SHE (Surviving, Healing, and Evolving)®
SHE (Surviving, Healing, and Evolving)®

                                        This page is dedicated to the indomitable spirit of                                              the "Crusader for Justice,"  the Honorable Ida B. Wells

 (my longtime heroine; it's a shame she can't rest, but we really need her Spirit now)

                                                      ****                                                             Commentary Bite:

 

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Why Those Street Signs Are Important

 

By Dr. Rhonda Sherrod

Monday, January 21, 2019

 

When will the new street signs go up honoring one of Chicago’s most historic and significant citizens, Ida B. Wells?  Although I would have preferred that the city council select a much longer street to bear Wells’ iconic name, perhaps it is fitting that the name of this great woman is on a street entering into downtown from the Westside of the city where Black neighborhoods have been so disgracefully disinvested in, underserved, maligned, and, even removed.  The signs should go up right away to inspire the next person who leads this city by reminding her or him that Ida B. Wells spent her entire adult life working tirelessly and courageously on behalf of the disempowered and unprotected, and that Black Chicago deserves much better than it is getting.

 

The genius of Ida B. Wells is that, through her relentless inquiry, intrepid investigative reporting, and the trenchant analysis of her findings, she discovered lynchings were really acts of terror being committed for the purpose of intimidation and control; and that “leading citizens” in different towns were involved in these atrocities that were meant to “keep the nigger down.”  Her friend, Thomas Moss, had been a prime example, for he had been an American success story.  He was the first Black federal employee in Memphis, and had worked hard to save his money and become one of the owners of the People’s Grocery before he and his business partners were lynched.  He had done nothing wrong; his “crime” was that he was a Black man who had been on the rise economically.  Wells also discovered that, although it had been believed that lynchings were a response to the rape of White women, in most cases rape was not even alleged, and, where it was, most often the relationships between the Black men and White women involved were consensual—in many cases initiated by the White woman.  Finally, Wells found that Black women and children were being lynched, too.

 

Not only do we need a street named for this “crusader for justice”* (as well as a prominently displayed downtown statue), we need a mayor who can lead this city equitably with the same intellect, energy, innovative thought, and seriousness of purpose that were hallmarks of Ida B. Wells’ extraordinary life.  A brilliant theoretician, activist, and journalist, Wells never ran away from a tough fight, and she was unfazed by the struggle inherent in standing up against a rigid power structure.  

 

All Wells ever demanded was fairness and equality in all systems, and that is what Black people in this city should be demanding today.**  At the beginning of her journalism career, while she was still a very young educator, Wells had written an expose about the poor conditions of the schools that Black students attended.  Predictably, as a result of those articles, her teaching contract was not renewed.  Undaunted, and for the rest of her life, Wells was uncompromising in her pursuit of justice and did not hesitate to challenge anyone, Black or White, about societal ills she observed, solutions she found insufficient, or tactics she found languid or lacking. 

 

Wells’ body of work included protesting the planned exclusion of African Americans at the 1893 Columbian Exposition*** here in Chicago (alongside such luminaries as Fannie Barrier Williams, another leading educator, activist, and writer who would become the first woman and African American on the Chicago Library Board, and the eminent statesman Frederick Douglass.)  Wells was a founding member of the NAACP, she organized the Alpha Suffrage Club, the first Black women’s suffrage group in Illinois, and, at one time, she served as a probation officer—wrestling with the criminal justice system in Chicago.

 

Ida B. Wells was a problem-solver who sought intelligent, effective responses when she perceived a need.  In 1910, as more and more Black migrants arrived in Chicago, fleeing Southern racism, she organized the Negro Fellowship League which operated a settlement home where lodging and recreational facilities were provided, as well as leads on jobs.  Also in Chicago, she helped found the first kindergarten for Black children and the first Black orchestra; and nationwide she helped to organize the Black Women’s Club Movement which was designed to uplift Black people through education and community development activities.  To make sure Black history was preserved…well, Ms. Wells started a history club—along with retired Russian diplomat, Richard T. Greener, who had been, in 1870, the first Black graduate from Harvard. 

 

As Chicago looks to determine who will be the next leader of this world-class city, here are some questions we need to ask:  Who will be the courageous Ida B. Wells of our time and stop the physical, psychological, social, and economic lynching of Black Chicago today?  Who will move to make this city fair for all of its citizens; and, again, where are those signs?****

_______

 

"While my neck was spared of the lynch rope and my body was never riddled by bullets or dragged by an auto, I felt that I was lynched many times in mind and spirit.  I grew up in a world of White power used most cruelly and cunningly to suppress poor helpless back people."  Rosa Parks

 

_______

 

*Crusade for Justice is the name of Ida B. Wells' posthumously published autobiography.

