For more than a decade, economists, lawmakers and others have heralded the nation’s economy. Often citing how unemployment has declined as new jobs have been created, or Wall Street trading and major bank profits rising, some might be led to believe that all is well in America.
But as Sportin’ Life in the folk opera “Porgy and Bess” sang, “It ain’t necessarily so.”
On Sept. 16, California Gov. Gavin Newsom joined by state officials representing cities and counties wrote a letter that urged President Donald Trump to recognize homelessness as a “national crisis decades in the making that demands action at every level of government to alleviate California’s homeless.
Carson’s Sept. 18 reply said in part, “California cannot spend its way out of this problem using Federal funds…More vouchers are clearly not the solution the State needs. To address this crisis, California must reduce its regulatory burdens on housing.”
Advocates for homeless and low-income people strongly disagreed with Carson’s assessment. “We know that the number one cause of homelessness is the lack of affordable housing,” said Megan Hustings, managing director of the National Coalition for the Homeless.
“Consumers are already struggling with crushing debt from student loans and medical expenses, or facing triple-digit interest rates when they attempt to access small-dollar loans,” noted Marisabel Torres, director of California Policy with the Center for Responsible Lending, “When they also have to pay some of the highest housing costs in the nation, it is unfortunately unsurprising that there are such large numbers of homeless people in many of California’s large cities.
“California’s homeless may be the largest by state, but the problem is a national one that deserves to be recognized and acted upon,” Torres said.
In 1987 there was an expression of national will to respond to America’s homeless through enactment of the McKinney Homeless Act. That statute created the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness dedicating the ongoing support of 19 federal agencies to prevent and end homelessness. HUD is one of the participating agencies. The Council on Homelessness even has a written plan, “Home, Together,” that lays out federal remedies over the fiscal years of 2018-2022.
Charlene Crowell is the communications deputy director with the Center for Responsible Lending. She can be reached at Charlene.firstname.lastname@example.org. This post originally appeared in The Washington Informer.
History commonly and most often points to late August in the year 1619 when some “20 and odd Negroes” originating from Angola arrived in the British colony of Jamestown, Virginia as the first documented enslaved Africans to land in what is now the United States. This nation and its wealth was built through forced labor and the very existence of Black men and women. It’s truly ironic that as this country celebrates 400 years of democracy, the Black community is still fighting for equal rights, justice and freedom. The century that followed emancipation saw the creation of policies that discriminated against black people and largely excluded them from wealth building, creating an inherited disadvantage for future generations. This is why the idea of reparations, brought forth during the Civil War era, has continued to be a topic of grave concern for the NAACP. On a daily basis, we grapple with domestic terrorism and state sanctioned violence in the guise of white supremacy — all under the watch of one of the most racist administrations since the Jim Crow era. Along with his xenophobic policies, President Donald Trump is doing all he can to punish immigrants and alienate Black Americans, using hateful tweets and chants of “Send her back,” as a rallying cry for his base. At NAACP’s annual convention, our delegates voted unanimously to call on the House to begin impeachment proceedings against President Trump. We can’t and won’t whitewash or glorify this experience — but it has made us stronger and more resilient than ever. We know from the incredible Black voter turnout in the midterm elections that African-Americans are not only the most critical voting bloc, but the most powerful when we are encouraged to participate actively in our Democracy. Next week, the NAACP, will embark on a historic and spiritual journal to commemorate the 400-year anniversary of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. More than 200 African-Americans will pay homage to the strength, power and resilience of our people. In our journey from Jamestown, Virginia to Ghana, we will not only retrace the footsteps of our ancestors through the slave dungeons and along the shores where the enslaved had their last bath before their trek to the western world – we will also immerse ourselves in the vibrant culture and join leading government and business leaders to learn more about business, development and investment in Ghana. Through this experience, we hope to actualize the healing and collective unity so many generations have worked to achieve in ways which bring power to our communities in America, Africa and throughout our Diaspora.
(TriceEdneyWire.com) – President Donald Trump, in the wake of mass shootings that killed at least 31 people over the weekend, called for a unified condemnation of “racism, bigotry, and white supremacy” while he, himself has consistently promoted and supported racism, bigotry and White supremacy.
