Tuesday, December 11, 2018

White churches have a moral responsibility to stand up

 Police officers at the 16th Street Baptist Church, headquarters of the Birmingham Campaign in Birmingham, Ala., in 1963. The church was bombed by white supremacists in September of that year, killing four girls.
By           Jesse Jackson                   12/10/2018
In 2019, we will commemorate 400 years since the first 20 slaves were transported by ship from Africa by white slave traders and landed in Jamestown, Va.

Now four centuries later, race remains a central dividing line. Today, for example, the racial wealth gap exposes a stark difference. The median wealth of a white household (median means half are above and half below) is 12 times greater than that of a black household. The median wealth of a white household is $134,430, of blacks it is $11,030.

OPINION

This is virtually all about equity in a home, the leading source of middle income wealth. African-Americans still suffer from de facto segregation, after years of being red-lined from decent neighborhoods.

In the financial collapse, African-American households suffered the worse. Black unemployment rose twice as much as white unemployment in the Great Recession. Middle-class black families, lacking inherited wealth, were targeted for the most aggressive and leveraged home loans. When the bust came, they were the most at risk and suffered the greatest loss of homes.

The wealth gap is not erased by educational attainment, by full-time employment, by getting the right occupation. The typical black family with a head of household working full time has less wealth than a white family whose head of household is unemployed. Median wealth for a black family whose head has a college degree is about 1/8 that of a median white family similarly educated.

African-Americans are constantly told to pull themselves up by their bootstraps. In the black church, for example, ministers repeatedly preach the need for discipline, self-reliance, faith and hard work. Yet even those who succeed still remain behind.

 The divide has deep historical roots. Two-hundred forty-six years of chattel slavery (1619-1865), only twelve years of Reconstruction (1865-1877), 19 years of Black Codes, KKK and white citizen council violence (1877-1896), 58 years of legal apartheid with nearly 5,000 African-Americans lynched and, even since the 1954 Brown decision, ongoing racial discrimination.

During the recent midterm elections, I was constantly asked whether African-Americans would vote in high enough numbers and margins for Democrats so that candidates white and black had a chance to be elected. Democrats seem almost satisfied if 20 to 30 percent of whites turn out to vote for black or progressive white candidates.

What responsibility do white people have to register and turnout for progressive black and white Democrats running for office?

The nation is facing many morally relevant social, economic and political crises — voter suppression, income and wealth inequality, criminal justice reform and climate change —that now pose an existential threat to the next generation. Why does the white church remain so silent in the face of these mounting crises and denial of justice and opportunity?

In Birmingham in 1963, with dogs biting children, high-pressure fire hoses knocking down peaceful protesters, bombers blowing up churches and Dr. King in jail, many white church leaders chose to attack Dr. King’s non-violent methodology rather than to fight for a non-discriminatory Public Accommodations Act.

One would have thought when the four little girls were bombed in the 16th Street Baptist Church, white churches would have at least held prayer services or services of reconciliation.  Instead, most attacked Dr. King as an outside agitator, as if he had set the bombs.

Recently in Alabama, I witnessed a stark contrast. One extreme was the excitement in anticipation of the Georgia/Alabama SEC championship football game. When a young African-American athlete, Jalen Hurts, replaced an injured Tua Tagovailoa at quarterback, every Alabamian of every political persuasion, right, left and center, was pulling for him.

With Hurts’ remarkable display of skill, Alabama won the game. He not only won the game, he arguably beat George Wallace and the legislators who earlier locked blacks out of the University of Alabama. He beat Bull Connor who unleashed the dogs on demonstrators and the KKK on Freedom Riders. He beat the KKK bombers who watched as the church was decimated and four little girls were murdered.

The other extreme was witnessed in Hoover, Ala., where E.J. Bradford was shot in the back by a policeman. That police officer is still on the payroll. The patterns and prejudices of the old South are hard to overcome.

Here once more, the white church has the opportunity and the responsibility to stand up, to serve as a Christian witness. White voices of moral authority and inclusive leadership are needed now as much or more than ever.

