By Invitation Only – Attorney General Eric Holder

Despite the city of Memphis having many large venues, Attorney General Eric Holder’s public forum/roundtable was held in Midtown at the newly built Hatiloo Theater.  This small setting was used to promote the place and not a public forum. Upon influx, I was greeted by a host of educators, elected officials, and elite members of the Memphis community.  I didn’t see many common Memphians inside the building but near the back there was a nice size roundtable with an active open discussion.

new-buildingI heard countless ideas promoting genuine philosophies to curb youth violence. One gentleman began to overshadow the moderator by explaining how the city had destroyed the Parks department. The dialogue elaborated to entail why youth resort to violence in Memphis. This former director of parks department made valid points such as “they don’t have anything to do that’s why it so much crime.” A lady concurred and stated, “The youth use to stay with us until their parents got home, so they were not in the streets, but the city closed all the gyms.” It was sad to know that these former leaders and members of past administrations had the right concepts in moving the city forward, but I could not help but wonder why the Mayor and the Attorney General were not there listening at this roundtable. I guess they were on their way.

10599220_10204537119500443_474516145308828895_nI’m not sure who paid for the $7.00 box lunches from Firebird’s, that were provided to everyone inside, but the fact that the event was public, but then at the last-minute made invitation only {private} makes me question the city’s real intentions on Holder’s visit. I’m not saying it wasn’t nice to receive a free meal courtesy of the city, but I did not understand why regular people were not allowed in this forum. There were about 25 box lunches left after everyone had eaten. I wanted to take them and give to the homeless, but I wasn’t allowed to do so. I guess the employees took them home you know this is Memphis. I am sure the good ole citizen’s of Memphis footed the bill for this entire event, which also consisted of an unusual entourage of secret service men and women, SUV’s and Vans to drive them throughout the city. With gas being at $2.25, I guess this was acceptable.

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After eating our free meals, all of the persons who were on the “list” were permitted to go inside of the theater.20141209_125043  My name was on the media list but because certain people do not consider a blogger actual media my credentials were rejected. A lady name Meki Bracken, who works for Department of Justice, googled me on the spot. She opted not only to deny me entry but have the secret service watch me carefully. Ultimately, I was deprived of the right to hear Attorney Holder speak, so I don’t know what he said or if he said anything meaningful.

I did hear Director Tony Armstrong talk from a TV in the hallway while waiting to get inside the theater. As always I felt sorry for him, because, on the surface, he is very humble man and speaks of genuine concern of the crime in the city. He seems like a good officer overshadowed by an institution of several dysfunctional officers.

In my opinion, Armstrong was doomed from the beginning of his tenure. He has so many bad apples in his barrel and no real way to rid the department of them, especially since the internal affairs department offers no real checks and balance and a District Attorney who is clueless to what real crime is when it comes to a “blue shield”.  Prior to Armstrong’s appointment, he held his head high but while speaking to this group his head was down for the most part.  He began with how his mother raised him and the difference she made in his life. It is my opinion if Memphis had more officers with his rationale we could make progress and combat crime, but he is just one person.

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While watching the director speak, I observed the same lady Meki Bracken give instructions to the secret service not to allow me entrance after a city official told her too. It was very disheartening to be denied entry by an African-American female, but the fact she told two Caucasian secret service agents to watch me was even more disturbing.  I suppose she was doing her job. Hard as jobs are to come by, at the executive level, I guess we have to do as we are told as good house Negroes always do. Remember, these are the people who work for Attorney General Eric Holder, and this is the reason, no serious attention is given by the Justice Department to the issues going on in our communities. In my opinion, in 2014, there are too many House Negroes and not enough Abolitionists, and that is why the police have declared war on blacks. It is important to weed out elitism and ignorance no matter what race. Affirmative Action only benefits those who understand how they arrived.

From what I have seen, this tour is a joke and a publicity stunt to distract and pacify protesters. It is also a waste of tax dollars because it brings no real clarity about the problems that are faced among blacks in America. I was denied access after being granted access because they were afraid I might confront Holder on the real issues, or because they wanted to control the media. Holder’s tour consist of traveling to cities that he knows possess police problems and speaking to selected/elected individuals who are just simply not in touch with the black community.  Most of them don’t even live there. Holder’s staff was instructed by city officials to deny a person like myself, who is in touch with the black community, who does understand the real issues, and offer solutions an opportunity to address or even speak to him. Consequently, it is my belief they do not want to do anything about the problems because they are apart of the conundrum. The fact that this was a public forum but then subsequently made private illustrates the City of Memphis systematic corruption, which seeks to cover up real issues and not address any of the problems in our community.

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Despite not being able to hear Attorney General Eric Holder speak, I was blessed with my own platform outside amongst the Memphis United protestors who welcomed me.  I was able to give them suggestions and encourage them not to give up hope. Local radio and news press interviewed me about my opinions of the event inside and the issues of Ferguson. They were very organized, peaceful, and passionate about the problems in Memphis. There were no incidents, and the police were on their best behavior, when I appeared and few of them gave me nods.

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Memphis is a city full of racial tension not just amongst Blacks but also amongst classes and socio-economics, which continues to divide the city. America is at a breaking point and if action is not taken we will soon live in a society like other countries that are not free.

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I often visit the National Civil Rights museum just to pay homage to where Dr. King took his last breath. I always talk to tourists and find out where they are from when I am downtown. Ironically, tourist of the museum are always from another country.  I enjoy meeting such interesting people because it gives me an opportunity to see our city through foreign eyes. Today, I met two Canadian food connoisseurs who greeted me with love and admiration for just merely speaking to them. I explained to them I have three uncles that live in Ontario and a cousin in Toronto. I sometimes reminisce when I was 16 and wish I could move to Canada. It was so different being black in Canada even 15 yrs ago. I remember getting into a casino with no issues and traveling to Eaton’s, and no one followed me in the mall, and they didn’t even want to check my bags.  20141209_154108The “Cooking Ladies” stated, that “Canadians are very trusting people.”  It dawned on me Americans are not.   Our ideologies of others are so preconceived that we sometimes misjudge people. This is one of the biggest problems in America. We prejudge people. We as Americans refuse to give people the benefit of the doubt in most situations.

In closing, if I could have spoken to General Holder, I would have told him that it is important, that law enforcement convert immediately and their training should consist of reprogramming them, not to be so suspicious and learned to be more trusting of people. Just because a person is black doesn’t mean they are a criminal and just because a person is white doesn’t mean they are racist, and just because they are poor doesn’t mean they don’t have something to offer.

In the great words of Martin Luther King, “I hope that one day my four little children will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character, and that will speed up the day when all of God’s children black men, white men, Jew and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negros spiritual: Free at last Free at last thank God all mighty We are Free at last.”

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                                                                  P. Moses


PMoses.2011.Final-101

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2 Comments

  1. I was very disappointed at how the grassroots were left out of the process. There were no young people there. Those invited were invited for show and tell. That is why the problems continue to be a part of our daily lives. We continue to have the wrong people at the table. No one is serious about the problems, just being seen and getting elected to office. Our problems will never get better unless we really get serious and bring everyone to the discussion

    • Memphis needs new and younger leadership… There is no one to carry the torch or message. Our city will be left behind

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