Welcome! This free speech community journal was created so the Maple Heights African American community could share videos, photos, events, articles, posts, ideas, thoughts, and information.  We're now exclusively on Facebook, so don't forget to also check out our Facebook page.  Have a fantastic day!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012


Obama Team Training
Maple Heights residents are invited to an Obama Team Training, Thursday, May 31st @ Maple Heights Library, 6:00 pm. RSVP now for team training in Maple Heights. http://ohio.barackobama.com/Ohio-Team-Training
Where: Maple Heights Library, 5225 Library Lane, Maple Heights, OH 44137
When: Thursday, May 31st

Monday, May 21, 2012

African Americans Disappointed With Maple Heights Musical Group Picks

If you like polka music, you have nothing to complain about in this year's Music in the Park series.

For the African Americans in Maple Heights however, Linda Vopat needs to explain why, in a near 70% African American community, there is a disproportionate  number of  White groups to Black groups in the "2012 Music in the Park" series, and the "Mayor's Senior Splash Parties"; and she also needs to explain why the "Music in the Park" series and splash parties [disproportionately] appear to hold more appeal to WhitesDid you think we wouldn't notice?

We were also disappointed to find that the musical groups had much more appeal to a population over the age of 50. 

We need to know how these groups were picked.  Was there a committee formed, and did that committee reflect the racial and age demographics in Maple Heights?  What did the solicitation [for donations] say?

Here's what the Maple Heights Human Services Department has in store for the near 70% African American population this summer:

"2012 MUSIC IN THE PARK" series, and "Mayor's Senior Splash Parties":

2012 Music in the Park Series":

Frank Moraveik Orchestra -   Polka

John Dusek Orchestra -   Polka

The Casuals / Ray Zalokar - Polka

Wayne Tomsic Orchestra - Polka

Billy Kaye Orchestra - Plays Polka, and other kinds of music – no heavy metal

The following group plays Jazz (see Swing Era music description - Wiki)
     The Swing Era Band (saw 2 Blacks in this group)

Mike Jacobs Orchestra - description seen on The Renaissance (retirement community site): "Mike Jacobs Trio, playing popular tunes from the 50's and 60's. Take a musical trip back to the days when hula hoops and bobby socks reigned supreme and artists like Pat Boone, Perry Como and Patti Page ruled the charts"

Soul’d OUT – an African American  Group

City Heat - this is either the young Black Group (though we doubt it), or White Group w 1 blk drummer that plays 60’s/ 70’s/ Motown

Logan Wells – Country Music, and Patsy Cline

Mayor's Senior Splash Parties:

Joey Tomsick - Polka/Waltz

Ralph Szubski - accordion player


E.F. Boyd Funeral home was solicited for donations for the "2012 Music in the Park" series.  We are happy to announce that Ms. Cox donated.

It's no wonder that African Americans end up going to Bedford and Oakwood events, and Warrensville Heights Home Days for entertainment.


UPDATE 5/2013:

[To be further edited to make corrections if needed]

Friday, May 18, 2012

What About those Brand New Police Vehicles?

A bunch of folks in Maple Heights have been asking about the brand new police vehicles they see cruising around. 

They are especially concerned because money meant for people (who abut the railroad)  in districts 3 and 5, was thrown into the general fund recently (because of a resolution that was passed in March of this year).  Some of the residents who abut the railroad in districts 3 and 5, will only be receiving 20% of that "railroad" money.  The rest of the money went into the general fund.

Anyway, according to a resident from district 5, she said she called Eric Dean, the finance director, to ask about the new police vehicles.  She was concerned because she was told (by others) that the city had financial problems.  

She said that the finance director stated that the last vehicles that were purchased [by the city of Maple Heights] were purchased in 2008; whereupon she asked if she could have a written accounting of how the railroad special fund monies were spent before being transfered into the general fund; and now that the railroad special funds have been transfered into the general fund, how is that money being spent?  She's still waiting for a response from the finance director.

[Update 7/20/2012: Since this post, Mr. Dean has been very helpful in providing financial information requested.  He is the only department head that has responded with information that we've requested. Various members of council have also decided not to respond to our requests for information.  We'll post those names in another post after August 1st]

So there are several questions on the table.   1. If the vehicles were purchased in 2008, why are we just seeing these vehicles now?  2. If they are not purchased vehicles, are they leased vehicles? 3. If leased, how are we paying for them?  4. Since the special fund money went into the general fund, on what has money in the general fund been spent?

Another resident added: "Yeah, they must be really proud of those vehicles, because you hear police sirens more often. Don't know if that's a good thing or bad thing."



Saturday, May 12, 2012

How America's Police State Controls Black People

I cried when I read this:

AlterNet / ByNicholas Powers

'They Think We Are Animals': How America's Police State Controls Black People

Racism in America's police force is linked to cops' role as keepers of the status quo in an unequal society.
“Get out of the fucking car,” he yelled. I dashed to my apartment window, looked down and saw a cop aiming his gun at a car. Slowly, hands trembling above his head, a black man stepped out and kneeled on the road. Is he going to kill him? I wondered. If he so much as twitches the cop will blast his brains out.

As the afternoon mist thickened into rain, I saw the officer blinking droplets from his eyes. His face was a knot of rage and fear. Thankfully the young man being arrested didn’t twitch as he was handcuffed. After they left and my panic ebbed, I knew it wouldn't be long until someone somewhere was blown into oblivion by the police.

It wasn’t a knee-jerk anti-authority reaction but a heavy feeling based on history. Months later I read of the NYPD killing 18-year-old Ramarley Graham and 68-year-old Vietnam veteran Kenneth Chamberlain. They join Duane Brown, Sean Bell, Timothy Stansbury, Patrick Dorismond, Michael Stewart and others on the growing roster of black men killed by the police.

Once the smoking guns cool and the body is buried, mainstream media repeat the same words, “accident” or “tragic.” But we, who are black or Latino or politicized, hear the slurs and threats shouted in the background. Progressive news show Democracy Now reported that when cops banged on Chamberlain’s door and he told them he was fine, one shouted, “I don’t give a fuck nigger!” In 2011, cops created a Facebook page to complain about working the West Indian Day Parade, on it they called the black partiers “animals” and “savages,” and one wrote, “Drop a bomb and wipe them all out.” Repeatedly, journalists or lawyers smuggle out of the Blue Code of Silence evidence of police using racist, animal imagery to describe the very people they are supposed to serve.

Racism in America's police force is linked to their role as keepers of the status quo in an unequal society. They enforce laws written by politicians on behalf of the wealthy -- laws that end up trapping poor and working-class people in desperate lives. Racial and sexual minorities, legal and illegal immigrants are seen as threats to the social order. When we protest the law and “occupy” a space we are beaten and arrested. When we commit a crime to “get some” we are beaten and arrested. And when we do neither but simply live we’re busted to make a cop’s stop-and-frisk quota.

Language plays an essential role here. It starts with a defensive joke, a “perp” profile that becomes so blurred it encompasses nearly everyone on the street and a constant sense of danger. Each builds on the other until the change is complete and one day, they casually listen to NYPD Capt. James Coan give a racist hurrah speech to detectives executing warrants in Brooklyn. “They’re fucking animals," he repeatedly said of black people from 2008 to 2010, “If you have to shoot, you shoot them in the head.”

A Shot in the Dark
“He was obliged to keep watch all night long with his guns at hand,” wrote slave trader Robert Durand in 1733. “The negroes were continuously ready to force open his hut to rob him…as they were only looking to avenge the kidnapping of their friends.” During the Atlantic slave trade, 12 million people were stolen from Africa and shipped to the Americas. Slave traders herded them from ship plank to the market, where once bought, they shuffled in chains to plantations. And with each jangling step, slaves were circled by men with guns and whips who did not see them as human beings but as dangerous dark animals.

If your job was to herd, whip and sell people like animals then you must see them as such or risk your sanity. From the auction block, jokes and imagery of Africans as savage heathens and apes, swept through cotton fields and upward into the halls of power. Racial ideology, the belief that a physical difference between humans determines their place in society, rose from the material practice of slavery. In his 1781 book Notes on the State of Virginia, Thomas Jefferson equated blacks to animals, writing that they don’t feel love or pain. “Their griefs are transient,” he wrote “Those numberless afflictions…are less felt, and sooner forgotten with them.”

The continuous association of blacks to monkeys created a culture of violent policing of brown bodies. In his 1845 autobiography, abolitionist Frederick Douglass wrote of an overseer named Mr. Gore who used his whip like a tongue as if to speak with leather. One day he lashed a slave named Demby who ran into a creek and refused to come out. Douglass writes, “Mr. Gore then…raised his musket to his face, taking deadly aim at his standing victim, and in an instant poor Demby was no more. His mangled body sank out of sight, and blood and brains marked the water where he stood.”

Slavery By Another Name
After the Civil War ended, African Americans had a brief season of freedom during Reconstruction. But the sight of their former slaves walking the streets terrified Southern whites. In the book and PBS documentary, Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of African-Americans from the Civil War to World War II, reporter Douglass Blackmon explained how the Southern ruling class, which wanted the return of free labor, created the Vagrancy Laws. If blacks couldn’t be owned they could be jailed and forced to work. Historian Talithia LeFouria said it meant that, “Anything from spitting or drinking or being found drunk in public or loitering in public spaces could result in confinement.”

Before the war, images of blacks in newspapers were of lazy watermelon-chomping coons or blissful mammies or silent Uncle Toms. After the war they changed into lewd jezebels and fierce brutes. The shift came as slavery gave way to the convict-lease system. Racial ideology still pivoted on the concept of blacks as animals, once safely shackled, now free and dangerous.

Nearly 900,000 black people were arrested and channeled into the convict-lease system, where once incarcerated they were “sold” or “rented” to industries. In this era, police took over for slave catchers and prison guards for overseers as the reactionary force used to turn back history.

Stop and Frisk
“When I was ten, and didn’t look, certainly, any older, two policemen amused themselves by frisking me, making comic (and terrifying) speculations concerning my ancestry and sexual prowess,” James Baldwin wrote in The Fire Next Time (1963). If you read black writers of the past one truth becomes clear: an “unofficial” stop-and-frisk policy has always been in effect, though the entire nation.

read the rest Here

Nicholas Powers is an assistant professor of literature at SUNY Old Westbury. His book of poetry, "Theater of War" was published by Upset Press in 2004. He has written for the Village Voice and the Indypendent.


Wealth Gap Among Races Has Widened Since Recession, April 28, 2013

Stop And Frisk Lawsuit Gains Class-Action Status, Judge Slams NYPD Over Policy

New York City Police Infiltrate Sharpton’s Organization, Reporter Says by AFRO staff, February 16, 2012


Friday, May 11, 2012

Open for Comment, Your Feelings and Concerns about Maple Heights

Despite the fact that African Americans represent about 70% of approximately 23,100 residents, we are totally under-represented in Maple Heights government leadership positions, high salaried positions, etc.  [See Wikipedia, Demographics - last paragraph - 2010 stats and not 2000 stats]

Open for discussion:
Do you feel that you are respected by your Maple Heights government, and/or do you feel that as an African American resident, your ideas, rights, interests, concerns are ignored or dismissed?

Would you like to have a recreation center?

Do you feel you are taken seriously by this administration?

Do you feel safe in Maple Heights?  We've recently noticed a rise in burglaries in Maple Heights (most of us know of someone in Maple Hts who has been burglarized w/in the past 6 months).

If there is anything that is bothering you about Maple Heights ... jobs, this administration, the local police, your city schools, treatment of African Americans (esp. the young and elderly). 

Do you have any complaints?    Please let us know. 

You can remain anonymous.

If you haven't already signed our voting rights petition, please do so now:
Stop This City Council From Trampling on Our Voting Rights

or Martin Luther King Would Be Outraged and You Should Be Too!

or you can sign one of our paper petitions by emailing us.

We'll also be doing a poll in the near future, to find out what your concerns and priorities are.

[To be further edited]