Posts tagged with "america"

A Salute to French-American History & Culture

 

National French Heritage Month, celebrated annually in July within the United States, stands as a testament to the profound impact of French Americans on the nation’s history and cultural fabric. This month-long celebration serves as an occasion to recognize and honor the significant contributions made by French Americans across various domains.

French Americans have played a pivotal role in shaping the United States since the earliest days of European colonization. Intrepid French explorers, traders, and settlers were among the first Europeans to venture into the uncharted territories of North America, leaving their indelible mark on the Midwest, the Great Lakes region, and the Mississippi River Valley. From the establishment of New Orleans – a vibrant city steeped in French culture – to the founding of Detroit, French Americans have left an enduring legacy on the landscape of the United States.

Throughout history, French Americans have made remarkable contributions in numerous spheres. In politics and government, they have held high-ranking positions, serving as presidents, governors, senators, and representatives, shaping policies and decisions that have influenced the course of the nation. In business and industry, French Americans have demonstrated their entrepreneurial spirit, establishing and leading successful enterprises that have driven economic growth and innovation.

French Americans have also left an indelible mark on the cultural landscape of the United States. Their influence is evident in American literature, where renowned authors such as Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald have woven French themes and settings into their works. In music, French American artists like Edith Piaf and Django Reinhardt have captivated audiences worldwide with their unique blend of jazz and French chanson. In art and film, French American directors, actors, and artists have made significant contributions, bringing a touch of French flair to Hollywood and the art world.

Moreover, French Americans have made notable strides in the fields of science and technology. Their intellectual curiosity and innovative spirit have led to groundbreaking discoveries and inventions. French Americans have played a crucial role in advancing medicine, engineering, and space exploration, contributing to the advancement of human knowledge and progress.

National French Heritage Month provides an opportunity for all Americans to celebrate the rich history and culture of French Americans. It is a time to recognize their invaluable contributions and to appreciate the enduring impact they have had on the United States. Through festivals, parades, educational programs, and cultural events, this month-long celebration fosters a greater understanding and appreciation of French American heritage, strengthening the bonds between the United States and France.

From the early days of exploration and settlement to the present day, France has played a pivotal role in shaping the identity and character of America. This month, let us celebrate and honor this rich legacy with enthusiasm and appreciation.

Here are some ways to celebrate the French influence on American culture and history in July:

  • Culinary Exploration: Indulge in the delectable flavors of French cuisine by visiting a French restaurant or trying your hand at preparing some classic French dishes at home. From the iconic ratatouille to the delicate flavors of coq au vin, there are countless culinary delights to savor.
  • Cinematic Masterpieces: Immerse yourself in the world of French cinema by watching a selection of acclaimed French films. From the poetic realism of Jean Renoir to the New Wave movement of the 1960s, French cinema offers a diverse range of cinematic experiences.
  • Musical Journey: Discover the rich tapestry of French music by listening to various genres, from classical composers such as Debussy and Ravel to contemporary artists like Daft Punk and Christine and the Queens. Let the melodies and rhythms transport you to the vibrant streets of Paris or the serene countryside of Provence.
  • Literary Gems: Dive into the world of French literature by reading some of the most influential works of French authors. From the philosophical insights of Voltaire and Rousseau to the evocative prose of Victor Hugo and Marcel Proust, French literature offers a profound exploration of the human experience.
  • Historical Exploration: Visit French museums or historical sites in the United States to gain a deeper understanding of the French impact on American history. Explore the French Quarter in New Orleans, Louisiana, or marvel at the grandeur of the Château de Ramezay in Montreal, Canada.
  • Language Immersion: Immerse yourself in the beauty and complexity of the French language by learning a few basic phrases or enrolling in a French language class. Even a few simple words and expressions can open up a world of cultural understanding.
  • Festive Celebrations: Attend Bastille Day celebrations, the French national holiday, which takes place on July 14th. Enjoy parades, concerts, and traditional French cuisine while immersing yourself in the festive atmosphere.
  • Theatrical Performances: Experience the vibrant world of French theater by attending a performance of a classic French play or a contemporary work by a French playwright. The Comédie-Française in Paris is a renowned venue for experiencing the best of French theater.

By celebrating the French influence on American culture and history in July, we not only pay tribute to the past but also enrich our present and future. Embrace the opportunity to explore, learn, and appreciate the enduring legacy of France in America.

Celebrating Independence Day

 

The Fourth of July, also known as Independence Day, is a federal holiday in the United States commemorating the Declaration of Independence, which was signed on July 4, 1776. The Declaration of Independence was a formal statement written by Thomas Jefferson and adopted by the Continental Congress, declaring that the thirteen American colonies were no longer subject to British rule and were now independent states.

The 4th of July is a day of national celebration, with parades, fireworks, barbecues, and other festivities taking place across the country. It is a time for Americans to reflect on their history, their independence, and their shared values.

Significance of the 4th of July

The 4th of July is a day to celebrate the birth of the United States of America. It is a day to remember the sacrifices made by the Founding Fathers and the brave men and women who have served in the military to protect our freedom. It is also a day to celebrate the values of liberty, equality, and democracy that are enshrined in the Declaration of Independence.

A Nation’s Story

On July 5, 1852, Frederick Douglass gave a keynote address at an Independence Day celebration and asked, “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?” Douglass was a powerful orator, often traveling six months out of the year to give lectures on abolition. His speech, given at an event commemorating the signing of the Declaration of Independence, was held at Corinthian Hall in Rochester, New York. It was a scathing speech in which Douglass stated, “This Fourth of July is yours, not mine, You may rejoice, I must mourn.” For the full speech, click HERE.

Cultural Celebration of the 4th of July

The 4th of July is a day for Americans to come together and celebrate their shared heritage. It is a day to enjoy the company of family and friends, to eat good food, and to watch fireworks. Although much has changed since Douglas wrote his scathing Keynote about the state of Black America in the celebration of Independence Day, the mention of “Black jobs” by former president Trump who is seeking another term as president, speaks of the blatant racism and discrimination that still plagues the nation, and that our work is incomplete in bringing about an America where all her people are truly free and treated justly. 

Some of the most popular 4th of July traditions include:

  • Parades: Parades are held in cities and towns across the country on the 4th of July. Parades typically feature floats, marching bands, and other performers.
  • Fireworks: Fireworks are a staple of 4th of July celebrations. Fireworks displays are held in cities and towns across the country on the night of July 4th.
  • Barbecues: Barbecues are a popular way to celebrate the 4th of July with family and friends. Barbecued foods such as hamburgers, hot dogs, and ribs are often served at 4th

james-forten

Happy Birth Of A Nation, America!

Today, America is celebrating it’s 247th Independence Day.  In 1776, on July 4th, the Declaration of Independence was adopted by the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia.

Note: The following text is a transcription of the Stone Engraving of the parchment Declaration of Independence (the document on display in the Rotunda at the National Archives Museum.) The spelling and punctuation reflects the original.

In Congress, July 4, 1776

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America, When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

 

The Lineage And Mechanism Of The U.S. Constitution

BY JEANETTE LENOIR

The Olympics have been a much-needed distraction from America’s political battle ground, ongoing culture wars and countless social struggles. However, in the midst of all this family drama, are we missing something crucial? Australian attorney and author, James D. R. Philips thinks we are. He points to the global power and impact of the U.S. Constitution and shares his historical, and outside perspective in his book: Two Revolutions And The American Constitution: How the English and American Revolutions Produced the American Constitution.

Philips says to fully understand how America works, you need to understand its system of government and laws, and for that you must understand the Constitution. In his book, Philips highlights the lineage and mechanics of this living document that continues to shape and guide America and the rest of the world.

