Services for Taki Raton will be held on Wednesday, July 22, at Reid’s New Golden Gate Funeral Home, 5665 N Teutonia Ave in Milwauke, WI…
Viewing will be at 4pm and Services will follow at 5pm.
THURSDAY, JULY 16, 2015
“ President Obama’s historic visit to a federal prison is a decisive step towards closing the social distance between those who author our criminal justice policies and those impacted by them. So many of our correctional woes stem from the utter refusal of policymakers to take full measure of the diverse experiences and expertise of those most familiar with the system; those who have served time.
The President’s visit serves a clarion call at a moment of widespread, but blinkered, consensus on the urgency of criminal justice reform. That is, our reliance on incarceration isn’t only a threat to fiscal stability, but to human lives. Silence on this point has been deafening, but the President’s commitment to shedding light on the realities of prison life says, perhaps, more than words ever could.
Indeed, the administration’s efforts on criminal justice reform extend well beyond symbolic gestures. By acknowledging the senseless brutality of the War on Drugs, the President further confirms that punishment has too often served as a stand-in for justice and rehabilitation. It’s become apparent that we’ve forfeited something of our values in the process.
And yet as calls for reform echo throughout the federal system, it’s important to remember that the majority of our incarcerated population languishes at the state level, where only 16% are there for drug-related convictions. Moreover, roughly 12 million people are cycled though our nation’s jails annually, often imposing tremendous social and economic costs for even brief stays. It will take an equal, and perhaps even more forceful, degree of courage on the part of state lawmakers to address mass incarceration in these often forgotten institutions.
My solemn hope is that the President’s unprecedented efforts on criminal justice reform will herald a more robust and earnest commitment throughout all the nation’s corridors of power. ”
-GLENN E. MARTIN, Founder and President, JustLeadershipUSA
By Mikel Kwaku Osei Holt
Had Taki Raton been born 200 years earlier, chances are he would have been a lieutenant in Nat Turners’ liberation army, or a scout for Harriet Tubman’s Underground Railroad.
Had his ancestors not been brought to America in chains, chances are Taki would have been a Griot Warrior, a tribe’s historian, responsible for maintaining the most important cultural icon of his people: their history.
But God had other plans for Taki, and planted him in our midst 68 years ago to inspire and educate us, to strip away the lies told through ‘His-story’, and to plant the seeds of intellectual revolution in a stagnate and confused nation within a nation.
I was shocked to hear from several people last Tuesday that Taki had joined our ancestors. I had hoped that rumors of his death were similar to those about me that surfaced when I was hospitalized for six months earlier this year.
Obviously, mine were false (or maybe wishful thinking by some of the same folks who released a sigh of relief upon hearing of Taki’s death).
I say that because Taki made a lot of people uncomfortable. Not because he was dishonest or advocated for the violent overthrow of the U.S. government. But instead, because he was a philosophical warrior whose ammunition included undisputed history and the wisdom of our forefathers.
Equally impressive, Taki was an excellent teacher with the rare ability to connect with even the most brainwashed or naive individual. He was a lantern of truth that cast his light upon a darkened community, empowering those he touched with racial pride and self respect.
I make no bones about my Black Nationalist philosophy. Taki had moved beyond that realm to embrace a Pan African doctrine through which he opened the door of knowledge to thousands of us who benefited from his vast knowledge of African antiquity.
While I focused most of my research on our dichotomous time America, our vast but unacknowledged contributions and a reinterpretation of ‘His Story,’ Taki’s concentration was on our ancestors’ innumerable contributions centuries before the Mayflower.
He opened my eyes to the greatness of our African history, to the first civilization and our advancement of law, science and medicine.
As a member of the Association for the Study of Classical African Civilizations (ASCAC), Taki taught about Amenhotep the world’s first recognized genius, the first college founded by Africans while Europeans were still discovering that fire was hot. He was telling his students that math, particularly algebra, was not beyond their reach because their ancestors invented it.
Taki brought to life and gave meaning to the concept of Maat, the 11 Devine Principles and Laws. He lectured on African antiquity, and why it has been distorted by those with a vested interest in keeping Africans, and African Americans, in a state of psychological slavery.
It was his grasp of history and the importance of a cultural foundation for Black Americans that made him such a dangerous individual; particularly to those who taught that Africans were happy-go-lucky jungle bunnies before we were “invited” to America to share in its “bounty and freedom of opportunity.”
Taki moved to Milwaukee to teach in the public schools, and was a favorite among Black students. But when the frustration of fighting against those who taught a false history of our time in America and our contributions to world civilization and culture finally overwhelmed him, Taki left the public school system and opened his own school, Blyden Delany Academy.
Attesting to his philosophy and educational goals, the academy was appropriately named after Edward Wilmot Blyden, considered the father of Pan Africanism, and Martin Delany, often called the first proponent of Black Nationalism.
