Wow! Black women never cease to amaze… Congratulations to Lezley McSpadden, the mother of Michael Brown, on recently receiving her high school diploma twenty-one years after leaving high school as a teen mom to care for her late son. Her daughter Daysa also received her high school diploma and will be attending Tennessee State University. ?????????? #BlackWomenRock
ST. LOUIS (FinalCall.com)—St. Louis is a city known for its famous 630-foot-tall steel monument, the Gateway Arch and as the home of Dred Scott, Maya Angelou, Miles Davis and a host of other Black greats. With a Black population of 72 percent, it is a city with a history of over 253 years of polarization, racism and White domination over the political, educational and economic status of its Black residents. Recently, a fresh-faced, energetic young man entered the political arena in hopes of influencing change in St. Louis.
John Collins-Muhammad, 25, joined the political scene and the race to occupy the vacant Aldermanic seat of former Ald. Antonio French and was a familiar face during the Ferguson unrest following the police killing of Michael Brown, Jr. Tory Russell, another Ferguson activist and front liner is Mr. Muhammad’s chief of staff and was his campaign manager.
Mr. French ran for St. Louis mayor against four other Black candidates which split the vote and Lyda Krewson who is White, won. She is the first female mayor of the city. Mr. Muhammad was elected with a strong solid campaign with limited financial resources. He won with 44 percent of the votes on the city’s North side April 5, 2017.
After his victory, Mr. Muhammad hosted an event in the park for his supporters to meet him. Hundreds of people came out to express their appreciation and prayers for the young leader.
“It was a beautiful event. Mr. John laid out his plan for moving the community in a new direction. He talked about everything; crime, jobs, education, housing. He has a vision and that’s what we need,” said Earlene Walker
“I’m proud of Alderman Muhammad because he represents the next level. A young Black man in our city who’s committed to making a difference. We must rally around him and help him in his mission which should be all of our mission; and that’s a better, more unified St. Louis,” said Pastor Darryl G. Gray. <<Read Full Story>>
via New York Times
In the two and a half years since Michael Brown, a black 18-year-old, was shot and killed by a white police officer in Ferguson, Mo., the explosive case has been parsed in intricate detail. Witnesses offered varying descriptions of the fatal encounter. Investigators examined bloodstain evidence on the street where Mr. Brown died. And the police released a security video from a nearby store that showed Mr. Brown pushing a worker and taking cigarillos minutes before the shooting.
But a second, previously unreported video from that same convenience store included in a new documentary is raising new questions about what happened in the hours before the shooting on Aug. 9, 2014.
The footage shows Mr. Brown entering the store, Ferguson Market and Liquor, shortly after 1 a.m. on the day he died. He approaches the counter, hands over an item that appears to be a small bag and takes a shopping sack filled with cigarillos. Mr. Brown is shown walking toward the door with the sack, then turning around and handing the cigarillos back across the counter before exiting.
“They destroyed Michael’s character with the tape, and they didn’t show us what actually happened,” said Mr. Pollock, who spent more than two years in Ferguson conducting research for his documentary, and who questions the decision to not charge Officer Wilson. “So this shows their intention to make him look bad. And shows suppression of evidence.”
ST. LOUIS (FinalCall.com)—Final good byes to Darren Seals, Jr., a prominent youth leader of the Ferguson movement for justice after the death of Mike Brown, Jr., are scheduled for the church where much of the organizing for the movement took place.
He will never, however, be forgotten by his comrades in struggle nor his family.
The 29-year-old was found with his Jeep Wrangler engulfed in flames in Riverview, Mo., another suburb of St. Louis, and died from a gunshot wound to his head, according to authorities. His funeral was scheduled for Sept. 17 at Greater St. Marks Church in Ferguson, Mo., at Final Call press time.
According to Darren Seals, Sr., the family has not heard from county police or any investigative agency. He feels the crime scene was sloppily handled with bullet casings and the door of the Jeep left in the lot.
“I’m so proud of my son for becoming who he is,” said Mr. Seals, Sr. “I spent 20 years in prison and to see him do better than me meant so much. He didn’t back down from nothing. And he knew he made people angry because he spoke his mind, so he knew something might happen to him. He said to me, ‘Daddy, if anything happens to me or I get killed know that the police did it.’ I believe him,” said Mr. Seals, Sr.
