Ferguson’s Flashpoint Sparks National Outrage

LOS ANGELES (AP) — They were killed in Wisconsin, New York and California. Some were shot on the street. One was killed in a Wal-Mart. Another died after being placed in a chokehold. All died at the hands of police and all have been united by one thing: the killing of Michael Brown.

Details may differ, circumstances of their deaths may remain unknown, but the outrage that erupted after the Aug. 9 fatal shooting of the unarmed, black 18-year-old by a white officer in Ferguson, Missouri, has become a rallying cry in protests over police killings across the nation.

While there's been nothing approaching the violence seen in the St. Louis suburb, demonstrations fueled by a sense of injustice and buoyed with the help of social media have rolled across cities, regardless of whether the shootings took place last week or last month.

The spark, said Garrett Duncan, an associate professor of education and African-American studies at Washington University in St. Louis, was how Ferguson police bungled the aftermath of Brown's killing, leading to rioting and looting in the face of a heavily armed police force and, later, the National Guard.

“When you leave an 18-year-old boy's body in the street for four hours ...read more

Is the Urban Farming Institute an Opportunity or Opportunistic???

“Green” is the theme of the day as all across the country and like many other cities, Boston has been caught up in this “tidle-wave” and growth industry described as city farming.  Recently there was an unveiling of a new farm to be located in the Garrison-Trotter neighborhood of Roxbury, MA.  According to reports, many were present for the “ground breaking,” including neighborhood residents, elected officials, etc.  It appears the plot will be owned by City Growers and managed by the Urban Farming Institute. City Fresh CEO and City Growers co-founder, Glynn Lloyd delivered comments that reflected the basic premise that fresh fruits and vegetables were purchased by local businesses 3000 miles away at a costly rate. Seemingly the idea being promoted by Lloyd was that locally grown and controlled products would be much more cost effective. This mind set seemingly promotes the idea of a model wherein plots of land would be developed for urban farming and the Urban Farming Institute as manager would hire and train potential farmers who would eventually enter the world of being independent entrepreneurs. This is a very good concept if put into action as individuals would have a skill set that would allow them to be self-employed and provide for themselves and their family. Apparently there was a great deal of back slapping and hand shaking at the “ground breaking” about the new farm spot and rightfully so. However, some key information has been excluded from the conversation. First of all, there was... Continue reading →

Dark Shadow of “Busing” Hatred Still Lingers Over The City of Boston

  June 21, 2014 was the 40th anniversary of the Morgan vs Hennigan ruling that was a legal case here in Boston in the 1970′s.  It was at that time that Judge W. Arthur Garrity made a finding that institutional acts of racism were pervasive in the Boston Public Schools.  Therefore he implemented the “forced busing” mandate.  There was a court order to bus primarily Afrikan/Black children/students into hostile white areas like South Boston, Charlestown, Hyde Park, East Boston, etc. Boston had already been established as a racist city, but the Klu Klux Klan line mentality pot that had been boiling for many years was brought to overflow status by the busing plan.  This was a time of extreme and severe violence as whitesyoung and old laid in wait for the buses filled with young Afrikan/Black children who were in elementary through high school and proceeded to bombard them with racist, poisoned language and throwing bricks and bottles with the intent to do physical harm in any way they could. In fact, an Afrikan/Black man named Ted Landsmark was speared with the U.S. flag in downtown Boston and a 15 year old Afrikan/Black Charlestown High School student was shot and crippled for the remainder of his life. Who can forget the South Boston Marshals, a racist group who organized the violence with now deceased former Boston City Councilor Jim Kelly who led the organization. There was Boston School Committee member Louise Day Hicks and then State Representative Ray Flynn among the ranks of the violent demonstrators. ... Continue reading →

27th Annual Malcolm X Memorial and Awards Breakfast…A Great Success!!