Taki has introduced various aspects of the Africentered curriculum several years earlier when he served as a consultant for Harambee Community School, where I served as a board member.
We spent a lot of time together, discussing the Africentered model, its importance as a tool to rebuild our culture and lay a foundation for Black pride.
I found myself in awe of Taki’s seemingly endless pool of knowledge, and was equally impressed with his uncompromising Black pride.
Taki wasn’t what I called a Neo-Negro, one of those individuals who talked a good game behind closed doors, but cast their eyes downward when facing White power brokers or members of the Negrocracy. Indeed, it was his tenacity and willingness to throw rocks at the castle walls that earned him his reputation as a champion of Black self-determination. It was courage and commitment that made him dangerous. Taki not only spoke to Africentric truth, but told White America he knew why Black children were failing in schools they controlled. He confronted them, and us, about who and why they pulled the cultural rug from under us.
There was a reason why Blyden Delaney was successful under his leadership and why the children who walked out of its doors are numbered among the community’s finest. Taki provided them with an Africentric foundation to stand upon; he infused them with cultural pride, dignity and self-respect.
Since the school’s closing, for financial reasons, Taki taught at Springfield College, wrote for the Community Journal and spread his message about our true history and culture at forums and conferences. In one of his last presentations, he spoke about Black Nationalism and the fight against White Supremacy at the Community Brainstorming session at St. Matthew’s CME Church.
Many of the White missionaries who regularly attend the monthly session to keep Black folks in check, walked out as he argued in support of Black Nationalism and the implementation of an Africentered curriculum in the public schools. That episode—White missionaries walking out on the truth espoused by a true griot warrior—may be an appropriate epithet for Taki Raton.
Dominique Mosbergen -Huff Post Black Voices
When Ida B. Wells was 22, she was asked by a conductor of the Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad Company to give up her seat on the train to a white man. She refused, and the conductor attempted to forcibly drag her out of her seat.
Wells wouldn’t budge.
“The moment he caught hold of my arm I fastened my teeth in the back of his hand,” she wrote in her autobiography. “I had braced my feet against the seat in front and was holding to the back, and as he had already been badly bitten he didn’t try it again by himself. He went forward and got the baggageman and another man to help him and of course they succeeded in dragging me out.”
The year was 1884 — about 70 years before Rosa Parks would refuse to give up her seat on an Alabama bus.
Wells’ life was full of such moments of courage and principle. Born into slavery in Holly Springs, Mississippi in 1862, Wells was a vocal civil rights activist, suffragist and journalist who dedicated her life to fighting inequality.
On July 16, Wells’ 153rd birthday, Google honored the “fearless and uncompromising” woman with a Doodle of her typing away on typewriter, a piece of luggage by her side.
“She was a fierce opponent of segregation and wrote prolifically on the civil injustices that beleaguered her world. By twenty-five she was editor of the Memphis-based Free Speech and Headlight, and continued to publicly decry inequality even after her printing press was destroyed by a mob of locals who opposed her message,” Google wrote in tribute of Wells.
The journalist would go on to work for Chicago’s Daily Inter Ocean and the Chicago Conservator, one of the oldest African-American newspapers in the country. As Google notes, she “also travelled and lectured widely, bringing her fiery and impassioned rhetoric all over the world.”
Wells married Chicago attorney Ferdinand Barrett in 1895. She insisted on keeping her own name, becoming Ida Wells-Barnett — a radical move for the time. The couple had four children.
Wells died in Chicago of kidney failure in 1931. She was 68.
Every year around her birthday, Holly Springs celebrates Wells’ life with a weekend festival. Mayor Kelvin Buck said at this year’s event that people often overlook “the historic significance of Ida B. Wells in the history of the civil rights struggle in the United States,” per the South Reporter.
My Marcus Latroy –Blackdoctor.org
We know it tastes great during the summer and has been infused in a number of drinks, but there is so much more to watermelon than you know. Just check out 5 of these facts that prove watermelon truly is one of nature’s most powerful foods:
1. Watermelon almost has no fat. Unlike other fruits and veggies (yes some fruits and veggies have fat), watermelon only tops out around 80 calories and has virtually no fat per serving. So, go ahead. eat more watermelon. It’s better for you than you think. Just keep reading…
2. Watermelon juice may relieve muscle soreness.
A Spanish study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that drinking watermelon juice can actually be quite soothing after a grueling workout. Athletes who consumed a little more than 16 ounces an hour before exercise had less muscle soreness and a lower heart rate within a day. That may be because watermelon contains a natural substance called citrulline that’s been tied to improved artery function and lower blood pressure.
3. Watermelon a fruit AND a vegetable.
Talk about an overachiever. Like most fruits, watermelon is the product of a seed-producing plant and has a signature sweet taste. But it can be traced back to the squash, pumpkin, and cucumber family known as Cucurbitaceae. Remember how you can eat the rind? The dual nature of watermelon makes it all edible, so there’s no excuse to leave any part behind.
