Tag: justice

PBS to Air Documentary on Iconic Civil Rights Leader John Lewis this February

john-lewis
Congressman John Lewis (photo via eurweb.com)

article by Ny Magee via eurweb.com

Georgia congressman John Lewis is finally getting what many believe to be the TV treatment he deserves. The civil rights icon is the focus of a forthcoming new documentary set to air on PBS.

Get In The Way: The Journey of John Lewis” aims to tell the story of the civil rights pioneer, who led a 26-hour sit-in for gun control, marched with Dr. King, challenged political houses and continues to fight for human rights, per Jetmag.com.

According to the film’s website, it offers a “highly personalized narrative of an epic chapter in U.S. history.”  The biographical documentary will air on PBS as part of the network’s Black History Month programming.

“He is the moving, roaring protector of the rights afforded to every person in this nation. Get in the Way arrives at the perfect time,” actress and activist Alfre Woodard is quoted as saying in the documentary highlights.

“Get In The Way” airs on Feb. 10.

To read full article, go to: http://www.eurweb.com/2017/01/john-lewis-pbs-air-documentary-iconic-civil-rights-leader/#

Born on this Day in 1929: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (follow @lakinhutcherson)

Martin-Luther-King-Jr-9365086-2-402Although Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday will not be nationally observed until tomorrow, January 16, we want to honor King today as well, on his actual day of birth.

To learn more about this monumental agent of political and social change, go to biography.com, and to listen to a speech of his more relevant today than ever, check out this concluding segment from 1967’s “Where Do We Go From Here?” above.

Some stirring quotes from this speech of Dr. King’s include:

… I’m concerned about a better world. I’m concerned about justice; I’m concerned about brotherhood; I’m concerned about truth. And when one is concerned about that, he can never advocate violence. For through violence you may murder a murderer, but you can’t murder murder. Through violence you may murder a liar, but you can’t establish truth. Through violence you may murder a hater, but you can’t murder hate through violence. Darkness cannot put out darkness; only light can do that.

And:

And I say to you, I have also decided to stick with love, for I know that love is ultimately the only answer to mankind’s problems. And I’m going to talk about it everywhere I go. I know it isn’t popular to talk about it in some circles today. And I’m not talking about emotional bosh when I talk about love; I’m talking about a strong, demanding love. For I have seen too much hate. I’ve seen too much hate on the faces of sheriffs in the South. I’ve seen hate on the faces of too many Klansmen and too many White Citizens Councilors in the South to want to hate, myself, because every time I see it, I know that it does something to their faces and their personalities, and I say to myself that hate is too great a burden to bear. I have decided to love.  If you are seeking the highest good, I think you can find it through love.

California Prisons Agree to End Race-Based Lockdowns

In settling a federal civil rights suit, California prisons agreed Wednesday to no longer base lockdowns on inmates’ race or ethnicity.

The suit, filed in 2008 on behalf of male prisoners, alleged that the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation violates inmates’ constitutional rights by imposing excessively long modified programs and lockdowns.

Corrections officials have said in the past that segregation units are needed in maximum-security lockups to control prison gangs responsible for violence and crime.

Under the settlement, “lockdowns or modified programs may be (1) imposed on all inmates, and lifted from all inmates in the affected area, or (2) imposed and lifted from inmates in the affected area based on individualized threat assessments.”

Furthermore, if a modified program or lockdown lasts more than 14 days, the warden is required under the settlement to start giving outdoor activity to the affected inmates.

“We see this as a tremendous result,” said Rebekah Evenson, one of the attorneys representing inmates.

article by Lauren Raab and Paige St. John via latimes.com

Marlene Pinnock, Woman Beaten by California Highway Patrolman, Settles for $1.5 Million

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Marlene Pinnock, the 51-year-old woman punched repeatedly by California Highway Patrol officer Daniel Andrew on the side of a freeway in an incident caught on video, will receive $1.5 million under a settlement reached Wednesday night, and the officer has agreed to resign.

On July 1, a passing driver captured video of Pinnock being repeatedly pummeled by Andrew, and she filed suit in August.

marlenepinnock_zps31e51969The Associated Press reports that Pinnock and the CHP reached an agreement after a lengthy mediation.

