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Thursday, March 22, 2012

Fight for Trayvon!

Some time ago I realized that I do not have time to write this blog and have not done so since December of last year.  Many issues that I've supported in the time since have made me want to take up this task again, but in the choice between taking action and writing about it, for me, the former always wins.  The first incident to move me to do both, was the ghastly and unabashed murder of 17-year old Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida.  Yesterday I received an email from a friend telling me that Trayvon Martin was the cousin of another friend.  Although I felt sad for my friend, I found that I couldn't feel any sadder, more frustrated, any angrier about Trayvon Martin.   

Trayvon Martin has been on my mind since the story first broke and though I hadn't known that he was my friend's cousin, I knew he was somebody's cousin, somebody's boyfriend, and somebody's son.  My heart was already heavy for his parents and all parents who send their children into the world knowing or not knowing that they are prey to racist hunters.  My mind was already spinning at the senseless nature of this murder.  My blood was already boiling because the murderer, George Zimmerman, despite clear and obvious evidence of guilt, is still at large with no charges pending.  
Our son Trayvon Martin was killed because he looked "suspicious." His confessed killer is still free. Join 900,000 people to call on Florida law enforcement officials to prosecute the man who took away our son.

Trayvon Martin's parents are asking that we sign a petition demanding justice for their son.  The petitions will go to the office of State's Attorney Norman Wolfinger, who is responsible for bringing charges against Zimmerman. They have traveled as far as New York to attend rallies in support of their son saying, "our son is your son," and "this is not about a black and white thing, this is about right and wrong."  For those who are not familiar with the story, the murderer, a self proclaimed neighborhood watch leader, saw Martin leaving a convenience store one night, carry candy and soft drink, called 911 and, using a racial slur, reported him as "suspicious,"  followed him despite being told not to do so by the 911 operator, and murdered him.  
When police arrived, they briefly detained, then released the murderer.  They sent Martin's body to be tested for drugs (but did not test Zimmerman).  Martin was talking to his girlfriend on a cell phone when he was murdered and a 911 call recorded his cries for help.  Still, the police left his body unidentified for a day (when they could have easily tracked his last call to identify him), and would not release him to his parents for more than two days.   Since the murder, Zimmerman packed his truck and left the area - because he was free to do so.  Was Trayvon 'suspicious' because he was wearing a hoodie?  Because he was carrying candy?  Because he was Black?  Has the murderer not been charged (and is he free to murder again) because the police department and all of the other agencies who have since become involved do not value Trayvon Martin's life?  What do you think of this?  What action will you take as a result?
Tell Your Senators: No Free Pass for Gun-Toting Vigilantes
Mayors Against Illegal Guns brings our attention to troubling gun bills currently in congress:  
"U.S. Congress is responding (to the murder) by working to let Trayvon’s killer and other people with violent arrest records and a history of domestic abuse carry concealed, loaded guns in all 50 states.  Allies of the extremist gun lobby, led by Senators Begich, Manchin, Thune and Vitter, just introduced bills (S.2188 and S.2213) that would gut state laws that determine who can -- and more importantly, who can’t -- walk our streets carrying hidden, loaded guns. In the wake of this tragic shooting, these bills are irrational and unthinkable. "

To join me in petitioning to demand justice for Trayvon Martin, Click Here!
To join me  urging your congressional representatives to vote down this dangerous new gun bill, Click Here and be taken to a page that will direct you to your reps. 

**** Thank you so much for reading my blog today. This will be my last T"Keyah Fights City Hall blog (...for now). For more social action and news, check out The Crystal News and my Facebook and Twitter pages.  Please be kind to yourself and to others.  Share your visions of peace and justice with the world. Strive always to leave each place you visit the better for your having been there! - TCK

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T'Keyah Fights City Hall -
Keymah Presents - - Where Crystal visions come to life!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Clean Air Kudos to President Obama!

Quite often, this blog is a drag.   I complain about what is wrong with the world, who is doing something they should not, who is not doing something they should and always something we should do about it.  Letting people know when they are behaving in less than ideal ways is important.  It is equally important to praise and encourage people for the good they do.  I have no doubt that President Obama is bombarded with pressure from coal and allied companies to keep coal on the energy table so to speak.  Despite that pressure, the president has announced new safeguards to limit the toxic emissions from coal-fired power plants. 
Coal-fired power plants emit pollutants such as mercury, arsenic, dioxin and acid gases.  These toxins poison the air and wreak havoc on the humans, animals, and plant life that exist in that air.  Sierra Club projects that the President Obama’s new position will save 11,000 lives per year!  Big coal will likely push back on this historic stance, so please join me in showing support for the president’s move.   This is a great step in the right direction and if the voices of those who appreciate this are louder than those of coal lobbyists, who knows what strides toward a healthy planet the president will accomplish next? 
To join me in thanking President Obama for standing up for clean air, Click Here!
Thank you for reading my blog today. Please be kind to yourself and to others. Share your visions of peace and justice with the world. Strive always to leave each place you visit the better for your having been there! - TCK

Monday, December 5, 2011

Write for RIghts!

