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COMMENTARY: A national crisis: Surging hate crimes and white supremacists

NNPA NEWSWIRE — Now is also a time to remember that regardless of race or ethnicity, our history chronicles the range of hate crimes that have taken the lives of Latinos as well as Native Americans, Blacks, Jews, and the LGBTQ community. The terror now facing America’s Latinos resurrects these horrors, particularly how Blacks encountered racial hatred for more than a century during Jim Crow era and later during the civil rights struggles of the 1950s and 1960s.

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Charlene Crowell is the Center for Responsible Lending’s communications deputy director. She can be reached at Charlene.crowell@responsiblelending.org.

By Charlene Crowell, NNPA Newswire Contributor

A Saturday morning shooting rampage in El Paso, Texas on August 3 took the lives of 22 people, and seriously injured more than two dozen others. Reportedly, the alleged shooter wanted to kill as many Mexicans as he could. Armed with safety glasses, ear coverings and an assault-style rifle, the shooter entered a Walmart store during a back-to-school sale.

“Saturday’s attack on El Paso was an attack on the Mexican heritage of millions of Americans – and also part of a history of white supremacist and nativist acts in Texas across three centuries,” wrote Hector Tobar, in a recent New York Times op-ed. Tobar, an associate professor at the University of California at Irvine is also a published author.

Later that day during evening hours and nearly 1,600 miles away in Dayton, Ohio, another gunman’s attack left 9 people dead and 27 injured in that city’s Oregon district. Like the Texas shooter, Ohio’s shooter was heavily armed but was shot by police before he could enter a nightclub where he could have killed far more. The victims of this shooting reflected the city’s diversity and included Blacks, Latinos, and whites.

How in a span of only 24-hours, could two cities in different states and regions suffer mass shootings – one in a city only a few miles from the nation’s southern border, and the other, a former Midwestern manufacturing hub?

Despite the shock of two unprovoked attacks, family and community members in both cities must somehow cope through their grief while preparing funeral arrangements. These two communities are also challenging governmental officials at both the state and federal levels to take actions to prevent further fatalities.

Nationally, a profusion of prayers and condolences from the nation together signaled that a tragic moment may yet be transformed into a groundswell movement that reckons with the American conscience. The profusion of assault weapons combined with easy access is a gripping issue that confronts us all.

In response to these and other tragedies, a rainbow coalition of leaders held a noon rally on August 6 in the nation’s capital. In a joint statement, the Leadership Conference for Civil and Human Rights was joined by key partners including but not limited to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Voto Latino, the Center for Community Self-Help and the Center for Responsible Lending.

“None of this is acceptable,” said the leaders in a written statement. “None of this is normal. Our organizations are united in saying that Members of Congress can no longer look away as communities of color are murdered with impunity. We must all unite and demand accountability.”

The NAACP is additionally calling for the passage of the bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019. Passed on a bipartisan House vote of 240-190 on February 27, the bill has yet to be taken up by the Senate. The bill would address both background check requirements for firearms, and firearm transfers between private individuals.

Beyond congressional actions, however, other spheres of influence can also take an active role in curbing violence. For example, corporate leaders could publicly condemn efforts to demonize immigrants, minorities or other groups targeted for hate crimes and violence. In pulpits across the country, pastors should preach about the moral dilemma the nation faces and call upon congregants to live their faith every day. Community-based organizations can call upon state and local officials to also speak out against senseless acts of violence and white supremacists.

Now is also a time to remember that regardless of race or ethnicity, our history chronicles the range of hate crimes that have taken the lives of Latinos as well as Native Americans, Blacks, Jews, and the LGBTQ community. The terror now facing America’s Latinos resurrects these horrors, particularly how Blacks encountered racial hatred for more than a century during Jim Crow era and later during the civil rights struggles of the 1950s and 1960s.

Too many times in recent years, our unique Black American experience we remain at risk as a people. In 1998 the body of James Byrd, a black, 49-year old Jasper, Texas man was ripped to pieces as it was drug over a mile and a half by whites driving a pick-up truck. Other and more recent heinous hate crimes remind us of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, and Tamir Rice – just to name a few.

According to Rutgers University, Black men today are 2.5 times more likely than white men to be victims of violence. From 2013 to 2017, 11,456 fatal encounters with police and members of the public were reported.

