COUPLE SENTENCED TO PRISON FOR RACIAL THREATS

Hate is a STRONG word. Why people hate others is probably one of the most baffling issues of all time. There have been people abused, maimed, killed, and even more in the name of hate. Yesterday, hate took center stage in a trial in Georgia and stiff sentences were handed down by the judge. The issue began on July 25, 2015 at an African-American child’s birthday party in a suburban Atlanta community. A group carrying and waving large Confederate flags approached and began to harass and otherwise threaten the group at the party. Hate and alcohol mixed with a gang mentality ignited a firestorm that culminated in jail-time for the culprits. Check out the article that I found on CNN regarding this story:

(CNN)A Georgia couple who rode with a Confederate flag-waving group that made armed threats against African-Americans at a child’s birthday party were sentenced to prison Monday.
Jose “Joe” Torres, was sentenced to 20 years, with 13 years in prison, after a jury convicted him on three counts of aggravated assault, one count of making terroristic threats and one count of violating of Georgia’s Street Gang Terrorism and Prevention Act.
Kayla Norton was sentenced to 15 years, with six years in prison. She was convicted on one count of making terroristic threats and one count of violation of the Street Gang Act.
“Many people tried to make the case about simply flying the Confederate Battle Flag,” Douglas County District Attorney Brian Fortner said in a statement. “This case was about a group of people riding around our community, drinking alcohol, harassing and intimidating our citizens because of the color of their skin.”
On July 25, 2015, Torres and Norton, joined about a dozen other people in a convoy of pickup trucks waving large Confederate flags as they drove around Douglas County, a suburban Atlanta community. Most of them belonged to a group called “Respect the Flag.”
“The convoy of trucks passed by the victim’s residence where the victims were grilling hot dogs and hamburgers while hosting a child’s birthday party featuring a bouncy castle, snow-cone machines, and a DJ,” the district attorney’s office posted on its official Facebook page.
The party-goers said the people in the trucks yelled racial slurs as they passed, the statement said.
The drivers parked the trucks near the house, prosecutors said. Torres was part of a smaller group that “threatened to kill the party goers while repeatedly using derogatory racial slurs against them,” said the statement.
“Torres, who had retrieved a shotgun from his vehicle, pointed his shotgun at the group of African American party-goers and stated he was going to kill them while his co-defendants stated that ‘the little ones can get one too,’ referring to the young children at the party,” the statement said.
Norton was accused of making similar threats. The victims said some member of Torres’ group was armed with a knife and a tire tool.
According to the district attorney’s statement, Torres testified he carried the shotgun because he feared for his friends’ safety. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported members of “Respect the Flag” said people at the party had thrown objects at them.
CNN has tried to reach the two defendants’ lawyers for comment.
After the arrests, investigators looked through the defendants’ Facebook accounts, the statement said.
“Law enforcement was able to locate numerous posts and messages indicating that members of the group were white supremacists who discussed attending KKK rallies, joining Skinheads Nation, and making numerous derogatory remarks about African Americans as a whole,” the DA’s statement said.
Video of Monday’s sentencing shot by WSB-TV, a CNN affiliate, showed both Torres and Norton breaking down in court as Judge William McClain handed down the sentence.
Norton apologized for her role in the incident saying, “I want you all to know that is not me. That is not me, that is not him. I would never walk up to you and say those words to you. I’m so sorry that happened to you. I am so sorry.”
Hyesha Bryant, one of the people at the party, testified at the hearing and told Norton, “What you said affected my life. It affected my children’s lives.”
But Bryant ended up telling Norton that “I forgive you, I forgive all of you.”
‘They have to learn to forgive themselves’
Melissa Alford, who hosted the birthday party, told HLN’s Ashleigh Banfield on Tuesday that she still feels emotional about what happened in 2015, but justice was served.
“I think Judge Beau McClain did what he had to do” at the sentencing, she said. “I know justice was served.”
Like Bryant, Alford was concerned about the lasting impact the day had on the children at the party, but she also has forgiven the defendants.
“Yes, I did forgive them. They have to learn to forgive themselves for their wrongdoing,” Alford said.
For her, offering forgiveness was more about finding peace. “I’m not going around hating anyone.”
She also shared with Banfield that the children who were at the party are still confused.
One of her grandchildren is white, she added. “How am I supposed to explain the difference between white and black when she doesn’t see that. How are the other kids supposed to explain?”
Banished
A jury convicted Torres and Norton on February 6. They are both banished from Douglas County when they’re released from prison.
Fifteen members of the Respect the Flag group were originally indicted. The disposition of all their cases is unknown, but the district attorney said some of them pleaded guilty to similar charges and received shorter sentences.

