Happy Mother’s Day

**UPDATE:  If you missed the show, it will rebroadcast tonight (5/12) at 7pm. 

Domestic violence is responsible for over 50% of women killed in the United States.  It doesn’t just affect the abused – its ripples are felt throughout the family and impacts future generations. Join me on Saturday, May 12, when we discuss domestic violence on The Music According to James radio show.  I’ll share my testimony and the signs I didn’t see in my own relationship until it was too late.  Airs on the Urban Broadcast Media radio via the app or this link.  Check out the promo below!

I hope you have a safe, blessed, and wonderful Mother’s Day weekend.

 

 

 

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Bill Cosby: Fallen Legacy

Bill Cosby Dr Huxtable

Well, the verdict is in and Bill Cosby has been found guilty of sexual assault so, hang onto your hats, because mine is not a popular stance on the issue. You might remember that back in late 2014, I wrote about this case as women (white and black) continued to step forward with allegations against him.  I cautioned against making judgements until this case played itself out in court. While this verdict saddens me, it also infuriates me because he threw away his legacy

Bill Cosby is a genius. He’s a prolific speaker, writer, entertainer, and businessman.  The things he managed to accomplish in racist America speaks volumes to the accolades he’s achieved and the pride he’s instilled in the Black Community.  There is a great divide among blacks because Cosby has also been viewed as an elitist who is out of touch with the lives of poor people.  But the truth of the matter is this: Cosby is a predator and a rapist, and the Black community should take a breath and stop defending the indefensible.

We can continue with the “war of the memes” and go down memory lane with Dr. Huxtable, but it doesn’t erase the fact that Bill Cosby drugged and preyed on women- whether it was 10, 20, or 30 years ago is irrelevant. He violated someone’s body, mind, and sense of safety- often without them being aware of it.  He, like many rich and powerful men, attempted to cover it up.  So, let’s go through some of the reasons we use to defend Cosby and why we should stop:

  1. He admitted to giving Quaaludes to women without their knowledge.
  • Seriously, if you personally knew someone like that, would you be so quick to make excuses for them?
  1. This is punishment due to his attempt to purchase NBC.
  • I’m pretty sure we can say this is a possibility. However, that is a huge stretch of the imagination when there were at least two allegations made against him (one recorded but never published) as early as the 80s. Not only that, but NBC was worth over 4 billion dollars at the time.  Cosby was not looking to purchase NBC by himself- he needed partners/investors/loans to accomplish this. Regardless of that, when it fell through, he had the same option as Oprah: start his own network. She did it with far less capital than what he supposedly was attempting to do.
  1. Historical rape of black women by white men
  • This is the most disturbing of all the excuses. Rape is rape no matter who perpetrates it.  It’s not news that black women have been raped by white men.  We’ve been raped by black men too. I would rather see a movement to bring the Weinsteins, Trumps, Collins (Steve) of the world to justice instead of using this as a defense. Remember, he assaulted or sexually harassed black women too.
  1. “Steve Collins admitted to molesting children – not raping GROWN WHITE WOMEN” / Woody Allen got a pass because he’s white…
  • Both rape and pedophilia are heinous crimes. So… are we suggesting that Cosby gets a pass because the victims are ADULTS (and white)?? If molesting children is disgusting to an individual, then raping anyone should be just as vile and unacceptable.
  1. It’s a distraction because it directs us away from more important issues going on in the black community.
  • No, it doesn’t. Its difficult to be distracted by Cosby when we’re constantly immersed by reports of black people being killed by police, arrested in restaurants, or forced off golf courses and trains.  This man raped women – both black and white. He was found out, tried, and convicted (of one but lets face it, he got lucky).  I believe that energy should be best delegated to those other issues instead of fiercely defending a sexual predator.
  1. Some of the women lied about the rapes.
  • Yes, they did. But he also admitted securing drugs, he’s made jokes about Spanish Fly, and he settled with Constrand. His pattern of behavior has been established. Any women who lies about rape is a sick opportunist but that is still not a defense for what he’s done.  Hasn’t Trump’s pattern of behavior as a racist, liar, and sexual predator been established? Well, so has Cosby’s. The only difference between the two is that Bill Cosby had a solid reputation as a person of character and, an enduring legacy and the other one…

