Republican lawmakers plan to submit a bill to the state legislature that would serve as a setback to the restoration of rights for previously convicted persons. You can read more here.
The Va. governor acted one month after the state Supreme Court threw out a broader clemency effort.
This decision allows more than 600,000 citizens, who were shut out, the opportunity to cast a ballot in 2016. #restoreVRA #voterid #Texas
A majority of the full U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday that the heavily litigated and controversial Texas voter ID law does have the effect of discriminating against minority voters, and ordered the state to devise a remedy to that problem before the November elections. “We conclude that the district court did not clearly err in determining that SB 14 has a discriminatory effect on minorities’ voting rights in violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act,” the court majority wrote.The unexpected ruling against the Republican-backed voter ID law by the conservative appeals court came as it faced a Supreme-Court-imposed deadline of Wednesday to rule in the case.
Here’s a good piece that addresses the frustration over the lack of convictions in the Freddie Gray case. Even if they don’t lead to prosecutions, hopefully, we can have real talk and real change. #policereform #civilrights #FreddieGray
On Monday, Police Lt. Brian Rice became the third officer acquitted in the death of Freddie Gray. Rice, 42, was the highest-ranking officer of six officers charged in Gray’s death. He was cha…
When I served at the DOJ, federal observers were an important part of maintaining order in some jurisdictions. DOJ believes that the Shelby decision eliminates most election day coverage. #RestoretheVRA
WASHINGTON – Federal election observers can only be sent to five states in this years US presidential election, among the smallest deployments since the Voting
Here’s a nice graphic with the breakdown of USSC decisions.
Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe defended his decision to restore the voting rights to more than 200,000 persons. Criticism from those who believe that the punishment should continue long after citizens have completed their sentences, including probation and parole, has been relentless. In the first month of the governor’s order, approximately 6,000 persons registered to vote; compared with less than 2,000 the previous year. You can read more here:
The US Supreme court in a 4-3 decision upheld the use of race as a factor at the University of Texas. This means that other schools who use race as one of many factors in its admissions decisions should feel a little more secure for now. Read more here.
Here’s an interesting article that connects past and present realities. GRD
Fifty years ago, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. made his first public visit to South Carolina to deliver a speech on a school field in Kingstree about the importance of voting. About 5,000 came out on a rainy day to hear him.
Source: Post and Courier
In Maryland and Virginia, former felons have the ability to vote, with some restrictions. For example, in Virginia, they must complete probation or parole. Nonetheless. 40,000 persons in Maryland and more than 200.000 persons in Virginia now have access to the ballot box. These measures, however, may be met with litigation that could affect their ability to vote in the 2016 election. Read the New York Times article here.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) sent a letter to North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory stating that House Bill 2, which among other things, requires persons to use the bathroom of their birth, violates two civil rights laws-Title VII (employment discrimination) and Title IX (sex discrimination). Read more here.
Interestingly, HB2 was hastily passed, much like NC’s restrictive voting law passed in 2013 after Shelby v. Holder that removed same day registration, limited early voting, and instituted a restrictive voter id requirement.
Civil rights case involving disabled riders and Uber drivers, read more here:
Here’s an interesting article found in the Washington Post that discusses new millennium housing discrimination on sites, like AirBnB. A recent study showed that racial sounding African American names could determine, in some circumstances, whether a room/house was available for rent. Read more here:
New and more restrictive laws are in place in some Super Tuesday states. http://ow.ly/YWuKn
After months of unrest, student protests, and a presidential resignation, The University of Missouri has appointed Michael Middleton as the interim president of the university. Middleton is no stranger to the university or the fight for Civil Rights. In 1968, Middleton became the third black student to graduate from the University’s law school. Shortly after graduation. Middleton started his legal career in the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department. His professional and personal experiences may be just what the University needs.
A HUD audit revealed that roughly 297 families are living in HUD housing but making more than the federal income limits. Congressman David Jolly threatened to cut $104 million from HUD’s budget if the agency did not fix the “problem.”
The Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division will look into an incident between a white male resource officer and black female student that occurred in a South Carolina high school. The video shows the resource officer dragging the student across the classroom, after the student refused to leave the classroom.
On October 10, 2015, thousands upon thousands of people gathered in the nation’s capital to continue the movement for justice for all. Hear from three people who participated in the first Million Man March as they comment on the significance of the movement in their lives.
With SCOTUS’ recent rulings, many are wondering what the hollowed Voting Rights Act could mean for the 2016 elections. Journalist Ari Berhman shares his thoughts here.
Take an in-depth look at the history of Voting Rights in America.
