*Civil Rights Attorney Charles F. Coleman has been seen on CNN discussing a variety of topics including Affirmative Action, white supremacy, police shootings, and a variety of topics that headline world and national news.
Recently, Attorney Coleman had a Zoom conversation with EURweb to discuss some of the prevailing topics related to race, social justice, and reform that have been headlining national news for several weeks.
A former prosecutor, Attorney Coleman worked in Brooklyn, the largest borough in New York City, and the largest prosecutor’s office in the city. Coleman’s transition to Civil Rights litigation happened in part because he saw “there is a strong need for responsible, ethical prosecutors of color and black prosecutors.” Coleman also realized that “the criminal justice system was politicized in a way that [he] just could no longer take.” Other influences on his decision were his passion around social justice issues and his natural inclination toward Civil Rights. Coleman says that while other young people idolized super heroes, the Civil Rights leaders were his super heroes.
Nationwide most major cities have seen protests calling for police reform, including defunding. Attorney Coleman shed light on the local and national approaches to police reform saying that reform starts at the local level where it has the most impact.
Asked about the outcry for police defunding, Coleman said: “Once the average person is aware…of how much an actual municipality’s budget is spent on police or dedicated to police, I find that people are usually shocked because they didn’t know.”
At that point people have to look at their communities and decide what they want their communities to look like and then “reimagine” policing within the community.
Communities are different and policing has to be tailored for the community culture and demographics.
“The conversation about social justice and Civil Rights in America requires black people become more educated about our own history. It is absolutely inherent upon us to have a conversation that prioritizes facts over feelings.”
Coleman says that asking for defunding police means that “you can’t sort of say I want the state to have a hands off approach when it comes to me, my family, and my community, and then you also have a hands off approach.” He says that defunding police means communities have to assume more responsibility.
Having “more of a say in terms of how your communities run and how they’re functioning and how they’re policed, well then now you have to take more responsibility in terms of actualizing and making that happen.”
Another function in reform is understanding the history of policing.
Fundamentally, people have viewed policing as necessary for stopping or preventing crime, but Attorney Coleman raises the point “From a larger standpoint, I think the question becomes do you understand why crime occurs?”
Lack of resources, perceived lack of resources, opportunities or lack thereof are factors that influence crime within communities. Attorney Coleman points out that if people have “rewarding jobs, if they are happy about where they live, if they feel like they can provide for their families” they are less likely to be embedded in criminal activity.
He poses the question “Do black lives matter enough for us to invest in communities where black lives are?” The question underscores his belief that funds could be used in communities so that mental health units like the EDP (Emotionally Disturbed Persons unit) in New York are dispatched rather than police, decreasing the arrests and state supervision of people who are in mental crisis. He also mentions Chicago as an example where the correlation of black male unemployment and crime reflect how marginalizing a group creates a need for them to feel they are seen and heard.
Attorney Coleman says that on a national level, Washington “can set the tone for what the national discussion is. They have a lot of input and a lot of weight. If they say we need to think about policing in a different way…” Still, the majority of impact will come from the local elected officials.
One of the most impactful ways to approach police reform is by being honest. Coleman says that black people have a “painful history” when it comes to the history of policing in America.
“Police in America started with the slave trades. It was literally about being able to support slave owners who had property in the form of human chattel that had been stolen, or taken, or run away, and have that property returned to them. And, it gave people that responsibility and that obligation to sort of return lost ‘property.’ It gave them that authority.”
“And in terms of our history in America, culturally that has always sort of been the role of police. It has been to make sure that as it relates to our community that we stay in line where we’re supposed to be.”
That historically has translated in black communities that black people must stay in line or in place. Coleman says you can’t take something like policing that has always been one thing and then say that it has become something else. He says reforming policing must include conversation that is honest and clear about what it was historically so that redefining it moves away from that in the future.
Asked how do people begin the process of police reform, Coleman says the current election cycle presents the perfect time and opportunity for people to start asking elected officials for what they want in their communities.
“For the average citizen who wants to sort of know where to start, look right in your back yard at your elected officials and start asking them questions, particularly because now they’re coming around, they’re asking for your vote.”
Coleman is well versed on the calls for police reform, still he identifies some other areas that are vital for Civil Rights.
“In terms of our community, I think the biggest issue that we have to contend with is generational wealth gaps and economics.”
“Economics is a significant leveler of playing fields because economics is the one ticket, if you will, that enables people to circumvent structural racism.”
Coleman says that “On average, white families have an average median wealth value…of almost 3 ½ times that of black families.”
“Economics and ensuring that we figure out a way to create economic opportunity…is of critical import because that’s the fastest way for us to achieve equality and ultimately liberate ourselves.”
Coleman explains that might include actions that require people to understand the difference between being equal or fair.
In addition to economics Coleman lists education, criminal justice reform—not just a “myopic” approach of police reform, and racism which he defines as a “public health issue because of the myriad ways it impacts black Americans” as areas that Civil Rights gains need to be made.
