Friday, July 31, 2015

Confederate Flag

See for what is the Confederate Flag?

This is from Confederate Flag Removed From South Carolina Capitol Grounds in

The Confederate battle flag, a symbol of both racism and southern pride, was removed on Friday from the South Carolina state Capitol grounds after the Civil War banner fell from favor since the slaying of nine black churchgoers in June.

The rebel flag, raised on state grounds more than 50 years ago at the height of the U.S. civil rights movement, was taken down just after 10 a.m. ET.

It will be moved to the "relic room" of a military museum in the state capital of Columbia to reside with other artifacts carried by southern Confederate soldiers 150 years ago.

This is from Confederate Flag Removed From South Carolina Statehouse in

The removal of the flag marks the end of an era in South Carolina, where the flag has been a perennial political issue and a reminder of racial division. But debate over Confederate symbols and their role in history and in the public continue in the state and across the nation. Calls to remove the Confederate battle symbol from the Mississippi state flag have divided leaders in that state. Fights over the rebel flag resonated in the halls of Congress this week.

This is from Confederate flags found at US black church in Atlanta in

US police are investigating after four Confederate flags were found on the grounds of a church near the Martin Luther King Jr Center in Atlanta. Officials said security camera footage showed two white males placing the flags on the ground at the church. The flag is very divisive in the US and seen as a symbol of slavery by critics.

Rev Raphael Warnock, a senior pastor at the church, said: "It is a hateful act. I view it as an effort to intimidate us in some way, and we will not be intimidated."

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Donate, Educate, Activate...

I am putting info and links on the Ways to be Engaged page.  Please see that page if you are so motivated.

Why this Blog?

Freddie Gray's death while in police van, Baltimore

This is from

On April 12, 2015, Freddie Carlos Gray, Jr., a 25-year-old African-American man, was arrested by the Baltimore Police Department for possessing what the police alleged was an illegal switchblade. While being transported in a police van, Gray fell into a coma and was taken to a trauma center. Gray died on April 19, 2015; his death was ascribed to injuries to his spinal cord.

The circumstances of the injuries were initially unclear; eyewitness accounts suggested that the officers involved used unnecessary force against Gray while arresting him—a claim denied by at least one officer involved. Commissioner Anthony W. Batts reported that, contrary to department policy,  the officers did not secure him inside the van while transporting him to the police station. The medical investigation found that Gray had sustained the injuries while in transport. 

See Signs of Hope about 6 officers charged with his homicide

Why this Blog?

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Signs of Hope

1. Due to negative public opinion and more, Boston Olympics 2024 isn't going to be a possibility anymoreSee my post about that.

2. On May 1, 2015, the Baltimore City State's Attorney, Marilyn Mosby, announced her office filed charges against six police officers after they received a medical examiner’s report that ruled Gray's death a homicide. The prosecutors stated that they had probable cause to file criminal charges against the six police officers who were believed to be involved in his death. The officer driving the van was charged with second-degree depraved-heart murder, and others were charged with crimes ranging from manslaughter to illegal arrest. In a later rebuttal to allegations that the knife was illegal, prosecutors argued that Gray was illegally arrested well before the officers knew that he possessed a knife, and without probable cause. On May 21, a grand jury indicted the officers on most of the original charges filed by Mosby with the exception of the charges of illegal imprisonment and false arrest, and added charges of reckless endangerment to all the officers involved. see my post about Freddy Gray's death

3. Barack Obama, a well-educated man of mixed races, is elected to be President of the USA, not only once, but twice!
"Barack Hussein Obama II is the 44th and current President of the United States, and the first African American to hold the office." (read more:

4. Confederate Flag Removed From South Carolina Statehouse
see Confederate Flag post
I know this doesn't mean that symbol that reads racism to many won't be used elsewhere...but it is at least a little sign of hope!

