Rev. Lennox Yearwood: Democracy while Black

Cross-posted from Brave New Films Blog.

Rev. Lennox Yearwood released a statement today in response to his 10 Sep 2007 arrest.

My role is to make government more transparent to the people, especially people of color.  How am I supposed to convince other African-Americans to come to Capitol Hill to participate in democracy, when Capitol Police will go so far as to jump me when I question my exclusion from a hearing that is open to the public?  We all know what 'driving while Black' is, well I'd call this 'democracy while Black.'"

What is so sinister about the demonizing of dissenting voices is precisely what the Yearwood calls out here: if they make examples of a couple of "unfriendly" visitors, others who share their views will be less likely to speak up or act. Sadly, this draconian, Machiavellian sort of opinion squashing is precisely the goal of today's neo-Conservative.

Minority and marginalized people's fragile will to speak up is too often crushed by these sorts of scare tactics. It is therefore imperative that we use this as yet another reason to drive out these leaders who are neither able nor mature enough to answer questions posed by those who do not share their beliefs.

Clarification: Rev. Yearwood's leg is not broken. The police said that yesterday, but after people were actually able to speak to the Reverend, it was made clear that he instead has severe damage to ligaments in his ankles and is on crutches.

The entire press release is below.

Rev. Yearwood released and charged with assaulting a police officer:

Part of increasing Capitol Hill crackdown on voices of dissent

Rev. Lennox Yearwood, Jr., President of the Hip Hop Caucus, was released from custody yesterday evening, after his arraignment.  He is charged with assaulting a police officer and disorderly conduct outside of the hearing room on Capitol Hill where Gen. Petraeus gave testimony on Iraq this past Monday.

The entire incident was filmed and is posted on You Tube here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qiradcejA6o.

Rev. Yearwood gave this statement yesterday after his arraignment hearing: "My role is to make government more transparent to the people, especially people of color.  How am I supposed to convince other African-Americans to come to Capitol Hill to participate in democracy, when Capitol Police will go so far as to jump me when I question my exclusion from a hearing that is open to the public?  We all know what 'driving while Black' is, well I'd call this 'democracy while Black.'"

Rev. Yearwood was being excluded from the hearing room, because, according to the lieutenant on the scene, he was not in line.  Witnesses attest to the fact that Rev. Yearwood was in line, but he was denied a blue post-it note ticket without reason when Police handed them out down the line shortly before they started letting people enter.   

Rev. Yearwood suffered severe injuries to his ankle when Police used excessive force, but said "Crutches won't stop me from marching in the streets against the occupation of Iraq and the despicable immorality of our current Administration and Congress."

For more information contact Liz Havstad at 510.206.6749 or liz@hiphopcaucus.org.

###

Advertisements

Tags: , , , , ,

About Garlin Gilchrist II

I am the City of Detroit's first ever Deputy Technology Director for Civic Community Engagement. My job is to open up the city's public data and information for the consumption and benefit of all Detroiters. I currently live in Detroit, my hometown, with my beautiful wife Ellen and our twins Garlin III and Emily Grace. I'm from Detroit. I created Detroit Diaspora, and was formerly the National Campaign Director at MoveOn.org. I also co-hosted The #WinReport on "The Good Fight," a an award winning, nationally syndicated radio show that was one of Apple's Best of 2013. After graduating with degrees in Computer Engineering and Computer Science from the University of Michigan, I became a Software Engineer at Microsoft. By day, I helped build SharePoint into the fastest growth product in the company's history. On my personal time, I sought out opportunities to connect my technical skills with community building efforts across the country. This led to my co-founding The SuperSpade: Black Thought at the Highest Level, a leading Black political blog. I served as Social Media Manager for the 2008 Obama campaign in Washington, and then became Director of New Media at the Center for Community Change. I spent two years creating and implementing a strategy for the Center to take it's 40 years of community organizing experience into the digital age. I speak before diverse audiences on effective & responsive government, empowerment in revolutionary new organizing spaces, increasing civic engagement & participation through emerging technologies and protecting civil rights in the age of the Internet. Full bio here.

One response to “Rev. Lennox Yearwood: Democracy while Black”

  1. Christina says :

    Update from Rev. Yearwood via the playahata:

    Yesterday I announced that the US Attorney dropped the charges against me of assaulting a police officer.

    Today, Tuesday Oct 2nd, I was in line for the Blackwater hearing on Capitol Hill at 9:15 in the morning. When I got to the front of the line at 11:30, Capitol Police stopped the line. I stood there for two hours while the same officers who leapt on me three weeks ago outside of the Petraeus hearing, pointed and stared at me. I stood there, humming “we shall overcome.”

    Congresswoman Maxine Waters showed up at 1:30 and saw me standing there. She demanded that I be let into the hearing. Cops were swarming the door, and the honorable Congresswoman from California escorted me into the hearing. Once I got in, three cops stood near me, so I would not forget that I was in their territory.

    It is just incredible that as a peace activist, a former Chaplain candidate in the Air Force Reserve, and a Minister, I would be treated so disrespectfully in the halls of Congress.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: