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Reporting Conspiracy Threats: A Step Toward Preventing Future Attacks

NNPA NEWSWIRE — This year, Southern Poverty Law Center’s March report, “The Year in Hate & Extremism 2021,” revealed that hate and anti-government extremism have gone mainstream, infecting the national and political dialogue. The report identified 733 hate and 488 anti-government groups actively operating across the nation. “Hate and extremism in America has not diminished,” the report states. “Instead, it has coalesced into a broader movement that is both threatening our democracy at the community level and embracing violence as a means to achieve White supremacist goals.”
The post Reporting Conspiracy Threats: A Step Toward Preventing Future Attacks first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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Blacks over-represented hate crime victims as domestic terrorism rises

By Lisa Fitch, Editor-in-Chief | Our Weekly News Los Angeles

During May’s commencement address at Tennessee State University, Vice President Kamala Harris told the HBCU graduates that in many ways, they were entering an increasingly unsettled world, but they could do something positive about that.

“I look at this unsettled world, and yes I see the challenges, but I am here to tell you, I also see the opportunities,” Harris said. “The opportunities for your leadership. The future of our country and our world will be shaped by you.”

The Vice President again expressed her concern during a recent webinar with members of the National Newspaper Publishers Association.

“I believe we are experiencing an epidemic of hate. I do believe that when we look at the boldness, the unapologetic boldness of people to speak with such hate… we have to take notice of it.” Harris told the dozens of Black press reporters and publishers.

“Let’s call it what it is. Let’s speak about it,” she said, noting that a number of elected officials across the country have tried to deny the existence of racist hate groups. “Leaders have to speak truth and speak in a spirit to unify communities, knowing we have much more in common.”

While Harris spoke, the U.S. House of Representatives’ Select Committee to Investigate the Jan. 6 Attack on the United States Capitol continued to present findings stemming from its 11-month probe.

The violent insurrection, involving a significant number of far-right extremist groups, left five people dead and opened the nation’s eyes to the magnitude of White nationalist threats.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) has charged Oath Keeper founder Stewart Rhodes and 10 other Oath Keepers with seditious conspiracy. The DOJ also charged Proud Boys leader Henry “Enrique” Tarrio and four of his lieutenants with sedition.

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), the Trump administration ignored warnings by the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security about the escalating threat of violent White supremacist groups such as the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys.

The SPLC believes that Trump’s lack of action has increased the danger and threat of violence from far-right extremist groups and individuals.

This year, the center’s March report, “The Year in Hate & Extremism 2021,” revealed that hate and anti-government extremism have gone mainstream, infecting the national and political dialogue. The report identified 733 hate and 488 anti-government groups actively operating across the nation.

“Hate and extremism in America has not diminished,” the report states. “Instead, it has coalesced into a broader movement that is both threatening our democracy at the community level and embracing violence as a means to achieve White supremacist goals.”

Faith groups across the country marked the seventh anniversary of the racially-motivated massacre at Charleston. S.C.’s Mother Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church.

The commemorative Bible study event began June 17, the day nine parishioners lost their lives in an act of hate and violence. It’s theme, “What Kind of Soil Are We?” was taken from the Bible passage studied on that tragic night.

Mark 4:1-20 is commonly known as the Parable of the Sower, and alternatively as the Parable of the Soils. Christians across the nation used the commemorative event to analyze the parable and discuss, “What kind of soil are we? What kind of soil is God calling us to become?”

“Seven years after the domestic terrorist attack at Mother Emanuel AME Church and as the nation mourns the innocent lives lost in recent attacks in Buffalo, New York and Uvalde, Texas, we find ourselves in the same quagmire,” said House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn (D-S.C.).

“This national Bible study is much needed and allows the nation to turn the mirror on itself,” he added. “What kind of soil are we if we cannot or will not protect the lives of students in school and parishioners in their places of worship? We must not allow the threads that hold the fabric of this great country together to become unraveled by appalling silence.”

