Thursday, March 23, 2017

Politics Information Network
A revised travel ban by the Trump administration is already in trouble with a leading aid agency, with the travel industry, and with the Nigerian government which has urged its citizens to postpone making trips to the U.S. without “compelling or essential reasons.”

The new travel ban, which still targets majority-Muslim countries, slightly modifies an earlier order that sparked chaos at airports across the country as travelers – even those with green cards – were denied entry by local officers.

One of the harsher critics of the new ban, the head of the NY-based International Rescue Committee, labeled it an “historic assault on refugee resettlement to the United States, and a really catastrophic cut at a time there are more refugees around the world than ever before.”

“There is no national security justification for this ‘catastrophic’ cut in refugee admissions,” declared David Miliband, adding that the ban singles out „the most vulnerable, most vetted population that is entering the United States.“

The IRC provides humanitarian aid in five African countries, six Middle Eastern countries, six Asian countries, three European countries, and 22 cities in the U.S.

Trump’s latest order suspends the U.S. refugee program for 120 days, though refugees already formally scheduled for travel by the State Department will be allowed entry. When the suspension is lifted, the number of refugees allowed into the U.S. will be capped at 50,000 for fiscal year 2017.

But the new and higher bars to entry to the U.S. have the tourism industry biting its nails. Travel analytics firm ForwardKeys tallied the fall-off in major tourism-dependent U.S. cities as 6.5 percent in the eight days after President Donald Trump’s initial travel ban was announced on Jan. 27th.

In New York City, analysts foresee some 300,000 fewer visitors from abroad this year than in 2016, a 2.1 percent dip. It’s the first time for such a fall-off since 2008, says NYC & Company, New York’s tourism arm.

Even some African countries are sounding the alarm. In Nigeria, for example, special presidential adviser Abike Dabiri-Erewa, urged Nigerians to consider postponing visits to the U.S.

“In the last few weeks, the office has received a few cases of Nigerians with valid multiple-entry U.S. visas being denied entry and sent back to Nigeria,” she said. “In such cases, affected persons were sent back immediately on the next available flight and their visas were cancelled.”

Planned trips should be delayed, she advised, barring compelling or essential reasons, until there is clarity on the new immigration policy from Washington.

The latest action by the Trump administration could spell trouble for the 2.1 million African immigrants living in the U.S., 327,000 of whom were born in Nigeria, according to the Pew Research Center, published in February.

By Jesse Jackson

President Donald Trump’s most recent provocation – suddenly issuing an order banning the admission into the United States of refugees and immigrants from seven predominantly Muslim countries – created chaos and fury that had to be expected.

Airports across the world were engulfed with demonstrators. Judges issued emergency orders staying enforcement of parts of the order. Families found their children studying abroad unable to return home, or their loved ones attending a funeral stranded in an airport. Translators who had risked their lives for American soldiers in Iraq suddenly found their green cards useless and their lives at great risk. Both intelligence professionals and State Department diplomats have protested the order.

Trump clearly revels in this chaos. He proves to his voters that he’ll fulfill his campaign promises, despite opposition. He shows them that he’s getting things done. He postures strong on securing Americans against foreign terrorists. He defines his opponents as bleeding heart liberals, more concerned about rights than security, more internationalist than nationalist. He views this all as a win.

Trump’s act is based on a lie: that America is not careful in vetting those refugees from battle zones that seek refuge in our country from violence or persecution. In fact, our vetting is already among the most stringent in the world. Trump told the Christian Broadcasting Network that Christians would be given preference over other religious groups, asserting falsely that under Obama, “If you were a Muslim you could come in, but if you were a Christian, it was almost impossible.”

In fact, last year we admitted virtually as many Christian refugees as Muslims, despite the fact that far more Muslims are at risk and seeking refuge. But this president has shown that he’s prepared to act on the basis of “alternative facts” when he so chooses.

