Tag: Charlottesville

EDITORIAL: A Letter to Friends Who Really Want to End Racism

by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (@lakinhutcherson)

Yesterday I posted a letter to friends on my personal Facebook page to help process my thoughts and feelings on what happened in Central Park with birder Christian Cooper and Amy Cooper and what happened to George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police, as well as other recent events. Some have encouraged me to make the letter public, as it might help others. Since that is the primary mission of Good Black News, here it is:

Dear Friends,

First off, this is going to be a long one, so if you are inclined to read my more serious posts, circle back when you have a good 5-to-7 minutes. Secondly, thank you to everyone who took a moment to read, respond and/or comment on my post yesterday about the woman in Central Park who called the police to falsely report that an African American man was threatening her life. I appreciate the solidarity, the rage, the links, the legal statutes, the sharing of up-to-date information on the incident – all of it!

But I did not have it in me to reply or respond yesterday because following that post, I saw the Minnesota footage. I saw what could have happened to Christian Cooper actually happen to George Floyd. That took me places. If Central Park woman was my trigger, George Floyd was the bullet. I literally had to lie down.

Many of you know I have a site called Good Black News where for the last 10 years, I have been posting positive stories about Black people or about those who are doing positive things for Black people. If you don’t already know the reasons why I do it, I believe you can infer.

Part of my process in finding those positive stories is reading through A LOT of stories that are not. I usually bear this well for a few reasons: 1)I believe witnessing injustices, other human beings’ pain, struggles and conflicts and reading different perspectives on them is a helpful step to healing for everyone even when you don’t know yet what the step after that is 2)I’ve observed over time that within a few days or weeks, stories can swing from negative to positive, giving real-time affirmation to MLK’s “the arc of the moral universe bends towards justice” quote 3) it’s worth the psychic toll it can take because knowledge is power and finding the good stuff is worth it.

But then there are days like yesterday, like after Ferguson, Trayvon Martin, the Charleston church massacre, Charlottesville… where I have to lie down. I no longer have it in me to find the way forward, to come up with suggestions, to look for the light.

I tried – I pulled out a pen and paper and tried to find clearer words to express what I was trying to say with the Central Park post re: advocating for policy/law change to help defang one specific part of systemic racism – the ability to lie to the police, attempt to use them as personal assassins and get away with it – but what I ended up writing down instead was a list of stories I’ve read recently that had been getting to me but I had not consciously acknowledged their deleterious affect:

Ahmaud Arbery

Breonna Taylor and her boyfriend

NFL listing Colin Kaepernick as “retired”

Disproportionate numbers of Black and Brown people dying from COVID-19

Armed White protestors intimidating lawmakers with NO police response

Swarms of park and beach parties – participants overwhelmingly White

Joe Biden’s “you ain’t Black” comment

The GOP and PROGRESSIVE’s weaponization of Joe Biden’s “you ain’t Black” comment

Children being deported from the border back to countries of origin WITH NO parent/guardian notified and no provisions put in place for their safety

A doctor friend’s post with the long list of names of doctors and healthcare providers who had lost their lives while combatting the COVID-19 crisis

The morning’s post on GBN about three Black men in Cleveland wrongly imprisoned for decades finally receiving $18 million from the city

After all that came out of me, I gave up trying to write out what I still couldn’t find words for. So I got up, focused on the home evening routine, and thought maybe after a good night’s sleep I might feel recharged or at least a little bit clearer and able to process it all.


I woke up in the dark with Amy Cooper on my mind. There was something about that particular incident that contained some crucial connective tissue to all of the above that I still couldn’t find the words to express. Overtly, I knew it was about entitlement and feeling no compunction about weaponizing racist infrastructures, but there was something unnamed going on I needed to pinpoint, which was about more than one individual acting badly and, in my opinion, violently.

I couldn’t go back to sleep so I got out of bed before 5am to take the dog for an early walk. Maybe that would clear my head. I put on my headphones so I could listen to the “Hit Parade” episode on Lady Gaga as a welcome distraction (random pop culture aside: the “Hit Parade” podcast which my pal Teddy hipped me to is SO GOOD! Check it out if you love pop music history).

