Posts tagged with "racism"

For use by 360 Magazine

Al Sharpton Responds

Today, November 11, through the trial of the killing of Ahmaud Arbery, William Bryan’s lawyer Kevin Gough shared some objections and concerns to the judge. Gough’s objection came from the presence of civil rights leader Reverend Al Sharpton being in the courtroom. He expressed to the judge, Judge Timothy Walmsley, that the presence of such civil rights leaders is “intimidation.” Reverend Al Sharpton was in attendance of the trial for the killing of Ahmaud Arbery on Wednesday, November 10, 2021. While in attendance at the trial, Reverend Al Sharpton organized a prayer vigil with his parents outside of the courthouse in Brunswick, Georgia. Reverend Al Sharpton has since released this statement following the accusations of his presence being used for intimidation:

“The arrogant insensitivity of attorney Kevin Gough in asking a judge to bar me or any minister of the family’s choice underscores the disregard for the value of the human life lost and the grieving of a family in need spiritual and community support.

My attendance yesterday and in the days to come is not disruptive in any way and was at the invitation of the family of Ahmaud Arbery who have stated that publicly.

The only way I could have been identified as a member of the ministry is if I was recognized for my public position and leadership. How else would the defense attorney know who was a “black pastor” or not?

This objection was clearly pointed at me and a disregard to the fact that a mother father sitting in a courtroom with 3 men that murdered their son do not deserve the right to have someone present to give spiritual strength to bear this pain. This is pouring salt into their wounds.

I respect the defense attorney doing his job but this is beyond defending your client, it is insulting the family of the victim.”

Judge Timothy Walmsley who is overseeing the case indicated that he would not make blanket rules over attendance of the public and acknowledged that the company of Reverend Sharpton would not be a distraction.

Background on the Case

Sunday, February 23, 2020, the unarmed, Black twenty-five year old Ahmaud Arbery was chased and killed by three armed white men in a neighborhood in South Georgia and was killed. The National Action Network has continuously stood by the family of the victim in their quest for justice and continues to criticize the range of the jury for the case. The jury consists of eleven white women, three white men and one Black man in a county that is predominately Black. Though Judge Timothy Walmsley acknowledges the presence of “intentional discrimination” in the range of the jury, he states that the trial over the killing of Arbery will proceed.

*Additional coverage from USA today

image from Polity Press for use by 360 Magazine

DIDIER FASSIN — DEATH OF A TRAVELLER

It is a simple story. A 37-year-old man belonging to the Traveller community is shot dead by a special unit of the French police on the family farm where he was hiding since he failed to return to prison after temporary release. The officers claim self-defense. The relatives, present at the scene, contest that claim. A case is opened, and it concludes with a dismissal that is upheld on appeal. Dismayed by these decisions, the family continues the struggle for truth and justice.

Giving each account of the event the same credit, Didier Fassin conducts a counter-investigation, based on the re-examination of all the available details and on the interviews of its protagonists. A critical reflection on the work of police forces, the functioning of the justice system, and the conditions that make such tragedies possible and seldom punished, Death of a Traveller is also an attempt to restore to these marginalized communities what they are usually denied: respectability.

The Author:

Didier Fassin is the James D. Wolfensohn Professor at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, a Director of studies at the École des hautes études en sciences sociales in Paris and a Professor on the Annual Chair of Public Health at the Collège de France.

Advance Praise:

“In seeking to do justice to yet another young life, another racialized suspect, snuffed out in the name of public order, Fassin provides a stunning indictment of a new moral economy: a culture of institutional duplicity that allows police to get away with murder.”Jean Comaroff, Harvard University

“How can an account of a controversial killing do justice to it sociologically and according to the laws of the land, and at the same time politically and humanely? This is the multifaceted conundrum addressed by this beautifully written and meticulously crafted book. A riveting must-read for all those concerned by the broader meaning of death at the hands of the police, in France and in other countries.”Dame Caroline Humphrey, University of Cambridge

image by Sara Davidson for use by 360 Magazine

CHARLOTTESVILLE REMOVES STATUES

THREE YEARS AFTER UNITE

By: Clara Guthrie

On Saturday, the university town of Charlottesville, Virginia removed four controversial statues from its public grounds: two of Confederate generals and two that depicted Native Americans in a distinctly disparaging way.

