[Los Angeles, CA – Day 18] It has been eighteen days since George Floyd was murdered. Depending on one’s perspective or life’s experiences, sides have been drawn. Just about everyone agrees ex-officer Chauvin as well as the other three arresting ex-officers used excessive and unnecessary force.
The Floyd incident has morphed from a moment to a movement based on what we are witnessing in cities around the globe. As expected, there are those who proclaim the reaction is over-blown. They go further to suggest it is some type of Democratic funded operation to smear our system. I guess they feel because Floyd was African-American and the majority of them vote in favor of Democratic candidates, surely the party must be behind their antics? They quietly dismiss the notion that deciding which political party to support boils down to which one MOSTLY supports your issues? It appears to be a sound-bite that some accept based on which media they consume?
One side sees a need for justice. The other side sees a need to stop disrespecting civility. Another critical analysis those in opposition can’t explain, as history may be the final arbiter is why folk from various ethnicities, age groups and other demographics have joined the movement? To further justify their belief the reaction is fueled by a political party, they voice opposition via social media suggesting those who support the reaction to Floyd are ill-informed or have they been induced into some cult?
Most have forgotten the Black Lives Matter has been around. Just in 2016, through media it was vilified as a revolutionary group you should be scared to associate with. That’s why this time is different. As mentioned, folk from all walks of life have changed their social consciousness and now proudly proclaim the Black Lives Matter moniker.
There is one more critical point about protesting which those in opposition somehow find difficult to accept or understand. Protesting is a public gesture to create awareness of the issue. Following must be a series of actions which make the reason for protesting a serious action. As an example most people never heard or knew of Emmett Till, Jimmie Lee Jackson or more contemporary examples such as Alton Sterling, Trayvon Martin, Breonna Taylor, Eric Garner or even George Floyd. It was the type of tragic death they suffered which made them household names. Therein lays a prime reason for the public outrage we are experiencing. It is bigger than any specific named person. It has to do with a system that minimizes their life merely because they were black. It has very little to do with their past as a seed of racism makes it okay to marginalize those who are deemed less than. Unfortunately, many buy into this paradigm while defining themselves as wholesome american folk.
Protest is a basic right. How long people take to the streets is anybody’s guess? What we are hearing by documenting daily events is it will continue until November 3rd! While Black Lives Matter is the main organization leading the protest, many splinter groups have joined and that has helped fuel the energy to sustain the reaction.
Revolutionary Communist Party known as RevCom was one group which led the Los Angeles Protest – Day 18. Just like when Black Lives Matter hit the scene, their name probably scares the hell out of people. The long and short, they are a social-action group. One of their main tenets is trying to unite “Brown & Black.” Speakers did a very good job in communicating how racism has been used to divide the groups. Unfortunately many in the affected groups have bought into the notion of distrusting the other. As an example one of the passionate Latina leaders expressed how many from Mexico and other Latin American countries have been raised to feel African-Americans are lazy, untrustworthy, criminal and otherwise the type of people you need to stay away from.
Like many rallies, the participation builds as it weaves through the streets to their final destination. They started across the street from City Hall, facing Grant Park. Headed south on Spring street, the spirited group marched to 7th Street and headed west until they reached Mac Arthur Park which is several miles away in the Westlake community. There were no incidents or negative reaction. As a matter of fact, many who were driving stopped their cars to show support. A few actually joined the marchers. Folk came out of restaurants and bars to show support. The Los Angeles Police picked up the rear to undergird the marchers progress as they went through the streets.
[Los Angeles, CA – Day 9] Activism is nothing new to me, at least that’s what I want to think! Today marked the 9th day since the murder of George Floyd and after jockeying my schedule I ran out of excuses of why I could not be on hand to document the important rally scheduled at 3pm..
You’ve all seen the protest which followed ex-policeman Chauvin pulling a rare move most of us haven’t seen – putting his knee of the neck of George Floyd, while he had been restrained and in hand-cuffs. The cous de gras was Chauvin’s bold move to comfortable place his hand in his pocket while cutting off Floyd’s air flow. Most of you saw what we all saw and perhaps that inspired you to raise your voice and join the movement?
I was trying to remember when was the last time I saw a reaction of this magnitude? I go back to 2000 when I was fortunate to travel to Chiapas, Mexico to get a first-hand glimpse of supporters of Subcomandante Marcos and the Zapatista movement. The revolutionaries rose up against the government while loudly proclaiming – BASTA!!!!!!
The reaction from Floyd’s murder seems a bit different. We’ve heard that refrain from members of the media who have been reporting the events One of the major protests today centered at the Hall of Justice (County of Los Angeles) at the steps of District Attorney Jackie Lacey’s office. As I was driving to secure a parking spot, I could see a flurry of participants head towards Temple & Broadway. Signs in tote it was quite a sight. I just knew this was different from the many events I have attended/participated in.
The crowd swelled to easily 10,000 plus. The event was well organized and despite the Covid-19 pandemic we are dealing with folk had mask and other protection. Folk were walking the line dispatching out water, squirts of hand-sanitizer, snacks and even first-aid stations so you could maintain your energy. Their focus was maintaining a safe environment to insure the message of change was front & center.
A very interesting dynamic that I witnessed was the demographic of the crowd. I would guestimate the primary ages ranged from 20 – 40. The ethnic composition was what you would expect from Los Angeles. It was exceptionally diverse. The take-away from today’s event as well as those which have taken place since Floyd’s life was cut short is will the energy and commitment get translated into serious civic engagement – VOTING? For all the signs and images of being fed-up, will the people have the courage to leverage their voice and create the change they are seeking?
Above Photo. MINNEAPOLIS , MINNESOTA - MAY 31: The makeshift memorial and mural outside Cup Foods where George Floyd was murdered by a Minneapolis police officer on Sunday, May 31, 2020 in Minneapolis , Minnesota. (Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
For enslaved Africans the vestiges of racism and slavery have a ghost-like affect in the United States of America. Like the current Covid-19 pandemic the results can be deadly.
George Floyd will be a martyr for the 2020 rebellions which are sweeping across the nation. Born in Houston Texas, Floyd found Minneapolis as a place to try and live out his dreams.
Many questions have popped up since his murder was shown across media. Minnesota has long prided itself as a state you could enjoy life. All of that sounds good but for the vast majority of African-Americans who like Floyd migrated there, that has not been their reality.
To get a better understanding of why many view the Floyd murder as a symbol resulting from the vestiges of racism and slavery, you’ve got to pause and pay attention to history: current history.
The income gap in Minneapolis between white and black families is the second worse in the country, at $50,000. Judy Woodruff, Executive Producer PBS News Hour
Like so many states, as productive as Minnesota is for some it has a history. For African-American’s that history translates into the same oppressive behavior which led to Floyd being murdered. We are not putting a blanket assessment on the people of Minnesota, especially those in the majority who are white but understanding the history and putting that understanding in a reasonable context might create objectivity when discussing Floyd. No doubt many African-Americans have created upward-mobility but a vast majority live in poverty which can be traced to the systemic social policies which are documented through the United States.
Here are two excellent sources that showcase current disparities in Minnesota and specifically Minneapolis
The segment is called “Roots of Anger” and starts at the 39:40 mark of the video.
The second piece is very interesting and shares how Minnesota became known as the “Jim Crow of the North.” I saw this special screening during the 2020 Pan-African Film Festival and it is riveting.
above caption courtesy of Getty Images, Ms. Caridad Limonta
In my journey’s and study to Cuba, the “Revolution” is a very intriquing topic. The hopes and aspirations of that iconic period brought tremendous hope. Of course those who are anti-Castro and oftentimes crowd the airways would have you believe it was a total, if not absolute failure. One question I always ask when I come across those of Ms. Limonta’s age group is what inspired then to hang-on? It really is simple: Either you believe or you don’t!
I would encourage you to read the following editorial which was posted in the New York Times May 24, 2020.
**ARTICLE REPRINTED WITH PERMISSION**
How Cubans Lost Faith in Revolution
In this election year, the key for American politicians to understanding Cubaʼs politics is understanding its people and the promises of a better life that were not kept.
By Anthony DePalma
Mr. DePalma is a former foreign correspondent for The Times.
May 23, 2020
GUANABACOA, Cuba — There was nothing Caridad Limonta would not do for her dear mother, even if it meant fulﬁlling her strange wish to be buried with two pairs of socks.
Cancer took Ms. Limonta’s mother, Zenaida, in 2002, while they lived together in this ancient town across the harbor from Old Havana. Following the custom of many Cuban families, Ms. Limonta washed the body and sprinkled it with talcum powder and perfume. Holding back tears, she dressed her mother and covered her with a white sheet. Then Ms. Limonta, at age 46, carried out her mother’s odd request, pulling two polyester socks onto her feet and another pair over her hands.
From my experiences Cuba is a definition of survival and struggle. It is not a place for the weak or feeble-minded or those who judge everything from their prism.
A few years later, when her mother’s remains were exhumed and the bones interred in a small vault so that the tomb could be reused, Ms. Limonta saw the sense in her precautions. The tiny bones of her hands and feet were neatly contained inside the pairs of socks, like marbles in two sacks.
Until her mother died, Ms. Limonta had managed to avoid this unpleasant Cuban reality. But her mother’s illness and death also forced her to confront an unsettling truth that profoundly reshaped her relationship with the Cuban revolution and led her to a deeper understanding of what it really means to be Cuban.
It is an understanding that American voters and politicians might beneﬁt from recognizing, in this election year when relations with Cuba, along with the votes of Cuban-Americans, are on the table. As Ms. Limonta came to realize, being a Cuban means having deep respect for, and ﬁrst loyalty toward, her fellow Cubans and the heritage, customs and needs of their island society that they share, no matter who holds power there.
But it had taken Ms. Limonta decades to even approach that realization.
The ﬁrst inkling came when her mother, a retired nurse, had been fussed over by some of Cuba’s best doctors inside Havana’s ﬁnest hospitals. Ms. Limonta needed to know: Had she beneﬁted from Cuba’s acclaimed medical prowess because every Cuban does? Or had her mother been pampered because Ms. Limonta herself was a ranking member of the Communist Party and vice minister of light industry for all of Cuba?
Until then, Ms. Limonta’s faith in the revolution had been absolute. Born just three weeks after Fidel Castro started his uprising by beaching an old American yacht called Granma in a mangrove swamp on Cuba’s southern shore in 1956, she had fully embraced his promise to wipe out inequality and create a new Cuba.
Growing up in the tiny sugar mill town of Tacajó in eastern Cuba, she’d believed with all her heart that regardless of her gender, or the poverty into which she’d been born, or the deep mahogany sheen of her skin, she was equal to every other Cuban. When she boarded a trans-Atlantic ocean liner in 1976, she gazed at the thousands of other Cuban students going with her to study at Soviet universities and felt equality had already been achieved. “The ship was full of young people,” she recalls. “Chinese, white, mulatto, black, all of us equal, with practically the same clothes, the same suitcases.”
Returning to Havana in 1981, she applied her economics degree to positions in Cuba’s textile industry, overlooking the advantages she was receiving and the shortcomings of the revolution that she, unlike many other Cubans, had embraced. On the darkest day of the revolution in August 1994, when angry mobs shouted “Freedom” and “Down with Fidel”— the largest mass protest against the Castro government —she was enjoying a buffet at a Varadero beach resort, a deserved reward for a job well done. She eventually rose to vice minister and held powerful positions within the party. But she couldn’t understand why tens of thousands of Cubans had risked their lives trying to reach Florida in ﬂimsy rafts.
As the revolution aged, contradictions grew harder to ignore. As her job took her around the country, she saw that the hospitals most Cubans went to were shabby reﬂections of the one where her mother was treated. Other Cubans waited months, sometimes years, for a wheelchair. They couldn’t count on oxygen being available. Vital equipment broke down. Medicines ran out. Doctors and nurses expected to be bribed.
That, in absolute terms, is not true. Class distinctions are present and expressed in a sometimes catastrophic way, under the coronavirus pandemic. Becoming the very basis of the conditions under which the individual is obliged to face the pandemic
It is true that anyone can get sick, in biological terms, but neither the way to get sick, nor the way to face the disease, is the same for all individuals. This is determined by the social conditions in which each one lives . A time when their class status is decisive.
Biologically speaking, anyone can acquire the virus, but certain circumstances play an important role in this, which are inextricably linked to class status.
This is the result of the contagion with the virus is quite determined by the living conditions in which people survive and those that have occurred, and capitalism had already predetermined them very strongly, before the pandemic arrived.
By the way, I am not referring to personal conditions, related to the suffering of certain chronic diseases, such as hypertension, diabetes, respiratory problems, heart disease, etc. But to those living conditions, which do not have to do directly with the disease as such.
