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Leaders Who Attended the 1963 March on Washington Say Voting Was Also the 2020 March’s Focus

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Gay Plair Cobb and Gus Newport hold original 1963 March Commemorative “We Shall Overcome” poster in support of 2020 March. Photo by Auintard Henderson.

As the 2020 renewal of the 1963 March on Washington was taking place in the nation’s capital it was also observed in many communities around the country. Some of the original participants who live in Oakland are hopeful that the movement for voting rights is continuing.

Former Berkeley Mayor Gus Newport and former Oakland Pri­vate Industry Council Execu­tive Director Gay Plair Cobb both attended the August 28, 1963, March on Wash­ington for Jobs and Freedom.  Newport had traveled all night on a bus from his native Roch­ester, N.Y., where he led the largest civil rights organiza­tion and Cobb, an organizer at Queens College, had taken a bus at dawn from New York City.

While on the steps of the African American Museum and Library in Oak­land earlier this week they recalled how a wave of people from all over the country had traveled to Washington, D.C. 57 years ago to voice their support for more jobs and equality.

Both felt the accomplishments of the Civil Rights Movement—particularly the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965—has been profoundly undermined by the U.S. Supreme Court. They both said the U.S. Congress and the president should enact and sign legislation to restore the voting protections for minorities and vulnerable communities in some states.

They also said the overt racism expressed by Pres. Donald Trump and his administration have caused regression in race relations.

They marveled at the genius of leadership by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., John Lewis, A. Phillip Randolph, Bayard Rustin, Harry Belafonte, and Dorothy Height as they were able to bring the Congress of Racial Equality, Student Non-Violent Coor­dinating Committee, Ur­ban League, NAACP, Southern Christian Leadership Council, Interdenominational Faith Leaders.

Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters and many unions together to push for equality, fairness, and opportunity.

Cobb and Newport, both former elected officials, said they now are actively organizing and counseling with the next generation of activists and political leaders. “The struggle continues,” said Newport.

Now, young people across the country seek Newport’s counsel via zoom meetings. He reminds them that the tactic of march­ing in the 1960s was to achieve certain goals that the various organizations had determined before the marches took place. He counseled that, “Spontaneous marches also had their place, but failure to orga­nize creates enemies because disruptors get the opportunity to cause harm to business owners who don’t deserve it.” 

Nevertheless, the key, Cobb said, is voting. “We know some people have lost faith.” 

She expressed the important historical context of the work done in the past would eventually lead to the election of the first Black president of the U.S. as being something worth remembering. 

“The challenge is to honor that history, remember it, not dismiss it,” she said. “Learn from it.”    Both hoped that the recent 57th anniversary March on Washington led by Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network and Martin Luther King III would inspire the communities of color to vote in larger numbers than ever before. 

Sharpton announced the 2020 march with an altogether different rallying cry – police brutality – and yet voting became a common theme, just as it had been in 1963. 

The now-iconic photos of that day in 1963 illustrate a time profoundly different as organizers cope with the reality of the pandemic. With African Americans and other minorities suffering disproportionately from the ef­fects of the COVID-19 virus, both in numbers who contract disease and succumb to it, re­strictions were optimally put in place to protect attendees. All who entered the desig­nated areas of the rally were given masks and temperatures were taken. 

The night before the march, the NAACP sponsored a ‘virtual’ March on Washington, which included speakers Sta­cey Abrams, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker and Rev. Dr. Wil­liam J. Barber II. 

The next day on the National Mall, speakers included Wanda Cooper-Jones, the mother of Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old Black man chased and shot to death while jog­ging in Glynn County, Geor­gia and Philonise Floyd, the brother of George Floyd, who died under the knee of a Minneapolis, Minnesota police officer. That choking death captured on video by a 17-year-old Black girl, sparked a global reaction and outcry for justice. 

Floyd said, “I’m marching for George, for Breonna (Taylor), for Ah­maud, for Jacob, for Pamela Turner, for Michael Brown — Trayvon and anybody else who lost their lives.” 

Jacob Blake Sr., the father of Jacob Blake, who was shot in the back by police in Keno­sha, WI, spoke to the crowd as well. “Every Black person in the United States is gonna stand up. We’re tired!” he said. “And we’re not taking it anymore, I ask everyone to stand up. No justice, no peace!” 

Letetra Wideman, Jacob Blake Jr.’s sister, said moving­ly “We will not be a footstool to oppression. Black America, I hold you accountable. You must stand. You must fight, but not with violence and chaos — with self-love.” 

Martin Luther King Jr.’s granddaughter, Yolanda Renee King spoke as did her father, Martin Luther King III, who closed out the rally. “We’re marching to overcome what my father called the triple evils of poverty, racism, and violence,” he said, listing challenges that disproportion­ately affect Black and Latino communities, including the coronavirus pandemic, unem­ployment, police brutality and attacks on voting rights.”

CBS News sources contributed to this report.

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Fighting an Unjust System, The Bail Project Helps People Get Out of Jail and Reunites Families

In addition to posting bail at no cost to the person or their family, The Bail Project works to connect its clients to social services and community resources based on an individual’s identified needs, including substance use treatment, mental health support, stable housing and employment.

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Adrienne Johnson, the regional director for The Bail Project, told NNPA’s Let It Be Known that the organization seeks to accomplish its mission one person at a time.
Adrienne Johnson, the regional director for The Bail Project, told NNPA’s Let It Be Known that the organization seeks to accomplish its mission one person at a time.

Hundreds of thousands of individuals locked up in jails almost daily — many find it challenging to pay bail

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

As public support for criminal justice reform continues to build — and as the pandemic raises the stakes higher — advocates remain adamant that it’s more important than ever that the facts are straight, and everyone understands the bigger picture.

