Omarosa Manigault named Trump’s Director of African-American Outreach

Written By Charise Frazier

Omirosa Manigualt and Donald Trump

Omarosa Manigualt with Donald Trump at the convention

Former Apprentice star Omarosa Manigault breathed new life into her career by announcing her title as Donald Trump’s campaign director of African-American outreach on live television.

Manigault, a longtime supporter of the presumptive GOP nominee, and former Vice Chair of the National Diversity Coalition For Trump, solidified her position during a Monday interview with MSNBC‘s Craig Melvin.
Melvin pressed Manigault on the recent polling in Ohio and her home state of Pennsylvania, where Trump’s support from African-Americans stands at an astounding zero percent. “I just spent an amazing weekend with African-Americans for Trump, about 300 of them,” she said.
“I’m just wondering who they called because those numbers would be flawed according to the people who have come out to support, had an amazing faith-based service yet with African-Americans who support Donald Trump, had an amazing reception yesterday evening with African-Americans who support Trump,” she continued. “So I look at the data, but my reality is that I’m surrounded by people who to want see Donald Trump as the next president of the United States, who are African-American.”
Well, the numbers don’t lie and if Manigault has any chance of sustaining success in her position, she now knows where she can start.
Manigault pivoted to touting Trump’s economic prowess as a principle for his readiness to lead the country. Though the controversy with Trump University’s multiple lawsuits stands as a stain on Trump’s economic record, and considering the questionable tactics he’s taken with his personal finances (filing for bankruptcy, refusing to make his tax returns public when prompted), Manigault still believes her candidate has “an incredible vision for this country.”

US Supreme Court in 4-3 vote upholds affirmative action at University of Texas

By: David Smith in Washington and Alan Yuhas in New York, The Guardian

The principle of affirmative action for African American and Hispanic people seeking access to higher education received a boost on Thursday when the supreme court upheld a controversial program run by the University of Texas.

In a 4-3 ruling, the court decided that the university’s scheme, which considers race as part of its admissions process, is constitutional. Justice Elena Kagan recused herself from the case because she worked on it while serving in the justice department.

Most students are admitted to the University of Texas through a scheme that guarantees slots to Texans who graduate in the top 10% of their high school classes. But for a quarter of its intake, it considers race as one factor among many, a formula supported by the Obama administration.

Justice Anthony Kennedy warned that though the Texas program is constitutional it may still be the subject of future scrutiny by the courts.

“The Court’s affirmance of the University’s admissions policy today does not necessarily mean the University may rely on that same policy without refinement,” he wrote. “It is the University’s ongoing obligation to engage in constant deliberation and continued reflection regarding its admission policies.”

The ruling strengthens affirmative action programs around the country, making them more likely to survive discrimination suits.

Kennedy wrote that universities deserve “considerable deference” in how they run themselves, “but still, it remains an enduring challenge to our nation’s education system to reconcile the pursuit of diversity with the constitutional promise of equal treatment and dignity”.

Universities and states can be “laboratories for experimentation”, he said, citing UT Austin as a school that could serve as an example to others. But his commendation came with an order to continuously re-evaluate whether “changing demographics have undermined the need for a race-conscious policy”.

Justice Samuel Alito took the remarkable step of reading his dissent from the bench – an act reserved only for when justices, usually decorous even in defeat, passionately disagree with a ruling. After Kennedy read the conclusions of his 20-page ruling, Alito read his 50-page dissent in its entirety.

“UT’s crude classification system is ill suited for the more integrated country that we are rapidly becoming,” Alito said. “If an applicant has one grandparent, great-grandparent, or great-great-grandparent who was a member of a favored group,” he asked, “is that enough to permit UT to infer that this student’s classroom contribution will reflect a distinctive perspective?”

This system of self-identification, Alito argued, “is an invitation for applicants to game the system”.

In a separate dissent, Justice Clarence Thomas repeated his view that the constitution outlaws any use of race in higher education admissions.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton welcomed the ruling, calling it a “win for all Americans”.

“Having a student body with diverse experiences and perspectives breaks down barriers, enriches academia, and prepares our young people to be leaders and citizens in our increasingly diverse country,” she said.

Arguments at last December’s hearing focused on whether the university can be justified in using race as a factor and showed a clear split between conservatives and liberals.

Abigail Fisher, a white woman from Texas, claims she was deprived of a place at the university because of her race. Bert Rein, representing Fisher, argued that the “top 10%” program was sufficient to bring in Hispanic and African American students and said the university could adopt other measures to diversify its student body without explicit reference to race.

Texas said the “top 10” program alone was not enough and it needed the freedom to fill out incoming classes as it saw fit. Gregory Garre said on behalf of the university that minority enrolment dropped at top public universities in California and Michigan after they ended consideration of race.

“If this court rules that the University of Texas can’t consider race, we know exactly what will happen: diversity will plummet, especially among African Americans,” Garre said. “Now is not the time and this is not the case to roll back student-body diversity in America.”

But during oral argument, Alito said the university was engaging in “terrible stereotyping” by suggesting there was something “deficient about the African American students and the Hispanic students who are admitted under the top 10% plan”.

It is unclear what impact the death of conservative Justice Antonin Scalia in February ultimately had on the opinion.

Scalia might have swayed the moderate Kennedy away from such a strong affirmation of race-conscious admissions. In at least three past cases on related issues, Kennedy had sided against affirmative action programs. Scalia at the very least could have deadlocked the decision 4-4. The conservative justice had made his opinion on the case known in December, when he suggested that black students might benefit from the end of affirmative action.

“There are those who contend that it does not benefit African Americans to get them into the University of Texas where they do not do well, as opposed to having them go to a less-advanced school, a slower-track school, where they do well,” he said during oral arguments in December.

The court first heard Fisher’s case in 2012 but the case ended inconclusively and was sent to a lower court for review. The federal appeals court in New Orleans twice upheld the Texas admissions program and rejected Fisher’s appeal.

Fisher’s case was conceived by Edward Blum, an opponent of racial preferences. Blum also is behind lawsuits against Harvard University and the University of North Carolina that aim to eliminate any consideration of race in college admissions.

The Supreme Court has previously allowed affirmative action in limited cases though it has said it wanted to phase it out because it was a form of racial discrimination.

Such programs date to the 1960s, when they were first used to try to reduce racial segregation, but strict quotas were ruled unconstitutional by the court in 1978. Since another test case in 2003, race may now only be used as a factor if it can be shown to be essential in creating educational diversity in class.

Eight states ban the use of race in public college admissions: Arizona, California, Florida, Michigan, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Oklahoma and Washington.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

GAO report: Segregation increasing at some U. S. schools

By Lauren Victoria Burke (NNPA News Wire
Contributor)

A recent report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that the segregation of African American and Hispanic students nationwide is getting worse.
In particular, a notable increase in segregation among K-12 public schools was pointed out in the study. The study also found that charter schools may often take students from public schools and enroll them into less diverse schools. The study also found that Hispanic students were “triple segregated” by economics, race and language barriers. The report was released on the 62nd anniversary of the landmark decision in the 1954 U.S. Supreme Court case Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, which declared that segregated schools were unconstitutional.
On May 16, a judge in Cleveland, Miss., found that schools in the town were just as segregated as they were a half-century ago. “The delay in desegregation has deprived generations of students of the constitutionally guaranteed right of an integrated education,” U.S. District Judge Debra Brown wrote.
At a press conference on Capitol Hill, Congressional Black Caucus Chairman G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.), House Education and Workforce ranking Democrat Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.), and House Judiciary ranking member Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) along with Reps. Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) spoke on the issue.
Reps. Conyers, Butterfield and Scott will author a bill that would require schools to “designate at least one employee” to work on complying with diversity requirements. “The percentage of schools where 75 percent of students are both low-income and Hispanic or African-American has increased from 9 percent in 2001 to 16 percent in 2014,” Rep. Conyers said.
The report also found that schools that were segregated offered fewer courses in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) related fields and college preparatory classes. “Segregation in public K-12 schools isn’t getting better. It’s getting worse, and getting worse quickly,” Rep. Bobby Scott of Virginia said.
Senator Bernie Sanders tweeted that, “There are 6,727 highly-segregated schools in our nation, where one percent or less of the school population is white. #BrownVBoard.”
In a statement about the report, National Urban League President Marc Morial said that the findings in GAO report confirm “that the promise of Brown remains a promise that has gone largely unfulfilled.” Morial continued: “In too many communities, students of color are now more segregated with less access to equitable educational opportunities than in decades prior.”
NAACP Legal Defense Fund Director Sherrilyn Ifill said that the report shines a light on worsening education inequities that that cannot be divorced from our nation’s legacy of racial discrimination that has perpetuated racial and socioeconomic isolation. Ifill said: “It is our imperative on the 62nd anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Brown v. Board of Education to ask, ‘How will we act to address current disparities like resource inequities and discriminatory discipline practices?’”
Lauren Victoria Burke is a political analyst who speaks on politics and African American leadership. She can be contacted at LBurke007@gmail.com and on twitter at @LVBurke.

