Category: Prime Politics Written by News One
UPDATE — 08/02/13:
Folding to revolutionary pressure, Florida lawmakers announced Friday that they will hold hearings this fall on the state’s controversial and racially biased “Stand Your Ground” laws, reports Raw Story.
Will Weatherford, the speaker of Florida’s House of Representatives, made the announcement, which marks the largest victory to date for the bold and courageous ‘Dream Defenders.’
“Across Florida, representatives are receiving calls, letters, visits and emails from constituents with diverse opinions on ‘Stand Your Ground,’” Weatherford said. “Passions are high, but every person has the right to express their views on this matter of great importance.”
“Our evaluation of its (the law’s) effectiveness should be guided by objective information, not by political expediency,” Weatherford wrote in an op-ed for the Tampa Tribune.
“Does the law keep the innocent safer? Is it being applied fairly? Are there ways we can make this law clearer and more understandable?”
Phillip Agnew, executive director of the Dream Defenders, acknowledged the milestone:
“It’s a critical first step.”
In addition to the Dream Defenders, Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton, President Barack Obama, Attorney General Eric Holder, Rev. Jesse Jackson, MSNBC’s PoliticsNation host Rev. Al Sharpton, Harry Belafonte and a host of other celebrities and public figures have called for a review of the laws.
A group of student revolutionaries known as the Dream Defenders has occupied Florida’s Capitol building for the sixteenth day, refusing to leave until Gov. Rick Scott reevaluates the state’s ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws, reports USA Today.
Forming immediately after George Zimmerman was found ‘not guilty’ of murdering Trayvon Martin on July 13, 2013, the group’s numbers have ebbed and flowed, but their presence has remained constant.
And they are not leaving.
Read more from USA Today:
On July 18, the Dream Defenders met with [Gov. Scott] and demanded that he convene a special committee to re-evaluate the “stand your ground” law.
He told them “no.”
The Dream Defenders have since drawn national attention to their cause and plan to camp out inside the Capitol until their demands are met.
“It is our attempt to try and receive justice from our justice system,” says Lashanett Lorraine, a Dream Defender from Florida A&M University.
Even though the number of protesters ebbs and flows — from 30 to 70 people — they maintain a constant presence.
“There’s new people showing up every day … folks coming in from all over the state,” says Dream Defender Michael Sampson, a student at Florida State University. “And we still have a steady flow of rock-hard, solid people who are not going to stop.”
“Last Friday, we had a rally with around 400 people, and Harry Belafonte came to speak,” he says.
Tuesday, they gained the support of the Rev. Jesse Jackson, who showed up to a mock session of the Florida Legislature hosted by the Dream Defenders.
Dubbed the “People’s Session,” they discussed the idea of “Trayvon’s Law,” a proposal to address three key issues and their goals for ending the occupation: ethics training to reduce racial profiling by law enforcement, repealing the “stand your ground” law and repealing zero-tolerance in schools — which they claim fuels a “school to prison” pipeline by expelling students for minor infractions.
See the Dream Defenders in action below:
Last Updated on Monday, 05 August 2013 02:05
Category: Prime Politics Written by Michigan Chronicle Staff
WHAT: Outdoor press conference at which representatives of Detroit's Emergency Medical Technicians will announce their workers' support of Mike Duggan for Mayor of Detroit, saying he is the candidate best able to restore leadership and morale within the department so it can provide improved services to citizens.
WHEN: 3:30 p.m., Wednesday, July 31, 2013
WHO: Detroit Mayoral Candidate Mike Duggan
Detroit EMS workers representative Joe Barney & several other Detroit EMTs
WHERE: Across the street from the Detroit Fire Department Apparatus facility, also known as the "Graveyard", located at the corner of Wilkins and Riopelle in Detroit's Eastern Market. The press conference will be held on Wilkins Street, immediately west of Riopelle.
VISUAL: A backdrop to the press conference will be a lot filled with EMS rigs that are in such disrepair that they have been taken out of service.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 31 July 2013 15:34
Category: Prime Politics Written by Sam Stein/ Huffington Post
Against the backdrop of a stable but still lethargic economy, President Barack Obama on Wednesday urged Congress to end what he deemed worsening gridlock and to join him in crafting a constructive agenda for jobs, immigration reform and health care implementation.
The speech, which was widely hyped in advance by the administration, was heavy on broad themes while touching on a few specifics. The president pitched a refinancing plan for mortgages, a long-term fix to student loans, worker training programs, and a renewed focus on manufacturing jobs and infrastructure repair. Speaking at Knox College, he called on Congress to offer constructive input on all these fronts.
Last Updated on Thursday, 25 July 2013 12:04
Category: Prime Politics Written by D.L. Chandler/ News One Staff
On Thursday, Attorney General Eric Holder (pictured) referenced the Supreme Court's decision to strike down a key provision of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 in a speech to the National Urban League at the organization's annual convention in Philadelphia. Speaking indirectly to Texas lawmakers, Holder is turning his attention on the state and asking it to approve any changes to voting rules with the Justice Department via the "preclearance" rule.
Last month, the high court struck down one of the key provisions of the Act, Section 4B or "preclearance," which allowed the Justice Department to intervene should states under the law make changes or added voting rules that added a discriminatory or disruptive bent.
Five states, Texas, South Carolina, Virginia, Alabama, and Mississippi, quickly moved ahead with controversial Voter ID laws that the Department of Justice (DOJ) found discriminatory.
Holder is clear that his department wants Texas to uphold preclearance from the Voting Rights Act, and spoke openly at the convention of what his office intends.
From Eric Holder:
[T]oday I am announcing that the Justice Department will ask a federal court in Texas to subject the State of Texas to a preclearance regime similar to the one required by Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. This request to "bail in" the state – and require it to obtain "pre-approval" from either the Department or a federal court before implementing future voting changes – is available under the Voting Rights Act when intentional voting discrimination is found.
Based on the evidence of intentional racial discrimination that was presented last year in the redistricting case, Texas v. Holder – as well as the history of pervasive voting-related discrimination against racial minorities that the Supreme Court itself has recognized – we believe that the State of Texas should be required to go through a preclearance process whenever it changes its voting laws and practices.
Watch Eric Holder's speech to the Urban League here:
Holder vowed that this will the first of many actions to protect voting rights in Texas after the controversial "Texas v. Holder" ruling. Georgia Rep. John Lewis praised Holder for his comments, and hopes that North Carolina, undergoing an ugly battle over a Republican-led voting rights bill, will be next to get the DOJ's attention.
Last Updated on Friday, 26 July 2013 13:56
Category: Prime Politics Written by CNN
It's go time: President Obama becomes Joe Citizen in 1,276 days. And yesterday he told his fellow citizens that he was not going to let Congress in the way of his remaining work for them. "Where I can act on my own, I'm going to. I'm not going to wait for Congress," he said in a speech. This is the opening punch of a fight over the nation's budget that is going to play out over the rest of the summer and into the fall.
Last Updated on Thursday, 25 July 2013 08:29
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