That is why the silence seems so deafening.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Don’t let police keep secrets in their shooting of a black man at Alabama mall

 Elijah King holds a sign at a protest at the Riverchase Galleria mall in Hoover, Alabama, where police shot Emantic "EJ" Bradford Jr. Witnesses said Bradford was trying to help people escape during a mall shooting. | AP Photo/Kim Chandler
By  Jesse Jackson            12/04/2018
 This week, I attended the funeral service for a 21-year-old young man, Emantic “EJ” Bradford, Jr.

He was shot three times in the back by police in a Birmingham, Alabama, shopping mall on Thanksgiving night. The police were responding to a fight and shots that injured two people. Witnesses have said EJ was trying to help people escape from danger. The police claimed he was brandishing a gun (for which he had a permit) and shot him without warning.

“That boy didn’t shoot at nobody,” said an onlooker as the police crowded over Bradford bleeding to death in the mall. “They just killed that black boy for no reason.”

OPINION

Bradford, the youngest son of a military family — his father was a Marine — was working full-time, helping to support his family. The family has asked for the release of any information on the shooting, including video from body cameras. The police department has refused, saying that the shooting is under investigation.

Once more, there is justifiable fear that the police are closing ranks, using secrecy and false statements to subvert justice and protect their own.

EJ Bradford’s death is an unspeakable horror, yet one that we witness far too often. He is one of more than 850 people who have been shot and killed by the police in the United States this year, and the most recent victim of racial violence at the hands of the police.

 The NRA keeps saying that a “good man with a gun” can help prevent mass shootings. Clearly, not if that good man is an African-American.

Even with a permit to carry and an intent to help the innocent get away, young African-American men become, without warning, the targets and the victims of police.

We have been here before, too many times. Trayvon Martin was shot and killed walking home in Florida. Michael Brown was shot, and his body left to rot in the middle of a Ferguson, Missouri street. In Chicago, there were “16 shots and a 400-day cover-up” of the murder of Laquan McDonald.

The list of victims of what, sadly, is a violence fueled by racism and protected by political indifference is much too long. Who will force accountability and reform?

In one of his first and last efforts in office, former Attorney General Jeff Beauregard Sessions gutted the Justice Department initiative, ramped up under the Obama administration, to use court- ordered consent decrees to force reform of police practices. Who will police the police? The current Justice Department has chosen to perversely shirk its responsibility.

EJ Bradford deserves justice. His family deserves a full and thorough and public investigation. They deserve to see what information is known about the killing of their child. The officer involved should be investigated and prosecuted under the law.

I share the pain and anger about the violent death of EJ. If the Justice Department will not act, and the police investigation is secreted away, the people must act to ensure that justice is done. I say to those who would protest, please do so in a non-violent and disciplined way.

His mother, overcome with grief, said: “My son was a loving, very loving young man. He would give any of you the shirt off his back. And that’s true. He loved people, period. He was not a killer.”

We should honor his spirit, even as we demand justice.

We ask of the police only that you do your job. Serve and protect. And release the tapes.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

How Pepsi won the USSR .. And then almost lost everything ...Contributed by my grandson Jason

 


My grandson Jason works for the Pepsi Company and thought I would be interested in some history of the company. I was very interested and enjoyed the video he showed me . Here it is for your edification and entertainment.
 Shadow
 
For half a century the USSR was America's greatest rival ... and yet one American company was able to capture the heart and wallets of the Soviet Union: Pepsi.

Starting with an ambitious exhibition after Khrushchev's rise to power, Pepsi was able to negotiate a strategic trading deal with the USSR: Pepsi would sell their product in exchange for Stolichnaya vodka, which they could sell back home in America.

With trade becoming more lucrative, Pepsi's barter became increasingly ambitious: at one point they traded over a dozen submarines and were in the process of exchanging a fleet of oil tankers, but then the Soviet Union collapsed.

