Tag Archives: al sharpton

Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson Speak on the Death of Osama Bin Laden

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, YourBlackWorld.comScholarship in Action 

I was on the radio today with Rev. Al Sharpton.  Of course the topic of discussion was the death of Osama Bin Laden.  The Reverend had some interesting guests on the show, including a woman who was in the building when the towers went down in 2001.  Sharpton, as a New Yorker, had some interesting thoughts about the situation, especially as it pertains to the Obama presidency.

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Dr. Boyce and Rev. Al Discuss Malcolm X and the Obama Monkey Incident


Click here to listen to Dr. Boyce and Rev. Al Sharpton discuss the incident in which President Obama’s face was place on the body of a chimp in an email that was distributed by a Republican leader in California.  They also discuss the assassination of Malcolm X and the result of a YBW poll on the black perception of the Nation of Islam’s role in his death.  Many have speculated that


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Watkins, Sharpton, Jealous, Martin and Joyner “Measure the Movement” on Black Leadership


by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Your Black World – Scholarship in Action 

Earlier this month, I participated in “Measuring the Movement,” a forum that brought together 10 leaders from the black community to discuss the issues that are pertinent to all of us.  The forum was hosted by Rev. Al Sharpton and the National Action Network, and became a productive gathering that laid out a variety of visions for the African American community.

My goal in being part of this forum was to do what I could to best represent the 55,000 members of the Your Black World Coalition and to talk about what I consider to be the Holy Trinity of Black Oppression:  The economic system, the educational system and the criminal justice system.

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What to Make of the Sharpton/West/Obama Divide? Dr. Boyce and Dr. Wilmer Leon Break it Down


Quick note from Dr. Boyce:  After watching the recent blow up between Dr. Cornel West and Rev. Al Sharpton over the Obama presidency, I felt it important to bring some knowledge and common sense to the discussion.  So, I reached out to Dr. Wilmer Leon, who is one of the most respected experts in black politics and political science in the country.  Dr. Leon teaches at Howard University and is also the host of “Inside the Issues with Wilmer Leon” on Sirius 820/XM 169, “The Power.”

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Jeff Johnson, Ben Jealous and Al Sharpton on MSNBC: Mass Incarceration Is Destroying Our Community


by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

In the video below, Jeff Johnson, Al Sharpton and Ben Jealous discuss an issue that is very dear to me:  the problem of mass incarceration in America.  As part of our Never Going Back initiative (which we hope you’ll sign up for),  our goal is to align 10,000 committed African Americans who are willing to do whatever it takes to make this terrible problem go away.

Sharpton, Jealous and Johnson do a wonderful job of highlighting the significance of this important problem and I am glad they took on that task.  They were all part of the Measuring the Movement forum held in New York City recently,  with the goal being to create real change in our communities.  If we don’t bring home the masses of fathers and mothers who’ve been taken away from their children, our community will be forced to wait decades for the chance to become whole again. 

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Cornel West, Al Sharpton Argue About President Obama


by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 


I just returned from the Measuring the Movement forum hosted by Rev. Al Sharpton in New York City.  The forum was insightful and empowering as it pertains to getting members of African American leadership to see the value of accountability.  NAACP President Ben Jealous gave time to the forum, and even President Barack Obama came through to give a speech.

In many ways, the convention was arguably the most successful gathering of its kind.  I find Sharpton’s approach to action-oriented solutions to be refreshing, and as a person who sat on a panel with both Jealous and Sharpton, it’s a relief to be involved with a forum where the goal is not to simply provide the best sound bite.  “Sound bite leadership” in the black community needs to die and be replaced with strong, direct action that recognizes the urgency of our deadly situation.

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President Obama’s Remarks at the National Action Network



Sheraton New York Hotel

New York, New York

6:01 P.M. EDT

     THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you.  Good to be in New York City.  Let me begin by acknowledging some very, very special guests.  Dr. Richardson, thank you.  Charlie Rangel, for your outstanding work on behalf of your constituents.  Mayor David Dinkins.  (Applause.)  Governor David Paterson is here.  (Applause.)  State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli.  DiNapoli, excuse me.  This is another one that’s hard to pronounce:  Stevie Wonder.  (Laughter.)  Martin Luther King III.  (Applause.)  All the Keepers of the Dream honorees with us tonight, and the National Action Network.