At least 22 were killed and more than 20 injured at a Walmart in El Paso Texas on Saturday as parents and children ventured out for back to school shopping. Dallas resident, Patrick Crusius, 21, was arrested in the shootings. According to authorities and widespread reports, Crusius wrote a manifesto claiming responsibility for the attack and railing against what he described as a “Hispanic invasion of Texas,” using language mirroring Trump’s language describing “invasion” immigrants.
Crusius also reportedly told authorities that he had intended to kill as many Mexicans as he could. At least 18 Mexican nationals were shot. Nine died, reports say.
Federal investigators, including the FBI, have classified the case as domestic terrorism.
Less than 15 hours later, another White male opened fire at a bar in Dayton, Ohio, killing nine people, six of them Black. Twenty-seven others were injured in Dayton. The shooter, Connor Betts, 24,
was shot dead by responding officers.
“The shooter in El Paso posted a manifesto online consumed by racist hate. In one voice, our nation must condemn racism, bigotry, and white supremacy,” Trump said in a televised speech from the White House Monday morning. “These sinister ideologies must be defeated. Hate has no place in America. Hatred warps the mind, ravages the heart, and devours the soul. We have asked the FBI to identify all further resources they need to investigate and disrupt hate crimes and domestic terrorism – whatever they need.”
Ironically, Trump also called the Internet “a dangerous avenue to radicalize disturbed minds and perform demented acts” and described it as a place with “dark recesses”.
But some – including the NAACP – believe it has been clearly Trump himself who has used social media – mainly Twitter – to fuel racism, White supremacy and bigotry throughout the nation and around the world through his attacks on people of color, portraying them as less than human.
Following the recent shootings, NAACP President Derrick Johnson
called out Trump’s own hate-filled behavior on the Internet over past
years, months, weeks and days.
“These tragic shootings are stark reminders of the dangers that plague our communities under the resurgence of white nationalism, domestic terrorism, intolerance, and racial hatred germinating from the White House,” wrote Johnson in a statement.
Other civil rights leaders chimed in, appearing to be at a loss for answers.
“When is Enough, enough?” asked Melanie Campbell, president/CEO of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation (NCBCP) and Convener of the Black Women’s Roundtable (BWR). “Gun violence in America must end, and it must end now. How many more lives must be lost by senseless gun violence for
elected officials to step up and lead?”
Campbell issued the following statistics on gun violence to date in 2019:
• There have been 253 mass shootings in America in 216 days of this year. That is more than one mass shooting per day for 2019. And we still have five more months to go this year.
• According to the Gun Violence Archive, to date, the total number of gun-related incidents in this country now stands at 33,076, resulting in 8,744 deaths and 17,366 injuries.
• The number of youths killed, ages 1 to 17, now stands at 2,197.
“This is absolute insanity for a so-called ‘civilized’ nation. The shootings in El Paso and Dayton were senseless acts of hate that could possibly have been prevented had there been laws in place to control access to high powered, rapid-fire, military grade weapons. The National Coalition on Black Civic Participation and the Black Women’s Roundtable strongly urges the U. S. Senate to come off of vacation and deal with this crisis by passing a
national common sense gun safety law now.”
In Trump’s speech, he mentioned mental illness that leads to gun violence, but said nothing about his own hateful tweets.
He said, “We must reform our mental health laws to better identify mentally disturbed individuals who may commit acts of violence and make sure those people not only get treatment, but, when necessary, involuntary confinement.”
He said he is directing the Department of Justice to work in “partnership with local, state, and federal agencies, as well as social media companies, to develop tools that can detect mass shooters before
He said the “glorification of violence in our society” through “gruesome and grisly video games” must end.
He added,“We must make sure that those judged to pose a grave risk to public safety do not have access to firearms, and that, if they do, those firearms can be taken through rapid due process. That is why I have called for red flag laws, also known as extreme risk protection orders.”
Finally, Trump said he was “directing the Department of Justice to propose legislation ensuring that those who commit hate crimes and mass murders face the death penalty, and that this capital punishment be delivered quickly, decisively, and without years of needless delay.”
