Georgia’s Unemployment Rate is Too High–Period.

georg45This campaign season has highlighted a lot of reasons to get to the polls but none is more significant than the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report that lists Georgia as once again with the highest unemployment rate in the country. Georgia’s unemployment rate of 7.9 percent is a full two points higher than the national average, and Georgia lost more than 15,000 private sector jobs in September. This is not a partisan or political issue; it is a grave economic reality for Georgians.

“This is absolutely unacceptable,” said Sen. Jason Carter. “Gov. Deal has driven Georgia to the very bottom. By his own words, he’s rejecting facts instead of accepting responsibility for this crisis. If he can’t even see the problem, why should we trust him to fix it?”

Since Governor Deal was elected unemployment in Georgia has been high so whatever he has been doing it is not working. It is well past the time for us to get our heads out of the sand.

Gov. Deal has been reported as having said, “I believe that somebody who has a job is better than somebody who doesn’t have a job.” I would argue that is especially false for the job of Governor of Georgia.

 

Why President Obama and Georgia Need the LBGTQ Community in November. Will your vote count?

Shirley FranklinIn a tongue-in-cheek, but pointed article, Newsweek Magazine nicknamed President Obama as “the first gay President.” This was an editorial comment on President Obama’s firm support of same-sex marriage, employment non-discrimination, HIV/AIDS funding and tthe Departments of Justice and Defense efforts to grant LBGTQ citizens, servicemen and servicewoman “full citizenship” in their interactions with the Federal Government. Many are not aware that President Obama is also the first President to invite transgendered children to the annual White House Easter Egg Roll. The invitation did not cause a “flap” in the press and was a non-issue because it is a well-known fact the President practices the “politics of inclusion”.

Here in Georgia, the campaign for inclusion has yet to be realized for minority communities. This includes Hispanics, Asians, Africa Americans and the LBGTQ community. Georgia ranks dead last with the highest unemployment rate in the nation with some 380,000 plus Georgians out of work. The majority of Georgia’s unemployed are minorities. In education we rank 35th in per student spending. We have cut teachers’ pay and have 6,500 fewer teachers in Georgia’s classrooms. We have refused to expand Medicaid to grant healthcare to the working poor, which has an adverse impact on Grady Memorial Hospital as well as our rural health system – resulting in hospital closings in some rural communities. And to add insult to injury Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp is stonewalling efforts to register more than 600,000 minority voters. He is holding up approximately 51,000 registration applications under the pretense of “voter fraud”. The Republican effort to suppress minority voters and the Democratic vote in Georgia is reminiscent of literacy tests that were struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court. As Atlantans celebrated Pride this past weekend, LBGTQ residents in Georgia LBGTQ cannot marry, cannot file joint state taxes, are unprotected in the workplace against employment discrimination and generally confess to not feeling “safe” outside major urban areas. Here in Georgia, there is still work to be done before President Obama’s vision of an “Equal America” is realized.

If President Obama is going to continue his efforts to level the playing field of minority participation, Democrats need to maintain control of the U.S. Senate. A vote for Michelle Nunn, who is endorsed by the Human Rights Campaign, a national LBGTQ lobby, is a vote to maintain Democratic control of the U.S. Senate. Control of the House and the Senate are important to the President; it is the difference between success and failure. The Democratic-controlled Senate passed the Employment Non-Discrimination Act in as a bipartisan measure. However, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) announced immediately after the Senate vote that ENDA was “dead on arrival” in the Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives. It is no secret the Republicans have tried consistently to derail the President’s federal non-discrimination agenda. In November, it is important to send a strong message that Georgia isn’t the presumptive “Red State” that Republicans thought it was … your vote can make a difference in all the state-wide contests from the U.S. Senate, the Governor’s Office and the State School Superintendent’s race.

In Georgia, if we want to improve and reform our educational system, if we want to expand Medicaid and strengthen our healthcare system, if we want to fairly register all voters, if we are tired of being dead last in healthcare, education and employment, if we want to pass State Representative Karla Drenner’s Fair Employment Practices Act in the Georgia General Assembly to protect LBGTQ state employees, and if we want a better quality of life for our husbands, our wives, our friends and our families, we need Jason Carter as Governor. It will take strong leadership to change Georgia’s direction. President Obama needs a Governor who will work with him. The President does not need a Governor who jousts at windmills and accuses the President’s Administration of “manipulating” Georgia’s unemployment rate to change the outcome of an election.

