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OPINION: Black and Asians Are United No Matter What the New York Times Says

Blacks and Asians may not have done anything at the level or speed as the Times expected to happen over the past year. But it doesn’t mean “nothing” is happening. Communities around the country, Black and Asian, are working together because we all want the same thing– a sense of peace and safety where we live and work.

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Emil Guillermo is a journalist and commentator. Listen to his show on Facebook on EmilGuillermo.Media. Or on www.amok.com.
Emil Guillermo is a journalist and commentator. Listen to his show on Facebook on EmilGuillermo.Media. Or on www.amok.com.

By Emil Guillermo

On CNN, Lisa Ling showcased one group in Oakland where Black youth are working with other young Asian Americans to provide escort services for elderly Asians. It’s no big deal, unless you’re among the elderly, scared by what is happening in our neighborhoods.

It’s an example of the grassroots efforts that show a real unity among Blacks and Asians. And it defies what you may have read in the New York Times.

Recently, that paper published the article “In Fight Against Violence, Asian And Black Activists Struggle to Agree,” subtitled, “Calls for unity have ebbed over disagreement on one main issue: policing.”

Really?

Since there is no central Black/Asian forum nationally, enterprising reporters are left to do a kind of journalism that on the surface seems legit, but all it does is put a fine point on nothing.

It’s done this way. Come up with a hypothesis. Talk to a selected group of historians, activists, commentators, which of course, shows the bias of the reporter. Present the group’s individual opinions — note I said opinion, not facts — and let all that become the driver of the hypothesis.

Present what you have with the sharpest point possible. Voila, a news story.

Was the Times truthful? Partially, but it also magnified its view into something larger than it is.

Blacks and Asians may not have done anything at the level or speed as the Times expected to happen over the past year. But it doesn’t mean “nothing” is happening. Communities around the country, Black and Asian, are working together because we all want the same thing– a sense of peace and safety where we live and work.

And a sense of justice when we are done wrong. Ask Angelo Quinto’s family.

Last Christmas, Quinto, a 30-year-old Filipino American Navy veteran from Antioch was having a “mental episode” when his family called the police seeking assistance. Quinto was cuffed and held face to the ground.

Sound familiar? It was the “George Floyd” police move, and Quinto was under the knee of an Antioch cop. Quinto lost consciousness, then died later at a hospital. Was that good policing?

The police have denied doing anything wrong and have escaped any responsibility so far. But Quinto’s family is seeking a wrongful death suit against the City of Antioch.

The family called the police for help, not for them to kill their family member. The family has hired John Burris, the noted Oakland civil rights attorney.

Blacks and Asians are working together.

Recently, there has been a rash of crimes committed by Blacks on Asians, notably in San Jose, Calif. But when these crimes happen, they don’t generally reflect the sentiments of communities, just the criminals. You can’t use that to fan the narrative of “communities at war.”

In a Twitter thread, here’s the reaction of the group #StopAAPIHate, which has monitored crimes against Asians during the pandemic.

“By focusing on the divide between AAPIs and Black communities over policing, this [New York Times] article adds to an all-too common and often exaggerated narrative of tensions between AAPIs and other communities of color,” the group tweeted.

“According to our recent survey, AAPIs believe the top three solutions to anti-AAPI hate are actually education, community-based initiatives and civil rights enforcement,” the thread added.

Policing is an issue, sure. But not as significant a divide among us as the Times makes it sound.

It’s different from the hot rhetoric of the mainstream that stumbles over the word “defunding” as if it means abolition of police, vs. “retraining,” or the “reallocating of resources,” which actually helps people get what they need when they call police.

Here’s the question that must be asked: Why do police so often become the “bad guys”?

It’s an issue we must pursue in 2022. Together.

But don’t be mistaken: Black and Asian communities are working together. We want the same thing — a sense of peace and safety where we live and work. And a sense of justice when we are done wrong.

Emil Guillermo is a journalist and commentator. Listen to his show on Facebook on EmilGuillermo.Media. Or on www.amok.com

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Activism

Collaboration Key to Anti-Trafficking Efforts

According to District Attorney Lori Frugoli, community education is paramount in the work of the coalition. Student, parent, and teacher education is also something that MCCEHT strongly supports through the PROTECT program, coordinated with the Marin County Office of Education (MCOE). MCCEHT member Marlene Capra has worked with MCOE and the 3 Strands Global Foundation to keep efforts to stop human trafficking in the spotlight and teach residents and school educators about the realities of human trafficking.

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Many human trafficking victims are reluctant to report the crime as they are genuinely in fear for their life or that of their family.
Many human trafficking victims are reluctant to report the crime as they are genuinely in fear for their life or that of their family.

Local work t stop human exploitation coordinated through DA’s Office

Courtesy of Marin County

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the North Bay region and San Francisco are among the top sex trafficking areas in the United States. As the co-chair organization of the Marin County Coalition to End Human Trafficking (MCCEHT), the Marin County District Attorney’s Office is addressing the problem and working with partnering nonprofits and agencies to increase public awareness, prosecute those who commit the crimes, and put a halt to all types of slavery.

On Jan. 11, the Marin County Board of Supervisors passed a resolution to proclaim the month of January as National Slavery & Human Trafficking Prevention Month. Jan. 11 happened to be Human Trafficking Awareness Day as well. Video of the presentation is on the County website (skip ahead to agenda item #4, Consent Calendar A).

The DA’s staff has worked closely with key stakeholders to make sure the red-flag warnings of human trafficking are widely known, even using advertisements at bus stops to urge people to speak up and report potential exploitation.

According to District Attorney Lori Frugoli, community education is paramount in the work of the coalition. Student, parent, and teacher education is also something that MCCEHT strongly supports through the PROTECT program, coordinated with the Marin County Office of Education (MCOE). MCCEHT member Marlene Capra has worked with MCOE and the 3 Strands Global Foundation to keep efforts to stop human trafficking in the spotlight and teach residents and school educators about the realities of human trafficking.

A new nonprofit created by Capra arose from her community work. SpeakSAFE, with SAFE meaning Save Adolescents from Exploitation, assists with local fundraising for educational efforts and has provided online learning opportunities during the pandemic.

“With our coalition, the DA’s Office [has] been extremely supportive and helpful in partnering on our work and connecting us with law enforcement, service providers and community members,” Capra said. “It really is all hands on deck, and their involvement has been pivotal. Our work has always been a priority with them in supporting our youth.”

Frugoli said human trafficking is difficult to detect and rarely reported. Many victims are moved from county to county or state to state, making the trafficker harder to follow and the victim feel isolated and unfamiliar with surroundings.

“Many victims are reluctant to report the crime as they are genuinely in fear for their life or that of their family,” Frugoli said. “Our coalition’s mission is to develop our regional collaborative approach to end all forms of human trafficking. We’ve focused our efforts on education and outreach advocacy. We have turned several cases over to state and federal authorities because the conduct occurred over multiple jurisdictions.”

Cecilia Zamora, Executive Director of the Latino Council and Co-Chair of MCCEHT, emphasized the need to have the coalition’s work be grounded in multicultural best practices, ensuring that the messaging and resources are shared with our thriving Latino communities across the county.

“We do this,” she said, “by successfully utilizing our nonprofit members as partners in the education and outreach to their own constituents.”

The Human Trafficking Prevention Education and Training Act (AB 1227) became California law in 2017 and provides a basis for localized anti-trafficking work. The MCCEHT Steering Committee meets monthly. MCCEHT’s quarterly online meeting on Jan. 19 will feature guest speaker Antonia Lavine of the San Francisco Collaborative Against Human Trafficking and County Supervisor Judy Arnold. The videoconference begins at 11 a.m., Spanish translation will be provided. Participation details are on the MCCEHT website.

Learn more about local anti-trafficking efforts via the PROTECT website or call the DA’s Office at (415) 473-6450.

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Activism

How the Black Press Told the World About Emmet Till

Reporter Simeon Booker and photographer David Jackson covered the story for Jet. Other Black news outlets, including the Defender, also later published the photos, though not a single mainstream white outlet did, according to the New York Times. The photos turned Till’s story into “the first great [national] media event of the civil rights movement,” according to historian David Halberstam, who chronicles the murder in his book “The Fifties.”

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Mamie Till speaks to the press after her son was lynched in Mississippi in 1955. Wikipedia.org photo.
Mamie Till speaks to the press after her son was lynched in Mississippi in 1955. Wikipedia.org photo.

By Brandon Patterson

The story of Emmet Till has made its way back into the news in recent weeks on the heels of a new TV miniseries and new developments at the federal level.

Earlier this month, the historical docuseries “Mothers of the Movement” premiered on ABC. And last week, the Senate passed a bipartisan bill to posthumously award Emmett Till and his mother, Mamie Till-Mobley, the Congressional Gold Medal.

Emmett Till’s story remains with us to this day, but lesser known is the role of the Black press in bringing his story to light — and in so doing, helping to catalyze the modern Civil Rights Movement.

One of the earliest news outlets to cover the Till story was the Chicago Defender, at the time one of the most influential Black weekly newspapers in the country, with two-thirds of its readership located outside the city, according to the Chicago Tribune.

The account of reporter Mattie Smith Colin, who covered the arrival of Till’s body at a local train station, captured the anguish of his mother as she received her son. Then, Jet Magazine became the first news outlet to publish the gruesome photos of Till’s body at his funeral, which his mother insisted be open casket.

Reporter Simeon Booker and photographer David Jackson covered the story for Jet. Other Black news outlets, including the Defender, also later published the photos, though not a single mainstream white outlet did, according to the New York Times. The photos turned Till’s story into “the first great [national] media event of the civil rights movement,” according to historian David Halberstam, who chronicles the murder in his book “The Fifties.”

Later, Booker’s coverage of the Till murder trial for Jet helped bring the trial to a Black and national audience. Other significant Black newspapers that covered the Till story included the Amsterdam News in New York City, which, by the 1960s, was the largest weekly community newspaper in the nation, the Pittsburgh Courier, and the Atlanta Constitution.

Coverage of Till’s story was notably different in Black news outlets compared to mainstream white papers. In the South, coverage was often sympathetic to Till’s murderers, notes researcher Michael Oby in a 2007 paper on the Till case.

Black papers, however, framed the story as an obvious and horrid injustice. At the same time, they began encouraging their Black readers to get involved in civil rights organizing, and to donate to the NAACP, which was central to the Till case.

Booker, who worked for Jet for nearly five decades, went on to receive an award from the National Press Club for his lifelong coverage of civil rights in America in the 1980s. At the award ceremony, according to the Chicago Tribune, he said of his work: “I wanted to fight segregation on the front lines. I wanted to dedicate my writing skills to the cause. Segregation was beating down my people. I volunteered for every assignment and suggested more. I stayed on the road, covering civil rights day and night. The names, the places and the events became history.”

Because of his work and other Black journalists and news outlets, we know the story of Emmet Till, and so many other critical stories.

This story was written using reporting from the Chicago Tribune, the New York Times, and academic research by Michael Oby at Georgia State University.

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Activism

Foster Care and Sex Trafficking

On the program, experts will share their knowledge about coming into foster care, training for foster parents, and the struggles, successes and triumphs of the children who have experience with the foster care system. For information, contact Laurel Botsford, of Wisdom International: Help2Others at:laurel@wisdominternational.org

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The program is supported by the District Attorney of Marin County and the FBI Citizens Academy Alumni Association.
The program is supported by the District Attorney of Marin County and the FBI Citizens Academy Alumni Association.

“The Nexus Between Foster Care and Sex Trafficking” a Zoom program, will be presented on Thursday, Jan. 27, 2022, from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. by the Rotary Club of Terra Linda and Wisdom International: Help2Others.

On the program, experts will share their knowledge about coming into foster care, training for foster parents, and the struggles, successes and triumphs of the children who have experience with the foster care system.

Lori Frugoli, Marin County district attorney, will give the opening remarks.

The featured speakers are Cari Herthel, a tribal leader and survivor; Doris Gentry, a foster mother; Carly Devlin of the Huckleberry Youth HART Program; John Long of the United States Institute Against Human Trafficking; Carletta Jackson-Lane, JD, executive director of the Sojourner Truth Foster Family Service Agency. A representative of the FBI will also be there.

This event is free. Register here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-nexus-between-foster-care-and-sex-trafficking-tickets-248412557647Please join at 2:50 p.m. for a prompt start at 3 p.m.

For information, contact Laurel Botsford, of Wisdom International: Help2Others at:laurel@wisdominternational.org

The program is supported by the District Attorney of Marin County and the FBI Citizens Academy Alumni Association.

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