Tag Archives: 206

Roots Reaching Black

Had to make it PHAT, had to take it back

Had to rep for a culture that the roots are reaching Black

Beautiful, Powerful, Indisputably Immutable

The history a crucible, the music is a tool to use

Cathartic when it needs to be, hard to beat society

At times, the rhymes, plant the seeds we need to breathe

Through police brutality, fatalities, impunity

the root of e-vil, our people see the enemy

An internal colony, Fanon saw the tragedy

Overseer to officer, KRS, a prodigy

His progeny, are challenging, violence’s monopoly

By the state, the fate of which, attempt to claim us property

Hip Hop is the voice/ and the weapon of choice!

Since Grand Master Flash and DMC were making noise

Cuz with the “Message,” hood pov-erty, was being challenged

& “Fuck the Police,” expounded on that knowledge

 

My roots are reaching Black

to Tupac and Biggie Smalls, to Jay z and Goodie Mob

To Lauren Hill and them all

My roots are reaching Black

To Assata, MLK, Malcom x, and James Brown

that’s the tip that I’m on

My roots are reaching Black

to the pride of a nation, and the fight for Liberation

Cuz our history’s bomb

My roots are reaching Black

Through the Hip Hop in my blood, and the music in my soul

Yo! The revolution’s on!

 

Not to say it’s not a party music, wouldn’t be true

It’s the part of the genre, we be celebrating to

Get ya club on, ya dance on, or smoke a blunt to

Or, however you hang, when you’re chillin wit your crew

Don’t be fooled, “Walk Ruff and Stuff with yo Afro Puffs”

Was Black Power, to the core, filled with Black Love

challenging pat-riarchy, white standards of beauty

And Internalized Oppression with con-tinuity

Queen Latifa, a master emcee

Blessed us with her presence in the 1980s scene

& Helped to make the music what it is to you and me

So Lauren Hill could call out “Politrixions” with the Fugees

While Bill Clinton, prison warden, playin the sax

Signed into law, the 1994, Crime Act

No more education in the prison labor system

& 3 Strikes was made law by those Politrixions

 

My roots are reaching Black

to Tupac and Biggie Smalls, to Jay z and Goodie Mob

To Lauren Hill and them all

My roots are reaching Black

To Assata, MLK, Malcom x, and James Brown

that’s the tip that I’m on

My roots are reaching Black

to the pride of a nation, and the fight for Liberation

Cuz our history’s bomb

My roots are reaching Black

Through the Hip Hop in my blood, and the music in my soul

Yo! The revolution’s on!

 

What is problematic, was the corporate takeover

of a cultural art form, meant to restore the

pride of our people, integrity the needle

The One’s and Two’s, the Wheels of Steel, spinnin through to freedom

When they moved in and sup-planted, their business model

& Threw down the throttle on producin gangsta bauble

to make a Modern-Day-Minstrel, Black Face, metropolis

but a Dangerous Black, outta control, was all you got from this

While the War on Drugs, was being waged, out on our Streets

The Reagans and the Clintons, were pulling back their sheets

Stereotypes, that fed the hype, of the white supremist blight

and the P.I.C. was being formed right in plain sight,

With these images that the corporations spun about us

The public in Amerika, had no doubt, about us

Thank god the Underground rose to challenge all this B.S.

Where people like Mos Def and Immortal Technique flourished

 

My roots are reaching Black

to Tupac and Biggie Smalls, to Jay z and Goodie Mob

To Lauren Hill and them all

My roots are reaching Black

To Assata, MLK, Malcom x, and James Brown

that’s the tip that I’m on

My roots are reaching Black

to the pride of a nation, and the fight for Liberation

Cuz our history’s bomb

My roots are reaching Black

Through the Hip Hop in my blood, and the music in my soul

Yo! The revolution’s on!

