Newswire: Rep. Sewell praises House passage of the Voting Rights Advancement Act

Washington, D.C. – On Friday, December 6, 2019 , U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell (AL-07) praised the House passage of H.R. 4, her Voting Rights Advancement Act. The bill will restore the Voting Rights Act of 1965 by outlining a process to determine which states and localities with a recent history of voting rights violations must pre-clear election changes with the Department of Justice.
“Voting is personal to me, not only because I represent America’s Civil Rights District—but because it was on the streets of my hometown, Selma, Alabama, that foot soldiers shed their blood on the Edmund Pettus Bridge so that all Americans—regardless of race—could vote!” Sewell said. “I am so proud that, today, the House took critical steps in addressing the Supreme Court’s Shelby decision and passed H.R. 4, the Voting Rights Advancement Act, to restore the Voting Rights Act of 1965 to its full strength.”
The Supreme Courts’ 2013 Shelby County v. Holder ruling struck down Section 4(b) of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which outlined the qualifications needed to determine which states are required by the Justice Department to pre-clear elections changes in states with a history of voter discrimination.
Since the Shelby decision, nearly two-dozen states have implemented restrictive voter ID laws and previously-covered states have closed or consolidated polling places, shortened early voting and imposed other measures that restrict voting.
The Voting Rights Advancement Act (VRAA) seeks to restore the VRA by developing a process to determine which states must pre-clear election changes with the Department of Justice. It will also require a nationwide, practice-based pre-clearance of known discriminatory practices, including the creation of at-large districts, inadequate multilingual voting materials, cuts to polling places, changes that reduce the days or hours of in person voting on Sundays during the early voting period and changes to the maintenance of voter registration lists that adds a basis or institutes a new process for removal from the lists, where the jurisdiction includes racial or language minority populations above a certain percent threshold.
Under H.R. 4, there are three ways to become a covered jurisdiction that is required to pre-clear election changes:
States with a history of 15 or more violations at any level in the previous 25 years; or
States with a history of 10 or more violations, if one violation occurs at the state level in the previous 25 years; or
Political subdivisions or localities with 3 or more violations in that subdivision in the previous 25 years.
The Voting Rights Advancement Act now heads to the Senate for consideration, where it was introduced by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT).
Many are now calling on the Senate to take up the measure. Rev. Dr. William Barber, the president and senior lecturer of Repairers of the Breach and the architect of the Moral Mondays Movement in North Carolina, counts among those calling out Senate leaders.
“The U.S. House passed legislation to restore the Voting Rights Act,” Barber stated. “If [GOP Senate Majority Leader] Mitch McConnell refuses to take it up in the Senate, he’s confessing that he believes the GOP can’t win without voter suppression.”
Gerrymandering, unfair voter I.D. laws, and intimidation at the polls are among the tactics being used to prevent voters of color from casting votes, stated Marcela Howell, the founder, and president of In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda.
“Passage of the Voting Rights Advancement Act by the House is a first step toward restoring our democracy. We applaud the House of Representatives for passing the Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2019,” Howell stated.
“The wholesale disenfranchisement of voters threatens our democracy. Conservative lawmakers across the country are pulling out all the stops to prevent people of color – especially Black people – from exercising our right to vote,” she stated.
Howell continued: “We didn’t march and die fighting for our right to vote only to have that right denied us in this new Jim Crow era –fueled by the racist policies of conservative state legislators and the terrible decision in Shelby v. Holder by the Supreme Court that reinforced these oppressive laws.
“We call on Sen. Mitch McConnell to follow the leadership of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to stop the assault on voting rights by scheduling a Senate vote on the Voting Rights Advancement Act as soon as possible.
“We encourage voters across the country to unite in resistance by holding their elected representatives accountable and, most of all, by exercising their right to vote in local, state, and federal elections.”
The bill is supported by more than 60 national organizations, including the NAACP, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, NALEO Educational Fund, Asian Americans Advancing Justice, Native American Rights Fund, League of Women Voters of the United States, AAUW, ACLU, AFL-CIO, AFSCME, American Federation of Teachers, National Education Association, Communications Workers of America, SEIU, UAW, Democracy 21, Democracy Initiative, End Citizens United Action Fund, Sierra Club, and League of Conservation Voters Education Fund.

