A Love Not Blood Campaign Sponsored Panel
Cephus “Uncle Bobby” Johnson, Earl Lewis, Jr., Andrew Joseph, Jr. Ronald Hummons, Michael Brown, Sr., Rev. Michael McBride
Saturday, 2:15 to 3:30 p.m.
You must let suffering speak, if you want to hear the truth” ― Cornel West. A widespread movement for justice regarding police Terrorism is underway in America, and the testimonies of injustice are what fuel it. Testimony from Michael Brown Sr, father of Michael Brown of Ferguson Mo; Uncle Bobby X, uncle of Oscar Grant of Oakland Ca; Earl Lewis, cousin of William Chapman Portsmouth VI; Andrew Joseph Jr, father of Andrew Joseph III of Tampa FL; and Ronald Hummons, father of Trepierre Hummons of Cincinnati Oh. These are important and deeply moving testimonies. When testimonies of injustice remain untold and unheard, patterns of injustice go unrecognized and unopposed. Having these testimonies on record is therefore essential to the struggle for justice.
The police who commit these acts of violence and terror are part of a system that not only protects them, but can often intimidate their victims into silence. The act of telling these testimonies is an act of defiance that can be liberating for the person who tells it. “Never forget that justice is what love looks like in public.” Bringing our story of injustice to the public eye provides the possibility that it can be part of a much grander story of justice. Michelle Alexander says, “it is important that these stories are brought to the light of day; these families experiences be given voice”.
Our stories can cause people to question why, and what kind of a system does this to people and allows it to happen?” The fathers, Uncles, and Cousin will share the solutions that can and should be utilized to stop the murder of children of color.
Cephus X Johnson, a.k.a Uncle Bobby X, is a social justice activist at the forefront of ending police brutality in America. After his nephew, Oscar Grant was murdered by a Bart police officer in 2009, Cephus founded two social justice organizations, the Oscar Grant Foundation and Love Not Blood Campaign.
Since then, Cephus has received many prestigious awards for his activism, including The Kujichagulia Award 2017, The Fannie Lou Hamer Award 2016, The Hero of Forgiveness Award 2016, The Henry Moskowitz Award 2015, The Kwame Ture Black Star of Labor Award 2015, The Black Organizing Project Award 2014, The Martin Luther King Jr Gene Young Award 2014, and many others.
He was a consultant for the movie Fruitvale Station, and has served as a leading expert on the creation of the Motherhood and Fatherhood Movement of children murdered by police. Over the years, Cephus has appeared on many national and local television shows and radio stations as an expert in police brutality, including Katie Couric’s “Race in America,” MSNBC’s “Caught on Tape”; and many others. He is a sought-after speaker who has delivered workshops on topics such as, “Knowing your Rights; How to Survive if Stopped by the Police”; “Criminalization of Young People by the Justice System”.
Cephus has presented on these topics, and others, at The Left Forum conference, US Human Rights Conference, The Netroots Nation Conference, The ACLU Conference, The Free Mind Free People Conference, The National Conference on Race & Ethnicity in American Higher Education (NCORE), The Congressional Black Caucus Conference, Teachers for Social Justice Conference, and The National Bar Association Conference. He has also spoken at universities, high schools, and community events, and served as the West Coast Organizer of the United Nation Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent visiting the United States at Merritt College, Oakland 2016. Known as the “People’s Uncle,” Cephus is a much beloved presence and invaluable resource for families suffering from police violence around the globe. He has supported many families around the country, including those of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Emmett Till, Freddy Gary, and many more. He considers ending police brutality and supporting families who have suffered at the hands of police his life’s work, and deeply believes that when families work together, families heal together.
Earl Lewis, Jr. is a current Security Professional and Private Investigator. He is passionate about contributing to and making a difference in his community. Earl Lewis is a distinguished Army Veteran and a retired Fire Fighter from the Department of the Navy Fire Department. He earned several honors while serving in the United States Army: Army Good Conduct Medal, Overseas Service Ribbon, Army Achievement Medal, NCO Professional Development Ribbon, and he earned the rank of E-5, Sergeant, during his career with the United States Army Infantry Unit. During his extraordinary 20-year tenure with Department of the Navy Fire Department, he was trained in Crash and Rescue, EMT, CPR, and AED.
