Tag Archives: Washington D.C.

Justice or Else: The Million Man March 20 years later

Back in June I blogged about the announcement of the 20th anniversary of the Million Man March.  Today thousands of people are expected to attend Justice or Else: The Million Man March 20th anniversary.

JusticeorElse

Much has changed since, an evolution perhaps best symbolized by the trajectory of one man who attended the Million Man March: Barack Obama. Then, he was a fresh-faced Illinois state Senate candidate; now, of course, he occupies the White House.

Yet black unemployment remains double that of whites, and the repeated instances of unarmed black men being killed by police have given rise to the Black Lives Matter movement.

“It is because of continued injustice that people are crying out for justice,” said Benjamin F. Chavis Jr., the former NAACP chief who directed the Million Man March and is serving as a consultant to Saturday’s rally. “It would be incorrect to say we have made no progress. But it would be equally incorrect to say all is well.”

This time around there will be more than just black men attending the march.  Black women and other minorities will be represented as well.

Check out the #JusticeOrElse hashtag at Twitter to keep up with what’s going in D.C. throughout the day.  C-Span is showing live coverage of the Million Man March 20th Anniversary right now and you can watch the Justice or Else Webcast.

Murder on metro

The 4th of July is suppose to be a day of celebration.  But this past 4th of July in Washington, D.C. on the metro turned into a nightmare.  Twenty-four-year old Kevin Joseph Sutherland was brutally murdered in front of metro passengers.

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Eighteen-year old Jasper Spires murdered Kevin Sutherland.  He was trying to steal Kevin Sutherland’s cell phone.

Jasper_Spires

Jasper Spires boarded the Red Line Metro train at Rhode Island Avenue shortly before 1 p.m. Saturday, joining passengers from the District and elsewhere headed to various Fourth of July festivities, among them the Foo Fighters concert at RFK Stadium.

As the train rumbled toward its next stop, at NoMa-Gallaudet, a three-minute ride, D.C. police said, the 18-year-old Spires — who may have been high on synthetic drugs — tried to grab a cellphone tucked into the waistband of a recent American University graduate headed to a gathering with friends.

The two struggled, police said, and the terror began.

Police and a witness interviewed said passengers trapped in the moving train huddled at both ends of the car and watched in horror as Spires punched 24-year-old Kevin Joseph Sutherland until he fell to the floor, then stabbed him until he was dead. Court documents say the victim was cut or stabbed 30 or 40 times, in the chest, abdomen, back, side and arms. Police said the assailant then threw the victim’s cellphone and returned to stomp on Sutherland’s body.

“We were in a moving train,” said a 52-year-old woman, who spoke on the condition that she not be named because she is both a victim and a witness to a crime. “You’re not really sure what you need to do. . . . This man is holding a bloody knife. I don’t think anyone was going to try and stop him.”

After he murdered Kevin Sutherland he robbed other metro passengers.

When the frenzy was over, the woman, who is from Texas and was headed to the concert with her 76-year-old father, said the attacker turned his bloody knife on them. A police report said he told her father, who lives in the District, “Give me what you got,” took $60 and threw the man’s wallet on the floor. The man’s daughter then handed over an additional $160 “to keep him from hurting her father,” a police report said. The attacker also robbed other passengers, police said.

Jasper Spires was arrested yesterday and police say that he may have been high on synthetic drugs.  According to the Washington Post Jasper Spires was arrested last Thursday before he murdered Kevin Sutherland but was free while awaiting trial. Damn.  His ass should have been in jail instead of out on the streets.

Spires was arrested Thursday night in Northwest Washington on more serious charges. A police report says he confronted a man outside shops in the 5200 block of Wisconsin Avenue NW in Friendship Heights. The victim told police that the man was waving a wine bottle and demanded, “What do you have in your pockets?” He then grabbed the man by the neck, pushed him against a wall and searched through his pockets, the report says.

He was arrested by police about five minutes later. According to a police report, he kicked two officers in the legs as they handcuffed him.

The police report indicates that officers forwarded to prosecutors charges­ of robbery by force and violence, a felony, and assault on a police officer, a misdemeanor. When Spires made his initial appearance in D.C. Superior Court on Friday, prosecutors downgraded the felony robbery charge to a misdemeanor simple assault. A judge released Spires pending a July 21 hearing and ordered him to stay away from the victim.

It’s situations like this that make me nervous about metro sometimes. You don’t know what kind of people you will encounter on the train.  Let’s hope they keep Jasper Spires in jail this time.

