Tag Archive | African-American

A Water Crisis Like Flint’s Is Unfolding In East Chicago*

A Water Crisis Like Flint’s Is Unfolding In East Chicago*

The soil and water of this predominantly Black and Latinx city contain dangerous levels of lead.

A sign displayed in a front yard request that residents keep from playing in the dirt or mulch at the West Calumet Housing Complex on September 4, 2016, in East Chicago, Indiana.

 

By Yessenia Funes

Carmen Garza, 74, moved to the city of East Chicago, Indiana, 41 years ago. She bought her house with her husband and quickly made it home, turning their backyard into a tomato and chili garden every summer. “They were so good,” Garza tells Colorlines in Spanish. “Riquísimos.”

Three years ago, that ended after a neighbour asked the couple why they were growing vegetables in contaminated dirt.

The Garzas quickly abandoned their garden. But they were left with more questions than answers:

“She told me it was contaminated, but she didn’t say of what,” Garza recalls.

The contaminant turned out to be lead, the couple ultimately found out thanks to community efforts to discover this information. And it’s not just in the dirt—it’s in the Garza’s drinking water, too. This is because East Chicago, a predominantly Black and Latinx city of nearly 30,000, is located on the USS Lead Superfund Site.

The former USS Lead facility ran here until 1985. The site was placed on the National Priorities List of the worst contaminated sites in the country in 2009, but the EPA was aware since the facility’s closure that it was contaminating nearby areas, according to this 1985 inspection report. And as a Chicago Tribune investigation in December 2016 unearthed, government officials were warned that this contamination posed a public health risk for decades. Still, they failed to test the soil or begin cleanup efforts until 2014. That soil data didn’t make it into city officials’ hands until May 2016. With it, they saw how severe the problem really was: Some homeowners’ backyards had lead levels higher than 45,000 parts per million, far beyond the federal limit of 400 parts per million.

No one told prospective buyers like Garza—not when she first bought her home or even when government officials came to inspect her yard about 10 years ago to “examine the dirt in people’s yards to clean for the animals,” as she says officials told her. She didn’t find out what was going on until last year when community members from the West Calumet Housing Complex started organizing around the issue.

“Imagine you stop going outside,” Garza says.

“You don’t grill steak outside anymore. What can I do? I don’t have money to move.”

And then came the news of the water contamination in January. The EPA conducted a drinking water pilot study on 43 homes in fall 2016 to see if the excavation work to clean up the Superfund site would affect drinking water lead levels. They tested drinking water before and after excavation. The city, like many other older municipalities around the country, is full of service lines made out of lead. As the EPA states in an FAQ, construction work can sometimes disturb these lines and result in the leaching of lead.

That study found that the tap water in 18 homes before excavation and 12 homes after excavation had lead levels beyond 15 parts per million, which requires government intervention under the Lead and Copper Rule.

Garza’s home was included in the study. The state gave her a water filter after revealing its findings in January, but she still buys water by the gallons and bottles to cook and drink. She estimates she spends $20 a month on them, an expense that she says she is feasible within her budget.

But Garza says her daily routine is unacceptable. She can’t deal with the mental stress of knowing her water is contaminated, that her yard is contaminated and that even the dust in her home is contaminated. In 2002, she was diagnosed with—and beat—colon cancer, only to now face the concern of what will come from her daily showers in lead-tainted water, which authorities say pose no health risk.

“That’s the torment,” she says.

“It’s a constant threat.”

Now, community members are putting this issue onto the national radar so it can get the attention it deserves. East Chicago is forcing all 1,100 residents of the West Calumet Housing Complex to uproot their lives and move so that the city can demolish the building and deal with the lead on which it sits. And while it’s too early to tell how the lead might impact children’s developmental growth, 20% of children younger than seven saw their blood lead levels test greater than 5 micrograms per decileter, The Northwest Indiana Times reports. Parents are already worried that the lead poisoning has made them sick. They’re comparing it to the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, where the predominantly Black city of 100,000 saw elevated blood lead levels in 2015 after unknowingly drinking contaminated water for over a year.