**"Power conceded nothing without a demand.  It never has and it never will."  Frederick Douglass

***Also, called the "World's Fair."

****Chicago, of course, was founded by a Black man, Jean Baptiste Pointe Du Sable (du Sable).

 

Note:  The gruesome lynchings Ida B. Wells reported on and wrote about were often said to be "at the hands of persons unknown" in the contemporary local newspapers.  The truth is that practically everyone knew who was involved in these lurid, obscene murders, including members of law enforcement personnel--who were sometimes involved themselves. 

 

The Memphis Appeal Avalanche, a local newspaper, described the Thomas Moss lynchings as a "skillful execution."

 

__________________

 

Why Stacey Abrams Matters

 

By Rhonda Sherrod, J.D., Ph.D.

Monday, November 12,2018

 

The keynote speaker was unknown to me. I had never heard of her.  I was just attending what I thought would be a wonderfully pleasant summer women’s luncheon curtesy of the Rainbow Push Coalition here in Chicago.  A good friend had an extra ticket, and I was onboard.  There were many good speakers and my table mates were cool.  Then, the showstopper appeared.

 

She had the ability to convey brilliance and sophistication wrapped in kindness, compassion, and humor.  She introduced herself, through personal anecdotes about triumph and struggle involving her parents and siblings, while interspersing deeply held philosophy and policy beliefs.  Stacey Abrams was captivating. 

 

It turned out that the charming lady seated on my right was the timeless beauty (and widow of heroic baseball player, Curt Flood), Judy Pace, now in her 70s, still svelte and young-looking.  She and I kept smiling and making approving comments about Stacey to each other.  By the time Stacy concluded her remarks, she had clearly won over all the people in the huge ornate ballroom.  Ms. Pace turned to me and enthused, “I feel about [Stacey] like I felt the first time I heard Obama speak.  She’s really special.”  

 

Yes, Stacey Abrams is really special.  She was all public servant and absolutely no guile.  She presented felicitous responses to complex problems, while making it clear that she is a woman of the people.  The lawyer in her shone through as she clearly demonstrated sound logic and excellent critical thinking skills.  The humanism she displayed—as she spoke of a mental health crisis involving her super smart brother, and a criminal justice problem (again, involving her brother)—held the promise that she will work seriously to reform both of those deeply flawed and inequitable systems that have savaged far too many Black families.

 

So, please, Georgia, count all the votes, because we need the kind of creative, intelligent, and moral leadership—that is both innovative and sensitive to the needs of the people—that Stacey Abrams can deliver.  And after the last few years..., well..., that need is quite critical.

 

 

(Pictured below, (l-r), actress Judy Pace and Stacey Abrams, candidate for governor of the state of Georgia)

 

This Week's Commentary Bite  (10/o1/17)                                    Policing in Chicago (and, by extension, across the  country):

 

 "Change the Statutes."


By Dr. Rhonda Sherrod

 

 

We need to change the laws as they relate to policing.  If juries insist on exonerating police officers who extinquish other human beings' lives because a cop, in any given situation, says, "I feared for my life," then a jury should be compelled, through precise jury instructions, to examine whether this so-called "fear" was "reasonable" based on intelligent professional and community standards.  Imagine if a motorist killed a cop and simply said, "I feared for my life?"  But couldn't that very well be true and reasonable given the climate that cops have fostered as it relates to Black motorists? Of course it could.  MANY Black people fear dying during a "routine" traffic stop over something trivial and inconsequential (like a busted tail light) because some aggressive cop, operating with stupid stereotypes of Black people swirling around in his head, freaks out.  Considering the awesome power the state confers on so-called law enforcement personnel, every Black person knows that if matters turn deadly in an innocent instant, the cop is likely to walk away without accountability, responsibility, or punishment.  

 

If you look closely at the videotape that was released four days after the trial concerning the Philando Castille tragedy, you will see that as soon as Castille announces that he has a firearm in the car, the man in the uniform immediately puts his right hand on his firearm. (He does not deserve to be called a police officer because that implies some degree of intelligent judgment.)  At that point, Castille had every right to fear for his life.  We all know what happened next.  In the span of mere seconds, the man in the uniform mortally wounded Castille--who was in compliance with the uniformed man's directive.

 

It should not be left to an officer, subjectively and mendaciously, to say the magic words that he "feared for his life," when there is clearly no threat that a reasonable, rational person with good judgement could have perceived.  These videotaped police shootings, that people with a conscience have been traumatized by, suggest that better screening concerning the mental stability of police candidates needs to take place.  

