|The National Institute for Restorative Justice
"Educating for Advocacy"
|15226 Lakeshore Blvd
Cleveland, Ohio 44110
|Mittie's Musings: A Message From The Chair
|"Every great dream begins with a dreamer.
Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience,
and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world."
Harriett Ross Tubman
|Renewing Inalienable Rights, Rebuilding Communal Confidence, Re-energizing Sustainable Economy, Reviving Unbridled Spirit
|" Channeling Gil Scott-Heron
In the Year of Trumped-Up Gods"
|I began this missive on September 17, in response to fatal police shootings of a
another 13 year old black child in Ohio with a toy gun, this time in Columbus, Ohio;
and 40 year old unarmed black man in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Since those shooting, three other black men have been killed by police, two confirmed
to be unarmed and two suspected of battling mental illness. The demise of the last
two victims was pushed low in the news cycle as to not excite more protests, or to
distract from the made for prime-time television presidential debate. The most recent
shooting took place on, September 27, 2016, a day after 84 million people watched
that debate, but few have heard of his name.
So let us call all of their names, these five slaughtered across America in less than two
Tyree King, 13, September 14, 2016, Columbus, Ohio
Terrence Crutcher, 40, September 16, 2016, Tulsa, Oklahoma
Tawon Boyd, 21, shot September 18, 2016,
died September 21, 2016 Baltimore, Maryland
Keith Lamont Scott, 43, September 20, 2016
Charlotte, North Carolina
Alfred Olango, 30, September 27, 2016, El Cajon, California
May they rest in peace.
These are the words of a Charlotte, North Carolina protester for justice
when asked if risking arrest, by ignoring an imposed midnight curfew, was
worth it. (1)
I don’t know her name, but I do know her pain. It is the reason why this
black grandmother brought in the 2016 New Year—12 midnight, the first minute
of a new day and a new year—on the literal front line of protest holding the
“Justice for Tamir” banner in the face of a horse mounted police force in
If we don’t stand for something, we’ll fall for anything. Yeah, Gil. I hear
Of late, I find myself often channeling Gil Scott-Heron, the late socio-political
satirist, spoken word artist and self-proclaimed “bluesician.” Despite the tragedy
of his uncontrolled drug addiction, which was truly part and parcel to his early
death, he was one of the most brilliant political pundits of our time. I miss his
commentary during this election cycle. Unquestionably, I know that he would
have a field day with the likes of Donald Trump. Especially, right about now that
Mr. Trump, who has never had any consideration for black folk before,
suddenly is setting out to be our savior.
If Gil were alive today, he would not even have to come up with new
material. His old material is more than sufficient because the ideology we are up
against remains unchanged.
Gil’s observations of Philadelphia’s former mayor Frank Rizzo and his
supporters, interchange well with the prime-time reality showman and his
followers: as one “who’s ignorance is only surpassed by the people who voted
for him.” (2)
Mic check! Yeah, it’s on Mr. Trump. Gloating over the fact that you, as “a
good businessman,” benefited from the foreclosure of working people’s
properties; badgering NATO for “not paying their fair share” while justifying
your not contributing to the American tax base as “smart!” And for this, the blue
collar workers who have built your electorate base, cheer. “…only surpassed
by the people who voted for him.”
|“I am a black mother, with a black son.
It is worth my life.”
Above all, Gil would remind us that we need not have “selective amnesia,”
but rather be leery of trumped-up gods and their followers. This is the man who
wanted to reduce our first black president’s stature to apartheid policies of
producing “his papers” to prove that he was who he said he was. “Let me see
your ID.” (3)
In his 1981 narrative “B Movie,” Gil had something to say about then
presidential candidate Ronald Reagan when he went from calling for National
Guard use of deadly force on college campuses to being Mr. Nice Guy on the
campaign trail. If Gil were alive today witnessing the Republican candidate’s
appeal for the black and brown vote, he would simply transfer those thoughts
from Reagan to Trump.
Trump, the man who enforced housing discrimination against black and
brown people – referred to us as rapist, drug dealing criminals and terrorists.
Trump the would-be foreign policy maker who wants extreme vetting only for
people entering the US from black and brown countries. Trump, the xenophobe
who speaks down to us from afar, whose rallies – short of the burning cross -
are expressly reminiscent of those of the Ku Klux Klan, and who hired a
renowned white supremacist to head up his presidential campaign.
Trump the chauvinistic misogynist, adulteress who yields to the advice of a
sexual harasser of women, and who himself is on court record as repeatedly
being accused of rape. Trump the denigrator of the disabled; the white male
privileged who disrespects and disregards everybody. Trump the deceiver from
whom lies spew forth the moment he opens his mouth, and he thinks that by
repeating them three times, followed by his mantra of “believe me,” will convince
us. This Trump all of a sudden wants to be Dudley Dog Gone Do Right? (4)
Those are not the actual words Gil used when describing Mr. Reagan as
Dudley Do Right, but we know all too well about preachers becoming sacrificial
lambs for speaking truth to power during presidential campaigns. Reverend
Jeremiah Wright was sacrificed during the 2008 presidential election cycle for
using the term Gil used, even though it simply implies the damnation of God,
whom our very Bible reminds us, constantly, will indeed condemn us for our
Not just us, but us and our children, and our children’s children. That’s
damnation! And that, my friends is what we have to lose if we hook up with a
trumped-up, heartless god. So in the spirit of Gil, while tolerating this
inconceivable presidential election of choice which includes this horrible
excuse of a man, “the first thing I want to say is [metaphor] my [behind!]” (5)
Skittles! Seriously, Skittles?
In the wake of the blatant, unjustified police killing of Terrence Crutcher, a
40 year old, black man in Tulsa, Oklahoma—less than one week after the police
killing of thirteen year old Tyree King while allegedly brandishing a toy gun in
Columbus, Ohio—the mere mention of Skittles deepened the unhealed wounds of
the memory of Trayvon Martin and countless unarmed black men, women and
children murdered under the disguise of law enforcement authority over the past
Trayvon – gunned down with his bag of Skittles for “walking while black” in
his father’s neighborhood.
These were the first thoughts that came to this black woman’s mind
regarding Donald Trump, Jr.’s bowl of colorful Skittles as a “metaphor” for
unwanted immigrants seeking refuge in “the land of the free, the home of the
The same land, where Ellis Island’s port of Liberty lit the torch welcoming
the way for his great-grandfather, Friedrick Drumpf, when he immigrated to
America from Kallstadt, Germany in 1885.
Yeah. “Make Trump Drumpf Again.” I love that slogan on the mock-up of
his stupid hat..
But, before I could even wrap my mind around those thoughts for this
missive… Pow, pow, pow, pow… four shots, and Keith Lamont Scott, another
brother is dead.
‘We smelled marijuana.’
‘He had a gun.’ Never mind that it was in an “open carry” state.
|Since this writing, the execution of black men and women by deputized and sworn law
enforcers has continued unchecked in America. As well, racial hate crimes has
increased significantly at the sanctioning signals of the White House resident Donald T.
Trump, who having lost the popular election by over ten million votes - over three million
to Hillary Clinton and seven million to "anybody but", was appointed to the office of the
U.S. President by the Electoral College.
