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Archive for September 21st, 2011

President Obama's remarks in Address to the United Nations General Assembly

Posted by Admin On September - 21 - 2011 1 COMMENT

United Nations
New York, New York

10:12 A.M. EDT

 

President Obama: Mr. President, Mr. Secretary General, fellow delegates, ladies and gentlemen: It is a great honor for me to be here today. I would like to talk to you about a subject that is at the heart of the United Nations — the pursuit of peace in an imperfect world.
 
War and conflict have been with us since the beginning of civilizations. But in the first part of the 20th century, the advance of modern weaponry led to death on a staggering scale. It was this killing that compelled the founders of this body to build an institution that was focused not just on ending one war, but on averting others; a union of sovereign states that would seek to prevent conflict, while also addressing its causes.
 
No American did more to pursue this objective than President Franklin Roosevelt. He knew that a victory in war was not enough. As he said at one of the very first meetings on the founding of the United Nations, “We have got to make, not merely peace, but a peace that will last.”
 
The men and women who built this institution understood that peace is more than just the absence of war. A lasting peace — for nations and for individuals — depends on a sense of justice and opportunity, of dignity and freedom. It depends on struggle and sacrifice, on compromise, and on a sense of common humanity.
 
One delegate to the San Francisco Conference that led to the creation of the United Nations put it well: “Many people,” she said, “have talked as if all that has to be done to get peace was to say loudly and frequently that we loved peace and we hated war. Now we have learned that no matter how much we love peace and hate war, we cannot avoid having war brought upon us if there are convulsions in other parts of the world.”
 
The fact is peace is hard. But our people demand it. Over nearly seven decades, even as the United Nations helped avert a third world war, we still live in a world scarred by conflict and plagued by poverty. Even as we proclaim our love for peace and our hatred of war, there are still convulsions in our world that endanger us all.
 
I took office at a time of two wars for the United States. Moreover, the violent extremists who drew us into war in the first place — Osama bin Laden, and his al Qaeda organization — remained at large. Today, we’ve set a new direction.
 
At the end of this year, America’s military operation in Iraq will be over. We will have a normal relationship with a sovereign nation that is a member of the community of nations. That equal partnership will be strengthened by our support for Iraq — for its government and for its security forces, for its people and for their aspirations.
 
As we end the war in Iraq, the United States and our coalition partners have begun a transition in Afghanistan. Between now and 2014, an increasingly capable Afghan government and security forces will step forward to take responsibility for the future of their country. As they do, we are drawing down our own forces, while building an enduring partnership with the Afghan people.
 
So let there be no doubt: The tide of war is receding. When I took office, roughly 180,000 Americans were serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. By the end of this year, that number will be cut in half, and it will continue to decline. This is critical for the sovereignty of Iraq and Afghanistan. It’s also critical to the strength of the United States as we build our nation at home.

Moreover, we are poised to end these wars from a position of strength. Ten years ago, there was an open wound and twisted steel, a broken heart in the center of this city. Today, as a new tower is rising at Ground Zero, it symbolizes New York’s renewal, even as al Qaeda is under more pressure than ever before. Its leadership has been degraded. And Osama bin Laden, a man who murdered thousands of people from dozens of countries, will never endanger the peace of the world again.
 
So, yes, this has been a difficult decade. But today, we stand at a crossroads of history with the chance to move decisively in the direction of peace. To do so, we must return to the wisdom of those who created this institution. The United Nations’ Founding Charter calls upon us, “to unite our strength to maintain international peace and security.” And Article 1 of this General Assembly’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights reminds us that, “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and in rights.” Those bedrock beliefs — in the responsibility of states, and the rights of men and women — must be our guide.
 
And in that effort, we have reason to hope. This year has been a time of extraordinary transformation. More nations have stepped forward to maintain international peace and security. And more individuals are claiming their universal right to live in freedom and dignity.
 
Think about it: One year ago, when we met here in New York, the prospect of a successful referendum in South Sudan was in doubt. But the international community overcame old divisions to support the agreement that had been negotiated to give South Sudan self-determination. And last summer, as a new flag went up in Juba, former soldiers laid down their arms, men and women wept with joy, and children finally knew the promise of looking to a future that they will shape.
 
One year ago, the people of Côte D’Ivoire approached a landmark election. And when the incumbent lost, and refused to respect the results, the world refused to look the other way. U.N. peacekeepers were harassed, but they did not leave their posts. The Security Council, led by the United States and Nigeria and France, came together to support the will of the people. And Côte D’Ivoire is now governed by the man who was elected to lead.

One year ago, the hopes of the people of Tunisia were suppressed. But they chose the dignity of peaceful protest over the rule of an iron fist. A vendor lit a spark that took his own life, but he ignited a movement. In a face of a crackdown, students spelled out the word, “freedom.” The balance of fear shifted from the ruler to those that he ruled. And now the people of Tunisia are preparing for elections that will move them one step closer to the democracy that they deserve.
 
One year ago, Egypt had known one President for nearly 30 years. But for 18 days, the eyes of the world were glued to Tahrir Square, where Egyptians from all walks of life — men and women, young and old, Muslim and Christian — demanded their universal rights. We saw in those protesters the moral force of non-violence that has lit the world from Delhi to Warsaw, from Selma to South Africa — and we knew that change had come to Egypt and to the Arab world.

One year ago, the people of Libya were ruled by the world’s longest-serving dictator. But faced with bullets and bombs and a dictator who threatened to hunt them down like rats, they showed relentless bravery. We will never forget the words of the Libyan who stood up in those early days of the revolution and said, “Our words are free now.” It’s a feeling you can’t explain. Day after day, in the face of bullets and bombs, the Libyan people refused to give back that freedom. And when they were threatened by the kind of mass atrocity that often went unchallenged in the last century, the United Nations lived up to its charter. The Security Council authorized all necessary measures to prevent a massacre. The Arab League called for this effort; Arab nations joined a NATO-led coalition that halted Qaddafi’s forces in their tracks.

In the months that followed, the will of the coalition proved unbreakable, and the will of the Libyan people could not be denied. Forty-two years of tyranny was ended in six months. From Tripoli to Misurata to Benghazi — today, Libya is free. Yesterday, the leaders of a new Libya took their rightful place beside us, and this week, the United States is reopening our embassy in Tripoli.

This is how the international community is supposed to work — nations standing together for the sake of peace and security, and individuals claiming their rights. Now, all of us have a responsibility to support the new Libya — the new Libyan government as they confront the challenge of turning this moment of promise into a just and lasting peace for all Libyans.
 
So this has been a remarkable year. The Qaddafi regime is over. Gbagbo, Ben Ali, Mubarak are no longer in power. Osama bin Laden is gone, and the idea that change could only come through violence has been buried with him. Something is happening in our world. The way things have been is not the way that they will be. The humiliating grip of corruption and tyranny is being pried open. Dictators are on notice. Technology is putting power into the hands of the people. The youth are delivering a powerful rebuke to dictatorship, and rejecting the lie that some races, some peoples, some religions, some ethnicities do not desire democracy. The promise written down on paper — “all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights” — is closer at hand.
 
But let us remember: Peace is hard. Peace is hard. Progress can be reversed. Prosperity comes slowly. Societies can split apart. The measure of our success must be whether people can live in sustained freedom, dignity, and security. And the United Nations and its member states must do their part to support those basic aspirations. And we have more work to do.
 
In Iran, we’ve seen a government that refuses to recognize the rights of its own people. As we meet here today, men and women and children are being tortured, detained and murdered by the Syrian regime. Thousands have been killed, many during the holy time of Ramadan. Thousands more have poured across Syria’s borders. The Syrian people have shown dignity and courage in their pursuit of justice — protesting peacefully, standing silently in the streets, dying for the same values that this institution is supposed to stand for. And the question for us is clear: Will we stand with the Syrian people, or with their oppressors?
 
Already, the United States has imposed strong sanctions on Syria’s leaders. We supported a transfer of power that is responsive to the Syrian people. And many of our allies have joined in this effort. But for the sake of Syria — and the peace and security of the world — we must speak with one voice. There’s no excuse for inaction. Now is the time for the United Nations Security Council to sanction the Syrian regime, and to stand with the Syrian people.
 
Throughout the region, we will have to respond to the calls for change. In Yemen, men, women and children gather by the thousands in towns and city squares every day with the hope that their determination and spilled blood will prevail over a corrupt system. America supports those aspirations. We must work with Yemen’s neighbors and our partners around the world to seek a path that allows for a peaceful transition of power from President Saleh, and a movement to free and fair elections as soon as possible.

In Bahrain, steps have been taken toward reform and accountability. We’re pleased with that, but more is required. America is a close friend of Bahrain, and we will continue to call on the government and the main opposition bloc — the Wifaq — to pursue a meaningful dialogue that brings peaceful change that is responsive to the people. We believe the patriotism that binds Bahrainis together must be more powerful than the sectarian forces that would tear them apart. It will be hard, but it is possible.
 
We believe that each nation must chart its own course to fulfill the aspirations of its people, and America does not expect to agree with every party or person who expresses themselves politically. But we will always stand up for the universal rights that were embraced by this Assembly. Those rights depend on elections that are free and fair; on governance that is transparent and accountable; respect for the rights of women and minorities; justice that is equal and fair. That is what our people deserve. Those are the elements of peace that can last.
 
Moreover, the United States will continue to support those nations that transition to democracy — with greater trade and investment — so that freedom is followed by opportunity. We will pursue a deeper engagement with governments, but also with civil society — students and entrepreneurs, political parties and the press. We have banned those who abuse human rights from traveling to our country. And we’ve sanctioned those who trample on human rights abroad. And we will always serve as a voice for those who’ve been silenced.

Now, I know, particularly this week, that for many in this hall, there’s one issue that stands as a test for these principles and a test for American foreign policy, and that is the conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

One year ago, I stood at this podium and I called for an independent Palestine. I believed then, and I believe now, that the Palestinian people deserve a state of their own. But what I also said is that a genuine peace can only be realized between the Israelis and the Palestinians themselves. One year later, despite extensive efforts by America and others, the parties have not bridged their differences. Faced with this stalemate, I put forward a new basis for negotiations in May of this year. That basis is clear. It’s well known to all of us here. Israelis must know that any agreement provides assurances for their security. Palestinians deserve to know the territorial basis of their state.
 
