Friends for Justice Philly: Fruitvale Station Movie Screening

VIDEO: FRUITVALE STATION SCREENING & PANEL DISCUSSION

On July 22, Friends for Justice Philly, in conjunction with Landmark Theaters, Blues Babe Foundation, and Councilman David Oh’s Black Film Advisory Committee, hosted a special screening of Fruitvale Station followed by a brief, in-theater panel discussion with some of the Delaware Valley’s most prominent and dedicated community activists.

Check out the recap video for our special screening of Fruitvale Station below

Friends for Justice Philly is a group of young activists dedicated toward providing real solutions for many of today’s pressing issues that disproportionately affect the black community. Check out the Friends for Justice Philly website for more information regarding the organizations and young people involved and to keep up with our upcoming events. We believe that it is time to stop talking about the problems and start doing. Collectively we will create, develop and execute programs that will help to educate, inform, and progress our community.

We are currently working on #nextsteps to inform our community of legal rights and legislation that can have an impact on their lives. Stay tuned for the “Know Your Rights Series.

Remember to Like “Friends For Justice Philly” on Facebook.

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Below is unedited and a complete occurrence of events leading up to the killing of Oscar Grant. Rest in Peace Oscar Grant:

 

 

 

 

Unlike the Zimmerman case, this event was captured on multiple camera phones. The footage was released to the media and watched over a million times. The imagery is so captivating that you understand why Ryan chose to put it in the movie. It reminds you of the pure senselessness of this incident and documents another case of police brutality. The officer was convicted of involuntary manslaughter, and did not even serve his full 2 year sentence before being released. This demonstrates along with so many other cases of unarmed teenagers being killed by police, the value society puts on youth black males. Oscar’s life was taken and his mother, sister, girlfriend, and precious daughter are left with only his memory.

C C Stinson

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MADE OF SHADE: DR. BELL HOOKS ON ZIMMERMAN EFFECT

 

hooks

Exclusive interview with respected author bell hooks
BY QUASSAN CASTRO

Not everyday do you get to sit with intellectual, feminist, educator and social activist bell hooks.

If you do, it’s wise to fall silent and listen.

bell hooks has written and published over thirty books, including Ain’t I a Woman?: Black Women and FeminismYearning: Race, Gender, and Cultural Politics, Sisters of the Yam: Black Women and Self-recoveryTeaching to Transgress: Education As the Practice of FreedomRock My Soul: Black People and Self-esteemWe Real Cool: Black Men and Masculinity and many more works to date.  bell hooks was a Professor of African and African-American Studies and English at Yale University.  hooks was the Distinguished Lecturer of English Literature at City College of New York. She was also Associate Professor of Women’s Studies and American Literature at Oberlin College.

hooks has been ranked as one of the most influential American thinkers and writers of all time by Publisher’s Weekly and The Atlantic monthly.  In this week’s Made of Shade column, hooks joins me to discuss Trayvon Martin, Zimmerman, B37 Juror, the bell hooks Institute and the new Rolling Stone cover featuring the marathon bomber.

Quassan: I was sick to my stomach when I watched Zimmerman become a free man. We’ve had this sort of injustices take place in the past, yet on that particular day, from the pit of my stomach, I felt terribly ill. How did we arrive to this point where something so unjust could take place over and over again?

bell hooks: White supremacy has not only not changed its direction, it’s intensified as black people and other people of color have gained rights and have proved ourselves to be equal. In many ways the Zimmerman case is really a modern day lynching, it’s about racist white people reinforcing racialized power. The outcome sends a message to the world that global white supremacy is alive and well.

Quassan: What are some of the solutions to these injustices that keep arising in our community and around the world?

bell hooks: We can’t combat white supremacy unless we can teach people to love justice. You have to love justice more than your allegiance to your race, sexuality and gender. It is about justice. That’s why Dr. King was so vital because he used the transformative power of love as a force for justice.

