Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
First is the matter of racial equality. When slavery was abolished, it was not by constitutional fiat but by the joining of military necessity with the moral force of a great antislavery movement, acting outside the Constitution and often against the law. The Thirteenth, Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments wrote into the Constitution rights that extralegal action had already won. But the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments were ignored for almost a hundred years. The right to equal protection of the law and the right to vote, even the Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education in 1954 underlining the meaning of the equal protection clause, did not become operative until blacks, in the fifteen years following the Montgomery bus boycott, shook up the nation by tumultuous actions inside and outside the law.
The Constitution played a helpful but marginal role in all that. Black people, in the political context of the 1960s, would have demanded equality whether or not the Constitution called for it, just as the antislavery movement demanded abolition even in the absence of constitutional support.
What about the most vaunted of constitutional rights, free speech? Historically, the Supreme Court has given the right to free speech only shaky support, seesawing erratically by sometimes affirming and sometimes overriding restrictions. Whatever a distant Court decided, the real right of citizens to free expression has been determined by the immediate power of the local police on the street, by the employer in the workplace and by the financial limits on the ability to use the mass media.
The existence of a First Amendment has been inspirational but its protection elusive. Its reality has depended on the willingness of citizens, whether labor organizers, socialists or Jehovah’s Witnesses, to insist on their right to speak and write. Liberties have not been given; they have been taken. And whether in the future we have a right to say what we want, or air what we say, will be determined not by the existence of the First Amendment or the latest Supreme Court decision but by whether we are courageous enough to speak up at the risk of being jailed or fired, organized enough to defend our speech against official interference and can command resources enough to get our ideas before a reasonably large public.
The language of the First Amendment looks absolute. “Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech.” Yet in 1798, seven years after the First Amendment was adopted, Congress did exactly that, it passed laws abridging the freedom of speech-the Alien and Sedition Acts.
The powerful words of the First Amendment seem to fade with the sounds of war, or near war. The Sedition Act of 1798 expired, but in 1917 when the United States entered World War I, Congress passed another law in direct contradiction of the amendment’s command that “Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.” This was the Espionage Act of 1917.
“The most stringent protection of free speech would not protect a man in falsely shouting fire in a theater and causing a panic…. The question in every case is whether the words used are used in such circumstances and are of such a nature as to create a clear and present danger that they will bring about the substantive evils that Congress has a right to prevent.”
… the national government can restrict freedom of speech in relation to foreign policy, through judicial reinterpretations of the First Amendment. But what about state laws restricting freedom of speech or press? For over a century, the First Amendment simply did not apply to the states, because it says, ”Congress shall make no law.” The states could make whatever laws they wanted.
Four years later, however, when a group of people were arrested in a shopping mall for distributing leaflets against the Vietnam War, the Court said they were properly arrested. What was the difference between this case and the other? The union people, the Court said, were expressing themselves about an issue connected with the shopping center. But the Vietnam War had nothing to do with the shopping center, so those people had no First Amendment right to express themselves.’ Much like the kneeling – which is directed towards police brutality of African American folk, yet the anthem, the flag nor football has any connection with police brutality.
The point in all this recounting of cases is that citizens cannot depend on the First Amendment, as interpreted by the courts, to protect freedom of expression. One year the Court will declare, with inspiring words, the right of persons to speak or write as they wish. The next year they will take away that right.
A young black man named Charles MacLaurin learned this by hard experience in the year 1963. That summer, he addressed a group of fifty black people in front of the courthouse in Greenville, Mississippi, protesting the arrest of several young black people who had been demonstrating against racial segregation. It was a peaceful meeting, in which MacLaunn criticized the conviction and urged that blacks register to vote to deal with such injustices. A police officer told McLaurin to move on. He said he had a right to speak and continued. He was arrested, charged with disturbing the peace and resisting arrest, found guilty by the local court, sentenced to six months in jail, and this was affirmed by the Mississippi Supreme Court.
