Justice system abuses mothers with no apologies

Baby-Snatching Practice Blocked Motherhood For 20-million Seconds

Debbie Africa with son Mike Jr. (right) and lawyer Brad Thomson (left). LBW PhotoDebbie Africa with son Mike Jr. (right) and lawyer Brad Thomson (left). LBW Photo
 
The piercing, bone-deep pain for a parent from having their child forcefully snatched away by authorities is a hurt Debbie Sims Africa knows in horrific ways.

The immense suffering some immigrant parents currently experience — triggered by the child-snatching/ family separation anti-immigration policies pursued by the Trump Administration on America’s southern border – is something that impacts Africa very personally.

On August 8, 1978 authorities in Philadelphia, literally snatched Africa’s two-year-old daughter from her arms.

A few weeks later when Africa gave birth to her son, Philadelphia authorities snatched him away also.

For more than 39-years Africa could not do what she wanted to do all her life: be a lovingly embracing, nurturing and protective mother.

Those 39-plus years Africa lived with that agony of unfulfilled motherhood are more than 467-months: more than 14,200-days, more than 341,640-minutes and more than 20.5-milion seconds.

On August 8, 1978 Philadelphia police arrested Africa following a shootout between police and members of the radical MOVE organization where a policeman was killed. Africa is a member of MOVE – in fact, a niece of MOVE founder John Africa. (All MOVE members utilize Africa as their last name.)

Cops and coffee shop in hot water

Starbucks & Philadelphia's Bitter Brew of (Police-Sanctioned) Pernicious Prejudice

Philadelphia police car outside Starbucks location of infamous 4/12/18 arrest incident. PhotoLBWPhiladelphia police car outside Starbucks location of infamous 4/12/18 arrest incident. PhotoLBW
 

Startling Philadelphia Police Department data related to the Starbucks coffee shop location where the flawed mid-April 2018 arrest of two black men sparked outrage internationally shines an unflattering spotlight on tolerance of racial discrimination within the Starbucks corporation and among police in Philadelphia.

This recently released data coupled with other accounts details a year-plus long pattern of discriminatory conduct by Starbucks personnel that seemingly received tacit backing from middle management at Starbucks and by Philadelphia police.

That now infamous April 12th arrest arose when a white manager at a Starbucks location in Philadelphia’s ritzy Rittenhouse Square neighborhood called police on the two black businessmen two minutes after they entered the coffee shop to await a scheduled meeting with a white businessman who arrived as the pair were placed in handcuffs.

That Starbucks manager, identified in news reports as Holly Hylton, claimed the two businessmen had defiantly rejected her requests to leave the shop because they had not immediately made purchases. One of the pair had asked to use the shop’s bathroom a request rejected by Hylton, who declared bathroom access is limited to paying customers only.

Hylton claimed she was merely enforcing Starbucks corporate policy. However, Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson, said it was “completely inappropriate to engage the police” because those two men were not creating a “disturbance.”

That recently released data – Philadelphia police 911 call logs – list 69 police responses to various incidents at that 1801Spruce Street Starbucks location between January 2016 and April 18, 2018. Those incidents ranged from improper operation of the security system to robbery.

Does delay evidence discrimination?

Mistreatment Of Dr. King's Legacy By New Jersey Officials Sparks Sharp NAACP Rebuke

House in Camden, NJ where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. plotted a protest that produced his first lawsuit against discrimination.House in Camden, NJ where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. plotted a protest that produced his first lawsuit against discrimination.
 

The New Jersey State NAACP Conference has demanded rejection of an unusual study commissioned by New Jersey’s Historic Preservation Office (HPO) that discounts the significance of the first lawsuit against discrimination ever filed by legendary civil right leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

NAACP State Conference President Richard T. Smith, in a recent letter to HPO, strongly criticized the recommendations and the “very formation” of that study conducted by a team of researchers from Stockton University in New Jersey.

New Jersey’s Historic Preservation Office paid $20,000 for that study as part of its review of an application seeking historic designation for a property in Camden, New Jersey where Dr. King stayed occasionally while attending seminary school in Chester, Pennsylvania nearly 70-years-ago.

King formulated the protest that produced his first lawsuit at that Camden property according to documentation unearthed over the past four years by a New Jersey researcher.

Richard Smith’s letter, on behalf of the NAACP Conference composed of 41 branches in 21 counties, “strongly” urged HPO to reject the study that discounted King’s first lawsuit, a salient event in King’s development as a civil rights activist. The NAACP letter characterized events surrounding that lawsuit as “very significant to American and New Jersey history…”

The NJ Historic Preservation Office had no comment on the NAACP’s letter because that office had not received the NAACP’s letter a HPO spokeswoman stated six days after the NAACP sent its letter.

That controversial study is the first study ever sought by the HPO for a New Jersey Historic Register listing. Because the HPO had placed over 51,000 properties and sites on the NJ Historic Register without a study, Smith’s letter stated that fact “alone causes us serious concern.”

Ross fails racism test...again

Philadelphia's Top Cop Defends Indefensible Prejudice in Starbucks Arrest Incident

Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross explains his cops' actions in arresting two black patrons in Starbucks (click on image to play video)Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross explains his cops’ actions in arresting two black patrons in Starbucks (click on image to play video)
 

Philadelphia’s top cop, Richard Ross, an African-American, has once again exhibited his blind spot on racial bigotry by police during his defense of a specious arrest of two black men inside a Starbucks coffee shop recently that triggered strong condemnation from the mayor of the so-called City of Brotherly Love.

The arrest of those black men for trespassing while they sat inside a Starbucks awaiting their meeting with a white developer to discuss a possible real estate investment deal sparked social media outrage, an apology from the corporate head of Starbucks and a strident assessment from Philadelphia’s Mayor James Kenney.

That Starbucks incident, Kenney said, “appears to exemplify what racial discrimination looks like in 2018.”

Yet, despite wide-ranging condemnations and growing protests at the Starbuck located in Center City at 18th and Spruce Streets, Philadelphia Police Commissioner Ross made a Facebook video two days after that controversial arrest where he continues to declare that his officers “did absolutely nothing wrong.”

Ross said his officers “were professional” in providing a “service” to the Starbucks employees at that coffee shop located in a ritzy residential area of downtown Philadelphia. Reports indicate the Starbucks shop personnel initially said the pair were loitering, later insisting their offense was trespassing. Ross’ defense ignored the bigotry that ignited the encounter producing the arrest, bigotry not addressed by the predominately white group of arresting officers.

Ross said police responded to a 911 call from that Starbucks reporting a “disturbance” – apparently a reference to the non-confrontational refusal of the two men to leave the coffee shop as demanded by that shop’s manager. The men insisted that they were waiting for a third party to arrive and join them. (That third person, in fact, the developer, arrived as cops were cuffing the two black patrons. He reacted angrily to police demanding to know why they were arresting his associates — to no effect.)

A cellphone video of the incident, taken by a customer, does not show any disturbance or even loud resistance to police by the pair, who calmly submitted to the arrest.

Police held the pair for over seven hours before their release after midnight. That release resulted from Starbucks personnel, who claimed a disturbance, declining to press charges and Philadelphia’s District Attorneys Office stating there was a “lack of evidence that a crime was committed.”

An activist who cared

Winnie Mandela: Never Half-Stepping On Road To Freedom

In many ways Winnie Mandela – the iconic South African anti-apartheid activist – was the appropriate choice for keynote speaker at the historic October 1997 ‘Million Woman March’ in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Winnie Mandela, the second and best-known wife of the legendary leader Nelson Mandela, courageously confronted issues from racism to sexism, classism to capitalism. Those issues were embedded in the impetus for staging the Million Woman March, an event that drew over a million predominately black females from around America to Philadelphia.

Winnie Mandela defied demands to capitulate to the dictates of the powerful. She bowed to neither South Africa’s once apartheid government nor bigwigs of the party that succeeded the apartheid government: the ANC, the African National Congress that her husband Nelson once headed.

MWM organizers also defied demands to capitulate. Organizers endured criticism for failure to surrender their vision to other black women who critics in positions of power deemed were better situated to lead that event because they were ‘more respectable and better known.’
 
Winnie Mandela at 1997 Million Woman March in Philadelphia, Pa. LBWPhotoWinnie Mandela at 1997 Million Woman March in Philadelphia, Pa. LBWPhoto
 

And Winnie Mandela maintained an unwavering commitment to uplifting those who were left out. MWM organizers shared Mandela’s commitment to the have-nots and like her, identified with the ‘grassroots.’

