#HeToo: A True Story

The Facts & Statistics

I’d like to personally give a special shout to the #MeToo movement for giving women who’ve been victims of sexual assault as well as sexual harassment a platform to be vulnerable. It has given an insurmountable amount of support to women who have been abused and mistreated by men in their lives, most times by those who are the closest in proximity.

Before we go any further let’s have a firm understanding of what the difference is between sexual assault and sexual harassment:  According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), sexual harassment is “unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature.” [2] The emphasis here seems to be on the verbal nature of the harassment; whereas the U.S. Justice Department defines sexual assault as being less verbal and more physical: “. . . any type of sexual contact or behavior that occurs without the explicit consent of the recipient. Falling under the definition of sexual assault are sexual activities as forced sexual intercourse, forcible sodomy, child molestation, incest, fondling, and attempted rape.”

But what of the men who have been sexually abused or harassed? Are there any studies on this subject? Why or why not?

My search extensive search has lead me to the following statistics:

  • 3 out of 5 women will have been sexually harassed in their lifetime
  • 1 out of 5 men will be sexually harassed in their lifetime
  • According to the EOCC 80% of people, regardless of gender, never file a harassment complaint

A large reason for this are the feelings of shame, betrayal, embarrassment and perhaps even backlash from the immediate community. Most individuals feel like no one will believe their story so that’s why they don’t come forward. The person that took advantage of them may be a person of great influence or power. And let’s not mention the legal issues that could stem from making such a claim against a person.

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A recent online survey  provided by Stop Street Harassment illustrates that 3 out of 4 women are verbally harassed compared to 1 out of 3 men.

Inspiration

My inspiration to write this piece came from two men in particular that gave me the courage to come forward. Months ago on my #StrengthInNumbersPodcast I expressed my thoughts of Terry Crews’ run in with Adam Venit. Long story short Terry Crews had his genitals publicly groped at a party in Hollywood for everyone to see, you can watch his interview here:

 

 

 

Keep in mind that this was all done in front of his wife and the part that bothered me the most is that his assaulter was laughing. The audacity!!! As I listened to his story I was reminded of the slavery stories of buck breaking. Buck breaking is a process by which a slave master would emasculate their slaves in order to have control over the slave family. After the slave was beaten, he was often times raped in front of his wife and kids.

What stood out for me most about his interview is that he would not be ashamed of what happened to him, and the truth of the matter is that no one should.

My next source of inspiration is from a Breakfast Club interview I watched featuring Broward County’s VERY own, Denzel Curry. His new album TA1300 (Taboo) is exactly just that, it speaks on taboo subjects ranging from molestation to drug abuse. He then went on to say that he had been molested by a man as a child.

 

 

 

 

As I was watching the interview I recognized an all too familiar pain on his face that was similar to mine. I empathize with and commend that young man for being brave enough to share his story despite the pain it carried with it. You’re indeed stronger than most!

 

Personal Experiences

The Slumber Party

My first sexual experience was at the tender age of 5.

It was one of those weekends where my father picked me up, but before we went home he just so happened to make an extra stop to pick up one of his girlfriends, her daughter and her infant son. I suppose they figured it was a good idea since her and I were around the same age but I believe she was younger than me.

I can vividly remember my dad and his girlfriend of the that night being in a hurry for us to go to bed, for obvious reasons. Her son was put to sleep on the couch while her daughter and I slept on the living room floor, it was a slumber party of sorts. The light was turned off so that we could fall to sleep and they disappeared into his room.

While I was resting I could feel something on my body, moving around. I could feel that I was being caressed up and down my body, mainly my chest and stomach.

A burning sensation rushed through my entire body.

“What feeling is this?”

“Why am I feeling like this?”

It eventually traveled down to my genitals and I woke up to my slumber partner fondling my member. When I looked in her eyes they were bright and inviting; I don’t think this was done to be malicious but it definitely made me uncomfortable.

Uncomfortable to the point where I forcefully moved her hand away. It was uncomfortable to where it was physically tender for a couple of hours after.

Looking back on those events I strongly believe that she had witnessed her mom in a sexual act or that someone had sexually molested her. How else would she know what to do at such a young age? This being my first sexual encounter ever, it should be understood that I was thoroughly confused. I’m not even sure what this can be categorized as in today’s terms.


 

Capture

The Met

I remember vividly joining Metropolitan Community Church in 2001. My mom and I had just recently migrated from Quinn Chapel to this new institution that my godfather had transitioned to play the organ. When we finally did join the congregation greeted us with opened arms and we assimilated almost seamlessly into the population.

I think one of the greatest selling points that led us to join was the fact that there was a young population that I could assimilate into as well. Shortly after we joined the church I joined the Junior Usher board and made friends with everyone. I was basically the one kid everyone in the church used to sing praises about highlighting how handsome and respectful I was towards adults.

This is more than likely the time I started being observed by administration, more specifically the head minister of the church. Over the years of being involved in the church I began to look at the pastor as a father figure, an uncle or a big brother. So I divulged in extremely personal information that I feel like I couldn’t share with my family. I don’t have a close relationship with my biological dad, my stepfather and I had always been on bad terms since I began to develop as a man. There aren’t many men in my family and the ones that are I felt wouldn’t do shit anyway, in all honesty.

Our relationship had gotten so close that one year I even wrote a Fathers’ Day speech and presented it to the congregation. It described how much I appreciated him as a positive male role model in my life and the amount of trust I had in him.

Perhaps he saw this as a signal that I wanted to be sexually active with him.

It was during this time that I was attending South Suburban College and most times I would frequent Calumet City Public Library. It was there that I met Pierre.

Now this is not the first time I had seen Pierre, I had seen him in the ‘hood on numerous occasions but our paths never crossed. He was two to three years older than me anyway so why we bump into each other in the first place.

Anyway while I was studying for my exams I noticed Pierre studying the Bible. Our first conversation was about how he was slowly but surely turning his life around and how he was a junior pastor at a local institution in Calumet City. We both held out churches in high regard and invited each other to attend service.

The day after Pierre attended service he told me, emphatically and without a shadow of a doubt, that the head pastor was hiding something. He was so sure that he told me and whoever else I knew to stop attending.

