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Friday, January 16, 2015


American Horror Story: Asylum
Allah & Azreal

In May of 1965 after being arrested with several other men for unlawful assembly and disorderly conduct at a rally in front of the Hotel Theresa in Mecca [Harlem, NY], Allah [the Father] was arraigned in criminal court before Judge Francis X. O'Brien and held on a $9,500 bond. Four months later he was shipped off to the Psychiatric Unit at Bellevue Hospital. Allah would remain there until a final psychiatric report submitted to Judge O'Brien stated that "he did not understand the charges against him" thus remanding him to the NYS Department of Mental Hygiene for indefinite confinement. At the age of 37, Allah was confined in these institutions, Bellevue and Matteawan State Hosptial, for two years. Matteawan was a limbo for sadists; a living nightmare used to house people considered too dangerous for civilian institutions yet too ill for prison. It was during Allah's stay in Mattewan that he met and befriended a young 17 year old Caucasian transfer from Elmira State Penitentary named John Kennedy. Because Allah didn't represent a religious group he didn't have the constitutional protection of religious freedom in a court of law. There were always others who considered themselves a diety, yet because they claimed it within a religious context, they were afforded religious protection under the law. Allah was not afforded that protection and some Five Percenters are still being catagorized as 'criminally insane' and denied the right to practice our culture in correctional facilities around the country. Allah also wasn't politically affiliated, a member of any organizations or representing any institutions. Therefore, he didn't have their support, publically or privately. He stood alone, and as he came to learn, the 17 year old Caucasian boy he met in Matteawan stood out, and alone, in his own way too.
Allah and Azreal
Born on September 28th, 1948, 17 year old John Kennedy was Allah's first Caucasian student. As the first Caucasian Five Percenter, John adopted the name 'Azreal' becoming a prototypical model of how Caucasians were educated and entrusted to function within the context of our growing national body. As a civilized man who was empowered with the knowledge of his people, and ours, Azreal grew to educate people on how to survive and avoid the snares of this devilish society, especially mental health institutions. He had a lot to tell because he had been through hell. An institutional hell that he knew so well that Allah symbolically gave him the keys to it.

I knew Azreal personally and one of the things he always talked about is how he suffered in various facilities, especially Matteawan, because of his name. Some of us took that for granted and never looked further into what Azreal may have been striving to communicate. "Yes the President's name was John F. Kennedy and Azreal's birth name was John Kennedy" some of us thought, believing that Azreal was just proud to have an honorable name that many of our people looked at honorably. Well what politics and policies did President John F. Kennedy represent that the guards at Matteawan felt the need to persecute Azreal, AKA John Kennedy, for? Why the transference?
President John F. Kennedy
Doing further research I learned that John F. Kennedy spent his entire political career, as a Senator and as the President, striving to reform the mental health system. It personally hit close to home; his elder sister Rosemary was 23 when she had a lobotomy [brain surgery] that incapacitated her and eventually led to her death. In 1955, then Senator Kennedy sponsored the Mental Health Study Act to begin reevaluating the practices/procedures employed in mental health institutions around the country. As the President of the United States in 1963, President Kennedy authorized the Joint Commission on Mental Health to investigate mentally ill related problems and sponsored the Community Mental Health Centers Act to reform the entire mental health system. This final Act, was one month before his assassination. Following his death, in 1968 John F. Kennedy's sister Eunice Kennedy Striver, partially inspired by their sister Rosemary, started the Special Olympics.
Matteawan State Hospital
I mentioned an American Horror Story in regards to the mental health system because that's exactly what these institutions were, and Matteawan was considered the worst. Along with medical care that was below hospital standards, the institution's practices were barbaric; performing lobotomies and using shock/water therapy, hypnosis, sleep deprivation, starvation and other Spanish Inquisition-like procedures on people as young as their early teens. It's also worth noting that lobotomies were not carried out by professional surgeons nor were they performed in surgical laboratories. They were done in un-sanitized environments with poor lighting, poor staffing and crude instruments. This is not even mentioning the knuckle-therapy, sexual and verbal abuse people had to deal with or died dealing with while confined in these institutions where prison guards were also trained. It wasn't until the 1960's with the political pressure of President Kennedy, and during the time Allah and Azreal were in Matteawan, did the mental health system begin popularizing the use of psychotropic drugs for psychiatric treatment. However, this did not spell relief for these inhabitants of hell; the drug experimentation, overdoses and Thorazine straight jacket's made it that much easier to carry out the knuckle-therapy, sexual and verbal abuse. 

