24th Amendment – 51st Anniversary

01/21/2015
Jim Ivey 1964 cartoon titled, "Here's another one for you" making fun of the poll tax

Jim Ivey 1964 cartoon titled, “Here’s another one for you” making fun of the poll tax

The Twenty-fourth Amendment (Amendment XXIV) prohibits both Congress and the states from conditioning the right to vote in federal elections on payment of a poll tax or other types of tax. The amendment was proposed by Congress to the states on August 27, 1962, and was ratified by the states on January 23, 1964.

Poll taxes appeared in southern states after Reconstruction as a measure to prevent African Americans from voting, and had been held to be constitutional by the Supreme Court of the United States in the 1937 decision Breedlove v. Suttles. At the time of this amendment’s passage, five states still retained a poll tax: Virginia, Alabama, Texas, Arkansas, and Mississippi. The amendment made the poll tax unconstitutional in regards to federal elections. However, it was not until the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 6–3 in Harper v. Virginia Board of Elections (1966) that poll taxes for state elections were unconstitutional because they violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

For more: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/24th_Amendment

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With new year comes new obstacle to voting in Texas

12/31/14 08:06 AM By Zachary Roth – msnbc

Texas has among the lowest rates of voter participation in the country. And, starting midnight Wednesday, those looking to change that will face yet another obstacle.

To register voters in the Lone Star State, you have to be certified by your county—a process that includes attending a training session. And at the start of every odd-numbered year—that is, this Thursday morning—those certifications expire, meaning anyone who wants to continue to do voter registration must go through the time-consuming training process again.

That requirement, combined with other strict rules governing registration imposed in recent years, adds an enormous hurdle for groups conducting registration drives.

“No other state requires volunteers to jump through these hoops, just to register voters,” said Jenn Brown, the executive director of Battleground Texas, a Democratic group that’s working to register and mobilize new voters in the state. The restrictions, Brown added, “seem designed to keep eligible voters away from the polls.”

To understand just what those hoops are, you have to consider the full range of requirements the state imposes on those simply looking to help their fellow citizens register and vote.

Since the 1980s, Texas has required anyone registering voters be certified as a Volunteer Deputy Registrar (VDR), and be re-certified every two years. After the passage of the 1993 National Voter Registration Act, which aimed to make registration easier, many states dropped those certification requirements as inconsistent with the spirit of the federal law. Texas didn’t.

Then in 2011, the state made the process even trickier. First, Republican lawmakers passed new rules barring non-Texas residents from doing voter registration, which made it harder for outside groups to come into the state and run registration drives. They also added a training requirement to the VDR certification process, and imposed criminal penalties for any group that pays registrars. This was the same legislative session in which lawmakers passed the strictest voter ID law in the country—later struck down as a poll tax by a federal judge—as well as a redistricting plan that was found by a court to have intentionally discriminated against Hispanics.

For more: http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/new-year-comes-new-obstacle-voting-texas

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US Minorities Civil Rights Timeline 1863-1963 (ProPresObama.org Civil Rights Timelines ™)

US Minorities Civil Rights Timeline 1964-2009 (ProPresObama.org Civil Rights Timelines ™)

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Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2015

01/16/2015

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is a United States federal holiday marking the birthday of Rev. Dr.Martin Luther King, Jr.  King was the chief spokesman for nonviolent activism in the civil rights movement, which successfully protested racial discrimination in federal and state law.

The national Martin Luther King Day of Service was started by former Pennsylvania U.S. Senator Harris Wofford and Atlanta Congressman John Lewis, who co-authored the King Holiday and Service Act. The federal legislation challenges Americans to transform the King Holiday into a day of citizen action volunteer service in honor of Dr. King. The federal legislation was signed into law by President Bill Clinton on August 23, 1994. Since 1996, the annual Greater Philadelphia King Day of Service.  has been the largest event in the nation honoring Dr. King. In honor of MLK, volunteers across the country donate their time to make a difference on this day.

