Posts made in May 2024

Trump: 45th U.S. President Convicted on 34 Criminal Charges

The 45th U.S. president, Donald J. Trump, has become the first former president to be convicted on criminal charges.

The presumptive Republican 2024 presidential nominee was found guilty on all 34 counts by a jury in the unprecedented criminal prosecution of a former president.

Trump was accused of illegally trying to cover up a $130,000 payment to porn star Stormy Daniels, with whom he had a sexual encounter with and that threatened to derail his 2016 campaign. The bombshell verdict ends a dramatic seven-week trial in Manhattan Supreme Court where jurors heard testimony from Daniels and Trump’s former protector and enabler, Michael Cohen.

Trump, 77, was found guilty of falsifying business records throughout 2017 by lying that he was paying his then-lawyer, Cohen, for legal services when he was actually reimbursing him for the hush money he paid Daniels about having sex with Trump inside a Lake Tahoe hotel room in 2006. Officials say, each of the counts the 45th president faces comes with a maximum penalty of four years imprisonment.

Could Trump go to prison?
Legal minds say it is highly unlikely. Nevertheless, Trump is facing 136 years behind bars if given consecutive sentences. Officials say it’s more likely that he would be given concurrent sentences for each of the 34 counts. In reality, Trump is facing four years behind bars. But, the judge could also not sentence him to time behind bars.

Whites Only: DOJ Fines Virginia Tech Company For Racial Hiring Practice

 

“Whites Only” signs and racial preferences for American jobs, neighborhoods and even voting were a ubiquitous norm and symbol of racial segregation in the United States for much of the 20th century. These signs and racial preferences were used to restrict access to public facilities, such as schools, parks, and swimming pools, as well as private businesses, such as restaurants and hotels. These signs and racial preferences were a stark reminder of the culture of racism, the second-class status of African Americans and other people of color. Although much progress has been made for a better America, a recent job posting seeking “white” candidates offered evidence of the systemic racism that remains in our society, and a jarring reminder of a country still under construction to bring about sincere change. 

The origins of “Whites Only” signs and clearly noted preferences can be traced back to the Jim Crow era, which began in the late 19th century and lasted until the mid-20th century. However, racism and discrimination is part of the bedrock of America. Still, during this time, southern states passed a series of laws that established a system of racial segregation. These laws mandated the separation of Blacks and whites in all aspects of public life, including education, transportation, and housing.

“By the 1890s the expression “Jim Crow” was being used to describe laws and customs aimed at segregating African Americans and others. These laws were intended to restrict social contact between whites and other groups and to limit the freedom and opportunity of people of color.” – Smithsonian National Museum of American History

“Whites Only” signs and preferences were a key part of the Jim Crow system. They were used to enforce segregation and to remind African Americans of their inferior status. These signs and racial preference were often placed in prominent locations, such as the entrances of public buildings and businesses, including the “whites only” job posting from Arthur Grand that led to the Justice Department’s “determination that the company violated the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) by posting a discriminatory job advertisement in March 2023 that restricted eligible candidates to ‘only US Born Citizens [white] who are local within 60 miles from Dallas, TX [Don’t share with candidates].’ (brackets in original). The Labor Department’s agreement resolves its determination that Arthur Grand violated Executive Order 11246, which prohibits federal contractors from discriminating in employment based on race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or national origin.”

The Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s challenged the Jim Crow system and led to the passage of landmark legislation, such as the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. These laws outlawed segregation and discrimination based on race. As a result, “Whites Only” signs and racial preferences for social access, housing and jobs began to disappear from public places.

Today,  open use of “Whites Only” signs and preferences are supposed to be a relic of the past. But they’re not, as racism remains an insidious evil that operates in the dark as Arthur Grand reminds. Systemic racism in hiring is real and active. Racism and open discrimination, once rampant in the United States, still runs amuck. These discrimination practices that some corporations and institutions still protect and uphold remain a stain and part of the fabric of the nation. Nonetheless, Arthur Grand’s discrimination practices and DOJ’s investigation and subsequent response is a reminder of the on-going struggle for civil rights, the progress that has been made and continues to be made.

American Tradition: Displaying an Upside-Down Flag

 

“It’s an international signal of distress!” Martha-Ann Alito allegedly shouted at Bob Barnes, the former Washington Post Supreme Court reporter who asked about the upside-down America flag displayed on her lawn in January 2021 at the home she shares with her husband, Supreme Court Justice, Samuel Alito.  

In addition to the ethics concerns,  the raising of an upside-down American flag has become a national tradition, however, the U.S. Flag Code, which governs the display and use of the American flag, does not specifically address the display of an upside-down flag as a symbol of distress. Nonetheless, there is a long-standing tradition of using an upside-down flag to signal distress or dire need of assistance.

The origin of this tradition is unclear, but it is believed to date back to the early days of maritime signaling. In the 1800s, ships in distress would often fly their flags upside down to attract attention and signal their need for help. This practice was eventually adopted by land-based organizations, such as the military and civilian emergency services.

Today, the display of an upside-down American flag is generally recognized as a symbol of distress. It is often used in emergency situations, such as when a person is lost or injured, or when a property is in danger. In some cases, like the one flown at Justice Alito’s home in 2021, an upside-down flag may also be used as a protest symbol, to express dissatisfaction with the government or other authority figures.

It is important to note that the display of an upside-down flag is not without controversy. Some people believe that it is disrespectful to the flag and should not be used under any circumstances. Others argue that it is a legitimate way to signal distress or protest. Ultimately, the decision of whether or not to display an upside-down flag is a personal one.

Memorial Day Hijacked Decoration Day And African-American History

“What we now know as Memorial Day began as “Decoration Day” in the immediate aftermath of the U.S. Civil War. It was a tradition initiated by former slaves to celebrate emancipation and commemorate those who died for that cause.” – Liberation News

If you do a quick internet search about the history and significance of Memorial Day, a whitewashed version of the origin of Memorial Day will propagate, even though the truth of the official commemoration of our nation’s fallen soldiers is rooted in African-American history following the Civil War. This assertion is backed by historians of U.S. history, including Howard Zinn and David W. Blight.

“Over time several American towns, north and south, claimed to be the birthplace of Memorial Day. But all of them commemorate cemetery decoration events from 1866. Pride of place as the first large scale ritual of Decoration Day, therefore, goes to African Americans in Charleston. By their labor, their words, their songs, and their solemn parade of flowers and marching feet on their former owners’ race course, they created for themselves, and for us, the Independence Day of the Second American Revolution.” – David W. Blight. Blight, professor of American history at Yale University and director of the Gilder-Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance and Abolition.

Click HERE to learn more about the political hijacking of Decoration Day.  For an additional historical account of the origin of Memorial Day or Decoration Day, click HERE.

Wikipedia participates in the disinformation campaign of Memorial Day, even crediting those who feigned ignorance of Decoration Day and denied the origin of these sacred commemorations.

Memorial Day: Honoring the Fallen

Memorial Day, originally known as Decoration Day, is a federal holiday in the United States observed annually on the last Monday of May. It commemorates the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military.

Origins of Memorial Day

The origins of Memorial Day can be traced back to the American Civil War (1861-1865). What we now know as Memorial Day began as “Decoration Day” in the immediate aftermath of the U.S. Civil War. It was a tradition initiated by former slaves to celebrate emancipation and commemorate those who died for that cause. 

Meaning of Memorial Day

Memorial Day is a day to remember and honor the sacrifices made by those who died in service to their country. It is also a day to reflect on the true meaning of freedom and democracy.

Memorial Day Traditions

There are many ways to observe Memorial Day. Some people visit cemeteries to pay their respects to fallen soldiers. Others attend parades or memorial services. Many people also spend time with family and friends, remembering those who are no longer with us. Regardless of how Americans decide to mark Memorial Day, it is imperative to remember and teach that its history and origin is in African-American history and culture. This piece of American history matters in the pursuit of a better nation for all. 

