Women's History Month - Abby Bobé
Ms. Bobé is a technology activist and a social entrepreneur.

A former community manager at Black Girls CODE, she successfully managed a $100,000 crowdfunding campaign to help educate 2,000 girls and seed fund 7 chapters across the US. Prior to this, she worked internationally, creating a Computing Technology Programme in Tamil Nadu, South India that taught 80 school children and 20 women digital technology.

During the rising of the #handsupdontshoot movement, Ms. Bobé moved to Missouri to give activists tech tools and taught them how to manage web pages and gain publicity. Working with HandsUpUnited, she envisioned and developed the Clay Sr. Tech Workshop with activists. The workshop was a 6-week programme which taught de-coding, and had the aim to strengthen black-owned businesses, nonprofits and social movements in the area. 

Her twitter is here : https://twitter.com/abbybobe


The investigation was launched in response to the fatal shooting of Michael Brown

The Justice Department is nearing the end of an investigation into the Ferguson Police Department following the fatal shooting of black teenager Michael Brown last summer at the hands of white cop Darren Wilson. The report reveals an unsettling pattern of racial discrimination, specifically, the use of discriminatory traffic stops, for a number of years. Ferguson officials will have the option of entering something called a “consent decree” in which they implement a set of reforms mandated by the federal government. 

Or the city can refuse, a move which will likely be met with a federal civil rights lawsuit.

A Virginia pastor has been arrested for lying to police officials after he filed a report stating he had been robbed at gunpoint by a muti-racial couple (Black man and White woman) after he acted like a “Good Samaritan” and stopped to help them with car trouble, CBS6 is reporting. Pastor George Hunley of Louisa, Virginia, was taken into custody and then released after being charged with making false statements to police, which is a misdemeanor. Full Article.

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Intersectionality - Get Used to It

@LeslieMac & Ricks from @AUADOTORG are joined by Phoenix Calida & William J Jacksonto discuss the history, effect and ways to address intersectionality in the Black Lives Matter movement. Plus #BrandonTateBrown case update, DOJ decision on George Zimmerman & CT Moral Monday.

The other night my dad (a retired officer) was telling a story about how he was going in to work at about 9:30 at night, and he hears gun shots where the interstate is, near he was. Then he heard the call come out, that shots were fired at an interstate, the man who is the suspect had just ran away from robbing an elderly couple at a Waffle House, at gun point. Anyways, the perp took off, on foot, down the interstate, and another cop was on the scene. He stopped the man, and was just like “Put your hands on the vehicle” and all that, and he did, and the officer made a rookie mistake about not putting his leg between the perps legs to knock his balance off, and the perp locked the officers hands in to his side, took his gun out, and shot the officer in the head. He survive, the bullet grazed under his skin, above the skull and exited out the other end. Then he got angry. And tackled the perp to the ground. Enter my father and another officer, this other officer I’ve met, he was just starting out on the force and the officer wrestling the perp on the ground was screaming “SHOOT HIM, SHOOT HIM” and the other officer shot, hit the perp twice in the side, he’s still going, and both him and the officer who was shot, had so much adreneline going through their bodies that they weren’t giving up at all. Another shot fired from my dad, hitting the perp right in the head, blew half his skull clear off, and HE IS STILL GOING. HE IS STILL FIGHTING THE OTHER COP. They are all screaming obscenity at each other when the medics arrive, and the perp is still fucking going, brains half gone and all. His mind was literally too pissed off to tell his body he was dead. They were fighting with a dead man. Perp is still alive when they get to the hospital. Of course both the officer who was shot and him had their clothes taken off in the ambulance and as soon as they get to the hospital the doctor asks “which one is the cop?” and the let him know who it was, and even though his injuries weren’t as bad, they treated him first. Then they get to the perp and without anesthetic he takes a scaple and just guts him on the side, pushes his rib cage back and starts pumping his heart by hand to try and keep him alive. After about a minute of that they were just like “Nah, call it” and he died, thank goodness. Anyways, moral to the story is, is you may have to shoot multiple times to take someone down. I’m going to apply this to Ferguson and Michael Brown. Cops risk their lives daily for everyone, and sometimes this is the shit they have to put up with.