Explore the mlkday.gov site to learn more about MLK Day and how you can participate. Below area few links to get you started.

 

MLK Day: Final Freedom Train in Bay Area ends 30 years of celebrating King’s legacy

1/19/2015 11:36:32 AM PST mercurynews.

SAN JOSE — America’s final Freedom Train chugged out of San Jose’s Diridon Station and into the history books Monday, ending three decades of tributes on the nation’s rails that celebrated Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s enduring legacy.

After years of declining interest, the chartered Caltrain roared to San Francisco on its final journey with a rejuvenated spirit and about 1,500 passengers — five times more than last year.

Packed joyously in 10 train cars, the multicultural mix of pilgrims sang civil rights hymns, read MLK’s “I Have a Dream” speech and shared personal stories. Michelle Geary’s mother, Arlee Geary, made sure their family was onboard.

“My mom called me and said, ‘I grew up on Martin Luther King and John F. Kennedy and if this is going to be the last train I want all of us to ride it,” said Michelle Geary of San Jose whose son and husband were also part of the final ride.

King’s widow, Coretta Scott King, started the Freedom Train celebrations in dozens of cities across the country to commemorate the historic civil rights march her husband led from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama.

But with so many new competing events over the years marking MLK’s birthday, the train journeys faded away, leaving the Bay Area’s as the last to survive. This year, after the police killings of unarmed black men in Missouri and New York, the traditional day of service also became a day of civil rights protests.

“All those people protesting these days, they ought to be demanding the continuation of the Freedom Train because losing this is a really a shame,” said Charles Herndon, who was the conductor on the first 25 years of MLK trains before retiring. He rode the farewell train as a passenger Monday.

For more: http://www.mercurynews.com/california/ci_27350087/mlk-day-final-freedom-train-bay-area-ends



Congressional Progressive Caucus

01/11/2015
2014 Congressional Progressive Caucus

2014 Congressional Progressive Caucus

The Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) consists of one United States Senator and seventy five members of the United States House of Representatives, and is the largest caucus within the House Democratic Caucus. Established in 1991, the CPC reflects the diversity and strength of the American people and seeks to give voice to the needs and aspirations of all Americans and to build a more just and humane society.

The Co-Chairs of the CPC–U.S. Representatives Raúl M. Grijalva (AZ-07) and Keith Ellison (MN-05) . For entire list of caucus members: http://cpc.grijalva.house.gov/caucus-members/

CPC Caucus members promote a strong, progressive agenda, what we call “The Progressive Promise–Fairness for All”. The Progressive Promise is rooted in four core principles that embody national priorities and are consistent with the values, needs and aspirations of all the American people, not just the powerful and the privileged. They reflect a fundamental belief in government of the people, by the people, and for the people.

The four, core principles of the Progressive Promise:

1. Fighting for economic justice and security for all;
2. Protecting and preserving our civil rights and civil liberties;
3. Promoting global peace and security; and
4. Advancing environmental protection and energy independence

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Congressional Progressive Caucus’ Priority Issues:

For more: http://cpc.grijalva.house.gov

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U.S. Supreme Court Docket: Gay Marriage

01/08/2015

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PBO Strive for Complete Equality for LGBT

U.S. High Court Will Consider Taking Up Gay Marriage in January

Dec 23, 2014 11:37 AM PT By Greg Stohr – TheHill

The U.S. Supreme Court will say as early as Jan. 9 whether it will consider legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide in what would be a landmark clash over an issue that has divided the country.

Five gay-marriage appeals will be before the justices when they meet that day for a private conference, according to an update today on the court’s online docket. A decision to take up the issue would probably mean a ruling by June.

Cases testing bans in Michigan, Kentucky, Ohio, Tennessee and Louisiana are all pending, in some cases with advocates on both sides seeking Supreme Court review.

The court varies in how quickly it acts after discussing a case at its conference. An immediate announcement on gay marriage is possible so that the lawyers will have time to file their briefs for a late-April argument session.