Now, I know that many are frustrated by the lack of progress. I assure you, so am I. But the question isn’t the goal that we seek — the question is how do we reach that goal. And I am convinced that there is no short cut to the end of a conflict that has endured for decades. Peace is hard work. Peace will not come through statements and resolutions at the United Nations — if it were that easy, it would have been accomplished by now. Ultimately, it is the Israelis and the Palestinians who must live side by side. Ultimately, it is the Israelis and the Palestinians — not us –- who must reach agreement on the issues that divide them: on borders and on security, on refugees and Jerusalem.
 
Ultimately, peace depends upon compromise among people who must live together long after our speeches are over, long after our votes have been tallied. That’s the lesson of Northern Ireland, where ancient antagonists bridged their differences. That’s the lesson of Sudan, where a negotiated settlement led to an independent state. And that is and will be the path to a Palestinian state — negotiations between the parties.
 
We seek a future where Palestinians live in a sovereign state of their own, with no limit to what they can achieve. There’s no question that the Palestinians have seen that vision delayed for too long. It is precisely because we believe so strongly in the aspirations of the Palestinian people that America has invested so much time and so much effort in the building of a Palestinian state, and the negotiations that can deliver a Palestinian state.
 
But understand this as well: America’s commitment to Israel’s security is unshakeable. Our friendship with Israel is deep and enduring. And so we believe that any lasting peace must acknowledge the very real security concerns that Israel faces every single day.

Let us be honest with ourselves: Israel is surrounded by neighbors that have waged repeated wars against it. Israel’s citizens have been killed by rockets fired at their houses and suicide bombs on their buses. Israel’s children come of age knowing that throughout the region, other children are taught to hate them. Israel, a small country of less than eight million people, look out at a world where leaders of much larger nations threaten to wipe it off of the map. The Jewish people carry the burden of centuries of exile and persecution, and fresh memories of knowing that six million people were killed simply because of who they are. Those are facts. They cannot be denied.

The Jewish people have forged a successful state in their historic homeland. Israel deserves recognition. It deserves normal relations with its neighbors. And friends of the Palestinians do them no favors by ignoring this truth, just as friends of Israel must recognize the need to pursue a two-state solution with a secure Israel next to an independent Palestine.
 
That is the truth — each side has legitimate aspirations — and that’s part of what makes peace so hard. And the deadlock will only be broken when each side learns to stand in the other’s shoes; each side can see the world through the other’s eyes. That’s what we should be encouraging. That’s what we should be promoting.

This body — founded, as it was, out of the ashes of war and genocide, dedicated, as it is, to the dignity of every single person — must recognize the reality that is lived by both the Palestinians and the Israelis. The measure of our actions must always be whether they advance the right of Israeli and Palestinian children to live lives of peace and security and dignity and opportunity. And we will only succeed in that effort if we can encourage the parties to sit down, to listen to each other, and to understand each other’s hopes and each other’s fears. That is the project to which America is committed. There are no shortcuts. And that is what the United Nations should be focused on in the weeks and months to come.

Now, even as we confront these challenges of conflict and revolution, we must also recognize — we must also remind ourselves — that peace is not just the absence of war. True peace depends on creating the opportunity that makes life worth living. And to do that, we must confront the common enemies of humanity: nuclear weapons and poverty, ignorance and disease. These forces corrode the possibility of lasting peace and together we’re called upon to confront them.

To lift the specter of mass destruction, we must come together to pursue the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons. Over the last two years, we’ve begun to walk down that path. Since our Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, nearly 50 nations have taken steps to secure nuclear materials from terrorists and smugglers. Next March, a summit in Seoul will advance our efforts to lock down all of them. The New START Treaty between the United States and Russia will cut our deployed arsenals to the lowest level in half a century, and our nations are pursuing talks on how to achieve even deeper reductions. America will continue to work for a ban on the testing of nuclear weapons and the production of fissile material needed to make them.

And so we have begun to move in the right direction. And the United States is committed to meeting our obligations. But even as we meet our obligations, we’ve strengthened the treaties and institutions that help stop the spread of these weapons. And to do so, we must continue to hold accountable those nations that flout them.

The Iranian government cannot demonstrate that its program is peaceful. It has not met its obligations and it rejects offers that would provide it with peaceful nuclear power. North Korea has yet to take concrete steps towards abandoning its weapons and continues belligerent action against the South. There’s a future of greater opportunity for the people of these nations if their governments meet their international obligations. But if they continue down a path that is outside international law, they must be met with greater pressure and isolation. That is what our commitment to peace and security demands.

To bring prosperity to our people, we must promote the growth that creates opportunity. In this effort, let us not forget that we’ve made enormous progress over the last several decades. Closed societies gave way to open markets. Innovation and entrepreneurship has transformed the way we live and the things that we do. Emerging economies from Asia to the Americas have lifted hundreds of millions of people from poverty. It’s an extraordinary achievement. And yet, three years ago, we were confronted with the worst financial crisis in eight decades. And that crisis proved a fact that has become clearer with each passing year — our fates are interconnected. In a global economy, nations will rise, or fall, together.

And today, we confront the challenges that have followed on the heels of that crisis. Around the world recovery is still fragile. Markets remain volatile. Too many people are out of work. Too many others are struggling just to get by. We acted together to avert a depression in 2009. We must take urgent and coordinated action once more. Here in the United States, I’ve announced a plan to put Americans back to work and jumpstart our economy, at the same time as I’m committed to substantially reducing our deficits over time.

