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Obama to Trump: We're Supposed to Stand up to Discrimination and to Nazi Sympathizers

To voters: You can make sure that white nationalists don't feel empowered to march in Charlottesville in the middle of the day.

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Former President Barack Obama kicked off his campaigning for November's midterms, on Friday afternoon, and took jabs at President Trump and the spineless backbones of his Republican constituents.

Obama spared no expense rebuking the administration's actions that have emboldened racists.

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Inmates Across the Country on Strike Against 'Modern Slavery'

Blacks and Latinos make up the majority of the prison population being paid 63 cents an hour working non-industry jobs.

Inmates in at least 17 states are participating in a strike calling for an "end to prison slavery." Blacks and Latinos make up the majority of the population being paid less than $1 an hour for their work, due to racial disparities within the criminal justice system.

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​Texas Board Rejects Clemency Plea for Chris Young and Solidifies Tonight's Death Sentence

Lawyers sue the board, claiming racism, as it recently pardoned a reformed white death row inmate.

SCREEN GRAB VIA YOUTUBE

UPDATE: July 18, 2018 at 8:13 a.m. ET:

Mitesh Patel, the victim's son and Chris Young's advocate did not want the same outcome for Young's daughter—losing a father. But the state of Texas executed Young on Tuesday anyway. He was pronounced dead at 6:38 p.m. after a lethal injection.

Patel did meet Young on Monday in an emotional meeting and felt sadness for his family.

"Two wrongs don't make a right," Patel has said. "Killing Chris doesn't change my path, my history. It only affects a whole other set of people."

Young used his last moments to tell his victim's family he loves them and to keep fighting.

Young's final statement: "l want to make sure the Patel family knows I love them like they love me. Make sure the kids in the world know I'm being executed and those kids I've been mentoring keep this fight going. I'm good, Warden."

ORIGINAL STORY

The Texas Board of Pardons unanimously rejected clemency for Chris Young, the reformed death row inmate, and lawyers say it is because Young is Black. The law says the board doesn't have to give the public a reason for their decision, but they have to certify it's not because of race.

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SCREENGRAB VIA YOUTUBE

The criminal justice system, which disproportionately incarcerates Black men, focuses less on rehabilitation and more on death and punishment.

Mitesh Patel is pleading with the Texas Board of Pardons to spare the life of his father's killer, Chris Young, a Black man, who after spending 12 years in prison has reformed. Chris Young, who joined a gang at age 8 and who also lost his father to violence, robbed a convenience store, killing Patel's father, Hasmukh Patel, in the process. Young was 21 at the time.

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White Man Convicted of Killing Black Man for Dating White Woman

After almost 40 years as a cold case, Frankie Gebhardt was convicted for the murder of Timothy Coggins.

Frankie Gebhardt / YOUTUBE

Innocent Black people are seven times more likely to be convicted of murder than innocent white people, which means Blacks are presumed guilty more often than whites.

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Lynching Memorial and Museum Opening Highlights America's Racist Past, Parallels Today's Killings of African Americans

"We're dealing with police violence. We deal with these huge disparities in our criminal justice system. You know, if everything was wonderful you could ask the question, 'Why would you talk about the difficult past?' But everything is not wonderful."

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Hundreds of people lined up in the rain to experience a long overdue piece of American history and honor the lives lost to lynching at the National Memorial for Peace and Justice and the Legacy Museum in Montgomery Alabama on Thursday.

The Equal Justice Initiative, sponsor of this project, has documented more than 4,000 "racial terror" lynchings in the United States between 1877 and 1950.

The first memorial honoring the victims includes sculptures and art depicting the terror Blacks faced; 800 six-foot steel, engraved monuments to symbolize the victims; writings and words of Toni Morrison and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.; and a final artwork by Hank Willis Thomas capturing the modern-day racial bias and violence embedded in the criminal justice system and law enforcement.

Among memorial visitors were civil right activist Rev. Jesse Jackson and film director Ava Duvernay. According to the Chicago Tribune, Jackson said it would help dispel the American silence on lynchings, highlighting that whites wouldn't talk about it because of shame and Blacks wouldn't talk about it because of fear. The "60 Minutes Overtime" on the memorial just three weeks earlier was reported by Oprah Winfrey, who stated during her viewing of the slavery sculpture, "This is searingly powerful." Duvernay, quoted by the Chicago Tribune, said: "This place has scratched a scab."

The Montgomery Downtown business association's President, Clay McInnis, who is white, offered his thoughts to NPR in reference to his own family connection to the history that included a grandfather who supported segregation and a friend who dismantled it. "How do you reconcile that on the third generation?" he asked. "You have conversations about it."

A place to start: The Montgomery Advertiser, the local newspaper, apologized for its racist history of coverage between the 1870s and 1950s by publishing the names of over 300 lynching victims on Thursday, the same day as the memorial opening. "Our Shame: the sins of our past laid bare for all to see. We were wrong," the paper wrote.

The innumerable killings of unarmed Black men and the robbing of Black families of fathers, mothers, and children today not only strongly resemble the history of lynchings, but also bring up the discomfort and visceral reactions that many have not reckoned with.

Bryan Stevenson, founder of the Equal Justice Initiative and the man who spearheaded this project, told NPR: "There's a lot of conflict. There's a lot of tension. We're dealing with police violence. We deal with these huge disparities in our criminal justice system. You know, if everything was wonderful you could ask the question, 'Why would you talk about the difficult past?' But everything is not wonderful."

WFSA, a local news station, interviewed a white man who had gone to see the Legacy Museum downtown, also part of the EJI project, located at the place of a former slave warehouse. He talked about how he was overwhelmed by the experience and that "Slavery is alive in a new way today."

Reactions on social media were reflective of the memorial's power and the work that is continuing toward progress.

During a launch event, the Peace and Justice Summit, Marian Wright Edelman, activist and founder of the Children's Defense Fund, urged the audience to continue their activism beyond the day's events on issues like ending child poverty and gun violence, according to the Chicago Tribune: "Don't come here and celebrate the museum ... when we're letting things happen on an even greater scale."

Perhaps the reason to honor and witness the horrific experiences of our ancestors is to seal in our minds the unacceptable killings of Blacks today, and the work we ALL have to do now to stop repeating the past.

Racist Professor Who Calls Blacks, Hispanics More Violent Than Whites Appointed to Trump's Sentencing Commission

William Otis will fit right in with Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III.

Bill Otis / SCREENSHOT VIA PBS NEWSHOUR

A former federal prosecutor who once said Blacks and Hispanics are more violent than whites has been tapped to join President Donald Trump's sentencing commission.

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Jay-Z: Probation Is 'A Land Mine' for Blacks in America

"Instead of a second chance, probation ends up being a land mine, with a random misstep bringing consequences greater than the crime," Jay-Z wrote.

REUTERS

Businessman and rapper Jay-Z on Friday spoke out about America's prison system that serves as a revolving door for parolees.

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