Quassan: Wow! African American parents are mortified for the safety of their children as they leave the house into a world that has shown it devalues blackness but also a system exists that does not protect our beloved children. What should these parents say to their children?

bell hooks: First of all black children in this country have never been safe. I think it’s really important that we remember the four little black girls killed in Birmingham and realize that’s where the type of white supremacist, terrorist assault began. That killing sent a message to black people that our children are not safe. I think we have to be careful not to act like this is some kind of new world that’s been created but that this is the world we already existed in. I think we should honor the fact that people do amazing parenting of black children in the midst of white supremacist culture. Partially, it is by creating awareness and creating an activist mentally in children at a very early age. When we lived in the time of separate but [not] equal or coloreds only, black parents had to explain the reality to children who did not understand what was taking place. The work of parenting for justice, black parents have always done. Many white people have much to learn from progressive black people about how to parent for justice. I was just talking with a friend about a little black boy in Kentucky who was being told that the other kids didn’t want to play with him or touch him because he was black. When parents parent for justice, a child knows how to respond. The boy knew how to deal with the situation; he knew they were being ridiculous. That is what conscious parenting is all about.

Quassan: What would you say to Zimmerman if you were able to speak to him face to face?

bell hooks: That’s a difficult question because I believe that he’s such a hater that it’s impossible to speak to him through the wall of hate. Just think, if Zimmerman had never gotten out the car, Trayvon would be alive today. Trayvon was no threat to Zimmerman. A lot of hate had to be inside of Zimmerman, to get him out of the car, stalk Trayvon and execute him.  It’s impossible to answer that. Really we can only be similar to the Amish and ask for forgiveness of his sins.  Some black people might feel the urge to stalk Zimmerman and execute him. I think that’s a real shift in many people’s response to racialized aggression, it has to do with the feeling of powerlessness in the face of justice not prevailing.

Quassan:  Why should Stand your ground NOT exist?

bell hooks: Let’s go back to the co-murderers of Trayvon Martin because they are the white people in Tallahassee who are so obsessively supportive of stand your ground. It is that law that gives the license to kill and that encourages white people to become predators of people of color. We have to look even before stand your ground, white people have always used private property signs and trespassing signs as a way to kill people who are not like themselves.Florida has been the site of this madness, like the Asian who was just looking for directions and was blown away by the white man who answered his door. It was a no trespassing sign, so he was not seen as a murderer. Everybody is saying the decision for Zimmerman was all about the law and we are a country of the law. Well the laws in this country have always been anti-black people and people of color. It’s yet another white supremacist attempt at mind distortion like suddenly we have a pure law on behalf of justice when everyone knows that’s not so.

Quassan; Juror B37 said that Travon Martin played a role in his death to Anderson Cooper during an exclusive interview. How do you respond to her statement?

bell hooks: You know what’s amazing about Trayvon Martin is that he was behaving like any teenager in our society would behave in a normal teenage way. To say that he played a role in his death, is to not acknowledge the amazing fact that despite imperialist white supremacist capitalist patriarchy, Trayvon was just being a regular teenager causing harm to no-one. People who want to believe that he played a role in his death are the same people that want to believe that black children are mini-adults. As if they are threats to the power of whiteness.

A Back-and-Forth between Two Black Atheist Brothers

@Anti_Intellect & @TheBlackGuyX

@Anti_Intellect                                                @TheBlackGuyX

Anti-Intellect and TheBlackGuyX decided to join together for an improvisational conversation on religion, god, atheism, and white supremacy. The result of this unconventional conversation is below.

Anti-Intellect:

Religion is what oppressors allow you to have when they won’t give you anything else. Think about it.

TheBlackGuyX:

The oppressor had loads of justifications as to why enslaving African Americans was acceptable. From economic justifications to the ridiculous idea that Africans were the lesser race and need to be take care of by whites. Religion, specifically Christianity, was a justification that also came into play when enslaving African Americans. Both the Old Testament and New Testament give permission to hold slaves. The god of the Old Testament approved of slavery and Jesus showed that slavery was permissible in the New Testament. It was the belief of the slave owners that slavery, infused with Christianity, would liberate African Americans from their barbaric-like ways. Furthermore, as slavery went on, slaveholders argued that Christianity was a necessary evil because it less humane, sinful, black race.

Anti-Intellect:

Arguing that religion and belief in god should not be critiqued because they have the potential to empower sets up a dangerous precedent. The Atlantic Slave Trade empowered a lot of people. Should it be given a pass because some people used it to do good stuff?

TheBlackGuyX:

The point you made about The Atlantic Slave Trade is an amazing one. No one NEEDS religion or belief in god to be empowered, for a sense of morality, or for a sense of comfort. Individuals are often dependent on religion and the belief in god because they are told at a young age that god is the answer, all knowing and all powerful. In most families, children are taken to church when they are less than 2 years old, to be baptized and taught how to be a Christian. This dependence and submission to God only increases as schools tell children that they must behave or God will be unhappy with them and send them to Hell when they die. Once these children are old enough to think for themselves they usually do not because the social norm around them since they were born has been that God is watching over them and to go against that would be to outcast themselves from their family, friends and school.

Anti-Intellect:

The fact that Black people are concerned with Jesus being Black is another sign of white supremacy. There is no large-scale Black interest in Jesus without white supremacy. It just does not happen. The only way you get masses of Black people interested in Jesus is through white supremacy.

TheBlackGuyX:

Exactly! So many Blacks don’t know this because of mental slavery or just plain willful ignorance. Christianity and White Jesus, has often been used to justify white supremacy and African slavery. During slavery, we were stripped of our culture and all we were spoon fed with was White Jesus. When slaves first came over from Africa, they weren’t allowed to maintain their own traditions, languages, or religion. They were forced to live as slave owners demanded, forced to speak English or other European languages, and forced to worship the same religion as their slave owner.

Anti-Intellect:

A people with their own god(s) do not have to be concerned with a White or Black Jesus. We would be interested in us! The length that Black people will go to defend white supremacy never ceases to amaze me. Even if Christianity was in Africa in ancient times, there were ALSO hundreds of other religions. But we’re only fighting for White Jesus? This is more proof that it’s the white supremacy that you fighting for, not Blackness. Otherwise you would not have ditched the other faiths. Black people fighting over Christianity and Jesus, is more proof of our education into white supremacy. We would never fight for OUR gods. The only way that Christianity, in Africa, goes from 9 million to 380 million people is through White supremacy. We abandoned US. When Black people can name Jesus, Mary, Joseph, Noah, and Moses, but can’t name ONE Traditional African Religion or deity? We got a problem. The least Black people can do is be honest about our history. We owe that much to ourselves. You do not have to abandon Christianity, but you can at least be honest. I am not giving up English, but I know I speak it cause of Whites.

Youth Must Take the Lead

Want change after the Zimmerman verdict? Youth must take the lead

, @mharrisperry

9:25 PM on 07/17/2013

A demonstrator chants, Sunday, July 14, 2013, in New York, during a march against the acquittal of neighborhood watch member George Zimmerman in the killing of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Florida.  (Photo by John Minchillo/AP)

A demonstrator chants, Sunday, July 14, 2013, in New York, during a march against the acquittal of neighborhood watch member George Zimmerman in the killing of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Florida. (Photo by John Minchillo/AP)

The summer before I started high school, there was a spate of violence in my hometown. Parents and community leaders were distressed, and responded by organizing a prayer vigil.  I attended along with many of my friends. All the young people were asked to come forward at the end of the evening and form a tight circle. The adults followed and circled around us, lifting one hand over our heads and using the other hand to grab our shoulders in a sign of love, support, and protection. The minister then prayed for our nation, our community, and for us.

I’ll never forget his prayer.

“Lord, build a hedge of protection around these children. Lord, be a fence all around them and keep them from the winds of the storm.”

I should have felt grateful for the love and concern of my elders, but I mostly felt annoyed. Even as the Reverend prayed that God keep us from the storm, I sent up my own prayer:

“Not me, Lord. Put me right in the storm. I don’t want to be protected from those winds. I want to make them!”

I have never regretted my counter-prayer. In high school, I discovered the writings of Steven Biko, learned about the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa, and became convinced my generation could still be part of great actions for change. In college, I was swept up in campus activism that altered the direction of my professional and personal life. Being in the storm always seemed both more interesting and more meaningful than being sheltered safely on the sidelines.

More than 25 years after bristling at the idea of being protected, my first reactions to the George Zimmerman verdict were to cry out in distress about what feels like my powerlessness to offer safety to the children of our communities. Like the parents who extended their arms and prayers over me all those years ago, my first reaction to this feeling of insecurity was to reach out and grab those young people close.

I had forgotten. We must not fetishize safety to the exclusion of justice. The activism of our young people may just be the most powerful tool we have in the fight for a fairer world–even if their activism also makes them vulnerable.

  • Fifty years ago, in early June, 1963, the children of Birmingham, Alabama, marched through their city’s streets to make demands of their mayor. They were met by the dogs and fire hoses of Bull Connor. In response, President Kennedy articulated his support for a federal Civil Rights Act for the first time.
  • On May 4, 1970, students organized peacefully in protest of the Cambodian Campaign initiated by the U.S. government under President Nixon. The Ohio National Guard opened fire on the unarmed students, launching at least 67 rounds into the crowd and killing four. Their deaths were a pivotal moment in American public opinion about the war in Vietnam.
  • On June 16, 1976, more than 20,000 teenagers in Soweto township in South Africa took to the streets in protest of the apartheid education that forced them to learn in the language of their oppressors. Their uprising breathed new life into the movement against apartheid.
  • On October 9, 2012, 12 year old Malala Yousafzai was hunted down and shot in the head by Taliban gunmen as she rode a school bus. Her vocal, international advocacy for girls’ education had made her the target of their violent hatred. She survived their assassination attempt and last week addressed the United Nations, demanding international commitment to openly accessible education for girls.

I wept this week for the lost innocence of youth who were told by a not guilty verdict that their lives did not matter. While I wanted to protect them, they spoke out forcefully for themselves. They were clear. It is not protection they need. It is justice. It is organization. It is directed action to change the world.

(I recommend that you listen to the words of the Black Youth Project 100, a group of young black activists from across the country who were together when the verdict was read. Listen to their tone and their determination.)

Let me revise my prayer. “Lord, make me brave enough to follow the young people into the raging storm.”

Source: http://tv.msnbc.com/2013/07/17/want-change-after-the-zimmerman-verdict-youth-must-take-the-lead/

Where Was “God” ?

Where Was God The Night Trayvon Martin Was Murdered?

by Anti-Intellect

There was no god on Trayvon Martin’s side the night he was murdered. Like all of us, he was on his own. There is no amount of prayer or belief in god that could have helped him the night that George Zimmerman decided to profile, stalk, and murder him. The fact that both the Zimmerman and Martin/Fulton families made references to god following the not guilty verdict in the Zimmerman murder case is disgusting to me on various levels. How is god on your side when, at almost every step, it has sided with your oppressor? Trayvon Martin was murdered, his body filed away as a John Doe, his killer was not arrested for weeks, and a jury found his killer not guilty. How is that reflective of god being on Trayvon Martin’s side? How is that reflective of god being on Black people’s side?

