The 50th Anniversary of a Student Movement
The 5oth Anniversary of a Student Movement and the Deaths of Denver Smith and Leonard Brown is an Opportunity, Not Just an Occasion by Angela A. Allen-Bell & Brittany Dunn…
The 5oth Anniversary of a Student Movement and the Deaths of Denver Smith and Leonard Brown is an Opportunity, Not Just an Occasion by Angela A. Allen-Bell & Brittany Dunn…
Black excellence is rarely a part of local media. When the Henry family unveiled a beautiful and stunning mural about the legacy of excellence, a crowd of about 350 braved…
Kermit Ruffins’ pregnant girlfriend was shot on her front porch and forced to deliver her baby after being rushed to the hospital last Thursday. Good morning. It’s Monday. Since Thursday,…
by Orissa Arend Local organizing coalition Justice and Beyond, the National African American Reparations Commission, and Ashe Cultural Arts Center are hosting a “Reparations Town Hall Meeting”…
On December 5, 2020, New Orleans elected its first ever progressive District Attorney. Jason Williams was a criminal defense lawyer for over 20 years before being elected. He replaced former…
In a nightmare year, Victor Glover is on the verge of living his dream “My heart is low, my head is level, and my faith is high.” ERIC BERGER Victor…
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You can learn the skills to become an exceptional leader. by Mel Schwartz L.C.S.W. Authentic leaders are by definition singular individuals. They possess a unique array of qualities and skills…
Did you know that you can be reimbursed for erroneous (wrong) charges? Did you know that there is a sliding scale for payments for people having a hard time…
By Jeff Thomas
Black men kill each other at alarming rates all across America every day. Nearly every city’s daily news casts reports, “Today in our city three (or thirty depending on the size of your city) men were shot and killed in three (or thirty) separate shootings. Police have no suspects in any of the cases.” And immediately and innately you know that the people killed were black and the killers were black. This has been going on for the last 30-40 years and no end is in sight. New Orleans has one of the highest murder rates nationally. Why do black men kill each other?
First thing you have to know is that 99.999% of black men do not commit murder ever in their lives. That is a fact! This is not a black man issue. There is nothing genetically or intrinsically wrong with black men. But the fact remains that daily hundreds of black men across this country are murdered everyday by another black man. Why does this happen with this subset?
The first thing about murder is that people usually kill people who are similar to them in many ways, particularly race. White men normally murder other white men and black men normally murder other black men.
In the black community, these killings are normally city events. Rarely do you hear of a drive by in the country. Most of these daily killings occur on the city streets. People kill others who they interact with.
Young men engage in risky and violent behavior. Most of the men dying on our streets are between the ages of 17-35.
Nearly 95% have not graduated from college and 65% have not completed high school.
100% were not upper class in America. The links between poverty and crime are well documented. And black men have lived in depression level economic conditions for the last 50 years.
But these are often cited, unsurprising factors. More salient is what goes into the psyche of a guy who can look into the eyes of another man and pull the trigger at close range or jab a knife with the intent to murder another man? What are the other factors that contribute to becoming a murderer? Why do Black men kill each other
The guy who ain’t never scared and always looking to escalate a situation. Down for whatever. Nothing to live for and anticipating the day he will either kill or be killed. This mindset is cultivated in a limited option, few chances, success deprived life. This guy has had a number of arguments and fist fights throughout his life. He hates authority and frequently feels angry or resentful towards people. He often seeks to overcome a feeling of powerlessness. This guy is a walking heap of rage. He is always nothing but a gun and an argument away from murder.
A man who feels like everybody but him gets respect.
For this guy, respect is everything and options to express anger or refutation are often limited. He often seeks to overcome a feeling of impotence. If another who seems unworthy of disseminating criticism or scorn or generally crosses the line of imagined respect, then a high level of response will be meted out.
When challenged by a non-believing skeptic, this man often acts in unnecessarily violent ways in unnecessarily violent situations. Often seeks to overcome a feeling of powerlessness.
The daily feeling of isolation, powerlessness and impotence is like being a prisoner of war. One reason black men grab their genitals is to stress their vitality. Men who have been literally stripped of the ability to display their manhood – great jobs, big houses, educational attainment and all the other accoutrements of modern society- are literally killing to express their power in life. Twisted but true.
Norris Henderson and VOTE scored impressive campaign victories over the weekend. They were able to use their deep pockets and out message two opponents who enjoyed more endorsements and name recognition. If you questioned whether Henderson and VOTE would be strong players in the political landscape of this city, you might have some answers now. But also, their striking victories place more eyeballs on them. How these victories play out over time remains to be seen. But one thing is for sure. Norris Henderson knows how to win elections in this city.
A kingmaker is a person or group that has great influence on a political election, without themselves being a viable candidate. Kingmakers in local politics are the true power brokers. They work behind the scenes. Their ability to get people elected is powerful and impactful. Our laws, regulations and policies dictate our daily lives. Elected officials create these rules. And the kingmakers influence our elected officials more than any other one person or group.
