Newswire: George Floyd, whose death energized a movement, laid to rest

By: Juan A. Lozano and Nomaan Merchant, Associated Press

George Floyd’s golden casket wheeled into church

HOUSTON (AP) — George Floyd was lovingly remembered Tuesday as Big Floyd — a “gentle giant,” a father and brother, athlete and mentor, and now a force for change — at a funeral for the Black man whose death has sparked a global reckoning over police brutality and racial prejudice.

Hundreds of mourners wearing masks against the coronavirus packed a Houston church a little more than two weeks after Floyd was pinned to the pavement by a white Minneapolis police officer who put a knee on his neck for what prosecutors said was 8 minutes and 46 seconds.

Cellphone video of the encounter, including Floyd’s pleas of “I can’t breathe,” ignited protests and scattered violence across the U.S. and around the world, turning the 46-year-old Floyd — a man who in life was little known beyond the public housing project where he was raised in Houston’s Third Ward — into a worldwide symbol of injustice.

“Third Ward, Cuney Homes, that’s where he was born at,” Floyd’s brother, Rodney, told mourners at the Fountain of Praise church. “But everybody is going to remember him around the world. He is going to change the world.”

The funeral capped six days of mourning for Floyd in three cities.

Following the service, Floyd’s body was to be taken by horse-drawn carriage to a cemetery in suburban Pearland, where he was to be laid to rest next to his mother.

“George Floyd was not expendable. This is why we’re here,” Democratic Rep. Al Green of Houston told the crowd. “His crime was that he was born Black. That was his only crime. George Floyd deserved the dignity and respect that we accord all people just because they are children of a common God.”

While the service was private, at least 50 people gathered outside to pay their respects. Some held signs with messages including “Black Lives Matter” and “Together because of George Floyd.”

“There’s a real big change going on, and everybody, especially Black, right now should be a part of that,” said Kersey Biagase, who traveled more than three hours from Port Barre, Louisiana, with his girlfriend, Brandi Pickney. They wore T-shirts printed with Floyd’s name and “I Can’t Breathe.”

Dozens of Floyd’s family members, most dressed in white, were led into the sanctuary by the Rev. Al Sharpton, the civil rights activist.

The mourners also included rapper Trae tha Truth, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo and Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, who brought the crowd to its feet when he announced he will sign an executive order banning chokeholds in the city.

“No child should have to ask questions that too many black children have had to ask for generations: Why?” former Vice President Joe Biden, the Democratic presidential candidate, said in a video eulogy played at the service. “Now is the time for racial justice. That is the answer we must give to our children when they ask why.”

Biden made no mention of politics. But other speakers took swipes at President Donald Trump, who has ignored demands to address racial bias and has called on authorities crack down hard on lawlessness.

“The president talks about bringing in the military, but he did not say one word about 8 minutes and 46 seconds of police murder of George Floyd,” Sharpton said. “He challenged China on human rights. But what about the human right of George Floyd?”

The Rev. William Lawson, a contemporary of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., said: “Obviously the first thing we have to do is clean out the White House.”

Most of the pews were full, with relatively little space between people.

“So much for social distancing today,” the Rev. Remus Wright told mourners, gently but firmly instructing those attending to wear face fasks.

With the funeral inside the church still underway, hundreds of people lined the route to the cemetery. Many said they had arrived hours ahead to secure a spot.

“We’re out here for a purpose. That purpose is because first of all he’s our brother. Second, we want to see change,” said Marcus Brooks, 47, who set up a tent along the route with other graduates of Jack Yates High School, Floyd’s alma mater. “I don’t want to see any black man, any man, but most definitely not a black man sitting on the ground in the hands of bad police.”

The funeral came a day after about 6,000 people attended a public memorial, also in Houston, waiting for hours under a baking sun to pay their respects to Floyd, whose body lay in an open gold-colored casket. Over the past six days, memorials for Floyd were also held in Minneapolis, where he lived in recent years, and Raeford, North Carolina, near where he was born.

The services have drawn the families of other black victims whose names have become part of the debate over race and justice — among them, Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Ahmaud Arbery and Trayvon Martin.

