Nation and The World

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Mayor_Kevin_Johnson

The education of Blacks has reached a state of crisis that demands a strong response from all African-Americans, Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson told members of the National Newspaper Publishers Association at its annual convention here.

“We have a crisis when it comes to public education in this country,” Johnson said at a luncheon on Friday. “Only 52 percent of our third- and fourth-graders are reading at grade level. If you’re Black, only 16 percent of our kids in the third and fourth grade are reading at grade level – only 16 percent. To make matters worse, if you’re not reading at grade level by the time you leave the third grade, 75 percent of the kids never catch up.”

Johnson continued, “So, essentially if you can’t read by the time you leave the third grade, the chances of you ever reading is very slim. This should be enough to outrage every single person in this room when 84 percent of the kids who look like us cannot read.”

Johnson, a former star point guard for the Phoenix Suns, is president of the National Conference of Black Mayors and is slated to become president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors next year. He is passionate about education, setting up his own private school in Sacramento prior to becoming Sacramento’s first Black mayor.

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Voting_Rights_Act

The Supreme Court upheld the legality of the 1965 Voting Rights Act on Tuesday, but said it can’t be enforced until Congress updates the way it determines which jurisdictions are covered under Section 5, the provision that requires pre-clearance by the Justice Department or a federal court before changes to local voting laws can be implemented.

The 5-4 decision by the conservative majority effectively guts the strongest section of the Voting Rights Act until Congress passes new legislation to meet the objections raised in latest ruling, which grew out of a challenge filed by Shelby County, Ala.

“In 1965, the states could be divided into two groups: those with a recent history of voting tests and low voter registration and turnout, and those without those characteristics,” Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote for the majority. “Congress based its coverage formula on that distinction. Today the nation is no longer divided along those lines, yet the Voting Rights Act continues to treat it as if it were.”

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Douglas

It is the 101st statue erected in the Capitol Visitors Center, but only the fourth in honor of an African-American. While each state has only two such famous figures in the hall, this is the first opportunity for D.C. to welcome one of its very own. Congressional Republicans have refused to allow a second, declining to give the federal District of Columbia equality with states.

“Douglass’ life as an active D.C. resident and his deep commitment to our equal rights are the reasons that his statue is here to be unveiled today as a gift from the almost 650,000 American citizens of the District of Columbia,” Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton said in prepared remarks at the unveiling.

Placement of the statue marks the culmination of the decade-long argument between DC leaders and Congressional Republicans over whether DC should be allowed to have the statue since it is not a state, but a federal district.

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salecia

Salecia Johnson, age 6, grew frustrated in her Milledgeville, Ga., kindergarten class last year and erupted into a temper tantrum. Unfortunately, it’s something that mothers sometimes must confront with raising young children. But what happened next was not routine, nor should it be happening to Salecia or any other children.

Creekside Elementary school called the police, who said they found Salecia on the floor of the principal’s office screaming and crying. Police said she had knocked over furniture that injured the principal. The African-American child was handcuffed, arrested and hauled to the local police station. She was held for more than an hour before her parents were notified and she was charged with simple assault and damage to property, but didn’t have to go to court because she is a juvenile.

But the ordeal has severely impacted the child. Her mother, Constance Ruff, says Salecia is traumatized, having difficulty adjusting back to school and may never recover. Salecia, she says, has awoken at night screaming, “They’re coming to get me!” Sadly, her case is not an anomaly.

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ParadeofShameIt’s hard for me to overlook the shameful parade of sons of celebrated leaders who are in jail or on the way to jail for confessed crimes ranging from bribery, embezzlement and just plain thievery. Their crimes go beyond mere law-breaking.

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Susan_RicePresident Obama on June 5 named “trusted adviser” Susan Rice as his national security adviser, defying Republican critics who had decried her handling of the attack on a U.S. embassy in Libya, that left four Americans dead. Rice will replace Tom Donilon, who retires July 1;

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NAACP“This is a great step for Virginia and we look forward to working with the Commonwealth …on expanding the vote,”stated Benjamin Todd Jealous, national president and CEO of the NAACP. “Anyone who has made a mistake, done their time and paid their debt to society should be able to join their neighbors at the voting booth.”

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Houston_Fire_DepartmentNever in the 118-year history of the Houston Fire Department (HFD) has a fire been so deadly that it cost HFD the lives of so many brave public servants at one time.

Such a tragedy occurred this past Friday afternoon, when roughly 150 firefighters responded to a massive, out-of-control five-alarm motel fire that took place in Southwest Houston.  

The Houston Fire Department said this was the single deadliest day in department history.

 

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ZimmermanWhether George Zimmerman goes on trial as scheduled June 10 for killing Trayvon Martin or he gets the 6-week delay requested by his lawyer, it is clear from court filings that part of the defense strategy involves depicting the 17-year-old dead Black youth as a troublemaker and pot head.

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MayorsWith some embarrassing internal issues addressed and its sights set firmly on expanding its global impact, the National Conference of Black Mayors (NCBM) kicks off its 39th annual convention in Atlanta this Thursday.

FALLBROOK CHURCH - CHRISTMAS IN JULY

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