President Obama needs LBGTQ Georgians to register, to vote and to be a part of the statewide coalition to retain control of the U.S. Senate and to right the ship of the state of Georgia. President Obama needs Michelle Nunn and Jason Carter.

AG continues to fiddle while Rome burns!

Forbes

Forbes

Georgia’s continued defense of same-sex marriage ban a colossal waste of taxpayer money. 

BY: Gary S. Cox

Earlier in the year, U. S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in a speech in Minneapolis told an audience to watch the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, which is comprised of Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee. If the 6th circuit ruled to uphold the state constitutional bans against same-sex marriage, then there would be some urgency for the court to hear the issue on appeal. She noted if the 6th Circuit Court strikes down the bans, then there would be no sense of urgency for the court to enter the fray. The 6th Circuit Court decision is still pending.

The decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to decline hearing the petitions of 5 states where the appellate courts struck down their constitutional bans against same sex marriage in effect legalizes same-sex marriage in 30 states. Even a lay person can read the proverbial hand writing on the wall and know, as Ginsburg predicted, the High Court will only enter the fray if there are conflicting appellate court rulings. It is readily apparent how the Supreme Court is leaning on the issue. Remember, it takes 4 Justices to say “Yes” to have a case heard before the court. The votes to reverse the appellate court decisions to strike down state constitutional marriage bans are most likely not there. The same 5-4 split in the “Defense Against Marriage Act” ruling is the most probable outcome predicted by seasoned court watchers, if the court does take up the issue of same-sex marriage.

Now comes the state of Georgia, in a recent article in The Atlanta-Journal Constitution the Attorney General’s office announced the state of Georgia will proceed with its court fight to save the state constitution’s ban on same-sex marriage, the AG’s spokesperson noted. Marriages will begin taking place in the 30 states impacted by the High Court’s decision not to hear any same-sex marriage cases. It is unlikely the High Court will knowingly allow such marriages to take place, then annul those marriages at some future date. Even our Southern neighbors – Virginia, West Virginia, South and North Carolina now have same sex marriage as a direct result of the Supreme Court’s decision. In North Carolina, Governor Pat McCrory grudgingly noted the “acceptance of the inevitability” of same-sex marriage becoming legal in his state. The fight to ban same-sex marriage is over. Yet Georgia’s AG continues to waste taxpayer money in a battle he is predictably to lose. Even Utah’s Governor Gary Herbert, who adamantly opposed same-sex marriage, stated in response to the High Court decision, ” “. . . ultimately we are a nation of laws, and we here in Utah will uphold the law.” The state AG’s office should drop it’s case, as did the AG of North Carolina, and accept the consensus of the American people.

About That Story on the City of Atlanta’s Personnel Policies

Shirley Franklin’s response to the recent WSB-TV story by Richard Belcher

“I just returned to Atlanta from a business trip. I have no inclination to be engaged in a public debate about my service as mayor. My record of integrity and honesty is well documented. I am not aware of any instances that mirror the actions that have been described in the current coverage of employee payouts. If there is any question about the legality of any of my actions or decisions during nearly twenty one years in public office, then the responsible authorities should investigate and take the appropriate action.”

Shirley Franklin

Every Vote Counts!

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“I would prefer more educated voters than a greater increase in the number of voters.”

- Georgia State Senator Fran Millar (R)

In Political Science 101 you quickly learn that power is taken and not freely given. The recent outrageous statements of State Senator Fran Millar (R-DeKalb) complaining about the innovative idea of voting on Sunday as a “loop hole in the law” that needs closing is just blatantly ridiculous. The battle to register and empower Atlanta’s minority communities has a lengthy history that we must remember.

In the 1970’s Maynard Jackson campaigned for Mayor on a platform pledge to open the doors to City Hall for neighborhood leaders to join business leaders whose influence was a mainstay of local politics. The creation of the Neighborhood Planning Unit, a citywide grassroots community engagement municipal program, deliberately tied policy to the opinions and counsel of city residents and business owners. This dramatically shifted the expectation of everyday folks and empowered their opinions on city governance.

