Three New Books Discuss How to Confront and Reform Racist Policing

In 2010, Brown became police chief, and he had his officers go door-to-door to meet the people they were charged with protecting, attending homeowners association meetings and block parties, hosting basketball games and offering counseling sessions at local schools. (He also lost his 27-year-old son that year, to police gunfire. His son, who had bipolar disorder, was killed after fatally shooting a bystander and a police officer.) Brown’s approach, based not on arrest numbers but on police-community engagement, led to a historic decline in Dallas’s crime rate between 2010 and 2015. Brown retired in 2016, after he noticed an uptick in the crime rate, which he attributes to budget cuts that led to staffing shortages.

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Although Brown offers us one of the most impressive models for community policing, his view begins to look idealized in light of the racist practices described by Paul Butler in “Chokehold.” “Cops routinely hurt and humiliate black people because that is what they are paid to do,” Butler writes. “The police, as policy, treat African-Americans with contempt.” Like Brown, Butler admits that he was once an active participant in this system, a prosecutor who “sent a lot of black men to prison” and “defended cops who had racially profiled or used excessive force.”

While Butler urges us to rethink the purpose and function of policing entirely, a number of the essays in Angela J. Davis’s anthology suggest that the historical tension between low-income residents of color and the police charged with protecting them can be addressed with training programs. In one of the most popular of these programs, known as procedural justice, policemen are taught that if they treat people with dignity, respect and fairness, they will build trust and gain legitimacy. Meanwhile, implicit bias training encourages officers to recognize the set of racial assumptions they carry but do not consciously control. These measures can also save lives. As Yale Law School’s Tracey Meares and Tom Tyler put it in their essay, the more trust communities have in the police, the more likely they are to report crime, provide testimony and help “to hold offenders accountable.”

Barring fundamental legal reforms, however, these programs can have only a limited impact. Indeed, much of the discussion in “Chokehold” and “Policing the Black Man” highlights the impact of major Supreme Court decisions of the last 50 years, including ones that supported racial profiling and deemed statistical evidence of racial disparities insufficient to prove a “discriminatory purpose” on the part of police officers or the courts. As Jin Hee Lee and Sherrilyn A. Ifill, both from the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, point out in their contribution to Davis’s book, “the courts function in a distorted reality that only recognizes racial discrimination in a specific and distinct form: overt racial animus by a specific actor.” The Supreme Court’s interpretation of the Constitution has largely failed to extend African-American citizens protection from police abuse and sentencing disparities.

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Lee and Ifill suggest that hope might lie in pursuing “a more effective body of equal protection and anti-discrimination law.” Butler, however, remains skeptical of incrementalist measures. “Liberal reforms, such as anti-discrimination laws, have not brought long-term change,” Butler writes in “Chokehold.” “Civil Rights laws have helped stigmatize discrimination but have barely blunted its effect.” He demonstrates that when citizenship rights are extended to African-Americans, policy makers and officials at all levels of government historically used law and incarceration as proxy to exert social control in black communities. Black Codes, convict leasing and Jim Crow segregation followed Emancipation; overpolicing and mass incarceration followed the civil rights movement. “In order to halt this wretched cycle we must not think of reform — we must think of transformation,” Butler writes. “The United States of America must be disrupted, and made anew.”

For Butler, remaking America entails abolishing both prisons and the conditions of segregated poverty that increase the likelihood of criminal justice supervision. Butler cites a study from New York University’s Brennan Center for Justice estimating that 40 percent of the nation’s prisoners could be released without compromising public safety. This alone would save taxpayers $200 billion over 20 years, freeing up new opportunities for resources and outcomes. He suggests those funds could be used to hire 327,000 new public-school teachers, or to create jobs for low-income citizens who often have no options for survival outside of the informal economy. And since nearly 80 percent of people in prison suffer from drug addiction or mental health issues, Butler thinks it wise to reallocate funding from police departments and correctional authorities to community health care.

If the prospect of this level of structural change sounds impossible or rash, at the very least we can heed the insights the public interest lawyer Bryan Stevenson provides in “Policing the Black Man.” Stevenson looks to South Africa, where a series of truth and reconciliation hearings followed the end of apartheid, and Germany, where citizens are encouraged to visit the sites of Nazi concentration camps and reflect on the history of the Holocaust, as examples of the kind of historical reckoning we must also commit to as a nation. For it is only by fully confronting the traumatic and contradictory currents of American history that we can begin to change course. Past abuses must be repaired so that safety and justice can exist for us all.

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‘The thrill of the hunt’: Vinyl enthusiasts drawn to ABC record sale

Op-Ed Contributor: Let Black Kids Just Be Kids

That’s why we must create a future in which children of color are not disproportionately caught up in the criminal justice system, a world in which a black 17-year-old can wear a hoodie without being assumed to be a criminal.

Photo

Trayvon Martin in an undated photograph. His killer said he perceived the 17-year-old as being in his late 20s. Credit Reuters

Creating that social change, however, has proved difficult. And that’s partly because the concept of childhood innocence itself has a deep and disturbing racial history.

By understanding this history, we can learn why anti-racist strategies have hit some surprising limits, and devise tactics to confront or even avoid those roadblocks in the future.

The association between childhood and innocence did not always exist. Before the Enlightenment, children in the West were widely regarded as immodest beings who needed to be taught to restrain themselves. “The devil has been with them already,” the Puritan minister Cotton Mather wrote of babies in 1689. They “go astray as soon as they are born.”

