Unarmed Women, Girls of African Descent and Violent Police Encounters- Arbitrary Punishments, Detentions, Killings, Torture, Extra Judicial Punishments, Summary Executions 1982-2015
Complied by Daniel A. Buford, Executive Director
Meiklejohn Civil Liberties Institute Berkeley, CA
September 3, 2016
The list is a compilation of thirty cases of unarmed African women and female children and the violent encounters they experienced at the hands of law enforcement agencies from every region of the United States. This list is an excerpt of a “Shadow Report” that I am in the process of preparing to be submitted to the United Nations human rights treaty bodies over the next five years of periodic treaty review in New York and Geneva, Switzerland.
Black Lives Matter Platform and Israel
By Cherie Brown
In the new Black Lives Matter Platform, there is a section on International issues that focuses on Israel. The platform describes the current oppression of Palestinians and the ongoing occupation by labeling it genocide. The use of this term, 'genocide', stirred up enormous upset amongst many Jews, both from the mainstream Jewish community and the progressive Jewish community.
Many Jews alive today had relatives who were murdered in the Nazi Holocaust in the middle of the 20th century and find the use of the term genocide to describe what is happening to Palestinians offensive. Some Jews (like the JCRC of Boston) responded by saying they will now have nothing to do with Black Lives Matter. Other groups, Truah, for example, took offense with the use of the term genocide but called for continued support of Black Lives Matter and ongoing dialogue about the disagreements.
Is Violence Justified to Resist Racial Oppression? Editor's Note: While I disagree with the author's argument for use of violence to resist oppression, I do think that his points have validity and that those of us who believe in the sanctity of human life must confront the complex realities facing oppressed peoples in the US and around the world and come up with effective strategies so that people do NOT resort to violence. I believe we have done that with our interfaith and secular-humaist-and-atheist-welcoming NSP-- Network of Spiritual Progressives (particularly thorugh the strategies inherent in the Spriitual Covenant with America www.tikkun.org/covenant, the Global and Domestic Marshall Plan www.tikkun.org/gmp and the ESRA--Environmental and Social Responsibility Amendment to the U.S. Constitution www.tikkun.org/esra, we are in a weak position to effectively counter those who resort to violence until a lot more people who agree with our approach actually join our NSP and begin to develop active chapters that push for these programs, liberal foundations start to fund us, and people with some disposable income begin to financially and politically back our activities, including our Empathy Tribe notion described in the editorials of our Summer 2016 and Fall 2016 issues of Tikkun Magazine. I should also point out that violence by the oppressed frequently leads to more violence, either the overwhelming violence of the oppressors who have control of the armies, or, in the few instances where the oppressed actually succeed in violently overthrowing their oppressors, they all to often have then created societies in which they use violence to perpetuate the new regime they have created, thereby oppressing others. --Rabbi Michael Lerner
Former Judge William Boardman of Windsor County, Vermont - is well known in the progressive community for putting politicians of both major political "parties" on the spot…
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President Obama observes a ceremony to honor NATO soldiers at the NATO summit in Warsaw on Friday.
Join or Donate Now! STOP THE VIOLENCE! We mourn all the victims of violence, including the large volume of violence against people that goes unreported and underreported, including poor people and people of color, but also we mourn for the very few police officers who have been hurt or killed by those outraged at the way police have been harassing or murdering members of their community, their people, their race, etc. EVERY HUMAN LIFE IS PRECIOUS. None of the violence is ok.
In case you who missed it, here's Rabbi Lerner's talk at Muhammed Ali's funeral. His vision is all the more relevant given the horrific killings in Orlando and the way it is being used to promote fear, hatred and Islamophobia. It has gone viral on social media and inspired over a million people already. If it inspires you as well, please read below for how to be an ally with Rabbi Lerner to help build the world he describes.
[This exploration of the nature of race and racism in American society, as seen in the context of personal experience, social science, and spiritual tradition, was given as a talk to students and some faculty of the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York City, by Rabbi Mordechai Liebling. Rabbi Liebling is director of the Social Justice Organizing Program at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, and a member of the Board of The Shalom Center. This was reprinted from the Shalom Center's email with permission from Rabbi Liebling);
Shalom, thank you
It is an honor and privilege to address you Jewish leaders and Jewish leaders in formation. I appreciate the opportunity and feel humbled by the responsibility. Responsibility because racism has been called variously the core wound of American society, the cancer at our core, our original sin, deepest shadow, fundamental contradiction - choose your language- they all convey the same message that the United States can not and will not be a spiritually healthy just society unless and until we put an end to all forms of racism. I will address today some of the different aspects of racism, the process of racialization, how racism and its corollary white privilege constrict the spiritual growth of each one of us and some suggestions of what we can do, in between you will have opportunity to speak with each other and at the end there will be time for some questions.
Editor's note: As a non-profit, Tikkun does not take stances on candidates or political parties during election periods, but our authors and readers are welcome to do so! Henry Giroux is one of the most creative theorists on the Left these days, so it is an honor to publish him here. Donald Trump and the Ghost of Totalitarianism
Henry A. Giroux
In the current historical moment in the United States, the emptying out of language is nourished by the assault on the civic imagination. One example of this can be found in the rise of Donald Trump on the political scene. Donald Trump's popular appeal speaks to not just the boldness of what he says and the shock it provokes, but the inability to respond to shock with informed judgement rather than titillation.