My dearest son
I realize that by the time I finish writing this missive, the news cycle will have
moved on to the next election campaign spectacle. But recent events led me to
move from the silent sidelines of socio-political pundit voyeurism, to pen my
personal “musing” beginning with the moment our denomination of faith got
dragged into the campaigns.
This writing is long over-due and way too long – so much such that I doubt
that I will keep your attention to complete its reading. I get it. Your electronic
gadget based generation wants it fast, flashy, funky and right now!
But the severity of the concerns raised by the 2016 presidential election
campaigns demand your attention. Please, bear with me.
When I think about the possibility of your son—my strong, intelligent, kind,
handsome, five year old beautiful brown grandson—growing up in a country
under a president who: knowingly excites racist social practices; does not take
seriously the threat of global warming on our natural resources; puts profit
before people; brags about blowing non-threatening tug boats out of the ocean
and sexually assaulting women on a whim; and, who said nothing—not a word—
of First Nations protectors of life giving water—standing firm on indigenous land
while being subjected to attack dogs, I cringe.
When I think about this fear and war mongering maniac who admits that he
would keep under consideration the use of nuclear bombs as an option for
military dominance; and, who along with his VP candidate, calls for America to
“move beyond the political correctness” that ties the hands of law enforcement in
the criminalization posture to lock them up, lock them down or lock them—black
and brown men—out, I crumble.
When I think of the possibility of you or your son in light of a racist climate,
where a prospective Vice President of the United States does not give credence
to the reality of systemic and structural racism that shoots innocent black men
down and allows white mass murders to walk free, I cry.
|“The Social Principals…are a prayerful and thoughtful effort
…to speak to the human issues in the contemporary world
from a sound biblical and theological foundation
as historically demonstrated in United Methodist traditions.
We affirm all people as equally valuable in the sight of God.
We deplore acts of hate or violence against groups or persons
based on race, color, national origin, ethnicity, age, gender,
disability, status, economic condition, sexual orientation,
gender identity or religious affiliation.
Racism plagues and cripples our growth in Christ,
inasmuch as it is antithetical to the gospel itself.
…Therefore, we recognized racism as sin and affirm
the ultimate and temporal worth of all persons.”
The United Methodist Church Book of Discipline
Social Principles: The Social Community:
Rights of Racial and Ethnic Groups
I first started this writing mid-September, when the principles and practices
of The United Methodist Church worked their way into the presidential political
discourse by way of candidate Hillary Clinton, and Reverend Faith Green
Timmons, pastor of Bethel United Methodist Church in Flint, Michigan.
Having succumbed to the exhaustive effects of pneumonia while attending the
fifteenth memorial observation of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack,
Attorney-Professor-First Lady-Senator-Secretary Clinton acknowledged the
necessary retreat as “a gift” upon her return to the campaign trail. Brief as it
was, the respite allowed her the serenity and time to revisit her call and
commitment to public service, one spanning a professional course of forty-five
In sharing her reflections on why and how she came to this position and place as
the Democratic Party nominee for President of the United States of America, she
spoke of the early and continued nurturing of her Methodist faith which calls on
her to ‘do as much as she can, for as many as she can, for as long as she
can.’ All one need do to squelch any accusation that these words were merely
candidate posturing claims, is to look at her record.
“Let the record be read and read well.” There you will find that Mrs. Clinton’
s personal, academic and professional record stands as testimony to the truth
that she has taken the task of these lofty words to heart.
Unlike Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton is no “Johnny come lately” to the
causes of our dispossessed, disenfranchised, extended black, brown and other
Does she have baggage? Yes.
Is it enough to break an election deal?
No. Especially not given the cards we’re dealt in this campaign.
Mrs. Clinton’s witness of the virtues of Methodism was followed by the
gracious yet bold stance taken by Reverend Timmons, who stopped Donald
Trump dead in his lies, to hold him accountable to a commitment made in
exchange for his “photo opp” at the church.
Mr. Trump had committed to speak only of the Flint water crisis, and what
might be done towards its alleviation. When he extended the reach of their
agreement and began his signature Clinton bashing routine, Reverend Timmons
calmly, but firmly shut him down
When asked to appear on a broadcast news venue to discuss the ordeal,
Bethel submitted a statement on Reverend Timmons behalf, deferring to the UMC
position on the separation of church and state prohibiting her participation in the
Well, maybe that meeting was only for ordained clergy, for surely, I
missed it. Nor did I receive a follow up memo. Therefore, I yield to the
Social Principles of our Discipline as I address the audacity of Trump’s
pandering of my people for his unethical political gain
|“The strength of the political system depends
upon the full and willing participation of citizens.
The church should continually exert a strong
ethical influence upon the state, supporting policies
and programs deemed to be just and opposing
policies and programs that are unjust.”
“Separation of church and state means
no organic union of the two,
But it does permit interaction… The rightful and
vital separation of church and state,
…should not be misconstrued as the abolition
of all religious expression from public life.”
United Methodist Church Book of Discipline:
Social Principles: Political Responsibility:
Church and State Relations
I am a black woman of African, Indigenous, and Anglo American descent,
living and ministering in the inner-city of Cleveland, Ohio. With the exception of
departures for educational and professional purposes, inner-city Cleveland has
been my life-long dwelling place, shy of my first two years.
Unlike the Cleveland on display to the world during the Republican National
Convention, my inner-city neighborhood is—as Donald Trump so lavishly loves
to describe it—a broken down, vacant, boarded up wilderness. Unemployment
is high, home ownership is low, criminal activity on any night is a given. Even
as I write this missive, I am shaken by the sound of several rounds of gunshots
echoing from a neighboring street. “Dodge City” has nothing on inner-city
Cleveland. “Protect and Serve” is MIA. There is no preventive presence here.
They show up only after the smoke clears. After the damage and death-knell is
I thought about that on New Year’s eve as an entire police force protected
visiting revelers in the downtown entertainment district from our small band of a
hundred protesters of so. I swear, there had to be a police for every protester:
some on foot, some in cars, some on horses. All there for the purpose of
keeping us only within the prescribed areas for the expression of our First
Amendment rights; a “right” that did not extend down certain streets where
suited men and high heeled women dined in high end restaurants.
I wondered what it would be like for tax paying, voting citizens like me, to
have that kind of protective presence in our neighborhood. Donald Trump talks
trash about the inner-city, but he fails to tell why and how it ended up this way.
I have sixty-two years of stories to tell about how a respectable blue collar,
middle income earning community turned into a trash ridden, burned out,
boarded up, abandoned replica of a war zone.
His–storians like to word it that the white people moved out, and the black
people moved in; quite the contrary. We moved in, white folk took flight, and
with it most City services. Properties that were not sold turned into rentals with
negligent, absentee landlords, followed by riots, drugs for a war, guns on the
ground, and predatory lending culminating with the plundering of poor people’s
property. Bank foreclosures, tax foreclosures, an invisible police force that gives
way to vagrancy, vandalism, dumping, and yes, mayhem and murder. Shut
down the bus lines, shut down the schools…
I will save those details for later.
