Unity in Action Magazine

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YOUR VOICE, YOUR IDEAS & YOUR SOLUTIONS TO ISSUES THAT AFFECT YOUR FAMILY & COMMUNITY.

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It is time to come together.

Posted by [email protected] on November 27, 2016 at 5:50 PM

5 Working-Class Money Burdens

Posted by Unity in Action Magazine on November 25, 2016 at 6:20 PM


5 Working-Class Money Burdens

Unity in Action Magazine

Working-class families struggle financially to make things work.  Essential needs become stressful burdens, as they try to make a normal life for their families.  There are 5 money burdens that low to middle income working-class families in small cities continue to struggle with.


1. PRICES RISE EVERY YEAR, BUT WAGES DON’T- This simply do not make sense. The economy would do better if people had more money to spend. You have to scratch the back that scratches yours.


2. HOUSING PRICES-  The prices are outrageous for a working-class family.  In a small college town like Champaign-Urbana, rent prices on-campus are causing prices off-campus to rise as well.

In the small-city of Urbana, most of the students that attend the University of Illinois are from other large cities or overseas. They can afford the higher rent prices, but the hard-working families in the local community cannot.


3. CREDIT SYSTEM-  The banking system keeps reminding us that they are not really on our side. As soon as home prices dropped, the credit score requirements went up making it harder for struggling Americans to buy a home.  Therefore, many people are paying $700 per month for rent, yet are getting turned down for $500 per month home mortgages.


4. EMPLOYMENT DISCRIMINATION-  Racial discrimination in the workplace is more prevelant than gender discrimination and little is being done about it. Many of companies are not hiring or quick to fire minorities and gay people.  If you are racially discriminated against at work or on the streets, there is one thing that experience has taught us- they are going to cover it up, it won’t get properly investigated, and you can’t find or afford a good attorney in your town that will fight for you.


5. UTILITIES-  Lights, gas, and water bills are continuing to rise at a faster pace than wages.  It is as if,  having lights in your house is a luxury- NO it is not!

You have to have lights on to keep your kids- so, it is essential. That is, if you are living in a house with no lights or running water DCFS may take your kids saying that you are an unfit parent.

If we can help working-class families it will help America as a whole.  We are all in this together.



The political environment brings to the light the negative stereotypes and perceptions of black people that many in power still hold.

Posted by Unity in Action Magazine on November 25, 2016 at 6:15 PM

The political environment brings to the light the negative stereotypes and perceptions of black people that many in power still hold.

 

In regards to history, we have to think about the psychological effect of our past experiences on our lives today. Clearly, racism is still strong in America. It is not just against blacks, but poor too. What we can’t do is continue to ignore that it exists because, WE are all in this together!

 

When someone decides not to hire someone because they are black, that equals to one more unemployed. It is clear the crisis in the justice system, banking industry, media, entertainment, housing, and some members of the House of Representatives and other political posters during the Obama Era have been found to be a racial discrimination cancer on the community.

 

In regards to the War on Drugs- Where is the funds to rebuild the war torn area, that has been impacted by your war?

 

On the streets, the War on Drugs is the biggest trap and lie. We watch celebrities sent to resorts for rehab, several times; meanwhile we have our fathers going to go to jail for a lesser crime. There are too many tears to ignore. The children are affected the most.

 

The biggest issue today is that it continues to intricate into the daily life for African-American people in America. It is to the point that people live in fear, loose hope, and drive.

 

People are still afraid to speak up. The daily injustices continue, because history has shown us that nothing will be done about it. The stories from the past sound similar to the stories of the present, thus history is standing still on the issue of racism.

 

These stories need to be told, heard, and empathized to create a change. As African-American people we have to start report injustices to the news. WE ARE YOUR NEWS!”


SHARE YOUR STORY: "Big Boy in CU area- My mom violated."

 In 2005, “My mom came to visit me in jail. She is disabled, weighs over 260 lbs. They anal and vagina searched her for drugs, though she was not able to have a contact visit. She never came back to see me. That was hard on me while in jail.”

 

Miss Bri Goes Worldwide

Posted by [email protected] on February 23, 2014 at 7:10 PM


Another Trayvon Story...Remembering Kiwane Carrington

Posted by [email protected] on August 7, 2013 at 9:50 AM

AUGUST 2013

INSIDE:
REMEMBERING KIWANE CARRINGTON:  15 year old Kiwane Carrington, SHOT and KILLED by POLICE while trying to break into his home after getting out of school early. He forgot his key...

IMPROVING OUR JUSTICE SYSTEM:  “For those who think the criminal justice system have been fair toward African American people let me remind you...”

YOUR VOICE ON TRAYVON


SEQUESTER CUTS COMING: What you need to know!

Posted by [email protected] on February 28, 2013 at 3:45 PM

Today the Senate failed to pass a measure to end the sequester cuts.  This means that across the board cuts are coming to you starting Friday, March 1st.  You need to educate your self on the current planned cuts and watch for opportunities to help our community like never before.  More importantly, we have to come together to restore needed funding to social service care.


BELOW IS A LINK THAT SHOWS WHAT SEQUESTER CUTS ARE LIKELY FOR ILLINOIS RESIDENTS:

http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/docs/sequester-factsheets/Illinois.pdf

