Khan: A 9/11 Every Other Day

Freelance Journalist Nida Khan

Freelance Journalist Nida Khan

In early 2010, I was engaged in an interesting discussion with a cab driver on the bustling streets of Karachi, Pakistan.  Like any good cabbie, he was in tune with the pulse of the city, and could articulate the general mood and climate of the area.  We talked at length about U.S.-Pakistan relations, but one statement he made in particular will stick with me perhaps forever:  “We have a 9/11 every other day,” he said.

Still trying to process the immense tragedy of last Tuesday’s attack at the Army Public School and Degree College in Peshawar, Pakistan – which killed at least 145 (most of them children) – the world is left with many questions.  How could such cruelty be taken out on innocent kids?  Why was this particular school targeted?  How will Pakistani authorities respond?  And for the United States, what does this do in terms of our delicate yet intricate relationship with the South Asian nation?  Unfortunately, if you tuned into our cable news coverage of the incident, you might get a segment or two about the ‘rise of radical Islam’, or the slightly less offensive discussion of how Pakistanis will now understand the true impact of terrorism.  What you won’t see is a nuanced analysis of the many depths of this problem or how we – yes we – contributed to the unstable environment that allowed such terrorist groups to thrive.

When the twin towers fell, and thousands of Americans lost their lives on that awful September morning in 2001, our nation forever transformed in a multitude of ways.  But we were not alone.  In Pakistan, a country that did not perpetrate the attacks, reality soon enough changed on the ground.  As the U.S. embarked on a mission to find Osama bin Laden and eliminate terrorism, we engaged in two wars:  first Afghanistan, and later Iraq.  While there has been eventual dialogue about the lack of WMDs and false information that misled us into Iraq in ’03, there has been very little attention paid to the many areas in which we had covert actions taking place – like Pakistan.

Afghanistan WarWhen the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan kicked into full gear, Pakistan gave American forces and officials access to many of its routes in order to bring supplies, weapons and more into Afghanistan.  We relied heavily on their cooperation to not only utilize those routes, but also to conduct clandestine activities.  As our efforts increased and the militants dispersed, many spilled over into the tribal regions of Pakistan, and eventually, elsewhere in the country.  Prior to 9/11, there was just one suicide bombing anywhere in Pakistan – just one.  And now in the years since, tens of thousands of Pakistanis have been killed from terrorist attacks that have become a regular occurrence.  To deny the fact that much of the volatility in Pakistan with regards to terrorism is a direct result of our war in the region is ignorant at best.

One of the least reported and least discussed tools of warfare has been our extensive use of unmanned aerial planes, aka drones.  This secret program began while George W. Bush was in office, but was exponentially increased once President Obama took the helm in ‘09.  While flying drones with the push of some buttons from the comfort of Nevada or elsewhere stateside greatly reduced the threat of danger for our soldiers, it didn’t eliminate innocent casualties on the ground.  The exact number of civilian deaths is actually difficult to determine because neither the military nor our government will release such figures.  Some independent organizations estimate it’s in the hundreds and others say it’s in the thousands.  According to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism in London, only 12% of victims of our drone strikes in Pakistan could be identified as militants.  Just 12%.

Afghan WarWhen I was there in 2010, the front pages of major newspapers and nightly newscasts carried headlines like Drones Kill 12 Children Playing Outside.  Commonly and casually referred to as ‘collateral damage’, the deaths of countless civilians – many of them young kids and women – led to a sharp rise in anti-U.S. sentiment among the population.  On its face, the Pakistani military said it did not and does not support the drone program, but behind-the-scenes, it provided many of the launching pads and secret locations whereby our drones could take off.  In fact, U.S. forces and Pakistani forces even reiterated many of the same talking points.  As a result, terrorists often target the Pakistani military, and as we saw last week, they even target their children.

Aside from independent journalists like Jeremy Scahill and a few others, there has been little to no substantive reporting of our drone program, and the effects that it has in actually fueling more extremists.  When the use of drones in Pakistan skyrocketed, so too did the rise in suicide bombings and chaos, even in major cities.  Militants were easily able to utilize rising anti-American sentiment and prey on unstable folks to join their cause.  In a country where there is tremendous poverty and high unemployment, and where the government spends most of its money on beefing up its military, terrorist groups were able to recruit easily much like a gang recruits from the most vulnerable in society.  Meanwhile, the rest of the population blamed America for the rise in terrorist attacks, as well as the deaths of its soldiers.

Last week’s horror at the army school shocked Pakistanis and the entire world for that matter.  While they have been dealing with hundreds and hundreds of suicide bombings since 9/11, there has never been an atrocity on the level of what we saw at this school.  Many of the precious kids were the children of those in the military; in fact, the school was targeted for that very reason, to send a message to the Pakistani military.

Following the calamity of this massacre, Pakistani forces launched airstrikes at militants in the Khyber and North Waziristan areas.  Much like the U.S., Pakistan responds to terror attacks and terror threats with a strong show of force.  But just like the U.S., Pakistan must ask itself whether the airstrikes are quelling militants or actually creating more?  When innocents are killed in the process of eliminating extremists, does the surrounding community readily side with the ones dropping bombs?  Or do we need an alternative solution?

Afghan WarThe problem of terrorism is so convoluted, complex and difficult to understand, let alone to eliminate.  Nearly 3,000 Americans died on 9/11.  Tens of thousands of Pakistanis have died post-9/11.  And many, many more souls have been taken around the world in this ongoing conflict.  There has been so much death and destruction over the last 13+ years, and yet, terrorism has no signs of disappearing as the heartbreaking attack in Pakistan last week proves.  But the worst mistake we as Americans can do is to dumb down the conversation and act as if this simply falls under the guise of a ‘rise in radical Islam’.  Let’s not forget, the biggest victims of terrorism are Muslims themselves.  And let’s remember that we absolutely have contributed to, if not caused, the destabilization of an environment to the extent that extremism has now spread in the absence of order.

Like most battles throughout history, the true underlying cause is either territory or resources.  As the old adage goes, there’s no such thing as permanent enemies or permanent friends – just mutual interests.  For a long time both the U.S. and Pakistan had a mutual interest of defeating militants in Afghanistan and in the tribal areas of Pakistan.  But now that American forces are leaving, and now that extremists have immersed themselves in practically every corner of the country, Pakistan must face the harsh reality of how it proceeds forward.

In coverage of the aftermath of the school attack, one parent was seen crying and yelling simultaneously.  That parent was angry at both the Taliban and the military who he said didn’t do enough to protect his child.  The U.S. cannot abandon Pakistan, and Pakistan cannot continue to conduct itself in a manner that ignores the very real challenges facing its people.

They deserve better, and we deserve a more informed and intelligent assessment of what our government does in our name.

There will be many tough choices ahead for Pakistanis, but let’s hope decisions are made in the interest of their future.  It is, after all, those average citizens that are simply sick and tired of a 9/11 happening every other day.

Nida Khan is a freelance journalist, follow her on twitter @NidaKhanNY

Christmas Eve: Protests, Drama & Cop Shootings

Davey-D-purple-frameSo it’s Christmas Eve, a time when we are supposed to have good will toward one another and spread peace. Sadly there is much turmoil across the land. First we have in Houston, Texas a Grand Jury decided NOT to charge a Houston police officer named Juventino Castro who shot and killed an unarmed man named Jordan Baker earlier this year..

Castro who was off duty at the time, but in uniform saw Baker riding his bike and mistook him for wearing a hoodie. He said Baker fit the description of a robbery suspect. He said when he approached Jordan, he ran away and then turned around and charged the officer

Jordan Baker

Jordan Baker

while reaching in his waist band.

Castro said he feared for his life and was left with no choice but to shoot Baker. The Grand Jury saw no crime was committed even though Jordan was unarmed and had committed no crime. Read about that HERE.

While this was happening, New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio asked that people protesting police violence take a break out of respect for the officers who were slain the other day. He wanted folks to chill after the police union leader Patrick Lynch along with former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and Congressman Peter King all blamed protestors for the death of the two officers.

Police protests 5th avenueThey blamed protestors for creating a hostile environment for police and even though the person who shot the police was said to have mental issues and had shot his girlfriend in Baltimore, hours prior to ambushing police in NY. They blamed protestors even though to our knowledge the assailant was never an organizer or main participant in past marches and demonstrations in NYC, yet, he was still connected to this tragedy thus prompting folks like Mayor DeBlasio to call for a everyone to stop demonstrating..

Fortunately folks did demonstrate and had a lot of folks come out and shut down 5th Avenue which is a main high-end shopping thoroughfare in NYC, but mainstream media pounded away the narrative that demonstrators were somehow disrespectful to fallen cops by continuing to protest..

In Los Angeles, video tape surfaced of cops singing a song celebrating the death of Michael Brown.. It was song sung to the tune of ‘Bad Bad Leroy Brown‘ with obscene lyrics disparaging Brown and celebrating his death.. TMZ managed to get a copy and post it for the world to see..

Zander Andreas

Zander Andreas

In San Francisco folks had gotten word from Alicia Garza about the owner of the popular Boom Boom Room which has showcased lots of Black artists that the owner Zander Andreas had posted on his Facebook page that the death of the two officers was because of Al Sharpton, the Congressional Black Caucus, President Obama and demonstrators.

He said Mike Brown and Eric Garner brought about their own deaths because they broke the laws..He said folks need to follow the rules of society.. Thankfully Boots Riley of the Coup lit into this clown as other artists from all over are gearing up to address this issue.. The Boom Boom Room was scheduled to host some big Freedom Festival…We’ll let you know how things unfold..

Protests Antonio MartinWhile this was playing out in the Bay Area, we got word about the shooting of Antonio Martin in Berkeley, Mo which is 2 miles away from Ferguson.. Watching the U stream feed last night was heart wrenching as folks showed up en masse with conflicting stories circulating.. The police said he had a gun and pulled it on them after being stopped in what is known as a Pedestrian Check which is like Stop and Frisk.. According to police Martin pulled out a gun and tried to shoot them. Police feared for their life and killed him..

Protests Antonio Martin womenHis mom came to the scene and was not allowed to comfort her son.. Police claim the crime scene would’ve been damaged. Folks on the scene claim Martin had no gun and was still alive.. Police say he was dead on the spot. We do know he was left there for more than 2 hours..We saw flash grenades and tasers used against a crowd that has had enough..Shout out to all the women who were really holding down that front line last night.. They are fearless.

Broadcast live streaming video on Ustream

Lots of stuff going on including Iggy Azalea the queen of Hip Hop telling all of us to step the hell back and that those critiquing her like Azalea Banks are bigots and jealous..She has a bevy of Black male artists like TI riding for her..

A Tale of 2 Cop Killers and the Movements Attached to Them

Davey-D-brown-frameHope folks are paying close attention to whats playing out right now.. Police departments all over the country have put themselves on high alert and talking about safety concerns and how they can handle things differently… Many of these departments will be sending officers to NY for the funerals of the two were ambushed…

Its important that folks look back at how police departments publicly responded in the aftermath of two ambushes that took place in June of this year (2014).. The most notable one involves convicted felon Jerad Miller and his wife Amanda who hung out at Cliven Bundy ranch in Nevada where several dozen angry folks who were protesting the government’s attempt to evict Bundy from the federal grounds he had leased but did not pay rent for.. The protestors had an armed stand off with over 200 police officers who attempted to move Bundy. The Millers were hoping the Bundy Ranch would be the jump off for armed rebellions against police.

The Miller couple felt that Bundy’s people weren’t radical enough. They described the police as oppressors and upon leaving the ranch, they went out to set off a revolution. The pair had long talked about wanting to kill cops. Armed with body armor and packed to the hilt, the pair ambushed two Las Vegas Metro cops who were eating lunch in a diner.

After they killed the cops Jerad Miller shot off several rounds in the air and loudly declared the revolution was on..They also draped a Gadsden flag on one of the officer’s bodies. The Revolutionary War flag and its slogan, “Don’t Tread on Me,” was adopted by the Tea Party movement. The couple later engaged in a 15 minute shoot out with police in which they died.

Jared and Amanda Miller

Jared and Amanda Miller

In the aftermath of the Miller cop killings, there were no police union reps like Patrick Lynch making public assertions even within police oriented publications, that lambasted the Tea Party Movement, the Open Carry Movement or even the movement around Cliven Bundy…There was no public accusation about any of these movements having blood on their hands. You can check for yourself here’s a link..

What’s even more interesting is if you look at the comment section you see fellow law enforcement folks decrying rogue officers who they said mishandled the Bundy ranch situation by killing two of his prized cattle.

