Friday, April 16, 2021

What "Good Apples"?

In this 5-minute video, Trevor Noah addresses Daunte Wright, Caron Nazario, and the system that protects bad cops.

Think about it...even in the proverb, "one bad apple spoils the barrel," the whole point is that the whole barrel is spoiled! And we know that police departments have far more than one bad apple.

Friday, March 26, 2021

Benton Harbor doesn't want to be the next Flint. It's already worse.

From the article:

"Rev. Edward Pinkney, a civil rights activist who leads the Benton Harbor Community Water Council, said he is concerned about the lead levels.  He said he is glad city officials are taking it seriously, "but it took them a couple of years to get on board and actually want to fight this problem."

"They didn't take it seriously and they weren't telling residents the truth," said Pinkney, whose organization teamed with a testing facitlity to measure lead in the water.

Pinkney said the lead prolem was allowed to "get out of control," but the public is more engaged and demanding action.  This would not have been allowed to happen in nearby St. Joseph, he contended.

"I think that's where race comes into play.  They (St. Joseph) have the resources to do what needs to be done to make sure they have less in their water than everybody else," he said.  "That's the No. 1 issue, resources."

Monday, June 15, 2020

Save Our Youth, Justice for Cornelius!

Join Rev. Pinkney and friends in Kalamazoo this Saturday, June 20th, to stand up for Cornelius!

RSVP, learn more, and watch for updates at the Facebook event.

Cornelius Frederick was a 16-year-old boy who, after becoming a ward of the state, was held at Lakeside Academy in Kalamazoo, Michigan - run by Sequel Youth and Family Services, a private, for-profit, national corporation with a track record of violence against youth. On April 30, after throwing a sandwich, Cornelius was tackled and restrained by staff until he could not breathe and went into cardiac arrest, became unconscious, and later died in the hospital. Rest forever in peace, Cornelius.

Lakeside Academy is closed pending investigation. Shut down Lakeside for good! Shut down Sequel!  

#JusticeForCornelius #BlackLivesMatter #BLM #ICantBreathe #ShutDownSequel #ShutDownLakeside

2:00 PM - Meet at Lakeside Academy - 3921 Oakland Drive, Kalamazoo
2:30 PM - Vehicle Procession through downtown Kalamazoo - Decorate your car!
3:00 PM - Gather at the Kalamazoo County Juvenile facility at 1424 Gull Road to listen, learn, stand up for our children, and join the call to Shut Down Lakeside and Sequel!!!

Please bring signs and noisemakers. This event will observe social distancing. Please wear masks and bring hand sanitizer.

This is about the systemic racism of police and prisons, including youth homes, a.k.a., prisons for children. From what we understand, although it's not on video Cornelius died in a way very similar to George Floyd.

Co-hosts: PACCT BOARD, Kalamazoo Liberation, Marcina Cole (Reclaim Your Right to Health), Rev. Edward Pinkney (BANCO, Rev Pinkney Blogtalk Radio Show)

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Whitmer tries to close BH High School, now this


Editor’s Note: The opinion columns and analysis on the historic Detroit kids’ right to literacy case that we publish are part of The Douglass Project, The PuLSE Institute’s premiere research vessel addressing issues of race, equity, democracy and poverty. The articles explain the ramifications of the recent U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that established the right to literacy for Detroit schoolchildren protected by the United States Constitution. For submission inquiries contact Bankole Thompson, the editor-in-chief of the Institute at .
“To deny education to any people is one of the greatest crimes against human nature.” Frederick Douglass
By Tina M. Patterson, Esq.
In a landmark ruling handed down April 23, the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in a three-judge panel majority opinion written by Judge Eric Clay affirmed a constitutionally protected right to literacy for Detroit schoolchildren, the majority of whom are African American. The decision provided an opportunity for redemption for Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer to finally stand by her infamous campaign statement that she believed “every child in this state has a Constitutional right to literacy.”
If there was any conceivable ounce of sincerity remaining in that statement, Whitmer would have immediately brokered a settlement following the historic ruling to preserve and protect that precious right for every child in the state.
Instead, weeks passed without any response from Governor Whitmer, a fellow attorney who well understands that time is of the essence in any matter before the court. In fact, exactly three weeks passed before Whitmer’s office finally issued a statement in the wee hours of Thursday morning, May 14 announcing a proposed settlement between the parties.
Yet in the time between the April 23 gigantic decision and the May 14 proposed settlement, the entire Republican-led Michigan Legislature as well as the attorney generals of 10 states (Tennessee, Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Nebraska, and Ohio) filed petitions opposing the right to literacy ruling and seeking a rehearing of the case by the entire Sixth Circuit. 
Now, perhaps due to the flurry of momentum seeking a rehearing, the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has ordered a rehearing of the case before the full court and vacated Judge Clay’s decision that affirmed the right to literacy. In essence, this means the previous decision has been voided and the case is now coming before the court for the first time.
With contradictory actions in fighting the case and an ostensible reluctance to settle right away after a right to literacy was declared, it is apparent that Whitmer did not comprehend or did not care about the immediate need to constitutionally provide and protect black students with a basic education. Her seemingly lackadaisical approach and mismanagement of time in failing to settle the case immediately after Judge Clay’s courageous and historic opinion may turn out to be a costly mistake for black schoolchildren. 
In the year 2020, we should be collectively mortified that black schoolchildren had to sue their own government to provide them with a basic minimal education. Further, the fact that a Democratic governor failed to emphatically embrace their right to education and fumbled precious time that stands to now jeopardize their constitutional protections should concern every black person in Michigan, but especially Detroit- the base of the Democratic party. It should also be noted that Lavora Barnes, the first black woman chair of the Michigan Democratic Party, did not issue any public statement in support of the right to literacy and the need for Whitmer to settle the case immediately following the decision of Judge Clay, further demonstrating the questionable commitment to true diversity and inclusion by the Democratic Party.
However, regardless of what political party is in power, the history of this country has always relegated African Americans to second class citizenship, and therefore not entitled to the full weight of the law or liberties naturally enjoyed by their white counterparts. This is painstakingly true when it comes to the crossroads of racism and education, where history has repeatedly documented the lengths to which blacks were continually outlawed from the freedom and right to read and write.
In the antebellum era, the criminalization of teaching then enslaved Africans to be literate was based on fear of education, for if slaves learned to read, they could access information, read books, learn to organize, liberate themselves, and revolt against the institution of slavery. Such was the power of the written word.
Even after the abolition of slavery, the denial of access to literacy continued in the Jim Crow era, most infamously with literacy tests used as a barrier to the constitutionally protected right to vote. Because literacy was denied to African Americans, they were effectively barred from participating in the fundamental civic duty of voting, deprived of representation in government, unable to advocate for improvement for themselves, and predominantly excluded from the American democratic experience.
A radiant beam of hope appeared with the monumental 1954 Brown v Board of Education of the U.S. Supreme Court, declaring that separate educational facilities were inherently unequal and leading to integration of schools across the country. Yet holding on tightly to the vestiges of inequality, many white politicians vehemently opposed integration in their communities, including refusal to enforce the Brown decision, despite it being the law of the land. These historic records prove that race cannot be ignored as a driving factor in this modern day right to literacy case.
With her unacceptable seeming reluctance to ensure the right to literacy for black schoolchildren, Governor Whitmer’s actions mirror the intolerable lengths to which the power structure will go to avoid or deny equal educational access to African Americans. Throughout the case, she had the power, authority, and repeated opportunity to settle the case and provide requisite solutions. She continually stated through her black spokeswoman Tiffany Brown that she supported the case on the merits of a right to literacy, but failed to offer anything in support, instead choosing to punt responsibility to act by arguing that the state was not a proper party. 
The final straw was her hesitancy to settle immediately after the initial ruling affirming the right to literacy, which threatens a long, hard-fought but now temporarily nullified victory for black children who simply wish to learn and comprehend educational material in school.
Governor Gretchen Whitmer now joins a long and infamous list of shameful elected officials who refused to stand up for equal rights for black citizens, in this case, children.
The fate of this case is now in the hands of the Sixth Circuit Court, but we must never allow Whitmer to escape the blame of not acting sooner on the decision of Judge Clay as she waited for almost a month to respond to the historic decision. She must always be held accountable for her role in failing to protect a constitutional right that is pivotal to the educational future of every black child in the state of Michigan.   
Tina M. Patterson, a Detroit native and attorney is the president and director of research at The PuLSE Institute, Detroit’s independent anti-poverty think tank. She was previously a federal government attorney with the Social Security Administration. During her stint at the Social Security Administration, she wrote legally binding decisions for administrative law judges throughout the United States and Puerto Rico.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

23 years old man incarcerated contract COVID-19 from Prison dining hall and die. Part 4

It is not easy right now. Many are expressing self doubt and grappling with how much more of this intensity they can endure as they look around  the crisis for help that keep going ignored. Incarceration was already difficult enough before COVID-19 upended our daily lives. for many this new 'norm' magnified the experience of incarceration tenfold.

one important lesson I have learned is that our perception of every experience can impact the outcome. That 's true even in the case of struggle. When I lay my head down at night I think about my love ones and friends and count my blessings They are what keep me going every day.

I talk to my wife Maria each day and hearing her voice reminds me that I am not along. I also talk to close friends like Tom and Ruth, who help me with important research and keep sharing this experience with the world. They and my wife are the reason you are able to read these writing.

Some how , some way we will marshal the strength necessary to pull through this ordeal together. I refuse to believe otherwise. My hope is that we can all learn valuable lessons and work together to aggressively prevent a recurrence of this horrific experience.

In prison this begin with everyone taking this situation seriously and treating each other humanely , including those tasked with providing health care to those who need it if not, in the words of Van Jones , Executive Director . The Reform Alliance , prison will soon become morgues real talk.

Please continue to keep every incarcerated person and prison staff member infected with COVID-19
in your thoughts and prayers, including their family members . We must remain hopeful for as many of their full recoveries as possible.
Part 4

 Efren Paredes     

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Part 3 23 year old Incracerated man dies

Another man in my housing unit who worked in the dining hall had to be taken to Health Care in the middle of the night and placed in quarantine, because of advance COVID-19 symptoms. He reportedly complained to Health Care staff for help twice and was returned to the housing unit without care.

This morning as I finished my final rounds of writing, I learned that yet another man in the housing unit next door, who worked in the dining hall serving people their food was exhibiting advanced symptoms of COVID-19  and taken to Health Care.

According to people with direct knowledge about the situation people reportedly informed staff about the man's condition during the past week out of concern for him because they heard him repeatedly coughing , but Health Care staff never evaluated him.

Refusing to evaluate someone or sending him back to his unit after receiving COVID-19 evaluation to shed the virus and potentially infect dozens of other incarcerated people and staff members is woefully incompetent , inhumane and medically malpractice. In legalese it is also referred to as deliberate indifference to a serious medical need.

Several people has made numerous attempts to receive care for Covid-19 test who has been denied because they didn't exhibit a fever , only to fall seriously ill days later and require hospitalization due to the virus.

According to a source with hand knowledge, there were recently over 30 incarceration people receiving care at Henry Ford Allegiance Hospital in Jackson, Michigan who have tested positive for COVID 19 of that number 17 of them were on ventilators.

One can't help but wonder how many of those people made repeated  requests for care before descending into such a dire state of Health. This is a matter that richly deserves to be explored by legal counsel and lawmakers to see if it could have been prevented.

Several people have asked me how I am doing mentally and emotionally. The truth is I am exhausted This experience is taking a heavy toll on every incarcerated person fighting tireless to protect their lives Remaining hypervigilant is grueling for those who know they must muster all their energy to keep fighting to stay healthy.

It's been tough hearing my mother's tears on the phone telling me can't stop worrying or thinking about me as she see the rising number of people testing positive for COVID-19 at this prison and around the state. It also been tough talking to my wife about this experience and trying to keep our young 10 year old daughter from going stir crazy in the house because of the Governor's stay home stay safe order.

  At the end of the day I know I must keep sharing the stories of our experiences inside prison, particularly for those who have no voice or platform to tell their own stories. People are enduring hardship every day. They are experiencing worry , feeling disoriented and overwhelmed. Many are also grieving the loss of loved ones who succumbed to COVID-19 and died alone in a hospital, because they could not have visitors.

PART 3                                                                               .                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Update on Jessica Gray

Jessica Gray is missing. She may have been killed on Dec. 1, 2019.
We believe she was shot at 308 Crystal Ave. in Benton Township.
Blood was found all over the house, on the door, and a large amount
in front of the house. The house belongs to Willie Lark, Jr. 

Lark fled to Columbus Ohio where he was arrested, not for the
 murder, but for a parole violation. The body has not been discovered 
as of today. We are offering a reward of $750.00 for information that 
would lead us to Jessica Gray's body. Please contact Rev. Edward Pinkney, 
at 269-369-8257.  If you would like to help increase the reward, please mail a check to 1940 Union Ave., Benton Harbor, MI 49022 or go to PayPal. 
Call anytime for further information.

Rev. Edward Pinkney