NAACP Still Relevant Still Needed

 

Some people think the NAACP is no longer a relevant organization.  Others ask, “What are they doing?”  While others ask, “Are they still around?”
Well, truth be told, the NAACP is doing what they have always done:
– bailing Black & poor people out of jail
– working to get innocent Black men & women out of jail (it’s 1of 6 National organizations that does along with: the Equal Justice Institute, The Southern Poverty Law Center, ACLU, The Innocence Project).
– having one of the best Youth Academic & Leadership programs in the nation, ACTSO.
– report on truth about issues that affect Black people in their quarterly magazine (via mail and online).
– be fully engaged with voter rights. Remember, they trained Rosa Parks for the Montgomery Bus Boycott.
– fight against all forms of racism
The NAACP membership is only $35 per year.  The more people join, the more people their attorneys can help. Every month, the ATL NAACP as well as others across the nation, get 100+ requests for help for wrongful arrests, racial claims, and much more. And, most requests are from people who have never joined.  As with the church, people show up at the door when they need help.  Otherwise, they never call, join or volunteer. They simply criticize them.
We are so much better than this!  We need the NAACP now more than ever. Don’t wait until you or someone you know needs their help.  JOIN NOW!  JOIN TODAY! Visit: http://www.naacpatlanta.org
WHEN WE FIGHT WE WIN.  WHEN WE VOTE WE COUNT.
This Christmas Holiday Season, you can:
-join
– give gift memberships
– encourage others to join (by word of mouth and on social media)
– educate people in your circle of influence on the history and current relevance of this important organization – have youth in your circle of influence to Google “ACTSO” to find out first hand what they do.
– visit your local NAACP meeting
Because racism, housing discrimination, unequal pay, unlawful arrests, voter suppression, voter rights issues, etc. still exists, the NAACP needs your financial and volunteer support.
Google the name of your local city, county or state NAACP or visit: http://www.naacp.org and join NOW!!
 
The mission of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is to secure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights in order to eliminate race-based discrimination and ensure the health and well-being of all persons.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month – Author Discussion & Book Signings

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Let’s Talk: Candid Cancer Conversations

October is Breast Cancer Month.  Join author and four-time survivor of breast cancer, Sherry B. Williams, for a candid conversation about myths and truths about cancer treatments and life after. Also, why are so many African-American women, despite breakthroughs in treatment, diagnosed in the late stages?
For all those touched by a cancer diagnosis: current patients, survivors, care- givers, family and friends. Sherry’s little book, When Cancer Calls is short, faith-based, lighthearted and filled with hope. More information on Sherry at www.whencancercalls.info

No registration required:

Tuesday, October 1 at 12noon

Georgia Coalition for the Peoples Agenda Weekly Meeting

At SCLC Women

328 Auburn Ave., Atlanta 30303

 

Wednesday, October 3 – 6pm – 7:45pm

Metropolitan Library

1332 Metropolitan Pkwy, Atlanta 30310

(404) 613-5722

 

Thursday, October 4 – 6:00 pm

NW Scott’s Crossing Library

2489 Perry Boulevard, Atlanta 30318

(404) 613-4364

 

Saturday, October 5 – 1:00pm- 2:50pm

SW Cascade Library

3665 Cascade Rd., Atlanta, GA 30331

(404) 613-8000

 

Saturday, October 5 – 3:30pm-5:30pm

West End Library
525 Peeples, Atlanta 30310   

(404) 613-8000

 

Sunday, October 6 – 3:00 pm

Sandy Springs Library

395 Mt. Vernon Hwy.

Sandy Springs 30328

(404) 612-7000

 

Wednesday, October 9 – 10am

Exchange Recreation Center

2771 Columbia Drive

Decatur 30034

More dates online at http://www.whencancercalls.info

Please select a date that works best for your schedule and bring a friend. Or, book Sherry for your meeting or Lunch & Learn. The more people educated about this awful disease, the more lives will saved.

