Newswire : With Winnie gone, ANC loses its grip

 

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Winnie Mandela

Apr. 16, 2018 (GIN) – As Winnie Madikizela-Mandela was lovingly laid to rest with full state honors, her beloved country was being buffeted by published reports of a massive diversion of monies from the most vulnerable people, to whom she dedicated her life, to the wealthy.

Among the victims of the apparent looting of government funds are Black farmers in the Eastern Cape. Reporters from the Saturday Dispatch found that promised lands were abandoned, unproductive and derelict.

In Vrede, in the province of Free State, a dairy project meant for Black farmers was skimmed of $21 million in public funds. A family with close ties to former President Jacob Zuma took over the government-backed project.

Prosecutors say only about 1 percent of the money invested by the province actually went into dairy farming. Leaked emails indicate that some of the money was sent to the United Arab Emirates and put into accounts registered to the Guptas, close friends of President Zuma. The money then made its way back to South Africa through a maze of bank transfers, according to spreadsheets, logs and an invoice in the email trove.

The black farmers who were supposed to be beneficiaries of the project ended up receiving nothing — an outcome that, to many, symbolized the corruption that flourished under the ANC.

In his state of the nation address, President Cyril Ramaphosa promised to resurrect the economy and create jobs, adding “This is the year in which we will turn the tide of corruption in our public institutions.”

A onetime anti-apartheid labor leader, Mr. Ramaphosa went into business in the late 1990s and quickly became one of the richest men on the continent, with a fortune now estimated at $450 million.

Perhaps the biggest unprosecuted crime in the country, however, is a multi-billion dollar arms deal that included advanced weaponry such as warships, fighter aircraft and new submarines to “counter military threats.”

European arms dealers had long been preparing for this. With the extensive use of bribes – estimated at one billion dollars – they proceeded to sell weapons that the country did not need and could not afford.

With the stepping down of Jacob Zuma and his immunity lifted, the former president must now face corruption charges over the $2.5 billion arms deal.

Winnie Madikizela-Mandela had opposed the excessive spending on weapons.

Newswire : Kendrick Lamar wins the Pulitzer Prize for Music

By Frederick H. Lowe, Northstar News Today
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Kendrick Lamar

Kendrick Lamar made history on Monday, winning the Pulitzer Prize for Music for his 2017 Rap album “DAMN.” Lamar is the first non-jazz and non-classical musician to win the Pulitzer.
The Pulitzer Committee called “DAMN” “a virtuosic song collection unified by its vernacular authenticity and rhythmic dynamism that offers affecting vignettes capturing the complexity of modern African-American life.” He is the first ‘rapper’ to win the prestigious award.
He released the album August 14, 2017. Last year, “DAMN” was Billboard’s best-selling album. However, it lost out in the 2018 Grammy awards for album of the year to Bruno Mars’ “24 Karat Magic.”
The 30-year-old Lamar was born in Compton, California to parents who moved to California from Chicago. He is worth an estimated $18 million, according to his website.

Newswire : Starbucks will close more than 8,000 stores for racial-bias training

By Frederick H. Lowe, NorthStar News

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Police surround Starbucks in Philadelphia

