Afro Centric News Navigation Bar

African-American Man Killed in Syria Fighting for Islamic Militants

Douglas McAuthur McCain
By Frederick H. Lowe

(TriceEdney) - Douglas McAuthur McCain, a Black man from the Minneapolis, Minn., area, was killed in Syria, fighting for ISIS, or the Islamic State of Iraq, the White House has confirmed.

Caitlin Hayden, a spokesperson for the National Security Council, has announced that McCain, who was born in Chicago and raised in the Minneapolis area, has died.

"We are aware of U.S. citizen Douglas McAuthur McCain's presence in Syria and can confirm his death," Hayden said in a statement Aug. 26. "We continue to use every tool we possess to disrupt and dissuade individuals from traveling abroad for violent jihad and to track and engage those who return.”

Kenyata McCain, a first cousin, told the Minneapolis Star Tribune that a U.S. State Department official called Douglas McCain's mother Sunday night to tell her that her son had been killed in Syria over the weekend. His mother lives in San Diego.

The Star Tribune reported that McCain was killed in Marea, Syria, during a gun battle with members of the Free Syrian Army. McCain converted from Christianity to the Muslim faith in 2004.

Family members had recently talked to Douglas McCain, and he said he was in Turkey, which is a common route to Syria. Kenyata McCain noted that on his Facebook page that her cousin supported ISIS or ISIL, which President Barack Obama has tapped as one of the United States' top security concerns. Government officials believe more than 100 Americans have joined ISIS.

The NorthStar News & Analysis sent a request for an interview to Kenyata McCain through Facebook, but she did not respond.

NorthStar also called the U.S. State Department about McCain, but officials did not respond to its request for information, including how they determined he was an American. Several news reports said an American passport and $800 were found on his body.

Douglas McCain’s death occurred shortly after the disclosure of the beheading of American photographer James Foley by ISIS. A video of Foley's execution was released August 19.

NBC News first reported Douglas Authur McCain's death. The network attributed their information to the Free Syrian Army.

The Star Tribune reported that the 33-year-old McCain graduated in 1999 from Robbinsdale Cooper High School in New Hope, Minn., a Minneapolis suburb. Although some reports said he did not graduate.

In recent years, he moved to San Diego, where he worked as a caregiver and assisted in raising his daughter, who is nearly a year old.

Some reports described McCain as Tunisian and Egyptian, but he said on his Facebook page that he was 10 percent African American. While in Chicago, he lived in the Robert Taylor Homes, a giant public housing project on the South Side. The complex has since been demolished.

His Facebook page has been taken down.

Optical Delusions

First Lady Michelle Obama
By James Clingman

(TriceEdney) - Black life, for the most part, has become a myriad of frustration, doubt, hopelessness, desperation, despair, struggle, and fear. We fear one another; we fear the police; we fear discrimination; we fear racism; we fear injustice; and we fear for our children’s safety on several fronts. We have news shows that are nothing but “views shows,” that make every effort to drag us into the no-win world of political group-think, while we meander through life looking for the ultimate illusion of equality on various fronts.

Politically, we are bombarded with images, empty platitudes, and impotent strategies to alleviate our many societal problems. Promises, inspiring messages, and microphone bravado are the tools of today that keep us relatively docile and in a perpetual state of fourth-class citizenship in this country.

Much of what we see is meaningless, but we seem to thrive on useless and shallow responses to our plight; and we settle for the same from our “leading Blacks.” Amazingly we continue to fall for the same games and head-fakes, the same illusions, and the same rhetoric year after year. It’s all about the “optics,” as the politicians like to say.

For instance, politicians like to show their concern by doing meaningless things like rolling up their sleeves when they visit a city and come to the microphone. They like to wash pots and pans in homeless shelters. They like to serve in food lines. They like to eat hamburgers in public. They like to play games to give the impression they are one of us. They like to dance in conga lines in Africa. They like to be with celebrities to show they are “in.” They like to stand beside manufacturing robots to show us they are innovative. They like to stand on top of rubble and declare their grit and determination to avenge us.

Optics compels our leaders to do dumb and meaningless things to get us to believe they are busy and engaged in the struggles of the common man. And it works. Does that mean we are dumb if we accept their empty gestures? Why do we care if they can play golf, if they can dance, if they ride a bicycle, if they jog, if they can play an instrument or sing, if they eat a cheeseburger, or if they shed their ties and roll up their sleeves as if they are going to do some real work?