Here’s the thing… I’m most angry because Bill Cosby did this to himself.  Phylicia Rashad is quoted as saying “What you’re seeing is the destruction of a legacy. And I think it’s orchestrated. I don’t know why or who’s doing it, but it’s the legacy. And it’s a legacy that is so important to the culture,” she said. “This show represented America to the outside world. This was the American family. And now you’re seeing it being destroyed. Why?”  Why? Well, sadly, because he couldn’t keep it in his pants.  He’s not Trayvon Martin, Sandra Bland, or Philando Castille.  He wasn’t minding his own business when along came the police or ‘the system’ to ruin his life.  HE THREW IT ALL AWAY. He literally gave it away.

Bill Cosby built a legacy that should’ve produced accolades speaking highly of his laurels.  Instead, he allowed his ego to catapult him into a perverted abuse of his wealth and power.  It doesn’t matter the race of the victims because every sexual predator has a type.  People love to forget that. His type was white women and light-skinned black women who could almost pass for white.  He knew what he was doing when he made the comment about Spanish Fly just as Donald Trump knew and understood that “grabbing her by the pussy” was something to be proud of.  The look of perverted glee on Cosby’s face when he said it tells us what his mindset is.  Cosby provided his enemies with the ammunition they needed to destroy him.  He, of all people should’ve known that White America would not give him a pass. That, eventually, the bill would become due.

We keep forgetting that this is a highly educated and intelligent man- emphasis on man– prone to human errors and frailty of character. He’s not perfect – none of us are. Cosby never imagined he would ever be called out or, that it would take such a tragic turn.  But… here we are, fighting among ourselves about “them destroying him because he wanted NBC”. To be honest, I think that he stepped on the wrong toes and someone set out to get a devastating revenge.  But he still committed a crime.

Bill Cosby was once quoted as saying The lower economic people,” he said, “are not holding up their end in this deal. These people are not parenting. They are buying things for their kids — $500 sneakers for what? And won’t spend $200 for “Hooked on Phonics!”  Well, Bill Cosby, you did not hold up your end in this deal.  You allowed your misogynistic and egotistical personality to blind your judgement.  Now, at 80 years old, you have left us with a new legacy – one of sadness and anger. You allowed for the evidence and destruction of your legacy- one that was to be a beacon of endurance to our culture.  You’ve created a new space of dissension among black people – including “the lower economic people” as they argue among themselves to make sense of what you’ve done. Lastly, rape victims are being victimized because they were ashamed to come forward earlier and future victims will remember this. That is what you’ve left us.

Black people, please – let us mourn the loss of the icon he used to be and, accept the fact that he is a disappointment to the people he claimed to represent- you. There is no washing over the fact that he is a rapist and a sexual predator.  There aren’t enough news stories you can share or memes you can post (pointing out the unfairness of him not getting away with it as white men have done) to cover up what Bill Cosby has done to himself, his wife, his children, and Black Americans.

So, when you post those memes to juxtaposition the crime he’s been convicted of vs the free pass that those white celebrities have enjoyed, be honest and call it what it is.  Try this “It is unjust that Bill Cosby, a convicted rapist, was rightfully convicted for his crime while Steve Collins, a pedophile, hasn’t been charged or punished for molesting children. They both violated the safe space of people and should both be punished.”  Say that. But let’s stop trying to rehabilitate Cosby’s image.  He put it in a shredder. It’s gone. That, is the biggest and most painful tragedy that we must comprehend.

POEM: No More Sacred Spaces

Safe Passage

There are no more sacred spaces,

Just look at all the faces

Lost in a haze of confusion

Finding out safety is just an illusion

When children go to school to learn

And find bullets are all that they’ve earned

Finding no safe place to hide

As munitions come in at all sides

 

There are no more sacred spaces

Just look at all the faces

As they go to worship in churches

And a gunman uses pews as perches

To snuff out everyone he sees

And receives a meal for his deeds

The ultimate sanctity has been broken

Shooting up a church is an unspoken

Betrayal of all that is holy and civil

Peace shattered by a psycho

 

