Tag Archives: Police Brutality

Dealing with Trauma in amerikka

I took a much needed break from organizing for a few days. The excuse was that I was moving, and while that was actually the case, the truth is that the police violence has had a much greater toll on me than I would have liked to admit. 
I didn’t realize how wound up I was until I was walking down the street to the store and discovered that I could neither keep my eyes nor my head still as I scanned every car and every face for an impending threat. I was doing this subconsciously. When I finally realized I was suffering from trauma was when two little Chiwawa sized dogs barked at me and I damn near jumped out of my skin. Heart racing, palms sweating, head throbbing, and ready to fight whatever was coming.
I have this emotional valve that allows me to shut down my emotions in moments of crises to focus on the tasks at hand. It can be a doubled-edged sword at times because sometimes when people are looking for an emotional response I may be pragmatic and practical, even logical and seemingly heartless when confronting and addressing an issue. Nonetheless, there always comes a point after the threat has subsided that when it is safe my emotions surface. When the ancle-biters had me fearing for my life was that moment.
Being a Black man in amerikkka, even with the light-skinned privilege I have, is a constantly traumatic experience. In addition to that because I fight for the justice and respect our Peoples deserve, I am often a very visible ‘target’ of those who would suppress and repress. The police attack on innocent, peaceably assembled political dissenters in Phoenix, Arizona on August 22, 2017 was not the first time I have been in a situation of violent state repression. Standing Rock was not an isolated event. These are well-honed strategies of the repressive regime under which we struggle to assert our right to exist. The tear gas, rubber bullets, and flash bombs are not far removed from the fire hoses and attack dogs that Bull Conner unleashed on people in Birmingham in 1963. The state unleashed fire hoses on the people at Standing Rock in below freezing temperatures the night before I arrived, less than a year ago; ain’t nothing changed.
With the emergence of the alt-right and a resurgence of the kkk, it is not only the police we have to worry about–who we can easily identify–but also general citizen looking people who believe they have been sent on a holy mission to exterminate us. So, it makes sense that I am scanning every car and face to analyze who and where a threat may emerge at any given time. It is people like this, in collusion with the state, who have banished, stolen, incarcerated, or killed many of our people who have been outspoken against the oppression we suffer. However, although it makes sense, it does not dismiss the fact that living like this, in constant fear, is traumatic and it takes it’s toll. 
There is nothing that can justify terrorism like this!
My normal response is to exist in a constant state of rage. I am often told that this is unhealthy. I agree. What happened was that as a result of my constant state of tightened awareness and protection, that I put up walls to shield from those I loved most. I could not separate the defensiveness required to survive the state and the fascist from being part of my family. Unknown to me, this trait was generalized to everyone and I reacted to everyone as if they were out to harm or kill me. They weren’t. However, the psychological trauma I was suffering would not make that distinction for me; in survival mode it was occurring subconsciously.
After an emotionally draining fight with my partner and the Chiwawa fiasco I knew a moment of deep reflection wad needed. It was during this time that I got clarity about what was going on inside of me and why. Then, I communes with my ancestors on multiple occasions asking for guidance and to be led. While I sorted through my possessions getting rid of what was no longer needed or necessary, as I scrubbed the gunk from my old apartment, as I hauled all the things from my old residence to the new, and as I have constructed my new place of peace; the same has been happening within my soul.
The struggle we are in is not only physical, but also, and perhaps more so, spiritual. The physical stress takes a toll on my spiritual integrity. Not that I didn’t know, but this experience reaffirms the vitally necessity of continued spiritual health and well-being especially, while I am in a constant struggle against injustice and those who seek to eradicate our people.
Not everyone is my enemy. Those who are not my enemy should not be treated as such. To do so is vastly inconsistent with the world we are working to create. When I recognize that I am undoing the work I have been doing it is my responsibility to pull back and to get regrounded. To be certain, I am still dealing with the trauma of being Black in amerikkka and the response to my being vocal and active against our oppression. There is much work to be done to overcome the harm that has been done to me. However, the last thing I want to do is to revisit the harms laid upon me upon others. Thus, breaking the cycle of oppression is necessary.  This can only be achieved on a spiritual plain and with those who love us. 
Bad energy can become trapped within us and become stagnant and festering, like water that has been choked from flowing. Hatred, fear, and anger are emotions that we all must feel in amerikkka at times, but they are not things that we must hold onto. When we do it shuts us out from the sunlight of the spirit and blocks us from the love those around us have to share. 
I did not want to acknowledge that I was terrified, and so, I held onto it. I had a rage inside of me that I thought would protect me and all it did was lead me to hurt those whom I care the most about. I had to feel those emotions and let them go so that I could have room for the love that truly fuels my actions and nourishes my soul.

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Anti-Trump Protest Phoenix

 

(((Trigger Warning)))

The People, in opposition to fascism, racism, sexism, ablism, genocide, and all out hatred in Phoenix, and we were met with utter violence and repression by the State Regime.

We the People have tremendous power and this terrifies the STATE. We come out with signs and they come with guns, gas, bombs, shields, and plausible deniability.

The People we protesting precisely the type of tyrannical behavior that was wrought down upon us. We had elders, infants, children, disabled people, and other vulnerable folx among us and the police attacked us indiscriminately and without regard.

What this reveals is the power of a message. What this reveals is the power of our unity. What this reveals is how powerful we truly are and how terrified the state of amerikkka is of us.

All Power to the People

____________________________________________________________

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http://www.backbonecampaign.org/renaissance

Can’t Merely Be A Student

I cannot begin to express how much I would love to merely be a student. That the only things I was concerned about were my grades.  For a recovered alcoholic/addict, person who went from being in a gang to living on the street via a stretch in the juvenile prison system, for whom attending the UW was nearly statistically impossible, trust me when I say, I wish I could merely be a student focused on my classes and grades.

But when our people are being slain and executed in the streets on a nearly daily basis nation wide. And my own friends are being profiled, targeted, assaulted, and battered by the UW police, it makes it nearly impossible for me to only be a student focused on my grades. I went from being the valedictorian of one school with an almost 4.0 status to failing classes. Not because I do not know the material and that I do not stay up all hours of the night to make sure I do, but because my assignments when I find the time to work on them in between all the challenges to this white supremacist and racist super structure we call The STATE, they are either late or never get turned in. “If not us, who? If not now, when?” It’s like they want us to continue in the impoverished state of learned helplessness and just accept the way that our people are being treated and devalued. Institutions like the UW are like yes we love and welcome Black people, but check your culture at the door because you are entering into a white space and you might scare the other students. But “to be black and conscious in America is to be in a constant state of rage.” Then they have the audacity to tell us that we are being “uncivilized,” when that is the same rhetoric that justified the extermination of the Indigenous peoples of this land. Ain’t shit changed in the ideologies. They also tell us to wait for a more opportune time but when they say wait it is as if they are saying “never.” Like don’t worry about us abducting your cousin or your mother, raping your sister, pillaging your village, outsourcing your jobs, gentrifying your neighboorhoods, providing mandatory deplorable education then blaming us for not being more intelligent; we will get our shit straight in time. No! This shit has to end now. They keep trying to suppress the problems like that will make them go away. But we all know that is not the case. The police target and kill and go unpunished. The state enslaves our bretheren and profits. The U.S. who promoted the United Nations will still not fully ratify the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights! How can they when it would undermine everything that holds the United States up as a super power of oppression and exploitation, carnage and termoil, of blatant terrorism?

I would love to merely be a student focused on my classes and my grades, but each time I try to do that, the evil hydra that is Amerikka rears one of its ugly heads and strikes out at our people. I just cannot in good conscience shut out the reality of our world the way they want us to.

Speech Delivered to Governor Jay Inslee November 16, 2015

Speech to Governor Inslee Nov. 16, 2015

Before beginning I must first acknowledge that we are on stolen Duwamish and Salish land.

 

Second, I would thank you for making the time to visit us at the University of Washington Governor Inslee.  There are myriad pressing issues you could have selected to devote your time to, but you have chosen to invest your time with us and your concern and interest has not gone unnoticed.  Thank you.

 

Today I am going to speak on issues of equity and how they pertain to the qualities and characteristics of the kind of Board of Regents members we desire here at the University of Washington and why.  Equity is not blind it is very intentional and it differs drastically from equality. Equality as I have come to understand it is like placing everyone from different socio-economic, racial, gender, and citizenship status backgrounds on the same starting line. On the one hand this would seem just and fair because of the concept of equality, but what it lacks is an understanding of preexisting conditions for some that translate into unfair advantages for others. Many of the non-white students here at UW are also first generation college students, which may mean that our families do not possess as much disposable income to assist us in times of need, or that when it comes to academic concerns or administrative issues they are unable or incapable of helping us. Gender is a fluid and evolving concept of identity, but one thing that is certain is that when a student does not fit into a particular definition of gender they face discrimination and marginalization. And citizenship status can often pose an almost insurmountable barrier to affording tuition or other helpful resources, regardless of the reasons a particular individual’s status is in question. These preexisting conditions and many others can make admittance into and successful completion of university programs difficult, if not, nearly impossible for many. Merely placing everyone on the same starting line is simply not enough. On the other hand, equity seeks not to establish a similar starting point rather it seeks to garner similar outcomes regardless of preexisting conditions.

