Anniversary Of Ruby Bridges’ Historic First Day Of School


By Kelly Faircloth for Pictorial – On this day in 1960, six-year-old Ruby Bridges was escorted into William Frantz Elementary School by a team of U.S. Deputy Marshals, desegregating the public school system of New Orleans. The landmark Supreme Court decision Brown v. Board of Education was handed down in 1954, but of course school systems across the Jim Crow South delayed as long as possible. The Little Rock Nine started at Little Rock Central High School in 1957, and in 1960 the federal courts informed New Orleans they had to start the process. And so Ruby started her first-grade year at the previously all-white school. Three other African American girls started at nearby McDonogh No. 19, as well. “Driving up I could see the crowd, but living in New Orleans, I actually thought it was Mardi Gras,” Bridges remembered in a 1997 interview with PBS NewsHour. “There was a large crowd of people outside of the school. They were throwing things and shouting, and that sort of goes on in New Orleans at Mardi Gras.” “I really didn’t realize until I got into the school that something else was going on. Angry parents at that point rushed in and took their kids out of school,” she added. All year she was taught in a classroom by herself.

DA Drops Charges Against 3 In Confederate Monument Case


By Virginia Bridges and Joe Johnson for The Herald Sun. Durham County District Attorney Roger Echols said Thursday he has dropped charges against some of the dozen people charged with toppling a Confederate monument in downtown Durham in August. Echols said he signed the dismissals against three of the 12 people charged in the Aug. 14 toppling. “There was no actual visual evidence or any type of evidence that they would have participated in the physical toppling or pulling down of the property,” Echols said.

Eric Garner Videographer: Ramsey Orta Can’t Breathe


By Josmar Trujillo for FAIR – The only one punished since Eric Garner’s killing is the citizen-journalist who recorded it. When we went to a New York state prison to visit Ramsey Orta, the young man who filmed a police officer choking Eric Garner to death on a Staten Island sidewalk in 2014, we didn’t even make it past the metal detectors. Last year, members of El Grito de Sunset Park, an NYC-based group that organizes patrols to film cops on the street, as Ramsey did, drove with me a few hours north to Fishkill prison, where Ramsey was being held. We called ahead to confirm visiting hours and protocols, and we brought clothes and books that had been donated to him by supporters and friends back in the city. When we arrived at Fishkill, we put our belongings into a locker and went up to the main visitors desk to check in, where a prison official told us Ramsey wouldn’t be allowed to see any visitors at all. Why? They wouldn’t tell us. We weren’t even allowed to leave the clothes and books behind for Ramsey. Frustrated and tired, we had no choice but to drive back down to the city.

NYC Activists Protest Chinatown Gallery Exhibit For Being ‘Racism Disguised As Art’


By Skanda Kadirgamar for Waging Nonviolence – Artist Omer Fast’s crass, stereotypical mock up of a business in pre-gentrified Chinatown has finally left New York City. His transformation of the James Cohan gallery into a dingy, fake storefront with a waiting area that proudly displayed a broken ATM sign, drew fire from the community. Its emphasis on depicting faux squalor was received as poverty porn. Both artist and venue were charged with mocking immigrants being driven from the neighborhood. On October 28, protesters from the Chinatown Art Brigade, Decolonize This Place, Bushwick’s Mi Casa No Es Su Casa, and the Boyle Heights Alliance Against Artwashing and Displacement hoisted a banner, which read “Racism disguised as art,” across the faded awning Fast had installed. Faced with protesters banging drums and chanting “Chinatown, not for sale,” the Israeli-American artist received quite the send off. This symbolic intervention featured a conference with local Chinese language press and a bilingual speak-out about the pivotal role galleries and the art world play in gentrification. This was key, as residents and neighborhood advocates needed space to loudly decry the ongoing displacement and demand a municipal model that would protect the neighborhood. Activists say these issues are simultaneously connected to and bigger than the individual prejudices of Omer Fast and individuals like him.

Charo Mina-Rojas Speaks At UN On Women, Peace & Security


By Working Group on Women, Peace and Security. New York, NY – This statement was made by Ms. Charo Mina-Rojas, a member of the human rights team of the Black Communities’ Process, the Afro-Colombian Solidarity Network, the Black Alliance for Peace, and the Special High Level Body for Ethnic Peoples, on behalf of the NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security at the United Nations Security Council Open Debate on “Women and peace and security.” The statement highlights the participation of ethnically diverse women in peace negotiations; ensuring the security of human rights defenders, civil society activists and Indigenous and Afro-descendant communities; and inclusive monitoring and implementation of peace processes.

