Friday, December 31, 2010


 I have been lucky enough to know the Rev. Sam Mann. His story is truly remarkable. His years of struggles against racism in particular and for justice in general are legendary in these parts. He is a white man from Alabama whom old John Brown would have liked. The linked story barely represents all that this man has been.

The following is from the Kansas City Star.

Rev. Sam Mann looks back on long career

FILE - ``Today I'm a 65-year-old white man who has lived 35 years pastoring a black church in Kansas City, and I have been transformed by the experience,'' says Rev. Sam Mann. A southerner with a syrup-thick drawl, Mann has been pastor of St. Marks Church on the city's east side since 1972.  Rev. Mann, Aug. 18, 2006.
RICH SUGG/The Kansas City Star
FILE - ``Today I'm a 65-year-old white man who has lived 35 years pastoring a black church in Kansas City, and I have been transformed by the experience,'' says Rev. Sam Mann. A southerner with a syrup-thick drawl, Mann has been pastor of St. Marks Church on the city's east side since 1972. Rev. Mann, Aug. 18, 2006.

The St. Mark Children and Family Development Center in Kansas City may be the Rev. Sam Mann’s bricks-and-mortar legacy. He recently enjoyed spending time with 3-year-olds at the center. One supporter says of Mann: “He didn’t quit because he knew how important it was.”
More News
His preaching days over, the Rev. Sam Mann wants to set the record straight.
Shame, the other way would make a great movie:
White boy grows up in Alabama small town during the civil rights era, his father a hard-drinking racist. The son rejects dad, marches with King and becomes a hippie preacher. At a black church in Kansas City, he spends 40 years doing good deeds for his flock.
True all. But Mann says he can’t let stand the notion that his story is what he did for others, that he was some sort of white savior.
“The black community saved me,” he said. “My own people didn’t want me. I had nowhere to go.”
By 1968, Mann had essentially been exiled by the white Methodist church around Kansas City. Took the pony-tailed, motorcycle-riding preacher all of two years to earn that distinction.
Two congregations, one on Ward Parkway and another in Cass County, ran him off because of his constant harping on civil rights and opposition to the war in Vietnam.
Then another chance. A black church on Kansas City’s East Side offered a job to a white guy from the heart of Dixie who drawled like George Wallace and whose father, a traveling salesman, would stay only in motels that guaranteed a “colored person” never had slept in the bed.
But it was at St. Mark Union, 1101 Euclid Ave., where the young preacher found a home. For 40 years he served the church as a beloved pastor and advocate for its 12th Street community. He took that Southern drawl and learned to “whoop” with the best black preachers in town.
That was the easy part, said Mann, 70, the ponytail now gray.
The biggest challenge, he said in an interview last week, was his “unacknowledged white privilege.”
“I had to give it up every day.”
A nebulous term — “unacknowledged white privilege” — but generally considered the societal and institutional benefits of being a white man in a black culture.
The Rev. Nelson Thompson said Mann never played that card.
“And that’s what made him so respected in the black community,” said Thompson, who heads the Kansas City chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.
“He just wanted to serve. I’ve been in the trenches with him. He’s a warrior and a beautiful brother.”
He was born in 1940 in Eufaula, Ala., a small town on the banks of the Chattahoochee River, about 90 miles southeast of Montgomery.
The oldest of three boys, his father sold clothes and his mother worked in a sock mill. His father drank; his mother, a “long-suffering, saintly woman,” took his abuse.
Mann was on the small side, but captained the high school football team.
“Ought to be a sin how much I like to hit people,” he once told a younger brother.
At age 15, Mann heard his calling and began to preach at the Methodist church in Eufaula. About that same time, Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a Montgomery bus.
Sam Mann hardly has sat down since.
To him, preaching meant speaking out for social justice, which he did throughout his years at Birmingham Southern College and later at seminary school at Duke University. The civil rights era boiled over with marches, clashes and violence that played out nightly on Walter Cronkite.
On a day in 1963, Mann returned home to Eufaula on break to work with youth at a local church. He made clear his outrage over Gov. George Wallace’s stand at the University of Alabama’s door to block entry for two African-Americans.
That night his father, having heard of what his son told the Eufaula teens, came home late, drunk, roused him from sleep and accused him of speaking out in favor of mixed marriage.
“That was the beginning of the end for my father and me,” Mann said. “He was embarrassed I was his son.
