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“Tell a white lie for no reason. They point fingers and bite the hand that feeds them. Help ’em Lord, for they know not what they do, swear to God they know better than you…Tell the truth,” by Jussie Smollett, actor/singer-songwriter.

The term ‘a white lie’ generally refers to the gentle lies we often tell each other or ourselves to avoid facing a harsh truth. Silence may be necessary at times; yet, in the end, the truth is better served though sometimes hurtful.

It is far better to be wounded by a thorn of truth and change our perspective, then shrink behind a bouquet of little white lies…to laugh not all of our laughter and cry not all of our tears.

Each time I hear young Jessie Smollett’s poignant song ‘Tell The Truth’ from the acclaimed television series Empire, it haunts me long after it’s finished. For me, it’s as if young Jessie, through the gift of his voice, is virtually crying out in the wilderness, beseeching those of us who are still asleep, and there are many, to wake up and see the truth before it’s too late.

And then, please tell the truth! Particularly, as it relates to decades of unregulated police abuse or harassment of African-American males, and others, that has now turned deadly.

Don Lemon’s Troubling Article

An award-winning journalist known for his pointed questions and impromptu remarks, his job, that reflects a free American spirit, Lemon anchors CNN Tonight with Don Lemon and breaking news stories on-the-scene. Which has included the recent Baltimore Riots, the Michael Brown tragedy in Ferguson, and the George Zimmerman trial in Sanford Florida. Before joining CNN in 2006, he had anchored for NBC News and its affiliates.

Although his recent article titled ‘Baltimore Crime is off the Charts, Guess Who Is To Blame?’ is troubling, I generally like Don’s reporting and follow him on CNN. While I feel Mr. Lemon is on our side re the smoldering issue of police abuse nationwide, I am not sure whether the article takes us to the truth-of-the-matter or distracts from it, here is why.

The above cited article reports a significant rise in crime in the Baltimore area, particularly the shootings and homicides over the Memorial Day weekend where “29 people were shot [and 8] were killed”. It also states that homicides are currently “up 40 percent from last year” making these crimes the deadliest since 1999. This, according to the mayor, is “disheartening” indeed, thus no argument there.

Seems “the recent unrest” is, in part, the blame for the crime surge. Yet, Commissioner Anthony Batts assures us that his police clearly are “not holding back” despite being surrounded by up to 50 citizens putting cameras in their faces whenever they respond to a call; a sure sign there is much work needed on community engagement, he states.

Though the article does not directly blame the mayor, the police commissioner, or the residents. Yet, by inferring that: “The real story however may not be anything Batts or the Mayor want to admit,” and that the reason for the crime surge “was the direct result of a coordinated police work slowdown,” alluding to an unnamed police officer’s beliefs, it sure seems so.

Are Massive Protests Against Police Brutality To Blame?

Apart from the recent riots in Baltimore sparked by Freddie Gray’s funeral, yet another African American male allegedly abused to death while in police custody, seems most of the nationwide protests against police brutality have been relatively peaceful.

The above cited article closes by stating: “But officers in Baltimore, according to at least one of their own, are turning their backs on not only the Mayor but also the citizens they’re sworn to protect, ” and ends with a list of shootings and homicides over the weekend.

Unintended perhaps, still it seems this scenario clearly smacks of the ol’ blame-the-victim game to avoid a harsh truth. This is not only troubling but dangerous! As the problem of systemic police brutality is escalating and threatens the very fabric of our great nation.

Are We Ready to Save Our Democracy?

Someone once said that the Chinese character for crisis represents destruction and opportunity. So, today, are we truly ready to save our democracy and take it to the next level? Or do we continue making the same old mistakes? The choice, as always, is ours.

First we have to recognize that our beloved democracy has not only reached a crisis, but the smoldering issue of nationwide police abuse is at its nexus!

Actually, the world often seems in one crisis or another; but, first, we must get our own stuff in order before we can even think about saving the world.

Thankfully, there are attributes within each of us ready to extinguish the smoldering fires of police abuse now! That now threatens to uproot democracy, our most cherished American value. Yet, we must be willing to see the truth and let it leads us…rather than continue with the usual convoluted cover ups.

Justice for Some Only is Likely the Real Culprit

“Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other,” a reminder from John Adams, c.1798, our 2nd U.S. President and one of the founding fathers of the United States of America.

Believe it or not! Today, justice for some only is likely the real culprit threatening to uproot our democracy, and it usually starts at the top. Thus making a mockery of the intent of our nation’s founders, and a facade of our U.S. Constitution that has now become fodder for the elite!

Though African-American males and other people of color, in particular, have either been harassed and humiliated or detained without cause by abusive police officers for decades, seems the killings of Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner and Michael Brown, with impunity, have sparked a new Civil Rights Movement. Many are protesting police brutality en masse while demanding justice for its victims!

In February 2013 while walking home alone on a misty evening, Trayvon Martin, an African American unarmed teenager was shot to death in Sanford Florida after being stalked by an alleged neighborhood watchman who never identified himself to Trayvon, states the police detective’s initial report. Before being killed by Zimmerman, Trayvon tells a friend on his phone that he is being followed by “a creepy ass white man,” a sure sign of intense fear.

Though Trayvon’s killer seemly had a fair trial, many believe otherwise. According to published reports, seems a bar to justice for Trayvon’s family and society likely started at the top; and ultimately corrupted the police investigation, the trial prosecution, and the jury.

In July 2014, Staten Island New York, Eric Garner an African American man, age 43, virtually died right before our eyes on national TV gasping “I can’t breathe.” Garner was in a chokehold held by a police officer trying to arrest him for selling untaxed single cigarettes. A petty crime that is evocative of Victor Hugo’s immortal hero Jean Valjean in Le Misérables, who is ever hounded by Inspector Javert, a self-righteous policeman, for stealing a loaf of bread, c.1862.