4. Watermelon produces cancer-fighting alkaline. Watermelons have an alkaline-forming effect in the body when fully ripe. Eating lots of alkaline-forming foods (fresh, ripe, fruit and vegetables) can help reduce your risk of developing disease and illness caused by a high-acid diet (namely, meat, eggs and dairy).
5. Watermelon is nature’s viagra. Men who suffer from erectile dysfunction may benefit from drinking watermelon juice, “nature’s Viagra,” to improve blood flow to the penis without the side effects of the blue pill. In 2008, a team of researchers at Texas A&M found ingredients in watermelon that deliver Viagra-like effects to the body’s blood vessels may even increase libido. “Arginine boosts nitric oxide, which relaxes blood vessels, the same basic effect that Viagra has, to treat erectile dysfunction and maybe even prevent it,” said Dr. Bhimu Patil, director of Texas A&M’s Fruit and Vegetable Improvement Center in College Station. Although watermelon may not be as organ-specific as Viagra, it can give Viagra-like effects without the drug’s side effects.
Candidates seeking to fill the unexpired term in the Common Council’s 11th Aldermanic District will face off in a special primary election on Tuesday, July 21, 2015. The primary will determine the top two vote-getters who will face each other in the August 18 special election called by Common Council President Michael J. Murphy for the seat left vacant after the sudden passing in May of Alderman Joe Dudzik.
The winner of the August 18 special election will serve the remainder of the unexpired term which will expire on April 18, 2016.
The Election Commission is sharing some important voting information for Tuesday’s special primary:
• All regular polling places in the 11th Aldermanic District will be operational for both the July 21 special primary and the August 18 special election. Polling places will be open for standard voting hours: 7:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m.
• Voter ID requirements will be in effect, and an acceptable photo ID will be necessary to receive a ballot. A list of acceptable photo IDs and other related instructions are available on the Election Commission website at www.milwaukee.gov/election. The photo ID does NOT need to list a voter’s current address if they are already registered to vote at their current address.
• Voters may still register to vote on Election Day. If the address on their photo ID is not current, they will need to have a second Proof of Residency document with them that reflects their current name and address.
• The City of Milwaukee will be using new voting tabulators for this election. There is little change to how voting occurs with the new equipment, except that voters will note a slightly different ballot layout and they will fill in an oval next to their selected candidate’s name instead of the previous process of connecting an arrow.
The Election Commission is handling in-person absentee (“early”) voting for the special primary in room 501 of City Hall (200 E. Wells St.) from 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m., through TOMORROW — Friday, July 17 (with voting hours extended until 5:00 p.m. on the 17th).
Early voting for the special election (August 18) will also be open at City Hall, room 501, from Monday, August 3 until Friday, August 14, with voting hours Monday through Friday, from 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. (with voting hours extended until 5:00 p.m. on the 14th).
Please call the Election Commission at 414-286-3491 or go to the website at www.milwaukee.gov/election for more information.
Orrin Hudson, author of _One Move At A Time: How To Play And Win At Chess and Life_, has achieved best-seller status on several Amazon.com charts. The Kindle e-book ranks #1 in the departments of Board Games and Chess, as well as top 30 rankings in “Puzzles and Games” and “Personal Transformation.”
Hudson is the founder of Be Someone, an Atlanta-based non-profit
that uses numerous tools, including the game of chess, to promote
self-esteem, responsibility, and analytical thinking among at-risk kids.
“I am so blessed, and truly blessed, because today is the best day of
my life because I get to work with kids,” says Hudson. “Teaching and
helping kids makes my heart sing and I’m so honored and blessed to be a part of changing the world one move at a time.”
Hudson, a former Alabama state trooper, was himself an “at-risk” kid.
As the 7th sibling of thirteen, Orrin was in and out of foster homes and
involved in petty crimes. When he was thirteen, a teacher took him under his wing and taught him the game of chess.
By his senior year in high school, Orrin had moved from in-trouble and at-risk to being voted Most Likely to Succeed and Outstanding
Student. Hudson continues this legacy by sharing the game with
_One Move At A Time_ details his message that people can succeed in
life by thinking ahead, just like in the board game. Topics of
discussion include: All the Right Moves,” “The Art of War,” and “Plan
For more information about Orrin Hudson and his foundation and/or to get an autographed copy of the book, visit www.BeSomeone.org .
To purchase _One Move At A Time: How To Play And Win At Chess and Life_, visit www.amazon.com/dp/B00JS72TVO . (All proceeds go to support Hudson’s mission.)
