You heard it here first
Published in St. Louis American, May 10, 2019
Over the 25 years of writing my column, readers have told me what they learned from my columns. I know that we don’t always have time to read many different viewpoints to come up with our own conclusions, so I work hard to present both information and knowledge. The goal is once readers have either or both, that will be motivation to act.
Information is the numbers, the raw data, the facts. Fact: Per capita, St. Louis is the 11th highest policed city in the U.S. Knowledge happens when you combine information with analysis and experience. Knowledge: Based upon my decades of organizing around police violence and crime, adding more police officers to the mix will not effectively address public safety or police accountability.
Here are some issues you said that either you never heard of before I wrote about them or had a deeper understanding of as a result of my article.
Robert Rayford, an African-American teen in St. Louis, is believed to be the first HIV-related death in 1969. The Griot Museum of Black History and Culture will commemorate Rayford and all the caregivers and trailblazers in the HIV/AIDS arena on Saturday, May 11.
The first domestic bombing came in 1921 to Tulsa’s successful black business district known as Black Wall Street. It was part of the racist terrorism experienced by black communities post-Reconstruction and into the 20th century. It’s taken a while but that piece of hidden history has been elevated in the last 20 years. There is now a commemorative museum and other efforts to preserve history and to give context to the senseless deaths of 26 African Americans.
The second domestic bombing of yet another black neighborhood came on May 13, 1985 when then-Mayor Goode and the Philly police decided that the best way to deal with the naturalist group MOVE was to declare them terrorists and to bomb their home.
I distinctly remember the warning before the aerial bombs were dropped: “Attention, MOVE: this is America!” The ill-planned act of terror leveled a city block of homes. Eleven people died in the inferno, including five children. Those who attempted to come out of the burning building were met with a hail of police bullets. This tragic anniversary is coming up soon.
Before they saw the concept in my column, many readers had never heard of the Electoral College (definitely not a place of higher learning). The antiquated institution has received more attention in the last few election cycles. We are seeing and hearing more serious discussions about how to deal with the Electoral College, which is a deterrent to real democracy.
One of the root causes of people fleeing Mexico and other South American countries is the drug trade and other negative impacts on those countries’ economies by the U.S., like the North American Trade Agreement. The insatiable demand for drugs by people in this country is fueling the growth of the powerful drug cartels. Drugs are an integral part of the economy where poor people have to make difficult decisions to survive. In short, US policies have forced the mass exodus of humanity at the southern border who are seeking a safe environment for their families.
Let me know of a fact or information that you heard for the first time in one of my columns. Let’s keep sharing information that builds upon our collective knowledge.