Category Archives: Education

The Untold History of Black Massacres in America

As we are now in these final moments of the U.S. election and await the highly anticipated presidential results- I’ve been in conflict with myself on how I want to use my voice at this time.

Regardless of how the results of the election go, all of me is concerned deeply on the immediate safety of Black people in this country. We have been living in a constant state racially fueled violence with an alarming uptick since May of this year . We have been demanding justice for the lives stolen from us by the police state while guard ourselves against white people empowered by 45’s calls to them to stand back and stand by .

In the wake of all this , I took a step back and spent needed time with Ancestors. They know better than the living the histories kept from us. They have the vision now on how to preserve us alive in this moment, guiding us onto liberation.

America’s dark racist history is often left muddled because of the lack of accurate teaching of it in our educational system. United States of America likes to hide the ugliest parts of its history with inadequate one sided record keeping or lying to cover up the truly heinous crimes that have happened. We can see this especially during the Reconstruction Era and the time shortly after. Former confederates resented the freedom of Black people and white supremacy reached new heights as poor whites now had to compete for jobs in the same economy as Black people. In fact, the extreme racist fueled violence of the Reconstruction Era ushered in The Great Migration, one of the largest migrations of a people’s to be recorded on this land . And yet that migration didn’t save Black people from racism that had been embedded in the illegitimate creation of this nation. The first documented race riot turned Massacre occurred in New York in 1863.

I was able to research and compile for y’all 24 histories of Black Massacres that happened in America. I am sure there are more instances that I missed , and once I come across I will add to this list . My goal was to provide other Black people out there with some truth about our history that was kept from us. I wanted to honor the Ancestors that deaths were never recognized and names left unknown. I recounted briefly the stories surrounding these massacres and included reference articles after each for people who would like a deeper dive into these histories.

1. New York City | July 13, 1863

New York City Draft Riots , image from History Channel

The first ever Draft had been established for the civil war and had finally reached New York by the year 1863. The wealthy whites were able to pay the fine for avoiding being drafted into war , but the large Irish population (mostly poor) were unable to . They also were now competing with newly free Black people for employment.

On the evening of July 13th, 1863 when a crew of disgruntled Irish firefighters known for their volatile temperament set their own fire engine on fire a mob formed . These firefighters led the angry mob to destroying the properties of businesses known to employ Black people, the homes of abolitionists, and set the mental hospital for children of color on fire . It is estimated that over 660 people were killed after the three days of riots . Of those only 120 death were recorded, 109 were Black people. The New York City Daft Riot goes on to be one of the Bloodiest unknown massacres that happened in the north .

Reference Article

2. Memphis, Tennessee |May 1-3, 1866

Memphis riots of 1866 , image from Wikipedia

The Reconstruction Political climate of Memphis was similar to New York City, yet different. Memphis was captured by the Union in 1862 and became a haven of sorts for free Black people to migrate to . By 1866 poor Irish men and people who were formerly confederate, had the same feelings as the whites people in New York and acted upon them .

“When the rumor of the black-on-white crime spread, Fort Pickering’s commander, General George Stoneman, confiscated black soldiers’ weapons and ordered them to their barracks. That left a nearby black neighborhood and an African American refugee camp unguarded”. Left unguarded a racists mob led by local police and firefighters went into the Black Camps and Black neighborhoods rampaging killing men, women and children. All crimes we’re committed for the next three days , from theft to rape and murder . there is no definitive number on the amount of deaths from this massacre although their are estimations , multiple homes and buildings were destroyed. No arrests or criminal action was taken against those who participated in the three day Massacre.

Reference article the Atlantic

3. New Orleans | July 30, 1866

This image from Harpers Weekly depicts Confederate veterans opening fire on the crowd in New Orleans. The placement of the US flag in the drawing served as a reminder to readers that some former Confederates had not yet accepted the outcome of the war. Library of Congress

New Orleans Massacre happened just two months after the Memphis Massacre. New Orleans Mayor was a former Confederate sympathizer and was fiercely opposed to Reconstruction Era . Tensions between the Mayor and Radical Republicans came to a head when the Radical Republicans held a convention for their delegates in New Orleans on July 27 1866. Upon learning that the convention would resume again , New Orleans Sheriff- who was also an Ex- Confederate General, began deputizing former Confederates and other racist in preparation to disrupt when the convention resumed. On July 30th , 1866 twenty- five delegates along with 200 Black freemen marched in a parade to the convention hall , along the way they were harassed and fights began to break out . When the Sheriff and his mob made their way to the convention hall they began firing into the crowd of Black men . 34 people were killed and 119 wounded. Over 200 arrests were made .

New Orleans Massacre Reference article

4. St. Bernard Parish , Louisiana |October 25, 1868

The 1868 St. Bernard Parish Massacre , image from New Orleans Jazz Museum

On October 25, 1868 at a rally for a Presidential Democratic nominee, Horatio Seymour, the violence began . A Black man was observing the rally passing by when white participants got bold. They approached the man and got in his face trying to encourage him to shout for Seymour. When the Black man refused , the white participants attempted to stab him and failed . The Black Man then reached for his pistol and began firing as he feld the scene , he was shot in the head . A week of racial fueled violence ensured once news spread, a group of Black people killed one white man. On the other hand the white mob broke into Black people’s homes killing whole families, executing Black people on the street and stealing items like voting registration from Black people’s homes . The white mob killed those who tried to stop them including an police officer . The Exact number of fatalities is unclear , no arrests were made other than over 100 Black men for the death of the one white man .

