NAJEE’S NOTES: Activists to protest Jemele Hill suspension

October 12, 2017

On Oct. 13 at 6 p.m., the National Action Network L.A. Chapter (NAN), Project Islamic HOPE, the L.A. Urban Policy Roundtable, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference are calling for a national day of action with a demonstration by activists to protest ESPN at LA Live.

The protest is in support of journalist Jemele Hill, who was suspended by ESPN this week for comments she made on her personal Twitter account.

The call to action is in response to ESPN trying to silence Hill and condemning her right to free speech with their special media guidelines policy. Hill has the right to free speech which is supported by our Constitution.

The coalition is determined to stand up for Hill and free speech in Los Angeles and nationwide because ESPN has chosen to suspend Hill for speaking truth to power. We should choose to turn off ESPN and not support its sponsors until Hill is back on the air.

This is critical because what we’re witnessing here is a pathetic step-by-step bullying that we should all beware of.

Step 1: President Donald Trump, who essentially is a draft dodger and got five deferments to avoid serving in Vietnam, latches on to the complaint of some that players’ actions disrespect the military and decides that he believes that NFL players peacefully, quietly kneeling during the anthem are somehow disrespectful to America.

Step 2: He blasts the NFL and dispatches Vice President Michael Pence to Indianapolis (taxpayer price tag: an estimated $242,500) in a political stunt to walk out of the 49ers-Colts game after some players took a knee in protest during the national anthem.

Step 3: Jerry Jones, owner of the Dallas Cowboys, a Trump supporter who donated $1 million to Trump’s inauguration and who one week earlier took a knee alongside his players before the anthem and then locked arms with them as it was played, now has switched sides against his players and issues his proclamation that his players must stand.

Step 4: Hill, one of the most socially conscious professionals in sports media, calls out the nonsense in a sane and respectful manner. To be clear, this is ludicrous. ESPN clearly wants to silence Hill because of her honesty on racism, even calling Trump a white supremacist two weeks ago.

Hill is a truth-teller who we should all support. Hope to see you all Oct. 13 at ESPN Studios at LA. Live.

On Oct. 11, a coalition of several South L.A. civil rights groups held a national day of action with a knee-in demonstration to protest police brutality nationally. The knee-in protest was held outside the 77th LAPD Police Station in South L.A.

This was a call to action to reclaim the movement Colin Kaepernick launched last year. We must refuse to cede our calls for justice and an end to police abuse.

The coalition was angered by a political stunt pulled Oct. 8 when Vice President Pence walked out of the Indianapolis Colts-San Francisco 49ers game after a number of 49ers knelt during the national anthem.

This was nothing but a political stunt by Trump and Pence to appeal to their political base. Racists will do anything to divert attention from why Kaepernick protested in the first place. Racists are good at diverting, misappropriating and coopting. Kaepernick stated why he refused to stand for the flag.

“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” he said last year. “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”

Kaepernick took a knee because black men, women and children were and continue to be slaughtered in the streets by police nationwide. These police aren’t being brought to justice.

Trump and Pence are aware of how the NFL protests started. So willful ignorance by Trump, Pence and others is the worst kind. They both know this isn’t about disrespecting the flag, military or anyone.

It’s about acknowledging police brutality against people of color, black folks being murdered unjustly in the streets without the cops even being charged, let alone prosecuted.

Jazz at Drew had thousands of concert-goers on their feet partying all day Oct. 7. Earth, Wind & Fire, Sheila E., West Coast Get Down, featuring Kamasi Washington, DW3, Eloise Laws and the Fernando Pullum Community Arts Center Band all put on outstanding performances. The concert was one of the best I have been to in recent years combined with vendors and the health pavilion that was enjoyed by all.

Congratulations to Todd Hawkins, John Merryman, Isidra Person-Lynn and Dr. David M. Carlisle, president and CEO of Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science and his entire staff for putting on a first-class event. Jazz at Drew is truly back.

For news tips, email or follow me on Twitter@Najeeali.

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