SAVING THE GHOSTS by Christopher Evans

Posted by Unity in Action Magazine on February 1, 2013 at 8:15 PM
SAVING THE GHOSTS by Christopher Evans I am often followed by the Ghost. The Ghost is an innocent man who is accused by police, brought to trial by lawyers, and convicted by juries in our modern day criminal justice system. Today the Ghost came to my Surveillance and Society class. This time the Ghost is named Troy Davis- an innocent man convicted 22 years ago of a murder he didn't commit in the state of Georgia. Our good-intentioned instructors thought it a teaching moment to assign some last-ditch efforts to save Mr. Davis' life by using the new digital technologies that make signing a petition to be presented to somebody in charge in Georgia; and contacting the prosecutor by phone and email, a real possibility. We were to join the chorus of thousands from across the country to express outrage and opposition to the murder of an innocent man by the State. This collective voice, it is hoped, might give the executioners pause and stop their misguided vengeance. Two important questions are raised during class, 1) Does it do any good to let others know? and 2) What does Illinois have that Georgia does not? The homework assignment in class is to act on the information. All I can imagine is an annoyed secretary somewhere in Georgia monitoring the prosecutor's email account, probably deleting emails by the thousands from those pesky do-gooder-activists who actually think the prosecutor is going to read all their heartfelt pleas to stop the execution. I try to imagine the secretary seeing an email from a Chris Evans in Illinois. Oh wait, she thinks, this might be important. The secretary interrupts the prosecutor from his preparations against whatever last-minute arguments will be made to win Davis a clemency, and tells him, "You got an email from a Chris Evans from Illinois about the execution." The prosecutor excuses himself from his legal colleagues, "I better look this over," he says. The prosecutor reads my essay why Mr. Davis should not be killed, "...remember Mr. Prosecutor," I wrote, "guilt depends on the standard of beyond a reasonable doubt. The lack of evidence and the recanting of the 7 out of 9 witnesses in this case gives us plenty of reasonable doubt." After 22 years of trying to put Troy Davis to death, the prosecutor exclaims, "By god, Evans is right- beyond a reasonable doubt! Why didn't I remember that?" He shouts at his secretary, "Get the governor on the phone! There's still time to stop my 22-year mistake!" The Ghost has taught me better about the Beast, the criminal justice system. The Beast does not operate that way. The Beast knows what the Ghost knows, and the game is not about the whole Truth and nothing but the Truth. The game is about how to convince the judges, the juries, and the executioners there exists a possibility of guilt- truth enough to get that conviction. Truth enough to sway the voters come election time. Truth enough to ride rich on the Beast and feed the Beast more patrols, more ambitious law students, more squad cars, more guns and tasers, more prison construction, and more jobs for rural communities. Other times, the game is about hiding wrongdoing, minimizing it, even excusing it for the favored few. I've told others about the Ghost, but most unaware citizens dismiss any notions that policemen and prosecutors would ever deliberately present falsehoods in our sacred courts of law. "If they did that, they'd get fired!" the believers declare. The Beast laughs, hiding behind police unions and prosecutor immunity; and makes a note of whom to select for the jury next time. 20 years ago, around the time when Troy Davis was brought to trial for a policeman's murder, a citizen across the country used the new technology of a camcorder to videotape 4 unsuspecting Los Angeles policemen brutally beating a handcuffed man on the ground. The video was given to the national media, and instantly, an entire nation were witnesses to what they thought was a crime on their television sets. Watching the footage for the first time at the men's emergency homeless shelter, 5 other African-American men in the room laughed and reminisced about how that happened to them in Peoria, Naperville, Carbondale, Belleville, and Chicago. Some were quite proud that during their beating, they did not fall to the ground as Rodney King had. I thought letting people know would surely stop this kind of police work. But letting people know only created 53 senseless murders after the Beast did its courtroom trickery to protect its own. Emmitt Till's mom understood the videotape's failure to produce a guilty verdict. Her son's open casket, and the photographs of his tortured corpse sent worldwide, had done nothing to stop the murderers from laughing their way out the courtroom door after a jury of their peers ignored those complaining niggers of 1955. L.A. had a payback trial later that decade, and a jury comprised of some minorities executed justice for, not the probably-guilty-O.J. Simpson; but rather, for letting those 4 L.A. cops off the hook. Illinois prosecutors learned to stay away from having minority jurors hear their cases, and it would be a certainty that Illinois will never have televised courtrooms. One of O.J.'s defense attorneys, Barry Scheck, learned much about DNA evidence. He founded the Innocence Project using the technological miracle of preserved DNA not to convict, but to exonerate. The Illinois appellate courts were left with little choice. If DNA evidence was accepted to prove guilt, then those found guilty had to be innocent if DNA evidence proved they did not leave the small drops of whatever found at a murder or rape scene. Young college students at the Northwestern's journalism school were uncovering Ghosts as well. Half the death row inmates in Illinois were set free because they were wrongfully convicted. The Ghosts were becoming real even to a Republican Governor who supported punishing murderers and rapists with death. In 2000, the Governor uttered the unthinkable in announcing a moratorium on the death penalty, "There is a flaw in the system, without question, and it needs to be studied," he said. The Beast does not like to be exposed, and later punished the Governor with a six-year prison sentence for what is standard operating procedure in Illinois politics. In Champaign County, it was also business as usual, as a middle school dean was secretly audio-recorded soliciting sex from a student over the phone. Police later found 5 other students who were "groomed" by the dean to have sex with him. The prosecutor in the case was a personal friend of the dean, having once written a letter of reference for him to secure his job as dean of the middle school. The prosecutor arranged to have her friend plead guilty to one felony count, dismissing all others, and allow the dean to walk out of the courtroom, laughing, with probation. An outraged citizen did his own investigation into the case and created an entire website to document the travesty of justice. (www.thebradysmithcase.com) The case also inspired Julia Rietz, a former assistant state's attorney, to seek the office of state's attorney in the upcoming 2004 election. When convicted drug dealer Patrick Thompson finished serving his 10-year sentence in federal prison, he dedicated himself to "being a part of the solution instead of the problem." Thompson formed a non-for-profit mentoring program and hoped to steer youth in the right direction- away from the hard knocks that took 10 years from his life. When he and his cousin, Martel Miller, also a convicted drug dealer, approached local black youth about their lives and educations, youth reported that it was no use to follow the rules because local police were constantly harassing them. Thompson and Miller took their complaint to the new state's attorney candidate, Rietz, who acknowledged her political opponent often overcharges against black youth. She was willing to participate in a May 2004 forum that