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Pamela Turner: Two for the Carnage of One

Do this in remembrance of me.

It’s psychological warfare
physical murder
spiritual bondage.
Our sanity means nothing
to the intentionally persistent  
assassins of our humanity.
Our humanness has no value in the  
confrontation of violent entitlement&
and moral disregard that assumes 
murder of “others” is the
white person’s right – a privilege 
awarded to hunters; a prize 
for the domineering.

I cried out to Jesus, only to be 
consumed by His weeping and grief.
I raged at Democracy, only realize
my own invisibleness.
I shouted out to my neighbors
but their thundering silence
shamed me!

I too may be America,
but who is America?
What we’ve become is
who we’ve always been.
There’s no justice in this land.
Original sin remains
throughout the encampment – 
lies, deception, greed –  
lead to displacement,
abduction, countless abominations
culminating in genocide
Followed by more genocide to justify 
imperial colonialist capitalism
domestically and abroad.
Murder of innocents by the millions.
Blood crying out from every inch of land
around the globe to the Atlantic coast, 
across the Mississippi, through Colorado,
spilling into the Pacific
beyond borders
north and south
the annihilation of seeds 
birthed and unborn
the enslavement of bodies and spirits 
through tens of generations

Those drunk on power, 
intent on control, deceived 
by their own malignant characters,
they can’t hear the cries
from the blood they claimed.
They can’t see the light 
of the spirits thought to be extinguished.
They can’t see how people they killed
multiply in me.

God said, “Why are you crying out to me?” 
Do something!

So I wrote this poem and 
continue to hemorrhage. 
Blood weeping into the ground. 
Invisible unheard tears drying in air. 

What comes next is in remembrance of US.
All those who have been annihilated. 
All those who have been decimated.
All of us who have been chained and caged.
All us who have been disenfranchised.
The many who have been made invisible.

The gone are not forgotten. 
They are embedded –
in hearts, minds, spirits.
They’re still standing, united here, now.
Our spirits remain strong.
Our seeds did not turn to dust.
They became roots.

In remembrance of all 
the names we don’t know, 
bodies we haven’t seen, 
and lives that continue to matter. 

by LaShawnda Jones
Spirit Harvest Publishing

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Gang Member Speaking at Baltimore Rally May 2 2015

This is is from my audio files of the Baltimore rally following the indictment of the six officers responsible for Freddie Gray’s death in police custody.

I’m practicing – i.e. learning – my video editing on clips that I really think should be shared with or without inclusion in my final short-form documentary project. This is just audio with a couple of photos I took at rallies and marches, so it was relatively easy to put together.

This young man was one of several speakers who made quite an impression. I started recording after his introduction so I missed his name; he may be an ex-gang member, but “ex” was not in my notes. There were many gang members at the rally wearing their colors but standing in unity. It was quite the sight.

His main points were: (1) the top three destroyers of the Black Community are poverty, oppression and ignorance. (2) God gave us all the gift of life. (3) We need opportunities, jobs. We need to create our own jobs and support each other’s businesses. (4) This is what democracy looks like.

Gang Member Speaking at Baltimore Rally May 2 2015 from LaShawnda Jones on Vimeo.

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Quote: “…all I’ve had in my life is nothing.”

Thurgood Marshall became a federal appeals court judge in New York, when he was begrudgingly named to the bench by President Kennedy after Marshall had spurned his offer of a seat on the federal trial bench some time before. In his refusal of the trial bench he stated, “My boiling point is too low for the trial court. I’d blow my stack and then get reversed.”

That initial offer had come from Robert Kennedy, who warned, “You don’t seem to understand, it’s this or nothing.”

“I do understand,” Marshall replied. “You don’t know what it means, but all I’ve had in my life is nothing. It’s not new to me, so goodbye.”



Thurgood Marshall and President Johnson
Thurgood Marshall and President Johnson, October 2, 1967 | Credit Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library


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Joint Action Plan: Brazil and U.S.A. To Eliminate Racial and Ethnic Discrimination…

Joint Action Plan Between the Government of the Federative Republic of Brazil and the Government of the United States of America To Eliminate Racial and Ethnic Discrimination and Promote Equality

Washington, DC
March 13, 2008

The Government of the Federative Republic of Brazil and The Government of the United States of America (hereinafter referred to as the “Participants”),

Recognizing the democratic, multi-ethnic and multi-racial nature of Brazilian and U.S. societies, which strengthens the ties of friendship between both countries;

