The Impact of the Black Lives Matter Movement on Social Justice

In the words of James Baldwin, an African American writer, to be black and conscious in America is to be in a constant state of rage. These words continue to echo in the society today where issues of social inequality are still palpable.

While it is appreciated that significant victories towards social cohesion and justice were realized in the past such as Fair Housing Act, Voting Rights Act, and in Brown vs. Board of Education, neighborhoods and schools are slowly re-segregating while some elements of the Voting Rights Act were recently robbed of their substantial power.

Over 40% of black children are being educated in high poverty schools while the unemployment rate for high school dropouts who are black is 47%. Black people constitute only 13.2% of the entire United States population yet over 37% of them are homeless. Because of felony convictions, 1 in 13 African Americans of voting age is denied of his or her power to do so. I had to take some time out from working with painters bucks county to write this up because it is unacceptable that in this day and age we are still struggling for progress.

The Trial of George Zimmerman

George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer and a resident of Sanford, Florida, shot a 17 year old African American known as Trayvon Martin in 2012, despite the latter being unarmed. Zimmerman was tried in July, 2013 and found not guilty of second degree murder and subsequently acquitted for manslaughter by a jury in Florida. This triggered an explosion of activism which continued in the months that followed.

Shortly thereafter, Alicia Garza, a writer and activist from Oakland, California posted on her social media account about the trial and ended with the following words, “black people. I love you. I love us. Our lives matter.” This post was shared by her friends and began circulating virally across social media circles and the hashtag #blacklivesmatter started to emerge. The days that followed saw Opal Tometi, Garza and Patrisse Cullors formulate ideas that would form the foundation of a campaign aimed at fighting police brutality.

Shooting of Michael Brown

On August 2014, a white police office in Ferguson Missouri shot Michael Brown, an 18-year old, unarmed African American. Following this incident, massive protests broke out in the city and police officers responded with riot gear to try and quell the unrest.

The #blacklivesmatter movement had begun permeating banners and posters at this point in time and people all over the streets of Ferguson were chanting the slogan. The Black Lives Matter Organization founded by Garza and the others named above, now has more than 26 chapters nationwide.

The Operation of Black Lives Matter Organization

Through a database called Mapping Police Violence, the movement collects statistical information on violence and police killings in the United States involving black deaths. Through local communities, the organization includes both men and women in the fight for social justice.

The group also leverages the social media in spreading its message and ideologies as well as highlighting contradictions and inconsistencies between eye witness and police findings. The rate at which the movement is attracting global headlines, we are left to wonder whether this is the new civil rights movement of the 21st century America.

Ways Political Corruption Is Perpetrated In the United States

A developed economy and political system like the United States is often viewed from the perspective of non-tolerance to certain social and societal evils including discrimination and corruption. While it must be appreciated that the US has made significant progress in putting in place frameworks and mechanisms to help it fight corruption, there exists some loopholes through which the vice is still perpetrated even today. Below are some of the ways the political system is tolerating corruption instead of fighting it.

Funding of Political Campaigns

US has one of the lengthiest political campaigns in the world where candidates spend huge amounts of money in adverts aimed at pushing their agenda. This means for most of their time, the candidates are fundraising and taking massive donations from interested parties mostly the large corporates in exchange for political and regulatory favors. The presidential campaigns in the United States cost almost $1 billion each and these funds are contributed by the wealthiest who have interests to be protected. This is nothing compared to the cheap moving companies nyc.

Regulatory Compromise

Politicians have been at the forefront in championing the interests of certain industries because of vested interests. Billions of dollars have been spent on lobbyists who have been employed by bankers to push for the removal of cumbersome rules and give some players in the banking industry a wide operational leverage. This is a typical case of how political corruption can spill over to financial corruption to an extent of legalizing it. The global financial meltdown of 2008 was perpetrated in part by the absence of regulations and government auditing thanks to corruption in regulatory compliance.

Ballooning Military Budgets

The US military budget is one of the most enormous budgets in the entire world. Unfortunately, close to half of this budget is utilized on outsourced services and not on the military. Some individuals have been plying lucrative trades by forming companies that later supply goods and services to colleagues still serving in the forces. Most of these companies are serving political interests and hence the budget will continue growing with no tangible improvement on the quality of the military.

Taxation on the Rich

The wealthiest guys in the economy have all the mechanisms to rope in our politicians with an aim of convincing through unconventional means to reduce taxes on the rich. This has made the American economy to have uneven distribution of wealth where 400 American billionaires own over $2 trillion which is equivalent to the worth of the bottom 150 million Americans.

Political Corruption of the Media

The media has to a larger extent violated their own ethics in order to appeal to a certain political faction or orientation. For instance, on the issue of carbon emissions, the politically connected billionaires have been using the media to push for an alternative agenda where human carbon emissions are not seen as the main causative agents of global warming. This has led to resistance in the urgency to slash carbon footprint and this has enriched the big companies.

Therefore, inasmuch as other countries are grappling with the issue of corruption within their systems, Uncle Sam too has a case to answer.

