I have committed the Marketplace to sharing as much information as possible to expose the American Legislative Exchange Council otherwise know as ALEC. Who they are, what they do, and what it means to us.
After launching the Marketplace one of my first articles was titled "Obsessed With ALEC". My passion for outing them has not diminished. In fact the more I read and learn, the more determined I am in continuing down this path for as long as it takes. Voter suppression, "Stand Your Ground" laws, the privatization of education, and many other issues all have some tie back to ALEC. In most cases we're not even talking six degrees of separation.
So in the spirit of my "obsession" I offer these two informative cartoons about ALEC.
A friend of mine, I'll call him XX, posed a question to me. What happens if George Zimmerman is acquitted? Although that is something that I really don't want to consider, it is worthy of discussion. We've been down this road before and have seen what can happen.
The conversation went as follows:
XX: I wonder what would happen if the justice system lets Zimmerman go? Hmm
EH: You don't want to think about that. It could get a little ugly.
XX: Watts riots among others?
XX: I mean brother we have seen it happen before so you know it can happen again.
EH: Brother I am 54 years old. I've seen this happen many times in my life. The issue I have is when things don't play out as they should we trash our own neighborhoods. What good does that do?
XX: Yes that's true. We do a lot of reacting and less acting. We need to act more. Reactions only last a little bit.
I hope with all of my heart that George Zimmerman gets what he deserves but what will we do if he's acquitted? Will we react by rioting and destroying our own neighborhoods or will we rise above the emotional urge to lash out?
I spent my early childhood years growing up in Harlem. On July 16, 1964, 15-year-old James Powell from Harlem, was shot and killed by NYPD Lieutenant Thomas Gilligan. The teenage summer student from Robert Wagner Junior High school had been engaged in horseplay with other boys and a building superintendent in front of an apartment building at 215 East 76th Street on Manhattan's Upper East Side. When the man sprayed the boys with a hose, Powell chased him back into his building. At this point Lt Gilligan, who said the boy lunged at him with a knife, intervened firing his service revolver twice at the boy. On July 18, 1964, the riots started. Six days later it was over and the property damage was estimated to be between $500,000 and $1 million.
Is this a case of the right message by the wrong person? Last Wednesday CBS News reported that New York City Commissioner Ray Kelly asks "Why leaders upset with ‘Stop And Frisk’ aren’t protesting violence instead". He further went on to say “The fact of the matter is that 96 percent of shooting victims are people of color, yet the community leaders are not speaking out about this. We’d like to hear from them,”
Being an African American man living in New York, I for one am not a proponent of the current 'Stop and Frisk' tactics in the Big Apple. When interviewed by Democracy Now Benjamin Jealous, President and CEO of the NAACP stated "This stop-and-frisk program in New York City is the worst racial profiling program in the country, in any city".
Ernest R. Heyward is the Founder and President of the Marketplace for Social Awareness and Social Responsibility Inc.