There are no more sacred spaces

Just look at all the faces

Their eyes are permanently dilated

Scarred by evil incinerate

Going to work is a clear and present danger

When a coworker uses guns to express anger

And blood begins to flow like rain

Never to earn a living again

Because they came in to make a living

Just to be murdered by a cold-hearted villain

 

There are no more sacred spaces

Just look at all the faces

Children are no longer safe at home

But instead, shed blood and bone

As parents commit filicide

Driving off cliffs into ocean tides

Or stuffing them into couches to smother

Or being molested or harmed by mom’s lover

Leaving more questions than answers

A sickness that spreads like cancer

By system too broken to protect

Those suffering abuse and neglect

 

There are no more sacred spaces

Just look at all the faces

As they exist within their own skin

On a scale that deems darkness a sin

When they see those flashing lights

And their guilt is deemed by flight

And bullets blaze all around them

Murdered by cops forever condemning

Dark skin to death due to cowardly fear

Only to walk away when the smoke has cleared

 

There are no more sacred spaces

Just look at all the faces

As they celebrate in a marathon crowd

Or an outdoor concert celebrating loudly

Oblivious to the impending peril

Of ticking bombs or the sights of a gun barrel

Victimized by a cruel declining civilization

As powers-that-be argue over legislation

While we witness the castration

Of the peace of a powerful nation

 

There are no more sacred spaces

Just look at all the faces

That vote on the whim of hope

Our way of life is on a slippery slope

Because we took our eyes off the prize

Valuing wealth over human life

Sacred spaces are dissipating

As the nation is segregating

And as our children are dying

And evil continues its uprising

 

There are no more sacred spaces

Just look at all the faces

As they look to us for solutions

To put an end to all the pollution

All we can do is pray

That it will not remain this way

©2018 Kim R Woods All Rights Reserved

 

Last Semester in College, Out of Options

UPDATE- Message from Malik’s mom:

“One week ago, I was overwhelmed with worry and distress over whether my son would return to school this week. Then my sister Kim (aka the wind beneath my wings) created a donation page and with just one initial donation, the love and support started flowing in. I want to thank everyone who shared and/or donated and prayed for Malik’s return to school. They took a partial payment and he was able to return to school today and register for classes. This could not have happened without a community of people who cared enough to donate, and share the post. I am now overwhelmed in a profoundly grateful way!
The abundance of love and inspiration has been nothing short of amazing; and I am humbled by the kindness of strangers! I’m not FB friends with everyone who shared or donated but please share this post with those who received the original post! THANK YOU ALL!
Henry Rosemon Nadine Rosemon, Tracy Rosemon, Nicole Langston, Belinda Ramos
Sabrina L. Williams Loren Moore
Maisha Nailah Nicole Layton
Corey Rosemon Deneen Collins Sharese Simmons
Miguel Anderson, Emanuel Alexander Kawanda T Johnson Kenneth and Ora Pittman. Carmela C, Michelle Nickolaisen, Carl Young, Laverne Woods, Latarsha Leveston-Green, Litesa Wallace, Chris Hutchinson Shekinah Carrera, Kathryn Kappes, Michelle Guido, Joseph Coates, Heidi Paugh, Nicole Mijatovic-Torres, Chanel Philips” 

Thanks to you, we were able to convince the school to allow him to register- knowing our efforts to raise the funds.  Please, support us.  As of today we are looking for these #DreamMakers:

11 people to donate 100  OR

15 people to donate 75

23 people to donate 50

46 people to donate 25

115 people to donate 10

Also, PLEASE don’t dismiss $5.00 or $1.00.  EVERY dollar helps Malik.  You can also send PayPal to:  paypay.me/krose125 or PayPal my sister (Malik’s mom) at denise.rosemon@gmail.com.  We need a miracle to help him graduate this year.  You can be that miracle.  Thank you!

https://www.youcaring.com/malikstuckey-1065184

Hello, friends.  As you SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESknow, I have used my platform to speak for those who have no voice.  Today I am writing for a young man who has surpassed many obstacles, working extremely hard in high school and college.  He has worked jobs throughout his high school/college journey to defray costs.  He is charismatic, responsible, and highly intelligent.  He is currently one semester away from graduating from college at Western Illinois University and he needs your help.