We stand with our European allies as they reshape their institutions and address their own fiscal challenges. For other countries, leaders face a different challenge as they shift their economy towards more self-reliance, boosting domestic demand while slowing inflation. So we will work with emerging economies that have rebounded strongly, so that rising standards of living create new markets that promote global growth. That’s what our commitment to prosperity demands.

To combat the poverty that punishes our children, we must act on the belief that freedom from want is a basic human right. The United States has made it a focus of our engagement abroad to help people to feed themselves. And today, as drought and conflict have brought famine to the Horn of Africa, our conscience calls on us to act. Together, we must continue to provide assistance, and support organizations that can reach those in need. And together, we must insist on unrestricted humanitarian access so that we can save the lives of thousands of men and women and children. Our common humanity is at stake. Let us show that the life of a child in Somalia is as precious as any other. That is what our commitment to our fellow human beings demand.

To stop disease that spreads across borders, we must strengthen our system of public health. We will continue the fight against HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. We will focus on the health of mothers and of children. And we must come together to prevent, and detect, and fight every kind of biological danger — whether it’s a pandemic like H1N1, or a terrorist threat, or a treatable disease.

This week, America signed an agreement with the World Health Organization to affirm our commitment to meet this challenge. And today, I urge all nations to join us in meeting the HWO’s [sic] goal of making sure all nations have core capacities to address public health emergencies in place by 2012. That is what our commitment to the health of our people demands.

To preserve our planet, we must not put off action that climate change demands. We have to tap the power of science to save those resources that are scarce. And together, we must continue our work to build on the progress made in Copenhagen and Cancun, so that all the major economies here today follow through on the commitments that were made. Together, we must work to transform the energy that powers our economies, and support others as they move down that path. That is what our commitment to the next generation demands.

And to make sure our societies reach their potential, we must allow our citizens to reach theirs. No country can afford the corruption that plagues the world like a cancer. Together, we must harness the power of open societies and open economies. That’s why we’ve partnered with countries from across the globe to launch a new partnership on open government that helps ensure accountability and helps to empower citizens. No country should deny people their rights to freedom of speech and freedom of religion, but also no country should deny people their rights because of who they love, which is why we must stand up for the rights of gays and lesbians everywhere.

And no country can realize its potential if half its population cannot reach theirs. This week, the United States signed a new Declaration on Women’s Participation. Next year, we should each announce the steps we are taking to break down the economic and political barriers that stand in the way of women and girls. This is what our commitment to human progress demands.
 
I know there’s no straight line to that progress, no single path to success. We come from different cultures, and carry with us different histories. But let us never forget that even as we gather here as heads of different governments, we represent citizens who share the same basic aspirations — to live with dignity and freedom; to get an education and pursue opportunity; to love our families, and love and worship our God; to live in the kind of peace that makes life worth living.

It is the nature of our imperfect world that we are forced to learn these lessons over and over again. Conflict and repression will endure so long as some people refuse to do unto others as we would have them do unto us. Yet that is precisely why we have built institutions like this — to bind our fates together, to help us recognize ourselves in each other — because those who came before us believed that peace is preferable to war, and freedom is preferable to suppression, and prosperity is preferable to poverty. That’s the message that comes not from capitals, but from citizens, from our people.

And when the cornerstone of this very building was put in place, President Truman came here to New York and said, “The United Nations is essentially an expression of the moral nature of man’s aspirations.” The moral nature of man’s aspirations. As we live in a world that is changing at a breathtaking pace, that’s a lesson that we must never forget.

Peace is hard, but we know that it is possible. So, together, let us be resolved to see that it is defined by our hopes and not by our fears. Together, let us make peace, but a peace, most importantly, that will last.

Thank you very much. (Applause.)

The National Black Church Initiative calls on President Obama to order Attorney General Holder and Justice Department to ask the State of Georgia for a Judicial Review of the Case of Troy Davis

Posted by Admin On September - 21 - 2011 2 COMMENTS

Are high ranking African American elected officials going to allow the execution occur without a legal review?

 

Washington, DC – The National Black Church Initiative (NBCI), a faith-based coalition of 34,000 churches comprised of 15 denominations and 15.7 million African Americans calls upon President Obama to use his presidential powers and order Attorney General Holder and Justice Department to ask the State of Georgia for a Judicial Review of the Case against Troy Davis. This review will allow the government time to be satisfied that all the facts are in order before they put to death an innocent man. NBCI pleas with President Obama to show some moral backbone and adhere to the teachings of his faith.

Thou shall not kill. God is the author and finisher of life.

This portion of the press release was issued on September 19, 2011 before the Georgia’s  

Board of Pardons and Paroles denied clemency to Troy Davis

 

The National Black Church Initiative (NBCI), a faith-based coalition of 34,000 churches comprised of 15 denominations and 15.7 million African Americans morally pleads with Georgia’s Board of Pardons and Paroles to consider the fact that seven key persons have recanted their stories, which undermines the verdict and conviction of Troy Davis. The Black Church strongly feels if the state continues on the road to kill this young man when there is a question of innocence, everyone associated with this possible execution God will deal with accordingly.

The Supreme Court has granted Davis an opportunity to prove his innocence, but the trial judge refused to give him a second trial. What are they afraid of? The law eloquently talks about getting down to the truth and honoring the rule of law. In this case and many others, the truth is irrelevant because the trail judge refused to grant Troy Davis a new trial which would have allowed him access to the Supreme Court to prove his innocence. The Supreme Court action is unusual; it has never been done in fifty years. NBCI urges the Parole Board to be a lover of the truth and to consider all relevant evidence in this case including the recanting of two of the key witnesses.