To purchase Philips’ book, click here 👉 https://amzn.to/37dISQv

American Racism Wears Prada

BY JEANETTE LENOIR

Truth said, I am the peace Malcolm X needs to rest. I am the justice Assata said was our duty to fight for. I am the dream Dr. King dreamed. I am the strength of our enslaved ancestors. I am the eagle that soars across this land of the spiritual Indians. I am the strange fruit Billie Holiday sang of. I am the, Still I Rise, Maya Angelou awoke in us with rhythm and rhymes. I am the arms, the legs, the heads and the torso of all those brutalized by European greed and inhumanity. I am the mighty riches of Africa. I am the wisdom of Imhotep. And by way of unwavering truth, I shall reign like the peace brought by Akhenoten. Tell the world about me. For I am the truth denied by Sen. Tim Scott and all those who cowardly spew the dangerous and boldface lie that America is not a racist country.

Derrick Chauvin Killed George Floyd in front of the world. With his knees on Floyd’s neck, this white cop deliberately squeezed the life out of a Black man’s body, just like his ancestors have done for centuries.

America is a racist country.

Eric Gardner was selling loose cigarettes on the street to help care for his family. NYDP officer Daniel Pantaleo choked him to death despite his gasps pleading “I can’t breathe” piercing the air he needed. The officer was rewarded for his contribution to our Black holocaust with a goody bag full of benefits, from tactical legal delays to avoid accountability to a promotion and a hefty pension.

America is a racist country.

Officer Kimberly Potter said she mistook her gun for her taser when she shot Daunte Wright at close range during a traffic stop. This highly-trained officer with more than 20 years on the force thought so little of this Black man’s life, that she opened deadly fire to strike him down, and with the audacity only afforded to white supremacists, turn around and dismiss the incident with an “oops” we did it again response.

America is a racist country.

Ahmaud Arbery went for a jog in his neighborhood. He was stalked like prey by his racist countrymen and shot like a bandit in the street. Apparently, these grossly unkempt looking white men took serious offense to this Black man running and killed him for sport. They killed him because he was Black. They killed him because they hate Black people. They killed Ahmaud because they could. They killed Ahmaud because they bought the lie drummed into their skulls by their forefathers that Black people are less than human-beings and unworthy of humanity. And for months while his family grieved his loss, elected officials desperately tried to hide evidence to protect these monsters “rights” to lynch and terrorize Black people as they have done since the birth of this nation.

America is a racist country.

Birth of a Nation should be recommended viewing for Sen. Tim Scott and all those who knowingly disrupt and disrespect the spirits and the sacrifices of our Black ancestors who bravely wore their masks to hide their suffering for the likes of Sen. Scott to find his way and his place in this country. His words cut deeper than a scandalous lie. They bring a soul-shaking shame that blankets all those who have suffered tremendously in the world for simply being born Black.

America is a racist country.

Trayvon Martin was killed for being Black, too. Compounding the injustice of this tragedy, the low life that killed the teenager was found not guilty. He celebrated adding another Black body into the pit of our on-going bloody Holocaust by auctioning off the weapon he used to kill Martin for $250,000.00.  He sold his weapon just like Europeans sold our stolen and enslaved people on the auction block.

America is a racist country.

Walter Scott, Freddie Gray, Tamir Rice, Phillando Castille, Breonna Taylor, Botham Jean … they were all unjustly murdered by overzealous and over militarized G.I. Joe show-offs playing cop. Their victims never asked to play the deadly role in the movie set of their disturbed minds that casts Black people as disposable objects.

America is a racist country.

After the heinous and bold killing of Ramarley Graham in Brooklyn, NYPD officers gave his executioner, Officer Richard Haste, The Blue Salute in front of Graham’s grieving family as he sauntered out of court after a judge dismissed manslaughter charges against him. Law enforcement circled their wagon, upholding the culture of our dehumanization in America. Graham was executed in his grandmother’s bathroom for smoking weed, running away and trying to flush it down the toilet. Haste busted down the door and shot him like a rabid animal. After the shooting he stood outside the young man’s building, smiling and laughing, as his family grasp the reality of yet another senseless killing. Fast-forward ten years later and guess who will benefit the most from the legalization of the weed this youngster was murdered for?