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Dr. Boyce and Al Sharpton Discuss the Images of Black Men in America

Dr. Boyce and Al Sharpton Discuss the Images of Black Men in America

Dr. Boyce and Al Sharpton Discuss the Images of Black Men in America

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Dr. Boyce on the Huffington Post: Sharpton, Jealous and Morial Plan to “Measure the Movement”

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityHuffington Post

A year ago, we thought this date was never going to arrive. It’s the one year anniversary of last year’s"Measuring the Movement" forum, where Rev. Al Sharpton brought together a list of black public figures to produce constructive solutions for problems being faced by the African American community. The list of invitees was a virtual "who’s who" of black leadership that only Sharpton could put together: NAACP President Ben Jealous, Urban League President Marc Morial, radio show host Tom Joyner, CNN’s Roland Martin, Georgetown University Professor Michael Eric Dyson, Harvard Professor Charles Ogletree and even men like Judge Greg Mathis got together to talk about the direction of black America.

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Watkins/Sharpton rally in Ohio for Kelley Williams-Bolar and Educational Equality in America


On Thursday, February 17 at 6 pm, Dr. Boyce Watkins and Rev. Al Sharpton will rally in Akron Ohio on behalf of the case of Kelley Williams-Bolar, the single black mother who was jailed for sending her kids to the wrong school district.  The information for the rally is below:


Mountain of the Lord Church
Rev. Eugene Norris
1477 Copley Road
Akron, OH 44320
(330) 873-9793

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15 Years in Prison for Cutting Line – Pretrial Has Begun

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Heather Ellis is a college student facing15 years in prison for cutting line at Walmart – visit http://www.SaveHeatherEllis.com for more details on the national protest to be held in Kennett, MO on November 14.

According to the family, the prosecutor in the case, Stephen Sokoloff, has asked for the trial to be moved to Bloomfield, MO, a town with less than 20 African Americans in it.

Dr Boyce Watkins and Rev. Al Sharpton are planning a march in Kennett to support Heather Ellis.

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News: Dr. Boyce Joins the Al Sharpton Show

Dr Boyce Watkins of Syracuse University and founder of the Your Black World Coalition is now slated for a weekly segment on "Keeping it Real with Al Sharpton."  The show is currently syndicated in 18 cities across the nation and adding new affiliates each week.  Every Monday from 1:15 – 2:15 pm EST, Dr. Watkins and Rev. Sharpton will discuss political issues of the day and matters affecting our nation.  To find out more about the show, please visit www.SharptonTalk.net or www.BoyceWatkins.com.

To see Dr. Watkins’ latest articles with MSNBC’s "TheGrio.com", please visit this link: http://www.thegrio.com/author/dr-boyce-watkins-1/

To see Dr. Watkins’ latest work with AOL Black Voices, please visit: http://blogs.blackvoices.com/bloggers/boyce-watkins-phd/

To listen to Dr. Watkins’ last conversation with Rev. Sharpton, please click here.

In light of President Obama’s recent announcement that African American education should be a top priority for Black leadership, Dr. Watkins will be speaking with Rev. Sharpton, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Dr. Marc Lamont Hill and other African Americans on ways to directly challenge the astronomical dropout rates for African American students.  Many of these issues are addressed in Dr. Watkins’ book, "Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About College."   To start the academic year, Dr. Watkins will be distributing free e-copies of this book to members of the Your Black World Coalition during the month of September, 2009.  We will also be reaching out to President Obama to offer support in solving this problem, for we firmly believe that managing the dropout rate is one of the keys to saving our great nation.

For more information, please visit www.BoyceWatkins.com.


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Rev. Al Sharpton: Time to Shut Down some Prisons

Prisons bursting at the seams, destroying our future

  • (AP Photo/Danny Johnston, File)

by Rev. Al Sharpton

As the battle lines for health care reform are being drawn – and redrawn – a silent segment of the population is strategically left out of the conversation. It’s a group of individuals who have been deemed enemies of society, and cast away behind iron bars to fend for themselves. In California’s 33 prisons, healthcare is so inadequate that one unnecessary death takes place per week, as inmates are often stacked in triple bunk beds in hallways and gymnasiums. With nearly twice the number of prisoners than they were designed to hold, California prisons will have to reduce at least 40,000 prisoners in the next two years – and it’s about time.

