Meet the Afro-Latinx Activists Empowering Black Immigrants

Attacks on immigrants in the United States are undoubtedly on the rise across the board, but the experiences of Black immigrants, who face particular forms of racism, are often erased from dominant narratives on migration.

Since U.S. President Donald Trump was elected last November, there have been over 1,000 reported hate crimes against immigrants across the country, the Southern Poverty Law Center reports. In 2015 alone, there were 5,850 reported hate crime incidents nationally, up 6.8 percent from 5,479 in 2014.

While anti-immigrant hate crimes were already heightening prior to Trump’s election, his tirades against immigrants have only made the situation worse.

In Washington state, for example, Trump supporters spray-painted a swastika with a racist message referring to the President on a Mexican family’s home in Spokane. The graffiti read “Can’t stump the Trump, Mexicans.”

“We’re afraid they’re going to do something,” Leticia Rosas told the Spokesman-Review. Rosas lives in the house with her husband and their three children.

And in Michigan, a Trump supporter called a Grand Rapids church with a large Latino population and left a racist voicemail.

“I hope Trump gets ya,” the suspect said. “Trump’s gonna get your asses out of here and throw you over the wall. You dirty rotten scumbags.”

These hate crimes are just a sample of the oppression that most immigrants, especially those who are undocumented, experience on a daily basis.

But for many Black immigrants, there’s an added form of oppression as a result of the anti-Black racism they face.

Black immigrants are much more likely than nationals from other regions to be deported due to a criminal conviction, the Black Alliance for Just Immigration, BAJI, reports. Black immigrants also have the highest unemployment rates amongst all immigrant groups.

It doesn’t stop there.

Black immigrants are also least likely to receive Temporary Protected Status, TPS, preventing them from being deported back to often war-torn or environmentally-damaged countries.

It’s no surprise that this particular demographic is among the most persecuted, given the long history of racism against Black communities in the United States. But little known to many is that Black immigrants from Africa and the Caribbean are one of the fastest-growing immigrant groups in the country.

The immigrant rights movement tends to be dominated by non-Black Spanish-speaking Latinos. But as the population of Black immigrants in the U.S. continues to increase, a growing number of Afro-Latinx organizers are uniting to serve this disproportionately attacked immigrant group.

teleSUR spoke to three Afro-Latinx activists to discuss how they are organizing to empower Black immigrants in their communities and what life for Black immigrants looks like.

Rocio Silverio: Fighting anti-Blackness

Silverio is national coordinator for the Black Immigration Network, a project of BAJI that works for policy and cultural shifts promoting a racial justice and migrant rights agenda. Silverio, based in New York City, is of Dominican heritage and identifies as Black.

For Silverio, the struggle to empower Black immigrants is connected with the struggle against anti-Blackness.

“In our immigrant communities, anti-Blackness and colorism takes shape in different ways,” she said.

“For those in our communities who practice anti-Blackness, it won't save or spare them from the injustices of white supremacy.”

Silverio’s organization is involved in campaigns that bring visibility to Black immigrants through advocacy, organizing and coalition building. BAJI is active in assisting Black immigrants facing deportations with legal resources. The organization also works alongside families from African, Latin American and Caribbean countries to challenge immigration policies that separate children from their parents.

While Silverio believes Trump’s administration is presenting more problems for Black immigrants, she says that previous administrations have been complicit in their oppression.

“The groundwork was laid out with the Clinton and Obama administrations,” she said. “It started with the last comprehensive reform of immigration laws in 1996, which increased deportations and applied them retroactively.”

Silverio has also been involved in campaigns to defend Haitian immigrants living in the Dominican Republic facing persecution. In 2013, when the Dominican government issued a ruling denationalizing an estimated 250,000 Haitians living in the country, she and others immediately hit the streets in protest.

Since then, she’s been active in challenging racism within community spaces in solidarity with Black immigrants.

“As many of us in the African diaspora, we understand the plight of being marginalized under structural racism,” Silverio said.

