Today I have several important news stories to cover so I’ll jump right in.
Just 10 days ago a white supremacist shot up a Wal-Mart in El Paso, Texas in the deadliest hate crime against Latinos in the entire history of this nation and the deadliest hate crime for any racial group in this country since 1921.
And already, Trump and the White House are targeting immigrants again. Just days after the domestic terrorist attack, nearly 700 immigrant workers were arrested and detained in Mississippi and yesterday Trump announced a new policy that would make it difficult for anybody other than wealthy immigrants to ever be put on a path to citizenship.
See, because it’s 2019, the Trump administration can’t create a policy saying they only prefer white European immigrants, but a way around that is to create standards that give immigrants who are wealthy a leg up in the process. This is how they operate. When Trump ran for President he literally ran saying he wanted to ban all Muslims from entering the country – even American citizens who might have simply left on vacation, but once he was elected he knew that policy could never be approved, so he simply banned people from 7 particular countries, all of them majority Muslim, saying that it was a safety/security risk. It’s just bigotry by another name.
Speaking of bigotry by another name – this week, leaked FBI documents showed that Trump’s FBI had elevated the risk level of what they called Black Identity Extremists while simultaneously lowering the risk level of white supremacists. We knew, in theory, that this was happening, but the documents were the clearest proof yet of the reality that not just Trump, but the entire FBI has allowed the explosive growth of white supremacist domestic terrorism while focusing on a virtually non-existent group of Black folk who pose no real harm to this country. The neglect of the Trump administration to focus on white supremacy in this nation has directly allowed people to be slaughtered all over the country. These white men are literally online announcing they are going to do what they do, but because the government isn’t tracking them, they get away with it again and again.
I wanna switch gears for a second and close with two good news stories this morning. First, you all may recall the story that took place outside of Detroit where a 10 year old boy was charged with felony assault after a game of dodge ball during recess at his school. Mind you, the charge came a full three months after the incident. Well, after the public outcry, the charges were dropped, which is great, but I spoke to the family attorney, Maurice Davis, after the charges were dropped and he said that the local DA for Wayne County, Kym Worthy, was still suggesting that she might charge the boy at a later date. So we gathered thousands of volunteers to call and email Kym Worthy to demand that she permanently drop these charges against the boy, vow not to reopen them, to apologize to the family, and to announce that her office plans to change the policy allowing young children to be charged with crimes after minor school incidents. Well, I am proud to report that just days after we started our campaign to call and email Kym Worthy, she announced, almost word for word, everything we demanded. She apologized to the family, said they would never charge this child again, and announced they were seeing what it would take to change the policy that allows this in the first place.
Listen – the school to prison pipeline is real, and we have to interrupt it every chance we get.
I wanna close this morning with a book recommendation – it’s from my friend and brother, Dr. Ibram Kendi – one of the most brilliant scholars in the nation – and it’s called “How to be Anti-Racist.” I’m hosting a public conversation with Dr. Kendi tonight in Brooklyn about the book, and it’s the best thing I’ve read this year.
The fundamental premise of the book is this. You are either a racist or an anti-racist, but you can’t simply “not be a racist.” A lot of people love to tell us how they don’t have a racist bone in their body, but racism isn’t about your bones – and what this book breaks down is that if you aren’t actively working to confront and dismantle systems and structures of racism, you’re a racist. If you are benefitting from racism, you’re a racist. And the book unpacks and explains what it means, and not just for white folk, but for all of us – to be anti-racist. Again, the book is How to be an Anti-Racist by Dr. Ibram Kendi – check it out when you can.
Lastly, yesterday we launched “HowWeFlipTheSenate.com” and for the next 448 days until Election Day in 2020, we’re going to build a movement to flip the Senate away from conservative control. Experts are saying it’s impossible – but my response to that is that we can organize ourselves out of any predicament we find ourselves in.