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By Elliot Booker — 3 years ago
On the hot summer night on of July 12, 1967, two white policemen in Newark, New Jersey, arrested an African-American cabdriver named John Smith for “tailgating” and driving in the wrong direction. The police also accused Smith of physical assault and using offensive language. Race relations had been growing more tense over the year as Newark Mayor Hugh Addonizio announced a series of decisions that had angered the African-American community.Some of the residents who were living across the street from where the arrest took place walked out of their homes to watch the incident. Smith was badly beaten. As the police hauled him to the Fourth Precinct station, word spread within the community about what was happening. African-American taxi drivers sent out reports through their radios. A crowd slowly gathered to monitor and protest Smith’s treatment. Word quickly spread about the arrest and what was taking place inside the station.A total of five days of brutal rioting rocked Newark. There were violent clashes between the rioters and the National Guard, who were instructed to use their weapons whenever necessary. One African American man recalled that, as a child living through the riots, “my mother was so afraid, because she has eight kids, she had us under the bed hiding. I remember bullets and stuff coming through.”When the riots ended on July 17, there were 26 people dead and hundreds injured. But this was not the end of chaos for the country. The riots in Newark were followed by equally devastating riots in Detroit and several other smaller cities across the nation.On July 23, undercover police in Detroit raided an unlicensed bar where a crowd of working class African-Americans had gathered to welcome home some returning Vietnam War veterans. The raid sparked five days of rioting. After the police rounded up 82 people, a crowd surrounded the police and yelled: “Black power. Don’t let them take our people away.”Violence quickly escalated as the officers took the men to jail, and President Johnson signed an order authorizing federal troops to intervene. Forty-three people died, more than a thousand were injured; about seven thousand were arrested.When the Detroit riots ended, the nation was stunned by what had occurred in this turbulent month. The promise of civil rights progress seemed to have fallen apart.Soon after the Kerner Commission produced its shocking report, Richard Nixon was elected President and national politics moved in a more conservative direction. Rather than focusing on reforming our criminal justice system to achieve racial justice, the nation focused on President Nixon’s call to “law and order”– which entailed more punitive policies and sentencing, the militarization of local police forces, and the expansion of the carceral system.The fiftieth anniversary of these riots is a troubling reminder of the distance that we have not traveled as a nation since the 1960s. Some of the same problems that were evident when violence shook the streets of Newark remain with us today.It would be wrong to say that the nation has not made any improvements since July of 1967. There have been reforms to policing, public attitudes about race have changed, and the growth of African-American representation has changed the political dynamics surrounding these issues.In recent years, these issues received renewed attention when citizens used their smartphones to capture videos of police engaging in violent and lethal behavior against African-American men. The videos spawned the most robust civil rights movement that we have seen in decades with Black Lives Matter, which put criminal justice front and center on the national agenda. Toward the end of President Obama’s term there was even evidence that a bipartisan coalition was taking form to push for legislation addressing this problem.But after the movement built momentum, national politics once again moved in a different direction with the election of President Trump. The problems exposed with the images from Ferguson, Staten Island, Cincinnati and elsewhere have not been addressed. The recent court decisions that freed several police officers involved in the shooting of African-Americans offered further evidence for many civil rights advocates that the final years of the Obama presidency did not bring as much progress as they hoped they would.Follow CNN Opinion
Like Richard Nixon, President Trump pushed the national debate about policing in a very different direction. He expressed little sympathy for civil rights advocates and has been vocal about the need to provide full and unquestioning support for existing police and carceral institutions. There is little evidence that reform efforts at the local level are making any headway, either, as was evident with the recent decisions on police incidents that occurred.As a result, we still live with many of the conditions that afflicted African-Americans fifty years ago. The Kerner Commission warned that if we did not take action the situation would only deteriorate and anger would continue to explode into violence. Policymakers and elected officials might want to take a look back at what the report had to say about the outbursts in Newark and Detroit, for their findings are still extremely relevant in our current era.To read more Click or Copy link: http://www.cnn.com/2017/07/11/opinions/newark-riots-opinion-zelizer/index.htmlPost Views: 491
By Elliot Booker — 4 years agoBy Furious
Harlem World – LiveSteez research shows that Black churches, in aggregate, have collected more than $420 billion in tithes and donations since 1980. With a Senate investigation into the finances of several mega churches underway, the “Prosperity Movement” has been the target of mounting criticism from inside and outside the Black Church. Specifically, the affluent ministries of The Reverend Creflo Dollar, Bishop Eddie Long and others have drawn the attention – and ire – of some clergy and laypeople alike.
Researcher Henry E. Felder’s study of Blacks’ donation habits demonstrated per capita spending of $508 per year in 2009 dollars. Another source, Tyler Media Services, estimated that Black Church revenue approached $17 billion in 2006.
One church, the Reverend Dollar’s World Changers, reported $69 million in 2006 income, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution. Mainstream politicians and Black community leaders are demanding a better accounting of the “return on investment” offered by churches to the communities that fund them. Meanwhile, legions of faithful churchgoers defend their pastors and accuse their detractors of applying a double standard that ignores the largesse of wealthy, white televangelists, while underplaying the economic development and social service functions provided by the Black Church.
“The church has gotten caught up in materialism and greed, a lifestyle. Many ministers today want to live like celebrities and they want to be treated like celebrities. In other words, instead of the church standing with the community, the church has become self-serving. It has strayed away from its mission” according to Dr.Love Henry Whelchel, professor of church history at The Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta.Few people – not even the ongoing Congressional investigation by Senator Chuck Grassleyaccuse the mega church pastors of outright larceny, and congregants generally approve of their pastors’ luxurious lifestyles. However, in a blatant recent example, a father-son pastor team, 76-year-old Richard Cunningham of Moreno Valley and his son, 52-year-old Philip Cunningham of Laurinburg, N.C., pleaded guilty to felony grand theft and fraud charges. The younger Cunningham also pleaded guilty to forgery. Over five years, prosecutors say, the Cunninghams stole from Calvary Baptist Yorba Linda Church and School bank accounts and used the money to buy time shares in Hawaii and Palm Springs, golf club memberships and a Cadillac. Prosecutors say the men have paid $3.1 million in restitution to the church.
LiveSteez’s investigative series will take a forensic editorial approach to quantifying the return to Black America for the $350 billion in tax-favored donations it has given to the Black Church, examining the arguments on both sides of the pulpit. In this series we will seek answers and advisory to the following questions:
– How often and how much do church leaders take advantage of the faith of poor black people?
-We will investigate and indentify the churches they are showing a strong return on investment that goes beyond inspiration.
– What does the black community have to show for the $350 billion in tax free dollars?
– Expert analysis on what could potentially be done with such a huge amount of money and how it could improve the state of our communities.
– Why do some church leaders refuse to participate in the Grassley congressional Investigation, which requested the financial records of several mega-churches.Post Views: 640
By Elliot Booker — 3 years agoThe presumptive mayor, supported by national progressives including Bernie Sanders devotees and Democracy for America, did not mince words when it came to the need to increase prosperity throughout the city instead of in just parts of it. “We have two options,” Lumumba told his crowd to loud cheers. “We have the option of economics by the people and for the people or economics by a few people for themselves. And so we’re making the decision that we’re going to have a solidarity economy that works for all of Jackson.”Post Views: 557