Posts tagged with "riots"

MLWXBF chapter 4 illustration via Alison Christenson for use by 360 Magazine

Ivy League BLM Courses

By: Emily Bunn

Ivy League Schools to Begin Teaching “Black Lives Matter” Courses

Proving their commitment to diversity and understanding, several Ivy League colleges will begin offering courses on the Black Lives Matter Movement. Whereas other Ivy League schools, such as Cornell, have created Africana Departments that focus on the centrality of Africa and the African Diaspora to the modern world, BlackLivesMatter classes are situated in a specific cultural moment. Though, of course, the Black Lives Matter falls under the umbrella of contemporary African history, it is positioned in a more concentrated, modern application. Princeton and Dartmouth are the two first schools to begin accrediting this intersectional coursework. While Princeton most recently enacted their BLM coursework, Dartmouth has been pioneering this change since 2015.

Dartmouth’s Black Lives Matter course discusses topics such as The Ivory Tower, understanding St. Louis and its racial history, race and class, racial violence, and systemic and unconscious racism, among other topics. Part of Dartmouth’s course description reads, “though the academy can never lay claim to social movements, this course seeks in part to answer the call of students and young activists around the country to take the opportunity to raise questions about, offer studied reflection upon, and allocate dedicated institutional space to the failures of democracy, capitalism, and leadership and to make #BlackLivesMatter. Developed through a group effort, this course brings to bear collective thinking, teaching, research, and focus on questions around race, structural inequality, and violence.” The course is taught by a wide variety of professors from different academic disciplines and social backgrounds. Taught for ten weeks by close to 20 different professors, Dartmouth’s Black Lives Matter coursework stands as a comprehensive example of a cross-disciplinary concentration that recognizes and situates history in a contemporary, American context.

Princeton’s #BlackLivesMatter class looks to examine the “historical roots and growth of the Black Lives Matter social movement,” and is “committed to resisting, unveiling, and undoing histories of state sanctioned violence against Black and Brown bodies.” Princeton’s #BlackLivesMatter’s course description reads as such: “This seminar traces the historical roots and growth of the Black Lives Matter social movement in the United States and comparative global contexts. The movement and course are committed to resisting, unveiling, and undoing histories of state sanctioned violence against Black and Brown bodies. The course seeks to document the forms of dispossession that Black Americans face and offers a critical examination of the prison industrial complex, police brutality, urban poverty, and white supremacy in the US.” The course’ sample reading list includes selections from Angela Davis, Claudia Rankin, and Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor.

Princeton’s course will be taught by Professor Hanna Garth, who has previously taught “Race and Racisms,” “Postcolonial and Decolonial Theory,” and “Theories of Social Justice.” Garth’s self-defined interest in “the ways in which people struggle to overcome structural violence” and past experience has well-prepared her for teaching this class. Garth remarks, “All of my research, teaching, and mentoring is designed around my commitment to feminist methodologies and critical race theory.”

While some have aggressively asserted that Princeton’s course readings are from a former communist party leader who once made it on the FBI’s Most Wanted List, their negativity further highlights the necessity of this course. While these assertions may be true, it is telling that certain critics commonly overlook the individual’s many (more recent) accomplishments. The author in question is Angela Davis – a revered, respected, and well-educated civil rights activist, philosopher, academic, and author. By painting Davis as an unpatriotic, dangerous criminal, it distracts from the important lessons that are to be learned from this influential leader. Similarly, Fox News’ article on Princeton’s new course links their mention of the “Black Lives Matter” movement not to an explanation of what the movement is, but instead to a page on US protests. As opposed to creating an educational resource for what the BLM Movement is, conservative critics are quick to jump to claims of Black violence and riots.

Especially in 2021, as the United States grapples with the fight for racial and civil justice, discussions surround race, policing, prison reform, and politics are more pertinent than ever. It is absolutely essential that our nation’s college students are exposed to critical race theory and critical thinking. By shielding America’s youth from the necessary history of this country – which is still being experienced today – we are only putting them in a position of increased vulnerability and ignorance. Knowledge is power and educating oneself on society’s issues is the only way to efficient work towards progressive social change. Hopefully, as the most prestigious academic institutions begin to model examples of intersectional and anti-racist coursework, other colleges and universities will soon follow suit.

