Murder and Mass Incarceration are Plagues That Threaten Young Black Men and Black Families in America: To Educate Youth About Stopping Violence and Render Assistance to Victims – Augusta, Georgia Author Barbara Thurmond and her sister Earnestine Covington co-founded Blacks Against Black Crime, Inc. in June 1991

How Much Blood Must Be Spilled?

Barbara Thurmond CollageBelow are quotes from the late Barbara A. Thurmond of Augusta, Georgia – who examined the violence issue from all sides – and realized that it is a complex issue that requires a team effort to fix.

Stop the Violence Activist Barbara Thurmond co-founded Blacks Against Black Crime, Inc. in June 1991 with her sister Earnestine Covington.

Barbara Thurmond stood tall for human rights, victim’s rights, civil rights, stopping the violence, equity in education and banning assault weapons – and she also believed in personal responsibility for one’s actions and the need for firm family values taught by parents when children are small.

Thurmond also recognized that many external factors contribute to the violence in African-American communities like racism, poverty, no jobs, drugs, lack of education, and in many cases an apparent lack of respect for the preciousness of human life.

Thurmond and her group were sometimes labeled racist and polarizing but she loved everyone and fought for the lives of black youth – and all people.

Those who accused Thurmond and the group of those charges, often refused to look at the entire picture of the violence crisis.

“We are realists,” Thurmond said.

“Volunteers working to save people from their own destruction,” she said.

Editor’s note: Barbara Thurmond was a mentor and a very wise person – and her quotes are just as important today in addressing black on black violence – and all violent crime – that persists as a leading cause of death and incarceration especially for young black men.

Barbara Thurmond fought for the rights of the crime victims who survive – and the thousands of blacks who have died in Augusta because of violence (just since the death of MLK) and the millions who have died across America

She tried to protect the children of all races:

“They were not just numbers – they were our lovers, our friends, sisters, brothers.

They were our sons and daughters.”


The quotes and thoughts of the late stop the violence advocate Barbara A Thurmond:

“In 1997 in Augusta, 79 percent of the homicides were the result of gun violence. Every two seconds a gun comes off the assembly line in America.”

In one year in America, 5,285 children were killed by handguns

Georgia wears the title of the gun belt and the gun-running state of the nation”

Keep assault weapons off streets – ban assault weapons

(The federal ban on assault weapons expired in Sept. 2004 – and efforts for a new ban has yet to even be voted on by U.S. lawmakers)

“The AK-47, Tec-9 and the Uzi are weapons of mass destruction used in America’s most notorious massacres.

Police are out-gunned – assault weapons are a threat to the safety of our dedicated police officers and the public.

Assault weapons are made to kill many people at one time.

Georgia is a high-volume gun state.

In 2003 Georgia ranked fourth in the nation in the number of high-crime gun stores that are responsible for at least 200 crimes between 1996 and 2000.

We need sensible gun laws, enforcement of existing laws and concerted local efforts to make our city, state and nation safer.

Blacks Against Black Crimes, Inc. joins with the Million Mom March, Georgians for Gun Safety and the Brady Campaign for Handgun Control in supporting the assault weapon ban and all efforts to reduce firearm injuries and death.

Why would anyone want these weapons back on the streets of America?”

“What has not changed is the disproportionate number of blacks who die as the result of violence.

We must address the leading cause of death of African-Americans.

It is painfully obvious to me that black-on-black homicide is a threat to African-Americans in Augusta.

African-Americans are six times more likely to be murdered than whites in Augusta.

Homicides account for more deaths of black men ages 25-44 than does heart disease, cancer or diabetes.

We cannot continue to ignore black-on-black homicides – Ignoring the problem won’t make it go away.

Black leaders, this is our war and we must stay on the battlefield, armed with courage, truth, persistence and faith.

Voting, economic empowerment and the removal of the Confederate flag are all important issues; issues that we all must be concerned about.”

“I was disappointed to learn that the Richmond County Board of Education decided to pull “Kaffir Boy” (by Mark Mathabane) from the reading list of a literature class at Hephzibah High School after complaints from a parent.

I was drawn into the daily lives of a people who lived in hideous conditions under apartheid. The unjustified humiliation and degradation are difficult for most people to fathom.

We must not take this powerful degradation out of context and denigrate the spirit in which it was written. Like other indescribable evils of the past, we don’t want to discuss the politics of the horror.

As African-Americans, we are too comfortable. We have to be angry when others denigrate our struggle.”

“What other group of people would have their people lead the homicide list every year and not address it?

When I see 10 out of 15 are black that has an impact on me.

We are raising awareness of gun violence, working on stricter gun laws and educating the public. It has made our community safer.

It’s important to keep our movement alive.”

“There is a cultural acceptance of violent behavior.

There is a certain amount of lawlessness allowed in the black community.

There is a culture of African Americans that I don’t understand — their feelings about life and death are different.

They abide by their own set of rules.

There’s still too much black-on-black crime.”

“There are a disproportionate number of African-Americans in prisons in the state of Georgia.

We make up 30 percent of the state’s population and 70 percent of the state’s prison population.

Until that problem changes, we will not support any amendments or bills that will keep people in prison longer.

Those who commit crimes need to be accountable and responsible for their actions – but when young people are sentenced to 20 to 25 years for nonviolent offenses that is a crime committed against their souls.”

“We are here to remember the 36 people who lost their lives in 1996 to senseless acts of violence.

They were not just numbers – they were our lovers, our friends, sisters, brothers.

They were our sons and daughters.”

“What we’ve learned about the Legislature is that you’ve got a bunch of folks who go to Atlanta and forget the people they represent.

It might not be different for us, but we’re going to try.”

“In 1995 Senate Bill 109 proposed that sales of handguns be limited to no more than one gun per person per month.

Who wants to buy more than one gun a month?

A person who has a criminal record and cannot purchase handguns finds someone who is clean to make the purchases, paying him, say, $40 profit on each gun.

That’s gunrunning.

Georgia leads the nation in gunrunning.

It is legal to buy large quantities of guns in the state of Georgia.

We can speculate that these guns were used for shootings, robberies and drug deals.

Over the years far too many guns recovered from crimes in other states have been traced back to Georgia.

It is estimated that the cost of firearm injuries in the United States per year is $20.4 billion.

And although the cost is high, the emotional toll on victims and their families cannot be measured in dollars.

How long will the state of Georgia continue to contribute to the great sorrow felt by the families of those killed or wounded by Georgia’s guns?

In 1991, Blacks Against Black Crimes, Inc. identified the easy accessibility of guns as a contributing factor to the epidemic of black-on-black violence.

In the effort to fight for better gun control, we joined Georgians Against Gun Violence, Handgun Control, Inc. and The Million Mom March.

We have worked tirelessly over the years with the above organizations by making monetary contributions and supporting gun legislation at the state and federal level.

We are in an ongoing battle with the National Rifle Association for sensible gun control.”

“During this century, American justice has been a mockery for black people.

Black males have the highest victimization rate of any group.

This has been proven true once again.

Black males (are) victimized over and over again – first by the killer and then by the criminal justice system.

The moment the decision was made to release the accused killer on a $50,000 bond, the family would also feel victimized again and their pain intensified.

When the criminal justice system fails to keep murder suspects behind bars, it has a marked impact on the victim’s family and community.

When those who have killed are allowed to move freely about the community, without immediate consequences for their inappropriate behavior, it sends the wrong message to impressionable minds.

It’s the opinion of Blacks Against Black Crimes, Inc. that injustice and double standards within the justice system are contributing factors to black-on-black violence.”

“Ten years ago on a hot day in June, my sister and I were motivated by fear to bring attention to the epidemic of black-on-black violence.

In 1991, Augusta/Richmond County had the highest homicide rate ever recorded.

Ninety seven percent of these homicides were blacks killed by other blacks.

We understood early on that black-on-black violence was bigger than one brother killing another.

One of the many facts we identified was the injustice and double standards of the criminal justice system.

Historically, blacks had not been punished harshly enough for killing other blacks, and we were convinced that this contributed to the epidemic of black-on-black violence.

We needed to understand the terms “murder,” “voluntary manslaughter,” “plea bargain” and bonding criteria.

Ten years ago Blacks Against Black Crimes, Inc. dared to dream of a world in which all crime victims and their families are treated with compassion and dignity.

In 1993 we met with District Attorney Danny Craig to voice our concerns about the lack of prosecution of black-on-black homicides.

He listens to the voices of all crime victims and has prosecuted homicide cases equitably.

We have seen more murder convictions for black-on-black homicide.

We believe this has contributed to the decline in these incidents.

Compared with 10 years ago, we are a much better system and a safer community.

We pay tribute to Sheila Stahl, director of the Victims Assistance Department of the Augusta Richmond County judicial system.

Our collective dream of victims’ justice is built upon the painful realization of the nightmare that crime has wreaked on our community.

At times funeral homes contact us when victims are without funds for burial.

We contact Victims Assistance and they help families apply for funds.

We communicate with the office weekly, sometimes daily.

Together we share the burden of those whose losses are immeasurable, and who feel such a tremendous obligation to stand for the rights of their loved ones.

Their pain and suffering are our incentives to continue efforts to prevent crime. Black crime victims are no longer nameless, faceless entities.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s the type of killings changed; they were more random, different from the Saturday-night brawls and crimes of passion.

We saw in the 1970s that killers were younger, cold-blooded, and without conscience or remorse.

Why had African Americans become the victims and victimizers?

In the 1980s we experienced the President Reagan-induced poverty, an increase in cocaine use and the introduction of crack cocaine.

One year after the introduction of crack cocaine, gun manufacturers increased their production by 42 percent.

The lethality of firearms escalated from low-caliber to high-caliber revolvers and semi-automatics.

The media has severely damaged the African-American image by desensitizing young people to violence and death as it continues to glamorize illegitimacy.

Is there a connection between the disproportionate number of blacks assigned to special education and the disproportionate number of black male victimizers?

Those in special education are unable to feel good about themselves, are labeled stupid, robbed of self-esteem, and feel nothing is expected of them.

It is part of an instilled inferiority and dehumanization process.

This can lead to dropping out of schools, illiteracy, unemployment, poverty and ultimately criminal activity.

To blame others would be easy, but we knew if we were to truly make a difference, it would take honesty.

We had to take a critical self-inventory and analysis.

