I would like to start with Libations to all who have come before us and paid with their lives! Who shed blood from whips, rape, chains, dogs, lynch mobs, bullets, fire bombs, drug infestations and incarceration.
From the 1852 Speech of Fredrick Douglass; “What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July?,” I answer: a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim. To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciations of tyrants, brass fronted impudence; your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, with all your religious parade, and solemnity, are, to him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy-a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages. There is not a nation on the earth guilty of practices, more shocking and bloody, than are the people of these United States, at this very hour.
The reason I selected this as an opening passage is because from 1852 to 2016 there are still some truths! 164 years and some of these conditions still exist! Yet we as a people have seen progression, some of us, not all of us have seen the Promised Land! Or does their wealth provide a false veil of “Were moving on Up” because with one flick of the wrist they too will be reminded of their skin color and from whence they came!
• Some of our children are achieving! Higher education, We have Doctors, Lawyers, Judges
• Yet African Americans now constitute nearly 1 million of the total 2.3 million incarcerated population
• African Americans are incarcerated at nearly six times the rate of whites
• Together, African American and Hispanics comprised 58% of all prisoners in 2008, even though African Americans and Hispanics make up approximately one quarter of the US population
• According to Unlocking America, if African American and Hispanics were incarcerated at the same rates of whites, today’s prison and jail populations would decline by approximately 50%
• One in six black men had been incarcerated as of 2001. If current trends continue, one in three black males born today can expect to spend time in prison during his lifetime
• 1 in 100 African American women are in prison
• Nationwide, African-Americans represent 26% of juvenile arrests, 44% of youth who are detained, 46% of the youth who are judicially waived to criminal court, and 58% of the youth admitted to state prisons (Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice)
• According to the Huffington Post article there are 745,000.00 US incarcerated African Americans
Young African American men are falling behind their peers in the classroom. PBS reports only 54% of African Americans graduate from high school, compared to more than 75% of their Caucasian and Asian American peers. Black male students in grades K-12 were “nearly 2.5 times more likely to be suspended from school in 2000 as white students,” and their twelfth-grade reading scores are currently lower than any other racial and ethnic group. Many young African Americans live in deep poverty, which can cripple their chances of education and, ultimately, upward mobility. According to a 2010 Census survey, the poverty rate for black children is the highest rate of any race group- 38.2% live below the US average. For them, obtaining and consistently holding a job is significantly more difficult. The State of Young America report (2011) revealed that one in three African American men age 18-24 is unemployed. Similarly, the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee reports unemployment for young black men is “roughly twice as high as the rate for all young men.”
The National Center for Victims of Crime gives troubling statistics about African American young males and crime, reporting “black youth are three times more likely to be victims of reported child abuse or neglect, three times more likely to be victims of robbery, and five times more likely to be victims of homicide. In fact, homicide is the leading cause of death among African American youth ages 15 to 24.”While African American young males have lower rates of licit and illicit substance use compared to white men, they are at greater risk for drug-related issues. The Drug Policy Alliance reports that African Americans are also more likely to end up incarcerated for their drug-related activity, comprising only 14% of users but 37% of those arrested. And according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, African American drug users also “experience higher rates of drug-related health problems than do users from other ethnic groups” despite having lower rates of drug use overall.
Here in San Francisco 28.4% of evictions have been of African-American households, event though they make up 3% – 6% of the population. Many become homelessness, while others have to live as far as Modesto, Stockton and Pittsburg/Antioch area. Most residents have long commutes to work and school. Having to rely only on public transportation; the local buses, which takes 2 hours to get to the nearest Bart Station in Pittsburg.
Living in poverty 36% of homeless people in SF are African-Americans, here in a rich city, overtaken by Tech Companies from all over the country. The expensive high rise buildings being built here are of course to oust the less fortunate. The average person can’t make the income required to rent in San Francisco. Not even the people with incomes higher than the average San Franciscan can’t afford $3,500 for a 1 bedroom apartment to rent.
One in three African-Americans killed are unarmed. The Police brutality in this country has gone way beyond serving this community. 102 black people were murdered last year alone. Five of them were black women. Since the day of slavery black people has always endured hardship and pain living in this country.
While in most of these areas the numbers are bleak for African Americans we are proud people! We will never give up the spirit in us will never allow us to stop knocking down barriers! Hurdling temptations and busting out of shackles and chains! We can do this by supporting one another! Uplifting one another! Standing together with one another! All of these numbers are not designed by the tools that make us or measure our potential growth! We are the determining factor!
Together! Look how far we have Come! In the words of McFadden and White! Ain’t no stopping us now! No matter what statistics say! No matter if the Machine has new parts with the same engine! What matters is us! Stop Black on Black Crime! Learn to Love each other! Black Lives Matter!