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StoryCorps Justice project partners with local community organizations to record stories about impact of mass ...
Commonwealth Court Judge halts Pennsylvania’s Voter ID law in November 6 election - Pennsylvania House ...
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2010-11 Officers and newly elected Board of Directors' members sworn-in at annual meeting    Washington, DC  – ...
Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch released the following statement on the death of two officers ...
The Justice Department announced today that it has entered into a court enforceable agreement with ...
Washington, DC United States Monday, April 27, 2015 As I look ...
A New Book By H. J. Harris Nationwide (BlackNews.com) - America the Racist? ...
Schools statewide receive a total of $4.9 million to increase fruit and vegetable offerings; More ...
WBDC provides a continuum of business development services to prospective and established women entrepreneurs ...

Archive for the ‘Headlines’ Category

Team of Chicago Journalists Sue Police for Withholding Gun Violence ‘Heat List’ Algorithm

Posted by Admin On June - 8 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

From: Invisible Institute

 

Chicago Sun-Times, Jamie Kalven and other reporters join new Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against CPD

 

CHICAGO, IL – Journalists across the city have filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the Chicago Police Department for refusing to release public records. In the new lawsuit, the Chicago Sun-Times, along with journalists Jamie Kalven, Brandon Smith, and George Joseph, are suing CPD for withholding information about an algorithm that determines what citizens end up on the Strategic Subject List, known as a “heat list.” This list is a controversial computerized prediction of people allegedly likely to be a victim or perpetrator of gun violence.

“We have learned too many times that a lack of transparency into the Chicago Police Department leads to unconstitutional policing and violations of civil rights,” said Matthew Topic of Loevy & Loevy, the civil rights law firm handling the case. “While novel forms of policing like this aren’t necessarily bad, it’s crucial that the public know how these lists are generated and whether they result in discrimination and civil rights violations.”

One of the plaintiffs, Smith, was the journalist whose high-profile Freedom of Information Act lawsuit led to the release of the Laquan McDonald shooting video in November 2015. In addition, Kalven was the plaintiff in the watershed 2014 decision of the Illinois appellate court, Kalven v. City of Chicago, which established that closed investigations of police misconduct are public information.

This latest case comes on the heels of another lawsuit filed by Kalven, who is suing CPD for withholding investigation records from the Inspector General’s probe of the department’s handling of McDonald’s shooting death in 2014. The Inspector General’s exhaustive investigation details the operation of Chicago Police’s code of silence, what the lawsuit calls “the machinery of institutional denial that has allowed police abuse of members of the public to go unchecked.”

The Invisible Institute is a nonprofit Chicago-based journalism production company that works to enhance the capacity of civil society to hold public institutions accountable. Toward that end, we develop strategies to expand and operationalize transparency. We seek to make visible perspectives too often excluded from public discourse. And we develop social interventions designed to leverage necessary reforms. Among the tools we employ are human rights documentation, investigative reporting, civil rights litigation, the curating of public information, and the orchestration of difficult public conversations.

Loevy & Loevy is one of the nation’s largest civil rights law firms, and over the past decade has won more multi-million dollar jury verdicts than any other civil rights law firm in the entire country. In November 2015, Loevy & Loevy successfully obtained the release of the dashcam video of McDonald’s shooting death at the hands of Chicago police.

 

 

NAACP “Deeply Disappointed” On U.S. Withdrawal From The Paris Agreement on Climate Change

Posted by Admin On June - 2 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

Baltimore, Md. – The NAACP says it is deeply disappointed by President Donald J. Trump announcement that the United States will withdraw from the Paris Agreement of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

NAACP’s Statement:

“Despite this disastrous step backwards for our nation, the NAACP resolves to not only do its part to adhere to the tenets of the Paris Agreement, but also to continue to fight for environmental justice.

“There’s no way around it – this decision by the Trump Administration is not only a rejection of the undeniable science that has proven climate change exists, but also will send our nation and our planet down a path that will only lead to catastrophic destruction. In these dark times, one thing is for certain: the United States may be out of the Paris Agreement, but the NAACP is going to be all in for equity and our environment, now more than ever before,” said Leon W. Russell, chairman of the Board of Directors.

 

The NAACP asserts that anything less than a 100-percent commitment of adherence to the Paris Agreement is a flagrant and callous disregard of the urgent mandate to protect our people, and our planet,” said Jacqueline Patterson, director of the NAACP’s Environmental and Climate Justice Program. “Low-income African-American neighborhoods will be among the most affected by exiting the Paris Agreement. Increased carbon dioxide emissions can cause extreme and unprecedented weather conditions, which can potentially devastate communities as we saw during Hurricane Katrina. The United States is the world’s second-largest emitter of carbon dioxide emissions, only behind China. Our country should be showing model leadership and ending the politicization of climate change, rather than continuing to turn its back on African-Americans in the name of corporate greed and dependence on fossil fuels.”

 

“The NAACP has had a delegation at the United Nations Climate Talks since 2009 when our Environmental and Climate Justice Program was established, and we voted unanimously in support of the Paris Agreement resolution. Today, we pledge to remain active members of these talks, and to hold our country accountable in a forum of its national peers as the voice of the U.S. electorate,” Russell continued. “The NAACP also plans to increase and deepen our mitigation and adaptation work until every state and every one of our branches is engaging on stemming the tide of climate change, and preparing communities for the impacts that are already being felt.”

 

Across the nation, NAACP Branches and Chapters are already advancing the tenets of the Paris Agreement with a view towards even more ambitious aims than those espoused in the agreement, by ensuring that all climate mitigation and adaptation action is centered in equity and justice:

 

  • In Memphis, Tennessee; Indianapolis, Indiana; Gulfport, Mississippi; Omaha, Nebraska; Chicago, Illinois; and more, NAACP units have engaged in Coal Blooded Campaigns to stop the practices responsible for the largest emissions of carbon dioxide, the number one greenhouse gas that drives climate change.
  • From Georgia, to Michigan, to Alabama, to Missouri and beyond, the NAACP has been advocating for strong pollution standards such as the Mercury and Air Toxic Standards, Carbon Pollution Standards and more, to significantly reduce the pollution driving climate change.
  • In Maryland, Indiana, Illinois, Texas, Oklahoma, and more, the NAACP is advancing energy efficiency and clean energy policies as an alternative to fossil fuel based energy production.
  • In Anchorage and Fairbanks, Alaska as well as Saginaw, Michigan and Gary, Indiana, the NAACP is leading action on communities going solar.
  • On the adaptation side, in North Carolina, Florida, Mississippi, Alabama and beyond, the NAACP is working with Climate Central and NOAA to train communities and facilitate planning for the impact of sea level rise.
  • To address climate related shifts in agricultural yields, from Longview, Texas to Gulfport, Mississippi, the NAACP units have planted local gardens and from Anchorage, Alaska to Indianapolis, Indiana, the NAACP is partnering with schools and local community projects to support aquaponics, to grow food indoors.
  • Starting with the NAACP National MoA with FEMA, to the individual disaster plans in Alabama, Missouri, Florida, Mississippi and elsewhere, the NAACP is preparing communities to adapt to the increase in extreme weather events.

Ben Jealous, Former NAACP President, Confirms Run for Maryland Governorship

Posted by Admin On May - 31 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

Former NAACP President, Black Press Executive Believes  His Civil Rights Record Will Inspire Voters

 

By Hazel Trice Edney

 

(TriceEdneyWire.com) – Former NAACP President Benjamin Todd Jealous, also former Black press executive, is now launching a political career.

Perhaps recently best known as a surrogate for Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, Jealous confirmed this week that he is running for governor of Maryland. He cited his long record of civil rights and the diversity of the state of Maryland as being matched to his favor.

“When I was president of the NAACP I learned just how quickly my neighbors here were prepared to move forward on civil rights. In one year, we abolished the death penalty, we passed marriage equality, we passed the Dream Act. I’m running for governor because I believe we’re prepared to move just as quickly in moving forward on our education, on employment, on the environment while continuing to protect civil rights,” Jealous said this week in an interview with the Trice Edney News Wire. “I’m running for governor because I believe we can do much better by our kids right now.”

Jealous is entering a crowded field of seven other candidates for the Democratic primary to be held June 26, 2018. He believes disaffection for the scandal-laden Trump administration may cause voters to lean back toward Democratic leadership after electing Republican Gov. Larry Hogan in November 2014. Hogan is eligible to run for re-election in the state where the Democratic base is actually two to one.

