American artist’s post-Trump mural


Tatyana Fazlalizadeh and her mural

By Priscilla Frank, Arts Writer, The Huffington Post in the USA:

Street Artist Delivers Powerful Message To White America

“America is black. It is Native. It wears a hijab … “

11/29/2016 08:39 am ET | Updated 9 hours ago

Oklahoma has voted Republican in every presidential election since 1968, and this year’s result was no different. Donald Trump won 65.3 percent of the state’s vote.

A powerful work of public art mounted in Oklahoma City on Sunday addresses those who gave credence to the racist, xenophobic and misogynistic language that dominated the president-elect’s campaign.

The piece, by street artist Tatyana Fazlalizadeh, pays homage to black Americans, Muslim Americans, American women, Latino Americans, and American immigrants ― all the populations deemed “other” and so loudly forsaken by the dangerous rhetoric of Trump’s camp.

“After the election, I immediately knew I wanted to make some public art during my trip to Oklahoma in a few weeks for Thanksgiving,” the artist wrote in a comment in Instagram. “I wanted to make something in a very Republican state that was a challenge to whiteness. So, I used a couple of recent drawings, one old drawing, and a drawing I did the day before installing this of my mother, to put together a diverse group of folks.”

The piece reads: “America is black. It is Native. It wears a hijab. It is a Spanish speaking tongue. It is migrant. It is a woman. It is here. Has been here. And it’s not going anywhere.”

“This piece was done specifically to challenge whiteness and the accepted idea of who an American is,” Fazlalizadeh wrote in an email to The Huffington Post. “This work is located in Oklahoma, a very red, Republican state. The site of this piece is just as important to its intent. This work is declaring that people who are non-white and male are a part of this country, are integral to this country, and are not going anywhere.”

The election of Donald Trump has ignited incensed artists and writers around the country, turning creatives into activists. Fazlalizadeh, however, used her artistic prowess to fight social injustice long before Trump was announced president elect.

Fazlalizadeh is best known for her project “Stop Telling Women to Smile”, which highlighted and combated the gender-based street harassment endured by so many around the world. The public artworks juxtapose images of women with the words they wish they could lodge at those who catcalled them, including “My name is not Baby” and “Women are not outside for your entertainment.”

If you are in the Oklahoma City area and wish to see Fazlalizadeh’s work in person, don’t hesitate; the piece, installed using wheatpaste, is meant to be ephemeral. Given its public setting, it could also be subjected to vandalism or other visual reactions.

As many around the country fear for their futures under a leader whose definition of an American fails to include them, we look to artists like Fazlalizadeh to depict in simple and striking terms what it has always and will always mean to be an American.

Oklahoma, USA police kill unarmed African American for broken down car


This 19 September 2016 video from the USA is called Tulsa Police Shoot and Kill Unarmed 40-year-old Terence Crutcher.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Calls for murder probe after police killing of black man

Wednesday 21st September 2016

POLICE in the US city of Tulsa faced calls for a murder inquiry on Monday after released video showed an unarmed black man shot dead by officers had his hands up.

Father-of-four Terence Crutcher was killed on Friday after police saw his car broken down in the middle of the road.

They apparently tasered and surrounded Mr Crutcher before shooting him as he lay on the ground.

His twin sister Tiffany Crutcher called for the charges against the officers, while the American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma said Mr Crutcher was left to bleed while police stood by.

Civil rights lawyer Benjamin Crump, who represented the family of black teenage shooting victim Trayvon Martin, said Mr Crutcher had committed no crime and officers had no reason to shoot him.

“When unarmed people of colour break down on the side of the road, we’re not treated as citizens needing help,” he said.

“So I guess it’s a crime now to be a big black man,” Mr Crump said. “My God, help us.”

The Tulsa Police Department (TPD) released helicopter and dashboard video on Monday showing the police killing of 40-year-old Terence Crutcher. Crutcher, unarmed and not a suspect in any crime, was surrendering peacefully when police officers simultaneously shot him with a stun gun and a pistol: here.

Cop Who Shot Terence Crutcher Has History Of Drug Use, Domestic Disturbances. Aren’t these the characteristics that describe a “thug”? Here.

84-year-old Oklahoma, USA woman pepper sprayed by police


This video from the USA says about itself:

Cops Pepper Spray 84-Year-Old Black Woman

30 August 2016

After allegedly rolling a stop sign, a young black male ran from the police. They chased him to the home of 84-year-old Geneva Smith, who they pepper sprayed in the face. Cenk Uygur and Ana Kasparian, hosts of The Young Turks, break it down. Tell us what you think in the comment section below.

“On Aug. 7, police officers in Muskogee, Oklahoma, chased a suspect into the home of 84-year-old Geneva Smith and ended up pepper spraying her. On Friday, local Fox News outlet Fox23 released body cam footage of the encounter, raising the questions: Why was pepper spray necessary or appropriate? …

Read more here.

Sexually abusive Catholic priest relocated, not fired


This video from the USA says about itself:

Church Relocates Convicted Predator Priest To New Church

27 April 2016

A priest convicted of inappropriately touching a 19-year-old woman, has been reassigned to a new church. The priest has gone from San Diego to a new parish in Oklahoma. Ana Kasparian and Brett Erlich, hosts of The Young Turks, break it down. Tell us what you think in the comment section below.

“Fr. Jose Alexis Davila was convicted of inappropriately touching a 19-year-old woman in San Diego in 2011. Like most priests who have been caught or convicted of sex acts, Davila went to another church. The problem, however, is no one at the church was told about his crimes.

When the church of the Blessed Sacrament in Lawton, Oklahoma was introduced to Davila they were told only that “he has pastoral experience in the United States” but nothing about his criminal past or even the name of his previous church. None of the members had any idea he was convicted for groping a teenager, according to KFOR News.”

Read more here.

Policeman serial rapist of poor black women in Oklahoma, USA


This 10 December 2015 video from Oklahoma in the USA is called Former cop Daniel Holtzclaw convicted on 13 thirteen counts.

By Melissa Jeltsen in the USA today:

Oklahoma Ex-Cop Convicted Of Serial Rape

Daniel Holtzclaw faces a possible sentence of life imprisonment.

Daniel Holtzclaw, a former Oklahoma City police officer who was accused of sexually assaulting 13 black women while on duty, was found guilty of rape and sexual battery on Thursday.

An all-white jury that deliberated for more than 45 hours over four days acquitted Holtzclaw of 18 of the 36 charges he faced involving the assaults. But the 18 charges on which he was convicted, including four counts of first-degree rape, carry a possible sentence of life imprisonment. The jury also convicted him of forcible oral sodomy, second-degree rape, sexual battery and procuring lewd exhibition. Sentencing was scheduled for next month. …

Grace Franklin, activist and co-founder of OKC Artists For Justice, who has been organizing support for the victims, said she, too, was satisfied.

“It was obvious some of the survivors were not believed by the jury and that is a disappointment,” Franklin told The Huffington Post in an email. “We want women who are disenfranchised to know that they will be believed. They can receive justice. We are awaiting the final sentencing on Jan. 21st and we want consecutive years. But tonight we breathe a sigh of relief and move forward.”

During the trial, 13 women testified that Holtzclaw sexually assaulted them. The charges included six first-degree rape counts. …

From NOS TV in the Netherlands on this (translated):

Poor background

According to the prosecutors Holtzclaw deliberately chose women who would not be believed soon by other police officers. All the victims were black and from a poor background.

So, if Daniel Holtzclaw’s victims would have been white and/or rich, then he might possibly have been stopped much sooner.

The Melissa Jeltsen article continues:

“He exercised authority on those society doesn’t care about,” Assistant District Attorney Gayland Gieger told jurors during closing arguments on Monday. …

According to The Oklahoman, Holtzclaw worked from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m., often by himself, patrolling one of the state’s poorest neighborhoods. The women’s testimonies revealed a similar pattern: Holtzclaw would stop them, search them for drug paraphernalia and run criminal background checks. Then he’d force them into sex, threatening them with arrest if they didn’t comply. …

During his closing arguments, he [Holtzclaw’s lawyer] called Holtzclaw an “honorable and ethical police officer” and claimed the witnesses who testified had no interest in the truth. …

An expert testified that DNA on Holtzclaw’s uniform pants matched that of the youngest accuser, who said she was 17 when Holtzclaw raped her on her mother’s porch.

She told the court that she didn’t tell authorities because she didn’t see the point. “What kind of police do you call on the police?” she asked.

The assaults occurred over a period of seven months, with Holtzclaw becoming “more bold, more brazen and more violent” as time went on, prosecutors argued.

One woman, who has been identified by local media as a 57-year-old grandmother, sparked the investigation after she told police that Holtzclaw forced her to give him oral sex during a traffic stop.

He was arrested in August 2014, and fired from the Oklahoma City Police Department in January 2015.

Victims Of Ex-Oklahoma Cop Convicted Of Serial Rape Speak Out

Michael Brown solidarity treated as crime in Missouri school


This video from the USA says about itself:

Oklahoma NAACP Journey for Justice March on Saturday, Nov. 29, 2014 in Oklahoma City. The march is in response to a grand jury’s decision not to indict Missouri Police Officer Darren Wilson in the death of Michael Brown, a young 18-year-old black male, in Ferguson, MO.

By Mariah Stewart in the USA:

Missouri High School Students Warned They Risk Serious Penalties For Walkout Protests

Posted: 12/05/2014 8:20 pm EST Updated: 12/05/2014 8:59 pm EST

HAZELWOOD, Missouri — After high school students across the country walked out of class earlier this week calling for greater police accountability, one school district in the very Missouri county where teenager Michael Brown was killed chose to highlight the repercussions for students who left their classrooms.

Hazelwood School District in north St. Louis County also consulted with local law enforcement to increase school security. The stricter security measures made Hazelwood West High School feel like “a prison,” one student said.

“At lunch there are officers at every exit, and you can’t leave class to use the bathroom without a police escort,” the student told The Huffington Post.

After Hazelwood high school students walked out on Tuesday, Superintendent Grayling Tobias issued a statement noting that the district does “not condone disruptive behavior.” On Wednesday, he provided an update warning that students will face consequences if they “choose to be disruptive.”

Students who participated in walkouts could face consequences affecting “A+ status, attendance at prom or graduation, participation in athletic or other extracurricular activities and academic grades,” Tobias announced. That “A+ status” refers to a program that awards students two tuition-free years at a junior college.

Tobias, who sits on the new Ferguson Commission formed by Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon (D), stated that the school district respects its students’ First Amendment rights. …

Some students at Hazelwood East High School were seen yelling at police officers during a walkout this week. According to the school district’s Facebook page, “students identified on the video did face consequences.” …

Hazelwood School District, which covers a large chunk of north St. Louis County, has three public high schools: Hazelwood West, East and Central. Nationally, it may be best known as the subject of a landmark 1988 Supreme Court decision holding that student newspapers at public high schools are not entitled to full First Amendment protections. That case arose after Hazelwood East administrators nixed articles about divorce and teen pregnancy from the student newspaper.

Earlier this week, high school students in the neighboring Ferguson/Florissant School District also took part in the nationwide walkouts. But their protests were treated more like a field trip on free speech and public dissent — and didn’t come with heavy consequences.

Alphonse Boure, 15, a student at McCluer South-Berkeley High in Ferguson, said his school’s walkout was supported by the head principal.

“At first, the kids were all rowdy because we didn’t think the principal was going to go with it — until he told us to go to the auditorium. We sat down and we talked about it. He said if this is what we want to do, then he’ll walk with us. We walked down the street. Then we got on a bus to take us back to school,” said Boure.

He suggested the principal’s presence was part of the reason he decided to join the demonstration. “I felt safe because I was with the principal. If I just walked out and there wasn’t any guards around, then I would’ve felt like I was in trouble,” said Boure.

Similarly, at Normandy High, the school that Brown had attended, the superintendent and principal joined students in protesting on Friday, according to a St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter.