Racism

Over 100 Black Women Participated in Historic Photo in Edward M. Kennedy Institute's Replica of the US Senate Chamber

“Visual protest” highlighted the anniversary of Barbara Jordan’s historic Democratic Convention keynote address; Photo took place after national week of racial tragedy and unrest

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BOSTON -- Despite the growing electoral and economic imprint of America’s 23 million Black women, they are still seriously underrepresented and underserved.

After a week of racial tragedy and unrest, Higher Heights and Boston City Councilor Ayanna Pressley asked 100 Black women on Tuesday evening to “Take Your Seat” in the Edward M. Kennedy Institutes’ replica of the U.S. Senate chamber seeking to elevate Black women’s voices in the political process through a photo taken symbolically in a chamber that currently has ZERO Black women serving.

The epic and uplifting photograph shone a light at the end of a very dreary week. The photo also took place on the 40-year anniversary of Barbara Jordan historic 1976 Democratic Convention keynote. A member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Texas, Jordan became the first African-American woman to deliver the televised landmark address before that audience. 

“I was overwhelmed by this event. Watching 100 women come through those Senate doors after a week where I felt disheartened was so inspiring for the possibilities that exist for Black women that lead to move this country forward,” said Glynda Carr, Co-founder of Higher Heights. “This chamber and the lack of Black women representation in the US Senate is the most blatant example of us being shut out of the process and our voices not being heard. We are 7 percent of the population, yet we are 3.4 percent of congress, and out the 100 major cities in our country, there are only four black women mayors. There is work to be done, and we all have a role to play.”

According to Higher Heights and Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University’s 2015 Status of Black Women in American Politics, Black women are 7.4% of the U.S. population yet make up only 3.4% of Congress.

Only two women of color have ever served in the US Senate: Carol Moseley Braun, an African-American Democrat from Illinois who was elected in 1992 and served until 1999, and Mazie Hirono, an Asian-American Democrat from Hawaii who was elected in 2012.

"This is a visual protest ...to affirm for ourselves and to the nation that Black women lead, Black women run, and Black women vote. Today we affirmed that Black women are leading, in this city, in this commonwealth, and I honor their contributions,” said Pressely. “The visual shot heard around the world today is merely a snapshot of our contributions, but a visual protest and demonstration nonetheless as we take over a space we have historically been underrepresented in.”

Attendees of the event included Diane Patrick, First Lady of Massachusetts, and Sarah- Ann Shaw, the first female African-American reporter to be televised in Boston, amongst others. 

Faith leader and Dorchester resident, Mariama White Hammond attended Tuesday’s event for encouragement and hope.
 
“Over the last week we have seen so many images of the ongoing issues of racism in our country. In the midst of so much strife and grief, I came to this event because my soul needed to be lifted by the image of 100 strong Black women claiming their leadership,” said Hammond. “It helped me to imagine the world that could be and to reinvigorate my commitment to working for justice. I took my seat because I know that I stand on the shoulders of amazing and courageous Black women. I took my seat to honor the legacy of my ancestors and in hopes that my life will allow another generation to rise to even higher heights.”
 
Pressley called Tuesday’s event, “the visual shot heard around the world”, that 
will draw awareness of the gap in Black women’s political leadership but also inspire and empower Black women to imagine the possibilities that exist.

“We gathered over 100 diverse women who are leading every day in their communities to take a seat for the countless Black women across the country that do not think they have a seat or voice at the table”, said Kimberly Peeler-Allen, Co-Founder of Higher Heights. “2016 is a movement building opportunity for Black women to truly harness our collective political power and leadership potential from the voting booth to elected office.”


 
Photo Credit: Eric Haynes

 

 

 


The Remake of Roots for a New Generation

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The much talked about remake of the 1970's television miniseries ROOTS, starts this evening at 9 p.m. EST on the History Channel. Some are outraged at the remake of the classic, others are tired of viewing movies about the enslavement of Blacks. I can understand the first sentiment but the last one saddens me. Regardless of ethnicity, we can't fix what we don't face. Ignoring slavery won't make its history go away. 

Is there are need to expand the narrative so that it accurately portrays history? Absolutely. Without actually viewing the film, I can't offer an opinion so I encourage everyone to watch and give feedback. In 1977, there was not nearly the competition for our time and attention as there is now. There was no internet or hunderds of cable television channels as we know now so this remake might not have the audience draw of the original.

I'm looking forward this mini-series even if it's competing with Game 7 of the NBA Western Conference Finals. It's more important to know your history. Perhaps if we did, there would be more Black team owners and head coaches in professional sports.