Reference Article

5. Camilla, Georgia | September 19, 1868

Image from Zinn Education Project

On September 19, 1868 “The Original 33”, the first 33 elected Black Legislators in the Georgia State Assembly, held a march and rally after being unjustly expelled from the Assembly by racists Democrats. The march began in Albany , Georgia and planned to end in the town square of Camilla. The march grew to about 300 armed men, Black and white by the time they reached Camilla. Camilla’s Sheriff threatened the protesters with violence if they did not disarm themselves, which they did not . In response the Sheriff deputized whites who had gathered in Camilla ahead of the rally, sent them into storefronts and when the March was going through the town the new sheriff deputies began firing at them from all directions. In the weeks that followed white people went into the outskirts of Georgia hunting down Black people , beating them up and threatening them about voting in the next election . 15 were killed , 40 wounded- no arrests made .

Reference Article

6.Opelousas, Louisiana| September 28, 1868

Image from Smithsonian Magazine

A crew of white supremacist that called themselves Seymour’s Knights , named after the Presidential Democratic nominee sparked things this time . A white Republican writer and teacher from Ohio wrote a scalding article in the local paper about the violence incited by the Democratic Party . In response to this article Seymour Knights beat him so terribly that he fled the town and was on the run for three weeks. The Black Republicans after hearing this and not being able to confirm if their comrade was alive , took up arms in retaliation. The Seymour Knights and allies outnumbered and out gunned the Black freemen . What was shaped to be a war turned into a bloodied massacre . Black Republican leaders that surrendered were executed publicly , others were captured to be killed later. An estimated 150 people were killed , actually number unknown. No arrests made.

Reference Article

7. Colfax, Louisiana | April 13, 1873

Image from Smithsonian Magazine

An all Black Militia took control over the Colfax courthouse after the split ballot result in the Louisiana governors race in fear that the white supremacist would try to overtake the election. 150 KKK member and other white domestic terrorist showed up outside the occupied courthouse with a cannon . And fired the cannon into the courthouse. The Black Militia stood their ground until they ran out of ammunition. When they surrendered they were shot and hanged. The exact amount of deaths is unknown , it’s estimated between 60 to 150 deaths . 97 arrests were made of the white supremacist, only 9 were charged with crimes .

Reference Article

8. Eufaula, Alabama | November 3, 1874

Image from Equal Justice Initiative

It was an Election Day on November 3, 1874 . An argument broke out at the polls between a Black Republican and white Democrat over an underaged Black voter. The white man stabbed the Black man in the shoulder resulting in other white democrats in the area to take arms, which they had stashed in strategic spaces around the polling station. Black people retreated , as they were encouraged by Black leaders not to come with weapons out to not instigate any violence. white men mostly did the shooting , killing approximately 8 people and about 80 were injured . Only a dozen of those were whites people . After the polls closed, an armed mob led by a democratic official broke into the polling place. They fired at the judge and his son who had vow to stay until morning to protect the ballots , ultimately killing the son. The mob stole the ballot box and over 700 ballots from the Black area of the district and burned them. No arrests were made.

Reference Article

9. Vicksburg, Mississippi | December 7, 1874

Image from historycollection.com

Peter Crosby, a formerly enslaved person and a Union Army veteran, was elected as the Vicksburg Sheriff. After calls for his resignation began he reached out to the Republican governor and Black community . The governor sent an letter urging the white supremacist groups to stand down , which they ignored . The Black community however, mass mobilized and hundreds marched in solidarity with Crosby on December 7, 1874 . They were met by white liners , a local group of white supremacist when they marched into Vicksburg. The whites began firing first and ultimately ran off the surviving Black people . For 10 days the white liners joined by other white supremacist from Louisiana hunted down, killed and terrorized Black people in and around Vicksburg. Peter Crosby was captured and forced to resign. It is estimated that anywhere from 70 to 300 deaths happened during this massacre. No arrests were made.

Reference Article

10. Clinton, Mississippi |September 2, 1875

Image from BlackPast.org

The Republican Party in Mississippi planned a series on rallies to encourage voting in the upcoming election that year in November. About 1,500 people were in attendance at the rally held at Clinton on September 2, 1875- of those 75 were white liners . To ease tensions, the Republican Party suggested a debate between the two parties . When the Republican representative went to counter the democratic, they were met with booing and heckling from white liners . A Black State senator made an urgent plea for peace then violence broke out . The white liners began shooting, killing 5 Black people and two whites . The mayor of Clinton made a call for assistance after hearing a rumor of retaliation, bringing in hundreds of white liners into town . They spent the next days searching for and shooting down Black people . On September 13, 1875 the president of USA adopted a policy of nonintervention in Mississippi in response to the pleas for federal assistance . It’s is estimated that 30 to 50 Black people were killed , actual numbers cannot be confirmed . No arrests were made.

Reference Article

11. Thibodaux, Louisiana | November 23, 1887

Image from BlackPast.org

10,000 Black sugar cane cutters all went on strike during the harvest season of 1887 in an effort to unionize for better pay and fair treatment. Sugar cane growers fired unionized cutters and denying them their demands sparking the strike . The strike went on for three weeks effecting four plantations, thus being one of the largest farming strikes in American history. The planters were able to influence the governor to unleash all white state militias into Thibodaux were they essentially went door to door killing suspected unionists and strikers , stopping and killing people on the streets resulting in many running to hide in the swaps and others areas. It was estimated 60 people were killed . No arrests were made.

Reference Article

12. Wilmington, North Carolina | November 10, 1889

Image from Time.com

On November 10th, 1889 a mob of white people engaged in the first successful coup d’Etat on a local government level in America. The mob burned down The Daily Record, the only black owned newspaper, destroying hundreds of stories and records of the Black community in the city before they began their killing spree. By the evening the two newly elected officials were thrown out of office and replaced with white supremacists . It is estimated that 40 people were killed . Immediate Historical records of the domestic terrorists that executed this coup were held up as heroes , which makes this massacre especially difficult to determine credibility around.

