Panhandler in San Francisco, California, USA. ...

Panhandler in San Francisco, California, USA. February, 2008. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


I wanted to share this article I read from Los Angeles WAVE (THE LARGEST BLACK NEWSPAPER IN THE WEST).  It touched on many subjects in one article that I take interest in such as a senseless death of  a young Afro-Latina by a recently released parolee who was panhandling, dealing with people begging for handouts and the danger, how people have become so matter of fact about certain things in society, no one stepping up to handle that actually problems that are in your face and willing to turn a blind eye, parolees being released early, how people can start to make something the norm…great article and please share with everyone…..we have to take justice back and stop depending on others when it starts with self…








Christine Calderon’s Stabbing Death Says Much About Our Current Society




By ANTHONY ASADULLAH SAMAD, Ph. D., is a national columnist and author of “REAL EYEZ: Race, Reality and Politics in 21 Century Popular Culture.”  He can be reached at and on Twitter at @DrAnthonySamad 






One of the most outrageous and egregious events ever occurred in Hollywood last week.  It  was troubling because it was a sign of society’s break-down in both the law and policy.




Christine Calderon, a 23-year-old Afro-Latina, walking the tourist strip in Hollywood, had her life taken because she took a photo of a sign being held by a panhandler and refused his demand to give him a dollar. A dollar.




Christine Calderon lost her life for one dollar. That is only where the outrage begins.




At one of the city’s busiest tourist attractions, Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street to Hollywood and Highland Avenue, where people-watching is the attraction, a recently released prisoner of the state’s prison realignment program was able to blend into the oddities of a tourist space.  Then he was able to hold up a sign that said, “[Bleep] You, Give Me A Dollar Please.”


English: The Hollywood & Highland Center locat...

English: The Hollywood & Highland Center located on Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Now thing about that.  This is not about free speech because every state and city has permitted restrictions to free speech and obscenity is not protected by free speech.  Let me put it to you this way.  Would someone be able to hold up such a sign outside of, say, Disneyland?  The answer is hell, no!




More troubling is that we witnessed a convergence of cultural issues that nobody seems to want to talk about.  We have become an irreverent society.  Irreverence is a staple of a society in rebellion.  It’s expressed in our language and in our cultural expression.




The fact that Calderon’s alleged killer could post up on the corner of Hollywood and Vine with such an irreverent sign is an active demonstration of our cultural irreverence by the simple fact that his presence was simply viewed as part of the character of the tourist attraction.  He was part of the scenery.




People walked past him without a second thought.  Some looked and kept going.  I saw him on the  Saturday before Calderon’s death on my way to the jazz festival at the Hollywood Bowl.




I said, “That’s the devil, right there” and kept going.  Others stopped and took a picture.




That’s the whole reason he was there, to be seen.  Some tipped, some didn’t.  This is where the clash comes in.  We are now an “Instagram” society.  We take pictures of everything and tweet’em, post’em, share them without regard for permission or commission.  We  believe we own what we see.




Calderon believed she was taking a photo of the cultural tourist scenery.  Her alleged killer thought he was entitled to charge for being part of the scenery.  It was a classic culture clash.




It is most troubling because literally nobody noticed.  Beyond a few mentions on the evening news, nobody has demanded any justice, questioned the motives, called into question why the circumstances existed or even called for assistance for the family.




No Black press ran the story.  No press conferences were called to demand accountability of government.  No candlelight vigil to pray for justice.  Not a single word from any of the so-called civil rights groups, who tend to call out the obvious anyway, on the civil liberty and civil rights violations of the event.  Not a peep.  No politicians (except one) called for any investigation.




More disturbing than the killing of Calderon, is the continued perpetuation of fake advocacy that misses the issues that impact our communities the most and waits for a bell to ring or a camera to show up before they speak.  It is this kind of absence of sophistication in the advocacy– driven by anti-intellectualism, of course–that robs us of legitimate awareness in exchange for faux notoriety.




Waiting for “monkey see, monkey do,” we are also robbed of our outrage, waiting for people asleep at the switch to give us the signal.  Our community missed the bell on this.  Why?  The so-called activists slept through it.  The Calderon stabbing proves it.




How can you not be outraged by this tragedy and circumstances that surround it?




L.A. Police Chief Charlie Beck responded with more suppression in the area but the politic here is not just about policing.  It is about flawed policy smacking us in the face.




The county Board of Supervisors (thank you Supervisors Mark Ridley-Thomas and Zev Yaroslavsky) have called for an investigation as to how Dustin James Kinnear was released early and what county mechanisms supervised that release.




The state released another 9,000 this month to meet the court ordered mandate of reducing the state’s prison population by June 1913.  This is the opening of Pandora’s box, as the complexities of how parolees find work and merge civilly into the society become real.  In the meantime, how does the city and county address the obscenity and panhandling issues that have become more pervasive in our increasingly irreverent society?




We can’t let Christine Calderon die for a dollar and say nothing about the circumstances that brought about her death.  The absence of advocacy will not equate to an absence of outrage.




I’m deeply disturbed by this and will not feed into ignorant silence.  In the cause of cultural irreverence to stop obscene signage and panhandler aggression, take a picture of this my middle finger.






“It seems I am running out of words these days. I feel as if I am on a linguistic treadmill that has gradually but unmistakably increased its speed, so that no word I use to positively describe myself or my scholarly projects lasts for more that five seconds. I can no longer justify my presence in academia, for example, with words that exist in the English language. The moment I find some symbol of my presence in the rarefied halls of elite institutions, it gets stolen, co-opted, filled with negative meaning.”

~ Patricia Williams 1995

I came across this quote today as I was reading my book, Black Feminist Thought by Patricia Hill Collins.  This best describes how I feel. I’m stuck at the fork in the road, this road is called Life Road(LOL). I’m trying to figure which path will be best for me but its hard to choose because I don’t know what lies down each path.  I tried following the path that people said is best for you but you know what I realize I hated that path.  Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with where I ended up at following the safe path. This just isn’t me. I look back at all the choices I had made in my young 34 yrs and see that I played it safe because of that path of what is best for you. Now I can think of all the things I could have done or been if I just went with my first mind.

Now that I am older and a little more experienced with life I have come to see how blindly I was living. Now that I can see  clearly I can make better choices for myself. The country is quick to sell you a dream or more like a nightmare. Now I know that the right path for me is the one that I will be making which will lead to a better me, a happier me.