Newswire: Biden unveils efforts to eliminate racial wealth gap during Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial speech

Ruins of Greenwood District after Race Riots, Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA, American National Red Cross Photograph Collection, June 1921. (Photo by: GHI/Universal History Archive/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

Aftermath of the 1921 Tulsa massacre (Universal Archive/Getty)

By: Charise Frazier, Newsone

President Joe Biden  layed out a series of ventures aimed towards reversing the wealth gap between Black and white Americans on Tuesday during a speech to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre. He is also visited the historic site and spent time with survivors and descendants. Biden is the first sitting president to visit the Greenwood, Oklahoma, neighborhood, home to the descendants of Black Americans who were slaughtered in one of the largest race-fueled hate crimes, claiming the lives of over 300 Black community members while also abolishing a prosperous economic Black business district. The Tulsa Race Massacre is the greatest act of racial terror committed by whites in a United States city against an African descended community. It is a stark example of the failure of the U.S. democracy to provide justice for race-based terroristic violence – to require reparative justice – thus, condoning it. It is one of many instances where state, local and federal governments failed to acknowledge and repair the injuries wrought by terroristic violence against Black people. The failure to repair these historic injuries that have present-day consequences increases the urgency for passage of H.R. 40, the Commission to Study and Develop Reparations Proposals for African-Americans Act, and like state bills. Passage of H.R. 40 is one of the policy demands from the Movement for Black Lives’ Vision for Black Lives policy platform. The Tulsa Race Massacre was promulgated by an angry, white mob that included city police and aided by the Oklahoma National Guard that flattened much of the Greenwood District, an all-Black community. The result was the death of at least 300 Greenwood residents, the exile of many including leaders of the community and the loss and destruction of real and personal property. Estimates of the total property damage have amounted to approximately $4 million at 1921 rates; $58 million at 2020 rates. On Tuesday Biden’s address covered several initiatives which include redirecting federal purchasing power to distribute aid to minority-owned businesses, allocating $10 billion to help rebuild disenfranchised communities which often house majority Black populations. Biden also plans to direct $15 billion to help boost transportation in areas that have historically faced difficulty with access to public transit. In 2019, the median wealth gap of Black households in the United States amounted to $24,100, compared with $189,100 for white households, according to a report by the Center for American Progress. “The average Black household had $142,330 in 2019 compared with $980,549 for the average white household.” One last initiative Biden plans to take is to target the detrimental effects of the housing appraisal market which routinely assigns low-cost values to Black-owned homes. By establishing an interagency to address the inequality, along with the assistance of the Office of Housing and Urban Development, the Biden-Harris administration hopes to counter these harmful practices which in totality aid in maintaining the disparities found in the national wealth gap “The Federal Government must reckon with and acknowledge the role that it has played in stripping wealth and opportunity from Black communities,” Biden stated in a proclamation released on Memorial Day. “The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to acknowledging the role Federal policy played in Greenwood and other Black communities and addressing longstanding racial inequities through historic investments in the economic security of children and families, programs to provide capital for small businesses in economically disadvantaged areas, including minority-owned businesses, and ensuring that infrastructure projects increase opportunity, advance racial equity and environmental justice, and promote affordable access.” However, Biden still faces criticism over his refusal to set forth a comprehensive effort to eliminate the student debt, an important tenant in reversing the wealth gap for millions of Black Americans. Lawmakers have urged Biden to cancel $50,000 worth of student debt for individuals saddled with burdensome loans. On the campaign trail Biden voiced he supported the number but voiced that through executive order, $10,000 would be the likely target. “Components of the plan are encouraging, but it fails to address the student loan debt crisis that disproportionately affects African Americans,” said Derrick Johnson, president of the NAACP during a call with administration officials regarding Biden’s appearance in Tulsa. “You cannot begin to address the racial wealth gap without addressing the student loan debt crisis.”

