Best Soul songs of 2020 (so far) by Soulsorts’ Roger Williams

Roger Williams of Soulsorts presents his top Soul song of 2020 as of July. Posted by Baye Kambui of Mental Unrest.

Any of these tracks would make cool adds to your playlist.

I generally hate making “best of” lists since I’ll almost invariably miss some gems worth mentioning. Music, art, chefs, wines — you name the list, and I’ll flub it without deadazz contemplation.

Therefore, (laughing) Soulsorts honcho Roger Williams is my idol. He served up his top Soul music picks for 2020 during yesterday’s Starpoint Radio broadcast, and I think your Soul-loving world will be down for every minute of it. I embedded the show below.

And as always, you can download every broadcast from Roger’s archive …

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Irrational rationality: why Trump wants schools open during an out-of-control pandemic

President Donald Trump wants to force school systems to open this fall and threatened to cut off state and local funding. Posted by Baye Kambui on mental unrest.
The defiant one …

The President will get more people killed before the coronavirus crisis is over

In a first-world country that slept its way into an angry pandemic that has shut the doors to more than 60 percent of summer camps, found medical and other essential workers scrambling for a persistent shortage of personal protective equipment, and is on its way to turning the hospital systems of several municipalities into developing world advertisements for aid donations — not to mention the nation’s managerial malpractice that has caused its economy to partially implode — President Donald Trump oddly decides to play gangsta with state and local governments by threatening to withhold funding from them if their schools are not open later this summer for in-person instruction.

Words can mean anything, but epistemology never lies.

Multiple accounts affirm that Trump wants reelection as much as he treasures bunker space and constant COVID-19 testing while the rest of the country has to wait upwards of eight hours to take a viral test that has a two-week turnaround time.

So, why have schools suddenly become a point of arousal in the narrow calculus of this President?

A simple reason with broader implications: public schools are low-cost babysitting services.

Sure, schools are undoubtedly important institutions for learning.

But where else can parents drop off their children to trusted caretakers — FOR FREE — so that grown folks can return to work and assume their typical role as the economy’s lifeforce?

And without them, the economy will continue to show fragile vital signs, and then Trump will have lost the only set of wings that can carry him to reelection this year — not that an economy which continues the low-paying, gig-like recovery of the Obama administration is worth shouting in church aisles in the first place …

Therefore, children must die, along with their parents, where the latter have a greater risk of succumbing to COVID-19 and meeting the angels.

I asked this before: how does it feel to be sacrificed?

Trump’s next trick: make adults feel as if returning to work is safe — or use brute force to do so …

song currently stuck in my head: “quantum physics” – ruby waters

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Herman Cain has the shucky-ducky coronavirus? A hard head leads to a soft behind …

Herman Cain saying Shucky Ducky.

Posted by Baye Kambui on mental unrest
Herman Cain during a happier moment.

“First we make our choices. Then our choices make us.”
— Anne Frank

Hearing that one-time GOP Presidential candidate, former Fed board possibility and Jefe de Pizza Herman Cain being hospitalized for COVID-19 didn’t surprise me much.

So, my immediate thought recalled the tweet Cain sent from from the cull’rd section of Trump’s June 20 Tulsa rally — maskless, socially reclaiming close quarters with others in the midst of the pandemic that America has yet to control … 

Herman Cain at the Trump Tulsa, Oklahoma rally on Saturday, Jun 20, 2020. posted to
Cain with no mask, even though he claimed on his video podcast to have worn one.

None of those elements looked like they could drive a successful outcome and I barked at the photo: “His old shucky-ducky backside has no business inhaling Rona fumes in an arena … !”

So, the Shucky-Ducky Man’s people shared a dreary tweet yesterday about his COVID-19 diagnosis.

The bad news.

You can tell Cain’s social media people are amateurs for writing such despair-laden copy — y’know, especially given his previous defiance.

The team fixed the last tweet — since they couldn’t delete it given the hundreds of people who had already responded — by pulling off another amateur move: Quickly post a warrior-styled tweet about how Cain is facing the virus head-on.

Tulsa wasn’t the first time Cain didn’t take the current public health protocols seriously. A pandemic-doubting narrative doesn’t have an azz, but Cain seemed eager to find and kiss it anyway.

