Reflection on the life and legacy of Atarah Empress Mayo
03/10/14 - 08/19/20
Rest in Peace & Rise in Power.
One of her favorite song was "Give me the light" and now she is a light.
Her uncles speak highly of her, saying "Atara loved Rainbows, Butterflies, & Unicorns... She was the embodiment of a bag of skittles. There is nothing special about a pile of dirt but so many beautiful flowers grow from it. She was strong and fragile at the same time. She loved art and liked to draw. She loved "Dr McStuffins."
Maybe she could have become a doctor one day. Our tragedy reminds us that everything is not always ok.
Love your children and let them know how much you love them.
Some say ignorance is bliss but I believe clarity is bliss; this is a wake up call.
Atarah took full advantage of everything life presented herm, she had a relationship with the Lord at a young age.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
Stand Strong by Dr. Nahshon Nicks
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Ephesians 6:10
If we are going to pivot out of this pandemic into peak performance, there are three areas of concentration in the midst of uncertainty stand still, stand your ground, and stand strong.
1. Stand Still
When you are going through or coming out of a traumatic experience it's hard for your soul to find rest but God had the prophet Moses to share with the people that He has you and your soul can be at peace.
2. Stand Your Ground
Meaning let this mind be in you which is also in Christ Jesus. Stand knowing that if you keep your mind on Jesus that He will keep you in perfect peace. Stand knowing that our God will never leave you or forsake you. One form of forsaking is abandonment and our God will never abandon you.
3. Stand Strong
When you are stuck between a rock and hard place where you put your faith is crucial. These are not times when you find faith but this is when you use faith. God does not move on behalf of our fears, He moves on behalf of our faith.
In the words of Edward Mote:
"My hope is built on nothing less
than Jesus' blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
but wholly lean on Jesus' name.
On Christ, the solid rock, I stand;
all other ground is sinking sand,"
Rev. Dr. Nahshon Nicks
Family and Friends after two weeks with COVID-19, self-quarantine is a great way to self-reflect. This was a tough time before I was diagnosed, I was experiencing excruciating headaches. The night before my results came in I saw my deceased mother in a dream. When the results came in my heart paused for a moment and I was like "Oh God, what about my wife and kids, purpose, dreams, and the people I hold dear?"
God gave me peace in the midst of the pandemic. I brought my Bible and ten other books to keep my mind occupied in quarantine. Every time I cut on the T.V. the news reporters stated another city hit a spike in Covid cases and someone else has died from it. I kept telling my God and myself I can't die now because I have not fulfilled my purpose and I have too much work to do. With all the books that I brought with me to do research, I was redirected to simply reflect.
For the first time in my adult life I had an opportunity to reflect on three areas:
The three areas of great significance are Faith, Family, and the Future. Faith is the driving force, family is the steering wheel, and the future is where we are headed.
I would like to offer a few words of encouragement knowing that this virus can be fatal but is not final. When I say I am covered by the blood it doesn't make me exempt from any symptoms of this virus. The blood of Jesus gives me hope that my living was not in vain, that the relationships that I built on earth will transcend from this life to the next, and that we have given our youth a road map to glory.
In closing, my prayer is for a full recovery of those that have this virus. That people have the courage and ability to be tested and given results in a timely manner. That those that are essential in any way be protected and their families as well. I pray for insight and wisdom for our top researchers/scientists/doctors to develop a vaccine or antibiotic to counter Corona. I solicit the Most High to replace ashes with beauty and remove the veil of mourning with a garment of praise, break all chains of emotional bondage, provide relief for those in pain, and peace for those in conflict, I pray that the ministering angels keep us encouraged, the warring angels fight on our behalf, and that the Holy Ghost continues to comfort our hearts in Jesus name Amen.
"Left me alone I grew up amongst a dying breed" Tupac 1995
Black codes were restrictive laws designed to limit the freedom of African Americans and ensure their availability as a cheap labor force after slavery was abolished during the Civil War. Under black codes, many states required blacks to sign yearly labor contracts; if they refused, they risked being arrested, fined and forced into unpaid labor.(History.com 2019)
It is amazing how people display homage to the Jews for what happened during the Holocaust and empathize with the Natives of America because of what happened during the Trail of Tears, and tell Black Folks to get over the 400 years of slavery, segregation, and systemic racism.