Racist conspiracy theories often hide in plain sight

Derrick Johnson, NAACP president & CEO, had some words after the May mass shooting in Buffalo:

“As we join the millions across America mourning the lives and unnecessary deaths of the 10 people murdered at Tops Market on Saturday, we stand before you with a clear message: White supremacy and democracy cannot coexist. The domestic terrorism and violence perpetuated by those espousing White supremacist ideologies attacks the very foundations of our nation,” Johnson wrote.

“Battling the terrifying rise in racist hate crimes, bigoted rhetoric from politicians and pundits, and online radicalization MUST be made a priority by our nation’s leaders,” he added.

Recently, U.S. Senator Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, questioned witnesses at a hearing titled “Examining the ‘Metastasizing’ Domestic Terrorism Threat After the Buffalo Attack.” During the hearing, Padilla spoke about the alarming rise in domestic terrorism.

“America is a nation of immigrants,” Padilla said. “In America, we believe that we’re all created equal and should enjoy equal rights. So it’s deeply disturbing to me to see right-wing media figures… as well as politicians, including the former president, prompting racism, hatred, and division in the United States of America — sometimes subtly, sometimes not subtle at all.”

Padilla noted that racist conspiracy theories are often hiding in plain sight, and that reporting the spread of these theories and relevant threats of violence to law enforcement could help prevent future attacks.

“So, it’s important that we shine a light on to these frightening ideologies that fuel domestic terrorism, so we can stop the spread of violent hate,” he said.

Reporting hate crimes

Hate crimes are notoriously under-reported. A national survey by the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics estimated that less than half of all hate crimes were reported to the police. Other factors that may inhibit victims from reporting hate crimes include fear of retaliation, cultural and linguistic isolation, unfamiliarity with the criminal justice system, and previous negative experiences with law enforcement.

Locally, the LAPD defines hate crimes as “any criminal act or attempted criminal act directed against a person or persons based on the victim’s actual or perceived race, nationality, religion, sexual orientation, disability or gender.”

More than 42 percent of racial hate crimes targeted African-Americans. Black persons constitute 9 percent of the total population of Los Angeles County, but each year are grossly overrepresented as victims of racial hate crime. The most common criminal offense was vandalism (27 percent), followed by aggravated assault (25 percent), simple assault (20 percent), intimidation (17 percent), and disorderly conduct (7 percent).

African-Americans were again also over-represented as victims of sexual orientation (19 percent) and anti-transgender crimes (28 percent).

Crimes targeting African-Americans occurred most often in public places, followed by businesses, residences, schools, electronic communication, and government/public buildings).

Victims of a hate crime should call 9-1-1, or go to the nearest LAPD community police station. By understanding how and where hate is occurring, communities can respond with appropriate resources and support, which can include protecting your civil rights against hate and discrimination, processing trauma, beginning to heal, and doing something to prevent hate from happening to others.

It is essential to report a hate incident, which includes any act of verbal or physical aggression, refusal of service, bullying, or intimidation of any kind that is motivated by hostile prejudice.

Authorities cannot do anything to stop hate crimes and incidents unless they know about them, so that victims do not suffer in silence.

Anti-Hate Reporting Hotline 

For those who have been victims of bullying or a hate motivated act, by dialing 2-1-1, they can now file a report as a victim, witness, or advocate for a victim of hate crimes, hate acts, or bullying as a part of the Anti-Hate Campaign.

The development of the 211 hate-incident reporting hotline establishes a centralized method across LA County for community members to report acts of hate and bullying, regardless of whether or not a crime has been committed.

The collection of these reports will increase data on what kind of hate incidents are occurring, where they are happening, and what populations are being targeted. With this information, a network of service providers will be able to target prevention and intervention efforts to reduce hate in the hardest hit Los Angeles’ communities.

By filing a report, a 211 LA Community Resource Advisor will be able to provide social service referrals, and with permission, share information to aid in future prevention efforts. Reporters will also be offered optional follow up from a 211 Care Coordinator to help them connect with support services. Reports may be filed anonymously and are not shared with law enforcement.

