Donald Trump Strikes Again

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Recently in the news, Donald Trump told a well-known reporter, Jorge Ramos to “go back to Univision.” For those who are unfamiliar with Univision, it is a television network, which is aimed at Hispanics Americans. When Ramos tried to stand up and ask his question, Trump told him to sit down. Ramos refused to sit down and remain silent. Trump then had him removed from the room. Later on, Ramos was able to return and ask his questions about immigration and Trump’s plans for deportation.

Trump has an extensive history of side-eye worthy comments about race. If I were to list all of his comments, we would be here all day. Seeing Trump’s foolishness in the news is no longer surprising. Breaking news: Trump is ranting, and water is wet. People believe that he’s going to drop out. However, he’s still going strong. There are people out there who believe in what Trump is saying. He’s a legitimate presidential nominee.

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Past the jokes and his flurry red face, Trump is frightening. It’s scary that a person who obviously discriminates against people of color in America is allowed to have so many soapboxes to spew his antics. Meanwhile those who are actively trying to voice the concerns of minorities are silenced. Trump is an example the privilege that a certain skin color can get you in America. You can scream, shout, and say a number of racist comments, and still get airtime to say more.

It’s 2015 and the world is changing. The rise of social media has made snatching wigs or toupées much easier. We have to continue uniting and using our voices. Tolerating people like Trump and waiting for the brewing storm to disappear is a thing of the past. For centuries, people of color have been a powerful force in America, and it’s time for people to recognize.

We got 99 questions and Justice ain’t one?!

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After 19 Days of Community Engagement and Protest 14 year old, Radazz Hearns is being charged with aggravated assault and weapons offenses but how engaged in the city’s youth out there in the open?

Virginia Bans Criminal History Question From Job Applications

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Last week, the state of Virginia voted to ban the question that asks job applicants about their past criminal history. The change, which will affect the application process for most state jobs, at least gives those with past offenses a greater chance of advancing through the hiring process due to less-immediate discrimination. It’s more about the skill set. However, the order doesn’t apply to private businesses.

It is no secret that people of color are disproportionately affected by criminal background checks. When an individual is released from prison and has trouble obtaining gainful employment, the chances of recidivism or re-offending rise. Not only does this open a door to income and self-sufficiency those who just need an opportunity, it keeps communities safer.

According to the Department of Justice, over 650,000 people are released from prison yearly to return to their communities. Virginia is the latest state to ban the box. At least 14 others along with an increasing number of municipalities have  joined  the campaign.

Essence Magazine Makes Sure That #BlackLivesMatter With February 2015 Issue

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Essence Magazine continues the charge toward racial equality and the fight against police brutality.

On the publication’s Twitter account, they unveiled their February 2015 cover– an entire issue dedicated to the rallying cry of protesters across the nation.

The issue sports an all-black cover with hashtags such as #blacklivesmatter, #handsupdontshoot #heisnotasuspect along with others. The content focuses on many of the women of the #blacklivesmatter movement with commentary from Angela Davis, Michelle Alexander and Isabel Wilkerson, just to name a few.

Editor-in-Chief, Vanessa K. DeLuca wrote a heartfelt letter to readers hoping to help find a “constructive path” to answers.

“It is the first time in our 45-year history that we have not featured a cover image. Pictures are powerful, but so are words. That’s why we’ve invited some of our greatest thought leaders—you included—to help us answer the question on our minds at the moment: Where do we go from here? Beginning this month, inspired by you, we are launching Civil Rights Watch, a new series across our platforms in which we will be chronicling—and calling out—significant gains, losses and solutions in this evolving movement as we all try to find a constructive path forward.

The protests, die-ins, marches and social media campaigns that have been born out of our collective grief have given you an opportunity to express your outrage, show your support for the victims and their families whose lives have been forever changed, and forge alliances with like-minded individuals who also believe that it is time for a change. It gives me hope that so many young people are leading the way, people like Patrisse Cullors, Opal Tometi and Alicia Garza, the brave and beautiful women behind the BlackLivesMatter movement. When we asked Patrisse for their permission to use their poignant battle cry as the centerpiece for our story, she graciously agreed.”

Read the essay from Patrisse Cullors, one of the founders of #blacklivesmatter here.

