The Truth

The other day I was approached by this guy named Joe. He asked me a question that I found I couldn’t answer quite as accurate as I should have been able to He asked “what is your perspective on the George Floyd situation.” And I stopped and thought, for the first time, about the situation. And the answer hurt me, I told him the truth. I said that I am certainly knowledgeable of what’s going on but that the situation did not affect me like I know it should. Although I’m white, I grew up in a predominantly black neighborhood in Flint, Michigan, and most of my close friends are Black.
This sudden coming to realization that the things that are going on in the black community that I’ve witnessed growing up in Flint And being in prison since I was 15 has not motivated me to get educated and try to help, hurts. It hurts it took this long and so much pain from my fellow peers for me to finally open my eyes. And it hurts to know that there are so many more people in the state of mind I was in out there still, and that needs to change.

I would just like to thank Joe, for asking me what he did. And challenging me to make a difference. I only ask the same for who ever reads this!
-Isaac L. Bowling

BLACK LIVES MATTER: Oh Really?-Jerry Riley

How many times has it been said before? Black Lives Matter. Are we stating the obvious? Of course all lives matter, to someone, somewhere, at some moment in time, right?

Or is it only when the death of a Black Man or Woman catches the Headline; I Can’t Breathe; do the public authorities have to carry out an extreme, likened to Mike Brown laying in the street for hours after he was murdered, or a cop kneeling casually with his sunglasses propped on top of his head and his hands in his pocket as he chokes the life out of another “suspect” at his own leisure?

Do Black Lives only Matter when they can be exploited by corporate media as a catalous to “Get out and Vote”? Did Black Lives Matter when Trayvon Martin was murdered for walking while Black? Wasn’t Barack Obama the President? So who were we supposed to “Get Out and Vote” for then? Did our “Vote” suddenly make George Floyd’s Black Life Matter?

Do Black Lives Matter when the life is that of an unknown victim? When my sister mysteriously disappears, when my mother’s house is foreclosed because of “Blacksploitation” from predatory Banksters, or when my city’s educational system is only graduating 20% of Black Males? Does Black Life Matter when there is no catchy hashtag to tweet, like #teensstilldolife! or #bidensomnibussupport or #90ssupperpreditors?

Does anybody really think Black Lives Matter when Geo Group, Corrections, Corporation of America, JPay, and Global Tel Inc, monopolize Prison Profiteering, and capitalize off of the suffering Black Lives we so self righteously profess “Matter” to us. Do Black Lives Matter when Prison is the #1 Industry in the Automoble State of Michigan? Who disproportionately fills those for-profit prisons? Who is the target of Generational Mass Incarceration?

What if George Floyd wasn’t killed? What if, instead of breaking his neck or choking him, the police lied at trial and sent him to prison? For Life? Would his Black Life Matter then? What if the coroner, instead of lying on George Floyd’s autopsy for the benefit of the police, lied about a victim’s autopsy? Would his Black Life Matter then? What if the Prosecutor, instead of charging the most lenient charge that can be proven, went straight to 1st Degree Murder, as is the case for most Black Defendants. Would George Floyd’s Black Life Matter?

I doubt it.

I’m sure “a” Black Life does Matter at times to some people, other than that person’s family and friends. That is, when it’s beneficial. Since the catchy slogan came out, Black Lives only Matter when the police kill someone who other people care about. George Floyd was a Black Life that Mattered. Mike Brown was a Black Life that Mattered.

Sure, Black Lives Matter when you can spend a weekend shouting slogans and tweeting hashtags. But if you are asked to Sacrafice or go to War to preserve Black Life, (not “A” Black Life) all Black Lives, will you continue to claim that Black Lives Matter?

-Jerry Riley

We Can’t Breathe-Reginald Brown

In 1992 I was 5 years old. I vaguely remember the beating of Rodney King by six white LAPD Officers who were subsequently acquitted. Today I am a 32 year old black man, experienced with police contact, some good, and some bad. Nevertheless, I am aware that 30 years later, things remain the same.

Often, we refer to slavery as if it has ended. Slavery is alive, however; the methods have evolved. In the early 1900’s and into the Civil Rights movement, African Americans were beat, murdered, hung, raped, sprayed with water, and attacked by dogs. Slavery and racism are sophisticated beast, it’s unchanging and forever evolving. Our prison system is a true testament to that. African Americans account for almost 14% of the U.S. population. We are no longer the second largest race in the U.S. anymore. However, we account for 75%-80% of the 2.2 million incarcerated in the U.S. The KKK has put down their cloth robes, pointy hats, and picked up badges. They have become Senators, Judges and Presidents. They are the politicians that shape our country today. 