In the past two weeks, amid the furor over Floyd’s death, sweeping and previously unthinkable things have taken place: Confederate statues have been toppled, and many cities are debating overhauling, dismantling or cutting funding for police departments. Authorities in some places have barred police from using chokeholds or are otherwise rethinking policies on the use of force.

Floyd, a bouncer who had lost his job because of the coronavirus outbreak, was seized by police after being accused of passing a counterfeit $20 bill at a convenience store.

Four Minneapolis officers were arrested in his death: Derek Chauvin, 44, was charged with second-degree murder. J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao were charged with aiding and abetting. All four could get up to 40 years in prison.

Some of the mostly peaceful demonstrations that erupted after Floyd’s death were marked by bursts of arson, assaults, vandalism and smash-and-grab raids on businesses, with more than 10,000 people arrested. But protests in recent days have been overwhelmingly peaceful.

Newswire : The killing of George Floyd sparks continued protests, outrage across the nation

By Hamil R. Harris

George Floyd and Policeman Derek Chauvin with knee on neck of George Floyd

(TriceEdneyWire.com) – Minneapolis Police Department Officer Derek Chauvin relaxed as he was suffocating George Floyd. His hands were in his pockets. He was looking around and his knee was on the neck of the handcuffed man for nearly nine minutes until he died.
It didn’t matter that the 46-year- old Black man cried out, “I can’t breathe!” and “They are trying to kill me!” Chauvin didn’t move. And when paramedics finally arrived, there was no attempt to perform CPR on Floyd.
And even though Chauvin was arrested and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter, it is too little too late. The incident has ignited protests, fires and destruction in cities across America from Minneapolis to Atlanta Georgia and from Los Angeles to New York City. Even the Corona Virus has taken a back seat to this incident as civil rights leaders, activists and politics speak about the horrendous act against Floyd.
In a tweet, President Obama said the Floyd case calls on the nation to “create a ‘new normal,’ in which the legacy of bigotry and unequal treatment no longer infects our institutions and our hearts.”
NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson called the murder of Floyd “an unspeakable tragedy,” and while some news outlets have focused on violence after his death, Johnson said, “The uprising spreading across the country is fueled by systematic racial issues that have been ingrained in the fabric of this country for decades.”
National Urban League President/CEO Marc Morial said in a statement, “Minneapolis has erupted in outrage. The primal scream of anguish – what Martin Luther King, Jr., called “the language of the unheard” – reverberates across the nation. We pray for those who have taken to the streets, that they will refrain from violence – and for the police who are responding, that they exercise restraint and de-escalate tensions.”
The officers who participated in the deadly assault of George Floyd were fired within 24 hours, and shortly after the National Urban League and the Urban League of the Twin Cities demanded their names, have been identified. They are Derek Chauvin, Thomas Lane, Tou Thao and J. Alexander Kueng.
“These men no longer deserve the benefit of the doubt. Their word can no long be trusted. Their records – which, in the case of Chauvin and Thao, include a disturbing number of use-of-force incidents and civilian complaints – must be thoroughly examined for evidence of the racism and inhumanity they displayed during George Floyd’s deadly assault,” Morial said.
Rev. Al Sharpton said on his MSNBC show that he will go to Minneapolis to preach Floyd’s funeral. He interviewed Floyd’s brother who talked about the conversations he had with President Donald Trump, Vice-President Pence and former Vice-President Joe Biden.
Philonise Floyd said that he told Biden, “I never had to beg a man before but I asked [Biden] could he please, please get justice for my brother, please. Because I need it, I just don’t want to see him on a shirt like those other guys. Nobody deserves that.”
Floyd said his call with Trump was much briefer.
“It was so fast. He didn’t give me the opportunity to even speak. It was hard. I was trying to talk to him but he just kept like pushing me off like ‘I don’t want to hear what you’re talking about.’ I just told him I want justice. I said that I can’t believe that they committed a modern-day lynching in broad daylight,” he shared.
