In The Black

Unsolved Homicides Leave Multiple Messages

By Gregory Meriweather March 18, 2016

gmeriweather@blackonblack.network

According to the Violence Policy Center, Indiana ranked No. 1 in Black homicide victimization in 2013. Although I am concerned with the entire state, I must first cut the grass in my own yard. In 2015, 87 percent of homicides of white victims in Indianapolis were solved. Only 50 percent of homicides were solved when the victim was Black. I find these statistics alarming, yet disappointing.

I had the opportunity to speak with a father whose son was murdered in 2015. Unfortunately, his son’s murderer has not been apprehended. When speaking to this father, the first thing that I realized is how lifeless he seemed. Every time I reached out to him, I would ask how he was doing. Each time he answered, I could feel the pains of each day he lived knowing there was someone walking freely with his son’s blood on their hands. Being the father of two children, I could not imagine how I would feel if I were in this man’s shoes. Then my mind began to think about all the messages that are sent when a murder goes unsolved.

The first message I believe was sent is that the murder rate will continue to increase if people believe they can get away with it. What are we saying to would-be murderers? From the looks of the lack of murders solved in the Black community, it seems as if one would stand a good chance of getting away with murder, as long as the person(s) killed are Black.

It also sends the message that someone wants us to kill each other. If this is not the case, why are only 50 percent of the murders resolved when the victim is Black? In most grading systems, 50 percent means you’re failing. We watched the former IMPD chief tell us they were going to utilize every resource they had to solve a homicide when the victim was a white woman. It took them no time to find someone to bring to justice. Are our people not worth the utilization of the same resources to bring their murderers to justice?

When people ask why Black people do not trust the police, the answers are all written in blood or behind prison walls. When you look at all the corruption police departments across the country have taken part in as it relates to Black people, you would think society would understand. Why would I believe you are going to make sure the people who are killing us are brought to justice when you are killing us, too? Nevertheless, this is a relationship that needs to improve by leaps and bounds.

Here are a few things I believe need to happen so there can be a decrease in unsolved murders:

We need to get back to having neighborhood police officers. We need police officers who look like the people they serve the most. We need officers who are not afraid to get out of their police car without pulling out their guns first. When officers talking to people in the neighborhoods become a normal thing, then citizens talking to the police about serious matters won’t seem so strange or as dangerous.

IMPD, you can’t send the message of not caring to these streets. In most cases, your best allies are the people in the community. You need us just as much as we need you. Homicide detectives, answer your phone as best you can. Make a return phone call in at least 24 hours to let the family know the case still matters to you. If there is nothing else you can do, tell them that. Express to the family what you feel is necessary to crack the case, and let them help you.

We need to communicate and engage ourselves with IMPD. I know it may be a challenge, but it’s necessary. If we do our part, and they do theirs, I believe we will see a change.

If neither of us do our part, we will come to the conclusion that we are happy dying and they are happy seeing us kill ourselves.

Gregory Meriweather is the host of The Expo Show, and Chief Executive Officer at Black on Black LLC.

Now That you are Standing

 

Written by Gregory Meriweather @RadioBlackOn

July 14, 2016

In the midst of a great speech during the BET Awards, our dear brother, Jesse Williams, has Black people all over the country hyped. The crowd at the awards ceremony was standing on their feet as this brother went on telling the world what many national and local leaders have been saying for years, but have not seen the results that they so desire to see.

Yes, I thought the speech was incredible. I also wished it was the last thing said at the awards ceremony, because I watched “us” get right back into reckless mode when the show progressed.  I must say I am not a fan of BET. I believe the network has gotten away from being a network that was intended to support Black healing, education, empowerment and development when Robert Johnson created it in 1980, and the network only aired for two hours. By 1985, BET became the first Black-controlled company to be on the New York Stock Exchange.  Bob Johnson eventually sold BET to Viacom, and the rest is history.