Tamir Rice

Tamir Rice

Its important to have this information especially as we see skittish politicians now rushing to get in line and back up the hateful, threatening rhetoric of police union reps like Lynch. To my knowledge there has been no armed stand offs with police and folks protesting the killings of unarmed Black folks like Mike Brown, Eric Garner or Tamir Rice. There have been no attempts to push the envelop by exercising the right to open carry laws within these protests. Yet we have police departments on tactical alert all over the country and from what I could tell relative calm even after militia folks took them out..

We also don’t see apologies of any sort directed toward the police from Tea Party and Open Carry folks and anti-government movements who the miller associated themselves with…

Pay close attention to journalists and media outlets who are framing the story in such a way that the police accountability movement is somehow at fault. Get their names, make note of how they talk about things and hold them accountable the same way we are pushing to hold police accountable. Also note moving forward, folks will have to end their dependency on corporate media which has made it clear who they are gonna be mouthpieces for..

Police protestsIn the meantime shoutout to the good #blacklivesmatter folks in Minneapolis who shut down the Great mall of America. Shout out to folks like local Bay Area artist Sellassie Blackwell who held police accountability rallies in SF and the folks who came out to support Justice for Alex Nieto all in the aftermath of the slayings in NY.. In short folks have not and should not stop demanding justice..If there have been any other actions or upcoming actions feel free to share….

We’ll be airing the Alex Nieto march that went down yesterday, that Anita Johnson attended later today on Hard Knock Radio – 94.1

white power

Was Eric Garner Sexually Assaulted by NYPD?

Davey-D-brown-frameNever forget that millions are made off of Black Death, Black Misery and Black Dysfunction..It may be record labels profiting handsomely off the death of Biggie and 2Pac. It may be the prison industrial complex complete with police overtime, the funding of war on drug task forces and private prisons. Sadly its more than a few who are involved in the movement for our justice..Yes indeed, quite a few showed up Ferguson to cake off the death of Michael Brown. Time Will Reveal..

The latest in this scenario is a woman from Waukegan, Illinois named Catherine L Crump who just submitted applications to trademark the phrase ‘I Can’t Breath’ so she can profit off  the death of Eric Garber. She plans to continue putting out a line of hoodies, t-shirts and other gear. After all in 2014, its fashionable to wear symbols Black death on our clothing. According to the Smoking Gun who spotted the application, the woman claims to have been using the phrase ‘I Can’t Breath’ since August 18th when she started selling her first t-shirts.. She has not spoken to the family and has no intention of doing do. You can read about that HERE.

Meanwhile New York City police and supporters held a Pro Police rally in front of City Hall and were rocking t-shirts and signs that read; ‘I Can Breath‘ ‘Hands Up So You Can Breath‘ ‘Can’t Breath? Don’t Steal‘ and ‘I Can Breath-All Lives Matter‘ ‘Police Lives Matter‘ and ‘Blue Lives Matter‘. People may wanna peep this video to see the level of Pro-cop hostility–

Meanwhile Mayor Bill De Blasio is aggressively pursuing a policy in which police do not have to give fair warning before enacting mass arrest at a protest

I Can BreathWhat’s being lost in these Pro-Cop Rallies and the hoopla behind them? 2 things.
First the focus has shifted to Blue Lives Matter and not the fact that the DA in Missouri, Bob McCullough put on the stand during the Grand Jury a woman who had a history of mental illness, making racially hostile remarks and lying on Black people in the past. Her name is Sandra McElroy. The DA now admits he put witness on the stand who were lying. You can read about that HERE.

2-Our friends in media are not investigating the claims by Eric Garner’s stepfather who noted that Eric had been both sexually assaulted by NYPD and had money stolen from him by them.. He had filed a complaint. He notes, the NYPD officers were there not there because Garner was selling ‘looseys’ or breaking up a fight, but in fact they were there in retaliation to Garner’s complaint.

In terms of sexual assault, Daniel Pantaleo the cop who choked out Garner had a history of assaults against Black men where he routinely strip searched them and humiliated them by fondling their genitals.. In fact the city of New York paid two settlements in regards to that.. Don’t believe me Read about that HERE.. Now go back and watch that Pro-cop video to better understand what these racist folks are defending.. Nuff said


Thoughts on Cuban Hip Hop Being Used to Overthrow the Gov’t

Davey-D-brown-frameThere’s a been a lot of conversation about the recent revelations of Hip Hop and Hip Hop artists being via infiltrated through an agency called USAID with the goal of shaping opinions and sparking unrest to create a climate that would lead to the overthrow of the Cuban government. You can peep one of the many stories about that HERE—

In speaking about this case, I noted that far too many have fallen into the trap of seeing themselves and this music/culture as being unique in it being besieged, put under surveillance and being deemed a potential threat to those in power. Too many people saw the police collecting dossiers on Hip Hop as some sort of badge implying it was a reflection of power. Such assertions have been made without the context of history…

First its extremely important to note that this Government has always used culture and popular expression and mediums to undercut, destroy, marginalize, control, redirect a people and yes even help overthrow governments. What was revealed about Cuba is by no means unique. It may be unique for folks hearing about this for the first time..What we are talking about here is something that’s global..Cultural expression is serious biz..

I can say this in 2006, I went to Beirut and attended and participated in global conference on music and censorship. There I met folks who had spent many years in jail from all over the world because of their music and art which challenged those in power. You can read some of what was spoken about at that conference HERE

In order to understand this what folks need to clearly understand is that culture expression here in the US is often limited in how it’s defined. Many simply call it art. And art in the minds of many is luxury that is brought and sold and put on display to admire and debate. Our history and understanding of how we express ourselves has been erased or distorted. So instead seeing many types of cultural expressions (rapping, singing, dance, poetry, playing of music) as important and even primary ways of communication, we fail to see to see that the government sees what we do in that light..

Dr Jared Ball

Dr Jared Ball

With respect to Hip Hop as professor Jared Ball has long pointed out, its ‘mass communication’..Those in power have never ceded ground or allowed us to have too much independent control of mass comm outlets.

