The Black Politico

Orlando politics and more -- from a black perspective

Sheriff Jerry Demings announces his candidacy for Orange County Mayor

Last Friday, Orange county Sheriff Jerry Demings announced his candidacy for the seat of Orange county mayor. Amongst a crowd of supporters and elected officials, Demings said, “I am overwhelmed by the tremendous show of support.” Demings continued, “after much prayer and deliberation and with the support of my family, I’m excited to announce my candidacy for Orange county mayor for the 2018 election cycle.”

U.S. Congresswoman Val Demings, introduced her husband putting her support behind him saying, “you all saw him during the time when four hurricanes, four, came through Orange county and he really led the response effort and recovery effort.” Demings was Sheriff not only when Orange county faced hurricanes but also when the Pulse tragedy happened last year.

Demings was first elected Sheriff in 2008 and was re-elected in 2012 and 2016. He was also the first African American Chief of Police in Orlando.

Current Mayor Theresa Jacobs will term out next year leaving the seat open for Orange county’s next new Mayor.

Many speculate who will run for Demings’ seat as Sheriff. Demings said he’s talked to some potential candidates for his seat but he declined name or to endorse anyone. There was some talk among the crowd that Orlando Police Chief John Mina is seriously considering a run for Sheriff.

Campaign rules require candidates to step down from seats such as Sheriff in order to campaign for another elected position. Demings said he will step down from his seat as Sheriff at the end of the year. However, the announcement formally put any other candidates thinking about running for the seat on notice and confirmed rumors claiming Demings would run.

Demings has spent 36 years in public service and tops the chart currently as the most experienced and recognizable candidate in the race to date. The primary election is scheduled for August 28, 2018 and the general election is set for November 6, 2018.

State Attorney’s decision to be anti-death penalty in a death penalty state is a dangerous one

There has been an outcry from those who support and those against the death penalty over the past several days.
State Attorney Aramis Ayala held a press conference saying she would not seek the death penalty on accused murderer Markeith Loyd.
She also said, she would not seek the death penalty on any other cases during her administration; current and future.
She stood with her pastor at her side while making this announcement. When a reporter asked shouldn’t voters have known about her position on the death penalty, Ayala arrogantly responded, “they know now.”
Well, we do know now and so does the Governor of Florida. Governor Scott rightfully asked the State Attorney to recuse herself from the case yet she refused.
This decision is a big one as it means she took control by taking a piece of the law from the hands of legislators in Tallahassee and decided to govern it as she sees fit. In other words, she’s legislating her own anti-death penalty rules from the office of “Top Cop” in Orange and Osceola counties. In case anyone is wondering, a Prosecutor’s job is to be the bad guy in the eyes of criminals, not their advocate. In this case and all future cases, she is claiming to be an advocate for crime and criminals.

Sorry, Ayala, but you don’t get to do that. At least not in Florida.

State Attorney of Ninth Judicial Circuit at press conference telling community she will not seek the death penalty on any cases

State Attorney of Ninth Judicial Circuit at press conference telling community she will not seek the death penalty on any cases

It’s clear she’s not ready for the position of Prosecutor, in recent stories she’s shown she’s not ready to manage an office by holding a press conference and outting employees that she thought did drugs during off-duty hours. She’s never had any management experience prior to being elected and she likely should have put her name in the hat for Public Defender instead of State Attorney since her sympathy toward criminals far exceeds her ability to be a prosecutor.

Seeking only Life without Parole for an alleged cold-blooded killer is disturbing and some are silent because they fear retaliation.

On Monday, a hearing was live-streamed and Ayala, who was recused from the case by the Governor, was there. So was Markeith Loyd and so was Brad King, the prosecutor appointed to take over the case. As Loyd left the courtroom he looked at the State Attorney and nodded at her as if they were working together.

This is a situation that most have never seen before. Even Judge Lauten, who presided over the hearing, said he’s not seen anything like this before in his career.

This is dividing communities of color, further and here’s one reason why. The Black and Brown communities are filled with good people. People who want to provide their children with a great education and it oozes people who want to be safe. Ayala’s move shows there is no system in place in Orange and Osceola counties to defend the rights of Law Enforcement or law abiding citizens.

My Mother used to take us to the bus stop armed, to let the drug dealers, prostitutes and all other criminals know that Rhea, Rhetta and any other kid that rode our bus, were not to be bothered. She is fearless. Many are not. Having a system in place that protects us is warranted. Having a balanced judicial system is necessary.