The first bronze statue to be lifted from its stone pedestal was that of Robert E. Lee, the infamous commander of the Confederate Army, which stood in Market Street Park. This public park was once named in the general’s honor until June of 2017 when it became known as Emancipation Park; one year later, it was yet again renamed as Market Street Park.

As the crane was put in place to remove the statue of Lee, the city’s mayor, Nikuyah Walker, spoke to onlookers. “Taking down this statue is one small step closer to the goal of helping Charlottesville, Virginia, and America grapple with the sin of being willing to destroy Black people for economic gain,” she said.

Two hours later, the statue of Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson—who gained his enduring nickname after successfully commanding a brigade in the First Battle of Bull Run—was taken down from its place in Court Square Park. Similar to the tale of Market Street Park, this spot once boasted the name of Stonewall Jackson, was renamed Justice Park and has since become Court Square Park.

In response to the removal of both statues, associate professor of religious studies at the University of Virginia Jalane Schmidt said, “I literally felt lighter when the statues came down, it was such a relief.”

According to CNN, both statues have been placed in storage while the city pursues different places to preserve and, more importantly, contextualize them such as museums, historical societies or Civil War battlefields. The city has reportedly already received 10 offers, six of which are out of state and four of which are within the state of Virginia.

This ultimate removal and push for contextualization came after nearly five years of heated court battles and protests. Back in 2016, then-high school student and current student at the University of Virginia, Zyahna Bryant, launched a petition to get the statues removed from their dominant positions over the city. Early the following year, city council voted to take down the statues, but this action was thwarted by a legal challenge. During the summer of 2017, “the statues of Lee and Jackson—and threats to remove them—served as a rallying cry for the far right,” as NPR said. On August 11 and 12 of that summer, this tension boiled over into the horrific, violent and racist riots of the Unite the Right Rally. On the second day of rioting, white supremacist neo-Nazis came to a head with counter-protesters when one man drove his car into a crowd, killing one woman, Heather Heyer, and injuring 19 others, only a few steps away from the statue of Robert E. Lee.

It was not until April of this year that the Supreme Court of Virginia overturned the original challenge to the removal of the statues. On June 7, the city council voted once again to remove the state-owned statues.

The racist legacy of these statues and the necessity of their overdue removal goes deeper than the obvious immortalization of individuals who dedicated themselves to the perpetuation of the enslavement of Black people. These statues are also artifacts of the Jim Crow era in Virginia, seeing as they were not erected in the immediate wake of the Civil War, but in fact decades later. The Robert E. Lee statue, for example, was not dedicated until 1924. NPR described the unveiling ceremonies of these statues:

“Charlottesville’s statues of Lee and Jackson were erected in the early 1920s with large ceremonies that included Confederate veteran reunions, parades and balls. At one event during the 1921 unveiling of the Jackson statue, children formed a living Confederate flag on the lawn of a school down the road from Vinegar Hill, a prominent Black neighborhood. The Jackson statue was placed on land that had once been another prosperous Black neighborhood.”

The programs coordinator from the Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society, Sterling Howell, said on the installment of Confederate memorials, “This was at the height of Jim Crow segregation, at the height of lynchings in American history. […] There was a clear statement that [Black people] weren’t welcome.”

In addition to the removal of these bronzed Confederate generals, the city also took down two statues that included harmful depictions of Native Americans.

The first statue was of Revolutionary War general George Rogers Clark on his horse in front of three crouching Native Americans and two frontiersmen behind them, one of whom was raising his rifle. This statue sat on University of Virginia grounds, across from the popular dining and shopping area called “The Corner.”

The second statue depicted famous explorers, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, standing tall and looking outwards while Sacagawea squatted beside them. The statue stood outside a federal courthouse downtown.

Just as Zyahna Bryant opened the door to the conversation around removing Confederate statues across the city, Anthony Guy Lopez, a University of Virginia graduate and member of the Crow Creek Sioux tribe, started a petition to remove the Lewis and Clark statue back in 2009. “If art can be evil, these were evil,” Lopez said. “What this says to American Indians is that violence is a part of our lives, and that we have to not only accept but glorify it.”

According to city council member Michael Payne, the council voted in favor of the removal of the Lewis and Clark statue in the fall of 2019. The process of removal was significantly sped up, however, after the contracting company that removed the Lee and Jackson statues offered last-minute to take down the George Rogers Clark and Lewis and Clark statues at no additional cost.

