A journal dedicated to truth, freedom of speech and radical spiritual consciousness. Our mission is the liberation of men and women from oppression, violence and abuse of any kind, interpersonal, political, religious, economic, psychosexual. We believe as Fidel Castro said, "The weapon of today is not guns but consciousness."
Parable of Black Man/Block Man & Parable of the Rats
When a fool is told a parable, it's meaning must be explained to him.--African proverb
You got black man and block man.
Watch out for block man!
There was a black man and a block man, both were black men, but block man had a big block head. He used to stand at the crossroads waiting for black man to come through so he could block him from going in any direction. If black man tried to go east, west, north or south, the playa hatin, jealous, envious block man would cause black man to either stop, stumble or fall.
Sometimes black man would purposely fall because he knew the African proverb that to stumble or fall is only to go forward faster. So after being blocked at one turn, he would fake a fall and go forward on his journey up the hill.
Of course block man would be waiting for him at a pass up the hill and again try to block black man from going farther. But black man, being athletic, was able to leap to the side and gracefully go pass block man.
And even though block man had a lot of friends who were blockheads too, black man had friends in the sun, moon and stars who watched out for him.
Black man had friends in the wind, seas, rivers, trees and all over the earth. So block man didn't have a chance with his evil scheme to block black man. All black man had to do was flow in the flow and make sure he wasn't swimming against the current of the universe, for in the counter flow the block men were waiting patiently for him, sharpening their knives, ready to remove the heart and soul of black man.
So black man planned and block man planned, but black man was the best planner. As long as his mind remained clean and sober, he could see block man coming a mile way.
Parable of the Rats by Marvin X
The rats all have the same gait: they scurry about, back broken by an abundance of lies, half-truths and disinformation, defamation and other tactics of rat behavior. Even their facial expressions have a rat like appearance, so you can see them coming a mile away. You can smell a funky rat. We suspect the two legged variety even has a tail hidden inside their pants or underneath their dresses, yes, there are rats of every gender, every color, class. Some are sewer rats, some are wharf rats, some are subway rats, church rats, house rats. But their behavior is the same. They are on the lower level of humankind, these two legged rats. They can do nothing right. They cannot give justice even with the scale in view while they weigh goods. They will lie while you look at them playing with the scale. They will try to convince you the scale doesn't work while it is their minds that have not evolved to work on the human level.
There is only one thing to do with such rats: set a trap for them or feed them poison cheese and watch them puke and vomit until they die. Better yet, let the cat catch their asses. It is beautiful watching the cat catch a rat, seeing how still the cat will become while stalking his prey. But the cat will lie in wait for the rat as long as it takes, never moving, never batting his eye. And then he leaps upon his prey and devours him. It is a beautiful sight when when the cat and rat game reaches the climax and ends with the consumption of the rat by the cat. --Marvin X 7/15/15
Marvin X and student in the Fillmore, San Francisco
Marvin X and Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf who says, "Marvin X is a wonderful personality!" She gave him a proclamation from the City of Oakland on the 50th Anniversary of the Black Arts Movement.
Poets Amiri Baraka and Marvin X shared a 47 year friendship in black revolutionary arts and politics. Baraka was more involved that Marvin X yet Marvin not only influenced the Black Arts Movement but the Black Panther Party, Nation of Islam and Black Studies. He recruited persons like Eldridge Cleaver into the BPP and as per the Nation of Islam, he recruited Nadar Ali (Bobby Jones of Fresno, an educator who became the NOI's Director of Imports.
Marvin X in heaven, i.e., in the presence of intelligent, berautiful, revolutionary women at Laney College celebration of the Black Arts Movement 50th Anniversary
Actor Gano Grills as Marvin X; Marvin X and Amiri Baraka (RIP), New Federal Theatre, NY
Customer holding his most provocative essay Mythology of Pussy and Dick, 2009, an 18 page pamphlet now expanded to a 400 page collection of his writings on male/female relations or psycho-sexuality. According to Oakland poet Paradise Jah Love, "Youth fight over his Mythology of Pussy and Dick as if it were black gold!" Indeed, they steal it from each or simply refuse to return it. As a result, people come back two and three times for another copy, even though Marvin told them, "Don't let your friends steal it!" It is most timely in light of Harvey Weinstein and all the men around the world who have sexually, physically, emotionally and/or verbally abused women and/or children.
Marvin X was himself an abuser of women and wrote about it years ago in his classic poem Confession of an Ex-wife Beater, his play In the Name of Love (Laney College Theatre, 1981), and the recovery classic docudrama of his Crack addiction and recovery One Day in the Life, performed from coast to coast, e.g., Lorraine Hansberry Theatre, Recovery Theatre, San Francisco; Alice Arts Theatre, Uhuru House Theatre, Oakland; Black Repertory Group Theatre and Berkeley Rep, Berkeley; Sista's Place, Brooklyn, NY, Brecht Forum, Manhattan, NY; Kimako's Blues Theatre, Newark, New Jersey. The dramatic depiction of his last meeting in a West Oakland Crack house with Black Panther Party co-chairman Huey P. Newton was made into a one-act play by Marvin X and Ed Bullins, produced at New York's Federal Theatre by Woody King. On the 2009 national tour of Mythology of Pussy and Dick, Marvin spent a week speaking in classes at Howard University, especially the classes of Dr. Greg Carr and Dr. Tony Medina. "With the ratio of women to men 14 to 1, what do you think is the primary topic of discussion?"
Maestro Marvin X at Oakland's Malcolm X Jazz/Art Festival, accompanied by David Murray and Earle Davis and the Black Arts Movement Poets Choir
Marvin X is known variously as El Muhajir (the migrant), Plato Negro, Rumi, Jeremiah. Alterhough he taught briefly in such academic institutions as Fresno State University, San Francisco State University, University of California Berkeley and San Diego, Mills College, University of Nevada, Reno, Laney and Merritt Colleges and elsewhere, he most enjoys his outdoor classroom known as Academy of da Corner is at 14th and Broadway, downtown Oakland, Lakeshore Avenue, Oakland and the Berkeley Flea Market. . Ishmael Reed says, "If you want to learn about motivation and inspiration, don't spend all that money going to workshops and seminars, just go stand at 14th and Broadway and watch Marvin X work. He's Plato teaching on the streets of Oakland!"
NOTE: THIS EVENT WAS MOVED TO WEDNESDAY FROM TUESDAY!! (https://m.facebook.com/events/358126127995640)
The the last two years the Oakland whole Foods store has demonstrated it’s position on race relations, by creating a environment where people of color have been targeted and profiled. Security guards have done everything from physically assault African American individuals resulting in permanent disabilities, to pepper spraying a photojournalist for helping a mentally i’ll man on whole foods property, to racially profiling a young African American teenager as he shopped on their premises. The community is tired of these assaults and demands immediate accountability. We will take a stand!
Adam Turner was the victim of an unprovoked physical and verbal attack by the Whole Foods security guard. While assisting a man with mental disabilities, Adam was pepper sprayed and called a fucking nigger! A few months before the Adam Turner incident, another North American African male was beaten unconscious by a security guard at the same store. Numerous NA Africans have encountered racism and white supremacy. One AA male employee quit working because he claimed his fellow employees called the NAA customers niggers! It is clear Oakland Whole Foods is a toxic environment for NAA. We therefore call for a rally against this racist environment. We invite the community to stand and demonstrate effectively. We will not tolerate racism in our community.
When: Wednesday, January 24 at 3:30 PM – 5:30 PM PST Where: Whole Foods Market (Oakland, CA) 230 Bay Pl, Oakland, California 94612
ALL PRESS WELCOME #FREEDOMOFTHEPRESS #SHUTDOWNWHOLEFOODS
What to do: Come support Anti-Racism efforts by demonstrating and showing community can impact and disrupt business operations. We will reach national attention to show we will not tolerate any form of racism in out community.
Whole Foods has been attacking folks of color and in the past two years—going as far as attacking and racially profiling two black men, and a young, black teenager in recent reports. Their gentrifying organization must be held accountable for the threat they have posed to our community and it’s time we demonstrate we can reach the top of their organizational structure to show resistance and intolerance to racial terror on any and all fronts.
We will we hold a demonstration in front of the store showing our our stance and position of intolerance for racism in our communities. Please bring any safe objects you have to make noise, signs and bright spirits as we show up for the folks who have become affected and targeted by this racist institution. It is imperative we address racism at the root on all fronts in our communities—especially in recent light of honoring King’s legacy and the path he has helped to pave with his work. We must continue to take action at every level reaching the streets, to circulating though data on social media by addressing and standing for issues we see as matters which affect the lives of many.
West Oakland Classic Black men at Defermery Park/Bobby Hutton Park
See that old man? What he wearing? You don't know? You ain't had no daddy, uncles, grandfather? He classic black man, he got on Stacey Adams, Fedora, Pendleton, Cashmere sweater. Classic black man, up from slavery city hustler, come up any means necessary, take a chance, what is life but a chance. Hey, classic always, bold in depression took some shit from white man. Organize like Pullman Porters Union, first national black union. A Phillip .Randolph, Oakland C.L. Dellums, classic men, solid don't bend solid! check them out young blood. No baseball cap pants sagging wanna be pimp ass nigga, no, classic king style duke count queen princess royal purple solid don't bend.
7th Street Oakland, up and down selling Jet Ebony. Music loud cafe barber shop bar shoe shine parlor Hammon B 3 don't do this to me time travel 7th Street Lincoln Theatre Loraine's greasy spoon hamburger's fries next to Lincoln black movie house Mr. Freeman owner, flea house rats popcorn soda pop Slim Jenkins Supper Club class Earl Father Hines Jimmy Smith Josephine Baker. Daddy, who is she you and mama keep talking bout her. Who is she?
New Century Playground/Gym Rec Center Ruth Beckford dance teacher natural hair velvet black skin Marcus Garvey tradition Ruth idol of my youth fine black African queen classic woman ridin' in fancy cars with classic men
McFeely Elementary School then Prescott St. Patrick Catholic School Nuns ruler beat hands no mama daddy no St. Patrick no like Nuns ruler beat hands No like Holy Mary Mother of Jesus Go to Lowell Jr. Highel on basketball team with Joe Ellis Warriors Cheer leader Doris Elliot stuck tongue in mouth she did me scared tongue in mouth damn doris you so fine yo sista fine too delores my brother ollie like delores she him we left oakland to fresno with mama not before brothers beat down poor white boy he killed emmett till mississipp white boy don't know meaning of white poor white boy below nigga white boy in nigga school no racism poor ignut white boy no knowledge Emmett Till too poor to hate white boy brothers beat down each blow say this fa Emmett this fa Emmett this fa Emmet 1955 poor white boy don't know he white he too poor to know we don't know white boy black boy same deaf dumb blind 85% 99% victims blood suckers of poor meet in Devos million dollar ticket each plot destruction global slaves kill kill kill sell bullets both sides no matter nazis stalinists same third world come no capitalists no commuinists beligion i be me you b you let black man b black man solid don't bend black man loving family black man woman love black man children loving black man solid don't bend liberty or death black man woman love black man strong dick black man woman need dick dick need pussy let pussy dick cuma joy to the world cum let world babies sing happy songs sing Oh happy day Edwin Walter oh happy day oaktown getdown east/west no matter brother brother campbell village acorn projects line up niggas 'fore i let this uzi on yo ass line up like you at Safeway ain't serving til you line up niggas straighten' that line don't move nigga pop dis uzi on that ass --Marvin X 1/24/18
Organizer Lucy This morning we heard master organizer Cat Brooks on KPFA Morning News praise a seventeen year old female named Lucy for having high energy like herself. This young lady is organizer of the noise protest at this afternoon's gathering at Oakland Whole Foods (Shithole foods, contaminated with full blown toxic racism and white supremacy). Imagine, the richest man in the world owns this toxic, racist, white supremacist corporation that white and blacks flock to for their daily bread. I must quote right-wing Rush Limbaugh, "The people are so ignorant it is mind numbing."
But as per the young lady Cat praised this morning, this rainy afternoon we got the chance to bear witness Lucy is the youth of the hour. In sometimes drenching rain, she spoke to the crowd on the need for revolutionary action. "If you ain't about revolution, you can't be a part of this movement! And this racism at Oakland Whole Foods is totally unacceptable and will not be tolerated."
Present at the rally were two victims of Whole (Shithole) Foods racism and white supremacy: photo journalist Adam Turner and the 13 year old boy who was abused by WF while getting Xmas presents for his mother.
How does one tell the story of a man who spent more time in prison than Nelson Mandela and Geronimo Pratt combined? With Lifer Dr. Ayodele Nzinga passed the final test of my mentorship. . She's on her own now, she has graduated to master teacher. She has her own theatre company, the Lower Bottom Playaz, in residence at Flight Deck Theatre, 1540 Broadway, downtown Oakland.
Ayodele Nzinga, a genius in her own right from natural creativity and life experience, a lethal combination for creative clarity, has done something no one in the world has done: produced the complete ten play cycle of plays by August Wilson, and in chronological .
We would think Lifer would be a challenge to her, a woman writing a prison drama about men. Yet we know a true artist knows all genders and beyond. Knowing such is the duty of a true artist, yes, to study people. And yet sometimes there is so much drama in our own lives, as per mothers,fathers, grannies, grandpa's, uncles, aunts, cousins, siblings, children, even grandchildren, that we know Ayodele often did not need to think hard about the Glen Bailey Story, Triple OG. FYI, Elder Jahahara Al Kebulan Ma'at says, "We are not O.G., Triple O.G., no, we are G.O.D." As G.O.D., we can do all things and nothing is impossible. For sure, Ayo's language is not over the top in the Marvin X style, but her main job is to tell the story of a man who survived the dungeon, the American Gulag, and after half a century of confinement, walked out with warrior pride and dignity.
Adimu Madyun as Glen Bailey is awesome, as he is in most of the roles he portrayed in the Lower Bottom Playaz productions, especially in the August Wilson Cycle.
The play has been extended another weekend through Feb 2, 3,4, 2018. Be there or b square! Stay woke! --continued- --Marvin X
Generations of Philadelphia families are incarcerated together
Generations of Philly families are incarcerated together READERS NOTE: For decades, Philadelphia has grappled with the seemingly intractable scourge of violent crime in its poorest communities, but proposed solutions often have overlooked the root causes. In this story about the epidemic of families in prison together, Samantha Melamed highlights a striking pattern in violent crime — the way it is repeated through generations. That means telling the stories of men who have been responsible for vicious, often unforgivable acts. This article does not attempt to excuse them or to gloss over the pain of those whose lives were forever altered by their crimes. The aim, rather, is to illuminate a public-safety crisis — a cycle of innocent children growing up to be violent criminals. Thursday, Jan. 25, 2018As the bus rattled toward the State Correctional Institution-Graterford, Jorge Cintron Jr. could barely contain his excitement, a nearly childlike giddiness. Though the journey had been 14 hours, most of it in shackles, he wasn’t close to tired. To the other weary inmates in mustard-yellow “D.O.C.” jumpsuits, what loomed ahead was just another prison: same bars and barbed wire, same bland food, same thin mattresses. But Cintron was about to be with his father, his namesake — the role model he had followed into the drug world, into court on murder charges, and then into prison, their twin life sentences imposed eight years apart. It had been 20 years since he had last seen the man everyone said he took after. “Lil Lolo,” his father’s friends from Philadelphia’s Fairhill section would call him. Now, he was about to come face to face with Jorge Cintron Sr., Lolo himself. “I hadn’t hugged my father in so many years, or heard his voice,” Cintron Jr. said. “It was bittersweet, because we’re both in prison and having to see each other in here.” Since that day in 2011, Cintron Jr., 38, has lived on the same cell block as his father, who is 58. Recently, the cell next door to his dad’s became available, so he moved in. Each evening, by 9 p.m., they lock themselves into cells 86 and 87 of A Block for the night. Their story is, in some ways, not an unusual one. All around them are inmates who come from the same neighborhoods, the same city blocks or even the same households. Father and son hail from one of the most heavily incarcerated communities in one of the most incarcerated cities in the country. And just as crime gravitates to certain neighborhoods, it also clusters in families: According to one criminologist’s analysis of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, 5 percent of families account for more than 50 percent of all arrests. Numerous studies have found that individuals whose parents have committed crimes are at least two times more likely to be perpetrators themselves. Sexual offending runs in families. So does violent crime. In Pennsylvania, the Department of Corrections does not keep statistics on familial relationships between inmates. Graterford’s public-information officer said she had no way of tracking it. But Darryl Goodman, who was locked up with his own father at Graterford before dedicating his life to helping at-risk young people, has been piecing together a data set with help from inmates at the 25 prisons around the state. By his most recent reckoning, (and it’s hard to keep up, as inmates constantly are being moved) there were 243 fathers in state prisons with their sons. At Graterford alone, he counted 41 father-son pairs, including 17 sets of cellmates. He found seven families in which a father, son and grandson were all locked up together. Cintron Jr. finds those numbers plausible: “On the block right now, there are probably three or four sets of brothers. And there are fathers and sons on my block. Just on the block alone, there are families, cousins. There is nothing for it. It’s the cycle. It’s the generational curse.” On the block right now, there are probably three or four sets of brothers. And there are fathers and sons on my block. Just on the block alone, there are families, cousins. — Jorge Cintron Jr.That crime runs in families is not news to those in corrections. But that there are regular family reunions in the visiting rooms of state prisons reflects an incarceration rate that — despite attempts to turn the tide — remains at near historically high levels and deeply concentrated in poor communities of color. By one estimation, there are 36,000 black men ages 25 to 54 missing from Philadelphia, either killed or incarcerated. Philadelphia leaders are working to cut the city jail roster by one-third in three years, while the state system has shed about 3,000 inmates since the population peaked at more than 51,000 inmates in 2009. But these efforts seek to bend a curve that tracked upward for decades. Pennsylvania admitted more than 19,000 state inmates in 2016, including parole violators; that annual figure remains double what it was 20 years ago, even as the violent crime rate has declined. More Prison Admissions,Far Steeper Sentences Since 1990, the population of Pennsylvania's prisons has tripled, but the number of inmates with sentences of 20 years or more has increased at a far faster pace. Cumulative percentage change since 1990 Staff GraphicMeanwhile, a major challenge to decarceration — and yet another factor that finds extended families and whole neighborhoods bumping into one another behind bars — is that prison sentences remain longer than ever before. According to a 2012 Pew analysis, Pennsylvania’s inmates were the second-longest-serving in the nation. The average sentence for a state inmate is 30 percent longer than it was 20 years ago. And very long sentences are imposed with far greater frequency, according to Pennsylvania Corrections Department statistics. Since 1990, the number of prisoners serving more than 20 years increased 714 percent. The number sentenced to life without parole increased 155 percent to 5,448; only Florida has more such lifers. Some young inmates now serving long sentences for serious crimes said they grew up in awe of their fathers, and wanted to be just like