All Things Harlem & Beyond - news, info and newsworthy links
His name was Herman Ferguson, and if you’re not dialed into the Black Nationalist Movement, the name may not ring a bell of recognition.
But to those aware of the Black Power Movement of the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, Herman Ferguson’s life, role and commitment ring like a bell in the night.
For Ferguson — often accompanied by his wife and comrade, Iyaluua Nehanda — joined Black groups that supported the fight for freedom. He joined several, but perhaps few had more historical significance than his joining of both the groups formed by Malcolm X after his painful break from the Nation of Islam: the Organization of African American Unity and the Muslim Mosque, Inc. He met Malcolm in the late 1950s, when he was still in the Nation, and became a staunch supporter thereafter.
In 1967, he and fellow members of the Jamaica Rifle and Pistol Club [in Queens, N.Y.], were arrested and charged with the planned assassination of two prominent Civil Rights leaders. After a conviction a year later, Ferguson fled the U.S., and he and his wife began a life in Guyana [three years later], working in the field of education.
They stayed there for 19 years and lived good lives. Ferguson could have retired with a government pension under his assumed name, “Paul Adams,” for he spent many years as an officer of the Guyana Defense Force.
But the call of home only got louder with time.
Ferguson said he missed his “family,” his “childhood friends” and “the Movement.”
His wife, Iyaluua, said, “I don’t think people really understand the nature of exile.” She explained, “Exile is death.”
So, Herman Ferguson and his wife returned to the U.S., where he knew a jail cell awaited him. But he did so, in part, because the weather had changed, in that the release of top-secret Cointelpro files revealed FBI skullduggery against Black and anti-war activists. Also, several prominent Black Panther figures [like the late Black Panther Party minister of information, Eldridge Cleaver] and the Weathermen [a white anti-imperialist group] had returned to the States.
He did three years, got out and hit the ground running, working on behalf of other imprisoned revolutionaries by organizing, speaking out and building support for such efforts. He and his wife gave deep and broad support to the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, headquartered in New York.
For over 50 years he fought for the same ideas and principles that Malcolm supported: Black Nationalism, popular self-defense and Black self-determination.
Now, after 93 years of life, Baba Herman Ferguson has returned to the ancestors.
My latest cop watch. Ironically I found myself and my work being validated by the cop in charge. Then it was back to business as usual...marijuana arrest... - Joseph Jazz Hayden
This is a video of a typical marijuana arrest conducted by members or the NYPD. Even though possesing under 25 grams of marijuana has been decriminalized in New York State since the 1970's the NYPD continues to make every effort to criminalize people of color for those offenses. This is based on a loophole in that law that states that if that same amount of marijuana is in, "plain site" it becomes an arrestable misdemeanor offense rather than a violation.
Here is a report from the NYCLU on the racial disparities in marijuana arrests in the stat of New York.
NYCLU Analysis Exposes Stark Racial Disparities in Marijuana Arrests in Counties Across New York State
June 6, 2013 — There are stark racial disparities in low-level marijuana arrests in counties across New York State, according to a New York Civil Liberties Union analysis released today of federal crime reporting data from 2010.
The greatest racial disparities occur in Kings County (Brooklyn) and New York County (Manhattan), where black New Yorkers are more than 9 times more likely than whites to be arrested for possessing marijuana. But the problem is not limited to New York City. Enormous racial disparities exist in counties throughout the state, including several of the state’s most populous counties, such as Onondaga (7.75 times more likely), Niagara (7.56 times more likely), Monroe (6.5 times more likely) and Erie (5.66 times more likely).
“In all corners of New York State, police are targeting people of color for marijuana possession arrests,” NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman said. “Arresting and jailing thousands of people for possessing small amounts of marijuana does not make safer streets. It only needlessly disrupts people’s lives and fosters distrust between the police and the communities they are sworn to serve.”
Statewide, black people are 4.5 times more likely than white people to be arrested for marijuana possession. They are at least twice as likely to be arrested for possessing marijuana in 52 of the state’s 62 counties. Nationally, blacks are more than 3.7 times as likely as whites to be subjected to marijuana arrests.
There were consistently large racial disparities in marijuana arrests in New York State between 2001 and 2010. While arrest rates of whites increased slightly, black people shouldered a great portion of the increases in marijuana arrests, with the black arrest rate increasing 26 percent over that time span.
