But that’s none of my business
All kind of stones being hurled around these glass houses
Why Vonderrit Myers Matters
Vonderrit Myers is no Michael Brown. Myers, the black 18-year old shot and killed by a St. Louis police officer last week, is also no Trayvon Martin or Jordan Davis or any of the others on a growing list of slain unarmed black men who have invigorated a new generation’s fight for racial justice.
But Myers doesn’t have to be.
Unlike Brown and others who were clearly unarmed during their fatal confrontations with white antagonists, police say Myers shot first, and the officer he shot at returned fire and killed the teen. Lab results found Myers had gun powder residue on his right hand at the time of his death. He was also facing trial on earlier gun charges and was wearing an ankle bracelet as a condition of his bond in that case.
Myers at 16 was arrested for another shooting but was never charged. And photographs have gone viral on social media showing him posing with guns just days before his death.
Myers, in other words, may not be the model victim in the ongoing story of police brutality and white violence against young black men. But his death nonetheless has sparked an important wave in the burgeoning movement built around the notion that black lives matter. All black lives – not just those that draw the most public sympathy.
“Vonderitt Myers matters because we are still talking about a fundamental question of the value of black children and the value of black life,” said Brittany Packnett, head of Teach for America in St. Louis. “The circumstances may be different, but there’s the recognition that if we don’t come out early and often to demand justice for African-American children, quite often it doesn’t come.”
“He has no incentive to engage the police in a shooting”
Brown’s death in Ferguson on August 9 sparked weeks of rage and protest, in large part because he was unarmed and witnesses say had raised his hands in surrender when he was fatally struck.
Myers’s family insists that he too was unarmed when he was shot on October 8, packing little more than a sandwich at the time. They remember Myers as a beloved teenager who had hopes of getting his life back on track.
Protesters took to the St. Louis streets in the hours and days after Myers’s shooting, just as they had a dozen miles away in Ferguson. They marched and chanted. There were showdowns with police and some burned American flags. The unrest became something of a parallel protest to what had happened to Brown.
Myers’s family and their supporters say they don’t trust the police. They’ve poked holes in the police account of how the teen was killed and have highlighted over and again how often that account has changed.
“A lot of people believe St. Louis police compromised this case by doing things that I hate to think they could have done in this situation,” said Jermaine Wooten, an attorney for Myers’ family.
Brown’s killing was highly symbolic, another name on the tragic roll call of unarmed black men gunned down by white men and cops. The list includes Sean Bell, killed the morning of his wedding in Queens, New York in 2006; Oscar Grant, shot by a transit cop on an Oakland, California subway platform in 2009; Trayvon Martin, shot to death by neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman in Florida in 2012; and Jordan Davis, gunned down by motorist Michael Dunn in 2012 in a scuffle over loud music.
Brown’s killing was also among a string of similar cases across America this summer, where cops killed unarmed black men under mysterious circumstances.
They include Eric Garner in Staten Island, New York on July 17, killed in a police chokehold after being confronted over selling untaxed cigarettes; John Crawford in Beavercreek, Ohio on August 5, shot down by police at a Walmart as he talked on his cell phone and toyed with a plastic gun he’d picked up off a shelf in the toy department; and Ezell Ford in Los Angeles on August 11, felled by police bullets after they stopped him on a sidewalk, at which point they say he made “suspicious movements” before attempting to take an officer’s gun.
The protests sparked by Brown’s killing only grew more emboldened by what happened to Myers weeks later. But while Brown’s killing fits a much neater narrative, with multiple eyewitness accounts and forensic evidence, the Myers case is murky.
There are the photos of Myers allegedly showing off with handguns, holding one in each hand and another sitting in his lap. A lawyer for the officer who killed Myers told reporters the gun in Myers’s lap had been reported stolen in late September and investigators had identified it as the gun police believe Myers used to fire at the officer.
The police account of what happened the night of the shooting has changed multiple times. And even with mounting evidence to the contrary, there is the unshakable heart-of-hearts belief among those who love Myers that he was not armed that night.
“We as attorneys understand what these lab results mean,” Jermaine Wooten said. “If I fire a gun at you in close proximity there is going to be gun powder residue all over your body. So the fact that the gun powder residue is on Vonderrit is not indicative at all that he fired a weapon.”
Wooten acknowledged Myers had pleaded not guilty to earlier charges of eluding police and illegal possession of a weapon. The charges stemmed from Myers’s involvement in a high-speed car chase that ended with him jumping out of the car and eventually throwing a handgun into a sewage drain, police said.
Myers was released on bond for the incident and was facing a court date in November, Wooten said. “He has no incentive to engage the police in a shooting. Any kid I don’t care if they are 14 or 18 knows that’s a losing battle,” Wooten said.
“We’re done, as a police union, standing in the shadows in these cases”
Eyewitnesses to Myers’s shooting told Wooten that the officer, who was off-duty and working a second job as a security guard, had come out from a gangway and never identified himself as he chased Myers and a handful of people with him that night.
“No one knew who this man was chasing these kids with a gun,” Wooten said.
On Tuesday, not long after St. Louis police released the lab results showing the residue on Myers’s hand, the St. Louis Police Officers’ Association held a press conference to discuss the case.
Jeff Roorda, the organization’s business manager, cautioned that such high-profile cases are often tried in the court of public opinion rather than on hard evidence.
“We’re done, as a police union, standing in the shadows in these cases,” Roorda said, adding he and other members of the union had seen the photographs allegedly showing Myers posing with guns and were aware of Myers’s earlier arrest.
Wooten accused the union of being biased and protective of its own. He also said law enforcement in St. Louis and the surrounding region, in the wake of the persistent unrest in Ferguson, has an incentive to show Myers’s shooting was justified.
“I think the last thing St. Louis expected was another police shooting. If it’s another unarmed black man, I think we would have been on the verge of chaos,” Wooten said. “That’s why I think a lot of people aren’t willing to accept that he was unarmed.”
‘Ferguson is the Birmingham of our time’
The Myers killing rekindled activism in Ferguson, having taken place just days before a so-called “Weekend of Resistance” there which drew scores of protesters from across the country. The Myers and Brown shootings served as a double-sided rallying cry against police violence.
Between Oct. 10 and Oct. 13, protesters staged massive rallies and marches as well as meticulously planned acts of civil disobedience. Demonstrators blockaded local Walmart stores, crashed a fundraiser for a local politician, shut down a main road in Ferguson and even staged an elaborate protest during a Monday Night Football game between the St. Louis Rams and San Francisco 49ers.
Some 43 people were arrested during an action staged at Ferguson police headquarters, including a number of clergy and high-profile community leaders.
“Ferguson is the Birmingham of our time. There is no doubt about it. Ferguson is the Montgomery of our time. So each life matters. The black life matters,” activist and author Cornel West told msnbc. West took part in the Weekend of Resistance, where he was arrested and briefly detained.
No Justice, No Trust
Myers was, in fact, the second man killed by police in St. Louis after Brown’s death.
Kajieme Powell, a mentally ill 25-year-old, was shot and killed by St. Louis city police just 10 days after Brown. Police initially said Powell had lunged at a pair of officers with a knife raised over his head. Cell phone video released shortly after the shooting revealed that he neither lunged nor ever raised a knife.
The killings of Brown, Powell and Myers have widened an already gaping abyss of mistrust between the black community and the police.
“With Vonderrit you have the structure saying trust me while we find the truth. But how can we trust you in the midst of all of this,” said DeRay McKesson, a protest organizer. “How dare you demand my trust when you continue to violate our ability to be alive, our freedom to assemble and continue to threaten the assembly of black bodies.”
“We’re out here because people are dying,” McKesson added. “We also refuse to live in a world where blackness is a death sentence. I refuse to let that be my reality.”
Many believe the events that led to Myers’s death was an act of racial profiling.
Police said the off-duty officer had stopped Myers and a group of men during a “pedestrian check,” and that the men scattered. Police initially said the officer gave chase and that at some point Myers hopped menacingly from behind a bush. The police version later changed, as no bushes apparently exist where the shooting occurred.
The latest iteration of the story alleges that the officer chased Myers into an alley, where they engaged in some sort of physical confrontation that ended with Myers running away, falling to the ground and firing on the officer.
Police say Myers fired three shots and that the gun they believe was used in the shooting was recovered at the scene.
“The thing is even if Vonderrit did start shooting at the cop I can’t necessarily say, especially in the environment we are currently in with everything going on in the city with Mike Brown, I still have an extreme level of distrust of the police,” protester Leon Kemp said. “I have to take what they say with a grain of salt and I’m still skeptical.”