Standardized testing in schools has been a longstanding and much debated practice in education. Some argue that standardized testing is a way to bring attention to the achievement gap in schools and consequently bring about solutions. Others argue that standardized testing causes school systems to “teach the test,” which results in a decreased focus on the arts and creative thinking in schools. Read more about it here, and tell us what you think.
Days after South Carolina confronted its past and lowered the Confederate battle flag, North Carolina will grapple with its present-day rules that determine access to the voting booth.
A federal trial opening in Winston-Salem on Monday is meant to determine whether recent, sweeping changes in the state’s election laws discriminate against black voters. These changes were adopted by the Republican-dominated state legislature in 2013, immediately after the United States Supreme Court struck down the heart of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 when it ended a requirement that nine states with histories of discrimination, including North Carolina, get federal approval before altering their election laws.
READ MORE HERE: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/12/us/a-voting-rights-legacy-of-the-1960s-heads-to-court-in-north-carolina.html?_r=0
US congressman John Lewis, famed civil rights activist, rose to the floor of the House of Representatives to call on his colleagues to ban the flying of the Confederate flag on federal grounds.
A descendant of Confederate President Jefferson Davis made a tearful plea for the removal of the Confederate flag from the grounds of the state capitol. Rep. Jenny Horne asked South Carolina lawmakers to do something “meaningful.” After more than 13 hours of debate, the body voted to take the flag down and place it with other Civil War relics. Read and watch here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2015/07/09/south-carolina-rep-jenny-horne-on-her-historic-and-surprisingly-personal-speech-it-needed-to-be-done/ Let’s hope and watch for other meaningful legislative actions that make the lives of South Carolinans safer and better.
The challenge to North Carolina’s restrictive voting rights law is set to begin next week. Many believe that the decision could have vast implications for other states. However, what is most likely to happen after the trial is an appeal and we could be a year or more away from an impactful decision. Read more here: http://www.thecharlottepost.com/news/2015/07/09/local/naacp-nc-square-off-on-voting-rights-with-national-implications/ Continue reading
Five Families filed a federal lawsuit claiming that Latino students were excluded from a Sacremento Elementary school’s Gifted and Talented program and were referred to as the “ghetto class.”
Baltimore’s involvement with the Justice Department’s COPS program may keep the city out of civil rights litigation.
The settlement maintains a uniform statewide voting schedule in Ohio, but extends the hours and days in the schedule. This will likely lead to a larger voter turnout, allowing people to vote in the evening and on weekends. The settlement also protects the new schedule from being legally challenged.
This week marks some significant events in the history of civil rights in the US. Many of the occurrences are sad, such as the funeral for civil rights worker, Viola Liuzzo, fifty years ago following the march from Selma to Montgomery, AL and the April 4, 1968 assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who said that the quest for justice was eternal. As the quest continues, universities, such as Michigan, are hosting discussions that link the struggles of the past to our current state of equal rights.
The 50th Anniversary of the March on Selma, Alabama is fast approaching. On March 7, 1965, approximately 600 people embarked on a journey that changed our nation. The New York Times has posted a wonderful array of photos from “inside” the movement.
Here’s a link to my TEDx Baltimore Talk: From We Shall Overcome to We Are Overcome.
On March 2, 2015, the United States Supreme Court (USSC) heard arguments in Arizona State Legislature v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission. The USSC considered the power of the people versus the power of the legislature. You can find an analysis of today’s argument here. Arizona state legislators were not happy with the redistricting map that the Independent Commission drafted and implemented in 2012. The Court’s decision could have widespread implications on redistrictings across the country. In places like California, where an Independent Commission has successfully drawn and redrawn congressional and state legislative districts in a nonpartisan manner, the Court’s decision could cause a ripple effect that mandates re-redistricting. If the Arizona legislature gets its way, only elected officials, not nonpartisan citizens, will have the ability to draw the lines to get themselves reelected and continue the widespread polarization that currently exists.
Recently, Virginia and Kentucky took up the issue of restoring the right to vote to persons convicted of nonviolent felonies, with different results. In VA, the state house voted down a resolution that would allow for automatic restoration. In KY, state house members will need a super majority after public approval to provide restorative measures to nonviolent felons. The paradox of outcomes demonstrate that the road to restoration can be extremely difficult for the more than 5 million persons who have lost the right to vote because of former convictions.
DOJ’s settlement in a school desegregation case in Robertson County, TN seeks improvement in school construction and assignments. The settlement also includes cultural sensitivity and competency training for teachers and staff.
Civil rights organizations suggest criminal justice reform measures.
Morgan State University
Leading thinkers, activists, artists, philosophers and entertainers from the Baltimore area will get together this January for this forum for innovative change. TED conferences bring together the world’s leading thinkers and doers for a series of talks, presentations and performances. Learn more.