Today, Eric Garner’s tragic death seems to ask us all: Is not a person’s life worth more than a State’s tax on one cigarette? Are not our laws also meant to be merciful?

Though the New York Medical Examiner had ruled Garner’s death a homicide, in December 2014 a Staten Island Grand Jury declined to indict his killer. Thousands marched on Washington protesting police violence, with slogans of “I can’t breathe” and “Black Lives Matter.” And so the clarion call for justice continues.

In August 2014, Michael Brown, an unarmed African-American teenager, was shot multiple times by a local police officer in Ferguson Missouri while begging for his life. Witnesses stated Michael had stopped running, and had turned around with his hands up in surrender. The police officer basically said Michael was madly charging at him with his fists balled up. Stumbling, grimacing, doubling up in pain from all those nasty ol’ gunshot wounds, dying perhaps? Of course, this atrocity would have easily been exposed in a fair trial.

No indictment was issued by the local Grand Jury. Thus, no trial!

In a March 4 2015 Memo re Michael Brown’s killing, the U.S. Department of Justice mainly states no criminal charges filed, case should be closed. Various witness testimony was deemed “inconsistent” that could also mean incoherent, confused, inarticulate, and so on. Yet, some of these witnesses were quite lucid during previous press interviews, in my opinion.

When We Tell the Truth, Everyone Wins

The most dangerous lie that we will ever tell, is the lie that we keep telling ourselves, whether collectively or individually. Such as the persistent lie that tells us we are wrong when we are right, and the lie that tells us we are right when we are wrong!

Within a democracy, a good police force is society’s first line of defense. It protects and serves its citizens and those in charge of society. When police dogma begins to see itself as a power separate from those it has sworn to protect and serve, despite the cause, society slowly gets the message and loses trust in its police force. Eventually, the police adopt the old us-against-them mentality. Soon, an undeclared war between the police and its people likely begins.

Whether its leadership care to admit it or not, society begins falling apart as fear is now in charge and the blame game begins. As we know, or should know, fear is a treacherous companion.

The police blame the people, usually those that are historically marginalized by society, and the so-called hero’s of the day, the politicians, rise up blaming the very same people by promising an all out war on crime and such.

Sadly, though the numbers may change, this fictitious war on crime is never won. Since rarely is the truth sought. That is, until the people have had enough and takes to the streets demanding justice, which is where we are today. But, of course, we have been here before. So how do we get out of it this time?

First, as the young troubadour says at the beginning herein, “Tell the truth”!

And since this current mess between the police and the people started at the top, our leaders must no longer be allowed to protect the cop who has failed; or, to protect the abusive cop who, much like the abusive parent, must no longer be tolerated by society.

Being human, we are quite capable of transferring our anger and hatefulness, unless stopped by our own sense of justice. So, like the rest of us, cops must also be responsible for their actions. No job is so dangerous that qualified workers cannot be held responsible for their failures.

Many veteran cops have never had to draw their weapons, nor do they become abusers. So they must be doing something right. Thus rules, regulations and self-disciple are highly valued by good cops and good people everywhere. Which is why truth and justice denied will ultimately destroy a well-ordered society despite its good intentions.

Preventing Police Abuse

Immediately after the 9-11 attacks, the police and firefighters who, without hesitation, sacrificed their own lives by going into the collapsing World Trade Center to save the injured while the able were frantically trying to get out, not only captured the world’s adoration but instantly became our national heroes. Sadly, as widespread police abuse intensifies, now caught on video, the adoration so nobly gained on 9-11 is slowly fading away.

Besides giving today’s good cops a very bad name, police abusers and their cover-ups have now turned our criminal justice system upside down.

Please fix this! As justice, or the lack thereof, ultimately affects the moral standard in any given society. Hence, justice for one is justice for all.

Much like stopping the abusive parent, the abusive cleric, and the abusive teacher, society must now admit that some police officers are abusers. And then make a concerted effort to prevent police abuse before the police officer spins out of control, rather than afterwards!

Thus, I still believe that a good way to deter police abuse is to enable the people to complain directly to their government about a troubling encounter with an abusive police officer, at all levels if necessary, and store such in a data system with a file number for reference.

Naturally, those police officers who tend to abuse, or resent others in general, will likely object loud and clear; and present all kinds of reasons why they should not be held directly accountable to the people they have sworn to serve and protect. But that’s to be expected.

Telling The Truth Matters

Recently, Cpl. David Eric Casebolt, a veteran police officer in McKinney Texas was suspended after a shocking video emerged, now gone viral on YouTube titled ‘Cops Crash Pool Party’, showing the raging officer shouting obscenities at some of the teenage party guests while soon manhandling a bikini clad African American female, age 14, and threatening to put her in jail if she doesn’t be quiet.

Besides pulling her hair, throwing her on the ground and pinning her face down with his knee until she is cuffed, seemly for no apparent reason, the officer drew his gun on the children coming to her aid as she frantically cried out: “ Call my mama and please don’t hurt me”.

Read more at: Texas police officer pulling gun on teenagers at pool party. Seems race played a factor as usual, read: Texas Pool Party Chaos, What Role Did Race Play and ‘Go back to your Section 8 home’. Expert news analysts on CNN and MSNBC basically stated the officer was definitely out of control. The kids were released; an investigation is now ongoing.

Thankfully, no one was killed…this time, though mentally and emotionally injured perhaps, which is also abusive. Yet, this was a highly trained police officer, a 15-year veteran. Who not only acted out of character but, by barking obscenities at some rather than speaking respectfully to all at the scene, he failed miserably on a potentially dangerous call.

Thus, when police officers fail, telling the truth matters. This is not only tantamount to ensuring stability in our criminal justice system, but stops police abuse that generally escalates violence rather than restore the peace.