America is a racist country.

Slave labor built America and the White House but Black people still live as second class citizens in the most powerful country their ancestors built under the cracks of whips and the devastating brutality of slavery.

America is a racist country.

The Trail of Tears, Jim Crow, Red Lining, Black Farmers, Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment, Black soldiers coming home from war, The March on Washington.

America is a racist country.

Dylann Roof calmly killed nine Black people worshipping in church. He was peacefully arrested, fed and cared for like a newly hatched chick. Go read what this country did to Black liberation groups like MOVE and The Black Panther Party. Many of these freedom fighters were killed and some are still languishing in jail. For what? Standing up against American terrorism. They demonized and tortured them. So much so, one would never know the Black Panther Party started the school lunch program.

America is a racist country.

Kyle Rittenhouse walked right past police, still holding the AR-15 he used to murder two Black Lives Matter protesters. He was given a standing ovation by elected officials in his home state who hailed him a hero for killing two protesters marching for Black people’s human rights. Racist celebrities and politicians donated hundreds of thousands of dollars for his defense, took him to bars to celebrate his kill despite being underage, and they’re still protecting him like a battle fatigued warrior for white supremacy.

“God bless. Thank you for your courage. Keep your head up. You’ve done nothing wrong.” And, “Every rank and file police officer supports you. Don’t be discouraged by actions of the political class of law enforcement leadership.” These testimonials came with donations from elected officials and police.

America is a racist country.

Dr. King, JFK, Bobby Kennedy, Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, Emmitt Till, George Stinney, Jr. … there’s not enough room on the internet to list the names of every person who has paid the ultimate price for European greed, inhumanity, vicious capitalism and imperialism.

America is a racist country.

John Lewis begged his country for civil rights and took a severe beating from KKK members cloaked in police uniform on the Edmund Pettus Bridge.

America is a racist country.

Fannie Lou Hamer wanted voting rights. She was brutally beaten by police and the Black brothers they forced to join in beating her. Imagine that for a minute. Sit in it. It’s the god awful truth of the matter. They locked her up, stripped her of her humanity, forced her own people to beat her, and eventually took her life. Today, conservative leaning states like Georgia, Texas Iowa, Arkansas and Utah are still enacting laws to keep us from voting or even protesting. “Republican state legislators are sponsoring a blizzard of new voting restrictions, advancing 55 bills in 24 states,” reports  Intelligencer. 

America is a racist country.

America’s founding fathers compromised that Black people were only three-fifths of human-beings all while declaring, “All men are equal” in The Constitution conservatives love to uphold as justification for their white-washed view of America and the world. They didn’t believe Langston Hughes when he wrote, Let America Be Again.

Sure, call me any ugly name you choose—The steel of freedom does not stain. From those who live like leeches on the people’s lives, We must take back our land again, America! O, yes, I say it plain, America never was America to me, And yet I swear this oath—America will be!

Yes, America will be. But today, the ugly truth is America is a racist country.

America built labor camps for Black kids and ushered in Jim Crow. And if you ever listen to recordings of former enslaved people recount their traumatic childhoods, you will hear the harsh truths only a coward can deny. Black people continue to endure the worst in our society. Why?

America is a racist country.

Mexico, the only country enforcing another country’s immigration policy targeting African migrants, is forcing Black people to stay in deplorable tent cities in their Southern borders, by denying them transit visas that would normally allow them to cross the country and migrate to Canada and the U.S., respectively. However, during Donald Trump’s reign of racist terror, when he announced his disdain for “shithole countries” he also  threatened Mexico with tariffs if they didn’t bow to his will to keep Black migrants from coming to America. Mexico obliged and is still enforcing these inhumane asylum laws that specifically target Black people. When asked about her upcoming trip to Mexico and the Northern Triangle, Vice President Kamala Harris said she does not plan to visit the region where these people are being mistreated and kept as war prisoners. The refusal to even take notice of the problem plaquing Black migrants is symbolic, tactical and evil.