 

AJC Reports: Tracing 400 Year Journey to Slavery

 

https://www.ajc.com/news/centuries-later-atlantans-make-trip-ghana-door-return/RW6hdsGJveW7kD73LKQHKI/

Debra Santos (blue scarf), an Atlanta Airbnb host, who is visiting Ghana as part of that nation’s “Year of the Return.” African Americans have been encouraged to return to Africa this year to mark 400 years of slavery. “My face says it all,” Santos said of the photograph, taken in an Elmina Castle dungeon where dozens of female captives would have been held before departing into slavery.

Photo: Courtesy Debra Santos

EXCLUSIVE: Centuries later, Atlantans make trip to Ghana’s “Door of No Return”

King Historical Site, APEX team up to bring grim reminder home

For many thousands, it was the last glimpse of Africa.

Through a door, made narrow so that they would have to walk through in single file, Africans trudged out of the darkness of Ghana’s Elmina Castle or nearby Cape Coast Castle into the blinding sunlight bouncing off the Atlantic Ocean. Then they were chained and stacked like cordwood onto awaiting boats.

 

That “Door of No Return” was the grim gateway west to a life of enslavement in Brazil, the Caribbean, and America.

“When you walk out of that door today, even now, it is terrifying,” said Debra Santos, an Atlantan visiting Ghana now. “So they had to be terrified to look out in the distance and see no land and know they weren’t coming back.”

But thousands of African Americans have made the trip back to Ghana in recent months. Many have traveled from Atlanta, which has one of the largest Ghanaian populations in the U.S.

Ghana, part of the Gold Coast, a major departure point during the slave trade, recently launched “The Year of Return” campaign. The country, still coming to terms with the role Africans played in the capture and sale of Africans, as well as slavery’s impact on the nation’s development, is urging American descendants of slaves to return home even for just a few days.

Nene Kisseih, his daughters Korleki and Audri Kisseih and his cousin Gabriella look out of Elmina Castle’s Door of No Return. The door is adorned with gifts and wreaths left by others.
Photo: Photo Courtesy Nene Kisseih

At the same time, as America marks 400 years since the first African slaves arrived in the U.S., Atlanta’s Martin Luther King Jr. National Historical Park is trying to acknowledge what that door means in the starkest of ways. As part of a new exhibition entitled “400 Years” that opened Aug. 26, a giant photo of a door and mannequins of slaves greet tourists in the atrium.

A block down Auburn Ave., as part of the exhibition, the African-American Panoramic Experience (APEX) Museum, the city’s oldest black cultural repository, is exhibiting “Africa: The Untold Story.” In that more detailed account, visitors can walk through a life-sized replica of “Door of No Return.”

The exhibitions, a glimpse into the Middle Passage and American slavery, are being described by the park and museum as a “journey over four centuries to America and hopes as a people, past and present, for racial equity and healing.”

The Door of No Return saw thousands of Africans leave the continent for the last time to a world of slavery.
Photo: Photo Courtesy Courtesy Arletha Livingston

Last week, standing outside the door replica, Dan Moore, who founded the APEX in 1978, watched silently as visitors tentatively walked in and were bombarded with a recording of waves, mixed in with screams and the shuffling of chains.

“Everybody that I have talked to, who has visited the actual Door of No Return, tell me that when they walk into that space, they can feel the presence of their ancestors,” Moore said. “Nothing was as horrific as the slavery that the Europeans modeled. They stripped Africa of its culture, its religion, its resources, its people.”

From ‘20 and odd’ Negroes to 12 million

On Aug. 26, 1619, the first Africans to arrive as slaves on American shores landed in Port Comfort, Virginia. Those “20 and odd Negroes” created the foundation for more than 200 years of chattel slavery in America.

It will never be known how many Africans were captured and stolen from Africa, but it is estimated that more than 12 million of them were shipped across the Atlantic over a span of 400 years. Roughly 389,000, or about 3% of the enslaved, landed in America.

Korleki Kisseih and Audri Kisseih were taken to Ghana for the first time earlier this month by their Ghana-born father Nena Kisseih to mark Korleki’s 14th birthday. The sisters stand behind an iron gate in one of the Elmina Castle dungeons, which would have been used to hold captured Africans bound for slavery.
Photo: Courtesy Nena Kisseih

“The transatlantic slave trade represents the most tragic episode in human history,” said Osagyefou Amoatia Ofori Panin, the king of Kyebi, in Ghana’s Eastern region. “It explains many things, but most importantly the material underdevelopment and the destruction of the communal and humanist social and cultural fabric of African society. The transatlantic slave trade opened the door for colonization and conquest of Africa.”

