August 31, 2009

Missing Sully

David Irish Sullivan--Sully to some, Dave to others--suffered an unexpected heart attack in his Chicago home on Friday, August 28. Despite efforts to stabilize his condition, he died in the hospital the next night at 9:45.

I don’t know quite how to proceed here. I lived with Sully for a couple of years in the late 1970s, and we remained good friends from then on. He was in every respect one of the finest human beings I have known.

While there is much I can say about Sully, it would be only a snapshot from a long and varied life. I did not know him during what I believe were his glory days, as a young rebel in the high school struggles that shook NYC in the late ‘60s. I only heard stories from him of the subsequent years as a revolutionary activist at Antioch College, a period that so rattled that supposedly liberal institution that, on the school’s 150th anniversary in 2003, the late ’60s and early ‘70s were all but excised from displays and speeches. I didn’t know him when, as part of the vibrant New Communist Movement, he went to work in industrial plants in Ohio (though I did get to skim the extensive FBI files he accumulated, pried open by the Freedom Of Information Act).

Nor was I in Chicago when he stepped his fervent activism down during the early 1980s. Sully went back to school in Chicago and in Austria, writing his masters on the social democratic militias there that waged armed resistance against the fascist Dollfuss regime and the Austrian Army in 1934. I followed from the East Coast the construction firm he and other old ‘rades there put together when he returned, which trained inner-city youth in building trades and, by the late ‘90s, became a leader in green construction of affordable housing.

Those are stories for others to tell. And it occurs to me that telling stories is the best way to remember Sully and to sketch a picture forthose who, like myself, weren’t there for big chunks of his life. There are scores of good Sully stories. He lived a packed existence, and told his own stories with verve and self-deprecating humor.

I also understand that his daughters, who did not live with him growing up, want to hear stories of their father. So I will tell one here, one I would have hesitated to commit to print (well, pixels) while he was alive, and I hope that other of Dave’s friends will weigh in with their own anecdotes or memories or just words of appreciation for a wonderful man, gone too soon.

Sully’s Big Security Adventure

Because he was big, gutsy and coolheaded, Sully did more than his share of security work for the movement. And he liked it. He had taken up fencing in high school and was a student of military history.

During the 1980s, when the Reagan regime was bending every effort (and breaking plenty of laws) to destroy the revolutionary Sandinista regime in Nicaragua, Sully got a call. Ernesto Cardenal, the great poet and, at that time, foreign minister of Nicaragua, would be speaking at a private house in the Chicago suburb of Oak Park. Serious death threats had been made toward Cardenal, and the Nicaraguan contras (counter-revolutionaries) were based in the US and had working alliances with other Latin American reactionary groups.

As a foreign official, Cardenal had Secret Service protection, but Central America solidarity activists in Chicago felt that it was not to be trusted, Even if there was no funny business, how certain was it that a Secret Service agent would take a bullet for an official from a small, unfriendly foreign nation? So some experienced movement folks in Chicago were asked to form their own security squad, among them Sully, who borrowed a handgun for the occasion.

The two forces met, uneasily, at the house and agreed to work carefully around each other. As Sully was checking out a back stairway in the house, where no one was supposed to be, he heard footsteps coming down from an upper story. He drew down on the intruder and found himself holding a federal agent at gunpoint! Emergency over and both continued, more cautiously, with their tasks.

Obviously I was not in that stairwell, and folks who didn’t know Sully might suspect that this was a confabulation of his. But Sully was a pretty modest guy, and when I heard him describe this, more than once, there was a note of wonder in his voice that he had gotten the drop and lived to tell the tale. Wonder--and a touch of pride.

His only reward came after the event was over. Dave had brought with him a book of Cardenal's poems translated into English and asked him to inscribe it to me.

I have it to this day.

Sully, man, I miss you.

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August 12, 2009

White Noise: White Adults Raising White Children To Resist White Supremacy

[FotM is pleased to be able to repost this incisive and insightful article from the Anti-Racist Parent website.]

by Susan Raffo of White Noise

It hit me while I was still pregnant. Standing there at the Mall of America, looking up at the huge rotunda of bright lights and countless stores, I realized something. This baby I carried inside of me, at this point no bigger than a knucklebone, was going to be privileged with a capital “P.” And with that awareness, I entered a place of contradiction. You see, I could already feel the mama-self growing in me; that place where my bear claws would live, where the desire to do anything to make this child safe, make this child whole, would growl as it grew stronger. That mama-self doesn’t feel like a choice. It’s in there, hooked around my mitochondria and woven into the DNA.

But there’s this other self; sometimes called the political self or the activist self or the stand back and pay attention self. It knows that my child — white and raised by white parents in a family where the adults have the gift of education, have choice about their work, and own their own home — is a privileged child. Every gain my mama-self wants to support my child in making will be on the backs of other children, children with mother’s whose mama-selves are just as fierce as mine but who have to fight against real monsters like hunger or violence.

And this is the contradiction that crept into my belly standing there, at the Mall of America. I felt sad, and a different flavor of fierce. Luca’s creativity, her curiosity and her passion have the time and space to be priorities when we think about raising her. We don’t have to protect her daily from violence or spend most of our time finding food. All children should have the same kind of space. Standing there in the Mall of America, my fierceness shifted and grew larger. It became less about my child and more about the community of children. In other words, my question was not “what is the best for my daughter” and more, “what is the best for all children?” How does this question affect how I parent? How do my partner and I – and all of our friends and families – raise our children in a way that honors the lives and struggles of all children?


Here is what we noticed right away: both the race of our daughter and the economic privilege of our family. We have enough – not a lot, but enough. And we are white women raising a white daughter. Here is the question that followed that: how do we, from the very beginning, start raising Luca to be a different kind of white? What does it MEAN to be a different kind of white? This feels about way more than having a commitment to anti-racism. It feels like being a different kind of person entirely.As a quick aside, my partner and I have a belief system about race, racism and white privilege that assumes that the legacies of slavery, the attempted genocide of Native Americans, European colonialism and its affect here in the Americas and elsewhere in the world has created a present day moment of inequity based on skin color, language, culture of origin and so on. Within that belief system, the fact that my partner and I have light skin and ethnicities with the majority of ancestors being European gives us a kind of privilege. There isn’t the space in this article to explain what we mean by white privilege and white supremacy and racism. At the end, there are resources listed for further exploration.

So, white parents raising white children. We looked at books and blogs. We googled for magazine articles and newspaper features. We talked with our friends – white and of color – and kept coming against the same thing: there is hardly anything out there that directly talks about raising white kids to be anti-racist, to work against white privilege, to be a different flavor, an accountable and creative flavor, of white. There are resources about raising children to live in a multicultural world. There are resources about raising your children to respect difference. There are books about nonviolent child-rearing. But really thinking about what kind of white your kid might be? It’s not out there. And here’s why: most of us white adults don’t really understand what it is to be white ourselves. We sometimes have language about being Irish- or Italian-American, or about growing up on a farm, being Midwestern or from the mountains, but this whiteness thing? The ways in which being white affects our sense of who we are and the communities around us? We usually have no words.

My partner and I decided that if we’re going to raise a white child we want to pay attention to how she becomes white and how she is white. It’s the same thing as paying attention to the fact that she is a girl, that she likes to dance but isn’t so into playing soccer, that she gets shy in front of lots of people she doesn’t know. Each of these things is about her, and each is about the world around her.

Paying attention to how our child becomes white is about a lot of things: and we already know that we don’t know half of them. Sometimes it means paying attention to all of the ways in which being white gives her a kind of “get out of jail free” card, a kind of free pass into better jobs, more income, and less stress and struggle. It means watching and learning from what happens when she pops out of me, all instinct for survival and connection to mama, and starts to grow a personality and set of understandings about herself and the world. It means learning what there is to be proud of, to celebrate, about who she is in the world as a white person.

So, since this is true, we decided to get help. And while folks of color probably are smartest about what being white means, after all, they have to deal with us all of the time, they aren’t the ones who have to fix this part of the crazy mess. It’s up to us to figure this one out. I mean, if as white parents, we can’t figure out how to help our white kids become compassionately or powerfully or collectively white, well, then who can? It’s pretty much our responsibility.