While these four statues no longer loom over the busy streets and passing-by residents of Charlottesville, Virginia, the fight to come to terms with the racist history of Virginia, the South and the entirety of America is nowhere close to over. In Charlottesville alone, ties to this dark past are enduring. As just one example, the man who commissioned all four of the aforementioned statues, Paul Goodloe McIntire, is still immortalized across the city, including as the name for the University of Virginia’s McIntire School of Commerce.

Breaking News illustration by Samantha Miduri for use by 360 magazine

Free Tameka Drummer

Free Tameka Drummer, who is serving a life sentence for a marijuana charge due to unjust habitual offender laws in Mississippi.

In 2008, Tameka Drummer was sentenced to life in prison in Mississippi for possessing 2 ounces of marijuana. She was pulled over for a routine traffic stop for an expired license plate when officers searched her car and found a small amount of pot – the same amount which can now be bought legally in many states. She has been in prison for the last 12 years for this offense and will be for the rest of her life unless citizens continue to put pressure on the Mississippi government to do away with unjust “habitual offender” laws like the one that has imprisoned Drummer.

The habitual offender statute allows for extended imprisonment for previous offenders, usually far beyond the typical maximum sentence for a crime. This allows for lesser offenses, like Drummer’s small amount of pot, to result in life sentences. These laws disproportionately affect Black men and women and participate in the toxic cycle of mass incarceration in America. Drummer was counted as a habitual offender due to two previous marijuana possession convictions, as well as being convicted of voluntary manslaughter in 1992 and aggravated assault in 1998.

While people put pressure on Gov. Tate Reeves to pardon Drummer or do away with habitual offender laws, something he says he has no intention of doing, more people are coming to understand how unjust these laws are. Mississippi’s habitual offender laws are some of the harshest, and the state holds the title of the third-highest imprisonment rate in the US. A report by FWD.us says “Mississippi’s habitual offender laws are causing “extreme” prison sentences that are disproportionately affecting African American men and are costing the state millions of dollars for decades of incarceration.”

Drummer, as well as many others, deserves a chance at justice. Help her achieve it by signing this petition to put pressure on Gov. Reeves and state officials to do away with unjust habitual offender laws and release minor offenders like Drummer.

Illustration By Alex Bogdan for use by 360 Magazine

BLACK FEMALE ATHLETES FACE OLYMPIC DISCRIMINATION

By: Clara Guthrie

Leading up to the postponed 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo—with opening ceremonies scheduled for Friday, July 23—the International Swimming Federation (or FINA, a shortening of the “Fédération Internationale de Natation”) has banned the use of swim caps specifically designed to fit the volume and texture of Black hair. Their reasoning for such a targeted and controversial ban seemingly lies in the cap’s novelty, leaving officials wondering how the product may affect different Olympic swimming events. (Many people have been quick to point out, however, that the larger size of these caps could actually cause more drag in the water rather than any sort of advantage.) In a statement, FINA said that, to their knowledge, “the athletes competing at international events never used, neither required, […] caps of such size and configuration.” Additionally, they took issue with the fact that the caps do not lay flat and tight across the head as other swim caps used by white athletes do.

The caps of interest were created by a Black-owned British company called Soul Cap. According to their website, their products are intended for “those with dreadlocks, weaves, hair extensions, braids, thick and curly hair” and are “designed with extra room in mind.” Their business—which was founded in 2017 and includes a variety of swimming-related haircare products for those “blessed with voluminous hair”—grew out of an understanding that the beauty industry was overlooking the needs of these individuals.

Preceding this controversy, Soul Cap had partnered with marathon swimmer Alice Dearing, the first Black female swimmer to represent Great Britain in the Olympic games. This partnership was intended to promote diversity in the world of swimming and help break down barriers for other minority swimmers who may be blocked from competing at the highest level. “Swimming as a sport hasn’t always been as accessible to people from minority communities,” Dearing said. “Increasing diversity in the water is a huge passion of mine, so with Soul Cap, […] we hope we can start to dispel those barriers.”

This decision to ban Soul Caps from the Olympics has caused public outrage among many swimmers, specifically swimmers of color. According to the BBC, one young swimmer said she was “heartbroken but not surprised” by FINA’s discriminatory action. Another swimmer, 17-year-old Kejai Terrelonge, said that swim caps made for thinner or untextured hair have posed perpetual problems throughout her athletic career. “Using the smaller swimming caps that everyone else would use—it would fit on my head, but because I put oil in my hair, when I was swimming it would just keep sliding off, and my hair would get wet,” she said. Since Black hair is naturally drier than other hair, exposure to chlorine and other chemicals in pool water can cause severe damage to hair. In 2019, Dearing herself even acknowledged that she “can fully understand why someone would quit [swimming] over their hair.”

