Thursday, April 12, 2012

Justice for Trayvon?

He was a 17 year old black male - he had a hankering for a bag of Skittles and a can of Arizona Iced Tea. He went to the local convenience store, having left the "safety" of the gated community in which his mother's fiance resided.

Many stories have been told and retold about what transpired that night in a relatively quiet suburb of Sanford, Florida, but what we do know for sure is that young Trayvon never returned to be with his mother. His father tried valiantly to reach him on his mobile for some three days after the disappearance of Trayvon - why the police did not think to respond to the mobile calls is beyond me. The phone was surely ringing off the hook in the morgue or with Trayvon's belongings somewhere in the Sanford Police Department.

Why George Zimmerman came to the police department after an alleged life threatening altercation sans visible blood on his shirt, or elsewhere for that matter, sans any bruises to his allegedly broken nose, and walking in plastic cuffs quite freely and lucidly - this was surely not the look of a person who had been in a "fight for his life."

The Florida Stand Your Ground is now being challenged in Congress - it is their hope to repeal it - it will then likely (if the NRA has any say) go before the Supreme Court.

Just what did our forefathers have to say about the right to bear arms? I am quite sure that gunning down an unarmed child is not what they had in mind.

I hope that when this indeed comes to trial in Florida, they can move the venue from Sanford - Trayvon deserves that as do his dear parents.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

And justice for all?

There was yet another shooting of an NYPD police officer last evening on the streets of Brooklyn. Within hours, a name of the alleged shooter had been given to the police - not much later, the alleged shooter was found, apprehended and taken into custody.

Conversely, an immigrant from West Africa was unloading goods to a taxi from the Cross County Shopping Center in Yonkers, when a rival cab driver allegedly threw a grocery cart from atop the structure - the second such incident in as many years. There has been no added security and as far as I can tell, no one has yet been arrested in this heinous crime.

What do these two men have in common? Fathers, working in New York, to provide for their young families. One was shot in the head and almost died and the other is in critical condition.

Does the NYPD and Yonkers PD handle police investigations in the same manner for civilian shootings versus police officer shootings? Should they?

I shall be watching this closely and will even be speaking to a Yonkers city council representative to express my concern.

It is also of note that the Honorable Mayor Bloomberg feels it necessary to interrupt whatever he is doing to go to the bedside of these fallen officers and provide updates to the public. Does he not trust Police Commissioner Kelley to do his job adequately and what of his communications staffer? Mr. Bloomberg's ego needs a reality check, methinks.

Stay tuned.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Episcopal Church and social justice or why I believe Bishop Sisk is wrong when it comes to OWS and Trinity Church

I was saddened and frankly surprised to read Bishop Sisk's letter yesterday on Facebook. The letter disappeared and reappeared shortly thereafter, along with the accompanying comments. It would appear that Bishop Sisk is bowing to public opinion and caving in and is no longer allowing OWS supporters to utilize their facilities at Trinity Church for toileting, sleeping, hanging out, strategizing and other activities.

One of the reasons I left my former faith, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, is that I felt called and even compelled to do more work along the lines of social and economic justice such as I had done whilst engaged with MESJ or Mormons for Equality and Social Justice. I thought I had found that fit in the Episcopal Church of my birth. Now I am beginning to wonder.

Yes, this might be an isolated incident of one Bishop's lack of foresightedness, but it could also be a scary pattern of caving to the masses.

While Bishop Sisk is certainly a good and honorable man, the Episcopal Church has a calling from God to take particular care of the downtrodden and disenfranchised, in much the same way that the Savior did during his sojourn on the earth. When the moneychangers turned the Temple into a den of thieves and were doing business in the Savior's house, he used righteous indignation to overturn the tables with the merchandise and reprimanded the money changers for debasing his Father's house. We could all learn a valuable lesson from that exchange.

As a Church, I believe we have failed OWS protestors by cutting them off and not allowing them to have a place to crash as it were. They do not have money for expensive hotel rooms and some of the protestors come from as far away as Delaware, many of them are students and low-income workers. They need a soft place to land and continue this important work - while they may be the one percent, they have created a movement unlike any other we have seen in recent years.

Shame on the Episcopal Church of New York - Bishop Sisk, please revisit your decision.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Another senseless shooting at Virginia Tech

It seemed like deja vu, surreal.....yet another shooting at Virginia Tech took place yesterday.

While details are still unfolding at this time, we do know that a police officer was gunned down and the first victim of the shooter's wrath and there was another man shot whose identity is yet unknown. What saddens me is that this police officer is a U.S. Army veteran - this makes the shooting even more poignant - he leaves behind a wife and 5 children and stepchildren.

The entire campus was on lockdown for several hours during the shooting. It seems that administrators have learned well from the incident that claimed some 33 lives in 2007. Ironically, the head of campus police, the emergency management director and several school administrators were out of state, attending hearings on the 2007 shootings according to news reports at

I have long been an advocate for gun control, particularly on college campuses where kids are under so much stress, living away from home for the first time, exams, trying to fit in, etc, etc, etc.