By the mid 1970’s new political coalitions were forming led by young people at the center of the political action. As a young visionary leader Jackson symbolized change. Maynard Jackson was joined by other young leaders like Arthur Langford, Jr. who was elected to the Atlanta City Council at the age of 23. As a councilman, he worked tirelessly to end gun violence and lessen the drug trade in low income communities. Similarly, Mayor Maynard Jackson was the first elected official in the state of Georgia to anticipate the rise of the LBGTQ community as a growing political influence. Jackson was the first to appoint a liaison at the Mayoral level at City Hall.

In the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, the LBGTQ community was just beginning to coalesce around their common political interests as a result of the impact of the A.I.D.S epidemic. Though many in the Democratically controlled state leadership held voter registration drives in the late ‘80’s and early ‘90’s, the LBGTQ community through L.E.G.A.L (Legislate Equality for Gays and Lesbians) also held voter registration drives in the 1st, 5th and 6th City Council Districts almost every weekend. In fact, a friend, Gary Cox, won an award in 1989 from the Fulton County Voter Registrar’s Office for registering more voters than anyone else in the county. The LGBTQ community set up at Ansley Mall, Grant Park, Piedmont Park, (at the annual Gay Pride Festival) and outside Backstreet (within the legal distance of a drinking establishment) to specifically target their community. L.E.G.A.L. actually received criticism for “targeting” gay people because it was considered “partisan and limited” to target a specific social minority.

In much the same way, the New Georgia Project, whose specific goal is to register the estimated 600,000 plus voting age African Americans in the state, is now being criticized and targeted by the Office of the Secretary of State. If the new Georgia Project were successful in just registering 40% or more of unregistered African American voters, 260,000 new voters would forever change the dynamic of Georgia elections, according to Benjamin Jealous, formerly of the NAACP.

The New Georgia Project is courageously attempting to change Georgia’s voting dynamics through its efforts. Likewise, the LBGTQ voter registration drives were started to change the voting dynamics and empower the gay community in City Council Districts 6, 5 and 1. Those efforts, along with the 1991 redistricting process led to the election of Cathy Woolard as the City’s first openly gay city council member.

The 1990 census documented the 6th City Council District was comprised with the most male same-sex households than anywhere in the entire state. The 5th City Council District at that time, had more same-sex female households than anywhere in the state. In the city redistricting of 1991, which was based on the 1990 census, Cathy Woolard, Richard Jones, Gary Cox and others worked to connect Midtown to Little Five Points, Inman Park and Candler Park. They were successful in their efforts to reconfigure the 6th City Council District.

The map they drew, was used as the basis for city redistricting in 1991. For the first time in LBGTQ history in Atlanta the tool of redistricting was used to empower the gay community. The LBGTQ leadership of the early 1990’s was surely taking notes from the African American civil rights struggle and applying those lessons to what they had learned to impact the political process for their community.

Fast-forward to the present, now comes Governor Nathan Deal endorsing the idea of banning Sunday voting. Additionally, the Republican Secretary of State Brian Kemp has issued subpoenas to “investigate” the New Georgia Project. It is extremely clear to Georgia Democrats that when it comes to voting rights we have not reached Dr. King’s “promised land”. The basic and fundamental right to vote is one of the most defining issues in the 2014 November election.

In the 1970’s and ‘80’s the tag line “If you don’t vote, you don’t count” was commonly used to rally voter registration. Georgia, according to the web site “Census Viewer,” has 4,960,073 qualified registered voters. Of this number, 54.53% are women and 45.46% are men, and some 200 individuals did not list their gender. Some of these four million plus voters are straight, others are gay. Some are African American and others are White, Asian or Latino. The category doesn’t matter. Each registered voter counts equally when voting.

If we are to reach the promised land, it requires honest leadership who cares about all Georgians not just the privileged few … isn’t it time we reach the promised land of 1 person = one vote?

Gov. Nathan Deal doesn’t want you to vote on Sundays

1374168461-gov_nathan_deal_183Think, for a moment, of all the things that are now normal to do on Sundays.

We can shop for groceries. Buy lottery tickets. Even order a glass of wine or beer.

But some politicians, including Gov. Deal, don’t want you to vote on Sunday.

In a historical move for this state, three Georgia counties will allow voters to cast their ballots on Sunday.

DeKalb, Fulton and Lowndes have announced Sunday voting days to increase access for voters who can’t get to the polls during a busy work week or during a Saturday shift on the job.

