It is important for people to be aware of their surroundings, but more so, to be aware when you have hate groups who usually end up going to their jobs at some point, or other places where non-whites usually go. Just as the FBI has their Most Wanted posters of those we should be aware of, it was necessary for the public to be made aware of members of the white supremacist group that call themselves “White Lives Matter II”. The “II” are actually to signify two lightening bolts (a white supremacist hate symbol) but social media doesn’t recognize lightening bolts so the group chose to use the double I’s. Cute, huh?
QUICK UPDATE ABOUT THE BLM COUNTER PROTEST OCT. 1, 2016
The White Lives Matter group initially protested at the NAACP Houston Chapter on a Sunday afternoon when the business was CLOSED. Black Lives Matter Houston chose to not counter that protest however when WLM decided to protest at the Anti Defamation League, BLMHOU decided to step up and counter this time around. Both the NAACP Houston Chapter and the Anti Defamation League here in Houston have NOT graced their support to Black Lives Matter/Black Lives Matter Houston. The NAACP held a press conference the day following the WLM protest asking for money. A journalist/writer for Free Press Houston even attempted to get a straight answer from James Douglas, President of the NAACP Houston Chapter concerning the support for BLM Houston and she was met with deflected answers, never getting the answer that was desired. But again, they had no problem asking that money be sent to continue to support the NAACP so they could continue to combat racism, etc, although the NAACP has been extremely quiet concerning police violence in the Houston and surrounding areas. The protest was about BLACK LIVES MATTER. Had the WLM group been smart and actually done some research, they would have learned that BLM Houston held their own protest against the NAACP earlier in the year after the ALEX Award was given to Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson who has built her career on incarcerating black men and women. WLM has yet to do proper research, like the NAACP, the Anti Defamation League (ADL) has also been extremely quiet where it concerns support of Black Lives Matter Houston. This time around, BLM and other Houston groups were not going to let WLM host their action without a counter action. In front of the ADL, Houston police had both groups separated by barricades. In the middle originally, was media set between both groups in order to gain footage and obtain interviews from both sides until an organizer from Black Lives Matter Houston jumped the barricades and made his way over to the WLM group, who was taunting BLM activists like small children tend to do when they know they’re protected. Police ran to Greg Chatham, the BLM organizer, and had him placed back over the barricades without arrest. Later the same WLM children taunted two Black Panthers as they made their way back to their vehicles which nearly led to a brawl. Of course a few members of WLM stayed well behind the barricades but stood in place acting as if they were going to buck up to the two Panthers, knowing the police would protect Hitler’s minions. As the protest continued, both sides yelled back and forth. Most of the time WLM leader Ken Reed kept fiddling with the siren on his bullhorn, seemingly more interested in playing with his toy rather than to stand up and be a real man, facing the group he hates most. Cece Von Girton was seen dancing often when BLM would chant insults at the WLM group. The BLM side held at least 50 protesters while WLM was lucky if they had 15 participants. WLM initially set up the protest for 5.5 hours, hosting it on a Saturday, again when the business was CLOSED, from 10:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. The WLM group decided to pack up their protest and leave close to 3 p.m. Black Lives Matter withstood the protest, refusing to stand down, refusing to be the first ones to depart. Days after, WLM took to social media, patting themselves on the back, one moment claiming a win over BLM but shortly after, they were pleading to the public that more people needed to show up to their events, and how they didn’t have a good turnout. Boo hoo.
We set out to build a family photo album detailing who each of these participants were, within White Lives Matter. Each of these photo’s were taken from every single Facebook account that belongs to the person listed below. None of the photo’s were altered as you will see. Many of them fit descriptions of meth heads or just a really bad scene taken out of the movie Deliverance or Wrong Turn. See for yourself.
Because Facebook originally BANNED me for sharing the family album using the Facebook photo upload, I felt it was better to group them here then share. Freedom of press? We shall see in the coming days whether Facebook will side with the Nazi group as they’ve been doing lately. On another note, the White Lives Matter II page looks to be taken down. There looks to be a WLM III page now up however it’s pretty buttoned up. Cowards generally don’t believe in being transparent but link here if you want to see why they’ve been labeled a hate group.
Houston Harris County: Across the nation groups and movements have been protesting against police violence for at least a couple of years now. The constant reports of minorities being gunned down by trigger happy officers mixed with the daily images that blanket social media with video’s of black/brown men/women being brutalized and murdered in cold blood has become the norm. It is almost expected and excepted today. These images continue to desensitized the masses who are eagerly looking for any tiny excuse to demonize the victim, echoing their strong support for the murdering gang in blue. The excuses for that support are pretty mind numbing. We live in a society where mainstream media pours disinformation and lies 24 hours a day. It doesn’t take much research to learn the truth and/or facts but this is our world today. The lazy, uneducated, desensitized, overly emotional, self centered, hypocritical, closed minded, biased, anti anything that’s not “Christian” or not white United States of America and many people are getting fed up with these types of individuals who continue to make our country look its worst.
I’ve constantly stated that education is key to waking up the masses. But as it seems, many of us are having to work overtime to fight against systematic racism and a judicial system that caters to the white community. Our numbers are small in comparison to other countries where a whole nation will show up to oust their corrupted gov’t or officials. Sadly, in Houston it’s even worse because of the laid back atmosphere and attitude of “well, I’m not affected so why bother”. Problem is, a large amount of people know someone who has been directly affected by systematic racism which had a domino effect into the oppressive judicial system, especially in Texas.
