Sunday, July 20, 2014

Why Did Trouble Come To Greensboro?

While I've blogged a lot bad things about Ben Holder of late I now actually know Ben is being taken advantage of by certain Council members and city staffers who know he is broke, desperate and has 2 children to care for after a very long period without full time employment.

I think Ben knows what he did was wrong but did what any good parent would do to take care of his or her children. I wish Ben would step up and tell what he knows-- it could go a long ways towards turning things around in Greensboro. How many parents would not do whatever it takes to feed their children? How many of you aren't already doing so. The difference between you and Ben Holder is one simple word, desperation.

Ben didn't do what he did because he was greedy, Ben did it because he is desperate to take care of 2 beautiful children that he loves more than anything else in the world. And personally I have a very difficult time finding fault in a father who takes care of his children. You see, for those of you who don't know Ben Holder, his wife died some years back leaving Ben to raise 2 babies on his own. Any single parent can tell you how hard that is.

As for Ben's 34 criminal convictions. Again, Ben was taken advantage of by the system. Most of his convictions are quite old, mostly traffic violations. His worst crime among them was possession of less than 1 and 1/2 ounces of marijuana and possession of  marijuana paraphernalia. Not once was Ben found in possession of narcotics or any other drugs. He was never charged with intent to sell and/or distribute. He just managed to get caught repeatedly, usually by the same few police officers. Then police seized upon a scared, young single parent of little financial means and pushed him into becoming a confidential informant as they so often do. That's what the record shows and that indicates big problems with the way the Greensboro Police Department operates.

The real Ben Holder is the man who was quoted from his interviews from the Greensboro Truth & Reconciliation Commission by Chewy in the 2005 interview titled "Stop pacifying symptoms" 

"What kind of person is 'expendable'? What types of people are 'less' than others? Without a doubt, I would say poor people. It’s perfectly accepted and normal to have poor sections of any city in America. It is also reasonable to say that mainly minorities occupy the poor sections of American cities. It is a fact that Greensboro’s struggling neighborhoods are African-American neighborhoods."

"In the neighborhoods that are struggling... there’s no real economic development. The stores that are there sell 40 oz.s, cheap wine, sometimes I’ve seen them sell single bullets... If your atmosphere is ignorance and poverty, well, here comes the crime and violence."

"I think that we can review any police we want to review. We may not have subpoena power, but if there is actions taken by police officers that citizens don’t like, I don’t see why – what stops people from going in great numbers to City Council on TV and pointing this out. We have the capabilities to do that, but for some reason we like to sit and wait for us to be anointed to go do these things, when all we really need is to get up and go do it."

"Anyone who thinks that November 3, 1979 was not a racial issue is wrong. I also do not see this event as one that had nothing to do with Greensboro. To say the events concerning November 3, 1979 were without conspiracy and injustice is a statement full of ignorance."

"If you are able to, please imagine that armed caravan of Klansmen and Nazis as Black Panthers, heading to a Death to the Black Panthers march. How far do you think they would have gotten? Let’s say they did get there. Let’s say they do bring 88 seconds of violence and death. Do you think they would have an all-black jury judge them? Do you think that they would have been found not guilty? I don’t. What happened on November 3, 1979 stinks of racism. To ignore it is foolish. To be a leader and ignore it is irresponsible."

"As somebody...from Greensboro, I was extremely embarrassed to hear City Council people say that this had nothing to do with race, this had nothing to do with Greensboro. That’s an insult to me. I’m not dumb. I can see."

"The root of the Death to the Klan march was a battle to improve the working conditions at Cone Mills. The root of that battle was a fight to ensure fair treatment for the working class. The problem back then was that profit was more important than some people. That is still the problem today."

"I’m very sure that Jim Melvin never called Cone Mills and said, ‘hey, I hear you boys are making people sick because of unhealthy working conditions. You better straighten up.’ There’s very little regulation for the rich and powerful in Greensboro. There was very little in 1979; there’s very little today."

"It is my hope that this Commission will enable people to see the double standards. I hope the problems of racism becomes more discussed and less ignored. I hope the unlevel playing field in Greensboro is acknowledged. In order to fix a problem, one must first accept that there is one. I hope this Commission can help Greensboro leaders see the truth. I hope leaders will stop pacifying symptoms, and cure the disease."

Those, my friends, are not the words of a crook or felon. Those are the words of a great man, a great leader, a man we should be proud to stand behind-- a man Greensboro's crooked politicians couldn't wait to see fail-- couldn't wait to set up to fail.

Turn your blog back on Ben, speak up, tell us the whole story, everything you know-- they won't dare hurt you now. You can come back more respected and more powerful than you ever were before. It's your turn to prove me right.