Why our schools must address racial injustice.

July 7, 2016



America/The National Catholic Review

‘Opportunities to understand and experience the feelings and worldviews of those who are different from us are becoming more elusive. This month’s shooting deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile have provided yet another set of painful reminders of how different our stories of America can be.’


‘Today’s university jeopardizes its ability to speak to today’s protestors when it departs from its mission of forming the person. Rising student debt and questionable employment outcomes have caused many families to approach college through a strictly economic lens. In addition there is increasing concern that the identification and cultivation of particular virtues represents a kind of moral paternalism. As a result more aspirational educational goals are pushed to the margins. The hollowing out of the university mission makes it difficult to engage meaningfully with today’s campus protesters. After all, they are not demanding better job training; they are demanding a more inclusive community. This is a deeply moral demand.’


‘History matters. As Americans, our short memories can be a strength, as we perpetually reinvent ourselves and shake off the past in pursuit of a brighter future. Among the many downsides, of course, is that we can be reluctant to connect present struggles to historical oppression. President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation more than 150 years ago, but that did not end racial oppression in our country. Jim Crow laws provided the framework for a society that was hard-wired for the subjugation and exclusion of blacks. Our criminal justice system has too often contributed to racial disparities through targeted policing, selective prosecution and inequitable sentencing. A post-white-flight lack of economic opportunity in our inner cities has created crushing cycles of poverty. Blacks were largely cut out of the legitimate home mortgage market until the late 1960s. The list goes on. The progress we have made cannot obscure the fact that today’s protesters speak from a centuries-long stream of marginalization.’


Journey for Bernie

Caravan departing Tuesday, July 19th

‘The main train of the Caravan will leave from Berkeley, California MLK Civic Center Park at 8:00 AM July 19th and arrive in Philadelphia the night of July 22nd to prepare for convention.

The Caravan will have three main stops along the way were we will have rallies, parades and small festival activities to celebrate our passion for Bernie. These main meeting locations will be; Salt Lake City, Utah on July 19-20th, Goodland, Kansas on July 20-21st, and St. Louis, Missouri July 21-22nd.

Once we arrive in Philadelphia the night of the 22nd of July we will set up camp in the FDR park just outside the Wells Fargo Convention Center and be committed to stay there until the very end of convention on the 28th of July.

So, please come join us on what will be a truly historic event. We can have the change we seek, but only if we stand together! You can either launch this caravan with us on July 19th in California or join anywhere along the way.’


What is this Journey?

‘Journey for Bernie is a Pilgrimage to awaken the full potential of humanity. Millions have come together across our nation to catalyze a new era where people and the planet are placed above corporate profit and selfish greed. Bernie has been there for us his entire 40+ career. The time is now for The People to come together to support this noble man. The People KNOW Bernie’s voter numbers far surpassed Hillary’s prior to and the day of voting in most states all across the nation but due to massive voter suppression, election fraud, and the UN-Democratic maneuverings of the DNC and the mainstream media’s black outs, the establishment has done everything they can in their attempt to steal the Democratic Nomination from Bernie. Regardless, The People know we are winning and are committed to remaining in Philadelphia until the Democratic Nomination is awarded to the one candidate who truly earned it, our man, Bernie Sanders! Join us as we begin our Cross Country Caravan from Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Park in Berkeley, California to converge in Philadelphia’s, Franklin Delano Roosevelt Park. Embodying the great spirits of MLK and FDR, The People are proving that we have the WILL to RISE TOGETHER!’

‘If you want peace, work for justice.’ Pope Paul VI


President Barak Obama reportedly shared today, in the aftermath of police officers in Louisiana and Minnesota, he is ‘deeply disturbed.’ Yes, we are all deeply disturbed. What now? What?

‘Campaigners say Alton Sterling and Philando Castile shootings follow line of cases in which black Americans are treated unfairly when armed – even in states where laws permit the concealed carrying of handguns.’


The Guardian

“No matter how well you follow the rules, you can still be dead because you’re black,” said Brittany Packnett, an activist and former member of Barack Obama’s White House policing taskforce. “Compliance has never guaranteed our safety.”


Jack Miller, a press aide to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign in New Jersey, said “second amendment purists” ought to speak out in support of African American gun owners. “A white man with a gun is ‘exercising his rights’, yet a black man just suspected of having a gun is a deadly threat,” said Miller.



‘In the aftermath of back-to-back police shootings that have left two black men dead in less than 48 hours, CNN’s New Day devoted a significant amount of its July 7 show to pointing out the “bizarre disconnect” of Congress focus on presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s emails rather than on fatal police shootings.’


On July 5, police fatally shot Alton Sterling, a black man, in Baton Rouge, LA, during an incident that was “partially captured on video.” The following day in Falcon Heights, MN, a police officer “opened fire” on Philando Castile, also a black man, during a routine traffic stop that “turned deadly.” Also on July 6, The New York Times reported on Congress’ decision to summon FBI Director James Comey to explain why he recommended “no criminal charges against Hillary Clinton” after a year-long investigation into her use of a private email server while she was secretary of state.

During the July 7 edition of their morning show New Day, CNN hosts Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota repeatedly underscored the apparent “disconnect” between Congress’ decision to continue pursuing an investigation of Clinton’s emails by interviewing FBI Director James Comey in a hearing while not focusing on the back-to-back police shootings. During the first hour, CNN legal analyst Laura Coates slammed Congress for a “tone-deafness” in prioritizing its inquiry into Clinton’s emails even after the shootings, adding “it shows an absolute insensitivity.”

The hosts also challenged members of Congress who made appearances on the show.

