How to Celebrate MLK Jr’s 50th Assassination Anniversary

It’s a powerful moment when you first start reading and hearing speeches from Martin Luther King Jr as he evolved past the “I have a dream” icon and into the more “Poor People’s Campaign” economic and political power redistribution radical. When you start reading about how the majority of white people hated MLK Jr. and it was only after he was dead and he ceased to be a threat to white supremacy did white people start liking him.

But not the real radical version of him who admitted that his dream (of sharing this country with white people equally) in many ways “turned into a nightmare”. But the white washed history version of him who still believed love could break white supremacy. I think it was intentional that this was the only version of MLK Jr that everyone learned about growing up, which taught white people that all we needed for equality was love, not reparations, not the understanding of systemic racism and white privilege, not economic and political power restructuring, not justice…just love.

But just like how white supremacists twisted the bible to justify slavery I think they twisted MLK jrs story to justify/hide today’s white supremacy. If you were only taught his “I have a dream” speech you would think his dream had come true by now. But if you listen to his later speeches you can really understand the true realities of this country and how far we really are from that dream.

I think if white people really want to honor MLK jr we could do what the majority of white people never did for MLK jr. while he was alive. That is to support the civil rights activists alive today. This could be things like participating in a Black Lives Matter (BLM) rally, donating money to BLM, or confronting false narratives of BLM in our white circles. But it could also be by not being as MLK jr wrote,

“the white moderate who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I can’t agree with your methods of direct action;” who paternalistically feels he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom””

and take not one but many anti-racism workshops, embrace the uncomfortable white fragility we all have and start to recognize and challenge our white privilege, make dismantling systemic racism a leading issue when deciding how to vote, or simply believe a person of color when they are trying to describe their experience with things like police brutality, which doesn’t match up with the narrative we were taught.

I’d like to think MLK jr would appreciate that more than reposting one of his quotes.

Martin Luther King Jr.: “My dream has turned into a nightmare”

Speech leading up to the Poor People’s Campaign on reparations 

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White Privilege and Racism

Systemic and implicit racism is the real racism of this country. Trump, White supremacy rallies and other explicit racism is just a by-product.

When Trump was elected it was great to see so many people call out the racism that went into that election. But it was also shocking to see many more people rush to defense of calling conservatives racist for voting for a political party that had so many racist issues on its platform from mass Latino deportation, Muslim immigration ban, voter suppression, protecting police brutality, etc,. Since then I’ve been realizing that the majority of white people I know (liberal, moderate, conservative), knew a lot about explicit racism (white nationalism, KKK, neo Nazi, Trump, tea party) but knew very little about implicit racism and systemic (institutional) racism.

If you combine all the people negatively affected by all hate groups every year nationwide its drops in the buckets to all the people negatively affected by implicit and systemic racism every day. If you want to fight white supremacy right now you have to realize the roots of white supremacy comes from implicit and systemic racism. Trump, Tea Party, neo-Nazi are all byproducts of the real racism in this country.

Just a few examples of Implicit and systemic racism include:

– Non-white people are more likely to get stop by police, arrested, harmed, shot by officers that will be acquitted, convicted and given harsher sentences than white people
– Unconscious fear, mistrust or judgement of non-white people
– Education curriculum that whitewashes (downplays) slavery, genocide, rape and racism in the US while glorifying the oppressors such as both confederate and founding fathers slave owners
– Unequal access to job opportunities, higher education, wealth, land ownership and political/corporate leadership for non-white people
– Conservative political parties creating misinformed narratives and policies that imply white people are victims at the cost of non-white civil rights
– Religious institutions that approve and support conservative racists and white Supremacist, by labeling them “Good Christians”
– Discriminatory real estate, banks, and government policies segregating communities and keeping non-white people in poorer areas
– Decades of racially-biased laws and practices in the USDA that pushed non-white farmers off their land
– The majority of news, TV, radio and social media in the US pushing every day, racial biases in our society including unfair stereotypes and fears towards non-white people

 

All of this racism above and more is unconsciously preserved and supported by the white majority through their complicity and complacency of these problems. This is a white problem and is only going to get better when the majority of white people can identify it, admit their roles in it (including my role) and start to challenge it in every aspect of life.

If you truly want to fight the racism we’re seeing from White Supremacy rallies and Trump you have to start at the root with systemic and implicit racism. I’ve been putting together a resource since the Trump election for white people to educate themselves about all the forms of racism beyond explicit racism, through perspectives, resources and media, mainly created in the last year.

It’s far from done but I thought it’s an appropriate time to start sharing for people wanting to learn about all forms of racism and I wanted to ask for help from anyone with an understanding already of systemic racism who could share more resources, perspectives or interest in helping writing content, to help me finished this site. I hope to make this into free educational curriculum which is something I used to do in a former life. Please feel free to PM me with any feedback or suggestions anytime.

Responsible Consumer: White Privilege and Racism

 

The Republican Party is No Longer a Party of Issues

They say they are anti-corruption. Yet two months into this presidency republicans have literally, without even putting any effort into a believable explanation or hiding their internet company payouts, sold the personal and sensitive internet data of everyone in this country to the highest bidder. One of the first acts they did in this presidency was sell our drinking water to coal companies who now get to dump their sewage into nearby streams. They sold out our healthcare for billionaire tax breaks. They sold our prison system to private companies willing to profit off of slave labor. They sold our public education system to companies willing to profit off our children’s education. They sold out the health of our planet, the health of our children and our ability to reduce the fourth leading cause of death worldwide (air pollution) to dying fossil fuel industries. They sold out our bald eagles to lead bullet companies. They even sold out our Alaskan wildlife to big game hunters who get off on shooting bear cubs sleeping in dens. And they’re getting ready to sell out our economy to people on Wall Street who, when unregulated, are capable of getting insanely rich by using strategies that intentionally and purposely wreck our economy, often into recessions, like the one that happen literally less than a decade ago.

Republicans often invoke the political Reagan slogan, “Drain the Swamp”. But they are the reason the Citizen United’s Supreme Court decision, which removes any limits and transparency from political donations, won’t get overturned. One of the first things the new 2017 Republican House did was vote to remove the only independent committee that monitors their corruption. I know there’s corruption in the Democratic Party too, but the main difference between the two is Democrats actually vote to keep transparency, political donation limits, and third party ethics watch dogs, while republicans fight to remove all of it.

They say they are for fiscal responsibility. But in the same speech they’ll talk about drastically increasing the military budget while drastically cutting taxes on the rich, cutting funding for our ability to collect taxes, and deregulating institutions that have repeatedly caused economic disasters on our economy when unregulated. All of these things are not only unnecessary but drastically increase our debt and threaten our economy, while making republicans and their rich backers super rich.

Republicans say they are for protecting gun rights. Great! Except for there is NO ONE COMING FOR ANYONE’S GUNS! Current gun reform efforts are about closing background check loopholes and preventing people with mental illnesses and people on terror watch lists from getting assault rifles. Anything else is NRA/GOP/Fox News/Info Wars/Ted Nugent propaganda used to increase political votes, increase gun sales and increase political lobbyists influence.

They say they are pro-life. Yet they are constantly fighting to defund the things like sex education and women’s access to healthcare, which has in every credible study I’ve read proven to decrease abortions more than abstinence education.

They say they are for justice and the police. But the injustices perpetuated by our legal and police systems, which they not only fight so hard to protect but even instigate for political gain (Blue Lives Matter), is the main driver for increasing the hostile and dangerous divide that puts both our communities and police at increased risk.

They say they are anti-crime, yet they are fighting to turn our prison system into a private business that is incentivized by huge profits to continue economic injustices that increase crime, like attacking education, social programs, community investment programs, any effort for social justice reforms in our criminal and policing systems and increasing the ICE crack down on illegal immigrants who have to be stored at private prisons at huge profits.

They say they are for fighting the war on terror. Yet, instead of focusing on all forms of terrorism that threatens Americans, they only focused on foreign Islamic terrorism, ignoring domestic terrorism, which has actually killed more Americans than foreign Islamic terrorism since 9/11. They ignore domestic terrorism for several reasons such as it is not as effective of a fear mongering political tool compared to International terrorism, some of the domestic terror groups, like white Supremacists, are actually part of the Republican voting base, and because Bannon, our top presidential advisor, literally made several movies stating the need for a new world order to emerge after our next big war with Middle East Islamic Terrorism. Also Republicans are the main advocates for allowing people on terrorist watch list to be able to legally buy assault rifles.

They say they are for Christian values yet they are constantly fighting to cut funds and programs that help people who are poor, sick, disable, homeless or refugees. Either you have to admit that Jesus was a self-center jerk or admit that conservatives Christians aren’t following what Jesus taught.

They say they are for protecting American jobs against immigrants, yet they have opposed every jobs and economy stimulus bill for the last 8 years, are fighting to remove regulations that prevent economic recessions that destroy millions of jobs, oppose any “Bring Jobs Home Act” that remove tax breaks US companies get currently for shipping jobs overseas”, and are union busting, which makes it easier to ship jobs overseas. The “immigrants are taking your jobs” myth is a distraction against republicans support for outsourcing, decreasing labor rights and Wall St’s ability to get rich from economic disasters.

They say they are for protecting the constitution and government integrity. Yet one of the most important parts of the constitution is Article II of the U.S. Constitution which gives the president the power to nominate justices to the Supreme Court, subject to the “advice and consent” of the Senate through confirmation hearings.   When Justice Scalia died in February 2016 the Republicans refused to even hold a hearing on Obama’s nomination for 293 days until the nomination expired allowing Trump to pick the next seat, which when that nominee was filibustered the Republicans eliminated the filibuster, one of our most important checks and balances to our most important judicial system, allowing any party with a simple majority can now confirm with ease the most extreme and partisan judges onto our Supreme Court, a court at least “meant” to be neutral or at least moderate as possible, as it deliberates on the most important human rights cases of our country. The Republicans only care about the constitution or the integrity of our government when its in their favor.  When its not, they will disregard anything for partisan politics.