“This is a weak and sloppy, so-called investigation,” he told The Final Call in exclusive interview.
Witnesses at the apartment complex where the jeep was found told The Final Call that the fire department arrived shortly after midnight on Labor Day not at 1:50 a.m. as reported by the Riverview police department. The death is being investigated by the St. Louis County police department.
Darren, Jr. was one of the first to respond in Ferguson, Mo., after the fatal shooting of Michael Brown Jr. on August 9, 2014. He was a founder of Hands Up United, a grassroots group started after young Brown’s death that fought for justice and police reform.
[READ FULL STORY]
On November 18, I was guest alongside a panel of others on Just Us and You Blog Talk Radio Show hosted by Attorney Pamela Muhammad, Amatullah Muhammad and Attorney Athill Muhammad. The topic was “Ferguson under siege: A conversation on the power of Discipline Unity and Faith.” Click here to listen to the replay.
Originally published 11.17.14
(FinalCall.com) – From California to South Carolina, from Missouri to Detroit to New York, Blacks are being assaulted, shot and killed. As anger grows, protests rise, and frustrations build, people are asking, when and how will this end?
Ever since Black people were brought to the shores of America in the bottom of slave ships, misery, suffering and death has been their constant companions. After four centuries in this strange land, among a strange people as the scriptures describe, these circumstances are growing worse, not getting better, say many.
â€œWhat we are going through now, actually, itâ€™s a different level of what we experienced in slavery,â€ Nancy Lockhart, a social justice advocate, told The Final Call. â€œI definitely feel that itâ€™s open season on us.â€
…On Oct. 1, a jury convicted Michael Dunn of first degree murder for shooting Jordan Davis over loud music. Earlier this year, a jury also convicted Mr. Dunn of three charges of second-degree murder for firing into the vehicle that carried three others along with teenager Davis.
â€œWe send our love and support to the family of Jordan Davis.
Today is a day to remember Jordan and honor his life, renew our commitment to ending Floridaâ€™s deadly â€˜Stand Your Groundâ€™ or â€˜Shoot Firstâ€™ law, and grow our movement to end violence perpetrated against Black youth,â€ said Rashad Robinson, executive director of ColorOfChange.org, an online civil rights organization. [Read More]
On October 4, a peaceful demonstration took place as Michael Brown supporters interrupted St. Louis Symphony Orchestra performance at Powell Symphony Hall. Chanting “Which side are you on?”…Watch the video below.
Originally published 8.27.14
FERGUSON, Mo.â€”The role of the media is supposed to be to protect the public by uncovering truth, but there is an old adage about freedom of the press: Freedom of speech belongs to those who can afford it. We could add â€œfreedomâ€ of the press belongs to those who control it and we need to understand the press role as a major partner, backer and participant in the oppression of Blacks and framing of issues.
Over the past two days, White media outlets, CNN and those following CNN in particular, have spun the story of the audio recording that seems to have captured the shots fired by officer Darren Wilson in his confrontation with Michael Brown, an unarmed Black teenager.
Remember this whole crisis begins because officer Wilson decides to exert authority over two young Black men walking down a pretty narrow street that winds through an apartment complex. Itâ€™s not a major highway, itâ€™s a little street. Itâ€™s summer time and Mike Mike and friend Dorian Johnson were walking to Mike Mikeâ€™s grandmotherâ€™s home. The officer curses and orders them out of the street. They reply that they are almost at their destination. Then officer pauses, backs his patrol car up, blocks the two young men, and an assault begins: Mike Mike is assaulted as the officer attempts to grab him from by the neck. There is a struggle and the friend says the officer fires a shot.
The two friends, terrified, flee. The officer shoots, Mike Mike is hit. Mike Mike turns with his hands up. Witnesses, public witnesses, say his hands were up and he was in a surrender position. They all say the officer pauses and keeps shooting. The line of shots and their concentration fits the identified eyewitness accounts.
Yet CNN is using sources casting doubts on the audio tape, one â€œsourceâ€ went so far as to say his first thought was CNN was being â€œpunkedâ€ by a shock jock who had put together this recording. Other sources have cast the audio in a negative light and raised questions and scenarios that have never been previously discussed:
â€¢ Perhaps the officer was reloading. That has never come up from witnesses, that is conjecture.
