Tag Archives: Jim Crow laws

Voting is a Right NOT a Privilege ~~ The Struggle continues


votingTime to pass the Voting Rights Act, change redistricting rules and make it easier for ALL Americans to VOTE

Dear America

Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” -George Santayana (16 December 1863 in Madrid, Spain – 26 September 1952 in Rome, Italy) was a philosopher, essayist, poet and novelist. 

 On March 7, 1965, hundreds of brave unarmed nonviolent women and men dared to March for African Americans right to vote.

The fact is that less than 1% of eligible Blacks could vote or register to vote.

A group of people organized a Peaceful Protest: The March would start in Selma then move on to the state capitol in Montgomery. However, as these peaceful protesters tried to cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge to Montgomery the police, seemingly already assuming a defensive posture; some on horses had, looking back, a predetermined  tactical intervention plan against protesters. The protesters, mostly of young African Americans walked quietly and as they did so police proceeded to try and control the protesters  which quickly resulted in the “excessive use of force.” As protesters continued, it became clear that the excessive force was now an active use of police brutally and acts of murder; the grotesque beating of a young black leader of nonviolent protesting #RepJohnLewis had his skull cracked open among other injuries to his body.  These Montgomery officers were out to do harm as they surrounded and knocked out young protesters using their night sticks,  sprayed water cannons at close range while others used tear gas. These kids had no weapons; they did NOT fight back because they were not there to fight, but showed much courage and strength in the face of absolute brutal violence by an adversarial organization minorities are expected to respect. These men in police uniform hired to protect and serve citizens were actually a force activated by the state to show physical power,  discrimination and racism in all its worse forms.  We must never forget that some of our fellow  Americans died for our right to vote! In what was an attempt to March in peaceful disobedience quickly became an adverse harmful environment to young black and white women and men,  students from all backgrounds, folks who believed voting is a right had to quickly retreat while journalists and photographers became witnesses to the suffering violence and death .

The brutal reaction by the police was not only caught on tape it forced then President Johnson,  once against civil rights programs as a Senator to call on Congress for equal voting rights for all on March 15.

SelmaMarch

The Voting Act of 1965 became a law on August 6; is a landmark piece of national legislation in the United States that outlawed discriminatory voting practices that had been responsible for the widespread disenfranchisement of African Americans in the U.S.

A day that started out peacefully quickly descended into an awful johnlewisbeatwithknightstickugly March of death for the right to vote called ,”Bloody Sunday”.

Now, some 50 years later, a new “Jim Crow” era has emerged with a major step backward in the fight for civil and voting rights. There are conservative states targeting not only African Americans but Senior citizens, first time voters, early voting, Students, low income, immigrants and the undocumented though Republicans call them (illegals) Dreamers;some born or brought to the US as youngsters all victims of circumstance now voting age. In addition, Governors from Republican controlled States are allowing election officials to purge voters, people without birth certificates were given limited or completely denied access to the voting booth failing to meet new voter ID regulations in time and were treated like possible (illegals). This  is the 21st Century; we should be on a progressive path toward equality for all not one that will re-engage folks in the act of racism or exclusion leading to suppressing participation in the election process. In 2017, Republicans tried to pass and or enforce new, even stricter voter ID legislation or influence their districts with strange redistricting rules and regulations.  While some judges … have struck down some of these bills that ultimately suppress the vote, it is clear the effort to shut people of colour out of the election process sadly continues.

We need to push back  on all attempts to suppress the right to Vote.

With so much at stake, it is time to stop sitting on the sidelines. If we are going to succeed, Conservative lawmakers NEED to hear our Voices.

We cannot turn back the clock on Voting Rights or on the next generation.

Thank You for Taking Action

     Takeaction2

5 Tips for a Safe Spring Break


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It’s the season when college students are off for spring break. But if they’re traveling, they’ve got to stay safe.
The Office of Women’s Health (OWH) at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is taking new steps to ensure that young women have access to timely wellness information.
To do this, OWH is launching a new web page with information about health issues to help young women stay safe on vacation and beyond.

FREEDOM RIDERS : A Stanley Nelson Film : American Experience – In memory


  Get Inspired

 The World Premiere: In 2010 at Sundance Film Festival, US

 A Documentary Competition

Award-winning filmmaker Stanley Nelson (Wounded Knee, Jonestown: The Life and Death of Peoples Temple, The Murder of Emmett Till) returns to the Sundance Film Festival with his latest documentary FREEDOM RIDERS, the powerful, harrowing and ultimately inspirational story of six months in 1961 that changed America forever. From May until November 1961, more than 400 black and white Americans risked their lives—and many endured savage beatings and imprisonment—for simply traveling together on buses and trains as they journeyed through the Deep South. Deliberately violating Jim Crow laws, the Freedom Riders’ belief in non-violent activism was sorely tested as mob violence and bitter racism greeted them along the way.

FREEDOM RIDERS features testimony from a fascinating cast of central characters: the Riders themselves, state and federal government officials, and journalists who witnessed the rides firsthand.

“I got up one morning in May and I said to my folks at home, I won’t be back today because I’m a Freedom Rider. It was like a wave or a wind that you didn’t know where it was coming from or where it was going, but you knew you were supposed to be there.” — Pauline Knight-Ofuso, Freedom Rider

Despite two earlier Supreme Court decisions that mandated the desegregation of interstate travel facilities, black Americans in 1961 continued to endure hostility and racism while traveling through the South. The newly inaugurated Kennedy administration, embroiled in the Cold War and worried about the nuclear threat, did little to address domestic Civil Rights.

“It became clear that the Civil Rights leaders had to do something desperate, something dramatic to get Kennedy’s attention. That was the idea behind the Freedom Rides—to dare the federal government to do what it was supposed to do, and see if their constitutional rights would be protected by the Kennedy administration,” explains Raymond Arsenault, author of Freedom Riders: 1961 and the Struggle for Racial Justice, on which the film is partially based.

Organized by the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), the self-proclaimed “Freedom Riders” came from all strata of American society—black and white, young and old, male and female, Northern and Southern. They embarked on the Rides knowing the danger but firmly committed to the ideals of non-violent protest, aware that their actions could provoke a savage response but willing to put their lives on the line for the cause of justice.

Each time the Freedom Rides met violence and the campaign seemed doomed, new ways were found to sustain and even expand the movement. After Klansmen in Alabama set fire to the original Freedom Ride bus, student activists from Nashville organized a ride of their own. “We were past fear. If we were going to die, we were gonna die, but we can’t stop,” recalls Rider Joan Trumpauer-Mulholland. “If one person falls, others take their place.”

Later, Mississippi officials locked up more than 300 Riders in the notorious Parchman State Penitentiary. Rather than weaken the Riders’ resolve, the move only strengthened their determination. None of the obstacles placed in their path would weaken their commitment.

The Riders’ journey was front-page news and the world was watching. After nearly five months of fighting, the federal government capitulated. On September 22, the Interstate Commerce Commission issued its order to end the segregation in bus and rail stations that had been in place for generations. “This was the first unambiguous victory in the long history of the Civil Rights Movement. It finally said, ‘We can do this.’ And it raised expectations across the board for greater victories in the future,” says Arsenault.

“The people that took a seat on these buses, that went to jail in Jackson, that went to Parchman, they were never the same. We had moments there to learn, to teach each other the way of nonviolence, the way of love, the way of peace. The Freedom Ride created an unbelievable sense: Yes, we will make it. Yes, we will survive. And that nothing, but nothing, was going to stop this movement,” recalls Congressman John Lewis, one of the original Riders.

Says Stanley Nelson, “The lesson of the Freedom Rides is that great change can come from a few small steps taken by courageous people. And that sometimes to do any great thing, it’s important that we step out alone.”

CREDITS
A Stanley Nelson Film
A Firelight Media Production for AMERICAN EXPERIENCE

Produced, Written and Directed by
Stanley Nelson

Produced by
Laurens Grant

Edited by
Lewis Erskine, Aljernon Tunsil

Archival Producer
Lewanne Jones

Associate Producer
Stacey HolmanDirector of Photography
Robert Shepard

Composer
Tom Phillips

Music Supervisor
Rena Kosersky

Based in part on the book Freedom Riders by
Raymond Arsenault

AMERICAN EXPERIENCE is a production of WGBH Boston.
Senior producer
Sharon Grimberg

Executive producer
Mark Samels

An Earful ~~ The Affordable Care Act Benefits People


| By   repost

Republicans Are Hearing How The Affordable Care Act Benefits People

As momentum continues to build up to the March 31 open enrollment deadline, Republican lawmakers continue to make every effort to dismantle the Affordable Care Act. The House GOP keeps saying they are going to present an alternative, but all they can agree on is repealing the law–which they have now voted to do over 50 times.

Here’s one of the many flaws with that strategy: the law is working. And what’s more, Republican elected officials and candidates for public office are hearing about it from their constituents. Here are a few recent examples:

  • Constituent Tells Rep. Paul Ryan About A Friend With Leukemia Whose Out-Of-Pocket Expenses Were Cut In Half. 64-year-old Michael Martincic criticized Ryan’s opposition to the law, telling the story of his friend with Leukemia who will save money thanks to the ACA and his own positive experience checking coverage options on the website. “It was so easy to get on the site; the whole thing took 15 minutes,” Martincic said. Michael and his wife are currently insured through his union, but they are thinking that they might switch to coverage under the ACA after he found out that they could save $500 a month through the exchange.
  • New Hampshire GOP State Rep. To Former Sen. Scott Brown: ACA Was A “Financial Lifesaver.” Scott Brown is now taking his anti-Obamacare campaign plan from 2010 in Massachusetts up to the Granite State, but times are different now that the law is in effect. Brown was in the middle of calling the ACA a “monstrosity” at the home of State Rep. Herb Richardson, when his host chimed in to say that it in fact had been a “financial lifesaver” for his family. Previously, Richardson had been injured on the job and forced to live off worker’s comp, paying $1,100 for health care through the federal COBRA law and no longer able to afford his home. Now he and his wife are covered for just $136 per month. “Thank God for Obamacare!” his wife said.
  • Health Advocate To Gov. Chris Christie: There Are “Almost 400,000…Who Qualify For Subsidies. We Need To Help Them Connect.” There are a huge number of people who are not aware that financial assistance is available through the ACA. At a town hall meeting Tuesday, health policy advocate Maura Collinsgru called out New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie for failing to help the hundreds of thousands of New Jerseyans eligible for subsidies to connect to the insurance exchange. According to the Star-Ledger, “Collisgru said insurers, hospital systems, advocates and even Christie’s own Medicaid director all agree they must connect people to coverage.” “We’re asking you to join that,” Collinsgru said.

