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Posts Tagged ‘trayvon martin’

Not So Sunny in Florida

July 22, 2013 Leave a comment

Screen Shot 2013-07-22 at 9.07.43 AMAt rallies this weekend, protestors around the country called for a boycott of Florida following the wave of anger over George Zimmerman’s acquittal.

Rev. Jesse Jackson labeled Florida an “apartheid state” and Stevie Wonder says he’s won’t perform in the state until Stand Your Ground gun laws are repealed. Martin Luther King III has encouraged consumers to stop buying Florida orange juice and Dick Gregory demanded vacationers to skip Disney World in Orlando, Florida.

A moveon.org boycott Florida petition has collected 12,000 signatures. It reads: “Your state is not a safe place to vacation if your citizens are able to kill anyone they deem suspicious.” Click here to see and sign.

An effective boycott would cripple the state. MSN notes that tourism is Florida’s number 1 industry, bringing in nearly $72 billion and providing jobs for more than 1 million state residents or, more than 5 percent of the total population. The $1.1 billion citrus business supports about 76,000 jobs. 540705_280672645403909_246766155_n

But not everyone is falling in line behind a boycott. The National Association of Black Journalists decided not to cancel its annual convention in Orlando, July 31 – August 4. The group’s president challenged members to come to Florida and join in the discussion of the Zimmerman verdict and its ramifications. And at this writing, not all members of the Congressional Black Caucus agree on a boycott.

Like all economic boycotts, avoiding Florida and its products would hurt people who can least afford it. Blacks and Latinos make up 40 percent of the population and many own struggling small businesses. Still, making it hurt may be what it takes to repeal the state’s Stand Your Ground law.

To learn more, join the discussion:

Boycott Florida Tourism on Facebook

Boycott Florida on Facebook 

Boycott Florida’s economy on Facebook

Why We Must Boycott for Trayvon

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Must-See Movie–Fruitvale Station

July 17, 2013 Leave a comment

fruitvale-station-posterHave you seen Fruitvale Station? If not, stop reading this post and run and out see it right now. It’s the best film of the year–this year’s Beasts of the Southern Wild: a well-made, deeply affecting independent movie that touches upon an issue painfully close to the headlines.

The film, a top-prize winner at Sundance, tells the true story of Oscar Grant, a 22-year-old Bay Area resident who, while unarmed, is shot to death by law enforcement officers. It couldn’t be more timely in the face of the Trayvon Martin tragedy and George Zimmerman travesty. But more importantly Fruitvale is the most complex, textured and realistic portrayal of a black man in American in years. It goes without saying that the first-time director, Ryan Coogler, is one talented brother.

Keep an eye on the starring actor, Michael B. Jordan. He played QB Vince Howard on Friday Night Lights as well as the heart-breaking role of  young drug dealer Wallace on The Wire. The movie also stars the Academy Award winning Octavia Spencer (Minnie, in The Help) who shines, as Oscar’s mother, Wanda. But all the actors shine. 061913-celebs-life-in-film-octavia-spencer-fruitvale.jpg

Though the movie is in limited release (at the Angelika and Loews Lincoln Center in New York; why not Magic Johnson Theater?), it’s gaining momentum. On Friday, watch the BET documentary Fruitvale Station: The Story of Oscar Grant at 10 PM EST on Centric for a behind-the-scenes look at how the movie was made.

If we don’t support films like Fruitvale, there’s no point in complaining every season when the only black films star Madea. See Fruitvale to support it. But also see it because it’s damn good. Click here for the trailer.

Harlem in the Headlines

July 16, 2013 Leave a comment

Harlem was in the news! Here’s a rundown on local coverage.

Mayoral front runner Anthony Weiner campaigned in Harlem over the weekend, with his wife, Huma Abedin. Huffington Post focused on her dress–one Michelle Obama also wore while campaigning for her husband. Who wore it best? [Photos from Twitter via Huffpo.]

BPJvN2PCcAAJdl8BPJwZT3CYAAyjSq.jpg-largePresident Barack Obama bus tour in Iowa

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Rys Powell

An article in the Daily News spotlights local entrepreneur Rhys Powell. His Harlem-based company Red Rabbit, provides healthy food for kids and employs 130 local residents. The start-up was recently named the Manhattan Small Business of the Year.

Assistant pastor Nicholas Richard preached on Sunday

Assistant pastor Nicholas Richard preached on Sunday

On Sunday, Abyssinian Baptist church parishioners wore hoodies in reaction to the George Zimmerman acquittal. The Griot covers the historic church’s reaction to the verdict.

New York 1 covered Harlem Hospital’s air conditioning problem. (Everyone’s okay.) Click here to watch the video.

A Slap in Our Face: #No Justice

July 15, 2013 Leave a comment

We live in a country where Black people can still hunted down and killed and no one has to pay. George Zimmerman’s acquittal  is a slap in the face to people everywhere.

Where do we go from here? Martin Luther King asked that question in a 1967 speech. Read what he said.

