HOUSTON WE HAVE A PROBLEM: AN INVESTIGATION INTO THE TRUMP MANDATE TO SEPARATE REFUGEE CHILDREN FROM THEIR PARENTS
That government contractor is SOUTHWEST KEY PROGRAMS:
- Based in Austin, TX
- Houses more than 5,100 immigrant children (half of all those currently in government custody)
- Is paid more than $400 million to care for immigrant children in 27 shelters across Texas, Arizona and California.
If they are not familiar to you, they should be! Don't you remember when Sen. Jeff Merkley (Dem, Oregon) was barred from entering one of its biggest facilities? That facility is located in Brownsville, TX at a former Walmart building and houses almost 1,500 immigrant children between the ages of 10 and 17.
Before I continue...
I must clarify that the Star of Hope organization sold its facility on Emancipation in 2016 and moved bigger location on Reed Road. According to the Houston Chronicle the facility was put back into use during the aftermath of Harvey when the city leased the 53,600-square-foot facility and partnered with nonprofit NEW HOPE HOUSING to run its operations. There is a screenshot of a 2017 property tax statement showing that Star of Hope is still the owner, please stop sharing it. This is the proper information:
As you can see, the CURRENT owner of the property is 419 HOPE PARTNERS LLC and they are ultimately the ones who stand to benefit from leasing out their facility to house refugee children who have been torn away from their parents and loved ones. The Chronicle made sure to note that the "facility underwent a full occupancy inspection and a certificate of occupancy was issued last week. It also received a change-of-ownership inspection in March. She said it has a food service establishment permit allowing it to provide meals on site." Now that we have clarification on who to direct our ire towards, the Chronicle listed David Denenburg as a contact and tried to reach out to them, "with 419 Hope Partners, the listed owners of the property, declined to comment. Denenburg specializes in the restoration and re-purposing of buildings, with an emphasis on historical structures, according to his website. One purchase includes the 1938 Schlumberger building in the East End." It seems that the paperwork is in order and the only thing standing between this facility being used for an internment camp is the Texas Department of Health and Human Services Commission which is reviewing the licensing request from Southwest Key.
In part two of this series we will explore:
WHO ARE THE PLAYERS BEHIND 419 HOPE PARTNERS LLC?
.At the close of last week Huffman ISD announced that it "will implement a Guardian Plan beginning the 2018-2019 school year." The district claims that the "safety of every student is a top priority for the Huffman ISD administration and Board of Trustees." Citing a year long review of safety plans and district facilities, they claim have researched options into "making every campus in our district the safest place possible for students and staff." One of the things many parents and allies have been concerned about is how will people be screened or monitored when entering school properties. Huffman's answer is makng use "well-controlled entrances on each campus and better utilizing our security resource officers, we have been working closely with the Harris County Sherriff’s Office (HCSO) to consider resources available to us with regard to school safety." But there is a bigger solution that they are proposing and it is one that I and many others have been warning against..... ARMING TEACHERS AND STAFF.
While this school system his a majority of white students, Black and Brown students face a very real danger. The emphasis that they place on working with HCSO is not very comforting given their racist track record. As this Facebook post went viral among locals, the comments section lit up like a christmas tree. One comment in particular really stood out to me because the district representative over the account decided to reply as the district. Below are screenshots from the thread and the responses from the district are quite problematic...
These responses on behalf of Huffman ISD came from Dr. Shirley Dupree their Executive Director of Human Resources and Communications. Her stance and projection throughout the exchange screams "PROTECT THE CHILDREN," BUT it seems more personal than well thought out. Aside from the "I" statements Dr Dupree seems to be intent on moving forward and even gave the impression that the plan had already been at play. Not only is this sickening, it is deadly to make these kinds of decisions without the input of parents from the BEGINNING. It is deadly because Black and Brown students in districts like this are subjected to an institutionally racist lack of understanding and care that exists among whites and the polices they produce.
Because this lack of understanding and care exists, Black children from all backgrounds are hyper-criminalized. The evidence points to Black children who are bullied and feel the need to protect themselves before, during and after school. Often, reports of bullying go ignored, Black children are told to just deal with it, and when the bully attacks, Black children are suspended, expelled, and ultimately put into alternative schools for defending themselves. Think school-to-prison pipeline on steroids. It is a known fact that Black children, deemed violent, unteachable, problematic, and worthless, are punished much more harshly than their white and Latinx counterparts. The general public has been taught to regard Blackness in a way that blunts our humanity.
