Category Archives: shame

l’Only a Seed

The eb and flow
Rise and fall
Of it all

Maintaining the horizon
So the clouds don’t come
Crashing down

Manic
Stagnant
Numbness feels safest

The rage in every tear drop
Suffering in each smile

How can I dance if my feet are rooted
In volcanic mud?

Burning to ash with each step away from soil
Sunken vessels rise again when salt dries
and fish fly from its absence

Lotus blossom if sun is allowed through
When light shelters the rain
Only the ripened fruit rots from within

So remain as a seed
Promising, yet unspoiled
Perfect in all ways fathomable
Without the need to show possibilities beyond imagination

Sometimes it’s safer to not be known
©DaraMonifah 03/21/2017 8:12 a.m.

Humanity over Legality: Media IRResponsibility or a Needed Wake Up Call

CCRadio & WUVI Collective Reasoning - Humanity Over Legality
“Tolerance and apathy are the last virtues of a dying society.” – Aristotle

“One has a legal duty to use reasonable care to avoid causing emotional distress to another individual. If one fails in this duty and unreasonably causes emotional distress to another person, that actor will be liable…”
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Negligent_infliction_of_emotional_distress

Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress (NEID) is, in essence, a personal injury claim that arises when one person (the defendant) acts so carelessly that he or she must compensate the injured person (the plaintiff) for his or her mental or emotional injury.

NIED claims are a unique type of personal injury claim where the plaintiff demands compensation for emotional distress, even when no physical injury occurred.

There’s a situation happening in the USVI. Recent media choices to post pictures of two slain young men have created a buzz amongst both those in opposition and in favor.

“This is heartless and insensitive indeed”

“This same outrage should happen everyday, not when the picture is blasted on social media.”

“Geez..have some decorum and respect for the dead!”

“The question is, does this actually shake up anyone anymore? I am so deeply appalled by how another day/ week-another shooting, is almost a mantra for our islands. While saddened when another senseless killing occurs, my student are fatalistic if not entirely inured. The no tell culture for personal safety in double down. To quote a student last semester. ” you snitch, you in a ditch”.
My heart weeps.” ~Pamela New, University of the Virgin Islands Professor

Again, the question is, does this actually shake up anyone anymore?
Virgin Islands Journalist April Knight shared my facebook post.

“I’m appalled at the initial act of posting Monday’s homicide photos by online media. I’m equally appalled by these so-called journalists’ subsequent act of defending their actions with the kind of guilty rationalization that must assume their readers are idiots.

If these editors think people will miraculously become sensitized and say enough is enough to crime just because they saw gruesome crime photos, they’re utterly deluded. A finely written story can accomplish the same thing without traumatizing grieving families.

Journalism is a privilege; irresponsible journalism can do as much damage to the soul of a community as any crime of violence.”

As a journalist, we have a specific code of ethics. While sometimes shock therapy works wonders in turning people around, what we don’t want to encourage is unnecessary sensationalism. Instead of getting people mad enough to do something productive, widely sharing pictures or things like the gruesome photos often desensitizes people and does the opposite of the intended purpose. People tend to look at is as ‘just another Facebook post’, or ‘another killing’ instead of thinking deeper and internalizing the motivating drive to do something productive.

FACTS
1. Media can and should report on situations occurring in the public domain
2. As a newspaper, they can publish pictures captured in the public domain
3. Newspapers etc. have been successfully found legally liable for infliction of emotional distress

LEGAL ACTION
In order to establish a prima facie* case of negligence, one must determine that the following four elements are established:
1.) Plaintiff (P) must have suffered an injury and must demonstrate that the injury was suffered due to Defendant (D)’s actions;
2.) D must have owed a duty not to cause injury;
3.) D breached that duty, and;
4.) D’s breach was an actual and proximate cause of P’s injury

Prima Facie (defined) – In legal practice the term generally is used to describe two things: the presentation of sufficient evidence by a civil claimant to support the legal claim (a prima facie case), or a piece of evidence itself (prima facie evidence).

OPPOSING VIEWS ON POSTING THE PICTURE
1. It helps people realize how bad the situation is – it’s a wake up call
2. It desensitizes people and does the opposite of the supposed intended purpose

FROM THE VI CONSORTIUM ARTICLE – Why they posted it:
“On Monday evening, The Virgin Islands Consortium reported a shooting incident that occurred near the Red Brick Shanty in Christiansted [St. Croix, VI]. The scene was graphic: lifeless bodies of two men on the ground, wasted; their lives cut short. The perpetrator had apparently marked his prey and attacked while they played dominoes.

Blood gushing from their spiritless bodies; the scene was horrendous. Family and friends could be seen on the sidelines grieving while dozens of onlookers — among them children who had attended an event at the same location — gazed in amazement. Emergency medical technicians searched desperately for signs of life, but none was found.

The scene was not only horrendous, it was shocking and horrific.

The Consortium, after careful consideration, made a decision to publish the story along with some of the graphic pictures that the publication had captured.”

The Consortium went on to express that though they, “expected hostile responses from residents frustrated by our decision,” they intended to accomplish something progressive.

“…we felt that the best way we could help in quelling crime in our communities was to bring attention to the graphic nature of these crimes so our leaders could wake up to the brutal reality; and take decisive action.”

After numerous social media posts, comments, direct calls, Facebook page un-liking and blocking, along with an alleged call from the mother of the victims, the Consortium took the picture down within 24 hours and posted their explanation.