President Trump made comments about the incident Saturday following the historic launch of the SpaceX rocket with two astronauts aboard. It was the first manned launch in nine years.
“Yesterday, I spoke to George’s family and expressed the sorrow of our entire nation for their loss. I stand before you as a friend and ally to every American seeking justice and peace, and I stand before you in firm opposition to anyone exploiting this tragedy to loot, rob, and menace. Healing not hatred, justice not chaos are the mission at hand,” Trump said. “I understand the pain that people are feeling. We support the right of peaceful protests and we hear their pleas, but what we are now seeing on the streets of our cities has nothing to do with the memory of George Floyd.”
Also during the MSNBC interview, Floyd gave his thoughts about former officer Derek Chauvin and the other officers involved in the incident on nine-minute video, which shows Floyd’s brother screaming as he is dying.
“They all need to be convicted of first-degree murder, and given the death penalty because they didn’t care about what they wanted to do with my brother. He wasn’t a person to them, he was scum. He was nothing,” he told Sharpton. “I’m hurt, my family is hurt. His kids are hurt. They will grow up without a father. Everybody is crying and in pain right now. So if they could do anything please arrest those other officers.”
Hennepin County State’s Attorney Mike Freeman is prosecuting the case. At a recent press conference he said that his office is still investigating the case, but people in Minnesota and across the country are not waiting for him to speak out. Later in the week, Kieth Ellison, Minnesota Attorney General, who is African-American joined the prosecution.
“Being Black in America should not be a death sentence,” said Minister Russell Pointer of the Metropolitan Church of Christ in Minneapolis. His comments were part of a Zoom forum that was out on Facebook live by the Christian Chronicle.
From Minnesota to Washington DC, people are talking, protesting and demanding change at a moment because of the incident that has forced the nation to focus on something other than the COVID 19 pandemic.
On Friday night people in droves walked fast to Lafayette Square in front of the White House and shouted “No Justice No Peace. There were other protests in New York, Atlanta, Denver, Los Angeles and on Saturday there protests in Baltimore that were mostly peaceful but turn violent after people starting throwing rocks in a park across from City Hall.
President Trump and his aides have consulted with the military and authorized the use of the National Guard in certain cities, many pundits are calling wondering how will this urban crisis end anytime soon.
But in a major speech delivered after he talked to the Floyd family, Biden said. “And once again we heard the words, and they heard them, ‘I can’t breathe’ — an act of brutality so elemental, it did more than deny one more Black man in America his civil rights and his human rights. It denied him of his very humanity. It denied him of his life, depriving George Floyd as it deprived Eric Garner of one of the things every human being must be able to do: breathe. So simple, so basic, so brutal.”
Biden continued, “You know, the same thing happened with [Ahmaud] Arbery, the same thing happened with Breonna Taylor, the same thing with George Floyd. We’ve spoken their names aloud. We’ve cried them out in pain and in horror. We’ve chiseled them into long-suffering hearts. They’re the latest additions to the endless list of stolen potential wiped out unnecessarily. You know, it’s a list that dates back more than 400 years. Black men, Black women, Black children.”
He concluded, “The original sin of this country still stains our nation today, and sometimes we manage to overlook it. We just push forward with the thousand other tasks in our daily life, but it’s always there, and weeks like this, we see it plainly that we’re a country with an open wound. None of us can turn away. None of us can be silent. None of us can any longer, can we hear the words ‘I can’t breathe’ and do nothing. We can’t fail victims, like what Martin Luther King called ‘’he appalling silence of good people.’”

Newswire : Martin Luther King, Jr. was a champion for equity in education

By Stacy M. Brown (NNPA Newswire Contributor)

