Black Psychologist fights for society’s “Ultimate Underdogs”—Visiting SF.

“…many…faltering [white] agencies…rushed to bolster…’funding credibility’ using a…9781481707282_COVER_FQA.inddminority oriented venture (instead of creating their own internal ethnic targeted components…”

Trouble In Black Paradise Chapter 15: A Demon Lurking In The Closet Of Mainstream Gay Organizing, pages 310 and 311.

 

Greetings charged-up readers!

Trouble in Black Paradise finds an uncharacteristic warrior rejecting institutional status-quo.

 

A clinician actually fighting for America’s ultimate underdogs—as his academic “focus”—immediately grabbed my attention. I got the reference from Mary Ratcliff of SF Bay View Newspaper; he’s briefly visiting San Francisco. Intrigue absolutely flared, I’d never heard of him, but seeing his focus gave me chills—this area of research and “approach” is right down my alley!

In my experience a professional climbing scholarly ranks affirming Blacks (forging roads for society’s “most oppressed”) and suddenly surfacing here—who incorporates much of my very own tried-and-true, multi-pronged model for social transformational change—is extremely rare. I knew right then we must meet hoping neither would be disappointed.

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Dr. Jonathan Lassiter, PhD, as we settled in to begin a compelling discussion. photo by Fundi.

Dr. Jonathan Lassiter, PhD, is a Clinical Psychologist and an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Here from June 12th thru July 21st, he’s enrolled in the Visiting Professor’s Program at the Center for AIDS Prevention Studies at UCSF.

Stated is that he’s a polymath (an expert in a significant number of subjects) he’s a critical thinker and notably a healer; to him “breaking down” mental health dynamics for the average person’s easier understanding (and practical life improvement use) is paramount—it’s a key prong on our shared model.

Dr. Lassiter has co-edited a new book with Dr. Lourdes Dolores Follins titled, “Black LGBT Health in the United States: The Intersection of Race, Gender, and Sexual Orientation.” His research and courses taught at Muhlenberg highlight this subject as the crux—added is the pivotal component of “spirituality.” For these authors it’s extremely personal.

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Co-editing an anthology with Dr. Lourdes Follins Dr. Lassiter creates an unprecedented platform for Black LGBT clinicians themselves to address their kindred’s horrendously neglected lives. photo by Fundi.

Both Dr.’s strive to end a travesty: “Most research on Black LGBT folk has been done by people who are neither Black nor LGBT.” The book is an anthology addressing nearly two dozen physical and mental health issues—“giving unprecedented voice” to established and aspiring Black clinicians who’re LGBT themselves—determined to “humanize” their kindred. The Preface states (unsurprisingly) there were no previous books “specifically about LGBT healthcare”—still a shocking thought.

And for sadly predictable reasons (i.e. academia’s restrictions, generational loss, etc…) voices from contributing veteran LGBT survivors “over fifty”—like myself—and trans women are missing.

Topics include “For Us, By Us: A Manifesto of Black SGL [Same Gender Loving] and Trans Health, by Dr. Lassiter”; “Balancing Act: Identity Management and Mental Health among Black LBT Women, by Siobhan Brooks”; and “Status Quo: Intersectionality Theory, Afrocentric Paradigm and Meeting the Healthcare Needs of Gay and Bisexual African American Men, by Dante’ D. Bryant.”

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Dr. Lassiter pushes to “humanize” Black LGBT affiliation who are rendered invisible by the Black mainstream, white gay community and the U.S. Medical Industry. photo by Fundi.

Those familiar with my work know an unflinching cry: while Blacks in general are the most oppressed and broken segment, Black gays and lesbians are crunched under again—making Black LGBT spectrums America’s ultimate underdogs. Lassiter bears this out stating Black LGBT members are dehumanized by the Black mainstream (and white gay community—the dominant source of LGBT services); we’re subjected to layered marginalization in all their avenues of communal expression and validation—made isolated and socially invisible.

Conversely he honors our resilience and self-determination rejecting that boxed-in, exclusion abuse (SF Bay View National Black Newspaper publishing my hard-hitting work is a cutting-edge marvel).

For me aside from standard HIV matters, what Lassiter implies here is that a multitude of additional “physical and mental” health issues are tied directly to social oppression—clearly distinct from basic medical challenges.

They’re civically linked “conditions”—ones I’ve long highlighted and addressed: organizing with the late Ron Grayson and Black Gay Men’s Coalition for Human Rights in 1980’s LA I co facilitated a men’s Social Therapy Group—unraveling oppression’s effects.

 

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The late Ron Grayson with Dr. Lenora Fulani (top photo) at Compton College in LA, July, 1987. Dr. Fulani of NYC, announcing her Third Party Presidential Candidacy thru the New Alliance Party (NAP) as a backup to Rev. Jessie Jackson’s 2nd presidential run, attended a roundtable co-sponsored by LA’s Association for the Development of Social Therapy. by Fundi.

Reformist veterans’ harp about disenfranchisement’s worst byproduct: underdogs at rock bottom attacking each other, ignoring seriously overlapping issues—all miss the shining light of humanity’s age-old tools. Black mainstream reality clearly merges this Dr.’s “Intersection”—the spectrum on which we all fall.

I do believe spirituality joined with psychotherapy is the most powerful transformational tool and it appears that Dr. Lassiter agrees—“evidence based” psychotherapy is the cornerstone of his teaching and consultations. It lit the heart of our discussion—but I’ll get to that.

Spirituality is examined as an ultimate conduit addressing social justice—timeless issues: police murdering unarmed folks; a horrendous President Elect revitalizing architects of white privilege and prioritizing the rich—leaving masses on a bombed out physical and mental health terrain. It’s explored to impact rising casualties of social corruption—stagnation, the apathetic, the socially lethargic; even educate the dastardly—to change varied hearts and minds.

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Dr. Lassiter is a noted choreographer, whose work has been featured across the U.S. photo by Fundi.

The Dr. is a noted choreographer: dance synchronized in educational force—the spiritual nexus of traditional African and global pre colonial societies—a thing I’ve gained powerful organizing and mind stimulus results with.

Now all this is well and good on paper, but will I find yet another case of well cloaked status-quo (“revolution” dissolving  in person)—just “too good to be true?”

Dr. Lassiter is young, early in his post doctorate—but I’m an alumnus of 1970’s San Diego State, majoring in Graphic Arts and English—not Psychology; a warhorse from the Old School of stating gutbucket social reality unapologetically—and yes like a polymath, long of tooth researching many subjects, organizing in multiple overlapping social trenches.

My Old School term is “Renaissance Man.”

I’ve three clear “coming out” phases: the 1960’s launched my “down home” Afro celebration and social repair work—rejecting stuffy clinical formality; Buddhism soon shattered my colonial religious indoctrination, freeing views that could now see outside the West’s violently commanding hierarchy machine—the East’s vast human potential perspective clearly pairing Afro-spirituality; and I sexually “came out” pre AIDS, already involved in Black urban and gay organizing.

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Fundi and the late Busara Sadikifu at Webster Elementary School, Feb. 1977, performing their five part assembly “Kuumba: A Voyage Into the African Experience through Song, Dance and Poetry.” It transformed sterile, detached “assembly presentation” structure and format, successfully touring throughout San Diego’s City and County School Systems.

I’m labeled the radical one—who ripped into bureaucrats and clinicians at San Francisco’s 2009 and 2016 Black Summits on AIDS—sponsored by our Health Department; white based civic institutions housing Black efforts all but cried about HIV nationally wreaking havoc—including within this so-called “Mecca”—Blacks absolutely worse than ever (while other groups improve).

Afterwards I wrote a four part article substantially exposing this avoidable, unacceptable debacle—to enlighten those perplexed clinicians (and for public posterity). Being one of the few Black and gay “pre AIDS” pioneers who’s still around—actually invested in healing and restoring “communities” beyond ladder climbing (or mere novelty)—I’d find meeting an avowed system shaker fascinating indeed!

He said “call me Jonathan,” when we shook hands—I felt like I was invited to the kitchen table.

In one of UCSF’s sparkling new Mission Bay Medical Facilities we hunkered into a relaxed exchange. Yes, he had read my brief bio.

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UCSF Mission Hall Global Health and Clinical Sciences Building in Mission Bay, site of the Visiting Professor’s Program for AIDS Prevention Studies that Jonathan’s attending.

My advanced question: did he know of any national, self-determined Black AIDS agencies still operating autonomously? Besides standard government (or community) sponsors do any Black facilities independently set agendas—really calling the shots?

“Flash!” Knowing where I was headed—and what I feared—the answer was simply no. He knows of no Black led HIV services that aren’t off-shoots of governments—or satellites from white gay based establishments.

Here’s buried history:

1980’s pioneer white gay agencies (and other rarely involved entities) were sued by minority advocates for extreme neglect: suddenly all mainstream services had to show proof of clinical outreach to minorities to get HIV funding. Simultaneously I co founded San Diego’s P.O.C.A.S.E. (People Of Color AIDS Survival Effort) Task Force; LA’s Rev. Carl Bean had founded the Minority AIDS Project, etc…pushing for sustainable, independently run minority institutions—for obvious reasons.

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Following POCASE’s advent (shaking-up San Diego’s minority healthcare services) the Southeast Health Info. Center hosted an AIDS awareness conference. The late POCASE founder Eric Shepard (not pictured)–affiliated with Philadelphia’s BEBASHI (Blacks Educating Blacks About Sexual Health Issues)–did address the deplorable number of “clinician” no-shows!  Article and photo by Fundi.

Now, here’s another disastrous layer of regress, but I didn’t belabor it. I then laid down a card:

Colonial, or “radicalized” Christianity as an all encompassing religious force, sits at the heart of imploding, self-sabotaging Afro culture. Afro-America’s “object of worship” is not Joshua’s (or, Christ’s) original intent, but instead this: America’s cosmetic industry, narcissism, isolationist material wealth and colonial warlord brutality—demonstrated by unbridled Black-on-Black violence.

This and but a few brief sentences more assessing the landscape confirmed a rarity—Jonathan and I are on the same page. We moved beyond an unsure dance to the full-flavored nitty-gritty: Black social repair is our priority within this storm’s many tentacles; the dialogue teapot poured—centered on “spirituality.”

Interviewed I’m questioned on spirituality related to “social justice”: it’s definition, whether it’s truly effective and worth the effort; on how it can be applied to “drop-out” casualties of politic corruption, even hardcore separatists (or diplomatically raise Black consciousness amid delicate, murky cultural dynamics) etc…Do I have proof?

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Jonathan engages a lively discussion on “spirituality’s” viability in getting powerful transformational results from highly improbable social/political situations. photo by Fundi.

My simplified take: spirituality itself addresses all varied life “forms” operating or situated in the environment in which we live. “Life force” is the energy housed in us (and all “forms”)—also permeating that total environment.

“Spiritual” simply is the essence threading “life force”—a switch operating the “force’s” cause that maintains (and enhances) its highest adaptable growth effect (potential)—so that “life” thrives within a dangerously challenging environment. A practical key: an inner spiritual “switch” absolutely does respond to an environment’s spiritual action (it’s testable)—whether deeply buried inside, or severely derailed.

