Newswire : U.S. Senator Tim Scott critical of GOP on racism and Rep. Steve King

By Lauren Victoria Burke, NNPA Newswire Contributor

Senator Tim Scott (R-SC)

Stating what has become even more of an issue for the GOP during the presidency of Donald Trump, Sen. Tim Scott, wrote, “We are often still struggling when it comes to civility and fairness. This was driven home once again Thursday as Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) wondered aloud: “White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?”’
In a blistering op-ed in The Washington Post, the U.S. Senate’s only African American Republican, took the Republican Party to task on the issue of racism. Sen. Scott has been openly reluctant to support Donald Trump. He notably skipped the Republican National Convention in 2016.
On January 10, Republican Rep. Steve King of Iowa wondered out loud when the term “white supremacists” became a negative during an interview with The New York Times.
“White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?” King said during the interview.In a familiar pattern, Rep. King sought to “clarify” his comments a day later.But the U.S. Representative has a long history of comments that can easily be defined as racist.
“I want to make one thing abundantly clear; I reject those labels and the evil ideology that they define. Further, I condemn anyone that supports this evil and bigoted ideology which saw in its ultimate expression the systematic murder of 6 million innocent Jewish lives,” Rep. King said on January 11.
In July 2013, King said of Mexican immigrants that, “For every one who’s a valedictorian, there’s another 100 out there who weigh 130 pounds—and they’ve got calves the size of cantaloupes because they’re hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert.”
Rep. King displayed the Confederate flag on his office desk in 2016 removing it later after a Confederate flag-waver shot two law enforcement officers in Iowa. In March 2017, he wrote “culture and demographics are our destiny. We can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies” and, “you need to teach your children your values” and “with the inter-marriage, I’d like to see an America that is just so homogenous that we look a lot the same.”
Rep. King’s words are familiar to that of the rhetoric of David Duke and Richard Spencer and other prominent white supremacists. Though he was been criticized by Speaker Paul Ryan for his past comments, many Republicans have remained silent during Rep. King’s racial controversies.
Sen. Scott has become tired of that practice.
Sen. Scott cataloged recent racist incidents in the U.S. saying, “Three months ago, a white supremacist killed two black people in a parking lot in Kentucky. We are only 18 months from Charlottesville, where white nationalists killed a white woman with a car and severely beat multiple black people. Almost four years ago, a white supremacist murdered nine African Americans in a church in Charleston, S.C. In 1998, white supremacists dragged James Byrd Jr., behind a pickup truck through Jasper, Tex., decapitating him in the process.”
“I will admit I am unsure who is offended by the term “Western civilization” on its own, but anyone who needs “white nationalist” or “white supremacist” defined, described and defended does lack some pretty common knowledge,” Sen. Scott continued.
“When people with opinions similar to King’s open their mouths, they damage not only the Republican Party and the conservative brand but also our nation as a whole,” Sen. Scott continued. “Silence is no longer acceptable,” Sen. Scott concluded.
The backdrop of Rep. King’s latest racially-motivated comments is President Trump’s insistence on building a wall at the border of Mexico. Trump ran on a platform that defined Mexican immigrants as violent and dangerous. Noteably, after white supremacists marched with torches in Charlottesville, Va., President Trump was not only slow in denouncing their message but declared that — “both sides” — were “violent.”s
On Tuesday, January 15, the Republican Party in the U. S. House of Representatives stripped Rep. Steve King of his committee assignments in the 116thCongress. He served on the House Agriculture and Judiciary Committee

Newswire : NAACP poll reveals how Black voters cast their ballots


  1. NNPA Newswire Staff Report
    With voter fraud and voter suppression the talk of the midterms, the Advancement Project at the NAACP national office joined with the African American Research Collaborative to provide the first comprehensive analysis of how Black voters voted this cycle and why.
    Released in November, the poll of mid-term voters, conducted by the African American Research Collaborative – in collaboration with Latino Decisions and Asian American Decisions – examined African American voters across various competitive elections to determine how this electorate engaged in 2018 and how those findings might shape the future of elections.
    The key takeaway of this poll is clear: Democrats’ 2018 wins across the country were dependent on voters of color, particularly Black voters, as a majority of white voters supported Republicans.
    A whopping 90 percent of Black voters supported Democratic House candidates, compared to just 53 percent of all voters; 45 percent of white voters; 73 percent of Latinos; and 72 percent of Asian voters
    The midterms were a referendum on President Trump, NAACP officials said in a news release. Black voters see the President and the current GOP as divisive, racist, and a step back for the nation.
    Approximately 72 percent of Black voters believe the Democrats are doing a good job with regards to the Black constituency; but 21 percent feel the Democrats don’t care too much about Blacks.
    Only 12 percent of Black voters believe the Republicans are doing a good job with regards to the Black constituency; and 55 percent feel the GOP doesn’t care too much about Blacks.
    Eighty-five percent of Black women and 81 percent of Black men have felt disrespected by Donald Trump. Only 8 percent of Black voters believe Trump has a positive impact on Blacks, and 29 percent believe he has a negative impact.
    Eighty-nine percent of Black women, 83 percent of Black men, and 50 percent of white voters believe Trump’s statements and policies will cause a major setback for racial progress
    A total of 91 percent of Black women, 86 percent of Black men, and 50 percent of white voters believe Trump and the GOP are using toxic rhetoric to divide the nation
    The NAACP poll revealed that 82 percent of Black women, 76 percent of Black men, and 45 percent of white voters believe Trump and the Republicans are normalizing sexism and sexual harassment against women.
    To have similar or greater wins in 2020, Democrats must invest in and engage communities of color and the issues that matter most to these constituents. Only 57 percent of Black voters were contacted from a campaign, political party, or community organization about voting in the months prior to Election Day.
    “There is one thing unequivocally clear about the data from this recent poll – if America is to become a democracy reflective of its ideals of liberty, opportunity and justice for all – it cannot do so without embracing, engaging and valuing the Black voter and voters of color, particularly Black women,” said NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson. “This poll confirms that Black voters and the issues which motivate them can only be ignored at your own peril.”
    Henry Fernandez, Principal, African American Research Collaborative, said, African American voters “are the backbone of the progressive vote in America and were essential to the blue wave that transformed American politics.”
    “In particular, Black women are a powerful political force with high turnout and unified vote choice that consistently and overwhelmingly supports progressive change,” Fernandez said. He continued, “Black voters and other voters of color have reacted strongly against Trump but also against the Republican party as it embraces Trumpism. This was demonstrated in the 2018 midterms, as a majority of white voters supported Republican candidates, but Democrats won across the country as voters of color turned out in record numbers.”
    Further, the past mid-term election cycle has shown the power of communities of color in particular, and their desire to engage when people think they are apathetic, said Judith Browne Dianis, the executive director of the Advancement Project at the NAACP’s national office.
    “People of color turned out and were engaged. Voters of color are poised to seize our power and Advancement Project’s national office and our allies are readying for the next big thing – 2020 – to make sure our vote is protected; to ensure our elections are free, fair and accessible. This polling suggests that people want action, change as it relates to racial profiling, immigrant justice and, really, respect,” Dianis said.
    “We are making sure this happens by working with partners on the ground and using this research to inform our collective strategies and work toward a more diverse and just democracy.”
    Also, the 2018 American Election Eve Poll provided further evidence that America is anything but post-racial, said Professor Ray Block, Jr., of University of Kentucky’s African American Research Collaborative. “Identity-group considerations continue to shape the political landscape and guide the thoughts and actions of voters,” Block said.
    “The outcomes of the 2018 midterms confirm that African Americans turned out in strong numbers to support candidates who backed progressive issues, and candidates who seek (re)election in 2020 should remember the lessons learned from this past election.”
    Also, what the latest poll and previous research underscores is that, in order to reach Black voters, “we must be explicit about our issues and specific in communicating directly with black voters,” said Jamal R. Watkins, the NAACP Vice President of Civic Engagement.
    “The NAACP recognized that in order to reach the infrequent Black voter, we must be specific in our language, issues and our relational organizing strategies,” Watkins said.
    “The NAACP engaged in a national campaign targeting Black voters via cutting edge messaging, analysis and outreach utilizing the entire spectrum of traditional canvassing and phone banking to digital and text messaging platforms – this showed in the record number who made it to the polls. “No longer can the Black vote be ignored or disrespected or taken for granted.”

