Community Forum

On Tuesday, March 6, 6pm, Southern Anti-Racism Network (SARN) will host a community forum to hear from candidates running for school board. Location is Columbus Public Library, 3000 Macon Road, Auditorium. Cognizant of the possibility that several candidates may run unopposed, SARN is calling for incumbents and other candidates to address issues of high suspension […]

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Past Events

On Tuesday, March 6, 6pm, Southern Anti-Racism Network (SARN) will host a community forum to hear from candidates running for school board. Location is Columbus Public Library, 3000 Macon Road, Auditorium.

Cognizant of the possibility that several candidates may run unopposed, SARN is calling for incumbents and other candidates to address issues of high suspension rates, low performing schools, school bus safety, SPLOST funding and hiring/employment practices for MCSD employees.

Matt Meyer, 30-year (retired) teacher from New York Public Schools and active in the Fellowship of Reconciliation will present on restorative justice practices as an alternative to exclusionary discipline.

The only candidate with opposition to date is Mark Cantrell in District 6. (See below). District 6 candidates Robert Roth and Eddie Obleton have confirmed.

The event is free and open to the public.

Contact: Theresa El-Amin, 762-821-1107 or pssarn@aol.com

 

 

Dinner & Music

St. Luke Ministry Center
301 Eleventh Street
Columbus, GA 31901
Friday, February 16, 2018
6:00 PM

 

 

Conversation on Community Self-Determination

On Thursday, August 17, Southern Anti-Racism Network (SARN) will host a Black August event to bring attention to the principle of self-determination and the use of community wealth. The event will be held at the Columbus Public Library Auditorium, 3000 Macon Road, 6:00-8:00pm.

(August 17 is also known as Marcus Garvey Day. Marcus Garvey, August 17, 1887- June 10, 1940 was founder of the Universal Negro Improvement Association-UNIA)

Public records of all Crime Prevention grants awarded for fiscal years 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 were requested by SARN from Columbus Consolidated Government and received in early July. A report on the top 5 grantees for each fiscal year will be presented on August 17. The community will begin the examination of the effectiveness of Crime Prevention grants in actually preventing crime in Columbus.

Theresa El-Amin, SARN regional director, has charged that the Crime Prevention grants are incestuous and not strategically focused. She declined to accept a $13,000 grant award from Crime Prevention after appealing to the chair of the Crime Prevention advisory board and the full City Council for the adequate funds needed for the Strong Parental Involvement in Community Education (SPICE) program. The SPICE request was for $22,000.

Grantees receiving the most funds from Crime Prevention over the past 5 years will be invited to talk about their programs and how their programs had an impact on preventing crime.

Seth Brown, Director of the Crime Prevention Department of the Columbus Consolidated Government (CCG), has been invited to attend and answer questions about Crime Prevention grant making.

Mayor Teresa Tomlinson has also been invited to provide her perspective on the state of public safety in Columbus and what needs to be done to reduce crime.

Light refreshments will be provided. The event is free and open to the public.

Contact: Theresa El-Amin, 762-821-1107 or PSSARN@aol.com

 

 

Conversation on Race and Health Care

On Thursday, June 22, the Southern Anti-Racism Network (SARN) will host a “Conversation on Race and Health Care” at the Stanford L. Warren Library, 1201 Fayetteville Street in Durham, 6:00-8:00pm.

Dr. Elaine Hart-Brothers, Community Health Coalition, will present “On Ways to Close the Same Old Gap”.

Dr, Jonathan Kotch, Health Care for All NC, will speak on transforming the current health care system through establishing a national health plan like “Medicare for All”.

Marissa Mortiboy, Partnership for a Healthy Durham, will present Durham County Department of Public Health data on disparities in access to care and quality of health care based on race and poverty.

Facilitator: Theresa El-Amin, SARN Regional Director

Event is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

For more information- PSSARN@aol.com or 919-824-0659

 

Screening of “13th”

On Saturday, June 3, Columbus Public Library and the Southern Anti-Racism Network hosted a screening and discussion of “13th”, the acclaimed documentary about the impact of the 13th Amendment. Approximately 20 people attended the screening and discussion of that followed on mass incarceration and “slavery by another name”. Theresa El-Amin, Regional Director, Southern Anti-Racism Network led the discussion after the 1 hour and 40 minutes viewing of “13th”.

On Monday, June 19 a second showing will take place at Columbus Public Library, 3000 Macon Road at 7pm. A discussion will follow led by one of the attendees from the June 3 viewing of “13th”. SARN is once again co-hosting the event with the Columbus Public Library.

Contact PSSARN@aol.com or gmccullough@cvlga.org for more information

Below is an excerpt from a review by Roger Ebert.

———————————————–

Between the lines, “13th” boldly asks the question if African-Americans were actually ever truly “free” in this country. We are freer, as this generation has it a lot easier than our ancestors who were enslaved, but the question of being as completely “free” as our White compatriots hangs in the air. If not, will the day come when all things will be equal? The final takeaway of “13th” is that change must come not from politicians, but from the hearts and minds of the American people.

Despite the heavy subject matter, DuVernay ends the film with joyful scenes of children and adults of color enjoying themselves in a variety of activities. It reminds us, as she said in her Q&A with NYFF director Kent Jones, that “Black trauma is not our entire lives. There is also Black joy.” That inspiring message, and all the important, educational information provided by this excellent documentary, make “13th” a must-see.

 

Public forum on Camelot Education issue

 

On Thursday, May 11, 5-8pm, Southern Anti-Racism Network (SARN) will host a second forum on the Camelot Education issue. Meeting to be held at North Columbus Public Library.

“We’ll do this meeting Durham style.”, says Theresa El-Amin, SARN regional director, Further explaining, “In Durham, we don’t tell people what they can say, just how long they get to say it.”

The format will be two-minute rounds. A stack of speakers will be taken as attendees sign in starting at 5pm. First segment will be “Conversation on Race and Education” running from 5:30-6:30pm.

Participants can speak a second time after everyone who signed up to speak has spoken. Only two rounds per speaker during “Conversation on Race and Education” segment.

Beginning at 6:30pm, participants will be invited to express their concerns about the Camelot Education issue. Three-minutes on first round and 2-minutes on second round. Sign up for Camelot issue throughout the first segment of “Conversation on Race and Education”. Speakers list closes at 6:30pm for Camelot issue segment.

Ray Rodriguez, Camelot Chief Strategy Officer, has been invited to participate. He will be called on to comment throughout the Camelot Education segment and given 5 minutes each time to respond to concerns after several speakers have generated questions.

There will be no exceptions to time limit ground rules. As with the parents forum on April 18, a law enforcement officer will be hired to enforce the ground rules of the meeting.

Moderator: Theresa El-Amin, SARN regional director (assisted by SARN members)

Refreshments will be served.

Event is free and open to the public. However, parking is very limited at the North Columbus Public Library. Please park outside the library parking area so that library customers and those with disabilities may have the preferred parking. Additional (limited) parking is available next door at Britt David School and unlimited parking directly across the street from the school in Britt David Park.

