Thursday, August 5, 2021

The Struggle Against Racism in Rocky Mount, North Carolina

by Fatimah Bakr

I have lived in Rocky Mount, NC, for many years. Black people are still stereotyped 

every day. The signs of racism will not go away. You'll shop in some stores and stores
you don't shop in due to racist attitudes. Sometimes you will run into a white cashier;
you give them your money, then when it is time to get your change, they'll put it on the
counter or let it fall to the counter.

I'll make a statement like, "did I give you my money that way?" Then I have to pick up 

my change off the counter. Another common scenario is when you are in a store looking 

around as a Black woman, you will be followed and asked if you need any help. I've
worked in retail; we'd ask patrons if they need help as soon as they enter the store, not
after they've been followed around the store.

This is not the only racial discrimination faced by People of Color in Rocky Mt. NC. I 

continue to see that Caucasian people don’t like seeing Black people drive through their 

neighborhoods. In addition, we have to deal with the police stopping Black people for 

minor things. The threat of police brutality and injustice keeps people in fear in the Black

A young mother was stopped for speeding while driving her daughters to daycare. 

Although the officer told her not to get out of her car, she said to the officer, "that she was 

letting her girls out to go in the building and tell the teacher to record what was taking 

place," The officer then threw her on the ground, causing her hair to be scraped off of her 

scalp, she also had a few bruises and skin scraps on different parts of her body.

I consider this police brutality and violence against women. But, unfortunately, I continue 

to see white officers use aggressive policing to put fear in Women of Color in Rocky Mount. 

I have asked a few people about the racism they see In Rocky Mount, but they continue to 

be fearful and reluctant to speak up.

The main thing I don’t like to see as a citizen of Rocky Mount is a Black man being stopped 

for something routine, and then within a few minutes, there will be as many as 5 police cars 

who'll arrive at the traffic stop. It's very intimidating to see that many police officers show up 

for 1 or 2 individuals. There's always the potential for another innocent, unarmed Black 

person to get killed.

I'm a concerned citizen; I belong to an organization located in Raleigh, NC, with ties to 

Rocky Mt. called Muslims for Social Justice; they teach that concerned citizens have the 

power to stand up to any injustice by uniting and organizing to change the balance of power 

in situations like these, by speaking out as a united group of citizens to demand the police 

change their tactics and policies, and how they interact with the Black and Brown Community.

This is also why groups like Refund Raleigh were formed and are calling for defunding police 

abuse and 
killing of Black citizens, and putting that money to better use providing more 
to Communities of Color. All I can do at this time of need is to pray for my people.
I pray we will 
continue to organize and abolish racism and all forms of oppression in this

Friday, August 16, 2019

Sisters’ Call to Action in Solidarity with “The Squad”

Sisters’ Call to Action in Solidarity with “The Squad”
 And still we rise.” --  Maya Angelou

The Sexual Predator on Pennsylvania Avenue in his recent vicious attacks on “The Squad”: Ilhan Omar, Ayana Pressley, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Rashida Tlaib, told these women of color to “go back to their crime-infested” countries. All of these women are American citizens. All of these women are proud of their heritage and work for their respective communities. All of these women are being attacked because they fight for the working class, challenge white supremacy, and patriarchy because they are women. They dare to be women who have political conviction around their support of Palestine, their support of Venezuela, and their denunciation of border camps.

We call on all women and their communities to join us in solidarity with “The Squad” by signing this letter, asking others to sign this letter, and joining us on August 28th (the anniversary of the murder of Emmitt Till and in honor of his courageous mother, Mamie Till.) These women who are Somali, Black American, Puerto Rican, Arab, Muslim, and non-Muslim women have fought together for the interests of all communities: workers, women, Latinx, Black, Muslim, LGBTQ, straight, and immigrants against the rich and powerful. If we allow any one of our communities’ human rights to get picked off and pitted against each other, we will all lose. An injury to one is an injury to all!

