Friday, May 25, 2012
Please note that this video is being posted for purposes of historical documentation. It was edited and produced by Northstar Productions under the direction of Kali Akuno in March 2012, then serving as the Co-Director of the US Human Rights Network.
Sunday, May 20, 2012
Monday, May 21, 2012
Worldwide attention has been focused on the killing of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed Black youth, by George Zimmerman, a self-appointed neighborhood watch captain in Sanford, Florida on Feb. 26. 45 days after the local police department refused to arrest Zimmerman on the charge of murder, Zimmerman turned himself in to authorities after national media coverage looked into the case; various petitions/signature gathering events; dozens of global demonstrations and marches; and the shake-up of various officials and the appointment of a special prosecutor.
This scenario is unfortunately the norm and not an anomaly in the U.S. When it comes to the murder of Black people by law enforcement and racist vigilantes, tremendous amounts of resources, energy and pressure must be applied simply to initiate the process of holding individuals accountable for their crimes.
Within the United States historically, local law enforcement agencies and vigilante hate groups such as the Ku Klux Klan have operated as parallel organizations and as “mutually reinforcing types of organizations.” In his book Our Enemies in Blue: Police and Power in America, author and activist Kristian Williams writes that “… historically, police offer a degree of validation to Klan activity … by refusing to treat racist violence as a crime. At times the police have supplied the institutional nucleus around which vigilante activity could orbit.”
Since the killing of Trayvon Martin, research compiled by the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement has shown an epidemic of at least 23 Black men and women who have been murdered by local law enforcement, security personnel, and self-proclaimed “keepers of the peace.” In all, over 40 Black women and men have been killed by these forces since January 1, 2012. Within the U.S., murder – the unlawful killing of human beings – is usually determined by a jury in a court of law however very few law enforcement personnel have ever been charged with murder while performing their jobs. Police murder is simply not considered a crime.
To address this epidemic of police murder, it is imperative that the Obama Administration immediately implement a National Plan of Action for Racial Justice. This national plan of action must consist of 1) a national database to document the killing of Black people by the police; 2) eliminate racial profiling; and 3) ending the policies of mass incarceration targeting Black people.
“There is only one way to address the upsurge of racist violence being committed against Black people, Latinos, Arabs, Muslims, and immigrants in this country”, says Kali Akuno, organizer with the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, “and that is for the Obama administration to implement a National Plan of Action for Racial Justice that addresses all levels of government and demands compliance with all the provisions of the CERD treaty. All the resources being used to enforce racially-biased policies like S-Comm (Secure Communities) or stop and frisk throughout the country can just as easily be used in fact to end racial violence and discrimination.”
The International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination,(ICERD, or more commonly, CERD), is an international treaty designed to protect individuals from discrimination based on race, whether that discrimination is intentional, or is the result of seemingly neutral policies. The United States ratified CERD in 1994 and is therefore bound by all provisions of the treaty. The National Plan of Action would provide the Obama administration with the means to implement the general recommendations of the CERD. National Plans of Action for Racial Justice are a product of the World Conference against Racism held in Durban, South Africa in 2001.
Currently in the U.S., there exists no independent, national human rights institution that could serve as a check on domestic human rights abuses. A National Plan of Action for Racial Justice should pave the way for the establishment of such an institution that would be in accordance with United Nations principles that the U.S. has already accepted.
Additionally, no national, independent mechanisms are currently established for the monitoring of police abuses within the United States. Given the history of racial antagonisms in the U.S. and along the border with Mexico, a National Plan of Action for Racial Justice must make its priority the reporting of police brutality and excessive use of force; that the allegations are independently, promptly and thoroughly investigated; and that the perpetrators are prosecuted and appropriately held to a count.
We are calling on all those who genuinely seek justice for Trayvon Martin; all those who truly want a concrete “next step” to prevent future Trayvon Martins, to join us in this demand to hold the United States government accountable for its failure to fully address the systemic problem of institutionalized racism.