Starbucks will close more than 8,000 company-owned stores affecting 175,000 employees in the United States on May 29th to address implicit racial bias, following arrests of two black-male customers last week at its Center City store in Philadelphia.
“I’ve spent the last few days in Philadelphia with my leadership team listening to the community, learning what we did wrong and the steps we need to fix it,” said Kevin Johnson, CEO of Starbucks. ” All Starbucks company-owned retail stores and corporate offices will be closed in the afternoon of Tuesda Newsy, May 29. During that time, partners (employees) will go through a training program designed to address implicit bias, promote conscious inclusion, prevent discrimination and ensure everyone inside a Starbucks store feels safe and welcome.”
Bryan Stevenson, founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative; Sherrilyn Ifill, president and director counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund; Eric Holder, former U.S. Attorney General; Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League and Heather McGhee, president of Demos, a think tank and research policy center, are assisting in developing Starbucks’ curriculum.
Johnson made his announcement after he met with two black men police arrested when the manager of a Center City, Philadelphia, Starbucks complained they wouldn’t leave the coffee shop after they weren’t allowed to use the restroom because they hadn’t purchased anything.
Spokespersons for Seattle-based Starbucks did not disclose what was discussed between the two men, who were not identified. Earlier, Johnson called the incident “reprehensible” and publicly apologized to the men involved.
Six Philadelphia police officers arrested the men Thursday afternoon for trespassing. The men were waiting to meet another man, who is white and who had scheduled a meeting with them in the Starbucks.
The arrests, which were captured on cell phone video, sparked demonstrations inside and outside the Starbucks, which is located on swanky Rittenhouse Square, and more national and international conversations over social media about the state of race in the era of President Donald Trump.
Richard Ross, Philadelphia’s police chief, who is black, defended his men, arguing they did not do anything wrong in making the arrests.
But the arrests caused hand wringing among others. The Philadelphia district attorney later released the two men because Starbucks refused to press charges. Jim Kenny, Philadelphia’s mayor, wasn’t happy about the arrests.
The woman manager who called the police has either left the store or the company, according to various news reports.
Facebook released a video showing a black man being ordered to leave a Starbucks in Torrance, California, after complaining employees gave a white make customer the numerical code to open the door of the men’s restroom before he ordered food. The black man was not given the same code. Starbucks officials said they are aware of the video.
The Rittenhouse Square arrests angered the NAACP, the nation’s oldest civil rights organization.
“The arrest of two black men at a Philadelphia Starbucks represents another ominous signal on the increasingly dangerous environment for African Americans,” wrote Derrick Johnson, president and CEO of the NAACP. “Every day people of color find themselves at the mercy of stereotypes and embedded fears of others…Racism and biases that make simply breathing while black so dangerous will not just go away without our society committing more resources to discussion, education and training on implicit bias and racism.”
“We know if two Black men in Philadelphia require six police officers to handcuff and arrest them for waiting to order coffee, then we begin to understand the mind state that allows for such overzealous and reactionary use of deadly force by those who are paid to serve and protect.
“Every day people of color find themselves at the mercy of the stereotypes and embedded fears of others. How else can we explain why 14-year-old Brennan Walker who missed his bus on his way to school would be shot at by a homeowner just outside Detroit? Or explain Saheed Vassell, a mentally-ill man in Brooklyn fired at ten times and shot dead by police officers. Or why Stephon Clark was shot at 20 times and hit 8 times, mainly in the back, by police officers in Sacramento, based on the assumption that he was the culprit responsible for breaking into cars. We are at least glad in the case of Starbucks that no one mistook a wallet for a gun.

Newswire : Rev. Frederick D. Reese, one of the Selma ‘Elite Eight’ that invited ML King to Selma, Alabama for voting rights movement passes

 