Henderson and Vote invested huge sums of money behind two candidates. Alonzo Knox is now the elected representative of one of the most prestigious house seats in the city. Dutch Morial, Dorothy Mae Taylor and Royce Duplessis previously represented District 93. The district includes downtown New Orleans and historic neighborhoods like Treme. This campaign was fiercely fought. The personal attacks against Fox Richardson were so intense and effective that the candidate stopped debating. Usually candidates don’t cry uncle, but Richardson did. Though her past criminal involvement provided some celebrity, the political fallout was irreparable. She seemed unprepared for the constant barrage and aggressive style she faced. Also Knox was the beneficiary of a half million dark dollars and captured over 54% of the votes cast. Henderson now influences one of the state’s most prestigious district’s representative. The turnout was less than 10% in this race.
In the biggest and most dramatic win, Henderson’s other candidate, Leon Roche stormed past Diedre Pierce Kelly to get in the runoff against Simone Levine. Kelly had more political endorsements than both of her opponents combined. And Kelly had money and an experienced team of political consultants leading her campaign. But she had a blemish from the past that Roche exploited masterfully. Additionally, Henderson’s candidate was more experienced, better qualified and had no flaws. When attacked, Ms. Kelly made a critical mistake. She attacked Henderson and not Mr. Roche, her opponent. Henderson’s disruptive distractions are transforming the political playing field before our very eyes. Roche and Simone Levine now square off in a runoff election. Again, the turnout was less than 10%.
But it is a bit early for the kingmaker’s coronation. For sure, Henderson is putting together a string of impressive victories. Sheriff Susan Hutson, Commissioner Davante Lewis, Alonzo Knox and Roche into the runoff are significant notches on his campaign victory belt. But these are all typical dark money smear campaigns. And campaign mastery is mainly about winning positive races against equally matched opponents. Still Henderson has only won one type of race. He has been able to throw lots of cash and negatively exploit the weaknesses of vulnerable local candidates. We have not seen the ability to elevate a candidate in an even field.
And another factor is growing. The microscope will now be squarely focused on him and his future candidates. While their attacks didn’t result in their election, Kelly and Richardson each delivered scathing and unfettered criticisms of Henderson and his organization. And will his funders continue to fund attacks on local progressive candidates? The runoff election between Roche and Levine will be a real opportunity for Henderson. Can he win a race without persona attacks? Levine does not have a criminal past or any other egregious mistake for Henderson to exploit. She is also the progressive Democrat that Henderson’s funders usually promote. The strategies and tactics of this race will unveil just how much Henderson has grown as a political strategist.
But as Henderson further sharpens his skills as a campaign donor, those defeated strategists are developing attack strategies of their own. Are we seeing the emergence of a dynamic power shift in local politics? Will Henderson have a ring to kiss for any potential candidate? Or will he simply be content to identify and pick off vulnerable opponents with his deep pockets? Money is the mother’s milk of political campaigns. But it is not a strategy. The advantage of huge sums notwithstanding, money is only a campaign tool. Winner candidates must create real policies and laws to improve our lives. Are we seeing a lust for power and influence or a real desire to make the world a better place?
The big picture is the outside money might make good people not run for office. This is a tragedy. We need smart, committed, industrious leaders making decisions about us. But highly financed negative campaigning can dramatically limit the pool of potential candidates. This could be a problem.
One thing is certain. His dark money wins are stacking up.
I’m so woke. I’m woker than woke. You wanna know what woke is? Gimme 10 seconds and a dollar. I’ll tell ya. Woke: a bunch of black people who wanna turn kids against white people. Crazy, right? I mean, I be goddamned if white people ain’t been the sliced bread of Homo Sapiens. But noooo, these woke people want a world where Raheem walks around thinking Josh is inherently racist or privileged. Nope. All we ever tried to do as a people is do what’s right and make the human race better.
Take Rosa Parks. We wanted to elevate Rosa. Make her a national example. But the woke wanted to keep her parked in some marginal civil rights movement. That ain’t Rosa. That ain’t her essence. Yeah, she was black. Ain’t no doubting that. But her struggle was bigger than that. Ain’t yo feet ever hurt. Mine has. And when they hurt, whatcha wanna do? Sit down, right? I know I do. Let somebody try to tell me different. And that’s what Rosa did. She sat down when other people tried to make her stand up. That’s the essence. That’s what kids of all races can relate to. The right for people to sit where they wanna sit. You know, freedom, America. Put in a textbook.
But nooooooo, the woke crowd pitched a fit. They’d rather use Rosa to divide us, talking bout colored sections, and segregation, and voting, and lunch counters, and fire hoses and other stuff that happened 6 generations ago. Division. I say let’s use history to bring us together not push us apart. See what I mean, woker than woke.