No I am not saying or implying that Allah and Azreal were sexually abused. Because of the nature of the environment, both of them were verbally abused and Azreal talked extensively about the physical abuse he suffered. Allah, Azreal and others witnessed many of these things and lived to tell about it. Many who survived this hell still carry a mental diagnosis along with physical scars. All of them suffered some degree of PTS [Post Traumatic Stress], including Allah. Allah was confined there for two of the five years he and his companions organized the Five Percenters; that's 40% of the time he was here among us. Have you ever asked yourself why there's not much conversation about that time, or have you even considered how he was psychologically affected? As Five Percenters, some of us romanticize the idea that the Father showed and proved who he was and just walked out of Matteawan unaffected. Just researching the state of the mental health system in this country at the time Judge O'Brien deliberately remanded him to it would show you this idea is unrealistic. The state of this country's mental health industry was so horrific that John F. Kennedy, as a Senator and as the President, made its reformation a key talking point of his entire political career. One of his final talking points prior to his assassination. Given this history, it is my perspective that Azreal was more than a prototypical model of a Caucasian Five Percenter. He symbolized, in the name of John Kennedy, the reformation of the devil's mental health institution. With President Kennedy's Community Mental Health Centers Act he sought to de-institutionalize mental hospitals with community mental health services. This translated into the closing of long stay mental health institutions because of its reduced population, staff losing jobs and companies aligned with these institutions losing contracts [money]. President Kennedy was messing with a lot of people's money, which over time cut 90% of the beds at state mental institutions. Staff at Matteawan were forced to change and find a new hustle. They didn't like that, nor did they like Azreal's honorable name that represented that change. And because many couldn't reach President John F. Kennedy the President to show their dissatisfaction with these changes, they persecuted the John Kennedy they could reach. Azreal mentioned his honorable name, President Kennedy, the mental health industry and his experience in Matteawan often. He also talked a lot about Allah's compassion and insight to not only recognize what we was going through, but to educate him on how to become better. These correlations help us better understand the context of our plight as a Nation of Gods and Earths [Five Percenters].

After standing trial, Allah was eventually released from Matteawan in April of 1967. Some time after that Azreal was also released and came to Mecca to find him. Because of the national political pressure to change the psychiatric landscape of state mental institutions and the mental health industry as a whole, they, and others being held unreasonably, were able to go home. It wasn't because Allah debated a board of psychiatrists about the science of everything in life and they were so mezmerized by his wisdom that they just had to let him go. Nor did Azreal burst out of Matteawan like Chief in One Flew Over the Cockoo's Nest. Allah, like Azreal and others, didn't demonstrate the kind of maladaptive behavior, dependency or learned helplessness institutional staff documented to justify keeping them there. This was the climate of America during this time and slavery by another name; a 'citizen-to-asylum pipeline' that shuffled people into a system they often didn't survive.

In closing, keep in mind that nothing happens in a vacuum. Everything is not as explicit as we may like for it to be. Some things are implied, if we listen, and give us deeper insight and a better appreciation for what others may not say. Azreal and Allah found themselves caught up in a kind of system that many of us could only imagine. They, like many others, didn't walk out unscathed and there were things they saw and experienced that they probably took to their graves. So behind some of the things Azreal said, what Allah instructed some of us to do, and how they coped, is a story. A story that gives context to AWM.

Peace, 
Saladin

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Monday, January 12, 2015


Labors of 'localism' can lead Falls back
I think all of our children need to learn the word “localism” and by the time they reach middle school it shouldn’t be an unfamiliar word in their vocabulary. Localism is the idea of prioritizing the local.
For us, it’s a “Niagara Fallsian” philosophy of investing in our local businesses, advocating a local control of government and promoting our local history, culture and identity. It’s the posture and attitude that we need to support each other. Whether it’s supporting our staple businesses like Richardson’s Fast Food Deli on Highland Avenue or Steve’s Automotive on Main Street, there is a pride of ownership and personal service local businesses offer that is rarely seen from BIG business. Why? Because local businesses like Richardson’s and Steve’s are people we see every day and there is a different sense of community and accountability in providing products and services to the people you see every day.
When it comes to problem solving, BIG businesses are more likely to route you through a labyrinth of representatives who tell you, “There’s nothing we can do about it” as opposed to local businesses who ask you, “What can we do to resolve this?” I don’t mind trying to contact a corporate headquarters in a different state or country, but I’d rather just talk to the owner face to face.
I recently had an opportunity to visit two new local businesses in the Pine Avenue City Market — Maple’s Restaurant that offers a southern-style menu and a Sunday’s Best buffet and The 755 Restaurant and Lounge that specializes in authentic Lebanese and Italian-American cuisine. I actually discovered one, sitting inside of the other. While out to lunch at Maple’s Restaurant with local author/business owner D. Scott, we met Hanna; the daughter of The 755 owner who was also there purchasing lunch. This was localism at its best; maximizing the circulation of each dollar before it leaves our community. Since then I’ve patronized both establishments and in addition to the excellent food, I’m glad I no longer need to drive out of our city to get it.
Over the last five years with well over a dozen businesses closing in the city of Niagara Falls, many wonder how we can increase sustainable business development here. While local support is vital, one component of localism is the creation of ‘cooperatives’ [coop] or ‘co-operatives’ [co-op]. Co-ops are businesses that are owned and managed by the people who use its services [a consumer cooperative], the people who work there [a worker cooperative] or by the people who live there [a housing cooperative]. It’s the idea of shared ownership, work and financial responsibility of that business and co-ops are one of the fast growing successful business models reshaping local living economies today.
Barbershops and hair salons have been running informal co-ops for years. Family owned Italian restaurants, Chinese variety shops and Arab corner stores have been operating like co-ops too. Gui’s Lumber & Home Center, which has remained in business all of these years, is a co-op. Living in a state with some of the highest taxes in the country and a city/county with a tax-exempt casino and BIG businesses that local business owners must compete with, this has created a unique set of socioeconomic challenges. 
Our city of Niagara Falls can be one of the premier local living economies in the state with the right community support and people in leadership positions that have the shared vision, plan and work ethic to meet those challenges. This is not just a noble idea. It’s a commitment to empowering each other with the cooperative economics to thrive. 
If not us, who? If us, when?

Peace,
Saladin

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Monday, December 22, 2014

Of course 'All Lives Matter'


According to US Census data, females outnumber males throughout the United States between 50 percent and 56 percent. Niagara and Erie counties are both 51 percent female. Have you ever wondered how females are defined as a minority even though they’re actually the majority of our population?

Demographically, it doesn’t make sense. Maybe issues concerning females are a minor concern of the dominant society. Maybe it’s because females don’t share the power, opportunities, rights and privileges as their male counterparts. Here’s some facts to consider:
 
                             
• Even though females are out-graduating males in college they’re still under-earning males in almost every degree.
                                                                                                                                                                         
• Females earn about 75 cents on the dollar compared to males.

                                                                                                                                                                          
• Unlike many countries, the U.S. still doesn’t have a national law to guarantee paid maternal leave for females.

                                                                                                                                                                           
• Females make up only 4 percent of the CEOs of the S and P 500 companies.

                                                                                                                                                                         
• There has never been a female vice president or president of the U.S.

                                                                                                                                                                
Because of this historical and present day reality affecting our female population, there have always been people, organizations and movements dedicated towards establishing human/civil rights and fair economic opportunities for women. The facts I’ve shared, and other statistics, show a historical sexist and misogynistic sentiment that has pervaded American society since its 1776 conception. Females lives matter and we cannot diminish, minimize or trivialize this. That would be equivalent to going to a woman’s rally against domestic violence and arguing that they need to stop talking about this because “All Lives Matter” and men are DV victims too. Some may even advocate that dogs lives matter because x amount die every year protecting their owners from home invasions. 

                                                                                                                                                                  
Whatever a person’s reasoning is for hijacking an important narrative like this, and redirecting attention away from the main concern that females lives matter, it’s one of the main reasons institutional sexism persists. The same lack of consideration and engagement also applies to the infamous “R-word” — Racism.

 
On Dec. 13, in conjunction with an International Day of Resistance, there was a rally held at Legend’s Park to bring awareness to the disproportionate instances of police brutality toward African-American citizens. The rallying cry was, and is, “Black Lives Matter.” According to data from 1999-2012 from the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice on police brutality:
                                                                                                                                                                     
• A black person is killed extra-judicially (unlawfully) every 28 hours by law enforcement.

                                                                                                                                                                      
• Black men between ages 19 and 25 are the group most at risk to be shot by police.

                                                                                                                                                                         
• Black youth are 4.5 times more likely to be killed by police than any other age or racial group in America.

                                                                                                                                                                           
• Black people comprise 26 percent of police shootings we only makeup 13 percent of the U.S. population.

                                                                                                                                                                         
Like females, and various segments of our population deemed “minorities,” African-Americans are also disproportionately affected by socioeconomic conditions including police brutality. Although some of you would love to believe these issue are because black people are on welfare, criminals by nature and/or uneducated, many times we are discriminated against simply because of the color of our skin — the same way many females are discriminated against because of their gender. This also gives you some insight into the degree of scrutiny, bullying and outright attacks black women, double minorities, have historically received when they play prominent roles or hold executive positions within this society. Of course “All Lives Matter,” including females and black lives.

                                                                                                                                                                           
In this critical day and time it’s important to understand that in the U.S. there are still marginalized segments of our society, deemed minorities, that are outright disrespected and discriminated against simply because they’re female, they’re black or both. These problems specifically affects these groups, not all people, and it must be discussed and resolved because whatever is allowed to happen to the least of us eventually affects us all. We share neighborhoods. We are your co-workers, doctors, public officials and prepare your food at restaurants. We are your children and grandchildren’s peers. We are your family members through marriage or birth.

                                                                                                                                                                            
Learn more about the plight of your fellow citizens and what you can do to be a positive agent of change. Knowledge empowers you to “know” the “ledge” or limitation of certain ideas that no longer reflect our changing societal landscape.

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Friday, December 19, 2014

Photograph: Dan Cappellazzo [Niagara Gazette]
 
 Black Lives Matter
 
The following article by Philip Gambini appeared in the Niagara Gazette highlighting a December 13th Rally I organized on the National Day of Resistance against police brutality:
 
"Legends Park gathering in support of national protests focuses on community issues"
 
Community members and city leaders gathered in Legend’s Park Saturday in solidarity with national protests speaking out against police violence in America.
The gathering, organized by local activist Saladin Allah, was attended by a dozen residents young and old, including Councilwoman Kristen Grandinetti and Council Chairman Charles Walker. In the formidable cold, it became less a rally and more a forum on the issues facing members of the Niagara Falls community and across the nation.

"We are showing publicly that we take responsibility of ourselves," Allah said. "We are not relying on somebody to speak for us and we are not relying on somebody to take care of us."