The real problem is that the unintended consequences are likely to be far more dangerous than doing nothing. For ISIS and al-Qaida, the order is gift. It feeds their argument that the Muslim world is facing a war on Islam led by the Great Satan (the U.S.) intent on persecuting Muslims.

The anger and hatred generated will make it more difficult for moderate Muslim leaders to cooperate with the U.S. At home, a Muslim community under siege – and faced with rising hate crimes – is likely to become more closed, not less, and less cooperative, not more. If we will not respect their rights and security, they will be less likely to be concerned for ours.

Across the world, the order reveals an America that is frightened, not strong, and insular, not expansive. Trump has just mocked his own argument that our allies should bear a fair share of the defense burden, for he’s made it clear the U.S. will not do its part in offering refuge to the displaced – many of them driven from their homes by wars that we started or continue. And America’s claim to be a champion of human rights has just been weakened by our own actions once more.

The irony here is that Trump gets the threat wrong. Seven countries were singled out for special prohibition – a ban on all travelers, not just refugees for 90 days, visa or no visa. Not one person from those countries has killed any Americans in a terrorist attack inside the U.S. The perpetrators of American terrorist attacks in Boston, San Bernardino, Calif., Fort Hood in Texas, and Orlando, Fla. – did not come from the countries banned, and all were radicalized homegrown individuals.

Similarly, the hijackers of 9/11 did not come from the countries that are banned. They came from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Lebanon, none of which are on the list.

There must be some other reason than terrorist threat for the selection. It may not simply be coincidental that the countries listed for bans are those where Trump’s company does no business, while the nations from which the 9/11 attackers came – and yet are exempted – are places where Trump has done or tried to do business.

Democrats have said they would try to get the order rescinded for its trampling of human rights, its lack of preparation and confused definitions. The real question is whether Republicans embrace this action or make their opposition known. Trump is happy to mock Democrats. His aides know that he has to learn to work with Republicans who control majorities in both houses of Congress.

Thus far, Republicans such as Sens. John McCain, Lindsey Graham and Jeff Flake have risked Trump’s wrath by objecting to the order. It is revealing that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell chose to duck – saying the courts would decide whether the order is constitutional –while House Speaker Paul Ryan chose to embrace the order rather than criticize it. These are not profiles in courage.

By Freddie Allen
(Managing Editor, NNPA Newswire)

Rev. William Barber, the president of the North Carolina state chapter of the NAACP and leader of the Moral Mondays movement, delivered a rousing keynote address to open the 2017 Mid-Winter Conference of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA).

The theme of the conference was “Strengthening Black-owned Newspapers through Training, Innovation and Technology.” The NNPA partnered with General Motors, Chevrolet, Ford Motor Company, Reynolds American Inc. (RAI), and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to host the conference; Volkswagen, Ascension, Coca-Cola, and the American Association for Cancer Research supported the event as sponsors.

During his speech titled, “Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?” Barber tackled voter suppression in the aftermath of Shelby v. Holder, White evangelicalism and the current political environment in the age of “alternative facts.”

Noting that President Woodrow Wilson played the White supremacist propaganda film “Birth of a Nation” in the Oval office in 1911, Barber said that Trump’s ascension and election is not an anomaly in American history.

“This is not the first time that White supremacy has occupied The White House. This is not the first time that America has elected a racist egomaniac,” said Barber, reminding the audience that President Wilson, a former college president, played “Birth” to signal that Reconstruction was over. “Education doesn’t necessarily get racism out of you.”

To a chorus of “Amens,” Barber said that the one thing that we have to first decide to do in this moment is that bowing down is not an option.

Recognizing that he was addressing a room full of journalists and publishers, Barber pitched ideas for a number of articles and commentaries.

“Somebody has to unpack ‘so-called’ White evangelicalism that is illogical malpractice and heresy,” said Barber. “We’ve got to have some papers that write and do some investigative work to connect the money to White evangelicalism to the policies of extremism and racism, because some of our own folk are sending money to some of these TV White evangelicals.”