‘I Just Can’t Move’
Last Monday morning more than 1,000 people staged a massive sit-in on the campus of St. Louis University, not far from where Myers was killed in the city’s Shaw neighborhood. Protesters blocked intersections, jumping rope and throwing balls, a play on a common chant during rallies that authority “think it’s a game, think it’s a joke.”
Police in riot gear stood at the ready, as the peaceful protests swelled through the campus. At one point protesters held a moment of silence, a minute for each day since the teen was killed.
Myers father, Vonderrit Myers Sr. stood at the front of the crowd.
“You make my heart feel easy,” he said over a loudspeaker. “God bless you.”
The Myers family has joined a national club of heartbroken parents whose children have been taken, regardless of circumstances, too soon.
A few days earlier, the fathers of Michael Brown Jr. and Vonderrit Myers Jr. met face to face for the first time.
“It was really a beautiful moment,” said the Rev. Carlton Lee, who was in the room during the meeting. “They just talked and showed love. It’s what they both needed.”
During the meeting Ron Davis, the father of Jordan Davis, called in and spoke with both men. Tracey Martin, Trayvon Martin’s father, has also reached out.
Vonderitt Myers Sr. was scheduled to join Michael Brown Sr. for a service at Rev. Lee’s Flood Christian Church. But in the middle of his sermon, Lee received a text from Myers, saying: “I just can’t move.”
Source: Trymaine Lee for MSNBC
An eighth grade student from Weaverville Elementary School got a detention slip for sharing his school prepared lunch Tuesday.
Kyle Bradford, 13, shared his chicken burrito with a friend who didn’t like the cheese sandwich he was given by the cafeteria.
Bradford didn’t see any problem with sharing his food.
"It seemed like he couldn’t get a normal lunch so I just wanted to give mine to him because I wasn’t really that hungry and it was just going to go in the garbage if I didn’t eat it," said Bradford.
But the Trinity Alps Unified School District has regulations that prohibit students from sharing their meals.
The policies set by the district say that students can have allergies that another student may not be aware of.
Tom Barnett, the Superintendent of the Trinity Alps Unified School District says that hygiene issues also come into play when banning students from sharing meals.
"We have a policy that prohibits students from exchanging meals. Of course if students are concerned about other students not having enough to eat we would definitely want to consider that, but because of safety and liability we cannot allow students to actually exchange meals," said Barnett.
Bradford’s mother Sandy Bradford thinks that her son did the right thing by sharing his lunch. She also believes that it isn’t up to the school to discipline her son for good manners.
“By all means the school can teach them math and the arithmetic and physical education, but when it comes to morals and manners and compassion, I believe it needs to start at home with the parent,” Sandy said.
Bradford says that he would definitely share his lunch again if a friend wanted a portion of his meal.
Kids can’t share now? Or trade lunches? What the actual fuck is happening?
I think this article is talking around what the actual issue is.
The student who was “given a cheese sandwich” and “couldn’t get a normal lunch?”
That’s how schools handle students whose families can’t pay their lunch bills. They’re required to give the kid something, so they get a slice of processed cheese between two pieces of white bread. Cheese sandwich.
All those stories about the kids who went through the lines and then had their trays taken away and dumped in the trash in front of them because their account was $5 in the red when they got to the end of the line?
Those kids were given cheese sandwiches.
This isn’t about allergies. I guarantee you that kids at those tables are swapping food all the time. It’s part of the school cafeteria experience.
If the second kid was allergic to the burrito, we’d be reading a different story.
It’s because this kid undermined the system that is supposed to punish students for their parents’ “negligence” (poverty).
Taken from this article:
These aren’t isolated cases, either. Here’s a recap of the most recent honor roll of American public school cafeteria douchebaggery:
- An elementary school in Salt Lake City, Utah reportedly seized between 40 and 50 students’ lunches on pizza day and threw them all in the garbage when the kids got up to the register and couldn’t pay because their account balances were either low or empty. Students all over the cafeteria were broken down in tears. I’m sure that made for a great learning environment.
- Remember the most important meal of the day? A 12-year-old Dickinson, Texas boy’s breakfast was thrown in the trash right in front of him at his middle school because his account was short a whopping .30 cents. The breakfast itself cost $1.25.