Reference Article

13. Atlanta, Georgia | September 22- 24, 1906

Image from Georgia Encyclopedia.org

On September 22, 1906 multiple rumors of Black on white violence spread throughout Atlanta through false reports in various newspapers. By sundown a mob of white supremacists gathered in downtown Atlanta. They began destroying the properties owned by Black people and that employed Black people , they attacked Black people they found on the street beating them to death. The mob went into Black neighborhoods but retreated after 2 am when a huge rain storm began to pour from the sky . The next day federal militia were dispatched to curb the growing violence, while Black people secretly armed themselves in preparation for another day of violence. Over 250 Black men armed themselves and met in secret in Brownsville to discuss how to protect the community, when the state police heard of this meeting they gather all the militia groups to gather outside of the secret meeting place . A shootout happened where one officer was killed. The Black people were disarmed and the next few days white supremacist were able to make their way into some Black neighborhoods despite the police presence. Atlanta’s Black community suffered greatly after many businesses were destroyed, burned and rob propelling them into an economic depression. 25 to 40 deaths were estimated. No arrests were made or any acknowledgement from the city of this massacre.

14. Springfield, Illinois | August 15, 1908

The aftermath of the Springfield Massacre, Image from NPR Illinois

This massacre like the previous was started by a rumor of Black on white violence, this time two Black men were accused of harming two white women . The Springfield police quickly arrested two Black men and moved them to an undisclosed location before the mob of white people arrived . Upon arrival the mob demanded the men be handed over and lynched for the rumors that spread earlier that day . And when the police informed the mob that they would not do so and that the men had been moved , the mob grew even more enraged causing them to catch the first Black men they came across and lynch them . These two killings did not satisfy the mob, they continued into Springfield destroying and looting Black owned businesses and businesses that patronized only . The mob also spread their violence to surrounding Black community near Springfield. Black people that attempted to defend themselves were shot at. Many Black people fled the city. Six Black people were shot and killed in addition to the first two men that were hanged. 150 white domestic terrorists were arrested, the whites who were not intimidated and threatened people out of testifying.

Reference Article

15. Slocum, Texas | July 29, 1910

Clippings from news articles about the Slocum Massacre Image from Zinn Education Project

Slocum, Texas was a maroon community , a town occupied by mostly Black people with Black owned businesses . Tension from whites living in surrounding areas that did not approve of the Black township came to a head on July 29, 1910 . Groups of mobs moved around the county hunting Black people . The mob chased Black residents out of town and killed them as they tried to escape through the woods . Exact numbers of death are unknown , it is estimated 8 to 22 based off of reports yet the actual number is thought to be significantly higher according to the special Sheriff’s findings in the aftermath . No arrests were made , in fact efforts were used to cover up and keep this massacre a secret.

Reference Article

16. East St. Louis, Illinois | July 1, 1917

Image from BlackPast.org

On July 1st, 1917 Black people providing protection in East St. Louis accidental killed two plain clothes police officers. They mistaken a car’s model that had been doing “white drive-by” in a continuous attack on their community , and shot the motorist immediately . Over the next three days white supremacists terrorized the Black community in retaliation. The mobs of white people beat, shot and lynched men, women and children . They set houses and businesses on fire . It was recorded that 39 people were killed, yet it is believed that the actual number of deaths was more than 100 and the amount of damages was in the thousands.

Reference Article

17. Washington, D.C. |July 19, 1919

Image from Associate Press

On the evening of July 19, 1919 a mob of angry whites swarmed Washington’s streets after allegations of a Black man harming a white woman . The man and his wife were attacked and beat on the street , they ran home . When the mob arrived to the couple’s house their neighbors and friends were outside armed ready to protect. What occurred over the next four days was white violence and Black people defending themselves. The federal government dispatched the military on the fourth day . The massacre became apart of a time period know as “The Red Summer” , 4 to 38 were recorded to be killed and 100 injured .

Reference Article

18. Elaine, Arkansas |September 30, 1919

Image from Smithsonian Magazine

This is among the worst massacres of Black people in this country. On the evening of September 30, 1919 at 9pm Black Cotton sharecroppers held a meeting in their church discussing whether to Unionize, what lawyers to work with and other maters . At 11pm a white mob formed outside the church and began shooting in, they shot back killing one white man. News of the white man spread through the night across the river and by morning the story morphed into that Black people in Elaine had formed and were acting out an insurgence . October 1st : over 1,000 whites supremacists swarmed from all across the state and from Mississippi in retaliation and began the massacre. October 2: The Governor and veteran of Arkansas, Col. Issac Jencks, along with a machine gun battalion and 583 soldiers arrived to Elaine . Them along with the white supremacists that arrived a day prior terrorized the town for five day burning whole plantations and homes with families inside, killing , and capturing every Black person within 200 mile radius of Elaine. 122 Black men and women were arrested and found guilty of all types of false crimes , 12 Black men were hanged for the deaths of trigger happy white men that accidentally killed each other . The histories went on to tell the false story that the insurgence was forming that warranted this violence. The number of deaths cannot be accurately known due to local officials lack of records of the events , 25 to 853 are estimated to have been killed in this massacre ending the Red Summer .

Reference Article

19. Ocoee , Florida | November 2, 1920

July Perry , The Godfather of Black Ocoee Community, Image from Zinn Education Project

On November 1, 1920 Black residents in Ocoee went to their polling station to exercise their right to vote. They came despite the threats of Klans men who rode through neighborhoods threatening violence if they showed up the next morning. Each Black person was turned away after being threatened by the same Klansmen that now were camped outside their polling places and/ or the poll workers not being able to find any of their names on the voter registration rolls . One Black man who was turned away went to Orlando to seek counsel with a judge on the matter . The judge instructed the man on how to exercise his rights and how to file a lawsuit against their county. When he returned, he organized with other Black voters that were turned away and they all went back to the polls . They demanded that be let to vote and the Klan response was kill those 50 Black people in one night, one of them being July Perry The Godfather of the Black Ocoee community.