Laying the groundwork

We gathered together a group of white friends, parents every one of them, and decided to form a group. We call it White Noise as a way of describing the everyday annoying distraction from thinking and paying attention that’s akin to living with white privilege. Our kids are all young – the oldest is Luca and she’s only seven. And we sure haven’t figured everything out. But we figure it’s time to bring the light in. The more we share what we’ve learned, the faster it’s going to grow. And growing our understanding of how to raise a white child to make being white an entirely different thing, that’s what we want to grow.

Right now, we call what we do “laying the groundwork.” Meaning, since we have young children whose needs and questions are still more simple than complex, we figure we’re just trying to help their bodies get clear about whiteness. At the end of the day, there is no single recipe for how to do this. Raising white children is really about just plain raising our children to pay attention to all of who they are. We can’t protect them from anything. The best we can do is prepare them to carry the tools they need to weather the multiple storms their lives will bring them. That’s why we call the work we are doing with our young children, “laying the groundwork.” Our intent is to support them to experiences themselves and the world around them in a way that will feed their ability to not only do anti-racist work but also be anti-racist “from the ground up.”

Making whiteness visible

Somewhere around four years old, we started to notice Luca, when describing her friends, only “raced” her friends of color. Meaning, when she was describing people to us who she knew, she described her friends of color as “Black” or “Native” but her white friends as “with red hair” or “tall.” Already, at four years old, and living in a multiracial community, white had become normal for Luca. Normal in a way that means invisible. So, one of the first steps is to just plain make whiteness visible. This means making sure that all of us, when we are describing people, talk as much about white friends as we do our Black or Asian friends. But making whiteness visible is more than that.

The minute we are born, we are surrounded by information. Some of it is directly pointed out for us by the adults in our lives. Most of it goes completely unnoticed by all of us, children and adults alike. Making whiteness visible means seeking to notice the presence of whiteness in every aspect of our lives. How do we do this? We practice everyday. What does that mean? Well, one example is when we walk into a store or into a restaurant or down a neighborhood street, we ask: “Who is here?” and then we notice. Once we notice who is here, we began to intentionally wonder about why they are here. And then to notice who isn’t here. And to wonder the same thing.

A story for explanation: we are out running errands and we all get hungry. We stop by a coffee shop. Right away, Luca notices, “There are only white people in here.” Raquel and I both look around and see that she is right. So then we ask, “Why might there be only white people in here?” We notice that the coffee shop is in a predominantly white upper-middle-class neighborhood. So we assume that drop-in traffic is going to be mostly local. We wonder if people of color might not come by this coffee shop or this neighborhood because it might not be comfortable or because they wouldn’t feel welcome or reflected back by the staff or other customers. We next wonder if there are people of color who would even be interested in this coffee shop – maybe the culture of this coffee shop is one that mostly white people are attracted to and so some folks of color are choosing to not come here, or to instead go somewhere that will better reflect their experiences. Then we talk about what it is like for us to be in this coffee shop – noticing that when we are white and we fit in with the other white people, we barely even notice that we are white. We talk about how there are different kinds of white people, but even though there are different kinds, we don’t really need to think about race when we are among all white people. This is important. We notice that we don’t need to think about or even notice race when we are around other white people.

Making whiteness visible means noticing the books we read, the movies or television shows we watch, the people in our families and neighborhoods, and the rhythm of everyday life. It’s a practice for white people, just like meditation or parenting is a practice. If we don’t do it constantly, we don’t notice.

Learn together

Don’t assume you have to already know everything before you start trying to teach your children. You know the syndrome: the perfect parent syndrome. Our kids look up to us. They ask us questions about the world around them and wait for us to share what we know. When they’re young, we are all-knowing in their eyes. It can be scary to have to admit to your child that you are clueless about some aspect of the world around you.

Figuring out how to be white is something we do together with our children. We can tell them what we have experienced, our ideas and struggles and understandings, but living in the world with consciousness as a white person is not about getting it right once and then being done forever. It’s about making mistakes and learning and then making more mistakes and then learning more and inch by precious inch, feeling the world open up around us.

Learning with our children is about being in process, in struggle, in family with the most important people in our lives. It is about sharing the fact that this is life-long work, that we are all learning together, and that your child has some valuable things to teach you even as you have things to share with them. That last piece is really important. The minute our kids are born, they are learning –both directly and indirectly – how to be white, which includes how to be a racist. Thandeka in her book, “Learning to Be White: Money, Race and God in America,” states that the first act of child abuse directed towards all white children is that the minute they come out of the womb, they are being taught to be racist. So the game has already started, whether or not we ever directly address race and whiteness in our family. But kids have something we don’t have. Even though they have already started learning their whiteness, it hasn’t embedded itself over decades of experience. Their brains and nervous systems are still literally creating their bodies, their identities, their sense of self in the world. Much has already been established no matter when we start, but much is also open for shifting and changing.

Some of what is confusing to adults is likely to make gentle sense to children. Some of the places where we adults make this thick and complex is likely to be simple and poetic to our children. In listening to the questions they ask, the reflections they make, we can learn a whole bunch about how whiteness grows.

Know your own shit

Know your own shit. Oh lovely shit, oh layered deep old stuff which gets triggered by the innocent voices of our children. The shame of it. The guilt. The embarrassment. What do I do if my child says something racist? What will others think of me? Will they look over at me, knowing what a horrible mother I am, because my son just came out with something funky about that woman’s hair, her skin, the way she talks? What will people say?

This is a big one. A really big one. As soon as we encourage our children to reflect on the world around them, to say what they are thinking and feeling and to invite conversation, well, they start to talk. And they will say things just about everywhere. And in front of just about everyone. And they will ask questions. Why is your hair like that? Did you notice that your skin is really dark? Wow, look, my mom’s arm is really white next to your arm! How come all the Black kids play basketball? Did you know that your grandfather was probably a slave? Your kids will say things that are beyond what you could possibly imagine. And they should say those things. Because this is how they learn. But they are only going to learn if you are open to hearing them. Which means knowing your own shit. Here is what we mean by that: What is going on for you when you hear your kids say something that triggers your “that’s racist” button? What emotions come up? What are you concerned about? What do you do when those emotions come up? We have all seen parents, when reacting to something their child has said, looking quickly around and saying, “Shhhh, that’s not a nice thing to say,” or “Stop that! Don’t be rude!!” or any number of other things. We know the feeling in our bellies when we are walking through the world, thinking about our grocery list or the drive back home, when junior says something that immediately makes us feel exposed and visible. As white people. As potentially bad parents. Raising our children to be white is about knowing our reactions and finding ways to NOT shut our children down when they ask those kinds of questions.

Of course, this is also complicated. It’s a different thing to have a three-year-old making a comment about a stranger in a store, it’s another thing for a 13-year-old to say it. Embedded in supporting our children to ask questions and be open to learning about the world around them, is also teaching them about respect. Teaching them that people are not objects but individuals with feelings and complex lives. Because the reality is that while our children are reflecting on the world around them, the people of color they are reflecting about are real people who just might not be in the mood to hear yet another person talk about their hair – even if it is a gap-toothed five year old. Everything about this work includes supporting our children to act as respectful members of communities, every single day and in every single context.

Another part of knowing your own shit is knowing your own story, all of it. What is your culture? Did you grow up in a city, a suburb, the countryside? What celebrations and rituals did you grow up with? What kind of food? Do you have a word for it? What did you learn about work? About taking care of your own family or other people? Who felt “like you” and who felt different? What is your culture?

The other piece of knowing our own shit is knowing our own understandings of race and whiteness. What did you learn about race and whiteness when you were a child? Really, spend time here. Think about the kinds of things you were directly taught and the things you witnessed. Notice what your life looks like, who the people are who surround you, your sense of why different people are different form you. Think about what it means for you to be white, to be an anti-racist. Find people you trust to talk to about these things. There is a whole bunch you can talk to your children about, and there’s a whole bunch you need to learn with other adults. Don’t stop thinking about yourself, noticing your beliefs, your reactions, your concerns. Stay with your own work.