In some religious traditions, children, as much as adults, were understood to bear original sin. Benjamin Wadsworth, a powerful Colonial-era minister, described children in 1720 as “sharers in the guilt of Adam” who have a “naturally sinful and guilty state.”

Enlightenment thinkers had different ideas: John Locke suggested that children were blank slates, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau portrayed them as connected to nature. The poet William Wordsworth imagined children as holy innocents who could lead adults to God. Rising forms of Christianity de-emphasized the idea of original sin.

While earlier generations had viewed children as miniature adults, 19th-century sentimentalists increasingly identified innocence as the single most important quality that distinguished children from their elders. By the mid-19th century, the ideas of childhood and innocence had merged. From then on, innocence defined American childhood.

But only white kids were allowed to be innocent. The more that popular writers, playwrights, actors and visual artists created images of innocent white children, the more they depicted children of color, especially black children, as unconstrained imps. Over time, this resulted in them being defined as nonchildren.

Photo

The minstrel version of Topsy, a character in “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” turned into the pickaninny. Credit Library of Congress

“Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” one of the most influential books of the 19th century, was pivotal to this process. When Harriet Beecher Stowe published her novel in 1852, she created the angelic white Eva, who contrasted with Topsy, the mischievous black girl.

Stowe carefully showed, however, that Topsy was at heart an innocent child who misbehaved because she had been traumatized, “hardened,” by slavery’s violence. Topsy’s bad behavior implicated slavery, not her or black children in general.

The novel’s success prompted theatrical troupes across the country to adapt “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” into what became one of the most popular stage shows of all time. But to attract the biggest audiences, these productions combined Stowe’s story with the era’s other hugely popular entertainment: minstrelsy.

Topsys onstage, often played by white women in blackface, were adultlike, cartoonish characters who laughed as they were beaten, and who invited audiences to laugh, too. In these shows, Topsy’s innocence and vulnerability vanished. The violence that Stowe condemned became a source of delight for white theater audiences.

This minstrel version of Topsy turned into the pickaninny, one of the most damaging racist images ever created. This dehumanized black juvenile character was comically impervious to pain and never needed protection or tenderness.

The racist caricature of the pickaninny often appeared alongside cherubic white children. For example, advertisements run in the early 1900s by the Fairbank Company, which sold cleaning and cooking products, featured the “Gold Dust Twins,” who were seminude, ungendered, ink-black juveniles. The advertising copy read, “Let the Gold Dust Twins do your work.”

Fairbank ran that ad alongside one for Fairy Soap, whose mascot was a serene white child dressed in fancy clothes. Fairy Soap, the advertisement declared, “soothes and softens the tenderest skin.” In these paired advertisements, which appeared in The Saturday Evening Post, Ladies’ Home Journal and many other magazines, black nonchildren toil while white darlings receive tender caresses.

Photo

Advertisements from the early 1900s by the Fairbank Company, contrasting laboring black children and angelic white children. Credit Getty Images

These images weaponized childhood innocence, transforming it into a tool of racial domination.

But black activists did not acquiesce to this power play. From the first moments when Topsy devolved into the pickaninny, African-Americans worked to counter the libel that their kids were not vulnerable and not really children.

In 1855, Frederick Douglass made exactly this point in “My Bondage and My Freedom” when he asserted, “Slave children are children.”

In the next century, key players in the civil rights movement made childhood innocence central to anti-racist causes. In 1939, the psychologists Kenneth and Mamie Clark introduced the “doll test,” in which black children, when confronted with their own preference for white dolls, burst into tears.

The Clarks’ findings hit a nerve in part because they used symbols of innocence, dolls and sobbing children, to display the effects of racism. The Supreme Court leaned on these doll tests in its Brown v. Board of Education ruling, which outlawed segregation in public schools in 1954.

Photo

The sociologist Kenneth Clark conducting a “doll test” in 1947. In these tests, black children saw black dolls as “bad” and preferred to play with white dolls. Credit Gordon Parks/Gordon Parks Foundation

The next year, Mamie Till juxtaposed the bloated, pulverized body of her murdered son Emmett with a photograph of him as a smiling schoolboy. The lynchers had defined Emmett as a sexual threat, but his mother made America see him as a kid.

In these cases, black activists captured the political power of childhood innocence, which had previously supported white supremacy, and repurposed it for a civil rights agenda.

But there’s a catch. As the poet and feminist theorist Audre Lorde wrote: “The master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house. They may allow us temporarily to beat him at his own game, but they will never enable us to bring about genuine change.” This is exactly the case with anti-racist uses of childhood innocence.

The Clarks, Mamie Till and others used childhood innocence to make important political gains, but their use of the “master’s tools” ultimately could not erase the racial connotations of childhood innocence itself. And so studies continue to show that black children are seen as less innocent and more adultlike than their white peers.

As long as white children are constructed as innocent, we must continue to demand that children of color are as well. Because the idea of childhood innocence carries so much political force, we can’t allow it to be a whites-only club.

The problem, however, is that every time we insist that the gates of innocence open to children of color, we limit ourselves by language, a “frame,” as the linguist George Lakoff would say, that is embedded in racism. When we argue that black and brown children are as innocent as white children, and we must, we assume that childhood innocence is purely positive. But the idea of childhood innocence itself is not innocent: It’s part of a 200-year-old history of white supremacy.

It’s time to create language that values justice over innocence. The most important question we can ask about children may not be whether they are inherently innocent. Instead: Are they are hungry? Do they have adequate health care? Are they free from police brutality? Are they threatened by a poisoned and volatile environment? Are they growing up in a securely democratic nation?

All children deserve equal protection under the law not because they’re innocent, but because they’re people. By understanding children’s rights as human rights, we can begin to undermine the political power of childhood innocence, a cultural formation that has proved, over and over, to be one of white supremacy’s most potent weapons.

Continue reading the main story

Let Black Kids Just Be Kids

That’s why we must create a future in which children of color are not disproportionately caught up in the criminal justice system, a world in which a black 17-year-old can wear a hoodie without being assumed to be a criminal.

Photo

Trayvon Martin in an undated photograph. His killer said he perceived the 17-year-old as being in his late 20s. Credit Reuters

Creating that social change, however, has proved difficult. And that’s partly because the concept of childhood innocence itself has a deep and disturbing racial history.

By understanding this history, we can learn why anti-racist strategies have hit some surprising limits, and devise tactics to confront or even avoid those roadblocks in the future.

The association between childhood and innocence did not always exist. Before the Enlightenment, children in the West were widely regarded as immodest beings who needed to be taught to restrain themselves. “The devil has been with them already,” the Puritan minister Cotton Mather wrote of babies in 1689. They “go astray as soon as they are born.”

In some religious traditions, children, as much as adults, were understood to bear original sin. Benjamin Wadsworth, a powerful Colonial-era minister, described children in 1720 as “sharers in the guilt of Adam” who have a “naturally sinful and guilty state.”

Enlightenment thinkers had different ideas: John Locke suggested that children were blank slates, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau portrayed them as connected to nature. The poet William Wordsworth imagined children as holy innocents who could lead adults to God. Rising forms of Christianity de-emphasized the idea of original sin.

While earlier generations had viewed children as miniature adults, 19th-century sentimentalists increasingly identified innocence as the single most important quality that distinguished children from their elders. By the mid-19th century, the ideas of childhood and innocence had merged. From then on, innocence defined American childhood.

But only white kids were allowed to be innocent. The more that popular writers, playwrights, actors and visual artists created images of innocent white children, the more they depicted children of color, especially black children, as unconstrained imps. Over time, this resulted in them being defined as nonchildren.

Photo

The minstrel version of Topsy, a character in “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” turned into the pickaninny. Credit Library of Congress

“Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” one of the most influential books of the 19th century, was pivotal to this process. When Harriet Beecher Stowe published her novel in 1852, she created the angelic white Eva, who contrasted with Topsy, the mischievous black girl.

Stowe carefully showed, however, that Topsy was at heart an innocent child who misbehaved because she had been traumatized, “hardened,” by slavery’s violence. Topsy’s bad behavior implicated slavery, not her or black children in general.

The novel’s success prompted theatrical troupes across the country to adapt “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” into what became one of the most popular stage shows of all time. But to attract the biggest audiences, these productions combined Stowe’s story with the era’s other hugely popular entertainment: minstrelsy.

Topsys onstage, often played by white women in blackface, were adultlike, cartoonish characters who laughed as they were beaten, and who invited audiences to laugh, too. In these shows, Topsy’s innocence and vulnerability vanished. The violence that Stowe condemned became a source of delight for white theater audiences.

This minstrel version of Topsy turned into the pickaninny, one of the most damaging racist images ever created. This dehumanized black juvenile character was comically impervious to pain and never needed protection or tenderness.

The racist caricature of the pickaninny often appeared alongside cherubic white children. For example, advertisements run in the early 1900s by the Fairbank Company, which sold cleaning and cooking products, featured the “Gold Dust Twins,” who were seminude, ungendered, ink-black juveniles. The advertising copy read, “Let the Gold Dust Twins do your work.”

Fairbank ran that ad alongside one for Fairy Soap, whose mascot was a serene white child dressed in fancy clothes. Fairy Soap, the advertisement declared, “soothes and softens the tenderest skin.” In these paired advertisements, which appeared in The Saturday Evening Post, Ladies’ Home Journal and many other magazines, black nonchildren toil while white darlings receive tender caresses.

Photo

Advertisements from the early 1900s by the Fairbank Company, contrasting laboring black children and angelic white children. Credit Getty Images

These images weaponized childhood innocence, transforming it into a tool of racial domination.

But black activists did not acquiesce to this power play. From the first moments when Topsy devolved into the pickaninny, African-Americans worked to counter the libel that their kids were not vulnerable and not really children.

In 1855, Frederick Douglass made exactly this point in “My Bondage and My Freedom” when he asserted, “Slave children are children.”

In the next century, key players in the civil rights movement made childhood innocence central to anti-racist causes. In 1939, the psychologists Kenneth and Mamie Clark introduced the “doll test,” in which black children, when confronted with their own preference for white dolls, burst into tears.

The Clarks’ findings hit a nerve in part because they used symbols of innocence, dolls and sobbing children, to display the effects of racism. The Supreme Court leaned on these doll tests in its Brown v. Board of Education ruling, which outlawed segregation in public schools in 1954.

Photo

The sociologist Kenneth Clark conducting a “doll test” in 1947. In these tests, black children saw black dolls as “bad” and preferred to play with white dolls. Credit Gordon Parks/Gordon Parks Foundation

The next year, Mamie Till juxtaposed the bloated, pulverized body of her murdered son Emmett with a photograph of him as a smiling schoolboy. The lynchers had defined Emmett as a sexual threat, but his mother made America see him as a kid.

In these cases, black activists captured the political power of childhood innocence, which had previously supported white supremacy, and repurposed it for a civil rights agenda.

But there’s a catch. As the poet and feminist theorist Audre Lorde wrote: “The master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house. They may allow us temporarily to beat him at his own game, but they will never enable us to bring about genuine change.” This is exactly the case with anti-racist uses of childhood innocence.

The Clarks, Mamie Till and others used childhood innocence to make important political gains, but their use of the “master’s tools” ultimately could not erase the racial connotations of childhood innocence itself. And so studies continue to show that black children are seen as less innocent and more adultlike than their white peers.

As long as white children are constructed as innocent, we must continue to demand that children of color are as well. Because the idea of childhood innocence carries so much political force, we can’t allow it to be a whites-only club.

The problem, however, is that every time we insist that the gates of innocence open to children of color, we limit ourselves by language, a “frame,” as the linguist George Lakoff would say, that is embedded in racism. When we argue that black and brown children are as innocent as white children, and we must, we assume that childhood innocence is purely positive. But the idea of childhood innocence itself is not innocent: It’s part of a 200-year-old history of white supremacy.

It’s time to create language that values justice over innocence. The most important question we can ask about children may not be whether they are inherently innocent. Instead: Are they are hungry? Do they have adequate health care? Are they free from police brutality? Are they threatened by a poisoned and volatile environment? Are they growing up in a securely democratic nation?

All children deserve equal protection under the law not because they’re innocent, but because they’re people. By understanding children’s rights as human rights, we can begin to undermine the political power of childhood innocence, a cultural formation that has proved, over and over, to be one of white supremacy’s most potent weapons.

Continue reading the main story

Talent INC Canada Acting Coach, Paul Barnes Nominated For Dora Mavor Moore Award

John Stevens, Doug Sloan, Talent INC Canada, Talent INC, ACTRA, Toronto Film School, Acting Schools,

www.Talent-INC.ca

Paul Barnes and the cast of Superdude and Doctor Rude are nominated for a Dora award for Outstanding Ensemble Performance for Theatre for Young Audiences.

Paul is one of our most in-demand coaches here at Talent INC Canada”

— Doug Sloan, Talent INC Canada

TORONTO, ON, CANADA, July 26, 2017 /EINPresswire.com/ — Paul Barnes, who is represented by Colin McMurray & Associates, is a graduate of the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art and the Second City Conservatory program. He is An actor, comedian, and a very talented puppeteer. Paul has spent four years as a key cast member of the Second City’s Educational and Family Companies here in Toronto. He is also a principal cast member on the TVO/Jim Henson kid’s show Hi Opie!, and performs with various improv and sketch troupes around Toronto such as Improv Against Humanity, DogScience, We Happy Few and Men with Mustaches. He is delighted that he gets to spend his adult working life playing with toys and making pretend.

His critically acclaimed show, Superdude and Doctor Rude, produced by the infamous Second City, was a huge hit for youth audiences and families from across the GTA. In fact, the cast was nominated for a prestigious Dora Mavor Moore award.

“Paul is one of our most in-demand coaches here at Talent INC Canada. He puts so much of himself into each and every class and more than capable to teach so much more than just Improvisation” asserts Doug Sloan, Co-Founder of Talent INC Canada.

We asked Mr. Barnes what he liked about teaching at Talent INC Canada and he boasted, “Working as an Improv instructor at Talent INC is a two-way teaching experience. Doug, John, and Kate have created a wonderful place for us all to learn. I see groups of such inspiring and creatively unique performers each and every time I am there. After I offer my guidance, experience, and encouragement, my real job is to get out of the way so that their own beautiful, hilarious voices can shout so loud that they surprise even themselves. Such is the nature of Improv. I am deeply proud of the quality of work that all of my Talent INC students have accomplished”.

Paul has had great success with his classes covering Audition Technique, Improvisation, Commercial Technique, Scene Study and Monologue work. All of Talent INC Canada’s classes culminate into a final performance at a local venue.

“We are really trying to give actors the opportunity to add to both their training and performance credits on their professional resumes”, says John Stevens the other Co-Founder of Talent INC Canada.

Teen actor Spencer Douglas, who is represented by Colin McMurray & Associates has been a booking machine and raves about Paul’s classes.

“Improv is one of the most important tools an actor can have, and when it comes to Paul Barnes, he makes reaching that level of expertise exceptionally easy. I’m extremely happy that I’ve taken his classes and I’m going to continue training with him for as long as I can”, exclaims Spencer.

John Stevens
Talent INC Canada (Ltd)
647-748-7200
email us here

Talent INC Canada Introduction

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Tough Champions Cup draw for July winner

The news would have been enough to make trainer Candice Bass-Robinson choke on her cornflakes. Her Vodacom Durban July winner Marinaresco has drawn the worst barrier position for the R1m World Sports Betting Champions Cup at Greyville next Saturday.