Superintendent Jones says schools will remain in Phase I with remote learning

In his report to the Greene County Board of Education at its regular monthly meeting, Monday, October 19, 2020, Superintendent Dr. Corey Jones announced that Greene County schools will continue with remote student learning for the second nine weeks. Jones stated that he has kept a daily vigil on the COVID-19 positive reports for the county as well as state-wide to assist him is making the most prudent decision for students, their families and the community.
“ I want our students back in the classroom, but I also want them and their families to be safe,” he said.
Dr. Jones explained that he conducted a survey with parents and with the instructional staff to get their input on whether students should return to the classrooms. He reported that in the parents’ survey, 56% were for students returning to the classrooms while 44% wanted to remain with remote learning. According to Jones, there was a big difference in the teachers’ survey: 85% wanted to remain with remote classes, while 15% favored returning to the classroom.
The superintendent said that he is aware that some students are struggling with the remote process. “I realize that for some students remote classes may not be the best approach for them individually; there are distractions in the home; there may be insufficient home support for students while parents are at work; some students are not logging in on a consistent basis; however, protecting lives still is the highest consideration at this time,” he said.
Jones also stated that once progress reports are issued, failing students will be brought back to the classroom for on-site instruction. “This will only be carried out with the greatest of precaution for a smaller number of students. Every safety measure will be in place,” he emphasized.
According to the superintendent, if COVID-19 factors decrease significantly, Phase II, which includes a hybrid instructional approach with a blend of remote and face-to-face classes, will be implemented for the entire school system.
Jones reported that his staff continues to sanitize all school facilities, including fogging. ‘We are expecting plexiglass for our facilities to arrive this week,” he said.
In other business, the board approved the following recommendations of the superintendent:
Employment: Marilyn Finch, Bus Driver, Department of Transportation; Latasha Lewis, Bus Driver, Department of Transportation.
Voluntary Transfer: David Peterson, from Maintenance Helper to Mechanic Helper, Department of Transportation.
•Resignation: LaToya Consentine, Bus Driver, Department of Transportation, effective September 30, 2020.
Administrative Service Items:
•Contract between Greene County Board and Criterion Consulting, Formative Administrator Evaluation Support Services.
•Contract between Greene County Board of Education and Woods Therapeutic Services, Inc.
•Payment of all bills, claims, and payroll
Dr. Jones presented a plaque of appreciation to Board member William Morgan for his service to the Greene County School System. Morgan’s term of office ends in November. Morgan also received a plaque of achievement from the Alabama Association of School Boards for reaching the Master’s level in board training.
Board member Carrie Dancy received a plaque of achievement from AASB for meeting all requirements for school board training for 2020.