Reference Article

20. Tulsa, Oklahoma | May 31,1921

Image from the Washington Post

On May 30, 1921 a young Black man was accused of assaulting a white woman in downtown Tulsa and was quickly arrested. A local newspaper reported that he raped her and lynching was going to happen that night , in response to that article armed mobs of Black and white men surrounded the Tulsa courthouse. The armed Black men stayed at the courthouse to protect the young man inside from any harm while the white mob instigated violence, by night fall they got what they wanted . An argument turned shoot out broke out between a Black man and a white man , leaving the white man dead . The white mob began their counterattack on the Black people assembled there and continue into the Greenwood district, a well know affluent Black neighborhood also known as Black Wall Street. The white mob grew to include heavily armed veterans . They terrorized the Black community for two days killing anywhere from 30 to 300 people. The mob burned multiple homes, looted properties and injuring hundreds more with bombs they dropped from airplanes. There was thousands of dollars of damage and many Blsck people left displaced after the violence ended. The Tulsa Massacre is one the most known of Black Massacres despite it being left out of the taught histories in this country.

Reference Article

21. Rosewood, Florida | January 1, 1923

The last house left standing in Rosewood, Florida after the massacre; Image from BlackPast.org

Rosewood was a small predominantly Black township in Florida. A four day massacre began on January 1st , 1923 after a white woman from a neighboring town accused a Black man of rape . Many Black people escaped within the first two days through the swamps. Some were able to catch a train out of Florida, while others were hidden by allies in surrounding communities and cities. By January 6th, 1923 seeing that no Black people were left in Rosewood the mob of over 200 white men retreated leaving a single home and business standing after the massacre. They had destroyed the town of Rosewood. Six deaths were documented although it is believed to be far more . No arrest or charges were made, yet in 1994 Florida gave $150,000.00 to the nine survivors of the Rosewood massacre.

Reference Article

22. Detroit, Michigan | June 20, 1943

Firefighters respond to burning cars , Image from Walter P. Reuther Library

The Detroit Massacre started as a race riot after rumors of Black on white violence spread across the hard color line of Woodward Avenue. Both the Black and white communities began to retaliate which prompted the immediate response of the Detroit police to the east side, where the Black people lived . That evening the massacre began as police officers beat Black residents, shot up and looted their homes , and killed them in the streets . On the other side of Woodward Avenue, white vigilantes gathered into a mob beating any Black person walking along that color line. They stopped the cars of Black drivers coming down the street, dragged them out and flipped their cars over . The mayor and Governor instituted martial law the next day, and a military to disperse the white mob without any gunfire. The police retreated from the east side after arresting several Black people. Of the 25 Black people killed in this massacre, 18 of them were shot by the police . Hundreds were injured and thousands of dollars of damage happened to the properties in Detroit.

Reference Article

23. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania | May 13, 1985

The three blocks destroyed by the fire.
IMAGE: BETTMANN/CORBIS

MOVE, a Black Liberation collective that lived communal in west Philadelphia were deemed a terrorist organization by the city’s mayor and police commissioner. On May 13, 1985 police came to issue warrant for the arrest of five MOVE members when the violence began . MOVE member defended their home-base shooting at the five hundred police officers that had surrounded the front and back of their headquarters. The officers discharged over 10,000 rounds of ammunition for 90 minutes. The mayor approved the police commissioner command to bomb the MOVE house . Once the bomb was dropped firefighters were told not to put it out but to let it burn – resulting in 60 other row houses catching flames and burning. Police waited in the back alley to catch any MOVE members trying to escape the fires. The only MOVE members to survive were one woman and one child . 11 people were killed, 5 of which were children. The mayor or police commissioner were never charged for bombing the home of MOVE and allowing a neighborhood go up in flames .

Article Reference

24. Charleston, South Carolina | June 17, 2015

The nine people who lost their lives in the Charleston Massacre, Image from BlackPast.org

On the evening June 17, 2015 a congregation of Black people were gathered having bible study at AME Church in Charleston when a white man appeared at the church doors . The people inside welcomed him in, unaware that he was an armed white supremacist. Once inside the white man shot and killed 9 Black people . He fled the scene but was later caught and charged for his crimes .

Reference Article

The Red Summer | April – November 1919

Durning the period known as the Red Summer, an estimated 24 “race riots” turned into white led mob violence occurred all across the country. Ending with the massacre at Elaine, Arkansas.

Reference Article: https://www.history.com/news/red-summer-1919-riots-chicago-dc-great-migration

Around BuffaLowe: Grass Is Greener Movie Screening + Cannabis Panel Discussion 6.1.19 [Event]

Often times people will ask me, “Lowe why did you leave Buff and move to Cali?”

I’ve been gone 8 years this coming November. My answer is always “the weed and the weather brought me here.”

Working directly in the cannabis industry in a state that’s been medicinally legal since the 90’s, led me to start my own cannabis-empowered brands, Rhonda Jane (inspired by my middle name and Mary Jane), a 420 Chic online shopping boutique and Dope Mom Lifestyle Collective, a hub for moms and parents-to-be who utilize a holistic approach to pregnancy and parenthood with safe cannabis usage!

Fast forward to 2019, and New York State seems to be finally following suit on the cannabis legalization front.

My boy Valentino Shine, CEO of Shine Marijuana Marketing is on the East Coast in my hometown of Buffalo, NY and staying ahead of the curve by expanding his marketing brand to assist cannabis-based companies find their footing on this new journey.

Tomorrow, June 1st, 2019 he is assisting with what he mentions is “a recruiting and educational event on the magical plant and the opportunities it can and has created for people, cities, and states.”

Working with Canna House the social cannabis club and Farmacy Six, a cannabis non-profit organization focused on advocacy and education, this event will be very beneficial to those interested in decriminalizing the stigma attached to using this plant (recreationally or medicinally).

When: Saturday, June 1st, 2019

Where: 1 Lafayette Square Downtown Buffalo, NY

Time: 12-4p

Cost: FREE with RSVP here!

