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#IAMTROYDAVIS – Black History


NAACPTwo years ago, in the final hours of his life, I sat with Troy Davis and talked with him as we fought to stop his execution. He made me promise then that, no matter the outcome, the NAACP would remain resolute in the fight against the death penalty.
Dedicate your tears to healing this world and your prayers to ending the death penalty. America must do better than this. And your deeds and actions will help get us there.
Friends : We wage this critical fight in Troy’s name. Last year, our work led to Connecticut repealing the death penalty. This year, Maryland became the first state south of the Mason-Dixon Line to do the same. Those two states now join New Jersey, New York, New Mexico, and Illinois as the fifth and sixth states in six years to abolish the death penalty.
Troy Davis’ legacy serves as a reminder that our justice system will remain broken until the death penalty is abolished across the country. Today, our community is uniting to send a powerful message on the anniversary of Troy Davis’ execution, and we want you to be a part of it.
Tweet our message using the hashtag #IamTroyDavis to support ending capital punishment in America.
Or write a message of your own.
Our message is simple: We must bring an end to this immoral, biased, and ineffective practice and the inequalities that plague our justice system.
It is appalling that the barbaric practice of capital punishment still exists in the United States. Even more so when you consider how easily a man was condemned to die in the face of overwhelming evidence pointing to his innocence.
We’re making progress, Carmen.
We must keep this miscarriage of justice in the hearts and minds of the public if we are to continue moving forward. Help by sending a tweet using the hashtag #IamTroyDavis on today’s solemn anniversary:
http://action.naacp.org/i-am-troy

Thank you,
Benjamin Todd Jealous
President and CEO
NAACP
PS: Next week, join Troy’s family on the I Am Troy Davis book tour. Visit the NAACP website for more details.

Freddie Stowers ~ Honor and recognition Long Overdue – Black History


NMAAHC -- National Museum of African American History and Culture

Lonnie Bunch, museum director, historian, lecturer, and author, is proud to present A Page from Our American Story, a regular on-line series for Museum supporters. It will showcase individuals and events in the African American experience, placing these stories in the context of a larger story — our American story.

A Page From Our American Story

Grave of Cpl Freddie Stowers
Grave of CPL Freddie Stowers
at Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery
in France.

Freddie Stowers, the grandson of a South Carolina slave, holds a unique spot in America’s pantheon of war heroes — as the only African American awarded the Medal of Honor for service in World War I. Stowers’ story, however, must be told in two parts.

The first part of the story is his act of heroism in 1918; the second part is that it took more than 72 years before Stowers finally received the recognition he was due.

The United States was the last major combatant to enter World War I, the “war to end all wars.” The conflict began in Europe in 1914, but in the U.S., isolationist sentiments were strong resulting in a foreign policy of non-intervention. However, in April 1917, after a German U-boat sank the British ship Lusitania, killing 128 Americans on board, President Woodrow Wilson asked Congress to declare war on Germany. Three months later, on July 3, 1917, American troops landed in France.

Corporal Freddie Stowers came to France as part of the all-black Company C, 371st Regiment, 93rd Division that deployed in September, 1918. His service in France was short but courageous and memorable.

More than 50 years after the Civil War, America’s military was still segregated. The French, however, had no such rules, and Stowers and Company C were sent to the front lines to serve alongside French troops.

On September 28, just days after arriving in France, Stowers’ company was in the midst of an attack on Hill 188, Champagne Marne Sector, France, when enemy forces appeared to be giving up.

According to the War Department, German soldiers emerged from their trenches waving a white flag, arms in the air — military actions that signal surrender. It was a ruse, however. As Americans, including Cpl. Stowers, went to capture the “surrendering” Germans, another wave of the enemy arose and opened fire.

Very quickly, Company C’s lieutenant and non-commissioned officers were killed in the fight. This left the 21-year-old Stowers in command. Without hesitation, he implored his men to advance on the Germans.

Stowers would be mortally shot during the exchange. Wounded and dying, Stowers continued to fight on, inspiring his men to push the enemy back. With Stowers leading the counter-attack, Americans took out an enemy machine gun position and went on to capture Hill 188.

Following the battle, Stowers’ commanding officer nominated him for the Medal of Honor, but the nomination was never processed. The Pentagon said the paperwork was misplaced. Some raise the possibility that the nomination wasn’t misplaced at all, but deliberately lost. They point to the fact that American troops were segregated and suggest that racial bias in the military might be the reason for Stowers’ missing paperwork.

The final part of Freddie Stowers’ story begins in 1990. As the Department of Defense began to modernize its data systems, it ordered a review of all battlefield medal nominations. When Stowers’ recommendation was found, the Pentagon quickly took action to give the corporal the long overdue recognition and honor he deserved.

Freddie Stowers MOH Ceremony in 1991.
After the posthumous presentation of the Medal of Honor
to the sisters of Corporal (CPL) Freddie Stowers by
President George H. W. Bush, Mrs. Barbara Bush and
Mary Bowens admire the Medal of Honor certificate.
Ms Bowens is CPL Stowers’ sister. His other sister
Georgina Palmer (far left) looks on. CPL Stowers is the
only Black American to receive the Medal for action during
World War I. Photo: Robert Ward, DOD PA, April 4, 1991.

