The Department of Justice released a 164-page report on the city of Baltimore Police Department that is a scathing condemnation of widespread racism and civil rights violations over several decades, including discrimination against women.Like the earlier national report on the Ferguson, Mo., police department, this Aug. 10 report has become national news.The report comes about 16 months after the death of Freddie Gray, a Black youth who suffered fatal injuries while being transported by Baltimore police in a van. Since then, and after the “not guilty” decisions that cleared the police involved in his arrest and transport of any misdoings, there have been continued protest demonstrations and some confrontations between the police and the Black community.Workers World newspaper interviewed revolutionary socialist candidates Andre Powell, who is running for mayor of Baltimore, and Sharon Black, who is running for City Council president. Both are local organizers for Workers World Party and the People’s Power Assembly. Both candidates are active in the local struggle against police terror.WW: What is your reaction to the DOJ report?Powell: First, we should take note of the timing of this report. It came out after the charges were dropped against the police in the Freddie Gray trial. The timing is disappointing if not actually suspect.Black: I would like to add that we have been pointing out the exact same points this report makes, but for several decades. And we were not quiet about it. There have been countless protests, marches and some of us have even gone to jail protesting these abuses.So it’s not new to us and certainly not to the community. The report is all fine and good, but the lack of any substantial solutions or conclusions is glaring.You should know that on the ground nothing has really transpired other than lots of talk of so-called reform. Life for those in the community remains miserable in terms of police terror. There hasn’t even been one firing of the police who have actually been exposed in this report. This is incredible when you think about it.Powell: I and my running mate, Sharon Black, are calling for the disarming, divestment and disbanding of racist police. These are immediate steps.Black: Police are an occupying army in the poor and Black community of Baltimore. They need to get out. There is a tremendous amount of propaganda that says we need the cops and repression but genuine facts do not support this.Baltimore city rates as one of the top five cities in the United States that have the highest percentage of police per person and yet violence and crime are still prevalent. Our campaign has insisted that the only way to improve the quality of life for the people in our communities is to provide jobs and education. The people must have power to end the severe alienation and powerlessness that turns people’s anger inward and at each other.Powell: Yes, the police are basically a tool of capitalist rule. Ultimately, they need to be abolished along with ICE [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] and the Pentagon.To continue the day-to-day struggle against police brutality, the People’s Power Assembly, which we work in, the Baltimore chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and the Ujima Peoples Progress Party are building for a major march and rally for justice for Korryn Gaines, a 23-year-old mother who was shot to death by Baltimore County police on Aug. 2. FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare this
The US Small Business Administration announced today that Essex, Orange and Washington counties in Vermont have been added to the disaster declaration for Private Non-Profit Organizations (PNPs) that do not provide critical services of a governmental nature. Sept. 6, 2011 is the deadline to submit a disaster loan application for physical damages caused by the severe storms and flooding that occurred on May 26-27. PNPs that do not provide critical services of a governmental nature in Caledonia County are also eligible for disaster loans from the SBA. Examples of eligible non-critical PNP organizations include, but are not limited to, food kitchens, homeless shelters, museums, libraries, community centers, schools and colleges.PNPs may borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory and other business assets. The SBA also offers mitigation funds to help borrowers pay for protective measures to minimize damages of the same kind in the future.The SBA also offers Economic Injury Disaster Loans to help meet working capital needs, such as ongoing operating expenses to PNPs of all sizes. Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance is available regardless of whether the organization suffered any physical property damage.Interest rates are as low as 3 percent with terms up to 30 years. The SBA sets loan amounts and terms based on each applicant’s financial condition.Disaster loan information and application forms may be obtained by calling the SBA’s Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 (800-877-8339 for people with speech or hearing disabilities) Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET or by sending an e-mail to [email protected](link sends e-mail). Applications can also be downloaded from www.sba.gov(link is external). Completed applications should be mailed to: U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Forth Worth, TX 76155.Those affected by the disaster may also apply for disaster loans electronically from SBA’s website at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/(link is external). The filing deadline to return applications for physical property damage is September 6, 2011. The deadline to return economic injury applications is April 9, 2012.