This is NOT a consumption based event! Movie screening and open panel discussion only!

Come out and learn and support!

Around BuffaLowe: S&J Foundation presents Let’s Talk About Mental Health [5.29.19]

I learned about this event by way of my girl Adri V’s Instagram story last week. Jamil Crews, who kindly honored myself and several other nominees in October 2017 at the 4th Annual 30 Under 30 Changemakers Awards, is hosting a mental health forum and I strongly encourage anyone who can attend to go!

Hopefully our resident Buffalo blogger Marielle can make it to this so we can share the information provided on a later post!

It’s time to have some real conversations about Mental Health.

Jamil Crews assembled some really dope speakers to talk about mental health as it relates to people with learning disabilities. Those disabilities can take a major toll on your mental health and he wants to help you learn to manage it.

Karl Shallowhorn from Community Health Center of Buffalo is coming in to speak. Karl himself has dealt with having mental health issues, and has now dedicated his life to helping those manage their own mental health issues.

Janielle Mckoy, who is a fashion producer, is coming all the way from Toronto to speak. She had to learn to deal with having dyslexia, and she’s going to talk about that.

And a person who really doesn’t need an introduction, Danielle Roberts from the YMCA will be on hand to speak as well. Danielle is truly passionate about the community she serves and she’s going to talk about a lot of the great programming coming out of the Y to help people with learning disabilities.

It will be hosted by the very talented Yasmin Young from 93.7 WBLK – The People’s Station.

They will also have free mental health screenings on site.

So let’s talk with J and #BreakTheStigma!

Powered by The S&J Foundation

RSVP here:

Sandjfoundation.org

Klassic Kacy presents Teach Speech: A Parent Workshop – Atlanta [6.22.19]

Parents, guardians and caregivers in the Atlanta, Georgia area, you are warmly invited to come out to an interactive workshop dedicated to educating adults on how to help expand their children’s speech and language skills at home!

The event will take place on Saturday, June 22nd, 2019 and will be two hours long, from 9am to 11am located at Greater Community COGIC 406 Roswell Street NE, Marietta, GA 30060. Please see below for registration information!

Register here: TeachSpeech.eventbrite.com

Please be sure to share this event with someone you know that can benefit! Also make sure to follow her on Instagram @klassickacy and subscribe to her YouTube channel: Klassic Kacy!

Remembering Jose

On this day one year ago Jose Hernandez-Rossy was murdered by police officer Tedesco. Jose in death was crucified by media outlets whose platform feed the city lies about who he was and the actions leading to his untimely death. Jose was driving home enjoying the final break in our temper mental Buffalo seasons when he was stopped by the police. The traffic stopped turned violent when one officer reached into Jose’s car causing him to hit a street pole. Jose attempted to leave the scene by getting out of his car to run when he was shot and killed by officer Tedesco. That day and the ones that followed the media reported that he shot a police officer (which was false), that he had a criminal record, that he was smoking weed. The local media’s stance to discredit Jose, the victim of a heinous crime, that by 2017 had played out once in this city before in the case of Meech and dozens of time across this country was an eerie reminder of how American society treats the death of men of color as criminals first before human.

I saw him as human. I saw him in the face of his daughter who still didn’t understand why her father was not returning home as he always did. I saw him as a family man in videos that his cousins’ shared on their social media as they mourned their loss of him. I hear his humanity and his loving kindness in the stories from his brother- in- law of how he helped support him and his sister’s family. I see the strength of him live on in his sister and mother as they fight through a crooked judicial system with lawyers that have other agendas yet they still hold true to their convictions for justice. I have had my heart and soul break open with his family at the place of his death, as we held direct actions and in frustrating meetings.

One particular moment that stays burned in my mind and body’s memory was the day of his memorial at the site of where he was killed. I felt my body shake with sadness, anger, and grief and overwhelmed with hurt when I looked down to see my son crying beside me. Zaire cried because he too felt the overwhelming emotion of when the immediate family came to the pole on the corner of the street where Jose’s car initially crashed and the ground felt radiant of Jose’ blood that was still visible on parts of the street. There was a sad chaos in the street when his mother cried terribly before her body gave way and the male family members had to hold on to her. When the fire department and ambulance pulled up and Zaire began to cry more I decided that it was time for us to go. He asked me why he died and who killed him in the car ride home, I told him because of the color of his skin and by officers that said they were scared of him. My voice trembled as I said this as I felt guilt for exposing this harsh reality to my children. I let it hurt just enough before remembering that taking him and Kelila to Jose’s memorial did not make me a bad parent opening my children up to trauma. I am a parent that is exposing my children to what is happening in our community so that we may heal together and build better sustainable communities for our future.

Now today a year later we will come together once again to remember the life of Jose. We still hold the rage from the not guilty verdict from the Attorney General case in our bones as we reclaim this memorial site. Our emotions are raw on this day and we honor the unspoken power of them that has fueled us this far in our collective journey. My heart is still full despite the pain and I am sending out love in these words, in prayer, and in healing vibes to the survivors of state sanctioned violence.

The Xxxtentacion Effect [Editorial]

When I heard of the death of X, I broke my social media hiatus to see how the news was effecting everyone. I have learned from Bill Cosby, Chris Brown and R Kelly that when bad things happen to notorious abusers, black folks still weep. X like Chris, Bill and Kelly represents our relationship with black men. And Xxxtentacion dying in a drive by in broad daylight is a reminder that no matter the wealth, fame, or clout one gets does not make anyone immune from gun violence that plagues our black community. His fans and family that survived him that are currently mourning his death, I am committed into feeling more deeply with them.

I want to be clear that I by no means condone the vicious violence of this young man or am I a X sympathizer.

