Wednesday, October 31, 2012

An Open Letter to Taffi Dollar, the Mother of an (allegedly) abused teenaged daughter

Date:    June 12, 2012
To:        Taffi Dollar
From:    Deborrah Cooper
Re:        Creflo Dollar's Arrest for Child Abuse 

Though we have never met Mrs. Dollar, we have two very important things in common… we are both black women, and we are both mothers of daughters.  I believe that makes us and millions of other black women more alike than dissimilar, and it is on the basis of those similarities that I am writing to you. Creflo Dollar wife Taffi Dollar child abuse Lauren Dollar
In front of me lies a copy of a Fayette County Sheriff’s Office report. The report recounts the events which took place at your home on Friday, June 8th 2012 between your 50-year-old husband Creflo and your 15-year-old daughter Lauren. The reporting officer was quite thorough. It seems Officer Everett took extra care to be so, probably due to the celebrity status of the accused perpetrator. 
I’m sure none of this is easy for you, Lauren or Alexandria, and it’s probably very confusing for the rest of the children as well. I’m positive even your extended family is filled with shock, dismay and fear of possible changes coming due to this accusation. Those are all things to think about at some point, but my primary focus right now is on Alexandria and Lauren. As a Mom, it is very easy for me to see them both as my own children, which is why I have to ask you some hard questions. 
Let’s just get to the point: What are you doing, Taffi? Why are you protecting Creflo and allowing your daughters to be condemned by the world as belligerent, wild, liars, troublemakers and tools of Satan? Why are you not speaking up to counter those claiming your daughters are out to destroy their father by calling the cops? How can you stand idly by and allow Creflo’s violent temper and controlling behavior to terrorize your children? 
Yes, I know of your husband’s world fame and mass fortune. I understand that this happened in your home and that you might consider this a private matter; however, the fact that your husband is a world-famous public and religious figure removes any possibility of privacy. Reality is that Creflo and your entire family are considered public figures, which makes you unable to escape public scrutiny. What happened in your house that evening is the business of every African American, every Christian that follows Creflo, and every person curious about what steps the law will take in this matter. 
Sitting Creflo’s fame aside, let’s look at this matter as if his name were really Michael Smith, and he was any other father in a physical altercation with his 15-year-old daughter 
  1. It’s completely normal for a 15-year-old girl to want to go to a party, be with her friends, and to begin exploring the opposite sex. It is also normal for a father to tell his daughter that since her grades are not up to par she cannot attend fun events (like a party) until next report card. It is totally normal for a father to ground his daughter until grades show marked improvement. However, let’s look at the calendar. This is mid-June, when schools around the country are out for summer vacation. Kids Lauren’s age are having graduation parties and year-end "whoo hoo we’re out of school" bashes. Since students won’t be returning to school for months, there is really no need to worry about grades until school resumes in the late summer. If the child’s grades show her to be worriedly behind, why not secure tutoring over the summer to make sure her grades are up to par by fall? Not attending one party is not going to make her grades improve by September. Why not drive her to the party and pick her up two hours later on the dot. She would be grateful that she was allowed to attend and make a "brief showing," but she wouldn’t be there as long as she wanted. Parenting is not always focusing on punishing but showing your child that there are repercussions for their behavior.

  2. Repercussions and punishment do not include putting a female in a chokehold or body slamming her to the floor. According to the Deputy’s report, your husband followed your daughter into the kitchen after she chose to deescalate their ‘argument’ by removing herself from his presence. Yet, he trailed after her looking for trouble. He’d already won – she wasn’t going to the party. Crying tears of disappointment, frustration, perhaps even anger at herself for not doing better in school, Lauren was away from your husband. She was in a space where she could commiserate with her sister. What else is there for Creflo to say to the child when he’d already won the battle? So why ask her why she was crying when he already knew? It seemed he was just being a bully, looking for a fight with someone smaller and weaker. He came into the kitchen to taunt your daughter and to vent his rage.