All these woke books, too. Just repugnant. Ban’em. The Bluest Eye. Literary achievement my ass. White people ain’t make her ugly. And all that rape and racism and blaming white people for their problems. Why? Because they wound up having to work for them? Nah. Our kids don’t need to read none of that.
You know who had it right? Paul Murdaugh, son of that dude Alex who was just on trial for murder. Right before Paul slapped his girlfriend and crashed his boat, he told her, you know what the worst thing in the world is, your daddy not being able to provide for your family. Bootstraps, people. Pull’em up. That’s the kind of lessons we need in books.
But nooooo, they wanna introduce our kids to a Bluest Eye woke world where Cholly raped Pecola because of institutional racism. A world where Pecola dreamed of having blue eyes because white people made her feel that her black eyes weren’t good enough. As Radburn told Solomon in 12 Years a Slave right after they kidnapped him, rags and tatters, rags and tatters. The past that the woke crowd is holding onto ain’t nothing but rags and tatters. See what I mean, woker than woke.
God bless Gov. Ron DeSantis. He got the balls of a bull. I’m not gay, but if ever… Ain’t no woke in his state of Florida. That Stop WOKE Act — genius in all of its purity. Try to teach CRT in schools. Nope. Get that outta here, woke. Try to force some reparational, inherently racist,1619 version of an AP history course on our kids. Nope. Get that outta here, woke. Same to businesses that wanna hold woke training sessions for their employees. Nope, nope, and nope. DeSantis had it right. F the judge and his ruling that messed it all up. God damn Obama appointee.
We gotta stop these woke people, people. I got all kinds of black friends. And my black friends got all kinds of white friends. Slavery was a whole Fred Fliinstone ago. The only history that matters is the one that teaches the true essence of our country — Rosa Parks fighting for the right of all people to have an equal seat, a civil war fought over all lives being equal under the Lord and law, George Washington the honest founding father man who did in fact chop down a cherry tree.
Let’s unite and uplift our kids by focusing on this country’s true essence. It’s happening. Stop WOKE Acts are popping up from state to state. People are starting to realize that this is what should be enforced in our schools, even if we gotta use big government to do it. Let’s get out there with’em. Let’s start a War on Woke.
A Message From The Anti-Woke
By David Soublet, Sr.
Let me begin by making this disclosure: I signed the petition. I thought registered voters in Orleans parish deserved the opportunity to vote on recalling New Orleans mayor LaToya Cantrell. I did so after a trusted friend outlined out a litany of blunders made by the mayor over several months. All of them in her second term after her well acknowledged successful management of the COVID 19 pandemic crisis. Several of those poor decisions are vague memories. But when freshly compiled, seemed to at least warrant a recall vote.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, at least 30 states allow recall elections for local officials. One of the risks of recall efforts cited by the Council is what we saw. Recalls “can be abused by well-financed special interest groups and give them undue influence over the political process”. We saw evidence of that in the effort to recall Cantrell. According to reports, businessman Rick Farrell donated over $ 900,000. Recall organizers collected $1.2 million.
Farrell reportedly is tied to Donald Trump. Ironically Trump faced his own recall. However for US presidents the term is impeachment. And Trump was nearly tossed out of the presidency via impeachment. Farrel also adorned his St. Charles Avenue mansion with huge banners boldly encouraging people to “Sign Mayor Recall”. Supposedly he and Cantrell butted heads in a 2020 meeting. Farrell wanted to resolve the ever-growing homeless encampment problem in New Orleans. Reportedly he offered to make a large donation to alleviate the problem.
Alas, on March 21, the recall effort crashed and burned. Sandra Wilson, Orleans Parish Registrar of Voters only certified 27,000 signatures. This after a “deal” struck by the recall organizers and Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin reduced the required number to 45,000 valid signatures. Organizers say they collected and turned in over 100,000 signatures. They failed to mention that Walt Disney cartoon characters signed dozens of the petitions.
Rick Farrell’s blunder in funding this recall effort cost him close to a million dollars. But there are at least two other huge blunders that the mayor, on behalf of future mayors and the voting public, should see through in the legal system. Cantrell filed a lawsuit against Ardoin and recall organizers for making a deal that resulted in a much lower number of signatures required to force a recall election. Recall organizers’ rationale was the Orleans parish voter rolls contain dead people and former residents who no longer live in the parish. Civil District Judge Jennifer Medley approved the agreement. But she did not disclose the fact that she had herself signed the recall petition! So is this a good precedent for the city’s voting rolls?
It’s critical that when a mayor or other elected official faces a possible recall petition, established laws and procedures are followed regarding the collection of voter signatures, the metric that determines the number of signatures required, as well as the validation of those signatures. Many feel that the agreement struck between Ardoin and recall organizers, and endorsed by Medley, is arbitrary and perhaps illegal.
We’ve all heard the phrase “naturally New Orleans”. In a city with chronically low voter turnout for all types of elections, it should come as no surprise that the recall effort was a colossal failure. Meanwhile, Mr. Farrell, your financial assistance in resolving the homeless encampment issue is still sorely needed. But keep in mind, Teedy keeps her crown.