“Religion” is a system structured to employ a subjective spiritual (or ideological) “belief”—or rule.

I’ve written about a derailed Afro-America’s “religious” problem: “radicalized” Christianity pulverizes spirituality’s “switch”; twisting common sense (making “outsiders” disposable) subverting one’s allegiance to protecting humanity, including oneself—co-opting societies into religiously guarding corrupted colonial systems. Adherents inadvertently “worship” white politic—not a saving Grace; Blacks themselves guaranteeing their overall “populace” never thrives.

Hence, abolitionists said: “You cannot dismantle the master’s house with the master’s tools!”

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Fundi’s soul-stirring Ndaba presentation initially rallied lethargic, disconnected social and healthcare units to excitedly (and with “urgency”) get on board tackling AIDS’ epidemic among San Diego’s minorities. photo by Chicago Rose.

Spirituality in its proven “artistic element” (utilizing the African model) rallied San Diego’s defiantly oblivious social units to P.O.C.A.S.E. thru my rousing Ndaba performance—putting HIV awareness, treatment and prevention action on that city’s minority health services map! I’m confident Jonathan’s had similar results.

We crammed a bit more in the time we had, barely cracking the surface. Jonathan feels Black justice advocates coalescing “nationally”—which I profess is imperative—will more quickly materialize (considering social media’s advent). I have severe doubts: Black brokenness and disconnect is too far gone to see this tool utilized beyond piecemeal (and cosmetics)—without a rigorous, explicitly targeted national unity campaign. Vital and effective tools already exist that Blacks disgracefully sidestep (one being Black LGBT leadership).

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The late Dr. Charles Thomas, the “Father of Black Psychology,” addresses a POCASE Forum. The Forums were established to sensitize and educate all “novice” status-quo reps from mainstream agencies who’d flocked to POCASE–needing to verify “minority involvement” (to validate their own agency’s funding). Furious that their “cultural disconnect” and “take-over” mentalities were straightforwardly called-to-task they simply didn’t show up!

He addressed today’s rising Black Psychology “star’s” window-dressing progressiveness—still mired in homophobic trappings. And how disappointing: Jonathan’s never heard of the late Dr. Charles Thomas—legendary social builder known as America’s “Father of Black Psychology” (before being “murdered mysteriously” I’d brought him in as a P.O.C.A.S.E. advisor). Excluding Dr. Thomas’ trailblazing legacy from Black Psychology courses shows Black regress disaster actively rotting “higher education” branches.

It makes Jonathan’s work all the more audacious, critical—and pioneer.

Progress does translate into furthering our own exchange—beyond brief novelty drop-in sessions: Blacks must pool every available proven (and novice) Black resource—beyond pop culture celebrity bedazzlement. Jonathan acknowledged he’ll stay in touch, excitedly embracing a copy of my own book Trouble In Black Paradise: a landmark chronicle of modern Black LGBT leadership at the crossroads where the religious East, West, the Civil Rights Movement and timeless gay history crash into the 21st century.

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Openly gay Bayard Rustin (at left) invaluable architect of the Civil Rights Movement, with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in LA after the 1965 Watts riot. From Fundi’s book “Trouble In Black Paradise: Catastrophic Legacy Worshiping the ‘New World’ Politics of Saving Souls.”

No time to expand upon Black and gay “fuzzy leadership”—or homophobia reports in some Black Lives Matter chapters; ancestral neglect; vanishing Black institutions (no SF Black LGBT communal depth “moving-and-shaking”); L.A.’s Minority AIDS Project that may survive; or Black “self-hatred” in LGBT folk—trickiness raising Afro “consciousness” amid white cosmetic gay worship—and the like.

Spiritual legend says unexpected warriors will and do arise—here, Dr. Jonathan Lassiter, PhD has arrived!

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An Elder’s heart-to-heart “embraces” monstrous national distress—yes, a “horror’s” electors are him!

“…preachers steered their congregations away from involvement in the Black led Civil9781481707282_COVER_FQA.indd Rights movement; staying on top of…revolutionary scholarly developments that offer new religious insights took a backseat to…worshiping deficient European piousness…”

Trouble In Black Paradise Chapter 14: The Bible As A Weapon In The War On Gays, page 288.

 

Greetings charged-up readers!

Trouble in Black Paradise heightens after American voters clearly chose to “socially, ethically and mentally” regress.

 

My last post laid out a disturbingly clear argument:

“Not My President’s” voters are far from neutral innocents. Flagrant white power stompers and so-called naïve supporters (many not republicans)—all absolutely are him.

My previous article’s barebones call opposes trusting citizenry who’d actually make grotesque personality a U.S. president (read it here)—it rejects positions downplaying “character”: ratings hungry media (keeping adversaries “tuned in”) and disgusted “opponents” (fretfully hoping calamity turns folks around); both balk at no one getting neutrality passes.

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But I’m a gutbucket realist—an Elder looking through the lenses of Afro forbearers, in league with rainbow suffrage humanitarians—who put it on the line; and Eastern spiritual advocates risking it all to show that “enlightened life”—not “radicalized” Western religion—is the path to attain social justice.

Over 40 years of “trench organizing,” building and supporting networks for diversified communities “in crisis” coast-to-coast—doing the inner (spiritual) and outer (giving back) cultivation “work”—drives my argument. The thing though, illuminating every tool in my prized resource collection is parental advice:

“When someone tells or shows you exactly who (and what) they are, absolutely believe them!”

Believing blatant display became the heart of my growth process—it fine-tuned the art of gaining multilayered “perspectives.” Healing battered folks and reforming American civic corruption is impossible without decision making based on finely layered “perspective.”

Hence, related advice: “You cannot change or eliminate ugly reality you deny—or won’t face.”

I’d be violating an Elder’s creed not believing what voters slam in our face—given a clearly defined U.S. social trail; and remiss by not trouncing media charades about this. Unlike pundits my goal is to actually arm the distressed reader—not protect aristocratic “news interests”; I bolster novices and those already standing steadfast—whom beginners would seek to join.

The most powerful “tool” gained from “perspective” is vision—all else begins and ends here. Predictably a nasty bit of “perspective” did surface, putting meat on my last article’s barebones.

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A recent report surveying heartland “supporters” slams media slants on character: whites overwhelmingly voted for “him”—not for social improvement—but to restore old school white priority life. (Read it here.)

It’s why Terrible Tuesday’s election had chronic gag reflex erupting shore-to-shore; guffaw rippled through sectors and individuals never dreaming they’d be hit—it reached explosive levels rarely seen in my lifetime. Pain and trauma was palpable enough to cut with a knife; emotions drowned in shock—a searing wound felt by many for the first time——social betrayal compounded overload.

Scores of LGBTQ’s never anticipated this collision. Black folks though (gagging as well) merely caught their breath—then nationally said “welcome aboard!”

We had long known mainstreamers (strangely including “white gays”) altruistically believed American “social enlightenment” was farther along than what’s real—unlike us they thought it was big enough to lead—“illusion” easily settled into detach from people of color’s blatant pain (white nationalist groups merely laid low).

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Barrio youth hold a San Francisco City Hall rally protesting inner city violence, huge program cuts and major monies at the top that widen the poverty gap. 5-20-10. Photo by Adilifu Fundi.

Obviously whites comprise the majority—and “voter majority” is deemed the winner—so reformers carry daunting tasks: instilling “enlightened perspective” within an electorate of misguided kin and “Average Joe” citizens.

It translates to conveying integrity filled “vision.”

“Vision” though, brings showstopper advice: the most impacting reform starts at home—with the individual, or the personal “unit”; chasing reform elsewhere without “inside clean-up” only gains shallow, short-lived outer results.

Sadly, numbers of absolutely burned-out reformers grow—writing off attempts at “enlightening” voters altogether—believing corruption and selling-out is too deeply entrenched. They know it’s tricky business: instilling “vision” within beginners whose integrity has been co-opted and corrupted—by the very forces they wholeheartedly “trusted,” but now must confront—shows novices the ugly truth about themselves.

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Pain filled protesters push against a “complacent” U.S. society at San Francisco’s Powell and Market streets. 11-13-16. Photo by Adilifu Fundi.

I face the same thing in what I write here. It’s like one person trying to drag wild horses to a fire.

My last blog tendered an all-points-bulletin; I dared x-ray individuals and collectives—friends and foe—layering ugly historical truths. I meet huge amounts of folks daily (particularly minorities) who’re absolutely oblivious to this “perspective”:

America is the world’s newest “test tube society,” pressure managed by the world’s newest independent aristocrats. Governors flooded it with intent to yoke—their potent item morally kills public defiance against corrupt authority: Europe’s “radicalized” form of Christianity.

Europe’s camp had won the global battle; her monarchs decided which Palestinian doctrines fit—“radicalizing” Joshua’s spiritual egalitarian intent—eliminating, or banishing all other Judeo factions at sword point. Eventually England’s grossly beleaguered Puritans flood the New World.

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500 years the “cooker” smolders; Americans shelved by ugly class structure. Puritanism’s self-denial faith (glorifying “radicalized” Christian theology) sealed the “pot”—but not before solidly gelling their ruthless hierarchy:

The worship of “white supremacy” thoroughly caked on top.

“Tubes” compartmentalize each American sector; in turn those sectors house “tubes” of family units—“tubes” of individuals sprout up in families. Governors use every major institution to “squeeze” and enforce the hierarchy—schools being perfect brainwashing factories. “Radicalized” Christian troops thus targeted at will: pulverizing the humanity in vulnerable psyches; it stunted, or killed empathy, hospitality and loyalty to integrity—blurring lines distinguishing truthfulness from flagrant fraud; it sabotages “intimacy” (our most critical bonding agent) destroying one’s allegiance to protect themselves, or “others”—especially as outsider underdogs.

Blacks were crushed in at the “cooker’s” bottom—LGBTQ folks a thorn slivered in under Afro-Americans.

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Judiciary slated murder—its wholesale systemic discrimination, thug like coercion and intimidating all sides—summarily killed the “Average Joe’s” healthy “layered perspective.” Thus my daily talks reveal “fairytale vision” absolutely engulfs masses.

Snuffed out is “Joe’s” desire to “intellectually grow.”

Eruptions had all of us spilling out of that “cooker”—as “tubes” bound in dog-eat-dog glory—so it’s virtually impossible for any citizen to escape the “pressure” of becoming an American monster. Whether a flagrant white supremacist nationalist at the top, an ill-educated voter—or a “voter dropout” disgusted with wholesale corruption—all are made monsters!

It explains Democratic Party platforms beholden to aristocracy—and a “radical left” in chaotic tatters. I’ve not even scratched the surface of all this social molestation fallout; corrosive patriarchy dealing individuals hideous physical and mental scars—denial and dysfunction compounded by sexism, sexual and “sexuality” abuse!

“Tubes” capping tremendously unresolved reality are what headed into U.S. voting booths.

I’ve vowed my “tools” won’t be relegated to museums, not wasting a Healer’s wisdom: “Innocent folk engulfed by abuse absolutely will inflict abuse—until their own terrible history is resolved. Wounds must be squarely and methodically addressed, faced—injury houses the realm where inner demons lash out, then lurk.”

