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.
Statement by the President on Designating Monuments Honoring Civil Rights History
Today, I am designating new national monuments that preserve critical chapters of our country’s history, from the Civil War to the civil rights movement. These monuments preserve the vibrant history of the Reconstruction Era and its role in redefining freedom. They tell the important stories of the citizens who helped launch the civil rights movement in Birmingham and the Freedom Riders whose bravery raised national awareness of segregation and violence. These stories are part of our shared history. From designating Stonewall National Monument, our country’s first national monument honoring the LGBT movement, to recognizing the movement for women’s equality through the Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument, I have sought to build a more inclusive National Park System and ensure that our national parks, monuments and public lands are fully reflective of our nation’s diverse history and culture.
I am also expanding existing areas for some of our country’s treasured and historic natural resources in Oregon and California today, including stretches of California’s scenic coast and unique wildlife habitat in rugged mountain ranges and forests in Oregon and California. Over the last 8 years, I have sought to work with local communities, Tribal governments, businesses, sportsmen, members of Congress and others to protect the most important public lands for the benefit of future generations. Today’s actions will help ensure that more of our country’s history will be preserved and celebrated, and that more of our outdoors will be protected for all to experience and enjoy.
Secretary Jewell Applauds President’s Designation of the National Monuments to Preserve Pivotal Civil Rights Sites and the First National Monument to Civil War Reconstruction
1/12/17 OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY
Also Praises President’s Expansion of Existing National Monuments Protecting Natural & Cultural Resources in California & Oregon
WASHINGTON – As the country prepares to observe Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and National Park Service Acting Director Michael T. Reynolds today applauded President Barack Obama’s designation of three new national monuments to recognize the nation’s journey from the Civil War to the modern Civil Rights Movement.
The President Obama also expanded the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument in southwestern Oregon and the California Coastal National Monument to protect natural and cultural resources and areas of critical biodiversity, including highly important wildlife habitat.
“African-American history is American history and these monuments are testament to the people and places on the front-lines of our entire nation’s march toward a more perfect union,” said Secretary Jewell. “Now the National Park Service, America’s Storyteller, will forever be responsible for safeguarding the narrative of not only the sparks that ignited the Civil Rights movement but also the hope of the Reconstruction Era, which for far too long, has been neglected from our national conscience. Current and future generations of Americans will benefit from learning about our painful past and can find inspiration to shape a brighter future.”
Thursday, January 12, 2017 President Obama signs a proclamation establishing The Reconstruction Era National Monument, The Freedom Riders National Monument, The Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument & The California Coastal National Monument .
Interior Department Announces 24 New National Historic Landmarks
1/11/17 OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY
Designations recognize places that depict a broad range of America’s rich, complex history
WASHINGTON – As the National Park Service enters its second century of service and strives to tell a more inclusive and diverse story of America’s history, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell today announced the designation of 24 new National Historic Landmarks.
The National Historic Landmarks Program recognizes historic properties of exceptional value to the nation and promotes the preservation efforts of federal, state, and local agencies and Native American tribes, as well as those of private organizations and individuals. The program is one of more than a dozen administered by the National Park Service that provide states and local communities technical assistance, recognition and funding to help preserve our nation’s shared history and create close-to-home recreation opportunities.
“These 24 new designations depict different threads of the American story that have been told through activism, architecture, music, and religious observance,” said Secretary Jewell. “Their designation ensures future generations have the ability to learn from the past as we preserve and protect the historic value of these properties and the more than 2,500 other landmarks nationwide.”
If not already so recognized, properties designated as National Historic Landmarks are listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
“As the National Park Service kicks off its second century of stewardship of America’s natural and historic treasures, we look forward to connecting new generations of Americans to the places and stories recognized as National Historic Landmarks today,” said National Park Service Acting Director Michael T. Reynolds.
The 24 national historic landmarks announced today are:
National Historic Landmarks (NHLs) are historic properties that illustrate the heritage of the United States. Today, just over 2,500 historic places bear this national distinction. NHLs come in many forms: historic buildings, sites, structures, objects, and districts. Each NHL represents an outstanding aspect of American history and culture. The program was formally inaugurated with a series of listings on October 9, 1960.
What are National Historic Landmarks?
National Historic Landmarks (NHLs) are historic places that possess exceptional value in commemorating or illustrating the history of the United States. The National Park Service’s National Historic Landmarks Program oversees the designation of such sites. There are just over 2,500 National Historic Landmarks. All NHLs are also listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
NHLs come in many forms: buildings, sites, structures, objects, and districts. A historic site may be important enough to receive designation as an NHL if it:
is the location with the strongest association with a turning point or significant event in American history.
is the best location to tell the story of an individual who played a significant role in the history of the United States.
is an exceptional representation of a particular building or engineering method, technique, or building type in the country.
provides the potential to yield new and innovative information about the past through archeology.
Most NHLs are owned by private individuals, universities, non-profit organizations, corporations, tribal entities, or local and state governments. The Federal government owns fewer than 400 NHLs (16%). The laws that govern property rights still apply to designated Landmarks. Designation of a property as a National Historic Landmark does not give ownership of the property to the Federal government or the National Park Service.
“That’s what America needs right now,” Obama told campaign workers a year later, after he was sworn in as president. “Active citizens like you, who are willing to turn towards each other, talk to people you’ve never met, and say, ‘C’mon, let’s go do this. Let’s go change the world.’ ”
There was nothing glamorous about the work those volunteers did for Obama: A lot of knocking on doors and making phone calls. But for many veterans of that first Obama campaign, it’s a time they’ll never forget.
“I’ll be friends with some of those people forever,” says Nathan Blake, who quit his job at a Des Moines law firm to work for the upstart campaign. “We’ve got that shared experience that was super-meaningful and historic and important, and good for our country.”
It wasn’t obvious at the time that the man they were knocking on doors for eventually would make his way to the White House, but even in those early days, Blake was a “true believer.”
He had plenty of company.
Brian Kirschling, who works at a Veterans Affairs hospital in Iowa City, was older than a lot of Obama campaign volunteers, and he’d never been politically active. But by 2007, Kirschling had decided it was time to roll up his sleeves — a decision he explains by quoting Dr. Seuss.
“His quote from The Lorax is, ‘Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, noting is going to get better. It’s not,'” Kirschling says.
Kirschling became a “precinct captain” for Obama. Children’s books and a Disney video were key parts of his caucus night toolkit for attracting parents with young children.
“In the Iowa caucus,” he says, “it’s about how many people are standing in your corner. I can tell you everybody in that room that had kids was in our corner.”
Aletheia Henry was just out of graduate school in 2007 when she heard a story on the radio about a training camp Obama was running for campaign volunteers. She packed her car and drove from Ohio to Chicago, listening to a tape of Obama’s book, The Audacity of Hope, along the way.
“By the time I got there I was really hooked,” Henry says.
She wound up working as a field organizer for Obama in eight different states.
“I would show up in a city and not know anyone,” Henry recalls. But she’d be given the name of someone who’d volunteered to let her sleep on their couch. “And they’d have me over and have dinner and talk a little and they’d let me stay there for weeks or months at a time and we’d work together on this democracy.”
After Obama was elected, campaign workers went their separate ways. Nathan Blake spent time in Washington, working for the Agriculture Department. He’s now back in Iowa, doing consumer protection work for the attorney general.
Brian Kirschling, who’d never done much before in politics, decided to run for his local school board. And in a crowded field of nine candidates he made a point of knocking on doors all over the city.
“Which is exactly what I remembered learning with the Obama campaign,” Kirschling says. “It was uncomfortable at times to go into parts of the district that don’t necessarily agree with my opinion. But it allowed me the opportunity to stand on doorsteps or sometimes come into their house and have those conversations.”
Aletheia Henry went on to run Obama’s successful reelection campaign in Pennsylvania. In 2016, she was an adviser to Hillary Clinton’s campaign there, which was not so successful.
“I think these next few years are going to take a lot of conversation,” Henry says, recalling the motto of Obama’s 2008 campaign: “Respect, Empower, Include.”
Harry T. Moore and his wife, Harriette Vyda Simms Moore, also an educator, were the victims of a bombing of their home in Mims, Florida on Christmas night 1951. He died in an ambulance on the way to a hospital in Seminole County while she died January 3, 1952 at the hospital in Sanford, Florida. Forensic work in 2005-6 resulted in the naming of the probable perpetrators as four Ku Klux Klan members, all long dead by the time of the investigation. The Moores were the first NAACP members to be murdered for civil rights activism; Moore has been called the first martyr of the early stage of the Civil Rights Movement.
This nation has survived political crises before, and it will again if progressives refrain from pointing fingers and start organizing.
At a time like this, many liberals and progressive will recall the words of labor activist Joe Hill: “Don’t mourn, organize.”
But let’s be honest. We’re in shock. We need time to mourn. To recover from the trauma of this election.
I feel awful for my 19-year-old twin daughters, who voted for the first time this year and now have to spend their college years with Trump as president. They’re upset. They talked about moving to Canada. They were half serious. We talked and texted all night, trying to console ourselves. It was tough.
I reminded them that we’ve been through periods like this before. The Civil War. The Gilded Age. The Great Depression.
I told them that in 1968, when I was 20, America elected Richard Nixon. At the time, we thought that this was the apocalypse. I had worked for Bobby Kennedy’s campaign. His murder in June of that year was traumatic. He certainly would have beaten Nixon, brought together the civil rights, union, and anti-war movements, and pushed to end the war in Vietnam, escalate and war on poverty, and expand workers rights.
After Nixon won, I considered moving to Canada myself, not just out of fear of Nixon’s agenda but also to avoid the draft and Vietnam. I even submitted an application to the University of Toronto.
But I stayed. I didn’t want to abandon my country. Like many others of my generation, I wanted to change it.
After Nixon beat Hubert Humphrey in November 1968, a massive resistance movement emerged to make it harder for Nixon to govern. In 1970, we started electing anti-war candidates to Congress. We started a backyard revolution of community organizing in urban communities. Then activists also built the women’s movement, the consumer movement, and the environmental movement.
Nixon did great damage (including the invasion of Cambodia, the killings at Jackson State and Kent State, the government infiltration and surveillance of dissenters), but the country survived.
Yes, Trump is worse than Nixon. He’s a demagogue, a white supremacist, a psychopath. But we’ll resist again.
I reminded my daughters that probably 35 percent of eligible voters didn’t vote this year. Most of them are poor, people of color, and/or young. Had they voted, Clinton would have won a big victory. Don’t judge the whole country by the election returns. The American people, overall, are better than the people who voted.
There will be many post mortems trying to explain how and why Trump won. Among the key factors:
James Comey: No major election analyst tonight (not even Rachel Maddow) mentioned the impact of FBI director Comey’s outrageous intervention on the outcome of this election. That, more than anything else, stopped Clinton’s momentum, diverted attention away from Trump’s sex and other scandals, and refocused public attention on Clinton’s emails. More than 20 million people voted between his letter to Congress 11 days ago, and his statement two days ago that the FBI found nothing damning in the new wave of Clinton emails. Much damage was done. Comey, the rogue FBI director, was more responsible for Trump’s victory than anyone else. A Republican under pressure from GOP lawmakers, Comey intentionally caused the damage.
Voter Suppression: The Republicans’ voter suppression campaign (including voter ID and felon disenfranchisement laws) in key battleground states—particularly in poor and minority areas—gave Trump the margin of victory. This was true in Milwaukee, Philadelphia, Charlotte, and other cities. Republicans engaged in such fraudulent election activities as sending phony robocalls to black households with misinformation about voting locations and times. Our arcane election laws also played a role. If Election Day were a national holiday (as it is in most democracies), or if most states had same-day voter registration, turnout among those groups would have been higher, and Clinton would have won in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and other swing states, and won the presidency.
Media Bias: The mainstream media gave Trump a free ride for most of the past year; treating him like a normal candidate rather than a racist demagogue. That allowed him to win the GOP nomination and to gain traction after the Republican convention. The media’s obsession with Clinton’s emails obscured the much-more-serious Trump scandals—his failure to pay taxes, his sexism, his bogus and self-serving foundation, his lies about his fortune, his fraudulent and abusive business practices, his total ignorance about public policy, Only in the past month did the media wake up and begin serious reporting on the real Trump. But it was too little, too late.
Right-Wing Money: The Koch brothers didn’t back Trump, but their political empire—including other right-wing billionaires who joined forces with them—may have spent close to a billion dollars helping Republican candidates for House and Senate. That increased GOP turnout in battleground states, and helped Trump.
Other factors—WikiLeaks, Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s stupid meeting with Bill Clinton on the airport tarmac, and the persistence of racism and sexism among a significant segment of the American population—all also played a role.
How did so many pollsters get it wrong?
How did so many pollsters get it wrong? Trump benefited from what political scientists call the “Bradley effect.” Just before Election Day in November 1982, polls showed that Tom Bradley, the African American mayor of Los Angeles, was going to beat Republican George Deukmejian in the race for California governor. But on Election Day, Deukmejian won. It appeared that many voters had lied to pollsters (or even to themselves). They didn’t want to appear racist, so they told pollsters they favored Bradley, but they voted for Deukmejian. Apparently, a significant number of people this year told pollsters they were voting for Clinton, or were undecided, but wound up voting for Trump. Perhaps they didn’t want to admit to pollsters, or to themselves, that they preferred Trump over Clinton.
The future looks better. Although turnout was low among the under-30 generation, those who went to the polls voted overwhelmingly for Hillary Clinton and liberal Democrats for Congress. Latinos—the fastest-growing part of the electorate—voted overwhelmingly for Clinton. Within a few years, their growing numbers will determine elections in Florida, Arizona, Nevada, even Texas.
There were even some silver linings on Tuesday. Voters in Maricopa County, Arizona, defeated the right-wing immigrant-bashing Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Voters in Arizona, Colorado, Maine and Washington state approved ballot initiatives on Tuesday to increase their states’ minimum wages. Voters in Arizona and Colorado approved measures to require businesses to provide employees with paid sick days. California voters approved statewide ballot measures to extend current income tax rates for the wealthy to pay for public education, to raise tobacco tax by $2 a pack, to repeal the ban on bilingual education, to strengthen gun control laws, and to legalize marijuana. And some might find solace knowing that even though Trump beat Clinton in the Electoral College, she won the popular vote.
Moreover, all polls show that large majorities of Americans support a progressive policy agenda that links economic prosperity with fairness. They want higher taxes on the super-rich, stronger regulations on Wall Street, and big business to protect consumers, workers, and the environment, a significant increase in the federal minimum wage, some version of universal health insurance, a large-scale job-creating infrastructure program, and more affordable colleges and universities.
But public opinion, on its own, doesn’t bring about change. That’s what movements do. Americans need to join forces to resist where Trump, Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan, the Koch brothers, and Wall Street want to take the country. We need to build on the momentum of the Black Lives Matter and Fight for $15 campaigns, and the movements to protect immigrants, block the Keystone and Standing Rock pipelines, divest from fossil fuels, and defend Planned Parenthood and women’s right to choose.
We need new Democratic Party leadership. We need a progressive like Senators Elizabeth Warren or Dick Durbin, or Congressman John Lewis as the next head of the Democratic National Committee.
Protests against executive order 13769, banning travelers and refugees from certain countries continue at airports and public spaces, continue in the United States and internationally.
Monday, Jan 30
A protest occurred at the U.S. Consulate in Toronto, Canada in the wake of Trump’s executive order on immigration. A demonstration by Democrats was held outside of the Supreme Court to protest the executive order. Across major cities in the United Kingdom, large crowds varying from over 200 people, protested against the Trump Administration’s order on banning travellers and refugees from certain countries, as well supporting the petition to ban the Trump state visit to the U.K, which gathered over one million signatures in two days.
The Bill of Rights is the collective name for the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution. Proposed following the often times bitter 1787–1788 battle over ratification of the Constitution, and crafted to address the objections raised by Anti-Federalists, the Bill of Rights amendments add certain safeguards of democracy—specific guarantees of personal freedoms and rights; clear limitations on the government’s power in judicial and other proceedings; and explicit declarations that all powers not specifically delegated to Congress by the Constitution are reserved for the states or the people—to the Constitution. The concepts codified in these amendments are built upon those found in several earlier documents, including the Virginia Declaration of Rights and the English Bill of Rights 1689, along with earlier documents such as Magna Carta (1215).
On June 8, 1789 Representative James Madison introduced a series of thirty-nine amendments to the constitution in the House of Representatives. Among his recommendations Madison proposed opening up the Constitution and inserting specific rights limiting the power of Congress in Article One, Section 9. Seven of these limitations would become part of the ten ratified Bill of Rights amendments. Ultimately, on September 25, 1789, Congress approved twelve articles of amendment to the Constitution and submitted them to the states for ratification.