Yet, in the tradition of my biblically based theology and faith practice, where
there is a wilderness, there is always a need for a prophetic voice.
| On most nights, it is quiet and very peaceful here
in this urban forest inner-city.
Indeed, there is a kind of comfort in the sound
of the crickets chirping, and the occasional
hoot-song of the Barrier Owl that has
taken up residence in my backyard trees.
So, it is in the tradition of Old Testament prophesying preachers that I stay with
my people and cry out against inequity and injustice – shrinking not, barring none
– for liberty, righteousness and justice for all.
Some of my family and friends don’t get it. Not even some of my colleagues
in ministry. Even those having been raised, baptized and confirmed in the faith
under the teachings of some of the most brilliant liberation theology, have
struggled with my choice to stay.
For transparency sake, there are other—not so altruistic -reasons why I and
hundreds of neighbors like me have firmly rooted inter-generationally in this
neighborhood, and shall not be moved. It has much to do with location, location,
location - access and resources which we clearly understand are at the root of
calculated agendas for the school closings, abandonment of services, and general
displacement of existing residents to make room for the new.
Urban Removal. That’s what my grandfather called the 1960’s “Urban
Renewal” program. Whole black communities wiped out to make way for
whatever development plan is on the table. Colleges, hospitals, transportation
corridors...it is happening all over this country. As urban centers are being
restored, revitalized and in some cases reinvented, existing urban dwellers—the
majority of which are black, brown and poor, are being pushed out to the
Fringe Dwellers. That’s what the Australian’s called the unwanted
indigenous Aboriginals, displaced and dispossessed away from vibrant coastal
For one hundred years my family has been homeowners in this city,
beginning with my great grandfather, Henry, in 1916. His son William was
displaced from his Central neighborhood to make way for the Community
College, although it has not reached his former street to this day. Had he lived
beyond his 96 years, he would have witnessed another displacement, as the
Cleveland Clinic plan consumed the Fairfax community to which he relocated.
William’s son, my father Harold, rode the first wave of integration into Hough
bordering Glenville, and sixty-two years later, we, his children, grandchildren,
profit. Moguls concerned about making themselves great. Forget about America.
While Mr. Trump knows something about that, he knows nothing about the
by-gone days of a civilized functioning inner-city. Because—like Gil’s thoughts
on Taft and Hartley who sponsored the 1947 Labor Management Act which
“restricted the activities and power of labor unions,” in the wake of coal miner’s’
strikes—other than for recent “photo opps,” Trump “ain’t spent one day in the
A few Sundays ago, while lifting up the passages of the Old Testament
Hebrew prophet Jeremiah’s warning of the consequences of falling for false
idols, I shared my thoughts on Mr. Trump’s ridiculous solicitation of the black
and brown vote. The preached text was the second book of Jeremiah, in which
the prophet raises the question of God, asking: “What did I do wrong that you
would leave me, turn into fools who worship false gods." (10)
False gods. Trumped-up gods. Indeed, “false” is the meaning of
something “trumped-up.” The dictionary defines the term as something
fabricated, fraudulently or spuriously devised. I am intrigued by the word
Trumped: “Something concocted with the intent to deceive, as in “he was
shot on trumped-up charges…” Something that is untrue, made up, not in
accordance with fact or reality, or actuality…”
Trumped. We should have seen that one coming.
I am twenty-four printed half pages into this missive, and should I attempt to
address all of the trumped-up experience and policies “The Donald” has cited as
hallmarks for a presidency in his name, it will never end.
Rather, I am going to focus on three issues brought front and center by the
Trump campaign in his attempt to garner the black vote: school choice, the
criminalization of black and brown people, and, what the black community
has to lose by voting for Trump.
I trust that my years of writings, study groups and summits concentrating
on the issues of the so-called criminal justice system and its double standard in
America is well documented on our National Institute for Restorative Justice
website, so I will not address it here. (11)
|The vast majority of black and Hispanic students
continue to function under a kind of
educational apartheid more than a generation
after the passage of the 1954 Civil Rights Act.
The apartheid begins in public schools,
with the underfunding of urban education.
Advanced placement (AP) and honors courses
are widely available at private and
suburban schools, but frequently unavailable
in mostly black and brown public high schools.
The so-called “racial achievement gap”
in most standardized tests that determine
admission to colleges is more than anything else
a measurement of “unequal treatment.”
Manning Marable, Great Wells of Democracy:
The Meaning of Race in America (12)
Before Donald Trump went to Flint, Michigan exploiting the water crisis for
his “photo opp,” he was in Cleveland peddling school choice for black and
brown inner-city children to a predominately white, charter school-supporting
So very Trump.
As I watched the news coverage of this folly, I wondered why he was not
pushing school choice for the bordering communities of Bay Village, or Avon
Lake, or North Ridgefield, or Rocky River, or Mayfield Heights, or Chesterland,
or Mentor, or Beachwood, or Orange Village, or Solon, or Shaker Heights, or
Oberlin, or Amherst? No charter schools there.
I name these particular Northeast Ohio, predominantly white suburbs because
as chair of my college alma mater’s local book award program, I traveled to
these towns where public schools thrive, and their significance as central
gathering places for the community-at-large are clearly understood. The public
schools in those places boast state-of-the art science complexes, performing arts
centers, and spectator friendly sports facilities providing opportunities to gather
community and galvanize pride around the achievements of their communal
The Lure of School Choice
Once upon a time the high schools in my neighborhood served as the center
of our community. Beyond their primary role as secondary day schools, they
cultivated youth citizenship, leadership and vocational preparation through civic
clubs; entrepreneurial training, and trades apprenticeships. It was the buildings
and fields where the community rallied to support their championship sports
team. It was the auditoriums where families and friends sat proudly as their
young performed drama, music and dance. Once upon a time.
Then bussing came, disrupting the communal flow of students and families to
and from those spaces. Attendance dropped: miss the bus without private
transportation, you’re out. The displacement impeded the easy access for both
student and parental participation in after-school “extra-curricular” activity,
including parent teacher forums and, with it, a sense of community pride.
Bussing was followed by vouchers to save the parochial real estate left behind by
Next came the “magnets” and other specialty schools, ushering in a non-
communal consciousness, and divisive competitive relationships between
neighborhood children –even sometimes within the same family. One child gets
in, the other one does not. One child feels empowered, the other – less than.
Beyond our Methodist faith practice, Hillary Clinton and I have a few other
common experiences. We are both graduates of ‘Seven Sister’ colleges; she
from Wellesley and I from Smith. We both entered those schools as registered
Republicans. Yes, my son. It’s true.
My parents, your grandparents, were born less than fifty years after the
abolition of slavery in the United States. Some of their grandparents were
enslaved North Carolina and Virginia tobacco plantation farmers. Following
emancipation into the late 60’s and early 70’s, our family—like most black
families—was faithful to the “Party of Lincoln,” who was revered as our
liberator. And so, when I came of age to register to vote in 1970, I did so in the
tradition of my parents, grandparents, and newly emancipated great-grandparents
But, as it was also true with Mrs. Clinton, coming of age in the era of the
lSNCC, CORE, NAACP, SCLC, Civil Rights Movement, the Viet Nam War, the
Black Power Movement, (13)Woodstock and Women’s Liberation, it did not take
long for me to come to my senses and bail from the sinking republican ship.
