Every Thursday I try to take a few minutes on here to tackle a couple of different topics to give you a little insight into what’s going on in this problematic place we call the United States of America.
First, I want to share some good news.
As you may have seen, on Wednesday, a jury in Charlottesville, Virginia convicted a man named Jacob Goodwin in the horrifically brutal assault of DeAndre Harris. Yesterday, Goodwin was sentenced to 10 years in prison for his role in the attack.
I want to thank each of you for your support in helping make that happen. Right here on the Tom Joyner Morning Show this past August and September we spoke over and over and over again about this case and I lead a team of people who identified this man and tracked him all the way to his home in Arkansas. He was incredibly difficult to locate and he was actually one of the men who assaulted DeAndre that we weren’t sure if we’d ever find.
The day DeAndre was assaulted by these men, and I saw the first photos and videos of the ordeal, I had the thought that if these men weren’t caught, and held accountable for what they did, that it would a set a horrible precedent for anti-black violence in this country. If bigots were literally able to assault a young black man in broad daylight, be filmed for it, and get away with it – my thought was – and still is – that we would be likely to see this type of behavior again and again.
Today, the second man that I identified as one of DeAndre’s attackers, Michael Alex Ramos, is on trial. He’ll be found guilty as well. The evidence is overwhelming.
The trial for another man, Dan Borden, who was one of the most brutal in the attack, and should receive a very harsh sentence, begins next week.
And while I’m proud of the role we played in bringing these men to justice, I sincerely can’t celebrate because two of the most brutal men in the attack are still on the loose. I have hundreds of photos and videos of these men and have released them widely. We have a reward of $25,000 each for the identification of these two men, yet here we are, 9 months later, and I have no earthly idea who they are or where they are. I’ve never seen anything like it. It’s like they’re ghosts. I can at least say this – I won’t stop searching for these men until they day I die. They need to be found and they need to be held accountable.
I’ll keep you all posted on the trials and on any leads I have in the other men.
Now I want to close this morning by speaking for a few minutes about Kanye West. Of course, he’s been in the news for the past few weeks because of his very public, emphatic embrace of Donald Trump – which is disturbing all by itself, but this week it has all taken a very ugly turn for the worse – with Kanye saying that Black folk were in slavery for 400 years by choice.
It’s one dumbest, most offensive, ignorant statements about slavery that I’ve ever heard in my entire life. The truth is that if a white man said that, he’d likely lose his job, lose his endorsements, and probably never work in mainstream America again. It’s that disturbing.
And several people have said to me some version of “why does it even matter what Kanye West says?”
He is a mega-celebrity. Yes, he is an egotistical man who appears to simply be out for himself, but when a man as well-known as him, particularly a Black man, so warmly and repeatedly embraces a bigoted man like Donald Trump, then says slavery was a choice, it causes very real problems. All week I’ve been studying white supremacist and Neo-Nazi message boards and websites and they are celebrating the words of Kanye West – knowing that they will be used against us – and will justify many of their worst thoughts and actions – for years and years to come.
Kanye is not just providing cover to Donald Trump, he’s providing cover for the most flagrant bigots and racists in our nation. Of course he’s wrong, but his actions will be used against us for the foreseeable future.
I’ve seen many people say they don’t know if they’ve seen anybody fall so far, so fast. And I thought about that. I don’t think that’s what has happened here at all. I think Kanye has hid from us how he really views the world – and we’re just now learning about it.
I’ve got to run! Rooting for you all! Hope you have a great weekend! Take care!
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