BEFORE ROSA PARKS THERE WAS…

Claudette Colvin.

You’ve got to check out this clip.  This woman’s name is Claudette Colvin.  Few people know her story. When she was 15, she refused to move to the back of the bus and give up her seat to a white person — nine months before Rosa Parks did the very same thing.  Now her story is the subject of a new book, Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice.  Check her out above and you will know… the rest of the story.

BLACK HISTORY MONTH: A SALUTE TO JOHN LEWIS

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On February 21, 1940, two sharecroppers bore a son who they named John Lewis.  Lewis grew up to be a force to be reckoned with in so many important ways; especially for blacks in America.  Even as a young kid, he became moved by the involvement of activists regarding the Montgomery Bus Boycott.  He especially became enamored with the words of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.  Lewis was so captivated that he became a part of the Civil Rights Movement.  He has since been on the forefront of the human rights struggle here in America.  In a large since, Lewis is owed much more credit than he gets.

I recently met John Lewis at a Home Depot in Atlanta.  He was there shopping with his son.  I was surprised at how small he was in stature.  I had pictured him to be a much larger man.  Honestly, he is much larger than can be imagined.  As a young man, Lewis became a nationally recognized leader.  He was labeled one of the Big Six leaders of the Civil Rights Movement and he was a keynote speaker at the celebrated March on Washington.  He has been awarded over 50 honorary degrees from some of the most respected colleges and universities throughout the United States, including Princeton University, Duke University, Harvard University, Howard University, Morehouse College, and Fisk University.

Lewis recently sat down to be interviewed by the Associated Press and he spoke about the film “Selma”.

“It is very powerful.  It is very moving.  It is real.  It is so real.  It says something about the distance we’ve come in laying down the burden of race.”  Lewis also addressed that day “Bloody Sunday” as it is now called.

“We broke down those signs that said, ‘White Waiting’, ’Colored Waiting’, ’White Men’, ’Colored Men’, ’White Women’, ’Colored Women’.’ We got a Voting Rights Act passed 50 years ago, a Civil Rights Act passed.  But we still have a distance to go, Lewis said.

“In many communities today, the question of race is still very real.  You can feel it.  You can almost taste it.  But you cannot deny the fact that America is a different America.  Even in the heart of the Deep South, those signs are gone.  And they will not return.  People registered.  And they are voting.”

One can only imagine the mental and physical struggle that this 75 year old man has ended.  He was first elected to Congress in 1986.  He is now serving his 15th term.

President Barak Obama and Former President George W. Bush will join Lewis and a bipartisan congressional delegation for part of a 3 day civil rights journey to Alabama on March 7, 2015 for the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act.

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JOHN LEGEND & COMMON 2015 OSCARS

After seeing this performance of “Glory” from the movie Selma by John Legend & Common at the 2015 Oscars, I simply felt numb.  Their performance was the highlight of the night and brought many audience members to tears.  And then… the acceptance speeches afterwards for Best Song were poignant.  Their words help to put a punctuation mark  on BLACK HISTORY MONTH and the continued struggle…

Common’s speech:

“The spirit of this bridge connects the kid from the south side of Chicago, dreaming of a better life, to those in France standing up for their freedom of expression, to those in Hong Kong, protesting for democracy,” he said. “This bridge was built on hope, welded with compassion and elevated with love for all human beings.”

John Legend added the following:

“We say that Selma is now, because the struggle for justice is right now,” he said. “We know that the Voting Rights Act that they fought for 50 years ago is being compromised right now in this country today. We know that right now, the struggle for freedom and justice is real. We live in the most incarcerated country in the world. There are more black men under correctional control today then were under slavery in 1850.” He concluded with: “We are with you, we see you, we love you and march on.”

If I were there, you would have probably seen my tears rolling as well.

 

 

NOOOO! NOT ON THIS TRAIN!

Take a look at this video.  Can you imagine this being the norm?  This type of racism and so much more was endured by our ancestors on a daily basis.  Now here we are in 2015 and this type of evil has the nerve to parade itself in this way.  In this particular instance, fans of the Chelsea Football Club (a soccer team) were videoed preventing a black man from getting on a metro train in London.  You have to see this for yourself to believe it.  They were heard shouting “we’re racist, we’re racist and that’s the way we like it!”

