Posted on Leave a comment

Poem: Death is passive. Killing is not.

This poem came from frustration with the passive language most media use to report state-sanctioned murder and police brutality. They say “the death of” this person or that person, as if the person died in an unremarkable way. They speak of people who “lost their life” as if the opportunity to reclaim lost life is available. A more accurate wording would be “life was taken.” Life was stolen. Life was destroyed by someone who had no right to take a life.

Death is passive. Killing is not.
On the lynchings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breyonna Taylor and George Floyd

Death is a passive word.
There is no story attached to death.

Killing is an active word.
Someone does something:
Killer killed.

There’s always a story attached to a killing.
Who did the killer kill?
Why did the killer target the victim?
How was the victim killed?
Will the killer be prosecuted?
Is the killer still breathing?
Why do killers kill?

People who kill inherently believe
They are judge, jury and executioner.
They are the law,
Inhabiting space above, beyond
and around societal norms.
They enjoy an extrajudicial existence.
The law as we know it
needs to be eliminated.
We need to write new laws.
We need to establish new societal norms.
Killers need to know
Murder is not something else
Because of their badge
Skin color or family connections.
Murder is an intentional act.
It is purposeful destruction of an active life.
Murderers think they have the right
To take away life.
To steal another person’s breath.
To extinguish a human being’s light.
They do not have that right.

Witnesses need to name names.
Supervisors need to hold perpetrators
Accountable for their violence, brutality
And abuse of authority.
Administrative leave is not enough.
Job termination is not enough.
Payouts to injured families is not enough.

Full accountability and prosecution
of killers is necessary.
No matter their uniform.
No matter their perceived goodness.
No matter their community.
A killer is a killer. Their victims
Don’t just die. They are killed.

Breathing is active.
Breath is sacred.
Air is life.
We are all created beings
with the same Right to Life
and unhindered breathing.
Access to air should not depend on
Assumptions, opinions, political views,
Occupation, wealth, social status,
Skin color, mood, hatred of fellow humans
or self-hatred. Access to air should
not require legislation.
Yet here we are.

There is a great lack of understanding in America,
An astonishing general ignorance across the continents,
Of an elemental natural truth:

The deeper you grind US into the ground,
The stronger OUR roots become.
One day, your tsunami of brutality
Will wash you and your generations
Out into the sea you brought US across,
While WE who are deeply rooted in the soil
Will not only still be standing,
But will be flourishing. Gloriously.

~ LaShawnda Jones, May 2020

#newpost #blog #poem #wordpress #policebrutality #murderbycop #murderismurder #kill #death #media #biasreporting #passive #active
Posted on Leave a comment

Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution

Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution is a state holiday celebrated in California and Virginia.

Fred Toyosaburo Korematsu (January 30, 1919 – March 30, 2005) was an American civil rights activist who objected to the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. Shortly after the Imperial Japanese Navy launched its attack on Pearl Harbor, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066, which authorized that individuals of Japanese ancestry living on the Pacific Coast were to be removed from their homes and forced to live in internment camps, but Korematsu instead challenged the orders and became a fugitive.

The legality of the internment order was upheld by the Supreme Court of the United States in Korematsu v. United States; this ruling has never been explicitly overturned.[1] Korematsu’s conviction for evading internment was overturned decades later after the disclosure of new evidence challenging the necessity of the internment, evidence which had been withheld from the courts by the U.S. government during the war. [Wikipedia/Fred_Korematsu]


Photos: On February 19, 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, thereby making a law to forcibly remove all people of Japanese ancestry from the West Coast to incarcerate them in American concentration camps.

Law Suit: Korematsu v. United States (1944)

Korematsu v. United States (1944) was a significant United States Supreme Court case that ruled that the Government’s use of Japanese internment camps during World War II was Constitutional. This decision, written by Justice Hugo Black, was very controversial because it was the first time the Supreme Court ruled on racial discrimination based on the strict scrutiny standard. This means that the Supreme Court applied the most stringent interpretation of the law to justify the use of Japanese internment camps as superior to individual rights.

Executive Order 9066, passed in 1942 by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, ordered those with “Foreign Enemy Ancestry” to be sent to internment camps. Although the
order did not technically name any ethnic groups, this applied to about 120,000
Japanese Americans. The U.S. Government considered these individuals to be of
heightened risk to national security. []

In Korematsu’s case, the Court accepted the U.S. military’s argument that the loyalties of some Japanese Americans resided not with the United States but with their ancestral country, and that because separating “the disloyal from the loyal” was a logistical impossibility, the internment order had to apply to all Japanese Americans within the restricted area. Balancing the country’s stake in the war and national security against the “suspect” curtailment of the rights of a particular racial group, the Court decided that the nation’s security concerns outweighed the Constitution’s promise of equal rights.