Meet Harris County DA Devon Anderson
Governor Rick Perry appointed Devon Anderson as Harris County District Attorney on September 26, 2013 after Devon’s husband who was the original sitting District Attorney, had passed away. On November 4, 2014, Anderson was reelected to her first term which officially began in January 2015. In less than 3 years of her career as DA, Anderson has tarnished the city of Houston Harris County’s image when it comes to the judicial system and especially minorities. June 9, 2015 Devon Anderson dropped capital murder charges against Alfred Dewayne Brown and he was released shortly thereafter after being accused of murdering Officer Clark. The Texas Criminal Court of Appeals overturned Brown’s conviction in November 2014 because of evidence withheld during his trial in 2005.On August 2015, Anderson alongside Harris County Sheriff Ron Hickman held a press conference after Officer Darren Goforth was murdered in Northwest Houston. In that press conference, both Anderson and Hickman pointed fingers directly at Black Lives Matter activists. This dangerous rhetoric caused many threats to trickle down to local Houston activists and forced a plea deal with the State by two local activists who would not have had a fair jury trial due to the sentiments led by Anderson and Hickman. Hickman later apologized for his statement however Devon Anderson went on record citing that she “refuses to apologize to Black Lives Matter” when local media contacted her office for a response to the demand for an apology by Houston activists. To date, BLM has yet to receive any kind of apology by Anderson. Anderson nearly leads the country in jail overcrowding and incarceration of black men in the Harris County Jail located in downtown Houston. Jail overcrowding has been so bad that there has been talk of moving some inmates to the Fort Bend County jail to help with the overflow of inmates. Not only does the overcrowding prove that Houston has a problem, but it is costing the taxpayer millions annually to house inmates in jail for something as small as jay walking, being homeless, not updating an address on a drivers license. Not to mention, Anderson’s overcrowded population comes largely by inmates who are waiting for trial but cannot afford to get bailed out. Basically it is an issue of the system oppressing the poor for the smallest of crimes. Though many complaints were launched to Devon Anderson, she continued to ignore these cries by inmates affected most along with their families. The most recent damning evidence of oppression by Anderson comes by a young rape victim who was placed in Harris Co jail after having a breakdown on the witness stand. Anderson claims that she was using this young woman as a witness to convict her rapist. Instead of seeing to it that the victim was cared for, to receive psychological treatment and more, Anderson threw the young woman in jail and tossed the key. The prosecutor was more worried about the victim disappearing, not testifying against the rapist so they put her in jail. The young woman received a black eye after being attacked by another inmate then was placed in segregation for protection. This only did more damage to the victim. Since it was learned that this took place, a lawsuit has been filed against Anderson/Harris Co. A District Attorney was more worried about her career and convictions than a rape victim. That alone should speak in volumes of her professional and personal character. Anderson has offered nothing but excuses since the lawsuit was filed and media began raking Anderson over the coals.
ANDERSON CONTINUED SUPPORT FOR MURDEROUS POLICE OFFICERS
January 16, 2014, 26 year old Jordan Baker was riding around on his bicycle in northwest Houston. An off-duty officer Juventino Castro of considering Baker a suspect because he was a black man in a hoodie. Video released 13 months later by former city of Houston Mayor Annise Parker shows Jordan at a strip center, riding his bike. The grainy video doesn’t show any kind of confrontation however Officer Castro claimed that he “feared for his life when Jordan reached for his waistband”. The typical rhetoric that we hear each time a person is murdered by police. Jordan was unarmed. On January 23, 2014, Officer Castro was no-billed by a Harris Co Grand Jury. A civil lawsuit against the city was filed a month later by Janet Baker, mother of Jordan Baker.
April 28, 2016 Harris Co Pct 5 Officer Roberto Felix pulled over 23 year old Ashtian Barnes claiming that the vehicle had “toll violations” although Ashtian stated that the car he was in was a rental car. Video footage nor the officers name was never released until after a grand jury no billed officer Felix on August 31, 2016. Information was intentionally kept from the public because the county stated that they didn’t want the outcome of the hearing to be affected by releasing the name of the officer or the dashcam video. Felix claimed that Ashtian reached for his hand that was on his gun, which caused Felix to fear for his life and shoot Ashtian in the chest. Felix also claimed that Ashtian began to drive off which caused the officer to retrieve his weapon and begin shooting. Then the video was released on August 31st by Tommy Barnes, father of Ashtian Barnes. Tommy handed the video over to Black Lives Matter Houston who then made it public. In the video you see the officer bring up the toll violations. Ashtian explains that he’s in a rental car as he’s fishing through to find the rental contract for the officer. The officer then claims that the car “smelled of marijuana”. Again, we are all aware of the rhetoric used by officers who are racially profiling black and brown men/women. Moments later you see Felix pull out his weapon, killing Ashtian then the car starts moving which the officer jump onto the vehicle before the car came to a stop. Felix murdered Ashtian before the car began moving. It only began moving because the car was not placed in park. Once Ashtian was murdered, it caused his foot to come off the break, lunging the car forward. You also never see Ashtian’s hand anywhere near the officers belt, or anywhere outside. However a Harris Co Grand Jury announced around 10:15 a.m. that they no-billed the officer. The grand jury waiting room fell in silence by the many supporters who came to be with the family. Again, no justice for another black man murdered.
(Alva Braziel was murdered on July 9, 2016 however a grand jury has not formed to conclude whether the officers involved will be indicted for murder)
Time and time again, Anderson has issued statements in support of grand jury findings and police officers. It is business as usual for Houston’s top attorney. The redundancy has weighed on the Houston community, especially among the millennial generation. Fed up with a systematic racist and corrupted DA, it was decided that Houston launch their own campaign against Devon Anderson called #ByeDevon. In Chicago the people were fed up with their District Attorney building her career off the black community. They launched a #ByeAnita campaign and won! Anita was ousted out of the running for DA. Then days ago, a Florida State Attorney, Angela Corey, one of the most polarizing political figures in Jacksonville history who generated national attention and enormous criticism for her prosecutions of ( or lack thereof in Zimmerman’s case) George Zimmerman, Marissa Alexander, 12-year-old Cristian Fernandez and many others. Corey is noted as the cruelest prosecutor in the U.S.
Now it’s Houston’s turn to get rid of one of the worst DA’s Houston has ever seen. Anderson comes with a lot of excuses, throwing ADA’s under the bus to cover herself. As November nears, more and more people are learning about the DA and they are not happy, including individuals who are of her same party line, the Republicans. Through social media, there has been a large amount of Republicans who’ve spoken out against Anderson. We hope that the day following election night, we will have reason to celebrate. Gutting the system from within is crucial in changing this system. Make no mistake about it, Black Lives Matter Houston is NOT endorsing any candidate for DA. So whoever beats out Anderson better take heed of our complaints. We are always watching!
Synthetic marijuana has been a problem over the years in Houston and nationwide. Through mainstream media, the stories are few and far between where it concerns overdoses and serious affects from use of this dangerous “drug” so much that the City of Houston and media didn’t rake real notice to the problem until there were 16 overdoses a week ago at Hermann Park. However, there has been a group of local activists who’ve already been at work, surveying the epidemic, assisting the homeless, gathering information on treatment programs, confronting store locations that sell synthetic weed, calling for medical help when needed, and much more. This group has far more experience with this crisis than city leaders, treatment centers, and local churches.