Allen Ginsberg writing truth about the U.S. government, including a line that’s eerily relevant to Tamir Rice’s murder. This was from a poem he wrote in 1981 called Industrial Waves.

For me, it’s not just about working in a small library as it is about working in my community. Like I said before, I live in Ferguson (in fact, I grew up here), and I’m well aware of the challenges that we and the communities surrounding us face. Getting this job feels like my opportunity to not only give back, but to also help make a difference in the lives of our children and teens.

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department has nearly completed a highly critical report accusing the police in Ferguson, Mo., of making discriminatory traffic stops of African-Americans that created years of racial animosity leading up to an officer’s shooting of a black teenager last summer, law enforcement officials said.

According to several officials who have been briefed on the report’s conclusions, the report criticizes the city for disproportionately ticketing and arresting African-Americans and relying on the fines to balance the city’s budget. The report, which is expected to be released as early as this week, will force Ferguson officials to either negotiate a settlement with the Justice Department or face being sued by it on civil rights charges. Either way, the result is likely to be significant changes inside the Ferguson Police Department, which is at the center of a national debate over race and policing.

Ferguson erupted into angry, sometimes violent protests after a white police officer, Darren Wilson, shot and killed an unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown, in August. The Justice Department investigated that shooting, and officials have said they will clear the officer of civil rights charges. That finding is also expected soon.

But the report into the broader practices of the local police department will give the context for the shooting, describing the mounting sense of frustration and anger in a predominantly black city where the police department and local government are mostly white.

While the Justice Department’s exact findings are not yet known, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., who is expected to leave office in the next few weeks, and other officials have said publicly that their investigation has focused on the use of excessive force and the treatment of prisoners in local jails as well as the traffic stops.

Blacks accounted for 86 percent of traffic stops in 2013 but make up 63 percent of the population, according to the most recent data published by the Missouri attorney general. And once they were stopped, black drivers were twice as likely to be searched, even though searches of white drivers were more likely to turn up contraband.

For people in Ferguson who cannot afford to pay their tickets, routine traffic stops can become yearslong ordeals, with repeated imprisonments because of mounting fines. Such fines are the city’s second-largest source of revenue after sales tax. Federal investigators say that has provided a financial incentive to continue law enforcement policies that unfairly target African-Americans.

In an unrelated but similar case, the Justice Department recently filed court documents in a lawsuit over whether the city of Clanton, Ala., is running a debtors’ prison. The lawsuit says city officials there keep poor people in jail simply because of their inability to pay fines.

“Because such systems do not account for individual circumstances of the accused, they essentially mandate pretrial detention for anyone who is too poor to pay the predetermined fee,” wrote Vanita Gupta, the top civil rights prosecutor at the Justice Department, who is also supervising the Ferguson inquiry.

Investigators do not need to prove that Ferguson’s policies are racially motivated or that the police intentionally singled out minorities. They need to show only that police tactics had a “disparate impact” on African-Americans and that this was avoidable. Nevertheless, the Justice Department’s report is expected to include a reference to a racist joke that was circulated by email among city officials, according to several law enforcement officials.

James Knowles III, the mayor of Ferguson, said last week that he did not know what the Justice Department had found or would conclude. But he criticized Mr. Holder for saying recently that wholesale change was needed in Ferguson’s police department.

“How come they haven’t told us there is something that needs to be changed as they found it?” Mr. Knowles asked. “Why have they allowed whatever they think is happening to continue to happen for six months if that’s the case?”

Mr. Holder has stood by his remarks, saying they were based on his deep understanding of the case. “The reality is, I’ve been briefed all along on this matter,” he said at a news conference recently.

