This is an important conversation for our children, for our communities, for Democrats and Republicans. Speaking is difficult but I need to say something important. Violence is a big problem. Too many children are dying. Too many children. We must do something. It will be hard. But the time is now. You must act. Be bold. Be courageous. Americans are counting on you. - Statement of former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords to the Senate Judiciary Committee on January 30, 2013
On the eve of the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, the outgoing governor of North Carolina, Beverly Perdue, issued an historic “Pardon of Innocence” to each member of the Wilmington Ten after a 40-year struggle for justice. This was a long sought-after victory for the Civil Rights Movement, the United Church of Christ, National Council of Churches, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, the National Wilmington Ten Defense Committee, the Congressional Black Caucus, and millions of people throughout the world who for many years demanded “Free the Wilmington Ten.”
When President Obama took the oath of office on Monday, he was surrounded by an extraordinary legacy of 50-year civil rights milestones that helped make possible his first and second inauguration. It was fitting that the inaugural invocation was delivered on the steps of the U.S. Capitol by Myrlie Evers-Williams, the widow of civil rights hero, Medgar Evers.
As I have reflected on the year just ended, I noticed everyone doing their usual year-end lists of the biggest winners and losers of the year. I am not a big fan of these lists, but I will acknowledge that the Black community was the biggest loser of 2012.
WASHINGTON (NNPA) – In the late 1960s, Black revolutionary H. Rap Brown, now known as Jamil Abdullah al-Amin, was often quoted as saying violence is “as American as cherry pie.” More than 40 years after the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) firebrand made that pronouncement, the numbers supports his assertion.
According to the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, nearly 100,000 people in the U.S. are shot each year in murders, assaults, suicides, accidents or by law enforcement officials. Of the 31,593 who died in 2008 from gun violence, 2,179 were murdered; 18,223 killed themselves; 592 were killed accidently; 326 were killed during police intervention and 273 died, but the intent was unknown.
“Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.” This famous quote from Frederick Douglass brings to mind the predicament of Black folks in this country relative to those upon whom we depend to put forth our demands for political reciprocity. Are they really leading (demanding), or are they simply pleading?”
The term “Pleadership” was `coined by Mr. Kenneth Price, my friend and business associate from the post-Million Man March days. He used to talk about how our so-called leaders were not using our collective leverage to attain the goals we sought; instead, he suggested they resorted to merely “pleading” rather than leading. It looks like the same is true in many circles today.
Newark, New Jersey Mayor, Corey Booker, following the example of Phoenix, Arizona Mayor, Greg Stanton, is accepting a challenge to live on a $35.00 food stamp budget for one week. Mr. Mayor will add to his resume of shoveling snow and rescuing a woman from a burning house this latest feat that some news reporters are calling an “experiment.” Booker’s background, going back to his youth, includes other out-of-the-box actions, which are admirable and respectable; however, this “experiment” as some are calling it, will not go down as one of them.
I have enjoyed an excellent relationship with the National Black Chamber of Commerce over the years. I have conducted media training sessions at national conventions, spoken at functions sponsored by state and local affiliates, and enjoyed a friendship with many of its top officers, including president and co-founder Harry C. Alford. That’s why I was stunned and mystified when, in the course of researching a challenge to Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, to learn that the group had filed a friend-of-the-court petition with the U.S. Supreme Court supporting an objection filed by Shelby County, Ala.