Good things are coming to the East, finally. The long vacant Six Flags site is officially set to become Bayou Phoenix. As planned, Bayou Phoenix is set to become an amusement park and transportation hub that should bring economic development to the East and city in general.
Think 504 recently sat down with Troy Henry, the man behind Bayou Phoenix, to see what people can expect now that the city has signed off on the deal.
The next thing is we have a public meeting on the 27th of March at Franklin Ave Baptist Church. You know, it’s a public meeting to get public input.
Wait, that’s in the East, right, not actually on Franklin?
Yeah that’s right. And it’s the first of 3 things we have to do to finalize the lease.
And that’s on behalf of the city?
Correct. Like I said, it’s the first of three things. One is to produce an economic impact analysis, which we’ve already done. We just haven’t presented it yet. The second is a master plan, which is done as well. And the third is to have a public meeting where we collect public input. That’s the purpose of the upcoming meeting.
Well, so our time frame is a 42 month schedule. We think we can have our development done in that time frame. And that’s, you know, from the day we sign the lease.
Hold up, 3 ½ years? You telling me I gotta wait 3 ½ years to tell my wife, hey let’s go to Bayou Phoenix and make out on the Ferris wheel?
(Laughs) Hey, brother, good things take time, you know, good things take time, you know what I mean. Some of it will be completed perhaps sooner. But we’re not making any promises at all on that piece.
I’m sure somebody has asked you this before, or maybe they haven’t, but what made you pick Phoenix as the name?
Well you know it was just one of my colleagues, from our partners, he thought that just the rising after all these years. He was thinking of something positive rising out of the bayou.
That’s fitting, considering the development in the East, and also how long it’s not only taken to get the deal done, but how long the site has sat vacant.
Yeah, it took a lot longer than we ever imagined, but no sense in looking back. We’re just —
Yeah, that’s right. But, you know, who knows if we’ll even keep that name. In fact, we’ll ask people if they think there’s a better name.
Really? So that’s something you’ll bring up at the meeting?
I think so. If there’s something somebody comes up with that’s better for it, you know, a perfect fit, then cool. We’re open to suggestions.
At the meeting will there be some type of visual presentation so people can get a feel for what’s coming?
Definitely. It’s going to be a highly visual presentation. You’ll visually be able to see the entire project, the renderings. At the meeting, I think the public will get a chance to see exactly what Bayou Phoenix is going to look like.
Oh alright, that sounds cool.
Yeah, I think it’s going to be pretty cool.
Did the city make any demands on y’all, as far as a minimum wage and things like that?
Yeah, we have a wage requirement and a non discrimination requirement, you know, those kinds of items.
Standard process I guess?
Yeah, nothing we felt that was difficult to deal with. And it was nothing we wouldn’t have done anyway. So agreeing to that wasn’t a big deal. For our people we view this as a career opportunity, not, you know, just some type of means to an end.
Well that sounds like just what the East and really the city overall needs. I’m sure you’re excited, and it sounds like this thing is really about to take off.
It is. And yeah, we’re excited. We’re looking forward to going full speed ahead and getting everything done. It’s going to be a great process.
By Gwen Moran
Good leaders spend a fair amount of time refining their communication style. After all, good communication skills are not only among the most in-demand soft skills; they’re also essential for fostering strong relationships with team members, being a more effective negotiator, and being able to motivate people.
So, the words you use matter. And simple verbal habits or tics can actually get in the way of clear communication. But some of the things we say can improve how we are perceived as well. Saying “sorry” too much and for the wrong reasons might undermine how confident you appear. Shifting your response from “sorry for the delay” to “thanks for your patience” strikes a more positive tone, too.
Another example is the word “but,” which can seem like you’re negating the point of the person with whom you’re speaking. Instead, try substituting “and,” which invites further conversation.
What other communication swaps can you make to be a more powerful communicator? Here, three communication experts weigh in with their recommendations for language swaps. They may not work in every situation. But, when used appropriately, they can help shift your communication to be more powerful.
“Rather than saying ‘I can’t’ or ‘I’m not able to,’ when you’re declining a request, focus on the positive,” says communication expert Renée Evenson, author of Powerful Phrases for Effective Customer Service. Instead try, “Here’s what I can do for you.” That way, you’ve set a boundary with your client or colleague about what you’re not able or willing to do, but you’ve also indicated that you’re willing to find a workable solution.
When you don’t know something, it’s usually a good idea to say so instead of bluffing. However, if you’re in a leadership position or dealing with customers, the people asking are going to want more than that from you. Instead of just shrugging off the inquiry, say “I’ll find out for you,” Evenson suggests. “This gives [the person asking] an assurance that you care enough to go one step further to get the right answer,” she says.