Groups including the East Chicago Calumet Coalition Community Advisory Group and National Nurses United sent a petition to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt on March 2 asking the agency to “use its emergency powers under the Safe Drinking Water Act … to take action to abate the imminent and substantial endangerment to human health caused by lead contamination in East Chicago’s drinking water.”

Erik Olsen, director of the National Resources Defense Council’s Health and Environment Program, stood before the Senate Committee on Energy and Commerce today (March 16) to testify at a hearing titled “Reinvestment and Rehabilitation of Our Nation’s Safe Drinking Water Deliver Systems” in Washington, D.C., another American city that’s has similar drinking water issues. In the early 2000s, the city had a dramatic increase of lead in drinking water—and also in its infants and toddlers.

 

“I think we all take for granted where this water that’s in here comes from,” Olsen began his testimony, lifting his cup of water. He sat before the committee and explicitly mentioned the situation in East Chicago. “What’s going to happen to that community?” he asked.

“How are we going to restore confidence in the water supply in East Chicago and a lot of communities across the country?”

Watch the full hearing below with Olsen’s testimony beginning around the 36 minute mark.

These steps—from the petition to the testimony—are putting into motion necessary intervention to protect the health of the city’s residents. While then-Indiana governor and current Vice President Mike Pence rejected the city’s request for emergency declaration in late 2016, current Governor Eric Holcomb approved the request in February. In January, the city also secured a $3.1 million state grant to begin replacing its lead pipes with more standard and safe infrastructure—which the city of Flint is currently doing as well.

Until the pipes have been replaced, city residents must struggle to find answers about how their water got contaminated—and for how long that’s been the case. A group of residents wrote a letter to the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission in January. “[A]lthough the full picture is only beginning to emerge, this is clearly the City’s mess,” they wrote.

As for Garza, the lingering question remains: “Why?”

Source*

Related Topics:

A Fed Set-up: Biggest Mass Shooting in Chicago Since 2014*

In Flint, Level of lead in Children’s Blood Leads to a State of Emergency*

Nestlé Loses more Than $500 Million for Poisoning Maggi Noodles with Lead*

 

 

No Surprise: US Black People Falsely Convicted More Than Whites*

No Surprise: US Black People Falsely Convicted More Than Whites*

When it comes to drug crimes, innocent Black people in the U.S. are about 12 times more likely to be wrongfully convicted than white people, the study said.

African-Americans in the United States are far more likely to be wrongfully convicted of crimes such as murder, sexual assault and illegal drug activity than white people due to factors including racial bias and official misconduct, according to a study released Tuesday.

Of the 1,900 defendants convicted of crimes and later exonerated, 47 percent were African-Americans, a figure three times their representation in the population, according to the study from the National Registry of Exonerations examining cases from 1989 to October 2016.

The study also found that Black defendants were about seven times more likely to be wrongfully convicted of murder than their white counterparts.

When it comes to drug crimes, innocent Black people in the U.S. are about 12 times more likely to be wrongfully convicted than white people, the study said.

“In the murder cases we examined, the rate of official misconduct is considerably higher in cases where the defendant is African-American compared to cases where the defendant is white,” said Samuel Gross, a University of Michigan Law School professor who is senior editor of the group that tracks U.S. exonerations.

He attributed the troubling results to several factors such as unconscious bias, institutional discrimination and explicit racism.

A study last June found that African-Americans are imprisoned at least five times more than white people across the country, the ratio being 10 Black people to one white person in at least five different states.

A separate study from the same group released Tuesday showed that 2016 set a record for known exonerations in the United States since 1989 at 166, up from 160 cases in 2015.

Nearly 60 of the exonerations came from Texas — the most of any state — where district attorneys in the counties that include Houston and Dallas have set up integrity units to examine prosecutions for possible problems.

Most of the Texas exonerations were drug convictions in Harris County, which includes Houston. In many of the cases, suspects pleaded guilty to drug possession and months or years later, reports from crime labs showed that seized material contained no controlled substances.

