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The Black Men Speak: TraVon McDougal, Azrael LeBeau, and Martin Abdullah

Hello Faithful Reader,

I hope this month's edition of the Black Birdseye View finds you well and in good spirits. I am currently numb to sensations that lay deep within me. I have come through storms to write to you today. My eyes are tired "hunting" season on Black people. Slain black bodies are being collected by the police every day. Killing unarmed black people is nothing new. Families of the fallen are left behind to pick up pieces that can never fit together again.

Unfortunately, a so-called "hand full" of corrupt cops are making it hard for the good cops. It is a reality that in the eyes of anyone who can see, there is no way to tell one from the other until after heinous deeds.

I met with TraVon McDougal, the Brother of Akiel Denkins, a Black man killed by Raleigh Police Department in 2016. The pain that radiated from this young man touched me to the core. He sat, telling his story that began upon at the age of 16 years old when he heard the news that his Brother was dead.

I listened to TraVon tell his story during a period of unrest in our street plagued with protesting and rioting stemming from the killing of another Black man, George Floyd. A photograph of TraVon at the protest drove me to reach out to him in the first place.

Young people took to the streets in a way that I have not seen in my 51 years. Their cries for justice sounded out around the world. There were peaceful protests and rioting, and racist statues brought down. TraVon took the time to share with me the experience of being a part of that protest:

TraVon share with me that:

  • The rally started peacefully. Then tear gas came out, and then the protestors threw water. At that point, it was not even dark yet. The protesters' mentality was that if that was how the police wanted it to be, then it could be that.

  • Everybody was rioting, all races. Different races were telling Black people that they loved them, and it was clear that other races could see that there is something wrong going on in this world.

  • If the system did not hear us when we were out there protesting, they heard us when the city got tore up. It does not matter how they heard us. They heard us.

  • When my Brother passed, it was hard for my family to be strong for the city because of how much pain and anger his death put on us…and how drastic it was. We are changed forever….for life.

I met with New Black Panther Party Member, Azrael LeBeau, who offered the following:

  • The New Black Panther Party represents self-defense and self-determination for the Black Nation.

  • It is time that Black people educate, prepare, train, and separate from the white man. For over 500 years, we have been subjugated by the yoke of their oppression. Integration was one of the main things that failed Black people. Before integration, Black people were self-reliant, doing for ourselves. We had our communities, grocery stores, movie theaters, law enforcement, and educational systems. When Black people started putting money and resources into what integration brought with it, Black people lost themselves. There were no more Black grocery stores, movie theaters, cab businesses, bus systems, and educational systems. All of that was gone.

  • From a parent's perspective, the child must be educated in every aspect of education from the school system to teaching the correct Black history. Through the white man's eyes, Black history started with slavery. Black history is so much more. Black people ushered in some of the greatest empires that this world has ever seen. When Black people go to school and learn history, that is what it is "His" story, the white man's story. It is time that we learn our story.

  • Who should teach our youth our history? Our fathers, grandfathers, grandmothers, and elders who suffered through segregation are good starting points. They most likely saw communities like Rosewood and the Black Wall Streets. They ultimately saw what the white man did to these places and what white people continue to do a

  • As it relates to education: The miseducation of Black youth is, in part, the fault of the Black parents for not following through with educating their child at home. Everything starts at home.

  • We need to prepare for War and Revolution. Whether it is wanted or not, it is coming. Regardless of what color you are, what you believe in…. There will be a race war. We must be prepared for when everything shuts down for martial law…when people will not be able to have access to grocery stores, restaurants, and gun stores. Those are the things that we need to prepare. We need to take it back to when we were able to grow crops to sustain ourselves if that be the case. We need to know how to get water and how to make it useable. We need to be knowledgeable enough to pull what we need form nature from a nutritional, herbal, and survivor perspective.

  • Black people need to train themselves in the art of self-defense. We must be able to protect and guard our own against physical and mental attacks, programming, and perspective.

  • Organized religion taught Black people to be docile and meek. The African Slave owners knew that they would not be able to control the African slave forever. The African slave owner knew that at some point, the African slaves would rise against the system. We see that time unfold right now.

  • To separate is to get away from these devils 100% in all ways and, at the same time, build for ourselves so that we can become unified.

