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Free Speech at a High Price

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Student gets probation for free speech

Published in St. Louis American, August 25, 2016

Christopher Winston
Christopher Winston

When Christopher Winston returned to Saint Louis University this semester, I’m sure it didn’t shine with as much promise as it did the previous year. That’s because last semester, Winston was hit with what some may call slander and a harsh penalty for questioning human rights abuses by the Israeli government against the Palestinians.

Winston showed up as the only African-American student to a forum by the Jewish Students Association (JSA). He raised questions about the occupation of Palestine and specifically about the attacks on the Palestinian Red Crescent attempting to provide medical responses to Palestinian community. There was a bit of verbal jostling, but nothing that rose to the level of a physical confrontation, based on watching a video of the encounter and talking with Winston.

Still, about a week later, this black student received the equivalent of a summons and a restraining order. A complaint had been filed by two members of the JSA, Scott Lasky and David Weinstein. During the non-violent verbal exchange Lasky and Weinstein said they felt – you guessed it – concerned about their “safety and well-being.”

As a result, Winston told me that he was charged with being involved in a bias incident and with disruptive conduct. He appealed the charges to no avail and remains on probation until the end of next year (2017). Should he violate the conditions of his probation, Saint Louis University is ready to smack him with further sanctions.

This situation is just wrong on so many levels. Read more

Feds kickin’ private prisons to the curb

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The feds have decided to back away from using profiteering prisons. The news sent stock in the private prisons plummeting. This is by no means the dismantlement of the racist Prison Industrial Complex. However. It is a victory for the many (former) prisoners and their families along with organizations who have been consistently whacking away at this complex for years–those working for dis-investment and those working for the human rights of prisoners. And as I always say, change could be deeper and faster, if more people walked the talk.

The Democrat’s Platform Comes Up Way Short

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The Democrat’s Platform Comes Up Way Short

Published on BlackCommentator.com July 21, 2016

The touted so-called progressive platform of the Democrats came out just as all hell was breaking loose. Police in Baton Rouge and Falcon Heights killed two unarmed black men. Two black, armed men killed three Baton Rouge police and six Dallas officers respectively. Just like the police, the former military officers had been trained to kill.

Police violence in this country continues to spiral out of control. So when I heard the 2016 Democratic draft platform was ready for public viewing, I went straight to the criminal justice section. Read more