Compiled by MCJ Staff
Though the Milwaukee Police Department is being scrutinized by the public and media for recent unlawful activities of some officers, Ald. Joe Davis warned the criminal element not to get too comfortable or bold thinking they have carte blanche over the city.
“Let’s be clear about one thing, (the recent abuses of power by MPD) is not an invitation for lawbreakers to try and hide their crimes behind accusations against MPD officers who are simply doing their jobs,” Davis said recently as the MPD and Fire and Police Commission struggle to regain the public’s trust.
Within the last two years, the MPD has been underfire for incidents in which officers have been accused of using excessive force towards individuals in their custody.
Recent revelatiions in the death of Darryl Williams in the back of a police squad car, an officer hitting a handcuffed female suspect in the back of a squad car (both incidents caught on video tape), and allegatioins of illegal strip searches by officers of suspected drug dealers has put the department and its chief, Edward Flynn on the defensive.
Even the Fire and Police Commission has come under scrutiny. Last December, the commission reinstated the officer who assaulted the woman in the squad car. The ruling touched off a fire storm of condemnation by the community, elected officials and civil rights organization that led to calls for the dismantlement of the commission.
Though the commission reversed its decision, the dye had been cast and the governing body that oversees the fire and police departments finds itself also under the microscope of public opinion.
Davis stressed the scrutiny the MPD is experiencing is “a good thing” for both it and the community. “I strongly urge anyone who believes they are the legitimate victims of police abuse of power to come forward and report it.”
Davis, who is a member of the Council’s Public Safety Committee, said officers who commit crimes can expect to be brought to justice within the confines of police procedure and the law.
“I will not advocate for police to turn a blind euye to crime,” Davis added. “If a person continues to engae in illegal activity and leaves police no choice but to utilize an appropriate level of force in apprehending that criminal, I expect police to do their jobs and enforce he law. The law-abiding public deserves no less.
“There is a balance between right and wrong,” Davis said. “Milwaukee police officers must follow the rules that have been established to protect the public, just as criminals should NOT expect to be pardoned for their wrong doing simply by crying “foul” and making frivolous claims of police brutaility.”
Archives for February 2013
As Gov. Scott Walker looks on, retiring Green Bay Packer Receiver Donald Driver is presented a replica of a street sign bearing his name by Green Bay Mayor Jim Schmitt during Driver’s retirement announcement at Lambeau Field Wednesday before hundreds of fans, former and current players and coaches who came to say farewell to the prolific Packer receiver. Schmitt announced a street will be renamed after Driver in his honor. Gov. Walker proclaimed Wednesday “Donald Driver Day” in the state. (Photo courtesy of Green Bay Packers)
Madison—Rep. Jon Richards (D-Milwaukee) and Sen. Jon Erpenbach (D-Middleton) announced recently legislation to close a gap in BadgerCare. They unveiled their Strengthen BadgerCare Act at a State Capitol news conference with health advocates, other state lawmakers and people who have fallen through the cracks in the state’s successful health insurance program. Richards and Erpenbach said their proposal capitalizes on financing available through the Affordable Care Act to provide coverage to people now left out of BadgerCare.
According to preliminary estimates from the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau (attached), their plan could potentially extend BadgerCare coverage to up to 175,000 people, save the state $65 million in the first three years and bring an additional $4.4 billion in federal health care funds to Wisconsin though June 2020.
“Access to affordable health care is a key to middle-class security,” Richards said. “By strengthening BadgerCare we can provide more Wisconsinites another stepping stone to the middle-class dream. This is about doing the right thing and the smart thing.”
The Affordable Care Act offers states the option of extending Medicaid coverage to residents who earn less than 133% of the Federal Poverty Level—or about $15,281 for an individual and $20,628 for a couple.
The federal government will pick up 100% of the cost for the first three years and no less than 90% every year thereafter.
In Wisconsin, BadgerCare already covers most people in this group except adults without dependent children.
Currently, about 20,600 childless adults get coverage through the state’s BadgerCare Core plan, but enrollment was capped in late 2009 after demand exceeded projections.
Now, more than 150,000 people are on a waiting list to receive insurance through the Core plan.
The Walker administration is refusing to offer insurance to them. The Strengthen Badgercare Act allows all of these childless adults to obtain health insurance.
Said Erpenbach: “This is a win/win for Wisconsin. Not only will up to 175,000 people be affected with health insurance coverage, but estimates as high as 10,000 new jobs created make this a plan too good to pass up. We are spending a lot of money as a state chasing a few hundred jobs at a time. This action saves taxpayer money and creates jobs all in one.”
The Strengthen BadgerCare Act would make childless adults earning up to 133% of the federal poverty threshold eligible for BadgerCare. It would also eliminate the BadgerCare Core Plan effective January 2014, allowing the state to capture a 100% federal matching rate for most enrollees, who would then become eligible for BadgerCare. Currently, the federal government only pays 60% of the cost to cover these individuals, with the state picking up the remaining 40%.
After experiencing the sudden loss of her mother, Milwaukee teen Beverly Jackson found herself balancing trying to keep her family intact while also remaining focused on her studies.
She credits the stability she received from Mary Ryan Boys & Girls Club, for continuously encouraging and uplifting her especially during the most difficult time of her life. Recently, Beverly was named the 2013 Youth of the Year for Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee.
She was chosen for her long and outstanding record of service to her Club, community and school, commitment to her family, exemplifying positive moral character and her ability to overcome personal obstacles. In this role, she will serve as a Boys & Girls Clubs’ top youth ambassador and will share her story with other youths about how she deals with adversity while improving the lives of others.
Being named Youth of the Year is the highest honor a Boys & Girls Club member can receive. As Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s premier youth recognition program, Youth of the Year recognizes outstanding contributions to a member’s family, school, community and Boys & Girls Club, as well as overcoming personal challenges and obstacles.
Youth of the Year encourages Club members to reach their full potential by achieving academic success, leading healthy lifestyles and contributing to their communities. Youth of the Year honorees are shining examples and living proof that great futures start at Boys & Girls Clubs.
In March, Beverly will compete against other Boys & Girls Club members from across the state to become Wisconsin Youth of the Year and receive a $1,000 college scholarship from Tupperware Brands Corporation.
“A lot of times we’re amazed by young people who like Beverly are highly succesful. We don’t know of the all struggles they’ve faced on their path to victory,” says Vincent Lyles, President & CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee.
“We are extremely proud of Beverly. She is a very accomplished young woman. Her story is one many children and adults can relate to and be inspired by.”
As the oldest of four children, Beverly knows how to keep a calm mind and how to make tough decisions in the face of life’s challenges. When her mother was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in July 2011, Beverly’s world was shaken and tested.
Her mother was the family’s bedrock. The cancer was severe and left her mother very ill. Nearly four months after her diagnosis, Beverly’s mother passed away.
With her characteristic calmness, Beverly was hands-on with the funeral arrangements. She wrote the obituary with her pastor, organized the funeral service and picked out her an outfit for her mother to be laid to rest.
In the midst of her grieving, Beverly wanted to help her brothers with their grief and keep them intact as a family.
During the summer of 2012, all of her brothers had to move to South Bend, Indiana to live their father. Beverly remained in Milwaukee to finish high school but she found herself facing another challenge: homelessness. She lived from relative-to-relative.
Through it all, Beverly found constant support from the adult staff at Mary Ryan Boys & Girls Club where she had been a member since she was 8 years old.
As a child, Beverly was active in a number of Club activities like Torch Club, a character development program for pre-teens. As a teenager she is involved in the community service oriented Keystone Club, Career Launch, Sista Pride – an initiative to cultivate leadership skills among teen girls and the Stein Scholars College Success Program.