These, pre-existing to the pandemic, are the following:
The monetary income received, determines, above all, the conditions in which one lives. The neighborhood, the quality of the house, the social and material environment and the type of environment and people around us.
The medical care you receive, even if it is free, can be better or worse, and this is decisive, because it contributes to some extent to the conditions, better or worse, in which each person faces the virus and a possible disease in general.
Diet and its quality, in general, is decisive, in the conditions with which each person faces any illness. If you are well fed, you have energies that are decisive for recovery.
Moving by car is not the same as traveling by public transport. The risks with which you must face a possible contagion differ greatly.
It is, then, that in general, the material life conditions in which the individual finds himself, are determining factors to overcome the possibility of acquiring the virus, or any disease.
Finally, the culture of the individual is also decisive in the face of the reality of the disease. Well, the individual conscience before the possibility of getting sick or facing the disease as such, are determined by the level of culture that the individual possesses. Cultural level that is determined, first of all, by social origin, access to education and living conditions.
All the situations mentioned are closely linked, it could be said that, determining, the conditions in which the individual can face the adversity of becoming ill.
All the aforementioned conditions are present in any company. We would say, the same in a society like that of Cuba, as in any other society.
In all known societies, until now, individuals differ in their living conditions, which is decisive when facing the disease.
The Coronavirus pandemic has served to make even more evident, substantial differences, how an individual copes with the disease within a society like that of Cuba and the rest, of the majority, of the existing societies in the world.
Being true that, biologically speaking, the virus makes no distinction of class, social group, race, cultural level, etc. Well, he attacks anyone who opposes him. Although the conditions in which each person must face such a situation, particularly the danger of becoming infected, differ, since such situations are influenced by the living conditions of each individual, already mentioned above.
However, the pandemic has also clearly shown that it unfolds with more or less aggressiveness, depending on the health policy followed by the countries that suffer from it. Becoming clear that in such circumstances the political will of governments has influenced, to face the pandemic. The following becoming evident:
Countries that, by prioritizing the economy, over health, such as the United States, have begun to suffer the pandemic, due to the lack of an efficient health policy, through contagion, neglect of early detection of the virus and the lack of material conditions for the care of the sick.
The pandemic has also clearly shown how the neo liberal policy followed in recent years has affected health budgets, which have been systematically lowered, resulting in the fact that, when the pandemic arrived, many countries showed that they lacked health policies, budgets and resources to face the situation.
The pandemic has also shown that only with international collaboration and solidarity is it possible to face it. But, the fierce competition that neoliberal policies have brought, the harsh trade confrontation, the military confrontations at the regional level, the policies of international sanctions, the territorial usurpations and the theft of oil resources, among others, have shaped an international, negative environment. for confronting the pandemic. Because such an environment, prevalent in international relations, is incompatible with the type of relations needed to face the pandemic.
In particular, the policy followed by the United States has not been more negative regarding the behavior of the President. According to the Washington Post of April 8, 2020, “on January 3, Trump had already received formal notification of the existence of the virus. Trump was also informed by the Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar, on January 18. But when asked publicly about the virus, on January 22, he said: we have it totally under control: he is a person who comes from China. ”
Trump, after being alerted to the virus, spoke at eight rallies and six times played Golf, as if he had nothing to worry about.
Trump began to speak of the “Chinese Virus”, unloading on this nation the responsibility for the pandemic. By characterizing it this way, Trump then forces us to argue, reacting to a racist projection of the “scapegoat” type. And it is that this is precisely what he is pursuing, because it allows him to divert our attention, from which the fundamental questions should be right now: Where are the missing beds? Where are the masks and tests? Where is the federal policy that should be followed to counter the pandemic? While Trump does so, in addition, achieving a sounding board within American society, among many people, racists, xenophobes and neoliberals, who follow him and who do not measure the consequences of his policies.
Not enough to do so, Trump even acts against the World Health Organization (WHO) by threatening and blackmailing it by lowering or suspending its financial contribution to it.
Trump , flatly refuses also to put aside the sanctions policy against countries like Cuba, Iran, Nicaragua, Venezuela, etc .; assuming at all times a arrogant attitude and not just genocidal, even mocking the predictions and recommendations of science. A policy that also denies collaboration with its historical allies , while cynically receiving and accepting solidarity aid that has come from China and Russia. Undoubtedly, it cannot be more cynical.
The United States cannot be consistent in its policy on pandemic response at the international level, because it is not at the domestic level. As a consequence of which, they have become the nation most affected by the new coronavirus.
The prevailing ideological values in American society also put citizens in a critical situation today, representing a danger to their own survival.
In the external order, the slogan of “America first”, and internally, individualism, consumerism, messianism and other very negative values that are its own, put the worst situation in American society, to achieve the degree of coherence policy that is needed to beat the pandemic. So all this becomes very difficult situations to overcome. Being Trump’s most optimistic projection, that the virus will kill between 100,000 and 240,000 citizens in the United States.
But, in addition, Golmann Sachs has calculated that social distancing measures have already caused a 34% contraction in GDP.
As if that were not enough, 33% of households, with incomes below $ 50,000 a year, have some unemployed member.
There are 16.7 million citizens without medical coverage.
“According to a study by the director of the Brookings Institute, the 50 counties hardest hit by the coronavirus, contribute 30% of employment and 36% of the country’s GDP.” Which is a serious problem to face in the perspective of a possible recovery.
It is insisted that Trump must classify Covid deaths, according to skin color, since serious studies have shown that the pandemic affects 70% of Afro-descendants in the United States.
Trump, in reality, did not foresee the polarization that has occurred with his policy, both in the world and within the United States, but has used it, dramatically increasing it. And that polarization is truly one of the greatest dangers facing American society.
The United States, and Trump in particular, did not learn the lessons of 2008-2009, when Wall Street was rescued, after the bankruptcy of Lehman Bross, at which time, as now, large masses of money were injected. However, no measures were then taken to prevent certain high-level sectors from benefiting to the detriment of the rescue of the real financial balance. Nor were there limits on investment banks on how to use the bailout. As a result, the current bailout is perceived as a new opportunity for companies to do business and make easy money.
The attitude of the Donald Trump administration puts the United States and the world in serious danger to overcome the coronavirus pandemic.
It is that, for the United States – that is, for the system – the first thing is money and then everything else. This has been clearly demonstrated in its policy of prioritizing financial issues and attention to the economy above all else. Hence his insistence that the economy in general should be recovering by April Easter, and the country as a whole, when until now the situation has only worsened, without any light being seen at the end of the tunnel. .
Significant resources and money are obviously necessary to overcome the pandemic, which in particular is proving very expensive, particularly within the United States, without being able to calculate even how much it will cost to overcome Covid-19. However, there is really no shortage of money or resources on the planet. What there is is an order of priorities that, demanded by the neoliberal policy followed, prioritizes profit, expenditure on armaments, waste, concentration in a few hands of resources and money, over satisfaction of basic needs. human. Reasons that explain very well how the pandemic has far exceeded the available hospitalization capacities and resources for medical care in general, within a rich country like the United States.
Meanwhile, Cuba, Venezuela, Russia and China, mainly, are standing out for their political behavior in the face of the pandemic, which earns the respect of the peoples of the world, showing great solidarity in this battle and also highlighting the character deeply. negative of US foreign policy, in the face of President Trump’s interest in taking advantage of the pandemic, with the aim of advancing his intentions to control the world.
Being a global problem, the pandemic requires a global approach, global collaboration and solutions of the same nature. Because it is required to share medical equipment, as well as not to impose controls that affect the export of medicines, food and other essential products.
However, the United States does not react with a policy in tune with the situation to which it has led its population and the planet as a whole. So his obvious abundance of resources and money, to help the world and help himself, means very little. This represents an incalculable danger, because it is not possible to suppose that the pandemic can be globally overcome, if the United States does not end up collaborating to overcome it.
So, until today, the possibility of overcoming the pandemic appears to us as something fraught with uncertainties, dangers and potentially negative predictions.
The experience that the pandemic brings to date is not positive for capitalism. He has highlighted the incapacities of a system, which, in the face of the danger that affects the world, seems not to be in a position to assume adequate policies, even though its own salvation may go its way.
All of which is the consequence of a model of accumulation, in which only the benefits of capital, large corporations, large banks and that of a single part of society are prioritized. A very minority. So the rest of humanity could disappear , without causing the slightest concern.
Only now, the Covid-19, has demonstrated that the economic principles and values of capitalism are potential causes of its possible destruction. Because, as never before, it has been demonstrated that the world is one and that its survival does not depend only on a single part of it, but on all those who have the true will to save it.