At the same time, the emergence of hate groups has been on the rise, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).

“The total number of hate groups rose to 1,020 in 2018, up about 7 percent from 2017,” wrote Heidi Beirich, who leads SPLC’s Intelligence Project and its award-winning publication, The Intelligence Report.

Its report released this February found that white nationalist groups grew from 100 in 2017 to 148 the following year, 2018 – a 50% growth. Other hate groups – anti-Semitic, anti-LGBTQ, and anti-Muslim — also grew during these same years from 233 to 264. While the Ku Klux Klan dominated hate groups in the Jim Crow and civil rights eras, its presence across the country now appears to have been eclipsed by the growth of neo-Nazis, white nationalists, and skin head organizations.

SPLC’s Hate Map by State shows that the largest number of statewide hate groups are located in California (83), Florida (75), and Texas (73). At the local level, additional hate organizations currently operate in Dallas, Los Angeles, San Diego, and Tallahassee. Beyond these three states, hate groups can also be found in 45 other states and in more metropolitan areas such as Atlanta, Chicago, New York City, Sacramento, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.

Just as the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. prompted the enactment of major civil rights legislation, now is another time for our nation to stand up to the many forms of domestic terrorism that plague the nation. People of conscience and principle have a duty to stand up, speak out for the fullness of our “inalienable rights.”

Charlene Crowell is the Center for Responsible Lending’s communications deputy director. She can be reached at Charlene.crowell@responsiblelending.org

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COMMENTARY: Coach Saban, Shut Up and Coach

NNPA NEWSWIRE — Jackson State will continue to get its fair share of 5-Star recruits. Coach Prime and all HBCUs can offer an experience that Alabama certainly can’t. It’s nothing like an HBCU experience. This is just the beginning. We will continue to see 5-Star Black athletes signing with HBCUs.
The post COMMENTARY: Coach Saban, Shut Up and Coach first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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By Burl “The Coach” Jones, Sports Editor, Houston Forward Times

Recently, Alabama Head Football Coach Nick Saban made a statement that Texas A&M bought every player they signed with NIL (Name, Image, and Likeness) deals.

Alabama came in second in recruiting this year. That has rarely happened since Saban stepped on campus at Alabama. He also stated that Jackson State University, an HBCU coached by Deion Sanders, signed the #1 recruit in the country to a $1 million NIL deal.

The NIL phenomenon was created in June 2021 by the NCAA. This allows athletes to be paid for the use of their name, image, and likeness. Previously, the NCAA made billions in revenue off the backs of college athletes. With the advent of the NIL, expect a shift in the landscape of college football recruiting.

Schools like Texas A&M, Texas, and Oklahoma, have very rich boosters and alumni who have access to millions. They will come up with very creative ways to offer lucrative NIL deals to 5-star recruits. This apparently doesn’t sit well with Coach Saban, who is used to having his way, and getting most of the 5-Star recruits to sign with Alabama.

This will definitely level the playing field and gives schools like Texas A&M, that hasn’t won a National Championship in decades, a chance to recruit 5-Star athletes on a national level and could eventually lead to them winning a National Championship in the near future.

At least that’s what they hope in College Station.

As far as Coach Saban’s statement about Jackson State signing the #1 recruit in the country to a $1 million NIL deal is concerned, that was quickly debunked by Coach Prime, who immediately tweeted that he will address that lie. He followed that up with this statement:

“I haven’t talked to Coach Saban. I’m sure he tried to call. We need to talk publicly- not privately. What you said was public, that doesn’t require a private conversation. Let’s talk publicly and let everybody hear the conversation.”

Coach Saban is speaking from a place of privilege and bigotry. He is used to having his way and getting the players he wants. How dare a little old HBCU such as Jackson State get the #1 recruit in the country? It’s a slap in the face to all HBCUs to insist that they must pay a Black kid to attend an HBCU.

Paying recruits is certainly not new; it has been going on for years.

Former Houston Texan Travis Johnson, who was a 5-Star recruit, recently stated that Alabama offered him six figures in 2000 when he was being recruited.

“Y’all were the NIL before the NIL,” he said.

