12 December 2007

KingCast says Lawrence, MA school Supe. Wilfredo T. Laboy violated Thuan Tran's First Amendment Rights over MLK/Malcom X mural.

I'm going to be polite because the next time I go to the law office where I clerk for my friends I'm going to stop by the school and the administration building and have a word with the Principal about this situation (Boston Globe link) and it needs to be a principled discussion. For background read this post about "The Meeting."

Fact: Contrary to Superintendent Laboy's comment, Malcolm X did not advocate violence even before he went to Mecca. What he said was
"We are nonviolent with people who are nonviolent with us."

This means that he would advocate violence only when violence was given, which is a lawful reaction.
Fact: After he went to Mecca, he said this:
Never have I witnessed such sincere hospitality and the overwhelming spirit of true brotherhood as practiced by people of all colors and races here in this Ancient Holy Land, the home of Abraham, Muhammad and all other prophets of the Holy Scriptures. For the past week, I have been utterly speechless and spellbound by the graciousness I see displayed all around me by people of all colors.

But to Laboy it's "ghetto art."

The Superintendent owes Thuan Tran an apology, and I'm going to help see to it that it happens. Mr. Tran has basis for a lawsuit over it, no question. Students by law have less Constitutional rights than adults but that still does not allow for the sort of invidious content-based restriction meted out to Mr. Tran, who will be allowed to repaint his mural without Malcolm X. That's Stalinist activity.

I am furious that this happened, almost as disturbed as I am about the Franconia Shooting Tragedy and the coverup of that, so this post will be going out to as many Lawrence educators as possible. And yes, as recipient of a Mayoral First Amendment/Right-to-Know award here in NH I do know more than a bit about schools and First Amendment issues; read this post about the lawsuit I almost had to file in Nashua and watch the video at Justiceforkids.net.

And I welcome the Superintendent to meet me at Wally's for a beer and some cool Jazz music, often performed by the country's top students from Berklee, where my buddy Trent Berry teaches from time to time. And where Martin Luther King dined and Malcom X worked.

Mr. Tran: Do not compromise anything. Do your art and stand strong and shoot me an email at kingjurisdoctor@yahoo.com. Below that's me with the 1997 MLK award for Civil Rights in Columbus, Ohio, BTW and if there is one thing they don't want to do is to get me upset about Civil Rights or Free Speech. Not a Good Idea.

BTW the bottom/last rolling image is an LA Weekly story on SANO, a brother I knew from Cleveland when he was with Doin' Everything Funky (DEF); he helped my fiancee and me with the Education Coalition (rolling image before his) hip-hop benefit at Peabody's Down Under. Damn ghetto artists.

But did taxpayers eventually buy Laboy's SUV running boards?



Christopher King said...

Date: Wed, 12 Dec 2007 18:28:23 -0800 (PST)

From: "Christopher King" kingjurisdoctor@yahoo.com

Subject: Removal of MLK/Malcom X mural violated student Tran's First Amendment Rights.

To: dabel@globe.com, mcarpenito@lawrence.k12.ma.us, mskandier@lawrence.k12.ma.us, yxu@lawrence.k12.ma.us, dyoung@lawrence.k12.ma.us, msheaman@lawrence.k12.ma.us, btouras@lawrence.k12.ma.us, hreyes@lawrence.k12.ma.us, cjepson@lawrence.k12.ma.us, slongo@lawrence.k12.ma.us, rmacdougal@lawrence.k12.ma.us, bbates@lawrence.k12.ma.us, mjaneiro@lawrence.k12.ma.us, jleahy@lawrence.k12.ma.us, kingjurisdoctor@yahoo.com
CC: mcferran2@hotmail.com

To all:

I am furiously busy with intense litigation with the AG of New Hampshire but when I saw this story today I said "No way."


12 December 2007
KingCast says Lawrence, MA school Supe. Wilfredo T. Laboy violated Thuan Tran's First Amendment Rights over MLK/Malcom X mural.....

Christopher King said...

Date: Wed, 12 Dec 2007 22:00:53 -0800 (PST)
From: "Christopher King" kingjurisdoctor@yahoo.com

Subject: Fwd: Removal of MLK/Malcom X mural violated student Tran's First Amendment Rights.

To: wlaboy@lawrence.k12.ma.us, gmorris@lawrence.k12.ma.us, omejia@lawrence.k12.ma.us, martinacruz@lawrence.k12.ma.us, amcgovern@lawrence.k12.ma.us, jamesvittorioso@lawrence.k12.ma.us, psanchez@lawrence.k12.ma.us
CC: kingjurisdoctor@yahoo.com

Dear Superintendent Laboy and all:

Please address this issue with all of the earnestness at your command, and with All Deliberate Speed.