The imposition of the “desire for mutual recognition” as the universal that ties us all together in common humanity onto the description of every social phenomena is ahistorical and undialectical—it fails to account for the concrete particulars of time and space that give exercises of social power a particular spin and story.
The “Tragedy of Selma?” you might ask. Wasn’t it a triumph for the civil rights movement? Did it not lead to further advances in that struggle? And if you are referring to the movie, is it not a triumph as well, getting a film that portrays one of the signal struggles of the Movement during the 60s with such searing honesty, no holds barred in dealing with the “Which side are you on?” question, applied to this event? Well, yes, the Selma March was a triumph for the civil rights movement. It played a very important role in getting/helping Lyndon Johnson to support what became the Voting Rights Act. (More on the “role-of-LBJ” controversy later.) It did lead to further advances in that struggle. The movie is a triumph as well, a brilliantly staged and acted docu-drama which, among other things, uses the real Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, AL as the setting for the real march that took place across it in 1865. (One has to wonder if the photographer, Peter Pettus, see above, was a relative of Edmund Pettus.)
Ironically enough, the bridge is named for a Confederate Brigadier General, who later, operating out of his law office(!), became the leader of the Alabama Ku Klux Klan in Selma and went on to become a U.S. Senator from Alabama. This is particularly ironic in the context of the Voting Rights Act and the struggle to enact it. The Ku Klux Klan was founded very shortly after the end of the First Civil War by an association of ex-Confederate generals, planters, certain Democratic politicians, and other white leadership who wanted to return the civil society in the South as much as possible to what it had been before the First Civil War, with the exception of not having the institution of chattel slavery in place. (On the Klan, see also pp. 425-44 in Prof. Eric Foner’s magnum opus,Reconstruction: America’s Unfinished Revolution, Harper and Row, 1988.)
One of the principal objectives of the Klan, from the earliest days of its founding, was to prevent the newly freed slaves from the exercising the right to vote that had been granted to them by the 14th (1868) and 15th(1870) Amendments to the Constitution. The language of the latter is particularly instructive: “1. The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude. 2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.” But with the power first of the Klan, with the ever-spreading denial of the vote to African-Americans, and then with the institution over a period of some years of what was called the “Jim Crow” laws by the Democratic Party in the South, African-Americans were indeed systematically denied the right that had being guaranteed to them by the 15th amendment.
Thoughts about the greatness of Selma, truth, black and white unity, King and the clamor of racist patriarchs… by Alan Gilbert
The movie “Selma,” directed by Ava DuVernay, is a subtle, restrained account of a period of the most extreme American violence against black people, focused on the leadership and struggles of Martin and Coretta King as well as the many who joined them in Selma and around the country. The experience DuVernay conjures, for instance, the horrific shooting of Jimmie Lee Jackson in a restaurant in Selma, his father’s grieving at the coroner’s office, Jimmie’s body seen through the glass and King’s compassion, is alive today in the movement Black Lives Matter! about the murders of Eric Garner and Tamir Rice and Mike Brown and Trayvon Martin... ***
The director sought to capture many people from the civil rights movement. In immersing herself in the words of the time and employing extras from Selma today, she aimed to find the truth and did. For the movie vividly captures the greatness and difficulties of the mass nonviolent civil rights movement, the most admirable way of doing social change that America, along with Tolstoy and Gandhi, has yet given to the world (John Brown is, in certain ways, a greater figure than King; King in the final two speeches, one to John Doar, a Johnson attorney, and one at the state capitol in Montgomery, both written for him by DuVernay, insists “Mine eyes have seen the glory.” There is a resonance of King’s last speech in Memphis about longevity and the mountain top as well as of the original song, the marching song of the North in the Civil War, “John Brown’s Body lies a mouldering in the grave” (the words were written over by Julia Ward Howe – the “Battle Hymn of the Republic” was largely fostered to tame the memory of John Brown - but the original power still lives in them…)
Much pivots today on whether mass nonviolent campaigns from below, revealed in this film, offer a way out for a humanity threatened by endless war and climate change. ***
Coretta speaks of the death that was always near. DuVernay, in the second scene in the movie, follows the little girls accompanied by a boy on the steps going down to the Church basement in Birmingham, talking about their hair and the last talking about how Coretta King does hers…
DuVernay is an extraordinary film maker, and this is a woman’s (and a documentarist’s, a psychologist’s) way of seeing these moments of terrible violence.
Returning to face the violence at the root of a nation state connects the struggle for Palestinian liberation and the struggle for Black liberation in the United States. By squarely turning to face how the past lives in the present of both countries, we can move toward reckoning with the root cause of racialized violence in both the Israel and the United States.
My approach and Somerson’s should be two examples of dueling alternatives on the American Jewish Left, hopefully beyond the Left, in search of both a correction (tikkun) and a conclusion (siyum) to the injustices of one people dominating another.