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Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta Scott King, at march in Selma, with children of Rev. Ralph Abernathy
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s influence on the Civil Rights Movement is indisputable, but his fight for equity in education remains a mystery to some. That fight began with his own education.
“He clearly had an advanced, refined educational foundation from Booker T. Washington High School, Morehouse College, Crozer Theological Seminary, and Boston University,” said Reverend Jesse Jackson, Sr., the founder of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition. “His education in his speeches and sermons and writings were apparent and he wanted us all to have that type of education.”
King completed high school at 15, college at 19, seminary school at 22 and earned a doctorate at 26.
“Dr. King laid down the case for affordable education for all Americans, including Polish children—from the ghetto and the barrios, to the Appalachian mountains and the reservations—he was a proponent for education for all and he believed that strong minds break strong chains and once you learn your lesson well, the oppressor could not unlearn you.”
Rev. Al Sharpton, the founder and president of the National Action Network (NAN), said that NAN works with Education for a Better America to partner with school districts, universities, community colleges, churches, and community organizations around the country to conduct educational programming for students and parents.
“The mission of the organization has been to build bridges between policymakers and the classrooms by supporting innovations in education and creating a dialogue between policymakers, community leaders, educators, parents, and students,” Sharpton said. “We’re promoting student health, financial literacy, and college readiness in our communities, just like Dr. King did.”
King was a figure to look up to in both civil rights and academia, Sharpton told the NNPA Newswire.
“Then, when you look at his values, he always saw education, especially in the Black community, as a tool to uplift and inspire to action,” Sharpton said. “It’s definitely no coincidence that a number of prominent civil rights groups that emerged during Dr. King’s time, were based on college campuses.”
Sharpton added that King routinely pushed for equality to access to education.
“Just as importantly, he always made a point to refer education back to character—that we shouldn’t sacrifice efficiency and speed for morals,” Sharpton said. “A great student not only has the reason and education, but a moral compass to do what’s right with his or her gifts. It’s not just important to be smart, you have to know what’s right and what’s wrong.”
Dr. Wornie Reed, the director of Race and Social Policy Research Center at Virginia Tech who marched with King, said when he thinks of King and education, he immediately considers the late civil rights leader’s advocating that “we should be the best that we could be.”
“King certainly prepared himself educationally…early on he saw that education played a crucial role in society, but perceived it as often being misused,” Reed said. “In a famous essay that he wrote for the student newspaper at Morehouse in 1947, he argued against a strictly utilitarian approach to education, one that advanced the individual and not society.”
Maryland Democratic Congressman Elijah Cummings, who remembers running home from church on Sundays to listen to King’s speeches on radio, said King had a tremendous impact on education in the Black community.
“Dr. King worked tirelessly to ensure that African Americans would gain the rights they had long been denied, including the right to a quality education,” said Cummings. “His fight for equality in educational opportunities helped to tear down walls of segregation in our nation’s schools.”
Cummings continued: “He instilled hope in us that we can achieve our dreams no matter the color of our skin. He instilled in us the notion that everyone can be great, because everyone can serve and there are so many great advocates, who embody this lesson.”
In support of education equality, civil rights leaders across the country are still working to ensure all students, regardless of color, receive access to experienced teachers, equitable classroom resources and quality education, Cummings noted further.
For example, the NAACP has done a tremendous amount, across the country, to increase retention rates, ensure students have the resources they need, and prepare students for success after graduation—whether it be for college or a specific career path, Cummings said.
During his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech in Oslo, Norway, King said: “I have the audacity to believe that peoples everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education and culture for their minds, and dignity, equality, and freedom for their spirits.”
The need for high quality education in the Black community is universal and the route to get there may be different, but education does matter, Jackson said.
“Dr. King told me he read a fiction and a non-fiction book once a week. He was an avid reader and, in the spirit of Dr. King, today we fight for equal, high-quality education,” said Jackson. “We fight for skilled trade training, affordable college education and beyond.”

Newswire : Activist Erica Garner remembered for her relentless campaign for justice

By Stacy M. Brown (NNPA Newswire Contributor)

erica-garner.jpg

Erica Garner
Erica Garner, who became an activist for all who were wronged by the American justice system, died on Saturday, December 30. She was 27.
Twitter account associated with Erica Garner spoke of her compassion for humanity. CNN reported that her family is controlling the account. “When you report this you remember she was human: mother, daughter, sister, Garner’s account tweeted. “Her heart was bigger than the world. It really, really was. She cared when most people wouldn’t have. She was good. She only pursued right, no matter what. No one gave her justice.”
Garner famously and fiercely sought justice for her father, Eric Garner, who died from a police chokehold in Staten Island, New York on July 17, 2014.
She led marches and demonstrations in New York City and other places, and even appeared on national television imploring the Department of Justice to review the circumstances that led up to her father’s death.
Erica Garner’s mother, Esaw Snipes, said, “She was a fighter, she was a warrior and she lost the battle. She never recovered from when her father died,” according to CNN. Snipes said that Garner suffered from the effects of an enlarged heart after giving birth to her son three months ago, CNN reported.
“I warned her everyday, you have to slow down, you have to relax and slow down,” Snipes said.
According to Erica Garner’s Twitter account, the activist went into cardiac arrest and suffered major brain damage from a lack of oxygen.

In a statement about Erica Garner’s work as an advocate for criminal justice reform, Rev. Al Sharpton called her a warrior. Sharpton famously joined the Garner family in their push for justice against the New York City Police Department.
“Many will say that Erica died of a heart attack, but that’s only partially true because her heart was already broken when she couldn’t get justice for her father,” Sharpton said. “Her heart was attacked by a system that would choke her dad and not hold accountable those that did it.”
On a summer day in July 2014, officers approached Eric Garner whom they said was selling loose cigarettes near a store in Staten Island.
A video released showed Officer Daniel Pantaleo grabbing Garner from behind and applying a chokehold while other officers helped tackle Garner, whom family members said had asthma. On the video, in a plea that has resonated around the world, Garner is heard saying, “I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe,” repeatedly. He died shortly after the incident. A grand jury failed to indict Pantaleo and, in 2015, the city settled a civil claim by Garner’s family against New York for nearly $6 million.

Before and despite the settlement, Erica Garner pushed for justice and, with a national platform, her voice became as big as any in the fight for freedom, justice and equality.
“I had the honor of getting to know Erica and I was inspired by the commitment she made working towards a more just world for her children and future generations,” Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders tweeted. “She was a fighter for justice and will not be forgotten.” Erica Garner supported Sanders’ 2016 campaign for president, even appearing in an ad for his campaign.
“Though Erica didn’t ask to be an activist, she responded to the personal tragedy of seeing her father die while being arrested in New York City by becoming a leading proponent for criminal justice reform and for an end to police brutality,” Sanders said.
The police “killed her unarmed, nonviolent father with an illegal chokehold and got off with nary a word,” activist Brittany Packnett wrote in a Twitter post. “Erica had to fight for justice. Then for her own life…she didn’t deserve this, her father didn’t deserve this. Her family doesn’t deserve this. All this for being Black in America. I can’t.”
In a March 2015 interview on NBC News, Erica Garner spoke passionately about the Black Lives Matter movement and other protests that sought justice. She recalled the August 2014 shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., and how it wasn’t until months later, when the video of her father’s death was released, that the Eric Garner incident received national attention.
Garner described seeing her father die via a cellphone video “a thousand-million times,” and when a grand jury failed to indict police officers, she said it was time to take her fight for justice to the streets. “To me, it was just saying, ‘you know what? I’m just going to march,” she told NBC News.
Even when there weren’t television news cameras, Garner said she was determined to keep marching, to keep fighting. “That’s the most annoying question I get. People ask, ‘when will you stop marching? What do you want from marching?’ He was my father,” Erica Garner said during the interview. “I will always march.”

Newswire : Friends, medical community weigh-In on Rev. Jesse Jackson’s Parkinson’s diagnosis

By Stacy M. Brown (NNPA Newswire Contributor)

 