The Supreme Court in October refused to take up the issue, leaving intact federal appeals court rulings that said gay marriage is a constitutional right. Since then, a different U.S. appeals court has reached the opposite conclusion, increasing the pressure on the Supreme Court to resolve the issue.

The justices have let rulings legalizing gay marriage take effect even while sidestepping the underlying constitutional issue.

The high court last week brought the number of gay-marriage states to 36 by clearing weddings to begin in Florida next month. Two justices, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, dissented and said they would have blocked the trial court ruling that legalized same-sex marriage in the state.

The number of gay-marriage states has tripled in the 18 months since the Supreme Court ruled in two pivotal cases, including a 5-4 decision requiring the federal government to give equal treatment to legally married same-sex couples. The District of Columbia also allows gay marriage.

For more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-12-23/u-s-high-court-will-consider-taking-up-gay-marriage-in-january.html

 

Petitions for US Supreme Court Conference of 01.09.2015

Docket Case Page Issue(s)

14-596 Robicheaux v. George
(1) Whether a state’s constitutional and statutory bans denying same-sex couples the freedom to marry and recognition of their marriages validly entered in other jurisdictions violate the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

14-574 Bourke v. Beshear
(1) Whether a state violates the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment by prohibiting gay men and lesbians from marrying an individual of the same sex; and (2) whether a state violates the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment by refusing to recognize legal marriages between individuals of the same sex performed in other jurisdictions.

14-571 DeBoer v. Snyder
(1) Whether a state violates the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution by denying same-sex couples the right to marry.

14-562 Tanco v. Haslam
(1) Whether a state violates the Due Process or Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution by depriving same-sex couples of the fundamental right to marry, including recognition of their lawful, out-of-state marriages; (2) whether a state impermissibly infringes upon same-sex couples’ fundamental right to interstate travel by refusing to recognize their lawful out-of-state marriages; and (3) whether this Court’s summary dismissal in Baker v. Nelson is binding precedent as to petitioners’ constitutional claims.

14-556 Obergefell v. Hodges
(1) Whether Ohio’s constitutional and statutory bans on recognition of marriages of same-sex couples validly entered in other jurisdictions violate the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution; and (2) whether Ohio’s refusal to recognize a judgment of adoption of an Ohio-born child issued to a same-sex couple by the courts of a sister state violates the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

Source: http://www.scotusblog.com/case-files/petitions-were-watching/

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UPDATES: 

1/9/15 Supreme Court kicks gay marriage down the road again

1/16/15 Gay marriage: High court sets stage for historic ruling (cases will be argued in April, and a decision is expected by late June)

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Pres Obama’s 2009 Executive Order 13491 Banning Torture

12/10/2014

December 09, 2014

Statement by the President Report of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence

Throughout our history, the United States of America has done more than any other nation to stand up for freedom, democracy, and the inherent dignity and human rights of people around the world. As Americans, we owe a profound debt of gratitude to our fellow citizens who serve to keep us safe, among them the dedicated men and women of our intelligence community, including the Central Intelligence Agency. Since the horrific attacks of 9/11, these public servants have worked tirelessly to devastate core al Qaeda, deliver justice to Osama bin Laden, disrupt terrorist operations and thwart terrorist attacks. Solemn rows of stars on the Memorial Wall at the CIA honor those who have given their lives to protect ours. Our intelligence professionals are patriots, and we are safer because of their heroic service and sacrifices.

In the years after 9/11, with legitimate fears of further attacks and with the responsibility to prevent more catastrophic loss of life, the previous administration faced agonizing choices about how to pursue al Qaeda and prevent additional terrorist attacks against our country. As I have said before, our nation did many things right in those difficult years. At the same time, some of the actions that were taken were contrary to our values. That is why I unequivocally banned torture when I took office, because one of our most effective tools in fighting terrorism and keeping Americans safe is staying true to our ideals at home and abroad.

