A New State Of Mind: Ending The Stigma Of Mental Illness

Funded by California’s voter-approved Mental Services Act (Prop. 63), the documentary A New State of Mind: Ending the Stigma of Mental Illness was created in the hopes of raising awareness and understanding to fight the stigma associated with mental illness. This inspiring piece from KVIE-TV shares stories of perseverance from indivduals living with a range of mental illnesses, who offer their advice on how to best overcome stigma in order achieve success and happiness.

California is currently undertaking the steep challenge of decreasing the amount of discrimination against individuals living with mental illness and increasing the number of people who seek support for mental challenges. Retired Congressman and mental health advocate Patrick Kennedy speaks about the importance of this initiative saying, “When two-thirds of the people who do have access to mental health never take advantage of it because of the stigma associated with it… that’s a real problem,” later adding that “everyone needs a checkup from the neck up.”

Advocates of the Mental Services Act contend that early intervention and culturally relevant mental health care programs are critical to the initiative’s success, and aim to address at-risk groups such as ethnic minorities and bullied youth. Through the use of early intervention tools like this informative documentary, California’s Mental Health Movement aims to reach out to those affected by mental illness by offering hope for a better future.

Narrated by award-winning actress and mental health advocate Glenn Close, A New State of Mind, which is now available to watch online for free, features numerous celebrity activists as well as community heroes who hope that sharing their story will inspire others to find the help they need to overcome the challenge of facing the stigma associated with mental illness. NAMI President Keris Myrick shared her story of triumph in the face of stigma, attributing her success largely to her “wellness toolbox” consisting of her friends, psychiatrist, dog and even musical outlets. Myrick’s support system helped her to not only overcome struggles with depression and schizophrenia, but also accomplish many academic and professional successes that ultimately allow her to empower others.  “I think… having positive interactions with people who have a mental illness can help reduce stigma, but the reality of it is that I think when we share our personal stories we give hope,” Myrick says.

Aside from sharing powerful personal stories, this documentary also identifies specific organizations throughout California that provide solutions to some of the major challenges people affected by mental illness regularly struggle with, such as finding employment, housing and support.  Featured program Crossroads Diversified Services is just one example of how organizations can make a difference in any community by providing resources for self-sufficiency through offering equal employment to those living with mental illness. As noted in the documentary, NAMI reports that “unemployment rates among people with severe mental health challenges can run as high as 90 percent, but given the opportunity and support, they strive for and succeed in careers just like anyone else.” Crossroads Diversified Services prides itself on employing people based on skill regardless of diagnoses, helping those living with mental illness find stability and productivity through work. 

With one in four American adults living with mental illness every year, California’s Mental Health Movement makes a strong case for the benefits and necessity of proactive intervention. A New State of Mind is just one example of how California is executing the initiative to raise awareness and aid those living with mental illness before a crisis emerges. Hopefully, this documentary will be successful in opening dialogue about mental health, and encouraging people to support their loved ones living with mental illness.

Klansman Shooter Kills 3 People In Kansas … And Even More Disturbing Is That This Is Not The First Time An Antisemitic Mass-Shooting Took Place In The U.S. …

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Yesterday, a man with a history of spouting anti-Semitic rhetoric is suspected of shooting to death a boy and his grandfather outside a Jewish community center near Kansas City, Kansas, and a woman at a nearby Jewish assisted living facility.

He is the founder and former leader of the Carolina Knights of the Ku Klux Klan and the White Patriot Party, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors hate groups. Both organizations operated as paramilitary groups in the 1980s, according to the SPLC.

In the 73-year-old’s anti-Semitic and white supremacist activities, he has also used the name Frazier Glenn Miller, the SPLC said.

After he was apprehended at a nearby elementary school, Cross sat in the back of a patrol car and shouted “Heil Hitler!” video from CNN affiliate KMBC shows.

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The 1999 Los Angeles Jewish Community Center shooting occurred on August 10, 1999, at around 10:50 a.m. local time, when white supremacist Buford O. Furrow, Jr. walked into the lobby of the North Valley Jewish Community Center in Granada Hills and opened fire with a semiautomatic weapon, firing 70 shots into the complex. The gunfire wounded five people: three children, a teenage counselor, and an office worker. Shortly thereafter, Furrow murdered a mail carrier, fled the state, and finally surrendered to authorities.

On August 7, Furrow bought a used red Chevrolet van in Tacoma, Washington, and loaded it with five rifles, two pistols, 6,000 rounds of ammunition and a flak jacket. Furrow considered attacking three Jewish institutions: the Skirball Cultural Center, the American Jewish University and the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Museum of Tolerance, but security measures presented too much of a problem.