Newswire :  Rihanna has a message for Trump playing her music at his ‘Tragic Rallies’

 

Written By NewsOne Staff

Rihanna

Several artists have spoken out about Donald Trump playing their music at his hate rallies. The long list includes Adele, Neil Young, the Rolling Stones, Queen, REMand Pharrell Williams. Even Prince’s estate released a statement when Trump played “Purple Rain” at a rally in Mississippi, saying, “The Prince Estate has never given permission to President Trump or The White House to use Prince’s songs and have requested that they cease all use immediately.” Now Rihanna is speaking out. At a Trump rally in Tennessee, her song “Don’t Stop The Music” was playing. Washington Post reporter Philip Rucker wrote on Twitter, “It’s been said a million times, but here’s a million and one — Trump’s rallies are unlike anything else in politics. Currently, Rihanna’s “Don’t Stop the Music” is blaring in Chattanooga as aides toss free Trump T-shirts into the crowd, like a ball game. Everyone’s loving it.” Rihanna was not happy and wrote, “Not for much longer…me nor my people would ever be at or around one of those tragic rallies, so thanks for the heads up philip!” It’s been said a million times, but here’s a million and one — Trump’s rallies are unlike anything else in politics. Currently, Rihanna’s “Don’t Stop the Music” is blaring in Chattanooga as aides toss free Trump T-shirts into the crowd, like a ball game. Everyone’s loving it. However,The Washington Postreported that Rihanna may not have any control over it. AsAxl Rosefrom the band Guns N’ Rosessaid,the Trump team is using “loopholes” to play songs from artists who have not given him permission to use their music. The Washington Post explained, “ASCAP warns politicians that even if a campaign has obtained a license to use a song, they should still get the artist’s permission. According to the ASCAP’s guidelines, disgruntled artists could file suit under the Lanham Act, which is intended to prevent the dilution of a brand’s trademark through unauthorized use or under “right of publicity” laws which provides image protection for well-known artists in some states.” However, filing a lawsuit would be a lengthy and expensive process that may not be worth it. Therefore, as The Washington Post details, Trump uses the loophole of, “Most of the typical venues for campaign events, such as arenas and convention centers, will already have a blanket license from a performance rights organization in place.” Sounds like Trump. He find loopholes from everything to his taxes to playing music from artists at his hate rallies.

Newswire:  Andrew Gillum shocks the political world and set stage for three Black U. S. governors

 By Lauren Victoria Burke, NNPA Newswire

 Andrew Gillum

Wildly outspent by a billionaire challenger and the daughter of a former Florida Governor, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, 39, shocked the political establishment to win the gubernatorial primary in Florida on August 28. Gillum defeated former Congresswoman Gwen Graham 34-31 percent to win the Democratic contamination. He will now face pro-Trump Congressman Ron DeSantis in the general election on November 6. Gillum’s victory caught many political observers by surprise. The 39-year old Mayor was polling in fourth place less than a month ago. But recent polls showed an upward movement to second place. Gillum and his supporters completed that upward movement by coming in first on election night. Gillum’s victory sets up a historic opportunity for there to be three sitting African American Governors in the U.S. for the first time in history. Former Georgia lawmaker Stacey Abrams is the Democratic nominee or Governor of Georgia after a decisive July 24 primary victory. Abrams would be the first African American woman to be a Governor from any state should she win. Former NAACP President Ben Jealous is running for Governor in Maryland against moderate incumbent Republican Larry Hogan. There are also four Black candidates for Lt. Governor running this year for the first time in history. Gillum’s progressive victory was cemented in part by a late visit by Sen. Bernie Sanders in support of his candidacy. Though he did not win, the Independent Vermont U.S. Senator who ran for President in 2016, focused on bread and butter issues many Americans identified with as he ran against Hillary Clinton. Sanders’ issue focus included income inequality, money in politics, corporate greed and raising the minimum wage. Despite the Democratic Party’s support of the moderate blue dog style of former U.S. Representative Gwen Graham, voters had other ideas and a progressive shift has likely been spurred by Donald Trump’s policies. As his campaign began, Gillum was attacked by his opponent Congressman Ron DeSantis who suggested voting for Gilliam “would monkey-up Florida’s economy with socialist ideas”. DeSantis was questioned for launching a racially motivated “dog-whistle campaign” which he denied. Racist robo-calls attributed to an alt-right group in Idaho have also appeared in the Florida election. Gillum, a graduate of Florida A&M University, is viewed as the continuation of a progressive surge and a shift away from the establishment also seen in the victory shocking victory of Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez over longtime Conrgressman Joe Crowley in a primary for his New York House seat. Though her victory is not necessarily a symptom of a widespread trend, it is a signal that a political wave in the opposite direction of Donald Trump is on the horizon in less than 70 days on November 6, 2018.

