It’s Day 3 of Black History Month and We Whites Are All Going to STFU and Listen. UPDATED.

[CONTENT NOTE: racially motivated kidnapping and lynching of a Black minor. No violent images appear in this post, however such image(s) can be found in at least one of the links contained herein. This post contains an image of the victim’s mother and others mourning at his funeral.]

Today we’re going to STFU and listen to a cousin of Emmett Till, a 14-year old boy who was kidnapped, tortured and murdered 66 years ago. A particular excerpt I wish to highlight is this:

The past has not passed. Lynchings like Ahmaud Arbery’s, Breonna Taylor’s, and George Floyd’s are very much reflective of what happened to our cousin Emmett. There is a clear connection between past injustices and the injustices that continue to this day. We won’t stop fighting. It is our duty to not allow the lives of those stolen by hate to be in vain.

Of all of the images I looked at in learning about Emmett Till, one struck me the most. It is a photo of griefstricken mourners at Emmett Till’s funeral, including his extraordinary mother Mamie Carthan Till-Mobley. I believe the reason it resonated so strongly with me is that I have seen that grief in the faces of friends and relatives of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and many, many more.

The video for HELL YOU TALMBOUT by Janelle Monáe, Deep Cotton, St. Beauty, Jidenna, Roman GianArthur, and George 2.0 is over six years old, years before the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd. It is at least as relevant today as it was then, and it mentions Emmett Till.


The photo taken at Till’s funeral, the HELL YOU TALMBOUT video and the rest of the message from Deborah Watts, Emmett Till’s cousin and co-founder of the Emmett Till Legacy Foundation below the cut.

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It’s Day 2 of Black History Month and We Whites Are All Going to STFU and Listen.

Today, we’re going to STFU and listen to Mallence Bart-Williams. She gave this TEDx talk in Berlin in 2015, and it has both haunted and inspired me since I first viewed it. In 2016 I made a transcript and posted it on my old blog; comments on that post have continued to trickle in over the years, many of them from Africans.

I said this yesterday, but it’s worth repeating. If this makes you uncomfortable (and it certainly seems to unsettle the overwhelmingly white audience in Berlin) then please sit with that discomfort, and learn everything you can from it.

Day 1 of Black History Month 2022 is here.

MLK Day 2022: A Different Voice.

Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day in the United States, a federal holiday.

As longtime readers may recall, it has long been my tradition to post one of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s lesser-known speeches: Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence. He spoke these words at Manhattan’s Riverside Church on April 4, 1967, a year to the day before he was assassinated at the age of 39. If you are not familiar with it, you can read the speech here, along with some of my thoughts on why it is so important, and still very relevant today.

Go ahead. I’ll wait here…

Oh good! You’re back! (I love you people. )

This year, I thought I’d do something different. I would like to post instead some of the words of Bernice Albertine King.

Bernice A. King, Chief Executive Officer of the King Center and daughter of Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King, in Austin, Texas on April 9, 2014. She is pictured reading a quote from her father, before remarks by former President Bill Clinton.Bernice A. King, lawyer, minister, CEO of The King Center in Atlanta and daughter of Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King.
She is pictured here reading a quote from her father before remarks by former President Bill Clinton, in Austin, Texas on April 9, 2014.
(Photo: Eric Draper, via LBJ Foundation under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.)

Bernice King is the youngest child of the Reverend Doctor and Coretta Scott King. She was 5 years old when her father was killed. Her activism has followed in the footsteps of both of her formidable.

Bernice King is a Christian minister, like her father. Also like her father, she tethers the religious ideas in her speeches to secular ideas of justice, compassion and love. And as I’ve noted before, this practice functions to bolster arguments for the religious-minded, but it neither negates nor replaces secular ones.

Speaking as a die-hard atheist, I believe without a doubt that I have more in common with the values of Beatrice King than I do with many prominent atheists. (If you’re a regular reader on this network, as especially if you’re a longtime fan of PZ’s, you know likely know exactly who I’m talking about. And if you don’t, consider yourself fortunate.) I also believe in the critical importance of boosting Black voices, particularly Black women’s voices.

See if you don’t agree that Bernice King’s voice speaks as powerfully to the Social Justice Warrior in you as it does to me.

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Mexico! 🎉

(via e-mail breaking news alert):

Mexico decriminalizes abortion, a dramatic step in the world’s second-biggest Catholic country

The [Mexican] Supreme Court’s decision makes Mexico the most populous country in Latin America to permit the procedure. The ruling comes as Texas, just across the border, tightens restrictions. The decision reflects activism by a powerful feminist movement, as well as concern about women dying or suffering harm from illegal abortions.

Read more [@ WaPo]

While this Republicans (politicians and citizens alike) become more like the Taliban every day, a “powerful feminist movement” in Mexico has succeeded in moving the needle in the opposite direction. And they did so by centering those who are dying and being maimed by illegal abortions – a terrible price to pay for the living to obtain the basic human right to bodily autonomy.

But it’s just not “civil” to discuss such ugliness in polite society! We simply must keep the discourse around abortion rights calm, reasoned and as removed from reality as possible, as we sit around discussing abstract concepts like “choice” over tea. Because that’s really been working so well for us! [/snark]

Wasn’t I just ranting about this very thing on Sunday? Why, yes! Yes I was!

And I said:

The only thing “civil” attempts at persuasion accomplish is allowing sadistic misogynists to continue pretending that picture [of Geraldine Santoro taken in 1964 by police who found her dead after a botched attempt at self-aborting] does not capture exactly what they are doing.

I wonder how many (more) unnecessary deaths and senseless maimings it will take for U.S. Republicans to reverse course? It seems we will also need a powerful feminist movement. More powerful, even, than the Catholic Church in Mexico.

Anybody got one of those lying around?

I write letters to the president.

You know, sometimes I get it in my head that it’s worth taking five minutes of my finite existence to do something utterly and pathetically futile, just because I will feel better having done so, and because I can (<–no small thing, that).

Dear Mr. President:

For what it costs in both tax dollars and lives, here and abroad, perhaps you might consider upending the entire U.S. military paradigm. Humanitarian aid, even to our “enemies” would be far cheaper, far less inhumane, and far more likely to settle conflicts with a WIN-WIN.

For just one example, why not provide Palestinians the same amount of aid we give to Israel without accountability, in the form of rebuilding and improving their destroyed infrastructure, including creating world-class healthcare facilities that all people in the region would have access to?

Think outside the box, because the box is making a darker world and suffocating all of us.

-Iris Vander Pluym

Hey, I never said they were good letters.

Have a go at it yourself:

Facebook knows better. Let’s make it DO better.

Via email from Color of Change (all emphasis in original):

color of change's facebook campaign image: pile of facebook's iconic thumbs-up "like" icons turned upside-down, with text "IT'S BEEN A YEAR. FACEBOOK DO SOMETHING."

Dear Iris:

One year ago, in response to Facebook doubling down on their refusal to remove calls to violence against Black protestors, we launched our “Stop Hate for Profit” campaign. Together, with our partners and Color Of Change members like you, we successfully compelled an unprecedented 1,200 business partners to withdraw millions of dollars in advertising from Facebook for failing to protect Black users and community stakeholders.1 The boycott increased the pressure we placed on Facebook to respond, resulting in them agreeing to some of our long standing demands, including creating a senior role to oversee civil rights at the company and a dedicated team to study algorithmic racial bias.2 Despite these important changes, Facebook continues to fall far short of adequately addressing the harms they cause our communities. [Read more…]

The 99.5 Percent Act.

As I’ve mentioned previously, Roots Action is an activist group I happily allow to gain entrée into my inbox. Even on the rare occasions when I disagree, their messaging is always informative and concise, and their target selection is spot-on. (More on the group here.)

Today’s missive concerns a bill being introduced by Senator Bernie Sanders and Congressdude Jimmy Gomez called the 99.5% Act, and provides a link to send a letter to the Goldman Sachs puppets on Capitol Hill who pretend to represent your interests and those of your fellow citizens who reside in your congressional district and state. The letter urges these assholes to get on board with this bill.

Hahaha. Yes, I know.

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