For the last couple of months, a group of activists from various local groups banded together to fight against this massive problem. “Kush” is the commonly used name however is labeled incorrectly. Kush is a form of real cannabis marijuana and isn’t harmful to anyone who uses it. The name “kush” was adopted by sellers so that it could appeal to users. Some users make the purchase assuming they are buying real marijuana when in reality, they are buying synthetic weed with absolutely no ties to original and real marijuana.
WHAT IS FAKE KUSH?
First off, again I want to make it clear that the synthetic weed is not in any form of real marijuana. It is crucial that if an individual is buying marijuana from someone, that they know who they are buying from otherwise they could receive synthetic weed and after 1 – 2 puffs, it can cost a person their life. Synthetic marijuana has various names: K2, Spice, Kush, Climax, and Space Cadet just to name a few. Synthetic weed also has levels of potency. Lower levels of potency start at 6x. It climbs to 10x, 15x, 50x, and 100x. Space Cadet contains the highest potency and most likely is the synthetic marijuana used at the time that 16 individuals overdosed at Houston’s Herman Park on June 23rd. The higher the potency, the more likely one is to have constant seizures, vomit, aggressive behavior, body temperatures rise, irregular heart beat whether it increased or decreases the beats per minute, impaired motor skills, paralysis, coma, and even death. The more frequent chemicals involved in the synthetic marijuana is Raid (roach spray), rubbing alcohol, cat nip, and potpourri incense which is sold in packages similar to what is pictured below. The high itself only lasts 10 – 15 minutes. It only costs $1 to purchase a kush blunt compared to a marijuana blunt which runs $5. Synthetic weed is much cheaper to buy and is easily accessible. We see cases where an individual displays aggressive behavior. In those cases, most likely the kush blunt was laced with meth, which causes their aggression and can put others in danger. Though we are always on guard because of the laced drug, for the most part we generally see individuals on 6x – 10x levels of potency. Most will sleep it off for 20 – 30 minutes then be right back up like nothing happened. Most times the person will not remember what took place while they were high.
ER visits to local hospitals since Sept 2015 drug count:
Script Drugs 337
MASSIVE DRUG BUST AND EMERGENCY PERSONNEL
On May 16, 2016, the DEA and HPD seized 9.5 TONS of synthetic marijuana from a drug ring which included a professor from the University of Houston. The DEA arrested 16 people linked to the drug ring which should have crippled the sale of “kush” for a few weeks at least however that isn’t the case. On May 23, 2016 we saw the use of “kush” jump in record numbers. EMT’s/Houston Fire Dept are called all day, every day to assist with individuals who react to “kush”. This takes away from other emergencies taking place in the community. Not to mention it desensitizes EMT workers who have to see this multiple times a day. For example, the evening of June 26, 2016, an older man was seen staggering on Lamar Street in downtown Houston. He managed to get back on the sidewalk then fell onto his side as he began to have seizures. We contacted 911 to obtain medical assistance in the event that this individual could go into cardiac arrest. EMT’s arrived on the scene where one worker, Erica Czyz, was seen using her radio communicator to literally dig into the ribs of this man, yelling at him to wake up. She did not display gentle use of the object as she continued to push her radio harder, digging further into his ribs, once again demanding that he wake up. One worker was overheard laughing and saying “Y’all should take him to Southeast Memorial hospital so that way we won’t have to deal with this problem for a couple of days.” In other words, move kush users further outside the city so that no one is bothered with another user. That is not the answer. We continue to request the faithful diligence and professionalism of our EMT workers/fire fighters which we see so often.
We are currently looking into why synthetic marijuana has hit the streets in mass quantity after Houston Police and the DEA obtained 9.5 tons of synthetic weed back on May 16, 2016. Five weeks ago (specifically 5/23/16) the use of “kush” drastically rose. Synthetic marijuana was seized awfully close to the time the quantity of “kush” in massive doses hit the streets, specifically targeting the homeless community in the downtown area 6 months before Houston hosts the Super Bowl. We continue to ask the question: Who is bringing it downtown in such high quantity?
(For the most part, those who smoke lower levels of potency to kush react in this manner – sitting upright, sleeping off the drug after their 10 – 15 minute high)
HOUSTON POLICE DEALING WITH THE CRISIS
On June 8, 2016 it was a hot Wednesday afternoon. A homeless black male (Mike) who I’ve known for a couple of years appeared with his longtime girlfriend, who I know as well. Both had told me how they spent the majority of their day trying to get on the housing list while also trying to look for a place to stay. Both of them were clearly exhausted from the heat and humidity. If you don’t live in Houston then you don’t know that temps get up to the high 90’s in June with humidity levels over 70% most days. There is no dry heat here. You’re guaranteed to sweat and if you’ve been walking around all day, you’re going to be exhausted the moment you sit down to cool off. That is exactly what happened to this couple after walking around Houston throughout the day. Houston Police Officer Pham, badge# 8193, frequents the library plaza/west end of downtown Houston. He is not liked. Why? Because Officer Pham has a history of being aggressive and has every intention of baiting individuals into an argument so that he can arrest them and take them to jail. Several people have claimed that they saw Pham “kick a homeless woman” as she was laying down one afternoon. Outside of his behavior with the homeless, Pham is combative with homeless advocates. He’ll attempt to argue when he realizes he’s being filmed. Pham has forced us to film him because his professionalism is lacking and he’s known to be aggressive in his personal dealings with the homeless community.
On this particular day, Pham along with two reps from the Sobering Center approached Mike who was leaned up on his girlfriend as he sat on a ledge. He was questioned several times whether he was on “kush” or whether he “intoxicated”. Many times he cited that he was neither kushed out or intoxicated. One of the reps asked him 5 times whether he wanted to be medically evaluated. Each of those times Mike said “no”. At this time it’s clear he’s not high nor is he drunk. Anyone with experience, especially in the drug abuse field, could see that Mike was fine. Not every person who is resting is high or drunk. This is when inquiries turn into harassment. I began filming the incident. How many times does a man have to say “no” to get another to leave him alone? Officer Pham asked for his ID which Mike questioned his reasons. Pham refused to give one, just continued to request his ID. Pham began to ask additional questions while the Sobering Center reps are standing near, watching, not saying anything. Mike was clearly upset, feeling his rights were being violated. By that time I advised Mike to not give any consent to searches nor answer anymore questions without an attorney since it was clear Pham had no intention of backing off Mike. Officer Pham pulled out his handcuffs and detained the man immediately after my suggestion. After Mike was placed in the car, he gave his name which came back clear – no warrants. He was free to go after. The very next day the very same man was done the very same way by Officer Pham, this time without the Sobering Center reps. At what point is this considered “helping the homeless” or attempting to combat the kush crisis? Everything that took place on June 8 screamed violation of civil rights. It is not illegal to lay your head on your girlfriends shoulder. In fact, it is not illegal to rest at all. However, Houston officers are using this as leverage to stop and harass homeless that are not intoxicated in any way.
