US Using Eye and Facial Scans on Mexican Border

By Christopher Rivera

On December 10th 2015, Customs and Border Protection began using new biometric technology at Otay Mesa pedestrian crossing, in San Diego, for Non-U.S. citizens entering and exiting the U.S. According to cbp.gov the project will be in two phases; the first phase took place on December 10th in which certain Non-U.S. citizens used new kiosks, in the pedestrian lanes, with biometric capture technology to provide a facial photograph and iris images. The second phase will begin in February with “with biographic data provided from everyone departing the United States similar to the information provided when departing by air.” The test will run until June 2016.

The reason for this new approach, in a technology that seems to come straight out a sci-fi movie, is to crack down on immigrants who are in the United States on expired visas. In a study by the Pew Hispanic Center, in 2006, it was estimated that about 40 to 50 percent of people who are in the country illegally are here on expired visas. With the recent approach authorities have no way to identify them because they lack a check out system.

The trial system will last until June, and authorities will see if it will expand to foreigners at all crossings on the 1,954 mile border with Mexico.

Congress has long demanded a biometric system but it poses huge financial and logistical challengers.

One traveler, Rosendo Hernandez of Tijuana, said, “It’s very fast, not inconvenient in the least.”

Joe Misenhelter, assistant director at Otay Mesa, the nation’s fourth-busiest port of entry last year, said “It’s basically to verify that the same person that came to the United States is the same person that’s exiting the United States.”

Although people view this form of technology as a step in the right direction, like Marc Rosenblum, deputy director for U.S. immigration policy at the Migration Policy Institute, who said the effort aims to fix “the biggest deficiency in the whole system.” Others view it with some skepticism, like Jay Stanley, a senior policy analyst at the American Civil Liberties Union, who said that facial and eye scans may open the doors for countries to do the same to American visitors.

A Tarnished Father Figure

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by Christopher Rivera

Bill Cosby has come a long way from being an international spy on I Spy, peddling pudding pops, being the lovable fictional father, Cliff Huxtable, on the Cosby show, and being voice of reason for black youth, who tells them to pull their pants up. The idea of a lovable father figure that people have grown to admire has come to a screeching halt after a video of comedian Hannibal Buress went viral, while he was doing a standup routine in Philadelphia in 2014. During his set Hannibal Buress repeatedly calls Bill Cosby a rapist:

Thirteen? And it’s even worse because Bill Cosby has the fucking smuggest old black man public persona that I hate. Pull your pants up, black people. I was on TV in the ’80s. I can talk down to you because I had a successful sitcom. Yeah, but you raped women, Bill Cosby. So, brings you down a couple notches. I don’t curse on stage. Well, yeah, you’re a rapist, so, I’ll take you sayin’ lots of motherfuckers on Bill Cosby: Himself if you weren’t a rapist. …I want to just at least make it weird for you to watch Cosby Show reruns. …I’ve done this bit on stage, and people don’t believe. People think I’m making it up. …That shit is upsetting. If you didn’t know about it, trust me. You leave here and Google ‘Bill Cosby rape.’ It’s not funny. That shit has more results than Hannibal Buress.

It wasn’t long after Hannibal Buress’ video went viral that  decade old accusations resurfaced. These accusations included women being drugged, sexually assaulted, and raped. The victims often felt that they couldn’t speak out because of fear that no one would believe them.

One of the alleged victims was Linda Traitz who worked at Café Figaro, which was co-owned by Bill Cosby. Linda Traitz was assaulted by Bill Cosby after he offered her a ride home, but instead suggested they go to the beach. It was while they were parked at the beach that he opened up his suitcase and “He offered me pills and said it would help me to relax, and I kept refusing but he kept offering.”

He then lunged at her and began groping her inappropriately. She managed to escape the vehicle and run down the beach, tearing her skirt as she fell in the sand. Cosby was still in pursuit and he offered her a ride back home. Traitz told her co-workers and family of the incident, but she didn’t tell the police. Her brother, Jim Traitz, in an interview with Washington Post spoke about why she didn’t go to the police, he said, “It was a different time. We all also knew this was a really big guy with a big PR operation and lawyers, and that he could crush us — that he would crush us — and her.”