If we can go to the moon, we can stop police abuse! Please tell the truth, it matters.

Update: Cpl. David Casebolt, the abusive police officer in the Texas pool party incident, has now resigned. Yet the situation is likely not over given talk of law suits and such. Related story here: Police Officer at Texas Pool Party Resigns Over Incident Caught on Video.

© Delores L. Adams and The Aunt Jemimah Post 2012-2015. All rights reserved.

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“The heart has its reasons which reason knows not.” ~Blaise Pascal, 17th Century Truthseeker

According to the Ancients, the heart is the psychic center of feeling; which, of course, is not the same as our human emotions that are generally born of our fixed opinions about things and events. Thus, learning to discern between our perception and our intuition ultimately becomes the primary task of all truthseekers.

Throughout the ages, seems women are thought to be more intuitive than men. Yet men are quite capable of successfully using their intuition as well.  Could it be that women usually rely on their intuition more than most men? Or is this simply one of life’s mysteries to ponder as we evolve?

Nonetheless, since justice is indeed a quality of the heart, as we generally ‘feel’ deep within us when something is not quite right or totally unfair despite what is reasonably stated, is it no wonder then that Justice is usually symbolize as a woman?

Hence, still among us are statutes of the Ancient Egyptian goddesses Ma’at (Truth) and Isis (whose name means ‘throne’), the Roman goddess Justitia or Lady Justice, and the Greek goddess Themis, all symbols of justice found throughout the world.

Meeting Durga, Hindu Goddess of Justice

My favorite symbol of Justice is the Hindu goddess Durga, whom I discovered while studying Bharata Natyam (classic temple dance of India) years ago. In times of injustice, many Hindus offer prayers to Durga. Once during class, my Hindu dance teacher gives a traditional nod to the Durga in me. Later she would cast me in her dance recital as Mahisha Asura, the fierce buffalo demon (the ego) that Durga must slay in order to redeem society.

Actually, we’re all meant to integrate the Creative forces (heart and mind) within us, thus killing off our ego (false pride). Hence, the perpetual battles between the East and the West, or so it seems: “And ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars…but the end is not yet,” Jesus the Christ, St. Matthew 24:6.

Meanwhile, to be clear here, the aforesaid goddesses in classic mythologies actually represent the intrinsic aspects of good (God) such as: Truth, Courage, Compassion and Justice. Thus, this is not at all about idol worship, but rather about honoring those sacred qualities within us.

Justice for Freddie Gray

When the Mayor said the following, I thought, wow! How cool was that: “We will get justice for Freddie Gray. Believe you me, we’ll get justice. We’re going to do it because we’re going to work together; because, if with the nation watching, three black women at three different levels can’t get justice and healing for this community, you tell me where we’re going to get it in our country,” Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Baltimore

Some men seem to have taken offense to the good mayor’s insightful remarks concerning justice and healing in America via three black women. Yet, as a black woman in America who’s learned to have faith in a Higher Power, I truly understand!

The Eye Contact

Seems the fact of Freddie Gray “having made eye contact” with the police on that fateful Sunday morning has become eventful following his tragic death and its universal aftermath.

Though it is unclear concerning the eye contact in Freddie’s police report, still I am reminded of my disturbing encounter with a police officer while on my way to work.

Sometime ago on a bright and sunny day, feeling happy in my own skin, as usual, I find myself walking by three policemen who had exited the nearby fast-food store. While no eye contact as such, I do recall a fleeting glance into his face that was not friendly.

As I continued walking, I sensed his burly presence behind me, just short of breathing down my neck, and wondered why he did not turn into the adjacent parking lot with the other two police officers. Feeling most uncomfortable, I kept walking knowing my office was near.

Soon, I reach my workplace and as I am about to open the door, I sense the negative energy behind me abate and the annoying policeman leave, though I never looked back. It clearly was a campaign office for the next attorney general.

Preferring peace, I was glad the annoyance abated and that I didn’t have to report this officer who clearly was having a bad day, or a bad life, and was spoiling for a fight (the ego’s way of transferring its rage with impunity).

Sadly, young Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown fell prey to their killer’s raging hatefulness, and the rest is history.

Actually, I Admire the Police

Being fond of law and order, I have an abiding respect for police work that typically requires great intelligence, empathy and self-discipline. In general, my minimal police encounters have been very positive, starting with my early childhood on the Southside of Chicago.

Many years ago while working in real estate, I happened upon an unforgettable moment of pure intelligence. He was standing at the front counter. I was in one of the cubicles behind it. As I rounded the corner into his line of vision, it strangely felt like I was walking toward an alien that was computing my race, gender, approximate age, height, and weight. Once there, he became human again, smiled one of those great President Obama type smiles and politely presented his badge. He was an FBI Agent looking for a previous tenant. Glad all went well.

Baltimore Riots of 2015 Begins

On Monday April 27, the day of Freddie Gray’s funeral, a 25-year-old African American male who died on April 19 of injuries sustained while in police custody, the now historic Baltimore Riots of 2015 begins despite his grief-stricken family’s calls for peace.

Sadly, such turn of events would be in sharp contrast to a week of intense yet generally peaceful protests, with many marching nightly against a long history of police brutality in Baltimore, and elsewhere, in the name of “Justice for Freddie”.

After school lets out that Monday, several hundred high school students begin throwing rocks and bottles at mostly police vehicles and the police. Eventually, the Police Department calls a press conference see News Week’s article here: “Public Emergency Declared After Baltimore Rioters Burn Police Cars, Loot Stores.

Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony Batts steps forward and states, in part: “We have young adults here who are 15, 16, 17 years old…parents take control of your kids,” which is very significant.

The media is now closely on the ground, telecasting worldwide as events continue to unfold. News reporters abound, capturing all sides of the story with expert news analysis.