Recognizing further their governments’ commitment to racial equality and equal opportunity and the historic friendship between their nations;

Pledging their ever deepening and ongoing cooperation in eliminating racial and ethnic discrimination and promoting equality of opportunity for all people;

Recalling the political commitments made by the two governments in the Memorandum of Understanding on Education, signed in Washington on March 30, 2007, concerning the Partnership in this area; and

Aware of the importance of cooperating in promoting human rights in order to maintain an environment of peace, democracy and prosperity in the Americas and throughout the world,

Hereby announce the following Joint Action Plan:

1. The Participants are to work collaboratively to promote cooperation, understanding and exchange of information (including best practices) to eliminate racial and ethnic discrimination and promote equality of opportunity for all.

2. To advance these common objectives, a Steering Group to Promote Equality of Opportunity (“Steering Group”) is hereby created to promote equality of opportunity and to discuss and consider with a view to developing specific areas and types of cooperation to eliminate racial and ethnic discrimination.

a) The Steering Group’s purpose is to share perspectives and information, including information on best practices, both in the subject areas listed in paragraphs (3) and (4) and in other subjects as the Steering Group may decide.

b) The Steering Group should meet alternately in Brazil and the United States. In its initial year of operation, the Steering Group should hold two sessions. Thereafter, it should decide on the frequency and timing of its sessions.

c) Each Participant is to designate its respective members of the Steering Group.

d) The Steering Group is to report on its findings and recommendations anytime the Steering Group meets, under conditions that are mutually acceptable to the Participants.

e) The Steering Group should report on its discussions under Article 3 and on the activities proposed and conducted under Article 5 to its respective governments through the Ministry of External Relations, the Special Secretariat for the Promotion of Racial Equality Policies and the Department of State.

3. Subjects for consideration by the Steering Group are to include the areas of:

a) Education at the elementary, secondary, vocational, college, and graduate levels; a particular emphasis on democracy education and its positive association with increased levels of tolerance, equality, and liberty should be explored;

b) Culture and communication, including cultural media, museums and exhibits, among others;

c) Labor and employment;

d) Housing and public accommodation;

e) Equal protection of law and access to the legal system;

f) Domestic enforcement of relevant anti-discrimination laws and policy;

g) Sports and recreation;

h) Health, including promoting the study of disease prevalent in racial and ethnic minorities;

i) Social, historical, and cultural considerations that may be related to racial or ethnic prejudice; and

j) Access to credit and opportunities for training.

4. Special emphasis on education: The Steering Group should as a first priority discuss and consider the special role that education plays in the respective countries, including the equal access to quality education and how education can counter ethnic and racial discrimination. (See Annex)

5. The Steering Group may discuss and consider techniques and initiatives for promotion of equality and methods of eliminating discrimination based on race or ethnicity including, but not limited to:

a) Training programs;

b) Regional initiatives to promote equality of opportunity, through the strengthening of democratic institutions;

c) Public-private partnerships with enterprises and non-governmental organizations;

d) Holding of workshops and seminars;

e) Exchanges of technical experts;

f) Scholarships and fellowships;

g) Cooperation between institutions of higher education, regional and international organizations such as the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the Organization of American States (OAS) and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), and civil society, including in the field of sports;

h) Programs in third countries, including in Africa; and

i) Other activities as may be proposed to and accepted by members of the Steering Group in the future.

6. This plan of action does not create rights or obligations under international or domestic law.

Done at Brasília, this 13th day of March, 2008, in duplicate, in the Portuguese and English languages.


Edson Santos de Souza
Secretary for the Promotion of Racial Equality Condoleeza Rice
Secretary of State

Education is proposed here as an initial step in implementing the goals of this Joint Action Plan towards ensuring equality and eliminating racial and ethnic discrimination as well as a means for improving conditions for all. Areas and methods to be considered may include:

1. Enhancing and expanding community college exchange programs between Brazilian technical centers and U.S. community colleges;

2. Increasing and targeting recruitment of all students to strengthen the existing youth exchange programs;

3. Broadening and augmenting linkages, relationships, and higher education exchanges with consortia and various universities in Brazil and the United States, including Historically Black institutions, to provide financial assistance and opportunities for study abroad to benefit undergraduate and graduate students, faculty staff and researchers, emphasizing topics related to combating ethnic and racial discrimination;

4. Developing a program for journalists to focus on issues relating to racial and ethnic discrimination;

5. Establishing programs in Brazil to support English in public schools by providing training for English teachers as well as programs in the United States to support the teaching of Portuguese;