Unfortunately, or fortunately that wasn’t the case, I suppose it depends on your perspective.

On my eighteenth and nineteenth birthday he had even taken me out for dinner. I thought absolutely nothing of it because my godfather had even treated me out for dinner on numerous occasions in the past.


 

One night, a couple of weeks after my 19th birthday I came home at about 11 o’clock at night. Shortly after I came home the phone rang, which was definitely out of the ordinary. When I saw that it was my pastor, I immediately picked up the phone but in the back of my mind I did feel as if it was a weird time for him to be calling home. Now that I think about it I’m pretty certain that he had watched me come in the door that night. He told me to come outside and I obliged.

As soon as I entered the car I smelled the strong scent of alcohol all throughout the vehicle but I pretended as if I hadn’t caught my attention. We greeted each other as usual and he asked me,

“Are you ready?”

I responded, “Ready for what?”

That’s when a large, unsettling, Chesire cat-esque appeared on his face.

He said, “Are you ready to go to this WILD party?”

Eventually I agreed and we were on our way. We drove west on 159th and anybody who’s familiar with the south suburbs knows how far 159th goes traveling west. For some reason I thought that we were going to a strip club to have “our talk”. I asked him exactly where we were going but he wouldn’t give me a concise answer.

“Damn maybe Pierre was right, this is probably what he was talking about”, I thought.

We eventually entered a residential neighborhood in Orland Park where he currently resides. The neighborhood was exactly the type of neighborhood you would expect a pastor to live in, it was very nice and each mini mansion had a great amount of yard space. When we enter the residence he tells me how much of a privilege it is to have a personal tour of his house. He goes to the fridge, pulled out some vodka in a fancy bottle and asked, “Ice or no ice?”

“No ice.”, I replied.

I hardly took any sips of that liquor because it definitely could’ve been spiked with something, anything.

Next he went to his humidor and asked if I knew how to prep a cigar, my response was no. He told me the way to prep a cigar in the same way “a girl would suck the tip of your dick.”

I laughed an uncomfortable laugh. In my eyes he was completely inappropriate but I was actually nervous as I had ever been in my life. He was completely out of pocket and I didn’t know what his plans were so I kept my composure.

“Are you ready?”

“Ready for what?”

“This talk…..”

We entered his garage which was filled with candles already lit, there had to be more that ten at the very least! There was a small table to set down our drinks with an ashtray for our cigars, two chairs were on either side of the table.

“Am I walkin’ into a séance or what the fuck is this?!”, I thought to myself.

We sit down and begin our conversation as normal but I could tell that he wanted to talk about the topic of sex for some odd reason. I made it crystal clear….

So I tell him, “I’m not a homophobe but I’m not gay.”

“Would you ever let another man suck your dick?”

“Hell NAW!!”

“You said that like I was offering.”

“Are you?!?!”, he didn’t reply but he gave me a look, the same exact look that he gave me when I first entered the car.

Keep in mind that this is the same pastor who had come to my prom send-off and had actually told me to “wrap it up”.

I asked him if he has ever done anything sexual with another man and he tells me that he had in college. By this time, I was beyond ready to go but I kept cool, in all honesty I didn’t know what he was willing to do.

I guess he figured that I was done with the conversation but he’s too intoxicated to drive so I had to. As I’m driving back to Calumet City he motioned as if he was going to touch me, each time he did I jerked the car left to right. This was coupled with him saying, in a creepy manner, “nobody wants to suck your lil dick anyway.” I guess this was his way of using reverse psychology to see my penis.

I mean he really pulled out all of the tricks that were in his hat which means they must’ve worked in his favor before.


 

The Confrontation

I hadn’t told my parents about what I experience that night for a solid year. So many thoughts ran through my mind and it forced me to look at myself under a microscope. Had I given him some signal to let him know that I was interested in that way? Why did God allow that man to be “of the cloth”? Who could I tell that could actually do something? What would the police do with the information when there was no concrete evidence? What would my church family do or say? How would the usher board react to these allegations?

I eventually told my mom and step dad about the encounter, she was clearly empathetic but my stepdad was actually tickled by the situation. I found that extremely weird, especially for him. Nonetheless a meeting with the pastor was scheduled.

I explained in graphic detail as I did above about the series of events that took place. Instead of admitting his wrong doing he deflected; claiming that I took his words out of context and went on to insult my intelligence. Next he told my parents that I had gotten someone pregnant, which was true, but he used it as a way to misdirect from his gross misconduct. I later found out that she actually had an abortion.

I genuinely expected him to get his ass beat right then and there but we left peacefully. As soon as we got in the car my mom said that we would never be attending that church again.


 

Reflection

“Fuck God, he can’t be real if he’s lettin’ motherfuckas like that lead congregations!?!”

“Why is God lettin’ predators like this live?”

This was my thought processes from age 19 to about 23, 24. I was actually fixated on what had happened to me. It made me ENRAGED that I was taken advantage of, I felt like a damn dummy. I actually missed seeing all of the inviting smiles when I walked into the sanctuary but most of all I missed the connection I had with the friends I made on the Junior Usher Board.

I was at a very dark time in my life where I began to question everything, in fact, this experience turned me away from God. I had become atheist, then agnostic and now at 31 years of age I KNOW that I am spiritual everlasting being.

I AM God and God is in me!

We have to take into consideration the difference between God and humans. Unfortunately we, often times, place celebrities, singers, police officers, actors and members of the clergy on a higher moral pedestal when we shouldn’t. Most ministers claim to be prophets or Gods’ messenger when in reality they have ulterior motives. These are harsh realities that the Black Church has disregarded, which is why young people don’t put their faith in it. But more specifically the Black community has disregarded the claims and it must stop in order to save black boys and girls.

Black people, specifically millennials, are leaving the churches and ideologies of our slavemasters because the church isn’t edifying the congregation. In other words, the churches are claiming to provide a service in exchange for loyalty. The unfortunate reality is that most churches are in the business of making money and keeping that money close to the organization.

Some possible solutions to curb America’s rape culture would be to create safe spaces for individuals that have been sexually abused, either physically or mentally, and allow them to express themselves without being judged. Another practical answer would be to increase the penalties for such offenses.