Liberation from “vicious patterns” is imperative; it’s scary freedom process—but monstrous cycling grip melts indisputably under a flow returning “integrity life.”

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A boisterous “Not My President” march reaches San Francisco City Hall. 11-13-16. Photo by Adilifu Fundi.

This Elder’s heart-to-heart embraces a public’s exploding distress—I say you are no fools!

You’re right to drown media’s calming charade with all out alarm; absolutely correct seeing Election Tuesday as retaliation attack. Deep wounds are real—incensed “abusers” rebounding from eight Obama years have no remorse—steeling themselves as their elected continues wave-upon-wave of assault. Campaign boasts claimed “he” could shoot someone in the head in New York streets and support would only grow—“monsters” back it all beyond rhyme or reason.

I’m keeping it real: in rising to seek social justice your clear distress—rocked by truths in U.S. conditions that you can no longer “avoid”—says what you really demand is “social transformation.”

I burst final doubt bubbles stating this: monstrous governors make “equality” their number one enemy. Merely shifting “pressures” administrative puppets rally a civic tidal wave crashing back:

Government funded advocacy organizations historically arrived—already overwhelmed (with little-or-no “co agencies” sharing the burden)—then burn out, fizzle out and simply vanish! (We Old Schoolers’ call it programs designed to fail.) Grassroots efforts begin with show stopping promise—only to collapse under tonnage weighted by “infighting”—nothing reemerging where gaping vacancies remain.

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Civil Rights “Lioness” Fannie Lou Hamer (1917-1977) canonized in the tome “Trouble In Black Paradise.” Book and illustration by Adilifu Fundi. 

Added tragedy swells those humongous vacancies: fellow advocate Elders and veteran strategists exit—growing fewer every day.

But I must illuminate a major “silver lining”—I call it the Elder’s Eastern Spiritual Bluebook; one “code” says we are our communities and have the very means to absolutely purge our own “monstrousness”—in this lifetime!

Our Bluebook paved the road chiseling the blueprint:

African tenets flowed through the Buddha, inherited by Joshua—or “Christ”; recognized by Langston Hughes and Gandhi; passed to Paul Robeson, Bayard Rustin, Ella Baker and George Houser; to Dr. King, Cesar Chavez and the “movement”; to Fannie Lou Hamer, James Baldwin, Diane Nash, Lorraine Hansberry, Medger Evers, Nina Simone, Malcolm X., Rep. Shirley Chisholm; threading the line of writers, educators, lay advocates and rare celebrity achievers slamming into the 21st century—who risk it all standing up—or daring to “kneel.”

The Bluebook says soldiers for “social transformation” will arise! But a warning: few get-up by self-realization alone (self-motivated to seek assistance traveling “the path”); the overwhelming majority rise being blistered by tragedy, or adversity—“fires that forge” (jolting folks from “sleep, or complacency”) are the most common.

Ironically tragedy makes “set-back” loom ominously.

In the hotbed Bay Area—amid crumbling institutions and disappearing activists—sparks of inspiration have risen! Oakland’s Alicia Garza cofounded Black Lives Matter. And solidarity coalitions address those gaps—mostly inexperienced they ride fumes from legendary “crisis” engines—dusting off that blueprint. Distraught survivors, having mostly unarmed loved-ones murdered by cops (who needlessly escalated) they are:

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Justice 4 Mario Woods hosts a press conference and rally at San Francisco’s Hall Of Justice, protesting the DA’s refusal to charge a single cop for murder. 10-7-16. Photo by Adilifu Fundi.

Justice 4 Idriss Stelley, Oscar Grant, Mario Woods, Kenneth Harding, Jr., Amilcar Perez-Lopez, Derrick Gains, Alex Nieto, James “Nate” Greer, Luis Demetrio Gongora Pat, O’shaine Evans, Jessica Nelson Williams, Angel Ramos, Jesus A. Geney…and so many more.

Mattie Scott and George Jurand co founded San Francisco’s “The Healing Circle”: survivors losing loved ones to gun violence; pushing neglectful systems to “solve” cases—keeping “Black-on-Black” violence in the limelight.

Common folks caught fire to rise and evict their own “monstrousness”—fighting to purge “pressure cooker monstrousness” from their own communities. While desperate for some “wake-up, stand-up” joiners’ organizers know a thing: novices must be “enlightened” upon arrival, introduced to jaw dropping reality; nurtured toward facing their own “transformation”—a delicate, potentially explosive affair. If not achieved, new groups will die on the vine like the rest.

Organizers know “Average Joes” don’t want to believe; it’s easier to pretend everybody’s innocent—and they’re also terrified!

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Then San Francisco Supervisor Bevan Dufty listens (at far left) during a “Healing Circle” City Hall press conference, calling for neglected murder cases to be solved. George Jurand (at rear left) and Mattie Scott (at front right) are co-founders. 7-5-10. Photo by Adilifu Fundi.

“Joes” avoid seeing Founding Fathers as monarch styled monsters (aristocracy hurling slavery and disenfranchisement into the future unknown); they shun believing slavery’s legacy prevails; shun seeing that white denial today ensures ancient racist policy keeps whites privileged today; sidestep owning that whites must lead confronting whites on racism; deny seeing that their own LGBTQ children need protection from family and systemic bigotry; avoid seeing that as white gays they channel both racist and heterosexist baggage into gay sanctuaries; recoil from history proving Black preachers who worship white religious “radicalization” destroy the Black family; tremble thinking Average Joes 1we’re disposable chattel in a game using war, foreign and domestic policies to feed the rich—that America’s become complacent, dog-eat-dog monsters. “Joes” manage a niche avoiding sensitive minefields.

So “Joes” do see. And I’ve shown the same gutbucket truths local coalitions address: layered “perspective” confronting corruption.

“Truths” is what gives “ah-ha” moment bombshells—powerful enough to “change allegiances”—a chance to blossom. Obscuring an “innocent” individual’s own insidious role promotes fairytale vision. Everyone knows the pimple’s genesis stirs beneath the surface—dreading the impending boil that must be confronted and burst.

To “see” is to be burdened—overwhelming reality—the psychological “stuff” driving suicides. “Cookers” induce over-the-top “distress,” system wide mental illness; psychosis and homicidal mayhem run amok. Election Tuesday’s crushing emotional burden smashed right through well guarded barriers.

The very same burden I’ve carried 62 years as a gay Black man.

To “see” means not just peering in, it means “transformation” action: actually coming through what Elders call the “Fiery Birth Canal of Consciousness.” And a defining trial will follow—afterwards, one cannot un-see.

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A major “Not My President” march has thousands converging at San Francisco’s 18th and Castro streets. 1-20-17. Photo by Adilifu Fundi.

The distressed rise in shock! “Tubes” teetering on the verge plainly stir—seeking support—needing action taking direction! But organizers know it’s easy to arrive, march, hand out fliers, attend press conferences—the hard part is facing “oneself,” owning personal monstrousness that corrupts systematically—an individual’s age-old saboteur; demons known to stifle families—and “agencies.”

I bolster those already standing—pushing for long-range “justice dynasties”; I arm those new to standing up—so they won’t plop back down.

We must look closer at persons and shelters (coalitions, Black Lives Matter, civic agencies, religions) awaiting those who suddenly—and shockingly—rise!

First 100 days spotlights “U.S. horror’s” Voters—showing they are him!

“…aside from those rare, stubborn, historical workhorse activists who step ‘out’ from the9781481707282_COVER_FQA.indd pack, whites in general cannot be trusted to lead or solely spearhead a Civil Rights Movement.”

Trouble In Black Paradise Chapter 17: Black Lesbians And Gays Rock The Frontlines Of Historic Civil Rights Battles, page416.

 

Greetings charged-up readers!

Troubles in Black Paradise smolder as American voters clearly chose to “socially, ethically and mentally” regress.

 

News pundits trying to appear neutral promote a peculiar assumption about the “working classes” who actually elected “Not My President.” An embryonic cabinet’s scandalous investigations, conflicts of interest and policy debacles stream nonstop—as opponents predicted.

Commentary paints supporters as innocent struggling citizens, holding their noses choosing one of two political undesirables; simply “hopefuls” praying he’ll both represent and vastly improve lives.

I say it’s far more insidious—even nefarious:

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They’re not just sideline “hopefuls,” they overwhelmingly are “him”—no matter how media wishes to convince us of its own objectivity—coating revelers in a cloak of innocence.

The “Deflector In Chief” disgracefully flaunting depravity swiftly jolted exceptionally wise advice my parents stressed eons ago: when someone persists—telling and brazenly showing you who (and what) they are—believe them!

Oddly this advice perplexes basic Americans: it disturbs genteel “benefit-of-the-doubt” positions—a thing seriously coming into play viewing the character of our “Deflector’s” electorate. And make no mistake—“character” is definitely what this is all about. Three character cases give a good look at the standouts in his base.

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Case one:

We know “Not My President’s” supporters are overwhelmingly white—a central fact. Another is that for now those “classified” as white make up America’s ethnic majority. And character being profoundly central here is what exposes the crux—added many underlying factors: these whites also are self declared proud “Christians.”

“Characteristics” grabbed mountains of flagrant white supremacists dancing with gut splitting thrill for his campaign—avowed Christians they zoomed to his camp like flies to a carcass. Bigotry smells (with a vengeance) a rotten climate—one so favorable to actually celebrating the subordination of “outsiders”—where policies outright return white religious privilege. And today’s air arguably is like no other since governing segregationists abandoned Johnson’s democrats in droves for the extremist Goldwater—after Kennedy’s murder.

Brandon Miles, Brandon Partin and Michael Miles cheer before Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump attends a campaign rally at the Silver Spurs Arena in Kissimmee, Florida

Racist politic stompers getting a supercharge injection—drooling over “Deflector’s” candidacy like no other in recent years—is huge and can’t be brushed aside.

Then there’s case two:

That mishmash of women, people of color and LGBTQ “others” (those supposedly not republicans) staunchly backing “Deflector”—they truly aren’t blind. No one missed brazen white bigotry high stepping back out of the dastardly shadows—flinging off that cloak of false transformation with glee. These so-called “underdog others” purposefully ignored they were literally in the crosshairs of endless moral assaults—right beside non Christian “others”—and elected “him” anyway. None held their noses.

Where CNN and the like continue marketing neutrality we see clear charades: a populace’s implied blind hopeful innocence particularly can’t be made to fit case two’s “others”—their traitorousness to human decency really bringing no shock to seasoned reformers (while of course inconceivable to many).

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Irony now says a thing about case three:

So-called white voter naiveté (if genuine innocence can be found) actually is far more troubling—there’s definitely no valid pass for anyone putting a monster into place—an indication that in all conceivable cases such supporters are the exact same monster.

Now, full circle back to that critical parental advice:

Wisdom regarding “character” does disturb American “wait-and-see” morals, so I must be a dead on realist about what our legacy persistently tells—and brazenly shows “me”; especially given the gutbucket lowdown on exactly who and precisely what practicalities genuine reformers are up against.

Yes, harmonious national infrastructure is declared the goal of this country. But pundits throw up a PR smokescreen, boasting (in modern times) that human diversity and revolutionized constitutional principles make us the “world’s greatest”—they laud our constitution like a magical equality wand from god.