Along with the eLan Gold Cup — this year being run on the Sunday — it is the last big meeting of the season and the Champions Cup result is important in determining the Equus Horse of the Year.

Victory for Marinaresco in the Champions Cup would put him on that shortlist, but his outside draw will not make life easy for jockey Bernard Fayd’Herbe.

Captain America, another of the leading fancies for this 1,800m race, will also have to beat a wide barrier. Brett Crawford’s talented performer drew in gate 14.

There was, however, good news for trainer Justin Snaith with Black Arthur and It’s My Turn drawing inside barriers. The Cape trainer will be looking for a top-four finish from Black Arthur, who failed to make the first six in the July.

Racing fans will be hoping Snaith runs Bela-Bela before she retires. She enhanced an already huge reputation by winning the Jonsson Workwear Garden Province Stakes on July day.

The sponsors have priced up on the race and, despite his draw, have made Marinaresco the clear favourite at 22-10.

Captain America is second favourite at 9-2 followed by Bela-Bela at 11-2 and stablemates, It’s My Turn and Black Arthur, have been priced at 8-1 and 9-1.

Another horse bidding to put a disappointing July run behind him is Ten Gun Salute. Duncan Howells’ charge is one of the outsiders at 16-1.

Of all the horses in the powerful stable of Sean Tarry, three-year-old Pilou is probably the most frustrating for the champion trainer.

At the start of this campaign, the well-bred son of Western Winter had to be rated a possible classic prospect, but the gelding has managed just one win in seven starts.

Nevertheless, it is difficult to look beyond Pilou in Saturday’s seventh race at Turffontein with only Paul Matchett’s runner Dan The Lad his only apparent danger in the 1,600m event.

Dan The Lad ran second to Sporting Monarch during his most recent outing — and that form was franked when Sporting Monarch scored again at the Vaal on Tuesday.

Jockey S’manga Khumalo, who will be riding Pilou, has a good book of rides and should go close on Lucky Houdalakis’ filly, September Bloom, in the first leg of the jackpot.

The three-year-old is overdue a second win and could get it at the expense of recent course winner Emerald Bay.

Lady Starlett did this column a good turn when winning her last start at decent odds so it would be wrong to desert Coenie de Beer’s filly in the sixth race. The daughter of Overlord only got a two-point penalty for that victory, so another prominent run is on the cards.

The main opposition to Lady Starlett includes Magic and Manx Park, while five-year-old Duke Nukem is respected back in handicap company.

RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

The London Royal Academy Summer Exhibition 2017

'Deep Cut' by Abe Odedina.

‘Deep Cut’ by Abe Odedina.

This is the London Royal Academy’s 249th Summer Exhibition, in which up and coming artists a chance to get wide exposure.
After a recent visit to the Irish Centre, Camden last month for an Irish event , we paid a quick visit to the world famous Exhibition. The quality was excellent and exceeded expectations and much better than other years. The reach of the exhibition to include more works from artists across the world as well as artists working in differing media, exploring and celebrating the new energy of the next generation.
The Summer Exhibition Hanging Committee invited international artists to exhibit in a range of media throughout the galleries.
These include Julie Born Schwartz, Hassan Hajjaj, Secundino Hernández, Isaac Julien, Tomoaki Suzuki and Mark Wallinger. For the first time, the Summer Exhibition also included an element of performance art.
We noted even an Irish element with Skellig Rock of Kerry featuring London artist Tracey Emin and other well known ones are there plus new people. There was also lots of music and contemptorary arts related themes as well as the tropics, European ones too.
Further highlights of the Summer Exhibition 2017 will include Yinka Shonibare RA’s Wind Sculpture VI in the Royal Academy’s Annenberg Courtyard.
At over six metres in height, this impressive sculpture explores the notion of harnessing motion and freezing it in a moment of time. Returning to the artist’s use of Dutch wax textiles, Wind Sculpture VI will manifest as a large three-dimensional piece of fabric that appears to be blowing in reaction to the natural elements.
Farshid Moussavi RA will be curating the Architecture Gallery within the Summer Exhibition. For the first time, this gallery will celebrate architecture by focusing on construction coordination drawings – the drawings which show the full complexity of a building. This gallery will feature works by Royal Academicians including the newly elected David Adjaye and Richard Rogers, together with Grafton Architects, Bjarke Ingels, Alvaro Siza and Eduardo Souto de Moura, amongst others.
Other Royal Academicians featuring this year will include Gilbert & George, who will be showing a new large-scale work from their ‘Beard Speak’ series, along with Phyllida Barlow, Antony Gormley, Sean Scully, Bob and Roberta Smith and Wolfgang Tillmans. Honorary Academicians include Marina Abramović, Jim Dine and Mimmo Paladino.
The Summer Exhibition is the world’s largest open submission exhibition with 1200 works on display, the majority of which are for sale offering visitors an opportunity to purchase original artwork by high profile and up-and-coming artists.
It has been held every year without interruption since 1769 and continues to play a significant part in raising funds to finance the current students of the RA Schools.
It’s open to the public until Sunday, August 20th, from 10am to 6pm daily (last admission 5.30pm). Admission prices include the List of Works giving details on every exhibit in the show.
Adult ticket £15.50 (£14 excluding Gift Aid donation); concessions available; under 16s go free. Friends of the RA go free. The address is Piccadilly WC1 London and to get there, go to Piccadilly or Green Park underground station on Piccadilly
The Royal Academy of Arts was founded by King George III in 1768. It has a unique position in being an independent, privately funded institution led by eminent artists and architects whose purpose is to be a clear, strong voice for art and artists.
* Other exhibitions in London worth checking out include the Amy Winehouse exhibit in the London Jewish Museum, the Pink Floyd Exhibition in the Victoria and Albert South Kensington, the Russian Revolution in the British Library.
The Tate Modern has a show in Blackfriars about Black Power and Black Art from the USA. The National Portrait Gallery in Trafalgar Square, close to the Royal Academy, has paintings from Leonardo da Vinci to Rembrandt, the Dutch Master so there’s lots to see in London this summer. We travelled over via Stena Line by car, which enabled us to take in some other stops along the south coast and in Bath on return journey. The journey was smooth and hassle free, but we left the car on edge of London. RankTribe™ Black Business Directory News – Arts & Entertainment

