Trump Doesn’t Care About Puerto Ricans (Let Them Eat Cake)

Four days after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, Kanye West uttered the words, “George Bush doesn’t care about black people” on national television. Bush later referred to that moment as, “the low point of my Presidency.” That says a lot given that 9/11 also happened on his watch. It should be noted that years later Kanye later apologized to Bush. In the heat of the moment in times of great frustration, things get said. To some West’s words will always be the truth, to others, he did a great disservice to “W.”

If one believes actions speak louder than words. Ten days after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico. Donald Trump has had plenty of words. He’s often claimed the Federal response to the double impact of Hurricane’s Maria and Irma as “unprecedented.” It may be the truest statement of all he has made.

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By all accounts, the Federal Government did a good job (along with State and local governments from around the nation) of getting supplies and responders to Puerto Rico. Huge Containers remain stacked on ships at the dock, not unloaded because there are few drivers for trucks to disperse them. Responders huddle in the air-conditioned Convention Center, having meetings or waiting for assignments. Most of the Hospitals are still without power. Nursing homes are unable to feed their patients. The death toll rises each day. While  Trump brags of his excellent response. That the government response would be insufficient was predictable. FEMA and every other Department are woefully understaffed because Trump hasn’t bothered to fill positions or when he has, often with unqualified campaign cronies.

That the government response would be insufficient was predictable. FEMA and every other Department from the State Department to Housing ad Urban Development are woefully understaffed because Trump hasn’t bothered to fill positions. When he has, often with unqualified campaign cronies.

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Initially, the Governor of Puerto Rico and the Mayor of San Juan praised the government response. The Governor, in particular, was effusive but included reservations that more was needed. The Mayor, Carmen Yulin Cruz, also lauded the initial effort. But as time passed and water and food were not being delivered, she began to speak out. After days of not being heard, she issued a statement literally begging for help while Trump officials talked of their efforts as a “feel good story.” The President himself, unable to acknowledge anything other than perfection. Only spoke of how great he was doing, refusing initially to waive shipping restrictions to Puerto Rico as had been done for mainland locations in earlier hurricanes. This would only increase the cost of goods to Puerto Rico, under pressure he ultimately relented. This he admitted was at the behest of his friends in the shipping industry.

The island is almost completely without power which the bureaucracy of the Federal Government fails to recognize. They want requests by E-mail, printed documents and letters, they want Mayors in remote locations where the roads are gone to come in person to request help.

Unable to show empathy for the Mayor who was pleading on behalf of her people. Trump does what only Trump in that situation would do, he attacked the Mayor. In his tweets, he first claimed: “she’s been told by Democrats that you must be nasty to Trump.” Next, he attacked her “poor leadership” and said, “they want everything done for them” adding the Federal workers were doing a “fantastic job.” Mayor Cruz has said literally, “We are dying!” Trump says he’s doing a great job! Trump managed to get his tweets out before his tee time where he’s no doubt “monitoring the situation.”

 

Does Donald Trump care about the American citizens of Puerto Rico?  Trump has demonstrated his disdain for brown and black people in America and around the world. Why would Puerto Rico be any different? Plus they voted for Hillary Clinton.

He’s more concerned about the debt owed to Wall Street Banks than the lives of the people. In many of his tweets, he mentions the debt first and the American citizens as an aside. He’s already talking about how Puerto Rico can “pay back” the cost of relief efforts.

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The Mayor of San Juan responded to Trump’s tweets by refusing to become distracted and focusing on saving lives. Since Hurricane Maria hit the island, Trump has been much more engaged in attacking black NFL players and their mothers protesting injustice,  advocating fines, firings, and boycotts. He’s been focused on the swampish behavior of his Cabinet, spending millions to private and military planes. He’s been working on his golf game. To the dying Puerto Ricans… he sent some water, too bad if they can’t actually drink it.