5. see Hope: Law School course

6. see Judge Withdraws Thousands Of Arrest Warrants in Ferguson

I will add signs of hope to this post when I have more time, and as signs occur!

Why this Blog?

Monday, July 27, 2015

NYC choke hold killing, Eric Garner

Below excerpt is from

The rough grooves of the Eric Garner story probably feel familiar to lots of folks by now: an unarmed black man dies after an encounter with the police, agitating old tensions between residents and the officers who patrol their neighborhoods.

The Garner case is already rippling out into broader political conversations, like the value of the "broken windows" strategy which targets low-level offenses that have made arrests climb in the city even as crime is near record lows. (Garner was initially approached by the police because he was suspected of selling untaxed cigarettes on the street.)


read more:
Safer Era Tests Wisdom of ‘Broken Windows’ Focus on Minor Crime
Eric Garner and the NYPD's History of Deadly Chokeholds


Saturday, July 25, 2015

Boston Olympics, Why Oppose

Update 7/27/15:
Boston’s Olympic bid is dead! 
Read more here:

This is what I had on this post before 7/27/15:

The excerpt below is from

The history of the Olympics is filled with cost overruns, unfulfilled promises, displacement of low-income communities, privatization of public spaces, and militarized policing. Hosting the Olympics would divert time and resources away from addressing the issues that face Boston: from an affordable housing crisis to underfunded schools to vulnerability to climate change.

I would thus urge you to oppose the city’s bid for the 2024 Olympics.

The excerpts below are from

Housing and Displacement:
Hosting the Olympics offers developers and landlords an opportunity to make significant profit at the expense of the city’s residents. Displacement, accordingly, has been one of the most pervasive negative impacts of the Olympics. According to a landmark 2007 study by the Centre on Housing Rights and Eviction (COHRE), over 2 million people had been displaced by the Olympic Games over the prior twenty years. The intersection of the Olympics and housing rights is multi-faceted. First, tenants who live on sites designated for Olympic venues or villages are often evicted, forced to leave the communities they call home. Second, the Olympic Games accelerate the process of gentrification, making neighborhoods increasingly unaffordable to their current residents. Third, landlords, seeking greater profits, often force out their current tenants in order to rent out space to Olympic tourists at exorbitant prices. The initial promises of affordable housing that cities make when selling their bid to the community frequently go unfulfilled.

Homelessness & Social Exclusion:
Although Olympic boosterism often utilizes rhetoric of social unity, the Olympic Games themselves have often exacerbated dynamics of social exclusion, particularly with regard to the homeless population. The desire to look like a “world-class city” on the international stage encourages cities to engage in a form of “social cleansing,” in which marginalized groups are treated as objects to be swept away. Housing displacement and overpolicing fuse in a toxic mix in this oft-ignored Olympic “legacy.”

The venue placement for Boston 2024 underscores this risk. Widett Circle and Franklin Park, designated locations for specific events, are near shelters and clinics for the city’s homeless population (Pine Street Inn, Boston Health Care for the Homeless, and Shattuck Shelter/Hospital). Moreover, the designated location for the shooting events—Long Island—was the home of the city’s largest homeless shelter until it was closed down last November.

The excerpt below is from

Our Commitments:
Unlike Boston 2024, we don’t have $25,000 on hand to spend on a full page ad in the Boston Globe. But we wanted to share our commitments, principles, and goals with you.

(1) That our city planning should be done for and by the people, not by unelected CEOs and the IOC
(2) That our infrastructure investments should be focused on the needs of those who live and work here, not the needs of the IOC
(3) That housing, health care, education, and environmental protection are what our elected officials should be focusing on and are how we build a truly world-class city
(4) That the people of Boston deserve good jobs and affordable housing today, not empty promises of what may come almost a decade away
(5) That Boston should not be turned into a police state for two-and-a-half weeks for a party for the international elite
(6) That our parks should remain public spaces, free for the enjoyment of all
(7) That our elected officials should work for the people they represent, not the people who line their pockets
(8) That the people of Boston and Massachusetts deserve a robust, open debate about whether Boston should host the Olympics, a debate Marty Walsh and Boston 2024 never let happen before submitting the initial bid
(9) That Boston 2024’s spin should never go unchallenged
(10) That people deserve to know each step of the IOC process and should have their voices heard well before the IOC casts its first vote in spring 2016

As of 7/27/15, the action below isn't needed anymore.  I am going to keep it here though in case we need to do something about 2030!