Broadcasters do bark like ringleaders to proudly itemize tyranny—only if its elsewhere. Powers that kill democracy in so-called “lesser” nations: governments, militaries, business class, police and economic privilege, etc… our Bill of Rights being the brag item—pushing the notion we are the shining example of bolstering everyone’s protections.

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Then, that strategic key: founding rulers did structure the means to “update” our constitution (ironically enabling assaulted underdogs with strengthening civic protections—against those rulers themselves). This had unprecedented edicts hitting Western lives—in theory leveling out decision making on monopolized playing fields. As in Europe’s monarch system “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” for America’s poor was a pipedream—previously unheard of.

So, does U.S. “aristocracy” really support equality?

Public school administrators convincingly quote governors telling students “yes”—with this popular phrase:

“…that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from this earth”; closing words in Lincoln’s 1863 Gettysburg Address—hoping to retie shattered kinship among war torn “white America.”

But Lincoln warned whites of a bitter pill: that Blacks and outsider “others” (including women) are now also to be identified as “the people,” integrated officially—of course if those “others” choose to fight for it!

Interestingly Daniel Webster in 1830 originally evoked the phrase:

“It is, sir, the people’s government, made for the people, made by the people, and answerable to the people. The people of the United States have declared that this constitution shall be the supreme law.” Northern Senator Webster said this debating Southern Senator Robert Young Hayne to refute the Foote Resolution—Southerners battled the feds over states rights related to land expansion (including slavery’s expansion out West).

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Senator Stephen A. Douglas (1818-1861).

But towering white power drove home rooted veracity as a stern reminder. Illinois Senator Stephen A. Douglas debating Lincoln in 1858 haughtily stated:

“In my opinion this government of ours is founded on the white basis. It was made by the white man, for the benefit of the white man, to be administered by white men, in such a manner as they should determine.”

By 1928 white journalist Christopher Morley ridiculed the “Average Joe’s” extreme rejection of intellectual growth—astutely he spoke out:

“America is still a government of the naïve, for the naïve and by the naïve. He who does not know this, nor relish it, has no inkling of the nature of his country.”

Morley was a fellow realist. Founding fathers had dangled the morsel of “shared equality” adding upgradable rights—but made a thing clear: only aristocracy was thought fit to both govern and make policy decisions.

Thus the “ah-ha” moment of the ages struck America’s rich!

The world’s newest independent aristocrats got their dream opportunity of a lifetime! Planners’ orchestrated the world’s newest “test tube society”—flooding it with the perfect ingredient to morally kill public defiance against corrupt authority: “radicalized” Christianity.

Of course Europe’s early monarch thugs swiftly “radicalized” Christianity—they hijacked mystic humanitarian founder Joshua (Judaism’s most famous rabbi—later called “Christ” by Greeks); his original “socialist egalitarian” intent immediately expunged.

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So America’s “test tube” became a 500 year “pressure cooker,” scrupulously managed by the latest administrative monsters; Puritanism’s distorted faith perfectly bolstered “radicalized” Christian theology—then gelled a ruthless hierarchy with icing on top: white supremacy.

U.S. governors discretely flip-flopped on democratic principles—instead, glorifying pompous kingly “god given” attitudes—and fraudulently stacked the “tube.” Revised religion rained shady characteristics upon all—doggedly enforced by the sword.

Joshua’s command to protect the meek, help the downtrodden and offer absolute hospitality to strangers was solidly curbed—Afro slavery, white indentured servitude and grinding down “outsiders” kept solidly intact. Blacks thus ground in at the bottom (future organized LGBTQ’s crunched in even lower) privilege’s foul frontline now guarded by poor whites—swallowing the illusion of holier-than-thou power.

Racist strong-arming—coupled with “radicalized” religion’s psychological validation—was the social marriage-from-hell; excellent to “manage”—not end social chaos. “Radicalization” methodically:

Kills empathy, hospitality and loyalty to integrity; blurs lines between truthfulness and flagrant fraud; keenly keeps masses distracted from launching legislative weapons against corruption; and destroys one’s allegiance toward protecting themselves, or “others”—especially as outsider underdogs.

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Maybe worse: “radicalization” numbs the desire to “intellectually grow.”

Such is the light that three key “character case” groups electing “Not My President” must be seen in.

Our “pressure cooker” spilled out an absolute dog-eat-dog monster populace—desperately clinging to “radicalized” Christianity like a life raft. Mini “tubes” still roast in the greater “cooker” and represent every aspect of voting society: from white power club stompers at one end, to illogical, naïvely gullible hopefuls struggling at the other.

But then there’s the strategic “left,” including social spiritual “progressives”—like me.

Amazingly quite the political assortment—never imagining they’d ever toast together—held noses against “The Deflector” and joined Democrat’s camp. Atypical conservatives notwithstanding, the plethora of standard party backers—from the radical left to liberal moderates—also have a commonality:

All of us—including the “Social Enlightenment” spiritual movement—spilled right out of America’s same municipal “pressure cooker.”

To say chaos also pesters “the left” is an understatement.  Aristocratic worship still tenaciously dictating Democrat “party interests” is the nastiest contender in clashing “coalition agendas”: infighting magnified by conflicting class interests makes resolve for unity impossible; undermining substantial reform action for the disenfranchised—even more seriously.

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Electorate potential smolders. Burned-out on dominant “two-party” corruption a chasm of apathy overflows with nonparticipants—bringing me to a faulty juncture: “Average Joes” are still charged with critical intellectual decisions in utilizing our most powerful weapon—the “vote.”

Legitimate reformers last November watched millennia of unresolved civic toxicity boiling over our feet and cringed. Two insidious “founding” glitches screamed home to bear: no solid blanket equality decree was made constitutional, shielding underdog citizens—where “majority vote” rules.

And this: the president is not chosen by majority populace, but instead an Electoral College—of aristocrats.

A terrible “ah ha!” moment for the left:

Citizens fight a cruel, self-serving “majority” for inclusion protections (that should’ve been basic) while elites exploit a system they’ve always run; the poor stays hard pressed and distracted while managers charismatically siphon colossal parasitic wealth.

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Oh! But standard pundits push us to ignore my parental advice and give “The Deflector” a chance!

Shaking a false transformation cloak over this throne anchors flip-flopped on hounding admin corruption: “Deflector” bombed Syria and Afghanistan while still deflecting refugees—it’s now called “presidential.”

The conundrum is major: far greater masses realize a majority populace tremendously lacking “social enlightenment”—intellectual growth still soundly rejected by “Average Joes”—ransacks their lives frighteningly deeper than believed.

Squeezing utopia from America’s infamous electoral “machine” always required supersonic “dreaming.” Voter majority trusting political chicanery—or held hostage to burnout—would 1. Become “enlightened” (a daunting task for self initiates—let alone reformers who wish to instill “enlightened perspective”); 2. Convince non evolved citizens that an enlightened “social position” is best; and 3. Actually become involved.

If possible, I know untold numbers of folks (devastated discovering relatives and loved-ones had actually voted for “The Deflector”) would promptly instill “wisdom” rather than toss friends under-the-bus—if possible that is. Others who do angrily “share” disgust (but deplore relatives still parading other ugly “radicalized” prejudices) would also rather not outcast kin—if imparted “wisdom” could prevail.

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Pastor Darrell Scott of Cleveland, Ohio rouses the 2016 Republican National Convention.

Burn-out pointedly argues that “enlightening effort” is a waste.

But its dismissal grows more deeply shadowed—mocking irony. Seeing untold numbers of traumatized folks jolted to “arise” might mean hope does scramble out of chasms—ready to shake off apathy—throwing a wrench in dismissive attitudes.

Even then, I ask where will hopeful’s go?—an agreeable question, rising from those deepening shadows. Gaping organizer vacancy is ominously unaddressed—and looms.

Here’s a thing: I’m an Elder that’s tread over 40 years of trenches, networking with and organizing many camps—coast-to-coast. “Purpose” says blueprint knowledge—tried and effective—cannot stay on a shelf.

And my “resource”—unlike novelty museums or a celebrity aristocracy’s—aims to fill gaping vacancies—not let them shut!

Amilcar Perez-Lopez 2nd Year Remembrance held where SF cops killed him!

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Trouble in Black Paradise follows a tragedy trail that advocates healing.

 

Social justice denied and held at bay from desperate communities, where no cops have been charged for murdering unarmed civilians, is a long drawn out endurance—this unlike a terribly related milestone that arrived so quickly.

Sunday, February 26th, marked the 2nd anniversary of 21-year-old Amilcar Perez-Lopez being cut-down by 2 San Francisco undercover cops.  To honor the young man’s memory and keep public attention—on cops needlessly killing civilians—his memorial hit the actual murder site—centered on 9:45pm the exact time of death.

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Rebecca Luisa of the Idriss Stelley Foundation addresses the memorial with Dawn Noelle Smith Beutler listening at left. Photo by Adilifu Fundi.

 

A 2nd part to this memorial happened the next day at the Bryant Street Hall of Justice with a noontime “die-in.”  Public Defender Jeff Adachi and Mission District Supervisor Hillary Ronen addressed it—but I couldn’t attend.

“Prayer & reflection” at Folsom Street, fortifying the spiritual call to rally for social justice, laid a consistent foundation.  A Biblical quote affirmed the idea that “response” is our duty, coming from Leviticus 19:16 “Do not stand idly by when your neighbor’s life is threatened.”

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The Danzantes Xitlali Aztec Dancers consecrate the site where Amilcar was murdered by 2 SF cops. Photo by Adilifu Fundi.

Gatherers here bringing a show of presence had no plans to be idle.  Neither did the program participants tapped by organizers Dawn Noelle Smith Beutler & Father Richard Leslie Smith to actively share—myself being included.

The location of Folsom St. between 24th & 25th in San Francisco’s Mission District is where cops Craig Tiffe & Eric Riboli killed Amilcar—with 6 shots to the back.  Police reports did say Amilcar lunged at them with a knife—soon contradicted by damning autopsy reports showing the opposite.  Two years later—no charges filed by DA George Gascón—the killers still work out of Mission Station.

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A front view of Danzantes Xitlali Aztec Dancers. The 2 residences at the murder site remain vacant. Photo by Adilifu Fundi.

Several weeks ago Amilcar’s Prayer Vigil went directly to Gascón’s home. We amped up “the call,” imploring him to file charges in all related cases—given broad evidence contradicting many falsified police findings.  Now, arriving for the memorial’s 8:00pm start at Folsom, flat low laying Barrio streets were as bleak as those affluent hills nestling Gascón’s residence; dark & still here—rain also threatening overhead.

This usually bustling commercial area had desolate air offset by the several dozen or so people bringing resolve.

A program with traditionalists linked arm-in-arm began:

Amilcar’s alter glowed—crowned with a ribbon clad “Barrilete” (massive Highland Guatemala “kites” honoring ancestors & sending messages—usually built by Mayan men).  Danzantes Xitlali Aztec Dancers consecrated the site: each direction faced drew from the celestial 4 corners.

