Search This Blog

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Breaking News: Smyrna, Ga. police receive demands involving Nicholas Thomas case

Photo: Courtesy of Gerald E. Rose
A demand letter was delivered to the Smyrna Police Department and the Cobb County District Attorney today by Cobb SCLC President and Justice For Nicholas Coalition Member (JFNC) Dr. Ben Williams who was accompanied by other coalition members. The same letter was also hand delivered by the Coalition to the office of Cobb County Police Chief John Houser.

On Tuesday, March 24, 2015, Smyrna Police Sergeant Kenneth Owens killed unarmed, twenty-three year old Nicholas Taft Thomas at his work in Smyrna, Ga.  Smyrna and Cobb County police came to Nicholas’ job in an extreme show of force to allegedly serve a warrant for his arrest.

Letter highlights: We are concerned citizens in solidarity as the Nicholas Thomas Justice Coalition (NTJC). We are standing with the Nicholas Thomas family, asking that our fair and just demands be met within 48 hours.

Immediate demands:
Investigation of the case now by a special grand jury and special prosecutor. We do not trust any law enforcement agencies investigating themselves or their peers.

Release of the facts regarding the case, including the exact nature of the warrant being served and surveillance video footage. It has been over a month since Smyrna Police Officer Kenneth Owens killed Nicholas Thomas, and the family and community are still looking for answers.  This information should have been released within the first week.

Answers to why several agencies and such a show of force were used to arrest Mr. Thomas

NTJC members
We want a transparent investigation and open records now. 

Long term demands:
We want an immediate end of racial profiling stops without reasonable suspicion.

We want an end to arrests without probable cause which is a violation of the Fourth Amendment.

We want immediate stop of arrests for minor and bogus offenses, including an end to practices labeled as “broken window policing”, “sweating the small stuff”, “stop and frisk”.

We want community control and oversight of police.

We want past Cobb County Police excessive force, abuse of power, and other cases reopened where
Fourth Amendment rights were potentially violated over the past ten years.  We want these cases
investigated by independent agencies not connected to Cobb County.

We want new leadership of law enforcement agencies that reflect both the racial and ideological
diversity present in communities.

We want enhanced, ongoing sensitivity and diversity training for law enforcement.

The information in this post was provided by NTJC.

Atlanta protests and demands against police brutality moving forward...

Rise Up Georgia has announced #RestInPower: A Memorial For Black Lives protest activities which will begin this Saturday, May 2, starting at 11 am with a processional at the Rise Up Georgia office, 1292-B Ralph David Abernathy Blvd., Atlanta, Ga.

Attendees are asked to dress in funeral or mourning attire.

The event is in response to the killing of Anthony Hill, Kevin Davis, Nicholas Thomas, Troy Davis, Kendrick Johnson, Ervin Jefferson, Calvon Reid, Kathryn Johnston, and many more.

The processional will proceed to a 1 p.m. Memorial Service held at Oakburst Baptist Church, 222 East Lake Drive in Decatur, Ga. Dinner will be served after the service. 

For more information, go to: https://www.facebook.com/events/622354841241445/permalink/625552517588344/

In order to help support Saturday's Rise Up Georgia’s "Memorial for Black Lives" activities, the Nicholas Thomas Justice Coalition and #TakeTheStreets  has rescheduled the Nicholas Thomas Justice Rally from Saturday to Sunday, May 3 at 2:30 p.m. at Jonquil Park, 2801 Park Rd, Smyrna, Ga. According to organizers, "This action, planned by #ItsBiggerThanYou, will let the city, county and world know we are serious, and we will not go away." Volunteer marshall training will be provided before the rally at 12:30 p.m.


Additionally, the Nicholas Thomas Justice Coalition
will be presenting a list of demands in a letter addressed to several public safety and elected officials later today. For more information, contact Rich Pellegrino at 404-573-1199. 

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Protests expand in Atlanta to address Nicholas Thomas death by police

Do not use without permission.
"...see what I suffer, and from whom, because I feared 
to cast away the fear of Heaven!" ---Sophocles' Antigone

Schedule change update:
The Nicholas Thomas Justice Coalition has sent out an action alert to inform the community of a rally organized in the name of the unarmed, 23-year-old black father who was killed by a Smyrna policeman last month. 