Don’t immediately go big, stay specific. Remember those reflections our children make in public places – or sometimes private? The ones that make our insides flare up as we struggle to make sure our own shit doesn’t get in the way of our children learning? This is about those times. Example, when Luca was walking by the basketball court in our neighborhood park, she suddenly asked why only Black people play basketball. In my belly flared up things like: oh shit, that’s so racist. It isn’t only Black people that play basketball, and oh god, I have to help her understand the complexity, and on and on. But here’s the funky thing about young children: she was only describing what she saw and asking about it. It is true that when Luca walks by this playground, most of the time the people she sees are Black men. And so she wants to know why. And while the answer is complex and many-layered, there is an answer. Or there are answers that will unravel over the time of her growing up. It’s a legitimate question based on an observation. Stay specific, listen to what your child is saying or watch what they are doing. Are they in distress? Are they worried or having any kind of emotion? Is it just a question? Before making any assumptions about what your child’s question might mean, ask them about it. Refer to knowing your own shit and learning together. Keep the channels of conversation and learning open.

Making Mistakes

Here’s another example from a white friend of mine: she picked up her white grandson from his preschool. His first comment to her was: “I don’t like Black people. I don’t think I want them to be my friends”. My friend freaked out, her emotions rose up to the sky, and she jumped in immediately, asking with an anxious voice what he meant but also saying that of course he doesn’t know all Black people, and a whole bunch of other things that she doesn’t remember because her emotions were so high. And as she was talking, she saw him retreat into himself, getting quiet and logging away the information that this wasn’t something he should talk about.

And my friend kicked herself from here to the preschool and back, knowing that she had goofed but feeling overwhelmed. As she later asked more questions, she learned that her grandson’s school had just done a chapter on the civil rights. During this chapter, there was a lot of conversation about Black folks as a people or as a community. Her grandson knew Black folks but he knew them as individuals. He had never thought of anyone as a “people.” While he knew Black folks out in the world, there was only one Black child in his preschool class: a boy who, for whatever reason, teased him a lot. So my friend’s grandson put things together in a pattern in his head: “this kid is a Black kid and he is mean to me. Black kids are part of a Black people. I don’t like playing with this Black kid and I don’t want to be his friend. Therefore, I don’t want to be friends with Black people.” If you take away the sting and the legacy of racism, you’ve got to admit there’s a logic to this.

As we talked about it, my friend wished that she had just hit the pause button after her grandson spoke. She wished she had started right away with asking questions, not putting any kind of value on his words until she understood what he was actually talking about. Because now she has to undo something, one of the somethings that white supremacy depends on. She has to undo this idea that some things are not “polite” to talk about, that there is something uncomfortably emotional about talking about Black people, that grandma freaks out when you bring it up so don’t bring this kind of stuff up.

And every single one of us is going to have to undo moments like this. Because we will all make mistakes. Because we are learning as we go. We make mistakes and we will continue to make them. The important thing is to keep coming back, being honest with our kids about our own struggle, and asking for their help in figuring this out.

And maybe that’s how this article will end. As we enter our third year of White Noise, the group focus is shifting. There are some new people joining in the Fall, some people who are stepping out. We now share a groundwork among ourselves as adults, and we share some thoughts about how to start laying the groundwork with our children. In our meetings, we laugh a lot, we freak out, we forget to bring up important things, we spend too much time talking about the easy stuff and sometimes we dip into the hard and scary things that move us all forward.

Recently, we’ve been talking about the aspects of our cultures that really prop up white supremacy. We’ve been talking about how the protestant work ethic is one aspect of white supremacy, the particular values about how we approach work and “responsibility”, what gets called laziness or self-indulgent, how we think about the relationship between work, family and community. We have talked about the difference in valuing relationships and community versus valuing “getting things done.” We have talked about how raising our children to code-shift is an important part of resisting white supremacy. This means being able to move across cultures and communities without losing a sense of themselves and without assuming that everyone else has to be just like them. And we are talking about moving outside of our own comfort zones in figuring these out. Meaning, not just reading books and getting together to discuss, but maybe, actually, playing; with our kids and not just alone as a bunch of serious adults.