The group stood in a circle in Legend’s Park, discussing a range of topics from the historical treatment of African-Americans, to the family’s importance in a productive community, to the responsibility of individuals to learn for themselves about this country’s heritage and history.

"It’s important that we are mindful and aware of what we need to do for ourselves," Allah said. Resident Ezra Scott braved the December air to show his support. He spoke about critiques of the national protest, whether they were to identify police brutality or community violence. In the end, he said, it is not localized to a specific issue. Rather, it is a gesture of strength to identify that community members who are not often heard have a voice. "Whether it was because of an unfortunate event," he said, "we need to take charge, take initiative, keep it moving, and people are going to follow."

A focus of the forum was that it was not organized specifically around faith, color or denomination. Those present talked of a common humanity that must be elevated and honored if we are to live in a truly equal, just society. The group took time to congratulate the presence of the council members and thanked them for standing in unity with their cause.


"The power behind it," Grandinetti said, "is once you take the risk and use your voice one time it becomes easier and easier ... It’s not about being angry or violent, it’s about having a voice." She discussed her involvement in women’s and children’s rights. She asked for those present to raise their issues with positive energy in city government. "We live in one of the most beautiful places in the world and this city should be thriving," she said. "But it’s because there’s a small group of people who want to be big fish in a dirty little pond. They are keeping it down."

The group also touched on an understanding of historical context. Allah spoke of immigrant community members who had changed their name to conceal themselves from persecution, while Grandinetti recounted her father’s own efforts to do the same. "Out of the 238 years we have been in this country, 189 of those years we were not allowed to participate in American society. Eighty-nine years we were slaves, another 100 years we were segregated," Allah said. "That’s over 75 percent of the time we have been in this country we’ve been looked at as less than, as thugs, as savages." Walker spoke how American civil discourse had devolved, rather than progressed, with election of President Barack H. Obama. He recounted his shock at how this president had been spoken about in media, while other members of the crowd noted that his very citizenship had been questioned from the start.

 
"Our voices are the importance," he said. "We are not going to take this. Collectively speaking out is the only way we’re going to change things." Unfortunate as the circumstances in Ferguson and New York are, he said, they have to happen in order to gather peoples’ attention and focus their efforts on change. Though the numbers in Niagara Falls paled in comparison to the protests in Washington D.C. and New York City, many of those present dismissed the consideration outright. Any turn out, they said is a valued and important show of support. "In the Bible it says faith without work is dead, and obviously we are a people of faith," Allah said. "But we need some work, straight up work, to go along with that faith. That’s what we are, we represent that work."



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Saturday, November 22, 2014

A Journey of Sight and Sound

Kontact is my third musical project; a concept album released through my company Quanaah Publishing. Reminiscent of the 1997 film, you are the album's lead character; a scientist listening to coded radio transmissions seeking evidence of HipHop's Extra Celestial life. You learn that each song contains lyrics of technical drawings that reveal a complex world of advanced civilizations, subterranean folklore and self exploration. Through this sequence of sound sent from a star light years away, you've been chosen to make first contact.

Official Track Listing

Kontact is now available globally and can be ordered through any store that sells music, here at this Amazon Link, my E-Store and my Quanaah Publishing Store.

Peace and Thanks for your Support!
Saladin

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Saturday, November 15, 2014

Brand Ambassadors
In Search of Coretta Scott
Towards the end of the Summer I was having a very in depth conversation with a close female friend of mine. After explaining to her some of the things I deal with as a public figure, and the considerations/challenges that come along with finding a mate, she said something to me that was both hilarious and insightful in terms of compatibility. She said, "Dang, you sound like you're looking for Coretta Scott King."