20th Anniversary rally for the Million Man March

Earlier today Louis Farrakhan announced that there will be a rally commemorating the 20th anniversary of the Million Man March on October 10, 2015 in Washington, D.C. on the National Mall.

Louis_Farrakhan

The Million Man March took place on October 16, 1995.

1995 Million Man March

The announcement for the rally called Millions For Justice took place at the Metropolitan AME Church in Washington, D.C.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan said Wednesday he plans to hold a Millions for Justice march in the nation’s capital this fall, 20 years after the Million Man March.

During a speech at Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church in downtown Washington, Farrakhan said he intends to hold the rally Oct. 10 on the National Mall, scene of the 1995 march.

“This is the time our people must see our unity,” Farrakhan said. “Let’s make 10/10/15 a meeting place for those who want justice, for those who know what justice is.”

Organizers said they aim to stage a more diverse and inclusive event than the one in 1995, which was billed as a men-only event.

Former NAACP executive director Benjamin Chavis, who helped organize the original Million Man March, said he is optimistic that this year’s turnout will be “in excess of a million.” He said the event’s success would be measured more by the political and socioeconomical impact it has on communities.

I remember when the first march took place back in 1995. We had the option of going to work or staying home. I decided to go to work that day. I remember some folks were paranoid about thousands of black men coming to D.C. A lot of folks did stay home. I remember taking the subway to work that morning and noticed how the train was much more crowded than usual for an early morning commute due to the large number of March participants taking the subway.  Don’t know why folks were nervous about going into work if they took the subway.  And the march?  Turned out to be very peaceful with no problems.

One of the organizers of this year’s event is Reverend Jamal Bryant of Empowerment Temple AME Church in Baltimore.  He delivered the eulogy at the funeral of Freddie Gray.

Rev. Jamal Bryant of Empowerment Temple AME Church in Baltimore also is an organizer. Bryant delivered the eulogy at the funeral of Freddie Gray, a black man who died in police custody in April, setting off protests in Baltimore and around the country.

“Twenty years ago, those who gathered did so for the dignity of our black men,” read a joint statement issued by Bryant and fellow organizer Tamika Mallory, former executive director of the New York-based National Action Network. “Today, we see that the need for justice and equity is far-reaching, and requires systematic and deliberate change for people of many backgrounds.”

Check out the following links for more information about the Millions for Justice rally:

Gathering to recognize 20th anniversary of Million Man March

Justice or Else: Million Man March 20th Anniversary

Farrakhan announces 20th anniversary Million Man March rally

Two of the Thompson sextuplets are graduating

On May 8, 1997 the first black sextuplets were born in Washington, D.C but one was stillborn.

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thompson_sextuplets2

Today 2 of the surviving sextuplets, Stella and Ann-Marie will be graduating from Washington D.C.’s Hospitality High School.  The other 3, Emily, Richard and Octavia, will be graduating next year.

thompson_sextuplets4

Time sure does fly by. Two of the nation’s first black sextuplets are about to graduate from high school.

Stella Thompson is feeling great because she and her sister are graduating from D.C.’s Hospitality High School.

“Just sitting in that audience seeing two of my kids graduate, it’s a dream come true,” said their mother, Jackie Thompson.

It was just a dream back in 1997 as Jackie gave birth to six children. But sadly, one was stillborn.

Howard University offered the surviving sextuplets scholarships and Stella and Ann-Marie will be attending Howard starting in the fall.

Congrats to Stella and Ann-Marie!!

D.C.’s Funk Parade

Yesterday D.C. held its 2nd annual Funk Parade along the U Street corridor. The Funk Parade is a celebration of the city’s diversity and culture.

dcfunkparade

Carl Gray Jr. was participating in the District’s second annual Funk Parade, which featured a street fair and concerts in the U Street area throughout the day, highlighted by a parade at 5 p.m. that started at the Howard Theatre in Shaw and ended at the Lincoln Theatre on U Street NW.

“Understanding brings us together to change the system; the lyrics and the music does that,” said Gray, a videographer for the Funk Parade who was 14 and living in Northwest when rioters burned down much of the U Street Corridor after the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in 1968. “[The District] looked like a war zone. . . . How are we going to fight when we’re grooving?”

The Funk Parade was created by Justin Rood and Chris Naoum.

Thousands of people attended the parade, which featured local marching bands, dance troupes, Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D), and anyone else who wanted to jump in.

Bowser marched with a crew of supporters, chucking green bead necklaces at people who lined the streets on every jammed sidewalk, stoop, restaurant patio, fire escape, balcony and rooftop with a sliver of space.

Check out the entire article here and you can also check out the Funk Parade website here.