As the melee intensifies rioters, now including adults, throw bricks and bottles at police officers injuring many. Some of the officers are seriously injured and hospitalized but later recovers. Local businesses are looted and devastating fires set to many of their buildings. Firefighters are beleaguered by rioters cutting their fire hoses, but not deterred.

By nightfall, Baltimore’s mayor and governor standing together announce a one-week curfew starting the next day, and the National Guard is summoned.

On Tuesday, the next day, concerned residents are out helping with the clean-up. Civic and church leaders vow to renew corporate relationships, raise the necessary funds to start rebuilding the nearly built senior housing and community center that was burned down, though the culprit(s) remain unknown, and to help heal their city.

At the press conference Captain John Eric Kowalczyk of the Baltimore PD cites their decision not to use excessive force on Monday: “I don’t think that there’s anyone in the country that would expect us to deploy automatic weapons and armoured vehicles to an event with 13, 14 and 15 year olds. That’s not what people expect from their police department,” which affirms American values.

As Baltimore Riots, Police Show Remarkable Restraint

CNN anchor Don Lemon would later acknowledge. Yet, seemingly lost amid the blaming of authorities for not responding fast enough to stop Monday’s devastation was the incredible restraint the frontline police officers held in the midst of being pelted by bricks and bottles of unknown substances, despite injuries to fellow officers.

Instead, in sharp contrast to Dr. King’s nonviolent tactics in the 60s, the police were now the nonviolent ones while the protesters were the violent ones, truly a complete role reversal. Who would have thought in the turbulent 60s that a police force would ever deploy King’s nonviolent tactics during a riot, but they did in 2015 Baltimore that day. Only in America!

Thus, the wisdom of Mayor Stefanie and the Baltimore PD was not lost on all of us watching CNN that day. Knowing that children were involved and too many years of pent-up rage was poised to explode across America, police nonviolence was, indeed, the best tactic ever.

So hats off and a bow to Mayor Stefanie Rawlings-Blake and the Baltimore Police Department.

And a big thumbs-up to Toya Graham, Baltimore’s mom of the hour. Who, in fear for his life, unabashedly smacks her teenage son upside-the-head several times while snatching him away from those throwing rocks at the police, proving a mother’s love knows no boundaries.

The Right to be Loved

Love is the world’s greatest power; without love we become the poorest of the poor. Of all the rights honored or should be honored in society is the right to be loved (respected).

First, let’s be clear: there is a marked difference between love and pleasure.

Pleasure, while temporary at best, is getting a new car, buying a house, sex with the right person, a nice vacation, a good job, a nice meal, a hot bath at day’s end, and so forth.

Love, though not of this world, is always a gift usually found in a good friend, a faithful spouse, a generous boss, an inspiring teacher, a devoted parent, our children, the Arts, and even a benevolent government (possibly society’s greatest need).

Sadly, when we deny love’s presence we allow hatred into our hearts that ultimately leads to egotism and deceit, a sure path to ruin if we don’t recognize it and change.

Hatred is a very dangerous emotion that not only will cause us to self-destruct, but often seeks to either hurt or destroy others in our path.

Hence, the historic uprisings of Stonewall, Ferguson and Baltimore against unfettered police brutalities that have now spawned a new Civil Rights movement. At its vanguard is the need for protections of the right to be respected by our government at all levels, at all times.

Freddie Gray’s Last Arrest

A very sad story. Some tend to theorize that Freddie ran because he had something to hide owing to his extensive police record. Yet, maybe Freddie Gray ran for a different reason. Fear of someone planting illegal drugs on him perhaps, which Freddie had tended to believe, or so he said according to one who knew him.

In a Daily Beast article, The Last Time Freddie Gray Was Arrested by Justin Glawe: Quentin Reid, Freddie’s last bail bondsman, basically states that just prior to Freddie Gray’s last arrest he had been arrested for heroin possession and was out on bail, and had said that dope had been planted on him. Sadly, the charges against Freddie Gray have now been dropped: Abated by death,” so states the court document.

Sadder still, seems most of society tend to write off people like Freddie Gray. Reid basically observes that given Freddie’s poor education and his oppressive environment, the young man never had a chance. Yet Freddie Gray was only 25 years of age; with proper help he just might have turned his life around, much like many such people before him.

The good news is, the death of Freddie Gray, while tragic, has ignited a spark in the right place, at the right time, and amongst the right people who are willing and able to bring about definitive change in our much-needed police departments nationwide.

Among these changes, here is hoping that a communication line is established, by law, in mayor’s offices, states attorney offices and up to the department of justice where citizens are encouraged to report their perceived issues of unresolved police abuses and be heard!

As a unique method to curb routine abuses of police power, that can turn deadly, and to save hateful cops from themselves, police accountability to its citizens, whose tax-dollar pay their salaries, is long overdue. Thus, a citizen’s easy report to the aforesaid offices must include assigning a document number and such for future reference.

In this way, what Freddie Gray was unable to accomplish in life, a direct line of communication between the people and their government as to police brutality and such is fully implemented in view of his tragic death.

Updated May 20, 2015

© Delores L. Adams and The Aunt Jemimah Post 2012-2015. All rights reserved.

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 “Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: For our vines have tender grapes.”
                         ~Song of Solomon, 2:15 KJV

Tragically, on August 9, 2014, around 12pm, Michael Brown, an unarmed African American teenager while allegedly begging for his life with hands in the air, the universal sign of surrender, was shot multiple times until he was dead by Darren Wilson, a local police officer of European origin in Ferguson, Missouri. Only 18 years of age, Michael had recently graduated from high school with immediate plans to attend college and later start his own business; thus, a promising fruit on the vine of society destined to blossom and improve life for all.