Newswire : Congress moves George Floyd Justice in Policing Act measure forward

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior Correspondent

U. S. Capitol


The House Judiciary Committee has introduced the George Floyd Justice In Policing Act, the first-ever bold, comprehensive approach to hold police accountable, end racial profiling, change the law enforcement culture, empower communities, and build trust between law enforcement and minority communities by addressing systemic racism and bias.
In a conference call with the Black Press of America just before voting on the measure, members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) said the bill should help save lives.
“This is a real historic day here in the capital as last week we introduced the Justice in Policing Act, and today we amend the bill,” CBC Chair Karen Bass (D-Calif.) said during the conference call.
“We call it the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, and I call it historic because this is the first time in many years that Congress has taken up a bill dealing with policing and I’m sure it is the first time that Congress has introduced such a bold transformative piece of legislation,” Bass stated.
The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act would establish a national standard for the operation of police departments and mandate data collection on police encounters.
If it becomes law, the bill would reprogram existing funds to invest in transformative community-based policing programs and streamline federal law to prosecute excessive force and establish independent prosecutors for police investigations. It would also eliminate no-knock warrants and ban chokeholds.
“The idea that a chokehold is legal in one city and not the other, the idea that no-knock warrants are okay in one jurisdiction and not in another is very important. That must end,” Bass proclaimed.
A bill crafted by Republican South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, and an executive order issued by President Donald Trump, ask only for studies to be done on matters like no-knock warrants and chokehold bans, and have little bite, Bass and her CBC colleagues noted.
“In essence, their bills take the teeth out of this bill. This is not the time for superficial action,” Bass warned. “This is the time for us to demonstrate our ability to address the people who are peacefully in the street every day with comprehensive legislation.”
The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2020:
• Prohibits federal, state, and local law enforcement from racial, religious, and discriminatory profiling.
• Mandates training on racial, religious, and discriminatory profiling for all law enforcement.
• Requires law enforcement to collect data on all investigatory activities. saves lives by banning chokeholds and no-knock warrants.
• Bans chokeholds and carotid holds at the federal level and conditions law enforcement funding for state and local governments banning chokeholds.
• Bans no-knock warrants in drug cases at the federal level and conditions law enforcement funding for state and local governments banning no-knock warrants at the local and state level.
• Requires that deadly force be used only as a last resort and requires officers to employ de-escalation techniques first.
• Changes the standard to evaluate whether law enforcement use of force was justified from whether the force was “reasonable” to whether the force was “necessary.”
• Condition grants on state and local law enforcement agencies’ establishing the same use of force standard.
• Limits military equipment on American streets, requires body cameras.
• Limits the transfer of military-grade equipment to state and local law enforcement.
• Requires federal uniformed police officers to wear body cameras and requires state and local law enforcement to use existing federal funds to ensure the use of police body cameras.
• Requires marked federal police vehicles to have dashboard cameras.
• Hold Police Accountable in Court.
• Makes it easier to prosecute offending officers by amending the federal criminal statute to prosecute police misconduct. The mens rea requirement in 18 U.S.C. Section 242 will be amended from “willfulness” to a “recklessness” standard.
• Enables individuals to recover damages in civil court when law enforcement officers violate their constitutional rights by eliminating qualified immunity for law enforcement.
• Improves the use of pattern and practice investigations at the federal level by granting the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division subpoena power and creates a grant program for state attorneys general to develop authority to conduct independent investigations into problematic police departments.
Empower Our Communities to re-imagine Public Safety in an Equitable and Just Way.
This bill reinvests in our communities by supporting critical community-based programs to change the culture of law enforcement and empower our communities to reimagine public safety in an equitable and just way.
It establishes public safety innovation grants for community-based organizations to create local commissions and task forces to help communities to re-imagine and develop concrete, just, and equitable public safety approaches. These local commissions would operate similar to President Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing.
• Changes the Culture of Law Enforcement with Training to Build Integrity and Trust.
• Requires the creation of law enforcement accreditation standard recommendations based on President Obama’s Taskforce on 21st Century policing.
• Creates law enforcement development and training programs to develop best practices.
• Studies the impact of laws or rules that allow a law enforcement officer to delay answers to questions posed by investigators of law enforcement misconduct.
• Enhances funding for pattern and practice discrimination investigations and programs managed by the DOJ Community Relations Service.
•Requires the Attorney General to collect data on investigatory actions and detentions by federal law enforcement agencies; the racial distribution of drug charges; the use of deadly force by and against law enforcement officers; as well as traffic and pedestrian stops and detentions.
•Establishes a DOJ task force to coordinate the investigation, prosecution and enforcement efforts of federal, state, and local governments in cases related to law enforcement misconduct.
Improve Transparency by Collecting Data on Police Misconduct and Use-of-Force.
• Creates a nationwide police misconduct registry to prevent problematic officers who are fired or leave one agency, from moving to another jurisdiction without any accountability.
Mandates state and local law enforcement agencies to report use of force data, disaggregated by race, sex, disability, religion, age.
• Make Lynching a Federal Crime.
• Makes it a federal crime to conspire to violate existing federal hate crimes laws.