Newswire: Crump, NAACP, NNPA to demonstrate after police brutality incident in Florida

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Correspondent
@StacyBrownMedia

Student handled brutally by Broward Co. Florida police

The Broward County Chapter of the NAACP will lead a march and rally to demand the termination and criminal prosecution of two Florida sheriff deputies who were caught on video punching a 15-year-old African American student and repeatedly slamming the child’s head against concrete pavement.
The weekend rally – a peaceful demonstration – will include the teen’s attorney, famed civil rights lawyer Benjamin Crump, National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) President and CEO Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr., Westside Gazette Publisher Bobby Henry and Broward County NAACP leaders.
“We cannot become desensitized to the brutality visited upon our young black men and women,” said Chavis, who’s also a civil rights activist who worked under Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
“In addition to reporting news, the NNPA, a trade association representing the 215 African American newspapers and media companies around the country, is also a voice for civil rights,” Chavis said.
Further, as the trusted source for news and information in the African American community, the NNPA should be at the forefront in informing its readers about all that affects them, Henry said.
“It’s important for us to remember where we came from and this is galvanizing and communicating on a level where we are all involved and this is such an important issue,” said Henry. “We need to realize that this concerns us, and we should not wait for the white media to tell us about our community and when something happens, they should be coming to us for that information,” he said.
Delucca “Lucca” Rolle, a student at J.P. Taravella High School, was accused of aggravated assault against an officer, but the charge made “no sense,” prosecutors said.
A cell phone video captured Broward County Sheriff’s deputies pepper-spraying, tackling and punching a group of teens last week outside a McDonald’s near the school.
The video shows deputies take Rolle down, with one deputy banging Rolle’s forehead into the pavement and punching him in the head, while another deputy helped restrain and handcuff him.
Rolle, one of two teens who were arrested, reportedly suffered a broken nose in the encounter.
Deputy Christopher Krickovich and Sgt. Greg LaCerra were both suspended by the Sheriff’s office after the video was released, though, originally, they were placed on restricted assignment.
The Broward State Attorney’s Office said it has begun investigating the deputies’ actions and prosecutors decided not to file charges against Rolle.
Rolle’s family also has hired Crump, who said he wants the deputies involved to face criminal charges. Crump noted that the two arrested teens are black, while all three deputies seen in the cellphone video are white. “Rolle was a teen beaten by deputies after he picked up a cellphone that fell out of the pocket of a black boy who was being arrested,” Crump said.
“In response, the deputies “pepper-sprayed, brutally beat, and arrested him,” said Crump, who represented the family of Michael Brown, a 17-year-old African-American, who was shot and killed by police in Ferguson, Mo.
Crump also represented the family of Trayvon Martin, who in 2012 was killed by George Zimmerman, a white neighborhood watch volunteer in Sanford, Fla.
The encounter between Rolle and the deputies happened outside McDonald’s, a frequent after-school hangout spot. At one point, Krickovich and LaCerra went to arrest a student — not Rolle — who had been warned not to trespass at the shopping center, according to a Sheriff’s report.
Crump said “Starting now, we will seek justice through every avenue possible for Lucca and his family. The actions on the video by the officers against Delucca are unconscionable.”
The hashtag #JusticeForLucca has been trending on Twitter.
Rolle’s supporters plan a peaceful rally Saturday afternoon at Hampton Pines Park in North Lauderdale, with attendees encouraged to wear red. Rolle was wearing a red shirt on the day of his arrest.
“We need to make sure we convey the message that the only crime committed on that day was not from the young man, the black children that were there, but from the two deputies and the way they manhandled those kids,” said local NAACP President Marsha Ellison.
“Police brutality and what we consider child abuse will not be tolerated, certainly with our kids who are equally as important as those in other communities,” Ellison said.
She’s also calling for the termination and prosecution of the deputies. “We want the sheriff to hold them accountable and for them to be terminated, meaning they don’t have the opportunity to do this to anyone else while in a [sheriff’s] uniform,” Ellison said.
“We are wary of the state Attorney’s Office in their investigation. It could be one year sometimes two and they’ll try and wait until this dies down and close the case,” she said. “That’s not good enough. A suspension is not good enough. These children are traumatized, emotionally damaged. The 2020 election is coming where we get to choose a new sheriff and new states Attorney. We’re tired of this. Enough is enough.”

