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Category Archives: Black Lives Matter

From Bloody Sunday to Black Lives Matter, the role of the Black church is shifting – POLITICO

Posted: July 31, 2020 at 6:46 pm

We dont really know when the economy will get better, but there are three directions it could go. We break them down and why the future of the largest economy in the world is virtually in the hands of Congress.

What is missed often about what these movements have in common is we may not be of a religious tradition, but we absolutely are of a spiritual tradition, Khan said, citing the examples of Lewis and Ella Baker, another civil rights forbear with ties to the church. There is something inherently supernatural and spiritual about the work of social justice and the work of change.

The goals of the Black Lives Matter movement also intersect with the objectives of many liberation-focused Black churches: self-sufficient, politically empowered Black communities, equal access to resources and deep regard for public safety.

Al Sharpton, Baptist minister and founder of the National Action Network, said that to suggest that the movements conflict with the church is a new phenomenon would be rewriting of the movement.

This is nothing new, Sharpton said. Martin Luther King used to call it 'creative tension.' We need the push and pull between different disciplines and different tactics to come up with the best way.

Sharpton pointed out that of the Big Six civil rights leaders of the 1960s who coordinated the first March on Washington James Farmer, Roy Wilkins, A. Phillip Randolph, Whitney Young, King and Lewis only one, King, was a preacher. Many, as in the case of Roy Wilkins, were often hostile to the church as an organizing tool and felt it got in the way of the movements goals. Its a pattern that repeats itself in the Black Lives Matter era, Sharpton argued.

It's not like you don't have church leaders that don't disagree with me, he said. And it's not like you don't have Black Lives Matter folks that say he ain't with us even though he's black, and he says he is. There's searching on all sides. Can we make it all work is the challenge.

Two of Black Lives Matters founders, Patrisse Cullors and Alicia Garza, have spoken at National Action Network events and gone on Sharptons show to show operational unity. Younger activists have deferred to Sharpton in their organizing, as was the case in Minneapolis during George Floyds funeral, where it was accepted that Sharpton would deliver Floyds eulogy.

Activists of all generations, genders and sexual and religious orientations are united, moreover, in their view of how Lewis civil rights record has informed the work they have done and continue to do. His legacy proves especially critical now, following the more than two months of protests against racism and police violence that have made Lewis quintessential phrase good trouble newly relevant.

Speaking at Lewis' funeral at Ebenezer Baptist Church, former President Barack Obama, weighed in from the pulpit on the biggest political issues of the day: Voting rights, fair Congressional representation and the presence of federal agents in Americas cities.

We may no longer have to guess the number of jelly beans in a jar in order to cast a ballot, but even as we sit here, there are those in power who are doing their darnedest to discourage people from voting by closing polling locations and targeting minorities and students with restrictive ID laws and attacking our voting rights with surgical precision, Obama, the nation's first Black president, said.

Yet Lewis work, Obama continued, vindicated the faith in our founding.

Several organizers said Lewis legacy has helped them push the boundaries of what could be possible in their work.

Patrisse Cullors, a co-founder of Black Lives Matter, evoked Lewis words from his speech at the first March on Washington in her address to the Democratic National Committees platform meeting on Monday.

Hearkening back to Lewis, we are now involved in a serious revolution, Cullors said, borrowing language from his March on Washington address. Cullors encouraged the Democrats to embrace sea changes recommended by the Black Lives Matter movement, namely the BREATHE Act, which would limit federal ability to deploy police forces to cities and dramatically decrease the defense budget.

It's not enough just to have a seat at the table, we want to create a table or we want to flip the table over, said Angela Peoples, an organizer and director of Black Womxn For, an organization that aims to galvanize the political power of Black women and gender non-conforming folks. But even being able to name that as something that we want or that we even think is possible is only because those that have come before us have pushed their existence and their reality to see beyond what's possible.

This was true even in the face of bodily danger, something that has been associated with Lewis legacy as a protester. Jesse Jackson, former presidential candidate and founder of the multiethnic organizing Rainbow Coalition said that Lewis became immortal on the Edmund Pettus Bridge on Bloody Sunday in 1965. During that day, Lewis skull was cracked by a state trooper with a billy club.

John never stopped fighting, Jackson said. He had no fear and was always a really gentle and tough-minded person.

He also had his eyes on the future, even in his final days: one of the last pieces of legislation Lewis supported was the Justice in Policing Act, which aims to limit police violence. The bill, which would establish a national standard for police tactics and limit officers use of force, passed in the House on June 25, exactly one month after Floyd was killed.

Kayla Reed, director of the organizing group Action St. Louis and co-creator of the Movement for Black Lives Electoral Justice Project, said Lewis legacy inspired her career of activism.

I think it highlights what is possible, Reed said. When we think about how some people put a beginning and end to movements, that movement [work] is actually a lifelong commitment.

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From Bloody Sunday to Black Lives Matter, the role of the Black church is shifting - POLITICO

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A Black Lives Matter mural is defaced with red, white and blue paint in Washington state – CNN

Posted: at 6:46 pm

The 140-foot mural is on the side of a building in downtown Spokane, Washington -- sponsored in part by Terrain, a local arts nonprofit. Terrain, along with digital advertising agencies 14Four and Seven2, hired 16 artists to decorate and paint each letter in Black Lives Matter, according to CNN affiliate KXLY.

