Remember the Chibok girls of Nigeria

By Congresswoman Frederica S. Wilson (D-Fla.)
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Congresswoman Frederica S. Wilson (D-Fla) speaks at podium during a candlelight vigil for the missing Chibok schoolgirls in front of the State Department in Washington, D.C. on April 20, 2016. Wilson was joined by several members of Congress and some of the schoolgirls that escaped and have relocated to the Washington D.C., metro area. (Freddie Allen/AMG/NNPA Newswire)

Three years ago, Boko Haram terrorists burst into dormitory rooms at the Government Secondary School in the northern Nigerian town of Chibok and kidnapped nearly 300 girls simply because they dared to get an education. In the days leading up to anniversary of their kidnapping, there were plenty of headlines devoted to the “Chibok girls,” as these now young women are famously known. On April 14, 2017, we reached another sad milestone. Some of us paused to remember the anniversary of this horrific, ongoing tragedy. Soon the news reports will fade and the story of the still missing Chibok girls will slip once more to the backburner.
The 195 Chibok girls who haven’t been able to escape their captives or were not among the 21 released last October, are still the most compelling symbols of the Boko Haram insurgency, but we must never forget that the group has committed increasingly heinous acts in the past three years from which innumerable victims may never recover. Let me count the ways.
More than 2.6 million people are currently displaced across Nigeria and its neighbor nations in the Lake Chad region, and Nigeria is in the process of building a comprehensive orphanage to house approximately 8,000 children who’ve been separated from their parents. At least one million children have been forced out of school. Millions more Africans are at risk of starving to death and countless men, women and children all of ages, both Christians and Muslims, have been kidnapped, tortured, and/or killed.
It gets worse. In addition to engaging in the human trafficking of women, forcing them into sexual and domestic slavery, the insurgents also use children as suicide bombers. Even ISIS, to whom Boko Haram has pledged allegiance, has expressed concern that the group goes too far.
As a mother, a former educator, and indeed, a human being, I have felt heartbroken, shocked and angered by the daily horrors our West African sisters and brothers have been forced to endure. The actions of the world’s most deadly terrorist group have also emboldened me to use my voice and every resource available in the fight to ensure that the Chibok girls are not forgotten and to help eradicate Boko Haram and repair the damage it has caused.
I have traveled twice to Nigeria to meet with victims’ families and government officials and brought the #BringBackOurGirls movement to the United States. Each week that Congress is in session, lawmakers from both sides of the aisle participate in a “Wear Something Red Wednesday” social media campaign that helps maintain pressure on the Nigerian government to keep working to negotiate the release of the remaining Chibok girls and pull out all stops to defeat Boko Haram.
On December 14, 2016, President Barack Obama signed, into law, legislation that Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) and I sponsored that directs the U.S. secretaries of State and Defense to jointly develop a five-year strategy to aid the Nigerian government, the Multinational Joint Task Force created to combat Boko Haram, and international partners who’ve offered their support to counter the regional threat the terrorists pose.
In a telephone conversation between President Donald J. Trump and Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari in February, the two leaders pledged “to continue close coordination and cooperation in the fight against terrorism in Nigeria,” according to a readout from the White House. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson also has reportedly praised the Multinational Joint Task Force’s efforts to defeat Boko Haram a “success story,” but while the terrorist group may be down, it is far from out.
On June 12, we will mark another milestone in this terrible saga. That is the day the State and Defense departments’ five-year plan is due. It also is the deadline for the director of National Intelligence to assess the willingness and capability of Nigeria and its regional partners to implement the strategies outlined. We must use our collective voice to ensure they don’t miss this urgent deadline.
By now you may be asking yourself why any of this should matter to African Americans who are fighting their own battles to close the economic and opportunity gaps that still exist here at home and to exercise fundamental rights like the right to vote. Some of you may have never even heard of the Chibok girls. But if we don’t, who will? If we don’t teach the world to acknowledge that Black lives matter across the globe, who will? Until then, it will continue to cry for victims of terrorism in European nations, the Middle East and even Russia, while African and African-American lives lost go ignored.
Congresswoman Frederica S. Wilson is a member of the Congressional Black Caucus and represents parts of northern Miami-Dade and southeast Broward counties. She serves on the House Education and the Workforce Committee and the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. To learn more about Congresswoman Wilson’s work in Congress, please visit her Facebook and Twitter pages and congressional website.

