thepeacefulterrorist:

The Muslim Community Rises with Ferguson

For the last 70 days the youth of Ferguson, Missouri have led protests and vigils every night in remembrance of 18 year old Michael Brown and the countless other black lives that are cut short at the rate of at least 400 annually by police in the United States. This past weekend protesters merged on Ferguson for a weekend of action called for by the youth of Ferguson with actions, protests and acts of civil disobedience taking place from Friday to Monday, October 10th to the 13th.

Mustafa Abdullah is a community organizer originally from North Carolina who moved to St. Louis two years ago to work for the ACLU of Eastern Missouri. In the days after Michael Brown’s shooting Mustafa went to work with a number of other Muslim leaders locally and nationally to organizer Muslims for Ferguson who are helping to lead the call to get American Muslims more deeply involved in community organizing around issues of racial justice, mass incarceration and police brutality throughout the United States. What follows is an in depth interview with Mustafa Abdullah about the organizing taking place on the ground in Ferguson, and his hopes for the Muslim community, as he stated clearly to us in our interview,

“my hope is that Muslims really begin to see that our own liberation, and our own freedom are intricately intertwined with the freedom of the youth that are on the street in Ferguson.”

Ummah Wide: Within a few days of the killing of Michael Brown you all started organizing the Muslim community to be actively engaged in what is happening in Ferguson. Can you tell us about Muslims for Ferguson, what the local response has been like and also what the national response has been so far to this call to action?

Mustafa Abdullah: In seeking justice in Ferguson, and justice for Mike Brown for me it’s about building a just world and it’s about building the values that are of the utmost importance to me. I take very seriously the verses in the Qur’an that if one part of the body is in pain then the whole body wakes up in a fevered state and I think that is making a deeper metaphorical statement about world. That we are aware of the pain that people are going through and a we have a belief that we should be there to support communities in ways that are authentic.

This is exactly what we have been trying to build with Muslims for Ferguson which has really been a movement that has developed rapidly and organically. Two days after the killing of Michael Brown, I had been traveling that weekend and I came back to the office Monday morning and my inbox was flooded with a couple hundred emails, a ton of voice mails and around 9:30 that morning I got a call from Linda Sarsour, the Executive Director of the Arab American Association of New York. She asked me, ‘Mustafa where is the Muslim community on this?’

That hadn’t even come to mind for me yet because as Muslim organizers and advocates in our community sometimes it feels like we are in real isolation and she brought that reality check to me. When she made that call to me and she posed that question, she also said that we need to get with the Muslim community. So I called the executive director of CAIR St. Louis, Faizan Syed and we drafted a solidarity letter together addressed to Michael Brown’s family and we got 20 mosques and Islamic centers, all the major ones here in the St. Louis area to sign onto this letter that we had sent out.

Then I had a conversation with Muhammad Malik an organizer from Miami who has been involved with the Dream Defenders and the anti-police brutality movement there around the police killing of 20 year old Israel Hernandez last year. He suggested that we do a national call for the Muslim community, because Muslims need to hear from people that are on the ground in Ferguson. So we organized a few days later this national call and we had over 250 people on the call where we featured myself, Faizan Syed, and a few national Muslim leaders, Muhammad Malik, Linda Sarsour and Imam Dawood Walid.

Since then we have done a number of follow up calls with local organizers and activists on the ground here, including Torey Russell organizer for Hands Up United who was the first organizer on the ground the evening after Michael Brown was killed. That night he organized 12 other people to protest with him outside of the police department and the protests snow balled and people had the courage to come out and face the snipers, rubber bullets, and face the tear gas and face the tanks, and the long range acoustic device system, all this military equipment and intimidation from law enforcement, to peacefully protest the killing of Michael Brown and calling for the arrest of the officer who did the shooting.

Since then our online and Facebook presence has grown rapidly, members of the Muslim community have reached out to me, to Linda and Muhammad, and there are a number of organizers that we are in relationship with that are so thankful for all the people on the ground. I know that Muslims have donated to organizations on the ground doing this work, particularly to the Organization for Black Struggle who have been doing this police brutality work for 35 plus years.

This all really culminated over the last weekend when we had a block of Muslims and Palestinian rights folk as an organized block at this march and rally where there were at least 5 or 6 times where the rights of Muslims and Palestinians were brought up by speakers, where non-Muslim and non-Arabs speakers.

I think that for the Muslims who have participated, we are really beginning to see that our experiences of racial profiling, our experiences of surveillance, their experiences with their countries being torn up by war and the increasing militarization of the world and American police departments. We are really beginning to see that all of this is tied up with and connected to the experiences of African Americans, particularly black and brown youth in this country.

What my hope is, is that they are seeing their own liberation, their own freedom as being intricately intertwined with the freedom of the youth that are on the street in Ferguson.

The youth that have talked to us and shared their stories of being pulled over while driving a nice car in town, their experiences of being stopped and frisked on the street, their experience of not having any good after school programs with almost no options as to what to do with their lives, these are stories that we need to be listening to. One of the first memories that many of these organizers and youth in the streets of Ferguson have is when they were first in the streets getting hit with tear gas and rubber bullets for the first time and getting tweets from Palestinians telling them how to deal with the tear gas and the rubber bullets.