Non-athletes have also joined in on this critique of FINA, taking to Twitter to voice their frustration. One user called the decision “cultural insensitivity on an international scale.” Another said, “this misguided notion of uniformity is the antithesis to inclusion.” “It’s 2021 and still there is ignorance about Black hair and naturalness,” said another Twitter user. “People who make decisions about Black hair should do the research first. Our hair may not be natural to you but it is to us!” This final sentence seems to be a direct response to another quote from FINA in which they said that Soul Caps do not “fit the natural form of the head.”

Unfortunately, this move to ban swim caps for Black hair has not been the only inequitable decision surrounding Black female athletes made by Olympic athletic committees. Last week, 21-year-old sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson was suspended from the Olympic team after testing positive for THC and thus failing her drug test. While marijuana is explicitly against the rules for competing athletes according to International Olympic Committee (IOC) standards, many people were outraged at Richardson’s suspension seeing as the drug is legal in Oregon (where Richardson ingested it) and the drug’s known effects are in no way performance-enhancing. Actor and outspoken supporter of marijuana Seth Rogen weighed in on Twitter, saying, “The notion that weed is a problematic ‘drug’ is rooted in racism. It’s insane that Team USA would disqualify one of the country’s most talented athletes over thinking that’s rooted in hatred.” 

In another Olympic-centered controversy, 18-year-old Namibian sprinters Christine Mboma and Beatrice Masilingi were withdrawn from the 400-meter race due to their “natural high testerone level[s],” according to the World Athletics governing body’s policy on Athletes with Differences of Sex Development. This policy states that women’s blood testosterone levels must be below 5 nanomoles per liter to compete in the 400-meter race, among other events. These new regulations were introduced in 2018, and the only proposed solution for these athletes is to lower their testosterone levels with medicine in order to compete. It is important to note that neither Mboma, Masilinigi, their families nor their coaches were aware of their hormonal condition prior to being tested.

As these debates that target the rights and Olympic potential of Black female athletes continue to unfold, FINA has announced it will review the original decision to ban Soul Caps from the summer games. In an official statement, FINA said that it is “committed to ensuring that all aquatics athletes have access to appropriate swimwear for competition where this swimwear does not confer a competitive advantage.” FINA also said that it plans to “speak with the manufacturer of the ‘Soul Cap’ about utilizing their products through the FINA Development Centers.” No further statements or decisions have been made at this time.

According to the official Olympics website, part of the IOC’s mission is “to act against any form of discrimination affecting the Olympic Movement” and “to encourage and support the promotion of women in sport at all levels and in all structures.” And yet, the past few weeks have revealed unflattering truths about the international world of athletics and the discrimination that athletes of color—specifically female athletes of color—repeatedly face in order to pursue their Olympic dreams. The IOC represents the highest standards of athletics and competition, and thus they must rise to the same standards when it comes to protecting, empowering and uplifting the athletes who participate.

Film Premiere illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Small Axe Official Soundtrack

London UK; Director Steve McQueen has teamed up with Motown Records UK for the official soundtrack to the landmark five-film anthology Small Axe.

Personally curated and selected by Steve McQueen, The Small Axe Official Soundtrack, featuring original score by award-winning composer Mica Levi, will be released on Record Store Day, Saturday 12 June.

Steve McQueen: “Music is an integral part of Small Axe, especially Lovers Rock. Selecting the songs was definitely one of the most fun parts of making the anthology series, so I’m really excited about the soundtrack release, especially the legendary tracks “Silly Games” and “To Be Young, Gifted And Black” performed by the brilliant Tiana Major 9 and Michael Kiwanuka.”

Mica Levi: “I am proud and thankful to be part of the music used in Steve McQueen’s telling of a too unknown true story. It goes to show that protest is an essential democratic right it can change legislation and create visibility and equality.

The Small Axe Official Soundtrack encompasses a potent combination of original tracks, film score excerpts, music featured in the series and four powerful spoken word pieces written by the renowned poet Linton Kwesi Johnson and performed by himself alongside cast members Sheyi Cole, Rochenda Sandall and Shaun Parkes. Exclusive tracks include a rendition of “To Be Young, Gifted And Black” by Michael Kiwanuka and a rework of Janet Kay’s classic “Silly Games” by R&B songstress and Motown US artist, Tiana Major9.

