Posts made in April 2020

When A Harvard Professor Pulls The Homeschool Fire Alarm




There’s a firestorm brewing and this time it’s not the usual suspect causing the uproar. It’s a highly acclaimed Harvard professor who ruffled the feathers of the homeschooling community by suggesting an all out ban on the practice if stricter regulations and measures aren’t put in place to protect homeschooled children.

Elizabeth Bartholet, Wasserstein public interest professor of law and faculty director of the Law School’s Child Advocacy Program, says although the risks for homeschooled children are real, her position is misunderstood. “I do not propose a ban. I propose that those who want to homeschool satisfy a burden of demonstrating they have good reason to homeschool and are capable of providing their children with an adequate education. I also make clear in the article that there are many parents homeschooling today who have very good reason to do so, including problems their local schools may present, and that many of them are providing educations superior to what their children would receive in the public schools,” she said in a statement to ePa.

Bartholet goes on to say, “I think if you take another look at my article it will clarify that various critics have not been giving an accurate picture of my position. There are dozens of articles and books on homeschooling that make many of the same descriptive and critical points I do and that make a wide range of regulatory proposals. Many of these call for regulation to address the child maltreatment issue. Many call for regulation to try to ensure adequate education. Some go far beyond me in the restrictive direction to propose an absolute ban.” Nonetheless, the damage has been done as many homeschoolers say they feel picked on and attacked by Bartholet and her anecdotes. Those who took particular offense are the religious homeschoolers.

Below is a Q & A with self-described religious homeschoolers Matt and Jenn Kallman from Michigan.

ePa: What are your thoughts on the report authored by Prof. Bartholet on the risks of homeschooling? 

As I read the abstract, I couldn’t help but picture the overweight, middle-aged man criticizing the performance of the professional athletes on the television in his living room.  With that metaphor stuck in my brain, I charged into digesting the 80 pages. The central thesis seems to me summed up in the statement “Anecdotal evidence is alarming.”  (pg 17).   On pg 56 she cites as one of these anecdotes, “A bill was introduced in Michigan in 2015 in response to the death of two children found in a freezer. They had been withdrawn from school for alleged homeschooling despite the mother’s prior CPS involvement.”

As life-long Michiganders, we remember this horrible story from the news. These stories are clearly awful and it is a tragedy that any children live (and die) with such horrors. But, it seems an enormous stretch to suggest situations like this are “homeschooling”. By no definition was that place a “home” and it is likely no “schooling” was attempted.

Should Professor Bartholet protest that it is lax regulation like in Michigan that enables such things so we ought to consider them part of the “homeschool community”, I would wonder whether societies like Germany which outright prohibit homeschooling are totally free of anecdotes of awful parents who escape the system designed to protect children. Should Professor Bartholet demonstrate that there are no anecdotes of such behavior, then I would begrudgingly put such anecdotes back into the homeschool circle. But, I doubt she could point to a society that is “anecdote free”.

Other than anecdotal information, I can’t find any supporting data for statements like “Many homeschooling parents are simply not interested in educating their children. Some remove their children from school specifically because they have been accused of truancy. Some do so specifically to avoid child protection laws.” (pg 11)

The article is filled with assertions like “A very large proportion of homeschooling parents are …” (pg 5-6) and “These parents are committed to homeschooling largely because they reject …”.  If from my house I wrote an article about the educational system in Russia, I could very well gather information and make assertions about the educational system there. If I don’t know the language nor have ever visited Russian educational facilities and talked with those in the system it’s doubtful I’d have a very good perspective. Professor Bartholet clearly knows neither the language of the homeschooling community nor has ever made a significant effort to assess things “on the ground” to get an informed perspective.

The author clearly lives in the political perspective of academia. An innocent example is how she naively assumes we will read a statement like “HSLDA’s influence is illustrated by the fact that the current U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos met with HSLDA leaders early in her tenure” as a clear negative.

Here in Betsy DeVos’ hometown we’re quite happy that she would meet with a pro-educational-freedom organization like HSLDA. A not-so-innocent example is this statement: The U.S. Constitution with its negative rights structure is an anomaly, outdated and inadequate by the standards of the rest of the world.

To seriously believe the U.S. Constitution is an outdated anomaly is not mainstream political thought in the U.S. and re-enforces one of the reasons we homeschool. The combination of bureaucrats and academics being in charge of education is a recipe for failure in the long run. Families who homeschool are doing it for many different reasons that boil down to a genuine desire to do the best for their children. There are awful anecdotes of situations in the real homeschool community where depravity of adults destroys the lives of children. Homeschoolers care about those children and want to ensure society can protect those instances without infringing on general freedoms of families to choose the best option for their children. Professor Bartholet unknowingly makes the case that the anecdote is not the reality. Or would she have us believe that a large group of lazy, under-educated, unintelligent child abusers has one of the most effective political lobbies in the United States?

ePa: Why did your family decide to homeschool?

Homeschooling can be hard. There are days we wonder if it is worth the effort. However, we decided to homeschool and continue to decide that because we believe it is best for our family and children. It forces us to be together and work together as a family. We have the opportunity to give our children our perspective on religion, science, art, music, et cetera. This perspective includes giving them a broader perspective than they would receive in a traditional school. We also feel it is most natural to continue educating our children within our family just like the early years of their childhood. Similarly, we take care of our children’s health on a daily basis and reach out to experts for information, help and diagnosis. We see education similarly.

We love the flexibility homeschooling provides us to capitalize on unique opportunities. For example, last month we spent time in the English countryside, London and Copenhagen. The socialization opportunities are so much better than a traditional school organized by age group. And we believe educational needs are changing (when I was in high school Google was barely a thing) and it’s easier to evolve educational approach outside of the large system.  Additionally, we have found homeschooling really helps us tailor the educational pace and content to each particular child.

ePa: Bartholet states that studies show that 90-percent of parents choose to homeschool for religious reasons, specifically conservative Christian beliefs. Since your family falls in this category, (on being religious only, as I don’t know your political standing) what are your thoughts on her assertion that some of these parents are extreme religious ideologues who question science and promote female subservience and white supremacy? You’re welcome to share your political views in your response. 

We don’t personally know anyone in our homeschool community that is a white supremacist. Bartholet would think we question science and promote female subservience. We don’t, but she would think that of us. Our Christian perspective does influence our thinking around origins and we believe the Bible gives equal value to all humans but equips each of us in a family with different roles and responsibilities. We do hold traditional Christian views based on many thousands of years of tradition and perspective.

Are there homeschoolers who we think have an incorrect ideology? Of course. Just like we think Bartholet has an incorrect ideology. However, that is the essence of a free society. We live, we discuss, we learn from each other and we shouldn’t attempt to impose Bartholet’s ideas on homeschoolers any more than we should impose our ideas on other families.

ePa: Have you experienced any form of racism in your homeschooling community and are you part of a diverse community of religious homeschoolers?

No, we have not experienced racism. Yes, we are part of a diverse community of religious homeschoolers. We are a multi-ethnic family with two sons who were born in China and we are welcomed and loved in our homeschool community.

ePa: Would you recommend homeschooling for others as a permanent option, as most parents are having to homeschool their own children due to the global health crisis? 

Each family should consider what is best for them. We think it is right for us at this time and place, and we recognize it is not right for some families. Each area may have different levels of homeschooling support. We leverage a lot of online curriculum and content. Additionally, our area has an enormous homeschool community, even a Homeschool Building.

ePa: Is there anything in her report that you agree with? 

The page numbers all appear to be accurate. Just kidding. I think philosophically we have extremely different perspectives, but I would think we share an understanding that a deep discussion of what is best for children is a worthy endeavor!

ePa: What would you like Bartholet, and others, to know about homeschoolers that you think she missed in formulating her opinion? 

Homeschoolers are people. Some highly educated and quirky, others more down to earth, conservative, liberal, free-wheeling, by-the-book, big families, small families, religious, and atheists. You should connect with some personally to expand you perspective. Maybe you would still reach the same conclusions, but with a better educated perspective.

ePa: Is there anything else you would like to add that I didn’t ask but is worthy of mention? 

After answering all the questions above I went and watched the video of the interview of Professor Bartholet talking about international adoption. I was genuinely surprised as it seemed she was on the opposite side of logic in the debate surrounding international adoption compared to the arguments around homeschooling. As Professor Bartholet responded to criticism of ancecdotes of adoption failures, “overall it’s an amazingly rosy picture.”