them. But what they absorbed was a legacy of absence, neglect, and abuse — chaotic lives, framed by violence and poverty. Goodman recalled childhood weekends spent visiting his father at Graterford. “The whole visiting room is filled with joy and love, and psychologically it had an effect. I wanted to be a part of whatever he was into,” he said. By 1989, he was in on a 15-year sentence for a series of armed robberies and a murder; then, he got to see the rest of the prison. Others saw their fathers as mere cautionary tales. “I always had the mindset, ‘That’s not going to be me,’ ” said Julian Dan, 27, whose father is at Graterford on a life sentence. Since December 2016, Dan has been there with him, on a gun conviction. Some inmates were together by request; for some of them, it took more than 10 years for the transfer to come through. Others connected by chance. These convergences can last a few days or decades. Sometimes, they’re life-changing. In prison, fathers attempt, often for the first time, to parent: to spark faith in God, to instill the importance of hard work and honest living, of family, of education. As for the sons, they finally start to understand who their fathers really are. In these cramped cells, there’s no room for pedestals. But what concerns Goodman, the reason he’s made a study of this phenomenon, is that many of those sons have sons, kids and teenagers prepared to follow right behind them. Pennsylvania state inmates, collectively, have 81,000 children at home. DAVID SWANSON / Staff Photographer Darryl Goodman with his father, Bruce Goodman, outside the city’s youth detention center, where they have volunteered as mentors to guide troubled kids.When Goodman left prison, he began working with some troubled kids — on West Philadelphia corners, and at the city’s juvenile detention center — as a mentor, trying to guide them off the streets. “It seemed like 60 percent of them would ask me what institution I’d been at. And then they might say, ‘My father’s there. Do you know my father?’ ” he said. “It opened my eyes to the fact that this is a whole new generation that is getting ready to be raised by their fathers in prison if we don’t do something to stop it out here.” By age 6, Jorge Cintron Jr. knew one thing about his dad: “He was the boss, he ran everything.” Cintron Sr. was a head of the Red Star gang, which, according to news reports, sold $10,000 worth of cocaine and crack per day at its peak in the late 1980s. Jorge “Lolo” Cintron, 58 Cintron was working as a truck driver when his sister married into a drug organization. He’s serving a life sentence for the assassination of a rival dealer, and is now a deacon in the prison church. Although his son is in prison alongside him, he said, “I’m proud of my son.” Jorge Cintron Jr., 38 Cintron’s been in prison since age 17 on a life sentence. In 1999, he said, “I gave my life over to Jesus.” A friend of his father’s at Huntingdon state prison guided him into the church. He’s close with a Mennonite family, and calls in to listen to their church service each Sunday.Cintron Sr.’s own father wasn’t around when he was a kid in Puerto Rico. He came to Philadelphia at 15 in search of opportunities, and found gang life. “When I fight the leader,” he said, in English learned in prison, “I become the leader of the gang.” Having kids straightened him out for a while; he worked as a chop shop mechanic, then as a truck driver. “But I wasn’t 100 percent a father, because I didn’t know what is a father,” he said. And, when his sister married a drug distributor from Miami, Cintron Sr. suddenly had the chance to be a boss. Soon, police raids on the Cintron home became routine. But in the neighborhood, he commanded respect. He helped those in need with groceries. He drove a Corvette. His good fortune would last just three years. In 1989, Cintron Sr. was convicted of paying two hit men $1,000 to kill Juan Carlos Baldajil, a rival dealer who encroached on his turf. (Now, as then, he insists he didn’t do it.) He was sentenced to life in prison. Meanwhile, his son’s criminal career was just beginning. “In school, when teachers asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, in my mind, I said, ‘I want to be a drug dealer,’ ” Cintron Jr. recalled. “But I knew I’d get my parents in trouble, so I’d say, ‘a fireman.’ ” His mother began drinking and using cocaine, and entered a series of abusive relationships. Cintron Jr. himself was drinking by age 8, using marijuana and PCP by 11. By the third grade, he was skipping more than 80 days of school, he said, but somehow his teachers kept passing him. So after sixth grade, he stopped attending altogether. “I thought maybe eventually they’ll mail me a diploma.” There were alternatives on the streets, though. Friends of his father saw his potential. He was just 11 when one gave him 80 packages of heroin, paying him $50 a day just to store them at his mother’s house. She found the stash and wanted to flush it; he told her if she did, she’d have to answer to the gangs. When he was 14, a local dealer gave him his first gun and urged him to rob other drug dealers. And when he was 15, he set up shop on his very own corner on Mascher Street, right near the Conrail bridge in Kensington. “I wanted to be like my father, and I felt I had hit my mark,” he said. “A neighbor called the cops, but they took the drugs for themselves and then they let me go. That happened several times. It made me think I was invincible.” Soon, though, some of those robberies went very wrong. Raphael Sisla was 30 when Cintron Jr. shot and killed him. Anthony Kruges was 83 when Cintron Jr. stabbed him, taking his life. Then, Cintron Jr.’s own cousin was shot and killed by another teenager. Cintron Jr. said he was struggling with that loss when he got into a traffic dispute with a man named Richard Lugo, and shot him dead. Lugo was just 24 years old. It wasn’t until he heard another teen had been arrested for Lugo’s death, in September 1996, that he confessed all that he’d done. “He was extremely bloodthirsty,” the prosecutor told reporters at the time. “I was lost,” Cintron said. “I was so far gone, and addicted to cocaine and syrup and PCP. I had no regard for life and my actions. There was nothing there. I was in such a dark place I started becoming suicidal. I knew someone either had to kill me or I had to go to prison.” Why does crime concentrate in families? Why do fathers see their worst mistakes repeated by their sons? It’s a complicated snarl whose threads of causation are difficult to unravel. Some researchers have described an accumulation of disadvantage: generational poverty; childhood trauma; learned behavior; the antisocial influences, “spatial contagion” and toxic stress of living in a dangerous neighborhood; and the compounding weight of official bias. “What we do know,” said Marie Gottschalk, a University of Pennsylvania political scientist who’s written extensively on mass incarceration, “is having an incarcerated parent, whether you can visit that parent or not, is often associated with greater mental health problems for kids. They’re more likely to have behavioral issues, to have severe depression.” Many people assume it’s best to shield a child from an incarcerated parent, she said. But, “In most cases, denying that contact will make those issues even more severe.” Pennsylvania’s Prison Population The number of inmates grew from about 12,000 in 1986 to nearly 52,000 in 2011, before falling slightly in subsequent years. In 2016, about 5,500 inmates were serving life sentences. Staff GraphicResearchers say, too, that there’s a consequence to being labeled a criminal: Those who have interactions with the justice system are more likely to exhibit criminal behavior later on than those who don’t. Some propose that a parent’s being labeled a criminal — and the bias that may accompany that — can transmit to a child, making him more susceptible to being caught up in the system. To John Wetzel, Pennsylvania’s Secretary of Corrections, it’s even simpler than that. He knows 14 percent of his inmates come out of the foster-care system, 50 percent have no high-school diploma and 80 percent have been exposed to trauma. “Over a career working in corrections and walking through visiting rooms, you see inmates come and go — and then you see their kids, and then their kids,” Wetzel said. “When you start looking at what’s driving prison populations, it has less to do with criminal justice and more to do with education and economic opportunities. The zip codes where we get the most inmates from have the poorest school districts, the highest numbers of single-parent homes.” Some academics also cite another explanation: genes. “It’s politically incorrect. It’s a minefield,” said Kevin Beaver, a professor of criminology at the University of Florida. “My research and others shows that probably a large extent of the reason that crime concentrates in families, why siblings resemble each other in crime and resemble their parents, is due to genetic factors.” He points to his research on adopted kids: “They resemble their biological parents in terms of criminality, and not so much their adoptive parents.” Other researchers have foundcertain combinations of genes at high rates in violent criminals. Beaver said such research is often misinterpreted. There’s no “murder gene,” for instance. And, he emphasized, genes aren’t fate. They are probabilistic, and external factors can determine whether they’re even activated. “You and I could both have similar genes predisposing us to crime,” Beaver said. “But if I’m in a low-income neighborhood, exposed to lots of violence, those genes may be turned on. If you’re in a nice middle-class neighborhood, those genes may be dormant.” So, the same traits that might predispose for violence in a context of extreme deprivation could, in a middle-class context, make for a fierce athlete instead. He’s also studied how parenting predicts criminal involvement. He concluded it’s only a significant factor in extreme cases. Extreme, though, is not uncommon at Graterford. DAVID SWANSON / Staff Photographer Inmates in a block at Graterford Prison, where as many as 41 father-son pairs are incarcerated, in September.Consider Makkah Dillard, who was incarcerated there with his father, Robert Moore, until Moore came home last year. Moore, 57, describes his son’s childhood as “very horrific.” Moore served more than 30 years for his part in a 1985 home invasion and gang rape. His son is also incarcerated for a sexual offense. Dillard insists he is innocent. On the other hand, there’s no doubt he suffered the type of childhood traumas researchers link to increased risk. According to Dillard’s sister Latasha, the Dillard kids were abused by their mother, father and, later, a stepfather. She recalled being hit, stabbed and left alone without food for three days. She remembered squatting in abandoned houses with no heat or hot water, often locked in a room for the entire day. “We were supposed to be in school. And when [child-welfare services] came, she made us hide in a closet,” Latasha said. She ran away from home at 14, but, she said, “The flashbacks will never go away.” While some of the most notorious crime families began with patriarchs who reared their children to be outlaws — one Louisiana man even named his kids Jesse and Frank James — the fathers who participated in this story spoke ruefully about the fates that washed their kids up in cells with them. Some tried to stop it, to mold their sons over crackling prison phone lines. Others were simply absent. Preston Grimes was 19 when his twin sons were born. “I had all intentions to be a good father,” he said. “I bought diapers. But as soon as a few months passed, I felt tired of that responsibility. I wanted to go out and party.” By this past summer, when the twins were 22, both were incarcerated. One, Tyler, was at Graterford with his father. Tyler’s impression of Grimes when he was growing up in York, Pa.? “Piece of s—.” There were fights, thefts and burglaries, then a bank robbery that got Grimes 10 to 20 years. Grimes’ other kids won’t even talk to him. For years, neither did Tyler. A twist of fate brought them back together. “I was reading the paper one day,” Grimes said, “and I seen a person got robbed where he lived at. I told my celly, ‘I think it was my son who did that.’ ” Preston Grimes, 43 He wanted to be there for his kids, but couldn’t maintain the effort. Once or twice, he sent his twin sons birthday cards from prison. “There’s been times when I was 9 or 10,” his son Tyler said, “and a card would come in the mail: ‘Happy birthday, Dad.’ And I’d ask mom, ‘Who’s this?’ She’d say it must be the wrong address.” Today, Grimes’ other kids don’t speak to him. Tyler Grimes, 22 An avid reader and a poet, Grimes said he’s tried to help his father with reading and writing. His father will be paroled before he is. Grimes isn’t sure his father will make it. “I see him in jail. But when you get home, it’s different. You get bills, responsibilities,” he said. He asks his father: “What are you going to do when things get hard? Are you going to just rob someone?”To Tyler’s mind, “it’s a little coincidence, a little bit of following in his footsteps.” He said he grew up fascinated by gangster life, but did not want to be like his father. He was about to enroll in a military academy when his friends convinced him to join in a robbery. After they got caught, his mindset was “like, I’m already a felon, may as well.” A prison counselor helped father and son begin a correspondence. When Tyler had the opportunity to transfer, he chose to be with his father. “He told me he had cancer,” Tyler said. “I might’ve got the impression he was about to die. So I was like, ‘OK, let me go down there before he kicks the bucket.’ ” They were cellmates for six months. Tyler, who enjoys poetry, helped Grimes with reading and writing. “This is the first time I had a real relationship with him for more than an hour at a time,” Tyler said. But, “It’s still hard for me to call him Dad. I never have. I’ll call him ‘yo’ or his nickname. I don’t feel like he’s earned that right, to be called Dad.” Grimes, 43, has been transferred and could soon be paroled. Tyler, 22, is skeptical. “He will be back,” he said. Other relationships are intimate, filled with encouragement and praise. In prison, fathers are finally the parents they always envisioned but couldn’t figure out how to be. Calvin Floyd, 69, has three sons. Two are in prison; the other was murdered. One bitter consolation: His son Shontee Latham, 43, is in Graterford with him. Latham canceled an interview because he didn’t want to jeopardize their housing situation. In an apologetic letter, he assured a reporter, “You’ll find [Floyd] a delightful old man.” Floyd’s own father left when he was 8. “But he would really bust one on me when he came by. He had a heavy duty extension cord he called George. He would quadruple it up. What I needed from him, he couldn’t give me. He wasn’t able. And I see this repeated with my son.” Floyd dropped out of high school and into gang warfare. He claims he got his life together but was locked up wrongfully twice — first, for armed robbery and, later, for the 1980 killing of West Philadelphia store owner Jung La. Prosecutors said he shot La after a quarrel over the price of a 50-cent ice-cream cone. Sentenced to life, Floyd tried writing to his son, but the boy’s mother threw out the letters. Eventually, he gave up. Calvin Floyd, 69 Floyd and his son, Shontee Latham, are both serving long sentences for violent crimes they say they did not commit. “This is not just happenstance,” Floyd said. “Providence brought us together, but there are also some minds behind the social experiment that guides young men to prison. Every generation, they got the whole of Philadelphia locked up.”He was in an institution in western Pennsylvania when a young man approached, inquiring about his clothing. (Though Floyd has the standard-issue brown uniform, his is fastidiously maintained, his shoes polished twice a week to a high shine.) “I looked at him and said, ‘What’s your mother’s name? Do you know who I am? I’m your father.’ ” Just like his father, Latham had been sentenced for armed robbery, but denied his guilt. Their reunion was cut short when they got transferred to different prisons, and lost contact. But in 2011 they both wound up in Graterford. “We study together, read, go to school, go to church. Everything I do, he do,” Floyd said. They work together in the kitchen, and live 10 cells apart. They talk often about the strangeness of their twinned fates, the domino effect crashing from one generation into the next. Once Floyd’s father was incarcerated, his mother couldn’t control him, Floyd said. The same went for his son. “The streets were waiting for him, the same way they were waiting for me. … He was looking for someone to guide him. The good part about it is, he did manage to find me.” Even when fathers stay in touch, parenting from prison isn’t easy. Julian Dan grew up visiting his father, Amir Cartair, at Graterford. Julian Dan with his aunt, Alisha Cartair, at SCI Graterford. Amir Cartair, 48 In prison for life, Cartair nonetheless tried to be a father to his kids. “They listen to me — while they’re here. But once they leave and get back to the neighborhood, the lure of their friends, that’s it. I think a lot of times they are trying to get out of the shadow of their fathers and make a name for themselves. That tends to get them in the same situation.” Julian Dan, 27 Dan has been in and out of trouble for much of his life. Not long ago, he was shot on the street in West Oak Lane — five bullet holes in his back, chest, and legs. “I was so close to dying. I got scared.” He bought a gun illegally, and went to prison for it. Dan wants to move out of state with his girlfriend and daughter. He thinks leaving Philadelphia is his best shot at breaking the cycle.“I didn’t know he was in jail. I thought he was at work,” Dan said. “When I was 10 or 11, I found out what it was. It was one of the worst experiences I can remember. I always looked up to my dad, and when they told me what he was in for I looked at him differently.” In 1993, Cartair shot and killed Anthony Pierre, 37, a law school graduate managing an East Mount Airy dollar store until he could take the bar exam. Cartair, now 48, looks back with deep regret. He said his father had just died, and he was in despair. “I had an I-don’t-care attitude. I went on a binge of drugs, alcohol, crime, doing crazy things. I didn’t have an outlet for therapy. I had no one to talk to.” He worries that Dan’s childhood, in Mount Airy, was even bleaker. For a while, both Dan’s parents were incarcerated. “He was going from place to place. He didn’t have the stability a child needs.” Later, Dan’s mother and sister both died of overdoses. The careful advice Cartair meted out on visits always seemed to fade away on the trip home. Dan ended up in the juvenile system for minor offenses — smoking weed, fighting — and, later, more serious ones. “There’s times I’ve been doing good,” he said. “That wouldn’t last long. I would just stop caring.” Not long ago, Dan was shot five times. He bought a gun illegally, just to be safe. That’s what landed him in Graterford. Seeing his father that first night, Dan said, “It felt weird — like, I’m really here, not just visiting you.” Now, they talk daily, plotting Dan’s future. “We do things together,’ Cartair said. “We work out. We play chess.” To Cartair, kids like his son didn’t have much of a chance. “I think society has failed them. Their parents failed them. Their environment was not good.” He is working on his associate’s degree from Villanova, and trying to get his son into the church and into school. He wants Dan to provide the same guidance to his own daughter. “The chain has to be broken. The cycle of grandfather, father, and son. It has to be broken somewhere, and I’m hoping it stops here.” The chain has to be broken. The cycle of grandfather, father, and son. It has to be broken somewhere, and I’m hoping it stops here. — Amir Cartair It took a dozen years bumping around the state prison system before Darryl Goodman ended up at Graterford and ran into his father, Bruce, once an armed robber with a half-dozen aliases. What shocked Goodman, who's now 53, was how old and gray his father had become — and how little had changed at the prison. All his father’s friends he had met as a child were still there. After he was released, some of the men asked Goodman to look out for their children. He tried. He’d find them jobs or teach them to be entrepreneurs. He tried to serve as a mentor; he even recruited his 76-year-old father to do the same. Sometimes it worked: A few kids he worked with went to vocational schools or four-year colleges. One is now a sous chef. Other times it didn’t: One kid used his first paycheck to buy drugs, and landed in prison. Over the years, three of his kids have been shot dead. There’s a lot in their lives to overcome, he said. “It’s just that there is no structure or opportunity. There’s nobody out there to show these guys a different way.” He previously had a contract to mentor kids in Philadelphia, but that ended; now, he's trying to find new avenues to sustain the effort. DAVID SWANSON / Staff PhotographerProgress is slow and incremental, and sometimes stalls. Meanwhile, official solutions to this public policy (and, notably, public safety) problem are hard to come by. The Department of Corrections has turned some attention to the issue, for instance by carving out places for children in visiting rooms, with playful murals, toys and games. And a key bill Wetzel has lobbied for — to create a First Chance Trust Fund to support programs for kids of incarcerated parents — has recently been written into law. It's an important step, but not a comprehensive response. So for now, back at Graterford, inmates are dreaming up their own solutions. One is Cintron Jr., who looks back in horror at what he did as a teen but is trying to turn his life around. He followed his father into the church; both are now deacons. And he’s obtained a barber’s license, with the goal of becoming an instructor. He hopes to start his own shop one day, so he can train at-risk young people. Unlike his father, he has a chance to be released, following a Supreme Court decision banning automatic life-without-parole sentences for juveniles. His focus, right now, is a program he helped start, Fathers and Children Together, that provides parenting workshops to incarcerated fathers and then seven weeks of special visits with arts-and-crafts projects for the fathers and kids. “Some kids have gone from getting in trouble to getting on the honor roll,” Cintron Jr. said. “It’s changing the lives of the children.” He sometimes thinks about what that opportunity — to really get to know his father — might have meant for him as a kid. “Maybe I would have started going back to school. Maybe I would have not sold drugs. But I could only see [my father as] the man he had been before he left, the drug dealer, instead of the changed man he’d become.”