Justice Robert Jackson issued a vociferous, yet nuanced, dissent. “Korematsu … has been convicted of an act not commonly thought a crime,” he wrote. “It consists merely of being present in the state whereof he is a citizen, near the place where he was born, and where all his life he has lived.” The nation’s wartime security concerns, he contended, were not adequate to strip Korematsu and the other internees of their constitutionally protected civil rights.

In the second half of his dissent, however, Jackson admitted that ultimately, in times of war, the military would likely maintain the power to arrest citizens — and that, possessing no executive power, there was little the judicial branch could do to stop it. Nonetheless, he resisted the Court’s compliance in lending the weight of its institutional authority to justify the military’s actions, and contended that the majority decision struck a “far more subtle blow to liberty” than did the order itself: “A military order, however unconstitutional, is not apt to last longer than the military emergency. … But once a judicial opinion rationalizes such an order to show that it conforms to the Constitution, or rather rationalizes the Constitution to show that the Constitution sanctions such an order, the Court for all of time has validated the principle of racial discrimination. … The principle then lies about like a loaded weapon ready for the hand of any authority that can bring forward a plausible claim of urgent need.”

Justice Owen Roberts also dissented in the case, arguing that a relocation center “was a euphemism for prison,” and that faced with this consequence Korematsu “did nothing.” Also dissenting, Justice Frank Murphy harshly criticized both the majority and the military order, writing that the internment of the Japanese was based upon “the disinformation, half-truths and insinuations that for years have been directed against Japanese Americans by people with racial and economic prejudices.”

The Court’s decision in Korematsu, loudly criticized by many civil libertarians at the time and generally condemned by historians ever since, has never been explicitly overturned. However, a report issued by Congress in 1983 declared that the decision had been “overruled in the court of history.” []

[In the 1980’s] Korematsu returned to court to challenge the original court decision. Irrefutable evidence was discovered that top government officials knew and covered up significant government intelligence information that Japanese Americans had not actually posed a threat to national security. His 1944 conviction was overturned. The decision eventually propelled the Internment Redress movement to success.

The “One Man Seeks Justice” story addresses these issues in the wake of September 11, 2001, and the racial and religious profiling against Muslims, Arabs and South Asians that ensued. Fred Korematsu’s story challenges readers to remain vigilant against civil liberties violations even in times of war or national crisis. []


Korematsu v. United States



Posted on Leave a comment

The right to life.

Life. Witnessing the wanton destruction of life has deeply impacted me these last few years. Every life I’ve witnessed killed on a video…every life I’ve heard was destroyed… everyone who has their right to life taken from them by someone who believed their right to kill trumped another’s right to live…all of those lives have changed me.

People are people. No howevers, buts, if onlys can change that.

Popular culture would have us believe animals are people. Some people are animals. Dogs and lions have a right to life. Some people forfeit their right to life the moment they’re born. That’s popular culture.

Popular culture is wrong.

People are people. No matter how a person is described in media, they have a humanity that cannot be denied or explained away. It is unfortunate that we have to announce, chant, insist, scream and demonstrate that Black Lives Matter with the full knowledge that doing so lengthens the noose around our necks and enlarges the target on our backs.

Encountering the hidden biases and deep-seated hatred of people I know personally has changed me. I haven’t succumbed to internalizing their venom but I have come to understand how so many others have. I don’t want to understand hatred in any form. Yet here I am, understanding with a great deal of disgust, the fuel that runs this world.

I choose to focus on life. What about a black life has impacted me most? Life. Shared humanity. The sure knowledge that murderers are killing and eliminating themselves even as they think they are “cleansing and purifying and keeping others safe.”

The world will not remain in darkness forever. It’s impossible to do so. The capability of the public to  share murder and information in real time is already changing how injustices are perceived, received and handled. Life will win. Simply because sooner rather than later, everyone will recognize themselves in the abused, downtrodden, uncounted and eliminated.

Posted on Leave a comment

Jesse Williams: Freedom Now

On Sunday, June 26, Jesse Williams won the 2016 BET Humanitarian Award. He gave a powerful acceptance speech that is an on-point statement highlighting racial inequality in America today. It’s ironic that is was given before a room full of entertainers, one of which was posturing with pointing to the brand on his shirt right before Jesse called out the culture of selling ourselves for brands when we prayed and worked for centuries to escape being branded.

“This award is not for me. This is for the real organizers across the country: the activists, the civil rights attorneys, the struggling parents, the families, the teachers, the students that are realizing that a system built to divide and impoverish and destroy us cannot stand if we do. Right? It’s kind of basic mathematics. The more we learn about who we are and how we got here, the more we will mobilize.”

“There has been no war that we have not fought and died on the front lines of. There’s no job we haven’t done. There’s no tax they haven’t levied against us. And we’ve paid all of them. But freedom is somehow always conditional here. You’re free – they keep telling us. But… she…she would have been alive had she not acted so… free. Freedom is always coming in the hereafter. But, you know what though? The hereafter is a hustle. We want it now.”

“The burden of the brutalized is not to comfort the bystander. That’s not our job. Stop with all that. If you have a critique for the resistance… for our resistance, then you better have an establish record of critique of our oppression. If you have no interest in equal rights for Black people, then do not make suggestions to those who do. Sit down.”

“The thing is though, just because we’re magic doesn’t mean we’re not real.”

~ Jesse Williams

Posted on Leave a comment

Paul Finkelman on 19th Century Slave Trade

Paul Finkelman on 19th Century Slave Trade 

April 21, 2012

Albany Law School professor Paul Finkelman spoke about the practice of kidnapping freemen from the North and sending them South during the 19th century. He also discussed the wide-spread practice of renting slaves and how this tied non-slave owners to the slave system. Paul Finkelman has taught classes and written about the slave trade for many years. This interview took place at the organization of American Historians meeting in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Click here to view interview:


Posted on Leave a comment

Quote: Four hundred years of black blood and sweat invested here in America…

Yesterday I spoke in London, and both ways on the plane across the Atlantic i was studying a document about how the United Nations proposes to insure the human rights of the oppressed minorities of the world. The American black man is the world’s most shameful case of minority oppression. What makes the black man think of himself as only an internal United States issue is just a catch-phrase, two words, “civil rights.” How is the black man going to get “civil rights” before first he wins his human rights, and then start thinking of himself as part of one of the world’s great peoples, he will see he has a case for the United Nations.

I can’t think of a better case! Four hundred years of black blood and sweat invested here in America, and the white man still has the black man begging for what every immigrant fresh off the ship can take for granted the minute he walks down the gangplank.

~ Malcolm X, The Autobiography of Malcolm X

Posted on 1 Comment

Quote: Justice grows out of recognition of ourselves in each other.

None of us can or should expect a transformation in race relations overnight. Every time something like this happens, somebody says we have to have a conversation about race. We talk a lot about race. There’s no short cut. We don’t need more talk. ….

But, it would be a betrayal of everything Rev. Pinckney stood for, I believe, if we allowed ourselves to slip into a comfortable silence again. Once the eulogies have been delivered, once the TV cameras move on to go back to business as usual. That’s what we so often do… to avoid uncomfortable truths about the prejudices that still infects our society. To settle for symbolic gestures without following up with the hard work of more lasting change. That’s how we lose our way again. …

Clem understood that justice grows out of recognition of ourselves in each other.  That my liberty depends on you being free, too. That history can’t be a sword to justify injustice. Or a shield against progress. It must be a manual for how to avoid repeating the mistakes of the past. How to break the cycle. A roadway for a better world. He knew that the path of grace involves an open mind, but more importantly an open heart.

~ President Barack Obama, from Eulogy for Reverend and Senator Clementa Pinckney, Charleston, NC, June 26, 2015

Obama on justice

Read President Obama’s full remarks here:

Posted on Leave a comment

Joint Statement from the Fourth U.S.-Brazil Global Partnership Dialogue

Joint Statement from the Fourth U.S.-Brazil Global Partnership Dialogue

Media Note
Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
October 24, 2012

Below is the text of a joint statement issued following the fourth meeting of the U.S.-Brazil Global Partnership Dialogue.

Begin text:

On October 24, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Minister of External Relations Antonio de Aguiar Patriota conducted the fourth meeting of the United States – Brazil Global Partnership Dialogue (GPD) in Washington, D.C. The GPD was first established in 2010 and elevated to the presidential level by President Barack Obama and President Dilma Rousseff in March 2011. This meeting was preceded by senior-level regional consultations on Africa, Asia and Pacific, South Asia, and the Middle East.

Secretary Clinton and Minister Patriota stressed the important role the GPD has played in strengthening cooperation between our two countries, and reaffirmed the joint commitment to form a U.S.-Brazil Partnership for the 21st Century between the governments and peoples of the two nations. The GPD provides a forum through which our countries work together to promote cooperation and dialogue on a broad range of bilateral, regional, and multilateral issues.