Violence Spikes in Major Cities

By Eamonn Burke

Last month, 65 people were shot in New York City and 87 in Chicago over the course of the 4th of July weekend. Six children were killed that weekend as well. The holiday may have been a peak in homicides, but numbers of shootings and deaths have been trending upward as the nation handles a pandemic and a historic recession. The amount of shootings in NYC from January to July exceeded the total for the entire year of 2019. Other major cities are experiencing high rates of gun violence as well, such as Philadelphia, where more than 240 people have been killed this year and which now has the 2nd highest homicide rate in the nation. Chicago saw a violent July, with 584 shootings and 105 deaths. Even smaller cities like Pheonix and Omaha are seeing rises.

As a whole, homicides are up 24% in the nation since last year. Data shows homicides and shootings trending upward sharply since late May in major cities across the US. However, as a national study shows, gun violence was creeping upward even before the pandemic began.

President Trump blames the rise in violent crime to “radical” Democratic politicians , such as Major Bill DeBlasio, despite signs that this is a bipartisan issue. DeBlasio himself blames the shootings on the virus, among other factors such as the BLM protests and faults in the criminal justice system that have recently been exposed. The Council on Criminal Justice also concluded that the virus is the root issue, and that it must be stopped first in order to reduce homicides. A chart of homicides in Chicago does in fact show a major spike after the beginning of the protests, and the BLM protests in 2014 and 2015 had a similar effect on gun violence. However, further analysis of police data instead points to a decrease in gun-related arrests as a potential cause, as well as the increase in gun purchases in recent months.

Police say that many of these crimes are gang related, and a shortage of staff due to the virus have made it harder to crack down on crime. DeBlasio was adamant about getting back on top of the gun crisis through the courts: “Our courts not only need to reopen, they need to reopen as fully and as quickly as possible.” Chief administrative judge Lawrence Marks fired back, saying the blame of courts was “false, misleading and irresponsible.”

A strange finding amongst this gun crisis is that rates of other crimes such as burglaries have not followed the same trend, and have even decreased in some cases. As this is extremely odd, it’s possible that it’s a matter of what is getting reported given the complications of COVID-19 and the BLM protests on policing.

Rita Azar illustrates US Federal officer story in 360 MAGAZINE.

Federal Agents Move into Multiple US Cities

By Emmet McGeown

On June 29, 4-year old LeGend Taliferro was killed by gunfire in Kansas City, Missouri. He had fallen asleep inside his pillow fort and at around 2am he was murdered in a targeted shooting of his apartment, according to the Kansas City Police Department.

Having been diagnosed with a heart defect shortly after birth, LeGend received his first open-heart surgery at just 4 months old. His mother, Charron Powell, said that her only child “has the heart of a lion” and was always excited to create awareness for conditions similar to his.

As a result of this horrific murder and spiking crime rates in St. Louis Attorney General, William Barr, announced “Operation LeGend” on July 8. This Justice Department initiative has directed agents from the FBI, DEA, ATF, and US Marshals Service to supplement local law enforcement agencies with the aim of cracking down on illegal gun trafficking and aiding ongoing homicide investigations.

In total, 225 federal agents were sent to Kansas City to help the 400 federal agents already located in the metro area. US Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, Tim Garrison, announced on July 31 that 97 arrests have been made by federal and local law enforcement since the launch of Operation LeGend. Five arrests were made for homicide, but other offenses cited were drug trafficking, robbery, and child molestation.

However, this has not been the extent of federal intervention in US cities. In a Fox News phone interview, the President stated “We’ll go into all of the cities, any of them. We’re ready.” Such a statement is emblematic of the President’s desire to make federal policing a key part of his Nixonian “law and order” campaign strategy. Undoubtedly, he is hoping to appeal to suburban voters worried about crime spilling into their neighborhoods from urban centers. The President also claimed that he was prepared to dispatch “50,000, 60,000 people” into American cities.

Trump has presented increasing crime rates in cities as a partisan issue whereby Democrat-run cities are the most dangerous places in the country largely due to their leadership’s political affiliation. Overall, out of the 50 largest cities in the US the homicide rate has increased by 25% in cities with Democratic mayors and by 15% in Republican-run cities revealing a decidedly bipartisan issue despite the President’s best efforts.

Operation LeGend’s coordinated law enforcement plan has now expanded into Chicago, Albuquerque, Cleveland, Detroit and Milwaukee. Reasons for this move include a 54% increase in homicides in Chicago from last year, a 7% increase in Detroit’s violent crime compared to the previous year while each of Cleveland’s 5 police districts are coping with an increase in shootings of around 20%.

Such statistics reveal a problem in many US cities, yet the question remains as to whether this problem can or should be solved through federal intervention or whether this, being a local issue, should be remedied via local resources.