Trump has tried to erase their legal status as U.S. citizens and tries to make them “the Other.” As we have seen with racist U.S. policy “The Other” dies in prisons. “The Other” suffers in cages. “The Other” is shot down in the street. “The Other” dies face down drowned in raging rivers seeking the asylum that the Statue of Liberty promised. 

But it goes deeper than that. The economic system of the United States and the fascist policies that maintain it were built into how the black population has been controlled and contained from the inception of the U.S. in order to guarantee the labor of African people from slavery in the 1700s  to Jim Crow, during the 1960s, and through today. During slavery, Black women were forced to re-produce the labor force. This is the foundation of this country. Trump is attacking women like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley and Rashida Tlaib because they dare to question and fight against America’s unjust economic past and present.  

Trump also attacks reporters and undermines a free press. It is dangerous when one man wants the public to believe that he is the only person to be trusted. This is a hallmark of fascism. Blaming “the Other” as the cause of low wages, unemployment, high rent, high utility bills, high deductibles is what Mussolini and Hitler in WWII and is what Trump is doing now. Blaming “The Other” is what fascism does. 

We stand with them in solidarity and show our collective outrage by signing this letter, asking others to sign this letter, and joining us. If you want to include your signature (individual or on behalf of your organization) then please contact Shafeah M'Balia at



Organization Endorses:
-NC Black Women’s Roundtable
-SpiritHouse, Durham, NC
-Muslim Women For, Raleigh, NC
-Muslims for Social Justice
-Women’s Commission, Black Workers For Justice
-Action NC RAGE
-Black Workers For Justice
-Coalition Against Racism, Greenville, NC
-Southerners On New Ground (SONG)

Individual Endorsers:
-Rosa Saavedra, Companeras Campesinas, Raleigh, NC/Puerto RICO
-Nathanette Mayo, former pres., UE 150, Fruit of Labor, Raleigh, NC
-Rukiya Dillahunt, former president, Wake ACT; board, Fertile Ground Food Co-op, NC
-Naeema Muhammad,  NC Environmental Justice Network, Rocky Mount, NC
-Willie Roberts, Coalition Against Racism, Greenville, NC
-Gloria De Los Santos,
-Larsene Taylor, DownEast  Coal Ash Coalition, former pres., UE150, Blueprint, Goldsboro, NC
-Erin Dale, Raleigh, NC
-Lora Tate, Grifton, NC /BWFJ/BWMG
-Shafeah M’Balia, BWFJ, MSJ, IJAN, Rocky Mt., NC/Savannah, GA
-Ashaki Binta, BWFJ, North Star Services, Cambridge, MD
-Naa Norley-Adom, Durham, NC
-Kathy Knight, BWFJ, Tillery, NC
-Jaki Shelton Green, Mebane, NC
-Shemekka Ebony, Raleigh, NC
-Tanya Wallace-Gobern, National Black Workers Centers Project, Raleigh, NC
-Kim Eng, MD, Rocky Mount Racial Justice Group, Rocky Mount, NC
-Evelyn Powell, Edgecombe Co. Board of Commissioners, Battleboro, NC
-Patrice Jacobs, Pres., Long Leaf Chapter, NC Public Service Workers Union, UE150, Wilson, NC
-Sekia Royal, Vice Pres., NC Public Service Workers Union, UE150
-Tonjur McDuffie,  Goldsboro, NC
-Hattie Gatlin,  Goldsboro, NC
-Fatimah Afif Adekola, Philadelphia, PA

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Hani Alshaikh Freed from ICE Detention

Hani Alshaikh Freed from Detention!
Hani Alshaikh was freed from detention on July 2nd, 2018. We thank you all friends for your help to get Hani released. Our fight will continue as we demand justice for other oppressed folks.

