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Opinion: Trump Doesn’t Want Us Counted in the 2020 Census

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The African American community must be counted in the 2020 Census; if we’re not the Trump administration will be able to further deny us political power and Federal resources. The answers to many important questions about our community come from Census data which is collected every’ ten years. This data shows how African American populations change in Alameda County, it counts how many senior citizens reside in each city or unincorporated area, and it is used to distribute resources and make policy decisions that affect the lives of all Alameda County residents.

The Census is our official population count; its data is used to set boundaries for local jurisdictions like district lines, congressional seats, state legislative districts, school districts, and voting precincts. If African Americans are under-counted, it will be just one more way that our political power is taken away.

Simply put: an inaccurate Census count means unequal representation. A significant undercount could cause California, and our community, to lose representation and power at the Federal level. Our voice and our rights are at stake!

The Urban Institute predicts that there could be a major undercount of nearly 1.7 million African Americans in the upcoming 2020 Census. According to the Census Bureau, the 2010 Census overcounted white residents by nearly 1 percent but failed to count 1.5 million people of color including 2.1 percent of all African Americans.

If we are undercounted, racial inequalities and the difference between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have-nots’ will continue to widen because the valuable information the Census gathers will not paint an accurate picture of our community.

California receives $76 billion in Federal funding for essential services that are tied directly to the Census count. Programs like Medicare. Me- di-Cal, Cal-Fresh and EBT, transportation, the Section 8 voucher program, K-12 education, and more are all paid for in part from these Federal dollars. Each person counted brings $ 1,000 back to our community – that’s nearly $10,000 per person over the next decade!

By getting counted, you are ensuring that these programs can continue to benefit our community, and there is no risk to participating. Once you’ve answered the Census, it is against the law for your information to be shared with any other agencies within the government. Your information will only ever be used for statistical purposes and will always be protected by law.

In this political climate, it’s more important than ever that we stand up for our political power.

Unfortunately, Census 2020 presents a number of new challenges that could lead to an undercount, such as the Trump Administration’s attempt to include a citizenship question (though that was recently blocked by the Supreme Court), a new and untested digital questionnaire, growing distrust in government, and concerns over data privacy. My office has been working in partnership with the Alameda County Complete Count Committee to combat these challenges and reach our “hard-to-count” populations. We are organizing to ensure that seniors will have access to participation through Questionnaire Assistance Centers at every senior center and library, as well as at workshops in multiple languages. We’ll also be holding Census events at the REACH Ashland Youth Center – where we know our youth and families gather.

We all have a role to play in ensuring a complete count on Census 2020. Here are a few things you can do today: visit www.acgov.org/Census2020

census2020/ for information, resources, and a video, and spread the word about the importance of getting counted to your friends, family and neighbors.

Census 2020 begins in March 2020. Let’s stand together and fight for the resources and representation we deserve. Our community counts. Our community belongs.

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Activism

Training Youth on How-2 End Hostilities

We believe the solution rests with past proven results; not merely wishful thinking that has proven to be quite ineffective in addressing the violence that is happening almost daily.

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Minister King X, founder of K.A.G.E. Universal/Executive Director of California Prison Focus, and Richard Johnson responding to the upsurge in street violence are seeking to involve the community in solutions to end hostilities. Photo by Jonathanfitnessjones.
Minister King X, founder of K.A.G.E. Universal/Executive Director of California Prison Focus, and Richard Johnson responding to the upsurge in street violence are seeking to involve the community in solutions to end hostilities. Photo by Jonathanfitnessjones.

By Richard Johnson

The idea of How-2 end violence has its origin in the bowels of prison.

The idea was the result of the principled thinking of those who have spent years and decades behind prison walls seeking ways to end the senseless wars and violence that amounted to the loss of life with seemingly no end in sight.

Thus, together these principled thinkers began a dialogue among themselves that led to a historical document implemented in 2012 called “The Agreement to End Hostilities” aka “AEH.”

Collectively, this document created a bridge between the ethnicities and gang-related groups to end hostilities within the prison population. For the most part, it worked within the penal system. Violence was tempered to such a degree that the administration got behind this document.