Gov. Deal thinks this is wrong.

He blasted the move as a “departure from the norm” and said he wants “uniformity.”

And he even said that he will fight to block Sunday voting if he’s re-elected.

“I feel sure this is an issue that the General Assembly will probably be looking at very seriously come January,” Deal told a reporter yesterday.

The governor’s vow to limit voter access comes just a day after the shocking comments by state Sen. Fran Millar (R-Dunwoody) on DeKalb County’s voting plan:

“Now we are to have Sunday voting at South DeKalb Mall just prior to the election. Per Jim Galloway of the AJC, this location is dominated by African American shoppers and it is near several large African American mega churches such as New Birth Missionary Baptist. Galloway also points out the Democratic Party thinks this is a wonderful idea – what a surprise. I’m sure Michelle Nunn and Jason Carter are delighted with this blatantly partisan move in DeKalb.”

He added, “…We will try to eliminate this election law loophole in January.”

Then Millar’s statements took an even more shameful turn when he wrote on Facebook, “I would prefer more educated voters than a greater increase in the number of voters.”  

Both Gov. Deal and Sen. Millar were involved in Georgia’s blatantly partisan redistricting process three years ago, which virtually guaranteed GOP supermajorities in both legislative chambers. Millar voted for the redistricting plans and Deal signed them.

The fact that Millar and Deal have meddled in elections for partisan purposes and now condemn expanding voting access is disturbing enough.

But even more disturbing is the idea that voting on Sunday is somehow inappropriate.

Sen. Millar voted for the bill to allow Sunday alcohol sales, and Gov. Deal signed it into law.

That is the law on Sundays now.

But the sacred right to vote is not?

P.S If you want to take action now, call your county officials and ask them to join DeKalb, Fulton and Lowndes Counties. Everyone in Georgia should be able to vote on a Sunday if they choose.

The subtle yet glaring distinction of being different

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President Barack Obama wore a tan suit and social media started a national dialogue on why, what it meant, was it appropriate and how he was just so different from previous presidents. I think it has been documented that he wasn’t the first president to ever wear a tan suit. I saw a recent link on the Atlanta Journal Constitution site that caught my eye because it said “Atlanta, meet your mayors”. One glance at the photos and I immediately saw the difference. I would assume the photos of the men in business attire were actual photos of them as mayors, mine however was clearly years before I ran for office and not a photo of me as mayor. Sometimes the subtly of being different isn’t that subtle.

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tansuit

 

Why I fear for my sons (From CNN Opinion)

By Kimberly Norwood

KNorwoodEditor’s note: Kimberly Norwood is a law professor at the Washington University School of Law and editor and co-contributor of “Color Matters: Skin Tone Bias and the Myth of a Post Racial America.” The opinions in this commentary are solely those of the writer.

(CNN) — I am a 54-year-old black woman — a mother, lawyer and law professor. I teach at the Washington University in St. Louis Law School and live 12 miles away from Ferguson, Missouri.

The median household income in my suburb is $85,000 per year. In Ferguson, it is $36,000. In my suburb, 3.5% of the people are black. In Ferguson, almost 70% are black. These are stark contrasts. Yet I share things in common with black people in Ferguson and, indeed, throughout the United States.

When I shop, I’m often either ignored as a waste of time or scrutinized as a potential shoplifter. In June, my daughter and I walked into the china and crystal department at a Macy’s department store. I was about to speak to the salesperson directly in front of me. She walked right past me to welcome the white woman behind us.

My daughter looked at me and said: “Really? Did she just ignore us?” My daughter is a young teenager at the crossroads of “skin color doesn’t matter” and “oh yes, it does.” She is in transition. I felt hurt, anger and embarrassment.

But this kind of encounter happens routinely.

Driving, I tend to have a bit of a lead foot — hitting 45 in a 35 mph zone. The few times I have been stopped in my suburb, the first question I’m asked is whether I live “around here.” Not one of my white friends has been asked that question when they were pulled over by a police officer.

Last summer, my teenage daughter was shopping with four white friends at a mall in an affluent St. Louis suburb. As they left the store, two mall security guards approached my daughter. They told her the store had called them and reported her as a shoplifter, and asked her to come with them. After a search, they found she had nothing. So far in her young life, mall security guards have stopped her on suspicion of shoplifting three times. Each time she was innocent.

I also have three sons. My two oldest are 22. They are 6-foot-5 and 6-foot-4 and each weighs more than 220 pounds. One recently graduated from college; the other will graduate in 2015. The youngest is 13. All three like to wear jeans and the latest sneakers. They love hoodies. They like looking cool. These three young men have never been arrested or even been in a fight at school.

Every time my sons leave the house, I worry about their safety. One of my sons loves to go out at night to clubs. I worry about potential unrest at the clubs — yes, black-on-black crime is a problem, and despite what many people think, black people complain about it all the time in their communities and churches and in newspapers and on radio stations.

I also worry about his drive home and his being stopped by police.

The data in Ferguson are an example of the larger picture in the St. Louis County area. Police stop, search and arrest black people at a disproportionate rate, even though they are less likely to possess contraband than white people.

This son of mine who likes to go out at night is big and tall and he has brown skin. He graduated from college in May but cannot find employment. He is an intelligent, clean-cut young man.

But the negative stereotypes automatically assigned to his skin color follow him everywhere, even in job interviews, like extra weight. It reminds me of the airline employee who asks before you can check your suitcase: Did a stranger ask you to carry something or pack your bag? In my son’s case, the answer is yes. He is carrying extra weight, unfairly, and without his knowledge or consent, packed in his luggage.

A few years ago my husband and I went on a cruise. My older boys were teenagers at the time and were taking summer enrichment classes at a school about a mile from our home. They planned to walk to school in the morning. At the top of a long list of things to do before we left for our trip was “e-mail chief of police.”

I explained to the chief that my husband and I were going on a cruise, I was a member of the community and that my two sons would be walking to school. I attached pictures of the boys, explaining that only a couple of black families lived in the neighborhood. My sons did not normally walk in the neighborhood, so they would draw attention.

I offered to bring my sons to the police department so officers could meet them. The police chief and I met and all went well.

But I’ve asked myself: How many parents of white sons have thought to add to their to-do-before-leaving-town list, “Write letter to local police department, introducing sons and attaching photos, so police do not become suspicious and harass them”?

Even though my older boys are men, I still worry about them. I worry about my 13-year-old. This worry is a stressful, and sadly normal, part of my daily existence. My youngest will be 6 feet tall in the coming weeks. He has brown skin.

These young black men have arrows pointed and ready to shoot at them daily — black-on-black crime, police encounters, societal bias and mistrust. Shortly after the Michael Brown shooting, I met with a group of my 13-year-old’s black male friends to explain to them what happened in Ferguson, and what to do and how to respond if they are ever stopped by the police. My words reminded me of stories and fears my grandfather used to share with me about his encounters with police during the Jim Crow era.

These are just a few of the many ways in which people in America are treated differently based on the color of their skin. This has been going on for a long time. I hope the events in Ferguson will encourage people to see the stark differences in the experiences of black people — not just black people who struggle economically but also black people like me — and white people as they go about their routine, daily lives.

http://us.cnn.com/2014/08/25/opinion/norwood-ferguson-sons-brown-police/index.html?c=&page=3

 

Going Darkly Into That Good Night

By Charles Cullen

Anyone who knows me knows I’m hopelessly addicted to work of the Coen brothers. My addiction goes beyond nodding when someone mentions that “the Dude BWB34abides.” I can quote nearly the entire movie. I believe “No Country For Old Men” is a piece of art that could never be replicated, and I’m shocked by how closely the Republican Party now comes to resembling Homer Stokes (the KKK, “is you is or is you ain’t my constituency?” political candidate of O Brother, Where Art Thou?) “Is you is or is you ain’t my constituency,” Homer pleads with a booing crowd.

“Is you is or is you ain’t my constituency?” Speaking for myself, Homer, I ain’t. I’m not accusing the GOP of being entirely made up of bigots. Though they mostly are exactly as racist as old Homer, they’re much better (with some spectacular exceptions) at hiding it.

The fact that an entire party can be represented by a single slow-witted racist is what makes the following question so fascinating; what happens when the Republican party can no longer rely on racist and/or stupid Caucasians to mindlessly back them? In many areas the white majority is quickly disappearing, and the old trick of just saying something hateful and getting white voters to vote against their own interests is growing more and more difficult.

The GOP has long been able to count on a certain portion the Latino population to help them over the hump, but they’ve been so hateful toward Latinos that that population is rapidly disappearing. Without these voters the highest office Republicans can realistically hope for is the House, with a few Senate seats scattered from still extremely white districts.

And that’s what makes things so interesting: the GOP can still count on the very deep South, but one can’t win a presidency without contesting swing states. Iowa, Ohio, Minnesota, and North Carolina, will become reliably Democratic as long as GOP Republicans have to out-crazy Tea Party challengers to win primaries.

Hateful and lunatic comments have a way of following one into general elections. And this becomes more and more true the higher the office one is aiming for.

The American people seem to like to switch presidential parties after roughly two terms, but the Republicans simply aren’t offering them anyone to vote for. From disastrous Republican SOTU speaker (rebuttal) Bobby Jindal, to Donald Trump, to “Awww Shucky-Ducky” Herman Cain, the Republican brand has never looked so weak. Marco Rubio would probably be an attractive option, were the footage of him guzzling gallons of water nearly as viral as the Star Wars kid.

It’s a bad time for weakness, too, as the United States becomes more and more diverse. What must the GOP do to win a Presidency once White voters no longer hold so much sway in swing states?

Perhaps Ol’ Homer could’ve offered some advice but, alas, he was ridden out on a rail (and fictional).

Rand Paul is probably the Republican’s last, best hope–Bush III has shown little interest in running–so one must ask, after a Paul Presidency (if it happens) where do the Republicans turn?

In sum, the Republicans look like FOP. And we as a people don’t want FOP, goddammit, were Dapper Dan voters.

St. Louisans Know the Ferguson You Just Met

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From Beverly Isom

This week the country converged on Ferguson, Missouri. I am visiting my hometown of St. Louis and I am very familiar with Ferguson which is a mere four miles from my mother’s home and the burned down Quick Trip is literally across the street from my brother’s house. For many people from St. Louis, there has long been a quite acceptance of the racial disparity and unsettling tension between residents and law enforcement in Ferguson and surrounding counties like Jennings and Florissant and even across the Mississippi River in Illinois. My brothers like other men of color are accustomed to unwarranted and frequent police stops that typically included reluctant conversations with police officers about where they were driving to and from.

The death of teenager Michael Brown simply highlighted for the nation a racial divide that is all too familiar. I was at the protest site and about five blocks along West Florissant have been transformed to a Beirut-like war zone. Hordes of protestors in gas masks, bouncing signs that proclaim “no justice, no peace”, curious onlookers, media satellite trucks, journalists, smart phones, video cameras, and of course police and more police with guns and gear in the ready position. But most interesting to me is the ever-changing national narrative and the media coverage.

It is difficult to miss the every-second up-to-the-minute breaking news that has taken place over the past 10 days. Race has a rich and storied history in St. Louis and St. Louis County. The history of race in St. Louis is complicated however you need look no further than a few miles away from the protest to Calvary cemetery where Dred Scott is buried to know how deep-rooted it has been. Dred Scott was a slave who had lived with his owner in a free state before coming back to the slave state of Missouri. But Scott argued that because he had lived in free states that he should be free. The Supreme Court disagreed and it resulted in an 1857 landmark decision that stated African Americans were not citizens of the United States and therefore had no rights to sue in federal courts. As a young student in the St. Louis School System the Dred Scott case was required reading.

Some national media commentaries have eluded to the notion that the Civil Rights Movement bypassed St. Louis. For many St. Louisans we might argue that the Civil Rights Movement didn’t miss St. Louis but the racial justice movement has definitely struggled to call St. Louis home. St. Louis is a story of two unequal societies that have coexisted since the 1800’s. For the first three days of this protest in Ferguson, neither politicians nor police recognized the imagery of militarization in national news stories and social media posts that shocked people everywhere……………except here. The police protocols failed, they employed strategies of power and force because community policing is not exercised in communities like Ferguson. The persistent presence of police, armored trucks and M-16s are not likely to quell the systemic tension in Ferguson that has been swelling for years. It has been ineffective to date.

I will return to Atlanta soon but this is a trip I will not soon forget and I will stay glued to the 24-hour up-to-the-minute news coverage until there is resolution. In between the political maneuvering and the legal posturing disguised as news coverage, I pray for peace in Ferguson and for the family of Michael Brown.