When he appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, he discovered the rule that most citizens (who grow up hearing again and again from some aggrieved person: “I’ll take this to the Supreme Court!”) don’t know: Four of the nine justices must agree to take a case (in technical terms, to grant certiorari). Only three Supreme Court justices voted to take MacLaurin’s case. By now, it was 1967, and so, four years after his conviction, he went to prison.
An even more serious problem with the First Amendment is that most situations involving freedom of expression never make it into the courts. How many people are willing or able to hire a lawyer, spend thousands of dollars, and wait several years to get a possible favorable decision in court? That means that the right of free speech is left largely in the hands of local police. What are policemen likely to be most respectful of-the Constitution, or their own “police powers”?
This is always the price of liberty-taking the risk of going to jail, of being beaten and perhaps being killed.
Would you like to participate in the #SmilingInfant #CampaignForPeace? Submit a photo of a smiling infant or smiling toddler that would make the viewer smile to support & encourage others to focus on what is really important.
For every post or news story about a shooting let’s post a “SmilingInfant”, let’s take a stand to keep this campaign of peace going throughout your community and other.
Don’t just say we need to do “something” here something you can…
Children Who Have Died by Gun Fire
Federal data from the Centers for Disease Control indicate that between 2007 and 2011, an average of 62 children age 14 and under were accidentally shot and killed each year. But our analysis of publicly reported gun deaths shows that the federal data substantially undercount these deaths. Mother Jones reported to follow statistics in December of 2013
127 of the children died from gunshots in their own homes, while dozens more died in the homes of friends, neighbors, and relatives.
72 of the young victims either pulled the trigger themselves or were shot dead by another kid.
In those 72 cases, only 4 adults have been held criminally liable.
At least 52 deaths involved a child handling a gun left unsecured.
Additional findings include:
60 children died at the hands of their own parents, 50 of them in homicides.
The average age of the victims was 6 years old.
More than two-thirds of the victims were boys, as were more than three-quarters of the kids who pulled the trigger.
The problem was worst over the past year in the South, which saw at least 92 child gun deaths, followed by the Midwest (44), the West (38), and the East (20).
60 Children Murdered in Chicago This Year
A school bus filled with children enrolled at Our Lady Of Guadalupe elementary school was apparently shot at in the South Deering neighborhood on Friday. A young girl and her mother were shot inside their home while sleeping on the Far South Side on Calumet Avenue early Thursday. Another child is being treated at Christ Hospital. One-year-old Jayilah Allen has a gunshot wound to the head.
20 U.S. Kids Hospitalized Each Day for Gun Injuries – Nearly a third of these shootings are accidental, study finds
A review of hospital records found that firearms caused 7,391 hospitalizations among children younger than 20 during 2009, the most recent year for which records are available, said Dr. John Leventhal, lead study author. Of those shooting victims, 453 died while in the hospital. More than half of the gun injuries involved an attack on the child, but nearly one-third were unintentional, the investigators found. (Others were of undetermined causes or from suicide attempts.) Three of four hospitalizations of children younger than 10 resulted from accidental injuries.
Adam was charged to maintain the garden and its inhabitants, yet he failed when his wife (Who was under the bond of Satan) suggested they eat from the “tree”; Adam blamed Eve and said to God – The man said, “The woman you put here with me–she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”
Adam once again was unable to prevent the son of his wife, Cain from killing Abel in a jealous frenzy – And the Lord said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother’s keeper?
It takes 2 people to create a child, yet in many homes the child is raised by one parent. Raising children is not a difficult task when there are two parents who understand the precious value of a child’s life – Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.
What Can We Do? – So glad you asked
We can continue to post all the shootings and despair across social media – will that protect our loved ones, I think not. The march in Selma was used to generate media attention to the refusal to let Black folk vote. Equally whenever there is a (what we as viewers believe) is an unnecessary use of force, it has now become standard for the media to over feed us with snippets of the scene and later the media covers the locals who create a one-night vigil that may include additional law breaking activities. We can march from now till the cows come home, but ask yourself, “What change am expecting to see or what can change as a result of my march?” Will the police ask more questions before shooting, will our young men stop shooting each other? Will the school system change their delivery methods? If I march on Monday, will that create a stimulus for prison reform? If not, then it may be time to find our own individual purpose, our own personal values, identify what is important to us individually and collectively. I propose we start with the beginning – our infant babies. Have you have been in the presence of a baby and make that “baby noise” to induce a smile? Or have you ever turned your head at the right moment and see a precious baby in a stroller and at that exact moment the baby smiles at you? Who will take care of our babies while we go to war in the streets? Who will take care of the babies while we are locked up for protesting another black man tased and killed?