In the 1970s and 1980s, middle class blacks fled the inner city, leaving it without positive role models.

Too many black intellectuals have refused to remain in some visible way connected to black cultural life and the social misery of the underclass.

The Urban Institute in Washington, D.C. defines the underclass family as headed by a single female, members are welfare dependent, marginally educated, chronically unemployed and engaged in repeated patterns of criminal deviance.

The act of creating new life is taken so lightly that school children sing about it.

Repetition becomes a fact, and it condemns young mothers to a life of poverty, poor education and welfare.

It is difficult for a single, teen-age mother to promote psycho-social development in her children when she is deprived of that development.

We must take responsibility for our own behavior in order to change things that are wrong.

If we improve our community, we improve our city.

If we improve our city, we improve our state and nation.

Blacks Against Black Crimes, Inc. has been labeled racist and accused of causing polarization.

We are volunteers working to save people from their own destruction.

We are realists.

We see things as they are and not the way we would like them to be.

We joined with organizations across the state and nation and will stand with anyone if they stand for what is right for all.

Our focus has been and continues to be advocating for black homicide victims.

We ask for continued support of this city as we continue our passionate efforts to reduce crime and violence.”

“Two years ago 40-year-old David Holt was murdered.

This was a heinous crime.

The family, friends, co-workers and indeed the greater Augusta community suffered a terrible loss.

On June 1, 22-year-old Shanta White and her unborn child were murdered.

This also was a heinous crime.

On the night she was killed, her family lost their future.

Everything that Shanta and her unborn child would have been is now gone forever.

What do these two crimes have in common?

Both cases were assigned to the same investigator.

Both killers are still at large.

Both victims were employed by the same company.

Both victims were children of God, made in his image.

Until their killer(s) are brought to justice, their families cannot begin the healing process.

That is where the similarities end.

Sam’s Club, the common employer, has offered a $400,000 reward for information that would lead to the arrest and conviction of (white male) David Holt’s killer(s).

The Sheriff’s Department mailed a questionnaire to several zip codes seeking information on the murder of Mr. Holt.

What about (black female) Shanta White and her unborn child?

Who is willing to come forward and offer a reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of her killer(s)?

We know that offering reward money is no cure-all for crime and violence, but it is one of many tools used by law enforcers as they work to solve and prevent crime, apprehend criminals and bring them to justice.”

“The highly publicized school shootings in a period of 18 months include: Springfield, Oregon; Fayetteville, Tennessee; Edinboro, Pennsylvania; Jonesboro, Arkansas; Paducah, Kentucky; Pearl, Mississippi; and Littleton, Colorado.

In these incidents Americans have been shown another face of youth violence, white suburban males.

These shootings have prompted federal lawmakers to address the issue of gun violence in America.

Republicans and Democrats debate daily the issue of gun control.

Newspapers, magazines and television news shows are flooded with articles on gun violence.

The Justice Policy Institute estimates that 900 black youths were killed in the United States during the 18 months since the school shootings began.

It has been estimated that between 1985-1995 – 75,000 black males were slain in the United States.

If 75,000 hearses were lined up, they would stretch approximately 300 miles.

Ironically, this is comparable to the distance between Augusta and Birmingham, the cradle of the civil rights movement.

Such disparate treatment of victims is obvious and leaves many questions unanswered.

For instance, where were the outrage, the politicians, the media and the nation’s search for answers on how to end youth violence?

We are not insensitive to the tragedy in Littleton.

In fact, we have sympathy for the victims and their families regardless of race.

However, as a nation we must be as outraged over the death of 900 black males as we are about the tragedy at Columbine High School.

The nation must focus on violent crime prevention for all youth.

Until that day Blacks Against Black Crime, Inc. will be the voice for black crime victims.”

“National Crime Victims Rights week is being observed through April 25.

During this time, organizations that assist victims of violent crime in Augusta have joined together to promote greater public awareness about the rights and needs of crime victims.

The theme of this year’s observance is “Victims Right’s Right for America.”

Blacks Against Black Crime, Inc. are an advocate for all victims of all crimes, regardless of race, gender, socio-economic status or religious influences.

The thrust of our focus is victims of black on black homicide.

Historically the judicial system has not been sensitive to black crime victims.

Since 1991 Blacks Against Black Crime, Inc. has assisted victims in our area.

Among the many services offered by the group are counseling, education, and financial assistance for burial and referral to other agencies.

Last year in Augusta there were 28 homicides.

Crime is no longer “someone else’s” problem because tomorrow that “someone else” might be someone you know or love.”

“This week is National Crime Victims’ Rights Week in America.

Proclaimed by the president and governors across our country, the theme for this special commemoration is “Let Victims’ Rights Ring Across America.”

It is a special week dedicated to those who have been injured and killed by criminal victimization.

It is also a time to recognize and reflect upon the many accomplishments on the local, state, and federal levels that have improved rights and services extended to crime victims in our nation.

For whom does the bell of victimization toll?

Each year in America, nearly 39 million individuals become victims of crime.

Sadly, statistics show that for over half of these victims, it is not the first time nor will it be the last.

Becoming a victim of crime has become a rite of passage in our violent nation.

The National Education Association reports that each day in America, 100,000 children carry guns to school, 260,000 children miss class because of the fear of being physically harmed and 40 students are killed or injured by firearms.”

“We have much to celebrate.

Fourteen years ago, Blacks Against Black Crime, Inc. was organized to serve this community and ensure fundamental rights for all crime victims.

Since 1994, we have seen crime victims and their families treated with compassion and dignity.

There are more than 10,000 community- and system-based organizations that help victims in the aftermath of crime.

And more than 32,000 laws have been passed at the federal and state levels that define and protect victims’ rights.

Yet there remains much work to be done, and many challenges that will put our shared values to test.

We must remain vigilant in our efforts to guarantee the same values that offer help and hope to victims of crime.

When you value justice for all people who live in America, you value victim rights and services.

The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. told our nation that “if we are to go forward, we must go back and rediscover those precious values – that all reality hinges on moral foundations, and that all reality has spiritual control.”

The moral foundation of the victim-assistance field is one of compassion and caring, justice and equal rights.

The bricks and mortar we have used to create a nation that values justice, individual and community safety have fueled our efforts for more than 14 years.

These values are our vision for a future in which rights and services for victims and survivors of crime are not the exception to the rule, but the rule itself.

All Augustans have reasons to be thankful.

Homicides continue to decline each year, particularly black-on-black homicides.

In 2004, Augusta-Richmond county homicides were at an all-time low: 14 homicides were recorded.

Black males continue to make up the majority of slaying victims, causing us to focus on causes of crime in the black community.

As encouraging as this progress is, much work needs to be done.

Simply stated, we need to recommit ourselves and intensify our efforts.

Sororities, fraternities, community-based organizations, educators, religious leaders, churches and mentors are doing great works with the youth in Augusta; your hard work and dedication have contributed to this decline.

No matter what is going on in the world, our children have to succeed; our communities have to be made whole.”

“Most people in America will be a victim of or witness to a crime in their lifetime.

Crime victims need to feel safe in reporting crimes.

Crime victims need the protection of their core rights to information and notification, protection, participation, and restitution.

Many victims never report crime because of trauma and fear – damaging victims’ abilities to focus, function and work.

We have much work to do to validate the harm (crime victims) have endured.

Listen to their voices and concerns.

Protect their rights as victims.

Lives are irrevocably changed (in violent crimes) like the robbery victim who is left a paraplegic, the family whose breadwinner is murdered, the battered woman who hides her bruises in hopes of hiding her chronic suffering, and the child-abuse victims who hear the threats of their abusers and never disclose their victimization.

Victims and survivors of crime (must be) assured that they are not responsible for what happened, and that the persons who hurt them will be brought to justice.”

“Sen. Don Cheeks, R-Augusta, used his “position of influence to have a convicted sex offender not register with the state’s sex offenders’ registry.”

(Those) in positions of power and authority often manipulate laws.

The real tragedy (are political favors) at a time when children need help.

(Political favors mean) not holding offenders responsible for their actions.

Legislators have made at least 5,500 contacts on behalf of prisoners and parolees in a custom that benefits whites primarily (in a Georgia) inmate population that is two-thirds black.

In Georgia slavery days the laws were manipulated by white plantation owners to ensure cotton was picked.

The white boss would go to the prosecutor and judge on Monday, following the weekend killing of a black by another black, and he would tell them not to prosecute the killer, because he needed the able body back at work to toil in the fields.

This practice had a lasting effect on black people and to this day, we continue to feel the effect of political favors.”

“I can’t get used to the stupidity and senselessness.

A baby-mama drama, a fragile ego and a gun are ingredients for a homicide.

Repetitious childbearing out of wedlock by different partners is taken too lightly in our society.

The mothers will use these children as a way of manipulating the daddies and, more often than not, it has deadly consequences.

It’s easy to blame the victim for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

The purpose of a gun is to kill.

When a person makes a conscious decision to carry a loaded gun, the decision has been made to kill.”

“An example of courage”

Augusta Chronicle Editorial Honoring the Life of Barbara A. Thurmond

Courage defined the life of Barbara Ann Thurmond, whose funeral services are being held today at Augusta’s Tabernacle Baptist Church.

She died much too young at age 56, but in that brief life she displayed enough courage for many lifetimes.

One could even say she wrote the book on courage.

Joy in my Heart: My Journey From Hopelessness to Happiness, released two years ago, recounted the pain, trials and tribulations she suffered after being diagnosed with a spinal cord tumor in 1983 that forced her into a wheelchair as a paraplegic.

Though Mrs. Thurmond was debilitated physically, she refused to let the illness defeat her feisty spirit and enduring spirituality.

“The wheelchair never set boundaries on her,” said one friend.

Indeed, the physical challenge simply spurred her to triumphs in other areas of her life.

Disgusted by homicides in her community, Mrs. Thurmond and her sister, Earnestine Covington, founded Blacks Against Black Crime Inc. in 1991 to combat Richmond County’s rising violent crime rate.

It took considerable personal courage for the sisters to base such a group in their Augusta neighborhood, and to work with law enforcement, yet they did just that.

And they were effective too.

District Attorney Danny Craig credits Mrs. Thurmond’s leadership for playing a key role in cutting Augusta’s crime rate to one of the lowest in the state.

“She was effective and never afraid to tell the entire community to ‘Stop the violence,’ ” said Terence Dicks, a longtime friend and fellow organization member.