In spite of the speech being on BET, I must applaud the media for giving the speech life beyond BET. As I listened to the words from Jesse Williams, my energy level rose. As he continued, my emotion became overwhelmed because of all the things we need to work on.  He did speak on the oppression of Black people, but he also spoke about our own personal responsibilities.

When Williams said, “Now, this award – this is not for me. This is for the real organizers all over the country – the activists, the civil rights attorneys, the struggling parents, the families, the teachers, the students that are realizing that a system built to divide and impoverish and destroy us cannot stand if we do.” I wanted to shout, because there are so many Black people who don’t believe a “system” exists.  

Why is it that we cannot come together, and make the changes that are necessary for our people? Can this speech that was given at the BET Awards be the speech that sparks the new civil rights movement in America?

Black people all over the country have been talking about this amazing moment. There were celebrities and fans alike, standing on their feet.  As I looked at the crowd, I thought about all the things that have been said by Dr. Umar Johnson, Dr. Claude Anderson, Minister Louis Farrakhan and a host of others. All that I could think was, “Are they really listening?”  I so badly pray that they were, because it would be one of the most hype wastes of time that we have seen in a long time.

If the Black people fail to do something after this speech, it will resemble what true activists face every time they try to make a difference.  The mainstream has such a strong pull, that we tend to forget what good is, altogether. How do you think a pastor feels when he has delivered a powerful message where people stand to their feet, but when the call to discipleship takes place, no one takes the message and applies it to real life action? He is somewhat heartbroken because he knows that there is someone in the crowd that needed to move on the message.

We have to get busy.  We need to hear the words that were said by this young man, and hold them near and dear to our hearts. I understand that in our history, Black people had to deal with a lot of abuse when we stood up for our rights. I also believe that if we don’t do anything about it, then we will become more abused than ever, and in a more strategic way.

The question that I will continue asking is, “Now that you are standing, what are you going to do?” At the BET awards, there were a lot of people in the crowd, and even more watching on T.V. The people in the crowd looked as if they were in total shock. The people who were at home sent out “Jesse William For President” posts on Facebook. There is a big difference from being an activist and actor. Jesse Williams is both. An activist is real. An actor pretends to be real. When Jesse Williams received his award, he went from actor to activist.

On that night, the same thing happened to you. When you heard the speech, did you become an actor or an activist? Were you pretending to believe what was said or were you just pretending to look the part because so many people said that it was the thing to do? Only time will tell how effective this speech really was. Since you are standing and hyped, please make the decision to be an activist, not an actor.

Greg Meriweather is the host of The Expo Show and the Chief Executive Officer of Black On Black LLC.

Where Have the Rows Taken Us?

In the midst of all the murder, hatred, and crime going on in the African-American community, my mind began to wonder what has led our people to such a dark place? Of course, I immediately began to think about slavery, but that wasn’t enough. There is something that is so imbedded in our culture, that we are having a hard time seeing what it is, and since we are struggling to see it, it is even more difficult to fix it.

What could it be that has us lacking concern for our fellow men and women? Why are we killing each other at a rate of extinction? Historians will say that we were taught to hate ourselves through slavery. I agree, but is that it? Some would say that the Willie Lynch letter played a role then, and is still significantly important now.

That could very well be true, but what causes me to not care enough about what is going on with the person who lives right next to me?

What causes us not to care about the less fortunate African-Americans in our communities? Mamie Till said it best when she said, “Two months ago I had a nice apartment in Chicago. I had a good job. I had a son. When something happened to the Negroes in the South I said, `That’s their business, not mine.’ Now I know how wrong I was. The murder of my son has shown me that what happens to any of us, anywhere in the world, had better be the business of us all.” Even though many of us remember the story of Emmett Till, it has not been impactful enough to make us change. But why?

We have seen numerous murders of our people by the hands of white supremacists, and law enforcement alike. We now have white supremacy rearing its ugly head again, and yet we cannot seem to come together. Where did this stronghold come from?

I began to think deeper, and now I can say that I may have the answer. It was the rows. Yes, the rows of cotton picked by our ancestors during slavery. We were living together. We were in bondage together. Other than being separated by way of being sold, the rows became the way of developing village people into individuals.