America is a racist country.

Tim Scott is the seventh Black Senator ever elected to the Senate. Listening to his speech, one would be shocked to learn he didn’t come directly from George Washington’s epididymis. The sad truth is his grandfather, who helped raise him, was a victim of the racism he denies exists in America. He was a Black Holocaust survivor forced to pick cotton so white people alone can prosper. He must of worn a great mask.

Sen. Scott’s embrace and defense of white supremacy is embarrassing buffoonery. “Race is not a political weapon,” he reprimands the victims of racism, going even further accusing Black people of, “fighting discrimination with a different kind of discrimination.” Making the moment more revolting, he conjured up some Nikki Haley logic, mumbling that although America is not a racist county, he’s been followed around in a store and pulled over for no reason. No reason at all.

“They don’t hang you because you’re a Baptist. They hang you because you’re Black.” – Malcolm X

The shackles may have come off but the outrageous performance Sen. Scott put on shows them chaining his mind. Sen. Scott made it clear; he only sees white people and their narrative of the world.

America is such a racist country, Billy Holiday sang of its Strange Fruit.

Southern trees bear a strange fruit
Blood on the leaves and blood at the root
Black bodies swingin’ in the Southern breeze
Strange fruit hangin’ from the poplar trees

These words tell the truth of our people’s bondage and torture in America.

“We suffer political oppression, economic exploitation and social degradation, all of them from the same enemy. The government has failed us. You can’t deny that,” Malcolm X said.

Apparently, the privileged senator can.

So, we must continue to deliberately create the America we all want to experience. And drunk on the cool-aid Tim is not going to lead the way. He would have to see us from his ivory tower, first.

The 117th Congress Reflects Our Changing America

BY JEANETTE LENOIR

“The 117th Congress will be the most diverse group of lawmakers ever to chart the nation’s course when it meets in January after women and nonwhite candidates made gains in the November elections,” states a recent report in The Hill.

This shift in our nation’s armor is a testament to the strong will and perseverance of a people that refuse to live on their knees so rich white men can continue to reap the lion share of our nation’s wealth and supremacy. Black folks, after building the most powerful nation in the world via brutal slave labor, fighting its wars without adequate thanks, inventing products that forever changed how people live, all while subjected to living on the dark side of the moon for what feels like eternity, are changing the face of Congress and other governing institutions across the country. And this fierce determination of grace is not only the pilot light of humanity, but the embodiment of E Pluribus Unum. We’re finally seeing the face of America and it’s a tapestry full of colors, cultures and religion.

Out of many, one nation of diverse people is finally emerging from behind the iron curtain staunchly guarded by a dying breed of shameless dividers and greedy power-hungry hoarders like Mitch McConnell. No doubt, history will reward him and his ilk accordingly, and rightfully so. Just like Confederate statues tumbling down, so will their legacy of white supremacy, greed and total disregard for the path of righteousness that stands right before them. McConnell represents the shame of American greed that refuses to budge, despite the harsh truth and evidence of his impact on his own state of Kentucky, and the entire nation struggling through a deadly pandemic. His impact on America, unique in its search for identity, will never be forgotten and should never be forgiven. As families lineup in food lines across the country, McConnell is fighting to maintain his grip on power rather than cooperate with fellow lawmakers to provide relief for desperate Americans. A crucial piece of legislation to provide Americans with much needed Covid-19 relief, as well as fund our military, H.R.6395 – National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021 (NDAA) is facing a veto threat from Trump and pushback from McConnell. Why, you ask? Because they object to the level of protection for taxpayers during a pandemic and renaming U.S. military bases honoring Confederate commanders. President Trump and Senate Majority Leader McConnell believe the nation is overreacting to a pandemic and want to protect traitors who killed their own countrymen to preserve slavery. They say the forces that surround power are the real power. And that power belongs to McConnell. Folks, evil has a face, and he’s the epitome of Sheev Palpatine seething with gritted teeth, “everything that has transpired has done so according to my design.”

