On Tuesday morning, a bomb went off outside of the office building that houses the Colorado Springs, Colorado, branch of the NAACP. Although authorities have not said whether the NAACP was targeted or that the attack was an act of terrorism, the bombing is a reminder of the kind of attacks that civil rights groups have faced for decades.
After the bombing, the Twitter hashtag #NAACPBombing took off to highlight what many saw as the lack of media coverage of the event. Fueling this frustration is a sense that the media has historically ignored stories of specific concern to African Americans, but there’s also a serious worry born out of the long history of violent attacks against civil rights organizations.
Bombings against black homes and churches in Birmingham, Alabama, were so common during the early 1960s that the city had gained the derisive nickname “Bombingham.” But Birmingham was far from alone in this violent era against the Civil Rights Movement.
LAUSD has some explaining to do. What is the scenario for using the MRAP? Where is it in emergency plans? How much does it cost to maintain, and will it get to any emergency faster than LAPD or LAUSD special units? Sixty one rifles. For how many officers?!
Los Angeles Unified school police officials said Tuesday that the department will relinquish some of the military weaponry it acquired through a federal program that furnishes local law enforcement with surplus equipment. The move comes as education and civil rights groups have called on the U.S. Department of Defense to halt the practice for schools.
The Los Angeles School Police Department, which serves the nation’s second-largest school system, will return three grenade launchers but intends to keep 61 rifles and a Mine Resistant Ambush Protected armored vehicle it received through the program.
It’s particularly heavy baggage for Republicans. While Democrats and civil rights groups stand largely united behind the broadest interpretations of the Voting Rights Act, for Republicans it’s a trickier matter. On one hand, they are eager to reach out to minority voters. They eagerly tout their charismatic, high-profile minority officeholders like Sens. Tim Scott or South Carolina and Ted Cruz of Texas, Nikki Haley of South Carolina and Bobby Jindal of Louisiana. If Congressional Republicans seem unwilling to rebuild the Voting Rights Act should the court curtail it, they risk being seen as indifferent or even hostile to minorities. On the other hand, the party’s Tea Party wing is likely to revolt if the Republican House they elected tries to re-establish what many see as a federal overreach. Already, Cruz has offered an amendment to address the Supreme Court’s decision in an Arizona voting rights case earlier this week that struck down a proof-of-citizenship requirement.
If the court strikes down Section 5 but gives Congress room to recraft it then the matter could create a mess comparable to immigration reform, fracturing the GOP. We don’t know yet because Congressional Republicans haven’t weighed in on a pending case although many Democrats submitted amicus briefs on behalf of keeping the law just where it is, including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
So here is the scenario:
- SCOUTS kills Section 5 of the Voter Rights Act with ONLY Republican appointed Justices finding it unconstitutional. (This will probably be done with dubious legal arguments).
- Democrats in Senate immediately file legislation to correct it forcing the Republican Senators to filibuster it.
- SCOTUS overturns DOMA on Federalist grounds. Increasing Republicans gay-bashing chorus.
If I was SUPER cynical I would say that I wish for SCOTUS to overturn Roe v Wade on the same Federalist grounds as they will use on DOMA but I am not a moster.
Then and only then will lazy, apathetic Democratic voters will see what happens when they sit on their asses and not vote in local and off-year National elections and only vote then when they have a “Hero” like Obama running. Elections are about choices, 2 yours and theirs and if you don’t go a vote for yours you get theirs!
After years of pressure from civil rights groups and lawmakers who say attacks against religious and ethnic minorities are not adequately monitored by law enforcement, the FBI will begin formally tracking hate crimes against Sikhs, Hindus and Arabs.
Meeting in Portsmouth, Va., on Wednesday, an FBI advisory board voted to expand standard hate-crime incident reports used by thousands of police departments across the country to include crimes motivated by bias against the two religious groups, as well as Arabs.
The changes, which go into effect by 2015, are being praised by Sikh, Hindu and Arab advocates hoping to avoid underreporting of hate crimes and increase awareness among law enforcement of their religions and cultures. In particular, members of the Sikh religion, in which men typically grow beards and wear turbans, have said crimes against them are often misreported as anti-Muslim.
“We can’t go to policy makers or law enforcement to make the case about crimes against our communities unless we have the official data,” said Rajdeep Singh, director of law and policy for the Sikh Coalition, a civil rights group that has pushed law enforcement for two years to take action. Specific hate-crime statistics, Singh hopes, will help law enforcement prevent crimes against Sikhs, Hindus and Arabs.
Iron-fisted enforcement of the 1965 Voting Rights Act transformed American politics, especially in the South, by making sure minorities had a clear path to the ballot box and an equal shot at public service.
Forty-eight years later, after the re-election of an African-American president, the heart of that law is on trial.
The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments Feb. 27 in a case that is sure to ignite a national debate over how far the country has progressed on racial issues and whether minority voters still need extra protection.
Shelby County, Ala., opposed by the Justice Department and civil rights groups, wants two key sections of the Voting Rights Act declared unconstitutional.
Council members in an Alabama city voted Tuesday to stop a group’s work on a new monument honoring a Confederate general who was an early leader in the Ku Klux Klan.
The Selma City Council voted 4-0 with two members abstaining to stop all work on the monument to Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest until the courts decide whether the city or a Confederate heritage group owns the cemetery property where the monument would be rebuilt.
The vote came after a group of protesters marched to City Hall.
Demonstrations by civil rights groups about 10 years ago led to the relocation of a Forrest monument from outside a city building near downtown to a section of a city cemetery honoring Confederate war dead. But Forrest’s bust was removed and apparently stolen from atop a 7-foot granite memorial earlier this year, and efforts to rebuild it have drawn protests and calls by civil rights activists not to replace it.
Detractors say Forrest traded black people like cattle, massacred black Union soldiers and joined the early Ku Klux Klan. His defenders dispute much of that and counter with stories that depict him as a protector of slave families and defender of the weak who resigned from the KKK.
A member of the group Friends of Forrest, Pat Godwin, said she feels the protests have been an effort to obscure the police investigation of the disappearance of the bust.
“It’s all smoke and mirrors to divert attention from the issue of the theft of the bust,” Godwin said.
The council had earlier indicated it would allow people to speak on the issue at the Tuesday work session, but would not vote on the racially sensitive issue. Council members changed their mind after activist Rose Toure, a leader of the protests, and other speakers urged the council to vote. Council member Bennie Ruth Crenshaw moved that the council order all work on the monument stopped after city attorney Jimmy Nunn said he had not been able to locate a deed to the Confederate section of the cemetery.
A judge in the election battleground state of Pennsylvania on Wednesday rejected an effort to block the state’s voter identification law, which civil rights groups argued discriminates against minority voters.
Pennsylvania, a major electoral prize in the November 6 presidential election between Democratic President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney, is one of 11 states to pass laws since 2010 requiring voters to show some form of legal identification. The laws have become a contentious issue ahead of the November 6 elections.
Both parties see turnout as key in battleground states like Pennsylvania, and Democrats fear voter ID laws disproportionately curtail balloting by lower-income and minority voters, who typically favor their party.
Civil and voting rights groups, including the NAACP and the League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania, had sought a preliminary injunction to block the law, arguing it erects unfair hurdles for many legitimate Pennsylvania voters who lack an acceptable form of identification.
The Advancement Project, one of the groups behind the suit, said it would appeal Simpson’s decision to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.
The decision forces people to suffer the harm of not being able to vote in the election and then sue afterward, said the Advancement Project’s co-director Penda Hair.
“I just can’t believe it,” Viviette Applewhite, the 93-year-old lead plaintiff, said in a statement. “Too many people have fought for the right to vote to have it taken away like this,” said Applewhite, an African American who marched with Martin Luther King Jr. in the 1960s…
The U.S. Justice Department is continuing to review whether the Pennsylvania voter ID law complies with federal voting rights laws, a department official said on Wednesday. The department said in July that it would analyze Pennsylvania data to determine if voters who lack proper ID under the new law are disproportionately black or Hispanic.
Russia’s parliament on Wednesday passed a law tightening controls on civil rights groups funded from abroad, a measure that foes of President Vladimir Putin say is part of a Kremlin campaign to stifle political opposition.
Ignoring criticism of the bill by the United States, the Kremlin-controlled upper house of parliament, the Federation Council, sped the bill through with just one vote against and one abstention in its last session before a summer break.
The rushed adoption signals the importance Putin attaches to the law, which will force non-governmental organisations (NGOs) engaging in “political activity” to register with the Justice Ministry as “foreign agents” and to file a report to officials every quarter.
The term “foreign agents”, which NGOs will be forced to print on all their publications, carries the same associations of Cold War espionage and treachery that it does in the West.
The penalties for failing to comply with the law include six months’ suspension without a court order and, for individuals, up to three years in jail.
Those who risk being stigmatised include the human rights group Amnesty International, the corruption watchdog Transparency International and the election monitoring group Golos (Voice), which was instrumental in compiling and publicising allegations of fraud in December’s parliamentary election.
Opposition groups say Putin is trying to silence groups whose criticism of his human rights record has undercut his credibility and helped to fuel seven months of protests against his rule, the biggest since he came to power in 2000.
Opponents of Arizona’s hardline immigration enforcement law contend that emails sent, received and forwarded by a former legislator who championed the law support allegations it was racially motivated.
Dozens of emails are cited in a new legal effort by the American Civil Liberties Union and other civil rights groups to block police from enforcing the Arizona law’s so-called “show me your papers” provision recently upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court.
The groups said the emails and other material reveal that ex-Sen. Russell Pearce and other supporters of the law known as SB1070 embraced discriminatory views and bent the truth about immigration-related matters, setting the stage for enactment of a law that the groups contend will lead to racial profiling if enforced.
Russell is the architect of Arizona’s immigration law.
The use of the emails in the court filing later Tuesday was reported Friday by The Arizona Republic (bit.ly ).
Pearce on Friday denied discriminatory intent in championing the law, telling The Associated Press that the civil rights groups falsely portray him as a racist and that the law includes protections against racial profiling.
“Nobody wants to talk about that,” he said. “I’ve been attacked for years. I don’t expect it to stop.”
The motion cited dozens of emails that were sent, received or forwarded by Pearce. Many of the emails asserted costs and troubles associated with illegal immigration, including crime and increased demand for public services such as education and health care.