Furrow proceeded to drive from again Washington to the San Fernando Valley with the stated purpose of “killing Jews”. Three days later, Furrow pulled off the freeway into the Granada Hills area of Los Angeles and made his way to the North Valley Jewish Community Center just before 11 a.m. There were about 250 children playing outside when Furrow walked into the lobby carrying an Uzi-type submachine-gun.He opened fire, spraying bullets from right to left, leaving smoke and more than 70 casings on the ground. When he was done, a receptionist, a camp counselor and three little boys were wounded.

Furrow fled the scene in his van. Twenty minutes later, he carjacked a woman’s Toyota at gunpoint, left the van behind, and then dumped the Toyota at a Chatsworth motel.

The shootings ended with the death of USPS postal worker Joseph Santos Ileto (born March 19, 1960) in Chatsworth, a few miles away from the center. Ileto had just delivered mail to a home and was returning to his postal truck when Furrow asked Ileto to mail a letter for him. As Ileto agreed, Furrow pulled out a Glock 9mm handgunand shot Ileto nine times. Later, Furrow would confess that he murdered Ileto because he thought Ileto was Latino or Asian (Ileto was Filipino American), and because Ileto was a federal employee.

Police found Furrow’s abandoned van, where they discovered a cache of ammunition, rifle magazines, bulletproof vests, homemade explosives, a Ranger Handbook, and freeze-dried food. Two books by Richard Kelly Hoskins, a Lynchburg, Virginia, leader of the Christian Identity movement were also found; a copy of the book War Cycles, Peace Cycles, and Vigilantes of Christendom: The Story of Phineas Priesthood, a book which according to the Anti-Defamation League justifies antisemitic and racist acts of violence.

Furrow fled 275-miles in an $800 taxi ride from Los Angeles, California to Las Vegas, Nevada, ending the manhunt by walking into an FBI office to confess, saying “You’re looking for me, I killed the kids in Los Angeles.” Furrow also stated that he wanted his shooting to be “a wakeup call to America to kill Jews.”

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The Seattle Jewish Federation shooting occurred on July 28, 2006, at around 4:00 p.m. Pacific time, when Naveed Afzal Haq shot six women, one fatally, at the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle building in the Belltown neighborhood of Seattle, Washington, USA. Naveed Haq was convicted in December 2009 and sentenced to life without parole plus 120 years. Police have classified the shooting as a “hate crime” based on what Haq is alleged to have said during a 9-1-1 call. King County Prosecuting Attorney Norm Maleng described the shooting as “one of the most serious crimes that has ever occurred in this city”.

Preparations

Seattle Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske alleged that the suspect, Naveed Afzal Haq, had selected his target by researching “something Jewish” on the Internet. Haq is said to have legally purchased two semiautomatic handguns in Tri-Cities area stores, receiving the weapons on July 27, 2006, after the mandatory waiting period had expired. Haq allegedly received a traffic ticket on the way to the shooting, but did nothing to arouse the officer’s suspicions.

Shooting Begins

Shortly before 4:00 p.m., Haq is reported to have forced his way through the Jewish Federation building’s security door armed with two semi-automatic pistols (a Smith & Wesson .45-caliber handgun and a .40-caliber handgun), a knife, and extra ammunition. Police believe Haq entered the lobby of the building and grabbed the 14-year-old niece of Federation employee Cheryl Stumbo. Haq allegedly held a gun to the girl’s back and forced her to use the intercom in order to gain entry to the Federation’s offices.

With a gun to her back, Haq reportedly told the girl, “Open the door,” and “careful”, as she was buzzed into the building. Haq then said, “I’m only doing this for a statement,” and proceeded to follow the girl up the stairs to the second floor. Haq stopped to ask receptionist Layla Bush about speaking with a manager, at which point the girl walked to a bathroom and locked herself inside. At this point, Cheryl Stumbo asked fellow employee Carol Goldman to call 911. But, before Goldman could complete a call, Haq shot Goldman in the knee.Stumbo’s niece, in the bathroom, heard her and dialed 911.

Witnesses reported that Haq began shouting “I’m a Muslim American; I’m angry at Israel” before he began his shooting spree. Haq is reported to have walked down the hallway, shooting into offices as he passed by. Haq then shot three more women in the abdomen: Layla Bush, Stumbo, and Christina Rexroad. Pamela Waechter received a gunshot in the chest. As the wounded Waechter attempted to flee down a flight of stairs, Haq reached over the railing and shot her for the second time in the head, killing her.

Hostage Taking And Surrender

Dayna Klein, a Federation employee who was five months pregnant, heard the shots being fired and as she went to the door of her office, Haq fired at her abdomen, but the bullet hit her raised arm. According to Klein, Haq then moved to another section of the building and Klein, bleeding profusely, crawled to her desk and dialed 911, despite Haq’s threats to kill anyone who called the police. Haq eventually returned to Klein’s office and discovered her on the phone, at which point he reportedly shouted “Now since you don’t know how to … listen, now you’re the hostage, and I don’t give a [expletive] if I kill you or your baby.” Klein told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer that Haq “…stated that he was a Muslim, [and] this was his personal statement against Jews and the Bush administration for giving money to Jews, and for us Jews for giving money to Israel, about Hezbollah, the war in Iraq, and he wanted to talk to CNN.” Klein then offered Haq the phone and suggested that he tell the dispatcher what he had just told her.

Still pointing his gun at Klein, Haq took the phone and informed the police that he had taken hostages. He repeated his previous explanation that he was upset about the war in Iraq and U.S. support of Israel. He also said, “[t]hese are Jews. I’m tired of getting pushed around, and our people getting pushed around by the situation in the Middle East.” He also demanded that the U.S. military get out of Iraq. He asked if he could be patched through to CNN. The dispatcher told Haq that was not possible, and informed him that talking with the media would not alter U.S. policy. Haq calmed down and told the dispatcher that he would surrender. He then put his guns down and walked silently out of the building with his hands on his head. He surrendered at 4:15 p.m. and was taken into custody by police. At 10:38 p.m., he was booked into King County Jail on one count of investigation of homicide and five counts of investigation of attempted murder.

Situation Ends

After the shooting, a SWAT team entered the building, looking for other victims or suspects,  while police closed off several of the city’s main streets. An FBI spokesman later said the shooting was most likely the work of a “lone individual acting out antagonism toward the organization,” but added that “there’s nothing to indicate that it’s terrorism-related.”

The Canary Effect [Full Documentary]

The grim legacy of U.S.’s treatment of its Native peoples is explored in detail in this documentary. Filmmakers Robin Davey and Yellow Thunder Woman take the perspective that if one is to define “genocide” as the a deliberate effort by a government to exterminate a people, then the United States is clearly guilty of the crime given their actions against America’s indigenous population over the past 300 years. Davey and Thunder Woman back up their argument with footage detailing the economic marginalization of American Indians, the consistent violation of legal agreements reached with native tribes, the mismanagement and consistent neglect of Indian reservations, the brutalization of Native Americans as they were segregated onto flinty soil and forced to live under substandard conditions, and the refusal of the mass media to report stories of suicide and Columbine-style school shootings among reservation youth. The Canary Effect was screened in competition at the 2006 Tribeca Film Festival.

History Of “Sundown Towns” In The U.S.

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Inuit children at boarding school. The sign on the wall behind them reads, “Please do not speak Eskimo.” (1914)

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Inuit children at boarding school. The sign on the wall behind them reads, “Please do not speak Eskimo.” (1914)

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"So, er, for the non South Asians in the audience who perhaps didn’t understand why there was applause, the British built a really extensive railway system throughout India before they left, and it wasn’t so much for transportation for the Indian people, it was because it’s really hard to plunder on foot."

Hari Kondabolu’s joke about the British colonisation of India [x]

WTF: Is there a pattern Of Israeli-Jewish High School students dressing up as members of an Anti-Black, Antisemitic, Anti-Catholic, White Supremacist U.S. terrorist organization?

"But in response to the wearing of KKK Purim outfits by Israeli high school students in 2014, those that would be expected to weigh in on this most grievous offense have been essentially mute. Imagine the outcry that would have arisen should the children have shown up in the costumes of the executors of the Holocaust! This appalling choice of costume was not an isolated incident, as a similar scene was witnessed at a high school in Dimona.

The historical experience of slavery and of the post-slavery reconstruction era in America – wherein lynching at the hands of vicious, marauding Klansmen was a constant terror – is unique to the African American experience. Masked invaders would come in the middle of the night; at midday African Americans were hung and burned alive for the carnival amusement of thousands, while some took home body parts as macabre souvenirs and other dispatched postcards of the gruesome scenes. This was part of our ’holocaust’.

Racism is alive in Israel. And it is even more discouraging when it is exhibited by those expected to be the enlightened among us, like rabbis and mayors – with their disparaging of black basketball players with the epithet ‘kushim’.”

Source: http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Op-Ed-Contributors/Time-to-confront-and-tame-the-R-word-347075

Watch: http://this-is-not-humanity.tumblr.com/post/70106334170/ku-klux-klan-a-secret-history-the-ku-klux

“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” — Nelson Mandela, Long Walk To Freedom

"South Park" Tells About The Foundation Of Mormonism And Joseph Smith

Dumb, Dumb, Dumb, Dumb, Dumb! South Park brilliantly tells the story of the foundation of Mormonism by Joseph Smith in upstate New York. What South Park didn’t say is *why* Smith created this religion. He did so to justify having multiple underage wives …

"The Crisis Of ‘Solidarity’: Using Their Phlight To Score Points" By Budour Hassan

It is not necessarily what we say, but rather, what we do with what we say that will determine our legitimacy as a liberation movement in the end. How we go about exposing anti-blackness, including Israel’s racism against African refugees and asylum seekers as well as our own, will serve such a case in point.

