How The Flint Water Crisis Could Send An Entire Generation To Prison…Per Lead Poisoning
As Flint residents deal with the consequences of poisoned water, lawmakers, activists, and locals are already predicting what the crisis means for the future of the city.
Mayor Karen Weaver has pointed out that the disaster could devastate the juvenile justice system in the future.
“This damage to children is irreversible and can cause effects to a child’s IQ, which will result in learning disabilities…and an increase in the juvenile justice system,” she said when a state of emergency over lead levels was declared in December.
The current juvenile justice system in Flint is already rife with problems. It doesn’t have money to repair a detention center with non-functioning mechanical systems. Teenagers who are 17 years old are tried and sentenced as adults and housed with older offenders. Thousands of kids are arrested in school for minor disciplinary infractions.
With the water crisis still unresolved, experts believe the worst of the physical and psychological damage is still yet to come. And when it does, it will hit the already-troubled system hard.
“When children whose brains are actively developing are impacted by lead poisoning in particular…it can have a very deleterious effect on kids’ IQ and, ultimately, their behavior,” Frank Vandervort, clinical professor of law and co-founder of the Juvenile Justice Clinic at the University of Michigan, told ThinkProgress. “The kids who are likely to come in contact with the juvenile justice system tend to be kids who have had developmental disabilities, who have mental health problems.”
Lead poisoning causes mental retardation, shortened attention spans, and other behavioral disorders in children. It specificallydamages the section of the brain that manages impulses and emotions. And recent research has linked childhood lead poisoning to violent crime. A study of children in Chicago found a shocking correlationbetween aggravated assault rates over time and exposure to lead. A similar study of young adults in Cincinnati who had lead poisoning in their blood as babies and small children, had a higher risk of arrest depending on how much lead they were exposed to.
“Most kids at some point in their adolescence violate a law,” Vandervort continued. “They drink and drive, they drink and are underage, they try marijuana, they smoke cigarettes…shoplift. But the kids who are more apt to be prosecuted are the kids who tend to have more severe problems.”
And for children who are already over-criminalized in Flint’s schools, impaired brain development could make things worse for them.
CREDIT: AP PHOTO/ROGER SCHNEIDER
Recent data shows that thousands of children have been funneled through the school-to-prison pipeline. Flint had just over 6,500 K-12 students during the 2014-2015 school year. According Rodd Monts off ACLU Michigan, there were 11,718 disciplinary incidents. Those included 6,800 suspensions and 2953 crowd and safety incidents — arrests or referrals for arrest. Black kids were on the receiving end of 83 percent of those disciplinary actions.
Monts told ThinkProgress that zero-tolerance policies for non-threatening behavior, such as truancy and disobeying teachers, are fueling the problem. He recalled a mass suspension involving some 40 kids who were wearing hoodies to keep warm.
Vandervort also pointed to the growing police presence on school grounds.
“What I have seen in Flint…is that all disciplinary things seem to be handled more and more by police, rather than by school officials,” he said. “Every kid who gets into a fist fight in junior high school, every kid who breaks the rules at school, seems to end up in a delinquency case. It’s really exacerbated there.”
Generally, suspensions and expulsions increase the likelihood that kids will drop out of school, because they fall behind in their schoolwork. Without a complete education, they are more inclined to commit crime and wind up in the juvenile justice system. And research shows that interacting with law enforcement and ending up in the justice system increases kids’ chances of committing more serious crimes in the future.
Should the current water crisis impact kids’ brain development and behavior, students in Flint may have an even larger target on their backs when it comes to disciplinary action.
Besides the lead’s effects, the juvenile justice system could also be impacted by the trauma the water crisis has caused.
Flint’s youth are already embroiled in a chain of poverty and crime. Delinquent behavior is linked to the fallout from the auto industry’s collapse decades ago, which left the city in disarray.
“Flint is a relatively small city, but it has all of the issues that a large urban center has. You see all of the same problems you would see in Detroit or D.C.: poverty, educational problems, community violence, [and] drug abuse is high,” Vandervort explained. “It’s a community that has a lot of stressors and a lot of challenges.”
A University of Michigan study concluded that at-risk kids in Flint who have witnessed violence are more likely to have a mental illness, like PTSD, and commit crime in the future.