We do not control any major media outlets. When you can control the narrative, you can control the negro. Over representation of degradation. African Americans fall under drug users and drug abusers versus our counterparts for the same consumption the media utilizes verbiage such as controlled substances and substance abuse.
Black on Black crime. I often hear how if Black Lives Matter then Black lives need to matter to Black People. My response, they do. Every nationality has its issues. For example the leading culprit in white murders is white people. The leading culprit in Japanese murders is the Japanese. The leading culprit in the Italian murders is the Italians. However, mainstream media has over cinematized black crime.
Often a specific issue such mass incarceration of African Americans is swapped with criminal justice reform. African Americans only make up 40% of US state prison population but only make up 14% of the US population. However, criminal justice reform is more inclusive which is why improvement to the treatment of African Americans and the criminal justice system is marginalized so say the least.
In 2019 US Census Bureau estimated 48,221,139 African Americans in the United States meaning that 14.7% of the total American population of 328.2 Million is Black.
The Bureau of Justice Statistics reports that in the U.S. 35% of state prisoners are white, 38% are black, and 21% are Hispanic.
African Americans account for nearly half of the 96,000 people locked up in Florida prisons while making up about 17% of the state population. Whites with half of the overall population make up 38% of inmates, while 13% of inmates are Hispanic.
One solution is Civilian Review Boards, this is one way we can help alter mass incarceration and abuse of force from the local police. Citizen Review Boards or Civilian Review Boards, review misconduct by local police which are independently investigated by people from the community. Citizen review boards typically operate independently of the courts and other law enforcement agencies and act as external checks and balances to ensure standard operating procedures were followed and shared accountability with law enforcement.
There are Citizen Review Boards around the United States in Houston, Honolulu, New York City, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Memphis, Cincinnati and Cleveland, Atlanta, Miami, Seattle, and Washington D.C. but not in Minneapolis (George Floyd), Glynn County (Ahmaud Arbery) Camden County (Tony Green) and Jacksonville Fl (Jamee Johnson)
In closing, “Morality cannot be legislated, but behavior can be regulated. Judicial decrees may not change the heart, but they can restrain the heartless.”
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
"But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams, his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream, his wings are clipped and his feet are tied so he opens his throat to sing.The caged bird sings with a fearful trill, of things unknown but longed for still,
and his tune is heard on the distant hill for the caged bird sings of freedom." (Maya Angelou)
Fair Sentencing Act - FAIR SENTENCING ACT in 2010 under President Barack Obama
In 2010, Congress passed the Fair Sentencing Act (FSA), which reduced the sentencing disparity between offenses for crack and powder cocaine. The scientifically unjustifiable ratio meant that people faced longer sentences for offenses involving crack cocaine than for offenses involving the same amount of powder cocaine two forms of the same drug. Most disturbingly, because the majority of people arrested for crack offenses are African American, the ratio resulted in vast racial disparities in the average length of sentences for comparable offenses.
This is an issue that was resolved in 2010 but it started in 1910. So that let's you know that the powers that be were either unaware or unconcerned or both.
Rev. Albert Cleage, "Prison is not an institution, it's an industry."
Tawanda Crowell in February of this year was caught off guard by police officers coming out of Publix with her children for shoplifting Fried Chicken and Hawaiian Rolls. They tried to apprehend her and she had no clue why they were arresting her, they then tased her, took her to jail, and charged her with resisting arrest without violence. Low and behold she had the receipt for the chicken and Hawaiian rolls in the bag.
When it comes to arrest in this country, when a poor man is arrested he calls his momma, when a middle class man goes to jail he calls his attorney, when a rich man goes to jail he calls the judge, when the elite go to jail he calls the president for a pardon, we have gone from the back off the bus to the front of the line.
The Department of Correction is the new name for Colored Section. We have officers that are supposed to de escalate us and now we have to train black boys and men to de escalate the police. You are innocent until proven guilty is not always a fact. You are guilty until proven innocent when you are identified as Black.
On a local level City Council Member Garrett Dennis introduced a new bill for body cam footage.
Transparency builds Truth and Truth builds Trust and Trust builds Communities.
Code Red by Pastor Dr. Nahshon Nicks
In order for the Black Community to compete as a Collective on a local, national, and global level we must have Rapid Environmental Development, Rapid Educational Development, & Rapid Economic Development.