Twenty minutes later, my little Maltese Daisy had me all the way up the hill that ends at the beginning of the Mulholland trail. I am sweating and singularly transfixed by host Chris Molanphy’s analysis of all four “A Star Is Born” movies and what distinguishes Gaga’s turn at bat from Barbra’s, Judy’s and Janet’s.

Daisy and I normally don’t go on the trail because there are too many people up there with no masks in too narrow a space. But it was so early and there were no cars (indicating people already on the trail) and Daisy was curious, so we went up a small ways into it.

After a minute or two I decided to turn us around because the trail was getting narrow and some bikers or hikers could be coming down at any moment and I didn’t want to deal. As we were making our way out, I chose the fork to the right because it’s a little smoother grade and gives a better view of oncoming traffic.

But just as we head that way, a man with no mask and his unleashed 65-lb. dog come up towards us on that same fork. I react by immediately pulling Daisy towards the left and walking down the other way. This man’s unleashed dog keeps coming towards us. The man DOES NOTHING.

Daisy starts to get agitated and turns because the dog is coming at us. Daisy is 7 lbs. wet and leashed so I can control her, but her resistance and the rocks and the slope of the path make it more difficult to hustle away quickly and safely. The dog keeps coming, the man still does NOTHING, so I myself say “No!” to the dog. His dog ignores me, keeps coming.

Finally, the man calls the dog’s name. The dog turns its head for a moment but then still proceeds to come our way! I hustle as fast as I can down the other side of the fork and the dog finally trots back towards its master. The man says nothing and proceeds with his back turned from me as if this is all okay. I yell after him from a safe distance, “Your dog should be on a leash!” Because leash laws, which apply to this trail and all the streets surrounding it. He does not turn around. He ignores me and heads up the trail.

Well, that was it for Lady Gaga. I couldn’t concentrate on the podcast anymore so I turned it off and walked back down the hill with Daisy in silence. So much for forgetting about Amy Cooper. And that’s when it crystallized for me what the problem with that guy was and what the problem with Amy was.

They cared only about their freedom, their dog’s freedom and nothing about mine or Christian Cooper’s. And not (at first) in an aggressive or even a conscious way. It’s just something that neither this man nor Amy chose to factor into how they go into a public space.

They know the laws but want to ignore them when they think no one is around. And if someone else does show up – they are the ones who are annoyed! They don’t seem to have a conversation with themselves ahead of time or even in the moment that might go “Okay, I know I’m not following the rules/law, but if I do come across someone who is bothered or in any way put out by that, I’ll yield.”

And that was it. That is the most insidious, underlying aspect of entitlement – of supremacy – be it based on gender, creed, sexual preference, class or race – even when I’m wrong, even when I’m in a shared public space with rules and laws governing it for everyone’s protection, I DO NOT HAVE TO YIELD. Other people need to get out of my way. Cater to my choices. Even when I’m wrong, because the rules don’t apply to me. Or my dog. Only to others.

I was simultaneously angry and grateful in this moment. Angry because I had to yield and change my path to stay safe even though this guy was completely in the wrong. And I bet he’s not given one more thought to this morning’s moment, because unlike me, HE DOESN’T HAVE TO.

And yes, he was a White guy. (BTW, for what it’s worth, I do not think this was a racial incident in any conscious way because this guy did not know I would be there. But it IS racial because of his subconscious sense of entitlement that laws don’t apply to him when he doesn’t want them to, and there will be little to no consequence for him.) Grateful, because I think I finally found the words that are a good place to start for people who want to do the work to bring about equity, justice and safety for all:

Observe who you won’t yield to, then think about why. Observe others who won’t yield to others, then think about why.

Thank you for reading. I feel clearer now. Stronger. And ready to look for the light again.



‘BlacKkKlansman’ Gets Standing Ovation at Cannes Film Festival for Spike Lee – Variety

Spike Lee at 2018 Canne Film Festival (Photo by IAN LANGSDON/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)

by  via variety.com

Director Spike Lee received a six-minute standing ovation at the Cannes Film Festival after the Monday night premiere of his new drama “BlacKkKlansman.” The movie, which tells the true story of an undercover African-American detective (John David Washington) and his Jewish partner (Adam Driver) who team up to infiltrate Klu Klux Klan in 1979, is incredibly timely. It even ends with footage of Donald Trump refusing to condemn the actions of white nationalists during the deadly 2017 Charlottesville riot.