Federal judges just released a 184-page order demanding that California’s inmate population be reduced by 27%, and gave the state 45 days to come up with a plan. In what they termed an “unconstitutional prison healthcare system”, the three-judge panel concluded that disease was spreading rampantly and prisoner-on-prisoner violence was all but unavoidable. Forced to close a $26 billion dollar budget gap, California will now have to look at mechanisms to reducing its extensive prison spending, which in 2007 topped out at nearly $10 billion (approximately $49,000 for each inmate).

Whether it’s for pure economic reasons or for an actual concern over the well being of prisoners, California will hopefully serve as an example for a reversal of the ever-growing prison industrial complex. A system that unfairly profiles and detains minorities, American jails produce a vicious cycle of recidivism and community breakdown. Last year, the Pew Center on the States released a scathing report stating that one in every 100 American adults was in jail, and that an astonishing one in 15 black adults was behind bars. According to government reports in 2007, there were three times as many blacks in jail than in college dorms, with Latinos not far behind at 2.7 times more behind bars than in secondary schooling.

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The Sean Bell Verdict is the tip of the Racial Iceberg

by Dr. Boyce Watkins


Like the rest of the world, the Sean Bell verdict shocked me out of my socks.   I was taken aback that the officers in the case were acquitted of all criminal charges.  The case hurt me because, like Sean Bell, I am a black man and a father.  Also, unlike most others, my father has been in law enforcement for the past 25 years.

When I see cases of black men who are shot by police, my emotions are as torn as a human body being ripped apart by thoroughbred horses.  I understand and fight for the plight of black men as part of my human duty.  At the same time, I have spent years listening to officers describe the frightening experiences they endure on a day-to-day basis.

Let’s be clear: police officers get scared like the rest of us.  It is difficult for us to judge the plight of an officer without knowing what it’s like to be consistently exposed to orphan-makers on a day-to-day basis.   One bad move, you can end up dead or paralyzed.

When it comes to the case of Sean Bell, the truth is that I wasn’t there and there is always a possibility that officers were justified in their use of force.  So, I am not here to argue guilt or innocence in this particular trial.

At the same time, there is a history of Sean Bell-like incidents occurring throughout our nation, both past and present.  It is no coincidence that, in many of these cities, black men are the only ones being shot, arrested and incarcerated by a system of justice that has been a tool for black oppression.   I don’t hear much about unjust shootings of white women or people who live in the suburbs.  The use of force is not nearly as acceptable or likely in suburbs or on college campuses, where young people get as rowdy as anywhere else. That’s a fact.

Even beyond the Sean Bell case, black people have strong reason to be angry.  This black anger is not just about Sean Bell or the possibly unjustified use of force.  It is about the cumulative impact of 400 years of the same old lies.  If someone kills an officer, even in self-defense, he is sure to get life in prison since the words of other officers carry tremendous weight.  For the same reasons, an officer who shoots a black man has a good chance for acquittal.  There is something wrong with that.  The anger is righteous and justified, since the justice system has earned almost no credibility in the eyes of black people.  We can’t tell a lie from the truth and

One cannot deny that there is an historical “blue line” in which officers protect one another, even in the event of wrong-doing.  This line, along with the fact that an officer’s word is almost always going to be taken over those who’ve been arrested, has led to thousands of false incarcerations, particularly of black men.   The additional notion that some departments do not take abuse complaints seriously adds to the (sometimes correct) perception that officers exist to control poor and black people, who are included in the distribution of true justice in America.

I expect that the summer of 2008 is going to be as racially hot as the summer of 1968.  Racial tensions are boiling over from a pile of incidents ranging from the Sean Bell case to the “ghettoization” of Barack Obama’s candidacy for the White House via distorted reporting on Fox News.   The sores of our past are beginning to fester, and the reality is that our sick nation will die without proper treatment.

There is no more critical time for an honest dialogue on race.  Sean Bell is just the beginning.  

Dr. Boyce Watkins is a Finance Professor at Syracuse University and author of “What if George Bush were a Black Man?”  He is a regular commentator in national media, including CNN, BET, ESPN and CBS.  For more information, please visit www.BoyceWatkins.com.

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