There are various ways you can take action...including writing letters to your State Senator/Representative.  There are some sample letters on that site we can use to get started. 

Why this Blog

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Sandra Bland unjust arrest and death, action to take

July 2015
This is from

Texas police pulled 28-year-old Sandra Bland over as she drove to her new job for allegedly failing to signal a lane change. After police ripped Sandra from her car and violently slammed her the ground, she was unjustly arrested, charged with assault and then taken to Waller County Jail. Seventy two hours later, she was dead.

Police are claiming that Sandra took her own life, but her family and friends know that's not true. We stand with them. Time and time again, violent and discriminatory police kill and lie to cover up their brutal action.

Go to this site and read more
The action on that link is no longer needed.  


Why this Blog?

MLK Jr.'s Dream speech, 150 years since Emancipation Proclamation

In 1963, Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his speech: I have a Dream
He said in that speech this below (and more):

"Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon of light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.

"But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languished in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. And so we've come here today to dramatize a shameful condition."

Now it is 2015, over 50 years later, and we still see discrimination! 

Martin Luther King Jr. said:
Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.

Can we do something new for justice every day, or every week, or every month?
Isn't equality long overdue?

You might choose to go to the sites on Ways to be Engaged Links and sign up to get updates and learn about current Actions.

Color of Change:
  • keeps you up-to-date about injustices going on and what to do

Why this Blog?

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

White Privilege

"Change your thoughts and you change the world."
-Norman Vincent Peale

I just went to to check the spelling of "privilege" and found this:

1. a right, immunity, or benefit enjoyed only by a person beyond the advantages of most
4. the principle or condition of enjoying special rights or immunities
5. any of the rights common to all citizens under a modern constitutional government 6. an advantage or source of pleasure granted to a person

I am a White person. I dislike race terms; I rarely identify myself that way. But for the purpose of this post, I must say that is how I am seen, and I know I benefit from the color of my skin, so I must state that here. 

I assume I am speaking to mostly White people here...

Do we all as White people know how much we have White Privilege? Do you know how much you can do, and receive, because of this skin-deep difference?

Many of us who are White experience the privileges defined above. Number 5 is noteworthy. ALL citizens should have common rights but we don't. White people get more in general (I think so anyway).

I have heard some Black and Brown people are stopped and held back from doing whatever they are doing because of their skin-deep difference.

White people are welcome to buy homes wherever we want. Black and Brown people have not had this privilege in the past.  Hopefully it is better now. The fact that many White people can even afford to buy homes is a privilege our parents might have benefited from...and that benefit was passed to us. Learn about the G.I. Bill (this links to Wikipedia) and elsewhere.(See the book below.)

White people can get jobs easier. We can get into better schools more easily.

White people can shop in a store without being watched (see True Colors video for examples of this, below).

White people aren't asked to speak for their whole race. Or discriminated against because of a few bad apples.

White people can see police officers and might wave a hello, trusting the officer sees us as just a citizen instead of a potential criminal. And we haven't had personal experiences enough to give us reason to fear them, or not even want to be friendly with them.

That is powerful. That is very sad.

I am reading a helpful book called Waking Up White and Finding Myself in the Story of Race by Debby Irving. It is giving me the information I need to know about this privilege. For example, I learned about the G.I. Bill benefit from this book.

