Left to Right: Malik Shabazz, Amy Jenkins, and Roussan Etienne. Jr. presenting arguments before the Board of Elections
Washington, DC — DC’s Mayor Bowser, Council Member Anita Bonds, and DC’s Attorney General Racine, have not shown support for the proposed Recovery Act for Living Descendants of American Slaves, which does not depend on government funding, and seeks compensation from former entities that used slave labor or participated in slavery.
DC’s Attorney General, went further last week and filed an opposition to have the proposed DC Recovery Act to be on the ballot for voters to determine if it should become law.
At the Board of Election Hearing last week, African American leaders, John Cheeks and Jerry Owens of the United States Citizens Recovery Initiative Alliance (USCRIA.Com) Attorney Malik Z. Shabazz, Amy Jenkins, and others, in a capacity filled room, spoke in support of the proposed law, also supported by Congressman John Conyers though he did not attend; in attempts to have the Board’s approval for the proposed law to be placed on the ballot.
Malik Shabazz Esq of Black Lawyers for Justice stated, “We hope that all barriers are soon crossed so to clear a path for his [ for Mr. Cheeks] referendum to be placed on the ballot for 2018.”
Amy Jenkins, “The DC Recovery Act attempts to make whole living descendants of African American slaves, and for this we will fight for recovery under the DC Recovery Act.” She pointed out that the Constitution was created by white men who favored land owners and themselves and did not allow Africans to vote.
Jerry Owens: “The DC Recovery Act is indeed the rising tide that will lift all ships,”
After hearing supporters, the Board Chairman determined a decision was not to be made at this Hearing because of concerns by board members and the Attorney General, the Act may be unlawful. The Board gave Mr. Cheeks and his counsel time to submit a brief defending the legality of the proposed law to be placed on the ballot.
DC Mayor and DC Council Members are also out of step with Mr. Cheeks efforts in the courts to improve contracting opportunities for African Americans, by ending a 20-year virtual monopoly of District road construction contacts by alleged racketeering Fort Myer’s construction companies controlled by the Rodrigues-Shrensky families.
Cheeks’ attempts, in Court, to open bidding on road construction contracts to fair and open competition which would need procurement reform, that would allow African Americans opportunities to obtain District construction contracts has not had the support of the Mayor, and Council Member Anita Bonds, despite the fact Mr. Cheeks publicly stated a sizeable amount of Court settlement proceeds would be used to assist African Americans and others in the District of Columbia.
Both of these African American elected officials appear to have ties and loyalty to Fort Myer even though Fort Myer was to pay $900,000 for discrimination “which resulted in lower wages for African Americans and harassment of minorities” according to the Department of Labor.
Mayor Bowser recently demonstrated her loyalty to Fort Myer, when she allegedly had two government employees fired who refused to give contracts to Fort Myer, according to Court documents filed by the employees. City Council Member, Mary Cheh initiated and is continuing investigative hearings behind closed doors concerning the Mayor’s involvement
Further exacerbating African American unemployment in the city, the Mayor has not enforced legislation requiring Fort Myer‘s companies to hire required amounts of Washington, DC employees, which would likely be African Americans. Only a small fraction of Fort Myer’s labor is from DC, most are from Maryland and Virginia.
Both Mayor Bowser and Anita Bonds are on public record of receiving sizeable campaign donations from Fort Myer. Anita Bonds is also a former executive of Fort Myer.
It appears African American elected officials are at odds with African American leaders and may have differing objectives, in pursuing social progress for African Americans.
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If you truly knew what the N-word meant to our ancestors, you’d NEVER use it. It was used and still can be used to make us hate ourselvesBy Elliot Booker — 2 years ago
A few years ago, I read slave narratives to explore the lives of black agricultural workers after the end of the Civil War. The narratives came from the Federal Writers Project of the Works Progress Administration, a program that employed researchers from 1936 to 1938 to interview former enslaved people, producing more than 2,300 narratives that, thankfully, reside online and are fully searchable.