27th Annual “Malcolm X Memorial and Awards Breakfast A Great Success!! On Saturday, May 17, 2014, the Black Community Information Center Inc. (B.C.I.C.) sponsored the 27th Annual “Malcolm X Memorial and Awards Breakfast at the Roxbury Community College Student Center Dining Complex in Roxbury Massachusetts.  It was an excellent event that was very well attended by members of the community from all sectors of our daily spectrum who enjoyed the informal “family reunion,” renewed old acquaintances along with a great program and good food. The theme of the “Malcolm X Breakfast” was “Afrikan People Strong”.  Our featured guest speaker, Minister Akbar Muhammad the international representative for Minister Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam present an inspirational message. His message revolved around the theme of the day and put special emphasis on our history as an Afrikan people. He went on to discuss the need for our people (Afrikan/Black) to come together in the name of unity (Umoja) and the critical importance of our linking up with our Brothers and Sisters on the Continent of Afrika. The awardee segment was very special in that the recipients were quite deserving of the “Malcolm X Achievers Award for Community Service.”  The awardees were William Murrell, recipient of the award representing to an “Elder” of our community; “I Too Am Harvard representing the “Youth” of our community; Allan’s Formal Wear representing a “Business” in our community; Ericka Florence representing “Women” of our community and “Tim Pitts” representing Men of our community; Roxbury Center for... Continue reading →

Reverends Al Sharpton and Eugene Rivers are of the same Contradictory Cloth!!

It appears that the Reverends Al Sharpton and Eugene Rivers have a lot in common as they both have  made headlines locally and nationally, respectively.  Unfortunately those headlines have been of a very negative nature for both.  Rev. Sharpton has been exposed as a former FBI informant/snitch, while it seems to appear that Rev. Rivers has been involved in some sort of an extortion scheme. Lets start with Rev. Sharpton and his dilemma.  The news blog “Smoking Gun” recently disclosed in one of   their articles that in the 1980′s, Sharpton was an FBI informant/snitch and spied on the Italian mafia.  I was    surprised at this revelation as although aware of his being a “snitch” in the Black Liberation Struggle trying to help entrap and capture “Sister” Assata Shakur as an example, had no clue about his mafia involvement. apparently Sharpton tried to negotiate a drug deal with what he believed to be a South American drug king pin who was actually an undercover FBI agent.  Rev. Sharpton, in a  state of panic, had no other choice but to be “flipped (snitch)’ or face the possibility of some lengthy prison time.  Sharpton then proceeded to wear a “wire” to gather information to be used against members of the mafia. Now on to Rev. Eugene “riverboat gambler” Rivers.  He has been wheeling and dealing in the City Of Boston for the last few decades.  His name has often popped up in questionable situations and in most instances they revolved around financial transactions that were beneficial to his personal bank account. ... Continue reading →

Boston Community Kwanzaa Committee Launches “Harambee Food Source”

The Boston Community Kwanzaa Committee is now approaching its 38th anniversary in preparation to the upcoming2014—2015 Kwanzaa celebration.  We have seen the celebration grow tremendously through the years in the City of Boston as hundreds of people of Afrikan descent come out to celebrate our culture and heritage along with the multitudes who celebrate in their homes.  Kwanzaa revolves around the nation building concept of the Nguzo Saba (seven principles).  The celebration is a beautiful experience, but the most important component that needs more focus and energy is the amount of work needed to be done throughout the year starting from January 2nd through December 25th.  At every Kwanzaa Celebration there is a declaration that “we must build a nation within a nation by living the true spirit of Kwanzaa 365 days of the year.”   Embracing this declaration, the Boston Community Kwanzaa Committee has taken on the challenge by establishing what has been named the “Harambee Food Source!“  It is a well-known fact that hard times are upon us and many of our people are struggle to put fresh vegetables and other food on the table for their families.  In that regard, the Boston Community Kwanzaa Committee, which is composed of approximately twenty organizations from our community have established a valuable collaboration with Fair Foods Inc.  In that collaboration, Fair Foods Inc. provides fresh fruit and vegetables, while the Boston Community Kwanzaa Committee as the sponsoring group is responsible for the food distribution site and supplying the man/woman power for distribution... Continue reading →

Saint Patricks Day Is For The Irish!

Picture from New York Times March 16, 2014   Recently the annual Boston Saint Patricks Day celebration was held. You had the traditional “breakfast” and parade with an undercurrent of discord. One such element of tension revolved around whether the gay community should be allowed to participate in the parade. That was a controversy in which many had no interest in. However, what was somewhat interesting was the little “tiff” about who should host/moderate the “breakfast” that was held. Traditionally both events have been run by and held in the historically Irish stronghold of South Boston. The host presiding over the event has been a white male and state senator who presided over that district. An example would be former State Senator William Bulger, Whitey Bulger’s brother, who ran the show for many years. Ironically there was a void last year when former State Senator Jack Hart stepped down and then district city councilor William Linehan filled in. Now fast forward to 2014. An Afrikan/Black woman, then State Representative Linda Dorcena-Forry ran for the state senate seat and won. Of course the question was raised as to who would now host the “breakfast?”  While discussion revolved around what white male should take on the role, Dorcena-Forry declared that her ascendancy meant she should have the right to host. William Linehan wanted to return, but Ms. Dorcena-Forry prevailed. Now was this a victory for the Afrikan/Black community?  Absolutely NOT! There has been a lot of talk about the “new Boston.”  The... Continue reading →

Phase I Construction at Bartlett Yard

On Mon, Mar 17, 2014 at 5:33 PM, Kerrick Johnson  wrote: Rodney, we must be careful when talking about community development to distinguish between the physical place, and its people.  Are we trying to develop the housing stock and the real estate market by driving prices up, or are we trying to meet the needs of a neighborhood’s occupants?  The vast majority of Fort Hill residents are renters, and most of the people displaced (by new homeownership!) over the last decade have been renters.  Creating more rental opportunities in fact meets the community’s needs, and creates for its members new opportunities. Your emphasis on homeownership is dangerous in that it often implies importing homebuyers from other neighborhoods who will make the neighborhood less affordable for people who already live here;  often these homebuyers are subsidized to do so.  You may be encouraging subsidized gentrification!  Saying you want more homeownership does not instantly turn residents of Roxbury into eligible homebuyers, but does serve the market interests of the very small minority of Roxbury residents who are already homeowners. We must not be tempted to conflate the interests of an enclave of pioneer homebuyers with the logic of civil rights.  Replacing renters with homeowners does not advance the cause of social justice, it merely protects your home’s value.  Transforming renting families into property owning families is real social justice, and real community development.  It is a process that is far more complex than berating the Bartlett Yard team for meeting the current market’s real needs.... Continue reading →

Sandra Larson’s March 5th Banner article “Roxbury neighbors spar over affordable housing”

Editors of the Bay State Banner: Sandra Larson’s March 5th Banner article “Roxbury neighbors spar over affordable housing” was indeed thought provoking and sobering. Our thinking in Boston needn’t be mired on the idea that the ills of urban life in undeserved communities with stubborn achievement gaps in our schools, high unemployment, high crime, and a lack of inclusive city-wide-policies will all somehow be cured by housing we can afford. Yet, a development vision and policy that assumes these problems will remain intractable and sets and plays to the lowest common denominator – we’ve only got to be housed to somehow hold our ground – critically misses key points of good development. Namely, good schools, employment and business opportunity, low crime, and inclusive municipal policies where everyone gets a shot to improve their quality of life are all equally important! For Roxbury or any community, it’s not just about respecting who we all are, celebrating it, and how we got here. It’s also about a path forward and our future. Least we focus only on compelling respect for our communities and not exploring where we’re going: we end up like Spike Lee, advocating for respect from a wealthy neighborhood a world away from our roots, when respect is better demonstrated by the mentoring role we play staying in our communities. While Roxbury residents struggle to improve our schools, better utilize our unemployed and underemployed, reduce crime, and make our city a more inclusive place for all, we needn’t apologize when our hard work... Continue reading →

Afrikan/Black Community Should Say No to a Marijuana Dispensary/Drug House!

The legalization of marijuana debate is raging across the country as states like Colorado have legalized the product for public consumption. That debate has not excluded Boston or other municipalities across Massachusetts. Here in the City of Boston, two dispensaries have been approved by the Massachusetts Department Of Health (DPH) with one located at 364 Boylston Street in a major retail district of the city and the other at 70 Southampton Street adjacent to a nearby highly residential area in Roxbury, MA. What is most disturbing is the secretive manner in which the DPH arrived at their decision to approve locations of the proposed marijuana (drug) dispensaries. Seemingly it would have been appropriate to seek our community sentiment in regards to the 70 Southampton proposed location and whether or not residents affected were for or against it being in their neighborhood. It appears that the proposed Boylston Street location is “dead in the water” as the white retailers organized against the dispensary location in their area. The (drug) dispensary sponsor at that location, Good Chemistry realizing the dilemma they faced is exploring new sites as possibilities. Here in Roxbury, MA a company known at the Green Heart Holistic Health & Pharmaceuticals would like to set up shop at the Southampton Street location. That is a nice, but misleading name, particularly the “holistic” part.  The big question is what are the real implications for our community and neighborhoods??? The reality is that a “pot shop” would not be a positive addition... Continue reading →