What the republicans truly are for is not issues but selling misinformation, playing on people’s fears, rigging the election system through voter suppression and gerrymandering, and dehumanizing and scapegoating the most vulnerable people in this country, because it not only keeps them in a job while being super profitable, but it also is a lot easier than running a political party that fights for issues that help people. I’m all for a multi party system that includes parties that I may personally disagree with like a fiscally responsible, common sense politics, Christian value and market base political party. The Republican Party is not any of those things.

 

For a complete list of actions the Republicans have done since Trump’s election please visit the Timeline of GOP Corruption and Human Rights Violations starting Nov 2016

 

DC #HandsOff Event, Monday Feb 13, 2017

On Monday this week, organizations and concerned citizens from all over the city were summoned in unison at the “Hands Off DC” event at the Atlas Performing Arts Center in Ward 6. All were gathered to counteract the potential policy that will negatively impact DC residents under the new Trump Administration. The goal of #HandsOffDC is to protect DC rights and values. The event was organized and sponsored by DC council member Charles Allen, who has worked to improve the safety and positive proliferation of Ward 6 for over a decade and was hosted by SwingLeft NorthEast DC, an organization built on progressive action for the NE area.

http://www.charlesallenward6.com/handsoffdc_meeting

https://www.facebook.com/SwingLeftNEDC/

The primary aims of the event were: connect residents and activists from different areas of city, to build capacity so that these residents feel empowered to advocate, and to organize around the clear theme of “HandsOffDC”. The breadth of policy issues and areas was far reaching from DC schools to Planned Parenthood to gun action and the importance of the DC vote. If you are new to the area, you may recognize license plates adorned with the “taxation without representation”, which exemplifies DC residents have long been fighting for DC rights, as the District of Columbia is classified as a state but never has had the same rights as all other 49 states, most notably, any voting representation in Congress.A rally began the night at the Spirit of Justice Park from 5:00-6:00 pm. This was followed by the organizing meeting with panel discussions on the below outlined topics. Two separate theaters held panel discussions, one moderated by Charles Allen and the other moderated by Rene Bryce –LaPorte, from the Center For Community Economic Development. In addition to the below topics, the Lang theater had panelists from the Neighbors United for DC Statehood, ACLU DC and the US Climate Action Network, highlighting the progress made with the DC Carbon Fee (http://chesapeakeclimate.org/dc-federal/a-dc-carbon-fee-for-clean-energy-and-a-fair-economy/). Participants had the option to choose between either theater for the panel discussions, join the CHAW (Capitol Hill Arts Workshop) Sign Making and PostCard Writing Workshop, or head to the overflow room which was also full.

Some of the progress in DC statehood rights is under threat and are outlined below, and speakers, panelists and experts were present to represent these important issues:

  • DC Schools:
    • How the ’95 Reform School Act of Congress (allowed the creation of the independent charter school board), increased charter school and private school voucher programs for DC which is the only state with this program. This has hindered the growth and quality of the DC public education system, and has significantly impacted those that are economically barred from private and charter school opportunities.
    • Congress will likely cut funding for federal education and push more money for these schools
  • Planned Parenthood:
    • Two new centers have opened in the DC area, 1 located in the ‘medical desert’ of Suitland, Maryland
    • Planned Parenthood has a variety of services for sexual and reproductive health and is the only place some people (namely low socioeconomic status populations and areas, e.g. Austin, Indiana) can access these services
    • Defunding Planned Parenthood has severe consequences for women and family in these communities
  • Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense:
    • This organization began post-Sandyhook gun shootings
    • The DC gun law that is sponsored by Mark Rubio will force DC to use the “shall issue”policy which: gives open carry to anyone who applies for it, ensures no background checks, allows concealed carry weapons in places like schools, churches and bars, and bars the mayor from enacting any future review of this policy
    • Strategies were outlined on how to contact DC champions and representatives to urge their disapproval of this law
  • DC Vote:
    • Three DC votes that are currently being overturned in Congress are: Death with Dignity Bill, DC funding used for abortion services and DC gun laws

The panel discussion also included speakers on protesting, rallies and a youth working group respresented by the following: Weprotest.com (a listserve), Resist And (an improve direct action group), youngwomen’sproject.org, as well as speakers on the different working groups. After the panel discussion or sign-making workshop, the action working group session followed with the following Working Groups represented:

  • Congressional Lobbying
  • Protests, Rallies, Youth
  • Phone Banking
  • CHAW Sign-Making and Post Card Writing
  • Visibility and Media
  • Written Advocacy

The working groups were “interesting and motivating” stated one attendee, “they really want individuals who came to the event to meet up regularly to keep the momentum going…” There was a lot of information to cover but only a half an hour to do so. The activism working group was structured in a way to really empower those involved to take action on their own and lead it in a way they see fit. Much of the interest and conversation was geared towards “occupying Rep. Chaffetz’s office among other actions.” We are hopeful that the momentum and motivation from the panel discussions and working groups at #HandsOffDC will carry into additional meetings and action-taking.