 

Last week students from universities across the country staged demonstrations in solidarity with the students of the University of Missouri who were protesting racial injustices and unfair responses from their administration. The demographics of University of Missouri are not unlike University of Washington, which is also a predominantly white institution; black students make up roughly eight percent and three percent of the undergraduate populations respectively. Earlier this year the students of the University of Washington staged what has been reported as the largest demonstration on campus since the 1960s when we declared a State of Emergency because of the racial and class disparities on campus, and walked out on February 25, 2015. During that demonstration we were subjected to racial epithets and as a result of further reprisals intent to silence our people through violence, which went unpunished, we determined it was necessary to challenge the unjust system of impunity with further demonstrations, much the same as the students at the University of Missouri.

 

These demonstrations are part of a much larger national struggle challenging the racial and class inequities and injustices within institutions such as law enforcement, the prison industrial complex, and education that reemerged onto the agenda of the general public with the Black Lives Matter movement. Police brutality and murder by police officers are major problems because they equate to state sanctioned violence against the people, which is extremely problematic because this violence is perpetuated in the name of and purported to be for the benefit of society. We are members of this society and this treatment is disreputable, and repugnant, humiliating and dehumanizing. Moreover, police brutality, which is nothing new to poor and minority communities is but one of the many factors that constitute the negative preexisting conditions that layer and stack upon each other to consolidate into a system of oppression and inequity.

The School-to-Prison Pipeline is also a major factor contributing to the racial, class, and ethnic disparities that confront many of our communities. People of color and those with mental disabilities are three times more likely to be disciplined while at school. From the ninth grade onward, one suspension or expulsion makes a student over fifty percent more likely to wind up in juvenile detention. Once in juvenile detention they become seventy-five percent more likely to end up in the adult penitentiary system and, once in that system they are more than eighty-five percent likely to return. Many people equate these statistics to inherently ‘bad’ youth, but Michelle Alexander, the author of The New Jim Crow, reveals that there is just as much if not more crime committed by white people. And one of our very own professors at the University of Washington, Katherine Beckett, the author of Making Crime Pay, has shown racial profiling is real and a serious problem even here in Seattle. So, it is not the case that students and people of color are ‘bad,’ but it is the case that we are being punished at disparaging and unfair rates.

 

The prison industrial complex is an institution grounded and founded upon extracting profit from slave labor. The Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which supposedly outlawed slavery made one exception in the case of a person being convicted of committing a “crime.” That short clause provided justification for the creation, expansion, and explosion of the prison labor system. It began with convict leasing to plantations and mines that used to be worked by slaves, and now the prison industrial complex produces products that range from military equipment, to furniture, to home appliances and Correctional Industries’ website looks like any other online shopping website where people can purchase products. More troubling is the relative monopoly that Correctional Industries is granted by Washington State Law. RCW 39.26.251 states that all state agencies which include both universities and colleges must purchase the products made by Class II type prison labor. What this all equates to is an inequitable system of oppression entrenched in our largest and most prestigious institutions, which forms many of the preexisting conditions that stack and layer upon one another to create an inequitable system.

 

I was the president of my high school and the treasurer of North Seattle College and I used to be a business owner and helped the Department of Planning and Development of the City of Seattle revise it Job Order Contracting, so I am very familiar with bureaucratic governmental organizations. I was also part of the Divest UW coalition who for three years negotiated with and challenged the Board of Regents until we won a divestment from coal fire power earlier this year. I was also part of the team that helped draft and pass the City of Seattle City Council Resolution 31614: “Zero Use of Detention for Youth” in Seattle on September 21, 2015. What has been a consistent pattern is the nearly ubiquitous feeling that we as people are not being heard by the representatives that are supposed to be working on our behalf. Our UW President, Ana Mari Cauce, has done a lot to shift that phenomenon and also to address the racial and equity issues at the university, but we must do more. Although, I do not agree with all of the capitalistic and profit driven motives of the institution, I do understand that the university is operating within a capitalist system. Nonetheless, I and the many people I represent find it deplorable to be dehumanized and objectified, being reduced to dollar signs. When a human being is “thingified,” as Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. called it, it dissolves one’s perception of their moral culpability to that individual and that is problematic. We need some Board of Regents members who are not the heads of major corporations, who are leaders in marginalized communities and can represent our concerns. We need Board of Regents members who have a firm understanding of how interlocking and intersecting forms of systemic and structural oppression function to foster inequitable conditions for many people. So that when we bring our grievances we feel heard, are heard, and our concerns are responded to appropriately and in a timely manner. And most importantly, we demand that we are respected as Human Beings.

