Crystal Mason, a 43-year-old, Black mother, was sentenced to five years in prison for illegally voting in the 2016 presidential election. At time time of the election, Mason had served three years in prison for income tax fraud. Her mother insisted she vote. Mason had to complete a provisional ballot since her name was not on the voter roll. Her ballot was not counted after it was discovered she was on probation.
It’s difficult to understand why questions from poll workers at the voting precinct did not lead to advisement to Mason that she is ineligible to vote. Mason said she was never told that voting while on probation is a felony.
Let’s say all that is true. Some might take the position that ignorance of the law is not a viable defense. Sentencing someone to five years in prison is cruel. Ethan Couch, the teen who killed four people while driving under the influence only served two years in jail. Four people dead and he serves two years. In jail. Voting while on probation and Mason receives five years. In prison. Where is the justice?
Both Mason and Couch were tried in the Tarrant County, Texas courts system. Now, Mason says she will never vote again. That is how voter intimidation and voter suppression work.
It’s still very disturbing and shameful that it is reported that election polls predict the presidential race is too close to call and in some battleground states, including my home state Florida, Donald Trump is winning. Jesus, take the wheel.
Donald Trump is dangerous for America. He lies way more than what he has accused Hillary Clinton of doing and, if elected, he will continue the Republican Party’s practice of obstructionism and anarchy.
Regardless the presidential election result on the evening of Tuesday, November 8, 2016, the racism, sexism and class warfare will not go away. Jesus, take the wheel.
Even after such a disdainful, hyperbolically nasty election season, I want to think America is better than the actions we have witnessed but is it? Jesus, take the wheel.
A year ago, today, America mourned the massacre of nine worshippers at the historic Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC. Not much has changed regarding gun control laws since the day when Dylan Roof wanted to start a race war by murdering: Cynthia Hurd, 54; Susie Jackson, 87; Ethel Lance, 70; Rev. DePayne Middleton-Doctor, 49; Hon. Rev. Clementa Pinckney, 41; Tywanza Sanders, 26; Rev. Daniel Simmons Sr., 74; Rev. Sharonda Singleton, 45; and Myra Thompson, 59.
Even after The Honorable Clementa Pinkckney, South Carolina State Senator, was gunned down, Congress still has not passed a law requiring background checks, banning the sale of assault weapons and other common sense measures. Should we be surprised based on their actions or lack thereof after the attempted assassination of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in January 2011 in which six people were killed?
To this day, congressmen shamelessly offer ridiculous rationale for holding fast to their position regarding gun control. Some even blame President Obama as if they have no role in the legislative process in the United States.
After the most recent massacre at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, again, we mourn the loss of 49 victims of senseless gun violence. More than 50 people were also wounded in that incident.
At what point do we, as Americans, care enough to elect representatives who will put American citizens first? Enough is enough. If we don't care enough after the Massacre at Mother Emanuel or Orlando or San Bernardino or Sandy Hook or Aurora or any weekend in some cities in America, then shame on us.
Miss me with the hashtags, catchy slogans and creative graphics expressing unity, outrage and sympathy to yourself if you are not going to do anything more than lip service or be a keyboard commando.
Sleep in Paradise, Emmanuel Nine, you are not forgotten. Disarm hate.
Enjoy this speech, in video and text, by Donovan Livingston, Ed.M.'16, student speaker at Harvard Graduate School of Education’s 2016 Convocation exercises. Instead of a traditional speech, he chose to communicate via spoken word and he is awesome.
“Education then, beyond all other devices of human origin,
is a great equalizer of the conditions of men.” – Horace Mann, 1848.
At the time of his remarks I couldn’t read — I couldn’t write.
Any attempt to do so, punishable by death.
For generations we have known of knowledge’s infinite power.
Yet somehow, we have never questioned the keeper of the keys —
The guardians of information.
Unfortunately, I’ve seen more dividing and conquering
In this order of operations — a heinous miscalculation of reality.
For some, the only difference between a classroom and a plantation is time.
How many times must we be made to feel like quotas —
Like tokens in coined phrases? —
There are days I feel like one, like only —
A lonely blossom in a briar patch of broken promises.
But, hey, I’ve always been a thorn in the side of injustice.
Disruptive. Talkative. A distraction.
With a passion that transcends the confines of my own consciousness —
Beyond your curriculum, beyond your standards.
I stand here, a manifestation of love and pain,
With veins pumping revolution.
I am the strange fruit that grew too ripe for the poplar tree.
I am a DREAM Act, Dream Deferred incarnate.
And a movement – an amalgam of memories America would care to forget
My past, alone won’t allow me to sit still.
So my body, like my mind
Cannot be contained.
As educators, rather than raising your voices
Over the rustling of our chains,
Take them off. Un-cuff us.
Unencumbered by the lumbering weight
Of poverty and privilege,
Policy and ignorance.
I was in the 7th grade, when Ms. Parker told me,
“Donovan, we can put all of your excess energy to good use!”
And she introduced me to the sound of my own voice.
She gave me a stage. A platform.
She told me that our stories are the ladders
That make it easier for us to touch the stars.
So climb and grab them.