 

jessejacksonwithpushlogo

                                                                   Rev. Jesse Jackson
Last week, civil rights leader Rev. Jesse Jackson, Sr., 76, revealed that he has Parkinson’s Disease.
Rev. Jackson said that this all came about after family and friends noticed a change in him about three years ago, and he could no longer ignore symptoms of the chronic neurological disorder that causes movement difficulties.
Rarely do we hear about high profile members in the African American community being affected by Parkinson’s. But make no mistake, Parkinson’s disease is not a White man’s disease. Anyone can get it. One of the most high-profile African-Americans with Parkinson’s was heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali who was diagnosed in 1984 at the age of 42.
Reverend Jesse Jackson’s Parkinson’s disease diagnosis caught many by surprise, but those who know him said they’re confident that he’ll overcome the life-threatening challenge before him.
“He’s in the rumble of his life, but he’s rumbled some big foes before,” said Vincent Hughes, a Democratic state senator from Pennsylvania who campaigned for Jackson in 1984 and again in 1988. Hughes said that Jackson’s campaigns were birthed in the Black empowerment movement that followed the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. “I’m one of those African Americans, who took office and was a part of that issue of ‘protest to power’ and Rev. Jackson was, in many respects, our leader and he still is.”
More than anyone else, Jackson opened the door for the election of Barack Obama, the first African American President of the United States, said Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis Jr., the president and CEO of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA). Chavis was one of Jackson’s contemporaries during the Civil Rights Movement. “Rev. Jesse L. Jackson Sr., is a living, global civil rights icon. As a colleague in the Civil Rights Movement dating back to the 1960s and under the leadership of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., I have personally witnessed the selfless sacrifice and dedication of Rev. Jackson.”
Chavis continued: “For all who have cried out for freedom justice and equality, the news of his Parkinson’s disease should only serve to re-dedicate a movement now for healthcare equality for all, not only as a civil right, but as a human right.”
In his statement about the disease, Jackson recalled his foray into activism, being arrested on July 17, 1960 with seven other college students who advocated for the right to use a public library in his hometown of Greenville, S.C. He said that he remembers the arrest as if it happened yesterday and it was a day that forever changed his life.
“From that experience, I lost my fear of being jailed for a righteous cause. I went on to meet Dr. King and dedicate my heart and soul to the fight for justice, equality, and equal access,” said Jackson, whose multiracial National Rainbow Coalition grew out of his work in the 1984 presidential campaign.
He said he resisted interrupting his work to visit a doctor, but his daily physical struggles intensified and he could no longer ignore his symptoms. “After a battery of tests, my physicians identified the issue as Parkinson’s disease, a disease that bested my father,” Jackson said.
Rev. Al Sharpton issued a statement saying that he spent time with Jackson and his family in New York, as Jackson made the announcement of his illness. “As I watched him, I was reminded of the greatness of this man,” Sharpton said. “Reverend Jackson has changed the nation and served in ways in which he never got credit.”
Maynard Eaton, a journalist and national director of communications for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, called Jackson a legendary and fearless civil rights champion. He said the disease may slow Jackson, but won’t stop him.
“Activism and civil rights are in his blood. As a journalist, Jesse Jackson has been a treat and joy to cover and write about,” said Eaton. “He has been a civil rights darling and media maverick…Jesse Jackson is a quintessential and preeminent civil rights activist of our time.”
Even though Parkinson’s disease is a chronic neurological condition, it is very treatable, said Dr. Nabila Dahodwala, an associate professor of neurology at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. “A diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease does not necessarily mean that you must make drastic changes, but every individual is different in how they are affected, how they respond to treatment and how they choose to spend their time,” Dahodwala said.
Ihtsham ul Haq, an expert in neurology at the Wake Forest School of Medicine, said he believes Jackson will do well. “Though each patient’s journey with Parkinson’s disease is a little bit different, thankfully for many the symptoms are often well-managed with medication, said Haq. “The hallmark of the disease is the slow loss of dopamine in the brain, which unlocks our movement.”
Haq continued: “As patients begin to produce less of it they show the slowness, stiffness, and tremor that typify the disease. Replacing dopamine usually substantially alleviates these problems.”
Leslie A. Chambers, the president and CEO of the American Parkinson Disease Association, said making appropriate lifestyle changes and focusing on physical therapy will go a very long way to helping Jackson live the best life possible, in spite of the disease.
“Since its a lifelong chronic illness, the American Parkinson Disease Association encourages people with Parkinson’s to seek out a top notch medical and healthcare team, which includes a movement disorders specialist physician and allied healthcare providers and protect and defend their overall health status with a nutritious diet, physical therapy and safe, effective daily exercise programs, as well as emotional and social support from family, and professional care partners-givers,” Chambers said, adding that the association extends heartfelt wishes to Jackson.
Dorothy Leavell, the chairman of the NNPA and the publisher of the Crusader Newspaper Group said that even though Jackson is in for the fight of his life, she warned that Parkinson’s disease had met its match. “This is a major blow, but it’s not the death knell,” said Leavell. “We will keep working and encourage Jesse with all he’s done for us and continues to do.”