We will continue to learn together. As our children get older and enter different developmental stages with different relationships with friends, community and self, we will need to figure out new things. And at the end of the day, we know this group is far more for us adults than for our kids. Because they will be living their lives separate from us. Their choices will be their own and their mistakes their own as well. By laying the groundwork, our hope is that we support our children to feel empowered and creative as white people to live in the whole world, with wide open eyes and a sense of accountability and celebration. And that in living in the whole world, they might be part of shifting the pattern so that there are more children with each successive generation who also truly have access to the whole world. What we have realized is that we can’t take our children’s privilege away but we can work to shift our collective understanding of what that privilege means.

A good basic article on White Privilege is by Peggy McIntosh:

White Privilege: Essential Readings on the other side of Racism (an anthology) by Paula S. Rotherberg, Worth Publishers

White Supremacy Culture by Tema Okun

Acknowledgements: Susan, Raquel, Susan, Nicola, Amy, Lisa and all past members of White Noise, Vikki, Kris, Kristen, Kristin, Jen, Laura, and Karn.

White Noise is a group of white parents with white children who have been meeting for two years to learn together and support each other in ending white supremacy.

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August 10, 2009

A Song For Honduras

Golpe (Honduras) -- Lyrics & Music by Simon Rios

Oye, Nica, Salvadoreño,
Indio, Garifuna, Brazileiro,
Gringo, Gaucho, y Caraqueño,
Chilango, Cholo, Potorro y Porteño
Esto es una llamada, en nombre de los Hondureños
Hay ke levantarnos todos, por este justo desempeño
Hay que defender ese pueblo, con puño y con cerebro
Hay que defender ese pueblo, con puño y con cerebro

June 28th, 2,009 was the day
When they uprooted los catrachos, from the progresista way.
Mel Zelaya was the president, who'd gone from right to left,
He was a magnate of the old school, but was calling out the theft
& pillage of Honduras, & the whole of the continente
by los gringos asesinos, & their local asistentes.
So they kidnapped Mel at gunpoint, at five o clock in the morn
And America woke that Sunday, said what the hell is going on?
Que carajo esta pasando? Otro golpe militar!
Otro once de septiembre, otro tiempo pa gritar!
This isn't about Manuel Zelaya, it ain't about the constitution,
It's about the oligarchía, and it's about the revolution.
The Honduran Magna Carta, was designed by the ruling class
With the oversight of Washington, & the rulers of the past
And Zelaya wanted reform, to promote participation
Cuz democracy ain't about, pulling a lever & waiting patient
It ain't about a rich criollo, sucking blood out of the nation
Its about power to the people, & the old order is changing
Pues America esta cambiando, por un modelo socialista,
anti-fascista, contra estes malditos golpistas
Tres-cientos mil up en la calle, dicen Zelaya no se va!
Los golpistas dicen democracia, mientras hacen coup d'etat
It's like saying save the trees, while revving a chainsaw
It's like saying it ain't me babe, when you're the one I saw.
And the golpistas waved a banner, reading we shall overcome
Which side would Martin be on, if Martin could've come?

