Category Archives: Law, justice

“What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July?”

“What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July?”

This immortal and fiery speech of Frederick Douglass was delivered July 5, 1852.

It is tempting to repurpose his words to our national crisis today, on behalf of all those in our country who suffer not slavery but their contemporary counterparts: discrimination, economic injustice, deprivation of adequate education and health care, denial of other basic rights, and violent death (text at TeachingAmericanHistory):

…At a time like this, scorching irony, not convincing argument, is needed. O! had I the ability, and could I reach the nation’s ear, I would, to-day, pour out a fiery stream of biting ridicule, blasting reproach, withering sarcasm, and stern rebuke. For it is not light that is needed, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake. The feeling of the nation must be quickened; the conscience of the nation must be roused; the propriety of the nation must be startled; the hypocrisy of the nation must be exposed; and its crimes against God and man must be proclaimed and denounced.

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….

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Filed under History, Law, justice, Race, Ethnicity, Immigration

What did we learn from Antonin Scalia’s death?

By Jim Hightower, 3/8/16

How curious that Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died in, of all places, an exclusive, West Texas hunting lodge.

Curioser yet, all expenses for hizzonor’s February stay were paid by the lodge’s owner, John Poindexter. He’s a Houston manufacturing mogul who had won a favorable ruling from the Court in an age-discrimination case last year. In another curiosity, the names of some 35 other people who were in Scalia’s hunting party are being kept secret. Moreover, the late judge (an ardent promoter of corporate supremacy over people’s rights) was flown to the Texas getaway for free aboard someone’s or some corporations’ private jet, but the name of this generous benefactor has also been withheld. Curious, huh?

This is not a murder mystery – by all accounts, Scalia died of natural causes. Rather it’s a moral mystery. Who was buying (or repaying) favors from such an enormously-powerful member of America’s highest court?…

continue reading at Jim Hightower

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Report from the Bars, Barriers, or Justice expo and conference

Amnesty International Group 342, 11/4/15

Group 342 member Barbara attended the Bars, Barriers, or Justice expo and conference held in West Chester, PA, on 31 October. She wrote the following report (originally posted here) about the event and has given permission for it to be reproduced on this blog.

Sunday, November 1, 2015
Hidden in not-so-plain sight

Who goes to prison in our country and who goes free? Do we help integrate released prisoners back into society . . . or do we force them to spend the rest of their lives paying their debt?

These were the hefty human questions considered at yesterday’s “Bars, Barriers, or Justice?” expo and conference, held at the C. A. Melton Arts and Education Center in West Chester, PA. My husband Bob and I represented Amnesty International Group 342 and were accompanied by Ron Coburn, Bidisha, and Elzat from the AIUSA Philadelphia Group.

I had the privilege of speaking on the morning panel with Patrick Hall of Campaign to Defeat the New Jim Crow and T.L. (short for Talila Lewis) from HEARD (Helping Educate to Advance the Rights of the Deaf)….

continue reading and see photos and links at Amnesty International Group 342

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Filed under Law, justice

Report from the Bars, Barriers, or Justice expo and conference

Amnesty International Group 342, 11/4/15

Group 342 member Barbara attended the Bars, Barriers, or Justice expo and conference held in West Chester, PA, on 31 October. She wrote the following report (originally posted here) about the event and has given permission for it to be reproduced on this blog.

Sunday, November 1, 2015
Hidden in not-so-plain sight

Who goes to prison in our country and who goes free? Do we help integrate released prisoners back into society . . . or do we force them to spend the rest of their lives paying their debt?

These were the hefty human questions considered at yesterday’s “Bars, Barriers, or Justice?” expo and conference, held at the C. A. Melton Arts and Education Center in West Chester, PA. My husband Bob and I represented Amnesty International Group 342 and were accompanied by Ron Coburn, Bidisha, and Elzat from the AIUSA Philadelphia Group.

I had the privilege of speaking on the morning panel with Patrick Hall of Campaign to Defeat the New Jim Crow and T.L. (short for Talila Lewis) from HEARD (Helping Educate to Advance the Rights of the Deaf)….

continue reading and see photos and links at Amnesty International Group 342

Leave a comment

Filed under Law, justice