Tag Archive | African-American

Flint City Council Votes for Moratorium on Property Liens for Unpaid Water Bills*

Flint City Council Votes for Moratorium on Property Liens for Unpaid Water Bills*

Council president Kerry Nelson: “Enough is enough. I’ve made up my mind tonight to do what I need to do for the people who elected me.”

By Kenrya Rankin

A trash bag filled with empty water bottles and water filters outside of a house on March 17, 2016, in Flint, Michigan. Flint continues to work through the effects of water contamination. Photo: Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

 

Last month, Flint, Michigan, officials informed more than 8,000 households that if they do not pay outstanding water bills, a lien will be placed on their property, setting them on a path that could lead to foreclosure. But on Wednesday (May 17), Flint City Council passed a resolution that, if approved by Mayor Karen Weaver, will institute a yearlong moratorium on the policy of issuing liens.

Many residents stopped paying their water bills when it was revealed that the water being delivered to their homes via the tap contained dangerous levels of lead. The state subsidized the city’s water costs from April 2014 through February of this year, but stopped after announcing that the water’s lead levels were within federal guidelines.

Michigan Radio reports that council members were moved to act after receiving calls from constituents. “Enough is enough. I’ve made up my mind tonight to do what I need to do for the people who elected me,” council president Kerry Nelson said.

The resolution says that properties with delinquent balances going back to April 2014—when the city began drawing its water from the Flint River—will not have liens placed on them. Eight council members voted for it, and one abstained, citing unanswered legal questions.

“The ordinance can’t go back retroactively, and pull liens off of houses that have already been lost. That was the main reason,” council member Eric Mays told Michigan Radio.

Nelson said that both the city attorney and chief financial officer asked him not to pass the moratorium for the sake of the city’s finances.

“It’s time out for that,” Nelson said.

“The people of this city are suffering. They’re troubled, they’re at their wits’ end…. We’ve got to do what we can do. I’ve done what I can do.”

The American Civil Liberties Union and the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund also lobbied for the moratorium, prompting a May 16 statement from Weaver. From that statement:

I welcome the support and input of the ACLU of Michigan and the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund as this difficult and unfortunate situation has brought another dark cloud over the city and the progress being made to recover from the water crisis. The City of Flint is legally obligated to comply with some city and state statutes that are not suitable or appropriate when you consider the extenuating circumstances we are still facing.

Source*

Related Topics:

Flint Threatens to Kick 8,000 Families Out of Their Homes if They Don’t Pay for Poison Water*

Flint to get New Pipes after $87mn Settlement*

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

City Threatens to Turn Off Flint Residents’ Water*

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

Europe and U.S. Dodging Demands for Slavery Reparations*

Europe and U.S. Dodging Demands for Slavery Reparations*

European Slavery lasted over 400 years on estates in the Caribbean and The Americas. Now the descendants of African slaves are demanding not just apologies but also atonement for the greatest crime against humanity ever known to mankind

 

By Earl Bousquet

The recent furore in Grenada over whether slave history has a role in tourism promotion is an important development that fits smack in the middle of the ongoing Caribbean discussion on reparations from Europe for slavery and native genocide.

Today, over 180 years after abolition, descendants of African slaves in the Caribbean, North and South America are demanding reparations for slavery from Europe – and the United States.

In the Caribbean, the demands include apology and atonement for 400 years of both slavery and native genocide; in the USA it’s about compensation for African American descendants of slaves; and in South America, today’s descendants of Africans (who arrived both as shipwrecked mariners and slaves) are demanding their fair share of recognition, equality and atonement.

Africa and the Caribbean experienced the brunt of the brutal slave trade that saw Europeans sail to West Africa, kidnap millions of men and women and ship them like animal cargo to the newly colonized ‘West Indies’ captured through wars of extermination against the original native ‘Caribs’ and ‘Arawaks’.

While the focus of British and French slavery was mainly concentrated on the Antillean (Caribbean) islands and mainland territories (including Haiti) that they claimed to own, the Portuguese and Spanish concentrated on South American mainland territories such as Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Chile, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela, as well as the larger islands of Cuba and Puerto Rico.