Mrs. Thurmond’s courage was an inspiration to our community.

We join her family and wide circle of friends in mourning her passing.

She will be sorely missed.

Barbara Thurmond book cover via Paperback Swap
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Scroll down for more on Barbara Thurmond words captured for us in newspaper articles, guest editorials and letters to the editor to the Augusta Chronicle
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Mankind still has the need to continue with murder across America:

Augusta, Georgia Area Homicides Database and Map Created by the Augusta Chronicle
From 2005 to present
Killings in Richmond County, Columbia County, and Aiken County, South Carolina
Victims/Courts/Stats/Race/Gender
http://chronicle.augusta.com/data/homicides
More homicide victims stories:
http://chronicle.augusta.com/news/crime-courts/2010-06-11/homicides
http://chronicle.augusta.com/stories/2000/11/19/met_301784.shtml

Augusta Chronicle series on homicides in the Augusta area:

Nicole Campbell of Augusta lost two brothers to murder - Photo by Corey Perrine, Augusta Chronicle Staff

Nichole Campbell, of Augusta stands by the graves of her murdered brothers.
They died 8 years apart.
Nicole frequently visits the church cemetery where her brothers, Anthony and Sergio, are buried. Augusta Chronicle Photo by Corey Perrine/Staff

Impact of homicide goes beyond victims, killers
Saturday, June 12, 2010
By Mike Wynn
Staff Writer
http://chronicle.augusta.com/news/crime-courts/2010-06-12/impact-homicide-goes-beyond-victims-killers

MCG Trauma Unit Dr. Michael Hawkins holds Holding shows the X-ray of a patient whose head has a bullet lodged

Too many young Augustans have been shot in the head – or murdered in some other brutal fashion.
Holding an X-ray of a patient whose head has a bullet lodged in it, is Dr. Michael Hawkins, who has led the Medical College of Georgia’s trauma unit for 20 years.
He said there is no easy way to tell family members about violent deaths.
Augusta Chronicle Photo by Jackie Ricciardi/Staff

Who commits homicides?
Suspects in killings often have records
Sunday, June 13, 2010
By Sandy Hodson
Staff Writer
http://chronicle.augusta.com/news/crime-courts/2010-06-13/suspects-killings-often-have-records

Children Playing in Bucket of Water are Makayla and Alaina Dowling

Due to the violence including the murders of three local law enforcement officers, parents in the Augusta, Georgia area often worry if it is safe enough outside for the children to go play.
Makayla and Alaina Dowling play with a bucket of cool water outside their home in T&S Mobile Home Park in Aiken, South Carolina.
Their father, Eric Dowling, says that the neighborhood has improved enough that he will allow his daughters to play outside.
Photo by Zach Boyden-Holmes/Staff

Where do homicides happen?
“Residential areas see more crime”
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
By Adam Folk
Staff Writer
http://chronicle.augusta.com/news/aiken/2010-06-15/residential-areas-see-more-crime

Employers, employees often become victims
June 19, 2003
By Vicky Eckenrode
Staff Writer
http://chronicle.augusta.com/stories/2003/06/19/bus_378865.shtml
Contact reporter Vicky Eckenrode
706-823-3227
vicky.eckenrode@augustachronicle.com
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Editor’s note: Below is more info on the above quotes from various stories, guest editorials and letters to the editor involving Barbara Thurmond and printed in the Augusta Chronicle:
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“Raps Georgia law protecting gun industry”
Barbara Thurmond says the National Rifle Association owns the Republican Party and all our legislators
3/4/99
http://chronicle.augusta.com/stories/1999/03/04/op_255148.shtml

In the wake of record violence in Augusta, Barbara Thurmond wrote a 1999 guest editorial because Georgia “passed a law prohibiting cities from suing gun manufacturers” an act proving that National Rifle Association owns state lawmakers.

“In 1997 in Augusta, 79 percent of the homicides were the result of gun violence.

Every two seconds a gun comes off the assembly line in America.

In one year in America, 5,285 children were killed by handguns,” Thurmond wrote adding gun violence is a problem in Augusta, Atlanta and other U.S. cities.

Thurmond applauded Atlanta Mayor Bill Campbell’s “to hold gun manufacturers responsible for the madness and may-hem caused by guns in Atlanta” and other Georgia cities.

Georgia wears “the title of the gun belt and the gun-running state of the nation,” Thurmond said.

“The National Rifle Association own the Republican Party and “own our legislators,” she wrote
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“Kaffir Boy is insightful novel”
9/19/04
http://chronicle.augusta.com/stories/2004/09/19/let_428935.shtml

Banned in Augusta schools:

“Kaffir Boy: The True Story of a Black Youth’s Coming of Age in Apartheid South Africa” by Mark Mathabane

In 2004, Barbara Thurmond wrote a letter to the editor because the school board banned a book about Apartheid:

I was disappointed to learn that the Richmond County Board of Education decided to pull “Kaffir Boy” from the reading list of a literature class at Hephzibah High School after complaints from a parent.

Calling “Mark Mathabane’s inspiring, moving and inspiring story “one of triumph and the resilience of the human spirit,” Thurmond was upset school board member Ken Echols called the book filth, sickening and unacceptable and demanded it banned because of only one sexual reference in the 339-page story about triumph over Apartheid.

At issue, is “sex acts between soldiers and boys” because “boys offered their bodies in exchange for food.”

“I was drawn into the daily lives of a people who lived in hideous conditions under apartheid,” Thurmond said. “The unjustified humiliation and degradation are difficult for most people to fathom.”

Apartheid is “strict racial segregation” in South Africa “to maintain social, economic and cultural dominance by the white minority,” she said.

“We must not take this powerful degradation out of context and denigrate the spirit in which it was written.”

Thurmond asked if the ban is “about sex or is it about politics?”

“Like other indescribable evils of the past, we don’t want to discuss the politics of the horror.”

“As African-Americans, we are too comfortable. We have to be angry when others denigrate our struggle,” she said. “I am an African-American who has made the connection to Africa.”
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“Black leaders see range of Kerry support”
10/22/04
http://chronicle.augusta.com/stories/2004/10/22/met_432015.shtml
By Staff Writer Dena Levitz

In a news story about the 2004 Presidential campaign between Senator John Kerry and George W. Bush, Barbara Thurmond said she’d vote for Kerry but had no real attachment to him – a sentiment King-Era Democrats have expressed because they feel Democratic politicians – like their Republican opponents – are out of touch with voters and bought off by special interests – counter to human rights and compassion.

Like other Augusta black leaders, Thurmond said the important issues in 2004 were:

The economy

Loss of jobs overseas

Improving funding for the No Child Left Behind Act

The Iraq War
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Crime Scene Tape #2

“Black slayings lead homicide data”
1/22/03
http://chronicle.augusta.com/stories/2003/01/22/met_365849.shtml
By Staff Writer Greg Rickabaugh

In a January 2003 story entitled “Black slayings lead homicide,” Barbara Thurmond, the president of Augusta-based Blacks Against Black Crime Inc., said the unabated killings are the reason her organization continues its education campaign.

“What other group of people would have their people lead the homicide list every year and not address it?” she asked. “When I see 10 out of 15 (are black), that has an impact on me.”

While the numbers show that a high number of slaying victims are black men, there are actually fewer being killed each year in Richmond County.

In 1998, 21 blacks – 17 of them men – were homicide victims.

In 2002, that number was cut in half.

Ms. Thurmond remembers years with more than 60 slayings, most of them of blacks.

She believes her group’s outreach to prosecutors and neighborhood organizations is among the reasons for the drop in black homicides.

“Of course, to those families who lost a loved one” the murder rate “decrease doesn’t mean anything,” she said. “We are raising awareness of gun violence, working on stricter gun laws and educating the public. It has made our community safer.”

15 Augusta murders in 2002:

The 11 black murder victims:
Gary Collins, 46; Anthony Campbell Jr., 26; Johnny Henderson, 42; Henry L. Murray III, 22; Betty Lou Abraham, 71; Alvin L. Cummings, 56; Carlton Lamb Jr., 34; Marcus D. Taylor, 28; Daniel Samilpa, 47;Thomas Dyson Jr., 31; Aldreco O. Booker, 27;

The four white murder victims:
Stephanie Nicole Burnett, 16; Wanda Graham, 45; James Henry Williams, 38; Marty Thomas Gibson, 48;
——-

“Service remembers local victims of violent crimes”
4/28/02
http://chronicle.augusta.com/stories/2002/04/28/met_341064.shtml
By Staff Writer Timothy Cox

Blacks Against Black Crime, Inc. held a victims’ rights program and candlelight homage to recent Augusta murder victims in April 2002 as part of the annual National Crime Victim Rights week.

Violent behavior has increased in America due to a “lack of respect and discipline” because “we have lost control of our children” triggering a “more violent society” that can only be fixed by good parenting and community action, said guest speaker Clarence Davis, a longtime Maryland lawmaker who grew up in rural Washington, Georgia.

Among the 2002 Augusta murder victims remembered with candles were college student Niteka Wesbey and father -to-be Rodney Johnson.

Blacks Against Black Crime is the only victims’ rights group in the Augusta area, said co-founder Barbara Thurmond.

“It’s important to keep our movement alive” even though there’s been a recent but temporary decrease in Augusta violent crimes, she said.
——-

“Augustans remember 25 victims”
5/1/99
http://chronicle.augusta.com/stories/1999/05/01/met_260373.shtml
By Court Reporter/Staff Writer Sandy Hodson

In May 1999, Blacks Against Black Crime, Inc. held a victim’s rights ceremony to remember the 25 murder victims in Augusta during 1998.

Among those remembered was shooting victim 21-year-old Tyrone Cathcart Jr. – and the murder victim’s mother Patricia Colon vowed to join the group that provides services and assistance to crime victims because “all this killing has to stop” and something positive has come out of his death.”
——-

Double Killer Antonio Ruffin

Augusta, Georgia double killer Antonio Ruffin has already killed once, when he was free to kill again.

“Speaker probes crime in black community”
7/27/99
http://chronicle.augusta.com/stories/1999/07/27/met_266527.shtml
By Crime Reporter/ Staff Writer Meghan Gourley

Barbara Thurmond was not surprised that 27-year-old convicted murderer Antonio Ruffin had killed before he slaughtered Michael Young.