“I talked to a 15-year-old [who] could name eight people — without thinking about it — who had been shot: friends, neighbors, uncles, cousins,” Vandervort said. “When you start to think about the level of trauma that is for a 15-year old-boy, whose dad’s in prison and whose mom is a drug addict, that’s a typical profile of a kid we see in Flint. That’s not unusual.”
Adding a public health disaster to the mix could make things worse for youth there.
In other cities that have experienced catastrophic events, young people’s behavior has been shaped by the trauma over time. In New Orleans, for instance, kids in the juvenile justice system have one thing in common: Hurricane Katrina. They overwhelmingly mention that their lives were in danger during the hurricane. Ten years later, trauma from the storm colors the crimes that land kids in the system. They steal because their families lost everything. They lash out in heavily-policed schools. They smoke weed and drink to cope.
Down the line, Flint’s kids could end up in a similar situation.
The debacle is already traumatizing children. A new Time Magazine cover story describes a 2-year-old in Flint who was poisoned by lead and has rashes all over is body. Now, he is terrified of water and screams in pain whenever it touches his skin.
Chicago Officer, Citing Emotional Trauma, Sues Estate of Teenager He Fatally Shot…Psychopathic Thinking Can Justify Anything
— The Chicago police officer who fatally shot a black 19-year-old and an unarmed bystander in December has filed a lawsuit seeking more than $10 million in damages from the teenager’s estate, an unusual legal approach based on a claim that the young man’s actions leading up to the gunfire were “atrocious” and have caused the officer “extreme emotional trauma.”
The lawsuit provides the first public explanation by the officer, Robert Rialmo, of what happened on Dec. 26 when he confronted Quintonio LeGrier, a college student who Officer Rialmo said was wielding a baseball bat. Mr. LeGrier and his neighbor Bettie Jones, 55, who the police said was an innocent bystander, both died after Officer Rialmo fired several shots.
The shooting, which is under investigation, further strained relations between the Chicago Police Department and African-American residents just weeks after another Chicago officer was charged with murder and as the Justice Department was beginning a broad review of Chicago police practices.
“It’s a new low for the Chicago Police Department,” Mr. Foutris said. “First you shoot them, then you sue them. It’s outrageous. I can’t believe that this police officer has the temerity to turn around and sue the estate of the person who he killed.”
Officer Rialmo’s lawsuit, filed Friday in Cook County Circuit Court, was a counterclaim to a wrongful death case brought weeks ago by Mr. LeGrier’s estate. The estate’s lawsuit claimed that Officer Rialmo acted improperly and that Mr. LeGrier “never posed a danger or threat of harm to any Chicago police officer.”
Joel A. Brodsky, a lawyer for Officer Rialmo, said that his client had responded appropriately after Mr. LeGrier confronted him with a baseball bat, but that the officer felt terrible that Ms. Jones had also been killed.
“He just wants to stress he did not see her. He did not know she was there,” Mr. Brodsky said. “When I say he feels extremely horrible about her death, that’s an understatement. But the bottom line is that it was Quintonio LeGrier who forced him to shoot.”
Mr. Brodsky acknowledged that it was rare for a police officer to sue the estate of a person he killed, but said Officer Rialmo was entitled to do so. “There is no question that he suffered very extreme emotional trauma and stress as a result of what Quintonio LeGrier did,” Mr. Brodsky said.
Officer Rialmo’s account of the shooting provides far more detail than the city’s official statements, which acknowledged that Ms. Jones was accidentally struck but provided few details about what happened before the gunfire. According to the officer’s counterclaim, Mr. LeGrier charged down a staircase and swung a baseball bat twice at Officer Rialmo. Though the officer was not struck, the lawsuit said, one swing came “close enough for Officer Rialmo to feel the movement of air as the bat passed in front of his face.”
The lawsuit said Mr. LeGrier, who before officers were dispatched had called 911 and been hung up on, continued advancing with the bat after those two swings. At that point, the counterclaim said, Officer Rialmo feared for his life and fired his gun from a few feet away.
Mr. Foutris said the officer’s account was contrary to the evidence he had seen so far. “Why would a kid that called three times asking for police help ever swing a bat at a cop?” he asked.