“The U.S. doesn’t have one ‘criminal justice system;’ instead, we have thousands of federal, state, local, and tribal systems,” Wendy Sawyer and Peter Wagner found in a study released by the nonprofit Prison Policy Initiative.

Together, these systems hold almost 2 million people in 1,566 state prisons, 102 federal prisons, 2,850 local jails, 1,510 juvenile correctional facilities, 186 immigration detention facilities, and 82 Indian country jails, as well as in military prisons, civil commitment centers, state psychiatric hospitals, and prisons in the U.S. territories,” the study authors said in a press release.

With hundreds of thousands of individuals locked up in jails almost daily, many find it challenging to pay bail.

Recognizing America’s ongoing mass incarceration problem and the difficulties families have in bailing out their loved ones, a new organization began in 2018 to offer some relief.

The Bail Project, a nationwide charitable fund for pretrial defendants, started with a vision of combating mass incarceration by disrupting the money bail system.

Adrienne Johnson, the regional director for The Bail Project, told NNPA’s Let It Be Known that the organization seeks to accomplish its mission one person at a time.

“We have a mission of doing exactly what we hope our criminal system would do: protect the presumption of innocence, reunite families, and challenge a system that we know can criminalize poverty,” Johnson stated.

“Our mission is to end cash bail and create a more just, equitable, and humane pretrial system,” she insisted.

Johnson said The Bronx Freedom Fund, at the time a new revolving bail fund that launched in New York, planted the seed for The Bail Project more than a decade ago.

“Because bail is returned at the end of a case, we can build a sustainable revolving fund where philanthropic dollars can be used several times per year, maximizing the impact of every contribution,” Johnson stated.

In addition to posting bail at no cost to the person or their family, The Bail Project works to connect its clients to social services and community resources based on an individual’s identified needs, including substance use treatment, mental health support, stable housing and employment.

Johnson noted that officials created cash bail to incentivize people to return to court.

Instead, she said, judges routinely set cash bail well beyond most people’s ability to afford it, resulting in thousands of legally innocent people incarcerated while they await court dates.

According to The Bail Project, Black Americans are disproportionately impacted by cash bail, and of all Black Americans in jail in the U.S., nearly half are from southern prisons.

“There is no way to do the work of advancing pretrial reform without addressing the harmful effects of cash bail in the South,” said Robin Steinberg, Founder, and CEO of The Bail Project.

“Cash bail fuels racial and economic disparities in our legal system, and we look forward to supporting the community in Greenville as we work to eliminate cash bail and put ourselves out of business.”

Since its launch, The Bail Project has stationed teams in more than 25 cities, posting bail for more than 18,000 people nationwide.

Johnson said the organization uses its national revolving bail fund, powered by individual donations, to pay bail.

The Bail Project has spent over $47 million on bail.

“When we post bail for a person, we post the full cash amount at court,” Johnson stated.

“Upon resolution of the case, the money returns to whoever posted. So, if I posted $5,000 to bail someone out, we then help the person get back to court and resolve the case,” she continued.

“The money then comes back to us, and we can use that money to help someone else. So, we recycle that.”

Johnson said eliminating cash bail and the need for bail funds remains the goal.

“It’s the just thing to do. It restores the presumption of innocence, and it restores families,” Johnson asserted.

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PRESS ROOM: EPA Administrator Regan to Join Leaders of Civil Rights, Environmental Justice Movement for Significant Announcement in Warren County, North Carolina

NNPA NEWSWIRE — U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael S. Regan will be joined by significant figures from the civil rights and environmental justice movements, including Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis Jr., president and CEO of the National Newspaper Publishers Association and other participants from the original Warren County protests for the event.
The post PRESS ROOM: EPA Administrator Regan to Join Leaders of Civil Rights, Environmental Justice Movement for Significant Announcement in Warren County, North Carolina first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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Administrator to honor legacy of environmental justice and civil rights at event in Warren County, site of protests that launched the movement 40 years ago

WASHINGTON (September 22, 2022) – On Saturday, September 24, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael S. Regan will travel to Warren County, North Carolina to deliver remarks on EPA’s environmental justice and civil rights priorities and the progress we’ve achieved since the first protest and march that launched the movement 40 years ago this week. Administrator Regan will make a significant announcement on President Biden’s commitment to elevate environmental justice and civil rights enforcement at EPA and across the federal government and ensure the work to support our most vulnerable communities continues for years to come.

Administrator Regan will be joined by significant figures from the civil rights and environmental justice movements, including participants from the original Warren County protests for the event.

Who:
EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan
Congressman G. K. Butterfield (NC-01)
Environmental Justice and Civil Rights Leaders
Warren County residents and community leaders
Additional stakeholders

What: Remarks on EPA environmental justice and civil rights priorities and honoring the legacy of the environmental justice and civil rights movement
When: Saturday, September 24, 2022,
Doors Open: 11:30 AM ET
Program: 12:45 PM ET
;
Where: Warren County Courthouse
109 S Main Street
Warrenton, NC 27589
Livestream: A livestream of this event will be available at epa.gov/live.

The post PRESS ROOM: EPA Administrator Regan to Join Leaders of Civil Rights, Environmental Justice Movement for Significant Announcement in Warren County, North Carolina first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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September 26 | Governance at the Local Level | The Conversation with Al McFarlane

Join Al McFarlane (Host), Brenda Lyle-Gray (Co-Host) and Special Guest Co-Host Diana Hawkins, Executive Director for …
The post September 26 | Governance at the Local Level | The Conversation with Al McFarlane first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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Join Al McFarlane (Host), Brenda Lyle-Gray (Co-Host) and Special Guest Co-Host Diana Hawkins, Executive Director for …

The post September 26 | Governance at the Local Level | The Conversation with Al McFarlane first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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