“…And I must confess, my friends (Yes sir), that the road ahead will not always be smooth. (Yes) There will still be rocky places of frustration (Yes) and meandering points of bewilderment. There will be inevitable setbacks here and there. (Yes) And there will be those moments when the buoyancy of hope will be transformed into the fatigue of despair. (Well) Our dreams will sometimes be shattered and our ethereal hopes blasted. (Yes) We may again, with tear-drenched eyes, have to stand before the bier of some courageous civil rights worker whose life will be snuffed out by the dastardly acts of bloodthirsty mobs. (Well) But difficult and painful as it is (Well), we must walk on in the days ahead with an audacious faith in the future…” MLK Jr., August 1967

Read Dr. King’s entire speech here.1000998_10151313979972168_352039431_n

Voting Rights, Trayvon Martin and Paula Deen in Post-Race America

July 1, 2013 Leave a comment

paula deen today show crying 660 videograb1America is not post-race. Having a black president signals progress, but doesn’t mean the country has moved beyond race and the tortured conversations that follow it. If you have any doubt, take a look at last week’s headlines. Two Supreme Court decisions, a high-profile murder trial and a foul-mouthed, clueless celebrity chef and brought conversations about race in this country front and center.

Wrong on Voting Rights

Last week, a divided Supreme Court ripped apart the landmark Voting Rights Act, striking down the way Congress has monitored states with a history of discrimination.

Declaring that “our country has changed in the past 50 years,” John Roberts and the court’s four other conservative justices said the 1965 law cannot be enforced unless Congress updates it to account for a half-century of civil rights advances.

Really? Has America advanced that much. Of course not. To prevent African Americans from voting in the past, racists used poll taxes, literacy tests, and sometimes harassment, intimidation and violence. These days it’s increased demands for I.D.

President Obama agrees, calling the decision a setback. The ruling “upsets decades of well-established practices that help make sure voting is fair, especially in places where voting discrimination has been historically prevalent,” Obama noted in a written statement. An angry, dissenting Justice Ruth Ginsburg went further, responding that “Hubris is a fit word for today’s demolition of the [voting rights act].”

The End of Affirmative Action (Almost)

Does affirmative action to provide increased college opportunities for students of color discriminate against white people? The Supreme Court isn’t sure, but thinks so.

Last week, the justices sent a case involving affirmative action back to the lower courts, effectively making it harder for universities to use race as a factor in admission. The case was brought by Abigail Fisher, a white student who was denied admission to the University of Texas, which uses race as an admission factor.

“The attainment of a diverse student body serves values beyond race alone, including enhanced classroom dialogue and the lessening of racial isolation and stereotypes,” U.S. Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in the majority opinion.

Sure, makes sense. But it’s also a question of race and numbers, especially for black men. African-American males make up 5 percent of the U.S. college population–but 40 percent of the prison population. The unemployment rate of black males with only a high school diploma stands at 15.5 percent; having a B.A. cuts that number in half.

It doesn’t take a college degree to put 2 + 2 + 2 together. College leads to employment which leads away from prison–and affirmative action helps deserving students of color get into college. Period.

Who’s the Biggest Racist of All?

Is it Trayvon Martin, who referred to George Zimmerman as a “cracker?” Or Zimmerman, who shot him, presumably because he was a young black man in a hoodie?

George-Zimmerman

That question was highlighted last week at Zimmerman’s murder trial.  Thursday 19-year-old Rachel Jeantel, a friend of Martin’s, testified that she was talking to Martin by cellphone shortly before he was shot. He told her a “creepy-ass cracker” was watching him. Did that comment  make 17-year-old Martin a racist, too?

Not even close. And who cares if he was. Martin isn’t on trial; he’s dead. Cracker, a perjorative term for whites, much more common in the South and in the past, doesn’t carry nearly the baggage of, say, the N-word. (See below) Click here to read more in the Washington Post.

Who You Calling N***,  Paula Deen

The fallout from Paula Deen’s use the N-word has been swift, despite her bizarre, apologetic Today Show appearance. At this writing she’s lost 12 business deals so far, including with Wal-Mart, not known for its political sensitivity. Does she deserve it?

Her fans don’t think so. Here’s a typical comment from her Facebook page, sandwiched between praise for a recipe for Never Fail Pound Cake: “We love you Paula! I say start your own food channel!!!! Your [sic] the Oprah of Food! You can make anything happen!”

Many question why it’s okay for black people, especially rappers, to use the N-word, while Paula Deen gets her guts ripped out when she says it. Like this person:

“All you complaining to Paula for what she says behind close doors GET A LIFE!!!! My children did not learn the N WORD from Paula but from 2 African American kids referring to themselves to it in the park! Clean up you’re own house before pitching on others!#!”

Anyone who doesn’t know the difference between rappers and kids saying “nigga” and Deen calling blacks the N-word needs some schooling. Sign up for a history class–ASAP.

Clearly, we have more work to do.