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This section of BeanSoupTimes.com is dedicated to helping spread information about those who have accepted responsibility to improve our community and information helpful to activism and duty.

BULLETIN: Action Steps for Trayvon

Kevin Powell & BK Nation encourage you to attend

a working meeting & rally to continue the movement for justice 


55 Washington Square South, directly across from Washington Square Park
between Thompson and Sullivan

PLEASE bring your cellphones, laptops, chargers, and pens and pads


For more information contact Gaetane Maurice at 718-399-8149, or email her at gaetanemaurice@bknation.org

Please also read "Dear Trayvon: A Letter to America," new blog by Kevin Powell @VibeMagazine: http://tinyurl.com/mz8cgy3


Grassroots groups to Durbin: Tax the Rich & Wall Street, Hands Off Vital Safety Net Programs

Community residents say cuts to New Deal era and domestic programs will plunge economy back into full-blown recession, serve as death sentence for seniors, disabled.

CHICAGO: Local grassroots organizations will feed the hungry in soup and bread lines at noon on December 3-6, culminating in the erection of a “Durbinville” shantytown/protest at noon on December 6, as part of a widening effort to pressure U.S. Senator Dick Durbin to raise taxes on the wealthy and Wall Street and oppose cuts to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and other vital national safety net programs. The actions will be held in the Federal Plaza, adjacent to Durbin's office in the Kluczynski Federal Building, at Adams and Dearborn.

After refusing to relent for months in meetings with local activists, Durbin agreed in late November to move away from Social Security cuts in current budget negotiations, as groups are stepping up the call for broader guarantees to protect vital economic safety net programs. 

Durbin is steering budget negotiations for the Obama administration, and he has stated a willingness to balance the federal budget by cutting Medicare, Medicaid and other domestic programs.  Although the Durbin and Obama say they are willing to let the Bush Tax Cuts for the wealthiest 2% of Americans expire in an effort to raise revenue, they still insist there must be $3-4 trillion in spending cuts over the next decade.  

Grassroots leaders argue that – while voters decisively rejected Paul Ryan’s plan for austerity on election day – Obama and Durbin are instead serving up a “Ryan-light” budget with deep cuts to programs that Americans hold dear, have paid for and desperately need.  Instead, grassroots leaders argue that the wealthy and Wall Street should pay their fair share – above and beyond letting the Bush Tax Cuts expire for the top 2%, including implementing a Financial Speculation Tax, restoring a robust estate tax, and increasing tax rates paid by millionaires and billionaires.

To push back, a local metro Chicago coalition of social service providers and grassroots community groups led by Make Wall Street Pay Illinois – whose members include IIRON, SOUL, Lakeview Action Coalition, Northside P.O.W.E.R. & Illinois Peoples Action – will take over Federal Plaza during the noon hour each day from Monday, December 3 to Thursday, December 6 to make visible the hunger and suffering that budget cuts will create in their communities.

Participants will feed the hungry, demand that Durbin look into the eyes of the people his budget decisions will affect, and remember that CEOs and Wall Street donors are not the only people with huge interests at stake in current budget negotiations.

20 people were arrested on November 9 in Durbin's office and in the lobby of the Kluczynski Building, at a protest that drew more than 400 to oppose Durbin's role in negotiating safety net cuts on behalf of the Obama administration. Dozens more have vowed to risk arrest through acts of civil disobedience to oppose Durbin's and the Obama administration's commitments to making cuts in order to balance the budget.

Black Business Pioneer Ed Gardner, 87, vows to go to jail if blacks are not hired

Ed and Betty Gardner: Photo by Chinta Strausberg

87 Year Old Edward Gardner, the legendary former President of Soft Sheen Products who The City of Chicago just honored with an honorary street sign, threatens to publicly disrupt construction on Monday morning to protest lack of African American participation in construction.

WHEN:       Monday, September 24, 2012

WHERE:    Construction site at 2210 West 95th Street                    

(Former Border’s Location)

TIME:          10:30 AM

On Friday, September 22, Ed Gardner, was outraged when he saw concrete being laid and other construction going on at 2210 West 95th Street, yet not a single Black worker in sight.

“Every worker was either Caucasian or Hispanic,” said Gardner, “except the foreman, he was (East) Indian.”  Gardner stepped out of his car with the intention of “wallowing in the wet concrete” in spite of the foreman’s warnings.

This quickly got the attention of the foreman, and before Gardner could make good his threat, two squad cars arrived.  Shortly afterward Alderman Brookins and Alderman Rugai were on the scene, and along with the four police officers begged Gardner not to do it.

Finally, Gardner retreated, but not before promising to return Monday morning at 10:30 AM to stage a one-man protest by walking through the wet concrete.