These gaping racial disparities in marijuana arrests exist even though government surveys show that whites use marijuana at higher rates than blacks do.
An American Civil Liberties Union report released this week on marijuana arrests nationwide showed New York leads the nation in marijuana arrests. In 2010, there were 103,698 marijuana-possession arrests in New York State – more than 29,000 more arrests than the state with the second-highest total, Texas with 74,286 arrests. New York’s marijuana arrest rate of 535 arrests per 100,000 people was double the national average and was the highest arrest rate of any state.
“New Yorkers should be embarrassed that our state leads the nation in marijuana arrests,” Lieberman said. “The crackdown on low-level marijuana possession needlessly hurts individuals and families – subjecting them to all sorts of collateral consequences like the loss of student financial aid and job opportunities. Governor Cuomo has pledged to clarify the state’s marijuana laws to bring justice and common sense to drug enforcement in our state. We urge him to keep that promise.”
New York City is the nation’s marijuana arrest capital. Arrests for marijuana possession in the city skyrocketed from only 774 in 1991 – for the lowest misdemeanor offense – to 50,383 in 2010 – an increase of 6,409 percent. The explosion in marijuana arrests happened despite the fact that New York State made marijuana possession a violation in 1977, like speeding or ignoring a stop light.
The number of marijuana-possession arrests in the state annually was consistently high between 2001 and 2010 and increased over the final three years of that time span.
Arresting people for possessing small amounts of marijuana does not reduce serious or violent crime. According to a study by two University of Chicago professors, these arrests only pull police off the streets and divert them into nonessential police work. According to the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse and Health, the rise in marijuana arrests has not corresponded with a reduction in the use of marijuana in New York State.
Marijuana possession arrests drive thousands of young men of color into the criminal justice system. It does so at significant taxpayer expense. In 2010, marijuana arrests cost state taxpayers $678.5 million in police and court costs.
“At a time when county governments across New York are cutting services to close huge budget deficits, police should not be wasting scarce resources arresting people for small amounts of marijuana,” Lieberman said.
Marijuana arrests needlessly harm individuals and families. They can affect eligibility for public housing and student financial aid, employment opportunities, child custody determinations and immigration status. Marijuana convictions can also subject people to more severe charges and sentences if they are ever arrested for or convicted of another crime. In addition, the targeted enforcement of marijuana laws against people of color sows mistrust between communities and the police, weakening public safety.
He's gone... He blew up America and will be profoundly missed. Our deepest condolences to his family and all those like us that loved and respected him. A powerful man and mind. A true poet. It was an honor being able to meet and document this giant.
Below is a video of a conversation we had with Amiri at the Harlem Book Fair in 2009. He discusses President Obama and critics who do nothing. Under that is another video from All Things Harlem, of Baraka's amazing and controersial poem, "Somebody Blew Up America" which he recited at an event marking the 40th anniversary of the Attica Prison rebellion at Riverside Church in Harlem. Enjoy!
Change? Mayor-elect Bill De Blasio betrays voters and appoints Bill Bratton as Commisioner of the NYPD
Mayor Elect Bill Deblasio contradicts his campaign promises of changing the status quo in the NYPD and "ending an era of stop and frisk" by naming Bill Bratton as Police Commissioner. Bratton is one of the lead instigators of formalized racist policing practices such as stop and frisk in the modern era. He previously served as NYPD Commisioner from 1994 to 1996 under Mayor Rudy Giuliani and began using the NYPD to aggressively attack communities of color throughout the city. Since then he has spread these tactics around the country and worlwide. Here in the U.S. Bratton increased the practice of stop and frisk while serving as Police Commisioner in Los Angeles. He was also sent to London to "deal with" communities of color following the riots there a few years ago. Bratton has lead and conitinues to lead multiple global security organizations.
Bill Bratton's Wikipedia Page will show you all you need to know to connect the dots to the global police state. Here is an excerpt from it.
Bratton Technologies, Inc.
Today, Bratton is the CEO of Bratton Technologies (www.brattontech.com), a venture backed company that operates BlueLine, the first secure, global law enforcement professional network. BlueLine is a platform where officers can find each other, share their expertise, insight and information safely through video, instant messaging, videoconferencing and screen share capabilities. 
