Visions with a leader………”I can’t breathe!”


Stevie Wonder & Hurricane Dave

Shortly after George Floyd was murdered and folk took to the streets many used the airwaves to voice their response.

One leader, you will recognize when you hear the song spoke poignantly about how African-Americans have historically dealt with the consequences of having a “knee on their neck.”

Through Hurricane Dave’s genius and the gift of Stevie Wonder who owns KJLH (Kindness, Joy Love & Happiness) radio station in Los Angeles (102.3FM), part of the leader’s speech “I can’t breathe” is woven into Wonder’s “Vision” song which is from his 1973 Innervisions album.

Enjoy!!!

If the song does not load – try this link

George Floyd Protests – Scenes from Los Angeles…..continues


[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.


HERE IS OUR PHOTO ESSAY FROM 

LOS ANGELES PROTEST RALLY – DAY 18

George Floyd Protests – Scenes from Los Angeles


[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?


HERE IS MY PHOTO ESSAY FROM TODAY’S

LOS ANGELES PROTEST RALLY

 

George Floyd today…….who will it be tomorrow?


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.

The CARE Act – The COVID Economic Recovery – What it means to you?


The long awaited Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act known as CARES was signed into law yesterday, March 27th.

I have been bombarded with many questions as the ACT is very complex regarding what it does and what it doesn’t do.  Unfortunately, because so many do not dig into the details there is lots of misinformation that do more harm than good resulting in people becoming frustrated or going around believing something that simply is not true.

One other point about the Act.  Regardless if you subscribe to conspiracy theories, don’t believe in voting or engaging into the political process, COVID-19 has no boundaries nor does it discriminate or distinguish and that is yet another reason why voting is important because our lives are impacted by the legislative process, and those who do not participate are left on the sidelines with no voice.


Here is the text of the FULL Act

 


In the meantime, I would encourage you to click on the link below which was  provided by my Congressperson Karen Bass who is a reliable leader that consistently keeps her constituents engaged and informed.

CARE ACT HIGHLIGHTS PRESENTED BY REPRESENTATIVE KAREN BASS


In the meantime stay tuned, get informed and check back as this page will be updated with accurate information.

Impeachment: Hakeem Jeffries responds to Jay Sekulow ala Biggee Smalls


[above photo - WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 21: In this screengrab taken from a Senate Television webcast, House impeachment manager Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) speaks during impeachment proceedings against U.S. President Donald Trump in the Senate at the U.S. Capitol on January 21, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Senate Television via Getty Images)

American rapper Notorious BIG (born Christopher Wallace) attends the 1995 Billboard Music Awards, New York, New York, December 6, 1995. (Photo by Larry Busacca/WireImage)

Now that the impeachment trial for Donald John Trump is in its fourth day, many of his defenders especially his legal team led by Jay Sekulow keep asking a rhetorical question to the House (House of Representatives) Managers who are prosecuting the case.  That question is, “Why are we here?”  That question has turned into a soundbite used by Sekulow and the MAGA acolytes who swear their leader has not done anything wrong, surely nothing worthy of impeachment.

 

One of the House Managers is Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY8).  During one of his presentations on Wed, Jan. 22nd as he wrapped up, he used the words of famed rapper Biggee Smalls as a response.

 

“And If You Don’t Know…….Now You Know!”

Baseball bombshell of 2020 – Alex Cora, AJ Hinch and Carlos Beltran out as managers


[updated 1/17/20]

Do cheaters profit?

Just in.  Managers of three of baseball’s perennial organizations have been fired or otherwise parted ways.   For the upcoming season and in the foreseeable future, A.J. Hinch manger of the Houston Astros, Alex Cora of the Boston Red Sox and Carlos Beltran of the New York Mets will not be watching any baseball games from their respective dugouts.

LOS ANGELES, CA – OCTOBER 28: Manager Alex Cora #20 of the Boston Red Sox celebrates with the World Series trophy after his team’s 5-1 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game Five to win the 2018 World Series at Dodger Stadium on October 28, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

The season for 2020 hasn’t even started yet Commission Robert Manfred dropped the bombshell of the year, and for many it may be the decade or perhaps a lifetime.  His announcement came yesterday morning by concluding the Houston Astros were guilty of a sign or signal calling scheme.

LOS ANGELES, CA – NOVEMBER 01: Commissioner Rob Manfred next to the podium as Houston Astros owner and chairman Jim Crane hoists the Commissioner’s Trophy after the Astros defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-1 in game seven to win the 2017 World Series at Dodger Stadium on November 1, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

What!!!  You may ask…..stealing signs, what is that?

