Commentary-Love Can Save The Day

Commentary — By on March 1, 2015 at 1:55 am

Cover photo-Common (L) with John Legend at the Oscar's. Photo: Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images. Inside photo: Publisher Buddy Sampson gives speech after receiving Eugene Melvin Sidney's Friendship Award. Photo by Cecilia Parker.

It’s been quite some time since I’ve written a commentary. A lot has happened since that time, we have been struggling to stay afloat. We need your help and hope that you’ll continue to support us, through ads and profiles.

Rochelle Holness. Photo by Isabelle Ruen.

We are not your Daddy’s Scoop Newspaper. We have forged the old with the new. We have a great Ms. Scoop, (a long time feature of The Scoop Newspaper, the old) for Black History Month, the lovely Rochelle Holness, shot by the amazing Isabelle Ruen (the new) on our pages, combining beauty with brains. Kim Webster remains a mainstay of The Scoop LA, and she and I are the only two people that are still here from the original Scoop Newspaper. Kim Webster continues to do fantastic stories for us and she is a great and dear friend and we have been through the trenches together, sharing tears as we placed dirt on the grave of another one of our dear columnists, Eugenia Wright, who we dearly miss. I’m so proud of Kim Webster, I love her and she continues to write great stories for us, including a fantastic story on The Pan African Film Festival. She’s a terrific photojournalist and also writes for the Long Beach Times.

Kim Webster.

Prather Jackson. Photo by The Scoop LA.

Black Publishers are kind of rare in Los Angeles, and I’m proud to be one of them. But I’m also proud of my colleagues, for example Prather Jackson, who owns The Hollywood Weekly. I did a story on one his events, a Pre-Grammy party and check it out. Be sure to visit Support Black businesses. We are a strong part of African-American culture and we need you to survive.

Eugene Melvin Sidney(L) and Valeria Von Leczycki-Goncharova Barrett. Photo by Gennadiy Kotlyarchuk.

Additionally, I want to thank my good friend Eugene Melvin Sidney, who honored us at a pre- New Year’s Eve party. He also honored a contributor to The Scoop LA, Valeria Von Leczycki-Goncharova Barrett, who wrote a fashion story for us a year ago. It is an honor to be recognized and I’m happy to continue the legacy of The Scoop Newspaper’s Jim Shields, who taught me journalism, publishing and is a dear friend. I’ve heard rumors that he may have passed away. But it is a mystery. If I find out, I will let you know. Jim Shields is an important figure in African-American history, and I have been very fortunate to have learned from him, worked with him and I miss our hours of conversation on the phone and his war stories. It is my hope, someday, to do a story on the man and his work.

Anthony Chauncey.

The Black Panthers were an important part of Black History. Some may have not agreed with their views, but they instilled a sense of confidence and power in a people. Anthony Chauncey did a perspective and super proud to publish his story.

New Beginning

With sales sagging and opportunities dwindling in this new technological age, I decided to go back to school and enrolled at Los Angeles Valley College. I’m retooling and hope to get young writers to contribute to the Scoop LA and get us more current. While in school, I’ve noticed that the classmates I have are much younger than I. But I learn so much about them- their sensibilities, their activism and their passion. I’m studying the Reconstruction Period and I have to admit, I’m stunned at the atrocities that were committed against my people and completely devastated about how the American Indians have been treated. Many historians have said that the West was colonized by settlers, but let’s face it; America’s history has been tainted in many historical accounts. “White English- speaking Americans conquered the West, rather than settled it,” said America Past and Present, Volume 2 10th Edition. We’ve seen all the movies glorifying the attacks on the Indians, but we should, as a country, be ashamed of how we’ve treated its citizens, African-Americans and American Indians being a great example of that.

We still are lagging in progress. Although we had Jim Crow laws in the 1800’s, we still have appalling practices in this country, to this day that continue. Overt racism may be lessened, but there are still many discriminatory practices that go on, in hiring and employment, in housing and in the jails. John Legend said in his Oscar speech for the win for Best Original Song for the movie “Glory” that “we are the most incarcerated country in the world. There are more men under correctional control, which were under slavery in 1850.” Unfortunately, we’ve seen more, not less racism since we’ve had our first Black President, Barack Obama. If I leave the house, as a Black man, I experience some kind of racism most days. That experience is not uncommon to most Black men, and it is a reflection of the climate we live in. Everyone knows that police officers all over the country target Black men. I was in tears over a friend’s place recently, when he had to explain to his son that you cannot trust the police, because you can die inadvertently at the hands of the law, who are supposed to protect us, not take the law into their own hands because of their personal biases. And quietly, America has been rolling back laws meant to protect African-Americans, including questioning the validity and trying to roll back the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Things can change, but not if we don’t speak up. If we don’t protest, if we don’t make our voices heard, in government, in business and in human rights, we will fall back as a people in this country. Black people are the most imitated culture and we’ve given so much to the world. We still have to fight to protect human rights, to make sure that African –Americans have jobs and most importantly, education.

Don’t get it at all twisted. Change in this country is not just an African-American thing. We are a nation of diverse people; all of us have something to contribute. I’m very encouraged at the protests all over the country when a wrong has been done. You see a rainbow of different cultures, White, Black, Asian, Latino and other cultures with T shirts that say “Black Lives Matter,” and “I Can’t Breathe.” We can seriously change things if we unite as a people and say. “Enough!” Racism and bigotry has no place in a current civilized society and we can change it. Common said it best during the Oscars, when he spoke of the bridge at Selma. “This bridge was once a landmark of a divided nation,” said Common. “But now it’s a symbol for change. The spirit of this bridge transcends race, gender, religion, sexual orientation and social status. The spirit of this bridge connects the kid from the South Side of Chicago dreaming of a better life, for those of France standing up for their freedom of expression, for the people in Hong Kong protesting for democracy. This bridge was built on hope, welded with compassion and elevated by love of all human beings.”

Love, compassion and peaceful protest can affect change. I was super encouraged by a young lady in my class, Jennifer Vasquez, a proud Latina lady that proudly wore the shirt, “Black Lives Matter.” She knows that if one of us suffers, then all of us suffer. We can make change gradually, but love will rule the day. During Black History Month, I not only want to salute all Black achievement, but I want to celebrate all the races and cultures that have supported us.

We love you and make sure you tell someone today you love them and reach out to know your neighbor, no matter what race, gender or sexual orientation they may have. You are the purveyor of change, not someone else, you. Love can save the day.

Buddy Sampson


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