Newswire: Southern Poverty Law Center, NAACP, others launch campaign to remove racist symbols in Georgia

Special to the Trice Edney News Wire from the Southern Poverty Law Center

(TriceEdneyWire.com) – The Southern Poverty Law Center, a premiere monitor of race hate across America, has joined other advocacy organizations and elected officials in demanding change to a Georgia state law that prohibits local communities from removing Confederate monuments.
This is the first phase of a broader statewide effort that seeks to empower local communities to determine whether they want to keep Confederate symbols in their public spaces, and – if not – to remove them.
It joins a national movement in which dozens of Confederate statues and symbols have been torn down in various states. However the issue is still being debated across the nation as thousands of the symbols remain.
“Although individuals and institutions across the country have made remarkable efforts to stop glorifying the men who fought to divide this nation and maintain slavery, backwards legislation has blocked significant progress in Georgia,” said Heidi Beirich, director of the SPLC’s Intelligence Project. “In order to enact real change, the local community must have the ability to speak freely about the racist legacy of these symbols, and how they are still being used as emblems of white supremacy. These symbols should be understood and placed into their historical context in museums. They should not be displayed without the proper frame of reference in public spaces.”
Four days before the Georgia General Assembly session is set to begin, the SPLC, Georgia and Atlanta NAACP, Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), Georgia Alliance for Social Justice, Moore’s Ford Movement, and Concerned Black Clergy are leading the fight to remove Confederate symbols and monuments by seeking to activate a united South around racial reconciliation.
The organizations will establish statewide chapters, and are organizing a rally on Saturday, Feb. 2, to strengthen the call for change.
State Sen. Nikema Williams and state Rep. Renitta Shannon supported the campaign, urging the Legislature to grant local governments the power to decide whether to keep or remove monuments in their public spaces.
Currently, there are 1,747 Confederate symbols and 722 monuments in the United States, according to Whose Heritage? Public Symbols of the Confederacy, a special report of the SPLC that catalogs examples of monuments, statues, flags, city, county and school names; and other symbols that honor the Confederacy.
After Virginia and Texas, Georgia has the most Confederate symbols in the country, with at least one in 58 percent of the state’s counties.
Importantly, there is precedent for wanting to remove these symbols in Georgia. In late 2017, the Decatur City Commission voted unanimously to move a 30-foot-tall obelisk from its city square to another location. However, the city commission was unable to move forward because state law prohibits such monuments from being “relocated, removed, concealed, obscured, or altered in any fashion.”
Similarly, a 2017 petition to remove a Confederate flag from public display in downtown Kennesaw gained thousands of signatures. That city passed a resolution asking state leaders to “allow local municipalities the ability to determine, in their sole discretion and within the jurisdictional limits,” the ability to determine the fate of the Confederate symbol.
Georgia’s House of Representatives and Senate drafted legislation in response, seeking to allow local governments to take action involving monuments in their communities. If passed, the legislation would simply move power back to local control and would grant local governments the ability to make and execute decisions about the placement of Confederate symbols. Organizations that made presentations at today’s press conference will support the bill after it is reintroduced in the 2019 legislative session.

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.

Newswire: NAACP: Mississippi candidate’s ‘public hanging’ remark is sick, shameful

 By Hazel Trice Edney

 Mike Espy, Democratic candidate for Mississippi U. S. Senate seat

(TriceEdneyWire.com) – The NAACP has issued a stinging rebuke to Republican Mississippi Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, who recently invoked a reference to a “public hanging” amidst her campaign against African-American Democratic candidate Mike Espy. Referring to a glowing endorsement from Mississippi cattle rancher Colin Hutchinson, Hyde-Smith said, “If he invited me to a public hanging, I’d be on the front row.” The remarks drew laughter and applause, but she apparently did not know the comments were being videotaped by journalist Lamar White Jr. After public release of the video, Hyde-Smith issued a statement saying, “In a comment on Nov. 2, I referred to accepting an invitation to a speaking engagement. In referencing the one who invited me, I used an exaggerated expression of regard, and any attempt to turn this into a negative connotation is ridiculous.” She has refused to make any further comment or apologize for the remark, which clearly invokes painful images of thousands of Black people who were lynched or killed by White supremacists in the Deep South with Mississippi being a leading offender. The highest number of lynchings in the U. S. took place in Mississippi from 1882-1968 with 581, according to the NAACP. “Georgia was second with 531, and Texas was third with 493,” says a report by the civil rights organization, adding that 79 percent of lynching happened in the South. Among the best known killings of Black people by White supremacists, Emmett Till and Medgar Evers, occurred in Money and Jackson, Mississippi respectively. Further exacerbating the impact of Hyde-Smith’s remark is the fact that she has been endorsed by President Donald Trump, who has made no public comment on the issue. “Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith’s shameful remarks prove once again how Trump has created a social and political climate that normalizes hateful and racist rhetoric. We’ve seen this in Florida from Ron DeSantis and others during this election season and denounce it,” said NAACP President Johnson in a statement. Ron DeSantis, Republican nominee for Flordia governor, also drew a fire storm of criticism when he said in a television interview that Florida voters should not “monkey this up” by electing Andrew Gillum, his opponent, who would be the state’s first black governor. That campaign is amidst a recount. “Hyde-Smith’s decision to joke about ‘hanging,’ in a state known for its violent and terroristic history toward African Americans is sick. To envision this brutal and degenerate type of frame during a time when Black people, Jewish People and immigrants are still being targeted for violence by White nationalists and racists is hateful and hurtful,” Johnson said. “Any politician seeking to serve as the national voice of the people of Mississippi should know better. Her choice of words serves as an indictment of not only her lack of judgement, but her lack of empathy, and most of all lack of character.” Espy himself has released a statement calling Hyde-Smith’s comments “reprehensible” and saying, “They have no place in our political discourse, in Mississippi, or our country. We need leaders, not dividers, and her words show that she lacks the understanding and judgment to represent the people of our state.” Joining the rebuke of Hyde-Smith, Mississippi Rep. Bennie Thompson described her comments as “beyond disrespectful and offensive.” He pointed out that Mississippi has “one of the highest numbers of public lynching, that we know of, than any other state in this country.” Hyde-Smith has refused to speak further on the issue, saying, “I put out a statement yesterday, and that’s all I’m going to say about it.” It is not clear how or whether this new controversy will affect her Nov. 27th run-off against Espy. They both received about 41 percent of the vote in a four-way race Nov. 6. Espy, a former member of the U. S. Congress who served from 1987 to 1993, would become the first black senator to represent Mississippi since Reconstruction. From 1882-1968, 4,743 lynchings occurred in the United States. Of these people that were lynched 3,446 were Black. The Blacks lynched accounted for 72.7 percent of the people lynched. These numbers seem large, but it is known that not all of the lynchings were ever recorded. Out of the 4,743 people lynched only 1,297 White people were lynched. That is only 27.3 percent. Many of the Whites lynched were lynched for helping the Black or being anti-lynching and even for domestic crim

State of Alabama took 58 years to correct injustice to Alabama State University students and faculty involved in 1960’s sit-in; Gov. Kay Ivey remains silent

 