“It was the end at that church, too. They never invited me back.”
Lobster covered the plate, but a scolding would be the main course that 1966 day at the Carriage Club.
Mann knew he was in trouble when the board member for St. John’s United Methodist Church invited him to lunch.
Things had turned rocky since the church on Ward Parkway had recruited him out of Duke to be an associate pastor. It was a great job for a young minister. Nice house, connections with the Ward Parkway crowd.
But the young preacher quickly irritated some in the congregation by speaking out on civil rights, fire hoses in Selma, the military industrial complex and the U.S. escalation in Vietnam.
At the Carriage Club lunch, the church leader told Mann no more politics from the pulpit.
“Nobody but God tells me what to preach,” Mann responded.
Next up was a Methodist church in Peculiar, which Mann thought would be better, as the congregation was more like the working-class people he’d come from.
But then came the 1968 Democratic convention in Chicago. Mann went. And when he got back he gave a talk to the Peculiar Lion’s Club about police brutality against the war protesters.
Gone again.
“I had preached since I was 15, and all of a sudden nobody wanted me,” Mann said. “I wept. I thought I would never preach again.”
When Dorice Ramsey worked at Head Start in Kansas City, Kan., she kept hearing about a preacher named Sam Mann and all the good things he’d done along 12th Street.
Finally, she had to see for herself.
“I met a man with a spirit unlike any I’d ever come across,” said Ramsey, who recently succeeded Mann as executive director of the St. Mark Children and Family Development Center.
“What he’s done here will never be forgotten. His mark is too deep. He’s touched so many people.”
Indeed, the state-of-the-art child center, completed in 2004 at a cost of more than $5 million, may be Mann’s bricks-and-mortar legacy.
But the lasting image for many will be him marching with black preachers in protest of perceived slights toward the minority community; war; police brutality; and South African apartheid.
For 40 years he worked tirelessly to feed the hungry, house the homeless, train the unskilled and help minority entrepreneurs open businesses. He helped organize the first National Urban Peace and Justice Summit to address gang violence.
In 1993, when a jury acquitted two Los Angeles police officers in the Rodney King beating case, setting off riots across the country, Mann told The Kansas City Star he was amazed at the media frenzy.
“They overlook the daily violence inflicted on people by poverty and racism. You don’t see any special reports on that.”
Mann’s rousing oratory for years lifted congregations and audiences to their feet.
“Never dull,” said Laura Hockaday, a former writer for The Star who now serves on the board for the St. Mark Children and Family Development Center.
“He’s never been afraid to speak out, and he’s certainly been worth getting out of bed for on Sunday morning.”
As for the children’s center at 2008 E. 12th St., she said Mann pushed on when some people said it couldn’t be done because of the cost.
“And now, it’s an oasis on 12th Street,” Hockaday said.
Children there gleefully call him “Rev Mann!”
“He didn’t quit because he knew how important it was,” Hockaday said. “He always said, ‘And a child shall lead them.’ ”
Mann, who lives in Hyde Park, is a husband, father of three and grandfather. He tries to get back yearly to Alabama, usually in time for fresh lady peas.
He had reconnected with his father shortly before the man died.
“I had dreamed about him a couple of times so I went to see him,” Mann said. “He’d stopped drinking by then. He came into the house, I was sitting there, and he touched my face. He told me he was sorry.
“I was so glad the two of us got to that point.”
His relationship with his brothers has at times been strained, but he stays in touch.
JoAnn Mann, wife of Bill Mann, said she just loves her Kansas City brother-in-law to death.
“He paid me the ultimate compliment — he said I cook like his mother,” she said by telephone last week from her home in Prattville, Ala.
Sam’s path was difficult for some back home to understand, she said. But not her. “He followed his heart.”
Bill said his view has mellowed over time.
“What he came from and what he did is remarkable,” Bill said. “Yeah, I’m proud of Sam. And I can tell you for a fact that everyone around Eufaula knows who Sam Mann is.
“Me? I get introduced as Sam Mann’s brother. And I’m the one still down here.”
Mann retired because he thinks St. Mark needs new leadership — someone younger, more detail oriented and better with new technology.
“I’m pretty sloppy with details, and I can use a cell phone and I can text — that’s about it,” he said,
He has retired, but he is not quitting. The man has hardly sat down since Rosa Parks refused to get up.
“I’ll always be down along 12th Street.”
It’s the place that took him in when no one else would; the street that saved him, and took him home.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Rap Brown on John Brown



I believe that John Brown may very well have been the only white person completely devoid of racism.  Anyway, Rap Brown (Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin)  back in the 60s wrote, "After I got out of jail, I learned that Julius Lester, a member of SNCC's Central Committee at that time, had read the letter (written by Rap Brown) at an anti-war rally at the U.N. and had been booed by the white people there. This was right after the Orangeburg Massacre and if whites disapproved of what I said in the letter, it showed me once again that John Brown was the only white man I could respect and he is dead. The Black Movement has no use for white liberals. We need revolutionaries. Revolutions can use revolutionaries."

Capt. Brown, we hardly knew ya...


Actually two stories here. The first has to do with Islamic law in Pakistan and its effects on the counties minorities in particular and everyone else in general. The second an interesting take on the water troubles in Northern Ireland, global climate change and a welcome to the third world to the some of the people of the first world.

From Daily Times (Pakistan)

EDITORIAL: The black law is here to stay

In an effort to appease the extreme religious right, the government has taken a regressive step backwards in a move that will cost the nation dearly in terms of extremism, intolerance and the abuse of its citizens, especially its minorities. Religious Affairs Minister Khursheed Shah has categorically stated in the National Assembly that no amendments and no repeal of the dreaded Blasphemy Law are contemplated. After months of heated debate on this issue for the government to dash all hope is an eye-opener. It has opened the nation’s eyes to the blatant disregard the government has for its minorities and it has alerted the citizens to the fact that the intolerant elements of society have gained yet another victory. However, one would like to remind the government of a few sharp facts. If our representatives think that the shutter-down strike called by the Tahafooz-e-Namoos-e-Risalat today will be abandoned just like that and that the JUI-F will be lured into rejoining the federal government, they have another think coming. All they have managed to do by officially stating that the Blasphemy Law will not undergo any repeal or amendment is increase the power of hostile extremists in our society who are baying for the blood of a Christian woman (Aasia Bibi) because of an alleged slight on the person of the Holy Prophet (PBUH). Sadly, the government has served to only defend the self-proclaimed guardians of Islam and not Islam itself, which is a religion of tolerance and peace.

Mr Khursheed Shah has also said that the government will ensure the protection of minorities from any abuse of the Blasphemy Law. One begs to ask: will the government continue to protect the minorities like it has done so far, which is by doing nothing at all? The fact that the minister has failed to outline any method or plan to protect the very vulnerable minorities in Pakistan from extremists clearly indicates the lack of any real formulation for minority welfare. All they have succeeded in doing is giving more leeway to the Islamists to wreak further havoc on the minorities they know will never be protected by the state.

The government has also abandoned a rare voice of sanity in this growing cacophony of madness. MNA Sherry Rehman has tabled a private member’s bill to introduce amendments to the black law. However, the government has said that it will not support this effort. Also, as a response to Sherry Rehman’s bill, a committee has been set up to scrutinise any private members’ bills. This is tantamount to preventing any private members’ bills from being moved. To vet all such initiatives is akin to abolishing this inherent right of members of parliament — all this to appease a hate-mongering clergy.

