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Thursday, July 25, 2013

New York Times Does The Right Thing

By Damion Boycott

The not guilty verdict in the trial of George Zimmerman has sparked lots of different responses across the country.

Most progressive people are disappointed that a jury of six females did not find Zimmerman guilty of murdering unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin. These liberal, progressives feel that Zimmerman deserves to be in prison for murder. They can clearly see that Zimmerman racially profiled Martin, stalked him, then killed him based on the fact that he was black. White AmeriKKKa has a way of racializing crime and violence as something that black people do. Zimmerman was inclined to think that because Martin was black and wearing a hoodie, he was up to no good- an obvious case of racial profiling.

The conservative right wing whites in AmeriKKKa are saying that the murder of Martin was not based on race. They are also foolish enough to think that racism no longer exits in AmeriKKKa because of the election of Barak Obama. The lie that they tell says that we now live in a post racial society and that African Americans have equal opportunity based on the idea that a black man is president. They also speak often about black on black violence. They always seem to say black on black violence is a worst issue than white vigilantes like George Zimmerman. They use this as an excuse to avoid paying attention to extreme people like Zimmerman. They talk as if black people are too stupid to fight for change on more than one front.

The idea that black people are not upset about black on black violence is completely false. There are plenty of well established black organizations that are doing their best to combat black on black violence. The Nation Of Islam, The National Action Network, The Universal Zulu Nation, The New Black Panther Party, Life Camp, The Peoples Organization For Progress, Man Up! and many others have all been making a concerted effort to do away with black on black violence for years. The mainstream media will not report the positive activities of these organizations because a positive story involving black people is unheard of. The corporate media prefers to show images of black men with their hands cuffed behind their backs doing the "perp-walk." Besides, loud talking, angry black people are not preferred in AmeriKKKa despite what they are saying.

The New York Times however has printed an article about black people making a positive change. The article focuses on New York based Man Up Inc. and the effort they are making to end gun violence in Brooklyn. This is one of the first times a grassroots organization that was developed in the African American community got some positive press. The article, written by Jim Dwyer reads as follows:

No Shootings or Killings for 363 Days, but the Fight Is Far From Over
In the storefront window on Van Siclen Avenue, an electronic sign shows a running total of how long it has been since the last shooting took place in an area of roughly 20 square blocks in East New York, Brooklyn.


As of
Thursday afternoon, the sign read:

363 Days No Shootings No Killings.


This week one year ago, a neighborhood development organization, Man Up!, began to send people into the streets to figure out where the violence was going next so they could hit the pause button. Mediate. Listen. Talk.


Some workers in the project had been street criminals themselves; others had been victims of violent crime, losing partners and children to it.


“You get tired of going to people’s funeral that you grew up with, or their kids’ funerals, from gun violence in the street,” a member of the group, Athena Collins, 43, said. The father of her five children was murdered.


At twilight
on Wednesday, a boy biking through the grounds of the Boulevard Houses, a city housing project, saw five people from Man Up!, easy to spot by their T-shirts and the ID cards dangling from their necks.

“Hotep!” the boy hollered.


“Hotep,” replied Kenneth Watson, one of the group. It is an Egyptian word meaning peace, Mr. Watson explained. When Man Up! connected with young people — especially boys — it encouraged them to think and speak with pride in ancient African principles adapted to Brooklyn 2013.


The boy, De-Ron Jones-Gibbs, 14, said workers from Man Up! had come to his classroom months ago at J.H.S. 166 George Gershwin. “All the bad students would go in that one classroom,” De-Ron said.


Was he a bad student?


He giggled and nodded. “They’re brothers, mentors,” he said, adding that they pushed him to avoid fights “and to go straight home after school.”


The founder of Man Up!, Andre T. Mitchell, said the group was trained in public health approaches developed first in Chicago by the Cure Violence Initiative. The creator of the initiative, Gary Slutkin, an epidemiologist, advocated fighting violence as if it were an epidemic, so that it was essential to interrupt its spread — just as a contagious disease is contained or prevented.


“People think the violence is just about gangs, but it’s not really,” Mr. Mitchell said. “The majority are interpersonal disputes: ‘Why you looking at me?’ ‘No, why you looking at me?’ Our job is to get them before they reach for the gun.”


Man Up! is paid for mainly by the Young Men’s Initiative, a cluster of city programs intended to help young black and Latino men who were most likely to fall behind and to be victims of crime or involved in it. Those programs are heavily supported by the private philanthropy of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and the Open Society Foundation.


The area targeted by Man Up! is bounded by Linden Boulevard, Ashford Street, and Pennsylvania and Cozine Avenues, which includes three projects and three schools, and about 20,000 people, Mr. Mitchell said.


The streets felt relaxed. “It’s more productive out here since they came,” Craig Pruitt, 16, said, pausing from a playground basketball game. “You don’t have to worry about the violence.”


Asked
Thursday about Man Up!, officials in the Police Department did not reply.

Mr. Mitchell said that safe streets required a strong police presence, but that the community had a primary role in keeping the peace.


“Everybody is responsible,” he said.


The authority of the Man Up! workers is “based on trust,” Mr. Watson said. “That people don’t see us as police officers. We don’t share any information with the police. Our job is to stop the shooting and killing. Minimize it.”


As a younger man, Mr. Mitchell said, he sold drugs, then went to prison for a manslaughter that he said he was not involved in.


A salesman in his drug business, Tislam Milliner, went to prison for an armed robbery. He is now known as the rapper Tiz and has the job with Man Up! of talking to people in the hospital after they have been shot.


“If they say, ‘I never seen you in my life,’ I’m going to tell you who I am,” Mr. Milliner said. “I’m who you are. I was once what you are.”


In the days before the group began, there were three homicides in the Man Up! zone, Mr. Mitchell said.


Were they tempting fate by talking about 363 days without shootings?


“If we happen to not make it, then we just work on our next year,” Mr. Milliner said. “Once you start believing that just because you made a year, we done solved this whole big problem, you’re a fool.”


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