Source*

Related Topics:

The Lynching of Hamza Yusuf*

Black Female Activist Falsely Accused of Lynching*

James Baldwin Issues a Wake-Up Call to Black America*

UC Berkeley Cancels Appearance of White Nationalist, Trump Responds with Threat to Cut School’s Funding*

White Privilege Gets No Prison Time for Raping 2-Year-Old Girl and Posting It Online*

I Am NOT Black, You are NOT White

Dear White People – an Open Letter*

White Woman Uses Her Privilege in Dramatic Showdown*

White Supremacists Behind Mass Shootings at Black Churches and Synagogues*

Giving Up on Yourself to be White

Black Wall Street*

City Threatens to Turn Off Flint Residents’ Water*

City Threatens to Turn Off Flint Residents’ Water*

Residents who don’t start paying for their lead-contaminated water will face shut-off notices this spring.

The Last Drop!By Yessenia Funes

Residents in Flint, Michigan, have been dealing with lead-contaminated water for years now—since 2014, to be exact. Many people have responded by refusing to pay their water bills.

Soon, however, those who ignore their bills will have their water turned off. Flint’s chief financial officer, David Sabuda, told the Detroit Free Press on Wednesday (February 15) that the city will begin issuing water shut-off notices in the spring. The move follows Governor Rick Snyder’s February 7 announcement that the state will stop subsidizing the cost of the city’s water by the end of the month.

While the city says water shut-offs aren’t directly linked to the governor’s announcement, the decision shapes how the city will handle future water payments. Per the Free Press:

Sabuda said there isn’t a direct link between the end of the state credits and the resumption of water shutoffs, except that the end of the credits makes it even more important for Flint to collect the water payments businesses and residents owe, while at the same time making it harder for many customers to make those payments.

The city used to threaten shut offs for lack of payment, but that practice ended last year when local and national media, including Slate and CNN, reported that the city was issuing notices to residents and businesses for lead-contaminated water. The Associated Press reports that Snyder originally committed to providing customer credits through March, but the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality’s (MDEQ) January 24 announcement that water lead levels now meet federal limits changed that timeline.

Though the state cites the decrease in lead levels as the reason to end its funding, the water is still not safe right out of the tap. Per the MDEQ: “The state continues its recommendation that residents use filtered water for drinking and cooking for everyone in their household due to the chance for disruption to pipes as the city replaces lead service lines.”

Members of the state’s water advisory committee worry that the declaration is premature, reports MLive.

“We are making a huge mistake by claiming things are getting better and will continue to get better,” said Laura Sullivan, a Kettering University professor and Flint Water Interagency Coordinating Committee member. Sullivan worries that the state would be “10 steps further back in establishing trust with residents,” if lead levels spike again.

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver told The AP that city officials will push the state to continue the assistance until the water is safe to drink. Ending the subsidies would save Michigan more than $2 million a month.

Source*

Related Topics:

In Flint, Level of lead in Children’s Blood Leads to a State of Emergency*

Finally $170M to Help Clean Up the Mess State of Michigan Created in Flint*

Students Give Bottled Water to Senior Citizens in Flint, Michigan*

Six More Charged in Flint Water Crisis*

Students Give Bottled Water to Senior Citizens in Flint, Michigan*

Activists from all Over the U.S. Deliver Aid to Flint*

Matt Damon Calls on Governor Snyder to Resign Over Flint Water Crisis*

 

James Baldwin Issues a Wake-Up Call to Black America*

James Baldwin Issues a Wake-Up Call to Black America*

By Leonard Pitts Jr.

Death has this way of making truth-tellers seem harmless.

Alive, Martin Luther King provoked a president and divided a nation with his truth. Dead, he is an image on a commemorative place mat, his words safe enough for recitation by children.

This also holds, albeit to a lesser degree, for Malcolm X and Medgar Evers. Dead, they were no longer dangerous.

“We took out all the radicality of their legacy,” says Raoul Peck.

Peck is the director of “I Am Not Your Negro,” a documentary built on 30 pages of notes James Baldwin wrote for a book he never finished, a meditation on race, America and his three murdered friends: Medgar, Malcolm, and Martin.

The film, which opened in wide release Friday, is a melange of arresting images, film clips and music framing Baldwin’s lacerating words as heard in archival footage and in readings by Samuel L. Jackson. It is nothing less than a masterpiece, fully deserving of its rave reviews and Oscar nomination and it demands to be seen more than once. Trying to absorb everything it has to say in one sitting is like trying to catch Niagara in a teacup.

