Black Skeptics/POCBF Statement on Ferguson & Our Hate Mail

Black Skeptics Group & People of Color Beyond Faith condemn the actions of Officer Darren Wilson in the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. We would like to extend our condolences and well wishes to the family and friends of Michael Brown, and we stand in solidarity with the protestors in Ferguson and elsewhere. Given the recent events in Ferguson it is imperative that systemic inequalities pertaining to policing and white supremacist policies are closely examined and redressed. We are very concerned about the militarized response of police to peaceful protests from those who seek justice for communities that have had a long history of police suppression, racial segregation and discrimination. We at Black Skeptics Group recognize that communities of color are over-policed and underserved.  We join the community in calling for a timely and transparent investigation into Brown’s death as well as potential criminal prosecution of Officer Wilson.

 

Carl Roberts
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[email protected]
96.234.223.176
Submitted on 2014/08/21 at 9:43 pm | In reply to

Keep on killing each other you Black racist.

 

The Moeller
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[email protected]
166.137.89.156
Submitted on 2014/08/25 at 5:31 pm

Stop making this a racial issue. You blacks riot before getting any facts. If you want to be taken seriously, start acting like a human being. No doubt we need to address these killings, but to turn this into a racial issue, which is what you always do, is absurd. I just fired a man, black man, for showing up to work drunk, stealing money from my drawers, and giving away hotel rooms. He claimed it is because he’s black. Get over yourselves.

 

Confederate Cash
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[email protected]
66.87.120.166
Most niggers know, as stupid as tbey are, that your long winded mouthy hitrionics are pure anal sucking antics.
Ask any useless nigger in the South, and there are millions, what they would be today, if they didnt have the White Privilege of being the descendants of hard working slaves. Niggers today dint have a clue, and neither do you siviku, of what an hobest days work is. Thats niggers cannot live with out free schools, healthcare, abortions and food stamps.

Nat’l Moment of Silence for Victims of Police Terrorism

NMOS

 

 

“Come out on Thursday, August 14, 4 PM PST/7pm EST to join us for a national vigil to commemorate all those who have become victims of police brutality and terrorism in the US. These vigils will happen simultaneously around the country to seer the names of those slain by the state into the national conscience.

These are peaceful gatherings of friends in the same location to pay respects to victims. You’re allowed to gather together in small groups, peacefully… If you encounter police and are asked what you’re doing, inform them that you and your friends are gathering to remember friends of yours that passed away. If they ask you to move along, you can ask why they are requesting it and when it became against the law for friends to gather together in public.”

List of cities and locations can be found here

 

In Solidarity w/Ferguson sick of your colorblind bullshit

White America:

Michael Brown.

The young man was on his way to college the next day.

Yet he was brutally executed by fascist police state thugs in occupied territory and left to bleed in the street like a dog.

He did everything that white America claimed he should do to keep from being branded a savage and was murdered in cold blood.

White people this will never ever happen to your children.  White women this will never (see below) ever happen to your little girls.

Don’t come on here with any racist colorblind bullshit platitudes.

Michael Brown

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Aiyanna Jones

Aiyanna Jones

 

Aiyanna Jones, murdered for sleeping while black, Detroit PD, 2010

 

 

 

 

Margaret MitchellMargaret Mitchell, murdered for walking while black, LAPD 1999

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tyisha Miller

Tyisha Miller, murdered for being incapacitated while black, Riverside, CA PD 1998

BSLA’s 2014 First in the Family Humanist Scholars!

High dropout and push-out rates, mass incarceration, skyrocketing college fees, diminishing financial aid opportunities, lack of mentors, first in the family status:  these barriers to college access are especially acute for undocumented, homeless, foster care and LGBTQ youth of color.

Black Skeptics Los Angeles proudly announces our 2014 First in the Family Humanist scholars and thanks all the generous donors* who made these awards possible.  Scholarship awards will be given on August 16th  at CFI Los Angeles.  We extend special thanks to Atheists United and the Freedom from Religion Foundation who generously gave $1000 each.

Elizabeth Hernandez, CSU Monterey Bay (Gardena HS)

Elizabeth Hernandez

Elizabeth Hernandez

Elizabeth is a foster care youth and has been active in Gardena’s Gay/Straight Alliance, Students Against Destructive Decisions and the Cinco De Mayo committee which helps Mexican American women go to college.

With a lack of education my classmates have low self-esteem…they target who they feel are the ‘weak’ students, including special needs students, homosexual students, even students of the same ethnicity…(So) Being a humanist is easy for me through supporting our GSA and being vice president of the SADS group to stop violence and create a safe environment for everyone on campus.”