Along with her Club involvement, Beverly is active in the community as part of Pebbles for Peace at Cardinal Stritch University, COA Youth & Family Center, Alpha & Omega, the Milwaukee Christian Center and through her church.
She credits the Boys & Girls Clubs for providing her with stability, reminding her of the good times with her family and encouraging her to pursue her goals.
In addition to holding a 2.9 GPA at Ronald Regan High School, Beverly is president of its Student Council and sits on its P.A.T.H. Committee (Preparing, Advocating, Teaching, Helping). In addition, Beverly is in her second year serving on the Milwaukee Public School’s Superintendent’s Student Advisory Council and is a student representative for the Milwaukee Board of School Directors.
In May, Beverly will graduate from high school. She plans to attend Marquette University and study to become a social worker. Her goal is to open two group homes: one for children who have lost a parent and the other for female teen parents. Beverly knows what it feels like to have no home and wants to help young people have a place that is safe, welcoming and will help them gain stability.
If Beverly wins at the state competition, she will compete for the title of Midwest Region Youth of the Year and an additional $10,000 scholarship from Tupperware Brands, the recognition program’s national sponsor. Five regional winners will advance to Washington, D.C., in September 2013, to compete for the title of BGCA’s National Youth of the Year. The National Youth of the Year will receive an additional scholarship of up to $50,000 from The Rick and Susan Goings Foundation and will have the opportunity to meet with the President of the United States in the White House.
The Milwaukee Urban League recently recognized students in grades three to 12 for their stellar achievements in academics, athletics, extracurricular activities and social leadership. The students received their honors at the MUL’s annual “Doing The Right Thing Awards ceremony, held at Destiny High School, 7210 N. 76th Street. The Urban League believes when students are supported, encouraged and recognized for their efforts, they are more likely to achieve their goals. (Photo by Yvonne Kemp)
Rep. Leon Young (D-Milwaukee) will be hosting a Community Forum at the Department of Natural Resources in Milwaukee, WI (2300 N. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, Rooms 140 & 141) on Thursday, February 7, from 5-7 p.m.
“It is my hope that you will join me for this event where you will have the opportunity to offer your input and gain insight on some of our state’s current issues. The topics for discussion include: gun violence prevention legislation, altering the structure of Milwaukee’s County Board, and the new state mining legislation.
Please feel free to bring any others ideas and topics for discussion.”
A panel presentation on the acclaimed film “Hidden Colors 2” is scheduled for this Saturday, February 9, at the African American Women’s Center, 3020 West Vliet Street beginning at 1 p.m. Doors will open at 12:30.
“Hidden II” vividly explores such topics rarely discussed openly such as the origins of the ancient Olmecs and Mayans, the cultural, spiritual and medical warfare against peoples of color, how thriving Black economic communities were undermined in America, the truth about the prison industrial complex, and the untold American history.
Released in December, 2012, “Hidden II” features such presenters as author Dr. Claud Anderson, ancient Kemetic (Egyptian) scholar Tony Browder, Dr. Booker T. Coleman, Dr. Umar A. Johnson, KRS-One, “The New Jim Crow” author Michelle Alexander, “Hidden II” director Tariq Nasheed, professor James Small, researcher and early global Black presence scholar Runoko Rashidi, and Dr. Phil Valentine. “Hidden 2” follows last year’s “Hidden Colors I – The Untold History of People of Aboriginal, Moor, and African Descent”.
Panelist this Saturday include Oshi Adelabu, President of the Milwaukee Chapter of NBUF (National Black United Front), UW-M Africology Professor, Dr. William Rogers, UW-M doctorial student, Modupe Liston, MPS teacher Diamond Suggs, and Springfield College Adjunct Professor Taki S. Raton.
For additional information on the Milwaukee “Hidden Colors 2” panel, please contact Oshi Adelabu at (414) 324-5796 or the Wisconsin African American Women’s Center at 933-1652.