Toxic mold, gas leaks, inadequate security and surveillance make it tough for those that live in the urban sectors of our city.
No Child Left Behind (NCLB) was the main law for K–12 general education in the United States from 2002–2015. The law held schools accountable for how kids learned and achieved. The law was controversial in part because it penalized schools that didn't show improvement, which ushers in the IEP and the intellectually disability.
Our problem is not the way it was stated but the way it was implemented. S.W.A. State White Average compared to the Black/ African American average are like night and day for standardized high school diplomas. We don't want our youth to have a comparative education we need them to have a competitive education.
We have a President that beats his chess about taking back communities with military force that have been underserved, underprivileged, underperforming, lied to, broken promises, broken leaders, broken government. My response is that you wouldn't have to take back a community if you were taking care of the community.
Long Term Comprehensive Planning got us in this mess and Long-Term Comprehensive Planning is going to get us out.
We must have (LTSSP) Long Term Systematic Sustainability Policy to help communities of color flourish.
We need to ensure equitable access to land and development to incubate economic success and compete in the global market. Subsidies, Block Grants, CRA's, Investment Grants, Prime and Subprime contracts.
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
“But I believe as we struggle with these problems, we’ve got to struggle with them with a method that can be militant but at the same time does not destroy life or property. And so our slogan must not be ‘Burn, baby, burn.’ It must be, ‘Build, baby, build.’ ‘Organize, baby, organize.’ Yes, our slogan must be ‘Learn, baby, learn,’ so that we can earn, baby, earn.”
Show Me The Money
Rev. Dr. Nahshon Nicks
The infamous words from Big Worm in the movie Friday "When you messing with my money you playing with my emotions." No representation, No legislation, No legislation, No reparation
Special Field Orders, No. 15 (series 1865) were military orders issued during the American Civil War, on January 16, 1865, by General William Tecumseh Sherman, of the United States Army. They provided for the confiscation of 400,000 acres along the Atlantic coast of South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida north of the St. John's River and the dividing of it into parcels of not more than 40 acres on which were to be settled approximately 18,000 freed slave families and other Blacks then living in the area.
South Carolina going south, Atlantic Ocean going West and the St John's River going north brings you right here to the first coast.
Our ancestors didn't just fight for freedom and equality they were also fighting for equity.
No representation, No legislation, No legislation, No reparations
Reparations by the United States of America
Land Redemption Act of 1841
Homestead Act of 1862
Alaskan natives in 1973 $1 billion and 40 million acres.
After World War 2 the United States financially assisted West Germany, Japan, Bulgaria, Finland, Hungary, Italy, and Romania, with the Marshall and MacArthur plan. And the same year the United States gave the Jews 130 billion gold Mark's because of the Holocaust.
Shawn D. Rochester author of "The Black Tax" unpaid slave labor for 250 years and Economic impact is near between $50 to $97 trillion. We went from slaves to sharecroppers and from sharecroppers to student loans and from student loans to indentured servants. Some of us are still fighting to be free.
When you have been oppressed, suppressed, depressed, you regress which stops progress.
Black contractors did get prime or subprime on tearing down the gator bowl when the Jaguars came to town. After Hurricane Irma the City of Jacksonville gave exclusive contracts for waste and debris to
J.B. Coxwell Contracting Company.
Jacksonville Small Emerging Business Program part 6 B section 126.608 paragraph A.
The city shall identify at least 20% of its work in its capital improvement projects during the annual budget submission which shall accomplished JSEB's Program using set aside, prime contracting opportunities and subcontracting goals. The city, through each department head shall commit in its budget to award at least 20% to its contract for services and non construction contracts to JSEB'S provided, however, that such awards shall apply with local state and federal law and that there exists certified JSEB'S to perform the work.
We deserve 30% but we need 50%.
30 % is equality but 50% is equity
We survived Poll Tax, but we can thrive with Tourism Tax, Bed Tax, & Sales Tax.
No promissory notes. No returned checks. Let us get ours off top.
Our country, state, and local government has a fiduciary responsibility to assist and aid with the protection and advancement of Black People in this country.
Martin Luther King Jr. said every man should pull himself up by his own boot straps, but what about the man with no boots.
Subsidize and Subsidy according to Webster's Dictionary. Means to furnish with a subsidy: such as to purchase, assistance of by payment of a subsidy. b : to aid or promote (someone or something, such as a private enterprise) with public money.
Here in Jacksonville I would love for Lot J and Jesse Street to be compared as a booming economy rather than a destructive dichotomy.
We have Opportunity Zones, Hub Zones, Foreign Trade Zones and now is the time to help get our Black Citizens into the End Zone.
By Rev. Dr. Nahshon Nicks
If you want to go fast go alone, if you want to go far go together. African Proverb
One of the most beautiful things about the Black People is that we have every shade from charcoal to chalk. Rev. Adam Clayton Powell.
Briefly I would like to explore three areas, conduct, custody, & care.
Conduct - You judge a tree by its fruit and its behavior by the root
The rule of law, all people are equal under the law. No one is above the law, everyone is accountable to the law.
We have Social Distancing & Social Dysfunction. Every police department's motto should be Safety and Security as well as to Protect and Serve. Police footage can help you observe a behavior but it doesn't help change a behavior. Most current examples, Tony Green, Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, Breona Taylor, and recently in Atlanta Rayshard Brooks and locally in Jacksonville, Fl, Jamee Johnson. We have officers and white citizens that have assumed authority as Judge, Jury, and Executioner.
According to the Sunshine, Law Enforcement Officers and Correctional Rights: 112.532 Section (2) COMPLAINT REVIEW BOARDS.
A complaint review board shall be composed of three members: One member selected by the chief administrator of the agency or unit; one member selected by the aggrieved officer; and a third member to be selected by the other two members.
In short, they govern themselves, by themselves, for themselves. Which is why we don't have a Citizen Review Board. Transparency brings Truth, Truth builds Trust and Trust builds Communities. If we can't get what we need from the judicial and legislative branches of government then we must march to the governor in Tallahassee to get him to exercise his executive authority and give the people what they want.
Custody - Change of Custody
Custody is s a change of responsibility. For example, parent to bus driver, bus driver to School and school to parent. I was speaking with Rev. Levey Wilcox about the police department in the 1960s. We have one police department with two police stations. One right here for the whites on Bay Street and one in the Blodgging homes for the Blacks. The white Officers policed the City of Jacksonville and the black officers could only police the black communities.
A black police officer could only arrest black people. If a black police officer came across a white man committing a crime the best he could do is detain the white man without handcuffs and without making an arrest until the white police officer came to retrieve him.
Care - Care is not what you say it's what you show. Care is not about what you discuss but what you display.
"To whom much is given much is required"
When the body of Jordan Davis was flown from Jacksonville, Fl to Atlanta, Georgia on the side of the box that contained his remains read, "Handle With Care. It is a crying shame that in America that Black Youth and Black Men are only handled with care in death and not while they are living.
by Pastor Dr. Nahshon Nicks
First, I want to say thank you for this opportunity to share what's in my heart. I am unapologetically Black. I love the skin that God placed me in. I believe the greatest commandment is to love God and second unto it is to love my neighbor as I love myself.
I have Black Love, Brown Love, Yellow Love, White Love and Blue Love. I love our police officers that uphold the badge with dignity and integrity.
Welcome to the Bold New City of the South or should I say when it comes to unsolved murders welcome to Old Cold Case city of the South. A few years back one of my students asked me, “Pastor Nicks are we fighting for equality or equity?” My response, “Keyante we are fighting for both”. We had a River City Renaissance Plan, A Better Jacksonville Plan, but when they consolidated the County and the City it became a shark tank; every side of town is economically booming except the Northbank.
We are in a novel pandemic with a chronic social disorder:
● When COVID testing came to the Black Community in Kooker Park, a large percentage were faulty and defected.
● In our city's HUD properties not only do we want affordable housing but livable housing. If the owners wouldn't live in it, then they shouldn’t get funding for our people to be their tenants.
● Cold cases, consisting of nearly 75% of the homicides and murders in our city, go unsolved.
● Opioid Overdoses trending over 300 for the last 3 reported years
● Out of school suspension rates include about 70% African American students. There is a mighty strong correlation between the percentage of black students exiting public schools and entering the department of Juvenile Justice.
● In our schools, we don't need more resource officers, what we need is more officers with resources.
● In the Northwest Quadrant, Food Deserts are prevalent on Kings Rd, Soutel, Mixon Town, & the Eastside.
● Black folks in this city have the highest charges of resisting without violence.
● African Americans have higher bonds set for the same offense as our white counterparts.
We invest in shot spotters, cure violence, and dash cams as the bare minimum, but with no government transparency, our city's violence will not cease.
No reinvestment, No revitalization
In the words of the prophet James Brown. "I don't want nobody to give me nothing just open up the door and I'll get it myself."
What do I expect from a peaceful demonstration? Access to capital with no hesitation.
● New business set asides specifically for Black Contractors,
● More funding for out of school & after school programs in predominantly Black underserved communities,
● Infrastructure upgrades in black communities with black businesses
● African Americans with the same degree and experience in our country as their White counterparts make 20 to 30 percent less in earned income.
● We want our city and state government entities to reflect the percentage of the population in this city which is north of 30 percent with a minimum matching percentage of the positions and Promotions.
● The best way to solve a crime is to prevent one. Community policing in black communities should look like the people in the community and as a police officer if you don't feel safe in our communities, we don't feel safe with you in it. It does not take 5 vehicles and 10 police Officers for a routine traffic stop.
● As far as policing, sergeants, lieutenants, commanders, and chiefs in JSO should reflect their percentage of the population that they serve.
● Removal of all Confederate Statues they should be auctioned off to the highest bidder and the funds should be reinvested in the Black Communities to make our situations better.
We are not asking our city leaders and elected officials to do the Black thing or the White thing, but we do need you to do the right thing. You can't lead the people if you don't love the people.
Divided we are defeated and United we prevail.
Ironically, it is now highly recommended that we keep a mask on when going out in public due to COVID-19. However, ‘Mask Off’ has been a term we’ve become much more accustomed to hearing. ‘Mask off’ is a reference to taking off the veil, or cover, to reveal your true self underneath it all. There are people that live their entire lives with their mask on, going as far as using cosmetics or surgeries to hide flaws, scars, and their true identity. If we are going to move our nation forward, it’s time to take the mask off.
Licensed to Kill
Shifting from a novel pandemic, let’s revert back to a chronic disorder plaguing our nation. Licenses to kill are not preceded without precedence. Starting with the first Africans brought to the Americas, specifically for generational slavery, or the dismemberment of Kunta Kinte; the demobilization of Nat Turner and Denmark Vesey, the Dread Scott Case, the deadly Civil War, the Klan Act of 1871, Harrison Act of 1913, the Great Migration from the south, Emmett Till, the assassinations of Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr., to modern day Tamir Rice, Freddie Gray, Philando Castile, Mike Brown, Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis, Sandra Bland, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd just to name a few.
To prove premeditated murder, indisputable evidence must confirm the intentional killing of a person with premeditated intent to cause and inflict harm and/or cause death. What if the murder of George Floyd was not only premeditated, but it was pre-dated?
‘Embedded’ is a term that can be used to describe something buried deep in the core of a citizen, culture, community, and/or country. Embedded racism is one of those things that people have popularized and politicized, but have never pointed to its origins and placement. Exposing what is at the core of any issue is the true challenge. It is evident that there is fundamental, institutional, environmental, and economic racism within our country. What are we going to do to eradicate embedded racism?
Until every Black Man and Woman can experience the sight of flashing blue and red lights behind them, without their heart skipping a beat, we cannot say we are ALL free.
“But I believe as we struggle with these problems, we’ve got to struggle with them with a method that can be militant but at the same time does not destroy life or property. And so our slogan must not be ‘Burn, baby, burn.’ It must be, ‘Build, baby, build.’ ‘Organize, baby, organize.’ Yes, our slogan must be ‘Learn, baby, learn,’ so that we can ‘Earn, baby, earn.’”
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Protest. Protest. Protest.
Exercise your right to protest; however, protest with a plan. A plan should include comprehensive, long-term strategies and deliverables. We too often have long term expectations and make short term commitments. Moving forward, we must lead with courage and consistency and commit to completing what we start! Please don't undermine the value in voting.
Although we’re 400 years removed from the auction blocks of slavery, the realities we still face today show there’s been very little progression. We must organize, we must strategize, and we must create movement; progress should not be an option but a requirement. We must ensure our message remains consistent and that the impact in our current movement is not lost when cameras stop rolling. If we are going to move our nation forward, it’s time to take the mask off.
Malcolm X said "We are waiting on others to do for us, that which we are capable of doing ourselves."