What follows afterwards seems hopeless, at first, given the ever-increasing incidents of alleged “police brutality” against African American males in their prime that usually ends with vilifying the victim and exonerating the offending police officer. Yet, hope soon looms large on this dismal horizon, as the people have had enough! And the vigorous, collective protesting has begun. Thus, things are about to change in this regard and all for the best, like it or not.

Unlike Trayvon Martin, another doomed teenager, age 17, who, on February 26, 2012 in Sanford, FL, while walking alone one dark and rainy evening was stalked then later shot and killed by George Zimmerman, a wannabe cop passing as the neighborhood watch, Michael Brown was walking with a friend at high noon. Thankfully, his friend, Dorian Johnson, not only survived this traumatic event, but is now a federal witness.

Moreover, there are at least two other creditable witnesses, with more coming forward, who basically are saying the same thing, which makes it very difficult for a reasonable person to overlook. Though systemic racism is trying hard, as usual, to exploit society’s dark beliefs and obscure the facts. Still, such historic conditioning can only last for so long…as the force of truth will not be ignored forever, and that’s a fact!

Where Are Our Peacemakers?

Actually, back in the day, police officers were also called Peace Officers. Despite it all these days, most police officers, who are also trained to operate on a high plane of reason, are really quite good at their jobs. And thus work hard at keeping us, the public, safe. Sometime ago while suffering the painfully loud music of an inconsiderate neighbor…who, by the way, was of European origin…I had to rely heavily on my city’s police department to restore the peace as our transitioning landlord just was not helping that much.

Convincing the police to empathize with my little predicament, however, was not easy at first. After all, they had more important things to do, like catch the bad guys. And I understood that, but I too had to survive. So, after politely rejecting their attempts to convince me that loud music in apartments was normal nowadays, I threaten to go to the press. In turn, they politely gave me their names, badge numbers and sergeant’s telephone number. The ensuing conversation with their sergeant was, of course, perfect. Sgt R was professional without being cold and stuffy, and friendly without being false and condescending; thus, we talked a good half-hour and he kept his word and followed up with me the next day.

“Keep Talking to Them.”

Thereafter, with the police’s help things always calmed down. Since the noise did not permanently abate I had to call the police often. Yet they always came out and cheerfully helped. And so, in the process, I learned how highly trained the police actually were in quietly restoring the peace. Thus, whenever I called the PD, even to ask more questions, I always felt a deep sense of peace after hanging up. Eventually, I moved; thus a happy ending at last.

Yet, I never will forget what one of the responding officers told me after my explaining how difficult it was to get the apartment manager to act, which he had agreed was the owner’s responsibility. It was a potent message that simply said: “Keep talking to them.” This resonated within me deeply as I knew immediately that this message was from a higher place of truth and forgiveness. I would use this advice quite often in difficult times.

Sadly Today, Instead of our Peace Officers, the “Little Foxes” Seem to Abound.

Revered by Judaism and Islamic scholarship, the above Scripture and the entire Song of Solomon is an allegory extolling the bliss of God found only in direct communion with our True Self. The “tender grapes,” reminiscent of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, the great Sufi poet, c.1048-1122, represents the peace or bliss of God. While “the little foxes” seem to suggest our stolen peace by the little foxes of anger and hatred festering in our own minds and hearts. And so we must change.

As I see it, if we are to believe the key eyewitness Dorian Johnson, which our justice system usually accepts, as do I absent any future surprises to the contrary that likely will not happen, Officer Darren Wilson had a choice when he approached the two young men in question.

Instead of allegedly telling them to “get the f–k” out of the street and later putting his hands on someone else’s child, thus approaching them with anger and a total disrespect for their humanity, he simply could have told them to get out of the street or parked his cruiser and talked to them peacefully. As neither Michael nor Dorian were suspects of anything other than walking in the street instead of on the sidewalk. Yet, Officer Wilson didn’t, though he knew or should have known to make a better choice in that moment. Tragically, the rest is history.

And the obvious question concerning Officer Wilson’s deadly actions remains: Who or what was he really angry at and why did he let the little foxes of anger and hatred residing within him get the best of him? The best being that in which to allow him to be the Peace Officer that he was or should have been trained to be. Though Officer Wilson may never answer this resounding question publicly, he will one day either in this life or the next as we are all eternal beings.

Document! Document! Document!

After all is said and done, the wake-up call is clear and the community is ready to make definitive changes, and so we move forward. Sure to deter police harassment, a national database of police officer’s offenses is needed. This has to include the offending officer’s name, badge number and, of course, the date, time and place of the incident.

Shortly before his death in 1895, Frederick Douglass was asked what advice he would give to a young African American. He wisely answered: Agitate! Agitate! Agitate! In the Frederick Douglass tradition, I respectfully submit my best advice based on my life experiences as an African American woman on my own path to personal freedom and self discovery.

Thus in hard times where I felt my personal freedom or dignity was about to be oppressed, usually by an important authority figure such as my employer, a landlord, or even the police, my first line of defense was to first either tell that person or somebody and then, if necessary, document, document, document! This has always worked for me and will work in the collective defense against police harassment or worse.

Having heard personal stories of police harassment of African American males over the years, some very hurtful, I have always thought if only these incidents could be documented and kept in a national database for quick reference as future evidence if needed. Well, today’s technology can now supply that need and at minimal cost it seems. Imagine the bad cops who continue to harass and bully people just because they think they can get away with it and usually do. No one likes to be written up, so to speak.  Mainly those who know how damaging that can be in a court of law, particularly documentation of repeat offenses.

And so today, let the documenting of police harassment and brutality begin and stored in a national database. No longer do African Americans have to remain a victim of police harassment, thus: Document! Document! Document! And so our democracy evolves.

© Delores L. Adams and The Aunt Jemimah Post 2012-2014. All rights reserved.