Like the time “the people” — and presumably Cain — were fed up with masks.

South Dakota Governor said there will be optional mask requirements and no social distancing at the fireworks display at Mount Rushmore.
About the upcoming fireworks event in South Dakota …

The time when he doubted the coronavirus would reach the United States.

Yeah, I’m triflin’. I embedded the video.

There was the fascinating piece he wrote that equated the shelter-in-place measures taken by state and local governments against coronavirus with test runs for socialism.

And that strange rant about COVID-19’s second wave, as if he didn’t know we still haven’t reached the intermission part of the first.

I hope he recovers. There’s only one human being on this earth who I’d be tempted to wish they have a slow dance with Rona, and I still never made that wish. Besides, Cain’s podcasts are entertaining.

Still, his followers — for the sake of living — should listen to folks with more health creds than the next-to-zero Cain has …

song currently stuck in my head: “piece of me” – lady wray

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Physics, elections, and the President’s brain

Donald Trump and coronavirus. Posted by Baye Kambui on mental unrest.
In this case, confusion is deadly …

File under “Smoke from the dome”

Trump is experiencing an unprecedented perfect storm of conflicting vectors.

Vector 1. Trump’s need to be reelected.

Vector 2. Trump’s need to have the economy help him ride Vector 1.

Vector 3. The increasingly compelling fact that wearing face masks while being present among large groups will reduce transmission of the coronavirus.

Vector 4. Trump’s need to not appear wrong, soft, or influenced — especially when considering how he’s mocked others for wearing masks — by reversing his current negative opinion regarding the object that could serve has part of a solution to safely reopen the economy, and help him ride Vector 1.

Trump is one needy mofo, innit?

Anyway, what do you think the President will decide to do … ?

America’s death toll from the virus now stands at over 129,000; more than 25 percent of the world’s total COVID-19 fatalities …

song currently stuck in my head: “the sun” – alice coltrane

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For the record: why I quickly called ‘B***s**t’ on Trump’s ‘increased testing, more coronavirus cases’ story

Donald Trump and coronavirus. uploaded by Baye Kambui for Mental Unrest.
He’s wishing all of it can go away …

Trump’s lies during the pandemic point to a cruel endgame

As fears rise about the recent spike in coronavirus cases and US health officials believe time is running out to get this disease under control, I think it’s time to address President Donald Trump’s sustained meme that coronavirus infections have increased in America because the country has increased testing.

You test more, you get more cases,” as Trump puts it. And of course America has the best testing in the world.

I called “Bullshit” straightaway.

Accepting Trump’s bullshit-of-the-moment means you would have to accept three additional pieces of bullshit.

You’ll first have to believe the coronavirus hasn’t been actively infecting people lately.

Next, you’ll need to subscribe to the unsubstantiated idea that the risk of humans transmitting the virus among each other remains the same, or decreases, as the economy opens.

Finally, you’ll have to accept an equally baseless thought that hospitalizations caused by the virus will remain the same, or decrease.

You will not find a single senior CDC official — or any other public health professional researching COVID-19 — who will say the first two are true.

The virus is still here, remains deadly, and is quite contagious.

This explains the recent precipitous increase in the seven-day average of coronavirus infections.

Even if you wish to believe the virus had nowhere to go except to lounge around folks already infected and wonder what to do next, your premise wouldn’t explain the increases in hospitalizations — especially in states that rushed their exits from shelter-in-place precautions.

Let’s break this down for the folks in the back since I want this bullshit obliterated for what I plan to write later: the virus is infecting people right now. The exponential spike in new infections last week alone is faster than the relatively gradual increases in testing capability during the same period.

This means the number of tests conducted has no bearing on the truth: the disease keeps spreading despite the White House’s denials — especially since more people aren’t staying at home these days.

And as of this moment, some of the most prominent public health researchers are forecasting (pdf), at minimum, short-term increases in COVID-19-related hospitalizations.

“More testing” doesn’t necessarily mean more people will go to hospitals.

Many COVID-19 patients are sent home with a set of care instructions.

Therefore, being tested positive and sent to a hospital means you’re in sufficiently-awful shape and will require more constant medical attention. 

Placed another way, you would’ve likely visited a hospital if you felt sick, with or without testing.

Trump’s team is every bit aware of these facts.