  3. Charging across the room to put his hands on your daughter’s throat, bending her over a table, punching her, then beating her with his shoe? This is a young lady with a woman’s body – breasts, buttocks and hips. Why would her own father assault her in such a way? Why would he bend her over a table and throw her on the floor, placing himself in positions of sexual dominance while he beats her? Don’t you think such a reaction is over the top, distastefully aggressive and more similar to a jealous and possessive boyfriend than a father?

  4. Why did you not come to investigate what was going on when you certainly heard all the commotion? I’m wondering why you didn’t intervene long before Alexandria had to fetch you. You told the police that you didn't SEE anything, but long before you physically entered the room, you certainly HEARD something. However, you conveniently neglected to volunteer that information to the responding Deputy. Even after coming into the room to see your daughter lying on the floor in the aftermath of a violent attack, your reaction was shockingly serene. That tells me that you are conditioned to such acts, and that violence in your home is normalized for you. That is why you didn’t bother coming to see what was amiss. That is why neither you nor Alexandria called 9-1-1. However Lauren, tired of being treated like a dog, had enough and sought help outside the clan. I applaud her bravery and sense of self-preservation. 
About Domestic Violence and Abuse of Black Children 
Domestic violence and child abuse (emotional, verbal, physical and sexual) are not uncommon occurrences in the black community; it’s just not talked about. At all. 
It’s interesting how many women think that only ghetto thugs and low lives beat on women. The batterer is often the man no one suspects because he is a pillar of the community - well respected, and successful. Men and women alike believe such a man is too educated, wealthy, and too on the ball to hit women. It is not uncommon for the wives of judges, attorneys, doctors, ministers and pastors, professors and even police officers to be terrorized by their husbands with threats of or actual violence on a regular basis.
Sexual abuse of young black girls is also common and normalized in the black community. According to a survey of more than 300 women conducted by Black Women’s Blueprint, sixty percent of Black girls have experienced sexual abuse before the age of 18. Department of Justice figures estimate that for every white female that reports being raped, at least 5 white women do not report theirs.
For black women the figures are even more depressing, with a 1:15 ratio (this means that for every one black woman that reports a rape to law enforcement, 15 others stay silent). Most often the female victims feel that no one will believe them, or that they will be blamed for being assaulted, so they don't report the crime. Black women also get guilt tripped into silence by their family and community, deterred from reporting a sexual assault lest she be accused of “sending another black man to jail when we already have enough black men locked up.”
For these reasons it's common for black women to turn their backs on victims of child molestation or physical violence, refusing to acknowledge that the girls in their family are being abused. By refusing to acknowledge abuse, black women effectively eliminate all reasons to do something about it. Instead, black women protect abusers and accuse the victim of "wanting it," being in the wrong place, wearing the wrong clothing, asking for it, teasing the guy, being "fast," or of not being Christian enough. There are dozens of tools used by black women to make young black girls feel responsible for being victimized by an older, powerful adult black male. Should the crime be discovered and an arrest made, it is not unusual for black women to protect the rapist or molester, covering up for him with lies and demanding that the female victim go along with their story. 
Black Women Contribute to Sexual Assaults of Teens 
What does this teach men? It teaches black men that they have power and are immune to prosecution… that they don’t have to be accountable or responsible to women and girls. Just blame the female and the other women will fall in line and blame her too, letting you off the hook. Very often the black woman will eliminate a sexually abused child from her life, even her own daughter, to keep the man around. Such codependent protective behavior by black women keeps a large number of violent men and sexual abusers circulating unchecked in the black community. 
This is especially common when the man involved is a man of means and influence, like a pastor. Religious black women worship their pastors; in their eyes their pastor can do no wrong. So when a young black girl is victimized by a popular and well-loved black spiritual leader, even if he is her own father, black women care nothing about her. Black women instead rally around to support and protect the BLACK MALE, leaving the child to be revictimized by the same or other perpetrators because they know she has no protector.
I’m saddened to see that you apparently operate under the same belief system. You have fallen silent, refusing to come forward to validate your daughters and provide them with your support and motherly protection. What is it that you are so afraid of Taffi? 
Growing up and living in an environment of abuse teaches children that violence between men and women is normal, acceptable behavior. Violence against a female child perpetrated by her father is especially horrific. Daddy is a little girl’s first love, the standard by which she measures all relationships with men as an adult. If the relationship with her father is twisted, inappropriately sexual, or violent, a girl will be doomed to experience unhealthy relationships with men throughout her life. 
Your daughter revealed on the 9-1-1 call that this incident of choking and hitting wasn’t the first time Creflo had done such a thing to her. The fact that millions of black women grew up in environments filled with violence, physical and sexual abuse is evident all over the web in posts about this case. Typical responses by females: 
“If she needs a pop back to reality, then give it to her!”
“Beat her butt good and make it worth your while to go to jail!”
“My grandmother raised me and what this kid got for what she did would have been like a ‘time out’ for me!”
“I would whoop her ass for calling the cops on me!”
“Creflo you cannot leave any marks, that is what the officers told me. So slightly hurt and superficial injuries means you did good!”

