Tag Archives: United States

Civil Rights Groups Expect Swell of Support ~Black History Month


          The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gestures during his "I Have a Dream" speech at the March on Washington on Aug. 28, 1963. Some at the National Urban League conference have called for another such march in the wake of the Trayvon Martin verdict and the Supreme Court's decision on the Voting Rights Act.
Leaders at the National Urban League convention say recent Voting

Rights Act decision and Trayvon Martin case have galvanized many

By Elizabeth Flock

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gestures during his “I Have a Dream” speech at the March on Washington on Aug. 28, 1963. Some at the National Urban League conference have called for another such march in the wake of the Trayvon Martin verdict and the Supreme Court’s decision on the Voting Rights Act.

PHILADELPHIA – The 50th anniversary of the March on Washington was intended to be a look back on the historic march of 1963 and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech during the height of the civil rights movement.

But the recent Supreme Court decision that struck down a key provision of the Voting Rights Act coupled with the “not guilty” verdict in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin has lent new urgency and more participants to the anniversary event, according to groups involved.

[PHOTOS: Joe Biden Leads Re-enactment of Voting Rights March]

In Philadelphia, where the National Urban League is holding its annual conference on Thursday and Friday, president Marc Morial says that both the conference and march have changed in focus and in tenor because of “what’s happened in the last 30 days.”

“The Voting Rights Act decision [and] the Trayvon Martin tragedy [have] created a different mood among the people who are here. It’s a different kind of focus in their hearts and minds,” he says. “It’s a different enthusiasm.”

Some of that emotion, he says, has shown itself in the form of renewed distrust in the criminal justice system. Several panels at the conference also expressed frustration with the Supreme Court. And in a speech at the conference Thursday morning, Barbara Arnwine, executive director of the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, was greeted by frustrated cheers when she told the crowd she’d better see them at the 50th anniversary march next month.

[READ: Holder Says Texas Must Get Pre-Approval Before Changing Voting Laws]

But Morial hopes those frustrations can be channeled into calls for action at the march: for a congressional fix to the Voting Rights Act, a hard look at the criminal justice system after the Trayvon Martin case and a plan for dealing with the lack of employment in minority communities.

The National Urban League is just one of some two dozen civil and human rights groups involved in the event. Five participating groups took part in the original 1963 march, but many more are new, including Rev. Al Sharpton‘s National Action Network, which has 40 chapters across the country, the National Council of Churches, which includes 100,000 local congregations, and the National Park Service.

“There were 250,000 people in 1963,” says Morial. “It remains to be seen this time… [But] these recent events have been encouragement for more people to attend.”

The Charleston Shooting … In memory of


By

Wednesday’s tragic murder of nine black parishioners in Charleston’s Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church by a 21-year-old white man wanting “to start a civil war” is weighing heavily on the hearts of all of us. We cannot begin to understand the grief felt by the families of those lost or the Charleston community. But we can speak about what we do know. This was a racist committing a racially motivated murder. This was another tragic example of how guns too easily fall into the hands of dangerous people. This was a terrorist act.

Here is a round-up of the columns and news that we are reading and talking about. We hope they foster and inform your conversations, reflections, and actions too:

1. Jelani Cobb in The New Yorker: Murders in Charleston. “We have, quite likely, found at 110 Calhoun Street, in Charleston, South Carolina, the place where Columbine, Aurora, and Newtown cross with Baltimore, Ferguson, and Sanford.”

2. Ta-Nehisi Coates in The Atlantic: Take Down the Confederate Flag—Now. “Moral cowardice requires choice and action. It demands that its adherents repeatedly look away, that they favor the fanciful over the plain, myth over history, the dream over the real. Here is another choice. Take down the flag. Take it down now.”

3. Jeff Duo in the Washington Post: The legal loophole that allowed Dylann Roof to get a gun. “Dylann Roof, the man accused of a shooting spree that left nine people dead at a historic black church in Charleston on Wednesday night, should not have been able to get a gun.”

4. Jamelle Bouie in Slate: The Black American Holiday Everyone Should Celebrate but Doesn’t. “Juneteenth isn’t just a celebration of emancipation, it’s a celebration of our commitment to make it real.”

5. Jennifer Mascia in The Trace: Charleston Area Faced Gun Violence Spike Before Church Shooting. “Nearly eight out of every 10 killings in the area last year involved a firearm.”

6. Dan Wasserman’s editorial cartoon in The Boston Globe:

wasserman charleston

CREDIT: Dan Wasserman

And be sure to check out the latest news and opinions from our partners at ThinkProgress:

1. Judd Legum: NRA Board Member Blames Charleston Victim For His Own Death. Seriously.

2. Ian Millhiser: When John Roberts Said There Isn’t Enough Racism In America To Justify The Voting Rights Act. It’s a sordid business, this divvying up the amount of racism in the United States to decide whether Congress is allowed to enact laws intended to fix it.

3. Jack Jenkins: How The Charleston Shooting Is Linked To The Confederate Flag, According To A South Carolinian. While the Confederate flag is certainly about heritage, it is and always has been about hate.

4. Kiley Kroh: Charleston Victim’s Son Addresses Media On The Baseball Field. “Love is always stronger than hate. So if we just love the way my mom would, then the hate won’t be anywhere close to where the love is.”

Wishing you a safe and peaceful weekend.

‘Racial Justice Act’ repealed in North Carolina’ ~~ Information we must ALL read& know


By Matt Smith, CNN
updated 3:48 AM EDT, Fri June 21, 2013
 http://www.cnn.com/video/data/2.0/video/us/2013/06/21/ac-lavandera-pkg-death-due-to-race.cnn.html
STORY HIGHLIGHTS

  • The 2009 law allowed inmates to argue that race played a role in sentences
  • Gov. Pat McCrory said it effectively halted capital punishment in the state
  • Democrats say four condemned convicts had their sentences reduced to life under the law

(CNN) — North Carolina’s governor says he agreed to repeal a law that allowed inmates to challenge their death sentences on racial grounds because it effectively banned capital punishment in the state.

North Carolina legislators barred death sentences “sought or obtained on the basis of race” in 2009, when both houses of the state General Assembly were under Democratic control.

The, legislation, known as the Racial Justice Act, allowed condemned convicts to use statistical analysis to argue that race played a role in their sentencing.

Was race a factor in death sentence?

Republicans who took control of the Legislature in 2010 weakened the law last year, overriding a veto by then-Gov. Bev Perdue, a Democrat.

Gov. Pat McCrory, a Republican elected in 2012, followed legislative action and signed its complete repeal Wednesday.

“Nearly every person on death row, regardless of race, has appealed their death sentence under the Racial Justice Act,” McCrory said in a statement Wednesday. “The state’s district attorneys are nearly unanimous in their bipartisan conclusion that the Racial Justice Act created a judicial loophole to avoid the death penalty and not a path to justice.”

The state still allowed capital punishment even while the Racial Justice Act was on the books. But state Democrats said the law resulted in at least four convicts being taken off death row after judges ruled that their sentences resulted from racial bias, with their sentences commuted to life in prison instead.

About 53% of the 153 convicts awaiting execution in North Carolina are black, according to the state Department of Public Safety, while about 40% are white. African-Americans make up about 22% of the state’s population, according to Census figures.

CNN’s Joe Sutton contributed to this report.

How … A Bill Becomes a Law


How a Bill Becomes a Law

When performing legislative research, it is important to understand the legislative process. The numerous steps that result in a bill becoming a law are described in this 24th edition of “How Our Laws Are Made.”

Are we only human … Black History


thefaces

Just another repost and today’s rant

 It was about 6am on a Saturday morning. I was checking my email and other social media accounts while listening to pundits talk about POTUS’s latest press conference.