Winnie Mandela was a voice for the ‘little people.’ That posture often ran Winnie Mandela afoul of international power brokers and forces inside South Africa (both white and black) who were intent on maintenance of an apartheid-like economy. That inequitable status quo has left large segments of South Africa’s non-white populations profoundly impoverished.

Kids give adults a lesson in First Amendment civil disobedience

School Bosses Across America Go 'Butthead' On Anti-violence Student Protests

'Walkout' march in Philadelphia - a city where school officials did not penalize participants. LBWPhoto'Walkout' march in Philadelphia – a city where school officials did not penalize participants. LBWPhoto
 
Ten days before American student outrage over gun violence triggered multitudes across the U.S and around the world to join in “March For Our Lives” protests; many U.S. high school educators and other adults provided students with strident lessons in assholelisity.

During the March 14, 2018 National School Walkout Day staged by students to show sympathy for the victims of the February high school massacre in Florida, administrators and adults employed threats and punishments to squash students from protesting against the lack of gun control measures across America – the nation with are more guns than people.

School administrators asserted reasons for their harsh response to Walkout participants that went from claims of maintenance of order inside schools to contentions that the Walkout was a political statement that had no place in schools.

A student at a high school outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania saw “hypocrisy of the highest order” in administrators cracking down on participants in the National Walkout. At the school this student attended, administrators slapped over 200 protesting students with detentions that required coming to school on Saturdays.

“They tell us in announcement everyday to be the change you want to see in the world. And then when we tried to do it, they told us we couldn’t,” Pennridge High School student Anna Sophie Tinneny told a reporter.

While many school officials nationwide did not oppose the determination of students to participate in the National School Walkout Day, the reactions of some school administrators and other adults to that protest oozed assholelisity.

Foot-dragging 'study' questions value of King's first anti-racist lawsuit

Historic Recognition For MLK 'First' In New Jersey Moves At Snails Pace

House in Camden, NJ where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. plotted a protest that produced his first lawsuit against discrimination.House in Camden, NJ (left) where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. plotted a protest that produced his first lawsuit against discrimination.
 
The first lawsuit against discrimination ever filed by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. – the iconic civil rights activist – is of questionable historic value according to an unusual study released recently by New Jersey state historic preservation authorities.

New Jersey’s Historic Preservation Office (HPO) paid $20,000 for the study as part of its review of an application seeking historic designation for a property in Camden New Jersey where Dr. King stayed occasionally while attending seminary school in Chester, Pennsylvania over 60-years-ago.

King, according to new documentation unearthed by a NJ researcher, began formulating the protest that led to his first anti-discrimination lawsuit, while at the 753 Walnut Street Camden property. King was at the house hours before going to Maple Shade, NJ, where a white café owner refused service to King and his three companions in June 1950, chasing them from that café with a gun.

King listed 753 Walnut Street Camden as his address on police reports from that gun toting service denial encounter.

That Maple Shade café incident produced King’s first anti-discrimination lawsuit. King, during an October 1961 conversation with news reporters in Philadelphia, Pa, described that incident as a “painful experience.”

That study is the first study ever commissioned by NJ’s Historic Preservation Office, the office in charge of NJ’s Register of Historic Places.

HPO records list 51,825 properties and sites on NJ’s historic register, as of February 2018. The thousands of private properties on that historic register were approved without a study like the one conducted on the Camden property, an HPO spokesman noted.

NRA Stooges like Trump twist Second Amendment meaning

Idiocy 101: Arming Teachers To Stop Mass Shootings In Schools

So President Donald Trump now pontificates that he would run into a school building to save students during a mass shooting attack even if he was “unarmed!”

This empty boast is from the same Trump who failed the bravery test during the Vietnam War by dodging the draft — not for principle but because the poor guy had “bone spurs” on one foot (he can’t remember which).

Yes, that braggadocio is on top of other asinine blather from the Oval Office occupant. Trump for example made that boast while taking another shot at the police who failed to rush into that south Florida high school during the Valentine’s Day 2018 massacre that left 17 dead including 14 students.

The unwillingness of armed cops outside that Parkland high school to rush inside to confront an assault rifle firing shooter didn’t stop pseudo Tough Guy Trump from pushing the asinine proposal to arm teachers to help stop mass school shootings.