Rev Anthony Evans, President of NBCI says “Georgia has to make a decision here – whether it is going to embrace its cracker path or walk into the sunlight and make real the Constitution for all of its brothers and sisters in the South, and prove once and for all that the South has the same fervor for justice and peace as anywhere else in this country. Free Troy Davis.”

Southern towns have a cruel, inhumane, and racist history of executing African Americans on little or no evidence. The cases are many and the tradition is long. NBCI is hoping that the Georgia Parole Board will do something unusual that is uncharacteristic of their history and will prove once and for all that if you are Black and poor that the U.S. Constitution and the 800,000 who died to preserve during our liberties the Civil War will protect the life, liberty, and property of the least of these. God says that he has no respects of persons and the South professes a profound religious tradition.

NBCI simply asks and pleads that the Georgia Parole Board simply be guided by two principles – getting down to the truth of this case and considering Troy Davis’ case as a testament of fairness under the Southern historic dominated white law tradition and the love for our Constitution that provides the same rights, privileges, and access to the law that they have continued to provide for white male landowners.

About NBCI

The National Black Church Initiative (NBCI) is a coalition of 34,000 African American and Latino churches working to eradicate racial disparities in healthcare, technology, education, housing, and the environment. NBCI’s mission is to provide critical wellness information to all of its members, congregants, churches and the public. NBCI offers faith-based, out-of-the box and cutting edge solutions to stubborn economic and social issues. NBCI’s programs are governed by credible statistical analysis, science based strategies and techniques, and methods that work. Visit our website at www.naltblackchurch.com.

Troy Davis will refuse his last meal

Posted by Admin On September - 21 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

 

(From Benjamin Todd Jealous, President and CEO, NAACP)

 

This morning (Tuesday, 9/20/11), our worst fears came true. Despite widespread doubt, the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles upheld the decision to execute Troy Davis this Wednesday.

Still, Troy has refused to have a “last meal.” He has faith his life will be spared. 

In the past, his tremendous faith has been rewarded. The last time Troy faced execution, in 2008, the warden brought in what was to be his last meal. But Troy refused to eat. Looking the prison staff in their eyes, he explained this meal would not be his last. He was vindicated when he received a last minute stay. Guards still remember this as a haunting moment, one rooted in Troy’s deep faith.

Still, there is every sign the state of Georgia intends to execute Troy this time–despite calls for them to stop by everyone from the former head of the FBI, William Sessions, to former US President Jimmy Carter.

Troy has prepared himself, and to the extent anyone can, his family, for either outcome.

As he has said many times “They can take my body but not my spirit, because I have given my spirit to God.”

Thus, even as we continue to call on the Board of Pardons and Parole and Savannah District Attorney Larry Chisolm to reconsider, we must be prepared for either outcome too.

Please stand with Troy and his family. Join NAACP activists around the country in an evening of solidarity, prayer and fasting on Wednesday, September 21st.

http://action.naacp.org/StandWithTroy

Ask friends to meet up. Ask your family to fast Wednesday evening in solidarity with Troy’s family and use the dinner hour to talk. Ask your faith community, if they already have a Wednesday night fellowship planned, to make time for conversation about Troy’s scheduled execution.

However you do it, please mark the 7 o’clock hour on that evening—the time of Troy’s scheduled execution—as a moment to reflect on Troy’s experience, to offer prayers for his family and that of Officer MacPhail, and to talk about what we can each do to ensure our nation never does this again.

This is a moment to rededicate ourselves to the struggle to end the death penalty and otherwise fix our nation’s broken justice system.

To honor Troy’s courage, and rededicate ourselves to the cause of justice in America, NAACP activists are asked to fast Wednesday evening. Will you join us?

http://action.naacp.org/StandWithTroy

While moments like this test the limits of our understanding, we do know the world will remember Troy’s name, and the movement against the death penalty will grow. People who thought they supported capital punishment yesterday will realize they cannot today. Because people who thought they could stand on the sidelines will realize they no longer can.

As the scorn of the world grows and the doubts within our nation grow as well, we will increasingly realize this barbarous tradition—practiced by virtually no other western nation—is inconsistent with our self image as a fair and freedom-loving society.

No, should the execution actually occur this time, Troy’s life and the fight to save it will not have been in vain – we will move forward with more allies and an even wider consensus about the urgency of our cause.

Please join your fellow activists Wednesday for an evening of prayers, fasting, reflection, and recommitment to the struggle for justice.

http://action.naacp.org/StandWithTroy

With prayers and determination,

Ben

Benjamin Todd Jealous
President and CEO
NAACP

President Obama's Mission Impossible

Posted by Admin On September - 21 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

By H. Lewis Smith

Nationwide (September 21, 2011) — Upon Barack Obama’s election to President of the United States, euphoria, jubilation and an aura of disbelief simultaneously enveloped the Black African-American community. Perhaps, it could even be said that many saw him as a Messiah and the primary power-holder to make life and living better for Blacks. Seemingly, Black African Americans became complacent and blinded by the historical, unprecedented election of America’s first-recognized Black President, thinking him the cure to all the issues ailing the community. Needless to say, since that historical moment, President Obama and the rest of America now have to deal with reality.