To some, though, it was insulting. The mural, completed less than two weeks ago, was vandalized on Wednesday.

But the community isn't letting the negative response hinder the effort. A fundraiser to restore the mural has already raised more than $10,000.

Artist Nicholas Sironka designed and painted the "A" in "Black" of the mural, a letter that received the brunt of the white paint. He wasn't surprised the mural had been vandalized, he told CNN.

"I just feel that the whole Black Lives Matter now to me has more meaning, unity of purpose. Everybody is unified to one purpose and that is eradicating inequality and injustice and all those things put together," he said.

Kiantha Duncan, vice president of the Spokane chapter of the NAACP, said she had a visceral reaction to seeing the photos.

This isn't the only BLM mural that has been defaced in recent weeks. In Spokane, a mural of George Floyd was defaced with white paint, though it has now been restored.

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A Black Lives Matter mural is defaced with red, white and blue paint in Washington state - CNN

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Instead of demonising Black Lives Matter protesters, leaders must act on their calls for racial justice – The Conversation AU

Posted: at 6:46 pm

The intensification of the Black Lives Matter movement in the US in recent months has led to radical reform and action.

The police officers responsible for the killing of George Floyd were all charged with serious offences, including one with second-degree murder. The city of Minneapolis voted to replace its police force with a new system of public safety, while other cities have slashed their police budgets.

The BLM and Stop First Nations Deaths in Custody protests across Australia since early June have similarly called for charges against police officers and prison guards responsible for deaths in custody, as well as an end to racialised police violence.

Another major protest is scheduled for today in Sydney amid warnings from Prime Minister Scott Morrison that demonstrators would be breaking the law by attending after organisers lost their appeal to overturn the Supreme Court ruling blocking it.

Organisers offered to call it off if Premier Gladys Berejiklian committed to an investigation into the 2015 death of Aboriginal prisoner David Dungay Jr.

The co-chair of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services, Nerita Waight, said last month,

we cannot be silent while police violence is unchecked and continues to kill our people.

There has also been a push to implement the 339 recommendations of the almost 30-year-old Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody, which call for the use of arrest and imprisonment as a last resort, safer police and prison practices, independent investigations into deaths in custody and Aboriginal self-determination.

In recent decades, however, governments have defunded many First Nations organisations and programs that would enable successful implementation of these recommendations.

Read more: Can you socially distance at a Black Lives Matter rally in Australia and New Zealand? How to protest in a coronavirus pandemic

While there has been no movement on these larger structural issues just yet, the BLM protests have resulted in smaller victories.

This month, the South Australian government committed to funding a custody notification service to ensure all Aboriginal people who enter police custody have access to a call to the Aboriginal Legal Services.

This service was recommended by the royal commission and has saved First Nations lives in other states and territories.

Another victory has been the initiation of a NSW parliamentary inquiry into how First Nations deaths in custody are investigated.

Ken Wyatt, the federal Indigenous affairs minister, has also met with Aboriginal peak organisations to discuss incorporating justice targets in the new Closing the Gap measures.

Yet, these targets have not yet reined in police powers and the discriminatory over-policing of First Nations adults and children.

Overwhelmingly, the Commonwealth and state governments have responded to the BLM protests in Australia with condemnation.

Police commissioners and political leaders in several states have sought to block protests to prevent the spread of coronavirus, threatening arrests and issuing fines.

NSW Police Minister David Elliott said of the move to push ahead with todays rally,

its actually arrogance and its probably the most dangerous act that anybody could do during a pandemic is organise a mass gathering.

Government leaders say they understand the cause and support the BLM movement, but not the means.

Yet, they still have not responded to the movements demands for mitigating police violence against First Nations people.

In fact, when police attacks on Aboriginal people have been captured on phone cameras and televised in recent months, they have been defended by the police, commissioners and ministers.

There have been at least five First Nations deaths in custody this year, with two in the last month alone.

There are also increasing concerns for the lives of First Nations people in prisons as COVID-19 has begun to spread in institutions and youth detention centres in Victoria.

Read more: 'I can't breathe!' Australia must look in the mirror to see our own deaths in custody

Urgent and systemic change is required to claw back decades of extended police powers in NSW under the Law Enforcement Powers and Responsibilities Act and redress the lack of accountability for the 438 First Nations deaths in custody since 1991 and the 99 deaths investigated by the royal commission.

However, there are internal and external factors preventing this type of structural change.

On the one hand, the police have considerable power in Australia to influence decision-making at the parliamentary level and the way the tabloid media report on policing. The police unions also run active campaigns to defend officers charged in deaths in custody cases.

On the other hand, there has been a national silence about racialised police violence and deaths in custody of First Nations people. Gomeroi scholar Alison Whittaker describes this silence as embedded in colonisation and white supremacy.

The BLM movement has stimulated critical discussions in Australia on racial injustice and how First Nations people have challenged and resisted racialised policing and custodial practices.

It has also opened up conversations on the historic role of the police in the assimilation, enslavement and massacre of First Nations peoples. These practices have disrupted First Nations cultures, laws, families, connections to Country, languages, health and well-being.