The Nicholas Thomas Justice Rally  #TakeTheStreets will be held Sunday, May 3 at 2:30 p.m. at Jonquil Park, 2801 Park Rd., Smyrna, Ga. and is co-sponsored by #ItsBiggerThanYou. During the event, the organization will reinforce demands upon the City of Smyrna and Cobb County Government. Community members interested in stopping the murder of unarmed citizens, public safety, and community policing initiatives are urged to attend.

The group intends to put community pressure on elected officials and are mobilizing to have a safe and effective protest.

Most needed are: 
Volunteer Marshals -  training for Marshals will take place before the rally at two hours before the rally.

Trained Legal Observers -  These are typically law students or attorneys.

Live Streamers - with their own smartphones

People who care - the more, the better!

"The Coalition will be moving forward in the name of Nicholas Thomas with a unified strategy and a group infrastructure to bring about change," said one of the organizers. The Coalition's next meeting will be held Wednesday, May 6th, at 7 p.m. at DJ Beauty Outlet, 2561 Austell Rd SW #100, Marietta, GA 30008 (corner of Austell & Hicks Roads).

In addition, the Nicholas Thomas Justice Coalition will be working on the following:
a) Economic Intervention - potentially targeting banks and other corporate entities
Convener: Ken Howell at ken1954@bellsouth.net

b) Million Mothers March - bringing together the powerful voice of mothers
Conveners: Felicia Thomas at justicefornicknow@gmail.com & Brenda Muhammad at brendamuhammad45@gmail.com
 

Do not use without permission.
Muhammad and Thomas are helping to organize a Million Mothers March.
 
c) Protests/Actions at U.S. Attorney’s Office, Officer Owens Home, & Smyrna Police Department
Convener: Huey Thomas at justicefornicknow@gmail.com

d) Boycott of Cobb County /Smyrna 911 -  Stop calling the police for anything but major emergencies.
Convener: Rich Pellegrino at pilgrim1@mindspring.com

e) Actions at Smyrna City Council & Cobb Board of Commissioners Meetings -  speaking up and out to elected representatives
Convener: Dr. Ben Williams at docben@att.net 
 
For more information on how to get  involved, contact Rich Pellegrino at 404-573-1199 or www.uniting-america.org.

Always good time for prayer...

The Catholic-Orthodox Ecumenical Gathering is scheduled for Tuesday, April 28, at 7 p.m. at the Cathedral of Christ the King, Atlanta. All are invited to attend to pray for all Christians, especially those in troubled places.
Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory, Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta, will co-officiate at the event with His Eminence Alexios, Greek Orthodox Metropolitan of Atlanta. The theme of the gathering is “Ecumenism of Blood: the Plight of Persecuted Christians.”
The keynote speaker is Jesuit Father Joseph McShane, president of Fordham University, New York.
The Cathedral is located at 2699 Peachtree Road, NE, Atlanta. A reception will take place in Kenny Hall immediately after the gathering.

US Revolution erupting in B-more predicted to escalate, spur changes across nation

Do not use without permission.
Egyptian Revolution of 1919 led to independence from England in 1922
"We don't have the privilege of being passive at this point."
---Community activist in Metro Atlanta, Ga.

Significant damage to persons and property is underway in the continental US sparked by police brutality, economic inequality, and racial division.

A major purge went down last night resulting in violent civil disobedience in Baltimore, Maryland.

Large groups, made up chiefly of teenagers, refused to obey laws and instead used disorderly conduct, theft, and arson as main strategies for change.

Observing what's going down post-Ferguson, it's apparent that people are fed up after the predator-like condition Freddie Gray was left in, a severed spinal column resulting in death after an arrest and rough ride through B-more streets. Gray is featured on a long list of persons killed recently by police. (http://killedbypolice.net/)

A cautious military/police phalanx, out of safety concerns, let stores, cars, and trash burn instead of engaging with angry citizens. No one actually thinks a war can be won with bricks, rocks, and small projectiles, but folks on the ground are sending messages that they're not going to take it anymore, no matter what the consequences which could be life-altering.

Mayor Stephanie C. Rawlings-Blake, Esq. walked away from a live, CNN Don Lemon interview which showed her inexperience with communicating on a national scale. 
 
The whole world is watching the unrest, and Mayor Blake gave the impression once again that our "leaders" are incapable of sending right messages.