What does this mean I should do differently? This is what I struggle with (my first step is this: see Why this Blog?). Feeling guilt is not the answer. Let's talk, and think, about this instead. Please share this blog with your friends and family. Thanks.

Showing Up for Racial Justice:
  • specific for white people to be involved

MTV's "White People" documentary
I made this its own post, go here.

True Colors - Racial Discrimination in Everyday Life 
report by Diane Sawyers.
I made this its own post, go here.

Straight White Male: The Lowest Difficulty Setting There Is 
I made this its own post, go here for this helpful and clever white privilege metaphor.

see Cross-racial Conversations

Why this Blog?

National Day of Mourning vs. Thanksgiving

This intro excerpt is from
United American Indians of New England

"Since 1970, Native Americans have gathered at noon on Cole's Hill in Plymouth to commemorate a National Day of Mourning on the US thanksgiving holiday. Many Native Americans do not celebrate the arrival of the Pilgrims and other European settlers. Thanksgiving day is a reminder of the genocide of millions of Native people, the theft of Native lands, and the relentless assault on Native culture. Participants in National Day of Mourning honor Native ancestors and the struggles of Native peoples to survive today. It is a day of remembrance and spiritual connection as well as a protest of the racism and oppression which Native Americans continue to experience."

Learn more about the truth about the past from It is powerful. 


Why this Blog?

Ferguson, Michael Brown Jr. shooting

Four and a half minute National Moment of Silence on Sunday, August 9th at 11:55AM CST

Would you like to join with me in Ashland center at 12:55pm on Sunday 8/9/15 It would be meaningful to mourn together these senseless deaths (see below). Let me know if you will join me. -DG

This idea came from an email that I got from FergusonAction on 7/27/15: see this post

Here is one account of what happened a year ago:
(excerpt chosen from Wikipedia by DG)

The shooting of Michael Brown occurred on August 9, 2014, in Ferguson, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis. Brown, an 18-year-old black man, was fatally shot by Darren Wilson, 28, a white Ferguson police officer. The disputed circumstances of the shooting and the resultant protests and civil unrest received considerable attention in the U.S. and abroad, and sparked a vigorous debate about law enforcement's relationship with African Americans, and police use of force doctrine in Missouri and nationwide. read more

Updates from 

An Open Letter From Ferguson Protestors and Allies
from (excerpt from full letter by DG):

We are not concerned if this inconveniences you.
Dead children are more than an inconvenience.

We are not concerned if this disturbs your comfort.
Freedom outweighs that privilege.

We are not concerned if this upsets order.
Your calm is built on our terror.

We are not concerned if this disrupts normalcy.
We will disrupt life until we can live.

This is an American Horror Story.
Together, we are writing the final chapter.

This is from 
Timeline for a Body: 4 Hours in the Middle of a Ferguson Street in The New York Times  
There is a video worth watching on this page too.

Just after noon on Saturday, Aug. 9, Michael Brown was shot dead by a police officer on Canfield Drive. For about four hours, in the unrelenting summer sun, his body remained where he fell.

Mr. Brown probably could not have been revived, and the time that his body lay in the street may ultimately have no bearing on the investigations into whether the shooting was justified. But local officials say that the image of Mr. Brown’s corpse in the open set the scene for what would become a combustible worldwide story of police tactics and race in America, and left some of the officials asking why.

Mr. Brown’s body was checked into the morgue at 4:37 p.m., more than four and a half hours after he was shot.

“The delay helped fuel the outrage,” said Patricia Bynes, a committeewoman in Ferguson. “It was very disrespectful to the community and the people who live there. It also sent the message from law enforcement that ‘we can do this to you any day, any time, in broad daylight, and there’s nothing you can do about it.’ ”

The police say it took so long due to the need to protect the crime scene. I doubt they would have treated a white businessman the same way. -DG

Ferguson Officer Darren Wilson Not Indicted In Michael Brown Shooting from the

McCulloch said members of the jury met for 25 days and heard over 70 hours of testimony from over 60 witnesses before reaching their decision. He confirmed Wilson had fired 12 shots at Brown, who was unarmed.

It is well established that Brown and his friend Dorian Johnson were walking in the middle of a quiet residential street near the home of Brown's grandmother when Wilson confronted them shortly after noon on Saturday, Aug. 9. The witnesses who spoke publicly said there was an initial confrontation between Brown and Wilson through the window of his police SUV -- some said they thought Wilson was trying to pull Brown in, while Wilson has reportedly said that Brown reached for his weapon.

Wilson reportedly fired one shot out the window, and witnesses claim that Brown took off running. Wilson emerged from the vehicle, and Brown at some point turned around. Many witnesses who have spoken publicly said that Brown looked like he was trying to surrender and put his hands in the air as Wilson shot the final fatal rounds. Wilson reportedly contends that Brown was headed back toward him.

The Washington Post, meanwhile, reported that seven or eight witnesses largely backed up Wilson's account of the shooting in testimony before the grand jury. Those witnesses, like most of the people in Ferguson, are African-American.

When Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson released Wilson's name on Aug. 15, the police department simultaneously released a video that appeared to show Brown stealing cigarillos from a convenience store not long before the shooting and shoving a clerk when he was confronted. Jackson has since said that Wilson was not aware that Brown had been involved in any alleged robbery when the officer spotted him on the street.

While I believe that many police officers do helpful, brave work, I think there is also discrimination and cover ups within the police force across our country. It is not clear what happened in Ferguson but I see why there are protests and why there should be policy changes. -DG

Why this Blog?

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Highway Action

On January 15, 2015, a non-Black group of Pan-Asians, Latinos, and white people, linked their bodies together across the I-93 highway in a highly coordinated action in Boston. This act of civic participation was in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and Black people.

Go here to read the solidarity statement and see a photo:
Black Lives Matter, January 15 Highway Action Solidarity Statement

Here is a "short and sweet" excerpt from the solidarity statement:
We hold ourselves accountable, as non-Black people, to turn up and disrupt business as usual. Today, our nonviolent direct action is a manifestation of our long-term commitment to confronting our nation’s racist power structure as part of achieving the liberation of all oppressed people, always by uplifting and centering Black liberation. We expose the reality that Boston is a city where white commuters and students use the city and leave, while Black and Brown communities are targeted by police, exploited, and displaced.

Today, we put our individual and collective voices together to resist and disrupt business as usual, the way we have been used to maintain a system that oppresses Black people. Moreover, as non-Black people, we understand and accept our duty to end the profiling, unjust incarceration, and killings of Black people in the United States and beyond. Black lives matter, today and always.

(excerpt chosen by DG, see full statement)

The call-in campaign on Monday, July 13, 2015

The Somerville 18 were arrested as a result of the I-93 South highway blockade in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. They are currently attending ongoing hearings.

Before the hearing on 7/16/15, The #Somerville18 received their first offer from the Middlesex County District Attorney Marian Ryan, who was seeking the excessive punishments of
  • 90 days jail time, 
  • 18 months probation, and
  • $14,580 in restitution fines,
  • as well as other punishments.
Marian Ryan was retaliating against the protestors for using their First Amendment rights to challenge white supremacy. The #Somerville18 asked for support to push back against the criminalization of protestors, and reduce the sentence being sought, by calling DA Ryan at (781) 897-8300 on July 13, 2015.

Black lives matter and protests are necessary! 

Whether or not we supported the time, location, style, etc. of the protest or not, some of my family, friends, and I called DA Ryan on 7/13/15 to request a reduced sentence since it was excessive!

As of the last court hearing on 7/16/15, it seems the DA is considering reducing what she was seeking. I am grateful for that. 

The next step is writing character references for the defendents, and letters of support. The next hearing is in September.

Go to this post to learn about a petition that needs to be signed before 9/24/15

Why this Blog