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the death of Lawrence Guyot : a Civil Rights Leader, in memory of

By The Associated Press
WASHINGTON November 25, 2012 (AP)

Lawrence Guyot, a civil rights leader who survived jailhouse beatings in the Deep South in the 1960s and went on to encourage generations to get involved, has died. He was 73.

Guyot had a history of heart problems and suffered from diabetes, and died at home in Mount Rainier, Md., his daughter Julie Guyot-Diangone said late Saturday. She said he died sometime Thursday night; other media reported he passed away Friday.

A Mississippi native, Guyot (pronounced GHEE-ott) worked for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and served as director of the 1964 Freedom Summer Project, which brought thousands of young people to the state to register blacks to vote despite a history of violence and intimidation by authorities. He also chaired the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, which sought to have blacks included among the state’s delegates to the 1964 Democratic National Convention. The bid was rejected, but another civil rights activist, Fannie Lou Hamer, addressed the convention during a nationally televised appearance.

Guyot was severely beaten several times, including at the notorious Mississippi State Penitentiary known as Parchman Farm. He continued to speak on voting rights until his death, including encouraging people to cast ballots for President Barack Obama.

Lawrence Guyot.JPEG
FILE – Lawrence Guyot, a Student Nonviolent… View Full Caption
FILE – Lawrence Guyot, a Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee member in Mississippi during the civil rights struggles of the 1960s recalls his work in Hattiesburg and the women who assisted in the struggles, in this Oct. 22, 2010 file photo taken in Hattiesburg, Miss.His daughter Julie Guyot-Diangone said late Saturday Nov. 24, 2012 he died late Thursday or early Friday outside Washington, D.C. at the age of 73. Guyot, a civil rights leader who survived jailhouse beatings in the Deep South in the 1960s and went on to encourage generations to get involved in various causes, had a history of heart problems and suffered from diabetes. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis) Close

“He was a civil rights field worker right up to the end,” Guyot-Diangone said.

Guyot participated in the 40th anniversary of the Freedom Summer Project to make sure a new generation could learn about the civil rights movement.

“There is nothing like having risked your life with people over something immensely important to you,” he told The Clarion-Ledger in 2004. “As Churchill said, there’s nothing more exhilarating than to have been shot at — and missed.”

His daughter said she recently saw him on a bus encouraging people to register to vote and asking about their political views. She said he was an early backer of gay marriage, noting that when he married a white woman, interracial marriage was illegal in some states. He met his wife Monica while they both worked for racial equality.

“He followed justice,” his daughter said. “He followed what was consistent with his values, not what was fashionable. He just pushed people along with him.”

Susan Glisson, executive director of the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation at the University of Mississippi, called Guyot “a towering figure, a real warrior for freedom and justice.”

“He loved to mentor young people. That’s how I met him,” she said.

When she attended Ole Miss, students reached out to civil rights activists and Guyot responded.

“He was very opinionated,” she said. “But always — he always backed up his opinions with detailed facts. He always pushed you to think more deeply and to be more strategic. It could be long days of debate about the way forward. But once the path was set, there was nobody more committed to the path.”

Glisson said Guyot’s efforts helped lay the groundwork for the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

“Mississippi has more black elected officials than any other state in the country, and that’s a direct tribute to his work,” she said

WASHINGTON November 25, 2012 (AP)

Guyot was born in Pass Christian, Miss., on July 17, 1939. He became active in civil rights while attending Tougaloo College in Mississippi, and graduated in 1963. Guyot received a law degree in 1971 from Rutgers University, and then moved to Washington, where he worked to elect fellow Mississippian and civil rights activist Marion Barry as mayor in 1978.

“When he came to Washington, he continued his revolutionary zeal,” Barry told The Washington Post on Friday. “He was always busy working for the people.”

Lawrence Guyot.JPEG
FILE – Lawrence Guyot, 23, of Greenwood,… View Full Caption
FILE – Lawrence Guyot, 23, of Greenwood, Miss., removed his shirt in Jackson, Miss., to show newsmen where he says Greenwood and Winona police beat him with leather slapsticks, in this June 14, 1963 file photo. His daughter Julie Guyot-Diangone said late Saturday Nov. 24, 2012 he died late Thursday or early Friday outside Washington, D.C. at the age of 73. Guyot, a civil rights leader who survived jailhouse beatings in the Deep South in the 1960s and went on to encourage generations to get involved in various causes, had a history of heart problems and suffered from diabetes. (AP Photo/Jim Bourdier, File) Close

Guyot worked for the District of Columbia government in various capacities and as a neighborhood advisory commissioner.