By: Dr. Derryn Moten, Chair ASU Department of History

On May 10, 2018, fifty-eight years after Alabama Governor John Patterson and the Alabama State Board of Education expelled nine Alabama State College, ASC, students for “conduct prejudicial to the college,” and after the same state officials terminated ASC faculty member Dr. L. D. Reddick for alleged Communist sympathies, Interim State Superintendent of Education, Dr. Ed. Richardson expunged the records of both calling the actions taken by his predecessor in 1960, “unjustified and unfair.” The paternalism then was summed up in the 1961 appellees’ brief for St. John Dixon, Et Al, v. Alabama State Board of Education, Et Al., the landmark case that overturned the wrongful expulsions, “Alabama State College, Montgomery, Alabama, is a state institution for Negroes. It is under the supervision and control of the Alabama State Board of Education.” L. D. Reddick wrote the first biography of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. while chairing the history department of Alabama State College. Published by Harper & Brothers in 1959, Crusader Without Violence, as the April 30, 1959 MIA (Montgomery Improvement Association) Newsletter noted, “is more than the story of the life up-to-now of our leader; it is the social history of our time.” Now, a 60th Anniversary Edition of Crusader Without Violence: A Biography of Martin Luther King, Jr. has been reissued in spring 2018 by NewSouth Books. A new introduction explains the helter-skelter Alabama’s segregationist governor and government wrought on Alabama State College. Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. arrived in Montgomery, Alabama in 1954 to pastor Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, and Dr. Reddick arrived a year later. Both came to the Heart of Dixie for rather mundane reasons and neither imagined that history would conscript them, with others, in a battle royale to achieve full equality for Negroes. Dr. King’s stay in Alabama lasted six years. In that time, the city convicted him of violating the state’s anti-boycott law, originally, an anti-labor law. Alabama enjoined the NAACP from operating in the state.The governor criticized the civil rights organization with orchestrating the Montgomery Bus Boycott. In another case, the governor joined Montgomery’s mayor, and the City’s commissioners in a libel lawsuit against Dr. King, four other ministers, and the New York Times, based on a full-page Times ad that the plaintiffs argued falsely assailed city and state officials for mistreating King and ASC students . And Gov. Patterson signed extradition papers ordering Dr. King’s return to face trial for income tax fraud. The method of the governor’s madness was clear; he wanted to exhaust King and the NAACP, financially, mentally, and physically. On March 27, 1960, the Associated Press reported, “ASC President Trenholm Plans to Purge ‘Disloyal’ Faculty.” Dr. Reddick offered his resignation in March 1960, effective at the end of the summer term. Two other faculty members, Jo Ann Robinson and Mary Fair Burks—both members of the Women’s Political Council—took heed. In March 31, 1960, Burks wrote Dr. King, “Jo Ann, Reddick, and I expect to be fired. We are surprised it hasn’t happened. I believe we will be eased out quietly in May or at least by September. We would prefer being fired outright of course.” The friendship of Burks, Robinson, Reddick, and King went back to the Boycott. Addressing Mrs. Burks as “Frankie,” King replied, “I had hoped that Dr. Trenholm would emerge from this total situation as a national hero. If only he would stand up to the Governor and the Board of Education and say he cannot in good conscience fire … faculty members who committed no crime or act of sedition.” Governor Patterson impugned Reddick accusing him of helping foment the first “sit-down” demonstration in Alabama on February 25, 1960. Carried out by Alabama State College students, on March 2, 1960, ASC President Harper C. Trenholm expelled nine student sit-in participants and placed 20 students on probation “pending good behavior.” No hearing was held, and the students sued the college and state in St. John Dixon v. Alabama State Board of Education. Attorney Fred Gray, a 1951 ASC graduate, represented the students. Thurgood Marshall, Jack Greenberg, and Derrick Bell, Jr. of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund assisted as co-counsel. U.S. District Court Judge Frank M. Johnson ruled in favor of the state reasoning that there was no statute necessitating formal charges or a hearing before a student can be expelled by a college or university. The U. S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit overturned Judge Johnson’s decision arguing that students at tax-supported colleges and universities should have a hearing as part of their due process rights before they can be expelled. The February 25, 1960 sit-in demonstration by Alabama State College students was the manifestation of “sit-downs” or sit-ins by black college students across the south who believed the efficacy of the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education case was that it refuted Jim Crow in totality. Judge Frank Johnson conceded as much in July 1960, writing, “The Court observes that maintenance of segregated publicly owned lunchrooms is in violation of well-settled law.” At the end of the year, the Associated Press would report, “Negro Sit-ins No. 1 Story of 1960s in Dixie.” In their A Statement by the Students of Alabama State College After Nine Students were Expelled on March 2, 1960, student leader Bernard Lee wrote, “We and the world must look upon the expulsion of these students … as punishment for our efforts to bring a little democracy to the Cradle of the Confederacy… We must practice at home what we preach abroad.” MIA President, Rev. Ralph Abernathy, a 1950 ASC graduate, told a city reporter, “The expulsion order was one of the greatest blunders in the history of education in Alabama.” A week later, ASC students marched near campus carrying placards that read, “1960 not 1860,” “9 down, 2,000 to go,” “Who’s President of ASC—Patterson or Trenholm,” Alabama versus The Constitution,” and “Democracy Died on March 4, 1960.” Students also held prayer services at local black churches including Abernathy’s First Baptist. South Carolina Gov. Ernest F. Hollins complained about “Negroes who think they can violate any law, especially, if they have a Bible in their hands.” The American Association of University Professors “condemned the willingness of some government bodies and private groups to sacrifice public education in order to maintain racial segregation.” A June 1960 NAACP memorandum counted fifty-two students expelled from black colleges; namely, Southern University, Alabama State College, Kentucky State College, and Florida A & M University. Praised for his “get tough” methods and his non-accommodation mentality, Gov. Patterson vowed to close Alabama public schools before he would allow them to be integrated. A staunch segregationist, governor-elect Patterson disallowed black marching bands, including the Alabama State College Band, at his inauguration. Like many others, Patterson preached the oxymoron of “separate but equal” emphasizing “separate” and seemingly caring little about “equal.” Dr. King offered a different message. At Holt Street Baptist Church on the eve of the 1955 Boycott, he told those present, “We are determined to apply our citizenship to the fullness of its meaning.” Alabama State College students in 1960 intended the same. Their collective faith in the U. S. Constitution was codified by the same faith held by their elders and ancestors. This faith was sermonized in the black church and elucidated in the black school. Dr. King professed that faith, a faith in a “Democracy transformed from thin paper to thick action.” More than a half century later in Montgomery, Alabama, Interim State Superintendent Dr. Ed. Richardson concurred, noting that those macabre days of 1960 “represent a time in the history of the State Board that must be acknowledge and never repeated. I regret that it has taken fifty-eight years to correct this injustice.” Initially, I had hoped that Gov. Kay Ivey would issue her own contrition in behalf of the governor’s office.  One of the governor’s staff members even offered to write a resolution but subsequently demurred.  Short of this, I would have liked for the governor to co-sign the May 10, 2018 letter by Dr. Ed Richardson since Gov. Ivey is the Ex-Official Chair of the Alabama State Board of Education. Presumably, Dr. Richardson had to have informed the governor of his intentions. But alas, Alabama’s state motto comes to mind, “We Dare Defend Our Rights.”