Thompson's group organized to discuss the issues. In order to better prove that police harass black youth, Thompson and Miller videotaped police officers interacting in the public way on the north end. Police officials did not appreciate the surveillance, and in August of 2004, charged Miller with felony eavesdropping, punishable to as much as 15 years in prison. The day Miller was indicted in court, Thompson and Miller gave the local public television station a copy of a documentary they produced from their videos, called Citizens Watch. Police were alerted of the documentary and sent officers to the station to seize the film as evidence for an eavesdropping. Thompson notified The News-Gazette that Miller was indicted for filming police. The story ran on page A-3. The day after the documentary had been delivered to the television station, a next-door neighbor of Thompson's told an Urbana Police officer that Thompson had tried to rape her. No investigation was conducted other than to find Thompson after he returned home from the junior college, where he was enrolled in the criminal justice program. Thompson was charged with 5 felonies, and faced up to 120 years in prison. While Thompson sat in jail on a $250,000 bond, copies of the documentary were shown at the public library, the Art Theatre, and on the public television station. Angry citizens gathered to watch the film and demanded the current state's attorney drop the eavesdropping charges. In an era where the television show, Cops, is a constant on cable TV, getting sent to jail for videotaping police officers struck many as ridiculous. Candidate Rietz told the press that were she to be the state's attorney, no eavesdropping charges would ever be filed in such a situation. The documentary showed a scene where a police officer accuses a 14-year old boy of setting off fireworks in the streets. As the boy vehemently denies the officer's accusations, fireworks can be heard in the background. The officer does not bother to pursue the source of the fireworks nearby, but rather demands the boy confess. Another Ghost was haunting me at the time. A lady had watched a man sitting in a park get up from his seat and walk up to another man and start a fistfight. She called the police, but then watched in horror as police arrested the victim instead of the other man who had started the fight. (The victim had a criminal record and was found with a BB gun tucked under his shirt.) Police, prosecutors, and the public defender refused to return the witness' phone calls. The victim pled guilty to aggravated battery hoping he would get probation. The witness who had called the cops attended his sentencing hearing in order to explain to the sentencing judge what she saw, and she hoped to convince the judge that this man should not be charged. The public defender didn't want to put the witness on the stand. The victim was sentenced to four years in prison. The witness broke down in tears, feeling like she caused an innocent man to be sent to prison. Because of the middle school dean case and the eavesdropping case, Julia Rietz was elected the new state's attorney. Two days later, a Northern Illinois student was drunk and disorderly over the re-election of President Bush. After sneaking into the Canopy Club without paying the cover, police were summoned to arrest him for disorderly conduct. He was taken to the county jail where he demanded to know why he was arrested. Correctional officer Sgt. William Alan Myers responded by telling the student, "This is the way we do things down here," and began to slam the handcuffed student's head against the concrete wall. Myers, along with another officer, then strapped the student in a restraining chair, put a spit hood over his head, and officers took turns bashing him in the head until the spit hood was soaked with blood. When word was that the student's friends had come to bond him out, officers quickly cleaned him up. As they unstrapped him from the chair, the student grabbed hold of the spit hood for evidence against the officers. Incensed, Myers pulled out a taser and shot the student four times with it, even shoving the taser up his rectum as he lay on the ground paralyzed from the voltage. After his release, the student had his friends photograph his injuries and the student filed a formal complaint with the sheriff's office. The new state's attorney, Rietz charged the student with aggravated battery to a police officer based on a falsified police report filed by officer Myers. Wanting (the appearance of) to keep her campaign promises, Reitz publicly announced she would be dropping the eavesdropping charges against videographer Thompson. She felt it her ethical duty, however, to not dismiss the sex crimes against Thompson because she believed Thompson's involvement in her election campaign qualified as a past relationship with Thompson. Despite the severity of the attempted rape charges, bond was dropped from $250,000 to $1000. The federal government looked at the sex case and decided not to revoke Thompson's parole. Thompson represented himself at trial in the summer of 2005. Thompson found three defense witnesses who would have testified that they too had been accused by this woman of sex crimes they did not commit. The judge would not allow the defense witnesses to testify. Thompson could only ask the jury to look at the lack of evidence. Some did, and the trial ended in a hung jury. In exchange for her testimony against Thompson, the accuser's own unrelated criminal charges of child endangerment were dismissed. During the hour videographer Thompson stood before a jury with his life in the balance, Urbana Police Officer Kurt Hjort pulled into a convenience store in a squad car while on duty, dressed in his uniform. Hjort was a friend of the state's attorney's fiancee and was scheduled to attend their wedding later that summer; but on this day, Hjort chatted up a new employee at the convenience store. After being summoned to a call, Hjort looked up the employee's address on the METCAD dispatch system and at 4:30 p.m. drove his squad car over to her apartment. Hjort invited himself in and insisted they have sex on her couch. After the coerced sex, Hjort told her not to tell anybody. She called her mother, and within the hour she was examined by medical personnel at Carle Hospital and evidence was collected. The incident was kept quiet until, weeks later, an activist confronted the Urbana City Council at a regular council meeting. Rietz, again, claimed a conflict of interest, and instead of assigning a rabid special prosecutor like the one that would hound videographer Thompson; one of the weakest defense attorneys in the county was selected to prosecute Hjort. After "studying" the case for a couple of months, the special "prosecutor" determined he was unable to prove the sex was not consensual and filed no criminal charges- not even official misconduct for using the METCAD dispatch system to look up her address. Hjort was allowed to resign from the force, but immediately was re-hired as a patrol man in Gibson City- until The News-Gazette broke that story and embarrassed Gibson City officials claimed they did not know about Hjort's "background". The City of Urbana quickly settled for a $300,000 pay-out to the victim. The Northern Illinois student hired a private attorney to defend against the aggravated battery charges and threatened to sue the county if his case continued. The charges were dismissed. Sgt. Myers went on to tase 3 more inmates at the county jail. In the fourth tasing, Myers again had strapped an inmate in a chair and tased him repeatedly. Myers attempted to coerce fellow officers to falsify their police reports to corroborate with his. Instead of obeying their superior officer, correctional employees ratted Myers out. During the investigation, Myers admitted he had falsified his police report to make it look like he was defending himself when he used his taser against the fourth inmate. Reitz paid the inmate something-less-than-$10,000 