On the other hand, it’s clear, we have a problem with justice in America. Black and Brown men and women populate prisons for violent and non-violent crimes. However, what Ayala is doing is not the way to make the necessary changes and legislating from a Prosecutor’s seat means she lied when she took the oath of office to uphold the law.

After the hearing on Monday Ayala released a motion to stay on the case. In that motion, she mentioned, she is a “popularly elected” State Attorney. That is also untruthful.
She was elected after closing the primaries against State Attorney Jeff Ashton with a fake write-in candidate. That loophole disenfranchised Independents, NPA’s and Republicans.

She still couldn’t get her head above water during the campaign so she sold her soul to billionaire and Black Lives Matter financier, George Soros, who then ran a campaign against Ashton to the tune of $1.4 million in slanderous ads that called Ashton a biased, racist, State Attorney.

Furthermore, over 20,000 people wrote-in another name on the general election, ballot as opposed to selecting Ayala, something that has never happened in a State Attorney’s race in Orange and Osceola counties.

Ayala’s oath appears to uphold Soros’ agenda and not the law of the State of Florida.
If she leaned on her Christian beliefs to make this decision, she did not separate church and state and that should scare everyone. Not all people believe in Christianity and if a non-Christian was in that seat and made a decision based on their faith, all hell would break loose. In this case, all hell is breaking loose because many believe having the Death Penalty on the table is a tool prosecutors use to get the harshest punishment they can. Ayala’s actions are summing up to look like political suicide.

There are many active groups and caucuses out there claiming to represent Black people. But, they are listening to organizations like the NAACP and other Black groups that may not represent the perspective we truly have. But, these same organizations are the ones that in the 1990’s helped fuel the mass incarceration problem by asking President Clinton to crack down on crime in the Black communities; and that wasn’t the work of the Republicans, that was the work of the Democrats. They then sketched out a plan to help stop and punish crime and that led to many people of color being incarcerated for non-violent offenses.

Ayala has a history of being sympathetic to criminals. She worked as a Public Defender and also mentioned on her campaign trail that she is married to a felon who spent 7-10 years in federal prison for dealing drugs. According to Ayala, he has since done his time and is living a new life.

But what about those who were addicted to drugs and purchased drugs from him? Do they get a new chance at life? Likely not. Addicts, if they survive, are treated as criminals and not as people suffering from a disease called addiction.

As for the real movement to make change between some law enforcement officers and the Black and Brown communities, currently, there are over 32 bills in Congress for Blue Lives Matter and none for Black Lives Matter. Congress is where the change really takes place.

If Ayala and Soros are using Markeith Loyd as their poster child for stopping mass incarceration or the death penalty, their actions have put the final nail in the coffin of the Black Lives Matter movement and shame on all the Black and Brown organizations that are allowing this to happen.

The Controversial Case Against Markeith Loyd

This is a pivotal case in the rights of Black people in America, whether we collectively realize it or not.

Markeith Loyd, a triple murder suspect, was captured by police last week after a 9-day manhunt.

According to Orlando Police Department’s Chief Mina, OPD officers along with other agency officers were on scene when Loyd was located in a house only two blocks away from the family of Officer Debra Clayton, the Officer Loyd is accused of killing.

According to the aerial view of Loyd’s capture, the suspect crawled out to the officers, surrendered and ‘cowered like a little girl.’

During Loyd’s perp walk, he shouted, “They beat me up. They beat me up. They beat me up.”

Newly elected State Attorney Aramis Ayala, who ran as a candidate funded by George Soros, the financier of the Black Lives Matter movement, can’t seem to find sufficient evidence to charge any of the Officers with excessive force in this case. Not only that, at this time, she’s not even investigating excessive force against Loyd. Read the previous paragraph again. Does that even make any sense? The answer is no.

During the press conference after Loyd’s capture, elected leaders took to the podium and described Loyd as a killer, never using the word “alleged” or “suspect.” The description of Loyd by leaders makes it that much harder for Loyd to have a fair trial.

The Orlando Sentinel and journalist Rene Stutzman did an in depth piece on excessive force by the Orlando Police Department last year that I believe everyone should read.
According to the law, Loyd should have excessive force charges brought up against the arresting Officers. There’s plenty of evidence that shows he was beaten. Loyd didn’t need to yell that out because we could clearly see that. We also saw him surrender and then be kicked and beaten.

Let’s get one thing straight. Officers are human beings. They lost two of their own while trying to apprehend this suspect. Loyd is lucky he came out alive because had I been an officer I don’t know if I could have shown the restraint they showed to keep him breathing. But, under the law and according to Loyd’s actions when he surrendered, Loyd deserved to come out of that house looking like Dylan Roof did when cops took him into custody.