Please help Malik Stuckey, my nephew, complete his education.  Our family has sacrificed to get him this far and we are tapped out of options. He will not be able to register for his last semester next week if we can’t raise the funds he needs.  Please go to https://www.youcaring.com/malikstuckey-1065184 and donate.  If you can’t donate, we ask that you please SHARE the link above and/or repost this blog to signify your support.

We are only as strong as the children we release into the world and my nephew truly deserves to complete his hard-earned education.  Thank you!

Last Semester in College, Out of Options

UPDATE- Message from Malik’s mom:

“One week ago, I was overwhelmed with worry and distress over whether my son would return to school this week. Then my sister Kim (aka the wind beneath my wings) created a donation page and with just one initial donation, the love and support started flowing in. I want to thank everyone who shared and/or donated and prayed for Malik’s return to school. They took a partial payment and he was able to return to school today and register for classes. This could not have happened without a community of people who cared enough to donate, and share the post. I am now overwhelmed in a profoundly grateful way!
The abundance of love and inspiration has been nothing short of amazing; and I am humbled by the kindness of strangers! I’m not FB friends with everyone who shared or donated but please share this post with those who received the original post! THANK YOU ALL!
Henry Rosemon Nadine Rosemon, Tracy Rosemon, Nicole Langston, Belinda Ramos
Sabrina L. Williams Loren Moore
Maisha Nailah Nicole Layton
Corey Rosemon Deneen Collins Sharese Simmons
Miguel Anderson, Emanuel Alexander Kawanda T Johnson Kenneth and Ora Pittman. Carmela C, Michelle Nickolaisen, Carl Young, Laverne Woods, Latarsha Leveston-Green, Litesa Wallace, Chris Hutchinson Shekinah Carrera, Kathryn Kappes, Michelle Guido, Joseph Coates, Heidi Paugh, Nicole Mijatovic-Torres, Chanel Philips” 

Thanks to you, we were able to convince the school to allow him to register- knowing our efforts to raise the funds.  Please, support us.  As of today we are looking for these #DreamMakers:

11 people to donate 100  OR

15 people to donate 75

23 people to donate 50

46 people to donate 25

115 people to donate 10

Also, PLEASE don’t dismiss $5.00 or $1.00.  EVERY dollar helps Malik.  You can also send PayPal to:  paypay.me/krose125 or PayPal my sister (Malik’s mom) at denise.rosemon@gmail.com.  We need a miracle to help him graduate this year.  You can be that miracle.  Thank you!

https://www.youcaring.com/malikstuckey-1065184

Hello, friends.  As you Malik silhouetteknow, I have used my platform to speak for those who have no voice.  Today I am writing for a young man who has surpassed many obstacles, working extremely hard in high school and college.  He has worked jobs throughout his high school/college journey to defray costs.  He is charismatic, responsible, and highly intelligent.  He is currently one semester away from graduating from college at Western Illinois University and he needs your help.

Please help Malik Stuckey, my nephew, complete his education.  Our family has sacrificed to get him this far and we are tapped out of options. He will not be able to register for his last semester next week if we can’t raise the funds he needs.  Please go to https://www.youcaring.com/malikstuckey-1065184 and donate.  If you can’t donate, we ask that you please SHARE the link above and/or repost this blog to signify your support.

We are only as strong as the children we release into the world and my nephew truly deserves to complete his hard-earned education.  Thank you!

The Survival of a Cop Killer

police-1537106_1280A cop has died.  On Monday night (Oct. 9), a 19-year-old Texas student was taken into custody. While being processed, he pulled out a gun and shot the officer in the head, fatally wounding him.  The young man, identified as Hollis Daniels, fled the station on foot.  After a lock-down of the station and pursuit of the suspect, Hollis was finally apprehended.  As horrifying and sad as the officer’s death has been, something else occurred that is tragically and glaringly obvious… Daniels is still alive.

That sounds like a harsh statement but truth of the matter is, it hurts my soul. Because this, without question, represents the cornerstone of everything Colin Kaepernick kneeled for and blacks won’t shut up about! Right here… again- an armed violent white person commits a heinous crime and walks away with a beating heart.