to shut up and leave town. Myers was offered a guilty plea to a misdemeanor disorderly conduct for falsifying his police report and a sentence of court supervision. When The News-Gazette was made aware of the soft plea bargain for Myers, the deal was pulled, and Myers was forced to plead guilty to a felony aggravated battery and was dismissed from the force. The special prosecutor hired to prosecute videographer Thompson found a few irrelevant details that would help make Thompson appear a little more guilty at the re-trial. Thompson hired a defense attorney who promised he would call the defense witnesses that Thompson couldn't get entered into his first trial. Many, including Thompson, felt once the prosecutor saw that the accuser couldn't hide her past of accusing minority men of sex crimes they didn't commit- the case would be dropped. But to the surprise of all, the defense attorney hadn't subpoenaed anyone, and the defense at re-trial was the same as Thompson had put on in the first trial. The jury voted guilty this time. The one black juror was hesitant to go along with the verdict but did so anyway. The boy who had been accused of setting off fireworks in Thompson's video documentary, Brian Chesley, turned 17 in 2007 and was walking home with a nine-year old and another friend through Douglass Park. The youth had been playing basketball at the open gym hosted by the park district. A Champaign police officer called out to Chesley and demanded to see his I.D. Chesley yelled back, "F--- you, you ain't running me," and walked away. Chesley felt walking home was a not a crime and he did not want to be checked for warrants. The officer walked after Chesley and called for back up. A squad car pulled up and two officers confronted Chesley. When Chesley still refused to present I.D., officers slammed Chesley against a chain-link fence, yanked him off the fence, dragged him into the street and three officers drove their knees into Chesley's neck, back, and legs against the concrete. With over 15 witnesses watching the apprehension, officers repeatedly sprayed Chesley in the face with pepper spray. Reitz charged Chesley with resisting a peace officer and obstruction of justice. Police told the media that the officers were justified in approaching Chesley because the park is closed after dark and Chesley was trespassing. At the trial, one officer admitted that police were ordered by command staff to check anyone in the Douglass Park area for outstanding warrants and enter their personal information into a computer database because there had been a rash of shots fired in that neighborhood. About 12 defense witnesses testified that they saw officers "whoop" on Chesley. The all-white jury found Chesley guilty. Videographer Thompson convinced the best defense attorney in town to take up his case and demand a re-trial. With a skilled attorney in his corner, karma, rather than justice was done. In the third trial of Thompson, the prosecutor was caught not proving that Thompson wasn't a police officer acting in his official capacity when he allegedly invaded the home of the accuser. The most serious charge of home invasion was thrown out for this technicality. Thompson's wife testified to where he really was during the time the attempted rape was to have occurred. The prosecutor reminded the jury that a wife will say anything to protect their husband. One of the defense witnesses showed up and testified that he, too, had been accused by this woman when in fact he had done nothing. The jury had the experience of having to decide if Thompson had committed a criminal sexual abuse while the charge that he entered the home was thrown out. They voted not guilty. The accuser, the Urbana police officer, and the prosecutor were never held to account why they had fabricated a sex-crime theatre against Thompson. Meanwhile, in federal court, the City of Champaign quietly settled in favor of Thompson and Miller for violating their right to videotape and produce a documentary for an undisclosed amount of cash. The defense attorney who failed to adequately defend Thompson in his second trial was ordered to return the $3000 he was paid. The four-year long ordeal had served its purpose, however. No one since has ever dared to pick up a camera and aim it at police officers in Champaign County. A few weeks later, a cop in Villa Grove noticed a car with Texas license plates. Thinking the car might be occupied by Mexicans, the officer pulled the car over. Toto Kaiyewu, a 23-year old failing medical student baked on marijuana and tripping on some kind of imaginary narrative, exited the car and thought he and the officer had a special connection. When the officer demanded Kaiyewu get back into his car, Kaiyewu decided to just leave. The chase was on. Less than an hour later, stop sticks had blown Kaiyewu's tires out. Kaiyewu exited his car brandishing a machete surrounded by 12 officers brandishing pistols. When a taser had no effect on Kaiyewu, officers thought their next-best option was to put three bullets into Kaiyewu, one into his head, killing Kaiyewu instantly. There was no public discussion as to what officers can do when faced with a mentally ill subject. Stopping cars because there might be Mexicans was accepted as good police work. Afterall, the guy did have a machete. Family and the many friends of Kaiyewu wept with disbelief. A few months after the Kaiyewu investigation was "complete", a neighbor saw two young boys pulling on windows and doors at the house next door. The boys were wearing hoodies over their heads because of the rain. The neighbor called the non-emergency police number. Minutes later, the Chief of Police of Champaign, dressed in a black leather jacket and jeans, saw two boys next to a back door. The Chief aimed his Glock pistol at the boys and shouted "Stop! Or I'll shoot you!" Another officer saw only the Chief and assumed something bad was happening. He pulled his gun out too. Rounding the corner, he saw the Chief trying to pull one of the youngsters down with his free hand. The officer did the same, and pulled on the shoulder of one of the youths with his free hand while holding onto his gun with the other. An unarmed 15 year-old, named Kiwane Carrington, was shot in the chest and killed at 1:30 p.m. The entire event lasted 8 seconds. It was discovered hours later that Carrington actually stayed at the house. The neighbor didn't recognize Carrington, who often played basketball in his driveway, because he was wearing the hoodie. At 5:30 p.m. the Champaign Police Department issued a press release, in time for the evening TV news broadcasts, that two of its officers had been "confronted by two subjects", and that after officers identified themselves to be peace officers, "...Both subjects disobeyed officers' commands to get on the ground and struggled with two of the responding officers." Most of the public believed the event highlighted the lack of respect black youth have for authority. Most of the public accepted that no involuntary manslaughter charges were filed against either officer. The officer who allegedly lost control of his gun was suspended for 30 days. Two years later, his suspension remains under appeal. The Chief was promoted to be the president of the 1,200-member Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police. The family of Carrington was paid $250,000, covered by the City's insurance company. The cost of doing business. I recently sat down to use one of the public computers at the library, and found a discarded paper next to the computer. I glanced down at it, and read the words, "....it's not right to send somebody to jail for a crime they didn't do..." The Ghost demands my attention. Dispensing with manners, I read on to learn that a mother is soliciting help for her son who had been arrested at her house on August 15. He was accused of aiming a pistol at a man in Urbana, robbing him of $20.00 on July 27. The mother said this was impossible because her son was at her daughter's house at the time