There are a lot of digs at the current president throughout ““BlacKkKlansman” — one KKK member talks about embracing an “America first” policy and the film makes parallels between the rise of Trump and the political ambitions of former Grand Wizard David Duke.

Lee walked the red carpet wearing brass knuckles from “Do the Right Thing,” which said “love” on one hand and “hate” on the other. He was joined by cast members Washington, Driver, Damaris Lewis, Jasper Paakkonen, Laura Harrier, Topher Grace, and Corey Hawkins.

To read more: ‘BlacKkKlansman’ Gets Standing Ovation at Cannes for Spike Lee – Variety

Dr. Vivian Penn Honored by University of Virginia Medical Center with Hall Dedicated in her Name

Dr. Vivian Pinn (photo via nbc29.com)

via nbc29.com

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) -As part of University of Virginia’s efforts to reconcile its controversial past, Wednesday, it formally dedicated Pinn Hall in honor of Dr. Vivian Pinn. Pinn is one of the earliest African-American women to graduate from the UVA School of Medicine. She went on to found the Office of Research on Women’s Health at the National Institutes of Health.

The school celebrated her life and legacy during the “Medical Center Hour” held Wednesday. “I don’t see this as an honor for me but really as a symbol for women, people of color, and others who struggled to see this name just as a symbol for them, for the pioneers who proceeded me and hopefully the many who will come behind me,” Pinn said.

Pinn College, one of the medical school’s four colleges, is also named after Pinn.

To read more and see video, go to: University of Virginia Medical Center Dedicates Hall to African- – NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Paypal, ApplePay, Spotify and Other Tech Companies Purge White Supremacist Groups from Their Platforms

by Jessica Yarvin via pbs.org

After the violent protests in Charlottesville, tech companies are rethinking their roles in providing online services for hateful groups. The fight is only beginning, as far-right groups and freedom of speech advocates have argued that tech companies are infringing on their first amendment rights by blocking their access to these services. For now, here are the companies who have taken steps to remove white nationalist and other hate groups from their platforms:

GoDaddy: The web domain name provider cut off the neo-nazi website The Daily Stormer, citing that the website had “crossed the line from exercising freedom of speech to provoking further mayhem.”

Apple Pay: On Wednesday, Apple Pay blocked websites that sell white nationalist merchandise, such as clothing with nazi symbols from using their payment services. A day earlier, Apple CEO Tim Cook sent a memo to employees where he said “hate is a cancer” and announced donations to the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League.

Discord: Members of the “alt-right” movement, whose beliefs are a mix of white nationalism, neo-Nazism and extreme populism, flocked to this group messaging service due to it’s privacy and anonymity; however, after the violence in Charlottesville, the company booted white nationalist groups and users off the app. In the days leading up to the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, the New York Times reported that some white supremacists used the app to organize transportation to and lodging for the event.

Spotify: The music streaming service removed dozens of white supremacist artists that the Southern Poverty Law Center had identified as hate music.

Facebook: Citing violations of the company’s guidelines, Facebook banned eight pages associated with the white nationalist movement, along with the personal page and Instagram account of a white nationalist featured in the Vice News documentary about the Charlottesville rally. Continue reading “Paypal, ApplePay, Spotify and Other Tech Companies Purge White Supremacist Groups from Their Platforms”

City of Baltimore Removes Confederate Statues in Overnight Operation 

(Workers removed the Robert E. Lee and Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson monument in Baltimore. JERRY JACKSON / THE BALTIMORE SUN, VIA ASSOCIATED PRESS)

by Russell Goldman via nytimes.com

Statues dedicated to Confederate heroes were swiftly removed across Baltimore in the small hours of Wednesday morning, just days after violence broke out over the removal of a similar monument in neighboring Virginia.

