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What do I say to my students after the news from Kenosha?

What will I tell my students

After the news from Kenosha today?

Should I tell them that justice is blind

So the DA is okay?

Or do I speak the well heard cry:

No justice, no peace

To those who like angry dogs

Stretch the already taut leash?

Do I say if Jacob Blake

Would have simply put up his hands

None of this would have happened

No disturbance across the lands?

As I speak to them soon

About seven shots in the back

I’ll know what many of them think:

Because he was black.

How many more times

Will a black family ask it

Where is the justice

For my loved one in the casket?

And even when like Blake

The victims survive the shooting

Are their families suppose to say

“Be calm, please no looting?”

Maybe I must tell my students

Forget what they saw

Because change will only come

When they help write new law.

Is that sufficient?

Is that message good enough?

If it contains the rage

Will some say, “Good stuff?”

And soon we all retreat

To the places we’ve long realized

While Blake just lies there

Likely forever paralyzed.

NBA Players need to point out that Uighur Lives Matter

Public Domain image

The NBA’s players deserve accolades for their decision to boycott two days’ worth of playoff games last week after a black man in Wisconsin was shot in the back seven times by a white police officer.

That boycott served as the most powerful statement made by any sports organization in reminding America (and the world) that Black Lives Matter. Within hours, multiple MLB, MLS and WNBA teams joined the boycott, which the NHL also added its name to one day later.

The boycott was the right decision and made at the right time.

Now it must be extended internationally.

These basketball players, emboldened unlike at any time in the past in calling attention to social and racial injustice, must remind the Chinese that their government’s treatment of the Uighur minority is despicable. And until it changes, the players must make clear they’ll have nothing to do with China and a popular shoe company.

VOX.com summarizes the plight of Uighurs well, noting

…in recent years, the Chinese Communist Party has arbitrarily detained between 1 million and 3 million other Uighurs in so-called “reeducation centers” and forced them to undergo psychological indoctrination programs, such as studying communist propaganda and giving thanks to Chinese President Xi Jinping. Chinese officials have also reportedly used waterboarding and other forms of torture, including sexual abuse, as part of the indoctrination process. 

It is the largest mass internment of an ethnic-religious minority group since World War II.

China also is reportedly compelling Uighurs to work in factories that make Nike shoes. (The government also is reportedly requiring Uighurs to make face masks to combat coronavirus.)

Why is Nike important in this conversation? According to TheSource.com, half of the 14-richest shoe deals in the NBA are linked to that company.

The current players sporting Nikes include Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, LeBron James, Russell Westbrook and Zion Williamson. The late Kobe Bryant also had a Nike deal.

This above list includes three of the NBA’s best players (Antetokounmpo, Durant and James); they have the gravitas to tell Nike to delink its products with China until there’s verified evidence the Uighurs are being treated with dignity.

The NBA has a billion-dollar relationship with China, and it’s hit turbulence in recent months. So far, the league’s front office has shown zero spine in calling attention to China’s human rights abuses. If that continues, and it appears it will, then the players must lead in demanding change.

If Black Lives Matter in the United States, then Uighur Lives Matter in China.

The players’ platform starts with consistently and publicly embarrassing Nike until that company confirms Uighurs — and anyone imprisoned in China — aren’t making any Nike shoes.

It includes breaking their shoe contracts until Nike gets its act together. (Let’s face it, if Nike takes these players to court for violating shoe deals, the company loses, no matter the verdicts.)

The platform also must call on the NBA to suspend contracts with China until human rights conditions dramatically improve.

Lastly, it includes refusing to play pre- or regular-season games in that country until China publicly acknowledges that Uighur Lives Matter.

It’s a heavy lift, and the blowback from China will be fierce. But it’s the right thing to do.

To anyone who believes it’s not fair to single out the NBA’s players, here’s the deal: The league and its players have been leaders in calling out racial injustice in the U.S. over the past 4-5 years. Their commitment to this effort has been all the more important because professional baseball, football, hockey and soccer players have said almost nothing in the same time period.

The NBA’s players are using their megaphone for the right reasons. But they can’t limit themselves to only what’s happening at home.

The time is now. They must answer the call.

A 17-year-old domestic terrorist accused of murdering Kenosha protesters

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports the teen was picked up in his home state of Illinois.

Court records show Kyle Rittenhouse, 17, of Antioch, Ill., has been charged there as a fugitive from justice. That document, reviewed by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, said he faces a first-degree intentional homicide charge in Kenosha County.

The warrant referenced in Lake County records is not yet listed in Wisconsin online court records. Based on Wisconsin law, Rittenhouse would be charged as an adult.

It’s only a matter of time before segments of the American public offer their support for this domestic terrorist. And he is a domestic terrorist; he traveled to another state with a gun. It also would appear he traveled with the intent of committing a violent act.

That’s a domestic terrorist.

Militia patrolling the streets of Kenosha, Wisconsin

It’s 21st century America, and militia are patrolling the streets of one U.S. city.

And they might be shooting private citizens.

According to the Guardian,

Two people were shot dead and another injured when at least one gunman opened fire on protesters in Kenosha, Wisconsin, amid demonstrations against the police shooting of Jacob Blake three days ago.

David Beth, the county sheriff, said one person was shot in the head and another in the chest shortly before midnight on Tuesday. Another person was shot in the arm. The victims have not been identified.

Beth said people describing themselves as belonging to a militia had been patrolling Kenosha’s streets in recent nights but he did not know if the shooter was involved with such a group.

“They’re a militia,” Beth told reporters. “They’re like a vigilante group.”

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports

On Tuesday, a group calling itself the Kenosha Guard, asked members and followers on Facebook to come downtown and be prepared to defend the city.

One post read: “Any patriots willing to take up arms and defend out (sic) City tonight from the evil thugs? Nondoubt (sic) they are currently planning on the next part of the City to burn tonight!”

The Kenosha News reports that local officials are urging the governor to authorize the National Guard to brought to the city.

A police state brought about by one white officer choosing to shoot a black man seven times. That black man, Jacob Blake, is now paralyzed from the waist down.

What a country.

Wisconsin girls soccer team draws criticism…for their haircuts (they look like boys!)

This story proves that some parents are comfortable allowing their children to be who they want to be. Good for them!

The Milwaukee Sentinel-Journal reports that a girls soccer team draws repeated criticism because of the haircuts many of the girls have. In fact, the parents of some opposing teams think the girls are boys.

They’ve been ridiculed by opposing parents, coaches, even referees, all of whom refused to accept that they were not boys. At tournaments, they have been asked to prove their gender, and were told they didn’t deserve medals.

But instead of giving in and growing their hair out, the girls, with the help of their parents, coach and soccer club, are sticking with each other — and with their look. After a summer hiatus, they’re preparing for a new season beginning in September.