258 notes

thesmithian:


Detroit is a devastatingly poor, mostly black, increasingly abandoned island in the midst of a sea of comparative affluence that’s mostly white. Its suburbs are among the richest in the nation. Oakland County, for example, is the fourth wealthiest county in the United States, of counties with a million or more residents. Greater Detroit—which includes the suburbs—is among the nation’s top five financial centers, the top four centers of high-technology employment, and the second-biggest source of engineering and architectural talent. Not everyone is wealthy, to be sure, but the median household in the region earns close to $50,000 a year, and unemployment is no higher than the nation’s average. The median household in Birmingham, Michigan, just across the border that delineates the city of Detroit, earned more than $94,000 last year; in nearby Bloomfield Hills—still within the Detroit metropolitan area—the median was more than $150,000.
The median household income within the city of Detroit is around $26,000, and unemployment is staggeringly high. One out of 3 residents is in poverty; more than half of all children in the city are impoverished. Between 2000 and 2010, Detroit lost a quarter of its population as the middle-class and whites fled to the suburbs. That left it with depressed property values, abandoned neighborhoods, empty buildings, lousy schools, high crime, and a dramatically-shrinking tax base. More than half of its parks have closed in the last five years. Forty percent of its streetlights don’t work…If “Detroit” is defined as the larger metropolitan area that includes its suburbs, “Detroit” has enough money to provide all its residents with adequate if not good public services, without falling into bankruptcy.

bold, ours. more, here.
+++++
art: photo of Cynthia and her family, on Dubois Street, Poletown, Detroit by Dave Jordano and Aaron Rothman. 2010.

thesmithian:

Detroit is a devastatingly poor, mostly black, increasingly abandoned island in the midst of a sea of comparative affluence that’s mostly white. Its suburbs are among the richest in the nation. Oakland County, for example, is the fourth wealthiest county in the United States, of counties with a million or more residents. Greater Detroit—which includes the suburbs—is among the nation’s top five financial centers, the top four centers of high-technology employment, and the second-biggest source of engineering and architectural talent. Not everyone is wealthy, to be sure, but the median household in the region earns close to $50,000 a year, and unemployment is no higher than the nation’s average. The median household in Birmingham, Michigan, just across the border that delineates the city of Detroit, earned more than $94,000 last year; in nearby Bloomfield Hills—still within the Detroit metropolitan area—the median was more than $150,000.

The median household income within the city of Detroit is around $26,000, and unemployment is staggeringly high. One out of 3 residents is in poverty; more than half of all children in the city are impoverished. Between 2000 and 2010, Detroit lost a quarter of its population as the middle-class and whites fled to the suburbs. That left it with depressed property values, abandoned neighborhoods, empty buildings, lousy schools, high crime, and a dramatically-shrinking tax base. More than half of its parks have closed in the last five years. Forty percent of its streetlights don’t work…If “Detroit” is defined as the larger metropolitan area that includes its suburbs, “Detroit” has enough money to provide all its residents with adequate if not good public services, without falling into bankruptcy.

bold, ours. more, here.

+++++

art: photo of Cynthia and her family, on Dubois Street, Poletown, Detroit by Dave Jordano and Aaron Rothman. 2010.

323 notes

fuckyeahmarxismleninism:

Transgender warrior CeCe McDonald is FREE!
Photo: McDonald with trans activist and Orange Is the New Black star Laverne Cox, who has created a documentary about McDonald’s story, moments after her release, January 13, 2014.
After 19 Months In Men’s Prison, CeCe McDonald Released
CeCe McDonald, a Minnesota transgender woman who was sentenced to 41 months in a men’s prison for fatally stabbing a man who attacked her during a hate crime, was released Monday, a Minnesota prison official confirmed with BuzzFeed.
McDonald will continue to be under the supervision of the Minnesota Department of Corrections until the completion of her 41-month sentence, according to Michael Friedman, executive director of the Legal Rights Center, which represented McDonald in court last year.
She was released from the Minnesota Correctional Facility–St. Cloud around 8:30 a.m. CT, an official at the prison said.
McDonald, who identifies as female, was sentenced to 41 months in a men’s prison facility last spring for the stabbing death of Dean Schmitz. McDonald and a group of friends were walking near a grocery story late on the night of June 5, 2011, when they were allegedly accosted by a group of people shouting racist and transphobic comments at them. According to McDonald’s testimony, a fight broke out in which a bottle was smashed on her face and, ultimately, she stabbed Schmitz with scissors in what she said was an act of self-defense.
She was charged with two counts of second-degree murder and in May 2012, accepted a plea bargain with reduced charges of second-degree manslaughter. Throughout the case, supporters around the world rallied behind McDonald, calling her incarceration unjust and her placement in a men’s facility discriminatory.
McDonald plans to issue a public statement concerning her release, and has asked her supporters to allow her to spend her first days “in privacy with people she feels close to,” according to her blog.
More to come.

fuckyeahmarxismleninism:

Transgender warrior CeCe McDonald is FREE!

