***************** 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
- 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.
By: DJ Schuette
It borders on absurd that it’s even necessary to write this particular post, but there are so, so many people out there incessantly raging against the Black Lives Matter movement that I felt I must. Every day, I see posts calling their members “racists,” emphatic proclamations of “All Lives Matter,” and pictures of police officers with “Their Lives Matter” emblazoned on them in some way, as if it’s become a competition to determine whose lives matter most. I should confess, for the record, that I was—until very recently—one of those “All Lives Matter” guys. But my opinion on the subject has evolved, so I encourage you to at least consider the content of this post before deciding one way or another. Maybe you’ll see things from a different perspective in a few minutes.
My own “aha!” moment came to me while reading a rather brilliant reddit post by user GeekAesthete (which you can read here if you wish). In short, it asks you to imagine that you’re at dinner with your family and your father is dishing everyone’s food, but leaves your plate empty. You say, “Hey Dad, I should get some.” In response, your father corrects you by saying “Everyone should get some.” That sentiment is true, and really, supports your very point—that everyone (including you) should get to enjoy dinner. But Dad’s response utterly rejected your concern without doing anything whatsoever to remedy it. Meanwhile, you’re starving and your still empty plate is a testament to just how little he cares.
I’ve seen other fine examples floating around on the Internet: if I were to say “Save the Whales,” that in no way implies that I don’t care about dolphins, sharks, and stingrays; but if I were to instead say “Save All Marine Life,” how would you know that the whales are endangered? Another: Your house is burning down and someone is spraying water on a nearby home that isn’t on fire, with the caption “All Houses Matter.” By responding to BLM with “All Lives Matter”, we’re effectively saying that we don’t care if your house burns to the ground, as long as mine doesn’t. We’re refusing to even acknowledge the issue, are (conveniently) dismissing the concerns of people who are plainly in crisis, and who are already being singled out by our society and justice system.
The BLM movement has never stated (nor ever suggested) that other lives don’t matter. It’s not the “No Lives But Black Lives Matter” movement. I have yet to hear anyone chanting “Black lives matter more than yours!” If that were the case, I might understand people taking such exception. Instead, it’s very simply and succinctly stating a fact: black lives matter. And they do, right? If we can’t even agree on that much, then you need to take a good hard look in the mirror, because the person staring back at you is almost certainly a racist.
Some argue that the BLM moniker is itself racist—that it sows further division among us because it segregates one group from the whole. They feel that it would be more acceptable if the name were “Black Lives Matter Too.” Maybe it would seem more inclusive to some if it were stated that way, and BLM and their supporters wouldn’t constantly have to defend such a silly litany of semantic arguments. And they are silly. Do black lives matter? Yes or no? It’s not a trick question. It’s not “do black lives matter more than everyone else’s?” But, but but… No buts. So let me ask you again. Do black lives matter, or do they not?
Perhaps you’d feel better if we used the even more inclusive “All Lives Matter,” though that utterly fails to address the concerns of the black community. Or perhaps you’ll respond with “Cops Lives Matter,” as if those of us that support BLM are not also capable of supporting law enforcement. I’ve recently even heard some suggest that they should start a “White Lives Matter” group to counter the “reverse racism” that BLM perpetuates (this is at it’s core, ridiculous, since protesters of all races are welcomed to join Black Lives Matter rallies). Do white lives matter? Sure. If you want to start a movement based on that, knock yourself out. But white lives have always mattered in this country, so starting a WLM campaign would be petty and pointless and insensitive. Do all lives matter? Absolutely. And guess what? Included in that “all” are black lives. In saying “all lives matter,” you’ve just inherently agreed with the BLM movement. You’re actually on the same team—you’re just refusing to play because you don’t like the team name, and that, quite honestly, is a fine bit of ignorance. And what about cops? Do blue lives matter? Of course they do. But again, how does saying black lives matter suggest that police lives don’t? Why is BLM suddenly a siege on law enforcement?
Many, including Fox News (that bastion of reporting integrity), point to an admittedly unfortunate chant (“Pigs in a blanket, fry em like bacon”) that took place at a BLM march recently as evidence of the racist, anti-cop, and potentially violent nature of the movement. It was sad to see that side come out of what otherwise amounted to a peaceful display of civil disobedience. I too was disappointed. But then I was reminded that there are bad people in every group—police, the church, protesters, white people—who have their own agendas, and want something that isn’t necessarily compatible with the message the rest are trying to convey. There are pedophile priests; should we therefore condemn the entire Catholic faith? There are a handful of bad cops out there—but that doesn’t mean that the overwhelming majority of them aren’t incredibly brave and kind men and women doing a sometimes dangerous and often thankless job of serving and protecting the public. Sometimes peaceful protests get out of control because an unruly few instigate and fuel riots and looting. (Some people really do just want to watch the world burn). The few—as bad as they may seem—can’t be used as a barometer to judge the whole. So while I freely admit the chant was vile and unfortunate, I have to remember that the content of that chant is not the message that BLM portrays—which is, simply, that black lives matter. Their goal is to create awareness and to attempt to correct a society and justice system that consistently appears to deem black lives as less valuable than those of others.
Fox News and many police officials have also latched on to the tragic murder of a Texas sheriff’s deputy at the hands of a black man as further evidence of the violent nature of BLM, and have now gone so far as to label them as a “hate group.” It is important to separate fact from fiction here, however. There is absolutely NO evidence that the killing was in any way related to the Black Lives Matter movement. While they would have you believe that BLM is inspiring violence against cops, police deaths have gone DOWN since the inception of BLM in 2013. There is precisely zero correlation between BLM and increased violence against police officers. There has however, been an increase of police lethal force cases the past few years. Last year 1106 deaths came at the hands of police. This year, we’re on track for 1100. There have been 1070 (more than 200 of those unarmed) so far in 2015. Of those, 25% of the victims were black, yet the black population is less than 13%. Without even speculating what the reasons may be, the simple fact is that black people are being killed by the police at a rate DOUBLE their population. If you want to see the live up-to-the-minute information, take a look at The Counted. It’s truly eye opening. Every. Eight. Hours.
Still other detractors use the argument that there are black people who disagree with the BLM campaign in principle. Of course there are. Some southern black people supported the right to fly the confederate flag on government grounds, despite the fact that it was seen as hurtful to millions of others. Some don’t feel that the team name “Redskins” is at all offensive, while others find it racist and insensitive. Nothing will ever have the complete support of any group—we are all individuals with our own ideas and influences and experiences. But that does not mean that we should ever stop trying to do right by our country’s people, and provide all of them with respect and an equitable chance to succeed.
I agree it’s sad that we still have to have these conversations in 2015. But we do. Nothing will ever change if we don’t acknowledge that there is a problem and damn well do something about it. Saying “All Lives Matter,” doesn’t allow black people to ask why they’re being killed more often by police. It doesn’t allow them to ask for change in their communities. It shuts them down, and makes them feel as if their concerns don’t matter. It suggests that we still place less value on their lives than other lives. And it implies that WE DON’T CARE.
So to all of you still saying “All Lives Matter,” stop. Just fucking stop.
Join us for the second in our three part series Unite Against Racism: Breaking Down Walls and Building Community; Challenging Racism and Islamophobia.Given the growing divide along racial and religious lines in this country and globally, we will focus this seminar on examining where the breakdowns in communication and understanding are occuring specifically between blacks/whites and Muslims/Non-Muslims. Sevgi Fernandez of Together We Stand and Dr. John P. Fernandez of ARMCGlobal, global leaders on racism, sexism and diversity training, will be facilitating. The emphasis will be to create GolbalTREE, Trust, Respect, Empathy, Ethics, through a multifaceted approach using individual and group exercises.
Please RSVP to Diversewc@gmail.com, we will be emailing attendees an exercise to do prior to the workshop.
Register now, space is limited!!!
Unite Against Racism: Breaking Down Walls and Building Community
Saturday, Jan. 23rd 2016 at 2:30-5:30pm
2930 Shattuck Avenue Berkeley, CA
Welcome – Introductions
Individual – Group Exercises
Closing – personal commitments to change
Western Institute for Social Research
Since 1975 WISR, the Western Institute for Social Research, has been a multicultural academic institution of higher learning devoted to social change and community improvement. WISR, is a community-based, globally connected degree granting institution of higher learning. WISR’s students can earn Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctoral degrees in a variety of disciplines related to community improvement and leadership, educational innovation, counseling psychology, and progressive social change.
2930 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley, CA, United States Mail@wisr.edu 510 655-2830 wisr.edu
Advanced Reaearch Management Consultants
Advanced Research Management Consultants Global, LLC– is a full service human resources, executive coaching, diversity, mentoring, marketing, e-learning and video production firm. We specialize in assisting organizations realize their competitive advantage on a local and global scale.
ARMC Global develops and delivers seminars in such areas as leadership, global virtual teams, teambuilding, communications, generation gap, GLBT (gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender), work and life balance, cultural clashes, conflict resolution, Proactive Inclusion® and GlobalTREE℠ (Trust, Respect, Empathy, and Ethics).
701 West Allens Lane, Philadelphia, PA, United States JPF@Globaltree.com 215 247-4547 armcglobal.com
Sevgi Fernandez – Together We Stand – Diverse World Coaching
Diverse World Coaching specializes in working with blended, cross-cultural and interracial families as well as individuals struggling with racial identity formation, anxiety and depression.
Together We Stand advocates for victims of racism, discrimination and police brutality across the country. We are developing a youth leadership academy that will train participants to become social change agents and prepare them to enter college with an excellent foundation in social justice advocacy.
Together We Stand also offers the following workshops:
Racism and White Privilege
Parenting Mixed Race Children: Understanding their Racial Identity Development
Navigating the Blended Family
Youth Empowerment through Community Action
Richmond, CA, United States email@example.com
By: Michael D. Nurse
Are white people evil or is it just “people” are capable of evil? How does the promotion of one school of thought vs the other advance the liberation movement.
Some would argue that liberation starts in the hearts and minds and that hundreds of years of a falsely contrived reality; must be washed from the consciousness of the people before freedom can be achieved.
Others argue that in times of war; the foundations of peace must be laid. It may not be possible to demonise and alienate an enemy and readily restore the peace once the battle is over.
Some would suggest that the enemy will never tolerate a peace of equals; its a zero sum game that leads to complete capitulation with no conditions. Should you lose; you dont get to keep your Hitler or Roosevelt at the end.
How do we deal with the allied; as future enemies or uneasy friends till the real enemy is destroyed? Who or what is the real enemy? Is it white people or injustice? Do we fight for black freedom or black supremacy? Does achieving black liberation mean that black nationalism must take priority or do we fight behind the flag of freedom from injustice or equality for all?
Black people are not like white people. We cannot fight like we are equals. There is a terrible wounding in the hearts and minds of white supremacy victims. Mental wounds that have damaged our belief in ourselves; our belief in our full humanity. We have lost the initiave to be self sufficient. We have lost the common bonds that binds us together; that which allows any other man to build for themselves.
As a prerequisite to black liberation there must be a healing of the black psyche. First we must be afforded the opportunities to engage with truth. Knowing and understanding what actually happened to us as a people; who were stolen away from our native places and cultures and forced to become perpetual underlings; labourers and hand maidens for our unmitigated superiors and owners.
When official slavery ended 150 years ago; no one bothered to heal our ancestors or to restore them to their full humanity and freedoms. The anti black propaganda continued unabated to this day. The denials of our achievements and a steadfast determination to rob us of the opportunity to become equals with our previous slavers and still oppressors.
As such we are forced to heal ourselves. Expose our own truths; liberate our own minds from the carnage caused by 400 years of anti black propaganda. Black people were told to assimilate; but this was never allowed to be a goal that could be accomplished by inferiors.
Coming to awareness of our loss will lead to greiving. Irrational denials and doubts about the veracity of our fate. Are we truly as badly off as we are? Do we harm ourselves as viciously as we do? Are we a nation beseiged by self hate?
The liberators are attempting to instigate freedom on multiple fronts. Learning of a history denied so that we can believe in our humanity, equality and the dignity of belonging and having equal access to the resources needed for survival. Then the retelling of history as it occured; atrocity by atrocity; struggle by bitter struggle; achievement by achievement so that we could shake off our delusions and live. Seeing the world clearly for what it is and has been.
We must know our enemies and our friends. We must understand what it means to be free to ever be able to achieve it. Our white gods and masters must be humbled by truth so that we can turn again to give reverence and divine value to ourselves. We must learn how we once were before we were broken and enslaved.
On this path to redemption; there will be many challenges; victories and losses; great pains and sorrows; joys and achievements. We often do harm to ourselves and without any doubt; we will wound our friends and allies. This is a process and we will make mistakes but hopefully with the help and providence of all we can eventually be free.
Dear Neighbor, I don’t know who you are, but you surely know me. We’re a pretty conspicuous family: two dads—one white and one Asian—and two young kids—one black and one Latino—who live right up the street from Thoreau Elementary. Maybe you’ve seen me reading on the porch while my kids play soccer in the front […]
Video: An incredibly moving piece by The New York Times Magazine writer.