Tag Archives: California

What happened to Sandra Bland ? Women’s History Month


“You just slammed my head to the ground. Do you not even care about that?”

These were some of the last words of 28-year-old Sandra Bland. On Friday, Texas State troopers pulled Sandra over as she was driving to her new job for allegedly not using the turn signals during a lane change.1 What happened next was all too familiar and terrifying.

An eye-witness says police ripped Sandra out of the car, violently slammed her on the ground, and arrested her as she screamed for help. Just 72 two hours later, she was dead.2 Police are claiming Sandra took her own life, but her family and friends don’t believe it. Local District Attorney Elton Mathis has already said he has no reason to expect foul play and handed over the investigation to the same police agency that arrested Sandra.

Police cannot police themselves. Urge Attorney General Lynch to thoroughly investigate Sandra’s death and hold all those responsible fully accountable.

Justice for Sandy

DA Mathis said there was no reason for concern, despite the fact that an allegedly routine traffic stopped turned into a violent arrest is itself a cause for concern.3 Sandra’s family says that Sandra would never kill herself and that police seem to be covering up her death.4 We must demand that local officials release all video, information and photographs relating to Sandra’s unjust arrest, imprisonment and death.

The local police department and prosecutor’s office have a long history of racism and corruption. Last year, DA Mathis threatened a local Reverend who spoke out about racist prosecutions, saying he would release his “hounds” on the Reverend.5 Waller County Sheriff Glenn Smith was fired from the police department in Hempstead, Texas for documented cases of racism.5

According to her loved ones, Sandra Bland was a loving, compassionate woman, with a bright future ahead.6 Today would have been the first day at her new job working student outreach at her alma mater, Prairie View A&M University. Loved ones described her as bright, spirited, and having a thirst for life. She was also a vocal advocate against police brutality and often spoke about ending racism and police violence. Our hearts and minds are with her friends and family as they move through this unimaginably hard time.

But in a world where Black people are stereotyped as “violent” and police exist to enforce the boundaries of a deeply divided and racist society, who Sandy was or the life she was creating, did not matter. What mattered was that she was Black, and therefore, in the eyes of the law, didn’t deserve respect, didn’t deserve her civil rights, her freedom or her life. To be Black in America, is to be safe nowhere. Black women are 3 to 4 times more likely to be targeted by police and incarcerated than white women.7

The Department of Justice and Attorney General Lynch have the power and responsibility to address the systemic police violence targeting Black communities. The reality is, racism, corruption and a deep-seated culture of secrecy prevents local and state police from holding themselves accountable. Without independent oversight, police will continue to kill and prosecutors will continue to do nothing. We should not have to demand justice, every time a Black person is murdered, but we will continue to do so until the justice system respects Black lives.

Urge US Attorney General Loretta Lynch to secure justice for Sandy and help end discriminatory police violence targeting Black people in Texas.

Thanks and peace,

— Rashad, Arisha, Shani, Lyla and the rest of the ColorOfChange.org team
July 16th, 2015

References,https://point4counterpoint.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=91304&action=trash&_wpnonce=5a36e5f072

1. “Sandra Bland Drove to Texas to Start a New Job, so How Did She End Up Dead in Jail?”, 07-16-15
http://act.colorofchange.org/go/5001?t=5&akid=4541.1174326.9WpvtL?

2. “Family says woman found dead in jail cell would not kill herself; Texas Rangers investigating”, 07-16-15
http://act.colorofchange.org/go/5002?t=7&akid=4541.1174326.9WpvtL

3. See reference 2.

4. See reference 2.

5. “Pastor says Waller DA threatened him”, 06-03-14
http://act.colorofchange.org/go/5003?t=9&akid=4541.1174326.9WpvtL

6. “The Texas Sheriff Where Sandra Bland Died Was Previously Suspended for Racism”, 07-16-15
http://act.colorofchange.org/go/5004?t=11&akid=4541.1174326.9WpvtL

7. “Incarcerated Women”, The Sentencing Project 08-2015
http://act.colorofchange.org/go/5005?t=13&akid=4541.1174326.9WpvtL

Vivian Richardson : Fought back – a repost-


Vivian Richardson, committed foreclosure fighter, is taking the fight to DC.

   twitter

I wanted to share this letter from Vivian Richardson with you. She is a foreclosure fighter and a member of the Home Defender’s league, the leaders of the upcoming Week of Action. She has a really powerful story and she’s coming to DC to fight to end Too Big to Jail.
                                                              -Brian K.

My name is Vivian Richardson. Aurora Bank stole my home, but I fought back with the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment and the Home Defenders League and won it back.

My battle with my lender is familiar to millions of Americans – years of asking for a loan modification after dealing with layoffs and delayed paychecks on top of countless instances of lost paperwork and unresponsive customer service agents. And then a foreclosure notice after missing one payment by two days.