Keep climbing. Grab them.
Spill your emotions in the big dipper and pour out your soul.
Light up the world with your luminous allure.
To educate requires Galileo-like patience.
Today, when I look my students in the eyes, all I see are constellations.
If you take the time to connect the dots,
You can plot the true shape of their genius —
Shining in their darkest hour.
I look each of my students in the eyes,
And see the same light that aligned Orion’s Belt
And the pyramids of Giza.
I see the same twinkle
That guided Harriet to freedom.
I see them. Beneath their masks and their mischief,
Exists an authentic frustration;
An enslavement to your standardized assessments.
At the core, none of us were meant to be common.
We were born to be comets,
Darting across space and time —
Leaving our mark as we crash into everything.
A crater is a reminder that something amazing happened right here —
An indelible impact that shook up the world.
Are we not astronomers — searching for the next shooting star?
I teach in hopes of turning content, into rocket ships —
Tribulations into telescopes,
So a child can see their true potential from right where they stand.
An injustice is telling them they are stars
Without acknowledging the night that surrounds them.
Injustice is telling them education is the key
While you continue to change the locks.
Education is no equalizer —
Rather, it is the sleep that precedes the American Dream.
So wake up — wake up! Lift your voices
Until you’ve patched every hole in a child’s broken sky.
Wake up every child so they know of their celestial potential.
I’ve been the Black hole in a classroom for far too long;
Absorbing everything, without allowing my light to escape.
But those days are done. I belong among the stars.
And so do you. And so do they.
Together, we can inspire galaxies of greatness
For generations to come.
So no — no, sky is not the limit. It is only the beginning.
It’s apparent that Donald Trump will say, and likely, do anything in his quest to become president of the United States. He led the failed birther movement in questioning the citizenship of President Barack Obama, who is an American. He has referred to presidential candidate Bernie Sanders as a communist when Sanders is not. He said he’s going to make Mexico pay to build a wall along the southern border of the United States to keep illegal immigrants out. Mexico's president balked at the statement. Trump has encouraged his supporters to attack protesters at his campaign rallies and offered to pay the attackers' legal fees. I wouldn't be surprised if Trump's campaign isn't staging some of the protests at his rallies just to distract his supporters (and the media) so he won't have to expose his ignorance of domestic and international policy issues.
Trump's dog whistle politics deliberately lacks the typical subtlety GOP candidates, and their surrogates are known for. He has tapped into the anger and fear of "poorly-educated" white Americans. He used that term, and the number of his supporters seems to continue to increase. Go figure.
Let me translate Trump's slogan Let's Make America Great Again. The message...Let's make America White Again. Let's make America segregated again and put those minorities (and women) in their place. Please see MSNBC's Rachel Maddow's segment as she beautifully and skillfully exposes Donald Trump's Race War.
In spite of this madness, Donald Trump's Republican opponents have indicated they will support him if he is their party’s nominee. What does that say about them? There is an epic leadership fail in the Republican Party. They choose to destroy the United States of America. They choose politics over people even if the people are the "poorly educated" Republican voters or other men, women and children in the United States. Including you.
"Let us never forget that government is ourselves and not an alien power over us. The ultimate rulers of our democracy are not a President and senators and congressmen and government officials, but the voters of this country." - President Franklin D. Roosevelt
Celebrity chef Paula Deen has been in hot water lately and can't seem to get herself out of it. Her latest troubles stem from an employment discrimination, racial discrimination and sexual harassment lawsuit brought by former employee, Lisa T. Jackson.
Media coverage of the lawsuit took off when Ms. Deen admitted to using the word "nigger". Other allegations in the deposition seemed to take a back seat to that. I was surprised Ms. Deen was honest in her answer because many people lie and take the pious, holier-than-thou route.
Of course Ms. Deen mentioned that she'd heard blacks use that word. Now, being black myself, I don't like when anyone uses it. I chalk it up to ignorance, lack class and lack of vocabulary. I can't join the club of blacks that basically says "we can use that word but they can't". It's also not a label of affection if it ends in "a" or "-ah" rather than "-er".
That being said, way more offensive was her talk of a "southern style plantation wedding" replete with servers that reminded Ms. Deen of The Civil War period. Ms. Deen did try to clean up her explanation but it seemed the more she did, the worse it got.
There was also mention of testimony of another former employer that Bubba Hiers, Paula Deen's brother, told Lisa Jackson to keep the front 'light' when hiring. Wow. That means blacks and other dark-skinned people were welcome to work in the kitchen but not as servers, managers, etc. in the front of the restaurant.
Ms. Deen was a no-show for an interview with Matt Lauer on Friday's Today Show. She did release a couple of videos apologizing for her how her words hurt other people.
The Food Network chose to not to renew the contract for Ms. Deen's show which expires this month. If you also agree with that decision, before you jump up for joy, remember that memory of such racial episodes tend to be short lived, especially with most black people. As with similar instances involving Dog the Bounty Hunter and Don Imus, so Paula Deen could return to television soon.
Joe Rickey Hundley of Hayden, Idaho is accused of saying "Shut that nigger baby up!" as 19 month-old Jonah Bennett cried aboard a Delta flight to Atlanta. Hundley slapped the boy across the face.
