Connect with us

#NNPA BlackPress

EXCLUSIVE: Rev. Dr. William Barber Addresses Systemic Racism, Poverty & Voting Rights During Call with the Black Press

NNPA NEWSWIRE — Following the Shelby County v. Holder Supreme Court case, which gutted key provisions of the Voting Rights Act, 14 states had new voting restrictions in place before the 2016 Presidential election, and there were 868 fewer polling places across the country, according to the Poor Peoples Campaign.

Published

on

Reverend William Barber II, president of the North Carolina state chapter of the NAACP, delivered an electrifying speech during the 2017 NNPA Mid-Winter Conference in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (Photo: Freddie Allen/AMG/NNPA)

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

Rev. Dr. William Barber II believes that everyone has a right to live.

Through his Poor People’s Campaign, Dr. Barber is continuing to build a movement to overcome systemic racism, systemic poverty, ecological devastation, militarism of the budget and the false moral narrative of white religious nationalism.

In an exclusive telephone conference with the Black Press of America, Dr. Barber and his Poor People’s Campaign Co-Chair, Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharris, said America has a moral crisis.

“Democrats run from poverty and Republicans racialize poverty,” Dr. Barber stated during the more than one-hour discussion.

“We have invited both sides of the political fence. We’ve invited the White House to come and talk with us. They’ve refused,” stated Dr. Barber, the founder of Repairers of the Breach, a national leadership development organization, which expands upon his Moral Monday movement.

“This administration has been virtually silent on the issue of poverty. The president talked about unemployment being down, but underemployment is up. The number of people that have dropped out of the workforce is up,” said Dr. Barber, who, along with Dr. Theoharris, and others launched the Poor People’s Campaign, spearheaded initially by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The Campaign conducted what it said was a 50-year audit of systemic racism, poverty, ecological devastation, and the war economy in the U.S.

They said the findings have already helped to inform and build state and local, nonpartisan fusion movements that are committed to challenging laws and policies that are antithetical to the broad tenets of social justice.

Dr. Barbara and Theoharris, who is a pastor from New York, told the Black Press that the ranks of the Poor People’s Campaign would increase as they broaden their efforts.

They noted figures that show 140 million poor and low-wealth people live in the United States – from every race, creed, sexuality, and place.

“We aim to make sure these individuals are no longer ignored, dismissed, or pushed to the margins of our political and social agenda,” Dr. Theoharris stated.

With 2020 counting as a pivotal election year, Dr. Barber pointed out that voter suppression laws in many states have only contributed to poverty.

The Poor People’s Campaign has noted that, since 2010, 23 states have passed racist voter suppression laws, including racist gerrymandering and redistricting statutes that make it harder to register.

Because of this, early voting days and hours have reduced, officials have purged voter rolls, and there have been more restrictive voter ID laws.

Following the Shelby County v. Holder Supreme Court case, which gutted key provisions of the Voting Rights Act, 14 states had new voting restrictions in place before the 2016 Presidential election, and there were 868 fewer polling places across the country, according to the Campaign.

While these laws have disproportionately targeted Black people, at least 17 states saw voter suppression cases targeting American Indian and Alaskan Native voters in 2016, Dr. Barber stated.

“Thirteen states that passed voter suppression laws also opted not to accept expanded Medicaid benefits offered under the Affordable Care Act,” he added.

“These attacks follow a broader pattern of restricting and curtailing democratic processes by drawing on legacies of racism to undermine local efforts to organize for better conditions,” Dr. Barber stated.

As of July 2017, 25 states have passed laws that preempt cities from adopting their own local minimum wage laws. Most of these are in response to city councils passing or wanting to pass minimum wage increases.

“We found that people can work a minimum wage job and can’t afford a two-bedroom apartment,” Dr. Barber said. “We found out that there are 2 million people who work every day for less than the living wage. Some of them live in their cars, and they go to work every day.”

Dr. Theoharris spoke of Maria, a woman they met in El Paso, Texas, separated from her family because of immigration issues.

“We waded into the Rio Grande River – the river that separates the U.S. from Mexico – with an action called “Hugs, not Walls.” Maria got to see her son for the first time in 16 years. And for those couple of minutes that Maria had with her husband and her son were the first and only two minutes that she got to see her family members because of unjust immigration policy,” Dr. Theohoarris stated.

The Poor People’s Campaign is organizing the Poor People’s Assembly and Moral March on Washington, June 20th, during which Dr. Barber said they would rise as “a powerful moral fusion movement to demand the implementation of our moral agenda.”

“The fact that there are 140 million poor and low-wealth people in a country this rich is morally indefensible, constitutionally inconsistent and economically insane,” Dr. Barber added.

During the march, Dr. Barber said some of those living in poverty would attend and speak for themselves. He stated that it was essential to know that poverty comes in “all colors” and that it’s more than just African Americans who are struggling.

He noted that the City of Flint was under emergency management when it decided to switch its water source from the Detroit Water System to the Flint River.

That move poisoned a community of almost 99,000, with a 42 percent poverty rate and in which 56 percent of residents are Black, and 37 percent are White.

Also, Dr. Barber noted that 6.1 million people had been disenfranchised because of felony convictions, including one in 13 Black adults.

During the call, Dr. Barber continued to lash out at the current administration’s controversial immigration policies. The Poor People’s Campaign has found that undocumented immigrants contributed $5 trillion to the U.S. economy over the last ten years.

They paid $13 billion in Social Security in 2010, but only received $1 billion in benefits.

They also pay eight percent of their income in state and local taxes, while the wealthiest one percent pay just 5.4 percent. Yet undocumented immigrants and most lawfully residing immigrants are barred from receiving assistance under the major public welfare programs, causing hardship for many poor immigrant families.

In fact, among the 43.7 million immigrants in the U.S., there are 19.7 million – undocumented and lawfully residing – who cannot vote, Dr. Barber noted.

“So, we have to understand the history of systemic racism. And we have to see how systemic racism is impacting not just people of color, but also white people today,” Dr. Barber stated. “When Reverend Barber says that repressed voter suppression can create and further poverty amongst White people, amongst Black people, amongst Latinos, amongst young people and old people.”

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

#NNPA BlackPress

Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis Jr. Named National Co-Chair of No Labels

“As a veteran of the civil rights movement, during the last six decades, I’ve learned a few things about the importance of people working together across lines of race, ethnicity, language, geography, and the things that divide us. I want to work on things that unite us as Americans. I believe No Labels offers that opportunity but also that responsibility to move forward,” Dr. Chavis said.

Published

on

Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis Jr.
Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis Jr.

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

No Labels, a nonprofit think tank that describes itself as a national movement of Democrats, Republicans, and independents working to solve the country’s most complex problems, has named Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis Jr. as its national co-chair.

The formal announcement occurred during a Zoom news conference on January 22.

It included welcome messages from Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine), Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia), and former Maryland Republican Gov. Larry Hogan, among others.

Recording star Deborah Cox opened the introductory news conference by performing a spirited song about No Labels, who created the bipartisan House Problem Solvers Caucus and an allied Senate group that led passage of some of the most important legislation of recent years, including the CHIPS Act, a gun safety bill, and a rewrite of the Electoral Count Act in 2022.

Voiceovers were woven in of former U.S. Presidents from John F. Kennedy to Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama.

The organization then played a tribute video that included Dr. Chavis’ family and his legendary career as a civil rights leader.

“I’m very pleased to join Sen. Lieberman and Gov. Hogan as co-chairs of No Labels,” Dr. Chavis exclaimed.

“As a veteran of the civil rights movement, during the last six decades, I’ve learned a few things about the importance of people working together across lines of race, ethnicity, language, geography, and the things that divide us. I want to work on things that unite us as Americans. I believe No Labels offers that opportunity but also that responsibility to move forward,” Dr. Chavis said.

Lieberman, a former U.S. Senator from Connecticut, who changed parties in 2006 and is now an Independent, said No Labels is fortunate to have Dr. Chavis on board.

“Based on his history as a civil rights leader and the kind of person he is, I’m thrilled. Dr. Chavis has always been a bridge-builder and will bring civility, which is sorely needed in our government and our country,” Lieberman asserted.

Hogan, who served two terms as Maryland governor, also congratulated Dr. Chavis.

“I’m thrilled to congratulate Dr. Chavis and welcome him to No Labels. I know Dr. Chavis will be a great addition to the leadership team of No Labels,” Hogan stated.

“He shares our commitment to bringing people together to achieve common sense solutions for all Americans. Having worked with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Dr. Chavis knows what it means to fight for freedom and respect for all Americans, and that’s exactly what No Labels stand for,” Hogan concluded.

Manchin, the conservative-leaning Democrat, said he got involved with No Labels more than 12 years ago because the organization works to unite America.

“We’re still working to unite this country,” Manchin declared.

“What we’ve done in the last two years in a bipartisan way because of No Labels has been [major].

“So, I’m thrilled to have the experience of Dr. Chavis and the wealth of knowledge he’s gained over the years that he’ll share with us to help make us a more perfect union.”

In welcoming Dr. Chavis, Senator Susan Collins, Maine’s longest-serving Senator, lent her voice.

“As a highly respected civil rights leader, his service alongside Sen. Lieberman and Gov. Hogan will help move our organization and nation forward,” Collins insisted.

“Dr. Chavis has dedicated his life to championing equality and encouraging our nation to live up to its ideals. He believes in American unity, democracy, and opportunity for all.”

Dr. Chavis said his life’s work had taught him that if everyone works together, divisions can be overcome.

“And when we overcome divisions, we make progress,” he insisted.

“I believe we need to restore bipartisanship in the American Congress. We need to restore bipartisanship at the state legislative level.

“We need to restore bipartisanship at the local and municipal level. Americans today are worn out with all the divisions and looking for a way forward. No Labels offer that way forward.”

Continue Reading

#NNPA BlackPress

COMMENTARY: Prayer is Your Power

Terrible things happen to good people often. We live in an unjust world with people making decisions that are informed more by profit than people. We cannot take those principles into our relationship with God. We must believe that “… all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.”

Published

on

Prayer is about faith. It is believing that God hears us.
Prayer is about faith. It is believing that God hears us.

Faithful Utterances

By Dr. Froswa Booker-Drew | Texas Metro News

This week, a friend informed me that she was following the ambulance to the hospital with her husband. Her husband was going through a major health crisis. She wasn’t the only one who reached out—a friend’s mother had unexplained pain and another friend contacted me about her friend’s son who was hospitalized with pneumonia. Each of them asked that I pray for them.

I consider it an honor to pray for others. Prayer is powerful and I love that I have a group of friends who I can turn to that I call the “prayer warriors” that when I send a text to lift up the concerns and issues of others before God, they go into battle mode.

Prayer is a weapon and I think many of us don’t understand its power until we need it. For many of us, it’s a routine, something that’s more about religion than it is about relationship. We have gotten prayer twisted as some exchange solely for stuff. God is not a celestial Santa Claus dropping off gifts. Prayer is an opportunity to go before to God sincerely in relationship. “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others.

Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.” (Matthew 6:5–8)

Prayer is about faith. It is believing that God hears us. “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16) I realize that my prayers are even more powerful when I am in relationship with others seeking God: “For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them” (Matthew 18:20). It’s dangerous when we see prayer as a way to manipulate God into doing what we want. There is nothing wrong with bringing your requests before God but it’s important to check our motivation and intention. It’s also important to know that just because God doesn’t answer our prayers in the way that we want does not mean that God doesn’t love us.

It doesn’t mean that God does not hear us. It does not negate the omnipotence or goodness of God, either. We must believe that God is able. “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) It’s easy to blame God when things don’t go the way we want them to—”the rain falls on the just and the unjust” (Matthew 5:45).

Terrible things happen to good people often. We live in an unjust world with people making decisions that are informed more by profit than people. We cannot take those principles into our relationship with God. We must believe that “… all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28) …. God is concerned with our hearts, with people and cares for us even when things don’t go the way we’d like. I can report that all of the individuals we prayed for had excellent results.

God is good! Yet, I realize that this isn’t always the case. Prayer is powerful. God wants us to have this daily form of communication. 1 John 5:14, tells us: “And this is the boldness we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.” Don’t use prayer just when you need something. Just as all relationships require consistent communication for growth and results, the same is even more important in our relationship with God. Prayer is a powerful partnership with God that can move mountains when we believe!

Dr. Froswa’ Booker-Drew is the host of the Tapestry Podcast and the author of three books for women. She is also the Vice President of Community Affairs for the State Fair of Texas. To learn more, visit drfroswa.com.

Continue Reading

#NNPA BlackPress

Big U.S. Cities Fail to Provide Data for New FBI Hate Crimes Report

“The Justice Department is committed to prioritizing prevention, investigation, and prosecution of hate crimes,” Associate U.S. Attorney General Vanita Gupta stated. “The FBI’s 2021 Hate Crimes Statistics are a reminder of the need to continue our vigorous efforts to address this pervasive issue in America.”

Published

on

According to the report, more than 7,000 single-bias incidents were recorded involving more than 8,700 victims.

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

Critics immediately threw cold water on a new FBI 2021 Hate Crime Statistics Act Report released by U.S. Department of Justice officials on Monday, Dec. 12.

Margaret Huang, the president, and CEO of the Southern Poverty Law Center, said while underreporting of hate crimes to the FBI remains an ongoing problem, the failure of state and local jurisdictions to report data makes the new report worse.

Over one-third of the nation’s 18,000 federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies failed to report data to the FBI.

In 2020, the number of agencies reporting was 3,300 fewer than in 2021.

The latest reporting year counted as the first in which the FBI required every agency to report all crimes, including hate crimes, through its National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS).

Huang said that even though the FBI provided technical assistance and funding for its new requirement, many jurisdictions were unable or unwilling to report through the new system.

She said the result is dramatically incomplete.

It needs more data from major population centers, including New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Phoenix, and the entire states of Florida and California.

“While the FBI’s annual Hate Crime report has been the nation’s best available snapshot of hate violence in America, this year’s data is woefully incomplete, inaccurate, and simply cannot be trusted – certainly not to compare to previous years. Victims and communities affected by hate crimes deserve better,” Huang asserted.

“The failure of thousands of police agencies across the country to participate in this report is devastating for the individuals and communities harmed by these crimes and our ability to understand and prevent them,” she said.

Huang added that accurate, comprehensive national data is integral to addressing the root causes, designing prevention strategies, and providing support to victims and communities.

“There may be a temptation to draw conclusions from this woefully incomplete and flawed report about the rate of reported hate crimes, especially those targeting Black and AAPI communities, Sikhs, and LGBTQ people,” Huang continued.

“But comparing this piecemeal national data to previous years would be wrong. This first NIBRS reporting year data is simply too unreliable.

“We cannot outlaw hate, but we can do more to support victims of hate violence by ensuring they are heard and to confront the problem by measuring it accurately.

“As the transition to NIBRS continues, SPLC and our coalition partners will be urging the Justice Department and FBI to focus attention and resources on community-based prevention and response strategies.

“And, until legislation requiring hate crime reporting can be enacted, federal funds to law enforcement agencies should be conditioned on credible HCSA reporting, or meaningful community hate crime prevention and awareness initiatives. We can and must do better.”

The latest report found more than 7,000 hate crimes committed in 2021.

The FBI defines a hate crime as a “committed criminal offense which is motivated, in whole or in part, by the offender’s bias(es) against a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender, or gender identity.”

Ted Deutch, CEO of the American Jewish Committee, called the report “woefully inadequate.”

He said 35 major U.S. cities failed to report hate crimes in 2021, while the country’s two largest cities, New York, and Los Angeles, did not provide data.

The third-largest, Chicago, reported zero, according to the FBI’s report.

According to the report, more than 7,000 single-bias incidents were recorded involving more than 8,700 victims.

Sixty-five percent of victims were targeted because of the offender’s race, ethnicity, or ancestry bias; 16% occurred because of prejudice against the individual’s sexual orientation; 13% was religious bias; 4% gender identity; 2% disability; 1% gender bias.

The report further found 188 multiple-bias hate crime incidents involving 271 victims, and more than 5,700 hate offenses were classified as against persons, with 44% intimation, 36% simple assault, and 18% aggravated assault.

Officials classified nine murders and 13 rapes as hate crimes.

The statistics revealed that nearly 56% of the offenders were white, and about 21% were African American.

Since January 2021, the United States Department of Justice said it had taken several actions in response to a rise in hate crimes and incidents.

Some of these actions include aggressively investigating and prosecuting hate crimes as the department charged more than 60 defendants in over 55 different cases and secured more than 55 convictions.

DOJ also designated a Deputy Associate Attorney General as the first-ever Anti-Hate Crimes Resources Coordinator, and announced that all 94 U.S. Attorneys’ Offices would host a United Against Hate program over the next year to help improve the reporting of hate crimes by teaching community members how to identify, report and help prevent hate crimes, and to provide an opportunity for trust-building between law enforcement and communities.

“The Justice Department is committed to prioritizing prevention, investigation, and prosecution of hate crimes,” Associate U.S. Attorney General Vanita Gupta stated.

“The FBI’s 2021 Hate Crimes Statistics are a reminder of the need to continue our vigorous efforts to address this pervasive issue in America.”

Gupta added that the Justice Department continues to work with the nation’s law enforcement agencies to increase the reporting of hate crime statistics to the FBI to ensure they have the data to help accurately identify and prevent hate crimes.

“No one in this country should be forced to live their life in fear of being attacked because of what they look like, whom they love, or where they worship,” Gupta insisted.

“The department will continue using all the tools and resources at our disposal to stand up to bias-motivated violence in our communities.”

____________________________________________________________

Excerpt:

Photo Caption:

Website Tags and Keywords:

Twitter Tags/Handles:

 

Continue Reading

Subscribe to receive news and updates from the Oakland Post

* indicates required

CHECK OUT THE LATEST ISSUE OF THE OAKLAND POST

ADVERTISEMENT

WORK FROM HOME

Home-based business with potential monthly income of $10K+ per month. A proven training system and website provided to maximize business effectiveness. Perfect job to earn side and primary income. Contact Lynne for more details: Lynne4npusa@gmail.com 800-334-0540

Facebook

Trending