 

Major Takeaways to Think About

  • individuals as early as the age of 4 can be sexually aware/active
  • the rate at which sexual harassment is reported in America is as slow as 2%
  • men, black men go through sexual abuse as well but if victims are only reporting at 2% then imagine how many black men have been taken advantage of
  • black men don’t like to talk about their feelings because “that’s what women do”, men who express their feelings are stigmatized as weak or less than a man
  • men and women get sexually harassed at nearly the same rate according to age as illustrated by the graph below

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The Mother of Them All

Mother’s Day is a day where you’re supposed to give your mom gifts and let her know how much you value her for having you. It’s a joyous occasion filled with fun, laughter and a trip to go see Avengers Infinity Wars. But for some mother’s who’ve had their children taken by DCFS, it was a sad, depressing and mournful day.

Imagine that you’re a hardworking mother and you’ve just had a long day on the job. Your relief for the day is usually waiting on your kids to see how their day went and how much homework they have to do. It’s about 5 minutes after the time that they usually arrive so its nothing to worry about. Then 20 minutes pass, then 45. The phone rings and it’s Tiara Long, DCP Investigator, who tells you when/how you may be able to win your kids back.

Imagine that 7 months go by and you don’t have custody of your kids on Mother’s Day.

This is the story of Alexandrea Navedo.


 

Quintin Martins: Just give me a brief overview in a brief overview of your story. Why do you feel like the system has wronged you?

A. Navedo: My name is A. Navedo and I’ve been a long time organizer in this city for about 10 years. I started actually with The Audy Home Campaign and its funny because as I was going through this court case I was fighting the same people who worked for the Audy Home. Mothers who fight for their children have to do so through the Juvenile Temporary Detention Center, and I kind of found it funny that that was the same institution that we organized against with Generation Y and F.L.Y. We were demanding more humane conditions for the children. Back then the children had dirty underwear they had to wear the same clothes for a long time so they weren’t going to school. So I was out there at the age old eighteen years old not knowing that I was going to have to fight for my kids. At eighteen nineteen I was protesting an institution that takes our children. I call this institution a “kid stealer”. Because if they’re not stealing your child through DCFS they’re incarcerating your child. A lot of children in the Audy Home are DCFS children and nobody wants to foster them because they’re a little  troubled and have nowhere to go. They’ll stay there until someone takes them in.

I feel like the justice system did me wrong because they didn’t do a proper investigation. They didn’t take my children from my home like they do some mothers. They actually took my children from the school and they only went off of what my first child said not my other children. And they didn’t go off of what the teacher said either. If they would’ve done a full investigation they would’ve learned that my twelve year old has some behavior issues. But of course that didn’t matter. The things that I’ve been through in my life has caused me to have some issues as well. I do suffer from anxiety, I do suffer from depression, but what I hate is that they try to lump us in this one group as if we’re incapable of raising our children. So if you wonder why a lot of women who are being domestically abused don’t seek help is because once DCFS gets involved we have a really really really big chance of losing our kids. We call the police and think we’re calling for help then DCFS gets involved and now they want to screen you; send you to this psychiatrist that psychiatrist and say,  “Hey you must have a problem because this man was beating you.” A lot of times the kids are placed with the father who was probably the abuser so its kind of like, a crazy situation. In my situation there are things that weren’t done that I later came to find out should’ve been.

QM: So whats the proper protocol that they were supposed to do as far as interrogating your kids, and taking them into the system?

AN: Ok, well one thing they didn’t do was C-RAP my home. So C-RAP is when they come into your home and look at your home to see if there’s adequate living conditions. Another thing they do is ask the school if they think that somethings going on. They never did any of those things. Why hasn’t the school called if there felt like there was a problem? Another thing that they failed to do was interview my other two children. I have three children but unfortunately they didn’t follow up with the other two. So DCFS comes into the school and they tell your children if your mom is whoopin you or hitting you, if your moms not feeding you we have a better place for you to go to. Or if your mom is putting you on punishment; they even say if your mom is yelling at you then they can’t do that, that’s child abuse. You can call us, we’ll come lock up your parents up and take you away to a better place. And that’s kind of crazy because you might have some kids that get mad at their parents, you know, in my instance, in my case. I have a daughter, and unfortunately she stole some money from my mother, her grandmother. So my mom put her on punishment and my child started talking about doing things to herself. I take her to the hospital, they tell me that for further evaluation I have to take her to Hartgrove. We came home, went to sleep, and I sent her to school the next day because I had a job interview. I go to my job interview, come back home and I’m waiting for my kids to get back home. They never came back home. About forty five minutes later I get a call from DCP Investigator, Tiara Long. She’s like, “I have your kids and I’m going to call you back in two days to tell you whats going on with your kids” and I’m like, “Why do you have my kids? My kids have not one scar on them, no bruises on them and I’m sure they’re telling you I’m not putting my hands on them.” Even my son and my youngest are telling DCFS they don’t feel safe in the new environment that they’re in. Even yesterday when I went to go see them they’re like, “Ma, I’m telling DCFS that I don’t wanna be where I’m at, I don’t feel safe where I’m at and that I wanna go back home with you.” They took them to the doctor and they still managed to take my kids into the system.

QM: And to be specific what was the reasoning for them to take your kids? You said that your daughter said something?