In the case of the USA and South America (except in Brazil), African descendants form small minorities, unlike the 15 Caribbean Community (CARICOM) member-states, where they form an absolute majority, in each case.

CARICOM governments have thus easily and collectively agreed to a joint approach to the European Union (E.U.) member-states that benefited from slavery, inviting them to discuss reparations by way of acknowledgement and atonement.

The E.U. countries have so far resisted engaging the Caribbean in any discussions whatsoever on reparations, the likes of former British PM David Cameron saying during an official visit to Jamaica that traditional aid and assistance given by Britain since independence to the former colonies has sufficed.

But the response by the Britain, Denmark, France, The Netherlands, Portugal and Spain, thus far, (or lack thereof) is very much unlike when France demanded reparations after the first African slaves in the Caribbean – and the world — successfully revolted.

Haitian slaves, led by Toussaint L’Ouverture, rebelled in 1791 and declared their independence in 1804. Not even in Africa had a free nation yet been born and the humiliated slave masters enlisted the support of the French government to make the former slaves pay dearly for their freedom.

In 1825, France demanded 90 million gold francs to recognize Haiti’s independence — the same amount demanded in compensation by the former slave masters.

Historians and economists agree that this high cost paid by Haiti to France over 122 years (payments continued until 1947) is largely responsible for the country having been almost eternally anchored in poverty.

In 2003, Haitian President Jean Bertrand Aristide called on Paris to return the 90 million gold francs, by then estimated at U.S. $21 billion. Soon after, however, he was swiftly and secretly taken hostage by U.S. and French forces and exiled to South Africa.

French President Francois Hollande, in May 2015, ahead of a visit to Port au Prince, said Paris “will repay its debt” to Haiti – only to later retract, saying he only meant repaying France’s “moral debt”.

The Hollande disappointment notwithstanding, no other concerned E.U. member-state has even mentioned the possibility of considering paying reparations for slavery – in the Caribbean or North or South America.

Same in the USA, where not even President Barack Obama accommodated calls to initiate reparations moves and to pay to survivors the wages of the slaves who built the White House.

In 1865, Union General William Sherman set aside thousands of acres of land for newly-freed American slaves, by way of a special field order. But President Andrew Johnson soon returned the titles to the original white owners. Freed slaves were also each promised “40 acres and mule” to start their own lives. But here too they were disappointed.

The U.S. Congressional Black Caucus has for the past 28 years backed a bill called HR-40, submitted annually by Michigan Rep. John Conyers, calling for a commission to study “the Reparations Proposals for African Americans Act”. Designed to examine the negative effects of slavery, it also seeks to “recommend appropriate remedies”. But HR-40 has long been referred to the House Judiciary Committee, where it has since remained…

U.S. blacks are somewhat divided over what mechanism to use to assess the real costs and value of slave wages and related rates of conversion over the centuries slavery lasted.

Likewise, white Americans largely reject calls by blacks for reparations, some seriously arguing that ‘slaves were freed by the Civil War’ and ‘blacks benefited from affirmative action’ government policies over the years.

The reparations movement is however gaining traction across the hemispheric horizon.

The momentum has just begun in South America, with an International Reparations Conference held in Cali, Colombia in March 2017, essentially to outline a road map for the movement for recognition and inclusion of the African-descended minority across the continent.

The African Americans are encouraged by a 2016 report by the Geneva-based United Nations Working Group on People of African Descent, urging U.S. lawmakers to implement reparations, citing “a legacy of colonial history, enslavement, racial subordination and segregation, racial terrorism and racial inequality.”

Also, according to an exclusive poll released in March 2017 in conjunction with a new PBS Series ‘Point Taken’, 40% of US ‘millennials’ think there should be reparations for African American descendants of enslaved people.

Indeed, some of the leaders of the revived reparations movement in the USA are confident enough of the momentum gained thus far to conclude that ‘this could be reparations’ best chance since 1865.’

In the Caribbean, the governments’ approach is naturally quite different from North and South America – more diplomatic than agitational, seeking dialogue over confrontation.

In March 2014, the CARICOM governments unanimously adopted the ten-point plan to demand “Reparatory Justice for the victims of Crimes against Humanity in the forms of genocide, slavery, slave trading and racial apartheid.” The E.U. member-states that built their imperial wealth on slavery were also duly informed.

A CARICOM Regional Reparations Commission was also appointed (chaired by the vice chancellor of the University of the West Indies Sir Hilary Beckles), with national reparations committees also established in member-states.

The Caribbean hasn’t put a price tag on slavery, even though a sum of US $17 trillion is often mentioned. Instead, it’s seeking a mutually agreed CARICOM-E.U. approach to what forms the atonement will take, to the common and mutual benefit of all the CARICOM states and peoples.

Failing this negotiated approach, the Caribbean countries reserve the right to file formal criminal charges against the culprit E.U. member-states at the International Criminal Court (ICC)).

Citing the will of the Western world to proudly acknowledge and atone for the Jewish Holocaust, reparations paid by the U.S. government to Japanese interned during World War II, reparations made to U.S. native peoples and Britain recently being ordered by its own courts to pay reparations to tribal Kenyan ‘Mau -Mau’ independence fighters, CARICOM feels it has a very good case.

Those demanding reparations for slavery everywhere are also buoyed by the U.N.’s declaration of 2015 to 2024 as the Decade for People of African Descent.

The CARICOM Prime Ministerial Subcommittee on Reparations (led by Barbados Prime Minister Freundel Stuart) met in late April 2017 to review European responses to their request for a negotiated settlement.

In the meantime, the 15 member-states, including Haiti, are preparing their individual legal cases for collective submission to the ICC, should the culprit E.U. member-states continue to dodge and dither to duck their individual and collective responsibilities for the greatest ‘crime against humanity’ known to mankind.

The reparations demands by African descendants in CARICOM, U.S. and South American states do have the backing of regional and international entities, including similar non-governmental Europe-based movements and an increasing level of interest and support from African states and entities, including the African Union (A.U.) and the Pan African Congress (PAC).

The European and American governments today may continue to duck their responsibilities. But the results of the strong reparations demands on them, whether achieved today or tomorrow, also offer added hope to the likes of the Australian Aborigines and New Zealand’s Maori first peoples, who may have received formal apologies, but continue to feel treated less than equal in the lands they first inhabited.

Meanwhile, the Grenada ‘slavery and tourism’ discussion is an interesting starting point to revive earlier discussions on the establishment of a national reparations committee (NRC) for Grenada, Carriacou and Petit Martinique.

That will not only be in line with the reality of the vast majority of CARICOM member-states (where NRCs exist), but will also facilitate ongoing discussion across the three-island state on reparations and related issues during the U.N. Decade for People of African Descent, which continues until December 31, 2024.

Source*

Related Topics:

French Presidential Favorite Macron sparks firestorm for Speaking the Truth about Colonization*

Slavery: The Anniversary of the Official Ending of a System that Bankrolled and Civilized Cameron’s British Empire*

Call for UK to Pay India Reparations for Colonial-era Damage*

Tanzania Demands Reparations for German Colonial Atrocities*

The Case for Reparations to Africa: Britain Apology is Cheap*

Unpaid Debts: Reparation For Colonialism*

Fourteen Caribbean Nations Demand Reparation from Colonial Britain*

An Ancient Kingdom Demands Reparation from the Queen of England

At the World Economic Forum-Africa Germany Pitched a Dubious New G20 Corporate Strategy*

Chicago Pays $5.5mn in Reparations to 57 Black Men Tortured by Police Decades Ago*

Call for UK to Pay India Reparations for Colonial-era Damage*

Germany, where’s the Reparation for Greece?*

 

 

Private Prisons Rooted In Slavery Make A Comeback Under Trump*

Private Prisons Rooted In Slavery Make A Comeback Under Trump*

By David Love

President Obama announced the end of the use of private, for-profit prisons by the Federal Bureau of Prisons in light of abuses by prison companies and safety and security problems that are worse than government-operated facilities. The decision impacted 22,000 federal prisoners, or 12% of the total, according to the Justice Department inspector general.