U. N. chief cites ‘chapters of inaction’ as Rwanda marks 23rd memorial year

Rwanda poster

Apr. 3, 2017 (GIN) – The poison of intolerance still exists around the world, laments U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. “Even today, minorities and other groups suffer attacks and exploitation based on who they are.”

Guterres sent his message recalling “tragic chapters of hatred, inaction and indifference” on the occasion of the International Day of Reflection on the Genocide in Rwanda.

“Preventing genocide and other monstrous crimes is a shared responsibility and a core duty of the United Nations,” he said. “The world must always be alert to the warning signs of genocide and act quickly and early against the threat.”

Halfway around the world, Rwandan President Paul Kagame was delivering a powerful and inspirational speech as Rwandans in the country and abroad began activities to recall the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi and the killing of moderate Hutus.

The President consoled survivors, saying they still have a family in the nation that they belong to even if they lost their families during the Genocide. He reassured all Rwandans that no one will ever again be targeted because of who they are.

The Head of State delivered the message at the Kigali Genocide Memorial in Gisozi, from where week-long activities to remember the Genocide kicked off.

“To remember is a must,” he said. “When you look back in history, as this was about to happen, when it was happening and afterwards, there are those who had a role in pitting people against each other. Countries, international organizations, individuals…

“But there are others who did what they could, or had to do.

“At the forefront (to defend Rwanda) were some Africans,” he said. “Also the African Union. Not too long ago, Moussa Faki Mahamat, the African Union Commission Chairperson, stood up and said Rwandans shouldn’t continue to be targeted.”

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley out; Kay Ivey in:

By Kent Faulk | al.com

 

Kay Ivey sworn
Kay Ivey sworn in as Alabama’s new Governor

Within a span of minutes, Alabama’s lieutenant governor catapulted from a position of largely ceremonial duties to the state’s top political job. But new Republican Gov. Kay Ivey has decades of experience working in, and around, state politics. Ivey was the second woman to serve as Governor of Alabama.
After she was sworn in Monday, the 72-year-old Ivey called it a dark day in Alabama but one of opportunity. “I ask for your help and patience as we together steady the ship of state and improve Alabama’s image,” she said.
Ivey grew up in Wilcox County, the same rural area where U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions was raised, and the two attended high school together.
She graduated from Auburn University in 1967 and has worked as a classroom teacher, banker, administrator in higher education and assistant director of the state’s industrial recruitment agency.
She worked for then-Gov. Fob James in early 1980s, serving as first as executive assistant for social services and then as assistant director of the Alabama Development Office. “She would persevere to always get the job done at a high level. She always wanted to know the details,” James said. “She’s got a lot of political know-how by now.”

As state treasurer, Ivey oversaw the Alabama Prepaid Affordable College Tuition Plan, which was heavily invested in stocks. Turmoil on Wall Street caused its assets to plunge as tuition costs rose to the point of the plan becoming insolvent. Critics blamed her for the demise, but Ivey’s defenders said she had no control over Wall Street and tuition costs.
As the Senate’s president and presiding officer as lieutenant governor, Ivey acted as a moderator who didn’t offer opinions on legislation but instead directed the procedural flow in her signature honey-dripping drawl, cutting off senators whose speeches have gone on too long or namedropping distinguished guests in the gallery.

Bentley makes plea deal and resigns
Former Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley doesn’t get a security detail or any other retirement benefits and can’t run again for public office under the plea deal he worked out with prosecutors to keep from being charged with any serious crimes.
Bentley resigned Monday before he pleaded guilty to failing to file a major campaign contribution report regarding a $50,000 personal loan he made in November 2015 to his campaign but did not report until January of this year. He also pleaded guilty to a charge of converting campaign contributions to personal use for paying $8,912 in legal fees for his senior political adviser – and love interest – Rebekah Mason.
A judge sentenced Bentley to 30 days in jail but suspended it and ordered the former governor to serve a year of probation. He will also have to do 100 hours of community service, as a physician.
Bentley, 74, agreed not to seek or serve again in any public office under his plea deal with the Alabama Attorney General’s Office.
The two charges Bentley pleaded guilty to Monday were both misdemeanor campaign violations and would not otherwise have prevented him from serving in public office, said John Carroll, professor at the Cumberland School of Law.
The plea agreement appeared to be straightforward, Carroll said. “The prosecutors seemed like they wanted to get it done and put it behind the state,” he said.

