Newswire : Hotel employees fired after calling police on Black guest using his phone in lobby

By: Carla Herreria, Huffington Post

Jermaine Massey

     The DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel in Portland, Oregon, fired two employees days after they were accused of racially profiling a black hotel guest who was taking a call on his cellphone in the lobby. 
     In a statement posted to Twitter on Saturday, the hotel issued another apology and announced that it fired the two men “involved in the mistreatment” of Jermaine Massey, who captured parts of last week’s confrontation on camera. 
     The decision to fire the employees came after the hotel announced it would investigate the discrimination claims.
     “Their actions were inconsistent with our standards & values,” the hotel tweeted. “We reiterate our sincere apology for what he endured & will work with diversity experts to ensure this never happens again.”
     Jacob Benjamin, the hotel’s general manager, did not immediately return HuffPost’s request for the employees’ full names.
     Last weekend, Massey posted a series of videos showing DoubleTree staff members and a police officer asking him to leave the hotel, despite his having booked a room. Massey was eventually forced to give up the room. 
     “Tonight I was racially profiled and discriminated against for taking a phone call in the lobby of my hotel room at the @doubletreepdx @doubletree,” Massey wrote in an Instagram post. “They already had in their minds that they didn’t want me there so I waited for the cops to show up and when they did, I explained my side of the story and they didn’t want to hear it.”
     The hotel first apologized on Wednesday, then again on Friday, in a pair of statements obtained by HuffPost detailing the company’s plans to launch an internal investigation and reach out to Massey.
     Massey, who was in Portland to see rapper Travis Scott perform, said he received a call from his mother who is on the East Coast after the concert. Thinking it was an emergency, Massey said he found a “remote area” of the hotel’s lobby to answer the call.
     In Massey’s videos, a security guard identified as Earl can be seen telling Massey that the police have been called and he is no longer welcome at the hotel. Meanwhile, Massey, who is seated on a couch, accuses the security guard of harassing him while he was on the phone.

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Later, speaking to a hotel manager identified as Luis, Massey said he was a guest of the hotel and needed privacy to take the call.
“I needed some privacy, I had a family emergency going on and this gentleman decided to come over here and harass me and ask me where I was staying,” Massey says to the hotel employees.
When Earl accuses Massey of loitering by sitting in the lobby, Massey says: “So this area is off limits after a certain time?” Earl replies, “Only if you’re a guest.”
“I am a guest,” Massey says. “You didn’t tell me that,” the security guard responds. “I asked you what room you’re in and you refused.”
Later in the videos, a police officer can be seen asking Massey to leave the hotel. The Portland Police Bureau confirmed to HuffPost that officers responded to a trespassing call at the hotel late Saturday and asked Massey to gather his personal belongings from his room and leave.
Massey’s Instagram posts, which have since gone viral, reignited a national conversationover people who call the police on people of color who are doing mundane or normal activities, such as throwing a picnic or going home.
In a video message to his Instagram followers, Massey called attention to the racism he experienced.
“Racism is still alive and well. It’s sad that people have to go through these things and I know I’m not the only one. I’m not the first, and I’m not the last but I will not stand for injustice,” he said.
Throughout 2018, white people have called or threatened to call the police on an 8-year-old black girl who was selling water on a sidewalk, a pair of Native American brothers who joined a college campus tour, a black youth mentor who was babysitting two white children, a black man at a bank trying to cash his own paycheckand a black man trying to enter his own apartment building.

Newswire : First member of Congress calls for Trump’s resignation amid month of chaos

By Lauren Victoria Burke, NNPA Newswire Contributor

Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI)

        On Christmas Eve, Milwaukee Congresswoman Gwen Moore became the first sitting member of Congress to demand that President Donald Trump resign from the presidency. She made her comments as the Dow dove 500 points on December 24 in worst Christmas Eve trading day ever.As of Christmas, the market was on track to suffer its worst December since the Great Depression.
        “Some of this money for the doggone wall, I wish they would put into places like Flint and Milwaukee,” said Rep. Moore during the interview. The Congresswoman worked to secure millions of dollars to remove lead from America’s water infrastructure.
        During an interview on the Scott Dworkin report, Rep. Moore said that President Trump “resigning is a dignified way for him to leave as opposed to being impeached or as opposed to being indicted or having the 25th amendment evoked. It’s really a very palliative approach to ask him to just go quietly and spare us all this pain.”
        December 2018 featured a turbulent series of events around the 45th President.His Secretary of Defense, retired Marine General James Mattis, resigned. The White House Chief of Staff, John Kelly, set a time for his departure.The federal government partly shut down as Trump reportedly became angry with a budget bill that didn’t include billions in funding for a wall at the U.S. and Mexican border. Two children died in U.S. custody as Trump Administration policy on immigration was led by relative policy novice, Stephen Miller.
        Though many other members of Congress have been consistently critical of the President, Moore is now the first member of Congress to actually call for him to resign. Nine members of the House have either stated on the record that President Trump should be impeached or assisted in moving articles of impeachment to the floor of the U.S. House.
        The impeachment effort against Trump has been led by Rep. Al Green of Texas. In October 2017, Rep. Green drafted an impeachment resolution and articles of impeachment and attempted to have it considered on the House floor against the wishes of Democratic leadership.
        Rep. Green would be joined a year later by Reps. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio). Non-CBC members Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.), Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.), Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), Adriano Espaillat (D-NY), Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) and John Yarmuth (D-Ky.).
        Currently President Trump’s approval rating is only 40 percent. Democrats will take control of the U.S. House on January 3rd.

Lauren Victoria Burke is an independent journalist and writer for NNPA as well as a political analyst and strategist as Principal of Win Digital Media LLC. She may be contacted at LBurke007@gmail.com and on twitter at @LVBurke

Newswire : Cigars and Whiskey – America’s oldest veteran, Richard Arvin Overton, dies at 112

By Lauren Victoria Burke, NNPA Newswire Contributor

President Barack Obama greets Richard Overton, with Earlene Love-Karo, in the Blue Room of the White House, Nov. 11, 2013.

     Born on May 11, 1906, Richard Arvin Overton, a member of what is often called America’s “Greatest Generation,” died on December 27th in Austin, Texas. At 112 years and 230 days, Overton was believed to be the oldest living man in the United States as well as America’s oldest veteran.
     He enlisted into the Army on September 3, 1940 at Fort Sam Houston in Texas. Overton then fought in World War II, serving in the all-black 1887th Engineer Aviation Battalion. He fought in the South Pacific from 1940 through 1945, a time which included battle in Iwo Jima. He retired from the U.S. Army in October of 1945 as a technician fifth grade. He then worked at a furniture store and then took a job at the Texas Department of the Treasury.
    “He was there at Pearl Harbor, when the battleships were still smoldering. He was there at Okinawa. He was there at Iwo Jima, where he said, ‘I only got out of there by the grace of God said former President Barack Obama in 2013 during a Veterans Day ceremony honoring Overton at Arlington National Cemetery.
     The second World War was the deadliest conflict in modern military history as over 70 million people lost their lives and the U.S. suffered over 407,000 deaths in battle.
     As the years went by Overton became a local and then national celebrity. In 2013, at the age of 107, Overton won widespread media attention after telling Fox News he would spend Memorial Day “smoking cigars and drinking whiskey-stiffened coffee.” He was later invited to the White House.
     Overton had been hospitalized with pneumonia but was released from the hospital on December 24, Christmas Eve according to family member Shirley Overton. He had become known in his community for driving others to church well after turning 100 years old.
     “With his quick wit and kind spirit he touched the lives of so many, and I am deeply honored to have known him,” wrote Texas Gov. Greg Abbott in a statement on December 27 after hearing the news of Overton’s death.
     The Governor added that Overton was, “an American icon and Texas legend. Richard Overton made us proud to be Texans and proud to be Americans. We can never repay Richard Overton for his service to our nation and for his lasting impact on the Lone Star State.”
     Funeral arrangements have not yet been announced.

