Months after the police killing of George Floyd sparked racial justice protests around the world, Black Lives Matter activists are once again flooding the streets — this time in response to the recent police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Among the demands that continue to ring out is the call for reparations, or payment to people of African descent. Several African countries — including Namibia, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo — have also joined the call, demanding reparations from European countries for the perpetration of genocide under colonialism.
In the wake of Floyd’s death, protests have mobilized in several states, and locally in Detroit, where protesters have marched regularly since late May. While most protests have mostly been peaceful, there have been instances of violence, including during the early days of the protests when demonstrators were met with tear gas, shields, and handcuffs, with scores arrested after being out past curfew and reports of some protesters hurling objects at police; a police car driving through a crowd of protesters; and the fatal shooting of Hakim Littleton by police near Six Mile and San Juan. Police footage shows Littleton being shot after firing at officers who were arresting a man on a separate matter, sparking a protest that resulted in eight arrests.
Thousands of Chicagoans have rallied in the past couple weeks behind the demand that Chicago Public Schools end its relationship with the police department. But a small group of advocates have been working on this issue for years, and they’ve won significant progress in recent months. We don’t know the impact of those changes yet — though we do know that alternatives to police in schools need much greater support. A new Chicago Police Department policy implemented last August removed so-called school resource officers from involvement in day-to-day disciplinary matters. It requires screening of potential officers, including consideration of their disciplinary records and involvement with youth, and selection in consultation with school principals. It mandates training in youth development, de-escalation, restorative justice, crisis intervention and disability issues.
Rochester, N.Y. (13WHAM) - There was outcry in the community after a Frederick Douglass statue at the corner of Tracey and Alexander Streets was vandalized in December. But those behind the project still called for the incident to be a teaching moment, saying it's what Douglass would've wanted. Charles Milks and John Boedicker are charged with criminal mischief in the crime. At the time, they were students at St. John Fisher College. The college said Thursday they are no longer enrolled. The statue was part of a series commemorating the 200th birthday of Frederick Douglass, a project run by the Re-energizing the Legacy of Frederick Douglass Committee.
The racism, once long latent in “zero tolerance” school discipline policies, is now manifest to many education stake holders, especially in urban school districts with majority non-white students. White educators everywhere are waking up to the reality that America’s addiction to incarceration is directly tied to school discipline policies that disproportionately push students of color out of the classroom and into the juvenile justice system. In effort to reverse what is called the “school-to-prison pipeline,” many race conscious administrators have called for dramatic reductions in the number of out-of-school suspensions across all student racial demographics.
By Sarah Conway for In These Times - CHICAGO—It’s 9:30 a.m. on a Thursday in late September and four young men in their early 20s sit bundled in gray and black hoodies in the gallery waiting room of a makeshift courthouse in North Lawndale, killing time on their phones. All are charged with nonviolent drug possession, and all are taking a chance on a new restorative justice court that promises a chance to wipe their records clean if they can make amends to their communities. The court opened August 31 and these four are among the first group of 12 defendants, all West Side men ages 18 to 26 charged with low-level nonviolent misdemeanors and felonies. At least we’re not at “26th and California,” says 22-year-old Tobias Pierce (all defendant names in this story are pseudonymous, at their request), referring to Chicago’s notorious Cook County Jail, where he was held for two years while on trial for armed robbery. “If [the guards] feel like you disrespecting them, they feel like they can harm you,” he says. “You down in the basement and ain’t no cameras down there.” Although Pierce was found not guilty, he says those two years set him back. “There was no job waiting for me ’cause I had been in jail for the past two years. Y’all had wasted two years of my time.” The restorative justice court does not hold defendants in jail and may remove their electronic monitoring. If Pierce repairs the harm he did to his neighborhood, he can have his case closed and a clean record in six months to a year. Despite the small talk, Jefferson Holt, 25, is still feeling nervous. Tall and thin, he rocks back and forth. He came to the court because he is “tired of running from the police” and hopes to get his record expunged. With a record, finding a job hasn’t been easy. He estimates he has applied to around 70 in five months and just landed one.
By Andrea Germanos for Common Dreams - From being victims of police killings to facing barriers to educational and health equity, African Americans are facing "systemic racial discrimination" and deserve reparatory justice, a United Nations working group said Friday. Having just completed an 11-day mission with visits to Washington D.C., Baltimore, Jackson, Miss., Chicago and New York City, the five-member Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent say they are "extremely concerned about the human rights situation of African Americans."
The question that remains, though, is what to do when there is another instance of police brutality that threatens to tear apart yet another community -- or even the whole country? I am so bold as to offer dialogue as the solution, which I know will disappoint both the revolutionaries and reactionaries alike. It does not require teargas, armored personnel carriers, or military-style assault weapons -- nor does it require the blocking of traffic, the destruction of property, or the looting of businesses. It proved to be transformative for the police and concerned citizens of Seattle when John T. Williams, a First Nations woodcarver, was needlessly shot down in 2010. While, as is almost always the case, the officer was not convicted for the killing, the restorative justice process used allowed for healing, understanding, and other forms of accountability that benefited not only those close to the matter but also the community as a whole.
Three major advances were made over the last week in the peace talks that have been moving forward in Cuba for nearly two years between the Colombian government and the FARC guerrillas, while the decades-old civil war rages on. On Saturday Aug. 16, a group of relatives of victims of both sides met face-to-face in the Cuban capital. It was the first time in the world that victims have sat down at the same table with representatives of their victimisers in negotiations to put an end to a civil war. And on Thursday Aug. 21 an academic commission was set up to study the roots of the conflict and the factors that have stood in the way of bringing it to an end. That day, the unthinkable happened. High-level army, air force, navy and police officers flew to Cuba, under the command of General Javier Alberto Flórez, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. In the 24-hour technical mission they met with their archenemies, the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, which emerged in 1964) to discuss “how to implement a definitive bilateral ceasefire, and how the FARC would disband and lay down their arms,” said President Juan Manuel Santos.
The city is poised to dramatically expand restorative justice programs aimed at improving school climate and rethinking school discipline next year. The head of the Department of Education’s Office of Safety and Youth Development verbally committed to provide new support for restorative justice programs at a May meeting about school discipline issues, according to two attendees. Though few details of the expansion have been finalized, the agreement represents the administration’s first step toward enacting discipline policy changes that Chancellor Carmen Fariña and Mayor Bill de Blasio have both called for. On Friday, a department spokeswoman said officials had been consulting with a number of organizations focused on school discipline, including Dignity in Schools. The New York chapter has been meeting monthly with the safety office to create a plan that would begin in January 2015, according to Elana Eisen-Markowitz, a teacher at the Urban Assembly Bronx Academy of Letters who attended the May meeting.
Malcolm X Grassroots Movement-Atlanta Chapter,Community Aid and Development and the Atlanta community will be celebrating the 25th annual Malcolm x festival. In an effort to make this commemorative year bigger and better we are asking for donations to assist with making the festival and parade a success for the community. Community Aid and Development corp (CAD) is a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit and donations are tax deductible. CAD is a Human Health and Welfare service agency with a presence in the Atlanta metropoltian are since 1989.
If the school had responded in the usual way by suspending Tommy, harm would have been replicated, not healed. Punitive justice asks only what rule or law was broken, who did it, and how they should be punished. It responds to the original harm with more harm. Restorative justice asks who was harmed, what are the needs and obligations of all affected, and how do they figure out how to heal the harm. Had punitive discipline ruled the day, Tommy’s story would have gone unheard and his needs unmet. Had he been suspended, Tommy’s chances of engaging in violence and being incarcerated would have dramatically increased. Suspension likely would have exacerbated harm on all sides—to Tommy, his teacher, his family, and ultimately, his community. His teacher would have been deprived of hearing Tommy’s story. She might have quit teaching and remained trapped in trauma.