(Officer Pham detains a homeless man after wrongly profiling and harassing the man)
On June 10, 2016 Officer Caster, badge# 8746, profiled a black Muslim male who was sitting on a ledge at the downtown library plaza. She too assumed he was intoxicated. The same reps from the Sobering Center came and assessed the man. like the others, he fell victim to untrained officers. The man was cleared by Caster and free to leave. Moments later, Officer Pham appeared and became combative when he saw that we were filming the incident. That same night at 9:08 p.m., Officer Pham accused three homeless men of jaywalking across the street in the downtown area although the men had the signal to “walk” when the light changed. Officer Pham arrested one of the men when he asked why was it that Pham was harassing him all the time. Pham uttered “I’ll show you” then placed the homeless man under arrest claiming he was jaywalking the street.
On June 10, 2016 at 7:12 p.m., not long after Officer Caster and Officer Pham left the plaza, Officer Hill, badge# 4879 appeared profiling two homeless men. He claimed they looked intoxicated when both men were resting on their arm, waiting for the 8 p.m. food sharing to begin. Had he engaged the two men appropriately, talking to them a couple of minutes, he would have learned that neither were intoxicated or high. Officer Hill demanded their ID’s which each complied. Hill returned their ID’s after the men were cleared (no warrants) then went back to his car and began to take photo’s of us who were standing out there witnessing further violation of a individuals civil rights. It is clear that common sense is lacking with these officers. This cannot be reduced to a lack of training. To demand ones ID for merely sitting down is wrong. To constantly do this to the homeless community because officers are allowed to get away with it downright shows these officers as being bullies. Picking on people who cannot defend themselves.
(Officer Hill profiles two homeless men in downtown Houston)
MAYOR TURNER’S PLAN TO TACKLE THE KUSH EPIDEMIC
June 30, 2016 Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner called a press conference to give a plan of action in effort to handle the kush issues. The press conference was held at the Hermann Park pavilion, right where 16 individuals were taken to the ER from an overdose the week prior. Aside from the Mayor, the interim HPD Chief of Police, Metro Police, Pastor Rudy from St John’s Church, Mr. Kincaid from the Sobering Center were just a few who spoke in front of local media and concerned homeless advocates.
Mayor Turner expressed that there is a problem in Houston with “kush”. However, because Turner and others involved in the press conference are not knowledgeable of the details of this epidemic, their plans to combat the crisis leave lots of room for error. Mayor Turner wanted to make it clear that the City of Houston wanted to partner with other medical facilities in effort to get real treatment to those who are addicted to kush. Unfortunately, there are no immediate treatment facilities or programs for kush users at this time. In fact, state funding doesn’t even recognize kush as a drug which requires treatment. The Mayor announced the deployment of 175 Houston police officers, many being pulled from desk jobs and investigators, being placed on the street to assist with the “kush clean up effort”. I specifically asked the interim Chief of Police whether these officers would be trained. I was never given a direct answer. Seeing the officers were being deployed the following day, it is clear these officers are not going to be trained to deal with anyone using kush, including the homeless who will be profiled due to the stereotype. Bottom line: If an officer comes across an individual who is high on kush, the best he/she can do for that person is take them to the Sobering Center which the person will spend the night to sober up then be released the very next day just to go out and do it again. There is no real help right now. Calling 175 cops to the streets who are untrained is a recipe for disaster. One must take a humane approach no matter how frustrating the situation is. Being compassionate to the persons needs is a requirement. If one lacks people skills and holds little empathy for others, they cannot do this job. We cannot assume all homeless are kush users. While the majority of kush users are located in the downtown area, you can see the map below that pin points other kush hot spots around the city, including the suburbs. Lastly: Who is bringing it downtown? Homeless people aren’t transporting massive amounts of synthetic marijuana to the downtown region.
(Left: The red signifies kush hot spots. Right: Green dots indicate how many kush users in that area visited an ER facility. You can see in downtown Houston alone, there were 347 cases since Sept. 2015)
There is a lot of work to be done here. None of us have all the answers however we need to be smart about this epidemic. Addressing the needs of mental disorders, depression, PTSD, and much more is crucial at this point. Whether Houston have the capacity to balance mental health still remains unknown. Until we begin to understand that using drugs of any sorts mainly focuses of embedded mental pain that is being masked by drug or alcohol use, we are going to continue to see drug use rise. Of all the homeless individuals I’ve worked with over the last 5 years, 95% of those I’ve spoken with have some sort of mental issue they are dealing with that has been left untreated and prohibits them from moving forward to get housing or use resources offered to help some of the homeless. The majority of homeless I’ve interviewed over the years do not want to be homeless however one should recognize that a form of PTSD takes place when one is thrusted to the streets to survive day to day, minute by minute because the streets are not always safe. The majority of those smoking kush do it to escape the reality which they call “hell”. We truly have no idea what it is like to be on the streets day after day, trying to survive. Many assume help is there but that is not always the case. For example, if you’re a healthy person between the ages of 25 – 64 with no real mental or physical disabilities, or not a parent with children, nor a military veteran, you can be on a housing list for years. In Houston to be placed on a housing list, one must get a homeless letter stating they are homeless and be on the streets for one year before they go on that housing list. Shelters are not the answer either. Shelters in Houston are deplorable. Aside from bed bug infestations and TB, food is extremely inadequate and the volunteers who staff these shelters lack any real compassion or empathy. When a person is forced to a shelter, their dignity is all one has left however too often many of the volunteers strip that from the person as well. I always challenge others to volunteer at the local city shelters to see for themselves just how bad it really is and why it is that so many would rather live on the streets rather than a shelter. This is going to take a lot of us to stay committed if we want to truly resolve the epidemic. If you want to get involved in assisting the homeless in any way, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Houston, TX – By now many of you have heard that earlier this week, a bright young child named Josue Flores was brutally stabbed 22 times as he was walking home from school. This happened just two blocks from his home. This came as a shock to the community Josue lived in as well as the city. The community was outraged – how can a person randomly walk up to an innocent child and murder him. Houston Police were quick to make an arrest of 31 year old Che Calhoun who “seemed” to fir the description of one eyewitness. However, describing a black man, 6 feet tall, age ranging from 25 – 30, weighing 200 lbs could identify a pool of black men if one is unable to tell one black man apart from the other, which seems to be the case with the eyewitness, Houston Police, and the District Attorney’s office. The DA’s office dropped the murder charges against Calhoun Friday, citing that Calhoun was able to prove an alibi that put him in Pearland at the time little Josue was murdered. Evidence was able to prove his whereabouts. Houston Police and the DA severely screwed up on this case. The murderer has had time to leave town while police, prosecutors, media, and the public were focused on Calhoun. HPD, along with the lead detective had a press conference on Friday morning explaining why Calhoun was not their suspect while trying to save face on their massive failure. An apology to Calhoun was never tendered meanwhile after his release, he will be a marked man, reputation ruined entirely. Careless actions led by Houston Police and District Attorney Devon Anderson’s office have been plentiful. Even after the epic fail led by Houston Police, the interim Houston Police Chief Martha Montalvo continued to paint Calhoun as a criminal rather than fessing up and issuing a public apology.