In Chicago and Beyond, Bail Reformers Win Big in Fight to End Money Bail

Chicago is poised to stop incarcerating people just because they can't pay their way out. (Photo: Marilyn Nieves / iStock / Getty Images Plus)Chicago is poised to stop incarcerating people just because they can’t pay their way out. (Photo: Marilyn Nieves / iStock / Getty Images Plus)

As of July 17, 2017, Cook County, which includes Chicago and the surrounding suburbs, is poised to become the largest jurisdiction in the country to stop incarcerating people pretrial, solely because they cannot post money bail. Thanks in large part to a sustained push by activists over the past several years, the Cook County Circuit Court’s Chief Judge has announced a new order that instructs judges making bail decisions to impose monetary bail only in amounts that people can pay. If judges follow the order, it could lead to the end of money bail in Cook County, setting a historic precedent on an issue that impacts hundreds of thousands of people around the country.

Right now, more than 4,000 people are incarcerated in Chicago’s Cook County Jail because they cannot post monetary bail. They have been granted release by a judge, but remain in cages because they cannot pay a certain amount of money to secure their freedom. This is the pretrial justice system wrought by money bail, and it is mirrored across the country: 443,000 people are incarcerated before trial in the US, 90 percent of them because they cannot afford to post a monetary bail. In fact, there are more people in US jails pretrial than there are total incarcerated people in most other countries.

Like the number of people in prisons, the number of people in local jails has more than tripled since the 1980s. In the last 15 years, 99 percent of that jail population growth has come from locking up people who are awaiting trial.

In theory, monetary bail is supposed to be used as an incentive to encourage people to return to court. If people show up to their court dates in Cook County, they will, in most cases, eventually get back almost all of the money that they paid for bail. Despite the idea that people are more likely to appear in court if they have money on the line, no study has ever found monetary bail to be more effective than other forms of bail. In fact, charitable bail funds in others places have shown that their clients come back to court at higher rates than people who posted their own bonds. Moreover, the idea that the likelihood a person will show up in court should be valued over their freedom should be challenged on its face. There are many reasons people do not show up for court, including lack of transportation or childcare, inability to take off work, fear, or instability resulting from other unmet needs like access to mental health care. Court systems seeking to increase court appearance rates should do so by addressing these needs rather than caging and punishing people pretrial.

We must also consider who is being denied their freedom. Not everyone is impacted equally by pretrial incarceration: Black, Latino and Native American people are detained at higher rates than people of other ethnicities, and Black people are hit the hardest. Nationally, they are incarcerated pretrial at five times the rate of white people and three times the rate of Latino people. Black women and women of color are much more likely to be incarcerated than white women, making up two-thirds of all women in local jails. For example, in 2011, 81 percent of the women who entered Cook County Jail were women of color, and 68 percent were Black women. Today, roughly 73 percent of all people in Cook County Jail are Black, though Cook County is only 25 percent Black.

Money bail exacerbates racial disparities at each step of the pretrial justice system. First, Black people accused of crimes are the least likely to be released without having to post any amount of money at all. If given a money bail, Black people received “significantly higher bail amounts than all other ethnic and racial groups.” Finally, Black and Latino defendants are less likely to be able to post a money bail if required to. Thus, our system’s reliance on money bail guarantees that white supremacy and unconstitutional disparate treatment remain central parts of our criminal legal system.

It is in this context that bail reform has become a national demand of the Movement for Black Lives and various other advocates for racial justice and opponents of mass incarceration. In December 2015, a group of more than 30 Chicago organizations, many falling under the Black Lives Matter umbrella, declared “Ending Money Bail” one of their shared policy-change goals for 2016. At the time, the newly formed Chicago Community Bond Fund (CCBF) — the only entity in Illinois dedicated solely to the issues of monetary bail and pretrial incarceration — had just posted bond for our first person as an organization. CCBF began to bail people out of Cook County Jailshare their stories and advocate for the end of money bond in its entirety.

Subsequently, a coalition of community-based groups and policy organizations in Chicago began organizing around the goal of ending monetary bond. Together, they formed the Coalition to End Money Bond. In the last year, the Coalition has testified at a Cook County Board hearing on money bail, drafted Principles for Bail Reform in Cook County that have been endorsed by more than 30 organizations, and introduced the most progressive and comprehensive bail reform bill during the 2017 legislative session. 

