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[VIDEO] REWIND: Cory ‘Arc Bender’ Booker in 2016: ‘Blessed, Honored’ to Work With Senator Jeff Sessions on Civil Rights

“I am humbled to be able to to participate here in paying tribute to some of the extraordinary Americans, whose footsteps paved the way for me and my generation. I feel blessed and honored to have partnered with Sen. Sessions in being the Senate sponsors of this important award.”

— Booker at the Capitol Visitor Center last year

Democratic Sen. Cory Booker (N.J.) thanked his colleague Sen. Jeff Sessions (R., Ala.) last year at the Capitol for his help celebrating the 1965 “Foot Soldiers,” those who marched from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama to promote civil rights for African Americans.

The NTK Network found the video from February, which shows Booker striking a much different tone toward Sessions than his current position on the Alabama senator, whose confirmation hearing to be Donald Trump’s attorney general began on Tuesday.

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Washington Post: ‘Hands Up, Don’t Shoot’ Did Not Happen in Ferguson

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Michelle Ye Hee Lee reports: This phrase became a rallying cry for Ferguson residents, who took to the streets to protest the fatal shooting of a black 18-year-old by a white police officer, Darren Wilson. Witness accounts spread after the shooting that Brown had his hands raised in surrender, mouthing the words “Don’t shoot” as his last words before being shot execution-style. The gesture of raised hands became a symbol of outrage over mistreatment of unarmed black youth by police.

That narrative was called into question when a St. Louis County grand jury could not confirm those testimonies. And a recently released Department of Justice investigative report concluded the same.

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Yet the gesture continues to be used today. So we wanted to set the record straight on the DOJ’s findings, especially after The Washington Post’s opinion writer Jonathan Capehart wrote that it was “built on a lie.” From time to time, we retroactively check statements as new information becomes available. In this case, the Justice Department has concluded that Wilson acted out of self-defense, and was justified in killing Brown.

Does “Hands up, don’t shoot” capture the facts of Brown’s shooting? What has it come to symbolize now?

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The Facts

“Hands up, don’t shoot” links directly to Brown’s death, and it went viral. After the shooting, St. Louis Rams players raised their hands as a symbolic gesture entering the field before a football game. Protesters chanted “Hands up, don’t shoot” during rallies after a grand jury in the state’s case against Wilson decided not to indict Wilson in Brown’s killing. The phrase and gesture were on signs, T-shirts, hashtags, memes and magazine covers. It even has its own Wikipedia page.

In November 2014, a grand jury decided not to indict Wilson after finding that witness reports did not match up with evidence. Other witnesses recanted their original accounts or changed them, calling their veracity into question. In particular, the grand jury could not confirm the “Hands up, don’t shoot” narrative the way it was told after the shooting. By then, however, the phrase had taken on a message of its own.

On Dec. 1, 2014, four members of the Congressional Black Caucus repeated the gesture while delivering speeches on the House Floor titled, “Black in America: What Ferguson Says About Where We Are and Where We Need to Go.” Each of the members held up their hands, and the image spread widely online.

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Yet the Department of Justice’s March 4, 2015, investigative report on the shooting of Michael Brown found federal investigators could not confirm witness accounts that Brown signaled surrender before being killed execution-style. The department’s descriptions of about 40 witness testimonies show the original claims that Brown had his hands up were not accurate.

Some witnesses who claimed they saw Brown’s hands raised had testimonies that were inconsistent with physical and forensic evidence. Some admitted to federal investigators they felt pressured to retell the narrative that was being spread after Brown’s shooting. Read the rest of this entry »


Mia Love Could be Part of the Largest Group of African American Women in Congress Ever

Repeat GOP candidate Mia Love, who would be the first African-American Republican woman in Congress if she won, is now the biggest early favorite to become a House freshman in 2015, though Matheson's decision could spur some more GOP interest in the seat.

Let Us Begin The LOVE FEST

Has anyone else noticed the relative lack of attention in the news to the campaign of Mia Love? In the previous campaign cycle (a disappointing loss, by a fraction, but a great campaign) Love had the media’s attention, especially in the blogosphere, and conservative media. This time around, no so much. Why is that? I had to sort through state and local news stories to learn that yes, she’s running, and yes, she’s expected to win. Mitt Romney held a rally for Mia Love not long ago. And Mia’s 2nd debate with her opponent is October 14th. Let the Love fest begin!

For Utah PolicyBryan Schott reports:

There are five African American women who are likely to be members of the next Congress, including Utah’s Mia Love. If they all win, it will bring the number of African American women in Congress to 20, the most ever.

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Politics365 notes the Congressional Black Caucus is set to swell to as many as 46 members, which includes 20 women. Read the rest of this entry »


Maxine Waters Pressures FCC for ‘Diversity Commitments’ in Merger Reviews

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“while I was pleased with several of Comcast-NBC’s voluntary public interest commitments, more can be done to achieve our diversity objectives.”

For Variety reports: Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) and 51 other lawmakers, including members of the Congressional Black Caucus, are pressing the FCC to ensure that upcoming mergers include  “enforceable commitments” to boost media ownership, programming, advertising and other opportunities for women and minorities.

“In similar ‘mega-merger’ transactions in recent years, companies have attempted to demonstrate their ‘good corporate citizenship’ by identifying past philanthropic donations they have made to various charitable organizations and promising additional such donations.”

The letter cited the proposed mergers of Time Warner Cable and Comcast, and of AT&T and DirecTV, as well as “the imminent announcement” of Sprint’s merger with T-Mobile. The FCC’s merger reviews examine whether the transactions are in the public interest. Read the rest of this entry »