On Wednesday, August 24, 2011, the Ministry of Justice held a press conference on the steps of the Harris County Criminal Justice Center in Downtown Houston, 1201 Franklin Street, led by community activist, Deric Muhammad. The press conference was held in response to a beating that took place against 29-year-old Yondell Johnson. Mr. Johnson stated that as he was sitting at the bus stop at Travis and McKinney when he was approached by four white men, one asking him for the time. One member of the group yelled out racial obscenities at Mr. Johnson calling him the N-word. As a result a physical altercation occurred between Mr. Johnson and the four white men who eventually overtook him; kicking and stomping him in the head and face. Mr. Johnson recalled blood flowing from his mouth and noise moments before blacking out.
The white men who attacked Mr. Johnson have been identified as members of the Aryan Nation, a notorious white supremacy Christian Identity organization Church of Jesus Christ, which has been labeled as a “terrorist threat” by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. According to the RAND Corporation, the Christian-based white supremacy organization has been called the “first truly nationwide terrorist network” in the US.
Deric Muhammad called the press conference to pressure the District Attorney, Patricia R. Lykos, who apparently is not giving this case its proper handling, to file hate crime charges against the Aryan Nation members who assaulted Yondell Johnson.
Members of the National Black United Front and the New Black Panther Party were present to speak out against this heinous crime. “What message is the D.A. sending? You won’t be able to sweep this under the rug”, shouted Qwanell X, Chairman of the New Black Panther Party.
Various media outlets, onlookers, and supporters were present as the unified body of activists demanded a response and recognition of the crime that had taken place against Mr. Johnson.
“We must make a record of crimes that happen against us the same way they make records of crimes against them”, Mr. Muhammad said in conclusion.
Malik Muhammad of the National Black United Front shared these words with Hurt2Healing magazine immediately after the press conference regarding his thoughts about the crime, how the D.A. is handling the case as well as what he would like to see happen:
“I think that the District Attorney is handling this as usual, which is completely out of line. Pat Lykos has a reputation for not giving Black people, in particular, justice when things happen in our community. Here you have a crime with racism and all they’re going to receive is a slap on the wrist, basically. We, as a people, are very frustrated and tired of not receiving justice when we are victims in this system. Our youth are always getting enhanced charges; they’ll make up a reason to enhance our charges”.
When asked about a solution or response if, for whatever reason, the charges are not upgraded to a hate crime, and how can we as a community ensure this won’t happen again and to give our brothers and sister the security that they need, Mr. Muhammad responded with the following thoughts:
“That’s an excellent question. We’re going to have to mobilize as a people. We have to re-educate ourselves. We have to become unified and create businesses; there’s a whole gambit of things that we need to do. Our communities are struggling economically, and a lot of the businesses and the people inside our community don’t have the resources to fund their ideas or the institutions which can create a positive change. So I think that the first step is to get our community intact with our funds. Second, we’re going to have individuals patrolling our communities making it a safer place for us. Third, we have to get resources back into our community so we can begin supporting our ideas for economic advancement”.
Thank you to the Ministry of Justice for your continuous fight on behalf of our community.
-ebony s. muhammad