Expert Voices

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.

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.

Literacy Tests Lasting Impact on America’s Political Landscape

If you were living in the South in the early 1960s and wanted to vote, you first had to answer some very difficult questions.

At least if you were Black, you did.

Literacy tests have been used in the United States since the early 1800s as a way to restrict voting rights for African Americans. The first literacy test law was passed in Connecticut in 1818, and by the end of the 19th century, most southern states had passed similar laws.

Literacy tests were often administered in a discriminatory manner, with white applicants being given easier tests than African Americans. In addition, African Americans were often harassed and intimidated when they tried to register to vote.

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 outlawed literacy tests and other discriminatory practices that prevented African Americans from voting. However, some states have continued to use literacy tests in recent years, despite challenges from civil rights groups.

Key Events in the History of Literacy Tests in America

  • 1818: Connecticut passes the first literacy test law in the United States.
  • 1865: The 15th Amendment to the Constitution is ratified, guaranteeing African Americans the right to vote.
  • 1890s: Most southern states pass literacy test laws.
  • 1915: The Supreme Court upholds the constitutionality of literacy tests in the case of Guinn v. United States.
  • 1957: The Civil Rights Act of 1957 prohibits literacy tests that are administered in a discriminatory manner.
  • 1965: The Voting Rights Act of 1965 outlaws literacy tests and other discriminatory practices that prevent African Americans from voting.
  • 2013: The Supreme Court strikes down a voter ID law in North Carolina that was found to discriminate against African American voters.

The Legacy of Literacy Tests

Literacy tests have had a lasting impact on the political landscape of the United States. They have been used to disenfranchise African Americans and other marginalized groups, and they have contributed to the low voter turnout rates in the United States.

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 was a major victory for civil rights activists, but it did not completely eliminate the use of literacy tests. Some states have continued to use literacy tests in recent years, despite challenges from civil rights groups.

The legacy of literacy tests is a reminder of the long history of discrimination in the United States. It is also a reminder of the importance of protecting the right to vote for all Americans.

Can you pass the Jim Crow Literacy Test?

Literacy tests were one of the most effective ways the white power structure in Alabama and across the Deep South kept Black Americans from voting. With a hugely consequential election on the horizon this year, the Southern Poverty Law Center is excited to launch The South’s Got Now | Decidimos. A bilingual voter engagement campaign in English and Spanish, The South’s Got Now | Decidimos (which means “we decide”) will educate and energize young people of color in the Deep South as they build their power as changemakers. – SPLC 

Jim Crow Museum:

OTD In 2010: The Tragic Story of Kalief Browder

Kalief Browder was a 16-year-old African-American teenager from the Bronx, New York, who was arrested in 2010 and spent three years in jail on Rikers Island awaiting trial for a crime he did not commit.

Browder was accused of stealing a backpack, but he denied the charges and refused to plead guilty. He was held in solitary confinement for much of his time at Rikers, where he was subjected to physical and emotional abuse. He was also denied access to education and basic necessities, such as clean clothes and adequate food.

In 2013, Browder’s case was finally dismissed, but the experience had a profound and lasting impact on him. He suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and depression, and he struggled to readjust to life outside of prison. In 2015, Browder committed suicide at the age of 22. His story has become a symbol of the injustices of the criminal justice system, and his case has been cited by advocates for criminal justice reform. Browder’s legacy includes the Kalief Browder Foundation, which was established by his family to advocate for criminal justice reform and to provide support to young people who have been affected by the justice system.

Remembering Kalief Browder:

Venida Browder, mother of Kalief Browder:

The 988 Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals in the United States.

Gullah Tale: The Slick Scorpion And The Foolish Frog

There’s an old Gullah Geechee tale about the slick scorpion & the foolish frog:

Once upon a time, there was a very smart frog who befriended a conniving scorpion. The frog wished he could he could be a scorpion. He admired their exoskeletons & how other animals respected their stinger. He loved them so much, he could even speak like them. 

The scorpion, however, wished he could be a frog. But he knew he could never swim or jump like his friend. 

“Dem scorpion gwine sting yuh soonman,“ the other frogs warned. “Him got poison in he bookey.”

“The scorpion is my friend,” he told his fellow frogs. “Plus, I’ve seen a frog eat a tadpole. Why should I be more worried about a scorpion than my own people?”

They tried to explain that scorpions eat the same insects as frogs, but they also EAT FROGS, so they consider frogs to be their competition AND THEIR PREY.  

The older frogs even tried to explain that scorpions are born with an exoskeleton because they CAN’T jump. They have stingers because they are not quick enough to catch their prey. 

They even warned the foolish frog  that the other animals weren’t afraid of scorpions; they just knew  the only way a scorpion could hurt them is if they got too close. 

 “Lissen tuh we, churrn,” said the other frogs. “Unnah seen how dem scorpion do we.” 

“This is why we can’t move forward as a species,” said the frog. “We need to stop focusing on the past and let go of that victim mentality”.

But the frog wouldn’t listen.

One day, the river flooded and all of the other frogs began swimming to the banks. But the scorpion couldn’t swim, so he asked the articulate frog for a ride on his back.

“My people say you’ll sting me,” the frog said to his scorpion friend reluctantly.

“Have you ever seen me sting another scorpion?” The scorpion said. “Maybe if your people stopped worrying about being stung  and focused on being  as articulate as you are, people would respect them more. Now let me ride on your back.”

“Dem scorpion gwine sting yuh,“ the other frogs warned. “Him got poison in he bookey. Unnah de how he do we?”

But the articulate frog wouldn’t listen. “You really should stop hating scorpions so much, he told the other frogs. “Why would he sting me when we both have the same goals? Can’t you see that we’re all just trying to get our of the river?” 

So the frog let the scorpion  ride on his back. Of course, halfway across, the scorpion stung the frog.

“Why did you sting me?” Asked the frog. “I thought we were friends!” 

The frog could see the other frogs watching safely from the bank of the river. The scorpion could see all of the other scorpions drowning. Just before they both succumbed to their watery death, the scorpion leaned in close, smiled, and whispered his response loud enough for all the surviving frogs and the dying scorpions to hear. 

“Nigger.”

Anyway, here’s a video of a frog getting stung.

Editor’s Note: This folktale was shared on Twitter (X) by Michael Harriot, Writer, The Grio

Op-Ed: The Treatment of Black Women in Business

Editors note: this opinion piece comes from Anthony Baldini, Founder of Athlete Strategies & “Sports in LA” | Sports business analyst | Investor in women’s sports properties. Baldini is a communications and business development advisor at the intersection of sports, technology, and venture capital.

This post is about the treatment of Black women in business. If you can’t handle it respectfully, don’t comment. Our collective goal for any discussion should be progress, not ego on who is right/wrong.  Nike is signing Caitlin Clark to an eight-figure deal and giving her a signature shoe – an obvious decision for the apparel behemoth. 

However, this means that the only active WNBA players with active signature shoes are: CC, Breanna Stewart, Elena Delle Donne, and Sabrina Ionescu. 

What do they have in common? They’re all white women playing in a dominantly Black league.

This is a new development. Previously, almost every WNBA player signature shoe from 1995-2011 belonged to a Black woman: Sheryl Swoopes, Rebecca Lobo (Cuban), Lisa Leslie, Dawn Staley, Cynthia Cooper, Nikki McCray, Chamique Holdsclaw, Diana Taurasi (Argentinian-Italian) and Candace Parker. 

Stardom drives shoe deal decisions, but shoe deals also drive stardom. Marketers and media have the ability to dictate culture and what’s popular. And right now, basketball companies are saying *only* white women are the face of the WNBA, when A’ja, Arike, Jewell, AT and Sky are right there. 

Some say “they’re just the best players right now and more marketable,” but come on. COME ON. Stop that. Anyone who is authentically working in women’s sports genuinely understands that representation matters, both ethically and economically. Anyone disagreeing with that is a false actor. This is a truth I have seen first-hand. 

The U.S. economy stands to add trillions annually if there were more women entrepreneurs (which would require VCs funding women at a greater clip than the current 2-13% rate). Meanwhile, underrepresentation of Black businesses is costing the economy additional billions in unrealized revenues. And so it as a member of both these groups, the Black woman, who faces hardship and unequal footing in America in society and in business, from private civilians to premier basketball players. 

A’ja Wilson is on the 2024 TIME100 List. And yet for all the progress in society regarding race, and the celebration that is made of A’ja now in media, when it comes to actual *business transactions* that require supporting Black women there is a statistical-based significant fall off that is supported by anecdotal evidence like this WNBA shoe example. 

Credit to shoe brands for their aforementioned work from 1995-2011. But how in the 12+ years since have we not had a Black woman in the WNBA with an active signature shoe line? It’s not enough for a player to just have a colorway. The signature shoe and the marketing push behind it comes with social implications.

I’m asking those with the power to create change to value Black Women.

The Stolen Wealth of Slavery: A Case for Reparations

The United States has a long and complicated history with slavery and its aftermath. The issue of reparations for Black Americans has been debated for decades, and there is no easy answer.

What is reparations?

Reparations are a form of compensation paid to individuals or groups who have been harmed by past injustices. In the case of Black Americans, reparations could take many forms, such as financial payments, land grants, or educational opportunities.

The case for reparations

Advocates of reparations argue that Black Americans have been systemically discriminated against for centuries, and that reparations are a way to address the harm caused by this discrimination. They point to the fact that Black Americans still face racial disparities in areas such as wealth, income, education, and criminal justice.

The case against reparations

Opponents of reparations argue that it is unfair to make current generations pay for the sins of their ancestors. They also argue that reparations would be impractical and difficult to implement.

The debate over reparations

The debate over reparations is likely to continue for many years to come. There are strong arguments on both sides of the issue, and there is no easy answer.

Recent developments

In recent years, there has been a growing movement to support reparations for Black Americans. In 2020, the House of Representatives passed a bill that would create a commission to study the issue of reparations. The bill is currently pending in the Senate.

The Stolen Wealth of Slavery: A Case for Reparations by David Montero and Michael Eric Dyson, Ph.D.

Donate to support FAN’s vision of an informed and compassionate community: https://www.familyactionnetwork.net/support/

David Montero:
https://www.familyactionnetwork.net/speaker/david-montero/

Michael Eric Dyson, Ph.D.:
https://www.familyactionnetwork.net/speaker/michael-eric-dyson-ph-d/

Michael Eric Dyson, Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America: https://youtu.be/B7PFZvrjRh8?si=IWSW_8UB4-YXGERu

“Slavery isn’t just a Southern story. The North benefited from stolen labor,” review of Montero’s book in the Christian Science Monitor, April 25, 2024: https://www.csmonitor.com/text_edition/Books/Book-Reviews/2024/0425/stolen-wealth-of-slavery-David-Montero-reparations

Jonathan Eig, 2024 Pulitzer Prize winner (Biography), for “King: A Life”: https://www.jonathaneig.com/
Book Club: Kickback – Exposing the Global Corporate Bribery Network – by David Montero, Thom Hartmann Program, Aug 31, 2018: https://youtu.be/tJsD8ozY4Hg?si=31aH6nuhIaHgiNAm

The New York Kidnapping Club: Wall Street, Slavery, and Resistance on the Eve of the Civil War, by Jonathan Daniel Wells:
https://www.jonathandanielwells.com/the-new-york-kidnapping-club

“How Wall Street Funded Slavery,” Montero’s Feb. 9, 2024 piece for TIME magazine:
https://time.com/6692434/6692434/

“Book on slavery’s wealth touches prominent Pittsburgh philanthropists,” 90.5 WESA: https://www.wesa.fm/identity-community/2024-04-02/prominent-pittsburgh-philanthropists-slavery-wealth-book