 

Also, when police departments fail to conduct investigations into police complaints (or when the inquiries are perfunctory) that is, quite simply, a prescription for disaster.   Further, when a cop has complaint after complaint after complaint filed against him by citizens, and no one bothers to address that officer's behavior, that is clearly another invitation for trouble.  When police officers shoot citizens, or suspects, who have already been subdued, that suggests obvious recklessness, or that the cop was unable to control his own behavior to the extreme detriment of a citizen.  Out of control officers threaten and potentially endanger the citizenry as a whole everyday. 

 

There are so many systemic problems with departments like the Chicago Police that they make it:  1) difficult for officers with good intentions for joining the force to do their jobs with competence and integrity; and 2) impossible for many citizens in marginalized communities to receive protection.  Many people are rightfully afraid to call the police in times of crisis for fear that the officer will cause something to go horribly and irretrievably wrong.  So, what we have is an ineffective system--a tangled mess and complete disorder.  Citizens who need service or protection are afraid to call for it, and officers who are sincere and capable of exercising good judgment and human decency are unfairly maligned.  The police, protected by an extremist and fanatical union, refuse to entertain constructive criticism as they unrealistically pretend that bad cops do not exist, while they obfuscate devastating problems with Pavlovian responses. At the top of the list is the automatic response about how difficult and dangerous it is to be a cop.  Obviously, this is a bad situation all the way around.

 

The way things stand now, a "law enforcement" officer can kill at will.  This is an atrocity that has to be addressed by legislators.  We must demand that law makers write tighter, more precise laws that will not allow a "law enforcement" officer to kill Black people for no rational and defensible reason.  If a police officer "fears for his life" or gets nervous, rattled, and cowardly everytime he encounters a person with Black skin, then he needs to seek other employment.  Human life is much too important to be snuffed out by a cop who is frightened to the point of not being able to police intelligently and humanely.  Why should Black people die because a cop, White or Black, who harbors ridiculous beliefs about Black people, born out of White supremacist thought, wildly over reacts?  I have listened to officers try to justify cop killings by describing a "good shoot," and the things I have heard are absurd, offensive, and frightening.  Basically, any shoot can be described as a "good shoot," if the cop says the magic words: "I feared for my life."  

 

As activists continue to insist that this problem be properly addressed, one remedial suggestion is that police officers should not be allowed to stop people for minor, "ticky-tacky" offenses, including busted tail lights.  The officer should simply take the license plate number down and the owner should receive a notice in the mail to repair the light (or whatever needs fixing) and bring proof of the correction to court on an appointed date.  Police officers ought to be relieved of the right to write tickets for small matters. They can stop a motorist and neither party should ever exit his or her vehicle. The officer can simply copy the license plate or take a picture of it, and allow the driver to leave.  Again, the officer should never exit his vehicle during such a stop; all he would have to do is submit some paper work so the driver can be notified of the problem in writing. Some type of signal can be devised to alert the driver to the fact that he has been pulled over for a minor violation and must stay in his car.

 

We have to arrive at solutions that will enable Black citizens to live without fear of the people whose salaries they pay.  Black people do not have equal protection under the law; they are being killed for no reason.  This is true even as we know that there are White people who curse, berate, spit on, lung at, swing on, and point guns at cops, and yet live to tell about it.  (On can simply perform a Google search and pull up videotape documenting these facts.) 

 

Also, there are some armed and extremely dangerous White people out there who are routinely gingerly apprehended by police officers.  Therefore, we know that many, if not most, cops know how to perform their jobs without the need for deadly force.  Remember, Dylan Roof, the terrorist who slaughtered nine innocent, unsuspecting, and welcoming Christian people in a church after sitting in on their Bible study?  He commited an unspeakable crime, yet police officers outfitted him with a bullet proof vest to protect him, and escorted him to Burger King, because, presumably, one gets hungry after a day's work of massacring nine beautiful, trusting Black people.

 

And what about James Holmes, who shot up a theatre, killing twelve people and wounding 70 others? He was taken in without incident after an evening of killing unsuspecting people trying to enjoy an evening out.  So, how is it that cops can claim they were so afraid of someone, like LaQuan McDonald, for example, who was walking away from the police? None of this killing of Black people, who don't deserve to die, at the hands of the police would be tolerated if it were White people being executed for no reason.

 

This society cannot consider itself "civilized" if it insists that using the state apparatus to kill Black citizens is okay.  Fair-minded people simply have to educate themselves so they can see this issue for what it is, and stand for the truth while they stand against injustice.  We all have to collectively say, "No more." There is a problem with our police culture and no amount of useless, superfluous rhetoric about the difficulties of policing is going to change that.  The overwhelming majority of police officers go home after every shift having worked a mundane day; and there are people in the culture who perform jobs that are harder than policing, but they don't get to savagely kill people in unprovoked interactions and walk away with no consequences.

 

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. talked about needing leaders who are "in love with justice."  We need law enforcement officers who are in love with justice.  If a prospective officer is entering the profession for any other reason, police academies should be more vigilant about dismissing that person, and courts should be more empowered to severely discipline unjust people who sneak through.  We, the people, must demand just that.

 

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        ___________________________

 

Quote of the Day

January 24, 2019

 

”Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

 

Mary Oliver, 

Poet

________________

 

Quote of the Day

January 23, 2019

 

“The people must know before they can act, and there is no educator to compare with the press.”

 

Ida B. Wells,

World Class Journalist, and Human Rights/Writes Activist

________________

Quote of the Day

January 22, 2019

 

"The best way to predict the future is to create it."

 

Abraham Lincoln,

16th President of the USA

________________

 

Happy King Day!

(January 21, 2019)

 

Thank you Dr. King for a life well lived.

So much love for you!

 

"Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle."

 

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Human Rights Leader and Martyr 

________________

 

Quote of the Day

January 14, 2019

 

"It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare; it is because we do not dare that they are difficult."

Seneca,

Stoic Philosopher

_____________________

 

Happy New Year!

 

Quote of the Day

(January 1, 2019)

 

“Even if it makes others uncomfortable, I will love who I am.” 

 

Janelle Monae, singer, actress, model, songwriter, and producer

 

_______________

 Quote of the Week

(December 30, 2018 - January 5, 2019)

 

”It’s not about supplication, it’s about power.  It’s not about asking, it’s about demanding.  It’s not about convincing those who are in power, it’s about changing the very face of power itself.” 

 

Kimberle Williams Crenshaw,

Brilliant Law Professor at Columbia University and UCLA

________________

Quote of the Week

November 18, 2018

 

”I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired.”

 

Fannie Lou Hamer,

Human rights activist

 

________________________

Quote of the Week

November 11, 2018

 

“You are your best thing.” 

 

Toni Morrison,

Canonic award -winning author

_______________________

Quote of the Week

November 5, 2018

 

“Art hurts.  Art urges voyages-and it is easier to stay at home.”

 

Gwendolyn Brooks, 

Poet, educator, First African American to win a Pulitzer Prize

_______________________

 

Quote of the Month

November, 2018

 

“The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make one.”

 

Elbert Hubbard,

American writer & publisher

_______________________

 

Quote of the Week

October 28, 2018

 

“The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.”

 

Joseph Campbell,

American author and educator

_______________________

 

Quote of the Week

October 1, 2018

 

“We must do more to raise awareness about the realities of sexual assault; confront and change insensitive attitudes wherever they persist; enhance training and education in the criminal justice system; and expand access to critical health, legal, and protection services for survivors.”  

 

Barack Obama, President of the United States (2009-2017) 

_______________________

Quote of the Week

September 23, 2018

 

"At his best, man is the noblest of all animals; separated from law and justice, he is the worst."

 

Aristotle

(#Justice for Laquan McDonald)

_______________________

 

Quote of the Week

September 16, 2018

 

"This nation cannot endure half democracy and half mobocracy, half civilized and half savage."

 

William Henry Lewis,

All American Harvard football player (1892-93) & first Black assistant Attorney General of the US

 

(For more on William H. Lewis, click the SHE for HIM tab above!)

 

___________________________

 

Quote of the Month

August

 

"Whether you have a PhD or no D, we are in this bag together.  Whether you're from Morehouse or Nohouse, we're still in this bag together."

 

Fannie Lou Hamer,

brilliant activist and strategist

 

_____________________________

 

Quote of the Week

August 26, 2018

 

“Being a singer is a natural gift.  It means I’m using to the highest degree possible the gift that God gave me to use.  I’m happy with that.”

 

Aretha Franklin,

The Queen

of Soul

 

(For more on the Queen, click on the SHESTORY tab above!)

__________________

 

Quote of the Week

August 19, 2018

 

“In the campaign debate, one of the things we talked about was his experience versus my inexperience.  I said, ‘I have a right to go up there and make a fool of myself.  I'll never know until I get up there.  If you're going to always judge people -- women, Blacks, Indians,  whatever-- against a white person who has had more advantages, more opportunities, and a quicker starting time, then we should never participate in anything.’”