Presuming Bartholet’s intentions were pure and meant to advocate positive change in the homeschooling community makes no difference unfortunately, because the blaring sound of the fire alarm she pulled is echoing across the land and causing brows to furrow. Nonetheless, with more parents having to take on the challenge of homeschooling their children during a nationwide lockdown due to the Coronavirus pandemic, it is a worthwhile subject to approach. Preferably without insulting those who take deep pride in teaching and molding their children as they see fit. After all, teaching starts in the home.

Homeschoolers and ePa’s Jeanette Lenoir discuss Professor Bartholet’s report via Zoom:

Zoom discussion participants are: Ramona Persaud, Isabella Ehrlich, Ken Walling, Kris Shea and Sue Lappan. *Kris Shea follows American homeschooling regulations while in UAE.


Michigan State Senator Dale W. Zorn Exposed His Klan Sheet And Must Resign Now




Dale. W. Zorn

Dale W. Zorn is a Klansman who traded in his white sheet for a more socially acceptable uniform to serve as a Republican in the Michigan Senate. Black people and their supporters in the struggle for basic human and civil rights have been warning about his ilk for decades. Well, he finally showed up as he truly is. A blatant racist cloaked in his favorite symbol of hate; the Confederate flag. His wife, embodying the spirit of ol’ Betsy Ross herself, worked tirelessly through the night supposedly to ensure her brave chubby hubby would shine, like a proud demon showing off its newly sharpened horns, in the state Capitol where he pretends to work on behalf of his fellow Americans. Unfortunately, and despite the lapse of time, the birth of change and enlightenment, Zorn’s only agenda is to strengthen and advance the racist structures of our government. Let’s be clear. This pathetic coward is not working for US, but rather against the ideals of our country, yet to be fully fulfilled. One nation, under God with liberty and justice for all? Absolutely not, because those powerful words that wake up our true American spirit of unity and brotherhood is cheapened and reduced to mere lip service with his continued presence in office. So, Zorn must resign.

Zorn, after receiving scorn for his appalling but honest behavior, backtracked on being a lone-standing brave little confederate soldier in the fight for the preservation of slavery and segregation, the spirit and intent of a flag this country’s been trying to bury since the end of the Civil war. Don’t fall for his insincere apology and blatant lies. His intentions were clear and direct. He hates black people, and everyone else that particular symbol of hate targets in its scorn as a way to preserve lily white lives.

This is a man who voted for cage free chickens but can’t see humanity in black people. This is a man who votes to make life more difficult for the most vulnerable population in his community, poor and disabled people, and yet flaunts his full belly, evidence of his decadent and privileged life. Shame on those who voted for him time and time again. And shame on those who don’t see the value and importance of voting. They say all politics is local. It’s true, more so than ever before, and Zorn holding office for as long as he has is clear evidence of this. I don’t have to live in the 17th District of Michigan represented by this pig man to know that those who do, deserve better. I can only hope and encourage them to see Zorn for exactly what he is: a bona fide racist, and demand his resignation.

Some will undoubtedly and mistakenly reach for the nonsensical excuse of forgiveness with oppressive sayings like, “they know not what they do.” Unless you’re stuck on stupid, you better believe these racists cowards know exactly what they do. As a matter of fact, they’ve perfected the art of racism by merely switching their Klan sheets for robes, uniforms and fancy suits. We’ve certainly made some progress since the days our black leaders marched and boycotted for freedom and civil rights. But, the work to bring about real and lasting change is far from over. And Zorn is a stark reminder of the remnants of segregation, Jim Crow, lynching’s, including the near annihilation of Native Americans. And those who take issue with this strong rebuke of his action and call for his immediate resignation, would be well served to familiarize themselves with American history, the Morrill Act or Land-Grant Universities that to this day, reap billions from the theft of Native American lands. History is a cycle of repeated events. So, when will we learn? I don’t know. But it starts by standing up. It starts by speaking truth to power, fearlessly. And demanding the immediate resignation of those still romanticizing our shameful history of slavery, and the holocaust of Native Americans. Luckily, we can count on their stupidity similar to their hate when they advertise the depths of their depraved souls by wearing or flying the Confederate flag. Perhaps, similar to a sex offenders list, America should keep a racist list. Nonetheless, Zorn, who’s been in office for nearly 30 years, must resign. Can you image the black, brown, poor and disabled life’s he’s negatively impacted in his community with his votes? I can. And as such, this is an appeal to awaken your moral sense, Michigan. Wake up and do better. Demand Zorn resign, now.


The Silver Lining Of Covid-19 Is Going Back To Basics




The world is in mourning and lockdown. There isn’t a decent human soul not feeling the pain and burden of the Coronavirus pandemic. And, you’re absolutely right. Donald Trump and his minions didn’t make the human decency list. They were too busy injecting bleach into their veins and feverishly working on anti-immigration policies with Steven “Gargamel” Miller to be considered. Unfortunately, this pandemic only represents an opportunity for this administration to force inhumane and un-American values down our throats and feeding into our unraveling as one nation beholden to certain unalienable rights. And it always works when people are living in fear and with a sense of uncertainty.

This collective hurt is monumental and crippling. One can only find a small piece of solace in the shared blow of losing loved ones, jobs and life’s basic rhythm. Most of us would give up all material possessions to reverse this mess we’re stewing in. But, there are silver linings in the dark skies if you look for them. Here are some examples: animals are venturing back into deserted towns, the environment is losing some of its human stain built up from thousands of years of our carbon footprints. Mountains are peaking through clouds to see the cause of the fresh air surrounding them. Recently jellyfish and pink dolphins were seen frolicking in clear boat canals in Venice. Grass is growing between Rome’s historic cobblestone roads again due to the decrease in human activity. Goats are showing off all over Europe, as they take advantage of their new strange world without people unfolding before their eyes. Scientists keeping watchful eyes on our ozone layer are reporting good news for Mother Earth. Pollution is down across the world. Families are rediscovering the value of their tribes and reconnecting in ways unheard of. Many are taking up hobbies and venturing into areas of their lives they only dreamed of exploring after retiring the human rat race. Streets all across the world are empty and people, despite the pandemic that stopped us in our ruthless track on Earth, are experiencing life in ways never imagined.

Although there’s nothing to celebrate about Covid-19, it’s important to focus on the light in the middle of this storm to get us all through it. We’re going back to the basics. And there’s never been more value in the basics now that it’s the only option for most of us. Cheap wine tastes better, cooking skills are improving, and even the way we’re taking in the arts is changing. Musicians and other artists from all walks of life are taking their skills to the internet to continue sharing their gifts with the world. We’re finding our way through this pandemic by embracing each other and the basics as never before. And that’s a beautiful silver lining in the midst of the dark cloud that is Coronavirus.

This pandemic is a test of our determination to improve our human activities, reverse our destructive behaviors and ultimately save the world and her inhabitants. And this load can’t be carried by the poor, middle class, the underserved and powerless alone. The powerful and rich elites among us must find their way back to a sense of humanity, and the basics too, by curbing their greed and instinct to take advantage of a bad situation. There is no planet B and so it behooves us all to take this moment, as tragic and painful as it is, to be better human beings. Not just at home, but everywhere we roam.


Anderson Cooper’s Faux Journalistic Push Of Las Vegas Mayor Is A Problem


This is not going to be a popular opinion. Most of us have already seen the disastrous interview between CNN’s Anderson Cooper and Las Vegas Mayor, Carolyn Goodman, an independent politician in her seat since 2011. The title of the show down, “Anderson Cooper presses Las Vegas mayor over wish to reopen” gives you an idea of what’s to go down. Unfortunately, what is seen is Cooper using all his journalistic might to antagonize and corner the mayor into sound bite news that have taken on a life of their own. And, making matters worse like a bona fide snitch, Cooper brings his phony assertion of what he desperately tried to get out of the mayor’s mouth to her boss: the Governor on Nevada, Stephen F. Sisolak. He gave Cooper his next big ticket interview to ensure the people of his state that no one will be forced to kiss the Coronavirus like the mayor clearly suggested.