Newswire : Trump’s failure to defend our democracy is a dangerous dereliction of duty

By Jesse Jackson, News Analysis (TriceEdneyWire.com) –

Russian President Vladimir Putin came late to the Helsinki Summit with Donald Trump on Monday and spoke first at the news conference afterward. He handed Trump a soccer ball from the World Cup, but he clearly walked away with the trophy for the World Cup of politics, largely because Trump, in a bizarre and unprecedented performance, kept scoring his own goals on Putin’s behalf.I have always supported dialogue and negotiations over conflict and isolation. I believe that good relations with the Russians, a nuclear power, are as Trump would say, “a good thing.” But Trump made it embarrassingly clear that he is more concerned about defending his own besmirched election campaign than he is about protecting American democracy. The president apparently doesn’t understand that it isn’t all about him. Russian interference in our elections — which Trump’s own intelligence appointees warn is ongoing — isn’t just about the “collusion” that the president rushed to deny. It is about subverting our democracy. Trump can howl at the moon denying collusion, but it is simply grotesque that he could not bring himself to warn Putin publicly that continued interference with our elections is unacceptable and would be met with an immediate response. Trump is outraged at the Mueller investigation of possible collusion of his campaign with the Russians, but he seems unmoved by the clear evidence of the subversion of our elections. He didn’t give Putin a red light or even a yellow warning one about future interference; he essentially gave him a free pass.The reality is that a core of our democracy — free elections — is under assault. Given the administration’s failures, foreign interference is likely to spread. The home-grown systematic efforts by right-wing politicians and activists to suppress the vote, to make it harder to register and harder to vote, to purge voters from the lists, to gerrymander election districts to distort the outcome and to open the gates to a flood of unaccountable, secret corporate and private money continue to get more sophisticated. Already experts suggest that Democrats will have to win the national vote by 6 to 8 percent in order to take the majority of the House, largely due to Republican partisan redistricting. Trump is so focused on his own election campaign, so defensive about the legitimacy of his own victory that he has utterly failed to protect our democracy from subversion from abroad or at home. It will be up to the states to make the reforms that are long overdue: automatic voter registration, longer early voting days, voting day holidays, an end to voter purges, nonpartisan redistricting, matching public funds for small donations, mandatory disclosure of all funding sources, returning the right to vote to felons that have served their time and more. The states should be taking measures to protect voting systems from outside interference, including moving back to paper ballots to eliminate the threat of cyber intrusions. What is clear from Trump’s performance in Helsinki is that he won’t lead this effort. He is so fixated on defending himself that he is failing to defend our democracy and our elections. The president should be applauded for meeting with Putin. Hopefully reduced tensions and new impetus for reducing nuclear arsenals will follow. But his failure to defend our democracy both against Russian interference and against domestic subversion is a dangerous dereliction of duty. Republicans in Congress won’t act because they seem to believe that their majorities may depend on suppressing the vote. So, it is up to the states, and to an aroused citizenry, to insist that our election be open, free and fair. The shocking display that Trump put on in Helsinki makes that all the more imperative.

