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OP-ED: By the Content of their Character

NNPA NEWSWIRE — In the summer of 1963, Reuther teamed up with Dr. King in Detroit for The Walk to Freedom, the largest Civil Rights demonstration in U.S. history at that point, with an estimated 125,000 people attending. Led by Dr. King and President Reuther, the massive march down Woodward Avenue drew attention to matters close to the Equal Rights mission and to the UAW — racism, segregation, discrimination and inequality in hiring, wages, education and housing.

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1965 - Doctor Martin Luther King Jr. and Walter Reuther, President of the UAW at the March on Washington.

The brotherhood of Doctor Martin Luther King Jr. and UAW President Walter Reuther

By Ray Curry, Secretary-Treasurer, UAW

America’s Black History, which we celebrate this month, offers abundant examples across the centuries of how one person can make a difference, how one person can move an entire people forward. I am lucky enough to have witnessed the results of two such difference makers firsthand, both in my job and in my life. Two men who found each other in their individual fight for human rights, and in doing so, helped shape the future of our nation.

So, this February, I would like to pay tribute to that relationship, to two heavyweight champions who fought together for America’s soul, and who transcended their time and place in helping to define it forever: The Doctor Martin Luther King Jr. and Walter Reuther, President of the UAW.

A long time before these two extraordinary men teamed up, their spirits were entwined. Dr. King understood the voice that organized labor gave to workers just trying to better their lot. He once characterized it in a speech to an AFL-CIO crowd: “The labor movement was the principal force that transformed misery and despair into hope and progress. Out of its bold struggles, economic and social reform gave birth to unemployment insurance, old age pensions, government relief for the destitute, and above all, new wage levels that meant not mere survival but a tolerable life.”

For his part, Reuther confronted racism early on in the 1930s as a student at what is now Detroit’s Wayne State University. The incident involved a local hotel that was permitting white students to use its swimming pool but refused blacks.

When Reuther discovered this, he took on the injustice by organizing a protest that surrounded the block where the hotel was located with his fellow classmates. The action, typical of the times, resulted in all students being banned, black and white, but Reuther made a clear statement and went on to make a history of such battles.

Tireless fighters

In 1946, Reuther immediately took up social injustice upon becoming the UAW’s president by declaring that beyond the battle for worker rights it was “the union’s role to fight for the public at large.” Without waiting around for the country to get on board, Reuther took on the American Bowling League, which excluded black bowlers. In 1948, he began a bowling tournament in what is now UAW Region 1A in Michigan that allowed blacks and whites to bowl together. Today, that tournament still stands, and my brothers and sisters celebrate this rich tradition every year.

In 1949, just as the Civil Rights Movement was getting underway, he used his leverage to help bring about the first meeting in Washington, D.C., on civil rights legislation. Of his activism he once observed, “You can’t opt out of life, you have to make up your mind if you are willing to accept things the way they are.”

Both men knew what economic gain could bring. Early on, Dr. King took on anti-union politicians who he saw standing in the way of progress for America’s people of color: “In our glorious fight for civil rights, we must guard against being fooled by false slogans, such as ‘right to work.’ … Its purpose is to destroy labor unions and the freedom of collective bargaining by which unions have improved wages and working conditions of everyone. Wherever these laws have been passed, wages are lower, job opportunities are fewer and there are no civil rights.”

Reuther saw it the same way, conservative politicians ready to shut the door on equality and justice for all: “There is a direct link between ballot box and bread box,” he famously declared.

Both men knew the significance of fair housing. Walter Reuther started pushing for legislation, both lobbying for and devising fair housing programs, first in Detroit, and then nationally soon after the second World War. In the 1960s, he helped launch Operation Breakthrough, a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development program that used union-made manufactured housing to lessen the devastating impact the housing crisis was having on minority communities. The program helped create job opportunities in these locations, all the while encouraging racial and income integration in the larger community.