Beginning soon after midnight on Wednesday, a crew, which included a large crane and a contingent of police officers, began making rounds of the city’s parks and public squares, tearing the monuments from their pedestals and carting them out of town.Small crowds gathered at each of the monuments and the mood was “celebratory,” said Baynard Woods, the editor at large of The Baltimore City Paper, who documented the removals on Twitter. “The police are being cheerful and encouraging people to take photos and selfies,” Mr. Woods said in an interview.

The statues were taken down by order of Mayor Catherine Pugh, after the City Council voted on Monday for their removal. The city had been studying the issue since 2015, when a mass shooting by a white supremacist at a historic black church in Charleston, S.C., prompted a renewed debate across the South over removing Confederate monuments and battle flags from public spaces.

To see more and read full article, go to: Baltimore Removes Confederate Statues in Overnight Operation – NYTimes.com

Marshawn Lynch Sits During National Anthem in Raiders Pre-season Game

Oakland Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch (24) sits during the national anthem prior to the team’s NFL preseason football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

by Jeremy Woo via si.com

Oakland Raiders player Marshawn Lynch appeared to stage a silent protest before Oakland’s preseason game against the Arizona Cardinals on Saturday, taking a seat during the playing of the national anthem. AP photographers snapped Lynch taking a seat on a cooler on the sidelines as the anthem played.

Lynch’s apparent protest comes in wake of this weekend’s violent white nationalist rallies in Charlottesville, Va. and falls in line with what Colin Kaepernick started around the NFL last season as players found ways to protest racism and police brutality during the playing of the anthem before games.In Charlottesville, white nationalists with torches marched, chanted racial slurs and attacked counter-protestors in Charlottesville on Friday and Saturday.  The situation escalated and resulted in one person’s death and 19 injured after a car driven by an angry member of a white nationalist group plowed over another group of counter-protestors.

LeBron James is chief among a number of other athletes who have spoken up against the violent, racist rhetoric on display. Lynch came out of a one-year retirement to join his hometown Raiders this season. He is expected to play a major role for the team this year.

To read more, go to: Marshawn Lynch sits during national anthem in Raiders preseason | SI.com

Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe to White Nationalists: ‘There is No Place for You in America… Shame on You… You Are Anything But A Patriot’

Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe (photo via variety.com)

by Ted Johnson via Variety.com

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe condemned the white supremacists whose rally in Charlottesville, Va. led to clashes and at least one death, telling the Nazi marchers that “there is no place for you here. There is no place for you in America… Shame on you. You pretend that you are patriots, but you are anything but a patriot,” he said.

McAuliffe appeared at a press conference in Charlottesville in the aftermath of the bloody confrontations on the street. Earlier in the day, he declared a state of emergency to assist authorities in the city in controlling the situation. Police said that a 32-year-old woman was killed as she was crossing the street and a car was driven into a crowd of counter-demonstrators. The driver of the vehicle has been apprehended and the case is being treated as a criminal homicide, with 19 more injured in the incident. Police have not released the name of the victim or the suspect.

State police also are investigating a helicopter crash that occurred in a wooded area near Charlottesville that occurred just before 5 p.m. ET on Saturday. A spokeswoman confirmed that two people were killed in the crash, but did not verify if the helicopter belonged to the Virginia State Police. Throughout the day, cable news networks played shocking and even chilling images of neo-Nazis and white nationalists marching in the streets of Charlottesville as they were protesting plans to remove a statute of Confederate general Robert E. Lee. They quickly clashed with counter-protesters before police declared an unlawful assembly and ordered them to disburse.

McAuliffe said that he spoke with Trump on Saturday and twice told him that “there has got to be a movement in this country to bring people together. The hatred and the rhetoric that has gone on and it’s intensified over the last couple of months is dividing this great nation.” Trump, too, responded with tweets and a statement calling for unity, and condemning “in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides, on many sides.”

But he faced criticism for not specifically calling out the white supremacists or citing the car crash. Some members of Trump’s own party called on the President to specifically cite the Charlottesville tragedy as a terror attack, or to call out white nationalists.

To read full article, go to: Virginia Governor to White Nationalists: ‘No Place for You Here’ | Variety