Newswire : ADL Report: White Supremacists murdered 18 people in 2017

Beatrice Dupuy
Posted with permission from Newsweek
kkk-668x501.jpg
Klu Klux Klan members
White supremacists not only shed their masks in 2017 but unleashed one of the deadliest years for extremist violence in almost half a century. Over the past 12 months, white supremacists committed the largest number of domestic-extremist related killings, helping to make 2017 the fifth-deadliest year for extremist violence since 1970, according to a newly released report from the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism.
The center counted a total of 34 people killed by domestic extremists, of which 18 were killed by white supremacists, more than double the number of the previous year. In the last decade, right-wing extremism made up 71 percent of extremist-related murders compared to 26 percent of murders by Islamic extremists.
The overall number of deaths attributed to domestic extremists has declined—from 71 people in 2016 and 69 in 2015. The report attributes the fall to a drop in extremist-related mass-shooting sprees like the one Omar Mateen carried out when he killed 49 people at the Orlando Pulse nightclub in 2016.
Even with the decline, the resurgence in white supremacy has politicians raising questions. Democratic Senator Kamala Harris tweeted out Tuesday that she was deeply troubled that the Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen “failed to mention” domestic acts of terror during a Tuesday Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on threats to the U.S.
Nielsen was testifying on a new report by the Department of Homeland Security that studied the number of immigrants taken into custody for terrorism-related activities. The report was part of President Donald Trump’s executive order to protect the nation from “foreign terrorist entry” to the U.S.
“It is deeply troubling that when talking about threats to our nation, Secretary Nielsen failed to mention a report that talks about some of the most rampant terror attacks that face our nation—domestic acts of terror, including white supremacist extremists,” Harris said in a tweet.
Experts say that the emphasis placed by the government on foreign-born extremists as opposed to domestic-related extremists is part of a larger problem. Anti-Defamation League’s Director of the Center on Extremism, Oren Segal, said the report was a skewed version of terrorism threats in the U.S. by leaving out domestic-terror incidents.
“In a time when the public discussion still tends to focus on foreign terrorist organizations, it is important to remember that white supremacists in particular still very much pose a threat in this country,” he said
The Anti-Defamation League report cites several incidents of white supremacist killings in 2017 including a school shooting in Aztec, New Mexico. William Edward Atchison, 21, entered his old high school by pretending to be a student and then killed two students before turning the gun on himself in December. Atchinson posted online in pro-Trump and alt-right forums, with usernames including Future Mass Shooter, and ranted about his racist ideology, according to The Daily Beast.
The report found that murders carried out by white supremacists in 2017 had ties to the alt-right, a movement that spread online and sprung into rallies and protests where supporters share views seen by many as anti-semitic and racist. The movement entered the mainstream in part thanks to the emergence of Donald Trump. The president’s former chief strategist Steve Bannon once called the publication he until recently ran, Breitbart News, ” the platform for the alt-right.”
Segal said white supremacists are now emboldened and their recent activity, including holding rallies and using social media to radicalize people, must be taken seriously to “mitigate and protect” Americans from next the next attack.
“We just don’t have the luxury to ignore any extremist threat in this country,” he said.

Newswire : Is Donald Trump the worst President on minority issues in 50 years?