Her statement made me reflect upon my past relationships in comparison to where I'm at today. In my teenage years the major qualities I looked for in a girl were how attractive, nice and smart she was. Of course this was before I had my first sexual encounters, and when I did.., this also became important to me. Two decades later, I never thought I'd be considering other qualities that are important to me when it comes to compatibility. Qualities that some of my contemporaries often don't understand because there are things I deal with that others don't have to consider. For example, this niche website now receives over 120,000 visitors a month. Although some of these visitors purchase my books/music via the links I provide, this traffic is primarily for the purpose of reading my articles. This translates into emails, messages and inboxes I receive every day from people throughout the world for various reasons; which means a certain portion of my day, every day, is dedicated to following up with people who are reaching out to me. Mind you, this has nothing to do with correspondences I receive in the postage mail or my other social networks Youtube, Twitter, Facebook and even LinkedIn. Add the various initiatives/events I organize or participate in, my STYA youth program I facilitate in my local community, other projects I work on as a creative artist/book publisher and it gives you a partial glimpse of what my world entails. It's a lot, and sometimes feels overwhelming, yet I love what I do! 

All of this got me to thinking about how my perspective of relationships has evolved to the point of seeing each other as Brand Ambassadors; someone who is capable of effectively representing your relationship [the brand] at home and abroad [nationally and internationally], in person or via their social media networks. Your brand is your mark, label, identity and what you represent. Therefore, when we're considering potential mates, dating/courting is really a rebranding process and how we're living is a graphic representation of that brand. Fresh off of the campaign trail running for public office in my City, I came upon an online discussion where women were talking about attire to wear at formal events. Some of them, although sweet, were totally inexperienced and didn't understand that flats/sandals or other accessories were inappropriate for such a venue; especially when your companion is the guest of honor where you may be called upon to say a few words. Although this may appear to some as a small thing, in terms of cultural competence, etiquette, social graces and the level of sophistication required to recognize certain social cues and navigate various environments, a woman like this would not be readily compatible for me, brand-wise. Consider if President Barack Obama had Joseline Hernandez (from Love and Hip Hop Atlanta) as his first lady instead of Michelle Obama as his Brand Ambassador... Sure she may be perfectly compatible with someone else, yet she is not presently compatible with The President of the United States [POTUS] for various reasons. Can she become compatible? Possibly, in time. Yet a POTUS doesn't have time, they have at least four years and that's a lot of public image/relations work and public scrutiny to deal with while striving to fulfill the duties of that Office.


Ironically, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. chose a woman, who by her own account, was incompatible with him at the time of their marriage. As a young Coretta Scott, she aspired to be in the music industry and had no real interest in MLK or his future as a Minister when they met in College. Coretta wasn't smitten, she looked at Martin as short, literally, and in time he grew on her. Even months before their wedding day Coretta was still uncommitted to marrying him and confided these reservations in a letter to her elder sister Edythe. This wasn't a case of cold feet, she understandably didn't want to give up her promising career and become a Preacher's wife. So on their June 18th, 1953 wedding day, in which she had the vow "obey your husband" removed from the ceremony and retained her name "Scott", Coretta Scott-King reluctantly sacrificed her dream of becoming a classical singer and became MLK's Brand Ambassador. It was actually in the years following the death of her husband that she was brought to the forefront and became the face, political impetus and momentum to carry on the legacy of the Civil Rights Movement. She wasn't down from day one, she learned to love Martin and his mission. I mention this to illustrate that even Coretta Scott King, as notable and world renown as she is, was unresolved about her commitment to the brand. Today, with the proliferation of professional women asserting their autonomy and pursuing their careers, men are more likely to find women who will face this same dilemma when it comes to compatibility. And many of these women are remaining career women because they're not enountering men with an actual mission.


Keep in mind that everything I'm saying goes both ways! A woman should also consider if a man is capable of representing their brand at home and abroad [nationally and internationally], in person or via their social media networks. Sometimes I see brother's women leisurely post statuses/comments via social media that a woman by my side would get publicly burned at the stake for, but I have to remember, "That's their brand." Some people exist in a world where they only need to consider how their words/actions affect their family members, friends or co-workers because that's the extent of who they deal with and their sphere of influence. In my world I may get an email from France or South Africa about something I say/do or meet some random person who recognizes me in a different State/City who'll ask me about it. Its happened and happens so I have to consider differently what I say and do. I also have to consider differently how I respond to what people say and do against or in alliance with what I do. 