But what is most stunning about “Negro” is its prescience and, more to the point, what its prescience says about what America still is. Here are the words of a man who died in 1987 and yet, those words somehow contain Trayvon Martin, the Ferguson uprising, the election of Donald Trump and all the other broken promises.

“People finally say to you,” says Baldwin through Jackson,

“in an attempt to dismiss the social reality: ‘But you’re so bitter.’ Well, I may or may not be bitter. But if I were, I would have good reasons for it, chief among them that American blindness or cowardice which allows us to pretend that life presents no reasons for being bitter.”

As he speaks, you are watching a kneeling Rodney King get kicked in the back of the head by an L.A. cop.

And you might, if you are African American, want to shout hallelujah at hearing those who blithely chastise your “anger” thus elegantly rebuked.

“There are days,” says Baldwin, “…when you wonder what your role is in this country and what your future is in it. How, precisely, are you going to reconcile yourself to your situation here and how you are going to communicate to the vast, heedless, unthinking, cruel white majority that you are here?”

And you might, if you are African-American, want to bow your head and lift a hand to the ceiling, because you have wondered, too, but did not have the words to say.

“When the Israelis pick up guns,” says Baldwin, “ or the Poles or the Irish or any white man in the world says ‘Give me liberty or give me death,’ the entire white world applauds. When a Black man says exactly the same thing, word for word, he is judged a criminal and treated like one and everything possible is done to make an example of this bad n*gger so there won’t be any more like him.”

And you might, if you are African-American, just want to pat your feet and say Amen. Even now. Even still.

“The scariest thing,” says Peck,

“is that it is so precise and dead on the point of what is happening right now. …We have been somehow in a sort of lethargy. We’ve been sleeping and we’ve been lazy. We’ve got Black History Month and we have Martin Luther King Day and we have new laws, etcetera, and we pretend as if everything is OK now. Which it’s not.

“We’ve just buried the corpse even deeper.”

If so, then “Negro” is a disinterment. More than a work of unparalleled brilliance, it is an urgent reminder that when it comes to race and America, the truth is not “safe.”

And it never was.

Source*

Related Topics:

#WeShallNotBeMoved: Civil Rights Groups March on Washington*

MLK Assassination: The Evidence You’ve Not Seen

Dream Defenders Score Victory against ‘Stand Your Ground’ Laws

What Happened to Our Dream of Freedom!

Jewish Mobster-Music Manager, the Mind behind Gangster-Rap, Dies at 75*

Malcolm X: The Truth Seeker*

Ruby Dee: Farewell to Another Meaningful Life

The Radical Work of Healing: Fania and Assata (Angela Davis) on a New Kind of Civil Rights Activism*

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings*

Maya Angelou on Facing Evil*

The Strange Death of Dr. Sebi the Man Who Cures AIDS, Cancer, Diabetes

Court Order: The Re-Education of Lauryn Hill for Speaking the Truth!

‘We Charge Genocide’: Systematic Murder & Oppression of Blacks Continues in U.S.*

Knowledge of Life*

Yoga, Race and ‘Colour Blindness’*

 

Trump’s Latest Executive Order Means More Criminalization of Protests*

Trump’s Latest Executive Order Means More Criminalization of Protests*

U.S. President Donald Trump holds up a statue he received as a gift while meeting with county sheriffs in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017. (Photo: Andrew Harrer/CNP/MediaPunch/IPX)

U.S. President Donald Trump holds up a statue he received as a gift while meeting with county sheriffs in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017. (Photo: Andrew Harrer/CNP/MediaPunch/IPX)

U.S. President Donald Trump holds up a statue he received as a gift while meeting with county sheriffs in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017.
(Photo: Andrew Harrer/CNP/MediaPunch/IPX)

By Kevin Gosztola

Executive orders signed by President Donald Trump set in motion an agenda for escalating the criminalization of citizens, who engage in protest. This agenda will likely have a disproportionate impact on Black Lives Matter activists, immigrant rights activists, and Native Americans engaged in protest against pipeline projects like the Dakota Access Pipeline.

The executive order aimed at “preventing violence” against police officers calls for a review of existing laws. Following the review, recommendations are to be made to Trump for legislation to protect the safety of police.