Newswire : Rev. Al Sharpton rallies 1,000 Ministers for historic Interfaith March On Washington

It was held on the anniversary of the day Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his iconic “I Have a Dream” speech.

By Lilly Workneh, Black Voices Senior Editor, HuffPost

 

1,000 Ministers March
1,000 Ministers March

The Rev. Al Sharpton helped to rally 1,000 ministers for a march on Washington on Monday, which he said marks one of the largest interfaith gatherings to protest racism in America.
The daylong Ministers March For Justice, which represents people of all religious backgrounds including Christians, Muslims, Jews and other faith-based communities, began at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial and end outside of the Justice Department. Sharpton, who is leading the effort through his nonprofit organization the National Action Network, said it deliberately falls on the 54th anniversary of the historic 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, during which King delivered his iconic “I Have a Dream” speech calling for widespread racial equality.
“In Dr. King’s ‘I Have a Dream’ speech, he talked about voting rights, health care, criminal justice and economic injustice,” Sharpton told HuffPost. “All four of these areas are at risk.”

The march is a direct response to the dangerous ways that Sharpton says President Donald Trump has embraced racism, and it intends to call out how Trump has further emboldened white supremacists. Sharpton, a longtime civil rights activist who has frequently spoken out against Trump in the past, said he is outraged at the ways the president and his administration have tried to roll back the civil rights progress America has made over the decades.
Sharpton also shared his own grievances with religious groups, expressing dissatisfaction with the level of action faith-based communities have collectively taken to confront Trump and his administration. He says it’s one reason why this march marks a significant moment in the resistance.
“The purpose of the march is to really put front and center leaders in the faith community that have not really made a real dramatic statement about the moral outrage that we’re looking at now in terms of the embrace of white supremacy and anti-Semitism,” Sharpton said.
The march went through Washington, D.C., where the group made a brief stop outside of the Trump Hotel in the city to join in prayer. While Sharpton said he doesn’t expect Trump to embrace their message, he said, “We expect everyone in the Congress and Cabinet to say, ‘This we can’t scoff at.’”

Sharpton has led countless marches in the past, but he said Monday’s gathering will mark a historic moment as hundreds within the interfaith community will march through Washington in the name of civil rights. While many have criticized the effectiveness of marching as a means of protest, Sharpton said that it is not the only method of protesting and that he is far from the only civil rights advocate pushing for racial equality. Although strategies and personal attitudes around activism in the black community vary, Sharpton said that there is nothing wrong with “a respectful difference in tactics” and also acknowledged the power of nonviolent youth-led activist groups and mass movements like Black Lives Matter.

“Many people criticize marching yet do not understand what marching is for. The job of marching is to dramatize an issue,” Sharpton said, pointing to King as an example of someone who was not an elected official yet used his voice and the power of protest to effectively amplify issues. “MLK dramatized issues and made the office holders have to come up with anti-segregation and voting laws. If you don’t raise or dramatize an issue, then no one will be forced into legislature on local or national levels to deal with it.”
Sharpton said he hopes Monday’s march sent a strong message about the faith community’s intolerance toward racism and religious discrimination ― and that it draws deeper meaning considering it is held partly in memory of King and the day his powerful words rang through Washington.

Peaceful exchange of power takes place as Trump prepares to take oath of office by shaking Obama’s hand.

inaughandtohand.jpgPresident Obama shakes hands with President Trump on stage at inauguration. Roy Lewis/Trice Edney News Wire

 

 

               (TriceEdneyWire.com) – President Donald J. Trump was sworn in as the 45th President of the United States Jan. 20, during a peaceful exchange of powers with America’s first Black President Barack Obama. Trump assured a unified America despite never apologizing for leading one of the most hate-filled campaigns in recent history.