That was then, this is now. The private-prison industry donated heavily to Trump, and now they are cashing in their chips.

As Political Dig reported, the Obama administration’s decision to end the contracts with private companies was due to the abuse and mistreatment of prisoners by GEO Group. In 2012, a federal judge referred to a GE-operated prison as a

“cesspool of unconstitutional and inhuman acts and conditions,” according to The International Business Times.

In 2014, the head of the Mississippi prison system was charged with accepting bribes from private prisons and pleaded guilty. The GEO Group donated $250,000 to Trump’s inauguration activities, as USA Today reported, while a GEO Group subsidiary also gave $225,000 to Rebuild America Now, a pro-Trump super PAC. The Campaign Legal Center, a nonpartisan watchdog group, filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) alleging that in giving to the Trump super PAC, the GEO Group violated a federal law barring political contributions from government contractors, as VICE News reported. CoreCivic (formerly Corrections Corporation of America or CCA) also contributed $250,000 to Trump.

In February, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the Obama ban on private prisons was reversed. The GEO was awarded a contract with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for a $110-million, 1,000-bed detention facility in Conroe, Texas, with an expected annual revenue stream of $44 million, according to Political Dig. Politico had reported that in October, GEO Group hired two former Sessions aides to lobby in favor of federal prison outsourcing to for-profit industry.

The Trump victory will increase the profitability of immigration detention centres as well. New Department of Homeland Security (DHS) guidelines require ICE and border patrol agents to detain all undocumented immigrants that are caught, a departure from the “catch and release” policy allowing immigration officials to release people and order them to reappear for court hearings. Private detention centres account for 65% of DHS facilities, according to USA Today. The new DHS guidelines requiring detentions of the undocumented serve to expand bed capacity for these ICE facilities operated by GEO Group and CoreCivic, as The Intercept noted. According to CNN, stocks for these companies have soared 100% since the election of Donald Trump.

A Southern chain gang

 

Private prisons are lucrative, as the warehousing of poor, Black and brown bodies is big business. A report from The Public Interest found that six Wall Street banks finance the two industry leaders, CoreCivic and GEO Group. The banks include Wells Fargo, Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, BNP Paribas, SunTrust and U.S. Bancorp. These banks profit by providing loans, credit and bonds to these companies. In turn, these prison corporations benefit from financing by operating as real estate trusts, which helps reduce their taxes. “CCA and GEO Group have relied on debt financing from banks to expand their control of the criminal justice and immigration enforcement systems by acquiring smaller companies that provide ‘community corrections’ services, like residential reentry and electronic monitoring,” the report said. At the end of June 2016, GEO had a total of $1.9 billion in debt, while CoreCivic had $1.5 billion.

Placing public services and functions in the hands of private actors for the purpose of making a buck is fraught with potential pitfalls, not the least of which is the potential exploitation of human beings. In the case of prisons for profit, modern-day slavery has emerged. For the first time in history, a class-action suit alleges that a private prison company violated anti-slavery laws. Tens of thousands of immigrant detainees allege they were forced to work for $1 a day or without pay at the Denver Contract Detention Facility, which is operated by the GEO Group, under contract with ICE, as The Washington Post reported. First filed in 2014, the suit received class-action status in March and could encompass as many as 60,000 plaintiffs, including past and current immigrant detainees.

Parchman prison convict labour, 1911

 

Slavery and imprisonment are interconnected. For example, the 13th Amendment bans involuntary servitude “except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted.” Similarly, private prisons trace their origins to the slave trade. For example, in 2000, GEO Group contracted with the federal government to build a prison on the site of one of North Carolina’s largest slave plantations. Around 1,200 Black inmates from the District of Columbia would be imprisoned at the location where some of their ancestors were likely enslaved years earlier. During the slave trade, private prisons were an important part of human trafficking in D.C. — slave dealers’ torture chambers that they were — with the nation’s capital serving as a major hub in the trading of Black people in the 19th century.