Jackson State will continue to get its fair share of 5-Star recruits. Coach Prime and all HBCUs can offer an experience that Alabama certainly can’t. It’s nothing like an HBCU experience. This is just the beginning. We will continue to see 5-Star Black athletes signing with HBCUs.

Coach Saban needs to be concerned about that pipeline that he had in Texas, getting those 5-Star recruits to leave the state. That oil money in Texas will be keeping those boys at home. Texas and Oklahoma will be joining the SEC in a few years and that will also influence Saban’s ability to recruit in Texas.

With all those factors coming into play, here is a bit of advice Coach Sabin:

SHUT UP AND COACH!!

“I’m just Telling It Like It Is!!”

The post COMMENTARY: Coach Saban, Shut Up and Coach first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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COMMENTARY: Racism Rears Its Ugly Head in the Buffalo Shootings

NNPA NEWSWIRE — Racial tragedy struck Buffalo, New York, on May 14th. Hate came up from the ground and reared its inhumane and immoral head. Ten Black people were murdered by a White man who hated Black people. It’s that simple and that sad. Payton S. Gendron, 18 years old, was the shooter. He also injured 3 people as well during this shooting spree.
The post COMMENTARY: Racism Rears Its Ugly Head in the Buffalo Shootings first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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By James B. Ewers Jr. Ed.D., Houston Forward Times

Racism is a longstanding social illness in the United States of America. Seemingly, there is no cure for it.

It has been with us for as long as I can remember. The result of it has created heartache and heartbreak.

Lives have been lost and it has left the stain of disgrace on this country. Accomplishments, it could be argued, are sometimes overshadowed by our blatant disregard for some members of our beloved community.

I know for sure that racism will be around for as long as I live. It has been a part of my life experiences.

Unfortunately, and I say this with no pride, I have witnessed racism up close and personal.

I have been around long enough to watch the many levels of racism that exist in this country.

For example, we have had educational racism. Segregated schools were the norm until the case, Brown versus the Board of Education of Topeka ended it.

Did that stop us from getting an education?

The answer is a resounding no!

Black colleges, now called Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), were founded in order that higher education was afforded to African Americans.

At this moment, HBCUs are the hottest and most talked about educational venue in the land.

Everybody wants to attend an HBCU. I am a graduate of an HBCU (Johnson C. Smith University), and I know the power and influence they have.

The right to vote has always been problematic for African Americans. It is a fundamental right for all Americans, according to the Founding Fathers.

The problem is that the ‘current fathers’ don’t see it that way.

Will that stop us?

The answer is another resounding no!

African Americans are now voting in record numbers and that trend will continue.

There are states in this union that are creating trumped-up rules to keep us from exercising our privilege at the polls.

Some in this country have taken racism below ground zero. There are people in our states who hate Black people and want to kill us.

That is a powerful statement, yet it is factual and true.

Interestingly, there are citizens who believe the opposite. I suspect their experiences are different, and they live in an almost contactless America.

If you are one of those people, pay close attention now.

Racial tragedy struck Buffalo, New York, on May 14th.

Hate came up from the ground and reared its inhumane and immoral head.

Ten Black people were murdered by a White man who hated Black people.

It’s that simple and that sad.

Payton S. Gendron, 18 years old, was the shooter. He also injured 3 people as well during this shooting spree.

The victims were assaulted at a Tops Friendly Markets store and the victims ranged in ages from 20-86.

This crime of hate is unthinkable and was done with malicious intent.

The killer was not a Buffalo resident. He drove approximately 200 miles from Conklin, New York, to commit this heinous crime.

Gendron had already scouted out the place for his crime. He knew that many African Americans shopped at that location. That is sick beyond words.

According to reports, Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia said, “We found some things that show he was here in early March, and then again, we know he was here on Friday, basically doing reconnaissance on the area.”

Gramaglia added, “He was in the store, both on Friday and Saturday.”

These statements were made by him to CNN’s Erin Burnett.

Payton S. Gendron surrendered to police after this life-altering atrocity.

America, where are we headed? Only time will tell.

The post Racism Rears Its Ugly Head in the Buffalo Shootings appeared first on Houston Forward Times.

The post COMMENTARY: Racism Rears Its Ugly Head in the Buffalo Shootings first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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American Petroleum Institute Lays Out Solutions to Rising Gas Prices

NNPA NEWSWIRE — A study of fact sheets provided by the American Petroleum Institute suggests that the complicated answer includes more production in America, which could add more supply. “More U.S. supply means relief for the global market,” Lem Smith, API’s vice president for Federal Relations, wrote in an op-ed.
The post American Petroleum Institute Lays Out Solutions to Rising Gas Prices first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
@StacyBrownMedia

The average price for a gallon of gasoline has hit record numbers in Los Angeles and Philadelphia.

This week prices rose nationally by four cents, and consumers wondered why the cost is so high.

A study of fact sheets provided by the American Petroleum Institute suggests that the complicated answer includes more production in America, which could add more supply. “More U.S. supply means relief for the global market,” Lem Smith, API’s vice president for Federal Relations, wrote in an op-ed.

“America has an abundance of resources right under our feet, and policymakers should send a clear message that America is open for energy investment,” Smith declared.

API noted that gasoline prices are determined by the supply and demand of crude oil and expenses for refining, distribution, retailing, and taxation. Those fundamental market realities drive prices at the pump, officials stated.

The main components of retail gasoline prices are the cost of crude oil, taxes, refining costs, and distribution and marketing costs, API officials stated.

Of those, the price of crude oil has the most significant impact – accounting for 56 percent of the cost.

“Because of this, changes in the price reflect the global cost of crude oil, which is influenced by current conditions and expectations of consumer demand, supply, inventories, geopolitical events, and other factors, generally have an effect on pump prices,” the organization stated in a fact sheet.

Further, federal, state, and local governments levy various taxes in fees on transportation fuels.

The nationwide average tax on gasoline is 57.09 cents per gallon, including a federal tax of 18.4 cents per gallon and state-level taxes that range from 68.15 cents per gallon in California and 15.13 cents per gallon in Alaska.

API President and CEO Mike Sommers recently discussed the critical importance of American energy leadership “at a time of geopolitical volatility and rising energy costs around the world.”

Sommers urged policymakers to advance U.S. natural gas and oil production to support stability in global energy markets and ensure access to affordable, reliable energy for American consumers and our allies overseas.

“Most everyone knows that the world needs oil and natural gas in a big way and will for decades or more to come; the only question is where that oil and gas is going to come from,” Sommers remarked.

“As much as ever, we need to think hard about that economic truth and our energy future. That means recognizing energy from natural gas and oil as the critical strategic asset it is to America.”

“We can’t treat oil and natural gas as a kind of switch that is turned on or off to suit the moment,” Sommers continued.

“Production and delivery don’t work that way. Yet the overriding policy lately has been to cancel pipelines, block permits and deny leases – all things that discourage investment.

“As more Americans face the consequences of bad policy, the elements of good policy become that much more apparent and desired. We have an opportunity together to re-center the energy discussion with basic realities and good common sense as our starting point.”

Sommers called on the administration and Congress to develop a new five-year offshore leasing program; hold onshore leases on federal lands per the Mineral Leasing Act; approve LNG export applications and allow the approval of exports to non-free-trade-agreement nations, and craft transparent, consistent permitting regulations to enable the development of vital energy infrastructure.

The U.S. has pledged to increase LNG exports to Europe by 65 percent over the next six years.

How quickly could U.S. oil producers scale up production to put downward pressure on domestic gasoline costs?

What could the federal government do to promote that production?

API officials said it begins with access to resources, advancing infrastructure, and enabling – rather than deterring – the industry’s financing.

“Importantly, financial markets have become less hospitable to the natural gas and oil industry partly because of the Biden administration’s positions, policies, and signals,” API officials asserted.

“Those who have capital may be reluctant to invest in long-lived energy assets in such a climate, and a relatively fixed pool of cash flows that could be re-invested by industry have been increasingly spread thin.”

API listed four “concrete actions” the organization believes the Biden-Harris administration could immediately take to support American production.

They include conducting federal lease sales, completing a new five-year program for federal offshore leasing, supporting energy infrastructure, and reopening access to Alaska.

“The administration should reinstate the leases it suspended in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and the permit development it approved in the National Petroleum Reserve,” API officials wrote.

“These were permitted with stringent environmental standards and could prove a significant source of domestic production over time.”

The post American Petroleum Institute Lays Out Solutions to Rising Gas Prices first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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