The Forgotten Issue – Police Violence Against Black Men (and Women)

The Forgotten Issue – Police Violence Against Black Men (and Women)

kaepernick sitting

By Jesuorobo Enobakhare, Jr

A photo of  Colin Kaepernick tweeted out by Jennifer Lee Chan on August 26, 2016 launched a public debate.  Kaepernick stated his action (sitting, which led to kneeling, during the anthem) was due to the oppression of people of color and ongoing issues with police brutality.  However what was intended to draw attention to the demand for justice for people of color, quickly turned into a debate centered on patriotism, supporting the US Armed Forces, and First Amendment Rights; meanwhile the subject of his action was quickly and quietly ushered off of the main stage.

Let’s take a moment to acknowledge a few of the unarmed men and women of color killed by police courtesy of Daniell Funke and Tina Susman of the LA Times http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-police-deaths-20160707-snap-htmlstory.html:

  • Alton Sterling, 37 Baton Rouge, LA – 2016
  • Gregory Gunn, 58 Montgomery, AL – 2016
  • Samuel DuBose, 43 Cincinnati, OH – 2015
  • Brendon Glenn, 29 Los Angeles, CA – 2015
  • Freddie Gray, 25 Baltimore, MD – 2015
  • Natasha McKenna, 37 Fairfax County, VA – 2015
  • Walter Scott, 50 Charleston, SC – 2015
  • Christian Taylor, 19 Arlington, TX – 2015
  • Michael Brown Jr., 18 Ferguson, MO – 2014
  • Ezell Ford, 25, Los Angeles, CA – 2014
  • Eric Garner, 43, Staten Island, NY – 2014
  • Akai Gurley, 28, New York, NY – 2014
  • Laquan McDonald, 17, Chicago, Il – 2014
  • Tamir Rice, 12, Cleveland, OH – 2014

A few of the names you may be familiar with, all of the names many are not.  But most are familiar with Colin Kaepernick and by his actions he spoke for all of them.

In 2017 Colin Kaepernick opted out of his contract with the 49ers. As of yet he has not been signed by another NFL team while at the same time police violence against black men and women has continued. Once again the conversation is not about the victims but has now shifted to the reasons for Colin Kaepernick not being signed by an NFL team, First Amendment Rights and NFL boycotts.

This reminds me of a scene from The Dark Knight – “You spat in the faces of Gotham’s worse criminals.  Didn’t you think there would be some casualties?  Things were always going to get worse before they got better.” – Alfred Pennyworth to Bruce Wayne (Batman).

Football is the most popular sport in America.  Racism and oppression of people of color has been a part of the American way since the founding of this country.  Colin Kaepernick unintentionally (or intentionally) drew a battle line against racism and oppression in front of millions of NFL fans.  The battle for the soul of our country was laid bare for all to see. But instead of the issue being confronted and finally resolved, the NFL owners have decided to fight to restore the status quo by the supposedly “quieting” of one voice.

Colin Kaepernick took a knee, not for you nor me, he took a knee for those voiceless known and unknown black men and women who were the victims of police violence and it is now up to us to not only be their voices in protest, but to also to work to change the system and end the bloodshed so that those lives lost will not be lives lost in vain.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Jesuorobo A. Enobakhare, Jr.

Contact him by email at jesuorobo@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter @Jesuorobo.

 

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TBT Article – The War on Voting Rights For Minorities Begins

TBT Article – The War on Voting Rights For Minorities Begins

What we have witnessed in regards to the United States Supreme Court decision on Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 is a clever strategic move (gamble, hedged bet, etc…) by the Republican Party that caught many by surprise.  In 2006 when Congress voted to reauthorize the Voting Rights Act of 1965, Republicans knew that would buy them some votes from the so-called black conservatives (and other minorities) and their hands would be clean regarding voting rights for minorities.

What most of us did not realize was that Republicans knew by stacking the Supreme Court, they would be able to eventually get the “unelected” branch of the United States government to do their dirty work. Now in 2013 Republicans pretty much have a stacked deck. They control congressional redistricting, they control the Supreme Court (to a degree), they have the majority in congress (house), and they now have what appears to be the advantage when it comes to voting.

The Republican “Master Plan” was unleashed with all of its fury and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 is pretty much useless as there is currently no way to enforce it, thereby opening the gateway for any and all voter suppression tactics to become state laws. This was but the first successful shot launched in the war against voting rights for minorities. Now is the time for us to get our hands dirty and fight to win this war.

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How do we win?

  1. We educate everyone in every state on their respective state’s Voter ID Laws.
  2. We make sure the elderly have transportation to get their Voter ID’s and the money to pay for them.
  3. We put our respective congressmen on notice that if they don’t do something about Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that they will not be in office after the next election.
  4. Most importantly we vote in the next election and every election afterwards as if our lives depended upon it.

Time to get out of our soon to be nonexistent comfort zones, create our strategies to implement the four objectives mentioned above and prove to our forefathers that the blood, sweat and tears they shed in order to ensure a guaranteed right to vote were not shed in vain.

Jesuorobo A. Enobakhare, Jr. is a Moderate Democratic Blogger who cuts through the rhetoric so that individuals can see the reality of political statements and how those statements turned into action can affect them. Contact him by email at jesuorobo@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter @Jesuorobo.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Jesuorobo A. Enobakhare, Jr.

This was originally published on June 26, 2013

We Need a Solution

IMG_0422Making fun of our president is really fun. I would be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy it. Showcasing the hypocrisy of the Trump administration and their lies is something that is a daily feature on many of our timelines. While it can be fun, informative, stressful, and disheartening all at the same time, we cannot lose site of one thing:

Pointing out the problem is not the same as identifying a solution.

We all need to be identifying (local, state, federal) candidates, legislation, like minded groups, initiatives and individuals and supporting them with our ideas, time, and campaign / nonprofit donations so that we can get our communities, states, and country back on track.

That is the solution.

Is the US Political System Rigged?

political parties

Simple answer? No

The US political system is a participation based system. Groups that participate benefit. Those that do not participate do not benefit. In the early days of our country only white male landowners had a voice in the political process. If you weren’t white, a male, nor owned land you were SOL. So blacks and other people of color as well as women fought for and received a place at the table from a voting perspective.

Participation is much more than just voting. Voting is the bare minimum. Participation includes engaging elected officials on needed legislation as well as following up with elected officials on campaign promises. Participation includes joining like-minded groups and using group leverage to keep elected officials honest.

The problem with participation is this:

First, the percentage of the population that participates is very small. There are far more non-participants yelling that the system is rigged who don’t see that their non-participation is the reason the politics does not work in their favor. 

Secondly, there are participant groups that are a few members short of the numbers needed to achieve their like-minded goals. That lends to frustration that can cause the participation rolls to drop.

So the key to benefitting from the US political system is knowing that power is in the hands of those with the numbers. Get active. Join a political group. Participate.