This display of so called journalism is exactly what’s wrong with the media today. You see, Cooper was not interested in informing people about Las Vegas’ plan to reopen after the Covid-19 shutdown, but to create havoc for ratings. Unfortunately, these attempts for high numbers only confuse and hurt the very people he’s pretending to work for. His behavior during the combative interview serves no useful purpose as far as public information is concerned. It’s certainly entertaining similar to YouTube videos that depict animals acting like humans, cats playing pianos or neighborhood brawls caught on camera. At the start of the video Cooper asks, “You assume everyone has the virus and is just asymptomatic. You want casinos open, Vegas back in business, is that a responsible call to make?” The mayor answers, “That wasn’t the call that I was really making. It was to get people back to work. We have so many in our hospitality crew. We’re 2.5 million people down here in Southern Nevada and we have so many out of work because of the casino shutdowns…” Goodman was then interrupted with Cooper’s laser-eyed death stare that showed his clear intent to take this woman to task using her own words against her. Never mind that she answered him clearly when first asked, that she was NOT calling for the city to open the next day, but expressing her desire to open her city sooner rather than later. Let’s not forget these are the same media tactics that have been used to demonize black people and even the continent of Africa, even to this day. “They take one little word out of what you say, ignore all the rest, and then begin to magnify it all over the world to make you look like what you actually aren’t,” Malcolm X said during a speech in Detroit the day after his house was firebombed by the Ku Klux Klan. He was talking about being condemned as a racist when he advocated for black people to fight back against their oppressors and lynchers.

Whether one agrees with her or not, Goodman does not have the authority to act unilaterally to reopen her city. And, frankly, she’s wrong to want to rush reopening during a pandemic, especially against the advice of health officials. But what makes Cooper the bad guy in this interview is his shameful and blatant attempt to bait Goodman into saying what he wants her to say, which can then be used as a weapon to further raise tensions in an already tense world. He brought fire and water to this interview and used each bucket for his needs; inflame, rescue. Cooper is an excellent journalist. I was incredibly proud of his powerful interview with former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich after his release from prison. He held him to account and didn’t let him get away with lying to the public, or even himself. It was epic. Unfortunately, that’s not what he did with his interview with Goodman. He cornered her, chastised and pushed her to perform exactly as he needed her to. And unfortunately, she did. How does this make us a better more informed society?  What did we get out of the interview? Absolutely nothing, other than a dose of reality TV that should have been titled: When Journalists Attack.

Media darlings like Cooper are known for their hard-hitting questions. He’s loved and valued for holding powerful people accountable. But who will hold the Anderson Coopers of the world accountable when they commit a foul? Take this similar circumstance out of the media arena and anyone with common sense would have stepped in to say, “Back off!” It’s important that in this era of Fake News that we take our time to really process the information we’re being served. We can no longer afford to take anyone’s word at face value, or depend on a headline for clues. The title for his combative and nasty exchange with Goodman suggests that he really did something to help The People stay informed, when in actuality, he exposed himself as part of the problem with today’s media business. I listened to the interview. I heard exactly what she said and tried to explain. I understood what she was trying to do; getting people quickly back into the swing of life again. I don’t agree with her. But I understood her position. There’s no fight here. Just Cooper yelling “Fire” in a crowded movie theater, while his camera crew film people’s reactions as they flee for the doors. Anderson Cooper’s interview with Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman is exactly what media manipulation looks like. And we must call it exactly what it is: Fake News.

Marking Earth Day In The Era Of Mass Industrialization And Global Disease




Can we love the Earth? That’s the fitting Socratic response to the famous soliloquy, “To be, or not to be” uttered by Hamlet so many moons ago. But yet, here we are playing the role of lover as we celebrate another Earth Day. A day of Man’s professed love and appreciation for the planet they inhabit. What a farce. Our illusion of self and our destruction of the planet knows no bound. And yet, here we are pretending to care about our only source of life while smoke billows behind us from massive machines and factories, inhabiting life next to pits steadily being dug deeper into the Earth’s crest in search of more riches for Richie Rich, while fracking is having a field day smashing through Mother Earth’s platelets. Happy Earth Day, fools!

Since 1970, at the height of the Vietnam War and two years after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., when certain people started to gain a level of conscientiousness of nature and its value, Earth Day became an annual celebration around the world to demonstrate love and support for the environment. I say certain people because indigenous and tribal peoples have always known and understood the value of nature. That’s why they respect Mother Earth and only take what they need. But not the rest of mankind with their unsatisfied appetite for the riches embedded in her bosoms.

