The Digital trail…

July 20, 2020

Toronto Star – Betsy Powell and Alyshaw Hasham
Inside Ontario’s first major criminal trial by Zoom

The Zoom effort saw informal exchanges and departure from the usual dress as well as a pleasing reaction from defense lawyer Reid Rusonik, defending a man on gun charges.  Rusonik wrote an e-mail assessing the experience:  “The process is much more efficient and, more importantly, egalitarian and fair. The accused aren’t shoved away in a box, and the defence also has its office and resources nearby.”  The video trail was partially response to the Covid-19 virus and partly to a crowded calendar and offers some hope that practice will also bring better efficiency than the usual trial scene.

The (US) – Ta-Nehisi Coates
The Case for Reparations – Two hundred fifty years of slavery. Ninety years of Jim Crow. Sixty years of separate but equal. Thirty-five years of racist housing policy. Until we reckon with our compounding moral debts, America will never be whole.

The article is a revealing look at why the notion of reparations will likely be the next critical discussion and pursuit in the racial tensions.  The article is also linked to other articles that contextualize the struggle for Black people in the US to own property and to maintain the ownership in the face of blatantly dishonest practices supported by law intended to disadvantage Black citizens.  This article uses Clyde Ross and his family, Mississippians, later Chicagoans and the use of ‘contract selling’ to illustrate the long endured practices to disenfranchise poor Black. Coates includes a map of Chicago showing housing that the Federal Housing Administration, set up in 1934, categorized according to the number of Black people living in the section and then applied “redlining” segregation principles to selling and ownership.   Related article:  The Gillian B. White   How Did We Get Here?  163 years of The Atlantic’s writing on race and racism in America  (A listing of 18 articles – with direct links – on racism)   Related article: YouTube: Elizabeth Warren on How the Housing Crisis is a Racial Justice Failure  (27 minute video)   Related article: The (US) – John Rice  The Difference Between First-Degree Racism and Third-Degree Racism – Only when people align on what racist behavior looks like will we be able to take practical steps to make those behaviors costly.

National Museum of African American History & Culture
Hidden Herstory: The Leesburg Stockade Girls

Today, July 19, is Mandela Day.  The link is to a historic incident in Americus, Georgia at the same time that Martin Luther King was delivering his ‘I have a dream speech’ in Washington, DC in July of 1963. The co-incidence of the two may be opportune for realizing how deeply the hurt and the hope prompted by racism. It is also illustrative of the role of innocent children over the years.   Related article: The Intercept – Ryan Devereaux   Leaked Documents Show Police Knew Far-Right Extremists Were the Real Threat at Protests, Not “Antifa”

Blogger Jane Mulcahy
Sawbonna: A Law and Justice interview with Margot van Sluytman

Mulcahy has a series entitled How to talk policy and influence people, all available at the link.  This one with Margo speaks about victim focused restorative justice.  Sawbonna: I see you.

 N.Y. Times – David Heska Wanbli Weiden
This 19th-Century Law Helps Shape Criminal Justice in Indian Country – And that’s a problem — especially for Native American women, and especially in rape cases.

The perspective is in the light of the recent US Supreme Court ruling about jurisdiction over serious crimes committed on reservation land in a considerable portion of South East Oklahoma. In 1885, Congress gave the feds jurisdiction after a case that established Indigenous jurisdiction and the legitimacy of the use of a RJ approach.  Shortly after the USSC ruled, the parties agreed to the traditional approach: minor crime to the Indigenous, major crime to the feds.  But there is a hiccup: “Although the percentages vary from year to year, federal officials frequently refuse to prosecute murders, assaults and sex crimes referred from tribal or state police departments. In 2018, 39 percent of all referred crimes were declined, and over a quarter of those cases were sexual assaults against children and adults.”  What’s a victim to do?   Related article: The (US) – Russell Berman   The State Where Protests Have Already Forced Major Police Reform – A first-in-the-nation Colorado law aimed at police accountability has activists celebrating and officers worrying.   Related article: N.Y.Times  (US) – Adam Liptak   A Timely Case on Police Violence at the Supreme Court – The justices will hear arguments in October over whether excessive force claims against the police are barred when the people they shoot get away.


Beautiful words by

John Lewis, R.I.P.

“Anchor the eternity of love in your own soul and embed this planet with goodness. Lean toward the whispers of your own heart, discover the universal truth, and follow its dictates. Release the need to hate, to harbor division, and the enticement of revenge. Release all bitterness. Hold only love, only peace in your heart, knowing that the battle of good to overcome evil is already won. Choose confrontation wisely, but when it is your time don’t be afraid to stand up, speak up, and speak out against injustice. And if you follow your truth down the road to peace and the affirmation of love, if you shine like a beacon for all to see, then the poetry of all the great dreamers and philosophers is yours to manifest in a nation, a world community, and a Beloved Community that is finally at peace with itself.”

John Lewis

Rest in Love