The Save OurSelves Movement for Justice and Democracy: Standing Six Feet Apart so Alabamians Will Not Be Lying Six Feet Under

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, March 25, 2020
Montgomery, AL – We, leaders in the SaveOurSelves Movement for Justice and Democracy, are here on the steps of the Alabama Capitol standing up six feet apart so Alabamians will not have to be lying six feet under. We are profoundly concerned about the coronavirus pandemic here in Alabama.
We are deeply concerned that people who need tests cannot get tests. We are strongly concerned that rural hospitals have closed with even more on the verge of closing, and those that are there will not be able to be provide all the services that this coronavirus will require. We are deeply concerned for the health care – or profound lack of health care – for the working poor in our state. We were strongly concerned and vocal long before the coronavirus pandemic. We believe that the lack of health care for too many in Alabama will be exacerbated, not only during this pandemic but long after the pandemic.
We are in the biggest crisis this country has seen in a long time. Alabama is in its biggest crisis in a long time, and it is incumbent upon each of us to do what we can to deal with this crisis and the crisis that will follow. A data analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation found Alabama ranks among the top six most at-risk states for its adult population. Forty-six percent of Alabama adults are at risk. If we do not address this head on now, many more Alabamians will get the coronavirus and too many will die when we could take steps now to prevent that. Therefore, we are here, standing six feet apart so fewer Alabamians will not be lying six feet under. We know we take a risk by being here, even with all of our precautions, but the risk of not standing up and speaking out now and not expanding Medicaid now is profoundly greater. That is why we are here.
Attorney Faya Toure said: “I have a friend who had all of the symptoms of the coronavirus but could not get a test because, after being in line for hours, they told her a doctor had to refer her. People without health insurance have a hard time getting a doctor who will refer them. We must have tests for every person who needs a test in every county in the state. If we expanded Medicaid, Alabamians would have a much greater chance of getting tests and saving lives. In addition, the Black Belt has been ignored throughout the coronavirus pandemic, and that has not changed. There are no reported cases in the Black Belt because there is no testing in the Black Belt. We can and must do better.”
John Zippert said: “I am Chair of the Board of the Greene County Hospital System. Rural hospitals in Alabama are struggling mightily just to exist. Too many have closed and more will be closing. Rural hospitals need to be able to provide these services while the coronavirus is raging but also be able to provide necessary services after the coronavirus pandemic has subsided. And it will only subside if we take action now. Medicaid expansion would protect rural hospitals and citizens in rural hospitals, and it cannot wait. In fact, it is long overdue in Alabama. There are 340,000 human beings in Alabama, most of them working poor, who would benefit from Medicaid expansion. We must do something immediately.”
Law Professor Emerita Martha Morgan said: “There are so many Alabamians at risk because they have compromised immune systems, autoimmune disorders, are mentally ill, have dementia, are in foster care, are in prison or jail or detention and more. There are already plans to triage these Alabamians when it comes to treatment of the coronavirus, which means they very well would not receive any treatment and many will die if Governor Ivey fails to take action. We must do what we can do in Alabama. And we can expand Medicaid now.”
Founder of the World Conference of Mayors and former State Representative and Mayor Johnny Ford said: “Too many people’s heath is at risk. Some people are even at risk for death. The coronavirus pandemic is increasing the risks to health and the risk of death. Fifty-five years ago today, on the last day of the Selma-to-Montgomery March, leaders spoke powerfully at this Capitol demanding voting rights. We are here today demanding that health care be a right as is it in all other developed countries. We begin with Medicaid expansion. I want to also add that it is has been the mayors of our state who have stepped up and taken the lead in protecting Alabamians during this coronavirus pandemic, and we thank them for their leadership, courage and wisdom.”
Attorney and former State Senator Hank Sanders said: “I was here 55 years ago today when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. asked the question, “How Long?” about voting rights and other rights. I and the rest of the massive crowd responded, “Not Long!” We are here today standing six feet apart so that Alabamians will not be lying six feet under. Dr. King asked, “How Long?” 55 years ago, and today we are asking, “How Long” will it be until Alabama expands Medicaid so that the working poor can have health insurance and health care so they can stand a chance to be tested and treated, not only during the coronavirus pandemic but afterwards? I hope and pray the answer to “How Long? is “Not Long!”