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Father Richard Leslie Smith thanks gatherers and speaks of Amilcar’s family. The beautiful Barrilette Mayan kite is seen on the gate over his right shoulder. Photo by Adilifu Fundi.

Spiritual call rattled the site’s urban starkness—those celestial forces emblazoned through drumming & song.  Sacred Conches pierced the night!  Elders worked to blanket this neighborhood’s “zone-of-extreme-risk”—honoring our fallen Guatemalan immigrant—protecting other “innocents” still facing grave danger.

The troop then led us to intersections bordering the site, blessing each of 4 corners—now the stations that fasten the neighborhood’s protective spiritual “net.”  We came full circle, the alter anchoring a social guardian “nexus,” Aztec ritual strengthening an expanding “safety field.”

When suddenly a release of steady rain—windless, but with modest presence.  It was as though Amilcar had assembled a weeping sky chorus—clearly affirming our diligence, acknowledging “they” were here in “rain song”—heavenly presence steadily pelted us all the rest of the way.

The tradition of sharing and public speak out began:

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Danzantes Xitlali anchors a “station” at 24th street and Folsom’s intersection, establishing a protective spiritual “net” for the neighborhood. Photo by Adilifu Fundi.

Host Dawn Noelle venerated Amilcar’s alter with tribute to its special Barrilette, crediting a helpful crew, then set the lineup in motion.  Father Richard Leslie Smith who keeps fuel in the Vigil’s drive, welcomed and thanked all for such relentless dedication.  Reps from fellow Justice Seeking groups and performance artists primed at the edge of dark.

A message from Amilcar’s father in Guatemala was read by Florencia Rojo. The son’s income supplementing the family back home had greatly improved their quality of living.  They dearly appreciate the relentless dedication of our San Francisco Vigil—it astounds them!  The family was holding their own anniversary memorial, simultaneous with ours.

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Florencia Rojo reads the message from Amilcar’s father in Guatemala. The man at left witnessed the entire shooting. Photo by Adilifu Fundi.

The man accompanying Florencia then spoke.  He’d witnessed Amilcar’s execution and two years later his trauma is still unbearable—tears in steady step with trembling words.  I know personally the horror of being inducted into that dreaded club—people unexpectedly bearing witness to public catastrophe.  I was on a Muni bus in 2010 that entered the stop at Van Ness and Market, when it apparently hit someone.  Unsure as we exited if assistance was needed I looked to the street and saw only a trail of indescribable carnage.  I fell into a cocoon of shock—a mental wreck for months—isolation unbearable—not able to pass that intersection for years—learning later it was a suicide.  You can’t not see what eyes blaze into your eternity.

Other coalition units joined the roll call: Rebecca Luisa for the Idriss Stelley Foundation (La Mesha Irizarry, founder and mother of its namesake—who set this chain of coalitions in motion—unable to attend); Refugio Nieto, father of slain Alex Nieto; and Luis Poot, cousin of victim Luis Gongora.

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Refugio Nieto, father of murder victim Alex Nieto, addresses the crowd. Photo by Adilifu Fundi.

Julio Escobar of the archdiocese shared and Tim Dobbins of St. John’s said Amilcar’s rosary.

My own song and poetry input made way for African ancestors.  Ghanaian Ewe element gracing an emergency session roused the community—calling “ah-low-yah!” (Are you ready!?)  The community thunderously responded “po-yah-toh!” (We are ready to get down!).

It tagged the lyrical urban story visuals offered by rapper/artists Equipto and Rey Lara.

Then the moment of impact:

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Vocalist/artist Francisco Herrera at left with his guitar speaks with an attendee. Photo by Adilifu Fundi.

In gifted shaman style guitarist and vocalist Francisco Herrera rallied us, striding to the collision of chaos that had happened at 9:45pm.  The Circle of Prayer tightened under that steady “presence”—still pelting those who remained.  Zoe Mullery called for silence; her voice then adding evocation within silent prayer.

Soon the last of us hugged; our exits now down to a trickle—timed to a diminishing rain song.

The duty of “response” as our healer suddenly lit me with a smile and reflection brought more Leviticus 19:16 “See each other.  Say your name.  Now you know your neighbor.”

Moonlight drenches 2017 Oscars in history making magic!

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Trouble in Black Paradise follows two landmark filmmaker’s trail!

 

A first glimpse of Moonlight caught me during a theater preview.  It was almost startling to see yet another unmistakable Black 2016 theme, in a string of serious dramatic studies “magically” lining-up—I was then attending Free State of Jones.

This followed a year industry elites gave a flagrant reminder.  Hollywood still guards & wields racially blighted tradition at its leisure: no Black actor was deemed to be worthy enough for any of 2015’s Oscar nominations

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A new line-up did predictably find oppression threading a common tie.  But stark “contemporary” grit has Moonlight standing out. Those other depictions, The Birth of a Nation, Hidden Figures, Loving, Fences, & James Baldwin’s I Am Not Your Negro ranged from slavery’s era to battles for mid 20th century Civil Rights.  The documentary 13th uncannily ties U.S. slavery with 21st century mass incarceration & O.J.: Made in America examines a “sold-out” Black superstar’s murderous tragedy.

But Moonlight’s modern-day core proposed another battle: homosexual conundrum set squarely in the “hood”—showcased in turbulently impoverished millennial youth—giving a rebel subject its precarious place; infiltrating a customarily hostile family table.  The cultural battle among social renegades is now unavoidably internal.

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Moonlight’s cast (L. to R.): Trevante Rhodes, Jharrel Jerome, Jaden Piner (front), Janelle Monae, Alex R. Hibbert (front), Aston Sanders, Mahershala Ali, Naomi Harris & Andre Holland.

To this day white protocol still overwhelmingly dictates & skews Afro tales—the rare Spike Lee’s, John Singleton’s & emerging Ava DuVernay’s fighting to reverse the tide.  Heterosexual protocol similarly demands the same—limiting gay presence to woeful buffoonery, or insufficient figures doomed to tragedy—if depicted at all.  Irony binding the two here should miss no one.

Many of us veteran Black gay activists fought hard to have our stories find daylight—told & produced by us in our literary words—through our own nitty-gritty “vision”—let alone hit the big screen.  We had no gained legalities to cushion society’s ruthless physical & emotional response to our courage.  And Black gay filmmakers who’re all but extinct—Oakland’s Marlon Riggs collaborating with DC’s Essex Hemphill (1989 Tongues Untied)—now long deceased, forged on in spite of this.  My own book Trouble In Black Paradise chronicles the testament on this behalf.

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Gay filmmaker Marlon Riggs (left) & poet/writer Essex Hemphill in Tongues Untied state: “Black men loving Black men is the revolutionary act of the 80’s.”

We as oppressed know all minorities here suffer the same problem: a hostile, domineering segment controls all avenues of narrative.  Battle “winners” tell the tale—and regulate the “outlets.”  But like Caucasians Black mainstreamers cared not to include credible gay “visuals” in Afro schemes—let alone our “truths.”

So I took a deep breath before this movie started, apprehensive about where it would take me.

It makes the sparkling work of two pioneering, audacious young Black filmmakers all the more thrilling—even miraculous!  Moonlight received 8 Oscar nominations, winning 3, with no established “superstar” actors.  Tarell Alvin McCraney 36 & Barry Jenkins 37 are the story’s author & director/screenwriter respectively.  Both come from Miami’s predominantly Black Liberty City slum—Moonlight’s setting—their identical circumstances uncanny, each modeling all character’s conditions.  All but one: writer McCraney is “gay identified”; director Jenkins a heterosexual.

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Moonlight author Tarell Alvin McCraney (left) & director/screenwriter Barry Jenkins receive the Best Adapted Screenplay Award.

Suddenly I saw my own family & early “hood” setting spread strikingly bare across this screen.

Protagonist Chiron’s dilemma is followed in 3 phases: prepubescent, adolescence & young adulthood.  Chiron (pronounced “Shy-ron”) plagued by typical tragic “hood” conditions, has an absentee father & a mother Paula (British actress Naomi Harris, its Best Supporting Actress Nominee) ravaged by crack addiction.  Struggling with this crippling inheritance is compounded by his “latent” homosexuality, its vibrant “pulse” making him horrified—signs spill out providing barefaced public recognition—tormenting Chiron far beyond his understanding, or control.

Chiron’s excruciating attempt to figure out this “pulse” & why it draws such violence & ostracism to him, is bone crushing weight for a young child—no mentor for soothing clarity; demoralizing attack permeating & as inescapable as the air he breaths—even at home.  McCraney & Jenkins brilliantly convey this in all phases—rewarded with the Adapted Screenplay Oscar.

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British talent Naomi Harris (Chiron’s mother Paula) nominated for Best Supporting Actress.

But these adroit artists also dare go beyond one dimensional portrayal of “hood” & hostility toward gays.  Layers of human empathy & support creep forth just like in real life—from most unexpected places—images revealing tenderness & caring do lie lodged in hardened urban crust—situations standard filmmakers never offer general viewers.

Mahershala Ali (Free State of Jones, Luke Cage) also from Oakland, plays Juan, a hardened dominant drug dealer whose products also service Chiron’s mom.  Juan knows all players & circumstances.  Inner reflections hint that Juan sees the bigger picture—the greater tragedy where institutional racism (& homophobia) boxes an entire people in, causing victims to monstrously devour one another—exacerbated by a domineering religion’s corrupted morality, strangling greater possibility on the human spectrum.

A gleam of guilt flickers—Juan’s better potential having been robbed itself—thus he takes battered underdog Chiron under his wing.  Juan’s girlfriend Teresa (recording artist Janelle Monáe; also Mary Jackson in Hidden Figures) lovingly accepts being big sister—offsetting Chiron’s self-consumed mother.

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Mahershala Ali accepts the coveted Best Supporting Actor award for Moonlight’s role of Juan.

Ali marvelously enacted Juan’s internal process—undoubtedly adding weight to his un-dubious walk-off with the coveted Best Supporting Actor trophy.  And the rarity of a ghetto hardened grown male seen as a sensitive surrogate for a confused young homosexual boy I knew would be for some a difficult swallow.  A conversation later drove this home:

One social justice activist, an older white female, had trouble with that depiction.  It just didn’t “sit right” with her—somehow it seemed not plausible.  Even my experience outright lending the segment credence—adding the importance of such realities finally being showcased (broadening perspectives beyond exclusively depicted “hood” callousness)—didn’t budge her: those locked in “feelings” overriding the intrusion of humanity suddenly seen conceived in a Black slum thug.

It shows the glue power, especially of “racial stereotypes” fixed on a psyche—comfort with a narrow, diminishing perspective not being dislodged by inconceivable counter “truths”—and why our reversal campaigns must be huge & diligent.

Incidentally, Juan’s character was modeled on writer McCraney’s younger brother’s father; a figure who stepped-in to nurture & protect McCraney—just like Juan.

Again, I saw my family & neighborhood all over that screen.

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Chiron (Aston Sanders) dreads leaving school, having to daily face an anti-gay mob.

Once in 1964 I witnessed my older nephew drawing vicious attack, reminiscent of Elizabeth Eckford’s in 1957’s Little Rock Nine.  We were movie buffs, I about 9-years-old & Larry about 15, off to the local park.  A flash-mob styled crowd slammed us out of nowhere corralling Larry, venom exploding squarely in his face & slashing at his heels—a hornet’s nest of angry Black youth unleashed torrents of feminine denigration—calling him “freak,” taunting with physical threats.

They were like Arkansas’ white schoolyard mob, rippling with unspoken “authority” to do so.  And like Eckford, with trembling head held high, Larry fought to ignore them—carful steps planted to find his destination.  Though shocked & stunned they ignored me.  After the movie they picked-up where leaving off—every step up to property’s end.  It explained why Larry only came & went out our “back” door.  I, a traumatized 9-year-old, cried privately when we got home, unable to comfort Larry—or even mention it.

In 1969 Larry received an “undesirable discharge” from the army.  The next year he walked out our backdoor & into an uncertain historical mystery—never to be seen or heard from by us again.

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Viola Davis garnered the Best Supporting Actress award for Fences.

And of surrogates:

My loving, involved father offered opportunity to my peers whose father’s were nonexistent.  Growing older I did the same to fatherless nephews & nieces whose mother—my older sister—preferred self-absorbed recklessness & child neglect.  As Juan does for Chiron I took them to San Diego’s nature, entertainment & educational venues they’d never have experienced—most “hood” children never taste their own city’s renowned resources.

But a reverse twist finds many of these same family members celebrating their extreme homophobia—on a level of “worship”—the rift polarizing us impossible to bridge.

Hence a thing Moonlight doesn’t directly address is this:

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Ezra Edelman accepts the Best Documentary Feature award won with Caroline Waterlow for O.J.: Made In America. He dedicated it to Nicole Brown Simpson, Ron Goldman and all U.S. victims of police violence and social injustice.

“Radicalized” Christianity commands standard Black worship—inhumane Protestant & Catholic ideology co-opting “hospitality”—permission given to suspend protecting the “downtrodden”—Afro psyches commanded to explosively render gay “visuals” taboo.  Basically the same religious “blueprint” white protocol uses when justifying brutal acts waged against Black lives.

Progress means this topic must eventually be hit head-on.  But Moonlight’s well depicted story truly implies what unspoken corrosive sources lie beneath.  And so many marvelously executed roles: Alex R. Hibbert, Aston Sanders & Trevante Rhodes as Chiron in phases leading to adult; Jaden Piner, Jharrel Jerome & André Holland as 3 stages of his friend Kevin.

Jenkins rightfully drew a Best Director nomination.

Moonlight flows, is beautifully filmed & well put together—hence wining nominations for Film Editing & Cinematography.  Keenly selected music tagging a knock-your-socks-off ending also slipped it into the Best Original Score category.

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Moonlight’s Black, the adult Chiron (Trevante Rhodes at left) and grown Kevin (Andre Holland).

And the Academy’s “crown jewel”: Moonlight for “Best Picture!”

Unprecedented!  It’s the first ever for both an “African-American” director and an LGBTQ theme: both thought socially at odds but paired again—like Dr. King & Bayard Rustin—forging new progress ground.  Here’s one major testament to a project with a mere 5 million dollar budget—filmed in 4 months.  Unspoiled by an ironic, Oscar blunder for-the-ages—the incorrect envelope handed, initially bringing up the wrong recipients.

 12 Years A Slave was first to win in 2014, but for “Afro-British” director Steve McQueen.

Seven Black themed works received nominations (including Hidden Figures, Loving, 13th & I Am Not Your Negro) with three winning—Viola Davis also got Best Supporting Actress for Fences; O.J.: Made in America Best Documentary “feature.”

But for breaking Oscar ground & blazing thematic trails—the night belonged to Moonlight!

Slain man Amilcar’s vigil goes straight to SF DA George Gascón’s home!

Greetings involvement seeking readers!9781481707282_COVER_FQA.indd

Trouble in Black Paradise follows the trail to motivate “justice!”

 

This past Wednesday, February 8th, the vigil for Amilcar Perez-Lopez amped it up!  Usually held weekly from 6-7pm at SF Mission District Police Station—where his killers still work—this time we went directly to DA George Gascón’s house.

February 26th will mark 2 years since Amilcar was murdered in Mission District, right outside his residence.  Locals know six shots cut him down fired by undercover cops Craig Tiffe & Eric Riboli.  Immensely problematic is the police report saying Amilcar lunged at them with a knife.

Locals here have seen autopsy reports clearly showing police falsified accounts.  Medical reality illustrates what’s more in line with Walter Scott, killed in South Carolina by Officer Michael T. Slager: Amilcar was shot in the back—one striking his head—fleeing for his life; justified by cops playing the “fear card.”  Slager in S. Carolina was charged with murder & is awaiting a second trial.

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Organizer Father Richard Leslie Smith at right & Mark Scandrette listen during the “speak out.”  Scandrette heard the six shots that cut Amilcar down.  photo by Adilifu Fundi.

Under coalition pressure DA George Gascón finally said he’ll soon announce whether to charge Tiffe & Riboli with murder—but that was last year!  So I joined frustrated advocates taking our spiritual plea—through “speak outs,” song & prayer—directly to Gascón’s neighborhood.

Our entourage arrived to a dark, rain swept hillside.  Stately manors sat snuggly stacked—an eerily gracious welcome to all but abandoned high-end streets.  Enduring clouds still sent balmy comfort, clamping a pause on wind force & patiently withholding testy showers.  Then when a well rounded moon chanced to peek, her sky curtains shimmering “affirmation,” that chaperone glow lit something else casually waiting.

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Protesters set a beacon for “justice” in SF DA Gascon’s neighborhood.  photo by Adilifu Fundi.

Half dozen cops on mopeds sat lined up by our intersection, seemingly ignoring us—quietly in conversation.  In this vacant, overwhelmingly lethargic scene it’s no coincidence.  “Others” monitor these Justice Coalition’s social media sites—& here they are!

All sped off single file in the opposite direction, passing an arriving police SUV that slowly cruised past us—toward where we headed—then vanished.  We weren’t engaged & the air remained peaceful, calm—again, strangely “receiving.”  We took it as that “glow’s” steeling affirmation, then carried on.

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Dawn Noelle Smith Beutler up front with the red sign called for universal prayer.  photo by Adilifu Fundi.

At last week’s vigil in deeper conversation with organizer Father Richard he’d learned of my artistry facilitation & I agreed to share.  Some readers know of & have sampled a taste of my historic interactive workshops—utilizing call-&-response, a cappella song, dance & poetry in the African tradition.

I led us in chant, a caravan piercing suburbia’s desert half a block up to Gascón’s house…“No Justice, No Peace!” paving our steps…”Ain’t gonna let nobody turn me round!” as a melodic beacon lighting our resolve.  Then a natural circle unfolded in fireside fashion on the sidewalk.

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The “speak out” charges the circle at DA Gascon’s home.  photo by Adilifu Fundi.

Candles lit & signs perched everyone contributed to the hour-long moment in their own way; some silently reflecting & others speaking out.  Dawn Noelle Smith Beutler evoked the spirit of universal prayer—this excursion’s heart—calling to combine whatever internal manner of “force” that might be contributed.  Mark Scandrette was Amilcar’s neighbor & heard the six shots—as did others here.

Victim Alex Nieto’s relations & other coalitions sent their support.  Nieto’s sister spoke saying this was actually her first attended “street vigil”—or rally—previously only testifying in legal settings.  I peppered these greetings with chants where we could call victim’s individual names—declaring we’d tenaciously “bring them justice!”

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Father Richard at right addresses the Vigil at the DA’s home.  photo by Adilifu Fundi.

Some spoke candidly of civic brutality targeting Black & Brown people; others revealed this was their own first attended street protest ever.  And a treat: Frisco 5 activist & rapper artist Equipto gave us fiery perceptive input—then graced us with a poem.

Riding the idea that fresh ways-&-means must constantly be infused in our unified tactics, focus concentrated on this: our divine spirituality motivating “evolutionary magnificence” to blaze within DA Gascón—compelling him to file murder charges against cops Tiffe, Riboli & all others who’ve murdered unarmed citizens.

And we would be back!

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Frisco 5 activist & Bay Area rapper Equipto shared fiery inspiration.  photo by Adilifu Fundi.

As I lead our caravan back to the intersection…”We shall not be moved!”…we discovered a distant onlooker being prominently silent.  Across the street sat that SUV cop cruiser, dark—but definitely occupied.  And sure enough as we reached the corner the moped brigade magically reappeared—resetting formation where parked originally.

We slowly dispersed—a moonlit affirmation “glow” hanging on our brow.

Yes indeed!  Gascón we certainly would be back!

 

For info on Amilcar’s Vigil Group & how to help support his struggling family in Mexico click here.

Baron Davis & SF King Day address next 4 chilling years—but Ex NBA Warrior’s star misses room’s “huge elephant!”

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Trouble in Black Paradise arouses massive uncertainty in a sadly revisited American era.

 

I went to San Francisco’s 2017 Dr. King Day celebration riding the same wave I knew stirred through every other participant.  And a suspicion of mine absolutely hit the mark.  Crowd levels significantly swelled compared to a year ago, given the freshness of last November’s Tragedy Tuesday election.

I’d say at least 3 times that of 2016’s attendees walked in this year’s march.

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SF Dr. King Day marchers head up 3rd street toward Yerba Buena Center.  photo by Fundi.

It helped that crystal clear skies set us in a warm niche, finagled between agitations in the Pacific incessantly lining up major storms.  Still-in-all one dark, unshakable “gargantuan cloud” loomed: the transfer of federal powers—which finally did arrive a mere 4 days later—had crept oh so dreadfully near.

On King Day high anxiety had gathered—like a thorough connector buzzing—the charge itself was emotion needlessly spoken.  It’s the same force linking a worldwide female statement, the post inaugural follow-up drawing massive crowds on the 21st—“visibility” loudly affirming our ties.

And thankfully local bonds Kicked-off our own fortifying for the next 4 years, due to Dr. King Day’s substantial “visibility” turnout—a validation calming such dreary tones: every age, ethnic range & standard religious branch brightened this annual road—stepping forth as Bay Area envoys for humanity’s stratum.

Clearly another bit of climate control operates here: San Francisco’s Interfaith Council strives to unify broad cultural, civic & religious sectors—they sponsor the annual event.

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Deacon G.L. Hodge (facing the crowd) is the March focus leader.  photo by Fundi.

The full day’s theme was Justice in the Beloved Community.  Quite appropriate, especially given the high profile murders of unarmed citizens by local cops that cause constant fiery protests here—still failing to bring anything near the result of justice.

The concept itself is obviously prime national focus.  Justice has eternally eluded all America’s beleaguered underdogs, Blacks catching it the worse—the Black gay spectrum baring the heaviest brunt of all.  But what appears to draw blanks for civic officials—their interminably unsolvable conundrum—frontline activists see no mystery in an absolutely clear legacy:

Religiously “radicalized monsters” founded & set the governing “practices” (protocol) of the United States—its iron fisted grip pounding racial & class privilege, tied to administrative corruption, ruthlessly into the 21st century.

So what is spotlighted in this King Day arena under that “gargantuan cloud,” regarding SF’s & the nation’s ongoing monumental travesties of justice—on so many “solution” targeted levels—will be interesting indeed!

And there are many items to indulge: a Health & Wellness Festival; a Black Comix Arts Expo; film screenings & stage performances.

Then there’s the meat of the matter:

Discussion panels (on social issues, incidents, conditions, set-backs & progress—all related to “injustices”).  There’s showcasing the means to “personal” success seen thru individual’s projects, invested social groups & workplace institutions.  Here, fireside tradition gears for intimate dialogue interaction—opportunity crafted for the average citizen—mining the people most impacted to get “our” frontline solutions.

 

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A crowd at least 3 times larger than last year’s floods toward Yerba Buena Center.  photo by Fundi.

But the kick-off march from SF’s Cal Train station to Yerba Buena Center, where the main stage immediately hosts the official Interfaith Council Commemoration, sets the entire tone—they are the day’s “ceremonial centerpiece”—gathering all then launching folks off to those hands-on forums.

The Council’s theme at this year’s service was Today’s Youth…Tomorrow’s Leaders.  Speakers would alternate between new generation (millennial) reps & their elder “links.”  It’s obviously a critical variable to raising the next wave of activists—rare but much needed movers-&-shakers who’d join those of us currently on multiple fronts—fighting for justice, equality & higher quality (in Dr. King’s spirit, “humane systemic change”).

Sadly the annual Freedom Train that leaves San Jose to hook-up with SF marchers almost ended last year.  Our route (actually chosen by Coretta Scott-King) marks the historic 1965 March from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, approximately the same 54 mile distance between our 2 cities.  Marchers pause at Lefty O’Doul Bridge by SF Giant’s AT&T Park, honoring the bloody incident at Selma’s Edmund Pettus Bridge.

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The March’s front flank leads the way.  photo by Fundi.

Ever dwindling ticket sales & sponsors were the culprit, said longtime organizer the King Association of Santa Clara Valley.  Ironically last year’s Train actually “sold out” because it was thought to be the last—a sad trend especially plaguing Black causes (discussed in a venue here that I’ll address later).

PG&E substantially stepped in to save it—being the last ceremonial Train of its kind in the U.S.—& thus made it the now “Celebration Train” that’s also now absolutely free of charge.  Needless to say this year’s Train was packed!

A surprise awaited me at the front of the march:

SF Mayor Ed Lee strolled clear as the day (flanked by a couple of “suits”) just behind Deacon G.L. Hodge (Interfaith Council Chair) who carried a “Make Love Known” sign—Hodge was the march’s focus lead & is MC on the Council Stage.  At Lee’s left (not seen below) was Mattie Scott, founder of San Francisco’s Healing 4 Our Families & Our Nation.  A few ranks behind Lee were a modest cluster of uniformed cops, “imaged” as if inadvertently marching—but a sight not fooling the well informed.

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SF Mayor Ed Lee at right strolls at the front of the march.  photo by Fundi.

Bay Area locals know the deal:

Last year Lee was hounded out of every MLK Day activity leading up to Yerba Buena activities—by angry activists for the Mario Woods Coalition.  Woods had been literally assassinated by a squad of cops, captured on a highly damning video (yet one of many here downplayed by national media).

Lee got severe heat to fire then Chief Greg Suhr who justified the killing, then was castigated himself for backing the bogus report; activists demanded he also step down, thus Lee had come nowhere near the march—subsequently getting harassed off 2016’s Interfaith Stage itself, by relentless Woods reps.

Continued pressure soon got Suhr fired: a new “outsider” African-American chief, former LAPD deputy chief William Scott (a 27-year veteran) has been sworn in & a little cooling time has slipped past the last year (into the new).

Thus we see Lee now parading front & center—he soon spoke uninterrupted on 2017’s Council platform—his opening words “I am you, you are me”—drawing applause.

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SF Mayor Ed Lee speaks on the Interfaith Council Stage with Assemblymember David Chiu pictured at left.  photo by Fundi.

Immediate questions rocked in my head:

Have so many forgotten that there is still so much nasty, horrendous, unfinished legal business here regarding unarmed citizens murdered by cops?  Forgotten the judicial stalling, official cover-ups, falsifying reports & withholding case related evidence?  Forgotten victim’s loved ones still left in the lurch seeking “justice?”  Forgotten that DA George Gascón has not charged a single cop?

Mattie Scott is one of 3 well deserved Council honorees on that stage.

I first covered Mattie’s work with George Jurand in 2010, as they’d cofounded the Healing Circle for the Soul Support Group.  The pioneer group established a critically needed “space” where shocked & traumatized survivors of the victims taken by violence, could themselves get communal support & legal assistance.

Outreach was made to newly disoriented folks (suddenly thrown into these families’ same dreaded “boat”).  In addition to healing forums the group staged rallies, lobbied City Hall, helped raise funeral funds, held press conferences, educated folks regarding legal matters—literally embracing those left behind to put their own shattered lives back together, while transforming them into informed warriors—new advocates now seeking justice for themselves & others.

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Mattie Scott (at left) is presented an award by Rita R. Semel (the Council’s past chair) as  current chair Deacon G.L. Hodge looks on.  photo by Fundi.

And these survivors had folks murdered by both cops & “criminalized peers” in their own plagued hoods.  Scott receiving her award described the young man who killed her son, “as previously having eaten & socialized right under my own roof”—all the more heartbreaking.

The Interfaith kick-off stage continued its soul stirring lineup, punctuated by Rev. Amos Brown’s recap of his own legendary involvement (in 1962 being 1 of 8 students in Dr. King’s only taught class, at Atlanta’s Morehouse College).  But I sensed a change of “tone” from last year’s event.

The change would stand out in an after venue I attended titled: Grade A Social Justice.

NBA star & ex Warriors player Baron Davis was featured here; the most well known of 5 other more seasoned panelists—with a young “radio personality” moderator.  Grade A signifies their career titles: artist, academician, author, activist, & administrator…Davis

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July 5th, 2010: Then SF Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi addresses a Healing Circle Support Group City Hall Press Conference, with then Supervisor Bevan Dufty at left, co founder George Jurand at rear, left & co founder Mattie Scott at far right.  photo by Fundi.

being the “athlete.”  He’s been quite socially involved post NBA, launching projects & the like, but his novice perspective (more locked in classic “white liberal” mode) would soon stand out—& be addressed.

Signs of the shifted “tone” leaped instantly with the moderator’s 1st question.  He asked, “Is justice still relevant today?”  I cringed.

Of course panelists politely gave their generically expected responses, but this was more like a 19th century white abolitionist discussion convincing a doubtful audience that something still needed to be done.  Eventually obvious building block solutions got touched upon: education, skills training, etc…

And some “class” issues related to internal conflicts especially sabotaging Black progress were listed: particularly Blacks wasting “trillions” of annual dollars on frivolousness—not investing in or “trusting” one another; & making a glamorized “celebrity aristocracy” our new “leaders” (most being conflicted, co-opted, detached & basically “sold out” to a white upper class—or glamorized street “thug” interests); mainstream media thus carefully choosing them (thugs included) as our spokespersons—similar to handpicked “status-quo” voices on TV’s The View.

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The Grade A Social Justice Panel in the Yerba Buena Theater with the moderator at far left & Baron Davis at far right.  photo by Fundi.

But Davis lit up the final moments deeply criticizing Black Lives Matter.  Davis feels it’s taking the movement in the wrong direction; that protest marches are obsolete; that sitting to discuss at “the table” would be more effective; that Blacks becoming cops is the end all solution to police brutality in our “hoods.”

Most disturbing: Davis feels protestors blocking streets & freeways achieve nothing except alienating the public; that higher-ups (media, legislators, a white ruling class, etc…) will dismiss us, not inviting us to “the table”—due to their feeling insult.

Several co panelists bristled & the moderator leaped into fierce (but super contained) rebuttal mode—maybe not wanting to hurt Davis’ “feelings” here—but the elder academician said it best: Black youth out there reviving this “movement”—having to take extreme drastic action—shows how deeply “we failed them” by their having to begin where we ourselves “failed to advance.”

It flew right over Davis’ head & brings me to my original point: the “tone” has changed here.

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Baron Davis expresses his dismay with Black Lives Matter to co members of the Grade A Justice Panel.  photo by Fundi.

The panel discussion I attended last year was with Elaine Brown, co founder of the Black Panther Party & Professor Melvin Newton of Oakland’s Merritt College (older brother of the late co founder Huey P. Newton).  It smoked right out of the gate!

They straightforwardly clarified the systemic source of our struggle—“white power protocol”; they acknowledged young leadership lives cut down & brave elders of the time (adding the critical work of predecessors) who risked—giving it all; itemized was the “system’s” endless variations of successful resistance to Human Rights progress—they offered the best approach to successfully thwart that “monstrous force” (which includes linking every “effective method” under the sun) by “any means necessary!”

At this year’s panel instead of stagnated liberal format (their academician’s ironic “note”) the young moderator himself should have blasted out with forward gusto!  For starters he could have noted that quite viable social blueprints already exist—crafted by King, Malcolm X & the like—then laid out unquestionable facts:

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At right: Elaine Brown (Black Panther Party co founder) & Professor Melvin Newton (brother of the late Huey P. Newton) offer a no-holds-barred discussion at the 2016 Panel.  photo by Fundi.

Address the unadulterated “racial ceiling”; the issues of class; cultural self-sabotage; machismo sexist subordination of female leadership (a “glass ceiling” in the movement itself); the challenge of “enlightening” brainwashed masses (internal & outsiders); plus more.  Thus panelists have tangible substance to bite (bolstered by King’s & Malcolm’s much neglected blueprints) addressing historical insight & practical solutions—tasks the audience can immediately grab onto.

The elephant in the room screamed: absolutely being America’s Teflon tough “racial ceiling” & thorough “white protocol” systemic control.  And its heart wrenching wail still remained obscured.

Does Davis not know that every major U.S. city’s police departments have Black Officer’s Associations in them for a reason?  Davis must not have heard of retired LAPD Sergeant Cheryl Dorsey’s book: The Creation of a Manifesto, Black & Blue, or heard her numerous TV comments blistering entrenched national departmental racism—and severe retaliation against good cops who blow the whistle.  He must not know that just this month a decade’s long, multimillion dollar racial discrimination suit was settled against the CIA.

The young moderator never mentioned a true bombshell: that corrupted & fuzzy leadership—“radicalized” Christian religious & civic—is the primary derailing factor; or that U.S. Blacks have been absolutely “physically broken & religiously restructured” to support our corrupt system—well beyond slavery—more comfortable sabotaging ourselves.

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One marcher’s largely expressed “sentiment” shows the same wave everyone rode at this event.  photo by Fundi.

The word “self-hatred” never blatantly crystallized.  And the concept of crafting a long overdue National Black Agenda (& overall Human Rights Agenda)—knowing the drive must be national—never hit mental airwaves.

Thankfully on national media platforms comedian/actor D.L. Hughley & rapper T.I. are artist standouts—excoriating Black celebs not only for indulging the “newly elect” (on his narrow, self-serving terms—“not theirs”) but for their monumental sell-out mentalities.  Check out Michael Eric Dyson’s fierce interview on New York’s The Breakfast Club slamming it right here!