Since the success was so apparent, we, the Formerly Incarcerated Giving Back (FIBG) and other non-returning citizens have established a parallel society called “Artivist” ending hostilities in the communities we came from. It is called the agreement to come home, AEH Street Strategic Team © Youth Resource Center.

We believe the solution rests with past proven results; not merely wishful thinking that has proven to be quite ineffective in addressing the violence that is happening almost daily.

The California Prison Focus K.A.G.E. Universal and FIBG are working in concert to halt this violence by using a plan of action with proven positive results. All resources go to address and cease this destruction that confronts the very society that we live in.

Will solutions manifest when you apply proven programs that create a pathway for truly addressing the problems, not sugar-coating them? The FIGB, African American Sports and Entertainment Group, and the Oakland Post News Group are intersecting in solidarity to bring change instead of reshuffling the problem.

We have a plan for this change to stop the violence and restore justice. In the coming weeks, we will respond positively to the Oakland Post’s challenge to those seeking to get elected in our community to offer solutions to end the violence, find jobs and develop affordable housing our communities and provide health and mental services to there will be more information on AEH solutions reported in this column.

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Activism

OPINION: Law enforcement is what we do to people. Public safety is what we do with people.

The City of Oakland has an agency that is charged with leading and coordinating our prevention efforts with people, aptly called the Department of Violence Prevention (DVP), which is loosely patterned on the Richmond Office of Neighborhood Safety, a model that I helped launch in 2008. Over a five-year period, homicides in Richmond decreased by 70%. Instead of vaguely following its structure, let’s properly implement the pieces that are proven to reduce violence in our streets.

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Gregory Hodge
Gregory Hodge

By Gregory Hodge

As a mayoral candidate, I want to see Department of Violence Prevention’s (DVP) current budget of $28M doubled to $56M. That would allow us to create a Behavioral Health Unit that supports our neighbors and families who are at the center of this crisis. Let’s vote for City officials who will fund it at a level that can rise to the challenge of this moment.

Law enforcement is what we do to people. Public safety is what we do with people.

The City of Oakland has an agency that is charged with leading and coordinating our prevention efforts with people, aptly called the Department of Violence Prevention (DVP), which is loosely patterned on the Richmond Office of Neighborhood Safety, a model that I helped launch in 2008. Over a five-year period, homicides in Richmond decreased by 70%. Instead of vaguely following its structure, let’s properly implement the pieces that are proven to reduce violence in our streets.

A vote for me is a vote to fully implement the Mobile Assistance Community Responders of Oakland, known as MACRO. This initiative shows substantial promise as its staff works to intervene in non-violent 911 calls, freeing up police services to address violent criminal behavior. We should create a community ambassador team that employs formerly incarcerated, returning neighbors who know the streets.

To further illustrate just how disconnected our leaders are, there was a shooting near Frank Ogawa Plaza during a City Council meeting on National Voter Registration Day. City Council took a brief recess and then immediately resumed business as usual. While gun violence rampaged outside, they were inside discussing the proposal to provide over $250M in public funds for the Oakland A’s Howard Terminal ballpark development.

While they were deciding how to spend our tax dollars without letting us vote on the matter, another tragic, senseless homicide took place literally outside the doors of City Hall.

Two more killings happened that same evening in East Oakland. Four others in the preceding week in other parts of town. The crisis rages on with virtual silence from those charged with keeping up safety.

Data shows that only about 200 individuals are responsible for most of our violent crime. In many ways, these individuals are both perpetrators and victims of the violence we see.

Prevention work is critical to our safety. Law enforcement resources should be focused on the most serious, violent crimes. Our capacity to investigate, arrest and hold people accountable can be vastly improved as we free up the human and technical resources to do so.

National Voter Registration Day was Sept. 20. Let’s use the tool of voting to bring solutions to our most challenging problems. Mail ballots will begin arriving shortly after Oct. 10 and Election Day is Nov. 8. Register and make a plan to vote. Encourage new voters to get involved. Encourage our returning, formerly incarcerated neighbors to vote. Let’s make the turnout for Oakland historic and address the safety crisis at hand.