Although the road to self-determination has been long and bloody, the struggle is finally bearing some edible fruit. And the makeup of the 117th Congress tells us we’re on the right path to creating the world Dr. King spoke of during his speech at the 1963 March on Washington. We’re rising up to live out the true meaning of America’s creed. The fight to break the chains that have bonded Black people since the dawn of European conquest for the riches of Africa are slowly coming off. One revolution after another, bit by bit, struggle by struggle, heartache upon heartache, injustice after injustice, our spirit, protected and guided by the dreams of our ancestors, refuses to buckle, bend or retreat. From the many battles to maintain Africa for African people, slavery and the African Diaspora, the Abolitionist movement, the Civil War, Women’s Suffrage, Industrialization, the Jim Crow era to the Civil Rights movement, Black people have led the way for mankind’s ultimate freedom, even from self. And Black people in pursuit of salvation have galvanized other ethnic groups to do the same by rising up to face a common enemy: greed and imperialism birthed by Europeans and their designated murderer of humanity, Christopher Columbus who paved the way that ushered in slavery.

The whistling winds of change blowing from plantation to freedom in America is slowly being reflected in the hub of our collective power: Congress. Even so, there is no moment for rest, as there is no rest for the weary. The work to deliberately right the wrongs is just beginning. And not just to clean up Trump’s 4-year destruction of political, societal and international norms, but to rebuild an unjust system that oppresses Black and brown people.

And what does that look like? It looks like flipping the Senate by way of voting Democrat in Georgia. Despite a historic win to seat Joe Biden as the 46th U.S. President, staunch efforts are being made to muzzle we, the people who spoke loud and clear with our votes. Bishop Talbert Swan said it perfectly on Twitter, “17 white, Republican, attorney generals are supporting the Texas attorney general’s attempt to reverse the results of the 2020 election by suing PA, MI, GA, and WI because Black people in Philly, Detroit, Milwaukee and Atlanta voted against Trump is white supremacy on steroids.” This is the movement Trump dragged in like the dead rodent brought in the house by the cat. Bob Marley once said, evil never takes a day off and neither should good, making the work ahead crucial as this country heads into an unknown future as leader of the free world in the midst of a deadly pandemic.

The justice being ushered in also looks like, Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris, General Lloyd Austin selected to head the Department of Defense, Congresswoman Martha L. Fudge as U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, and Linda Thomas-Greenfield, nominee for U.S. Ambassador to the United Nation. And it looks like the feisty Congresswoman Katie Porter who isn’t afraid to fight her elders in Congress for the sake of her countrymen. There can be no peace without justice. And it’s not a personal pursuit of pillory against white people, rather war against a system structured to oppress Black people in every sector of our society. This unifying movement in America, is a demand to right blatant wrongs and finally end the brutality inflicted upon Black people and other POC by Europeans and their descendants. This isn’t new. Many wars have been fought, from Africa to the shores of America and everywhere in between, to push back their land and wealth grab, and inhumanity.

Our work also looks like honesty about the history of the world, curriculum change that teaches the truth about man’s history, cultural theft and genocide, discoveries and conquests from ancient to modern times, deliberate upward mobility initiatives to finally allow Black people to hold their rightful prosperous place in America, police reform and equality; socially and economically. Similar to whites receiving reparations following the end of slavery, so too must African Americans benefit from an eternity of brutality, lynching’s and injustice in a country of their making. Imagine 500 years of being forced to live on your knees for the benefit of one group that continues to profit from these unjust circumstances. We’re not there yet but I’m grateful we’re on our way to the mountain top Dr. King envisioned for all Americans. The changing face and make-up of Congress isn’t about one group of people losing, but rather all of us winning.