  • We are the only people inclined to think that we need other people to do what we can do for ourselves. It takes nothing for Black people to separate from the system right now. All that is necessary is land, money, people willing to put in the hard work it takes, and the willingness to fight and die to protect our own.

  • Black people were trained by white people to want what white people have and what white people claim they built. It is a mentality where "the white man has it," the white man wears it, and" the white man says its good enough" …so I want to have and do it too.

I met with Martin Abdullah, a Black Man, Father, Muslim, and once a police officer: Martin offered an array of perspectives:

  • America is in a time of change.

  • There are multitudes of changes taking place. What comes from these changes will directly affect the world as we know it. The changes will become our "new norm." Change is necessary because things cannot stay the way they are…from the Status Quo to the Unofficial Cast System.

  • When people get to their wit's end and feel like they have nothing to lose, change must happen

  • The system is not working. It was never the plan for the system to implode. The system is imploding in America right now. Previously there was a balance that kept the people and the system operating. The powers that be, from the president on down to other influential people, is running amuck. This fact has caused the system to implode. Unfortunately, the less fortunate have known this for quite some time. When we get to a point where people are losing their lives on camera response is evoked. That response will not let the status quo be.

  • It's not about equality. People just want to be in that group of privilege. For there to be equality, someone who has privilege must give up that privilege. There has never been equality. It is not in the average person's nature to want to relinquish privilege. The giving up of privilege cannot take place without the individual tapping into their humanitarianism

  • Segregation in our schools was a good move and was something that had to happen. The lines in our society, whether it's a financial divide or racial divide or educational divide, are narrowing. Without integration, our children would never have had access to educational systems that are out there. That was one of the tools of slavery before the emancipation. It was a struggle to get in, and once we were in, we experienced unfair treatment. No matter what the obstacles are children must be introduced to and put in places where they can become educated. They must have access to the information. Without integration, that was not going to happen for Black youth in America. Access to that information was always going to be cut off at the line of black and white. Did the system intend on black youth excelling in the short time we have had access and been included? No, as it has not been the intention for black people to excel in any avenue that we have been allowed to get in. Black people naturally excel. Once exposed to new things, Black people do well, whether it is inhibited or uninhibited. When you put apples to apples and oranges to oranges, Black people perform well. Without integration, there are just certain avenues that Black people would never have had access to.

  • Black people fell short when parents took their hands off their children's academic careers and left them in the hands of the system. Black parents just gave their children to the mainstream educational system and stopped educating at home. Black people should have put their children in that environment so that they could have access to information. Still, HOME is where the parent should have been making sure that their child was processing the information received at school in the proper way.

  • From a faith-based perspective, people need to understand that every religion allows us to defend ourselves. As far as loving your enemy, that does not make a lot of sense. If someone is your avowed enemy, you are not required to love them. You are required to forgive Forgiveness hinges on the fact that the person you are forgiving must seek that forgiveness and be prepared to meet you on that common ground. If they have avowed themselves to be your enemy: In the Islamic faith, some several scriptures and directives deal with that. It tells us that the earth is spacious, so if you cannot get along with someone, you need to leave that person. It also tells us that if someone wrongs us, we are justified in seeking retribution, but it is more rewarding if we can find that peace and space to forgive them and leave them alone. Peace requires both parties.

  • There is no linear answer to what is happening in society right now. These problems are extraordinarily complex and not one-directional. There are a lot of directions that these problems come from, which has cumulated into what presents in American society today.

  • There is something innate in a culture that is breed and passed down the line. The law enforcement community is not immune to that. Some officers get power drunk. Some officers come from or have a predisposition against certain people, bringing that to work with them. That is not just in law enforcement, that is in any field. People bring what has been instilled in them wherever they go. Even though all police offices are not bad police officers, we must hold those police officers who are mute accountable. Their sergeants, supervisors, lieutenants, captains, and chiefs must be held accountable. It is their job to serve and protect and rectify problems before allowing them to rise to the level where people die at the hands of a racist cop.

Thank you for taking the time to read these perspectives from these Brothers about the current climate surrounding brutality against black people in the United States. Until next time, be well.

Always, Robin

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