black lives matter

DISTRACTIONS: Low Frequency Thinking (Negative thinking

DISTRACTIONS: Low Frequency Thinking (Negative thinking), Social Media (utilize as a positive tool for learning and meaningful exchanges), Television (you will live without the steady dosages of daily brainwashing), Cell Phone (you did not come out of your mother’s womb with one in your hand – lol), bad food (GMO produce, processed foods and fluoride in water).

The above are just a few.

Bro. Reggie R

Salute to Joe Budden for this song!

 

Our movements have music as the backdrop to ignite the fire and help it burn continuously in the belly of those seeking justice!

Historically it has been the drum and spoken word of our great ancestors.

Our youth need to hear the alternative messages of hip hop!

The HIP lyrics and beats that resonate with your heart. As a result you HOP to positive action!

You don’t ask permission for freedom….You don’t ask permission to breathe…You don’t ask permission not to be shot, maimed or murdered!

If someone puts their hand over your mouth and nostrils….What is the innate response for securing your freedom to breathe?

If someone pushes and attempts to keep your head under water…What is the innate response for securing your freedom to breathe?

Bro. Reggie R

Breaking Down the Stats: Report Reveals Blacks Make Up More than Half the Prison Population in 12 States

June 17, 2016 | Posted by

Black people are incarcerated in the nation’s state prisons five times as often as whites, a new study indicates.

The Sentencing Project’s latest report on racial and ethnic inequalities in the American prison system examined the prevailing issue on a state-by-state basis.

“Since the majority of people in prison are sentenced at the state level rather than the federal level, it is critical to understand the variation in racial and ethnic composition across states,” Ashley Nellis, author and senior research analyst wrote in the report, “and the policies and the day-to-day practices that contribute to this variance.”

The criminal justice advocates used federal data to compare rates of imprisonment for Black, white and Hispanic populations. And the findings show that African-Americans continue to face seemingly insurmountable odds in the fight for blind justice in this country.

The High(low)lights:

  • Overall, Blacks are locked up in state prisons at a rate of of 1,408 per 100,000 people; Hispanics, 378 per 100,000; and whites, 275 per 100,000.
  • African-Americans in Iowa, Minnesota, New Jersey, Vermont and Wisconsin are imprisoned at a rate more than 10 times that of whites.
  • In 12 states, African-Americans make up more than half of the prisoners: Alabama, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, New Jersey, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia.
  • 72 percent of Maryland’s prison population is Black — the highest proportion in the U.S.
  • 11 states report at least 1 in 20 adult Black males in prison.

Oklahoma, which has the country’s highest population of Black prisoners, holds 1 in 15 Black males aged 18 and older in prison.

The problem of Black mass incarceration is present in every state in the union. In Hawaii, the state with the lowest racial disparity, Blacks still serve time at a rate two times that of whites. It is a systemic matter states can not continue to ignore.

According to the report, at least three factors come up over and over again in the multiple studies done on the subject: “policies and practices that drive disparity; the role of implicit bias and stereotypes in decision making; and, structural disadvantages in communities of color which are associated with high rates of offending and arrest.”

Nellis suggests states look to New Jersey’s reforms, which included the revisions to drug laws that have contributed to the mass incarceration of African-Americans since the 1990s, specifically drug-free school zone laws.

The Sentencing Project study concludes with five recommendations for state policymakers:

  • Scale back on prison sentences for low-level drug offenders, and put more resources into drug prevention and rehabilitative programs.
  • Re-evaluate and amend statutory mandates on minimum sentences that prevent judges from considering cases on an individualized basis.
  • Reduce the use of “Three Strikes”-inspired penalties that result in excessively long sentences for repeat offenders.
  • Train criminal justice officials at every level on the dangers of implicit bias, or the stereotypes and attitudes that affect our judgments and behavior on a subconscious level.
  • Introduce Racial Impact legislation, which encourages lawmakers to consider how proposed laws might disproportionately affect minority communities.

Rev. Edward Pinkney (Prison Interview)

Political Prisoner and friend Reverend Edward Pinkney, interviewing from Marquette prison in Michigan.

Robert McKay & Chief Organizers for OMCBV&C.

“Time For An Awakening” guests for 5/29/2016 was Robert McKay – spokesman for political prisoner and friend Rev. Edward Pinkney, as well as Monica Williams and Donnie Bradford, chief organizers for OMCBV&C. Mr. McKay updated us on the status of imprisoned activist, Rev. Pinkney. Monica Williams and Donnie Bradford updated us on all things One Million Conscious Black Voters and Contributors (OMCBV&C) leading to the National Convention in Atlanta.

It Makes No Sense Asking White Politicians About A ‘Black Agenda’

Oppressors are never under any obligation to give justice and equality to those who are oppressed.

The master has no moral justification to the slave because a slave is chattel.

Sadly, shamefully, and sinfully, we are living in these so-called ‘United States of America’ whereby people – especially African-Americans –are still raising the question to politicians and political parties, “What about the Black Agenda?”

Why Ask?

Why do we keep raising this question every election cycle to people who don’t really care about the Black Agenda? To be blunt about it, it’s stupid, insane, and irrational.

In asking the question of political candidates about their solutions to decrease Black unemployment, Black poverty, and anything revolving around Black issues gives a direct as well as indirect signal to them as well as to masses of people that we cannot handle our own business. They are under no obligation to help us as long as they see a needy attitude.

Every four years, it’s sickening and disturbing to see Democratic candidates pandering Black people for a vote. They come to our churches, eat our food, take pictures, and suck up so that many people are brainwashed into believing a lie.

During these interactions, there’s little deep discussion about issues that impact masses of people.

There’s little deep discussion about their absence in neighborhoods and communities they fail to visit until it’s voting time.

No Progress

Whenever African-Americans (definitely not all) become so comfortable in asking politicians and the government for a handout, progress and prosperity will never be made. Why? Because self-determination and self-expectation will be sidelined.

The success of any race and culture has to begin within. If there isn’t the desire to want better, do better, and expect better, a problem will always exist.

The challenge for African-Americans during this election year and future election years is to stop asking White people to address the Black Agenda. In a real sense, when we, as a people, learn to own, operate, and support our own entities, we will create opportunities for people to succeed. And when we learn to take care of our surroundings, we don’t have to worry about foolishness coming in.

While this is only a small step towards empowerment, the goal should be to do for self. It makes no sense to always keep asking the oppressors to help the oppressed.

It’s important to note here that I’m not categorizing all non-Black people as oppressors. I’m not saying all African-Americans are oppressed. But without a doubt, there are systems and institutions that are racist in nature.

Collective Effort

The best way to eliminate this mindset is to fight it through political involvement, social interaction, and financial empowerment. Unless there’s a collective effort to want better, nothing will be done.

So what’s the agenda for Black America? Clean up our communities and neighborhoods. Create and support Black-owned businesses. Establish programs that will eliminate Black-on-Black crime.

Stop blaming White people and other non-Blacks for some of the ills that’s plaguing us as African-Americans. Get involved politically and not become party loyalists. Develop a liberating mindsets

The Black Agenda isn’t about asking others to do for us when in fact we can and should do for ourselves.

 

By: Dr. Sinclair Grey III

 

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PLEASE JOIN http://www.iamoneofthemillion.com/

Dr. Richard D. Benson II

Guest was Author, Assistant Professor in the Education Studies Program at Spelman College, Dr. Richard D. Benson II. Dr. Benson’s book is called “Fighting for Our Place in the Sun: Malcolm X and the Radicalization of the Black Student Movement 1960 -1973. We discussed aspects of the book in relation to what’s going on presently in our society, with our guest.

These People Are Making A Political Statement By Not Voting In The 2016 Election

AFRICANGLOBE – Larry Fellows III didn’t vote in the Missouri primary and may skip the general election, too. He believes his government has failed him at every level—starting with his home community of St. Louis County, where a grand jury declined in 2014 to indict the police officer who murdered Michael Brown.

After his Twitter feed was inundated with images of Brown’s lifeless body lying in the street, Fellows was one of the first people to join the protests in Ferguson. He eventually quit his job, accumulating debt and even losing his apartment, to protest full-time. He hoped his activism would pressure local authorities into indicting thug cop, Darren Wilson.

When that didn’t happen, Fellows’ confidence in the system eroded to the point that he refused to vote for anyone.

“I don’t know if I want to continuously partake in a system that oppresses so many people,” Fellows, 30, said. “Not to say that voting doesn’t change anything, because I think it does influence change. But I also think a huge part of change happens outside of the system as well.”

Even as Black turnout has steadily climbed over the past generation, a number of Black people feel so disaffected by the electoral process that they refuse to take part. For them, sitting out is a political choice in itself.

Their logic is that there is no point engaging a political process that will not benefit Black people, no matter who the candidate is. For example, some of the cities in which the most infamous examples of abusive police tactics have occurred—Baltimore, Chicago, New York City, Philadelphia—are run by Democrats, the party that is supposed to have Black Americans’ interests at heart.

It’s one of the reasons that Quincy Johnson, 40, a truck driver who lives in Denver, has voted only three times in his life (2004, 2008 and 2014) and has no plans to vote this year.

“Hillary and Bernie are trying extra hard to get that Black vote,” he said. “Sure, they’ll talk to you now to get your vote. But I can guarantee you, once the election is over, try getting a word in then. It’s probably not going to happen.”

“I can’t have faith in my oppressor to not oppress me.

Blacks-Not-Voting-2016-2

There are a lot of reasons Black people feel that voting in what is essentially a two-party system is pointless. Unemployment for Black Americans has been roughly twice that of white Americans since 1963, the year of the March on Washington. Though Black women overwhelmingly support the Democratic Party, their representation in national and local office is minuscule. And Black people continue to be shot and killed by police at disproportionate rates while the cops who kill them are rarely prosecuted.

As far as Rhone Fraser is concerned, both parties are complicit, so neither deserves his vote.

“The Democratic and the Republican parties work together to cause the problems we as a people are experiencing in terms of militarism, mass incarceration, and austerity,” said Rhone, 36, a lecturer at Howard University who lives in Philadelphia. “That is why I advocate boycotting those parties.”

He voted for Green Party presidential candidate Dr. Jill Stein in 2012 and voted in a local election last year, but is sitting 2016 out.

“I can’t have faith in my oppressor to not oppress me.”

Elisabeth Epps, 36, a legal analyst in Denver, is a big advocate of not voting but says she will cast a ballot this year for Stein, who is running again. “Some people would say voting for a third party candidate is equivalent to wasting your vote, but it’s quite the opposite,” she said. “I feel very strongly that my vote is too important to waste it on a party that doesn’t respect my beliefs.”

The last time Autumn Marie, 33, remembers wanting to be part of the presidential political process was 2000, when George W. Bush and Al Gore were vying for the White House. Bush’s eventual victory convinced her that the election was rigged. Not even the historic campaign of then-Sen. Barack Obama eight years later persuaded her to change her mind.
“I didn’t feel like, ‘Oh, Obama is going to be my savior,’” she said. “I also wondered, ‘Will Black people be complacent and feel like everything is good because we have a Black president?’ Eight years later, Black children are “looking at everybody their age being killed by police.”

You might assume that Rhone, Marie, Epps, Fellows, and Johnson are simply apathetic, but that isn’t the case. Fellows devoted months of his life to protesting in Ferguson, and Rhone is active in a Democratic club in Philadelphia. Marie is active in Black Lives Matter. Epps has volunteered and worked on campaigns in local and presidential elections.

“People tend to read Black folks not voting as a sign of apathy, but, in fact, it is often an indication of a lack of faith in the political process that speaks to the conditions of the Black community,” said Eddie Glaude, a professor of religion and African-American studies at Princeton University. “In some ways, it’s protesting the two-party system. The two-party system seems to force the belief that our only choices are right in front of us. Some people reject those two choices and choose not to chose between them.”

