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Theressa McCormick : Theressa McCormick is the director of “5 Seeds of Hope for Humanity”. 5 seeds of Hope for Humanity is a community based residential “safe haven”, located in the heart of South West Philadelphia . The organization opened on March 3, 2014. This residential house serves women, and women with children. 5 Seeds of Hope for Humanity provide services to help empower individuals who desire a “second chance” to become productive citizens in our society. And to improve the quality of “Life” for the people they serve.
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By Elliot Booker — 2 years ago“Time for an Awakening” for Sunday 10/29/2017 at 7:00 PM (EST) guest was Lawyer, Grassroots Community Organizer, Political and Social Editor for the Atlanta Black Star, Kamau Franklin. The dialog centered around his article “Can a Radical Black Mayor Make a Revolution” and the tools that need to be developed for Black community power, and other topics was the discussion with our guest, Attorney Franklin.Post Views: 360
By Elliot Booker — 2 years agoyMegan Hobson was 16 when she was wounded in a drive-by shooting. She says black Miamians weren’t included enough in March for Our Lives events.Photo by Jayme Gershen
Some Black Gun Control Activists Felt Left Out by March for Our LivesJessica Weiss | March 26, 2018 | 11:30am
Millions flocked to March for Our Lives events this weekend, including tens of thousands to events in South Florida. In Miami Beach, huge crowds waved signs and chanted for stricter gun control, while organizers promised that the fight had “just begun.”
But as the push for gun reform gains steam in South Florida after the Parkland shooting, some longtime African-American activists have a message for those just getting involved: “We’ve been talking about this.”
Activist Megan Hobson, who is 22, survived a drive-by shooting in Miami Gardens in 2012 and has been outspoken about cracking down on gun violence ever since. She says she had hoped to see Miami’s black communities, which are disproportionately affected by gun violence, included in the local Never Again movement. But she didn’t find those voices well represented in Miami Beach on Saturday.
“The whole conversation behind Parkland is really great, but from young black kids’ eyes it looks different,” says Hobson. “To people who are saying this movement began in Parkland, I’m like no, this movement began in the hood. It sometimes feels like a slap in the face.”
Black children are ten times more likely to get killed by guns than white children, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Hobson was 16 when a drive-by shooter in Miami Gardens fired an AK-47 bullet through the trunk of her sister’s car and into her pelvis. She had multiple surgeries to reconstruct her intestines, uterus, and hip, and still has trouble walking on her right leg.
After the shooting, she was unsure how to move forward with her life. Her search for resources and support in Miami came up mostly empty. So, she began to create those opportunities herself.
She shared her story any chance she got. And she began working with youth impacted by gun violence to help them heal.
In 2013, Hobson was invited by Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz to attend Barack Obama’s State of the Union address in Washington, D.C. She’s since completed an internship in Wasserman Schultz’s office and continues to work with the congresswoman on legislation. She’s a spokesperson and state outreach coordinator for Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, which was created in 2012 in response to the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. She’s one of the 101 survivors photographed for Kathy Shorr’s SHOT project — in fact, she’s on the cover. She hosts events across Miami and the state, and is working to create a nonprofit space for kids to heal from gun violence.
But she’s still healing too.
“It’s tough,” she said. “The way trauma works is you grow older but the pain grows with you. I was not just surviving that night, but every day after. I’m still a black girl in Miami. We hear about shootings all the time –
at the gas station, in the car, in your community – it’s so common.”
On Saturday, a group of students from Liberty City who traveled to Washington, D.C. for the national March for Our Lives had the same message. “All I see is Caucasians. I don’t see black people,” one young man told CGTN. “They need to come to our area… We are from the hood, the ghetto, this is every day for us.”
Hobson says events designed to highlight the voices of gun violence survivors need to be accessible to people from the communities where gun violence has the largest impact. She attended Saturday’s event in Miami Beach but was disappointed by the lack of affected youth who were included. No one approached her about being a speaker.
“Is there transportation? Is it inclusive to everyone? Are we working to bring communities where this is most needed?” she says. “Those are the questions organizers need to ask.”
On Saturday, March 31, Hobson will take part in an event in Wynwood called “Stop the Gun Violence, Fool.” On April 14, she will host a walk for gun violence in Liberty City, and two days later she will be part of a “The Youth Speaks” event at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts.
“It’s gonna take a lot more than just a march,” she said. “It’s gonna take a 365-day conversation to create change. This fight for me is every day.”Post Views: 302
By Elliot Booker — 10 months ago
By Sybil C. Mitchell, The New Tri-State Defender Published January 24, 2019
On the eve of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s actual birthday (Jan. 15), allegations of counterintelligence versus arguments of unwilling victim of the FBI were passionately voiced during a discussion of Preston Lauterbach’s new book, “Bluff City: The Secret Life of Ernest Withers.”
A capacity crowd filled the book-signing space at Novel Memphis for the event that yielded riveting exchanges regarding the life and actions of Withers. The late and renowned civil rights-era photographer had pretty much unfettered access to Dr. King and movement figures national and local.