of the robbery. She pleaded for help affording the $50,000 bond, a lawyer, and prayers. I look up the case on the circuit clerk's website and see that 3 supplemental discoveries have been filed against her son. If he didn't do it, the state sure thinks he did. The day I am asked to help save Troy Davis' life, an editor for The Daily Illini, who would have been in 7th grade when Thompson and Miller videotaped police officers, opined that filming police officers is a protected 1st Amendment right and that the Illinois eavesdropping law should be discarded. As I considered stepping into the ring for Troy Davis, an email comes to alert me that the state's attorney's office has dropped the charges against the mother's son accused of armed robbery. It appears that the state was sent a letter from the victim and has decided to dismiss the case. On this day we must save Troy Davis, ex-President Jimmy Carter and the Pope advocate for Davis. A rumor is told that the Supreme Court has put a stay on the execution. Someone says it's for 90 days. I rest easy. Today the Beast has been beaten back some, or so I thought. I once asked Patrick Thompson's wife why injustice happens, like it did against her husband. She answered, "Because no one is willing to make a sacrifice." Those words echo in my mind when I see university students parade around with their home-made signs on the quad over whatever the issue happens to be that day. Those words echo when I wonder how it is that officials in Georgia have been able to ignore the lack of evidence against Troy Davis for over 20 years. The Beast has learned it can pretty much do whatever it wants because no matter how outrageous its crimes be, the protesters will eventually go away. Shortly after the Carrington killing, 300 people packed the council chambers and city council members had to endure hours of angry citizens blasting them on the microphone to do something about their police department. A year later, hardly anyone noticed when Council voted to give officers a 3% pay raise. The Beast's enemy is the truth. So when Davis claims to be innocent minutes before he is killed anyway, the media quotes the murdered officer's mother, "Well, he's been telling himself he's innocent for twenty years," she said. The Beast smiles with satisfaction. See? It's just a difference of opinion. The business of revenge and punishment is most efficiently executed on the fuel of opinions. The innocent Jesus of Nazereth can testify to that. Believers want to believe that the law is what keeps order in a civilized society. Believers are taught to believe it's the accused who are always the Beast. Police officers, prosecutors, and judges use of discretion can be trusted. Something bad happens, and shortly thereafter, the good guys catch the bad guys. Believers are fed this lullaby everyday for decades in Hollywood show after show. Low-income African-Americans, unable to afford the good attorneys, know too well how law enforcement will use their discretion. When U of I law professor Steve Beckett proudly marched his law students to the courthouse he built, he was confronted by the constant embarrassment that his students were watching trials of young African-Americans being tried in front of all-white juries- many of whom had friends in law enforcement. In another city, I stumbled upon a Ghost living out of his van. When I asked him why he lived this way, he said he didn't want to be bothered by the other humans. He said he had bought a lottery ticket at a convenience store, when suddenly, a man started punching him in the head. He covered himself to protect against the blows without ever throwing a punch of his own. The victim was arrested for aggravated battery. For five years from his jail cell, he filed motion after motion to get the convenience store's surveillance video footage entered into evidence so he could prove his innocence. It never happened. He concluded, "In America, innocence or guilt doesn't matter." Real fact-finding takes too much time and may not yield the results preferred. Who wants the murder of a policeman to remain unsolved? Who wants to admit they were wrong? Not the real murderer who killed the policeman. Not the prosecutor who fingered the wrong guy. Not the jury who convicted Troy Davis. Not the police officers who coerced witnesses to say Davis did it. Not one of the witnesses who recanted has stepped forward to declare the execution to be a mistake. No one wants to sacrifice. Besides, if doctors at Provena causing the brain damage to a pregnant mother was worth $12 million, how much is perjury and kidnapping to a prison worth? Despite all the exonerations in Illinois, very rare has law enforcement been made to pay for its deliberate mistakes. The day after Troy Davis was injected with chemicals designed to kill him, a $249,319 grant was awarded to the Downstate Illinois Innocence Project, headquartered in Springfield. The director reminded the media, "90% of all wrongful convictions do not involve DNA evidence." This is no surprise given a system that accepts bribed testimony from informants. Timothy Kendrick waited 2 years in the Champaign County jail for a trial, as prosecutors scrambled to build a case by pressuring witnesses to lie on the stand that Kendrick had been bringing drugs from Texas. Appellate judges, unfortunately, seem willing to overturn their legal colleagues only when presented with the hard evidence of DNA. Whatever some witness says can be regarded as a matter of interpretation and speculation. When the surviving youth who witnessed the Carrington killing said it was the Chief of Police who killed Carrington, the Chief threatened to counter-sue for the youth's insolence. No one was inspired to check the rifling marks found on the bullet that killed Carrington to determine which gun fired the fatal shot. Best to leave things as a matter of opinion. The Ghosts bear witness that sometimes the Beast is wrong. The Beast says, "I am never wrong." Not even the President of the United States, who is reputed to have a law degree from Harvard, traveled to Georgia to uphold the standard of beyond a reasonable doubt. What good has it been to let everyone know about the injustice to Troy Davis? On the back of every pamphlet put out by the Urbana's Citizens Police Review Board, the public is reminded to report any retaliation they may experience for complaining about the police. Our good police department, deserving of pay raises at every contract negotiation, retaliates against people who dare to accuse them? When Durl Kruse came forward publicly with a statistical analysis of the local racial profiling numbers put out by scientists at Northwestern, the Kruse's were thanked with an anonymous letter from "a friend of law enforcement" threatening to harm them. The Beast does not like to be exposed. Now go to sleep and trust the Beast is using "intelligence-led policing" to protect you. And complainers be warned, the Beast has the discretion to turn you into a Ghost. NEW PARAGRAPH, AFTERWORD: Voices cry out from prison cells, "I didn't do it," and it's the relative of a three-year old girl from Rantoul raped and murdered who answers the call- not the employees of the Beast. The relative pursues the case and discovers, the truth is not as clean as prosecutors had presented it. In 2004, DNA evidence says the man behind bars for 24 years is not the person. who killed this little girl. The Beast argues 8 long years against the DNA evidence to leave the innocent man behind bars. Prosecutor Rietz is never made to answer why her office argued against DNA evidence that exonerated Andre Davis in 2004. Facing a choice to go into a courtroom with little DNA evidence to support her case, Rietz opens her closet, and turns a Ghost free. A rarity for this county. And still the taxpayers are asked to build another jail for the Beast. The Beast smiles. Even if The Beast is found wrong, the public eventually forgets, for they believe the Beast is good. And that is why I am afraid to live in this county

CALL TO ACTION: GUNS DOWN MAN UP

Posted by [email protected] on January 10, 2013 at 2:30 AM

Due to the wave of violence that has paralyzed our black community we are joining Bub and local citizens efforts to help stop the violence.  We need your support.  Register for the Unity in Action Magaziine community forum to stay informed about planning and developments.

PUT THE GUNS DOWN!! IT IS TIME TO MAN UP!! 

TANYA

[email protected]

Walmart Worker Worked 24 hours Then Fired

Posted by [email protected] on November 16, 2012 at 10:25 AM

Walmart employees are standing up in unity to speak out about the issues that they have been suffering with for years.  In 2007, I interviewed Shaundell a former, disabled employee who shared, "My first day of work around Christmas time I was scheduled to work for 24 hours.  It was my first day of work, so I didn't want to complain.  I then got fired because I dozed off to sleep."  

Speaking to him at the time I thought it was just one isolated incident.  But, if other's would take a second to speak out and share their stories then we can help correct the issues that plague underserved populations. 

SHARE YOUR WALMART STORY!

Here or FB: UnityinAction Mag


African-American Experience- We Have to Remember Where We Came From

Posted by [email protected] on November 15, 2012 at 12:10 AM

We Have to Remember Where We Came From,

To Understand Where We Are &

What can we do to build our future?

Where we came from?

We have to face the concern with police brutality and inadequate representation for defendants during trial. The warnings have been there that African-American communities need support.

 

By 2000, roughly one in 10 black men were in prison - a crisis level statistic because prisoners don't have jobs, pay taxes. And because many states bar felons from voting, at least one in seven black men will have lost the right to vote.

"These numbers are staggering," said Laurie Levensen, a former federal prosecutor and associate dean of Loyola Law School in Los Angeles. "We're incarcerating an entire generation of people."

 

The War on Drugs was a social and economic war. Our government went to war with no recovery plan for the people affected by the war. The reality is the US government helped start the war, by putting drugs in our community. This is a fact.

 

Every since the start of the War on Drugs, we have watched the African-American community remain in crisis level in poverty, prison, and education. Yet, our nation has not taken a stand against police brutality or racism in the employment, education, and justice system.

 

As we see the numbers, we have to think about the affect on the community left behind.

What concerns do we see TODAY? Nearly every black person knows someone in their family or support system affected by the justice system.

 

Children suffering from trauma and emotional distress.

Extreme financial burden on the family left behind. Especially, if they were the supporter.

More non-traditional family structures. More children in the foster system, who may end up with other family or friends.

African-Americans have lost the RIGHT TO VOTE due to a felony. In some states, you lose the right forever. In other states, you have to purse the right after as much as 2 years after release.

 

High long-term unemployment. Unemployment dropped for all races; except Black people. Most likely due to the felony question on the general job application.

Concerning rates of racism and unfair treatment still exists today in our justice system.

A large percentage of men recently released that were incarcerated for over 15 years have to re-adjust to life.

A high percentage of women to the number of men within a community.

 

In addition, we are left with a community of people that do not trust the justice system. The new stories of injustice are whispered in the African-American community everyday. The common feeling is that there is no where to turn for justice, especially if you are living in poverty and can't afford an attorney.

 

What can we do to build our future?

Increase mental health support to the African community.

Address the issue with felonies and employment on a national level.

Take a stand against judicial injustice in your community and in the nation.

Offer more financial education.

Prison reform to be more supportive to rehabilitation and family support systems.

Do not support spending cuts for social service programs. More support for mental health, reentry prevention, career education, and homelessness programs.



 


Life Story- Rico growing up in foster care, street life, testimony.

Posted by [email protected] on November 15, 2012 at 12:00 AM



My name is Mardisco “Rico” Staples. As an adult now, I can look back on my life and reflect on some of the things I did and the lessons I learned. And, I can thank God to be alive.

 

I first got in trouble at the age of seven. Without a mother or a father in my life I was hanging out in the streets with my older brother. My first run in with the law was when I broke into a truck and trespass in an abandoned building. I was supposed to come home the next day, but my mother didn't come pick me up. So, I ended up in DCFS, who released me to my grandmother.

 

My grandmother was older. She really couldn't do anything with me. So I ended up in a foster home in Decatur.

 

I was put in an all white school. I felt out of place and alienated, that made me act out. I ended up terrorizing the neighboorhood. As a young boy growing up around drugs and other elements of the streets, I was being taught that I could get more satisfaction in the streets than going to school. When I did focus in schools actually did very well. But, I was skipping schools to go hang out with the older guys in the streets.

 

Then my life took another turn when my uncle died. He was my favorite uncle. I was really hurt and yetI went to the funeral, I didn't cry. Then like two months later, I just burst out crying one day.

 

Just after losing my uncle. I lose my family. I can remember the caseworker telling my brother; if I didn't do better they were going to take me away. But, they didn't come around too often, so I didn't take it seriously.