For all the Black people who have given up on voting, many more are going to the polls. Black voter turnout has significantly increased over the last seven presidential cycles. In 1988, when Jesse Jackson ran for president, the turnout rate was 46.8 percent. It reached an all-time high in 2008 at 69.1 percent before dipping to 67.4 percent in 2012.

For many minorities, the stakes in this year’s presidential race could not be higher. Donald Trump, the presumptive GOP nominee, has referred to Mexican immigrants as “rapists” and “killers,” and proposed banning Muslims from entering the U.S. His attitude toward the Black Lives Matter movement has been confrontational. He referred to activists protesting the death of Freddie Gray as “thugs.” Trump antagonized Black protesters at one of his rallies by saying that “all lives matter,” a refrain with anti-Black undertones. Accusations of racism against him date to 1973, when the Justice Department sued his real-estate company, alleging discrimination against Black people who wanted to rent his apartments.

In many Black circles, if you say you aren’t voting, you’ll be met with a side-eye or accusations of being irresponsible. One common refrain is that “our people died for the right to vote,” so why dishonor them by not exercising the franchise?

Fellows, who is gay, balks at such thinking. “I also have the right to marry, so that means I should go find a husband?” he asks. “Shaming me is not going to make me go to the polls.”

Since before the Emancipation Proclamation, Black Americans have had a tumultuous relationship with American electoral politics. Black suffrage expanded during Reconstruction, but for the next century, until the 1965 Voting Rights Act, voting laws across the South severely restricted the Black vote. Even today, Republican-led state legislatures are passing laws that critics believe are designed to discourage minorities from voting.

This Election Day, 17 states will have new voting restrictions on the books, according to the Brennan Center for Justice. These include strict photo ID requirements, cutbacks in registration, and limits on mail-in ballots. A study by the University of California, San Diego, found that voter ID laws not only disproportionately target minorities but “skew democracy toward those on the political right.”

In 1956, W.E.B Dubois wrote in The Nation that he refused to vote because “democracy has so far disappeared in the United States that no ‘two evils’ exist. There is but one evil party with two names, and it will be elected despite all I can do or say.” Even as Black Americans began voting for Democrats in large numbers during the 1960s because of the party’s support for strong civil rights legislation, Malcolm X referred to them as “political chumps.” His argument was that Democrats had waited years to address racist policies when they could have dealt with them immediately.

That some Black people would feel disillusioned with voting and the two-party system should not be surprising, said Minkah Makalani, an assistant professor of African and African diaspora studies at the University of Texas in Austin.

“This is a response Black people have had to the political system well before Dubois,” he said. “You see this in the nineteen-teens, 1920s, during the Harlem Renaissance, where the argument at that time was, ‘We aren’t getting what we want from either party. But the socialist or the communist parties are being more responsive to our concerns, so that’s who I’m voting for.”

In 2016, activism is central to the election as organized protests and actions have pressed candidates to address police violence and economic inequality. Throughout this vast movement of organizers and activists are diverse views about how to engage the political process.

Joan Fadayiro, 25, a member of BYP100, a Black millennial organization in Chicago that trains activists and focuses on social justice, told reporters that her organization provides a wide range of ways to engage the political process. For example, critics believed that Cook County prosecutor Anita Alvarez helped suppress dashcam video of an officer shooting 17-year-old Laquan McDonald 16 times. In response, BYP100 organized #ByeAnita. The action included protests, but it also focused on phone-banking that encouraged Chicagoans to vote Alvarez out of office during Illinois’ March primary. The millennial group’s efforts helped Alvarez’s challenger, Kim Foxx, cruise to victory with 62 percent of the vote in a three-way Democratic primary race.

During the #ByeAnita action, some members participated in voter outreach, others protested on the streets, and some did a little of both. While the point of the action was to get people to the polls, BYP100 did not pressure its members to do so.

“The most important thing in our communities when we think about liberation and self-determination is that we don’t all have to do the same thing,” Fadayiro said. “People should have the freedom to engage however they want to engage.”

Ifeoma Ike, co-founder of Black and Brown People Vote, encourages BYP100’s multi-pronged approach to political engagement, saying voting is an essential tool for brokering power—even in an imperfect structure.

