***************** RELEASING JUNE 19, 2016 ******************
We are pleased to announce our soon-to-be-released multi-contributor anthology, “Why Black Lives Matter (Too)”! Recognizing that the fight for social justice and equality is bigger than any one person and that there is room for diverse talents and expertise of anyone who is committed to freedom, this multi-contributor anthology comprises curated essays written by 50 social justice advocates from across the nation.
Our release date, June 19th, is set to coincide with Juneteenth—also known as Independence Day or Freedom Day—a holiday commemorating the announcement of the abolition of slavery in Texas in June 1865, and more generally the emancipation of African American slaves throughout the Confederate South.
Book Summary: The Black Lives Matter movement evolved as a protest against police brutality against unarmed Black men. This book extends beyond police brutality to revolutionize the national conversation about racial injustice and inequality and advocate for freedom and justice for all Black Americans. Addressing a range of hot button issues and racial disparities that disproportionately impact the Black community, this is a call to action that will challenge you to confront your long-held values and beliefs about Black lives and confront your own white privilege and fragility as you examine racial justice and equality in a revolutionary way.
All proceeds will benefit The Sentencing Project, a leader in the effort to bring national attention to disturbing trends and inequities in the criminal justice system through the publication of groundbreaking research, aggressive media campaigns and strategic advocacy for policy reform. Our gift to the organization will support their efforts to promote reforms in sentencing policy, address unjust racial disparities and practices, and advocate for alternatives to incarceration.
Stay tuned, and please consider purchasing this book, when available, to support the vital work of The Sentencing Project.
***************** RELEASING JUNE 19, 2016 ******************
By Sevgi Fernandez
“What are you?”
The question that’s been on repeat since I burst into this world
A little caramel girl who would grow up with the weight of two worlds
“What are you?”
I’m LOST between two worlds at war with one another
I’m lost between two worlds that made me, yet neither will claim me
If I listen to you………
I’m too light,
like I’ve blinded u with my high yellow ass
I’m too dark,
like the pit of your soul
I must be uneducated, unemployed, and unloved
I must be stuck up, a sell out and all the above
If I listen to you I,”talk like a white girl”
Yet my “white girl speech” doesn’t erase the melanin in my skin
What are u?
Mexican, Puerto Rican, Hawaiian?
I must be black….no I must be white….no no that’s right,
I’m so tired of the labels
I’m so tired of you trying to find out what I am so you can decide whether I’m worth your respect
What am I?
I’m a mother…a daughter… .a sister….
What am I?
I am done with the labels, the stereotypes, the games
No longer will my self worth be determined by your shame
I am the bridge between two worlds
I am Found, no longer bound by the fear and ignorance that surrounds
No longer will I take the bait to hate myself because u fear what I am and what I will become
I am found
I am found
By Sevgi Fernandez
As I look at the state of our country and the racial divide I can’t say I’m surprised. In fact, although formal segregation hasn’t been at play in many years, racism has never left and it plays out in our schools everyday.
With the majority of students in k-12 public schools being of color and the majority of the teachers in these schools being white, the racial biases the teachers hold are cause for great concern. Aside from parents, one could argue that teachers are the next most influential people in our children’s lives. They lay the foundation for how our young people view education and what they are capable of becoming in the future. They are pivotal in how far reaching our children’s dreams will be.
Institutional racism is a pervasive machine that begins to work on a child’s sense of self worth the moment they begin school. It’s a machine that’s been well oiled and perfected over the years. With knowledge comes power and one need only look at the history of racial oppression in this country to see why the white dominant society would want to create and perpetuate a system that makes getting a quality education equal to that of their own extremely difficult to attain for people of color.
“So while our education system is highly problematic—it is neither fair nor equal—it’s not broken. It does exactly what it was deliberately built to do.” C. Royal
If we look back at the history of education in the U.S., we can clearly see how the systematic approach to keep people of color uneducated began.
Although many slaves and free Africans found ways to self teach and there were whites who aided them in their education, there was a significant amount of time in which there were few schools available to them.
In the 1600-1700’s there was a steady increase in schools and educational options for blacks yet by the early 1800’s leading up to the imancipation proclamation, many southern states outlawed the education of blacks both free and slaves. These laws had steep penalties for anyone caught aiding in the education of blacks as well.
In the interest of keeping this an article and not having it turn into a book, I’m go to skip around a bit. So let’s fast forward to 1954 and Brown vs The Board of Education. On May 17, the U.S. Supreme Court outlawed racial segregation in schools. Did that change things? Yes, absolutely. Unfortunately the statistics aren’t all one would have hoped.