Second point, Hip Hop being infiltrated and aspects of it being compromised is one the latest cultural expressions in a long line to be compromised. In order to best understand this.. I encourage folks to go on-line and look up this video that came out in the 1970s with a former FBI agent named Darthard Perry talking about how the government studied culture, in particular Black culture as a way to control the people.. You can and should peep that HERE—

For those who find this be a bit of a stretch.. I encourage you to peep the speech Dr Martin Luther King gave August 11 1967 to the National Association of Television and Radio Announcers about the role of culture, in this case music and Black radio deejays.. He plainly states there is no Civil Rights Movement without these deejays and the powerful influence of Soul Music, which like Hip Hop had its own challenges of being deemed unsavory, less than sophisticated and even violent.. (Folks living here in the Oakland, ask your parents or grandparents about James Brown being banned and concerts being shut down because he brought out the ‘wrong crowd’).. Check out King’s speech and the one given by Minister Farrakhan to a similar body of Black music industry folks 13 years later…

Third point, Hip Hop being as popular as it is was undoubtedly going to be seen as something that needed to be derailed, distorted and used a s a tool of oppression vs allowing it to be used as a tool of liberation. Wherever large crowds are gathered, we have got to expect those in power to be sizing it up and trying to figure out how to economically exploit it and politically derail it..

Bob MarleyFrom icons like Bob Marley being followed and undermined by the CIA to the banning of the drums during slavery at Congo Square to Fela Kuti who specifically said his music was a weapon being attacked, to the Black Arts Movement being marginalized where the late Amiri Baraka and others called upon Black folks to use their poems and music as weapons and be in alignment with the Black Power Movements of the time, to French rappers coming under fire and accused of sparking the 2005 riots in Paris with their music to the way the US uses its radio arm Voice of America to undermine governments, we should be clear in knowing that obtaining and maintaining public space will and has always been a challenge. We should be crystal clear that if you can ‘move the crowd’ folks are gonna have their eyes on you…

What’s most interesting about this scenario is that in many so-called progressive enclaves, culture is still seen and treated as an after thought or sidebar to the movement. Perhaps that’s deliberate because those in power in on that side of the political spectrum like their counterparts on the right want to keep many in the back of the bus and not have a seat at the table.

cuban rappersThe solution to all this is to 1-fully understand the power of our culture. Martin Luther King talks about that in his speech. In understanding its power, one has to then move in a direction where you are not dependent on entities and individuals who fear or don’t respect our culture for affirmation, funding etc..

2-Recognize many aspects of our culture are indeed powerful forms of communication. If Hip Hop has this much influence that governments use it to move folks from point A to point B, then what role are we playing when we consciously produce it or consume it?

3-Check out an incredible book called Party Music by Prof Rickey Vincent who digs real deep into this topic. He talks about the impact the Black Panthers had on Soul Music and how cultural expression was challenged and seen as a threat by those in power and ultimately used to destroy facets of the Black Power Movement..

4-Read Jared Ball’ s Book..”I Mix What I Like!: A Mixtape Manifesto” where he meticulously details how Hip Hop Music has been colonized. It’s important for folks to understand the many forces at work to harness our expression.

5-Read Jeff Chang‘s book Who We Be the Colorization of America  where he talks about the wars, political attacks and commercialization around Art and Culture and the derailment of movements around the concept of Multiculturalism.

6-Look out for an upcoming book due out in February 2015 from Timothy Taylor aka Wise Intelligent of Poor Righteous Teachers that addresses many of these key issues.

Bottom line, we may take what we do culturally speaking for granted. We may think our songs and dances are no big deal.. But others are not. They study it, see it as a threat and know its potential to liberate and empower if left unchecked. ‪#‎staywoke‬.

Everyone But Us (Sobering Thoughts on Ferguson & Racial Justice )

Lots to think about in the aftermath of the St Louis Grand Jury decision not to indict Darren Wilson.. Racial Justice scholars David J Leanord and J Love Calderon offer up some keen insight and resources to tap into..

Mike BrownThe announcement that the St. Louis Grand Jury’s decision would not indict Darren Wilson was about much more than his potential prosecution; yes, it was yet another reminder of America’s creed, where justice for African Americans remains a dream deferred and where politically, culturally, and morally black lives don’t matter.  “Police violence, a lack of due process, surveillance, presumptions of black guilt, and the absolute devaluation of black life are all everyday business in America,” notes Imani Perry. “The American criminal justice system is so rotten, perhaps it is a fools errand to ever seek justice or fairness from it.”

The stench of white supremacy renders black bodies as inherently suspect and criminal.  At every turn, white supremacy is equally about the protection and the declaration of white innocence.  The announcement was, thus, about the exoneration of Wilson, and the Ferguson police; it is ABOUT affirming the innocence of whiteness. It is about the guilt of everyone but US – yet another exoneration of white America and its rotten system.

Bob McCulloch

Bob McCulloch

The endless assault on Mike Brown’s character continued as Darren Wilson’s defense attorney masking as a prosecutor Bob McCulloch used his platform to further demonize the victim.  As with Trayvon Martin, Renisha McBride, and so many others, Brown was transformed from victim to assailant.  According to McCulloch, Brown was “no angel” and therefore Darren Wilson was justified in gunning him down.   The decision not to prosecute Darren Wilson, which was clearly made long before November 24th, is not simply about the “evidence,” the “forensic science” or even the law, but a cultural refusal to see the possibility of black innocence.   As Eric Mann wrote following the George Zimmerman trial, “[d]eep in the white American psyche” rests the controlling belief and script that sees “the impossibility of black innocence.”

The efforts to deny the innocence of Brown and other black victims, in the name of preserving the innocence of the likes of Darren Wilson, of white America, and the nation as a whole is commonplace.  “State violence is always rendered invisible in a world where cops and soldiers are heroes, and what they do is always framed as “security,” protection, and self-defense. Police occupy the streets to protect and serve the citizenry from (Black) criminals out of control,” writes Robin D.G. Kelley.  “This is why, in every instance, there is an effort to depict the victim as assailant – Trayvon Martin used the sidewalk as a weapon, Mike Brown used his big body.   A lunge or a glare from a Black person can constitute an imminent threat.”  Irrespective of age, gender, sexuality, class, musical taste, profession or the absence of a belt resulting in sagging pants, black victimhood remains illegible in the dominant white imagination.

Just this week, less than 24 hours after the announcement a 12-year old black child was shot dead by a Cleveland police officer.  Playing while black. The fact that he, like thousands of white children, was holding a TOY gun is irrelevant since last we checked none of them were shot multiple times – if the toy gun is the problem, there are plenty of toy companies that deserve our outrage.