Previous campaign information

Background information
Hani Alshaikh, who is a resident of Broward County, FL, for the last 18 years, has been unlawfully detained for fourteen months at Stewart Detention Center.
Hani Alshaikh is a Palestinian born permanent resident of Coral Springs, FL. He is married to Reham Mustafa, and father of seven-year-old daughter Celine and four-year-old son Zaid. His family has gone through a traumatic experience because of his detention. Zaid has a developmental disability and has suffered as a result of his father’s detention. Celine has suffered great emotional trauma because of the absence of her father and needed medical attention.
During his detention, Hani has twice staged a hunger strike out of desperation for his situation, since he has felt speechless and powerless to obtain justice. Hani has felt dizziness, sickness, and low blood pressure during detention. He had a urine infection before his detention, which has become worse during his detention. Hani had to visit a doctor outside the detention facility and is currently receiving medicine for his infection. Food quality at Stewart Detention Center is poor and Hani has developed a stomach pain. He has no recourse but to purchase food from the commissary. It is very hard for the family to visit Hani because of long distance. Even when they are able to visit Stewart Detention Center, they can only see him through a glass screen.
Hani is the sole breadwinner for this family. His detention has created economic hardship, in addition to emotional trauma, for his family. We urge you to join us in demanding an end to Hani’s detention immediately. His family and community need him at home in Coral Springs.
Please contact the following legislators to demand Hani’s release from ICE Detention.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Stop Human Rights Abuse Against Mosa Hamadeesa

Mosa Hamadeesa was released from immigrant detention in August 2017. Thank you to all friends for your support in this campaign!

Community Members demanding the release of Mosa Hamadeesa

Recent Update

Draft Email to Sean Irvin, Nadia Batcha, and DHS CRCL Compliance team

To whom it may concern, 

Recently, it was brought to our attention that Mosa Hamadeesa (A#088297731), who is currently being held at the Atlanta City Detention Center for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has encountered a number of issues during his detention.

This morning, Friday, June 30, Mr. Hamadeesa was in line for breakfast when he fainted.  He reports that he was taken to the hospital because he was having issues with his heart.  At the hospital a doctor told ICE agents and Mr. Hamadeesa that he needed and MRI, however, he did not receive one and was not notified when or if one would be scheduled.  Mr. Hamadeesa spent the day at the hospital waiting for care due to his illness.  However, because this incident happened before breakfast, he never received a meal.  Then, he missed lunch as well and was returned to ACDC just after dinner.  He reports having requested food on various occasions today and it has been denied.  As of 5:30 pm, Mr. Hamadeesa has eaten nothing all day.

Mr. Hamadeesa also reports that the facility has been very cold.  He originally had a long-sleeve shirt, but it was taken for cleaning and never returned.  He requested the shirt be returned, but this request was also denied.  Family friends would like to know if it would be possible for them to take him some clothing if ICE is unable to provide sweatshirts or long sleeve clothing.

Finally, Mr. Hamadeesa is a member of the Muslim faith community and, as such, requires access to a clock to conduct prayer at the appropriate times in accordance with his religious tradition.  He reported that there was a clock in the common-space of his unit, but that this was removed.  When he requested it be returned or to have access to another way of telling the time, that he might practice his faith properly, his request was again denied.  

Please let us know how these issues might be resolved quickly, as we are concerned for his mental and physical health at this time.

Kevin Caron

Georgia Detention Watch

Background Information Mosa Hamadeesa has been a Raleigh resident for the last ten years and is a Palestinian applicant of asylum in the US. He was detained by ICE on Wednesday, May 31, 2017. He is currently being detained at Atlanta City Detention Center.

Mosa is a father of four children and the sole breadwinner for the family. One of his daughters has a rare form of cancer and is being treated at Duke Hospital. Such treatment is not possible in Palestine. Mosa is an auto mechanic and serves the community through his hard work. His family and community need him at home in Raleigh.  

We urge you to call Congressman David Price office urging him to intervene to stop Mosa's deportation and end his detention. Please sign the petition below.

Please consider financially supporting Mosa's family in this time of dire financial strain. Please donate generously at this GoFundMe page started by a family friend. 

Here is national and local media coverage challenging Mosa Hamadeesa's detention.

Check a Duke physician's letter appealing to stop the detention and deportation of Mosa.

Letter by Physicians for Human Rights

Pictures of Mosa Hamadeesa and his family members