Are you a father who sells drugs because the “man” won’t give you a job? Are you a dad who is dependent on the mother’s welfare check, living illegally in public housing? Are you a woman who is slinging dope to feed your children while the father is doing time for slinging dope?
And you are working, raising your children, going out for a Sunday walk in the park, and talking “ish” about the brother across the tracks who won’t pull his pants up and that girl with red and gold braids in her hair, taking selfies of her rear end and posting them on Facebook. She does that because she is “looking” for something and she thinks she will find it the number of “likes” she gets. I have yet to see any one address anyone of these women directly and tell her why and how she can do better. Maybe, when she was a “baby” smiling in her stroller no one thought about tomorrow. I propose if you want better, do better, and that means starting with the babies.
Update August 31, 2016
This little fella stole the hearts of all the women at church. His grandmother would bring him and I would watch him “float” around the church from one cooing woman to the next. One day I thought to myself as I walked around, I’m going to just ‘take’ him. To my surprise he didn’t bat an eye. Oh my the lashes on this baby were to die for.
Dying, our babies are dying in the street and upon arrive of the ER – Police are investigating the shooting deaths of two men Tuesday night. One of the men has been identified as Tyree McCrea, 36, of New Haven, Officer David B. Hartman said early Wednesday. The second man’s name had not been confirmed; he is believed to have been in his 20s. Twenty, twentyyears old! What were your doing at 20 years old, now that you know would you change anything?
Update August 16, 2016
This photo was submitted by one of my best friends in high school. I had no idea about the meaning or definition of the phrase “Best Friend” back then. I friend was a person who hung out with me, we called each other on the phone – morning, noon and night. A friend would wait for me after every class as would also, we would meet up in the morning before school, after school and all day during school. We would share secrets and gossip about other friends. We would never cross the huge invisible boundary of dating each others ex-boyfriends and we would honor and protect each other through the bad, the good and the ugly times. I must say not much has changed in my definition/understanding of “Best Friends” I still expect the same level of commitment from a friend that I offer. I must say that if you find that you are not on my “Best Friend” list today it was not because I ejected you from the list. With that said, Michelle and I had some great times together and for a long period of time we were disconnected – she moved away, I went in the Armed Forces, after a decade or so our paths crossed one night and we spent hours on the phone – as if time had gently stopped ticking in our absence from one another. This is a reason for me to #smile and for a few seconds I will not think about the violence in this world, the insane presidential election, or any nonsense. This is a reason for me to stay on the #roadlesstraveled – so I will be ready when the next “Best Friend” travels through and remember what made us #friends. Submit a picture of a smiling baby today to participate in #msconcerneds #campaignforpeace #smilinginfant It must be a “real” photo with parental permission!!! We must do something to counteract the daily violence posted by the media. Are you willing to help? Send your photo today, what better way to thing on peaceful things than looking an infant smiling – surely their lives are worthy of us helping each other…
According Carol Austin vice president of marketing, “July is winding down, and while we’re hopeful that August brings some slightly more pleasant weather, we’re a tad wistful that National Ice Cream Month is coming to an end. As a way to celebrate just one more time, was offering a sweet deal on all your favorite flavors. Here’s a sweet deal that will last a life time, 2 scoops in this photo will provide endless days of smiles. The photo was submitted by a long time family friend who has seen his share of alleged murderers, rapists, thieves and con-artist. A lover of the #DallasCowboys and a concerned member of his community, family and the elderly. There are many sweet scoops of life in this man and his two grandchildren. What will you do in your community to help foster peace and growth among the residents?