Doctor King, who knew all too well the misery that housing segregation caused for minorities, was himself a tireless warrior on this front. A 2018 article appearing in The Atlantic captures his fearlessness and tenacity for the cause:

“‘Kill him,’ a mob chanted as Dr. King marched across Marquette Park in the late summer of 1966. King had recently moved to Chicago, and on that August afternoon, he joined a Chicago Freedom Movement march to demand that realtors not discriminate against black residents seeking to live in white neighborhoods. A group of white counter-protesters grew violent and started hurling rocks, bottles, and bricks at the demonstrators, eventually striking Dr. King in the head. ‘I’ve been in many demonstrations all across the South, but I can say that I have never seen — even in Mississippi and Alabama — mobs as hostile and as hate-filled as I’ve seen here in Chicago,’ he said, shining light on a problem that white Northern liberals had ignored and let fester for far too long: de facto segregation.”

Resolve that will not break

Both men paid dearly in standing tall for all people: Reuther was confronted by Ford hired goons and beaten within an inch of his life while trying to organize workers. Would be assassins came to his door twice. Doctor King, who devoted his life to peaceful protest, was jailed repeatedly on just about every trumped-up charge imaginable. That rock thrown at him in Chicago knocked him off his feet. He stayed on the ground until he could shake off the cobwebs, get up again and keep right on marching.

None of this even slowed either man down for a moment in their fight for justice. Reuther marched with Dr. King in Selma, Montgomery, and Jackson. When King and 800 others were jailed in Birmingham, Alabama, Reuther turned to his fellow UAW members who raised $160,000 in bail money to get those arrested out of jail.

In the summer of 1963, Reuther teamed up with Dr. King in Detroit for The Walk to Freedom, the largest Civil Rights demonstration in U.S. history at that point, with an estimated 125,000 people attending. Led by Dr. King and President Reuther, the massive march down Woodward Avenue drew attention to matters close to the Equal Rights mission and to the UAW — racism, segregation, discrimination and inequality in hiring, wages, education and housing.

Reuther brought supporters and provided office space at Solidarity House for Dr. King to organize the event. It was at the UAW’s Solidarity House, in fact, that Dr. King composed the first version of his,” I Have a Dream” speech, which he gave with Reuther at his side at Detroit’s Cobo Hall following the march.

Two months later, the pair were together again, leading some 250,000 people, this time in front of the nation’s eyes, at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. This seminal event, known as March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, once again linked the two leaders and their causes.

It was here that Reverend King most fully articulated his “I Have a Dream” speech, in which he emphasized his faith that all men, someday, would be brothers. It was here too that Walter Reuther gave remarks from the podium. In his speech, Reuther urged that our nation must “… bridge the moral gap between American democracy’s noble promises and it’s ugly practices in the field of civil rights.” Following the event, President John F. Kennedy met with the two leaders to talk more on what could be done.

A spirit that will not be crushed

On the 25th anniversary of the UAW, King wrote a letter to Reuther, that included this passage:

“More than anyone else in America, you stand out as the shining symbol of democratic trade unionism. Through trials, efforts and your unswerving devotion to humanitarian causes, you have made life more meaningful for millions of working people. Through moments of difficulty and strong obstacles, you have stood firm for what you believe, knowing that in the long run ‘Truth crushed to earth will rise again.’ … One day all of America will be proud of your achievements and will record your work as one of the glowing epics of our heritage.”

Not long after writing that, the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was murdered for his life’s work of improving the lives of people oppressed for no more than the color of their skins. Fair Housing was passed in the wake of his assassination. Two years later, UAW President, Walter Reuther, was killed along with his wife, May, in a plane crash. His life’s work was to give voice to working people.

That struggle continues today. We still fight for voting rights and to protect the Voting Rights Act; we still struggle to protect and maintain a livable wage, we still struggle against Right-to-Work.

Today is a reminder of how hard these two friends fought and how very much they won for the generations that have come after them.

I think both brothers — brothers are what Dr. King envisioned we would all be to one another; and brother and sister are exactly what we as union members call each other. Dr. King would have been pleased to have heard that.

We continue their fight and will work in this 2020 election year as tirelessly as these two noble friends did throughout their lives to stand strong for justice.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once stated, “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.

Truly this is a reminder of the relationship of two friends, two great leaders, and most importantly about the challenges that we still face each day.