Optics is nothing more than an illusion. A great example is what took place immediately after police shot and killed Kajieme Powell in St. Louis. The Mayor called his staff and they conducted an impromptu job training sign-up right there at the site where the man died. I truly hope those who signed up, all 80+ of them, will not only be trained but receive jobs—but I kinda doubt it.

When civil unrest occurs, the solutions are mainly centered on placating the offended group with more recreational opportunities, job training, diversity and sensitivity training, and other shallow remedies that are only supported by the optics of it all. After a brief period of time, everything usually goes back to normal, especially when it comes to the economic side of things.

Most politicians are, indeed, just political. They have their go-to guys and gals who will calm the masses but fail to neither offer nor implement economic solutions to the problems many of us face on a daily basis, including Black people being killed by other Blacks and by police officers.

I long for the day when Black people will stop falling for the optics and the antics, and start getting down to the business of economic solutions, not as a panacea, but at least as a tried and true way of making real progress when it comes to our survival in this nation. If we continue to use the same tactics in response to our ultimate demise, we will never be respected and we will continue to be the least regarded and the least protected people in this country.

If we keep spending the overwhelming majority of our $1 trillion annual income with businesses other than own, with no reciprocity, there will be no reason for those in charge to change. If we maintain status quo when it comes to crises, we will continue to get optics rather than substantive change. If we rely on optical illusions to control our direction we will end up in an even more dreadful place than we find ourselves now; and our children will have absolutely no hope at all.

Optics and optical illusions are mirages and pipedreams that keep us from using our economic means in pursuit of our safety, our progress, and our liberation. And we are delusionary if we believe otherwise.

Through the Eyes of Others

Voters displaying voting rights posters
By Dr. E. Faye Williams, Esq.

(TriceEdney) —There’s an old saying, "There is none so blind as (s) he who will not see." My initial understanding and the evolved significance of that statement have come to shape how I view and interpret many of the events that impact my life, community and country. That admission rings more than true as I reflect on the events of the last several weeks and many others in my lifetime of experiences. I speak specifically to the value I see placed on the lives of others and the value of life that’s seen and acknowledged when others look at me, and those who look like me.

If history shows us nothing else, we have been provided numerous examples of how easy it is to brutalize any group of people and justify the brutality once they’ve been dehumanized in the mind and perception of the brute. The history of this nation's inhumane treatment of enslaved Africans, has been justified with their being characterized as sub-human or biblically as descendants of Ham who are obligated to be servants. During this nation's westward expansion, the treatment of Native Americans was made acceptable by characterizing them as "uncivilized savages". The killing of Japanese and Vietnamese opponents in war became easier by calling them "Nips", "Zips", "Slopes" or "Gooks". If we listen closely enough or pay attention, contemporarily, we will hear our Arabic adversaries called "Rag-head Niggers" or "Sand Niggers."

As I evaluate unfolding events in Ferguson, MO; Dayton, OH; NYC and an ever increasing list of places, the value perceived in the lives of Black males is minimal and, seemingly, grows less in each passing generation. The answers to the why of this are many, but I believe that until these questions are routinely and continually addressed in the national dialogue, chaos at the treatment of people of color, Black people in general, and Black males, specifically, will continue to be the norm.

The volatile reaction of Black residents of Ferguson should not be unexpected when we assess the history of their community policing or hear reports that residents were commonly referred to by those responsible for "serving and protecting" them as "animals" and "savages." I am at a loss to think that anyone could not understand the righteous indignation of the Ferguson community to being occupied by a quasi-military force of oppressors which embraces that mindset.

In the eyes of the oppressor, however, mustering that type of response to the community's outrage over the murder of one of their own was a natural first response and the correct method of maintaining proper "control”. Therein lies the crux of the problem. Those who oppress or commit acts with racially-based disparate impact don't see the wrong in what they do. Those who traverse life in judgment of others using stereotypes and false characterizations based on their limited experience seek no understanding beyond what they already know. Those who hold conscious or unconscious racial animus can only see life through the lens of their own correctness. Most evil are those who clearly understand their own aspirations for health, peace and happiness for for themselves, their families and friends; yet refuse to accept that others not like them hold similar aspirations.

If we’re to survive as a nation, we must quickly reject notions that have separated us into US and THEM and seek community. The abiding principle that makes a community is the individual's ability to look beyond self-interests to options that enfold the common good. Community is looking beyond what we singularly understand to objectively evaluate, not accept, beliefs and value-systems that exist outside our present understanding. To paraphrase Matthew McConaughey's character in the movie, A Time to Kill, "Look through someone else's eyes and imagine it was you."