The parents of this little girl has allowed us to share in the personal viewing of her life since birth. Each photo gave me and hundreds of others a reason to smile and immediately remove my care and concern for “this” world and the hatred and violence that is rapidly increasing – if only for a minute. I would like to thank her parents for allowing me start my #CampaignForPeace with their daughter’s photo. My hope is that for every violent story posted someone will forward a picture of a smiling infant to counteract the despair some may feel as this world turns upside down.
This little girl was in the North Lake Mall in Charlotte North Carolina, as I was walking back in to the mall shopping area, I was so intrigued by her face and her smile which was so sudden and quick – not be a professional photographer I could not catch it. Nonetheless, I will always remember how quickly she smiled and the warm willingness of her parents to give me (a stranger) to use her photo for my #CampaignForPeace.
Montrell Jackson wrote this message on July 8, 2016 and was murdered on July 17, 2016. “I’m working in these streets, so any protesters, officers, friends, family, or whoever,” the 32-year-old officer he wrote on his Facebook page, “if you see me and need a hug or want to say a prayer, I got you.
The story of Mary – the mother of Jesus is remarkable. The Lord chose her a woman of no great notoriety or significance; that is until she found herself a virgin and with child. Had it not been for the Angel that spoke to Joseph and told him about the birth she could have been outcast and divorced from her family and friends. However a woman that can produce two babies falls under the category of miraculous. Imagine two, two of everything, two hearts, two heads, two smiles – double the fun of watching them grow. I implore you to please put your anger under submission and think on these precious little people.
This little girl grew up into a woman that has self-defined herself and in that she owns her definition of peach. Demonstrated by inaction and forgiveness when others hurt her, she never desires to retaliate in like manner to others. Much like her daddy, she disapproves of any type of bullying. She doesn’t understand any way to be but herself. She believes the best she can be is – to do for others.
She made it to age 13 and counting, some have not been so blessed. I met her mother and aunt in Connecticut. At first glance I thought they were 2 interesting young ladies, never had I seen someone decorate their cube with pillows! Their mother is a walking reference manual, she provided me with enough material to write an entire paper on the progression of IT from a medical facility’s growth factor and yes I received an outstanding A grade. It was not until I went to the baby shower that I saw the farm yes a FARM in the back of their home. The father was raising chickens – are you kidding me, right down the street from daily gun fire activity in New Haven, CT. That’s when I came to see the full picture of Love. Love was just dripping from their hearts, windows, kitchen, front porch and all through out that farm!!! I had the pleasure of working with these 2 women for about 5 years and now see this little girl at 13…you just never know what wonderful opportunities are waiting for that you may miss when you’re in the street playing wanna be drug dealers and cops and robbers with real bullets – time to put it down – buy a farm, decorate your office cube #DIY, do something, do something else…[/caption]
Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby gave a blistering speech Wednesday which explains why it is near impossible to convict police officers in this country.
In her speech, Mosby said she took an oath to “never cower” from cases where she believes she has probable cause. The case of Freddie Gray, whose spine was somehow severed in a police van, leading to his death, was one such cas
Mosby’s prosecution of the police officers involved in Gray’s death, however, saw no convictions. During Mosby’s twelve minute press conference, she lays out a stunning indictment against Baltimore police in explaining why the prosecutions imploded.
“There was a reluctance and obvious bias that was consistently exemplified, not by the entire Baltimore Police Department, but by individuals within the Baltimore Police Department at every stage of the investigation, which became blatantly apparent in the subsequent trial,” said Mosby.
“There were individual police officers who were witnesses to the case, yet were part of the investigative team,” said Mosby in a bombshell revelation. “Interrogations that were conducted without asking the most poignant questions, lead investigators that were totally uncooperative and started a counter-investigation to disprove the state’s case by not executing search warrants pertaining to text messages among the police officers involved in the case.”
Mosby also accused police investigators of “creating videos to disprove the state’s case, creating notes that were drafted after the case was launched to contradict the medial examiner’s conclusion.” She then accused the investigating officers of turning over these notes to the defense “months prior” to turning them over to the prosecution.
“We’ve all bore witness to an inherent bias that is the direct result of when police police themselves,” Mosby concluded.