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             “I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just:
                             That justice cannot sleep forever.”
                                     ~Pres. Thomas Jefferson

First, much respect to all the hard-working jurors in the recent trial of George Zimmerman for the killing of Trayvon Martin on 26 February 2012. We appreciate their service and the difficulty they must have faced when trying to strike a balance between the law as written and fairness to the accused. Which we now believe was virtually impossible!

Given the overall ambivalence caused by Florida’s insane “Stand Your Ground” law that was quietly entered into the convoluted jury instructions, though not claimed as a defense during the actual trial, as well as the other dark forces meant to subvert the truth, Justice clearly was not summoned in this trial. As leaving jurors to try to make sense out of nonsense never really works for all concerned, which is the essence of true justice.

And so a special thanks to Maddy, Juror B29, for having the courage to step up and answer the call for Justice after the trail! Despite their not guilty verdict, it was heartening to hear at least one of the jurors declare that “Zimmerman got away with murder”. Maddy also stated that, “even though in our hearts we felt he was guilty,” she “felt confused” and had to follow the law as read to her, which helps nonetheless.

Of course, for some who felt George Zimmerman was in fact quite guilty, it was too little too late, so to speak. While the rest of us, who also felt Zimmerman was guilty, likely were glad to take what we can get, at least for now. As the quest for justice for Trayvon Martin, his family and society in general is still underway!

Justice vs. Punishment

As to justice vs. punishment: Sadly these two elements in a criminal trial are often confused and confusing, particularly in the heart of many jurors. I know, as I’ve sat on a jury more than once. And each time, I’ve had to wonder how this is going to affect that defendant’s life. Of course, a juror should also weigh how this is going to affect society in general. Still, it’s tough, mainly in an adversarial system where opposing attorneys are virtually trained to win rather than help the juror or a judge seek the truth. Yet, we must try.

As a juror, my duty became easier once I got in touch with my innate belief that correction is far more constructive than a prescribed punishment. Knowing that everyone is destined to awaken and seek the truth eventually, this gave me a sense of hope rather than a sense of punishment for the defendant that naturally goes against our deepest humanity.

Of course, correction can seem like punishment, particularly if a criminal is sent to prison. While society must be protected from the dangers of criminality, still, with an emphasis on correction rather than punishment the inmate is more likely to find hope rather than despair, and ultimately resolve to change its grievous ways.

Actually, there are societies today, some quite ancient, who have scientifically worked this out and attempt, when possible, to guide their criminals toward correction rather than merely serving time. In Norway, for example, there exists a restorative justice with emphasis on restoring the criminal and others involved, when appropriate, and considered quite successful by many.

The Call for Justice

Lately, it seems, the matter of criminal justice in our society is slowly becoming more about declaring a wrong and holding the offender accountable rather than the archaic quest for trial and punishment. This, I believe is at the heart of Trayvon Martin’s parents, Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin, and that of Miss Mamie so long ago, the mother of Emmett Till, my classmate, who was kidnapped and brutally murdered in the Summer of 1955.

Perhaps this is an indication that our society is growing up, though still experiencing growing pains. For without the official acknowledgement of a civil or a criminal wrong, our society will continue upholding the wrongs of the so-called privileged and never truly advance.

Thankfully, once again, much like in the 60s, Americans recognized the social dangers inherent in the Zimmerman verdict and hit the street marching, and not likely to give up until Justice for Trayvon is achieved. How that will look remains to be seen.

As the call for justice continues to reverberate throughout our well-ordered society, many more unjust issues will come to light, as in the 60s, and a New Civil Rights Movement will emerge; of course, this time it will consist of all Americans.

Oh, we are awake now and more determined than ever to realize a true United States of America where insanity in our government is restrained and Justice for all is alive and well.

Thus Justice never really sleeps, though at times it surly seemed that way.

So keep marching America. And do keep the Faith!

© 2012-2013 by Delores L Adams and The Aunt Jemimah Post. All rights reserved.

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“My heart is broken, my faith is not.” 

~attributed to Tracy Martin, Trayvon’s Dad

On Saturday 13 July 2013, George Zimmerman was found not guilty here and here of the murder charges against him for ultimately terrorizing and shooting Trayvon Benjamin Martin in the heart, an innocent, unarmed teenager simply trying to get home from the local store. Reasonable Americans everywhere were shocked and rightly troubled by the blatant miscarriage of justice in the  State of Florida that evening, while some wept openly in despair.

Reminiscent of the 60s Civil Rights era, with peaceful resolve thousands marched in New York City along with marchers in other major cities across our nation. Some marched way into the night. More of a tribute to the fallen teenager and the dignity of his grieving parents during their very public ordeal, such honor spoke volumes. And “the people say guilty” stated a pointed sign held by San Francisco activists.

So, What of the Elephant in the Room?

Having watched many of the trial proceedings and closing arguments for my own edification, I have come to one conclusion about the elephant in the room, a metaphor for the obvious, which, of course, was the ever looming specter of American Racism during the trial.

Sadly, America’s Legacy of Racism continues to haunt our daily lives and will unless and until it is truly seen for what it really is, an illusion created by greedy opportunists at the inception of our country to further their own self-interest, not ours.

Thus, American Racism has never been about us (“we the people”) but more about them, the corrupt power brokers who seek to exploit the rest of us for their own financial gain: first by manipulating our laws in plain view, and then by usurping our democracy in general.

Of course, there are good and noble Americans who are diligently striving towards a better quality of life for all Americans, and always have been, which has kept our country strong and prosperous. Yet, how long can this good fortune continue before exploited Americans (of all races) reach a boiling point and self-implode, thus taking America back to its foundation?