AN: Yes, so my oldest child got put on punishment and got mad and said some things that would get her to grandma’s house. She wanted to go to grannys house because there’s less rules and I can do whatever I want to do there. My case isn’t the only case like that, there’s a lot of cases that are based on allegations. It may be a neighbor with false allegations or a child with false allegations. My daughter told the nurse at Mercy that she wanted to kill herself and when the nurse asked why she said because my mom puts me on punishment. So now I guess the nurse felt like that was a crazy thing for a child to say. I guess the nurse felt like something was going on at home. Now if DCFS would have came into my home they would’ve looked over to the right of us and seen the punishment wall. Mommy doesn’t use those practices. I’m more like a “My Wife and Kids” type of parent. So here if you clean the bathroom, kitchen, your bedroom you get paid right. But if you get on punishment you gotta pay me and that’s 25 cents. If you get on parole or probation you have to pay them, in real life its not as simple as a punishment, you got to pay. So those are the practices that I use with my kids, I’m a petty mom but I’m petty in a good way, you know. This is a way of teaching them lessons because I don’t believe in abusing kids, I don’t believe in hitting kids. Being raised how I was raised I’m definitely not into the physical punishment thing. But just like the police, DCFS has a quota, they have to take away so many kids per month in order to keep their numbers a certain way. I believe its court rooms A through N and in each court room you have 3 to 5, 7 families fighting for their kids a day. So you mean to tell me there’s, lets round it off to 50, there’s 50 bad sets of parents a day? I think someone needs to look at those numbers because, you know, nowadays being a bad parent is having 3 children and you live in a 1 bedroom house. Being a bad parent nowadays is, lets say DCFS shows up to your home December 6th and your link card doesn’t come on till December 7th, never-mind that you cooked dinner that day. If you have nothing in your fridge or nothing in your cabinet, then guess what, that’s considered being a bad parent. If you’re going through any domestic issues you’re considered a bad parent. DCFS has another clause where if you have a physically disabled child and a mentally disabled child, like in my case, you’re not supposed to have these two kids in the same house. The most interesting thing that the DCP Investigator, Tiara Long told me when I asked her why she took her kids from me was, “Look at the environment you live in; they don’t need to be there….”

QM: This environment???

AN: This environment here, the projects, the Dearborn Homes, the low-income community, the school that they went to. That’s what she told me, they don’t need to be here. Who are you to tell me where they need to be, who are you to judge where I live at? Or the community that I live in? This is a complex that’s filled with DCFS children. If living in subsidized housing was such a bad thing then how come you guys actually give foster parents subsidized housing. I know of people who, back in the day, used that to get subsidized housing because they were foster parents and they had kids so they could apply for it through a DCFS program.

QM: So how long have they been away?

AN: They been away for 7 long month, 7 months. When this first happened to me I was in shock because I had my children early. I had Jada when I was 16 then I turned right around and had Raphael. Then I waited a little bit more to have Vernay. I had my first two real early, and I suffered a lot of things, I went through domestic relationships, through homelessness because no one wants to deal with a young girl and her two kids, right? Don’t nobody really want me in their household. When you’re young and don’t have a job, what are you supposed to do. You have to choose between going to school and going to work some times. So I feel like, ya’ll didn’t come when I was 16, 17, 18, 19; why the hell would ya’ll wait till I was 28, 29 years old to come take my kids from me? It don’t make any sense to me. And I’m thinking to myself, like what did I do to to deserve this then I thought about it, it had to be me because most mothers don’t speak up about stuff like this. They tell you that you have rights as a parent but I can’t go up to the school because they’ll think I’m trying to steal my kids back and I’m going to jail. I’m not allowed to go to a parent report card pick up. I’m not allowed to see them when I wanna see them. I’m not allowed visits, I’m not allowed for them to be here over night. I’m not allowed any of these things and there are other parents that this happens to as well. Then DCFS takes it a step further and puts you on child support, cuz you know, they can put you on child support. They can put moms on child support-

QM: Whaaaa?!?!

AN: They can put moms on child support. You will still to pay for children, of course they’re your children, that you don’t see. So how do you think that feels as a parent?? How does that feel as a parent? I know me, I cook for my kids, I clean for my kids, go to work for my kids. I come home and turn the key its usually one of my kids running to the front door saying, “Mommy you’re home!” I don’t get that anymore, and its a lot of parents that aren’t getting that anymore. Do I feel like DCFS is an institution that does need to be here, yeah, but I feel like its deeper than that. I feel like you guys need to go ahead and do full investigations. Are there kids out here who are getting abused? Yeah. But one thing I learned about traumatized kids is that they won’t talk because they’re scared for their life. A lot of times when children aren’t being abused there isn’t an investigation.

QM: So what has your lawyer said?

AN: Well, I had a public defender because I really felt like I didn’t do anything, there were no marks, there were no-

QM: Like this should be an easy one….

AN: This should be an easy one, I didn’t know that I was really fighting an institution that wanted to take my kids.

QM: So what did the public defender say?

AN: The public defender was horrible, she basically didn’t put in any motions. I didn’t know until bout the end of my case that they were supposed to come inspect my home. Also I was supposed to have supervised visits but the visits were supervised by the transporter, the man that transports the kids back and forth. These supervised visits are supposed to be by Melva Waters, that’s the name of my caseworker. She never came to none of my visits, neither her or a case aid to document my visits. That’s something the case workers are supposed to do, see there’s stuff that they’re supposed to do and as parents we do have rights. We have rights to ask for another case worker, we have rights to ask for another transporter. We have rights, but you won’t know that because nobody’s going to tell you that. They’re supposed to C-RAP your home, they’re supposed to come to these visits. They never came, no visit to see how the mom and the children are interacting with each other so you can reunite them. The crazy part about this is that I have pictures of this man selling drugs and they still handed them over to their dad. My son sat there in the courtroom and said that he was going to stand right here with me until they say I have to go. For the integrated assessment, my kids and I had to relive the trauma of their dad getting drunk and abusing us. We told them everything and they still placed my children with this man. So where is the justice in that when you place my kids with an abuser?

The interview continues on and on as she tells me that in order to even have a chance of winning her kids back is by hiring a lawyer. Seems simple right? The only thing is a retainer for a lawyer for this type of case is $10,000 and that’s low. The story gets even deeper as she details the sad story of Devonte Hart, a young man who was taken into foster care, abused and ultimately murdered by his adoptive parents. Once his mother got clean she tried to get him back but the family had moved and changed his last name. This is a prime example of how kids can wind up being lost in the system.

A couple of weeks ago I posted a status on Facebook which alluded to Child Protective Services/Department of Child and Family Services taking custody of children without sufficient evidence. What I expected was some type of support or different ways to be of assistance. Instead, what I got was a lot of educated black defending these institutions. Most were saying that the DCFS only gets involved when absolutely necessary and wouldn’t separate a child from a household for no reason.