 

The sound of resistance, the people and the message

Answering the questions, most pressing to the masses

Ripping through the truth, conflicting our community

Familiar and sad, like, this is nothing new to me

Jobs are always fleeting degrading our sense of worth

Our schools so deplorable it’s education that hurts

Drugs on the streets, but don’t own a poppy field

The youth are packing heat for safety, can we be real

Red Lining, White Flight, Welfare, Ghettos

Out-sourcing, Globalization, yup and there goes

The neighborhood, with the manufacturing work

To other countries, into prisons, where they’re getting paid dirt

150 years from slavery, but ain’t much changed

Time to claim the economic means and shatter these chains

Hip Hop, the voice of the oppressed and the poor

So, I’m wit LL Cool J, “It’s time for war!”

 

My roots are reaching Black

to Tupac and Biggie Smalls, to Jay z and Goodie Mob

To Lauren Hill and them all

My roots are reaching Black

To Assata, MLK, Malcom x, and James Brown

that’s the tip that I’m on

My roots are reaching Black

to the pride of a nation, and the fight for Liberation

Cuz our history’s bomb

My roots are reaching Black

Through the Hip Hop in my blood, and the music in my soul

Yo! The revolution’s on!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hard Won Vitories are Still Victories

I am tripping right now. In the last couple of weeks I have watched three of the major battles we have been fighting come to fruition, at least in part. Resolution 31614 “zero use of detention for youth” in Seattle, and while this is only a resolution, it is nonetheless a step in the right direction. Then Shell pulled out of the artic drilling, and while this is not an end to dependence on fossil fuel, it is nonetheless, a victory for the people. UW is also now paying over 5,000 other employees the $15 that have been so fought for, and while there are still countless others that are not earning a living wage yet, this again, is a step in the right direction.

All of these battles we have been fighting for quite some time and I have been engaged with them for the better part of a year. There came a point where I did not really think that we were going to get the decision makers to see anything differently; it was dieheartening and disillusionment set in. But the people never gave up or relented and now change, however slow, is taking shape.

Being new to both activism and advocacy, I expected to be imprisoned or killed, or ostracized and marginalized, and there were more than a few times that they all seemed like very real outcomes for me and the people I was standing shoulder-to-shoulder with. Yet, we all braved the risks together, and some of us–including me–were arrested and/or beaten by the police, but we were acting for a purpose much greater than our own personal concerns. Those fears and realities are nothing new and many who came before us in the struggle for justice have confronted them and come out victorious as well.

What this is teaching me is one, not to expect immediate change and to not stop running before the race is over. It also teaches me that it may take a while to be fully understood, but that we are being heard. And third, that collective action can and will make a difference in all of our lives when we can find a way to sort out our differences long enough to stand together for something greater than ourselves.

This is Something We Do Together or It Doesn’t Get Done

What we do, we do together

If one person wins a battle, then they win it, but only for themselves

But if a person claims that they have won a battle by themselves, then they are mistaken

Because they have forgotten all that have gone before them

And all who have stood beside them

And all those who will come after

We are not after another individualistic ideology

The likes of which has turned us against our own families

Put us into competition with our Friends

Set us at odds with our neighbors

Severed the ties we have to our heritage

Destroyed our relationship with the earth

and indoctrinates us to seek only the betterment of ourselves

The harms that we have risen up against

Reach deep into the fibers of our beings

Is woven through the very fabric of our society

Through Police Brutality, and Mass Incarceration

Red Lining and Bank Foreclosures

Economic Sanctions, Mandatory Minimum Sentencing Laws

Zero Tolerance in Schools, dilapidated buildings

The Denial of Financial Aid, Public Food Assistance, Medical and Mental Health Services

The School to Prison Pipeline

Outsourcing, GMO non-labeling, CEO Corporate Spending and Bailouts

That reward White Collar Crime and permit shots fired into the backs

of young blacks who are suspected of stealing a couple bottles of beer in the capital of WA State

It’s a sick state of affairs when property has more value than a person’s life

When society teaches us that we live in a vacuum

that by our bootstraps are the only we can pull ourselves out of this pit of bitter morass

We have somehow worked ourselves into

Like we chose the neighborhoods to which we were born into

We are taught that it is only by our own doing, that no one will help, that we do not deserve any one’s help and that if we can’t it is because we are lazy, dumb, genetically inferior to

and Essentially that we are all alone

When in reality, we can do nothing alone

We would not even be able to utter the word alone had someone not taught it to us