In this case, we are not yet sure whether this shooter was a student - we do know that it was yet another white male. Ironically enough, my oldest son wrote a paper on the Columbine shootings years ago in high school. His point was simple: If black men were going on shooting sprees at the rate of whites, there would be federal investigations into why this behavior is occurring.....and not the leisurely pace at which these investigations are taking place. It has been some 4 years since the original massacre at Virginia Tech and the Department of Education is still holding hearings.

Enough already - close college campuses, no guns allowed, period.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Our love-hate affair with that great albatross about the neck of the American people

This struggling great American institution has been on life support for years and maybe it is time to finally pull the plug. They have downsized, increased the price of a postage stamp more times in recent years than I care to recall and now, to add insult to injury, they are going to forfeit first class next day mail guarantee.

What is the point of being a post office if you can't guarantee mail delivery? This agency has been coddled and spoiled by the U.S. government since I came to this country some 21 years ago. They blackmail us, raise postage stamp prices and continue to deliver substandard service.

Were I the CEO of such an organization, the board would have fired me long ago for my ineptitude, but not so with the postmaster general - he continues to rake in a tidy salary, bonus and excellent retirement and health insurance benefits.

They have spent untold sums of monies in marketing and advertising as if there were some competition for delivering the mail - last time I checked, they were the only game in town.

There needs to be some serious house cleaning at this organization, starting with the postmaster general - salaries need to be slashed and folks need to be accountable!

One more pay hike and I will NEVER use the U.S. postal service again! Enough already.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

The rise and fall of Herman Cain

It was simply too good to be true.

A second African American President of the United States in a row and a Republican at that!

Herman Cain, head of Godfather's Pizza chain and millionaire and self made ueber business man tested the waters and got his feet burned.

It was not enough that a slew of women came forth accusing him of all manner of sexual impropriety in recent weeks, but the final blow came with the forthcoming of a woman who claimed to have had an illicit affair for 13 years.

Yesterday, Herman Cain after much consideration and prayer stepped down and "suspended" his candidacy for President of this great nation.

As a woman of color, I would have been thrilled to see yet another black President in the White House, and yet, something about Mr. Cain appeared unsettling from the beginning. His statements about poor people and how they are responsible for their misfortune did not sit well with me. He alluded to the fact that African Americans are lazy and would rather steal a BMW than work for it......(not a direct quote, but you get my point).

Mr. Cain now has to explain to his wife of some 48 years who was conspicuously absent during the entire campaign season, who these women are, why they were essentially bought out and what he plans to do, if anything to right these aggregious wrongs to her and their marriage.

I have said it before and I reiterate. I do not expect anything more from my elected officials than I expect of myself - that is, they are not perfect individuals, rather striving to represent those whom they are called to serve. I do not expect them to stray from their marriage vows, but as we saw in the Clinton/Lewinsky scandal, a blow job and indescretion does not a marriage necessarily break.

I am going to be candid now. I am not sad in the least that Cain is out of the race and wonder where those voters will now pledge their respective allegiances.....I have spoken with two intelligent individuals who happen to be Republicans who felt that Cain had what it took to be President - that was clearly not the case.

Good riddance to bad rubbish and remember folks......if you have skeletons in the closet, they always come out to get you in the end, particularly if you choose to run for public office.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Holiday Tree in Rhode Island - much ado about nothing or political correctness run amuck

It seems that Governor Lincoln Chaffee of Rhode Island finally gets what other elected officials don't.

It is NOT appropriate to have a Christmas tree on state or federal property.

When this great nation was founded, and in particular, that state of Rhode Island, our forefathers went to great lengths to ensure that there was freedom of religion and separation of Church vs. State.

I am proud that Governor Chaffee has the guts to have a holiday tree and yet understands that he has the right to have a Christmas tree in his personal home.

Some years ago, whilst working as a political appointee for the Mayor of Salt Lake City, Utah, I approached the Chief of Staff with a concern that we should not have a Christmas tree on city property if we were not also going to have a Menorrah, a Kwanzaa candle holder or any other non-secular memorabilia/decorations. He insisted that Christmas is a secular holiday and brings the city revenue and therefore the Christmas tree should stay in the Mayor's office - so sad too bad for the many Jews and Africans who lived in the areaa.

Not satisfied with his answer, I took the case further - I addressed the City Attorney with a query over why there was Christmas music being played in the Mayor's Office and asked that we not have any at all. My concern was not that we would offend anyone, rather that we were being insensitive and not religiously neutral. I recognized fully that we were at the time living in a theocracy - the state that is Utah is notorious for its overlap of Church and State, but thought that in a small way I could make a difference. I was obviously wrong and was shot down not once, but twice.

Now that I look back, I might have prevailed on the champion of the ACLU himself, the former Mayor of Salt Lake City, Rocky Anderson and asked him what his opinion was - he likely would have sided with those above me, but he just might have come down on the side of that which is good and right.

I will never but it will make for an interesting chapter in the book.