Democracy Spring: Alternative Media News Round Up

Events began on April 2, 2016 in Philadelphia, where more than a hundred activists began a ten-day, 140-mile march from to Washington D.C.  By April 11, thousands had joined Democracy Spring and Democracy Awakening in our nation’s capitol to demand Congress take immediate action to end the corruption of big money in our politics and ensure free and fair elections in which every American has an equal voice.

According to John Zanga, from the DC Media Group, organizers planned an eight-day series of actions involving major groups which have expressed dissatisfaction with legislative agendas. They said they hoped the coming week of civil disobedience actions would be the beginning of a people’s grassroots movement to start wrestling control of the Congress from corporate moneyed interests.

Here are a few of my favorite stories covering the events of last week.  I start with this video because I think it explains best the reasons the movement is necessary.

USA Today covered the story I think more completely than any of the other mainstream media outlets.  For your “just the facts ma’am” coverage their article More than 900 ‘Democracy Spring’ protesters arrested in D.C. – so far written April 17 is fairly comprehensive.

For coverage from a more progressive standard bearer, your best bet is Democracy Now’s coverage as posted on TruthOut.com last Tuesday April 12, Democracy Spring: More Than 400 Arrested at US Capitol Protesting Corruption and Money in Politics.

Another good article from left of center comes from Alternet’s article, Thousands of Activists March to Capital to Get Money Out of Politics for ‘Democracy Spring’ Protests; Many Arrested

As this is site tries to cover local progressive issues, I’m posting a couple of articles from our local alternative media in their entirety below.

Black Lives Matter and Anacostia organizers lead 3rd march on Capitol by Democracy Spring
Cross-Posted from DC Independent Media Center
Written by Luke

On the 13th of April, Black Lives Matter and other Ward 8 organizers led Democracy Spring’s 3rd march on the US Capitol. The lead banner was from the Save Barry Farms organizers advising people to refuse to move, blocking displacement. When the march arrived at the Capitol, the third sit-in in as many days followed. As police arrested the folks in the sit-in, they also put police lines around the support people after moving them back behind the first police line. At one point they were told they too were subject to arrest,unknown if any arrests other than voluntary ones resulted from this. The final arrest total for the three days so far has now climbed to in excess of 700.

Luke wrote a follow-up article on April 17, Thousands March in Democracy Awakening:  March Against Money in Politics.

And finally, we have to include the coverage provided the DC Media Group, who is always good about interviewing event organizers and highlighting campaign goals and ways to stay involved.

Mass Arrests at Democracy Spring Civil Disobedience Action at U.S. Capitol
cross-posted from the DC Media Group
written by John Zangas

Photo by John Zangas

Photo by John Zangas

Washington, DC – Over 400 Democracy Spring protesters were arrested Monday at the U.S. Capitol on the first day of eight days of planned protests. It was a record number of arrests in one day for a protest there, according to U.S. Capitol police. At one point, police had to stop processing arrests because the jail was full.

Cenk Uygur, host of the TV show Young Turks was among the last few people that police removed from the Capitol steps. He said it was his first arrest and he expected there to be many more. “The next time we come here I don’t think they’re going to have enough buses to arrest us all,” he said. It took nearly four hours and 15 bus loads for police to remove all the protesters involved in Monday’s sit-in.

Democracy Spring kicked off on April 2 with a 10-day march from Philadelphia to Washington, DC. About 135 took part in the 140-mile walk. David Schwank, a walk participant, said that he was inspired to join the protests for many reasons. “We have so many problems in our country, from environmental devastation to [un]fair wages and it all relates back to campaign finance reform,” he said. Schwank was also among those arrested Monday.

Continue reading Democracy Spring: Alternative Media News Round Up

Texas Cop Pulls Gun on Black Teens at Pool Party Video

If I had the time, I’d post every police brutality video here, just to have a record. This is clearly not the worst behavior. No one died after all. But these two videos are helpful in that the second puts the first into context.

You might think that context ease your anger. In this case, you’d be wrong.  What we may never know is how the charges against these teens may follow them forever.  This is what white supremacy looks like.

Below is video of 19-year-old Tatiana speaks about what started the fight between her and another woman. This event sparked the police coming to break up the pool party. @ejohnsoniv on instagram @ejcreoleboy on twitter to see images and follow the story.

Charnice Milton Was Killed in Community She Loved

Cross-posted from The Root
Written by Richard Prince

A 27-year-old African American reporter who committed herself to covering the blackest, most neglected portion of the District of Columbia was shot to death Wednesday night when, police said, she was used as a human shield in an exchange of gunfire by two groups of dirt bike riders.

247027_10100102475455368_5916830_nCharnice Milton, who lived east of the Anacostia River, the area she covered, was a contributor to Capital Community News and a graduate of Ball State and the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. She was shot as she walked on one of the area’s major streets to transfer buses. Milton had covered the monthly meeting of a community advisory committee.

” ‘At 9:28, she texted me and said, “I’m on my way home,” ‘ the victim’s mother, Francine Milton, said,” Derrick Ward and Andrea Swalec reported Friday for Washington’s WRC-TV, the NBC-owned and -operated station. ‘So, I was waiting for her to text me back and let me know if she needed me to pick her up, if she needed us, where she was. And we never got that text last night.’ . . .” Their daughter was rushed to a hospital, where she died.

Perry Stein added for the Washington Post, “Milton largely wrote about news in Wards 7 and 8 and those she encountered while reporting said she was determined to show that these neighborhoods are more than just the city’s poorer wards, but rather communities filled with hardworking individuals who want to make the city better.”