This is precisely why a holistic, nationwide truth-telling process is so critical to hold the police to account for enforcing policies to eliminate First Nations people in the past and today. We must decolonise our legal system to remove assumptions about the central role of the police in managing First Nations communities.

Read more: Despite 432 Indigenous deaths in custody since 1991, no one has ever been convicted. Racist silence and complicity are to blame

Truth-telling is not a one-off event, but a process of ongoing exchange. This requires reforming the education system: for instance, by emphasising diversity and cultural competency in the law and justice programs that produce the next generation of police and legal professionals. It also requires a commitment to independent investigations for deaths in custody and police violence.

Truth-telling can be a mechanism for structural change and reparations, as well. This requires resetting police strategies to reduce their disproportionate surveillance of First Nations people and ensuring police accountability.

Enacting policies, such as the NSW Police Aboriginal Strategic Direction 2018-2023 to improve relationships between officers and Aboriginal communities, is meaningless if Aboriginal people are still being disproportionately stopped and searched as part of police detection targets.

In the absence of truth-telling processes, police accountability and government commitments to de-centre the police from the lives of First Nations people, the BLM street protests will continue. Its the only way for First Nations people and their allies to be heard, to educate and to elevate calls for justice.

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Instead of demonising Black Lives Matter protesters, leaders must act on their calls for racial justice - The Conversation AU

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NBA season restarts with a nod to Black Lives Matter and 2 games that went down to the wire – CNN

Posted: at 6:46 pm

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NBA season restarts with a nod to Black Lives Matter and 2 games that went down to the wire - CNN

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Technologys Role In Driving Progress In Black Lives Matter – Forbes

Posted: at 6:46 pm

Street signs for the recently renamed Black Lives Matter Plaza in Washington, DC, near the White ... [+] House.

The Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement has gained momentum and an increased cognizance in our collective consciousness due to recent events, most notably the death of George Floyd on May 25 in Minneapolis. That momentum has led to protests in the United States and abroad. As we collectively reflect on these issues, I have found that conversations with Black colleagues and friends often yield some of the most poignant insights.

I reached out to four Black executives to understand how they have processed recent events and how we might turn so many corrosive events into definitive progress. The four executives are Ted Colbert, once the Chief Information Officer of Boeing, and now the President and Chief Executive Officer of Boeing Global Services; Kimberly Johnson, the Chief Operating Officer of Fannie Mae; Daphne Jones, a former CIO at GE and Hospira and now a board member at multiple publicly traded companies; and Adam Stanley, the Global CIO and Chief Digital Officer of Cushman & Wakefield. Each of these executives has found success in their respective career, but I was less familiar with the circumstances of the paths each took to their august perches in their corporations.

Our conversations broadly took the following shape:

Reflections on the Death of George Floyd

I began my conversation with each with some general reflections on the passing of George Floyd as the catalyst for the protests in many cities around the world since. Colbert noted that Floyds death is a tragedy, and has been a cause for reflection on everything from the impact on his children to Corporate America.

Johnson echoed similar sentiments, adding that the ongoing pandemic is also playing a role. We are experiencing a social justice movement at the same time that we're trying to weather a global pandemic that's having very disparate outcomes on our communities of color, she said. I think that's been a real eye opener. People are just beginning to realize these things are all connected and related.

Jones mentioned that the fact that many people are at home and not traveling has created more time for some to process what is going on. Others who perhaps were no longer employed due to layoffs may also have had more time to internalize the moment. This scenario allowed people to hear what BLM was all about. When Ahmaud [Arbery], Breonna [Taylor], and all the similar stories came up, people started connecting the dots, said Jones. Without COVID, we wouldnt see people in the streets because they would all have had to go to work the next day.

Colbert noted that, Black folks have been screaming about this for decades. It's unfortunate that a man having someone have their knee on his neck for eight and a half minutes has now opened up the ears and eyes of corporate institutions to realize that, indeed something is fundamentally wrong with the way that that Black people have been treated over many, many years. He suggested that if that is the what catalyzes change, then perhaps some good can come from this, though he understandably rued the fact that it required lives be lost to do so.

Stanley said that the phraseology of Black Lives Matter is important for all people to internalize. The truth is that since the writing of the Constitution, we have not really given everyone the right to matter, he said. Women, people of color, Native Americans, have never really had the same rights in work and life. And George Floyd is but one of the issues facing Black men in America that do not impact others.

Black Representation in IT

As each leader currently or in the past has had IT report up to them, I asked for their thoughts on the paucity of Black representatives in technology divisions of major companies. My interlocutors noted that the problem is equally one of a lack of role models and sub-optimal mentoring. Colbert mentioned that stereotypes of tech-centric kids in popular culture rarely includes Black children. In not seeing someone who looks like you in a role, it can easily seem out of reach. As a teenager on a Commodore 64 in my bedroom with the first generation of hip-hop music playing in the background, that was me. But you would never ever see that in written format anywhere.

Stanley noted that including children in conversations about technology needs to start as early as pre-school. Part of the problem is that IT professionals love to talk tech in ways that are frankly intimidating, he said. For me, I have the unique benefit of not really being very technical. So, I can only talk in terms of problem solving and solution development.

