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COMMENTARY: What Can America Do to Ease Its Fears?

NNPA NEWSWIRE — “The story of the abolition of slavery in the aftermath of the Civil War is familiar, as is the civil rights revolution that transformed the nation after World War II,” noted Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr. “But the century in between remains a mystery,” he continued. “If emancipation came in Lincoln’s America, why was it necessary to march in Martin Luther King, Jr.’s America?”
The post COMMENTARY: What Can America Do to Ease Its Fears? first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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

Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr. has long examined America’s hatred toward African Americans, recently noting a profound new rendering of the struggle by African Americans for equality after the Civil War and the violent counterrevolution that re-subjugated them, as seen through the prism of the war of images and ideas that have left an enduring stain on the American psyche.

“The story of the abolition of slavery in the aftermath of the Civil War is familiar, as is the civil rights revolution that transformed the nation after World War II,” Gates wrote in a white paper.

“But the century in between remains a mystery,” he noted. “If emancipation came in Lincoln’s America, why was it necessary to march in Martin Luther King, Jr.’s America?”

Further, 54 years after King’s assassination, white supremacy remains on the rise with the merciless Tops supermarket murders of 10 African Americans and even the heartless killings of 19 predominantly Latino students at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.

HIT Strategies, Washington D.C.’s leading millennial and minority-owned public opinion research company, issued its latest survey of Black Americans, “Reducing Racism and Discrimination.”

The company said reducing racism and discrimination counts as the “number two” issue for Black voters, behind only inflation and, previously, COVID-19.

HIT officials noted that reducing racism consistently ranks among the top three priorities. Black voters want their elected leaders to address this.

“[The Topps Supermarket] shooting represented racism in its most violent and craven form,” added Terrance Woodbury, founding partner at HIT Strategies.

“However, Black voters have long recognized how the culture-war politics and its racist rhetoric fuels animus toward Black Americans. Black voters want their elected leaders to respond to racism head-on, not just in reaction to tragedies. This is a political and moral imperative.”

One African American male told HIT researchers that “underneath the insurrection, which was the actual event, it was just white backlash. This was the same as the burning of Tulsa. This was the same as all the things.”

An unidentified Black woman added: “I think with Donald Trump coming in and leaving, it woke up a lot of things that were buried, like racism, it’s still alive.”

Jeremy Clifford, founder, and CEO of Router CTRL, a fast-growing website in the technology market, insisted that America’s hate problem remains deep-rooted and complex.

“Several factors contribute to it, including our history, culture, and politics,” Clifford stated. “America has a long history of hate. From the days of slavery to the Jim Crow era, from the Civil Rights Movement to today, America has seen its fair share of hate. And while we like to think that we’ve come a long way since then, the truth is that much of our history is still with us today.”

Clifford continued, noting that “we live in a culture that is built on competition and individualism. We are a nation of winners and losers, and we often see others as threats to our success. This can lead to fear and suspicion, which can turn into hate.”

“Finally, our politics also contribute to our hate problem. Our political system is based on a winner-take-all. We are a country divided between red and blue, and we often see those on the other side as our enemies. This division can lead to anger and hate.”

TEDx speaker Milagros Phillips said she believes America repeatedly looks in the wrong areas to solve its hate history.

“Whenever something racially charged happens, everyone turns to people of color to solve it. Racism is a problem for people of color. It is not the problem of people of color,” Phillips asserted.

“Hundreds of years of racial conditioning, through violence, scapegoating, and the dehumanization of Black and Brown people have led to the anger, hatred, and dysfunction we experience today.

“But don’t be fooled. That hatred is not today. It’s hundreds of years in the making and practice. Proof of that is the lynching and burnings that have continued.”

Author and human rights activist Tara Teng suggested that America has not solved its hate problem because the nation hasn’t learned how to reconnect with humanity.

“We crave power more than we crave connection to our fellow humans, and this same misalignment of priorities is what America was built upon,” Teng determined.

“It is our origin story. From colonization and genocide to slavery, segregation, and Jim Crow, America has taken every opportunity to use the body as justification for oppression and cruelty.”

Teng continued:

“In the name of power and supremacy, we look to ‘the good old days,’ an idealized past in which tradition and nostalgia were built on the backs of body-based oppression – legislating racism, ableism, and homophobia against anyone who was not powerful and white.

“These power struggles are why Critical Race Theory is banned in schools, legislation is debated in the halls, and bodies are targeted by gun violence in the streets. Our hate has become embodied within us and because some benefit from it, we refuse to spit the poison out of our mouths.”

What can America do to ease its fears?

Phillips, the TEDx speaker, said treating the trauma would help.

“These horrific things happen to people of color, but no one moves in with the cadre of psychiatrists to treat the trauma,” Phillips remarked.

