Building Our Black Twitter Community

Since April 2020, I’ve been scouring Black Twitter for “activists” to help build our online community. As of now, we over 6,000 followers. My goal is for us to come together and vote on things that we think are important to focus on. I’ve found hundreds of people and pages that desire to “support Black Businesses” but, unfortunately, we seem to be scattered.

When I first started the page many people suspected (and probably still do) that I was some White guy pretending to be Black. It was very frustrating but I realized that it pointed to a real issue that our community faces- we don’t know who to trust. Black is the new trend and the wrong people are making bank off of us.

The beauty of the Black Twitter Union is that you don’t have to trust me. I don’t want you to trust me because I don’t trust you either. When we fundraise for Black businesses/people, they will create their own GoFundMe campaigns so the money will go directly to them- no middle man, no funny business. The Black Twitter Union will only serve as a center of focus. The only way I could make money is if you shop at the store or donate.

Right now, I am raising awareness of the impeding vote. When we are ready, don’t hesitate to nominate a business by tagging their Twitter page in the post. After the nomination process is finished, the next step will be to vote on which business we will direct our funds to.

Thank you for reading and we appreciate your support.

– XOXO RW

Oakwood Farms – A Farm to Table Experience in Huntsville, Alabama

The student population of Oakwood University and, by extension, the community of Huntsville, Alabama have been gifted with endless fresh produce. In the fitting words of Ms. Shirley Caesar, “they got beans, greens, potatoes, tomatoes, you name it!” The Oakwood Farms, which was officially opened in June 2020, has a little over 5 acres cultivated with plans to expand to another 40 acres over the next few years. The plan for the farm is to offer seasonal fresh produce which the public can “self-pick,” weigh and pay. They operate on a spiritual premise and are guided by scriptural encouragement to pursue good health. This makes up a core part of the farm’s daily activities.

The farms which form part of the vision 2020 of Oakwood University President Leslie Pollard are integral in the health of the black community. In an interview with local news, Pollard stated that, “Black lives matter, Black health, so does Black finances, so does Black families. All of these elements that make a person whole, they all matter. And so, this is our part of holistic engagement with our community.”

The Oakwood Farms are open to the public from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Mondays to Thursdays and from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on Fridays. In keeping up with current world events, customers can also make purchases online by visiting the farms website.

Black Girls Keep Fit Too!

Gymnetics Fitness is a Black family-owned fitness venture led by Lana and Ellen Ector, an incredible mother-daughter duo. They encourage women who desire to improve their lifestyles, but are hindered by the lack of Black females in the fitness world. The Ectors have been pretty successful and improved their brand to involve a famous fitness DVD series titled ‘Black Girls Workout Too‘ and a fashion fitness apparel line. They have had multiple celebrity clients like Toya Wright and Keisha Knight Pulliam.

25 year old Lana Ector and her youthful 62 year old mom (Ellen Ector) began their journey in 2010 when they launched Gymnetics Fitness studio in Atlanta, Georgia. The discreet studio provides personalized nutrition consultations, customized fitness remedies, and training to anyone prepared to embrace a healthy lifestyle. The duo share over 200,000 followers on Instagram and are famous for the hashtag “snatchitback”.

Gymnetics Fitness has been successful due to their thorough market research, in which they realized that keeping fit was a crucial aspect of everyone’s life. Though, the main factor that keeps this fantastic business going is the couple’s passion for fitness. Their training sessions are crazy fun to help clients enjoy the workout as they witness a transformation in their bodies.

You can learn more by visiting their website at gymneticsfitness.com or you can follow them on social media:

Facebook:

http://www.facebook.com/gymneticsfitness

Twitter:

@lanaectorfit

@ellenectorfit

Instagram:

http://www.instagram.com/lanaectorfit

http://www.instagram.com/ellenectorfit

http://www.instagram.com/gymneticsfitness

The Freedom Georgia Initiative

A group of 19 Black families banned together to purchase what some are calling the new Black Wall Street. The website states that their vision is to “develop our vast resource-rich 96.71 acres of land in Toomsboro, GA for the establishment of an innovative community for environmentally sustainable-living, health & wellness, agricultural & economic development, arts & culture for generations to come. Our aim is to be a premier recreational, educational, and cultural destination for Black families across the African diaspora. We welcome you, your family, and all Black allies to support us in our vision to be the change we want to see!

Ashley Scott was a realtor living in Stonecrest, Georgia and was reaching her breaking point after watching the murder of Ahmaud Arbery. In a Blavity op-ed, she wrote that she was distraught, and for the first time in her life, she felt disempowered, which caused her to seek help.

I sought counseling from a Black therapist, and it helped. It helped me to realize that what we as Black people are suffering from is racial trauma. We are dealing with systemic racism. We are dealing with deep-rooted issues that will require more than protesting in the streets,” Scott wrote. “It will take for us as a people, as Atlanta rapper and activist Killer Mike so eloquently put, “To plot, plan, strategize, organize and mobilize.” So that’s what I and my good friend Renee Walters, an entrepreneur and investor, did.

