Three important stories were told but scarcely heard today. Here are curated quotes from each:
In each of these stories, the victims were robbed of a life well-lived, of the rights and privileges of American citizenship, as should be accorded to all Americans under our constitution.
While I wholeheartedly believe that we need to have a real debate about how we clear the path that will ultimately take America out of the artificial swamp that is the American race construct, the Rachel Dolezal polemic just isn’t the appropriate vehicle. The dismantling of the underlying structures that enabled these stories, however, is.
A Manhattan man has spent nearly all of the past seven years locked up on Rikers Island awaiting trial — a dubious record for pretrial incarceration that is not likely to end anytime soon, experts told The Post.
Carlos Montero, now 24, was with two pals when one fatally stabbed a man and the other slashed another during a robbery in Washington Heights on Oct. 23, 2008, authorities have charged.
Montero, who has spent six years and eight months in Rikers, attempted to get his case tried separately — while one of his alleged cohorts fights the DNA evidence — but the judge balked, and his lawyer won’t even seek bail for him now because he says it’s a lost cause.
“I’m depressed in here. I just want to go home,’’ said Montero, who entered the jail at age 17.
The state statute that is supposed to guarantee a prisoner’s right to a speedy trial — within 180 days — doesn’t apply to murder cases.
There also is a right to a reasonably rapid proceeding under the Sixth Amendment, but the US Constitution doesn’t lay out a timeline.
So Montero is still waiting for his day in court, even after 77 appearances in Manhattan Supreme Court before Justice Ronald Zweibel — and 2,423 days behind bars.
Read the rest of this story on NYPost.com.
The Depths Of Poverty In The Deep South | ThinkProgressPOSTED ON
Andrew sat a table in a bar with no sign outside drinking a Bud Light tallboy. The windows were boarded up from the outside and the only source of light was a bare light bulb sticking out from a fixture on the wall. Behind him, gray-haired men sat at the bar watching an old kung fu movie on a grainy television.“I spent my whole life on the plantation around the corner,” Andrew* said, and took a drink from his tallboy. “My entire family worked on it—dad, brothers, uncles. Our family must’ve gone back three or four generations on Mr. Peaster’s farm.”He remembered helping his father plant and harvest crops when he was a boy, steadily gaining more responsibility on the farm as he got older. After graduating from high school, he started working on the farm full time.“Mr. Peaster liked having me around ’cause I was good with tractors and equipment. When something broke down, he was glad he had hands on the farm that could fix it instead of having to call a mechanic. Paid me a couple extra bucks whenever I fixed something, or let me take an advance on my paycheck if I wanted.”
For over 30 years, Andrew saw the farm as an idyllic, self-contained community. Much of his extended family lived on the plantation, and when Andrew was old enough to have a family of his own, Mr. Peaster worked with him to build a small house for his wife and children right beside the house in which he grew up. Mr. Peaster also ran a general store on the plantation, which carried all the groceries and supplies the families needed, so they hardly had any reason to leave the farm at all.
But then a couple of years ago, Mr. Peaster sold his farm to an adjacent plantation owner and gave the families a few weeks’ notice before they had to move out. While tenant farmers like Andrew’s family are given housing as part of their compensation, they don’t have the typical legal protections afforded to property owners and renters—a fact Andrew had to discover firsthand.“Felt like the rug was just pulled out from under me,” he said.
The school-to-prison pipeline affects girls of color, but reform efforts pass them by
Thursday, June 11, 2015
A few weeks ago, a six-year-old black girl named TT was suspended and sent home because she poked a boy with an eraser.
When I asked her what happened, TT told me that the boy was bothering her and wouldn’t stop even after she asked him, so she poked him with an eraser. TT was subsequently suspended from school for two days.
As a mother of a kindergartener, I am very familiar with this type of age-appropriate childish misbehavior. As an organizer for Power U Center for Social Change, a grassroots organization based in Miami, the fact that another student of color was harshly and unfairly punished for age-appropriate behavior also did not surprise me. TT was just one of many girls who fall victim to zero-tolerance and school push-out every day.
As most education advocates know, zero-tolerance policies shut the doors of academic opportunity to students of color by funneling them into the juvenile and criminal justice systems. The combination of overly harsh school policies and the growing role of law enforcement in schools has created a school-to-prison pipeline, in which punitive measures such as suspensions, expulsions and school-based arrests are increasingly used to deal with student misbehavior. What many education advocates aren’t talking about, however, are the gender dynamics at play in this phenomenon.
A recent report by the African American Policy Forum (AAPF) entitled Black GirlsMatter: Pushed Out, Overpoliced and Underprotected, outlines how girls of color face much harsher school discipline than their white peers but are simultaneously excluded from current efforts to address the school-to-prison pipeline. The report states that nationally, black girls are six times more likely to get suspended than their white counterparts. In comparison, black boys are three times more likely to get suspended than their white counterparts.
Despite the statistics, there are no initiatives like the My Brother’s Keeper program – a five-year, $200m program initiated by President Obama to support boys of color – to engage and nurture young women of color. Even though black girls are criminalized and brutalized by the same oppressive system, rarely does their brutalization make national news.
Consider the case last year of 17-year-old high school student Brittany Overstreet in Tampa Bay, Florida. According to local news reports, she was “accused of becoming combative and aggressive toward school administrators” when they wanted to search her bag for mace. During a struggle with the officer the teenager was slammed twice on the ground, which resulted in a concussion and her jaw being fractured in two places. She was handcuffed, suspended for 10 days and faced criminal charges. She did not have mace in her purse.
In the current movement to dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline, girls like Brittany are often an afterthought. As a black woman, I experience the intersection of race and gender every day: I see the ways in which black girls are subjugated simultaneously by patriarchy, white supremacy and heterosexism. Worse yet, we are also expected to be strong and indestructible, an attribute that is also detrimental because black girls are perceived as being more socially mature and self-reliant and thus also receive less attention in school. […]
Read the rest of this story on Guardian.com