African asylum seekers in Israel are currently subjected to extreme bigotry and hate-mongering by both establishment and society. It is a racism that is state-sponsored, incited by state-appointed rabbis, cashed in on by high-ranking politicians, and espoused through legislation that is backed, in the final instance, by brute military and police force.

Thus, the work that those of us making up the Palestine solidarity movement do in exposing Israeli racism against African refugees is crucial, and all the more so when we consider the U.S. mainstream media’s complicit role in glossing over said racism and the systematic attempts by Israel to whitewash its abuses.

But while highlighting – and fighting – Israeli anti-blackness is both vital and mandatory, the approach currently taken by many Palestine solidarity activists in addressing this issue might prove in the end to be selfish and detrimental.

The current discourse on Israeli racism against African refugees suffers from at least three flaws that we urgently need to overcome. One, it overlooks Palestinian racism against black people in general and African refugees in particular. Two, it uses the plight of African refugees in Israel solely as tool to score political points in the propaganda battle against Zionists. Three, it gives the false impression that racism and xenophobia against black people, refugees, and migrant workers is somehow exceptional to the Zionist project.

The words that follow are a plea to all of us making up the Palestine solidarity movement. They are a plea to begin constructing the foundation for a struggle that is truly anti-racist rather than simply being anti-Zionist. These words are a plea, that is, that we begin the work of creating a political project that takes as a starting point the ethic, both in thought and in practice, that nobody’s liberation can and will ever come at the expense of anybody else’s.

ONE: On “airing out our dirty laundry”

Anti-blackness is manifested in Palestinian and broader Arab popular culture, semantics, discourse, and daily exchanges. By now, it seems to have become a requirement of the global community that all societies determine the measure of beauty and charm by the lightness of the skin, and ours  is no exception. Black Palestinians are the subject of extreme prejudice and social profiling as children. As adults, they find it difficult to integrate into society and be treated with respect and equality by fellow Palestinians. Suffering the brunt of it are our Black Palestinian women who, under this racist framework, find it impossible to live up to such standards of beauty. They are often shunned and declared unfit for love or marriage because blackness has become akin to ugliness.

Important as it is, delving into the details of Palestinian anti-blackness – as well as the inspiring attempts by Black Palestinians to combat it – is beyond the scope of this short essay and will be saved for another occasion. For us to have that conversation in an honest, healing, and constructive manner, we will first need to attest to the complexities of self-critique without allowing this complexity to further paralyse us.

Discussing Palestinian anti-blackness in such an honest way is apt to present us with several anxieties. For one, it is never an easy decision to “air out one’s dirty laundry,” so to speak, particularly so when said laundry belongs to a people structurally stripped of their humanity and collectively labelled with prejudices and stigmas. We battle daily against the myths and stereotypes Zionists spread about us through propaganda: they tell the world that we are an inferior, monstrous people, and that Israelis are the civilised, tolerant, queer-friendly people that have made the “desert bloom” and created “a haven of democracy” in a region filled with tyrannies. Zionist propaganda even has the “chutzpah” to portray, to the Black Israeli and pro-Israel students it recruits to speak at U.S. universities and in hasbara tours, Israel as a State that treats Black people with equality.

But the anxieties filling the dilemma of self-critique are not exclusive to us. They are faced by all colonised people, immigrants, Black people, and other groups that have been stigmatized as inferior but are fighting the fight. We would do well to learn from their experiences on how we can collect our own courage to engage in self-critique honestly and constructively.

For example, Black and indigenous women have had much to contribute on this front, having taught us that fighting “external” battles against institutionalised racism must not mean abandoning “internal” struggles against patriarchy and violence at home. They have fully understood that raising one’s voice against gender violence of Black and indigenous women by their men must not translate into collaborating with the state and white supremacists (even if the latter might try to whitewash their own racism and misogyny by pointing fingers at Black and indigenous patriarchy). Such interventions, they teach us, must also be accompanied by analyses of how white and colonial supremacy structurally oppresses these communities, often creating the conditions of, and fanning the flames for, internal conflict and the perpetuation of gender subordination.