President Barack Obama signed a bill Friday that modernizes the terms used for minorities.

By: Madison Park, CNN

President Barack Obama

(CNN) The federal government will no longer use the terms “Negro” and “Oriental” after President Barack Obama signed a bill into law. The official terms will be African-American and Asian-American. Welcome to 2016.
In a rare show of bipartisan support, the measure H.R.4238, passed unanimously in the House of Representatives and the Senate earlier this year. Obama signed it into law Friday. The measure updates the terms the U.S. federal government uses to describe minorities, including American Indian to Native American and “Spanish speaking individual of Spanish descent” to Hispanic.
Here’s what the bill states: Office Of Minority Economic Impact.—Section 211(f)(1) of the Department of Energy Organization Act (42 U.S.C. 7141(f)(1)) is amended by striking “a Negro, Puerto Rican, American Indian, Eskimo, Oriental, or Aleut or is a Spanish speaking individual of Spanish descent” and inserting “Asian American, Native Hawaiian, a Pacific Islander, African American, Hispanic, Puerto Rican, Native American, or an Alaska Native”.
“The term ‘Oriental’ has no place in federal law and at long last this insulting and outdated term will be gone for good,” said Rep. Grace Meng of New York, who sponsored the bill.
Meng, a Democrat from Queens, encountered the term while doing legislative research and had sought to eliminate its usage from government terminology.
“Many Americans may not be aware that the word ‘Oriental’ is derogatory. But it is an insulting term that needed to be removed from the books, and I am extremely pleased that my legislation to do that is now the law of the land,” she said in a statement.
Meng had similarly pushed a law that eliminated the use of the word when she served in the New York Legislature in 2009.
The H.R. 4328 bill had 76 cosponsors, including all 51 members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus. One of the original cosponsors included Rep. Ed Royce, a California Republican.
“Our country is a rich tapestry of cultural backgrounds, and Americans of all backgrounds deserve to be treated with dignity and respect,” he said in a statement.

Ferguson swears in new police chief

 Aamer Madhani, USA TODAY

images-1

 Delrish Moss

The St. Louis suburb of Ferguson swore in a new police chief on Monday, turning to a veteran African-American officer from Miami to try to help the department rebound less than two years after racially-charged protests put the community in the international spotlight.
Delrish Moss, 51, who beat out 50 other applicants for the post, takes over after the city in March agreed to terms of a Justice Department consent decree to overhaul the troubled department. The city was plunged into racial turmoil after the shooting death of an unarmed Black teen, Michael Brown, by a white police officer. During his 32 years on the Miami force, Moss served as patrol officer, a member of the homicide unit and most recently as public information officer.
“A lot of answers lie in Ferguson, not necessarily from some magic pill that I’m going to bring to the city,” Moss told KSDK-TV in an interview shortly before he was sworn in on Monday. “I think when you listen to people, when people are having a dialogue back and forth, I think they come to respect each other even if they disagree. I hope that’s going to work for me.”
Ferguson became a potent symbol for frayed relations between police and African-American communities throughout the country following the August 2014 shooting death of Brown, 18, by officer Darren Wilson. Brown was Black and Wilson is white.
Wilson has since left the Ferguson department. A St. Louis County grand jury declined to indict Wilson, and the Justice Department declined to charge the ex-cop for the fatal shooting that came after a struggle between the officer and Brown on a Ferguson street.
Moss replaces former Ferguson Police chief Thomas Jackson, who resigned in March 2015 after a DOJ report offered withering criticism of the department’s     policies and practices. The DOJ investigation revealed endemic problems in the treatment of African-Americans by Ferguson’s police and court system.
The city of 21,000 has a budget of about $14 million and is facing about $2.8 million in debt as it goes about implementing the mandated reforms. Much of the debt accrued from police overtime during the unrest following Brown’s death and lost tax revenue from businesses destroyed or badly damaged in rioting.
The agreement calls for a revision in the police department’s training with an emphasis “toward de-escalation and avoiding force — particularly deadly force — except where necessary.”
Ferguson is also required to recruit a more diverse force. Currently, only a handful of officers on the more than 50-officer force are African-American in a city that is nearly 70% Black.