“Down the street I see young Black men selling drugs on the corner because they can’t find any work, and here in a neighborhood that is nearly 40% Black and only 4% Hispanic, there are only whites and Hispanics working, and no Blacks.”

Ed Gardner is asking the community to come out to support this cause and to witness his protest. 

Media's Portrayal of Black Youths Contributes to Racial Tension 


By Joshunda Sanders


Mainstream media often portray African-American youths, especially black men and boys, as criminals, crime victims and predators. These stereotypes, according to social justice advocates, can create a racially charged atmosphere that results in violence such as the shooting death of teenager Trayvon Martin.


U.S. popular culture has become increasingly desensitized to one-dimensional portrayals of black youths. Perpetuation of them as dangerous has been embedded in American society not only by words and images projected by journalists but also by a wide variety of other media and entertainment sources, including the Internet, movies and video games.


Clearly, the perception of African-Americans and other people of color as inferior to whites is rooted in the nation's legacy of racial hierarchy, a system of stratification based on belief that skin color makes whites superior. Also contributing to embedding these stereotypes is that even as U.S. Census data show a growing number of nonwhites in America, fewer people of color are in decision-making positions at daily newspapers, television and radiostations, and online news organizations.


Media coverage of the February shooting of Martin, 17, in Sanford, Fla., by neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman, exemplifies negative treatment of black youths in the media. After a controversial delay, Zimmerman was arrested and charged with second-degree murder in the unarmed teenager's death.


At the center of the case are issues related to race, gun rights and whether Zimmerman was acting in self-defense.


In most media stories last week, autopsy results showing that Martin's blood had traces of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, overshadowed other new evidence. An Associated Press report from Orlando, Fla., began: "Trayvon Martin had marijuana in his system. He was shot through the heart at close range."


Many of these stories were published with photographs showing cuts and scratches on Zimmerman's face and head. A police report said he"appeared to have a broken and a bloody nose and swelling of his face."


In the same week, an all-white, six-person jury in Houston acquitted Andrew Blomberg, 29, a white police officer, in the alleged beating of 15-year-old Chad Holley after Holley was arrested for burglary in March 2010.


In video footage from a security camera, which jurors were shown in court, Holley was seen falling to the ground after trying to hurdle a police squad car, the AP reported, and was "surrounded by at least five officers, some who appear to kick and hit his head, abdomen and legs."


Blomberg testified that he didn't kick or stomp Holley. Community activists decried the verdict and the racial makeup of the jury.


The presumption of guilt can also apply to young black women. When Rekia Boyd, 22, was fatally shot by an off-duty Chicago police detective in March, her death was overshadowed in mainstream media by the Martin case.


Boyd was with friends on a street near the detective's home when words were apparently exchanged and he fired several shots, one of which struck Boyd in the head. No charges have been filed in the incident. Boyd's family has filed a civil lawsuit against the detective and the city.


In its report on the shooting, one Chicago television station noted that Boyd was hanging out with a group "at 1 in the morning."


Stories about black youths that don't reinforce stereotypes, don't involve celebrities and that tell narratives about everyday lives of black people haven't been a priority in news coverage, says author Bakari Kitwana, executive director of Rap Sessions in Westlake, Ohio. Through Rap Sessions, Kitwana leads discussions on college and high school campuses nationwide to counter mainstream media narratives about the hip-hop generation.


In addition to being stereotyped in media, Kitwana says, black youths are also criminalized by three other circumstances.


"Job options are limited, especially if you're working class, which is different from previous generations," he says. "The military doesn't have a draft so, ultimately, it's composed of people who are so pushed out of other life options. The military becomes a way of not being totally impoverished. Add to that limited education because of the cost of a college degree."


Publishers, editors and producers who decide which news stories are important often don't choose ones that humanize or contextualize lives of black youths. In journalism, decision makers are largely white.


A 2011 study by the Radio Television Digital News Association and Hofstra University showed that while the percentage of people of color in the U.S. population had risen since 1990 from 25.9 percent to a projected 35.4 percent, the number in television rose 2.7 percent and fell in radio. TV news diversity, it noted, "remains far ahead of the newspaper."


"The way that journalism is currently practiced and structured doesn't allow for the telling of stories of underrepresented people," says Malkia Cyril, founder and executive director of the Center for Media Justice in Oakland, Calif. Privatization of corporate media is one reason that continues to be true, she says.


In 1983, 50 corporations controlled U.S. media, according to "The Media Monopoly" by Ben Bagdikian, a longtime journalist and media critic. By 2004, in his revised and expanded "The New Media Monopoly," Bagdikian wrote that the number was five - Time Warner, Disney, News Corp., Bertelsmann of Germany and Viacom, with NBC a close sixth.


"The way that journalism is on the open market means that stories are for sale, and what sells is stereotypes," Cyril says. "Market-produced coverage will tend to misrepresent youth."


The implications of "this charged environment can result in the dehumanization of black life and regressive political decisions that can lead to violence, as the Stand Your Ground Laws resulted in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin," she added in a follow-up email. "Otherwise, the story gets framed as coverage leads to bad individual behavior, and the systemic piece gets lost."


When media producers in journalism and popular culture media like movies, television series and video games are mostly white, chances that young people will be humanized and fully represented are slim, says Eleni Delimpaltadaki Janis, public opinion and media research coordinator for The Opportunity Agenda in New York.


"You see few images of black men and boys being good students or being good fathers," she says. "They're really fewer images of men in those roles compared to reality. It's not just the news coverage. It's also every type of media, but also in entertainment media, including video games. They all do a good job at using negative images of black boys and men for entertainment."


Solutions include reporters intentionally incorporating black youths into everyday or evergreen stories like those about Christmas shopping, Janis says. Kitwana adds that it's also important for journalists to remember that their profession carries the weight of social responsibility since democracy can't function properly if journalism doesn't function properly.


Eileen Espejo, director of media and health policy at Children Now in Oakland, says producers across the media spectrum should seek ways to avoid stereotypes. "We don't want there to be a quota," she says. "But we want you to think more creatively about the roles that people of color can play, and break out of the traditional mold."


Joshunda Sanders writes media critiques for the Robert C. Maynard Institute for Journalism Education. Her stories and other media critiques are available atwww.mije.org/mmcsi and can be republished free of charge.

The National Coalition on Black Civic Participation Honors Exceptional Men Serving the Community at 2012 Spirit of Democracy Awards Gala


The powerful and positive visual of over 200 strong black men standing to represent as mentors, community organizers and leaders will be deeply embedded into the mind of nearly 300 people who attended The National Coalition on Black Civic Participation's (The National Coalition) 15th annual Spirit of Democracy Awards Gala in Washington, DC last week.

As the night was dedicated to "Celebrating Our Brothers," six phenomenal men doing constructive work to empower the African American community were honored. There was also a special Servant Leadership and Community Service Award established in memory of the former manager of the annual Spirit Awards, Ruby Campbell Pulliam. 

"It was important to take a moment to lift up and celebrate what the brothers are doing in our communities across the country," said president and CEO of The National Coalition, Melanie L. Campbell. "The men who dedicate their lives to mentoring, social justice, training and creating opportunities for our youth - especially those running black male initiatives - are truly the fabric of our community." 

In accepting the Visionary Leadership and Community Empowerment Award, Shawn Dove, campaign manager for Open Society Foundations Campaign for Black Male Achievement, said, "There is no lone ranger coming into our community to save the day. The iconic leaders that we are waiting for are right here already." Dove continued, "The answers lie in the hands, the hearts, and the heads of young black men that are in our community everyday. We've got to applaud them, we've got to lift them up and we have to support them."

In addition to Dove, the 2012 Spirit of Democracy Award recipients are: 

  • Jonathan McDanielactor, recording artist and technology advocate, received the Black Youth Vote Civic Leadership Award.  
  • David Honig, founder and president Alliances, Minority Media & Telecommunications Councilreceived theTechnology and Economic Empowerment Award. 
  • Joshua DuBoisexecutive director, The White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships received the Public Service and Community Empowerment Award.  
  • Gerald Hudsonexecutive vice president, Service Employees International Union, received the Community Empowerment and Labor Leadership Award. 
  • Al Dotsonchairman of the board, 100 Black Men of America, Inc, received the Community Empowerment and Mentoring Organization of the Year Award. 


Actress and producer Vivica A. Fox (Set It Off, Kill Bill) hosted the gala. Demetria McKinney, recording artist and star of Tyler Perry's House of Payne, skillfully performed her newest song "Take Away" and blew the audience away with her rendition of Whitney Houston's, "You Give Good Love."The People's Community Baptist Church Men's Choir also performed. The event was broadcast live on the Internet and can be viewed at: www.ncbcp.org.

"We rolled out the red carpet for the stars of our community," said Richard G. Womack,Sr,chairman of the Board of Directors of The National Coalition. "We had good food, stellar performances by the choir and Demetria McKinney, Vivica Fox was a gracious host, and the room was packed wall-to-wall with role models for the many young people in attendance. It was a wonderful celebration of the brothers and their work.

The Spirit of Democracy Awards are presented to individuals and organizations who have demonstrated a consistent commitment to creating balance in the democratic process and support The National Coalition's mission and vision of making civic participation a cultural responsibility and tradition. Sponsors include AT&T, Verizon, AMGEN, AFL-CIO, SEIU, Knight Foundation, and Dewey Square Group, among others. For more information on The National Coalition visitwww.ncbcp.org.