Mr. Brodsky said Officer Rialmo is a white Chicago native in his 20s from a family with several police officers and firefighters. He said Officer Rialmo, who remains on desk duty, joined the department about three years ago after serving in the military.
Anthony Guglielmi, a police spokesman, said Sunday that the counterclaim was “not a department lawsuit” and declined to comment further. Adam Collins, a spokesman for Mayor Rahm Emanuel, said in an email that “the city does not support” the counterclaim “and is not involved in any way.”
Mr. LeGrier and Ms. Jones were killed about a month after Officer Jason Van Dyke was charged in the 2014 shooting death of Laquan McDonald, who was 17 and black. Video footage showed Officer Van Dyke continuing to fire his gun after Mr. McDonald, who was carrying a knife but veering away from police officers, fell to the ground, seeming to contradict statements by the police.
Project allows African-Americans to Trace Roots
He and others hope that Africans and African Americans across the globe will be able ultimately to use his work to discover in a matter of minutes what he is painstakingly trying to retrieve from one of the few bright lights in perhaps the darkest chapter in the nation’s history.
Reed, the senior marketing manager at FamilySearch International, is one of thousands working on the Freedmen’s Bureau Project, an ambitious collaboration to index millions of records from the Freedmen’s Bureau, which was established during the Civil War to help freed slaves.
The other partners include the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African-American History and Culture, the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society and the California African American Museum.
When the project is complete, it will allow people to access four million indexed records of slaves, which will help trace the ancestry of the African American race.
Currently 10,200 volunteers are extracting raw record information about freed slaves, indexing the records to make them available to the public.
There have been over 440,800 records indexed thus far, officials said. Reed, one of the leaders on the effort, said the goal is to have all four million records indexed in conjunction with the opening of the National Museum of African-American History and Culture, which opens in fall 2016.
Reed, a father of five, said his search for his own family’s ancestry is what drew him to the project.
“Through my interest in my own family history, and knowing where I come from, I kind of started on this project at the end of February, when we really realized what we had and what we could do in engaging the African American community to help us with this record collection,” he said.
“Personally I jumped at the chance to do this, because TIME did an article about this project. They mentioned the issues I had with my own family, hitting that brick wall. I can trace my lineage through my great grandfather, Thom Baynes, from years ago, but never knew anything about him.”
The Freedmen’s Bureau was created near the end of the Civil War to assist newly freed slaves in 15 states and the District of Columbia. From 1865 to 1872, the bureau opened schools, hospitals, provided food and clothing and solemnized marriages.
Sherri Camp, vice president of the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society, said the records reveal a treasure of information.
“The Freedmen’s Bureau gives us actual dialogue, actual letters, actual handwriting, actual stories of African Americans and what they experienced during this time period,” said Camp. “The reason why the Freedmen’s Bureau was so important during this time was because it was a bridge between slavery and freedom.”
Camp said she believes the information will be particularly helpful to young people.
“We may not be able to have our history properly displayed in textbooks or in schools, but if we are researching our heritage and sharing this with others, young people have the opportunity now to know who they are and have a sense of direction,” she said.
“Once they have that, they have a sense of purpose, and they can begin to move in their lives with more power than they’ve had in the past. That I think is one of the major things that will change the trajectory of our youth.
“Some of our young people don’t know what slavery is. So, knowing their history, knowing their family history, knowing there are people who went through this and survived, will change how they feel about themselves even.”
For more about the project, visit http://www.discoverfreedmen.org/
African Currency Backed By Gold Is Why the West Wants Gadhafi Dead
BY BRIAN E. MUHAMMAD -CONTRIBUTING WRITER- | LAST UPDATED: JUN 7, 2011 – 7:59:09 PM
Muammar Gadhafi’s decision to pursue gold standard and reject dollars for oil payments may have sealed his fate
(FinalCall.com) – The war raging in Libya since February is getting progressively worse as NATO forces engage in regime change and worse, an objective to kill Muammar Gadhafi to eradicate his vision of a United Africa with a single currency backed by gold.
Observers say implementing that vision would change the world power equation and threaten Western hegemony. In response, the United States and its NATO partners have determined “Gadhafi must go,” and assumed the role of judge, jury and executioner.
