"Most Powerful Pages on The Planet"
March 3, 2009
Volume 2 - No. 7
Darwin Campbell, Executive Publisher
A Weekly Publication
JUSTICE IN TEXAS:
Is State Action Necessary To Protect Activism and Deal With Defiant Racist Mindsets in Rural Counties/Small Town, Texas
Black Activism Survives Because Justice Remains Mission Not Accomplished!!!
Fort Worth,Texas - The real truth about justice, fairness and equality in Paris, Texas is that justice remains a "Mission Not Accomplished".
On a broader basis, Paris proves that racist mindsets still exist and remain an eerie fact and barrier to progress in many other small, rural Texas counties and towns.
While propaganda machines blast "outsiders" and belittle the value of Black activism and speaking out on justice, activists are undaunted and will not allow the distractions to cloud their mission to achieve freedom, justice, fairness and equality for all.
"This is not over," said Jim Blackwell of the Tarrant County Local Organizing Committee. "Activism shines the spotlight on issues when people are being treated badly or abused. Paris, Texas is the litmus test for racism in Texas. We are watching because what happens there will define whether race relations move forward or move backward in many small Texas cities, towns and communities."
The issue of attacking activists, suppressing freedom of speech and manipulating social, economic and criminal justice in Paris and other small Texas towns and counties needs to be probed and reviewed in Austin by the Texas Legislature, the State Attorney General's Office and other leading legislative and judicial leaders.
The activists have rallied and successfully raised racial awareness in Paris and brought needed attention to the problems associate with racism, education issues. social imbalances and injustices in the Lamar County District Attorney's office and the Paris Independent School District.
Blackwell was responding to recent negative statements about "outsiders and "activists" and the call by some for outsiders to "shut up and keep out" of Paris as though they were breaking laws or trespassing in the land of free speech and democracy.
Paris NAACP president James Price and Kenneth Rogers, the pastor at St. Paul Baptist Church, both African-Americans, have stood with local Whites and business officials leading the charge to silence Black activism.
According to mainstream media reports, Price said."I really wish they would stay where they are."
Rogers followed the same thought pattern contending work is underway on improving racial dialogue and harmony involving the city's ministerial alliance, diversity task force and individual church outreach programs currently focusing on race relations, education and poverty, housing programs, mentoring youth and working with local officials to build sensitivity on all sides and increase minority hiring in police, fire and other government agencies.
"Certainly there are things we need to work on, in our justice system, in our schools. We don't deny that," he said. "Clearly, we need to work on those things, and we are."That's the good news. We're working."
Under their breaths, these pastors and their band of brothers have not been activists or spokesmen in their own community and raised no objections to serious issues happening to Black people in Paris and Lamar County involving the district attorney, unfair sentencing practices, undue process in the criminal justice system and the harassment and abuses of Black children in the school system.
The two were nowhere when Shaquonda Cotton's case raised national awareness about conditions in the Texas Youth Commission. They had nothing to say about racism and Brandon McClelland's murder and still refuse to intervene in a current case involving Bobby Yates, a disabled Black man being harassed and threatened by the local housing authority.
All these cases continue to be monitored by Paris activists, independent media outlets and "outsiders".
Brenda Cherry, leader of the Paris-based Concerned Citizens for Racial Equality, disagrees with Price, Rogers and the "postcard approach to progress" Paris is promoting. She and her group called for help amidst a multitude of problems and the failure of school leaders, city leaders and those same pastors failure to respond to injustices against Black people.
Cherry welcomes outside activists and said she believes their presence is sending a strong message and making a difference.
"Rev. Rogers and Paris did nothing to help knowing these problems have existed for years. New each admits Paris has problems, but we still see little to nothing being said or done about them," she said. "Since 1865, (Paris and Lamar County) leaders have had opportunity after opportunity to take the lead, be fair and fix the issues, but have chosen not to. Now, they and the White media are blasting and blaming outsiders for coming in here and creating and stirring dust and want them out. Well, If you want outsiders to go away FIX THE PROBLEMS!!!"
Cherry believes that silencing activism is a threat to basic rights of free speech and expression.
"The art of protest and boycotts are bedrock tenets of free speech," she said. "This is not about Paris losing money and revenues. It is about telling the truth, guaranteeing freedom, rights, fairness and improving the quality of life for every person living here."
Olinka Green, Black activist and member of the New Black Panther Party, has also been under fire for allegedly meddling Paris and other urban and small town areas of Texas crying out for justice.
"We do what we do because people cry out for us and we respond because we care about all our Black people," Green said. "Our goal is for the people in a community to stand up for themselves and speak for themselves, but until that time comes, we will always be there on the street fighting and working for the people and the good of the community."
Green said real changes in Paris and any other community happens when leaders do not make excuses, stick heads in the sand and take every concern seriously and work honestly to develop real solutions that are verifiable and accountable.
"Talk is cheap. Just saying that we working is not enough," she said. "We want specific things identified and real concrete changes you can see."
Anthony Bond, activist and founder of the Irving NAACP, said the mentality that exists in Paris is not exclusive and exists in many communities outside urban areas where Blacks do not have strong church leaders or bold activists to fight for justice.
"Things said about "outsiders" and activists are smoke screens that prevent communities from dealing with racism and other real issues," he said. "People in these communities need to stop ruling with fear and look at the message they are sending. You don't kill the messengers (activists) for exposing lies, telling the truth and fighting for right. You do what is right."
According to Blackwell, much of the negative perception about "outsider" activists is deeply rooted in a lack of understanding of Black history and the plantation mentality the still exists today and attacks those working for real justice and social change in many rural counties and towns.
"I believe the most difficult task Africans in America will be confronted with is to convince the Caucasian that Slavery is over and that they no longer own us. There are those in positions of authority who still embrace the old Master Slave relationship and continue to practice the same tactics as their Slave owning fore parents," Blackwell said. "These are exactly the same tactics being practiced in Paris Texas today. Those in authority want to keep everything within the boundaries of Paris. If these racists can convince our Brothers and Sisters that they are confined to the boundaries of their neighborhood, then they have win. If they can convince our Brothers and Sisters that no one care about their struggles outside the boundaries of Paris, then they have won."
Blackwell said what upsets "Ole Massas" is when it is found out that there are no boundaries separating our people when they are being bullied and disrespected."
"What he fails to understand is that injustice to anyone is injustice to everyone," Blackwell retorted. "We have a responsibility to fight in Paris or anywhere else where Black folk are being abused. You abuse one of us and you abuse all of us. Our future and our destinies are linked and have been since the days before we were taken from Africa."
Blackwell added that controlling the spin and ruling with economic threats and fear in these communities hinders the development of positive relationships between races and retards real progress and communication.
The only way to fight this kind of bias and ignorance from local leaders and slanted news operations is to ensure the modern Black activists on the front lines of the fighting for truth and justice are treated with respect and have a strong voice.
Black activists wants state officials to examine justice and fairness issues and work to change the mentality the exists in these small counties and towns that uses economic intimidation and generates fear in the hearts of African-Americans that affects education of Black children, suppresses progress, equality and free speech in these communities.
These unsung heroes stand up, sacrifice their time, take risks and hold today's freedom torches. Their roles are historic and their seats cannot be denied as they fight for truth and economic justice in hostile arenas where Black people in communities either are living in fear, denial and where the mission remains "Not Accomplished".