All Lives (((Don’t))) Matter

Should of seen it comin

&, Hit the ground runnin

in the, opposite direction

Cuz my, life was meaning nothing

To the cops, with the guns in hand

Pop Pop Pop Pop

there we go again

Got another badge of honor

Running cross his shoulder man

But Why it gotta be

Life is valued less than

nonliving property

Things that don’t walk

Things that won’t talk

Things with no soul

Things without heart

Object, by, every sense, of the word

Got more, worth, than a life, that’s absurd!

But, How else, could they, own a human being

Unless, they were, to reduce them to a thing

Sell it, trade it, mate it, complicate it, debated

the price at which it was stated, couldn’t escape, it

was slated as racist, lyin to faces

said if places was traded, justice be weighted

but the coldest shit that I ever did see

Was to make us think that they ended slavery

But have you ever read amendment 13/

When they made an exception

hope you’re peepin the lesson

the Crime clause a justification

to move & arrest’em

to conceal in punishment,

enslavement, investment

Profit from leasing convicts

to mines and plantations

the spine of this nation

Black Belt, Southern tribulations/

Fat Cats, with Fat Pockets

Getting Richer than George Wallace

On, Jim Crow and Politics

While Booker T, was like just take it, we’ll make it

Du Bois, was like fuck these haters

& face hidin KKK’ers, get educated

& Take the ballot box before they encase it/

Cuz Section 2, of the 14th Amendment Stated

and gave basis for felony disenfranchisement

Which was a slap to the faces of the newly liberated/

So this whack ass system, yo, they couldn’t change it

cuz they couldn’t vote to replace it

Black Codes, were the new modes, of enslavement/

Vagrant to chain gangs workin the pavement/

Repayin a debt to society that was never lent; shady

in the first place

Black Wall Street, the first Case/

Tulsa, Oklahoma a metropolis that rivaled New York’s monopolist

With Black Teachers, lawyers, Doctors

Separated from white culture, was obvious

that integration anomalous, like the Battle of Salamis

not analogous to the Freedom Riders in 1961/

Peep game Son of the Sun, Anubis, Akhenaton

Timbuktu, Cairo, Addis Ababa , Abyssinian

Zulu, who knew,

that the negative language in the 15th Amendment

could and would be used for legal lynching and social estrangement

like fuck the arraignment,

went from there’s a tree, “let’s hang’em”

Billy Holiday’s “Strange Fruit” to ghetto assassination

state sanctioned, for those who escaped the New Jim Crow

and prison slave labor

Yo, for real though,

these crooked ass cops ain’t nothing but modern day: SLAVE CATCHERS

You know the Fugitive Slave Clause in the U.S. Constitution

Article IV: Section 2

“No person held to service or labor in one state, under the laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in consequence of any law or regulation therein, be discharged from such service or labor, but shall be delivered up on claim of the party to whom such service or labor may be due.”

Is still in force and on paper

And you cannot even begin to debate it,

that the 3/5 clause in Article I: Section 2 has been erased

when prisoners who cannot vote are still being counted as voters in the states they are caged in

regardless, of whether or not, that was the state from which they originated

so that Congress can have more seats in office

What I am saying is that I should have turned away

because Black Lives, in this nation, with these rules, and these ideological traces

Are valued not on the basis of being human beings

but on the sweat our labor displaces

And if and when we are not consigned to enslavement, our value they attempt to debase it

and that is why cops get away with, emptying cases in our hide on a damn near daily basis

this system is racist

Bridging Community

As it stands now there are approximately 7.3 billion people on the planet who identify with many different religions, nationalities, countries, cultures, economic systems, family structures, political ideologies, and tastes.  The United Nations predicts that by the year 2050 there will be over 9.7 billion people on the earth. To put that figure into perspective because just hearing the difference between seven and nine makes it seem miniscule; that is over eight times the current United States population. People in Seattle, Washington can barely afford their rents as it is now and if we are still following the same supply and demand, ‘invisible hand’ economics that are in effect today, I dread being alive to see the horrendous conditions that are in store for us. It is already being reported that wage gaps this large between the rich and the poor have not been witnessed since the fall of the Roman Empire and it is increasing at an exponential rate.