This has been a rough few weeks now moving into the month of July because The Voter Rights Act was essentially torn apart by SCOTUS.  I have gone over things in my mind repeatedly not being able to write about it, crying, and wondering what was the true intent of that decision looking for positive outcomes and there are many but few active players willing to make the best thing happen, which is Universal Voter Rights. We all know that conservatives do not want everyone voting though redistricting or packing and cracking interferes with the rights of minorities, rural folks, poor and low income … conservatives engage in this practice legally mind you. Then Women in Texas, South Carolina among others started to say NO to lawmakers… made up mostly of men, seemingly wanting to control our bodies and decisions along with a few conservative women who need to be schooled on what a rape kit is for,  maybe told to stop being so submissive and move into the 21st Century period. Then there was the #justice4Trayvon marches and juror B37 spoke along with quite a few deaths with defendants using SYG started something.

It is obvious, our voices need to get loud louder and loudest for those who no longer have one.

As I watched President Obama walk into to what usually is the President’s Carney briefing. The room was empty enough for the President to comment as well as the so-called 2-minute rule was given … or not as reporters stated and the environment seemed tense maybe very negative.  I am biased, but there are things I do not agree with our President on and it should be that way because we are not lemmings we have different attitudes about life liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

The fact is many people needed to hear POTUS come to the mic and talk race but what we all heard was not just comments from the President about race or a reminder to respect the Trayvon Martin family their wishes for calm back then. It was a reminder while we must have respect for the judicial system, POTUS also asked Americans about the possibility of looking at the laws that face us today. I am not quoting or trying to quote the President because everyone who heard watched that historic press conference will take and remember what he or she wants.  While each station on the airwaves focus on what they want, the only responsible thing is to listen to what the President said by playing the original tape and refrain yes I say refrain from taking what TV hosts, pundits and journalist tell you as the truth. It was an important moment because the stand your ground laws while said to be absent in the Trayvon Martin case, the jury did use it to determine the fate of a young black man who just turned 17 …shot and killed by a wannabe cop.  I ask anyone truly interested to compare the juror instructions given by the judge and what was stated before they were excused to make their decision and as a former juror how could or why did this group ignore the facts, his words, his violent past or George Zimmerman’s efforts to want to become a cop least we remember he was told to stand down and he did not. If he had waited for the cops, we all know things would be different. There is truly something wrong when a child is killed, the parents were not contacted immediately, and what happened to the cell phone? The police decided on their own that it was self-defense, only one guy requested expected an investigation felt there was a need to survey the neighborhood but that did not happen either while the evidence was not just withheld or tossed it was tainted  and no one went to jail for a killing a human being, a young black man.

We cannot forget what happened to Oscar grant, Trayvon Martin, Sean Belle,  or other Jordan Davis’s of the world.  So many invisible people of colour, mistreated even in their deaths is unacceptable. While folks say, black and brown folks are able to use the castle doctrine or the stand your ground law, common sense says and reports tell us this is not true. After hearing what happened to Marissa Alexander even with a new trial might serve possibly 60yrs for a warning shot, proves stand your ground has failed at least people of colour and the first question is. Who is Stand Your Ground really for?  How many more people of colour have to die to see a law that is not being interpreted correctly or is it that those applying the law are on the extreme side of States Rights. We all know ALEC is involved and it would be in all our best interests to consider what future ALEC should play in the lives of Americans.  I happen to believe Marissa Alexander was hoping that the police would come to her house and save her from an abusive husband but the system failed her.  Whatever the outcome, I felt helpless, upset angry and overwhelmed by all the things happening unable to rant rave or shout.  Now, it is time for each of us to ask questions about how our own States are applying the castle doctrine and more specifically how our police interpret it.

 

I come from a long line of mixed family on both sides – this is fact. I know that a group of folks from white,brown&black sides of my family clashed, were forced, some had complicit or secret relationships and even more often than not possibly manipulated, some were willing to take risks for love or whatever; If not, I would not be here – this is another fact. I have children and I still believe in a woman’s right to choose, I am straight but I believe you should not be punished for loving whom you do and this is slowly melting away, yet the fight to turn back the clock on civil, voter, human, reproductive rights is in full effect.  In my heart from my own family experience … Race will always matter; it is up to each person who chooses to be open to the unknown that counts.

Be aware be present and join us in the fight for equality… on all its levels