D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton told The Post in 2007 that she first met Guyot within days of his beating at a jail in Winona, Miss. “Because of Larry Guyot, I understood what it meant to live with terror and to walk straight into it,” she told the newspaper. On Friday, she called Guyot “an unsung hero” of the civil rights movement.

“Very few Mississippians were willing to risk their lives at that time,” she said. “But Guyot did.”

In recent months, his daughter said he was concerned about what he said were Republican efforts to limit access to the polls. As his health was failing, he voted early because he wanted to make sure his vote was counted, he told the AFRO newspaper.

Tell your Senators to protect southern resident orcas and Chinook salmon today!

Defenders of Wildlife
Less Than 80 Left

Orca (c) R. Marate

Southern resident orcas have lost 10% of their population since being added to the Endangered Species List.

Take Action
Tell your Senators to protect southern resident orcas and Chinook salmon today!

by Elizabeth Ruther, Defenders of Wildlife

Endangered southern resident orcas could soon be starved to extinction.

Known as the “fish-eating orca,” these whales have relied almost exclusively on Chinook salmon for thousands of years to survive. But increased human activity has disrupted this balance and decimated the Chinook salmon population – and if we don’t act soon, southern resident orcas will be in real danger of running out of food.

ACT NOW: Tell your Senators to save the last of the southern resident orca whales!

Hydroelectric dams, over fishing and habitat destruction have all contributed to the endangered status of Chinook salmon. The Columbia-Snake River basin once produced more salmon than any other river system in the world. But today, less than 5% of the historic number of fish returns to the watershed to spawn. Without a healthy population of Chinook salmon, it is doubtful that the southern resident orca population will ever recover.

These whales are struggling against pollution, marine noise, vessel traffic and a shortage of food. With their population in jeopardy, southern resident orcas were finally added to the Endangered Species List in 2005 – since then, they’ve lost close to 10% of their population with fewer than 80 of these whales left in the wild.

That’s why it’s so important that we defend the Endangered Species Act (ESA), for animals like the southern resident orca and the Chinook salmon. Because of human activity, these two species are now forced to rely on ESA protections to survive.

Tell your Senators to take action before it’s too late!

Scientists agree that restoring abundant populations of wild Columbia and Snake River Chinook salmon must be our top priority to help save and recover the southern resident orca.

Orcas are culturally and economically important to Washington State. Southern resident orcas attract between $60-$75 million dollars per year in tourism, and healthy population levels have been linked to maintaining a healthy marine ecosystem. Yet despite their significance, not enough is being done to ensure the survival of the remaining population.

It’s up to Washingtonians like you, who care so much for our wildlife, to stand up for these amazing creatures.

Ask your Senators to step up and fight for our southern resident orcas!

Thank you for all you do.


Elizabeth Ruther Elizabeth Ruther
Northwest Program Representative
Defenders of Wildlife

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Thank a Teacher


Three Policies To Support Teachers For Teacher Appreciation Week

We all know teachers in our lives who helped us more than we could ever fully appreciate. Well, this week is Teacher Appreciation Week, the time for all of us to let our teachers know how much they are valued by their students and the communities they serve. For the occasion, the Center for American Progress released this video showing what happens when you ask principals and administrators to thank a teacher.

But we can do more than just say thank you. We also must pass public policies that support and empower teachers to do their jobs well. Here are three such suggestions:

1. Pay them more: The average starting salary for teachers across the country is $36,141, 40 percent lower than the average starting salary of workers with college degrees, which deters younger teachers from staying in the field. We should boost teacher pay so they earn what they deserve, and so that students can learn from the best teachers we have to offer.

2. Give them meaningful leadership opportunities: Teachers should always feel valued in the work they are doing, but we should strengthen that by creating more teacher leadership roles in classrooms, schools and districts. A collaborative approach between management and teachers is crucial, especially for development new teaching materials and implementing reforms such as the Common Core. And student learning will improve as a result.

3. Reauthorize a federal education bill that supports teachers instead of failing them: The federal government has an important role to play in education by insuring that our students and teachers get a proper level of support. However, early versions of the federal education reauthorization bill would have opened the door to severe budget cuts, diluted targeted funding for teachers and cut $163 million of federal spending on Title II, funding designed to support teachers. Policymakers need to make sure that isn’t the case.

BOTTOM LINE: Be sure to take a moment thank a teacher this week. But also remember that a great way to thank our teachers is to support them with policies that give them the tools to help every student succeed.