Despite a lack of mentors generally, Jones credits two among others for helping her rise. She noted Roscoe Adams, a Black man running an IBM office in Peoria, Illinois. He taught her a lot about business, how to collaborate with others, the say/do ratio, and that I should never say when I get around to it. Set goals and stick to them or renegotiate. She also credits her mother for setting a high standard for her. Due to early education efforts, Jones was able to skip first grade, and eventually two years of college, earning bachelors and masters degrees in four years. She was my biggest fan and toughest critic, said Jones. I learned tough love and how not to accept the status quo.

Stanley noted a number of people who influenced the jobs he has held, from the first partners at Deloitte who decided to take a chance on him to the senior banking executive that eventually hired him, and a headhunter who helped place him in new positions. What has been critical to my success is the transition of all of these people from finder to boss to mentor to sponsor to friend and advisor, said Stanley. This is missing for many men of color in particular.

For Colbert, it was Marvin Adams, the former CIO of Ford. He pushed Colberts ambition by asking him, When do you want to become a CIO? Colbert had not been thinking about it, but the idea stuck. Marvin is an example, said Colbert. And there were many before him that planted a seed in my mind about the possibilities that I hadn't even imagined for myself.

Making Progress in the Workplace

I asked each about the advice that they would have to others on how to combat racism in the workplace and in society. Jones noted that it is important to openly acknowledge that racism exists and that unfair and dangerous things happen to Black people every day. She recommends engaging ones family, ones friends and ones company in conversations about these issues. She emphasized the need to go from being racist or not racist to being anti-racist.

Stanley suggested that meetings you take at the office could be used to draw conclusions about progress or a lack thereof. Look at the table around you in every meeting and assess who is there, he said. Do they all look and sound the same as you? If so, do something about that. Question whether the meeting would be better off with someone from a different background that might add a new perspective or style.

Johnson suggested a formula from of Frances Frei of Harvard Business School, who preaches logic, authenticity and empathy as key drivers of trust. In her own interpretation of Freis framework, Johnson noted, If you're trying to create a culture of trust in a company, you have to start with logic, and logic is all about understanding facts and data and history, right? We hear a lot around Black history these days, but Black history is American history.

She noted that authenticity is the most difficult to achieve because talking about race relations is uncomfortable, but she stressed, If we're going to make any progress on this front, we're going to have to be a little bit uncomfortable. The first two factors aid the third, empathy. On this topic, she offered a note of optimism. That's the thing that I've seen change more than anything else in the last three months. I think it's gone a really long way in sort of bringing the national dialogue on race relations up a level.

Technologys Role in Driving Positive Change

Regarding the role that technology can play, Stanley offered that better screening tools can help alleviate unconscious bias in the hiring process. Studies continue to show that Jason Smith gets more interviews than Latasha Smith, regardless of background, he said. That has to change. The more we can do the first, second and third rounds of the selection process using intelligence, the more we can remove some of the bias.

Jones echoed Stanleys sentiment of leveraging technology to remove bias from hiring. She also said that the use of data analytics could help identify wage inequities across companies, as well as reveal trends in hiring, tenure and firing data for Black people relative to those of other races.

Johnson mentioned that technology has been a key ingredient in awakening people to both the current and ongoing set of issues in our country. Technology can broaden horizons, generate power for convening, she said. I think access to technologies are really important concepts that we all need to pay attention to in terms of equality. But I love the idea that technology can amplify new ideas and quickly generate scale and acceptance.

Making Progress

Lastly, I asked each executive if they have found any silver linings to the current situation. Stanley is encouraged by the quantity and quality of dialogue around race relations and issues. We have a long way to go but smart people are engaging at levels never before seen, he said. The hope is that after the politicians and CEOs stop pandering and posing for photos with Black people, these smart people continue to talk.

Jones believes humanity is shining through during these trying times. Theres an awakening going on, and we need to gently feed it so it doesnt run away, she said. She noted that she has seen positive changes at the multiple companies whose boards she serves on. Whereas in the past companies might have champions for diversity within the company, she sees further evidence that CEOs are not passing the responsibility to others. CEOs and their boards are owning it, not delegating it our outsourcing it, she said.

Johnson is encouraged that peoples mindsets are changing from one of seeing racism as a character flaw in individuals to something ingrained in a system based on historical norms. The concept of anti-racism is gaining traction, she said. And I think that is really encouraging because the more people who embrace that mindset, the more hope I have that we can live up to our American ideals.

What is perhaps most encouraging of all is the role leaders like these four extraordinary executives can play in highlighting the paths that they walked. Colbert refers to the path he took as a unicorn situation. He hopes that it will become more common in the future, and he is doing all he can to make that so. Hopefully that changes and it doesn't take one being a unicorn to be a Black person and make it to the C-suite of a Fortune 100 company in the future.

Peter Highis President ofMetis Strategy, abusiness and IT advisory firm. His has written two bestselling books, moderates theTechnovationpodcast series, and speaks at conferences around the world. Follow himon Twitter@PeterAHigh.


Technologys Role In Driving Progress In Black Lives Matter - Forbes

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Fact Checking Kennedy And Markey On Their Black Lives Matter Claims – WBUR

Posted: at 6:46 pm

Massachusetts voters were the first to elect a Black person to the U.S. Senate, in 1966. But in 2020, amid a national reckoning on racism, they almost certainly will reelect Sen. Ed Markey, a white man who has spent more than four decades in Congress, or replace him with Rep. Joe Kennedy, a white man who would be the fourth member of his family to become a senator.

The incongruity of the current moment and this Democratic primary matchup crystallized during a debate this week.

"Let's just get real for a moment," moderator Latoyia Edwards of NBC Boston said. "There are Black and brown people watching right now, Black mothers like me who are looking and saying, 'In this time of social justice, representation optics matter.' ... They see two white men vying for the U.S. Senate seat to represent Massachusetts."

Edwards pressed the candidates to "give us specifics on what you've done, and what you will do, to show that Black lives matter."

Markey and Kennedy took similar approaches to what may be a key question in their contest, each beginning with an anecdote meant to demonstrate early allyship that was principled, not popular. But closer examinations of the episodes Markey and Kennedy recounted suggest they may not have been quite as bold as they would have voters believe.

'One Of The First Democrats To Declare That Black Lives Matter'

In Kennedy's telling, he used one of the biggest opportunities of his political career to take a stand that others in his party shied away from.

"When I was asked to give the Democratic response to Donald Trump's first State of the Union with that national platform I was one of the first Democrats to declare that Black lives matter," Kennedy claimed.

In reality, Kennedy didn't make his own declaration that Black lives matter on that night in January 2018; rather, he quoted demonstrators who use "Black lives matter" as a rallying cry.

Kennedy included the demonstrators, along with police officers, in a section of his speech that lauded various people for actions he considered admirable. Here's an excerpt, with emphasis added:

You swarmed Washington last year to ensure no parent has to worry if they can afford to save their child's life.

You proudly marched together last weekend thousands deep in the streets of Las Vegas and Philadelphia and Nashville.

You sat high atop your mom's shoulders and held a sign that read: "Build a wall, and my generation will tear it down."

You bravely say, "Me too." You steadfastly say, "Black lives matter."

You wade through flood waters, battle hurricanes, and brave wildfires and mudslides to save a stranger.

You fight your own, quiet battles every single day.

You drag your weary bodies to that extra shift so your families won't feel the sting of scarcity.

You leave loved ones at home to defend our country overseas, or patrol our neighborhoods overnight.

Kennedy's remarks signaled support for the Black Lives Matter movement, but there is a meaningful difference between actually "declar[ing] that Black lives matter" and merely attributing the phrase to others even approvingly said Daunasia Yancey, the founder of Black Lives Matter Boston.

"We need more," Yancey said. White allies such as Kennedy and Markey may have done "more than what everyone else did" in the past, she added, but in her view that is "because mostly what everyone else did was nothing."

"The back-and-forth trying to get a medal for caring is silly, and it's not useful," Yancey said.

In a statement, Kennedy spokesman Brian Phillips Jr. said, "Joe was proud to use one of the Democratic Party's highest platforms to recognize the BLM movement and the activists driving change in every corner of the country."

As for timing, Kennedy's claim to have been "one of the first Democrats" is hard to evaluate because it is imprecise. It is certainly true that many politicians were slow to adopt the phrase "Black lives matter" until it was mainstream enough to be emblazoned inside and outside Fenway Park.

It is also true that, as Chicago Tribune columnist Dahleen Glanton wrote in 2016, "The second day of Hillary Clinton's Democratic National Convention could have been subtitled 'Black Lives Matter.' "

Glanton continued:

[Clinton] made it clear where she stands on the controversial issue when she invited nine mothers who have lost children at the hands of police or by street violence to speak on her behalf.

The mothers of Trayvon Martin, Sandra Bland, Eric Garner and others collectively made perhaps the most impassioned plea yet on Tuesday for rallying around Clinton's presidential bid: She isn't afraid to say that black lives matter ...

Their remarks brought many of the delegates to tears. Chants of "Black Lives Matter" swelled from the convention floor.

Clinton's top competitors in the 2016 Democratic presidential primary, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, also said"Black lives matter" during the campaign. Then-President Barack Obama repeatedly defended the phrase against critics who said it diminished other lives.

And Markey used it at a Martin Luther King Jr. Day event that year.

So, while Kennedy was ahead of some in 2018, he also was in the company of some of his party's most prominent members.

'It Hurt My Career'

Asked during Sunday's debate what he has done "to show that Black lives matter," Markey started byciting his support for creating a majority-Black state Senate district in 1973. He was a freshman in the state House of Representatives, at the time.

"I had to make a decision to take on the Democratic state leadership to make sure there was a Black Senate seat, and I did," Markey said. "And it hurt my career."

Any price Markey may have paid for his stance would appear to be modest, however. He won reelection the following year and styled himself as a political maverick when he ran successfully for Congress in 1976.

"In the end, it didn't hurt his career," Markey Campaign Manager John Walsh allowed, "because he didn't last there very long. He moved" on to Washington.