(Dr. E. Faye Williams is President/CEO of the National Congress of Black Women, Inc.

TEESA Store Front

TEESA Store Music and More
Afro Centric News © 1997, 2014

Youth Leadership Will Determine Next Moves in Michael Brown Case

FERGUSON, Mo. – (TriceEdney) - A young Black mother pushing a toddler in a stroller decided to reach out to four White police officers standing near the West Florissant Ave. sidewalk as protestors, a few blocks away, marched peacefully after the police shooting death of unarmed teenager Michael Brown.

Two weeks after the August 9 shooting,clashes with police had calmed down significantly. After exchanging greetings with the officers, the mother leaned the stroller back and coaxed the child to speak.

“Say thank you for your service…Say thank you for your service,” the woman encouraged. Instead, the toddler, who was about 3, said what was least expected. She leaned forward in the stroller and asserted: “Hands up. Don’t shoot.”

Obviously mimicking the chants she’d heard hundreds of times during the days of protests following the shooting, the child simply said what came to her in the moment. The stunned mother whisked her away as the smiles of the officers faded.
Jessica Williams was one of hundreds of young people who rallied in protest of the police shooting of 18-year old Normandy High school graduate Michael Brown. PHOTO: Wiley Price/St. Louis American
Jessica Williams was one of hundreds of young people who rallied in protest of the police shooting of 18-year old Normandy High school graduate Michael Brown. PHOTO: Wiley Price/St. Louis American
It was a lighter moment after a night of mostly peaceful protests that followed several chaotic nights mixed with looting, peaceful protests and militaristically violent responses by the police. Yet, it was a moment that perfectly illustrated how youth – children, teens and young adults - appeared to suddenly wake up to the struggle for racial justice in America and began to lead.

“I think it has opened your eyes to everything, makes you see things a little bit differently…I’m glad that instead of just sitting at home watching history, I’m a part of it,” said Gabriele Hanson, 19, who graduated high school this year and is preparing for college. “It makes you not want to let it pass by, you want to pay attention to it. You want to watch CNN, you want to watch the news and see what’s going on in the world instead of just letting it pass you by on Instagram and Twitter and everything. You want to focus."

Ending another night of protests in the Michael Brown shooting last week, this young man strikes the
pose of marchers who repeated the chant, "Hands up! Don't shoot!" Brown was laid to rest at a funeral Monday as the nation
awaits a grand jury's decision on whether to indict the shooter, Officer Darren Wilson. PHOTO: Hazel Trice
Casket of Michael Brown, surrounded by clergy, civil rights leaders and family, including his mother, Lesley McSpadden (in red dress). PHOTO: Lawrence Bryant/St. Louis American
Casket taken to cemetary in a horse-drawn carriage, symbolizing royalty. PHOTO: Lawrence Bryant/St. Louis American
Casket taken to cemetary in a horse-drawn carriage, symbolizing royalty. PHOTO: Lawrence Bryant/St. Louis American
Her sister, Dominique Hanson, 16, says the protest has been “definitely life changing.” She said it has taught her that “if you do have a voice, you have to stand for something.” And she has learned much from the Michael Brown killing, she said, “You don’t have to be doing anything to like get in trouble or get killed so, yes, definitely, you want to be more careful and open up your eyes to more things.”

Meanwhile, Brown was laid to rest on Monday at a funeral service that seated 2,500 at the Friendly Temple Missionary Baptist Church, plus up to 5,000 with an additional overflow room. His parents, Lesley McSpadden and Michael Brown Sr., had asked for a day of quiet and mourning, therefore there were no open protests. The Rev. Al Sharpton, who did the eulogy, pleaded for protestors not to loot, but rather allow Brown's death be remembered as the moment of change for police-community relations in America. The church was packed with who's whos of civil rights, clergy, and Hollywood; including Rev. Jesse Jackson, Bishop T.D. Jakes, Pastor Jamal Harrison Bryant, Dr. R. B. Holmes, Spike Lee and Tom Joyner.

On Canfied Drive, only four blocks from the site of the protests, a make-shift memorial with flowers, teddy bears, candles and a trail of hundreds of red roses were set in the middle of the street in the spot where Brown lay dead for more than four hours August 9. Well into the night, teens and adults drive or walk by to pay their respects. There, one of his closest friends, Paul Norfleet, 17, talked to this reporter about the friend who liked to be called “Mike-Mike”.

“I never thought anything like this could happen,” said Norfleet. He said it was hard to even get Brown to go outside. “He wasn’t really out here in the streets. He used to stay in the house a lot. So, we used to try to get him out of the house because he didn’t like to come out,” he said.

He continued his memories: “We used to go out to the malls and stuff and we used to record music. But other than that, he just stayed in the house. He didn’t do nothing for real. … I’d just go to his house and sit in the basement every day and record music…That was a cool moment too.”

Amidst the protests, some youth marched with their faces covered with bandanas for fear of backlash on their jobs or careers. “A young man got gunned down less than five miles away from where I grew up and where I live,” said a young man with his face partially concealed. “This is my city and I mean, I’m all about change and standing up and fighting the power.”

Fareed Alston, a St. Louis-based film-maker, said the initial protests were “almost cinematic” in the way police treated the protestors.

“Once we get out here, we become fugitives, almost like marshal law. They can search you, they can arrest you, there can do whatever they want. There’s no rebuttal,” said Alston, whose arms were wrapped in bandages covering severe abrasions from a fall during clashes between police and protestors.

Alston said the protests were not just focused on the killing of Brown. That was only a spark, he said.

“Now it’s grown to be a movement of people who are sick and tired of being abused by the police. They’re angry, but they’re intelligent. They’re orchestrated. People are forming solidarity,” he said.

“Enough is enough. At the end of the day, they know right from wrong,” says Devante Whitfield, 20, holding a sign that said “Don’t shoot. Black men are people too.” Nineteen-year-old Donta Hall said the whole situation has taken him by surprise. “I never really thought anything like this could happen.”

Many came from other cities to stand in solidarity with Ferguson because of the national scope of police shootings. A group of young men from Milwaukee, Wis., visited the Michael Brown memorial site.

“Right now we’re dealing in Milwaukee with the case of a young man who was shot 15 times at Red Arrow Park for resting in the park,” said Tory Lowe, 38, designated by his friends as their spokesman. “The business district thought it was bad for business.”

According to Milwaukee news reports, the Milwaukee police chief has still not said why the unarmed Dontre Hamilton, 31, was killed four months ago. He was apparently shot 15 times by the police.

Lowe credits the youth for rising up in the Ferguson shooting and taking action that got media attention even beyond the first few days of the Trayvon Martin shooting.

“What these young people did was they rose up and they reacted. And now, all eyes are hear because of that. If they had only been peaceful, this could have been just one of the things they would have swept under the rug. But, they caused severe damage,” Lowe said. “The nation pays attention when young people rise up. This is where the fight is for injustice. The media is here. We want body cameras on these cops. We want for officers to be fired and not just set aside when these acts happen. This is a time to pass legislation to get what we want from these lives being lost.”

As the funeral service for Brown took place on Monday, his parents called for a day of silence and calm. If the grand jury decides not to charge Officer Darren Wilson in this case, another decision will then be made.

Lowe concluded: “If they don’t indict this man it’s going to be up to the youth to decide. This is a youth movement and the people of Ferguson are going to decide how they are going to react. Right now, the civil unrest says they are not going to react too positively to them not putting this man away.”

Report: Progress for Back Men Stalled

Prison Bar
(TriceEdney) - From the U. S. president to millionaire athletes, these appear to be halcyon days for Black men.

Forty years ago, only a fiction writer could imagine that the nation’s leader would ever be a person of color or that a Fortune 500 company like American Express would ever consider having a Black chief executive.

Today, the growth of Black elected officials and decision-makers shows the remarkable advances that Black men have made in government as well as in business, science, sports, education, entertainment and a host of other areas.

But dig deeper into the statistics for Average Joes, and the picture is of stalled progress overall.

Soaring incarceration rates in the past 25 years and the surge in unemployment during the Great Recession have left Black men, in general, still clinging to the bottom rung of the economic ladder, the same place they were in 1974 and earlier, according to a new report by researchers at the University of Chicago.

Derek Neal and Armin Rick, the co-authors of the report, found that so-called reforms in the criminal justice system have stifled the general advance of Black males and made them more vulnerable to arrest and imprisonment.

Education is a prime example. By 1989, 25 years after passage of the door-opening Civil Rights Act, Black men were rapidly closing the gap with White in completed years of schooling.

Instead of the four-year difference of the 1960s and 1970s, Black adults ages 26 to 35 had by 1989, on average, completed just one year less of school than their White counterparts, while record numbers of Black high school graduates were enrolling in college, technical schools and other higher education training.

However, the impact of increased incarceration has changed the picture. Between 1989 and 2014, the gap in Black-White educational attainment has stopped shrinking and instead widened to nearly 1970s levels, the two researchers found.

They cited continuing wide Black-White differences in math and reading scores on standardized and college placement tests as well as the widening gap in educational attainment.

The rise in incarceration also correlates with lowered employment rates for Black men, particularly since 2008, the researchers found: “Relative to white men in the labor market, black men are in no better a situation than they were in 1974.”

Incarceration is the key factor, the report found. Prisoner numbers have soared in the wake of federal and state policies imposed in the 1980s and 1990s to crack down on crime, including parole abolition, enhanced sentencing guidelines ad three-strike laws that ensure near lifetime imprisonment for repeat offenders.

The report states such policy changes – fueled by grants for prison building – accounted for more than 70 percent of the growth in the prison population between 1986 and 2006. The United States now leads the world in locking up people, with 2.2 million behind bars.

Not surprisingly, Black men have been affected the most, the study noted. Given historical patterns of discrimination, they remain more likely to be arrested, to be convicted and to be sentenced to longer terms than White men.

Combined, local jails and state and federal prisons today house close to a million Black men. Overall, one in four Black males are behind bars or on probation or parole on any given day, according to this report and other studies.

The higher arrest rates, the report stated, are reflected in labor market data. The data show Black men age 21 and over have the highest rate of unemployment among all able-bodied adults.

According to the Labor Department, the most recent data show the unemployment rate for Black men was 10.9 percent compared to 4.9 percent for White men. (Black women, too, have nearly double the unemployment rate of White women, 9 percent to 4.8 percent.)

The picture could change in coming years, the report indicated. The decline in crime rates plus the Great Recession appear to be forcing the debt-ridden federal government and cash-strapped states to re-examine costly prison policies, the report noted.

Now the federal government and states are looking for ways to reduce prison costs by promoting diversion programs, potentially leading to lower incarceration rates down the road. Still, the impact of those policies will continue to be felt for years on the success rates for Black children and adults, the report concluding.

Police Shoot and Kill Unarmed Black Men With No Meaningful Repercussions

By Frederick H. Lowe

(TriceEdney) - Police in five cities have conducted summary executions of five unarmed Black men for minor incidents or for seeking help, which the cops ratchet up to capital crimes, deserving of a death sentence meted out by them.

The latest police shooting death of an unarmed, mentally ill Black man occurred Monday night in Los Angeles.
Ezell Ford was lying face down as he had been ordered to do by LAPD officers, according to eyewitnesses who dispute the police department's version of the story. The police, however, shot Ford three times in the back, and he died later in a hospital from his wounds.
Police tell a different story. They said they stopped Ford because he was making "suspicious movements." What made the movements suspicious is not explained.
Ezell Ford
He did not have a gun or the police would have mentioned it. Ford allegedly attempted to grab a gun from one of the cops. His partner fired his weapon, according to the LAPD. The other cop fired his backup gun. The cops were not identified.
Michael Brown When the murder of Ford occurred, the nation was still fixated on the police murder of Michael Brown, an 18 year-old who lived in the St. Louis, Mo., suburb of Ferguson.
Brown was walking in the street, a crime that meets all the criteria for capital punishment in Ferguson. Ferguson police said a cop, which the department initially refused to identify, ordered Brown to walk on the sidewalk. Jon Belmar, the department's police chief, alleged that Brown assaulted the cop and one shot was fired inside the patrol car.

The cop, identified as 28-year-old Darren Wilson, then shot the unarmed Brown several more times and his dead body was left lying in the street for four and a half hours.
Witnesses said, however, Brown had raised his arms in the air when he was shot to death on August 9.
President Barack Obama was so disturbed by Brown's death that he sent the teenager's family a message. President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama called Brown's death heartbreaking and the first couple sent their deepest condolences to Brown's family and to the community.

The president also said that U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has indicated that the U.S. Justice Department is investigating the shooting death along with local authorities.
Eric Garner
The police murder of an unarmed Brown comes on the heels of the murder of Eric Garner, a 43 year-old father and grandfather, at the hands of the New York City Police.