“What BYP100 did was turn democracy on its head and said, even within a system that doesn’t work for us, we’re going to use these tools to at least get the people who are harming us out of power,” she said.

The challenge behind not casting a ballot is that our current political structure does not recognize the non-vote as power-brokering, said Anthea Butler, an associate professor of religion and Africana studies at the University of Pennsylvania.

“I understand perfectly their right to say that these people do not have our best interests in mind, so I can’t vote for them,” she said. “But the other part of the problem is how are you going to influence anything. So the kinds of interests you might have, you can’t affect changes that you want because you aren’t part of the process. You don’t have anything to hold against them.”

Marie doesn’t see it like that. She believes her activism is, in fact, enough to hold politicians accountable. And she believes that the political system is too crooked for voting to really change it. There are exceptions, she said: The election of the late Chokwe Lumumba as mayor of Jackson, Mississippi, in June 2013 was an indication that Black people could vote for candidates who challenged American imperialism and white supremacy, Marie said.

But such candidates are rare, she said. Asked whether she would consider ever voting again, Marie said she there was no chance.

“I have no faith in this system when it comes to delivering freedom for me and my people,” she said. “I can’t have faith in a system that was built by people to oppress us and protect their interests. I can’t have faith in my oppressor to not oppress me.”

 

By: Terrell Jermaine Starr

 

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In a Rigged Court System, Innocent Black People Wait Years for Their Day In Court, Forcing Some to Accept Plea Bargains

May 14, 2016 | Posted by

 

Throughout the country, the court system is rigged against poor people and communities of color, and Bronx County in New York City is a most extreme and poignant example of a nationwide crisis.

Although there is a constitutionally guaranteed right to a speedy trial, in practice that guarantee does not extend to those without means, particularly the Black and Latino folks who live in places such as the Bronx — the poorest and Blackest county in New York.  These are the people who are arrested and charged with frivolous misdemeanor offenses under a “broken windows” philosophy of policing.  And when faced with an under-resourced and broken-down court system, they may wait years for a jury trial — their lives disrupted, their psyche damaged, and often they are compelled to take a plea.

On Wednesday, the Bronx Defenders — a legal advocacy group providing civil and criminal legal services to the indigent — filed a federal class-action lawsuit against New York Governor Andrew Cuomo; Janet DiFiore, Chief Judge of the State of New York and Chief Judicial Officer of the Unified Court System; and Lawrence Marks, Chief Administrative Judge of the Unified Court System.  The suit, Trowbridge v. Cuomo, filed on behalf of thousands of Bronx residents, claims the state courts are failing to give people their due process and their day in court, making justice an illusion.

The day the lawsuit was filed, Atlanta Black Star spoke with Robin Steinberg, the Executive Director of the Bronx Defenders, on what prompted her organization to take action.

“About three years ago we collaborated with The New York Times on a series on delay in the Bronx … and we hoped that that would bring about some systemic change,” Steinberg said.  “What we began to see was not only was there no structural change, the delay problem was getting worse.  And in fact, it has gotten worse since The Times did the investigative piece three years ago,” she added.  Ultimately, the time had come to do what we need to do, the courts need to come in,” Steinberg said, with the goal to “compel immediate political will” to change the state of the courts in the Bronx.

For the head of the Bronx Defenders, it says a lot that lawyers have to sue the governor and the courts on behalf of their clients because the system is failing.

“It says the clients we represent and the community we represent is one of the most marginalized and overlooked communities in New York City, as is the case across the country.  They have very little political power, no access to political power and have been under-utilized and marginalized.  This does not happen in the tony community in Manhattan,” Steinberg insists.

The statistics gathered by the plaintiffs paint a picture of a serious epidemic of disparities.  As of January 2016, there were 2,378 misdemeanor cases pending for over 365 days in the Bronx, and 538 cases pending for over two years.  Last year, although there were 45,000 misdemeanor arraignments, there were a mere 98 misdemeanor trials.  And for those select few who get a trial, they must wait 642 days on average for a non-jury bench trial, and 827 days for a trial by jury, which is 99 percent higher than in Manhattan, 66 percent higher than in Brooklyn and 48 percent higher than in Queens.