Still civil rights leaders lay blame for the El Paso and Dayton massacres squarely at Trump’s feet:
Johnson wrote: “The NAACP is calling on the Trump administration to cease its use of divisive and discriminatory rhetoric which fuel these unconscionable attacks and allot resources to combat the rise of domestic terrorism and hate crimes.”
A New York City police officer who used an illegal chokehold to kill Eric Garner as a Black woman police sergeant supervisor watched and did nothing to stop the brutal assault, will not face federal charges in Garner’s violent death, the Justice Department announced today.
U.S. Attorney General William Barr, who was appointed by President Donald Trump, made the decision not to charge officer Daniel Pantaleo for the July 17, 2014 killing of Garner, 43, by using what the NYPD said was an illegal chokehold.
Garner, an asthmatic, repeatedly gasped, “I can’t breathe” as Pantaleo held him in his deadly grip.
The NYPD banned chokeholds in 1993, but the practice is not banned by New York City law.
Pantaleo, who has been assigned to desk duty since the killing, attempted to arrest Garner for selling loose cigarettes, or “loosies.” The cigarettes are not taxed. Garner pled with Pantaleo to leave him alone.
Sgt. Kizzy Adonis did not intervene. She, too, had been placed on desk duty. It is not clear if she has returned to active duty.
Federal prosecutors in Brooklyn recommended that Pantaleo not face federal charges. They argued that the chokehold lasted seven seconds, not enough, in the prosecutors’ minds, to cause harm.
However, Garner died, and Pantaleo recently married and received a pay raise.The NYPD will soon announce if Pantaleo will remain with the department.
In 2015, the City of New York agreed to pay Garner’s family $5.9 million for his brutal death at the hands of Pantaleo.
By Lauren Victory Burke, NNPA Newswire Contributor
Four Congresswomen: Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Ayanna Pressley (D-MA).
President Donald Trump went on a racist screed on Twitter and attacked Democratic congresswomen of color and their ancestry. The 45th President, who succeeded the first African American President of the United States, Barack Obama, has often attacked Black female elected officials, such as Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), Black athletes, immigrants, and other women of color. As is his general habit, Trump lies in his communications and brands places where people of color reside as dangerous. President Trump has a long history of racism as does his late father, Fred Trump. Fred Trump was arrested at a Ku Klux Klan rally in Queens, New York on May 30, 1927 when he was 21. Their company, Trump Properties, was sued by the Justice Department for housing discrimination against Blacks in 1973. On May 1, 1989, Donald Trump took out ads in several of New York’s major newspapers demanding that the Central Park Five be given the death penalty. Even though the five have been exonerated, Trump has never admitted he was wrong or apologized. A hint of Trump’s racist views now on international display in The White House, was seen in 1989 as Trump linked the Central Park Five case to an overall decline in society. “At what point did we cross the line from the fine and noble pursuit of genuine civil liberties to the reckless and dangerously permissive atmosphere which allows criminals of every age to beat and rape a helpless woman and laugh at her family’s anguish? And why do they laugh? The laugh because they know that soon, very soon, they will be returned to the street to rape and maim and kill once again,” Trump said in a 1989 interview. On July 14, 2019, Trump wrote, “So interesting to see “Progressive” Democrat Congresswomen, who originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe, the worst, most corrupt and inept anywhere in the world (if they even have a functioning government at all), now loudly……” read one communication on Twitter the morning of July 14. Consistent with his racist attacks and communications both verbal and on social media, President Trump attacked three Congresswomen of color who have gained national prominence as they oppose Trump’s policies: Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Ayanna Pressley (D-MA). Trump implied in a series of consecutive messages on Twitter on July 14 that the Congresswomen weren’t born in the United States and added, “they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.” Rep. Illan was born in Somalia and her family arrived in New York on 1992 and secured asylum in the U.S. in 1995. Rep. Ocasio-Cortez was born in the Bronx, New York and Rep. Pressley was born in Chicago, Ill. Another Congresswoman Trump has attacked before, Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), was born in Detroit, Michigan. Though Trump did not name who specifically he was referring to, the context of his communication on Twitter was clear to political observers. Earlier in July, Trump referenced the three women. All three, as well as many other members, have been outspoken about Trump’s immigration policies. The conditions of detention facilities at the Mexican border came into stark light after Vice President Pence visited a center on June 12. Video from the visit showed a large group of Mexican men grouped in a fenced in enclosure with no cots, food and few signs of running water or other basic needs. Trump’s direct messages or racism and xenophobia to his base have increased as the 2020 presidential campaign gets fully underway. The Iowa Caucuses are 203 days away as of July 14.