Newswire: Congress moves to help inmates in Federal prisons but not in predominately Black state prisons

By Frederick H. Lowe

California prison

Special to the Trice Edney News Wire from NorthStarNewsToday.com

(TriceEdneyWire.com) – Congress has passed legislation reducing sentences for some inmates serving time in federal prisons, but the law won’t affect state prisons and jails where the majority of black men are serving time.
The legislation called “First Step Act,” Senate bill 2795, passed by a vote of 87 to 12. The House of Representatives passed the legislation 358-36. Now it will go to President Trump who has promised to sign it.
First Step is designed to reduce recidivism, according to GovTrac, which monitors federal legislation.
The bill also would place inmates in prisons close to their homes to increase the likelihood of more family visitation, order home confinement for low-risk prisoners, prohibit the use of restraints on pregnant prisoners, expand adult employment for returning prisoners through federal programs and treatment of prisoners for heroin and opiod use and addiction, and ease federal sentencing laws.
The Sentencing Project, a Washington, D.C.-based advocate for a fair and effective justice system by promoting reforms, called the Senate’s passage of First Step “an important milestone in the long road to ending mass incarceration and curbing the excesses and harm in the federal justice system.”
“The last time Congress passed legislation to reduce sentences was in 2010 when Congress reformed the racially disparate mandatory minimum penalties governing crack cocaine offenses,” The Sentencing Project reported.
The Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors hate groups, also praised the legislation, but the Law Center said the legislation will have no impact on state sentencing laws or on people who are incarcerated in state prisons or local jails.
In 2016, The Sentencing Project published “The Color of Justice: Racial and Ethnic Disparity in State Prisons,” which noted that African Americans are incarcerated in state prisons across the country at more than five times the rate of whites.” In some states, Iowa, Minnesota, New Jersey, Vermont and Wisconsin the disparity is 10 to 1. The Bureau of Justice Statistics reports that 35 percent of state prisoners are white, 38 percent are black and 21 percent Hispanic. Oklahoma has the highest incarceration rate of black males, which is 1 in 29 adults and 1 in 15 for black boys 18 to 21.
At the end of 2017, there was an estimated 1,489, 600 inmates in state and federal prisons, according to the Vera Institute of Justice, which is based in New York.
There were 1, 306,300 inmates in state prisons, 9,900 fewer than in 2016, and 183, 300, or 5, 900 fewer in federal prisons than in 2016. As of December 13, the figure was 180,790 in federal prisons.
The decline in the number of inmates in state prisons is not across the board. Some state prisons have added inmates.

Bipartisan 2018 Farm Bill turns the tide for historically underserved farmers and ranchers

By: Lorette Picciano, Executive Director, Rural Coalition

The Rural Coalition and its members applaud the completion of the House and Senate conference report to the 2018 Farm Bill. The conference report was passed in the U. S. Senate by a vote of 86 to 12 and the U. S. House of Representatives by 334 to 47 last week. The 2018 Farm Bill was signed into law this week by President Donald J. Trump.
The 2018 Farm Bill is a strong indication of Congress’ legislative efforts to ensure that our nation’s African American, Asian Pacific, Latino, and Tribal Farmers and Ranchers and rural communities are well equipped to meet the growing demands for healthy foods and farm land preservation.
Rooted in the stronger Bipartisan Senate version of the bill crafted under the leadership of Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Senator Pat Roberts, and Ranking Member Senator Debbie Stabenow, the package ensures food access for all communities, and retains funding and authority for the crucial Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). It also increases support for the Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentives program and related initiatives to strengthen local food systems.
Of great significance to our communities, it makes critical new investments in tribal farmers and food systems and programs supporting the nation’s historically underserved, veteran and young farmers and ranchers, improves transparency in credit programs and removes barriers to cultivation of industrial hemp, strengthens local food and organic programs and establishes an Office of Urban Agriculture.
Some Specific Sections of the 2018 Farm Bill, we highlight are:

