Newswire: MLK Day 2022 follows another year of racial strife

 CNN video showing man carrying Confederate flag inside the U. S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2022.



By Hazel Trice Edney

( – On Jan. 6, 2022, thousands of insurrectionists stormed the United States Capitol, attempting to stop the counting of Electoral College votes that were to confirm Joseph Biden as president. Other than the violence itself, the single most visible image among the insurrectionists was the Confederate battle flag.

The image was so disgusting to historian Dr. Mary Frances Berry that she told the New York Times that she just “wanted to scream” seeing the image of racism and White supremacy cross the lines where it had not even gone during the Civil War as it stood for the enslavement of Black people.

“To see it flaunted right in front of your face, in the United States Capitol, the heart of the government, was simply outrageous,” said Berry, professor of history at the University of Pennsylvania and former chair of the U. S. Commission on Civil Rights.

Fourteen days later, Biden was inaugurated in front of the building, surrounded by more than 26,000 armed troops to prevent further physical attacks. But even that show of force could not end the insurrection that continued – in spirit – using what has come to be known as “the big lie” – the untruth spread by President Donald Trump and his supporters that say Biden did not legitimately win the 2021 election. It is a lie that is being spread, in part, because of his vast support from Black voters and a desire to discount those votes.

Now a year after January 6, 2021, there appears to be no end in sight for racial strife in America. At another Martin Luther King Holiday on Monday, January 17, the nation looks back on a year that revealed stark division – especially between Whites and Blacks.

On April 21, former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty of the brazen murder of George Floyd on a Minneapolis street. He had knelt on Chauvin’s neck for almost 10 minutes, even after he was already dead.
On the other hand, Kyle Rittenhouse on Nov. 19, an 18-year-old White teen vigilante, was acquitted on all charges after killing two White people and wounding another in Kenosha, Wisconsin during protests led by activists against the disparate police killings of Black people.
On Nov. 24, in yet another trial, three White men who killed 25-year-old B Black man Ahmaud Arbery as he jogged through their Georgia neighborhood were found guilty of murder.
Ultimately, with only days before Christmas on Dec. 23, former Minnesota police officer Kim Potter, a White woman, was found guilty of manslaughter drew her handgun instead of her Taser during a routine traffic stop in April in which she fatally shot a young Black man Daunte Wright, 20.
Despite the perceived wins for justice as juries convicted the killers of Floyd, Arbery and Wright, racial statistics across America continue to reveal the pains of racial division as an underlying force across the nation. Those examples include:

In the COVID-19 pandemic, African-Americans have died at a staggering three times more often than Whites, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In other health statistics Black people sicker, and die earlier, than other racial groups, according to the American Bar Association
Yet, the uninsured among African-Americans remain at twice that of Whites.
In economics, “the median white household has a net worth 10 times that of the median Black household,” according to the Brookings Institute.
Even as these statistics continue as America faces yet another King Holiday, civil rights leaders continue to fight for congressional voting rights legislation that would protect the voting rights that have been stripped by dozens of states as the so-called “big lie” continues.

“This assault on democracy is fueled by a racial backlash against the growing electoral power of people of color,” writes Rev. Jesse Jackson. “This isn’t the first time that democracy has been assaulted. After the Civil War freed the slaves, the 15th Amendment was passed to prohibit discrimination in the right to vote. When coalitions of Black and white people emerged to threaten the privilege and power of the plantation South, the reaction was fierce. Armed bands — the Ku Klux Klan and others — terrorized Black people and their allies. Laws were passed and enforced to make it virtually impossible for Black people to register and vote.”

But during the civil rights movement, the Voting Rights Act was signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson on August 6, 1965 the leadership of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. then activist John Lewis and thousands of others who protested.

Now, according to the Brennan Center for Justice, in this year alone, “19 states have enacted 33 laws that will make it harder for Americans to vote.”

Facing these attacks, the family of Dr. King, after initially calling for no celebration of the King Holiday this year until voting rights legislation is passed by Congress, have now called for a D.C. march to honor Dr. King. The march would demand that Congress take action by passing the two voting rights bills.