“When this incident occurred, I promised that I would look into it and vowed a swift resolution,” CHP Commissioner John Farrow said in a statement. “Today, we have worked constructively to reach a settlement agreement that is satisfactory to all parties involved.”

The statement said that Officer Andrew, who joined the CHP in 2012 and has been on paid administrative leave since the incident, “has elected to resign.”

Andrew could still be charged criminally in the case. The CHP forwarded the results of its investigation of the incident to Los Angeles County prosecutors last month, saying he could face serious charges but none have been filed yet.

The bulk of the settlement will take the form of a special needs trust for Pinnock, the CHP said. Pinnock’s attorney Caree Harper said the settlement fulfilled the two elements her side was looking for.

“One of the things we wanted to make sure of was that she was provided for in a manner that accommodated her unique situation in life,” Harper said, “and that the officer was not going to be an officer anymore and we secured those things.”

article via forharriet.com

Marissa Alexander, Woman Sentenced To 20 Years For Firing Warning Shot in Florida, Gets New Trial

Marissa Alexander new trialTALLAHASSEE, Fla. — A Florida woman serving 20 years in prison for firing a shot at her estranged husband during an argument will get a new trial, though she will not be able to invoke a “stand your ground” defense, an appeals court ruled Thursday.

The case of Marissa Alexander, a Jacksonville mother of three, has been used by critics of Florida’s “stand your ground” law and mandatory minimum sentences to argue that the state’s justice system is skewed against defendants who are black.

The 1st District Court of Appeal ruled that Alexander deserves a new trial because the trial judge handling her case did not properly instruct the jury regarding what is needed to prove self-defense.

The ruling, written by Judge Robert Benton, said the instructions constituted a “fundamental error” and required Alexander to prove self-defense “beyond a reasonable doubt.”  But the court also made it clear in its ruling that the judge was right to block Alexander from using the state’s “stand your ground” law as a way to defend her actions. That law generally removes people’s duty to retreat in the face of possible danger and allows them to use of deadly force if they believe their lives are in danger.

Faith Gay, one of the attorneys representing the 33-year-old Alexander, said she was grateful for the “thorough consideration” provided by the appeals court.  “We are looking forward to taking the case back to trial,” Gay said.

Continue reading “Marissa Alexander, Woman Sentenced To 20 Years For Firing Warning Shot in Florida, Gets New Trial”

Jury Awards $1 Million To John Collins, Who Sued City of Chicago For False Police Charges

John Collins
John Collins, who was wrongfully imprisoned in Cook County Jail for over a year.

Cook County jurors on Tuesday awarded $1 million to a man who was wrongfully held in jail for more than a year.  John Collins, a 42-year-old Chicago barber, was arrested in 2006 and spent 385 days in jail due to false charges of aggravated battery to a police office, officials said.  After a three-day trial, a jury found the city of Chicago and Chicago police Officer Michael Garza guilty of malicious prosecution.

“I felt like a right in the pool of wrong,” Collins said of his time in jail. “I didn’t want to swim in that pool no more, but I didn’t want to drown either. So I kept fighting.”  When officers pulled Collins over in 2006, he’d just left his salon.  One officer accused him of kicking and spitting on them, but a jury acquitted Collins and he was released from Cook County in 2007.

“All I know is that I ended up a victim,” he said. Collins said the trauma and distress is still with him. “I was just devastated,” he said. “I was just devastated.” Collins missed the birth of his now 7-year-old son Elwood while in jail, a moment he said he can never get back.  Since his release, Collins has worked continuously in his Dolton salon, and noted the verdict brings him a step closer to having his life back.  “I’m thankful that someone’s seen justice,” he said.

A spokesman for the city’s Law Department said they are “disappointed” in the verdict in the case and said they plan to “explore all available options including an appeal.”

article by Natalie Martinez via nbcchicago.com

Smithsonian’s National Museum of African-American History Wants Trayvon Martin’s hoodie

Trayvon Martin

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African-American History wants the hooded sweatshirt Trayvon Martin was wearing when he was shot and killed.  The 17-year-old was shot and killed on his way home by neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman. Zimmerman was charged with second-degree murder and pleaded not guilty, arguing self defense.

