Race Based Terrorism Has a Long History in the United States

Fifty two years ago today, James Chaney, a black man, Michael Schwerner, a Jew, and Andrew Goodman, a white man, were murdered by terrorists in Mississippi, USA. These men were part of “Freedom Summer”, a voter registration and education campaign organized by the Congress for Racial Equality (CORE) to educate Black people about the political process and register them to vote.

The long-standing white terrorist organization, the KuKluxKlan, recently associated with the current GOP presumptive presidential nominee, was implicated in their deaths. The bodies of the three men were found in an earthen dam after they were stopped by local police, let go, and then followed out of town.

The Mississippi Attorney General announced yesterday that the investigation into the deaths of the three civil rights workers has been closed. One person was convicted for manslaughter in the case. The Attorney General cited difficulties in the investigation including “enduring reluctance among some to speak to the authorities [that] made the likelihood of more  prosecutions remote”. According to a 48 page report released by the U.S. Justice Department on Monday, “the willingness of surviving witnesses to cooperate fully rather than minimizing their knowledge with false denials or feigned memory problems is a factor to consider.”

One hundred and one years ago today (June 21, 1915), the United States Supreme Court ruled that “grandfather clauses”, used by some states to keep African Americans from voting, were unconstitutional.  Many states continued to use ‘grandfather clauses’ and other measures (poll taxes, literacy tests) to insure that only white people  (who often did not have to take the literacy test) could vote.

These measures, along with laws designed to restrict the participation of People of The Global Majority (African, Asian, Latina/o and Native American Heritage People), refusing to pass laws overturning barriers to participation, hate speech, and physical violence, are some of the ways that race based terrorism is kept alive in these United States.

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Most Of The Orlando Shooting Victims Had Spanish Names*

 

At least 39 of the 49 people killed in the Orlando shooting had Spanish names.  The killer choose Latinx night (a night when People of the Global Majority were specially invited to come to the club), to commit this awful crime.

While no link to any outside terrorist group has been established, mainstream media continues to focus on terrorism stemming from groups outside the United States.  The killer was born and raised in Florida! According to many residents of the Global Majority** and the Southern Poverty Law Center***, daily racism in addition to homophobia, is practiced in Florida.

I have not read any accounts in any mainstream media that address Florida racism connected to these killings.  I have not read any account discussing the terrorism that is spawned when politicians, judges, district attorneys, and other leaders make statements that contribute to a pubic atmosphere that make it seem okay to mistreat and kill people you don’t like.

I wonder what would happen if the mainstream media were able to acknowledge and examine the role played by racism and internalized racism in the execution of this horrible crime. I wonder what would happen if mainstream media were able to examine the ongoing damage done to us all by racism. I wonder what might happen if mainstream media were able to write or utter the word, ‘racism”.

Stanley Almodovar III, Amanda Alvear, Oscar A Aracena-Montero, Rodolfo Ayala-Ayala, Angel L. Candelario-Padro, Juan Chevez-Martinez, Luis Daniel Conde, Deonka Deidra Drayton, Simon Adrian Carrillo Fernandez, Leroy Valentin Fernandez, Mercedez Marisol Flores, Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz, Juan Ramon Guerrero, Frank Hernandez, Miguel Angel Honorato, Javier Jorge-Reyes, Jason Benjamin Josaphat, Anthony Luis Laureanodisla, Christopher Andrew Leinonen, Alejandro Barrios Martinez, Brenda Lee Marquez McCool, Gilberto Ramon Silva Menendez, Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo, Geraldo A. Ortiz-Jimenez, Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera, Joel Rayon Paniagua, Jean Carlos Mendez Perez, Enrique L. Rios, Jr., Jean C. Nives Rodriguez, Xavier Emmanuel Serrano Rosado, Christopher Joseph Sanfeliz, Yilmary Rodriguez Solivan, Edward Sotomayor Jr., Martin Benitez Torres, Jonathan Antonio Camuy Vega, Juan P. Rivera Velazquez, Luis S. Vielma, Franky Jimmy Dejesus Velazquez, Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon.

** People of the Global Majority –POGM- the Peoples of Africa, Asia, the Indigenous Peoples of the Americas, and the People of South, Central and Caribbean America – the majority of the people of the world.

***The Southern Poverty Law Center is an organization that monitors hate crimes in the United States, including racism.

 

 

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Muhammad Ali

Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee

So many of us thrilled to these words from Cassius Clay who cast off his “slave” name, and named himself Muhammad Ali. He proclaimed himself the greatest, long before we were able to face the possibility that we might not have to “feel bad about ourselves” all of the time.

Black people were longing for champions and heroes, and Mohammed Ali gave himself to us. He made himself, claimed himself, named himself and gave himself to the world. He is a sports champion, a civil rights champion, a human rights champion, a liberation worker, and a lifter up of people.

Ali understood the usefulness of taking charge of the shaping of your own life. He said, “The man [and woman] who views the world at 50 the same as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life”.

Farewell dear brother. Thank you for the gift of you!

Notes On The Life of Ali

1960   Won Gold Medal at Rome Olympics

1964   Won the world heavyweight championship

Changed his name to Muhammad Ali

Was a conscientious objector to Vietnam war, refusing to join U.S. army.

1971   Won his appeal to overturn conviction for refusal of conscription.

1975   Converted to Sunni Islam

1974   Won the world heavyweight championship

1978   Won the world heavyweight championship

1981   Retired from boxing

1998 United Nations named Ali a “messenger of peace”

Ali campaigns against apartheid and racial injustice.

Supported children’s initiatives and racial and political reconciliation on behalf of United Nations.

Famous fights included:

1971    Fight of the Century

1974   Super Fight II

1974   The Rumble in the Jungle

1975   Thrilla in Manila

I was the Concorde of boxing.

I was at a higher altitude than the rest,

moving faster than the rest…

Muhammad Ali

 

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