And indeed, less than a half century later, we see just how low it has sunk.
We both committed our civic and professional pursuits to non-profit
initiatives advancing social, economic and legal justice. And before all of that,
we graduated public secondary schools, both of us, ironically, attending schools
named East High.
Over the past sixty-two years, three generations of my family graduated
Cleveland’s East High, located a short four block walk away from my home then
This is where we were raised and socially bred. This is where we worshiped
as a family. This is where our primary through secondary education took place.
And, beyond my public school classrooms, this is where my intellectual, cultural
and artistic formation began through immediate access to world class institutions
of those inclinations: The Cleveland Museum of Art, The Cleveland Symphony
Orchestra, The Cleveland Playhouse, The Cleveland Natural History Museum,
The Western Reserve Historical Society, The Cleveland Cultural Gardens, The
Rockefeller Park Greenhouse which is just a stone’s throw from Erie, the
smallest of the five—but none-the-less impressive—Great Lakes. Premier
resources, all within walking distance from the public schools on these inner-city
streets where I grew up and prepared for my prestigious ‘Seven Sister’
undergraduate education and degree.
Unlike ‘Seven Sister’ Hillary’s East High School in Maine Illinois,
Cleveland East was shut down along with eighteen other schools in my extended
community during the 2010 extinction of public schools across urban
America. It is the one policy of contempt I found with the Obama
administration. I love you, Mr. President, but it just wasn’t right.
An Issue of Human, Civil and Community Rights
Without question, the closing of traditional public schools that provide
unburdened access to all school-aged residents within a particular community,
defeats constitutional and civil rights gains accomplished over the past half
We too often forget the root issue for Oliver Brown, on behalf of his
daughter, as lead plaintiff in Brown vs Board of Education. It was not about
integration, some all prevailing desire for his black daughter to sit in school with
her white peers.
The underpinning issue for Oliver Brown was Linda’s displacement from her
residential community in order to obtain an equal education. He placed before the
court the undue burden of his child having to walk six blocks, catch a bus and
ride another mile to attend Monroe Elementary School, while Sumner Elementary
School was seven blocks from her home, only one more than her initial walk to
Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren's Brown vs Board opinion to the court
begins with recognition of this premise: "These cases come to us form the States
of Kansas, South Carolina, Virginia and Delaware. They are premised on
different facts and different local conditions, but a common legal question
justifies their consideration together in this consolidated opinion. In each of
these cases, minors of the Negro race, through their legal representatives, seek
the aid of the courts in obtaining admission to the public schools of their
It goes on to say "on a non-segregated basis," but it is important for us to
remember the root issue was black children’s displacement from their
community while in educational pursuit.
Transformation or Decimation
On January 5, 2010, the Chief Executive Officer of the Cleveland Municipal
School District announced the proposed closing of East High School through it's
"Transformation Plan." The proposal to close the school was made without
input from the extended community most affected by its closing: surrounding
residents, current students, and graduates; neither was there a requirement to go
before the City’s Council elected to represent those constituencies. By the time
East High's immediate residential, tax paying and voting community was invited
into the discussion—including alumni graduating as far back as the class of
1938—the deal had been cut.
We unsuccessfully challenged the plan to close the school based on the
criteria considered for the decision: under enrollment, low standardized academic
ratings, and poor facility conditions—a relatively new school; all factors equal to,
and in some cases better than, comparable, publicly funded schools in adjacent
communities which were left open.
Death by Dollar
The “Transformation Plan” followed suit with a nationwide movement of
public school districts to address what we considered to be fiscal and human
resource mismanagement. Our children and communities should not have been
penalized because poor planning left the District overbuilding facilities, and
establishing top-heavy administrations: a national trend fueled by government
dollars made available through efforts to “desegregate” urban systems.
Of equal concern was the national movement to virtually privatize our public
school systems. A movement tragically initiated by the U.S. Secretary for
Education, whose office made available over $900 million in “School Turn
Around Grants,” and “Race To The Top Grants” that require district recipients
to agree to a series of criteria including: firing administrative and teaching staff;
closing “low performance” schools, shuffling students to “better performance”
schools in the district; or, reopening as a charter school, a national trend that
completely removes educational accountability from public purview. A trend that
also ensures employment opportunities for non-black professionals, with little
connection or comprehension of the day to day issues faced by their
predominantly black enrollment from lower income families.
We also critically questioned then, and continue to question now, whether or
not it is in the best interest of the greater residential community, to utilize public
school funds to leverage privately operated schools with selective
In his acclaimed book Great Wells of Democracy: The Meaning of Race In
American Life, the late Manning Marable, former Columbia University Professor
of History, Political Science and Public Policy, and founding Director of the
Institute for Research in African American Studies, criticizes the failure
of advocates for school choice to "comprehend that the purposes and functions
of profit-making businesses and education are fundamentally different." (15)
Dr. Marable went on to state that it is the educational apartheid apparent
within public schools systems - particularly the disparity in school funding and
curricula offering - that fails the students, not the settings of the traditional public
school structure. "It makes absolutely no sense to divert billions of dollars away
from struggling public institutions to finance privately owned corporations that
consider education merely a profit-making venture. The fight to preserve and
enhance public education is inseparable from the struggle for the
empowerment of the oppressed, toward the pursuit of human freedom." (16)
Our challenge to the Cleveland District was to take advantage of the low
enrollment cited as a negative factor at East, but touted as a positive factor in the
charter school model. Applying the best, logical practices of the charter school
model to more manageable enrollment should produce better performance results.
East High History
116 years ago, East High School opened its doors as a traditional public
school, serving secondary aged students in the Hough, Superior-St. Clair and
Glenville neighborhoods of Cleveland. From 1900 to 1975, East High operated
from its original building as a community-based school with an academic
program offering a well-rounded and diverse course of study in general, trade,
and college preparatory instruction. East alumni went on to successfully access
employment opportunities open to high school diploma recipients, and to
matriculate and graduate local, state and nationally respected higher educational
institutions. The East High Alumni Association is the oldest chartered alumni
association in Cleveland.
While century old facilities in other communities are restored, remodeled and
improved with additions. The original East High was torn down, and in 1975,
East High opened its current building housing three small schools under a
common physical and administrative infrastructure, a pattern developed along
with the establishment of magnet schools, to help relieve racial segregation
within the public school system.
In 1978, under federal court order, the Cleveland Public Schools began a
major bussing initiative to remedy non-compliance of desegregation laws.