When…. will this madness end???

BLACK HISTORY MONTH: THE KING CENTER

Yesterday was one of those days…  A good day, that is.  Actually, every day is a good day but yesterday was one of those days that took me back a bit.  By back I mean all the way back to the Civil Rights Movement.  You see, yesterday I decided to go down to the King Center in Atlanta to take a few pictures so that I could post for Black History Month.  I did not see a sign that prohibited me from taking pictures and I’m not trying to profit off of the pictures I took so hopefully posting these pictures is lawful.  Of course, the trip (about 25 minutes from home) for me was so much more than that. It really made me appreciate the struggle for freedom even more as I began to see the images of blacks marching, being beaten with batons, being sprayed with water hoses, and so much more.  The struggle for freedom was so that generations of children would not have to endure some of the same challenges that were faced by our ancestors.

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As a child living in North Carolina, I personally can remember seeing a “whites only” fountain.  I can also remember having to sit in the balcony at the local movie theatre.  And all of this was in the 60’s.  I even remember going to segregated schools not by choice but because that is where we had to go.  My first experience with integration was when I went to the 5th grade.  I never faced some of the extreme hardships that some of our descendants faced but nonetheless, I can still identify with the struggle that they endured.

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While I was at the King Center, I not only thought about Dr. Martin Luther King but I  began to reflect on some of the names of the people like Hosea Williams, Ralph David Abernathy, Rosa Parks, Andrew Young, John Lewis(who I met recently), Jesse Jackson, and Coretta Scott King.  I began to wonder what our lives would look like today with these pioneers.  The sacrifice that they made for freedoms sake is poignant to say the least.

king2Dr. Martin Luther King Jr./Coretta Scott Kings Burial Siteking3

While there I had conversations with some of the people who were also there.  Some with their young kids, some of various races, some on a mission to also reflect back on what their lives too would look like without these legends who risked their lives for justice.  A black gentleman with his two young sons said to me that he really wanted his kids to get a good visual as to what things looked like for blacks in America just only a few decades ago.  As I stood in one place I overhead a young white lady say to her mother “this is just horrible.”  Pictures can only begin to tell the story of what has happened in the past, and in some instances what continues to happen even to this day.  There are still too many stories about blacks getting beaten or killed by white cops and we’re in 2015.  Let us to continue to march on…’til victory is won!        kingking1

king11The New Ebenezer Baptist Church

king12king6Clothes he wore on his journeyking7King had bling

NC TEEN SUICIDE?… OR LYNCHING?


Check this story out. M. Hatten sent it to me and I’m not sure what to think. There are more questions than answers here. I guess that’s why the FBI has agreed to take a look at this case. I did wonder at first about what 17 year old leaves his house at 10:30 pm to gggo and exercise, but after listening to and reading the story, there are several possibilities. One is that he could have been also going to visit his 30+ year old white girlfriend. Why bring up the fact that she was white? That also could have factored in hi untimely death. Let me know what you think about this story. I have more questions than answers.

Bladenboro, North Carolina (CNN) — Claudia Lacy says she can accept anything: even that her youngest son committed suicide — if it’s proven and explained to her.

However, she says, local and state investigators have done neither to support their theory that Lennon Lacy hanged himself one summer night.

“That’s all I’ve ever asked for: what is due, owed rightfully to me and my family — justice. Prove to me what happened to my child,” Lacy says.

She says she’s long lost confidence in the Bladenboro Police Department and the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation.

Now, the FBI is looking into Lacy’s death and the local and state investigations that followed.

Without clear answers, the past few months without him have not been easy.

“I look for him and I don’t see him. I listen for him and I don’t hear him,” Lacy says.

The last time Lacy saw and heard her son was August 28. Lennon, 17, played the lineman position for the West Bladen High School Knights, and was focused on football.

His family says that night, he packed a gym bag, washed his ankle brace and hung it on the clothesline to dry before heading out for an evening walk.

The teen had asthma, his mother says, and a doctor had recommended he exercise outdoors at night when the temperature and humidity dropped. Around 10:30, Lennon left his family’s small apartment and headed down a dirt road.

His family never saw him alive again.

Just before 7:30 the next morning, he was found hanging from the frame of a swing set in the center of a mobile home community. According to medical documents, his body was covered in fire ants.

Lennon’s mother was called to the scene several hours later, after he’d been placed into a body bag.

“It was unreal. It was like a dream. It was like I was not seeing what I was seeing,” Lacy says.