We are calling for people of goodwill across the nation to endorse the demand for a National Plan of Action for Racial Justice. The Malcolm X Grassroots Movement and its allies will be delivering a petition to the Obama administration in June demanding that it implement a National Plan of Action for Racial Justice. "It is time that the US government play by the same rules and standards that it demands of other nations around the world", says Kali Akuno. "The US government must respect, protect and fulfill the human rights of everyone person under its jurisdiction to ensure that there are No More Trayvon Martin's, and we intend on demanding compliance to ensure that it does so."
For more information about the Petition for a National Plan of Action visit http://mxgm.org/trayvon-martin-is-all-of-us/.
For more background information on What A National Plan of Action for Racial Justice is visit http://mxgm.org/the-national-plan-of-action-for-racial-justice-short-explanation-of-what-it-is/.
To contact the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement call Kali Akuno 510.593.3956 or email email@example.com.
Saturday, May 19, 2012
Local Struggles: Organizing for the National Plan of Action for Racial Justice at the City, County, and State Level
The fight for a National Plan of Action for Racial Justice is not just a fight targeting the federal government. Nor is it a fight to just create more government policies and institutions for monitoring rights abuses with few resources and no real accountability measures. This fight is ultimately a local fight, one that must be waged and won on every block, neighborhood, city, county, and state.
The “national” component of the demand for a National Plan of Action for Racial Justice is to ensure that no one state can opt out of complying with the demands for racial justice. We want to make sure that there is no recourse to “state’s rights”, which have been used for centuries to reinforce white supremacy and apartheid, particularly in the south and the southwest against Indigenous nations, New Afrikans and Xicanos.
The demand for a National Plan of Action for Racial Justice is a demand for structural change at every level of government – city, county (parish, borough, etc.), state, and federal. But, as already stated, it must first be waged and won on a local level. This battle starts with individuals and organizations adopting the demand for a National Plan of Action for Racial Justice. Upon adoption, individuals and organizations must then engage in mass outreach to educate more people about the National Plan of Action framework and what it would enable. Following the education work, the next step is to organize people to support a campaign of struggle to win the demand. After you have established a base of organizers to wage this campaign, the next step is to build strong local coalitions that are prepared to engage in various self-defense activities and offensive campaign initiatives that seek to transform the institutions and practices of local, county, and state governments by having them adopt action plans for racial justice.
Some of the initiatives of self-defense that are suggested entail:
- · Organizing Cop or Police Watch forces that canvass communities and directly monitor police practice, document police harassment (i.e. racial profiling, stop and frisk, etc.) and abuse, and serve as deterrence against police terrorism, particularly in communities of oppressed peoples.
- · Organize Peoples Self-Defense Coalitions and Campaigns that seek to: a) educate communities to know their fundamental human rights and their basic civil rights as a means of providing protection against police and other forms of state terrorism (i.e. surveillance, entrapment, etc.), b) create legal coalitions and clinics to partner with Cop or Police Watch forces to fight cases of police terrorism, and c) serve as an organizing base to launch local legislative campaigns and initiatives.
- · Organize People’s Hearings or Tribunals to thoroughly document local incidences of police terrorism and state repression to continue to educate and inform local communities and to gather evidence that can be used to pursue legal remedies both domestically (in US courts) and internationally (through Inter-American Commission or the United Nations) the and to reinforce demands of various organizing campaigns.
Some of the offensive campaign initiatives suggested entail:
· Campaign for City, County, or State level Plans of Action for Racial Justice that would entail:
o The creation of comprehensive Police Control Boards, that are elected by local communities and possess definitive authority over the police, including the power to fire and take legal and other corrective action against the police for violations of human rights.
o Local control ordinances and legislation that would specifically stop repressive policies like “stop and frisk”, racial profiling, programs like secure communities or S COMM of Homeland Security, and local law enforcement collaboration with Fusion Centers.
o The creation of Human Rights Commissions that would legally be empowered to ensure that local, state, and regional laws and practices comply with international law and standards of protection for oppressed peoples and groups (racialized communities, Indigenous peoples, oppressed peoples and nations, immigrants, etc.).
o The creation of Human Rights Charters for city, county, and state governments that refashion the articles of incorporation and constitutions that establish the legal framework for these entities to ensure maximum protections for Indigenous and oppressed peoples residing in these locales.