“It is our responsibility to work with people from other Black immigrant groups fighting for their lives."

Fatima Murrieta: "Blackify-ing" immigrant rights

​​​​​​​Murrieta is co-founder of the UndocuBlack Network, a new organization whose mission is to “Blackify” the undocumented immigrant narrative in the U.S. and facilitate access to resources for the Black undocumented community. Murrieta, based in Los Angeles, was born in Colombia and identifies as Afro-Latinx.

Murrieta believes that the existing immigrant rights structure has not properly welcomed Black immigrants into accessing resources, thus inspiring her to take action.

“Many immigration groups think they should only focus on the ‘majority,’ who are oftentimes non-Black. That has been a huge barrier in integrating Afro-Latinx and Black immigrants,” she said.

“We need to have a movement that actively engages impacted people, and that includes Black immigrants. We need to build trust in their communities.”

UndocuBlack Network was founded in Miami, Florida, in January 2016 as a gathering of over 65 Black undocumented persons in the area. Since then, the organization has been involved in planning similar assemblies across the country, as well as developing mental health initiatives, resource guides and telephone-based support groups.

Murrieta, who spearheads UndocuBlack Network’s Los Angeles branch, has organized workshops for Black immigrants interested in applying for citizenship. While providing legal resources is an important part of empowering their community, she believes addressing their health issues is just as important.

“There is a huge physical and mental hardship that Black immigrants experience in this country,” she said.

“They live under constant stress that isn't healthy. This stress forces them to get things like high blood pressure, which they are disproportionately affected by.”

Murrieta is currently partnering with high schools and colleges in the South Los Angeles area to host “Know Your Rights” trainings, legal fairs and health clinics catered toward Black immigrant youth.

Pablo Blanco: Welcoming the Garifuna Diaspora

Blanco is the founder of Garifuna Nation, a new organization that promotes the culture, identity and economic well-being of the Garifuna diaspora. Blanco, based in New York City, is of Honduran heritage and identifies as Garifuna, an Afro-descendent community that has lived for centuries on the Caribbean coast of Central America, especially Honduras.

For Blanco, who works closely with newly-arrived Garifuna immigrants fleeing violence and poverty in Honduras, immigration resources designed specifically for his community are hard to come by.

“We don’t have a strong support system for all this like other communities do,” he said.

“Since we come from rural communities in Honduras, we’re not used to dealing with other people on a personal basis. There’s sometimes a trust issue. We would rather deal with our own people in regards to something like this, especially because of language.”

Because of this, Blanco is working with other grassroots organizations to create legal clinics for Garifuna people who prefer to speak their native language when seeking immigration help. He is also working alongside elders of his community to create economic development plans for newly-arrived Garifuna immigrants.

He is also actively organizes cultural events across New York City that promote Garifuna history, culture, dance and tradition. For Blanco, it’s a way to teach and build relations with other immigrant groups, which he believes are necessary tasks.

“All of us have to work with each other because we are all fighting for the same dreams,” Blanco said.

“With other Black immigrant communities from Latin America, we can communicate in Spanish. We also have shared experiences travelling to the U.S. that unite us. That’s a starting point.”

Blanco takes inspiration from his grandfather, who helped over 38 Garifuna relatives from Honduras move to their neighborhood in The Bronx. Today, the area has become home to thousands of newly-arrived Garifuna immigrants from Honduras seeking refuge.

  • Published in Specials

John Legend Responds to Paparazzi ‘Monkey’ Attack: ‘Dehumanization Has Always Been a Method of Racism’

John Legend has never been one to stand down.

Earlier this week, the Grammy and Oscar-winning musician experienced racially charged harassment by a paparazzi when he was with his wife, Chrissy Teigen, at an airport.

Teigen tweeted about the incident on Thursday, writing that a paparazzi photographer at John F. Kennedy airport asked “if we evolved from monkeys.”

