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ICYMI: At Hearing with Megabank CEOs, Committee Democrats Ask Hard-Hitting Questions

NNPA NEWSWIRE — WASHINGTON – Yesterday, at a hearing entitled, “Holding Megabanks Accountable: A Review of Global Systemically Important Banks 10 years after the Financial Crisis,” Committee Democrats asked the Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of seven of the nation’s largest financial institutions tough questions on behalf of hardworking consumers.

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WASHINGTON – Yesterday, at a hearing entitled, “Holding Megabanks Accountable: A Review of Global Systemically Important Banks 10 years after the Financial Crisis,” Committee Democrats asked the Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of seven of the nation’s largest financial institutions tough questions on behalf of hardworking consumers.

Read below for 10 tough questions Committee Democrats asked the CEOs to answer during the hearing.

1. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Chairwoman of the Subcommittee of Investor Protection and Capital Markets 

“After the Parkland shooting last year, where a lone gunman killed 17 student and staff with a military-style semiautomatic rifle, two of the banks on this panel, Citibank and Bank of America, stepped up to the plate and adopted formal policies limiting their business with certain gun industry clients, and I want to publicly thank them.

Now, Mr. Dimon, last week you published your letter to shareholders. The section on responsible banking, you wrote the paragraph that is up on the screen right now. You said that turning down clients with low character is “often the only way to be a responsible bank.” Well, actions speak louder than words on guns, Mr. Dimon, and from what I can tell these are just words to you.

Let’s talk about some of the actions on your bank’s activities. Even after the horrific massacres at Sandy Hook, Las Vegas and Parkland, JPMorgan has arranged about 273 million dollars of loans for the manufacturers of military-style firearms, the same weapons that are being used in mass shootings all over our country. Even worse, last year JPMorgan took partial ownership of Remington, the manufacturer of the exact gun that was used to kill 20 children in the Sandy Hook shooting. And JPMorgan has refused to adopt a policy to ensure responsible lending to the gun industry, even though you claim client selection is important and even though two of your competitors have already adopted these policies.

So, my question is, will you live up to your own rhetoric, will you commit to adopting a formal policy that ensures responsible lending in your bank’s business with the gun industry?”

See below for video of Rep. Maloney’s Q&A.

2. Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-NY)

“So, let me ask you this question. If you were an employee and you saw your boss making 486 dollars for every dollar you made, how would you feel about that situation?”

See below for video of Rep. Velazquez’s Q&A.

3. Rep. William Lacy Clay (D-MO), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Housing, Community Development and Insurance

“Last year, your banks accounted for only 25 percent of loans to small businesses, which frankly is not good enough. As drivers of our economy, we must promote small businesses and any impediments in access to credit can undermine their business leading to job loss.

Mr. Moynihan, the CFPB has not collected small business lending data that it’s supposed to do under Section 1071 of Dodd-Frank. Unlike the mortgage market, we have far less information about what is happening in the small business space including potential discrimination. To ensure we have a fair marketplace, shouldn’t policymakers have access to that kind of data?”

See below for video of Rep. Clay’s Q&A.

4. Rep. Al Green (D-TX), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations 

“Do you believe that your bank benefited from slavery in some way in terms of its business practices?”

See below for video of Rep. Green’s Q&A.

5. Rep. Juan Vargas (D-CA)

“I want to ask you first and then go down the line, (1) if you hire [DACA recipients] and secondly, if you help them in their renewals.”

See below  for Rep. Vargas’ Q&A.

6. Rep. Katie Porter (D-CA)

“…Goldman Sachs’ big initiative is to help 10,000 [women]. Is this initiative missing a few zeros?”

See below for video of Rep. Porter’s Q&A.

7. Rep. Cindy Axne (D-IA)

“I think we all know that you profited tremendously from the tax cuts but I just want to run through a few of them.

  • Morgan Stanley: $1.1 Billion
  • Citigroup: $1.7 Billion
  • Goldman Sachs: $1 Billion
  • Bank of America: $3.5 Billion
  • JP Morgan: $3.7 Billion.

Meanwhile, each of you makes at least 150 times what your median worker is being paid and three of you on this panel make over 350 times what that median worker makes. Given that the administration’s rationale for those tax cuts was so that companies can reinvest the money, Mr. Dimon, can you explain how you’re investing that $3.7 billion in growing your company and are you using it to increase pay for your workers and reduce the pay ratio?”