Today’s report by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence details one element of our nation’s response to 9/11—the CIA’s detention and interrogation program, which I formally ended on one of my first days in office. The report documents a troubling program involving enhanced interrogation techniques on terrorism suspects in secret facilities outside the United States, and it reinforces my long-held view that these harsh methods were not only inconsistent with our values as nation, they did not serve our broader counterterrorism efforts or our national security interests. Moreover, these techniques did significant damage to America’s standing in the world and made it harder to pursue our interests with allies and partners. That is why I will continue to use my authority as President to make sure we never resort to those methods again.

As Commander in Chief, I have no greater responsibility than the safety and security of the American people. We will therefore continue to be relentless in our fight against al Qaeda, its affiliates and other violent extremists. We will rely on all elements of our national power, including the power and example of our founding ideals. That is why I have consistently supported the declassification of today’s report. No nation is perfect. But one of the strengths that makes America exceptional is our willingness to openly confront our past, face our imperfections, make changes and do better. Rather than another reason to refight old arguments, I hope that today’s report can help us leave these techniques where they belong—in the past. Today is also a reminder that upholding the values we profess doesn’t make us weaker, it makes us stronger and that the United States of America will remain the greatest force for freedom and human dignity that the world has ever known.

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Secretary Kerry on Release of Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Report
Secretary of State John Kerry
U.S. Department of State – Washington, D.C.

12-09-2014
Release of this report affirms again that one of America’s strengths is our democratic system’s ability to recognize and wrestle with our own history, acknowledge mistakes, and correct course. This marks a coda to a chapter in our history.

President Obama turned the page on these policies when he took office and during week one banned the use of torture and closed the detention and interrogation program. It was right to end these practices for a simple but powerful reason: they were at odds with our values. They are not who we are, and they’re not who or what we had to become, because the most powerful country on earth doesn’t have to choose between protecting our security and promoting our values.

Now this report sheds light on this period that’s more than five years behind us, so we can discuss and debate our history – and then look again to the future.

As that debate is joined, I want to underscore that while it’s uncomfortable and unpleasant to reexamine this period, it’s important that this period not define the intelligence community in anyone’s minds. Every single day, the State Department and our diplomats and their families are safer because of the men and women of the CIA and the Intelligence Community. They sign up to serve their country the same way our diplomats and our military do. They risk their lives to keep us safe and strengthen America’s foreign policy and national security. The awful facts of this report do not represent who they are, period. That context is also important to how we understand history.

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UN expert calls for prosecution of CIA, US officials for crimes committed during interrogations

9 December 2014 – A United States Senate report has confirmed what the international community has long believed – that there was a clear policy orchestrated at a high level within the Bush Administration which allowed to commit gross violations of international human rights law, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on counter terrorism and human rights said today.

Released this afternoon, the so-called Feinstein report, after long-time US Senator Dianne Feinstein who chaired the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence that compiled the document, probes crimes of torture and enforced disappearance of terrorist suspects by the Bush-era CIA.

“It has taken four years since the report was finalised to reach this point,” said Ben Emmerson in a statement.

Now it is time to take action, he added. “The individuals responsible for the criminal conspiracy revealed in today’s report must be brought to justice, and must face criminal penalties commensurate with the gravity of their crimes,” he said.

Identities of the perpetrators, and many other details, have been redacted in the published summary report but are known to the Select Committee and to those who provided the Committee with information on the programme.

“The fact that the policies revealed in this report were authorized at a high level within the US Government provides no excuse whatsoever. Indeed, it reinforces the need for criminal accountability,” Mr. Emmerson explained.

International law prohibits the granting of immunities to public officials who have engaged in acts of torture. This applies not only to the actual perpetrators but also to those senior officials within the US Government who devised, planned and authorised these crimes.

The US is legally obliged, by international law, to bring those responsible to justice. The UN Convention Against Torture and the UN Convention on Enforced Disappearances require States to prosecute acts of torture and enforced disappearance where there is sufficient evidence to provide a reasonable prospect of conviction.