Lauterbach’s book attempts a balanced and unbiased perspective on what Withers’ legacy will be: a traitorous informant who spied for the FBI or a blackmail victim forced to do as he was told.
There is no doubt whether Withers funneled information to the FBI and was paid. But, says Lauterbach, the reasons why evolved just as the man did. It was a combination of several factors, he contends.
“Ernest Withers was a man with an extreme hustle bone,” said the author. “You have to remember that he had a wife and eight children to feed. He was paid, but Mr. Withers was doing what he needed to do to feed his family.”
Documents released after his death chronicled his secret relationship with the FBI. Those documents formed the basis for “A Spy in Canaan: How the FBI Used a Famous Photographer to Infiltrate the Civil Rights Movement,” a book by ex-newspaper investigative reporter Marc Perrusquia.
On Monday night, Lauterbach talked at length about the now iconic “I Am A Man” sign and slogan that came to embody the 1968 sanitation workers strike in Memphis and a struggle for racial equality. The famous photo that galvanized the striking workers and turned myriad eyes on Memphis showed Withers’ gift for not only framing the moment, but staging a scene.
“His motto was, ‘Pictures tell the story.’ The sticks that held the signs were used as weapons of violence in that first march. When the rioting broke out, it served the FBI’s purpose of discrediting Dr. King as a nonviolent leader and to embarrass him,” said Lauterbach.
“The Black Invaders took the blame for the violence, but they were actually there to protect Dr. King. J. Edgar Hoover needed that violence to be pinned on the Invaders. He wanted to create as much conflict between the SCLC (Southern Christian Leadership Conference]) and the black power group.
“Withers admitted buying the lumber for the sticks and the saw for the lumber,” said Lauterbach. “As the rioting began, the police swooped down on marchers with excessive force.”
A spirited exchange began between those who saw Withers’ actions as betrayal and others who leaned more sympathetically to characterize his actions.
“We marched with Dr. King. We were there,” said the Rev. Dr. L. LaSimba M. Gray Jr., pastor emeritus of New Sardis Baptist Church. “That is, perhaps, the most damnable revelation – that those sticks were made as weapons of violence.
“He could have gotten us killed. The rioting started, and the police came down in force. I’m wondering now if I might have been a target of the FBI. My family might have been put in danger.”
The Rev. Bill Adkins, pastor of Greater Imani Cathedral of Faith, recalled the day of the march.
“We were lining up for the march,” said Adkins. “And just before the march started, a pickup truck pulled up, loaded with signs. Anyone who wanted a sign could get one. After the march got started, the next thing we knew, windows were being broken, and the police moved in.
“I agree that we could have all been killed or seriously hurt. It never occurred to anyone, I’m sure, that the sticks attached to the signs were weapons of violence. These revelations are very disturbing.”
While some believe that Withers was guilty of counter-spying and working against leaders of the civil rights movement, others felt the term “informant” simply did not apply.
While the photojournalist was providing Hoover and the FBI information on everything he could, there is no proof that anyone was actually hurt by his reports, one member of the audience suggested.
“It could very well be that Withers didn’t tell the FBI anything they didn’t already know,” said Lauterbach.
“But however one sees him – as either a good man or a shadowy figure – Mr. Withers endured many trials and hardships as he recorded the movement with images that really did tell the story,” Lauterbach said.
“He was down there in Little Rock (Arkansas) when his mentor, former Tri-State Defender editor Alex Wilson, was beaten so badly that he sustained neurological damage to the head. This was a man he was very close to. Informant or not, the FBI was 100 percent the real power structure. It was Hoover who manipulated the civil rights movement. Let’s not forget, Hoover tried to make Dr. King commit suicide.
“Withers was a victim of ‘economic segregation.’ With a wife and eight children, he must have felt the pressure of financial hardship.”
Lauterbach explained that Withers “might not have seen himself as an informant.”
Adkins wasn’t buying that.
“Mr. Withers took photos of everything, including strategy meetings and closed sessions where we planned every move,” said Adkins. “Nobody put Mr. Withers out of those meetings. He was constantly moving around taking photos of everyone.
“We had no idea he was cooperating with the FBI. There is no way he didn’t know that he was acting as an informant and betraying the movement.”
Lauterbach countered with the argument that Withers was a conservative and concerned about the communist leanings and anti-war sentiment that was ever-growing.
“He may not have felt he could do anything other than what he was doing – reporting the actions of civil rights leaders to the FBI,” said Lauterbach.
“There are facts to support both sides – that Mr. Withers became an FBI informant for money, or he felt it was something he had to do to care for his family,” said Lauterbach. “Readers are left to make their own conclusions.”
Asked whether Withers had any regrets in his latter years, Lauterbach said he believes so, pointing to this reflection attributed to Withers:
“I was the cause of those signs being used as clubs. I bought the lumber and the saw to cut that lumber. I started the violence. People were hurt by the police and attacked with tear gas and billy clubs.”Post Views: 648