On April 24, 1991, more than 72 years after Stowers made the ultimate sacrifice for his nation, his sisters Georgiana Palmer and Mary Bowens, 88- and 77-years-old at the time, were presented his Medal of Honor by President George H. W. Bush.

Long before Stowers was honored by his nation, he, along with other members of Company C, received recognition from the French government: “For extraordinary heroism under fire.” Stowers and his unit received the Croix de Guerre – the French War Cross — the highest military medal France awards to allied soldiers.

Prior to World War I, 49 African Americans had been awarded the Medal of Honor, including 25 men who fought for the Union in the Civil War. There were 119 Medals of Honor recipients in World War I, with Stowers being the only African American. His long overdue recognition in 1991 is a small but important sign of the progress we as a nation have made.

Lonnie Bunch, Director All the best,
Lonnie Bunch
Director

P.S. We can only reach our $250 million goal with your help. I hope you will consider making a donation or becoming a Charter Member today.

The National Museum of African American History and Culture is the newest member of the Smithsonian Institution’s family of extraordinary museums.

 

The museum will be far more than a collection of objects. The Museum will be a powerful, positive force in the national discussion about race and the important role African Americans have played in the American story — a museum that will make all Americans proud.

1,600,000 And Counting…


By 

Bring the Unemployed in From the Cold

renewui2

The number of Americans who have lost their unemployment benefits is huge…and growing.

Today, we will hit the 1.6 million mark for the number of people who have been cut off from emergency unemployment benefits since December 28. That is 1.6 million Americans whose financial security, and in many cases their children’s financial security, is in jeopardy because Republicans in Congress have failed to act.

Last week, a majority of Senators voted to extend these benefits. But because of Republican obstruction, it didn’t pass the filibuster-proof 60 vote threshold. In fact, as shown below, many of the Republicans who voted against renewing unemployment benefits come from states where it is especially needed.

renewui

Not only did these and other Republican Senators vote against the unemployed in their states, they also voted against the will of a vast majority of Americans. Poll after poll (after poll!), including the latest from CBS News released yesterday, finds up to seven in 10 Americans want to extend unemployment insurance benefits for those that lost them when they expired at the end of 2013.

Meanwhile, Republican grandees gathered at the winter meeting of the Republican National Committee actually voted to call for an end to a successful crackdown on wealthy tax dodgers in order to help, as they explained it, raise more money from wealthy Americans living abroad. It’s no wonder that 63 percent of Americans believe the policies pushed by Republicans in Congress favor the wealthy, while just 9 percent think they favor the middle class.

BOTTOM LINE: Profits at the biggest banks may have bounced back to record highs, but the economy is still not working for too many struggling families.  Letting the extended, emergency unemployment benefits lapse through the next year would cost us 240,000 jobs and slash economic growth.  It already drained $400 million from state economies in the first week alone. We can’t afford for Republicans to oppose this vital program that would support their state economies and extend lifeline for those looking for work.

Yelp and ALEC are partners ?


Yelp! is silencing thousands of its users who oppose its recent decision to join ALEC.ALEC protest in ChicagoAt our new site TELLYELP.NO, submit your own Yelp! “review” and we’ll deliver it directly to Yelp’s CEO.

Go

Friends ,

According to documents ColorOfChange obtained from the highly-secretive American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) last month, user-review site Yelp! joined ALEC — and gave the group at least $10,000 — during the opening week of George Zimmerman‘s murder trial.

More than 50 corporations have pulled their funding from ALEC over its responsibility for deadly so-called “Stand Your Ground” — or “Shoot First” — laws. It’s due to Shoot First that Zimmerman was not only acquitted of all criminal charges for his confessed killing of unarmed teen Trayvon Martin,1 but will likely be immune to any civil penalty for wrongful death.2

Pressed to explain the company’s bizarre decision to join ALEC now, Yelp!’s Director of Public Policy admitted he “can’t ignore” the damage ALEC has done.3 But the company is suppressing thousands of negative reviews posted to ALEC’s Yelp! page opposing the move, and Yelp!’s CEO has made every effort to sidestep the growing controversy. To cut through Yelp!’s filter and reach company decisionmakers directly, ColorOfChange is launching a new site — TELLYELP.NO — that drives home the harm Yelp! inflicts on our communities by funding ALEC.

Check out TELLYELP.NO now, and urge CEO Jeremy Stoppelman to withdraw Yelp!’s funding from ALEC.

In the wake of Zimmerman’s acquittal, Shoot First — with its legal presumption that subjective, racist fears are justifiable grounds for vigilante homicide — has served to paint a target on the backs of Black youth.4 Shoot First endangers millions of people living in more than two dozen states, and there is now eight years of available data on the laws’ racially-biased outcomes.5 But ALEC has taken no steps to repeal Shoot First laws in the states where they’re on the books — nor to stop ALEC legislators from continuing to introduce new ones. Ten Shoot First bills have been introduced so far in 2013, and two have passed.6

ALEC is a bill mill that thrives on millions in fungible corporate “membership,” “scholarship” and “sponsorship” monies;7 this explicit pay-to-play legislation pipeline ensures that ALEC will continue to produce extreme profit-driven laws8 that exploit and endanger our communities. By funding it, Yelp! is directly furthering all aspects of the ALEC legislative agenda, and is responsible for the harms caused by the laws that result.

Join us in urging Yelp!’s CEO to withdraw funding from ALEC and TELLYELP.NO now. And when you do, please ask your friends and family to do the same.

Thanks and Peace,

–Rashad, Matt, Arisha, Kim, Johnny and the rest of the ColorOfChange team
September 26th, 2013

Help support our work. ColorOfChange.org is powered by YOU—your energy and dollars. We take no money from lobbyists or large corporations that don’t share our values, and our tiny staff ensures your contributions go a long way.

 

References

1. “Fox News Still Denying Role Of Stand Your Ground In Zimmerman Acquittal,” Media Matters for America, 08-20-13
http://act.colorofchange.org/go/2975?t=10&akid=3138.1174326.5lrQmV

2. “‘Stand your ground’ law may snarl any civil suit vs. George Zimmerman,” Orlando Sentinel, 07-16-13
http://act.colorofchange.org/go/2966?t=12&akid=3138.1174326.5lrQmV

3. “Agree: can’t ignore it,” @lutherlowe (Twitter), 08-15-13
http://act.colorofchange.org/go/2967?t=14&akid=3138.1174326.5lrQmV

4. “Open season on black boys after a verdict like this,” The Guardian, 07-14-13
http://act.colorofchange.org/go/2969?t=16&akid=3138.1174326.5lrQmV

5. “Uneven application, shocking outcomes,” Tampa Bay Times, 07-03-12
http://act.colorofchange.org/go/2970?t=18&akid=3138.1174326.5lrQmV

6. “ALEC at 40: Turning Back the Clock on Prosperity and Progress,” Center for Media and Democracy, 08-08-13
http://act.colorofchange.org/go/2971?t=20&akid=3138.1174326.5lrQmV

7. “How the ALEC corporate bill mill works,” Capital Times, 08-16-11
http://act.colorofchange.org/go/2972?t=22&akid=3138.1174326.5lrQmV

8. “Big Money, ALEC and the Gun Agenda,” Truthout, 12-16-12
http://act.colorofchange.org/go/2098?t=24&akid=3138.1174326.5lrQmV

$#!^@#%!


GOP Takes Obamacare Meltdown To A Whole New Level

A mere seven days remain for Congress to pass a spending bill in order to avoid a government shutdown. But Republicans are farther away than ever from agreeing to a reasonable plan that would keep the government open.

On Friday, the House GOP continued its march toward shutdown by passing a bill that ties keeping the government open to–surprise!–fully defunding Obamacare. Once again, Republicans refuse to do the hard work of actual governing in favor of playing political games that threaten to sabotage the economy. But while the vote only solidified the GOP’s ideological and dangerous strategy, it opened the floodgates for more infighting among its owns members. Here is what a number of key GOP players and establishment thinkers have to say about the “defund at all costs” plan:

  • GOP Sen. John McCain (AZ): “I can tell you that in the U.S. Senate, we will not repeal or defund Obamacare. We will not. And to think we can is not rational.”
  • GOP Strategist Karl Rove: The GOP defunding strategy is “self-defeating…It is an ill-conceived tactic, and Republicans should reject it.”
  • Fox News Host Bill O’Reilly: Defunding Obamacare is “fanaticism on the right,” O’Reilly says. “There’s no way Obamacare is going to be defunded. It’s not gonna happen.”
  • GOP Sen. Tom Coburn (OK): “Tactics and strategies ought to be based on what the real world is, and we do not have the political power to do this.”
  • GOP Sen. Rand Paul (KY): “I’m acknowledging we can’t probably defeat or get rid of Obamacare.”
  • GOP Sen. Kelly Ayotte (NH): “I don’t believe they should shut down the government to [defund Obamacare], and I don’t think that is a strategy that is good for America.”
  • GOP Sen. Johnny Isakson (GA): “It’s total atrophy. We’re earning our 11 percent popularity. It’s easier to talk about Obamacare than the major sources of our problems.”
  • Wall Street Journal Editorial Board: “Kamikaze missions rarely turn out well, least of all for the pilots… The kamikazes could end up ensuring the return of all-Democratic rule.”

Now, they all may just be trying to protect their party’s interests. But they seem to know what most Americans already do: the extreme demands by the GOP to push a narrow ideological agenda are out of touch. A new bipartisan CNBC poll released today proves that point. Almost six in ten Americans oppose defunding the health care law if it means a government shutdown, while just 19 percent support. A poll released last week found that only 23 percent of Americans want to make the health care law fail.

BOTTOM LINE: Republicans’ political games are threatening our nation’s economic recovery. Americans don’t want to shut down the government and want an end to the hostage-taking political tactics that place ideology over practical solutions for stability and growth.