Even after slavery ended in name, the institution continued in practice through the convict lease system, where states leased out Black convict labor to private contractors, including ex-plantation owners. The Jim Crow regime rounded up Black men on trumped-up charges and leased them out to build the railroads, pick cotton and work in the mines. Louisiana State Penitentiary, also known as Angola, and Mississippi State Penitentiary, also known as Parchman Farm, were actual slave plantations before they became state prison farms. Given that the modern-day private prisons — like the plantations and work farms of an earlier era — were filled with Black people deprived of their rights and forced to work for free, this is a distinction without difference.

In the age of Trump, private industry will continue to maintain its historical role of exploiting Black people and imprisoning them for profit.

Source*

Related Topics:

Justice Department to Breaks Ties with Private Prisons!?*

Texas Prison Authorities Ban 15,000 Books… But Allow Hitler’s ‘Mein Kampf’*

City That Ran Debtors’ Prison Will Have To Pay Millions to the Poor People It Jailed*

U.S. has 5% of World’s Female Population, but 30% of Women in Prison*

U.S. Judge Orders Release of ILLEGALLY Imprisoned Immigrant Children From Detention Centres*

Ireland Refuses to Extradite Man to US Because Prison System is too Inhumane*

The Cuban Five are Free After 16 years Wrongful Imprisonment*

Are Schools Preparing Black Boys… for Prison?

Homeless People Incarcerated in US Deported to Camps

Land of the Incarcerated*

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

Nixon Advisor Admitted War on Drugs Invented to Crush Anti-War and Black Movements*

Chicago Pays $5.5mn in Reparations to 57 Black Men Tortured by Police Decades Ago*

 

Newly Released Documents Show Black Lives Matter Infiltrated by NYPD*

Newly Released Documents Show Black Lives Matter Infiltrated by NYPD*

By Alek Hidell

Documents uncovered as part of a Freedom of Information Act request have revealed that the NYPD’s surveillance of the Black Lives Matter movement went much farther than anyone could have anticipated. The records uncovered by a New York law firm have painted a picture of overreach and mass surveillance directed toward the BLM movement

Most of the documents uncovered were emails. The emails showed that not only had the NYPD been on a mission to infiltrate the BLM movement, but it had in fact succeeded. The emails also revealed that undercover officers had gained enough trust in the organization to be actively included in planning meetings, and even took part in demonstrations.

Many of the communications documented the activities of members to include times and places of planned demonstrations. According to Elsa Waithe, a Black Lives Matter organizer, she confirmed that the NYPD was in fact in possession of information that was only distributed among management.

“The text loop was definitely just for organizers, I don’t know how that got out. Someone had to have told someone how to get on it, probably trusting someone they had seen a few times in good faith. We clearly compromised ourselves,” Waithe said.

The suggestion is that NYPD undercover operatives were able to infiltrate the organization in its early stages and those undercover officers were able to rise in the organization. Keegan Stephan, who has been involved with the BLM movement and was familiar with the organizational structure, agrees.

“I feel like the undercover was somebody who was or is very much a part of the group, and has access to information we only give to people we trust.”

According to Joseph Giacalone, a former NYPD detective and consultant to the Guardian, it would have been difficult for undercover agents to infiltrate and get so close to leadership in such a short period of time. When asked about why the NYPD would go to such lengths to spy on the organization, Giacalone stated,

“If you take out the biggest mouth, everybody just withers away, so you concentrate on the ones you believe are your organizers. Once you identify that person, you can run computer checks on them to see if they have a warrant out or any summons failures, then you can drag them in before they go out to speak or rile up the crowd, as long as you have reasonable cause to do so.”

Lawyers are now examining the emails to see if the NYPD broke any laws while undergoing their surveillance. Typically, surveillance this intrusive has to be authorized by a special committee within the NYPD, however, in this instance there is no criminal justification for spying on a civil rights group. Spying on civil rights groups was done by the federal government in the 1950’s and 60s to quash uprisings. In this case, the NYPD may have overstepped its boundary.

The emails only tell a part of the story, which left BLM and their attorneys wondering if the NYPD has withheld additional documents which would clarify their actions. Requests have already been submitted for any relevant documents that were not produced. The outcome, whether intended or not, was to undermine the trust that members had in the BLM organization. The knowledge that an undercover cop may have held a leadership position in the group has left many within wondering who at the top they can trust.