He was able to master his craft, and he became a CPR, Fire Instruction, and Airfield Trainer. His passion for helping others in crisis, led him to serve on several special response missions: provided security during Hurricane Irma in Florida, provided security during Verizon Layoffs in New Jersey, provided security during Pipeline Protests in North Dakota, volunteered during Hurricane Sandy in New Jersey, and provided security during President Obama’s visit to Virginia working alongside the Secret Service and Virginia Beach Police Department. He also worked with the Federal Marshall Witness Protection, and he was one of the special appointed Security Officers serving during the Obama Democratic Convention in 2012.
His passion for his community, ending gun violence, and his desire to become more active in his community intensified after the loss of his cousin, William Chapman, during a Wal-Mart shooting involving a Portsmouth Officer on April 22, 2015. During this tragedy, he became the family facilitator and mediator. He was able to collaborate with the Portsmouth Chief of Police, City Manager, Commonwealth Attorney, NAACP, televisions stations, and news media personnel.
As a result, his contributions lead to the conviction of a Police Officer in Portsmouth ever to be convicted of manslaughter. In addition, his fortitude and hunger for justice lead the City of Portsmouth to settle a wrongful death lawsuit with the family. Earl is currently studying Criminal Law at Tidewater Community College. He is also an entrepreneur, where he owns and operates Face 2 Face Photography and Elite Private Investigations and Security Consultants. He continues to lead and participate in several peaceful demonstrations to end gun violence, police brutality, and rebuilding communities.
In Ferguson, MO on August 9, 2014 unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown, Jr. was shot and killed by white police officer Darren Wilson. Michael had just graduated from high school and was scheduled to begin vocational training classes just two days later. After his graduation, he told his father Michael Brown, Sr. “One day, the world is gonna’ know my name. I’ll probably have to go away for a while, but I’m coming back to save my city.” Unfortunately, those words have come true for the Brown family, and Mike Brown, Sr is bringing his story and his foundation, Chosen for Change, to Colleges and Universities across the Nation. “The name ‘Mike Brown’ has become the national symbol of police shootings of unarmed Black men. For me, I feel obligated to keep stressing the deeper meaning of his words. Because of my son’s death and the justice, we’re still seeking, hurting people, grieving people who’ve lost their children to gun violence or police brutality reach out to me. They invite me to speak at gatherings. There is a small level of comfort in being in the company of the wounded, the lost, the other parents who understand that we can’t possibly ‘move on,’” – Mike Brown, Sr. Michael Brown, Sr. decided to turn the pain and challenges of losing his son into an opportunity of change. Thus, “Chosen for Change Foundation” was born in loving memory of Michael Brown, Jr. It’s an organization whose purpose is to empower youth by helping them realize their potential for greatness.
Pastor Michael McBride (known as “Pastor Mike”) is a native of San Francisco and has been active in ministry for over 20 years. Throughout the years, Pastor McBride’s commitment to holistic ministry can be seen through his leadership roles in both the church and community organizations. A graduate of Duke University’s Divinity School, with an emphasis in Ethics and Public Policy, Pastor McBride planted The Way Christian Center in West Berkeley, where he presently serves as the Lead Pastor.
In March 2012, he became the National Director for Urban Strategies/LIVE FREE Campaign with the PICO National Network, a campaign led by hundreds of faith congregations throughout the United States committed to addressing gun violence and mass incarceration of young people of color. In 2013, Pastor McBride was selected as the #9 Top Clergy Leader to Watch in the US by the Center for American Progress. He has served on a number of local and national task forces with the White House and Department of Justice regarding gun violence prevention, boys and men of color and police-community relationships. He is a regular guest on MSNBC, CNN and Al-Jazeera programs providing commentary for issues related to faith and racial justice. He is married to Cherise McBride and they have two beautiful daughters, Sarai and Nylah.