If Ruffin had gone to prison in 1991 for beating a black man to death – he would not have been free to murder of Michael Young less than 8 years later.

When Ruffin was finally was sentenced to life in prison in July 1999, his criminal record included drugs, assault and an involuntary manslaughter conviction in which he received 10 years of probation for using a pipe to beat to death another man.

“There is a cultural acceptance of violent behavior,” said Ms. Thurmond, president of Blacks Against Black Crime told the Augusta Kiwanis Club. “There is a certain amount of lawlessness allowed in the black community.”

The nonprofit Blacks Against Black Crime identifies problems that contribute to the disproportionate number of black victims, aid families of victims and help fight crime.

Violent criminals in black communities often come from single-parent households, and many of them are brought up without values and accountability, Thurmond said.

“There is a culture of African Americans that I don’t understand — their feelings about life and death are different,” she said. “They abide by their own set of rules.”

Blacks are further victimized by the court system, she said.

Blacks are not held accountable often enough – such as with the case of Antonio Ruffin – and they are often released from jail, committing more crimes.

Thurmond found disparities among bond amounts.

The lowest bonds were set in black-on-black crimes, and the highest were black-on-white crimes.

More info on Augusta’s double killer – Convicted murderer Antonio Wellington Ruffin:

Born in 1971, Antonio Wellington Ruffin is serving “life” for a 1999 Augusta murder that included the charges of firearm possession by a convicted felon and possession of firearm during a crime.

Ruffin was 20 years old when he received probation for a killing in 1991 – and after violating that probation by killing again in 1999 – he received a longer sentence for cocaine possession (7 years) than the conviction for involuntary manslaughter (less than 6 years).

Georgia Department of Corrections:
http://www.dcor.state.ga.us
http://www.dcor.state.ga.us/GDC/OffenderQuery/jsp/OffQryForm.jsp
http://www.dcor.state.ga.us/contactus/jsp/form.jsp
404-656-4661

Georgia State Department of Pardons and Paroles and the Office of Victim Services
http://www.pap.state.ga.us
http://www.pap.state.ga.us/ParoleeDatabase
VictimServices@pap.state.ga.us

The Georgia Corrections and Parole Board Victim Information Program (V.I.P.):
http://www.pap.state.ga.us/opencms/export/sites/default/victims_services/VIP_Program.html
1-800-593-9474
——-

Local crime rate falls but not rape, sexual assault
December 29, 1998
By Staff Writers Chasiti Kirkland, Emily Sollie, Tom Corwin and Jason B. Smith
http://chronicle.augusta.com/stories/1998/12/29/met_248658.shtml

Barbara Thurmond said a decline in crime is more than just numbers as it means that her son, George, and other young men in Augusta did not become a statistic.

“It means lives were saved,” said Ms. Thurmond, president and co-founder of Blacks Against Black Crime, Inc.

Following the national trend of declining crime rates, 7 percent fewer violent crimes reported during 1997 in Augusta.

During 1998 in Richmond and Aiken counties violent crime declined over 1997 for most violent crimes, except for rape, also mirroring a national trend. In Columbia County crime declined except for murder due to two incidents of multiple homicides.

“I hate statistics,” said Richmond County sheriff’s Chief Deputy Ronald Strength said.

“Numbers are very volatile. They’re like the stock market. No one can control crime. The numbers might be down this year, and everyone’s patting you on the back, but they might go up again next year.”

And people have not caught on to the decrease and probably do not feel safer, Ms. Thurmond said.

“There’s a lot of hype about crime,” Ms. Thurmond said.

There has been progress, after all there were 50 Augusta murders in 1991, the year Blacks Against Black Crime was founded, said Thurmond, whose group works on preventing crime.

“We started out of fear – thankfully, today I can say things are better and we’re all happy about that,” Thurmond said. “But there’s still too much black-on-black crime.”
——-

State senate proposes to abolish parole
1/27/98
http://chronicle.augusta.com/stories/1998/01/27/met_221389.shtml

By Lawrence Viele, Staff Writer Tracie Powell contributed to this article and members of the Morris News Service

ATLANTA – Augustans protested in front of the Municipal Building after the Georgia Senate approved a constitutional amendment to kill parole as of July 1999.

While they don’t condone crime, the protestors are against abolition of parole because blacks make up a huge part of the Georgia Prison population..

“There is a disproportionate number of African-Americans in prisons in the state of Georgia,” said Barbara Thurmond, president of Blacks Against Black Crime, a victim-advocacy group.

“We make up 30 percent of the state’s population and 70 percent of the state’s prison population. Until that changes, we will not support any amendments or bills that will keep people in prison longer,” Ms. Thurmond said.

“Those who commit crimes need to be accountable and responsible for their actions,” Thurmond said. “But when young people are sentenced to 20 to 25 years for nonviolent offenses, that is a crime committed against their souls.”

The Senate Republican proposal abolishes parole for all crimes, but Democratic leadership want to determine which crimes fit under the no-parole mandate that still must be passed by the house.
——-

Black youths gather, carry on unity goal
9/27/98
http://chronicle.augusta.com/stories/1998/09/27/met_240185.shtml

About 100 black youths gathered in May Park in Augusta during September 1998 at a follow-up event to the Million Youth Movement.

“We have an unfinished agenda,” said Terence Dicks, assistant director of “Think Big ’98,” a program designed by Blacks Against Black Crime Inc. to reduce adolescent violence and drug abuse.

“We have not finished business,” said Mr. Dicks, one of several speakers urging the audience to continue the work of the Million Youth Movement.

“We have got to keep going. I ask all of you who are active right now to remember us on Oct. 16, the anniversary of the Million Man March,” Dicks said.
——-

‘They were our sons and daughters’
By Augusta Chronicle Staff Writer
4/14/97
http://chronicle.augusta.com/stories/1997/04/14/met_206781.shtml

In remembrance of those slain in the Augusta area, 36 white candles burned in crystal votives during April 1997 at the Good Shepherd Baptist Church with each flame a life extinguished by homicide in 1996.

“We are here to remember the 36 people who lost their lives in 1996 to senseless acts of violence,” said Blacks Against Black Crime, Inc. co-founder Barbara Thurmond at a memorial service commemorating murder victims from Richmond and Columbia counties.

“They were not just numbers, they were our lovers, our friends, sisters, brothers,” she said. “They were our sons and daughters.”

Seven months earlier after an evening church service, Linda Washington returned home to the awful, heart-wrenching news that her only son had been murdered.

Beloved son and father, who dreamed of enlisting in the Army, Michael “Connie” Washington, 20, was gunned down Sept. 4, 1996 while searching for a friend.

“My son’s life was gone,” said Mrs. Washington with pain in her voice “His dreams and hopes were gone.”

“He’s not just a statistic, Connie “was loved and he loved.”

In an effort to galvanize the community against violence, about 115 people gathered to remember.

“A lot of these people died at a very young age” pursuing the violent lives espoused by popular movies and musicians, said Terence Dicks, treasurer of Blacks Against Black Crimes.

“Death is the wrong way to go towards immortality,” Mr. Dicks said.
——–

To ensure constitutionality, Georgia lawmakers re-work bill that would keep accused murderers behind bars until trial
By Augusta Chronicle Staff Writer
2/09/97
http://chronicle.augusta.com/stories/1997/02/09/met_203762.shtml

In the face of criticism that it is unconstitutional, lawmakers are re-working a proposal to keep accused Georgia murderers behind bars until they can be tried.

The Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution prohibits excessive bail or fines.

“The wait is a little hard,” said Barbara Thurmond, co-founder of Blacks Against Black Crime, Inc. – an Augusta anti-violence group that has been pushing for the bill.

“I really do understand though,” she said. “When you’re talking about something that affects people’s constitutional rights it gets a little sticky.”

Augusta Judicial Circuit District Attorney Danny Craig, who is writing the bill for Rep. Henry Howard, D-Augusta, said the bill needs to be rewritten to make sure it will be constitutional.

Mr. Craig said the bill would help keep violent offenders from repeating their crimes while out on bail.

“There is simply no reason that the community should be subjected to having this violent killer in their midst,” he said.
——-

Bill would keep suspects behind bars
1/16/97
http://chronicle.augusta.com/stories/1997/01/16/met_202644.shtml

Former Augusta police officer Frank Howard found a system that did not work when he tried to get justice for the killer of his 17-year-old daughter in 1992.

Mr. Howard and other members of Blacks Against Black Crime – a local anti-violence organization – are working with state Rep. Henry Howard to introduce a bill that would keep people charged with murder behind bars until they can be tried.

After Howard’s daughter was shot to death in July 1992, accused killer Catara Hill was freed from jail on $15,000 bail.

“It was like they were saying my daughter’s life was only worth $15,000.”

Mr. Howard waited for months while the trial was repeatedly postponed because the trials of incarcerated defendants took precedence while Ms. Hill was free to walk the streets.

The bill would reassure the community that dangerous offenders would be taken off the streets and could reduce the number of revenge killings, said Barbara Thurmond, head of Blacks Against Black Crime.

“Part of me died with her that day. That’s why I’m working so hard now,” Mr. Howard said, who had lost faith in the criminal justice system.

Mr. Howard took part in anti-violence drives and led a petition on the bail issue two years ago.

“What this seems to suggest is that we really think you’re guilty and we’re going to treat you that way until you can presume otherwise,” said attorney David Watkins.

Calling the bill unconstitutional, Augusta attorney Jack E. Boone, Jr. said the bill also doesn’t take into account the defendant’s record or the circumstances of the crime.”

The U.S. Constitution Eighth Amendment prohibits excessive bail or fines.
——-

Locals await State Legislature consideration of no-bond bill for murderers
1/12/97
http://chronicle.augusta.com/stories/1997/01/12/met_202458.shtml

Shortly after Phalonda Howard was murdered in July 1992, her killer walked out of jail after posting a $15,000 bond.

Even though the killer was eventually sent to prison, Howard’s killer was allowed to roam the streets – thus delaying her trial and exposing the public to possibly more violence including retaliation and new crimes.

For those reasons, people charged with murder should not be out on bail, said Ms. Thurmond, co-founder of the Augusta based nonprofit anti-violence group Blacks Against Black Crime, Inc.

Ms. Thurmond has been working with state Rep. Henry Howard to introduce a bill to keep people charged with murder and manslaughter in jail until they can be tried in court.

Defense lawyers and other legal groups will fight the bill to keep accused murderers in jail.

“What we’ve learned about the Legislature is that you’ve got a bunch of folks who go to Atlanta and forget the people they represent,” she said. “It might not be different for us, but we’re going to try.”
——-

‘Georgia gunrunners take toll on state’
Augusta Chronicle Guest Editorial by Barbara A. Thurmond, president of Blacks Against Crimes, Inc. in Augusta
11/09/02
http://chronicle.augusta.com/stories/2002/11/09/let_357661.shtml

In 1995 Senate Bill 109 proposed that sales of handguns be limited to no more than one gun per person per month.

Who wants to buy more than one gun a month?

A person who has a criminal record and cannot purchase handguns finds someone who is clean to make the purchases, paying him, say, $40 profit on each gun.

That’s gunrunning.

Georgia leads the nation in gunrunning.

It is legal to buy large quantities of guns in the state of Georgia.

According to The Augusta Chronicle Oct. 25, “Erich Olaf Tate pleaded guilty to conspiracy to traffic guns,” the agent said.

He said between 100 and 200 guns were taken to New York over a period of two to three years.

We can speculate that these guns were used for shootings, robberies and drug deals.

Over the years far too many guns recovered from crimes in other states have been traced back to Georgia.

The cost per firearm fatality is higher than any other type of fatal injury or for any of the four leading causes of death.

It is estimated that the cost of firearm injuries in the United States per year is $20.4 billion.

Taxpayers pay most of these bills.

And although the cost is high, the emotional toll on victims and their families cannot be measured in dollars.

How long will the state of Georgia continue to contribute to the great sorrow felt by the families of those killed or wounded by Georgia’s guns?

In 1991, Blacks Against Black Crimes identified the easy accessibility of guns as a contributing factor to the epidemic of black-on-black violence.

In the effort to fight for better gun control, we joined Georgians Against Gun Violence, Handgun Control, Inc. and The Million Mom March.

We have worked tirelessly over the years with the above organizations by making monetary contributions and supporting gun legislation at the state and federal level.

We are in an ongoing battle with the National Rifle Association for sensible gun control.
——-

‘Justice system unfair to blacks’
Augusta Chronicle Guest Editorial by Barbara A. Thurmond, president of Blacks Against Black Crime, Inc. in Augusta
6/08/02
http://chronicle.augusta.com/stories/2002/06/08/let_343083.shtml

According to the May 19 Augusta Chronicle, Superior Court Judge William D. Jennings III agreed to set bond for Rufus Owens, the alleged killer of Anthony Campbell Jr.

Although Mr. Owens is facing murder and weapon charges, he was granted a $50,000 bond.

During this century, American justice has been a mockery for black people.

Black males have the highest victimization rate of any group.

This has been proven true once again.

Mr. Campbell is one of those black males, victimized over and over again – first by the killer and then by the criminal justice system.

The moment the decision was made to release the accused killer on a $50,000 bond, the family would also feel victimized again and their pain intensified.

When the criminal justice system fails to keep murder suspects behind bars, it has a marked impact on the victim’s family and community.

When those who have killed are allowed to move freely about the community, without immediate consequences for their inappropriate behavior, it sends the wrong message to impressionable minds.

One year ago, Cedric Jackson was allegedly killed by Claude Wiggleton, Jr.

A year later, this case has not been resolved and the defendant has remained out of jail after posting a $40,000 bond.

It is the opinion of Blacks Against Black Crimes that injustice and double standards within the justice system are contributing factors to black-on-black violence.

Editor’s note: Updates since Barbara Thurmond wrote her guest editorial

Richmond County jury rules shooting death of Cedric Jackson is justifiable homicide in acquitting former Augusta police detective’s son Claude Wiggleton, Jr. of voluntary manslaughter.

Meanwhile …

Still free on bond and awaiting trial, drunk murder suspect Rufus Owens Jr., 28, of Augusta was killed in March 2003 when he flipped his SUV in an early morning drunk driving accident in south Augusta – and luckily did not kill anyone else.
http://chronicle.augusta.com/stories/2003/03/31/met_474794.shtml

He died about 10 months after Barbara Thurmond wrote this guest editorial.

The victim – Mr. Anthony Campbell, Jr. – was shot at his home after an argument over a slumber party.

In a tragic twist, the victim’s brother – Sergio Campbell – was murdered in an unrelated shooting 8 years later (2010) at the age of 22.

Augusta brothers are both murdered in unrelated incidents eight years apart: Mr. Anthony Campbell, Jr. and – Sergio Campbell

The first in an argument about a slumber party and the second in the parking lot of a fast food restaurant.
http://chronicle.augusta.com/news/crime-courts/2010-06-12/impact-homicide-goes-beyond-victims-killers
——-

‘A decade of advocacy for black homicide victims brings changes to system’
Augusta Chronicle Guest Editorial by Barbara A. Thurmond, president and co-founder of Blacks Against Black Crime, Inc.
7/18/01
http://chronicle.augusta.com/stories/2001/07/18/op_319437.shtml

TEN YEARS AGO on a hot day in June, my sister and I were motivated by fear to bring attention to the epidemic of black-on-black violence.

In 1991, Augusta/Richmond County had the highest homicide rate ever recorded.

Ninety seven percent of these homicides were blacks killed by other blacks.

We understood early on that black-on-black violence was bigger than one brother killing another.

One of the many facts we identified was the injustice and double standards of the criminal justice system.

Historically, blacks had not been punished harshly enough for killing other blacks, and we were convinced that this contributed to the epidemic of black-on-black violence.

In 1991 the average bond for a black defendant in a black-on-black killing was $20,000.

This aspect of the criminal justice system has changed.

In 2001, for example, a 24-year-old man was released on $100,000 bond after the murder of a 42-year-old victim.

Defendants are spending more time in jail as the result of more trials.

Initially we met with Judge William Fleming in an effort to understand the system.

We needed to understand the terms “murder,” “voluntary manslaughter,” “plea bargain” and bonding criteria.

TEN YEARS AGO Blacks Against Black Crime dared to dream of a world in which all crime victims and their families are treated with compassion and dignity.

In 1993 we met with District Attorney Danny Craig to voice our concerns about the lack of prosecution of black-on-black homicides.

He listens to the voices of all crime victims and has prosecuted homicide cases equitably.

We have seen more murder convictions for black-on-black homicide.

We believe this has contributed to the decline in these incidents.

Compared with 10 years ago, we are a much better system and a safer community.

We pay tribute to Sheila Stahl, director of the Victims Assistance Department of the Augusta Richmond County judicial system.

Our collective dream of victims’ justice is built upon the painful realization of the nightmare that crime has wreaked on our community.

At times funeral homes contact us when victims are without funds for burial.

We contact Victims Assistance and they help families apply for funds.

We communicate with the office weekly, sometimes daily.

TOGETHER WE share the burden of those whose losses are immeasurable, and who feel such a tremendous obligation to stand for the rights of their loved ones.

Their pain and suffering are our incentives to continue efforts to prevent crime. Black crime victims are no longer nameless, faceless entities.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s the type of killings changed; they were more random, different from the Saturday-night brawls and crimes of passion.

We saw in the 1970s that killers were younger, cold-blooded, and without conscience or remorse.

How did we get to this place?

Why had African Americans become the victims and victimizers?

In the 1980s we experienced the President Reagan-induced poverty, an increase in cocaine use and the introduction of crack cocaine.

One year after the introduction of crack cocaine, gun manufacturers increased their production by 42 percent.

The lethality of firearms escalated from low-caliber to high-caliber revolvers and semi-automatics.

The media has severely damaged the African-American image by desensitizing young people to violence and death as it continues to glamorize illegitimacy.

IS THERE A connection between the disproportionate number of blacks assigned to special education and the disproportionate number of black male victimizers?

Those in special education are unable to feel good about themselves, are labeled stupid, robbed of self-esteem, and feel nothing is expected of them.

It is part of an instilled inferiority and dehumanization process.

This can lead to dropping out of schools, illiteracy, unemployment, poverty and ultimately criminal activity.

To blame others would be easy, but we knew if we were to truly make a difference, it would take honesty.

We had to take a critical self-inventory and analysis.

In the 1970s and 1980s, middle class blacks fled the inner city, leaving it without positive role models.

Too many black intellectuals have refused to remain in some visible way connected to black cultural life and the social misery of the underclass.

THE URBAN Institute in Washington, D.C. defines the underclass family as headed by a single female, members are welfare dependent, marginally educated, chronically unemployed and engaged in repeated patterns of criminal deviance.

The act of creating new life is taken so lightly that school children sing about it.

Repetition becomes a fact, and it condemns young mothers to a life of poverty, poor education and welfare.

It is difficult for a single, teen-age mother to promote psycho-social development in her children when she is deprived of that development.

We must take responsibility for our own behavior in order to change things that are wrong.

If we improve our community, we improve our city.

If we improve our city, we improve our state and nation.

Blacks Against Black Crime has been labeled racist and accused of causing polarization.

We are volunteers working to save people from their own destruction.

We are realists.

We see things as they are and not the way we would like them to be.

We joined with organizations across the state and nation and will stand with anyone if they stand for what is right for all.

THE LAST 10 years have been challenging.

The sacrifices have been many.

Our focus has been and continues to be advocating for black homicide victims.

We ask for continued support of this city as we continue our passionate efforts to reduce crime and violence.
——-

‘Why no reward for White’s killer’
Augusta Chronicle Guest Editorial by Barbara A. Thurmond, president of Blacks Against Black Crime, Inc.
7/18/00
http://chronicle.augusta.com/stories/2000/07/18/edi_292917.shtml

Two years ago 40-year-old David Holt was murdered.

This was a heinous crime.

The family, friends, co-workers and indeed the greater Augusta community suffered a terrible loss.

On June 1, 22-year-old Shanta White and her unborn child were murdered.

This also was a heinous crime.

On the night she was killed, her family lost their future.

Everything that Shanta and her unborn child would have been is now gone forever.

What do these two crimes have in common?

Both cases were assigned to the same investigator.

Both killers are still at large.

Both victims were employed by the same company.

Both victims were children of God, made in his image.

Until their killer(s) are brought to justice, their families cannot begin the healing process.

That is where the similarities end.

Sam’s Club, the common employer, has offered a $400,000 reward for information that would lead to the arrest and conviction of (white male) David Holt’s killer(s).