The official retirement announcement Wednesday by Green Bay Packer Wide Receiver Donald Driver brings to an end a brilliant career highlighted by gravity defying catches, the establishment of new Packer receiving records and his eventual enshrinement into the Packer Hall of Fame at Lambeau Field, the same venue where Driver played for 14 seasons and where he told his fans and teammates goodbye.
Driver’s career is the perfect example of the proverbial underdog scenario of beating the odds and rising to the top to become one of the elite receivers in the National Football League.
Not only did Driver beat the odds on the football field, parlaying his lowly draft status (drafted in the seventh round of the 1999 NFL draft) and doubts about his abilities coming out of Alcorn State University (too small and too slow), into the stuff of legend, he beat the odds of life.
Born and raised in Houston, Texas, Driver knows what it means to be poor and homeless surrounded by an atmosphere of drugs, crime and death, an insidious cocktail that has led too many Black man and woman down the dark road of despair and hopelessness.
But “Quickie” (his childhood nickname) prevailed and overcame.
Driver has and continues to use his childhood experiences to motivate himself and others in the community to overcome adversity.
His story became the centerpiece of Goodwill’s marketing campaign in which Driver’s tenacity and hard work to be the best in his field has become synonymous with the drive that pushes those who utilize the services of the Goodwill to improve their lives.
It’s good to know Driver will remain active in the community of Green Bay and Milwaukee. His involvement in charitable causes is as well known as his exploits on the gridiron. Though he has hung up his cleats, Driver is not hanging up his concern, emphathy and determination to help better the lifes of others.
He is the perfect “Exhibit A” to other professional athletes—regardless of the sport–that there is life after football. May “Double-D” continue to find success in the private sector helping others successfully score in the game of life.
Thanks for the memories Donald!
by Dr. Earl Ofari Hutchinson
The clamor continues for President Obama to attend the funeral of 15-year-old honor student Hadiya Pendleton gunned down on a Southside Chicago street. There’s even an online petition on the White House website imploring Obama to attend.
The petition delicately sidesteps the issue of race and whether black lives are less valued than those of whites. But the glaring fact is that Pendleton’s shooting, unlike that of countless other virtually nameless and faceless young African-American victims of violence in Chicago and other inner city neighborhoods made national news because she had returned to Chicago just days earlier from performing at Obama’s inaugural festivities.
Obama has certainly not ignored Pendleton’s horrendous killing. He deplored the killing and offered compassion and support directly to her family. The family has publicly expressed their appreciation for his outreach to them. However for many that’s simply not enough.
The constant carp is that Obama went to Aurora, Colorado and Newtown, Connecticut and expressed sympathy for the victims of the mass slaughter in both places. They incessantly remind that blacks, and that foremost includes blacks in Chicago, have been the biggest, most enthusiastic of his supporters, and in several states pivotal to his election and reelection triumphs.
The heavy inference is that Obama owes blacks more than just distant words of support, but concrete action. And since gun violence has been a relentless and horrific plague in poor black communities, and he’s on a crusade against it, Pendleton’s funeral should be a mandatory stop for him to send the strong message that black lives are just as important as any others. These are painful points to ponder.
But the Pendleton killing, as shocking and horrendous as it was, and like the hundreds of other blacks gunned down in Chicago streets the past couple of years, is no different than other controversial cases that involve apparent racial issues. In every case, Obama has been pressed to speak out on, and in this case, show up on.
The push for Obama to attend Pendleton’s funeral, though, begs the question of whether he has a special obligation to appear at every victim of violence’s funeral.
The answer is no. Obama, as all sitting presidents, almost always avoids involvement in controversial local issues, and that’s the key. Murder violence is a local issue, handled by local authorities, and local communities, and for presidents to interfere is to step into a political minefield that would do far more harm than good. It would violate the rigid separation of federal and state powers.
It would open the floodgate for any and every individual and group that has a legal wrong, grievance, or injustice to expect, even demand, that the president speak out on their cause. And in the case of a local neighborhood murder that garners news mention, the demand that the president attend the funeral of the victim and show support. After all, if he did that for one victim, he’d always be slapped with the demand that he do it for other victims.
