Saturday, October 10, 2015

Alabama Voter ID Laws Disenfranchise African Americans

President Lyndon B. Johnson had to sign a Voting Rights Act Bill in 1965 because African Americans were being denied the right to vote although the 15th amendment was passed in 1870. The 15th amendment granted to the Constitution granted African American men the right to vote by declaring that the "right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude." Although ratified on February 3, 1870, the promise of the 15th Amendment would not be fully realized for almost a century (Library of Congress).
Southern Whites did not want African Americans to vote so they did everything to obstruct it using scare tactics, lynching, poll tax, literacy tax among other insidious acts. This supposedly came to an end when President Lyndon B. Johnson sign the Voters right Act in 1965 so we thought. The Republican Party has tried various tactics present day to obstruct the right to vote for African Americans and other minorities. The latest tactic is trying to implement VOTER ID LAWS under the guise of trying to stop voter fraud which the statistics suggest is virtually nonexistent. The GOP hopes to discourage minority vote from voting because they would mainly vote Democratic in the election.
 The New Yorker reported that experts agree that actual incidents of in-person voter fraud -- the type of voter fraud that strict voter ID laws can prevent -- are "virtually non-existent," and fears of voter fraud have been largely invented as a way to "excite the base." [The New Yorker, 10/29/12.]
 The New York University School of Law's Brennan Center has repeatedly explained that in-person voter fraud is not a justification for strict voter ID laws, because voter impersonation is "more rare than getting struck by lightning," and allegations of widespread fraud typically "amount to a great deal of smoke without much fire" and "simply do not pan out." [Brennan Center For Justice, 2007]
Loyola University Law School professor Justin Levitt, who investigated "any specific, credible allegation" of voter impersonation fraud, found a total of "about 31 different incidents" since 2000 of in-person voter fraud out of over 1 billion ballots cast. [The Washington Post, Wonk blog8/6/14
Alabama’s voter-identification law went into effect last year, requiring voters to present a government-issued photo ID at the polls. A state-issued driver’s license is the most popular form of identification, and critics say the closure of offices that issue them is yet another barrier for poor and minority voters. To add insult to injury, the Alabama State Government closed 31 driver’s- license offices which are all in heavy populated African American areas. This move was clearly a way to obstruct the African American vote. This must be highlighted, discussed and overturned. The power is in the ballot.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

National Rifle Association, Congress and Guns Take America Hostage

American citizens are being held hostage by Congress and Congress are being held hostage by the National Rifle Association(NRA). They refuse to do gun reform because the NRA threatens to spend millions on smear campaigns against them if they pass any legislation that would dig into the profits of gun makers and gun dealers. This is a travesty in the wake of the recent mass shootings that has afflicted America.  In addition and just as important are the senseless and countless deaths of citizens all across the country in an epidemic of violence in wake of the spike in crime in urban cities all across America. In 2013 The  U.S.Senate was going to vote on a gun reform bill which would be the first in decades. At the time polls showed that 90% of Americans favored and supported background checks for all gun purchases. It failed to pass legislation! Congress folded and failed! Why? Its because of the powerful NRA lobbyist and their piles of cash.

There are 4 ways the NRA lobbyist paralyze the gun reform legislative process. First,they exploit and prey on the pure passion and single mindedness of many gun owners. Second, they motivate their most passionate members to harass their elected officials and scare them from voting on such legislation. The elected officials want to get re-elected so they play into these scare tactics. Next, they will spend millions on smear campaign ads against any member of congress who will vote against their agenda. Finally, The NRA's ability to get their people out to vote on election day seals the deal. Common Sense laws are being ignored because of false fear, money and congress fear of not getting re-elected.

In 2011, the most recent year for which statistics are available, the U.S. had 11,101 homicides committed with firearms, which amounted to about 70 percent of all homicides, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That's a rate of about 3.6 gun killings per 100,000 people [source: Hoyert and Xu].

A 2004 study by University of Pennsylvania researchers for the Department of Justice found that from 1995 to 2003, gun crimes involving assault weapons that were banned by the law declined in six U.S. cities by between 17 percent and 72 percent.

These shootings also bring up another issue which is mental health going unchecked as well as those people having access to buy guns. Lets examine three of the many mass shootings which affect victims of all demographics in places of perceived safety such as school, church, and a U.S. military recruitment center.

Oct. 1, 2015. Roseburg, Ore.
At least 10 people were shot dead at Umpqua Community College in southern Oregon after gunman Chris Harper Mercer, 26, opened fire. The gunman died in an exchange of fire with the police.

July 16, Chattanooga, Tenn.
Four Marines and a Navy petty officer were killed after a man opened fire at two military locations. The Federal Bureau of Investigation identified the gunman, who also died, as Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez, 24.