 

 

Tiare Hill, El Camino College (Gardena HS)

Tiare Hill

Tiare Hill

Tiare is a foster care youth and a member of the Women’s Leadership Project and aspires to be a journalist.

“Through the things I have seen in my community there are numerous problems in our criminal justice system that must change. It is known to a lot of people that the police are racist against African Americans.  I would like to become a television news anchor who reports on issues like these and government policy.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Freedom From Religion Scholarship Award:

Kelvin Manjarrez, El Camino College (Gardena HS)

Kelvin Manjarrez

Kelvin Manjarrez

Kelvin has been a volunteer for Reading Partners Los Angeles and a translator in the 2014 primary election.  He identifies as an atheist and aspires to be an English professor.

I have always been passionate about our educational system.  A wise man once said that: ‘Humanity’s greatest fear is the unknown’.  This accounts for contrived religions of all sorts, a simple explanation to the unexplained…Citizens who are better educated can better distinguish between right and wrong.  This, in turn, generates understanding and unity amongst different groups of people who would have otherwise segregated, fought and killed one another.  It is of no coincidence that some of the brightest minds in history have been social activists as well as advocates for a better pedagogical system: Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Jr., Albert Einstein, Stephen Hawking and Neil Degrasse Tyson, just to name a few.”

 

Returning Scholars: Mini-scholarships for outstanding community service

Jamion Allen, El Camino College (Washington Prep HS)

Jamion Allen, BSLA scholar

Jamion Allen, BSLA scholar

 

“The Black Skeptics first in the family scholarship had a big effect on my first year of college coming from an inner city neighborhood in Los Angeles.  I’m from a single parent home and by receiving this scholarship I was able to pay for books, scantrons and extra-curricular items and succeed in my first two semesters…I think there would be a great impact if more students could receive this scholarship.”

 

 

 

 

Hugo Cervantes, UC Riverside (King-Drew Med Magnet)

Hugo Cervantes

Hugo Cervantes speaks at Atheists United

“My first year at UCR is finally over and I’m glad that I have still been in contact with you Ms. Hutchinson.  You are extremely inspiring to me to be as dedicated to marginalized youth as I pursue my own dreams and hope to do the same as you one day. My first year was fantastic! I’m planning to remain an English major and double major in Art History. I’m ecstatic to say that I will be assisting Professor Jennifer Doyle in an art project with Noa Bustamante in the fall. Professor Doyle has offered me a volunteering position at “Human Resources, HRLA’ for the summer. So it’s exciting that this summer I will be able to gain some gallery/museum experience so for next year I can apply to the bigger museums in the city. I know I wouldn’t have been able to be exposed to these opportunities if I hadn’t attended UCR and that was made possible by the First in the Family scholarship.”

 

 

 

*Donor List & Community Supporters

Atheists United

Freedom from Religion Foundation

D. Frederick Sparks

Amelia Pergl

Helen Kahn

Donald Wright

Cheryl Purnell

Mollie Knute

Bethany Monsted

CW Westlund

Perde Williams

Lachlan Monsted

Daremy Butler

T Battistelli

Quantheory

Rebecca Watson

Platypus1

SD Theiss

Michelle Kothe

Reality Enthusiast

Alvin Greene III

Veronica Berglyd Olsen

JE Beck

Kelsey Hazzard

Derrick Pates

Matthew Love

Nicole Eveland

Don Sisler

Steve Schlosnagle

Jennifer Taylor

Greta Christina

 

Black Atheists of Philadelphia’s HIV Testing Day Outreach

Philly1 Philly2

By Jennifer Taylor

When Kimberly Veal of the Black Freethinkers Radio Show informed the listening audience of a cooperative outreach plan for Black Skeptics Group and Greater Than AIDS to participate in promoting awareness and free on-site testing during National HIV Testing Day in Los Angeles, Chicago and Washington, DC I was interested in participating in this important event as a representative of the freethought community in Philadelphia.

I received a call from a representative of WeDoBigThings, an organization that fosters educational endeavors in academia and community service within urban environments. He asked if I was able to come to his place and pick him up and drive him to the Liacouras Center on Temple University’s main campus in order to deliver several packages containing both male and female condoms, informational brochures and other supplies that we would need for the National HIV Testing Day event. Once he got into the car he said, “This is really a blessing. Thank god that you came out to assist.” I responded by saying that I do not believe in a god or gods. He then stated, “Well to each his own. I went on to tell him that I organize an atheist group called Black Atheists of Philadelphia and that we care about what is going on in the community. In addition, I mentioned that I was there as a representative of this group and that my intent was to focus on the greater good and service to the community and not to promote my individual world views.

