This morning I have a few important news stories to cover so I’ll jump right in.
First, I wanna tell you about a lawsuit that was just filed against Harvard University by our friend Attorney Ben Crump on behalf of the descendants of two enslaved Africans – a middle aged Black man named Renty and his daughter Delia – both whom were enslaved in South Carolina.
And until Crump contacted me yesterday – I had never heard of this story in my entire life, but it’s despicable. A famed professor at Harvard, Louis Aggasiz, the most known and respected scientist at the university, was attempting to prove that Africans were inferior to whites, and commissioned a study toward that end. And in doing so, Harvard University paid plantation owners to have photographers strip enslaved Africans completely nude for crass photos of them used in the study.
This lawsuit is one of the most important lawsuits ever filed in modern American history on the issue of slavery and reparations because the living descendant of Renty and Delia, Tamara Lanier, is demanding that Harvard not only publicly acknowledge its role in this horrific abuse, but that it immediately turn these photos over to her.
I am embarrassed by Harvard’s position so far, and their refusal to work with Tamara Lanier on this matter, and hate that it had to come to this lawsuit, but it did. And here’s what’s doubly powerful about the lawsuit. If Tamara Lanier wins, and Harvard gives back these photos to her family, it will be the first time a powerful American institution like Harvard has ever returned property back to a living descendant of enslaved Africans – and this is a form of reparations. Those photos should’ve never been taken – they were taken without the permission of Renty & his daughter Delia – and they belong to Tamara Lanier. Experts believe these photos are priceless – because some say they are the first known photos ever taken of enslaved Africans.
I’ll keep you updated on this story – but you are going to hear a lot more about this lawsuit. I just can’t overstate how historically important it is.
Switching gears for a minute – I want to tell you what just happened in New Zealand early this morning – as the Prime Minister of New Zealand – Jacinda Ardern – just announced that New Zealand is immediately banning all military style weapons, all assault rifles, all semi-automatic rifles, all high capacity ammunition magazines and clips, and all accessories designed to make rifles more lethal and dangerous.
The ban of these guns and items literally starts today.
And of course New Zealand did this. It’s sensible. It’s the right thing to do after your nation experienced its deadliest mass shooting ever. It’s the right thing to do after 50 Muslims were shot and killed while they were praying.
Just 6 days after this shooting – and every gun and every accessory used in the shooting – is now fully, immediately, and permanently banned from the country.
I have her announcement posted right now on my Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram pages and I’d like for you to see it – because it’s something we’ve literally never seen in this country.
Since the massacre at Sandy Hook in 2012, where 20 babies between the ages of 6 & 7 years old, were slaughtered in a mass shooting, the United States has had 1,981 more mass shootings at schools, churches, mosques, synagogues, government buildings, clubs, homes, neighborhoods – everywhere basically – and after 1,981 mass shootings since Sandy Hook, our nation has not passed a single sensible gun law. Not one.
But it’s not just this. Since 2012, it’s my estimate that American police have killed approximately 10,000 people – and many of those murders were some of the most egregious acts of violence we’ve ever seen before – and not a single national law addressing this has passed. In comparison, in the same time period, police in many developed nations have not killed a single person – not one.
Or look at our immigration system – it’s horribly broken – and everybody in this country knows it, but our elected officials refuse to take sensible actions to fix it. And let me be clear – spending billions of dollars on walls with a fake declaration of emergency – is not a sensible action.
Our nation has lost its drive and will to fix its greatest problems. Our politicians are in a complete state of gridlock and nothing I’ve ever seen before has exposed just how hollow American thoughts and prayers are more than what New Zealand just did by immediately banning all assault rifles.
From this point forward – every time we hear politicians offer thoughts and prayers – we will be able to reference Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern – as an example of what healthy, responsive leadership looks like.
I’ve gotta run, but I have one last thing I want to say.
I recently endorsed Bernie Sanders for President – and I truly believe he could beat Donald Trump – but let me give our listeners a piece of advice – I really do want you to consider choosing a candidate and backing them earlier than we normally do – don’t wait for the Democratic Party to choose a candidate for us. Get involved, become a volunteer, donate. This is not the time for any of us to be a fly on the wall – and I mean this – you don’t have to endorse the candidate I am supporting, but I do want you to consider jumping in and endorsing the one that you really love and believe in. Let’s use our political muscle this year to get us ready for 2020.