“Larry Hogan is governor of Maryland because in 2014, we had a high tide of Republican turnout and an ebb tide of Democratic turnout,” Jealous said. He pointed out that Hogan won by 60,000 votes after 125,000 Democrats who had voted in 2010 didn’t show up to vote in 2014.

“In this era of President Trump, they can only remember having a president that is competent to serve. And now they see the impact of having a president that is quite the opposite,” Jealous said. “So long as we turn out Democratic voters who are used to voting in gubernatorial elections, there’s almost no way that he can win.”

The election will be held Nov. 6, 2018. But first Jealous must distinguish himself among the crowded Democratic field. In that regard, he may just have a not-so-secret weapon. If he can win an endorsement from Sen. Bernie Sanders, it may bolster his chances significantly.

“Let’s just see,” was Jealous’ only response when asked whether he expects to receive Sanders’ endorsement.

Sanders won 36 percent of the vote in Maryland’s Democratic presidential primary. If Jealous can win a majority of those voters; plus a significant portion of Maryland’s 45 percent Black vote, he is a strong contender to win the Democratic nomination.

But the key will be to excite the Democratic base to the polls. Jealous believes he has the record to do just that. Maryland has a 45 percent White constituency and 10 percent that encompasses other races. Jealous believes his background and civil rights record could attract a following similar to the “Rainbow Coalition” that was amassed during the Jesse Jackson presidential campaign, for which Jealous also worked in 1988.

Jealous was born in Pacific Grove, Calif. But his parents, a mixed-race couple, had met in Baltimore where his mother grew up. His father, Fred Jealous, who was White, helped integrate lunch counters in the South. His mother, Ann Jealous, worked with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee in the 1960s. As a teenager, Jealous became steeped in civil and voting rights work and spent summers in Baltimore with his maternal grandparents.

“The combination of an activist rooted in the tradition of the NAACP and the civil rights movement and an activist rooted in the Bernie camp, gives us a broad base that looks like Maryland similar to what you saw of Doug Wilder in Virginia after the Jesse Jackson campaign,” Jealous said.

Jealous’ career has been woven with civil rights and politics. Between 2000-2004 he served as executive director of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA). Earlier in his career, he’d worked as an editor for the historic Jackson Advocate newspaper in Mississippi.

After NNPA, he became founding director of Amnesty International’s U. S. Human Rights Program. In 2008, he became the historically youngest NAACP president at the age of 35, an office he held until 2012. He later became a venture capitalist with the Oakland, Calif.-based Kapor Center for Social Impact. He also played integral rolls in the presidential races of President Barack Obama.

“I’m blessed to have lived my life as a progressive in the Black community who is committed to fighting for a better life for everyone in our community and ultimately for everyone in every community…It’s that life, that path that starts with Jesse Jackson ’88 and goes all the way through Bernie Sanders’ 2016 campaign,” he recounts. “It’s that life that started with my parents and my grandparents rooted in the NAACP, raised in the NAACP; ultimately leads into the labor movement and the environmentalist movement and the LGBT movement and the women’s rights movement. That’s me, that’s where I’m rooted and where this campaign is rooted.”

If he wins, Jealous would become the nation’s fourth Black governor in modern history. The others were Virginia’s Gov. L. Douglas Wilder, elected in 1989; Massachusetts’ Gov. Deval Patrick, elected in 2006 and re-elected in 2010; and New York’s Gov. David Paterson who served two years after the resignation of Gov. Eliot Spitzer in 2008.

Jealous, 44, has two young children to whom he often refers when expressing concerns about the future of Maryland. Reflecting on the economic deprivation that became a national spotlight during the Freddie Gray case, he accuses Hogan of having ignored Baltimore during his tenure.

“This is a governor who has shifted millions of dollars away from public education and into voucher programs and who has toured the state with [Trump-appointed Education Secretary] Betsy Devos and has embraced Attorney General Sessions’ foolishness of trying to revive the failed war on drugs by also investing millions of dollars in building up law enforcement to go after heroin addicts as law breakers rather than as people who need to be sent to rehabilitation,” he says. “The only way to create a better future for Baltimore and its residents is to have a governor who is always for all of its residents; including Baltimore. Right now it feels too often that we have a governor who is always for all of Maryland except for Baltimore…You simply cannot starve a city that’s supposed to be the economic epicenter of the state and have the state prosper.”

