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Sen. Kamala Harris Pays Homage to Shirley Chisholm

"Like Shirley, I believe that to restore confidence and trust in our institutions and leaders, we need to speak truth," Harris said of Chisholm.

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Kamala Harris' announcement on "Good Morning America" on Martin Luther King Jr. Day was a stark reminder of what happened 47 years ago this week in a race for the presidency.

Harris is standing on the shoulders of Shirley Chisholm, the first Black woman to run for president, and 10 other Black women.

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Rep. Ocasio-Cortez Makes C-SPAN History With Speech on Government Shutdown

"This shutdown is about the erosion of American democracy and the subversion of our most basic governmental norms," said Ocasio-Cortez.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's (D-N.Y.) first speech on the floor of the House of Representatives broke a C-SPAN online viewing record for House speeches.

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Rep. Steve King's Racism is Finally Making Republicans Uncomfortable

King has been stripped of his committee assignments, but is it too little, too late?

YOUTUBE

U.S. Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) was stripped of his committee assignments in Congress by House Republicans on Monday evening. It seems the backlash from King's recent remarks on white supremacy and white nationalism finally caused the Republican Party to take action. But why are Republicans now outraged when King has been sharing his racist beliefs for years?

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Congressional Black Caucus Condemns Steve King for Defending White Nationalism

Anything less than kicking him out of the party and Congress is a "tacit acceptance of racism from the Republican Party," says Rep. Karen Bass.

Rep. Steve King's (R-Iowa) comments on white supremacy and white nationalism have sparked a call by the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) to kick him out of government altogether.

"If Republicans really believe these racist statements have no place in our government, then their party must offer more than shallow temporary statements of condemnation," said, CBC Chairwoman Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.) in a statement.

"Instead, they must actually condemn Mr. King by removing him from his committee assignments so that he can no longer affect policies that impact the very people he has made it clear he disdains."

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Ask the CEO: Is Criticism of Schumer and Pelosi Ageism?

Or is a tyranny of old people and a lack of leadership skills, most importantly mentoring and sponsoring the next generation, open for criticism?

I received a comment from a reader on my last column.

Here's the gist of it:

"I did not tweet or post (your last column) because of the ageist comment/s made about Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer. I have no problem with them being criticized as lackluster, but not because of their age."

Here's my response:

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Statue of Shirley Chisholm is 'Long Overdue,' Says NYC's First Lady

The first Black Congresswoman in the U.S. to be honored in her hometown of Brooklyn. And Viola Davis is set to play Chisholm in an upcoming biopic.

Late politician Shirley Chisholm, a trailblazer who worked to improve the lives of others, became the first Black woman elected to Congress in 1968. Fifty years after she made history, New York City announced it would honor Chisholm with a statue in her hometown.

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Ayanna Pressley Tweets Epic Photo of New Congresswomen

Pressley gives a shoutout to fellow Democrats who are making history in Congress.

REUTERS

Ayanna Pressley, the first Black woman to be elected to Congress in Massachusetts' history, posted a photo on Twitter on Thursday night that's since gotten more than 27,000 likes.

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A Black Father Pushes Congress to Save the Lives of Black Mothers

Charles Johnson lost his wife post childbirth and he's fighting to make sure no more Black women die from poor post-natal care.

Screenshot from YOUTUBE

Charles Johnson IV posted on Instagram Thursday morning that the final deadline in getting Congress to pass the Preventing Maternal Deaths Act is next week.

Johnson, a Los Angeles resident, has been fighting for Black mothers like his wife, Kira. She died in 2016 in a hospital that left her bleeding internally for 10 hours without a CT scan after giving birth to their second child. Medical professionals had told Johnson, who was pleading for help for his wife, that she "wasn't a priority" for them.

Johnson and his mother, TV judge Glenda Hatchett, are advocating for Black women, as they are three to four times as likely to die from pregnancy-related causes as their white counterparts, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Johnson and his two sons are also plaintiffs in a lawsuit against the hospital and several doctors alleging wrongful death and negligent infliction of emotional distress.

Kira Johnson died of "hemorrhagic shock due to acute hemoperitoneum," which the lawsuit said doctors failed to properly diagnose and treat.

Black women including, Serena Williams, have put the alarming statistics into perspective. Williams demanded a CT scan after giving birth to her daughter, Olympia, when she felt short of breath. A nurse had told her she was confused because of her pain medication, but Williams was persistent and it ended up saving her life.

Johnson formed 4Kira4Moms, a nonprofit dedicated to honor Kira's life and to prevent other families from experiencing unnecessary birth-related deaths.

Johnson and Hatchett, recently participated in a congressional briefing on maternal mortality hosted by the Reproductive Justice Initiative.

"They did nothing to correct it in a timely manner," Hatchett said.

"This is a woman who would be alive today had it not been for, what we say in the complaint, medical negligence. One minute we're at the hospital celebrating [the couple's] second son's birth, just a very joyous time and then hours later, she's gone…"

His testimony to Congress in September was followed by Rep. Joe Kennedy (D-MA) who read of the jarring statistics that Black women are 243% more likely to die from pregnancy or childbirth-related complications than white women.

The hospital's statement released TWO YEARS AFTER Kira's death:

"Kira Johnson's death was a tragedy. Her husband, Charles S. Johnson IV, and his mother, Judge Glenda Hatchett, are demonstrating important leadership in raising awareness of preventable maternal deaths. Cedars-Sinai strongly agrees with Judge Hatchett and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists that no mother should die giving birth."

"Based on our findings, we make any changes that are needed so that we can continue to provide the highest quality care to our patients. This includes reviewing hospital procedures as well as the competency of healthcare providers. Among other changes, we have updated processes for post-anesthesia care and have increased simulation training for physicians, nurses and other healthcare professionals related to care of hospitalized obstetric patients."