The march is being led by Martin Luther King III; his wife, Andrea Waters King; and their daughter, Yolanda Renee King.

According to the Washington Post, the Jan. 17 march will take place across the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge in D.C. at 10 a.m.

before joining the city’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Peace Walk.

“MLK Day has always been a day on, not off. When we call for ‘no celebration without legislation,’ we’re not urging Americans not to honor this day — we’re asking people to honor Dr. King through action to protect the right to vote,” Martin Luther King III, chairman of the Drum Major Institute, a nonprofit started by his father, said in a statement to The Washington Post. “We’re directly calling on Congress not to pay lip service to my father’s ideals without doing the very thing that would protect his legacy: pass voting rights legislation.”

Newswire : FBI reports sharp rise in hate crimes targeting Black and Asian people

By Stacy M. Brown NNPA

Newswire Senior National Correspondent

Law enforcement agencies submitted incident reports involving 7,759 criminal incidents and 10,532 related offenses motivated by bias toward race, ethnicity, ancestry, religion, sexual orientation, disability, gender, and gender identity. Further, the FBI’s Hate Crime Statistics, 2020, reported 7,554 single-bias incidents involving 10,528 victims. Percent distribution of victims by bias type shows that 61.9 percent of victims found themselves targeted because of the offenders’ race, ethnicity, or ancestry. Further, 20.5 percent fell victim because of bias toward the offenders’ sexual orientation, 13.4 percent because of the offenders’ religion, 2.5 percent because of the offenders’ gender identity, 1 percent the offenders’ disability, and 0.7 percent because of the offenders’ gender bias. Specifically, in its Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program’s latest compilation about bias-motivated incidents throughout the nation, the FBI noted that the number of hate crimes in the United States rose to the highest level in 12 years, driven by assaults targeting Black and Asian people. The rise in hate crimes occurred in a year of renewed protests for racial justice in the wake of the murder of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and countless others. “The rise in hate crimes is sad but predictable given the well-documented efforts by elected officials and political candidates to foment hate and division for partisan gain, especially during the 2020 election season and amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,” Damon Hewitt, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, stated in a news release. Hewitt noted that The Lawyers’ Committee filed several lawsuits within the last year to address hate incidents by people emboldened by an atmosphere in which blatant lies flourish and the truth often questioned. “Our clients were assaulted by racially motivated mobs, beaten by police using racially charged language, and targeted with thousands of racist robocalls delivering misinformation,” Hewitt added. “While horrific on their own, all indications are that these incidents are still grossly underreported. Although hate crimes prey on historically disenfranchised groups, our government should treat these crimes as a threat to the very foundations of our democracy – a threat that we dismiss at our own peril.” The FBI’s report revealed that of the 7,426 hate crime offenses classified as crimes against persons in 2020, 53.4 percent were for intimidation, 27.6 percent were for simple assault, and 18.1 percent were for aggravated assault. Of the 2,913 hate crime offenses classified as crimes against property, most (76.4 percent) were acts of destruction/damage/vandalism. Robbery, burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, arson, and other offenses accounted for the remaining 23.6 percent of crimes against property. Law enforcement classified 193 additional offenses as crimes against society. The FBI said this crime category represents society’s prohibition against engaging in certain types of activity such as gambling, prostitution, and drug violations. They said those crimes typically are victimless where property isn’t the object. Of the 6,431 known offenders, 55.2 percent were White, and 20.2 percent were Black or African American. Other races accounted for the remaining known offenders: Ethnicity was unknown for 47.5 percent of these offenders. Of the 5,915 known offenders for whom ages were known, 89.1 percent were 18 years of age or older.