CBC opposes nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to Supreme Court and the Senate should too

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By U.S. Congressman Cedric Richmond (D-La.) (Chairman, Congressional Black Caucus)

On January 31, President Trump nominated Judge Neil Gorsuch for Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. If confirmed, Gorsuch’s lifelong appointment to the court would have serious consequences for all Americans, but especially African Americans and vulnerable communities. Judge Gorsuch has displayed hostility to the rights of minorities, women, people with disabilities, and workers, which is why the Congressional Black Caucus submitted testimony recently opposing his nomination. His judicial record on race and related matters and constitutional and equal rights litigation does not merit our support or the support of the Senate.
All interpreters of the law should be committed to fairness and justice, not a specific legal philosophy of judicial interpretation. Judge Gorsuch’s commitment to “originalism,” or, interpreting the Constitution in a way that’s consistent with the intent of those who wrote it, often results in him ruling in favor of the big guy instead of the little guy, the strong instead of the weak, and the majority instead of minorities. From 2007 to 2016, Judge Gorsuch issued 14 published judgments related to employee discrimination cases. Nine of those decisions were in favor of the employer. We need a Supreme Court justice who will judge cases on the merits, not based on his or her personal philosophies.
For example, Judge Gorsuch believes that police officers should be granted qualified immunity, which prevents law enforcement and other government officials from being held accountable for the excessive use of force. In the case of Wilson v. City of Lafayette, Gorsuch decided that a police officer was entitled to qualified immunity from an excessive force claim arising from the use of a stun gun that ultimately killed a young man. In three other cases involving police accountability, Gorsuch ruled in favor of police searches of vehicles without a warrant, minimizing the Fourth Amendment protections against unauthorized search and seizure.

Judge Gorsuch’s ruling in police accountability cases are particularly troubling given the increasing number of shooting deaths of so many unarmed African Americans by the police, and recent Department of Justice investigations that have found that police departments across the country have had a “pattern and practice” of racial discrimination.
In addition to his poor judicial record on police accountability, Judge Gorsuch has a poor judicial record on workers’ rights. His record is one of supporting employers over employees, even in the case of employees with disabilities. In Hwang v. Kansas State University, Judge Gorsuch ruled that “showing up” for work is an essential job function and that the Rehabilitation Act should not be used as a safety net for employees who cannot work. This case focused on a professor employed by Kansas State University who was diagnosed with cancer, and, after treatments that weakened her immune system, requested an extension due to a flu outbreak on the campus. Judge Gorsuch denied her request and sided with the university, compromising her health and recovery. He has a similar record when it comes to reproductive rights. In two cases, he sided with companies that wanted to deny women reproductive healthcare.

The judicial branch has the power to interpret the laws of the land, and thus, impacts every American’s way of life. This is especially true for the highest court in the land. Because of the decisions rendered by the Supreme Court, African-Americans have been granted the opportunity to attend the school of their choice, women have been granted reproductive health rights, and workers have been granted safety and security from exploitative labor practices. Judge Gorsuch’s record in each of these areas raises concerns. His commitment to “originalism” also raises concerns. The Constitution is a living and breathing document that is meant to evolve with our society and it should be interpreted as such.
As the Senate evaluates Judge Gorsuch’s judicial record, it is imperative that Senators focus on consistency. Judge Gorsuch has consistently used the bench to protect corporations, and limit the rights of minorities, women, and workers. Consequently, the Congressional Black Caucus opposes his nomination and urges the Senate to do the same.
Congressman Richmond is the 25th Chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, and represents the 2nd District of Louisiana. On Twitter, follow the caucus at @OfficialCBC and follow Congressman Richmond at @RepRichmond.

Civil rights groups alarmed at Justice Department’s review of local police settlements