This in screaming contrast to retired NBA celeb Charles Barkley (a chronic, guilt wracked “Afro apologist” appeasing chronic white guilt): in an NBA program that day he boasted proposing a strange notion & I quote, “Dr. King never talked about Black rights, he never singled anybody out, he talked about Human Rights & Civil Rights…”—this is Barkley’s boldface lie & fabricated mistruth!  It’s a sneaky way of trying to credit King (who soon rightfully & strategically included the broader Human Rights spectrum, dangerously addressing “foreign policy” & eventually the Viet Nam war) while still discrediting Black plight with a “backdoor” slap in the face!

For starters Barkley must not know that in the 1955-56 Montgomery Bus Boycott “Negroes” launched King to the forefront; he fought to end discrimination specifically targeting Blacks.  “Negroes” were relegated to sit in the back—while suffering untold other murderous injustices—not some generically targeted populace Blacks just happened to peek out of.

 

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A picture of “regal tradition” this attendee listens intently during the Interfaith Service.  photo by Fundi.

Barkley’s “sell-out” styled comments wouldn’t be worth mentioning, were he not the white sports media elite’s poster boy for Black narratives—his voice propped to receive a broad platform.  In him is exemplified the most stunning & insidious example of Black “self-hatred.”

Davis (who appears deluded by co “athlete” Barkley’s over exposure) could use a good huddle with Hughley’s crew who’d tweak is “consciousness.”  Calling Black Lives Matter’s Civil Disobedience Acts negative & obsolete he must have missed the Interfaith Ceremony.  There, Patrick Dilworth (on behalf of Christian faith tradition) quoted from King’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail” (worth quoting in full here).  King says:

“I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate.  I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is…the white moderate, who is more devoted to ‘order’ than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension…who constantly says: ‘I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action’; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a ‘more convenient season.’  Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will.  Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.”  (All italics are mine).

Barkley, I do believe I read the word “Negro” (synonymous back then with Black, or Afro-American) “twice” in the excerpt quoted above.

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Christine Pelosi, daughter of Nancy Pelosi (Democratic Leader of the U.S. House of Representatives) addresses the crowd.  photo by Fundi.

White supremacist legislators & civic leaders paid no attention as Jim Crow & brutal lynching crashed well into the 20th century—they didn’t have to.  Only when the comfortable system was brazenly disrupted (a complicit public “inconvenienced”) did they look—being “forced” to.  Governors were then “forced” to have us at the “table”—otherwise the invite would never have come.

Unfortunately, no audience participation at this year’s forum (the “fireside” kind of fizzling in these changing “tones”) but had there been, as a seasoned Elder I would have told Davis this:

We are not looking for “permission, acceptance, or invite!”  We’re not here to help heartless privilege “feel good.”  Equal opportunity & fair (humane) treatment under the law is our right!  And like the praised “American ideal” we do pull up our bootstraps demanding that rightfully claimed place at “the table,” against all odds—not begging & undaunted in the fight for justice!

Davis, before rushing off in a celebrity bubble (shaped by athletic machismo in his anxiousness to “lead”) needs to himself learn to humbly “follow”—trusting his elders & the actual voice of Dr. King—instead of conflicted, white liberal athlete mentality.

Yes, a tone has changed:

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Marchers enter Yerba Buena Center for the Arts ready for a charge of spirit!  photo by Fundi.

Last year Mario Woods’ murder by cops (just the month before) had his coalition advocates firing up Dr. King day!  This year I saw no sign of them—or any of the other linked coalitions:

Justice 4 Amilcar Perez-Lopez, Alex Nieto, Idriss Stelley, Oscar Grant, Kenneth Harding, Jr., Derrick Gains, James “Nate” Greer, O’Shaine Evans, Jessica Nelson Williams…& so many more.

Last year was also the 50th anniversary of the Black Panther Party’s founding in Oakland.  The significance of progressive, radical “action”—seeking justice while aggressively initiating resourceful community “self-help”—permeated the air!

Maybe the same pesky “trend” that threatened the Freedom Train (pumped-up attendance only when thought to go extinct) & which greatly swelled this year’s attendance (terror from last November’s Election Tuesday) caused forgetfulness around our Blue Ribbon Panel’s horror—thus it upstaged unarmed citizens continuously being murdered by cops.  Chief Suhr fired & new chief Scott hired—hence Mayor Lee now marches & then speaks—undisturbed.

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At last year’s 2016 Dr. King event members of the Justice 4 Mario Woods Coalition are right over my shoulder, harassing Mayor Lee off the Interfaith Service Stage before he can speak 2 sentences.  photo by Fundi.

I did not see new Chief William Scott in attendance here & there is still a movement to “recall” Lee.

I also did not see citizen advocacy group San Franciscan’s for Police Accountability.

But while covering Woods’ coalitions’ progress (& the rest) I’d often wondered if they had ever connected with Mattie Scott’s vital effort.  Both are key elements doing powerful work on the same healing & justice seeking chain.

Progress realized at this year’s (& every year’s) King Event would have organizers do this: canvass these ever growing coalition segments—that through their individual work enlighten the public—to set prominently on view as “soldiers in action for justice.”

I don’t know if the King Day leadership actually solicits groups, simply recycles them, or waits for new groups to come forth themselves.  Aaron Grizzell, Executive Director of the Northern California Dr. King Community Foundation did mention that he & producers brainstorm ideas for each event.

By right (& invaluable “practicality”) coalition’s like Justice 4 Jessica Nelson Williams & Mattie Scott’s should all be facilitating their own individual workshops here, centered around their cause—& not overlapping, or simultaneous—but in sequence; thus attendees could get detailed glimpses of victim’s personal lives, their deadly incidents, their family’s stories, who the culprits are & where the legal process now stands.

Coalitions could give clear, direct means of action for public participation in countless areas needed (scores of resource folks build & operate there—just waiting for new input); many volunteers now shouldering the weight risk becoming overwhelmed—physical & emotional burnout causing huge setbacks—as is to be expected.

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Rev. Amos Brown speaks. Two gay politicos grace the stage: new SF Supervisor Jeff Sheehy (far left) & newly elect Senator Scott Wiener (unseen behind Brown).  No person addressed the crowd as “openly gay” & none of these politicians spoke.  photo by Fundi.

Speaking of fuzzy leadership:

As usual LGBTQ politicos were introduced on the Interfaith Stage: new Senator Scott Wiener & new Supervisor Jeff Sheehy (an AIDS activist & the 1st HIV-positive Board Member, replacing Wiener)—both drew applause.  But like previous years absolutely none spoke—& none were introduced as “openly gay.”

One Grade A panelist did mention LGBTQ folks in the overall Civil Rights stratum—another addressed a major issue: Black Lives Matter in the U.S. South showing extremist level homophobia—colonial religious machismo flaring its ugly head (an entire forum topic unto itself).

But no workshops on Black gays at the forefront of advancing the movement—like the incomparable Bayard Rustin, Lorraine Hansberry, Barbara Jordan, James Baldwin, et al.

No workshops either on Black Lives Damaged by our “radicalized” Black Church’s virulent homophobic history—or on rampant racism riddling the white gay mainstream (its segment being “economically & visibly” dominant)—or on Black gays being marginalized everywhere (viciously trapped in-between).

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I’m soaking it all in at right, during the Interfaith Service on the Yerba Buena Esplanade.  photo by Fundi.

I, as an openly gay Black man at the forefront of groundbreaking leadership does know a thing: the fact that no Black gay groups were on hand—pushing for inclusion of our voice’s “presence”—means Bay Area Black gay organizing itself is “token” & in shambles!

In San Francisco it’s nonexistent.

Doubtlessly since gay “technical” presence here is based on white political standards these “leaders” accept just getting their “own props”—white liberal-like!  Settling comfortably into gay tokenism seems their “end game”—not rocking the boat (by sharing their own personal contributions towards overall liberation).  True inclusion would see them laying out what they expect here—on behalf of liberating (& involving) their constituents—the heart of which being absolutely gay!

I couldn’t imagine the late S.F. Supervisor Harvey Milk sitting on that stage ignoring the opportunity to address this crowd—proudly including SF’s impact on gay movements everywhere & solidifying LGBTQ Civil Rights position with colorful flair!

And at least I’ve not forgotten:

While still an SF Supervisor Scott Wiener vehemently backed the ruthless Police Officer’s Association (POA) Union every dastardly step of the way.  This powerful, big moneyed lobbying force came under fierce Blue Ribbon Panel fire & still derails their suggested dept. “reforms”—in the face of damning evidence (where murderous cops have falsified reports).  Wiener remains their boy.

San Francisco then rewarded Wiener—sending him off to represent us in the Senate.

The fact that SF’s enormous Inaugural Night City Hall Protest Rally had people marching 5,000 strong to hit the Mission—but  1st up to the Castro for a spontaneous rally (at

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Inauguration Night 2017 when Protesters march 5,000 strong into The Castro District & rally at the Hibernia Beach Rainbow Intersection.  photo by Fundi.

Hibernia Beach’s infamous 18th street intersection)—shows the Gay Mecca is considered a significant “force” to include—and reckon with!

But added irony sees nuance in reverse: a predominantly white Gay Men’s Chorus does perform at this major Black based event—but no LGBTQ rep “addresses” it.

And an Interfaith Council promoting a spiritual base to root out injustice, but not addressing the white power system’s major tool—“radicalized” Christianity—relegates the Day to a “tea-&-crumpets” affair.  No one wants to address the Black Church’s disgraceful neglect nationally in our communities—& its pervasive calamitous effect—due to wholeheartedly embracing the master’s “radicalized” Christian brand.  It’s the reason Black Preachers are scarce to be found in Black Lives Matter marches.

The very same condition & its disconnect “effect” dogged Dr. King—as the thick of the

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The view of Yerba Buena Gardens & Esplanade Stage (center, left)  from the Metreon, as the King Day event winds down.  photo by Fundi.

Black religious iceberg snubbed his brave Civil Rights organizing.  King lamented about it in speeches.

Black folk preferring “radicalized” Christian tenets over say, a Universalist Unitarian brand—where hospitality & Civil Rights advocacy shapes the forefront of their “creed”—shows glamour, rationalized hostility towards the downtrodden & a “saving me” mentality rules—not spiritual love for the oppressed “we.”

Hence the old abolitionist’s diamond saying: “You cannot dismantle the master’s house with the master’s tools.”

Tons of unfinished business—eternally polluting a unified drive—adds heavy drag that King Day producers shouldn’t overlook: unless it wishes to remain a mere “ritual.”

And given that infamous “trend” I raised earlier, known to plague (& shorten) the “shelf life” of Black causes, the event’s future could be as tenuous as a new Celebration Train’s.  Long-term survival here requires a constant infusion of new ideas, while building upon the foundation that’s been gathered—success cannot happen without “across the board” acceptance in “unity.”

Interestingly—though gripped by 2017 fear & uncertainty—much of the “unfinished business” has nothing to do with threats from you know who:

This ultimate businessman as incoming “elect” exploits disunity & exclusion—he didn’t “invent” it.