I hope you recall the President’s “Kind of death” speech he gave in late March where — after his days of pandemic denials and straight-from-the-sphincter predictions of low death rates — he warned Americans to prepare for 100,000-240,000 deaths.

This prediction is significant.

And not because 2.2 million Americans would die if the government “did nothing”, as Trump said, since that was never a serious option to consider after he snapped out of his “It’s a hoax” delusion.

Trump publicly established his human sacrifice budget for reelection: 240,000 lives.

The seven-figure death estimate was added for effect.

This blood budget takes into account the weeks he spent doing nothing to protect America from the coronavirus, in addition to the deaths we’ll continue to see from Trump coaxing businesses and workers to sacrifice themselves outdoors while the disease remains out of the government’s control.

All this despite Trump’s assurances in June that the virus will fade away.

The deaths can be much higher than the forecast, however. I’ll get to that later.

Trump is done fighting the coronavirus, which has been his ratings albatross from the moment he downplayed the pandemic in the face of a rising bodycount.

Giving the public time to focus on Trump’s serial management malpractice during the crisis will only remind them of why he has no business standing near the Big Chair.

Trump’s only path to reelection — as many of you already know, and assuming his campaign still has a realistic shot — is the economy.

And Trump wants to be reelected as if the electoral college is his oxygen.

Therefore, America needs to go back to work during an uncontrollable pandemic to make Trump’s dream come true.

And your life has now become a budget line item.

We’ll need another week or two before we can determine how many of these new infections will lead to worse outcomes, but I’m sure the White House’s death predictions didn’t account for America hatching out of shelter-in-place so soon.

Plus the current surge in COVID-19 cases is estimated to last for weeks.

As a result, you’ll have the President to thank again for the next bodycount wave. 

And he’s about to blow his human blood budget soon …

song currently stuck in my head: “free spirit” – walt barr

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Remembering Michael Jackson

Photo of Michael Jackson as a boy. Posting by Kambui in rememberance of Jackson's death on mental unrest
You are missed.

Michael Jackson transitioned on this day in 2009.

I celebrate him often. No need to change my routine just because he no longer walks among us.

Jackson still saturates party boats, weddings, get-togethers, nightclubs and solo-chill moments with grooves, smiles and memories.

I’m taking this moment to play “I Can’t Help It” from Jackson’s Off the Wall release, my favorite album from him.

The song has a legit “Rekutt”, thanks to Todd Terje.

“Burn this Disco Out” closes Off the Wall. And vocalist Lisala Beatty — who I think doesn’t make enough music — turns in a perfect cover with almost no instruments.

Love always, Michael …

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Shaun King — tear down White Jesus? Whachu saying?

TV series "Good Times" star Ralph Carter -- known on stage as Michael -- holds up a painting of Black Jesus in Season 1, Episode 2. Animated GIF posted by kambui on mental unrest
Like Michael Evans would say: “Black Jesus.”

White Supremacy in religion has a long history — but let White church folks keep their White Jesus portraits.

Now, how you gonna get a European White Jesus in Palestine? You can’t get that! But with White theologians, you can get almost anything out of Jesus.

Dr. James Cone, in conversation at Trinity Church in NYC, Jan, 2008

Let me set up this post by telling you straightaway that I was raised to believe Jesus was born an African descendant in a Middle Eastern ghetto, who not only helped others discover that “Jesus is Lord”, but he also advocated for poor folks. There’s enough evidence in scripture and genealogy of the people in the region to prove this point.

(Laughing) But I still think journo activist Shaun King is a tactical idiot for telling his Twitter audience that statues and stained-glass renderings of White Jesus should be taken down.

I’ll come back to King later. But who knows, I always say my writing is a stream of consciousness thang, so …

Anyway, White people should feel free to worship Jesus in a way that makes them feel good about themselves. 

If Koreans want a Korean Jesus in their church, they should feel free to rock that Korean Jesus until the Rapture.

But they all should know the truth: Jesus is a Black man. Same for Moses.

When thinking about White supremacy, there’s a deeper point to be made about worshipping a deity who may not look like you: self-esteem and your perspective on the people you interact with every day.

Even if White folks knew in 1619 that Jesus is the bushy-headed savior of all, How could they convincingly maintain Africans in chains who look like the Son of God?