 

The central belief uniting the Martin/Fulton and Zimmerman families is the belief that god is on both of their sides. Both families think that a nonexistent god is on their side. Zimmerman’s parents continue to go on national television saying that they pray that Trayvon is in a better place. This kind of ignorant, insensitive, and disrespcetful statement is only possible with belief in god. As asinine as both beliefs are, the Zimmerman’s actually have more of a claim to god being on their side than the Martin/Fulton family. Afterall, Zimmerman is still alive and he got off scot-free. It takes a special kind of ignorance for the oppresser and the oppressed to both think that god is on their side. Belief in god is one hell of a drug.

 

How many more Black people have to die before we realize that that we are on our own? There is no god looking out for out race. There is no god protecting Black youth like Trayvon Martin and Aiyana Jones. There is no god protecting Black adults like Marissa Alexander and Marco McMillian. It should outrage Black people when someone tries to rationalize the violence visited upon us daily with an excuse as disrespectful as the notion that a god is on our side. I love Black people too much to see us disrespect ourselves with continued belief in some White man in the sky, supposedly looking out for us. I want Black people to believe in each other. I want Black people to call on each other.

 

As we remember the life of Trayvon Martin, we must remember that we are our saviors. We must be the ones in the street proesting. We must be the ones demanding justice. The false notion that a god is looking out for us has run its course.

 

I am often accused of injecting critiques of god into everything. This is, curiously, not that different from racist people who accused Blacks of injecting race into the Zimmerman murder trial. It is true that I am an atheist activist, and I am critical when people make statements about god. My atheism is rooted in a love Black people, so it is hard for me to look at what has happened to Black people, what continues to happen to Black people, and continue to believe in god. What do I believe in? I believe in the endurance of Black people. We are not a perfect people, no race is, but we still find ways to love.

 

I do not want to hear that god is the ultimate judge, and that we should not forget this fact despite the jury not finding Zimmerman guilty of murdering Trayvon. I want justice in this world. Why does justice, for Black people, so often delayed as we wait for a pearly-gate reversal, promised to us in a book written by White men?

 

The people who think god is on their side are as delusional as the ones who think that the Zimmerman case was not about race. Ignorance is bliss. How is it that god is on everyone’s side, but it just so happens that the Black kid is dead and his killer a free man?

 

Zimmerman’s parents had the audacity to go on national television and state that they pray that Trayvon is in a better place.

 

If an “all-powerful” god is just going to sit on the sidelines when Black kids are murdered, on their walk home, then that god is useless. The world continues to defecate on Black people, yet we still think that there is a god on our side.

 

We are on our own.

 

We always have been.

 

New Panthers busing mobs to Sanford

New Black Panther Party allegedly busing mobs to Sanford, Florida for expected riots

By Dean Chambers

Reports have come in from eye witnesses in Sanford, Florida that the New Black Panther Party, an extremist group that has called for the killing of George Zimmerman if he is found not guilty, is busing in thousands to that town. Sanford is the location of the trial and near the place where the shooting of Trayvon Martin by Zimmerman occurred. There have been threats of riots if Zimmerman is not found guilty and it is believed that the New Black Panther Party and other extremist groups will attempt to take advantage of racial tensions after a non guilty verdict by organizing riots.

Local police should be prepared for riots and Governor Rick Scott should be prepared to call in the National Guard at a moment’s notice if needed. Local authorities should be ready to act and not allow this to create a situation like the South Central Los Angeles riots of 1992 after the verdict in the trial of the police officers that had beaten Rodney King.

It must also be remembered that these events are not “spontaneous” as the left wing media likes to portray them. They are deliberately organized. The riots in Los Angeles in 1992 were organized by several extremist left wing community organizer type groups including the local chapter of the Revolutionary Communist Party.

It should surprise no one that leftist groups are prepared to ignite rioting after the upcoming verdict in the George Zimmerman trial. Peaceful demonstrations should be allowed, but any degree of violence should immediately be stopped by local authorities.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This story will be updated if and when new information comes in. We strongly advise anyone to avoid being involved in any efforts to incite riots and stay out of the area if possible. We also condemn any efforts to organize or incite riots.