Ultimately, the voters of Maryland must be inspired enough to believe the election even matters.

“It’s going to take us deciding that our children’s future, that our family’s economic future is important enough for us to turn out,” Jealous says. “And so, at the end of the day, we will do what it takes to turn out voters. Donald Trump will make that easier and Larry Hogan will make that easier still.”

NAACP Says “Trump Budget a Nightmare for America’s Most Vulnerable”; National Urban League Calls on Congress to Reject Proposal and Draft Common-Sense Fiscal Plan

Posted by Admin On May - 30 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

The NAACP and the National Urban League issued statements regarding President Donald J. Trump proposed fiscal Year 2018 Budget.

 

NAACP’s statement on the proposed fiscal Year 2018 Budget:

Proposed cuts reinforce trend of gutting civil rights enforcement. 

Baltimore, Md. – President Trump’s budget proposal in every way possible seeks to cloak a shift of the nation’s resources away from America’s most vulnerable communities and toward unfair tax breaks for the wealthy and major corporations. His budget compounds its animosity toward vulnerable and communities of color by defunding civil rights enforcement.

Despite campaign promises to the contrary, President Trump’s budget provides tax cuts to individuals making over $1 million annually by cutting $1.85 trillion in a decade to ACA and Medicaid. These cuts could lead to loss of health care coverage for over 20 million individuals including the disabled, children and families and subsidies for low income individuals.

Additional cuts will impact low-income communities, the environment, women, immigrants and others. President Trump’s budget would also defund and cut at least 10 percent of key civil rights enforcement positions across the federal government. According to the Center for American Progress, cuts would slash 7 percent of the staff from the Department of Education Office for Civil Rights, “despite a 75 percent increase in pending complaints between 2009 and 2015.” Trump’s budget would not only cut 249 full-time positions at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), but would also eliminate the Legal Services Corporation, whose programs served over 2 million low-income individuals with legal representation last year.

“Great nations are known by how they care for the old and the vulnerable, not by how much they can take away from them to give to their wealthy friends,” said NAACP Chairman Leon W. Russell. “I am not sure what is more insidious – regurgitating the sham of old trickle-down theories of economics, or purposely refusing to adequately fund civil rights positions necessary to protect individuals from voter suppression, job discrimination or police brutality,” he added.

 

 

National Urban League’s Statement on Trump’s 2018 Budget Proposal:

Calls on Congress to Reject Proposal and Draft Common-Sense Fiscal Plan   

WASHINGTON, DC – National Urban League President and CEO Marc H. Morial issued the following statement today calling on Congress to reject the Trump Administration’s FY 2018 federal budget and draft a common-sense fiscal plan:

“By any standard, President Trump’s FY 2018 budget proposal falls severely short of his promise to ‘Make America Great Again.’  The federal budget is a reflection of a president’s priorities.  Based on this proposal, millions of Americans still struggling to recover from the last economic recession will continue to be left behind.

“The administration’s recommendation to slash more than $1.85 trillion from Medicaid, $192 billion from nutritional assistance, $72 billion in disability benefits, and $272 billion from welfare programs directly undermines working class and economically-strained Americans that struggle daily to make ends meet.

“Siphoning money from entitlement programs in order to grow defense and increase tax cuts for the wealthy would hit rural, urban and low-income Americans the hardest and likely throw the U.S. economy back into another recession.

“The National Urban League cannot support any federal budget proposal that seeks to cripple the sick, starve the hungry and impede the upward mobility of our most vulnerable citizens.
“We call on congressional leaders to reject this administration’s wish list and develop a common-sense FY 2018 budget that is targeted and reflective of the needs of all Americans through unbridled investments in education, job training, infrastructure, affordable housing, and healthcare.

“Congress must act now.  Instead of drafting a ‘Big-On-Cuts-Short-On-Investments Budget’ that eliminates or reduces funding to dozens of historically successful programs, lawmakers must seek ways to meaningfully invest in people and towns across the Main Streets of rural and urban America.