The DMV Part 2

Back in 2010 I blogged about the growing use of the term DMV.  I wasn’t feeling it back then.  Well 5 years later it’s grown on me.  I’ve gotten use to using that term instead of the D.C. metro area.  Some folks can change.

dmv

Vincent Gray defeats Adrian Fenty in D.C. primary

D.C. Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray defeated current Washington, D.C. mayor Adrian Fenty in the Democratic primary mayoral race yesterday.

With no one in the Republican Party to oppose him in the general election in November, Vincent Gray will become the next mayor of Washington, D.C.  He will also become the oldest mayor elected in D.C.

Gray decisively defeats Fenty in race for D.C. mayor

By Tim Craig and Nikita Stewart
Wednesday, September 15, 2010; 2:45 AM

D.C. Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray won the Democratic nomination for mayor early Wednesday. With nearly all returns counted, voters rejected incumbent Adrian M. Fenty’s hard-charging style in favor of promises of a new, conciliatory approach to governing a fast-changing city.

Gray won with 59,285 votes to Fenty’s 50,850. A few precincts’ results had not been counted at 1:40 a.m., but elections officials said they could not change the outcome.

“We know that we will be celebrating a very big victory very soon,” Jonice Gray Tucker, Gray’s daughter, told the crowd at her father’s party shortly before midnight.

Fenty, the youngest mayor in the four decades of home rule, drew national accolades for his efforts to reform schools; oversaw a dramatic decline in the homicide rate; and led a successful drive to build neighborhood amenities such as recreational centers, dog parks and athletic fields.

Fenty appeared before supporters at 1:18 a.m., refusing to concede and rallying his troops with a battle cry of “On to victory.”

Gray, 67, who spent most of his career leading local nonprofit organizations, has soared swiftly through the ranks of the city’s political establishment. A former executive director of the Association of Retarded Citizens and Covenant House Washington, he was elected to the council by Ward 7 voters in 2004. After only two years in that job, he waged a successful campaign for chairman. Although he was expected to cruise to easy reelection this year, Gray decided in late March to enter the mayor’s race, even though he faced an uphill fight against a well-funded, telegenic mayor who boasted of a long list of achievements.

I read about Mayor Fenty’s arrogance.  But seeing is believing:

While Gray mulled over his future, Fenty continued to be dogged by bad publicity. After a record-breaking snowstorm over the first weekend in February, Fenty initially pushed to open schools and city government on Monday morning, enraging some parents and city employees.

A few days later, when WRC-TV anchor Eun Yang asked Fenty when the snow would finally be cleared from city streets, the mayor snapped that the question “doesn’t make any sense.” The snow would be gone, he said, when “the temperature gets warm enough that it can melt.”

When the temperature gets warm enough that it can melt? WTF kind of response is that?  I wonder if Eun Yang gave him the side eye 😉

According to TBD, Mayor Fenty conceded to Vincent Gray this morning.

The telephonic stalemate had legs, too. Last night, even after most news organizations had called the race for Gray, the mayor apparently couldn’t bring himself to dial Gray’s number.

The two finally connected this morning, with Fenty doing the dialing. Both pledged to continue that connection and work toward a smooth transition in D.C.’s executive branch. Gray even suggested the mayor might be prepared for their first sit-down, face-to-face meeting in months.

Check out the article and the Vincent Gray press conference at TBD.com.

Craving for cupcakes Part 2

I finally got a chance to watch the TLC reality show D.C. Cupcakes.  TLC had a D.C. Cupcake marathon yesterday so I recorded the shows.  I missed D.C. Cupcakes when it first premiered in July. The Washington Post and the Washington Post Express had articles about their store last month and I mentioned the articles in my blog.

Georgetown Cupcake is owned by sisters Katherine Kallinis and Sophie LaMontagne.

Watching this show made me realize that owning a cupcake store isn’t as easy as I thought. You never know when someone will ask for a special order and expect to have it ready within 24 hours.

I couldn’t believe how hungry I got from watching this show. I probably gained 10 pounds just from looking at all those cupcakes 😉  Luckily I have no plans of driving down to Georgetown to buy cupcakes.  And hopefully they won’t think about building a store close to a metro stop or I’m in trouble.  Unfortunately they do deliver and ship orders.  I am strong and I can resist 😦

News never looked so good

Through all the years I’ve been watching the news I never paid attention to the looks of male news anchors and reporters. To me they just deliver the news.  But lately NBC News4, which has been my favorite for years, has been hiring some serious eye candy lately. Two young male reporters have caught eye: Aaron Gilchrist and John Schriffen:

Aaron Gilchrist hails from Richmond, Virginia where he worked for the NBC affiliate WWBT. He graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University. Aaron is a reporter for NBC News4 and he’s also the weekend news anchor with Kimberly Suiters.  You can read more about Aaron here.