â€¢ Michael was rushing the officer. Again intentional lying and framing the scenario. There was never any account early one that the young man was charging an armed officer. So a young man runs away from an armed officer who is shooting, then turns around and charges the same armed officer? Madness. Explicable because the forces of White supremacy, with the media as a willing partner, must protect themselves.
â€¢ There audio is suspect because it surfaced two weeks into the crisis in Ferguson, say CNN experts, who are mainly former law enforcement or those connected with the police and prosecutorial industrial complex. This is one-sided analysis from a group of experts who see things through a single lens. Audio two weeks late? It was CNNâ€™s fault. According to CNN host Don Lemon, the tape was given to a CNN producer in Ferguson, Mo., and the person who gave the audio tape thought the tape was going to Lemon. There was some kind of mix up and the audio tape languished until it surfaced a couple days ago.
â€¢ The officer was possible hurt and trying to recover, say White media experts say. But that lie has already been debunked by CNN, which said a report of eye injuries to Wilson on an x-ray were untrue. This clearly focuses on the problem with the resounding voice and view and frame of White media. It comes up clearly when talking heads are assembled who have little actual firsthand information. The major media give information and at times report accurately, at times the reporting is suspect, and the analysis is ubiqituous and off-base, and Black experts rarely seem willing to challenge, confront or correct their White counterparts who are in error, uttering half-truths and painting pictures that make no sense.
â€¢ If anchors and analysts are not prepared, or weakly prepared, on leaning toward the police view, the analysis of the momentâ€”which seems to be intent on raising doubt about the audio tapeâ€”drowns out other voices and is seen as true by viewers. Many of whom are not drawing a clear distinction between straight reporting and someoneâ€™s opinion.
It is criminal and irresponsible that CNN and other â€œresponsibleâ€ media outlets have tried to equate a single anonymous radio interview from â€œJosie,â€ a reported friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend of Officer Wilson who heard about how he was attacked and responded with eyewitness accounts and video from Blacks who live in the community and could easily be targeted by police. While Josie hides, speaks and is elevated to the place of a credible witness, she is not credible. Does she even exist at all? Then law enforcement sources, the same sources who Black people donâ€™t and should not trust, are used by White media to verify her account. This is like going to players on the same team and asking one team member to vouch for his teammate.
What happened the old standard of media skepticism and questioning authority and a predisposition to understand those in power have a tendency to withhold truth and cover up? We still donâ€™t have a police report from the actual shooting incident. What is the problem? Why a delay?
We have seen the police and prosecution industrial complex galvanize and the attempt to tarnish and slander the shooting victim. The Ferguson police chief showed an image from a video that purported to be Mike Mike leaving a store and in a disagreement with a shop owner. The chief, who later admitted the image had nothing to do with the conflict with officer Wilson and was relieved of his command, described the store incident as a strong arm robbery. This power figure in the White establishment felt safe and secure in spewing this slander.
As attorney Benjamin Crump told Lemon, the only witnesses are those who have come forward on the record, spoken with media and law enforcement and whose accounts and motivations are being investigated.
Whereâ€™s Josie? The account of a single, unknown, unidentified White woman counts more than the combined eyewitness accounts and videotaped accounts of Black young women and young men who witnessed the shooting.
White supremacy and White media are cooperating at their best.
Why doesnâ€™t CNN have sources who talk about how foolish it would be for someone to try to fake a tape like this and how easy it would be to uncover such a gross, asinine and dangerous thing. The owner of the tape is not an unknown person. The owner of the tape has a lawyer and has been questioned by the FBI. While his public identity is not known, he is known to law enforcement and would surely face prosecution if he faked this thing.
Why is the media so concerned?
Officer Wilson represents the established White Power structure and the structure that controls the lives of Black people, especially with these small police departments that dot the suburbs around St. Louis. He must be vindicated because if he is not vindicated, then the system of White Superiority is exposed. Not the silly framing of race usually given but an entire system constructed to protect and benefit Whites and control Black behaviorâ€”both consciously and subconsciously as Dr. Frances Cress Welsing, author and brilliant psychologist, notes.
The White Media, for all its talk of ethics and integrity, is part of the same power structure and must protect White interests. Accept their misinformation at your own risk.
(Richard B. Muhammad is editor in chief of The Final Call Newspaper. Follow him on Twitter: @RMfinalcall)