Monthly Archives: August 2013

Shellie Zimmerman’s Letter of Apology to Judge Lester


Stacey Rambold, Former Teacher Who Raped Student, Gets 30 Days Jail



A former Montana high school teacher convicted of raping a 14-year-old female student who later committed suicide will face only 30 days of jail time.

Stacey Dean Rambold, 54, had at least three sexual encounters with student Cherice Morales in 2008. In 2010, the student committed suicide a few weeks before her 17th birthday, The Billings Gazette reported.

Yellowstone County Judge G. Todd Baugh sentenced Rambold to 15 years prison, with all but only 31 days suspended for sexual intercourse without consent. The judge then gave Rambold credit for one day served, bringing the offender’s total jail time to just 30 days.

Auliea Hanlon, mother to the victim, testified that her daughter’s relationship with Rambold was a large factor in the teen’s suicide. As the sentence was delivered, Hanlon began to scream “You people suck!” before leaving the courtroom.

The judge said victim Morales was “as much in…

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50th Anniversary March on Washington, Honoring or Mocking of Dr. King’s Legacy

“Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle.” Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Dr.King was not a civil rights leader of words without deeds, as we witnessed from most of the speakers during the Aug 24th 50th Anniversary Commemorative March in his honor. Dr King didn’t just give speeches & wait on the outcome of votes to win the victories of equality. He practiced & participated in what he preached. He never endorsed a political candidate or relied on their assistance in his battles. In fact, there were never any black civil rights won through votes.

But there weren’t  many calls for organized civil actions from the speakers at the rally in Dr. King’s honor for the struggles we continue to face today. No one endorsed of his practice of organized, non-violent civil disobedience or offered to organize an event. I’m especially the issues, referenced by many of the speakers, of the unpunished racially profiled assaults, arrests & genocide of African-American men and prison inequities in the prison industry. I heard mentions of “the civil rights battle wasn’t over, “we must continue the fight”- mostly aimed at getting the Supreme Court’s recent gutting of The Voting Rights Act overturned, without much specific on how.

Rep. John Lewis, one of the original civil rights leaders & speakers, came very close to suggesting organized action. Regarding the Voting Rights Bill, he said, “You can not stand by, you can not sit down, you have to stand up. We must get out, speak up. Make some noise.” He declared voting was the most powerful tool. He referenced the technology (internet, iphones, etc) as ways we must use to communicate to our Congressmen, we can’t allow the attacks of Voting Rights Protections & Healthcare to stand. However, he didn’t offer any direction on how  to organize those efforts. (but God he has done more than his share, as he even reminded us how he shed blood along side Dr.King during the original civil rights movement)

Only Myrlie Evers came close. She spoke directly of SYG laws, suggesting we take the terms literally “Stand Your Ground” and stop the course of [rights] which are slowly being taken away from us. Adding that we should not forget the women represented in the past civil rights movement & today, she continued
“Stand your ground for freedom and justice and do whatever is necessary and legal to move this country forward.” (The only phrase heard that came close to Dr.King’s ideology.) “Because we are on stand still today, stand still that looks back and we can not let that happen.” She continued to speak of allowing the leaders of yesterday to step back, yet reach out a hand to the young leaders of today “because we need them”…

“50yrs ago today Dr.King & so many others helped to show us the way and give us the strength… let us not forget the history and let us move forward.”

But despite acknowledging, just a few seconds ago, that “we are at a stand still now” (implying from my perspective things are moving backward on their watch) & acknowledging Dr.King had given us the blueprint years ago, she felt the the old guard should step back?

From the history of Dr.King, I find it hard to believe his stance on the ongoing racially profiled arrests, maiming and murders of our innocent, unarmed men, would be him just encouraging us to vote. From Sean Bell, Oscar Grant, Amadou Diallo all with in the pass 15 yrs & the sudden recent rash of murders in Florida of #Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis & Israel Hernandez, I can’t imagine Dr.King sanctioning the non action being taken. Add to that shooting of 60 yr old Roy Middleton in his own driveway holding only  a cigarette in his hand, but having his entire leg shattered by a barrage of 15 police bullets and the 20yr sentence Marissa Alexander is serving for shooting a warning bullet into a wall, I believe Dr. King would be directing, (if not personally involved)  some direct non violent protest until the conditions that encourage this behavior is ended.

Dr.King methods were organized, non-violent, civil disobedience campaigns:marches, sit-ins, protests & boycotts, which he dedicated his career & life, as the way to counter racial injustice where ever it occurred in the nation.
    Yes he gave speeches to ignite the movements but his commitment didn’t end there. Dr.King, along with the founders of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), immediately organized, lead and participated, side by side with the citizens, who risked their liberty & sometimes lives in these movements. Dr. King, himself was seriously injured twice & jailed 29 times.

An overview of a few of the campaigns he led show the stark contrast between him and the leaders of today, which strongly correlate with the lack of progress Mrs Evars so eloquently noted:

  The Selma to Montgomery Campaign– Aimed at securing enforcement of African-American voting rights, the 54 mile march & protests were met with violence from the KKK, local police enforcement, incarceration of many of the marchers & leaders including King. & two unprosecuted deaths. Only after the 2nd death, by court order was the march & planned occupation of Selma allowed to continue.  Upon reaching Montgomery, Dr.King & protesters were supported by a host  of the most popular celebrities of that era -Harry Belafonte, Tony Bennett, Frankie Laine, Peter, Paul and Mary, Sammy Davis, Jr., Joan Baez and Nina Simone all performed.
When protesters demands were still not met, Dr. King called for a boycott of the state of Alabama products. He not only organized but helped enforce it by having members of the campaign patrol the downtown areas encouraging any blacks shoppers to not patronize segregated businesses.

The outcome of this effort was President Lyndon B. Johnson promoting the bill which would become Voting Rights Aug 16, 1965, giving federal protection to Black voters in every state.

 Montgomery Bus Boycott– Though initially started by a church grass-roots effort & the NAACP, it wasn’t until Dr. King & his coalition became involved the effort grew and gained national attention & support. After suffering similar harassment, violent attacks & incarceration, etc, the coalition finally won desegregation on all public transportation of in Alabama & all interstate transportation.

The Birmingham Campaign of 1963–  Was a model of mixed direct action protests, as it effectively shut down the city, drawing worldwide media attention to harsh violent treatment Blacks were suffering under the racial segregation in the South.” This campaign endure all the same brutal acts of the mentioned above& much worse such as bombings. But due to its multifaceted, highly organized combination of protest tactics this campaign brought about the most change. It included several defiant  marches with the intention of causing arrests until the jails were full to the brim,  sit-ins at business & public facilities banned by use for blacks, a highly organized and monitored boycott of the cities businesses that even drew support of whites in the city and a coalition of rabbis  who declared the treatment of the protesters and citizens akin to the Holocaust. After months the jails and businesses in the city were completely non violently disrupted to the point of a total shutdown.

Resolution-On May 8th, business owner voluntarily gave into the protests demands removing their “whites only” signs & serve & hire black employee, against the will of cities politicians.On May 10, Fred Shuttlesworth and Martin Luther King told reporters that they had an agreement from the City of Birmingham to desegregate lunch counters, restrooms, drinking fountains and fitting rooms within 90 days, and to hire blacks in stores as salesmen and clerks. Those in jail would be released on bond or their own recognizance. Urged by President Kennedy, the United Auto Workers, National Maritime Union, United Steelworkers Union, and the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) raised $237,000 in bail money ($1,780,000 in 2013) to free the demonstrators. Commissioner Connor and the outgoing mayor condemned the resolution.

The reality of how fast all of these victories took time to implement & were followed by much resistance, including violence (pls see link for full account). But these are the methods which ended the racial injustices we benefit from today, and only some modified version of those same organized tactics will be the only what ends the ones we face now.

It will required a highly  committed group of leaders and supporters working in concert to effect any change in the racist policies we were living through today the wave of unpunished racially profiled murders, maiming and prosecutions and the school to prison pipeline orchestrated in many states. Due to the subversive nature of how these injustices are carried out, no amount of legislation can correct it. Pass a law saying “no racial profiling”? What officer has ever admitted to simply arresting, shooting or murder based on race anyway, it would be a toothless measure. Shut down any city with a wave of protests and boycotts the economic suffering alone will bring on the change needed. It’s the only language this corporate run country understands

And those were only the highlights of Dr. King’s career. Up until his death, Dr. King continued to fight for economic freedom having moved into public housing & was campaigning for the impoverished. He and his family lived, the civil rights movement while they lead it. Now we only seem to have a bunch of talking heads, some making great commentary and some completely out of touch. Only the with the support of Harry Belafonte followed the methods, Dr. King and so many other laid down their lives for. Stevie Wonder, Chaka Khan, Mary Mary & Gerald Levert have joined in a boycott effort that would make Dr.King proud.

But for the rest of the bunch, I can’t say the same. They only spew the same rhetoric every time one of our men fall victim & manage to get in the spotlight. But no action, no organizing…. they really should be ashamed of pretending to be following in the footsteps Dr. King’s efforts. With the exception of President Obama, who obviously can not take sides in this matter as leader of the entire country, none of these self-proclaimed “Civil Rights Leaders” are leading much of anything, except the salaries they collect as pundits.

#HoodiesUp: All Out to the Justice for Trayvon Rally and Community Speak Out (7/15)


Another Black youth murdered in cold blood, and the murderer, according to the courts, is not guilty! The case of Trayvon Martin is an example of what America is composed of, the racism that deeply penetrates its veins, and the state that overseas its process. Trayvon Martin was vilified by the courts as a thug, and its murderer was defended as a noble citizen. How many Black and Latino youth have to be victims of such violence? When will we build a movement so powerful that can challenge such violence? When will the working class be organized to shutdown the system when such racist violence occurs? These are the critical questions of the day. We have experienced the Rodney King movement, the movement around the murder of Sean Bell, Kimani Gray, Kenneth Harding, and Oscar Grant. Yet these murders continue unchallenged.

Our strategy against such murders shall be, in the short term, organizing militant protests when…

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Justice For Oscar Grant: A Lost Opportunity?

Same Issue, Same Lack of Focus and Leadership


UPDATE: You can donate to our efforts of spreading this analysis to Oakland youth by using the donation button on the right of the page (email us your name and address if you want to receive pamphlets by snail mail). Every single dollar helps since we’re not sponsored in any of this. If you’re interested in distributing, please continue to email us at so we can get in touch. ¡Orrrale!

This is Advance the Struggle’s analysis of the Oakland rebellions of January

’09 and the crisis of leadership which accompanied them. The piece speaks for itself, so I’ll leave you with a link to the graphically designed PDF version, as well as a text-only version in this post.

Click here to download PDF!

Post your comments and feel free to provide critical and/or appreciative feedback!

And please email us if you would like to get physical copies of the…

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If Your Tweeting #BoycottFlorida, But Not Willing To Organize, Your Tweeting To Yourself

    In light of the horrific tragedies of Trayvon Martin’s, Jordan Davis’s  & Israel Hernandez‘s murders in Florida within the past year, one would thing this alone would be enough to spark outrage & protest.  Add to that, police shooting 15 times at unarmed 60yr old Roy Middleton in Escambia County, Florida, which the sheriff’s department claimed was “standard procedure”, it’s hard to understand why anyone with critical thinking skills would think it is not time to take action against this state hell bent on racially profiling & massacring minorities.

  One of the best proposed ideas is a boycott of Florida products & services, hitting the large corporations that fund campaigns for crooked legislators like Gov. Rick Scott & Prosecutor Angela Corey. It is not targeting small business which will continue to have intrastate revenue.

  But the only way this can be effective is if HUGE group of people are involved. The only way to get large numbers would be to organize the effort, just like every successful boycott since the beginning of time. For some reason, many people who are in support of the boycott effort are reluctant to organize?

Why? I see folks spending an entire day tweeting #BoycottFlorida, but when you ask them to become part of an organized campaign they aren’t willing to? So what is there point? History has proven the ways boycotts become successful:  through organizing, recruitment & other strategies.

  One great example was the #StopRush movement  which got over 50 sponsors to drop advertising from the Limbaugh show, primary through it’s well orchestrated & organized  Twitter campaign. That group didn’t just rely on people to tweet the hashtag randomly, they organized how it would be done.

  Yet the #BoycottFlorida “movement” expects to get results without taking any steps to organize or come up with strategies to grow the movement? What is it when it comes to African American people that refuse to make the same sacrifices that allowed them the freedoms they have today, to help further social justice for our youth? I really don’t get it.

When I ask folks that spend time tweeting #BoycottFlorida, but don’t want to organize I get a bunch of nonsense responses. For example:

“No let’s just keep it here”?  Excuse me, but haven’t you notices that isn’t working? Hashtag trending, tweets are dwindling, movement is not growing?

“We can do this autonomously and still have impact, like when I protested the Iraqi War.” Again, excuse me, you think this should be carried out like protest for the Iraqi War, which failed to garner results?  How does that help?

I tried to explain to a young woman that advocating just a tourism boycott wasn’t a good idea, because 1) Disney World has a large international tourist base & 2) It could mislead people from other parts of the country that they couldn’t participate-

“Well I’m just doing this to raise awareness”.  Really? You’re not doing to try to get results of true economic sanctions?  There have been 3 more racially profiled shootings, how much more awareness do we need?

  Hasn’t the black community noticed we almost NEVER hear about an accidental police shooting of an unarmed Jewish, Caucasian or Asian person? Did it ever occur to these folks that part of the reason is these communities are highly organized & police know these types of incidents aren’t going to go unpunished. These groups are willing to immediately use the full power of their economic strength & organized community to halt it.

  Did they ever notice that the Civil Rights Movement, which we are days away from commemorating, wasn’t a rag tag autonomous group , by a highly organized one with folks even willing to lay down their lives?

  So what makes people tweeting #BoycottFlorida think this movement will work any other way?


One Man’s Trash…… – ‘Lawmakers: Governor LePage said Obama ‘hates white people’

The Last Of The Millenniums

Gov. Paul LaPage


one man's trash1

‘Two Republicans say the governor made the remark during a fundraiser in Belgrade last week’.

‘Gov. Paul LePage told a group of Republicans last week that President Obama “hates white people,” according to two state lawmakers who say they heard the remark directly’.

‘The governor made the comment during a Maine Republican Party fundraiser on Aug. 12 at the home of John and Linda Fortier in Belgrade. According to the invitation, the fundraiser was a “meet and greet” for LePage and first lady Ann LePage, and an opportunity to meet Rick Bennett, the new party chairman’.

‘The lawmakers, both Republicans, confirmed the comment when asked by a Portland Press Herald reporter but asked that their names be withheld for fear of political retribution’.

‘After the governor’s remark was reported in the media, Littlefield issued a statement that said, in part, “It seems farfetched for anyone, even a newspaper, to…

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Why it’s called the ‘Stupid Party’ – ‘GOP Congressman: Obama Subverting The Will Of The People By Supporting High Speed Internet’

The Last Of The Millenniums

obama least on executive orders

‘A Republican congressman from New York told Fox News over the weekend that President Obama’s proposal to fund the introduction of high-speed internet into every classroom is an affront to Congress and, by extension, the American people’.

‘Rep. Michael Grimm (R-NY’) :

“He has an agenda and he’s going to do whatever he has to do to pass that agenda, regardless of the Constitution,” Grimm said. “I mean, I think our founding fathers are turning over in the graves right now because he’s just so blatant in his— the administrators, the people he puts in charge of these agencies are bold and brazen about saying, ‘yes, we’re going to make an end run around Congress.’”

‘The constitution does in fact grant the president the power to issue executive orders, though technically speaking, this doesn’t even qualify as an executive order, as the decision rests with the FCC itself and not…

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Junk wages aren’t good for you

Social Action 2014

Peter Rugh looks at the issues driving the organizing by fast-food workers.

Chicago retail workers on the march during a day of walkouts and solidarity actions (Carole Ramsden | SW)Chicago retail workers on the march during a day of walkouts and solidarity actions (Carole Ramsden | SW)

WHILE PRESIDENT Obama continues his economic speaking tour, walkouts at fast-food restaurants rippled across cities nationwide in late July and early August, calling attention to the nation’s growing wealth gap. At the franchise stores of McDonald’s, Taco Bell, Burger King and KFC and other grease-slinging corporations, thousands of people protested the low wages dished out by the biggest names in the industry and raised a common demand: $15 an hour and the right to unionize.

“We are all going through the same thing,” said Naquasia LeGrand, who works at a KFC franchise in Brooklyn and has emerged as one of the most outspoken voices in what is emerging as a national campaign. “We get burns from deep fryers. We…

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Sick of Uncle Tom’s & Aunt Tomesina’s Celebrities

There was a time in this country when African-American celebrities weren’t afraid to speak out against injustices of their race. Perhaps because many of them were still feeling the indignities of the Jim Crow era and/or because they truly cared.  Jackie Robinson, Nina Simone, Lena Horne, Paul Roebeson, Muhammed Ali, & of course Harry Belafonte, just to name a few. They fearlessly spoke up & participated in social issues not worried about the effect it would have on their career status. Without them & our Black leadership, Dr.King, MalcolmX, & Meadgar Evars, there’s no doubt, African-Americans would have remained second class citizens in the country we built.

This is why I’m baffled today’s’ celebrities are so indifferent to those that paved their way. Don’t they realize if so many had not laid down lives & limbs for them, they wouldn’t have the education or opportunity to have to acquired the wealth & platforms of influence they have?

If Jim Crow was still in place, would they even allow Oprah Winfrey to have a daytime talk show or network?

Would Sean Carter have ever gotten any airplay? For that matter, would he’d even been able to sell drugs in Brooklyn, where he drew most of his earlier catalog of music from?

Would Don Lemon even had the chance to obtain a degree in journalism (& someone check on that for me please, I’m not sure he has one), if not for Plessy vs Ferguson & all of the other legislative cases following the landmark decisions?

Of course not, but these African American’s don’t feel any gratitude towards those that paved their way. And they certainly feel no obligation to pave the way for future generations.

It’s apparent in these quotes:

Oprah Winfrey:   “I became so frustrated with visiting inner-city schools that I just stopped going. The sense that you need to learn just isn’t there.”
In America, she says, “If you ask the kids what they want or need, they will say an iPod or some sneakers. In South Africa, they don’t ask for money or toys. They ask for uniforms so they can go to school.”  (Imagine in a country where fewer than 3/4th of the kids have no access to TV & decent footwear, these kids don’t want IPods & sneakers).

And this little gem on “Trayvon Martin case: “Trayvon Martin, parallel to Emmett Till,” Oprah told The Grio’s Chris Witherspoon. “Let me just tell you, in my mind, same thing. But you can get stuck in that and not allow yourself to move forward and to see how far we’ve come.” In her mind it’s the same thing, but she doesn’t think she should use any of her influence or power to help seek justice “because we’ve come so far”. Wow, what if slaves had that attitude & just said, we’re free now, let’s not rock the boat anymore, remember how far we’ve come? Yes I hear you, Miss Sophia.

Sean Carter on Harry Belafonte ‘s criticism of his lack of social responsibility:

I’m offended by that because first of all, and this is going to sound arrogant, but my presence is charity. Just who I am. Just like Obama’s is……” Mr.Carter, if not for people like Dr.King, MalcolmX, you’re own great-grandparents willingness to fight injustice, you probably wouldn’t be allowed to sweep the floor of Madison Square Garden, least of all sell out shows. Even with the benefit of all those sacrificed before you, you’re fortunate that escaped a lengthy jail sentence.)

AND You are nothing like Obama! He has several degrees, is a constitutional law professor and is President of the United States. Your presence is not “charity”, your audience’s ticket sales are charity to you & I pray Green Ivory’s” (or whatever the hell her name is) college fund. But you, sir aren’t charity.  By your own admission, you helped contribute to the destruction of your community. Anyone with a conscience & your luck would jump at the opportunity to save more lives. You don’t sound arrogant, you sound uneducated.

Don Lemon, it’s understandable that working for network that has fired every other black correspondent, you might not want to do anything to rock the boat. But you do understand w/o the sacrifices that came before you,  you could just have well ended up a butler. If we hadn’t come so far on the backs, necks & lives that ended slavery & Jim Crow, you wouldn’t have had the platform you had.

As a gay black man you know that a 5 point plan to end gay violence could have been as superficial as the 5 point plan you gave to chastise African Americans? I mean, I could suggest you hit the gym 3 times a week, as to beef up your so flamboyantly feminine appearance, which might inspire homophobes to not target you. But that would be just as silly as you using Mr Martin’s death a springboard for your superficial tirade of black culture, which addressed none of the issues that spawned racial violence.

It can’t be entirely blamed on these people . They have many  contemporaries who place profits over morality & equality .They were just smart enough to keep their mouths shut.

Let’s just be grateful & supportive of the brave celebrities & legends like Stevie Wonder, Eddie Levert, Chaka Khan, Lala Hathaway, Joy Reid & many more will join in the effort for justice. Please thank & go out support these brave & talented artists. There will be many more,  I’m sure of it. Unlike Don Lemon, I don’t believe blacks are inherently stupid.