The Sheriff’s Department mailed a questionnaire to several zip codes seeking information on the murder of Mr. Holt.

What about (black female) Shanta White and her unborn child?

Who is willing to come forward and offer a reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of her killer(s)?

We know that offering reward money is no cure-all for crime and violence, but it is one of many tools used by law enforcers as they work to solve and prevent crime, apprehend criminals and bring them to justice.
——-

‘Claims racist response to violence’
Augusta Chronicle Guest Editorial by Barbara A. Thurmond, president of Blacks Against Black Crimes, Inc.
7/05/99
http://chronicle.augusta.com/stories/1999/07/05/edi_265057.shtml

Although juvenile crime is down in America, the media reports give a different impression.

The highly publicized school shootings in a period of 18 months include: Springfield, Ore.; Fayetteville, Tenn.; Edinboro, Penn.; Jonesboro, Ark; Paducah, Ky.; Pearl, Miss., and Littleton, Colo.

In these incidents Americans have been shown another face of youth violence, white suburban males.

These shootings have prompted federal lawmakers to address the issue of gun violence in America.

Republicans and Democrats debate daily the issue of gun control.

Newspapers, magazines and television news shows are flooded with articles on gun violence.

In contrast, Vincent Schiraidi, director of the Justice Policy Institute, estimates that 900 black youths were killed in the United States during the 18 months since the school shootings began.

In addition, according to an article published in the Baltimore Sun, it has been estimated that between 1985-1995 – 75,000 black males were slain in the United States.

If 75,000 hearses were lined up, they would stretch approximately 300 miles.

Ironically, this is comparable to the distance between Augusta and Birmingham, the cradle of the civil rights movement.

Such disparate treatment of victims is obvious and leaves many questions unanswered.

For instance, where were the outrage, the politicians, the media and the nation’s search for answers on how to end youth violence?

We are not insensitive to the tragedy in Littleton.

In fact, we have sympathy for the victims and their families regardless of race.

However, as a nation we must be as outraged over the death of 900 black males as we are about the tragedy at Columbine High School.

The nation must focus on violent crime prevention for all youth.

Until that day Blacks Against Black Crimes will be the voice for black crime victims.
——-

‘Marks Crime Victims Rights Week’
Augusta Chronicle Guest Editorial by Barbara A. Thurmond
4-23-98
http://chronicle.augusta.com/stories/1998/04/23/op_226616.shtm

National Crime Victims Rights week is being observed through April 25.

During this time, organizations that assist victims of violent crime in Augusta have joined together to promote greater public awareness about the rights and needs of crime victims.

The theme of this year’s observance is “Victims Right’s Right for America.”

Remember too, that Blacks Against Black Crimes are an advocate for all victims of all crimes, regardless of race, gender, socio-economic status or religious influences.

The thrust of our focus is victims of black on black homicide, because historically the judicial system has not been sensitive to black crime victims.

Since 1991 Blacks Against Black Crimes has assisted victims in our area.

Among the many services offered by the group are counseling, education, and financial assistance for burial and referral to other agencies.

Last year in Augusta there were 28 homicides.

Crime is no longer “someone else’s” problem because tomorrow that “someone else” might be someone you know or love.
——-

‘Plugs victims’ rights; cites statistics’
Augusta Chronicle Guest Editorial by Barbara A. Thurmond, president of Blacks Against Black Crimes, Inc.
4-14-97
http://chronicle.augusta.com/stories/1997/04/14/edi_206791.shtml

This week is National Crime Victims’ Rights Week in America.

Proclaimed by the president and governors across our country, the theme for this special commemoration is “Let Victims’ Rights Ring Across America.”

It is a special week dedicated to those who have been injured and killed by criminal victimization.

It is also a time to recognize and reflect upon the many accomplishments on the local, state, and federal levels that have improved rights and services extended to crime victims in our nation.

For whom does the bell of victimization toll?

Each year in America, nearly 39 million individuals become victims of crime.

Sadly, statistics show that for over half of these victims, it is not the first time nor will it be the last.

Becoming a victim of crime has become a rite of passage in our violent nation.

For example, the National Education Association reports that each day in America, 100,000 children carry guns to school, 260,000 children miss class because of the fear of being physically harmed and 40 students are killed or injured by firearms.
——-

Asks ‘Baby Face’ to sing different tune
Augusta Chronicle Guest Editorial by Terence A. Dicks, spokesperson for Blacks Against Black Crime, Inc.
6/18/97
http://chronicle.augusta.com/stories/1997/06/18/edi_210076.shtml

After 378 years of struggle and resistance against forces ranging from legal slavery to systemic assaults through education, environmental and judicial means, African-Americans continue to rise to the occasion.

In the wake of redistricting of our Southern-most areas to the church burnings across this country, we now face genocide through our music.

That force which once gave us hope now claims our youngest talent through homicide – i.e. Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls.

This is a frontal assault on black youth in a serious time of welfare reform, and a record breaking epidemic of teen pregnancy – but along comes the song “My Baby’s Daddy,” by B-Rock and The Biz.

No other self-respecting people would allow this song to feed a corrupt spirit that already affects our youth.

One only needs to look at the break down of the black family, the disrespect for the black church, and an increase of black on black violence to see that these lyrics are harmful, undermining, and self-destructive.

Please join with us as we respond to producer Kenneth “Baby Face” Edmonds, who was recently cited by Time as one of the 25 most influential people in the country.

Let us let him know that we would like for him to use his influence in another way.
——-

‘Victim assistance is stronger’
Augusta Chronicle Letter to the Editor by Barbara Thurmond, founder and president of Blacks Against Black Crimes, Inc.
4/03/05
http://chronicle.augusta.com/stories/2005/04/03/let_449223.shtml

We have much to celebrate.

Fourteen years ago, Blacks Against Black Crimes Inc. was organized to serve this community and ensure fundamental rights for all crime victims.

Since 1994, we have seen crime victims and their families treated with compassion and dignity.

There are more than 10,000 community- and system-based organizations that help victims in the aftermath of crime.

And more than 32,000 laws have been passed at the federal and state levels that define and protect victims’ rights.

Yet there remains much work to be done, and many challenges that will put our shared values to test.

We must remain vigilant in our efforts to guarantee the same values that offer help and hope to victims of crime; when you value justice for all people who live in America, you value victim rights and services.

The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. told our nation that “if we are to go forward, we must go back and rediscover those precious values – that all reality hinges on moral foundations, and that all reality has spiritual control.”

The moral foundation of the victim-assistance field is one of compassion and caring, justice and equal rights.

The bricks and mortar we have used to create a nation that values justice, individual and community safety have fueled our efforts for more than 14 years.

These values are our vision for a future in which rights and services for victims and survivors of crime are not the exception to the rule, but the rule itself.

As the “father of the victim-impact statement,” James Rowland once said, “Justice will not be served until victims’ rights are not just observed annually, but practiced daily.”
——-

‘Homicide decline should inspire’
Augusta Chronicle Letter to the Editor by Barbara A. Thurmond, co-founder and president of Blacks Against Black Crime, Inc.
2/23/05
http://chronicle.augusta.com/stories/2005/02/23/let_444380.shtml

All Augustans have reasons to be thankful.

Homicides continue to decline each year, particularly black-on-black homicides.

In 2004, Augusta-Richmond county homicides were at an all-time low: 14 homicides were recorded.

Black males continue to make up the majority of slaying victims, causing us to focus on causes of crime in the black community.

As encouraging as this progress is, much work needs to be done. Simply stated, we need to recommit ourselves and intensify our efforts.

Sororities, fraternities, community-based organizations, educators, religious leaders, churches and mentors are doing great works with the youth in Augusta; your hard work and dedication have contributed to this decline.

No matter what is going on in the world, our children have to succeed; our communities have to be made whole.
——-

‘Keep assault weapons off streets’
Augusta Chronicle Letter to the Editor by Barbara A. Thurmond, co-founder and president of Blacks Against Black Crime, Inc.
7/31/04
http://chronicle.augusta.com/stories/2004/07/31/let_423842.shtml

(The federal ban on assault weapons expired in Sept. 2004 – and efforts for a new ban has yet to even be voted on by U.S. lawmakers)

Pleading for the renewal of the “ban on assault weapons,” Barbara Thurmond noted that “these weapons of mass destruction” have been used in “America’s most notorious massacres” like the 1999 Columbine High School death spree and the “2003 D.C. sniper shootings.”

“The AK-47, Tec-9 and the Uzi” have caused our police to be “outgunned” and are a continued “threat to the safety of our dedicated police officers and the public,” Thurmond wrote in a July 2004 letter to the editor.

“Assault weapons are made to kill many people at one time,” Thurmond stated.

“Georgia is a high-volume gun state,” Thurmond said, citing a survey by “Americans for Gun Safety” that concluded in “2003 Georgia ranked fourth in the nation in the number of high-crime gun stores” that sold weapons “responsible for at least 200” crimes between 1996 and 2000.

“We need sensible gun laws, enforcement of existing laws and concerted local efforts to make our city, state and nation safer,” she wrote.

“Blacks Against Black Crimes, Inc. joins with the Million Mom March, Georgians for Gun Safety and the Brady Campaign for Handgun Control in supporting the assault weapon ban and all efforts to reduce firearm injuries and death.”

Thurmond asked:

“Why would anyone want these weapons back on the streets of America?”
——-

‘Be mindful of victims’ rights’
Augusta Chronicle Letter to the Editor by Barbara A. Thurmond, co-founder and president of Blacks Against Black Crime, Inc.
4/16/04
http://chronicle.augusta.com/stories/2004/04/16/let_412349.shtml

“Most people in America will be a victim of or witness to a crime in their lifetime,” stated Barbara Thurmond in an April 2004 letter to the editor adding violence and terrorism have a “profound effect on feelings of safety and security.”

Noting the annual April National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, Thurmond stated crime victims “need to feel safe in reporting crimes” and need the protection of their “core rights to information and notification, protection, participation, and restitution.”

“Many victims never report crime because of trauma and fear” and many suffer a devastating psychological impact “damaging victims’ abilities to focus, function and work,” Thurmond wrote.

“We have much work to do to validate the harm (crime victims) have endured” and listen to “their voices and concerns” while protecting “their rights as victims,” she said.