Now more than 40 women have come out and accused Bill Cosby of sexual assault. These accusations span from 1965, when Cosby was in I Spy, to the mid 2000s.

Bill Cosby only response to the allegations is when he told Florida Today, “People shouldn’t have to go through that and shouldn’t answer to innuendos.”

In the 2005 deposition Cosby did answer yes to getting Quaaludes, a type of sedative, for the purpose that he was going to use them on young women he wanted to have sex with, as was reported by the Business Insider.

Although, many of the cases fall outside the statutes of limitations, Cosby does face a defamation lawsuit from a group of alleged victims. One defamation lawsuit that is currently active against Cosby is filed by former attorney Tamara Green, Therese Serignese and Linda Traitz.

On December 30, 2015 Bill Cosby was charged with aggravated sexual assault in Pennsylvania for an incident that occurred in 2004.

 

 

Orange County Supervisors Approve Year-Round Homeless Shelter

By Christopher Rivera

 

In November, the Orange County Board of Supervisors, of California, unanimously approved a year-round homeless shelter to be built in Anaheim. This was after 600 supporters and opponents who gathered at the forum at Eastside Christian Church.

Their vote came four hours after heated debate over whether or not the warehouse should be converted into a 200 bed facility for the homeless. The facility is located off the 91 freeway, and is on 1000 N. Kraemer Place in an industrialized part of Anaheim.

Those that were against opening of the facility were business owners that surround the area, as well as residents from nearby neighborhoods. Their argument against opening a year-round homeless shelter is it will only lead to more crime and become “a magnet to additional homeless in the area,” said Mike Chew, who is a nearby resident who lives a mile away from the facility.

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The opponents also fear that once this location is open that it will deter customers from shopping at their stores. The residents in the nearby neighborhoods fear that the homeless shelter will lower their value of their home.

Those that were in favor of opening a year-round homeless shelter included advocacy groups, charities, and churches.

One of the supporters was Curtis Gamble, who, as the O.C. Register reports, was homeless for six years, told the forum, “It’s time we help the veterans. We served the country, we looked out for you. It’s time to look out for us.”

With the shelter approved, board Chairman Todd Spitzer was reported saying, “If we do it here and we do it right and we dispel all the myths, we can do this and we can solve the homeless problem in our county.”

The 200 bed homeless shelter will be, “equipped with a multiservice center that would assist occupants with health, employment, housing and other services.” Shuttles will be available to transfer people to and from the shelter to jobs and appointments. Homeless clients who have pet dogs will also be able to keep their pets in kennels and be able to play with them in a dog park that is located on the facility. The shelter will also offer a bike repair station, as was reported Scpr.org. It will also help people find permanent housing and permanent employment.

The shelter will be able to provide, “122 beds for men, 64 beds for women with an additional, separate wing for families. Cots, mats and cribs would be used for overflow.” There will also be a “[f]lexible sleeping space [that] would also be provided for transgender populations, people with special illnesses or people in recuperative care.”

The shelter beds will be available upon reservation only, and a background check must be passed to ensure there are no wanted felons or sex offenders from entering the facility. They are hoping there will be an average stay of 30 days, with a six month stay maximum.

10 percent of the shelter’s beds will be reserved for referrals from law enforcement agencies. And to make sure this facility is safe there will be unarmed private security guards patrolling the property. The shelter will also have metal detectors, cameras, and outdoor lights to ensure safety.

It is estimate that nearly 15,300 people will experience at least one night of homelessness over the course of this year, according to Orange County Commission to End Homelessness.

Although the 200 bed shelter is only going to help a fraction of the 4,500 people who are homeless in Orange County, but as Karen Stoyanoff, who is a member of Anaheim’s Poverty Task Force and a minister of the Unitarian Universalist Church in Anaheim, said “[The shelter] is a drop in a bucket, but the point is, we’ve got to start somewhere.”