For more: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=49560#.VIhmd4s9dbw

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Guantanamo Bay detention camp

The Guantanamo Bay detention camp, also referred to as GuantánamoG-bay or GTMO (pronounced ‘gitmo’), is a United States military prison located within Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, which fronts on Guantánamo Bay in Cuba. At the time of its establishment in January 2002, Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld said the prison camp was established to detain extraordinarily dangerous persons, to interrogate “detainees” in an optimal setting, and to prosecutedetainees for war crimes.Detainees captured in the War on Terror, most of them from Afghanistan and much smaller numbers later from Iraq, the Horn of Africa and South Asia were transported to the prison.

The facility is operated by the Joint Task Force Guantanamo (JTF-GTMO) of the United States government in Guantanamo Bay Naval Base. Detainment areas consisted of Camp Delta (including Camp Echo), Camp Iguana, and Camp X-Ray (which is now closed).

After Bush political appointees at the U.S. Office of Legal CounselDepartment of Justice advised the Bush administration that the Guantanamo Bay detention camp could be considered outside U.S. legal black jurisdiction, military guards took the first twenty detainees to Guantanamo on 11 January 2002. The Bush administration asserted that detainees were not entitled to any of the protections of the Geneva Conventions. Ensuing U.S. Supreme Court decisions since 2004 have determined otherwise and that the courts have jurisdiction: it ruled in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld on 29 June 2006, that detainees were entitled to the minimal protections listed under Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions. Following this, on 7 July 2006, the Department of Defense issued an internal memo stating that detainees would, in the future, be entitled to protection under Common Article 3.

For more: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guantanamo_Bay_detention_camp#President_Obama.27s_attempt_to_close_the_camp

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President Obama’s attempt to close the camp

During his 2008 presidential campaign, Barack Obama described Guantánamo as a “sad chapter in American history” and promised to close down the prison in 2009. After being elected, Obama reiterated his campaign promise on 60 Minutes and the ABC program This Week.

On 22 January 2009, President Obama stated that he ordered the government to suspend prosecutions of Guantánamo Bay detainees for 120 days to review all the detainees’ cases to determine whether and how each detainee should be prosecuted. A day later, Obama signed an executive order stating that Guantánamo Detention Camp would be closed within the year. His plan encountered a setback when incoming officials of his administration discovered that there were no comprehensive files concerning many of the detainees, so that merely assembling the available evidence about them could take weeks or months. In May, Obama announced that the prosecutions would be revived. On 20 May 2009, the United States Senate passed an amendment to the Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2009 (H.R. 2346) by a 90–6 vote to block funds needed for the transfer or release of prisoners held at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp. In November 2009, President Obama admitted that the “specific deadline” he had set for closure of the Guantánamo Bay camp would be “missed.” He said the camp would probably be closed later in 2010, but did not set a specific deadline.

For more: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guantanamo_Bay_detention_camp#President_Obama.27s_attempt_to_close_the_camp

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The Lives of People of All Colors DO MATTER

12/04/2014

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Thursday, December 4, 2014
Attorney General Holder to Hold Roundtable Meetings in Five More Cities as Part of Justice Department’s “Building Community Trust” Initiative

On the heels of President Obama’s national call to foster strong, collaborative relationships between local police and the communities they protect and serve, the U.S. Department of Justice announced today the upcoming cities where Attorney General Eric Holder will hold regional roundtable meetings as part of the department’s Building Community Trust initiative.  Those cities are: Cleveland, Memphis, Tennessee, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Oakland, California.

The roundtables will serve as an opportunity to bring law enforcement, elected officials and members of the community together to discuss next steps that the administration will take to improve relationships between law enforcement and the community, increase the integrity within our justice system, and share best practices for policing.

The Attorney General hosted the first such Building Community Trust roundtable meeting at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta on Monday.  There, he discussed President Obama’s announcement to create the Task Force on 21st Century Policing, the federal review on the use of military-style equipment for local law enforcement, and the new Community Policing Initiative to fund up to 50,000 additional body-worn cameras for law enforcement agencies.  At a community town hall meeting held at the Ebenezer Baptist Church, the Attorney General announced that the department will soon release new guidelines on the use of racial profiling by federal law enforcement agencies.