The Revolution will not be televised  or reported on mainstream TV or traditional media, but will be tweeted, skyped, YouTubed and blogged. We're working within a Virtual Watts now, Dorothy.  We're not in Celluloid OZ anymore.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Breaking News: "All out war" in Baltimore

According to a CNN reporter on the ground in Baltimore, "An all out war" has erupted after the funeral of Freddie Gray.

"We're in a code red crisis," Rev. Jamal Bryant of Baltimore told reporters.

Police are outflanked, and rioting is occurring.

Stay tuned for updates.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

US Justice and Labor Dept. reps defensive at regional meeting

Do not use without permission.
DOJ officials seemed proud of their accomplishments, however,
most US prisoners wind up re-incarcerated after three years.
 
Maybe it was because the top dogs had to stay at the Justice Department in D.C., we were told, to say goodbye to Attorney General Eric Holder on his last day in office.  Or maybe it was the dress and demeanor of all those government officials who seemed defensive over being held accountable for the poor state of affairs in prisons and jails. Maybe it was the way formerly incarcerated persons relayed stories of not being able to find jobs, even when they had been pardoned.

But as a taxpayer, I felt a little cheated and disillusioned the last day of the Southern Regional Meeting to End Mass Incarceration held in Atlanta on April 24.

Do not use without permission.
Solomon explained Justice Dept. achievements while Chuck Taylor listened.
"We want to work with resources closer to the ground," said Amy Solomon, Dir. of Policy, Office of Justice Programs, US Dept. of Justice. "Our commitment to justice spans across the Obama Administration," she said.

One attendee,  however, said his life after incarceration has been a living hell, even with well-funded Justice Dept. programs in place to help and a gubernatorial pardon.

Do not use without permission.
Many formerly incarcerated husbands have to depend on
their wives' incomes to feed their families and pay the bills.
"What good is my pardon or my life if I can't provide for my family? I did my time 18 years ago and am now working on my third higher education degree, but I can't find a job, even making $30k a year, and end up hustling to help feed my five kids."

Do not use without permission.
Although filing a discrimination complaint is an option, plaintiffs seldom win.
An EEOC representative told him that if he feels companies are discriminating against him because of his "record", he should aggressively pursue litigation.  Members in the audience said filing complaints often lead nowhere.

Here are some programs that the government has undertaken to help.
Second Chance Fellowships - one available, but applications no longer being accepted
Fair Chance Hiring Summit - planned for later this year, organized by Tony Myers
Reentry MythBusters website - http://csgjusticecenter.org/nrrc/projects/mythbusters/
Collateral Consequences - http://csgjusticecenter.org/nrrc/projects/mythbusters/
Pell grants for formerly incarcerated
Law Enforcement Without Prohibition (LEAP) - http://www.leap.cc/
New Beginnings job training with Urban League - http://www.justice.gov/usao-ndga/community-outreach/new-beginnings

Other measures grassroots organizations want to become priorities:
Pass "Ban the Box" at federal level.
Curb corruption between judges and bail bondsmen.
Ensure that money for programs to help formerly incarcerated persons are accounted for.
Target programs against trafficking and prostitution of young women.
Help women in jails which are under consent decrees, like in New Orleans.
Make sure Title VII is followed.
Institute pre-arrest diversion programs.

Women of the Bar introduced to global issues at monthly meeting

Do not use without permission.
 
Women of the Bar, based in Cobb County, Ga., had a luncheon meeting April 24 at The Butcher and the Baker on the Marietta Square. The organization, which is a section of the Cobb County Bar Association (CCBA), is committed to the unique needs addressed by female attorneys in their daily practice of law.
 
Do not use without permission.
Morant said more leadership training is needed.
Guest speakers were Brenda Morant from the International Women’s Think Tank whose mission is to promote women and girls across the globe, and Dr. Uwa Onyioha-Osimiri, founding president of African Women Economic Consortium (AWEC).
 
"We need to start with a strategic plan to improve the status of women and girls in the United States," Morant told the group. "In several indicators - education, health, economic security, and leadership - it has been reported that Georgia received a D or F."
 
Morant said she is planning a Leadership Summit in October that will address this trend and is asking for planning committee volunteers and donations.
 
Dr. Osimiri noted that in the US, Georgia ranks #1 in human trafficking and has a huge problem with prostitution. 
 
Osimiri works on a global stage. "In Kenya, I've seen women and children who are hopeless and helpless," she said. "When I saw children wandering for food through mounds of trash, I got involved to change things."   