“We should also treat for justice. White perpetrators of violence are treated differently than perpetrators of color. A white mass shooter can be captured alive and not even handcuffed. Soon after they are captured, the news quickly announces they have a mental health condition.

“Meanwhile, a perpetrator of color is more likely to end up shot dead in a confrontation, and rarely is their mental health part of their defense.”

Phillips concluded that self-care could help Black Americans in particular.

“Because there is very little treatment for Black people’s continual trauma, we will have to learn to self-care,” Phillips maintained.

“There are some wonderful exercises to help with anxiety, fear, and coming down from trauma.”

The post COMMENTARY: What Can America Do to Ease Its Fears? first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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Brittney Griner Sentenced to More than 9 years in Russian Prison

NNPA NEWSWIRE — The lawyers of WNBA star Brittney Griner, Maria Blagovolina and Alexander Boykov, said in a written statement following the verdict announcement that the court ignored all the evidence they presented and that they will appeal the decision. “We are very disappointed by the verdict. As legal professionals, we believe that the court should be fair to everyone regardless of nationality,” Attorneys Maria Blagovolina and Alexander Boykov said in a statement.

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

WNBA Superstar Brittney Griner has been sentenced to more than 9 years in a Russian prison following her conviction on drug charges.

Her lawyers called the verdict a disappointment and vowed to appeal.

The lawyers of WNBA star Brittney Griner, Maria Blagovolina and Alexander Boykov, said in a written statement following the verdict announcement that the court ignored all the evidence they presented and that they will appeal the decision.

“We are very disappointed by the verdict. As legal professionals, we believe that the court should be fair to everyone regardless of nationality,” Attorneys Maria Blagovolina and Alexander Boykov said in a statement.

“The court completely ignored all the evidence of the defense, and most importantly, the guilty plea. This contradicts the existing legal practice.

“Taking into account the amount of the substance (not to mention the defects of the expertise) and the plea, the verdict is absolutely unreasonable. We will certainly file an appeal,” they added.

Russian officials contended that Griner committed the crime on purpose. They also levied a fine totaling about $16,400 American dollars on the basketball star.

Authorities arrested Griner on Feb. 17 at an airport in Moscow after finding less than a gram of cannabis oil in her luggage.

She has been detained since then.

Recently, American officials revealed that the Biden-Harris administration had offered notorious arms dealer Viktor Bout in exchange for the release of Griner and Paul Whelan.

“Today, American citizen Brittney Griner received a prison sentence that is one more reminder of what the world already knew: Russia is wrongfully detaining Brittney,” President Biden said.

“It’s unacceptable, and I call on Russia to release her immediately so she can be with her wife, loved ones, friends, and teammates. My administration will continue to work tirelessly and pursue every possible avenue to bring Brittney and Paul Whelan home safely as soon as possible.”

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Report: Human Rights Violations in Prisons Throughout Southern United States Cause Disparate and Lasting Harm in Black Communities  

NNPA NEWSWIRE — “The U.S. has long failed to live up to its international human rights treaty obligations on eliminating racial discrimination, perhaps more so in the area of mass incarceration and prison conditions than in any other context,” said Lisa Borden, Senior Policy Counsel, International Advocacy at the Southern Poverty Law Center. 

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NEW YORK – The Southern Prisons Coalition, a group of civil and human rights organizations, submitted a new report to the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination on the devastating consequences of incarceration on Black people throughout the southern United States.

With the long-term goal of eliminating all forms of racial discrimination in the criminal legal system, including the carceral system, the report describes the widespread, disparate harms resulting from the arrests, harsh prison sentences, and incarceration on Black communities.

The report also cites the devastating impacts of solitary confinement, prison labor, the school to prison pipeline, and incarceration of parents on Black families.

On August 8, 2022, the UN will review the United States’ compliance with the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination for the first time since 2014.

Among the ongoing stark racial disparities throughout prisons in the southern United States, Black people are five times more likely to be incarcerated in state prisons.

In states like Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Texas, where Black communities comprise 38% of the total population, Black individuals account for as much as 67% of the total incarcerated population.

While incarcerated, Black people are more than eight times more likely to be placed in solitary confinement, and they are 10 times more likely to be held there for exceedingly long periods of time.

By submitting the report to the United Nations, the Southern Prisons Coalition hopes to solicit concrete recommendations from the UN Committee as well as commitments from the United States delegation about their plans to address systemic issues in the United States prison system, particularly in the South.

According to the report, several states in the United States have also failed to meet several of the UN’s Standard Minimum Rules for the treatment of incarcerated people, including:

  • Work should help to prepare incarcerated people for their release from prison, including life and job skills;
  • Safety measures and labor protections for incarcerated workers should be the same as those that cover workers who are not incarcerated;
  • Incarcerated workers should receive equitable pay, be able to send money home to their families, and have a portion of their wages set aside to be given to them upon release.

“The U.S. has long failed to live up to its international human rights treaty obligations on eliminating racial discrimination, perhaps more so in the area of mass incarceration and prison conditions than in any other context,” said Lisa Borden, Senior Policy Counsel, International Advocacy at the Southern Poverty Law Center.

“We hope the Committee will help to shine a light on these very dark truths and prompt the U.S. to take its obligation to make significant improvements more seriously.”

“The abuses of forced labor are inextricably tied to racial discrimination in our nation,” said Jamila Johnson, Deputy Director at the Promise of Justice Initiative.

“In Louisiana, for instance, people are still sent into the fields to labor by hand in dangerously high heat indexes, for little to no compensation, and with brutal enforcement reminiscent of slavery and the era of ‘convict leasing’.”

“This report reveals the suffering of Black people in southern U.S. prisons, whose stories of marginalization and discrimination echo the racial subjugation of slavery and convict leasing during our country’s most shameful past,” said Antonio L. Ingram II, Assistant Counsel at the Legal Defense Fund.

“Despite widespread knowledge of the longstanding racial inequalities in the criminal legal and carceral systems, the United States continues to allow egregious human rights violations to persist for Black incarcerated people in violation of international law. This report serves as a sobering reminder of how far we need to go.”

Read the full report here.

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Celebrate your birthday with 10 free items

NNPA NEWSWIRE — Is your birthday coming up, and you’re not sure how to celebrate? Beat the summer heat by grabbing free ice cream at Cold Stone Creamery, or a daiquiri at WhoDaq Daquiris “The Daiquiri Shoppe.” Not in the mood for sweets? Head over to Jersey Mike’s or McDonald’s. Check out the rest of these Top 10 places giving out free items on your special day.

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By Angelina Liu, Entertainment Editor of The Trendsetter / Texas Metro News

Is your birthday coming up, and you’re not sure how to celebrate? Beat the summer heat by grabbing free ice cream at Cold Stone Creamery, or a daiquiri at WhoDaq Daquiris “The Daiquiri Shoppe.” Not in the mood for sweets? Head over to Jersey Mike’s or McDonald’s. Check out the rest of these Top 10 places giving out free items on your special day.

1. Chocolate Secrets

At Chocolate Secrets, located at 3926 Oak Lawn Ave, Dallas, TX 75219, you can celebrate your birthday by getting one free piece of candy under their candy cases.

2. WhoDaq Daquiris “The Daiquiri Shoppe”

Head to WhoDaq Daquiris “The Daiquiri Shoppe”, located at 684 W Pioneer Pkwy Suite 100, Grand Prairie, Texas 75051, to claim a free small personal daiquiri on your birthday. Quench your thirst with signature flavors such as “Strawberry Shortcake” or “Bahama Mama.”

3. Sephora

Sign up for a free, Beauty Insider account and receive your choice of 250 bonus points, Laura Mercier, Amika or Tatcha sets on your birthday. The choice of powders, lipsticks and skincare is bound to make you look fabulous for your special day.

4. Starbucks

Need a quick pick-me-up on your birthday? Starbucks has it covered! Join the Starbucks Rewards Program seven days prior to your birthday and make one purchase. Starbucks will then email you a coupon for a free food or beverage item two days before your birthday. The birthday reward qualifies for anything on the menu, including any size handcrafted drink or food item.

5. Jersey Mike’s

In the mood for a sub? Head over to Jersey Mike’s and receive a free sub and drink. Make sure to sign up for the Jersey Mike’s Subs Email Club prior to your birthday to receive this reward. Nothing tastes quite like melted cheese and meat in between a toasted baguette, along with an icy cold drink.

6. The Cheesecake Factory

Celebrating with friends? Tell your server it’s your birthday and receive a free treat as well as a song. It may be mildly embarrassing, but hey, it’s free!

7. Culver’s

Need something cold and sweet to beat the Texas heat? Head to Culver’s for a free sundae when you sign up for their rewards program. The sweet creaminess will surely not disappoint.

8. IHOP

Want to indulge in a sweet breakfast before birthday festivities? Join the International Bank of Pancakes rewards program to receive a free stack of pancakes on your birthday. Pair your pancakes with a choice of chocolate chips, syrup, fresh fruit or a dollop of whipped cream.

9. McDonald’s

Need a snack before embarking on your next birthday adventure? Download the McDonald’s app and join MyMcDonald’s Rewards to receive free large fries. Mmm, the taste and smell of fresh, perfectly salted french fries.

10. Smoothie King

Want to celebrate your birthday with a healthier option? Enjoy a birthday smoothie at Smoothie King. Download the Smoothie King app to receive this offer.

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Photos courtesy of Ella Baker Center, photography by Brooke Anderson
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