· Extends SNAP funding as in Nutrition Title in the Senate Bill without the very stiff and bureaucratic workfare requirements in the current House bill. Those provisions would create hunger and deepen poverty for vulnerable Americans, including children and families, and burden States with implementation and costs of constructing an underfunded bureaucratic infrastructure.

· Provides Fair Access for Farmers and Ranchers who attempt to farm on “heirs property”.

  The conference report language ensures that more farmers — especially African-American farmers and farmers of color operating on land with undivided interests – can finally access USDA programs that enable them to protect the soil and water; and continue to operate viable farms that feed their communities.  

This language, sponsored with thanks to Senators Doug Jones, Tim Scott and Tom Udall in the Senate, and Reps. Marcia Fudge, Sanford Bishop and Alma Adams in the House, was developed in cooperation with Rural Coalition with its members including the Federation of Southern Cooperatives, Oklahoma Black Historical Research Project, Inc., Land Loss Prevention Project, and Rural Advancement Fund of the National Sharecroppers Fund, with critical support from the Uniform Laws Commission, the Oklahoma Association of Conservation Districts and support from the National Association of Conservation Districts.
· Expands and Improves Opportunities for all Farmers to Access USDA Programs – The Conference Report includes language that creates the new Farming Opportunities Training and Outreach (FOTO) Program. FOTO strengthens the historic Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers Program and also links it closely to the related Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Development Program. The improved program provides permanent authority and permanent funding of $50 million annually, shared equally between the two programs. We thank Senators Tina Smith, Chris Van Hollen, Tom Udall, Reps. Michelle Lujan-Grisham, Ben Ray Lujan, Sanford Bishop and many others who led the effort to make these changes. And we especially credit the Senators Stabenow and Roberts and their staffs for their diligent efforts to permanently secure and fund this landmark program.
· Legalizes and regulates cultivation of Industrial Hemp by removing it from the controlled substances list and allowing tribes, states, and territories to establish regulatory structures within their boundaries that allow farmers and ranchers to produce a high value cash crop while retaining federal farm program benefits that were previously not allowed.
· Provides critical improvements in USDA direct lending credit policy by including equitable relief servicing options in order to protect producers against errors or mistakes made within the USDA direct lending program.
· Authorizes the Farmer and Rancher Stress Assistance Network which supports mental health resources and services to farmers and farmworkers who need them;
· Creates a new Local Agricultural Market Program (LAMP) by merging authorities and providing baseline funding for a streamlined new program. Specifically the LAMP language links the previous Farmers Market Promotion Program, the Local Food Promotion Program and the Value-Added Producer Grants Program.
· Establishes an Office of Urban Agriculture
“This bill turns the tide for African American and all other historically underserved farmers and ranchers,” said Rural Coalition Vice Chairperson Georgia Good, Executive Director of the Rural Advancement Fund of the National Sharecroppers Fund, which has worked since 1937 to improve the quality of life in rural communities in the South. We are grateful to Senators Tim Scott (SC) and Doug Jones (AL) for opening a critical new door to allow families of multiple generations operating on inherited land to be allowed in to the programs of USDA that all farmers need to thrive with their bill. We further thank Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts (KA) and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow (MI)for their patient and persistent leadership to work with us all to include these sections in a landmark package that values all rural communities and peoples.”

According to Rural Coalition Chairperson John Zippert of the Alabama Association of Cooperatives, “The Federation of Southern Cooperatives estimates more than 40% of black owned land is in heirs property status. Including the Fair Access Act in this bill enables people in states that have the Uniform Partition of Heirs Property laws to access USDA programs more directly with less red tape.”