Do not use without permission.
Osimiri talked about empowering women through economic development.
In Africa, Osimiri said she is building villages of hope for those who have been displaced and those suffering from HIV-AIDS. She has been focused on the AWEC Village of Hope Joe Dome, a renewable energy village on 1,000 hectares of land for displaced women and children. Her goal is to raise $6 million to provide water, electricity and sanitation; build health centers and schools, and enhance cottage industries to help women become more economically viable.

To learn more about these organizations, go to:
and
and

Friday, April 24, 2015

Feds given solutions to checkmate mass incarceration


Do not use without permission.
Of the states that have the highest incarceration rates, four are in the South,
said Daryl Atkinson from Southern Coalition for Social Justice, Durham, N.C.

If any geographic location can change the direction of racism and poverty which leads to crime and incarceration, the South - home of the Confederacy and the Civil Rights Movement - can.  

So say attendees at "The Southern Regional Meeting to End Mass Incarceration" being held at the IBEW Auditorium in Atlanta, April 23-24.  Workshops are being co-hosted by The Racial Justice Action Center and Women on the Rise, and attendance is financed by grassroots community organizations. 

 
Maybe it was coincidence, but this event transpired on the day Attorney General Loretta Lynch became the first African American female to be confirmed by a 56 to 43 Senate vote, making her the soon to be top Justice official in America! 

What's the problem?
Problem is, 2.3 million people are behind bars in the U.S. (2011) which represents the same number of  slaves held in the Lower South in 1860.  http://www.thelatinlibrary.com/chron/civilwar.html.
The U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics also reported that 4.8 million people are on probation. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Incarceration_in_the_United_States


Yes, the need for justice reform is urgent, made even more pressing before the guard changes and the Obama Administration leaves office in 2016.
  
This work is not for the faint at heart.
You have to have a strong constitution, years of experience working with the disadvantaged, and skin in the game to hammer out solutions to help jailed and formerly incarcerated persons and their families.
Do not use without permission.
Cynthia Brown explained how systemic racism and oppression need to be analyzed.
Cynthia Brown of Dismantling Racism Works (dRworks) in Durham, N. C. said we need sustained infrastructures so we will neither retreat into violence perpetrated on us nor internalize perceived unworthiness. "Black on black crime is the fruit, not the root," she said. 

"Racism, redlining, disproportionate poverty, discrimination, economic exploitation, inadequate housing - these things become internalized, and then we turn on ourselves."

Stacked deck needs reshuffling!

Do not use without permission.
Black men are incarcerated at an alarming rate, but when they are released,
many organize to reform the criminal justice system.
The deck seems stacked against those who make poor choices. They are caught and thrown into cells and cages, but many positive people are working to reshuffle the cards, making sacrifices to help prodigal sons and daughters survive outside when released. 
"Everyone is a sinner, but only some get caught and pay the price," said one attendee who claims that anyone can end up behind bars in the United States. And if and when you are released, you will run into poor employment opportunities, housing restrictions, and a host of self esteem and respect issues.  Every ill is met with incarceration, and non-whites are feeling the brunt of an unjust system.

Stats on Black incarceration are staggering.
The NAACP's latest statistics state African Americans now constitute nearly 1 million of the total 2.3 million incarcerated population. One in six black men had been incarcerated as of 2001. If current trends continue, one in three black males born today can expect to spend time in prison during his lifetime. One in 100 African American women are in prison.

Facilitators taught that the language of incarceration has to change, and so must definitions which dehumanized the formerly incarcerated. Attendees were urged not to use the words "convict, inmate, felon, or criminal" when referring to the formerly incarcerated.  

Do not use without permission.
Some believe a scientific method of investigation must be used to find solutions to
repair a broken justice system fraught with racism.
Government representatives who will be presented an action plan today will include: Karol Mason, Assistant Attorney General, Office of Justice Programs, US Department of Justice; Amy Solomon, Director of Policy, Office of Justice Programs, US Department of Justice; Vanita Gupta, Acting Assistant Attorney General, Civil Rights Division, US Department of Justice; James Cadogan, Senior Counselor, Office of the Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights, US Department of Justice; Nicole Ndumele, Legislative and Policy Counsel, Civil Rights Division, US Department of Justice; Loranzo Fleming, Assistant US Attorney / Community Outreach Coordinator, US Attorney’s Office – Northern District of Georgia; James Cole, General Counsel, US Department of Education; Jacqui Freeman, Unit Chief, RExO, US Department of Labor; Terrie Dandy, Program Analyst, EEOC – Atlanta District Office; and Carlis Williams, SE Regional Administrator, Administration for Children and Families, HHS.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The Blue Wall: police brutality in our own backyard

Police and the military are one, and they are killing unarmed black men at an alarming rate.
 