Oxala pudiera cantarte, una rolita mas alegre
But the golpe en Honduras, makes me mutherfucking angry
I wish this was a nightmare, or a skit on cha cha cha
But its real as rigor mortis, cuz they made a coup d'etat
Hay que tener rabia pueblo, Honduras es America
La misma sangre y consigna, desde Ushuaia hasta Merida
Y de ahi para Recife, y de ahi pa Torreón
Desde el bosque de Chapultepec, hasta las minas de Cerrejón.
No importa que pinche dia, no importa en que lugar,
Pues la esperanza comun, es lo quieren asesinar.
And they speak of an invasion by Venezolano agents
Y no aguantamos eso, they say, cuz we're a sovereign nation.
Sovereign nation? With a gringo base in Chaperola?
You mean sovereign to the people? Or sovereign to Coca Cola?
And you'd be foolish if you thought that the gringos didn't play a role
You think that the ambassador, Hugo Llorens, didn't know?
This ain't the US of Obama, but of Reich & of la CIA
The ones who planned the golpe contra Hugo Chavez Frias
The ones who killed Allende, & who tried to kill Fidel
The ones who speak of freedom, while manifesting hell
The ones who infiltrated the mighty Tupamaros
The ones who drew & quartered, the brave Tupac Amaru
The ones who own la prensa, y las haciendas y maquilas
The ones who stand to profit, from the riches of the minas
And the reporters of the mainstream, are more full of shit & piss
Than the sewage tank at midnight, on the Chinatown Express
Sowing fear of comunismo, and a thousand huevonadas
Cuz la prensa esta vendida, y su gente, comprada
Comiendo baleadas, mientras los pobres comen basura,
And they still can't understand, why there's tanta amargura
And you think they give a damn about the starvation of a people?
The disenfranchising of a people? the genocide of a people?
Cuz they're killing little kids, & they're killing periodistas,
They're killing esperanzas, & they're killing sindicalistas.
Here's a fist up for Murillo, martyr of Tegucigalpa
Whose death served to make la resistencia stand mas alta
Here a fist up to COFADEH, OFRANEH, y el COPINH
From the pueblo of Geronimo & Martin Luther King.
This is the wakening of Honduras, in the form of a class war
It's a fight of good & evil, & the good ones are the poor
Nothing more, and it sure ain't nothing less
And it wont stop till the coup drops, and justicia is addressed.
Caerá la dictadura, como todos los demas
Y llegará un tiempo de justicia, justicia con paz
Pero mientras tanto y los llantos, los molestaré con mi canto
En frente de las marchas, con mas bravura que mil Rambos
Ambos ladosde la izkierda y por debajo
Venceremos Hondureño dale duro pueblo catracho.

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August 8, 2009

Black NJ demands accountability, from both the cops & Newark's celebrity mayor: "Justice for Basire Farrell"

This past May, Fire on the Mountain reported on the beating death by Newark police officers of popular Clinton Hills neighborhood resident Basire Farrell within blocks of Mayor Cory Booker's residence (see The People's Organization for Progress Demands Justice for Basire Farrell for the May posting). By August, in the heat of the summer of 2009, this year's spate of police-sanctioned murders has only increased…
The community response to this outrage became a flood of discontent as more than 100 residents, New Black Panther Party supporters, and People's Organization for Progress members shut down Newark's central business intersection at Broad & Market Streets this past Wednesday evening (see this video).
This weekend, after pointing out that we were picking the Newark Police Headquarters at 31 Green Street on a Saturday for the convenience of family members and working people, POP NJ State chairman Lawrence Hamm upped the ante, stating that next time, we would be around the corner from the Police Headquarters, "at City Hall on a week day, to confront Mayor Booker and the Police Commissioner, and demand a response."

As the leaflet from People's Organization for Progress stated:
We ask, are lives in Black skins less important than lives in white skins? We ask why is Basire Farrell's life in Black skin less important than a life in a white skin?
We ask, why Basire Farrell couldn't survice an arrest by Seven Newark Police Officers?
We ask, why was Basire Farrell added to the list of Blacks murdered by the Newark Police?
We also ask:
Why did it take seven police officers to arrest one man?
Why did the police need to chase Basire Farrell, and then hit him with a police car to stop him?
How was "public safety" served by beating and kicking a man who was already on the ground and in handcuffs?
Why was Basire Farrell repeated tasered (tortured with an illegal "non-lethal" weapon that the City of Newark does not even provide to officers), while in cuffs?
The death of Basire Farrell is simply a single example of an every-increasing number of homicides that police officers in Essex County are either directly responsible for or complicit in. These include Randy Weaver, Jahqui Graham, and many, many others.

Justice for all victims of Police Brutality!

(See a YouTube video of Chairman Hamm's speech this past Saturday at 31 Green Street in Newark)

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