Racial Injustice among the Top Social Ills in U.S. Health Care

Social injustice in the name of racism has marred the history of the American health care system. For quite some time, black patients were segregated and isolated into appallingly unequal wards and hospitals. Still others were denied medical attention and turned away from hospitals. On July 30, 1965, Lyndon Baines Johnson, the 36th president of the United States signed two programs; Medicaid and Medicare into law and this marked a turning point in the health care justice system. Before I continue I just have this side rant real quick. I had to move the weekend and it totally blew except for the fact that we were smart enough to hire a professional to move our grand piano in bucks county. Talk about injustice! I digress and back onto the issues with health care.

The signed programs expanded to a greater extent health care access for the poor and the elderly of all races. They also ended the rampant cases of explicit hospital segregation. In order for hospitals to be certified under the program, they were required to meet the standards as stipulated in Title VI of the Civil Rights Act. However, in spite of this crucial achievement and the gains realized out of it, racial justice in the health care system still remains an aspiration.

Following the death of Freddie Gray, the 25 year old who died in hospital out of spinal injuries on April 19, 2015 after being taken into police custody on April 12, 2015, the debate on race and the criminal justice system was debated once again and the entire nation was reminded of the existing and disturbing racial inequalities in the health care system. For instance, there were glaring differences in life expectancy in some of the segregated neighborhoods of Baltimore with figures as high as two decades. Across America, black males in 2010 recorded a life expectancy which was close to 5 years lower than that of white males. Black women on the other hand had life expectancy levels which were 3 years lower than their white female counterparts. Continue reading Racial Injustice among the Top Social Ills in U.S. Health Care

The State of American Politics

Ok this is a very touchy subject and could be a total black hole but seriously America WTF!

I don’t care if you are Republican or Democrat you have to be pretty upset and disenchanted with the candidates. I mean another Clinton…you’ve got to be kidding me and you think this is democracy? If Clinton were elected then the Bush’s and Clinton’s would be 3 out of the last 4 presidents. That is just ridiculous. How about more of the same people!

And Trump? Really how stupid are Americans? This makes me ashamed to be America. Seriously a narcissistic pathological liar whom is also racist and a womanizer. Yeah great idea to have this guy as a president.

Then there is Bernie Sanders…well you have to respect his consistency. He has been saying the same thing over and over and over for the last thirty years. He certainly doesn’t owe anybody anything and seems to have the general publics best interest as heart. But a guy like him will never get elected and even if he did it he wouldn’t be able to get anything done from his campaign platform. Why you might ask? Well it’s pretty simple and this happened with Obama as well.

In all reality the President actually will effect very little change if the house and senate can’t figure out a way to compromise.  Why is that? Well because we have career politicians in the house and senate that have been bought and paid for by special interest groups that don’t want to see any change unless it favors their monied interests. Which I can guarantee you don’t align with what Sanders or any other president for that matter.

What is really sad is the most Americans are to stupid to care. They are either un educated in the process and how midterm elections for congress and senate actually matter more then the presidential election or they are blinded by religion or even worse both.

Change is really slow to happen and it is going to take something big and so traumatic to happen for American’s to wake up and start taking action to vote people into office that do represent their interests. I’m not sure what this is but fear and pain is what motivates people. This is why Trump is even in the running, he is great at motivating through fear.

What do you think about the state of American politics?

No Knock Raids

In the spirit of remembering Tracy I’d like to share some quick info about no knock raids.

So here are five interesting facts you probably didn’t know about no knock raids.

  1. Police around the country are given the go ahead on more than 20,000 raids per year. This completely defeats the initial purpose which was that these raids be used in the most extreme situations.
  2. Judges routinely approve these with one signature and do so more often than they decline them. This give local police the authority to pretty much do whatever they want. Judges whom are supposed to represent the publics best interest are not. No surprise there.
  3. The majority of no knock raids were used to execute a search warrant, almost always in the case of a drug investigation. Less than 10% of the time were they used in hostage situations or active shooter situations. Which was one of the original designs of the no knock raid.
  4. A strikingly low percentage of the time the raids actually yielded any drugs or contraband. Proving that they are not used appropriately.
  5. At least 10% of the time the raid actually occurs at the wrong address. This could have serious consequences. For example, image you are a law abiding citizen and you have a legal firearm.  In the early morning say 3 a.m. boom your door is smashed in and all hell breaks loose you are woken abruptly triggering a natural fight or flight response. Well if you have a firearm handy your instinct would be to grab it and be ready to defend yourself. You can imagine how the rest plays out.

To be fair the police and local authorities are doing their best to investigate and prosecute those whom are committing crimes and making our communities unsafe but at what cost?

Seems like there is collateral damage either way. Would you rather have a somewhat safer community or a dangerous one?

So many deep systemic problems in the U.S. and it’s difficult to fix because by doing one thing you have a drastic impact on many others.

What do you think? Are no knock raids excessive use of force or a necessary tool for local authorities to be effective?

-Tracy