“Here in North Carolina’s third-largest city, officers pulled over African-American drivers for traffic violations at a rate far out of proportion with their share of the local driving population. They used their discretion to search black drivers or their cars more than twice as often as white motorists — even though they found drugs and weapons significantly more often when the driver was white. Officers were more likely to stop black drivers for no discernible reason. And they were more likely to use force if the driver was black, even when they did not encounter physical resistance.”
The strength it takes to survive and thrive while black can almost seem superhuman
‘We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union. …’’ It’s a cruel irony that the words that set our democracy in motion were used as part of the so-called literacy test designed to deny Rosanell and so many other African-Americans the right to vote. Yet more than 70 years ago, as she defiantly delivered the Preamble to our Constitution, Rosanell also reaffirmed its fundamental truth. What makes our country great is not that we are perfect, but that with time, courage and effort, we can become more perfect. What makes America special is our capacity to change. Nearly three decades after Rosanell testified to her unbroken faith in this country, that faith was vindicated.
The Voting Rights Act put an end to literacy tests and other forms of discrimination, helping to close the gap between our promise that all of us are created equal and our long history of denying some of us the right to vote. The impact was immediate, and profound — the percentage of African-Americans registered to vote skyrocketed in the years after the Voting Rights Act was passed. But as Rutenberg chronicles, from the moment the ink was dry on the Voting Rights Act, there has been a concentrated effort to undermine this historic law and turn back the clock on its progress. I am where I am today only because men and women like Rosanell Eaton refused to accept anything less than a full measure of equality. Their efforts made our country a better place. It is now up to us to continue those efforts. Congress must restore the Voting Rights Act.
Roy Reed: Julian Bond, Former N.A.A.C.P. Chairman And Civil Rights Leader, Dies At 75
Julian Bond, a former chairman of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, a charismatic figure of the 1960s civil rights movement, a lightning rod of the anti-Vietnam War campaign and a lifelong champion of equal rights for minorities, died on Saturday night, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. He was 75. Mr. Bond died in Fort Walton Beach, Fla., after a brief illness, the center said in a statement Sunday morning. He was one of the original leaders of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, while he was a student at Morehouse College in Atlanta. He moved from the militancy of the student group to the top leadership of the establishmentarian N.A.A.C.P. Along the way, he was a writer, poet, television commentator, lecturer, college teacher, and persistent opponent of the stubborn remnants of white supremacy.
He also served for 20 years in the Georgia Legislature, mostly in conspicuous isolation from white colleagues who saw him as an interloper and a rabble-rouser. Mr. Bond’s wit, cool personality and youthful face became familiar to millions of television viewers during the 1960s and 1970s; he was described as dashing, handsome and urbane. On the strength of his personality and quick intellect, he moved to the center of the civil rights action in Atlanta, the unofficial capital of the movement, at the height of the struggle for racial equality in the early 1960s. Moving beyond demonstrations, he became a founder, with Morris Dees, of the Southern Poverty Law Center, a legal advocacy organization in Montgomery, Ala. Mr. Bond was its president from 1971 to 1979 and remained on its board for the rest of his life.
When he was elected to the Georgia House of Representatives in 1965 — along with seven other black members — furious white members of the House refused to let him take his seat, accusing him of disloyalty. He was already well known because of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee’s stand against the United States’ involvement in the Vietnam War. That touched off a national drama that ended in 1966, when the Supreme Court in a unanimous decision ordered the legislature to seat him, saying it had denied him freedom of speech. He went on to serve 20 years in the two houses of the legislature. As a lawmaker, he sponsored bills to establish a sickle cell anemia testing program and to provide low-interest home loans to low-income Georgians. He also helped create a majority-black congressional district in Atlanta.
President Barack Obama speaks during an event at the South Court Auditorium of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building August 6, 2015 in Washington, DC. President Obama spoke on the 50th Anniversary of the Voting Rights Act and proclaimed September 22 to be National Voter Registration Day
50 years ago today, President Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act into law, securing the right to vote for millions of African Americans.
Venture capitalists will pledge concrete measures to bring greater diversity to their predominantly white male profession during a high-profile event at the White House. For its part, the National Venture Capital Association is making a commitment “to advance opportunity for women and underrepresented minorities in the entrepreneurial ecosystem,” the trade group says in a letter to President Obama that was exclusively shared with USA TODAY. The trade group’s task force, formed in December, to tackle the profession’s lack of diversity “is committed to developing both near and long-term solutions to effect positive change,” the letter reads.
It was signed by 45 venture capital firms including Andreessen Horowitz, Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers, Battery Ventures and Norwest Venture Partners. Among the steps the National Venture Capital Association is promising to take: to conduct and share research that measures diversity at venture capital firms and their portfolio companies, develop model human resources policies to encourage more inclusive work environments and participate in programs to encourage women and minorities to pursue careers as entrepreneurs or venture capitalists. These are just initial steps to address the yawning racial and gender gap, said Silicon Valley venture capitalist Kate Mitchell.
Wesley Lowery: Police Shot And Killed More People In July Than Any Other Month So Far This Year
More people were shot and killed by on-duty police officers in July than in any other month so far in 2015. At least 103 people were shot and killed by police officers last month, according to a Washington Post database tracking all fatal on-duty police shootings this year. That is 13 more fatal police shootings than March, the second most deadly month, during which 90 people were shot and killed by police. As of today, The Post has tracked 570 fatal police shootings.