Newswire- Kenyan reserve deploys an anti-poaching technology arsenal

This is a photo of an African Rhino

Ol Pejeta Game Reserve, in Kenya, has taken the battle against poaching a notch higher and deployed an arsenal of anti-poaching equipments.
The conservation’s ranger uses a 360 ° camera films the area and relays round-the-clock possible intrusions to the reserve headquarters. The camera is part of high-tech equipment launched last month by the conservation as part of the first high-tech laboratory for wildlife, a research center located in the heart of the sanctuary to integrate new technologies into the daily management of animal reserves.
“What’s bothering me with the world of wildlife protection is our slow pace of adopting new technologies and putting in place new ways of doing things – it has to change,” said Richard Vigne, the director general of Ol Pejeta.
Computer engineers at Ol Pejeta test the next generation of animal geo-location chips and develop sensors that will one day provide information on the health status of rangers, river levels etc.
The private reserve on Kenya’s Laikipia plateau is home to the last two northern white rhinos in the world – two females – and the largest population in East Africa of black rhinos, a critically endangered species.
The 360 km2 reserve with 250 rangers responsible for security is battling the high threat of poaching. Last year, three rhinos were killed, their horns sectioned and carried away, in the Meru National Park, on the other side of Mount Kenya.

Newswire- Neo-Nazi who killed Charlottesville protester Heather Heyer sentenced to Life in Prison

By Laurel Wamsley and Bobby Allyn, NPR

This is a photo of a car plowing into pedestrians and vehicles on the mall in Charlottesville during a white supremacist rally. The driver hit the knot of cars and people at high speed, then backed up and fled the scene.

The man who drove his car into a crowd of anti-racist protesters in Charlottesville, Va., killing one person and injuring 35 has been sentenced to spending the rest of his life in prison.
A federal judge issued the sentence of life without the possibility of parole on Friday for self-proclaimed neo-Nazi James Fields Jr., 22, of the Toledo, Ohio, area.
The judge’s punishment, announced in a Charlottesville courtroom, came after numerous survivors delivered emotional testimony about the psychological and physical toll the attack caused.
After the hearing, prosecutors described the 2017 attack as heinous.
“It was cold-blooded. It was motivated by deep-seated racial animus,” Thomas Cullen, U.S. attorney for the Western District of Virginia, told reporters. He said Fields’ lethal car-plowing was calculated, calling it “a hate-inspired act of domestic terrorism.”
“Charlottesville is never going to be the same,” Cullen said. “It will be with this community, and the commonwealth of Virginia, and this country, for a long time.”
Survivors who testified included Rosia Parker, a longtime civil rights activist in Charlottesville. She told the court she watched the attack from just feet away. “You could have done anything else but what you did,” Parker said, according to The Associated Press. “You deserve everything that you get.”
In legal filings presented to the judge on Friday, Fields’ lawyers said while he committed a “terrible crime,” they asked the judge to also consider Fields’ “traumatic childhood and his mental illness,” wrote Fields’ federal public defender, Lisa Lorish.
Federal prosecutors had asked the judge for a life sentence for Fields. A plea deal brokered in March took away the possibility of the death penalty, and federal prosecutors and Fields’ lawyers agreed that federal sentencing guidelines called for a life sentence. As part of the deal, Fields pleaded guilty to 29 of the 30 federal hate crimes he facedand is not eligible for parole.
Prosecutors had said Fields’ crimes were “so horrendous — and the maiming of innocents so severe — that they outweigh any factors the defendant may argue form a basis for leniency,” according to a sentencing document filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Kavanaugh before the Friday hearing.
Last week, Fields’ attorneys asked for something shorter than a life sentence, citing Fields’ age and history of mental illness.
Fields has already been convicted of separate state charges for murdering 32-year-old Heather Heyer and injuring dozens of other people. The jury in that case recommended a life sentence plus 419 years and $480,000 in fines. Sentencing in that case is set for July 15.
Heyer’s mother, Susan Bro, said in Aprilthat she was satisfied with Fields’ federal guilty plea and was not intent on his getting the death penalty. “There’s no point in killing him. It would not bring back Heather,” she told reporters.
Fields was 20 when he drove his Dodge Challengerthrough the night from Ohio to attend Unite the Right, a white nationalist rally, in August 2017. The weekend turned deadly when Fields accelerated his car into the group of protesters. Two Virginia State Police troopers investigating the day’s events also died when the helicopter they were in crashed.
Before he was sentenced on Friday, Fields offered an apology for “the hurt and loss I have caused,” the AP reported.
Lawyers for Fields wrote the court to say that he used Twitter in search of community and “quickly learned that provocative and hateful comments led to more exposure,” leading him to follow white supremacist accounts, including Richard Spencer and Mike Peinovich.
Fields’ lawyers wrote that he found out about the Unite the Right rally through its organizers’ online recruiting campaign.
His attorneys say he had no intent to commit a violent act, instead describing the attack as a “impulsive, angry and aggressive decision.”
President Trump said afterwardthat there was “blame on both sides” for the violence in the college town.