During a webinar on Earth Day, Rev. Dr. Benjamin Chavis, Jr. said, “Every day should be affirmed as Earth Day.” Dr. Chavis, Jr., an assistant to Dr. King, Jr. in his youth, coined the term “environmental racism” which is, “racial discrimination in the deliberated targeting of ethnic and minority communities for exposure to toxic and hazardous waste sites and facilities, coupled with the systematic exclusion of minorities in environmental policy making, enforcement, and remediation.” The civil rights movement and the environmental movement intersected during this era to combat the destruction of underserved and poor communities across the country and the world. And that fight is still ongoing as landfills, mine pits and fracking stations litter the places were only the poor call home. Dr. Chavis says this day is a time to be reminded of the oneness of humanity adding, “Earth Day is also liberation day.” He says, “The Earth needs to be liberated from all the climate change deniers and from all the polluters who are damaging and destroying the lives of millions of people.” He also points to Native Americans who have long worked to get their European conquerors to see value and affirm the sacredness of Mother Earth … of little, or no avail.

Human beings must resist the evils of environmental destruction or face extinction. It’s unimaginable witnessing the Coronavirus pandemic that has killed hundreds of thousands of people, in turn, clearing the polluted waters of Venice, encouraging wild animals out from hiding to venture into formerly crowded streets and towns. Even jellyfish and dolphins are floating through clear canals in Europe again. It took death by an unknown disease to resuscitate environmental life. Why must it take disease, death and destruction to curb our enthusiasm for pollution? Our carbon footprint is killing the only planet we have and yet we have the audacity to celebrate Earth Day like lunatics. Charles Simmons said, “No man has a right to do what he pleases, except when he please to do right.” It’s time to do right by Mother Earth. And an annual celebration marking our love for her won’t cut it. We must face the reality of the role each and every one of us plays in the destruction of the Earth and change. Or, we can keep the “party” going … while we can.


America Needed Bernie Like A Drowning Man Needs A Lifebuoy


A little birdie told us, but we didn’t listen. And now the gap to enter the portal to take us to the promised land Dr. King envisioned is permanently closed with the end of Senator Bernie Sanders presidential campaign. We may never get the chance to equal the playing field of our times because the political structure supported by both Republicans and Democrats benefits the status quo: the powerful against the powerless. And as the source of cheap labor that allows rich corporations to prolong their feeding frenzy on Wall Street, we might as well accept our fate as 21st century slaves.

As we journey along the COVID-19 highway of death, it’s important to take note of how inequality and racism will impact the response to this pandemic by simply paying attention to those who help, and those who help themselves. While government officials and lobbyist fight for their take of the $2.2 trillion relief aid, the first of several promised, essential workers and communities across America are pulling together to help each other, coming up with inventive ways to survive this pandemic, all while they continue to fill the belly of the beast with gold coins as “essential workers.” It has become more evident how profoundly dependent the rich are on working class and poor people. And all along, Sen. Sanders has been fighting for, and alongside us, to bring about the equality, reform and justice this country’s working-class people desperately need. I’m sorry we failed him, again.

Sen. Sanders was the “come to Jesus moment” we could’ve had. He defended our human rights, workers rights, access to healthcare and education, tirelessly working to usher in opportunities for common, hard-working folks to taste the fruits of their labor that, since Reaganomics, only the wealthy get to enjoy. Sanders was unsuccessful in his bid to unchain us from our economic bondage to our inhumane capitalism structure because the nation is suffering from Stockholm’s syndrome. Some lawmakers even have the audacity to argue against people making a living wage, while defending billion-dollar companies who don’t pay taxes and take American manufacturing jobs to desperately poor and suffering people in developing countries to squeeze all they can from an unsustainable global workforce model. Having your cake and eating it too is more than a proverb for having it all, it’s the reality of our capitalistic system coveted by the rich and powerful. And who gets saddled with the costs of being an American? Poor and working-class citizens that these corporations apparently can’t live without. There is no justice here, just us … 244 years later, still unable to right so many wrongs, especially now with the exit of our last hope, Sen. Bernie Sanders.

It seems as if no one paid attention when Sanders exposed Joe Biden as a fibber and a pawn in the scheme to tighten the grip on power of working class people during one of their debates over freezing government benefits for veterans and the needy. Last week, he was arguing on our behalf on the Senate floor, even shaming Republicans who fought to limit how much money poor people should get from the Coronavirus relief aid. The people of this country, especially those who could have directly benefited from a Sanders White House, clearly forgot who marched, picketed and got arrested along side them. And black leaders throwing their support behind Biden, the man who lied about being part of the black struggle on the front lines of the civil rights movement, the man who publicly shamed and dismissed Anita Hill, the man who helped usher in an era of mass incarceration of black people, is not just misguided and unfortunate, it’s evidence of their failures applying the lessons that come with American history. We aren’t just at war with the Coronavirus, we’re at war with ourselves.