“We have been working hard for decades to bring equity to the farm bill in terms of treatment for Black farmers and other farmers of color to build cooperatives and to uplift low-wealth communities. The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 addresses continuing inequities and supports the quality hands-on assistance needed to make sure the 2018 farm bill reaches everyone,” he continued.

“Particular thanks are due to the Senators Stabenow and Roberts and their staffs for dedicated efforts to refine legislation and push it to the finish line, and to Rep. Conaway and Peterson’s staffs for working with them to make the important changes necessary to improve opportunities for all farmers. We also thank the many other Senators and members of Congress who led in developing key sections of this legislation.

“The Agricultural Improvement Act passed last week is a huge step forward,” said Rural Coalition Board Member Rudy Arredondo, President of the National Latino Farmers and Ranchers Trade Association. “We are extremely happy that the Agriculture Committee leaders were able to stay focused on the essentials of as good a bipartisan farm bill as we can get in this political climate.”

Everyone in our nation who cares about a future for diverse farmers, ranchers and rural communities needs to call upon Congress and the President to assure swift passage and signing, and final enactment of the 2018 Farm Bill.

DST Chapter provides gifts for family of 10 children

Shown L To R: Shirley Ezell, Carolyn Young, Marva Smith, Miriam Leftwich, Tameshia Porter, Isaac Atkins, Phillis Belcher, Johnni Strode Morning, Carol Zippert and Jacqueline Allen

The Greene County Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. partnered with the Greene County Department of Human Resources to provide Christmas gifts for a local family of 10 children. The sorority members provided toys, games, books, various electronics as well as clothing for each child in the family. All the gifts were selected in attempts to fulfill the wishes of the children. The various lists of the children’s wishes were provided by the DHR staff.
Mr. Wilson Morgan is Director of the Greene County DHR office.
Mrs. Carolyn Young and Ms. Jackie Allen serve as chairperson and co-chairperson, respectively, of the DST Chapter’s Adopt-A-Family Committee. Mrs. Isaac Atkins serves as Chapter President.

FOGCE Federal Credit Union holds Annual Meeting

Members of FOGCE Federal Credit Union at Annual Meeting.

The Federation of Greene County Employees (FOGCE) Federal Credit Union held its Annual Meeting and Christmas Celebration on Wednesday, December 19, 2018 at the credit union’s offices in downtown Eutaw.
The meeting was well attended by more than 35 members who came to learn the status and future plans for the credit union.
Joyce Pham, Treasurer, gave a financial report indicating that as of December 31, 2017, the FOGCE had $503,782.56 in loans outstanding to the membership with assets of $1,343,153.16. There are 891 members and net income for 2017 was $13,819.19.
Mary Dunn, Chairperson of the Credit Committee reported that the FOGCE had made 333 loans in 2018, for a total of $421,537.69, which included ten automobile loans with a value of $153,839.
Rodney Pham indicated that the Credit Committee had increased the maximum loan for an automobile from $40,000 to $60,000. Loans are based on the car’s value, repayment ability and credit rating of the borrower.
Dr. Carol P. Zippert, President reported on the credit union. “ We started in 1975, 43 years ago, with around $25,000 in savings and we have grown to have $1.3 million in assets today. After years of operating in renter spaces, we now own our own building on the Courthouse Square in Eutaw.”
Zippert continued, “ We recently received a $10,000 grant from Inclusiv (formerly the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions) for technology upgrades, accounting and compliance, financial education and counseling for members and marketing and communications expenses to improve contact with our members. We plan to use these grant funds to grow and improve our credit union. We would like to have 1,000 members and over $1.5 million in assets by the end of 2019.”
Joyce Pham indicated that any person who lives, works or worships in Greene County is eligible to join the credit union. It takes $35.00 to join, with $10 for administrative fees to set-up the account and $25.00 as the initial share deposit. All savings are insured by the National Credit Union Administration up to a value of $250,000 per account.
Pham said the credit union is now getting payroll deduction of savings and loan payments from more than thirty employers and businesses in Greene County and surrounding communities including Aliceville, Demopolis, Tuscaloosa and others.
In the business meeting, the members re-elected three board members including Darlene Robinson, Rodney Pham and Mollie Rowe. Also re-elected to the Credit Committee were: Mary Dunn, Rodney Pham and Vonda Richardson. .
Several visitors from the Federation of Southern Cooperatives made congratulatory remarks to the members. These included: Carrie Fulghum, Alabama Board member with the Federation, Dr. Marcus Bernard, Director of the Rural Training and Research Center in Epes, Alabama, and John Zippert, long time Federation staff member.