Those whom the law defined as property recounted various unique human experiences — their daily horrors and monotonies, how they freed themselves or learned of their emancipation, the surge of exhilaration upon securing freedom, and how they endured life on the edges of a white supremacist society in the decades thereafter.
As I pored over the narratives, I was struck less by their experiences, as heartrending as they were, than by how their experiences sculpted their self-perceptions. The best explanation of what I gleaned, what social scientists called internalized oppression, describes the psychological trauma that ensues when a person from a stigmatized group believes those negative stigmas.
White folk indoctrinated them into accepting their supposed inferiority. These narratives illustrate the success of this campaign of mental terrorism, and no word conveyed the depth of this internalized oppression more than “nigger.” Now, whenever I hear the epithet, a visual and emotional representation of the heinous process by which a people — my people — were induced to think they were less than trespasses into my thoughts. After years of habitual use of “nigger,” I banished it from my speech to honor the humanity that many never saw in themselves.
The internalized oppression revealed itself in various ways. Sometimes the former enslaved people clearly, perhaps subconsciously, considered themselves subhuman, just like how their former owners regarded them. Jim Allen, for example, dubbed himself his master’s “pet nigger boy” and a “stray” and thought himself privileged because he could sleep on the floor beside his master’s bed. That he likened himself to a fortunate mangy mutt or frisky feline crushed me. The word laid bare a worldview that held black folk as a lower order of being, as when Irene Robertson claimed her former master Mr. Sanders was mean, in part, because “he beat his wife like he beat a nigger woman.”
“Nigger” also signaled antipathy toward fellow black folk. After the end of slavery, Mattie Mooreman went north to Wisconsin with a white family for whom she worked. Members of the family wanted her to go to the circus to watch a black boy’s performance. She told her interviewer, “Guess they thought it would be a treat to me to see another niggah. I told ’em, ‘Law, don’t you think I see lots, lots more than I wants, every day when I is at home?’ ” But read how she talks about the family’s baby, whom she constantly watched over, fearing, irrationally, someone would kidnap him: “No matter what time they come home they’d find me there. ‘Why don’t you go in your bedroom and lie down?’ they’d ask me. ‘No,’ I’d tell ’em, ‘somebody might come in, and they would have to get that baby over my dead body.” Her eyes fixated on the white baby, but she saw too many niggers.
A barrage of dispiriting uses of the word bloodied me as I combed through the narratives. “The Ku Klux kept the niggers scared.” “The Ku Klux did a whole lot to keep the niggers away from the polls. …” Slaves owned by “nice” masters are repeatedly called “free niggers.” “Niggers ain’t got no sense. Put ’em in authority and they gits so uppity.” “I’se just a poor old nigger waitin’ for Jesus to come and take me to heaven.” Slave traders are called “nigger traders.” Defiant enslaved people required the service of a “niggerbreaker.” “Nigger dogs” aided the recapture of those who escaped.
Perhaps more depressing, ironically, was that circumstances sometimes led them to opt against calling a black person a nigger. William Porter stated that “some of the Tennessee niggers was called free niggers. There was a colored man in Pulaski, Tennessee, who owned slaves.” A black man who kept others in bondage — he’s a “colored man,” yet those who were owned were “niggers.” I instantly thought of a moment from the O.J.: Made in America documentary when a white woman who saw black people talking to Simpson uttered, “Look at those niggers sitting with O.J.” Simpson delights in hearing this because she “knew I wasn’t black. She saw me as O.J.” Porter’s outlook matched that of both the racist white woman and the unspeakably racially deranged O.J.