Black women’s willing acceptance of vile behavior by black men towards children and women is frightening. There is a deep seated sickness and an apparent need for emotional and physical pain in black women that I don’t understand. Black women romanticize violence against them, which means they won’t have a problem doing the same when violence is levied against their offspring. Your family’s situation has brought the sickness to the surface. All change begins at home, and that is where you must start Taffi. 
In spite of the fact that Creflo set himself up as a spiritual leader and someone to emulate, your husband beat your daughter down like any street pimp does a ho that has been holding out on him. After experiencing and/or witnessing repeated violence, it would be impossible for you or anyone in your family to be angry at a boyfriend or husband that pounded on Lauren or Alexandria. Though Creflo is the abuser, your silence makes you a willing participant in the violence against the girls… you are what the police call “an accessory.” You modeled tolerance and acceptance of this attack by covering up for and defending Creflo Dollar, an alleged man of God. 

Food for Thought:
If a man of God would do such things to his own babies, what might he do to someone else’s when their parents weren’t looking? Parents of daughters about Lauren’s age that are around your husband really need to think about that. Don’t be surprised if Lauren’s call to the police gives other young ladies in your congregation the courage to step forward and share information that has previously been a well kept secret. Brace yourself, because the spiritual tide is turning and it is not turning in Creflo’s favor.

With all this said what I want to ask you Taffi is to please see that your daughters get needed psychotherapy. I understand the importance of a woman in your position presenting the face of a good Christian family, a family that is together and perfect. I understand that as the wife of a world famous pastor you are used to living a very high level lifestyle, and that a divorce or certain revelations would cause you shame and embarrassment. 
But worrying about those are things means you are thinking with your pride, and that greed, not love is your motivator. You must not worry about what it will ‘look like’ to other people, but instead about your daughter’s mental and emotional health. 
You must not worry about Creflo; he got himself into this mess, he can worry about how to get himself out. 
You must not worry about your marriage, but instead what you can do to help your child. 
It is not the time to worry about how to save face Taffi, but instead about how to save your daughter.

Deborrah Cooper
Relationship Expert and Author of
The Black Church: Where Women Pray and Men PreyLog onto or

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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Hood Movement 21 Neighborhood Block Party

This past Saturday, the place to be was the wonderful Neighborhood Block Party that was held in the Willie Wilkins park in deep East Oakland. It was the place to be, not because there was a huge crowd of folks there, rubbing elbows and hob nobbing with big shots.

East Oakland Block Party from Matt Beardsley on Vimeo.

Just to be close to you by the Commodores was playing.  Enough said

This Block Party was the place to be because it was a call for peace in the streets of Oakland. Dedicated community organizers and interrupters came out to preach and teach the message of love and ending the gun violence  that plagues East Oakland.  There has been so many people shot down in our neighborhoods - so much random and not so random violence happening that our city has just shut down. Not too much good times are being had in the affected areas, and a whole lot of fear is the rule rather than the exception. We are just hiding out in our houses, hoping to avoid the madness of incessant gunfire.

The problem is we can't avoid it. It's everywhere and it's making victims of everybody. It's destroying our city. Everyone in our beloved city of Oakland is a victim, whether we know someone who has been shot or not. We have reached that "do or die" place where we have to stand up and fight this battle against gun violence. We have been forced into the proverbial corner, and there's nothing left to do but fight.