Allison Christensen, 360 Magazine, Vaughn Lowery

Federal Officers in Portland

By Eamonn Burke

In the wake of George Floyd’s death, cities around the country and the world erupted in protest. While in many cities protests have diminished or stopped, one city has shown crowds of protestors since Memorial Day: Portland, Oregon.

Rallies were shrinking here too, but were reinvigorated following repeated and excessive use of force by federal officers in the city. Video shows officers responding to one protest using non-lethal ammunition, gas, and fire. Secretary Chad Wolf of the Department of Homeland Security sided with the officers, calling the protestors “lawless anarchists.” Trump and his administration have also given consistent support to the efforts of the officers.

Tensions first rose last Thursday night when protestors gathered around a local precinct shouting “Who do you protect? Who do you serve?”, and police told them to leave after hearing rumors of a plot to burn down the building. The crowd, however, were equipped with homemade shields and flashlights. The crowds stayed however, leading to police discharging impact munitions and using smoke and tear gas to disband them.

The ongoing clash continued Tuesday when roughly 1,000 people filled Portland’s center, with help from the recently dubbed “Wall of Moms.” Hundreds of moms stood before the officers to provide protection for protestors. Their arms were linked as they chanted things like “Don’t shoot your mother!”

“That really affected me the most, being a mom. I wanted to come down and give my support as a mother and a grandmother to all these people who have been out every night” said 55 year old mom Debbie Scott.

The “Wall or Moms” has recently spread beyond Portland into other major cities such as New York, Chicago, and Philadelphia, ready to defend Democratic-lead cities from Trumps’ plan to deploy federal officers. Meanwhile, the violence continued in Portland on Tuesday when officers used more gas, non-lethal bullets and stun grenades as protestors gathered outside the courthouse.

Allison Christensen, 360 Magazine, Vaughn Lowery

Roger Guenvuer Virtual Discussion

Immediately following a free coordinated Netflix screening of his Bessie Award-winning solo performance RODNEY KING, Roger Guenveur Smith will engage in conversation with Sarah Bellamy, Artistic Director of St. Paul’s Penumbra Theatre, where the play was produced in 2015, and Rohan Preston, lead theatre critic of the Minneapolis StarTribune.

Bellamy, Preston, and Smith will discuss theatre as an essential public service, and its historic and contemporary response to civic crisis. Smith has a longstanding alliance with Twin Cities institutions which also includes the Guthrie Theatre, the Walker Arts Center, Macalester College, and the Eastside Freedom Library.

Mr. Smith will address the impetus and continued influence of what Mr. Preston describes as a “mesmerizing” tour-de-force, directed for the screen by Mr. Smith’s longtime colleague Spike Lee. Calling King “the first reality tv star,” Smith recounts his savage videotaped beating by four LAPD officers in 1991, the murderous fracture of Los Angeles after the officers were found not guilty of assault charges in 1992, and King’s tragic navigation of notoriety which ended in 2012, when he drowned in his backyard swimming pool.

In commemoration of Eric Garner, killed in custody of the NYPD in 2014, and in eerie premonition of George Floyd, killed in custody of the Minneapolis Police Department in 2020, Smith appends their final words to King’s “Can We All Get Along” speech:

“I Can’t Breathe.”

Complimentary viewing courtesy of Netflix

MEET THE PANELISTS

SARAH BELLAMY

Artistic Director for Penumbra Theatre Company, St. Paul Minnesota.

ROHAN PRESTON

Writer and critic Rohan Preston has covered performing arts in the Twin Cities for the Star Tribune since 1998.

ROGER GUENVEUR SMITH

Award winning actor, writer, and director.

politics, podium, flag, speech

Preservation Organization Supports Monument Removal

Today, the National Trust for Historic Preservation announces a major change in its position regarding the preservation of Confederate Monuments in public spaces. A more than 70-year-old institution, which has had to evaluate whether to support saving some of these monuments over the course of its history, is announcing today that it believes the removal of Confederate monuments from public places is justified. The Trust released the following statement:

In recent weeks, protests throughout America and around the world have sprung up in support of racial justice and equity, sparked by the horrific killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and others. The National Trust stands committed to support this fight for justice. We believe that Black Lives Matter, Black History Matters, and that historic preservation has a powerful role to play in telling the full story of our often-difficult history.