 

Parents Advocate for Special Needs Students

Tuesday, April 18
6pm – 8pm
Mildred L. Terry Public Library
640 Veterans Pkwy, Columbus, GA 31901

On Tuesday, April 18, 6:00-8:00pm, a forum at Mildred Terry Library, 640 Veterans Pkwy will highlight the advocacy of parents of children with special needs. Camelot Education and Southern Anti-Racism Network are co-sponsoring the event.

“Exclusion, segregation and inequality are what define education for children with disabilities throughout the state of Georgia. It’s time to end discrimination against students with special needs.” says Theresa El-Amin, regional director, Southern Anti-Racism Network.

The event is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

Contacts:
Quentin Mumphery, qmumphery@cameloteducation.org 773-562-5792
Theresa El-Amin, PSSARN@aol.com 919-824-0659

 

Celebrate with SARN on April 9th in Durham!

Sunday, April 9, 2017 5-7 pm
Hayti Heritage Center
804 Old Fayetteville St, Durham, NC 27701

Join us for an evening of music with Jasme Kelly, renowned jazz singer. “Her music is both gripping and smooth.”

Support our work as we welcome Theresa El-Amin back to North Carolina and celebrate the  completion of the SARN regional expansion!

$10 suggested donation

Refreshments provided
Silent auction

Contact: Doug Stuber, 919-271-0727

 

 

Share and Support new video from OkayAfrica and BAJI

From Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI):

This week, the Black Alliance for Just Immigration and OkayAfrica have teamed up to deliver a timely PSA video regarding the recent Muslim ban and other executive orders. View the Video here – http://www.okayafrica.com/video/video-3-things-you-need-to-know-if-confronted-about-your-immigration-status/

The spokesperson, Yasmin Yonis, is a fierce human rights activist, writer author and speaker. Yasmin and her family were refugees, resettling in the U.S. from Somalia. As both a vocal and visible advocate and a Muslim Somali woman, Yasmin’s voice is much needed and necessary, as too little attention has been paid to the way African migrants are uniquely impacted by the ban, which targets African countries and refugee resettlement.

We want the video to be shared far and wide, especially with the communities most impacted. We are also asking Black communities, media and allies to support the video rollout, and also serve as a community to Yasmin. Being visible and outspoken can often invite adverse attention and trolling. Let’s flood the timelines and comment sections  with positive, supportive messages of love and power.

Below are some sample tweets and posts you can share
Social Media Tags
Twitter – @BAJItweet @OkayAfrica @YasminYonis
Facebook – Facebook.com/BAJIpage/  Facebook.com/okayafrica/
Title – 3 Things You Need to Know if Confronted About Your Immigration Status Link – http://www.okayafrica.com/video/video-3-things-you-need-to-know-if-confronted-about-your-immigration-status/

Sample Tweet – Watch @OkayAfrica + @BAJItweet 3 Things to Know if Confronted About Immigration Status ” feat. @YasminYonis https://youtu.be/uvM-j0luRtw 

Sample Post  – Facebook/Instagram –  Check out the Video ” 3 Things You Need to Know if Confronted About Your Immigration Status” by BAJI and OkayAfrica teaming up to empower Black immigrants impacted by the #MuslimBan. Stand together against islamophobia and hate.

Thank you!

Lovette Kargbo Thompson
Atlanta Organizer 
Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI)
E-mail: lovette@blackalliance.org

 

Feb. 16th – Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights Rally and Press Conference

 

Read the Press Release for location and other details.

 

 

Charlotte SURJ chapter disbanded

The decision to disband by Charlotte SURJ could be described as a drastic response to a rather obvious formation error. All white groups training “not-very-conscious” white people is a bit dangerous. No structure for accountability to folks fighting for their liberation from white supremacy/racism. Accountability is necessary if you understand self-determination of oppressed peoples.

SARN started with a collaborative approach in search of “reliable allies” in the struggle to dismantle white supremacy as a system of oppression. The leadership of people of color is central in movement building efforts to end white supremacy. Looking forward to moving this discussion forward between SARN and SURJ activists in the South. Collaboration is possible between white anti-racism activists and people of color.

Read more here.

 

Join us for the Moral March on Feb. 11th!

The Moral March (HKonJ) is set for February 11th.  Please join us and stand, then march with the NC-NAACP to bring awareness to the fact that African Americans and people of color are in danger of a further backslide, should the current administration’s aspirations become reality. Racial justice, environmental justice, economic justice, and the defeat of HB2 are all priorities of the Southern Anti Racism Network.

Voting injustice has led to disasters at the state and federal levels.  Be a voice and join progressive partners from across the state to demand an end to white supremacy, and to restore the basic human and civil rights we hold so dear, and that no one voted to take away!

Saturday, February 11
2 East South St.
Raleigh, NC

We will see you there!

 

‘White privilege’ makes some uncomfortable

‘White privilege’ makes some uncomfortable

By James A. Haught

Years ago, I visited our state’s former black mental hospital and fell into conversation with a witty, friendly, black psychiatrist.

He taunted me:  “You’re a racist, you know.”

“No, no, no,” I protested — but he continued:

“Just look at yourself.  You were born white, male and smart.  You could go out into the world and take whatever you could get — and you never stopped to think that I couldn’t do it.”

I was speechless.  Finally, I answered:  “Damn!  You nailed me precisely.”

Until that moment, I never saw clearly that society stacked the deck in my favor, giving me benefits not available to minorities.  It was sobering.  Later, I learned that sociologists call my advantage “white privilege.”

Currently, the wealthy white community of Westport, Conn. (average family income $150,000), is in an uproar because a human rights group and the public library invited high school students to write essays on the topic: “In 1,000 words or less, describe how you understand the term ‘white privilege.’”

To the surprise of sponsors, a backlash arose.  Some white parents felt insulted and claimed that the essay contest was designed to make their teens ashamed of their benefits.  National news coverage followed.

The chairman of the Westport human rights group, a retired black IBM vice president, replied:

“There’s a lot more controversy around it than many of us expected…. All of a sudden, we’re race-baiting or trying to get people to feel guilty.  That’s not what it’s all about.”

Actually, the topic isn’t simple.  There are many other sorts of privilege beyond race.  People born with high I.Q. have advantage over those born with less.  Americans with normal weight and appealing features get better acceptance than those who are heavy or homely.  People with affluent parents who sent them to good universities have a leg up over youths from blue-collar families who couldn’t afford college.  Foreign-looking people with odd names — especially Hispanics — don’t get the same breaks as standard white Americans.  Despite years of female progress, males still hold advantage.  Despite progress, gays still are less accepted than “straights.”

I was born in the 1930s in a little West Virginia farm town with no electricity or paved streets.  But even there, I was privileged.  My father was the town postmaster and my mother a teacher — which put us in the white-collar elite, compared to sweaty farmhands.  It gave me confidence and self-worth that never left me.

Last year’s “Black Lives Matter” crusade spotlighted racial privilege.  At one protest, a picket held a sign saying “They don’t shoot white women like me.”  That’s another white privilege.

Here’s the bottom line:  Whites needn’t feel ashamed of their privilege — but they should work hard to ensure that everyone in every ethnic group gets the same benefits.

( Haught, the Gazette-Mail’s editor emeritus, can be reached by phone at 304-348-5199 or e-mail at haught@wvgazettemail.com.)

 

SARN Metro Atlanta Meeting

 

You’re Invited!

Come out to meet with anti-racism organizers to hear about challenging white supremacy.

Southern Anti-Racism Network formed in 1999 in North Carolina to build projects and campaigns to end racial disparities in criminal justice, economic opportunities/employment, education, environment/housing and health care.

Join us to share your thoughts on conditions in Metro Atlanta that tell a tale of inequality, oppression and exploitation.

Date: Thursday, January 26, 2017
Time: 6:00-8:00pm
Location: Comfort Inn and Suites, 5th Floor, Blue Sky Bar and Restaurant
5087 Clark Howell Hwy, Atlanta GA 30349

Pleas RSVP to PSSARN@aol.com

 

Chapel Hill Friends Meeting Anti-Racism Workshop

 

Chapel Hill Friends Meeting Anti-Racism Workshop
When: Jan. 12, 2017, 7-9:00 PM
Where: Chapel Hill Friends Meeting House

The Meeting will host an anti-racism workshop facilitated by Triangle Showing
Up for Racial Justice (SURJ). The workshop is open to all attenders and members
of Chapel Hill Friends Meeting. Everyone is welcome. The purpose of the
workshop is to encourage and support white people to show up for racial justice.
Participants will learn more about ways in which racism operates in our society
today, and how we can work against it. We’ll discuss how people in power have
historically and at the present used racism to divide and conquer us, the power
of multi-racial coalitions who have worked together in spite of these efforts,
and the role each of us can play in the current movement against racism. This
short, two-hour workshop is being developed as a pilot program, but will be led
by experienced facilitators with many years of experience leading similar
workshops. The thoughtful feedback of participants will be very helpful in
developing the newly-designed workshop. To register or for more information,
please contact Stacey Sewall, sewall@email.unc.edu. For more information on
SURJ, please visit http://www.showingupforracialjustice.org/about

 

75 and Counting!

 

SARN board member and longtime activist Dick Paddock turned 75!  Friends and supporters came out to Dockside Restaurant and Crab House to help him celebrate while supporting Southern Anti-Racism Network.  Opening comments by Theresa El Amin then full-service Open Mic, catering to social awareness, and the theme of: Justice, then Peace

You can still donate online in Dick’s honor.

 

Coalition Statement: What’s Next for the Water Protectors at Standing Rock?

 

December 8, 2016

Contact:
– LaDonna Allard (CSS), ladonna@sacredstonecamp.org, (701) 426-2064
– Dallas Goldtooth (IEN), dallas@ienearth.org, (507) 412-7609
– Tara Houska (HTE), tara@honorearth.org, (612) 226-9404
– Eryn Wise (IIYC), eryn.ontheroad@gmail.com, (602) 769-8444

Cannon Ball, ND — We, the below stated, are a coalition of grassroots groups living and working in the Dakota Access resistance camps along the Cannon Ball River in Oceti Sakowin treaty lands.

Honor the Earth
Indigenous Environmental Network
Sacred Stone Camp
International Indigenous Youth Council

The following is a coalition statement on the next steps for the #NoDAPL fight and water protectors at Standing Rock:

As we reflect on the decision by the US Army Corps to suspend the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) river crossing easement and conduct a limited Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), the resistance camps at Standing Rock are making plans for the next phase of this movement.   Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Chairman Dave Archambault II has asked people to return home once the weather clears, and many will do so.  Others will stay to hold the space, advance our reclamation of unceded territory affirmed in the 1851 Treaty of Ft. Laramie, and continue to build community around the protection of our sacred waters. They will also keep a close eye on the company, which has drilled right up to the last inch it can, and remains poised and ready to finish the project.

We fully understand the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s desire to transition people out of the encampments and back to their homes.  The influx of people to Standing Rock as winter arrives has been an enormous strain on local resources due to the inherent challenges and dangers of travel and camping in this climate and, in many cases, a lack of necessary knowledge, skills, and experience on the part of those who have traveled to join us.  Also, the closure of Highway 1806 and the twisted media portrayals of the camp have essentially acted as economic sanctions against the tribe, denying revenue to an already impoverished nation with a long list of urgent social problems.  And, as the violence from law enforcement has escalated and caused serious injuries, we are all concerned for the water protectors’ physical safety and want to avoid further casualties.

As such, we support the tribe’s request for a transition and are working with many different groups to design and implement that transition in a good way – one that honors our ceremonial responsibilities, the sacrifices we have made to be here, and the deep commitment we have each made to defend the land. We ask anyone that is considering traveling to join the encampments at Standing Rock to stay home for now and instead take bold action in your local communities to force investors to divest from the project.

We also support those who choose to stay, if they are able to live comfortably and self-sufficiently through a winter in the Great Plains.  We support the Sacred Stone Camp, the original encampment established in opposition to the pipeline back on April 1st, 2016.  This community space was opened on Ladonna Bravebull Allard’s private land and will continue through the winter.  Rest assured, LaDonna is not going anywhere.  “I have not changed my mind.  We stand until the black snake is dead,” she said yesterday.   But due to limited space and infrastructure, there is no longer an open call for people to come join Sacred Stone Camp unless personally invited.

We do not have sufficient words to express the gratitude and love we have for all the people who have come to Standing Rock to protect the water.  We have traveled far, given up much, and taken extraordinary risks.  We have endured serious hardships and physical violence, and shown courage, passion, and determination in the face of impossible odds.   We have come together across the lines that divide us, and gathered in solidarity to demand an end to 500 years of oppression of Indigenous peoples – to demand respect for Mother Earth and clean water for all our relatives and future generations.  We absolutely cannot let this transition break us apart.  We must stay together, we must keep building momentum.  As warriors, we must be flexible and agile.  We must adapt to shifting circumstances without pause.

We ask you to join us in an unprecedented divestment campaign to kill the black snake financially.  We will also ask you to engage in the development of the Environmental Impact Statement to the extent that the public is invited to participate, and guide you through that process.  But let us use this time to cut off funding for the project.  December is an international month of action focused on the 17 banks that are profiting off investments in the Dakota Access pipeline.  Shut these banks down with direct action.  Close your accounts and tell the world you’re doing it.  Pressure your local jurisdictions and philanthropists to divest.  Every day is a day of action.

This fight is not over, not even close.  In fact, this fight is escalating.  The incoming Trump administration promises to be a friend to the oil industry and an enemy to Indigenous people.  It is unclear what will happen with the river crossing.  Now more than ever, we ask that you stand with us as we continue to demand justice.

 

Theresa El-Amin “So Long For Now” Party

 

Come celebrate the work of SARN in the Chattahoochee Valley!

Wednesday, December 7, 6-8pm
Columbus Public Library, 3000 Macon Road
Columbus, GA

On December 6, 2010, Southern Anti-Racism Network set down roots in Columbus GA to expand the organization from North Carolina into Georgia, Alabama and South Carolina. It was a 5-year plan that moved Theresa El-Amin to Columbus GA to recruit SARN members to carry on the work of ending racial disparities in criminal justice, economic opportunities, education, environment/housing and health care.

A screening of a “working documentary” titled “The Columbus Experience” is expected. Poets and other cultural artists have been asked to share some rhymes.

Superintendent David Lewis is expected and has been asked to say a few words. Ministers, elected officials and others have been invited and will be offered opportunities to speak.