 

Carrie Saxon Perry,

First Black woman mayor of a major U. S. city (Hartford, CT)

 

____________________________

 

 

Quote of the Week

August 12, 2018

 

“If you don't have a lens that's been trained to look at how various forms of discrimination come together, you're unlikely to develop a set of policies that will be as inclusive as they need to be."

 

Kimberle Williams Crenshaw

Professor, Columbia and UCLA Law Schools

 

______________________________

 

Quote of the Week

August 5, 2018

 

"Never trust anyone who says they do not see color.  This means, to them, you are invisible."

 

Nayyirah Waheed, poet and author

_______________________________

 

Quote of the Week

June 10, 2018

 

"We are stars wrapped in skin, the light we are seeking has always been within."

Rumi

Islamic mystic, poet, and scholar

____________________ 

Quote of the Month

June

"At the root of this dilemma is the way we view mental health in this country.  Whether an illness affects your heart, your leg, or your brain, it's still an illness, and there should be no distinction."

 

 

Michelle Obama

 

FLOTUS FOREVER

 

____________________

 

Quote of the Week

April 1, 2018

 

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."

Rev. Dr. Martin

Luther King, Jr.,

Human rights

activist and martyr

______________________

 

Quote of the Month

April

"She knew wonderful simples for ailments of body and soul, and bound up both in earthy ointments."

Lillian Smith

Author(1949)

 

_______________________

 

Quote of the Week 

 

March 24, 2018

 

"You're going to

 

struggle, so surround

 

yourself with people you

 

trust."

 

King T'Chaka to

 

King T'Challa

 

(For a Review of the Black Panther movie, click on the SHE Goes To The Movies tab above!)

 

__________________________

 

Quote of the Month

 

March, 2018

 

"The Black Panther

 

Party was not a 

 

gang.  They grew

 

 out of a young

 

Black intelligensia on

 

college campuses."

 

Bobby Seale

 

 Co-founder of the

 

Black Panther Party

 

 

___________________________

 

 

Quote of the Week

 

February 4, 2018

 

"Grab the broom of

 

anger, and drive off the

 

beast of fear."  

 

Zora Neale Hurston,

Author & Anthropologist

 

_______________________

 

Quote of the Week

January 27, 2018

 

Winning is great, sure, but if you are really going to do something in life, the secret is learning how to lose. Nobody goes undefeated all the time.  If you can pick up after a crushing defeat, and go on to win again, you are going to be a champion someday."  

Wilma Rudolph,

Olympic Goal Medalist

 

___________________________

 

Quote of the Week

January 21, 2018

 

"The secret of getting ahead is getting started."

Mark Twain, 

Author and humorist

 

_____________________________

Quote of the Week

January 14 , 2018

 

"As you become more clear about who you really are, you'll be better able to decide what is best for you the first time around."

 

Oprah Winfrey,

Media Mogul

 

_______________________________

Quote of the Week

January 7, 2018

 

"There is no force equal to a woman determined to rise."

 

Dr. W.E. B. DuBois

Scholar Extraordinaire

 

_______________________________

Quote of the Week

January 1, 2018

 

New beginnings, y'all! Another year, another opportunity to become who we came here to be. Let's focus on discovering the tools and strategies we need to move forward.  Then, each and EVERY single day, let's try to use those strategies.  It might not be easy, but it will sure be worth it!"

Dr. Rhonda Sherrod

Soul Survivor

 

________________________________

Quote of the Month

January, 2018

 

"Trust yourself.  Think for yourself.  Act for yourself. Speak for yourself.  Be yourself. Imitation is suicide.",

Marva Collins, 

Highly-esteemed teacher

____________________________________

"I am a woman -- gorgeously designed, brilliant, charming, mysterious, funny, bewitching, cool, and, most of all, uniquely purposed. I am my own phenomenal being, and I own and govern myself!"

 

 Dr. Rhonda Sherrod

QUOTE FOR THE SOUL:

 

"Dipped in Chocolate, Bronzed in Elegance, Enameled with Grace, Toasted with Beauty.

My Lord, She's a Black Woman." 

 

Dr. Yosef

Ben-Jochannan 

GET TO KNOW YOURSELF

BE TRUE TO YOURSELF

 

What makes you happy?

LOVE YOURSELF

BE AN ORIGINAL!

DO WHAT YOU CAME INTO THE WORLD TO DO.  

FIND YOUR PURPOSE, SO YOU CAN BE HAPPY!

 

 

 

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