At the same time, in a number of other states, civil rights attorneys were using litigation to address money bond’s role in rampant pretrial incarceration. Alec Karakatsanis of Civil Rights Corps was bringing dozens of lawsuits around the country challenging pretrial incarceration practices, including the use of money bail. The Obama Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division even filed a Statement of Interest in one of their cases, stating that it was unconstitutional to “Incarcerat[e] individuals solely because of their inability to pay for their release.” Last month in Houston, Texas, Civil Rights Corps’ lawsuit resulted in the release of more than 600 people accused of misdemeanors who were jailed solely because they couldn’t afford bail.

In October 2016, local law firms partnered with Civil Rights Corps to challenge Cook County’s massive pretrial detention scheme, which effectively uses unpayable money bonds as a way to skirt both the limitations on pretrial incarceration in the Illinois constitution and the due process requirements of the US Constitution. The lawsuit also alleges that incarcerating people solely because they cannot pay bail is unconstitutional because of its disproportionate impact on African Americans accused of crimes. The Coalition to End Money Bond rallied around the lawsuit as a way to force policy change and is currently organizing a public presence at court dates.

On July 10, 2017, two days before the court was to hear both sides’ arguments about whether this lawsuit should be dismissed, lawyers representing Cook County asked the judge to delay the hearing in anticipation of a new Circuit Court Order that would change the procedures for setting bail in Cook County. A week later, Chief Judge Timothy Evans unveiled General Order 18.8A, a new rule that should drastically reduce the population of Cook County Jail by preventing pretrial incarceration based only on inability to afford bond.

In essence, the order instructs judges making bail decisions to first determine whether someone is “bailable,” meaning eligible for pretrial release. Luckily, under the Illinois Constitution, almost everyone is entitled to release before their trial. Then, judges must set the conditions of release, including whether to impose electronic monitoring (in effect, a form of house arrest in Cook County), curfews, pretrial services reporting or other special requirements beyond showing up for court dates. If a judge wants to require payment of money before release, they must first hold a hearing in which the accused person’s ability to pay is explored on the record in open court. The judge is then required to make a finding that the person before them “has the present ability to pay” any monetary amount required for their release. Under a newly enacted state law, any conditions imposed must be the least restrictive possible to meet the court’s objectives.

The thrust of the court’s order is that Cook County can no longer use unpayable money bail as a tool to incarcerate people pretrial. Though Cook County is the largest municipal jurisdiction yet to announce such a rule change, it is not unprecedented in the US. Limiting money bail to amounts that people can pay has been the law in Washington, DC, for decades, and recently became the policy in MarylandNew Mexico and Arizona through court rule changes. Likewise, it is a key part of New Jersey’s complete overhaul of its bail system, which has resulted in a 36 percent decrease in jail population this year compared to 2015. In fact, between January 1 and May 31, 2017, judges in New Jersey imposed monetary bail only nine times.

Moreover, though Cook County’s specific process for determining that any money bails imposed must be affordable is new, the authority that it relies on has been the law in Illinois for decades. If followed, the new procedures will also increase protections for people accused of crimes by forcing judges to slow down and make more individualized decisions.

The Chief Judge’s order takes effect September 18, 2017, for people charged with felonies (more than 90 percent of people currently in Cook County Jail) and January 1, 2018, for people charged with misdemeanors. Under the new process, everyone who is currently in Cook County Jail because they cannot pay a money bail should have their bail decisions reevaluated. They should have three new options under General Order 18.8A: 1) Release without having to pay money at all; 2) Imposition of a new money bail set in a lower amount that they can pay and be released; and 3) Be given a full detention hearing with all the due process protections and immediate appeal rights that accompany an honest, transparent decision to incarcerate someone pretrial.

If implemented well and followed by judges, the rule could dramatically decrease the number of people incarcerated in Cook County Jail, eventually forcing release of a majority of prisoners. Currently, 62 percent of people in Cook County Jail pretrial are there only because they cannot post a money bail. Advocates, however, are concerned about enforcement and adherence by judges. In order to monitor the Order’s effect, the Coalition to End Money Bond is undertaking a community court-watching initiative that will gather data through volunteers and release reports as bond court outcomes change.

Even if money bond is completely eliminated for those who cannot afford it, it will not end pretrial incarceration: More than 30 percent of people incarcerated pretrial in Cook County Jail right now are being held without bail. Going forward, vigilant oversight will be needed to ensure people who were previously incarcerated via money bail are not simply held without bail instead. Money bail became a target of Chicago Community Bond Fund and other activists because it is the primary cause of pretrial incarceration; for reform to eliminate money bail and keep the same astronomical rates of incarceration would be disastrous.

A final concern relates to the conditions that will be imposed on people released pretrial. As fewer people are incarcerated while awaiting trial, there is a possibility that more pretrial supervision measures will be implemented, including onerous conditions of surveillance and control, such as house arrest, electronic monitoring, drug testing and pretrial curfews. We anticipate an increase in the use of these harmful conditions, which may lead to increased jail admissions based on alleged “violations.” As public defenders in New York have pointed out, the use of mandatory programming and other conditions of pretrial release can mimic or even exceed the sentences that people would receive after trial, such as probation, and may constitute unconstitutional deprivations of liberty.