As if matters were not bad enough with only the population explosion, in addition to that is also the vast environmental degradation and destruction, which is increasingly causing our planet to become uninhabitable. The cumulative impacts of carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere from our collective consumption of fossil fuels in our combustion vehicles, coal fire power plants, fracking plants, and oil burning are occurring simultaneously with the eradication of our forests that are the natural carbon sinks that could have restored the planetary ecosystem to equilibrium. Thus, instead of there being a fluid and efficient carbon cycle, the carbon our practices are releasing is getting stuck in the atmosphere, our public good, which traps in the heat from our Sun and leads to global warming. Global warming and climate change are natural occurrences, scientists and archeologists have confirmed this unequivocally. However, historically speaking, since the Industrial Revolution began in the 19th Century, human ingenuity has dramatically shifted the rate at which the natural process of climate change is occurring.

The net results stretch from rising sea levels to desertification of once arable land, of which the former is leading to the submersion of many inhabited regions and the latter is leading to famines and wars over limited resources. Furthermore, both are factors in mass migrations and the global apartheid unfolding before our very eyes. Take the migration crisis in Europe for instance, those people are fleeing from war and famine torn regions in the Middle East and Africa, fleeing over both land and water risking dehydration, starvation, death of both themselves and their families, or eternal isolation because those risks are more acceptable in comparison to the conditions they would otherwise suffer. The only difference between them and us is quite honestly, where we were all born and when. Yet, the massive influx of people has caused a panic among the peoples and the governments of the receiving nations who are ‘protecting’ their interests with sanctions, gates, walls, and brute military force to keep the migrators out. Ann Coulter, opening for presidential candidate Donald Trump at a convention said: “I love the idea of the Great Wall of Trump. I want to have a two drink minimum. Make it a big worldwide tourist attraction and every day, live drone shows whenever anyone tries to cross the border.” She was talking about making a spectacle of killing people—in this case from Mexico—looking to improve their life-conditions and life-chances, and these are Americans that we are talking about, and people who want to be at the head of the United States, no less. So, it is not the case that the issue is only something that happens abroad. Notwithstanding where it occurs, this is what is called, Feudal Privilege, because there is nothing that any of us did prior to any of our being born that justifies any of us possessing access to the necessities for life while others do not, and yet, we do possess those necessities, nonetheless. Our borders are symbolic extensions of the castle walls that once separated the affluent from the peasant, what was once called a birth right.

Making the situation even more complicated is the fact that the environmental degradation and destruction that is leading to these mass migrations from the less affluent nations and states, is a direct result of the practices of the more affluent nations. In the United States, based on our consumption rates cumulatively, it would take four and a half entire earth’s worth of resources to fulfill the demand if everyone on the planet today in all the states consumed as US citizens do. That is, US citizens have a carbon footprint of four and a half earths, while those in less affluent regions, like much of the African continent has a carbon footprint of less than one earth. Thereby resting the responsibility for the increased rate of global warming and climate change causing the rising tides and famines squarely in the hands of those from the more affluent nations; primarily, Western Civilization, where many of the migrators are seeking refuge and are being barred access to. Furthermore, at the moment we are only talking about millions of people migrating, and the people and governments from the more affluent nations are in a panic. However, this is nothing compared to the over two billion increase in population projected for 2050 while the environmental ecosystem collapse is exacerbated at the same time.

This is a huge problem, I know. A problem so large that it does not seem like there is a solution to it. But I think the heart of the issue resides within our definition of community: “A social group of any size whose members reside in a specific locality, share government, and often have a common cultural and historical heritage.”  More important than this characteristic of the definition of community, is that implicit in the definition and the common understanding of the concept is the multiplicity of communities as being distinct from one another, or in other words, different or separate from each other. And therein is the crux of the problem. This notion of distinctness is what maintains the separation between the sexes, and genders, between the social-construction of races, ethnicities, nationalities—which is different from the arbitrary political boundaries—of people, between states, social classes, and so forth.  The notion of distinctness is what was at the foundation of slavery, the Jim Crow segregation that led to the Civil Rights Era of the mid-20th Century and to the emergence of the Black Lives Matter movement in response to the New Jim Crow and state sanctioned violence in the form of police brutality. Inherent in racism is the notion of distinctness and scientific racism gave it fangs. Social Darwinism and the concept of “survival of the fittest” are both laden with the notion of distinctness and provide a quasi, but fallacious justification for acting on that distinctness.

