Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Why Cities Burn

Why Cities Burn

The flood of disturbing images and information coming from Kenosha, Wisconsin seems never ending--and perhaps it is. Kenosha isn't the first American city to burn this summer because of police brutality and killer cops causing the deaths/maiming of persons of color, and it more than likely will not be the last. But why? Why do cities burn? Why have we as a society never come to terms with how the establishment's inherently wealthy, white male, capitalistic ways tend to destroy rather than build up the people? 

This week's blog lets the people answer that question for themselves in memes, articles and videos. Then we'll ponder "Why should cities burn?"  Is burning out old hatreds an effective way of ridding ourselves of this cancer of white supremacy? Finally, it considers what might be the only possible option left open to us, "We should let cities burn."

A seventeen-year-old  white youth seeped in a culture of gun worship, looking for a chance to use his weapon against those he was taught were the "enemy" instead of his fellow citizens, may have done us a big favor by exposing the corrupt underbelly of the status quo. Sure, many will want to go back to sleep once they've crowned their "Not-Trump" into power. They falsely believe that only Trump and his supporters could have created this dystopian nightmare that is called the United States of America in the year 2020, but the injustices of centuries and the policies of the last forty years belie their shallow assessment. 

No one who has taken political office in the last half century has any less blood on their hands. No one. Never doubt for one second that America is an equal opportunity bigot factory. The deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tamir Rice, Elijah McCain and countless others, along with the paralyzing of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, demonstrate our collective prejudice. 

Americans burned their cities even before 1776 to make their voices heard, and they will continue to do so until the phrase "with liberty and justice for all" is actually worth the paper it's printed on.

The spark that set Kenosha alight...

Why Cities Should Burn

The following video, Why Jacob Blake's family will have to fight for justice,  is quite revealing. In the same city where Jacob was shot seven times in the back, a cop killing of another young man in 2004, Michael Bell, demonstrates the lengths the Kenosha Police Department is willing to go to cover up their culpability. Michael's father has worked long and hard to seek justice for his son's murder and has much to share on this episode of The Real News Network's "Police Accountability Report." https://michaelbell.info

More about Kenosha and its history of racism:
Sheriff Beth is a special kind of racist, funded by a big budget and an extreme-right community, where soon-to-be vigilante killers like 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse are supported and cheered on. Consider what the sheriff said two years ago after a 16-year-old African American teen was in a car accident in Kenosha. The teen and several others in the car were ultimately charged with shoplifting:
“These people are a cancer on society. These five people need to go away. They are not an asset. I think what we need to do as a society and lawmakers — we need to come up with laws that at a certain threshold, these people just disappear. We build large warehouses and we have individual cells, and we put them in it. We don’t let them back out. We don’t let them carjack cars while we’re pumping gas at gas stations. We don’t let them do drive-by shootings anymore. If they don’t want to get a job, if they don’t want to be an asset to society, we remove them from society. We don’t let these people go out and have more children. We separate them. We put them in places. What we’re doing is we’re allowing our communities to be completely destroyed for our children and our grandchildren and the futures to come."  --Don't Expect Justice for Black People in Kenosha if Sheriff Beth Has His Way, https://readersupportednews.org/opinion2/277-75/64862-rsn-dont-expect-justice-for-black-people-in-kenosha-if-sheriff-beth-has-his-way

Why would any kid want to go to another town with a mass-murdering weapon for other than the chance of shooting said weapon? This isn't a teen going to the pinball arcade with friends--this was a deliberate journey to enter a potentially dangerous situation. We have created a culture that worships death and inspires its young people to think killing is a worthwhile endeavor. Perhaps such an immoral society doesn't deserve to exist any longer?

We Should Let Cities Burn
(Because this is what it might take to make lasting change)

The above meme speaks for itself. Should these people even be considered "parents"? Should we allow cities of  "parents" such as these to continue to exist and raise more hate-filled youths?

Pro-athletes boycott their play-off games and make moving statements about injustice against persons of color in the following video. If well-paid professional athletes of color are sharing their own stories of police harassment, then there's no way to deny the depth of our society's dysfunction. It's systemic.
Why don't we talk about this? Why should a child have possession of a firearm? Why should a child be allowed in a situation that wasn't for children? Why should the color of his skin allow him to leave the scene of the crimes he committed? Why should the police only "protect and serve" him?

Related links:











From Facebook:

FROM A COMMENT: 17 year old Kyle Rittenhouse-Lewis’ mom Wendy drove him and his AR-15 rifle from Antioch, IL to Kenosha WI to “defend” businesses that he does not own from riots.The underaged shooter in Kenosha has had several run ins with the law. If he were black he’d be called a thug.

He ended up shooting 3 people, 2 died and 1 lost his arm.

Since some people are always quick to pull up shooting victims prior criminal history in order to justify their ill fate, I thought I’d post the shooters instead.
2016 was a banner year for the 13 year old criminal. He was operating a firearm while intoxicated and charged with disorderly conduct, possession of marijuana and drug paraphernal.

In 2018, he has a charge for disobeying officers.

White Supremacists would be quick to state that he’s a drug addict and a criminal if he was a POC. They would say he deserves everything that happened to him. Instead they’re calling him a “patriot” and started a GoFundMe account for his legal fees.

 From Color of Change:

Jacob Blake survived. That’s not what they intended.Call 1-844-262-5256 to demand justice now. 

Yesterday, Jacob Blake’s attorney confirmed that the young father of five survived and is now paralyzed from the waist down.

Jake surviving is nothing short of a miracle, but our fight for justice has just begun. The Kenosha police officer who tried to murder Jacob Blake in broad daylight has not been named or arrested for attempted murder. As far as we know, that racist, violent cop is still on the police force and out in the streets. 
And last night, just hours after Kenosha police thanked armed white vigilante militia members for coming out to a protest,2 a militia member murdered two protesters and wounded one other while police looked the other way. The shooter was part of a network of white nationalist Facebook groups encouraging vigilante violence against protesters.3 

Here’s what you can do right now to demand justice for Jacob Blake and the protesters in Kenosha: 

1. Make calls to demand the police officer is fired and arrested immediately. 
Call 1-844-262-5256 to tell Kenosha Mayor Antaramian, DA Michael Graveley, and Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul now:
“I'm demanding that you immediately fire and arrest the police officer who shot Jacob Blake in the back seven times. This officer attempted to murder a father in front of his children and is clearly unfit to hold a position as a police officer.”

2. Spread the word on social media. We can’t stop demanding justice for Jacob Blake and his family. 
Click here to tweet at Kenosha Mayor Antaramian, DA Michael Graveley, Kenosha Mayor John and Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul now. 

3. Submit a short letter to the editor of your local newspaper to demand justice for Jake. 
Letters to the editor are one of the fastest, easiest, and most powerful ways to speak to a large audience about the things you care about. 
Click here to submit a brief letter calling on Kenosha Mayor John Antaramian, District Attorney Michael Graveley, and Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul to fire and arrest the cop who attempted to murder Jacob Blake. We’ll provide all the talking points you need, and send the letter to local papers in Toledo instantly. 
Last night at the protests in Kenosha, a white nationalist armed with an assault rifle shot and killed two protesters and wounded another after coordinating with other white nationalists and armed militias on Facebook. 
Sadly, this isn’t the first time white nationalist groups have mobilized on the platform. Facebook promised to ban hate groups after it was used to organize 2018’s “Unite the Right” rally. And just last week, they promised to ban far-right militias as threats increased, but white nationalists were still able to use Facebook to organize to harm protesters last night. Facebook must stop hate group activity on the platform immediately, and prevent any further organized violence. 
Sign the petition now.    

We are sick and tired of police officers terrorizing Black communities and murdering us with impunity. 