John Schriffen hails from New York City.  Though he graduated from Dartmouth College he also attended Howard University where he worked at The Hilltop student newspaper.  John is a general assignment reporter for NBC News4.  Check out more about John here.  Washington Life Magazine has an interview with John.

News4 reporter John Schriffen is nothing short of passionate when it comes to his career and the world of journalism. Schriffen sits down with us to elaborate on his transition to news and his move to the nation’s capital:

How did you become interested in a career in journalism?
Back in college I had an internship at ESPN’s “Pardon the Interruption.” I used to bring my writing samples to Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon, the hosts of the show. Tony would always look at me and say “Its good, but it needs to sound more like you.” That’s when I realized I actually have a voice. I graduated from Dartmouth and got my first break on TV as a sports anchor/reporter with News 12 The Bronx. I made my fair share of mistakes and Michael and Tony weren’t around to shield me from my news director, but honestly – it made me tougher. I wasn’t afraid to ask the hard questions. That’s what makes a good reporter. My news director decided to put me on both sports and local news and its then that I realized the thrill of breaking a good story and listening to viewers on the street. As cheesy as this may sound, I love helping people by giving them a voice.

Check out the entire interview here.

Michelle Fenty cries for her husband

The Washington Post has an interesting article about Mayor Adrian Fenty’s wife Michelle.   Michelle Fenty was raised in London and met her husband while they were students at Howard University Law School.

Michelle Fenty’s battle cry in D.C. mayoral campaign that brought her to tears

By Manuel Roig-Franzia
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, September 11, 2010; C01

Michelle Cross Fenty doesn’t look at the Internet much anymore.

She’s had enough. She’ll only find more of the same about her husband, Mayor Adrian M. Fenty, she says: “He’s arrogant, disconnected or, even worse, that he doesn’t care.”

In her ideal cyberworld, “if you Google something, it shouldn’t pick up blogs,” the District’s first lady reasons from the corner booth at Oya, the stylishy mod Penn Quarter restaurant that has become her lunchtime favorite. Even in this quiet refuge, she’s working it for her husband, emoting as fast as she can — reluctant one moment, voluble the next.

Her manifesto includes her provocative thoughts concerning online meddling — and muddling of truths. She thinks the Internet is leading us all “down a dangerous spiral,” a spiel that even her friends sometimes consider a bit overwrought when she rolls it out at parties. “Everybody stares at me. ‘My God. It’s the doom of the world,’ ” she says they’re always telling her.

“I’m sooo dramatic,” she says at one point in the two-hour meal. “I know.”

The article mentions how she responded after the mayoral debate last week.  You can check out the video here at the Reliable Source.  Michelle has kept a mostly low profile since her husband was elected mayor in 2006.

That Michelle Fenty is saying anything at all is something of a revelation. She kept the lowest of profiles until last week, when she teared up during an emotional defense of her husband after his debate with challenger Vincent C. Gray, chairman of the D.C. Council. Michelle Fenty quietly headed an advisory board for a breast cancer screening organization and attended charity functions, but mostly she stayed away from the glare, focusing on her law career and her three children.

The debate aftermath changed all that. It only took 48 words — a mere two sentences that occupied only 19 seconds amid the white noise of 24-7 political combat — to draw her out. Suddenly, with videos of her remarks going viral in political circles, the reticent first lady transformed into a kind of local celebrity, humanizing a husband perceived by some as ice-cold. In the showdown between Adrian Fenty and Vincent Gray, her husband’s campaign is acting like there’s now a Michelle factor juicing the sprint to Tuesday’s Democratic primary.

Many folks in D.C. aren’t falling for Michelle’s tears. They’ve had enough of her husband as mayor.  I’ve been amazed at the comments coming from folks when it comes to this upcoming primary. I blogged about the mayoral race last month and mentioned how many black folks especially find Mayor Fenty arrogant and aloof.  From what I’ve been reading it’s mostly coming down to race. Majority of black voters are supporting D.C. Council Chairman Vincent Gray and Mayor Fenty’s supporters are mostly white.

Since D.C. has early voting some folks have already voted for the candidate of their choice and from what I’ve been reading and hearing Mayor Fenty can forget about a second term.

Check out the entire article here at the Washington Post.  While you’re there you can also check out another article, Fenty-Gray mayoral race centers on style & likeability as much as issues.

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