 

 

   

 


Trial Attorney Willie Gary and Team Filed a Multi-Million Dollar Lawsuit against City of Greensboro for Discrimination, Breach of Contract and Bad Faith Dealings after City Reneges on Approved Loan

 

GREENSBORO, N.C., -- PRNewswire/ -- Prominent trial attorney Willie Gary along with his legal team James Leonard Brown of Los Angeles, California and Michael Jones of Durham, North Carolina announced the filing of a multi-million dollar discrimination and breach of contract lawsuit on behalf of Michael and Ramona Woods and Black Network Television against the City of Greensboro, North Carolina. The lawsuit was filed Wednesday in Guilford County (case #6767).   

The lawsuit details the irreparable damage and harm that the City of Greensboro's bad business dealings caused Michael and Ramona Woods and Black Network Television.  The Woods are suing the City of Greensboro for discrimination and losses related to an economic development loan from the City that was approved on June 18, 2013, and then reneged on one month later by a City Council vote of 6 to 3.  The lawsuit outlines the claim for damages caused by the denial of the promised funds.  The loan was slated for network operations, including production of a new national comedy series titled, "Whatcha Cookin'?"

"The City of Greensboro's discriminatory acts crushed our client's dream," said Gary. "Michael and Ramona Woods discussed with various city officials what a successful minority owned Greensboro-based television network would mean to the community in terms of job creation, skills and training and economic development.  As a result, the Woods put full trust and confidence in the City's promise to grant the economic development loan, only to be misled, misguided, deceived and discriminated against," continued Gary.  "It isn't right and we will not stand for it!"

Gary is no stranger to seeking justice.  Gary and his legal team are known for taking on some of the nation's most powerful corporate giants, including the funeral industry. In 1995, a jury awarded Gary and his legal team a record-breaking, half-billion dollars against one of the world's largest funeral chains, The Loewen Group. In addition, Gary is noted for winning a $240 million jury verdict in Orange County against the Walt Disney Corporation for his clients who alleged that Disney stole their idea for a sports theme park.

For more information, visit www.blacknetworktelevision.com.

 


The Perils of Blackness: Good Hair...Bad Hair...Now 'Nasty' Hair?

 

Sheryl Underwood Tiana Parker
A firestorm was unleashed when comedian Sheryl Underwood (top) made disparaging remarks about natural hair and a little girl in Tulsa, OK (bottom) changed schools because of her hair


I finally saw the clip of Sheryl Underwood’s comments about black folks' natural hair. I now understand why she was ragged on so much on Twitter and was nearly in tears in her apology on Steve Harvey's radio show. Underwood tried to chalk the situation up to a joke gone wrong but her statements were so incredibly hurtful and psychologically damaging it may take some time for her to get this behind her.

It doesn't help that Steve Harvey, in his attempt to support his friend Underwood, referred to the incident as "the little thing going on about the hair comment." Oh, no, the hair comments are not a little thing or Underwood wouldn't have realized such a backlash. Hair is a very sensitive issue for black people. Underwood could have let it go after after one remark, but no, she continued the black hair beatdown when other women on the panel were trying to move the conversation on.  

 

Lest we forget, while black folk are busy being angry with Sheryl Underwood, be mindful that Aisha Tyler, another black woman on 'The Talk," sat at that same table and didn’t say a mumbling word. Tyler did look uncomfortable but she didn't do anything to ease the pain, so she doesn't get a pass. 

What’s the message sent about kinky, curly or wavy hair? It’s ugly ---- straighten it! Even white people feel the same way so let's put this issue in perspective. At this juncture, the dots in this controversy could be connected by a discussion on white supremacy and idolization white European beauty but I won't go there. I do ask you to pay more attention to the images and words in the media and in our daily conversations and internet interactions. 

Deborah Brown Community School, a charter school in Tulsa, OK bans ‘faddish’ hairstyles like dreadlocks, mohawks and afros. Consequently, Tiana Parker, a little 7 year-old black girl, was sent home because of her hair which she wore in locs. 

 

It’s understandable that a school wants its students to look presentable but come on, there was nothing wrong with that child’s hair. Tiana, a straight-A student, according to her father, wore her hair in this manner last year  and it wasn't a problem. The school decided to enforce their policy this school year.

Tiana Parker’s father has been lauded by many for removing her from the school rather than conforming to the school’s dress code policy. That’s all well and good but Deborah Brown Community School is a charter school, as such, can establish its own dress code policy --- even if it is ridiculous.  Why would the parent of a black child subject him or her to a psychologically terroristic environment that blatantly demonstrates disdain for a child's natural beauty? Even with the school's good academic performance reputation, I don't think so.

