Tag Archives: Southwest Voter Registration Education Project

HIPAA Rights … You should know them – a repost


Dept. of Health & Human Services

Information is powerful medicine. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) gives you the right to get your personal health information, make sure it’s correct and know who has seen it. With access to your own medical records, you can make decisions with your health care provider, track your medications and dosages, and much more.

Understand Your HIPAA Rights

Know Your Rights: HIPAA Privacy Rule

Read More: Information Is Powerful Medicine: Understanding Your HIPAA Rights

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In the Library: “Einstein on Race and Racism” by Jerome and Taylor


TumblrAlbertEnsteina0630a335c22bfc39dac14f5bdde1dfd Did Einstein speak about racism at Lincoln University?

Here is the text of the email:   Here’s something you probably don’t know about Albert Einstein.

In 1946, the Nobel Prize-winning physicist traveled to Lincoln University in Pennsylvania, the alma mater of Langston Hughes and Thurgood Marshall and the first school in America to grant college degrees to blacks.

At Lincoln, Einstein gave a speech in which he called racism “a disease of white people,” and added, “I do not intend to be quiet about it.” He also received an honorary degree and gave a lecture on relativity to Lincoln students.
In fact, many significant details are missing from the numerous studies of Einstein’s life and work, most of them having to do with Einstein’s opposition to racism and his relationships with African Americans.

Einstein continued to support progressive causes through the 1950s, when the pressure of anti-Communist witch hunts made it dangerous to do so. Another example of Einstein using his prestige to help a prominent African American occurred in 1951, when the 83-year-old W.E.B. Du Bois, a founder of the NAACP, was indicted by the federal government for failing to register as a “foreign agent” as a consequence of circulating the pro-Soviet Stockholm Peace Petition. Einstein offered to appear as a character witness for Du Bois, which convinced the judge to drop the case.
In the wake of the monumental effort to digitize Einstein’s life and genius for the masses, let’s hope that more of us will acknowledge Einstein’s greatness as a champion of human and civil rights for African-Americans as one of his greatest contributions to the world.

Origins:   The e-mail reproduced above is an excerpt from a 2007 Harvard University Gazette article about a talk given by Fred Jerome and Rodger Taylor, authors of the 2006 book Einstein on Race and Racism. As related in that article, Jerome and Taylor undertook their effort in order to “recognize and correct many significant details missing from the numerous studies of Einstein’s life and work, most of them having to do with Einstein’s opposition to racism and his relationships with African Americans:

Nearly fifty years after his death, Albert Einstein remains one of America’s foremost cultural icons. A thicket of materials, ranging from scholarly to popular, have been written, compiled, produced, and published about his life and his teachings. Among the ocean of Einsteinia — scientific monographs, biographies, anthologies, bibliographies, calendars, postcards, posters, and Hollywood films — however, there is a peculiar void when it comes to the connection that the brilliant scientist had with the African American community. Virtually nowhere is there any mention of his relationship with Paul Robeson, despite Einstein’s close friendship with him, or W.E.B. Du Bois, despite Einstein’s support for him.
This unique book is the first to bring together a wealth of writings by Einstein on the topic of race. Although his activism in this area is less well known than his efforts on behalf of international peace and scientific cooperation, he spoke out vigorously against racism both in the United States and around the world.

In May 1946, Einstein made a rare public appearance outside of Princeton, New Jersey (where he lived and worked in the latter part of his life), when he traveled to the campus of Pennsylvania’s Lincoln University, the United States’ first degree-granting black university, to take part in a ceremony conferring upon him the honorary degree of doctor of laws. Prior to accepting that degree, he delivered a ten-minute speech to the assembled audience in which he called upon the United States to take a leading role in preventing another world war and denounced the practice of segregation. Because mainstream U.S. newspapers reported little or nothing about the event, a full transcript of Einstein’s speech that day does not exist — the only existing record of his words is a few excerpts pieced together from quotes reproduced in coverage by the black press:

The only possibility of preventing war is to prevent the possibility of war. International peace can be achieved only if every individual uses all of his power to exert pressure on the United States to see that it takes the leading part in world government.
The United Nations has no power to prevent war, but it can try to avoid another war. The U.N. will be effective only if no one neglects his duty in his private environment. If he does, he is responsible for the death of our children in a future war.
My trip to this institution was in behalf of a worthwhile cause.

