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Boots on the Ground in Flint, Michigan

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Recently, Jay sent me a text telling me that he wanted me to be involved with a “project” he was working on. Jay is the kind of guy that you want to have in your corner – an inspirational, creative, genuine person with a passion for life and his people.

So with that in mind I’m like “yeah I’m down.” Late one Thursday evening after a hard workout, he introduced me to something that would dominate my mind for days. Something so ridiculous, so tragic and crippling to an entire city. We spoke for about twenty minutes over an off-beat cadence of basketball dribbling and occasional jump shots but focused on the mission at hand. Four hours from our doorsteps, tens of thousands of people were being affected by an act of domestic genocide. A slow killer was being consumed by the citizens of Flint, Michigan and the local government let it happen. Lead poisoning; people dying or dead, babies affected, elderly suffering, many poor in need, on a path to torment, with nowhere to go.

Flint, Michigan, water, Move On, health

Photo Credit: Ken Williams

Flint is a predominately African-American, low-income city that although carries so much pride, is a city of people faced with many obstacles and now, poisoned water, for now nearly two years. We know that Governor Snyder and his administration would have never allowed this to happen in more economically advantaged cities in Michigan. Moveon.org has been leading a heavy charge against Snyder calling him to take proper action and raising awareness including #UnPureMichigan, a play on the state’s tourism slogan, Pure Michigan, and newpipesforflint.org. 

Here are some facts:

1. Drinkable lead ratio in water = 2% | lead found in flint water 27%.
2. April 2014 – a boil notice came out for Flint, Michigan residents

3. Governor Rick Snyder knew about this issue for at least one year before taking any action

Flint, Michigan, water, Move On, health

Photo Credit: Ken Williams

With all this to consider, a plan was already in motion; all I had to do was be present. I was captured by Jay’s statement “the government moves slow. If we have the ability to do something, why should we wait?”

A four hour drive to Flint is where we met Maurell and DC – two brothers from Flint – who both have family affected by this terrible issue. Our boots hit the ground and we went door-to-door in three different neighborhoods. While each person who answered the door bore a different name, they are all related for they were all like spouses in an arranged marriage. We shook hands with the cold, calculated hands of American oppression and tried to soothe the wounds of the abused. Some were fearful to answer the door to strangers though our complexion was the same.

Flint, Michigan, water, Move On, health

Photo Credit: Ken Williams

One of my best friends confirmed something about myself and people who are moved by a vision of positively affecting the world we live in. “We weren’t made to work a 9-5 and be home-bodies; we are compelled, because we know that this is bigger than us.”

From celebrities, to corporations, and most importantly, every day people, voices are being heard. Aid is being provided. People are being brought together. We just want to see proper action taken by those who can truly fix the problem.

I’m far from perfect, I’m far from fully realizing my dreams, but i’m writing this because I’m on my way……. finally.

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Ken Williams is a Columbus, OH based photographer by way of Cleveland, OH. Street photography and urban exploration were his original draws to picking up a camera. The feeling of finding and capturing something captivating cannot be duplicated or explained. It’s not a rush from a thrill for Ken but more of a subtle satisfaction and an overwhelming joy. Since he has picked up his camera he has been compelled to tell stories. There is a moral responsibility that every artist should strive to uphold, and that is regardless of the medium. Having been through many hells in his life and have witnessed many tragedies, that is what shapes him as a photographer – not to only convey struggles and the darker side of life, but not to shy away from it. Ken believes that we all have voices; his voice just to happens to ring loudest through visuals.

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Culture

Angela Rye Set To Join BET For New Program

The cultural and political thought leader’s new series ‘Angela Rye’s State of the Union’ begins January 31st

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Angela Rye, BET

It’s about time! We are excited to learn that Angela Rye, Principal and CEO of Impact Strategies, CNN political commentator and NPR political analyst, will be joining forces with BET to deliver a new program, launching this month.

Rye is set to host and executive produce the quarterly news show, which is poised to dig deep into issues and stories affecting black America.

“Working with BET always provides a reminder of why I began to do this work,” Rye said in a statement to Blavity. “It is essential that we have platforms where we can discuss our politics, our challenges, and our culture through our respective lenses. The upcoming special will provide a glimpse of what’s to come with our partnership.”

The first episode of the series is tentatively titled “Angela Rye’s State of the Union,” which will be a primetime rebuttal to President Trump’s State of the Union address airing Wednesday, January 31 at 10PM PT.

Read more on Blavity

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Cultural Conditioning

Lawmaker Says Weed Illegal Because Black People Genetically Can’t Handle Its Effects

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rep steven alford

Call it what it is…this is that bullshxt,man.  That bullshxt that is systematically woven in legislation used to fill for-profit prisons with black men and women. The same bullshxt that justifies over-policing in black neighborhoods even though marijuana use is roughly equal among blacks and whites, yet blacks are 3.73 times as likely to be arrested for marijuana possession (h/t ACLU). And yes, this is that bullshxt that leads to more interactions between blacks and police — some who are racist and some who are just looking for easy targets to meet quotas — and the reality is reckless claims like those recently made by State Rep. Steve Alford (R) of Kansas have no scientific merit and yet are consumed as truth.

How could that be?!

Like my man Joe Maddison “the Black Eagle” of Sirus XMs The Urban View often says: “in America, we are culturally conditioned to believe, that White is superior, Black is inferior, and the manifestation of that cultural conditioning is that Black people are undervalued, underestimated and marginalized. It’s not a racist statement. It’s a fact of life.”

See exhibit A:

State Rep. Steve Alford (R) of Kansas thinks marijuana should be illegal because he said black people are genetically unable to handle its effects. Using the type of racist “logic” commonly heard when “Reefer Madness” was considered a serious documentary.

“What you really need to do is go back in the ’30s, when they outlawed all types of drugs in Kansas [and] across the United States,” Alford said, according to the Garden City Telegram. “One of the reasons why, I hate to say it, was that the African-Americans, they were basically users and they basically responded the worst off to those drugs just because of their character makeup, their genetics and that.”

Kansas is one of the few states that still hasn’t legalized some form of medical marijuana, according to the Associated Press.

The Telegram pointed out that Alford’s comments appeared to be based on the theories of Harry Anslinger, the founding commissioner of what was then called the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, which was behind the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937.

Some of the very racist and hysterically anti-cannabis quotes attributed to the agency include these whoppers:

“Reefer makes darkies think they’re as good as white men.”

“There are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the U.S., and most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos and entertainers. Their Satanic music, jazz and swing result from marijuana use. This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers and any others.”

“Marijuana is an addictive drug which produces in its users insanity, criminality, and death.”

Although Alford, who represents a district in western Kansas, stood by his remarks when questioned after the meeting, he was unable to cite a specific source for his so-called science to the Telegram. However, he admitted he shouldn’t have singled out African-Americans.

On Monday, Alford denied that his remarks were racist to AP: “To me, that’s neutral. Basically, I got called a racist, which I’m really not, and it’s just the way people — the interpretation of people. To me, I’m trying to look at what’s really the best for Kansas.”

Carl Brewer, a Democratic candidate for governor, said Alford’s comments were inappropriate for a politician in 2018.

“It is hard to believe that in 2018, anyone would support the discredited and racist policies of the Jim Crow-era,” Brewer said in a statement to KSN TV. “No matter one’s feelings on medical marijuana and marijuana legalization, we can all agree that views like those of KS Rep. Alford have no place in our statehouse, in our state or in our country.”

 

read more at yahoo.com

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Sports

Former NBA Baller Steven Jackson Says He Smoked Weed During Entire Career

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steven jackson, nba

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