Armed teachers and staff will lead to the death of many more Black children for speaking up, defending themselves or simply because the teacher or staff are closet racists. Our kids are already over-policed, and the idea that teachers (and staff) would be deputized is untenable. Think about the reports that expose the racism of many people who choose to wear the badge and uniform, and how white supremacists infiltrated police departments nationwide. Now think about all of the teachers who secretly carry that same racist ideology locked in a classroom with Black children. What happens when the teacher claims self-defense while a little Black child is murdered for asking for a pencil? It sounds extreme, but it can and will happen if we’re not careful. Listen to us, we are not the enemy. That area of Harris County is not the safest area for non white folks, so why would I want my child around an armed teacher who probably prays to the confederate flag?!
CONTACT THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES AND LET THEM KNOW THAT THIS IS A DANGEROUS DECISION:
The next regularly scheduled Board of Trustees Meeting will be on Monday June 21 at 7 p.m. in the Board Room of the Huffman ISD Administration Building, 24302 FM 2100.
As I wrote in The Humanist I have a concern that:
"In the three weeks since the school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, Americans, most notably students, have been advocating strongly for changing laws to curb gun violence. This raises questions about whether the public prioritizes some victims of gun violence over others, how armed school staff would threaten some children more than others, and how punitive school environments discourage troubled students from seeking help or reporting classmates who may have violent plans.
When I attended high school, the first thing I’d encounter walking into the building were the metal detectors one had to walk through to gain entry. It was 2002, at the time I had just transferred from a magnet school with many white kids to a predominately Black school. The metal detectors were a shock to my system because I always thought that the majority of school shootings took place at predominately white schools and were carried out by the troubled white boy no one paid attention to. Although I am far removed from those days, nothing has changed for Black children; the reason why they might carry a strap is about self-defense when the ones who are paid to protect them don’t. (And let us also remember that the dire social environments that necessitate these precautions exist due to the legacy of social and economic deprivations that surgically target Black communities.)
Black children from all backgrounds are hyper-criminalized. The evidence points to Black children who are bullied and feel the need to protect themselves after school. Often, reports of bullying go ignored, children are told to just deal with it, and when the bully attacks, both children are suspended, expelled, and ultimately put into alternative schools. Think school-to-prison pipeline on steroids. It is a known fact that Black children, deemed violent, unteachable, problematic, and worthless, are punished much more harshly than their white and Latinx counterparts. The general public has been taught to regard Blackness in a way that blunts our humanity.
Gun violence affects people who look like me differently and in our case is almost always referred to as gang violence. Cities like Chicago get thrown in as the example of what “inner city” violence looks like. Yes, violence occurs there, but if we bring our focus to the children, we find that in many instances where weapons are involved it’s literally for self-defense. It is painful beyond words to hear a nine-year-old child talk about having to “get right” in reference to the gun in his back pack. We can pretend all day that it is the Black children who are “at risk” and it still won’t conceal the fact that these school shootings rip barely healed scabs off the lies being told—lies such as that the Movement for Black Lives is supported. If the work of Black students, activists, and everyday people were supported the “at risk” tag would be viewed quite differently.
The reality is that the mainstream media, elected officials, and community leaders are supporting the children from Parkland (rightfully so), but in a way that reminds many of the Black protestors who organized in Ferguson of how we were labeled “thugs” and “criminals.” Hundreds of Black students across the country walked out for Mike Brown when he was murdered. The media responded with ridicule and declared that these students went about bringing attention to the intersection of anti-blackness and police shootings in the wrong way.
Of course there are differences between the mission of the Parkland students and BLM and Black students who protest state violence. Still, there is an undeniable overlap, as both push for sensible changes to gun laws—and Black youth have literally been pushing for gun reform for years.
The real risks are in well-funded schools where NR- supporting parents send their children. All while Black children’s protests and screams of “stop killing us!” have fallen on closed ears. While we still fight against police using excessive force, implicit bias, bad policy, and legislation, we’re still seen as violent because we make the mainstream uncomfortable. Cosigning the new movement born out of the Parkland tragedy, it’s easy to get behind the kids for a good cause that keeps you comfortable. I support the movement as well, but I am not blind to the light in which the movement is cast. We are fighting a similar fight, but it seems as though a white face draws a mountain of empathy, while a Black face more often garners suspicion and indifference, and in the event support is given, it’s usually dependent on the victim’s level of respectability. This is the point fellow BLM organizer Janaya Khan made in her recent article discussing this issue.
“We are not facing the real issue of what this country has done in constructing assumptions about race so deeply held as to be scarcely acknowledged,” writes Khan, who is the co-founder of Black Lives Matter Toronto and International Ambassador for the Black Lives Matter Network. “We believe that the youths from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, largely white and white-presenting, are innocent and therefore worthy of our sympathy and protection, whereas black youths and other black people are never considered truly innocent. There is always this societal narrative when it comes to the killing or persecution of black people that we somehow did something to deserve it.”
In response to the Florida school tragedy many have proposed to arm teachers, which is problematic in various ways. One major way is that predominantly Black schools are already locked tight like Fort Knox; arming teachers would make a bad situation worse for someone who looks like me. The NRA is the culprit here, along with the politicians they fund to do their bidding while our children suffer the consequences of bad legislation. Feminist-humanist educator and author Sikivu Hutchinson puts it this way:
Clearly, Trump’s and the NRA lobby’s proposal that teachers be armed is abominable especially vis-à-vis schools of color that are already paramilitarized havens for the over-suspension, expulsion and pushout of Black, Latinx and Native American youth who are disproportionately incarcerated. Folks of color have been agitating for tighter gun control restrictions, as well as police accountability on excessive force and misconduct, for generations with none of the white mainstream cosigning that we see in the renewed fervor around the Parkland massacre.
Simply put, armed teachers will lead to the death of many more Black children. These kids are already over-policed, and the idea that teachers would be deputized is untenable. Think about the reports that expose the racism of many people who choose to wear the badge and uniform, and how white supremacists infiltrated police departs nationwide. Now think about all of the teachers who secretly carry that same racist ideology locked in a classroom with Black children. What happens when the teacher claims self-defense while a little Black child dies for asking for a pencil? It sounds extreme, but it can and will happen if we’re not careful. Listen to us, we are not the enemy."
I've never seen a blue human being before and it makes no sense to protect law enforcement any further than existing law. This is just opening the door wider in order to make it easier for crooked pigs to justify the unjustifiable. Justify their over policing, implicit biases, racism & prejudices and get to walk away with two weeks paid leave after taking a Black life. According to the federal government and how its criminal justice standards are executed “blue lives” CLEARLY matter more than the lives of citizens who happen to be Black. Is it not bad enough that they call activsts "Black Identity Extremists" for calling out this protection of "blue lives" who abuse our bodies via laws sanctioned by the state?!
Law enforcement are not, nor will they ever be in a position to claim that they are threatened and under seige, but they take that position often. They take that position to justify excessive use of force, rape, oppression and all the other harm they cause in the name of the state. ALWAYS REMEMBER THAT LAW ENFORCEMENT PROTECTS THE STATE AND ENFORCES THE STATE... IN TURN THE STATE PROTECTS ITS ASSET, LAW ENFORCEMENT. Who really needs protection from who???
IF you don't believe me, check out these FEDERAL DEFINITIONS:
“Rather than focusing on policies that address issues of police excessive force, biased policing, and other police practices that have failed these communities, the Protect and Serve Act’s aim is to further criminalize,” civil and human rights groups (the American Civil Liberties Union, Human Rights Watch, and ETC) had this to say in a joint letter to Congress:
Here is the bill: H.R.5698 - Protect and Serve Act of 2018
The roll call vote was 382 - 35
- 382 YEA
- 35 NAY
- 10 NO VOTE
To be clear, this bill is based in racism just like the crime bill of the 90s. A Black Democrat FROM TEXAS spearheaded that crime bill back then and not much has changed as you can see above. A MAJORITY OF DEMOCRATS voted lock step with the republicans to pass this bill to the Senate. This flies directly into the face of the progressive narrative that voting ALONE will improve conditions for Black lives. YES, voting does help, but we also must hold those who were voted in to REPRESENT us accountable and ride their asses. I say this because there has been a consistent theme since 2016 of evoking the ballot box as a remedy to racism.
Lets be real and recognize that voting for a liberal or progressive will not change the make up of our racist society. They say that overtly racist white people make up a fraction of white population and that is a lie. While there are some white folk accomplices, we must recognize that our society is built on the construct of race for their benefit. So to suggest voting will fix issues of race and other societal problems without addressing and dismantling the systems of oppression and degradation is just psychotic to me. In reality, it is the activists, organizers, and other community members that do the work that is required to create change, NOT POLITICIANS.
Yeah laws can be changed on every level, but who enforces it? And when will we realize that laws are a matter of interpretation? Interpretation is a dangerous thing, when the very power structure and system of pivilege are still intact after laws are reformed or repealed. People will still be bigots, haters, rapists and etc. We must be careful to note the truth, yes vote, but dont pretend that it will fix all of our societal flaws.
Stop lying to yourselves! just look at the 36 votes that came from right here in Texas.....ONE DEMOCRAT VOTED NO.
For this reason ALONE, I must drive home the fact that this bill further legalizes police brutality and makes it much easier to attack those of us exercising our constitutional rights to freedom of speech and protest. Our peaceful actions can be deemed an attempted assualt toward crooked cops who are the ones that commit hate crimes and escape punishment. Current laws already provide a remedy, and this bill would not actually provide police officers with any greater protection than current laws. What THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT is doing here, is an attempt to further criminalize our Blackness, by criminalizing us for excercising our right to question why we are being accosted by a law enforcement officer. We must fight against this effort to criminalize Blackness. The Senate bill is a lot worse, waiting to get a copy to share....
The microphone was still hot Wanda, we heard you during the moment Rhonda Skillern Jones sicked the police on us. LISTEN CLOSELY to the snippet:
It is the duty of ANY elected official to remember that they are the employee of the citizens who voted for. We vote because you come to us and tell us bullshit stories about how you will help the communities you wish to represent. Instead we get people who think their positions elevate them above their Blackness and then they weaponize it when those who they claim to represent resists bad decision making. Wanda Adams it is time for you to step down and let someone who cares about parents and students in an equitable way.
So, you're tired of this shit? We are tired of this shit too! We are tired of your shit and tactics to sell Black folks up the river to the highest bidder. You're tired? Ask Travis McGee how tired he and the other countless parents who asked for honesty and transparency but got lies, run around and secrecy in the process of you wanting to "save these schools" are. It’s sad because you are Black, but that does not absolve you of your accountability to US. We will no longer go along to get along while you hide behind being a meek Christian, showing face at the March 4 Black Women and having the host arrested for doing what we always do.... STAND UP FOR THOSE WHO NEED TO BE SEEN, HEARD AND CARED FOR.
Progressive politics are dangerous to Black bodies. It gives the illusion that race will be addressed, BUT silences Black voices and deems those voices as angry and unapproachable. The thing is that Black people aren't here to hold your hand and hug you as you cry after you being called out on your racism. Too many have died and are caged for your comfort and you want me...us...to be nice? I won't go through the definition of what it means to be a Progressive, instead I want to dig much deeper and expose the wrongs that are being done during this election. Take for example, the picture above of Moser after winning an endorsement from HBAD (Houston Black American Democrats)...
After FOUR publications on this very website about Moser, racism and etc... she has decided to be strategic and go to Black folks who dont mind caping for her EVEN AFTER she was called out on her racism. Truly, HONESTLY if what I wrote was a fluke based on OLD material she would not have apologized TWICE! BUT, on this past Tuesday, April 17, 2018 at the HBAD meeting I was confronted with the sight of Black folks voting to endorse Moser over Lizzie Fletcher. I was fine with it because the electorate of Congressional district 7 is big, BUT I got many calls and texts that bothered me.
Moser's endorsement from HBAD was not obtained fairly, her campaign had inside information and acted to in advance of the meeting to flip the endorsement from Lizzie Fletcher. I have verified this and I have a screen shot of a text message of Ms. Montgomery communicating with a local activist and conveying that she knew the recommendation followed by a reminder about the dinner at churrascos...
As an activist it is my mission to dismantle the power structures built on the backs of African slaves and their descedents. I am coming for anyone who does not have the best interest of the Black community at heart, even my skinfolk. You, your money, and your comfort are no longer safe. You want to claim equality but you lack the ideals of equity. Furthermore, equality is the 21st century version of integration that falsely claims a post racial society exists. At best, integration and equality are NOT for Black people and was meant for whites to not only hold respectful community with Black folks....BUT to give access to the same quality of life.
Today Quality of life is IMPORTANT for us all, but Moser is not the person who can help us get there. Sorry, NOT sorry.