“We, the citizens of America, are now joined in a great national effort to rebuild our country and to restore its promise for all of our people. Together, we will determine the course of America and the world for years to come,” Trump told the crowd. The Bible tells us, ‘How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity.’ We must speak our minds openly, debate our disagreements honestly, but always pursue solidarity. When America is united, America is totally unstoppable.”

The speech was met with applause and chants of “Trump! Trump! Trump!” by the vastly White audience – a reversal from the two inaugurations of eight and four years ago, when throngs of Black people packed in to witness the historic inaugurations of President Obama. The Trump inauguration, though well attended with crowds stretching from the steps of the U. S. Capitol back to the Washington Monument, did not draw as many people as the Obama inauguration, based on close observations of the crowd by this reporter and Black press photographers who attended all three ceremonies.

More than 60 Democratic members of Congress decided to skip the inauguration; including Black Caucus members U. S. Reps. John Lewis (D-Ga.) and Barbara Lee (D-Calif.). Lewis contends he does not see Trump as a legitimate president given the involvement of Russian email hacking in order to help him get elected, according to confirmation by intelligence agencies. Lee and others refused to attend because of protest for Trump’s vitriolic conduct during the election.

Still President Obama had promised a “peaceful exchange of powers”, a tenet of American democracy. Presidents Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush, were also in attendance with their wives. Former First Lady, Senator and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who battled Trump vigorously to win the presidency, smiled a lot and appeared stately during the procession and ceremony.

“Every four years, we gather on these steps to carry out the orderly and peaceful transfer of power, and we are grateful to President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama for their gracious aid throughout this transition. They have been magnificent,” Trump said. He repeated promised to “make America first” in his proposed national and international policies, legislations and executive orders. He also promised to uplift “inner cities”, a well-known euphemism for the Black community.

“Americans want great schools for their children, safe neighborhoods for their families, and good jobs for themselves. These are the just and reasonable demands of a righteous public,” Trump said. “But for too many of our citizens, a different reality exists: Mothers and children trapped in poverty in our inner cities; rusted-out factories scattered like tombstones across the landscape of our nation; an education system, flush with cash, but which leaves our young and beautiful students deprived of knowledge; and the crime and gangs and drugs that have stolen too many lives and robbed our country of so much unrealized potential. This American carnage stops right here and stops right now. We are one nation – and their pain is our pain.  Their dreams are our dreams; and their success will be our success.  We share one heart, one home, and one glorious destiny.”

Trump’s words are lofty, but his actions have not matched what he has said. So far, he has nominated an all-White cabinet; except Dr. Ben Carson who will head the Department of Housing and Urban Development. He has also appointed former White supremacist advocate Steve Bannon as a top advisor and nominated former Klan sympathizer Sen. Jeff Sessions as attorney general. He has appointed Omarosa Manigault to assist him with public liaison, but it remains to be seen what will come from a meeting she and other aids had with Black organizational representatives.

Meanwhile on Saturday, the day after the inauguration, more than a million women packed the streets of Washington and other major cities around the U. S. making demands on a string of key issues important to women, Blacks and other minorities. Civil rights leaders have taken a wait and see posture while putting pressure on the Trump administration through protest.

Led by Rev. Al Sharpton, they started that pressure during a march one week before the inauguration. On Inauguration Day, National Urban League President/CEO Marc Morial emailed a statement essentially promising to continue marching to correct social ills that were prevalent 50 years ago.
“My own predecessor as head of the National Urban League, the legendary Whitney M. Young, was one of the organizers of that march and delivered his own stirring speech that day. He spoke of the need for Black Americans to do “some more marching:” …from dangerous ghettos to safe, unrestricted neighborhoods…from poverty wages to skilled, family-sustaining jobs…from the cemeteries of early graves to health centers from overcrowded, inadequate classrooms to fully-equipped, professionally staffed and integrated schools,” wrote Morial. “And there we were, marching for those same things a half-century later, marching under the motto, “We shall not be moved.”