See below for video of Rep. Axne’s Q&A.

8. Representative Dean Phillips (D-MN):

“I want to take our few minutes together to seek your advice and counsel, if I might, starting with the fact that in our nation almost 50 percent of our wealth is concentrated in the hands of just 1 percent of our population. 20 percent of annual income accrues to just the top 1 percent of earners. Most of the CEOs of the S&P 500 companies, including each of you, earn anywhere between 100 and 500 times more than the median earners at the respective businesses. And every one of these indicators is moving in the wrong direction, in my estimation.

So, I have two questions and I want each of you if you would to take about 30 seconds to answer. The first is, do you believe that our growing wealth and income disparities pose an economic and social risk to our country? And if so, what can you each do, and what can we do here in Congress, to address it?”

See below for video of Rep. Phillips’ Q&A.

9. Representative Ayanna Pressley (D-MA):

“More than a decade later we are still grappling with the consequences of a crisis created by greed and the complete and utter disregard for the welfare of everyday Americans. And yet, the narrative has shifted from a focus on Main Street suffering to a celebration of Wall Street’s recovery. In the district that I represent, the Massachusetts 7th, a study by the Pew Research Center shows that from 2005 to 2009, median wealth among Hispanic households fell by 66 percent, by 53 percent among Black households, 31 percent among Asian households, and by 16 percent among White households.

These families were often the target of subprime lending, yet have never been repaid. Your bank shareholders are reaping record profits while there is little evidence that these lower income individuals and communities of color are anywhere near close to recovering. In fact, just yesterday, we were discussing the ongoing prevalence of redlining and other discriminatory practices, despite the fact that 98 percent of banks are passing CRA examinations. This is exacerbating the wealth gap in Massachusetts and across the country. Today I want to dig a bit deeper and resurface a report from 2016 which addresses pinklining.

Are any of you familiar with the phrase pinklining? Well women were 30 to 46 percent more likely to receive subprime mortgage loans during the financial crisis than men. And Black women were 256 percent more likely to receive subprime loans than White men. 256 percent.

Mr. Dimon, you cowrote a piece recently entitled ‘Advancing Black Pathways.” You spoke about how you wanted to address the racial wealth gap. That is wonderful. But what’s even better than an op-ed is action. For the purposes of the record, could you clarify, in 2017 JPMorgan agreed to a $53 million settlement with the DOJ, pertaining to allegations of what?”

See below for video of Rep. Pressley’s Q&A.

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY):

“Mr. Corbat, is a cost-benefit analysis that weighs the cost of government fines versus the potential financial upside of potentially breaking the law, does that factor into controversial decision making around misconduct at your bank?”

See below for video of Rep. Ocasio-Cortez’s Q&A.

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FILM: Top 10 Must-See Black documentaries

NNPA NEWSWIRE — Below you will find a list of documentaries, based on the roots of African American culture, compiled by Word in Black partner, The Houston Defender. From “I Am Not Your Negro” to “High on the Hog,” each film offers up the origin stories of our most important activists, artists, athletes and traditions.
The post FILM: Top 10 Must-See Black documentaries first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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By The Houston Defender | Word in Black

The AFRO’s October Special Edition is all about the roots of our culture, our family lineage and the return to old ways and traditions. Below you will find a list of documentaries, based on the roots of African American culture, compiled by our Word in Black partner, The Houston Defender. From I Am Not Your Negro to High on the Hog, each film offers up the origin stories of our most important activists, artists, athletes and traditions.

#10: Attica (2021) 

In September 1971, Attica Prison became the location of one of the largest prison riots in US history, taking place just weeks after revolutionary activist George Jackson was murdered by prison guards at Rikers Island, an act that initiated the birth of Black August and the prison reform movement. The constant abject cruelty and inhumane treatment doled out to the incarcerated (who were overwhelmingly Black and Latinx) by Attica guards (all White) created the context. The riot itself, and its aftermath, are something all human beings should be required to reckon with.

#9: Quincy (2018) 

If you’re Black, it literally doesn’t matter when you were born, what generation you’re a part of, or where you’re from. You’ve been impacted by the genius of Quincy Jones. We’ve all been influenced by the genius of Quincy Jones. The music he made, the albums he produced, the artists he developed, the movies he scored, and about a gazillion other things Jones did, means, as I’ve already said, if you’re Black, Quincy has had a hand in your life. Don’t believe me. What Black person do you know who isn’t a Michael Jackson fan, who hasn’t seen The Wiz, or who doesn’t have a family member who worships jazz music? Quincy Jones had his hand in all that and so much more. Directed by one of his daughters, actress Rashida Jones, this doc is most definitely a must see.

#8: Four Little Girls (1997) 

On Sept. 15, 1963, just 18 short days after the much-celebrated March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala., was bombed by four members of a Ku Klux Klan-affiliated racist group. Addie Mae Collins, Denise McNair, Carole Robertson, and Cynthia Wesley, four African American girls between the ages of 11 and 14 who had been attending the church’s Sunday school, were killed in the blast, an act of White domestic terrorism that served as a horrific and sober reminder that Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech was not enough to end the hold the myth of White supremacy had on so many. Director Spike Lee tells this powerfully compelling and important story as only he can.

#7: The Two Killings of Sam Cooke (2019) 

For generations that came after the Baby Boomers, it’s hard for us to fully fathom how big a star Sam Cooke was. Think of the biggest singer of any generation. That was Sam Cooke in his heyday. And not only was he hyper-talented, but not only did he call some of the biggest names in Black history his personal friends (Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X just to name a few), Cooke was a man of the people. And he was heavily invested in the Civil Rights Movement and an advocate for Black self-determination and Black ownership. Cooke even pulled a “Prince” long before Prince—gaining ownership of his own music, something that was as rare then as it is today. This documentary chronicles Cooke’s life, rise to fame, and eventual end, though his influence never died.

#6: Thunder Soul (2010) 

Here’s a hometown entry. Thunder Soul spotlights the extraordinary alumni from Houston’s storied Kashmere High School Stage Band which the iconic Conrad Johnson led. These alums return home after 35 years to play a tribute concert for the 92-year-old ‘Prof’, their beloved band leader who transformed the schools struggling jazz band into a world-class funk powerhouse in the early 1970s. This one will have you out of your seat and dancing in the streets. Check it out.

#5: Who We Are: A Chronicle of Racism in America (2021)  

In this documentary, criminal defense/civil rights lawyer Jeffery Robinson “draws a stark timeline of anti-Black racism in the United States, from slavery to the modern myth of a post-racial America.” It’s that simple, and yet that complex. And it goes without saying; it’s a must see.

#4: Jeen-Yuhs (2022) 

No matter where you score on the Love Ye / Hate Ye scale, this 2022 documentary about his rise to superstardom is beyond compelling. I mean, who thinks to chronicle their every move from the moment they start pursuing their dream until they either give up on it or see it to fruition and beyond? Who does that? No one but this negro Kanye. He may be the only human being with an ego big enough to conceive of such a project. And believe me, the scope and scale of this documentary match that galaxy-sized self-obsession brahman has that make him both insanely talented and just plain insane at the same time.

#3: I Am Not Your Negro (2016) 

This documentary by Raoul Peck, director of Exterminate All the Brutes (2021) which made the first list of must-see documentaries, introduced the brilliance and unabashed Black of James Baldwin to a whole new generation. Described as a work that imagines the completion of Baldwin’s unfinished manuscript, Remember This House (about Baldwin’s personal reflections on and recollections of three of his personal friends who were killed during the Civil Rights and Black Power movements—Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.), I Am Not Your Negro is about so much more.

#2: The Last Dance (2020) 

You don’t have to be a basketball fan to get caught up in the chronicling of the last run at an NBA championship by the Michael Jordan-led Chicago Bulls who had been told before the season began that the team would be broken up. The doc not only takes you on that 1996 Bulls’ championship ride, but it also digs deep into the past of players, coaches, and family members, spotlighting triumphs and tragedies that are part of the human story, not just the story of professional athletes.

#1: High on the Hog 

How African American Cuisine Transformed America (2021)

If you know me, you know I’m a sucker for anything that celebrates our history, especially those things that connect us to our African roots and our Pan-African family. This documentary does all that and more. Because the main character is food. Our food. The stuff we grew up on. The meals many of us are eating right now, and never stopped eating since our youth. This beautifully filmed, beautifully narrated piece of art is full of both the familiar and the foreign; or rather, things we’ve come to believe are foreign to us, but are really part of our story and our heritage. And the okra on top? High on the Hog has a powerful H-Town connection. A few, in fact.

This list of documentaries based on the roots of African American culture was compiled by Word In Black.

This article originally appeared in The Afro.

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Lawsuit Alleges U.S. Government Discriminated Against Black Veterans for Decades

NNPA NEWSWIRE — According to internal VA data obtained by the Washington Post, Black applicants seeking disability benefits were denied 30 percent of the time from 2002 to 2020. White applicants were denied 24 percent of the time.
The post Lawsuit Alleges U.S. Government Discriminated Against Black Veterans for Decades first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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Black Information Network | Atlanta Daily World

A new lawsuit against the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) alleges that the U.S. government discriminated against Black veterans for decades.

On Monday (November 28), the suit was filed by Yale Law School’s Veterans Legal Services Clinic (VLSC) on behalf of Vietnam War veteran Conley Monk Jr, whose applications for education, housing, and disability benefits have been denied since he returned home from the war, per The Hill.

According to the suit, discrimination by the VA has left Black veterans without benefits more frequently than their white counterparts.

Yale’s VLSC said the lawsuit could “provide a legal pathway for Black veterans to seek reparations from the VA.”

“This lawsuit seeks to hold the VA accountable for years of discriminatory conduct,” Adam Henderson, a law student working with the VLSC on the case, said in a statement, per the Hill.

“VA leaders knew, or should have known, that they were administering benefits in a discriminatory manner, yet they failed to address this unlawful bias,” Henderson added. “Mr. Monk — and thousands of Black veterans like him — deserve redress for the harms caused by these negligently administered programs.”

According to internal VA data obtained by the Washington Post, Black applicants seeking disability benefits were denied 30 percent of the time from 2002 to 2020. White applicants were denied 24 percent of the time.

VA press secretary Terrence Hayes said the agency is working to combat “institutional racism.”

“Throughout history, there have been unacceptable disparities in both VA benefits decisions and military discharge status due to racism, which have wrongly left Black veterans without access to VA care and benefits,” Hayes said. “We are actively working to right these wrongs.”

The post U.S. Government Discriminated Against Black Veterans For Decades: Lawsuit appeared first on Atlanta Daily World.

The post Lawsuit Alleges U.S. Government Discriminated Against Black Veterans for Decades first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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BOOKS: Jerald LeVon Hoover Blends a Love of Sport & Friendship into New Children’s Book

NNPA NEWSWIRE — Through colorful pictures with vibrant imagery, young readers will easily get drawn into the exciting adventures of Bennett Mayco Wilson’s fictional yet exciting world and learn valuable childhood lessons together, when Bennet gets a basketball as a present from his father on his fourth birthday.
The post BOOKS: Jerald LeVon Hoover Blends a Love of Sport & Friendship into New Children’s Book first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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‘A Basketball Hero is Born’ is a part of The Hero Book Series by Jerald LeVon Hoover, which aims to inspire youth to make a positive change in their communities and the world in general

Widely celebrated African American author, Jerald LeVon Hoover, is once again inspiring young people to make a positive change in their communities with the launch of a new children’s book. Titled A Basketball Hero is Born, the new children’s reading book contains colorful pictures that warm the heart and keep young readers glued to its pages.

The plot follows the exciting adventures of Bennett Mayco Wilson who gets a basketball as a present from his father on his fourth birthday. Affectionately naming the new basketball “Lucky,” the story unfolds as young Bennett tries to take his new best friend everywhere, including the dinner table, to school, and to bed when it is time for sleep.

Jerald L. Hoover

Jerald L. Hoover

Through colorful pictures with vibrant imagery, young readers will easily get drawn into Bennett’s fictional yet exciting world and learn valuable childhood lessons together. Currently available for purchase on Amazon, A Basketball Hero is Born is a part of The Hero Book Series by Jerald LeVon Hoover, which emphasizes instilling a love of sports and friendship in young readers.

About The Author

Jerald L. Hoover is a multi-talented individual with countless accomplishments in the creative, literary, and entertainment worlds. After winning an award for “The Best New Male Writer of the Year” for his fictional novel, My Friend, My Hero Jerald went on to be listed from 1994 – 1996 as a best-selling author among young Black writers in various African American publications. In 1995, he was awarded the Writers Corp Award by then-President Bill Clinton. In 1998, Jerald was inducted into the Mount Vernon Boy’s and Girl’s Club Hall of Fame. Since then, Jerald has won several other awards and is also an in-demand motivational speaker who overcame a childhood speech impediment.

The post BOOKS: Jerald LeVon Hoover Blends a Love of Sport & Friendship into New Children’s Book first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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