June 18, 2015. Charleston, S.C.
Nine people are shot dead in a historic black church in Charleston, S.C. The victims range in age from 26 to 87 and include the Rev. Clementa C. Pinckney, a prominent state senator. Police arrest Dylann Storm Roof, 21, a white man with a history of anti-black views.

The NRA event spent money on ads  attacking President Obama and his daughters! Check out the video!

This must stop! Do not let the NRA nor Congress take America Hostage! Reverse the tide and threaten not to re-elect congress who do not vote for common sense gun legislation!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Straight Talk: Make Education the Solution

Straight Talk: Make Education the Solution: Growing up we were always told to go to school and learn the golden rule. Education was sold to us as the ultimate way to success. Today in ...

Monday, May 4, 2015

Make Education the Solution

Growing up we were always told to go to school and learn the golden rule. Education was sold to us as the ultimate way to success. Today in 2015 students seem to think that education is not the solution to success or rather they do not believe in it to be their vehicle for achievement. Somehow and somewhere we lost the effectiveness of making education important to our youth. The media has played a huge part in this along with the lost of jobs and increasing technology. Oh what an irony that the increase of technology has played a part in the demise of education. The media part in this debacle is the portrayal of education as not needed and second fiddle to the instant start up entrepreneur in their parents garage. I'm not knocking that however its not being presented with balance. Those entrepreneurs had the basics of education and combined it with their creativity and knowledge. It was a process that included a basic foundation of education. Our students need to recognize and understand that this is a necessary process. The  lost of jobs in this economy also has played a part. Children are watching their parents lose jobs and struggle although they went to college and have degrees. This can be challenging to explain however they must understand that this is even more of a reason to have a foundation in education to be able to make better moves and increase your competitive edge. This leads to the anomaly of technology which has changed the way the world operates. Things such as applying for college, scholarships, and jobs  is now done in the blink of an eye with computers,laptops,tablets and smart phones. Although students have access to this technology they have been distracted with social media. They are consumed with imagery and consumption. The classroom environment is interrupted by the use of this medium more than being used for the progression of the student. We have to use this technology in the classroom to capture the attention and minds of our youth. We must incorporate technology and show students how they can use it for their advancement as well as their leisure. Creating a balance with education and technology will sell itself to students. Our students need this for education to become a more viable solution for their growth and success,

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Importance of Mentoring

There is a saying that says, "It takes a village to raise a child." This is not just a cliche but rather a proven and necessary element for a child's success. The mentoring process can provide guidance for a child in the areas of life, education, career choices, etc. As adults sometimes we take it for granted but we all know that no one can succeed alone. We all need help and support along with the periodic nudge when we start to slack off from the things that make our goals attainable. These are all elements that make the mentoring process necessary for our young men and women to be successful in life as well as achieving their endeavors.

There has to be a process of raising the level of expectations for our youth today. We are in a age of instant gratification and the steps of working towards a goal have been eliminated in the lives of some of our youth. As a mentor we must instill that there are stages of progression which require work. We must nurture and guide this process for those whom we mentor. There has to be adherence to these steps for they will forever create life long learners and achievers. Allow me to share a real life example. The other day in Southeast D.C. I was mentoring and tutoring a male high school senior. He told me that he recently started to raise his level of expectations for himself because of the influence of mentors who expressed high hopes and expectations for him. Unfortunately this young male lost his mother at an early age to the streets. He was raised by his grandmother for a short time. He says that his grandmother told him that he did not have to get A's and B's for her to be happy or for him to be successful. She told him that as long as he earned C's he would be passing. So in turn he says that's what he aimed for....C's. He then lost his grandmother and moved in with his aunt who also expressed similar low expectations. It was when he was influenced by mentors that he realized that he can achieve higher. This young man has been accepted into college due to his hard work and dedication. He now says that he could have been accepted into more colleges along with receiving scholarships if he had higher grades early on. I encouraged him to still apply for scholarships now as well as every year that he is in college. He says that he plans to maintain a high GPA so that he can get more scholarships every year that he is in college. The power of mentoring can change lives just as it is transforming this young man.We need to take the opportunities within our families, neighborhoods, churches, civic organizations etc. to mentor a youth. Mentor a youth today.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Straight Talk: Higher Education: The New Bubble or Racket

Straight Talk: Higher Education: The New Bubble or Racket: Higher Education is part of the American Dream. We were told when we were in school that if you go to college and work hard that there would...

Straight Talk: Poverty and Education

Straight Talk: Poverty and Education: There has been an increase in child poverty in the United States and its affecting education. Whenever this topic is brought up some people ...