On August 5, 2009, Bratton announced that after nearly seven years he would be stepping down as chief of police for the City of Los Angeles, and he continued to serve as chief until October 31, 2009. Bratton moved back to New York City to take a position with private international security firm Altegrity Risk International, serving as a Chairman of a new division where he would consult on security for police departments worldwide.
Bratton became the Chairman of Kroll, a corporate investigations and risk consulting firm based in New York on September 16, 2010. In November 9 2012, Bratton stepped down as Chairman and was retained by Kroll as a Senior Advisor. Bratton will continue to work with public entities and private organizations facing complex security or investigatory challenges. Kroll is one of Altegrity, Inc.’s three core businesses.
As of June 27, 2013, Bill Bratton has joined NBC News and MSNBC as an analyst specializing in criminal justice policy and practice, domestic intelligence gathering and the role of local law enforcement in counter-terrorism. His analysis will appear across the various platforms of NBC News and MSNBC and their digital properties.
The Bratton Group
As Chief Executive Officer of the Bratton Group LLC, Bratton provides a wide range of collaborative consulting, leadership, management and public safety network services to both the public and private sector in the U.S. and abroad.
Bratton joined Crest Advisory on 5th November 2012.
Crest Advisory  provides expert advice to prospective police and crime commissioners (PCCs), criminal justice agencies and the security sector. Crest’s team offer a powerful fusion of policy expertise, political insight, delivery experience and communications support to help communities prevent crime, fear and disorder.
Homeland Security Advisory Council
Bratton is the Vice Chairman of the Homeland Security Advisory Council, whose members provide advice and recommendations on a variety of homeland security issues to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
What's next in store for the public with the continuation of the status quo of the NYPD and global policing? Here is a video we shot of Dhoruba Al-Mujahid Bin-Wahad from a few years ago warning us of the police state, Bratton and what we need to do. He focused on the decentralization of the police department. Take a look.
On November 8.2013 The Riverside Church Prison Ministry held an event honoring their 40th Anniversary entitled, Ending Parole Abuses - Reuniting Families. The event was filled with some great speakers including, Hill Harper, Jamal Joseph, Gloria J. Browne Marshall, Prodgy from Mobb Deep and others. Click the read more link at the bottom of the front page to view more videos from the event.
On November 14, 2013 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar came to St. Aloysius school in Harlem to talk to students about his life, his new book and the importance of education. Kareem also fielded questions from the students and made a big impression on the school basketball team.
At the end of last school year All Things Harlem had the opportunity spend time with and learn more about an amazing local organization offering College Preparatory programs for high school students called, The Fly Academy (Fierce Leadership for Youth). We also produced a short video for their organization that highlighted one of their greatest accomplishments in their first year.
We at Still Here Harlem Productions/All Things Harlem, support John C. Liu for Mayor of the City of New York.
Allthingsharlem.com is a community based website that is dedicated to providing a voice for the Harlem community and all communities of poor people of color.
After observing and interacting with John Liu for the last five (5) years we are totally impressed with his commitment to resolving the issues critical to fairness and justice in communities of poor people of color. He has been at countless events over these past few years fighting for justice for victims of racial profiling by the NYPD. As a City Councilman and City Comptroller he has made the connections between the money that has been wasted upholding policies of racial profiling rather than building up caring communities. Chief among these issues has been the policy and practice of Stop & Frisk. John C. Liu’s position on this critical issue has been and remains “Don’t mend it, End it!” He is still the only candidate to take this clear and brave position of completely abolishing the policy. The other Democratic candidates for Mayor only promise to reform or tweak the policy of stop and frisk without getting rid of it.
Operation SNUG is a Harlem based organization that addresses youth violence by doing direct action and outreach in Harlem streets. All Things Harlem recently caught up with them doing community outreach in central Harlem.
By Joseph Jazz Hayden
Still Here Harlem Productions, and its progeny Allthingsharlem.com, committed ourselves to changing the policy of Stop, Question, and Frisk in 2008 when we formed our new media Company. The day we purchased our cameras and computer was the day we began policing the police.
A visit to the Copwatch section of our website or our youtube playlist will place at your viewing a body of stop and frisk footage that was garnered by the fearless and committed group of members of All Things Harlem. Wherever we saw flashing lights in the community we investigated, observed, and filmed. This was not done without pushback by the NYPD. I, Joseph Jazz Hayden, was arrested on several occasions’ and subjected to stop, question, frisk, and arrest. Producer, Paolo Walker also ran into threats and intimidation while filming and monitoring the police, our public employees, without fear.
As the years passed the number of people and organizations involved in “Cop Watch” grew. Politicians began to weigh in and side with the activist and community organizers. The legal community put together a class action Federal lawsuit called Floyd v. The City of New York and won an overwhelming decision for the plaintiffs in the case. At the same time the New York City Council passed two Bills known as the, "Community Safety Act" that addressed racial profiling and civil liability for the police in the form of an inspector general. The federal and City decision revealed the unconstitutionality of the practice and policy of stop question and frisk.
We at All Things Harlem are not entirely happy with the solution side of the court’s and Council’s decisions. What was noticeably absent was a significant voice from the effected communities and personal liability for the police who violate the constitutional rights of citizens. Since we understand that for every action there is a reaction we will wait and observe before declaring the war over and victory for the people.
It is also clear to us that those that were deliberately indifferent to the racist policy of stop & frisk, the district attorneys, judges, and political representatives must be held accountable and their records of deliberate indifference revealed to the public. Silence is consent!
We want to thank all of our followers, supporters, and community based organizations for their support in this struggle. The many days and months rallying and opposing stop and frisk have made us family and committed allies to each other. We must strengthen the bonds we made, not let them weaken. Our battle for power to determine our destiny is never ending---action/reaction---the perpetual dialectics of struggle.
The model of grassroots media that we developed at Allthingsharlem.com is replicable. We want to replicate it all over the state and the country. If you have friends and allies involved in new media please put them in touch with us at email@example.com.
La Lucha Continua!
Joseph Jazz Hayden
Founder of Still Here Harlem Productions Inc.
Director of All Things Harlem
The Harlem YMCA gives an annual picnic for its members. On this day children were given the chance to climb mountains and they did. What was amazing was their trust in the NYPD officers whose hands their safety was in. This is an example of how the police should serve a community that trust their children to them.
Following a march from the Bronx D.A.s office to the Harlem State Office Building the supporters of the family of Ramarley Graham gathered to speak out on the failure to indict NYPD officer Richard Haste for the murder of Ramarley Graham. His father, Franclot Graham lays out the families suffering and their demand for justice.
Jazz Hayden asks Raymond Santana if people should be surprised with the not guilty verdict in the George Zimmerman trial considering the jury and everyone else involved with the case was white.
A former Sanford, Florida resident speaks about her experience living there and her feelings on George Zimmerman's not guilt verdict in the killing of Trayvon Martin.
The Game Changers Project - "The school-to-prison pipeline? I've lived it. Prisons? I've been there. Racial profiling? I've lived it." Meet Joseph "Jazz" Hayden, Harlem's own. We sent our NYC-based GCP Fellow Lyric Cabral to capture the story of this well-known game changer. In a past life, he was known for his business partnership with the famed Harlem hustler Nicky Barnes, but these days the 71 year-old Hayden, a longtime Harlem community activist, films stop-and-frisks and then posts the videos to the Internet as part of his Copwatch program. His story is amazing!
Joseph "Jazz" Hayden, Founder of allthingsharlem.com, speaks about the issues of mass incarceration at this Tedx Talk.
TEDx Talks - This talk was given at TEDxColumbiaCollege in November of 2012 at Columbia University in New York City. In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations)
Did you know that New York City students are being criminalized for being late to school? This process takes place when the NYPD sets up checkpoints at subway exits that are in close proximity to public schools. They stop the students and ask them a series of personal questions and record that information. This video took place in Harlem, NY at the 135th street station.
Below are a few questions we had and posed in the video. Let us know what your thoughts and feelings are on this NYPD practice. Share your thoughts in the comments section or twitter #schooltoprisonpipeline.
Why are cops stopping students on their way to school when in all public schools there is an officer at the front desk?
This stop took about 10 minutes. Doesn't this practice make students later for school?
Could these stops deter students from attending on days that they are running late?
What is being done with the information collected by the NYPD?
How do parents feel about their children being stopped and questioned without their consent?
Are these students commuting by train because there isn't a good school in their neighborhood?
One of the most disturbing parts of this video is that the students appear unfazed. These police abuses have become Normalized. But this is not normal!
If young suburban students were stopped by police on their way to school you would likely see fear and tears in their eyes. Followed up by outrage from parents and the school board.