything else from this current administration, as it has done nothing to protect the interests of people of African descent,” Shuttlesworth proclaimed.

Shuttlesworth is a great admirer of such leftist activists as Danny Glover. Though a notorious apologist for the human rights abuses perpetrated by Cuba’s Stalinist regime, the actor was deemed a worthy recipient of the Fred Shuttlesworth Human Rights Award, which he received, in November 2003, at a gala dinner in Birmingham, Alabama. And Glover was not the only leftist activist commended by Shuttlesworth. At the SCLC’s 46th annual convention in August 2004, organized by Shuttlesworth as a de facto campaign for the Democratic Party (and featuring an address by Democratic Vice Presidential nominee John Edwards), a “Human Rights Luncheon” honored none other than Cynthia McKinney, a hard-left congresswoman from Georgia who accused President Bush of having had prior knowledge of the 9/11 attacks but remaining silent about it.

On occasion, Shuttlesworth himself has not been above casting unfounded aspersions on his political foes. Seeking to mobilize black voters against the administration of George W. Bush, Shuttlesworth, in his editorial in the Spring 2004 issue of SCLC Magazine, suggested that the President had not been legitimately elected. “It will be a time for people to know that not all of those who gained high offices in 2000 were the true victors,” Shuttlesworth wrote. Channeling the rage for which he was known in the civil rights era, Shuttlesworth insisted in the same editorial that black Americans were “oppressed minorities,” and exhorted black voters to “organize, mobilize, and agitate for our people’s total Freedom!”

Felony Disenfranchisement: A Holdover from the Jim Crow Era

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From the 1880s into the 1960s, a majority of American states enforced segregation through “Jim Crow” laws (so called after a black character in minstrel shows). From Delaware to California, and from North Dakota to Texas, many states (and cities, too) could impose legal punishments on people for consorting with members of another race. The most common types of laws forbade intermarriage and ordered business owners and public institutions to keep their black and white clientele separated. Here is a sampling of laws from various states.

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Nurses: No person or corporation shall require any white female nurse to nurse in wards or rooms in hospitals, either public or private, in which negro men are placed. Alabama

Buses: All passenger stations in this state operated by any motor transportation company shall have separate waiting rooms or space and separate ticket windows for the white and colored races. Alabama

Railroads: The conductor of each passenger train is authorized and required to assign each passenger to the car or the division of the car, when it is divided by a partition, designated for the race to which such passenger belongs. Alabama

Restaurants: It shall be unlawful to conduct a restaurant or other place for the serving of food in the city, at which white and colored people are served in the same room, unless such white and colored persons are effectually separated by a solid partition extending from the floor upward to a distance of seven feet or higher, and unless a separate entrance from the street is provided for each compartment. Alabama

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Pool and Billiard Rooms: It shall be unlawful for a negro and white person to play together or in company with each other at any game of pool or billiards. Alabama

Toilet Facilities, Male: Every employer of white or negro males shall provide for such white or negro males reasonably accessible and separate toilet facilities. Alabama

Intermarriage: The marriage of a person of Caucasian blood with a Negro, Mongolian, Malay, or Hindu shall be null and void. Arizona

Intermarriage: All marriages between a white person and a negro, or between a white person and a person of negro descent to the fourth generation inclusive, are hereby forever prohibited. Florida

Cohabitation: Any negro man and white woman, or any white man and negro woman, who are not married to each other, who shall habitually live in and occupy in the nighttime the same room shall each be punished by imprisonment not exceeding twelve (12) months, or by fine not exceeding five hundred ($500.00) dollars. Florida

Education: The schools for white children and the schools for negro children shall be conducted separately. Florida

It was the biggest suppression of voting rights in our country’s history since Jim Crow. And the thread of race runs from the beginning to the end of my book.

Sidney Blumenthal

Last week, the Delaware State legislature approved a constitutional amendment to all but remove the last Jim Crow-era voter suppression law from its books.

The amendment, passed at the urging of the Delaware NAACP, allows people with nonviolent felony convictions to vote after their release from prison. This is a major victory for voting rights and a strike against the practice of “felony disenfranchisement.” But it is also a major step forward for a nation still struggling to heal old racial wounds.

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Felony disenfranchisement has direct roots in the Jim Crow Era. In the late 19th century, states above and below the Mason-Dixon Line began to find new and creative ways to keep black voters away from the polls. Banning people with felony convictions was one of the solutions.

For example, in 1901 the Commonwealth of Virginia had 147,000 black voters on the rolls. But many lawmakers saw this growing political block as a threat. At that year’s Constitutional Convention, they hatched a plan to disenfranchise African Americans through a combination of black codes and felony disenfranchisement. One legislator said on the record that the plan would “eliminate the darkey as a political factor.”

Ninety years later, Kemba Smith-Pradia was an undergraduate student at Hampton University. She got involved with the wrong crowd and found herself behind bars as an accessory to a nonviolent drug offense. President Clinton granted Kemba executive clemency in 2000, six years into her 24-year sentence. She went on to become a college graduate, law student, mother and foundation president — but until 2012, when her rights were finally restored, not a voter.

Kemba’s story is just one example of how the legacy of the 1901 Convention lives on. In today’s Virginia, 350,000 people are still disenfranchised by the 1901 law, and many of them are African Americans. Nationwide, 48 states allow some form of felony disenfranchisement, and one out of every 13 voting-age African Americans is affected. In four states — Virginia, Iowa, Kentucky, and Florida — disenfranchisement can be permanent.

When Virginia introduced felony disenfranchisement in 1901, they also expanded the list of felony crimes. By raising the penalty for a number of minor offenses, they planned to lock African Americans in the prison system — and out of the political system. A century later, our drug laws have the same amplifying effect. African Americans are far more likely to be arrested for minor drug crimes, and therefore more likely to have their vote taken away.

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The good news is that Delaware and other states are beginning to turn the tide. In Virginia, Governor Bob McDonnell has sped up the review process for those who have finished the terms of their sentence. So far he has restored the votes of more than 4,000 citizens. And Iowa Governor Terry Branstad, who callously eliminated automatic restoration of voting rights early in his term, is now taking steps toward restoring those rights.

These are certainly steps in the right direction, but there is more work to do. Virginia, Iowa, Kentucky, and Florida still allow permanent disenfranchisement, and 44 other states permit some level of felony disenfranchisement.

You can learn about the law in your state at http://www.restorethevotes.org. If you or someone in your community is affected, you can use that information to educate your family, your community and your elected officials about why this is an important issue.

Felony disenfranchisement is an affront to our democracy. Millions of people like Kemba Smith-Pradia — parents, workers, and community leaders — pay taxes, raise families and contribute to society. But they cannot fully participate in our democracy.

If poll taxes, literacy tests, and gumball-counting tests could be outlawed because of their racist intent, then felony disenfranchisement laws from the same era should be overturned today.

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