That’s why — for centuries, and with the goal of maintaining White supremacy — European-American slave owners pushed the White Jesus narrative so that slaves can only see ivory heavens and serve earthly forms who looked like the White God above. The curse of Ham was another one of the various ways Christianity was used to program slaves to deserve their oppression.

Combine those tricks with removing the slaves’ native language, history, and access to education — plus inserting White people as the only access point to everything slaves can ever learn, acquire or achieve — and you have a long-aged mental conditioning scheme that portrays Blackness as inferior and Whiteness being closer to God.

I’ll place this another way: maintaining White Supremacy during slavery meant Africans in chains had to be convinced that they are serving the descendants of God on Earth.

And deprogramming over 200 years of such conditioning is nothing less than a mutha …

Even today, there are plenty of Black churches who still have photos, flyers, social media properties, T-shirts, mugs, stained-glass windows, ceremonial dinner plates, photos, paintings, and hand fans with White Jesus affixed throughout.

This may be one of the reasons why I could be first-in-line at the cheese counter, but the Black employee will point over my head to White person behind me and say “Next!”

I couldn’t summon even the thought of possibly being angry at Cheese Brother’s self-colonization. Dude didn’t know any better. He’s only seeking his blessing for the day. And was probably late …

 So, I guess Shaun King’s name needs to resurface.

I have no clue what was on that dude’s mind when he made the take-down-White-Jesus comment.

The Black folks I know, who are fully aware of Black Jesus, don’t care a single bit about what White folks stain their glass with.

But you wouldn’t know that when you saw some of those pearl-clutching-in-an-election-year comments in response to King.

That’s why King’s comment is dumb.

Again, for the hard-headed ones standing outside in the hallway: Black Lives Matter couldn’t care any less about how White folks want to worship.

Do y’all.

But BLM’s endgame remains: unravel the multiple, interconnected White-supremacist systems that suppress Black folks’ ability to achieve their dreams peacefully, and without racially-motivated disruption.

That includes worshipping a Black Jesus in a church without an offering of Blood

song currently stuck in my head: “olha eu aqui” – evinhad

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Bolton writes a book that reconfirms how much of a dim-sparked a-hole President Trump is — so what?

Former National Security Advisor John Bolton, pictured in the background, with President Donald Trump in the foreground. Bolton's new book alleges that Trump is unfit for office. Posted by kambui on mentalunrest.
When cray calls cray “cray”.

People want to read (or hear) musings of an official who’s made war his crystal meth — because of his ex-boss

I won’t spend much time writing about Former Trump National Security Advisor John Bolton’s book, The Room Where it Happened: A White House Memoir.

Besides, the book will be officially released this Tuesday, and (laughing) Simon & Schuster didn’t put me on the advance-copy list to read it.

My main feedback about the book at the moment is based on all those pre-release charges against President Trump that made the press this week: so what? Should anyone be surprised that Trump’s a moron?

There are a couple of accusations in the book that caught me so flat-footed that I have doubts the charges are true. More on that in a moment.

But let’s first focus on the author of the book, who I think is a maniac. A modern-day Colonel Walter E. Kurtz in a suit.

And that’s not just my opinion.

Many Beltway people don’t think Bolton is wrapped too tight

When Bolton’s name surfaced in 2018 as the National Security Advisor appointee, some people in Washington — especially Democrats — lost their collective sugar-honey-iced-tea.

Bolton wrote that infamous piece, “The Legal Case for Striking North Korea First”, in the Wall Street Journal.

In another article, Bolton presented a case for bombing Iran.

He wants to bomb Venezuela.

A three-decades-long advisor to Bolton belongs to an organization that thinks Islamic agents  have infiltrated various levels of the US government.

Bolton was considered too extreme for a Senate confirmation to UN Ambassador under the reign of Bush the Second — odd how people seriously thought about appointing a person with ABSOLUTELY ZERO diplomacy skills to serve as a diplomat in the first place — so Bush brought in Bolton through a recess appointment.

And there’s this part of a speech Bolton made in 2013 that suggested Israel take the lead in bombing Iran immediately since the Islamic Republic has a “very short period of time” to get nuclear weapons, and the Obama administration “will never use military force.” Team Obama had enough sense to not bomb Iran, which still doesn’t have nuclear weapons. Plus, the Iran nuclear deal was finalized in 2015.

I’m not sure there’s a so-called Third World nation with a supposed problem that Bolton didn’t want to bomb.

So, THIS maniac wrote a book …

Other than serving as entertaining confirmation to Liberals who already had thoughts about the depth of Trump’s selfishness and stupidity, what purpose does Bolton’s book serve?

Conservatives who already have their minds set on supporting or dumping Trump won’t likely change their minds about anything at this point.

MAGA’nem will vote for Trump this fall, even if the President really blows away some rando on Fifth Avenue.

Therefore, the book changes nothing, other than Bolton’s bank account.

I question the validity of some accusations Bolton made, however.

For example, China’s more about Sun Szu in areas of international relations than America will ever be, so I seriously doubt President Xi Jinping would ideate Uighur internment camps with Trump. President Xi would simply build the camps, and then announce later. Maybe.

The Russian related allegations could be partially motivated by Bolton’s known anti-Russia views, so we’ll need more fired Trump officials in a talkative mood to verify.

I know one thing for sure: The Trump White House would make a helluva biopic series. Script writers will get more material to play with when more ex-Trump officials step forward to cash in …

Song currently stuck in my head: “keep on moving” – the hygrades

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Running for his life — Rayshard Brooks and the dead prison system that couldn’t save him

rayshard brooks, prior to his death, being interviewed about his time in prison. posted by kambui on mental unrest.
Now-deceased Brooks was doomed to right after his exit from prison.

Why do we continue to spend money on prisons that cannot produce better results?

There’s so much to unpack, given the Atlanta cop arrests for the murder of Rayshard Brooks, additional book-selling drama by war pig John Bolton, so-called police reform, coronavirus shiggity by President Trump and friends …

And I’ll cover them all between now and tomorrow,  but I want to spend this moment reflecting on Brooks’ death, and how his personal challenges reflect the penal state’s transformation over the years that left him with limited tools and even fewer options to save his fragile second shot at a life of freedom.

The taxpayers paid thousands of dollars per year to keep me incarcerated. They didn’t get anything for their money. It was a waste.

Testimony from a former prisoner, included in New York State’s official report on the 1971 Attica rebellion

Not much has changed about many prisons since the days of the Attica rebellion.

Imagine giving your cousin money to purchase 50 items on your grocery list, but Cuz came back with nine items — and no change back.

Many of you would be ready to fight Cuz. But most of you are chill with accepting this kind of waste from your government.

And while most Americans have been surveyed to support prison reform, I’m sure they’re not thinking about the US Department of Justice’s report (pdf) that found 30 states collectively observed an 83 percent prison recidivism rate over a nine-year period.

At one point in history, America seemed to battle with itself over two penal strategies — strict confinement and control over every aspect of a prisoner’s life, and rehabilitation-focused incarceration. 

That battle appears long over today. Strict confinement has been on a decades-long winning streak, leaving the rehabilitation camp with no opportunity to counter.

Therefore, we see a revolving prison door to host repeat felons.

If you believe there should be an alternative to constantly spending money to jail someone who can’t stop stealing from grocery stores to fund a drug habit, isn’t it time to reimagine prisons?

Mass murderers like Dylann Roof should pay for their crimes. In prison. Forever. I don’t see rehabilitation as an option for people like him.

But we should also have an alternate track where we assess prisoners upfront to understand their challenges, and then — assuming the person isn’t a Charles Manson incarnate or someone with an equivalent propensity for violence — prescribe the proper way forward to provide necessary services, including mental health counseling, to help the prisoner adjust to society.

Other services can take the form of drug counseling, work skills development, education, or health and wellness.

Rehabilitation takes my thoughts back to Rayshard Brooks, who had recently completed a prison bid for unlawful imprisonment and credit card fraud. 

Brooks’ video testimonial tells us that he was ready to leave prison and join his family, but not ready to take on the world. 

Perhaps you’re so self-motivated where doing right, after doing wrong, is your natural instinct. 

I applaud you. Please share your tips with others.

But there are others, like Brooks, who are wired differently.

His challenges to finding employment likely contributed to his moments of depression, which can trigger drug and alcohol consumption.