“It is time to put people before party.”

NAACP Chairmen: ‘Today is the First Day of our Next 100 Years’

Posted by Admin On May - 22 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS
By Derrick Johnson and Leon W. RussellOp-Ed Published on NBCBLK

 

When the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) was founded in 1909, there were a number of undeniably stark realities facing black Americans that the creation of the NAACP sought to overcome.
We worked to create a future in which a black American could walk down a street without the fear of being lynched.We wanted black Americans to be able to exercise their right to vote efficiently and effectively, without being beaten, jailed or persecuted for doing so. We dreamt of a world in which black children would be able to receive the same education as their white peers, one that would permit their parents the opportunity to fulfill the great American Dream of leaving the next generation better off than they.

 

After more than 100 years of pushing against the same challenges, what do we do now?In 2017, a black American still cannot walk down a street, drive a car, play on the playground or enter their own home at night without the fear of being shot, beaten or harassed by their neighbors or their very own police – the individuals ironically pledged to protect him.

 

Gerrymandering and other voter suppression tactics like ID laws have made it increasingly difficult and in some cases impossible for black Americans and other communities of color to participate in our nation’s democratic elections. Many are so dissuaded by the expectation that their vote may not count — or will count against them and the safety of their community — often elect not to vote at all.

Almost two decades into the turn of the century and yet millions of black children are still taught in segregated and underserved school – and not just in the South. It is New York City that is home to the most segregated school district in the United States. And at the same time, the gap between the college graduation rates for white students and black students is only increasing, putting that American Dream ever farther out of reach.

And though the people did choose a black American to occupy the Oval Office, following his historic presidency, America elected a president who unapologetically sows division, appeals to right-wing extremists and threatens to fundamentally change the direction of our nation – for the worse.

For many, this moment – the realization of how little has still changed amidst such progress – is demoralizing. While our history will mark this moment as one of incredible public engagement, with individuals of all genders and ages taking to the streets and to town halls, it is also a moment of despair and fear.

When the parents of black children like 15-year-old Jordan Edwards – who became the 105th victim of police violence this year – must kiss them goodbye in the morning with the fear that they will not come home safe that evening, what hope is there?

At the NAACP, we know that question all too well – and we have faced it all too often over our century plus. We too stand at a crossroads. After more than 100 years of pushing against the same challenges, what do we do now?
The answer is this: We’re not going to agonize – we’re going to organize.

True to our legacy, the NAACP has never shied away from change – in fact, our mission has been to embrace it. And that is exactly what we will do again now, in three main actions.

First, we will refresh our leadership and our priorities. It is clear that we must find new ways to confront head-on the many challenges presented by today’s uncertain political, media and social climate. That will require new perspectives and new voices, to both help us carve out that new path and communicate to the next generation of activists and advocates.

When you have been doing the same thing for 100 years, you cannot expect continued impact – we need to change our vision in order to be the nimble and innovative civil rights organization that our nation needs today.
Second, while we search for our organization’s next leader to take the helm, we will begin be conducting a comprehensive assessment of our infrastructure and operations, as part of a strategic re-envisioning. We want to better understand – and hear directly from our members – what we do well and what we can do better.

How are we working on the ground to address the modern-day threats to our civil rights? How can our Executive Team support those efforts? We know that our branches are what make our organization unique – they are carrying out local work with national importance – and we want to ensure that every single one of them has the platform that they need in order to keep fighting for the rights of black Americans to live free from harm and oppression.
And third, and most importantly, we will hear from you, the American people.

In the coming months, our leadership will embark on a listening tour, for the first time in our history. It is clear that Americans of all genders and ages, from all of the corners of all 50 states, have been aching to be understood, to be seen – and now, they are demanding to be heard. We want to meet those demands, and in doing so, ensure that we are harnessing the energy and voice of our grassroots membership as we pursue transformational change.

As we reimagine ourselves, we want to be formed in the likeliness of the people whom we serve – and to do so, we must first see, meet and listen to them.

Amidst this transformation, one thing will never falter – our steadfast and unmovable commitment to fighting for justice and equality for our community. The times may change, but the NAACP has never been readier to face them.
We will continue to advocate for the advancement of communities of color in this country, stronger and more resilient than ever before.

