We need to be talking about this matter as part of our continuing education on Civil Rights, not just putting a poster or picture of Rev., Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in February, or offer MLK Day discounts of goods stores want to sell in the "Market Economy". MLK Day January 19, is a day on, not just another day off.
We need to embrace our beloved community every day all year long. This is the economics of our community, and is not based of the GNP, but rather on the civility we say we are moving towards. Let us all learn from Deborah's dis-ease of "shopping while black" in her Mashpee super market here in the Cape Cod market place. We can be and act better than this folks!
I believe Consumer Racial Profiling is indicative of the continuation of our greater community’s lack of knowledge and understanding as to what our responsibilities are for those of us who enjoy “white privilege. " How can anyone stand still and be silent?
In Harwich of the days of yore, Captain Jonathan Walker was branded on his hand with the initials of SS for slave stealer.
The town folks in Harwich back then thought that Jonathan should mind his own business and return from the Florida and Caribbean region and tend to the families lumber mill ran, from East Harwich in the 1830’s . When the town certainly allowed wind mills with out any controversy.
Very little local support was granted to Jonathan Walker as he lingered in his prison cell in Florida. The Walkers family not only needed to pay for his imprisonment, but he also lost his boat and lively hood for the acts of courage for taking former slaves to West Indies Islands and Mexico, before Mexico as annexed to become the Lone Star, non free, Republic of Texas.
Later a group of northern abolitionists raised funds for his release and bond. He than traveled around the country lecturing on the abolition of slavery. He even came back to Cape Cod along with Fredrick Douglass whom he had met in New Bedford.
He later wrote about his experience in the book sold at abolitionists meetings around the country.
Jonathan's wonderful quote -
“If you are against slavery, you must be a “come-outer” or if you are not, you must be “stay-putter”!
During his youth, Walker was captain of a fishing vessel, but around 1840 he went to Florida and became a railroad contractor. He was interested in the condition of the slaves, and in 1844 aided several of them in an attempt to make their escape in an open boat from the coast of Florida to the British West Indies. After doubling the capes, he was prostrated by illness; the crew, being ignorant of navigation, would all have been drowned if they had not been rescued by a wrecking sloop that took Walker to Key West. From there, he was sent in chains to Pensacola, where he was put in prison, chained to the floor, and deprived of light and proper food.
Upon his trial in a United States court, Walker was convicted, sentenced to be heavily fined, put on the pillory, and branded on his right hand with a hot iron with the letters "S. S." for "slave-stealer". But to some he was "slave savior".
A United States marshal executed the sentence. He was then returned to jail, where he was confined eleven months, and released only after the payment of his fine by northern abolitionists. For five years after his release, he lectured on slavery in the northern and western states. He moved to Michigan about 1850, where he lived near Muskegon until his death. A monument was erected to his memory on August 1, 1878.
Walker was the subject of John Greenleaf Whittier's poem "The Man with the Branded Hand". Whittier heard about Walker's actions after reading a book about him called Trial and Imprisonment of Jonathan Walker. The poem praised Walker's actions. Upon his return to New England, abolitionists hailed Walker as a hero and martyr. John Greenleaf Whittier wrote a poem in 1846 titled “The Branded Hand.” The most famous stanza of that poem went:
Bold plowman of the wave
Its branded palm shall prophesy
Salvation for the slave.”
TRIAL AND IMPRISONMENT
What is Deborah Saldane guilty of ?
Being an African-American - Yes!
Being a Native American (Blackfeet Nation) decendent - Yes!
Being a woman - Yes!
Being 60 years old - Yes!
Being disabled from cancerous tumor on her leg - Yes!
Someone who walks with a cane and while shopping puts her cane and purse atop an ADA super market carriage for better support- Yes!
Purchasing a Morning Cape Cod Times -Yes!
Purchasing a cup of tea inside Starbucks which is located in Roche Brothers store - Yes!
Someone who was committed to being a teacher in the Mashpee school system for over 15 years - Yes!
A loving mother - Yes! A loving grandmother - Yes!
Was Deborah waiting for her American Cancer Association volunteer driver to take her to Cape Cod Hospital for Chemotherapy- Yes!
Is Deborah a strong women who stands for all of our rights - Yes!
But stealing food NO!
Should we not wrap the very same symbol of freedom around Ms. Saldana shoulders which was proudly flown last week on Cape Cod when, a another fallen soldier was honored for his sacrifice for civil rights and freedom from oppression for Deborah Saldana's as well as for all of our own civil rights and freedom.
We like Jonathan Walker, must never forget our own privilege which makes us OK when shopping while white?
I quote from Dr. Jerome Williams piece - "The United States has legally addressed the issue of consumer racial profiling, however limited the effort. The U.S. Congress designed the Civil Rights Act of 1866 to ensure "that a dollar in the hands of a Negro will purchase the same thing as a dollar in the hands of a white" person. In 1989, the U.S. Supreme Court described the purpose of Section #1981 of the 1866 act as follows: "The aim of the statute is to remove the impediment of discrimination from a minority citizen's ability to participate fully and equally in the marketplace."
"The Civil Rights Act of 1964 further provides that: "All persons shall be entitled to the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, and accommodations of any place of public accommodation." This law aims "to eliminate the unfairness, humiliation, and insult of racial discrimination in facilities which purport to serve the general public."
Deborah Saldana, is a 60 year old Afro-American woman and resident of Mashpee, Massachusetts. Deborah’s grandfather was William Ulysses Boone, a member of the Blackfeet people and he was born on reservation in Oklahoma during the “Trail of Tears".
Ms. Saldana is also a local member of Mashpee branch of Jehovah Witnesses and congregational member Mashpee Kingdom Hall.
Remember and understand this! Jehovah Witnesses don't not grandstand about realms, other than the Kingdom of God's realms and domain!
"Whenever someone in our community is wronged, the whole community is wronged!" Edgar Cahn
Deborah is in the midst of chemotherapeutic treatment of cancer. She does not drive, but does use public transportation from her home near the entrance of Camp Edwards /Otis air force base on Cape Cod. On Wednesday July 29, 2009 a friend gave her a ride to Roche Brothers and while waiting for her American Cancer Society volunteer driver to transport her to Cape Cod Hospital for treatment.
Ms. Saldana has a cancerous tumor on her leg and walks with a cane. That's is why she uses a cart to lean on, bought her paper, and then goes for a cup of tea at Starbucks Cafe which is located with inside the Roche Brothers (this is a store in a story situation), before transferring to the her ride.
She also occasional uses the restrooms at the store because she does not get back home until after 4pm. The manager is reported in the press to say he had observed Ms. Saldana put meat in her bag. Why would anyone women put a raw packaged of meat in their bag and keep it with them for 7/8 hours ? Ms. Saldana told me the manager asked her “where are you hiding the pork”?
Certainly Roche Brothers was not spending their “pork” in loss prevention, shoplifting determination and accepted consumer racial profiling protocols.
Read the press accounts on my blog and examine this incident yourselves !
Editor's Note: John Bangert