Do not use without permission.
Rev. Coakley Pendergrass, Min. Louis Mohammad, and SCLC President Ben Williams discuss police brutality in Cobb County, Ga. at last night's town hall meeting sponsored by The Cobb United for Change Coalition.
Military forces are authorized to use deadly weapons to "defend or support the interests of the state and some or all of its citizens."
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military).

Lately, however, police (the local military) are getting away with murdering citizens while trying to "defend themselves" against unarmed threats.
 
We need to affirm this:
 
Officer Friendly does not exist except in our imaginations.
 
Officers wearing solid blue camouflage attire are trained to kill first and protect and serve later.
 
"Dead or alive mostly means dead!"
--- quote from the 1960s "The Rifleman" TV Show

Public safety directors smile in your face and can take the heat when asked questions regarding officer performance but are doing little to train or put cop's jobs on the line when they fail to follow protocols. 
 
How can we protect ourselves from the police?
 
We need a Civilian Review Board to investigate police brutality.
 
We need to inform police that the protection of citizen's rights is of primary importance, and they must work, live within, and understand the culture of communities they are mandated to serve.
 
Do not use without permission.
Ministers and political leaders are concerned about the moral and management issues regarding policing in Cobb.
The meeting was held at the public library.
We need bail money to help advocates and protesters who are arrested while they are "fighting" police brutality.
 
We need to hold police and elected officials accountable when someone is shot or Tasered, especially if a citizen is killed.
 
Do not use without permission.
Cobb Public Safety Director Sam Heaton said police feel they are targets in blue uniforms and only make $38k yearly for putting their lives on the line. Heaton's salary is reported to be $138k or more.
We need women, mothers, and young people to get involved.
 
Do not use without permission.
Sis. Brenda Muhammad said the community's women will be getting involved to save lives.
Police need to spend more time patrolling predominately white neighborhoods for criminals instead of profiling black males.
 
All sheriffs, DAs, mayors, county managers, public safety directors, and police chiefs should be terminated from employment for ill-trained officers and poor community relations when police brutality and excessive force occur.

(Some of the above recommendations were made after communicating with community activists and parents of deceased victims.)

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Asset protection in a brutal world

Do not use without permission.
Casket handle of bird in flight. RIP, Nicholas Taft Thomas. You did not die in vain.
Galatians 4:7 - "So you are no longer a slave, but God's child; and since you are His child, God has made you also an heir."

While honeymooning in New York 35 years ago, I waited in the car for my husband while he went into a bank. On the radio was a program discussing assets. "Your greatest assets are your children," the commentator stated, and that message has stayed with me ever since.

Thinking back over the visitation services for Nicholas Taft Thomas last night, several things come to my mind.

1.  Black men are languishing in coffins and jail cells and are no longer assets to the community. When they are stolen from our midst, hope diminishes but should not be extinguished.

2. The murder of black men by police has become "entertainment" on news programs and on the Internet, but black families from which these victims come are not being justly compensated for their lost assets. Children are not being provided for by deceased fathers, and parents/grandparents in their twilight years are not being taken care of by the next generation.

3. Monetary assets spent on funerals can be maximized by purchasing a burial or insurance plan which will be needed sooner or later, so you may as well invest in one in case you are killed unexpectedly.


Do not use without permission.
The whole family and community suffer when human assets are lost.
4. You can't help the dead; only the living. Don't keep beating the drum on how someone died, but focus on providing a good life for heirs of heaven who are children of the Most High God.

5. People who use guns and Tasers for all the wrong reasons are often on power trips. The religious community needs to step up and change what is happening in our world.

6. Many people are totally ignorant of the statistics that are affecting the "American" community. Some I have talked to knew nothing about the statistics of black men being killed by police or  incarcerated in prisons. They didn't know that Nicholas Taft Thomas had died violently, or Calvon Reid had been tasered to death by police, or that a black man had been found hanging from a tree recently in Mississippi. Perhaps they don't believe it is their problem!