There was a woman who lived inside a box. Her whole life had been spent inside the little box, squeezed in from all sides. She never went outside the box. People brought her food to eat but she ate it inside the four walls of the box.
She was cramped to the point of being crippled because she could never stand up inside the box. Not only her body but her brain and spirit were crippled from living inside the box.
Her thinking was confined to what she could imagine inside the box, and that was very little, no big grand thoughts, only micro imaginings.
Even her God was a little god, one that fit into the box. She could not envision her God outside and that her God ruled the whole world, not just her little world inside the box.
Now and then she would beat on the walls of her box in a vain attempt to break them down and escape. But whenever she did, someone would come by and whisper to her to be quiet, she was making noise and disturbing other people.
She would comply with their request, trying to be nice, since she really was a nice person, she just didn't know how to escape the box. And she had to be nice to the person who brought her food because they might not return if she got angry and loud, started screaming, hollering and foaming at the mouth.
mabel osamor photos adam turner Inside the box, she lived the life of a stunted woman, her mental growth stunted as well. She could not imagine the finer things of life, or how she might expand her spiritual development. She did not know how she might be able to fend for herself, make her own money for food and other things she needed, even if she stayed inside the box, but she really wanted to get out.
Somehow she gathered the energy to have a thought that went beyond the box, energy that would stop her from being a stunted woman, unable to stand tall and rise from her conditon inside the box.
She began to figure a way out, a way to free herself, mind, body and soul. She had to do some hard thinking but she was determined to liberate herself. She saw nails in the walls and began to tinker with them, push them a little with her fingernails, then wiggled around and backed into one wall, then the other.
After a time, she could see a little break between the walls. She came up with a name for the nails that kept her down. One nail she called ignorance. She knocked and knocked until it loosened. Then she beat and pressured another nail in the box she called passivity. When she put counter pressure on that nail the box started shaking.
She tinkered with another nail she called lack of desire and will. Then she started talking to the walls, telling them to open up she was coming out. She even told her little God to give her a hand. Her little God gave her a hand.
Some people came by and seeing the walls shaking, tried to pound on the nails, but the woman commanded the nails to stop in their tracks and they did as she commanded. She continued her resistance until the walls of the box gave in and she was able to gradually stand and eventually began to do a little dance.
--Marvin X 3/10/10
photo alicia mayo
Marvin X is known variously as El Muhajir, Plato Negro, Rumi, Jeremiah. His outdoor classroom is at 14th and Broadway, downtown Oakland. Ishmael Reed says, "If you want to learn about motivation and inspiration, don't spend all that money going to workshops and seminars, just go stand at 14th and Broadway and watch Marvin X work. He's Plato teaching on the streets of Oakland!"
Paris Dennard‘s televisions fails have only continued in 2018. In 2017, Keith Boykin,Cornel West,A. Scott Bolden and many more dragged him all over CNN. Now it’s Van Jones’ turn.
In case you missed it, Jay Z appeared on the premiere of Van Jones’ CNN show. In responding to Donald Trump, he calmly denounced the “sh*thole” comments about Haiti and the entire continent of Africa, “After the anger it’s really hurtful because he’s like looking down on a whole population of people, and you’re so misinformed because these places have beautiful people. This is the leader of the free world speaking like this.” He also said, “You don’t take care of the problem. You don’t take the trash out. You keep spraying whatever over it to make it acceptable. As those things grow, you create a superbug. Then now we have Donald Trump, the superbug.”
Of course Trump had to respond, he said on Twitter:
Paris Dennard and Van Jones discussed Trump and Jay on CNN — Paris’ logic was bizarre, “First of all, I think that Van should give the president the grace to mature and to change in this role that he is in right now, like he’s given Jay Z. The Jay Z album that we have today is not the Jay Z album that he put out in the past, which a lot of people point to — there’s been evolution.”
What the hell? Jay Z is a 48-year-old rapper and Trump is a 71-year-old man who should not be doing on-the-job training in his role as POTUS. Watch Van’s response below, which begins around the six-minute mark.
A major South African city is about to run out of water, and officials say it will be the worst disaster since 9/11
Cape Town, a coastal South African city of about 4 million people, is about to run out of fresh water. After three years of persistent drought, the government is warning that "Day Zero"— when it will be forced to turn off most faucets — will be April 16. That's when reservoirs and water sources are forecast to hit 13.5% capacity, at which point the city is expected to move most residents to a strict water-rationing system.
As Cape Town's reservoirs of fresh water get dangerously close to dry, locals are beginning to store water in jugs and fill up at spring-fed taps set up by local breweries. Those who can afford it are boring mini backyard wells to collect private water stashes, and some hotels are investing in pricey desalination plants to make ocean water drinkable.
The drought is the region's worst in over a century.
The Theewaterskloof Dam, the city's largest, is just 13% full.
The South African weather service says climate change is making its historical models useless.
Long-term forecasters say it's impossible to predict how long the crisis will last.
Cape Town's population has also been growing rapidly, compounding the effects of the three-year drought.
The Theewaterskloof Dam outside Cape Town.Associated Press
Data from the UN shows that the percentage of South Africans living in cities has been climbing since the 1950s.
The city is trying to push people to use less water at home.
People collect water from a communal tap at an informal settlement near Cape Town on January 23. Associated Press
After weeks of failed attempts, there's some evidence that people are finally starting to heed the city's calls.
The city says 55% of its residents are now using less than 87 liters of water a day at home. But that won't be enough to avoid a catastrophe.
"Only if each of us reduces our daily use down to 50 liters or less, and the City implements the necessary projects, will we avoid Day Zero," the city's website says.
Local beer bottlers are opening up their natural spring taps so people can collect free water, off the city's grid.
Most other plans to create new desalination plants, water-recycling facilities, and groundwater sources are running behind schedule.
Only one "alternative water source" project in the works is running on schedule: a waterfront hotel's plan to build a private plant to treat ocean water.
The government is worried that if people can't conserve enough water to avoid the shutoff, anarchy will erupt.
Though apartheid ended more than two decades ago, inequality in South Africa is still soaring. In 2015, black South Africans made only one-fifth what their white counterparts made, The New York Times reported last year, citing a government survey
. If "Day Zero" arrives, though, not all the taps will be turned off.
People who live in settlements and shantytowns where there's no running water in homes will still have access to the city's supply from spigots like the one above.
But everyone else will be limited to 25 liters a day.
AP Photo/Anwa Essop
They'll have to collect their water ration from one of the 200 water distribution points the city plans to set up. That means thousands of people are likely to line up at each tap every day to collect their water.
Western Cape Premier Helen Zille wrote in the South African newspaper the Daily Maverick that "if every family sends one person to fetch their water allocation, about 5,000 people will congregate" at each tap per day.
"As things stand, the challenge exceeds anything a major city has had to face anywhere in the world since the Second World War or 9/11," Zille wrote.