Aerosapce executive Joe Rickey Hundley, 60, was accused of slapping a crying 19 month-old boy and referring to the child as a 'nigger' aboard a Delta flight headed to Atlanta from Minneapolis on February 8, 2013. Hundley admits to requesting the baby be quieted down not slapping the child and using the racial slur. Jessica Bennett, the baby's mother, said he uttered the racial slur twice. The toddler is the adopted child of Bennett and her husband who are both white.
Since the incident, Hundley was suspended and later terminated from his position as president of AGC Aerospace and Defense. The company offered an apology without actually mentioning Hundley's name.
Without rehashing every detail reported regarding the incident, it's important to note that Hundley was described as being intoxicated. Bennett said he "reeked of alcohol" and consumed more on the flight. It was also reported that Hundley complained the child was too big to ride in the mother's lap. Bennett said she stood during the flight. The incident occurred as she took her seat to prepare for the plane's descent.
Hundley was later charged with simple assault on a minor. If convicted, he faces up to a year in jail. Hundley's attorney, Marcia Schein, said her client will plead not guilty. Really? I'm sure you're equally as a curious as I as to why Joe Rickey Hundley wasn't charged with a hate crime in addition to simple assault? I'm not an attorney or law enforcement but surely Joe Rickey should also be charged with child abuse and a litany of other charges that this "alleged" crime warrants.
Here's something else to think on. While mainstream media makes a big deal out of Joe Rickey being fired. Don't get excited. Considering his age, Hundley could have been allowed to retire and been given a nice severance package. As expected, AGC declined to release details of personnel issues.
While the Bennett family has been traumatized by this incident and prayerfully little Jonah will not suffer from this psychologically in the future, surely Joe Rickey Hundley has family and/or friends who are horrified and/or embarrassed by this incident also. It's one thing to be racist towards an adult, but to be racist and verbally and physically assault a 19 month-old child? Come on, Joe Rickey, really?
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is under fire big time for saying that Barack Obama could be president because he is light-skinned and doesn't speak with a Negro dialect unless he has to. Those comments were made in either 2006 or 2007; the timeline is in dispute and that's not really important in this situation. What is clear is that Reid unwisely voiced points that were thought by many. Except for that antiquated 'Negro' terminology, Senator Reid made the same assessment a lot of whites probably made and some blacks also; let's not kid ourselves.
To be politically attractive, candidates are advised to look and speak a certain way. Candidate Barack Obama fit that mold and his Ivy League education sealed the deal. Am I a Harry Reid fan? No but I'm not hating on him either. I also don't think his comments were nearly as racially-charged as Trent Lott's 'Dixiecrat' comment, that 'Barack the Magic Negro' song and controversial comments by others.
The GOP is attempting to keep this topic in the media by claiming 'double standard' in the treatment of Republicans who have made racial comments compared to Democrats who do the same. Should Harry Reid resign? No. Is Harry Reid a racist? I don't know. Is he out-of-touch? Absolutely --- as are the folks over at the Census Bureau.
Harry Alford, head of the National Black Chamber of Commerce dresses down Senator Barbara Boxer during a hearing of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, of which Boxer is the chair.
Alford addressed climate change and Boxer proceeded to read a NAACP resolution which referenced including black colleges and universities in the research and development of alternative energy sources. She also mentioned the 100 Black men increasing the ire of Alford.
Former Colorado U.S. Congressman Tom Tancredo ignited controversy here in Miami almost three years ago with his characterization of the area as a third world country. He made other statements that were far from complimentary and let's just say things got ugly. He's now surpassed that deed bycalling Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor a racist because she is a member of the Latino civil rights organization, La Raza. He went on to equate La Raza to the "KKK without the hoods or the nooses."
La Raza chief Janet Murguia disputed Tancredo's description of the organization and refuted his translation of the group's name and motto among other things.
Many people incorrectly translate our name, "La Raza," as "the race." While it is true that one meaning of "raza" in Spanish is indeed "race," in Spanish, as in English and any other language, words can and do have multiple meanings. As noted in several online dictionaries, "La Raza" means "the people" or "the community." Translating our name as "the race" is not only inaccurate, it is factually incorrect. "Hispanic" is an ethnicity, not a race. As anyone who has ever met a Dominican American, Mexican American, or Spanish American can attest, Hispanics can be and are members of any and all races.
The term "La Raza" has its origins in early 20th century Latin American literature and translates into English most closely as "the people" or, according to some scholars, as "the Hispanic people of the New World." The term was coined by Mexican scholar José Vasconcelos to reflect the fact that the people of Latin America are a mixture of many of the world's races, cultures, and religions. Mistranslating "La Raza" to mean "the race" implies that it is a term meant to exclude others. In fact, the full term coined by Vasconcelos, "La Raza Cósmica," meaning the "cosmic people," was developed to reflect not purity but the mixture inherent in the Hispanic people. This is an inclusive concept, meaning that Hispanics share with all other peoples of the world a common heritage and destiny.
Tom Delay adds to the mayhem and foolishness and injects the name of LULAC. Hmmm...