Rev. F. D. Reese

Frederick Douglas Reese, or F. D. Reese (November 28, 1929 – April 5, 2018), was an American civil rights activist, educator and minister from Selma, Alabama. Known as a member of Selma’s “Courageous Eight”, Reese was the president of the Dallas County Voters League (DCVL) when it invited the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and Martin Luther King Jr. to Selma to amplify the city’s local voting rights campaign. This campaign eventually gave birth to the Selma to Montgomery marches, which later led to the passage of the Voting Rights Act.
Reese was also president of the Selma Teachers Association, and in January 1965 he mobilized Selma’s teachers to march as a group for their right to vote.
Reese retired from teaching and from February 2015 and until his death in April 2018, he was active as a minister at Selma’s Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church.
Reese was born in Selma, Alabama. He graduated from Alabama State University, where he majored in math and science where he received a Master’s degree.
Reese spent nine years in Millers Ferry, Alabama, ending in 1960.  This is where he began his teaching career, teaching science and serving as assistant principal.
In 1960, Reese moved home to Selma, started teaching science and math at R. B. Hudson High School, and joined the Dallas County Voters League(DCVL), the major civil rights organization in Selma since the state of Alabama started actively suppressing the NAACP in 1956. Two years after joining the DCVL, he was elected its president.
In 1962, while Reese was a DCVL member, the organization encouraged Bernard Lafayette of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee to come to Selma to assist in the voting rights struggle by educating black citizens about their right to vote.
As president of the DCVL, Reese signed and sent the DCVL’s invitation to Martin Luther King Jr. and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) to come to Selma to lend their support to the voting rights campaign there.[2] King and the SCLC agreed to come, and they started their public engagement in Selma’s voting rights campaign on January 2, 1965, with a mass meeting in violation of an injunction against large gatherings.
On January 18, about 400 people marched on the county courthouse to register to vote; on January 19, the people marched again, and this time police violence towards DCVL’s Amelia Boynton and the arrest of 67 marchers brought the movement to national headlines.
Teachers’ March
In 1965, Reese held the simultaneous leadership positions of DCVL president and president of the Selma Teachers Association.  The first act he made as the Teachers Association president was to sign a proclamation in the presence of the superintendent and assistant superintendent, declaring that teachers should register to vote.  Reese even asked that the superintendent allow black teachers to use their free period during the school day to register to vote, though he knew it was an “abominable thing to ask” in that political and social climate.  Reese and fellow teacher and DCVL member Margaret Moore challenged their colleagues, “How can we teach American civics if we ourselves cannot vote?”
On January 22, three days after Amelia Boynton’s encounter with police, and three days before another demonstration in front of the county courthouse where Annie Lee Cooper (portrayed by Oprah Winfrey in the 2014 film Selma) had a violent encounter with Sheriff Jim Clark, Reese gathered 105 teachers—almost every black teacher in Selma—to march on the courthouse.[6] The teachers climbed the steps but were barred from entering to register.  They were pushed down the steps twice, the police jabbing them with nightsticks.
Officials reportedly urged against the teachers’ arrest, saying, “Don’t arrest these people because what you going do with the 7,000 students that we have running around here when they go back to school Monday?”  It was the first time in Civil Rights Movement that teachers in the South publicly marched as teachers; they were the largest black professional group in Dallas County, and their actions inspired involvement from their students and others who were unsure about participating in demonstrations.
Selma to Montgomery march
During the time the SCLC spent organizing and protesting in Selma, Reese coordinated meetings and often played the role of mediator when differences of opinion arose.
In photographs from the historic Selma to Montgomery marches, which were initiated and organized by SCLC’s Director of Direct Action James Bevel, Reese is pictured in a dark suit, coat, and hat, most often in the front of the march with Martin Luther King, Jr. and some of his closest associates.

Newswire : MLK50: Fifty years after Kerner and King, racism still matters

By Derrick Johnson (President and CEO, National NAACP)

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Derrick Johnson
“Segregation and poverty have created in the racial ghetto a destructive environment totally unknown to most white Americans. What white Americans have never fully understood but what the Negro can never forget—is that white society is deeply implicated in the ghetto. White institutions created it, white institutions maintain it, and white society condones it.”
– Report by the Kerner Commission, 1968