6. Working with Bi-National Centers and Brazil’s State Secretaries of Education to provide greater access to English as a Foreign Language (EFL) to traditionally underserved secondary school students in Brazil;

7. Expanding expert exchanges and Digital Video Conferences focused on issues related to ethnic and racial discrimination, public policies, and other Joint Action Plan themes to facilitate discussion between Brazilian and U.S. academics, NGOs, researchers, and educational officials;

8. Expanding support for Brazilian and U.S. experts to present comparative studies on the African Diaspora, cultural diversity, and racial and ethnic discrimination at educational forums and public venues; and

9. Sharing best practices on educational materials, such as software and distance learning, to promote awareness and focus on combating and eliminating racial and ethnic discrimination.


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Jesus is King, but He supports government

All of you must yield to the government rulers. No one rules unless God has given him the power to rule, and no one rules now without that power from God. So those who are against the government are really against what God has commanded. And they will bring punishment on themselves. Those who do right do not have to fear the rulers; only those who do wrong fear them. Do you want to be unafraid of the rulers? Then do what is right, and they will praise you. The ruler is God’s servant to help you. But if you do wrong, then be afraid. He has the power to punish; he is God’s servant to punish those who do wrong. So you must yield to the government, not only because you might be punished, but because you know it is right.

This is also why you pay taxes. Rulers are working for God and give their time to their work. Pay everyone, then, what you owe. If you owe any kind of tax, pay it. Show respect and honor to them all.  ~ Romans 13:1-6, NCV

[The United States Presidential Election takes place tomorrow, November 6, 2012]

You have heard it said that God is a God of order. The Bible clearly outlines for us that God is our ultimate, sovereign authority. It also outlines additional layers of authority. Followers of Christ are to live by Christ’s example. Husbands are to love their wives sacrificially as Christ exhibited His love for the church, which constitutes His body. Wives are to respect and support their husband’s leadership as it’s modeled after Christ (Ephesians 5:21-32). Children are to honor and obey their parents. This is a spiritual order for the family unit that is manifested in our physical lives.

However, for all of us living in the world – if you’re still breathing, you’re living in the world – our households are subject to various levels of worldly authorities. Municipal, state and federal governments, inclusive of all the laws and policies instituted by these governments, have a very real impact on our lives day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute.

Some people may think the political process in the United States is foolish (I admit there are foolish aspects to the shenanigans that take place throughout any given campaign cycle), but I consider myself lucky to live in a country where I can have an impact on my government at multiple levels. If my children were not being taught well in school, I could engage the teachers, administrators and all the way up to elected officials depending on the nature and scope of the problem. If I were to be falsely arrested and charged with a crime, I would have a legal recourse against the arresting officer, the police department, the city, and even the law used to victimize me. If I don’t like the priorities of my federal government or the way government programs have been administered during any particular administration, I have the right and the option to express my displeasure with my vote in the next election. By the same token, if I appreciate the leadership of the administration, I can express my support with my vote.

It may sound wonderfully “Christian” to say, “Vote for Jesus,” but Jesus isn’t interested in your vote. He ‘s interested in those who obey the call on their life and obey His teachings. (John, 17:6, 1 Peter 1:2). Abdicating your responsibilities as a citizen is not something Jesus supports. He has already told us to get up and walk. Get up and talk. Go out and tell the world about Him and His truth. In regards to government, He told us to do whatever our government requires of us, while continuing to do what God requires of us – knowing that our duties to God trumps all other duties (Matthew 22:21). Jesus has instructed His followers to be ACTIVE participants in the world we inhabit in order to better SHOW the world who HE is.

If you think eschewing your right to vote is an expression of your “pure” beliefs, then your beliefs are not as fully formed as you think they are. Anything you believe deeply should be a part of the way you decide to vote in any election that impacts your life. Your true beliefs should never cause you to silence your voice. Those who keep silent in anything of consequence either have no real opinion, no real strength or no trust in what they profess to believe.

Make them ready for Your service through Your truth; Your teaching is truth. I have sent them into the world, just as You sent me into the world. For their sake, I am making myself ready to serve so that they can be ready for their service of the truth.

“I pray for these followers, but I am also praying for all those who will believe in me because of their teaching. Father, I pray that they can be one. As You are in Me and I am in You, I pray that they can also be one in Us. Then the world will believe that You sent me.  ~ John 17:17-21