Source*

Related Topics:

Hacked messages of #BlackLivesMatter leader reveal Obama admin’s plan for ‘summer of chaos’ and martial law

Black NYPD Officers Sue the Department, Were Pressured to Meet Quotas of Black Arrests*

New Settlement Aims to Protect Muslims from Discriminatory NYPD Surveillance*

NYPD Officials, Prominent Jewish Business Men in Bribery Corruption Scandal*

NYPD a Law unto Themselves Forces Photographer Shaun Thomas into a Psych Ward Again*

#Arabs4BlackPower Releases Movement for Black Lives Solidarity Statement*

Jewish Anti-Occupation Activists Stand With Black Lives Matter*

Why were the Black Lives Matter protesters at London City Airport all White?*

A Black Lives Protest Just Turned Into a Barbecue Event with Police*

 

Black Community Unites to Protect D.C. After Girls Go Missing*

Black Community Unites to Protect D.C. After Girls Go Missing*

A few days ago, info about 14 girls going missing in 24 hours in Washington, D.C. went viral. Though the number may not actually be 14, it struck a nerve because people are going missing.

It gave inspiration to people seeking to protect the community and exercise their right to self- defense. Black Men United organized an effort to patrol D.C., and activists are doing everything they can to pay attention.

This is the official number of girls who are missing. According to the Associated Press:

“The District of Columbia logged 501 cases of missing juveniles, many of them black or Latino, in the first three months of this year, according to the Metropolitan Police Department, the city’s police force. Twenty-two were unsolved as of March 22, police said.”

The true number may be more, but this strikes a nerve with people in D.C. and all over the U.S. for a reason: people are going missing.

It’s inspiring to see people become active, trying to actually do something about this.

Although getting active in the community and taking initiative toward self-defense is one of the most positive things people can do about this problem, the mainstream media is being dismissive. The media seems dismissive about anything involving human trafficking.

Snopes weighed in and did their usual condescending thing. A mainstream article from Teen Vogue bears the headline “False Tweet About Missing Girls in D.C. Goes Viral.”

If you’d rather correct the error “14 girls in 24 hours” than be happy that the truth is going viral, you’re not understanding the gravity of the situation. People are being kidnapped, and human trafficking, pedophile rings, these things are real.

A viral article from USA Today adds:

“Black lawmakers are calling on the FBI to investigate whether there is an increase in cases of missing black children and teens in the nation’s capital. 

In a letter obtained by the Associated Press, Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-La., Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., called on Attorney General Jeff Sessions and FBI Director James Comey to “devote the resources necessary to determine whether these developments are an anomaly or whether they are indicative of an underlying trend that must be addressed.”

On social media, people are using the hashtag #MissingDcGirls to voice frustration over lack of media coverage in what  many believe is an uptick in cases of missing black and Latina girls.” 

But these lawmakers are not on the people’s side. They want the FBI to investigate this?

The FBI that threatened to assassinate MLK with the “suicide note” they sent him, that was only disclosed because brave activists stole the documents? The FBI that refuses to investigate high level paedophilia and human trafficking? They want to beg Jeff Sessions and James Comey?

Only the people can protect themselves, and unite to protect the vulnerable in their community.

An article from the BBC speaks in a dismissive tone, crediting the D.C. police’s Twitter activity with the rise of awareness about missing children.

It’s titled “Are Washington girls really going missing?.” Reading from it:

“Metro Police Department (MPD) has always shared some missing persons on social media, but early this year the new police commander decided to use Twitter for every critical case. Since then, the faces behind the nearly 200 people – many of them children, many of them female – who go missing each month have loomed large on social media.”

Isn’t it inconsequential if there has been an “increase” of missing children? Either way it’s happening.

It’s unrealistic to think that police tweets are the reason why people are becoming aware of this. They may have contributed, but people are aware because they are paying attention to the tragedies around them. It seems in 2017, human trafficking in general is exploding in the public consciousness. It’s about time.

The police may have tweeted about missing people, but they are also being dismissive about their significance. They claim most of the girls probably ran away from home.