Lauren Victoria Burke is an independent journalist and writer for NNPA as well as a political analyst and strategist as Principal of Win Digital Media LLC. She may be contacted at LBurke007@gmail.com and on Twitter at @LVBurke
Kirsten J. Barnes, Communications Director for Alabama Senate Minority
In response to the negative reactions to Alabama’s Abortion Ban not only from Alabamians, but worldwide, Sen. Vivian Davis Figures (D-Mobile) took a bold step on Tuesday, May 21, 2019, by introducing a senate bill to repeal the state’s extreme abortion ban.
“There are consequences for every decision we make as legislators, and for every vote we cast there are ramifications,” Sen. Figures said. “However, some of these effects are unintended and I truly believe this has been the case for SB314. I do not believe my Republican colleagues had any idea what the consequences for passing this bill would be.”
Since the passing of the bill, Alabama lawmakers have been inundated with calls from people nationwide expressing their concern that the bill goes too far. Not only have Democrats come out against the bill, put top Republicans such as President Donald Trump, U.S. Senator Mitt Romney, 700 Club Founder Pat Robertson, and Chairwoman of the Republican National Committee Ronna McDaniel have all expressed outrage by the passing of this extreme law which seeks to force women and girls impregnated through rape and incest to carry those babies to term.
“I felt that the least I could do was to offer a bill to repeal HB314 with the hopes that it would help to heal some of the wounds that my Republican brothers and sisters have inflicted on the great state of Alabama,” Sen. Figures said. “Unfortunately this bill is serving as a detriment to the entire state of Alabama in terms of revenues and in terms of healthcare, particularly for women.”
Although, Alabama is known for its increase of visitors during the summer months, but that could change drastically this year.
“I have heard from people all over the country saying they planned a vacation to Alabama’s beautiful beaches, but when this extreme abortion ban was signed into law, they immediately canceled those plans,” Sen. Figures. “If we care about the future and well-being of our state, this law must be repealed.”
By Steven Mufson and Tracy Jan, The Washington Post
If you’re a poor person in America, President Donald Trump’s budget proposal is not for you.
Trump has unveiled a budget that would slash or abolish programs that have provided low-income Americans with help on virtually all fronts, including affordable housing, banking, weatherizing homes, job training, paying home heating oil bills, and obtaining legal counsel in civil matters.
These cuts to smaller programs that are targeted to poor people are in addition to major cuts of $735 billion in Medicare, $250 billion in Medicaid and $250 billion in Social Security benefits.
During the presidential campaign last year, Trump vowed that the solution to poverty was giving poor people incentives to work. But most of the proposed cuts in his budget target programs designed to help the working poor, as well as those who are jobless, cope.
“This is a budget that pulled the rug out from working families and hurts the very people who President Trump promised to stand up for in rural America and in small towns,” said Melissa Boteach, vice president of the poverty to prosperity program at the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank in Washington.
The White House budget cuts will fall hardest on the rural and small town communities that Trump won, where one in three people are living paycheck to paycheck – a rate that is 24 percent higher than in urban counties, according to a new analysis by the center.
The budget proposes housing “reforms” that add up to more than $6 billion in cuts while promising to continue assisting the nation’s 4.5 million low-income households. If enacted, the proposed budget would result in the most severe cut to the Department of Housing and Urban Development since the early 1980s, according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition.
It would also eliminate the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, which coordinates the federal response to homelessness across 19 federal agencies.
The administration’s reforms include eliminating funding for a $3 billion Community Development Block Grant program, one of the longest continuously run HUD programs that’s been in existence since 1974.
The program provides cities and rural small towns with money to address a range of community development needs such as affordable housing, rehabilitating homes in neighborhoods hardest hit by foreclosures, and preventing or eliminating slums and community blight. It also provides funding for Meals on Wheels, a national nonprofit that delivers food to homebound seniors.