Today is the first day of our next 100 years.

Leon W. Russell is the Chairman of the NAACP Board of Directors, and Derrick Johnson is the Vice-Chairman.

Click the link below to read the NBCblk artice:
http://www.nbcnews.com/news/nbcblk/naacp-chairmen-today-first-day-our-next-100-years-n762216

Black Israeli Woman Sitting in Prison Without Trial

Posted by Admin On May - 16 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

Black Israelis are twice as likely to be arrested for crimes they didn’t commit – young Ethiopian Immigrant sitting in Israel prison without trial

 

Rivka Yeshayhu, a Black Ethiopian Israeli

Nationwide (BlackNews.com) – Rivka Yeshayhu is a 21-year old Ethiopian-Israeli, a dedicated daughter and sister who works hard to support her family. Rivka lost her father at a young age and her mother was in a serious car accident that left her permanently disabled. Being the oldest sibling, Rivka had to grow up quickly to ensure the family’s needs were met. While most girls her age were occupied with school, friends, and hobbies, Rivka was fulfilling responsibilities that were well beyond her years. She worked full time to support her mother and siblings and accompanied her mother to all of her appointments. Rivka’s mother is not fluent in Hebrew and is often ignored by the staff at government offices. Rivka accompanies her to ensure that she is taken care of and can continue to collect her disability benefits.

As a black Israeli, Rivka and her family have often been the victims of discrimination since they moved to Israel over 10 years ago. As Jews they automatically qualified for Israeli citizenship under the country’s “Law of Return”. In theory they enjoy the same rights and benefits as white Israelis but in practice they are often subjected to institutionalized racism, lower wages, public ridicule, and police brutality.

In late 2016, Rivka received a draft notice from the IDF (Israeli military) informing her that she was being called upon for mandatory duty and that she was to report to an absorption center. Considering her family situation, coupled with the fact that she is religious, Rivka knew that she would not have to serve. She obtained the necessary paperwork to receive an exemption but found the forms to be extremely complicated and was not able to submit them before the deadline. Shortly after that she received another draft notice and this time she appeared at the absorption center and explained her situation to an IDF official. The official told her that she would have to go to Israel’s Central Rabbinate for a document stating that she is religious and therefore qualities for an exemption. Rivka went through the necessary steps and submitted the paperwork. After not hearing back for several weeks she became nervous and mailed in the forms again. Finally she received a notice to appear at IDF headquarters. She hoped that this time she would finally get her official exemption.

On April 3, 2017, Rivka appeared at IDF headquarters with her mother but instead of being given an exemption she was arrested on the spot and sent to military prison for the crime of Draft Evasion. Israeli officials had not received her exemption paperwork. They apparently considered a bureaucratic mishap on their part to be equivalent to willful draft dodging even though she had appeared at army headquarters of her own volition.

Rivka has no criminal record and she works hard to support her mother and siblings. Now that she is in prison her family has no means of supporting themselves and her mother is worried that she will lose her meager disability benefits with her daughter not there to translate. The family is on the verge of being evicted from their apartment and they are struggling to put food on the table.

It’s been over a month since Rivka was taken to prison and she has yet to stand trial or even receive a bail hearing. The Israeli judicial system is notorious for delays, with bail hearings and trials often being postponed multiple times without explanation. She was forced to spend the Jewish holiday of Passover in prison due to the fact that the court has not yet given her the opportunity to enter a plea. If convicted, Rivka will likely receive several additional months of jail time along with mandatory military service. Such a situation would leave her family destitute with no means to provide for themselves.

Israeli Army officials refuse to comment on the situation. The Israeli Rabbinate has called for reforms to the exemption process, requesting that the Rabbinate have the ability to directly send letters affirming religious status to the IDF. This would cut out the step of the exemption candidate having to mail in additional paperwork themselves, reducing the amount of forms lost in transit. In the meantime Rivka remains in prison, forced to endure hours of military exercise and to stand at attention several times a day while she is screamed at and ridiculed. This otherwise happy and bubbly girl has become a shell of her former self.