Meanwhile, under New York’s speedy trial statute, prosecutors are required to be ready for trial within 90 days of arraignment for class A misdemeanors (such as assault, theft and drug possession), 60 days for class B misdemeanors (such as harassment, marijuana possession and stalking), and 30 days for non-criminal violations.

“You have to wait 99 percent longer in the Bronx.  You wait longer in the Bronx than any other borough…It speaks to how we resource certain communities and under-resource others,” Steinberg noted.  “This has been a known secret for years, and we hope to compel some change.”

Moreover, there are human faces behind these numbers, with a heavy toll taken in terms of lost jobs, frayed relationships and damaged well-being.  This is the tax levied on the poor and on people of color. For example, John Carridice suffered through 1,009 days and 20 court dates before he had a trial and was acquitted.  Sarah Bello endured 1,166 days and 33 court dates before her charges were thrown out.  Joseph Bermudez was also acquitted, but only after 1,258 days and 38 court dates.  On at least 16 occasions, both parties were ready for trial, but no court rooms were available.

Michael Torres, 43, had to appear in court 14 times for misdemeanor marijuana possession, typically waiting up to six hours at a time.  As a result of numerous absences from work, he was fired. Although his case was dismissed after 877 days because the arresting officer could not recollect the incident, for this father of two, the damage had been done.

“After waiting all that time, I wasn’t even able to have my day in court,” said Torres. “I did everything I was supposed to do, but the system failed me – I joined this case because I want to ensure this doesn’t happen to others.”

One of the devastating effects of the epidemic of court delays is that people are forced to enter into plea agreements to make the case go away.  According to The New York Times, 97 percent of federal cases and 94 percent of state cases end in plea bargains.  The implications are that the courts are not used for the adjudication of cases and deciding who is guilty or innocent, but for deal making.  Rather, the courts become what the American Bar Association, the National Legal Aid and Defender Association and others refer to as a “McJustice” system — one which operates based on the assembly line principles of a fast-food restaurant.  For the indigent it means there is a premium placed on expediency over high-quality treatment.

“The truth is that what happens when you have this kind of delay is people end up with an unconscionable choice to come back in to court every month for 833 days — which is a form of punishment — or plead guilty.  There is no way to end this punishment unless you plead guilty,” Steinberg said.  “Clients continually miss work, miss childcare, miss appointments. It is the system’s best way to extract a guilty plea.”

The Bronx Defender chief shared that when public  defenders advocate to their client to stick it out longer and wait, their clients — faced with the torture of court delays — have a right to take the plea, and often do.

Although this lawsuit is about the Bronx courts, and by extension the state of New York, this is a case with national implications.  There are other jurisdictions like the Bronx.  For example, in downstate Illinois, which does not include the Chicago area, 56 percent of pending misdemeanor cases were over a year old as of 2014, according to the Bronx Defenders.  In North Carolina, 16.5 percent of all pending misdemeanor cases were over a year old, while 7.7 percent were older than 731 days, according to the state’s 2014-2015 Judicial Report.  Moreover, even in a state with a better track record such as Wisconsin, 19 percent of misdemeanor cases are pending more than 180 days, with 95 percent of the cases taking 360 days before resolution.  The state guidelines say that only 5 percent should be pending for that long.

“People need to keep their eyes on this because it is a national problem,” Steinberg emphasized.  “People need to pay attention and defenders need to pay attention because our clients’ lives are deeply impacted,” and their humanity is not being acknowledged, she argued.

It is no accident that the Bronx is the poorest borough of New York City and the poorest county in New York state.  Further, the South Bronx is the poorest congressional district in the entire nation, according to the U.S. Census, with 38 percent of people living below the poverty line, including 49 percent of children.  Bronx also has the highest proportion of people of color of any county in the state, with a population that is 43 percent Black and 55 percent Latino, with whites accounting for 10 percent of the county, according to the most recent Census figures.  Not surprisingly, 95 percent of Bronx misdemeanor arraignments involve people of color, the highest percentage in the city.