Attorney Coleman says “The work that I do is work that I believe I was called to do, and it is indeed a labor of love so I am blessed and thankful to be walking in my purpose in that regard because at the end of the day, my people are my passion.”
Attorney Coleman has offered to continue dialogue with EUR on topics that readers want more insight on. He can also be found on Facebook and LinkedIn at Charles F. Coleman, Jr. as well as his website www.CFColemanJr.com
Jermayne (@JJermayne Writes) is the author of 6 published books; 3 are sports themed. Jermayne freelance writes and travels to cover sports, entertainment and cultural events.
Blair Underwood and Jay Pharaoh On Roles in New Hulu Film ‘Bad Hair’ / WATCH
“Bad Hair” is a new horror-comedy written, produced and directed by Justin Simien (“Dear White People”). The film is set in 1989 Los Angeles in the world of a music video television network.
It stars Elle Lorraine (“Insecure”) as Anna, an assistant at “Culture” who is trying to move into an on-camera spot. At the suggestion of her new boss, Anna gets a killer new weave, that has a mind of its own.
Blair Underwood also stars in the film as Anna’s Uncle Amos Bludso. He’s a constant supportive presence in Anna’s life, and someone she turns too as she unravels the mystery with her hair. EURweb correspondent Jill Munroe talked with Blair and the other male lead in the film, Jay Pharaoh, about men and their relationship with hair, plus changing yourself to get ahead.
Jill: Do Black men have the same experiences with hair as women?
Blair: No, you know better than that. We like to present ourselves well. We like to be dressed when we can, color coordinated when we can. Got to get the hair sliced up. Get the fade going. But it’s on a different level. I have a mother and I have two sisters, and I have a wife and a daughter now. It’s on a different level in terms of the time and certainly the money… that’s why I thought this project – created by Justin Simien who wrote, directed and produced this – I really thought this was brilliant and a stroke of genius, to put this story – which is all about a weave that’s possessing people. A hair possession story or tale, which is a Japanese and Korean genre of horror – I’ve never seen that in American cinema. So, to deal with an aspect of hair possession, in Black culture, knowing what our hair means to us – and our protagonist (Anna) played by Elle Lorraine – to put that in the walk and lived experience of a Black woman, I thought that was genius.
Jill: There are very many layers that we go through in this film. For Anna, she changed to get into the room. In your opinion, is there ever a time to conform to get the opportunity to step into the room?
Blair: If you’re asking me, absolutely. I think compromise is important. It depends on how far you want to get ahead. But as you compromise, you don’t lose sight of yourself. You can’t lose sight of your integrity and where you’re going inside of yourself. If you have a six-foot afro, and your boss says, “that’s cool, I need you to cut it down to a half an inch. If that’s going to allow you to pay your bills, handle your business and take care of your kids. Take care of yourself and put a roof over your head, than do that. The fact that you want your hair six inches long, a year down the road when you’re the manager or CEO, you can wear your hair how you want. It’s important to understand that compromise doesn’t mean losing yourself or giving up. It means, you may have to take that punch for the team.
Jay Pharaoh gave a huge spoiler about who dies in the film. Watch his interview below with caution! 🙂
“Bad Hair” also stars Jay Pharaoh, Lena Waithe, Kelly Rowland, Laverne Cox, Chanté Adams, James Van Der Beek, Usher Raymond IV, and Vanessa Williams.
It arrives on Hulu October 23, just in time for Halloween.
Dr. Jennifer Satterfield-Siegel: It’s ‘Very Rewarding’ Being An African American NASCAR Team Owner
*“The more you know NASCAR. The more you love NASCAR,” declares Dr. Jennifer Satterfield-Siegel.
She was a recipient of the Industry Ambassador award at the recent virtual NASCAR Drive for Diversity Awards.
Satterfield-Siegel says it is “super cool” to currently be the only African American woman NASCAR race team owner. Other words came to her mind when she describes how she’s accelerated into the fast lane with her husband, Max Siegel, who is the exclusive manager of NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity Program.
“It’s very rewarding. I love the space that we are in with helping to develop drivers for the sport. I love that,” the pediatric dentist maintains adding there is a strong support system for her race team.
Growing up in Indianapolis, Indiana, home of the over a century old Indianapolis Motor Speedway, she has fond memories of going to the city’s iconic racetrack.
“Ever since I was a little girl my family we always went to the Indy 500 every year which was Memorial (Day) weekend. So, here in Indianapolis racing it’s just who we are,” the Circle City native said. “I never thought I wanted to be a race car driver. I wasn’t interested in it on that level when I was younger. Basically the exposure happened when my husband was the president of Dale Earnhardt Inc. and then I got the bug.”