“If they kill Brother Gadhafi, I submit to you that American interests in Africa will come under severe strain,” warned the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan on WPFW-FM’s “Spectrum Today” program with Askia Muhammad.
“That man has invested in Africa more than any other leader in the recent history of Africa’s coming into political independence,” he continued. The Muslim leader said America needs access to the mineral resources in Africa to be a viable power in the 21st century.
Minister Farrakhan further pointed out in the April 1 radio interview that the current plot to kill Col. Gadhafi comes at a time of great distress and decline for America. The fall of the dollar is a manifest loss of America’s prestige and influence among the nations of the earth and an indicator of her end.
“How’s America’s wealth today? How is she doing financially? What is the deficit? Some say it’s about $56 trillion counting Social Security and Medicare. That’s a big number. She’s printing money, but there’s nothing backing it,” said Min. Farrakhan.
In the book, “The Fall of America,” the MostHonorable Elijah Muhammad wrote, “One of the greatest powers of America was her dollar. The loss of such power will bring any nation to weakness, for this is the media of exchange between nations.”
“The English pound and the American dollar have been the power and beckoning light of these two great powers. But when the world went off the gold and silver standard, the financial doom of England and America was sealed,” he explained. Mr. Muhammad said further that “the Fall of America is now visible and understandable.
“Long has Allah (God) been gradually removing the power of the great and mighty America while few have noticed it. This has been done by degrees, and they do not perceive it.”
Mr. Muhammad warned America’s fall serves as a sign of fate for her European counterparts.
Analysts say introducing the gold dinar as the new medium of exchange would destroy dependence on the U.S. dollar, the French franc and the British pound and threaten the Western world. It would “finally swing the global economic pendulum” that would break Western domination over Africa and other developing economies.
Attacking Col. Gadhafi can be understood in the context of America and Europe fighting for their survival, which an independent Africa jeopardizes.
“Gadhafi’s creation of the African Investment Bank in Sirte (Libya) and the African Monetary Fund to be based in Cameroon will supplant the IMF and undermine Western economic hegemony in Africa,” said Gerald Pereira, an executive board member of the former Tripoli-based World Mathaba.
The moves are also bad for France because when the African Monetary Fund and the African Central Bank in Nigeria starts printing gold-backed currency, it would “ring the death knell” for the CFA franc through which Paris was able to maintain its neocolonial grip on 14 former African colonies for the last 50 years.
“It is easy to understand the French wrath against Gaddafi,” said Prof. Jean-Paul Pougala of the Geneva School of Diplomacy.
“The idea, according to Gaddafi, was that African and Muslim nations would join together to create this new currency and would use it to purchase oil and other resources in exclusion of the dollar and other currencies,” said political analyst Anthony Wile in an editorial for The Daily Bell online.
According to the International Monetary Fund, Libya’s Central Bank is 100 percent state-owned and estimates that the bank has nearly 144 tons of gold in its vaults. If Col. Gadhafi changed the purchasing terms of his oil and other Libyan commodities sold on the world market and only accepted gold as payment; a policy like that wouldn’t be welcomed by the power elites who control the world’s central banks.
“That would certainly be something that would cause his immediate dismissal,” said Mr.Wile.
The Libyan affair has sparked a divide in the world community with the African Union and nations like Venezuela, China and Cuba—and until recently Russia—on one side as voices of reason, caution and respect for international law and honoring the UN mandate which set the parameters for engagement in Libya.Furthermore, pricing oil in something other than the dollar would undercut the pedestal of U.S.. power in the world. Although in trouble, the dollar is the reserve currency based on a deal made with Saudi Arabia in 1971 in which the Saudis, as the world’s largest oil producer, agreed to accept only dollars for oil, Mr. Wile observed.
On the other side are war hawkish America, France, Britain and Italy pursuing regime change and actively trying to assassinate Col. Gadhafi, though they deny that aim.
“Why all of a sudden, this rush to destroy Gadhafi?” asked Min. Farrakhan during his March 31 press conference on America’s Middle East and Libya policy. “I know why you are angry with him; because he never agreed with your policies when it came to sucking the resources of Third World peoples, and putting in place dictators that would be amenable to America’s policies.”