Newswire: Africa’s ‘Blue Economy’ – the new frontier

African maritime industry

        Dec. 17, 2018 (GIN) – Six counties in Kenya’s coastal region have been tagged for technical training in the blue economy – what some have called “the new frontier of the African Renaissance.”

        The goal is to enable young people to find jobs in the maritime industry.

        Kevit Desai, a Kenyan vocational training principal, says institutions of higher learning must begin to focus on developing skills, nurturing innovations and enterprise creation for this “overlooked opportunity.”

        He suggested a post-Blue Economy Conference workshop to create awareness and enhance community participation in this vision for the future.

        The topic prompted the World Bank last year to release a report called “The Potential of the Blue Economy” on sustainable use of marine resources for small island and coastal least developed countries.

        “An important challenge of the blue economy is to understand and better manage oceanic sustainability,” the report began, “from sustainable fisheries to ecosystem health to pollution.”

        After years of neglect, the multilateral community is finally waking up,” writes David Thomas of African Business.  “Policymakers are excitingly speaking of job creation, new sources of government revenue and the limitless potential of ocean entrepreneurship.”

        But the initiative is also worrying to those who see a ‘global ocean grab’ by the rich and powerful, deciding who shall benefit, who should decide how much to fish and where. A drive for maximum profit is underway and small-scale fisher people fear a “global ocean grab’ is in the works.

        Multinational corporations, states, NGOs, speculative investors and many others are behind a ‘power grab’ to gain control of aquatic - ‘blue’ - resources, critics charge.

        A recent report on “Ocean Prosperity” speaks optimistically of the potential for profit: “The transition to a blue economy is a tremendous economic and investment opportunity,” they write, “and this report will help investors understand the risks and opportunities for making money from ocean resources.”

        The rise of blue growth represents the latest stage in a move by powerful economic actors to control crucial decision-making – including the power to decide how and for what purposes marine resources are used, conserved and managed.

        Guided by the World Bank and similar institutions, an increasing number of African countries are now embracing the blue economy for its potential to deliver solutions to their most pressing needs – particularly extreme poverty and hunger.

        Fishing sits at the forefront of debates about how to make the most of the blue economy while preserving a fragile ecosystem, observes Jeremy Prince of Murdoch University’s Center for Fish and Fisheries Research in Perth, Australia.

        Support has been promised to the African Union from the Economic Commission for Africa to ensure that the untapped potentials of the blue economy are fully realized.

Newswire : The Schomburg Center acquires Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis’ Archive