Rivka’s story has received absolutely no coverage in the Israeli press. Considering that the country is known for it’s problem with racial discrimination against the Ethiopian community, the lack of coverage comes as no surprise. Ethiopian Israelis are statistically twice as likely to be arrested for crimes they didn’t commit. Israel has a long history of institutionalized racism against its Ethiopian citizens, a community of around 150,000. Many Ethiopian Israelis are refusing to serve in the IDF, acting as conscientious objectors to protest institutionalized racism and police brutality. Rivka definitely believes that racism played a major factor in her arrest. Other Israeli girls who have been arrested for draft evasion in the past were speedily released with a mere warning. Those cases grabbed more attention and the government felt pressured to grant clemency quickly. Barely anyone is speaking up on Rivka’s behalf.

The IDF has the ability to release Rivka from prison immediately. It is clear that she never intended to evade the draft as she reported to Military Headquarters whenever she was summoned. The religious committee confirmed that she qualifies for an official exemption. Her family needs her home. Rivka’s release will be an important victory for Israel’s Ethiopian community as well, showing them that their struggles are not being ignored.

How You Can Help:

Your voice matters! Speak out and stand up against racial and religious discrimination in Israel, and return Rivka to her family who desperately needs her. Sign their online petition that will be sent to Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu calling for Rivka’s release. The online petition can be signed at www.change.org/p/benjamin-netanyahu-release-rivka-yeshayahu-a-young-ethiopian-immigrant-held-in-israeli-prison-without-trial

Photo Caption: Rivka Yeshayhu, 21, has been sitting in Israeli prison since April 3rd

Indivisible Chicago Statement on “Unprecedented and Troubling Firing” of FBI Director James Comey

Posted by Admin On May - 10 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

NAACP Calls For Accountability, Arrest, and Prosecution in the Face of Persistent Police Violence

Posted by Admin On May - 9 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

 The NAACP issued the following statement regarding the need for greater accountability and justice regarding police violence.

 

BALTIMORE—We join families and communities in mourning and action as our nation is again confronted with the depth and consequences of our national policing crisis.

 

This is a time of immense grief for those who have lost loved ones to police violence. Jordan Edwards’s family is dealing with fresh pain due to his senseless murder, which robbed him of his future, deprived his family of their son, and traumatized his siblings. Although the successful prosecution of Walter Scott’s killer was an unusual ray of hope in the fight to hold police accountable, pleas for justice for Alton Sterling went unheard when the Department of Justice failed to prosecute those who killed Alton Sterling.

 

These individual cases raise deep concerns. Another Black child has been senselessly gunned down by police. A false scenario was initially used to justify Jordan’s death, and it was only retracted when contradictory video evidence came to light. Without the video, the police narrative would have been taken without question and Jordan would have been depicted as the aggressor. Although we applaud the firing and murder charges brought against one of the police officers involved, this alone is not enough. A murder has been committed, and the person who committed it has been caught on tape. Yet, a week later, the perpetrator was left to turn himself in and is now walking free until trial. This situation is a grim reminder of a fundamental lack of accountability and the unequal justice often received by victims of police violence.

 

The hope for true accountability that was raised by Michael Slager’s guilty plea was dashed by the DOJ’s actions today. As Attorney General Sessions has publicly expressed his unwillingness to criticize local police actions, we cannot have confidence in the decision not to prosecute. The DOJ’s statements about Mr. Sterling’s death do not change the facts we know. Mr. Sterling was shot while pinned on the ground by several police officers. In this case, the decision not to prosecute relied heavily on statements by police officers that were not confirmed by the video evidence. The DOJ did not give a federal jury the opportunity to determine whether it would believe the officers’ narrative. Justice for Alton Sterling has not been provided, and we will work to ensure that the State of Louisiana properly investigates and prosecutes this case. We will also continue to push for the DOJ to live up to its legacy as a frontline defender of civil rights.

 

We are also concerned about the treatment of the families of victims of police violence. After watching Jordan die, one of his brothers was handcuffed and held by police. Mr. Sterling’s family was kept in the dark. Instead of being informed about the progress of the investigation, they had to learn about the DOJ’s decision from the news media. This disrespect of grieving families cannot be justified and cannot be tolerated in future cases. We cannot let Jordan Edwards become just another hashtag. We will stand with his family and others who have been victims of police violence.