I honestly feel as if that were the case then these statistics would look a bit different:31265393_10156138845486827_5965952196846551040_o

Look closely at these numbers, more specifically the “Alleged Reports” versus the “Unfounded Reports”, nearly 50% of the “Alleged Reports” were “Unfounded”. Now the definition of “Unfounded” can mean one of two things; the first is that there is abuse going on but not enough evidence to substantiate foul play the second is that some one brought up false allegations, either intentionally or unintentionally. That’s 46.4% of cases in Cook County that lack substantial evidence. That’s 15,902 cases in 2017 that have been  determined to be “Unfounded”. And that’s 15,902 children, most likely more, who have to go through the system and be labeled.

Now let’s say, hypothetically speaking, that half of those cases warranted an investigation and the other half didn’t. That’s still more than 7,951 children who have been displaced, relocated and transferred schools.

7, 951 children who just may miss their parents…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wrongful Raids (Part 1)

Imagine that you’re at home with family on a Friday night. You go to the bathroom and all of the sudden your mother screaming from the front room. You hear loud crashes and she’s screaming out that “They’re comin in!” Who the “they” is could be anybody’s guess especially when you’re living over east where its most definitely hectic. This is exactly what Shanae Cross was thinking as she was attempting to snatch her mother in the bathroom to protect her from apparent yet unidentified danger. To her surprise it turns out its the good old Chicago PD, guns drawn, yelling out orders, coercing a young lady and her family to line up against a wall and they hadn’t even explained why they were there in the first place. Lets not mention the fact that during this her mother began to have “panic attack” or “seize”. According to Ms. Cross her mother was “shaking uncontrollably” and that this is the “first time” she’s seen her mother behave in that manner. The Tactical Unit of Division 10 also tried to arrest her little brother who’s only 17 until Shanae asserted herself and demanded to see the warrant.

It turns out that they were attempting to serve a no-knock warrant but got the wrong address, despite the fact that Shanae’s address number was completely visible. In the United States, a no-knock warrant is a warrant issued by a judge that allows law enforcement officers to enter a property without immediate prior notification of the residents, such as by knocking or ringing a doorbell. When the officers realized that they in fact did kick down the wrong door they said, “Well this happens sometimes….” and proceeded to exit the house without even offering an apology or explanation.

They found the right house down the street and immediately kicked it down, they were pretty adamant on getting that warrant served…

Shanae is heartbroken because she had a celebration planned for her grandmother who passed on the 22nd the previous year. There were plans with her family to have a memorial service in her honor but your plans will stop too when your door is kicked in at 12:45am.

I interviewed Shanae Saturday at 3:30pm and her door was still mangled, the police kicked it in on Friday at 12:45am. You do the math….

As I was starting my interview she heard a knock on the door, and it was none other than Fred Waller who’s the Chief of Patrol in Chicago. When Ms. Cross began to give her personal account of what had taken place it got to a point where he began interrupting her story saying, “He heard enough from Facebook” and “This only happens 10 times a year…..” This comes off as dismissive and insensitive but you be the judge.

Take a listen below:

#StrengthInNumbers Podcast Episode 1 Wrongful Raids (Part 1) w/ Shanae Cross

Part 2 will be dropping tomorrow, please keep Shanae in your prayers.

Safeguard: Are We Safe from Corporate Trespass and Burglary?

PETITION: SAFEGUARD PROPERTIES – Mortgage Field Services

SIGN!!! —> https://www.change.org/p/antieviction-gmail-com-stop-safeguard-properties-from-burglarizing-violating-homeowners-who-are-in-foreclosure?recruiter=78920878&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=facebook&utm_campaign=share_for_starters_page&utm_term=des-lg-no_src-no_msg

jr-bank-2

 

  • Lawsuit

 

On June 2013, the Attorney General’s Office made public information regarding a pending lawsuit it has against the government contracted property management company, Safeguard Properties. In a period following our nation’s largest housing crisis, which was brought about by deceptive lending practices by US banks, the housing sector delivers another blow to the livelihood and dignity of American taxpayers, through the county’s largest mortgage field servicer.

While carrying out evictions for the multiple mortgage servicers, Safeguard and its contractors violated and horrified already victimized homeowners, by trespassing and blocking humans from their homes, changing the locks on the properties, sometimes shutting off utilities midway through the foreclosure processes and burglarizing the residents, and traumatizing victims while, at times, illegally evicting families during the dangerously cold winter months. In several instances, Safeguard’s employees laid in wait, while unsuspecting victims went about the daily routines, and as they unknowingly left their homes vulnerable, the criminals would break into these homes illegally, and in some cases remove all of the victim’s belongings from the residence. The Illinois Attorney General’s Office found Safeguard Properties to have operated in violation of the Consumer Fraud Act, 815 ILCS 505/2, as well as the Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act, 12 U.S.C. 5220.

It has been noted in the lawsuit, that Safeguard engaged in deceptive and fraudulent business practices, by knowingly and with ill-intent, providing consumers with false information pertaining to their rights, as tenants and homeowners, to remain in their properties until the foreclosure process was complete, and sometime until the end of their bona fide lease. All court proceedings were conducted in the Cook County Circuit Court, and in June of 2016, Safeguard settled the lawsuit for $1,000,000 to be awarded to victims within Illinois who filed a complaint with the state or Safeguard itself. “We the People” encourage all victims of Safeguards fraudulent and criminal practices to either encourage their state’s attorney general to bring a class-action lawsuit, and for each victim to bring criminal charges against this fraudulent company as well. We are setting up this petition to encourage all reputable banks and government entities to seize contracting out work to this criminal organization, and to thereby divert those contracts to local businesses within the communities that are being serviced. Please sign our petition to support our efforts to prevent fraudulent and criminal behavior by companies such as Safeguard Properties.  

jr-bank-1

 

  • Services & Labor

 

Services:

Safeguard enters into contract with mortgage lenders, and servicers to provide Property Preservation Services, such as:

  1. Boarding up doorways- $100
  2. Changing locks- $60
  3. Padlocking the entrance- $40
  4. Shutting off utilities- $75
  5. Winterizing the Home- $185
  6. Removing debris from unoccupied property- $35 per cubic feet
  7. Removing a car- $120
  8. Occupancy status determination – $12