Cape Town's main water supply, the Theewaterskloof Dam, on January 23.Associated Press
"I personally doubt whether it is possible for a city the size of Cape Town to distribute sufficient water to its residents, using its own resources, once the underground water-pipe network has been shut down," she said. Meanwhile, business has been nice for borehole companies, as those who can afford to build private water-storage wells opt to do that.
The city has also been asking residents and tourists to collect and reuse their bathing water to flush toilets, as well as limit showers to two minutes.
It's also telling people to shower less often and use hand sanitizer instead of washing their hands some of the time.
City of Cape Town
But Cape Town isn't the only city in water trouble — the World Wildlife Fund estimates that by 2025, two-thirds of the world could be dealing with water shortages.
As droughts fueled by climate change become more frequent and developing cities become more packed with people, some freshwater sources could be threatened.
Before the Earth was I was Before time was I was you found me not long ago and called me Lucy I was four million years old I had my tools beside me I am the first man call me Adam I walked the Nile from Congo to Delta a 4,000 mile jog BLACK HISTORY IS WORLD HISTORYI lived in the land of Canaan before Abraham, before Hebrew was born I am Canaan, son of Ham I laugh at Arabs and Jews fighting over my land I lived in Saba, Southern Arabia I played in the Red Sea dwelled on the Persian Gulf I left my mark from Babylon to Timbuktu When Babylon acted a fool, there was me I was the fool When Babylon fell, that was me I fell BLACK HISTORY IS WORLD HISTORY I was the first European call me Negrito and Grimaldi I walked along the Mediterranean from Spain to GreeceOh, Greece! Why did you kill Socrates? Why did you give him the poison hemlock? Who were the gods he introduced corrupting the youth of Athens? They were my gods, black gods from Africa Oh, Socrates, Plato and Aristotle Whose philosophy did you teach that was Greek to the Greeks? Pythagoras, where did you learn geometry? Democritus, where did you study astronomy? Solon and Lycurgus, where did you study law? In Egypt, and Egypt is Africa and Africa is me I am the burnt face, the blameless Ethiopian Homer told you about in the Iliad Homer told you about Ulysses, too, a story he got from me. BLACK HISTORY IS WORLD HISTORY I am the first Chinese China has my eyes I am the Aboriginal Asian Look for me in Viet Nam, Cambodia & Thailand I am there, even today, black and beautiful BLACK HISTORY IS WORLD HISTORY I used to travel to America long before Columbus came to me asking for directions Americo Vespucci on his voyage to America saw me in the Atlantic returning to Africa America was my home Before Aztec, Maya, Toltec, Inca & Olmec I was here I came to Peru 20,000 years ago I founded Mexico City See my pyramids, see my cabeza colosal in Vera Cruz and Yucatan that's me I am the Mexican for I am mixed with all men and all men are mixed with me I am the most just of menI am the most peaceful who loves peace day and night Sometimes I let tyrants devour me sometimes people falsely accuse me sometimes people crucify me but I am ever returning I am eternal, I am universal Africa is my home Asia is my home Americas is my home BLACK HISTORY IS WORLD HISTORY
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 13, 2017
Marvin X- "Black History is World History" (poem written in the 80's)@Fr...
The devil planned and Allah planned, but Allah is the best planner.--Al Qur'an
The devil told god to his face, "I hate you god. I hate you! No, I don't have power over you, but I can block your actions, slow them down, cause your people be fearful, jealous and envious with each other. I can do that!"
"You are a fool devil, your bag of tricks mean nothing to me as you don't have the brainpower I have. Your brain is full of negativity. There is nothing divine in your mind or spirit. My prophet Amiri Baraka said of you, "Where the souls print should be, there is only a cellulose pouch of disgusting habits!"
"God," said the devil, "I will not help you in any way, whatsoever. Yes, I am your servant and I served you with Job."
God replied, "But I didn't give power over his life, did I, devil?"
"No, but you sure gave me power to bring him to the edge of death! Goddamn you, god!"
"Devil, watch your mouth! Don't forget, I have power to snatch your heart from your chest!"
"Yeah, you do, but I'm gonna play you to the edge."
"Be careful you don't fall into the precipice!"
"Just know I am watching you, god, don't let me catch you napping or your people who are deaf, dumb and blind."
The devil planned and Allah planned, but Allah is the best planner.--Al Qur'an
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 200 million females alive today have been subjected to female genital mutilation (FGM). Aliens from the 30 countries where this practice is concentrated are immigrating to the United States, and a serious effort is not being made to prevent them from practicing FGM here.
UNICEF says that FGM is “concentrated in a swath of countries from the Atlantic Coast to the Horn of Africa...”
A map on page 26 of UNICEF’s statistical overview of Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting shows the percentage of females 15 to 49 years of age who have undergone FGM in each country that has substantial FGM activity, but it also is performed on much younger females.
For instance, an Ethiopian woman had her external genitalia removed and her vagina sewn up when she was only seven days old. In the Ethiopian desert region of Afar, 90 percent of the females are subjected to FGM, many before their first birthday.
WHO has designated four different FGM classifications:
Type 1: Partial or total removal of the clitoris;
Type 2: Partial or total removal of the clitoris and the inner folds of the vulva, with or without excision of the outer folds;
Type 3: Narrowing the vaginal opening by creating a covering seal, which is formed by cutting and repositioning the labia to leave only a small hole; and
Type 4: All other harmful procedures to the female genitalia for non-medical purposes.
FGM is performed with special knives, scissors, scalpels, pieces of glass or razor blades. Anesthetics and antiseptics are uncommon unless the procedure is performed by medical practitioners.
By stripping sex of physical pleasure, it is thought the female’s libido will be reduced, her virginity safeguarded, and her marital fidelity ensured. Similar practices have occurred in the United States too. American physicians treated females for masturbation by removing their clitoris from the mid-19th century through the mid-20th century.
The immediate effects of FGM may include blood loss, severe pain, and sometimes death. Long-term health problems may include urinary infections, infertility, painful menstruation, and painful sexual intercourse. Women who have had FGM are significantly more likely to experience difficulties during childbirth, and their babies are more likely to die.
FGM has been a crime in America since 1996. Federal law provides that, “whoever knowingly circumcises, excises, or infibulates the whole or any part of the labia majora or labia minora or clitoris of another person who has not attained the age of 18 years shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both.”
The first federal FGM prosecution, however, was not filed until 2017, when two Michigan doctors and the wife of one of the doctors were charged with performing FGM on two seven-year-old girls.
FGM is a crime under state law in 26 states, but I was not able to find examples of state prosecutions. Attempts to make it a crime in the remaining 24 states have met resistance. It can be difficult to separateattempts to end FGM from claims of Islamophobia.
In Maine, a Republican bill to criminalize FGM failed to pass in 2017 in part because FGM had been used in Maine to demonize immigrants and refugees from predominantly Muslim countries in Africa. It would have made FGM a Class A crime, which is punishable by up to 30 years in prison and a fine of as much as $50,000.
But a survey of immigrant communities in Maine indicates that they recognize the need for such a law. More than 70 percent of participants said that FGM is harmful.
Political correctness also is an issue. The New York Times would not use the term “Female GenitalMutilation” in its article about the Michigan doctors, except in a quote. The Times called the offense, “genital cutting,” despite the fact that the prosecution was based on a federal criminal provision entitled, “Female genital mutilation.”
According to Celia Dugger, the Times’ Health and Science editor, “genital cutting” was a “less culturally loaded” term than “FGM.”
Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a woman’s rights activist, has said, “It is one thing to respect other cultures and religions, and quite another to turn a blind eye to cultural practices that violate the human rights of women and girls.”
The federal and state laws that prohibit FGM need to be enforced.
Nolan Rappaport was detailed to the House Judiciary Committee as an executive branch immigration law expert for three years; he subsequently served as an immigration counsel for the Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security and Claims for four years. Prior to working on the Judiciary Committee, he wrote decisions for the Board of Immigration Appeals for 20 years.
Note: In this profound article below about the demise of the Black Power movement, Dr. Small wisely refers to the integrity and history of Black communities in America. Black power, he notes, was emanating from Black communities long before the term was verbalized in the 1960s. The power was defined, he states, by the respect for the other in a cohesive community being from the elders to the youth that embraced culture, history and understanding. Indeed, these communities are and were powerful. What is most distressing, as also noted by Dr. Small, were the efforts by the likes of the FBI's J. Edgar Hoover et al. to engage in the age-old divide and rule strategies to dismantle and, in many instances, assassinate Black leaders who were engaged in effective organizing. The US has much to atone for - that is without question! Finally, Dr. Small ends by stressing the Sankofa Moment and that being acknowledging the wealth of the profound black history, community and culture to inform the next phase of the movement. So, while the "1960's Black Power" movement might be gone, Black Power itself is not gone as it has always been there, and the "powerful" influence of the Black history and community itself remain vital to the United States and to the world.
And as they say in Southern Africa - "A luta continua" - "the struggle continues."