Xxxtentacion expressed his emotions in his music that he was unable to do in a healthy way in his interactions in his personal life. His music was his safe place where his creation released his pain and traumatic experiences that he took pride in sharing so others would not feel alone. When I look at the lyrics of Xxxtentacion’s music I understand that it is relatable to folks, young boys especially – that battle through the same emotions of feeling sadness and anger without knowing how to sort through it in a healthy way. I look to these as reminders of how much farther we have yet to go. If its not our personal relationship with unprocessed pain and emotions, it is our proximity to folks in our lives that experience it.

`Xxxtentacion music was relatable to so many folks for its emotional content.’

I work with young black boys that have similar life experiences as Xxxtentacion – mothers that feel more like older sisters, fathers that are barely existent, and grandparents, family members or foster parents that have had to take of care taker roles. I see how they let their relationship with their parents and the community that is still active in their lives shapes them into the men they are growing into. I see how their sadness that they are not allowed to feel into leads to frustration of not exploring these feelings of rejected which in turn morphs into anger that cannot be tamed.

I’m more concerned about the impact of X’s  life and the current wave of new rappers  have on our youth that look up to them as leading role models of success. Black children seeing young black men that look like their older cousins and on their social media platforms portray lives that are similar to their current day to day lives with the illusion of more money  inspire them to live their lives in the same manner.

As an adult I forget the impact that celebrities, musicians especially have on children. I grew up loving Beyoncé, Erykah Badu, and singers like that who inspired me to aim to define my own version of greatness.Today children look for the same.

It is our duty as adults to hold our youth’s idols accountable for their role they have on this new generation. Call them in more on their behaviors and call them out when their actions become problematic. X is dead, and all I have positively to say on his legacy creates a safe place for young male listeners to begin to explore their emotions. My hope is that we can let that door that has opened for boys to admit to feeling sadness and pain to us exploring more where this is coming from and introduce how to heal through their past traumas.

I am more focused on the future of our black community and how we are shaping the children that will become the leaders of that reality. I do not have the energy to imagine the possible future of Xxxtentacion  living a reformed life as a healed person in our community, I rather accept and learn from his tragic reality : X let the trauma of his childhood shape him into an unapologetically violent person which lead to his early death. He was aware of his transgressions and knew that much of it came from his troubled past which was why he felt the need to focus on the youth.

 “If worse thing comes to worst, and I f***ing die or some s*** and I’m not able to see out my dreams, I at least want to know that the kids perceived my message and were able to make something of themselves and able to take my message and use it and turn it into something positive and to at least have a good life.

 

“If I’m going to die or ever be a sacrifice, I want to make sure that my life made at least five million kids happy or they found some sort of answers or resolve in my life regardless of the negative around my name.” – Xxxtentacion, The Sun

Let us focus on raising our youth in healthy healing communities. Let’s focus on the women and femme survivors of the existing abusers in our own cities and communities- providing resources for access to safe havens, education on alternative interventions that do not require the police/law enforcement such as restorative justice and additional healing support. Let our black men work towards healing themselves and traumas while calling each other in when exhibiting toxic masculinity. This is the way we can at least begin to create our own sustainable community.

*resources :https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/6566828/xxxtentacion-dead-rapper-predicted-own-death-video-miami-shooting/ 

Remembering Jose

On this day one year ago Jose Hernandez-Rossy was murdered by police officer Tedesco. Jose in death was crucified by media outlets whose platform feed the city lies about who he was and the actions leading to his untimely death. Jose was driving home enjoying the final break in our temper mental Buffalo seasons when he was stopped by the police. The traffic stopped turned violent when one officer reached into Jose’s car causing him to hit a street pole. Jose attempted to leave the scene by getting out of his car to run when he was shot and killed by officer Tedesco. That day and the ones that followed the media reported that he shot a police officer (which was false), that he had a criminal record, that he was smoking weed. The local media’s stance to discredit Jose, the victim of a heinous crime, that by 2017 had played out once in this city before in the case of Meech and dozens of time across this country was an eerie reminder of how American society treats the death of men of color as criminals first before human.

I saw him as human. I saw him in the face of his daughter who still didn’t understand why her father was not returning home as he always did. I saw him as a family man in videos that his cousins’ shared on their social media as they mourned their loss of him. I hear his humanity and his loving kindness in the stories from his brother- in- law of how he helped support him and his sister’s family. I see the strength of him live on in his sister and mother as they fight through a crooked judicial system with lawyers that have other agendas yet they still hold true to their convictions for justice. I have had my heart and soul break open with his family at the place of his death, as we held direct actions and in frustrating meetings.

One particular moment that stays burned in my mind and body’s memory was the day of his memorial at the site of where he was killed. I felt my body shake with sadness, anger, and grief and overwhelmed with hurt when I looked down to see my son crying beside me. Zaire cried because he too felt the overwhelming emotion of when the immediate family came to the pole on the corner of the street where Jose’s car initially crashed and the ground felt radiant of Jose’ blood that was still visible on parts of the street. There was a sad chaos in the street when his mother cried terribly before her body gave way and the male family members had to hold on to her. When the fire department and ambulance pulled up and Zaire began to cry more I decided that it was time for us to go. He asked me why he died and who killed him in the car ride home, I told him because of the color of his skin and by officers that said they were scared of him. My voice trembled as I said this as I felt guilt for exposing this harsh reality to my children. I let it hurt just enough before remembering that taking him and Kelila to Jose’s memorial did not make me a bad parent opening my children up to trauma. I am a parent that is exposing my children to what is happening in our community so that we may heal together and build better sustainable communities for our future.

Now today a year later we will come together once again to remember the life of Jose. We still hold the rage from the not guilty verdict from the Attorney General case in our bones as we reclaim this memorial site. Our emotions are raw on this day and we honor the unspoken power of them that has fueled us this far in our collective journey. My heart is still full despite the pain and I am sending out love in these words, in prayer, and in healing vibes to the survivors of state sanctioned violence.