No surprise Satterfield-Siegel would catch the racing fever when her husband ran the NASCAR-related organization started by seven-time Winston Cup champion Dale Earnhardt. Sadly, Earnhardt’s life came to a tragic end in 2001 when in the final lap of the Daytona 500 he crashed into a retaining wall and died instantly.
She and her husband co-own and manage Rev Racing. As NASCAR continues to diversify its landscape, Satterfield-Siegel looks for ways to increase opportunities for diverse drivers and pit crew members.
They strive for excellence with their race team she says, “It’s just we’ve done our best to get the best, that includes drivers and our head of athletic performance.”
Another team that makes Satterfield-Siegel and her husband even more wildly enthusiastic is their three children. They are all on the fast track to success.
“Our oldest is a junior at (The University of) Notre Dame and he’s a football player. Then we have a son who is in L.A. and he is at the L.A. Film Academy. Then we have a daughter who is a junior in high school and she is a scholar and an amazing volleyball player,” Satterfield-Siegel said.
She jokes that she never thought any of their children would pursue a career as racecar drivers because of the size of the stock cars used by NASCAR and other professional racing leagues.
“Our kids are big. There is no way they could fit in a (stock) car,” Satterfield-Siegel admitted with a laugh. “When they were little, they would go go-karting and that kind of thing. They’re interested in the business side, the development side, but I wouldn’t say they’re those athletes who are going to go around the track.”
She offers this advice to women who want to be winners, “Go for it. I think it’s so important that we dream and that we dream big. Women don’t allow people, places or things to define them or to stifle them.”
The NASCAR Drive for Diversity Awards are an annual event, this year held on October 8, and were established to honor the NASCAR industry’s diversity leaders as well as recognize top achievements.
By Tené Croom
Pastor Cal Keeps Love Alive on ‘Married at First Sight’ (EUR EXCLUSIVE!)
*For 11 seasons, “Married at First Sight” (MAFS) has been the ultimate experiment in matchmaking as couples who have never met – complete strangers – tie the knot.
If you are not familiar with the popular Lifetime series, people looking for love are matched by relationship experts (Dr. Pepper Schwartz, Dr. Viviana Coles, and Pastor Calvin Roberson-known as Pastor Cal) and agree to tie the knot before meeting their mates.
The show follows the couples for a few weeks as they experience their first meeting at their weddings, their honeymoons, meeting each other’s families, and other milestone events all the while being counseled by the experts. At the end of each season, the couples are given the chance to continue in their marriage or get a divorce.
While some may question the show’s premise, the EUR spoke to Pastor Cal recently and he said the series is genuine.
“My job on the show is to get these couples, put them together, and make sure they stay together,” said Pastor Cal. “My goal is to look at their differences, see where they’re compatible, counsel them and in some cases, threaten them, to make it work. All the experts, our focus, is simply making sure the couples stay together.”
As for a method in which the couples are matched, he added, “There isn’t a solid formula we apply to every couple. It has to be tweaked as we find out people’s peculiarities. It can be nerve-wracking but it’s rewarding in the end.”
Like many MAFS seasons, there are surprising revelations and this one, featuring couples from New Orleans, is no exception.
“Season 11 has brought us so many surprises,” Pastor Cal said. “Even in casting, one of the couples we thought would get along much quicker is one of the ones lagging behind. And one couple we thought would move slower to intimacy are moving ahead. And that’s with Miles and Karen being the slower and Woody and Amani being the faster of the two.”
He continued, “Also, by my own admission, I fall on the sword on this one, I was not expecting Bennett and Amelia to get along so well. I thought she would be put off more by his lack of profession. It was a big surprise to me.”
The next MAFS season will include Atlanta couples and after that the show heads to Houston, which is casting now. Pastor Cal told the EUR that the show adapts to the couples from each city.
“I believe that every city we film in brings a certain flavor and the participants from that city take on the flavor from that city,” Pastor Cal said. “New Orleans is laid-back, they party, and it’s a very fun city as opposed to a city like D.C. that is very political, buttoned up, and tight. But definitely we found that every city influences the participants. We definitely see different personalities coming out of each city.”
Speaking of Atlanta, Pastor Cal is the lead pastor at Progression church in the peach city. He and his wife Wendy have a marriage coaching organization that offers marriage and relationship conferences, boot camps, and seminars worldwide.
While COVID-19 may have slowed down the in-person events, that has not stopped people from contacting Pastor Cal for love connections, “Because of COVID, we’re online. I get more people through DM’s, email, etc. asking me to match them.”
And how does the church feel about the show?
“My church actually loves it.” Pastor Cal said. “They are so supportive and such an incredible group of people. They tell people about the show. Our church was actually founded on relationships, so it was an easy fit. Our church was founded on positive marriage and positive family.”
Look out for Pastor Cal’s book, “Marriage Ain’t for Punks,” slated to come out next year.
If you are interested in being on “Married at First Sight” and live in Houston, click here to apply.
For more information on MAFS’ current season, click here.
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