For the first time, Legend opened up about the run-in on Saturday at the Variety Studio presented by Orville Redenbacher at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, where he was on hand to promote his WGN America series “Underground” on which he’s an executive producer.

“We were right next to each other and we looked at each other like, ‘Did he really just say that?’ And he really said it. He basically called me a monkey,” Legend told Variety, recalling the incident that occurred with his wife, who had planned to come to Sundance, but opted out to attend yesterday’s Women’s March in Washington D.C.

“Black folks have had to deal with being called monkeys for a long time and dehumanization has always been kind of a method of racism and subjugation of black people and that’s just part of American history — and it’s part of the present, apparently,” Legend told Variety‘s Elizabeth Wagmeister. “We saw with the former president, Obama, whenever people wanted to discount him or discount his wife, they compared them to apes. And we’ve seen that frequently. I’m not hurt by someone saying that to me because I’m smarter, I’m stronger. I look down on that person that would say something like that. But it’s a shame that it still exists.”

“Underground” tells the story of the Underground Railroad. In Season 2 of the WGN America drama, Legend will guest star as Frederick Douglass.

At the Variety Studio, Legend was joined by co-creator Misha Green, executive producer Anthony Hemingway, plus stars Jurnee Smollett-Bell and Aldis Hodge, who spoke about the importance of educating viewers on American history to spread anti-racism awareness. (The full-length video of the “Underground” group’s interview will be up on Variety later today.)

  • Published in Culture

67 Civil Rights Movement Heavyweights Back Black Lives Matter

Today's movement "is based on the irrefutable evidence throughout American history that Black lives have never mattered."

Members of the U.S. Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, one of the most important organizations of the 1960s Civil Rights movement, have expressed their unconditional support for the Black Lives Matter movement, calling on their fellow comrades to continue the decades-long struggle against racism in the United States.

“The reason for today’s powerful and persistent insistence that Black Lives Matter is based on the irrefutable evidence throughout American history that Black lives have never mattered,” said the letter, signed by 67 delegates from the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.

The letter was sent to the leading Black Lives Matter group on July 29 and was posted on its website Tuesday. The letter draws connections between the struggle in the 1960s and what the Black Lives Matter movement is facing some 40 years later.

“We in the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, SNCC, were part of that long struggle in the 1960s,” the SNCC delegates wrote. “The voices of white supremacy insisted that Black lives were not human lives and any claim to human rights was subversive and threatening to the country.”

The delegates dismissed as a “deliberate, cynical deception” the notion that the Black Lives Matter movement is a “terrorist group” responsible for attacks on law enforcement. The letter comes just weeks after the movement released its first formal list of demands.

“With their protests and demands, the Movement for Black lives is continuing to exercise their rights, guaranteed to all Americans under the First Amendment of the United States Constitution," the letter states. "We, the still-active radicals who were SNCC, salute today’s Movement for Black lives for taking hold of the torch to continue to light this flame of truth for a knowingly forgetful world!”

The SNCC is a major organization that played a big role in civil rights movement. Its members led the March on Washington that is best remembered by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s iconic “I Have a Dream” speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.      

“From voter registration drives to Freedom Rides, SNCC paved the way for radical Black organizing and fortified Black communities by demanding and fighting for Black power,” Black Lives Matter said in a statement remarking on the letter of support from SNCC.

“The Black Lives Matter Global Network is honored to have SNCC’s support. Our leaders and organizers pull from the SNCC playbook often, tethering our intergenerational struggles for Black liberation and justice just as our ancestors did before us,” said the movement’s co-founder Patrisse Khan-Cullors. “We could not do this work without their sacrifice.”

Black Lives Matter is facing the same backlash against its activists that groups like the SNCC and others faced in the 1960s.

Vox reported that a 1964 survey by the American National Election Studies found that 57 percent of people in the U.S. described Black people’s actions during the civil rights movement as mostly violent.

Meanwhile a July study by Pew Research Center found that just 43 percent of U.S. citizens support the Black Lives Matter movement, with most of that support coming from Black people.