Similarly, we should be concerned that self-critique could be exploited by Zionists to oil their propaganda machine, serve their agenda of demonising Palestinians, and use it as a guise to rationalise Palestinian oppression. But we should be similarly unyielding in our refusal to be paralysed by the possibility that they might exploit these conversations. Many Palestinians have had the courage to condemn the anti-Semitism of some supposed “pro-Palestinian” figures. Many Palestinians have also rightfully spoken up against the support that some Palestinian and pro-Palestinian figures and groups lend to the Syrian regime, even though this has caused internal divisions within the various Palestine solidarity movements. In a similar way, we should not shy away from talking about, condemning, and actively dismantling anti-blackness within Palestinian society in both in Palestine and among the diaspora.

TWO: Exceptionalising both Israel and Ourselves

When we expose Israel’s crimes and abuses, the predictable response we often hear from Zionists is that we “single out” Israel; that there are many evils much worse than Israel; and that we disproportionately focus on Israel. To be sure, these responses come from a place that seeks to shut-down any discussion whatsoever of Israel’s atrocities and inherent illegitimacy.

First, and needless to say, if other states exist that are more visibly brutal than Israel, it does not by any means de-legitimise any criticism of Israel’s brutality.

Israel indeed deserves to be singled-out in many instances, but only for its contextual specificities rather than for any ostensible “uniqueness.” Israel is a settler-colonial state that was founded on and continues to thrive on the ethnic cleansing, displacement, annihilation and exploitation of an entire people; and it does all of this while receiving unconditional and unparalleled financial, military, and political backing of the United States.

So indeed, we should be weary of singling Israel out as unique. It did not invent an exceptional brand of anti-blackness and xenophobia against African refugees and immigrants. It is important to remember that anti-blackness was not invented by Israel; it is part and parcel of the global white supremacist system. That is, anti-blackness is and has always been white supremacy’s complimentary pole. We cannot expect the United States to change its foreign policy on Israel because of its racism against African people when the United States itself is among the biggest perpetrators of anti-black racism, violence, and xenophobia.

Moreover, Israel’s mistreatment of African refugees is not unique to the region. On their way to Israel, refugees from Sudan and Eritrea face the imminent threat of human trafficking, rape, and torture in Sinai with the complicity of the Egyptian state. The record of Arab states in migrant rights issues is atrocious, particularly so in Lebanon and in the Gulf States. So while we are exposing Israel precisely for all that it is, we should not forget to speak with the same fervour and indignation against the abuses that Black people, refugees, and immigrants face everywhere, including our own backyard.

Finally, we must also refrain from continuously stating how Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians is worse than what Blacks in the United States or in apartheid South Africa have ever experienced. Each case of oppression is specific and none of them need be put in superlative forms to be understood as abhorent. When we speak with such a frame, we can easily fall prey to Zionist counter-claims that other States are “worse” than Israel, opening the door for them to provide arguments in support of such claims. And when we continue insisting that what Palestinians face at Israel’s hands is worse than what Black people faced in the United Sates and what Black people faced under apartheid South Africa, we belittle the struggle of those very people whose support we not only seek but will eventually come to find as absolutely necessary.

THREE: Political points

Another recurring problem in our discourse today on Israel’s mistreatment of African refugees is that it ends up using the plight of African refugees solely as a means to point to Israel’s brutality. African refugees are human beings, not pawns in our liberation struggle. Each refugee who has fled genocide, ethnic cleansing, military dictatorship or persecution has a personal story that deserves to be heard and respected. They deserve nothing less than us orienting and broadening our struggle against whatever processes forced them to flee their own homes, breaking up their lives, families, and communities. They deserve genuine solidarity from us rather than our using their plight as an advertising campaign for our cause. We must realise how we further dehumanise African refugees when we exploit their suffering to serve our own agenda. Indeed, we fully disregard their own stories and never think to ask what their ideas are for the struggle. Indeed, we cannot think to ask them what they think about things because we do not engage them as dignified people; we see them and treat them only as victims.

Instead, we could strive to connect with each other through an analysis of how Zionism and white supremacy share a common logic that oppresses us all in our specific yet interrelated contexts. An important way to begin is by studying and taking seriously the Black Radical Tradition, an entire school of liberatory philosophies and practices devised over centuries of struggle against colonialism, oppression and exploitation. As Palestinian author Susan Abulhawa has recently pointed out, we have far more in common with Black people worldwide than we do with white Europeans and white Americans. So rather than engaging Black people as victims, we should study and learn from the long history of the Black struggle against slavery, including their struggle against the shameful history of slave trade here in the Arab world.

In exposing Israel’s vile treatment of Black asylum seekers, we should be careful that we do not treat them as objects that help the Palestinian cause expose Israel’s racism. As already emphasised above, each and every asylum seeker has a name, has a story. She or he had to flee genocide, and/or experience concentration camps, and/or human trafficking in Sinai. If they were white, we undoubtedly would make every effort to personify them. Zionists do and will continue to point to Palestinian anti-blackness as a way to suggest we are undeserving of full membership as political actors in the world. We, of course, will and must continue doing the same about them. But what we also must do on our side is to finally ask, “What are we going to do about dismantling our own anti-blackness?”

But here again, we will need to be careful. Acknowledging anti-blackness should not be done simply to claim the moral ground or to sound more righteous than the other side. It should not be done because we want to score political points and further expose to the world Israel’s immorality. We should not reject racism simply in an attempt to show the world that we are “good” and “deserving” of solidarity. We should reject it because we as Palestinians are convinced that racism has no place in any genuine liberation struggle. Speaking out against it and raising awareness to its existence is but a first step in going about dismantling it. But it is only a first step. In order to truly begin, we must create a political project that is deliberately not anti-black, one which can finally make a place for Black Palestinians right here next to us as our dignified brothers and sisters; one which can ally with African refugees and immigrants in Palestine; and one which can connect to Black struggles worldwide in a way where we finally plan out a liberation project that will not end up with our liberation coming at the expense of theirs.

It is a question of fashioning our struggle in a way that will truly work toward dismantling a world that depends on racism in order to continue functioning. It is a question of not seeking a comfortable place within such a world it as Zionism tragically chose to do. It is a question of creating ourselves anew rather than becoming somebody else’s Israelis the day after. Without a doubt, we can and need to do far better than that.

Source: http://budourhassan.wordpress.com/2014/03/16/the-crisis-of-solidarity-using-their-plight-to-score-political-points/

14-Year-Old African-American Boy Wrongly Executed: “They Were Looking For Someone To Blame It On, So They Used My Brother As A Scapegoat”

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Nearly 70 years after 14-year-old George Stinney Jr became the youngest person in recorded U.S. history to be executed in the 20th century, attorneys —Matt Burgess, Steve McKenzie, Shaun Kent, George Frierson, and Ray Chandler — have filed in motion for a new trail in hopes of having his conviction overturned by December.

"We think we have the opportunity here to make a difference and correct a wrong that’s been there for 70 years," defense attorney Matt Burgess said.

Lawyers on both sides argued Tuesday at a hearing to determine whether there will be a new trial.

The defense put up witnesses related to Stinney and a forensic pathologist. Evidence in the case now seems to suggest Stinney was innocent and points to various violations of due process, Burgess said.

Ruffner, Stinney’s sister, told CNN affiliate WLTX that she and Stinney saw Betty June Binnicker, 11, and Mary Emma Thames, 7, the day they died. Stinney and Ruffner were tending to their family’s cow near some railroad tracks close to their home.

"They said, ‘Could you tell us where we could find some maypops?’ " Ruffner recalled. "We said, ‘No,’ and they went on about their business."

After Stinney told of how he had seen the girls along the railroad tracks, he was picked up by police and held for five days before being arrested, according to one of the family’s lawyers, Matthew Burgess.

Stinney’s sister, Amie Ruffner, now in her 70s and living in New Jersey, testified on Tuesday about how she hid in a chicken coop when several white men in uniforms arrived at their home in strange-looking cars.

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Hunter said Stinney told him in jail he didn’t commit the crime.

“He said ‘Johnny, I didn’t do it, I didn’t do it,’” Hunter said of his conversation with Stinney. “He said ‘Why would they want to kill me for something I didn’t do?’

"South Carolina still recognizes George Stinney as a murderer. We felt that something needed to be done about that," he said.

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Stinney, a “black” 14-year-old from Alcolu, South Carolina, was convicted of murdering two young “white” girls in 1944.

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The two girls who were bludgeoned to death were 11-year-old Betty June Binnicker and 8-year-old Mary Emma Thames. They went missing in March 1944 a day after they were seen riding their bikes while looking for wildflowers in a small working-class town of Alcolu, where “white” and “black” residents were separated by railroad tracks.  

The girls were found the next day in a water-logged ditch with injuries to their head. Mary had a 2-inch laceration above her right eyebrow and a vertical laceration over her left, according to a 1944 medical examiners’ report.

"Both of these are jagged and deep and there is a hole going straight through the cranial cavity from the one on the forehead. The frontal bone just above the right orbit is also definitely broken," the report says, adding there were also two bruised, lacerated areas on top of the head that appear to have been caused by a hammer.

"There is a punched out fracture of the skull beneath each of them," it says.

With Betty, “There were evidences of at least seven blows on the head,” which, like Mary’s injuries, appear to be the product of a “blunt instrument with a small round head about the size of a hammer. Some of these have only cracked the skull while two have punched definite holes in the skull. The back of the skull is nothing but a mass of crushed bones,” the report says.

