March 8, 2009

Join in the Response to Racist Cartoon: Boycott the NY Post, Demonstrate in Newark on March 14

The People's Organization for Progress (POP), the northern NJ-based African-American community organization that built the massive urban-NJ antiwar coalition highlighted here (see Black NJ Organizes Against the War: 2008 Edition) as well as the fight to save Muhlenberg Hospital in Plainfield (see Save Our Hospitals, Part 3— Muhlenberg defense moves to Trenton) demonstrated at the intersection of Broad and Market Streets in the heart of Newark, NJ on February 18 against the racist "they'll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill" cartoon, above (see "Shut it Down! Boycott the Racist Rag! No to the New York Post!!!" for FotM's report on that picket line).

POP, along with Newark City Councilwoman Mildred Crump as well as the New Black Panther Party and other organizations, plans a massive demonstration at noon on Saturday, March 14, 2009. Join us there!

Councilwoman Crump sponsored the following resolution:
Whereas, The main editorial cartoon that The New York Post published in its February 18, 2009 edition, portrayed two police officers shooting a chimpanzee, with the caption “they’ll have to find someone else to write the stimulus bill” is viewed by many as not only a veiled, racist reference to President Barack Obama, but also as an open invitation to any individual with a cause, to take the life of the first African-American ever elected to the Presidency of the United States; and

Whereas, the New York Post, which was established in 1801, is the 13th oldest newspaper in the United States and is considered the nation’s oldest daily, is keenly aware of America’s shameful history of slavery, the era of Jim Crow and segregation and the profound use of racial imagery to negatively stereotype, demean and dehumanize the African American as monkeys, gorillas and chimpanzees; and

Whereas, considering America’s violent history of lynchings, burnings and assassinations which have been directed towards African American leaders, the cartoon depicting the gunning down of a chimpanzee – a veiled reference to President Obama – is construed by many in the African American community as yelling “fire” in a crowded theater, and should be subject to prosecution; and

Whereas, the feeble, disingenuous apology offered by the ownership and management of the New York Post, stretches the boundaries of credulity and is seen by many as a ploy to stem mounting negative criticism, avert the clamor for a national boycott and to protect its financial well being, is without a doubt “too little, too late”, and

Whereas, Members of the Council along with the residents of Newark, who were highly offended and insulted by the New York Post’s cartoon and its despicable, veiled reference to kill President Obama, call upon the public to begin a national movement that asks United States Attorney General, Eric Holder, to launch a full investigation into this matter,, and to begin to treat the publication of images that even remotely simulate the assassination of our President as equal to a terrorist threat; and

Whereas, Nothing short of the prosecution of individuals responsible for this type of slander is acceptable, and as Mr. Holder himself recently said, “though this nation has proudly thought of itself as an ethnic melting pot, in things racial, we have always been, and we, I believe, continue to be, a nation of cowards.”

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE MUNICIPAL COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF NEWARK, NEW JERSEY THAT it strongly condemns the New York Post and its management for its highly insensitive, humorless and racially charged characterization of President Barack Obama, in its main editorial cartoon which was published February 18, 2009, and that the United States Attorney General investigate the newspaper for possible terrorist threats and prosecute the individuals responsible to the fullest extent of the law.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT the certified copies of this resolution be forwarded to Governor Jon Corzine, the Urban Mayors’ Association, The New Jersey State Senate President, the New Jersey State Assembly Speaker, Mayor Cory A. Booker and Newark’s legislative representatives.
With the support of City Council President (and Councilwoman-at-Large) Mildred C. Crump, as well as the massive outpouring of community anger, and many other community-based organizations, the People's Organization for Progress hopes that this picket-line of Saturday, March 14 will be truly massive.

See John Legend's letter to the editor (here), sent to the NY Post for more background on this vicious attack, and then Join Us on March 14, 2009!!!

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