How Audre Lorde’s Uses of the Erotic Improved how I Masterbate

After returning home from BOLD’s National Gathering I spent the following week feeling deeply into the amazing power and joy of black people. BOLD, Black Organizing for Leadership and Dignity, is a network of Black Organizers from across the country that bases it training in political education, somatic practices, and building conections across the country. Among the most cherished experiences that I had was the lunch conversation with Adrienne Maree Brown on Pleasure Activism. “Adrienne Maree Brown is author of Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds and the co-editor of Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction from Social Justice Movements. She is a writer, social justice facilitator, pleasure activist, healer and doula living in Detroit.”(brief bio, Adrienne Maree Brown) . Being committed in healing journey and bridging the gap of what I desire to actually embodying in my activism drew me to Adrienne and also just me wanting to fangirl over one of my favorite black femmes in this movement.Adrienne suggested, and I suggest to y’all listening to the youtube video of Audre Lordre’s Uses of the Erotic: The Erotic as power. In this speech and released publication Audre speaks to a deeply powerful energy that lies within femmes that has been demonized by patriarchal society. This has been done through suppression of our erotic selves within our oppression in a dominate male world and gaze, denying us power that in many ways and times while manipulate us for men to be on the receivingof it.Audre goes on to define eroticism as “the measure between the beginnings of our sense of self and the chaos and power of our deepest feelings, it is our internal sense of satisfaction that once we have experienced it, we know we can aspire … this depth of feeling and recognizing its power and self-respect we can require no less from ourselves”.(Audre Lorde, Uses of the Erotic: The Erotic I listened to this daily at work on my break as I took brisk laps around my school. I listened to her words to inspire and affirm my commitment to growing black folks through the resources of education for our collective liberation before returning to work. I feel the importance from the students I work with of my presence mattering, but struggle within feelings of obligation of service to other areas of my job. By feeling more into those areas of discomfort while looking for the pleasure of being in the current moment has improved my sense of fulfillment. With each passing day I felt that fullness deeper, amazed by it I wondered what that pleasure would feel like sexually in relation to myself . “the erotic offers a well of replenishing and provocative force to any woman that .. Hasn’t succumbed to the belief that sensation is enough”- Audre Lorde, Uses of th Erotic: The Erotic as Power.Until this past week I used masturbation just to get myself off when experiencing sexual tension or frustration but, then I realized I had denied myself touch in a way that truly fulfills my needs. My sexual performance with partners has been more passionate in using ways that I know will best pique my own arousal in relation to heighten my partner’s experience.

Last month for the first time I used those same tricks and techniques in service of me: I played the music I like to hear, moved at the pace, rhythm that felt best to me and switched to the positions I wanted when needed accurately. I loved on myself in a way that up until then I still struggled with due to its taboo nature that was projected on to me. I still battled with shame attached to it from growing up in a conservative Christian household that ruled by sexual ignorance in hopes that would deaden any sexual exploration. For the first time I committed to being in the fullness of eroticism for me. I orgasmed from myself for the first time and felt love for myself differently, from the tender and caring lover that I had been complimented as by partners but never knew personally. I know now that this feeling was never given to me through any other person than me- that is empowering. It felt empowering to carry that joy of self into my job performance, into my creative writing process and embracing being in love with me. I felt a rare level of intimacy with myself that was both intoxicating and healing. The uses of eroticism in connection to self-love is radical AF and yet so necessary to femmes and folx across the gender spectrum just do to for ourselves, to discover more of our identity and seeing ourselves in our full dignity.

Black Girl in Om: Healing the woman I am within

I wanted to create space to speak a mini testimony of what has been a successful practice for me to manifest greatness and appreciate the greatness in my life : listening and being inspired by black women/ femmes.

Last January I was struggling to find my voice as writer, how to become an active part of the change I wanted to see in my City, and finding, loving me. For each challenge that I stumbled through somewhat blindly there was a black woman there to help guide me back on to my path.

My Writing

My dear friend and talented poet, Eve routinely sent me invites to poetry events, readings, her featured shows until I began to show. Listening to her truth spoken boldly and feeling that connection to her spiritual left me in tears many of time and inspired to honor my own truth through my voice. As our relationship grows she challenges me to improve my writing in ways I didn’t know were possible. Im so grateful of having that experience of someone in my same medium. Some months into 2017, one of my closest friends, Taylor suggested me to a mutual friend that owns a site called FlagrantCity that was looking for bloggers, which led me to Rhonda. Rhonda has provided me the creative freedom to express on a platform while also giving me advise on how to build my own brand,and I deeply grateful for this. From this experience had led me to my most recent accomplishment of being hired as a freelance writer for Vocally!

Organizing & Self Awareness

I was in awe of Shaketa’s leadership and Natasha’s strategy: their combined efforts is black girl magic to me. As I continued working with them and growing closer to them; the experience of their patience, their love, their ability to see me in my fullness in a way I had yet to see in myself was affirming for me which led me to BOLD Praxis .BOLD was an experience that shifted my inner narrative of my life. This past Friendsgiving I shared the experience of how BOLD affirmed my worth, dignity, abilities. How, in the future, I wanted to carry healing our traumas and self care through words/ art into my organizing when Linda asked if I had listened to Black Girls in Om, it was a Chicago based podcast run by black women, that centered self care – she strongly suggested that I listen to it.

Black Girls In Om

From their first episode Lauren’s soft voice over subtle instrumentals speaking BGIO’s mission: “To promote holistic wellness and inner beauty for women of color, encouraging self care, self love, and self empowerment for communities of color” was an affirmation of the exact mission I have been envisioning. To the present with the episode number 30: “Intentional living with Roe of Brown Kids” .