There is a separation of colored people from white people in the United States. That separation is not a disease of colored people. It is a disease of white people. I do not intend to be quiet about it.
The situation of mankind today is like that of a little child who has a sharp knife and plays with it. There is no effective defense against the atomic bomb … It can not only destroy a city but it can destroy the very earth on which that city stood.

As the authors of “Einstein on Race and Racism” noted, Einstein’s comments about segregation at Lincoln University reflected his own experiences in both his native Germany and his adopted home in the United States and were part of a pattern of his attempting to ameliorate the effects of discrimination:

According to Jerome and Taylor, Einstein’s statements at Lincoln were by no means an isolated case. Einstein, who was Jewish, was sensitized to racism by the years of Nazi-inspired threats and harassment he suffered during his tenure at the University of Berlin. Einstein was in the United States when the Nazis came to power in 1933, and, fearful that a return to Germany would place him in mortal danger, he decided to stay, accepting a position at the recently founded Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, N.J. He became an American citizen in 1940.

But while Einstein may have been grateful to have found a safe haven, his gratitude did not prevent him from criticizing the ethical shortcomings of his new home.
“Einstein realized that African Americans in Princeton were treated like Jews in Germany,” said Taylor. “The town was strictly segregated. There was no high school that blacks could go to until the 1940s.”
Einstein’s response to the racism and segregation he found in Princeton (Paul Robeson, who was born in Princeton, called it “the northernmost town in the South”) was to cultivate relationships in the town’s African-American community. Jerome and Taylor interviewed members of that community who still remember the white-haired, disheveled figure of Einstein strolling through their streets, stopping to chat with the inhabitants, and handing out candy to local children.
One woman remembered that Einstein paid the college tuition of a young man from the community. Another said that he invited Marian Anderson to stay at his home when the singer was refused a room at the Nassau Inn.

Ferguson … justice for only some? a repost


Corinne Ball, MoveOn.org Civic Action

Many of us have wrestled with intense emotions—sadness, anger, shock, and more—as we’ve followed the ongoing situation in Ferguson, Missouri.

The police killing of unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown has ignited weeks of demonstrations. Even though most protesters have been peaceful, police appeared armed with military-grade equipment.1 Reporters have been threatened and arrested by police while trying to report the story.2 The whole country has been watching what’s happening in Ferguson.3 

Many of us have asked: What can we do to ensure justice for Michael Brown? What is this awful situation revealing—or reminding us—about racism in America, police militarization, and the way our criminal justice system too often fails communities of color? 

Many of us have been moved to take action. Nearly 150,000 MoveOn members joined ColorOfChange.org to call on the Department of Justice to intervene in the investigation into Michael Brown’s death. That petition will be delivered next week in Washington, DC.

Tens of thousands of us added our names to MoveOn member and Missouri State Senator Jamilah Nasheed’s petition calling for an independent prosecutor in the case. And many of us have made phone calls, joined community protests and vigils, and more.

MoveOn member and Missouri State Senator Jamilah Nasheed delivered tens of thousands of MoveOn member signatures in St. Louis this week, and her campaign has drawn coverage from CNN to the Wall Street Journal and beyond.4

The vigils and national outcry have already had an impact in Ferguson. Attorney General Eric Holder—who came to meet with Ferguson residents in person—is overseeing a Department of Justice investigation.5 The FBI is conducting an investigation into civil rights abuses by the Ferguson police department.6 And a grand jury has been convened to determine if charges will be filed against Officer Darren Wilson.7

We still have much left to do and many complex issues to address before Ferguson—and America—can heal and move forward. There is no quick fix. But there are things we can all do right now to get involved in the push for justice.

One step you can take—if you haven’t already—is to sign Senator Nasheed’s petition calling for a special prosecutor to investigate the shooting death of Michael Brown. Faith leaders and local residents have joined Senator Nasheed in expressing serious doubts about whether the prosecutor in St. Louis County, who previously failed to charge officers for murdering two unarmed black men, will objectively investigate the officer responsible.8

There’s also a huge amount of thoughtful online commentary that’s been sparked by this tragedy. Whatever you’re reading about Ferguson now, consider passing it along to a friend to keep the conversation going. Here’s one option: This piece from MSNBC’s “All In With Chris Hayes” puts the story in a broader perspective in a conversation with Marq Claxton, a retired New York Police Department detective, and Phillip Agnew, founder of the young activist group Dream Defenders:

Together, let’s continue to reflect, to speak out, and to take action.

Thanks for all you do.