When our people were working the cotton fields of the South, we did not realize the lasting impact that slavery would have on us. We did not know the fear that was bestowed upon our people. We did not understand what cultural behaviors would be lost, nor did we understand the new culture that was being birthed.

Imagine yourself at the start of a row of cotton. What is the goal?

The goal is to pick as much cotton as possible to make rate. You, and every other slave has a responsibility to your own row. You are also individually responsible for the punishment of not making rate. So by the end of the day, the master is now taking tally of your daily picks. One by one he is counting the weight of your bags. Whomever had the lowest amount, and whomever did not make rate, were then punished by way of the master’s whip. When this was all taking place, I am sure their minds were transforming as well. For every lash across the back, that person was becoming more and more of an individually focused person. Competing against their own people as a means of survival was birthed, and still lives today. Some may ask, “Why didn’t they work together to cover whatever the overall final weight needed to be?”

This was all a part of the plan. Could they have worked together to get the necessary end result? Yes, they could have, but this would have been building people who worked together, as opposed to working as individuals. Learning to work together for the common good of all would have been dangerous to the powers that be. If we could work together, then freedom would become inevitable.

Fast forward to 2017, and you will see where the rows of the cotton fields have taken African-Americans. We have become self-serving people. We are people who focus on what it is that we want, need, and desire as individuals. Even when it comes down to matters that challenge our moral responsibilities, we fail. When someone kills our children, we go down our row, and say, “That has nothing to do with me.” Some of our rows look like higher education, better neighborhoods, higher salaries, better social groups, etc. Yet while we are going down our rows as fast as we can, we don’t dare to look up, and see who is struggling. We won’t take a little bit out of our “bags” to help someone make “rate,” even if we are well above the standard. We stopped being family. We stopped being tribal. We stopped being village people who cared for one another. We are no longer inseparable. We have accepted the role, and our row, while hoping to never feel the lash of the master’s whip on our backs. We have become immune to our own collective demise. We don’t mind watching our brothers and sisters fall, or fail. When we do, we somehow look at our own people and do not see ourselves. We must change this behavior if we ever plan on being impactful as a race.

Is your row important? Yes, but not more important than your brother or sister. We can make rate by working together. One thing is certain, they could not have whipped all of us. That would have made for bad business then, and it makes for bad business now. So why not come together, and collectively win? There will be individuals who disagree with this, but we can’t worry about them. As you go down your row, raise your head, look around, and see who is not making rate, then help them. This can look like advice, a phone call, a connection to a job, constructive criticism, or even just telling them the truth. If you want to see something great take place in the African-American community, learn to work together for the good of the whole, and not just for the good of yourself.

Gregory Meriweather is the CEO of Black on Black Network, talk show host, writer, and public speaker. email: gmeriweather1@gmail.com booking: info@blackonblack.network

 

 

President Trump, You Did Something Right…

Who would have thought the country would be in the midst of all of this turmoil in less than a year of the Trump Presidency? Initially, I did expect it to be bad, but never would I have thought it would  be like this.

Charlottesville, Virginia has become the birthing place for the “New Era of Racism in America,” and it has been fueled by the Trump administration, and the white-supremacists who salivate at every word he speaks. When watching all of the events take place in Charlottesville, I was infuriated, and wanted so badly to be in the middle of it all, putting my hands on someone, but then it dawned on me that this situation could be a positive, in a sick kind of way.

I began to look at the pictures of the mob of white men, walking around, screaming with Tiki-torches in their hands. I saw Klan members marching with their flags, while screaming, “We need to take our country back!” My frown immediately turned into a smile. My fists began to become unclutched, and I found a peace inside me that I had been longing, for quite some time.

One may ask, “How could you find peace in times like this?” I am so glad you asked.

My mind took me back to the “Malcolm X” movie made by Spike Lee. I remember when the Klan came to Malcolm’s father’s house. They had their sheets on, and their faces were covered. All Malcolm, his siblings, and his parents could hear was their voices. It was easy for those Klansmen to move about in the confines of society without anyone Black knowing who they were. Then I look at the news, and the pictures showing these men and women in Charlottesville, and all I could do was smile, because their boldness has allow people of color to see the officers, the guy at the grocery store, the supervisors, the high school athletes and coaches, the teachers, the soldiers, the executives, the police officers, and the politicians who have all claimed to have love for Black people, or may even say that they have a Black friend.

America has always been a racist country, and from the looks of it, shall always be. America has never wanted to deal with the issue of race. There are so many disparities that prove that racism exists (education, housing, equal opportunity, unemployment, underemployment, police brutality, etc.), but the powers that be have always figured out a way to cover their tracks. They have covered it up by allowing us (Blacks) to enter their schools, their restaurants, their hospitals, their sporting events, and their businesses. We started letting our guards down. Some of us started believing the hype. During times of segregation we felt that we needed to be like them, and threw away everything we had in order to feel accepted.

This sounds crazy, but I must say, thank you President Trump, you did something right. You have done something for Black people that we will never forget. You have done something that no President before you could get done. Your arrogance, ignorance, and boldness have allowed racists in America who were once hidden, to feel the need to show their faces. You helped them feel comfortable. You’ve helped them feel safe. You told them that that you were going to “Make America Great Again,” and they embraced you hook, line, and sinker.

For years we (Blacks) have had the hardest time proving that we were not seeing ghosts. We have had to tell stories of being mistreated, terminated, beaten, bruised, raped, lynched, and murdered to people who watched, and listened as if we were making it all up. President Trump, thank you for doing something right. You are the President who has exposed what so many Caucasian leaders before you thought, but would have never said. Those CEO’s from your manufacturing panel aren’t bailing on you because they disagree. They are bailing on you because you broke the cardinal rule of racism by actually saying your racist thoughts publicly.

President Trump, you did something right. You may go down in history as the President with the lowest approval rating. You may go down as one of the worst Presidents ever. Please know that your ratings aren’t down because of Black people. I am sure you know that your ratings were low with us way before you entered the White House. Your ratings are down because you have exposed racism in a way that allows the world to know that the American, and the racist way, are one and the same.

Gregory Meriweather is the CEO of Black on Black Network, talk show host, writer, and public speaker. email: gmeriweather1@gmail.com booking: info@blackonblack.network.

Thank You, President Obama!

President Obama has just completed two terms as the President of the United States of America. Not only was he Commander-in-Chief, but also the leader of the free world.  Most people who know me, will tell you that I have not been one to agree with a lot of the things that President Obama implemented or stood for.  I had many knock down, drag out moments with friends and colleagues alike about our beloved 44th President.

Now that he has rode off into the sunset to embark on the new chapters of his life, I want to take some time to say, thank you President Obama.

Thank you President Obama for being determined. By being determined, you have proven that not only Black people, but a Black man can fulfill his hopes and dreams in the midst of opposition if he has a goal, attaches himself to the right people, and for the right reasons.  You have shown us that nothing is impossible. Most people (all races) thought the U.S. would never have a Black President. You have helped put that rumor to rest, and I thank you.

Thank you President Obama for being a loving husband. We live in an era where the divorce rate is at an all-time high.  There are Black men and women who have given up on each other. There are so many people who have not seen a positive example of marriage. Visible love between a Black man and woman has become a thing of the past.  Most of us have not seen anything like this since the days of watching “The Huxtables.”  You and First Lady Michelle have shown us that Black love does not have to be fictitious, but as real as the air we breathe.  Thank you for acknowledging your wife in public. Thank you for holding her hand. Thank you for showing how much you love her to us. Thank you for showing that you not only cared for the safety of the world, but also for the safety of your Queen, children, and your castle.

Thank you President Obama, for being a great father. Thank you for showing Black men that we must learn to balance.  It is important to do our jobs outside the home, but we have to realize that we have a job that is in some ways more important on the inside of the home, and that job is being a father to our children. I am sure you had tons of things to do when Malia ran into a bit of trouble, but you showed men all over the world how to go to your child to get things in order. On the flip-side, you showed us that after you corrected her, the next step was to protect her from further ridicule. You have hugged, kissed, encouraged, and praised your daughters in front of the world, and still managed to run the country, and for that I say thank you.

Thank you President Obama, for remaining cool while under constant pressure. Black men face a lot of trials and tribulations that sometimes go unnoticed.  Generally, people do not know that we are struggling until we do something that is considered detrimental. You have shown us how to stay cool in the face of adversity.  We have watched people disrespect you publicly, but you never lost yourself. You remained cool.  You still smiled.  You still shook hands. You proved that class cannot be taught. You did all of this as a Black man, and I am thankful for it.

Finally President Obama, I want to say thank you for leading.  I was once told that leaders, lead. We have always been viewed as inferior by our oppressors. During a time when the NCAA has minimal, Black Division I-A football coaches, and Fortune 500 companies have so few Black men and women in executive positions, because they would rather keep the rumors alive, you have shown us that we are more than capable of leading.  You have shown us that we should not settle for being second tier.  You have shown us that it is OK to be smart.  You have shown us that it is OK to be articulate. You have shown us that operating in excellence is what we should aspire to do daily, while being unapologetic.

I may not have agreed with you on many things, but I must agree, and say, that you are necessary.  I now understand that your mere presence has been a present to me, and so many others.

Thank you, President Obama.

When Unity Is The Only Solution

On January 20, 2017 America watched Donald J. Trump become the 45th President of the United States of America.  On the same day, America watched the 1st Black President, Barack Obama, and First Lady Michelle Obama, ride off on Marine One to bring an end to a historic Presidency.

As I watched everything unfold, my mind began to think about what we must do as Black people to move forward under this new administration.

I started to think about how fragmented we have become.  There are so many things that separate us now.  Social status has become even more powerful than racism, because we now don’t work together simply because one person may have more money than the other.  We are now defined by where we live. The church has also become a place that treats the haves differently than the have nots. What has caused such a disturbance between people who look alike? What is it that makes us act as if we are not attached to the same history that once had us all bound together collectively?

During a time when racism was obvious, black people were treated the same by our oppressors. It did not matter how well you spoke.  It did not matter how well you dressed.  It did not matter who you worked for, and it certainly did not matter what church you belonged to. All of us were called niggers.

America is still calling us by this negative term.  It became brutally obvious to me when I watched then, Vice President-elect Mike Pence shake every hand that he could, and even went on the row right behind President and First Lady Obama, but never shook their hands. In my opinion, Vice President Pence was calling them out of their names. He was sending a message to so many with his actions.

So now that President Trump is in office, what are we going to do?  Are we going to ignore the White House? Are we going to bad mouth every Black person who makes the decision to talk to the President? Are we going to keep allowing these political parties to separate us?

If we are going to participate in politics, we must first learn more about the political processes.  We have to know more about who we are voting for. We need to know who is truly on our side, and not just talking. There are politicians who we continue voting for, but never see the changes that they claim to be fighting . We must work to hold these individuals accountable. If we can’t, then we must find candidates who will work in the best interests of our people.

We can no longer allow Democrats, Republicans , church denominations, or social status to separate us from each other. We are prime examples of divide and conquer. Black men are separated from black women. Black families are falling apart at a rapid rate. Our neighborhoods are run down because we are no longer neighbors.

The time for unity is now!

You are my brother. You are my sister. There is NOTHING that will cause me to treat you less than I would myself. We must learn to treat each other better, while operating in excellence.

We have yet to see if this will be the worst President for us to have as Black people.  To this date, we do know that we have seen some very difficult times in this country. The difference between then and now is how we worked together to get through those tough times, and terrible people. We can do it again.

Unity amongst our people is the only solution. It has been tried, and tested. I believe that if Black people can come together as one, we will be the most powerful nation within this nation, and an unstoppable force.

The time is now.