“If warranted,” the review may propose “legislation defining new crimes of violence and establishing new mandatory minimum sentences for existing crimes of violence against federal, state, tribal, and local law enforcement officers, as well as for related crimes.”

Such legislation would be particularly useful for law enforcement interested in suppressing dissent against police brutality and direct action in general.

It also would fit into a trend developing as a result of Republican lawmakers, who have introduced anti-protesting legislation in several states. This includes making it a felony punishable up to five years to march on highways and increasing penalties for individuals who “obstruct” oil and gas equipment during environmental protests.

According to Officer Down Memorial, which tracks the deaths of police each year, the average number of police killed in a given year has decreased steadily since President Ronald Reagan. It has gone from around 100 deaths per year to 60-70 deaths per year. In other words, police are safer than ever before in recent United States history.

Nonetheless, the past couple of years have seen a sustained movement to hold police accountable for killing around 1,000 or more people each year and for engaging in force that disproportionately impacts black communities. Police unions have turned to promoting “Blue Lives Matter” campaigns to undermine the work of civil rights groups, and with the election of Trump and the appointment of Jeff Sessions to Attorney General, police now have allies, who will help make America a safer space for them to commit crimes without having to face accountability.

A second executive order on “crime reduction” says it shall be the policy of the executive branch to “reduce crime in America,” as if this is some newfangled policy to fight crime that has not been tried before. It suggests the nation is suffering “high rates of violent crime” and that “illegal immigration, drug trafficking, and violent crime” must be addressed.

A task force will be established by Attorney General Jeff Sessions to “identify deficiencies in existing laws that have made them less effective in reducing crime and propose new legislation that could be enacted to improve public safety and reduce crime.”

The section suggests the Trump administration will push for new criminal statutes and attempt to deal with these issues through policies of mass incarceration.

Trump has distorted and exaggerated the murder rate in the United States. It started when he campaigned for president and claimed the murder rate was the “highest it’s been in 47 years.” He repeated the distortion again when speaking to U.S. sheriffs at the White House on February 7.

The reality is the murder rate is near a 45-year low, but the real statistic will not help Trump spread fear and convince citizens to close borders to immigrants, block refugees, deport undocumented immigrant families, and give police departments greater freedom to use force in their communities. So, Trump, Sessions, and his administration spread propaganda, which numerous establishment media outlets like CNN have debunked.

Jeffery Robinson, deputy Legal Director of the American Civil Liberties Union, reacted, “President Trump intends to build task forces to investigate and stop national trends that don’t exist. We have seen historic lows in the country’s crime rate and a downward trend in killings against police officers since the 1980s. The president not only doesn’t acknowledge these facts about our nation’s safety, he persists in ignoring the all-too-real deaths of black and brown people at the hands of law enforcement.”

Sessions declared, “”We need to end this lawlessness that threatens the public safety, pulls down the wages of working Americans.” However, the Wall Street Journal reported

“newcomers to the U.S. are less likely than the native population to commit violent crimes or be incarcerated.” [They also don’t lower or depress wages.]

A third executive order directed at enforcing federal law to combat “transnational criminal organizations” and prevent “international trafficking” once again feeds into a perception that this is somehow new. President Barack Obama, President George W. Bush, and President Bill Clinton each had policies aimed at fighting transnational crime and traffickers.

It declares the purpose of the order is to target transnational criminal organizations that “derive revenue through widespread illegal conduct, including acts of violence and abuse that exhibit a wanton disregard for human life.” It adds that they “have been known to commit brutal murders, rapes, and other barbaric acts,” and the groups are “drivers of crime, corruption, violence, and misery.”

This executive order renews America’s commitment to the futile War On Drugs by pledging to go after the “trafficking by cartels of controlled substances,” which has “triggered a resurgence in deadly drug abuse and a corresponding rise in violent crime related to drugs.”

What slight shift the U.S. government made toward treatment of drug users instead of criminalizing drug users may easily be reversed through the climate created by Trump and Sessions.

Additionally, the targeting of “transnational” crime is directly tied to the anti-immigrant and nativist politics of the administration. It reflects the idea that the vast majority of the problems within the United States are a result of foreign criminals and all the U.S. must do to solve these problems is purge the country of these individuals.

