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Despite Apathy, Activists and Strategists Urge Black Voters Not to Sit out 2022 Midterms

NNPA NEWSWIRE — With new voter suppression laws, the leaked Roe V. Wade opinion, and the assault on many other rights, some question whether the voting bloc that allowed Democrats to take the White House and control both houses of Congress will abandon the polls during the midterm elections.
The post Despite Apathy, Activists and Strategists Urge Black Voters Not to Sit out 2022 Midterms first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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

The failure of Congress to pass legislation like the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act have frustrated African Americans.

With new voter suppression laws, the leaked Roe V. Wade opinion, and the assault on many other rights, some question whether the voting bloc that allowed Democrats to take the White House and control both houses of Congress will abandon the polls during the midterm elections.

“Black voters are understandably frustrated with the lack of reform around voter rights, but the lack of success with this is due to actions by Republicans, not Democrats,” insisted Dr. Michal Strahilevitz, the director of the Elfenworks Center for Responsible Business and marketing professor at Saint Mary’s College of California.

“Black voters are far more pragmatic than most segments of the Democratic voter base. I expect them to show up not so much to reward Democrats for their lackluster success as to limit the power Republicans have to stop the necessary reforms,” Strahilevitz continued.

“In short, Black voters are not just a loyal part of the Democratic base, and they are a very practical one too.”

Daniel Chan, chief technology officer at Marketplace Fairness, added that Black voters have several concerns that Democrats haven’t addressed adequately.

“These include police reform, voting rights, and economic inequality. If they do not turn out to vote in the midterms, the Democrats could lose control of Congress,” Chan offered.

“The party has plans to address some of these concerns, but more needs to be done. Black voters are an essential part of the Democratic coalition, and it is important that the party does more to address their concerns,” he concluded.

The Black Lives Matter co-founder who now leads Black Futures Lab, Alicia Garza, observed the strict voter requirements that include restrictions for returning mail-in ballots.

Noting the unique challenges faced by Black voters, Black Futures Lab partnered with other groups to look closer at vote-by-mail in three states, Alabama, Nevada, and Texas.

“The first solution and probably the only solution to turn the tide of the ongoing and multiple assaults on our rights is to build independent progressive Black political power,” Garza asserted.

“We must equip Black voters with the tools necessary to be powerful. Unfortunately, Black voters are targeted by misinformation and disinformation every day,” she determined.

“In 2020, Black voters were getting messages online telling them not to go to the polls, so we must make sure that our people can get to the polls and challenge the laws and policies that keep us from making important decisions. Black voters are kept from being powerful on purpose, by policies and the conservative movement has designed.”

Krystal Leaphart of Black Girls Vote said her organization begins engaging young girls as early as middle school with the mantra that “our vote is our voice.”

“We target all age groups and communities of Black girls, and we seek to educate and empower Black girls. However, we must make sure that those on the margins are fully engaged,” Leaphart stated.

“Many young people are shocked at the amount of power that we collectively have,” Leaphart continued. “When we engage young Black girls, they are excited to vote, and the earlier we get to people and get them excited about the process and get them civically engaged, the better we will be.”

Leaphart noted that issues affecting adults also bother the young.

“They are dealing with many the same issues that are not restricted to adults,” Leaphart asserted.

“They are dealing with reproductive justice issues, Black girl pushout, and overcriminalization. But hearing that those issues can be dealt with at the polls and talking to elected officials have them excited.”

In a radio interview, Democratic Strategist Karen Finney implored all to understand what was at stake during the 2022 midterms.

“It’s very clear in terms of the GOP candidates who emerged – one of the big things we saw is that people who were peddlers of The Big Lie, deniers of the 2020 election, seem to do pretty well, regardless of Donald Trump,” Finney told radio personality Charles Ellison on his Reality Check show.

“That tells you a lot about what their agenda would be if they win. Voters came out in record numbers in 2020, and we did something extraordinary,” Finney recounted.

“We’re going to have to do it again in 2022 if we want to keep America moving away from what I saw as a very divisive destruction of the Trump years.”

The post Despite Apathy, Activists and Strategists Urge Black Voters Not to Sit out 2022 Midterms 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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