Tiana Major9: ‘Silly Games by Janet Kay played a huge part in changing a generation by pushing the culture forward, as well as making the dream of creating timeless Black British Art a reality. To see the stories based on the lives of my people on a global scale, means so much to me.”

The original of “Silly Games” by Janet Kay also features on the soundtrack alongside the likes of “Got To Give It Up” by Marvin Gaye, “Pressure Drop” by Toots & The Maytals and “More Warning” by King Tubby, Augustus Pablo & The Aggrovators.

The Small Axe Official Soundtrack will be accompanied by a limited edition vinyl release with artwork direction by phenomenal creative collective; Mabdulle, Tara Ung and Wwwesh Studio

Nominated in a record 15 categories at the TV Bafta Awards on the 6 June 2021, the Small Axe anthology series comprises five original films by Academy Award, BAFTA, and Golden Globe-winning filmmaker Steve McQueen (Hunger, Shame, 12 Years A Slave, Widows). Set from the late 1960s to the mid-1980s, the films each tell a different story involving London’s West Indian community, whose lives have been shaped by their own force of will, despite rampant racism and discrimination. Even though this collection of films is set some decades ago, the stories are as vital and timely today as they were for the West Indian community in London at the time. Small Axe is a celebration of Black joy, beauty, love, friendship, family, music and even food; each one, in its own unique way, conveys hard-won successes, bringing hope and optimism.

The music featured on the official soundtrack is integral to the DNA of these stories, both enhancing the narrative and paying homage to the musical and cultural heritage of the times documented in the series. The Small Axe Official Soundtrack, released by Motown Records UK on 12 June, is now available to pre-order https://smallaxe.lnk.to/PreOrder

Dominique via The Thom Brand for use by 360 Magazine

Dominique – Soulja Life Mentality

Artist, multi-platinum producer, and entrepreneur Dominique drops his new single “Soulja Life Mentality” via Win 1st Records. Dominque delivers cinematic bars blanketed by boasting beats as he gives fans a powerful preview of this forthcoming debut project True Story. “Soulja Life Mentality” is available to purchase and stream on all music platforms. Listen HERE.

“Soulja Life Mentality” pulls the curtain back on Dom’s experiences navigating as a first-generation Black Man in America and the armor that he, along with many Black men alike, must be equipped with for survival, both in metaphorical and grave literal senses. 

“Soulja Life Mentality is a story of frustration that most are familiar with. You got the world on your shoulders, but you have to deal with it alone because you can’t trust too many people. You get views from a Black Man in America here that’s questioning the lack of collective identity. It’s a true story to many men out here; we not only have to be cautious of the people who are hired to keep us safe, but we also have to be wary of our own people.”

“Soulja Life Mentality” follows the success of Dominque’s recently acclaimed singles: “The Player Way” and “The Code.” All three singles will feature on his forthcoming project True Story, which will soon release.

About Dominique

After a knee injury ending his football career during his senior year of college, Dominique switched gears to being a record producer overnight. A proud Guyanese American originally from Broward County, Florida, he began crafting his signature sound that has attracted both mainstream and international superstars. He’s worked with artists such as the late Juice WRLD, T.I., Fivio Foreign, French Montana, Yo Gotti, YFN Lucci, T-Pain, Montana of 300, Maxo Cream, Burna Boy, Lil Yachty and more. Dominique has songs reaching RIAA certified Platinum and Gold, along with over 130 million streams of Spotify alone. 

Dominique via The Thom Brand for use by 360 Magazine

No More Hate illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Atlanta Shooting

By: Carly Cohen × Heather Skovlund

Early this week, a tragedy had occurred in Atlanta, Georgia. A total of eight victims were killed at the Georgia spa. Six of the eight victims were Asian, and when the suspect got caught, he claimed that “his actions were not racially motivated.” It was stated that it was too soon in the investigation to claim this shooting as a hate crime; however, the shootings were “aimed at a recent wave of attacks against Asian Americans that coincided with the spread of the coronavirus across the United States.” The suspect claimed that apparently “sex addition” drove him to commit these murders.