Theresa El-Amin will move to Durham NC at the end of January 2017. However, she promises to visit so often you won’t even notice she moved.

Refreshments will be served. Event is free and open to the public

Contact: Theresa El-Amin, pssarn@aol.com, 919-824-0659 mobile

 

Conversation on Race, Crime and Punishment

Tuesday, November 1, 6:00pm – 8:00pm
Mildred Terry Library, 640 Veterans Pkwy.
Columbus, GA

This forum will highlight the consequences of former prosecutors serving as judges in criminal cases. Also, instances of prosecutorial misconduct and its impact on sentencing in criminal cases.

Paul Austin, recently released after over 30 years in prison, will tell his story of prosecution and persecution under the criminal justice system in Muscogee County and the State of Georgia. Thanks to the Georgia Innocence Project, determined family members and friends, Paul is free.

Waleisah Wilson, Executive Director of New Life-Second Chance, will tell her personal story of crime and punishment as well as the work she does to find jobs for the formerly incarcerated.

Related topics to be discussed are the “Band the Box” ordinance passed by Columbus Consolidated Government (May 2015) and the school-to-prison pipeline problems so prevalent in the Muscogee County School District.

The event is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

Contact: Theresa El-Amin, pssarn@aol.com or 919-824-0659 mobile

 

‘This is slavery’

 

‘This is slavery’: U.S. inmates strike in what activists call one of the biggest prison protests in modern history 

Spread the word.  Let the truth be told.

 

Upcoming Event: Linking Liberation Struggles

 

Abrahamic Initiative on the Middle East (AIME) is hosting its second conference called Linking Liberation Struggles on Monday, October 24th at NC Central University at 6:00 p.m.  You can find more information here.

Property Tax Freeze Debate (Columbus)

On Saturday, October 15, Southern Anti-Racism Network (SARN) invites all community members to hear both sides of the property tax freeze debate. Event will take place at Columbus Public Library, 3000 Macon Road, Auditorium, 4:30-6:00pm.

The question on the November 8 ballot will read: “Shall the Act be approved which eliminates the current base year assessed value homestead exemption for purposes of Muscogee County school and consolidated city-county government ad valorem taxes for homestead property acquired after January 1, 2017.”

Mayor Teresa Tomlinson and Cedric Hill will represent the “Thaw the Freeze” position in support of the question on the ballot for the November 8 election.

Representatives of “Citizens to Keep the Freeze”, “Naw to the Thaw” and others organizing a “Vote No” effort to defeat the question on the November 8 ballot have so far declined the invitation to participate in the October 15 debate.

If there is no response by October 14 (from opposition groups or individuals) to the invitation to participate in the debate, up to four attendees at the October 15 event (in opposition to the ballot question) will be given the opportunity to participate on stage in the debate.

Questions will be submitted to the moderator on index cards. Equal time limits for both positions to respond to questions about the property tax freeze amendment will be established.

Moderator: Eddie White, former Vice-President of AFGE Local 1987, AFL-CIO, resident of Macon GA

For more information: Theresa El-Amin, pssarn@aol.com or 919-824-0659 mobile.

 

Controlling Our Own Neighborhoods

Thursday, September 8, 3:00 pm-5:00 pm
Columbus Public Library Auditorium
3000 Macon Road
Columbus, GA

This community conversation builds on the “Conversation on Community Policing and Crime Prevention” held at Columbus Public Library on August 25. Invited to speak on August 25 were Mayor Tomlinson, Chief Boren, Sheriff Darr, Marshal Countryman and Seth Brown, Director of Crime Prevention.

Only community members who are not elected officials, running for office or working for Columbus Consolidated Government will participate in the fishbowl conversation. Also, the fishbowl participants will be community members who attended the August 25 conversation.

Open Discussion will include everyone in attendance on a 90 second time limit per person for comments or questions.

Event is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served.

Organized by Southern Anti-Racism Network
Contact: Theresa El-Amin, pssarn@aol.com, 919-824-0659 mobile

Download the flyer here.

Conversation on Community Policing and Crime Prevention (Columbus, GA)

Thursday, August 25, 7-9pm
Columbus Public Library
3000 Macon Road
Columbus, GA

With national headlines reporting deaths of unarmed young people at the hands of police, Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson and all heads of law enforcement were asked, “What’s in place or needs to be in place to prevent Columbus from experiencing such a tragedy?”

Invited to speak were Mayor Teresa Tomlinson, Chief Boren, Marshal Countryman, Sheriff Darr and Seth Brown, Director of the Crime Prevention Department.

Community members were given opportunities to make comments or ask questions.

Contact: Theresa El-Amin, pssarn@aol.com, 919-824-0659 mobile

 

School Board Candidate Forum – July 12

 

On Tuesday, July 12, school board candidates for the July 26 run off election participated in the Columbus NAACP Political Action forum at Columbus Public Library, 3000 Macon Road at 5:30pm.

President Tonza Thomas, Columbus NAACP Branch spoke on the Opportunity School Districts referendum up for vote on the November 8 ballot.

School board candidates discussed their ideas for improving student academic performance and graduation rates. Also, the impact of poverty on low performing schools and what should be done.

For more information:
Theresa El-Amin, Columbus NAACP Political Action Committee, theresaelamin@aol.com
Tonza Thomas, President, Columbus NAACP Branch, 706-505-4913

 

Mothers and Daughters of the Movement: Voices from Chattanooga

On Thursday, May 12, 2016 6-8 pm SARN sponsored an evening with mothers and daughters of the movement.

Location:
Oakhurst Presbyterian Church
122 2nd Ave Decatur Ga 30030
Nibs Stroupe, Pastor

The discussion was moderated by Sheryl Woods (SARN board member) and featured the following movement leaders:

Maxine Cousin
Founder, Concerned Citizens of Chattanooga

Annie Thomas
Co-Founder, Concerned Citizens of Chattanooga

Madusa Carter, aka Black Rapp Madusa

Ash-Lee Woodard Henderson
Regional Organizer, Project South

 

We Love Our Children

Monday, February 23,
5:30 – 7:30pm
Columbus Public Library
3000 Macon Road
Synovus Room A

Parents and their children attended a community support gathering. Activities for children and teens were available thanks to Columbus Public Library.
Sponsor: Southern Anti-Racism Network, pssarn@aol.com, 762-821-1107

 

States That Have Achieved the Most Racial Progress

 

Check out the 2016 report here.

 

Community Leadership Workshop: Family Care Act (Columbus, GA)

 

On Saturday, October 31 at 10:30am, the Georgia Job/Family Collaborative conducted a community leadership workshop on the Family Care Act legislation at Mildred Terry Library, 640 Veterans Parkway, Columbus GA.

 

Charmaine Davis, Georgia Director of  9to5, National Association of Working Women, facilitated the workshop.

 

The Family Care Act calls for employees with sick time to be able to use the time to care for a child or other household member who is ill. Participants learned how a bill becomes a law and how to meet with legislators about the Family Care Act.

Conversation on Race and Education, Part II

Thursday, September 10, 2015, 6:00 pm
Durham Main Library Auditorium
300 N. Roxboro St.
Durham, NC

GradCap

On June 18, SARN held Conversation on Race and Education, with Durham Public School’s Superintendent Bert L’Homme. He laid out the challenges DPS faces in this time of austerity budgets at every level of government. In Part II we’d like to get back together at the library to explore moving forward on a shared vision for Durham Public Schools.