AG Jeff SessionsAttorney General Jeff Sessions

By Del Quentin Wilber and Kevin Rector Contact Reporter
Los Angeles Times

Civil rights groups and experts on police reform expressed alarm Tuesday at Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions’ order for a review of more than a dozen federal agreements with police forces that address problems of racial profiling, discrimination and use of excessive force.
The broad review reflects the Trump administration’s emphasis on bolstering law and order over investigating allegations of police misconduct, and it could lead to changing or scaling back consent agreements or negotiations underway in several cities, including Baltimore and Chicago.
Proposed consent decrees could be scrapped or overhauled in both cities, officials said, despite Justice Department investigations that uncovered systemic problems in their police departments.
The review also could affect an ongoing investigation by the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California into police patterns and practices in the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.
The administration can’t unilaterally unwind consent decrees without court approval, so it’s unclear whether Sessions’ directive could affect the negotiated settlement that led to federal oversight of the Oakland Police Department, which was the result of a 2003 lawsuit.
The Justice Department has recommended 272 changes to help improve the scandal-ridden San Francisco Police Department, but the six-month investigation last year did not lead to a consent decree or a federal takeover.
The Justice Department “is signaling it no longer intends to fully support police reform even in consent decrees they are already active in,” said Christy Lopez, who led the Justice Department’s police investigation efforts under the Obama administration and now is a Georgetown University law professor. “I think it’s incredibly cynical.”
Lopez said Sessions is signaling that the Justice Department has intruded too far into oversight of local policing, even as the administration threatens to withhold federal grants from cities and other jurisdictions that do not help federal agencies locate and arrest immigrants in the country illegally.
Sessions, a critic of federal investigations of local police, wrote in a two-page memo released Monday that the “misdeeds of individual bad actors should not impugn or undermine the legitimate and honorable work that law enforcement officers and agencies perform.”
Sessions said he had ordered his two top deputies to review “collaborative investigations and prosecutions, grant making, technical assistance and training, compliance reviews, existing or contemplated consent decrees and task force participation.”
The Justice Department has 14 such agreements with local police departments, including a high-profile accord reached with the city of Ferguson, Mo. It was hammered out in the aftermath of the fatal police shooting of an unarmed young black man in 2014, which was followed by weeks of street protests.
Such decrees are reached in court, overseen by a federal judge and stipulate changes that local law enforcement agencies must make in response to a Justice Department investigation.
During the Obama administration, the Justice Department launched more than two dozen investigations into local law enforcement agencies accused of misconduct. The goal was to improve both policing and their community relations.
Justice Department officials sought to downplay the review Sessions has ordered, saying it was normal for a new administration to examine policies and procedures inherited from a previous president.
Sessions and his team are “actively developing strategies to support the thousands of law enforcement agencies across the country that seek to prevent crime and protect the public,” Justice Department spokesman Ian Prior said in a statement.
“The department is working to ensure that those initiatives effectively dovetail with robust enforcement of federal laws designed to preserve and protect civil rights,” Prior said. “While this memo includes the review of any pending consent decrees, the attorney general also recognizes the department’s important role helping communities and police departments achieve these goals.”
On Monday, the Justice Department took its first step under Sessions’ order by asking a federal judge to pause court proceedings for 90 days involving a proposed consent decree affecting Baltimore’s police force.
Baltimore officials and the Justice Department reached the wide-ranging agreement in the waning days of the Obama administration to address a pattern of discrimination and unconstitutional policing. That investigation was sparked by the 2015 death of another black man, 25-year-old Freddie Gray, from injuries suffered while he was in police custody.
In its court filing, the Justice Department asked for the three-month pause so its new leadership could review the proposed agreement to assess whether the court-ordered initiatives “will help ensure that the best result is achieved” for Baltimore’s residents.
A hearing is set for Thursday to allow U.S. District Judge James K. Bredar, who is overseeing the negotiations, to gather public comments on the proposed agreement. Baltimore’s leaders, including its mayor and police commissioner, announced opposition to the proposed pause.
“Any interruption in moving forward may have the effect of eroding the trust that we are working hard to establish,” Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh said.
The Justice Department is also certain to review its determination that the Chicago police force was systematically abusive, following a series of police shootings of minorities.
In January, the department issued a scathing report that found that Chicago officers were poorly trained and quick to use excessive force. The report also found the Police Department tolerated racial discrimination. Negotiations on a potential agreement between Chicago and the Justice Department have been in the works. In a joint statement Monday night, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Police Supt. Eddie Johnson said Sessions’ review would not alter their plans to reform police practices.
Sessions said last month that he had read a summary of the Justice Department report on Chicago and that he worried police officers on the streets were pulling back because they feared getting in trouble if they made a mistake.
“We need to help police departments get better, not diminish their effectiveness, and I’m afraid we have done some of that,” Sessions told a gathering of state attorneys general. “So we’re going to pull back” on federal investigations of police departments.
Civil rights advocates said they are concerned about how the Trump administration will respond to police abuses.
“This directive makes clear that the attorney general sees little to no role for the federal government to play in promoting policing reform, even in those communities where the problems are greatest,” said Kristen Clarke, president of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, a nonprofit group that has sought greater federal oversight of troubled police departments.