Newswire- Supreme Court sends mixed Civil Rights signals as America celebrates July 4th

By Hamil R. Harris

Supreme Court

(TriceEdneyWire.com) – On the eve of America’s celebration of its 243rd Independence Day, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down rulings that sent mixed messages to Civil Rights groups at a time when President Trump and Republicans hope to tilt the 2020 presidential elections their way.
In a 5-4 decision, the court ruled that the issue of partisan gerrymandering (drawing district lines in order to achieve political outcomes) does not belong in federal court and should be decided by state legislatures. Conservatives applauded that decision because it comes on the eve of the 2020 Census when state lawmakers configure districts often to benefit whatever party controls their particular state.
While the court rejected challenges to Republican-drawn congressional districts in North Carolina and a Democratic district in Maryland, the decision was still a major blow to critics who have argued for years that partisan manipulation of electoral maps unfairly results in single-party political control. The 5-4 decision fell along traditional conservative-liberal lines. Conservative Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Chief Justice John Roberts voted to keep the redistricting cases out of the federal courts. And liberal justices Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer voted to maintain federal jurisdiction over the cases.
Speaking for the conservative majority, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote that while redistricting plans “are highly partisan by any measure,” the Supreme Court and lower courts are not the venues to settle these disputes. With this decision, Civil Rights groups say the court is giving state houses, mostly controlled by Republicans, more power to tilt things in their ideological direction.
But writing for the four dissenting judges, Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan, who was appointed by President Obama, said, “For the first time ever, this court refuses to remedy a constitutional violation because it thinks the task beyond judicial capabilities.”
In the case of Rucho V. Common Cause and Lamone v. Benisek, NAACP President Derrick Johnson, said in a statement, “The Court’s rulings are allowing party politics to determine the outcomes of our elections…Extreme partisan gerrymandering has infected our electoral process for far too long. Exercise of the franchise, which many fought and even died for, must not be reduced to a political charade in which the outcomes are predetermined. In America, voters should choose their representatives instead of representatives choosing their voters.”
Johnson concluded that the high court should have halted what the NAACP and other civil rights advocates consider unconstitutional conduct, but it did not. Therefore, he contends, this is a throwback racism of the past.
“In racially polarized environments like North Carolina where racial block voting is standard, today’s decision will license policymakers to mask racial intent as partisan gerrymandering in order to suppress votes and prevent communities from fully participating in democracy to elect candidates of their choice,” Johnson stated.
The court’s decision basically reverses the outcome of rulings in Maryland, Michigan, North Carolina and Ohio, where lower courts had ordered new maps drawn and it ends proceedings in Wisconsin, where a retrial was supposed to take place later this summer.
Supreme Court decision in Census case more acceptable
On the other hand, the NAACP and members of the Congressional Black Caucus applauded the court ruling in the case of the Department of Commerce v. New York that blocks the Trump Administration’s attempt to insert a citizenship question into the 2020 Census based on the pretext of enforcing the Voting Rights Act (VRA).
“I am very pleased that the Supreme Court ruled today that the Trump Administration may not add the citizenship question to the 2020 Census based on the Administration’s claim that it was trying to protect voting rights,” said Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.), referring to the 5-4 decision where Robert’s decided with the most liberal leaning justices on the bench.
Cummings, Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Operations Committee, challenged President Trump’s move from the very beginning after his Secretary of Commerce added the citizenship question to the upcoming 2020 Census form.
“Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross testified before Congress that the Trump Administration was adding the citizenship question to the census ‘solely’ at the request of the Justice Department to help enforce the Voting Rights Act,” Cummings said in a statement. “The Supreme Court has now eviscerated this claim, calling it a ‘pretext,’ ‘contrived,’ and ‘incongruent with what the record reveals.’
Some have suggested that Secretary Ross could go back and offer other reasons for adding the citizenship question. However, any claim now that the Trump Administration had other reasons for adding the citizenship question would directly contradict Secretary Ross’ sworn testimony that helping the Justice Department enforce the Voting Rights Act was the Administration’s sole purpose.
Johnson said that the NAACP also welcomed the court ruling, which he said stopped the Trump administration’s fraudulent efforts to suppress votes in the upcoming Presidential election.
“Through various means, the Trump administration is deliberately seeking to undercount communities of color in the 2020 Census, a ploy designed to increase the political power of Whites at the expense of already underrepresented communities,” Johnson said. “Weakening the political representation of communities of color has been a stain on our democracy since its founding. The Three-Fifths Compromise of the Constitutional Convention in 1787 counted enslaved black people as three-fifths of a person in apportioning congressional districts. Since that time, the Census has severely undercounted the communities of color.”
This week President Trump has planned a huge 4th of July celebration, complete with a military parade and even a jet fly over in Washington DC. But Johnson wrote that President Trump would do better by stopping his effort to take Democracy away from so many vulnerable people whether it is through a census or mass deportations scheduled sometimes after the holiday.
“The citizenship question was not made for the reasons put forth by Secretary Ross,” Johnson said. “Rather, it was a bald-faced effort to benefit one race and one political party at the expense of some of our nation’s most vulnerable communities. This astounding truth can no longer be swept under the rug. It is there for all to see.”

