Todd Heisler/The New York Times. See: "Following King’s Path, and Trying to Galvanize a New Generation," New York Times, August 24, 2013.

We have a tendency to view the history of the Civil Rights movement through a messianic lens, as if Christ came in the form of a King and paid the price for us. But the reality is that there is a price we must each pay today because the work is not yet done. If we are to truly overcome and secure social justice and racial equity, if we are to triumph over the triple evils of racism, materialism, and militarism, if we are to seize power over the Wall Street oligarchs and corporate plutocrats, then we must set aside the dominant yet dangerous superficial and superstitious reading and understanding of the struggle for African American liberation.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg speaks at the North American Board Meeting for the Union for Reform Judaism on May 31, 2013, in New York City.  Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images. Photo source:

It is poverty that kills. But Mayor Bloomberg, defending his stop-and-frisk policy that was shot down by federal Judge Shira Scheindlin as racist and unconstitutional, would have us believe it is blacks and Latinos who are the murderers. While claiming to be protecting black and brown people, Bloomberg drags them out as the bogeyman in the stop-and-frisk controversy to scare whites. His words sully minorities, but the numbers don’t lie.

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As they try to roll back rights for women and people of color, these former Dixiecrats are not the party of Abraham Lincoln. The good news is that this lunatic fringe can no longer openly lynch people in the daylight of a Sunday picnic. But as the sun goes down on the Republican Party, the 21st century rope has become a shiny Frederick Douglass quote and a Martin Luther King platitude thrown out to lure us to a very old tree.

Supporters at Bradley Manning trial. (Photo by: Casey McKeel)

In July, Pfc Bradley Manning, the US soldier responsible for leaking thousands of US Army reports and diplomatic cables to Wikileaks, was convicted of 20 offenses. Though not convicted of the most serious of charges, that of Aiding the Enemy, he currently faces a 90 year maximum sentence.

August 17, 2013 rally in front of the White House calling for “immigrant rights.” Photo by: Bill Hughes.

On Tuesday evening, August 13, 2013, at the New Shiloh Baptist Church in West Baltimore, Bill Hughes discussed the upcoming “March on Washington” with long-time advocate for social justice, Marvin “Doc” Cheatham. Hughes also covered the August 17, 2013 rally for “immigrant rights," which was held in front of the White House.

Source: Oxfam 2013, all figures in US$. See: "Remittances: how much Britain sends, and where the cash goes – get the data" in the Guardian (Aug 9, 2013)

The continued functioning of the remittance pipeline is “essential for Somalia's immediate survival and long-term development,” concludes a new Oxfam report, which emphasizes the “crucial role” of Somali-Americans and the money-transfer institutions they rely on to send life-saving funds back home. Despite its importance, “the Somalia remittance pipeline is under serious threat,” the report warns. Its precarious state is a result of a Washington-led effort to prevent Somalis in the diaspora from providing aid to their home country, one of the lesser-known developments that have come out of the “war on terror.”

Youth from Taiwan announcing their open space session, at the 2013 International Democratic Education Conference. (Source:

In the past week, I’ve been at two amazing conferences, both dealing with democratizing education. The first was IDEC, the International Democratic Education Conference, held this year in Boulder, Colorado.

REUTERS/Rebecca Cook

As America celebrates "Victory Day," on August 15, when one looks at a photo of 1945 Hiroshima or modern day Detroit, the similarities are striking.

As Hiroshima lied smoldering, Detroit was the envy of modern civilization; the model city known as the Arsenal of Democracy. Detroit was the innovator of mass production, creator of the middle class, and the pioneer of racial equality. Today, Detroit is emblematic of the failures of the social policies starting in the sixties, and synonymous with deterioration and blight.

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Our national deficit debates are increasingly turning to healthcare costs and the need to evolve our current dysfunctional healthcare system. A recent addition to this debate is a new book by a founder of Tai Sophia in Laurel, Maryland. In his book, Breaking the Iron Triangle: Reducing Healthcare Costs in Corporate America, Robert Duggan notes that our current debate frames healthcare as an “iron triangle”. The iron triangle refers to healthcare cost, quality, and access. According to Duggan, “common sense tells us that is impossible to maximize quality and access while minimizing cost.” He argues the iron triangle can be broken only by abandoning cherished, destructive assumptions and complementing our existing “disease system” with a strengthened “wellness system”. The book includes several examples of institutions – including many local to Maryland – that are currently taking up this challenge.

Saturday, July 20 rally to “end the senseless violence, to demand justice for Trayvon Martin, to focus on healing, to honor the dream of Dr. Martin Luther King and to seek a brighter tomorrow.” Photo by Bill Hughes.

I would think that white people would not want to bring up the subject of violence to African Americans whose ancestors were slaves. Black on black crime? Really? That subject is the popular go-to issue that stalks the Trayvon Martin tragedy like a cowardly, failed martial arts student stalks his victim – with a gun. Since the George Zimmerman controversial verdict that has galvanized civil rights activists and even moved the most dedicated couch potatoes out of their barcoloungers, that’s been the buzz. Many people, including the president, are calling for an honest, serious conversation on race. Is that what the race conversation consists of, putting the worst of the “least of these” under indictment? Do we really want to put a bull’s eye on the poorest, most underserved segments of the population and take aim?


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