Other analysts concur that the control of Africa is front and center as the prize in the scramble to kill Col. Gadhafi and preserve Western domination on the world stage, making the African Union critical at this time.
The AU stood with Libya since NATO forces began their missile bombardment. The AU has alsoaccused Western nations of marginalizing an African solution to an “African problem.”
The AU criticized NATO for bombing Tripoli, targeting Gadhafi family compounds and violating the stated UN mandate to uphold a no fly-zone and protect civilians.
AU negotiations to end the conflict were brokered by South African President Jacob Zuma, which the Libyan government accepted, but were discarded by the rebels who set preconditions—in conjunction with NATO—that demanded Col. Gadhafi’s removal.
The AU is the framework the Libyan leader was using to establish African self determination and economic self-sufficiency. Col. Gadhafi financed the restructuring of the former Organization of African Unity—formed by African leaders Dr. Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, Sekou Toure of Guinea, Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt and others—into the AU and revived the concept of a United States of Africa with one continental army and a single currency backed by gold.
However critics of U.S. foreign policy objectives in Africa say efforts toward the continent becoming a unified bloc have been consistently weakened for fear that Africa will leverage more equity and control in the arena of global economics.
But the plan for an independent African currency backed by gold appears to be the real reason behind the frenzied attack on Col. Gadhafi.
Whenever a government and leader arose that desired to use the resources of that nation for its people, America—through the CIA—would plan insurrections, coups, terrorist activities and even assassination of good leaders, observed Min. Farrakhan.
Despite the ire of Western foes, Muammar Gadhafi gained the clout to lead creation of a single currency because of strong oil profits versus a small population.
“The US, the other G-8 countries, the World Bank, IMF, BIS (Bank for International Settlements), and multinational corporations do not look kindly on leaders who threaten their dominance over world currency markets,” wrote John Perkins, author of “Confessions of an Economic Hit Man,” on Johnperkins.com. It is redolent of Saddam Hussein advocating similar policies shortly before the U.S. invaded Iraq, he said.
“Gadhafi knew how to play the West at their own game. He dared to wield real economic power in the name of Africa and anyone who dares to do so will feel the full wrath of Empire,” remarked. Perrier.
With the hopes of breaking Col. Gadhafi, foreign governments froze nearly $70 billion of Libyan assets belonging to the Libyan Investment Authority, the 13th largest international investment fund in the world. Although designed to hurt Col. Gadhafi, it injures Africa, because Libya assists with development projects throughout Africa.
An example of such projects was installing independent satellite communications across Africa, cutting off an expensive dependency on Europe for the same services. Col. Gadhafi infused $300 million into the project after the IMF, America and Europe broke repeated promises of finance.
In the 1990s forty-five African governments started RASCOM—Regional African Satellite Communication Organization—so Africa would have its own satellite and control communication costs on the continent.
Before RASCOM, costs for telephone calls to and from Africa were the highest worldwide and the continent was burdened with an annual $500 million fee paid to Europe for satellite usage. African satellites cost a onetime payment of $400 million and no annual fee—a move for self determination led by Col. Gadhafi that agitated Europe.
The rebels and collaborators
Since the beginning of the hostilities, the 69-year-old Gadhafi has consistently called for ceasefires and a political solution only to be rebuffed and have NATO missiles aimed at him and his family. However, with the stakes so high, what kind of Libya will emerge if Col. Gadhafi is killed?
“It will not be the rebels and the transitional council who will take power in Libya—it will be the imperialist powers who take over and the implications for Libya will be a complete re-colonization,” said Mr. Pereira.
Some nations officially recognized the NTC as the new legitimate government; however the NTC will face severe challenges as a government post Gadhafi. The NTC and other rebel groups lack cohesive unity, strengthening possibilities for ongoing civil strife.
Furthermore, the insurgency has become a nightmare wrought with hard financial and military questions. Xinhua News-English reported the group is cash poor and has difficulty raising money; while the only commodity available to them is oil, which still belongs the Gadhafi government and is embroiled in UN sanctions.
“I don’t have any resources. Not a single dinar came in to the treasury,” lamented NTC oil and finance head Ali Tarhouni during a May 29 press conference. “We only exported one shipment (of oil) and got $150 million for that. So far we’ve spent $408 million on fuel. It’s not a good number.”