With “The Year of Return” campaign, “we can rewrite history,” Panin told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Africans in the diaspora have a role to play in rebuilding the continent.”

Anxiety and horror

Santos, the Atlantan, made that journey home, setting foot on African soil for the first time on Aug. 20. She was traveling with a group of fellow black Airbnb hosts. They have all returned home. She has extended the trip on her own indefinitely, touched by a crowd of Ghanaians who hugged and rubbed her face when she arrived.

“They kept saying, ‘welcome home, we missed you,’” Santos said. “I don’t know if I had ever felt the spirit, the African spirit, until that very moment. It was awe-inspiring. America is the love of my heart, but Ghana is the love of my soul.”

Still, nothing could have prepared her heart and soul for the rest of the trip.

Debra Santos, outside of Elmina Castle in Ghana. “I didn’t know what to expect when I got to Elmina,” she said. “Nothing could prepare me for it.”
Photo: Courtesy Debra Santos

On Ghana’s coast, Santos visited Elmina Castle and the Cape Coast Castle.

Generally known as holding spaces for captured Africans, it will never be known exactly how many came through the two ports, through the doors and onto ships bound for slavery.

At Elmina, Santos was ushered into a dungeon where women captives were held. By today’s standards, one of the dungeons should probably hold about 30 people. More than 150 would be packed in, with a single window to circulate the dense, hot air, according to historical accounts. Those who survived were carted onto boats.

“When we went to the dungeon, they turned the lights off,” said Santos, who has traced her roots to nearby Ivory Coast. “I had a major anxiety attack. You can feel and sense how horrible it could have felt back then. I did not expect to be so emotional.”

Like outer space

Arletha Livingston knows the feeling.

The director of the Morehouse School of Medicine’s Innovation Lab, Livingston has been going to countries in Africa since 1995, and every trip to Ghana is emotional.

In early August, she tagged along with her sister, a trauma specialist, who guided members of the Congressional Black Caucus, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn), through the castles and dungeons.

Ilhan Omar

@IlhanMN

They said “send her back” but Speaker @SpeakerPelosi didn’t just make arrangements to send me back, she went back with me ✊🏽

So grateful for the honor to return to Mother Africa with the @TheBlackCaucus and commemorate The Year of Return!

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Fort McPherson – 475+ Acres of South Atlanta Hope??

 

What is going on with the Fort McPherson development on Lee Street in south west Atlanta?  Strategically located between the Oakland City and Ft. McPherson/Lakewood MARTA rail stations, this former Army Base was finally beginning to show signs of development four years ago.  That is when Tyler Perry purchased the majority of the property and the remaining (approximately) 145 acres has been slowly planned for community use with community input.

It was beginning to look as if the Oakland City/Ft Mac communities, with an average household income of less than $20,000, were about to get a “good deal”.  Now, the project that includes lots of community input, has come to a halt.

In the Saporta Report, Maria Saporta weighs in and is asking City Hall some really tough questions.  I welcomed the opportunity to add my two cents.  See her article on the link below:

Questions surround future of Fort Mac redevelopment

Be sure to leave your thoughts about what could be the best project for Atlanta residents because 60% of the housing units are slated to be affordable!

 

Homeless in the ATL

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Homeless woman on one of Atlanta’s most known streets, Peachtree Street in downtown Atlanta.

Homeless in Atlanta.  The Jewel of the South.  Black Mecca.  Home of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Civil Rights. How can this be? 

Atlanta is also #1 in the nation for income inequality. Lots of people with money. Lots of people without money.  Almost no one in the middle.  Affordable housing needs unmet with tens of thousands of units needed in Atlanta.  Other cities have similar needs.  But, many believe Atlanta should be doing better than other cities and should be the model . How is it that those with so much not see, care or help solve this rapidly growing social issue?

According to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, housing is one of humanity’s most basic needs.  So again I ask, how can this be??