But fighting back with ACCE and HDL, I was able to reverse the foreclosure and win my home back. Millions of Americans are still fighting Wall Street criminals to stop them from stealing their homes or get them back. That’s why I’m joining hundreds of struggling homeowners and foreclosure fighters in the “Bringing Justice to Justice” week of action from May 18-23, to demand an end to “Too Big to Jail” and force the banks to start HELPING those in need instead of PROFITING from them.

To pull this off, we need your help. Can you chip in $25 or whatever you can afford to help us end “Too Big to Jail”?

Home Defenders and foreclosure fighters begin arriving in DC this Saturday and we need to hit our goal of $7500 by Friday May 17th. We’ve been able to secure low-cost places to stay and lots of donations, but we still need to pay for some things like food, water and transportation.

We can’t have two systems of Justice in this country: one for the rich and powerful, where Wall Street criminals are actually rewarded for breaking the law with huge bonuses and luxurious salaries, and another for the rest of us.

We’ve almost met our fundraising goal. Can you help put us over the top? Chip in $25 or whatever you can today and help make the Week of Action a success!

Wall Street bankers have spent (and are still spending) millions convincing Washington that they are worth protecting. We’re going to counteract that with the power of hundreds of real people affected by the foreclosure crisis standing on the doorsteps of the Justice Department demanding accountability and an end to Too Big to Jail.

The fate of many of those joining me rests on convincing President Obama and his administration to end Too Big to Jail and offer more support to struggling homeowners. The stakes are even higher when you consider the millions of Americans facing foreclosure who can’t join us in Washington.

These Wall Street banksters stole many homes, and are still committing crimes. It is time for them to be held accountable.

Please contribute now!

In solidarity,

Vivian Richardson

ACCE and Home Defenders League member

http://www.campaignforfairsettlement.org/

MLK jr. speech 5/17/1957 ~ Give Us the Ballot ~


“Give Us the Ballot, We Will Transform the South”

by Martin Luther King, Jr.
Speech given before the Lincoln Memorial at the March on Washington, May 17, 1957

Martin Luther King, Jr. Three years ago the Supreme Court of this nation rendered in simple, eloquent and unequivocal language a decision which will long be stenciled on the mental sheets of succeeding generations. For all men of good will, this May 17 decision came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of segregation. It came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of distinguished people throughout the world who had dared only to dream of freedom. It came as a legal and sociological deathblow to the old Plessy doctrine of “separate-but-equal.” It came as a reaffirmation of the good old American doctrine of freedom and equality for all people.

Unfortunately, this noble and sublime decision has not gone without opposition. This opposition has often risen to ominous proportions. Many states have risen up in open defiance. The legislative halls of the South ring loud with such words as “interposition” and “nullification.” Methods of defiance range from crippling economic reprisals to the tragic reign of violence and terror. All of these forces have conjoined to make for massive resistance.

But, even more, all types of conniving methods are still being used to prevent Negroes from becoming registered voters. The denial of this sacred right is a tragic betrayal of the highest mandates of our democratic traditions and its is democracy turned upside down.

So long as I do not firmly and irrevocably possess the right to vote I do not possess myself. I cannot make up my mind — it is made up for me. I cannot live as a democratic citizen, observing the laws I have helped to enact — I can only submit to the edict of others.

So our most urgent request to the president of the United States and every member of Congress is to give us the right to vote. Give us the ballot and we will no longer have to worry the federal government about our basic rights. Give us the ballot and we will no longer plead to the federal government for passage of an anti-lynching law; we will by the power of our vote write the law on the statute books of the southern states and bring an end to the dastardly acts of the hooded perpetrators of violence. Give us the ballot and we will transform the salient misdeeds of blood-thirsty mobs into calculated good deeds of orderly citizens. Give us the ballot and we will fill our legislative halls with men of good will, and send to the sacred halls of Congressmen who will not sign a Southern Manifesto, because of their devotion to the manifesto of justice. Give us the ballot and we will place judges on the benches of the South who will “do justly and love mercy,” and we will place at the head of the southern states governors who have felt not only the tang of the human, but the glow of the divine. Give us the ballot and we will quietly and nonviolently, without rancor or bitterness, implement the Supreme Court’s decision of May 17, 1954.

<!–Read about recent allegations of voter disenfranchisement in Florida
and other states across the country in these articles.

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–>

Learn more about Martin Luther King, Jr. and read more of his speeches and writings at The Martin Luther King, Jr. Papers Project at Stanford University.

Resources: pbs.org

Sarah Breedlove … Millionaire 12/23/1867


This Child of Slaves Grew Up to Become America’s First Female Millionaire

Random Celebrity Article By on October 20, 2014

 

America is considered to be the “land of opportunity”. Historically, it’s the country people have run to in order to escape persecution, poor living conditions, or lack of opportunities somewhere else. However, for the large number of African people stolen from their homes, shipped across the Atlantic, and sold into slavery, America was anything but a land of opportunity. So it’s pretty darn incredible that America’s first female self-made millionaire, Madam C.J. Walker, was the child of former slaves. Her story is one of perseverance, ingenuity, and triumph. If her amazing life doesn’t make you want to get off your butt and go make your dreams happen, than nothing will.

Madam C.J. Walker, also known as Sarah Breedlove, was born on December 23, 1867, just outside of Delta, Louisiana. She was born on the cotton plantation where her family had been enslaved. She held the distinction of being the first free-born child in the family. The youngest of five, she was the first person in her family born after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. However, by age 7, she was orphan. Both of her parents passed away within a year of each other. Their cause of death was not recorded. She was sent to live with her older sister in Mississippi, where it is believed she worked picking cotton and doing housework. Her life in Mississippi was anything but ideal, and though slavery had technically been abolished, most people in the South had yet to “get the memo”, as it were. She worked the same hours she would have worked as a slave and was paid a pittance. Then, she and her family members had to pay exorbitant fees to live in the very same shack that her sister had lived in while she was a slave. Making matters worse, was that her brother-in-law was physically abusive. Eventually, she couldn’t take it anymore. At 14, she married a man named Moses McWilliams, mostly in an effort to get away from her current living situation.

madame

The pair had a baby in 1885. Two years later, Moses passed away, and Sarah and her daughter A’Lelia moved to St. Louis to be closer to Sarah’s older brothers. Her brothers had found some success working as barbers. In St. Louis, she began working as a washerwoman. Her pay was only $1.50 per day. She used the majority of the money to pay for her daughter’s schooling, and also took whatever classes she could herself. She subsequently met and married Charles J. Walker. Mr. Walker worked in advertising and their relationship would prove to be a fortuitous one.

Due to a severe scalp condition, most likely caused by the lye-based products used to straighten her hair, Sarah Breedlove had begun to lose her hair in bunches. Whenever she had a spare moment in her kitchen, she began making her own hair care products, and experimenting with ways to treat her own scalp. A black woman named Annie Turnbo Malone heard about Sarah. Ms. Malone made and marketed her own line of African-American hair care products. She invited Sarah to come work for her as a commission agent. So Sarah, Charles, and A’Lelia relocated to Denver, Colorado and launched a hair care business under Ms. Malone. At the urging of her husband, Sarah changed her professional name to Madam C.J. Walker, and launched her business in earnest. Between her genuinely effective and well-made products and her husband’s advertising acumen, her business grew by leaps and bounds. The couple spent much of the early 1900s, traveling around selling her products all over the south. By 1908, she was able to go out on her own. She opened a factory and her own beauty school in Pittsburgh.

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The company continued to grow, so Sarah, now Madam C.J., moved operations to Indianapolis. She began training a group of employees who were both salespeople and beauticians. Known as “Walker Agents“, these African-American entrepreneurs began selling her products all over the United States. She began sponsoring conventions, sales awards, and community events. She and her husband divorced in 1913, and rather than slowing her down, it seemed to galvanize her. She traveled to the Caribbean and Latin America, adding more and more “Walker Agents” to her roster and increasing her sales base. By this time, her daughter A’Lelia, had begun to take charge of some portions of operations. A’Lelia purchased prime real estate in Harlem and made it the new base of operations for Madam C. J. Walker Manufacturing. As more responsibility was shifted to her daughter, Madam C.J. Walker began focusing on philanthropy and community improvement. She created scholarship funds, sponsored the building and maintenance of multiple homes for the elderly, donated large sums to both the NAACP and the National Conference on Lynching, and, in 1913, donated the largest amount of money by an African-American to the Indianapolis YMCA.

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She built a home in Irvington-on-Hudson, New York sometime around 1916 or 1917, and passed away there in 1919, due to hypertension. She was 51 years old. She was the sole owner of Madam C.J. Walker Manufacturing for most of its existence, and the company was worth over $1 million when she died. Additionally, she was worth close to $700,000 herself, separate from the company. That’s the equivalent of $13 million in today’s dollars. It was an astronomical amount in 1919.

At the time of her death in 1919, Madam C.J. Walker was the wealthiest African-American in the United States. She was also generally believed to the country’s first self-made female multi-millionaire. Assuming her net worth was approximately $2 million the year she died, that would be equivalent to $37 million today.

house

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When she died, her will dictated that 2/3 of all future company profits be donated to charity from that point on. One third of her estate went to her daughter. Her home in Irvington-on-Hudson is now a registered landmark, and the arts center named after her in Indianapolis, the Walker Center, has become nationally famous.

Madam C.J. Walker, aka Sarah Breedlove, went from absolutely nothing, to wealthier than just about everyone else around her. Along the way, she made sure to give back to the community that supported her, and trained hundreds of “Walker Agents” about entrepreneurship, civic duty, and pride. She proved to an entire generation of African-Americans, many of whom had grown up enslaved, that success was possible. Historically and socially, the example she set has proven far more valuable than her millions of dollars.

Happy Birthday Stevie Wonder ~ Black History Month