Meek Mill, You Got it Half Right, the Philly Vandals are ACORN-Haters

Valle de Bravo      Hey, Meek Mill!  Sorry to be reading your tweets about the vandal scandal in South Philly at your aunt and grandmother’s houses.  That’s all bad stuff, brother!  Especially sucks since this is the holiday season, Christmas, New Year’s, love is in the air, peace and good will to all people, and all that, so don’t let it cloud your family in this time.  You know, go high road, when they go low road, lol!

I read your tweet about ACORN, Meek.  For lots of reasons I keep ACORN on Google Alerts, so when something flashes, I’m on it every day, whether here or abroad.  So, I need to get you straight on something here, especially since you went all Trump-twitter, and the police don’t seem to have a clue or a memory.

            You remember @MeekMill tweeted:

A white man sprayed a racial remarks on my Grandmom’s house last night in south philly referencing white Privileged…. the crazy part is this was a all black neighborhood 20 years ago It was gentrified and now this! Just don’t let us catch you coward!

Ok, you’re right there.  This is all wrong.

Then Joshua Espinoza at www.complex.com picked up the tweet and gave us some more clues saying,

the CHAMPIONSHIPS rapper tweeted that a white man had spray painted “racial remarks” on the South Philly residence. Meek posted surveillance footage of the unidentified perpetrator vandalizing the home with the word “ACORN”—a term that is reportedly associated with the white power movement and neo-Nazis.  Joshua Espinoza www.complex.com

I’ve looked at the camera footage you found and that ran on the news in Philly.  Yes, ACORN on house after house in big, fat capital letters and in one case the dude wrote “ACORN Pals” didn’t he.

So, look, here’s what’s up with this.  This guy is a stone-cold hater.  No doubt about that.  But Espinoza is smoking it.  ACORN is NOT a “term that is reportedly associated with the white power movement and neo-Nazis” although this guy might be a card-carrying member of both.  ACORN and ACORN Pals is a Breitbart, Fox News, dog whistle to the hateraters across America.

ACORN was — and is — the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now that has been organizing low- and moderate-income families for almost fifty years in the United States and now in more than fifteen countries around the world.  Truth to tell, that has always meant the majority of our members are not white, and that sure riles up the right.  You can go on the internet and check all of this out from voter registration to video scams to all our victories and current work and whatever, ACORN is the freak flag for the conservative crowd.  You lean towards ACORN, you’re way left, and you can’t hang with the pure whites, the Fox-Friends, or the neo’s.

So, Meek Mills, you’re asking, why Philly?  Why South Philly?  Hey, ACORN was a powerhouse in Philly for forty years!  We had great groups and leaders in South Philly.  I’m not saying your grandmother was a member, because this spray-painting thing seemed kind of random, but, ask her, she might have been, and for sure, she’ll know ACORN.  South Philly, North Philly, all over Philly is thick with ACORN Pals.  The same flames with different names are still in the old ACORN-building at 846 North Broad Philly.  Go by, say hi, get the full story on why ACORN still scares the righties and the racists in Philly and everywhere across America and the world.

It’s no comfort, but some of our show hosts are playing your songs on our radio stations in New Orleans, Little Rock, and Greenville, Mississippi.  Community radio.  You have to love it!

Reach out to me, and I’ll send you an ACORN t-shirt so you can show the haters and cowards that you stand tall and represent.

Best to you and yours for the holidays!

Stream Meek Mill’s Championships

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Finding a Way Forward for Community Radio in Uganda

Kampala    In our last day of meetings, we wanted to make sure we had a way forward in Uganda, not only for potential organizing, but to begin the work with an initiative in community radio.  The more we puzzled over the paths forward, choosing first one direction, and then another, and then both, we realized that despite believing earlier that the process might be quick, in reality it could take years to achieve, certainly one to three at the least.  Even as we moved in these directions, I wanted to make sure the trip to Kampala had been worth the time and trouble for my colleagues as well as myself and our scarce resources.

            Why not start with an internet radio station?  At the least, a block of programming on acornradio.org, perhaps 10 to 16 hours on a weekend at the beginning to prepare for a launch of uganda acorn radio.

            Looking at the population statistics for Uganda, we could almost see this relatively small country swelling before our eyes.  The estimates showed more than forty-one million people in 2017, an over three million increase in one year, compared to the same amount over the previous five years.  Internet penetration was estimated at over 31%, although these figures are notable for their hard rock boosterism.  Under any terms with the right approaches, we would build listenership, and would do so nationally, even if our primary intentions were in Kampala and Arua in the northwestern part of the country.

            Other research we uncovered, as we met on the patio of the Kampala Kolping Hotel, examined the state of community radio in the country.  The authors argued that there was nominally a half-dozen, but in their report treated the efforts with skepticism.  Most were in rural areas of the country.  One of the larger was organized by women journalists and called MAMA.  We couldn’t find a listing on their website or the governments on the power of their broadcast, but they claimed on their website that their signal could reach thirteen million people in a huge area covering most of the southern part of the country.  Who knows?  But at least we might not be alone.

            Once I broached starting, even with this tentative first step, my colleagues responded enthusiastically.  We made lists and workplans.  We huddled over a computer, when we were able to get on the internet, and looked at equipment price lists and debated local purchase versus shipping overseas.  We talked about the languages and content of programming.  We covered any topic we could think of until the day was fading, buses and work were calling my friends, and my time was running out in Uganda.

            I even found myself crawling around behind the hotel and measuring in my mind’s eye whether an antenna on top of this Catholic NGO’s hotel might be enough with some power to reach the slums spread out all around us.

            From such small beginnings, we will see what we can make happen in the coming months and years.

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