On December 4, 1969 Fred Hampton and Mark Clark were assassinated by Chicago cops while they slept. The murders were part of the FBI’s COINTELPRO. Fred was deputy chairman of the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party and a rising charismatic leader. He was only 21; Mark was 22. There are potential Freds and Marks walking our streets today that need to know their history and who their enemy is. The spirit of the Black Panther lives on!
The Congress is currently discussing legislation to the rampant and pervasive culture of sexual assault in the military. The Pentagon’s recent report on rape indicated 26,000 people were assaulted in 2012, up front the 19,000 from the previous year. This means that even with all the bright lights on the issue, the military has been incapable of addressing the situation as it has been for years.
Two female senators have introduced legislation that have bi-partisan support. MO Sen. Claire McCaskill presented a bill that includes removing the authority from commanders to overturn a conviction at court martial and making it a crime to retaliate against a victim who reports a sexual assault. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s bill goes much farther in an extremely important way if there’s going to be true relief for victims. Her bill takes the issue out of the hands of the victims’ commanding officers and puts it in the hands of “independent military” prosecutors. If there’s never a prosecution of perpetrators, you can’t even get to the court martial or retaliation phase.
I liken the current military reporting system to reporting police abuse to Internal Affairs (police). How’s that working for citizens?
For those of you who missed Michelle Alexander when she came to St. Louis recently, here’s the next best thing–a YouTube video. Alexander was humble about her lack of awareness of how deep and wide the problem of mass incarceration really was. Although many of us have been doing prison reform work for decades, The New Jim Crow has elevated the disturbing problem to a national discussion. Now, it’s up to all the people whose consciousness has also been raised to move into action to reverse the behaviors, policies and laws that got us to this place.
Click on the photo below to view her presentation.