Charles Johnson shares the tragic story of his wife Kira's death hours after giving birth. www.youtube.com

Reader Question: Do you know any women who have experienced discrimination in medical care post child birth?

HBCUs​ Set Foundation for Black Politicians in Key Positions

"Black people have always been underestimated. The Black college experience is still an exceptional way to train young people," said Senator Art Haywood, a Morehouse Graduate.

Twitter

What Kamala Harris, Alma Adams, Andrew Gillum and Stacey Abrams all have in common, in addition to being influential in U.S. politics, is they're graduates of Historically Black Colleges and Universities ( HBCUs) — Howard University, North Carolina A&T, Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University, and Spelman College.

Approximately 40 percent of the members of Congress are HBCU graduates, according to the Network Journal, a Black professional and small business magazine. And recipients of The United Negro College Fund and Thurgood Marshall Foundation scholarships graduate from college at rates well above the national average.

"We're producing outstanding leaders in all of the major professions," said Harry L. Williams, president and CEO of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund and former Delaware State president.

"Anytime you can look at (HBCU) success stories, it just enhances their relevancy and continues to move them forward in a positive way."

This year, a record 38 women of color were elected to Congress. Many of them are HBCU graduates.

The prospect of so many Black-college graduates being elected to statewide office in the same year is unprecedented, Keneshia Grant, an assistant professor of political science at Howard University, said.

And they are touting their HBCU training. Abrams expressed her disapproval of legislation plans for education that did not include those institutions.

Gillum responded to President Trump's tweet attacking him about his lack of Ivy League education:

Art Haywood is one of four Black state senators in Pennsylvania, and one of two from Morehouse.

"If the two Black state senators had come from Harvard or Yale, then those schools would get all the credit," Haywood said.

"Black people have always been underestimated," Haywood said. "I don't think there's any more validation required. The Black college experience is still an exceptional way to train young people."

Of politicians like Abrams and Gillum, the president of HBCU Dillard University Walter Kimbrough said they are sending a message: "It's a reaffirmation, not only for students but for families, that you can go to an HBCU and compete with anyone."

Approximately 13 percent of HBCU graduates are CEOS, 40 percent are engineers and 50 percent are professors at non-HBCUs, according to the Network Journal.

The HBCUs Make America Strong: The Positive Economic Impact of Historically Black Colleges and Universities study shows how the United States economy benefits from HBCUs: $14.8 billion in economic impact. In addition, graduates predominantly come from low-income areas, giving them and the communities the opportunity to break cycles of poverty and open doors to successful and lucrative careers. Individual graduates can earn $927,000 within their lifetime, $130 billion collectively over their lifetime.

The New Congress Must Change 'Appalling Lack of Diversity Among Top Staff'

"The American public was more likely to elect a person of color to the House than House members were to hire top staff of color," according to a Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies report.

As a result of Tuesday's midterm elections, Democrats have won a majority in the House of Representatives, and Republicans will remain in control of the Senate, but Congress, as a whole, needs to make diversity a priority when it comes to hiring top staff members.

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TWITTER

Republican precinct committeeman Michael Kalny of Shawnee sent a Facebook message about Democratic congressional candidate Sharice Davids, who is running against incumbent Republican U.S. Rep Kevin Yoder for the 3rd congressional district seat in Kansas.

"The REAL REPUBLICANS will remember what the scum DEMONRATS tried to do to Kavanaugh in November. Your radical socialist kick boxing lesbian Indian will be sent back packing to the reservation."

Emily's List posted on Twitter in response: "This racist, homophobic language is totally unacceptable. We're proud to stand with her & to help elect her." They've since promoted her, and another Native American candidate Deb Haaland of New Mexico.

Davids responded that the message "doesn't represent Kansas values, and it doesn't represent the values of the Republicans we know, many who support this campaign."

On Wednesday, Kalny resigned. "He reflected an apologetic attitude and didn't want to bring negative attention on the party or candidates running in this area," Johnson County Republican Party Chairman Mike Jones said.

No word on an official apology from Kalny to Davids yet. The hateful message was sent to Anne Pritchett, president of the Johnson County Democratic Women's north chapter, who had posted "hostile" messages on candidate Yoder's page in this fiery election race.

Davids, a LGBT lawyer and amateur mixed-martial arts fighter, could become the first ever openly gay member of the Kansas Congressional delegation, if she wins, as well as the first female Native American lawmaker in Washington.

She is a member of the Wisconsin-based Ho-Chunk Nation ("People of the Big Voice"), which had historically been forcibly separated and relocated out of Wisconsin several times by the U.S. government.

Kalny, when questioned about his message by local media, said he needed to talk to his attorney and hung up the phone.

He also resigned from his position on the board of directors for the Kansas City Barbecue Society citing "personal reasons."

C.J. Grover, a spokesman for Yoder, denounced Kalny's comments:

"Kevin (Yoder) doesn't believe this type of rhetoric is appropriate at all. It's unacceptable," Grover said. "These kind of nasty personal attacks are all too prevalent in politics these days, and it needs to stop."

Davids has shown up in pre-election polls as leading Yoder by as much as 8 percent. She also faces Chris Clemmons, a libertarian candidate, on Nov. 6. Voter registration ends on Oct. 17, less than one week away.

The Only Black Woman in Vermont's House of Representatives Resigned Because of Racism

Kiah Morris said the racism she endured for years was taking a toll on her husband's health. She chose her family over politics.

FACEBOOK

Kiah Morris is a former state representative in Vermont — a nearly all-white state. Morris recently stepped down because she had endured years of racially motivated harassment and threats — even local teens targeting her home.

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