It’s becoming uncomfortable to try ignoring what no longer can be ignored: Black people are endangered in this country. The reason is simple… black skin equals clear and present danger. It’s akin to standing in the middle of a busy expressway. Black skin incites fear, violence, and death and appears to produce an instant discomfort that seems to put others on high alert.  I’ll pause here to state the obvious: of course, not all non-blacks/whites feel it, but deep down, most cannot pretend it’s not there. It needs to be discussed because people are dying for no reason. Encounters with police appear to be detrimental to black health. Yet, police encounters with whites appear to be harmful to their own well-being.

Eliza Wasni is a 16-year-old who managed to openly steal a knife and a machete from a Walmart store in Skokie, IL and use it to murder 34-year-old Uber driver, Grant Nelson. After waving the weapons at officers, Wasni was taken into custody after she was tasered by police. Laquan McDonald wasn’t so lucky.  The 17-year-old was shot sixteen times while wielding a knife and moving away from officers.  Last year a Brooklyn resident Robert Crumb, killed his wife, stabbed his daughter, and after crashing his car into a gas station, he then attacked the officer whose gun was drawn and pointing directly at Crumb’s chest. Crumb continued to advance, threw the officer to the ground, and was eventually pulled off by other cops.  Yet we watched in horror as police shot 12-year-old Tamir Rice within two seconds of officers stopping their vehicle.  Tamir had a toy gun. Can we say it again: Black Lives Matter.

Before I go into BLM vs Black-on-Black crime, let’s talk about the problem of white privilege and the dirty little secret of the police department that neither they nor the media wants to discuss. In 2016 there was a huge increase in police killed on the job- a whopping 59% increase.  Of those killed, 71% were by the hands of whites.  Yet, as Shaun King states, the media has been silent.  This is clearly an uptick from an earlier study that was posted in Newsweek in 2015 which states “In 2013, 44 percent of cop killers were white, 37 percent were black and 11 percent were Hispanic. Last year, 54 percent were white, 26 percent were black and 18 percent were Hispanic.”  What’s wrong with this picture?

The conclusion I draw is that police are not threatened by white skin and because of that, they are dying on the job. Because they move around in this world with a privilege not enjoyed by others, they automatically extend it to the white criminals they encounter on the job.  Even Dylan Roof was fed a meal on his way to jail after he shot up a black church and murdered 9 people.  That’s privilege, plain, simple, and painful.

Inevitably, whenever one says Black Lives Matter, people want to compare it to the blue unicorn called “Black-on-black” crime.  That is because they don’t understand what SYSTEMIC racism is and that it exists in EVERY FACET of Black and brown Lives. It’s NOT just about police-on-black crime!! It’s about the educational system, the grade school-to-prison pipeline, the Criminal Justice system, and a myriad of other issues plaguing the black/brown communities within that “System”. A system, mind you, that is a living, breathing, and ever-churning machine of corruption. Black-on-black crime is a separate issue, so crunching numbers to dismiss #BLM is an irrelevant comparison. Studies in 2016 show that roughly 84% of Whites are killed by Whites and about 90% of Blacks are killed by Blacks- which makes sense because crimes are usually committed by the group we’re in the closest proximity to.  It’s safe to say that this is a crime problem – not a systemic and criminal justice problem.  I’ve never seen a blue unicorn so it’s safe to say Black-on-Black crime doesn’t exist in the form that the average racist would like to claim as a bullet point against BLM. Not unless, of course, you mention White-on-White crime in the same breath.

Hollis Daniels was brought in because he had drugs and drug paraphernalia in his room.  He evidently received treatment so respectful and compassionate that they did not even frisk him.  Then, he managed to pull out the weapon (was he even handcuffed?), shoot an officer and escape because no one could restrain him. This would never have occurred had he been black. If he managed to escape the frisk, there’s no way he would’ve made it out of that police station alive. That’s the ugly truth.

The good news is that people are slowly waking up to the fact that we can no longer live within the bubbles of our lives and ignore the festering injustices swarming around us.  Colin Kaepernick refused to stand for the National Anthem and the country went berserk. But there is a problem because police are brutalizing and killing Black people and police, in turn, are being murdered by Whites. We tell drug addicts that unless they admit there’s a problem, they can’t even begin to fix it. Well, it’s time to apply that same analogy to this problem- which for officers- appears to be getting worse. They can start by treating their encounters with all races equally and stop giving Whites the benefit of the doubt. Maybe, just maybe we’ll all make it home alive.