Which, dialectically, confirms that it is also true that the coronavirus does not make class distinctions, especially when considering how we should save ourselves from the pandemic. Because we all share the same spaceship.
Havana, April 14, 2020
This article was reprinted with permission from the author, Professor Esteban Dominguez Morales who is a distinguished author and lecturer. Professor Morales hails from Cuba and his perspective is sought worldwide on social and economic matters related to Cuba.
Today I join baseball fans around the globe to celebrate Jackie Robinson Day.
The event has turned into a special day for our family as this is the day we all suit up and head to Dodger stadium. Due to Covid-19 our celebration will be virtual as even though a pandemic is blazing across the land, paying homage to “Jack” must go on.
A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.
As a baseball historian I have mapped out a full schedule of activities to pay my respect. Here is a partial listing as well as some great links you may want to check-out if you too are inspired to salute #42.
The players, umpires, managers and coaches may not be on the field donning #42 but you can believe people from all walks of life will be wearing their Jackie Robinson gear as a sign of respect and connection to his legacy.
Ken Griffey, Jr. gives a great interview on how he was inspired to call baseball commissioner Bud Selig to request if he could wear #42 CLICK HERE
#42 was a special movie because it captured Robinson’s experience as he hit the Dodgers minor league play in preparation in being called up to the “big team.” It captures his stint in Daytona Beach, Fl which today has the Jackie Robinson stadium and is used by the Chicago Cubs minor league system. Additionally there is some great scenes from Sanford, FL (about 20 miles from Daytona Beach) which in 2012 happened to be the city Trayvon Martin was murdered by George Zimmerman.
Like many who travel to Cuba my initial visit in 2015 was based simply as intrigue. I wanted to see the country for myself. I knew very little of the people and the culture. Prior to that first visit I had to absorb myself with whatever knowledge I could find. About a week before my trip I popped into Eso Won bookstore in Leimert Park. They happened to have two recent books on Cuba so I grabbed both. Unfortunately, I was not able to read them until I returned.
Race in Cuba
Once I read “Race in Cuba” I was blown away. While Cuban’s define themselves as ONE, the vestiges of racism and color take on a new dimension even in Cuba. So, while my initial interest in going to Cuba was simply to check out the country, I quickly changed my focus and wanted to learn more about “The Negro League and Cuban baseball and further explore the dynamic of race. Later that year I dialogued with the author of the book, professor Esteban Morales Dominquez and he shared many essays he had written on race, politics, even covering President Barack Obama.
Since then we have become very close friends and he is one of my top authorities regarding issues relating to Cuba.
Even though Professor Esteban is retired his voice is sought from across the globe. He pens relevant essays on a regular basis and they are embraced because of the perspective readers are offered.
I am pleased to announce that Professor Esteban has agreed for some of his writings to appear on ThomasReports. Even this week there has been a storm of controversy regarding the comments Senator Bernie Saunders made in mentioning a positive attribute of the Castro regime. I have asked Professor Esteban to chime in. So, stay tuned.
Professor Esteban Morales Dominguez is retired from the University of Havana. He is a well sought-after author who holds two pHD’s in economics and history, one being from Russia. He and his wife Katia reside in Havana.
Today the Negro Leagues commemorates its 100th birthday. Starting in 1920, the Negro Leagues became an institution for African-Americans who had professional talent to play but were denied to join Major League Baseball.due to racial discrimination that was the law of the day.
The league has come and gone but today its greatness can be seen as communicated by the Negro League Baseball Museum. Even though the “old” Negro leagues started in the late 1800’s, it was nearly forty years later when Rube Foster had the vision to organize teams for the masses to enjoy.
The contribution of the league is of great folklore to United States history.
Jacques Bordeaux has penned a masterpiece. I was happy to purchase my copy from Amazon. Hopefully my review will be posted in the next day or so.
I have known Jacques for over 50 years. Amazon has specific criteria for reviews which is why I am grateful for my own platform as I am able to stretch out and provide a better perspective of why you may enjoy supporting Jacques and Valerie as they start their “Sintown Saints” book tour.
