Who can we trust when justice is necessary?

November 6, 2017

Written by Gregory Meriweather

The Aaron Bailey killing took place 5 months ago, and the leadership of Indianapolis, are still trying to figure out how to resolve what seems obvious.

Yesterday, Mayor Joe Hogsett took to the streets, and visited some local churches in the Indianapolis area. The Mayor visited New Direction Church, Eastern Star Baptist Church-Cooper Rd, Eastern Star Church Northeast Campus, Eastern Star Church, Mount Carmel Missionary Baptist Church, and New Life Worship Center.

While there, the Mayor spoke on the next steps in the case, now that Special Prosecutor Kenneth Cotter has moved not to prosecute the officers involved.

The Mayor stated, “My thoughts and prayers go out to all those impacted by the death of Mr. Bailey, including his family and those who called him a friend. At the outset of this process, I made a commitment to the community that immediately upon conclusion of the criminal investigation, IMPD would launch a full administrative review into the actions that led to this police action shooting. I intend to follow through with that commitment.

Effective immediately, I have asked Chief Bryan Roach to gather all evidence from the Special Prosecutor’s investigation along with any other available materials to begin that process. I have also asked that the review be expedited so that an administrative decision can be rendered as quickly as is responsible.

I offer my heartfelt thanks to faith and community leaders for their patience and leadership over the last four months, and I urge those who have been moved to action by these events to continue to challenge our city to do more to earn and sustain trust between Indianapolis neighborhoods and our police department.”

This sounds all fine, and dandy, but we must remember that in order for these officers to be terminated, there is a PROCESS. This process was in play well before the Mayor made these illustrious speeches to the churches. The Mayor knows that the Firearms Committee of IMPD must do their investigation, and then it must go to the Merit Board. The Merit Board can then issue the disciplinary action which may include termination. The Chief of Police cannot make these decisions alone, and neither can the Mayor.

It takes me back to a time in history on April 4, 1968, when Robert Kennedy made the announcement that Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. Indianapolis leaders had found a way to give Kennedy the credit for stopping riots from taking place in the city, but for those of you who know the real story, understand how far from the truth that really is.

It seems that the Mayor is doing whatever is necessary to keep the people at peace. It has been said by some that the Mayor really cares about the people, but when you go back and look at the case, you will find that it took the Mayor almost a month to truly speak about the shooting, His first real speech about Aaron Bailey was at the Mayor’s breakfast for IBE Summer Celebration. Before then, he was as quiet as a church mouse. I recall asking on numerous occasions, “Where is the Mayor?”

Furthermore, I want to know what made the Mayor choose these churches? He did not come inside the neighborhood where Aaron Bailey was killed to give his speech. He did not find a community center. He did not come to the “hood.” He went inside the churches that hold some of the most prominent Black citizens of Indianapolis in them. He went to the places that have large congregations, yet soft voices. Let’s just say he went to the megachurches. He went to the places with the “names.” I keep asking, what makes the politicians think we trust the churches? We have been getting robbed by these people for a long time. They have found the code that the slave masters used that said, “I should receive my blessings now, and you will get yours in Heaven.” If I may speak for the community, let me say, “WE DO NOT TRUST THE CHURCH.” I am not saying that all churches or Pastors are bad, but when you see them living well, while most of their congregations are poor, then it is time for some serious questions to be asked, and answered.

This isn’t the first time Indianapolis has had a police action shooting of this magnitude. Many remember the Michael Taylor killing, and how things turned out with that case. Aaron Bailey is another casualty, of a long list of citizens, who have wrongfully died by the hands of carelessness, and in some cases hatred. IMPD knows, that WE DO NOT TRUST them.

The legal system has failed Black people in more ways than I can name. If we just take a look at Mass Incarceration, we already know that the legal system was not built for us. Justice is blind when it comes to Black people. When I say blind, I mean blind to the facts. Facts have never mattered when it has come to keeping us out of the system. WE DO NOT TRUST THE LEGAL SYSTEM.

Mayor Hogsett has done a phenomenal job showing up to make Black people feel good. He has danced with us, smiled with us, sympathized with us, clapped to good ol’ gospel hymns with us, prayed with us. He has also done something that most politicians do. He has showed up in the church for his political party. He has showed up when a vote matters. He has assured us that they are going to do all the right things to help us. He has also done one other thing that most politicians do, and that is leave us hanging. The Mayor is a classic politician. He knows how to keep us in the grey. He knows how to help us remain uncertain on where he stands. I won’t single him out, because I feel that most of our politicians mistreat us. They tell us to call, they don’t answer. They tell us to ask, they don’t respond. They tell us to stand, yet want us to sit down. When we want to sit, they want us to stand. Let me just say, WE DO NOT TRUST POLITICIANS.

Finally, there is the Black elite. There is a group of Black leaders who sit in the seats that hold Black people back. Their positions say that they are about Black people, but their actions don’t. Indianapolis has a way of bragging on certain Black leaders, but when we look around we will find that Black people in Indianapolis are in the same position that we’ve always been in. I find it hilarious when the news shows the politicians going to speak with certain people. They speak to you all because they know that message doesn’t go anywhere after it’s given to you. You get to sit amongst us, because you look like us. You know how to code switch, and talk like us, but when it comes to loyalty, you are more loyal to the dollars than you are your people. You are so loyal to the dollars that you will turn your back on us before the ink on the check dries. Let me say this, WE DO NOT TRUST THE BLACK ELITE.

There comes a time when we must realize that Willie Frank Middlebrook wasn’t wrong when he said, “The Calvary ain’t coming,” and “Something in this milk ain’t white.” There are a lot of layers in Indianapolis, Indiana, and America designed to hold Black people back. We need to develop a segregated mentality in the midst of integration. We are integrated in person only. EQUALITY has yet to be integrated, and we keep waiting on someone to give it to us. They have told us the same lies for over 400 years, and we believe them. I urge us to stop hitting the snooze button, and wake up!

I will not trust this system unless there is visible change. I urge for my people to stand with me on this. Aaron Bailey’s killing is a major problem, but does not scratch the surface of all the injustices we face on an every day basis as Black people in America. We need to love each other more, stop fighting amongst ourselves, and build our nation in the midst of the one that does not want us here. As for the Blacks who do not want to work with us or help, I say we speak candidly with them, and let them know our position. If they can not comply, then they need to be removed from their posts. This does include electing people who are for the people. They have done a lot of things that they claim are for our benefit, yet their hearts are far from us.

This is their system. We have yet to be included in this system as people, and in my opinion we never will. Trust is earned, and they have yet to earn the right to be trusted by us.

Gregory Meriweather is the CEO of Black on Black LLC., and the Talk show host of the Gregory Meriweather Show, and the Expo Show.

Unsolved Homicides Leave Multiple Messages

By Gregory Meriweather March 18, 2016


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