We are inundated with this notion of distinctness each and every time we are told that we are individuals and that we have to achieve on our own.  Our society and our complete set of ideologies are designed to isolate people from one another, to put us into competition, and to set us at odds with each other. Take the grading system for example, instead of the entire class being graded collectively on the achievements of the group, individuals are rewarded or punished for their own merits. This is the case even though they all participate in the class collectively and it provides the incentive for students not to have as heightened of an interest in assisting their fellow classmates. It’s as if we were to somehow conceive of ourselves as something other than individuals that our personal identities would somehow dissolve into nothingness, but I believe this to be an unjustifiable fear. Nonetheless, as a result of this distinctness and individuality, we humans love to categorize ourselves; black, white, rich, poor, tall, short, German, Peruvian, smart, ignorant, man, woman, felon, law abiding citizen, alien, but therein between the categories is where most of the strife among and “between” us emerges.   Because with the distinctions comes an arbitrary system of hierarchical valuations and judgments that result in hyperbole and humiliations that provide reasons for segregation and delineation.

This individualistic conception destroys our relationships with our selves, other people and with the earth, of which we are not truly separate.  If there was not an earth, then humans as we understand our selves could not exist. The earth on the other hand, existed long before the human species and will most likely exist long after our species has vanished. Relationships are the key to community and to healing the ills of our civilization. Relation is the characteristic that is missing from the definition of community and culture, which emerges within and through a community, as a strategy for survival and as such, it is utterly dependent upon relationships. The reality is that we can do nothing alone and that there is no such thing as individuality. The words “alone” and “individual” are components of a language, that by its very definition necessitates a relationship because for communication to exist at least two parties must agree that a particular symbol will have a particular meaning that is transmittable. That is a relationship and without it there could be no culture to transmit to subsequent generations; there would be no commerce, no morality, no religion if there no people who formed instructional relationships with us. By corollary, there would be no societies, no cities, no schools, no families, and no identities. Relationships are at the core of everything it means to be human as we currently understand ourselves to be.

Our first relationship is with ourselves, but that relationship can only be understood and fully appreciated in the context of every other human that exists and that has ever existed, and on the context of the earth upon which we exist and rely with all the millions of other species. The individual does not exist in isolation, the individual is not a microcosm, but exists in relation to everything else that exists.  John Donne said it best and most simply; “No man is an island, Entire of itself, Every man is a piece of the continent, A part of the main.” Until this is understood there can be no relationship with ourselves because we do not fully grasp who we truly are. And if we do not know who we are, then we cannot transmit ourselves to another because we cannot convey a concept we do not fully comprehend. Thus, until we know ourselves, we cannot have relationships with other human beings, who in essence are of us and we are also of them. And lastly, without that comprehension and feeling, then there can be no relationship with the earth, which connects and sustains us all. This is how the ideology of individualism corrupts and destroys our relationships.

We have to expand our sense of community to recognize, appreciate, and incorporate the entire planet and all the things that exist upon it and in relation to it. Only then, will something like the atmosphere, a public good, something that we all own, have claim to, and are part of, become something that we cherish and love enough not to destroy. Only when we understand that the rainforest are not distinct from us, will we acknowledge that destroying them is in reality, destroying ourselves. Only when we comprehend that all the people on the planet are part of us and that the arbitrary valuations and judgments we currently attribute to them is wrong, will we begin to acknowledge the injustice of segregation and apartheid, murder and isolation. Much like the contemporary interpretation of the identity of a person can exist within the colloquial sense of a community, so too, can identity groups exist within this expanded conception of community. In fact, these identity groups are vital to the evolution of our culture and must exist, because the supposition that there is but one community does not presuppose the presence of a negative peace, which is the absence of conflict, but a positive peace in which the necessary tension required for growth and stimulation flourishes. That is the essence of relationships: gravitational and repulsive forces that continuously interact to maintain balance and harmony in relation to everything else that exists.

If we want to bridge communities and to foster a peace full of symbiotic mutually beneficial relations, then it is necessary to recognize that there is only one community and category that is of any import, the Human Identity Group within the Community of the Earth.

This is Something We Do Together or It Doesn’t Get Done

What we do, we do together

If one person wins a battle, then they win it, but only for themselves

But if a person claims that they have won a battle by themselves, then they are mistaken

Because they have forgotten all that have gone before them

And all who have stood beside them

And all those who will come after

We are not after another individualistic ideology

The likes of which has turned us against our own families

Put us into competition with our Friends

Set us at odds with our neighbors

Severed the ties we have to our heritage

Destroyed our relationship with the earth

and indoctrinates us to seek only the betterment of ourselves

The harms that we have risen up against

Reach deep into the fibers of our beings

Is woven through the very fabric of our society

Through Police Brutality, and Mass Incarceration

Red Lining and Bank Foreclosures

Economic Sanctions, Mandatory Minimum Sentencing Laws

Zero Tolerance in Schools, dilapidated buildings

The Denial of Financial Aid, Public Food Assistance, Medical and Mental Health Services

The School to Prison Pipeline

Outsourcing, GMO non-labeling, CEO Corporate Spending and Bailouts

That reward White Collar Crime and permit shots fired into the backs

of young blacks who are suspected of stealing a couple bottles of beer in the capital of WA State

It’s a sick state of affairs when property has more value than a person’s life

When society teaches us that we live in a vacuum

that by our bootstraps are the only we can pull ourselves out of this pit of bitter morass

We have somehow worked ourselves into

Like we chose the neighborhoods to which we were born into

We are taught that it is only by our own doing, that no one will help, that we do not deserve any one’s help and that if we can’t it is because we are lazy, dumb, genetically inferior to

and Essentially that we are all alone

When in reality, we can do nothing alone

We would not even be able to utter the word alone had someone not taught it to us

We would not know the first thing about commerce or morality if someone had not taught it to us

There would be no society, social advocacy, civilization or cities if we did things alone

We are neither impacted alone, nor will we win alone

Groups are marginalized because of their affiliation with that group

Stop & Frisk targeted people of color disproportionately

not because of their individual identities but rather because of the color of their skin

People only throw out the claim of individuality when it suits their purposes to do so

That is genocidal in nature and by its very definition

America has just been afraid to acknowledge that fact since William James Patterson wrote We Charge Genocide with the help of the Congress of Racial Equality and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in 1951

Read that document and you will swear to god that you were reading a news article from last weekend

Emmitt Till all over again, Sandra Bland Rekia Boyd, Tamir Rice, Trevon Martin vigilante violence and the Charleston 9, burning churches, the KKK is making a re-emergence

all to target you and us, the we because they do not see us as individuals

And anytime we run out to challenge the system of racism and white supremacy alone

they kill the one, Malcom X, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Gandhi

But every time we have stood together, and not allowed their terrorism to deter us,

Not allow their prison time, or their economic sanctions, or their political threats

of stripping people off their food assistance like the politician in Baltimore when they rose up in unison against the horrific murder of Freddy Gray

our people have achieved our victories in the struggle for justice

and it is upon their shoulders that we stand today

it is because of their efforts, their sacrifices, and investments into their futures, our presents

that we can stand here today, congregated for the cause of justice and peace

Not that negative peace, wherein we continue to permit injustices and violence

But within the positive peace of tension challenging the system on all fronts together

At times this will put demands on our time, and upon our patients

At others it will only require that we do not turn a blind eye to injustice

That we speak out, or stand on the street with our cameras out to make sure that the police are doing their damned jobs right

Sometimes it means that we will need to invest in the people and the organizations out here doing the work

But no matter what, we do this together, we do this for our people, we do this for the cause of justice

for the love of peace, for an end to war, and hatred and the violence against our people

And the world we seek to create, is not one of individuality, but rather one of community

which respects the beauty of the individuality of each and every single one of us

Treasures each in our own rights

But part of something much greater in the cycle of life

Because none of came into this world alone and of our own volition

We owe it to the rest of us to maintain our community, and to fight for what is right

!!!Black Lives Matter!!!

We will make this call reverberate throughout every institution and gathering place in America until there is no option but for it to become a reality

The dying and the killing has to stop!

I am going to make a moral argument for now.

Let’s assume that we agree that there is such a thing as a crime and that we agree that a particular act is a crime. Let’s further assume that we agree this particular crime warrants a specific set of reactions and punishments. For this argument to hold we will also have to assume that the person ‘suspected’ or ‘convicted’ of the crime is also responsible for the crime and ‘guilty’ for the crime.

