Tag: nonviolent protest

March in Memphis to Honor Martin Luther King Jr. on 50th Anniversary of his Death

People hold signs resembling the signs carried by striking sanitation workers in 1968 as they join in events commemorating the 50th anniversary of the assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. (photo via eurweb.com)

by Errin Haines Whack, Adrian Sainz & Kate Brumback, Associated Press via blackamericaweb.com

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — The daughter of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. remembered him as “the apostle of nonviolence” as admirers marked the 50th anniversary of his assassination Wednesday with marches, speeches and quiet reflection.

The Rev. Bernice A. King recalled her father as a civil rights leader and great orator whose message of peaceful protest was still vital decades later. “We decided to start this day remembering the apostle of nonviolence,” she said during a ceremony to award the Martin Luther King Jr. Nonviolent Peace Prize held at the King Center in Atlanta.

In Memphis, where King died, hundreds of people bundled in hats and coats gathered early in for a march led by the same sanitation workers union whose low pay King had come to protest when he was shot.

Dixie Spencer, president of the Bolivar Hardeman County, Tennessee, branch of the NAACP, said remembrances of King’s death should be a call to action. “We know what he worked hard for, we know what he died for, so we just want to keep the dream going,” Spencer said. “We just want to make sure that we don’t lose the gains that we have made.”

The Memphis events were scheduled to feature King’s contemporaries, including the Rev. Jesse Jackson, the Rev. Al Sharpton and U.S. Rep. John Lewis, along with celebrities such as the rapper Common. In the evening, the Atlanta events culminate with a bell-ringing and wreath-laying at his crypt to mark the moment when he was gunned down on the balcony of the old Lorraine Motel on April 4, 1968. He was 39.

Wednesday’s events followed a rousing celebration the night before of King’s “I’ve Been To the Mountaintop” speech at Memphis’ Mason Temple Church of God in Christ. He delivered this speech the night before he was assassinated.

Inside the church, Bernice King called her older brother, Martin Luther King III, to join her in the pulpit, and she discussed the difficulty of publicly mourning their father — a man hated during his lifetime, now beloved around the world.

“It’s important to see two of the children who lost their daddy 50 years ago to an assassin’s bullet,” said Bernice King, now 55. “But we kept going. Keep all of us in prayer as we continue the grieving process for a parent that we’ve had yet to bury.”

A gospel singer led a rousing rendition of “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” and the gathering took on the air of a mass meeting.

Lee Saunders, a national labor leader, recounted how on that night in 1968, King made an unplanned appearance to deliver the famous speech without notes after his aides saw how passionate the crowd was: “There was one man they wanted to hear from.”

But Saunders stressed that the purpose of the week’s commemorations was not just to look to the past.

“Dr. King’s work — our work — isn’t done. We must still struggle; we must still sacrifice. We must still educate and organize and mobilize. That’s why we’re here in Memphis. Not just to honor our history, but to seize our future,” he said.

Some of the sanitation workers who participated with King in a 1968 strike sat in the front row and were treated like celebrities, with audience members stopping to take photos with them before the event started.

To read more: https://blackamericaweb.com/2018/04/04/many-march-in-honor-of-martin-luther-king-jr-s-death/

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”

Under Armour Star Endorsers Dwayne Johnson, Misty Copeland and Stephen Curry Speak Out Against CEO’s Pro-Trump Statements

Under Armour spokespeople The Rock, Misty Copeland, Stephen Curry (photo via abcnews.com)
Under Armour star endorsers Dwayne Johnson, Misty Copeland and Stephen Curry (photo via abcnews.com)

article by Katie Richards via adweek.com

Some of Under Armour’s biggest celebrity endorsers – ballet dancer Misty Copeland, NBA star Stephen Curry and Hollywood icon Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson—are speaking out against the apparel brand’s CEO for referring to Donald Trump as “a real asset” to American businesses.