The support from civil rights-era heavyweights comes after some pro-Israel groups expressed anger over the Black Lives Matter movement's support for Palestine as expressed in its recently released platform, where the group called Israel an apartheid state and demanded that the U.S. stop funding its “genocide” against Palestinians.

The Black Lives Matter movement was born out of a viral hashtag following a jury’s acquittal of George Zimmerman for the 2012 shooting death of Trayvon Martin.

It has since evolved into a movement against police killings of Black people, taking off following the high-profile cases of Eric Garner, Michael Brown and Freddie Gray, all of whom were unarmed.

  • Published in World

Black Mother Killed in Her Home by Baltimore Police, Child Shot

Police confirmed they killed Korryn Gaines, who was wanted for traffic violations, after a standoff. Her 5-year-old son was also shot.

A woman identified as Korryn Gaines, 23, was shot dead by Baltimore police Monday afternoon after a standoff in front of her house, according to local police and media, with local reports saying her 5-year-old son was also shot.

In a press conference Police Chief Jim Johnson said officers went to Gaines’ house in order to serve two arrests warrants in her name and in the name of a man who is living with her.

After she failed to answer the door for the officers, they got a key from the landlord and opened the door to the apartment and that's when they found Gaines with a gun and her 5-year old son in her arms.

A special team was called in and began an hours-long negotiation with Gaines. "During that dialogue and conversation, she repeatedly pointed a long gun at the police officers," he said.

At around 3 p.m. local time, six hours after police arrived, the officers shot at her at least once, the police chief said, adding that she shot back. It was then, the chief said, that police officers shot her multiple times and killed her.

It is not clear where her son was at the time of the shooting. The police did confirm that the child sustained a gunshot wound. However, police have not said whether or not the responding officers were wearing body cameras.

A man, who has not been identified, also reportedly ran out of the house upon the police arrival with a 1-year-old child with him. He was arrested shortly after.

Her family was shocked by the news and said that they knew her as a calm person who was loved by everyone. "My niece is a good person; I never knew her to be a rowdy person," Gaines' uncle, Jerome Barnett, told the Baltimore Sun.

Another uncle, Jermaine Barnett, described Gaines as "a beautiful person, really smart, intellectual."

"I'm in a surreal state of mind right now," Jermaine Barnett said. "She was loved by everybody—I'm going to miss her and I love her."

The police said Gaines was wanted for failing to appear for cases related to a March incident in which she was charged with disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and numerous traffic violations, Johnson said.

According to witnesses, there were at least six police cars outside Gaines’ house and officers in military-style gear. Twitter users were using the hashtag #KorrynGaines to express support for the women and her child.

"My son-in-law is in the house now with the baby, my daughter is at work," Reginald Owens, 63, who watched the situation from a building closeby, told the Baltimore Sun. "He said there's about six or seven police in his apartment, right next door to her."

  • Published in World

Black, White, and Blue: Working Class Self-Defeat in Somerville

According to the Associated Press, roughly 50 police officers and their supporters rallied to protest a Black Lives Matter (BLM) banner that has been hanging outside City Hall in the predominantly white and historically working class Boston suburb of Somerville for a year. The primarily Caucasian haters of the banner chanted “All lives matter!,” “Take it down!,” and “Cops lives matter!” It was part of the “Blue Lives Matter” movement.

According to the president of the Somerville Police Employees Association, the banner sends an “exclusionary message” and “implies that Somerville police officers are somehow responsible for racially motivated decision-making against minorities.”

A local white firefighter claimed that BLM had become “almost synonymous with killing cops.” He’s talking the line taken by the decrepit white supremacist Rudolph Guliani (a close Donald Trump ally and adviser) on FOX News.

But BLM is “almost synonymous with killing cops” only in the minds of people who can’t differentiate between a civil rights movement two lone gunmen. Yes, two mentally unhinged Black military veterans – one in Dallas and one in Baton Rouge – got pushed over the edge by recent videos of Black men being senselessly killed by white police officers. And yes, the ongoing epidemic of such shootings is what drove the rise of BLM. But, no, BLM activists have never advocated “killing cops.” They have gone to great lengths to distance themselves from such actions.

Who says that white and-or Asian and/Latino and/or Arab and/or Native American and/or indeed that all lives don’t matter when one says that Black lives do matter? Nobody.

When Black men in Memphis and other Southern cities in the 1960s marched as part of the Civil Rights Movement with signs saying “I am a Man,” did they thereby proclaim that white men weren’t men? Of course they didn’t.

When you raise your female child to understand that she is a worthy and valuable person, does that mean you teach her to believe that a male child isn’t? Of course it doesn’t.

When you argue for the rights of children and say, perhaps, that children matter, maybe even that children, do you thereby argue or even remotely suggest that adults don’t matter? No, of course you don’t.

If you are religious and patriotic and say “God Bless America,” does that mean that also and at the same time “God Damn all other nations?”

Of course “all lives matter.” Only a moral idiot would say otherwise. The problem is that, with perhaps the exception of the nation’s small remaining population of Native Americans, the lives of no racial or ethnic group seem to matter less to America’s soulless capitalist and imperial system than do those of Black Americans.   The slogan “Black Lives Matter” emerged in response to the endemic police shooting of young Black adults, young Black men especially, who are gunned down by mostly white law enforcement officers with shocking regularity in the U.S. – once every 28 hours on average.

The statistics of racial disparity in poverty, disease, mortality, wealth, joblessness, incarceration, felony marking, education, execution, and more are stark. Nobody is more savagely concentrated in highly segregated high-poverty, no-job ghettoes, in under-funded and inferior schools, and in mass jails and prisons than are Black Americans. It’s not even close

Do lower and working class whites ever get shot down by the police? Do they ever get incarcerated and criminally marked? Of course they do, but the likelihood of Americans in other groups – especially whites – getting shot, imprisoned, executed, frisked, traffic-stopped, home-invaded, ripped off, beaten and harassed by police, and felony branded is much, much slighter than it is when it comes to Black people.

The main problem with the dominant white mindset isn’t denial of the disparities themselves (though there’s plenty of white ignorance and denial on that score) but denial of the ubiquitous societal racism that causes them. “They brought it on themselves” is the standard viewpoint of majority white Americans who tell me “Racism? What racism, dude? Hey, man, the President of the United States is Black!”

The problem is that, leaving aside the epic bigotry that even Obama’s race-downplaying and “color-blind” presidency has elicited, it’s not really about the skin tone of the president or for that matter about the color of the U.S. Attorney General or the color of a corporate CEO or a television news anchor or football coach. It’s about the relentlessly racialized day-to-day functioning of core social structures and institutions including the labor market, the workplace. the financial system, the real estate market, the educational system, the social welfare system, the electoral system, and the criminal justice system. And across these and other key societal spaces, study after study documents the persistence of an ongoing and often stark anti-Black racial bias, discrimination, and neglect. It all grinds on, Obama notwithstanding, atop a cold white refusal to acknowledge, much less pay reparations for the incalculable compound price to Black America of centuries of Black chattel Slavery and nearly a century of formal Jim Crow segregation and disenfranchisement in the South – this along with the de facto segregation in the 20th and 21st century urban North and racial-ethnic cleansing across the rural and small town North in the late 19th and early 20th centuries (Google up the term “sundown towns”).

But so what if the current corporate-imperial president is half-Black? The next U.S. president – Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Jill Stein, and Gary Johnson – is going to be fully Caucasian. And the half-white Obama has had incredibly little to say about and against racism during his time in the “bully pulpit.” His “Black but not like Jesse” and “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” candidacy was predicated on calculated, post-racial distancing from any serious confrontation with American racism, deeply understood. He has in the White House continued his early and ugly habit of giving poor and working class Blacks (“cousin Pookie”) nasty neoliberal lectures on their own supposed personal and cultural responsibility for their presence at the bottom of the nation’s steep socioeconomic pyramids. He also lectures Blacks on their obligation to respect “law and order” in a nation that repeatedly exonerates police officers who murder young Black people with impunity. Truth be told, Obama has been a calamity for the struggle for Black equality on numerous levels, including the cloaking power his presence in the White House has provided for persistent societal racism.