Fifty years ago, the nation was rocked by the brutal and public assassination of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Eerily echoing the title of King’s final book “Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?”, his murder sent a powerful shock wave through the soul of America resulting in urban rebellions springing up in over 100 cities and placing the nation at a political and social crossroads.
As cities burned with rage at King’s murder, most of America had already dismissed and forgotten the damning and prophetic report published only a month earlier by the presidential commission chaired by Illinois Governor Otto Kerner. Officially called the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders, the Kerner Commission identified systemic racism and poverty as the causes of the major Black rebellions in both Newark and Detroit the previous summer. The report warned that America was “moving toward two societies, one black, one white – separate and unequal” and offered concrete suggestions for confronting immediately this “deepening racial division.”
However, the Kerner Report’s recommendations for reconciliation and progress were never heeded; in fact, they were actively disregarded. Despite commissioning the report, President Lyndon B. Johnson went out of his way to suppress the spread of its findings. The consequences have been severe: “Whereas the Kerner Commission called for ‘massive and sustained’ investment in economic, employment and education initiatives, over the last 50 years America has pursued ‘massive and sustained’ incarceration framed as ‘law and order,’ while the ‘war on drugs’ has failed,” says a new book, “Healing Our Divided Society,” co-edited by former Sen. Fred Harris, the sole surviving member of the Kerner Commission.
Today, many of America’s Black communities bear the sustained scars of physical and economic injuries. Even in Baltimore, the headquartered home of the NAACP, communities are still reeling from the police-custody death of Freddie Gray. The deaths of Black Americans like Michael Brown, Alton Sterling, and, most recently, Stephon Clark—shot eight times by police in his own backyard—remind us we are still not seen as full-citizens by many in our nation.
In our recent Economic Inclusion Reports on Baltimore, Charlotte and St. Louis—three cities impacted by protests and revolts linked to police violence and misconduct—the NAACP noted “similarities between the past economic realities of African Americans during Reconstruction and legalized racism and the current economic realities more than 150 years after the abolition of slavery and promise of freedom.”
Our reports expose that African Americans are “still living in highly segregated communities and school districts, comprising the lowest median household income, highest unemployment rate, highest poverty rate, and ongoing barriers to the creation of small businesses.” For example, the mid-2000 housing crisis caused by Wall Street excesses led to trillions of dollars in bailouts and the decimation of major portions of African American wealth—wrapped up in their foreclosed homes. This recession removed huge swaths of intergenerational wealth and many families have yet to recover.
As the leader of the oldest and largest civil rights organization, I recognize the temporal connection between America’s past and present identities. Our country has let the pestilent wound caused by a continuing legacy of racism fester. This chronic condition is aggravated by the often-silent progressives who still cannot grasp the stark emotional reality of what partial freedom feels like to a full human being.
In his commencement address to Oberlin College in 1965, King said, “We must face the honest fact that we still have a long, long way to go before the problem of racial injustice is solved.”
Half a century after Kerner’s report and King’s assassination, our government continues to perpetuate an unacceptable level of systemic and structural racism, which permeates our communities and fuels our protest.
As we remember King and Kerner, we will not do so in solemn reflection, but instead with resolve. We commit to making the social and political healing America has continued to defer become a reality. The progress for which NAACP members fight rings in harmony with the Kerner Commission’s unapologetic condemnation of White America’s failure to make democracy real for all of us.
Derrick Johnson is the president and CEO of the NAACP, America’s largest civil rights organization. Follow him on Twitter @DerrickNAACP.

Newswire : Rwandans ‘remember, renew and unite’ on anniversary of genocide

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Rwandan people observe anniversary of 1994 genocide

Apr. 9, 2018 (GIN) – Rwandans at home and abroad marked the April 1994 Genocide that took the lives of more than a million Rwandans in just 100 days.

In Kenya, hundreds of Rwandan citizens held a procession in Nairobi. Ambassador James Kimonyo said the walk offered a time to reflect on what happened in 1994, why it happened and what they should do to ensure that the incident does not happen again.

Marking the anniversary in Nigeria, Rwandan High Commissioner Stanislas Kamanzi praised the resilience of the Rwandan spirit that has aided the reconciliation and development of the nation.

At home in Kigali, Rwandan President Paul Kagame and First Lady Jeannette Kagame and the dean of the foreign diplomatic corps laid a wreath at the mass grave that houses more than 250,000 remains of the genocide victims.

On Saturday, Apr. 7, hundreds of youth joined in a “Walk to Remember” from the Rwandan parliamentary building to Amahoro National Stadium in Kigali for a candlelight service.

The activities officially last a week, but the commemoration continues up to July 4. No form of entertainment is allowed during the main commemoration week from April 7 to 13.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres commented: “States have a fundamental responsibility to protect their populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity”.

“It is imperative that we unite to prevent such atrocities from occurring, and that the international community sends a strong message to perpetrators that they will be held accountable. To save people at risk, we must go beyond words.

“Today, we remember all those who were murdered and reflect on the suffering of the survivors, who have shown that reconciliation is possible, even after a tragedy of such monumental proportions.

The head of the National Commission for Fight against Genocide, Dr Jean Damascene Bizimana, restated that the massacre began long before the 100 days when former president Habyarimana began using anti-Tutsi rhetoric to consolidate his power.

“Even those who don’t commemorate with us know the truth,” said President Kagame. “As we say in Kinyarwanda, ‘truth goes through fire and remains intact’.”

