This week’s Monday Barrage features a succinct explanation of why we support kneeling during the anthem, jingoism, and how to pack healthy school lunches. I welcome you to have a look, and I hope you find something useful from the list.
1. American Prisoners Protest Modern Day Slavery
On August 21st, prisoners in 17 states began what will in effect be a three-week long prison strike to highlight their contempt for the unjust treatment they are receiving at the hands of the criminal “justice” system.
The dates of the protest are significant as August 21st, is the day that George “Soledad Brother” Jackson, was killed by a prison guard in 1971; September 9th is the anniversary of the Attica Prison Riots, which exploded just two weeks after Jackson’s death.
The prisoners have released a list of ten demands which are:
- Immediate improvements to the conditions of prisons and policies that recognize the humanity of imprisoned men and women.
- An immediate end to prison slavery. All persons imprisoned in any place of detention under United States jurisdiction must be paid the prevailing wage in their state or territory for their labor.
- The Prison Litigation Reform Act must be rescinded, allowing imprisoned humans a proper channel to address grievances and violations of their rights.
- The Truth in Sentencing Act and the Sentencing Reform Act must be rescinded so that imprisoned humans have a possibility of rehabilitation and parole. No human shall be sentenced to Death by Incarceration or serve any sentence without the possibility of parole.
- An immediate end to the racial overcharging, over-sentencing, and parole denials of Black and Brown humans. Black humans shall no longer be denied parole because the victim of the crime was white, which is a particular problem in southern states.
- An immediate end to racist gang enhancement laws targeting Black and Brown humans.
- No imprisoned human shall be denied access to rehabilitation programs at their place of detention because of their label as a violent offender.
- State prisons must be funded specifically to offer more rehabilitation services.
- Pell grants must be reinstated in all US states and territories.
- The voting rights of all confined citizens serving prison sentences, pretrial detainees, and so-called “ex-felons” must be counted. Representation is demanded. All voices count!
What strikes me as particularly interesting is the call by the prisoners for the repeal of the 13th Amendment, which technically ended the enslavement of blacks in the United States. While the legal institution of human chattel enslavement inflicted upon African Americans from 1619 – 1865 may have ended, slavery persists today in a different way.
What most of us are unaware of, is that slavery was deemed unconstitutional with the exception of the punishment for a crime: “whereof the party shall have been duly convicted.” What this means is that in practice slavery was abolished in the US except for in the case of prison labor!
From the beginning, the history of this nation and racial discrimination have been appallingly conjoined, and don’t be bamboozled into believing that racial harmony began to manifest itself because the north won the Civil War.
With Jim Crow laws that sprang up during the Reconstruction Era, and systematic government sanctioned Black Codes that criminalize minor crimes sending black men to jail, convict leasing supplanted slavery. White landowners, railroad and mining companies would pay money to jailers to lease black prisoners.
Eventually, convict leasing was eliminated because so many people died while being used under these terrible conditions working on the railroads and the mines.
But was it really eliminated?
Today, blacks and Latinos are overrepresented in our jails and in our prisons. There are some companies in our country today that pay prisoners as little as two cents per hour.
Here’s just a few of the companies that use prison labor:
- Bank of America
- Koch Industries
- Mary Kay
Is it time we boycott these companies? Should we stand in solidarity with incarcerated people who suffer at the hand of the American penal “justice” system? Is it time we take a hard look at the 13th Amendment that deems that in 2018, if you are convicted, you are in effect a modern day slave?
One thing is for certain, we must remain informed on the real issues of the world, and not run away from the issues that we don’t feel affect us directly or that seem too intense.
What do you think?
2. We Are All One
As a part of my morning ritual, each day I rise at 5 a.m., I stretch, meditate, and read a passage out of A Course in Miracles. The following is a quote that I’ve been pondering:
Perhaps you think that different kinds of love are possible. Perhaps you think there is a kind of love for this, a kind for that; a way of loving one, another way of loving still another. Love is one. It has no separate parts and no degrees; no kinds nor levels, no divergencies and no distinctions. It is like itself, unchanged throughout. It never alters with a person or a circumstance. It is the Heart of God, and also of Us All.
Along with the various articles I read regarding the prison protests, there have been many storylines circulating that create and perpetuate so much division, to the point that we truly feel separated from one another. We retreat to our various like-minded camps and tribes, to fortify ourselves and hurl stones at those who don’t agree with our way of thinking. But this passage is a reminder for me that we may appear to be different, but we are not separate. We each come from the same source that animates us all. And underneath all the bitterness, hurt, greed, and pettiness, my true self is your true self.
