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Editor’s Letter: Young People Protest Change across the Globe

Atlanta protests held Monday, August 18 in front of the CNN Center

Atlanta protests held Monday, August 18 in front of the CNN Center

By Naomi K. Bonman

L.A. Protest Photo Credit:  Joe Satran (The Huffington Post)

L.A. Protest Photo Credit: Joe Satran (The Huffington Post)

Throughout the previous years we have heard about history repeating itself, and 50 years later after the Civil Rights Movement to this present day, we see are seeing what we dreaded would happen. History has been repeating itself for the past few years now, but on Saturday, August 10, after 18-year-old Michael Brown was gunned down in Ferguson, MO, outside of St. Louis, the issue of police brutality among African-Americans have sparked up the Nation causing multiple protests across the Country among both the young, seasoned and celebrity crowd.

In the immediate days after Brown was murdered the world seen yet another brutal shooting by the Los Angeles Police Department on Sunday, August 11, when 25-year-old Ezell Ford was shot and skilled by two officers while walking down the street near his home. According to the Huffington Post, by 2:30 p.m. several protesters had gathered in front of the LAPD headquarters. Protesters varied in age, race, ethnicity and creed. Some even came as far as San Bernardino, such as Sandra Nunez, who was there with her young daughter.

“I not only fear gang members killing my son, I fear the police killing my son. I feel helpless because I don’t know who will protect him from them”, she stated.

Another local L.A. resident, David Bryant, who is a former member of the Nation of Islam, stated that he has been arrested while protesting in exactly the same place in 1992, after the trial for officers who has beaten Rodney King.

“That was over 20 years ago, and here we go again. It’s déjà vu, but what else can you except when you have prostitutes and cowards as politicians”, he said.

Let us rewind back to July 17 in New York, before Brown was killed. Eric Garner, 43, who was an asthmatic father of six, was confronted by NYPD officers for allegedly selling untaxed cigarettes. When he resisted being cuffed, an officer appeared to put him in a chokehold, a tactic banned by the department since 1993.Garner was unable to breathe and unfortunately succumbed. The

Actress, singer, and business owner Tiffany Evans, joined protests for change in Atlanta

Actress, singer, and business owner Tiffany Evans, joined protests for change in Atlanta

city medical examiner later ruled Garner’s death a homicide, stating that neck compression from the chokehold killed him; however, officers involved in the arrest may not face charges if the homicide is found to be justifiable. Staten Island district attorney Daniel Donovan is investing the case.

Then on August 5 in Beavercreek, Ohio, two police officers responded to a 911 call about a man waving a gun at customers inside a Walmart store. According to the Beavercreek police department, John Crawford, 22, disregarded officers’ orders to disarm before being fatally shot in the chest. It later was reported that Crawford’s gun was a .177 calibre BB rifle that he had picked up from the store shelf.

On August 12, Dante Parker. 36, of Victorville, California who was a pressman at the Daily Press was tased by police after a Victorville resident told police a robbery suspect had fled on a bicycle. The police detained Parker, who by the way had no criminal background (other than a DUI), after a scuffle ensued which led to him being tased. He later died at a local hospital. The police assumed he was the suspect because he was found on a bicycle.

Who knows how long these protests will go on before justice is served and change is done. In the midst of these occurrences I read a statement from a young lady on Facebook, I do not remember her name, but she stated that “People react certain ways to prior fears”. She used an analogy of her being beat by a blue belt and as she gets older she still fears that blue belt every time she sees it because she

Atlanta protest. August 18, 2014

Atlanta protest. August 18, 2014

connects it to that incident of when she was beaten by it. So, the same goes for the police. Some may have a fear that could have been passed by to them by their ancestors, so instead of talking things out to come to a solution they automatically assume and react. Other law enforcement who do not have this fear, could just be a “dirty cop” instilled with evil and hate.

Hopefully at the end when all is said and done, we not only get the change that we need, but that Blacks start coming together as a people, as a force, because that is the only way we will get the deserved change that Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm XRosa Parks, and a countless number of others fought for 50 years ago. Right now they would all be turning in their graves to see how we have separated as a people and how our race has fallen. We don’t support each other in our business efforts as we should, we do not own hardly any big corporations, and the list goes on.

While you are out there protesting, keep in mind that as African-Americans/Blacks we need to continue to come together in unity. I would love to see a multitude of Black owned businesses emerging within the next years to come, and I would like to see us keep those businesses in our communities and for them not to be sold off to “white companies and investors”.

The Black community has the highest buying power, so if we take that power and put it back into our own communities, just imagine how much we would thrive as a community and what the future would like for our youth that will soon be taking over. Let’s be an example and stand up for what’s ours. Let’s take back our communities in a positive way.

I would love to hear your feedback, please tweet me at @NaomiKBonman on Twitter, or email me atnaomibonman@gmail.com.

Police Maintain Black Killing Tradition!

Publisher’s Commentary by Wallace J. Allen

Another Black man killed by police. At the time of this writing, the dead Black man I am talking about has possibly or probably been joined by another. At first thought I felt that I should honor the dead by naming them; however, my long-term thought is that by naming them I am trivializing the overriding long-term issue that Black men are a police target in America regardless of their name rank or serial number.  The only group that kills more Black men than police is, of course, Black men.

The obvious question is, why Black people get mad enough to riot in the streets when police kill a Black man, yet, though angered by Black-on-Black killing, there is not the display of anger and frustration that occurs with a police shooting.

For those who really are possessed by that question, let me give you the obvious answer.  Police shootings reflect the final attitude of a society that displays its fear and distain for Black males at first social sight. From Pre-school, Black males are disproportionately identified as troublemakers and treated that way regardless of name, rank and serial number. That is documented in the number of school detentions and discipline referrals handed to Black boys. The disproportionate unemployment and incarceration rates for Black males reflect the penalty for the Black male that refuses to “play ball” in the “change the rules anytime” game that marginal Black Males are restricted to.

We Blacks know that many of our young gangsters are a result of customs and laws that push Black families apart. Laws that remove the parental power of discipline that ultimately marginalize and compromise the value of young black lives. So, we understand and are thoroughly pained by Black on Black crime, and in general attribute it to self-hate generated by America’s long-term love-affair with racism. Thus, the shootings done by the police are the “final straw” acts that activate the “time to raise hell button” in Black Communities.

I, like many of you, look forward to when we who promote good over evil are able to provide enough protection and access to resources, opportunity and guidance for our children to truly empower them to excellence despite racism.

 

Misee Harris Calls Out “OUR GENERATION” Dolls and TARGET for Racism

Misee Harris (left) calls out OUR GENERATION Dolls and TARGET for racism and discrimination

Misee Harris (left) calls out OUR GENERATION Dolls and TARGET for racism and discrimination

Media personality, Misee Harris, is calling out OUR GENERATION Doll Maker on the representation of their sole African American doll, Abrianna, and TARGET for selling the brand in its stores.

“A doll company that prides itself on representing who we are as a community and a generation has gotten it wrong’” insists Misee Harris.

OUR GENERATION Dolls offers four categories: The “Regular Doll” is simply a doll with no added accessories; the “Deluxe Doll” which comes with clothing, grooming and activity-related accessories; the “Retro Doll;” and the “Hair Play Doll” with its long, straight locks. At TARGET, which has a whole aisle dedicated to the company, The Deluxe Doll retails for $31.99 and includes a full suite of accessories. The Regular Doll retails for $29.99, and her accessories must be purchased separately. “Abrianna,” the company’s only African American doll, is sold in select TARGET stores and comes with no accessories.

“For $2.00, there is a huge difference with what you receive,” points out Harris.

There is no option in the OUR GENERATION Doll Collection for a Deluxe African American doll that includes accessories and retails for $31.99.

“After searching several TARGET stores for an African American Deluxe OUR GENERATION Doll to showcase and giveaway on my YouTube Channel,” states Harris, “I finally found “Abrianna” at a TARGET in a neighborhood with a large African American population. In order to buy all of the extras for Abrianna, which come included with each Caucasian Deluxe Doll, I had to spend an additional $60.00.”

Misee Harris has created a YouTube channel at YouTube.com/MiseeHarris, where she gives away her favorite beauty, style and collectible items to her subscribers, which her and her team curate. On her most current video, Misee used her platform to bring awareness to this issue regarding the OUR GENERATION Dolls, stating, “We are a generation of all ethnicities. As an African American woman who is a doctor, business owner, professor and outspoken advocate for the positive and accurate depiction of African American women, I can assure OUR GENERATION Dolls and TARGET that this is not a good representation of minorities.”

If OUR GENERATION is really just that, our generation, shouldn’t it reflect that? “We are a country made up of little girls and women who are Caucasian, Asian, African American, Indian, Latino and Multiracial backgrounds. That is our generation,” states Misee.

“I challenge OUR GENERATION Dolls to re-think their product and how they are represented on retail shelves, and I challenge TARGET to exhibit greater social responsibility and sensitivity with the products it carries in its stores,” concludes Misee Harris.

About Misee Harris

A pediatric dentist and professor of dentistry at Meharry School of Pediatric Dentistry by trade, Misee made waves in the media throughout the past year with her public campaign to become television’s first black Bachelorette. Appearing on HLN’s Showbiz TonightThe Hallmark Channel’s Home & FamilyMSNBC’s TheGrio.com and HuffPost Liveamong other outlets, Misee has stated her case for the equality and positive depiction of African American women in the media. Misee’s platform has been dissected and written about in The New York Times and on countless blogs, including SheKnows.com. Misee is also a regular contributor to The Huffington Post.