Hate groups increase for second consecutive year as Trump electrifies radical right

 

Special to the Trice Edney News Wire from the Southern Poverty Law Center

(TriceEdneyWire.com) – The number of hate groups in the United States rose for a second year in a row in 2016 as the radical right was energized by the candidacy of Donald Trump, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center’s (SPLC) annual census of hate groups and other extremist organizations.

The most dramatic growth was the near-tripling of anti-Muslim hate groups – from 34 in 2015 to 101 last year. However fear has grown among many racial and ethnic minority groups. In a post-election SPLC survey of 10,000 educators, 90 percent said the climate at their schools had been negatively affected by the campaign. Eighty percent described heightened anxiety and fear among students, particularly immigrants, Muslims and African-Americans. Numerous teachers reported the use of slurs, derogatory language and extremist symbols in their classrooms.

The growth has been accompanied by a rash of crimes targeting Muslims, including an arson that destroyed a mosque in Victoria, Texas, just hours after the Trump administration announced an  executive order suspending travel from some predominantly Muslim countries. The latest FBI statistics show that hate crimes against Muslims grew by 67 percent in 2015, the year in which Trump launched his campaign.

The report, contained in the Spring 2017 issue of the SPLC’s Intelligence Report, includes the Hate Map showing the names, types and locations of hate groups across the country.

The SPLC found that the number of hate groups operating in 2016 rose to 917 – up from 892 in 2015. The number is 101 shy of the all-time record set in 2011, but high by historic standards.

“2016 was an unprecedented year for hate,” said Mark Potok, senior fellow and editor of the Intelligence Report. “The country saw a resurgence of white nationalism that imperils the racial progress we’ve made, along with the rise of a president whose policies reflect the values of white nationalists. In Steve Bannon, these extremists think they finally have an ally who has the president’s ear.”

The increase in anti-Muslim hate was fueled by Trump’s incendiary rhetoric, including his campaign pledge to bar Muslims from entering the United States, as well as anger over terrorist attacks such as the June massacre of 49 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando.

The overall number of hate groups likely understates the real level of organized hatred in America as a growing number of extremists operate mainly online and are not formally affiliated with hate groups.

Aside from its annual census of extremist groups, the SPLC found that Trump’s rhetoric reverberated across the nation in other ways. In the first 10 days after his election, the SPLC documented 867 bias-related incidents, including more than 300 that targeted immigrants or Muslims.

In contrast to the growth of hate groups, antigovernment “Patriot” groups saw a 38 percent decline – plummeting from 998 groups in 2015 to 623 last year. Composed of armed militiamen and others who see the federal government as their enemy, the “Patriot” movement over the past few decades has flourished under Democratic administrations but declined dramatically when President George W. Bush occupied the White House.

The SPLC also released an in-depth profile of the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), an anti-LGBT hate group. Leaders of the legal advocacy organization and its affiliated lawyers have regularly demonized LGBT people, falsely linking them to pedophilia, calling them “evil” and a threat to children and society, and blaming them for the “persecution of devout Christians.” The group also has supported the criminalization of homosexuality in several countries.

 

‘voter fraud is a lie, voter suppression is alive’ Rev. Barber: “We want full restoration of the Voting Rights Act now!”

By: John Zippert,  Co-Publisher

Amid the celebration and commemoration at this weekend’s Bridge Crossing Jubilee in Selma, Alabama, celebrating the 52nd anniversary of the “Bloody Sunday March” in 1965, there was a demand for “Full Restoration of the Voting Rights Act” by Rev. William Barber of the North Carolina Repairers of the Breach and Forward Together Movement. Rev. Barber’s demand was echoed by other speakers and was the central issue in many of the workshops and programs of the Jubilee.
In addition to the workshops, there was a parade, golf tournament, dinners, a unity breakfast, street festival, and the march reenactment on Sunday afternoon. Ten thousand or more marchers crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge behind a host of local and national leaders, including: Rev. Jesse Jackson of PUSH, Charles Steele of SCLC, Rev. Barber, Faya Rose Toure, Senator Hank Sanders, Rev. Mark Thompson of Sirius 127 Radio and many others. The Masons of Alabama turned out in force and in uniform, to participate in the march.
The weekend culminated in Monday’s “Slow-Ride from Selma to Montgomery” with a caravan of 35 vehicles including a Greene County School bus, carrying the members of the Eutaw High Ninth Grade Academy. The caravan was met by local Montgomery leaders for a rally on the steps of the State Capitol.
Prior to the re-enactment march, Attorney Faya Rose Toure pointed out that the Edmund Pettus Bridge was named for an Alabama Klu Klux Klan leader and that the name should be changed to honor Ms. Amelia Boyton Robinson and the Voting Rights Foot-soldiers who won the 1965 VRA.
Rev. William Barber spoke many times, as ketnote for the Sunday morning breakfast, at Brown’s Chapel Church before the march reenactment, on a national radio broadcast from the Dallas County Courthouse on Sunday evening and at the rally at the Alabama State Capitol in Montgomery at the end of the slow-ride.

Rev. Barber made similar points in each speech. At the breakfast, we invoked the martyrs of the civil and voting rights movement – Dr. King, Jimmie Lee Jackson, Jonathan Daniels, James Reid, Viola Luizzo, and un-named others, whose blood he said was crying out to people today to continue the work of restoring the Voting Rights Act, fighting voter suppression in all its forms, and building a more beloved community involving Blacks, Whites, Latinos and all religious faiths.
He said he had come to Selma, ”not for the nostalgia of history but to listen for the ‘blood’ that was shed and soaked into the concrete of the bridge and the wooden pews of the churches.” Barber said that America was headed by an egotistical narsisistic man, “but this is not the first time that a racist was in the White House. Steve Bannon is not the first white Supremacist to be in high places. Trump is not the first President to hold these views. Many of his predacessors felt the same way.”
“On June 25, 2013”, Barber said, “the U. S. Supreme Court in the Holder vs. Shelby County case, overturned Section 4 and nullified Section 5 of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Within an hour of the destruction of pre-clearence of voting changes in the Shelby decision, Texas approved a voter ID law and other changes; two months later, North Carolina passed voter suppression laws.
Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia and other Southern states also passed voter ID and other voter suppression measures. Voter fraud is a lie, voter suppression is alive.”
“Twenty-one states adopted 47 regressive voting changes within a year of the Shelby decision, The 2016 Presidential election was the first in half a century without the protection of the Voting Rights Act.
868 fewer polling places were allowed in Black and Brown communities around the nation. In the 25 Presidential debates, both Republican and Democratic, no mention was made of the issue of voter suppression in our communities,” said Rev. Barber.
“Long before Russia interfered in our elections, voter suppression had hacked and distorted the system,” said Barber. He pointed out that in Wisconsin 300,000 voters were disenfranchised due to the voter ID requirements and Trump defeated Hillary by 20,000 votes in that state.
Senator Hank Sanders spoke to the problems of voter suppression, voter ID, Legislative gerrymandering in Alabama, Packing and stacking Black voters in majority Black districts. He also recounted the history of now Attorney General Jeff Sessions role in initiating voter suppression in Alabama with voter fraud trials of civil rights activists.
Rev. Barber said, “ the 11 former Confederate states have 171 electoral votes, you only need 99 more to have the 270 needed to win the electoral college. These states have 26 U. S. senators, the extremists need only 25 more Senators to control the Senate which they are doing now. They have the House of Representatives, statehouses, county courthouses, we have work to do to fully restore the Voting Rights Act.”
As part of the evening radio broadcast and rally at the Dallas County Courthouse, Rev. Barber displayed maps, which showed the concentration of poverty, child poverty, low wages-right-to-work states, states that did not expand Medicaid, overlapped with the states that adopted new voter suppression measures. Most of these maps showed concentration of these problems in the rural South. Rev. Barber also displayed a map of states and areas with a concentration of protestant Evangelical Christians and once again the overlap was clear. He called this a “mis-teaching of faith and a false interpretation of the Bible”.
At the rally in Montgomery, speaker after speaker blasted the voter suppression, racial gerrymandering and limits to voting by the people. Rev. Barber said, ”We must get ready for a 100 days of disruption and civil disobedience in our state houses and in Congress to work for full restoration of the Voting Rights Act. Different state organizations should be preparing to go to Washington, D. C. and non-violently disrupt the process qnd win back our full voting rights.