News Analysis by Lauren Victoria Burke (NNPA Newswire Contributor)
Donald Trump, a man best known as a “birther” with a reality TV show and a real estate empire, who claimed that Mexico was sending drugs and rapists to the United States, was sworn in as president on January 20, 2017. What happened next was predictable and we should expect more of the same in 2018.
Here are seven decisions from the past year confirming that Trump has been the worst president for African Americans, Hispanics and other minorities over the last 50 years.
1. Trump picks Jeff Sessions to succeed Loretta Lynch as Attorney General of the U.S. Trump went out of his way to make sure that his administration’s justice policy reflected 1940s America, when he selected Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III as his Attorney General.
According to a Huffington Post article published in January 2017, Sessions not only supported gutting the Voting Rights Act in 2013, he also has “a record of blocking Black judicial nominees.” Sessions, “unsuccessfully prosecuted Black civil rights activists for voter fraud in 1985―including a former aide to Martin Luther King, Jr.”
Since, Sessions has taken over at the Justice Department, he has recused himself from an investigation into Russian involvement in the 2016 presidential election and ordered a review of Obama era police reforms. This is one time where the selection of Rudy Giuliani for attorney general may have actually looked like a more moderate choice.
2. Trump says “there were very fine people on both sides” at the Charlottesville White nationalists rally, during a Trump Tower press conference. Never mind that one of the largest gatherings of racists in America since the end of the Civil Rights Movement occurred only eight months into Trump’s presidency. Put that aside. Trump’s “both sides” comments on who was to blame for the public street fight in the college town was all anyone needed to understand regarding the thinking of America’s 45th president on the issue of race.
“I am not putting anybody on a moral plane, what I’m saying is this: you had a group on one side and a group on the other, and they came at each other with clubs and it was vicious and horrible and it was a horrible thing to watch, but there is another side,” said Trump. “But you also had people that were very fine people on both sides.”
Trump also said, “I’ve condemned many different groups, but not all of those people were neo-Nazis, believe me. Not all of those people were white supremacists by any stretch. Those people were also there, because they wanted to protest the taking down of a statue Robert E. Lee.”
3. Trump calls for NFL owners to fire players over silent protests. Trump said NFL owners should respond to the players by saying, “Get that son of a bitch off the field right now, he’s fired. He’s fired!” Just in case you missed it with his comments on Charlottesville, Trump was back again to spoil the start of the NFL season by commenting on players who dared to silently protest racial injustice by kneeling during the national anthem. Trump called kneeling during the anthem, “a total disrespect of our heritage,” and a “total disrespect for everything we stand for.” The result was more protests by NFL players who then locked arms on sidelines across the U.S. with many White players and coaches participating.
Even Rush Limbaugh found himself having issues with Trump on this one. “There’s a part of this story that’s starting to make me nervous, and it’s this: I am very uncomfortable with the President of the United States being able to dictate the behavior and power of anybody,” said Limbaugh. “That’s not where this should be coming from.”
4. Trump uses an executive order to block travel of refugees from majority-Muslim countries to the U.S. When you have former staffers for Jeff Sessions writing executive orders on immigration policy, you can expect what happened at the Trump White House on January 27, 2017. With absolutely no warning, on the seventh day of his presidency, Trump signed an immigration and travel executive order. This order had Steven Miller’s fingerprints all over it, After a few days of chaos and protests at airports across the nation, federal judges applied an initial smackdown blocking the order. But Trump’s DOJ revised the order to pass some of those legal tests.

5. Trump launches sham voting commission to investigate “voter fraud.” Since many voting rights advocates agree that Republican-controlled state legislatures cook up the most egregious voting laws, it should have been surprising to no one that former Kansas Attorney General, Kris Kobach, would be a fixture of the Trump Administration. Kobach is the Vice Chairman and “driving force” behind Trump’s Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity. Since, he’s spent so much time rooting out voter fraud that is all but non-existent, Kobach was perfect for the job.
According to the Brennan Center, Kobach was the “driving force behind a Kansas law that included both a strict photo ID requirement to vote and proof of citizenship to register—which has blocked thousands of eligible citizens from the polls” and “has repeatedly made extravagant claims of in-person voter fraud or noncitizen voting with little or no evidence.”
After Trump kept repeating the falsehood that millions of fraudulent votes were cast in 2016, everyone knew this was coming. Hillary Clinton won 3 million more votes than Trump so a “voting integrity” commission was a given.
6. Trump pardons Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio. The Bull Connor of his era, Arpaio was Sheriff of Maricopa County, Ariz., for 24 years. According to one DOJ expert, Arpaio oversaw “the worst pattern of racial profiling by a law enforcement agency in U.S. history.” Trump was perfectly consistent in his anti-immigrant rhetoric of 2016 in pardoning Arpaio on August 25, 2017 from a conviction for criminal contempt of court. Trump just couldn’t resist another opportunity to give a wink of approval to the right-wing.