Though things worked out, Markey did assume some political risk. Redrawing the 40-seat state Senate map to create a majority-Black district meant that an existing member of the chamber would likely lose his place and jeopardizing a fellow lawmaker's reelection chances is no way to make friends.

In an interview, Markey said he acquired a "pariah-like status," though he acknowledged that was not because of his support for a majority-Black district alone. Bucking party leaders became "the pathway that I walked, and the first vote on that pathway was the Black Senate seat."

The most significant vote was not related to racial justice but rather to judicial reform, Markey said. In that standoff, he so aggravated some fellow Democrats that they stuck his desk in a State House hallway, in a show of protest.

Markey spun the incident into a campaign slogan: "The bosses may tell Ed Markey where to sit. No one tells Ed Markey where to stand."

Bill Owens, who became the first Black state senator in Massachusetts, has endorsed Markey for reelection to the U.S. Senate this year. In a campaign video, Owens vouches for the notion that Markey stuck out his neck during the debate over a majority-Black district 47 years ago.

According to Owens, senior Democrats in the state Legislature "began to threaten [Markey] that he would lose his seat and that he would not be able to be elected ever again in Massachusetts."

Those threats proved hollow and, though Markey could not have been certain of their emptiness at the time, his "decision to take on the Democratic state leadership" may have been eased by powerful allies.

Then-Gov. Francis Sargent was a vocal supporter of creating amajority-Black state Senate district. He vetoed a redistricting proposal because it failed to create one, saying, "I will not approve a plan that, in effect, disenfranchises a large number of the commonwealth's citizens."

The push for a majority-Black district also had the influential backing of Massachusetts' senior U.S. senator at the time:Ted Kennedy.

And while Owens credits Markey for supporting a majority-Black district, he said in an interview that "the guy who was the leading member of the white community that we relied on was Barney Frank," a state representative at the time, before his 32-year tenure in Congress.

Frankaccused the state Senate president of squashing bills in retaliation against lawmakers who advocated for a majority-Black district. But Owens said he "could not imagine" that Markey was targeted.

So, although Markey strained relations with some important colleagues in the state Legislature, he also had political heavyweights on his side and ultimately parlayed his "troublemaker" reputation, as Walsh described it, into higher office.

'I Will Always Give People Credit Who Stand For The Right Thing'

Whether Markey and Kennedy merit profiles in courage,"I will always give people credit who stand for the right thing, regardless of what the description is," saidSetti Warren, executive director of Harvard'sShorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy.

"I don't doubt either Congressman Kennedy's or Senator Markey's commitment to seeing progress being made for Black people in our state and our country," he added.

Markey has cosponsored a reparations bill filed by Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey and is partnering with Rep. Ayanna Pressley of Boston on legislation that would end qualified immunityfor police,the legal doctrine that shields public officials from personal liability for acts committed in the line of duty.

Kennedy is a founding member of the Black Maternal Health Caucus and is partnering with Rep. Hakeem Jeffries of New York on a bill that would facilitate prosecutions of police officers for civil rights violations.

Still, Warren echoed Yancey's call for figures such as Markey and Kennedy to do more, saying "the policies and the efforts that have been promoted by many politicians have not worked."

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Fact Checking Kennedy And Markey On Their Black Lives Matter Claims - WBUR

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A man held a Black Lives Matter sign in Harrison, Arkansas. He posted the racist responses to YouTube. – USA TODAY

Posted: at 6:46 pm

Rob Bliss, holds a Black Lives Matter sign in Harrison, Arkansas. Bliss posted a video of the reactions he received to the sign.(Photo: Rob Bliss)

Rob Bliss stood outside a Walmart Supercenter in Harrison, Arkansas - dubbed "America's Most Racist Town" - and held a sign for everyone to see.

The words on the sign? "Black Lives Matter."

Needless to say, it caused quite a stir.

Bliss, a 31-year-old white man from Los Angeles, endured abarrage of hate speech during his project, which is now a viral rage on social media.He went to Harrison shortly after Independence Day and recorded the reactions of townsfolk, condensed days of vitriol down to just over two minutes,and let it fly on YouTube.

The video, which has been viewed more than 920,000 times on Bliss page, is a bleak bombardment of hate.One person warns Bliss not to be around after dark. Anothercalled him a derogatory term for Jewish people. A few brought up the fact he was white and asked why he was holding the sign at all. Most looked like they were on their way to or from shopping, driving typical trucks, SUVs and compact cars, launching salvos of venom.

Federal agency: Supporting 'Black Lives Matter' isn't partisan or political

A lone man rolled down his window while driving by Blissand said, About 10 minutes I'm going to be back. You better be (expletive) gone. Bliss said he feared the man was going to get a gun.

Bliss, no stranger to viral video famewith videos like "10 Hours of Walking in NYC as a Woman,"said videos like his help the conversation around the Black Lives Matter movement.

Protests against racial inequality and police brutality have continued across the country in the wake of the death of George Floyd, a Black man who died at the knee of a former Minneapolis officer.

I think people assume that real racism doesnt really exist anymore, Bliss said. That its more like, its institutional or its implicit or its subconscious, when really, one of the reasons why I like this video is you can see this is very real. This is very present and its very visceral. Its like Level 1 racism and were still at this level in many places around the country.

Across the US: Black Americans report hate crimes, violence in wake of George Floyd protests and Black Lives Matter gains

Bliss videofeatures a near-constant torrent of insults, threats and racial epithets directed at Bliss. The end features a solitary upbeat moment, in which a person gives Bliss a note saying, "Don't give up hope."

There were others who were kind, Bliss said. Some people offered Gatorade to help him beat the brutal heat and others gave the occasional thumbs up.

Bliss said most of the video was shot at theWalmart Supercenter. At one point in the video, Walmart employees confronted Bliss and asked him to leave.

As a company committed to racial equity, we stand in solidarity with the Black community, and are appalled some chose to express themselves in such a hurtful way, Walmart said in statement to USA TODAY in response to the video.

Still, Bliss was asked to leave the premises because we have a policy prohibiting solicitation and demonstrations on Walmart property for both individuals and organizations, the company added.

Fact check: Kroger is not charging customers a Black Lives Matter tax

Its important we come together during these difficult times and display kindness and understanding while respecting our differences, Walmart said in a statement. Respect for the individual is a core value at Walmart, and we will continue to demonstrate that principle in how we operate our business.

Bliss said hes received threats of legal action from people who dont want their faces in the video.

Leadership in Harrison responded to the video on Tuesday. In a joint statement, Boone County Judge Robert Hathaway, city Mayor Jerry Jackson and Harrison Regional Chamber of Commerce President/CEO Bob Largent said, The video does not represent Boone County nor the City of Harrison.

While we cannot excuse the reprehensible behavior and words of individuals recorded in the video, we know for certain that they do not reflect the views of the majority of the good people of our communities, the group said.

Walmart: Walmart will stop selling 'All Lives Matter' merchandise

They added, It is obvious there is still work to be done in our area and across the nation. We must constantly strive to do better, and we pledge our continued efforts in that regard.

Harrison was recently featured in the Boston Globe after Black Lives Matter demonstrators marched to the Harrison town square in June. The protest, despite the presence of armed counter-protesters, was largely peaceful, the Globe reported. A single armed Black man led a march consisting mostly of white people, and police held back and quieted counter-protesters, according to the Globe.

Harrison is a town of just over 13,000 and is more than 95 percent white, according to U.S. Census data. The Southern Poverty Law Center reports the city is the headquarters of the Ku Klux Klan. In 2019, the SPLC tracked 15 hate groups in Arkansas -- five were in Harrison.

Shedding some of the towns racist reputation can start with getting rid of a billboard, Bliss said. The still image for the video is Bliss holding his sign in front of a billboard for White Pride Radio.

If thats not Harrison, Arkansas, then they as a city, as a town, need to take it down, he said. Go get a cherry picker, a ladder, whatever you need to do. If thats not you, then take that down and support each other in doing that. If it remains up, the whole town is complicit in allowing that to remain.


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A man held a Black Lives Matter sign in Harrison, Arkansas. He posted the racist responses to YouTube. - USA TODAY

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Listen to the young voices of the Black Lives Matter movement – The Guardian

Posted: at 6:46 pm

Your necessary airing of the views of young black Britons (Young, British and Black, 29 July) raises vital questions. What is important is what can be done to make their lives better. I have two adopted African-Caribbean children and have regularly discussed their experiences with them and I have found that authorities are supportive if problems are drawn to their attention.

My son was bullied by older children on his way home from primary school. When we took this up with the head, action was so effective that it stopped instantly. At secondary school a teacher used a racist insult and, instead of discussing it with us, my son wrote to the county education authorities, who contacted the school and the teacher was disciplined (he was later sacked for hitting a pupil).

Later, my sons only problems have been in London, where he was stopped too many times by the police. He has experienced no obvious racism at work, where he has been successful (but its not possible to tell if there has been any underlying prejudice).

It is clear that there are some overtly racist people in the police and elsewhere in authority, but the more universal problem is unconscious bias. Workplace training is essential and, importantly, should include tests to demonstrate to individuals how their underlying attitudes affect their responses to black people.Name and address supplied

The most disturbing aspect of the interviews with young black people is the reported amount of racism in schools. It is understandable, if wrong, that so many white children first learn racial prejudice from their parents. But it is unacceptable that so many teachers are allowing this to persist in their schools. Education is precisely the forum in which the elimination of racism should start. This issue should be fully covered in teacher training. Headteachers should make anti-racism part of their schools ethics. Teachers who do not comply should be removed.Robin WendtChester

The young voices in your special report are dignified, defiant and moving. The bullying experienced from a very young age shames white culture at every level. Jimmy McGoverns TV film Anthony is a tragic exposure of what racism can lead to. We all need to see it.John AirsLiverpool

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Listen to the young voices of the Black Lives Matter movement - The Guardian

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Organizers gather strength for the next push in the Black Lives Matter movement – Columbus Alive

Posted: at 6:46 pm

Women Have Options co-chair Samantha Sizemore on Saturday's 150 Days of Injustice rally, which will serve as a collective catching of the breath and a reminder of the work to come

Prolonged protest movements can be physically and emotionally taxing, which explains part of why local Black Lives Matter actions, which erupted in late May following the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police, have waned some in recent weeks.