I am reminded of the late brilliant Dr. John Henrik Clarke who said Democrats use black people as political playthings. He argued that black people must not be fooled into thinking that Democrats want to cultivate our strength as a people. He said, “It wasn’t meant to be. No one ever got the simple thing: people never educate you in the technique you can use to take their power away from them. See, education has but one honorable purpose, one alone, everything else is a waste of time. That is to train the student to be a responsible handler of power. No one ever wants us to be responsible handlers of power. It has nothing to do with political lines. The left doesn’t want us to be responsible no more than the right. But they want to dominate us in a different way from the right. And they think they can dominate us better. It’s an argument of not whether or not we will be free, but who will enslave us.”

With Biden as the clear Democratic nominee in this highly contentious presidential race, it’s apparent we are partly to blame for what is happening in the country. If this virus doesn’t kill all the voters among us, I hope it wakes us up to see who our allies are. Not just in words, but in deeds. James Baldwin asked the poignant and still relevant question worthy to be asked today: “how much time do you want for your progress?” And even the peaceful Dr. King talked about reaching the regrettable conclusion that black progress must heel to, “the white moderate who is more devoted to order than to justice; who prefers a negative peace, which is the absence of tension to a positive peace, which is the presence of justice.”

“We are the richest country in the history of the world. Every worker deserves a living wage, paid leave, health care, and a union—at all times, not just during crisis,” said Sanders. What a radical. We should all be grateful we dodged that bullet and stick to what we’ve become accustomed to; modern day slavery with a spoonful of freedom. Sarcasm aside, it’s time to wake up America. We need a lifebuoy. And Biden is not the candidate to ask for mouth to mouth resuscitation as we gasp for air. Despite how “articulate” he is.

Black Communities Will Bear The Brunt Of The Coronavirus Epidemic


From Anacostia to the Marshall Heights neighborhood and beyond, some Washingtonians have to find new ways to stay safe, active and mindful of the deadly virus buckling governments in every corner of the world. It’s no secret African Americans will bear the brunt of the coronavirus illness and lead the death toll despite making up only 14 percent of America’s population. ProPublica, The New York Times and other publications are already documenting the number of people dying from the airborne disease by race and class, and according to preliminary findings, the numbers are not looking good for black people.

“As of Friday morning, African Americans made up almost half of Milwaukee County’s 945 cases and 81% of its 27 deaths in a county whose population is 26% black. Milwaukee is one of the few places in the United States that is tracking the racial breakdown of people who have been infected by the novel coronavirus, offering a glimpse at the disproportionate destruction it is inflicting on black communities nationwide. In Michigan, where the state’s population is 14% black, African Americans made up 35% of cases and 40% of deaths as of Friday morning. Detroit, where a majority of residents are black, has emerged as a hot spot with a high death toll. As has New Orleans. Louisiana has not published case breakdowns by race, but 40% of the state’s deaths have happened in Orleans Parish, where the majority of residents are black,” stated the report by Talia Buford who covers disparities in environmental impacts for ProPublica.

Although a handful of states are keeping track of the disease’s impact, according to ProPublica, the CDC is not keeping track of deaths and infections by race. Thankfully, other institutions like hospitals and city health officials are. While many are running to the aid of hospital workers and other essential employees in the thick of this global crisis, it remains to be seen who will help black communities survive COVID-19.

A New Path For Becoming Mambo: Finding Africa In The Amazon

Editor’s Note: There’s good news and bad news to share. First, the good news … Becoming Mambo: Finding Africa in the Amazon will be published in the near future. The not so good news? Our goal was to release each chapter for weekend reading in an effort to share this incredible story of culture. However, due to interest in the book by a publisher, the rest of the story will no longer be featured here on ePluribus: America. Although this ends a wonderful chapter of quarantined reading, those interested in the rest of the story will be able to purchase the book in its entirety in the future. The author certainly deserves this opportunity to share his experience and stories of black people, including being compensated for his dedication, efforts and incredible hard work to bring this story to life. Please continue to support writers, artists and all those who make life worth living, thanks to their contributions to Culture, the Arts and Humanities.  As developments unfold, ePa will keep readers informed of the new path of Becoming Mambo: Finding Africa in the Amazon.  Thank you for your understanding and support.


Ti Mambo