Stop Peddling Black-On-Black Crime Myth. DOJ Stats Prove It’s Not A Thing

Attorney General Jeff Sessions arrives to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday. Carolyn Kaster/AP

By Aaron Morrison for Mic – That’s been a common refrain of conservative, pro-police activists who believe black social justice movements are too occupied with officer-involved shootings. Some conservatives have argued that Black Lives Matter supporters are willfully ignoring an epidemic of same-race victimizations and killings in places like Chicago and New Orleans. But those conservatives can stop peddling black-on-black crime rhetoric — even the Justice Department, led by “law and order” proponent Attorney General Jeff Sessions, has debunked it. On Thursday, the DOJ’s Bureau of Justice Statistics released a new crime victimization report revealing that black-on-black violence has declined steadily over more than 20 years. Between 1994 and 2015, black-on-black violence dropped by 78%, from 66.6 to 14.5 victimizations per 1,000 black persons, according to the BJS’ report, “Race and Hispanic Origin of Victims and Offenders, 2012-15.” The decline happened at a similar rate of decline in white-on-white crimes, the report states. It’s long been true that the majority of violence victims are victimized by someone of the same race. But 41% of violent victimizations were interracial between 2012 and 2015, according to the BJS.

Lessons From Tennessee: Confront Hate And Win


By Zach D. Roberts for Nation of Change – Outnumbered by more than three to one and late for their own event, the White Lives Matter demonstrators left. If we should learn anything from this weekend in Shelbyville and Murfreesboro it’s confronting hate works. Saturday in Shelbyville, anti-fascists confronted the planned “White Lives Matter” rally with larger numbers and a peaceful, if not mocking tone. Hundreds of counterprotesters outnumbered at least 3 to 1 the mixed bag of white supremacists, Nazi’s and League of the South members. Clearly learning from the mistakes of Charlottesville, Shelbyville Police made certain to keep the two opposing sides far away from each other. Four lanes of road, a divider, metal gates and a line of riot-prepared police prevented the two sides from meeting. The security didn’t stop there though – the laundry list of items that were not allowed into the ‘free speech zones’ was long and included water bottles, backpacks.

Neo-Nazi Coalition Rallies In Tennessee Amid Pushback

White nationalists attend a rally in Shelbyville, Tennessee {Scott Olson/Getty Images/AFP]

By Patrick Strickland for Aljazeera – Predicting a “strong turnout” in advance of Saturday’s rallies, Schoep told Al Jazeera that the events marked the far right’s “first major street action” since a deadly rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, just over two months ago. On August 12, hundreds of neo-Nazis and white supremacists travelled from across the country to Charlottesville to protest the city’s decision to tear down a Confederate monument. Participants clashed with community members, anti-racist activists and anti-fascists throughout the city. By the end of the day, James Alex Fields, a 20-year-old Ohio resident, had allegedly rammed his car into an anti-racist march and killed 32-year-old activist Heather Heyer. The incident also left at least 19 people injured. “The media is claiming we started or brought violence to Charlottesville and anyone, with even half of a brain who was actually there knows the truth the Antifa violently attacked anyone who was deemed pro-white or pro-American even,” Schoep, who refers to himself as the NSM’s commander, said by email. He went on to allege that anti-fascists “viciously attacked us with mace, bricks, bottles, bats, chemicals, and countless urine-filled balloons and bottles” in Charlottesville.

Newsletter - Racism, Propaganda And Wars

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By Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese. This week, the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, which promoted giving Palestine to the Jewish people, will be celebrated in London. Around the world, there will be protests against it calling for Britain to apologize for the damage it inflicted. Students from the West Bank and Gaza will send letters to the British government describing the negative impacts that the Balfour Declaration, and the Nakba in 1948, continue to have on their lives today. As Dan Freeman-Maloy describes, the Balfour Declaration is also relevant today because of the propaganda co-existing with it that justified white supremacy, racism and empire. British imperialists believed that democracy only applied to “civilized and conquering peoples,” and that “Africans, Asians, Indigenous peoples the world over – all were … ‘subject races,’ unfit for self-government.”

‘White Lives Matter’ Rally Canceled After Resistance In Tennessee

White Lives Matter protesters in Tennessee. By Bryan Woolston for Reuters

By Christopher Mathias for Huff Post. White supremacists, neo-Nazis and fascists descended on a Middle Tennessee town Saturday for a “White Lives Matter” rally, striking fear into communities desperate to avoid the kind of violence that visited Charlottesville, Virginia, nearly three months ago. But it was met with a heavy police presence and resistance from counterprotesters. A second rally planned for the afternoon in the larger college town of Murfreesboro was abruptly canceled by organizers. Saturday’s White Lives Matter rally felt like an extension of all that hate, said Dr. Saleh M. Sbenaty, a professor at Middle Tennessee State University who is a member of the mosque. “It’s that you are living like a hostage in your own town and city that you’ve lived in and loved so many years,” he said of the rally. “This is not the U.S. we know of, and I hope this is not the way from now on. It’s unbelievable.”