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Note: After several days, the US Army has been given control of logistics and we pray things will turn around shortly. A lot of good is being done by FEMA, the Red Cross, and fellow Puerto Ricans serving their neighbors. Good is being done, not nearly enough! Trump sums up the situation in his own words:

“This is an island surrounded by water, big water, ocean water”

 

The Orlando Morning Sentinel Hasn’t Changed Much

In 1920, the major newspaper of record in Orange County, Florida was the Orlando Morning Sentinel. On November 20, 1920, Ocoee, FL (within Orange County) was part of the “single bloodiest day in modern U.S. political history.” In several Florida counties, the Klan surrounded courthouses to keep Blacks from voting. It was a statewide effort involving the Democratic Party, the KKK, local law enforcement and the media that looked the other way. In Ocoee, over 50 Black citizens were killed, the rest of its Black citizens were either burned out, driven out or bought out at an unfair price. By November 23rd, there were no more Black residents in Ocoee. It remained that way for the next 61 years until 1981. The Orlando Morning Sentinel covered the Ocoee event to be sure. The headline referred to a “Race Riot in Ocoee” and “Two Whites Killed.” The Black families and lives didn’t matter then to the Orlando Morning Sentinel. I’m not so sure how much they do today?

The newspaper has changed ownership and names over the years. In 1965 the newspaper was sold to the large Tribune Company of Chicago (now TRONC). The paper became the Sentinel-Star in 1974 and in 1982 became the Orlando Sentinel. Typically a conservative newspaper over the years, they have endorsed Democrats in three of the last four Presidential Elections. In 1920, Democrats were different but was the Orlando Morning Sentinel?

Recently, an 11-year-old Black girl was abducted. An Amber alert was made and the girl’s name and picture were widely circulated. Every cell phone in the area received a message with information regarding the girl. Within a relatively short time, the girl was found, thankfully alive, and her kidnapper arrested. The information and description sent out to the community proved essential to her being discovered and freed. Someone who’d heard about the kidnapping spotted the abductor and child and reported their location.

When the girl was found. The Orlando Sentinel reported in great detail what had happened to her while in captivity. They described what had happened and more than one sexual act. The initial On-Line article even included the girl’s name in the URL although it’s, “No longer available.” One of the subsequent Sentinel articles quoted the girl’s father, “who the Orlando Sentinel is not naming to protect the victim’s identity.”

Too late Orlando Sentinel. Not only did you already directly provide the girl’s identity. You continue to provide enough information to make it possible to identify the victim. You identified her abductor including the exact familial relationship.  You identified the small subdivision where she lived. You all but placed her photo alongside his.

In 1920 the newspaper didn’t care about Black lives and apparently little has changed in 2017. I’m certain the newspaper has a policy about naming children who are victims of sexual assault. They disregarded that policy in order to report all the lurid details and proved that in this case, the Black girl’s life didn’t matter.

The girl will eventually return to a school. Will it be the same one she previously attended where everyone will no doubt know what occurred thanks to the Sentinel? Will the Sentinel be there to provide therapy to help the young girl get through the situation? It’s not enough to have taken down several of the articles you’ve already printed. What are you going to do to make this right?

In 1920, the Sentinel did nothing to make it right although it has run a couple articles over the past several years to document some of what they failed to do then. What will you do to make this right? You may have debated how much the public had a right to know. You may have wrestled with your decision. What you did was decide you cared nothing for the future of an 11-year-old girl. Was it easier or harder because she was Black? What are you going to do to make this right?

Featured Photo: theundefeated.com

When Christians Lie To You

I wrote a post yesterday about the Georgia Independent Christian Athletic Association (GICAA) and their rule changes blocking Wilson Academy from participating in the Championship games. The #2 Ranked Warriors have faced bitter attacks all year based on their team decision to kneel during the playing of the National Anthem. During their respectful protest, the team and cheerleaders were called, “Deplorable”, “Disrespectful” and more. Just prior to the Championships an E-mail informed Wilson Academy that they could either stand or they were no longer welcome in the league.

I encouraged people to call and/or E-mail Todd Hannon, President of the GICAA and voice their opinion. Following my own advice, I sent the staff including Todd Hannon this E-mail:

“Dear Todd Hannon,

I’m extremely disappointed to learn how your “Christian Athletic Association” is treating one of your member institutions. Making new rules prior to the Championships specifically to exclude one school that is predominantly black. They have acted in silence with far more grace than many at your institutions throughout the season. That their “protest” is legal is beyond question as the First Amendment guarantees that right. You might never understand what their statement means to them is understandable, being unable to comprehend shouldn’t require you to suppress it.

It’s been reported that the host institution has the right to prevent Wilson Academy from competing as the game was to be held on private property. I submit that you as the league have the right to change sites and remove the game from a member that chooses to exercise discrimination. Your Email to Wilson Academy spoke of your desire for a “positive atmosphere” and blaming Wilson Academy for a “divisive” one. Wilson Academy did not change the atmosphere at your schools… it revealed it.

You, your staff, Board of Directors, Sponsors and members have a choice to make. You will teach the students at Wilson Academy and all your member schools a lesson as to your beliefs and values. Will you exemplify Christian and American values? Or will you continue your current path?

Sincerely,

William Spivey

I received a reply from Mr. Hannon:

“Mr. Spivey,

I have let the school and concerned parents know that I will be happy to meet and discuss these issues.”

The problem is that Mr. Hannon has not been in contact with the school and in fact has not returned any of the calls from the Founder/Headmaster Byron Wilson. So now in addition to all the Christian qualities demonstrated thus far… they lie.

I encourage everyone to continue your calls, E-mails and shares and keep a light shining on this situation.

When Kids Become Pawns

The Wilson Academy

UPDATE!!! The team is being allowed to play in the Tournament while exercising their First Amendment rights! Thanks to all who called, wrote or shared! Activism combined with faith still works!

When Kids Become Pawns

The Wilson Academy is an accredited private school located in Lithonia, GA just outside Atlanta. They educate “young men and women in grades six through twelve.” Founded in 2002, their current enrollment is approximately 70 students. Despite their small size they field athletic teams in basketball, track, cross country and tennis.

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Wilson Academy by all accounts is a model institution. The students wear conservative uniforms. The young men wear ties and the young ladies modest length skirts. They perform community service and take field trips to the Federal Reserve and college campuses. One of their cheerleaders was the “Best tumbler in the nation” and appeared on the Today Show. Their students graduate and matriculate to college. Parents rave about the program. They build robots… and they’re black.

In order to compete against schools of similar size and values. They joined the Georgia Independent Christian Athletic Association (GICAA). The league has three divisions and represents close to 150 schools. The Wilson Academy Warriors men’s basketball team is ranked #2 in the Southern Region. One of two Black schools in the Division, at their road games the student athletes and cheerleaders were jeered and booed. “Despicable”, “Deplorable”, “Disgraceful.” These children were treated this way when hosted by “Christian” schools because when the National Anthem played.. they knelt.

These children learned, at way too young a age. That when the National Anthem was written they would not have been considered human. The writer, Francis Scott Key held contempt for the “hireling and slave”, rooting for their death in the third verse. Many Veterans have told the Wilson Academy administrators that not only did they not feel disrespected. They were grateful that because of their actions, we live in a free society where injustice can be protested.They said there is “no higher form of Patriotism.”

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On February 1, 2017 the President of the GICAA informed the Wilson Academy they had changed their rules that day, unilaterally changing the contract between Wilson Academy and the league. They were making changes in the manual effective immediately forbidding “public protests at GICAA events.” They further said, “Wilson Academy is an ‘AT WILL’ participant in the GICAA and has the right to leave if they feel they cannot comply with the new stipulations put in the manual. I hope that you decide to stay, we have enjoyed our relationship with your school these past few years.” It was signed… “Thank You and God Bless” by Todd Harmon, President GICAA. All this just ahead of the beginning of the Championship Games.

In the E-mail announcing their decision they made note of a “divisive atmosphere” which apparently means when white Christian fans and parents are abusive to black students  (not once did a black person spew hate or violence). The solution is to punish the black school. Later in the day the league indicated that the host school of the tournament game “won’t allow them to play in their venue unless they stand for the Anthem which as a private institution is their right.” Later still they offered that the game could be played at another venue if the other team agreed and Wilson Academy paid for the site.

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I ask everyone that reads this to call or Email, Todd Hannon the President of the GICAA and voice your opinion. He can be reached at (678) 679-7123 and info@gicaasports.com Please call, write and share this post so that others may do also!

UPDATE!!! The team is being allowed to play in the Tournament while still exercising their First Amendment rights! Thanks to all who called, wrote or shared! Activism combined with faith still works!

The Wilson Academy: Shadow Warriors

His Future For A Carton Of Free Milk

At Graham Park Middle School in Prince William County, VA they have a strange idea about educating students. They insisted on having 15-year-old Ryan Turk, suspended from school and charged with larceny for allegedly stealing a carton of milk from the lunch line valued at 65 cents. This “theft” is of milk Ryan was already entitled to free due to his participation in the school’s free lunch program. The incident happened May 10, 2016, and he’s scheduled to go to trial in November.

Ryan indicated he forgot to get a carton of milk when he initially passed through the line and went back to get it. The School Resource Officer (SRO) grabbed Ryan according to his mother and Ryan admits to “yanking away” and telling the officer to “get off me, you’re not my dad.” Because of his “resistance,” he was handcuffed by the on-duty Prince William County Police Officer and ultimately charged with larceny and suspended from school for “concealing” the free milk. Also noted in the suspension was that Ryan was allegedly “disrespectful” and used his cell phone.

Ryan Turk is getting an education in Virginia, not I think the one they imagine. He’s been introduced to the Classroom to Prison Pipeline where children become introduced to the Criminal Justice System at an early age because schools choose to hand off discipline to the police instead of taking responsibility on their own. It goes without saying that the students most often arrested, suspended and expelled are of color. No doubt the prism they’re seen thru makes them appear “disrespectful” as opposed to willful or boisterous like their white counterparts. If Ryan Turk had placed his hands on the officer the way he was handled that would be assault. Apparently, the officer (who all this time has gone unnamed) has a different set of rules when manhandling children.

I wonder is there nowhere an adult involved who’ll recognize the schools and the police have taken this way too far. Is there no one to say there was no crime, this is not the appropriate way to proceed. A Principal, the police department, a district attorney? This calls for protest. This calls for shaming the school and the court for not immediately dismissing these charges. I encourage all that read this to call the school at (703) 221-2118 and express your outrage. Pass this along and others to do the same. Who that has a child or grandchild can say with certainty this could never happen to them?

Lastly, go to Being Black At School  and look for a way you can help whether it be by buying a book or making a donation. We ignore this situation at the peril of us all.

What a Piece of Work is Man

What a Piece of Work is Man

 

What a piece of work is man
How noble in reason
How infinite in faculties
In form and moving
How express and admirable

I first heard these words, not from the soliloquy from Hamlet, but from the song from the musical “Hair”. My high school choir sang it and I can still remember my tenor part. I thought the song to be one stressing positivity. Extolling human virtues, intelligence, and excellence. I later learned that these words were an inquiry to Hamlet as to why he was depressed? In spite of all man’s potential, and all that has been realized. Today, in arguably the greatest country in the world in many respects. There is great reason to be depressed.

Please bear with me because I will get to something positive but not just yet. I was asked by a friend, a poet, a writer, to respond so something that expressed her feelings. She wanted to understand? And I was no help.

I don’t know what allows a man to kill another man (or woman), seemingly just because they can. I don’t know how our politicians can refuse to enact background checks for all gun purchases in spite of the fact that over 90% of the public wants it. I don’t know how the answer after every mass shooting is to ultimately do nothing. I don’t know how we don’t offer health care to the remaining percentage without it. I don’t know how we refuse to address immigration in a humane manner. I don’t know how we spend our resources mandating morality and sexuality and what bathroom one can enter. I don’t know how we have a system that allows gerrymandering and voter suppression and the equivalent of poll taxes. I’m not saying I don’t know why; I just don’t know how.

And now we have two more dead black men, killed by police. Posing no threat to the officers. Dead just the same. The Governor of Minnesota said what we all know, “Would this have happened if the driver and the passengers had been white? I don’t think so.”

I used to be able to say their names. I used to know the circumstances of their deaths. I used to know the specifics. Now, the number is so many, my memory is insufficient to keep track. I remember the outcomes for the officers. Not charged, not charged, not charged, not charged, not charged, not guilty, not charged. Then a case in South Carolina that was so egregious when a lawman shot an unarmed black man in the back; he was thrown under the bus as if that represented justice for all the rest. Not charged, not charged, not charged, not guilty, not guilty.

My friend said, “I have tried, as long as I know, to understand the mind of God.” Presumably in an attempt to understand God’s will in these situations. For the first time, I knew what I could say. I referred to a sermon I heard many years ago in Jacksonville, FL titled, “Mysterium Tremendum”, Latin for tremendous mystery. The sermon went on to say that God is to man, as man is to the ant. That He is so far beyond our ken, that we cannot comprehend His ways, much like the ant knows not our ways. If we can accept that we will not achieve understanding and instead rely on faith, we may not have satisfaction. But we may have peace.

I am not suggesting at all a passive acceptance of the wrongs in our society. Especially when many of the wrongs target those who have less, to preserve the status and privilege of those who have more. I believe it is also God’s will for us to resist, to challenge, to protest and to vote. Use your strength whatever it is to make positive change happen. If you are not a leader, be a follower, adding strength in numbers but follow wisely.

My peace comes not from man but from God. My strengths as well. To my friend, I suggest she channel her feelings into action. Using her gift of words to shine a light on the issues she chooses. She has motivational power, she can affect change, she can be a beacon in the darkness.

While this was directed to one, I submit that it takes many to affect change. It takes a collective power, focused on the changes that need to be made. Select your causes, bring your passion, make things better. It’s certainly justifiable to be angry, but anger alone accomplishes nothing. This is a time for action.

Would You Buy a New Car From These People?

Brakes are important. One of the things one might reasonably expect when buying a new car is that the brakes work. My daughter bought a new 2016 Jeep Compass from Fields Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram Sanford in Florida. She was excited at the time of the purchase but the thrill has long been gone. Within a couple weeks, the Automatic Braking System warning light and Traction Control light started coming on intermittently. She took the car back to the dealership where they serviced the car, declared it “fixed” and gave the car back to her. Not only did the lights come back on but she experienced problems actually braking which fortunately didn’t result in an accident. She returned the car to the dealership who kept the car for a week this time, partially according to one of the service tech’s because they had to order “over 2,000 of the same part” to meet demand. My daughter asked if there were a recall on the vehicle and they immediately replied no. Another tech later denied any order of 2,ooo parts. When reviewing the service record of the car she found the car had been serviced for the same problem with 7 miles on the odometer, before she bought the car.

2016 Jeep Compass

After they “fixed” her Jeep the third time, she picked up her Jeep after work when the service department was closed and found both lights were still on. When she called them early the next morning they indicated “there were no more loaner vehicles available to her” including the one she had dropped off the night before. After several phone calls, they ultimately picked up her Jeep at work, delivering her the same loaner they previously indicated wasn’t available. After another attempt to fix the vehicle they returned it indicating because the lights weren’t on at the time they test drove it, they had “cured the problem”. The lights did come back on and another braking failure occurred, thankfully again no accident.

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My daughter inquired of the dealership about the Florida “Lemon Law” and they directed her to an employee with alleged decision making authority without informing her of the process which involves notifying the manufactured by registered or certified mail of a demand to fix the car within a specific timeframe.

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Up to this point, Fields Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram Sanford has been condescending to my daughter. Been unconcerned about the life-threatening possibilities that could affect my daughter and her most frequent passenger her three-year-old daughter. They’ve criticized her attitude, continually directed her calls to voice mail instead of connecting her to a person and what is the biggest concern, FAILED TO FIX THE JEEP!

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If this is the way Fields Auto Group and its subsidiaries do business, I encourage all of you to consider whether or not to do business with them. Please forward, share, tweet and re-tweet, or re-blog this post until the vehicle is actually fixed, replaced or refunded in full. Contact them on Facebook  or Twitter You might also call their corporate sales office at (800)-625-6518 and ask why don’t they service the cars they sell? I Googled “Jeep Compass Traction Control Light” and found examples of people with the same complaint since 2007. Thanks in advance for your help in letting people know!