Newswire- Innocence Project: 2018 was a record year for exonerations

By Frederick H. Lowe, BlackmansStreet

This is a photo of Gregory Counts

Gregory Counts freed after 26 years

The Innocence Project reported in the most recent issue of its magazine that a record nine clients were exonerated and released from prison in 2018 for crimes they didn’t commit.
Maddy deLone, the Innocence Project’s executive director, wrote in Spring 2019 issue of “The Innocence Project in Print” that the nine exonerations were most at one time in Innocence Project’s 26- year history.
Exonerations continued into 2019 with three more men being released from prison for crimes they didn’t commit.

The incarcerations took a problematic toll on the 12 men who were locked behind bars for a total of nearly 300 years. “Time away from their homes, families and loved ones cannot be replaced,” deLone wrote.

Gregory Counts, one of the exonerated said, “I want to jail when I was 19. I did 26 years—over half of my life in jail. I need to see the world.”

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. vacated rape, sodomy and kidnapping charges against Counts after a woman who claimed she was the victim admitted to lying. Semen and other physical evidence eliminated Counts as a suspect.

Malcolm Alexander, another exoneree, said, “freedom is a new life. It’s like being reborn. It’s giving a chance to live a life I had been denied.”
Prison officials locked Alexander behind bars for 38 years for a rape he didn’t commit. A judge sentenced Alexander to life in Angola Prison in Angola, Louisiana, the country’s most-notorious prison and former plantation, when he was 21.
The Innocence Project determined Alexander’s attorney was incompetent.
Genetic testing eventually eliminated him as the rape suspect. He left prison with a smile on his face and his black pet Labrador Retriever named “Innocent.”

In another matter, New York created the first ever state-wide commission to study prosecutorial misconduct, such a failure to disclose or discrimination in jury selection.