COMMUNITY BACKLASH AGAINST THE HOMELESS
By Friday afternoon, a anti-homeless petition started by Petra Olvera asks the public to sign her petition which she intends to send to Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee’s office, demanding the closure of the Salvation Army located off N. Main, just north of downtown while completely defaming the homeless community as a whole, not on an individual basis.
It is clear that Ms. Olvera and her supporters have spent little to no time with the homeless community. It was later determined that Calhoun was not homeless however, Ms. Olvera continues to push her agenda, using a murdered child as reason to target the homeless, using hateful assumptions one moment then the next inserting “God” in her post. Anyone who considers themselves to be of God, should never attempt to oppress those who cannot defend themselves, especially when it comes to the poor. What makes matters worse are the following comments left by anti-homeless supporters expressing stereotypes, fueled anger, assumptions, and more.
Combating issues of addiction and mental illnesses will not be fixed by shutting down the very services needed for the homeless community through the Salvation Army. Services they provide include free meals, housing homeless in their facility, funding homes for homeless who are now off the streets, counseling, medical needs, clothing, and monies donated by Salvation Army to other organizations who are helping the public. Maybe Ms. Olvera and her supporters could focus their anger and energies on how we can better the situation rather than making it worse. Shutting down the Salvation Army will only create more problems for that community and that is why I know Ms. Olvera has absolutely zero experience with our homeless. Diverting energies into pushing for programs that deal with addiction and mental illnesses is a step in the right direction. Not trying to banish and close an organization that certainly does more good for the homeless. If community members are so upset and want change, why aren’t they asking for more patrol units in their area? Why are police off the hook in this case? Laws are already in effect that deal with crime. If crime is on the rise in the area, this is when you call on police or even community watch dogs to assist. What about the homeless who are truly doing all they can to get services by Salvation Army? I’m guessing they don’t matter much to Ms. Olvera and the others who hate the homeless community.
HOUSTON POLICE BEGIN TARGETING BLACK HOMELESS MEN DOWNTOWN HOUSTON
As a homeless advocate, I spend a good amount of time with the homeless community each week over the last 4.5 years. I’m not paid for what I do. Everything is done because I truly care about our homeless and want to do everything I can to assist where I’m able. This includes fighting for the homeless since so many are unable to defend or fight for themselves. As I arrived at a homeless hot spot Friday afternoon, several black men approached me, letting me know that Houston Police requested to see their ID, some were patted down, while the majority were clueless to why this was taking place. What’s worse is that many of the black men didn’t fit the description implied by the police. One gentleman is in his 60’s however his ID was requested with the excuse of Josue’s murder. Some of the men were older than 30 and many of them were much shorter than 6 feet. Houston Police were up and down Main Street in downtown Houston questioning nearly every homeless black man they saw. Police were also questioning homeless black men at Tranquility Park, Houston City Hall grounds, the downtown library plaza, and over by Wheeler St, south of downtown. If a witness accused the wrong man, then credibility is shot. Eyewitness accounts are highly incorrect most times. Is this a case of cops truly looking for Josue’s murderer or intimidation tactics led by police to make it seem as if they’re doing their job? Houston police have been known to harass the homeless over the years for little to no reason at all. It still happens today. If a cop is unable to identify a black man who is 6 feet tall, age ranging from 25 – 30 years, 200 lbs, by pulling random black men who vary in age, height, age, and weight outside the identifying criteria, then we need to have a serious discussion with the police chief. Due to an assumption that the murderer was “homeless” we now have community efforts to hurt rather than help the homeless and police who seem desperate to find a murderer. Meanwhile the murderer is probably long gone since the police and prosecutor took the word of one lone person who couldn’t describe one black man to the next.
Homeless are people too. I have been echoing these sentiments for years because society tends to dismiss the homeless, using stereotypes to fuel their hate and discrimination to further oppress. All that many have left is their dignity. A community and a police department are looking to strip dignity from undeserving people because of careless assumptions. We will always have chronic homelessness. We will always have criminals. There is no difference between a person living in a community who is a criminal and a homeless criminal. I’m certain that not all criminal acts that have taken place in the community were done by a homeless man or woman. I’m sure some criminal acts were caused by an individual who might have lived or have ties to that community. We let the police handle those matters where it concerns a non-homeless criminal, so why now is the entire homeless community being judged and ridiculed now? It seems Ms. Olvera, her supporters, and the police that arrested the wrong man/are harassing black homeless men downtown need to have a reality check, gain some compassion, obtain common sense and possibly check their facts before proceeding against the homeless. It would do all of them some good to spend time, REAL TIME, with some of the homeless. A good majority of homeless are not addicts, drunks, criminals, etc. Criminal behavior is not led by a race, class, gender, or whatever title you choose, but led by individuals on a human level!