Cuomo asked Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) whether addressing the shootings would be “a better discussion to be having” than focusing on “the politics of email.” Camerota pressed Rep. Ben Ray Luján (D-NM) on the shootings, asking, “What can Congress do about this feeling in the black community?”

Cuomo later doubled down by asking Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) whether the shootings gave him “pause for concern regarding” Congress’ chosen focus:

The show’s decision to focus on the police shootings while challenging Congress for prioritizing a matter someconsider to be “totally overblown” is refreshing in an environment where media often portray victims of color as deserving of brutal treatment and some networks like Fox News practically ignore such tragedies by devoting scant coverage to them.


‘Should you find yourself in the position to be a citizen journalist, heed these tips from Bock and the ACLU’s Stanley:

Maintain your right to record. Police do not have the right to take your phone if you’re not committing a crime, and they need a warrant to search it. In Sharp v. Baltimore City Police Department, the court ruled that the public has the right to videotape or photograph public police activity in public places.

Capture as much information as you can. The video out of North Charleston was powerful because it was a wide shot, said Bock. “The person who was taping that was far enough away to not get involved, but close enough to see what happened.” Moreover, the video was released as one continuous shot, which makes the timing look more faithful. Context is critical to capturing as full a story as possible.

Be respectful. You legally may not interfere with police procedure, and you should not be argumentative or aggressive, said Bock. Instead, she recommends, a civilian monitor should maintain a distance and remind the officer of their rights: “I’m a member of the public, I’m in a public space, you’re doing public work, and I’m just documenting what’s going on.”

Be mindful of other laws. Just because you have the right to record doesn’t mean you have the right to trespass or damage property in the process.

If you are stopped, ask to leave. You cannot be detained without reasonable suspicion that you have committed, or are about to commit, a crime. If you ask to leave and are denied, this constitutes unlawful detention.

Remember that a video is not the be-all-end-all. Both Bandele and Stanley point to the story of Eric Garner, whose choking death while in police custody was recorded and viewed widely, as evidence that a video may be just one part of an overall justice process. In Garner’s case, the officer’s use of force was deemed justified, and he was not indicted. Video technology “is neither a silver bullet nor useless,” said Stanley. “Cameras aren’t going to solve every problem in our criminal justice system, but sometimes they can reveal those problems.”


‘No one can breathe in this atmosphere.’

Back in June, Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote at length, and in the starkest and most personal terms, about what it means to be policed in America when you are “black or brown.” In the final section of her dissent in Utah v. Strieff—a Fourth Amendment case that probed whether the existence of an outstanding arrest warrant could serve as retroactive justification for an otherwise illegal police stop—Sotomayor described how it feels to be stopped, searched, and frightened if you are not white. “For generations, black and brown parents have given their children ‘the talk,’ ” she wrote, “instructing them to never run down the street; always keep your hands where they can be seen; do not even think of talking back to a stranger—all out of fear of how an officer with a gun will react.”

With citations from W.E.B. Du Bois’s The Souls of Black Folk, James Baldwin’s The Fire Next Time, Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow, and Ta-Nehisi Coates’s Between the World and Me, Sotomayor warned her colleagues that seemingly trivial police encounters may prove to be life-and-death experiences for people of color and argued that the courts cannot continue to pretend every brush with a cop is benign. Her conclusion, a reminder to her colleagues of the risks of being stopped when black, seems even more apt today:

We must not pretend that the countless people who are routinely targeted by police are “isolated.” They are the canaries in the coal mine whose deaths, civil and literal, warn us that no one can breathe in this atmosphere. They are the ones who recognize that unlawful police stops corrode all our civil liberties and threaten all our lives. Until their voices matter too, our justice system will continue to be anything but.

Reporter Martin Kaste reported on Morning Edition, Thursday, July 7th, that a Justice Department investigation into civil rights violations is complex, and difficult to prove.
For local authorities to turn these cases over to federal investigators under ‘political cover’ do not investigate the murder or manslaughter aspect of cases, but wether or not officers ‘willfully violated’ the victim’s civil rights. And as a professor of the University of Alabama law school professor shared, Justice Department civil rights cases are ‘difficult to prove and take time.’ If rights are proven to have been violated, federal authorities may show system problems where a police department may need total reform which can years and cost millions of dollars.
“Victims of police shootings have no authorities to call, no higher-ups to summon.”
The Oregonian
‘Shootings bring into spotlight 2006 FBI report about white supremacists in law enforcement.’

‘There is no evidence that the officers involved in the St. Paul and Baton Rogue shootings have any ties to white supremacist groups or hold racist views. Official investigations will determine whether the shootings were justified or not. The frequency of such incidents, however, suggests at the least that commonplace cultural attitudes about class and race make police stops very dangerous for young black men. And the 2006 FBI report argues that sometimes there are even worse motives at play.

“Several key events preceded the report,” Jones wrote. “A federal court found that members of a Los Angeles sheriff’s department formed a neo-Nazi gang and habitually terrorized the black community. Later, the Chicago police department fired Jon Burge, a detective with reputed ties to the Ku Klux Klan, after discovering he tortured over 100 black male suspects. Thereafter, the mayor of Cleveland discovered that many of the city police locker rooms were infested with ‘White Power’ graffiti. Years later, a Texas sheriff department discovered that two of its deputies were recruited for the Klan.”‘


‘…for black Americans, as expertly showcased in the recent ESPN documentary about the OJ Simpson murder case, the reality of policing in the U.S. is very different. Last year, another African-American comedian, Chris Rock, posted to social media several photos of him being stopped by police. In one post, he wrote: “Stopped by the cops again — wish me luck.”

‘Something is horribly wrong.’

‘This is an epidemic.’

‘The dam is gonna break.’

#AltonSterling #PhilandoCastilo


‘The salvation of man is through love and in love.’

-Victor Frankl




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