A POST MORTEM FOR BLACK POWER The Black community was virtually regarded by all of its constituents as sacred territory. The community was neither to be fouled nor abused. Without formal pronouncements, the folkways of the community established and defined the norms of behavior. (William Small)
As one who for over half a century has actively tried to engage in the political process in order to empower African descendant peoples, I now find myself asking the question "what ever happened to Black Power"? I have been around long enough "to remember when". I remember when there existed in Black communities a spirit that spoke to collective interests and common concerns. This was something beyond what the sociologists simply characterize as "community". The Black community was virtually regarded by all of its constituents as sacred territory. The community was neither to be fouled nor abused. Without formal pronouncements, the folkways of the community established and defined the norms of behavior. The behaviors of young folks in the community suggested that they were, in fact, modeling the behaviors of the age group in front of them. Generally speaking, everyone was consciously concerned with being a good member of the community. This spirit prevailed even while we as young people did "young people's stuff".
Black Power Has Always Been A Reality: Long Before It Was Named
My community was predominantly a working class community. In spite of that general designation, the doctors, "the undertakers", the dentists and "the lawyer" lived among us. They provided for many of us the visual inspiration to do more and importantly to be more. This is not a hyperbolic description of life in a black community in central New Jersey in the 1940's and 50's. In those days, even the criminals would insure that all heavy criminal activity would be conducted "outside of the community" and everyone was a guardian of the elderly.
This was the essence of "Black Power", before it was so named. It existed long before the term was coined. "Black Power" was Black people working in relative solidarity and in concert with one another for the good of the whole. Addicted to the best logic of the human spirit our shoulder was "to the wheel" as we harbored the belief that we could make a way out of no way and build solid futures employing the principles that some of us would later adopt as the foundational principles of Kwanzaa.
I am not so naive as to believe that my home town in central New Jersey was the universal experience reflecting Black life in America during this period of time. Regular family visits to the South, while growing up, made the inequity in the opportunity structure patently clear. Nevertheless, there existed a spirit of connection that superseded the geographical differences. When I moved permanently to the South at the end of the last century, community elders still existed who talked about "slavery times".
The Historical Black Community Spawned the Civil Rights Movement and the Black Power Movement To Eliminate Policies and Practices That Oppressed Black People
The reference to slavery times was not to the slavery of the antebellum South, it was instead the slavery of post-Civil War reconstruction and "Jim crow" policies. It was the legal political and economic conditions that for centuries had served to debilitate and openly restrict Black life in America, well into the 1970's and beyond. What makes their story so remarkable, in retrospect, is the fact that in spite of the oppression, and the legal and physical intimidation, it was this cohort of ordinary Black America that simply got tired of being sick and tired and who corralled the racial pride, the community solidarity and collective consciousness to create one of the most effective movements, to date, for the transformation of American society. It must not be forgotten, that it was primarily this historical experience and the movement for social and political equality that spawned and then introduced the modern Civil Rights Movement. This was, in fact, Black Power. The Chapters in that history, that would become known as the Black Power Movement, was yet to be conceived. We had it long before we named it.
Although the Civil Rights Movement and the Black Power Movement were both pro Black in orientation and architectural design, neither was philosophically anti-white in origin or objective. In spite of this fact, each phase of the movement that sought to eliminate policies and practices that oppressed Black people was met with brutal force and state sponsored violence. At the same time, any activity that was calculated to resist the violent practices being exercised under color of law or privilege were soundly condemned as the illegal and unwarranted use of violence. America was very boldly standing for white supremacy and against the idea that Black people, wherever we were to exist, had no claim to equal rights. The very concept that Black people anywhere on the face of the earth might claim the moral right to resist physical force with physical force was unconscionable. The roots of this warped thinking are very deeply rooted in the psyche of America. In fact, this sickness is so deeply rooted in the social framework of American justice until it flourishes undisguised to this date. The dictate prevails that Black people should be patient, appreciative, hopeful, and never fight back against authority. Any other standard, even today, is either criminal or at a minimum rebellious.
America's Violent and Divisive Response to the Black Power Movement
In spite of the dangers inherent in doing so, thousands of young Americans, to include African American first generation college aspirants, put their dreams and career plans on hold to stand in solidarity with unknown kin and fellow human beings who had been historically oppressed and marginalized. Their open commitment was to repair America, not to destroy it. Their strategies were "high minded" and conscious of the national and international impact that they would have on the world stage. They framed America's moral response with fire hoses, police dogs and vigilante killings that told the world and demonstrated to the worldhow "little" America thought that Black Lives mattered. The world was watching then and the world is watching now. This was happening in America, the Democratic bastion of the modern world, a century after the formal abolition of American chattel slavery. Interestingly, American citizens, who are still carrying the dossier for social justice and respect for the sanctity of black life, are still seen by the "state" as "irresponsible agitators".
The term "Slavery", as it existed in different periods of American life, must never be used without descriptors of context or definition. To do so is to "normalize and de-fang" perhaps what was the most demonic system ever designed to rape an entire continent and systematically destroy a human population. I make this statement conditionally, out of the respect for the continuing suffering, abuse and devastation visited upon Native American Nations in the conquering of the North and South American continents. The failure to incorporate an honest appraisal of American chattel slavery, and its lingering effects, into an analysis of the historic and contemporary challenge facing Black people the world over and to western civilization is to insure the inability to find a solution for repair.
The Black Power Movement that evolved in this era literally scared the establishment. Fear, it could be argued, is the principal barrier that must be overcome in order to make advances in the struggle for social justice. Fear, is the standing enemy of Black Power. Fear of reprisal, fear of the loss of privilege, fear of the obligation to compete on equal terms. These fears and others are
all barriers to the creation of just and equitable societies. Long discussions were structured around the very simple and obvious meaning of the term "Black Power" that Brother Stokely Carmichael introduced into the conversation. The "establishment" never could manage to construct a logical, safe and comfortable translation of those two words. As often as not, community leaders of all colors and stripes seemed to be equally confused and offended by the term. The introduction of the term into the popular discourse of the Movement exacerbated tension and internal conflict.
The Civil Rights Movement was maturing. The institutions of American society were neither prone to sleep or to accommodate that maturation. Due to the expansion of political consciousness in the society in general - particularly among the youth who were increasingly concerned with the Vietnam War - the "desegregation of lunch counters was rapidly creating a new movement energy and a broader focus on issues of international social and political justice. America had to respond and respond it did. It did so by using the successes of "the movement" to sow the seeds of division and adopt the time tested strategy of divide and conquer. More importantly, and more directly, through the Counter Intelligence Program, it unleashed the FBI's J. Edgar Hoover. It allowed the FBI and American law enforcement to infiltrate, and to destroy by any means necessary - to include assassination - the opportunity for America to embrace the meaning of her creed. In brief, this plan destroyed coalitions, created suspicion, and generated new movement objectives. Government strategies segmented the civil and human rights struggle into a race for power, identity, and benefits among groups seeking Gay rights, Women's rights, Indian rights, Black rights, Spanish rights etc. The negative but successful effects of this strategy were to be later reinforced through so called affirmative action programs and similar government sponsored activities. Black Power ultimately had to compete with "Green Power...$$$." Green Power continues to be the great un-equalizer.
What Is The Next Step In The Movement?
What Black Leaders and Black Scholars need to study and understand is how to escape "the participation trap" and get back on "the empowerment track". How did we wind up here? What are the factors and circumstances that resulted in the substitution of the word "Rights" for "Power" in our popular political vocabulary? How did a movement to secure "jobs and justice" turn in to a super-sized initiative "to integrate and foster brotherhood"? More importantly, what accounts for Women's Rights, Gay Rights, and white supremacy (however camouflaged) literally flourishing in this post movement era, while Black Rights and Indian Rights have yet to become a part of the modern "rights vocabulary" or thought process? Today, Black Americans have neither Black Power nor Black Inalienable Rights. This fact holds, in spite of the increased numbers of African American men and women who enjoy successful lives and careers. None of what can be responsibly identified as progress has served to sufficiently close the gap or to afford greater security and protection to Black life.
The tea leaves are still relatively easy to read, if we dare to do so honestly. Social, political and economic inequality, continue to frame the lead paragraph in the message. Under-employment, under-education, mass incarceration and other forms of state complicit violence continue to provide the details for the rest of the story. The message now and for centuries has been recited without apology.
The question is whether or not we can accept the fact that the strategies for empowerment that we define and adopt cannot be constrained and defined by concerns that devalue collective Black self-interest. Neither can the conditions for Black political participation in the struggle to become self-determining, be subjected to the approval of the individuals and institutions who are also the architects of global Black oppression.
The Sankofa Moment
A "Sankofa moment" of reflection teaches that we must define new strategies and a new definition of Black progress. The trip to the top for a few has not been the blue print or the solution to provide the remedy for the masses. The evidence suggests that we must reconnect with the history of our past achievements and contributions to world civilization. The evidence further suggests that we must reconstruct the bonds of African solidarity that are so essential for global Black empowerment and for the elimination of global black marginalization. Finally, we must consciously seek to start a process to build a modern agenda for political, social, economic and educational Black empowerment. This foundational agenda must consistently be driven by the spirit of an earlier time when we proclaimed that we have "no permanent friends and no permanent enemies, only permanent interests".
The "scrubs" have been taken off and the report has been written. The conclusion accurately recites the fact that Black Power is dead. The cause of death is recited as abandonment and neglect. In spite of the death, what remains are a number of vital organs to be transplanted and a treasure trove of knowledge about how to better use and protect them in the next phase of the struggle. My prayer is that we will be wise enough, bold enough and free enough in our minds to do so.