A critically important part of this work is elevating and preserving the enormous and important contributions that African Americans have made to our nation and carrying that profound legacy forward through places of truth, justice, and reconciliation.This nationwide call for racial justice and equity has brought renewed attention to the Confederate monuments in many of our communities.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation has previously issued statements about the history and treatment of Confederate monuments, emphasizing that, although some were erected—like other monuments to war dead—for reasons of memorialization, most Confederate monuments were intended to serve as a celebration of Lost Cause mythology and to advance the ideas of white supremacy. Many of them still stand as symbols of those ideologies and sometimes serve as rallying points for bigotry and hate today. To many African Americans, they continue to serve as constant and painful reminders that racism is embedded in American society.

We believe it is past time for us, as a nation, to acknowledge that these symbols do not reflect, and are in fact abhorrent to, our values and to our foundational obligation to continue building a more perfect union that embodies equality and justice for all.

Although Confederate monuments are sometimes designated as historic, and while many were erected more than a century ago, the National Trust supports their removal from our public spaces when they continue to serve the purposes for which many were built—to glorify, promote, and reinforce white supremacy, overtly or implicitly. While some have suggested that removal may result in erasing history, we believe that removal may be necessary to achieve the greater good of ensuring racial justice and equality. And their history needs not end with their removal: we support relocation of these monuments to museums or other places where they may be preserved so that their history as elements of Jim Crow and racial injustice can be recognized and interpreted.

We believe that communities have an obligation to take on this issue forthrightly and inclusively. We recognize that not all monuments are the same, and a number of communities have carefully and methodically determined that some monuments should be removed and others retained but contextualized with educational markers or other monuments designed to counter the false narrative and racist ideology that they represent, providing a deeper understanding of their message and their purpose.

We also recognize that some state legislatures have prohibited removal of such monuments, disallowing the rights of local communities wishing to remove these offensive symbols. Until such state laws are changed or overturned, contextualization may be the only option, at least for the present. Our view, however, is that unless these monuments can in fact be used to foster recognition of the reality of our painful past and invite reconciliation for the present and the future, they should be removed from our public spaces.

Sara Sandman, Black Lives Matter, illustration, 360 magazine, protest, rebellion, looters, riot, civil rights, human rights

1st Amendment

On June 1st, thirty minutes before DC’s curfew, Attorney General Barr ordered an escalation of police force to clear protestors on a public street outside of the White House. That’s not just an abuse of power — it’s a violation of our constitutional rights.

Sign your name here to condemn breaking up peaceful protesters and stand with the folks fighting for change:

Anyone brave enough to stand up for justice peacefully right now is a hero, not a threat. Police and law enforcement should be working to protect our rights to free assembly, not attacking peaceful protesters.

Our history is full of moments like these — where protesters and demonstrations have helped us correct systemic injustices. Standing up like this is not hurting our country, it’s part of our very foundation.

Zakat Gives Fresh Food

Zakat Foundation of America will transport 23 tons of farm-fresh produce to New York for free distribution to low-income families, the jobless, and undocumented in all five boroughs – with volunteers from nearly 40 Islamic centers delivering grocery packages directly to the homes of those unable to reach designated food-sharing sites.

The global charity’s relief workers and volunteers from its local partners will give out 1,760 containers of farm-fresh produce – each package brimming with about 25 pounds of colorful fruit and vegetables – to families in need.

Zakat Foundation, headquartered near Chicago in Bridgeview, Illinois, will haul the much-needed fresh- food aid from Midwest farmers into the city, reeling in the wake of the Minneapolis police murder of George Floyd, followed by days of anti-police brutality, anti-racist protests, citywide curfews, and military- style crowd-dispersing tactics to thwart demonstrators. The unrest has shuttered stores, shut down municipal services, stranded countless of the most vulnerable, and separated many from access to food.

Hillside Islamic Center, at 300 Hillside Avenue, New Hyde Park, will serve as the central food-packages pick-up location for organization volunteers. They will take their produce and grocery allotments back to their home mosques and centers for distribution to their communities.

Produce crates hold fresh tomatoes, apples, oranges, cucumbers, lettuce, celery, carrots, asparagus, onions, potatoes, and other fruits and vegetables. Grocery boxes contain rice, oil, milk, pasta, sugar, noodles, and tea.

The protests have come on the heels of New York’s massive coronavirus outbreak, which struck marginalized communities and neighborhoods with appallingly high infection and death rates, hitting the poor especially hard economically with widespread job losses and little government relief.

Since the COVID-19 crisis began, Zakat Foundation has distributed at least 44,000 pounds of potatoes, hundreds of hot meals, and thousands of pounds of groceries to New York’s afflicted among African American, Latino, Bangladeshi, Indian, Arab, and other communities through 26 community organization partners.

In addition, the international humanitarian agency has distributed 3,000 masks to essential workers and 2,500 medical gloves to Stony Brook University Medical center.

EVENT DETAILS:

Location:

Hillside Islamic Center; 300 Hillside Avenue, New Hyde Park, NY 11040

Time:

10 a.m. Sunday, June 7, 2020

National Day of Fasting

The Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival is calling for a National Day of Fasting and Focus on Monday to call Americans to repent of systemic racism and turn toward the work of building a more just and loving society for all people.

Bishop William J. Barber II, campaign co-chair and president of Repairers of the Breach, said the campaign seeks not merely a fasting from food, but also a national fasting from systemic racism, systemic poverty, the denial of health care and from other death-dealing policies.

“We must dedicate ourselves to breathing life into our Constitution and its promises and refuse to accept a civility that covers up injustice,” Bishop Barber said. “The very life of our democracy is at stake. Not the democracy that is, but the democracy that could be.”

The upheaval in the country has shown the power of social justice movements, said Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis, director of the Kairos Center for Religions, Rights and Social Justice and co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign.

“People across race, across geography, across age have seen that we cannot be silent anymore,” she said. “It is only when the people organize in radical and bold ways that we can build a society that actually takes care of the needs of the people.”

The campaign is asking people to stand still wherever they are at 5 p.m. , Monday, June 7, and be still and focus for eight minutes and 46 seconds — the amount of time that an officer held his knee on the neck of George Floyd, killing him on Memorial Day. They will then be asked to read a litany that the campaign will share on social media.

After that, Rev. Barber will speak to the nation from Greenleaf Christian Church in Goldsboro, North Carolina, where he is the minister.

People should also remember Ahmaud Abery, who was shot and killed by armed white men as he jogged in Georgia in February and Breonna Taylor, who died in March after she was shot eight times by police who used a battering ram to invade her apartment. As a sign that our collective repentance is real, people will also be invited to dedicate themselves to stay engaged, to vote, to hold elected officials accountable and to work for a moral agenda that addresses historic wrongs and policies that perpetuate inequality.

On Sunday, June 6, the campaign will hold a national interfaith service to recognize the more than 100,000 Americans who have died from COVID-19, especially poor and low-income workers. While President Trump wants to divert attention away from the pandemic and to his misinterpretation of protests in the streets, the Poor People’s Campaign will insist that the country doesn’t forget those who died.

The service will be co-led by Revs. Barber and Theoharis and Rabbi Jonah Pesner, Imam Omar Suleiman and Valerie Kaur.

Antifa Exposed

In light of recent events, Project Veritas today released a video exposing the violent nature of the controversial group known as antifa.

“Depending on the setting, if I were to be caught or found out in a setting where I am present with them, it could escalate to violence against me,” said the Project Veritas Undercover Journalist.

“Project Veritas does not condone any violence whatsoever. It is a sad time in our nation’s history with Antifa activists hijacking #blacklivesmatter protests in cities across the country, attacking the police and engaging in violence,” said Project Veritas founder and CEO, James O’Keefe.

“In many places, it appears the violence is planned, organized & driven by anarchic left extremist groups — far-left extremist groups using Antifa-like tactics.”

Antifa is short for anti-fascist. The group has long claimed a leadership role in violent movements across America and the world.

“They do not hesitate to either push back or incite some kind of violence. In our classes and in our meetings, before we do any sort of demonstration or Black Block, we talk about weapons detail and what we carry and what we should have,” said the Project Veritas Undercover Journalist.

Earlier this week, President Donald Trump said the United States would designate “Antifa” as a terrorist organization. National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien echoed Trump’s comments Sunday morning, saying the violence “is being driven by ‘Antifa.’”

Attorney General William Barr announced in a statement that he will enforce action against the group, saying “violent radical elements” are hijacking legitimate protests to “pursue their own separate, violent, and extremist agenda”.

About Project Veritas:

James O’Keefe established Project Veritas in 2011 as a non-profit journalism enterprise to continue his undercover reporting work. Today, Project Veritas investigates and exposes corruption, dishonesty, self-dealing, waste, fraud, and other misconduct in both public and private institutions to achieve a more ethical and transparent society. O’Keefe serves as the CEO and Chairman of the Board so that he can continue to lead and teach his fellow journalists, as well as protect and nurture the Project Veritas culture.

Project Veritas is a registered 501(c)3 organization. Project Veritas does not advocate specific resolutions to the issues raised through its investigations, nor do we encourage others to do so. Our goal is to inform the public of wrongdoing and allow the public to make judgments on the issues.