In the spirit of countering the anti-homeless petition, I’ve started a petition in support of our homeless community. This to show that many of us are not okay with labeling the homeless in a negative manner and that we do not support cutting services to homeless that are in true need of help. Please link here: https://www.change.org/p/community-we-support-houston-s-homeless
We will be linking with other homeless advocates, homeless orgs, and local homeless charities to assist in countering Ms. Olvera’s attempted action moving forward.
Houston is one of the largest cities in the county, certainly the largest deemed in the South. It’s said that Houston is known for its diversity, civil manners, but also known for having one of the highest incarceration rates of the county in the country and State. District Attorney Devon Anderson succeeded her late husband, Mike Anderson, and became Harris County’s District Attorney in September 26, 2013.
#BYEANITA – CHICAGO – REKIA BOYD & LAQUAN MCDONALD HISTORY
Anita Alvarez was elected as Cook County’s District Attorney in 2008. Chicago has been known for many years, to hold a high death rate due to gang violence. However, there are is also a large problem taking place in Cook County: Corruption of the DA’s office and the Chicago Police Dept. In 2012, a young black woman named Rekia Boyd https://twitter.com/hashtag/rekiaboyd?lang=en was murdered by off duty police officer Dante Servin on March 21, 2012. Servin called 911 at 11:49 pm to report a loud party in Douglas Park. Soon after, he approached a group of four people who were walking down an alley and harassed them for talking too loudly. He never identified himself as a police officer. The group turned to leave and Servin fired multiple shots from a 9mm firearm from his car, into the group. One bullet hit Boyd in the back of the head and killed her. DA Alvarez UNDERCHARGED Servin with involuntary manslaughter rather than the much deserved first degree murder. Because the officer was undercharged, Judge Porter had to throw out the case because Judge Porter felt the murder was intentional, which isn’t carried in an involuntary manslaughter charge. Alvarez wanted to carry favor with the Chicago Police Dept and she felt by assisting Servin in this matter, would gain her more friends than foes.
Laquan McDonald was a 17 year old black male who was also murdered by Chicago Police, under Anita Alvarez. October 20, 2014 McDonald was reported to have a 3 inch knife and was shot by Chicago officer Jason Van Dyke 16 times in 13 seconds as McDonald was running. Meaning McDonald’s back was facing the officer at a great distance, a distance that couldn’t use the excuse that the officer feared for his life. DA Alvarez ignored pleas to charge the officer accordingly. In fact, it took 13 months for the dash video to be released which clearly shows cold blooded murder by the hands of a police officer whose job it is to protect and serve.
By now, among many other issues that transpired in the DA’s office that were left unturned and/or many cases or intentional cover ups, corruption, refusal to go after violent police officers, the black men and women along with activist group, Assata’s Daughters felt it was time to oust Cook County DA Anita Alvarez in which #ByeAnita was born. Alvarez was initially winning at the polls however after the #ByeAnita campaign launched, months later Anita Alvarez was ousted as DA after serving from 2008 through 2016, replaced by DA Kim Foxx after black lives successfully engaged the public, showing that Alvarez was crooked, filthy, a dirty politician, and most of all, she could no longer be trusted. The same individuals who’ve campaigned Alvarez out of office have echoed their sentiments to the new DA, Kim Foxx, that they will be watching her as well. To date, there are still no charges filed against Officer Dante Servin in the murder of Rekia Boyd.
#BYEDEVON – HOUSTON – JAIL
Harris County is the largest county in the state of Texas. Its also made up of many diversities. However, Blacks, who make up 18 percent of Harris County’s population, account for 48 percent of the jail population, according to charts distributed by the county. Is the county simply saying that Blacks are more prone to act criminally or is there a larger picture here that Houstonian’s are refusing to face. A Houston Chronicle investigation last year found that at any given time, as many as 75 percent of the jail’s 9,000 inmates have not been convicted of any crime but remain behind bars awaiting trial because they can’t afford to get out. (Source: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Jail-reform-tackles-racial-disparities-7247268.php) This is where systematic racism plays a role. Most men who are targeted are those who are non-white, living in poor neighborhoods and are frequently profiled by Houston Police officers. If officers target minorities, using their own discretion to arrest each individual, then most likely that individual coming from the these communities will not be able to afford their own attorney or get bailed out of jail which leaves them in jail until their trial date. So much for innocent until proven guilty. See below statistics:
Harris County Jail Pre Trial Population: 5,655 (66%)
» Number of Pretrial Defendants with Misdemeanor Charges: 380
» Number of Pretrial Defendants with State Jail Charges: 648
» Number of Pretrial Defendants with Felony Charges: 4,627
Average Cost to Harris County Taxpayers to Incarcerate the Entire Harris County Jail Pretrial Population, PER DAY: $333,645
This means we are footing the bill every day in cases of individuals who simply cannot afford to get out of Harris County Jail. Many of those cases are non-violent offenses, also many of them being traffic/driving offenses. However Harris County citizens are forced to pay because we have a District Attorney who refuses to release those who are truly not a threat to society. End result: Devon Anderson is costing us over a quarter of a million dollars daily. This means that we’re paying $121,780,425 annually.
DARREN GOFORTH MURDER – ANDERSON/HICKMAN’S ANTI BLACKLIVESMATTER RHETORIC
On August 28, 2015 Harris County Officer Darren Goforth was murdered while pumping gas at a gas station located off of Telge, far Northwest Houston. Goforth was in uniform and was driving his patrol car. Speculations grew however nothing would shock us more than our local city officials hours after Goforth was murdered. Devon Anderson and Harris County Sheriff Ron Hickman was out for blood and they did not care who they took down to get it. County officials, especially a top cop and a district attorney, should always study evidence and make sure anything they portray to the public is carefully worded. This didn’t happen the night of August 28th. Anderson and Hickman angrily greeted a room full of media asking questions to what happened in the murder of Goforth. Literally hours after his death, without gaining any substantial proof, Hickman and Anderson began pointing fingers in the direction of #BlackLivesMatter activists/movement. Houston had been hosting their own BLM actions over 12 months by that time. Shortly after they held their press conference, angry citizens who literally assumed BLM activists targeted Officer Goforth in an ambush, took to social media to echo their distaste for those involved in the movement. The majority of individuals who were angered used social media to air their issues with the movement, tossing insults and inaccuracies. Unfortunately, there were a few others who made it their life’s mission to not only target but to share private and personal information of those known in the Houston area for protesting against police violence, literally putting lives in danger due to reckless and harmful rhetoric. To date, Anderson has refused several times, to apologize to BLM activists in the Houston area.