Unfavorably predicted by then School Board superintendent Paul Briggs and
Chair Arnold Pinckney, the desegregation order simply expedited "white flight
from the city and the dual system of public education that left schools in central
cities with predominantly disadvantaged [black and brown] children." School
desegregation cannot, and should not bear the weight of segregation resulting
residential housing access patterns and subsequent choices, and at its very root,
non-addressed issues of racism. (17)
Logical Factors For Community-based Schools
Even though heritage and legacy have been cited as significant reasons for
preserving selective communities and buildings by the City's planners and
developers, it was not the most significant reason behind the East High extended
community's interest in keeping the school open. The interest in keeping East
High School open as a public, community-based school was for many of the
same reasons the site was selected in 1900 when its surrounding high school-age
population mirrored that of today:
Unfortunately, that last possibility went out the door when the building use was
- it is centrally located for current and future secondary school-aged
populations of Hough and west Glenville;
- its cross-route location offers easy access via public transportation;
- it is a relatively new facility, designed to accommodate multiple schools,
co-existing under a common operational cost related infrastructure;
- it is a recently improved facility, heavily invested through public dollars,
for public education providing equal access;
- it provided the greater opportunity for future site expansion, offering a
myriad of possibilities in upgrading instructional and competition
recreational/sports programming to benefit the school, as well as the
transferred to the Board of Education as a "professional campus," the real
agenda, and the dream of a sports field was paved over and turned into a parking
lot, and a very well lit parking lot in an otherwise dark neighborhood.
Today, the only option for youth in the neighborhood to attend a school
named East is if they enroll in the East Preparatory Academy charter school
located in the former Immaculate Conception Catholic School building.
Shut down the public schools. Shift the students and dollars to empty
parochial facilities abandoned by white flight. Commute a predominantly white
staff and faculty to oversee poor inner-city children.
The Baby in the Bathwater
In her September 18, 1996 appearance before the U. S. House of
Representatives Committee on the Judiciary, the National Association of
Neighborhood Schools Communications Director, Joyce Haws, testified that
before desegregation court-order bussing, 75% of Cleveland Public School
students graduated. Less than two decades later, that rate reduced to 26%. (18)
It does not take a Cleveland Clinic brain surgeon to recognize that when
students are displaced from their communities and familiar support systems, and
are overburdened with transportation and safety concerns, attendance and
academic performance will suffer.
Officials have squandered hundreds of millions of dollars, annihilated our
public school systems, destroyed our communities, and thwarted the potential
and ability of our children while trying to fix something that was never broken.
The greatest loss is to the holistic development of the child as student and
citizen. Dr. Diane Ketelle, professor of education at St. Mary's College in
California states it this way: "A public school has both internal public purposes
and external public purposes. The internal purpose is learning, but the external
purpose is to build community." (19)
How can we teach our children to value and build community, when we tell
them that their community is unworthy of providing them with equal educational
access. In essence, we plant the seed of personal and communal inferiority. If
the message is that the community in which you live is inferior, then as a product
of it, so too are you. Again, the decision of Brown vs Board reminds us that a
“sense of inferiority affects the motivation of a child to learn.”
Even Justice Clarence Thomas got it right when concurring with the Supreme
Court’s decision in Missouri vs Jenkins. He began his opinion with very
emphatically stating that: “It never ceases to amaze me that the courts are so
willing to assume that anything that is predominantly black must be inferior”
and subsequently concluded that “because of their distinctive histories and
traditions, black schools can function as the center and symbol of black
communities, and provide examples of independent black leadership, success,
and achievement.” (20)
I and millions others are testaments to the effectiveness of community-
centered public schools with comprehensive education programs that prepare
students for higher education, as well as immediate access to the trades, services
and administrative workforce.
As championed by the National Education Association, every child deserves a
well-rounded education in their own community, regardless their zip code.
More importantly, I, and millions others know that strong neighborhood
enrolled public schools help build strong communities.
NEA, Mr. Trump, not NRA.
|We recognize, embrace, and affirm all persons, regardless
of country of origin, as members of the family of God.
We affirm the right of all persons to equal opportunities
for employment, access to housing, health care,
education, and freedom from social discrimination.
We urge the Church and society to recognize
the gifts, contributions, and struggles of those
who are immigrants and to advocate for justice for all.
The United Methodist Church Book of Discipline
Social Principles: The Social Community:
Rights of Immigrants
One of Mr. Trump’s campaign acts of deception is to line his rally stages
with relatives calling the names of victims of violence, allegedly inflicted by
Like him, we can call the roll. I have painstakingly researched the names of
the victims of mass murders in our nation since the turn of the 21st Century -.all
thirteen, double columned pages of them, too many to post here.
It reminds me of the “Roll Call” of the soldiers lost during the first year of
President Bush’s war against Iraq.
When the black body bags first started rolling in, our local conservative
controlled newspaper would list the names of the fallen, adding to it every day.
When it became perfectly clear that the list was not going to stop at 100, 500,
1,000 - coupled with the revealing of the lie that lured us into battle - the
The unadulterated truth—which Mr. Trump has little regard for—is that the
majority of the violent acts of murder—mostly mass—in America were imposed
by white men who— unlike his profiteering products—were made right here in
Criminalization of Black and Brown Immigrants
Law and Order! Second to abolishing the Affordable Healthcare Act,
that’s what Trump promises will be his signature accomplishment if elected
president. Trump, the man who is on court record as being lawless at every
conceivable turn: fraud, rape, and more than likely, tax evasion— next.
More frightening—but not surprising—is the fact that his agenda is being
endorsed by national and local police associations across the nation.
It is not surprising because, like school choice, law and order keeps one
group of people working at the expense of another. From the lawmakers to the
law enforcers—go into any city judicial center, police center, prison or jail—
white men enforcing the law to keep black men in order. Without us as
criminals, they would have no jobs. From slavery forward, white overseers
keeping black indigents in line.
Regardless of race, nationality, social creed or color, offensive violent acts
committed by anyone, is horrible and disdainful and unacceptable.
Unquestionably, perpetrators of violence should be punished, through a fair
But, of equal disdain, is the vilifying of a whole people as being violent in
order to rally others against them.
|Of Sixty-six mass murders recorded
between 1999 and 2016
Fifty-three were perpetrated by
Thirty-four of the murderers
were Anglo – aka white – born in America:
Eric Harris, Dylan Klebold – Columbine High School,
Columbine, Colorado, April 20, 1999 – 12 victims
Mark Orrin Barton – All-Tech Investments,
Stockbridge, GA, July 29, 1999, 25 victims
Larry Gene Ashbrook - Wedgewood Baptist Church,
Fort Worth, Texas, September 15, 1999 – 14 victims
Michael McDermott – Edgewater Technology,
Wakefield, Massachusetts, Dec. 26, 2000 – 7 victims
Charles Andrew Williams – Santana High School,
Santee, California, March 5, 2001 – 15 victims
Doug Williams – Lockheed Martin Aeronautics,
Meridian, Mississippi, July 8 2003 – 13 victims
Nathan Gale - Damageplan Altros Villa Show,
Columbus, Ohio, December 8, 2004 – 12 victims
Terry Ratzmann – Living Church of God, Brookfield,
Wisconsin, March 12, 2005 – 11 victims
Jennifer San Marco - Goleta Postal Processing Plant,
Goleta, California, January 30, 2006 – 7 victims
Kyle Aaron Huff – Capitol Hill, Seattle,
Washington, March 25, 2006 – 9 victims
Charles Carl Roberts, IV - Amish School House,
Nickle Mines, Penn, October 2, 2006 – 10 victims
Tyler Peterson – Crandon, Wisconsin,
October 7, 2007 – 7 victims
Robert Hawkins – Westroads Mall, Omaha,
Nebraska, December 5, 2007 – 12 victims
Steven Kazmierczak – Norther Illinois University,
Dekalb, Illinois, February 14, 2008 – 22 victims
Wesley Neal Higdom – Atlantis Plastics,
Henderson, Kentucky, June 25, 2008 – 6 victims
Robert Stewart – Carthage Nursing Home,
Carthage, North Carolina, March 29, 2009 – 11 victims
Jared Lee Lougner – Tucson, Arizona,
January 8, 2011 – 18 victims
Amy Bishop – University of Alabama,
Huntsville, Alabama, February 12, 2010 – 6 victims
Scott Evans Dekraai – Seal Beach Salon,
Seal Beach California, October 12, 2011 – 9 victims
Thomas Lane – Chardon High School,
Chardon, Ohio, February 27, 2012 – 5 victims
Wade Michael Page – Wisconsin Sikh Temple,
Oak Creek, Wisconsin, August 5, 2012 – 9 victims
Andrew John Engeldinger – Accent Signage Systems,
Minneapolis, MN, September 28, 2012 – 7 victims
Ian Stawicki – Café Racer,
Seattle Washington, May 20, 2012 – 7 victims
James Egan Holmes – Aurora Theater,
Aurora, Colorado, July 20, 2012 – 82 victims
Adam Lanza – Sandy Hook Elementary School,
Newtown, Conn, December 14, 2012 – 26 victims
Kurt Myers – Mohawk Valley,
Herkimer County, NY March 13, 2013 – 6 victims
Ethan Anthony Couch – Afluenza Teen Murders,
Burleson, Texas, June 15, 2013 – 13 victims
Elliott Rodger – Isla Vista, California,
May 23, 2014 – 20 victims
Dylan Roof – Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church,
Charleston, SC, June 17, 2015 – 9 victims
Sean Harper-Mercer – Umpqua Community College,
Roseburg Oregon, October 1, 2015 – 18 victims
Noah Jacob Harphram – Colorado Springs, Colorado,
October 31, 2015 – 3 victims
Robert Lewis Dear – Planned Parenthood,
Colorado Springs, CO, November 27, 2015 – 12 victims
Jason B. Dalton, Kalamazoo, Michigan,
February 20, 2016 – 8 victims
Thirty-two white men. Two white women.
All born in America. 237 murdered. 212 wounded.
We can call the names. We can call the names of victims, perpetrators, their
mothers and fathers and from whence they hailed.
Of the 19 remaining American born citizens who were perpetrators of mass
violence during that period: nine were African-American, three were Native
American, three Mid-Eastern American, two Hispanic American, and one Pacific
|Finally, of the thirteen massacres inflicted by
non-American born perpetrators, six were
naturalized citizens, including the
Eastern-European born brothers responsible
for the Boston Marathon massacre;
and only one was from Mexico!
Finally, of the thirteen massacres inflicted by non-American born
perpetrators, six were naturalized citizens, including the Russian born brothers
responsible for the Boston Marathon massacre; and only one was from Mexico.
In no way is this indictment intended to absolve the guilt of black on black,
brown on brown, or any other combination of murder and victim by race. It is
recorded to open Mr. Trump’s eyes to the ignorance of his claims that black and
brown people—for lack of a better all inclusive term—are not the majority
perpetrators of violent crime in America.
So, maybe the Trump wall will be for the benefit of our North American
neighboring nations. Maybe the wall will be to protect Canada and Mexico from
the violent, mass murderers born in American.
Who should pay for that, Mr. Trump?
|“What did I do wrong that you would leave me,
turn into fools who worship worthless things,
and became worthless themselves…
See if there has ever been such a thing.
Has a nation changed its gods
even though they are no gods?
But my people have changed their glory for
something that does not profit.
Be appalled, Oh heavens, at this...
Be shocked, be utterly desolate, says the Lord,
for my people have committed two evils:
They have forsaken me, the fountain of living water,
and dug out wells for themselves,
cracked wells that hold no water.”
Book of Jeremiah 2:5, 10 - 13
Save Your Soul: What African Americans have to lose?
Back to the incident at Bethel United Methodist Church.
The whole world saw the news clip with Reverend Faith Green Timmons
defending Donald Trump as some in the assembled at her church began to heckle
him, including a call for him to answer for his family’s long standing, historical
practice in housing discrimination.
We all saw and heard it. The crowd heckled him, Reverend Timmons Green
defended him. Yet, in true Trump fashion, he turned that truth upside down, and
reported to Fox News that in light of her suppressing his voice, the crowd called
for her to let him speak. And it is this issue that brings me to my final point.
“The devil is a liar.” And, as Gil would say: We need to shut him down! “That’
s the only way to stop [him], shut ‘um down.” (21)
During a recent segment of MSNBC’s All In, while sitting in for Chris
Hayes, Joy Reid cut short a guest pastor as he referred to Donald Trump as the
devil. She suggested that we leave the devil out of the discourse.
Unfortunately, when the Republican Party elected Donald Trump as their
nominee for the highest elected office of the United States, the deal with the devil
According to the Gospel of St. Luke, Christ opens the scrolls of the prophet
Isaiah as he read in the Synagogue of his birth. We in the church often refer to
this moment as Christ’s mission statement: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor, proclaim release
the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to tell the oppressed that they
shall be set free..” (22)
Donald Trump’s mission is the antithesis of Christ’s. He bears the news of
gloom and doom. He makes a mockery of our disabled. His law enforcement
policies would keep captives locked up, and his domestic and immigration
stances would keep our poor and oppressed, “huddled masses longing to be
free,” locked out.
Christ sacrificed his life for the ransom of the world. Trump defined his
sacrifice as having “built great buildings and having great success.”
There is no doubt in my mind, Donald Trump is anti-Christ. And, shame on
you so-called Christians who parade around justifying the evil agenda of this
evil man. You have sold your soul to stand with this demagogue for your own
lut for power. How dare you, Governor Pence, refer to him as a
“good man.” Shame on you!
Especially you "Bible toting Evangelical Preachers! Shame on you!
What do we have to lose? Our souls, if we “turn into fools and worship
worthless things, and become worthless ourselves.”
An issue of trust?
Donald Trump – who makes mockery of the Eucharist, a most sacred rite of
the Church, when he claims a faith practice by ‘drinking the wine and eating the
little crackers’ – Trump who says nothing of the act of repentance before
accepting communion, wants us to not only forget his transgressions as he
offers us cracked cisterns, but he also wants us to forget that his opponent has
spent more than two thirds of her life time advocating for the “least of us,”
poor, disabled and oppressed, while painting her as being untrustworthy.
| There is no doubt in my mind, Donald Trump
is anti-Christ. And, shame on you
so-called Christians who parade around justifying
the evil agenda of this evil man.
As a student at Wellesley College, Hillary Rodham worked with student
organizers in the mid 60’s to increase the enrollment of underrepresented black
students and hiring of black faculty and staff. As a student at Yale Law School
she provided volunteer legal assistance advocating for the education and health
rights for children and migrant workers.
She took her highly esteemed Ivy League jurist doctorate to the deep Delta south,
and labored with Marian Wright Edeleman, the black woman founder of The
Children’s Defense Fund, to ensure basic needs of food, clothing, shelter,
education and health care for poor children, black and white.
In Arkansas, before entering the Governor’s Mansion, Hilary Clinton taught
criminal law at the University and served as director of its first legal aid clinic,
co-founded Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families, and under the
appointment of President Jimmy Carter,became the first woman to chair the
board of the United States Congress’ Legal Service Corporation.
As first Lady of Arkansas and the United States, she continued to engage
challenges to ensure quality health and educational opportunities for children.
She was publicly acknowledged as an advisor to her husband, and became the
first First Lady to have an office in the West Wing.
The list goes on and on. You will find no shortage of legitimate documentation
of Hillary Clinton’s accomplishments as a public servant from meager volunteer
opportunities as a young upstart lawyer; to the highest levels of government as a
Senator and Secretary of State; and beyond the government as a trustee of the
Clinton Foundation Global Initiative, where she again focused on efforts to
improve early childhood quality of life, and educational opportunities for girls in
While Hillary has worked long and tirelessly in the tradition of the Christian call
to ‘feed the hungry, give water to the thirsty, welcome the stranger, clothe the
naked, care for the sick, visit the imprisoned,’ (23) Donald puffed-up his
coffers plundering poor people’s properties, exporting the manufacturing of his
goods and importing cheap labor for his real estate development, leisure resorts,
modeling company, beauty pageants and other ventures exploiting women.
He looked out for no one except his immediate Barbie and Ken, manufactured,
horse-like prancing family, who are quick to cover his lasciviousness in their
own thirst to occupy the White House..
The popular myth is that Donald Trump is an unpredictable “wild card,” and we
just don’t know what he will do. Yes we do. We know.
He will do everything he can to set us back as far as he can – socially,
economically, politically, lawfully, and spiritually.
He will drive us to hell!
I know it sounds harsh, but we have an old saying in the Black Church: “Tell
the truth, and shame the devil.”
Indeed, the Trump camp challenges my faith. We are called to love God, and
love our neighbor. It’s a package deal, you can’t have one without the other.
But Donald Trump, the forked-tongue, despicable excuse for a human being,
pushes the faith principle envelope, for most of us.
Yet, just when I am ready to despise him, and all of his sleazy, slimy surrogates,
I think about Mother Emmanuel.
This past June, my sister and I traveled to Charleston, South Carolina for the
Spoleto USA international festival. We were excited about the trip for two
primary reasons: Spoleto’s featured performance for this year’s fortieth
anniversary was a production of Porgy and Bess, which was written about the
“low country” Gullah people of Charleston; and while there, we would have an
opportunity to worship and fellowship with the Mother Emanuel African
Methodist Episcopal congregation. Indeed, we were blessed by the resilience
and warmth of this faith family that suffered through the sacrifice of their pastor
and eight other members in prayer, as they were massacred by a mad man filled
That was a sacrifice, Mr. Trump. Their blood shed for a nation, indeed a
world poured love, condolences, cards, gifts and over ten million dollars in cash
into that congregation as a way to say” ‘we’re so sorry, forgive us, help us to
In that first Sunday, communion service in June, Mother Emanuel was
packed with parishioners of all races, all walks of faith, from all across the globe,
for a taste of some true “Black Methocostal” Church, beginning with the
procession of the deacons and mothers ‘stepping’, bopping into the sanctuary to
the rich tradition of motherland, hand clapping rhythms while singing “It’s a
Highway to Heaven.” I wish you could have been there. It was sight and
feeling to behold. I could not contain myself.
First the deacons, then the mothers, then the choir, then the preachers—
Resilience! Resurrection following so violent a sacrifice
I end with the lyrics of one of Gil Scott-Heron’s most pensive and favored
songs, "Winter in America", in which he calls for us to save our souls. For
indeed if we turn a blind eye to that which is at risk for our individual and
national souls, if we mess around and give authority to the enemy in the disguise
of Donald Trump, it will forever be winter, in America.
Spread the word, son. Tell your crew. They need to understand that voting is
more than a right of the citizenship for which we endured long-suffering.
“Voting is an act of self-respect and self-defense.”
Those who are not registered to vote, need to do so immediately! And those
who are, need to hit the polls. The situation is critical, and we do not have one
vote to spare.
“It’s a Highway…” Yes, our black, beautiful and brilliant First Lady Obama.
“When they low, we go high.”
No matter how deplorable and despicable the rhetoric and actions of Trump, his
surrogates and supporters of his loathing campaign, I cannot hate them.
Otherwise, I will become part of the puss that has to rise, scab over, dry up and
fall off, so that the rest of the world can heal.
Mittie Imani Jordan
|From the Indians who welcomed the pilgrims
And to the buffalo who once ruled the plains
Like the vultures circling beneath the dark clouds
Looking for the rain. Looking for the rain
Just like the cities staggered on the coastline
Living in a nation that just can't stand much more
Like the forest buried beneath the highway
Never had a chance to grow.
Never had a chance to grow
And now it's winter
Winter in America
Yes and all of the healers have been killed
Or sent away, yeah
But the people know, the people know
It's winter. Winter in America
And ain't nobody fighting
'Cause nobody knows what to save
Save your soul, Lord knows
From Winter in America
A noble piece of paper
With free society
Struggled but it died in vain
And now Democracy is ragtime on the corner
Hoping for some rain
Looks like it's hoping, hoping for some rain
|And I see the robins
Perched in barren treetops
Watching last-ditch racists marching across the floor
But just like the peace sign that vanished in our dreams
Never had a chance to grow. Never had a chance to grow
And now it's winter
It's winter in America
And all of the healers have been killed
Or been betrayed
Yeah, but the people know, people know
It's winter, Lord knows
It's winter in America
And ain't nobody fighting
Cause nobody knows what to save
Save your souls
From Winter in America
And now it's winter
Winter in America
And all of the healers done been killed
Or sent away
Yeah, and the people know, people know
Winter in America
And ain't nobody fighting
,Cause nobody knows what to save
Ain't nobody fighting
'Cause nobody knows what to save.
|Gil Scott Heron, “Winter in America”
First Minutes of A New Day, Arista Records, 1975
1. MSNBC September 23, 2016 live coverage of Charlotte protest in the wake of the police killing of Keith Lamont Scott
2. Scott-Heron, Gil, “H20 Gate Blues” Winter In America Strata East Records (1974)
3. Scott-Heron, Gil, “Johannesburg” From South Africa to South Carolina, Arista Records (1976)
4. Scott-Heron, Gil, “B-Movie” Reflections, Arista Records (1981)
6. Don King while introducing Donald Trump at Spirit Revival Church in Cleveland, pastored by Trump surrogate, Daryl Scott
7. Gare, Nene, The Fringe Dwellers (novel, 1961) Bruce Beresford, (film maker, 1986)
8. “Crack, Cotnras, and the CIA: The Storm Over “Dark Alliance.” from Columbia Journalism Review ((January/February 1997)
9. Scott-Heron, Gil, “Three Miles Down” Secrets Arista Records (1978)
10. The Holy Bible, Jeremiah 2:5
12. Marable, Manning, Great Wells of Democracy: The Meaning of
Race in America p 141 Basic Civitas Books, (2002)
13 Eyes on the Prize: The American Civil Rights Movement: 1954 – 1965, Eyes on the Prize II: America at the Racial Crossroads 1965 – 1985. Film Documentary,
Blackside, Inc., Henry Hampton, Executive Producer. Highlighting organizing work of: Student Non Violent Coordinating Committee, Congress on Racial Equality,
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Southern Christian Leadership Conference
14. The Supreme Court of the United States decision in Brown vs Board of Education, May 17, 1954
15. Marable, Manning, Great Wells of Democracy: The Meaning of Race in America p 131
16. Ibid 145
17. Miggins, Edward. "The Search for the One Best System: Education Reform and the Cleveland Public Schools, 1836-1920," in Cleveland: A Tradition of Reform
18. Testimony of Joyce Haws, Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties, Committee on the Judiciary of the House of Representatives, U.S.
House of Representatives. September 18, 1996
19. Great Wells of Democracy, p 133
20. Missouri vs Jenkins. United State Supreme Court decision, June 12, 1995
21. Scott-Heron, Gil, “Shut ‘Um Down,” Bridges Arista Records (1980)
22. The Holy Bible, Luke 4:18—19, Isaiah 61:1
23. The Holy Bible, Matthew 25: 35—36
|In Loving Memory of the Emanuel Nine
Let us not forget the go to justification: ‘We feared for our lives.’ They
feared for their lives while he was minding his business, sitting in his truck
waiting for his child to come home from school.
“Meanwhile back on the ranch,” Dylan Roof, the known mass murderer of
nine men and women in prayer at Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal
Church, was civilly taken into custody, and is today alive and well awaiting his
due judicial process in a South Carolina jail .
So much for “equal protection under the law.”
Till, Trayvon, Tamir, Crutcher, Scott - in the eyes of a Trump – either home
grown or imported - we “colored people” are all Skittles.
The Trump – Pence ticket is promoting “removal of politically correct”
constraints that tie the hands of law enforcement. Stop and frisk is the order of
Maybe Don King and Daryl Scott will be the first victims of such
implemented tactics. Seeing as how being “Negro rich,” maybe, just maybe their
voices just might be heard. (6)
| Mittie Imani Jordan is the founding chair of The National Institute for
Restorative Justice, and of the Rockefeller Park Community Restoration and
Development Association, both Ohio non-profit organizations based in
Currently serving as community outreach ministry chair for
St. Matthew United Methodist Church, she is a former assistant pastor and
director of program ministries for St. Luke Community United Methodist
Church in Dallas, Texas, and assistant pastor and director of the east side
cooperative parish ministries of Cory, St. Matthew and East Glenville United
Methodist Church congregations in Cleveland.
She spent the first nineteen years of her professional life as an
administrator, program developer and director in cultural affairs, higher
education, and arts institutions in Atlanta, Georgia, Cleveland and Oberlin,
Ohio, and Dallas, Texas.
A full profile for Ms. Jordan can be found on the About NIRJ page of
Beyond my immediate fears for my own family, is the monumental fear of
the implications of a Trump presidency for our country.
Often, the campaign focuses on the presidential authority to appoint life-long
members to the Supreme Court. They fail, however, to also point out that
presidential authority extends to appointing life-long federal judges and, more
immediately, the Cabinet of the executive branch of the United States: the Vice
President, and Secretaries of State, Treasury, Defense, Justice, the Interior,
Agriculture, Commerce, Labor, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban
Development, Transportation, Energy, Education, Veterans Affairs, and
In the words of many, Donald Trump presents a clear, present and long term
danger to the principles and powers of the United States of America. Simply put,
he will destroy every advancement made toward civil and human rights—
nationally and internationally—over the past century.
We are a Union moving toward perfecting. We are a nation with deep
wounds processing toward healing. And the one truth—and I do mean one—the
Trump candidacy has done is exposed for us how very abysmally wounded we
remain as a nation. Before a wound can heal, all impurities must rise to the
surface. In the human biology, those impurities present themselves in the form
of puss. Once they surface, the wound can scab over, fall off and subsequently
The Trump campaign has given credence to all the impurities of our nation’
s most hateful attributes, galvanizing their rise from beneath the social political
radar. The puss has surfaced in the form of a mean-spirited, racist, sexist,
xenophobic, bigoted electoral base.
And, so I write this appeal to you, and to every thirty-something and younger
voting age American to please not sit this election out—to take your marbles and
go home because your preferred candidate is no longer in the race. And
certainly, this is no time to question whether or not your vote makes a
difference. Your vote is critical!
We need you, and we need you in a conscious vote to defeat the unabashed
hatefulness of Donald Trump and his campaign. What follows are all the
and great-grandchildren have remained.
On most nights, it is quiet and very peaceful here in this urban forest inner-
city. Indeed, there is a kind of comfort in the sound of the crickets chirping, and
the occasional hoot-song of the Barrier Owl which has taken up residence in my
It reminds me of my childhood, right here on this very street, before the late
‘60’s race riots placed us under National Guard occupation, and burned out
portions of our neighborhood lay waste for twenty years; before crack-cocaine
dropped down in the mid 80’s, and their trade allowed to flourish to help fund
the US backed Contras’ war against Nicaraguan Sandinistas; (8) before failed
public education policies got caught up in only educating the “best and brightest”
leaving the rest behind and unprepared to enter a workforce; before access to
guns became easier than access to equal education and employment
opportunities; before the Reagan Rockefeller Drug laws sent three out of every
ten young black men between the age of 18 and 25 to prison, before the only
employment beyond the drug trade became those in the medical, science
research, finance and construction industry, all from which—with
exceptional tokens—we are blocked out, because we are under-educated, thus
unprepared and unemployed..
Gone are the days when “blue collar” living wages were earned through a
thriving industrial city of manufacturing. Those jobs shipped out for individual
Photo by Jeff Ivy 12/31/15
This Owl showed up in our backyard on what would have been my mother's 103rd
birthday. She passed in 2005 at the wise old age of 92.
A typical view of inner-city Cleveland. A row of
vacant, boarded up houses, left behind.
Photo by M. I. Jordan
New Year's Eve - December 31, 2015, Cleveland, Ohio - Protest for Justice for Tamir Rice. 12 year old Tamir was gunned down in a Cleveland playground while playing
with a toy gun. The police officer, subsequently exposed to have been released from a suburban force due to incompetency, opened fire on Tamir within 2 minutes of
arrival. He was exonerated.
This graffiti showed up over night on these vacant apartment buildings across form our church. We are told that the City does not to have the funds to tear them down,
although $52million was granted the City for vacant property demolition. We are also told that the City does not have enough officers for a routine patrol in our
neighborhood - this "art work" took time, but may have been deterred if we had a visible patrol.
Can you say millions of dollars to host the RNC? Can you say parade and celebration for the Cavaliers? I'm not mad at either, but...
Protest photos by Jeff Ivy
Vacant building photos by M. I. Jordan
"Slumerica Left Us Behind"