Mosby revealed that she’d previously not been allowed to speak on the case due to a gag order.
Comments: Now that we know this information what’s next, as an African American woman did her desire to maintain her job preclude her from exorcising ANY moral and/or integrity as a Black Woman in this day and time to providing disclosure before the verdict was submitted?
DALLAS (AP) — A police officer in the small Texas town where Sandra Bland was pulled over and jailed says the county’s top prosecutors threatened to end his career if he came forward with what he says is evidence of wrongdoing, an accusation the prosecutors deny. Among the things Prairie View officer Michael Kelley said…
Since the #RodneyKing beating, the violence and anger toward each other has progressively risen from beating Black men in the street by Police Officers to shooting an unarmed man who was laying on the ground with his arms clearly in the air. Young Black men have been shot in the head, the back and legs. Young Black women have mysteriously been killed while in #lockup!
My father used to say to me, “Wendy, you know people will not continue to go hungry or starve, they will find a way to eat.” I suspect if he were alive he would say, “Wendy, you know people will not continue to watch their loved ones get shot in the head, leg or their backs because the police “thought” they had a weapon and then have the murder justified after they run the deceased’s name through the database and find out they HAD prior legal issues.” I’m sure he would follow up with posing the the question, “What would I do if my daughter were caught in the line of fire?” Conversely, as a mother, I might want instant retaliation, but as an African American woman I neither want to go to jail or live with the memory of the senseless killing of my daughter. I can say senseless at this moment for 2 reasons, my daughter has never been arrested nor will she be as long as she follows the guidelines I prepared for her. Although you know, a thought comes to mind, how many other children were fed the “right and wrong” speech and are no longer with us?
For this scenario I must defer to what I have learned from my relationship with the Lord. He loves me, my daughter and my family and friends. Accordingly, I trust Him, to wake me in the morning, to watch over my family during the day and evening. Should a member of my family find themselves in line of fire, surely at first I would question, why Lord! Moreover, I have come to understand that there is a presence among us that has a role to fulfill and that he must petition the Lord before he can act. You know some folk don’t know that, don’t understand it and as a result refuse to believe that all things work together for the good. In my final analysis, if my daughter we to find herself in the line of fire, I must and will trust that the Lord will reveal to me, as soon as I’m ready to not only hear it but accept it, why He as allowed such a tragedy occur in my life and hers.
Please watch the clip and answer the question posed by the little boy, if you can’t then you may understand why #BlackLivesMatter.
Chicago Mass Choir – I Pray We’ll All Be Ready for His Return
This old world has changed by leaps in bounds. Where we once slaves we are now free…or are we? Here in the US we are free to have as many children as we desire – in some areas there is a limitation on the number of female children a family can conceive. In other lands females are stripped of certain pleasurable organs to prevent premarital sex. We have moved towards a world where anyone one in love can marry, both heterosexual and LBGT, yet we dispute which gender can use the lavatories. The influx of police killings in the last few years has risen at an enormous rate; as a result, citizens have taken to killing the police and sending threats to Police Commissioner’s homes and families. We have formed protest and marches and an organization #Blacklivesmatter a grass roots organization working for the validity of Black life. They are working to (re)build the Black liberation movement to end the violence against Black folk. I still struggle to find meaning to the protest which are only a formal declaration of objection, if that be true then what possible change can it bring about?
We have formed strong opinions of who the Messiah is – Jesus or Alah and others, we ridicule individuals who post the “white” portrait of Jesus and double dare folks to post the Black image of Jesus – that of itself is un-Christian like in this writer’s opinion. We badger folks daily over which version of the Bible is the “real” Word of God; yet we believe without question that there are several kinds of mints, i.e. spearmint, double-mint, peppermint and cool mint.
We find ourselves in a place in time where those who are deemed to protect and serve have lost their way, we have tolerated the outbursts and racial slurs of the Republican Nominee – Donald Trump, we still promote Thanksgiving as a perpetual moment in time when life was great between the Native Americans and strangers – yet millions of children and adults do not understand what the verse, “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” I have watched thousands of students recite this pledge before class yet prayer is unwelcome…
There will come a time when we must decide…
Joshua 24:15 (NKJV) And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve…
The song pleads for the readiness of those who have not chosen, by providing examples of what the rapture will look like in a few scenarios. For example, she talks about two men walking one has a heart pure as gold but when the sky splits the one who waited to “get right” oh how he cried to Lord but it was too late. Hey guys have you had a talk with your friend lately to encourage him to give his life?