SOUTHLAWN GANG INJUNCTION & JORDAN BAKER
Jordan Baker was a 26 year old black male, wearing a hoodie, on his bicycle the night he was murdered by Houston Police Officer Juventino Castro in January 2014. Baker did not have a weapon when he was murdered. Instead, Castro cited that Baker reached for his waistband and Castro shot Baker. “Reaching for the waistband” is a code largely used by police officers all over the country so the murdering cops could easily cite that they “feared for their life”. In fact, several former or retired officers have come out, confirming this code, making us aware that this is a taught effort to police officers. Nearly a year after Baker’s murder, a Harris County Grand Jury refused to charge the officer in the murder of Jordan Baker. Many are not aware how the system works when dealing with a grand jury. Grand juries have been known to be made up by former police, city department heads, and other closed door officials. It’s also the job of the prosecutor to give all information to these grand juries so that they may review all the evidence and charge or not charge without prejudice. All too often, we’ve seen many DA’s and ADA’s not put forth enough evidence when it comes to police, done intentionally so that the officer doesn’t get a grand jury ruling that goes against them. Cops, ADA’s, and judges all work hand in hand. There’s a lot of favors given, a lot of cover-ups, a lot of oversights and purposely turned heads to cater to those who are misusing the system. The same was said in the case against Castro. This is why it’s rare we see an officer receive rightfully deserved charges when acting violent and oppressive. The prosecutor for the county simply doesn’t want to make enemies with the very same people that help them keep their jobs and no one wants the entire police department to turn against them, especially when you’re up for re-election. In Harris County, the last time an HPD officer was charged for a shooting was in March 2004, when Arthur Carbonneau was indicted in the death of 14-year-old Eli Escobar Jr. Carbonneau was convicted of negligent homicide in that case. Houston police officers have been cleared by Harris County grand juries 288+ times for shootings. Most judges in Harris County use a system to impanel grand juries that is discarded by nearly all other states because it can result in grand juries that are not diverse. More than a quarter of the 121 civilians HPD officers have shot in the last five years were unarmed. Most using the excuse that the “suspect” reached for their waistband leaving the officer to fear for their life. This means that under Devon Anderson and under her late husband’s watch when he was DA, that each of them have done nothing to protect citizens against murdering police. In fact it’s largely known that Anderson is a cop apologist no matter the circumstance. How safe should we feel with a DA who caters to oppressive police officers rather than the public she’s to serve?
The Southlawn Gang Injunction was implemented by Harris Co DA Devon Anderson and County Attorney Vince Ryan attempting to banish 42 black men from the community of Southlawn that sits south of downtown Houston. First off, it amazes me that two powerful attorney’s are rejecting the Texas Constitution which prohibits banishment of any kind in this state. (Texas Constitution: Article 1, Sec. 20) Anderson and Ryan backdoored the Southlawn community by initiating this case. Each never communicated with the Southlawn community themselves, and each have refused to attend community meetings over this matter after Anderson and Ryan were personally invited so the community could get an explanation. What’s worse is that many Southlawn businesses were listed on the case in favor of the gang injunction however, business owners who were interviewed by community activists were appalled when learning that the DA listed their name without consent. The businesses even claimed that no one from the DA’s office had ever come by to interview and/or confirm their stance. Why would DA Anderson and County Atty Ryan do this to the residents and business owners of the area? There are already laws in place for criminal activity should a specific individual perpetuate violence in that area. What this comes down to is money. If Mike is banished from his home then Mike cannot be home during special holiday’s, birthday’s, not even to take his mother to go vote. Mom will not continue to reside in an area where Mike is no longer allowed. When mom moves, then business is essentially affected. This isn’t something that will take place overnight and the city is aware that this takes time. In the coming years, it will force the area to be largely abandoned, giving free space to greedy land developers who’ve had their eyes on several of Houston’s Wards and other communities surrounding the downtown area. This is called gentrification. This takes place when a community is bullied/profiled by police and city officials so much so that they give up and move out. Soon you see these townhome structures built so tightly together, each costing $300k and more, turning these once own black communities into a largely unaffordable white upscale community, shredding any and all black history in the area as gentrification has been done in Third Ward.
Anderson and Ryan couldn’t care less about the Southlawn community, much less any poor community in Houston, and definitely do not care about black or brown individuals. If Anderson is so worried about crime, then maybe she should focus on those who are currently sitting in county jail on non-violent charges, release those individuals then focus on real criminals in Houston, INCLUDING MURDERING COPS! Harris Co Jail has been overcrowded so much that outsourcing inmates has been initiated to wing off the overflow rather than releasing the non-violent offenders. Anderson has proven herself to be a tool, arrogant, and definitely not a friend to the black and brown communities. There’s a reason why she’ll charge an individual with a felony drug charge if they have TRACE EVIDENCE of crack on them, however if you have trace evidence of cocaine, you’ll only be charged with a misdemeanor. We all know that crack is prevalent in black communities while cocaine is prevalent in white communities.
These are many of the reasons we want to say #ByeDevon. We will continue to push for Anderson to be ousted come November. What has been presented to you is only a fraction of what Anderson has done to serve her own agenda or the agenda of those who have funded/elected her in the past, while failing the public over and over again, especially the black community. 48 percent of blacks making up the jail population is not good and here we have a DA who claims to be fair and impartial. If we are successful in the #ByeDevon campaign, we also want to make aware to the new DA that we will be watching just as closely. It’s time to turn the page in Harris County. You can link to us here:
a wage that is high enough to maintain a normal standard of living.
By now you have heard that individuals across the nation who have joined together, fighting Congress in raising the minimum wage from the federal wage of $7.25/hr to at least $9/hr. President Obama proposed pushed to increase the minimum wage earlier in the year, but Congress refuses to raise the federal wage. This has created an outcry by those affected most: the minimum wage worker. Activists have joined the fighting in standing in solidarity with the low wage workers while echoing the common sentiments over the last few years: income inequality that comes by the 1% which have directly impacted several the 99%-ers. Since 1979, the average income of the 1% has grown a staggering 240% while the average overall wages has grown a measly 13%. The great news is that the economy has grown nearly 62% over the last 20-years. The bad news is that with the growth of the economy and the many recessions that followed 1979, cost of living has sky rocketed while worker wages continue to a near flat-line rate.