- Around 25 students at a Massachusetts middle school were forced to throw out their lunches or refused lunch entirely because their accounts were empty or they could not afford to pay. An employee from the school’s on-site lunch provider reportedly gave an order not to provide lunch to students with overextended credit or empty accounts. At least that employee was later put on leave. “I’m pissed that when there are people in prison who are getting meals, my daughter, an honor student, is going hungry,” one father remarked.
- A New Jersey elementary school threw a 10-year-old autistic boy’s lunch in the trash because of an unpaid account…despite having already done so before. “It’s between the parents and the cafeteria. It’s not between the child and the lunch lady. Let the kids eat their lunch,” the boy’s mother told a local news station.
- The middle and high schools in Old Town, Maine have a “no pay, no food policy” that Superintendent David Walker says students, like the 11-year-old denied food because his mom hadn’t paid his account, should be able to understand. “Students are old enough to take responsibility for their lunches” by middle school age, said Walker. You know, because apparently 11-year-olds can suddenly get jobs in this country to afford their lunch at school.
- Over 40 elementary school students in Kentucky were denied a full lunch during state testing week. One student’s account was short $1.15, which the mother told a news station she paid online as many schools require the night before, but the funds hadn’t been processed by lunch time the next day, so her fourth grader spent all day upset and left school crying at the end of the day. Luckily a good samaritan showed up to that school and donated $56 to pay up all student lunch accounts so no more kids would have to go without a full lunch (which isn’t even that large to begin with in this country) during state tests.
- Worse, apparently students at some schools across the state of Minnesota are actually branded with “Money” or “Lunch” stamps across their hands when they are late on accounts as a message to parents to pay up. Yep, they are actually branding children with the scarlet letter of poverty if they cannot afford their lunch, so the child will have to walk around school for the whole entire rest of their day branded and a walking target for ridicule by other children because they are poor or the parents forgot to put money in their children’s accounts.
I’ve personally had the same type of situation happened to me before in which lunch has been thrown right in the trash in front of me when I didn’t have enough money for lunch, and was given an alternate meal of lesser quality. I hadn’t even realized how disgustingly perverse that was at the time because of how it was normalized. Shaming the poor, and even depriving children of food has become normalized. This is especially a problem in conservative states where funding for education is low and funding for things like football stadiums and other less important things is high. Public schools need to be providing students with free meals, which can’t be done without the proper funding as well as the proper allocation of funds on the part of schools and school districts.
All that wasted food. This is cruel.
on a dead floor and all jeeeeez
lord help me this is the most satisfying gif to watch
their timing though
What year is this
There’s a reason I hated that sappy, watery, pathetic book. Now I know what it is.
well thank god black kids are spared this racist ignorant bad writer’s presence and bankrupt philosophy.
Nicholas Sparks writes the same story with the same kind of white people and just changes the names and locations. Im glad black people aren’t there to soak in all his basicness.
WOOOOOOOW. Fucking asshole
TW: Transmisogynist murder, rape - Justice for Jennifer: Protests sweep Philippines after US marine murders transgender women
October 19, 2014
Protests continue across the Philippines following news of the murder of Jennifer Laude, a transgender Filipina woman, allegedly at the hands of a U.S. marine in Olongapo City. Coming just months after the U.S. signed a controversial pact to boost its military presence in the Philippines, protesters say the killing is stoking deep-rooted anger over the U.S. military’s treatment of Philippine civilians and prompting renewed calls to boot U.S. troops from the country.
"We are not only hoping to be able to bring justice to our fellow Filipina, but also to force the U.S. and Philippine governments to rethink their strategy in the region," Joms Salvador, Secretary General of GABRIELA—a Philippine alliance of women’s movement organizations—told Common Dreams on Friday over the phone from Manila.
"Here We Go Again"
Jennifer Laude, 26 years old, was killed in a Olongapo City hotel room on October 11, with signs that she may have been beaten and strangled. Philippine police on Wednesdaycharged a U.S. marine, Private First Class Joseph Scott Pemberton, with the murder. Pemberton was one of 3,500 U.S. military service members taking part in a joint military exercise with the Philippines.
U.S. military officials, who have not publicly confirmed or denied Pemberton’s identity, say that a marine under investigation is currently being held by the U.S. military on the USS Peleliu, an amphibious vessel currently in the Subic Bay free port northwest of Manila.