Matt Beardsley and Rev Harry

So how will this battle be waged? What is it that needs to happen? Love and care. It seems too simple to be the answer, but that's where it starts. With this in mind, the Reverend Harry Williams of Hood Movement 21 and a number of his friends endeavored to go to the 'hood and bring some love. Good music, good food and good times, along with the love of God was brought to the Willie Wilkins Park this past October 13, 2012, and the community was uplifted because of it.
Brenda Grisham and Rev Harry Williams

A shy little girl enjoying the festivities

Many were invited to speak and give their testimonies. It was a beautiful time of sharing and caring and showing love one to another. People were smiling, singing, dancing and being friendly with each other. All of this is the true meaning of community.

Pastor Mustafa Muhyee

dancing and enjoying

community organizers chopping it up

Community Organizer Cesar Cruz


Sunday, September 30, 2012

We Are In Denial About Sexually Exploited Youth

A commerically sexually exploited youth, CSEC

MISSSEY is one of a number of non-profit organizations working to educate the public about the tragedy of Commercially sexually exploited youth also known as CSEC, on the streets of Oakland California and beyond.  This child sexual enslavement is happening night and day, 24/7, NON-STOP, right here in our American communities.  The work of educating people about the issue of childhood sexual enslavement is difficult because many of us have naive notions of what we're looking at when we see young girls "on the track".  Generally speaking, we have concluded these exploited and abused children are simply "bad girls" who somehow brought on their own victimization. 

We as a community don't view this issue of modern day slavery as a pressing one, and for that reason we aren't in a state of collective outrage and anger when we see frightened little girls walking the streets, identities concealed behind garish makeup, skimpy clothes and stilettos.  We don't have a desire to rescue our girls.  Truly, we don't claim them as ours.  We conclude they're out there by there own accord.

Maybe we are hard-hearted because we are in denial.  We Americans want to believe human trafficking only happens in "third world nations".  When we are hit with the hard truth, our response is disbelief and denial, and that reaction cuts across race and class.  Even in the impacted communities where the children are plainly and visibly being sold on the ghetto streets, there is denial.

In a way, this denial of what's right before our eyes is understandable.  After all, who wants to believe that sexual trafficking of our daughters is happening right on our doorsteps? How did we allow it to come to this?  How did we drop the ball so completely and so many of our children are CSEC?  This is very hard for us to deal with, so we continue in our feigned ignorance.  Unfortunately our denial is the currency that the predators of our children bank on.  And they clock mad dollars.  With the community approval by default, our sons pick up the mantle of brutality, the same ways that the overseers of their great great grandfathers.  Our sons hardens their souls and sell the precious bodies of our daughters.  And we wonder why are families are torn apart.  Our neighborhoods have become auction blocks, and our children are the chattel, to the tune of $50 or more a trick, depending on which auction block.  Some slaves cost more than others.  White slaves being the most valuable.  Twelve year old girls are forced to "service" ten or more sexually and spiritually depraved men a night.  The men of suburbia leave their women and come and relieve the sexual demons they picked up from watching internet pornography, into the innocent bodies and souls of our daughters.  We briefly peek out our windows, then quickly close the curtains and pretend we saw nothing.

Yes, the pimps and johns are in cahoots.  They know the community will do nothing to stop them.  The Game is running rampant.  Pimps get to work breaking in the girls, the same way their great great grandmothers were broken by slave masters centuries before.  The brothers unleash brutal beatings and torture on their young confused sisters, effectively breaking their spirits, minds and bodies for the suburban johns' wicked delight.  Those johns then perform various sexually deranged acts on our daughters.  Oh!  You thought the johns were only interested in having little sexual quickies.  No, that's passe.  These men don't leave their wives and girlfriends behind in Walnut Creek to come down to East Oakland for gentle sexual pleasures in the hood.  They often act out vicious sexual fantasies, domination and abuse they watched in their internet pornos, things that they wouldn't dare ask or even want their own women to do for them.  Because we as a community are in denial, by default we are in cahoots with our own genocide.