Daniel Pantaleo, a member of the NYPD, murdered Garner, by using an illegal chokehold to kill Garner. The New York Medical Examiner ruled that Garner's death, which occurred in Staten Island on July 17, a homicide.
Garner's murder was video recorded and went viral over the Internet. Ramsey Orta, 22, recorded the video. The cops, however, took their revenge, arresting Orta on weapons charges. They also arrested his wife in a separate incident.

Orta claims police set him up. When police initially searched him, they did not find a gun. "I would be stupid to walk around with a gun after being in the spotlight, " he said.
In another deadly police shooting of an unarmed black man, Beavercreek, Ohio, police shot to death 22-year-old John Crawford in the toy department of a Wal-mart store. Crawford was holding a pellet gun.
A customer panicked and said Crawford was waving "what appeared to be an AR-15 at children and others." Police officers Sean Williams and Sgt. David Darkow murdered Crawford by shooting him in the stomach. The Montgomery County's coroner's office in Dayton, Ohio, ruled that Crawford's death was a homicide.

A resulting customer stampede caused by police gun fire also killed Angela Williams, 37, a shopper who was an innocent bystander. Williams suffered an unspecified medical emergency.

All the cases are tragic, but the police murder of Jonathan Ferrell, which occurred in September 2013, falls into its own category.
The 24 year-old Ferrell was involved in a one car accident in Charlotte-Mecklenburg, N.C. He went to the nearest home for help and knocked on the door. In response, the woman homeowner, like the man in the Beavercreek Wal-mart store, panicked. She called 911 and said Ferrell was breaking into her home.

When Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officers arrived, the unarmed Ferrell thought they were there to help. It turned out he was dead wrong. Ferrell approached the cops with outstretched arms. Randall Kerrick, a cop, pulled his gun and shot Ferrell 10 times, killing him instantly.

In most, if not all of the cases, in which police murder unarmed Black men, the police claim they feared for their lives, a police department mantra. In most cases, the deadly shooting occurred as a result of struggle, but police know how to provoke struggles, which gives them a reason to fire their guns.

High Crime Means More Police Jobs

Ben Haith, a blogger, brings up another reason. Haith said that some police departments believe if there is less criminal activity in the Black community, they will lose their jobs.

He gave as an example former members of Boston Fire Department. They set 216 fires that destroyed $22 million worth of property between 1982 and 1986 in the hope that the fire department would re-hire them after widespread layoffs in 1980s. Members of the arson ring, all ex-firefighters, were sentenced from five to 40 years in prison, according to several newspaper reports.

Police, however, are not as on guard when it comes to Whites.

Last June, Jerad and Amanda Miller, members of the White supremacist Patriot movement, shot to death three people, including two Las Vegas cops. The couple then took the cops' weapons.

The Millers had been supporters of Nevada rancher Cliven "I know the Negro" Bundy, a one-time Fox News favorite. Fox News has blasted New York Mayor Bill de Blasio's handling of the Garner murder.

On his Facebook page, Jerad Miller wrote about his tangles with law enforcement and the unfairness of the nation's drug laws.

Since vigils and marches have had little, if any, effect on the police murders of Black men, the African-American community needs to develop a much more aggressive strategy.

Black Children Murdered by Other Blacks: A Non-Issue for Too Many Leaders

By Dr. Barbara A. Reynolds

(TriceEdney) - After the celebrity politicians, press and preachers leave the glare of the cameras in Ferguson, MO resulting from the murder of Michael Brown, 18, by a white policeman, they should focus national attention on the constant slaughter of the innocents: African American children being murdered most often by black males.

When whites kill blacks, it’s an important racial and political issue. But when blacks murder each other or black children, most of the loud, passionate voices fade to a shameful silence. Is it no less a crime when the gun used to kill is held by a black hand or a white hand?

The next site of mourning or protest should be Chicago, then onto the Washington DC, area and scores of other cities where parents are grieving, kids are afraid and the elderly can’t sit on their porches in broad daylight because bullets are known to come careening through the air.

On August 20, nine-year-old Antonio Smith, is the latest child gunned down, assassinated, executed-- whichever word you want to use-- near his home on Chicago’s troubled predominately black Southside. Police reports show that he was not a gang banger, nor was he running from the police; he was just walking along in the wrong place at- the wrong time.