Newswire: NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson issued the following statement on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to U.S. Supreme Court

Derrick Johnson, NAACP “This Senate hearing on Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the U. S. Supreme Court should not go forward. The President is in personal legal jeopardy and only a fraction of Kavanaugh’s record has been produced. To proceed now threatens the legitimacy of the Senate’s constitutional review and the Supreme Court itself. What we do know of Judge Kavanaugh’s civil rights record is deeply troubling. His views on voting rights, affirmative action, equal employment, fair housing, and criminal justice could shut the courthouse door on justice for a generation. Senators need to fight this nomination with everything they have. There is simply too much at stake.” · Read findings on Kavanaugh’s Civil Rights record · Learn more about NAACP’s fight for fair judicial appointments · Watch President Johnson speak out on the importance of fair courts Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation’s oldest and largest nonpartisan civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities. You can read more about the NAACP’s work and our six “Game Changer” issue areas at www.naacp.org.

Newswire: Ben Jealous’ primary win in Maryland moved America closer to having the first Black governor in years.

Written By Bruce C.T. Wright, Newsone
 

Ben Jealous.jpg

                                                                  Ben Jealous

Ben Jealous’ Democratic primary victory in Maryland on Tuesday night meant there were now two African-American nominees for governor in the U.S. If elected, they would equal the same number of Black governors in what will soon be the nation’s 242-year history. Stacey Abrams, Democratic nominee in Georgia is the second Black candidate for Governor in the

But there were still three more races to go with Black gubernatorial hopefuls, increasing the chances of both a Black governor being elected and possibly making this year one of the most noteworthy on record for African-Americans in politics. After all, there hasn’t been a Black governor in office since the fateful political year of 2016.

Tuesday’s win advanced Jealous, a former president of the NAACP, to a general election showdown with the incumbent Republican Gov. Larry Hogan. And if the past was any indication of the future, Jealous’ chances to become Maryland’s first Black governor were all but guaranteed: not one single governor in the state has been re-elected in 54 years.
Jealous joined Georgia’s Stacey Abrams as the lone two African-American nominees for governor. The duo could become a quintet if three more states vote for the Black candidates in their respective states. Abrams, the first Black woman to ever be nominated for governor, was polling lower than her general election opponent. But she pulled a come-from-behind victory last month, so why not again in November?
Florida voters could push Andrew Gillum through the Democratic primary there in August, and at least one poll has him leading the race. The first Black mayor of Tallahassee has said he’s in favor of bail reform, gun reform and full legalization of marijuana because of the racial disparity of arrests. The Sunshine State’s primary was scheduled for Aug. 28.
It was a bit of a different story in Michigan, though, as neither of the two Black gubernatorial candidates there even registered a blip on the most recent poll. Michigan’s primary was scheduled for Aug. 8.
Perhaps the longest shot of the rest of the Black candidates was Ohio’s Larry Ealy, a former exotic dancer. (Kanye shrug) Ohio goes to the primary polls on Aug. 28.
Illinois’ Tio Hardiman and Maryland’s Rushern Baker each lost their respective gubernatorial bids. Now former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, the first Black person elected to that position, decided against running for a third term and left office in 2015.

Rev. Kenneth Glasgow says “God had prepared us for this attack”

Special to the Democrat By: John Zippert,
Co-Publisher

 

Glasglow.jpg

On Friday, May 4, 2017, The Ordinary Peoples Society (TOPS) of Dothan, Alabama held its 17th Annual Founders and Unity Day. The dinner was attended by 200 people who were honoring Rev. Kenneth Glasgow on his 53rd birthday, the TOPS organization for its work with the community and incarcerated people around the country and ‘Moma Tina’, Glasgow’s mother, for her work in sustaining the organization and helping to feed hungry and homeless people in the area.
The dinner came in the shadows of Rev. Glasgow recent arrest and suspicious charge of ‘capital murder’ in the March 26th death of Breunia Jennings. Rev. Glasgow was asked by Jamie Townes, a friend to help him find his car that was taken. Glasgow, Townes and two others went to search for the car. They spotted the car and then the car rammed into them.
Townes jumped out of Glasgow’s car, drew a gun and shot Jennings. When the police came they arrested Townes and Glasgow and released the other two persons. Glasgow, a nationally recognized activitist on prisoner issues was charged with ‘capital murder’ under an Alabama statute which says unless you actively try to prevent a crime you are an accessory and implicit in it.
National and state organizations like the NAACP, Save Ourselves Movement for Justice and Democracy, ANSC, ADC and others challenged the suspicious nature of Kenneth Glasgow’s arrest and are working to have the charges dismissed. These groups and others packed the Dothan Courthouse for Glasgow’s preliminary hearing on April 6, 2018.
Circuit Judge Benjamin Lewis sent Glasgow’s case to the Houston County (AL) Grand Jury but also made the unusual decision in a capital case to grant a bail request of $75,000. Glasgow has been out of jail on bail since April 9, 2018.
Friday’s dinner was one of his first opportunities to make a public statement to supporters about his case. “ We expected this kind of attack because of the work we have done on prisoners rights, our fights against police brutality and mass incarceration of Black young people. We have been preparing for this. God has been preparing us for this kind of attack.
“We were ready for this. We were prepared. When we got to jail, we started organizing and had a prayer circle for the DA, the Police Chief and others. WE must get beyond this to fight the real issues.”
There were other speakers at the dinner that supported Glasgow and TOPS including Dorsey Nunn of ‘All Of Us or None, a California group that initiated the ‘Ban the Box’ campaign; Asha Bandele, with a New York City prisoners campaign, State Senator Hank Sanders of Selma, former Mayor Johnny Ford of Tuskegee and others.
Rev. Glasgow said that he needs people to continue to help support the work of TOPS (The Ordinary People’s Society, 403 West Powell Street, Dothan, Alabama 36303; phone 334-671-2882 office and 334-791-2433 cell; West Powell Street. Dothan, AL 36303) and support his Legal Defense Committee by going to this website: www.glasgowdefensecommittee.org.

Newswire : NAACP, Prince George’s County file lawsuit over “Underfunded, Understaffed” 2020 Census

By William J. Ford (The Washington Informer/NNPA Member)

 

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NAACP officials announce lawsuit
The NAACP announced that the group has filed a lawsuit against President Donald Trump, the U.S. Census Bureau and Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, “to combat the imminent threat that the 2020 Census will substantially undercount African Americans and other people of color in communities throughout the United States,” a press release about the lawsuit said.
Prince George’s County, the NAACP’s Prince George’s County branch and two county residents (branch President Bob Ross and Elizabeth Johnson), also joined the suit. Prince George’s County experienced one of the highest undercounts in the nation at 2.3 percent during the 2010 Census, according to the suit. The figures are based on counties with a population of at least 100,000.
“Such a dramatic undercount will especially dilute the votes of racial and ethnic minorities, deprive their communities of critical federal funds and undervalue their voices and interests in the political arena,” the suit alleges.
During a press conference about the lawsuit at the National Press Club in Northwest D.C., Bradford Berry, general counsel of the NAACP said that this lawsuit is unique, because the plaintiffs seek action before work on the 2020 Census begins.
For instance, the suit claims the federal government has decreased resources and manpower for the 2020 Census and “cancelled crucial, pre-Census field tests and is rushing to digitize the Census without adequate cybersecurity protections, thus undermining public confidence in the privacy of Census data” the press release said.

The lawsuit also states that the Census Bureau doesn’t have sufficient staffing; the agency’s acting director, Ron Jarmin, was also named as a defendant in the suit.
On Capitol Hill last week, the U.S. House of Representatives approved $2.8 billion for the bureau, an increase more than double the amount of the Trump administration’s request of $1.1 billion.
“Proposing a bill and passing a bill are two different things,” said NAACP President Derrick Johnson. “Once the final bill passes, we would like to evaluate to see if it’s sufficient. We simply need the political will to make sure we have an accurate count for this [upcoming] Census.”
Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III said his jurisdiction has lost about $200 million in federal money, because of Census undercounts. The Maryland jurisdiction of nearly 900,000 people borders Washington, D.C., with 65 percent of the population African American.
Federal law requires that citizens are counted in a decennial census that not only helps redraw political boundaries, but also for counties and states to receive federal money for improvement of schools, roads and other needs.

Critics have argued that a proposed citizenship question in the 2020 Census will deter legal immigrants from responding and decrease the number of people counted in those communities. The Hispanic population in Prince George’s County stands at about 18 percent.
“What’s more frightening about this Census count, more than in the past, is the rhetoric from the Trump administration,” Baker said after the press conference. “With a growing Latino population in the county, this is a direct assault on those folks participating in the Census. If it’s happening here, then it’s happening everywhere.”
William J. Ford is a staff writer for The Washington Informer. You can follow him on Twitter @jabariwill.The Washington Informer is a member publication of the National Newspaper Publishers Association. Learn more about becoming a member at www.nnpa.org.