These are just a few ways in which the demand for a National Plan of Action for Racial Justice can be and is relevant to local, statewide, and regional struggles for social justice. The Malcolm X Grassroots Movement (MXGM), Black Left Unity Network (BLUN), and the National Alliance for Racial Justice and Human Rights (NARJHR) calls on every individual, organization, coalition, alliance, or network that believes in racial justice and is fighting to liberate oppressed peoples in this country to join us in the effort to fight for a National Plan of Action for Racial Justice to ensure that there are NO MORE TRAYVON MARTINS.
For more information on the No More Trayvon Martins Campaign visit www.mxgm.org.
To sign the petition for a National Plan of Action for Racial Justice visit http://mxgm.org/trayvon-martin-is-all-of-us/.
To endorse the campaign email firstname.lastname@example.org. To get started on organizing on its behalf see the tasks outlined in our Appeal Letter at http://mxgm.org/no-more-trayvon-martins-campaign-appeal/.
 For more background on what Fusion Centers are visit http://www.aclu.org/technology-and-liberty/whats-wrong-fusion-centers-executive-summary.
Friday, May 18, 2012
This week we paid tribute to Malcolm X (May 19, 1925 – Feb. 21, 1965) and Chuck Brown (August 22, 1936 – May 16, 2012). We invited Kali Akuno, Eugene Puryear, Raymond Winbush, Herb Boyd and Todd Steven Burroughs all to discuss our work that responds to Manning Marable’s final award-winning book on Malcolm X and we re-aired portions of the late Gil Noble’s Like It Is tribute to Malcolm X. Noble’s program was brilliant and portions we aired today included rarely-heard interviews with Malcolm’s brother Wilfred Little and family lawyer Percy Sutton, as well as, some equally rare audio of Malcolm himself. In between we honored the legendary Godfather of Go-Go, Chuck Brown. This was a fun and an extended special edition of The Super Funky Soul Power Hour!
Thursday, May 3, 2012
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DATE: MONDAY, MAY 7, 2012
TIME: 1:00 P.M.
LOCATION: CITY HALL, JACKSON, MS
Mississippi Human Rights Lawyer, Activist and City Councilman Chokwe Lumumba Announces His Candidacy for the Mayor of Jackson in 2013
Monday May 7, 2012, one year away from the democratic primary for the Jackson Mississippi mayoral race, City Councilman Chokwe Lumumba will announce his intent to seek the mayor's office. Councilman Lumumba, a veteran Human Rights and Criminal Defense Attorney and dedicated community activist, will seek office to bring new economic ideas that benefit the residents of Jackson, transparency to government affairs and fixing long standing city service issues (roads and water). Councilman Lumumba states "There is an opportunity now to bring a new vision to Jackson that will bring economic development and needed jobs to greater Jackson and not just downtown. Public funds must be used for the benefit of the majority of the residents of Jackson not for the private benefit of a few. That's why I'm running for Mayor."
Mr. Lumumba intends to stick to his roots and run a grassroots campaign reaching out to professionals, working class and poor communities, making the needs of the people the focal point of his campaign. Chokwe states "We intend to make the People’s voice the centerpiece of this campaign. By that we mean we will exchange ideas with the people and allow them to have a voice in the working of this city. The people of Jackson will participate in molding this campaign and my administration that creates a participatory democracy. As we say the people must decide the future of Jackson; we can continue to limp along or take bold initiatives to bring economic justice and jobs to the people of this city."
Tuesday, May 1, 2012
As stated in the “Trayvon Martin is All of US” statement (see http://mxgm.org/trayvon-martin-is-all-of-us/), “the murder of Trayvon Martin is no isolated tragedy”. New Afrikan and/or Black people have been fighting police brutality and vigilante terrorism in one form or another for centuries. Two of the long standing demands of the Black community have been community control over the police and the end to the police occupations of our communities. Attempts to placate these demands have been made in numerous cities throughout the United States in the form of civilian review boards and the hiring of Black police. After 40 years of experimentation with these methods, it is clear that they have failed to stop police brutality and white supremacist vigilante violence against Black people. It is time that we demand more. It is time that we demand structural change and that is where the National Plan of Action comes in.
The Malcolm X Grassroots Movement is demanding a National Plan of Action for Racial Justice to ensure that the US government is held accountable for its policies and practices that threaten or undermine the human rights of Afrikan and other oppressed peoples in the United States, including Indigenous Nations, Xicanos, Puerto Ricans, Hawaiians, Arabs, immigrants, Muslims and other targeted communities. The National Plan of Action for Racial Justice is a comprehensive plan that will address the totality of structural and institutional racism and how they violate the human rights of oppressed peoples.
What is a National Plan of Action?
In essence a National Plan of Action is a plan created and implemented by a National or Federal government to improve its human rights practice to ensure that the rights of all persons under its jurisdiction are respected, protected, and fulfilled. Such a plan acknowledges that improvements in all facets of governance are needed in order for human rights to be fully realized. In order to make these improvements, National Plans call on governments to:
1. Develop a comprehensive work plan, with a concrete timeline, goals, and measurable benchmarks, to resolve social issues where a government is not in full compliance with international law and standards in the application of human rights.
2. Ratify additional human rights treaties and standards where needed to ensure maximum protections and the realization of rights.
3. Align domestic law with international law to ensure more effective incorporation of international standards into domestic practice.
4. Establish national human rights institutions to facilitate, administer, and monitor the implementation of the plan.
5. Institute a comprehensive human rights education program to ensure that all government officials, on all levels of government (local, county, and state level) are aware of their human rights obligations and insure that all persons and institutions of civil society are aware of their rights.
6. Create social policies and programs that address core areas of concern regarding the protection and fulfillment of human rights and seek to improve the quality of life overall, particularly for vulnerable groups and social sectors.
The National Plan of Action concept is a product of the 1993 World Conference on Human Rights held in Vienna, Austria. It was promoted by the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action (VDPA) and was put forward as a means for all national-states to take deliberate action to improve their human rights record and practices. The development of National Plans of Action to combat racism and racial discrimination is a product of the Third World Conference Against Racism held in Durban, South Africa in 2001. These “racial justice” plans were promoted by the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action (DDPA) and have been adopted and utilized by a number of countries including Australia, Canada, Ireland, and South Africa.
Where these Racial Justice Plans have perhaps been used most effectively is in South America, specifically by Afro-descendent organizations and social movements. Afro-descendent organizations in Colombia, Brazil and Venezuela have used the DDPA and National Plans of Action to win constitutional recognition for ancestral lands, regional autonomy and special programs for cultural preservation, educational advancement, and community development. These examples and the organizing strategies employed to win these gains are the inspiration the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement draws from in our campaign to attain a National Plan of Action for Racial Justice in the United States.
Join Us. Build the No More Trayvons Campaign for a National Plan of Action for Racial Justice
The demands articulated in the “Trayvon Martin is All of US” statement are only a portion of the demands that would be included in the National Plan. Comprehensively the National Plan would address the right of self-determination; economic, social, and cultural rights; civil and political rights; racial profiling, stop and frisk, mass incarceration, state surveillance, and political repression; political prisoners and prisoners of war; environmental racism; and much more.
To win this demand, we are going to have to secure millions of signatures, organize individuals and communities in support of the demand on a mass level, build a broad coalition, and apply maximum pressure on the administration of President Obama to yield to the demand and implement a National Plan of Action for Racial Justice. Join the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement (MXGM), Black Left Unity Network (BLUN), National Alliance for Racial Justice (NARJHR), and the CERD Implementation Task Force of the US Human Rights Network (USHRN) in raising these demands and building this movement.
You can start by officially endorsing the campaign and committing to working on the strategies and tasks outlined in our Appeal Letter (see http://mxgm.org/no-more-trayvon-martins-campaign-appeal/ for more details). To endorse the campaign email email@example.com. To sign the Petition visit http://www.ushrnetwork.org/content/webform/trayvon-martin-petition.
For more details visit www.mxgm.org or visit us on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/#!/MXGMnational.
Kali Akuno , Malcolm X Grassroots Movement
Tuesday, May 1, 2012