It’s not uncommon to preface a favor request with “I know how busy you are . . .” or “I hate to bother you . . .” But that immediately puts you at a disadvantage because you’ve assumed that you’re creating a burden. Instead, assume there is not a problem and drop this from your language, says communication expert Linda Larsen, author of True Power: Get It, Use It, Share It. Just ask for what you need and assume that the person will let you know if the request is too much and respectfully decline.
In a world filled with vague, wishy-washy words, “address” is one that public speaking coach Joel Schwartzberg would like to see dropped. “I see a lot of speakers say, we’re going to address this issue. What does that mean? That means they can write about it, talk about it, have dialogue, right? But that doesn’t specifically mean you’re going to solve that problem or take action,” says the author of Get to the Point: Sharpen Your Ideas and Make Your Words Matter. Instead of saying, “We’re going to address this situation . . . ” try words like solve, fight against, or reduce, which communicate action. Other swaps to consider that are more meaningful and decisive:
For some people, dismissing praise is a knee-jerk response. If they receive a compliment, they water it down by saying, “It was nothing . . .” or “It could be better . . .” Those responses not only make light of your work and ability, but they are dismissive of the person giving the compliment. Instead, thank the individual genuinely and add, “I’m glad you like it,” Larsen says.
Telling someone to calm down is almost a guarantee that they will do anything but calm down. Larsen recommends validating the individual’s feelings and assuring them you understand. “I can see you are upset, and I want to help” is a better option.
There’s nothing wrong with saying “you’re welcome” when someone thanks you. But saying something like “I’m happy I was able to help you” is more powerful because it leaves a positive impression with the individual that you went the extra mile to help, Evenson says.
While simple shifts in language won’t solve all communication issues, being more precise and action-oriented in your language can make a difference in clarity and how you’re perceived.
By Pat Bryant*
Six University of Florida students at two colleges have been arrested on multiple charges for protesting Florida’s draconian laws that are the tip of rising fascism in the United States . The arrests, in a few days of each other, were made first at University of South Florida at the university’s administration building where President Rhea Law’s office is located. Placards were carried and demands on flyers that called on Governor Ron DeSantis to stop his repressive regime news and encouragement he is spreading nationwide.
Police swopped in without warning grabbing students and making arrests caught on video. Asked about police violence, and arrests of students, Governor DeSantis’ press secretary has not responded. Students have since protested the arrests and demanded that Police Chief Chris Daniel be fired. Daniel is seen in the video pushing a female student in the back and twisting her arm.
The arrests were happening as Governor DeSantis traveled across the nation claiming that people are freer in Florida than elsewhere in the United States. DeSantis rallies against “wokeness” or a worldview that racial and sexual disparaties are the result of racism, sexism and class exploitation. And DeSantis wants no program to correct longstanding inequities that result from slavery, racism and sexual discrimination.
On March 6 a few dozens students protested DeSantis’ attacks on affirmative action, black history, diversity programs and the lack of well-being of black students on the Tampa campus. They rallied outside the Marshall student Center, heard speeches, and marched to the Patel administration building. Inside the building police began grabbing students without notice as speakers spoke on demands.
Several videos of the arrest support the students version of being attacked by police.
DeSantis drew CNN headlines that day, not about crackdown on student rights to redress demands to the government protected by the First Amendment to the US Constitution, but CNN said of DeSantis “he is willing to go much further than any other Republican leader to turn his state into a conservative vision.”
That’s an opposite vision of the Tampa Bay Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). “We are focused on creating an environment where black students could succeed without worry of financial or lack of resources and feel safe”, one student wrote adding demands for increase in Black faculty, increase Black mental health counselors and demilitarize campus, more and greater scholarships for black students, and greater black high school recruitment.
DeSantis about the same time issued an executive order 19-10 ending all diversity and inclusion programs at state universities and setting forth hiring, promotion, recruiting only on competitive basis.
Four days later two University of Florida at Gainesville students were arrested by campus police for leading a demonstration and charged with felonies. Bryan Taylor was arrested for aggravated assault on an officer and resisting an officer with violence. Ian Dinkla was charged with robbery by sudden sudden snatching and resisting with violence. The students and observers denied the violence claims.
The university followed up accusing students of violence against police saying “everyone regardless of their views—can exercise their First Amendment rights on this campus, and nobody has a right to violence” said a spokesman. He continued “violent behavior and resisting arrest are unacceptable” he said. The arrest came after a presentation by anti-abortion group “Created Equal” a traveling campus organizing tour. The group set up large signs of abortion fetuses. Police claims Dinkla took one of the signs they claim is worth $120. Felony response to a childish prank.
Protecting freedoms and right to protest is not what is happening in Florida. Since DeSantis’ election Florida has moved quickly toward totalitarianism – where one man has all power. DeSantis has made 140 executive orders like the one banning diversity 140. DeSantis’ executive orders are more than all other governors in other states combined. Florida is the tip of rising fascism in the United States.
A solid Republican majority in the legislature is set to pass a law that makes abortion illegal after 6 weeks. Another would ban courses and curricula in Florida colleges. Courses included teach ethnic, women’s studies, gender studies or courses “based on unproven, theoretical or exploratory content”. And another would allow permitless carry of concealed firearms. Another would require bloggers to register with the state. The Florida legislature is poised to pass them all.
Two camps seem to be forming in Florida. One that holds state power, and another shocked and awed by DeSantis’ and Republican performances. The show will soon be brought everyplace in America.
A new Ipsos poll suggests that DeSantis rallying on “wokeness” may backfire. The poll suggests that 56 percent of Americans and 39 percent of Republicans agree of “wokeness” as positive.
*Pat Bryant is a journalist covering the South
NOLA politics disrupted!
New Orleans politics is being disrupted. You know what disruption is right? By definition, it is an interruption to the regular flow or sequence of something. Think Uber vs. cabs. In New Orleans political circles, political insiders are bristling at a sudden shift. New power brokers are taking space. They are getting candidates elected. They are running aggressive and new style campaigns. But most of all, they got money! In particular, the African American political class is up in arms. This is war. And it is happening right before our very eyes. Not exactly sure what I’m talking about. Don’t worry. After you read this, you’ll be able to get your popcorn and watch too. It’s juicy and thrilling.
The bad new dudes in town really aren’t new. They are just shifting into new territory. With lots of cash, brash ideas about change and a couple of big wins under their belts, these guys are emboldened. Just in this current cycle they are creating havoc. And this is a relatively minor political season. But they have stopped one candidate from even campaigning. And they are changing the polling in a judgeship that once seemed all but won.
And the people behind all this turmoil are ex-cons. But gulp, they are actual murderers. You read that right. Norris Henderson and Bruce Reilly are the leaders of VOTE. They started and worked for years in New Orleans as advocates for formerly incarcerated men and women. And they also worked early on helping candidates for office who worked with them. They registered formerly incarcerated men and women to vote and encouraged them to vote for candidates whom they viewed as political allies. Politicians didn’t really take them seriously but occasionally supported their organization in hopes that they could deliver a few votes.
But the whole time, the strategic Henderson made better contacts and learned the ropes. He advocated for prisoners rights and railed constantly against former sheriff, Marlon Gusman. He became a Soros Justice Fellow. But his earliest attempts to elect judges failed miserably. He spent hundreds of thousands with a flip the bench group of candidates, but almost all lost by wide margins. But steadfast and well financed, Henderson pushed forward. And suddenly victory was his. His greatest triumph so far has been the ouster of Gusman. Henderson bankrolled current sheriff Susan Hutson’s campaign. Also, Henderson helped current Public Service Commissioner Davante Lewis get elected. Now Henderson and Reilly seem to see themselves as kingmakers.
In the District A Criminal Court Race, Diedre Pierce Kelly took the early lead over her two opponents – Simone Levine and Leon Roche. Besides my own endorsement, Ms. Kelly has the endorsement of nearly every elected official in town. Early polling showed her winning going away. But you have probably seen Leon Roche commercials on TV lately. You guessed it. Henderson formed a second VOTE nonprofit. Not only can his 501c4 endorse candidates, but it also transforms campaigns. Mr. Roche is a fine and upstanding young man. After all he graduated from the nationally acclaimed St. Augustine High School. But his candidacy catapulted from grassroots to serious contender status suddenly. And Simone Levine is likely to earn a runoff spot if Roche peels off enough votes from Kelly. The race is now a tossup. Disruption.
The disruption is greatest in this race, however. This is one of the most historic and influential House seats in the city. (Will Sutton wrote a great piece about it.) Sibil “Fox” Richardson is in the runoff against Alonzo Knox. But in an unprecedented and befuddling move, Fox Rich suspended her campaign against Knox and fiercely attacked Henderson and Reilly. In a merciless article posted by Big Easy Magazine, Richardson says :
“VOTE is led by two convicted murderers- Bruce Reilly who beat and stabbed a famed college professor 24 times to his death and fled with his vehicle and credit card – And, Norris Henderson, who along with his brother gunned down a teenager riding her bike to school. I challenge each of them to look in the mirror and reflect on the severity of their crimes before misrepresenting my past in an effort to forward their own political agenda. If an uncheckered past is the litmus test for leadership, then surely these two men and their organization should be the least in authority to offer political recommendations.”Fox Rich Candidate for House District 93
Additionally, Richardson says she will not participate in any more campaign debates. The voters must decide if this is the best thing to do this late in the campaign. More disruption.
Politics is not for the faint at heart. Henderson and Reilly are playing hard ball. But the political establishment is on notice now. While Henderson and Reilly have money and a couple of big wins under their belts, the powers that be are coalescing. Uptown and downtown. East bank and Westbank. Black and white power brokers have not only taken notice but are now working together to beat back the VOTE political brokers. It’s easy when you can launch sneak attacks. Heretofore Henderson and Reilly have worked behind the scenes. But the curtain has been pulled back.