Forum is organized by Southern Anti-Racism Network (SARN).

Event is free and open to the public.

Refreshments will be served.

Contact: Sandi Velez, tsvelez@aol.com or 919-441-7588.

Race and Confederate Symbols – Columbus, GA

ConfederateFlag-counterprotester

Tuesday, August 25, 2015
6:00pm – 8:00pm
640 Veterans Parkway
Columbus, GA

 

Southern Anti-Racism Network hosted a forum on August 25th to explore the history of the Confederate Battle Flag as adopted in 1956 by the Georgia State Legislature as the state flag.

 

State Representative Calvin Smyre and State Representative Carolyn Hugley were invited to participate. Both Representative Smyre and Representative Hugley talked about their experiences in 2003 when Governor Roy Barnes led the initiative to remove the Confederate Battle Flag symbol from the state flag.

 

A brief history was be presented by Theresa El-Amin of the Confederate battle flag as adopted across the South.

 

The call to remove the Stone Mountain Confederate monument was also discussed.

 

Contact: Theresa El-Amin, PSSARN@aol.com or 762-821-1107

Conversation on Race and Education – Durham, NC

Thursday, June 18, 2015
6:00pm
300 N. Roxboro Street
Main Auditorium

GradCap

Bert L’Homme, Superintendent of Durham Public Schools presented to the community the “State of Durham Public Schools”.

Durham Public Schools have come a long way since August 2000 when Superintendent Ann Denlinger announced that 51.5% of African American students were failing and 80% of white students were succeeding.

Years of community protests and school board changes led to a high level of community engagement through the Superintendent’s Task Force on Closing the Achievement Gap along with numerous grassroots efforts taking on the high rate of out-of-school suspensions.

DrBertLHomme

Superintendent Bert L’Homme reported on the Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) initiative and other programs to improve graduation rates and close the achievement gap.

 

 

Contact: PSSARN@aol.com or (919) 824-0659

Education Not Incarceration – Columbus, GA

Monday, April 27, 2015 6:00-8:00 pm
Columbus Public Library
3000 Macon Road Columbus, GA 31906

GradCap

MCSD Speakers
– Tammi Clarke, Director, Project AWARE/PBIS
– Reginald Griffin, Coordinator, Edgewood Student Services Center
– Eddie Lindsey, Principal, Key Elementary

The speakers described plans for progress with their projects and schools, and shared challenges and opportunities they see.

This event was a response to Superintendent of Education, David Lewis calling for community organizations and neighbors to engage in the “Great Conversation” outlined in the Jamie Vollmer book, Schools Cannot Do It Alone.

Contact: Theresa El-Amin PSSARN@aol.com or (762) 821-1107

Conversation on Race and Economic Inequality – Durham, NC

Thursday, April 23, 2015 6:00pm
Durham Main Library
300 N Roxboro St.
Durham, NC

Featured Speakers

William “Bill” Bell
Mayor of Durham, NC
Mayor Bell will spoke on the City of Durham Poverty Reduction Initiative (PRI)sharing his vision and progress to date.
billbell

 

 

 

 

Adrienne Harreveld
Consortium on Social Equity, Sanford School of Public Policy, Duke University
Adrienne, Research Coordinator for the Duke-UNC Initiative on Poverty and Inequality, will presented her findings.
headshot

 

 

 

The forum was organized by Southern Anti-Racism Network (SARN).

Conversation on Race and Economic Inequality

Thursday, February 19 at 6:00pm
Columbus Public Library
3000 Macon Road
Columbus, GA

Morton Harris, attorney for 55 years at the prestigious Hatcher-Stubbs law firm, presented data on the growing wealth gap. Katherine White, CSU Assistant Professor assisted Morton Harris with a PowerPoint presentation.

Participants were be asked to THINK BIG on ways to end poverty, increase employment opportunities, create affordable housing and end hunger in Columbus Georgia.

Hosted by Southern Anti-Racism Network Steering Committee: Kwabena Ali, Theresa El-Amin, Tom Graves, Alberta Hardy, Natasha Hardy, Cathy Hawkins, Wandra Jordan, Stella Mendoza, Hilda Perez, Katherine White.

Event was free and open to the public.
Contact: PSSARN@aol.com or 762-821-1107

Community Speak Out on Crime and Law Enforcement

Tuesday, February 10, 2015
6:00pm
Mildred Terry Library
640 Veterans Parkway
Columbus, GA

Residents of Columbus expressed their concerns and offered solutions on crime and law enforcement issues identified on Tuesday, January 27 at the “Conversation on Law Enforcement and Community Trust”.

A “fishbowl” format was be used to allow 4-5 speakers to be in conversation on similar concerns. Groups rotated out of the fishbowl until all speakers had an opportunity to be in the conversation.

Chief Boren, Marshal Countryman and Sheriff Darr were invited to listen to community concerns. Time was preserved for law enforcement agencies to respond to issues and proposals brought up during the discussion.

Hosted by Southern Anti-Racism Network Steering Committee:

Kwabena Ali, Theresa El-Amin, Tom Graves, Alberta Hardy, Natasha Hardy, Cathy Hawkins, Wandra Jordan, Stella Mendoza, Hilda Perez, Katherine White

For further information, pssarn@aol.com or 762-821-1107

Law Enforcement and Community Trust‏

Tuesday, January 27, 2015
6:00 – 8:00pm

Columbus Public Library,
3000 Macon Road, Auditorium

Speakers
Major Freddie Blackmon, Columbus Police Department
Marshal Greg Countryman
Sheriff John Darr

Facilitator
Theresa El-Amin, Regional Director, Southern Anti-Racism Network

The three law enforcement officers were asked to provide a brief history of their agencies and to describe programs initiated to promote positive community relations with law enforcement.

At the tribute to Shirley B Winston on December 31, Chief Boren mentioned that twenty-five (25) Columbus Police officers have been killed in the line of duty since CPD began keeping records.  Participants at the forum will saw the names of all 25 fallen members of the Columbus Police Department from 1874 to 2013.

Fountain City Poetry Slam artists – Black Fist and Unique brought spoken word on the timely topic of community and law enforcement.

Community policing and the effectiveness of body cameras were addressed by speakers and attendees familiar with police training requirements and proposals for reforms of police agencies.

The forum was organized by the Columbus steering committee of the Southern Anti-Racism Network (SARN): Kwabena Ali, Russell Chambers, Theresa El-Amin, Tom Graves, Alberta Hardy, Natasha Hardy, Cathy Hawkins, Wandra Jordan, Stella Mendoza, Hilda Perez and Katherine White.

The event was free and open to the public.

Contact: pssarn@aol.com or 762-821-1107

Conversation on Race and Criminal Justice

En Espanol

Reparations Now!

Thursday, October 23, 6:00-8:00 p.m.
Hayti Heritage Center
804 Old Fayetteville Street, Durham

prison_graphic

This forum was the second in a series of conversations to address the impact of “250 years of slavery; 90 years of Jim Crow; 60 years of separate but equal; 35 years of state-sanctioned redlining” as described by Ta-Nehisi Coates in his acclaimed contribution, “The Case For Reparations” printed in the June 2014 issue of The Atlantic.

Speakers
Larry Hall
N.C. House of Representatives

Sandra Velez
Founding Director, Bridges/Puentes prison ministry

Artemesia Stanberry
Associate Professor, Political Science
North Carolina Central University (NCCU)
Moderator

State Representative Larry Hall talked about legislation passed and needed to address racial disparities in criminal cases. Sandra Velez provided an eye-witness report of incarceration and its impact on families.

This event was free and open to the general public. Refreshments catered by Blue Coffee Café. For more information contact Rita Gonzalez csltpnc@yahoo.com (Spanish/English) or 919-949-6352.

Conversaciones de Raza y Justicia Penal

Indemnizaciones Ahora!

Jueves, 23 de octubre, 6:00pm – 8:00pm
Hayti Heritage Center, 804 Fayetteville Street, Durham, NC

 

Este foro es el segundo de una serie de conversaciones dirigidas sobre el impacto de “250 anos de esclavitud; 90 anos de Jim Crow; 60 anos de separacion pero igual; 35 anos cambiando lineas de distritos con sanciones estatales “Redlining” como describe Ta-Nehisi Coates en su articulo de gran contribucion y reconocida “The Case For Reparations” publicado en junio del 2014 revista The Atlantic.

Oradores Invitados
Larry Hall
Camara de Representantes – NC

Sandra Velez
Directora y Fundadora, Bridges/Puentes Reentry Prison Ministry

Artemesia Stanberry
Profesor Asociado, Siencia Politica
North Carolina Central University (NCCU)
Arbitrador

Representante Estatal Larry Hall hablara sobre legislacion aprobada y la necesidad de hablar sobre los puntos de disparidades en caso criminal.  Sandra Velez poveera testimonio de el impacto al las familias y encarcelamiento.

Este evento es gratis y abierto para el public general.  Refrescos por Blue Coffee Café. Para mas informacion: Rita Gonzalez csltpnc@yahoo.com (Espanol/Ingles) o 919-949-6352

That “peace of mind” is elusive

The following letter was written by SARN Board President Theresa El-Amin and published in the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer on September 4, 2014.  The letter was written in response to a piece written by senior reporter Chuck Williams (included at the end of this post).

That “peace of mind” is elusive

“Someone is stealing our peace of mind,” says Chuck Williams, senior editor at the Ledger-Enquirer. Chuck’s piece published on September 2 was more like a rallying cry that tells the tale of two cities.

I haven’t had “peace of mind” since I first saw young prisoners doing work that is done by public employees in all the other cities I’ve called home. I haven’t had peace of mind since I heard leaders in Columbus Consolidated Government describe the “tale of two cities” over and over again without a vision to address economic inequality.

Where there are thousands of poor children not succeeding in school, you will have criminal activity that doesn’t go away as long as you have thousands of poor children not succeeding in school. This is where friends in one of my circles would say, “Everybody knows that.”

I’ve moved around a few circles in Columbus enough to know that not everybody knows that children failing in school, a high poverty rate and criminal activity are connected.

Perhaps people really do know, and have decided “it’s somebody else’s problem.”

History has shown us that social problems are addressed by social movements that lead to changes in public policies. Otherwise, we live in fear. We fear people who don’t look like us, talk like us or live where we live.

Fear breeds oppression, repression and suppression. The outcome is a community culture of “them and us.”

Columbus needs a “collective piece of our minds.” That “Great Conversation” can’t start soon enough.

Theresa El-Amin

Columbus

Chuck Williams: Someone is stealing our peace of mind

by Chuck Williams
chwilliams@ledger-enquirer.com

We have a crime problem in Columbus, people.

That’s a fact that cannot be denied. Now, if only the solution was as easy to state as the obvious.

Ask your family, friends and neighbors if they have had an encounter with the criminal element of this community? You will be surprised by the answer.

In the last month I know four people who have been impacted.

• A good friend ran a Saturday afternoon errand, came back to her home in the Historic District and found it had been broken into and some items she deeply cherished were stolen. I was going to say taken, but they were stolen, just like her peace of mind.

• Another friend ran into his downtown business for a couple of minutes, forgot to lock his vehicle, and a thief reached into it and stole his bookbag. I was going to say took it, but it was stolen, just like his peace of mind.

• Friends of mine in Midtown left their home on a Tuesday morning, one of them circled back less than 30 minutes later to check on something. Their front door had been kicked in, and their TV and other electronic items were stolen. The back door of their neighbor’s home had been kicked in, as well. More stuff was stolen. I was going to say taken, but it was stolen, just like their peace of mind.

• Neighbors in Historic District were recently robbed at gunpoint of their jewelry as they stood in their front yard one night. Again, their peace of mind was stolen — and the damn fool did it by putting a gun in their face.

Four instances that I know about because they happened to people in my circle. That is a pretty rough August, isn’t it?

But here is the kicker, those thieves didn’t just steal from my friends and neighbors, they stole from me and you. They stole — and continue to steal — from our community. They stole our collective peace of mind. The guy who robbed my neighbors at gunpoint, just as well put the gun in my face. And I am not alone. I have seen the Facebook reaction to this incident. I have talked to my neighbors and friends.

The law abiding folks among us are angry and want to find a way to curb this, bring those who terrorize us — and this is a form of domestic terror — to swift justice.

The only good thing I see coming out of this is people coming together to combat it. They are using social media as a tool to communicate and inform. And there are neighborhoods and communities all over this town doing that.

But here is what this issue has also done — it has made me look at people and things differently. And that is unfortunate.

Sunday night I was walking the dogs and saw a man hanging out. He didn’t respond to me when I asked him a question. He didn’t even look at me. He was in an area that has seen a spike in crime. I called 911. My thought was simple, “Let the police sort it out.”

Three weeks ago, I would have never called 911 on that man. Never.

But that was before someone stole my peace of mind.

Chuck Williams, senior reporter, chwilliams@ledger-enquirer.com.

Conversation on Race and Reparations

 

On August 7, 2014, SARN presented a Conversation on Race and Reparations in Durham, N.C. The event was 6:00-8:30 p.m. in the auditorium of the Durham County Main Public Library, 300 N. Roxboro St.

The speakers were:

William “Sandy” Darity, Samuel DuBois Cook Professor of Public Policy, African and African American Studies and Economics at Duke University; and Director, Duke Consortium on Social Equality

Kirsten Mullen, Folklorist and co-author with William Darity of The Big Payback

Larry Reni Thomas, International Organization for Compensation and Reparations for Victims of Wilmington Massacre of 1898, author of The Lady Who Shot Lee Morgan

Theresa El-Amin, SARN Regional Director

The perspective of “a transformation of society” in the injury areas of criminal justice, education, economic inequality, environment (including housing) and health care were explored.

Reparations Now!

On July 17, Akinyele Umoja will speak on the historical basis for the demand of reparations. The “Conversation on Race and Reparations” will take place in Columbus GA at the Columbus Public Library, 3000 Macon Road. Theresa El-Amin will serve as moderator.