Let us not live within the obscure four walls of fiction. The reality is that the extreme right is going to ride over the wishes of the people. This apprehension is not without substance. The Federal Shariat Court (FSC) has recently struck down four clauses of the Women’s Protection Act. The draconian Hudood Ordinance and the 2nd Constitutional Amendment, which ousted Ahmedis from the Muslim community, are still on the statute books. But even this will seem like a picnic if the misplaced attitude of placating the extremist religious right is not reversed.

It is time we stopped kow-towing to these forces that have done more harm to Islam and this country than all of our other malaises combined. It is time the extremists in society were told that enough is enough and that their attempts to hold the state and society hostage to their narrow views will no longer be tolerated. It is time to abolish the FSC, repeal the Hudood Ordinance and Blasphemy law and revisit the 2nd Amendment so that Pakistanis can live and breathe like free human beings, not as slaves to religious despots. *


Surprisingly, some 40,000 residents in Northern Ireland have joined the ranks of those residing in third world countries, for most of whom it is a matter of daily routine to stand in queues to get the basic necessities of life. Owing to extreme cold weather, the water supply system has collapsed due to the bursting of pipes, leaving citizens scrambling for even drinking water for the past one week. Wales is undergoing a similar situation where 5,000 households are without water supply for the same reason. It will take another week for the water supply to be fully restored. Meanwhile, the local authorities are making available essential water supplies through tankers and other means.

If climatic change is producing on the one hand global warming, on the other hand it is producing disturbances in the delicate balance of the earth’s eco-system, climate, weather, etc. According to the Journal of Geophysical Research, the cold spell in Europe is the result of global warming, which has created a profound disruption in global temperatures. This is not the first time Europe has experienced the adverse impact of climate change. Year 2003 saw the hottest summer in Europe, leading to more than 40,000 deaths and crop failures in southern Europe. Debate continues whether these changes have been caused by human activity or are part of the natural climatic cycle. However, there is increasing evidence to strengthen the claim that human activity has contributed significantly to the rise in greenhouse gases. This year too, extraordinary events like forest fires in Russia and devastating floods in Pakistan are believed to be part of the process of climate change. Perhaps this is the only phenomenon that crosses boundaries and is affecting populaces around the world in similar ways.

Ironically, it has made people in the first world experience what a large majority in the poorer nations suffer daily, especially in Pakistan. They have to go without gas, electricity and water supplies on a regular basis. Welcome to the club, Northern Ireland! *


He doesn't have enough money for the hospital in Chicago so they turn in and get deported a a quadriplegic undocumented patient back to Mexico.

From Hispanic News Network USA

Protest At Advocate Christ Medical Center In Illinois For Illegally Deporting Quadriplegic Undocumented Immigrant To Mexico

Quelino Jimenez Ojeda

Photo courtesy of Jesus Vargas

In January, a lawyer will file a lawsuit asking for an unspecified amount of compensation against hospital for deporting his client. 