You know, I've been intimate with women over the years, more often than I'd like to admit, yet as I've grown in my purpose I understand the level of responsibility, accountability and scrutiny that has come along with being a public figure. Even if we aren't, I think being responsible and accountable is important. I also understand that the women by my side will immediately inherit that responsibility, accountability, scrutiny and probably more so because 1.) How society defines females and 2.) The lens females assess each other through. It's a lot to deal with and in some cases I've only shared a part of my world with women in order to not burden them with everything I do. The more I shared, the more they learned they would have to share me with the world, and would ultimately be expected to speak for me in my temporary [schedule conflict/sickness] or definite [death] absence. Some women are simply not prepared to be an active part of a legacy and I've learned to accept that, sometimes reluctantly. The opposite is also true; Some men are simply not prepared to be an active part of a legacy and women must learn to accept that. So No, respectfully, I am not looking for a Coretta Scott King. Although she grew to embrace his mission, Coretta was a career woman who wasn't looking for MLK and didn't recognize him, or his purpose, when she saw him. I am looking for someone different.

Peace,
Saladin

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Monday, November 03, 2014

Veiled Prophets, Profits and Veils
~The Racial Backdrop of Ferguson~


First and foremost I would like to THANK ALL OF YOU who helped support our Ferguson Fundraiser Initiative thus making it possible to send two of our community members Saia HuKeekui and Pocahontus "Cush" Sanchez to Ferguson Missouri on October 10th. Following their return, we held a Community Information Session on October 28th  at our public library where they shared their experiences and insights about their journey and some of the ideas we have in terms of organizing locally and continuing to support our community members in [Ferguson] St. Louis. I also want to THANK my Universal Family in Saudi and other Community Activists in St. Louis who have been a tremendous help to all of us for providing an accurate narrative of the events happening in Ferguson. 

October 15th edition of the Buffalo Challenger News

One of the common phrases I've continually heard from people living in St. Louis and reiterated by our community members and others who traveled there is, "There's a long history of racism here!" From the 1857 Dred Scott Case declaring that black people had no rights to claiming citizenship, the 1917 Race Riots in East St. Louis and the history of police brutality leading up to the recent murder of Michael Brown, it seemed to make perfect sense until I began to hear about a hidden history, veiled even, that began to provide a clearer socioeconomic backdrop of this divided city.

People with a level of prosperity bankroll Politicians, to produce Policies, that protect their Profits and Property with the help of the Police. In other words, the law is only as strong, and legit, as the people who write it and are willing to enforce it, and these are usually those in a position of power pulling the strings; the elite. In order to understand who is pulling the socioeconomic strings just follow the money. You'll see an elaborate often tangled web weaved with Politicians, Policies and the Police. So in considering [Ferguson] Missouri, let us examine that web. 