Trump Still Leads Polls Dispite Being Controversial

By Chris Rivera

With five Republican debates so far and Trump leading nearly all the polls, Trump remains a controversial candidate. Trump has recently made headlines when he said he is in favor of banning all Muslims from entering the United States. He has also vowed on making a database for all Muslims living in the United States and for surveillance against all mosques.

During the fifth Republican debate, that took place in Las Vegas, Wolf Blitzer, of CNN, asked Trump, “As you mentioned in your opening statement, part of your strategy is to focus in on America’s borders. To keep the country safe, you say you want to temporarily ban non-American Muslims from coming to the United States, ban refugees fleeing ISIS from coming here, deport 11 million people and wall off America’s southern border. Is the best way to make America great again to isolate it from much of the rest of the world?”

Trump replied by saying, “We are not talking about isolation. We’re talking about security. We’re not talking about religion. We’re talking about security. Our country is out of control. People are pouring across the southern border. I will build a wall. It will be a great wall. People will not come in unless they come in legally. Drugs will not pour through that wall. As far as other people, like in the migration, where they’re going, tens of thousands of people having cell phones with ISIS flags on them—I don’t think so, Wolf. They’re not coming to this country. And if I’m president and if Obama has brought some to this country, they are leaving. They’re going. They’re gone.”

 

But fortunately some Republicans see the flaw in Trump’s views. Jeb Bush responded to Trump’s proposal by saying, “Well, first of all, we need to destroy ISIS in the caliphate. That’s—that should be our objective. The refugee issue will be solved if we destroy ISIS there, which means we need to have a no-fly zone, safe zones there for refugees, and to build a military force. We need to embed our forces, our troops, inside the Iraqi military. We need to arm directly the Kurds. And all of that has to be done in concert with the Arab nations. And if we’re going to ban all Muslims, how are we going to get them to be part of a coalition to destroy ISIS? The Kurds are the greatest fighting force and our strongest allies. They’re Muslim. Look, this is not a serious proposal. In fact, it will push the Muslim world, the Arab world, away from us at a time when we need to re-engage with them to be able to create a strategy to destroy ISIS. So, Donald, you know, is great at the one-liners. But he’s a chaos candidate. And he’d be a chaos president. He would not be the commander-in-chief we need to keep our country safe.”

Jeb Bush seems to be correct when he says Trump is a “chaos candidate, but he is a chaos candidate that is leading the polls; his RCP average is at 36.5 percent, for CNN he is at 39 percent, FOX News also has him at 39 percent, and Washington Post and ABC News have him at 38 percent. No one else in his party seems to be able to close the gap.

There are also a lot of people seem to agree with Trump’s views, with many people taking to social media to voice their concerns on Muslims entering the United States. Charlie Marzka, a resident from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, agreed with Trump by saying, “I think that we should definitely disallow any Muslims from coming in. Any of them. The reason is simple: we can’t identify what their attitude is.”

Charlie Marzka is not the only person who feels this way. A CBS News Poll shows 36 percent of Americans said it should ban Muslims from entering. When looking at the party as a whole, 54 percent of Republicans think it’s a good idea to ban Muslims.

Nicolas Hėnin: Welcoming Refugees A Vaccine Against Terrorism

 

 

 

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By Chris Rivera

On December 7th, on Democracy Now, Amy Goodman interviewed French journalist and author Nicolas Hėnin; Hėnin was held hostage by Isis for ten months in Syria and was held by Mohammed Emwazi. The focus of their conversation included Hėnin’s thoughts on countries closing their borders to Syrian refugees.