California restored voting rights Tuesday to tens of thousands of criminals serving sentences under community supervision, reversing a decision by a state official that they could not participate in elections. Secretary of State Alex Padilla announced the settlement between the state and the American Civil Liberties Union of California, which sued on behalf of nearly 60,000 convicts who became ineligible to vote when then Secretary of State Debra Bowen determined in 2014 that community supervision was equivalent to parole. Her decision stemmed from a 2011
realignment of the state’s criminal justice law that aims to reduce overcrowding in state prisons by sending people convicted of less serious crimes to county jails or alternative treatment programs. A judge later overturned Bowen’s policy, stating that community supervision and parole are different. Bowen’s office appealed the decision, but Padilla, a fellow Democrat, decided to let the court ruling stand. Earlier this summer, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican, vetoed a bill that would have extended the right to vote to roughly 40,000 convicts on probation or parole.
President Barack Obama’s daughter Sasha hides behind the sofa as she sneaks up on him at the end of the day in the Oval Office, Aug. 5, 2009. Photo by Pete Souza
President Barack Obama delivers remarks at the U.S.-Africa Business Forum during the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington, D.C., Aug. 5, 2014. Photo by Lawrence Jackson
President Barack Obama talks with Ben Rhodes, Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications, Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett and National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice outside the Oval Office upon arrival from the U.S.-Africa Business Forum in Washington, D.C., Aug. 5, 2014. Photo by Pete Souza
President Barack Obama participates in a discussion with moderator Takunda Chingonzo at the U.S.-Africa Business Forum in Washington, D.C., Aug. 5, 2014. Photo by Pete Souza
First Lady Michelle Obama talks with President Ali Bongo Ondimba of the Gabonese Republic during the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit dinner on the South Lawn of the White House, Aug. 5, 2014. Photo by Pete Souza
President Barack Obama talks with Chief of Staff Denis McDonough after meeting with senior advisors in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Aug. 5, 2013. Photo by Pete Souza
President Barack Obama greets group and poses for a photo in the Rose Garden of the White House, August 5, 2009. Photo by Lawrence Jackson
President Barack Obama works on his statement on the compromise reached to reduce the deficit and avert a default, in the Outer Oval Office, Aug. 2, 2011. Standing in the background are, from left: Director of Communications Dan Pfeiffer; Press Secretary Jay Carney; Jon Lovett, Associate Director of Speechwriting; and Senior Advisor David Plouffe. Photo by Pete Souza
If Republicans win the White House next year, they’ll almost certainly control the entire federal government. Many of them, running for president or aspiring to leadership roles in Congress, are trying to block the nuclear deal with Iran. This would be a good time for these leaders to show that they’re ready for the responsibilities of national security and foreign policy. Instead, they’re showing the opposite. Over the past several days, congressional hearings on the deal have become a spectacle of dishonesty, incomprehension, and inability to cope with the challenges of a multilateral world.
When the hearings began more than a week ago, I was planning to write about the testimony of Secretary of State John Kerry and Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz. But the more I watched, the more I saw that the danger in the room wasn’t coming from the deal or its administration proponents. It was coming from the interrogators. In challenging Kerry and Moniz, Republican senators and representatives offered no serious alternative. They misrepresented testimony, dismissed contrary evidence, and substituted vitriol for analysis. They seemed baffled by the idea of having to work and negotiate with other countries. I came away from the hearings dismayed by what the GOP has become in the Obama era. It seems utterly unprepared to govern.
Don Thompson: Suicide Spike Boosts Oversight Of California Women’s Prison
A spike in suicides and attempted suicides has prompted corrections officials to step up oversight at a California women’s prison as inspectors try to pinpoint the cause of the troubling increase. Four women have killed themselves at California Institution for Women in San Bernardino County in the last 18 months, according to state records. The suicide rate at the facility is more than eight times the national rate for female inmates and more than five times the rate for the entire California prison system.
In California, the Institution for Women is the only women’s prison in the state to have had any suicides in the last five years, and another 20 of the prison’s 2,000 inmates have attempted suicide during the last year and a half. It is a shocking turnaround at a facility that last year was cited as a rare example of California providing proper mental health treatment for inmates. All four women who died were receiving mental health treatment in the days before their deaths.
Letitia Stein: March To Washington Begins With Civil Rights Rally In Selma
NAACP leaders launched a 40-day march across the U.S. South on Saturday with a rally in Selma, Alabama, drawing on that city’s significance in the 1960s civil rights movement to call attention to the issue of racial injustice in modern America. Organizers of “America’s Journey for Justice” want to build momentum behind a renewed national dialogue over race relations prompted by the killing of a number of unarmed black men by police officers over the past year.
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People leaders at the rally urged marchers to honor the memories of New York’s Eric Garner and Cincinnati’s Samuel DuBose, two of the unarmed black men killed in the police confrontations. The march, which would cover nearly 900 miles, began on Selma’s historic Edmund Pettus Bridge, where police beat peaceful marchers with clubs and doused them with tear gas in 1965. The infamous confrontation was a catalyst for the passage of the landmark Voting Rights Act, signed into law 50 years ago this week.
National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice helps Vice President Joe Biden with a spot on his suit jacket, in a hall outside the Oval Office, Aug. 2, 2013. Robert Cardillo, Deputy Director of National Intelligence for Intelligence Integration, watches at right. Photo by Pete Souza
President Barack Obama talks with diners at Lechonera El Barrio restaurant while waiting for his lunch order during a stop in Orlando, Fla., Aug. 2, 2012. Photo by Pete Souza