TELL THE FBI, Leave #BlackLivesMatters Alone

CaribZone Commentary: Aubrey Campbell –Wednesday, July 6th.

Good day folks and much thanks to God Almighty for waking mercies and an abundance of blessings in the sunshine. How energizing..?

Sister Sheron Hamilton Pearson, media practitioner and social justice advocate, has seen her fair share of twisted justice at several levels of our community and country and wants to help, to do something about it, however minimal that might be.

She considers this space, this forum, an extension of her e-radio program, heard on Sundays from 6-9 pm, on www.e2onair.com. Like I do, she spends a lot of time championing the cause for equal rights and justice with an organization called ‘ColorofChange’.

Sheron is not the only person from our community that thinks Black Lives Matter. It’s just that she is willing to let her voice be heard and her opinion be seen. And don’t think for a moment that because the FBI, that hydra-headed monster of an agency is involved, that she has no chance!

Here’s a part of the conversation with Sheron.

SHP: I am a regular participant in ColorofChange Petitions.  I find they inform me of pertinent situations relevant, not just to me, but to the wider community.  When I participate, I always share the fact that I have done so, in the hope that I can enlighten someone else and get them to participate too.

The latest petition that I signed is of particular concern to me and here is why;

“The FBI is trying to exempt its racially biased facial recognition database from key transparency requirements in the Privacy Act. These requirements are meant to prevent FBI surveillance of our constitutionally protected civil rights like freedom of speech and right to assembly.

Already, 1 of every 6 Americans is in this database, and if the FBI is allowed to get this exemption, not only will we be unable to monitor and correct this racially biased database, but the FBI would be able to again run illegal spy programs like COINTELPRO.

We need to stop this now. Tell the Department of Justice (DOJ), that you stand firmly against the FBI’s aggressive attack on our civil liberties”

 History has shown that emerging black leaders are always a target of the FBI.  Martin Luther King Jr., whose non-violence movement sparked the civil rights movement  and made him enemies, not just in his own black community, but more importantly in the eyes of the First Director of the FBI,  the rampantly racist J. Edgar Hoover.

 The smear campaign that ensued against MLK is no secret.  The same misinformation and negative propaganda was used against the Black Panthers who are still portrayed in today’s media as thugs, terrorists and cop killers – a statement which is so far removed from the truth.  From 1966 to 1982, there were some 60 programs which the Panthers ran; as a matter of fact, the feeding program initiated by them was the forerunner to the WIC (Women and Children’s) social service.

When I see the FBI trying to usher in mechanisms giving them free rein to collect race-based profiles, with no oversight or accountability – then this should be a red flag – especially when we already see our current crop of potential MLK’s being targeted and arrested for sparking and collaborating in a nationwide # movement – I’m talking about #BlackLivesMatter.

 Putting up resistance to the proposed FBI move means that we are not only protecting our civil rights; but also keeping the right to access and correct erroneous information stored in the FBI database.  Any black person attending a demonstration or assembly against inequality, could potentially find themselves in this database.  

We all know what happens to black folks who fall under the scrutiny of the FBI and please note that I’m not talking about criminal elements here – I’m talking about the voices sounding a clarion call of equality for all – not just a racially select few – again I say #BlackLivesMatter – stating that fact and advocating under that banner should be done without fear of criminal and racial profiling.

ALC: Thanks Sheron and the conversation continues. I am encouraged by the fact that it’s not just a catchy slogan but rather, a part of the social conscience of our community, thanks to a new single which debuted on Monday, July 4, by Singjay Wayne Lushy Banton, a ‘yardie’ living in ‘jersey’.

Banton, who has lend his talent to many other community causes in the past, recounts the foundation for equal rights and justice, laid by iconic leaders of the past including Marcus Mosiah Garvey, Nelson Mandela, Bob Marley, Malcolm X, MLK, Jr, while reminding us that we still have a ways to go.

And if this current campaign to elect the next POTUS is any indication, Black Lives Matter will take on added meaning in very short order. Personally, I like a ‘chune’ that gets me to shake a leg or three and this one did and is available on SM.

When you get a chance, let Sheron and Wayne know that their campaign, their advocacy, is not in vain and that in fact, in a dis yah time yah, Black Lives Matter. Rhythm up, singjay!

Folks, thanks for sharing today’s conversation. As usual, you have the last and most important word. Share your thoughts.



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