Robert Rector, a senior fellow who focuses on welfare at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative Washington-based think tank, calls the community block grants a “slush fund for urban government.”
The White House touts its cuts to what the administration characterizes as “a number of lower priority programs” as a way to “promote fiscal responsibility.” In actuality, it guts federal funding for affordable housing and kicks the financial responsibility of those programs to states and local governments.
Gone would be $35 million in funding for well-known programs such as Habitat for Humanity and YouthBuild USA, fair housing planning, and homeless assistance, among other housing help for needy Americans.
Poor people need not lean on community banks for financial help either, because Trump plans to eliminate the $210 million now dedicated towards Community Development Financial Institutions. The program, administered through the Treasury Department, invests in community banks that provide loans and financial services to people living in some of the most distressed communities of the country.
“Cutting that program would be nothing short of a disaster and the ripple effect would be felt in urban areas and some rural areas all over America,” said Michael A. Grant, president of the National Bankers Association, a lobbying group for black-owned banks.
The administration would also eliminate the Energy Department’s weatherization assistance program, which dates back to 1976 when Gerald Ford was president. Since then, it has given grants to states that have helped insulate the homes of about 7 million families with low-cost techniques that have large payoffs, saving money for those families and curtailing U.S. energy consumption. It has also helped establish weatherization job training centers in states such as Utah and New York.
Also on the chopping block: the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, known widely by its acronym LIHEAP. This program, part of the Health and Human Services budget, helps homeowners cover monthly energy costs, or repair broken or inefficient furnaces and air conditioners. The program is usually underfunded; LIHEAP says that on average, only about 20 percent of the households that qualify for assistance receive benefits before the money run out. Congress sometimes adds funding during emergencies or energy shortages when costs spike.
Trump’s proposed budget would eliminate the Community Services Block Grant, a $715-million program within HHS that funds more than 1,000 local anti-poverty organizations around the country. The organizations provide services ranging from job training to food assistance to more than 16 million people in 3,000 counties. The grants also help communities respond quickly to natural disasters, plant closures and other economic shifts.
Without the grants, there would be little coordination between faith groups, local governments, private companies and nonprofits in addressing the needs of the poor – “just a few unconnected programs that don’t have nearly the impact they have now,” said David Bradley, who founded the National Community Action Foundation and wrote the legislation behind the grants in the early ’80s.
The Trump budget would also target the Legal Services Corp., an independent agency that provided $343 million to 134 legal aid organizations for the poor who are tangled up in cases of wrongful eviction, custody disputes, child support or domestic violence.
In 2015, Legal Services offices closed 755,774 cases – more than 100 for every lawyer and paralegal employed. About 70 percent of its clients are women, and the majority of its clients are white and between the ages of 36 and 59. The program provides lawyers only to people earning no more than 125 percent of the federal poverty guideline, which is currently $15,075 for an individual and $30,750 for a family of four.
The budget would also zero out funds to help native Alaskan villages obtain access to clean drinking water and modern sewage systems.
Cuts to the Agriculture budget also eliminates the Appalachian Regional Commission and the Delta Regional Authority that encourage economic growth in distressed rural communities. And while the budget allocates $6.2 billion to “serve all projected participants” in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women Infants and Children, that is $150 million less than USDA had budgeted.
The White House proposed shrinking Job Corps, a program administered by the Labor Department that provides education and job training to more than 60,000 young and disadvantaged youth. The proposal called for closing centers that do a “poor job” of preparing students for the workforce, but did not elaborate how many of the 125 centers nationwide would be targeted.
Job Corps, which was created in 1965 as part of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s anti-poverty agenda, helps young adults between the ages of 16 and 24 earn high school diplomas and receive vocational training.