The participants expressed satisfaction with the progress under the GPD since the last ministerial on April 16, 2012 in Brasilia. Consultations have been held on the Middle East and Asia that complement dialogues on Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean; economic and commercial issues; science, technology, innovation, and the environment; internet communication and cyber-related issues; and education, culture, and social inclusion. These consultations will continue to facilitate understanding and cooperation between our two countries.

Noting the interdependence among peace, security, and development, Secretary Clinton and Minister Patriota reaffirmed their desire to build a just and inclusive world order that promotes democracy, open government, human rights, and social justice.

The two participants concurred that just as other international organizations have had to change to be more responsive to the challenges of the 21st century, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) also needs to be reformed, and expressed their support for a modest expansion of the Security Council that improves its effectiveness and efficiency, as well as its representativeness. Secretary Clinton reaffirmed the United States’ appreciation for Brazil’s aspiration to become a permanent member of the Security Council and acknowledged its assumption of global responsibilities. The participants agreed they would continue discussions on United Nations Security Council reform.

The participants underlined the political, institutional, humanitarian, and security-related achievements of Haiti and expressed their appreciation for the critical contribution of the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH). They stressed the integrated nature of MINUSTAH’s mandate. Brazil and the United States encouraged the Government of Haiti to work toward strengthening governance and the rule of law and, in this context, further encouraged Haiti to continue to pursue the development of the Haitian National Police.

Minister Patriota and Secretary Clinton underscored the importance of strengthening bilateral trade and investment and their positive contribution to their respective economies and to create job opportunities. They praised the successful completion of the first meeting of the U.S.-Brazil Investment Dialogue and the VII U.S.-Brazil Economic Partnership Dialogue (EPD) and welcomed the arrival of a Transportation Security Administration Representative to Brazil to promote cooperation on civil aviation issues.

Participants reviewed progress in implementing the Memorandum of Understanding on the Aviation Partnership and the first meeting of its Coordinating Committee in Brasilia on October 10, 2012. Public and private sector participants in the meeting identified thirteen activities to be carried out over the next year, such as workshops on airport service quality and safety practices during construction; specialized training for aviation safety inspectors and air traffic controllers; capacity building; support for the creation of internships in fields such as aviation engineering; strengthening of industry supply chains; and certification for aircraft parts and components.

Both governments underscored their commitment to work together as partners to promote development, food security and nutrition, and agreed to further strengthen the partnership between the U.S. Agency for International Development and the Brazilian Cooperation Agency, as formalized in the 2010 Memorandum of Understanding for the Implementation of Technical Cooperation Activities in Third Countries and the 2012 Memorandum of Understanding for the Implementation of Technical Cooperation Activities in Third Countries to Improve Food Security. The U.S. and Brazil are currently working together to improve agricultural productivity and agriculture research in Mozambique, and are now planning joint projects to increase agriculture production, decrease malnutrition, and promote renewable energy in Haiti and Honduras. Both governments will seek to finalize a separate Memorandum of Understanding that will promote trilateral cooperation in agriculture technology and will continue to explore opportunities for bilateral and regional cooperation in disaster risk management and response.

Minister Patriota and Secretary Clinton praised the Domestic Finance for Development (DF4D) Workshop that was held in Brasilia and co-hosted by the United States and Brazil on October 9-10, which set the stage for follow-on collaboration with participating countries to encourage fiscal transparency and discourage corruption while making tax administration and budget execution more efficient and effective.

The participants noted the continued increase in travel between our two countries and expressed satisfaction at the significant progress by the Department of State to reduce U.S. visa appointment wait times in Brazil. Secretary Clinton and Minister Patriota appreciated the many actions taken to facilitate the travel of U.S. and Brazilian citizens, including the extension of visas from five to 10 years, the opening of a 10th Brazilian Consulate in the United States, in Hartford, Connecticut, the planned opening of new U.S. consulates in Belo Horizonte and Porto Alegre, the latest U.S.-Brazil Consular Dialogue on October 4 in Brasilia, and the first meeting of the Working Group on Visa Issues in Washington, D.C. on October 22. They agreed to continue to strengthen the dialogue in this area.

Recognizing the growing opportunities, threats, and challenges in cyberspace, participants welcomed the first meeting in July 2012 of the Internet and Information Communication Technology (ICT) Working Group, during which interagency representatives from both governments exchanged views and best practices on a broad range of cyber issues. Both sides affirmed the value of open discussion of Internet and ICT issues and pledged to continue these efforts, including consultations on positions in multilateral fora.