Since reading those narratives, I’ve noticed this mindset when perusing the remarks of freed people in other contexts. For example, before the trial of Rufus Martin, a black man who stood accused of the 1903 murder of Charles Swackhammer, a woman whom the Fort Worth Star-Telegram referred to as an “old negress who occupied a front seat in the court room” bellowed:
It’s the white people that is to blame. They know that they got to make niggahs work or they ain’t no good and they know as long as they ‘low niggah men to loaf aroun’ low down saloons they ain’t goin’ to work. This man come from a good niggah fam’ly — one of the best I knows of, but the p’lice ‘lowed him to loaf aroun’ without workin’, and to drink and gamble, till he just got to be no good and thought he didn’t have to work. The p’lice ought to raid them low down niggah saloons every day and every night till they make every blessed one of the niggah toughs go to work or else send ’em all to the county road. Them saloons is what makes bad niggahs and the white folks is to blame for it, ’cause they let ’em run.
That Martin sported a reddish mustache, light hair and skin so bright he could pass for white almost certainly colored her perception that Martin came from a “good niggah fam’ly.”
Black folk rescued the word from the smoldering debris of a virulently racist land, reclaimed it and renovated the slur into a celebration of black comradery — defenders of contemporary usage of “nigger” repeat this. When this tale collides with reality, however, it shatters as a misreading of history — the current use of the word is owed less to white folk calling black folk “nigger” and more to black folk who thought they were niggers and said so. Black people have hurled the infamous word for nearly as long as white folk have. It exists within black speech now because it existed within black speech then. The uncomfortable truth must be confronted: Absent the internalized oppression of those who called white men and women their masters, “nigger” would probably not be a part of black folk’s lexicon. We black folk are reclaiming it not from bigoted white folk but from our ancestors, who, sadly, deemed their blackness a badge of inferiority.
I seek not to usher the word to the gallows. I harbor no aims to kill it. I can still bump a Young Thug track or chortle at a Dave Chappelle routine. “Nigger” does not bar my enjoyment of popular culture. My soul, though, winces whenever I hear it. The decision for black people to include it in their vocabulary, nonetheless, remains personal, and I reject the criticism of black folk who continue to wield it.
I write only to summon the words of former enslaved people from beyond the grave to express that “nigger” is haunted by the ghosts of hate and the more spiritually chilling ghosts of self-hate.
Brando Simeo Starkey is an associate editor at The Undefeated and the author of In Defense of Uncle Tom: Why Blacks Must Police Racial Loyalty. He crawled through a river of books and came out brilliant on the other side.Post Views: 303
By Elliot Booker — 2 years ago
How black Americans defy religious stereotypes—and navigate race relations in historically white, European spaces.
In the wake of this summer’s white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops decided to create a new, ad hoc committee against racism. According to Anthea Butler, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, it is the U.S. Church’s first major effort to deal with race since 1979.
This is an appropriate moment for the Church to confront this issue. In August, The Washington Post reported that an Arlington, Virginia, priest named William Aitcheson had been arrested in the ’70s for burning crosses and threatening African American and Jewish families as a member of the Ku Klux Klan—and he never paid restitution or apologized to the victims. More broadly, the Church is increasingly experiencing divisions over politics along racial lines: In the 2016 election, 56 percent of white Catholics voted for Trump, compared to only 19 percent of Hispanic Catholics, according to the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University.
But racial struggles in the Catholic Church are not just about white versus black or white versus Hispanic. Many black Catholics have struggled over their identity in the Church, writes Matthew Cressler, an assistant professor of religious studies at the College of Charleston, in his new book, Authentically Black and Truly Catholic. In the mid-20th century, the big question was how to reconcile the universal message of a Church that claims to transcend race with evidence that it is a “white racist institution,” as activists put it.
This struggle to be “authentically black and truly Catholic” took many forms, Cressler writes. Some African Americans were attracted to the quiet formality of a traditional mass. Others found ways to incorporate African iconography into church spaces: At one “Black Unity Mass” in 1969, Chicago priests stood before an altar draped in a tiger skin and decorated with an African shield.