After attending local zoning and city council meetings, Scott said she realized creating a new city would create change and build “real Black power… We figured we could try to fix a broken system, or we could start fresh. Start a city that could be a shining example of being the change you want to see. We wanted to be more involved in creating the lives we really want for our Black families… And maybe, just maybe, create some generational wealth for ourselves by investing in the land. Investing in creating a community that is built around our core values and beliefs.”

Black Family (Man, Woman and children boy in mothers arms and girl standing next to father) at Toomsboro Camping Trip

The Freedom Georgia Initiative website states “When the “Toomsboro, GA For Sale” site went viral we thought it would be cool to create a New Black Wallstreet and revitalize a small town that could use some development and jobs. Upon arriving at the open house for the parcels of land, residential units, and commercial properties that were for sale at $1.7M we learned the City of Toomsboro was not completely for sale. We also learned that it had a small-town culture, a black woman mayor (shout out to Mayor Joyce Denson), and a Black Chief of Police that is ready for good things to come to their community rather than the 20-minute commute they have to take to other cities.

The founding families intend to build homes, farms, and generational wealth for their families. We pledge to provide opportunities to black-owned and women-owned vendors and contractors in the development of our community. Moreover, we hope to create an apprentice program and provide consultation to other small collectives that too want to build it for themselves!

They are extending an invitation for everyone to join them at their first Big Black Campout:

Hey Fam! We wanted to formally invite you to our land in Toomsboro, GA with a special event that we thought would allow everyone to appropriately social distance while turning up. Thus, the BIG BLACK Campout was born in hopes of bringing #blackcampers and first time campers together for an EPIC experience on our newly acquire 96.71 acres of land. (Sorry, but we will never get tired of saying 96.71 acres of land 🤷🏾‍♀️😁 ) And, we hope that you will grab your family, your camping crew, that one adventurous homie and roadtrip or RV on down during Labor Day Weekend, because what else do you have better to do?

You can help the Freedom Georgia Initiative by donating to their GoFundMe campaign here: https://gf.me/u/yjm62q. You can learn more about them by visiting their website at www.thefreedomgeorgiainitiative.com or follow them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/FreedomGA2020.

You can grab your tickets for the Big Black Campout (September 4-6) at www.thebigblackcampout.com and follow them on Instagram at www.instagram.com/bigblackcampout.

The 3 Officers Involved in George Floyd Murder Arrested!

The 3 officers who assisted as Derek Chauvin killed George Floyd have all been arrested and charged with crimes. The officers (Tou ThaoJ. Alexander Kueng, and Thomas Kieran Lane) have been charged with felony aiding and abetting second degree murder and aiding and abetting 2nd degree manslaughter.

Chauvin faces 40 years in prison (that’s the maximum penalty for 2nd degree murder.) The other 3 also face 40 years each, the same punishment for 2nd degree murder.

Floyd was arrested following a report that he used a counterfeit $20 bill at a store. In videos of the incident, you can see clearly that it was more than just Derek Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s body. 3 other officers were on him at one time.

In the independent autopsy ordered by the Floyd family, it revealed that he died from asphyxia as a result of the neck and back compression.

The complaint calls the 2nd degree murder charge “unintentional while committing a felony.” So it appears they are attempting to get Chauvin on felony murder for the excessive force that led to George’s death. A representative for the Floyd family, Ben Crump, calls for Chauvin’s charge to be upgraded.

In regards to the arrest of the other officers, he says “This is a significant step forward on the road to justice” and is providing some peace for George’s family in this painful time.

Attorney Lee Merritt, also reps the Floyd family and tells us the reason he has been pushing so hard for the officers involved in Floyd’s death to be held accountable is to encourage cops everywhere to start becoming a part of the solution to police brutality.

He hopes it sends the message that good cops need to challenge bad cops in order to be good cops. He says this can be a positive step toward changing a system that’s enabled mistreatment of black people for so long.

George Floyd Dies After Being Pinned Down By Minneapolis Police

The video in question shows a white police officer with a man, later identified as George Floyd, pinned to the ground next to the back tire of his patrol car with his knee on the back of the man’s neck. “Please, please, please I can’t breathe,” he begs. “My stomach hurts. My neck hurts. Please, please. I can’t breathe.”

Some people watching in the crowd told the officer to get off the man. “You’re stopping his breathing right now, you think that’s cool?” one man says. “His nose is bleeding, look at his nose!” says a woman but the officer did not stop. When the man stopped moving more people attempted to intervene, but the officer stayed on the man’s neck as the man laid there unresponsive. The officer had him pinned for about 8 minutes before the paramedics arrived.

Floyd died on Monday night and the four officers involved have been terminated Body camera video is available, but has not been made public yet.

“The man looked already dead before the ambulance even got there. He was clearly trying to tell them he couldn’t breathe and they ignored him,” Darnella Frazier said.