On July 13th, Zimmerman was acquitted of all charges by a Florida jury.  The hoodie Martin was wearing on the night of his death became a symbol for protesters and Martin family supporters.  Lonnie Bunch, the museum’s director, confirmed to The Washington Times that they are seeking the hoodie for display following the Department of Justice’s investigation.

“It became the symbolic way to talk the Trayvon Martin case. It’s rare that you get one artifact that really becomes the symbol,” Bunch told The Washington Times. “Because it’s such a symbol, it would allow you to talk about race in the age of Obama.”

The National Museum of African American History and Culture is set to open in 2015.

Related Stories:

article by Carrie Healey via thegrio.com

Jordan Davis’ Parents Speak: Our Son Will Not Die In Vain

Jordan Davis

As killer Michael Dunn, 45, prepares to face 1st-degree murder charges in September for the November 23, 2012 slaying of 17-year-old Jordan Davis, in an exclusive interview with Jet Magazine, the teen’s parents, Ron Davis and Lucia McBath, share the difficulties in keeping their son’s story alive and how they’ve bonded with Trayvon Martin‘s parents, Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin.

RELATED: Jordan Davis Killer’s Charges Upgraded To First-Degree Murder, Faces Life Without Parole

As previously reported by NewsOne, Davis was gunned down by Dunn at a gas station in Jacksonville, Florida.  As previously reported by NewsOne, Dunn claims that he felt threatened by the teen — who was sitting inside of an SUV with friends — and loud music coming from the vehicle, so he shot inside of it 8 or 9 times before driving away leaving Davis to die in a friend’s arms.

None of the teens had weapons.

The fact that Dunn was carrying a legal concealed weapon, and is counting on Florida’s controversial ‘Stand Your Ground’ law to justify his actions, has drawn attention to the racial implications of the law in a state where Black manhood is consistently criminalized.

Continue reading “Jordan Davis’ Parents Speak: Our Son Will Not Die In Vain”

Wet Seal to Settle Pennsylvania Race Discrimination Suit for $7.5 Million

Wet Seal

From Clutch Magazine:

Wet Seal has agreed to pay $7.5 million to settle a class action discrimination case that originated when three African-American store workers from Delaware County filed a complaint last year claiming Wet Seal, Inc. fired them because they didn’t fit the store’s image. Of that total amount, $5.58 million will go to current and former managers who are African-American.

In 2009, Nicole Cogdell, a manager at Wet Seal’s King of Prussia store, pulled together her team to welcome visiting corporate staff. Cogdell said she overheard an executive vice president tell a district manager during the visit that Cogdell “wasn’t the right fit for the store” and that the vice president “wanted someone with blonde hair and blue eyes.”

Cogdell was fired days later and was told by her district manager that she was fired for being African-American.  In one email, an executive wrote: “Store Teams – need diversification African American dominate – huge issue.”  Cogdell issued a statement through the NACCP Legal Defense and Educational Fund.  “Being targeted for termination from a job I loved because of my race was a nightmare,’ Cogdell said in the statement.

Read the rest of this story on Clutch Magazine.

Eric Holder Wants Voting Rights Act Provision Upheld by Supreme Court

Eric Holder

WASHINGTON (AP) — On April 4th, the 45th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s death, Attorney General Eric Holder challenged the Supreme Court to uphold a key section of the Voting Rights Act that requires all or part of 15 states with a history of discrimination to get federal clearance before carrying out changes in elections.

Holder made the comments Thursday in a speech to a civil rights group whose founder and president is the Rev. Al Sharpton. Focusing on issues he regards as important during President Barack Obama’s second term in office, Holder vowed to protect the voting rights of all Americans, safeguard young people from gun violence and improve the criminal justice system.

Opponents of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 say the pre-clearance requirement has outlived its usefulness. Starting in 2009, the Supreme Court made clear its skepticism about the present-day need for the provision. The court is considering a challenge on the issue from Shelby County, Ala., near Birmingham.

Continue reading “Eric Holder Wants Voting Rights Act Provision Upheld by Supreme Court”