Newswire : 50th anniversary of King assassination: Coretta King’s last wish to expose secrets about her husband’s killing is yet unfulfilled

 

By Dr. Barbara A. Reynolds

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Coretta Scott King : Library of Congress

(TriceEdneyWire.com) – Efforts must be increased to break down the wall of secrecy surrounding the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. who was gunned down on April 4, 1968 as he stepped out onto the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis.
That was one of the lasting wishes of his wife, Coretta Scott King. It was underscored by the findings of a rarely discussed December 9, 1999 jury trial in Memphis which concluded that King was the victim of assassination by a conspiracy involving the Memphis Police Department as well as local, state and federal government agencies, movement insiders and the Mafia. Mrs. King died on January 31, 2006. The secrecy shrouding the death of Dr. King is still in place.
As the nation prepares to commemorate the death of the martyred leader hopefully there should be a renewed effort to bare submerged information that could finally set the record straight about the role of U.S. governmental agencies in a plan to eliminate King who had emerged as one who millions perceive as the most successful African-American protest leader of the 21st Century.
In a civil suit filed by Mrs. King in Memphis, a jury of six Whites and six Blacks, affirmed the trial’s evidence which identified someone else, not James Earl Ray, as the shooter and agreed that Ray had been set up to take the blame.
“The trial only proved what our family had maintained all along,” Mrs. King told me in her memoir Coretta, “My Life, My Live, My Legacy.”
The jury’s proceeding went on for four weeks. The 2,735-page transcript contains the sworn testimony and dispositions of more than 70 law enforcement agents, reporters, civil rights leaders and witnesses, some of whose statements contrasted starkly with official reports.
Of particular interest was Loyd Jowers, owner of Jim’s Grill, which was located beneath the rooming house where the shots were supposedly fired. Jowers said that he had been given $100,000 by a man with Mafia connections to help provide a cover for the shooting. Jowers said he took the rifle from a man named Raul, moments after Dr. King was shot and hid it under his counter until it was picked up the next morning by the shooter, a Memphis police officer.
More than 2,000 reporters covered the O.J. Simpson trial, but the mainstream media virtually ignored the sworn testimony of law enforcement agents and others who provided important insight into the assassination of Dr. King. The testimony included:

Ed Redditt, a Memphis detective and fireman Floyd Newsum, the only two Blacks assigned to provide security for Dr. King were reassigned on April 3, the day before the assassination. Redditt said he was guarded by a man, who identified himself as a Secret Service agent, which raised questions of why an agent would, whose job is usually to focus on the president. be concerned with a lowly Memphis police detective.
Judge Joe Brown, an experienced Memphis court official as well as a seasoned hunter, told the jury he believed the rifle that prosecutors used to implicate Ray was not the rifle used to kill Dr. King. “That weapon literally could not have hit the broad side of a barn,” he said.
Don Wilson, an FBI agent working in the Atlanta Bureau, said that in searching Ray’s car, several days after the assassination he found pieces of a handwritten note with the name “Raul” on it ,the same name of the man who had handed Jowers the rifle for safekeeping after the assassination. Wilson, who is presently retired, also told me how the agents laughed and joked about the murder of Dr. King.

The assassination of Dr. King raises serious question about FBI involvement. After King questioned the FBI’s sincerity in investigating the murder of civil rights activists, Hoover in a November 1965 press conference, shot back with a war of words, condemning King as “the most notorious liar in the country,” as well as a communist.
King quickly became a target of the FBI’s COINTELPRO, an acronym for Counter Intelligence Program that had the stated mission to surveil, infiltrate, discredit and disrupt domestic groups that the FBI deemed subversive. (This was the same high-profile program that led to the dismantling and murder of several Black Panthers.)
One well-reported incident of COINTELPRO was a suicide letter and an audio tape the FBI secretly sent to the home of Dr. King on Nov. 3, 1964, shortly before he was to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. It accused him of committing indecent sexual acts and suggested that the only way King could save himself from national disgrace was to commit suicide. Mrs. King played the tape and said she heard people telling dirty jokes, but there was no reference to her husband.
A 1977 court order resulted in the King papers being sealed for 50 years and despite several inquiries from various groups, the King files reportedly numbering about 700,000 pages are not scheduled to be opened until the year 2027. The sealing only increases fears that many pertinent records will be destroyed before that date leaving many questions unanswered.
Old fears are being rekindled as several reports suggest that the FBI’s COINTELPRO is being reincarnated to monitor, surveil and contain so called, “black identity extremists.” This information using that label was obtained by Foreign Policy Magazine from an unofficial FBI report.
The document, according to the magazine, warns that “black identity extremists” pose a growing threat to law enforcement and that police attacks on Black Americans could spur “premeditated, retaliatory lethal violence” against the police. As confirmed in The Root, the August 2014 shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., was the catalyst for widespread violence, the FBI report says, concluding that continued “alleged” police abuses have fueled more violence.
While the report didn’t specifically mention Black Lives Matters, it is difficult not to connect the dots. There are several Black Lives Matter activists who report being put under surveillance, which sounds like the tactics of CONINTELPRO created to neutralize the activities of Black activists.
Mrs. King called for all files to be opened to finally lay out all the “facts pertinent to the truth of who killed my beloved Martin.” So far, her wish has been denied. And like in so many denials, history could well be on the way to being repeated.

Eutaw City Council holds routine meeting

At its March 27, 2018 meeting the Eutaw City Council handled routine business and then adjourned into a lengthy executive session to discuss “the good name and character of individuals” or “legal matters” facing the city.
The Eutaw City Council often holds executive sessions to discuss matters in private, which means that the public and the press are not allowed to hear the discussions and deliberations. We hope the Eutaw City Council is not meeting in “executive session” to avoid public exposure of its discussions.
Mayor Raymond Steele and three Council members: Latasha Johnson, Joe Lee Powell and LaJeffrey Carpenter, constituted a quorum. Council members: Bennie Abrams and Sheila H. Smith were absent.
The Council approved a change in the liquor license application for the Chuck Wagon to Warrior Bar and Grill, LLC. The restaurant will now be located in West End next to the convenience store on Highway 11. A formal ribbon cutting ceremony will be held once the liquor license is in place but the restaurant is open for business at its new location.
There was a discussion of the policy and usage rates for the Eutaw Civic Center, the new name of the former Eutaw National Guard Armory.

Mayor Steele said there would need to be some changes in the usage fee for profit and non-profit events to cover all expenses for the facility. Councilman LaJeffrey Carpenter suggested that the Council table this issue until it could be discussed in a ‘work session’.
The Council then voted to table this matter for further discussion.
The Council voted to pay bills as presented for the past month. They also voted that the City employees be given Good Friday on March 30 as a holiday.
During the public comment period, a resident inquired about when they would receive a water bill. Mayor Steele said the water bills were delayed because the City had to complete updating of the software to read the electronic meters. As soon as this is completed the water bills would be issued and future bills should be on a regular monthly schedule.
The Council adjourned the public meeting and went into an ‘executive session’.

Newswire : On 50th Anniversary of King Assassination, We have work to do

 

NEWS ANALYSIS by Rev. Jesse Jackson

 

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 Dr. ML King at 1963 March on Washington

(TriceEdneyWire.com) – The 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s assassination comes amid a fierce struggle for the soul of America. We will celebrate the progress that has been made since Dr. King was taken from us in 1968, and decry the agenda that is still unfinished.
But we cannot ignore the systematic effort – from the highest offices of government – to roll back his legacy, to make America more separate and unequal, to reverse the progress of the last years. From the White House and across the great cabinets of the federal government, civil rights are being systematically undermined.
President Trump has set the tone personally, slandering immigrants and seeking to ban Muslims, while noting there were “very fine people” among the neo-Nazi marchers in Charlottesville. He pardoned former Sheriff Joe Arpaio, allowing him to avoid accountability for racially profiling Latinos. He terminated the Obama program that protected the DACA children, and sabotaged every bipartisan effort to protect these children who know no other country than the U.S. He called for NFL players protesting against discrimination to be fired, while slurring “s–hole countries” in Africa. In different departments, his appointees have moved relentlessly to roll back enforcement of civil rights, with Attorney General Jeff Sessions leading the way.
DOJ lawyers reversed their position on voting rights cases, like that in Texas, essentially opening the door for voter suppression. Sessions forced a review of Obama-era consent decrees with police departments, even as Trump praised brutal police tactics. He drastically limited the use of court-enforced consent decrees themselves, eviscerating the primary instrument of civil rights enforcement.
Sessions has also declared that civil rights laws protecting against workplace discrimination do not apply to transgender workers. His labor secretary disbanded a 40-year-old division enforcing laws against discrimination in the workplace. His education secretary, billionaire Betsy DeVos, disemboweled the department’s office of civil rights and pushed to move public funds to support voucher programs, while calling for deep cuts in the staff and budget of the education department.
His secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Dr. Ben Carson, has gutted enforcement of civil rights and fair housing laws, at the very moment the department must disburse billions in disaster recovery Community Block Grants that could help reverse past wrongs. Carson even pushed to strike the words“inclusive” and “free from discrimination” from HUD’s mission statement.Abroad, Trump has expanded the endless wars without victory that King warned against.
He has slashed taxes on the wealthy and corporations while targeting basic programs for the vulnerable – from food stamps to Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid – for deep cuts. He sought to repeal Obamacare, which would have deprived millions of health care.This is a direct and sustained assault on Dr. King’s legacy.
Dr. King fought for integration against discrimination. He marched for equal opportunity against entrenched inequality. He championed non-violence against violence. He campaigned for voting rights, knowing that democracy offered the best chance for change. He called for an end to the war in Vietnam, realizing that the bombs being dropped on Vietnam were landing in the poor neighborhoods of four cities.
At the end of his life, he was organizing a broad coalition of poor people, across lines of race, religion and region, to march on Washington to demand basic economic rights. No representative of the administration will appear in Memphis as we mark the anniversary of his assassination. More reason that a new generation must take up the mission of his life.He taught us that “change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle.” He knew that the progress that the Civil Rights Movement was making would generate a fierce reaction. He called on us to “rededicate ourselves to the long and bitter, but beautiful struggle for a new world.” We have work to do.

Newswire : NAACP, Prince George’s County file lawsuit over “Underfunded, Understaffed” 2020 Census

By William J. Ford (The Washington Informer/NNPA Member)

 

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NAACP officials announce lawsuit
The NAACP announced that the group has filed a lawsuit against President Donald Trump, the U.S. Census Bureau and Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, “to combat the imminent threat that the 2020 Census will substantially undercount African Americans and other people of color in communities throughout the United States,” a press release about the lawsuit said.
Prince George’s County, the NAACP’s Prince George’s County branch and two county residents (branch President Bob Ross and Elizabeth Johnson), also joined the suit. Prince George’s County experienced one of the highest undercounts in the nation at 2.3 percent during the 2010 Census, according to the suit. The figures are based on counties with a population of at least 100,000.
“Such a dramatic undercount will especially dilute the votes of racial and ethnic minorities, deprive their communities of critical federal funds and undervalue their voices and interests in the political arena,” the suit alleges.
During a press conference about the lawsuit at the National Press Club in Northwest D.C., Bradford Berry, general counsel of the NAACP said that this lawsuit is unique, because the plaintiffs seek action before work on the 2020 Census begins.
For instance, the suit claims the federal government has decreased resources and manpower for the 2020 Census and “cancelled crucial, pre-Census field tests and is rushing to digitize the Census without adequate cybersecurity protections, thus undermining public confidence in the privacy of Census data” the press release said.

The lawsuit also states that the Census Bureau doesn’t have sufficient staffing; the agency’s acting director, Ron Jarmin, was also named as a defendant in the suit.
On Capitol Hill last week, the U.S. House of Representatives approved $2.8 billion for the bureau, an increase more than double the amount of the Trump administration’s request of $1.1 billion.
“Proposing a bill and passing a bill are two different things,” said NAACP President Derrick Johnson. “Once the final bill passes, we would like to evaluate to see if it’s sufficient. We simply need the political will to make sure we have an accurate count for this [upcoming] Census.”
Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III said his jurisdiction has lost about $200 million in federal money, because of Census undercounts. The Maryland jurisdiction of nearly 900,000 people borders Washington, D.C., with 65 percent of the population African American.
Federal law requires that citizens are counted in a decennial census that not only helps redraw political boundaries, but also for counties and states to receive federal money for improvement of schools, roads and other needs.

Critics have argued that a proposed citizenship question in the 2020 Census will deter legal immigrants from responding and decrease the number of people counted in those communities. The Hispanic population in Prince George’s County stands at about 18 percent.
“What’s more frightening about this Census count, more than in the past, is the rhetoric from the Trump administration,” Baker said after the press conference. “With a growing Latino population in the county, this is a direct assault on those folks participating in the Census. If it’s happening here, then it’s happening everywhere.”
William J. Ford is a staff writer for The Washington Informer. You can follow him on Twitter @jabariwill.The Washington Informer is a member publication of the National Newspaper Publishers Association. Learn more about becoming a member at www.nnpa.org.