 

Then one day, when I was 10 yrs. old DCFS decided to move me to Chicago. They took me to a group home. I did not want to go. I can remember feeling alienated again. I was feeling like they got me way up here, and there is no way that I can get home to see my family. It was like a year before I got to see my family again.

 

It was a coed group home. So naturally at the age of 10 the guys and the girls started liking each other. Many of the kids used to run away together.

My best friend was, Tony Sned he got kicked out group home. Once again I had lost contact with someone close to me. This hurt.

 

Life in the Chicago's group home was hard. There were gangs all around the group home. Every time I had to walk out our front door I had to face gangs. It was impossible to ignore them.

 

One time I was coming in from a weekend pass. I was getting off the L train. I had my hat turned the wrong way and I didn't pay attention to the fact that I was in the Latin King's area. Then, a group of people can up to me to fight. So, I said that next time I go home I needed to carry a gun to protect myself.

Life in the Chicago's group home was hard. There were gangs all around the group home. Every time I had to walk out our front door I had to face gangs. It was impossible to ignore them.

 

One time I was coming in from a weekend pass. I was getting off the L train. I had my hat turned the wrong way and I didn't pay attention to the fact that I was in the Latin King's area. Then, a group of people can up to me to fight. So, I said that next time I go home I needed to carry a gun to protect myself.

 

The next time I went home I did in fact come back with a gun, and I showed it to someone. I got called into the administration office and questioned about the gun. They ended up calling my case manager to pick me up. I had to leave this group home.

 

I came home in the 90's – I started getting off into a lot of things. When I think back, I think that it is pretty amazing that I am still alive. I thought being back home that things would get better, but it got completely worse. I started carrying guns. People started shooting at me and I started shooting at them. Around then I got charged with unlawful discharge of a fire arm and sentenced to St. Charles juvenile prison.

 

Then, I got into more trouble while incarcerated. One day I got into a fight over a mop bucket. Being taught from my brother, I learned that if someone messes with you while in prison you have to stand up for yourself. I was locked up in the hole for 9 months. When I got out they sent me to Valleyview where more trouble followed. My 3 mth. sentenced then it turned into three years. After getting in a fight.

 

When released, I was sent to an independent living home in Springfield. There was a lot of opportunities for me to get a job. I misused all of the opportunities laid out in front of me. I ended up getting into a gang fight, so I had to leave from the independent living home and ended up going back to Decatur.

 

While in Decatur I received a parole violation for drugs then I had to go back into juvenile prison, until I was too old to stay at the age of 19yrs.old. By then, DCFS didn't want anything else to do with me.

 

REGARDLESS OF WHAT I HAD DONE WRONG,

GOD SAW ME WORTHY TO SAVE MY LIFE.

 

God saved me from dying in a car major car accident. One day while driving on Bradley, doing about 80 mi. I accidentally threw the car into reverse, the car started flipping. I was trying to get under the dashboard, but I couldn't. Then suddenly, I saw a bright light. It looked like I was looking into a tunnel. I couldn't even see my friends that were right next me.

 

After the accident, I am so glad that I didn't get under the dashboard. The backseat was all the way in the front. It was a miracle that everyone was ok.

WHAT I LEARNED AND WHAT ADVICE I WOULD GIVE

As a young child, I was a product of negative influences with no parental figure to help steer me in another direction. I was also filled with the pain of always losing people that were close to me. However, I have to admit that I didn't want to change, so I did not take advantage of the opportunities that I had.

 

I would advise a child growing up in a negative environment to try to be better than what your environment is trying to make me you be. As a foster child, if I was in that situation now, I would have taken advantage of those opportunities. Being a foster child is not always bad. My advise to a foster child is to focus on being the best that you can be in your life.

 

Now, I pray to GOD for help everyday. You don't have to go to church to have personal relationship with GOD. He has made me stronger. I no longer sell drugs. I believe that if I can just keep moving forward I will get there. Now I spend a lot more time with my family. And enjoy the simple things in life.

 

I am now taking classes for ex-cons to help me escape the prison within. You can still be trapped mentally in prison. I now set short term to long term goals. I have matured and become more patient. I take time to rationalize my actions to consider whether or not something is worth me doing.

 

I want to help troubled teens get their mind right. I don't want any child to go through what pain I went through. If you are an adult that wants to help a troubled teen my advice is to be a life long friend that is willing to forgive and still love that child, just like GOD loves us.




 

Have a Felony? Consider Starting Your Own Business

Posted by [email protected] on November 14, 2012 at 11:50 PM

Shanna McGuire, Owner of McGuire Janitorial Services shared her testimony and spoke inspiring words of encouragement to the newly formed Citizens of Conviction group.

 

Shanna McGuire is a successful business owner that employes 30 people, does business not only locally, but on the State and Federal level. She is also a active church Reverend and volunteer. But, her life was not always on this fast track forward. It was going just the opposite. McGuire said her life of crime was based on the need to make money to live. Her first felony was for a bad check. While incarcerated she was accused of scratching a police officer. Instead of arguing the case she accepted another felony charge, so that she could get out of jail.

 

McGuire says, “I was the first person to be featured in The News Gazette's Most Wanted. I have now been featured three times for my business accomplishments.”

In her testimony she spoke of the challenges that persons with felonies face trying to live rehabilitated lives after they have done their time. But, she said no matter what don't go back, keep moving forward in a positive direction.

 

McGuire shared advice for the over 2 million Americans with felonies:

 

1. Stay busy. Keep doing positive things that can help you.

2. Be persistent. Don't just fill out the application and turn it in, follow up several times on the application.

3. Stop complaining. We have to make a way to move forward. We have to deal with the situation we are in the best that we can.

4. Instead of waiting for someone to give you a job, create a job for yourself. Start your business with research. Find out the facts and identify the resources to help you.