Written By NewsOne Staff

Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis

        The legacies of late actors Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis will prevail in Harlem. The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture at The New York Public Library—a cultural institution that serves as a hub for research and programming surrounding the global Black experience—has acquired the legendary couple’s archive, the New York Public Library reported.
        The couple’s mementos being brought to the Schomburg Center is very fitting as the two spent time living in Harlem. The items that are a part of the collection capture the essence of their social activism efforts and give a glimpse into their marriage. 
        Amongst the items are postcards and letters exchanged between the couple and activist Malcolm X, a greeting card that Coretta Scott King sent to the couple, Ruby Dee’s original script for “A Raisin in the Sun,” footage of Dee and Davis’ television appearances and interviews, correspondence between Dee and Langston Hughes and other items from the couple that are embedded in the fabric of Black culture.
        The Schomburg Center acquired the archive as a part of it’s Home to Harlem project; an effort to capture the stories of impactful Black figures who had an influence in Harlem and beyond. “Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis were pillars of creativity, friendship, and support during the greatest artistic and political movements of our time,” Kevin Young, Director of the Schomburg Center, said in a statement. 
        “Their love for each other and for their closest friends, as well as their commitment to advancing social progress through the arts and advocacy, is reflected in the vastness of this archive. Having their archive home to Harlem will help scholars and researchers tell an even more comprehensive story of the cultural and political evolution of the 20th century. We are privileged to be stewards of the Dee and Davis legacies, and to make them available to the public for study and exploration.”

Newswire : Global voter suppression efforts against Black Americans are confirmed in new report

Written By Nigel Roberts, Newsone
A new report detailed how the Russians specifically targeted African-American voters in the 2016 election to help President Donald Trump win—adding to domestic efforts to suppress the Black vote.
The New York Times obtained an advanced copy of the report that was released on Monday, and it found that a Russian-backed team used an array of tactics to suppress turnout among Democrats through social media outlets, especially Instagram and Facebook.
In response, the NAACP called on Congress to conduct additional investigations into Facebook. Derrick Johnson, the organization’s president and CEO, told NewsOne that the report added urgency to its “LogOut Facebook” digital protestplanned for Dec. 18.
“We’re raising awareness about an attack on Black and brown users, which Facebook was in part complicit with. The Russian interference during the 2016 election called into question the integrity of the voting processes that took place, and overwhelmingly, people of color have suffered the most as a result of that election,” he stated.
A U.S. Senate committee commissioned the study that was produced by New Knowledge, a cybersecurity company based in Austin, Texas, along with researchers at Columbia University and Canfield Research LLC.
The efforts through Facebook and Instagram focused on developing Black audiences and disproportionately recruited unwitting African-American activists who were sometimes paid to stage rallies to create turmoil.

        “As Russia takes aim at African-American voters, we can’t ignore the fact that people of color remain the primary targets for voter suppression schemes right here on American soil. In setting its main target on African Americans, Russia is taking a page out of the U.S. voter suppression playbook; by allowing voter suppression domestically, we send a dangerous message to bad actors such as Russia that Black votes don’t matter,” Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, said.
        America’s long history of suppressing the Black vote also impacted the outcome of the 2016 presidential election. For example, after the Republican-led statehouse in Wisconsin changed its voter registration law mandating stricter identification, more than 200,000 voters, mostly African Americans, were not able to vote, according to a study from Priorities USA that was reported in The Nation.
        The progressive voting rights organization found that Wisconsin’s voter-ID law reduced turnout by 200,000 votes. Trump won the state by only 22,748 votes.
        A St. Petersburg company called the Internet Research Agency operated the influence campaign. It was owned by businessman Yevgeny V. Prigozhin who has a close connection to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
        The company created a dozen fake websites using names that would appeal to African Americans, such as blackmattersus.com, blacktivist.info, blacktolive.org and blacksoul.us. It operated a YouTube channel that covered the Black Lives Matter movement and police brutality.
        On Facebook, ads targeted users who showed an interest in certain topics like Black history or the Black Panther Party.
        The NAACP called for its digital protest of Facebook ahead of Monday’s release of the report. Over the past year, the organization said it expressed concern about the company’s multiple data and privacy breaches, as well as the lack of employee diversity at large tech companies.
        “We’re holding Facebook accountable for the role it played in the proliferation of propaganda against people of color. The hackers preyed on the vulnerability of racial tensions in America, and Facebook fed them our information on a silver platter. As a corporation, Facebook needs to acknowledge this negligence, and we’re empowering people to use #LogOutFacebook as a means to express their discontent,” Johnson stated.