BOTTOM LINE: People are standing up and telling Republican lawmakers their stories about how the Affordable Care Act is working. The question is will they listen or just keep on pursuing their repeal-at-all-costs agenda?

Problems At The Polls


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State Laws And Election Administration Errors Causing Problems On Election Day

***The polls are set to close in a few hours. If you have yet to vote, what are you waiting for? Vote! Click here to get all the information you need when you go to the polls. A number of state laws have changed and may have altered the required documents you need to cast a ballot.***

Throughout the course of Election Day, ThinkProgress has been reporting on the ground from seven states across the country. They have gone beyond the horserace to uncover how the election process is going for voters. And they are finding numerous problems, whether the result of new state voter suppression laws, election administration issues, or something else. Here are a few (and check out the liveblog for more):

  • North Carolina’s New Election Restrictions Are Turning Away Voters: At two polling places south of the city center, voters are turning up in steady numbers throughout the morning. But many of them aren’t casting ballots: they are being turned away because they aren’t at their correct precinct.
  • Georgia Voter Redirected To Polling Place 35 Miles Away: Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp’s office failed to process tens of thousands of voter registration cards — mostly in heavily African-American counties — before the election, and it’s causing confusion at the polls. Karl Ragland and his wife moved to Atlanta from Covington, Ga., earlier in the year and submitted a change of address form to the Board of Elections. But when they showed up at their new polling place in Atlanta, they learned that the form had never been processed. Karl now has to drive 35 miles to Covington to vote, causing him to miss up to two hours of work. “I am going to vote today,” Karl said.
  • Texas Voting Restrictions Sow Confusion At The Polls: At a polling site in Third Ward, a historically African American neighborhood in Houston, two voters have been turned away for lacking a photo ID. One had simply left it at home, and would have to make an additional trip to the polls. The other had to cast a provisional ballot, which has a much lower chance of being counted.
  • More Than 21,000 Kansans Could Be Blocked From Voting On Election Day: Tens of thousands of Kansans who registered to vote may find themselves ineligible on Tuesday as a result of a new law that “requires people registering to vote for the first time to provide proof of citizenship, such as a birth certificate or passport,” the Wichita Eagle reported on Friday. As of Oct. 31, 21,473 registered voters had not sent in documentation showing that they are American citizens.
  • Atlanta Voters Are Being Required To Pay To Park: In one of Atlanta’s largest voting precincts, voters are complaining about being required to pay as they leave the parking lot next to Georgia Tech’s student center polling site, even though signs advertised free parking on Election Day. Advocates say that requiring people to pay extra fees during the process of voting essentially amounts to a poll tax.
  • Miami Man Waited More Than 4 Hours To Vote After Poll Workers Refused To Allow Address Change: Florida law allows voters to change their address at the polls on Election Day. But because poll workers have not been adequately trained on Florida’s Electronic Voter Identification System (EVID), some voters who have recently moved are having problems casting ballots in their new precincts. Opa-Locka resident Eugene Gonzalez arrived at his polling location at 8:30 this morning, but did not cast his ballot until 1 pm because poll workers mistakenly told him that he needed to vote in Broward County, where he lived previously and was still registered.
  • Alabama Voters With Public Housing, Shelter IDs Are Being Turned Away: At least three Alabama citizens apparently have been denied their right to vote thanks to the state’s voter ID law, a last-minute decision by the state that public housing and shelter ID’s are not valid proof of identity.
  • Longtime Voter Removed From Voter Rolls In Ohio: Jamil Smith, a producer for MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry show, reported on Twitter this morning that his father encountered a serious problem attempting to vote: “My father, who has voted in every election as long as he can remember, tells me his name wasn’t on the rolls this morning. He lives in Ohio.” It’s unclear how Smith’s father’s name was removed from the voter rolls, but Ohio was one of several states that signed onto a voter purge scheme devised by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach (R) that developed a lost of voters under consideration for purging by simply finding people who share the same first and last name as a voter in another state.

BOTTOM LINE: These problems at the polls are just a few extremely concerning examples that should be immediately corrected — and could be illegal or unconstitutional. In response to this and other anecdotal evidence of barriers to voting, the Center for American Progress has issued letters to Secretaries of State in Kansas, North Carolina, Alabama, and Georgia, urging them to take “immediate action” to rectify these concerns. Voting is a fundamental deomcratic right, and it should be free, fair, and accessible to all citizens.