BOOK STORES, SCHOOL DISTRICTS, CHURCHES, AND COMMUNITY CENTERS:
To place bulk orders for Hudson’s book and/or to book him as a
speaker/trainer, call (770) 465-6445 or send an email to
ALD. JOSÉ G. PÉREZ
A My Brother’s Keeper neighborhood summit next week will engage residents of the Near South Side Promise Zone with services and resources meant to help improve health and wealth.
The event – hosted by Alderman José G. Pérez and Mayor Tom Barrett – will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Wednesday, July 22 at the Kosciuszko Park Recreational Center at 2201 S. 7th St. The summit is free and open to the public.
Alderman Pérez is hopeful that Promise Zone (please see map on attached flyer) and area residents will attend and receive help with key life management issues, including child support, driver’s license recovery, job training and employment, health information and screenings, and expungement counseling.
“Residents in the affected near south side area are underserved when it comes to counseling, job opportunities, and health and wellness information that can be beneficial and life-changing,” Alderman Pérez said. “I invite residents to come to the My Brother’s Keeper event Wednesday to engage with us and work toward improving the quality of life in their home and in the area as a whole.”
The summit is sponsored by the City of Milwaukee, My Brother’s Keeper, the Milwaukee Fatherhood Initiative, and the Black Male Achievement Advisory Council.
By Nick Robins-Early -Huff Post World Post
Iran and six world powers reached a deal Tuesday to limit Tehran’s nuclear capabilities, a result of almost two years of negotiations. In a comprehensive accord, the nations settled on terms that include a 98 percent drop in Iran’s stockpile of low-level enriched uranium and two-thirds reduction of centrifuges in exchange for the lifting of sanctions.
The highly anticipated agreement has been lauded by negotiating nations as a historic moment for choosing diplomatic solutions over conflict, while hard-liners and critics of the deal have said it is not robust enough to stop Iran from getting a bomb.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and U.S. President Barack Obama both praised the negotiators in separate statements, each characterizing the deal as a win for peace.
Click here for full post.
Sharda Sekaran –The Huffington Post
“Mass incarceration makes our entire country worse off, and we need to do something about it.” – President Obama in his July 14, 2015 speech to the NAACP annual conference
Fifteen years ago, when I first started working on drug policy and criminal justice reform issues, I never would have imagined these words coming out of the mouth of a sitting U.S. president. But then again, I would never have imagined Barack Obama.
Actually, I might have met Obama by then. I remember shaking his hand after a person told me he was “someone to watch” at a gathering of black state legislators around that time. He was still an Illinois state senator.
But there’s no way I would have believed anyone telling me that he would go on to become president. And if you told me that, as president, he would give the speech he did today at the 106th annual conference of the NAACP, I would have found such optimism delusional but endearing.
“For non-violent drug crimes, we need to lower long mandatory minimum sentences — or get rid of them entirely.” – President Obama
Fifteen years ago, we were still advocating to get influential civil and human rights organizations to recognize U.S. mass incarceration as a crisis. We were the underdogs promoting awareness around the fact that appallingly high numbers of incarcerated people are more likely to be poor, black, brown, marginalized and ensnared in a broken system than they were a threat to public safety.
We were still sounding the alarm that the drug war had failed, mandatory minimum sentences were unjust and low level drug offenses would be much more effectively managed with alternatives to incarceration and the availability of drug treatment.
These were still relatively unconventional notions not so long ago.
Today, it would seem that we have not only the more liberal-leaning and progressive groups on our side, we also have a sizable presence of people on the right in support. As Obama noted in his speech, there are outrageously unlikely partnerships at the table like the Koch Brothers and the NAACP, and Van Jones and Newt Gingrich.
“In too many cases, our criminal justice system ends up being a pipeline from underfunded, inadequate schools to overcrowded jails.” – Obama
Wow. Is that the sound of the president of the United States acknowledging the “school-to-prison pipeline?” These words must give a powerful light of hope to grassroots community activists who have been shouting this message far from the halls of power for decades.
President Obama hit most of the main rallying cries for criminal justice reform: everything from stopping the cruel practices of solitary confinement and rampant indifference to prison rape to ending employment discrimination against formerly incarcerated people and restoring their voting rights. For longtime reformers, it was an impossible dream come true.
This seems like an historic moment and a turning point for fixing the criminal justice system in this country. With the powerful pledge of a second term U.S. president, who just gave clemency to 46 people serving draconian sentences and promises to do the same for dozens more, it really feels like the wind is in our sails. Like the song that was playing as President Obama was leaving the NAACP stage, “Ain’t No Stopping Us Now.”
But Obama’s promise for overhauling our cruel and ineffective approach to crime and punishment, which is destroying millions of American lives and wasting countless resources, must be realized. Let this not be empty rhetoric.
A stage has been set but now all the actors have got to get to work. The stars are aligned and the time is now.
Sharda Sekaran is the managing director of communications for the Drug Policy Alliance.