(TriceEdneyWire.com) – U. S. House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn (D-S.C.), the highest ranking African-American in the U. S. Congress, has assailed President Donald Trump’s immigration national emergency as an “egregious abuse of power” and calls on his fellow congressional members to challenge his actions. “The President’s declaration of a manufactured national emergency in order to erect an ineffective, wasteful, and medieval wall sets a dangerous precedent,” Clyburn said in a statement. “All of us who have taken an oath to the Constitution must challenge this egregious abuse of power and uphold the checks and balances that are the foundation of our republic.” Clyburn joins a chorus of voices expressing outrage about Trump’s action which could draw $5.7 billion of tax payer dollars for a wall that more than 58 percent of Americans say they do not want, according to a recent PRRI survey. “This declaration has more to do with the President’s bruised ego than actually doing what is best for America. The author of ‘The Art of The Deal’ couldn’t make a deal to build a wall. This is a fake solution to a fake crisis and we must stand firm in keeping the nation focused on the real issues impacting Americans,” says Congressional Black Caucus Chair Karen Bass (D-Calif.). The Washington Post has reported that a coalition of 16 states have filed a federal lawsuit to block Trump’s plan for a border wall. Like Clyburn, the complaint filed in the U. S. District Court for the Northern District of California, argues that Trump’s declaration of a national emergency was unconstitutional. The lawsuit is being brought by states with Democratic governors, except Maryland’s Larry Hogan, a Republican who has challenged Trump on several major issues. Trump is clear that he is declaring the national emergency because Congress refused to provide enough money for a border wall that he promised as a presidential candidate and also promised that Mexico would pay for it. But, then Mexico President Enrique Pena Nieto refused to pay for the wall, saying “Mexico doesn’t believe in walls.” Trump was then stuck with the unkept campaign promise and now appears desperate for a way to make good. The 16 states suing Trump are California, New York, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon and Virginia. In a Rose Garden announcement of his intent to declare the emergency, Trump claimed he is protection the nation from caravans of people that he says are bringing drugs and crime into the U. S. through the Southern border, a claim that experts have refuted as false. “So, we’re going to be signing today, and registering, national emergency. And it’s a great thing to do because we have an invasion of drugs, invasion of gangs, invasion of people, and it’s unacceptable,” Trump said in his Rose Garden announcement, calling the emergency a “National Security and Humanitarian Crisis”. As Trump continues to dig in his heals, predicting an eventual win in the U. S. Supreme Court, civil rights leaders are fighting their war in the court of public opinion. CBC Chairwoman Bass concludes, “There are families who can’t make ends meet because their wages are too low. Citizens are being denied equal access at the ballot box because of voter suppression. We have a criminal justice system that still treats Americans better if they are rich and guilty than if they are poor and innocent. Black boys and girls are dying prematurely from gun violence while Black women are losing their lives during childbirth. These are just some of the real crises confronting America. Mr. President, it’s time to finally demonstrate the leadership worthy of the office you hold.”
By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Correspondent @StacyBrownMedia
Stacey Abrams may not be the governor of Georgia, but she did make history on Tuesday, Feb. 5. After patiently waiting in the wings as President Donald Trump used 90 minutes to deliver what was supposed to be a 45-minute State of the Union Address, Abrams provided a scathing Democratic rebuttal to the president’s highly-scripted speech to Congress on Tuesday, Feb. 5. In doing so, Abrams became the first Black woman for either party to deliver a formal response to the State of the Union. Speaking firmly and with a fervor that has earned her the national stage, the former Georgia Gubernatorial candidate said the “hopes of American families are being crushed” by Republican political leadership. “In Georgia and around the country, people are striving for a middle class where a salary truly equals economic security,” Abrams said. “But instead, families’ hopes are being crushed by Republican leadership that ignores real life or just doesn’t understand it.” The response is a tradition undertaken by a representative of the president’s opposing party, who gives a speech immediately after the State of the Union to rebut claims made in his address. According to CBS News, the first rebuttal was delivered by Republican Sen. Everett Dirksen and Rep. Gerald Ford in response to President Lyndon B. Johnson’s 1966 State of the Union. Since 2011, there have been responses in English and one in Spanish given by a separate speaker. The address has usually been given by a member of Congress or a sitting governor, making Abrams an intriguing choice given she doesn’t currently hold a political office. Only one other time has an elected official not holding statewide or federal office given their party’s response: Elizabeth Guzman, a Democratic member of the Virginia House of Delegates, delivered the Spanish-language response for Democrats in 2018, CBS reported. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra gave the Spanish address this year. However, since losing her gubernatorial bid, Abrams has said she is open to running for political office again. Abrams talked about family values – taught by her parents. In one instance on a cold winter night, her family went looking for her father and when they found him walking along a road, he was shivering and without a coat. “He had given his coat to a homeless man,” Abrams said. “I knew he would still be alone when I left him, but I knew you were coming for me,” she said, relating her father’s words. “I hold fast to my father’s credo, we are coming for a better America,” Abrams said. Abrams railed against Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell over the government shutdown. Abrams noted McConnell’s recent verbal assaults on a House Democratic voting rights and an election bill that he has labeled a Democratic “power grab.” “Voter suppression is real … we can no longer ignore these threats to Democracy. We cannot accept efforts to undermine our right to vote,” Abrams said. “This is the next battle for our democracy, one where all eligible citizens can have their say about the vision we want for our country,” she said. “We must reject the cynicism that says allowing every eligible vote to be cast and counter is a ‘power grab.’” She blasted Trump and McConnell noting the missed paydays and the struggles of more than 800,000 federal workers who could still face another shutdown in just a couple of weeks because Trump wants to build a $5 billion wall on the southern border. “Just a few weeks ago, I joined volunteers to distribute meals to furloughed federal workers. They waited in line for a box of food and a sliver of hope since they hadn’t received a paycheck in weeks,” Abrams said. “Making their livelihoods a pawn for political games is a disgrace,” she said. Further driving home her point, Abrams continued: “The shutdown was a stunt engineered by the president of the United States, one that defied every tenet of fairness and abandoned not just our people, but our values.” Trump, who continues to garner headlines over a myriad of alleged misdeeds, misstatements, and the division that’s enveloped the country since he took office, called for bipartisanship in his address. He claimed outstanding records on jobs and the economy and America’s global standing. He also again took credit for low African American and Latino unemployment, saying more people – 157 million – are working now than anytime in the past in America. The president also talked about the 300 or so judicial nominees that are in the Senate, ignoring that President Barack Obama’s high court choices were blatantly disregarded by the Republican-controlled Senate. Abrams, who was once the Democratic Leader in the Georgia House of Representatives, dismissed those claims. Abrams also firmly rebutted the notion that the Trump administration has the best ideals for the country going forward. “We may come from different sides of the political aisle, but our joint commitment to the ideals of this nation cannot be negotiable,” she said. “The Republican tax bill rigged the system against people. Wages struggle to keep pace with the cost of living. We owe more to the folks who keep our country moving.” “We know bipartisanship can craft a 21stcentury immigration plan, but this administration chooses to cage people. Democrats stand ready to secure our borders, but we must understand America is made stronger by immigrants, not walls.”
By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Correspondent @StacyBrownMedia
The longest government shutdown in American history is over – and President Donald Trump did not get his Wall. Trump announced on Friday a short-term deal to temporarily reopen the government. NBC News was the first to report that a stop-gap agreement with congressional leaders will last three weeks, until Feb. 15, and would allow talks to continue over security on the southern border. The deal includes no money for his border wall. “In a short while, I will sign a bill to reopen the government for three weeks until Feb. 15,” Trump said in the Rose Garden, according to NBC News. “I will make sure that all employees receive their back pay very quickly or as soon as possible.” Trump announced the deal 35 days into the longest-ever partial government closure that has left an estimated 800,000 federal employees without pay and created a host of problems. On Thursday, the president said that if Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., were about to reach a reasonable agreement to end the shutdown, he would support it. The shutdown began just before Christmas and has left approximately 400,000 workers home from work without pay, while another 400,000 were required to be on the job without pay. The workers will receive back pay, under the agreement. Trump and congressional Democrats have been at a standoff over the president’s demand for $5.7 billion to build his wall along the southern border. The news was met with joy from government workers, including the thousands of African Americans who have gone without pay since the shutdown began. “Are you serious?” Sharon Clifford, a TSA worker who sought babysitting jobs during the shutdown, told NNPA Newswire. “Thank God,” said Clifford, who said she was visiting her parents in North Carolina to ask for a loan to get her through the end of the month.