25 cars join ‘Slow Ride for Justice’ through Eutaw to protest police brutality and call for criminal justice reform

Cars lining up at the National Guard Armory for the “Slow-ride”

On Sunday afternoon, June 14, 2020, twenty-five cars joined the ‘Slow Ride for Justice’ through the City of Eutaw, to protest the police killings of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and many others. The ride called for criminal justice reform and passage of the Justice in Policing Act, proposed by the Black Congressional Caucus.
The caravan was sponsored by the Alabama Civil Rights Museum Movement under the director of Spiver W. Gordon, its President. “We decided on a slow ride so that our elderly and others reluctant to expose themselves to coronavirus would feel free to participate,” said Gordon.
Cars, covered with signs saying: No Justice – No Peace, Black Lives Matter, Equal Justice for All, Stop Killing Black People and others, left from the National Guard Armory, driving west on Highway 14, down Prairie Avenue passing King Village and Branch Heights, turning back north on Highway 43 and east on Highway 14 to the Courthouse Square, named for Sheriff Thomas Gilmore.
A rally with people in masks and at social distancing was held at the Courthouse Square. Many speakers spoke and prayed for greater justice in the work of police departments across the nation.
Many of the speakers were concerned that police killings were the third greatest cause of death for Black men between the ages of 18 and 30 years old.
“In addition to the coronavirus pandemic raging in this country, we have a long-standing pandemic of racism that also plagues Black people,” said Gordon.

Newswire : Two white men arrested for the murder of Ahmaud Arbery, Black jogger in Brunswick, GA

By Frederick H. Lowe, BlackmansStreet.Today

Ahmaud Arbery

The Georgia Bureau of investigation on Thursday arrested a father and son, charging them with the murder of a black jogger more than three months after the deadly shooting, but only two days after a cellphone video surfaced that sparked national outrage and demands for justice.
Gregory McMichael, 64, and Travis McMichael, 34, were charged with murder and aggravated assault for the February 23 deadly shooting of Ahmaud Arbery, 25, as he jogged through the Satilla Shores neighborhood of Brunswick, Georgia, according to the GBI. The McMichaels were booked into the Glynn County Jail.
Arbery, who would have celebrated his 26th birthday Friday, was out for a run when Gregory McMichael,64, a retired Glynn County cop, and now an investigator for the Brunswick Judicial Circuit district attorney, and his son, Travis McMichael, 34, and another man only identified as “Roddy” chased down Arbery in their pickup truck and another vehicle before confronting and killing him.
The elder McMichael claims Arbery had been burglarizing houses in the neighborhood and that’s why they chased him down. Gregory McMichael was armed with a .357 Magnum revolver and Travis was armed with a shotgun. It is not known what type of weapon, if any, Roddy carried.
When the men caught up with Arbery, the video, which appears to have been shot from inside a vehicle, shows he jogged around the truck. Travis, however, got out of the vehicle, struggled with Arbery over the rifle before Travis shot him twice, killing him.
Police refused to charge the McMichael’s for Arberry’s murder, arguing that Travis Michael shot Arberry in self-defense. The police did not say anything about Arberry having the right to defend himself from two men with guns accosting him.
Police arrested the McMichaels following the release of a video on Tuesday.
Alan Tucker, an attorney and friend of the two men, said he released the video to clear up any misconceptions about what had happened.
The video, however, alarmed elected officials, including Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee for president, U.S. Senator Kamala Harris, and Georgia Governor Brian Kemp. Others said Arbery had been lynched.
The politicians demanded that police arrest the McMichael
A Black woman district attorney was named as the lead prosecutor handling the Ahmaud Arbery murder case in which two white men have been accused in the killing of an unarmed Black man while he was jogging in Georgia. This is after three white prosecuting attorneys in the Glynn mitigate the County area withdrew from the case citing prior relationships with the accused killers.
Joyette Holmes, the district attorney in Cobb County and a former judge, was appointed on Monday to take over prosecuting the case surrounding the killing in the town of Brunswick. She is also a Republican who was selected for her current position by Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp.
According to her official bio, Holmes “was sworn in as District Attorney of the Cobb Judicial Circuit on July 1, 2019. She has been both a prosecutor and a defense attorney in Cobb. Most recently, she served for four years as Chief Magistrate of Cobb County.” She is the county’s first African American district attorney and its first woman district attorney. Holmes’ predecessor left to take over the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI), prompting Kemp to appoint her to fill the role. Prior to becoming the Cobb County district attorney, Holmes was the chief magistrate judge of the Cobb County Magistrate Court from 2015-2019.