In an interview earlier this week with CNBC, Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank shared several positive thoughts about Trump as a leader and supporter of corporations: “He’s highly passionate. To have such a pro-business president is something that’s a real asset to this country,” Plank said on Halftime Report. “I think people should really grab that opportunity. … He wants to build things. He wants to make bold decisions, and he wants to be decisive. I’m a big fan of people who operate in the world of ‘publish and iterate’ versus ‘think, think, think, think.’ so there’s a lot that I respect there.”

His comments led to a flurry of criticisms on Twitter and have now percolated to some of the brand’s top star athletes and performers.  Copeland, star of the brand’s iconic “I Will What I Want” ad, uploaded a lengthy post to Instagram today. While she praises the brand for supporting her over the years, Copeland did not mince words about Trump. “I strongly disagree with Kevin Plank’s recent comments in support of Trump as recently reported,” she wrote in the Instagram post. “Those of you who have supported and followed my career know that the one topic I’ve never backed away from speaking openly about is the importance of diversity and inclusion. It is imperative to me that my partners and sponsors share this belief.”

She said she has spoken with Plank privately about his opinions in great detail but that, “as someone who takes my responsibility as a role model very seriously, it is important to me that he, and UA, take public action to clearly communicate and reflect our common values in order for us to effectively continue to work towards our shared goal of trying to motivate ALL people to be their best selves.”

With more than 10 million views, Copeland’s Under Armour ad from 2014 was a huge hit for the brand and resonated across the industry as an example of how marketing could celebrate strong women. Since the ad debuted, Copeland developed her own Under Armour clothing line, appeared on the cover of Time magazine and was named by the American Ballet Theater as its first African-American principal dancer. She hasn’t been alone in criticizing the brand’s founder and top executive.

Another major endorser for the brand, Golden State Warriors point guard Curry, also spoke out against Plank, although less directly than Copeland. When asked by The Mercury News about Plank’s description of Trump as “a real asset,” Curry responded by saying, “I agree with that description, if you remove the ‘et’ from asset.”

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson also posted his response to Plank on Instagram. “These are neither my words, nor my beliefs,” Johnson writes. “His words were divisive and lacking in perspective. Inadvertently creating a situation where the personal political opinions of UA’s partners and its employees were overshadowed by the comments of its CEO.”

To read more, go to: Under Armour’s Star Endorsers Are Coming Out Against the CEO’s Pro-Trump Statements – Adweek

PBS to Air Documentary on Iconic Civil Rights Leader John Lewis this February

john-lewis
Congressman John Lewis (photo via eurweb.com)

article by Ny Magee via eurweb.com

Georgia congressman John Lewis is finally getting what many believe to be the TV treatment he deserves. The civil rights icon is the focus of a forthcoming new documentary set to air on PBS.

Get In The Way: The Journey of John Lewis” aims to tell the story of the civil rights pioneer, who led a 26-hour sit-in for gun control, marched with Dr. King, challenged political houses and continues to fight for human rights, per Jetmag.com.

According to the film’s website, it offers a “highly personalized narrative of an epic chapter in U.S. history.”  The biographical documentary will air on PBS as part of the network’s Black History Month programming.

“He is the moving, roaring protector of the rights afforded to every person in this nation. Get in the Way arrives at the perfect time,” actress and activist Alfre Woodard is quoted as saying in the documentary highlights.

“Get In The Way” airs on Feb. 10.

To read full article, go to: http://www.eurweb.com/2017/01/john-lewis-pbs-air-documentary-iconic-civil-rights-leader/#

OPINION: Why Colin Kaepernick’s Sit Down May Be the Most Patriotic Stand of All

San Francisco 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick (photo via mmqb.si.com)
San Francisco 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick (photo via mmqb.si.com)
by Julie Bibb Davis (@julieadelle)
by Julie Bibb Davis (@julieadelle)

Colin Kaepernick, quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, chose not to stand for the National Anthem at a recent pre-season football game.  Players are not required to stand under NFL rules, and Kaepernick was clear about his reasons to remain seated, stating ”I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.”  Subsequently, he has given interviews about his decision, and the well-thought out reasons behind it.