–Corinne, Maria, Anna, Mark, and the rest of the team

Sources:

1. “A Former Marine Explains All the Weapons of War Being Used by Police in Ferguson,” The Nation, August 20, 2014
http://www.moveon.org/r/?r=300422&id=100249-17809870-7a_RFkx&t=7

2. “6 more journalists arrested in Ferguson protests,” CNN, August 19, 2014
http://www.moveon.org/r/?r=300423&id=100249-17809870-7a_RFkx&t=8
3. “A Movement Grows in Ferguson,” The New Yorker, August 17, 2014
http://www.moveon.org/r/?r=300415&id=100249-17809870-7a_RFkx&t=9  4. “Concerns arise about prosecutor in Michael Brown case,” CNN, August 20, 2014
http://www.moveon.org/r/?r=300425&id=100249-17809870-7a_RFkx&t=10“Missouri Governor Won’t Replace Prosecutor in Michael Brown Probe,” Wall Street Journal, August 21, 2014
http://www.moveon.org/r/?r=300426&id=100249-17809870-7a_RFkx&t=115. “Jay Nixon: Missouri Highway Patrol Will Take Over Supervision Of Security In Ferguson,” Associated Press, August 14, 2014
http://www.moveon.org/r/?r=300416&id=100249-17809870-7a_RFkx&t=126. “FBI Will Investigate Death of Black Teenager in Missouri,” The Washington Post, August 11, 2014
http://www.moveon.org/r/?r=300417&id=100249-17809870-7a_RFkx&t=14

7. “Holder visits Ferguson as grand jury hearings begin,” Los Angeles Times, August 20, 2014
http://www.moveon.org/r/?r=300424&id=100249-17809870-7a_RFkx&t=15


8. “Protesting the Prosecution,” Slate, August 21, 2014
http://www.moveon.org/r/?r=300418&id=100249-17809870-7a_RFkx&t=18

Want to support our work? MoveOn Civic Action is entirely funded by our 8 million members—no corporate contributions, no big checks from CEOs. And our tiny staff ensures that small contributions go a long way. Chip in here.

 

Ferguson: Urgent Action – Forever Black History


a message from Congressman Hank Johnson

The following sponsored email was sent to you by AlterNet on behalf of Congressman Hank Johnson:

Urgent Petition: DontMilitarizeMainStreet.com

Dear AlterNet Reader,

I’m outraged.

The failure of the grand jury to indict Darren Wilson is a travesty of justice. And, the reaction of the police? The tear gas. The armored vehicles. The body armor. It’s the kind of action we expect from despotic governments, not the United States.

We in Congress can’t fix the grand jury’s terrible decision, but what we can do is stop the militarization of our police.

Join with me and sign my petition at DontMilitarizeMainStreet.com.

Police don’t need more armored vehicles to enforce the law. They need the trust of our citizens.

Police don’t need more grenade launchers. They need to build trust with people in our communities.

Police don’t need more assault rifles. They need more accountability.

I’m leading on this issue. I have introduced a bill in Congress to stop the militarization of our police. Both Republicans and Democrats alike are supporting this effort. Now, I need your support.

Sign the petition now. As a nation, we need to have discussions to tackle difficult questions about how officers patrol communities, prevent crime, and arrest suspects. Seeing the way a militarized police confronted protestors after the murder of an unarmed teenager makes it clear to me we have more work to do – the struggle for equal justice under the law must continue. That’s why Congress must pass our bill to stop the militarization of Main Street.

We have some incredible news. Our bill to end Main Street militarization now has 45 co-sponsors and our own petition now has hundreds of signatures. And it’s not just Democrats. Republicans have joined our effort as well. Help put us over 2,500 signatures. Together, will pressure Congress to act!

Our quest for justice continues. I hope you’ll stand with us.

For justice,

Hank Johnson

Hank

Social Security ACT … a repost


On August 14, 1935, President Franklin Roosevelt said, “We can never insure 100 percent of the population against 100 percent of the hazards and vicissitudes of life, but we have tried to frame a law which will give some measure of protection to the average citizen and to his family against the loss of a job and against poverty-stricken old age.”

With that, he signed the Social Security Act into law, ushering in an era of economic prosperity for middle-class families. The first American to get Social Security received 17 cents in benefits. Today, 79 years later, Social Security stands as a major source of income for 54 million Americans who have paid into the system for their entire working lives.

President Obama understands that many seniors rely on Social Security, and believes that every one of them should be able to retire with dignity, which is why he’s acted to strengthen the Social Security system and ensure it remains solvent for years to come.