Cressler’s goal, he said, is to show the diversity of black religious experience in America—including upending stereotypes about what it means to be Catholic, and what it means to be black. Our conversation has been condensed and edited for clarity.
Emma Green: You write that Americans tend to see Catholicism as a historically white religion. How did that come to be?Matthew Cressler: When I tell people that I study black Catholics, most kind of blink their eyes and go, “What?” We assume Catholicism is European in its essence, and that black people are Protestants. But the majority of black Christians in the Western hemisphere are actually Catholic, and the majority of Catholics in the Western hemisphere and the Americas are not white.
The first black Catholics came to the Americas when the first Catholics came, in the 16th century. But you also have this explosion of black Catholic conversions as African Americans encounter white European Catholics during the Great Migration.
Green: I’m interested in the power dynamics of this encounter. What were race relations among Catholics like during and after the Great Migration?
Cressler: “Tension” is a good word. “Conflict” is a good word. African Americans come to Chicago and other dominantly Catholic cities in large numbers. Neighborhoods that were once white and Catholic become largely black and non-Catholic fairly quickly. White Catholic priests, sisters, and laypeople could leave these big churches behind. They can try to keep black migrants out of their churches—and there’s a movement to do that, where white priests are at the forefront of resistance to black migration.
But the people I focus on are these white missionaries who say, “We have to convert these non-Catholics to Catholicism and save our parishes by filling the pews with black converts.”
“What you’ve been doing is training us to be Irish Catholics and German Catholics.”
Green: After this first wave of conversions, there’s a backlash—a movement to recognize the Catholic Church as a “white, racist institution” and create authentically black communities. You almost describe it as a bid to take ownership of traditionally white spaces.
What’s behind this?
Cressler: When white missionaries are introducing Catholicism to migrants, they don’t think they’re introducing them to white Catholicism or Irish Catholicism. They think they’re introducing the one, true, universal Church that transcends race. And the majority of black converts to Catholicism—that’s how they understand it as well.
Over the course of the 1960s, with the rise of the Black Power movement, a small but growing group of black Catholic activists start to look critically at this history and say, “Well, actually, you’ve been telling us that the Catholic Church is universal. But what you’ve been doing is training us to be Irish Catholics and German Catholics.”
Green: This sets up a key identity struggle between a universalistic notion of the Catholic Church and a yearning for a distinctive black identity. How did that play out?
Cressler: This split the black Catholic community down the middle. You have a generation of African Americans who converted to Catholicism because they’re drawn to that claim to universality. And then you have a movement saying, “As black people in America, we can’t be truly Catholic unless we can be our true selves.” There’s a whole range of what that means: integrating African practices and symbols and iconography into Catholic life, or including Afro-Protestant practices like gospel music and liturgical dance.
It’s a tension that is going on in the Catholic community across racial groups in the ’60s as a result of the Second Vatican Council.
“The notion of the Black Church … has largely become equivalent to what it means to be black and religious.”
Green: I was surprised by this connection you draw between the Second Vatican Council and the rise of the Black Power movement. Explain that to me?
Cressler: During the first half of the 20th century, you get a rise in the black Catholic population by over 200 percent, and you also have a shift in the center of black Catholic populations from the coastal South to the urban North, where the seeds of the Black Power movement are planted.
Catholics, at the beginning of the Second Vatican Council, are beginning to get more leeway in terms of experimentation in ritual practice. That’s happening at the same time that ideas about what it means to be black are coming to fruition in the Black Power movemen, with people saying, “We are connected to African-descended people from across the world. What it means to be black is to be rooted in this Afro-Protestant, black-church tradition. What it means to be black is to have this distinctively black spirituality.” In the context of the Second Vatican Council, what it means to be Catholic is to integrate those things into Catholic life.
Green: You write that there are 3 million African American Catholics in the U.S., which means there are more black Catholics than members of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, which would probably surprise a lot of people.
I think this underscores your point that a lot of people make incorrect assumptions about what it means to be religious and black in America. Why do people tend to associate black, American Christianity with a certain type of charismatic Protestant worship?
Cressler: The majority of black people in the U.S. who are religious are, in fact, Protestant Christians. And at least in the 20th century, a majority of Catholics in the U.S. were the descendants of European immigrants, although that’s increasingly not the case in the 21st century. So the assumption has some demographic backing behind it.
But in the American popular imagination, the notion of the Black Church—capital B, capital C—has largely become equivalent to what it means to be black and religious. I’m trying to show the dynamism and diversity of black religious life, beyond the boundaries of the traditional black church.
The conflict in this is that, come the 1960s and ’70s, when black Catholics become inspired by the Black Power movement, some black Catholics actually say, “Well, to be authentically black means to be part of the black church.” Black Catholics, over the 20th century, both challenge this notion of the black church as the only way that black people are religious and also ironically reinforce the notion.
“‘Why am I going to leave? This is my Church, not yours.’”
Green: Given all of these identity struggles, why would black people stay in the Catholic Church?
Cressler: That’s the question, isn’t it? One of the people I talk about a lot in the book is Father George Clements, who was one of many black Catholic activists who was constantly asked this question. There are black sisters, black priests, and black laypeople in the ’60s and ’70s who are these rabble-rousers, trying to transform what it means to be Catholic. And they’re constantly having this thrown at them by people who object to their expression of Catholicism: “If you don’t like it, why don’t you leave?”
Clements says, “Why am I going to leave? This is my Church, not yours.”
The book is entitled Authentically Black and Truly Catholic, but the notion of authenticity is really operating on both sides of that equation—black and Catholic. What black Catholics like Father Clements would argue is that they are expressing a true and authentic mode of Catholicism. Since Augustine of Hippo, black and Catholic people have always been members of the Church, and the notion that Catholicism is a white religion is a perversion.
Their work is really a work of redemption and salvation, where they’re trying to save an institution that they see as theirs. And they see themselves as having no greater or lesser a claim on it than any other member of the Catholic community.Post Views: 303
By Elliot Booker — 3 years ago
Did you know that half of all Americans will eventually be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lives? In other words, it’s only a matter of chance whether you will or won`t be one of those people.
According to World Health Organisation (WHO), cancer takes 7.6 million lives every year, which makes it one of the leading causes of death. It is believed that deaths of cancer will continue to rise over 13.1 million by 2030.
For over 60 years that market has been tapped into Western medical treatment centers, which provide chemotherapy and radiation to help shrink cancer tumors. Like we’re told, cancer is random, it’s genetic, and sooner or later, it’s going to get us.
However, more and more studies suggest that accumulation of toxins in the body is the underlying cause of cancer, as it reduces cell oxygenation, damages the DNA, causes inflammation, and leads to hormone imbalance. Therefore, dealing with these toxins and diminishing their effect is the first step towards preventing its development.
Recently, multiple studies started focusing on the use of herbs for cancer prevention, even using them along with Western medical treatment.
The idea that simple plants or herbs can have anti-cancer effects is sometimes a controversial subject. Although many people have experienced their benefits, there are still a great many skeptics. For every person who believes that herbs and plants can slow or even kill cancer cells, there is another who will only believe in the merits of chemotherapy.
Here’s a list of best 10 herbs for preventing and treating cancer and how to use them:
Wheatgrass is considered a detoxifying medical herb. Health benefits include improving red blood cell count and neutralizes environmental pollutants within the body. Also, wheatgrass shows benefits in cancer prevention.
You can use wheatgrass by juicing it daily in 2oz shots. Using wheatgrass during chemotherapy has been beneficial and may reduce symptoms of myelotoxicity. Plus, wheatgrass helps to alkalize the body.
2.Grape seed extract
Several studies have shown that the phytochemicals known as proanthocyanidins in grape seeds have anti-tumor or strong potential cancer preventative abilities that can be isolated from the seeds themselves. Also, they have been found to stop cancer cells from spreading or migrating.
Grape seed extract fights pollution and Candida within our digestive tract. This extract can be found at your holistic vitamin shop and used according to directions.
3.Burdock root (Arctium lappa)
Recent research shows that burdock root is very effective at removing cancer-causing toxins that accumulate in our digestive systems when certain foods are not properly digested. There are several anti-cancer herbal compounds that have used burdock root as a base including “Essiac tea formula” and “Hoxsey formula”.
Because of its strong blood purifying properties, burdock root can stop cancer cells from metastasizing. Burdock root extract can be found at your holistic vitamin shop and used according to directions.
Licorice detoxifies the liver and is a soothing herb with anti-inflammatory properties. It may also be used for the treatment of Candida albicans. Licorice root contains polyphenols that encourage apoptosis (automatic death) in cancer cells. Licorice regulates the production of hormones from your adrenal glands, and it reduces stress chemicals. Chronic stress often triggers the growth of cancer cells. You can use it as a tea mixed with a teaspoon of organic raw honey.
Research from a number of cancer centers including the Royal Marsden has shown its potential as a part of a treatment program against estrogen driven cancers, from breast, uterine, to the prostate. Red clover contains an active ingredient known as genistein, responsible for its anti-estrogen activity. Red clover is another ingredient in “Hoxsey formula”.
Red clover supplements are available in most health food stores as tablets, capsules or in a tincture. Dried red clover leaves are often brewed into a tea with a typical daily dose being about 4 grams of dried red clover to 30 milliliters of water.
Externally, it has been used as a home remedy for skin cancer and is possibly the most well-known anti-cancer herb around. There have been several publications showing that bloodroot has the potential to be a powerful anticancer agent. Bloodroot (Sanguinaria Canadensis) has been shown in several studies to have consistent anti-neoplastic activity; it can shrink tumors and has shown itself to be useful when dealing with sarcomas.
For internal use, mix one teaspoon bloodroot in 250 ml warm water and let it stay for 15 minutes. Drink a half of the tea in the morning and the other half in the evening.
There has been strong evidence lately that dandelion root can inhibit the development and growth of numerous types of cancer, including stopping their metastasizing capabilities. A study done in 2008 provided some scientific proof that dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) extracts had anti-cancer compounds.
Dandelion root tea or capsules can be found at your holistic vitamin shop and used according to directions.
The extracts from mistletoe (Viscum album) is one of the most commonly used oncological drug in Europe. It’s been used as an overall treatment for cancer for years. In one study that involved more than 10,000 cancer patients, mistletoe extract was shown to prolong the survival time of cancer patients. Amazingly, this study showed that the overall survival time of the group that took mistletoe extract was as much as 40% longer.
Mistletoe can be found at your holistic vitamin shop and used according to directions. Also, there are some products that come from mistletoe extract, especially Iscador, which is one of the most commonly used in Europe.
Echinacea is one of the most widely used alternative medicine in the world. It is said to have Cytotoxic effects. The Echinacea plant has been hailed for its ability to help the body heal itself from the common cold. Also, it is used to relieve anxiety and chronic fatigue. Echinacea has been available for years in supplements and extract form and can be used about 2 to 3 times a day. Echinacea can be also consumed as a tea.
Watercress this aquatic plant increases detoxification enzymes in the body and contains phytonutrients that have successfully inhibited carcinogens. Watercress in extract form proved to be significantly protective against colon cancer. In a study at the Norwich Food Research Center in the United Kingdom, “smokers were given watercress which eliminated higher carcinogens in their urine. Dietary factors contribute to the regional variation of stomach cancer and offer clues for further prevention research. Watercress can be found at your holistic vitamin shop and used according to directions.
Note: In order to fight cancer, you can use a combination of the herbs mentioned above!
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