For those who prefer to report online, an online reporting form is available at https://211la.org/la-vs-hate.

Since 1980, the Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations has compiled, analyzed, and produced an annual report of hate crime data submitted by sheriff and city police agencies, educational institutions, and community-based organizations. This report is one of the longest-standing efforts in the nation to document hate crime.

Using information from the report, the commission sponsors a number of ongoing programs related to preventing and combating hate crime, including the Network Against Hate Crime and the LA vs Hate Project.

There were 635 hate crimes reported in the County in 2020, a 20 percent increase from the previous year. According to the commission, there was explicit evidence of White supremacist ideology in 19 percet of all hate crimes.

According to SPLC President and CEO Margaret Huang, steps need to be taken to stem the rise of hate crimes:

“We must fund prevention initiatives to steer individuals away from hate and ideologically motivated violence,” Huang said. “Stopping extremism in our country must be a holistic effort involving not just law enforcement, but also parents, caregivers and educators.

“We must ensure that everyone – and especially young people – are taught critical thinking skills and digital literacy so they can fend off misinformation, disinformation and online radicalization,” she added.

For additional information, phone the LA County Commission on Human Relations at (213) 738-2788.

The post Reporting Conspiracy Threats: A Step Toward Preventing Future Attacks first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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FILM: Top 10 Must-See Black documentaries

NNPA NEWSWIRE — Below you will find a list of documentaries, based on the roots of African American culture, compiled by Word in Black partner, The Houston Defender. From “I Am Not Your Negro” to “High on the Hog,” each film offers up the origin stories of our most important activists, artists, athletes and traditions.
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By The Houston Defender | Word in Black

The AFRO’s October Special Edition is all about the roots of our culture, our family lineage and the return to old ways and traditions. Below you will find a list of documentaries, based on the roots of African American culture, compiled by our Word in Black partner, The Houston Defender. From I Am Not Your Negro to High on the Hog, each film offers up the origin stories of our most important activists, artists, athletes and traditions.

#10: Attica (2021) 

In September 1971, Attica Prison became the location of one of the largest prison riots in US history, taking place just weeks after revolutionary activist George Jackson was murdered by prison guards at Rikers Island, an act that initiated the birth of Black August and the prison reform movement. The constant abject cruelty and inhumane treatment doled out to the incarcerated (who were overwhelmingly Black and Latinx) by Attica guards (all White) created the context. The riot itself, and its aftermath, are something all human beings should be required to reckon with.

#9: Quincy (2018) 

If you’re Black, it literally doesn’t matter when you were born, what generation you’re a part of, or where you’re from. You’ve been impacted by the genius of Quincy Jones. We’ve all been influenced by the genius of Quincy Jones. The music he made, the albums he produced, the artists he developed, the movies he scored, and about a gazillion other things Jones did, means, as I’ve already said, if you’re Black, Quincy has had a hand in your life. Don’t believe me. What Black person do you know who isn’t a Michael Jackson fan, who hasn’t seen The Wiz, or who doesn’t have a family member who worships jazz music? Quincy Jones had his hand in all that and so much more. Directed by one of his daughters, actress Rashida Jones, this doc is most definitely a must see.

#8: Four Little Girls (1997) 

On Sept. 15, 1963, just 18 short days after the much-celebrated March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala., was bombed by four members of a Ku Klux Klan-affiliated racist group. Addie Mae Collins, Denise McNair, Carole Robertson, and Cynthia Wesley, four African American girls between the ages of 11 and 14 who had been attending the church’s Sunday school, were killed in the blast, an act of White domestic terrorism that served as a horrific and sober reminder that Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech was not enough to end the hold the myth of White supremacy had on so many. Director Spike Lee tells this powerfully compelling and important story as only he can.