Has this happened before in advanced societies such as ours? Of course it has. Yet, some civilizations have managed to survive while others completely vanished into the abyss, leaving only remnants of a once powerful people behind. What made the difference? Do we dare inquire before reaching the proverbial precipice?

The Ongoing Denial of American Racism

Sadly, the trial and acquittal of George Zimmerman is but another glaring example of the denial of American Racism. Had the truth about racial profiling been allowed into this trial, things might have taken a better turn for us all.

Many legal analysts believe that the prosecution did not prove its case. That it did not present its own theory of the crime as did the defense, that it missed opportunities to object to the defense’s cross-examination tactics, that it should have better prepared its star-witness, that Florida’s law was much too convoluted, and so on. And, they are probably right!

Yet, given the ethnicity of the victim who was African American, the defendant passing for white, the largely all-white jury, law-enforcement’s strong resistance to arrest and charge the defendant, and nearly four centuries of racial profiling in this country, did the prosecution really stand a chance even if they had done everything right? I think not and here is why:

Binding the Elephant in the Room

First, the truth about “racial profiling” is virtually barred from trial discussion, which does not make sense and therefore seems that it should be against somebody’s rule of law.

Central to the prosecution’s case, the judge bars the use of the term “racial profiling”. Such occurs just days before opening remarks are to begin, which avows that Zimmerman targeted Trayvon Martin precisely because of his race and ultimately shot and killed him.

Defense attorney Mark O’Mara had moved to bar certain words stating that the term racial profiling would “infect” the jury, which is exactly what he would attempt to do during his closing arguments, and likely succeeded.

Rachel Jeantel, Witness for the Prosecution

A proud young woman, barely out of her teens, ultimately becomes a reluctant witness to her friend, Trayvon Martin’s last thoughts and feelings. For those of us who looked past her nervousness and saw her integrity and strength of character, she is our victor. For those blinded by their unbridled fears and bigotry, she would be their excuse to deny Trayvon’s story.

Detective Chris Serino

Hobbling along nonetheless, by affirming that he believed the defendant when asked by the defense attorney during his cross-examination, the state’s former lead detective on the case would ultimately blow another hole in the prosecution’s case, later verified by Juror B37 in an exclusive interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper, Monday July15.

Of course, Det. Serino had initially recommended that Zimmerman be arrested and charged with manslaughter but politics (or something like that) intervened. Thus, no charges were filed until public outrage demanded a trial and got it some forty-four days later. By then, heads had rolled. The chief of Police was fired and a black top-cop replaced him. Sadly Det. Serino, a veteran detective on the force who had diligently worked this case, was mysteriously demoted to street patrol in the process. How strange is that?

Zimmerman Never Reveals His True Identify to Trayvon

Until reading the transcript of Serino’s interview, Zimmerman’s failure to tell Trayvon who he was and why he was following him always troubled me. As secrecy was not his job!

During his initial arrest interview, both Det. Serino and Officer Singleton repeatedly asked Zimmerman why he never told Trayvon that he was the Neighborhood Watch Captain, thus there to help him. That he had two opportunities to identify himself as somebody who was actually not meaning to do him harm. But he didn’t.

Claiming it was not his job to reveal his identity, Zimmerman eventually admits to the inquiring officers that he was afraid, which, of course, always lies at the heart of terrorism. And likely why George Zimmerman terrorized Trayvon Martin, by mysteriously following him on a dark and rainy night, and ultimately shoots him in his heart, and kills him.

Did Defense Attorney Mark O’Mara Play the Fear Card?

Knowing that self-preservation is usually our strongest emotion, did Mark O’Mara attempt to “infect” the jury with fear in the form of a black intruder and thus make his half-white defendant their hero by default? I hope not.

Nonetheless, during his closing argument, whether intentional or unintentional, a women’s worst fear is likely revived in the minds of the all-female jury.

Two of Mark’s illustrations come to mind: A picture of Trayvon Martin bare to the waist, suggesting male sexuality. And a picture of Olivia Bertalan, whose compelling testimony of being burglarized by two black males while home is chilling despite their race; glad the police came in time, though her story is unrelated as Trayvon had nothing to do with it!

Given the history of racism in our country with all of its sneaky innuendos, together in the minds of the largely white all-female jury O’Mara’s illustrations could well have become reminiscent of DW Griffith’s 1915 racist-based film, Birth of a Nation, where the stereotypical black man is after the stereotypical damsel in distress. Farfetched? I doubt it.

Fear is a powerful force and seems O’Mara used it to his advantage, much like many fear-mongers today who seek to gain political control through subliminal fear which is gradually destroying the civility of our society. How scary is that!

Faith Trumps Fear Every Time

Fear knocked, faith answered…a Christian proverb.

Sadly, I held out hope for justice in this case until Saturday morning when it occurred to me that without faith, self-preservation usually trumps empathy for another. As the evidence pointed toward Zimmerman’s guilt, I had felt that it would be very difficult for any juror to deny Trayvon justice particularly after looking daily into the faces of his grieving parents all that time. But, it did not happen.

Sadly, with all the behind-the-scenes nepotism and such, and I believe there was plenty of that, George Zimmerman was also denied justice.

Had he stood his ground and told the truth, George Zimmerman likely would have gotten a year or so on manslaughter charges and nearly be out by now. Free to find respectful employment, free to walk his old neighborhood, free to make recompense to Trayvon’s family and free to move forward. But he didn’t.

Now poor Georgie is in hiding and his spiritual life is likely in a mess. How sad is that? Yet redemption is always near, but it can only be found in the Truth.

Meanwhile, Justice is still waiting in the wings. Peace to all.

Keep the Faith!

© 2012-2013 by Delores L Adams and The Aunt Jemimah Post. All rights reserved.

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For what shall it profit a man or a woman, if we shall gain the whole world and lose the truth (Mark 8:36, restated)?