Conversation on Race – Getting Started

Download the paper Five Hallmarks of Effective Diversity & Inclusion Events by Shakti Butler, PhD: Click Here

Cracking the Code: The System of Racial Equity

Joy DeGruy: A Trip to the Grocery Store

Father’s Day Essay Contest

Students 8 to 12 and 13 to 18 years were invited to submit an essay on the topic: “What my father means to me.” The essays could be about a biological father, male relative, male coach or mentor who is special to the student.

Essays were be presented on Saturday, June 7, 2014 at Columbus Public Library, 3000 Macon Road, 1:00 – 3:00pm.

 

Cash prizes of $25, $15 or $10 were be given for 1st, 2nd and 3rd places respectively in both age groups.  Gift cards werel be given to the subject of the essay in the amount awarded students for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place.

Father’s Day Essay Contest sponsored by Southern Anti-Racism Network (SARN) www.projectsarn.org

For more information: fathersdayessay@aol.com or 762-821-1107

Mother’s Day Essay Contest

 

 

 

Students 8 to 12 and 13 to 18 years old were invited to submit an essay on the topic: “What my mother means to me.” The essays were 100 words or less.

Essays were presented on Saturday, May 3, 2014 at the Mildred Terry Library, 2:00 – 3:00pm.

Contestants read their essays on May 3rd and cash prizes of $25, $15 or $10 were given for 1st, 2nd and 3rd prizes respectively in both age groups.

Other gifts were available for mothers of essay contestants to choose one.

mothers_day_photo2mothers_day_photo2-2mothers_day_photo1

 

Congratulations to Southern Coalition for Social Justice

SARN congratulates Southern Coalition for Social Justice on their Clean Slate Success in Durham! Read all about it here.

Columbus Consolidated Government employees and prison laborers are both getting a bad deal

The following is a letter SARN Board Chair Theresa El-Amin published in the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer on April 30, 2014 by

Interesting that Mayor Tomlinson disclosed the employee pension plan is only 88% funded during the televised debate with Colin Martin on April 21. Granted, 88% is better than the 72% I heard in 2012 when the 15-year clock started ticking. She also mentioned that employees received raises to offset the 4% payment they are required to make into the pension. New employees would pay 8% into the plan. With the hiring freeze and a raise to current employees, how did the plan get from 72% to 88% funded? Columbus Consolidated Government has until 2027 to bring the pension plan to 100% funded. It’s a bit too soon for Mayor Tomlinson to make promises others will have to keep.

The finances of Columbus Consolidated Government become more mysterious day-by-day. Both candidates are pandering to property tax protesters. Colin Martin couldn’t flip fast enough from his earlier position indicating dependence on the regressive Local Option Sales Taxes (LOST) and that home improvements could yield higher property taxes. On April 21, Colin Martin declared to property owners that their “property tax freeze” is safe with him.

Beyond the cosmetic picture of pet adoptions, white water rafting and the natatorium is dependence on free prison labor, murder rate at 3 per month, a $6.5 million deficit, unfair taxation and poverty that is a nightmare for many citizens in Columbus.

The Mayor’s Commission on Unity, Diversity, and Prosperity held a conference on March 20. 2014 titled The Dream Lives: A Wake-up Call, Perpetuating the Dream in a Climate of Haves and Have Nots.

Who needs to wake up? Where are the investigative reporters when we need them?

Theresa El-Amin
Columbus

Man Pepper Sprayed and Arrested on Duke’s West Campus

What’s the connection? Prison labor and poverty in Columbus Georgia

Forum
Thursday, April 3, 2014
6:00 – 7:30pm
Columbus Public Library
3000 Macon Road, CB&T-A

Speakers
Dr. Gary Sprayberry, Department Chair for History and Geography at Columbus State University; Richard Jessie; Theresa El-Amin; Jerome Lawson

Speakers will share ideas on improving the quality of life for Columbus
residents living with poverty and unemployment

Moderator: Tonza Thomas

Organization Sponsors
Columbus Black History Museum and Archives
Southern Anti-Racism Network

Contact: 706-575-3646 or 762-821-1107 or theresaelamin@aol.com

 

Against All Odds: We Will Succeed

Parents Assembly

SARN held a Parents Assembly themed “Against All Odds: We Will Succeed” on Saturday, November 2, 2013 from 10:00am-2:00pm at the Mildred L. Terry Public Library.  Dr. Kevin Rome, President of Lincoln University in Jefferson City Missouri was the special guest speaker. Mayor Teresa Tomlinson also made a presentation.

Parents spoke out on challenges they face and the tools they need to support high academic achievement and positive behavior for their children in school.

MotherChild

SARN Celebrates the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington

SARN_MOW-2013

SARN treasurer Dick Paddock at the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, August 24, 2013, Washington, DC.

SARN treasurer Dick Paddock at the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, August 24, 2013, Washington, DC.

“Taking the Dream Home to Chapel Hill” rally attracted hundreds to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington (August 28, 2013).

“Taking the Dream Home to Chapel Hill” rally attracted hundreds to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington (August 28, 2013).

“Taking the Dream Home to Chapel Hill” rally in downtown Chapel Hill (August 28, 2013).

“Taking the Dream Home to Chapel Hill” rally in downtown Chapel Hill (August 28, 2013).

SARN treasurer Dick Paddock and secretary Anne Wolfley attend the “Taking the Dream Home to Chapel Hill” rally in downtown Chapel Hill (August 28, 2013).

SARN treasurer Dick Paddock and secretary Anne Wolfley attend the “Taking the Dream Home to Chapel Hill” rally in downtown Chapel Hill (August 28, 2013).

“Taking the Dream Home to Chapel Hill” rally in downtown Chapel Hill (August 28, 2013)

“Taking the Dream Home to Chapel Hill” rally in downtown Chapel Hill (August 28, 2013)

MOW-40th_1

Theresa El-Amin with John Lewis at the 40th anniversary of the March on Washington, August 2003

MOW-40th_2

Theresa El-Amin with John Lewis at the 40th anniversary of the March on Washington, August 2003

 

 

Zimmerman Verdict

We watched and waited for the legal system to work in the case of George Zimmerman using deadly force on Trayvon Martin. There is no dispute that George Zimmerman stalked Trayvon Martin because Trayvon fit his stereotypical profile of a young, black male. Zimmerman used a stereotype to “take charge” even after being told by police not to pursue Trayvon.

The right to self-defense first belonged to Trayvon against the aggressive actions of Zimmerman. Why did Zimmerman feel bold enough to approach a person he didn’t know? What made Zimmerman feel duty-bound to act in a situation that could result in an altercation? Did he size up Trayvon as a young man he could “take” in a fight?

It seemed obvious to me that shooting an unarmed juvenile in the heart at close range goes well beyond self-defense. With the whole world watching and knowing what Zimmerman did, the obvious is not the reality we woke up to on Sunday morning.

Even in the “Wild West” of the 19th century, shooting an unarmed man was murder. If you’ve ever watched Matt Dillon, Wyatt Earp and movies about the Western frontier, using a gun to kill an unarmed man even in a bar brawl was murder.

Race is a factor in the legal system that’s become our reality in the 21st century. Is that not obvious?

Theresa El-Amin
Columbus, GA

Not a just system

Despite the fact Trayvon Martin is dead, and George Zimmerman stalked Martin, Martin is the one judged to be responsible for his own death. And Zimmerman, based on his observed reaction when the verdict was read, expected it.

Sadly, so did I.