While Kaepernick has seen some support, he has also faced enormous backlash for his decision – from pundits, from current and former NFL players, from the San Francisco Police Officers’ Association, and predictably, he has been skewered mercilessly on Twitter and in the online commentary sections of various websites.

Some of the online criticism has been of the typically jingoistic “my country – love it or leave it” or “my country – right or wrong” variety that tends to become prevalent when legitimate protest involves the flag, the Pledge of Allegiance or the National Anthem.  And these types of criticism are particularly troubling, because they are designed to tell people “you can’t be a good American if you don’t honor this symbol in a particular way.”

I have spent the majority of my career working for the federal government.  I am proud to work in a building where the American flag flies, and where pictures of the President and Vice-President are in the lobby.  I understand the power and meaning of symbols.  And it precisely the power and meaning of symbols that makes protests involving them so resonant – and necessary.   I don’t know much about football, but I do know something about the First Amendment.  Kaepernick’s actions are fully-protected free speech, and the type of peaceful public protest that has been central to social justice movements.

And for those whose response to Kaepernick is “my country — right or wrong,” it’s time to look at the response to that quote by US Senator Carl Schurz in 1899.  Schurz decried the statement as “a deceptive cry of mock patriotism”, and went on to state that the “welfare of this and coming generations of Americans will be secure only as we cling to the watchword of true patriotism: ‘Our country — when right to be kept right; when wrong to be put right.’”

Kaepernick saw something he thought was wrong in his country.  Like generations of Americans before him, he engaged in a peaceful public protest to bring attention to that wrong, and to make a statement as to how it needed to be put right.  And for that he should not be vilified, but applauded.

Watch Inspiring Mash-Up of Janet Jackson’s “Can’t Be Stopped” with Jesse Williams’ BET Awards Speech (VIDEO)

My fellow GBN Editor Lesa Lakin just e-mailed me this mash-up of Janet Jackson‘s “Can’t Be Stopped” with #BlackLivesMatter footage and Jesse Williams‘ now-classic speech from the 2016 BET Awards .  Not sure who made it and posted it on Vimeo five days ago, but thank you – great message and inspiration!  Keep protesting, speaking out, being creative and rising up!

Lori Lakin Hutcherson, GBN Editor-in-Chief

NAACP Begins 860-Mile Justice March From Selma to Washington D.C.

459723514-members-of-the-naacp-and-their-supporters-start-out-for
On November 29, 2014 in Ferguson, Mo., members of the NAACP and their supporters began the first day of Journey for Justice, seven-day 120-mile march from the Canfield Green apartments where Michael Brown was killed to the Governor’s mansion in Jefferson City, Mo. (SCOTT OLSON/GETTY IMAGES)

NAACP leaders on Saturday kicked off a 40-day “Journey for Justice” march across the South, beginning with a rally in Selma, Ala., a city that played a pivotal role in the the 1960s civil rights movement, according to The Associated Press.

The goal of the march is to “call attention to the issue of racial injustice in modern America,” the report says. The trek will span across eastern seaboard states before ending in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 15.

The event began on the Edmund Pettus Bridge, where peaceful marchers were attacked by police in 1965 spurring the passage of the Voting Rights Act, which was signed into law 50 years ago this week. In November, the group led a march from Ferguson, Mo., to Jefferson City, Mo., in protest after Darren Wilson, a white police officer, was not indicted in the death of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teen.

“We know we can do the distance because our lives, our votes, our jobs and our schools matter,” said Cornell William Brooks, president and chief executive of the NAACP, reports Reuters.

“Let us march on, let us march on, let us march on till victory is won,” said Brooks, as he led about 200 marchers across the bride on the first leg of the journey, Reuters writes.

article by Lynette Holloway via theroot.com

Baltimore Plans To Equip Police Vans With Video Cameras After Freddie Gray’s Death

Protests in Baltimore over Freddie Gray
Source: Anadolu Agency / Getty

After a vociferous public outcry over the death of Freddie Gray, who suffered a fatal spinal cord injury in police custody this spring, Baltimore officials announced plans Wednesday to equip transport vans with video recording cameras, according to Reuters.

Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said the change comes in the wake of protests after the death of 25-year-old Gray, who was fatally injured while being transported to lockup in a police van in April on an unspecified charge. Gray’s death sparked days of fiery protests over police brutality in the Black community.

From Reuters:

We’re working through a process that will place cameras with recording capabilities in the backs of all our police vans, to ensure that we have a more complete record of what occurs there,” Rawlings-Blake told reporters.

The van in which Gray was transported had a non-recording camera that the driver could use to monitor the passengers, but it was not working at the time.

Rawlings-Blake also announced plans to review riot gear used by police during the unrest, as some of it failed to work, the report says. She said the city needs working equipment so that police can respond if trouble breaks out following trial verdicts in the Gray case.

article by Lynette Holloway via newsone.com

Bree Newsome Speaks For The 1st Time After Taking Down Confederate Flag from State Capitol

Activist Bree Newsome Takes Down Confederate Flag from South Carolina State Capitol grounds (Photo via bluenationreview.com)

EDITOR’S NOTE: Over the weekend, a young freedom fighter and community organizer mounted an awe-inspiring campaign to bring down the Confederate battle flag. Brittany “Bree” Newsome, in a courageous act of civil disobedience, scaled a metal pole using a climbing harness, to remove the flag from the grounds of the South Carolina state capitol. Her long dread locks danced in the wind as she descended to the ground while quoting scripture. She refused law enforcement commands to end her mission and was immediately arrested along with ally James Ian Tyson, who is also from Charlotte, North Carolina.

Bree Newsome arrest feature

Earlier this week, social justice activist and blogger Shaun King offered a “bounty” on the flag and offered to pay any necessary bail bond fees. Newsome declined the cash reward, asking that all proceeds go to funds supporting victims of the Charleston church massacre. Social media users raised more than $75,000 to fund legal expenses. South Carolina House Minority Leader Todd Rutherford, a renowned defense attorney, has agreed to represent Newsome and Tyson as they face criminal charges.

Newsome released the following statement exclusively to Blue Nation Review:

Now is the time for true courage.

I realized that now is the time for true courage the morning after the Charleston Massacre shook me to the core of my being. I couldn’t sleep. I sat awake in the dead of night. All the ghosts of the past seemed to be rising.

Not long ago, I had watched the beginning of Selma, the reenactment of the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing and had shuddered at the horrors of history.

But this was neither a scene from a movie nor was it the past. A white man had just entered a black church and massacred people as they prayed. He had assassinated a civil rights leader. This was not a page in a textbook I was reading nor an inscription on a monument I was visiting.

This was now.

This was real.

This was—this is—still happening.

I began my activism by participating in the Moral Monday movement, fighting to restore voting rights in North Carolina after the Supreme Court struck down key protections of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

I traveled down to Florida where the Dream Defenders were demanding justice for Trayvon Martin, who reminded me of a modern-day Emmett Till.

I marched with the Ohio Students Association as they demanded justice for victims of police brutality.

I watched in horror as black Americans were tear-gassed in their own neighborhoods in Ferguson, MO. “Reminds me of the Klan,” my grandmother said as we watched the news together. As a young black girl in South Carolina, she had witnessed the Klan drag her neighbor from his house and brutally beat him because he was a black physician who had treated a white woman.

I visited with black residents of West Baltimore, MD who, under curfew, had to present work papers to police to enter and exit their own neighborhood. “These are my freedom papers to show the slave catchers,” my friend said with a wry smile.

And now, in the past 6 days, I’ve seen arson attacks against 5 black churches in the South, including in Charlotte, NC where I organize alongside other community members striving to create greater self-sufficiency and political empowerment in low-income neighborhoods.

Continue reading “Bree Newsome Speaks For The 1st Time After Taking Down Confederate Flag from State Capitol”

Have You Heard Prince’s Song “Baltimore”? Check it Here (AUDIO)

As Prince gives a free “Rally 4 Peace” Mother’s Day concert in Baltimore to advocate for non-violent change, for those of us who can’t be there (or listen to the stream on Jay Z’s Tidal), here’s the song he was inspired to write for the occasion: