Filed Under:  National, News, OpEd

For God’s sake, power to the people

29th July 2013   ·   0 Comments

By Edmund W. Lewis
The Louisiana Weekly Editor

Trayvon Martin has been murdered and is gone from us but has left tens of millions of brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, aunties, uncles, grandmothers, grandfathers and everyday people to carry on the very important work of bringing justice and democracy to the United States. That’s a critical charge to keep, one that requires courage, resilience, love, faith and an unrelenting commitment to doing whatever it takes to be free. The fact that there are varying degrees of freedom does not nullify the fact that none of us are free until all of us are free. Nor does it alter whatsoever the sobering fact that freedom has never been free.

We must be ever vigilant and insistent on maintaining the momentum that has led to a mass movement of people outraged by the miscarriage of justice that transpired in Florida — both in the murder of Trayvon Martin and the acquittal of his killer. Some who marched and protested a week after the Zimmerman verdict was read will undoubtedly go back to their lives. But hopefully a significant number of those appalled by the acquittal of George Zimmerman and the story of Jacksonville’s Jordan Davis, the other Black 17-year-old slain in Florida, whose killer is scheduled to be tried for murder this summer, will maintain that outrage and channel it into productive activities. Start a book drive for your alma mater. Register people in your community to vote. Tutor a kid in your neighborhood. Take the time to stimulate the minds and spirits of those you interact with. Take steps to ensure that your mind is free.

It’s been said that the most revolutionary thing Black people can do is love one another, so for God’s sake, all power to the people.

In the spirit of Toussaint L’Ouverture, Den­mark Vesey, Charles Deslondes, Marcus Garvey, Bishop Henry McNeal Turner, the revolutionaries on the slave-trading vessel Amistad, the Scottsboro Boys, Central Park Five and the Jena 6, let’s get in there and fight for our divine right to be free.

Let’s get it on and set it off with some questions.

• Was it a coincidence that the July 20 NOLA for Life event was held at the same time as the prayer vigil for Trayvon Martin at the federal courthouse?
• Why does a mayor who insists on micromanaging Orleans Parish Prison’s financial dealings and refuses to pay for the renovations under way at OPP think he can get away with telling the public and other elected officials to stay out of the financial operations of his NOLA for Life initiative?
• Is it purely coincidental that a number of cable-access shows that have been critical of the Landrieu administration now find themselves either off the air completely or struggling to remain on the air?
• What do you think would happen if a considerable number of us who appreciate the power and value of local cable-access shows tell Cox Cable New Orleans that we demand that all of the shows that are now under fire are restored to their former status or we will cancel our cable TV service, even if that means going without cable or subscribing to a satellite TV service?
• Has Mayor Mitch Landrieu or his sister, U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu, said anything at all about the George Zimmerman not-guilty verdict?
• How does NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who says the notorious NYPD needs to stop more Blacks and Latinos, fix his mouth to say that DOJ efforts to reform the NYPD are “dangerous and irresponsible”?
• When did U.S. mayors stop paying heed to taxpayers’ concerns and adhering to the United States Constitution?
• Has anyone noticed that the entire city has become whiter in recent years, that neighborhoods white people would not even dream of visiting are now inhabited by an increasing number of white New Orleans transplants and that Black residents are being systematically and methodically forced out of New Orleans by higher property taxes, higher utility bills and fewer places with affordable rent?
• Isn’t Mid-City looking and feeling a lot like Metairie these days?
• Was right-wing talk-show host Rush Limbaugh drinking or popping painkillers when he said recently that white people have done more for Black people than any other group of people in history?
• With the eighth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina rapidly approaching, has anything even vaguely resembling recovery — particularly repaired streets and the elimination of blighted properties — made it to your neck of the woods yet?
• Do you think the mayor of New Orleans has the right to force New Orleans residents to choose between a reduction in already-dismal city services and the implementation of the federally mandated NOPD consent decree to bring constitutional policing to New Orleans?
• Why do the powers that be that run this city and its criminal justice system think they have the right to continually violate the constitutional rights of former death-row inmates like Curtis Kyles, John Thompson and Shareef Cousin by framing them for murder and later telling the U.S. Supreme Court that the City of New Orleans can’t afford to pay the multimillion-dollar lawsuits that result from these civil rights violations?
• If U.S. attorney nominee Kenneth Polite decides to terminate some of the current employees of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Louisiana and replace them with his own people — some of whom might coincidentally happen to be Black — is he destined to be vilified and become the next Eddie Jordan?
• Where are all of the Black elected officials from this city with integrity, a sense of purpose, intestinal fortitude and a strong backbone?
• Why is so little being said about what appears to be a major cheating scandal that has reportedly touched many of the city’s charter schools which have been celebrated repeatedly for being vastly improved?
• Why do we continue to let people with no ties to this community and no vested interest in the growth and development of Black children call all the shots when it comes to the education of our young people?
• Given the games being played with the future of local schoolchildren and the disturbing episodes that aired earlier this year on television about John McDonogh Senior High School, is it any wonder that there initially were only 15 new students that en­rolled for the fall’s freshman class?
• How much longer before the anger and frustration that many Black residents feel about issues like the merger of O. Perry Walker and L.B. Landry high schools, the siphoning of funds away from the New Orleans Public Schools to pay for private-school vouchers, the lack of economic opportunities for Black firms to do business with the City of New Orleans, the systematic elimination of civil-service jobs held by Blacks at City Hall, the CNO’s efforts to do away with the NOPD consent decree and a blatant refusal by local government leaders to share any decision-making power with Black residents reaches a boiling point and prompts the Black masses to make changes by any means necessary?
• What do you make of Louisiana Association of Business and Industry president Dan Juneau’s recent claim that Gov. Piyush Jindal has undermined property tax reforms by appointing assessors to the Louisiana Tax Commission who supported Jindal in the governor’s race?
• Is anyone buying Gov. Piyush Jindal’s grandiose explanation for why he blocked Medicaid expansion in Louisiana?
• What do you suppose Gov. Piyush Jindal really thinks about being less popular among this Redneck State’s residents than President Barack Hussein Obama?
• When will Tulane University, an institution of higher learning founded with wealth amassed through the enslavement and exploitation of African men, women and children, get to know what it feels like to pay property taxes?
• What percentage of the Tulane University scholarships state legislators get to hand out to “deserving” students are actually awarded to Black students?
• Why have some firms from surrounding parishes that have enjoyed contracts with the New Orleans Sewerage & Water Board for a very long time get paid so much to do so little while many local firms are routinely locked out of the process?
• What is up with the juror who said last week in an interview that she thinks George Zimmerman got away with murder and now she can’t sleep as a result?
• Why didn’t the juror who thought George Zimmerman was guilty Stand Her Ground?
• Who thinks justice will prevail in the case of Jordan Davis, the 17-year-old who was shot to death by a white man for allegedly playing music too loud while sitting in the back seat of a car?
• Have you considered purchasing several guns of various sizes to help you Stand Your Ground against people who think they have the right to follow you, touch you, disrespect you or shoot your for playing music too loud?
• Got privilege?

This article originally published in the July 29, 2013 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.

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