 

We will pursue justice for Jordan, for Alton Sterling, and for Walter Scott. But we must do more than that. We must work to ensure this story is not repeated. We need to pursue structural changes to ensure that police officers will not threaten our children and our community but will instead fulfill their charge to protect and preserve our lives.

 

 

NAACP Calls on Louisiana to Charge Police Officers Who Shot & Killed Alton Sterling in Viral Video

Posted by Admin On May - 8 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

The NAACP is calling for Louisiana to conduct a thorough investigation and vigorously pursue charges against the police officers who shot Alton Sterling, an African-American father of five who was gunned down by police in 2016. This comes after the Trump Justice Department declined to bring federal charges against officers Blane Salamoni and Howie Lake.

 

“What’s so frightening here is that these investigations, state and federal, are being conducted in an atmosphere of dangerous silence and dangerous presumption,” says Cornell William Brooks, president and CEO of the NAACP. “This code of blue prevents people from coming forward. It inhibits a free and frank discussion and testimony with respect to what’s happened in so many instances.”

National Urban League’s State of Black America Urges “Protect Our Progress”

Posted by Admin On May - 5 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

Threats Loom Against Gains of Last Eight Years; “Main Street Marshall Plan” is a Path Forward

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Urban League today released THE 2017 State of Black America: “Protect Our Progress,” at a moment when, President and CEO Marc H. Morial said, “so much economic and social progress stands at so much dire risk.”

As a remedy, he presented the Main Street Marshall Plan: From Poverty to Prosperity, a sweeping proposal for economic and social revitalization of America’s cities and struggling neighborhoods.

The centerpiece of State of Black America, the Equality Index, measures the economic and social status of African Americans relative to white America, with 100% representing full equality. This year’s index, 72.3%, is only slightly higher than last years, but Morial pointed out that the nation as a whole has experienced significant gains, particularly in employment and health.

The report is available free of charge at www.StateOfBlackAmerica.org and includes detailed analysis and commentary from distinguished contributors U.S Sen. Cory Booker, Black Lives Matter co-founder Opal Tometi, New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, U.S. Reps. Bobby Scott, Karen Bass, Cedric Richmond and Terri Sewell, and others.

“Over the last eight years, the economy added 15 million new jobs and the unemployment rate fell dramatically,” Morial said. “High School graduation rates rose and more than 16 million more Americans who were now uninsured now have health care coverage. The uninsured rate for African Americans was cut in half.”

Morial also cited the Department of Justice’s aggressive enforcement of voting rights, despite the 2013 gutting of the preclearance requirement of the Voting Rights Act, and its use of consent decrees to address racial discrimination, profiling and excessive use of force in a minority of police departments.

“A little more than three months since President Obama has left office, much of the economic and social progress we saw under his watch is under imminent threat,” Morial said.

Of particular concern, he said:

  • The new Attorney General has ordered a review of all law enforcement consent decrees, a move that threatens to undermine positive policing reforms in some of the nation’s most troubled police departments.
  • The Justice Department reversed course on fighting a Texas voter I.D. case that a federal court determined was passed with deliberate racial discriminatory intent.
  • Congress has voted to gut the accountability regulations protecting poor children, minorities, English-language learners and students with disabilities- paving the way for an anti-public school agenda that would funnel public education funds into private, for-profit institutions
  • The Administration twice has enacted – and federal courts twice have struck down – religiously discriminatory executive orders barring immigrants and refugees from Muslim-majority countries, exacerbating a climate of hostility and a spate of hate crimes and harassment throughout the country
  • Though defeated for the remainder of the fiscal year, the so-called “skinny budget” – remains a threat and represents a massive transfer of vital resources and fundamental social protections into unrequested and unnecessary military spending.

 

The Main Street Marshall Plan calls for a national investment of $4 trillion over the next 10 years:
$2 trillion for physical infrastructure such as roads, bridges and buildings and $2 trillion for human development, such as education, job training and health insurance.

Central to the plan is a comprehensive infrastructure initiative, with inner cities being the major beneficiary, and which must include a strong jobs-building component that guarantees minority business participation and employment for workers in high-unemployment neighborhoods.

Other highlights include universal pre-k education, a $15 minimum wage with increases indexed to inflation, reforms to financial and educational institutions and programs, criminal justice and police reform and expansion and protection of voting rights.

 

 

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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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