The #Blacklivesmatter issue of Essence Magazine is on newsstands now!

 

Judge to Decide If Documents from Eric Garner Trial Become Public

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More than a month after a grand jury decided against indicting Daniel Pantaleo, the officer who choked Eric Garner to death, advocates are requesting that jury records from the trial be made public. According to the New York Times, a date has been set to hear the case.

Garner’s  death last July sparked a wave of protests across the nation, raising questions of racial inequality and shining light on issues of police brutality. Now folks are questioning the fairness of the tesimony. The Legal Aid Society; the New York Civil Liberties Union; Letitia James, the city’s public advocate; and The New York Post  have asked  that transcripts from the trail be unsealed.

On January 29, Justice William E. Garnett, of State Supreme Court, will hear the case that Garner’s mother, Gwen Carr hopes will provide answers regarding the lack of justice for her son’s death. “At least we’ll have some transparency and see what they were ruling on,” she told the Times.

However, Staten Island district attorney Daniel M. Donovan, Jr is decidedly opposed to the records being released, citing potential “adverse consequences” that Pantaleo could suffer “merely on the basis of an accusation.”

What about the consequences that Eric Garner suffered after being accused of selling cigarettes? We’re hoping that his family gets the transparency they’re looking for .

More Minorities and Women Than Ever Are in U.S. Congressional Seats

mia loveSurely no one thought 114 years ago that women would hold 101 seats in Congress. Yet, as the 2015 congressional year starts, this is the largest number of women on the board in history. There is also an increase of minority lawmakers all around, for along with the 84 women, there are 34 Latino-decent, 10 Asian Americans and two Native Americans with hands in making America’s policies.

Notable names include:

Mia Love-  The first black woman Republican in Congress. Also the first black woman from Utah in the position

Elise Stefanik- At the age of 30, she is the youngest woman ever elected to Congress.

Mazie Hirono (D)- First elected female senator from Hawaii and first Asian American elected Senate, She is currently the only Asian American in the Senate.

Will Hurd- Texas’ first black Republican

Tim Scott- (R) Appointed to South Carolina Senate seat in 2013, also served in the House of Representatives.

Cory Booker (D)- Former mayor of Newark, NJ. First black elected senator for New Jersey.

Marco Rubio (R) Former Speaker of the House for Florida House of Representatives, one of three Latinos in Senate

Ted Cruz (R)- First Latino Senator from Texas

Robert Menendez (D) Latino Senator from New Jersey, serving with Corey Booker

While the numbers are still low, considering that there are 435 members of Congress, this is still an improvement. We look forward to the work that these officials do on behalf of their constituents.

California High School Bans ‘I Can’t Breathe’ T-Shirts From Basketball Tournament

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A Bay Area high school has decided that t-shirts are a safety concern. Not all t-shirts, just those in support of Eric Garner.

Both the girls and boys basketball teams at Mendocino High School received information banning the shirts emblazoned with what has become the battle cry of protesters against the killings of unarmed black men around the country. The students wore them in support of Eric Garner, the Staten Island man killed by Daniel Pantaleo with an illegal chokehold. His last words were “I can’t breathe.”

If they didn’t comply, they would be disinvited from the competition.

According to TheGrio, the teams started wearing the t-shirts during warm-ups before games with administrators blind to what the shirts stood for. Girls coach, Caedyn Feehan thought it was an inside joke.

“I didn’t even know what it meant. I thought it was a joke about how I had conditioned them so hard,” Feehan said. “None of the administrators knew what it was or that any of them were doing it in advance. This was entirely for their cause that they had strong feelings about.”

Nope. Not a joke, at all.

The boys team was reinstated after all but one student agreed to the conditions while the girls didn’t get enough agreements for a full team.

One player’s father has taken the issue to the American Civil Liberties Union, calling it a constitutional issue of freedom of speech.

“To protect the safety and well-being of all tournament participants it is necessary to ensure that all political statements and or protests are kept away from this tournament,” Rebecca Walker, principal at Fort Bragg stated, who said she was speaking on behalf of the athletic director and the Fort Bragg school superintendent. “We are a small school district that simply does not have the resources to ensure the safety and well-being of our staff, students and guests at the tournament should someone get upset and choose to act out.”

Kudos to these kids for taking a stand.