The officers were responding to a report of a forgery in progress. Once there, they found the suspect in his car. He stepped out of the car when he was ordered to but allegedly resisted.

Early Tuesday the Minneapolis Police Department released a statement. “Officers were able to get the suspect into handcuffs and noted he appeared to be suffering medical distress,” the statement said. “Officers called for an ambulance. He was transported to Hennepin County Medical Center by ambulance where he died a short time later.”

The department said that they called the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension to do an independent investigation but later announced that the FBI would also be investigating too.

After reviewing the video, Mayor Jacob Frey said “What we saw was horrible, completely and utterly messed up… I believe what I saw, and what I saw was wrong at every level.” He continued, “Being black in America should not be a death sentence… When you hear someone calling for help, you are supposed to help, and this officer failed in the most basic human sense.”

A protest is planned for Tuesday night at the site. Mayor Frey is encouraging protestors to express their anger safely and while social distancing.

Life Without Parole for $20 of Marijuana

In Louisiana, a homeless man named Fate Vincent Winslow helped sell $20 of weed and got life in prison with no chance for parole.

He was paid $5 to drop it off but did not know he was selling it to an undercover cop working on a prostitution operation in Shreveport. When asked why he agreed to deliver the weed, he said he wanted to use the money to buy food.

He was arrested in 2008 and is still behind bars. It wasn’t that single sale that got him with such a harsh sentence though. He had 3 prior felony convictions (none for violent crimes). 24 years earlier he was convicted for simple burglary, another simple burglary conviction 15 years before, and possession of cocaine in 2004.

Under Louisiana’s habitual offender law, prosecutors pushed for the maximum punishment. In the end, Fate Winslow was served a life sentence. When he appealed, judges did not believe he deserved leniency, “The defendant has failed to rebut the presumption by showing that he is exceptional,” they wrote in 2010. “The fact that his prior offenses were nonviolent is, by itself, insufficient.”

He would not have faced a life sentence were it not for the state’s three-strikes, law for repeat offenders. He remains behind bars and will die in the world’s prison capital for selling $20 worth of weed. Do you believe this justice?

Fate Vincent Winslow

The HOPE Foundation Shelter (Hampton Roads)

Founded by Regina Darden, The Hope Foundation operates from the Lighthouse Community Church. It is the only summer shelter available to the homeless in Hampton Roads. Hope stands for “Helping Others Pursue Excellence”.

Since she started four years ago, she has had over 200 volunteers and partners join her. They help provide funds and resources to get people back on their feet.

Darden said, “In our shelter, we turn no one away- nobody. How do we know who God is? God is dressed in anything. So we don’t turn anybody away at our shelter. If they get to that door, they can come in.”

Volunteer Diane Surida-Middleton revealed that Darden “does take 70 percent of her paycheck as a longshoreman to make sure people are fed.”

“After we feed their body and get them to get comfortable and get that off their mind, then we feed their soul because you can’t tell anybody about Jesus if they’re hungry,” said Darden.

She gives her guests a card with her contact information in case of an emergency. There were times when people have died with no identification but emergency officials were able to contact Regina.

Willie Johnson said, “I was on the street myself and it was raining one night and a man said ‘You can’t stay under this bridge but there’s a place over there off of Virginia Beach Boulevard. Let’s go check it out… I came many a Monday, Wednesday or Friday night that the shelter was open during the summer and I came in crying and she said ‘Baby, just let it flow.’”

“God created it,” said Darden, “I said ‘OK, God, what is it you want me to do?’ and He said ‘I want you to start a shelter.’

Darden won WAVY’s 2020 “Remarkable Women Contest”. If you would like to volunteer with HOPE Foundation or need help from them visit their website here.

Ahmaud Arbery Walmart Shoplifting Arrest Video

The police released their bodycam footage of Ahmaud Arbery from 2017. The video shows him being handcuffed and arrested:

The video was posted on YouTube on Tuesday and it is dated December 1, 2017. It shows Arbery and 3 other kids being approached by cops in a Walmart parking lot:

“Tell me about the TV,” a police officer asks.

“TV? What? We don’t have any TV,” Arbery, wearing shorts and a parka, responds.

“What about the 65-inch TV?” the cop says.

“Sixty-five-inch TV?” Arbery says.

“Do me a favor,” the cop replies. “All of you take a seat.”

“Take a seat for what?” Arbery snaps back. “I don’t know nothing about no TV. … I don’t steal no TV.”

Another man, presumably a Walmart employee, approaches and the police officer tells him, “it’s that one right there with the fur jacket” — suggesting Arbery — and the man nods.

“What TV?” Arbery says. “The TV is in there,” motioning toward the store.

Arbery then says he has a receipt and attempts to get up but is placed in handcuffs and put in a squad car.

They drive him to the store, where he and the three teenagers walk in the back of the store and in the back office. The outcome of the shoplifting arrest is not clear.