By H. Nelson Goodson
December 29, 2010

Oak Lawn, Illinois - On Wednesday afternoon, numerous members and several organizations from the Hispanic community protested in front of the Advocate Christ Medical Center (ACMC), 4440 W. 95th Street in Oak Lawn near Chicago for illegally deporting a quadriplegic undocumented patient back to Mexico. ACMC's repatriation of a patient to eliminate further incurring medical costs is being condemn by members of the Mexican community in Chicago.
The protest included a vigil, which protesters claim that Quelino Jimenez Ojeda, 23, was illegally repatriated (deported) by the hospital in violation of international laws and without the Mexican goverment's legal authorization. Ojeda is originally from Oaxaca, Mexico and in August had been working for an Atlanta based roofing company in the Chicago area when he was injured. He apparently fell to the ground from a ladder located on the fourth floor damaging his spinal cord when he cracked his neck on the fall and became a quadriplegic requiring the use of an artificial respirator to keep him alive.
He was admitted to Advocate Christ Medical Center in August and on December 22, the ACMC hospital medical executive board decided to repatriate Ojeda without his consent and without informing his family, lawyer or the Mexican Consulate in Chicago about the drastic measure. On December 16, Ojeda informed hospital staff that he was refusing to be discharged by an attempt to deport him back to Mexico, where his medical needs won't be provided to survive his condition.
On December 22, Reinaldo Cruz Garcia, the legal guardian for Ojeda and two friends went to visit him at the hospital, but Ojeda was no where to be found. They went to get information from Adam Weber, a social worker at ACMC who neglected to provide them with any information about Ojeda and called security to remove Garcia and two other people from the hospital for inquiring about the whereabouts of Ojeda. Although, they were able to see Ojeda being transported out of the hospital, according to a press release.
Garcia was taken off as the guardian a day before Ojeda was deported when ACMC petitioned a judge in Cook County for his removal. The hospital medical staff upgraded his condition and was discharged the following day with authorization of Ojeda's mother in Mexico. When Garcia and Ana Maria Cruz spoke to his mother in Oaxaca, she denied giving any approval for ACMC to discharge and transport Ojeda to a less efficient hospital in Mexico.
The ACMC hospital officials committed an illegal act of "Dumping," said Chicago Attorney James Geraghty in an interview with the EFE news agency in Mexico. Geraghty prevented Ojeda's repatriation in November when he was hired to represent Ojeda by the Mexican Consulate in Chicago.
In the EFE article Geraghty said, a colleague at the ACMC couldn't confirm who decided for Ojeda to be repatriated without his consent as a result of not having the money to pay for medical costs. No information was provided by Geraghty, if the roofing company had provided insurance for Ojeda.
Ioana Navarrete Pellicer, Department Chief of Protection at the Mexican Consulate in Chicago told EFE that two vice presidents at the ACMC had said they didn't have to comment or give any information concerning Ojeda to the Mexican Consulate. Navarrete is credited for getting Geraghty who provides legal seminers at the consulate to represent Ojeda.
Geraghty confirmed that in January he will file a lawsuit against ACMC asking for an unspecified compensation for the removal of  Ojeda, in behave of Ojeda and his family. He said, Ojeda was taken to a hospital in Mexico where they can't provide an artificial respirator for Ojeda to be kept alive, according to EFE.
In a press released issued by the vigil group protesting ACMC's decision to repatriate Ojeda, Horacio Esparza, Executive Director of Progress Center For Independent Living, which advocates for people with disabilities stated, ”Christ Hospital repatriated this patient back to rural Mexico where he will be unable to receive proper medical care for his condition. The hospital acted with out any humanity and violated all medical ethics to save lives.” Esparza is legally blind.
Jesus Vargas of the March 10th Coalition said, ”We will pray for the respect and dignity of are immigrant brothers that suffer accidents that leave them crippled for life.”
Marlene Cruz a 20 year old Hispanic American whose family helped with the care of Quelino stated, “I use to think that Christ hospital was a good place-- but now after what they have done to Quelino-- I feel outraged that this hospital would do something to a person just for not having papers.”
Julie Contreras, LULAC National Immigrant Affairs Commission stated, ”While the President, Senate and Congress of this nation allow the immigration laws to remain broken—human beings who come to this country to work hard for a better life become disposable waste for Corporations like Advocate Health & Hospitals.” 

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Tuesday, December 28, 2010


If you or I committed blatant perjury on the witness stand, you or I would land in the hoosegow.  That, however, is not what happened to Marysol Domenici, who was one of the first officers on the scene at the Fruitvale BART station in Oakland on Jan. 1, 2009, when an unarmed Oscar Grant was shot in the back.

Can't say I am surprised.

From the San Francisco Bay View.