Johnson family sells Ebony and Jet magazines

By Keith J. Kelly

Ebony Magazine cover
Ebony, a 1.2 million circulation lifestyle magazine aimed at African-Americans, has been sold by Johnson Publishing to a Texas businessman with backing from a private equity firm, Media Ink has learned.
Austin-based Michael Gibson’s ClearView Partners, with backing from Houston private-equity firm Park View Capital Partners, are the new owners of the 62-year-old monthly. The new company, to be known as Ebony Media Operations, is expected to be chaired by Gibson and have former Chief Operating Officer Cheryl Mayberry McKissack as the new CEO.
“I can confirm that Ebony has been sold,” said Johnson Publishing CEO Desiree Rogers. “It allows Johnson Publishing to reduce its debt associated with the media company and focus on growth of its cosmetics business.”
Gibson told Media Ink that current Editor-in-Chief Kierna Mayo will step down and will be replaced in the top spot by Kyra Kyles, who is currently a senior vice president in charge of digital.
Johnson Publishing was founded in Chicago in 1942 by John H. Johnson and his wife Eunice. It is currently headed by his daughter, the company Chairwoman Linda Johnson Rice.
In addition to the divested media operation, the company includes Fashion Fair Cosmetics, which the Johnson family will continue to own.
The company competes head-to -head with Essence, which is owned by Time Inc.
Johnson Publishing has been rapidly down-sizing its operations by over the past five years as it scrambled to keep pace in the rapidly changing media world. It suspended print publication of JET and made it digital-only in 2014.
It also sold its Chicago headquarters building.
DeSilva + Phillips represented the Johnson family in the deal.

 

African American museum designed with emotions in mind

By Peggy McGlone , Washington Post

Slave shackles

Small shackles from the 1800s are among the artifacts that will be on display at National Museum of African American History and Culture. (Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture)

They are heartbreakingly small, these rough-hewn iron shackles with openings that are just 21/2 inches in diameter. They are menacing, too, their five-pound bulk disturbingly heavy for the tiny wrists they confined. Despite their small size, they deliver a gut punch by summoning the horror and humanity of the slave trade in a way that no history textbook could ever do. The shackles are among the thousands of items that will be on view at the National Museum of African American History and Culture when it opens Sept. 24. These artifacts will tell stories of slavery, Reconstruction, segregation and the civil rights movement. Museum officials anticipate tears, sighs and even some anger as visitors proceed through the galleries.
The visitor experience has been a priority from the beginning, addressed in the design of the building, the organization of exhibitions, and the text and videos that supplement the displays. And now, with less than six months to opening, the effort turns to the front lines, to the staff and volunteers who will interact with visitors.
“Not a lot of (other institutions) are taking on, head on, one of the most difficult things society is facing today, which is the history of our country and how that impacts today,” said Esther Washington, the museum’s director of education. “The idea of letting people sit with a little bit of discomfort is something we have to do because of the stories we have in the museum.”
Louise Lawrence-Israëls knows firsthand about the difficulty of talking about race, identify and social justice. The 73-year-old Bethesda resident is a volunteer at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, where for 22 years she has encountered a range of responses, from shock to tears to surprise. The work is exhausting — though she doesn’t notice until she gets home after a day of tours or talks.
“It is not tiring for me when I’m doing it. It’s uplifting,” she said. “It’s so important that you can make an impact on people. People just don’t know. It’s baffling how little they know.”
Lawrence-Israëls was a “hidden child” who was not sent to the camps. She says visitors reveal their emotions by grabbing her arm or taking her hand, and they often ask personal questions (“Do you still believe in God?” is a common one). “They can’t believe anyone has survived that,” she said. “It’s too much for them.”
Officials with the African American museum turned to their colleagues at the Holocaust museum and the National September 11 Memorial Museum for advice. They are among some 200 museums in the United States that focus on difficult subjects, from the Holocaust to terrorism to World War II, according to the American Alliance of Museums. Their experts say a critical first step is acknowledging the difficulty of some of the exhibitions and the conversations they will prompt.
“There’s no such thing as harder, or hardest. There’s just hard,” explained Sarah Pharaon of the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience, a network of memorials, museums and historic sites. “This is history that is personal, and creating an atmosphere that allows for people to share their personal truths is vital.”
Design is also critical. Many museums have incorporated spaces for reflection and quiet. The Holocaust museum, for example, includes spaces on every floor and a Hall of Remembrance. The 9/11 museum places its more challenging exhibits in alcoves that can be bypassed and has spaced early exits along the gallery.
“There are visitors who don’t want to have the whole experience. They’ve had enough,” said Clifford Chanin, the 9/11 museum’s vice president of education and public programs. “We’re allowing visitors to make choices within our choices.”
Smithsonian Secretary David J. Skorton praised the African American museum for anticipating the need for visitors to decompress. “The sensitivity of the designers, especially director Lonnie Bunch, the thinking that went into it, even includes some contemplative space, so after being face to face with areas of tragedy or challenge, there is a space for someone to reflect,” Skorton said.