Roof, the Charleston 9 shooter, went into a Black church and shot worshippers killing 9 of them. He’s now rightfully serving a death row sentence. Now and only now can Roof be called a cold-blooded killer without damaging his case or defaming him.

Here’s the irony. The current State Attorney, a Black woman, rode into Orange and Osceola counties, closed the primaries with a fake write-in candidate and then used $1.4 million of Black Lives Matter money from George Soros to call the previous administration racist. Keep in mind and regardless of what you heard, that previous administration, run by a white man, did charge police with excessive force against Black people.

Ayala promised to be fair to the Black community and to hold those responsible, accountable. But that’s not what appears to be happening here. This Loyd guy, to me, is a monster. But according to what America put down on paper, he’s supposed to be innocent right now, until he is proven guilty. That same State Attorney, the same State Attorney that sat on the Orlando Police Department review board and refused to move forward with charges against OPD officers for excessive force, is now remaining true to her history, regardless of the law and is not pressing any agency, including her own, to draft charges against the officers that beat Markeith Loyd.

That should scare every resident in the ninth judicial, regardless of your race. Roof, was tried in a court of law and ultimately sentenced. He had due process. Laws are put in place for a reason and we should follow them. Roof, a white boy, was not a victim of excessive force.

As for Markeith Loyd, I say, your rights have been clearly violated as an American citizen based on what America promised. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 11, states, “everyone charged with a penal offense, has the right to be presumed innocent, until proven guilty, according to law in a public trial, at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defense.”

When you strip someone like Loyd of his rights, you make him more likely to be back on the streets again.

Each person standing at that podium during that Press Conference, post Loyd’s arrest, should have been briefed by a well-versed Public Information Officer, prior to going on camera.

However, Mr. Loyd, you likely deserved what you received when you crawled out on your hands and knees to your oppressors. Good luck with a fair trial. So far, it doesn’t look like you’re getting one and you have a Black State Attorney to thank for that.

Florida Democratic Party fights for their future

Florida Democratic Party fights for their future

I’ve been watching the Democratic Party races up-close and from afar. It’s a mess. One big, hot, mess.

A guy named Stephen Bittel, a long time party donor, who has never served in a position in the party, used another member to cut a pathway for him to run as Florida Democratic Party Chair. To put things into perspective, this is the seat that was previously held by Allison Tant.

Bittel has long supported the messy way things have been handled in the Democratic Party.

Democrats lost a host of seats and now have to bow down to 31 Republican governors along with a Congress that not only successfully stopped the agenda of President Obama but now has even more power to support the new President.

This kind of party leadership should end if the Democrats want to win seats and reel in even more money and active members. Unfortunately, the party didn’t realize or care about this until after the loss of the latest Presidential election to President elect Donald J. Trump.

If voters in the Democratic Party simply shift people but not agendas, the devastation will continue.

Money is a key element in this shift and big donors are donating even more money, in some cases, to keep the same mindset. What is it that they are not seeing? We already know the Democrats lost the Oval Office, Congress (both the House and Senate) and will have no say on who gets to sit on the Supreme Court bench which is big deal for all people, especially people of color. It’s as if Democrats have duct tape over their mouths and need to sit quietly by while their opposition, the Republicans, run this country at full blast.

Let’s be clear. Democrats have to care about the money. They need as much as they can get and they have to stop spending it wildly and without attaching real results to their expenses. But, they should not sacrifice members or more elections in order to do it. If they rebuild a winning party, they’ll build more money and more members.

I’ve spoken with people who could be key donors to the Democratic Party and there’s a lot of money out there to be given but they are unwilling to donate to a party who will waste money, employ laziness and support a high-turnover rate during the election seasons.

One bright nugget in all of this is Senator Dwight Bullard. Bullard just busted a brilliant move on the party. He went from being a disenfranchised candidate in the Miami-Dade Chapter of the Florida Democratic Party, to being actively a part of the Florida election by launching his campaign and website, DwightUnites.com. Bullard put his name in the hat for Florida Democratic Party Chair and is now a contender alongside Bittel. That shows Bullard is not messing around. It shows Progressives are as serious about changing this party as the Tea Party was about changing the Republican Party. That’s what needs to be done in order to bring the party back to the fierce, ugly reality it faces.

What many elder black leaders won’t tell you

“I’m an open book that no one is reading.”

That has been and probably will be my favorite line to younger people. I’m sure at some point, my elders felt the need to whisper that into my ear, as well.