The Trump who wants to pay teachers to carry guns in schools is the same Trump who wants to slash billions of dollars in federal funding for education.
 

Arming teachers is a big pay day for gunmakers. It doesn't make America great or safe.Arming teachers is a big pay day for gunmakers. It doesn't make America great or safe.
 

Since Trump never lets facts stand in the way of his fantasies, he doesn’t care that a study conducted by his hometown police force – – the New York City Police Department –- found police only had an 18 percent success rate in hitting a person they were shooting at if that person was shooting back at them.

That begs the question: In arming teachers, does Trump accept that teachers will almost inevitably accidentally kill a few students while trying to shoot a mass shooter, given the NYPD certified fact that even trained police, who are regularly retrained on shooting guns accurately, have such a poor ‘good shoot’ percentage in shootout situations?

Trump's Destructive Decision on US Embassy move

The Shadow of Smuts on Trump's Jerusalem Declaration

 
Protest art in the Orange Farm settlement of South Africa circa 2014. LBWPhotoProtest art in the Orange Farm settlement of South Africa circa 2014. LBWPhoto
 
U.S. President Donald Trump and Jan Smuts, a former prime minister of South Africa are politicians from two different eras who share two things in common.

Actions by Trump and Smuts, while separated by several decades, prompt many people in America and South Africa respectively to use the same word to describe each leader: racist.

And, Trump, like Smuts, has acted decisively on behalf of Israel.

Trump has created a “racially hostile climate” the President of America’s oldest civil rights organization, the NAACP, noted recently.

The actions of Smuts and other white supremacist leaders in South Africa over a century ago triggered the creation of the African National Congress (ANC) in 1912, three years after the formation of the NAACP in America. A long-time leader of the ANC was Nelson Mandela, the legendary activist/statesman.

Recently President Trump smashed decades of American policy with his declaration that recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. In the early 20th Century Jan Smuts played a pivotal role in laying the foundation for the creation of Israel.

Trump’s declaration on Jerusalem received applause in Israel by top governmental officials and citizens alike. Trump received Israeli accolades despite the fact that a few months ago Trump publicly praised Israel hating Neo-Nazis after that rampage by racists in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Trump proclaimed his declaration was “the right thing to do” irrespective of the fact that it flouts international law that has opposed Israeli occupation of Jerusalem since 1967. Trump said his declaration was simply a “recognition of reality.” Trump critics point out the ‘reality’ of Israel’s control of Jerusalem is tied to decades of the U.S. providing Israel with military aid, financial support and diplomatic backing that strengthened Israel’s occupation of Jerusalem and the West Bank.

But where are those supporters when ordinary folks are facing injustice?

Meek Moment Triggers Demands for Justice Reform

 
Meek Mill supporters rally outside Philadelphia's City courthouse. LBWPhotoMeek Mill supporters rally outside Philadelphia's City courthouse. LBWPhoto
 
The recent incarceration of star Philadelphia rapper Meek Mill brings up many issues beyond how the justice system should handle obstinate individuals. A judge imprisoned Mill for serial violations of his parole conditions.

One issue is many of those supporting Mill have never engaged in activities to address structural injustice in the justice system – the kinds of problems those supporters say must be reversed in the case of their revered rapper.

Pennsylvania has one of the nation’s highest racially disproportionate prison populations where 47 percent of the inmates are black and 10 percent are Hispanic. Blacks comprise less than 12 percent of Pennsylvania’s population and Hispanics are seven percent. Nearly 30 percent of all inmates in Pennsylvania’s state prisons are from Philadelphia only accounts for 12.8 percent of the state’s residents.

Another issue implicated in the Mill matter involves the advocacy for more minorities in the criminal justice system as a remedy for reducing structural inequities based on race/racism. The two Philadelphia police officers that severely beat Mill severely during an arrest were black as is the judge who sentenced Mill.

The imprisonment of Mill for parole violations provoked condemnation around the world. A Change.org petition calling for Mill’s release contained over 351,000 signatures one week after his sentencing to a 2-4-year prison term

The recent celebrity-studded rally outside of Philadelphia’s City courthouse, where hundreds demanded the release of rapper Mill, included sharp criticisms of inequities in the criminal justice system.