Meanwhile, those poor and Black people who are subjected to a dysfunctional and unresponsive court system are the ones facing the massive and frivolous arrests, heavy-handed monitoring and racial profiling by the police.  In recent years, the New York City Police Department has come under fire for a stop-and-frisk policy that has ensnared hundreds of thousands of city residents, typically Black and Latino young men.  As a lawsuit filed against the NYPD by the Center for Constitutional Rights revealed, 85 percent of those targeted by these “suspicionless and racially pretextual stop and frisks” are Black and Latino, who make up 52 percent of the city’s population. According to the New York Civil Liberties Union, more than 4 million New Yorkers have been subjected to police stops and interrogations since 2002, with nine of 10 people being completely innocent.

Ultimately, Steinberg believes this is an issue that will resonate among the public, even among those who are far removed from the court system.

“People will be shocked by this.  It is something that is relatable — even if you aren’t touched by the criminal justice system and live in an affluent white community — because it is such a basic issue of a right to a trial,” she said.

“If I have to go to the department of motor vehicles for one day I am outraged,” Steinberg offered. “Imagine if you have to go every day for three-and-a-half years.  You see this playing out as people struggle to keep their heads above water. They’re living with the economic and psychological toll of this hanging on their heads.”

Hundreds of Protestors Close Ports Down To Protest Hiring Practices There

By Michael Hill
Correspondent

“Newark is here! We’re ready to work! We work or nobody works,” said Newark Mayor Ras Baraka.

Baraka made good on his promise and led a protest at the Port of Newark, first shutting down one lane of truck traffic and then all lanes on Corbin Street outside the Maher Terminal where he tried to deliver job applications from Newark residents. Port Authority Police watched. Some truckers became hopeless and turned around. Some port workers yelled, “Go back to Newark” and “Run the animals over!”

But, the mayor and hundreds of protesters who came by buses were undeterred as he held court in the middle of the road.

“Guy hit me up on Twitter said you should be worried about crime. I said I am that’s why I’m worried about jobs,” said Baraka said.

The mayor has asked the Justice and Labor departments to investigate and accuses the International Longshoremen’s Association and the New York Shipping Association of denying full-time jobs to Newark residents and said these Newarkers got temporary jobs but were not called back while counterparts from another town were.

“And all that we ask as citizens of the great city we call Newark is the opportunityto be a part of the greatest job opportunity that the great city of Newark has to offer,” Newark resident Alan Gates said.

In response to the mayor, the ILA’s president wrote: “Historically, the percentage of longshore workers who live in Newark has fluctuated. Even though many Newark residents have been hired for these jobs over the years, many of them have decided to move themselves and their families to other areas of New Jersey and New York to experience a different lifestyle.”

The city of Newark and the Waterfront Commission say the hiring numbers here are disappointing and staggering.

The commission was formed to combat corrupt hiring practices and it says as of March 1, this was the ethnic breakdown of the nearly 1,600 Port of Newark maintenance workers: 40 black, 252 Hispanic and 1,281 white — all men.

In a statement, the Waterfront Commission told us, “The Waterfront Commission has been tirelessly fighting to secure waterfront job opportunities for minorities and residents from Port communities. While our efforts have resulted in an overall increase in minority hiring, the practices of the New York Shipping Association, Inc. (NYSA) and the International Longshoremen’s Association, AFL-CIO (ILA), and others continue to result in an incredible lack of diversity in waterfront employment.”

The ILA said the mayor knows what it stands for and has accepted its $9,000 in contributions to his political war chest. Its president said, “The longshore industry is committed to a discrimination-free waterfront” and “Mayor Baraka presents multiple claims to create the appearance of nonexistent racial discrepancies”

And the Shipping Association, which does the hiring, says the most recent numbers paint a much different picture than the mayor’s.

But, these Newark residents cheered on their mayor’s employment quest.

“We have to say if we can’t get employed there’s going to be hell to pay down there at that port until they start opening up their doors to all Newark residents in this city,” said Baraka.

They vowed this is not the last protest here, it’s the first.

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