Missing in Action: The Week’s Overlooked News Stories


We are doing things differently for this week’s Missing in Action roundup. We must. There’s something nefarious that has been obvious for too long, and our team needs to speak out. What we know is that terror suspects like Dylan Roof and Ahmad Rahami have been taken alive by authorities, even after posing an immediate threat, shooting at police (in Rahami’s case). What’s the disparity? Skin color.

There is a stark difference between being black in America and being anyone else – race, creed or color – when it comes to application of the law. Unarmed African American men (and women like Sandra Bland) have lost their lives under the most specious of circumstances. Why should black Americans’ right to life be devalued? Why should these citizens encounter civil rights violations that place them below terror suspects? It seems unthinkable. But we can’t hide from the truth. The evidence is in Chicago, Charlotte, St. Louis, New York and anywhere else black lives are taken.

In spite of all the tragedy, the feelings of hopelessness and fear and outrage, there are many people and organizations taking positive steps toward change. We want to share some of those with you, and encourage you to share this post. This conversation – and these type of actions – MUST continue.

  • Comedian Daniel Weingarten posted a video on his Facebook page that speaks for many white Americans who feel strongly that #BlackLivesMatter. He covers a lot in the 3 minute and 26 second stream, prompted by the shooting death of Terence Crutcher in Oklahoma earlier this week. He shuts down the weak rhetoric from those who say no one protests so-called “black on black murders.” He explains why Colin Kaepernick is doing important work and why we as a nation must do better. There’s no alternative. This really is must-see TV.
  • The NBA is showing its collective conscience and its desire to be an agent of change. This week the league issued a memo to players saying they plan to expand upon the steps many individual players have already taken to help and support their communities in light of the violence epidemic. They are the only professional sports organization to commit in writing on such a large scale.
  • Seattle Seahawks Cornerback Richard Sherman used a press conference this week to speak out about the shootings in Oklahoma and North Carolina. Without naming names, he expressed frustration with those who are against Colin Kaepernick taking a knee during the National Anthem, saying “people are still missing the point.” Indeed, there was far more publicized outrage over Kaepernick’s silent protest than there was for Terence Crutcher, shot by a police officer while unarmed with his hands in the air. Is the media partially to blame for this double standard? Maybe. And we thank Sherman for challenging journalists to tell the whole truth.
  • In the “news we never thought we’d share” bucket, Glenn Beck wrote something decent and human earlier this month. Put his general brand of intolerance and bullshit aside for a minute, click the hyperlink and just read these important observations. It was hard for us too, but we did it. You should too. As Beck observed, “We are a country in trouble, and we have only one way out: reconciliation.” We must work together to resolve this crisis. That’s really the point, isn’t it? People from all sides, all party lines, all races, all genders simply have to come together, listen and save lives.

For the record, this site’s namesake will no longer be standing for the National Anthem until the problem of African American extra-judicial killing is ended. She has purchased a #BlackLivesMatter t-shirt and will wear it to meetings with local legislators. And the BeckySarwate.com Team will continue to write about the variety of issues and voices involved in this rampant social injustice. It’s the very least we can do.

Good Luck Jon and Stephen! (October 30, 2010)


It’s a big political day today, sort of like a Super Bowl for the Washington set.

In this corner, we have President Obama, returning to my hometown of Chicago for the first rally in the Windy City since the historic evening in November of 2008 when he became America’s only President of color. My husband and I were fortunate enough to be at Grant Park that night, and no matter how the administration rates now, nothing can ever take away from the emotional significance of that evening. I am often critical of the Commander-in-Chief, but he is a gifted and moving speaker. The rally, “Moving America Forward” is part of a series being held as the President attempts to boost the flagging morale of the Left, encouraging them to get to the polls on November 2nd. “Just Say No to the GOP” and all that. The stakes are high.

If it is possible to upstage the party of a sitting President (and it apparently is), Comedy Central hosts and comedians Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert are holding their own “Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear” on the Washington Mall in the nation’s Capitol this afternoon. The event, which will begin any minute now, is a deadly serious tongue-in-cheek answer to conservative commentator Glenn Beck’s late August “Restore Honor” rally, which was attended by over 87,000. Many liberals, and quite a few centrists, objected to the timing of Beck’s call-to-arms, which also happened to be the 47th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech.

Stewart’s soiree, per the organizational website, has but one mission: “We’re looking for the people who think shouting is annoying, counterproductive, and terrible for your throat; who feel that the loudest voices shouldn’t be the only ones that get heard.”

Further: ” Ours is a rally for the people who’ve been too busy to go to rallies, who actually have lives and families and jobs (or are looking for jobs) — not so much the Silent Majority as the Busy Majority. If we had to sum up the political view of our participants in a single sentence… we couldn’t. That’s sort of the point.”

A rally for good old fashioned, hard working, common sense. How can I not get behind that? In some ways I am sorry it takes two men who get paid to crack jokes on a cable channel to organize a visible response to the caterwauling of the extreme Right, but whatever works. Break a leg guys!