The Ferguson case will be the last in a long string of civil rights investigations into police departments that Mr. Holder has directed during his tenure. Since he became attorney general in 2009, the Justice Department has opened more than 20 such investigations and issued strong rebukes of departments in Cleveland and Albuquerque, accusing them of excessive force and unwarranted shootings.

The Ferguson report, however, is expected to more closely resemble last summer’s report into police activities in Newark. There, as in Ferguson, the police stopped black people at a significantly higher rate than whites. “This disparity is stark and unremitting,” the Justice Department wrote in that report, which concluded that African-Americans “bear the brunt” of the city’s unconstitutional police practices.

In some cities investigated by the Justice Department, such as Albuquerque and Portland, Ore., city officials have said they are open to making changes and quickly reaching an agreement with the department to fix problems. Others have taken a more confrontational approach, did not settle and faced a federal civil rights lawsuit. The Justice Department has four such lawsuits open, including one against Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Ariz., and another against Sheriff Terry S. Johnson of Alamance County, N.C.

Mr. Knowles said he would not speculate on how Ferguson would respond to the report. “The City of Ferguson is going to make its decisions based on what its residents and the people in this region feel is necessary to move us forward,” he said.

Mr. Knowles said the city hoped to increase diversity on its police force and was considering creating a board of citizens to help oversee it. He said the city was also considering creating a police youth program.
For Mr. Holder, the nation’s first black attorney general, the Ferguson shooting was a signature moment. Already the most outspoken member of the Obama administration on issues of race relations, Mr. Holder became the president’s emissary to Ferguson and helped calm tensions amid protests after the shooting. He spoke in personal terms about being stopped by police as a college student and again as a prosecutor in Washington.
“I wanted the people of Ferguson to know that I personally understood that mistrust,” Mr. Holder said last summer after returning from Missouri. “I wanted them to know that while so much else may be uncertain, this attorney general and this Department of Justice stands with the people of Ferguson.”

Comments like these attracted criticism from some police groups who said Mr. Holder was taking sides and casting aspersions on police officers. Mr. Holder has pledged that the Ferguson investigation — by far the most closely watched during his tenure — would be fair and independent. “I’m confident people will be satisfied with the results,” he said.

John Eligon contributed reporting from Kansas City, Mo.

H/T: Matt Apuzzo at The New York Times

Correspondence from readers in blue

Still trying to decide what I think of this piece about Miami Gardens, FL police, who routinely and repeatedly kept arresting a Black man for “tresspassing,” when the man was AT WORK ON HIS JOB, WHERE HE WAS AUTHORIZED TO BE. This article is a response by 3 officers who replied about the situation.

Poem by Jacques Fleury

Poem by Jacques Fleury

Haiku: For Ferguson

Wisteria gathers
Tinged boys die as mothers cry
Flower pickin’ time…

Photography © Rachel Copans

Jacques Fleury is the author of Sparks in the Dark: A Lighter Shade of Blue. His collaborative CD A Lighter Shade of Blue with folk group Sweet Wednesday is available on iTunes.

Rachel Copansis a Burgeoning poet and spoken word artist. The photo above is from the Indict…

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'Glory' Wins Best Original Song At The 2015 Oscars

"Glory" from "Selma" won Best Original Song at the 2015 Oscars on Sunday night, beating out "Everything is Awesome" from "The Lego Movie," "Grateful" from "Beyond The Lights," "I’m Not Gonna Miss You" from "Glen Campbell… I’ll Be Me" and "Lost Stars" from "Begin Again."

Watch Common’s inspiring speech here. 

That ugly irrelevant dress has taught me...
  • Trayvon Martin would have been 20 by now
  • ISIS has begun to behead captured and innocent children
  • Chapel Hill shooting still isn’t getting the notice they need in the media 
  • Ferguson still isn’t forgotten
  • idiots are willing to sleep on all this important information and would rather get into an argument over a dried up ugly dress

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