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Letter to the Editor: I WILL Vote

By Mildred Henry

I read the headlines in total disbelief!

A professed leader in the Black Lives Matter  (BLM) movement reportedly said,  “I ain’t voting until Black Lives Matter“.  I cannot believe that any informed,  self-respecting African American will openly proclaim that he or she will not vote! This is a gross indignity because of the sacrifices and lives lost by our predecessors in order to gain the right to vote.  This misguided individual tramples on the graves of Sojourner Truth; Fannie Lou Hamer; the Mississippi Freedom Riders; Barbara Jordan, Dr. Martin Luther King, and the sacred graveyard list goes on and on.

Supporters of the “I ain’t voting” cognitive dissonance trample on the grave of my mother who was told she would lose her teaching job if she joined the NAACP and conducted a voter registration drive. She joined, became a lifetime NAACP member, and the family survived. 

We survived in spite of the racists who burned our family cotton gin (3 times) and general store to the ground.  Our family provided merchandise, and rides for neighbors to go to town, to register, to vote, to shop, and to conduct business. Comradery existed whereby you picked up and provided a ride to someone walking by the side of the road.   

 We survived in spite of the fact that schools for Black children were closed 3 and 4 months of the school year to work in the cotton fields. We survived  in spite of having to walk 10 miles to school while school buses for white children threw dust up in our faces.  We survived many adversities in order to be where we are today.  I WILL vote.  

Black people were castigated, tortured, lynched and suffered terrible deaths for just expressing the desire to vote.  It was through the power of the vote that we defeated segregationists George Wallace of Alabama, and Governors Lester Maddox and Orville Faubus of Arkansas.  If one of the reported leaders of the BLM is an attorney, as reported, he should be well aware of the court battles of Attorney and Chief Supreme Court Justice, Thurgood Marshall. As an Arkansan, I watched Attorney Thurgood Marshall and local attorneys like Attorney George Howard, engage in battle on behalf of the Little Rock Nine students’ effort to get an education at Central High School.  Mrs. Daisy Bates and the State Press Newspaper (distributed by my mother) espoused the power of the vote to change the segregationist structure in Arkansas. These students (and many others)  endured insults, life threats, personal danger, and loss of life to get a competitive education and learn that using the word “Ain’t” was not acceptable in the competitive corporate world.  We fought for a competitive education and the right to vote in order to right the wrongs.  I WILL vote!

Rhetoric is cheap. BLM threatens to give the presidency to Donald Trump. Why? I am amazed at how gullible some people are to the unfounded promises uttered by this individual. He promises jobs but he makes products abroad and sells them to consumers in America. How will providing jobs abroad “make America great”?  He can begin by bringing those jobs to America, and assure that ”Made in America” is on all of his products.  As a businessman, carefully scrutinize his business record and his tax return (which he refuses to release).

He speaks of diversity but uses the terminology “my African-American“ which to me equates to the slogan, “My Nigger,” so frequently used in my youth. 

Donald Trump uses negative slogans, personal insults, and exhibits totally unprofessional, crass behavior, unrepresentative of the values taught us as children.  How could any self-respecting African-American, knowledgeable of our ancestral history, threaten to vote for a self-aggrandizement individual who exhibits such unethical behavior?  We should not jump from the frying pan into the fire.  This is not a game of marbles between children. This is a serious world event which will impact the future of every human being on this earth, especially those of minority ethnic background.

I ask those who thought the Democratic inclusion of mothers of slain Black men was just “political theater”, what did the Republicans do to indicate the importance of this issue?  How did they show the seriousness of the Black Lives Matter movement?  News reports indicate “BLM Threatens to Hand Trump the Presidency”.   Why?  What has he done to earn it? This is not a TV show. This is survival.   I sincerely hope that self-grandiose individuals will not be successful in spewing their venom and preying on the sensibilities of the uninformed.

I WILL vote, and I urge every eligible voter to become adequately informed, VOTE, and Don’t Forget The Bridges That Brought Us Over!

Police Abuse Debate Is More Than A Black-White Issue

By Luis Vasquez-Ajmac, Urban News Service

While the national conversation on police and race seems like a black-and-white issue, many Latinos say they also feel mistreated by cops.

“I grew up in East L.A., in an economically depressed neighborhood,” said Long Beach Police Chief Robert Luna, the first Latino to lead the Los Angeles area’s second largest law-enforcement agency. “I did not have the most positive contact with the police or the people around me. I very much understand the concerns.”

Many Latinos report abusive experiences and negative opinions toward police, similar to those that numerous African-Americans have expressed nationwide, according to a survey by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. 

“Excessive police use was a huge issue for the Hispanic-American community,” said Jennifer Benz, AP-NORC’s deputy director. Beyond answering this study’s specific questions, some respondents volunteered that “they or someone in their family was harshly treated by the police at far higher levels than whites,” Benz said.

This is not just a white-and-black issue, according to Benz. “Across the country, roughly four in 10 Americans believe the reason for police violence is overall problems with race relations in our society,” she said. “Three-quarters of Americans think it would be more effective to have diverse police forces nationwide.”

AP-NORC polled 1,200 white, black and Latino Americans on these topics in July 2015.
Law enforcement “has a lot of work to do, to continue the dialogue and talk about the excessive use of force,” said LAPD Captain Tina Nieto, incoming president of the Hispanic American Police Command Officers Association.

The L.A. native echoes those who advocate closing racial disparities by recruiting and hiring more people of color. “It’s very important to make an attempt to have a police force that reflects the community that you are servicing,” Nieto said. “I believe when your police force reflects the community, there are better outcomes.” 
Bryan Stevenson, executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative, said that where officers reside affects these matters. “We need officers to live in the communities where they police,” he said. “When they live outside the cities that employ them and commute in from neighborhoods that have very different, less diverse demographics, problems are aggravated.”  

The Manhattan Institute’s Heather McDonald disagrees.

“This is an irrelevant consideration. It’s the classic Black Lives narrative that embraces the white cop/black victim line-up,” said the author of the new book, “The War on Cops.”

“The Justice Department came out with a report last year in Philadelphia. It found that black and Hispanic officers were far more likely than white officers to shoot an unarmed black suspect. I think the inquiry of an officer’s skin color is largely a side show,” she said.

Rene Galindo, a telecom network engineer for 2talk, grew up as a Mexican-American in South Central L.A. He said there are two systems of law: one for whites and another for people of color.

“You thought it was normal for cops to stop you for no reason, check your personal property under no suspicion at all,” Galindo said. “I’ve been held for no apparent reason, just for walking home from a friend’s place at night.”  Nieto, however, said police do not confront people willy-nilly. “I know we are not just stopping you because we want to stop you,” she said. “We are way too busy in the city of L.A. Citizens can always request a supervisor to the scene if you believe officers are doing something they are not supposed to do.” 

“Many people of color do not see cops as protectors, but we see the opposite,” said Dolores Huerta, co-founder of the United Farm Workers union, which represents thousands of Mexican-American agricultural laborers. “They harass, intimidate and brutalize people of color and kill.” 

White Americans have it different, some say.

“In most situations, white people are not presumed dangerous or guilty,” said the Equal Justice Initiative’s Stevenson. “Because most police officers are white, this means that white people face a different level of threat and risk when they encounter the police.” 

Despite racial gaps in perceptions of law enforcement, most Americans say they want more diverse police forces to ease ethnic tensions.

“It’s not surprising for those of us aware of how the Latino community across the country has been treated by police,” said Thomas A. Saenz, president of the Mexican-American Legal Defense and Educational Fund. “We need to recruit a more diverse police force.”

Leimert Park Village Book Fair Announces Its Lineup of Headliners, Crowd Pleasers and Fan Favorites for Its 10th Anniversary

LOS ANGELES, CA- Powerhouse and best-selling author/publisher Zane will headline the Leimert Park Village Book Fair (LPVBF)! Zane is a New York Times best-selling author of 32 titles, and considered one of, if not the most, powerful African-American female in the publishing industry. She is the publisher of Strebor Books International — an imprint of ATRIA Books/Simon and Schuster, and the third largest publishing corporation in America. Interestingly, until 2006, Zane, Toni Morrison and Terri McMillan were the only three African-American females to make the print list of the New York Times Best Seller List in this century.

“Voted One of LA’s Five Best Annual Book Festivals,” the LPVBF will be held on Saturday, August 20, 2016 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on the outdoor promenade of the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza (BHCP), located at 3650 W. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. in LA.  Thousands are expected to flock once again to this family-oriented festival held in the heart of Leimert Park, the epicenter of the Los Angeles area African American arts, intellectual and literary scene. The Leimert Park Village Book Fair’s tribute to the love of reading cleverly merges the worlds of literary, entertainment and the culinary arts, offering an eclectic mix of literature, art, music and food.

The Wait

The Wait

The book fair’s lineup includes headliners, crowd pleasers and fan favorites, offering an intellectually engaging day, promoting literacy. Along with Zane, who will be signing her latest tome, “Vengeance;” celebrity power couple Meagan Good and DeVon Franklin will share bits about their courtship and love affair from their best-selling novel, “The Wait.” White House correspondent and political commentator April Ryan, author of  “The Presidency in Black and White,” and economist and political analyst Dr. Julianne Malveaux  author of “Are We Better Off” will take time away from the Capitol to talk about the topic of “Are We Better Off?” AND Grammy Award-winning recording artist Bobby Brown will spill the dish in his new biography, “Every Little Step,” on his life and love, Whitney Houston.  

Bobbly Brown

Bobbly Brown

Crowd pleasers like media personalities Rolonda Watts and Flo Anthony will share excerpts from their new books, “Destiny Lingers” and “One Last Deadly Play,” respectively.  There will be an iconoclast conversation between pioneering director-turned-author Matty Rich (“Straight Out of Brooklyn and the “Inkwell) and legendary musician Charles Wright (writer of the hit song, “Express Yourself”). Rich will discuss “Bev,” a gripping novel that centers on the real-life story of a little-known figure in the Civil Rights movement – a white social worker by the name of Beverly Luther. Rich has also secured the movie rights to the book for a film adaptation.  And Wright will talk about his new book, “Up: From Where We’ve Come,” which highlights historical accounts of his past long before he gained status as a musical legend.

For readers who like thrillers and mysteries, they’ll love meeting fan favorites like Pamela Samuels Young, winner of the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Fiction for “Anybody’s Daughter” and Gary Phillips, author of “Cowboys” and “The Cocaine Chronicles.” Best-selling husband-and-wife writing duo  Tananarive Due and Steven Barnes will be signing their latest releases, including “Ghost Summer” and the “Seacape Tattoo.” An award-winning novelist and screenwriter who teaches creative writing at UCLA, Due also nabbed an NAACP Image Award literary nomination for the short story collection “Ghost Summer” this year.  Directing the main stage’s incredible line-up will be known inspirational speaker, award-winning executive life coach, and author of “Betrayal”, Barbara Perkins, joins us as the Mistress of Ceremony.

The culinary stage will also be heating up with reality star Miss Robbie of OWN’s “Welcome to Sweetie Pie’s” serving up something special – like her famous mac ‘n cheese — and signing her new cookbook. Titled “Sweetie Pie’s Cookbook: Soulful Southern Recipes, from My Family to Yours” the celebrity chef welcomes you into her kitchen to experience more than 150 tasty foods as she shows what it means to put heart and “foot” into a dish. And celebrity Chef Rome Brown – who has cooked for former Secretary of State General Colin Powell, NBA champion Shaquille O’Neal, and NFL player Cam Newton – will share his passion for cuisine and sign his new cookbook, “Eat Like a Celebrity: Southern Cuisine With a

ZANE

ZANE

Gourmet Twist.” Foodies may be familiar with Chef Brown from competing on season one of the Food Network’s reality show, “Extreme Chef.” And while Miss Robbie and Chef Rome will be serving up some serious soul food, Chefs Jaime Martin Del Campo and Ramiro Arvizu of Mexicano Restaurant at the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza will bring an authentic taste of Mexican fare to the book fair’s culinary stage. Affectionately known together as Jaime and Ramiro, the chefs are two of the biggest stars in the Mexican cooking world.  In 2008, the two nabbed a nomination for Best Chef from the James Beard Foundation, and continue to earn recognition for their exemplary Mexican cuisine. 

And for the sports lover, former NBA player A.C. Green  (LA Lakers) and journeyman NBA/CBA player Juanquin “Hawk” Hawkins (Houston Rockets), who is the author of “Stroke of Grace,” will grace the sports pavilion, and offer words of inspiration for both on an off the court.

The day will culminate with a closing keynote speech by motivational speaker, Ramsey Jay Jr., author of “Empower Dreamers to Become Achievers.” Jay is a Wall Street- trained, Ivy League-educated finance professional with more than a decade of global investment management experience.  Named by Ebony magazine as one of the top “30 Young Leaders Under 30,” he recently delivered opening remarks at the White House where President Obama and the First Lady hosted an event, honoring Ray Charles. His message and enriching inspiration has touched many lives, encouraging all people to live their best lives without fear and limitations. 

For more information about the LPVBF, including an electronic press kit with downloadable talent photos for promotional use, visit  www.leimertparkbookfair.com

For the extended lineup with blurbs about headliners, crowd pleasers and fan favorites, visit http://bit.ly/2ab0KNU  For more information about the LPVBF TURNING 10! visit  http://bit.ly/23kqbkr