While the medical examiner noted no signs of sexual assault to Mary’s body, there was some swelling on Betty’s genitalia and a “slight bruise.” Both girls’ hymens were intact, according to the report.

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A few days later, Ruffner told WLTX, police took Stinney and another of her brothers away in handcuffs while their parents were not at home. One brother was released, she said, while Stinney faced police questioning without his parents or a lawyer.

What followed, according to Stinney’s supporters, was a farce of a trial in which Stinney’s defense cross-examined no witnesses and presented no evidence or testimony in his favor.

"[The police] were looking for someone to blame it on, so they used my brother as a scapegoat," Ruffner said.

Stinney, according to police, confessed to the crime. Police would later say that Stinney confessed he wanted to have sex with Betty. No witness or evidence that might vindicate him was presented during a trial that was over in fewer than three hours. An all-white jury convicted him in a flash, 10 minutes, and he was sentenced to “be electrocuted, until your body be dead in accordance with law. And may God have mercy on your soul,” court documents say.

Fewer than three months after the girls’ deaths, Stinney was escorted to an electric chair at a Columbia penitentiary, built for much larger defendants. The chair’s straps were loose on Stinney’s 5-foot-1-inch, 95-pound frame, and books were placed on the seat so he would fit in the chair.

When the switch was flipped, Stinney’s body convulsed, dislodging the oversized mask and exposing his face to about 40 witnesses, including the slain girls’ fathers, according to James Gamble, son of the Clarendon County sheriff at the time. Gamble recalled the execution for The Herald in Rock Hill a decade ago. Amie Ruffner vividly remembered seeing her brother’s burned body in a casket after his electrocution and the unmarked grave he was buried in.

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Three children lie dead for 70 years. Two girls killed most likely by a violent, sadistic pedophile — a psychopathic predator. One boy killed by South Carolina State for nothing more than having the unfortunate luck of interacting with the victims before their murder and talking about it — blown out of proportion by very racist stereotypes about “Black Male Sexuality” that was attributed to a small boy in early adolescence.

See: New Trial For Gorge Stinney, Executed At 14

See: Was The Youngest Person Executed In The U.S. In 100 years, Innocent?

See: George Stinney Execution, Call For A New Trial

 

The Rape/Murder Of Mary Phagan & The Lynching Of Leo Frank: Where Ethno-Religious Identity, “Race” & Regional Disputes All Intersect …

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Leo Max Frank was a American-Jewish factory superintendent whose murder conviction and extrajudicial hanging in 1915 by a lynch mob planned and led by prominent citizens in Marietta, Georgia, drew attention to questions of Antisemitism in the United States. He was posthumously pardoned in 1986 on technical grounds, without addressing the question of guilt or innocence.

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"Her bloody body was found at three o’clock the next morning in the factory basement, brutally used, beaten, and strangled to death. The sudden end of Mary Phagan’s brief life shocked Atlanta, then the entire South, and ultimately the entire nation."

An engineer and superintendent of the National Pencil Company in Atlanta, Frank was convicted on August 25, 1913, for the murder of one of his factory workers, 13-year-old Mary Phagan. She had been strangled on April 26 and was found dead in the factory cellar the next morning. Frank was the last person known to have seen her alive, and there were allegations that he had flirted with her before.

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"Judge Leonard Strickland Roan, who presided over the trial of Leo Frank, instructed the jury to set aside prejudice and judge the case purely upon the evidence. Despite a personal unwillingness to take a position on Frank’s guilt or innocence, he firmly believed that the trial had been scrupulously fair and that the decision of the jury must be respected."

His trial became the focus of powerful class, regional, and political interests. Raised in New York, he was cast as a representative of Yankee capitalism, "a rich northern Jew lording it over vulnerable working women" and "a sexual pervert" having "pedophilic urges towards young children", as the historian Albert Lindemann put it. Former U.S. Representative Thomas E. Watson later used sensational coverage of the appeal process, one year after the trial, in his own publications to push for a revival of the Ku Klux Klan, calling Frank a member of "The Jewish Aristocracy" who had pursued "Our Little Girl" to a hideous death.

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During the trial, Frank and his lawyers resorted to racial stereotypes themselves, accusing another suspect — Jim Conley, a “black” factory worker who testified against Frank — of being especially disposed to lying, raping, and murdering because of his race. Frank’s lawyers even referred to Crowley by racial slurs in court.

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Frank’s conviction was based largely on the testimony of, Jim Conley, who most later came to see as Phagan’s killer. He’d written notes found with the body, but said they were dictated to him. The prosecutor, Hugh Dorsey, used race in his argument, saying a “black” man couldn’t be smart enough to come up with such stories.

Witnesses would come forward to say Conley was seen carrying the body and washing out a bloody shirt. Conley’s own attorney, William Smith, came to believe in Frank’s innocence, scrawling a note to that effect on his death bed nearly 35 years later. 

Dorsey, the prosecutor, had political aspirations riding on this win.

"A conviction of just another ‘black’ guy wasn’t going to do anything for his career," said Sandy Berman, the archivist at The William Breman Jewish Heritage Museum in Atlanta who created the traveling exhibit, “Seeking Justice: The Leo Frank Case Revisited.”

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There was jubilation in the streets when Frank was convicted and sentenced to death. By June 1915, his appeals had failed. Governor John M. Slaton, stating there may have been a miscarriage of justice, commuted the sentence to life imprisonment, to great local outrage.

A crowd of 1,200 marched on his home in protest. 

The Georgia National Guard was called out to protect the governor after his decision prompted a rabble-rousing newspaper publisher to call for the lynching of both Frank and Slaton.

Frank had been moved to the state prison in Milledgeville, Georgia, where an inmate slashed his throat.

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Two months later, Frank was kidnapped from prison by a group of 25 armed men who called themselves “Knights of Mary Phagan”. They recruited men with the necessary skills for a total of 28, including themselves; an electrician was to cut the prison wires, car mechanics were to keep the cars running, and there was a locksmith, a telephone man, a medic, a hangman, and a lay preacher. Frank was driven 170 miles to Frey’s Gin, near Phagan’s home in Marietta, and lynched. A crowd gathered after the hanging; one man repeatedly stomped on Frank’s face, while others took photographs, pieces of his nightshirt, and bits of the rope to sell as post cards and souvenirs around “The Deep South” — to the point the police announced that sellers required a city license.

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"The New York Times" reported Frank was wearing a nightshirt and undershirt, and the lynchers had tied a piece of brown canvas around his waist like a skirt. He was handcuffed, and his legs were tied at the ankles. They placed a new 3/4-in manila rope over his head, tied in a hangman’s knot so it would force his head backwards and break his neck, and threw it over a branch of a tree. He was turned to face the direction of the house where Phagan had lived, and was hanged at around 7:00 am. "The Atlanta Journal" wrote that the wound on his throat, caused when it was slashed in jail by another inmate, had reopened. A crowd of men, women, and children arrived on foot, in cars, and on horses, and souvenir hunters cut away parts of his shirt sleeves to take away. According to "The New York Times", one of the onlookers, Robert E. Lee Howell — related to Clark Howell, editor of The Atlanta Constitution — wanted to have the body cut into pieces and burned, and began to run around, screaming, whipping up the mob.

"In November, 1915, William Joseph Simmons invited some of the men who hung Leo Frank to a meeting he was organizing. Because the death of Leo Frank was still vivid in the minds of Georgians, he felt these men would be important to the success of the organization. On a cool Thanksgiving evening Simmons, some of the Knights of Mary Phagan, along with a number of other men (34 in all) burned a cross and read from the bible atop Stone Mountain, east of Atlanta. Simmons then declared the founding of ‘[The 2nd Era] Knights of the Ku Klux Klan.’"

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On March 11, 1986, the Georgia State Board of Pardons and Paroles granted Frank a pardon, citing the state’s failure to protect him or prosecute his killers. The names of Frank’s murderers were well-known locally but were not made public until January 2000, when Stephen Goldfarb, an Atlanta librarian and former history professor, published the Phagan-Kean list on his website. The Washington Post noted that the list includes several prominent citizens — a former governor, the son of a senator, a Methodist minister, a state legislator, and a former state Superior Court judge — their names matching those on Marietta’s street signs, office buildings, shopping centers, and law offices today.

CNN notes: "The lynching of a ‘white’ man can hardly be compared to what happened in the ‘black’ community in the U.S. South. But this case, the only lynching of a Jew on American soil, was the culmination of a state-sponsored conspiracy, historians say."

While Georgia Jews remained quiet, so did those who were involved in Frank’s killing, said Steve Oney of Los Angeles, California, who wrote the authoritative book "And the Dead Shall Rise: The Murder of Mary Phagan and the Lynching of Leo Frank." It would be about 80 years before members of the lynching party were publicly, and not just secretly, known.

"They were not liquored-up yahoos," said Oney, a journalist, editor and Atlanta native who spent 17 years researching his book. "These were smart, deliberate people — from good, prominent families."

They included a former governor, a former mayor, a U.S. senator’s son, a judge, lawyers, a state legislator and business owners. One of the 25 or so men was Cicero Dobbs, the grandfather-in-law of Roy Barnes, a Georgia lawyer and politician who is a former governor himself and ran again in 2010.

"On their death-beds people just confessed."