************************************************************************************* Dr. William Small, Jr. is a retired educator, and a former Board Chairman and Trustee at South Carolina State University.
"And it is gratifying in an era of the sellout, faint hearted and fallen, to see that Marvin X was one black man who met the white man in the center of the ring and walked with him to the corners of psycho-social inequity, grappling with him through the bowels of the earth, yet remained one black man the white man couldn't get."--Dr. Nathan Hare
AB and MX, 47 years of revolutionary work and friendship
Askia Toure', co-founder of BAM. Gave Marvin X his first tour of Harlem, NY, when MX arrived underground, with the FBI on his heels for refusing to fight in Vietnam. Marvin X arrived in Harlem just in time to kick off the Black Arts Movement, along with Baraka, Askia, Larry Neal, Sonia, Nikki, Haki, Last Poets, Barbara Ann Teer, Sun Ra, Milford Graves, Ed Bullins, Robert Macbeth and the New Lafayette family, 1968. Marvin became associate editor of Black Theatre Magazine, a publication of the New Lafayette Theatre. Much in the manner of David Walker's Appeal, one of Marvin's duties was distributing the magazine coast to coast, especially to the black colleges and universities.
Harlem reception for Marvin X. He was in NYC to speak at NYU memorial for poets Jayne Cortez and Amiri Baraka. Reception was at the home of poet Rashidah Ishmaili.
Original West Oakland Nigga's fa life at Bobby Hutton/Defermery Park. Marvin says, "Growing up in West Oakland, nigga wasn't a bad word, but if you called a nigga black, you had a fight!
Angela Davis, Marvin X, Sonia Sanchez
Sun Ra and Marvin X worked and performed together coast to coast, taught together at UC Berkeley and Sun Ra arranged the music for the musical version of Flowers for the Trashman, renamed Take Care of Business, TCB, a sanitized version of Flowers that Sun Ra rejected. "Marvin sometimes you so right you wrong. When you took out that sex scene you messed up, that was the best scene because it was the low down dirty truth, that's what people want, not the truth but the low down dirty truth!"
Marvin X and oldest daughter, Nefertiti, urging her father pass the baton at Laney College BAM 50th Anniversary.
Marvin X and Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf
"Marvin X is a wonderful personality!" says the Mayor
Maestro Marvin X with the Black Arts Movement Poets Choir and Arkestra, Malcolm X Jazz/Art Festival, Oakland, 2015
Poet/freedom fighter Marvin X with students at the University of California, Merced, after his lecture on the Black Arts Movement and a conversation with students on his BAM classics Flowers for the Trashman and Salaam, Huey Newton, Salaam (with Ed Bullins). Professor Kim McMillan says her students love the dramatic works of Marvin X. She wishes he would write more dramas. Kim notes her students love his works and him as well. "And I love my students as well, after all, I married two of them Muslim style while teaching at Fresno State University and University of California, Berkeley. They gave me three of the most beautiful daughters any parent, especially a father, could want, Nefertiti, Muhammida and Amira!"
Today, Feb. 15, the indefatigable, peripatetic Black Arts Movement poet/playwright/essayist/planner/organizer, Marvin X, was interviewed by University of California, Merced, theatre students in Kim McMillan's class. They questioned the co-founder of BAM on two BAM classics: Flowers for the Trashman and Salaam, Huey Newton, Salaam (with Ed Bullins), the one-act based on his last meeting with Dr. Huey P. Newton, co-founder of the Black Panther Party, in a West Oakland Crack house. Students told the poet that some of their fellow students doubted the revolutionaries were ever on crack. Marvin X responded that some people want to maintain a romantic and idealistic notion of us in the black revolution, as though we were not human and beyond the societal forces that were oppressing us. If truth be told, all classes and sectors of our community succumbed to the US drug war to destroy our liberation. He noted that he was in jail with the President of Merritt College, who was there on drug related charges. "As my father said of myself, 'Boy, you so smart, you outsmarted yourself!'"
Marvin didn't tell the students when he produced his docudrama One Day in the Life, about his addiction and recovery, including the Huey Newton scene, the New York revolutionaries at Sista's Place in Brooklyn, told him that no excuse was acceptable for him and his comrades, Huey, Eldridge, David Hilliard, falling to Crack addiction. In Salaam, Huey Newton, Salaam, Huey tells Marvin X, "We had to experience this, Jackmon, but we can come out of it--we came out of slavery, see what'm saying?"
Marvin told the students via telephone, "Well, Huey didn't make it out, so I'm here to tell the story." In the Black Arts Movement tradition of telling the raw truth, I can't romanticize the revolution. I'm duty bound to tell the truth. For sure, we were romantic idealists thinking we could defeat the US with pistols and shotguns."
But we made an impact that reverberated around the world. Imagine, Huey P. Newton met with Chinese Premier Cho En Lie. Eldridge, Kathleen and Elaine Brown met with General Giap who defeated the US in Vietnam. They also met with the North Korean leader, Kim Ill Sung, grandfather of the present leader of North Korea. Alas, the Cleaver's son, Ahmad Cleaver, celebrated his first birthday in North Korea, hosted by the wife of Kim. She also named the Cleaver's daughter, Joju, who was born in North Korea.
Students asked about Marvin's refusal to fight in Vietnam. "Yes, I refused to be a running dog for American imperialism. I fled to Toronto, Canada, Mexico City and Belize, Central America. They deported me from Belize for being a Communist (although I was not) and a Black Power Advocate (which I was). After arresting me and the Minister of Home Affairs read my deportation order, I was taken to the police station and told to sit down in the lobby until it was time for the plane to leave for Miami, Florida. Meantime, I was soon surrounded by black police officers and when the circle was full, they asked me to teach them about black power!" After which, I was taken to the airport and literally thrown into the plane to Miami. When the plane landed, I was met by two fine gentleman representing US Marshall's office. They kindly delivered me to Dade County Jail and later to Miami City Jail and ultimately to San Francisco City Jail and Terminal Island Federal Prison.
Upcoming events in the life and times of Marvin X and the Black Arts/Black Power Revolution
The Oakland Museum of California will exhibit Respect Hip Hop, including the archives of Marvin X and the Black Arts Movement.
Critic James G. Spady says, "When you listen to Tupac Shakur, E-40, Two Short, Master P or any other rappers out of the Bay Area of Cali, think of Marvin X. He laid the foundation and gave us the language to express black male urban experiences in a lyrical way."
Publication of X's Notes of a North American African Artistic Freedom Fighter, essays, Black Bird Press, Oakland, 300 pages, $29.95.
Order direct from the publisher: 510-200-4164.Credit cards accepted. We have Square. Fuck Amazon! "Amazon is selling one of my books for $2,400.00 and $700.00, but I don't get a dime. I agree with the Last Poets who tell their audience, if you don't get our CDs directly from us, don't buy them cause we ain't gettin shit!"
Look for The Movement Newspaper, a writer's Journal of the BAM, print and online editions. For more information, email email@example.com for submissions, subscriptions and advertisement, six times annually, depending on funds. Donations accepted and appreciated. Call 510-200-4164 for more information.
Many of us blerds (black nerds, to you) who have read the Black Panther comics
never thought the day would come when we would finally see this story adapted for the
big screen. With the movie’s already profound effect on pop culture, it is provoking
deeper discussions around reimagined worlds with black politicians, spiritual
leaders and monarchs at the helm. We’re hearing the word “Afrofuturism” a lot.
But what exactly is Afrofuturism?
Afrofuturism is the reimagining of a future filled with arts, science and technology
seen through a black lens. The term was conceived a quarter-century ago by white author Mark Dery in his essay “Black to the Future,” which looks at speculative
fiction within the African diaspora. The essay rests on a series of interviews with
black content creators.
Dery laid out the questions driving the philosophy of Afrofuturism:
Can a community whose past has been deliberately rubbed out, and whose energies have subsequently been consumed by the search for legible traces
of its history, imagine possible futures? Furthermore, isn’t the unreal estate of
the future already owned by the technocrats, futurologists, streamliners, and
set designers ― white to a man ― who have engineered our collective fantasies?
What makes Afrofuturism significantly different from standard science fiction is
that it’s steeped in ancient African traditions and black identity. A narrative that
features a black character in a futuristic world is not enough. To be Afrofuturism,
it must be
rooted in and unapologetically celebrate the uniqueness and innovation of black
The biggest proponent of this cultural movement, even before it had its name, was musician Sun Ra, who infused elements of space and jazz fusion in his work as a musical artist. Prolific science fiction author Octavia E. Butler explored black
women protagonists in novels like Fledging, Dawn, Parable of the Sower and
Lilith’s Brood, set in the context of futuristic technology and interactions with the supernatural. In the contemporary music world, singers like Erykah Badu, with her eccentric and experimental imagery in videos and album covers, promote the intersection of art
and futurism. Artists like Janelle Monae, with her android alter-ego and electronica sounds, and films like “Brown Girl Begins,” a post-apocalyptic tale set in 2049 and directed by Sharon Lewis, pay a huge homage to Afrofuturism.