In a frantic scramble to secure their assets, which were now scattered across a dozen countries, Pepsi lost their footing. Coca Cola, on the other hand, stood poised to overtake their rival. The fall of the USSR was a great opportunity for them, and over the course of a single decade Coca Cola entered Russia and became the number 1 cola in the country.

Trump Chuckles ....or are they Chump Truckles ??

Related image
 
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Thank you, Mr. Fascist Dictator...

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Senate race gives Mississippi a choice between hope or hate

 Mississippi Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith urges the audience to cheer for President Donald Trump after he introduced her at a rally on Oct. 2, 2018 in Southaven, Miss. | AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis         By  Jesse Jackson           1/26/2018
Now Mississippi must decide — between the future or the past, between coming together or dividing even more. The special election for the U.S. Senate seat on Tuesday is reportedly a very close race. Much will depend on who turns out to vote.

Does hope drive turnout? Or will hate and fear? Tuesday will tell.

OPINION
The contrast is clear. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, appointed to replace Thad Cochran when he resigned for health reasons, now must face the electorate. She votes down the line for President Trump, who will join her for rallies Monday.

She has told us exactly who she is. On Nov. 2, after a supporter praised her, she said, “If he invited me to a public hanging, I’d be on the front row.” Her Facebook page shows a photo of her wearing a cap of a Confederate soldier and holding a musket, with a caption: “Mississippi history at its best.” She was also caught on video saying, “There’s a lot of liberal folks in those other schools who maybe we don’t want to vote. Maybe we want to make it just a little more difficult. And I think that’s a great idea.” She now says she was joking.

No, those comments aren’t a joke, not in Mississippi with its history of lynching and of violent voter suppression; they are blatant racial appeals. They were so hateful that Walmart, Major League Baseball, Union Pacific, Pfizer, Amgen, AT&T and others have asked for the return of donations they made to her campaign.

Her opponent is Mike Espy, the first black Mississippian to be elected to Congress since Reconstruction and the first black secretary of agriculture, appointed by Bill Clinton. He is a centrist by temperament and politics. He is a supporter of the Second Amendment, wants to increase paid family leave and the minimum wage and supports the expansion of Medicaid funding. His campaign is a call for Mississippi to more forward, not backward.

 Mississippi has been notorious for its racial divisions. “Everybody knows about Mississippi goddam,” Nina Simone used to sing. This is where lynching was used to intimidate African-Americans in opposition to the emancipation of the slaves. This is where civil rights activists were murdered for the crime of simply trying to register people to vote.

The state has paid a terrible price for this. It is the poorest state in the union. The effort to keep African-Americans down has pushed white working people into the ditch with them. The state finds it hard to attract investment. Its lack of basic public investment — in education, in health care, in the environment — makes it unattractive to modern day companies.

Now Mississippi has a chance. When Tunica went from a sugar ditch of poverty and despair to casinos, hotels, restaurants and jobs, the new Mississippi emerged and was made proud.

Mississippi is not just the Black Delta now. It is also the white sandy beaches to the south. The new Mississippi is more economically attractive to businesses.

The new Mississippi is home to Toyota and Nissan representing a new South agenda. Mississippi State playing on Thanksgiving Day is the new Mississippi where fans cheered the uniform color and not skin color. This is the new and rising South.

There is a choice. There is a candidate who can help bring it into the New South. The right to vote, while still impeded, now exists. The contrast is clear. The question is whether people have the courage to move forward.

Espy, the pundits say, has only an outside chance of winning. That’s true if the past sustains its hold over the present. Yet this is a time of change. Increasingly, working people of all races understand that the current course doesn’t work for them. The grip of Republicans, appealing to racial division, has not served the state well; a few have prospered, but many have not. Old habits and old hatreds are hard to break. Yet Mississippi has a chance and a choice. African-Americans must have the courage to vote in large numbers. People of conscience must vote their values; working people vote in their own interests.