When Community Bands Together: The Rise and Fall Thereof

protest-1567028_1920

On Sept 10, 2017, 19-year-old Kenneka Jenkins was found frozen to death inside the freezer of the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Rosemont, Il following a party she attended there.  As devastating as her death has been, it occurred under the most bizarre circumstances we’ve seen in quite a while.  Although there has been much speculation about what happened to her (which won’t be covered today), the purpose of this article is to highlight the most extraordinary display of unity as people came together for a common cause – to seek answers.

Oftentimes, when blacks are reported in the media, it’s because they were killed by either law enforcement, gang violence, or other means. But this story wasn’t of much media interest because in the days after Kenneka Jenkin’s death, people came together to support her mother, Teresa Martin.  Ms. Martin’s attempts to find out what happened to her daughter were initially met with indifference.  She was eventually offered a viewing of videos that showed her daughter staggering (apparently intoxicated) down a hallway, then off an elevator, and finally into a kitchen.  What the videos did not show was her child entering the freezer.  She asked for that video and was again met with silence.

Several Chicago activists (Sheena M. James, Lamon Reccord, Jedidiah Brown, and Natorah El) stepped in to aid the grieving mother.  As each day passed, the crowds became a little bigger—30 became a hundred, and so on. Facebook Live views for these activists were in the double-digits as thousands of people around the country (and the world) responded and tuned in.  Monday through Thursday I tuned into various Facebook Live feeds of the protests.  They chanted “No justice no peace, this hotel won’t get no sleep’, ‘Justice for Kenneka’, ’21 hours and a coverup’, ‘If we don’t get it (tapes), SHUT IT DOWN’, etc. They blew whistles and banged on pots and pans. They were there to stay.

It was organized and efficient. After viewing the live feeds each day, it was hard not to see the camaraderie and cohesiveness of the protesters gain momentum.  Each day they began with a pre-protest update of the previous night’s events and let people know what was accomplished as well as the problems that arose.  In the evening, several people recorded live feeds of the protest in front of the Crowne Plaza Hotel.  Eventually (as with many protests) people were arrested. A “jail fund” was set up to aid them which, led to the last daily update taking place at the police station as they informed us who had been arrested (staying there until they bailed them out). The comments and encouragement sparked a movement- whose togetherness morphed into an event unlike anything I’ve seen before. It was the passion and commitment to the mother that literally moved people all over the country to action.

Facebook consistently shut down some of the feeds and suspended Ms. Martin’s (the mother) and Mr. Brown’s access to their pages (Ms. Martin’s was later restored).  Each night, the protests were peaceful and orderly. To keep streets clear and traffic flowing, arrests were made of anyone who stepped onto the street.  As the group of supporters sat in the Rosemont Police Department, they said that their motto was “We’re not leaving anyone behind.”  On one of those nights an elderly white man named Jack was bailed out. The police injured Jack’s arm and he was taken to the hospital before the group could bail him out.  When asked why he was there he said, “I’ve been doing this for over 50 years and I’ll never stop.” Then he said, “I’ll be back tomorrow.” Jack was there the next day- to the delight of the viewers who wrote in large letters “WE LOVE YOU JACK!!” Throughout all of this, the media was silent. I found it strange that hundreds of people protesting in upscale suburban Rosemont and against an upscale hotel was met with complete silence from the media. Black people weren’t looting and burning things so I guess it was a slow night. There was, however, a documentary photographer there (Jon Lowenstein) to capture events as they unfolded.

Toward the middle of the week Jedidiah Brown announced that on Friday they expected a large group – people coming from around the country- to support Ms. Martin’s quest for the complete videos of her daughter entering the freezer.  Friday arrived and something amazing happened — people from all over the country really did gather in Rosemont Illinois.  People of every race, age, and religion came to support Teresa Martin.