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Carolyn’s Kids Foundation Honors Graduates

NNPA NEWSWIRE — Each 8th-grade student received a $100 gift card to go towards their high school fees. Additionally, two high school seniors received the CKF HBCU-Jackson State Bound Scholarship. Jamari White and Kevin Barber Jr. both received $1000 each. Two $500 scholarships were awarded to mothers who are continuing their postsecondary education.
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On Sunday, June 5, 2022, the Carolyn’s Kids Foundation honored 140, 8th-grade students across Chicagoland areas. Hosted at Visions Events Chicago at 11901 S. Loomis, parents, students, and schoolteachers participated in the 6th Annual CKF Scholarship Luncheon.

HBCU Bound Scholars-Jackson State University Carolyn Griffin Palmer, CKF-CEO, Kevin Barber Jr., Jamari White, and Brendolyn Hart-Glover, President of the Jackson State University Chicago Alumni Chapter

HBCU Bound Scholars-Jackson State University
Carolyn Griffin Palmer, CKF-CEO, Kevin Barber Jr., Jamari White, and Brendolyn Hart-Glover, President of the Jackson State University Chicago Alumni Chapter

HBCU Bound Scholars-Jackson State University
Carolyn Griffin Palmer, CKF-CEO, Kevin Barber Jr., Jamari White, and Brendolyn Hart-Glover, President of the Jackson State University Chicago Alumni Chapter

Each 8th-grade student received a $100 gift card to go towards their high school fees. Additionally, two high school seniors received the CKF HBCU-Jackson State Bound Scholarship. Jamari White and Kevin Barber Jr. both received $1000 each. Two $500 scholarships were awarded to mothers who are continuing their postsecondary education.

Carolyn’s Kids Foundation has awarded over $50,000 in the past 5 years, and this year $17,000 was distributed to the Class of 2022. To support the Carolyn’s Kids Foundation and learn more, please visit their website: www.ckfchicago.org and follow them on FB @ckfchicago.

The post Carolyn’s Kids Foundation Honors Graduates appeared first on Chicago Defender.

The post Carolyn’s Kids Foundation Honors Graduates first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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Justice Department Announces Investigation of the Louisiana State Police

NNPA NEWSWIRE — “Every American, regardless of race, has the right to constitutional policing,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “Based on an extensive review of publicly available information and information provided to us, we find significant justification to investigate whether Louisiana State Police engages in excessive force and engages in racially discriminatory policing against Black residents and other people of color.”
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By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
@StacyBrownMedia

The U.S. Department of Justice has opened a pattern or practice investigation into the Louisiana State Police (LSP) to assess whether the law enforcement agency uses excessive force and whether it engages in racially discriminatory policing.

According to a news release, the investigation will include a comprehensive review of LSP policies, training, supervision, and force investigations, as well as LSP’s systems of accountability, including misconduct complaint intake, investigation, review, disposition, and discipline.

“Protecting the civil rights of all Americans and building trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve are among the Justice Department’s most important responsibilities,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said in the release.

“This investigation, like all of our pattern or practice investigations, will seek to promote the transparency, accountability, and public trust that is essential to public safety.”

The DOJ said it’s conducting the investigation pursuant to the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, which prohibits state and local governments from engaging in a pattern or practice of conduct by law enforcement officers that deprives individuals of rights protected by the Constitution or federal law.

The statute allows the DOJ to remedy such misconduct through civil litigation, and law enforcement practices under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, as well as under the Safe Streets Act of 1968 and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Officials called the investigation separate from any federal criminal investigation of LSP troopers.

Before the announcement, DOJ officials informed Governor John Bel Edwards, Colonel Lamar Davis, and Deputy General Counsel Gail Holland of the investigation.

According to the news release, each pledged to cooperate with the investigation.

As part of the investigation, DOJ officials will reach out to community groups and members of the public to learn about their experiences with LSP.

The Special Litigation Section of the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division and the U.S. Attorney’s Offices for the Eastern, Middle, and Western Districts of Louisiana are conducting the investigation jointly.

“Every American, regardless of race, has the right to constitutional policing,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.

“Based on an extensive review of publicly available information and information provided to us, we find significant justification to investigate whether Louisiana State Police engages in excessive force and engages in racially discriminatory policing against Black residents and other people of color.”

Clarke continued:

“The Justice Department stands ready to use every tool in our arsenal to confront allegations of misconduct and to ensure legitimacy during encounters with law enforcement.”

The DOJ ask that anyone with relevant information to contact them via email at Community.Louisiana@usdoj.gov or by phone at (202) 353-0684.

Individuals can also report civil rights violations regarding this or other matters using the Civil Rights Division’s reporting portal, available at civilrights.justice.gov.

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PRESS ROOM: 81 Grassroots Organizations Awarded a Total of $750,000 in Grants through Industry’s ‘Make Golf Your Thing’ Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Initiative

NNPA NEWSWIRE — The grant program is part of the industry’s broader commitment to making the sport more inclusive for all. Last month, a new Make Golf Your Thing search directory was launched for consumers, consisting of more than 8,400 registered golf programs and organizations across the U.S.
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ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – 81 grassroots golf organizations will receive a total of $750,000 in funding to further their efforts to engage underrepresented populations of the sport. These groups (*full list below) are being awarded with a grant through Make Golf Your Thing, the industry’s commitment to advancing diversity, equity and inclusion in making the sport more welcome for all.

Initially introduced in 2021 (by the Make Golf Your Thing youth & adult player development work group), the grant program to date has provided 155 grants to 111 unique grassroots organizations, totaling more than $1 million overall (May 2021: 43 grants totaling $150,000; Jan. 2022: 31 grants totaling $150,000).

The program was established to support organizations dedicated to increasing participation among golf’s underrepresented populations (i.e., Black, Latinx, Asian, Indigenous communities, as well as women, LGBTQI+ individuals, veterans, and individuals with disabilities).

“When the game comes together and pools every resource to grow and broaden the reach of the game, only great things can happen,” said Mike Whan, CEO of the USGA and executive sponsor of the youth & adult player development work group for Make Golf Your Thing.

“This unifying movement is helping to make a difference in communities across America and advance the game in ways none of us can do alone.”

“Access to golf in a business context is a pathway to opportunity,” said Anna Alvarez Boyd, co-founder of FairWays to Leadership (one of the 81 grant recipients).

“Our group’s mission is to increase diversity in business and in golf by teaching college students from diverse backgrounds the skills they need to become effective leaders. The financial commitment of the grant program to organizations like ours will only further golf’s collective efforts to bring new and diverse audiences into our sport.”

The grant program is part of the industry’s broader commitment to making the sport more inclusive for all. Last month, a new Make Golf Your Thing search directory was launched for consumers, consisting of more than 8,400 registered golf programs and organizations across the U.S.

The directory allows individuals to search for programs and events using filters such as location, age, ability, gender, etc., giving new and diverse audiences an opportunity to become more engaged in the sport through programs in their own community.

Formally launched in May 2021, Make Golf Your Thing is the industry’s movement to make golf accessible to individuals from all backgrounds.

Led by six cross-industry work groups, the initiative is specifically focused on: education & skill development, talent acquisition, procurement, human resources, youth & adult player development, and marketing/communications.

Funding for the grant program is being administered by the American Golf Industry Coalition, a partnership among golf’s leading organizations to promote and advocate for the collective interests of the sport.

Financial support for the program is led by a contingent of industry supporters committed to making the sport more welcoming and inclusive for all.

About Make Golf Your Thing

A multi-faceted, multi-year movement, Make Golf Your Thing is a collaborative effort across the industry to invite more people to golf from all backgrounds.

Six cross-industry work groups are committed to making the sport more diverse, equitable and inclusive, with a specific focus on: education & skill development, talent acquisition, procurement, human resources, youth & adult player development, and marketing/communications. For more, www.makegolfyourthing.org.

About the American Golf Industry Coalition

The American Golf Industry Coalition advocates on behalf of golf’s diversity, equity and inclusion efforts; environmental and sustainability initiatives; contributions to the economy (local and national); health and wellness benefits, as well as charitable giving.

The organization unites the golf industry in pursuit of goals designed to enhance the vitality and diversity of both the business and recreational levels of the sport. The American Golf Industry Coalition is a division of the World Golf Foundation.

To learn more, visit www.golfcoalition.org.

Grassroots Organization City/Town State
A Perfect Swing Foundation Inc. Charlotte NC
Adaptive Golfers North Myrtle Beach SC
Annika Foundation Orlando FL
Be Counted On Foundation Gahanna OH
Black College Golf Coaches Association Vestavia AL
Button Hole Providence RI
Cameron Champ Foundation Citrus Heights CA
CitySwing Foundation Washington D.C.
County of Los Angeles Department of Parks and Recreation Alhambra CA
DC on the Green McKinney AL
Edu-Sports Academy Willingboro NJ
El Dorado High School Golf Team El Paso TX
Excel Youth Academy Lawrenceville GA
FabNewport, Inc Newport RI
FairWays to Leadership, Inc. Orlando FL
First Tee – Central Florida Orlando FL
First Tee – Central Mississippi Flowood MS
First Tee – Greater Charleston Mt. Pleasant SC
First Tee – Greater Richmond Richmond VA
First Tee – Greater Sacramento (Sacramento Area Youth Golf Association) Sacramento CA
First Tee – Greater Trenton Trenton NJ
First Tee – Greater Tyler Bullard TX
First Tee – Greater Washington, DC Washington D.C.
First Tee – Greater Wichita Wichita KS
First Tee – Indiana Indianapolis IN
First Tee – Jersey Shore Point Pleasant NJ
First Tee – North Florida (Rising Leaders of North Florida, Inc.) St. Augustine FL
First Tee – Omaha (Hogan’s Junior Golf Heroes) Omaha NE
First Tee – Pittsburgh Pittsburgh PA
First Tee – Southeastern New Mexico Roswell NM
First Tee – Tennessee Knoxville TN
First Tee – Triangle Raleigh NC
First Tee – Tulsa (Youth Development of Tulsa) Tulsa OK
First Tee – West Michigan (Lake Michigan Junior Golf Association) Kentwood MI
Fore Life Inc. Lauderhill FL
Fore the Ladies Sylvania OH
Future Successors Atlanta GA
Gator Junior Golf Association Gainesville FL
Girls Golf of America, Inc. Greensboro NC
Golf. My Future. My Game. Washington D.C.
Greater Cleveland Junior Golf Scholarship Fund Bedford OH
Harris Park Midtown Sports & Activity Center Kansas City MO
Hi-Tee Junior Little League Golf Program Renton WA
Hit It Straight Golf Academy Homewood IL
I AM a Golfer Foundation Dallas TX
iGolf4VETS, Inc. Riverview FL
Inland Golf Academy Riverside CA
Inner City Youth Golfers’ Inc. Palm Beach Gardens FL
Inspiring Greatness In You Covington GA
Jackson Park Golf Association Chicago IL
Ladies of Futurity, Inc West Palm Beach FL
Latina Golfers Association Foundation Los Angeles CA
Little Linksters Sorrento FL
Matrix Human Services Detroit MI
Michigan Women’s Golf Association Detroit MI
Midnight Golf Program Bingham Farms MI
Milwaukee Area Youth Golf Academy, Inc. Glendale WI
Moore-Myers Children’s Fund Jacksonville FL
My Vision Golf Fayetteville GA
New Jersey Golf Foundation Inc. Bedminster NJ
Next 18 Fox Point WI
Northern Texas PGA Foundation – Fairway to Success Dallas TX
One Hundred Black Men, Inc. New York NY
Par Excellence Youth Development Huntsville AL
Range Fore Hope Foundation Blythewood SC
Rose Hill Schools Rose Hill KS
Southern California Golf Association – Junior Golf Foundation Studio City CA
Southern Area Youth Program, Inc. Los Angeles CA
Special Olympics Connecticut Hamden CT
SwingPals, Inc. Durham NC
Ted Rhodes Foundation, Inc. Chicago IL
The Caddie & Leadership Academy Kenosha WI
The Darby Foundation Lafayette LA
The Glove Foundation Mobile AL
The Honors Junior Golf Program Corona CA
The Pinkney Foundation Pittsburg CA
Upstate-Carolina Adaptive Golf Greenville SC
Western States Junior Golf Association Las Vegas NV
Women Golfers Give Back Plymouth Meeting PA
Women in Golf Foundation, Inc. Ellenwood GA

The post PRESS ROOM: 81 Grassroots Organizations Awarded a Total of $750,000 in Grants through Industry’s ‘Make Golf Your Thing’ Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Initiative first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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