There were several things that Roe said that resonated deeply with me. On creating a capsule wardrobe, a wardrobe that can be carried throughout the year and importance of buying quality clothing . Coming home from my experience at both Bold and Just Resisting retreat, I have come to terms within myself that I did not feel up until then worth period – Let alone luxuries of expensive clothing . After twenty four years of living in Buffalo, NY I did not own a down coat or bought good winter boots in at least five years, because I did not think I was worthy of those new things. I realized that stemmed from conditioning: my parents treated shopping as a reward and growing up in generational poverty. As an adult when I did splurge on anything self indulgent it was lingerie, something super sexy, maybe a casual thing – but never my essentials that would actually care for my body.

What Roe and Lauren spoke to about living in a limbo state is something I have been struggling within my own space. Since my breakup a year ago with my daughter’s father, I struggled financially that constantly left me questioning where my family will be each month. Now as I gain stability I’m adjusting to how to have a functional and comfortable space for a toddler and school aged child. This episode like the previous connect with me on levels that I am actively trying to unlock within myself that leaves me amazed each time. Lauren’s work with partynoire as a yoga instructor grounded in spiritual awareness and Deun’s creative works rooted deeply in spiritual gratitude strengthens me daily to continue on with my current collaborative projects with H.E.A.L and Black Magnolias.

If you have not listened to Black Girls in Om, I very much suggest that you give them a listen!

*The top two that I have on repeat currently are episode #29 and #18 (Five Challenges in Creative Entrepreneurship) and strongly advise all black women and femmes listen to #1, #13, #27 and of course the latest #30 .

BOLD Journey to Durham: lessons on Black Love & Healing for Liberation

This November I celebrate my one year anniversary of organizing with Just Resisting! (Just Resisting is a black and brown community organization that focuses on social justice issues- primarily on injustices involving the local Buffalo Police Department/ Strike Force.) As I celebrate this accomplishment, I sit with the experience of attending BOLD,Black Organizing for Leadership and Dignity Amandla – Praxis. The combination of the timing of both events is not only emotional, but monumental.

For five days I had the privilege of being able to share space with beautiful black organizers and folks from all over this country. We endured twelve hours of intense somatic, embodied leadership training, political education and on the ground practice with the local organization, 10K for Durham. As I write this I’m still unpacking a wealth of emotions ranging from raw newness to frustration.

I was under the impression going into the training that I would be learning practices for my organizing and that some somatic would be practiced.( I still didn’t know or understand the premise of somatic and what it entailed beyond centering). I did not know the small exposure to somatic practice would affect me on the level that it did. As one of the co-director to JR said so perfectly “ it’s like constantly being ripped open layer by layer exposing yourself in your bare humanity” all while maintaining everyone’s dignity in the space- it was amazing. Each practice forced me to acknowledge pieces of my trauma that I tried to deny- things I had buried within myself, beliefs that I thought were long ago debunked.  I discovered the power in living in the truth of my story, living centered in purpose.

This painfully culminated during a practice on the fourth day, where we were instructed to write commitments that we would carry with us back home beyond this training.

My OG commitment went like:  “I am a commitment to being a source of love and strength in connection to myself, my children, and my community for our liberation.”  When I shared this with my team that I had been working with for the past week, they all responded that they had seen me doing that – the way I cared for Zaire and Kelila, in the way I talked about folks back home. I said without a thought “yea, but not myself.”

It was then when one of the lead facilitators that was on our team challenged me to cross everyone else out leaving myself, then try reading it aloud. I did, read it, and burst into tears. I was forced to face the truth that I did not know how to care for myself or felt I was worthy of that.

This triggered memories of my mother- her telling me that I am so strong and have endured much in this life, her trying to reaffirm my worth. I understood that to mean that strength was resource- something I could draw from, tap into in moments of weakness- not gift. Until then I believed that my purpose was to give of myself as a sacrifice for still having life in this body.

I was able to see the life that mattered in my children, in Jose, in Meech, in Aj, in my community- but not mine. I cried because I felt like that suicidal sixteen year old girl I once was all over  again, plagued with PTSD from being sexual abuse that left me feeling worthless. The memory of waking up the day after my first suicide attempt in a hospital room came to mind vividly. I remember thinking that I was not physically supposed to be there but, also knowing this must’ve meant that I still had a purpose to fulfill on this earth. Since that moment, I was willing to live as a martyr for that purpose once I found it.

I first thought that Zaire was the fulfillment of that purpose once I met him and nurtured him as such, the same with Kelila, the same with my organizing work.

As I poured the love and strength in me into them and my projects I felt the pressure of life closing in around me, I felt depleted. In that moment when I acknowledged that my life mattered, and despite my traumas I will always have worth, a shift occurred within me. I spoke my commitment again; tears flowed as I said the words firmly. I️ am a commitment to being a source of love and strength in connection to my own liberation.I strive to live in that commitment since then by honoring myself slowly in small ways. Reaffirming that I do have worth and being gentle with myself has become a daily practice.

I allow myself to feel deeper in my interactions with folks: the boundaries that are born from it and the relationships I challenge to feel deeper in. I feel the frustration in my social media feeds seeing how much of society has feed us bullshit that has shrunk us down and isolated us as black folks.

When we collectively acknowledge our trauma and pain that healing process can begin. The acceptance of how our stories shift and shape us is the source of our power.

I understand the fear to go deeper. It’s not always safe to engage deeply in all interactions- it requires a level of trust in a time in our history where so much distrust has breed between all relationships. It’s also scary to face what lies in wait below the surface- what memories have been denied to revisit, what stories do we tell ourselves daily that are not true- things that sit in our depth that must be sorted through, and unpacked to heal in our full  dignity.

This movement for Black Liberation exceeds breaking systems that were created to oppress us but, it’s for our collective healing as black folks. It is for the moments of freedom we are rarely granted to be extended.

This liberation is for the empowerment that we will always have our dignity- Despite what the society we live in feeds us through media influence and experiences. Connecting from that place of healing will create a people that I can only imagine our ancestors dreamed we would become.