COMMUNITY VOL. XXXIX Number 33 March 11, 2015
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Reflecting on the 50th Anniversary of “Bloody Sunday”
President Barack Obama, fourth from left, walks holding hands with Amelia Boynton Robinson, who was beaten during "Bloody Sunday," as they and the first family and others including Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga, left of Obama, walk across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala,. for the 50th anniversary of the landmark event of the civil rights movement, Saturday, March 7, 2015. At far left is Sasha Obama and at far right is former first lady Laura Bush. Adelaide Sanford also sits in a wheelchair. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin) The 50th Anniversary March across the Edmund Pettus Bridge, over the weekend, brought back many memories. As one who witnessed the original marches, these videos are vivid reflections of a tragically divisive time in our history. The right to vote, to purchase in any neighborhood, to attend the schools in your neighborhood, or the college of your choice, were not givens...as they are today. And while 50 years seems a long time, it is a continuing flicker in the history of our country. Regrettably these travesties to living the precepts of the Constitution, are often under attack in many communities, these fights for equality, under the laws, continue. People often say, by now there is no excuse, but be born into poverty, with all of the ravages including disproportionately single-parented families, or families who have never been able to vacate impoverished neighbor-
MCJ COMMENTARY By Patricia O’Flynn Pattillo, MCJ Publisher
hoods, or images and expectations for youth reverberate “at risk” instead of promote “yes you can”. And health disparities often entrenched by historical/cultural choices, yet compounded by the need to teach another way, or a better way, and distanced groceries with fresh produce, we knew when we were in rural settings. Add mental health issues like safety, stress, abuse, physical, verbal and sexual, alcoholism and drug addictions, to the point that children take care of parents; and WE have to take another look introspectively. We are the change we must implement.
One cannot deny legislated opportunities, or the many changes made in the original legislation, albeit the historic right to vote that continues to be under attack, requiring State Supreme Count rulings, in the last two Presidential elections. In states determined to suppress the voting outcomes, people still march. Wisconsin experienced this recently. Lest we forget. WE HAVE TO VOTE...others died for it. Consider, also, extremely difficult upward mobility, including wage suppression from employment unavailability and unlivable low-wages. Too many families work
Our Glorious Past!
Introducing Dr. Ramel Smith, “The Blaquesmith”! MEN MEN EMPOWERING MEN MEN
Dr. Ramel Smith
The Introduction Family, I greet you in the name of the creator with infinite intelligence. I stand tall, but humbled, on the shoulders of our ancestors. It is my prayer that the strength and wisdom from our ancestors of yesteryear and yesterday will pour through my spirit and bless the words I write. It is my prayer that these words will encourage, inspire, motivate, and even anger; but, produce an anger that will lead to positive and productive action. Far too many times, we are angered; but, let it slowly dissolve and return to our normal lives. Far too often, we are angered; but, direct that venom and violence toward members of our own community—and even more sadly, ourselves. The call has been made before for our community to
PULSE OF THE COMMUNITY Photos and question by Yvonne Kemp
LATRISA GILES: “It is very important for Black men and women to work together so that we can pose excellent role models to our youth, showing them how powerful our impact can be when we work together!”
unite. Why is this time different? It is not different, but our lack of action in the past has only allowed the condition to worsen. We must put our differences aside to focus on the grand picture. It is true, our community is not a monolithic group. There is great heterogeneity inside of our community as we are comprised of people with a plethora of ideologies, a myriad of military strategies and multiple forms of intelligences. This has been used to divide us in the past, but our differences are our greatest asset. What if we could galvanize and combine these economic, educational, intellectual and physical resources and employ them for the common good. Sadly, we see some of our allies as our enemies.
My loved ones, let me submit this for your consideration: enemies can be civil. Even more, enemies have forged powerful alliances when their survival demanded the unlikely partnership. Family, do we now look upon our brothers and sisters as the enemy? Has the social engineering of those cruel captors of our African ancestors coupled with the propaganda of the current media that continues to overtly and covertly confuse, neutralize and intoxicate our community, finally won? The longer we procrastinate to unify, the more difficult it becomes for us to have collective success. Can we not unite for the benefit of our children? Our children are the true gift, the true prize. And We, repeatedly, continue to (continued on page 2)
QUESTION OF THE WEEK: “During a recent luncheon meeting held by the Wisconsin Black Chamber of Commerce, we asked for participants: “How important is it for Black men and women to work together to build our community economically?”
SHANYEILL MCCLOUD: “It is important for Black men and Black women to get along because we HAVE TO encourage each other. Only we can build/destroy our families and communities. After all, we are all we got, and all we need.”
DENISE HOLMES: “It’s important for our Black men and women to be examples to the youth in the community; to let our Black youth know they can be leaders.”
BRENDA HANSKNECHT: “It is very important for Black men and women to work together to build our community, because it will take men and women in our community to build neighborhoods; from which comes boys and girls who will eventually grow up to become men and women. Structure in the community builds solid foundations, which helps make the community economically strong.”
two low-paying jobs and yet remain under the federal poverty guidelines. How do these families quickly rise to the middle class rung of opportunity. When there were heavy manufacturing jobs in Milwaukee, many poor, rural families were able to mount these ladders; some of current leadership are examples of that ascendency. Today, those numbers are comparatively reduced as new issues add to the slow, grinding ascent, including contacts with the criminal justice system. One could only cheer as we watched the President and first family, walk arm in arm, as did Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and hundreds of like-minded supporters on that historic Bloody Sunday remembrance; Congressman John Lewis, among them. We were filled with pride and praise. His election and re-election sent a resounding message to America and the world. Yet, his presidency (continued on page 5)
Madison police response to shooting contrasts with Ferguson By Todd Richmond, courtesy of the Associated Press
MADISON (AP) — Within hours of a white officer shooting an unarmed black man, the police chief of Wisconsin’s capital city was praying with the man’s grandmother, hoping to strike a conciliatory tone and avoid the riots that last year rocked Ferguson, Missouri.
Chief Mike Koval said he knows Madison is being watched across the nation since 19-year-old Tony Robinson’s death Friday evening, and he has gone out of his way to avoid what he once called Ferguson’s “missteps.” “Folks are angry, resentful, mistrustful, disappointed, shocked, chagrined. I get that,” Koval said Saturday. “People need to tell me squarely how upset they are with the Madison Police Department.” The contrasts with Ferguson are many. While Ferguson police initially gave little information about the
“The contrasts with Ferguson are many. While Ferguson police initially gave little information about the shooting of Michael Brown, an 18-year-old, unarmed black man, Koval rushed to the home of Robinson’s mother. She didn’t want to meet with him, he said, but he talked and prayed with Robinson’s grandmother in the driveway for 45 minutes.It took a week for Ferguson to release the name of the officer who shot Brown. Koval announced the name of the officer involved in Madison, Matt Kenny, the day after the shooting. He volunteered to reporters that the officer had been in a previous fatal shooting in 2007, and that he had been cleared of wrongdoing.”
shooting of Michael Brown, an 18year-old, unarmed black man, Koval rushed to the home of Robinson’s mother. She didn’t want to meet with him, he said, but he talked and prayed with Robinson’s grandmother in the driveway for 45 minutes. It took a week for Ferguson to release the name of the officer who shot Brown. Koval announced the name of the officer involved in Madison, Matt Kenny, the day after the shooting. He volunteered to reporters that the officer had been in a previous fatal shooting in 2007, and that he had been cleared of wrongdoing. On the day that Ferguson police named the officer who shot Brown,
(continued on page 2)