"All things are one. If I hurt you, I hurt myself."
--- Steven Pressfield, The War of Art

While people are concerned that our black men, our assets, are being taken because of racism or body parts trading, funeral directors are focused on providing compassion and a "good looking death package" to distraught families who have to bury their children/grandchildren at an alarmingly increasing rate. 


Do not use without permission.
Time for meeting at a funeral home for all the wrong reasons, homicide and murder, has got to stop! (Tomi Johnson with Funeral Director Willie Watkins in Atlanta, Ga.)
We must think about this and act in a positive way to save ourselves and our legacies.

For the numbers, check this out: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2015/04/20/upshot/missing-black-men.html?abt=0002&abg=1

Friday, April 17, 2015

Breaking news: Ebenezer Baptist Church place for Nicholas Thomas homegoing service

Congressman Hank Johnson, Ga., 4th district
U.S. Congressman Hank Johnson will speak at the funeral of Nicholas Thomas on Saturday, April 18 at 10 a.m. at the Ebenezer Baptist Church, 101 Jackson Street N.E., Atlanta Georgia, 30312.

Congressman Hank Johnson of Georgia’s 4th Congressional District is a leading proponent of demilitarization of local law enforcement agencies. Most recently, Congressman Johnson spoke out about the shooting of unarmed Black men on the House floor by saying, "It feels like open season on Black men in America, and I’m outraged.”

Platinum recording artist and actress D. Woods has expressed her support of the Thomas family and will be singing a gospel selection during the service.

When every facet of our community comes together to say Nicholas Thomas’ life mattered, they are acknowledging that all Black Life Matters. The family is thankful that historic Ebenezer Baptist Church, America's freedom church and Dr. Rafael Warnock have been incredibly kind and loving towards their family,” said Robert Bozeman, the family's attorney.

"We appreciate Congressman Johnson, D. Woods, and Wanda Smith (radio personality) for joining us as we celebrate the life of our son," said Felicia Thomas, mother of Nicholas Thomas. "The support we have received has been a blessing, and we look forward to seeing the community on Saturday at Ebenezer."

Monday, April 13, 2015

Pope Francis' Armenian tragedy speech rewritten to address police killings in U.S.


(Rewritten using Pope Francis’ message on Armenian genocide as inspiration)

Innocent people are dying at the hands of police every day. There is not one family untouched by the loss of loved ones due to killing and beating tragedies perpetrated by officers sworn to protect and serve them. It is a “Great Evil” in our world and country. Forty-seven years after Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee, black males are being slaughtered on streets and sidewalks, Tasered and killed by bullets before they have a chance to defend themselves in court. Our whole world needs to address this issue, pause, and pray for peace for our families and communities, especially for non-white people in the “developed” world.

Today is a propitious occasion for us to pray together to God and to His Saints for deliverance. A list of saints we revere and pray to are St. Benedict the Moor, patron saint of Blacks in U.S.; St. Augustine of Hippo, St Josephine Bakhita of Sudan; St. Maurice of Egypt, patron saint of southern Germany and parts of France, Spain, Italy, and Switzerland;  St. Monica of Hippo, St. Augustine’s mother; Martín de Porres of Lima, Peru, patron saint of the Poor; St. Moses the Black of Egypt, St. Peter Claver of Spain, St. Bessarion the Great of Egypt, St. Antonio Vieira, born in Portugal; St. Anthony the Great of Egypt, St. Pierre Toussaint of Haiti, St. Mary of Egypt, patron saint of chastity; St. Julian and St. Basilissa , and St. Thais of Egypt.

We are a sinful and sorrowful humanity, oppressed by the anguish of its powerlessness, but illuminated by the splendor of God’s love. We are praying for God’s saving intervention which is capable of transforming all things.  Our belief in God is indeed ancient, and we have overcome many trials and sufferings, animated by the hope which comes from above. This faith has accompanied and sustained during the tragic experience of slavery, during Emancipation, during lynchings, during the Civil Rights movement, and today during the time of Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Eric Harris, Calvon Reid, Walter Scott, Nicholas Thomas, and a long list of those suffering at the hands of night watchmen and police. 

On April 12th, a total of 88 black men have been reported killed by police since 2015 began, representing 37% of killings by police when black men represent  only 7% of the U.S. male population. According to Ras Memnon, “young Black males are 21 times more likely to die by the hands of police than their White counterparts.  Every Black parent, unlike White parents, has to worry about White cops brutalizing or killing their children, especially males.”