Physically we may be different, our experiences are very distinct, and our opinions and perspectives might be polar opposite, but our humanity is shared.
Jingoism – is a strong and unreasonable belief in the superiority of your own country.
This is a new term that I stumbled upon this week and it’s the perfect word to describe the climate in which some of our morally superior, war-hawking, fear mongering citizens choose to live in.
There is a distinct difference between jingoistic patriotism and a true allegiance to our nation. True patriotism is rooted in the love of one’s native land and more specifically, its people! It’s about a love of the nation’s best ideals, it is NOT about blindly puffing your country up while tearing someone else down. It’s not about turning a blind eye to the woes and the sorrier plight of your fellow citizens.
There are some in this nation who thrive on division, a prime example would be the heated debate over standing or taking a knee during the national anthem. What began as a silent protest against police brutality, jingoist like Donald Trump turned it into something else entirely. Trump claims that not standing for the anthem is disrespectful to American service people, and he goes on to say,“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a b**** off the field right now, he’s fired. He’s fired. You know, some owner is going to do that. He’s going to say, ‘That guy that disrespects our flag, he’s fired.’ And that owner, they don’t know it [but] they’ll be the most popular person in this country.”
Trump calls people who are standing up for racial justice and equality, “sons of b****s.” Does this sound like the words of a true patriot to you?
Below is one of my favorite protest songs, “Joe Hill,” sung by Paul Robeson.
4. Why We Kneel
This week Texas Senatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke gave one of the most articulate explanations of why many of us support those who choose to kneel during the national anthem.
I agree with everything Mr. O’Rourke stated, but of course the guy he’s running against, Ted Cruz, says that: “That is a view that is markedly out of step with the vast majority of Texans,” Cruz said in a news conference after his speech. “We need to be respectful of our active duty military. We need to be respectful of our veterans. We need to be respectful of law enforcement as well.”
From my vantage point, I don’t see how being against police brutality is being disrespectful to veterans or law enforcement officers; but it is clear to me that there are those in this country that the police are here to protect and serve, and there are those among us who they are prepared to shoot and to kill.
Trump and his ilk weigh in on the national anthem debate, but they remain flagrantly silent when it comes to black and brown people being killed by police. 679 people have been killed by police this year alone (a disproportionate amount have been black) and Trump and his supporters remain silent or they deflect rather, to the flag debate.
Why I Stand With Those That Kneel:
- I kneel because I am acutely aware of the long and painful history of police brutality inflicted upon people of color in this country.
- I kneel because of how Black Codes and Jim Crow unfairly tilted the playing field to intentionally disenfranchise a whole group of people based upon the color of their skin.
- I kneel because at least 4,000 black people were lynched as a form of terrorism, most of the perpetrators went unpunished because lynching was a tactic approved by law enforcement.
- I kneel because African American were held captive in this country from 1619-1865, and still didn’t receive protection under the law or full citizenship until the civil rights act of 1964…100 years later. And even today, people of color continue to suffer from the residual effects of these injustice, without official apology, without reparation.
- I kneel because of the systematic annihilation of the indigenous peoples of this land.
- I kneel because of the forced relocation and incarceration of Japanese Americans during their internment in the country during World War II.
- I kneel for all the world citizens who’ve been bombed and colonized abroad.
- And I kneel because of the words in the anthem itself admonishes black soldiers who had the audacity to fight for their own freedom: “No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave,
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.
We think patriotism means blind love of nation no matter how right or wrong. Even as an abstract idea, it is hard to see how rational people can justify blind loyalty.
5. Back to School – What To Do About Lunch
The school season is getting back into full swing which means it’s time to pick up our good ol’ fall routines such as going to bed and getting up early, homework, and that joyous ritual of making lunch for the kids.
I happen to be tasked with making 3 lunches every morning, which can be rather tedious and I strive to not pack boring and unhealthy meals for my little ones who each have their own discerning tastes.
- Get the right supplies
- Plan ahead
- Work on your picky eaters
- Think outside the sandwich
- Get your kid involved
I appreciated this article because with 3 growing girls, I can use all the help I can get!
This Week’s Pics
This photograph is extra special because as Rachael put it in an earlier Facebook post, “When you have a child who couldn’t care less what others think, and chooses to embrace and rock her own individuality…you know you’re doing something right.
Not only is she styled with her knee high fox socks, fox ears, and glitter high tops, she also said she was wearing her “be free” shirt as a message to anyone who thought about judging her. That’s my LaneyBug.
Life should be this simple. Life should be freeing. Note to self.”
Dropping the girls off for the first day of school 2018-2019.
Time to partake in our yearly first-day-of-school-hang-out…just the two of us!
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