The participants reaffirmed the shared commitment to remove barriers to access economic opportunity, education, health, and justice for historically marginalized groups, including people of African descent through the ongoing implementation of the U.S.–Brazil Joint Action Plan to Eliminate Racial and Ethnic Discrimination and Promote Equality, and lauded the successful Joint Action Plan technical meeting and seminar on Equity in Education, both held in Brasilia in August 2012. The participants further agreed that empowering and protecting women and girls requires strong, coordinated action by the international community. As examples of our shared commitment, our two countries are collaborating with Haiti on efforts to combat gender-based violence. The U.S.-Brazil Steering Group to Advance Women in Science was established in August as a direct result of the U.S.-Brazil Joint Commission Meeting on Science and Technology Cooperation hosted in Brasilia in March 2012. The Steering Group will provide recommendations to enhance international cooperation among women and establish a network of U.S. and Brazilian female scientists.

Participants welcomed continued implementation of the Action Plan on Education, and our joint efforts to support the U.S. “100,000 Strong in the Americas” initiative and Brazil’s “Scientific Mobility Program” (also known as “Science Without Borders”). They lauded the Department of Commerce-led Education Trade Mission that visited Brazil in September 2012. The mission comprised representatives from 66 U.S. institutions of higher education, making this the largest ever such mission. Participants emphasized the importance of the private sector and research centers in promoting academic mobility between Brazil and the United States, in particular by means of internship offers.

Participants welcomed the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) Concerning Labor Cooperation signed on May 17 by the U.S. Department of Labor and the Brazilian Ministry of Labor and Employment, and the first meeting of the U.S.-Brazil Labor and Employment Dialogue on October 23 in Brasilia. This initiative will further strengthen efforts under the 2011 MOU for the Implementation of Technical Cooperation Activities in Third Countries in the Field of Decent Work, through which the United States and Brazil have jointly supported a $1.29 million dollar trilateral program to combat and prevent child labor in Haiti, and provided complementary funding of close to $10 million dollars to combat child labor in South American countries and Lusophone Africa.

The participants stressed the need to mobilize innovation and investment around critical global challenges and to introduce businesses, investors, entrepreneurs, and universities to new market opportunities that accelerate economic development and promote sustainable economies. Both parties noted the new “Accelerating Market-Driven Partnerships” (AMP) initiative as an important mechanism for cross-sectoral collaboration to catalyze innovative solutions. Participants also observed with pleasure the successful visit of an Innovation Delegation comprised of entrepreneurs, educators, and technology leaders to Brazil in August 2012, as Secretary Clinton announced in the April 2012 GPD. They also welcomed the ongoing preparations for the first meeting of the Brazil-U.S. Working Group on Innovation, due to take place in the next few months, in fulfillment of the commitments made at the third meeting of the Joint Commission on Science and Technological Cooperation held last March.

Participants also agreed on the importance of identifying areas of cooperation on sports, including through initiatives encouraging the promotion of social inclusion, investment, innovation, education, and women’s advancement related to sports programs.

Secretary Clinton and Minister Patriota reinforced their commitment to Rio+20 outcomes and highlighted the success of the conference in advancing the common vision of the global community on sustainable development. They emphasized the importance of continuing to advance key global priorities, in particular the elaboration of Sustainable Development Goals, strengthening of the institutional framework for sustainable development, and the promotion of sensible approaches to improve the management of our vital natural resources. It is also crucial to integrate the expertise, energy, and commitment of civil society and the private sector in the implementation of sustainable development.

Secretary Clinton and Minister Patriota reaffirmed the importance of both sub-regional and regional processes and noted their important contribution to promoting democracy, peace, cooperation, security, development, and stability in the region. The participants agreed they would continue discussions on these topics.

Participants emphasized the importance of continued high-level consultations, including the upcoming Strategic Energy Dialogue, which will highlight bilateral cooperation across a range of energy technologies, and the Economic and Financial Dialogue, underscoring the importance of private sector engagement, as well as meetings of the Defense Cooperation Dialogue, Defense Bilateral Working Group, Joint Staff Talks, Space Security Dialogue, Political-Military Dialogue, and the Disarmament and Nonproliferation Dialogue.

Noting the need for deeper cooperation on counternarcotics efforts and combating transnational organized crime, the participants agreed to establish a working group that will promote increased dialogue and cooperation between both governments on these matters.

The two sides look forward to continuing regular consultations on a broad range of bilateral, regional, and global issues. The next meeting of the United States-Brazil Global Partnership Dialogue will take place in Brasilia in 2013.

PRN: 2012/1694