The "Secure DC” Omnibus bill is the latest attempt by DC’s local government to impose law and order, while ignoring the root issues that lead to street-level crime and advancing the war against the Black working class. After passing unanimously by the DC Council's Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety, the new crime bill was voted on and unanimously passed on February 6, 2024, by the full council. Pan-African Community Action (PACA) contends that Black people in the U.S are a domestic colony, an internal colony that is enforced by a massive police presence meant to control and keep us exploited for our labor and other human resources.
Target Corp. pioneered the Community Prosecution Program in the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office (HCAO) more than two decades ago during the era of mass incarceration. As part of a broad anti-crime campaign that employed new advanced technology and reshaped the criminal justice system in Minneapolis, the program had particularly devastating effects on Black residents. In 2004, a public-private partnership consisting of Target, the Downtown Council, Hennepin County, and the City of Minneapolis launched a sweeping surveillance collaborative in downtown Minneapolis called the SafeZone, as illustrated throughout Unicorn Riot’s years-long investigative series.
This year represents the 98th anniversary of the launching of “Negro History Week” in 1926, later named Black History Month in 1976, after the federal government issued a proclamation in recognition of the contributions of African American people under the administration of President Gerald R. Ford. The commemoration was founded by Dr. Carter G. Woodson, a pioneering scholar and public intellectual who founded the Journal of Negro History in 1915 and the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History the following year, 1916. Woodson’s origins within the African American working class is a demonstration of the determination to seek formal education in the aftermath of the Civil War and Reconstruction in the South and other regions of the United States.
As the Israel-Hamas war enters its fourth month, a coalition of Black faith leaders is pressuring the Biden administration to push for a cease-fire — a campaign spurred in part by their parishioners, who are increasingly distressed by the suffering of Palestinians and critical of the president’s response to it. More than 1,000 Black pastors representing hundreds of thousands of congregants nationwide have issued the demand. In sit-down meetings with White House officials, and through open letters and advertisements, ministers have made a moral case for President Biden and his administration to press Israel to stop its offensive operations in Gaza, which have killed thousands of civilians.
Historically, Black people in this country have allowed themselves to feel trapped by the racialized political duopoly. A feature of U.S. politics is to allow only two parties to play a decisive role in elections and for one of them to be designated as the white people’s party and the other as the Black party. Beginning after the civil war and until the 1960s, the democrats were the party of the segregated south, and thus the party for white people generally. Republicans, the party of Abraham Lincoln, became the de facto preference for Black people despite their willingness to shove Black interests under the bus when they felt the need to placate white voters.
Cutting off water and electricity, bombing hospitals, and withholding food and medical aid all clearly fall within this definition. Not only has Israel publicly committed these acts, but its officials openly and publicly brag about having done so, and make South Africa’s case easy to prove. But if there is another point which is made obvious by this definition and that is that the United States has and is committing genocide domestically and internationally. Of course Black people played the biggest role in making this case beginning in 1951 when the Civil Rights Congress published the pamphlet, “We Charge Genocide ,” and documented the case against the U.S. government.
Let’s start at the top - with President Joe Biden. Using the lame excuse of memorializing the victims of the 2015 racist massacre at Mother Emanuel Church in which nine church members were murdered in cold blood by white supremacist Dylan Roof, who they had welcomed into their Bible Study, Biden’s true purpose for speaking at the church was to beg Black people to save his lagging campaign for re-election . But Biden didn’t even memorialize the victims of that massacre nearly a decade later by name, nor did he bother to speak at the church on the actual anniversary of the massacre, June 15.
Brown vs. Board of Education, the pivotal Supreme Court decision that made school segregation unconstitutional, turns 70 years old on May 17, 2024. At the time of the 1954 ruling, 17 U.S. states had laws permitting or requiring racially segregated schools. The Brown decision declared that segregation in public schools was “inherently unequal.” This was, in part, because the court argued that access to equitable, nonsegregated education played a critical role in creating informed citizens – a paramount concern for the political establishment amid the Cold War. With Brown, the justices overturned decades of legal precedent that kept Black Americans in separate and unequal schools.
When DeWayne Barton returned to Asheville, North Carolina’s Burton Street neighborhood in 2001, he found a community reeling from years of devastating blows. Like many historically Black neighborhoods across the country, the Burton Street community was the victim of highway expansions in the 1950s and 1960s that quite literally tore the neighborhood apart. That plus the effects of the crack cocaine epidemic of the ’80s and ’90s had turned Burton Street into a neighborhood in need of saving. “That urban renewal period, 1950 to 1970, is what really dropped the hammer and really crushed the neighborhood,” says Barton, who was born in Asheville but grew up in Washington, D.C.
Fifty years ago, the United States embarked on a path of mass incarceration that has led to a staggering increase in the prison population. Today, almost 2 million individuals—disproportionately Black Americans—are incarcerated in our nation’s prisons and jails. The prison population has grown 500% since 1973, the year America began to sharply increase its prison population. “The social, moral, and fiscal costs associated with the large-scale, decades-long investment in mass imprisonment,” The Sentencing Project notes, “cannot be justified by any evidence of its effectiveness. Misguided changes in sentencing law and policy—not crime—account for the majority of the increase in correctional supervision.”
It is a bad sign when the leader of the United States Senate sounds something like an actress with bizarre feelings of entitlement. Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer pulled off this dubious feat with his statements about U.S. policy towards Israel, what he perceives to be anti-semitism, and public opinion about Israel’s attack on Gaza. His remarks resembled those of actress Julianna Margulies, whose infamous rant differed only in its lack of politesse. Of course, a senator has better political sense and more awareness than an entertainer, but aside from the manner of delivery, their thought processes don’t differ very much.
When Hurricane Katrina touched down in New Orleans in late August 2005, nine-year-old Nia Burnett was too young to realize that her life would never be the same. Nia's family had chosen to stay in the city and wait out the storm. They all headed to a local hospital for safety. What they found were corpses lining the hallways. The whole building smelled like rotten flesh. Nia remembers later standing on the roof after the hospital started flooding, waiting to be rescued. Below her, she watched as all the neighborhoods she used to play in with her friends were swallowed up by the rising waters. Meanwhile, even more bodies floated around the hospital. It wasn't until 11 years after the storm that Nia was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Englewood Chicago — Deborah Payne’s neighborhood of 35 years on Chicago’s South Side no longer exists. Dirt piles tower where families once gathered for Sunday dinners in single- and multifamily homes. Concrete lots cover backyards where children watched fireworks and caught lightning bugs. Streets that maintained generations of Black Chicago razed and left empty for railway cars. Today, less than 10 blocks from Payne’s old neighborhood, sits the repercussions of diesel pollution caused by the expansion of a railyard. Over a decade ago, the city, along with railroad giant Norfolk Southern, announced a plan to buy out Payne’s 12-block community of more than 200 households to replace it with the freight yard.
In 2021 this columnist wrote, “The Palestine Litmus Test.” At that time Israel was carrying out one of its periodic attacks against Gaza, deliberately targeting civilians, and in doing so practicing war crimes. Now the zionist state is intent on completely destroying Gaza, killing as many people as possible and driving out the survivors so that the region can be open for settlement and for oil and gas extraction. The horrific scenes of carnage have evoked revulsion for millions of people in the United States and around the world. Huge protests have taken place nationally and internationally and the zionists find themselves on the public relations defensive but will not concede defeat.
Baltimore, Maryland - Shana Bainbridge, a white fifth grade teacher at the predominantly Black Glenmont Middle School in Baltimore, was unsure how she could meaningfully engage her students when her school’s administration challenged her to come up with a project to celebrate Black History Month. “Until we’re put to task to find out something new, we often don’t [learn] about our history,” Bainbridge said. “I thought that was really amazing how generations, not just my students, but the generations before them and the generations before them were able to share their stories and their impact on the world.”