“At 9 a.m. on May 1, the procession stepped off led by three thousand Black schoolchildren carrying arm loads of roses and singing “John Brown’s Body.” The children were followed by several hundred Black women with baskets of flowers, wreaths and crosses. Then came Black men marching in cadence, followed by contingents of Union infantry and other Black and white citizens. As many as possible gathering in the cemetery enclosure; a childrens’ choir sang “We’ll Rally around the Flag,” the “Star-Spangled Banner,” and several spirituals before several Black ministers read from scripture. No record survives of which biblical passages rung out in the warm spring air, but the spirit of Leviticus 25 was surely present at those burial rites: “for it is the jubilee; it shall be holy unto you. . . . in the year of this jubilee he shall return every man unto his own possession.”

“Following the solemn dedication the crowd dispersed into the infield and did what many of us do on Memorial Day: they enjoyed picnics, listened to speeches, and watched soldiers drill. Among the full brigade of Union infantry participating was the famous 54th Massachusetts and the 34th and 104th U.S. Colored Troops, who performed a special double-columned march around the gravesite. The war was over, and Decoration Day had been founded by African Americans in a ritual of remembrance and consecration. The war, they had boldly announced, had been all about the triumph of their emancipation over a slaveholders’ republic, and not about state rights, defense of home, nor merely soldiers’ valor and sacrifice.”

Memorial Day Quotes

  • “In the face of impossible odds, people who love this country have always stepped up to the plate. They have run toward danger in order to protect the people they love and the values they hold dear. That’s the story of Memorial Day.”—Barack Obama
  • “Memorial Day is a day to remember those who gave their lives for our country. It is also a day to reflect on the true meaning of freedom and democracy.”—John F. Kennedy

June 4th Primary Election: What Voters in DC Need to Know

The June 4, 2024 primary in Washington, DC will be held to select the Democratic and Republican nominees for various local and federal offices, including the Mayor of the District of Columbia, the Delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives, and the members of the D.C. Council.

Click HERE for list of Early Vote Centers for each Ward.

Key Dates

  • Voter Registration Deadline: Apr 15, 2024
  • Early Voting: May 20, 2024May 31, 2024
  • Election Day: June 4, 2024

Who Can Vote?

To be eligible to vote in the June 4, 2024 primary in Washington, DC, you must be:

  • A U.S. citizen
  • A resident of the District of Columbia
  • At least 18 years old on or before Election Day
  • Qualified non-citizen DC residents may vote in local elections (UPDATE)

How to Register to Vote

You can register to vote in Washington, DC online, by mail, or in person.

To register online:

  1. Go to the DC Board of Elections website: dcboe.org.
  2. Click on the “Register to Vote” link.
  3. Follow the instructions on the screen.

To register by mail:

  1. Download and print the voter registration form.
  2. Fill out the form and mail it to the DC Board of Elections.

To register in person:

  1. Visit a DC Public Library branch or other designated location.
  2. Ask for a voter registration form.
  3. Fill out the form and return it to the election official.

How to Vote

You can vote in the June 4, 2024 primary in Washington, DC by mail, early in person, or on Election Day.

*Early Vote Centers are closed May 27, 2024 for Memorial Day. 

Freedom Rider James Zwerg: Solidarity in The Civil Rights Movement

James Zwerg (born Mar 25, 1940) is an American civil rights activist and college professor. He is best known for being the first white student to enroll at the University of Mississippi in 1962, during the height of the Civil Rights Movement.

Zwerg was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and raised in a working-class family. He attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he became involved in the civil rights movement. In 1962, Zwerg decided to transfer to the University of Mississippi, a historically all-white school in the Deep South. His enrollment was met with violent opposition from white segregationists, who rioted and attacked Zwerg and other Black students.

After Zwerg woke up, he said from his hospital bed, “Segregation must be stopped. It must be broken down. Those of us on the Freedom Rides will continue…. We’re dedicated to this, we’ll take hitting, we’ll take beating. We’re willing to accept death. But we’re going to keep coming.” 

Despite the violence, Zwerg persisted in his studies and eventually graduated from the University of Mississippi in 1963. He went on to earn a Ph.D. in political science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Zwerg has worked as a college professor and civil rights activist throughout his career. He has taught at Tougaloo College, Mississippi Valley State University, and Jackson State University. He has also worked with the NAACP and the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Zwerg’s story is a reminder of the courage and determination of the civil rights activists who fought for equality in the United States. He is an inspiration to all who work for justice and equality.

Mental Health Awareness Month: A Time for Understanding and Empathy

Mental Health Awareness Month is an annual event that takes place in May and aims to raise awareness of mental health issues and to encourage people to seek help if they are struggling. It is a time for us to come together as a community and show our support for those affected by mental illness.

Why is Mental Health Awareness Month important?

Mental health problems are common, affecting many individuals and families in the US every year. However, there is still a lot of stigma associated with mental illness, which can make it difficult for people to seek help. Mental Health Awareness Month aims to challenge this stigma and to encourage people to talk about their mental health. It is a time for us to educate ourselves about mental health issues and to show compassion and understanding to those who are struggling. Click HERE for the state of mental health in America. 

What happens during Mental Health Awareness Month?

During Mental Health Awareness Month, there are a number of events and activities that take place across the UK to raise awareness of mental health issues. These events include:

  • Talks and workshops on mental health
  • Information stalls
  • Fundraising events
  • Social media campaigns

These events are a great opportunity to learn more about mental health and to connect with others who are affected by it. They are also a chance to show our support for those who are struggling and to let them know that they are not alone.

How can I get involved?

There are a number of ways that you can get involved in Mental Health Awareness Month:

  • Attend events in your local area
  • Talk to your friends and family about mental health
  • Share information about mental health on social media
  • Donate to a mental health charity
  • Volunteer your time to a mental health organization

By getting involved in Mental Health Awareness Month, you can help to make a difference in the lives of those affected by mental illness. You can help to challenge the stigma surrounding mental health and to create a more understanding and supportive community.

Mental Health Awareness Month is a time for us to come together and show our support for those affected by mental illness. It is a time for us to educate ourselves, to show compassion, and to make a difference.

Congress Eyes The Future of Black Wall Street With S.3543

Black Wall Street was a thriving African American business district in Tulsa, Oklahoma, at the turn of the 20th century. It was one of the most prosperous black communities in the United States and was known for its black-owned businesses, schools, churches, and hospitals.

The community was founded in 1906 by a group of Black entrepreneurs who had been forced out of other parts of Tulsa due to racial discrimination. Black Wall Street quickly became a symbol of black economic empowerment and was home to a thriving middle class.

Unfortunately, Black Wall Street was destroyed in the Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921, when a white mob attacked the community, killing an estimated 300 people and burning down over 1,000 homes and businesses. The massacre was one of the worst acts of racial violence in American history.

In the years since the massacre, Black Wall Street has been rebuilt and is once again a thriving community. It is now home to several Black-owned businesses, including restaurants, shops, and professional offices.

Black Wall Street is a reminder of the resilience and determination of the African American community in the face of adversity. It is also a symbol of the economic power that Black Americans can achieve when they are given the opportunity.

The Future of Black Wall Street

The Black Wall Street Times reported the news of Senate Bill S. 3543 that proposes the establishment of Historic Greenwood District—Black Wall Street National Monument to preserve the legacy of Tulsa’s Historic African American Business District and 1921 Race Massacre. 

Brown v. Board of Education: A Turning Point in American History

May 17, 2024 marks the 70th anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court decision Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas, which declared racial segregation of children in public schools to be unconstitutional. The decision had a profound impact on American society, paving the way for the desegregation of schools and other public facilities and helping to usher in the Civil Rights Movement.