“Lives are irrevocably changed” during violent crimes like “the robbery victim who is left a paraplegic, the family whose breadwinner is murdered, the battered woman who hides her bruises in hopes of hiding her chronic suffering, and the child-abuse victims who hear the threats of their abusers and never disclose their victimization,” Thurmond wrote.

“Victims and survivors of crime” need to be “assured that they are not responsible for what happened, and that the persons who hurt them will be brought to justice,” Thurmond stated.
——-

“Stop exercising political favors”
Augusta Chronicle Letter to the Editor by Barbara A. Thurmond, co-founder and president of Blacks Against Black Crime, Inc.
2/18/03
http://chronicle.augusta.com/stories/2003/02/18/let_376096.shtml

Noting that Sen. Don Cheeks, R-Augusta, used his “position of influence to have a convicted sex offender not register with the state’s sex offenders’ registry,” Thurmond stated she was further alarmed that those “in positions of power and authority” often “manipulate laws” during a time when children are in the midst of a violence crisis.

“The real tragedy,” Thurmond stated, is the political favors continue “at a time when children need help” but instead see examples of lawmakers doing political favors and therefore not “holding offenders responsible for their actions.”

She cited an Atlanta Journal-Constitution story that revealed in the previous five years state “legislators have made at least 5,500 contacts on behalf of prisoners and parolees” in a “custom (that) benefits whites primarily” in a Georgia “inmate population (that) is two-thirds black.”

Thurmond stated in the February 2003 letter to the editor that in Georgia’s slavery days the laws were manipulated by white plantation owners to ensure cotton was picked.

“The white boss would go to the prosecutor and judge on Monday, following the weekend killing of a black by another black, and he would tell them not to prosecute the killer, because he needed the able body back at work to toil in the fields,” Thurmond wrote.

“This practice had a lasting effect on black people and to this day, we continue to feel the effect of political favors,” stated Thurmond fearing children are the next group to suffer from political favors.
——-

“Jury’s ‘not-guilty’ verdict appalls and perplexes observer”
Augusta Chronicle Letter to the Editor by Barbara A. Thurmond, co-founder and president of Blacks Against Black Crime, Inc.
9/16/02
http://chronicle.augusta.com/stories/2002/09/16/let_352959.shtml

After attending a decade of black on black murder trials in Augusta, Barbara Thurmond said she “can’t get used to the stupidity and senselessness” of the violence.

“A baby-mama drama, a fragile ego and a gun are ingredients for a homicide,” she wrote in a September 2002 letter to the editor.

“Repetitious childbearing out of wedlock by different partners is taken too lightly in our society,” said Thurmond who believed proper parenting and a sense of personal responsibility would prevent black on black crime.

“The mothers will use these children as a way of manipulating the daddies and, more often than not, it has deadly consequences,” wrote Thurmond – upset that a jury found a father not guilty in the shooting death the unarmed boyfriend of his “baby’s mama” in an incident that also saw “the baby hit his head on the wall” during an altercation.

“It’s easy to blame the victim for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

“The purpose of a gun is to kill,” Thurmond wrote – describing some gun-toting black males as having a “fragile ego” who are “craving respect.”

“When a person makes a conscious decision to carry a loaded gun, the decision has been made to kill,” Thurmond stated.

An advocate for getting assault weapons and handguns off the streets, Thurmond said she agrees with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference that “guns are bad news, and they bring sad news.”
——-

“Black-on-black homicide should remain a priority issue” in Augusta Chronicle
Augusta Chronicle Letter to the Editor by Barbara A. Thurmond, co-founder and president of Blacks Against Black Crime, Inc.
3-7-02
http://chronicle.augusta.com/stories/2002/03/07/let_337310.shtml

“What has not changed is the disproportionate number of blacks who die as the result of violence,” said Barbara Thurmond in a March 2002 letter to the editor reacting to a drop in the crime rate. “We must address the leading cause of death of African-Americans.”

Thurmond said it is “painfully obvious to me” that “black-on-black homicide is a threat to African-Americans in Augusta.”

“African-Americans are six times more likely to be murdered than whites” in Augusta, said Thurmond who did her own investigation and calculations – after a newspaper article on murders did not take race into account – concluding there was not a pattern to violence in Augusta. “Homicides account for more deaths of black men ages 25-44 than does heart disease, cancer or diabetes.”

“We cannot continue to ignore black-on-black homicides – Ignoring the problem won’t make it go away,” she wrote

“Black leaders, this is our war and we must stay on the battlefield, armed with courage, truth, persistence and faith,” Thurmond stated listing some of the underlying causes of black on black violence. “Voting, economic empowerment and the removal of the Confederate flag are all important issues; issues that we all must be concerned about.”
——-

Raps paper for “lack of objectivity”
Augusta Chronicle Letter to the Editor by Barbara A. Thurmond, president of Blacks Against Black Crime, Inc.
4/3/00
http://chronicle.augusta.com/stories/2000/04/03/edi_285922.shtml

According to the March 12 Chronicle, Christopher Andrews died of cardiac wounds at the Medical College of Georgia Hospital after allegedly being stabbed by Alicia Hall.

I’m a lay person without a law degree, but because of the commitment to the cause of victims’ rights, I’ve had to familiarize myself with the process of reaching a verdict in a case such as this.

When did The Chronicle become prosecutor, jury and judge? What happened to objective reporting?

I have no opinion on the case due to the fact that evidence hasn’t been presented in a court of law.

All I’ve read is hearsay, pro and con, in favor of the victim and defendant.

Mr. Andrews has a right to have his case heard in a court of law before a verdict is reached.

It is unfair and manipulative of the media to render a verdict of self-defense. To do this is extended victimization of Mr. Andrews.

Let’s allow the judicial system to do its job.

I feel that District Attorney Danny Craig is capable of getting to the truth.

We expect newspapers to report facts and information, saving opinions for the editorial page.

(Editor’s note: The Augusta Chronicle quoted Alicia Hall’s mother, who said the attack on Christopher Andrews was in self-defense.)
——-

“Campaign to protest crime fulfills co-founder’s dream”
Remembering Barbara Thurmond Book and Goals Augusta Chronicle
10/18/06
http://chronicle.augusta.com/stories/2006/10/18/met_100934.shtml

“Don’t stop – the kids need you,” said Barbara Thurmond’s mother Lillian – during an October 2006 service at New Creation Missionary Baptist Church that kicked off her daughter Barbara Thurmond’s last wish – a 40-day campaign of prayer and fasting to protest crime in Augusta.
——

“An example of courage”
2006 Augusta Chronicle Editorial Honoring the Life of Barbara A. Thurmond 9/01/06
By Augusta Chronicle Editorial Staff
http://chronicle.augusta.com/stories/2006/09/01/edi_94880.shtml

Courage defined the life of Barbara Ann Thurmond, whose funeral services are being held today at Augusta’s Tabernacle Baptist Church.

She died much too young at age 56, but in that brief life she displayed enough courage for many lifetimes.

One could even say she wrote the book on courage.

Joy in my Heart: My Journey From Hopelessness to Happiness, released two years ago, recounted the pain, trials and tribulations she suffered after being diagnosed with a spinal cord tumor in 1983 that forced her into a wheelchair as a paraplegic.

Though Mrs. Thurmond was debilitated physically, she refused to let the illness defeat her feisty spirit and enduring spirituality.

“The wheelchair never set boundaries on her,” said one friend.

Indeed, the physical challenge simply spurred her to triumphs in other areas of her life.

Disgusted by homicides in her community, Mrs. Thurmond and her sister, Earnestine Covington, founded Blacks Against Black Crime Inc. in 1991 to combat Richmond County’s rising violent crime rate.

It took considerable personal courage for the sisters to base such a group in their Augusta neighborhood, and to work with law enforcement, yet they did just that.

And they were effective too.

District Attorney Danny Craig credits Mrs. Thurmond’s leadership for playing a key role in cutting Augusta’s crime rate to one of the lowest in the state.

“She was effective and never afraid to tell the entire community to ‘Stop the violence,’ ” said Terence Dicks, a longtime friend and fellow organization member.

Mrs. Thurmond’s courage was an inspiration to our community.

We join her family and wide circle of friends in mourning her passing.

She will be sorely missed.
——-

Remembering Barbara Thurmond, James Brown ‘Music, sermon energizes audience at MLK celebration’
Augusta Chronicle story By Staff Writer Sylvia Cooper
1/16/07
http://chronicle.augusta.com/stories/2007/01/16/met_112649.shtml

Music, prayers, speeches, a rousing sermon and memorial tributes marked the official 14th annual Martin L. King, Jr. Memorial Observance CSRA is Monday at Beulah Grove Baptist Church.

Greetings were given by Beulah Grove’s pastor, the Rev. Sam Davis; Augusta Commissioner Bernard Harper; Imam Mohamad Alhomsi, Dr. Jim Cruickshanke, the CEO of St. Joseph’s Hospital; Rabbi Robert G. Klensin of the Congregation Children of Israel; and Augusta Mayor Deke Copenhaver.

Mr. Copenhaver told the crowd that as he was leaving a breakfast earlier in the day, a reporter asked, “Are we living the dream in Augusta, Ga.?”

“And my answer to the question was, ‘We are beginning to live the dream in Augusta, Ga.,’ ” Mr. Copenhaver said.

“My goal is for Augusta, Ga., to be the living embodiment of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream, and I know working together we can and will get there.”

The mayor said he was committed to working with the Rev. Larry Fryer to get a King statue for Augusta.

The keynote speaker, the Rev. Frank K. Kennedy Jr., pastor of Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church in Lanett, Ala., had the crowd of more than a thousand on its feet with his sermon about the importance of being authentic and the need everyone has for “a lifetime guarantee of roadside assistance.”

The program included a special commemoration for James Brown and memorial tributes to Coretta Scott King; Rosa Parks; Barbara Thurmond, a co-founder of Augusta’s Blacks Against Black Crime Inc.; Pat Jones, the director of the Augusta Youth Center; Juvenile Court Judge Herbert E. Kernaghan Jr.; longtime State Court Judge James E. Slayton; and longtime Richmond County school board member B.J. Annis.

