Renowned civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump joined 100 Black Men of America Inc. for a riveting discussion on issues plaguing the Black community. Held at Greater Grace Temple in Detroit on Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019, “The Barbershop Tour: Taking a Cut Out of Life” focused on creating solutions instead of redundant rhetoric.
The traveling panel is designed to transcend generations by sharing the common experiences of African American males. The nonprofit 100 Black Men of America is a global network of leaders determined to mentor future leaders, with proven practices to equip and propel disadvantaged youth in communities of color. The organization’s slogan, “What They See Is What They Will Be,” illustrates its intention to expose future generations to unlimited possibilities.
Moderated by veteran journalist Ed Gordon, the panel also featured the Rev. Frederick Haynes III, senior pastor of Friendship West Baptist Church in Dallas; William Pickard, chairman and founder of GAA Manufacturing and Supply Chain Management; Kenneth L. Harris, president and CEO of National Business League Inc.; and Sheriff Benny N. Napoleon, J.D., of the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office.
Crump, who has represented the families of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown and Botham Jean, also signed copies of his book, Open Season: Legalized Genocide of Colored People. Each of the panelists shared insights into combating the racial injustices and disparities within the legal system with entrepreneurship, economic empowerment, mentoring and accountability of leadership.
At times, the conversation became intense as multiple perspectives and solutions were explored. Crump addressed the trauma of being Black in America. “A lot of trauma is cause and effect based on the law,” he said. “When you think about the statistics, Black men only make up 7 percent of the population in America, but we make up almost 50 percent of the population on death row. The quickest way to get on death row is to be a person of color and kill a White person.
“They kill us, and they go to sleep in their beds at night. It is 357 percent times that when a White person kills a Black person. It will found to be justified versus when they kill another White person.”
Crump also spoke about some of the actionable solutions presented in his book. “We have to reimagine not having cops kill Black and Brown people. People say, ‘Cops don’t make any [money], it’s hard.’ Why don’t we financially incentivize them, that each year you don’t kill a [Black] person, each year you don’t brutalize a [Black] person, we give you a raise.”
Crump explained the one message he wants readers to remember once they finish his book. “With the book, I hold a mirror to America’s face and say, ‘you at least have to acknowledge the hypocrisy; you have to acknowledge the fact that discrimination and racism are embedded in every institution of governance in America. And it is legalized over and over.'”