It’s telling that we live in a country where it took a Supreme Court order to desegregate our schools. What’s even more abhorrent is the fact that since over 200 school districts (mostly in the south) were released from this court order, many quickly returned to their segregated ways.
“But while segregation as it is practiced today may be different than it was 60 years ago, it is no less pernicious: in Tuscaloosa and elsewhere, it involves the removal and isolation of poor black and Latino students, in particular, from everyone else. In Tuscaloosa today, nearly one in three black students attends a school that looks as if Brown v. Board of Education never happened.” (N.H. Jones)
The effects of this systematic racism are apparent in the African American community across the country, wherever you look. It’s in the hopelessness of our youth, in the violence within our communities and at the hands of the police. It’s in the educational system that is set up to fail our kids and the healthcare system that is either unattainable or so discriminatory many fear ever seeking out the care they need. Rather than educating and nourishing the minds of our young people of color, the system is feeding the school to prison pipeline .
“Young Black men — across the board — score below their counterparts in other racial and ethnic groups when it comes to graduation rates, literacy rates and college preparedness. And many African American men, in turn, are virtually locked out of employment and are filling up the nation’s prisons in disproportionate numbers.” (J. Daniels)
“Nearly 75 percent of imprisonment spending happens at the state level, where dollars are drawn from a general fund that is meant to pay for a range of public needs, including health care, housing, public assistance, and education.” S. Hawkins
So when people wonder what all the protests are about, what black people are so upset about, just open your eyes!!!! Why are our youth rioting??!!! It’s not just about police brutality, it goes much deeper. Look at the reality these young people face everyday. Poor quality education, teachers who don’t understand them culturally, who don’t believe in them, who tell them what they cannot be.
“When black teachers and white teachers are asked to sum up black high school students’ potential, white teachers are much less likely to see black students as college material. And that’s true even when they’re discussing the same students.” L. Nelson
They face a school system that has been designed for whites to excel. A system that is funneling our children of color into prisons at epic proportions. A curriculum that is culturally irrelevant to a huge percentage of those it’s there to teach. A system that is funneling money into prisons while subsequently starving the programs that could keep our kids out of prison. They are insuring the continuance of the cycles of poverty, illiteracy and hopelessness.
This system is purposeful. There have been plenty of studies that have examined why the system is failing African American children and plenty that have offered solutions, yet here we are.
For example, the “No Child Left Behind” law that instituted mandatory testing with the purpose of accountability, has failed miserably. The number of African American drop outs increased by 10% in its first 10 years. One study shows only 50% of the nations girls of African American, Hispanic, and Native American descent are actually graduating high school. The statistics for boys are much lower. W.B. Harvey
- The curriculum is designed by whites for whites.
- The testing is based on this curriculum and once again was designed by whites for whites.
- Schools are concerned with test scores only, not the child, not the education
- Most of our urban public schools are non-white and subsequently underfunded
- Many African American children are misinterpreted and mislabeled due to racial stereotyping
- These children feel the effects of this stereotyping and begin to feel dumb because they are labeled dumb
If we examine this list, we can see why our African American youth are in the state they are in. I was fortunate to sit on the thesis committee of an incredible educator, Chilufiya Safaa, she summed up what these children are facing with heart piercing accuracy:
“The children act out; they take on the labels of being dumb or trouble. They then become vulnerable to the streets, jail, and death. They start fighting each other rather than fighting against the stereotypes and the system which is oppressing them. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.”
Wake up folks. We are steadily heading backwards. Racism and segregation are very real and our young and vulnerable are faced with it everyday. We can’t just complain, or close our eyes and pretend it doesn’t exist. It takes critical thinking and community action. What can you commit to do in your community to address these issues and bring about change? If you don’t know here are some places to start:
- Tavis Smiley Reports. EPISODE 5: Too Important to Fail. Fact Sheet: Outcomes for Young, Black Men. Tamika Thompson
- SELF-TAUGHT, African American Education in Slavery and Freedom. HEATHER ANDREA WILLIAMS. CHAPEL HILL: UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA PRESS, 2005.