For fifty years, Amnesty International has been a beacon of light for prisoners of conscience around the world.  The organization investigates and publicizes the unfair treatment of  people whose just, reasonable or well intended actions are met with harsh, unfair or abuse, and takes action to help.  Their actions have saved many lives.  Every year, through their Write for Rights campaign, Amnesty International supporters send letters around the world asking government officials to release prisoners of conscience, give them a fair trial and / or cease abusing them.   I participated for the first time a couple of years ago and wrote about a dozen letters.  It was empowering to know that each of my letters would be joined by many others.  The 2011 Write for Rights campaign is underway now and Amnesty is asking you to join the more than fifty thousand of people around the world who are participating in their annual Global Write-a-thon  to write letters that can save lives.

"Write letters to amplify the voices governments are attempting to silence. Write letters demanding freedom. Write letters of solidarity. There are many governments around the world that like to think their prisoners are forgotten, and that their unjust actions go unnoticed. Help us shine a light on human rights abuses. Join us and write for rights.

SIGN UP to Write for Rights! Participate as an individual, host an event with friends, family, and members of your community, or attend a scheduled event. Check out our Write for Rights map to find an event near you, and RSVP to attend an event.  SPREAD THE WORD! Tell everyone that you plan to Write for Rights on Facebook and/or Twitter. Encourage others to sign up for Write for Rights by texting or emailing this registration link:
Get your RESOURCES. Everything you need to participate in Write for Rights will be available on this website, including case summaries, sample letters, promotional materials, and helpful tips for holding a successful Write for Rights event. Participants will receive an email when these additional Resources become available. If you'd like hard copies of these items or have questions, email us:  WRITE and MAIL your letters. (December 3-11 are the key dates, but feel free to start later.)"

To join me in Amnesty International's Write for Rights campaign, writing letters to help free prisoners of conscience around the world, Click Here!

Thank you for reading my blog today. Please be kind to yourself and to others. Share your visions of peace and justice with the world. Strive always to leave each place you visit the better for your having been there! - TCK

Friday, December 2, 2011

FireDogLake reminds us all of how the UC campus police abuse Occupy peaceful protesters.  Join me in asking the Department of Justice to honor their civil rights:  

If you haven't already, you must watch this video of campus police officers at University of California, Davis indiscriminately pepper-spraying protesters while they sit quietly on the ground, as though the officers were simply watering plants.1 Law enforcement has no right to use violence as a tool of torture and punishment against those who do not pose a threat to their safety. This incident is plainly assault and is therefore a criminal violation of our most basic civil rights. That's why we're calling on the Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division to investigate the campus police officers involved in the UC Davis pepper-spraying incident and uphold our right to peaceful protest without fear of violent retaliation.

No matter your feelings on the Occupy movement, you should be disturbed by what you see in this video.

The UC Davis campus police have attacked Americans who are actively exercising their constitutional right to assembly. This is exactly the specific type of crime and abuse by authorities that the DOJ Civil Rights rights division was created to stop -- not just because this assault was meant to stop people from practicing their rights, but to also send a message to other towns and cities that similar, blatant violations will not be tolerated.

In the video, as protesters sit quietly awaiting arrest, a campus police officer walks up and down the line, spraying protesters in the face with pepper spray at point-blank range. All the while, the protesters remain calm and orderly as they endure their torture. As Salon's Glenn Greenwald wrote over the weekend, "...It's only when we see steadfast, courageous resistance from the likes of these UC-Davis students is [the] erosion of [our] rights manifest."2

Who ordered this disproportionate show of force, and who is paying for it? Is there a coordinated effort to suppress this movement on the federal level? If the DOJ Civil Rights Division begins this investigation, we have a chance at curbing further police brutality against peaceful protesters in other states around the country. If not, then the extent to which our government is complicit in this violence will be laid bare for all to see.

Even repressive governments in the Middle East and North Africa are looking to the United States for inspiration on how to effectively suppress dissent.3 We must stand up for the rights of protesters across the country to peaceably petition their government for redress of grievances while we still can.

I look forward to working together to not only protect the rights of the Occupy protesters but our individual rights as American citizens.

To join me in demanding that their civil rights be honored, Click Here!

Thank you for reading my blog today. Please be kind to yourself and to others. Share your visions of peace and justice with the world. Strive always to leave each place you visit the better for your having been there! - TCK

Friday, November 11, 2011

Salute Veterans!

I do a great deal of talking against the war we're in... against all of the wars we're in... against all war.   I strongly feel that although countries, like people, should have the right to defend themselves, wars begin offensively, not defensively, are usually motivated by greed, paranoia and hatred, and are by most accounts unjust, unrighteous, unholy and indefensible.  With that in mind, I've written and send countless letters, postcards, emails, signed petitions, attended rallies and I've prayed that the day will come that human will realize that a war begun is a war lost.