The Philippine government served a subpoena for Pemberton on Friday. However, past atrocities, and relative immunity for U.S. troops in the Philippines, leave many skeptical that the U.S. service member will be held to account.
In the infamous Subic Bay rape case in 2005, Lance Corporal Daniel Smith—who was found guilty in Philippine court of raping a Filipina woman while other Marines watched—was transferred from Philippine to U.S. custody. His conviction was later overturned, and he was never made to serve the life sentence handed to him by a Philippine court.
Bernadette Ellorin, New York-based Chairperson of BAYAN-USA, an alliance of Filipino organizations in the U.S., told Common Dreams that she considers the killing of Laude a “hate crime against a transgender woman.” Ellorin continued, ”There is a long history of the U.S. military committing heinous acts against people in the Philippines and not really being brought to justice because military agreements more or less protect them.”
"Here we go again," said Salvador. "We have another case, and we are still not sure if there will be justice for Jennifer and her family."
Expanding U.S. Military Presence
Meanwhile, the U.S. military presence in the Philippines, enabled by mounting pacts between the U.S. and the Philippines, is growing.
The Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement between the U.S. and the Philippines, signed in April, is a 10 year deal that allows the U.S. to drastically increase its military presence in the Philippines. The accord is part of an Obama administration push for a military pivot to the Asia-Pacific region in a bid to hedge against China’s rising power.
The pact is broadly opposed in the Philippines, as it reverses a 1992 decision by the Philippine government, under pressure from the public, to kick the U.S. out of its last permanent base in the country, located in Subic Bay. Social movements in the Philippines have long opposed U.S. power over their country, which includes more than five decades of direct colonial rule and the backing of dictator Ferdinand Marcos.
However, the 1992 decision did not actually keep the U.S. military out. The U.S.-Philippines Visiting Forces Agreement, signed in 1998, allowed the U.S. to establish over 20 “semi permanent" military installations in the country. It also includes language that has been used by the U.S. military to shield service members from Philippine laws, including in the Subic Bay rape case.
Residents say that the U.S. military, and the agreements protecting it, is deeply destructive to local communities. Soldiers commit atrocities with impunity, said Salvador. And the military’s environmental destruction and waste dumping harms ecosystems and public health. This includes a U.S. Navy ship’s damage last year to Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park, which the U.S. still has not paid reparations for.
"There are also concerns about the displacement of many communities because the U.S. military is already building facilities in several parts of the country, including Oyster Bay in the Pelawan Islands, which is home to indigenous communities," Salvador continued. "The U.S. military has not been fully been held responsible for the damage it has done."
"Justice for Jennifer"
Salvador says that protests in the country are issuing calls for the U.S. military to leave, and “bringing to the fore” the pressing issue of LGBTQ and women’s rights.
"Every day there have been protests in front of the U.S. embassy in Manila or the department of foreign affairs office in Manila," she said. "Protests are taking place in schools, in communities, and other parts of the country. We are seeing not only women’s and LGBTQ organizations protesting, but also students, workers, and poor people. Even media personalities, legislators, and actors, who before were not vocal about their views, have recently also shared their indignation over Jennifer’s murder."
Demonstrations have taken place across the U.S., including New York, San Francisco, and Lost Angeles. “The response has been overwhelming from our community and the LGBTQ community as well,” said Ellorin. “Transgender people are taking leadership and sticking up for value of Jennifer’s life.”
"We are demanding justice for Jennifer," Ellorin added. "We can’t take the context away: there is a problem with us military presence in the Philippines."
LOOK AT THIS
ATTACK ON TITAN!
Click pics for sources (if anyone recagnizes the last one, please link to her too!)
"I had always believed that I could do anything, and when you’re in school you can do anything. You can play any role, you can play any age, because that’s what you do at school. But the realization that they really didn’t make movies or TV shows about black women… I suddenly panicked. I just had this panic like ‘Oh my god, I spent all this time to do this thing that the industry is not set up for me to succeed in this thing.’ So I freaked out. I freaked out." - Tracie Thoms: Life After Juilliard
Whites riot over pumpkins in NH and Twitter turns it into epic lesson about Ferguson, aka The Best of #PumpkinFest, PT 1. #staywoke