Final blog from Richard James

BCC-goodbye

It’s been fun but its time to move on.

My earliest support of the Beloved Community Council happened before it existed.

Way back in January 2009, I published a special promotional flyer for MLK Community Alliance Peace walk cleverly disguised as an issue of the African-American Perspective AAAP3.1bnewsletter. I did not participate in the symbolic walk across the Market Street Bridge. It was too cold. Instead, I was in Pine Street United Methodist Church’s kitchen helping to prepare hot meals for the marchers.

Ahhh, those were the days. Barack Hussein Obama had been elected 44th President of the United States and a feisty band of individuals celebrated Martin Luther King’s birthday in a very public way… marching across the frozen Susquehanna River to hold service at the Salvation Army.

In 2012, I worked with another group in Williamsport that also held Martin Luther King in their official name. The MLK Street Sign Committee had a portion of Williamsport’s Memorial Avenue officially changed Martin Luther King, Jr Blvd.

But the Martin Luther King Commemoration Committee was also making moves too. They held a “round table” discussion on January 21, 2013 at Pennsylvania College of Technology.

In November 2013, Vanessa Hunter suggested that I join the board of the Martin Luther King Commemoration Committee. I worked with the group for a hot minute. I created posters, online promotions, a logo and also helped with creating an indiegogo fundraising account. But I moved on. I still supported the MLK group and they asked me to return to the group.

I suggested that two MLK groups in Williamsport could be confusing to the public. The Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemoration Committee changed its name to the Beloved Community Council. I redesigned the logo. And established the website.

I have worked steadily with the Beloved Community Council since the summer of 2014 as Communications Co-Chair. I provided content on BCC’s website and Facebook pages, I produced flyers, and posters, Public Service Announcements, Press Releases and Media Alerts. I created a six foot banner for use at events. I even moderated a few round table discussions.

Unfortunately, due to health reasons, I must step down as Communication Chair and withdraw from most BCC activities. This will be my last post.

I enjoyed working with such a dedicated group of people. Together, we helped bring Dr. King’s Dream a little closer reality. The endless, meetings throughout the year, the coordination with institutions and collaboration with community partners and the BCC events themselves are, for me, time well spent.

Thanks to everyone who gave me an opportunity to serve.

Richard James

Get ready to run

 

Race Against Racism logo

Well, are you in training for Williamsport’s YWCA’s 3rd Annual Race Against Racism 5k race? You still have time. Start slow and build up gradually. If you are really out of shape, start by taking brisk but short walks. Do stretching exercises before and after each run. And make sure you consult your doctor.

The Williamsport YWCA is one of our community partners and the Beloved Community Council supports their contributions to the Williamsport community.

The 5k race will be held in Brandon Park on April 29, 2017 starting at 9am. For more information click here or contact Anna Thompson at athompson@ywcawilliamsport.org

Is the US in violation of UN Human Rights treaties?

 

OHCHRlogo

According to a August 2016 report by Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent to the United Nation’s Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, we have some work to do. The United States’ treatment of its African-American citizens would be considered violations of basic human rights. We better get our act together if we cite other countries for Human Rights abuses. the report is titled, “Report of the Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent on its mission to the United States of America”

Next month we will commemorate the death of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.image of report on US rights abuses He was killed nearly 50 years ago on April 4, 1968 and according the Human Rights Working Group’s findings, not much has changed regarding race relations in the United States. Despite the progress since Dr. King’s death, African-Americans are still denied the freedom of being fully actualized human beings. One wonders what Dr. King would think of the report… and current political intrigues in Washington DC and across the country. To read the entire report, download the pdf file here.

Here’s a few choice excerpts from the report:

  1. “Racial stereotyping of people of African descent is taking place around the world and must be addressed as an unacceptable phenomenon. Stereotypes are the result of limited knowledge, misinterpretations, shortcomings of education and the negative portrayal of people of African descent in the media and works of art. For example, people of African descent are rarely present in films, and when they are present have secondary or supporting roles only.”
  2. “However, having listened to African Americans in different parts of the country, the Working Group considers that civil rights laws are not being fully implemented, and even if fully implemented, they are insufficient to overcome and transform the institutional and structural racial discrimination and racism against people of African descent. Mass incarceration, police violence, housing segregation, disparity in the quality of education, labour market segmentation, political disenfranchisement and environmental degradation continue to have detrimental impacts on people of African descent, despite the application of civil rights laws.”

     

  3. “Despite the positive measures, the Working Group remains extremely concerned about the human rights situation of African Americans. In particular, the legacy of colonial history, enslavement, racial subordination and segregation, racial terrorism and racial inequality in the United States remains a serious challenge, as there has been no real commitment to reparations and to truth and reconciliation for people of African descent. Contemporary police killings and the trauma that they create are reminiscent of the past racial terror of lynching. Impunity for State violence has resulted in the current human rights crisis and must be addressed as a matter of urgency.”

     

  4. “The persistent gap in almost all the human development indicators, such as life expectancy, income and wealth, level of education, and even food security, between African Americans and the rest of the United States population, reflects the level of structural and institutional discrimination that creates de facto barriers for people of African descent to fully exercise their human rights.”

    “African Americans in many cities are facing a housing crisis, in which people are not able to pay their rents or mortgages, and even less to purchase a new house, and are subsequently subject to de facto gentrification.”

 

Black History Month programs at PCT

From our partner, Pennsylvania College of Technology, two very interesting programs as part of their observance of Black History Month. Click here to see the map of the campus.

13th- the documentary

Monday, February 13
13th – Netflix Documentary
7 p.m., 
Bush Campus Center, Penn’s Inn

Filmmaker Ava DuVernay explores the history of racial inequality in the United States, focusing on the fact that the nation’s prisons are disproportionately filled with African-Americans.  Join us for this powerful documentary.  Discussion to follow, refreshments provided. 

 

Soundless cries don't lead to healing

Thursday, February 16
Valencia Clay, Soundless Cries Don’t Lead to Healing   
7 p.m., Professional Development Center, Mt. Laurel Room
Our Black History Month guest speaker will join us to share insights from her new book Soundless Cries Don’t Lead to Healing: A Critical Thinking Guide to Cultural Consciousness. 10 Free books will raffled off at the event.  Book signing/purchase available at the end of the presentation.  Refreshments provided.