Still the verdict is not in yet on Henderson and Reilly. Once the spotlight is on them, several key factors become evident. Their big money donors are liberal. And after the donors realize their money is not buying ads to attack people like Jeff Landry or John Kennedy, but liberal qualified African American women the cash might stop. Every time Henderson misses his options become fewer. Will he be able to attract candidates to run for office? The problem for candidates like Knox and Roche and others in the future is voter sensitivity. Remember when Sherman Copelin was the favorite boogeyman in New Orleans politics? Cynthia Willard Lewis lost a closely contested race for city council at large when Jackie Clarkson accused her of being supported by Copelin. Say what you want about Sherman, but he ain’t got nothing on Henderson and Reilly. So far, Henderson and Reilly have been able to hide behind the scenes. But if they want to be true prime time political players, they are going to have to come out of the back rooms. What happens then?
When this short election cycle is over, the political establishment will put them on front street. Will future candidates be comfortable saying I’m proudly endorsed by VOTE?
Can a couple of ex-con murderers really become the new face of politics in New Orleans? Or even major players? They entered the fray quickly and fiercely. And they represent and lead a loyal block of formerly incarcerated people whom they help and guide. And they have the experience and money to continue to push candidates they like. Is this a sustainable movement? Or will Fox Rich’s stinging words resonate with the voters of New Orleans. Our first test will be the two races we examined. We will see on March 25th. Get your popcorn ready.
NOLA Politics Disrupted
Kissing and making up is closer than you think, even after the worst arguments.
By Mark Travers Ph.D.
Disagreements and arguments, although uncomfortable, are a natural and even important part of any relationship. These are the rare times when you and your partner can openly voice conflicting ideas, speaking directly from the heart. Without such opportunities, relationship progress can be stunted. And a surface-level emotional bond can take the place of what could be a much deeper connection.
The strength of a relationship is measured less by the two partners’ ability to avoid arguments and more by how they emerge as a couple after a conflict. Think of it like a controlled fire—the short-term damage allows for a healthier long-term ecosystem.
Here are three things to do to reconnect and recover after an argument with your partner.
After the screaming, stonewalling, and/or criticizing subsides, take some time to process your experience with your partner to prevent yourself from fighting about the same thing in the future. You probably don’t want to do this right after the fight. Give it some time, perhaps a few hours or even a day or two, to let the nerves settle.
Make sure you take responsibility for your role in the argument. Focus on finding a compromise instead of a victory.
A study published in the Journal of Family Psychology found that couples that focused on actively repairing their relationship and gaining new perspectives had an easier time regaining their intimacy than couples who either avoided talking about the fight or simply let it go.
Here are a few steps you can follow to process the argument in a healthy way:
Remember: Fighting about the same thing again and again is never a good sign. (In such cases, couples’ therapy may be warranted.) New arguments that bring fresh resolutions, however, can be healthy and constructive for the relationship.
Arguments with your partner can leave you feeling distant or disturbed. To rekindle the affection, go back to the basics and revisit the foundation of your relationship. Embrace the things that you enjoy about your partner by expressing verbally and physically what attracts you to them.
It may surprise you how much of a difference a simple gesture like a hug, an expression of gratitude, or a request to spend time together can make. In fact, a study published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships suggests, not surprisingly, that those partners who give and receive affectionate touch from each other on a regular basis are happier and report higher relationship satisfaction.
The idea is to bring back the familiarity of the intimate space that you shared with your partner, which was temporarily lost during the conflict. Your time together post-fight can feel even more special once both of you have repaired the crack in the relationship together.
Spending quality time together trying out new activities, especially ones that invoke laughter, can deepen your bond. An article published in Current Directions in Psychological Science explains how sharing laughter is associated with feelings of safety and closeness in a relationship.
Laughing at the same thing reinforces the notion that you and your partner share a similar outlook on the world and, hence, adds depth to your experiences. Getting in touch with your inner child—painting, playing games, spending time at the arcade, etc.—can help you and your partner connect in a fun yet meaningful way.
Reminding yourself and your partner that you can still have fun together is reassuring and can help you put rough patches in perspective.
Main Difference – Anxiety vs Depression
Anxiety and depression are two different disorders which run along similar lines. These share many common features. But it is highly important to distinguish one from the other, especially for the therapeutic purposes. The main difference between anxiety and depression is their symptoms. A person suffering from anxiety will feel apprehensive about one’s future and will have worried thoughts. Whereas a person suffering from depression will feel hopeless about the future and will imagine worst case scenarios. Depression can occur in a person following an attack of anxiety. This is the main reason why these two conditions are difficult to be identified clearly in an affected person.
Anxiety is usually characterized by doubtful and vulnerable thoughts about future events, which have not happened yet. People suffering from this condition are extremely worried about their future goals and targets, and they fear that they will ultimately become a failure. Affected people will complain of anxious thoughts involving various life events, unexplainable physical sensations, and self-guarding behavioral patterns. One of the hardest things for anxious people to do is, explaining what they are going through and what they are feeling to others, which is a good catch- up line for psychiatrists in making the diagnosis.