Then there’s the married couple, how many of us had a husband or wife who just would not surrender to the call of the Lord and chose to run the streets endlessly – image you wake up and find your spouse gone – Ohhh, what a way to lose the one you love!
The family in mall – we have or know of that “momma” who is walking with the Lord – imagine you see her hear Him call and in the twinkling of an eye she’s gone, the singer begs you to learn how to pray for yourself… you know that line momma would always say, “You’re gonna miss me when I’m gone.” We must chose this day whom we will serve, don’t wait for a change to come, don’t think your pastor can save you, don’t think you have one more day to get it right.
Timothy said, “People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.”
I pray that we’ll all, be ready
I pray that we’ll all be
For his return
I pray that we’ll give our hearts a search
So that we won’t be playing church
I pray we’ll all be ready for His return
No man knows the day, nor the hour
You must be, you gotta be
You gotta be ready, you gotta be ready
The controversial photo of the 16 Black Female West Point Cadets. What is the controversy – did they break any DOD regulations; where they too Black for West Point; are they supporters of #BlackLivesMatter; is West Point supporting #BlackLivesMatter?
For those of you who do not know – BlackLivesMatter (BLM) is an activist movement, that campaigns against violence toward black people. BLM regularly organizes protests around the deaths of black people in killings by law enforcement officers, and broader issues of racial profiling, police brutality, and racial inequality in the United States criminal justice system.
Why does this matter you ask? For a variety of reasons:
The number of peopled killed by police reportedly was 1,145 of that number 4% were white or Asian;
The disproportion number of black men serving time for crimes also committed by other races;
The many disparities across forums such as health care, child care, education from Pre-K to High School;
What is the purpose of the Military – To defend our country from potential threats, hurt, harm or danger.
What is taught at West Point – “The United States Military Academy’s mission is to educate, train and inspire the Corps of Cadets so that each graduate is a commissioned leader of character committed to the values of Duty, Honor, Country and prepared for a career of professional excellence and service to the nation as an officer in the United States Army.
The Academy provides a superb four-year education, which focuses on the leader development of cadets in the academic, military, and physical domains, all underwritten by adherence to a code of honor.”
West Point’s Comparative Politics Program (excerpt) – The West Point Comparative Politics Program provides cadets with the intellectual tools and knowledge of core theories and concepts to better understand why some states fail and others remain stable. Cadets have the opportunity to view critical comparative politics issues in a multi-perspective manner by taking related courses both in and out of the department. After mastering the core concepts, cadets can tailor their program towards a regional (e.g., Africa, Middle East, etc.) or functional (e.g., negotiation, democratization, post-conflict stabilization, etc.) focus. The comparative politics courses and related electives provide cadets with the knowledge and framework to apply the core concepts and theories to relevant case studies and issues.
On the American side of Social Science –Students also consider processes such as political leadership, voting and group behavior. Strong emphasis is placed on the unique, and what some might consider exceptional ‘soldier-state’ civil-military relationship in the American experience.
The West Point American Politics program provides students with a solid understanding of the fundamentals of political science theory and practice in the context of American Governance.
In this writer’s opinion the aforementioned students were provided an outstanding education (not to mention the prerequisites for entry) which has prepared them to understand the political arena and socioeconomic development or lack of as a Cadet, as a Woman, Black Woman and now as a member of an organization designed to create and foster character.
Surely if they exhibited any other traits and/or behaviors that did not align with the mission, vision and values of West Point they would not have achieved the title of “Cadet”.
The West Point Mission
“To educate, train, and inspire the Corps of Cadets so that each graduate is a commissioned leader of character committed to the values of Duty, Honor, Country and prepared for a career of professional excellence and service to the Nation as an officer in the United States Army.”