The Watts Riot Reminds That History Is Cyclical

BY JEANETTE LENOIR

The “long hot, summer” of 1965 was a year of violent uprisings across the United States due to strained race relations at the height of the civil rights movement. America was on fire. Black people were tired and took their frustrations to the streets during and following the arrest of a Black motorist in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles.

The history of police brutality tells harsh truths of how hate and racism disproportionately impacts the lives of Black people and other people of color. The Watts riot is just one example of a people exhausted from the unrelenting oppression at the hands of their government and the police force they empower to carry out their dominance. The Watts riot started August 11 and ended August 16, 1965. The arrest of Marquette Frye, his mother Rena and stepbrother Ronald sparked the violence that brought Los Angeles to its knees.

The Watts riot was not an isolated incident. 1964 and 1965 recorded similar events breaking out across the country prior to the Watts explosion. The History channel reports, “In 1964, there was a three-day riot in Rochester, NY, leaving four dead; in the New York City neighborhoods of Harlem and Bedford-Stuyvesant, a six-day riot involving as many as 4,000 people following the shooting of a young Black man; in Philadelphia, a three-day riot following the arrest of a Black couple who had gotten into a scuffle with police; and a three-day riot in Chicago when a Black woman attempting to shoplift alcohol was attacked by the store owner and crowds later gathered to protest.” 

Other events leading to the Watts riot include, the 1961 arrest of a Black man in Griffith Park for riding a merry-go-round without a ticket. That incident resulted in crowds throwing rocks and bottles at police. And in 1962 there was unrest following the police raid on a Nation of Islam mosque that killed an unarmed man.

Two years leading up to the Watts riot, 65 Black people were shot by police, 27 of them were shot in the back and 25 of them were unarmed. During this period in Los Angeles there were 250 demonstrations against living conditions and police brutality. It’s clear why 1965 was named the “long, hot summer.”

The Watts riot was among the worst uprisings in the U.S. due to already strained race relations. 35 people lost their lives during the 6-day rebellion, and more than 1,000 people were injured. Property damage topped $200 million. Although tempting, we cannot forget that the violence ignited by the brutal murder of George Floyd has been par for the course of Black lives in America. History is cyclical. As long as those in power refuse to recognize and adequately address the contributions of Black people in the making of America, their continued brutalization and mistreatment despite their rightful credit for the glory, status and wealth of our nation, or budge to the will of the people and humanity, these violent events will continue. Author, iconic orator and civil rights activist James Baldwin once asked, “How much time does America need for its progress?” Today, the question remains unanswered. My question is: How much more time does America need to progress towards a new world order that honors humanity, paves the way for equality, and finally usher in true liberty for all her people?

Searching For America On Independence Day

BY JEANETTE LENOIR

 

If you’ve seen the movie Idiocracy, chances are you’ve been experiencing life these past couple of years with a slack jaw, owing to the conduct across the country and especially from the white house and its new inhabitants. From Spicer to Conway, Manigault, Bannon and President Trump, the performances we’ve all witnessed equates to something concocted in a Hollywood studio. Disheartening poll numbers consistently drive home the realization that on her 241st birthday, America is in desperate need of some soul searching and healing.

America is going through a serious identity crisis, and questions addressing and reevaluating our core values and beliefs are certainly warranted now that the shift in civility and governing has taken a specific tone. What kind of people are Americans? Does Trump represent Americans adequately? Have we morphed into an anti-immigrants, anti-refugees and anti-Muslim nation now that Trump is president? Is the “Fake News” label a sign of things to come? Is it open season on journalists, and factual information? Even racism, a long standing social problem in the U.S. that has improved with time, has seen an uptick in discriminatory activities, leaving many wondering if we’re approaching an era of blatant bigotry and intolerance aimed at each other; American against American.

