Tag: Racial Justice
The following commentary was written by colleague David Samuels and first appeared in the March 8 – 15 edition of Hartford News. David is founder of the Community Party in Connecticut.
Facebook was on fire last week as liberals danced on the grave of conservative race baiting wingnut Andrew Breitbart, who died suddenly on March 1st of still unknown natural causes. I responded by posting a status on my page asking liberals how they were so different from Breitbart when I see that like him, many of them have never discussed issues such as police violence against people of color or racial economic disparity on their pages. I periodically check out their pages and most of these folks never posted about police brutality until Occupy movement protestors started getting a mild version of the brutal police violence that has been inflicted on Blacks / Latinos every day for years. Occupy Hartford is 99% white in a city where white people comprise 28% of the population, which gives new meaning to their slogan, “We are the 99%”. OH does a great job of paying lip service to addressing racial justice issues. I recently checked out the posts on their page over the past month and there was not one word about the East Haven police scandal which has become a national story or the Penn Act racial profiling bill which is currently being debated at the State Capitol, but they did find room to post the photo of someone who had worked with OH that they alleged was a mole for the Hartford Police. Apparently OH only has a problem with profiling when their movement is impacted. I saw another post about a journalist who was arrested in Miami for taking photos of the eviction of Occupy Miami protestors from their campsite, so clearly this isn’t a case of OH not addressing the Penn Act debate because it isn’t an economic justice matter – they’re ignoring the racial profiling issue in CT because it doesn’t affect their overwhelmingly white movement.
Economic justice issues regarding people of color apparently aren’t on the OH menu, either. There were no posts about Black / Latino unemployment, despite the fact that the unemployment rate among young Black males in some areas of Hartford is as high as 50% and the Latino jobless rate has reached Depression-era levels. The tone deaf attitude of OH was obvious in an exchange that they had on their page with a white person who rightfully blasted them for their hyperbolic characterization of OH’s support of a rally for Black / Latino workers at the CT Juvenile Training School as a “universal blow against racism”, equating the single act of showing up at this protest with being a continuation of the Civil Rights struggle of the 1960′s. That’s a slap in the face to Blacks who endured lynchings, bombings, shootings, and police brutality during their daily struggle to strike down segregation in the South.
Hey OH, supporting one rally isn’t a “continuation of the same struggle” of Blacks in Selma, as you stated in your Facebook post. A true continuation of that struggle is the day to day organizing around issues such as the Penn Act which does not take place in full view of the public. I’m talking about community outreach, conference calls, dealing with legislators, working on a laptop for hours, long distance car rides and other stuff that no one ever sees. The Community Party has been working on the Penn Act every day for two years – we know what “continuation of the same struggle” really means. The fact that you can sit there with a straight face and tell a person that attending one rally against racism is in any way a “continuation” of the tireless, courageous work of those who participated in the Civil Rights movement underscores your arrogance and hypocrisy.
A Judiciary Committee public hearing on the Penn Act has been scheduled for Monday, March 12th 11:00 a.m. at the Legislative Office Building Room 2C, 300 Capitol Avenue in Hartford. Check out our Penn Act Facebook page, the CP Twitter account and the Connecticut General Assembly website for updates on the hearing. If you or someone you know has been a victim of racial profiling or some other type of police abuse and are interested in testifying at the hearing, contact me at (860) 206-8879 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Hartford Public Access Televison channel 5 has scheduled replays of CP member Benjamin Reyes’ February 28th appearance on the Thinking Green public affairs show with host Ronna Stuller, who has been involved with our organizing efforts in the New London / Norwich area along with Tahira Matthews. Benjamin discussed our racial profiling bill and his cannabis based economic justice initiatives. The HPA TV airdates for March are Mondays (10:00 p.m.) Tuesdays (11:00 p.m.) and Saturdays (2:00 p.m.). All dates are subject to change – the updated list is available in the Notes section of our Penn Act page.