All of which serves to create a dark atmosphere, where dissent against government policies is chilled and suppressed, because the president claims if the country does not take this kind of action it will be detrimental to the safety and security of the nation. It also will potentially prolong the tradition of disinvestment in black and brown low-income communities, which fuels the kind of poverty and despair that leads to the “lawlessness” the Trump administration plans to address.

Source*

Related Topics:

Education Secretary DeVos Blocked by Protesters in First School Visit*

North Dakota Republicans Want to Protect Drivers Who Hit DAPL Protesters*

‘Shoot at Us First’: Veterans Form Literal ‘Human Shield’ to Protect Standing Rock Protesters from Cops*

Cell Service Blacked Out As Violence Against Dakota Pipeline Protesters Increases*

Police Killing Indigenous Americans at Astounding Rate*

Standing Rock Protestors Use Mirrors to Inspire Humility among Police Officers*

Utah Police Responsible for More Killings than Criminals*

Flight Attendant Saves Girl from Human Trafficking*

Flight Attendant Saves Girl from Human Trafficking*

By May Bulman

A flight attendant rescued a victim of human trafficking after she spotted the girl looking “dishevelled” on a plane accompanied by a well-dressed man.

Sheila Frederick, 49, was working on an Alaska Airlines flight from Seattle to San Francisco when she noticed the girl, who looked around 14 or 15 years old, and immediately knew something was wrong, according to 10 News.

“Something in the back of my mind said something was not right. He was well-dressed. That’s what got me because I thought why is he well-dressed and she is looking all dishevelled and out of sorts?” Ms Frederick told the programme.

When she tried to speak with the two passengers, the man reportedly became defensive and the girl wouldn’t engage in conversation.

Ms Frederick said she subsequently left a note for the teenager in the plane’s toilet, which she later responded to with the message:

“I need help.”

The flight attendant informed pilots who were then able to communicate the message to police in San Francisco, and the man was arrested when the flight landed.

It comes amid increased efforts since 2009 to train American flight staff to recognise signs of human trafficking and flag them up. Common signs include someone who appears to be being controlled, is battered or won’t answer questions or make eye contact.

Emphasising the importance of such training, Ms Frederick added:

“I’ve been a flight attendant for 10 years and it’s like I am going all the way back to when I was in training and I was like, I could have seen these young girls and young boys and didn’t even know.”

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement are reported to have arrested 2,000 human traffickers and identified 400 victims last year.

 

Source*

Related Topics:

Strangers Brave Paedophile to Save Teen Girl*

The Clinton-Silsby Trafficking Scandal and the Media Cover-Up*

Planned Parenthood was Caught Covering up Child Sex Trafficking*

One Man Helped to Rescue 6,000 Sex Trafficking Victims*

Israelis Trafficking in Syrian Children’s Body Organs*

Egypt Busts Int’l Organ Trafficking Network*

Dozens of Cops Implicated in Suit for “Trafficking, Raping, Victimizing” Underage “Sex Slave”*

Child Trafficking in the U.K. and the Child Protection System*

 

 

UC Berkeley Cancels Appearance of White Nationalist, Trump Responds with Threat to Cut School’s Funding*

UC Berkeley Cancels Appearance of White Nationalist, Trump Responds with Threat to Cut School’s Funding*

Donald Trump and Milo Yiannopoulos

Donald Trump and Milo Yiannopoulos

Donald Trump and Milo Yiannopoulos

By Tanasia Kenney

The University of California, Berkeley was the scene of angry student protests on Wednesday, Feb. 1, prompting the university to cancel a scheduled appearance by controversial Brietbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos, who was on the last leg of his self-titled “Dangerous Faggot Tour.”

Yiannopoulos, a known right-wing provocateur and vocal Trump supporter has made a recent career out of making incendiary remarks toward Black people, Muslims, women and social justice causes. In his recent stop at Depaul University, Yiannopoulos mused that “I’ve worked out why there are so many Black girls here. ‘Cause I f—-d their brothers” and

“I give it 20 minutes; the statistics of Black incarceration are about to go up.” Yiannopoulos, who is gay, claims he is a libertarian trying to counter political correctness.