The Benghazi-based rebels include remnants of the monarchy deposed by the 1969 Al-Fateh revolution. Several times over the years, the royalists attempted assassination of Col. Gadhafi and destabilization of the revolution, but lacked military ability and popular support.
On May 24, U.S. assistant secretary of state Jeffery Feltman announced the NTC will establish an office in Washington at the invitation of President Barrack Obama. Comparable arrangements exist with France and Britain.
For now, after several months of military intervention, betrayal by former comrades of the revolution and continued assassination attempts by NATO, Muammar Gadhafi is still standing. For the imperialists however, his elimination means the future of their power in Africa.
“Make no mistake, if NATO succeeds in Libya it will be a massive setback for the entire continent,” said Mr. Pereira.
Black History Month:
Information For Our Historical Edification
12011 Cliff Kelly Interviews Minister Louis Farrakhan On WVON
…did you know…I didn’t…Khadafhy:
- used oil reserves for: schools, infrastructure, increased the literacy rate to 83%, free health care…finest in the 3rd world…if type surgery is unavailable there, money provided, & life expectancy raised from 44 to 75 years old
- electric provided thru country
- water irrigation system for agriculture development
- $33 billion to create man made river to bring water out desert
- for anyone who wants to farm…free farm land, equipment, live stock, feed, etc. provided
- promised: his own parents who lived in tent in desert wouldn’t be housed until every Libyan is housed…fulfilled his promise
- Libya has highest standard of living in Africa
- money fro oil revenue deposited directly into Libyan accounts
- women have full access to education, employment and armed services
Khadafhy’s the 1st and only leader in Arab world to formally appolgize for Arabs role in trading captured Afrians and acknowledges that Black Africans as true owners of Libia and proclaimed in his ‘Green Book’ that “the Black race shall prevail through out the world.”
oil money started moving the Organization of African Unity towards an African Union to unite 54 nations towards a United States of Africa
phone calls went thru Europe…Europe paid $500 million; Khadafhy financed $400 million & rest African put up $100 million for African satellite; now calls are direct internationally
encouraged Africa to stop sending raw material to Europe and products returned to Africa and sold at exorbitant prices
encouraged Africa to make its own products and sold on world market
The minute he wanted African to unit, America, Britain, France, Germany, Europe were against it and established a rival organization, a new economic development pack
Khadafhi was against this but Sarkozy came up with another plan to unite N. African/Arab nations with S. Europe
America wanted to set up on the continent an entity for the recolonization of Africa.
Khadafhi, Libia had the largest amount of gold in the world.
He wanted to tie all the paper money of Africa to gold…this would have destroyed the economy of the West.
- spent billions trying to unite all of Africa via a central band, a federal government, an…one official language for all of Africa, and a plan for intra-African trade
- this would have created a 21st century new power entity …fulfilling the dream of Garvey, Padmore, Nukuma, etcc.
He proposed an African Bank into which he’d deposit $70 billion so Africa could cease dealing with the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.
A Real Heroe
In the years leading up to her death, scholar-warrior Frances Cress Welsing, with the help of friends and colleagues, fought tooth and nail against the very forces she described in her 1991 book The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors.
That battle, however, would prove to be futile.
Welsing’s confidants say exploitative lawyers and timid power brokers in the D.C. Zoning Commission foiled her attempts to stop what has been described as the Jewish Primary Day School’s encroachment on her property. For years, high noise levels emanating from the private school’s playground rattled the 80-year-old psychiatrist, possibly causing the stroke that landed her in MedStar Washington Hospital Center on New Year’s Eve.
The news of Welsing’s Jan. 2 death shocked many who recounted seeing a clear-thinking, vibrant and mobile elder during public appearances locally and across the country months earlier. Such a healthy disposition, even in the scholar’s last moments, didn’t surprise Januwa Moja, a nationally renowned artist and Welsing’s close friend of 40 years who recalled often seeing her face light up during discussions about racism.
“Dr. Welsing was for us as a people 24/7. Her first priority was her patients, then the Welsing Institute,” Moja told AllEyesOnDC, referring to the three-hour long sessions Welsing held in Howard University’s Blackburn Center in Northwest on the second Thursday of each month between September and May of the academic year.“Once she prepared for her patients, she would prepare for the session on the second Thursday. She was speaking everywhere and always hopping on planes. During those times, she was traveling by herself. In her 80s, she kept it moving, working on our behalf and elevating our consciousness. She read almost everything that had to do with our people,” Moja added.
Welsing, a Chicago-born alumna of Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio and Howard, rose in notoriety during the 1970s and 1980s after she defined racism as a global white supremacist system built out of a white minority’s fear of genetic annihilation. She reached this conclusion after hearing Neely Fuller, author of United Independent Compensatory Code System Concept, mention such a perspective. That encounter inspired her to find out why white people have acted in this manner historically.
In The Isis Papers, Welsing postulated that people of color, especially those with darker shades of melanin, are targeted in nine major areas of activity including politics, law, entertainment, labor, sex, and war. Her premier work included a collection of essays penned over the course of more than 20 years. For many, Welsing’s scholarship made sense of the mental issues black people continued to endure one generation after Jim Crow. It also inspired Public Enemy’s album Fear of a Black Planet, introducing her to legions of young people.
In the decades since she developed what’s known as the Theory of Color Confrontation, Welsing has unflinchingly defended her position to white and black detractors alike, contending that back people’s failure to understand the totality of racism impedes progress and maintains the status quo. In 1973, she debated Dr. William Shockley, physicist and proponent of eugenics, debunking most of his points and pushing him into abject obscurity.
The Millennial generation became familiar with Welsing’s work after her appearance in the Hidden Colors documentary series. In recent years, they counted among a significant number of people in the audience during her lectures across the country.
“She had this infectious energy and came ready to deliver this message about white supremacy and racism,” Millennial singer, rapper, and songwriter Jeni Calhoun, told AllEyesOnDC. Last August, she met Welsing during a lecture at Fisk University in Nashville during which the warrior-scholar signed a copy of The Isis Papers.
“The first time I came across The Isis Papers, I wasn’t ready for the knowledge,” said Calhoun, an employee of Jazzy 88.1 WFSK, located on Fisk’s campus. “Now that I’ve come back to it, it has a different message because I have a higher level of consciousness. I love how Dr. Welsing always broke down stuff and showed us how racism affects us on all fronts. I see all of the propaganda and things they’re doing to keep us enslaved in this system.”After Welsing succumbed to complications from her stroke, students and fans took to social media to mourn who they considered a legend and staunch advocate for black people. A multigenerational gathering of more than 200 community members took place at the Blackburn Center earlier this month in place of Welsing Institute. That evening, guests poured libations, told stories about the late Welsing, watched YouTube videos of her interviews, and purchased copies of The Isis Papers.
Two more events, a 40-day ascension ceremony and memorial service, are scheduled for February and March respectively. Despite minimal acknowledgment of Welsing’s work by the mainstream establishment, her influence among those who consider themselves “conscious” remains strong, making a large turnout at future events a strong possibility.
“If she was white, Dr. Welsing’s passing would be on the front page of the New York Times and all over CNN,” Dr. Gregory Carr, chair of Afro-American studies at Howard, told AllEyesOnDC. “The critique of whiteness has become so vogue but it’s something she and Neely Fuller pioneered. With The Cress Theory, Dr. Welsing was attempting to answer the call for a social science paradigm to analyze racism. That’s why she identifies as one of the great theoreticians of the 20thCentury.”
Carr, critical of how social media diminished young people’s will to read and organize interpersonally, said that youth could best honor Welsing by eradicating the white supremacist system methodically, not only in times of tragedy. “Organizing is based on collective study and work. That’s what Dr. Welsing often talked about,” Carr said. “There was always a mix of talking and work but that’s all it is now. What we have to do now is commit ourselves to real time organizing and building between generations.”
Technology enthusiast and podcaster Big Baba Rob shared Carr’s sentiments, telling AllEyesOnDC that he wants to honor her memory by acting in the manner she often encouraged her audience to exemplify: respectful of one another.
“Dr. Welsing wanted us to be smarter and act better as a people,” said Big Baba Rob, 42. “She wanted us to be aware and fight. Her lectures and book analyze where we are as human beings. We have to educate ourselves. We’re being dumbed down and things are setting us up for failure. That’s why we must continue to fight.”