Unfortunately, America is still in the eye of the storm Democrats and Republicans have churned up and thus far, even on the eve of its independence from Britain, can’t seem to calm for the sake of her people. Putting a hideous stamp on this dysfunction that has built up like pond scum is Governor Chris Christie’s recent stunt concerning New Jersey beaches and parks. As if Bridgegate and his boorish behavior wasn’t enough, thanks to a budget standoff, Christie got to flaunt his special kind of audacity for the world to see by brazenly and shamefully going to one of the beaches he closed off for millions of other Americans on this special 4th of July weekend. Christie got to flippantly enjoy the beach while others suffered the consequences associated with the closings, and that’s exactly what his character in this real life unfolding of Idiocrazy does.

A recent NPR, PBS News Hour/Marist poll revealed how far down the spiral we’ve fallen when it comes to trust for politicians, the news media, our justice system and even our intelligence agencies. Some of the questions posed to likely voters concerned the rights Americans deeply value, and those numbers confirm the state of our relatively young country and democracy. The recently released poll by these reputable and respected organizations will undoubtedly be labeled as “Fake News” thanks to a president marching to a beat majority of the country can’t hear or follow. And yet somehow, his staunch supporters, or enablers as some pundits have described them, are behaving like certain guests on the Maury Povich show that swear up and down, “He’s the father!” right before Maury opens his envelope to reveal what’s really going on in the case of Trump and his backers. Regardless, they’re sticking with their man despite the static and skipping CD noise the president’s special beat is blaring in their ears.

When it comes to the president’s job approval ratings, only 37 percent of the population say he’s doing a good job while 51-percent disapprove of his performance. And, 41 percent say they don’t trust the Trump white house. Also, the year when the U.S. gained her independence, only 69 percent of the people answered this question correctly. And, as it pertains to our Intelligence Community, a mere 23 percent say they fully trust agencies like the CIA and FBI. Trump has done his own bashing of our Intelligence Community that has served as a rallying cry for his followers. Trust for America’s courts didn’t fare better during the poll conducted from June 21 to July 25, 2017. Since March, trust in our courts went from 23 to 22 percent. Rightfully, Congress is seeing terrible approval numbers too, with only 6 percent of support tallied. And, only 17 percent of Americans say they wholeheartedly trust that our elections are fairly carried out. Sentiments of an unfair election that put Trump in the white house can still be heard like wind chimes on windy days. The media, like Congress, didn’t do well in the polls either, showing only 8-percent say they trust the media, while 37-percent say they have zero trust in the media.

Many would argue that the negative rhetoric coming out of the white house against the media didn’t help their numbers, as the poll shows a clear mistrust of those responsible for disseminating information. However, when the sitting president is constantly tweeting insults and delegitimizing the news business these numbers shouldn’t come as a shock. Additionally, neither should the poll showing a mere 8-percent of Americans fully trust opinion polls. And, when it comes to the nation’s tone and level of civility in Washington, and comparing Trump and Obama’s ratings, 6-percent of people say civility has improved under the current administration, while the poll conducted in 2009 by USA Today and Gallop during the previous president’s administration, shows that 21 percent of the population thought civility amongst politicians on both sides of the isle had improved. President Trump’s unprofessional and disturbing behavior, during his short time in office, has already taken the twenty-one percent number to a 6… A number more fitting of his female rating system.

The numbers aren’t favorable. They expose a deeply dysfunctional system of governance that has side-stepped normal political operations and discourse. Operations, like the Constitution, that have been shaped and amended along the way by Americans yearning to live with liberties that make us unique among other earth inhabitants. It is these very same systems—which includes a collective belief system—that has kept us united as a nation of one people, despite the pitfalls of wars and civil strives along the way. Even with the bleak outlook these poll numbers divulge, we can’t keep our heads under water like geese in search of underwater snacks, hoping the tide will eventually turn in our favor. The time to bring about positive change is always upon us. As we celebrate this 241st milestone, it’s comforting knowing that America will find her way again if her people continue working towards a common goal for humanity and our culture, and a common love for our great nation.

 

Independence Day