Ethan (a tall white gentle giant (who was later arrested) took a Greyhound bus from Georgia. There were people from Joliet, IL, Wisconsin, Indiana, Mississippi, New York, Boston, and California.  Among the crowd was a woman of short stature with her hair in a short afro wearing a purple tee-shirt with face of Kenneka Jenkins.  She was giving a hug to every person she came in contact with- thanking them for coming.  Teresa Martin has been a bulwark during her personal tragic loss.  Having just undergone a double-mastectomy just days before her daughter Kenneka went missing, she has consistently been in Rosemont daily demanding the full and complete video footage of her daughter’s last minutes of life.

Also, on Friday as massive crowds of people (1800+) arrived and took to the streets, law enforcement became aggressive and violent. One protester was violently thrown to the ground and arrested.  Activists went to the police station to check on his condition and to ask that the young man receive medical care. The officers -once polite/helpful – were now belligerent and aggressive and threatened Mr. Brown and the other activists with arrest for disturbing the peace.

To say the source of my initial unease (regarding Friday’s expected crowd) became a self-fulfilling prophesy is an understatement.  I say that because anyone who knows that when massive amounts of money, power, and privilege are at stake, the outcomes for the average person is shaky at best. This was a different kind of ‘protest’.  It wasn’t about race.  It wasn’t an obvious murder (it’s officially a death investigation).  It wasn’t even local(located in a Chicago suburb).  This was about a Chicago mother whose daughter died in a sadly disturbing and as yet, unanswered way – and people all over the country responded by physically showing up.  They donated time, air fare, places to stay, rides, food/drink, and their voices.

Sadly, whenever a demonstration moves to the highest (and peaceful) degree and, whenever there is such a strong, true/genuine cohesiveness of ‘the people’ (meaning ALL people), destruction is never far behind.  It would take a book to go deep into the events that unfolded within the Martin camp but allegations were made against the activists by the mother via Facebook about the funds, the mother pulled away from their aid -leaving in her wake devastated men and women who stood with her just hours before.  Why?  Because within activism are pockets of division and within the black community itself breads negativity. To read the comments in some of these feeds was disheartening to say the least. Apparently another activist (who was not associated with this group) was responsible for creating the division that brought the movement to an end.

Friday was a pivotal day for Chicago and the country.  People proved that it is possible to come together for a common cause. They went to Rosemont and shut it down- not an easy feat by any means.  But sadly, by Saturday, there were clearly signs that something poisonous had entered the mix and by Sunday, it fell completely apart. All unfolding like a made-for-TV series on Facebook Live.

My heart breaks for the Teresa Martin’s unimaginable loss and it’s important to note that she has yet to bury her child and truly grieve. She did state that no one told her about the ‘jail fund” but in fairness I heard several activists mention it several times and they always stated that she personally OK’d it. It is said that whenever money involved, bad things can happen and in this case, it certainly did.  At any rate, the allegations have left everyone with questions and confusion and, has caused a cavernous rift within the community of activists.

The movement is over and in it’s place is a standard protest (Jedidiah Brown and the others are no longer present).  I checked Facebook today and there are only a handful of people there- seemingly less than the crowd last week when protests first began.  It’s a huge step backwards.

I had no intention of writing about Kenneka Jenkins until all the facts were in.  Yet, after seeing how the amazing cohesiveness of the protests evolved on Friday, I decided to write “When Community Bands Together, Amazing Things Happen” but by Sunday, I revised it to “When Community Bands Together (The Rise and Fall Thereof).” That was disappointing…

But the real question we should be asking is “Why did this happen on the day when the most true power of the movement was present?”

But like this case, we will have to wait and see what unfolds in the days ahead. Hopefully we’ll get a picture of what really happened to destroy what was becoming a movement representative of the strength, respect, love, support, and a quest for truth by ALL the people. How ironic is that?

****The mother chose a large venue for her daughter’s funeral so she could thank everyone for supporting her.  Funeral arrangements as quoted by Teresa Martin’s Facebook page:

“HOUSE OF HOPE
KENNEKA JENKINS FUNERAL
9/30/17
Saturday
THE COLORS ARE PURPLE AND WHITE
Rev T Meeks
752 E 114th st, Chicago, IL 60628 (correct address 😇)
11am-12pm wake
12pm-1pm Funeral
ALL ARE WELCOME
IF YOU COME IN PEACE SO DEVIL YOUR NOT WELCOME HERE”