America’s powerful, prominent white ruling elites – the true rulers of the country, which are controllers of world banks and financiers of national elections – they that maintain true, constant power regardless of who is actually president – will not discontinue their greedy, exploitative and suppressive practices merely because of President Barack Obama’s presence. Because many don’t realize this truth or just need someone to blame for America’s current condition, many Americans, regardless of ethnicity, now see President Obama as an ineffective leader.

His popularity, according to the polls, has suffered as a result. Can he rebound from the unfavorable opinions? Yes, he can. Will he rebound? Possibly! Although he has some overwhelming odds to overcome, it is premature to label the president as an ineffective leader. Obama finds himself in a situation unlike that of any preceding president. George Bush left the incoming president a gargantuan mess to clean up, and as a result, no matter the efforts Obama puts forth, he is damned.

For Obama to turn around the current state of America in his first four years serving in office is asking a great deal of anyone in his position and, honestly, it would be a miracle if he could somehow make all necessary fixes AND see the upward effects of the changes within his first term. Was his becoming president equivalent to taking on a mission impossible?

Obama still has a steady race-mix of black and white supporters. Yet, because people are unable to tangibly see his efforts result in positive, huge wins or improvements in society – as it takes power and momentum to turn around a huge ship in high-tide waters, it seems as though the ship is slowly sinking. Whimsical voter apathy comes with the territory of being president. However, when Obama was elected as president, Black America was sending praises up as far as the eye could see and the sense of hope or cultural confidence seemed to fill every breath of air.

Now that progress isn’t occurring per the original plan or as quickly as most would like to see, Black America has become most disenchanted with the president. Before being “completely done” with the President, though, Black America should examine the validity of their dissatisfaction with the president.

To piggy-back on a phrase from JFK, ask not what President Obama can do for the black community, but what can the Black community can do for itself? The answer: PLENTY, if only it would. The community spends almost one trillion dollars a year of which only roughly 5% of the monies remain in the community. Black America seems to refuse to take control of its own destiny, but yet points an accusing finger at President Obama for not making all right within the Black community. It would help immensely if Black America ever learns to hold itself accountable for its own actions, and look to no one but SELF to promote and control its own destiny.

Mumblings that Obama is doing more for every other group or movement than for Black America have been made. To be candid, Black America no longer has any clout with that same sob song–even the Gay and Lesbian community have more clout today than Black America does because they are willing to be active for their rights and community. They actively take advantage of their right to freedom of speech (opportunity) to have their voices heard and laws passed in their name. The Gay and Lesbian community respects themselves, demands respect from others – and gets it, and wields enormous political clout.

Rather than waiting to be handed something, Black America must realize that nobody owes them anything. The only responsibility the president has is to ensure opportunity is available and a truly level playing field for all. It’s up to each person to then take advantage of the opportunities presented and work just as hard as the next person to have their vision realized and obtain their piece of the American dream.

On another note, how can Obama or any other president take Black America seriously when Black America fails to take itself seriously? It seems as though Black America has evolved into a three-ring circus, displaying no self-respect or dignity whatsoever – for there is absolutely nothing respectful or dignified about being self-anointed n**gahs.

Black America’s self-respect, dignity, honor and pride has been replaced with denigrating their women, disrespecting, demeaning and degrading their race with use of the vile, sinister and damnable term n**ga. The promotion and acceptance of violence, drugs or any self-destructive mannerisms are tolerant from within. Black rappers and hip- hop businessmen have the audacity to join the Jews in protecting their image against anti-Semitic assaults; yet, they still help to assault their own image with the use of the N-word.

People with such a tolerant or conflicted mindset are in effect saying that blacks are not to be held to civilized standards of conduct and principled expectations that might be enforced by others. The anesthetized, barely conscious people – along with our intelligentsia, will argue that there are greater things to worry about than use of the N-word.

However, it is safe to disagree. What is a greater concern than the self-inflicted demolition of a people’s image on the world stage? As well, if it’s not such a big deal to stop using the term, why not tackle this small issue and just stop using the term? PERIOD!

On August 22, Maxine Waters chided an Obama official for being timid in his reluctant use of the word “black” when she challenged him with, “Let me hear you say black.” A similar challenge needs to be made to Black America: “Let me hear you STOP using the vile and vulgar n-word, n**ga.”

The continued demise of Black America today is nothing less than a betrayal of Black ancestors’ struggles paid with blood, sweat and tears. Previous generations gave their lives to make possible the so-long denied freedoms and opportunities that are being routinely squandered present day. Blacks absolutely refuse to hold one another accountable for anything. It seems as if the common consensus is “so what if we trash, demean and degrade ourselves?” Then naively wonder and vocally question why the community gets no respect.

It is abundantly clear that some parts of the country have been disproportionately impacted by the unemployment crisis – that part being Black America. This dismal statistic would be the case no matter who resides as president simply because the community continues to be apathetic, helpless, and hold victim mentalities.

In order for the black community to truly experience change, a precedent or standard is first going to have to be established from within to overcome adversity. Expecting change to occur in any other fashion will result in Black Americans still playing the victim or race card 100 years from now.

The Black community on a whole must discard the 18th century slave mentality, become self-sufficient, and regain control of its own destiny. It can be done, it’s been proven: Blacks achieved this feat during the early 1920’s (Tulsa City, Oklahoma) and in the 60’s. And it can be done again. To affect change, Blacks must initiate and be the change that they seek. When Blacks think and act in a positive fashion – AS A GROUP – positive things happen exponentially.

H. Lewis Smith is the founder and president of UVCC, the United Voices for a Common Cause, Inc. (www.theunitedvoices.com); a writer for the New England Informer Online, Staff Writer for ThyBlackMan.com, and author of “Bury that Sucka: A Scandalous Love Affair with the N-Word”. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/thescoop1

National Urban League helping mortgage scam victims

Posted by Admin On September - 21 - 2011 1 COMMENT

 

By Marc H. Morial, President and CEO
National Urban League

 
 

“The thought of my home being taken away is consuming, I can’t get to sleep at night, and it’s the first thing I think of when I wake up.”  Doris Tinson of Los Angeles, CA

 

Doris Tinson is just one of a growing number of American homeowners, desperate to save their homes from foreclosure, who are being duped by mortgage loan scam artists.  Doris was falling behind on her refinanced high mortgage payments and was looking for help. On the way home from church she saw a sign in the median promising loan modification for a fee.  But after forking over $2000 of her hard earned money, after months of waiting for action, and finally receiving a notice that her house was being sold, it became clear that Doris was the victim of a scam.  

As the mortgage crisis sweeps the nation, it is unfortunately being accompanied by a rise in mortgage fraud.  But you don’t have to be a victim.  The National Urban League’s network of  U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) approved housing counselors has been offering FREE mortgage counseling services for years.  Last year, Urban League affiliates provided housing counseling to over 42,000 clients, including more than 15,000 clients who benefited from default mitigation and foreclosure prevention counseling..

The Urban League is also part of a coalition with the federal government, and some 235 community-based partners in the “Loan Scam Alert Campaign,” a nation-wide effort that is empowering  homeowners to protect themselves against loan modification scams, find trusted help, and report illegal activity to authorities.   

Scam artists may pose as lawyers or real estate agents, promising loan modifications and charging large fees – then disappearing without helping anyone but themselves.  If you are a homeowner facing foreclosure, you may unknowingly become a victim of such a fraud, costing your home, thousands of dollars and a damaged credit score.  

The first thing you should know is that you should never have to pay for counselling.  If anyone requests money up front or guarantees they can keep you in your home, these are warning signs of a scam and they should be reported.  There are no promises that anyone can give you.  But trained counselors from HUD-approved counseling agencies will work with you and your lender to get the best results at no cost.  HUD lists these six warning signs of a foreclosure scam:

  • Beware of anyone who asks you to pay a fee up front in exchange for a counseling service or modification of a delinquent loan.  Assistance from a HUD approved housing counselor is FREE.
  • Beware of anyone who guarantees they can stop a foreclosure or get your loan modified.  Nobody can make this guarantee.
  • Beware of people who pressure you to sign papers immediately, or who claim they can “save” your home if you sign or transfer over the property deed.
  • Beware of a company that claims to provide government-approved” or “official government” loan modifications.  They may be scam artists posing as legitimate organizations.
  • Beware of a company or person you don’t know who asks you to release personal financial information online or over the phone.
  • Beware of anyone who advises you to stop paying your mortgage company and pay them instead.  Never make a mortgage payment to anyone other than your mortgage company/lender.

To learn more or to report a scam visit http://www.iamempowered.com/loanscams

 120 Wall Street ▪ New York, NY 10005 ▪ (212) 558-5300 ▪ WWW.NUL.ORG 

New Better Business Bureau Search App allows Business Reviews to be accessed easier, faster by iPhone users

Posted by Admin On September - 21 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

Chicago, IL – A new mobile application for Apple iPhone users, BBB Search, allows Business Reviews and other information from the Better Business Bureau (BBB) to be available on the go.

More than four million companies are covered internationally by BBB Business Reviews. This includes over 120,000 businesses in the Chicago and northern Illinois region.

The iPhone app can be downloaded for free at the App Store under “BBB Search”.

One key benefit of the iPhone app is information and graphics are shown in a larger, more user-friendly format.

Features of the new BBB iPhone app include: search capability for businesses and charities; access to BBB Business Reviews; information about the BBB’s vision, mission and values; FAQs and support. BBB Business Reviews also highlight if a company is an Accredited Business with the BBB.

With the BBB Search iPhone app, businesses and charities can be found by name phone number or web address. It also allows users to add Business Reviews to a Favorites list, store business information to their iPhone contacts and share a link for Business Reviews through email, Twitter or Facebook.

Users with other smartphones may still find BBB Business Reviews and connect to the BBB website on their phone’s internet browsers by going to m.bbb.org

To find more information on businesses you can trust, and to find easy business referrals visit www.bbb.org

Congressional Black Caucus Founders give witness to history in Open Forum

Posted by Admin On September - 21 - 2011 2 COMMENTS

 

ILead|/iServe Theme Looks At Value and Impact of Involvement

 

Washington, DC – In 1971, the cost of a gallon of gas was under $1, the U.S. voting age was lowered to 18, and 12 men and one woman formed one of the most influential caucuses on Capitol Hill. Four decades later, the surviving six original members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) will hold a symposium to talk about lessons learned, goals accomplished, and work yet to be done.  The session will take place on Thursday, September 22nd from 6:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. at the Renaissance Hotel in Washington, DC. This session is one of the highlights of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s 41st Annual Legislative Conference (CBCF ALC) to be held September 21-24 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.

“Conversation with the CBC Founders,” will offer attendees an intimate look at the members as they reflect on how to lead and how to serve.  The original group of 13 consisted of Reps. Shirley Chisholm (NY), William Clay (MO), George Collins (IL); Rep. John Conyers, Jr. (MI); Rep. Ronald Dellums (CA); Rep. Charles Diggs (MI); Rep. Walter Fauntroy (DC); Rep. Gus Hawkins (CA); Rep. Ralph Metcalfe (IL); Rep. Perrin Mitchell (MD); Rep. Robert Nix, Sr. (PA); Rep. Charles Rangel (NY); and Rep. Louis Stokes (OH). 

Considered one of the most influential caucuses on Capitol Hill, CBC now has 43 members, and continues to pursue its original goal of working to improve the socioeconomic condition of African Americans and other underserved groups.  From the beginning, this group dubbed itself “The Conscience of the Congress,” taking stands that it felt would enhance the personal lives and communities of the constituency it serves.  Two of the original members, Rep. Conyers and Rep. Rangel still serve in Congress.  Both were participants in the iconic fights that led to the passage of the King Holiday, the Voting Rights Act, and the destruction of apartheid in South Africa.

The Foundation has captured this history through its Avoice site – African American Voices in Congress – www.avoiceonline.org. The site is the central, online source of information about African-American political and legislative participation. It is a valuable tool for researchers, educators and students – offering users access to a unique collection of content on the role of African Americans in shaping democracy in the United States. It represents the official history of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC). 

ALC provides an outlet to highlight the mission of CBCF – to develop leaders, to inform policy and to educate the public – by providing more than 80-high level, thought-provoking forums to address the critical challenges facing the African-American Diaspora. Also offered during the four-day event are free health screenings, an authors’ pavilion,   networking opportunities and cultural activities.

International Olympic Committee awards Sport For All Grants to three outstanding projects

Posted by Admin On September - 21 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

 

The International Olympic Committee has awarded Sport for All Grants to Eco Sports Group, the National Hundreds-City and Thousand-Village Health Qigong Demonstration and Exchange Series and Ethiopia–Sport Builds Bridges at the 14th World Sport for All Conference, currently being held in Beijing.

The Sport for All Grant was created by the IOC Sport for All Commission to acknowledge and further encourage the implementation of high-quality programmes in the field. The grants awarded to the three projects related to the main topics of the conference, during which Beyond Sport Founder Nick Keller chaired a panel of the three grant recipients on Wednesday 21st September.

Nick Keller commented: “Being awarded the International Olympic Committee’s Sport for All Grant is not only a mark of the success of these projects, but a chance for them to take that success to a whole new level in the future. Beyond Sport would like to congratulate the three winners on securing the recognition of such an important organisation as the IOC, and add our voice to the praise they richly deserve.”

Eco Sports Group provides water-based activities which give disabled persons and amputees – most of them the survivors of land mine explosions – and their families a chance to experience much higher level of mobility as well as therapeutic counselling.

The National Hundreds-City and Thousand-Village Health Qigong Demonstration and Exchange Series is sponsored by the Health Qigong Administrative Centre of the General Administration of Sport of China and Chinese Health Qigong Association. The project, which is designed to meet the various exercise needs of people in a wide range of different conditions, is held in 100 cities and 1,000 counties and villages nationwide from April to November.

Ethiopia-Sport Builds Bridges focuses its resources on the prevalent social issue of street children in Addis Abeba, Ethiopia. With more than 60,000 children living on the street, Ethiopia-Sport Builds Bridges acts as a home during the day, an educational facility, a training ground, and a place to bring the children and their relatives together again.

Imagine Englewood If…! to hold Open House September 24th

Posted by Admin On September - 21 - 2011 1 COMMENT

Communicate, Collaborate, Connect

 

Chicago, IL – Imagine Englewood If…! will hold Open House Saturday, September 24, 2011, at its South Side office, 730 W. 69th Street, Chicago, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

 There will be refreshments and raffle.

For more information, call 773 488-6704

FAX: 773 488-6705

E-Mail: www.imagineenglewoodif.org

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Welcome to CopyLine Magazine! The first issue of CopyLine Magazine was published in November, 1990, by Editor & Publisher Juanita Bratcher. CopyLine’s main focus is on the political arena – to inform our readers and analyze many of the pressing issues of the day - controversial or otherwise. Our objectives are clear – to keep you abreast of political happenings and maneuvering in the political arena, by reporting and providing provocative commentaries on various issues. For more about CopyLine Magazine, CopyLine Blog, and CopyLine Television/Video, please visit juanitabratcher.com, copylinemagazine.com, and oneononetelevision.com. Bratcher has been a News/Reporter, Author, Publisher, and Journalist for 33 years. She is the author of six books, including “Harold: The Making of a Big City Mayor” (Harold Washington), Chicago’s first African-American mayor; and “Beyond the Boardroom: Empowering a New Generation of Leaders,” about John Herman Stroger, Jr., the first African-American elected President of the Cook County Board. Bratcher is also a Poet/Songwriter, with 17 records – produced by HillTop Records of Hollywood, California. Juanita Bratcher Publisher

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