UC Berkeley ultimately called off Yiannopoulos’ speaking event around 6 p.m. PST, citing “violence, destruction of property and … a concern for public safety” for the sudden cancellation.

Witnesses told NBC News they heard protesters shouting “No Trump, No Milo” after the cancellation was announced via megaphone and Twitter. University officials reported fires set across campus, including one sparked by a firebomb that ignited a generator-powered spotlight, according to NBC News. Cell-phone footage from the fiery protest also showed demonstrators launching commercial-grade fireworks at police.

“The violence was instigated by a group of about 150 masked agitators who came onto our campus and interrupted an otherwise nonviolent protest,” UC Berkeley said in a statement.

“We condemn in the strongest possible terms the violence and unlawful behaviour that was on display and deeply regret that those tactics will now overshadow the efforts to engage in legitimate and lawful protest against the performer’s presence and perspectives.”

On Thursday, Feb. 2, in an extraordinary show of public support, newly elected President Donald Trump took to Twitter to defend the Breitbart editor. Trump threatened to pull federal funding of the public university for not protecting the “free speech” of Yiannopoulos. This show of support by the president of the United States for someone openly known as a hero of the white nationalist movement is breath-taking in this day and time.

If U.C. Berkeley does not allow free speech and practices violence on innocent people with a different point of view – NO FEDERAL FUNDS?

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 2, 2017

Just last year, Yiannapolus was banned from Twitter after waging a racially offensive verbal attack on African-American comedienne Leslie Jones, calling her a “black dude” because he took offense at an all-female lead cast in the remake of “Ghostbusters.” He often used his Twitter account to mock liberal opponents of the alt-right/white nationalist movement.

The university reported that some people, namely supporters of Yiannopoulos and President Donald Trump, were attacked during the protests, while authorities treated about six people for minor injuries. As demonstrations reached a fever pitch, campus police said that multiple orders for protesters to leave the area were given, after which a campus-wide lockdown was declared.

In a statement, the university expressed regret that “the threats and unlawful actions of a few have interfered with the exercise of First Amendment rights on a campus that is proud of its history and legacy as home of the Free Speech Movement.” However, this is not the first time the institution has dealt with intense protests sparked by a Yiannopoulos appearance, which also resulted in a cancellation.

NBC News reported that a Republican student organization at UC Davis called off a campus event featuring the far-right writer on Jan. 14 amid student demonstrations. Yiannopoulos, who is an avid Trump supporter, hasn’t received the warmest welcome at other universities either, as a group of Black Lives Matter activists disrupted his speaking event a Chicago’s DePaul University in May of last year, according to Atlanta Black Star.

“The whole reason we’re here is for free speech,” UC Berkeley sophomore Jonathan Gow told the San Francisco Gate.

“Milo’s hate speech is not allowed here. When it’s hate speech, our free speech is to shut him down.”

Fatima Ibrahim, a junior at the university, echoed Gow’s sentiments, adding that the timing of Yiannopoulos’ appearance on campus was hurtful, especially following Trump’s executive order barring Syrian refugees from entering the U.S. and suspending travel from seven predominately Muslim countries in the Middle East.

“As a black Muslim woman, all three of those identities have been targeted throughout [Trump’s] campaign,” Ibrahim said.

“To have someone like [Yiannopoulos] come into my campus and affirm those people’s beliefs, it’s very, very hurtful.”

Yiannopolous put out his own statement on Facebook blaming progressives and the left for the cancellation. “One thing we do know for sure: The Left is absolutely terrified of free speech and will do literally anything to shut it down.”

Campus police reported no arrests at the demonstrations Wednesday.

Source*

Related Topics:

Jewish Members of Trump Administration Might Explain a Few Things*

Solange and Esperanza Spalding Inspire ‘Hope’ at the Alternative Inauguration’s Peace Ball*

Member of Central Park Five Ask Terrifying Question about Donald Trump’s Involvement in Their Conviction*

Trump’s Trumpet bringing America to Boiling Point, so what Would Happen if he was Elected?*

Obama Killed a 16-Year-Old American in Yemen. 8-Year-Old Sister Killed in Raid Ordered by Trump *