Young Gifted Black

Posted in Articles, Law, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2016-01-04 04:02Z by Steven

Young Gifted Black

Isthmus
Madison, Wisconsin
2015-05-01

Allison Geyer, Staff Writer

Fiery activist group praised and panned for disruptive protests in name of racial equality

Dozens of protesters with the Young, Gifted and Black Coalition marched on March 19 to a mayoral forum at the Barrymore Theatre, where two white, progressive mayoral candidates were preparing to debate the issues facing the city of Madison. There was no question the city’s racial inequalities would be on the agenda.

Deep disparities are considered by many to be liberal Madison’s secret shame. And the officer-shooting death a few weeks earlier of unarmed biracial teenager Tony Robinson dealt a crushing blow to the city’s already disenfranchised community.

Protesters marched down the aisles of the theater holding a banner declaring “Black Lives Matter.” The rallying cry has emerged nationally in response to what many see as a pattern of systematic state violence against African American citizens that fails to take account of lost lives.

What did they want? “Justice!” When did they want it? “Now!” And if they didn’t get it? “Shut it down!”…

…Young, Gifted and Black is in some ways a misnomer.

The group is certainly youth-oriented — middle school, high school and college-aged students walked out of class to join the numerous marches in the weeks following the Tony Robinson shooting. And many more youth have attended direct action training sessions at UW-Madison. But key organizers of the group range in age from their mid-20s to mid-30s, with members up to 40 and older.

Members are passionate, with a capacity to inspire and mobilize — and to piss certain people off. Many are African American or identify as such, but Asian, Latino and white allies also have a strong presence in the group.

Group leadership is also deliberately feminist and “conspicuously queer,” committed to dismantling patriarchy as well as combating racial inequality. Organizers say these are characteristics that set the movement apart from older iterations of civil rights activism.

But perhaps what unites many of the core members is a shared experience of discrimination that fuels a desire to change what they see as an unjust world…

Matthew Braunginn’s activist roots go deep — his father, Stephen Braunginn, was president and CEO of the Urban League of Greater Madison and a co-founder of Wisconsin Network for Peace and Justice.

Braunginn, 29, characterizes previous efforts to combat racial disparity and racism as “lip service” and “half attempts” that didn’t address the root causes of problems plaguing minorities. He graduated from Purdue University and now works for the UW-Madison PEOPLE Project — a college readiness program for minority and low-income students. He joined Young, Gifted and Black to confront institutionalized racism directly.

“Racism is more than just being hateful,” he says, adding that many white people have a “poor understanding” of the minority experience and how implicit biases exist throughout the society.

“It’s almost worse that Madison is liberal,” he adds.

Braunginn is biracial, but he identifies as black. He says his ethnic ambiguity has been a source of stress and confusion — unable to truly “pass” as either black or white, he has struggled with discrimination and uncomfortable questions about his race. He says his identity struggles led him to abuse opioids in his teens and early 20s…

Read the entire article here.

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BEST OF 2015: Not Quite White

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2016-01-04 03:19Z by Steven

BEST OF 2015: Not Quite White

Madison365
Madison, Wisconsin
2015-12-29

Matthew Braunginn


Matthew Braunginn

I may never be able to truly “pass” or to be “race neutral.” I have always been and always will be “not quite white.”

I reject those terms because I have been othered on their terms. I can never fully fit in among a group of white people. And even though my pigment is closer to that of my white peers, I have always found more comfort in being around my black brothers and sisters; a sense of belonging and shared struggle that I have never felt in a room full of white people…

I live in Madison, Wisconsin, a predominantly white, liberal city that maintains egregious racial disparities. According to the Race to Equity report, Madison has one of the largest education gaps in the nation: 75 percent of its children living in poverty are black, with black children making up just 8.5 percent of its population; black unemployment is at 25 percent versus 5 percent for whites. Adult black males are 4.8 percent of its population, yet in 2011 they made up 43 percent of new prison placement.

Madison is a very different experience for blacks than it is for whites. I grew up in a bi-racial house. My mother is white and my father is black. I am fair-skinned enough so that I can “pass” at times, but times that are not of my making. My parents raised my sister and I to be racially aware, to understand the racial dynamics of this nation, and to understand the sins of its past. But I am not white. Throughout my childhood this reality created and fostered an extra layer of confusion for me. I fought through a gauntlet of anger, confusion, pain, and deep depression. Now I am experiencing an awakening, a taking back of my power of self-identification…

Read the entire article here.

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Tony Robinson’s mother files civil rights lawsuit over fatal police shooting of son

Posted in Articles, Law, Media Archive, United States on 2015-08-17 01:24Z by Steven

Tony Robinson’s mother files civil rights lawsuit over fatal police shooting of son

The Guardian
2015-08-13

Zoe Sullivan

Andrea Irwin alleges officer Matt Kenny violated 14th amendment equal protection rights and fourth amendment right against unreasonable searches

The mother of a biracial man killed by a white police officer in Madison, Wisconsin, has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit over her son’s death in March.