It really just seems a lot of folks dont understand the work it takes to continue protesting, said Women Have Options co-chair Samantha Sizemore. People who are newer to this dont understand the effects of pure burnout that come from doing this day after day. Honestly, this movement has existed for a long time, and I know George Floyd was a catalyst to get a lot of people out there initially, but those of us who are part of coalitions, or are abolitionists, do understand the work it takes, because weve been out here time and time again, even before June.

With that idea in mind, Women Have Options (WHO) is joining with the Ohio Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice to stage a weekend rally dubbed 150 Days of Injustice: Revitalize Black Lives. The event, which kicks off at Goodale Park on Saturday, Aug. 1, serves myriad purposes, opening at 11 a.m. as a collective catching of the breath featuring meditations and discussions on topics such as protest safety and creating sustainable movements, and then closing with renewed calls to action and a subsequent march to the Ohio Statehouse. At its core, though, the daylong affair, which takes its name from the roughly 150 days that have passed since Breonna Taylor was shot and killed in her home by Louisville police, will function as a reminder of the important work still to come.

We want to get people reenergized and refocused, and remind them of why were still out here, and that a movement is something that has to be worked at to be sustained, Sizemore said. Im hoping that talking with folks and allowing them to ask questions, getting them more prepared than they were, will help us continue this very strongly. I think we scatter really quickly, especially when police are involved, and Im hoping this can remind us of our collective power, and allow us to have some better protests that can really stick.

Part of the event description on Facebook references a desire to move from individual protests to collective action, which Sizemore traced to the splintering effect that can take place in any large, diverse movement. One group of protesters might call for defunding the police, for example, while another might embrace working more closely with the City Council to improve police oversight. To that end, Sizemore said that its important to give each voice within the movement agency Its important that any individual person be able to speak up and speak out, she said while also continuing to center efforts around the organizations that have been engaged in this kind of work for years.

I think we needed to reorganize and have these protests led again by those who are experienced, and to remind people not to reinvent the wheel when it comes to a movement like this. When it comes to Black Lives Matter, when it comes to police brutality, the work is already being done, and its always been led by organizations or coalitions with very experienced abolitionists. And theres nothing wrong with that, Sizemore said. You really just have to research how you can get involved, how you can work with folks like BQIC (Black, Queer & Intersectional Collective) or ROOTT (Restoring Our Own Through Transformation), or even just us at WHO. Groups who have experienced Black leaders, who are educated [in the issues] and who have the experience behind them.

But even for veteran organizers like Sizemore, the intensity of this current round of protests has been eye opening. She described the first weekend of Downtown protests as feeling like a straight up warzone, pointing to the aggressive actions of police, which she traced to demonstrators calling officers' authority into question. Sizemore said that the collective experience altered something inside of her with which she was still coming to terms.

It has changed a lot in me and shifted my views, even in terms of how I view the Black Lives Matter movement. It makes you look at the world differently, and not always in a negative way, but even as a Black person I didnt realize how heavy this could get, Sizemore said. In a strange way, it probably hardened me, and made me a bit braver, I guess. There are still a lot of feelings about it I have to unpack.

But these lingering internal complexities haven't eroded Sizemores desire to fight for racial justice, and she remains heartened by some of the progress that has been made, pointing to a Columbus City Council that at least appears willing to seriously address protesters concerns.

I had never focused much on the City Council because generally our City Council has just been there to follow the orders of the mayor, where he brings forth a policy and they all vote yes on it. But its interesting because now it seems like theyre not all saying yes, and theyre at least considering the policies that are coming through to them in regards to CPD, said Sizemore, who views even this modest progress as a crack on which to continue pressing in the weeks and months ahead. We need to be out here pushing forth, even though its exhausting, reminding folks of the lives that have been lost, that havent received justice. We have to get things moving again, to recapture the energy we had [in June]. We need to keep the momentum up.


Organizers gather strength for the next push in the Black Lives Matter movement - Columbus Alive

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NBA Season Officially Restarts With a Nod to the Black Lives Matter Movement – E! NEWS

Posted: at 6:46 pm

The NBA is making a big impression with the official restart of the 2020 season.

On Thursday, July 30, the Utah Jazz and New Orleans Pelicans came together before their game to take a knee during the national anthem in honor of the Black Lives Matter movement. The players fromboth teams wore a shirt with "Black Lives Matter" emblazoned across the front,as they wrapped arms around each other's shoulders.

Additionally, the players replaced their last names on their jerseys with a chosen phrase or word they associate with the social justice movement. One athlete chose, "Say their names."

In a statement, the New Orleans Pelicans voiced their support for the "ideals of freedom of speech and the right to peacefully protest."

"Collectively with the Utah Jazz, our organization joins the NBA in supporting our playersand coaches," the statement continued. "To promote meaningful change relative to social justice and racial equality, the New Orleans have partnered with our players, staff and coaches to create a Social Justice Leadership Alliance committed to furthering the discussion, listening and learning and taking action to make positive change in our community and country."


NBA Season Officially Restarts With a Nod to the Black Lives Matter Movement - E! NEWS

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