Over the past week or so I’ve struggled with my message. Not knowing if my words have a place in this conversation? But, I have watched the video of George Floyd being murdered by the police repeatedly. It has given me my strength and courage. This man life was taken from him as he begged and pleaded for air. As he called out for his mother. His mother that passed away three years prior. As on lookers begged and pleaded for his life. “You are killing him”, they shouted; “YOU ARE KILLING HIM”! Take one second and ponder on this, George Floyd will never take another singular breath. His children will never be able to hold their father again. So when you wonder or ask what’s at stake here, the answer is, LIVES! 
As I watch the protests in our country and those by our bothers and sisters across the pond, I am educated. Racism in America is only a microcosm of the worlds true reality. Racism is our oldest pandemic. It affects us globally. We cannot allow George Floyd death to go unchecked. We must continue to march together; Black, White, Latino, Asian and all others! Young and old! Male and Female! They will try to judge and focus on the response of the people, we must focus on the actions that has continued to stoke these flames.Together we will make them say their names: 

George Floyd 5-25-20
Breonna Taylor 5-13-20
Eric Gardner 7-17-2014
Mike Brown 8-9-14
Tamer Rice 11-22-14
Freddy Gray 8-19-15
Philando Castile 6-6-16
Sandra Bland 7-13-15
Alton Sterling 7-5-16
John Crawford III 8-5-14
Walter Scott 4-4-15
Oscar Grant 1-1-09
Amadou Diallo 2-4-99
Jordan Davis 11-23-12
Antwon Rose II 1-19-18
Mikel McIntyre 2017
LaQuan McDonald 10-20-17
Botham Jean 9-6-18
Keith Childress 12-31-15
Bettie Jones 12-25-15

I can’t, He can’t, She can’t, We can’t Breathe!

#ICan’tBreath-Toby R. Davis

aka Naeem Nusaga

THE DISTURBING FOOTAGE seen throughout the world of George Floyd laying face down on the pavement with a white police officer kneeling on his knee has sparked a global outrage. Unfortunately, police brutality and racial profiling perpetrated against African-Americans and minorities alike isn’t a new phenomenon, however, with the usage of cellphone cameras we can now record in real time the abuse of power taking place on a regular basis in underserved communities, where black men are 50xs more likely to be shot and killed by police than their white counterparts.

Although they have made three new arrests in the case, many say that reaching a guilty verdict for Mr. Floyd isn’t going to be a slam dunk. History has shown that police officers are often found “Not Guilty” by jury; in spite of having strong evidence to convict. Just look at the Rodney King case played out in Los Angeles, where several police officers were seen brutally beating him, but later to be acquitted of all charges. Sadly, we have witnessed time and time again police officers being let off the hook with very little or no accountability when in fact no one should be above the law!! But the enormous rally cry for juctice in the George Floyd’s case appear to have gained unparallel momentum around the world as black and white protesters band together in staggering numbers. It is imperative that we stand together in order to have peace together. 

If you’re one to take offense to the notion that Black Lives Matter, then you need to take the time to educate yourself about racial disparities. In God’s eyes, ALL LIVES MATTER, because all lives were created by the same Creator and therefore have equal value and inalienable rights. Nonetheless, if you’re a white person, whether you know it or not, you have benefited from white privilege in some way, shape or form. Blacks, on the other hand, have been discriminated against since our forefathers who were brought across the Atlantic ocean to America on slave ships to be the burden bearers of this country. No life should be placed above another, however, due to the four hundred plus years of Blacks being marginized by their white slave masters and victimized under the notion of White Supremacy, there’s quite naturally a greater urgency to reinforce our black value here on this planet Earth. Since slavery was so-called abolished on the books, it doesn’t mean that it has been utterly eradicated in the hearts and minds of the people in power who continue to implement laws and policies that invidiously target minority groups through legislation.
Lest we forget that it was just as early as fifty years ago when Blacks were discriminated against by Whites blatantly in public. At that time you couldn’t use the public restroom or water fountain without noticing the big, bold signs that read above it: WHITES ONLY and COLORED HERE! as if we were infected with the bubonic plague! It’s been an ongoing struggle to have equal rights and opportunities in this country to this very day. Prior to the victory of Brown v. Board of Education, we had to fight to even be integrated in the same publicly-funded schools with white students to obtain a basic education while being harassed, criticized, spit on and physically attacked by white students as well as local policemen who arrived to enforce discriminatory laws against us.

The psychological damage caused by 400 years of slavery is merely inconceivable. The effects itself can range anywhere from self-hate to low self-esteem after buying into the hype and lies that were perpetuated on a large scale. Even today, most Blacks suffer from what I call “The Tarzan Effect” after being exposed for so long to a jungle-like environment that tends to reinforce animalistic behavior and savagery. At some point, your subconscious accepts it, as you begin acting the part without even knowing you’re playing the part. This further explain why most young black males are far more likely to be assigned to a prison cell by age 23; oppose to a college dormitory in room 23! Think about that. Due to mass discrimination we have to fight five times as hard to be recognized and respected as U.S. citizens by establishing certain organizations such as: the Civil Rights Movement, the National Association for the Advancement of Color People (NAACP), Affirmative Action, and today the Black Lives Matter Movement to push against inequality, and injustice, as we march and shout through the streets “No Justice! No Peace.” repeatedly.  

How can we live in the so-called greatest country on Earth, yet we’re faced with antiquated viruses known simply as racism, oppression, and racial profiling each and every day on this soil? What is it about having Black skin that makes us a target? Why are Black men often times looked upon as a threat; or otherwise, prompt a sense of fear in our white counterparts, particularly in those of whom have sworn to Serve And Protect us? Although for many, this is an uncomfortable topic, but we must all ask ourselves these fundamental questions, if we as Americans, are to rid America of these racial biases and discover practical solutions that can implement fundamental change for a better America. At the end of the day, we’re all human beings who deserves human decency, equal protection, and socioeconomic opportunity.

In the words of MLK: “An injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere!” So, let’s all stand collectively to change racial laws and policies that continue to promote racism, bigotry, and of course hate!