Immediately, Lacy believed her son’s death was the result of some foul play.

“He didn’t do this to himself,” Lacy says.

She believes Lennon was lynched.

“He may have either been strangled somewhere else or been placed there or he was hung there while people were around watching him die,” Lennon’s older brother, Pierre Lacey says.

However, North Carolina’s Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Deborah Radisch declared his death a suicide.

When a state investigator asked Lacy if her son had been depressed recently, she told them he had — because a relative had died recently. The state medical examiner cited that exchange in the autopsy report. Lacy says she did not mean that her son had been suffering from depression.

“When you just lose someone close to you, you’re going to be depressed, upset, in mourning,” Lacy says.

The family says Lennon had not changed his routine and was focused on college and football — and distracted by his girlfriend.

The teen had been dating a 31-year-old white neighbor. The age of consent in North Carolina is 16. Some people in their small, southern town did not like that the two were together. Lacy did not like their drastic age difference.

“I was shocked, disappointed. I also, initially told him how I felt – that I did not approve of it,” Lacy says.

In the wake of his death, some wondered whether Lennon had been killed because he was in an interracial relationship.

A week after Lennon was buried, a local teenager was arrested for defacing his grave.

“There are too many questions and it very well could be a lynching or a staged lynching. We don’t know — but what we do know is there has to be a serious and full investigation of these matters,” says Rev. William Barber, a national board member for the NAACP.

The NAACP hired Florida-based forensic pathologist Christena Roberts to analyze the case and Dr. Radisch’s autopsy, completed for the state.

Roberts’ first concern: basic physics. Lennon was 5-foot-9. The crossbar of the swing set frame he was found hanging from was 7-foot-6, according to the NAACP review. With no swings or anything at the scene on which he could have climbed, according to the review, it’s unclear how Lennon reached the top.

“His size, his stature does not add up to him being capable of constructing all of this alone – in the dark,” Lennon’s brother says.

According to the 911 recording and the initial police report, a 52-year-old woman got the 207-pound teen down, while she was on the phone with an emergency dispatcher.

“Dr. Radisch also noted that she was not provided with photographs or dimensions of the swing set. Without this information, she would be unable to evaluate the ability to create this scenario,” according to the NAACP review.

Lacy says she told investigators that the belts used to fashion the noose did not belong to Lennon.

“I know every piece and every stitch of clothes this child has — I buy them, I know. Those were not his belts,” Lacy says.

The Bladen County Coroner and Medical Examiner Hubert Kinlaw believed the belts might have been dog leashes.

Radisch thought that “some portion must be missing because there was no secondary cut in either belt. The cut would have been necessary to bring down Lennon’s body,” according to the review.

Also, the shoes Lennon was wearing when his body was found were not his, according to his family.

Lennon’s brother says he left home that night wearing size 12 Air Jordan’s. However, he was found wearing size 10.5 Nike Air Force shoes. Those shoes were not with Lennon’s body when he arrived at the state medical examiner’s office, according to the NAACP review.

“He’s going to walk a quarter mile from his house in a pair of shoes that’s two sizes too small after he takes off his new pair of shoes – and this is a 17-year-old black kid with a brand new pair of Jordan’s on. He’s going to take those Jordan’s off and just get rid of them and put on some shoes that’s not his — we don’t know where he got them from, no laces in them — and continue to walk down this dirt road late at night to a swing set in the middle of the trailer park and hang himself,” Lacey says.

“How can I believe that?” Lacey added.

There are also questions about who first declared Lennon’s death a suicide.

“Dr. Radisch noted that her determination of (manner of death) in this case as suicide was based on the information she was provided by law enforcement and the local medical examiner. She would have likely called the (manner of death) ‘pending’ while awaiting toxicology and investigation but the (local medical examiner) had already signed the (manner of death) as suicide,” according to the NAACP review.

However, in the summary of the case, written the day Lennon was found, the local medical examiner asked “did he hang self? Will autopsy tell us?” Kinlaw also left the conclusion on the manner of death “pending.”

Local police and state investigators declined to speak with CNN. CNN asked to interview Radisch about the statements attributed to her in the NAACP review. Instead, a department spokesperson confirmed the exchanges through a written statement:

“The comments that were released by the NAACP were a synopsis of a professional exchange between the NAACP’s independently-retained forensic pathologist and Dr. Radisch,” according to a spokesperson for the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.

Lennon’s family believes there was a rush to judgment. And until someone clearly explains and proves how her son died, Lacy says she’ll keep fighting until she gets answers.