The most flack I’ve gotten about my hair, in its natural state, has been from other black people. White people usually want to touch it, especially when my hair was in locs. It’s so sad and I wonder if it will ever change since images of black women in natural hairstyles are a rarity even in media by, for and about blacks. Check it out for yourself.

Sheryl Underwood and the governing board and administration of Deborah Brown Community School are all black which makes this black hair drama all the more pathetic. Perhaps one day, EVERYONE, will appreciate their God-given beauty. In the meantime, I strongly encourage Underwood and the folks at Deborah Brown Community School to watch Chris Rock's documentary, Good Hair.

 

 

The Aftermath: Breaking the Black Man and Dis-connecting the Black Community [VIDEO]

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I surfed across this very powerful video of the Minister Louis Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam. He is speaking at Benedict College in Columbia, South Carolina on September 13, 2005. You may not like Mr. Farrakhan and you may not agree with him either. If you are black, no matter where you were born, I dare you to watch this video in its entirety.

  

Farrakhan is on point about tactics used to break down the black man in the presence of the black woman and the black child. He is on point about how we have lost the sense of community that our common melanin used to endear. He is on point about how, in a sense, we are worse off today than we were during slavery.

Please share this video with as many black people as possible. 

 

 

Hat Tip: Black Blue Dog

 

 


FAU Student Goes on Racial Tirade during Study Session [VIDEO]

Check out this video of FAU (Florida Atlantic University) student, Jonatha Carr, going ballistic in class study session. The student reportedly became angry when she did not like the answer the professor gave to a question she asked. The video shows her spewing profanity and racial epithets. She even pushes a male student in the forehead before she is physically removed from class and tased. 

From all indications, this is not typical behavior of the student but that incident was ugly. Maybe she needs to take a break from school. After the commotion, class resumed although half of the students left during the disturbance. 

You know racist YouTube trolls are totally using this opportunity to bash black people, especially black women,  with their comments on this video. They are oblivious to the young black woman trying to stop the outburst as well as the other black women looking shocked as the other students.

 


Book of the Month: Dear White America --- Letter to a New Minority

Tim_wiseTim J. Wise  has added another powerful book to his repertoire on race. “Dear White America — Letter to a New Minority” is a must read.

Wise is gifted with the ability to break complex racial issues down to a simple, logical, understandable concept. In the case of this latest book, Wise points out the actions and reactions of many whites as simply the realization that the balance of power is shifting and they are losing their privilege of being the majority. Check it out.

 


Black Mormons: Who Knew?

Adaptation:

Nobody-Knows-film Few people, Mormon and non-Mormon, are aware that there has been an Black presence in the LDS Church from its earliest days, that the vanguard company of Mormon pioneers included three “colored servants” who were baptized Mormons, and whose descendants remained active in the Church for several generations.

Released in 2007, this documentary talks about that little-known legacy, and confronts the hard issues that surfaced in the most turbulent years of the Civil Rights Movement, when the Church restricted its priesthood from those of African descent. It discusses how that restriction was lifted and what the lives and challenges of the modern Black Mormon pioneers are.

Besides never-released footage shot in 1968 and many rare archival photographs, the documentary includes interviews with renowned scholars, historians, Black Mormons, with Martin Luther King III, and with Dr. Cecil “Chip” Murray, retired pastor of the First AME Church of Los Angeles, which was founded by a former slave of Mormon pioneers.

Related Link:
Official movie website – Nobody Knows: The Untold Story of Black Mormons


"Dark Girls" is Sad, Powerful and Haunting [VIDEO]

It's 2011, why are black people still dealing with skin color and hair texture issues?

Dark Girls: Preview from Bradinn French on Vimeo.

How many times do black people have to address the issue of dark skin vs. light skin...good hair...bad hair. It's so sad and so unbelievable by people who are not black, regardless of whether black American, Black Hispanic, Caribbean black, etc.

If the truth be told, the problem of self-hatred and skin color envy is so deep and pervasive. If the truth be told, it goes beyond blacks. The desire for blonde hair, blue eyes and light skin is prevalent throughout the  ethnicity spectrum and damages the psyche of many not naturally born with those genetic traits. It's easier and perhaps more damaging to blacks who are farther away from Nordic blonde, but others are suffering also.

This madness will continue until people start really loving their natural selves. It's okay to recognize beauty in others but when you do that while hating yourself, the cycle continues. Some of comments from blacks in this video make me angry and sad --- in that order. We know better, let's do better. And to my dark girl sisters, you are beautiful. Know it. Own it. Be it.