Many rejoiced in the success of using people power to apply pressure in order to achieve positive results, only to find that yet another media source had posted the picture on their website and Facebook page.

Social-Media-Productive-Use
I commented under the post: I notice that The Virgin Islands Consortium took down their picture, which we’re relieved for, but the Virgin Islands Free Press still has up theirs. One thing I agree with is that this is an opportunity to get people thinking and talking. Everything happens for a reason. There can be some positive out of every situation. Let’s help this one encourage change in the people of the USVI.

Pause now from pointing the finger and self-reflect. Of course, ultimately, the REAL question is,

SO WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO ABOUT THE VIOLENCE?

Also,
DID YOU SHARE THE PICTURE? IF SO, WHY? DID YOU CONSIDER THE FAMILY 1st or just think, WOW, look at that?! Sharing pictures and posts that aren’t agreed with perpetuates the shock factor and increases desensitization.

#HumanityOverLegality Just because it’s legal, doesn’t make it right(eous). Keep the dialogue going and join us at the next major event related to creating awareness, providing support and bringing the community together in the name of Anti-Gun Violence. Saving Lives… Reclaiming our Families, Schools, and Community. Visit www.vimothersagainstguns.org for more info.

Flyer Walk Run 2016 (002)

Sources:
Personal Communication, Tregenza Roach (Attorney, Current Senator, Former UVI Journalism Law and Ethics Professor)
http://www.spj.org/ethicscode.asp
http://www.leagle.com/decision/1986703148Ariz555_1599/RUTLEDGE%20v.%20PHOENIX%20NEWSPAPERS,%20INC.
http://eejlaw.com/courses/torts_0708/materials/Midterm_exam_response_V.pdf
http://digitalcommons.pepperdine.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1906&context=plr
http://nationalparalegal.edu/public_documents/courseware_asp_files/torts/specialDuties2/emotionalDistress.asp
http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/prima+facie

Savan’s Caretakers Returning Home to Organize

GrassrootsVI News – Savan’s Caretakers Returning Home to Organize

By DaraMonifah Cooper

Off-island ‘Savanero’, Iffat Walker walked through areas of Savan taking photos, video, talking to anyone and recruiting support both within and from around the community as part of the initial research stages for a clean-up and revitalization initiative set to initially kick-off in July. Her passion for her Virgin Islands’ neighborhood, and all of the family that still lives there, keeps her coming home regularly to visit and help build.

In addition to the research work done within the neighborhood itself, she also met with agencies and individuals who agreed to partner with the initiative in general support of re-building the community’s self-pride. After the first community meeting and a few initial networking meetings, including those with the Enterprise Zone Commission at the VI Economic Development Authority Director, Nadine Marchena Kean, and the University of the Virgin Islands Cooperative Extension Service’s (UVICES) District Supervisor, Dr. Louis E. Petersen, Jr., Iffat is further encouraged to continue with her research and outreach efforts.

Knowing that it takes a village, Iffat sought out the assistance of others who are already known for having similar or related missions. “It’s not my intention to reinvent the wheel. People here have already been doing this work and I’m just trying to help them work together better,” she stated. As one of the suggestions from young men in the neighborhood interested in having a community garden, Iffat also met with Albion “Chico” George of the UVICES office who is known for his work with starting up various community and school gardens.

Also seeking youth insight and support, she reached out to the Sankofa Saturdays Youth Cultural Education Initiative and was able to appear on their radio show as well as have footage taken and donated by their youth media team.

With challenges ranging from individual to organizational, she noted that there are a range of potential support systems needed and Iffat is determined to do whatever she can to use her community organizational, networking, professional and personal skills to rally others to give it another try collaboratively.

“Some have given up hope or were basically discouraged to continue due to a number of challenges, so we’re seeking that information as well as intend to be creative with forming solutions to those previous and current challenges,” she continued.

As one of the managing administrators for Community Action Now, Inc., a Georgia based organization; this is more than just another project for Iffat. She has a personal vested interest in the Savan area. “Many of the people walking around in Savan are my family,” she noted, also mentioning the need to change the negative impression some have of the area. “With Savan being the neighborhood in basically the center of Charlotte Amalie town, it would benefit the entire community to have it restored to better reflect its original reputation. The historical significance of Savan spans decades of stories with it being the first organized neighborhood for local businesses and activity,” she added.

Iffat noted that many Virgin Islanders are interested in returning home both to visit and to live, but like her, they are doing what they can from off island to help restore it first. With regular initiatives like the Department of Tourism’s territory-wide clean ups and all other organizations and individuals who regularly make their contributions on island or online, the air of hope and determination are building. With the assistance of those both on and off island, the Savan area and the Virgin Islands is prepped to becoming a cleaner, safer and more productive environment for residents and visitors alike.

For more information on this initiative, contact Iffat Walker at walkeriffat@gmail.com or check out the Proud to Be A Savanero Facebook group page and the main organization’s website based in Georgia. Photos are available here.

If I have failed you…

let it not be a reflection of my intent
but of my ignorance
and my inability to see myself
through my intentions
as I am in actuality

my faults
my shortcomings
my over ambitions
which blind me from
my youthful vision

not that I stay blinded
not that I’ll remain deaf
not that I’m not learning
what I am not

not that life isn’t showing me
how much more I have to learn
not that I don’t know disappointment
even when it’s me who’s earned

the truth of it all
is I’m not breathing
but only exhaling in shallowness

the truth of it all
is that
if I have failed you

I apologize
for trust in me is oxymoronic at times

For sometimes, I am no more than
an aged child

learning to have trust

in self.