Electing Hyde-Smith will condemn Mississippi to the past. Electing Espy will be a clear statement that Mississippi is moving forward. The people now must decide.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Contrast between Obama and Trump has become clear


In this Nov. 10, 2016 photo, President Barack Obama and President-elect Donald Trump shake hands following their meeting in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
By   Jesse Jackson      November 20 , 2018

Donald Trump began his presidency with an inaugural address that denounced the “carnage” that had preceded him. He vowed to Make America Great Again, and set about systematically trying to deep-six virtually everything that his predecessor Barack Obama had accomplished.

Now, after two years, the contrast is stark and clear.

OPINION
Barack and Michelle Obama came from middle-class families and worked their way up to the White House.

Donald Trump was born into a fortune that he eventually inherited.

Barack Obama put together a coalition across lines of race and won the majority of votes in two presidential elections.

Trump stoked racial and nativist fears to consolidate a base of white voters.

Obama inherited an economy in free fall that was losing hundreds of thousands of jobs a month. He saved it, and began what is now the longest recovery in history.

Trump inherited that recovery and pretends it was his own.

Under Obama, 26 million people got health care coverage who did not have it before, despite implacable Republican opposition.

Under Trump, about 4 million and counting have been deprived of health insurance.

Under Obama, taxes went up on the wealthy, in part to pay for extending health care to low-income people.

Trump slashed taxes on the rich and corporations, and blew up the deficit.

No drama Obama led a remarkably clean administration, with no high official embarrassed by indictment or scandal over eight years.

In less than two years, Trump’s administration is already established as one of the most corrupt in history.

When Obama traveled the world, throngs gathered to hear him. Respect for America rose.

When Trump travels, he goes late, leaves early and is greeted with protests. Respect for America has plummeted.

Obama listened to scientists warning about global warming and brought the world together — including China — in a Paris Accord to take the first steps at meeting the challenge.

Trump calls catastrophic climate change a hoax, has tried to purge any mention of it across his government and has pulled the U.S. out of the Paris Accord, making this country one of only two to spurn it.

Obama brought leading nations of the world together to force Iran to agree to dismantle its nuclear production facilities and to submit to intrusive inspection.

Trump pulled the U.S. out of the accord unilaterally, and now is trying to enforce sanctions on Iran that our own allies deplore.

Faced with Republican obstruction, Obama used his executive powers to protect the Dreamers — migrants brought as young children to the U.S. who know no other country.

Faced with bipartisan agreement on comprehensive immigration reform, Trump walked away and used his executive powers to rip babies from parents and put them in cages.

Obama generally leveled with the American people.

Trump lies routinely and repeatedly.

Obama strengthened enforcement of civil rights.

Trump has rolled enforcement back across the government.

Obama cracked down on for-profit colleges fraudulently luring students into crippling debt.

Trump not only ran his own fraudulent education operation, but his Education Department is also gutting protections for students.

The contrast is even clearer when we look to the future. Trump promises more tax cuts, more military spending, more deficits and deeper cuts in programs for the vulnerable. He plans to nominate a coal lobbyist to head the Environmental Protection Agency and is trying to install a partisan zealot atop the Justice Department.

Obama says America must move forward, and he praises progressive Democrats for advocating Medicare for all, a $15 minimum wage, tuition-free college and more.

With Obama and then Trump, Americans have elected two diametrically opposed leaders leading into two very different directions. Over the next two years, Americans will have to choose once more.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Happy 17th Birthday 'Son & Brother


Happy Birthday to you our son and brother 
You're brought us so much joy
With every little thing you do
I'm glad you're our son and brother

We still  remember when  you came to us 
On that beautiful and joyous day
The tears your mama shed of happiness
Will be remembered always 

We thanked the Lord from up above 
For giving  you to us 
Then we made a pledge  to care for you 
To the uttermost degree

Through the years you've blessed us 
Much more than we could you 
We love you so , our dear sweet son 
Our pledge we do renew 

Happy Birthday 
Daddy , Mama ,  Sha  , Jenny  , Man  
In memory of         'Poppa'