5. Be thankful. Though it is hard find thanks in the little things. Thanks to be free.

6. Ask for help.

7. Volunteer. This is a good way to restore your good name in the community.

8. Don't turn around. There are too many good things on the other side.

9. Stand under pressure.

10. Be totally honest on your application.

11. Read the fine print carefully to see if it applies to you.



Mainstream Media Challenge

Posted by [email protected] on November 14, 2012 at 3:15 PM

“I challenge all mainstream media- radio, TV, print, and online to step up and be more socially responsible. Example, if you have all kids calling in on your radio show then stop with all the sex and violence.”

 

-Tanya Parker, Publisher of Unity in Action Magazine

Parker's Economic Development Plan

Posted by [email protected] on November 14, 2012 at 1:15 PM

Champaign County Career Training Center will provide transitional support, training and job opportunities to help low-income, at-risk youth, re-entry, young adults, and teens develop workforce skills, overcome career entry challenges, and assist with transition into employment and/or secondary education.

 

CCCTC will provide products, services, and workshops to the community that will support the area's economic growth. This will provide opportunities for our students to gain hands-on experience.

 

Training- CCCTC training is designed to deal with literacy challenges, offers flexible schedule and a combination of classroom and hands-on training.

Participants will have an opportunity to put their skills to work as they practice real-life application of what they learn.

 

Support- CCCTC offers wrap-a-round support in areas of mental health & wellness, life/parenting skills development, court-support, and career development to help participants overcome challenges in other areas of their life to ensure success. We will offer daycare services, transitional housing, and transportation support.

 

Career Placement Services- CCCTC works with partners to help put people to work.

 

Instead of spending 20 million on a new jail. Renovate the existing jail as you agreed 10 years ago for 5 million (more than you need) and spend

2 million on Parker's Social and Economic Development Plan.

Parker's Social Development Plan

Posted by [email protected] on November 14, 2012 at 1:15 PM

Unity in Action Magazine is just one part of the plan. Innovation in technology changes every month; I challenged myself to create an innovative approach to socio-economic development. I started with what the people needed, and worked my way up. Some of the things that I realized is that there were a lot of great things going on in our community, but no one knew about them. Also I recognized that people needed to share their perspectives with each other- between people, between agencies and the people, between people and government. I realized that in order to help any of the people or families grow, you also have to address the mindset of the peers around them at the same time.

 

Unity in Action Magazine helps to improve the community by sharing more information, education, and perspective on issues that affect families and our community. I believed that working families had the best ideas on how to improve issues like education and I wanted them to have a voice. Also, there are so many great things going on the community that busy working families don't hear about. Especially with all of the news and important information that is shared online, it is really hard to keep up on the news that affects you and your family.

 

Parker has developed a plan to create jobs in America at an exponential rate.

We have to meet people where they are. Growing through construction is good, but it won't be enough because people don't like to do construction and math is a weakness in the under-skilled workforce. My plan addresses these concern and more, while creating transitional job opportunities that promote the growth of the economy as a whole.

 

The root cause of many of today's social and economic concerns is money, people need and want jobs.

I BELIEVE, We Must Stand Together for Love, Peace, and Unity.

Posted by [email protected] on November 14, 2012 at 1:10 PM

After graduating from the University of Illinois with a BA in Economics, I took a high paying job as District Manager of a grocery chain. After working an average of 55 hours per week, it didn't take me long to testify that money can't buy you happiness. I would rather live with a purpose- GOD'S Purpose.

 

I prayed to be his slave, while in tears at one of my weakest points. I had no idea the level of spiritual warfare that I was up against. I lost everything in a house fire, persecuted by those I loved, had years of work destroyed several times, and still living in poverty just to name a few. I believe GOD made me a witness to life struggles, so that I have gained compassion and understanding.

 

I believe GOD has given me an assignment to help improve social and economic conditions. Racism, injustice, & greed are threatening the strong fabric of our nation. Today our nation is at a crossroad. Our fore-father's led us through with the trust of GOD in their hearts, not hate. We must not look back but stand together and move forward to help improve our economy, end the suffering, and restore faith in the American dream.

Most American's have one thing in common, we just want to provide for our family, worship, and live in peace. African-American communities have been living in a state of depression and recession for decades before America's 2007 economic meltdown. Mainstream media does a poor job of portraying African-American and poor people, which perpetuates negative stereotyping that feeds racially motivated actions. I want to change this. After Obama's election the reality of just how much racism and economic class is still operating within our system once again surfaced as being undeniable. What also surfaced is the masses who believe that the new generation of Americans has moved beyond race enough to realize that it is just a bunch of rich, selfish people isolated from the diversity of America and too ignorant to see the power behind Unity. There is enough for all of us...stop the oppression, stop the greed, stop the hate.

 

 

We as American's have to prove to the world that democracy works for the masses of the people in the country. Not just the people that happen to make it to the polls that day. In all of our advancements in technology when are we going to create a more 21st Century approaches to voting. For those that think that we are still in the “Jim Crow” era and parents raising their kids to judge people by the color of their skin need a reality check. You are NOW the minority.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Police drones will be coming to skies near you.

Posted by [email protected]actionmagazine.com on August 4, 2012 at 2:05 PM

Within a few months police drones will be coming to skies near you.

Drones are remote controlled aircraft’s that are cheaper to operate and can stay airborne longer.

 

Legislation signed by President Obama will give access to first responders and police first to assist with duties like; patrolling areas, monitoring traffic, and searching for missing persons or criminals.

 

Because of affordability and accessibility of the crafts there are concerns the vices can be used to spy on people, and can be used as a weapon.

 

Drones were previously restricted out safety concerns, but are now approved because of lobbying efforts of drone makers and customers. According to the New York Times the drone market is valued at $5.9 billion.

Thoughts on Travon Martin Case

Posted by [email protected] on August 1, 2012 at 2:05 PM

Parker's Thoughts on Travon Martin Case: What I ask Zimmerman:

“If you were scared why did you chase him. If you were chasing him then Trayvon was defending himself when or if he punched you.

 

What about all the men in jail for shooting someone that shot at them first?

 

So, every street fight has the right to kill?”

 

America is watching.


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