Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Lawsuit: Mississippi fails to educate black children equally

Mississippi is denying good schools to African American students in violation of the federal law that enabled the state to rejoin the union after the Civil War, a legal group alleged Tuesday.

The Southern Poverty Law Center wants a federal judge to force state leaders to comply with the 1870 law, which says Mississippi must never deprive any citizen of the "school rights and privileges" described in the state's first post-Civil War constitution.

That law still obligates Mississippi to provide a "uniform system of free public schools" for all children, but the state has instead watered down education protections in a white supremacist effort to prevent the education of blacks, the group said.

"From 1890 until the present day, Mississippi repeatedly has amended its education clause and has used those amendments to systematically and deliberately deprive African-Americans of the education rights guaranteed to all Mississippi schoolchildren by the 1868 Constitution," the suit states.

The named defendants include Gov. Phil Bryant, Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, House Speaker Philip Gunn and Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann, all Republican elected officials. It also names state school Superintendent Carey Wright and the nine appointed members of the state Board of Education.

Mississippi's public schools have stubbornly ranked at or near the bottom of national measures of academic achievement and progress. But Bryant and Reeves said Mississippi's education system is improving under their leadership.

Read more: Lawsuit: Mississippi fails to educate black children equally

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Black Lives Matter Wins 2017 Sydney Peace Prize


For building a powerful movement for racial equality, courageously reigniting a global conversation around state violence and racism. And for harnessing the potential of new platforms and power of people to inspire a bold movement for change at a time when peace is threatened by growing inequality and injustice.


In 2014, Black Lives Matter emerged as a global phenomenon when the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter turned into a rallying cry for a new generation of civil rights activists and organisers. A movement swept across the United States, affirming black humanity in the face of relentless police brutality, mass incarceration and racial disparity.

Built and sustained by many, the Black Lives Matter Global Network (BLM) has played a vital role in growing the Movement for Black Lives, and its loud calls for justice, dignity and equality have resonated around the world.

Not a moment, but a movement

Since creating the social media hashtag #BlackLivesMatter in 2012, BLM’s Co-Founders, Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi steadily and strategically built the scaffolding of a nationwide on-the-ground political network that now has 39 chapters worldwide.

Encouraging a broader and deeper conversation about what justice for black people looks like — and how people can join forces to achieve it — the Black Lives Matter Network nurtures an inclusive, decentralised and leaderful movement from the bottom-up. The Founders want the faces of this movement to reflect the change they strive towards in their own communities, which is that all black lives matter, regardless of their gender, class, sexual orientation, or age.

An intervention

For the Founders, Black Lives Matter Network is not ‘just’ about extrajudicial killings and police reform. Rather, it is an intervention: Black Lives Matter demands that American society reconsider how it values black lives by identifying where and how black life is cut short by the state, whether in viral videos of police brutality, the self-fulfilling prophecy of the criminal justice system, or in areas where black communities disproportionally face homelessness, poverty and economic disparity.

Black Lives Matter is our call to action. It is about replacing narratives of black criminality with black humanity. It is a tool to reimagine a world where black people are free to exist, free to live, and a tool for our allies to show up for us.

Patrisse Cullors, Co-Founder

Black Lives Matter is about changing the conversation: If it is true that black lives matter, then what does that mean for police reform, for our justice systems, for schools, for jobs, for infrastructure, and for economic development? If black lives matter, then what needs to change in politics and in the media?

In only a few years, it has rapidly evolved well beyond a hashtag, into a social movement that is healing and organising communities across the USA, and has both political aims as well as visionary policy demands.

Vision, leadership, heart and courage

Without justice, peace is hollow and fragile. As societies and human beings, we cannot be at peace when people around us are suffering. Or when rules, institutions and behaviours that shape our daily lives – visible or invisible – tell us that the lives of people around us matter less, or don’t matter at all.

The committee noted that the conversation about Black Lives Matter is an age-old conversation, but commended today’s movement for creating a unique opportunity to change the course of history:

Black Lives Matter offers bold and visionary solutions to build societies where black people, and by extension all people, are free to live safe and dignified lives. This vision of love, hope, resistance and dissent resonates around the globe and particularly in Australia where the struggle with racism towards our First Peoples, asylum seekers and other excluded and marginalised communities scars our country and tarnishes our international reputation.

To turn a radically inclusive message into a rallying cry for millions of people requires vision, leadership, heart and courage. Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi and the many other Black Lives Matter leaders challenge us all to rethink, reimagine and reconstruct the societies we live in. This is an urgent and vital challenge, not least here in Australia, a country that struggles to come to terms with its past and fails to right ongoing wrongs.

This is the first time that a movement and not a person has been awarded the Peace Prize – a timely choice. Climate change is escalating fast, increasing inequality and racism are feeding divisiveness, and we are in the middle of the worst refugee crisis since World War II. Yet many establishment leaders across the world stick their heads in the sand or turn their backs on justice, fairness and equality.

The power of ordinary people is a phenomenal force for change – now more than ever, popular movements and political resistance is crucial.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

OPINION: Why the NAACP is letting Cornell Williams Brooks go.

Hi, this is George Cook of African American Reports. In case you didn't know the NAACP has decided not to renew it's President/CEO, Cornell William Brooks when his term expires on June 30. Here is my humble opinion on why the NAACP is letting a hard working man of integrity go.

Congressman Al Green receives death / lynching threats after calling for Trump impeachment

Congressman Al Green gained national attention as the first representative to call for President Donald Trump's impeachment on the house floor, but he told town hall attendees in Houston that move has also brought threats of lynchings and death threats to his congressional offices.

OPINION: George cook African American Reports, You can't make death threats

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Sheriff David Clarke plagiarized portions of his master's thesis on homeland security

Controversial Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, who this week announced he will be joining Donald Trump's administration as assistant secretary in the Department of Homeland Security, plagiarized sections of his 2013 master's thesis on US security, a CNN KFile review has found.

Clarke, a visible surrogate for Trump during the campaign known for his incendiary rhetoric, earned a master's degree in security studies at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California. In his thesis, "Making U.S. security and privacy rights compatible," Clarke failed to properly attribute his sources at least 47 times.

In all instances reviewed by CNN's KFile, Clarke lifts language from sources and credits them with a footnote, but does not indicate with quotation marks that he is taking the words verbatim.

According to guidelines on plagiarism posted on the Naval Postgraduate School's website, "If a passage is quoted verbatim, it must be set off with quotation marks (or, if it is a longer passage, presented as indented text), and followed by a properly formulated citation. The length of the phrase does not matter. If someone else's words are sufficiently significant to be worth quoting, then accurate quotation followed by a correct citation is essential, even if only a few words are involved."

The school's honor code defines plagiarism as "submitting material that in part or whole is not one's own work without proper attribution. Plagiarism is further defined as the use, without giving reasonable and appropriate credit to or acknowledging the author or source, of another person's original work, whether such work is made up of code, formulas, ideas, language, research, strategies, writing or other form(s)."

Sources Clarke plagiarized include a 2002 ACLU report about "The Government's Demand for New and Unnecessary Powers After September 11," a 2003 ACLU report critical of the FBI's records-collection practices, a 2007 ACLU report on "fusion centers," and a 2011 ACLU report on the need to overhaul secrecy laws.

Other sources Clarke lifted words from include: the 9/11 Commission Report, a 2011 article in the Homeland Security Affairs journal, the Pew Research Center, a 2012 report by the Constitution Project, a 2003 report by the US General Accounting Office, a 2011 Brennan Center report, a 2013 Washington Post article about the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, Comparative Homeland Security: Global Lessons, a textbook by Nadav Morag, and Safe Cities Project, a research paper published by the Manhattan Institute.

Read more: Sheriff David Clarke plagiarized portions of his master's thesis on homeland security