Christopher King, J.D.

Christopher King said...

And the more I think about it, the "ghetto art" tag is racist and classist, sad to say.

McMansions are another form of ghettos for the nouveau riche.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like from the story they were working out the issue without threats or recrimination, and that it was more procedural (getting permission) than content based.

But its always good to have the voice of outrage there to be bombastic and confrational. That is the kind of communication that solves problems. Damn straight. Ghetto art can never be a mere description of a type of artistic style, which may or may not be appropriate to bring into the halls of a school in a town riddled with street crime. There is a seething tone of racism and classism from this educator, hispanic "Uncle Tom" that he is. The trees are just as important as the forest. That art would improve the learning environment.

Fist in the air.

Christopher King said...

Sounds like from the story they were working out the issue without threats or recrimination, and that it was more procedural (getting permission) than content based.

Oh, really, so telling Mr. Tran he could do his art without Malcolm X is not content based..... Sounds like you been free-based this a.m. before you wrote me there, partner. Might want to loose your hug on that glass d*ck.

Yeah they were "working it out" all right, with that kid not realizing his First Amendment Rights were being violated.

"Working it out" just as Franconia was "working out" those complaints about Bruce McKay.

To say nothing of the historical innacuracies of Mr. Laboy's statements.

Thanks for the softball. And softballs are what you get when you hit the crack pipe too long from what I've read.

White lines, don't do it.

Christopher King said...

And when you finish with your date with the crack pipe, see if you can find the definition of:


...because that's clearly how "ghetto art" was used in this case; something not to be appreciated.

You know, like a "nappy headed ho."

Related post: Cousin Mike and a word on Imus; perhaps Don had a little white line relapse like you when he said that =^.)

Izzy said...

Good day Mr. King

My heart rejoices at your article. I am a parent of children at Lawrence High School who through a letter I sent dated 12/5/07 to the attention of all school committe members I tried to express and/or addressed these very concerns. I did not expect that just days later he would prove me right in the public eyes. There is a School Committe meeting tonight 12/13/07@ 6:45 (weather permitting)and my children and I posted signs through out the neighborhood hoping to reach the public for as a community and in numbers I pray our voice will be heard. I fear what our beloved city and parents need is guidance and that is where I hope you come in.

My biggest concern is that he will not cancel this meeting and we will not have the presense we hope for because of the snow storm we are expecting and that he will get away with what I consider to be an insult to our children and community. But because this meeting will address his contract and/or raise I have a sense that that is exactly what he will be counting on.

Christopher King said...

Hey Greentint/9:00

You just got smoked by 9:35.

"Smoked," get it?

Hey 9:35 shoot me an email at kingjurisdoctor@yahoo.com

We're gonna' rock this.

Christopher King said...

Hey Greentint put down your crack pipe long enough to suck on this:

This is what one parent just wrote me at the same exact time you did:

"I did pass on your words of wisdom to children in the school and ask that they spread the word and show their support. I could see the joy in their young faces and hear the sigh of relief in their voice. I think they now truly understand that they are not alone."


Christopher King said...

Yeah, I emailed this post about art and oppression to Mr. Tran.

i've been observing it for about 20 years now, going back to Mapplethorp and Simon Leis in Cincinnasti.

Anonymous said...

I added that LA Weekly and link about Cleveland mural artist SANO because he's part of a movement of people doing beautiful things out here, as was Mr. Tran, trying to show the beauty of two proud American Men who were both growing their personhoods when struck by assassins.

To have Mr. Laboy denigrate those efforts is a slap in the face to Civil Rights.

Christopher King said...

From the email tip jar:

"Some of the children and I will be working diligently all weekend to post and pass out flyers throughout the community. I'll keep you posted!"

Anonymous said...

It would not at the least surprise me if WE the taxpayers paid for the running board. I just don't understand how our system work and chooses to fail those less volunerable - OUR CHILDREN - OUR FUTURES! Thank Heaven for Amy McGovern - WE MISS HER!

What astonishes me is that according to the children in this community there are classes where they have no teachers assigned (on a consistant basis), others that have two books, one teachers guide and another student book. What the teacher then does is make copies of this one book in order to have materials they can give the children in order to teach a class, that is if there is sufficient paper supply YET, on Tuesday it will be brought to the table through school committee vote the possiblility that Sup. Laboy may be eligible to get a 5% raise increase. There is something completely wrong with this picture. YET...our teachers who are in the classrooms working hard day to day and dedicated to our children have no contract and/or pay increase. That's because Sup. Laboy, it's not all about the money, these teachers are very passionate about what they do and they deserve that and more. They see hope and inspiration in the eyes of these children, if YOU would only take a moment of your time, you would see that and so much more.