Tamir Rice

Tamir Rice

In response, the media did what it does best: criminalized and demonizes the boy and his family. published a piece that seemingly justified his death since his mom was on probation.  Noting that, “Lawyer representing Tamir Rice‘s family defended boy’s mom in drug trafficking case” and that this was not her only conviction, the article makes clear that the public should feel little remorse.  In fact, the piece seemingly blames Rice for inviting his death.  According to a psychology professor quoted in the article: “Growing up in such an environment can be confusing for a young person, They could have questions about how to react in certain situations …or how to react to police depending on what their previous interactions with law enforcement have been like.” Beyond its simplicity and irrelevance, not too mention its racist trafficking in culture of poverty narratives, the endless effort to exonerate white America through criminalizing and demonizing black bodies highlights the entrenched danger in anti-black racism.

As well, we have been struck by how much of the media response & political discourse is intent on demonizing & shaming black rage. Rather than hear the anger, to examine the expressions of rage as a mirror into the pathologies of anti-black racism and the unfulfilled promises of racial justice, there has been an effort to contain and silence.  In fact, what has become commonplace within the media, and from the political establishment is to focus on “looting” and property damage as the only story.  There have been demonstrations and protests that have taken many forms, yet those are in most cases invisibilized.  Instead, it has become yet another moment to depict the black community as “criminal,” as “savage,” and as THE problem.  This requires not only ignoring the activism, the organizing, the 100 days of action, the Black Life Matters rides, and countless more, but in delegitimizing the political expressions evident in looking.  In a culture that seemingly ignores white riots as (“kids being kids” or “black Friday”) and that seeks to understand and explain white behavior, there has been little effort to hear and listen to the statements emanating from the streets of Ferguson. As Martin Luther King Jr. noted, “A riot, is the language of the unheard.”   The question is are WE listening.

John Crawford

John Crawford III

It is telling that neither the “accepted” forms of protest nor those deemed as “unproductive” or “simply criminal” have been seen or heard.  It is telling that there has been more focus on a few burned down buildings, and not the killings of Eric Garner, Ezel Ford, Kajieme Powell, Vonderitt D. Meyers, Jr., Akai Gurley, John Crawford III, Cary Ball Jr. Aura Rain Rosser, Renisha McBride and Tamir Rice.  It’s telling that President Barack Obama, Governor Jay Nixon, Fox and CNN, and countless on social media are more concerned with broken glass than shattered lives.  It’s telling that on the day the verdict was announced Marissa Alexander reached a plea deal for defending herself against abuse, just days after Rice and Gurley were killed, that on the anniversary of the killing of Sean Bell, in the aftermath of Grant, Diallo, Morrison, Martin, and so many more, the national conversation fixates on Brown’s size, allegedly stolen cigarillos and some rioting.

It is telling that Bob McCulloch spent much of his press conference to blame social media and activists for standing in the way of truth and justice.  “The 24-hours news cycle and its insatiable appetite for any and everything to talk about, following closely behind were the nonstop rumors on social media.”  Yet again, we are told that the problem isn’t anti-black racism, white supremacy, racial profiling, hyper policing within inner city communities, and implicit bias, but political correctness and misinformation fueled by social media. McCulloch, unwilling and unable to hold himself (and a racist system) accountable, turned the focus on everyone but US.  Celebrating a system as one of “rules,” “fairness” and “process” requires imagining black bodies as inherently criminal and characterizing outrage and protest as irrational. Resembling the ways that discourses around race invariably blame black America for “playing the race card” and inserting race, McCulloch and friends ability to deny the racial meaning at the core of Ferguson and deflect through scapegoating everyone else is a sobering reminder of the insidious realities of American racism.

Ferguson ProtestsIn the face of daily injustices, police violence, and a system unwilling and unable to be accountable, primarily black activists and organizers have stood up to say #enough. “Waiting for this [decision] is the ritual of black life in America: dying, grieving, fighting, demanding, mourning, mounting protests, hoping, voting, being disenfranchised, shot at and dying again,” notes Salamishah Tillet.  “Right now, I am wondering how to stop a cycle that African-Americans neither created nor condone and how far from freedom we still remain. This has not been a ritual for white America; yet another privilege, yet another reminder of how the entire system says and shows that white life matters.  Yet, White America, as a whole, has been both silence and absence

What matters in this moment, in this new verdict but very very old reality is taking a stand, raising your voice, and being in consistent, organized action. There are many different ways to get involved, and some really important grassroots organizations and campaigns who have been on the ground organizing for a very long time. We want, we need, all hands on deck folks.  Do your part, in a way that feels right to your spirit and your ideals.  Here are just some ideas to get you connected. The more that THIS conversation of racial justice becomes THE conversation we can impact the dominant narrative, create culture shifts, break down systemic / institutionalized racism, and build a new day…..we must fight, ‘til the white day is done.

Stand up for what’s right
JLove and David

See, Judge, ACT for Racial Justice:

Monday: Mass Walkout #HandsUpWalkOut -#FergusonAction is asking you and your organizations to support a mass walk out on Monday at 12:01pm—the time that Mike Brown was murdered. Folks can put their hands up as they leave their job, schools or wherever they are and gather together. Please share widely on social media using #HandsUpWalkOut.  Click here for an image to share.

The request from Ferguson is for ongoing actions at the Department of Justice and Us Attorneys Offices this week (ideally by Thursday). We are still identifying point people across the country. For more information and / or to volunteer please email:

Identify the location and time for your action.

For US Attorneys’ offices near you, look here:
For a list of DOJ buildings, look here: 
If there is not a DOJ location in your city, please consider a location that represents the systemic issues we are trying to address. Some other locations include local police stations, city halls, and state capitol buildings. Even if your action is already planned for a different location, consider if you can march to an appropriate target.

Other Organizations, Responses, & Actions!

Showing up for Racial Justice


Which side are you on? A SURJ response to the Grand Jury In Ferguson

African Voices

Black Youth Project

Dream Defenders

Blackout for Human Rights

Ferguson Action 

Organization of Black Struggle

Black Life Matters

Ferguson Defense Fund

Youth Justice Coalition


Color of Change

Ferguson Next

About the Authors
David J Leonard is a professor in the Department of Critical Culture, Gender, and Race at Washington State University.
JLove Calderón is a conscious media maker, social entrepreneur, author and member of SURJ.

You Mad Because the GOP Knocked You Out?

Davey-D-brown-frameElection 2014 The Aftermath: Well folks, the people have spoken with their choice of candidate or their willingness to sit it out and make a statement of how unhappy they are with the system or the electoral process. The agendas of those who are now in control of both houses has been made crystal clear for a number of years.. Hence look for them to carry it out full steam.

The privatization of schools, medicare, social security and the elimination of safety net programs are all on the menu. Look for them to go full steam ahead with pushing forth Keystone XL and TPP..(Trans Pacific Partnership aka NAFTA on steroids) Both of those projects, this current President strongly supports…
Look for them to dismantle any progress legislatively made around Climate Change. Look for non profits to come under close scrutiny and to be investigated by folks who are no heading up ethics and judicial committees who felt such orgs were thorns in the side. We all knew this going into last nights election when we made our choices..

Some will say that it doesn’t matter..Bending to the will of the rich and powerful is what all elected officials do. ‘They were gonna jack up common folks anyway’ is what some will claim.

Lil Jon VotingPerhaps.. But the bottom line is this.. The person you vote into office is done to give your MOVEMENT more time to build itself up with the goal of being an unavoidable, unbreakable factor…There was and should always be push back on those who are in power until you get everything you want and need sans being severely compromised.

In many parts of the country what will unfold is the strength or weaknesses in our movements. What will be made clear in the months to come is how and what ways do Movements need to define and redefine themselves..And by movement we are talking about a group of people who are able galvanize folks around an idea or vision and see it to fruition.

In terms of yesterday’s outcome, many will put analysis and all types of spin on the results. Was this the result of low voter turn out? In some places one might make that claim. Was it voter suppression? In some places you could definitely see how.. But to be honest, neither of these factors are excusable.

In places where there was low voter turn including here in Oakland, those who are the losing side of an issue or candidate will have to answer some hard questions honestly- Why didn’t neighbors, friends and family support your cause/ candidate??

Vote for the 1%The easy answer is to say it was all about the money? That’s too simplistic and really doesn’t address the issue at hand. Money is here to stay.. What will matter most is our ability to out think and out maneuver those with money. It’ll require creativity, thinking outside the box and a strong resistance to the seduction those in power will use to lure you to inescapable traps. It’ll require community building.

If there any solace, we have lots of examples where folks show up en masse without the aid of thousands of TV ads. We also have lots of examples where folks have been bombarded us with ads and mailers and it didn’t work.. Have folks forgotten when billionaire Meg Whitman got clobbered?? Have we forgotten how folks will spend the night on line to buy a new pair of Jordans, Iphones or concert tickets without all the TV and radio ads?

Folks standing in line for iphones

Folks standing in line for Iphones

We need to ask ourselves, why did our neighbors show up to buy the latest Iphone which cost them money and even put them in debt but didn’t show up for a particular candidate or issue? It may be a hard pill to swallow, but honest answers will inform our next moves.

Was enough investment made into motivating folks? Did we rely too much on personalities and pundits who claim to have a pulse of the people? Did those personalities and pundits deliver? If not why not?

We have to be honest in answering the question as to whether or not people were feeling or not feeling what was being offered? In looking at races all over the country it was clear in far too many cases the candidate was not connecting to the masses needed to propel them into office. It doesn’t mean they needed to be great speech maker or buy another ad, but it did mean finding key threads amongst various communities to connect and engage people. It meant building a solid team of folks who could enhance the message.

And to be brutally honest, we have to come to terms with the fact many of these candidates had no interests whatsoever in courting us. They had no interests whatsoever in inviting us to the party. Sad but true in many cases the disconnect was deliberate vs one being ignorant and not having good oversight.

What do I mean by this? In some political circles, its a strategy to hyperfocus on one or two particular groups sometimes dubbed likely or swing voters) and discard everyone else. This strategy works perfectly if its known that the folks who are discarded will cede ground, walk away in frustration and not enter into the electoral arena for any number of reasons. In short if we was to break this down to the metaphor of relationships, its the suitor courting someone, having his or her way and never courting them again until they want their way again.

This is important to note because emotions are used to excite people around particular issues. Even if the person is friendly, likeable or of the same race and gender, the goal of the movement is what needs to be fulfilled and if a candidate can’t or won’t do it, they are to be pressured or replaced.. Politics is not a game.

krsone1smile-225As KRS-One once famously said when referencing President Obama. ‘He is not your man. He’s not your homie.. He’s the President. he is ‘Power’ and you need to engage him as such.. That goes for any of these folks holding office.

We should also keep in mind both Dems and Repubs spent over 1.5 Billion each on this past election. Its not like in some of these battleground states folks were without resources. In places where there was low turnout, folks may want to ask, what did all that money actually do? Remember the low turnout applied to all parties and candidates involved. A worthwhile goal is how do we get numbers up?

The other excuse people like to use is that this was a midterm election and there was no Presidential ticket so people stayed home.. That is complete and utter BS.. That may have been the case in the past, but there is more than enough information and history for folks who know that could and should change.. If folks didn’t come out its not because it was a mid term.. It was because you didn’t do enough to excite and engage voters.. Period..

Scared to be seen with ObamaNot to mention there were many races were Democrats were handed their asses and opted not to stand alongside Obama during their campaigns. You see what good that did them? It didn’t work for Al Gore when he abandoned Clinton and it didn’t work for folks like Alison Grimes when she abandoned Obama in her bid for Senate in Kentucky. But again the real weakness here is the fact that respective candidates could not excite voters to show up in large numbers even with so much on the line.

We also have to take into account that there were many groups who were simply fed up and opted not to show up.. In Florida Black voters stayed home in Broward County around this governor’s race. This was on top of the polls being jacked up and opening late.. How many times is this type of BS gonna happen before the issue is eradicated once and for all?

For those who wish to detach themselves from voting recognize their right to not partake and build with those who are open.. Some folks feel the system is too far gone and have checked out..If your not convincing tea party folks to be liberals, why convince folks who say no to voting to vote.. What will change minds is your success. What will change minds is the strength and vibrancy of your movement.

Richmond Chevron Protests

Richmond , Cali Beat Chevron Backed Candidates

Did people see Black folks in Florida excited and ready to ride hard for candidates like Charlie Crist in Florida? What was he offering other then scary stories of ‘how bad things will be if he’s not elected’? The narrative has got to change.. Folks wanna ride hard for someone.. They don’t wanna always be acting on fright and running scared. I would suggest that folks take along hard look at Richmond California where Chevron poured millions of dollars into the campaigns of hand picked ‘leaders.. You know what happened? Richmond Whup they azz.. Read about here–>

We have to come to terms with the fact that other groups sat this one out or as the spin doctors call it ‘Underperformed’. For examples, Latinos in many places angered by mass deportations of family and friends checked out. Many women for a variety of reasons sat it out..Instead of pointing a finger and bemoaning what they should’ve done, its best to figure out why and how candidates resonated or didn’t resonate with them in various races.