Andrew Joseph, Jr. a native of New Orleans, Louisiana and current resident of Tampa, FL after Hurricane Katrina. Mr. Joseph is a current victim advocate and co-founder of The Andrew Joseph Foundation.org. He is the father of a deceased 14 year old child named Andrew Joseph, III. His work in community organizing, advocacy and empowerment began with adjudicated youths within the school system and juvenile justice system 21 years ago.
Andrew Joseph, Jr. graduated with a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Grambling State University, Grambling, Louisiana. After receiving his education, he interned with legal groups at varied law firms and judicial arenas supporting the rights of youth and families in rural Louisiana to navigate the system towards freedom and equality. In his efforts he was inspired with the vision, strength and character to make the difference in the lives of children and many of his client’s families.
His efforts would be best highlighted in his working as a lead assistant principal within alternative learning environments for children who had been adjudicated and removed from traditional learning environments in the toughest urban neighborhoods where the odds were often stacked against its residents. His training in administrative codes and curriculum development with a focus on codes of ethics used within safe and conducive learning environments earned him accolades among educators and juvenile justice departments across Southern Louisiana.
In February, 2014, the unimaginable happened. Andrew Joseph, a man who had worked to save so many youth in the community lost his own son at 14 years old – negated by the very system that Andrew Joseph worked with daily. Since this time the quest for accountability and amplification of civil and human rights for youth and children have been in the forefront of his increased advocacy in helping young people around the world live, grow and be nurtured within communities that love and support them. Mr. Joseph has traveled across the world speaking out against the systems of corruption and the overturn of such a system that destroys and annihilates protection and service to people of color. Mr. Joseph is powerful in his passion to serve as a change agent and has continued to work within his community as a youth coach, mentor and speaker to human rights.
Ronald Hummons grew up on the rough streets of Over-the-Rhine in downtown Cincinnati. He attended Woodward High School where he dropped out in the 11th grade. His childhood, charged with poverty and abuse, led to his loneliness and eventual alienation from his peers. At age eleven, he ran away from his adopted father’s house to live with his biological father. His real father was a drug addict addicted to heroin and cocaine. Influenced by his father, Hummons learned the street life in order to survive.
Hummons wound up in prison by the time he was twenty-four where he served almost 7 years. In prison, he sketched clothing designs to ward off frustration and boredom. Because of his offense, felonious assault, Hummons found it difficult to find a job after he was released from prison. He ended up homeless and desperate.
While living on the streets, he made the decision to launch his clothing line. Ronald Hummons spent weeks in the Government and Business Department of the Cincinnati Library, researching business plans, patents, and distribution. He also attended classes offered by the Small Business Association. He wrote and sent out over 100 letters to investors; and eventually, several responded to his request and helped Hummons manufacture his first clothing samples in China.
His clothing line, now known as Grapevine Collection, has released numerous lines including the C-town Apparel, OHIO HOME APPAREL and Dimepiece. “I left home with nothing but a vision,” Hummons says. “I remember I laid on park benches and the alleys [near] the Elm Street Clinic with just my drawings, my Bible and a dream.” -quoted in City Beat, “It’s the Shoe,” by Nichelle Bolden.
In 2015 Ronald would face the biggest tragedy he’s ever experienced. Ronald’s son Trepierre lost his battle to manic depression and committed suicide by cop. Ronald used this painful experience to educate himself on mental illness. He received his certification through N.A.M.I (National Association of Mental Illness) and a certification in Behavioral Disorders in D.C.
Ronald developed an app called #STRIKEBACK that will help people suffering from depression have tools at their fingertips to fightback against depression and suicidal thoughts. Trepierre’s story was more than suicide by cop. The tragedy didn’t begin on June 19th 2015th, it started when Trepierre was 11 years old crying to a Child Protective Service caseworker to let him go with his dad while his mom and mon’s boyfriend were being investigated for child abuse. The courts and CPS forced young Tre to grow up in a toxic environment filled with domestic violence, physical abuse, drugs abuse, and molestation by the hands of his mom and later to be husband. Now Ronald is speaking about the CPS to prison pipeline that has had a huge impact on young African American children. Inspired by his son’s death Ronald has written a bill called the Tre’P Law which will place an automatic protection order on kids whose parents or guardian are under investigation by Child Protective Services.