7. Trump nominates Neil Gorsuch to serve on the Supreme Court of the United States. Instead of nominating a Black woman to replace Associate Justice Antonin Scalia, President Obama picked someone whose nomination no one cared about or would rally around (the instantly unexciting Merrick Garland). With that, the deal was done. The selection of Garland easily allowed the Republican-controlled Senate to ignore Obama’s pick and run out the clock out, opening the door for Trump to select Neil Gorsuch, who has “voted 100 percent of the time with the court’s most conservative member, Clarence Thomas, according to SCOTUSblog,” NPR reported.

Lauren Victoria Burke is an independent journalist, political analyst and contributor to the NNPA Newswire

Newswire : John Lewis and Bennie Thompson boycott Trump’s visit to the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum

By Monique Judge, The Root


 Congressman John Lewis and Bennie Thompson

Reps. John Lewis (D-Ga.) and Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) announced last Thursday that they are skipping last Saturday’s opening of the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum in Jackson because Donald Trump will be in attendance—something they consider to be “an insult” to the black heroes commemorated there.
Thompson and Lewis issued a joint statement that said, “President Trump’s attendance and his hurtful policies are an insult to the people portrayed in this civil rights museum.” According to its website, the museum “shares the stories of a Mississippi movement that changed the world” and “promotes a greater understanding of the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement and its impact by highlighting the strength and sacrifices of its people.”
The website continues, ”Visitors will witness the freedom struggle in eight interactive galleries that show the systematic oppression of black Mississippians and their fight for equality that transformed the state and nation. Seven of the galleries encircle a central space called “This Little Light of Mine.” There, a dramatic sculpture glows brighter and the music of the Movement swells as visitors gather.”
President Donald Trump was the lead person spreading the lie that President Barack Obama, America’s first Black president, was not born in the U. S. President Trump also equated Ku Klux Klan members and Neo-Nazis to people protesting the evils of racism during the deadly White supremacist marches in Charlottesville, Va. last August.
Repeatedly, in front of the nation, he has flagrantly displayed racial insensitivities; even with his most recent support of Senate Candidate Roy Moore in Alabama, not only an accused pedophile, but a man who has said America was last great during slavery.
Since his inauguration, Trump and his appointee Attorney General Jeff Sessions have careful demolished important policies put in place during the Obama administration for the purpose of preventing police brutality and other issues of racial inequality in the criminal justice system.
In addition, President Trump has claimed massive voter fraud in America, a claim that experts say is patently false.
These are just a handful of the reasons that civil rights leaders opposed the president’s attendance at the Dec. 10 opening of the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum. They argue that the museum is like hallowed ground that celebrates those who risked their lives to fight against everything that Trump appears to embrace – despite his words to the contrary.
“President Trump’s presence at the opening of the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum is not a show of respect. It’s merely a photo op,” says Derrick Johnson, president/CEO of the NAACP. “I live in Mississippi and its civil rights leaders are my mentors, sheroes, and heroes. I cannot sit silently alongside a man who has used the power of his office to turn back the clock on hard-won rights.”
In response to the announcement from Lewis and Thompson, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement, “We think it’s unfortunate that these members of Congress wouldn’t join the president in honoring the incredible sacrifice civil rights leaders made to right the injustices in our history.”
Lewis is an icon of the civil rights movement for his work in the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). He was at the lead of the civil rights march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma in March 1965. He also participated in sit-ins in Nashville, Tennessee and in the Freedom Rides that ended in a mass arrest in Jackson, Mississippi. So it is fair to say that John Lewis is one of the civil rights heroes recognized in the museum.

Jimmy Carter broadsides Donald Trump: Republican tapped ‘reservoir of inherent racism’

By Douglas Ernst – The Washington Times – Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Jimmy Carter

Former President Jimmy Carter

Former President Jimmy Carter pulled no punches against Donald Trump in a recent interview with The New York Times.
The 39th commander in chief told the newspaper by phone on Monday that Mr. Trump’s Republican presidential campaign is fueled by lingering U.S. racism.
Mr. Carter, 91, said in February that the billionaire was his favorite Republican candidate because he is “completely malleable.” The former Democrat president now says Mr. Trump “tapped a waiting reservoir there of inherent racism” to succeed.
“When you single out any particular group of people for secondary citizenship status, that’s a violation of basic human rights,” Mr. Carter said of the Republican’s plan to deport illegal immigrants and temporarily halt Muslim immigration into the U.S.
The newspaper also asked Mr. Carter, who is planning to hold a summit of Baptists in Atlanta, Georgia, later this summer, why Mr. Trump’s support among evangelical Christians is so strong.
“The use of the word ‘evangelical’ is a misnomer. I consider myself an evangelical as well. And obviously, what most of the news reporters thought were evangelicals [over the years] are conservative Republicans,” the former president said.