With respect to voter suppression?? That’s been going on forever. In many of our lifetimes we can point to the 2000 election and see that attempts to suppress the vote never stopped. When it came down to it Black folks showed up and made things happen. Other groups not so much.. So for example, in places like Wisconsin and Texas we saw college students disenfranchised. That means many who organized around this didn’t see beyond their own circles and take into account the laws impacting us could very well impact others..

For a better understanding of voter suppression I would encourage folks to listen to this interview with folks from Ferguson about why they had low turn out historically.. Its disturbing, sobering and true–

Got democracyHere’s the bottom line.. Politics is a rough and tumble endeavor because its about power. Its about maintaining it or yielding it and exercising control over communities and resources. The mistake many make is engaging this arena around election time versus preparing all year round. Having strong political presence amongst friends and family is something that’s should be ongoing. Political education has got to be year round.. Its got to be built into the fabric of any vibrant movement. If the community is connected and educated on key issues and people seeking their vote, no amount of TV ads and dark money for mailers will sway them..It wont take a lot to get people to the polls, it’ll be one of the many activities folks partake in their quest to fulfill a goal..

With that being said, folks although disappointed with the results of last nights election, should clear their heads and know this that even in victory there are lots glaring weakness within those running things. How you capitalize off that is on you. The weakness exploited after 2008 and 2012 was many saw the election and re-election of Obama as the end goal and not a stepping stone and continuation of a movement that Can’t Stop and Should’ve Never Stopped.

Many made the mistake of thinking that because a politician compromised a movement pushing core values and seeking justice and freedom needed to compromise. Politicians compromise, Movements should not.

For example if the goal was single payer and the politicians compromised and gave us Obamacare.. The movement for Single Payer should’ve never ever stopped. Yes, you could enjoy Obamacare. Yes you could take advantage of it, but as long as it had flaws, the push for what was an ideal goal should’ve never stopped.

People-PowerNot that the GOP/ Tea Party should be the standard barer, there is a lesson to be learned from them.. They never stopped pushing for their goals even after there was compromise. One clear goal is to educate and strengthen community and make social justice and front and center issue. that should’ve never ever stopped no matter who was in office.. In two years Obama will be gone and what will be left is a Movement and a clear indication of its strengths and weaknesses.

What will also be left is a group of people who right now seem like massive like Goliath. If history shows.. Its just a matter of time before they over reach..My suggestion to all is get your stones ready.. And thank you Richmond, Cali for throwing the first of many stones…

Written by

Davey D

Election Day 2014-Deep East Oakland Mayoral Debate

Deep East Oakland Jean QuanA couple of weeks ago it was pointed out that the 15 people vying for Oakland’s top post as Mayor had done a record number of debates. They had reached into every part of the city except Deep East Oakland. We are talking specifically about the area about 98th Avenue. Its apart of the city that is often bashed upon by the media.

Some folks came together and decided to change things. Rev Mustafa and Rev Harry Williams of Basic Ministries which is located  on a 107th street did what was deamed impossible. They reached out and got all the top candidates to show up.

This is the only time the main candidates running for Mayor of Oakland came to deep East Oakland for a debate.   Participants included contractor Ken Houston, Mayor Jean Quan, civil rights lawyer Dan Siegal, Port Commissioner Bryan Parker, city auditor Courtney Ruby, city council woman Libby Shaaf, city council woman Rebecca Kaplan, community activist and tax preparer Nancy Sidebotham and former Occupy Oakland member Jason ‘Shake’ Anderson..

Deep East Oakland Ken HoustonThe debate got contentious at times, but for the most part audience members got to hear directly from the candidates about issues most important to them and how their often overlooked and often maligned section of the city factors into future plans for Oakland.

The first question asked to the candidates was when was the last time you were in deep East Oakland, what did you do here and who are the people and businesses you work with..

This is part 2 of the Deep East Oakland Debate.. Here folks get to hear how candidates respond to audience questions..

Below is a video of the Deep East Oakland Debate

E;ection 2014Below is our Hard Knock Radio round table discussion with Bay Area activists and journalists. our guest included: Amado Uno of APEN , Melvin Willis of Team Richmond, Tim Redmond of 48 Hills in San Francisco, Maisha Quint of Eastside Arts Alliance, Eric Arnold of Oakland Local and Shamako Noble of Hip Hop Congress.

During our discussion folks spoke to the most heated races around the Bay Area as well as key measures and propositions like Prop 47 and Measure Z in Oakland. everyone spoke to huge the amounts of unchecked corporate money coming into local, often overlooked elections.. There is big time tech money coming into SF elections for supervisors.. You have one or two folks trying to bankroll their personal picks.. You also have big time money coming in from out the state to defeat tenant protection measures..

In Richmond its even more egregious because you have Chevron bankrolling a slate of candidates who will undue any and all progressive moves made by the previous administration. In Richmond, Chevron has dropped 3.2 million dollars.. In SF two tech billionaires have dropped 1.5 million for one supervisors race.

In San Jose Tech money is playing a major role both in Congressional races and the Mayors race..

In the race for school superintendent you have school privatization money pouring in from all over..

In this election folks have better follow the money and look long and hard at the teams a candidate supported in the past.. Many will smile in your face and be all about gentrification and pro development. Others will smile and put all their political capital behind police…Don’t be fooled by skin color or gender..There are some Black and Brown faces who are definitely riding hard for big corporate interests..

Bob Law: History of Black Radio and the Removal of Black Militant Thought

Bob LawOver the past few weeks Hard Knock Radio has been doing a series of interviews focusing on the state of Black media. Such a series would not be complete without getting some critical insight from long time freedom fighter and media justice advocate Bob Law.  He is one of the Godfathers of Black radio and has never wavered in using the airwaves as a tool for liberation.

In our conversation, he gives a serious history lesson not just on the evolution of Black Radio and the role it has long played in the Black Freedom Struggle, but he also talked to us about how there has been an attempt to remove, silence and erase any institutional memory of Black militant and radical thought.  Law painstakingly details how that has been happening and breaks down the reasons why.

Law pinpoints much of this removal with the release of the 1972 Harvard Report, officially known as Study of the Soul Music Environment‘ . This was a white paper commissioned by Columbia Records and done by a group of Harvard Business students on how to take over the Black independent music scene. Clive Davis was the head of Columbia at that time. Law details how that report coincided with other attempts in film and TV to eradicate, marginalize and ridicule strident, politicized Black voice in the music and entertainment industry.

During our discussion, we play an excerpt from a speech given to Black music industry executives by Minister Farrakhan in 1979 who makes note of this change. That speech is contrasted with a speech Martin Luther King gave to a similar body of Black music industry folks in August 1967, where he heaped praise on them and emphasized that there would be no Civil Rights Movement had it not been for Black Radio. The organization he spoke to at that time was called NATRA (National Association of Television and Radio Announcers)

During our interview Law details what took place after King gave that speech. He explained that NATRA was destroyed by white industry executives who were concerned about their growing power and political influence. That destruction and silencing has never stopped.

This interview is a serious history lesson from a pioneering figure who really knows his stuff.

Here’s a couple of things to give more context to Bob Law’s remarks.. First is a video fo from ABC News with former FBI agents talking about studying and destroying Black Culture.

The second is excerpts from that Dr King’s speech given to NATRA juxtaposed with Minister Farrakhan’s speech given 12 years later.

Below is an article Law recently penned called Up Above My Head I Hear Music In The Air. It his take on where Black radio is at right now

 If one should desire to know if a kingdom is well governed, if its morals are good or bad, the quality

of its music will furnish the answer. — Confucius

 Bob LawCurrently the airwaves are filled with messages that are violently anti woman, anti Black and in a real sense anti life itself. We are inundated with lyrics, dialogue, and images, from music videos, song lyrics and DJ comments that glorify violence while encouraging the degradation and exploitation of women, to video games that require that you kill people in order to stay in the game and move forward.

To understand our concern, perhaps it is helpful to understand the emotional significance and influence of music. As noted musician David Byrne has explained, music tells us things, social things, psychological things, physical things about how we feel and perceive our bodies, and it does it in a way that other art forms cannot. It is not only in the lyrics as Byrne and others have pointed out, it is also the combination of sounds, rhythms, and vocal textures that communicate in ways that bypass the reasoning centers of the brain and go straight to our emotions.

Poet Larry Neal, one of the architects of the Black Arts movement of the 1960’s has said that our music has always been the most dominate manifestation of what we are and how we feel. The best of it has always operated at the very core of our lives. It is the music that can affirm our highest possibilities. That may be precisely why the best of our music is under siege.

It is also important to understand that in this society, music conveys social status. Being associated with certain kinds of music can increase your social standing, Consider the higher level of sophistication associated with opera or classical music, or the level of cool sophistication associated with the music of Coltrane, Monk and Miles.

Some have suggested that while we may indeed like the music, often what we really like is the company it puts us in. In this sense the music creates a community or life style that is validated by the acceptance of the music. It is the music that validates the “Gangsta”

Currently the airwaves are dominated by a body of music, images and ideas that has established a code of behavior that denigrates women, and encourages the murdering of Black people. It is a lifestyle where all women are “Hoes” and “B—–s”. Consider this “gangsta” lyric. “I got a shotgun, and heres the plot. Takin Niggas out with a flurry of buckshots . Yeah I was gunnin and then you look, all you see is niggas runin”.

Music, images and dialogue that offers another view cant get reasonable airplay. The airwaves are regulated by the FCC, a commission that was established in 1934 to regulate in the public interest. When George Bush installed Michel Powell as Chairman of the commission, in 2001, Powell said he did not know what in the public interest meant.

Since the 1996 telecommunications act which set the framework for deregulation, the FCC has been reduced to pablum serving only to sanction the acquisition of broadcast frequencies and license to the mega media corporations which has resulted in the concentration of media ownership into the hands of very few.

Under the major revisions of US telecommunications law, the first since the 1930s, members of the general public no longer have “legal standing” to challenge broadcast policy or to insure that the public interest is served. Now it is the licensee (station owner) that controls content.

Previously the station owners rented the airwaves, while the general public owned the airwaves. That is no longer the case. None the less the Federal Communications Commission is still directly responsible to congress, and since Black media ownership is a major casualty of deregulation, and since the diversity of opinion and ideas coming directly from the Black experience in the world are being removed from the marketplace of ideas, we have appealed to the Congressional Black Caucus in general and the New York congressional delegation in particular to urge congress to reexamine the current function and effectiveness of the FCC.

Our first appeal to the CBC was December 6 2012, and in spite of additional attempts to reach members of the CBC, to date congress members, Evette Clark, Gregory Meeks and Hakeem Jeffries have freely dismissed our appeals to them.

Perhaps if there is a link established between the murderous video games and the young white boys who routinely walk onto a school campus or shopping mall with automatic weapons and open fire, congress might then act to reestablish some guidelines that would force broadcasters to allow for input from the community in the effort to balance what is being offered on Americas broadcast spectrum.

But as long as Black people, especially Black women are the primary victims of this insidious violence, even the increasingly irrelevant Black congressional leadership ignores us.

Franz Fannon is correct, “Ultimately a people get the government / leadership they deserve” It is time to support the kind of leadership we truly deserve.

written by Bob Law


Oakland’s Mystic Hits Hard on Black/ Brown Genocide w/ the ‘Country Roads’

mysticGlad to see Oakland emcee Mystic is back on the scene with a new album called ‘Beautiful Resistance’. It not only speaks truth to power but touches our soul in profound ways.. This is what she wrote about the song Country Roads which takes on different weight in light of what we just seen unfold in Ferguson and the ongoing assaults of Black and Brown girls and women.

Country Roads” is the last free song before the release of the Beautiful Resistance album on 8/26. Like the first two free songs, this was produced Eligh. I would never have released this song separately from the album sequence if I had a choice due to how heavy the subject matter is. Although this is a historical song about the incredibly painful, violent, and racist history of the United States, the lynching of primarily Black men and boys (along with Brown men/boys) continues in the form of apparently legally sanctioned executions by vigilantes and police with very little justice or recognition of the historical systemic racism that ‘birthed’ this nation.

Just as importantly, the kidnappings, rapes, and murders of Black, Brown, Indigenous, and poor women continue to receive less recognition and national outcry. The value placed on our lives and our right to exist/dream/thrive is still unequal as it was in the inception of this country. In this song you hear pain, anger, me wishing I could go back and hold everyone in my arms to protect them; but none of us can return. We can only continue to beautifully resist and push forward through action and solidarity with those of us who make up the majority of the world. These are not just issues in the United States; these are global issues.

In love and in struggle,

Changing pace, here’s another cut from Mystic called ‘Homage‘…