For more: http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/attorney-general-holder-hold-roundtable-meetings-five-more-cities-part-justice-departments

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Building Community Trust Tour with Attorney General Eric Holder

Published on Dec 15, 2014

Attorney General Eric Holder was in Memphis, TN. to lead the third of five planned “Building Community Trust” roundtable discussions. Born out of the President’s call for an increased effort to help rebuild trust in local law enforcement and the justice system, the Attorney General met with local leaders to discuss next steps to share best practices for community policing. Held at the Lorraine Motel, site of where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated in 1968 and home to the National Civil Rights Museum.

 

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In Oakland, The Disconnect Between Young People And Police

December 05, 2014 JOI SMITH – youthradio

Oakland has a history of tensions between police and the community. The police department there is under federal oversight for its use of force, among other problems.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Some people are also seeking a way forward, as we hear from Joi Smith of Youth Radio.

JOI SMITH, BYLINE: Oakland has a long history of tensions between police and the community. In fact, the Oakland Police Department is under federal oversight for its use of force and its reporting of misconduct, among other problems. Twenty-five-year-old Alex Sipp says it feels like there’s no end in sight. He says in his neighborhood, he notices resentment towards police starting at a young age.

ALEX SIPP: Like, I’ve heard little kids, you know, point out the police coming down the street for no reason. It’s almost like a sense of fear, like, uh oh, here they come instead of – oh no, that’s the police. They’re here to protect me.

ARNOLD PERKINS: We make bogeymen out of people that you don’t talk to.

SMITH: That’s Arnold Perkins, the former director of the Alameda County Department of Public Health. He understands why people are reacting and taking it to the streets. But he believes both protesters and police have to hear each other out. Protests have turned violent in Oakland, and Perkins had been hoping for a more productive outcome.

PERKINS: What would happen if the group would have marched down to the police station and contacted the chief before and says, you know, we want to sit down and, you know, have a conversation. We keep tearing up our city. It leads us nowhere but more anger and more frustration.

SMITH: Olis Simmons is the founding CEO of East Oakland community organization Youth Uprising. She thinks Oakland can be a leader in raising a national dialogue about racial justice and relationships with the police.

OLIS SIMMONS: Holding young people who are at the epicenter of violence dearest to my heart has created a place where I’ve had to be in dialogue with the police department about their leadership, about their professional development, about their oversight.

SMITH: Simmons brings police officers to East Oakland to speak to the youth. She says when police and community members meet face to face, it can start to break down the tension.

For the entire article and audio interview: http://www.npr.org/2014/12/05/368640589/in-oakland-there-s-a-disconnect-between-young-people-and-police

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The Lives of People of All Colors DO MATTER

Hands of Color

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White House Council for Women and Girls of Color

11/12/2014

Expanding Opportunity and Addressing Unique Challenges Facing Women and Girls of Color

When President Obama founded the White House Council on Women and Girls (CWG) within the first two months of taking office, he charged us with working to address inequalities and barriers facing women and girls in our schools, workplaces, and throughout American life. And as women’s role in society and our economy continues to evolve and grow, so too has the importance of ensuring that all women and girls succeed, including women and girls of color who often face compounded disparities.

A CWG report released yesterday delves into the inequities and distinct challenges facing women of color, while examining some of the efforts underway to close unfair gaps in educational outcomes, pay, career opportunity, health disparities, and more.

Since its inception, the CWG has focused on issues which disproportionately affect women of color. As part of this ongoing effort, the CWG is convening a Working Group to bring together policy staff from the White House and across the federal agencies, with advocates and experts from around the country. Together, this group will focus on issues including education, economic security, health, criminal and juvenile justice, violence, and research and data collection. By detailing both the progress we have made and the challenges that still remain, this report should serve both as a reminder of what is possible and as a call to action to do so much more.