PhotoMcDonald with trans activist and Orange Is the New Black star Laverne Cox, who has created a documentary about McDonald’s story, moments after her release, January 13, 2014.

After 19 Months In Men’s Prison, CeCe McDonald Released

CeCe McDonald, a Minnesota transgender woman who was sentenced to 41 months in a men’s prison for fatally stabbing a man who attacked her during a hate crime, was released Monday, a Minnesota prison official confirmed with BuzzFeed.

McDonald will continue to be under the supervision of the Minnesota Department of Corrections until the completion of her 41-month sentence, according to Michael Friedman, executive director of the Legal Rights Center, which represented McDonald in court last year.

She was released from the Minnesota Correctional Facility–St. Cloud around 8:30 a.m. CT, an official at the prison said.

McDonald, who identifies as female, was sentenced to 41 months in a men’s prison facility last spring for the stabbing death of Dean Schmitz. McDonald and a group of friends were walking near a grocery story late on the night of June 5, 2011, when they were allegedly accosted by a group of people shouting racist and transphobic comments at them. According to McDonald’s testimony, a fight broke out in which a bottle was smashed on her face and, ultimately, she stabbed Schmitz with scissors in what she said was an act of self-defense.

She was charged with two counts of second-degree murder and in May 2012, accepted a plea bargain with reduced charges of second-degree manslaughter. Throughout the case, supporters around the world rallied behind McDonald, calling her incarceration unjust and her placement in a men’s facility discriminatory.

McDonald plans to issue a public statement concerning her release, and has asked her supporters to allow her to spend her first days “in privacy with people she feels close to,” according to her blog.

More to come.

512 notes

I swear to the Lord
I still can’t see
Why Democracy means
Everybody but me.
Langston Hughes (via queens-and-pharoahs)

1,101 notes

What we now know as Memorial Day began as “Decoration Day” in the immediate aftermath of the U.S. Civil War. It was a tradition initiated by former slaves to celebrate emancipation and commemorate those who died for that cause.

These days, Memorial Day is arranged as a day “without politics”—a general patriotic celebration of all soldiers and veterans, regardless of the nature of the wars in which they participated. This is the opposite of how the day emerged, with explicitly partisan motivations, to celebrate those who fought for justice and liberation.

The concept that the population must “remember the sacrifice” of U.S. service members, without a critical reflection on the wars themselves, did not emerge by accident. It came about in the Jim Crow period as the Northern and Southern ruling classes sought to reunite the country around apolitical mourning, which required erasing the “divisive” issues of slavery and Black citizenship. These issues had been at the heart of the struggles of the Civil War and Reconstruction.

To truly honor Memorial Day means putting the politics back in. It means reviving the visions of emancipation and liberation that animated the first Decoration Days. It means celebrating those who have fought for justice, while exposing the cruel manipulation of hundreds of thousands of U.S. service members who have been sent to fight and die in wars for conquest and empire.

Ben Becker, “How Memorial Day Was Stripped Of Its African American Roots,” Dominion Of New York 5/27/13 (via racialicious)

749 notes

  • Gays: We just think our love is as valid as anyone else's
  • Liberals: Cool guys. Let's get you married.
  • Transgendered: I am not physically the person I feel I should be.
  • Liberals: Awesome. You should do whatever you like with your own body to find happiness.
  • Women: We're being raped, paid less, and I guess our nipples are more insulting then male nipples?
  • Liberals: Well, none of that is cool. We're here to support you!
  • Black People: We're being racially profiled, shot for minor crimes, and shoved into prisons simply based on our skin color.
  • Liberals: None of that is cool. You have our support.
  • Immigrants: Yes, we came here illegally, but we're escaping our countries full of violence, human trafficking, and drug lords. Can we just take your undesired jobs and raise our kids in peace to be hard-working Americans?
  • Liberals: Oh man. That sucks. Hell yeah you can. Welcome to America
  • Conservatives: NO!
  • Conservatives: No no no NO NO NO!!!
  • Liberals: Whoa there, these are normal human beings facing obstacles because of how they were born--
  • Conservatives: DON'T CALL ME RACIST
  • Conservatives: YOU'RE INTOLERANT
  • Conservatives: DON'T TRY AND PERSECUTE ME
  • Liberals: ....

1,849 notes

ayeshanura:

#thequeencode 

Don’t you know no good? 
#queen #king #balance #oneness #god #goddess #partnership #team #powers #reign #lion #lioness #iion #vibes #strength #honor #divinity #divine #cosmic #energy #love

ayeshanura:

#thequeencode

Don’t you know no good?
#queen #king #balance #oneness #god #goddess #partnership #team #powers #reign #lion #lioness #iion #vibes #strength #honor #divinity #divine #cosmic #energy #love

1 note

famous-quotations:

The merit of our Constitution was, not that it promotes democracy, but checks it. - Horatio Seymour   http://www.quotationsensation.com/quote.aspx/quote?quoteid=155321

famous-quotations:

The merit of our Constitution was, not that it promotes democracy, but checks it. - Horatio Seymour
http://www.quotationsensation.com/quote.aspx/quote?quoteid=155321

2 notes