What crystalized my thoughts, apart from 71 years of observing, and experiencing at second hand, U.S. racial relations from the side of the minorities, was a comment (which I can’t quote exactly) by Jelani Cobb, associate professor of history and director of the Institute for African American Studies at University of Connecticut, on MSNBC just prior to the verdict. He said black people learn to expect the worst outcome from the legal system. And as civil rights attorney Maya Wiley said, “[Our] justice system is not a just system.” The system is stacked in favor of whites, or more properly, non-blacks.

All this boils down to the fact the person on trial really was Trayvon Martin. And he was judged guilty posthumously and in absentia, not represented by counsel. The prosecution let the defense get away with it by limiting the range of discussion to the scuffle and the shot, not including Zimmerman’s precipitating actions. And no consideration of whether Martin had the right to stand his ground. Was that because he didn’t have a gun to stand his ground with?

We need to move back from every-person-a-vigilante. Let’s stop enabling everyone’s living in a castle wherever they go, and return our gun laws to some form of sanity

Dick Paddock
Chapel Hill
Treasurer, Southern Anti-Racism Network (SARN)

Not Just Whistling

I am willing to bet you have used the words
without even thinking where they come from,
without even thinking there is a question
about where they come from
that you should be thinking about:
“I’m not just whistling Dixie.”

And if you’re not just whistling Dixie
what, precisely, have you been doing?

Yes, that is how deep the racist culture goes:
Even you do not stop to think
what this expression means
before you use it.

How about: “Keep your cotton-pickin’ hands off my . . . “
Tell me: Just what, precisely, is wrong
with “cotton-pickin’ hands”?

As for me, therefore,
I will keep searching for those
who are not just whistling
“John Brown’s Body.”

Steve Bloom
July 2013

April 26 “Building a Village” Fundraiser

SARN had a great event on Friday, April 26, 2013 at Liberty Theatre from 6:00 – 9:00 p.m., which raised funds to support the 5-year strategic plan for “Building a Village” in Columbus, Georgia. Everyone enjoyed cultural presentations of music and poetry and as well as the auction items.

The Building a Village project aims to support high academic achievement for all students in Muscogee County schools and to support positive behavior to minimize out-of-school suspensions.

Community Forum: Racial Disparity Solutions in Health Care

SARN, along with Health Care for All – NC, NCCU Department of Public Health and Occupy Health and Wellness NC held a forum on racial disparities in health care on Thursday, January 31st at  6pm at the Hayti Heritage Center in Durham, NC. The event featured Jonathan Kotch, MD, MPH, FAAP, UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health and Gayle Harris, MPH, RN, Director, Durham County Health Department. Community responses were given by Mary White of Occupy Health and Wellness NC and Bill Jenkins, MPH, PhD of Community Health Analytics.  The forum was moderated by David Jolly, DrPH, MPH, Associate Professor and Chair of NCCU Department of Public Health Education.

Read the Durham Herald Sun article about the forum here, and a followup editorial here.

This event was sponsored by Health Care for All – NC, NCCU Department of Public Health, Occupy Health and Wellness NC, and Southern Anti-Racism Network.

Southern Freedom Movement Rises!

Almost three hundred community leaders gathered in Lowndes County, Alabama on September 22, 2012, and we are regenerating the Southern Freedom Movement.

Large delegations of young people from every state in the South, migrants living in Alabama and beyond, Black organizers and leaders from 10 states, and LGBTQ organizers from five states came together to declare:

We All Count – We Will Not be Erased.

The Southern Movement Assembly produced a shared, regional plan of action – The People’s First 100 Days. Leading up to November 6, over 25 Action Sites throughout the region will continue to register voters, engage communities, and defend the right to vote. While false policy solutions are debated in DC, we will kick off our 100 Days with a call to action on November 7 – N7 – where we will take the streets and commit to real solutions for our communities – by the people and for the people.

Why did we camp? 

Tent City

Tent City – Freedom City 2012

In 1965, Tent City in Lowndes County marked the height of the voting rights movement.  Black residents built it after being forced out of their homes for registering to vote. SNCC elders informed the crowd on Friday night that people fought back, launched a successful independent political party, and ran candidates for local positions. Tent City was not a tactical retreat; it represented resilience, community governance, resistance, and offensive strikes. At a time when the right wing hate machine divides our communities, we camped in solidarity with our history. We experienced the vitality of meeting in our own space, resourcing our own travel, and gathering on historic grounds to regenerate the power of Southern Freedom Movement.

What’s next?

Planning for the Peoples First 100 Days

Planning for the Peoples First 100 Days

While the two parties market their divisive messages to narrow constituencies in 7 to 8 so-called battleground states, 25 grassroots Southern delegations from Louisiana to Appalachia declared that our voices matter, despite voting restrictions like Voter ID laws and redistricting. We stood together under the banner of Fannie Lou Hamer’s call, “Nobody’s Free till Everyone’s Free.”

Though the South has always played a major role in fighting for freedom, democracy, and voters rights, the region is often left for “red” by most of the U.S. during election years. If even a fraction of the 30 million voters who are being discouraged or prevented from voting were able to vote this year, the misleading blue-red electoral map would look very different

The Southern Movement Assembly represented a turning point. Despite our exclusion from the national debate, over 40 organizations representing 25,000 people most affected by poverty, racism, the lack of healthcare, crumbling education systems, and rising violence came together and found unity in our multiple struggles.

It was never just about a vote, and the Southern movement will amplify our vision for a just world in the People’s First 100 Days.

Clarkston, GA youth at the We All Count photobooth

Clarkston, GA youth at the We All Count photobooth

Join the Southern Freedom Movement, see photos from the Assembly, and learn more at www.southtosouth.org

Make your own sticker for the We All Count Campaign at weallcount.tumblr.com – more added every day!

Share the movement on Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest – Make it your profile pic! #weallcount #peoples100days

Video, audio, and more pictures from the Assembly on the way!

 

Building A Village

On Saturday, September 15, 10am-12pm, the monthly forum “A Call To Talk” focused on education achievement for students in Muscogee County schools. Fourth Street Baptist Church at 222 Fifth Street, Columbus 31901 hosted the forum as it does each third Saturday of the month.

Using the adage, “It takes a village to raise a child.”, the Southern Anti-Racism Network hosted a planning meeting on August 18 to identify community stakeholders willing to speak about vision, obstacles and opportunities for student achievement and how the community can be fully engaged in the process.

At the August 18 meeting, Dr. Michael Forte, principal of Marshall Middle School, agreed to speak about his vision for transforming Marshal Middle School into a “servant leadership academy”. Participants in the meeting agreed that business, parents, students and educators are key stakeholders in “building a village” to support high expectations for all students.

Debbie Caballero of Girl Scouts of Historic Georgia represented the Partners In Education (PIE) program of the Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerce. Tracy Hargrove, a parent of four students, spoke about the challenges facing parents and how the community can support families with students in school.

Participants in the forum contributeed to a SWOT analysis to determine the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats facing the community in efforts to create a shared vision for closing the education achievement gap among students in Muscogee County schools.

Contacts:
Dorothy Williams, dorthywilliasesq@bellsouth.net or 706-322-1689
Theresa El-Amin, theresaelamin@aol.com or 762-821-1107