justice

demand justice for natasha mckenna

natasha mckennaon april 28, 2014, natasha mckenna was tasered to death by police in fairfax, virginia.  killed while her hands were cuffed and feet shackled, she was found with black eyes, covered in bruises and a finger amputated. her murder is nothing short of torture.

while sandra bland’s death has risen to national attention, fewer people have heard of natasha mckenna and fewer still know about the abuse black women also suffer at the hands of police. part of natasha’s relative anonymity is due to the fairfax police department’s refusal to release video footage of her death. it’s time we know the truth.

demand justice for natasha mckenna by starting or joining actions in your city that raise awareness about her death. also, tweet @fairfaxpolice with hashtag #sayhername to demand the videotape is released.

ferguson solidarity: 10 ways to get involved

hands up
“so we protest and march at rallies…then what? how does that change things?”

these thoughts from my partner about the protests occurring since michael brown’s murder reminded me that many folks may want to join the movement to end police brutality, but aren’t clear on the importance of political organizing or the steps to take.

i’m sending encouragement and love to those new to movement building and share the recommendations below on how to capitalize on this critical moment:

1. know the facts. it’s important that we know the facts surrounding not just mike brown’s murder, but also those of countless other black men and women who have fallen victim to the police.  for quick references, check colorlines, the root, salon and an amazing article titled “this is why we’re mad about the shooting of mike brown” on jezebel.

2. be critical. what do claims of looting and mike brown stealing cigarellos from a convenience store (that didn’t call the police) have to do with his murder? be a critical consumer of information and notice how those in power will criminalize a victim before taking decisive action to pursue justice.

3. go beyond mainstream media.  some of the most comprehensive accounts of what’s happening in ferguson aren’t coming from fox news or cnn, but folks who are on the frontlines and reporting live. these twitter accounts are my favorite sources: @antoniofrench, @felonious_munk, @awkward_duck and @trymainelee.

4.  use social media wisely. hashtags are an invaluable resource. by simply clicking #fergusonsolidarity, #ripmikebrown, #mikebrown, #handsup, #dontshoot and countless others people around the world can get the latest news and stay connected. it’s also a channel to display demands to elected officials.

5. plan an action. but first, pay attention to those in ferguson. take the lead of those on the ground in ferguson when planning a solidarity action in your city and determining your demands. i highly recommend checking out the dream defender’s tips on the subject.

6. remember power concedes nothing without a demand. this brings me to my next point: rallies can galvanize the masses and bond those pursuing justice; however, they should not just be chanting sessions. while you have a microphone and people’s attention, state your demands clearly. here’s a list of the initial demands from community members in ferguson that was shared on twitter: demands

7. brace yourself. if you plan to play a leadership role in a direct action or protest, plan beyond the actual event. those protestors who are inspired to do more will need to know your next steps. don’t lose the momentum.

8. make a financial contribution. reach out to those on the ground in ferguson via your direct connections or social media and find out how you can help fund their movement. there are suggestions going around on twitter if you’d like to learn more.

9. stay woke. there are interlocking systems of oppression facing black and brown communities throughout this country, and your hometown or neighborhood could be the next ferguson, missouri. get involved now with organizations serving youth, pursuing food justice, seeking to end police brutality and other causes to serve as an agent of change.

10. never forget. now that your consciousness has been raised about the plight black people face in american society, never forget. righteous indignation should propel us to pursue social justice by any means necessary. as a voter, consumer and community member, seize your power.

let’s stand in solidarity with the residents of ferguson and force the world to end the system of white supremacy by recognizing the value of black lives.

with solidarity,

t

weekend music: j.cole, be free

hip hop artist j. cole has released a heartfelt song titled “be free” in response to mike brown’s murder. reminsicent of nina simone, he sings “can you tell me why/every time i step outside i see my niggas die?/ i’m letting you know, that it ain’t no gun they make that can kill my soul…” the song gave me chills.

here’s what he had to say on his blog:

There was a time in my life when I gave a fuck. Every chance I got I was screaming about it. I was younger. It’s so easy to try to save the world when you’re in college. You got nothing but time and no responsibility. But soon life hits you. No more dorms, no more meal plan, no more refund check. Nigga need a job. Nigga got rent. Got car note. Cable bill. Girlfriend moves in and becomes wife. Baby on the way. Career advances. Instagram is poppin. Lebron leaves Miami. LIFE HITS. We become distracted. We become numb. I became numb. But not anymore. That coulda been me, easily. It could have been my best friend. I’m tired of being desensitized to the murder of black men. I don’t give a fuck if it’s by police or peers. This shit is not normal.

I made a song. This is how we feel.
– Cole

slow clap for a black artist who’s motivated to use his influence as an entertainer for his community’s well-being. salute j. cole.

a little link love 2.20.14

1. i’m flabergasted that a florida jury allowed yet another man to murder a black teenager without a murder conviction.  i’m sickened by the constant reminder that the lives of black children are less important than those of their white counterparts.  watch as jessica williams of the daily show does a tongue and cheek run-down of white america’s omnipresent “fear goggles” that can make “four black teenagers taking a calculus test look like a scene from the wire.”

2.  yayadon’t you just love yaya alafia (nee dacosta)? i remember her season of america’s next top model and the way she schooled tyra banks on the origins of kente cloth.  the ivy league grad  is now an actress, wife and mother who was recently interviewed by michel martin on npr’s tell me more.  listen to her thoughts on her role in lee daniels’ the butler, colorism and why she calls herself an african in america.

3. have you heard the teaser to beyonce’s drunk in love remix featuring kanye?!?! it made me jump up and run around my apartment full speed — the only appropriate response when one of your favorite songs from beyonce’s new album gets better.

4.  it’s not every day that you hear an artist reference brandy, bun b, bounce music and kirk franklin as their inspirations.  in a recent interview with npr’s new r&b and hip hop show, microphone check, i fell in love with solange all over again as she rattled off a list of 90’s hip hop and r&b that only a person raised in the south can appreciate.

solange-losing-you