Background

In the decades leading up to Brown v. Board of Education, racial segregation was widespread in the United States. In many states, Black children were forced to attend separate schools from white children, often in inferior and overcrowded conditions. This system of segregation was upheld by the Supreme Court in the 1896 case Plessy v. Ferguson, which established the “separate-but-equal” doctrine.

The Brown Case

The Brown case began in 1951 when 13 Black parents in Topeka, Kansas, filed a lawsuit challenging the city’s segregated school system. The parents argued that the system violated the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

The case made its way to the Supreme Court, which heard arguments in 1952 and 1953. In 1954, the Court issued a unanimous decision in favor of the plaintiffs. The Court ruled that “separate educational facilities are inherently unequal” and that racial segregation of children in public schools was a violation of the Equal Protection Clause.

Impact of Brown v. Board of Education

The Brown decision had a profound impact on American society. It helped to usher in the Civil Rights Movement, and it led to the desegregation of schools and other public facilities throughout the country. However, the process of desegregation was often slow and difficult, and many schools remained segregated for many years after the Brown decision.

Today, the legacy of Brown v. Board of Education is still being debated. Some argue that the decision has been a success, and that it has helped to create a more just and equitable society. Others argue that the decision has not gone far enough, and that racial inequality persists in American schools and society as a whole.

Conclusion

The 70th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education is an opportunity to reflect on the progress that has been made in the fight for racial equality in the United States. It is also an opportunity to recommit ourselves to the work of creating a truly just and equitable society for all.

ICYMI: National Bike to Work Day Events

National Bike to Work Day is an annual event held on the third Friday of May in the United States. The event encourages people to commute to work by bicycle instead of driving. It’s a great way to get some exercise, save money on gas, and reduce your carbon footprint.

Benefits of Biking to Work

  • Health: Biking to work is a great way to get regular exercise. It can help you improve your cardiovascular health, lose weight, and reduce your risk of chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease.
  • Cost: Biking to work can save you a lot of money on gas. It’s also cheaper than taking public transportation or parking your car at work.
  • Environment: Biking to work is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint. It doesn’t produce any greenhouse gases, and it helps reduce traffic congestion.
  • Convenience: Biking to work can be a convenient way to commute. It can be faster than driving in some cases, and it’s a great way to avoid traffic jams.

How to Bike to Work

  • Choose the right bike: There are many different types of bikes available, so it’s important to choose one that’s right for you. Consider your commute distance, terrain, and budget.
  • Plan your route: Before you start biking to work, it’s a good idea to plan your route. Choose a route that’s safe and well-lit.
  • Be visible: Wear bright clothing and use lights when biking at night.
  • Follow the rules of the road: Obey all traffic laws and be courteous to other motorists and pedestrians.

Get Involved

There are many ways to get involved in National Bike to Work Day.

  • Commute by bike: The best way to celebrate National Bike to Work Day is to commute by bike to work.
  • Join The Capital Market: “We’re getting our roll on for National Bike to Work Day at the Kettering/Perrywood Community Center with the Prince George’s County Department of Public Works and Transportation. The event raises awareness of cyclists as they commute to and from work. To take part in this event register HERE
  • WABA’s 1st Prince George’s County Bike Summit: We’ll close out the weekend at the Washington Area Bicycle Association (WABA) 1st Prince George’s County Bike Summit. The event kicks-off at 2 pm with a welcome keynote by County Council Chair Jolene Ivey.  Brittney Drakeford and Kyle Reeder will participate on a panel around Expanding Safe Bicycling in Prince George’s County. Register HERE.
  • Organize a bike ride: You can also organize a bike ride with your friends, family, or co-workers.
  • Volunteer: There are many organizations that need volunteers to help with National Bike to Work Day events.

Spread the word: Help spread the word about National Bike to Work Day by sharing information on social media, talking to your friends and family, and attending local events.