***Presenting cash-for-keys or deed in lieu of foreclosure offers***

Labor:

  • Safeguards becomes responsible for property preservations services when a homeowner becomes delinquent or defaults on his/her mortgage.
  • Instructs Illinois subcontractor to inspect property in order to determine occupancy status.
  • Once Safeguard deems a property to be vacant, it instructs the subcontractor to secure the property by boarding up doorways, winterizing the property, changing locks and placing padlocks on the door, and shutting off utilities.
  • Inspect and preserve home throughout and after foreclosure process

 

Labor Complaints: https://www.complaintboard.com/safeguard-properties-l4970.html

http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/safeguard-properties/brooklyn-heights-ohio-44131/safeguard-properties-lies-to-its-workers-its-contractors-are-not-getting-paid-what-they-e-404228

SIGN!!! —> https://www.change.org/p/antieviction-gmail-com-stop-safeguard-properties-from-burglarizing-violating-homeowners-who-are-in-foreclosure?recruiter=78920878&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=facebook&utm_campaign=share_for_starters_page&utm_term=des-lg-no_src-no_msg

#14 UPDATE EX-employee responds

Safeguard Properties Internet Fraud

AUTHOR: Micontractor – (U.S.A.)

SUBMITTED: Wednesday, January 07, 2009

It appears that what Safeguard Properties is doing by not paying its contractors is Internet Fraud. All of the communications regarding pricing, invoicing, adjustments, work orders, ect. are done either through Safeguard Properties vendor web site or through e-mail. If you are a contractor who has been scammed by Safeguard Properties this apparently constitutes internet fraud by the FBI definition. I would encourage any contractors who have been shorted payments for services provided to Safeguard Properties to file a complaint on the FBI website under “Internet Fraud”, the link is:

 

http://www.fbi.gov/majcases/fraud/internetschemes.htm

 

Good luck, we all deserve our hard earned money.

 

Mommabear1202 Send email

Dec 27, 2016

Lost home in fire

My home was destroyed in fire i

and we had some belongings outside some of which were from home. A couple weeks went buy my boyfriend had went by the house to see if the garage was ok an what was left of the property there was a man there with a trailor and had loaded everything up outside (picnic table, grill, chairs photo albums, stroller and can’t forget to mention my flower pots that had plants in them but dumped all my flowers out, there was along t of other things as well as burnt things) also he was getting ready to change the locks on garage. He told him my our home was being forclosed an he had an order to come there an secure it. He had me come up there and don’t tiron he didn’t hear a mouth full. This guy working for safeguard was getting ready to take all my belongings to the dump. I made him take what things were still good off that @#$% trailor my home was not getting forclosed i mean we just lost everything an he was there taking the rest. The bastard still got away with my antique vases, propane tank to grill, & cast iron skillets . I’m so disgusted i conet even think straight. No one has evet appologized for any of it either.

 

czultowski Send email

Jul 13, 2016

non payment, consistant charge backs

I cannot believe we have lasted 17 grueling and arduous years with this company. They have literally sucked our entire savings dry with their consistent charge backs and non payment of invoices.
They send you to a property, APPROVE your bids, PAY you and then CHARGE YOU BACK! Just yesterday we got a charge back for $1099.99! That job is months old. They don’t care. We have got charge back that are 5 years old! What is wrong with these people?
They will have you drive 75+ miles one way to submit a bid at your cost.
This is just the tip of the iceberg, these people are crooks. They have no compassion for the loyalty of their contractors, and seniority certainly does not mean anything. 17 years!!! We started with them when we had to mail them photos, before digital even existed.
Why am i paying $421/month for a $1,000,000 E & O Insurance Policy with York-Jersey Underwriters? We do not make enough money to even cover it anymore!
There is so much more, they stick it to you every single chance they get. They are making a fortune!! If they take $1000 from each contractor per month, and they have A LOT of contractors, well, do the math. it is sickening.
Something needs to be done. We need a class action law suit!!

 

Firefighter Send email

Mar 26, 2016

Being told we have to fake photos

I worked for a large preservation company. A few of them actually. This is a very corupt industry. These companies are making millions of dollars ripping off banks and real estate companies. I have emails and live recordings of these poeple telling us to fake photos of work that is not needed to be done . I’m not sure what my next move should be and could use some advice. I do not even make enough to my bills or care for my kids, but yet they have us falsifying photos so they can collect tons of money while we struggle to get buy. Any advice on what I should do or who I should call. That do not deserve the contract or to be making tons of money by making there employees lie.

 

 

  • Legal

 

Safeguards headquarters is located at 7887 Safeguard Circle, Valley View, Ohio, but the company is incorporated in the State of Delaware.

In its contracts with its clients, Safeguard assumes responsibility for all work performed by employees, subcontractors, and any agents of the company.

  • Illinois Mortgage Foreclosure Law 735 ILCS 5/15-1504.5, 1508.5, and 1701
  • Forcible Entry and Detainer Act, 735 ILCS 5/9-101 and 102
  • Consumer Fraud Act, 815 ILCS 505/2
  • Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act, 12 U.S.C. 5220

 

  • Proposal of Repercussion

jr-bank-3

 

Enact any and all consequences that can be imposed on a business that engages in unethical business practices in the state of Illinois:

  1. Injunction, revocation, forfeiture or suspension of any licenses, charter, franchise, certificate or other evidence of authority of any person to do business in this state
  2. $50,000 fine imposed by court for each individual, during each instance, where a Safeguard employee violated the rights granted to consumers under the Consumer Fraud Act without the intent to defraud; if the courts should find that Safeguard and/or its employees committed these acts with the intent to defraud, We the People pray the court to impose a civil penalty of an additional $50,000 per violation, and an extra $10,000 per violation if the crime was committed against a person 65 years of age or older.  
  3. Bar Safeguard from receiving any government contracts within the State of Illinois.  