During the course of the day I worked with people from both Temple University’s School of Medicine and Health Center, WeDoBigThings, Greater Than AIDS, iROC and several other volunteers. This was the first time that these organizations had worked together in order to put on an event such as this one. At least 30 volunteers assisted and passed out information to hundreds of students and passersby on the Temple University campus. I assisted with greeting everyone that came through the door of the Liacouras Center and registering people to be tested for HIV. I also helped to escort people back to private rooms in order to be tested. One young man was fearful of being “stuck” I took the time to tell him that I was the first person that was tested earlier, the finger prick was quick and reassured him that he would know the test result in about 10 minutes. I went on to reassure a few others throughout the course of the day and assure them that the testing process was very quick and easy.

In addition, during my time there a woman came up to the table to register and offered a few of us some bible tracts. I refused. When I got back to the table from escorting the woman to a testing room, one of the volunteers mentioned that he thought that my refusal was funny. I informed the volunteers at the table that I have no need for bible tracts and that I am an atheist. One of the ladies that was sitting at the table stated that I was the second atheist that she had ever met. The gentleman at the table went on to ask me if I had ever believed. I went on to explain to him that I did believe at one time; however I no longer do so. I also stated that just as there are many denominations of religions, there are atheists with different world views who have a variety of morals and values. One thing that atheists have in common is that we do not believe in a god or gods. I went on to say that there are many atheists in the community that care about social justice issues, health-related concerns and community service and I happen to be one of many non-believers that are volunteering for this very event in other states including but not limited to: LA, Chicago and DC. I thanked them and said, “I’m glad that we were able to have this dialogue; I am very happy and proud to be working with you all today and I look forward to our [Read more...]

Not Just Christian Fascism: Economic Justice & the Hobby Lobby Atrocity

seiu-harris-v-quinn-photo-630-354

By Sikivu Hutchinson

The myth of American exceptionalism has always been impervious to data and empirical evidence.  Despite being the richest most prolific jailer in the world, the U.S. is fond of favorably comparing itself to Western Europe with its evil big government social welfare safety net and waning capitalist moxie.  Despite allowing Christian fascists to control its public policy it is fond of flailing Muslim theocracy while touting its status as a beacon of secular democratic rights.  Despite telling American women that they are liberated, post-feminist and beyond all that affirmative action shit, it is beholden to a medievalist court blazing a “new” trail of misogynist jurisprudence.

The Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision is staggering in its criminal disregard for individual liberty, women’s self-determination and economic justice.  It is indicative of how much the political ground has shifted in eight years that the seemingly modest requirement that all employers be mandated to provide birth control coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has emerged as a pitchfork clarion call for the radical right.  As commentator Sally Kohn pointed out recently on CNN, the cost of birth control meds like Plan B is prohibitive for women who are making at or below minimum wage (HL apparently funded Plan B and other contraceptives it disingenuously labels “abortifacients” before the passage of the ACA).  The absence of this coverage will have an immediate impact on their families and day-to-day livelihoods.  But this endorsement of Christian fascists cannot be separated from the broader context of GOP assaults on worker rights and racial justice.  In addition to subverting reproductive rights, the GOP has consistently opposed raising the federal minimum wage and fought tooth and nail against minimum wage increases in state legislatures like California.  SCOTUS’ ruling against a requirement that home care workers in Illinois pay union dues was another salvo in the radical right’s campaign against public employee unions like SEIU.  SEIU’s membership is fifty six percent female and forty percent of color.  Nationwide, working class and low income women of color disproportionately rely on public employee unions to fight for benefits and higher wages.  [Read more...]

Black Skeptics & POCBF Nat’l HIV Testing Day Outreach

“According to the CDC, the rate of new HIV infections last year among young black women aged 13 to 29 was 11 times higher than the rate among young white women and four times higher than the rate among young Hispanic women”

Black Skeptics L.A. and Chicago outreach sites for National HIV Testing Day:

Black Skeptics L.A.
Gardena Healthy Start Clinic
1301 W. 182nd Street
Gardena, CA
Time: 9:00-12:00
info: [email protected]

Black Skeptics Chicago
100 W. Randolph St.
Chicago, IL
Time: 8:30 a.m.
info: [email protected]

Support for Acid Attack Victim: Skepchick Advocacy

Surly Amy over at Skepchick has put out a call for support for a young Ugandan acid attack victim who will be receiving treatment at the Grossman Burn Foundation in Southern California.  The young woman needs a host family and financial aid while she’s receiving treatment over the course of a year.

From Skepchick:

A friend of mine, named Claire Knowlton, does that on a regular basis. Claire is the Board President of The Life You Can Save which is a 501(c)(3) that focuses on effective giving. life you can saveYou can find out more about her fantastic organization and the valuable work they do by clicking here.

Claire recently came to me with a project that her associate, Angie brought to her attention, that she thought Skepchick and Skepchick readers may be able to help with.

A young woman named Christine was attacked with acid in Africa and is coming to America (specifically the Calabasas area of California) to receive restorative surgery. Some back story:

When I worked in Uganda, I met a young Tanzanian woman named Christine
who was the victim of an acid attack in 2012. When I got back to the
US, I started asking around about the possibility of a probono surgery
for her and through the help of a friend of mine, contacted Grossman
Burn Foundation in LA, who agreed to take her case (awesome news!)
Grossman Burn Foundation will take care of all of the medical parts of
her care, but it is up to me and my friend to find a host family for
her while she is here in the US. She will need multiple surgeries
with rehabilitation time in between so they are estimating she will be
here for about one year. (I’m attaching a picture of her so you can
have a sense of the extent of the damage.) In addition to a host
family, we are looking for people who can volunteer to help in
supplementary ways– for example, driving her to appointments, taking
her shopping, invite her out for entertainment, etc.

My question for you is whether you know of anyone in LA who might
consider being a host family or people who can help in the additional
ways I listed above. I don’t know personally know anyone in the area
so am just trying to reach out in whatever ways I can. If it’s
helpful, I’m also happy to provide more information about Christine’s
background.

For more information on how to help check out Skepchick or contact [email protected]

Wash Post Article: Atheism’s Race Problem & Our Fans

From my article “Atheism Has A Big Race Problem”:

Just as cliché holds that there are no atheists in foxholes, it’s commonly believed that there are no atheists in overwhelmingly Christian black America. African Americans are the most religious ethnic group in the nation; nonbelievers make up just 1 percent of the population.

That’s a problem, and not just because atheists face discrimination in their own communities.

African Americans still live in disproportionately segregated neighborhoods, with few living-wage jobs, parks, accessible public transportation and healthy grocery stores. We make up 13 percent of the U.S. population, but nearly 40 percent of its prison and homeless populations. This disparity has only deepened in the Obama age.

Faith-based institutions provide resources to these poor and working-class families. They also fight racial discrimination, offer a foundation for community organizing and create access to social welfare, professional networks and educational resources. These are essential issues, and atheists of color often find themselves allied in these missions.

White atheists have a markedly different agenda. They are, on average,more affluent than the general population. Their children don’t attend overcrowded “dropout mills” where they are criminalized, subjected to “drill and kill” curricula and shunted off to prison, subminimum-wage jobs or chronic unemployment. White organizations go to battle over church/state separation and creationism in schools…More @http://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2014/06/16/blacks-are-even-discriminated-against-by-atheists/

Top Comments from fans:
Hermann W.
6/17/2014 12:45 PM PDT
It’s a good thing Ms. Hutchinson isn’t the founder of Elderly Black Female Lesbian Skeptics with Disabilities, because then she would be even *more* disappointed in the issues the majority of Atheists are trying to address.
MitchBBBBBB
6/17/2014 2:07 PM PDT
This is just ridiculous on so many levels. All the points related to “racist atheists,” such as white affluence and black dropout rates, are not related to a belief system AT ALL. these are just points related to the two races. The fact that white people are more affluent has absolutely nothing to do with whether or not they believe in a god. Secondly, the idea that black atheists must make separatist groups because they are unequal makes NO sense because their inequality doesn’t begin in the community of atheism. In that community, they are treated exactly the same as white people. This article is 100% bogus.
JohnD16
6/17/2014 12:19 PM PDT
Atheism does not have a race problem. I just happen to be white and I happen to be an atheist. If I choose to support atheist organizations it is because they are pursuing things that are related to theism or atheism.

If I wish to support organizations that fight racism I will do this independent of atheism. While many “isms” may be worthy, they should be supported independent of any kind of atheist organizations…. this includes “feminism, racism, environmentalism, vegetarianism” etc, etc, etc…..

Typical atheist political topics might include, separation of church and state, religious tests for political office, teaching religion as science in school. Please notice…. all of these things are related to theism!