 

Ever since sport was created as a competitive exercise many have a “win at any cost” or “whatever it takes to win” mentality.  Fortunately, over time those who have operated to “bend” the rules are usually ferreted out.  Of course, the credibility of fair competition is the result.

 

In most sports there are enough rules and regulations to choke a horse!!!  Yet, the manner of mankind has always found a way to manipulate those rules and regulations as an advantage to them.  Most define that as stone-cold cheating.

 

That is the situation the Houston Astros found themselves in following Major League Baseball’s (MLB) investigation into the signal scheme.

 

The investigation covered the period from 2016 through the present. During the investigation, the DOI interviewed 68 witnesses, including 23 current and former Astros players.

 

Signs or signals are used to communicate a variety of things during the game.  Metrics or analytics is also used as a complement so that players can be positioned based on sequences, probability or the likelihood of when and where the batter will hit the ball.  Assuming he is lucky enough to make contact.  As difficult as it is to hit a baseball that is coming in at 80 to 90 or even 100 mph, and is also moving requires great skill!  Yet, knowing what kind of pitch is coming in helps improve the odds of being able to make contact or to not swing.   MLB has specific penalties for team’s or player’s who are caught stealing signs.

 

A bird wouldn’t get caught if it never opened its mouth!

 

Interestingly, MLB’s investigation started following an allegation made by a former player of the Astros!!!  As quoted in Manfred’s finding, “On November 12, 2019, former Houston Astros player Mike Fiers publicly alleged in an article published by Ken Rosenthal and Evan Drellich of The Athletic that the Astros had engaged in sign-stealing methods in 2017 that violated MLB’s rules.”

LOS ANGELES, CA – NOVEMBER 1: Houston Astros owner Jim Crane hoists the Commissioner’s Trophy after the Astros defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 7 of the 2017 World Series at Dodger Stadium on Wednesday, November 1, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Alex Trautwig/MLB via Getty Images)

The Astros were dealt swift punishment by Manfred.  Starting with the ownership led by Jim Crane, General Manager Jeff Luhnow and Manager, AJ Hinch also received news they were not expecting.  Surely, more punishment and fallout is expected.  At the top of the lineup is Alex Cora who was a coach with the Astros during the period in question and who subsequently was selected the manager of the 2018 Boston Red Sox.  Many have posed the question?  Did the antics he employed with the Astros go with him to Boston as during his first year they became world champions?  For many the answer is a resounding yes.  As mentioned at the top of this article – Cora and the Red Sox have parted ways.

Then there is Carlos Beltran who was quoted in Manfred’s report but somehow was exonerated from any illegal behavior.  His last team as a player was with the 2017 Astros.   Even though he was not fined by MLB on Thursday Jan. 16th the heat became too much so he and his new employer of just two months, the New York Mets have parted ways.  The result is not only has he lost out as being a freshman manager but now his prospects of being selected into baseball’s coveted Hall of Fame is in jeopardy.

 

The Dodgers

 

To get snakebit once is bad enough.  But, to get snakebit twice in back-to-back years has Dodger fans in disbelief as in 2017 they lost the world series in seven games to the Astros.  Then, in 2018, they again lost the world series in seven games to the Cora managed Red Sox.  For some,  equity is stripping the respective winners of their “title” and awarding the Dodgers as the winners.  Unfortunately, that outcome is highly unlikely.

In the meantime, some fans are so incensed about the scandal they are consulting lawyers claiming it resulted in financial harm from the Astros and Red Sox.  Also, led by City Councilman Gil Cedillo a resolution has been passed seeking MLB’s intervention of stripping titles from the Astros and the Red Sox and renaming the Dodgers as the rightful winner.

LOS ANGELES, CA – OCTOBER 31: Manager A.J. Hinch #14 and bench coach Alex Cora #26 of the Houston Astros talk in the dugout during Game 6 of the 2017 World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on Tuesday, October 31, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Alex Trautwig/MLB via Getty Images)

In the meantime, Crane, Luhnow, Hinch and Cora are tied to this disgrace of the national pastime.  Surely other heads will roll and while the scheme is in the lap of the Houston Astros it is unlikely, they were the only participant.  What other teams will be implicated?   In the meantime, stay tuned.

NEW YORK, NY – NOVEMBER 04: Carlos Beltran stands between General Manager Brodie Van Wagenen and COO Jeff Wilpon after being introduced as manager of the New York Mets during a press conference at Citi Field on November 4, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

READ ROB MANFRED’S FULL REPORT HERE

Review:  Just Mercy


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.


Official Trailer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trailer