People who are depressed do not show the same fear and doubtful thoughts about their future like those who are with anxiety. Instead, they are certain that their future is going to be disastrous. They highly believe in their own perceptions about horrible things which are going to take place in the future. Depressed people are often sad, have no interest in enjoying things they used to enjoy before, feel hopeless and lonely, have difficulty in concentrating, and suffer from sleepless nights, sleepy day times or change in the sleep pattern, experience unexplained physical aches, change in appetite and feelings of death and suicide.
Moreover, depressed people often think that it is not worth to try to get over a bad future. They have taken the negative thoughts into their heads in such a severe manner, that there is no choice left for them rather than facing the disastrous future or committing suicide.
The best way to differentiate anxiety and depression from one another includes the careful observation of the behavior of the affected people and listening to their feelings and experiences.
Anxiety: Anxious people will be uncertain about things which might happen, develop fearful sensations and start worrying about them. These disturbing thoughts will give rise to feelings of escaping or avoiding certain things, just to get rid of further anxiety.
Depression: Depressed people ‘know’ that their future is going to be disastrous; they picture their future with worst possible scenarios that can happen. As a result, they become hopeless with no positive beliefs about life. They tend to think over and over again about these imagined negative life events, and ultimately reach a point which carries the thought of escaping from life; suicide.
Anxiety: Anxiety can be early symptoms of depression.
Depression: Depression can occur in a person following an attack of anxiety since they might feel hopeless and drained after dreadful thoughts about a bad future.
Anxiety: Bodily symptoms will occur only after an intense attack.
Depression: A depressed person may not need a huge trigger to develop characteristic physical changes.
Bodily Symptoms and Responses
Anxiety: A person with an attack of anxiety will often show a flight or fight response which includes shaking, sweating, raced heartbeat, flushing, bowel needs (nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea), hyperventilation and the need to run. Their bodies will often look tense and rigid. Also, they might get the symptoms of underlying co-morbidities triggered. For example, a heart patient who is on anti-arrhythmic drugs might develop palpitation or chest pain together with the other symptoms of anxiety.
Depression: A depressed person will appear hopeless, drained and energy-less. Their faces will often look blank without emotions, prefer staying still or have very slow movements. They will also experience changes in sleeping pattern, appetite and association with other people. They would rather spend time alone than hanging out with friends like they used to do.
It is highly encouraged to identify the affected individuals and help them to seek medical advice because both these conditions can lead to secondary effects of one another, which will drastically pull down the individual performance and quality of life.
Black people. We rarely vet political candidates. And that’s a problem. Big time. Usually a candidate is given to us. Usually a candidate is referred to us by some pork-chop eating pastor. Civil Rights activists that are sponsored by mainstream media and paid by the same establishment also love vouching for candidates for us.
And all the candidate referred to us has to do is give a rousing speech with a few quotable lines. And we eat that up. If they give a thoughtful interview or win a debate with a few valid points, we give our full support. We never present an agenda and a list of demands for that candidate or more less, ask them what their agenda is and what they’ll do for our community. We definitely need to start doing that.
A few times there were small pockets of grassroots leaders that tried to vet political candidates. The problem is that if the candidate got upset that they were being questioned, the leaders quickly back off. Or if they vehemently shoot down our requests, we stop applying pressure. We need to keep the pressure up.
Most of the political candidates, both Democrat and Republicans of other races scoff at our demands. The only difference is that a Republican will ignore Black existence as a whole. But a Democratic candidate might condescend to us by showing up at a Black event to do a little dance. They use some trendy slang in a cringey manner, and even joke about how much they love fried chicken. But they will still dismiss you the minute your present your list of demands. And they even get offended that we would even demand benefits. They don’t do this with other ethnic groups and cultural groups.
We have to vet Black so-called leaders and slick-talking non-Black politicians who the mainstream media makes famous by constantly displaying them. Most of the leaders are bank-rolled by White liberal organizations. Those puppet leaders then come to us and tell us to have blind faith in whatever politician the mainstream media wants to win an election. We need to vet the political candidates and the leaders that hype them up to us.
It is counterproductive to support a candidate who’s only talking point is that the opposition is way worse. They’ll always try to scare us by saying the big, bad boogeyman racist that they are running against will plunge us further down a dark whole. We approach politics from a place of lack and a negative below 0, what-we-want-to-avoid as opposed to a numerical plus, what-we-want-to-gain approach.
And if any of these candidates ignore us and dismiss us, we need to withdraw support from them. And we need to clown and deride whatever puppet Black leader the media throws at us as and send him back to his masters crying. The Black puppets bosses should be scratching their heads trying to figure out the next and best way to finesse us for blind support. And we need to stand on our square and keep applying the pressure.