“I take it one day at a time. That’s all I can say,” Lacy says.

WAIT A MINUTE: REALLY?…..

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The KKK is getting a makeover (lol)…… [poor child—must be drunk… or high] according to John Abarr, a member of the Montana Klan, out with the old and in with the new – Klan, that is. He says the organization wants to add more diversity because they aim to build a strong America.
According to the Washington Times, “The new Klan will not focus on race, but rather on reining in the federal government and keeping Capitol Hill from establishing a “new world order” under a unified force.
Abarr has been busy folks. He has apparently got the attention of NAACP rep Jimmy Simmons, who he met last year and apparently convinced that the direction of the “new Klan” might be worth looking into. Simmons commented that if Abarr holds a peace summit next summer, he would “take a strong look” at joining” – this according to USA Today.
There are no words from me…

THE SHOOTING OF “UNARMED” MICHAEL BROWN

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The video below is poignant. What makes it even more outstanding is that I know this gentleman. We used to live three houses from each other and we talked regularly. He is now the Senior Pastor of Canaan Baptist Church in Harlem, New York. This is my first posting of the incident that happened in Ferguson, Missouri. Thanks Thomas Johnson for saying it so eloquently.
Michael Brown is the unarmed black teenager who was shot to death by a white police officer in Ferguson Missouri earlier this week. His death has prompted riots and protests in the days since.
Thanks to loyal reader A. Renae for sending this video.

Published Aug 17, 2014 on Youtube.com
Description Senior Pastor Thomas D. Johnson of Canaan Baptist Church of Harlem , New York speaks out against the recent shootings of young Black Men by police.

THE NEW ROSA PARKS?

You must check out the story below. Are you sure that we are in 2014? Basically what happens here is that a white business owner in Chicago sees an older black woman smoking near his business and he got upset. The two began to argue. Yes, he got upset enough to say to her “Rosa Parks, move,” and he spit in her face. I forgot to mention, the black lady happens to be… a judge. Read the rest of the story below. “Rosa Parks”, this is more money for your retirement. You no longer have to sit on the bus.

By Steve Schmadeke

Tribune reporter

7:46 a.m. CDT, July 16, 2014

A North Side business owner slapped a 79-year-old Cook County judge in the face, spit on her and called her “Rosa Parks” after becoming angry that she was smoking near him outside the Daley Center, authorities said.

Monday’s attack outside the courthouse came as a shock to friends of Judge Arnette Hubbard, a silver-haired African-American jurist who was the first female president of the National Bar Association and Cook County Bar Association, both black lawyers’ groups.

“She’s an icon in our community,” said Delores Robinson, past president of the Cook County Bar Association, who noted that Hubbard, a former commissioner on the Cook County Board of Elections, had been an international election observer in Haiti and South Africa and had long been a voice on civil rights and women’s issues.

Cook County prosecutors said Tuesday that Hubbard was outside the Daley Center smoking a cigarette when she walked past David C. Nicosia, 55, who became angry that she was smoking near him.

The two argued and Nicosia, who is white, stepped near her face and said, “Rosa Parks, move,” and spit in her face, prosecutors said. As he walked away, the Law Division judge followed him and called out for assistance.

Nicosia then turned and allegedly slapped the judge on the left side of her face with an open hand, prosecutors said. He was then arrested by sheriff’s deputies and charged with four counts of aggravated battery and a hate crime.

Judge James Brown ordered him held on $90,000 bail Tuesday.

Chief Judge Timothy Evans, whose offices are also in the Daley Center, declined to comment. A representative said judicial rules of conduct barred Evans from speaking about a pending criminal case.

Born in Arkansas, Hubbard graduated from Southern Illinois University and John Marshall Law School and began her legal career in 1969 working on civil rights cases, according to online biographies. As part of the city’s African-American power structure, she spent several terms on the city’s election board as well as the cable commission.

Hubbard was appointed to the bench in 1997, re-elected to a six-year term the following year and retained since in two more elections, most recently in 2010.

Nicosia, who state records show is president of an IT consulting business, has no prior Cook County convictions. His attorney did not return a message seeking comment.

Friends of Hubbard were left shaking their heads Tuesday.

“People of good common sense and decency, people of good hearts should be outraged by this,” Robinson said. “Not just because of who she is but that this happened to anybody.”

“I’m still in shock,” said longtime friend Geraldine Simmons, 75, also a past president of the Cook County Bar Association, who questioned whether deputies acted quickly enough.