 

Released hostages journalists Edouard Elias, Didier Francois and Nicolas Henin

 
Hėnin was released from captivity on April 18th, 2014 along with three other French journalists. He told Europe 1, which is his employer, that they had spent “six whole months in basements without seeing daylight, and for two-and-a-half months we were chained to each other … In a country at war it’s not always easy to get food, water, electricity … sometimes the fighting was close and we were moved very quickly in crazy and unpleasant conditions.”
He had tried to escape captivity, but unfortunately he was captured within 24 hours, as was mentioned in an article by the Guardian.
In the interview Amy Goodman asked Hėnin about how the West is handling the Syrian refugee crisis; his response is inspirational for person who was not only held hostage by Isis, but for someone whose country was attacked by terrorist that killed 130 people. Hėnin responds by saying, “welcoming refugees is not a terror threat to us, to our countries. It’s like a vaccine to protect us from terrorism, because the more interactions we have between societies, between communities, the less there will be tensions. I mean, the Islamic State believes in a global confrontation. What they want eventually is civil war in our countries, or at least large unrest, and in the Middle East, a large-scale war. This is what they look for. This is what they struggle for. So we have to kill their narrative and actually to welcome refugees, totally destroy their narrative. And if you kill their narrative, it’s even more efficient than if you drop some bombs and kill some of their fighters.”
The way we kill their narrative, according to Hėnin, is by showing refugees and Muslims that Isis propaganda is just, well, propaganda. Hėnin believes Western society has to show the Syrian refugees that the West is not as Islamophobic as Isis is saying it is. He wants to show that Western society is actually suitable for Muslims, and well anybody with different views and different religions.
Hėnin goes onto talk about how the caliphate that Isis is creating is not the dream land that Isis is saying it is. How could it be when there are “hundreds of thousands of Muslims fleeing this dream land of Syria. It’s like—it’s just like if you had loads of Jews fleeing Israel just a couple of years after the state of Israel is established. I mean, that’s a—it contradicts all of the speech the state is based on and contracts itself on. And not only that, so they leave this land of sham, that is dream land for ISIS, to immigrate to lands of unbelievers.”
The Syrian refugees are leaving a place that they are familiar with for a place that they possibly know little to nothing about, and they are being “welcomed with open arms by the Western societies, who—and by many people in Europe who say, ‘Well, you are our brothers, and we will protect you.”
Of course there are going to be those people who share Donald Trump’s view on banning all Muslims from entering, which Hėnin believes that this mindset only, “play[s] the game of ISIS,” because, “welcoming refugees is kind of a vaccine against terrorism.”
Hėnin also had a few words about religion to which he said, “religion seems to be always almost a vaccine against terrorism, because a good religious people will never become a terrorist.”
Towards the end of the interview Amy Goodman asked Hėnin “What would you say to young Europeans who want to join, who what to become jihadists?” To which he responds, “ISIS will recruit you, telling you jihad is cool, because, yes, it’s cool, if you have no life, no girlfriend, no job, no money, nothing in your home country, and ISIS promises you, what, adventure, engagement, a girl, a car, a weapon, power, money, whatever. So, they all play like jihad is cool. And my answer is: ISIS is a scam, because ISIS does not really fight Assad, does not protect the Muslims in Syria, but kills, to wide extent, a number of Muslims in Syria. ISIS is a disaster for the Syrian people. So, for those who want to join ISIS, I tell them, “I understand the reason for your rage, because, yes, there are many reasons actually to be unhappy about both your life in the West or both the situation in Syria and these civilians being massacred in huge numbers. But ISIS will just make you make this crisis bigger.”

All Lives Matter, Police Brutality, and Militarization

by Chris Rivera

Martin O’Malley, former Maryland governor, recently had to apologize after hecklers, at the Net Roots national conference in Phoenix, shouted “Black lives matter,” which O’Malley responded, “Black lives matter. White lives matter. All lives matter.”

Martin O’Malley apologized by saying, “I did not mean to be insensitive in any way or to communicate that I did not understand the tremendous passion, commitment and feeling and depth of feeling that all of us should be attaching to this issue.”

I was upset when Walter Scott was murdered by police, when Michael Brown was shot, multiple times, and killed just to be left on the ground. I was also upset finding out that Tamir Rice was killed for playing with a toy gun and not even given a warning when police jumped out of the car and shot him, and let us not forget Freddie Gray and Sandra Bland who have died in police custody. The sad part is this list continues, and doesn’t seem to stop, which is why a lot of us are more than upset, we are furious.

But I have to disagree with Mr. O’Malley apologizing for saying, “Black lives matter. White lives matter. All lives matter,” because all lives do matter, police brutality is police brutality regardless if its victim is black, white, Hispanic, Asian, or any other race.

Zambrano-Montes, was a Mexican migrant worker, who was unarmed when he was shot and killed by police officers. Amilcar Perez-Lopez, who was a 20 year-old undocumented immigrant from Guatemala was shot and killed by two officers who were wearing plain clothes.

In a report by the Guardian it found that 67 Latinos have been killed by police in 2015 alone. Also 58% of them carried no firearm. Within the Guardian report it mentioned how 25% of Latinos killed by police were unarmed.

  There were also the Fullerton police officers who killed Kelly Thomas, a mentally ill man who suffered from schizophrenia. Gilbert Collar was an unarmed 18-year-old white man who was shot and killed in 2012. Ryan Keith Bolinger was shot and killed after it was reported that he parked next to officer Ian Lawler as he was doing a traffic stop, and Bolinger got out of his car and danced in the middle of the street , he then got back in his car and officer Vanessa Miller followed him, it was about two minutes into the slow chase that police officer Miller cut him off as he attempted to make a U-turn; Bolinger got out of the car, and according to the police officer Miller, he was “walking with purpose,” towards her car. It was at this moment she shot a bullet through her rolled up window, which shattered the glass and hit him in the torso.

Although it is not known for sure how many people are killed by police each year the Bureau of Judicial Statistics estimates the number of people killed by police annually may be as high as 928. Fatal Encounters, which as Aljazeera America reports, “uses police reports, media accounts and other research methods, identified 1,192 lives lost at the hands of police in 2014-28 percent more than the official estimates.”

In an article by Mother Jones in 2014 it found that cops kill black people at a higher rate than they do white people. The Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics reports that between 2003 and 2009 there were more than 2,900 arrest-related deaths involving law enforcement. That is estimated 420 deaths a year for the past seven years. Based on the data, it showed that blacks were four times more likely to die in custody or while being arrested than whites.

In a recent report by the Washington Times, it reports that more whites are killed by police than any other race in the last two years. Research done by Peter Moskos, an assistant professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice at the City University or New York, found that “49 percent those killed by officers from May 2013 to April 2015 were white, while 30 percent were black. He also found that 19 percent were Hispanic and 2 percent were Asian and other races.”

Although, I wouldn’t throw out race as a motive just yet, it was in Ferguson, Missouri that three officials were fired after racist emails that were sent by the city’s former court clerk and two former supervisors in the police department.

If racism isn’t an issue then the issue has to be poorly trained police officers. It is with the war on drugs that has created a police force that is like a tiny military. The war on drugs has militarized the police and has done away with compassionate and well trained police officers that use to take time to know the community that they have once policed, as activist and rapper Killer Mike has said in an interview with CNN.

Now we have police officers who have a mentality that they are in a war zone. They see themselves as soldiers who are trying to occupy enemy land. Gone away are police cars and the ability to think as a detective would, here are the days of police with semi automatics weapons and armored vehicles. In a report by Mother Jones, Karl Bickel, a senior policy analyst with the Justice Department’s Community Policing Services office, told Mother Jones that police across America are being trained in a way that emphasizes force and aggression. The recruit training, he notes, favors regimens that are modeled after military boot camp rather on one that deals that is more relaxed and working with the community.

In a report, titled, “War Comes Home,” the American Civil Liberties Union found that 80 percent of all Swat raids it reviewed between 2011 and 2012 were deployed to serve search warrants.