#7: The Two Killings of Sam Cooke (2019) 

For generations that came after the Baby Boomers, it’s hard for us to fully fathom how big a star Sam Cooke was. Think of the biggest singer of any generation. That was Sam Cooke in his heyday. And not only was he hyper-talented, but not only did he call some of the biggest names in Black history his personal friends (Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X just to name a few), Cooke was a man of the people. And he was heavily invested in the Civil Rights Movement and an advocate for Black self-determination and Black ownership. Cooke even pulled a “Prince” long before Prince—gaining ownership of his own music, something that was as rare then as it is today. This documentary chronicles Cooke’s life, rise to fame, and eventual end, though his influence never died.

#6: Thunder Soul (2010) 

Here’s a hometown entry. Thunder Soul spotlights the extraordinary alumni from Houston’s storied Kashmere High School Stage Band which the iconic Conrad Johnson led. These alums return home after 35 years to play a tribute concert for the 92-year-old ‘Prof’, their beloved band leader who transformed the schools struggling jazz band into a world-class funk powerhouse in the early 1970s. This one will have you out of your seat and dancing in the streets. Check it out.

#5: Who We Are: A Chronicle of Racism in America (2021)  

In this documentary, criminal defense/civil rights lawyer Jeffery Robinson “draws a stark timeline of anti-Black racism in the United States, from slavery to the modern myth of a post-racial America.” It’s that simple, and yet that complex. And it goes without saying; it’s a must see.

#4: Jeen-Yuhs (2022) 

No matter where you score on the Love Ye / Hate Ye scale, this 2022 documentary about his rise to superstardom is beyond compelling. I mean, who thinks to chronicle their every move from the moment they start pursuing their dream until they either give up on it or see it to fruition and beyond? Who does that? No one but this negro Kanye. He may be the only human being with an ego big enough to conceive of such a project. And believe me, the scope and scale of this documentary match that galaxy-sized self-obsession brahman has that make him both insanely talented and just plain insane at the same time.

#3: I Am Not Your Negro (2016) 

This documentary by Raoul Peck, director of Exterminate All the Brutes (2021) which made the first list of must-see documentaries, introduced the brilliance and unabashed Black of James Baldwin to a whole new generation. Described as a work that imagines the completion of Baldwin’s unfinished manuscript, Remember This House (about Baldwin’s personal reflections on and recollections of three of his personal friends who were killed during the Civil Rights and Black Power movements—Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.), I Am Not Your Negro is about so much more.

#2: The Last Dance (2020) 

You don’t have to be a basketball fan to get caught up in the chronicling of the last run at an NBA championship by the Michael Jordan-led Chicago Bulls who had been told before the season began that the team would be broken up. The doc not only takes you on that 1996 Bulls’ championship ride, but it also digs deep into the past of players, coaches, and family members, spotlighting triumphs and tragedies that are part of the human story, not just the story of professional athletes.

#1: High on the Hog 

How African American Cuisine Transformed America (2021)

If you know me, you know I’m a sucker for anything that celebrates our history, especially those things that connect us to our African roots and our Pan-African family. This documentary does all that and more. Because the main character is food. Our food. The stuff we grew up on. The meals many of us are eating right now, and never stopped eating since our youth. This beautifully filmed, beautifully narrated piece of art is full of both the familiar and the foreign; or rather, things we’ve come to believe are foreign to us, but are really part of our story and our heritage. And the okra on top? High on the Hog has a powerful H-Town connection. A few, in fact.

This list of documentaries based on the roots of African American culture was compiled by Word In Black.

This article originally appeared in The Afro.

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Lawsuit Alleges U.S. Government Discriminated Against Black Veterans for Decades

NNPA NEWSWIRE — According to internal VA data obtained by the Washington Post, Black applicants seeking disability benefits were denied 30 percent of the time from 2002 to 2020. White applicants were denied 24 percent of the time.
The post Lawsuit Alleges U.S. Government Discriminated Against Black Veterans for Decades first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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Black Information Network | Atlanta Daily World

A new lawsuit against the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) alleges that the U.S. government discriminated against Black veterans for decades.

On Monday (November 28), the suit was filed by Yale Law School’s Veterans Legal Services Clinic (VLSC) on behalf of Vietnam War veteran Conley Monk Jr, whose applications for education, housing, and disability benefits have been denied since he returned home from the war, per The Hill.

According to the suit, discrimination by the VA has left Black veterans without benefits more frequently than their white counterparts.

Yale’s VLSC said the lawsuit could “provide a legal pathway for Black veterans to seek reparations from the VA.”

“This lawsuit seeks to hold the VA accountable for years of discriminatory conduct,” Adam Henderson, a law student working with the VLSC on the case, said in a statement, per the Hill.

“VA leaders knew, or should have known, that they were administering benefits in a discriminatory manner, yet they failed to address this unlawful bias,” Henderson added. “Mr. Monk — and thousands of Black veterans like him — deserve redress for the harms caused by these negligently administered programs.”

According to internal VA data obtained by the Washington Post, Black applicants seeking disability benefits were denied 30 percent of the time from 2002 to 2020. White applicants were denied 24 percent of the time.

VA press secretary Terrence Hayes said the agency is working to combat “institutional racism.”

“Throughout history, there have been unacceptable disparities in both VA benefits decisions and military discharge status due to racism, which have wrongly left Black veterans without access to VA care and benefits,” Hayes said. “We are actively working to right these wrongs.”

The post U.S. Government Discriminated Against Black Veterans For Decades: Lawsuit appeared first on Atlanta Daily World.

The post Lawsuit Alleges U.S. Government Discriminated Against Black Veterans for Decades first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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BOOKS: Jerald LeVon Hoover Blends a Love of Sport & Friendship into New Children’s Book

NNPA NEWSWIRE — Through colorful pictures with vibrant imagery, young readers will easily get drawn into the exciting adventures of Bennett Mayco Wilson’s fictional yet exciting world and learn valuable childhood lessons together, when Bennet gets a basketball as a present from his father on his fourth birthday.
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‘A Basketball Hero is Born’ is a part of The Hero Book Series by Jerald LeVon Hoover, which aims to inspire youth to make a positive change in their communities and the world in general

Widely celebrated African American author, Jerald LeVon Hoover, is once again inspiring young people to make a positive change in their communities with the launch of a new children’s book. Titled A Basketball Hero is Born, the new children’s reading book contains colorful pictures that warm the heart and keep young readers glued to its pages.

The plot follows the exciting adventures of Bennett Mayco Wilson who gets a basketball as a present from his father on his fourth birthday. Affectionately naming the new basketball “Lucky,” the story unfolds as young Bennett tries to take his new best friend everywhere, including the dinner table, to school, and to bed when it is time for sleep.

Jerald L. Hoover

Jerald L. Hoover

Through colorful pictures with vibrant imagery, young readers will easily get drawn into Bennett’s fictional yet exciting world and learn valuable childhood lessons together. Currently available for purchase on Amazon, A Basketball Hero is Born is a part of The Hero Book Series by Jerald LeVon Hoover, which emphasizes instilling a love of sports and friendship in young readers.

About The Author

Jerald L. Hoover is a multi-talented individual with countless accomplishments in the creative, literary, and entertainment worlds. After winning an award for “The Best New Male Writer of the Year” for his fictional novel, My Friend, My Hero Jerald went on to be listed from 1994 – 1996 as a best-selling author among young Black writers in various African American publications. In 1995, he was awarded the Writers Corp Award by then-President Bill Clinton. In 1998, Jerald was inducted into the Mount Vernon Boy’s and Girl’s Club Hall of Fame. Since then, Jerald has won several other awards and is also an in-demand motivational speaker who overcame a childhood speech impediment.

The post BOOKS: Jerald LeVon Hoover Blends a Love of Sport & Friendship into New Children’s Book first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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