It is our responsibility, the entire human family, to help all subjugated and oppressed people and heed these tragic warnings, seeking to protect us from falling into a similar horror, which offends God and human dignity. If these atrocities can happen to one, they can happen to all. These conflicts may degenerate into unjustifiable violence, stirred up by exploiting ethnic and religious differences. All who are Heads of State and of International Organizations are called to oppose such crimes with a firm sense of duty, without ceding to ambiguity or compromise.

May these sorrowful events make us have humble and sincere reflection, and may every heart be open to forgiveness, which is the source of peace and renewed hope. “Remember, [Lord,]… those of the human race who are our enemies as well, and for their benefit accord them pardon and mercy… Do not destroy those who persecute me, but reform them, root out the vile ways of this world, and plant the good in me and them.”  May God grant oppressed people around the world peace.  May we take up the path of reconciliation. Despite conflicts and tensions, we seek peaceful coexistence, solidarity and mutual help, even in the midst of violence. Only in this way will new generations open themselves to a better future and will the sacrifice of so many become seeds of justice and peace. May we find ourselves in deep prayer. May it strengthen the bonds of fraternal friendship between all religious groups.

Taking refuge beneath Your boundless wings which grant us the protection of Your intercession, we lift up our hands to you, oh God, and with unquestioned hope, we believe that we are saved.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

How to end racism

Nicholas Thomas vigil. Do not use without permission.
Black people must make constructive progress to produce justice or face extinction.
"Follow a code of thought, speech, and action that is productive of a thing called justice...when we interact with each other, make sure that every interaction, every time one black person contacts another, make sure that the result has a constructive effect. It's just that simple.

"Before you pick up a cellphone, an iPad, or whatever, and contact anybody, or go to a meeting...when I come away...it's going to have a constructive effect...eventually the white racist will have to make a decision: whether they're going to produce justice...or destroy all the non-white people on the planet. I mean, exterminate us! And we should push them to have to make that decision. Now, that's cold, but this is where it is...there's no other direction to go.

"It's not like there's an option. Actually, everything we are doing is leading up to that...where those white people, not all white people, just the white people who believe in white supremacy, and they are the smartest and most powerful... they're gonna have to make a decision if black people keep making constructive progress."---Mr. Neely Fuller, Jr.

Police brutality, excessive force major issues for community groups

Do not use without permission.
Nicholas Thomas vigil attendee wears slave ship on back.
 Why the surge of police attacks on black people?
Where do we go from here?
 
Cobb County, Ga...Cobb United for Change Coalition will hold a community meeting April 21, 5pm - 8:30pm at the Cobb County Central Library, 266 Roswell Street, Marietta, Ga. 30060.
 
Issues to be addressed include:
           -     Racial profiling in Cobb County in general and at police check-points
-    Cobb County police refusal to address white criminal activity
-    Police refusal to respond to 911 calls in Powder Springs area
-    How to file a binding and legal complaint against the police department
-    Human Rights for all races
-    Police related deaths and beatings:
Uploaded by Theo's Little Bot. (WP:NFCC#4) Facebook photo
     1. murder of Walter Scott, New Charleston, S.C., April 4, 2015
     2. choke hold death of Eric Garner in NYC, NY, July 17, 2014
     3. gun death of Tamir Rice in Cleveland, Ohio, November 22, 2014
     4. brutal deaths of seven young African-American men in Missouri since 2014
     5. shooting of naked Kevin Davis in Atlanta two weeks ago
     6. shooting death of Jason Harrison, Dallas, Texas,  June 14, 2014
     7. murder of Aiyana Stanley-Jones, Detroit, May 16, 2010

From Sincere Ignorance blog - http://sincereignorance.com/2015/02/03/4-years-later-after-the-botched-raid-which-lead-to-aiyana-stanley-joness-death/
    8. beating of Martese Johnson, Charlottesville, Virginia, March 18, 2015
    9. killing of Nicholas Thomas, Smyrna, Ga., March 24, 2015

 
   10. Taser death of Calvon Reid,  Coconut Creek, Florida, February 22/24, 2015
 
For more information on this event, contact Helen Riley (770-423-2040) or Rich Pellegrino (404-573-1199).

Photo of the Week

Do not use without permission.
Jeriene Bonner-Grimes wears NAACP jacket at Nicholas Thomas vigil, Smyrna, Ga.
Demand justice. Help those who need it most.---Mr. Neely Fuller

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Father pleads for Obama to intervene in Nicholas Thomas death

Do not use without permission.
Sign held at Thomas' vigil in Smyrna, Ga. last week
Gofundme account - http://www.gofundme.com/q3g7kg

Huey Thomas, father of Nicholas Thomas who was killed by police, has sent the following letter to President Obama:
 
Dear Honorable President Barack Obama:

My son Nicholas Thomas was executed by Smyrna Police on March 24th in Smyrna, GA, as a result of an outstanding traffic warrant for probation violation. There are many stories in the media concerning my son's criminal history. However, all information is not true.

Nicholas was working at Bob McDonald Goodyear in Unincorporated Cobb County when Smyrna Police visited his job to serve a warrant from what I know to be from another jurisdiction (Clayton County). There was also another police department, Cobb County Police, who Smyrna called to assist them, involved in the incident. No Sheriff's personnel from Clayton County were on the scene. SWAT officers later joined for a total of 30 or more police officers on the scene. This is extremely excessive for a traffic violation.

My concern is that my son was unarmed when he saw police. He was in a vehicle at work doing his job. Upon driving the vehicle to service it as requested by his boss, slightly before police arrived, he saw police before they saw him and he panicked. At that point there were at least seven police officers who pulled up to his job, including a K-9 unit with a dog that they had on a leash to turn loose on him if he attempted to run on foot.

Nicholas attempted to flee because he was afraid. I truly believe this in my soul. There are witnesses to the fact that police shot my son when he drove into a slight embankment in which the vehicle that he was to work on could not move any further due to being bogged down in the earth after jumping a curb.

Smyrna Police shot my unarmed son dead when the car he was driving was stopped and could not move any further. Several witnesses have attested to this fact. Police claim that he was driving directly at them when in fact all bullets fired were on the side and rear of the vehicle that my son was in. They shot fatal shots on the right side of the vehicle, then fired bean bags on the left side of the vehicle to confirm that he was dead. There were no bullets fired anywhere at the front of the vehicle, in which Smyrna Police claim that my son was attempting to run them over in the parking lot of his workplace when they shot at him taking his life.

This is exactly opposite of what they should have done to an unarmed man. Smyrna Police are investigating themselves in his killing and I believe this to be the most offensive thing that can be allowed when police are investigating themselves in crimes that they commit against citizens.

I am respectfully asking that something be done in America to attempt to prevent the militarization of police departments and the shear disrespect that they continue to have against the Black community, specifically when it comes to young black men. My son was a father of a 4 1/2 month old daughter, our first grandchild. He was a loving son, 23 years old, who aspired to be an automotive service owner.

In recent weeks a naked black man with known mental health issues was shot, while unarmed, and no police are being held accountable for this tragedy, as once again – they are "investigating" themselves and not being held accountable for their actions. It is also a shame that my son was gunned down at this job for being fearful of the many officers trained down upon him under the circumstances of an outstanding warrant for a traffic violation.

Sir, I would like to know if you can attend my son's funeral to assist my family with the plight of preventing this from happening again and to assist with beginning a movement of changing the way police officers around the nation view and react to young Black American men. Please contact me at your convenience at -----, or you may contact my family attorney's Davis and Bozeman at -----. I sincerely appreciate your time and consideration. I am also within hopes that this letter reaches your desk. You have been the best President in my lifetime and I am extremely proud of you, your family, and the things that you have done for this world.

Sincerely,
Huey Thomas
 

Braves Stadium construction accident, one injured

A track hoe toppled over this afternoon in Atlanta where the new Braves Stadium construction is underway at the I-285/ I-75 interchange. Video shows operator being taken away on a stretcher.

Video by Kurk D. Johnson. © 2015 All rights reserved. Do not use without permission.

Breaking news...Nicholas Thomas funeral scheduled

 

Nicholas Taft Thomas' funeral services will be held Saturday, April 18 at 10 a.m. in the Horizon Sanctuary, Ebenezer Baptist Church, 407 Auburn Avenue NE in Atlanta, Ga.

Viewing will be held Friday, April 17 from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Willie Watkins Funeral Home in Atlanta at 1003 Ralph David Abernathy Blvd. (404) 758-1731.

To donate towards funeral expenses, go to http://www.gofundme.com/q3g7kg