We would not know the first thing about commerce or morality if someone had not taught it to us

There would be no society, social advocacy, civilization or cities if we did things alone

We are neither impacted alone, nor will we win alone

Groups are marginalized because of their affiliation with that group

Stop & Frisk targeted people of color disproportionately

not because of their individual identities but rather because of the color of their skin

People only throw out the claim of individuality when it suits their purposes to do so

That is genocidal in nature and by its very definition

America has just been afraid to acknowledge that fact since William James Patterson wrote We Charge Genocide with the help of the Congress of Racial Equality and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in 1951

Read that document and you will swear to god that you were reading a news article from last weekend

Emmitt Till all over again, Sandra Bland Rekia Boyd, Tamir Rice, Trevon Martin vigilante violence and the Charleston 9, burning churches, the KKK is making a re-emergence

all to target you and us, the we because they do not see us as individuals

And anytime we run out to challenge the system of racism and white supremacy alone

they kill the one, Malcom X, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Gandhi

But every time we have stood together, and not allowed their terrorism to deter us,

Not allow their prison time, or their economic sanctions, or their political threats

of stripping people off their food assistance like the politician in Baltimore when they rose up in unison against the horrific murder of Freddy Gray

our people have achieved our victories in the struggle for justice

and it is upon their shoulders that we stand today

it is because of their efforts, their sacrifices, and investments into their futures, our presents

that we can stand here today, congregated for the cause of justice and peace

Not that negative peace, wherein we continue to permit injustices and violence

But within the positive peace of tension challenging the system on all fronts together

At times this will put demands on our time, and upon our patients

At others it will only require that we do not turn a blind eye to injustice

That we speak out, or stand on the street with our cameras out to make sure that the police are doing their damned jobs right

Sometimes it means that we will need to invest in the people and the organizations out here doing the work

But no matter what, we do this together, we do this for our people, we do this for the cause of justice

for the love of peace, for an end to war, and hatred and the violence against our people

And the world we seek to create, is not one of individuality, but rather one of community

which respects the beauty of the individuality of each and every single one of us

Treasures each in our own rights

But part of something much greater in the cycle of life

Because none of came into this world alone and of our own volition

We owe it to the rest of us to maintain our community, and to fight for what is right

!!!Black Lives Matter!!!

We will make this call reverberate throughout every institution and gathering place in America until there is no option but for it to become a reality

Resolution 31614: Zero Use of Detention for Juveniles

The intention of Resolution 31614[1] is to help foster a healthier community and a component of this is to address the disparaging incarceration rates of people of color, in particular, African American youth. However, a change in the policy of how the City of Seattle manages abhorrent behavior will serve to be beneficial to youth of all ethnicities and backgrounds. So, before I present information that represents the evidence of Restorative Justice (RJ) as a reaction to ‘criminal’ behavior, I want to highlight the very real need for a multiplicity of efforts that I believe should function in conjunction with RJ to achieve the objectives of this resolution.

The best research that I have been through over the past four years reveals that socio-economic conditions and, access to and assistance with education directly impact the social outcomes of individuals in society. Essentially, when people are suffering from dire socio-economic conditions and/or suffer from a deficient education are huge factors, if not partial causes, that incarceration is a response to. This is why I sought to highlight programs like The Service Board (TSB)[2], Arts Corps[3], The Youth Orion Center[4], and New Horizons Youth Ministries[5] among others when I provided testimony at the Public Safety, Civil Rights, and Technology Committee” meeting September 16, because they have the potential to intercede in the lives of inner-city youth prior to their becoming involved with the criminal justice system. It is my opinion that a proactive approach is much preferable to a reactive approach and this will require a continuing effort to support organizations, which do such and to implement strategies and programs to address the other factors that lead to abhorrent behavior.