You can register to vote at the California Secretary of State’s website at www.registertovote.ca.gov.

To learn more about our platform, go to www.hodgeforoakland.com.

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Activism

COMMENTARY: Accountability — An Insurrectionist Removed from Office

In our system of government, there are many people with roles to play in defending our democracy. Congress can use its oversight power to reveal the corruption within the White House. The Justice Department can prosecute criminals like those who attacked the Capitol Police — and those who broke other laws as they tried desperately to keep the defeated Trump in power. Judges can hold public officials accountable for violating the Constitution.

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Ben Jealous serves as president of People For the American Way and Professor of the Practice at the University of Pennsylvania.
Ben Jealous serves as president of People For the American Way and Professor of the Practice at the University of Pennsylvania. A New York Times best-selling author, his next book “Never Forget Our People Were Always Free” will be published by Harper Collins in December 2022.

By Ben Jealous

A New Mexico judge has done the country a big favor. Judge Francis Mathew upheld a little-known provision of the U.S. Constitution and removed a public official for participating in the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection. I hope other judges have the courage to follow his lead.

The principle that no person is above the law — that powerful people have to obey the laws like everyone else — is essential to a democratic society. If this principle is not enforced, corrupt leaders will undermine the rule of law and democracy itself.

Judge Mathew ruled that a county commissioner who participated in the attack on the U.S. Capitol can no longer hold public office. The ruling was based on a section of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, which was passed after the Civil War. It forbids anyone from holding public office if they had taken an oath to support the Constitution of the United States and then “engaged in insurrection or rebellion” against the country.

The judge found that Otero County Commissioner Couy Griffin helped lead the mob that used violence to try to prevent Congress from affirming Joe Biden’s win in the presidential election. Griffin later bragged about his role and suggested that there might be another insurrection coming.

Judge Mathew’s ruling is a milestone in the effort to hold public officials accountable for trying to overturn the 2020 presidential election. It should provide a road map — and some moral courage — to other judges considering legal efforts to hold state legislators and others accountable for trying to undermine democracy.

Another important effort to hold powerful people accountable for the insurrection is being conducted by the House Select Committee that is investigating the insurrection and the schemes that led up to it.

The committee’s public hearings this summer gave the American people a powerful dose of truth-telling about the lies and deceptions of President Trump, members of his legal team, and his political allies. The committee’s investigation is continuing, and we can look forward to more public hearings this fall.

Members and staff of the committee have spent countless hours digging through emails and other public records; interviewing former Trump administration officials and lawyers; members of Congress, and far-right activists who promoted Trump’s lies about election fraud. They are still at it. Among the people they hope to interview this fall are former Vice President Mike Pence, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, and far-right activist Ginni Thomas — wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

Truth is a first step toward accountability. But it cannot be the only step.

The committee’s efforts to get a full picture of the illegal scheming to overturn the election is essential. So is punishing wrongdoers and preventing future attempts to subvert our elections.

There are plenty of wrongdoers who need to be held accountable, punished, and prevented from using powerful government positions to undermine democracy and the rule of law. And that includes former President Trump, whose lies about a “stolen” election fueled the insurrectionists’ anger.

In our system of government, there are many people with roles to play in defending our democracy. Congress can use its oversight power to reveal the corruption within the White House. The Justice Department can prosecute criminals like those who attacked the Capitol Police — and those who broke other laws as they tried desperately to keep the defeated Trump in power. Judges can hold public officials accountable for violating the Constitution.

And we the voters can defend democracy by electing local, state, and national officials who are committed to the democratic process — and rejecting those who seek power for the purpose of interfering with our elections and our ability to hold powerful people accountable.

Ben Jealous serves as president of People For the American Way and Professor of the Practice at the University of Pennsylvania. A New York Times best-selling author, his next book “Never Forget Our People Were Always Free” will be published by Harper Collins in December 2022.

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