In an article from Stanford News, Stanford Law Professor David Sklansky says that militarization of the police department is doing more harm than good. Within the interview Professor Sklansky says, “It can complicate efforts to build bonds of trust and cooperation between the police and the communities they are charged with protecting, and it may influence how some departments understand their mission. As a result, it may make violent encounters between police and the public more likely.”

With that said, we as a community have to join together as a united group and demand an end to police militarization, demand an end to police brutality. We have to put force on our elected officials to end this mess. We have to demand no more innocent lives are taken by police; no more of this lethal force when something less lethal is the valid option. We need police that actually care about the people they are policing and are not treating them like an enemy combatant.

Kickstart a Politician

 

By Chris Rivera

A 2014 study, by Martin Gilens, of Princeton, and Benjamin Page, of Northwestern, found that America is no longer a democracy, but rather it is an oligarchy. Their research included a study between the years 1981 through 2002 and compared 1,800 policies that were put together by politicians and through their analysis they arrived at the conclusion that wealthy individuals have a bigger impact over the policies that are implemented over the views of the middle-class and lower class.
Gilens and Page write in their report, “Our analyses suggest that majorities of the American public actually have little influence over the policies our government adopts.”
They also write that:
What do our findings say about democracy in America? They certainly constitute troubling news for advocates of “populistic” democracy, who want governments to respond primarily or exclusively to the policy preferences of their citizens. In the United States, our findings indicate, the majority does not rule—at least not in the causal sense of actually determining policy outcomes.
When a majority of citizens disagrees with economic elites or with organized interests, they generally lose. Moreover, because of the strong status quo bias built into the U.S. political system, even when fairly large majorities of Americans favor policy change, they generally do not get it.

Many may be saying, “So what? We already knew this,” and begin to discuss how one percent of Americans control ninety percent of the wealth; or how the one percent of Americans will have accumulated half of the world’s wealth. Or even how the Middle-Class keeps dwindling down to the point where it is non-existent. This is not news at all, but rather evidence for information that we already knew.
America is going to remain an oligarchy as long as Citizens United remains in place. The ruling, by the Supreme Court, which recognized that “First Amendment protection extends to corporations,” which allowed for money to be the same as speech, thus the more money one has the more speech they are afforded.
We are in a time where American politicians are like Kickstarter users. For those of you who are unaware what Kickstarter.com is it is a site that allows for people who have an idea for a project and if people are interested in that project they can donate money to make it happen.

    As long as you have a billionaire to finance your campaign you can thrive through. After Ted Cruz announced to the public he was running for president in 2016, it was reported that Wall Street hedge fund magnate, Robert Mercer, raised $31 million in just a few weeks into Ted Cruz’s campaign.
“It just takes a random billionaire to change a race and maybe change the country,” Trevor Potter, a Republican finance lawyer, told The New York Times. “That’s what’s so radically different now.”
But it isn’t just Republicans who are seeking wealthy investors it is Democrats as well. According to Politico, “The 100 biggest donors of 2014 gave nearly $174 million to Democrats, compared to more than $140 million to Republicans.” Politico also reports how retired San Francisco hedge fund billionaire, Tom Steyer, spent $74 million helping Democratic candidates.
If this is not enough to show how money is abundant in politics, let us examine Romney and Obama’s 2012 presidential bid; Politico reports that Obama spent $1.123 billion, where Romney spent $1.019 billion, which comes to show you as long as you have the finances you can run for public office.
In a recent poll it shows how 84 percent of Americans think that money has too much of an influence over political campaigns. The poll shows how 80 percent of Republicans, 90 percent of Democrats, and 84 percent of Independents feel that there is too much money in politics.

Why Keep Up With the Joneses?

 

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by Chris Rivera

 

A good friend of mine recently told me, while I was stressed and worrying about my future, that life is not a race. He reminded me that there is no finish line at the end of all this; there is no course that we all must follow, or even an opening shot to let us know that the race has begun. There isn’t even a trophy that we will receive after all this is done.