Wars are initiated by people who will never see action on the front lines, they are encouraged and marketed to the public by people who will profit from them in some way.  Wars are fought, however, by brave and selfless men and women who believe it is their duty to protect their families and their country or that serving is an honorable alternative to the slim and dire opportunities otherwise available to them.  

They serve knowing that they may have to maim or kill others; they serve knowing that they may capture or be captured, torture or be tortured; they serve at the risk of returning torn, broken ...or not at all.

Today and every day, I salute the brave women and men who live lives of service.  I am both terrified and proud to count many members of my family and currently one of my big brothers among them.  So please join me in praying, writing, calling, emailing, and rallying for peace, and in thanking those who do what we would not...   


Happy Veterans Today!

Thank you for reading my blog today. Please be kind to yourself and to others. Share your visions of peace and justice with the world. Strive always to leave each place you visit the better for your having been there! - TCK

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Stand with the Oakland protesters!

When I think of Oakland, California, I think of Angela Davis, fists in the air and a fight for fairness.  I think of downtrodden protesters will more willpower than fatigue.  I guess that is what the government has always feared.  What happened in Oakland was not right.  Whether you think the Occupy Wall Street protest is founded in reasonable outrage or not. says,

"For two weeks, hundreds of peaceful protesters gathered in Oakland's Oscar Grant Plaza as part of that city's installation of the Occupy Wall Street movement. For two weeks, Oakland Mayor Jean Quan told the police to leave the protesters alone -- she said that she supported the protests, that sometimes "democracy is messy." But yesterday, without warning, Mayor Quan reversed her stance. Protesters say that, on her orders, the Oakland police fired tear gas, bean bags, and stun grenades. When they peacefully gathered outside the plaza again last night, protestors -- who included veterans, children, and a woman in a wheelchair -- were met with more tear gas and police violence.
Oakland resident Shanelle Matthews saw her city's violent crackdown on Occupy Oakland and knew something had to be done. So Shanelle started a petition on asking Oakland Mayor Jean Quan to stop the city's crackdown and grant Occupy Oakland a safe space to make their voices heard. Click here to add your name to Shanelle's petition.  In just one month, people fed up with wealth inequality and the influence of Wall Street have staged occupations in more than 900 cities across the globe. Cities like Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, and Washington, DC have so far allowed their residents to keep up continuous protests, with city officials even joining the occupations.
In Oakland, Mayor Jean Quan has gone from allowing Occupy Oakland to protest to having tear gas fired at her citizens who gathered for a peaceful demonstration. Quan's crackdown has forced a quiet encampment into the streets, threatening the safety of thousands of people.  It's critical to create a safe space for Occupy Oakland to protest in the city as part of the nationwide Occupy Wall Street movement. Please sign Shanelle's petition on asking Oakland Mayor Quan to allow Occupy Oakland to stay outside City Hall and stop her crackdown on demonstrators in the city:
 To sign Shanelle's petition urging fair treatment for the protestors, Click Here!

Thank you for reading my blog today. Please be kind to yourself and to others. Share your visions of peace and justice with the world. Strive always to leave each place you visit the better for your having been there! - TCK

Thursday, September 22, 2011

 When one of my nieces asked why I was taking time from my studies and work to campaign to save Troy Davis, I explained that even though we’re all busy, some things require us to stop and take action.  Getting justice for Troy Davis was such a thing.
I also explained that some people believe that those who break the law should be rehabilitated, while some people believe they should be punished.  For those who believe in punishment, some believe that those who commit horrible crimes (like murder) should be given horrible punishments (like the death sentence).
I understand the desire to punish, especially when you are hurt or angry, or if you have no faith in Divine justice. Even if it seems reasonable to kill someone, because that person killed someone, however, is it reasonable if even one innocent man is killed?  Troy Davis was not the first man to die at the hands of the United States justice system, when there was much more than reasonable doubt of his guilt.  He will probably not be the last. I signed Amnesty International's Pledge to fight to abolish the death penalty, because I don't want any more blood on my hands:

The state of Georgia shamefully executed Troy Davis on September 21, 2011 despite serious doubts about his guilt.
But Not In My Name.
While a majority of the world – more than 65% of all countries – has abolished the death penalty in law or practice, the United States remains one of the top countries responsible for executing people.
Not In My Name.
Officials continue to allow this deeply-flawed, extremely arbitrary and severely-biased (both economically and racially) system to run rampant without checks, balances or concern for moral decency.
Not In My Name.
Guilty or innocent every person is a human being with human rights. Executions are always wrong.
I won't stand for it.
THE DEATH PENALTY MUST BE ABOLISHED. I take this pledge because human rights and human lives are on the line.
To sign Amnesty International pledge to fight to abolish the death penalty, Click Here!

Thank you for reading my blog today. Please be kind to yourself and to others. Share your visions of peace and justice with the world. Strive always to leave each place you visit the better for your having been there! - TCK