Approximately 20 years after the Dred Scott decision, a group of Caucasian businessmen got together to found a [Secret] Organization called The Veiled Prophet Society. Because this special interest group was comprised of strictly members with money/political clout, this was more like a Veiled "Profit" Society. A year before its founding, the City of St. Louis suffered a major blow to its economy due to a strike of its railroad workers, many of whom were black and obviously working class. So the founding of this Society, under the auspices of being civic minded, was really about reestablishing the idea of who was top billin'. And what better way to flaunt this than with a parade? Thus in 1878, this Veiled Prophet Society held its first Veiled Prophet Parade and Fair leading up to what became its annual Veiled Prophet debutante Ball held in December. Aside from the Mardi Gras-like pomp displayed as prosperity to the public, and racial stereotypes depicted in the floats, what was most notable about this Parade, smack dab in the middle of the post-Reconstruction South, was the regalia and symbols associated with the Veiled Prophet; he wore a white hooded costume carrying a pistol in one hand and a shogun in the other; replicating another Southern-based Organization called the Klu Klux Klan [KKK]. And history teaches us that the Klan's sole purpose was to intimidate, harass and murder blacks and other people of color who sought to do anything for themselves socioeconomically. Their mission, in the words of many white Political Candidates, was and continues to be to "Take Back America" and the Veiled Prophet Society's Annual Parade, which is one of the oldest in this country, Fair and debutante Ball, simply echoed those elitist sentiments. Reinforcing this Society's idea of hegemony, prominence and legacy, the Ball culminated with the Veiled Prophet crowning a Queen [of Love and Beauty] from his Court of Honor and given an expensive piece of jewelry to be kept as a family heirloom. In 1972 Activists successfully infiltrated the Ball and tore the veil off of the prophet, revealing the identity of Monsanto Executive Tom K. Smith. I think it's also worth mentioning that 11 years later, the Mystic Order of Veiled Prophets of the Enchanted Realm [M.O.V.P.E.R.] or The Grotto [Cave], was founded in the North as an appendant body in Freemasonry. So in terms of special interest groups, there's an obvious link between the ideology and socioeconomic associations of these groups that whites often belonged to simultaneously. To research this correlation further, check out my article Pike Dreams.

The Veiled Prophet and Gandalf The White (Lord of the Rings)
 
Fast forward to 2014. This public display of power, with some modifications, has continued to exist as the socioeconomic backdrop of St. Louis, especially in a municipality like Ferguson where only 3 people on its 53 police force are black while the population is almost 70% black. Yeah the Veiled Prophet Parade is now known as the VP Parade and Fair Saint Louis. Yeah people of color can now participate to some degree. Yeah their official throwback flyer looks like a benevolent Gandalf from the Lord of the Rings, but there still remains one common denominator; the same elite controls it. It is this perverse mentality of white supremacy, elitism, exclusivity and privilege that sets the sick backdrop of systemic racism that continues to erode this country and undermine the relationships of the human family, whether it's being carried out through police brutality, redlining, tokenism, crony capitalism or the demonizing/objectification of people of color in their media. This is the backdrop of Ferguson and every other city in America. Regardless how primitive or progressive it appears to be, the power dynamics of race relations are present and wherever you see people of color in proximity to whites, we are not in the seat of power. Even in a Chocolate City like Atlanta, whites still control the major financial institutions, traffic system, utility companies, zoning boards, medical facilities and of course the food/textile industry. This article is not to imply that the Veiled Prophet Society is some new age Illuminati that put a hit out on Mike Brown. What I am saying is that in the eyes of the elite, the lives of outsiders have little to no value. It is only until we look behind the veil and realize that we, people of color and poor whites, have been and are being kept apart from their own socioeconomic equality, can we organize to transform our collective condition. There's a longstanding history, yes his-story, of racism in St. Louis. The kind of racism that helped shape and mold the cultural consciousness of people such as Dick Gregory, Maya Angelou, Miles Davis, Redd Foxx, Donny Hathaway, Maxine Waters, Nato CaliphAli of the St. Lunatics [Power God Allah] and Tef Poe to name a few. The events in Ferguson are successfully removing the veil, not just in St. Louis but throughout this country and the injustice there is a threat to justice everywhere. Be studious to learn what's going on, assist our organizers in Ferguson financially, with consumables or etc., organize locally to establish a network of support in order to help prepare each other for incidences happening like this where you live. And above all, keep in mind that our "Unity" is the key and answer to solving social ills like this. Whether it's unifying to police our own communities, unifying to support our own businesses, unifying to privatize our own schools or just being a unified voice in rearing our children. It is through this unity can we forge our own special interest groups and ultimately rival the power and shift the dynamics of the elite. 

Peace,
Saladin 

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