We can’t let what happened to Jacob Blake happen again. That means fighting to hold killer cops accountable, investing in our communities, and dismantling the systems that put Black lives in danger. And we will not rest until we have won justice for Jake, his family, and Black people everywhere who are just trying to breathe. 

Community members in Wisconsin are already taking to the streets to demand justice. They are being met with more violence from police and vigilante white militias.4 Organizers need our help, and we will not let them fight alone. 

Stay in the fight with us: Start making calls at 1-844-262-5256, send tweets, submit a letter to the editor to demand justice for Jacob Blake, and sign the petition to demand Facebook stop helping armed militias attack protesters.
We can’t sit on the sidelines in this critical moment in the fight for Black lives. 

Until justice is real,
-- Scott, Rashad, Arisha, Erika, Malachi, Marybeth, Madison, Leonard, Ernie, McKayla, and the rest of the Color Of Change team
1. Attorney Ben Crump: Jacob Blake not likely to walk again after police shooting. FOX 5 Atlanta. 25 August 2020.
2. Cops thanked militia members minutes before deadly Wisconsin shooting. New York Post. 26 August 2020.
3. 17-year-old arrested in killing of 2 people in Kenosha. Associated Press. 26 August 2020.
4. Arrest in Overnight Shooting During Unrest in Kenosha, Wis. The New York Times. 26 August 2020.

Just days after the Kenosha police department shot Jake Blake seven times in the back, a white supremacist vigilante came into town to murder two anti-racist protesters. The officer still has his job and police let the racist murderer walk away. Kenosha police chief Daniel Miskinis has blood on his hands. He must be fired ASAP. Sign the petition.

Kyle Rittenhouse, a vocal white supremacist and Trump supporter, who was obsessed with guns and dreamed of being a cop, traveled across state lines with an AR-15 style rifle strapped across his body. For hours, he stalked and harrassed anti-racist protesters while “protecting”  property that wasn’t even his. His hate-filled night ended by him murdering two protesters and leaving one badly injured. His last victim will likely lose his arm. 

And how did Kenosha police officers and the national guard respond to him? They let him walk away. And just before the shooting as he harassed protesters, they gave him water, and thanked him for protecting them.

The police chief Daniel Miskinis even blamed the protesters for being murdered by a vigilante. When a reporter asked him about the murders of two protesters, Miskinis’ vile words speak for themselves: “Had persons not been out involved in violation of [the curfew], perhaps the situation that unfolded would not have happened.”

Chief Miskinis words are disgusting and indicative of the department he runs. Not only does he oversee the department that attempted to murder Jake Blake, but he’s ordered his officers to teargas protesters and let a racist murderer walk free.

Mayor John Antaramian and the Kenosha City Council must fire him immediately. 

Demand police chief Daniel Miskinis be fired now!

After Jake Blake was shot seven times in the back in front of his three small children, Chief Miskinis went on record blaming Jake for getting shot. The police even handcuffed Jake to his hospital bed as he fought for his life -- disgrace!3

Miskinis repeatedly attempts to smear victims of his police department and the white vigilantes who carry out their anti-Black agenda. We know what this game play is and we’ve seen it before. A police officer brutalizes or murders someone, so the police department goes on a smear campaign against the victim to clear any wrongdoing. But we won’t stand for it. 

Sign the petition: Tell Kenosha to fire police chief Daniel Maskinis for blaming Jake Blake for getting shot.

These violent acts of racism are emboldened by people in positions of power like Chief Maskinis. By excusing Kyle’s behavior, Miskinis is opening the door for this very act to happen once again. And Black people, and those fighting for justice, will once again be the victims.

We don’t look to police chiefs to be beacons of justice, because they represent an inherently unjust institution. We must hold them accountable for the danger they put our communities in. And as long as Chief Miskinis continues to allow blatant white supremacy to take Black lives and our anti-racist allies, Black Kenoshans are not safe while he’s in a position of power.
Fight with us. 

Until justice is real,
--Scott, Rashad, Arisha, Erika, Malachi, Marybeth, Madison, Leonard, Ernie, McKayla, and the rest of the Color Of Change team

1. "Teenager Kyle Rittenhouse arrested, charged for Kenosha shootings" Aljazeer.
2. "Kenosha Police Chief Blames Protesters for Their Own Deaths, Defends Vigilante Groups" Slate.
3. "Jacob Blake handcuffed to hospital bed, father says" Chicago Sun-Times.

A white nationalist just murdered two protesters demanding justice for Jacob Blake in Kenosha.

While demanding justice for Jacob Blake, the 29-year-old Black man who police recently shot in the back 7 times, paralyzing him from the waist down, an emboldened white nationalist militia member opened fire on protestors, shooting and killing two of them, and wounding a third.1 This white nationalist man was encouraged and emboldened to carry out such violence through a network of Facebook groups in which white nationalists openly discussed how they planned to violently harm protesters, with no intervention from Facebook until after the protesters were killed.2 Even worse, Facebook knew about the group and their calls to violence before the shooting happened and chose not to act.3

Sadly, this isn’t the first time white nationalist groups have mobilized on the platform to carry out real-world violence. Facebook promised to ban hate groups after it was used to organize 2018’s deadly “Unite the Right” riot. And just last week, they promised to ban far-right militias as threats increased, but white nationalists were still able to use Facebook to organize to harm protesters last night. 

We cannot allow this to continue. Tell Facebook to stop fueling white nationalist hate groups. 

Color Of Change has spent five years now trying to get Facebook to combat hate on the platform, and while we’ve won important changes to limit the impact of online hate, Facebook still refuses to fully reckon with the ways their company elevates white nationalists and other hate groups. Facebook, for example, automatically recommends hate group pages and content to those who use the platform, indoctrinating people in white nationalist ideologies. In some cases, Facebook will even automatically create pages for new hate groups.4 

Facebook must IMMEDIATELY ban white nationalist hate groups from organizing on their platform. 

Black people are facing undue suppression, harassment, and hate on Facebook. We can’t afford for Facebook to keep radicalizing white nationalists, who, through their interactions on Facebook, are driving real-world violence against protesters. White nationalist violence against us must end, and it’s Facebook’s job to step in and stop it. 

Tell Facebook to stop fueling white nationalist organizing, once and for all.

Until justice is real,
—Jade, Arisha, Rashad, Johnny, Amanda, Marie, Evan, Imani, Eesha, Gabrielle, Samantha, Jennette, Ciera, Marcus, FolaSade, and the rest of the Color Of Change team

  1. “17-year-old charged with homicide after fatal shooting during Kenosha protests, authorities say,” The Washington Post, August 26, 2020, https://act.colorofchange.org/go/261616?t=9&akid=44821%2E4890099%2EZcM4ha
  2. Lauren Hough, Twitter, August 25, 2020, https://act.colorofchange.org/go/261617?t=11&akid=44821%2E4890099%2EZcM4ha
  3. "Facebook chose not to act on militia complaints before Kenosha shooting," The Verge, August 26, 2020, https://act.colorofchange.org/go/261626?t=13&akid=44821%2E4890099%2EZcM4ha
  4. “White Supremacist Groups Are Thriving on Facebook,” Tech Transparency Project, May 21, 2020, https://act.colorofchange.org/go/261618?t=15&akid=44821%2E4890099%2EZcM4ha


  1. The scenes unfolding on the streets of America today are the direct consequences arising from decades of voting for 'the lesser evil' instead of true progressive candidates and parties. With both so-called Democrats and GOP taking funds and policy direction from big business, there's no prospect for positive change under the current system. The system is fixed - time to break it.

    1. Good insights. The oligarchs want us in the streets shooting each other and burning down cities. They sell more guns that way. They sell more fire insurance. They make more money off our misery. Until we can get the majority to wake up to that fact of how we're all being played, we will continue to see similar incidents, I'm afraid.


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