- The Impact of the Brown v. Board of Education Decision on Postsecondary Participation of African Americans. William B. Harvey, Adia M. Harvey and Mark King. The Journal of Negro Education,Vol. 73, No. 3, Special Issue: Brown v. Board of Education at 50 (Summer, 2004), pp. 328-340
- http://m.ourweekly.com/news/2013/oct/03/whats-african-american-literacy-rates/. What’s up with African American literacy rates?Story by David L. Horne, PH.D. 10/3/2013
- Racism in K-12 Public Schools: Education Series July 12, 2011, JessieDaniels,racismhttp://www.racismreview.com/blog/2011/07/12/racism-k-12/
- Racism in the classroom: the “soft bigotry of low expectations” is just regular bigotry. Libby Nelson, August 19, 2015, @libbyanelson email@example.com
- Nikole Hannah-Jones, ProPublica, April 16, 2014, 11 p.m.
- http://m.prospect.org/article/education-vs-incarceration. Steven Hawkins
- http://magazine.good.is/articles/our-education-system-isn-t-broken-it-s-designed-to-create-winners-and-losers. Our Education System Isn’t Broken, It’s Designed to Create Winners and Losers. Camika Royal.
We advocate for victims of racism, discrimination and police brutality across the country. We also hold workshops on dismantling racism and building community. We plan to incorporate a youth leadership academy that trains participants to become social change agents and prepares them to enter college with an excellent foundation in civil and social justice advocacy. We will also offer participants mental health services that allow them to process the issues they see in their communities and in their lives. Our hope is to develop a successful model that can be implemented in cities across the country. We are raising money to cover the filing, legal costs, and the various other needs that come with starting a non profit. We hope that you will help us on this journey! Just click the link below, and please SHARE!
I am writing on behalf of a national organization dedicated to racial equality and social justice. We are deeply concerned about San Francisco District Attorney, George Gascón’s treatment of Gurbaksh Singh Chahal.
There is growing concern not just in the Bay Area, but across California and nationally regarding what is clearly a pattern of racism and discrimination. Chahal is a very successful businessman, and through his success has amassed a celebrity-like following globally for people that look up to him for inspiration. This also serves the political agenda of George Gascón, to target people of color that are in the limelight, for his own political aspirations.
George Gascón has been on a witch-hunt to revoke Chahal’s probation, for the last 2+ years and has wasted millions of tax payer dollars in doing so. Gascón had originally filed 3 charges to revoke Chahal’s probation, and then dropped 2 charges in the last 48 hours before his hearing since they were all false. The last one left, remaining is a person, by the name of Laura (Soobeen) Bae, making an accusation of domestic violence, even though when sources close to the SFDA’s office shared documents, it was Chahal that asked her to stop stalking him.
George Gascón’s office stated that the alleged victim presented a laundry list of requirements to be furnished by Gascón’s office in return for a falsified testimony. The list includes as follows:
1. U Visa (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U_visa)
2. The ability to work under that visa once in the U.S.
3. A First Class plane ticket for the long flight from Korea
4. All hotels and housing paid
5. A daily monetary allowance
We have worked with many victims of violence and have yet to see anything come close to this. Victims of violent crimes are usually more concerned with getting the proper therapy and mental health support, yet this seems to be a concerted effort to skirt the immigration system.
Other sources inform us that on Monday April 25th, the office of Brian Stretch the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of California will begin investigations into the corruptive practices of George Gascón and the San Francisco District Attorney’s office.
We cannot allow our elected officials whom we charge to uphold the law, to act in such unethical ways with no checks and balances. No one is above the law, least of all those we rely upon to see it through.
Sources close to Chahal; state he plans to sue the City San Francisco once he is victorious and cleared of these false allegations tomorrow. While he has no need for financial gain, his only option to stop this witch-hunt, is to sue the City of San Francisco since George Gascón has immunity for his corrupt behavior. Hopefully, Brian Stretch from the US Attorney General’s Office, will pursue the necessary criminal charges we need against Gascón and his D.A.’s whom also participated in prosecutorial misconduct.
As witnessed on social media, there are various racial allegations that have been brought to our attention about the obstruction of justice within Gascón’s office. We certainly hope to see that you take this matter seriously and will take the proper steps to ensure a full and unbiased assessment and investigation occurs.
#blacklivesmatter I’ve seen too many people share this post not to say something, Black Lives Matter is not a hate group. According to their own definition, “Black Lives Matter is a call to action and a response to the virulent anti-Black Racism that permeates our society.” Black Lives Matter is a chapter-based national organization that […]
For the longest time, Islam and its followers have been scrutinized and unappreciated, dating back to even ancient times when Arabic scholars were not given credit for their accomplishments in mathematics and science. It is hard to believe that one of the oldest religions in the world receives so much hate, mostly promoted by ignorant […]
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