Author: Eugene “Geno” Stanley

SIGN!!! —> https://www.change.org/p/antieviction-gmail-com-stop-safeguard-properties-from-burglarizing-violating-homeowners-who-are-in-foreclosure?recruiter=78920878&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=facebook&utm_campaign=share_for_starters_page&utm_term=des-lg-no_src-no_msg

The American 1%: Social Class Divide on Crack

Who Rules the United States?

The United States of America is supposed to be, by design, a representative democracy, but who really runs the United States? Two perspectives that hypothesize on who runs the United States is the functionalist and conflict perspectives.

 

140125121707-obama-sotu-2013-story-top
WASHINGTON, DC – FEBRUARY 12: U.S. President Barack Obama, flanked by Vice President Joe Biden and House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), delivers his State of the Union speech before a joint session of Congress at the U.S. Capitol February 12, 2013 in Washington, DC. Facing a divided Congress, Obama focused his speech on new initiatives designed to stimulate the U.S. economy. (Photo by Charles Dharapak-Pool/Getty Images)

Crucial to this question, is a sound understanding of the fundamental reasoning that make up both perspectives; the demand and supply of authority. Also key, is an understanding of citizenship, democracy, and capitalism. Lastly, it is imperative to have a strong grasp on the U.S. Political Infrastructure, and how all these factors are waged into the arguments of the functionalist and conflict perspectives. The first step in this inquisition is to come to an agreed definition of authority, which is the common goal of any government; the monopoly over power and the use of violence.

 

Authority and You!

Authority, is the extension of power by one group, or government, over the larger population of people within a defined territory. Functionalists view states, or governments, as having arisen from the necessity of social groups, to protect the masses of people from anarchy, which is unrestrained disorder and crime. Conflict theorists would agree that an unrestrained government is detrimental, but they differ in that they believe the current government to be functioning in a way that doesn’t contribute to the welfare and longevity of its citizens. There are three types of authority that societies recognize: traditional authority, rational-legal authority, and charismatic authority. Traditional authority is the type of authority that is extended over a social group by way of culture and customs. Rational-legal authority is a type of authority that is recognized by the people as legitimate due to its establishment in the laws of the land. Charismatic authority is the type of power offered to individuals based on their outstanding traits, which prompt others to follow them. This brings us to the question of the natural forces that bring people within a defined territory together; citizenship.

Citizenship: Consented Violence

Citizenship is the concept that birth (residence or naturalization), is the basis upon which individuals are afforded basic rights. This is one of the great benefits of this country; this is the idolized land of opportunity. The place where anyone can become Steve Jobs. The part of the story they leave out is that during that struggle for opportunity, you will face unfathomable obstacles, and if you are a woman or a person of color, you will encounter far more pressing odds on your pursuit to the American dream. Poverty and social class divisions do exist in this country, which brings us to the concept of universal citizenship, which addresses discrimination with its emphasis on everyone having the same basic rights. Now, let’s focus in on the guiding principles of this country. Before we dive more into the country’s political infrastructure, let’s get an understanding of capitalism, and how it plays a role in our country’s social makeup.

corporate

Capitalism: The American Nightmare

Capitalism, is the concept around which the private ownership of the means of production, and the desire and pursuit of profit controls the supply and demand of economic markets. There are two types of capitalism that currently exist in societies: lassiez-faire capitalism, and welfare capitalism. Laissez-faire capitalism is unrestrained by government, and is commonly called hands-off capitalism. Welfare capitalism is a form of capitalism where government encourages the private ownership of land, but regulates capitalism to ensure the welfare of the masses of the nation’s population. Conflict theorists coined the name power elite, to refer to the 1% of Americans, made up of the super-rich, heads of military, top legislators, but most importantly, the heads of this country’s top corporations. They say that it is this small group of individuals who make the decisions that control the major functioning of the United States of America. This brings us to how both the functionalists and conflict perspectives view capitalism, as it relates to the U.S. political infrastructure.

The U.S. Political Infrastructure

The infrastructure of the United States political system is bipartisan, with several smaller roadways that we will collectively refer to as third parties. Minus the presence of these almost non-existent third parties, the U.S. political system is dominated by democrats and republicans. Democrats are associated publicly with advocating for the welfare of the masses of the population. Republicans are associated publicly with advocating for the interest of the wealthy. The supposed common denominator is that both parties adopt the philosophy of free education, a strong military, and the freedom of religion, speech, and assembly of the American people. Functionalists view this system of representative democracy, fused with the safe guard of this system’s checks and balances system, as sufficient and effective, as it grew directly from the need of the people to have a government. They also see capitalism as necessary, as both parties of this country’s bipartisan arrangement view capitalism as essential to the welfare of our economy. Conflict theorist, on the reverse, sees the influence of capitalism on policy, as an illegitimate form of control (coercion) of the people by corporations; the power elite, or ruling class. This power elite is comprised of the super-rich 1% of Americans, who head the country’s top corporations, are top ranking military officials, and are our country’s most influential elected officials. The conflict perspective also provides an analysis on the hierarchy of the power elite group. The three groups are not equal in power, but because all three segments of the group view capitalism as crucial to American economy, corporations wield more power in this group makeup.

power elite

In Context: Functionalist and Conflict Perspectives

There are two perspectives on who rules the United States of America; the functionalist and conflict perspectives. Authority is the extension of power over the people, fused with the exclusive monopoly on the use of violence. Key to answering this question, is the gaining of understanding around both the functionalist and conflict theories. Also important, is the understanding of authority, capitalism, and democracy. Lastly, you must have a sound understanding of capitalism, and how it is perceived to fit into the scheme of the United Stets political infrastructure. No one perspective covers each point that I believe is important and accurate, and no one party can represent all the ideals of every constituent, but understanding who makes the decisions in this country is key to understanding how to change the decisions that are being made to cause latent dysfunctions in our economy. Signing off, but never offline!

Written by: Eugene Stanley

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United Nations Arriving in Chicago: Africans Charge Genocide-Encampment Project of Tents

Media Advisory – For Immediate Release                         Contact: Kham Howard

January 23, 2016                                                                   Phone: 773.520.0369

 

As U.N. Arrives in Chicago, Encampment Project of Tents Rises to Welcome Officials

And to Announce that “Africans Charge Genocide” in America

 

Encampment Project Will Be in Place during U.N. Visit

in Solidarity with Projects in All Cities Visited by United Nations

 

What:         With the United Nations fact-finding mission about 24 hours away, The Encampment Project is coming to Chicago, endorsed by the National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America (N’COBRA).  This campaign is an important step in the direction of the diplomatic encirclement of the U.S. in its genocidal treatment of African people.  Chicagoans of African descent will also testify before the U.N. on this genocidal treatment.

Who:          National Coalition of Blacks for Reparation in America endorses the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement’s (InPDUM) Encampment Project.  People of African descent and other organizations from around the country, and around the world, have been invited to set up tents.  

Why:          Almost everyone is aware of the string of murders of African people by the police. Walter Scott in South Carolina, Eric Garner in New York, Sandra Bland in Texas, Freddie Gray in Maryland, Laquan McDonald and Rekia Boyd in Illinois, Oscar Grant III in California, Mike Brown and Cary Ball in Missouri, 7 year old Aiyana Jones in Michigan, 12 year old Tamir Rice in Ohio, and just on Saturday, January 16, 2016, Palm Beach County Florida Sheriff’s deputies murdered a 19 year old African named Henry Thomas Bennett in Belle Glade, Florida.  KilledByPolice.net reports that 3,087 Americans were killed by the police between 2013 and 2015 (in 3 years), many being young Black men.  Tuskegee University’s Records and Research Division reports that 3,446 Negros were lynched between 1882 and 1968 (in 82 years) by the Ku Klux Klan.  Africans Charge Genocide!!!

 

Where:       Chicago State University

9500 South at St. Lawrence 

                    Chicago, Illinois

 

When:        Saturday, January 23, 2016 at 2:30 pm (Photo opportunities) 

 

##30##

Waiting On Justice Is Like Waiting For A Unicorn To Come Change Your Life

On December 15, 2015, I attended a public hearing at City Hall in Chicago, along with several of my colleagues, with the purpose of allowing the Fraternal Order of Police president (FOP- Dean Angelo), an Independent Police Review Authority (IPRA) representative, and the Chicago Police Superintendent (acting- First Deputy John Escalante), to speak about their handling of the death of Laquan McDonald. They also spoke on their inability, or lack of desire to fix the terrorist practices, and ill dealings within the Chicago Police Department. City Council members seemed to all have wanted to get their paws on FOP President, Dean Angelo. Cook County state’s attorney Anita Alvarez, and current Chicago mayor Rahm Emmanuel, decided it’d be best to cower from the bubbling ridicule and resentment of the citizens of Chicago.

Black Lives Matter, Global Africa, Chicago, Police Brutality, Chiraq, Chi Town, Police, CPD, Anita Alvarez, Rahm Emmanuel, Corruption, Laquan McDonald

I sat astounded as I listened to testimony on how the City of Chicago had paid out over $500 Million in settlement money, stemming from complaints on police brutality over the last decade. I was even more confused when I listened to the response from Dean Angelo. He seemed to not care that tax payers were footing the bill for grotesque police misconduct; a half a billion dollar bill at that. When asked by an alderman if he would object to settlements for cases of police brutality being paid out of pension funds, the FOP president declared that he would most certainly be opposed to that idea even being considered. He was also asked if he would object to a tax being imposed on all officers to help mitigate the city’s settlement expenses, and he went down as not being opposed to negotiating that as a possibility.

During what can be described as a blatant slap in the face of the families of those horrifically martyred by Chicago police officers, FOP president Dean Angelo told the audience that no matter what the officer has done, he will defend that officer legally, and work diligently to ensure that the officer doesn’t accrue lost time from work. If the FOP has the primary concern of legal defense for officers, then them being involved in every aspect of officer’s profession is a conflict of interest. I believe the FOP should work as a union, and cover the cost for 3rd party legal teams to defend officers in cases of alleged police brutality. According to Dean, public attention should be concerned with the PTSD the police officer’s suffer after these events. While explaining examples of these cases of PTSD, he mentioned instances that all included officers having to respond to an accident where they saw dead children, and a few instances of adult bodies being discovered. What he didn’t mention was cases where vicious savages with badges murder innocent people, then have a hard time sleeping at night.

When asked about the frequency of use of deadly force in African American neighborhoods, the FOP president told aldermen that CPD only has 760 tasers to share amongst the department. He also testified that only 1 in 5 Chicago police officers are certified to use tasers. What are the rules of engagement, and the rules to the use of deadly force for the CPD? Is deadly force the only option when a police officer interprets that a situation is beginning to escalate? This is a clear depiction of the police state’s value on black life. Injustice seeps from the pores of an organization that is controlled and manipulated by power drunk public officials.

Next, an alderman asked Dean Angelo why he didn’t fire Van Dyke sooner. He replied, once again, that his only priority in any complaint of police misconduct, is defending the officer, and ensuring that he doesn’t incur any lost time on the job. The alderman then asked him if there were any procedures in place that could’ve had ex-officer Van Dyke terminated immediately. He then disclosed that there is a procedure in place, which shocked everyone and caused disapproval by Black Lives Matter protesters observing the address. According to him, IPRA could’ve recommended that the officer be fired. The process would’ve taken 30 days after the Board of Police approved the recommendation. This raises more suspicion about all parties involved in this case.

Chicago is bubbling close to full blown revolution, and there are more people politically involved than ever before in history. Police brutality and terror plague black communities all over the country. Consistent protests have dealt a great blow to business in downtown Chicago since the release of the tape showing the murder of Laquan McDonald. Protesters are calling upon elected officials to take immediate action at resolving this issue of brutality and terror in the Chicago Police Department. They are also calling for the immediate resignation of Rahm Emmanuel, and Anita Alvarez. Why are there only 760 tasers, but over 8,000 officers? Why are good officers afraid to speak out against misconduct by their peers? Should periodic training and certification be beefed up for all officers? The point is to figure out what we can do to totally reform a policing system that is rooted in racist beginnings. Whatever is decided upon as the course of action, it needs to happen NOW, and citizens are demanding that we be involved in decision making processes from now on. Signing off, but never offline!

By: Eugene “Geno” Stanley