A full time minimum wage worker will make roughly $290 a week before taxes. Congressional leaders make $294 in 3.5 hours according to the $176k salary standards for any leader holding a seat. GOP lawmakers are mostly opposed to any minimum wage hike. Republicans in Washington have argued that raising the minimum wage would hurt everything from small businesses to teenagers looking for part-time work, but several studies have contradicted their claims. It is easy to offer a rebuttal to people who practice hypocrisy daily. Small businesses being affected? How many of these leaders hold stocks in Walmart? Not to mention the numerous corporate kickbacks obtained by these same leaders from businesses who have crushed small businesses in America. Affecting teenagers looking for work? Well, it is a common misconception that the majority of minimum wage workers are teenagers. In fact about 3.6 million hourly workers earned at or below the minimum wage or less and 22% are teenagers (792,000) between the ages of 16 and 19 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
While 19 of the 50 U.S. states have increased or voted to increase the minimum wage, unfortunately Texas has ignored the issue. Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) suggested that the minimum wage be done away with entirely.
I think it’s outlived its usefulness,” Barton told National Journal. “It may have been of some value back in the Great Depression. I would vote to repeal the minimum wage.
However, do not expect Texas leaders to present a bill that would increase the minimum wage. Texas Senators, John Cornyn and Ted Cruz have each expressed that increasing the minimum wage would deeply impact Texas as a whole. Unfortunately, each Senator has yet to prove the statements by facts or studies. Texas seems to be echoing the same rhetoric that comes by any “red state” standing in solidarity with the other.
States who have increased the minimum wage:
9. Massachusetts $8.00
8. California $8.00
7. Nevada $8.25
6. Illinois $8.25
5. Washington D.C. $8.25
4. Connecticut $8.25
3. Vermont $8.60
2. Oregon $8.95
1. Washington $9.19
Locally in Houston, fast food workers have protested twice in the past 4-months, demanding the federal minimum wage to increase from $7.25 per hour to $15 per hour which is considered a “living wage.” From 1998 to 2007, the FLSA remained at $5.15 an hour. In 2009, the FLSA rose to $6.55 an hour and finally in 2010, the FLSA went up to $7.25 an hour. If minimum wage had grown at the same pace as it had for the top 1 percent of income earners over the last 24-years, the minimum wage would be close to $33 an hour. On a more reasonable level, if the minimum wage kept up with the rise in productivity, the minimum wage would be at $22 an hour. This means that over the last 20-years, an average of $7/hr that has risen by productivity increases which have been denied to the employee, who is essentially the reason why productivity has grown. It isn’t hard to determine where the financial difference is going.
Dialog from the Writer
“You served me a cheeseburger. How hard can that job be? Yet you think your worth that $15/hr living wage?” YES! The common assumption is that placing a Happy Meal on a tray and handing it over to a customer is worth nothing from a financial aspect. That is absolutely the case when we’re looking at a society that has continued to kept the poor down for far too long. McDonald’s income revenue for 2012 was $27.6 billion. McDonald’s employs 1.7 million individuals worldwide and 761,000 employees in the United States. McDonald’s would hardly be affected by the increase to $15/hr.
Recently, economists at the University of California, Berkeley found that 52% of fast-food workers rely on taxpayer-funded public assistance programs, such as food stamps and/or Medicaid.
“Taxpayers are subsidizing the low-wage model of these employers, who are making record profits in some cases.” – Dorian Warren, Associate Professor at Columbia University who studies income inequality.
Another example is the mega-chain, Walmart, who claimed $447 billion with a 24.9% gross profit margin in 2012 and employs 1.4 million individuals domestically. Walmart pays an average of $12.83/hr. Right before Thanksgiving, in Canton, Ohio, Walmart held a Thanksgiving Charity Food Drive for their own employees. Walmart spokesperson, Kory Lundberg, spoke well of the charitable event praising employees and bragging that the drive to collect holiday food for fellow employees shows just how much Walmart employees care about one another. Just how much did Walmart executives donate to this event? ZERO.
Instead of these businesses offering a living wage to their employees, these businesses put the burden on the tax payers, people like you and I, in covering cost of social programs like food stamps and Medicaid. The rhetoric “If you don’t like it, get another job” or “Why don’t you go to college and get a degree if you want that kind of money” comes by individuals who have absolutely no clue about defined economics and/or have been conditioned into this type of thinking that usually comes by political rhetoric, politicians and mainstream media. I commonly say, “Is that $15/hr really going to effect your every day living?” I am also concerned about individuals who settle for $15/hr after obtaining a college degree. We are living in an economy where gas averages $3.15/gal. Milk is an average of $3.00/gal. A loaf of bread averages $2. Produce costs are on the rise. Meanwhile the cost of living has risen at astronomical levels, wage pay remains low and society assumes that minimum wage workers are looking for a handout when that is not the case. Some individuals work these low paying jobs to make some money for leisure or to put a few dollars in their pockets, the majority of workers are employed in these jobs for basic survival. Many work 2 or more minimum wage jobs to make up the hours lost by being a part-time employee, only to make $15k annually which is below the poverty line. It is my thinking that if we raise the minimum wage to $15/hr, it would lower the unemployment rate, boost the economy and morale.
December 11, 2013 – Houston Texas: Food Not Bombs – Houston has been feeding those in need for over 19-years. It is because of local volunteers that this has been possible. The group usually serves anywhere from 50 to 150 people. In some cases, FNB has served over 200-individuals. The holiday season is among us which means volunteers are or will be out of town. We have also seen Houston recently hit with the flu which has greatly impacted our volunteers as well.
This is your time to step up and help! It is as easy as showing up. We recommend individuals not bring food their first time joining us so that one can get a feel for how FNB functions. If you are intent on bringing a dish, please keep in mind that FNB is a vegetarian food sharing.
The cold temps have also impacted the homeless. We are requesting coats, blankets, gloves, mittens, winter hats, socks, shoes and sweaters be donated. You can also donate casual clothing if you have the means.
Date/Time: Monday, Wednesday, Friday’s at 8 p.m. Sunday at 7 p.m.
Location: Downtown Houston Library (Courtyard Area)
Houston, TX 77002
(Parking is free)
For more information about Food Not Bombs, please link here: