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Blog: #Humanity Matters

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How to Combat the Oppressor During a Pandemic

June 1, 2020

Kelvin Lassiter

                                            "I CAN'T BREATHE" 8:46


"The oppressor cant stand the mobilization and strategic response of minorities. Even more, they can't stand the victory of the oppressed when it has witnessed that their attempt at supremacy has failed."

                                                                                                      Save Us Now Inc.


While this nation is in a season​ unseen in close to 100 years, it is not a new movie. It's called "Rinse and Repeat." Spanish flu plagued our nation for three years beginning in 1918. In 1921, the Tulsa race riots changed the landscape of a city. The alleged act of violence by a black man with no evidence destroyed black wall street. Fast forward to 2020 with video footage of a unarmed black man being killed has become problematic. A Minneapolis police officer changed the course of this nation with his reckless decision to ignore humanity.


This is the second time in recent memory the words "I Can't Breathe" has penetrated our psyche. It must and can be the last. Here's how:


1. The power of the pen. While looting is the voice of the unheard (Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.) it must not remain spent energy. The same energy used to tear down your own community (which absolutely makes no sense by the way) please use to tear up the road on your way to the ballot box (local elections first, federal second). Start sitting on citizen review boards in your local community. That's how your voice can be heard. One Pew Research survey found that only 27% of poor police officers are held accountable for their actions. Please learn how people with power think so you can fight power with power. 

                           REDIRECT THE PAIN: "I CAN'T BREATHE"


2. Vote and by all means, register people to vote! Stop calling talk shows and do something. Call your elected officials instead. You have the power, you put them there to work for you! People have fought and died, please do not let their hard work be done in vain. It can take 8 minutes and 46 seconds or less to register someone to vote. Better yet, request a mail in ballot (if your city or state allows you to do so). If police brutality really interests you, do it for something other than burning down you own community. Remember, those businesses serve the minority community in most cases.  Those business owners in most cases worked their whole lives to achieve their dreams. You don't have the right to take it from them. You want something to burn? Blaze your own "ass" down the road to the polls. How about that? Set that on fire. Leave a trail for others to follow. To whom it may concern: The weed and street corners will still be there waiting on you when you get back. What is going to be: The Ballot or the Bullet? (Malcolm X)

                                REDIRECT THE PAIN: "I CAN'T BREATHE"


3. Money & Power go hand in hand. While cities are losing millions of dollars in their coffers, it has not prevented the killing of unarmed African Americans. Our experience has been JUST-US, not justice. Since this is the case, then every time a police officer unjustifiably brutalizes or kills an unarmed in custody citizen, then their pension should automatically be revoked. That way if they are found "not guilty", then the oppressor has felt the pain they themselves have distributed. The oppressor understands two things: The success of supremacy and the success of the oppressed defeating their attempted supremacy.  We can get satisfaction in watching "the agony of defeat." There's no greater joy than watching the oppressed retaking their rightful place in society. 


I'll leave you with this quote from Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley D - MA 7: "Those closest to the pain, should be closest to the power." 

                         FAILED SUPREMACY = HISTORIC OUTCOMES

                       REDIRECT THE PAIN "I CAN'T BREATHE" 8:46

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It's Time for Open Heart Surgery

May 26, 2020

The unofficial beginning of summer has continued a perilous path. Our country has been consumed with solving a pandemic and rightfully so. That's going to be a challenge without the proper tools, a plan, and a vaccine.


There's another existing problem that could use a cure. The way we treat each other, our behavior  with each another. We must co-exist. At the time our country needs focus on several fronts, behavior should not be one of them. We are and may always be "a divided nation." Rich vs. poor, white vs. black, or kill because I can, we have a heart problem. No, not in the traditional sense where the doctor prescribes medicine. This is more severe. It's what we see or think when we look at another human being. Bias may exist based on human experiences. Things in our control such as denied mail in voting, I fear for my life because of bird watching, or "I Can't Breathe!" should not exist.


For the poor or people of color, it's guilty before prove innocent. Innocent before proven guilty in most cases exists for the rich and law enforcement. We know the problems, here's the solution: "it's time for open heart surgery."  This procedure will take more than skilled doctors, nurses, and a clean up crew. Time to dig deep within and examine what's in our hearts, hate or love. There's no in between, it's one or the other. The two can't co exist in the same space. You either shine in the marvelous light or operate in the night of darkness. There will be some that choose light and some will choose dark. Realize that the choice you make in the development of your heart affects everyone worldwide. 