My love of politics, black people and supporters of our issues often bundle themselves in my mind as one. I can’t fit my way into a two-party political system nor can I easily adapt to the culture of another race or class in which I don’t appear to belong. I can’t fake friendships. I’m ok with being followed around a store because the manager may think I’m stealing because of the color of my skin. I’m used to it. Maybe, I’m just weird like that and I’ve accepted the ways of society. I’d rather work hard and smart, make miracles happen on the job than to pretend to be the CEO’s bestie. If somewhere along the way, I find a friend, I’m happy to adopt him. But, like so many, that’s not my starting point if work and passion is involved.

Our elders often say it’s not about what you know but who you know. That mindset is changing as our tides change in the digital age with how we meet one another. My personality will always come second to my job and passion and I’m confident in that. I can be paid, but not bought and I’m often afraid that I’m so unafraid of other people. I wear my attitude, good or bad, on my sleeve. When it comes to choosing a Republican over a Democrat, I’ll stop you in your tracks.
I am just like so many others with an agenda to change this country. I don’t care if people of other races love black people. I just care that if people harm us, or force us to be what history has proven, that you suffer the consequences of those actions under the law.
I don’t believe our elders are fighting for that same kind of change.

I’ve been cursed out for supporting Governor Rick Scott. My attitude and response was, “so.” I happen to like him and his work. Should I be afraid to say so because I’m black?
I’ve been called the same for supporting a white candidate over a black candidate. My response and attitude is “so, squared.”

I lean toward people who have supported us with jobs, education and even the criminal justice system over anyone that has not, regardless of the color of their skin. That’s embedded in me. I can’t change it, nor do I want to. Don’t ask me to choose a party before I see proof of performance of a candidate and if you do, and your candidate wins without the proper vetting, you’ll regret it every single time. For the party has more power than the candidate. Which is why Republicans have gotten on board to support Donald Trump.

Black people are the only group of people expected to side with Democrats. That’s the reason Democrats don’t side with Black people.

Many, many older Black leaders have been around long enough to have lost their passion for the protest and would rather get something out of politics for themselves. They believe it’s a game. Wait…matter of fact, they know it’s a game. In every era, it’s the younger generation that believes so passionately that our leaders will do the right thing. In this open book of mine, which is me, the power lies fiercely in the appointed, not the elected.

The elected is already appointed.

We simply get to choose from the ones our elders have picked out for us. For example, my Aunt and my Mother, who are sisters, shop for me as much as they can. Don’t ask me why, but I can be their dress-up doll all day long and they’d be happy as unicorns and rainbows. I’ll usually wear whatever they give me. I couldn’t care less what’s on my body most of the time because I’m too busy with a million and one other things.

But, if I’m with them in the shopping mall, I get to choose from the 2 of 5 pieces of clothing they’ve put before me. Stay with me. I’m stating this for a reason. See, they’ve already sorted through hundreds of pieces of clothes, then they call me over. I then get to “elect” two pieces and then “appoint” the final piece in a quick draw between 2 to 5 narrowed down pieces.

And, here I am confused about which one to pick when I probably would have loved the very first item they picked up 4 hours before.
I’m ok with them doing that because it makes them happy and I don’t care what I wear. However, when it comes to politics and Black lives, a two party system is the same as Aunt Allie and Mama in the shopping mall. Analyze this. The brakes should get beat off of someone who tries to force a pair of red boots on me when the black ones are built to save my life and protect my people. Yet, they were in the pile that Mom pushed to the side at the start of the selection process.

This is the age when no one truly cares about the murders of unarmed black men. Some take bullets to the head while they lay on the ground, others are murdered in cold blood while running away and clearly not being a threat to anyone.

Where are our Black leaders?

Why aren’t they pushing for laws that change these kinds of things instead of fighting to have us choose between the final 2 pieces of clothing that we really care nothing about? What Black leaders have done and will likely continue to do, is bash my way of thinking because I think differently and I speak it loudly.

But, it’s because I so deeply care.

I want to see change and I can’t think of any better way to be more vocal than to just say it. I hope for an outcome of equality, not superiority.

Critically thinking Black people, are considered less Black than many who have experienced marching with Dr. King for our civil rights and that’s not ok. We are still just as Black as anyone else. Today, our elders have left you and me. So, we’re on our own, kids. I looked for help with Black caucuses in Florida. I sought help with Black women congress groups. I even accepted friendships so that I could be mentored by Black women who I thought wanted equality for Black people. I was wrong. I was called everything under the sun and it made my stomach turn watching them sell out and lie to our people in churches and town halls across the City of Orlando.
We see the lack of action in the NAACP and the complaints by old school leaders that young people aren’t involved enough. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. Young people aren’t agreeing with them enough. That’s the old folks’ problem and not a problem for the youth. That’s an excellent problem to give them and they should gift wrap it for the old. What many of our elders won’t do is tell you they want it done their way or the highway. They marched in the civil rights era. Yet, it wasn’t until Black people returned the actions of the oppressor that government got involved.

Some Black elders readily allow history books to preach and teach that Martin did it without Malcolm.

Some old Black leaders won’t tell you, people of all skin colors, races and demographics helped pave our way. We’d all love to say we did it ourselves. I believe we absolutely could have. But, we didn’t.

Nothing they can say can change history. Much of what happened at the polls that has led us into a race between the current two candidates is the fault of the old way of thinking and if anyone tells you millennials are hurting Democrats at the polls, know this, that’s a lie. Young people helped elect the first Black President and will do the same for Hillary Clinton but with significant reluctance.

Young people helped establish a progressive platform unlike anything in the past. Whether that platform gets implemented or not is a different story. And, young people are forcing the hands of their elders to change the course of voting in this country, even if it means casting a sacrificial vote. Gag. That sounds dangerous.

But, if their two-party system is as good as they say, why should we fear Donald Trump? If it’s their way or the highway, they are now sitting on the byway and underpass because young people are in charge. Just the threat of youth not going to the polls, leaves those who love the status quo, up at night. Change, has the tendency to do that.

To those young people who are fighting for real change, don’t quit. Don’t sell out. Don’t give up. You’ll be the reason why this planet is safer, an herb intended to be used for healing can and will be legally used and war will be no more. I am not just a dreamer. My position on an old way of thinking may sound harsh and it may be filled with words and an attitude that seems disrespectful to our elders, but it’s warranted. This generation is fired up. In order to ultimately see change, we have to be it.

Why Bernie Sanders is more electable than Hillary Clinton

Why Bernie Sanders is more electable than Hillary Clinton

From out of nowhere, this 70-ish year-old Jewish man, with wild hair, steps on the scene with a Presidential bid and starts talking to us about issues. Issues that touched the core of various target demographics. After the latest democratic debate, here are the top three reasons why Bernie Sanders is more electable than Hillary Clinton.

1.) Bernie Sanders and the issues he works hard for, appeal to college students, senior citizens and the middle class.
That’s about all of the target demographics! With most Americans being either middle class or poverty stricken, the candidate who makes sense to these voters is Bernie Sanders. With a significantly smaller percentage of people being wealthy, the candidate who will create plans to boost the middle class and is passionate about eliminating poverty is Sanders. In addition, he is instilling hope that will help propel the agenda and legacy of President Obama.

2.) Sanders talks more about what he will work hard to do, while Clinton talks about what cannot be done.
For example, during the debate and actually quite often, Clinton talks about free college and why it won’t work in America while Sanders is pushing for free college for every student who desires to go and is willing to work hard to achieve that goal. With two-thirds of college students graduating with major debt, Sanders is proposing a plan that will not only encourage more students to go to college, but also will aid them in getting a degree that is actually well-worth the studies. Most institutions of higher learning are financially sound by charging students anywhere from $30k to $100k and often more in private schools. Most students spend years trying to pay their student loans back. Sanders studied other countries like Sweden, France and Norway and believe we should thrive just as well as they have with free college plans. Sanders also uses the word “We” and Clinton uses the word “I” at every engagement in which they speak.

3.) Generally, those who will vote for Clinton in the primary election will vote for Sanders if he becomes the nominee to beat the Republican front-runner. However, the Sanders “cult” will not vote in droves for Clinton if Sanders does not become the nominee.
Every vote counts. Especially when it gets down to Democrats versus Republicans. The Democratic Party would be smart to realize their base, along with registered Independents, are ready to vote for Bernie Sanders. He has energized students, seniors, the middle class and a significant segment of the Black and Brown communities. His voter base is passionate and are less likely to go to the polls for anyone other than him. Strategically, Bernie Sanders is holding the golden ticket for Democrats to get another 4-8 years in the White House.

In an act of desperation, Clinton started using Bernie Sanders’ talking points on the night of the New Hampshire primary. She made sure to speak to America’s youth and then she hired a new Director of Black media that night.

I don’t know about you but I feel hiring a Director of Black Media out of fear that the black voter base is siding with Sanders should be organic. Bernie Sanders has been involved in the black movement since the 1960’s. Now, THAT’S organic!

Who would have thought Hillary would again be in such a close race for the nomination. Twice Hillary has run for the highest office in the land and again she is neck and neck with another candidate many feel can do a better job. Her first major opponent was Barack Hussein Obama and now, she faces Bernie “Feel the Bern” Sanders. Sanders was just a “nobody” yesterday who was fighting for his district as a Senator from Vermont. Even with just a small team of staffers behind him, America is shouting they are not interested in polished, scripted politicians who benefit from Wall Street. They want Bernie. If the Democratic and Republican parties would keep their ears to the ground, they would see the masses are not interested in scripts or talking points but are interested in honesty, integrity and candidates who can at least have hope, passion and their own money, or the money of supporters to run in this race.

Going past Circus World meant the world to this kid

Photo courtesy of Rhetta Peoples

Photo courtesy of Rhetta Peoples

Photo courtesy of Rhetta Peoples

Photo courtesy of Rhetta Peoples

I would sit in the back of my Dad’s blue Dodge racing car that had a loud muffler as we drove from Tampa to Orlando every other weekend. My Dad, a big man who stood 6-feet, 5- inches tall and rarely smiled, affectionately named this car “hips,” which tickled me and my sister each time he said it in his deep voice. We traveled to Orlando via the interstate and religiously passed Circus World on I-4.

Circus World had a huge rollercoaster that I could see as we drove by and no matter what side of the car I was sitting on when we started the drive, I would end up on the closest side to Circus World. It was torture because all we could do was “look” at it as we passed by. At that time, we didn’t have enough money to go to a theme park like that. I was only about 5 or 6 years old and another attraction could have easily grabbed my attention too if it were close-by.

However, Circus World was the only place along the highway that was made for a kid. It stopped the slow drag of tree after tree and highway sign after highway sign. I could sense when we were getting near it. As we got closer, I would stretch my eyes even wider than they already are, as if that would help me see it faster than I realistically could. The rollercoaster looked to be a wooden style coaster that only a giant could have built. A coaster that I knew if I got anywhere near it, I would back-out at the last minute. It went way up as if it were in the clouds and then would drop down at an angle. If the windows were down in my Dad’s car and the muffler wasn’t too loud that day, we could hear the riders screaming in sheer delight as the coaster fell towards the bottom of that big hill they were sitting on.

I wanted to go to Circus World so badly, just to see what else was there that would peak my interest. I mean, if this roller coaster could entice me from the interstate then I just knew the entire “world” there would have me running from the parking lot to the entrance like the Griswold’s at Wally World.

During the drive past Circus World, I would hang my head out of the window like a puppy while hanging onto the glass of the window because my Dad would only let it down a little more than halfway. I could feel the hair bows on the ends of my twisted ponytails hit the sides of my face as the wind rushed in and my eyes were as big as quarters.

My sister would double-dog dare me saying, “I bet you won’t ride that rollercoaster.” Each time she said it, she would always whisper it to me as if it were some big secret. “Hey Rhetta, I bet you won’t ride that rollercoaster.” She would say it at least twice and as she held her half-dressed, Barbie doll in her hand, combing the dolls hair as she did so often. I was defensive, yelling back, “Oh yes I will,” trying hard to respond loud enough so that my Dad would hear it and discourage her from teasing me. He never did. But, when I shouted back I could see his eyes in the rear view mirror looking at us. His eyes looked like he had a smile on his face. I don’t know for sure. I don’t know if he wanted to take us and couldn’t afford it or he just wanted to hear the chatter of his kids that he had missed all week long.

I knew deep down in my heart, that if I were to ride that coaster, I would freak out once we got to the very tip-top of what looked like the peak of a mountain. But, I insisted to my sister that I would ride that rollercoaster like nobody’s business.

I would motion my hand in an upward position like it was the cart on the coaster and then drop it down right in my sister’s face making a swooshing sound, acting every bit of a 5-year old. I don’t remember ever going to Circus World with my Dad but I do remember the drive from Tampa to Orlando and back and the music that would play in the car. Since my parents were divorced at the time, Daddy would play the song, “Just the two of us” by Bill Withers and re-word the song making it “Just the three of us,” since our family would always be in sets of three now since the divorce, instead of the awesome four which obviously included my fantastic Mom.

I really didn’t need to ride the coaster. I just wanted to see it up close. Was it raggedy and worn? Did the seats in the cart have seat belts or was there some kind of lap bar? I needed to know details. I, at the very least, wanted to hear the voices of the riders up close.

What made that drive so much fun was that I had the chance to stick my head out of the window when I knew that wasn’t typically allowed when it was four of us. For some reason, Dad only allowed me to do that when we passed Circus World and I didn’t abuse the privilege. I did it only when I knew it was OK. We didn’t have to wait in any lines, have our height checked or pay any admission fees. Dad simply drove us past Circus World and that was exciting. I felt empowered enough to tell my sister exactly what I would do and how I would do it and going to Orlando seemed to give me an opportunity to show how bold I was to my big sister as we drove into town from Tampa to start a new chapter in our lives.

Circus World was my favorite part of Orlando even though I never physically experienced it. The imagination brought so much more. There were no long lines to wait in, no arguments about who’s riding what next and no long drive home. It was a 4-second glance that invited so much fun to this little girl each and every time we drove past.

Why Isis is not the top fear among Black people

Photo courtesy of O. Levard Photography studios

Photo courtesy of O. Levard Photography studios

If I were to cover and title weekly articles about people killed under very interesting and unusual circumstances, the title would look like this: “What happened to” or “Justice for” (and then I would fill in the name here), i.e.: Trayvon Martin, Rodney Johnson, Freddie Gray, Walter Scott, Laquan McDonald, Mike Brown, Omar Grant III, Corey Jackson, the list seems endless.

Terrorism is alive and well in the black community.

In America, cops, mainly white, shoot and kill unarmed black people with no expectation of punishment. Matter of fact, in the murder of Laquan McDonald, 5 police officers witnessed the murder and told a story other than the truth, to cover it up.

Terrorism is also well-defined and top-of-mind in the black community. White America goes to bed worrying about the terrible tragedies that did and could happen at the hands of foreign terrorists, while black people go to bed praying that our children never have to cross paths with a white domestic officer. We feel this way because if we call the police, for any reason, our chances of being shot and killed increases exponentially.

Even if we discuss our history to some of those of another race, try to explain why we fear the police, even if we mention slavery and the wounds that black people feel from our battered history, we are told to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps and continue on. To forget about what happened but to look forward to a brighter day.

Now, turn the tables and mention the tragedy on September 11th, 2001 to those same naysayers and their response would be to “never forget”. What most black people are trying to say, is, “we get it”. We understand why the majority of America fears foreign terrorists because we are a part of it, but we also have a fear of domestic terrorists on a daily basis, too.

We care about what happened on 9-11, in San Bernardino and many other places in America and we want white America to care about our youth enough to change the laws so that we are protected against trigger-happy officers, who are sworn to protect and serve us. We can forget about those officers and many Americans outright caring that black lives matter. It’s evident they don’t share our reality or passion.

Therefore, changing the laws to attract equality for black people is the only thing we have to hold on to. It pains us to see our fellow Americans be killed in attacks like 9/11. We pray for our country just as hard and frequent as any loving, God-fearing, red-blooded, American would.

However, when asked to put the burden of Isis on the front burner, emotionally, it is more than difficult for us to do. The terrorism the country feels from these foreign terror groups or the wanna-be terrorists, like the San Bernardino killers, is not something we fear as much as we fear cops and racist individuals like Michael Dunn.

So there. I’ve said it. I’ve combined my thoughts with the opinions of several other black people and whipped them out on paper here. Go ahead, throw your tomatoes. Post your comments. Yell, scream, tell me I’m wrong.

Then get over it and realize, I’m right.

Jordan Davis’ life was taken by what we consider a domestic terrorist who was ready to so very easily murder someone he hated with each passing swig of liquor he drank.

When Jordan Davis’ killer was taken into custody, he even asked the police as to what his own motive was. As if he was looking for guidance on how to wiggle his way through the system without being incarcerated for his crime. Makes one think whether or not he has done something like this before. Thank God, Jacksonville Police did not allow or provide him a way out.

However, even in a Florida courtroom, being tried on the charges in which he should have been, Jordan Davis’ killer, Michael Dunn, was not initially convicted of murdering Jordan Davis. In a nutshell, Dunn was initially convicted of attempting to murder the other young men in the car. In Florida, once Davis was dead, his life mattered not, to the system we claim upholds justice.

Unfortunately, America in general, all to often allow cruel and unusual punishment on black Americans making it quite difficult for black people to see any other threats to black lives beyond what’s closest to the human eye; and heart. It is also very difficult to push our fears to the background and replace those with the fears of people who may kill us, wound us and/or support those and the laws that continue the cycle of the legal killing of black America.