A white “all lives matter” e-mailer asked me last spring if I had seen then recent news reports and data about rising white middle-aged working class mortality in the U.S. (increasing at a significantly higher rate than that of any other group in the nation.) Yes, I told him, I had seen and been quite astounded by the reports and findings. I told my e-mail correspondent that the disturbing research was indicative of how millions upon millions of white blue- and grey-collar men have been turned into “surplus Americans” – people shorn of “productive [employable] engagement with society” – by global capitalism (the same system that brought us chattel slavery).

But it’s important to keep some comparative perspective, I added. Middle-aged blacks still have a much higher mortality rate than whites: 581 per 100,000, compared to 415 for whites.

When the research paper documenting the rising mortality of working class whites came out last year, Ronald Lee, a leading University of California demography researcher, spoke to the New York Times. “Seldom have I felt as affected by a paper,” Lee said. “It seems so sad.” The “it” that caused the academic’s melancholy was the increase in white death due largely to substance abuse and suicide, not the persistently higher Black mortality. White lives matter more in U.S. culture.

When the startling data on declining white working class life expectancy hit the headlines, there were no lectures from Obama or anyone else on white working and lower class folks’ personal and cultural responsibility for their increasingly deadly dire straits – this despite the fact that alcohol abuse and illegal drug use were shown to have played major roles in the rising white mortality.

It’s at this point that many whites I’ve interacted with on the race issue in the last two years like to play what they think is their ace in the hole. “If Blacks want to say that ‘Black Lives Matter,’ then why don’t they stop killing each other so much?” These whites talk about Black-on-Black crime and how more young Blacks get killed and shot by other young Blacks than by police officers.

But endemic intra-Back violence in the U.S. takes places within a white-Imposed context of racially concentrated poverty, joblessness and hyper-segregation that White America simply refuses (with too few oddball exceptions like this writer) to acknowledge. Does anyone seriously think that droves of gun- and drug-mad and militarism-backing white Americans wouldn’t be gunning each other down on an epic scale if they were the minority group piled up on top of itself in jobless, opportunity-free ghettoes, reservations, prisons, and jails, branded by the color of their skins and the ubiquitous lifelong stigma of criminal records? The resulting white-on-white slaughter that would occur on a regular basis in the great Caucasian ghettoes and reservations would make current Black-on-Black (and Native American-on- Native American and Latino-on-Latino) violence look mild by comparison. For what it’s worth, Europeans whites have been known to shoot and carve each other up on a pretty grand scale in history. If you don’t believe me just Google up “Thirty Years War,” “Seven Years War,” “Napoleonic Wars,” “World War One” and “World War Two.”

Do police officers have a public relations problem – a widespread sense among Americans that their lives and tribulations don’t matter? Hardly. Gallup regularly reports that police departments and police rank at the top – along with the military – of the list of American institutions and professions that U.S. citizens hold in high respect. Along with soldiers and small businessmen, cops are held in extremely high public regard, unlike, say, lawyers, Congresspersons, “community organizers,” and “civil rights activists.”

And just how dangerous is police work? In the wake of the retaliatory revenge shootings of police in Dallas and Baton Rouge, major politicians both Blue and Red can’t seem to say enough about how the heroically hazardous nature of police work. But cops don’t even make it on to the federal government’s list of the ten most fatality-plagued occupations in the nation. Those top ten are, in order of death risk: loggers, fishers, airline pilots, roofers, structural iron and steel workers, garbage and recycling workers, electric power installers and repairers, truck drivers, farmers/ranchers, and construction laborers. In 2014, the AFL-CIO reports, 4821 workers were killed on the job in the United States and an estimated 50,000 died from occupational diseases. Police did not make up an especially significant part of this terrible toll. Do Logger Lives Matter?