My apologies for daring to paraphrase Jesus in the above Scripture; yet, I don’t think my Jesus would mind given that the truth is our soul’s natural domain. In fact, it has been my spiritual experience that the Truth and God are synonymous.

Sadly, at this time in our public discourse, the truth seems nearly abandoned in favor of winning the debate du jour whether political, judicial or otherwise. Thus, it seems our modern culture has become so caught up in winning the argument that we have lost sight of the truth, which should be the main objective in any key debate.

Yet, there was a time in advanced societies where a consensus, based on the truth, was valued far above winning the argument, particularly in crucial matters. Hence, there is your side, my side and then there is the truth! Of course, in seeking the truth one must first be truthful.

Walking While Black

Today, I hope and pray, along with most everyone that justice will soon be served regarding Trayvon Martin, an unarmed youth who was tragically shot in the heart while walking home from the local store, and George Zimmerman, the man who admittedly shot and killed him. As this tragic event continues to unfold, I can’t help but reflect on my own experiences as a youth walking while black, a spinoff of driving while black; an acerbic metaphor, coined by my people that aptly characterizes the insanity of racial profiling.

Two of such events come to mind. Actually, my first story is not a classic tale of racial profiling per se, yet it is relevant to our story.

First Story

I was about six then and living with our parents on the historic Southside of Chicago, a few blocks from Cottage Grove Boulevard. In those days children generally walked to school, usually with an older sibling, which, to most parents, seemed not that scary then. As for this spindly-leg kid, I was okay as long as I did not have to pass a sleeping drunk near the corner bar. Seems Chicago had a bar on every corner back then. Usually harmless yet scary nonetheless, I clearly remember my sister and me routinely crisscrossing the street to avoid the corner bar and any comatose drunk that might be there. Finally, we reach the intersection, alive with moving cars and my special friend. Though much too young to understand the blessings a true friend always brings, I am relieved nonetheless.

As soon as I clear the corner and as sure as the rising sun he would be there busy blowing his whistle, and with one sweep of his mighty hand making everything either stop or go at his command. Little did I suspect that my first love, beside my father, would be one of Chicago’s finest, a police officer committed to “protect and serve”. For some reason he truly liked me though, much to my chagrin, his way of showing it would surly embarrass me every time.

Whether I was out front or hidden behind a throng of other people waiting to cross the busy intersection, he would spot me immediately, hold up his hand, blow his whistle, stop everything it seemed, and say more than once in the loudest yet richest voice ever: “Hey, there is my girlfriend”. Then, he would beckon his hand for me to cross while smiling the warmest smile ever. Boy, was I embarrassed but happy just the same. I can still see his brilliant smile, his very handsome brown-skinned face, and remember the quality of his resonant voice. I would recall these amazing moments many times and be glad.

Second Story

My second story of walking while back is a classic example of racial profiling in my opinion. Barley a teenager, I was in Jr. High (middle school) and pretty much a well-adjusted kid. By then we had moved to a small town outside of Chicago. While ours was a middle class, multicultural neighborhood, each group generally kept to themselves. So we socialized with our own having several African American churches and small business that sustained our community. Our family was below the poverty line but we never knew it, thus we were okay.

One day, my girlfriend and I decide to visit one of our teachers. The thing is, our teacher lived in the “white folks’ neighborhood”! Though not exactly restricted to us, particularly since our school was in the same neighborhood, still we had not a clue about de facto segregation or the white folk’s unnatural fear of us. Much too young to know of the insanity of racism, we called it the white folk’s neighborhood simply because most of them lived there. Hello!

And so with the purest of intentions, we venture into a collective mindset and ultimately cause quite a stir. After all, it was a Saturday and we were not supposed to be there, at least according to their prejudiced mindset. As we went about walking and laughing while enjoying the trees and such, always a lover of nature, soon the vibration changes. Though I had no language for it then, I did have my instincts. So I look up and spot curtains being slightly pulled apart and see a woman trying to see us without being seen, as I vividly recall.

Soon, our instincts kick in and we decide to leave. But not soon enough! A police car appears and the police officer politely makes his usual inquires, though hardly warm and fuzzy like my brown-skin, Chicago police officer. We tell him we are looking for our teacher but not sure of the address. Given this being a most unpleasant memory, I am not sure of what happened next. Seems he tried calling our teacher but not sure. Eventually the police officer takes us back to our community, drops us off and leaves. Though still very young, we are very embarrassed by the entire event and try to laugh it off. So we giggled and laughed a good while, much like the silly school girls we were, and moved on.

In retrospect, the embarrassment we both shared was not so much from a sense of guilt as we did nothing wrong, but rather from an embarrassment of being so naive as to think our teacher actually liked us and would invite us for tea much like the women at our church (still remember those great tea cakes).

The Insanity of Fear

Compared to the Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman tragedy, the similarities in the above stories are stunning while the contrasts are sublime.

Above all, my first story is one of respect and love for humanity which illustrates the way in which we are to care for our fellow human beings from the smallest to the greatest.

While the second story is one of fear, which engenders hate not love. Sadly, most hate driven-people live in fear and are haunted by it, which can drive one mad if left untreated. Thus such victims of their own insanity seek to target and blame others often ending in tragedy.

The woman behind the curtain in my second story had a choice, either to choose love or fear. Had she chosen love she would have approached us and started the right conversation, which would have alleviated her uneasiness and the need for calling the police.

But she didn’t. Having chosen fear instead she wanted her targets of hate and resentfulness out of her community.

Thus, the real issue is one of fear and resentment not suspicion which, of course, is no defense for stalking and ultimate murder.

As the George Zimmerman trial is still ongoing, we watch and listen. Meanwhile, Justice is waiting in the wings.

© 2012-2013 by Delores L Adams and The Aunt Jemimah Post. All rights reserved.

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