The Supreme Court ruling on redistricting is in

The long-awaited, newly drawn districts have been approved and this is good news for Democrats.

Matter of fact, this is good news for black people and black candidates, in general in the state of Florida. Especially, Central Florida.
Democrats may have a chance to gain two new seats in the U.S. House making the weight of the Republicans versus Democrats closer to equal whereas the weight of the Republicans currently exceeds that of the Democrats.

The districts that are most likely to feel the effects of the redistricting is District 5, which is currently held by Democrat Corrine Brown and District 10 which is currently held by Republican Daniel Webster.

These districts were redrawn even after Representative Brown unsuccessfully took the case to court to fight to keep her snake-shaped district that ran all the way from North Florida into Central Florida.

At that time, Brown fought on the grounds that if the districts were redrawn, her district would include fewer back people. Today the ruling came down from the Florida Supreme Court, putting to rest all the arguments and rumors.

The shooting of Laquan McDonald was a police cover up

The video of a so-called ‘crazed,’ 17-year old black man wandering the streets of Chicago and then shot 16 times by a cop is just being released although it happened over a year ago.

The question on the minds of most Americans is why are we just now seeing the evidence of this murder when it happened so long ago.

Furthermore, why was the murder covered up?
Shortly after the murder, a spokesman for the Chicago Police Department said McDonald slashed the tires on a police car, smashed a squad car’s windshield and refused to listen to the officer’s orders to drop a knife. The spokesman also said, McDonald lunged at the officer which is why the officer opened fire and shot McDonald in the chest.

However, a whistleblower tipped off a journalist and a lawyer and they requested a copy of the autopsy which showed McDonald had been shot 16 times in multiple locations on his body. They also found out that McDonald did not destroy a squad car as the spokesman said.

It was around this time that Chicago Police offered the family $5 million to keep the video confidential.

The attorney for the family had not even filed a lawsuit yet according to reports and Chicago’s Police Department put “5 on it” to get the family to shut up.

However, Brandon Smith, a reporter, wanted the public to see the video so he made sure that video was made public. That is the video we are seeing today…over a year later.
Keep in mind, even when the journalists working on this story used the Freedom of Information Act, their requests were denied. Those journalists decided to sue and they won. Their gutsy behavior is the only way we know the truth surrounding this story today.

Because the journalists won their case against the city, we are now able to see the cold-blooded murder of Laquan McDonald, whereas before, we would have never been the wiser.

The Chicago Police Department had to release the video to comply with the court order. Chicago Police and Officer Jason Van Dyke, the shooter, were hiding the senseless murder of this young, black male which just happened to be caught on the officer’s dash cam. This leaves too much to the imagination. How many others were gunned down like this yet not fortunate enough to have it caught on camera?

Even the prosecutor/State’s Attorney, Anita Alvarez, said she had always planned to charge Van Dyke with the murder of McDonald, yet she had not done so in the span of 13 months. In addition, there is speculation that the footage from the neighboring Burger King restaurant’s camera was erased.

What we are seeing today is not an increase in violence on black people, instead, we are living in an age where we can actually capture these heinous crimes and replay it before the world.

When we see excessive force reports like the ones that are rolling in with the Orlando Police Department, here in our own community, it leaves too much to the imagination. If this is what we see on paper, how many more cases are out there that we know nothing about? Chicago’s mayor, Rahm Emanuel, was in the middle of his election. Not many can be convinced that he would allow a horrible scandal like this one to hit the airwaves during such an important time in his career. There were also heated debates around the country already at this time centered around the Black Lives Matter movement in Ferguson and Baltimore.

The city’s mayor, Emanuel, is now calling for healing. But, some in Chicago feel that is an unreasonable request and offensive rhetoric. Asking for healing and calm is an afterthought after the murder of yet another black soul.

Some are even calling for Emanuel’s resignation because they say they never would have re-elected him had they known he was part of a major police cover-up involving the murder of a black youth.

This all begs the question; how can a city, state or nation heal when there is no trust? How can a nation be calm and unite when a segment of the population is being gunned down senselessly by certain white people in authority?

Today, the officer who shot Laquan McDonald, was released from jail. However, a black student, Jabari Dean, who made a threat today to the University of Chicago has been charged with making an online threat even though the FBI said they do not consider Dean to be a threat.

Had it not been for this journalist, Brandon Smith, and the attorney that helped him, we would not have known the truth about what really happened to Laquan McDonald because the people we are supposed to trust to protect and serve us were to busy covering it up.