There were multiple incidents: the first occurred at Young’s Asian Massage Parlor in a mall off Highway ninety-two, about thirty miles north of Atlanta. When the police got the call, five people were shot, and two were dead while three were rushed to the hospital. An hour later, after this tragedy, two other shootings happened right across the street- one being on Piedmont, the other at the Gold Spa and Aromatherapy.

There were seven women and one man; most of them were Asian. The victims have been identified as Delainia Ashley Yaun, Paul Andre Michels, Xiaojie Tan, and Daoyou Feng.

Yaun and her husband, Mario Gonalez, were off work getting a couples massage at Young’s Asian Massage when the tragedy started. Her husband safely made it out of the salon, but he and his wife were in separate rooms when the shooting was started. They had a family together; a thirteen-year-old son and an infant daughter. It is sad to say that this woman was a victim in this shooting that not one person deserved -separating families, taking parents, taking siblings. It is a terrible, terrible thing that no one deserved. John Beck, Yaun’s manager, voiced to BuzzFeed News that “her heart was so big.” She would feed homeless people and offer them clothes and a place to shower. Hearing a person who is so kind and so pure as Yaun makes you ask the question, “why do bad things happen to good people.” It doesn’t make sense and is not fair.

Xiaojie Tan was the owner of Young’s Asian Massage as was another victim of the attack. She was known for being an extremely hardworking small-business owner and had such a big heart filled with love and kindness. Her client, Greg Hynson, stated that when he came for an appointment on his birthday a year ago, she had a birthday cake waiting for him. Another victim, Paul Andre Micheals, was a U.S Army infantry veteran married for more than two decades. He was a “dedicated, hardworking, loving man,” his brother stated.

These killings brought a “wave of outrage and attention to violence against Asian-American people.” As soon as social media was notified of the attacks and assumed to be focused on Asian’s, you could see all over the media celebrities, influencers, and people left and right posting regarding standing up for the lost lives and spreading awareness to this hate crime and all hate crimes in general. The media has been outraged and will continue to stand together.

Emmett Till illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Emmett Till × Mamie Till Mobley

National Trust Partners’ Advocacy Leads to Roberts Temple: Emmett Till and Mamie Till Mobley Senate Bill

Sen. Tammy Duckworth introduced a bill with Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), and Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) as co-sponsors to establish Chicago’s Roberts Temple Church of God in Christ as a National Monument. The move would offer the highest level of federal support for the church and would ensure that the National Park Service will preserve, protect, and interpret its powerful impact on American civil rights history for generations to come. Civil rights activist Mamie Till Mobley was a member of Roberts Temple Church of God in Christ, and the church played a historic role in the funeral of Emmett Till, her fourteen-year-old son killed on August 28, 1955, during a visit with relatives in Money, Mississippi.

Rather than cover up the brutality of the murder, Mobley bravely decided to hold an open casket funeral at Roberts Temple Church of God in Christ so people could witness the bitter consequences of racism. When tens of thousands of people came to view young Till’s mangled body from September 3-6, 1955, and photographs of his mangled face were published in journals around the country, it ignited the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 60s, similar to the way George Floyd’s death has impacted movements today. TIME magazine named a photo of the Till funeral one of the 100 most influential images of all time.

Last year, the National Trust for Historic Preservation placed Roberts Temple Church of God in Christ on its 11 Most Endangered Historic Places list, recognizing its groundbreaking significance and the need to restore and preserve the site. Support has continued through Trust grants and technical assistance as well as through advocacy to gain federal support to maintain the site. The Trust has partnered in this work with members of the Till and Roberts families, The Emmett Till Interpretive Center, the National Parks Conservation Association, Latham & Watkins LLP pro bono program, and other interests committed to the longevity of this historic landmark. Efforts are also ensuing to obtain National Park status for Roberts Temple Church of God in Christ, as well as for important sites linked to Emmett Till in Mississippi.

“The Roberts Temple Church is both extraordinarily and heartbreakingly important to Chicago, our state, and to our country’s history,” Sen. Tammy Duckworth said. “It’s time we recognize how historic sites can not only teach us about our history – but provoke us to build a more just future. By designating this church a historic site, we will help ensure that this awful chapter is not erased and that generations of Americans to come can show respect to Mamie and Emmett’s stories.”

The National Trust’s Chief Preservation Officer Katherine Malone-France said, “Our nation will benefit tremendously when Roberts Temple is designated a National Monument, lifting up its profoundly important role in American history. It is imperative that our country appropriately honors the site of Emmett Till’s funeral and of Mamie Till Mobley’s remarkable courage. We are honored to support the Roberts Temple congregation, the Till family, and the local community as they advance this designation and determine how to carry forward the legacies of this powerful place, as a unit of the National Park system.”

Reverend Wheeler Parker, who witnessed his cousin Emmett’s abduction in 1955, and his wife, Dr. Marvel McCain Parker, said, “We are grateful for the introduction of legislation to preserve the legacy of Emmett Till and Mamie Till Mobley by making Roberts Temple a National Monument, which will help to fulfill Mamie’s request for my wife and I to continue her work to ensure her son’s death was not in vain.”

Roberts Temple Church of God in Christ was founded in 1916 and is known as the “mother of all of the Churches of God in Christ in Illinois.” With its founding, it became a central place of worship and political organizing for many who migrated to Chicago from the South during the early 20th Century.

Today, the building remains in use by the Church of God in Christ denomination, now led by Elder Cleven Wardlow who said, “On behalf of the congregants of Roberts Temple and members of the Roberts Family, we strongly support this endeavor as well as the ongoing efforts by racial justice and preservation organizations to obtain federal protection for Roberts Temple.”

Patrick Weems, Executive Director of the Emmett Till Interpretive Center stated, “What took place at Roberts Temple changed the world. We commend the Roberts Temple congregation, the Roberts and Till families, especially Rev. Wheeler Parker, Jr., Dr. Marvel McCain Parker, and Ollie Gordon for their commitment to telling the truth, and we want to thank Senator Duckworth for her leadership in bringing forth this legislation.”

“The time for turning away from this painful chapter in American history is long over” stated Alan Spears, Senior Director for Cultural Resources. “The National Parks Conservation Association applauds Senator Duckworth for introducing this very significant piece of legislation commemorating the legacies of Emmett Till and Mamie Till Mobley.”
For more information on the campaign to designate the Roberts Temple Church of God in Christ National Monument visit their website.

Dr. Seuss illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

The Controversial Career of Dr. Seuss

By: Carly Cohen

The American children’s author, political cartoonist, illustrator, poet, animator, and filmmaker, the brilliant Theodor Seuss Geisel. Dr. Seuss has been extremely well known ever since he started his books and films. The books and films are classics and bring joy and childhood memories.

Dr. Seuss was born on March 2, 1904, and released his first book in 1937 called And To Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street. In total, he has written over 60 books and sold over 600 million copies throughout his career. In his early career, he attended Lincoln College at the University of Oxford for English literature, but left without receiving a degree and came back to the U.S. After moving back to the United States, Dr. Seuss began to send his work to different advertising agencies, magazines and publishers. In 1927, his first cartoon was published in The Saturday Evening Post.  His career was long, successful, and brilliant.

In the latest news, Dr. Seuss will stop being published due to “hurtful and wrong racist images.” In his books and cartoons, there has been ‘insensitive’ imagery that is causing this news. Dr. Seuss’s enterprise assured consumers that the books which are no longer being published are a part of the plan to “ensure Dr. Seuss Enterprise’s catalog represents and supports all communities and families.”  The decision of this issue most definitely was not easy for the Dr. Seuss organization. Since this is such a serious and sensitive issue, it required for the organization to think it through, bring in experts, and spend long hours deciding on what is best way to maintain Dr. Seuss’ name and be sensitive to all of his readers.

Not all of his books will stop being published, but they still will all be carefully inspected. The confirmed books that will no longer be available for purchase are McElligot’s Pool, On Beyond Zebra!, Scrambled Eggs Super!, The Cat’s Quizzer, And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, and If I Ran the Zoo. The Cat In The Hat has also been under discussion concerning discontinuation, but will be fully examined before any decisions are made.

In The Cats Quizzer, the Japanese character has a bright yellow face and is standing on Mt. Fuji. If I Ran A Zoo shows examples of orientalism and white supremacy. Another issue with the Dr. Seuss books has been that a majority of the human characters are white, which makes it appear that Dr. Seuss focuses on white men and women.

A school in Virginia has already banned the copies of these Dr. Seuss books, and others are having similar discussions.

Even in death, Dr. Seuss receives backlash from his work along with many other brands such as Aunt Jemima pancake mix and Uncle Ben’s Eskimo Pies, which also had to change their branding due to racial issues. Brands from this point on need to pay close attention to their advertising to ensure that they’re being inclusive of all audiences.