The lawsuit, filed Wednesday by Tony Robinson’s mother, Andrea Irwin, alleges that officer Matt Kenny violated the equal protection rights guaranteed by the 14th amendment as well as Robinson’s fourth amendment right against unreasonable searches.

At a rally Wednesday afternoon outside the state capitol, Robinson’s mother told the small crowd gathered that the lawsuit was part of an effort to end needless deaths of black men at the hands of police. “This will stop. If this is the only way that we can start to do this, then by God, this is how we will do this.”

Robinson was shot on 6 March during an altercation with Kenny, who told investigators that he thought he heard a disturbance in an apartment recently entered by Robinson…

Read the entire article here.

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Pew: Multiracial Americans Now Make Up 7% Of Population

Posted in Audio, Census/Demographics, Interviews, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2015-06-12 21:16Z by Steven

Pew: Multiracial Americans Now Make Up 7% Of Population

Wisconsin Public Radio
Thursday, 2015-06-11, 16:35 CDT

Aliya Saperstein, Assistant Professor of Sociology
Stanford University

Jennifer Sims, Adjunct Visiting Professor of Sociology
University of Wisconsin, River Falls

According to Census data, only about 2 percent of Americans consider themselves to be multiracial, but a new report out Thursday from Pew suggests that the real number of people with multiracial backgrounds is more than three times that. It also shows that the number of people who identify as…

Listen to the story (00:22:49) here.

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Who is Ismael Ozanne, Wisconsin’s prosecutor in Tony Robinson’s death?

Posted in Articles, Biography, Law, United States on 2015-05-20 21:52Z by Steven

Who is Ismael Ozanne, Wisconsin’s prosecutor in Tony Robinson’s death?

Cable News Network (CNN)
2015-05-12

Michael Martinez, Newsdesk Editor & Writer

(CNN) Ismael Ozanne wiped a handkerchief across his forehead, nervously tapped a stack of papers on the podium and slowly cleared his throat.

It wasn’t the first time he’d made history; that happened in 2010 when he became Wisconsin’s first black district attorney.

Still, the Dane County district attorney seemed acutely aware of his role on the national stage Tuesday as the man who would decide whether an officer should be charged for the March 6 shooting death of an unarmed biracial man, 19-year-old Tony Robinson.

Eventually, Ozanne told reporters that he’d cleared Matt Kenny of the Madison Police Department, declaring that the officer’s gunfire was “a lawful use of deadly police force.”

But before he revealed his long-awaited decision Tuesday, the prosecutor also made it a point to talk about his past…

…Wisconsin’s first black DA

Ozanne became the first African-American district attorney in Wisconsin history in August 2010, when former Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle, a Democrat, appointed him as Dane County district attorney.

Ozanne’s appointment filled a vacancy created when the prior DA was elected as a Court of Appeals judge…

…Ozanne’s grandfather, Robert Ozanne, was a high school teacher, a labor organizer, an author and a professor of economics at University of Wisconsin at Madison in the 1950s, according to Ismael Ozanne’s biography.

His parents are also teachers: His father taught at Tuskegee University in Alabama and in Madison public schools, and as of last year, his mother was still in the classroom, teaching reading at a middle school.

Ozanne describes himself as biracial.

“I’m a person of color from a biracial marriage. … I am the son of a black woman who still worries about my safety from the bias and privilege and violence that accompanies it,” he said Tuesday…

Read the entire article here.

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No Charges for Wisconsin Officer in Killing of Unarmed Black Teenager

Posted in Articles, Law, Media Archive, United States on 2015-05-13 13:42Z by Steven

No Charges for Wisconsin Officer in Killing of Unarmed Black Teenager

The New York Times
2015-05-12

Richard Pérez-Peña (@perezpena), National Desk

A Madison, Wis., police officer who killed an unarmed black man in March, in one of a spate of similar incidents that have set off protests around the country, will not face criminal charges, a prosecutor said Tuesday.

The shooting of the man, Anthony Robinson Jr., had led to protests in Madison and raised concerns of potential unrest if the officer, Matt Kenny, who is white, was not charged, particularly after rioting in Baltimore recently following the death of an unarmed black man from a severe spinal injury sustained while in police custody.

Walking through the case in detail for a room full of reporters at the Public Safety Building, the Dane County district attorney, Ismael Ozanne, repeatedly stressed that on the day he died, March 6, Mr. Robinson was behaving erratically and violently, assaulting several people — apparently including Officer Kenny. He left the room without taking questions

“My decision will not bring Tony Robinson Jr. back,” he said. “My decision will not end the racial disparities that exist in the justice system, in our justice system. My decision is not based on emotion. Rather, this decision is based on the facts as they have been reported to me.

Although Mr. Ozanne did not mention either man’s race, he discussed his own identity at some length — the biracial son of a black woman from Anniston, Ala., who, he said, worries that his skin color puts him at risk…

Read the entire interview (00:26:30) here.