When Race Tips The Scales In Plea Bargaining

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By Jenn Rolnick Borchetta And Alice Fontier for The Marshall Project – TWO OFFICERS ESCORTED a young black man into the courtroom, bringing him in handcuffs from a holding cell in the back called “the pen.” They placed him beside his public defender and stepped away. So far, things were routine. The prosecutor had offered the man a plea deal of probation and he indicated that he would accept. In a scene that plays out dozens of times a day in the Bronx criminal court, the judge ran through a constitutionally required script. She explained what it means to accept a prosecutor’s plea offer: that he was giving up his right to a trial; he was admitting guilt; he could not change his mind. The judge asked, as she must: “Is anyone forcing you to accept this plea today?” At this point, most people quietly say “no.” But the man responded “yes,” he was being forced to accept the plea. Refusing to accept meant facing the strong arm of prosecution and potentially going to prison for years. He protested that he had no real choice.Three court officers surrounded him. The judge repeated the question: “Is anyone forcing you to accept this plea today?” This time, flanked by officers, he said no. A few minutes later, he walked out a free man, but he now had a criminal conviction and the oversight and constraints that come with probation.

Oklahoma City Changes Street Name Removes KKK Leader


By Nick Hazelrigg for Oudaily – In a meeting filled with emotional appeals from members of the Norman community, the Norman City Council voted unanimously to rename DeBarr Avenue by June 1, 2018. Spurred by local activists at its Oct. 24 meeting, the council agreed to amend its original resolution regarding DeBarr Avenue, named for former OU professor and Ku Klux Klan chaplain Edwin DeBarr, to better meet the requests of the community. Norman Citizens for Racial Justice, a new activist group, led the night’s push on city council as part of its “DeBarr Avenue Action Week.” The council’s original resolution proposed sending the issue of renaming city streets to the City Council Oversight Committee, a solution that caused many demonstrators to accuse the council of dragging its feet and being complicit in racism. After hearing hours of public commentary, the city council unanimously passed an amendment added by council member Breea Clark promising to change the street name by June 1 of 2018, if not earlier. The council also voted to remove two sections from its original resolution which said the city council did not originally name DeBarr Avenue, since many demonstrators said they saw this section as the city’s attempt to avoid blame.

Our Ever-Deadlier Police State

Mr. Fish

By Chris Hedges for Truth Dig – None of the reforms, increased training, diversity programs, community outreach and gimmicks such as body cameras have blunted America’s deadly police assault, especially against poor people of color. Police forces in the United States—which, according to The Washington Post, have fatally shot 782 people this year—are unaccountable, militarized monstrosities that spread fear and terror in poor communities. By comparison, police in England and Wales killed 62 people in the 27 years between the start of 1990 and the end of 2016. Police officers have become rogue predators in impoverished communities. Under U.S. forfeiture laws, police indiscriminately seize money, real estate, automobiles and other assets. In many cities, traffic, parking and other fines are little more than legalized extortion that funds local government and turns jails into debtor prisons. Because of a failed court system, millions of young men and women are railroaded into prison, many for nonviolent offenses. SWAT teams with military weapons burst into homes often under warrants for nonviolent offenses, sometimes shooting those inside. Trigger-happy cops pump multiple rounds into the backs of unarmed men and women and are rarely charged with murder.

The Empire Comes Home


By Danny Sjursen for The Huffington Post – It was 11 years ago next month: my first patrol of the war and we were still learning the ropes from the army unit we were replacing. Unit swaps are tricky, dangerous times. In Army lexicon, they’re known as “right-seat-left-seat rides.” Picture a car. When you’re learning to drive, you first sit in the passenger seat and observe. Only then do you occupy the driver’s seat. That was Iraq, as units like ours rotated in and out via an annual revolving door of sorts. Officers from incoming units like mine were forced to learn the terrain, identify the key powerbrokers in our assigned area, and sort out the most effective tactics in the two weeks before the experienced officers departed. It was a stressful time. Those transition weeks consisted of daily patrols led by the officers of the departing unit. My first foray off the FOB (forward operating base) was a night patrol. The platoon I’d tagged along with was going to the house of a suspected Shiite militia leader. (Back then, we were fighting both Shiite rebels of the Mahdi Army and Sunni insurgents.) We drove to the outskirts of Baghdad, surrounded a farmhouse, and knocked on the door. An old woman let us in and a few soldiers quickly fanned out to search every room. Only women ― presumably the suspect’s mother and sisters ― were home.

#NoMuslimBanEver: Taking It To The Streets


By the Center for Constitutional Rights. Washington, DC – This past Wednesday, October 18, over 3,000 people from all over the country convened in Washington, DC, for the national #NoMuslimBanEver mobilization. Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) staff members joined the march from the White House to the Trump International Hotel. The #NoMuslimBanEver campaign was a grassroots awareness and mobilization campaign that happened during the weeks leading up to Wednesday, October 18, the day that the third iteration of Trump’s Muslim Ban was slated to take effect.