Reach Sylvia Cooper at (706) 823-3228 or sylvia.cooper@augustachronicle.com

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Augusta, Georgia Area Homicides Database and Map Created by the Augusta Chronicle

From 2005 to present

Killings in Richmond County, Columbia County, and Aiken County, South Carolina

Victims/Courts/Stats/Race/Gender

http://chronicle.augusta.com/data/homicides

More homicide victims stories:

http://chronicle.augusta.com/news/crime-courts/2010-06-11/homicides

http://chronicle.augusta.com/stories/2000/11/19/met_301784.shtml

Augusta Chronicle series on homicides in the Augusta area:

Impact of homicide goes beyond victims, killers

Saturday, June 12, 2010

By Mike Wynn

Staff Writer

http://chronicle.augusta.com/news/crime-courts/2010-06-12/impact-homicide-goes-beyond-victims-killers

Photos:

Nichole Campbell, of Augusta stands by the graves of her murdered brothers.

They died 8 years apart.

Nicole frequently visits the church cemetery where her brothers, Anthony and Sergio, are buried.

Augusta Chronicle Photo by Corey Perrine/Staff

Dr. Michael Hawkins, who has led Medical College of Georgia’s trauma unit for 20 years, shows the X-ray of a patient whose head has a bullet lodged in it.

He said there is no easy way to tell family members about violent deaths.

Augusta Chronicle Photo by Jackie Ricciardi/Staff

Who commits homicides?

Suspects in killings often have records

Sunday, June 13, 2010

By Sandy Hodson

Staff Writer

http://chronicle.augusta.com/news/crime-courts/2010-06-13/suspects-killings-often-have-records

Where do homicides happen?

“Residential areas see more crime”

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

By Adam Folk

Staff Writer

http://chronicle.augusta.com/news/aiken/2010-06-15/residential-areas-see-more-crime

Photos:

Makayla and Alaina Dowling play with a bucket of cool water outside their home in T&S Mobile Home Park in Aiken, S.C.

Their father, Eric Dowling, says that the neighborhood has improved enough that he will allow his daughters to play outside.

Photo by Zach Boyden-Holmes/Staff

Employers, employees often become victims

June 19, 2003

By Vicky Eckenrode

Staff Writer

http://chronicle.augusta.com/stories/2003/06/19/bus_378865.shtml

Contact reporter Vicky Eckenrode

706-823-3227

vicky.eckenrode@augustachronicle.com

——-

December 29, 1998
By Staff Writers Chasiti Kirkland, Emily Sollie, Tom Corwin and Jason B. Smith

About TerenceDicks

A three-decade community activist for the Augusta, Georgia area, Rev. Terence A. Dicks is very concerned about civil rights, the needs of inner city and moderate and low-income children, fair civil legal representation for low-income and minorities, and many other issues. Terence has fought for civil representation for the low and moderate income involving cases like domestic violence and landlord disputes. In March 2015, Terence was sworn in for a second term to represent the Richmond County Democratic Party on the Richmond County Board of Elections. Rev. Terence Dicks is "widely-acknowledged for standing up for the rights of the powerless in his community and throughout Georgia," stated a press release on the GeorgiaAdvocates.org website when he was elected chair of the Augusta Human Relations Commission in July 2005. In 1986, Mr. Dicks was co-coordinator of the Mr. James Brown Appreciation Day in Augusta – the first time the town and its people earnestly expressed love and respect to the late great Godfather of Soul. About 5,000 people attended the event on the banks of the Savannah River including Mr. Robert Johnson (founder of Jet Magazine and much more), Mr. Greg Gumbel (who did story on BET), and Mr. Eldrin Bell (then asst. police chief of Atlanta). Along with Terence, the other co-coordinator was his lifelong friend and classmate Mr. Greg Peterson, an investigative journalist and outdoor environment reporter who started his career in Augusta and now lives in Ishpeming, MI in the Upper Peninsula near Lake Superior. The event broke the ice and led months later to the first concert Mr. Brown had ever performed in Augusta – ironically in the civic center that now bears his name (the renaming took another 20 years). Music Industry legends Casey Kasem and Dick Clark recorded radio PSAs to promote the free event. Mayor Charles DeVaney – a fan of Mr. Brown – prevented the celebration from being cancelled at the last minute by waiving the “mandatory” insurance requirements. Mr. Brown and Mr. DeVaney both died unexpectedly a month apart. We continue to love and honor the late great Mr. James Brown, who nearly single-handedly quelled Augusta's race riots and prevent further rioting in the 60, 70s. The "Hardest-Working Man in Show Business" Mr. James Brown made Terence Dicks the manager of his first-ever concert in Augusta, GA - about 6 months after the 1986 James Brown Appreciation Day. The concert was held on Saturday, December 27, 1986 at the civic center named in the godfather of Soul’s honor some 20 years later. Terence was the concert manager, producer and promoter. Tickets were only $15 ensuring all Augustans could afford to attend and the first 500 children under the age of 12 were admitted free in accordance with Mr. Brown’s wishes. Among those performing were Mr. Wilson Pickett, John Marshall, Buzz Clifford and Sequence 8. “Claiming A Street Named King” is an initiative Mr. Dicks started during tenure as chair of Georgia Clients Council. The project is about “taking back the street in by building businesses and homes on the crime-ridden abandoned boulevards that bear the name of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.” However the project also has a wider scope. Dicks said the project would welcome claiming back streets named after other civil rights leaders and activists from all backgrounds. For example, the project would welcome groups or persons who want to revitalize streets named for late singer James Brown, the late Coretta Scott King, Muhammad Ali, Jesse Jackson, Grace Lee Boggs, Cesar Chavez and others. “All of these community leaders have messages of hope and accomplishment,” said Dicks, who hopes to hear from the centers, foundations and projects of these community leaders. “People can identify with their day to day struggles,” he said. “Above all they cared about the community they came from,” Dicks said. “They all have made a historic difference.” Reclaiming the streets and heritage of these civic leaders can reinvigorate “economic development and economic empowerment” in each community that honors their work. Rev. Dicks hopes to help others “improve the condition of boulevards named after Martin Luther King, Jr. across Georgia” and the nation. Author Jonathon Tilove “wrote the book that inspired me” entitled "Along Martin Luther King: Travels on Black America's Main Street.” Mr. Dicks hopes those interested will message him thru WordPress/Twitter/Facebook. The project is supported by East Carolina University Professor Derek H. Alderman. “Dr. Alderman is a geographer who has helped us to work on a plan for the redevelopment of the Martin Luther King Jr. boulevards,” Dicks said. “There was a lot of hope around those streets and what he did for me is he reminded me of why we name those streets for Martin Luther King, Jr.," he said. "We are heading into the second or third generation who doesn’t know about Dr. King and his achievements." “The generation that starts it doesn’t have to be the generation who built it,” he said. “We have to keep Dr. King’s work alive – keep it relevant and cogent.” Terence is a longtime member (2004-present) of the Augusta Progressive Religious Coalition. The coalition includes Christians, Jews, Muslims, Sikhs, Buddhists, Hindus, Unitarian Universalists, pagans, and local Yoruba, who practice folk religion from West Africa. Among the many positive aspects of the coalition, Dicks developed a relationship with Omar Neal, who has been the Mayor of Tuskegee, Alabama since Nov. 3, 2008. Mr. Omar Neal was the keynote speaker of the 2011 Martin Luther King Day celebration organized by the Augusta Progressive Religious Coalition on Mon., Jan, 24, 2011 at the Tabernacle Baptist Church in Augusta. After being an independent voter for two decades, Terence joined the Richmond County Democratic Party (RCDP) in 2002. He joined the Democratic Committee of Richmond County that “has jurisdiction over Democratic Party affairs in Richmond County” and a “purpose is to help select and elect Democratic Party Candidates to office” and whose platform includes “those of the Democratic Party of Georgia.” Terence has served as chair of the RCDP Political Action Committee (PAC) and performed duties that included community outreach. Mr. Dicks is member of the Richmond County State Committee (2011-2014) representing the 12th Congressional District. He served for six years (2002-2008) as state chair of the Georgia Clients Council plus served on the council board for eight years (2000-2008). For nearly a decade, Terence has been a board member (2002-present) of Georgia Legal Services Program and served (2005-2010) on the organization’s Georgia Committee on Civil Justice and is on the state bar president advisory committee. The mission of Georgia Legal Services Program is “to provide access to justice and opportunities out of poverty for low-income Georgians.” In 2007, Mr. Dicks founded the non-profit Georgia Center for Children and Education Inc. and serves as the volunteer executive director. The goal of the organization is encouraging parent involvement in education and to support community involvement in public schools. Originally the Center for Children and Education, the project was founded 1997 by Philadelphia, PA attorney Baruch Kintisch, a former staff attorney for Georgia Legal Services After exhaustive planning, Terence helped co-write and secure a $255,000 grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation in the spring of 2008 that is being administered by Paine College for the "New Tools, New Visions 2 Augusta" Project and he serves on the project steering committee. Rev. Dicks is a longtime member of the International Leadership Association (2001-present). Mr. Dicks serves as state of Georgia Coordinator (2008-present) for the Progressive Democrats of America (PDA). He joined the national PDA in 2007. For over a decade (1998-2009), Terence served on the board of the Augusta Human Relations Commission including two-terms as chair, three terms as vice-chair. Terence served as a board member (1994-1996) and the second vice president of the Augusta Branch of the NAACP including chair of the fair housing committee. Terence graduated from Westside High School in 1980 during which time he was a member of the WJBF TV-6 Junior Achievement Company that involved filming, editing, producing and hosting 30-minute issue-oriented public service programs that aired on weekends with student-sold commercials. Terence did a summer internship in 1980 – just after graduating from high school – at the Medical College of Georgia Television Production and was taught by people who include the late TV Director Mr. Armond “Brother” Jackson , Jr. - a longtime TV production expert in Augusta including at WRDW TV-12 and WJBF TV-6. During high school and for about 7 years afterward, Terence was a radio announcer at several Augusta radio stations including disc jockey (when records were vinyl 45s), sports, features, talk show and more. The stations included WBIA and WCKJ. Terence worked in production at WAGT-TV with Mr. Frank Crotts including being a live switcher (punching proper buttons to keep shows going and inserting commercials). He also worked at several Augusta restaurants as a chef and bartender.
This entry was posted in Atlanta, Augusta, Barbara A. Thurmond, Barbara Thurmond, black, black-on-black violence, Blacks Against Black Crime, Blacks Against Black Crime Inc., Earnestine Covington, Georgia, homicide, incarcerated, mass incarceration, Murder, nonviolence, Rev. Terence A. Dicks, Rev. Terence Dicks, Slave Port, Terence Dicks, violence and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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