When will city officials finally realize that black lives, especially kids in Chicago, are vital enough to be protected and call out the National Guard? During the Fourth of July 85 people were shot in Chicago. Two of them under 15 were shot by police. Some teens there are saying they plan their funerals along with their proms because it is uncertain which will come first.

Despite these alarming statistics, when I was in Chicago recently, I did not get a sense that the police are up in arms about the chaos. There is a perception that blacks dying violent deaths are normal, not warranting the police protection extended to whites.

From Chicago, the celebrity troupe should camp out in the district and in some Maryland communities to see how toxic things are for little children so close to the power center that provides security to many parts of the world, yet can’t properly protect bullets from killing kids in their homes or playgrounds.

Last week I met three year old Kodie Brown. Her father shot and killed Selina, her mother on a DC bus. Selina was holding Kodie then 20 months old as a bullet tore through the little girls face. She has gone through several surgeries to correct the injury and has become a local celebrity as a survivor.

Kodie deserved better than to be disfigured but at least her grandfather, Derrick Ferguson, a DC police officer can still hold her in her arms. Some parents will never hold their children again because of the senseless violence that claimed their lives.

August has been a deadly month for three African America toddlers in Maryland and the district, which began on the first day of the month. Three year old McKenzie Elliott was playing on a Baltimore porch when a straying bullet ended her life. The shooter is still at large

On August 10 Knijah Bibb was playing in the bedroom of a Landover Maryland home she was visiting when a man started shooting after a fight. A bullet killed the three-year-old. The shooter is also still at large.

The next Saturday another three year old died tragically at the hands of her father. Police said Frederick Miller, a 38-year-old Marine Corps veteran, was locked in a years-long custody battle over his daughter, Laila Miller. He shot the girl’s maternal grandfather and great-grandmother, then shot his child at close range and slit her throat before he drove off — her corpse in the back seat — and died after a gun battle with police.

These child tragedies unfortunately are not unique to Maryland. The Children’s Defense Fund tells us that in the USA a child or teen is killed or injured by a gun every 30 minutes. That is 50 children and teens every day, 350 every week.

Not unique, but not normal either. It is mind-bogging that leaders who care about black people –including President Obama---do not come up with a strategy to help stem the violence in our streets that are claiming our children.

“Why would someone shoot a little girl like me?” That was the soul-searching question posed by a little African American girl recently after being shot on a playground in the district. She is now undergoing surgery and physical therapy. The shooter described as a black male is still at large.

So far there have been no answers and promises that adults will work as hard to focus national attention on little kids shot by black men as is done when white cops shoot black men.

And until black on black murder is taken seriously, we are left with the heartbreak of the slaughter of the innocence.

White American Fights to Save His 'African Heritage' House from Demolition

African Heritage House
(TriceEdney) – A petition drive, organized by a White American settler in Kenya, is underway to preserve a grand multi-leveled red mud building of mixed African influences overlooking Nairobi National Park. The “African Heritage House”, home to Colorado-native Alan Donovan, lies in the path of a future railway.

Donovan, who lives in and runs a bed and breakfast in the art-filled Heritage house, hopes to persuade President Uhuru Kenyatta to save the building he described as “Africa’s most photographed house.” He credits an old friend and business associate, Kenya’s first foreign minister, Joseph Anthony Zuzarte Murumbi, for launching a jewelry business that saw high-end pieces commissioned by the two men.

A former student at the University of California, Donovan, 72, came to Africa by way of Nigeria on assignment for the U.S. State Dept. during the Biafra war. His Kenyan house, designed by David Bristow of the UK, has a turreted facade echoing the mosques of Mali and a tower bearing the geometric designs of a Nigerian emir's palace.

Inside are a garden courtyard, nine distinct rooms and an estimated 6,000 artworks reflecting a lifetime's immersion in Africana as a collector and dealer. Donovan shows the house, completed in 1994, by appointment and takes reservations for overnight guests.

Efforts to list the house with the National Museums of Kenya have so far been unsuccessful. “This matter is with us,” said Museums and Monuments director, Dr. Purity Kiura, “(but) there is a procedure (to follow), which includes defining the values and the threshold for gazettement… Such values include historical, architectural authenticity and aesthetic value.”

Donovan’s petition, also on Facebook, begs his fellow Kenyans, Africans and citizens of the world “to join us in signing this petition to prevent the African Heritage House from being demolished…” Some 2,423 petitioners have signed up on

The threat of demolition was brought down a notch in a local Kenyan newspaper. “While it is true that an AP officer said the house was to be demolished, the route has not been finally approved by the contractor, Chinese Road and Bridges, or the Kenya Railway Corporation,” wrote The Star.