Even presidential statements on a controversial issue have polarized, and fueled political backlash. In fact, the Pendleton slaying is a near-textbook example of the fury and passion that racially laden cases and issues always stir. Obama is African-American and there’s rarely been a moment during his tenure in the White House that he hasn’t been relentlessly reminded of that.
The one time that he gingerly ventured into the minefield on a racially charged local issue was his mild rebuke of the white officer that cuffed Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates in 2009. The reaction was instant and rabid. Polls after his mild rebuke showed that a majority of whites condemned Obama for backing Gates and, even more ominously, expressed big doubts about his policies.
The murders in Chicago on the surface do not appear to have any racial implications. But underneath they do because they raise painful questions. Why do so many young blacks wantonly wreak mayhem and murder on their own? Why do police and public officials often seem helpless to stop the killings?
Why is it that so many young black males feel so abandoned, hopeless, and alienated from society? What part do the towering problems of failing public schools, Great Depression joblessness among young black males, and the relentless cutback in family support and skills training programs have in escalating the violence? Should the victimizers solely be blamed for the violence or is society a culprit too in failing to deal with the social and economic crisis in ghetto communities?
The Pendleton shooting cast another horrific glare on the gaping racial disparities in how the lives of young blacks slain in inner city neighborhoods in contrast to those of suburban whites are publicly viewed and treated. It stirred a soul search on how the lives of young blacks are routinely devalued by so many, and the need for renewed local and national action to be taken for that to end. There are no easy answers to the plague of black murder violence whether Obama personally attends Pendleton’s funeral or not.
Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst. He is a weekly co-host of the Al Sharpton Show on American Urban Radio Network. He is an associate editor of New America Media. He is host of the weekly Hutchinson Report Newsmaker Hour on KTYM Radio Los Angeles streamed on ktym.com podcast on blogtalkradio.com and internet TV broadcast on thehutchinsonreportnews.com.
by Dr. Umar Johnson, Psy.D., CSP, M.Ed.
Nationwide (BlackNews.com) — The year was 1954, the United States Supreme Court handed down a landmark decision stating that racism had no place in education.
Although more of an empty symbol than a true legal mandate, at the time, many of the states, both northern and southern, refused to listen, knowing full well that neither the legislative or executive branches of government had no real intent of telling White Americans that the time had come for them to allow Black children to sit next to their own.
However, such a refusal began to expose the American homeland as a hypocrite that enjoys telling foreigners how to treat their citizens while neglecting their own back home in North America. Slowly but surely, White reaction began to settle after passage of the 1975 Education for All Handicapped Children Act (EHCA), which formally gave birth to the United States’ first federal special education law.
Although never documented in any educational law writings, special education was the panacea that gave calm to White school districts assuring them that they wouldn’t have to truly integrate their schools, but only give the appearance of doing so.
When forced busing policies really began to heat up, especially in northern states, in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, white schools were able to get away with “cosmetic integration” policies that forced Black children, who rode in on cheese buses, to remain together for the entire school day.
To outside observers, the school appeared integrated, but inside the building, it was business as usual. When community leaders began to push back against the “cosmetic integration” practices of principals and superintendents, coincidentally, special education was born.
Now these very same racist public school officials had the ability to legitimize their “Separate But Equal” schooling by slave-stamping the cheese-bus-riding-Blacks with “learning disability” and “mental retardation” labels. This new program, federal special education, the legal right to segregate learning disability students, allegedly, for their own educational benefit, was just the weapon to fix the race problem.
For the past 37 years special education has been used to hold in check the promises of the1954 Brown decision.
Who has been the greatest victim of this modernized segregation policy disguised as special education? Clearly, Black boys have had to bear the greater portion of the burden for their communities forcing them to attend schools where they were not wanted. Had it not been for forced integration, special education may have never been created.
Yes, children with true disabilities, like blindness & autism, would have had to receive the services they needed. Nonetheless, the use and abuse of the “Specific Learning Disability” classification, disproportionately applied to Black learners, wouldn’t be half the problem that it is today for Black parents. In fact, the “Emotional & Behavioral Disturbance” classification, created specifically to castigate Black boys who refused to accept White Rule, would have never been manufactured out of thin air.
The most interesting fact of the so-called school desegregation process is that it only focused on the desegregation of student populations, it never address desegregation of the teaching ranks.
That’s right, Black children today, as was the case in the ‘60s & ‘70s, are still almost exclusively taught by white educators.
Why didn’t the Supreme Court address the issue of desegregation within the teacher ranks? After all, isn’t it only fair that if we are to expect Black children to be taught by White teachers, that White children should have to be taught by Black ones? Or better yet, wouldn’t it be a benefit if Black children, attending racially hostile schools, can have the opportunity of being instructed by someone who looks like them – at least once in a while? The reason for the silent treatment surrounding teacher desegregation has to do with the White female control of the public school, and the quality of life opportunities that come with being an educator.
Yes, despite the meager pay, there are some pretty good benefits to being a public school teacher: retirement, healthcare, summers off and year-round regular vacation days, are just a few.
Add to that list that teachers, those who belong to unions, enjoy one of the greatest job security professions in the country – almost never being fired for failure to perform adequately on the job; not to mention that teachers have one of the highest fluid professions in the world – meaning finding a job after relocating to another city is usually not a problem at all, even amidst the current financial meltdown.
Not to lose sight of the purpose of this article, the point that I am making is that the teaching profession is heavily guarded by political gatekeepers to ensure that the color of American education forever stays White – not purely for educational reasons, but for financial and employment reasons as well. One of the failures of the Black push to integrate schools was failure to ensure that the same process applied to teachers and principals.
The other failure was not forcing any oversight provisions, nor putting any checks & balances in place, to ensure that special education wouldn’t be used to override the Supreme Court promise of 1954, and the Civil Rights Bill of 1964.
Special education has been, and continues to be, the iron fist of segregation cloaked in the velvet glove of a support system for disabled learners. One year before Congress approved “Special Re-Segregation,” during 1974, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) would begin work on the DSM-III. Ultimately published in 1980, at the start of the CIA’s Crack Cocaine war against the Black community – to dissipate revolutionary activity, the inclusion of Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) into the DSM-III would justify the brain drugging of an entire generation of Black boys “for their own good,” with drugs as toxic as the ones used to send their fathers to prison, even while then President Ronald Reagan was busying carrying out former President Nixon’s so-called “War on Drugs.”
If you ask which weapon of mass destruction is worse, special education or ADHD, the answer would be to choose your own poison. It is no coincidence that these two “psycho-racial strategies” have their roots in the school desegregation efforts of the 1970s, and are at the top of the list in reference to what’s wrong with public school in this country. Yes, Black public schools did lack some of the material resources of the White public schools. However, on the other hand, White schools lacked then, and now, some of the immaterial resources of the Black schools – namely love, commitment, fair play, and confidence that our children can learn. When it’s all said and done, the Black community must ask itself, “Was school desegregation in the best interest of our children? Would it had been better if we continued to teach them ourselves?”
Dr. Umar Johnson is a Doctor of Clinical Psychology and Certified School Psychologist who practices privately in Pennsylvania, and trains educators throughout the world. His highly anticipated 1st book, “Psycho-Academic Holocaust: The Special Education & ADHD Wars Against Black Boys” will be released in February 2013 and can be pre-ordered from his website, DrUmarJohnson.Com. A blood relative of Frederick Douglass, Dr. Johnson is one of the most requested African-American scholars and presenters in the world. He can be reached for Black History Month appearances and educational seminars atDrUmarJohnson@yahoo.com or (215) 989-9858. Dr. Johnson provides psycho-educational consultations to parents trying to help yet protect their children.