Oscar Grant update: Bay Area stunned as a lying BART cop is reinstated

December 27, 2010
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by Davey D

Marysol Domenici
Last week an officer who blatantly lied under oath was given her job back. We’re talking about Marysol Domenici, who was one of the first officers on the scene at the Fruitvale BART station in Oakland on Jan. 1, 2009, when an unarmed Oscar Grant was shot in the back by convicted former BART cop Johannes Mehserle.
Domenici was fired after an independent investigating law firm,Meyers Nave, concluded she had lied about what took place the night of Grant’s murder. Domenici, who had been on 15 months paid leave at the time of her firing, appealed, and the arbitrator ruled she be immediately reinstated with back pay. The arbitrator, William Riker, insisted that the prior investigation was flawed and that he saw no evidence that Domenici was untruthful.
Rulings like these have given people more and more reason to have little confidence in the justice system. What has taken place over the past two years around the killing of Oscar Grant is something all of us involved with social justice issues will have to study for years to come. How can one be so meticulous in following every “proper” step to seek justice, only to see it thwarted at every turn?
To hear an arbitrator say that Domenici didn’t lie is beyond outrageous. Here’s a few things that are glaring.
During the preliminary hearings, Domenici under oath emphatically stated that Oscar Grant had grabbed her arm. However, a video was showed of Grant holding on to the arm of Oscar’s friend, Jack Bryson. When confronted with the video, Domenici recanted her statement.
Under oath, Domenici claimed that there were 40-50 people on the BART platform, the scene was chaotic and she feared for her life. Those were her exact words: She feared for her life. However, when a video is shown, there is NO ONE on the platform. Where were the 50 people?
Not only does Domenici’s training as a black belt fighter suggest a disciplined and methodic approach toward dangerous situations, she claimed she feared for her life, yet never called for backup. She also said that she would’ve used lethal force and killed somebody.
During the actual trial, when Domenici took the stand, she was confronted with her lies about 40-50 people being on the platform. She tried to switch it up and say the train that was packed with passengers returning home from New Year’s celebrations was “an extension” of the platform. Yes, the train was packed, but no one was rowdy or jumping or confronting officers.
Domenici also claimed that Oscar’s friends caused his death by not cooperating. She made the claim they had struggled against her. But when questioned, she noted that Grant’s friends didn’t struggle. What was crazy was Domenici had pulled out a taser and had pointed it at the heads of some of Grants friends threatening to shoot them, which was not only against department protocol but also deemed unconstitutional by the 9th Circuit Court.
For folks in the Bay Area who have followed this case, from day one there was a call to have all the officers on that BART platform charged with crimes after Oscar Grant was murdered. While it was Johannes Mehserle who did the shooting, Domenici and her partner, Tony Pirone, who was also fired and is now appealing, set the hostile climate that led to Grant’s death.

Justice for Oscar Grant activists demonstrate outside the courthouse in Los Angeles. – Photo: Davey D
By deliberately exaggerating and making it sound like things were out of control, Domenici described the police mindset that explained why anyone the officers grabbed that night was likely to be subjected to harsh treatment. This is what happened to Grant and his friends. Even after he was shot, he was handcuffed because the officers claimed the environment was hostile.
BART says the ruling to reinstate Domenici is out of their control. The ruling has left many in the Bay Area asking some hard questions: 1) How could Marysol Domenici be reinstated in the face of all her wrongdoings? 2) Why has she not been charged with perjury?
By all accounts, she lied on the stands. Her sworn accounts do not coincide with what was shown on videos. They also change from the preliminary trial to the trial. Why hasn’t Alameda DA Nancy O’Malley hit Domenici with perjury charges? The statute of limitations has not run out, has it? If not, O’Malley should bring this question to the feet of California’s new Attorney General Kamala Harris.
Many are vowing to keep pushing in the upcoming New Year. Thus far, two years of hard work have been stomped on by far right conservative judges – Robert Perry, who presided over the trial and sentencing, and now this arbitrator, who says he found nothing untruthful.
All one has to do is read her statements, look at the video and see clearly she lied. For some, the admission that cops could do something so egregious is unfathomable and thus even in the face of something this glaring, they give the police the benefit of the doubt. That has got to change in the New Year.
Listen to Davey D on Hard Knock Radio Monday-Friday at 4 p.m. on KPFA 94.1 FM or He can be reached at Visit his website,, and his blog, Davey D’s Hip Hop and Politics, where this story originally appeared.