“There is still a good probability that the African Heritage House will stand and the railway will stay on the same route as the old railway if the route can be adapted to a high speed train, or take yet another route.”

Miko Peled is a peace activist who dares to say in public what others still choose to deny. Born in Jerusalem in 1961 into a well known Zionist family. Peled says Israel is another Aparthied government.

Is Hamas a terrorist organization? According to the State Department Hamas is on the Terrorist List. Back in the 1980's Nelson Mandela was on the State Department's Terrorist List, as the United States supported the Apartheid government of South Africa. Not until the Anti-Apartheid movement gained notoriety, the United States has to change its position on South Africa's racist government.

Peled as the questions, is Israel a racist state, is Zionism a racist ideology, and a colonialist ideology that must be brought to an end like apartheid, and replaced with a real democracy. There is a part two to this video.

Fifty Years After Civil Rights Act: A Land of Opportunity

by William Spriggs

(TriceEdney) - Fifty years ago this week, the U.S. Senate passed the version of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that would be passed by the House and signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson. The bill faced a filibuster of 14 hours and 13 minutes by the late Sen. Robert Byrd of West Virginia.

Between the passage by the Senate and debate by the House, three young civil rights workers—Michael Schwerner, Andrew Goodman and James Earl Chaney—disappeared into the night on June 21, 1964, driving in the rural area near Philadelphia, Miss. Schwerner, Goodman and Chaney were later found dead, having been murdered for trying to register African American voters in Mississippi.

On Monday, this week, the AFL-CIO supported a Moral Monday protest in North Carolina revisiting many of the issues America faced in 1964, and meant to be addressed by the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Many things have changed since then. Too many things have not.

The Senate debated the Civil Rights Act for 60 working days, including Saturday sessions. Rarely today does Congress meet to carefully craft legislation lifting the lives of people. An important purpose of the act was to ensure economic freedoms for African Americans, especially the right to hold a job. In the 1960s, major American newspaper want ads openly advertised for segregated job openings. Those cold hard lines denied access to earning a living. Today, Senate Republicans filibuster votes to raise the minimum wage, and House Republicans refuse to debate it. That cold hard line leaves more than 2.6 million Americans working full time, year round but living in poverty, and America’s poor families with workers are unable to earn enough to get out of poverty.

North Carolina is a state where a child born into poverty has less than a 6 percent chance of moving up to the top 20 percent of the income pile. In the Wilson area, a poor child has only a 3.9 percent chance of moving up above middle. This is not because of single parent households, individual irresponsibility or the water people in North Carolina drink. The problem is that North Carolina has policies that trap people who fall down into poverty.

Lose a job? In North Carolina, the average unemployment benefit will replace only 35 percent of your pay, ranking 30th out of 53 unemployment systems in the United States and its territories, and you only have a 35 percent chance you will get any benefit at all, ranking 51st out of 53. If you are a single mother, then your combined Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and Temporary Assistance to Needy Families benefit will just get you to the level of extreme poverty (50 percent of the poverty line), ranking 43rd out of 51 (the 50 states and the District of Columbia).

Hunt for a job, and you will be in one of the states where the minimum wage remains at the federal level of $7.25 an hour, making you a minority among American workers, since most now live in states where democracy is working to lift the minimum wage to more decent levels. Or, try landing a job that has paid sick days, health insurance and retirement benefits—meaning a union job; the share of jobs protected by a collective bargaining agreement in North Carolina stands at less than 4.8 percent, ranking 48th out of the 51.

At the August 1963 March for Jobs and Freedom, labor and civil rights leader A. Philip Randolph famously remarked: “Yes, we want all public accommodations open to all citizens, but those accommodations will mean little to those who cannot afford to use them.”

North Carolina and its radical Republican governor and legislature are hastily passing laws not to put government on the side of the people, but to put people at the servitude of the 1 percent. They have been limiting access to unemployment insurance, standing in the way of accepting federal support to extend access to health insurance to the working poor and in the way of lifting the minimum wage. And, to make sure that no one objects to their hijacking of democracy, they are taking actions to limit voting and to deny access to the state capitol for people to exercise their 1st Amendment “right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

So, while the Civil Rights Act of 1964 sought the end of race-based laws, the state of North Carolina is trapping people into poverty. © 1997, 2014