Obama condemns Trump for ‘rejecting the future’ by exiting Paris climate deal

By: Sabrina Siddiqui and Lauren Gambino, Guardian
Barack Obama

Barack Obama
Barack Obama led condemnation of his successor’s decision to withdraw from the landmark Paris climate accord, which the former president’s administration painstakingly negotiated over the course of several years.
In a statement released just before Donald Trump officially announced that the US would remove itself from the deal, Obama said the administration had joined “a small handful of nations that reject the future”. He warned that the more than 190 countries that remained participants would “reap the benefits in jobs and industries created”, but he said that US states, cities and businesses “will step up and do even more to lead the way, and help protect for future generations the one planet we’ve got”.
The rare rebuke by Obama was testament to the magnitude of Trump’s decision. The former president has commented sparingly on the new administration, weighing in only on matters he has framed as of moral significance, such as Trump’s stymied effort to impose a travel ban on refugees and citizens from several Muslim-majority countries.
Trump’s withdrawal from the accord was not just a blow to one of Obama’s signature achievements, but to an issue routinely dubbed by the Obama administration as the greatest threat to US national security and future generations across the globe.
The former secretary of state John Kerry, who represented the US in the negotiations over the Paris accord, said Trump had turned America into “an environmental pariah in the world”.
In exiting the agreement, the US joined only Syria and Nicaragua in sitting on the sidelines even as widespread condemnation poured in from foreign leaders, climate scientists and many leading US companies.
The reaction in Washington was nonetheless split on familiar partisan lines, with Republican lawmakers near unanimously throwing their support behind Trump while Democrats vowed revenge at the ballot box.
Republican leaders Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell, who have long sought to thwart Obama’s environmental legacy, applauded Trump in their statements.
“The Paris climate agreement was simply a raw deal for America,” Ryan said, adding: “In order to unleash the power of the American economy, our government must encourage production of American energy. I commend President Trump for fulfilling his commitment to the American people and withdrawing from this bad deal.”
McConnell said Trump’s move followed through on congressional action “to rebuff then-President Obama’s regulatory rampage.”
“When the previous administration signed America up for this unattainable mandate, we made it clear we would fight this unilateral action any way we could, and this day could not have happened soon enough,” McConnell said. “President Trump has once again put families and jobs ahead of leftwing ideology and should be commended for his action.”
But at least some Republicans – from Florida, one of many coastal states grappling with the effects of extreme weather and rising sea levels – expressed disappointment with the president’s decision to withdraw.
Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who represents south Florida, urged the US to establish a “long term-strategy against climate change”. She also noted that Thursday marked the first day of hurricane season in the state.
Democrats were uniformly scathing in their assessment of Trump’s decision, with Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer declaring it “a devastating failure of historic proportions”.
“Future generations will look back on President Trump’s decision as one of the worst policy moves made in the 21st century because of the huge damage to our economy, our environment and our geopolitical standing,” Schumer said. “Pulling out of the Paris agreement doesn’t put America first. It puts America last in recognizing science, in being a world leader and protecting our own shore line, our economy and our planet.”
Nancy Pelosi, the House Democratic leader, said Trump’s position ran counter to that of Pope Francis, who during the president’s recent visit to the Vatican presented Trump with a copy of his encyclical on climate change.
Democrats would join efforts with states, cities and the private sector to make good on initiatives to mitigate the threat of climate change, she added, “regardless of the reckless and short-sighted actions that the White House takes”.
Bernie Sanders, the Vermont senator who made climate change a pillar of his bid for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, decried Trump’s action as “an abdication of American leadership and an international disgrace”. “When climate change is already causing devastating harm, we don’t have the moral right to turn our backs on efforts to preserve this planet,” Sanders tweeted.