A vaccine is not as far away as one may think. The cure is to simply transform and renew our minds minute by minute. It's important so our nation can become healthy and whole. 

May 18, 2020

The Power of the Advocate

By: Kelvin Lassiter


One hot button topic that has surfaced among service providers and the general public is "how do we approach the homeless during COVID - 19?"  To my surprise, one would think just like any other situation with a few exceptions. Advocates and service providers are used to change at any given moment to provide service to the less fortunate. 


During a May 14th webinar with HUD Special Needs and Assistance Programs office, over 400 service providers and advocates tuned in for answers. Many suggestions were offered during an empowering one hour session. The following three solutions are a result of what was discussed during the webinar. 


1.  Extend an act of compassion - While it is wise to practice social distancing during this season, engaging the homeless is no different. Give your name and why you decided to pay a visit. If you were once homeless, offer that intel as well. People can sense when someone is genuine and cares about people. Also, come bearing gifts as well! Bottled water, and hand soap can reduce spreading germs and coronavirus. Since restaurants and most stores are closed, this is a good way to have access to exercising good hygiene. 


2.  Donations - If a person is not physically able to serve, then consider helping if possible by giving to homeless agencies so the work can continue. While this is a challenging time financially, some are fortunate enough where their lives have not been disrupted. This also can help with homeless prevention so emergency rental assistance can be provided. There are currently 33 million unemployed citizens and a great number of those may find themselves with nowhere to live soon.


3.  Politicians - Flood the phone banks and emails of your elected officials. While proposed legislation has been introduced of $100 billion in relief of emergency services, there has been pushback. It is a much appreciated financial lift, however, it will not be enough to counter the potential citizens who may join the unhoused category. 


Lawmakers have taken a wait and see approach. We cannot wait! Top income earners decide the fate of the bottom half of income earners in America. While some decisions are spot on, some are not relatable. It's complicated for a decision maker to think rationally about the poor if that individual hasn't stepped across that threshold themselves. This is why the American people become valuable. The power is still in our hands, we have the real power. It can be revealed the first Tuesday in November at the voting booth!


Here are some suggestions for homeless prevention:


1. Congress  must restore funding amounts for homelessness to make up for 35 years of slashing funds. Total the amount of funds reduced and add to the current budget will provide much needed permanent supportive housing and rental assistance.


2. Use asset forfeiture homes seized during tax fraud or drug raids to use for housing the homeless.


3. Remove negative credit blemish from rental history unless renter committed a violent or sex crime.


The United States face a crossroads that have not been seen in close to 100 years. A lot of uncertainty is present during this lifetime. Young people not being able to get jobs. People that just started jobs now are unemployed, and our nations elderly are more vulnerable than ever before. The pandemic just added to already existing concerns. Now what do we do about it? Something that doesn't cost money is "Empowerment!" This is the time to think outside of the box and how to plan your next move. What if the government decides not to help the American people? What would you do? You may not have all of the answers at this moment but find out the answers as quick as you can! In the meantime, find someone else you know that may face challenging times and empower them to move forward. No one said it will be easy, but it is necessary to press on. No one knows what the future holds, but just know that this too shall pass. Be encouraged today, tomorrow is not promised. We must do all we can do to stand!



May 11, 2020


Where Do We Go From Here?

By: Kelvin Lassiter


Injustice scorched America long before COVID - 19. We know the history, no need to rehash it. Apparently, things continue to be extracted from the soul of the unhoused. Dignity, humanity, and the right to survive continue to be stripped inspite of a crisis never seen before in this lifetime. Encampment sweeps still continue around the country as if precautionary measures such as "social distancing" doesn't exist.


It's been a tradition and moral understanding to respect government and authority, two things you learn early on growing up in America. What do we do when those same traditions are not given to the least of these? The lack of respect for our nation's unhoused citizens has taken center stage. While we will not generalize in this format, we have seen the good come out in people while risking their own safety and families to help others. We are specifically addressing those that did not receive the memo: "we are all in this together."


More than ever before, there should be an urgency to house the unhoused now more so than ever. Instead of temporarily housing infected and uninfected unhoused citizens due to this pandemic, use this as an opportunity to move them from the streets. Allow them to exercise their rights to housing that they should have just because of being American citizens. 


In case we didn't make ourselves clear, housing is a human right!  Below are solutions that will begin to move over a half million people from tragedy to redemption:


1.  Restore compassion to the hearts of those that feel homelessness is not priority in America. 


2.  Eliminate the many definitions of homelessness. This will reduce the fighting among inner circle service providers  so more people can be served.


3.  A more universal approach to wrap around services is necessary. Training the unhoused how to stay housed is just as important as handing over keys to a new place to live.


4.  Raise the minimum wage please! American citizens cannot survive off of $7.25 per hour even if they work two jobs. Stop the narrative of telling people that businesses will go out of business if the minimum wage is raised. Workers will work harder if they are paid a decent wage and able to afford to live where they work. They also will contribute to the tax base which will keep businesses from potentially going under.


5.  Involve unhoused citizens on decision making process regarding homelessness. People no longer want to be on the menu. They deserve to have a seat at the head of the table of liberty and justice.


Finally:


We cannot return to business as usual. That ship has sailed. Nothing from this point forward will the word "usual" have the same meaning. This is a season unseen in this generation and maybe for those to come. Momentum now exists to show that love is the "greatest" gift of all. Let's continue to build on it. No longer shall we take from the poor and give to the rich. No longer shall we watch things happen, let's make things happen! No longer shall we work separately on injustice. Let's all work together and stay together for peace and justice for all!


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Stay updated on the activities of Save Us Now Inc. in Washington DC as well as our latest news releases.
Feel free to get in touch with us for inquiries relating to press or media. 


Save Us Now Inc. during the pandemic has remained active in the community by following the advice of our partner organizations. Safety has remained our highest priority during this time and we have relied heavily on our colleagues to help us serve. 

Social Distancing - Racially Enforced Equally or Not? #JusticeMatters

May 11, 2020

https://www.propublica.org/article/in-some-of-ohios-most-populous-areas-black-people-were-at-least-4-times-as-likely-to-be-charged-with-stay-at-home-violations-as-whites?utm_source=pardot&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=majorinvestigations&utm_content=river

At Save Us Now Inc. we believe in "Equal Justice Under the Law" according to the phrase engraved on front of the US Supreme Court building here in Washington, DC.  While it may be hard to imagine that incidents like the above link details in Ohio, unfortunately it's reality of the times we live in. Even during a pandemic we are seeing a grave miscarriage of justice the way some law enforcement officers enforce social distancing guidelines across the country. I was in fear for my life does not apply here. No need to shoot people because you have the power to do so. The argument will be made that "they should just obey the law and this wouldn't happen" does not apply here either.  If there are any questions, let's refer back to the motto you may see the next time you look at a police cruiser "To Protect and Serve"   #HumanityMatters

The Next Pandemic "Evictions"  #ActInPower

May 11, 2020

If you have followed our motto, you know that we believe in inspiration and aspiration. It has been said that fear is "false evidence appearing real." Recently, there was a  definition published online regarding fear that is fitting during this time for our communications: " face everything and rise.!" 

The United States must reach down deep and be prepared as a nation to deal with another situation waiting to manifest itself. In most urban cities, a moratorium has been placed in place to protect people that has experienced loss of income due to COVID-19.  Trying to strike a balance between landlords being able to make money and tenants being able to survive is challenging to say the least. Hopefully, a happy medium and conclusion can happen to avoid situations like the following stories below. As former Rep. Elijah Cummings use to say: "We are better than this". The link below outlines legislation by Rep. Ilhan Omar D-MN 5th District if implemented offers a solution to this potential problem.  #HumanityMatters

https://omar.house.gov/sites/omar.house.gov/files/documents/Bill%20Text%20-%20Rent%20and%20Mortgage%20Cancellation%20Act%5B1%5D.pdf

Problems that have risen due to COVID-19 between landlords and tenants

https://buffalonews.com/2020/05/11/tenants-face-eviction-threat-amid-loss-of-income-from-pandemic/

https://oklahoman.com/article/5662061/we-are-petrified-service-agencies-prepare-for-flood-of-evictions

https://www.wbur.org/news/2020/05/09/healey-warns-landlords-no-intimidation




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