Yes sadly, we turn our eyes in defeat and shame from the half naked pre-teen girls tottering on mile-high stilettos.  Where do these girls come from? Who are they, who are their families?  Do we ask?  Do we care?  The human traffickers, aka pimps, aka enslavers, are literally kidnapping innocent girls off the streets of their home towns.  While on their way to school or to the store, they disappear into thin air.  It's just like what happened to our people in Africa centuries ago.  We watch the news and learn of yet another girl declared missing.  At least the white girls are reported missing.  Just disappeared into thin air.  In a deep state of denial, we refused to put two and two together.

Denial is a strange thing.  Deep down in the spirit, it knows the truth.  But because the truth hurts, denial turns away and pretends that it doesn't understand or that the issue doesn't exist.  This is what's going on in our cities everyday.  People are too afraid to face the truth - that they have abandoned their children to the devourers, something they wouldn't even allow to happen to dogs.  A huge fuss is always made when we learn that dogs and other animals are being abused. 

People, it's time to pull our heads out of the sand and learn about what's actually going on. What is happening in the life of a girl staring out from vacant, deadened eyes.  How can we bring life and hope back to her?  Learn of the organizations and people who are fighting this genocide and get on board with some of them.  Give them your support, donate resources, join in the fight and start working to end sexual slavery of youth in your neighborhood. 

Here's a list of a few modern day abolitionists who are hard at work in the Oakland Bay Area.

Love Never Fails  Recently organized Walk The Track this past August to bring awareness to the hood and show solidarity with the young victims.


Prostitution Research and Education   Recently held a Power Brunch this past September to bring further awareness and raise needed funds.

CASE Act Yes on 35  Ongoing battle to pass Proposition 35, which will force johns to pay much higher penalties when caught victimizing CSEC

Victory Outreach Oakland

United Roots


Re-Generation Church Oakland


Friday, September 21, 2012

Men In the Battle Against Domestic Violence

 Professor Ulester Douglas of Emory University

Sixteen undergraduates made history this spring by completing MSV’s first-ever academic course offering at Emory University. The course, Male Intimate Partner Violence Against Women: Critical Issues and Concepts, taught by Ulester Douglas (UD), was the vision of the late Dr. Rudolph Byrd. At the time of its offering, there was no course within Emory College that focused on male intimate partner violence against women or used a community-engaged learning approach to this issue. Students gave their seal of approval by unanimously rating the course as excellent in their final evaluations.
- It is the best class I have taken at Emory and I am a senior.
- Very rarely do students get the opportunity to learn from someone who can speak not only to textbooks applications, but also to real-world and real life experiences.
- Ulester and Dominick (TA for the course) were two of the best teachers I have had at Emory.
UD: “Teaching this course provided an exciting opportunity to reach today’s and tomorrow’s leaders. When students are exposed to this kind of material it raises the stakes that they would do something, take action, to help prevent violence against women. There is still a high degree of indifference to male violence against women, in part because of the lack of knowledge about the issue”
- Almost everything I was taught in this class was new information and I learned to think of abuse in completely new and different ways.
- Before (the class on stalking) I didn’t take stalking very seriously, and afterwards I was aware of its severity and importance.
- I never before thought about the ways in which immigrant women constituted a vulnerable group for domestic violence. [This course] helped me expand upon the ways I view Intersectionality.

continue reading


Saturday, September 8, 2012

PRE and Streets Disciples Power Brunch

Registration for Power Brunch

Rev Williams and Mother Brown

Abolitionist Nicholas Sensley

Liberty Bradford Mitchell

Rev Williams, Cesar Cruz and Homies Empowered

Melissa Farley of Prostitution Research and Education with Nicholas Sensley

Rev Harry Williams and the Youth of Re-Generation Church in Oakland

Silent Auction

Rev Williams autographs his book "Straight Outta East Oakland" on Human Trafficking

Rev Williams and Cesar Cruz

Streets Disciples at the book table

Nicholas Sensley of Humanity United

Large turnout

Rev Williams delivers a powerful speech

Streets Disciples

Delicious food