Therefore, I’m not surprised that Atlanta police officers found Brooks intoxicated and asleep behind the wheel of his car in a Wendy’s drive-thru.

The odds for success were against Brooks that evening, who had no tools to help him navigate life while on parole.

And when faced with the reality of going back to prison, Brooks fought. He ran. And he died.

We need to rethink and implement ways in which we make people like Rayshard Brooks more successful — and keep them alive …

song currently stuck in my head: “the rhythm of life” – mike lundy

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What Black person in America is surprised that a Black Pastor was arrested after calling 911 to tell police he was assaulted by a White mob?

Donny Salyers, Dennis Salyers, Farrah Saylers, Christopher Sharp and Amanda Saylers of Edinburg, Virginia have been charged for racial attack against Leon McCray.
Mug shots of Leon McCray’s attackers (from Shenandoah County, Virginia Sheriff’s office).

“Nobody.” — Black people

Most African descendants I know try to avoid confrontations with White people that could possibly escalate to the police being called, or at least move forward with the drama, knowing their conception of innocence could be declared immaterial on the scene.

It’s not that we don’t trust cops, we just don’t trust the crazy shit that happens when we share the same space with them. Simple social interactions seem to end with gunsmoke and dead black bodies.

But you may feel the need to engage police at times, like African American Pastor Leon McCray did when a small gang of White people responded to McCray’s objection to the group dumping a refrigerator on his property by attacking him — on his property. The police arrived and arrested McCray.

And I’m not surprised. Neither would any dark-hued person I know.

Which goes back to our trust issues. We know that during many 911 calls, and regardless of who requested assistance, a police mini-court is held onsite where Black folks instantly become defendants. And in many cases, without voices since the police seem to only want the White side of the story.

And that’s exactly what happened to Pastor McCray.

[They were] threatening my life, telling me that my Black life and the Black Lives Matter stuff don’t — they don’t give a darn about that stuff in [Shenandoah County], and they can (sic) care less and we will kill you …

—Pastor Leon McCray

After the White gang attacked the Pastor and talked about killing him, he drew his legal firearm in self-defense — the gun pointed to the ground, according to McCray — and then called 911 to report the assault.

When I called 911, the person that answered the phone, instead of asking ‘how was I doing’ or ‘was I in a safe zone’ or anything like that, all they wanted to know was  I was the one with the gun. 

—Pastor Leon McCray

10 officers arrived, including the Sheriff, and they did three things.

First — confiscate the Pastor’s gun.

Second — get the gang’s side of the story

Third — arrest the Pastor for brandishing a weapon.

“We can only do one thing at a time,” was an officer’s response to McCray, when asked what the police intended to do about the gang’s assaults and threats.

And the White gang never stopped shouting racial slurs — before the police call, when the police were present, and while the police placed handcuffs on Pastor McCray.

The US Constitution has failed yet another African American who at least believed in that document’s promise, even if, hypothetically speaking, he had faith in nothing else America had told him.

But the contradiction, unsurprisingly, runs deeper.

The word of Pastor Leon McCray — an African-American community leader who has publicly stated his love for the United States — ended his 24-year military service as a decorated Air Force Master Sergeant, served as a church pastor for the past 10 years and has advocated driving social change through owning businesses while employing others, carried no currency next to a racist gang — long known by law enforcement, government officials and town residents for terrorizing communities — who trespassed on McCray’s property and invaded his personal space, while assaulting and threatening to kill him. 

Police court found the Pastor guilty, and without his testimony. The arresting officer has known McCray and his character for 20 years.

I felt … like I had been lynched, without being killed.

—Pastor Leon McCray

The preacher’s experience is what Black people think about whenever they share the same space with police officers during 911 calls.

The experience also drove Pastor McCray — who previously didn’t agree with NFL star Colin Kaepernick’s kneeling protest to the National Anthem, and never supported the Black Lives Matter movement — to participate in his first Black Lives Matter protest this month.

McCray also apologized for not supporting Kaepernick earlier.

Shenandoah County Sheriff’s office announced last Friday that charges against McCray were dropped and they arrested the offending gang.

Pastor McCray shared his recent experience with racism in a sermon that’s worth hearing. I embedded it below …

Song currently stuck in my head: “the real thing” – bebel gilberto

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