Because most of what passes as Black thought nowadays has been criminally captured by white capital (philanthropic foundations, corporate advertising, government funding, academia, business roundtables etc.) it was inevitable that the recent union victory against Amazon would fail to trend in the same spellbounding way as recent stories have in the Blacksphere. As a consequence, a feeble smack from one rich negro onto another and a token "First Black " woman judge appointed to a supreme court that regularly rules against (Black) labor is naturally lifted above the story of the first union to form against the insidiously hostile employer, Amazon, that was led by a working class Black man, Chris Smalls .
The Minneapolis teachers’ strike kicked off this week with a huge turnout. Over 4,000 teachers and Educational Support Professionals (ESPs) are on strike for the first time in 50 years. The teachers are demanding smaller class sizes, increased wages (especially for ESPs who are mostly people of color), increased mental health support for students, and retention of educators of color. Students, parents, and community members have joined these educators in this strike. The Teachers’ Demands Are Anti-Racist With the George Floyd uprising, Minneapolis saw the rebirth of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement. The police violently repressed community members and people burned down the 3rd precinct. A few months later, on November 4, 2020, over 600 community members and BLM activists were arrested during a protest on the 1-94 freeway, the largest mass arrest in Minnesota’s history.
Tamir Rice was one of several names that made international headlines in 2014. He was a 12-year-old Black boy murdered by Cleveland police within seconds of their arrival at Cudell Recreation Center. His mother, Samaria Rice, has since worked long, hard, and tirelessly to get some inkling of justice for her son. As a part of that work, she has been challenging the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) on its 2020 decision to close the civil rights investigation into the murder of Tamir Rice by former Cleveland Police Department Officer, Timothy Loehmann. Here, Samaria Rice, Da'Shaun Harrison, and Joy James offer three separate responses to the DOJ's refusal to convene a grand jury for the prosecution of Timothy Loehmann.
Historically Black Colleges and Universities, most of which are concentrated in the South, hold contrasting legacies as both safe havens for Black students and frequent targets of violence. Last week, Scalawag hosted a live Twitter conversation with journalists who are both current and former students of HBCUs to discuss the broader contexts they have experienced and written about around student safety. This is a conversation with renewed urgency: As panelist Adam Harris, a staff writer at The Atlantic and the author of The State Must Provide, pointed out, there hasn't been a week in February this year without a bomb threat at an HBCU. The latest string of threats began in January at some schools, with at least 14 HBCUs reporting bomb threats on the first day of Black History Month. Two weeks ago, the FBI identified as many as six suspects—all juveniles—but no one has yet been publicly charged in connection with the threats, and no explosives found.
On Tuesday, a 12-person jury found the three white men that chased down and murdered Ahmaud Arbery two years ago guilty of all charges in their federal hate crimes trial. With its guilty verdict, the jury agreed with the US Justice Department that the men pursued the 25-year-old African American Arbery through the streets of their neighborhood just outside Brunswick, Georgia, and shot him because he was black. Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, told reporters outside the courthouse, “Ahmaud will continue to rest in peace. But he will now begin to rest in power.” She also said, “We as a family will never get victory because Ahmaud is gone forever.” Marcus Arbery Sr., Ahmaud’s father, said his son used to call every day, even if it was just to tell his family that he loved them.
For President's Day week, Clearing the FOG brings back this 2020 interview with Margaret Kimberley of Black Agenda Report. She is the author of "Prejudential: Black America and the Presidents" that chronicles how every president, even the 'good ones,' has upheld the white supremacy upon which the United States was founded and how social movements have been the only effective tool to bring about meaningful social change. Kimberley also urges Black America to break with the Democrats in order to build political power. In addition to current news and analysis, this program contains a segment by Paul Tulloch of Ottawa who describes what the trucker convoy is about and who is behind it.
Jacksonville, FL - Throughout the months of January and February, there were over 20 bomb threats directed towards historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and Black churches, most of which were in the South. These concentrated actions over the last few months are a microcosm of the extensive history of racism and national oppression that Black people have faced within the United States, particularly its southern region. In general, all Black communities within the United States face systemic racism. The evidence is in the economically depressed ghettos of every city (big and small), riddled with deprived schools and social organizations, and lacking any significant political power. But racism alone cannot explain the particular violence that Black people face within the United States.
More than 3,000 high school students from across the Twin Cities metro area in Minnesota walked out of class February 8 to march to the governor’s mansion and demand justice following the death of Amir Locke. Locke, a 22-year-old Black man, was shot and killed February 2 by a Minneapolis Police Department SWAT officer during a no-knock apartment raid. Locke was neither named in the no-knock warrant nor a resident of the apartment. In an area beset by the police killings of Black residents — including 46-year-old George Floyd in May 2020 — Locke’s death sparked marches and car caravans across the Twin Cities. Twin Cities high school students organized quickly through social media to demand the demilitarization of the Minneapolis Police Department, the resignation of those culpable in the killing of Amir Locke, and a ban on no-knock warrants.
The term “black on black crime” is a particularly pernicious trope. It is a ruse used to absolve the systemic racism which kills Black people in a plethora of ways. It invalidates Black people’s suffering and gives license to law enforcement and its many acts of brutality. Ironically, it also describes what is happening among a group of Black officials in New York City. The new mayor and his police commissioner committed a brazen political mugging of the Manhattan District Attorney. New York City mayor Eric Adams personifies the political imperative to perpetuate an unjust system. Adams was a police officer himself before he went into politics. He has promised to give the police everything they want, including those things that Black people do not want.
Nikole Hannah-Jones, a New York Times journalist and Howard University journalism professor, is the architect of the revised and expanded book version of “A New Origin Story: The 1619 Project, published in late 2021. Hannah-Jones often discusses the influence of 19th and early 20th century journalist, women’s rights organizer, anti-lynching campaigner and public speaker, Ida B. Wells-Barnett (1862-1931), on her initial interests and pursuit of a career as a writer focused on themes related to racial justice in the United States. Many of the issues which Wells-Barnett was engaged in during her lifetime remain as key elements of the repressive apparatus of state power. Therefore, two chapters in the latest iteration of the 1619 Project examines the questions of self-defense and punishment as they relate to the continuing plight of African Americans living under national oppression and institutional racism in the 21st century.
Minneapolis, MN - Around 5000 people marched in protest here February 5, to demand justice for Amir Locke, a 22-year-old Black man murdered by police on February 2. Police were carrying out a no-knock search warrant on the apartment where Locke was sleeping and shot him three times, nine seconds after they snuck open the door. Protesters demand jail, prosecution and murder charges for the officer who shot Amir and those who planned the raid; an end to no-knock warrants; and the resignation of the Minneapolis Police Chief Huffington and Mayor Frey. There have been multiple protests since the murder of Amir Locke, including a 100-plus vehicle car caravan through downtown, organized by CAIR-MN the night before Saturday’s protest.
Reconstruction has much to teach us about why our society looks the way it does today — and how it might be positively transformed. However, in the first-ever comprehensive review of state standards on Reconstruction, the Zinn Education Project found that most states do a dreadful job defining the era or outlining for educators its crucial themes. Standards mostly erase the role of Black people striving to execute their vision of freedom, instead favoring a top-down emphasis on government and the role of white people. Black people are included in state standards, but more often as objects than subjects. Even more troubling, many of the standards echo the racist and discredited “Dunning School,” which saw Reconstruction as an era of Black misrule, orchestrated by “scalawags” and “carpetbaggers.”
This week, Justice Stephen Breyer announced that he is retiring from the Supreme Court and President Biden promptly reiterated his promise to fill the seat—for the first time ever—with a Black woman. Breyer, who has served 27 years on the Court, is one of the three remaining “liberal” justices. In that sense, this resignation isn’t a major earthquake: the makeup of the court will remain the same. Still, the announcement comes at an opportune time for the Biden administration. A few months ago, Breyer himself said he was not ready to retire. The timing of his recent announcement to retire before the Court’s session ends in June and ahead of the November midterm elections indicates that he is concerned about the future political makeup of the court.
Gunn leads a congregation at Clearwater Missionary Baptist Church in Ocklawaha. A retired teacher, he served as president of the Florida chapter of the Black Farmers and Agriculturalists Association (BFAA) from 2009, when he co-founded the organization, until 2018. And this 61-year-old has been the face of growers grappling with the Sunshine State for its first and only license to cultivate and sell medical marijuana. Until recently the $1 billion Florida market has been in the clutches of a half-dozen companies, essentially an oligopoly. But Gunn’s father was part of the billion-dollar settlements in Pigford v. Glickman and In re Black Farmers Discrimination Litigation (the so-called Pigford II), the landmark class-action suits against the U.S. Department of Agriculture in which it was established that systemic harm had been done to Black growers through federal loan discrimination.