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Tony Terrell Robinson was shot dead by Madison police. This is how it happened

Posted in Articles, Law, Media Archive, United States on 2015-03-15 01:07Z by Steven

Tony Terrell Robinson was shot dead by Madison police. This is how it happened

The Guardian
2015-03-13

Oliver Laughland, Senior Reporter
Guardian US

Zoe Sullivan


Robinson as a child. ‘There is something so beautiful about a black kid, especially in America, trying to make it against all odds and fucking up so bad, but then actively trying to better his situation.’ Photograph: Robinson family

Exclusive: Many questions remain about the shooting of the Wisconsin 19-year-old, but accounts from close friends and family paint a picture of a young man turning his life around who needed help that night – and instead wound up another young man of color whose life was tragically cut short

Madison, Wisconsin—Tony Terrell Robinson was born into poverty and spent the last moments of his life bleeding from a gunshot wound, surrounded by no one but local police officers on the porch of his shared apartment.

At around 6.30pm last Friday, Madison police officer Matt Kenny forced entry into the house where Robinson had been living for the past few months with two of his friends. He was responding to a series of 911 calls about a young man behaving erratically, possibly violently. Shots were fired. A few minutes later, a witness says she saw officer Kenny and another officer dragging the limp, bloody body of the biracial 19-year-old out on to the porch.

The details of what actually happened that night are only now starting to emerge. The Guardian has spoken to witnesses who say hallucinogenic drugs played a role in Robinson’s strange behavior that night, and that at least one of the people who called 911 was a friend reaching out to police in the hope they would come to help Robinson deal with the episode.

Police say Robinson was acting violently before the shooting, and had knocked Kenny to the ground before he was shot.

Meanwhile, the community has erupted in protest, as young people marching under the banner of the Black Lives Matter movement again question why lethal force had to be used against a young person of color who had no weapon himself. They are describing the death as murder, and calling for justice to be served…

Read the entire article here.

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Madison Police Shooting: Not Just About Race Because Victim Was Biracial, Family Says

Posted in Articles, Law, Media Archive, United States on 2015-03-10 01:22Z by Steven

Madison Police Shooting: Not Just About Race Because Victim Was Biracial, Family Says

ABC News
2015-03-09

Meghan Keneally, Digital Reporter

The uncle of the 19-year-old who was fatally shot by a police officer in Madison, Wisconsin, over the weekend said that his nephew “just wanted to be loved.”

Tony Robinson Jr., who was known to his family as Tyrell, was fatally shot by a police officer on Friday and the incident is now the subject of a state Department of Justice investigation.

Robinson’s mother is white and his father is African American, and at a news conference this afternoon, Robinson’s uncle, Turin Carter, spoke out on behalf of the family about how this is a universal issue that should be understood by people of all races…

Read the entire article here.

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Wisconsin chief treading carefully after fatal shooting

Posted in Articles, Law, Media Archive, United States on 2015-03-10 01:10Z by Steven

Wisconsin chief treading carefully after fatal shooting

The Washington Post
2015-03-08

The Associated Press

MADISON, Wis. — Within hours of a white officer shooting an unarmed black man, the police chief of Wisconsin’s capital city was praying with the man’s grandmother, hoping to strike a conciliatory tone and avoid the riots that last year rocked Ferguson, Missouri.

Chief Mike Koval said he knows Madison is being watched across the nation since 19-year-old Tony Robinson’s death Friday evening, and he has gone out of his way to avoid what he once called Ferguson’s “missteps.”

“Folks are angry, resentful, mistrustful, disappointed, shocked, chagrined. I get that,” Koval said Saturday. “People need to tell me squarely how upset they are with the Madison Police Department.”

The contrasts with Ferguson are many…

Read the entire article here.

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Man Shot Dead by Police After Scuffle in Wisconsin

Posted in Articles, Law, Media Archive, United States, Videos on 2015-03-07 20:47Z by Steven

Man Shot Dead by Police After Scuffle in Wisconsin

The New York Times
2015-03-07

Ashley Southall

A 19-year-old Wisconsin man was shot and killed Friday by a police officer during a scuffle inside an apartment in Madison, police officials said. The shooting prompted protests that continued on Saturday and led officials to call for restraint while the shooting is investigated.

The shooting occurred Friday evening after the police received calls for a man who had committed battery and was jumping in and out of traffic, Michael C. Koval, the Madison chief of police, said. A police officer followed the man to an apartment and forced his way in after hearing a disturbance inside, the chief said. The man then assaulted the officer, who shot the man, according to Chief Koval, who spoke at a news conference in Madison Friday evening.

The officer immediately began rendering first aid, but the man died at a hospital, Chief Koval said. The authorities did not immediately release his name, but his mother identified him as Tony Robinson, an African-American who graduated from high school in 2014.

“My son has never been a violent person,” Andrea Irwin, who identified herself as Mr. Robinson’s mother, told WKOW, a Madison television station. “And to die in such a violent, violent way, it baffles me.”…

Read the entire article here.

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