It is bad to see homeless men.  It is even worse to see homeless women. Ir is even worse to know some of our homeless are veterans who have proudly served our country.  As we saw recently with a former Cosby cast member working in Trader Joe’s, almost anyone can fall on hard times.  Where is our compassion and humanity?

Across metro Atlanta, we find funds for a $23 million bridge and replace the sidewalks around it.  Meanwhile, other parts of the city have been asking for sidewalks for decades.  How can we solve this huge homeless problem??  Why not have a contest and ask for solutions from our citizens and have them present to a “Shark Tank” like panel that will get matching funds from Atlanta Housing Authority, Invest Atlanta and some local private funders??

I pray that sooner rather than later, Atlanta and cities across  our nation will find the solution to our rapidly growing homeless problem.  I pray the woman in this photo is able to get off the streets soon.

 

The Gulch – Who Do You Believe? Who Really Benefits?

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Moderator Karen Greer, Mayor Bottoms, and CIM Advocate Team.

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms held a community forum to hear from residents due to opposition to The Gulch $5 Billion redevelopment plan proposed by California developer CIM.  The Mayor came in, took her seat and left after the Forum.  While she read an opening statement and answered a couple of the audience questions (that were read by the moderator), she was never seen engaging with residents.  No pictures. No handshakes. Nothing.

The plan which the City Council refused to vote on, until they have more time to review the 600 page document recently delivered to their homes, has residents furious.

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Discussing 600 page Gulch Proposal with another opponent at Mayor’s forum.

Most residents were not allowed in the forum because City employees and a group of folks in green t-shirts, supporters  of the CIM proposed Gulch deal, took up most of the seats.  How is that really a forum for residents?  The overflow room was filled with residents upset they could not get in.

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One of many ATL police officers after forum as GA Stand Up Exec. Dir., Deborah Scott, shares her opposing view with reporter.

In opening rules, outlined by moderator Karen Greer, attendees were told we would be removed by police officers, stationed around the room, if we got out of line (paraphrase).  I have attended many controversial forums/town halls, all across the country. Never have I heard those words.  Despite that, there were a few times when folks yelled in disagreement to what was being said.

Why are residents furious?  Well, after so many other “good deals” and promises that include:

– The original Braves Stadium & Turner Field

– Friendship Baptist Church & Mt. Vernon Baptist Church buyouts

– Falcons Stadium, Mercedes Benz (MB) Stadium & their $23 million bridge across Northside Drive

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Karl Barnes (white jacket) ATL native and GA Tech alum among few residents who got into the Mayor’s Gulch Forum.

Each of these deals were also “good deals”  for the community and now we are all on the hook for cost overruns (the original MB bridge cost was $10 million. Several months later, the cost rose to $23 million with $1million in lights.).

Each time, residents are on the hook despite their elected officials assuring them, ‘it is good for Atlanta because it will bring jobs’.  Well, from what most reports and articles reveal, the minimum wage, temporary stadium jobs are what residents can verify.  No one can verify any substantial contractor or management jobs for residents.  However, residents continue to be displaced and given empty promises.

With a severe shortage of affordable housing units in Atlanta, each “good deal” drives out current residents while paving the way for new residents in homes priced out of reach for most.  Being the number one U.S. city for income inequality, there are only two places for most ATL residents to move:

1) further from the city with no or limited access to public transportation

2)  under an I-20 bridge with other homeless people

If a portion of our tax dollars could be used, as many advocates have asked, for:

– programs to repair/update homes of current residents,

– a program to “grandfather” current residents’ from tax increases.

– more affordable housing units than Invest Atlanta and the BeltLine can currently deliver.

That would give thousands of residents access to reasonable and affordable housing units.

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Alvin Kendall, local attorney, gives the project overview as the Mayor Bottoms looks on.

Alvin Kendal, City of Atlanta liaison for the CIM Project gives a complicated presentation without a power point.  More on Kendall and his conflict of interest on this project from the AJC at:  https://www.ajc.com/news/local-govt–politics/watchdogs-question-rec-authority-leader-hiring-for-gulch-legal-work/QOvTwH6RnByIyAzlXvfRfL/

Much of the information he gave failed to give the whole story of the 30 year tax consequences to residents, Atlanta Public Schools (APS) and Fulton County Commissioners.  Three entities, ATL City Council, APS and Fulton County have to approve the plan for it to materialize.

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Joe Beasley at podium at last week’s four hour long City Council Work Session attended by only half of the Council.

You see, I also attended last week’s City Council Work Session with “CIM Armani suit-wearing lawyers”, as former Senator Vincent Fort describes them.  Above, Internationist human rights activist, Joe Beasley, speaks against The Gulch Project.

If programs and legislation can be passed to benefit big corporations and stadium owners, why not for residents so they will not be driven out of their homes?  Is that too much to ask for while these corporate folks get to use “our” hard earned tax dollars?  Residents can make a change when they VOTE  in EVERY ELECTION.

Why is it that planners and people, including most of our elected officials, usually go into neighborhoods and tell them “what is best for them” and “how” their communities should look?  Even when Town halls are held, case in point, as with planning for MLKing Jr. Blvd, the neighborhood clearly objected to putting in medians.  This both limited left lane turning for cars and fire trucks.  Hmmm.

As WAOK Radio Host Derrick Boazman shared, ‘this Mayor’s Forum was not genuine and she is not standing up for the best interest of residents who elected her’.  Despite having a hand full of questions, Greer only read about 10-12. Most of them were not answered.  Real audience members were frustrated and began to shout out in frustration causing commotion.  Meanwhile the mayor sat with an unchanged expression.  And, to top it all off, most of us were shocked when the forum seemed to abruptly end.  Most of the time was not used to answer questions, but to give Gulch proposal rhetoric about how good this deal is for Atlanta.  If it is that good, tell the truth, answer all questions, and stop rushing.

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Registering & educating voters at GA State MARTA Station. Back of t-shirt reads, “Register to Vote”.

So how do Atlanta residents and residents across the nation get control of their neighborhoods and protect them from predatory developers?

Glad you asked.  The short answer is to unite to vote out those who do not favor the residents who elected them.  And, to vet and fund candidates. Do not wait to see who runs.

On Tuesday, November 6, residents can take their power back by not just voting.  Everyone also needs to educate themselves on the 20 plus items on Georgia ballots (use Google, discuss with friends), BEFORE Election Day, so you can vote down the entire ballot with confidence while encouraging friends and family to do the same. Print a sample ballot from:  www.mvp.sos.ga.gov

In the meantime, those who are in office may be able to be recalled when they do not represent their voters. In the words of Sean King, contributor to the Tom Joyner Morning Show and Black America Web, “When we organize, we win!.”

 

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Lots of people hanging around after Mayor’s Gulch Forum. Sign reads “Red Light The Gulch”.

So, it is obvious that Atlanta residents did not get their questions answered at the Mayor’s Forum.  So no transparency.

Who do you believe about The Gulch Plan?  The Armani suit-wearing attorneys who represent CIM, a firm with no Blacks on their executive team (according to their website http://www.cim.com)?  Who benefits?  You decide. You can make sure your voice is heard:

1) Organize a protest big or small.

2) Contact Mayor Bottoms at (404) 330-3100 or email from this link:

https://www.atlantaga.gov/government

3) Contact EVERY City Council Member, not just yours. Keep in mind, three are at-large or citywide :  Bond, Dickens, and Westmoreland.  If you do not know the name of your council member, ask when you call (404) 330-6030 or check this link for their individual contact info:

http://citycouncil.atlantaga.gov

 

(1. Also see my earlier blog on The Gulch.

2. Please let me know if you see errors. Another sets of eyes is always good!)

 

 

 

Tiger Wins 80th!

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Tiger wins first major championship at East Lake Golf Club (outside Atlanta). His 80th PGA win was emotional for after back surgery, overcoming personal challenges and lots of hard work.

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This victory symbolizing why we should never give up!

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History made at East Lake Golf course today with 42 year old Tiger.  Atlantans are hysterical!

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Tearing up after an amazing win, Tiger thanked those who helped him make it back to the winners’ circle. It is one of the best come backs in golf history.