By Chinta Strausberg, Chicago Crusader
Hundreds attended the first of a two-day United Nations (U.N.) hearing held at Chicago State University (CSU), where Blacks from several states called for reparations and an investigation into crimes and injustices against people of color in areas of education, police abuse, lack of housing and economic violence.
While Blacks testified from several states including Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Illinois, the complaints and demands were the same.
Dr. Phillip Jackson, who heads the Black Star Project, said, “One of the highest, most universal freedoms in the world is the freedom to educate your children to live free. That is a freedom that is consistently, systematically and viciously denied the children of those of African descent in America.
“Children of African descent in America generally attend the worst, lowest performing, poorest functioning schools with the most ill-prepared teachers in the United States.
“Rather than being encouraged towards excellence, children of African descent are suspended, expelled and arrested in school in astronomical numbers,” he told a panel of U.N. officials, civil rights activists and lawyers.
“Rather than children of African descent being prepared to compete with the best and the brightest children of the world, they receive at the very best, a Third- World education, and possibly even worst, a slave’s education,” Jackson said.
Jackson pointed out that in Chicago two-years ago, only 10 percent of 8th grade Black male youth read at a proficient level. “After two-years of intentional work by the school system here, now it is down from 10 percent to 7 percent.
Jackson pointed to Detroit where he said, “the number of Black boys reading proficiently is a mere three percent. “At the rate we are going in six short years, no Black boy in Chicago or Detroit or Milwaukee will be able to read at a proficient level,” he stated.
Jackson quoted a University of Chicago study that concluded with the exact same resume sent out for job interviews, those with European-sounding names like Heather and Bradford were called almost immediately while resumes with African-sounding names, like Jamal or Shalisa were thrown in the waste basket.
Fifty schools in Chicago were closed in 2013, more than in any other city in the world at one time. Chicago State University, which enrolls more Black students than any other college in the state of Illinois, is threaten to be close by the end of the semester,
Jackson said poor education and bad schools equal more violence among people of African descent. “Poor education and bad schools equal more unemployment for people of African descent. Poor education and bad schools equal dysfunctional communities for people of African descent and poor education and bad schools equal more incarceration for people of African descent.”
Jackson listed his demands, saying, “We want reparations now including new and substantial investments in the education of children of African descent. We want a parallel education system controlled by people of African descent one that is responsible for educating children of African descent. We want the support of the U.S. and the U.N. to connect the education of children of African descent to the development economically of people of African descent around the world. “
Justice Stamps and her sister Tara Stamps, the daughters of the late activist Marion Stamps, accused the U.S. of “educational apartheid” when it comes to Black schools.
Martinez Sutton is the brother of 22-year-old unarmed Rekia Boyd, who was killed by Chicago police detective Dante Servin on March 21, 2012 when he fired five shots at a group of people in a darken West Side alley hitting Boyd in the back of her head.
Angry that Servin was acquitted, Sutton said, “The prosecutors and the defense attorneys were working together the whole time and the judge. How can that happen?” he asked. “How is this justice? It doesn’t work for us Black men. I’ve been fighting for my sister, but still nothing has happened. I’m getting tired.”
Jitu Brown, national director for the Journey for Justice Alliance who was one of 15 hunger strikers during the fight to reopen Dyett High School, gave examples of the disparity between South Side public schools and the North Side. “We want to see a national moratorium on school privatization, community control of schools.
“We would like the U.N. to support the Journey For Justice Alliance and Amnesty International as we are filing human rights complaints in several affected cities.” Brown added, “What could be more evil than to look at a third grader and sabotage that child’s education.”
Activist Lionel Nixon asked the U.N. to investigate the National Democratic Party for reportedly denying Democratic presidential hopeful Dr. Willie Wilson the right to be included on debates and to be on the ballot. He said even the S.C. NAACP denied him the opportunity to speak “and he gave them thousands of dollars.”
Wilson has challenged the signatures of presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley, who are seeking to get on the Illinois ballot. He has filed objections to both of their nominating petitions. “I’ve shared the stage with both men and have attempted to get Sanders especially to speak to party leaders about their exclusionary practices and he just brushes me off,” said Wilson.