For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2014/11/13/expanding-opportunity-and-addressing-unique-challenges-facing-women-and-girls-color

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November 12, 2014

White House Report: Women and Girls of Color: Addressing Challenges and Expanding Opportunity

Today, the White House Council on Women and Girls released a report entitled “Women and Girls of Color: Addressing Challenges and Expanding Opportunity”. This report highlights work the Administration has done over the last six years to reduce barriers to success for everyone including women and girls of color. From continuing to fight to increase the minimum wage, encouraging women to enter STEM-related fields, providing increased access to health screenings and much more, this report re-emphasizes the Administration’s commitment to helping all women succeed in every area of their lives. Read a copy of that report here.

About the Report:

In recent years, on indicators ranging from educational attainment to economic security to health and well-being, women and girls of color have made tremendous progress. The number of businesses owned by women of color has skyrocketed, and women of color have ascended to the upper ranks of workplaces across industries. Teen pregnancy rates for girls of color have plummeted, and high school and college graduation rates have risen.

Yet, these achievements may obscure the very real challenges and disparities that persist for women and girls of color. Girls of color still lag behind in their performance on standardized tests, and they are more likely to be suspended from school. Women and girls of color still face higher rates of poverty and receive lower wages for their work than their white peers, and they are more likely to become involved in the criminal justice system. Women of color still have some of the highest rates of heart disease, obesity, diabetes and other serious conditions, and they experience high rates of domestic violence. And when women are the primary or sole breadwinners for nearly half of all households of color, these disparities do not just affect them, but their families and communities as well.

Further, as President Obama recently noted, women of color “struggle every day with biases that perpetuate oppressive standards for how they’re supposed to look and how they’re supposed to act. Too often, they’re either left under the hard light of scrutiny, or cloaked in a kind of invisibility.” When addressing the challenges women and girls of color face – challenges that often lie at the intersection of race and gender – we often fail to fully acknowledge, and account for, this complexity.

President Obama created the White House Council on Women and Girls in the first months of his presidency precisely for the purpose of addressing issues like these. The Council’s mandate is to ensure that every agency, department and office in the federal government takes into account the needs and aspirations of women and girls in every aspect of their work. Since it was established, the Council has worked on a number of issues and policies that impact women and girls of color across the country. Highlights of these initiatives – as well as numerous others across the federal government – are detailed in this report.

In detailing both the progress we have made and the challenges that still remain, this Report should serve both as a reminder of what is possible and as a call to action to do so much more.

Looking Ahead:

As part of its efforts to address barriers and disparities that still exist for so many Americans and so many women and girls of color in particular, the Council is convening a Working Group on Challenges and Opportunities for Women and Girls of Color. This Working Group will bring together policy staff from the White House and across federal agencies – as well as experts, leaders and advocates from outside the government – to focus on issues including education, economic security, health, criminal and juvenile justice, violence, and research and data collection. More information on the Working Group will be released at a later date.

Consistent with President Obama’s commitment to ensuring that all students have an equal opportunity to succeed, in January, 2015, the Department of Education, the White House Domestic Policy Council, the White House Council on Women and Girls and Georgetown University will convene thought leaders, policy makers, practitioners, researchers, advocates, and marginalized girls and young women to focus on increasing access to STEM and CTE opportunities. We will address barriers to access, including cultural competency, race and gender stereotypes, discrimination, and lack of sufficient resources to support programs in schools and communities. This convening will produce and inform policy and programmatic proposals to help disrupt patterns of gender-based occupational segregation by increasing young women’s and girls’ participation in programs that prepare them for high-skill, high-wage jobs, including non-traditional occupations. The aim is to develop a strategy to prepare students for in-demand careers in high-growth industry sectors.

For the entire article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/11/12/white-house-report-women-and-girls-color-addressing-challenges-and-expan

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Wednesday, November 12, 2014
Council on Women and Girls—Women and Girls of Color: Addressing Challenges and Expanding Opportunity
The White House

Live: http://www.whitehouse.gov/live

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