During the early to mid 60’s Los Angeles (affectionately known as L.A.) was going through a cultural transition. Many families, especially those in the African-American community were dealing with the reality of police harassment, discrimination and other lifestyle issues which thwarted their progress. As a result folk were packing up and heading out so their kids could have better educational opportunities. As a young teenager I didn’t understand the significance but I recall my mother and father having a heated argument about what our family’s next move was going to be? My younger brother Reginald had not been born so it was just Ronald and I, and our two sisters Evelyn and Angela. My mother gave my father the ultimatum; it was either Pacoima or Pomona! I don’t remember much more other than Ronald and I trying to figure out how in the hell my father was going to get the truck he grabbed from work which was loaded with the family belongings up and over the I-10 Kellogg Park hill? It seemed like an impossible straight uphill shot which was nerve-racking if not daunting…….but somehow, we made it.
The migration was incredible as so many came from Los Angeles and it is now as adults, we have come to realize we actually lived in close proximity to each other. Jacques and his family came to Pomona in 1964. We got to Pomona in May 1965, about three months before August 11 of that year or the day the Watts Riots started. We didn’t recognize then but all of us have a better understanding now. Pomona was known as a regional center or a little larger than a small town. The tract homes were an attraction for families looking to “stretch out.” Whites were the majority population and near the middle to southern part of the city was a sizeable Latino population. The aftermath of the riots opened the floodgates for thousands of African-American families who staked their claim in Pomona. Many landed in Sintown or close-by developments. The Bordeaux’s lived on Avalon which is the entry street as you enter Sintown. We lived on Carlton. It seemed like everyone in Sintown had brothers and sisters so especially for the kids it was easy to make new friends. Just about everybody in the tract went to one of three schools; Arroyo Elementary, Marshall Junior High School or Ganesha High School. As mentioned in “Sintown Saint’s” that connection became part of the Pomona pride. Marshall and Ganesha was known for fielding competitive athletic teams but not to the level of the established schools; namely Pomona High and Emerson Junior High. That is until the new transplants from the Los Angeles region settled in. As Bordeaux states in the book, by the late 60’s Ganesha became a powerhouse in sports and other student activities and the rest is history.
Jacques Bordeaux has used his gift to communicate. Even though it chronicles his family’s life as they developed through various migrations, he shares the resilience and discipline of family life. The book is a jewel because it is an easy read but it speaks to a slice of life in the African-American community that some might assume doesn’t exist. In the Bordeaux’s house the existence was real and not a big deal because they had a commitment to enjoying the benefits of a positive lifestyle.
The film “Just Mercy” is set for release Christmas day, December 25th. It is a must see.
Last night we saw the preview screening at the Regal Theater at the L.A. Live complex. As many times I have been to the “Regal” I never knew the complex had an 800-seat theater? Anyway, thanks to the Californian Endowment, Liberty Hill and other organizations each seat was taken.
The film is about the storied career of activist attorney Bryan Stevenson and his work in helping those tied up in the legal and penal system with no or ineffective representation. The numbers are unimaginable and makes you wonder who in their right mind would take up such a cause where the odds are weighted against you?
“I was able to see the premier at the Grand Lake theater here in Oakland. It was riveting. I’ve known Bryan and his work for decades. He has been an inspiration to motivate me to keep my eye on the prize with the work we do.” James R. Bell, Burns Institute – Oakland, CA
Murder and race
Acclaimed actor Michael Jordan plays Stevenson. The film centers around Walter McMillan who is brilliantly played by Jamie Foxx. McMillan was found guilty of murdering a young lady who is white and had relegated himself to meet his final fate in the electric chair. You will also see O’Shea Jackson (Ice Cube’s son) bring life in playing Roy Hinton who was another person ensnarled in prison. It’s one thing to be poor. It’s another thing to be poor and black!!! Yet, to be poor, black and in Alabama doesn’t take much creativity to conclude what your ultimate plight will be.
The Lynching Museum
Stevens legal brilliance is well known. Several years ago, he took up the charge to give voice to the countless African-Americans who suffered death by lynching. The museum is located in Montgomery and has received rave reviews. Stevenson is from Alabama and headed north to Harvard Law School to obtain his law degree. He took the state bar of Alabama and passed. Upon receiving a grant, he headed back home to establish a legal defense organization to help those like McMillan.
As mentioned, Just Mercy is a must see. It chronicles a stunning series of events. There will be times when you will have a smile or a laugh and then there will be times where your eyes will be wet from tears as you are taken through a journey to see if McMillan can receive justice.