Maybe we need a Workers Lives Matter Movement. Oh wait, we do, sort of, My bad. It’s called the labor movement and it has expanded most and reached its greatest power when it has recognized the legitimacy of the struggles for Black and other minority civil rights like those being fought today by Black Lives Matter. That’s something for the rank and file in the Somerville Police Employees Association to think about as the “wages of whiteness” they’ve embraced with a Blue tint continue to fade before the skyrocketing wealth of the privileged financial Few. The predominantly white corporate and financial elite loves to see the multicultural working class majority mired in racial and other forms of internal division. This is something the Somerville cops’ U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) tried to tell people about at the Democratic National Convention (DNC) last week:

   “‘Divide and Conquer’ is an old story in America. Dr. Martin Luther King knew it. After his march from Selma to Montgomery, he spoke of how segregation was created to keep people divided. Instead of higher wages for workers, Dr. King described how poor whites in the South were fed Jim Crow, which told a poor white worker that, ‘No matter how bad off he was, at least he was a white man, better than the black man.’ Racial hatred was part of keeping the powerful on top….When we turn on each other, bankers can run our economy for Wall Street, oil companies can fight off clean energy, and giant corporations can ship the last good jobs overseas…When we turn on each other, rich guys like Trump can push through more tax breaks for themselves and then we’ll never have enough money to support our schools, or rebuild our highways, or invest in our kids’ future…When we turn on each other, we can’t unite to fight back against a rigged system.”

It’s a good point, even if Warren is a leader in a Wall Street-captive party that will never seriously advance the organization of workers across racial lines to fight the rich. Building such organization is the job of rank and file working people, including even some police officers. White people falling prey to the authoritarian, divisive, and racism-denying sentiments at the dark heart of the “All Lives Matter” and “Blue Lives Matter” slogans is part of why the working class is so weak and battered in New Gilded Age America, where – as Bernie Sanders noted yet again at the DNC – the top tenth of the U.S. One Percent owns nearly as much wealth as the nation’s bottom ninety percent.

In Somerville, a banner hangs over the police department honoring the slain officers of Dallas and Baton Rouge.

Brown Cubans, pink Cubans?

It’s not skin color what matters, but that beyond the epidermis. Laws can, to some extent, rein in prejudices, but cannot eliminate them at a stroke.

Ferguson's State of Emergency Extended

The state of emergency was called Monday, after a police officer shot and critically injured another black teenager Sunday night.

Officials extended a state of emergency in Ferguson, Missouri Thursday for an extra 24 hours, after citizens began taking to the street once again for the anniversary of the death of Michael Brown – a black, unarmed teenager who was killed by white police officer Darren Wilson last year.


County Executive Steve Stenger called for the extension, saying it will now last until at least Friday.

This is the second time this week the county executive has drawn-out the state of emergency after calling for a 24 hour extension Wednesday, even though the region has remained in a relative state of calm over the past few days.

According to a statement released by Stenger Wednesday, the tranquility in the city was an indication that the state of emergency was working and should therefore be extended.

Stenger originally declared the state of emergency Monday in order to stop potential retaliatory protests after another white police officer shot and critically injured black 18 year old Tyrone Harris in an exchange of gunfire Sunday night.

The shooting interrupted what had been a day of peaceful protests, as people took to the streets to commemorate Brown and demand justice for his killing on Aug. 9, 2014.


Brown's death last year – as well as the court's conclusion that Wilson acted legally – set off a wave of protests across the nation over police killings of minorities, sparking the movement Black Lives Matter and what many are calling a new civil rights movement.

Protests in Ferguson have continued over the past couple of nights, but have calmed down significantly, with smaller crowds and no confrontations or arrests.

  • Published in World
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