Working on issues like affordable housing, employment and job training, and education in conjunction with employing Restorative Justice programs and practices are what will be necessary to address the concerns the Seattle City Council is confronting with Resolution 31614. This analysis is shared by William Julius Wilson, the author of “When Work Disappears: The World of the New Urban Poor” (1996), wherein Wilson identifies social and economic conditions as harm causing factors that shape cultural responses to environmental constraints. These constraints affect all ethnicities, but because of the demographics of urban areas it is also the case that people of color are disproportionately affected. Nonetheless, the net result will improve conditions for all the citizens whom are marginalized within an urban area, not just people of color, but especially them. Restorative Justice by itself does not have the capacity or the aim of addressing all the factors entailed in social and economic conditions that lead to behavior labeled as ‘criminal’. However, coupling other initiatives with RJ will be proactive and seek to heal our community.

Restorative Justice has been shown to reduce the likelihood of re-offence and to decrease recidivism, as well as, improve victim satisfaction with the justice system. A report produced by the Ministry of Justice titled, “Restorative Justice in New Zealand: December 2010,”[6] wherein the structure of the program is identified and provides a summary of objective results of the implementation of RJ in their country. In particular, the report notes that “Reconvictions reduced by 27% in 2 years following restorative justice process,”[7]  which is a vast decrease.  The New Zealand Ministry of Justice released another report June 2011 titled “Reoffending Analysis for Restorative Justice Cases: 2008 and 2009,”[8] which details further findings. The 2011 report states, “The principal finding of this report is that those who had been through a restorative justice conference had a 20 percent lower reoffending rate than comparable offenders who did not receive a restorative justice conference (33.2% and 41.3% respectively).”[9] The 2010 report from the New Zealand Ministry of Justice did report that youth have a higher expected rate of offense, and that this group did show a consistent rate of re-offense. It also reported that “Offenders aged 20 – 25 years showed a large apparent drop”[10] in the rate of re-offense. So, although not all reports are favorable for RJ practices and programs, by and large it seems to be effective. These reports show dramatic and positive impacts on the criminal justice system as measured by recidivism and re-offense, which reveals that there are promising potentials for its application in the City of Seattle.

The program in New Zealand holds the victim as the primary focus in the Restorative Justice process, and the Restorative Justice: Victim, Offender, Community states, “If the victim’s needs are addressed, the process will serve the offender and the community well”[11] Earlier I alluded to victim satisfaction with the justice system the Smith Institute has conducted an in-depth analysis the effectiveness of RJ in reducing the harms to victims.[12] The Smith Institute acknowledges that those victims of crime who elect not to engage with the people who caused them harm or the victims of unsolved offense will not receive the same benefits of RJ as those who participate in the process. This is also in line with voluntary characteristic of RJ that New Zealand identifies in its Best Practice Principles; “Restorative justice processes are underpinned by voluntariness for both the victim and the offender.”

[13] The Smith Institute notes that of those who elect to participate in the RJ process “almost always indicate a high level of satisfaction with the process”[14] The Smith Institute further acknowledges that the RJ process may not be appropriate for all situations and in a small proportion of those analyzed, their condition worsened as a result of engaging with the offenders. The Smith Institute concludes that “Nonetheless, across all these studies including many kinds of offence type the conclusions are clear: when victims consent to meet their offender in an RJ conference they are usually satisfied with their experience provided that 1) the RJ meeting happens as promised and 2) the offender complies with the undertakings they made during the conference.”[15]

The Smith Institute report reveals that Restorative Justice may be more effective at decreasing the recidivism of violent crime than non-violent crime. A randomized experiment the report notes is the Canberra RISE project, which observed: “In a two-year-before, two-year-after comparison, the frequency of arrest among white people under 30 years of age who were assigned to RJ dropped by 84 per 100 offenders more than in the control group”[16] The other studies also showed decreases in recidivism, although, not as pronounced. However, in regard to property crime, the Smith Institute observed two studies that revealed increased recidivism, and five studies that revealed decreased recidivism.[17] It was the report’s conclusion that there is simply not enough evidence compiled thus far to make a determination either way as to the effectiveness on non-violent crime.

Returning to a point I made earlier about proactive measures that intercede in people’s lives prior to their entering into the criminal justice system, the Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) has been employing Restorative Justice practices since 2005, with promising results.[18] As a justification for the implementation of RJ programs and practices, the OUSD states, “Compelling evidence suggests that zero tolerance disciplinary policies and teacher/principal practices used for decades do not work to improve student behavior, school safety or academic achievement. In fact, they limit meaningful opportunity for students to learn and engage, instead increasing unstructured out-of-school time and likelihood of isolation, dropping out and being arrested.”[19] This is an analysis that the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has concurred in the article “Where Zero Tolerance Makes Zero Sense.”[20] The OUSD had at the time of the report 24 schools including elementary, middle, and high school levels. The schools reported growth and development of community that was translated into conflict resolution, intrapersonal and interpersonal skill development, emotional intelligence development, growth in empathy and understanding, and improvement in relationships with both teachers and other students.[21] In addition to that, suspensions and expulsions have decreased, reading levels have improved, attendance has improved, and graduation rates have significantly increased in comparison to schools that have not implemented RJ practices.[22] By employing RJ in the school system many of the factors that are implicated in criminal and abhorrent behavior are being addressed and they are witnessing very promising results.

Restorative Justice, as effective as it seems is also not the only program that has been used to intercede the detention of youth. For example, the 180 Program[23] was launched in 2012 in King County, which permits first and second time offenders to opt into workshops with ex-offenders who had turned their lives around. There is also the Creative Justice[24] program which fosters art based alternatives to youth incarceration in King County has just launched in 2015. Alternative programs to incarceration have real potential to shape the lives of our youth and one inspiring story comes from a former prosecuting attorney and superior court judge named, John Phillips. In the article, “I was tired of throwing kids in prison. So I built a place to help keep them out of it,”[25] Phillips speaks to the problems of mandatory minimum sentencing and how a lack of flexibility in sentencing was harmful and exacerbated the problem facing marginalized communities. He writes about the lack of services that were available for marginalized youth saying; “Very few services were provided for young people involved in criminal activity before they got in trouble. But once the trigger was pulled, all sorts of resources were directed to them — police, prosecutors, a defense attorney, the judge, the judicial system, probation officers, and of course, prison incarceration.” Phillips, with his community transformed an abandoned hospital into a school/community center for at risk and marginalized youth to help them learn vocational, educational, and life skills with a focus on community and, also provided transitional living spaces for homeless youth. “We’ve reduced recidivism 80 percent among students in the program, and the rate of our students staying out of trouble is twice that of young people exiting incarceration without the benefit of our program” Phillips reports. Even more encouraging than the statistics Phillips reports, is the observation he has of his students spirits; “When you provide young people with an encouraging environment and the opportunity to rediscover themselves, they begin to hold their heads up high and start thinking, often for the first time, about their future.”

The goal of Resolution 31614 is not only the Zero Use of Detention for Juveniles, but the creation of a more healthy community. That is what is implied by the intention of forming partnerships and making investments into community led solutions and organizations and, that is the express intent of incarceration and the now present need to transition from utilizing incarceration. The problem is unfortunately not one dimensional, but rather, a multi-factored, multi-layered set of circumstances and constraints. It will require ingenuity and creativity and a willingness to experiment with promising alternatives. A multiplicity of tactics and strategies that address the socio-economic conditions and constraints, which lead to criminal and abhorrent behaviors of individuals and groups is necessary. The programs and organizations that I have listed above are some, although, not all of the programs locally or abroad that reveal promising outcomes and as such, are viable alternatives to the incarceration of our youth. Above all, I believe it is better to be proactive than reactive, which means interceding prior to our youth encountering the criminal justice system, programs like the 180 Program, Creative Justice, and Restorative Justice being led by our community members and organizations, is a great way to begin healing our community.

[1] file:///C:/Users/Michael%20Moynihan/Desktop/Community%20Based%20Alternatives%20to%20Imprisonment/Proposed%20Amendment.pdf

[2] http://www.theserviceboard.org/

[3] http://www.artscorps.org/

[4] http://www.youthcare.org/

[5] http://nhmin.org/

[6] http://www.justice.govt.nz/policy/criminal-justice/restorative-justice/documents/restorative-justice-overview.pdf

[7] http://www.justice.govt.nz/policy/criminal-justice/restorative-justice/documents/restorative-justice-overview.pdf (p. 6)

[8] file:///C:/Users/Michael%20Moynihan/Desktop/Community%20Based%20Alternatives%20to%20Imprisonment/Reoffending%20Analysis%20for%20RJ%20Cases%202008%20and%202009.pdf

[9] file:///C:/Users/Michael%20Moynihan/Desktop/Community%20Based%20Alternatives%20to%20Imprisonment/Reoffending%20Analysis%20for%20RJ%20Cases%202008%20and%202009.pdf (p. 7)

[10] http://www.justice.govt.nz/policy/criminal-justice/restorative-justice/documents/restorative-justice-overview.pdf (p. 6)

[11] http://www.restorativejustice.org.nz/cms/RJManual/tabid/63/Default.aspx

[12] http://www.iirp.edu/pdf/RJ_full_report.pdf (p. 61)

[13] http://www.justice.govt.nz/policy/criminal-justice/restorative-justice/documents/restorative-justice-overview.pdf (p. 8)

[14] http://www.iirp.edu/pdf/RJ_full_report.pdf (p. 62)

[15] http://www.iirp.edu/pdf/RJ_full_report.pdf (p. 65)

[16] http://www.iirp.edu/pdf/RJ_full_report.pdf (p. 68)

[17] http://www.iirp.edu/pdf/RJ_full_report.pdf (p. 69)

[18] http://www.ousd.org/cms/lib07/CA01001176/Centricity/Domain/134/OUSD-RJ%20Report%20revised%20Final.pdf  (IV)

[19] http://www.ousd.org/cms/lib07/CA01001176/Centricity/Domain/134/OUSD-RJ%20Report%20revised%20Final.pdf  (IV)

[20] https://www.aclu.org/blog/where-zero-tolerance-makes-zero-sense

[21] http://www.ousd.org/cms/lib07/CA01001176/Centricity/Domain/134/OUSD-RJ%20Report%20revised%20Final.pdf  (V)

[22] http://www.ousd.org/cms/lib07/CA01001176/Centricity/Domain/134/OUSD-RJ%20Report%20revised%20Final.pdf  (VI)

[23] http://www.kingcounty.gov/Prosecutor/news/2012/june/180program.aspx

[24] http://creativejustice.4culture.org/

[25] https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2015/08/07/i-was-tired-of-throwing-kids-in-prison-so-i-built-a-place-to-help-keep-them-out-of-it/

We Will Have Our Victory

Answering the call of war we ran into the streets

Blood had spilled, the cops had killed, revenge was looking sweet

Didn’t matter who you were, or what neighborhood you from

All that mattered, was that, with this system, you were done!

The horns and the drums, fire poundin in our hearts

Raging through our veins, was an anger off the charts

Black, White, Asian, Native, Mexican, we all

Knew this racist, white supremist system had to fall

Downtown to Westlake, where all of us converged

Hands Up! Don’t Shoot! Was the war-cry that emerged

As we took over the streets, people steady flooding in

Bringing traffic to a halt, the movement had began

A fight for Human Rights, for Dignity and Life

A fight for Respect, Liberty the Right

To go to the store and to make it home alive

Cuz it’s nearly, impossible, to be Black, and to survive

The gauntlet of the school system not going to jail

a prisoner, a slave, told we can do naught but to fail

While a system of laws, written to, protect, us all

We wanted to know that cops were not above the law

Due Process, that precious 5th Amendment clause

They are neither judge nor jury, but they’re acting without pause

And while none of this is new to a people who’ve seen the worst

Daren Wilson’s, non-indictment, is what pushed us to subverse!

We will have struggle

Won’t be defeated

We will have justice

Won’t be defeated

We will have freedom

Won’t be defeated

Working Together we will have our Victory

We will have struggle

Won’t be defeated

We will have justice

Won’t be defeated

We will have freedom

Won’t be defeated

Working Together we will have our Victory

Marching through the streets, was simply not enough

Police came gassed up, turtle suits, and billy clubs

Seattle Mayor Murray, Chief O’Toole, and Bruce Harrell,

Our supposed ‘Civil Rights, City Hall Official’ failed

To recognize and respect, our Right, to assemble

To petition our government, for grievances, rendered

And instead authorized paramilitary troops

To stifle Free Speech, and Suppress the People whose

Intent was to acquire equal unbiased treatment

Guaranteed, in the 14th, Amendment achievement

In 1868, and over a hundred years later

Still waiting, hence my reason for being an Agitator

The people grew complacent, felt comfort in their ignorance

So, there was nothing left but Civil Disobedience

They disregarded us at city hall and public meetings

Labeled hooligans thugs, with anarchist leanings

Negotiation failed, and out gunned and out strategized

We recognized, to mobilize, we had to organize ourselves

If we meant to win against a system generations fixed

& that, is why, we created OA206

We will have struggle

Won’t be defeated

We will have justice

Won’t be defeated

We will have freedom

Won’t be defeated

Working Together we will have our Victory

We will have struggle

Won’t be defeated

We will have justice

Won’t be defeated

We will have freedom

Won’t be defeated

Working Together we will have our Victory

We hit the streets, we had to, people were dying

All were upset, the government was conspiring

State Sanctioned Violence, was claiming our people’s lives

Impunity ubiquitous, getting off left and right

Martin, Brown, Garner, Rice, and Boyd

Their killers walked free, everyone was annoyed

Darren Wilson made half a mil with network ABC

Adding insult to injury, we just couldn’t believe

Being Black, was not, a precondition, for anger

But in the protracted struggle, color became a hang-up

First there was a split between the Brown and the White

Which, made perfect sense given the White Supremist plight

Then Black only spaces formed, to lead the struggle

Cuz One, should, rumble for their freedom, un-muzzled

But to deny, the vital intellect and the skills

Of a person, based on race, is a practice that kills

Black people suffering from internalized oppression

A festering pestilence, ushered death from within

& From the depths of deception, character assassination

Followed the path of this nation, down to the heart of black hatred;

This is where O.A. Split, and though, now it is clear

that the spiritual harms we came with left us unprepared

to truly unify against this Totalitarian Regime

We’re healing wounds and righting wrongs, that go back centuries

We will have struggle

Won’t be defeated

We will have justice

Won’t be defeated

We will have freedom

Won’t be defeated

Working Together we will have our Victory

We will have struggle

Won’t be defeated

We will have justice

Won’t be defeated

We will have freedom

Won’t be defeated

Working Together we will have our Victory

Women of Color Speak Out: Changing the Climate of Climate Change

This group of strong, dedicated, passionate, intelligent and driven women who have been engaged in the climate justice movement have come together to share their experiences as Women and as Activists.

The audience loved them!

Answering difficult questions and sharing their personal stories of growing up fused with depictions of dealing with stereotypes, racism, sexism and self-doubt, they connected with people in a way that is often hard to achieve. Many people thanked them over and over for having the courage to speak out about the things that they too have also felt, but not had the space or felt safe enough to express their truth.

They were also able to pull together many of the organizations active in the climate justice movement into a unified initiative to expose the truth of so many of our movements for justice, that is, they are being led by women; and that women of color from front-line communities need and should be at the forefront of the movement.

It was a beautiful event and I hear that there is much more to come.

Loving Seattle at Night

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Seattle is such a beautiful city at night and I just love finding awesome places to take pictures from.

City lights make such a pretty sight, they are something that I have always loved chasing and watching since I was a youngster. When things were at their worst my mother would take us for a drive and we would find the highest lookouts with the prettiest views to take our minds off the woes we were confronted with. Now that I am all grown up, I just tend to love wandering off by myself, giving me time to think, and I explore for the most pristine locations for fun. It always reminds me of the peace my mother shared with me growing up. And now I get to share that with all of you.