“Her editor, Andrew Lightman, the managing editor of Capital Community News, noted that Milton was one of the few people in the city doing that grassroots level reporting in the east of the river communities. Her loss, he said, will be felt in those stories that will no longer get covered.

” ‘Not only did they gun down a young woman, they also silenced one of our reporters,’ Lightman said. ‘I think it’s a real loss not only for us and her family but also the communities that she covered . . . She was one of a handful of reporters across the District who was looking at the nuts and bolts of everyday life.’ . . . ”

Milton’s parents “say she overcame speech problems early in life to get a full communications scholarship to Ball State University after graduating from Bishop McNamara High. She eventually received a master’s degree from Syracuse,” according to a story by Jennifer Donelan of the Associated Press and Tom Roussey of WJLA-TV, the ABC affiliate.

“She loved to cover the area east of the Anacostia where she grew up.

” ‘She could have worked at any news media organization she wanted to,’ said her father Ken McClenton. ‘She had the credentials, she had the expertise, she had the knowledge, but she sacrificed and she stayed and wrote in Ward 8.’

” ‘Everyone says the same thing, that she was just a beautiful young lady,’ said Francine Milton, the victim’s mother. ‘And she loved to write, and she loved people. And most of all she loved God.’ . . .”

” ‘We want to know,’ said Bowser. ‘We know that people were in and around the area. We have gotten very little information and we need the public to provide that information so Charnice’s killer can be captured.’ . . .”

Yvette Alexander, Capital Community News: On The Death of Charnice Milton

Peter HermannPerry Stein and Matt Zapotosky, Washington Post: Local journalist among 6 killed in 6 days across District of Columbia

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Urgent Cinema! Filmmakers Reflect on State Terror

11165290_1099827423366012_7281077580364374330_nBloomScreen and DC Moving Pictures present a collection of experimental short films created in response to recent cases of police misconduct and the resulting protests and civil unrest…

In recent weeks, protesters have marched against police violence in cities from New York to Boston as troops stood by in Baltimore to enforce a curfew imposed after civil unrest over the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray. The tragedy in Baltimore is just the latest in a proliferation of high-profile police violence cases that have occurred over the last three years.

Since 2014, filmmaker Can Tuzcu and other independent filmmakers have created a number of avant-garde documentary short films that engage current political events and provide a militant call to action – to end police violence! We will screen and discuss four of these short films. (Parental Advisory: Some videos reference police violence and are not suitable for all ages).

The screening will be followed by audience discussion and Q&A with filmmaker Can Tuzcu, and Chris Rue, of DC Moving Pictures – a movie screening project dedicated to showcasing great movies and great filmmakers at local spaces in and around the District.

*Suggested Donation: $10. Proceeds support BloomBars. Free organic popcorn.

BloomScreen Indie Film Night is a weekly series of independent and foreign films, accompanied by discussions with filmmakers, experts and other guests.

Media Activist Responds To Geraldo, Fox News, the Mainstream Media about Freddie Gray

Cross-Posted from Media Matters
written by Brian PowellL & Libby Watson
video credit Benjamin Hancock

Kwame Rose, the Baltimore resident who confronted Fox News’ Geraldo Rivera over media’s biased coverage of the city, responded to Rivera’s personal on-air attacks in an interview with Media Matters. Rose reacted to video of his interaction with Rivera going viral, discussed the media landscape in Baltimore, and highlighted racial disparities in the criminal justice system.

National media has swarmed to cover the Baltimore protesters who have taken to the streets to voice concerns about the criminal justice system following the shocking death of Freddie Gray, a young Baltimore resident whose spine was fatally severed while in police custody. Fox’s Rivera was among those pundits reporting on the protests when Rose confronted the Fox personality and expressed frustration that the network failed to spotlight Gray’s death in favor of hyping the unrest that ensued, an exchange that quickly found a large audience online.

Rivera later used his platform on Fox News to bash Rose as a “vandal,” “annoying,” and an “obstructionist” on-air. He accused Rose of displaying “exactly that kind of youthful anarchy that led to the destruction and pain in that community.”

Rose has responded to Geraldo and to the video’s popularity, in an email exchange with Media Matters.

“I want people to know that this issue is bigger than some clip of me, it’s about Black Lives,” said Rose, after emphasizing that being featured in a viral video was never his intention. His frustration lies with establishment media and its depictions of Baltimore in the wake of the unrest.

“I have been out protesting for almost two weeks now without being on one camera,” Rose explained. “After Monday night when the media started pouring in, I sat at work and watched how the media basically forced people to believe that Baltimore was some Third World city. I just wanted to set the record straight and let it be known that this generation refuses to be misinterpreted.”

Rose noted how the media paid attention to the violence in Baltimore, but failed to cover the community’s efforts to unite and clean up the city.

“I sat and watched the media set up their camps in front of boarded up homes … while we were cleaning up the streets as one community. The cameras weren’t rolling, nobody cared. Outside agitators such as Fox News came onto the scene trying to exploit the situation. I don’t care about the people watching Fox News, but I will not let you report lies about the people of this city.”

Rose appeared largely dismissive of Geraldo and his personal attacks. He explained that in the minutes before the interaction captured on video, Geraldo was “walking around taking selfies and telling jokes.”

“When I approached him he continuously kept trying to avoid any intellectual conversation,” said Rose.

“Geraldo is like the majority of America,” Rose continued. “He fears a Black man so much that he [would] rather try to instigate a fight than to engage in a conversation. If you’ve seen the full clip of the video you’d know that his verbal assaults were a waste of breath.”

Rose also addressed the tendency of conservative media to deflect from stories about police brutality in favor of discussions of black-on-black crime, even though they “are incomparable subjects.”