He told me that we are only racing ourselves. We have this illusion that life is one big race; that everyone is already a mile ahead and we sprinting our hardest to catch up, but why? It’s pointless. We shouldn’t base our goals on the life of others; if we did this we will constantly be let down. You can never feel happy when you set your accomplishments on the accomplishments of others; the feeling of success will quickly go away as soon as the person you are “racing” gets something bigger or nicer.

The key to happiness is not to worry what other people are doing. Don’t set goals for yourself just because you feel obligated to do so in order to keep up with someone else. So what if Ernest Hemingway published The Sun Also Rises when he was twenty-seven, or Susan Hill was 15-years-old when she wrote The Woman in Black. Those facts shouldn’t matter at all.

   Don’t let other peoples’ accomplishments take away from your own. You should learn to be happy with the boxes you have checked for yourself, learn that there’s more to life than chasing after the dreams of others. Life doesn’t have to be a race; if you’re struggling now and a close friend seems to be cruising through, just know this, as long as you’re happy in what you’re doing that’s all that matters.

My friend left me with these words, “Never let anyone make you feel less than what you are.” Don’t let people look down on you if you haven’t accomplished what they feel you should have. Everyone moves at their own pace, everyone has different goals, some wish for a big house on the hill, while others just want a small cozy home near friends. If you are happy with the way your life panned out, or the way it’s going, don’t let anyone take away from that. You do not have to prove anything to anyone, all that matters is your happiness.

Eight Black Churches Burned in the South

Firefighters battled a fire at the Mt. Zion AME Church in Greeleyville, South Carolina, on Tuesday, June 30, 2015. (Credit: WCIV)
Firefighters battled a fire at the Mt. Zion AME Church in Greeleyville, South Carolina, on Tuesday, June 30, 2015. (Credit: WCIV)

by Chris Rivera

With the recent burning of churches within the past few weeks people are beginning to speculate whether or not these churches are part of a hate crime or something less sinister, especially after the massacre that occurred at Charleston’s Emmanuel AME church, where Dylann Roof murdered nine of its patrons, which included its senior pastor, who was also a senator, Clementa Pickney. The massacre at the predominately black church led people to protest and demand a ban of the Confederate flag.
The first church to be reported was the Seventh Day Adventist church in Knoxville, Tennessee, which burned in the early morning of June 22nd. This church is being reported as an act of arson as reported by authorities.
The next church that went up in flames was God’s Power Church of Christ of Macon, Georgia and this occurred on June 23rd. God’s Power Church of Christ is also being labeled as arson by Georgia’s Bureau of Investigation and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

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A fire at Briar Creek Road Baptist Church in Charlotte, N.C., was ruled arson. Time Warner News screenshot

On June 24th Briar Creek Baptist Church in Charlotte, North Carolina buried which destroyed an educational building on the grounds. The fire caused $250,000 in damages. They are also stating that this fire was “intentionally set” said David Williams, who is Charlotte’s Fire Department Senior Investigator, when he was talking to the Associated Press.
Also on June 24th First Presbyterian Church of Fruitland in Gibson, Tennessee too was engulfed in flames. At first they thought that lighting caused the fire, but authorities are looking into the case.
On June 26th Glover Grove Baptist Church in Warrenville, South Carolina was up in flames. The pastor of Glover Grove told local media that the church has been vandalized in the past by the KKK. Authorities are still investigating the cause of the fire, and patrons of the church as saying that it can’t be an electrical problem that caused the fire since Rev. Bobby Jean Jones is a licensed electrician.
On the same day in Tallahassee, Florida, there was a fire at Miracle Temple. The investigators are saying the possible cause of the fire is exposed wires on the building.
In Elyria, Ohio, on the 27th of June, College Heights Baptist Church caught on fire. Authorities are still investigating the fire, they haven’t ruled out arson just yet.
On June 30th Mt. Zion African Methodist Episcopal was a victim to fire, which collapsed the roof of the church. Authorities are still unaware on what caused the fire. This is not the first time the church has been engulfed in flames, the churched burned down in June of 1995 by two members of the Christian Knights of the KKK.