A headline from CNN reads “Missing black girls in DC prompt calls for federal help.” But the media does this thing where they take reality, and warp it to obfuscate what actually triggered it, or how people are responding.

As the BBC article spun the story to claim police tweets were the fuel behind people uniting against kidnappers, the CNN article also tries to steer focus away from the community’s empowerment. They cut straight to begging the government for assistance.

They say calls for “federal help” are being prompted, but I highly doubt you’ll find people in that community who want the government to get involved. Politicians are calling for “federal help.”

I could only find a few articles that weren’t dismissive. A Daily Mail headline reads “Two Washington, DC police officers were previously arrested for child sex offenses – one for pimping out a missing girl – in city shaken by disappearances of young black girls.” Reading from it:

“As celebrities and lawmakers demand investigations into why young black women are disappearing from Washington, DC’s streets, historic cases of city cops involved in child sexual abuses have re-emerged. 

On Thursday a tweet claiming that 14 black DC girls had vanished in 24 hours went viral. The figures were inflated, but celebs such as Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs and LL Cool J tweeted their concerns.”

The mainstream steers the narrative away from community strength and protection, and toward the idea of government protecting a community because the powers that influence media are scared of united people.

Police enforce the government’s system of slavery, and only people can protect themselves. The system cannot function when we are independent and united in our communities, when we can defend ourselves, and when we live outside of their control. Our independence is hegemony’s worst nightmare, and it’s the greatest path people can take toward freedom.

Please share this with as many people as possible. Applauding the efforts of people in the community is a civic duty, the only thing that will save us: exiting the system completely.

Source*

Related Topics:

Doctors Tell How Sex Traffickers are Implanting Microchips in Children*

Feds Make Record Gains On Human Trafficking As Global Networks are Broken Up*

42 Arrested in Tennessee Sex Trafficking Operation*

Flight Attendant Saves Girl from Human Trafficking*

The Annual March Demand Justice for Missing, Murdered Indigenous Women in Canada*

Abuse and Missing Pupils Cover Up Revealed at Illegal Jewish Schools in the U.K.*

10,000 Kids Missing in E.U. as Criminals ‘exploit’ Migrant Flow*

Copy of Missing Dossier on Paedophile Ring Handed to MP*

Flint to get New Pipes after $87mn Settlement*

Flint to get New Pipes after $87mn Settlement*

A deal between the state of Michigan, the city of Flint, several Flint-based pastors, and the American Civil Liberties Union, has resulted in the state paying $87 million to replace lead-tainted pipelines with galvanized steel pipes.

The state of Michigan will provide Flint up to $87 million to upgrade water pipes and set up water bottle distribution centres so that residents can have clean drinking water under the terms of the settlement proposed on Monday.

The deal requires that $47 million of the $87 million not come from the same sources approved last year by Congress and President Barack Obama for $40 million, Booth Michigan reported.

The settlement will not become legally binding until Tuesday when it will be reviewed by U.S. District Judge David Lawson. It includes much of what a coalition of civil rights activists, religious leaders, and the National Resources Defense Council initially sought and would force Flint and Michigan to commit to long-term plans for rectifying the lead crisis.

It also includes, however, a few concessions from the coalition. Instead of having water delivered door-to-door to homes not be verified to have water filters while roughly 18,000 pipelines were replaced, the state will be required to operate nine water distribution centres where Flint residents may pick up bottled water.

Michigan will be allowed to close up to three of them after May 1, if 20 or fewer people pick up from them, the Detroit News reported.

The state will also be required to reserve another $10 million of federal funds in case repairs are more expensive than expected. In addition, the state will be responsible for appointing a third party to monitor the lead levels of 100 homes for at least three years. Michigan will also expand Community Outreach and Resident Education programs in order to provide education, installation, and expansion of water filters.

Those involved in the litigation cannot comment on the matter until after the deal is formally accepted.

Comment: Why what’s the catch….

 

Source*

Related Topics:

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

City Threatens to Turn Off Flint Residents Water*

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*

Veterans Who Supported DAPL Protestors Are on their Way to Flint*

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

Six More Charged in Flint Water Crisis*

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*

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