If the agreed upon standard for reacting to a suspected crime violation is to assume innocence until proven guilty, then it is a manifest contradiction to assume guilt until proven innocent. It is furthermore a violation of our social agreement and social contract with the authorities, which is a far greater CRIME because they have sworn an additional oath to honor those agreements, something that the average citizen has not. When an officer presumes guilt and assaults and batters a ‘suspected’ crime violator and proceeds to beat or murder them, then that is a violation of the social contract; it supersedes the agreed upon response and is not listed in the punishments for the ‘crime’ thus, making the entire situation unjust and in violation; a manifest contradiction of our agreement.

Assuming that the individual ‘suspected’ of the crime is actually responsible and guilty, and further assuming that the officers presumed them innocent until proven guilty, and further assuming that they were not ill-treated in violation of our social contract and their additional oath to uphold that contract; then there is a specific set of punishments that society has agreed are relative to the crime.

Death, murder, rape, harassment, hazing, or torture are not listed among the specific set of punishments for that particular crime.

However, that is what our legal and penal system is sentencing people to and none of us agreed to that. Therefore, all the people and institutions responsible for this violation of our social agreement and contract are in non-compliance, are in violation of their additional oath, and are the greatest criminals in this nation.

This argument, as you noticed in the beginning and throughout assumes quite a lot. It assumes that their is no racial, economic, or gender bias. It assumes that we agree to the laws as they are written and the outcomes of those laws. It assumes that we know what the sanctions are and that we agree to them. It assumes that oaths have actually been taken by our officers and that they can and should be held accountable. It assumes that the agreement we have made with our officials means anything at all.

However, if nothing has become glaringly clear over the last year, it is that all of these assumptions prove to be false and that means the entire system and all of its orchestraters, colluders, contractors, politicians, merchants and so on, are in violation. If this is true, then it must be the case that they do not serve us, THE PEOPLE, and that contradicts the entire United States Constitution, which invalidates our entire government.

The United States government is not a legitimate government; it does not receive consent from THE PEOPLE, it mandates it; and that is an autocratic, totalitarian system, not a representative democracy.

Why Climate Change Matters to Black Lives

Climate change is both a global issue and an environmental justice issue that threatens people of color lives the most.

The same moral justifications that support the Department of Justice and its derivative the police institution, which permits the murder of Black and Brown people, also serves as the moral foundation for maintaining economic disparities, political disenfranchisement, environmental injustice and as a result climate change. If we want to stop killing of black people, we cannot only look at the direct killings, done by police officers we must also look at the slow, insidious killing of black people through environmental pollutants.

As with most things in this racist system, marginalized communities like people of color, migrants and poor people get the short end of the stick. (Poor) Black people are literally breathing different air than rich white people, the places with the lowest air quality and highest levels of toxins are also the places where the majority of minorities live due to the lower cost of living in these places. This is why Black people have the highest rates of asthma and why black woman have high rates of infant mortality. Although climate change is affecting the entire planet, as with everything else, black people are getting the worst of it. We have already seen this during Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Sandy, where Black people were the last to be rescued from the wreckage, and with climate change these disasters are becoming more frequent. As natural disaster frequency increases, those with money and power will be able to protect their own, leaving marginalized communities to fend for themselves.

If Black Lives Matter as much as White lives, we would have already done something about climate change. But it is not the elite and privileged in the USA, England or Germany who is already being affected by climate change but black and brown lives throughout the rest of the world. Droughts have already caused thousands of preventable deaths in Africa, the monsoons are already drowning people in India, the decreased snow-pack is already causing shortages of freshwater in South America, the melting glaciers have already caused thousands of Indigenous people in the Arctic to be displaced and the rising tides have already risen over Pacific Islanders homes. The failure of the Global community to take action on climate change to stop these impacts tells us that those in power do not believe #BlackLivesMatter.

To oppose one part of the system, and in particular Police Brutality, without recognizing the larger superstructure that is maintained by racist ideologies will not serve to unhinge the system that oppresses us. This superstructure, just like police brutality, is hinged to capitalism, and capitalism, as Malcom X said, cannot exist without racism. Capitalism is an extension of colonialism, which entails the exploitation of both our people and the earth, dislocating and destroying the relationships countless peoples once had with the earth, and commodified both. The White Supremacist Ideology emerged with colonialism as the Europeans systematically exploited the labor of people of color; the Indigenous from the ‘Americas’ and the Black People stolen from the African continent to be enslaved. This is the ideology and system of justifications that has been transmitted to the contemporary corporations that continue to exploit the people and the earth. So, opposing police brutality and not the slow, insidious killing of black people through environmental pollutants is simply not enough.

Climate Change matters to Black Lives because we are the first ones impacted and the most impacted globally, and at its base are the core racist ideologies that have led us to challenge police brutality.