While the fanfare over bail reform in Cook County is still fresh, the Coalition to End Money Bond is gearing up to train dozens of community court-watchers this week in preparation for monitoring implementation of General Order 18.8A and other new policies. The litigation team is reworking their briefs to argue that their case should continue — after all, the next Chief Judge could revoke and replace General Order 18.8A with a different procedure regarding bail hearings. Securing lasting change and impacting the 101 other counties in Illinois still requires either state legislation or an Illinois Supreme Court Rule limiting the use of monetary bail and pretrial incarceration.

The fight against money bail continues here and across the country. As new jurisdictions reject monetary bond in favor of more compassionate (and constitutional) treatment of people accused of crimes, reformers and policymakers alike are looking for successful models. For example, in New Jersey, successful bail reform required amendment of the state constitution and two years of planning for implementation. If Cook County can provide a model for a swift and effective reform through court rule changes, it will be a model for large urban jurisdictions around the country that want to act more quickly than their state legislatures.

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African American heritage celebrated at the Oak Bluffs library

“Flute Player” —Photo by Nate Luce/Painting by Cutie Bowles

There is arguably no U.S. ethnic group that has more spectacularly transformed our arts and cultural scene than African Americans. The Smithsonian pays tribute to this development with its dazzling new five-floor National Museum of African American History and Culture. And amid this creative flourishing, Oak Bluffs is the summer jewel in the crown of Island black heritage. At the Oak Bluffs Public Library, wunderkind program director Nate Luce for the second year has mounted an homage to African American literature and culture, held this year on August 4 and 5.

There are more than a couple of books that describe the African American connection to the Vineyard. As Harvard and M.I.T. historian Robert C. Hayden writes in his book “African Americans on Martha’s Vineyard,” “A black leisure class increased steadily in every decade from the 1920s onward, especially after World War II to the present.” This new demographic vacationed on Martha’s Vineyard, renting and buying property centering in Oak Bluffs, “coming in large numbers from Hartford, New Haven, New York City, northern New Jersey, Philadelphia, and the Washington, D.C.–Maryland area.”

“Strolling Nuns” —Photo by Nate Luce/Painting by Cutie Bowles

Another wholly readable book, more recently released by Vineyard author Thomas Dresser, “African Americans on Martha’s Vineyard: From Enslavement to Presidential Visit,” unravels the epic history, starting with slavery during Colonial times, followed by escape to the Island as a sanctuary during the Civil War, to the many blacks arriving as servants, then entrepreneurs. The roster of renowned African American visitors, summer folks, and year-rounders is impressive, and it includes Scott Joplin, Martin Luther King Jr., Dorothy West, Henry Louis Gates Jr., and, of course, our most celebrated V.I.P., President Barack Obama.

The weekend features the Friday, August 4, 6 pm opening reception for Olive (Cutie) Bowles’ painting retrospective. A lustrous catalogue of the late Ms. Bowles’ work is available, with color photos and text by Cheryl Finley, Oak Bluffs Highlands summer resident and associate professor and director of visual studies at Cornell. Ms. Finley writes, “Cutie had a sense of humor and purpose in her visual storytelling. One painting shows a man hiding a bouquet of flowers behind his back, who seems poised to propose to a reluctant woman standing before him.”

Another particularly fun painting is of a trio of bespectacled ladies in bright outfits, sitting disconsolate before glasses of wine, the 1980 acrylic titled “Three Bored Whores.”

Cutie was a member of the Shearer Summer Theater group in Oak Bluffs, a founding member of the Cottagers, and a member of the NAACP. The Bowles paintings, lent by daughter Olive Tomlinson, much loved in our community, and by Deborah Dixon, will hang in the community room for the duration of the summer, but you’ll want to attend the reception for two reasons: 1) The excitement at the unveiling of the largest collection of Cutie’s work ever displayed in one setting; and 2) Hors d’oeuvres such as conch fritters and tostones served by Island celebrity Chef Deon.

On Saturday, August 5, come with notebook, snacks, water (well, the library will provide all that you’ll require to stay vibrant and hydrated) to enjoy the following:

10 to 10:45 am: A talk by Jakki Hunt of the Oak Bluffs NAACP, and proud member of the local community and the Polar Bear Club that meets and swims every early morning at Inkwell Beach.

10:45 to 11:30 am: Author, journalist, and entrepreneur Skip Finley will address the exciting subject of “Black Whaling Captains.”

11:30 am to 12:15 pm: Hugh B. Price, past president of the Urban League nationwide, will read from “This African-American Life.”

12:15 to 1 pm: Light refreshments will be served during this lunch break. (See? I told you the library will take care of our basic human needs, in fact, I’m going to see if they’ll buy me a Mini Cooper.)

1 to 1:45 pm: Dr. Nicole Aljoe will lecture on “Early Caribbean Literature.”

1:45 to 2:30 pm: A rising star (shortlisted for the Dylan Thomas Prize) the young poet from Jamaica Safiya Sinclair will present a poetry reading from her collection “Cannibal.”

2:30 to 3 pm: A conversation between Nicole and Safiya about Jamaican/Caribbean culture.

3 to 4 pm: We’ll call it a day — a glorious day — with hymns from the Martha’s Vineyard Spiritual Choir under the direction (and booming baritone voice) of Oak Bluffs year-rounder and local treasure Jim Thomas.

This upcoming event was made possible with support from Library Friends of Oak Bluffs, the Massachusetts Cultural Council, and the Martha’s Vineyard Museum.