Barber said that the loss of the full protections of the Voting Rights Act and voter suppression were two of the most underreported stories during the last election cycle.

“Long before any Russian hack, the American electoral process was hacked by systemic racism and fear,” said Barber. “The Southern Strategy is alive and well.”

Barber acknowledged that civil rights leaders and Democrats could have voiced louder criticism about the lack of work done in the U.S. Congress to restore the Voting Rights Act.

“Democrats talked more about David Dukes than they did about voter suppression and the Voting Rights Act being dismantled,” said Barber.

Barber said that there were 868 fewer voting places across the nation; those closures disproportionately affected Black voters.

“Voter suppression has been proven, voter fraud has been disproven. The lie about voter fraud is a distraction from the truth about voter suppression, because voter suppression is about thievery. You scratch a liar, you’ll find a thief,” said Barber. “Trump won because of the voter suppression that went on in the Black community.”

After delivering a brief history of fusion politics, a time when poor Whites and Blacks worked together to achieve political power in the South following the Civil War, Barber questioned why so many poor, White people today cast votes for lawmakers that oppose establishing living wage standards, better healthcare and more educational opportunities for low-income families.

The North Carolina pastor noted that there are 18.9 poor White people in the United States, about eight million more than the number of poor Black people, though Black people experience poverty at higher rates than Whites.

Barber said that exploring the real reasons why so many poor Whites vote against their own self-interest, would make for a great investigative report.

Returning to the theme that today’s political environment in America is nothing new, Barber told the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who he described as “three millennials from the Bible days,” that liked to write and Nebuchadnezzar, “a maniacal egomaniac who loved to tweet out his own news,” loved to build towers and invited people to come to his towers to bow down.

When Nebuchadnezzar commanded that everyone bow down to his image and Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego refused, the king threatened to throw them into the furnace.

“He didn’t know they already had a fire. They came from people who had been through the fire,” said Barber. “They remembered how the Lord had dealt with pharaoh. They remembered how David dealt with Goliath.”

Barber said that the three young leaders had a fire in them, because they sang the songs of their ancestors.

“Can we just make a decision, Black folks? Can we just make a decision, publishers? Can we just make a decision, civil rights…that bowing down is not an option?” Barber implored.

“I gotta suspicion that it’s going be some fiery times. I gotta suspicion that it’s gonna get hot. I gotta suspicion that Nebuchadnezzar is gonna do some rough stuff.”

Barber implored the publishers, journalists and activists in the room to go into the proverbial fire standing up, because help won’t come, if you go in the fire bowing down.

“If you go in the fire standing up, God can transform the fire and the same fire that was meant to destroy you, can become a fire of deliverance!” Barber shouted.

The crowd roared, delivering Barber a standing ovation. The Moral Mondays leader continued:

“Bowing down is not an option! Standing down is not an option! Looking down is not an option! Breaking down is not an option! We’ve been through worse before.” Barber exclaimed. “We’ve been through slavery. We’ve been through Jim Crow. We’ve been through the Trail of Tears and we’re gonna stand up in this moment!”

The next day at the conference, Barber committed to writing a regular guest column for the NNPA Newswire that will be distributed throughout the NNPA’s network of 211 Black-owned media properties and will reach an estimated 20 million readers in print and online.

“Somebody has to write from the perspective of crisis, even if the crisis doesn’t end immediately,” Barber explained. “Somebody has to make sure that there is a witness that [the Black Press] didn’t go along with it. So we have to do that.”

By Jim Clingman

Editor’s Note:
After a meeting between Bob Johnson and Donald Trump before he was sworn into office, Johnson wrote a press release and did several interviews to disclose the particulars of that meeting. Part one of his interview with Jim Clingman appeared in last week’s New Journal and Guide.


Bob: Let’s form the Permanent Interest Party and that party will represent Black voters and that’s the way we engage this divided nation because White America is divided.  On one side you have people who call themselves Republicans and on the other side you have the Democrats.  But they are predominately the White ruling class in America. And they are divided.


Bob: The only thing that we aren’t divided against is our ability to vote.  So we have to take the one asset we have that we know that we can manipulate and control with our own interests is that to vote.  But a vote without a direct ideology or philosophy is not going to be magnified at its highest level of impact.
Jim: Let me ask you this, based upon everything you said, can I assume you believe Black people should register as “no party affiliated” as we move forward to develop an independent party.
Bob: Yes.  I believe for Black Americans to remain in one or the other party group is not in our long term best interests … I believe, whether it happens in my lifetime or whether it happens after that, at some point Black Americans will come to the realization that at 45 million people and growing, in a divided country, and rising populations in other minority groups greater than us in voter power and probably economics, we must form our own political power base for the sole purpose of promoting our permanent interest … That’s  a very important move I believe Black people should make.
Jim: Ok, let’s shift a little bit to economics. You are a business man. I know that’s high on your agenda and do you believe that  when it’s all said and done, economics really controls politics?
Bob: We are and have been founded as a free market democratic society.  Ownership is a paramount right in the United States.  And from ownership comes the right to use your wealth in any way you wish.  And from that comes economic power. And economic power manifests itself in political power because campaigns run on money. They run on ideas but they run on money to get those ideas conveyed.


Bob:  Black Americans have tremendous aggregate income, around $1.2 trillion now, and in that power, in that wealth there’s more than enough money to fund a political party, particularly a political party that’s already united in its interest and therefore already more than likely to vote as a bloc. You don’t have to convince us to vote as a bloc, we do it anyway.


Bob: So when you look at that and how this nation works, if ownership and access to wealth and the right to do with it as you please, then that also translates into your right to use it for your own political interests and your own political well being and your own socioeconomic wellbeing. So, yes, those things would follow. Black Economic power strengthens our political power, and political power would help enhance Black economic power.


Bob: I mean we could take some ideas from the Democratic Party and some from the Republican Party. But they would be our issues and we would be voting for our interests and our candidates to espouse those issues and promote those issues.  We don’t have a monopoly on the best ideas; neither does either party.  So clearly we could argue things that are in our best interest and vote accordingly and use our vote as a balance of power in a divided nation to focus on our interests.  It’s as simple as that.
Jim: I’m constantly amazed that all of the, like you said, dollars we have as well as the organizations we have with so many members. Yet we’re not adopting and we have not adopted the principles that you have espoused.  But that speaks to me something Harold Cruse called “Non-economic liberalism.”
We’re so stuck in this non-economic piece.  We don’t get our economics right in order to make a meaningful foray into the political arena, and that’s the direction our people really need to go.
Bob:  Yeah, that’s the thing.
Robert Louis “Bob” Johnson is an entrepreneur, philanthropist and investor. He is best known as founder of Black Entertainment Television (BET), which was sold to Viacom in 2001.

By Leonard E. Colvin
Chief Reporter
New Journal and Guide

Lawmakers use the U.S. Census 10-year head counts to determine  the boundaries of local,  state and U.S. Congressional voting districts representing thousands of voters who elected them to office.

It’s called redistricting. But, some see the process as subject to gerrymandering because it is controlled by the state legislature, and the political party in control of the legislature has a political advantage.

In Virginia, since the mid-1990s the Republican Party has controlled  the redistricting process. Today the GOP owns a 66-34 majority in the House of Delegates and a slender one in the Senate 21-19.

This is typical across the South. The Republican party has invested funds and rhetoric into drawing borders for voting that have sought to make White Democrats extinct in the U.S. House, Senate  and state legislatures.

Currently there are 32 GOP-controlled state legislatures compared to 12 for Democrats and six which are split.

In Virginian, Republicans control seven of the 11 U.S. House Districts.

The GOP party lost one of the seats when a federal court redrew  the 4th Congressional District. A suit filed by Black voters claimed  it had been racially gerrymandered to give an advantage to White Republicans.

That suit allowed Democrat Donald McEachin to now represent the 4th District in the newly convened U.S. House of Representatives.

Unless state Democrats mount a successful run to reduce or overcome the GOP dominance in the 2017 and further elections, their rivals will control the process in 2021 and their erosion of power will increase.

But a counter campaign  which has considerable bi-partisan support is gathering steam to create a state non-partisan  commission to redistrict the political voting districts.

Recently, Hampton Roads Mayors Kenneth C. Alexander of Norfolk and Will Sessoms of Virginia Beach hosted a community forum entitled “Gerryrigged” at Virginia Wesleyan College with the redistricting advocacy group, OneVirginia2021, to demonstrate support for the campaign.

“I participated in the process that enabled legislators to help draw their own districts…(choosing)  who gets to vote for them,” said Mayor Alexander who is a former state Senator. “Even  with the best intentions, we were apt  to draw those lines for political benefit. I better understand this now so that’s why I’ve joined the movement.”

Brian Cannon is the Executive Director of OneVirginia2021.

“People want to know why the system is not serving them well  so far as ethics or issues,” said Cannon.  “Hopefully the legislators will see the growing support  for these reforms and take action to  create a fairer system.”

For the past two and half decades, proposals have been submitted during the Virginia General Assembly session to achieve that goal. But each time the legislation is aborted and not even given a potentially life-saving vote in either house of the legislature, Despite pressure being brought to bear by this new campaign during this legislative session, similar legislation may meet the same fate.

In 1992,  Democratic State Delegate Kenneth R. Plum of Reston, sponsored one of the first bills to take the process of redistricting out of the hands of his colleagues,
Instead, Plum’s and other bills sponsored by his colleagues promoting this idea have died in committee.

Delegate Plum hopes this will be the year that lawmakers will adopt his bill,  creating a non-partisan commission, a third group that is  not connected with either the Democrats or Republicans.

If successful, redistricting in 2021 will not be done to  ensure the incumbency of  Democratic or Republican lawmakers and thus giving one party control over the legislative future of the state.

“It’s had such strong support from both sides of the aisle over the years,” said Plum.

“People  from both parties thought it was a great idea to give the people more voice and not the politicians. But the bills never got  out of committee, died and most voters did not know about it.  Both parties, over the years, have  wanted to protect their legislative and Congressional seat majorities and they killed those bills.”

According to recent polls, over 70 percent of state voters want the redistricting process reformed.

When the Virginia State Legislature convened on January 11, 2017, two bills were entered calling for an independent Commission  to perform  the redistricting process sponsored by Democratic Delegates Plum and  Rip Sullivan of McLean.

As of last week, according to Plum and Democratic party operatives, the bills were still stuck in the GOP controlled House  Rules Committee.

A Democratic party  media spokesman said that the bills will come up for a vote on January 29.

Democrats and other supporters of the measure have been lobbying House Speaker William J. Howell to coax Republicans on the panel to send the bill to the floor for a vote.

A letter sent to House Democratic Leader Delegate David J. Toscano noted that after the last election cycle, Americans increasingly “believe our system is ‘rigged’” in favor of the powerful.

“Constituents want to know where we stand on re-districting reform and the only way they can find out is if we have a floor vote,” said Toscano. “A system that gives incumbent politicians the power to pick their own voters and draw political opponents out of districts is undemocratic and unacceptable. Voters should choose their elected leaders – but in Virginia, the opposite is true. Since both parties have been guilty of gerrymandering, both parties must fix it. I call upon Republican leadership to send these two amendments directly to the floor.”

Cannon said currently four states – Arizona, California, Hawaii and Idaho – have set up non-partisan and independent commissions. Eleven others have some form of third party apparatus  used to draw post census voting districts.

The size of the panels vary, among those four commissions from five in Idaho to 14 in California.

Cannon said none of the commissions are manned by  elected officials. State officials, such as the Secretary of State or director of the Department of Elections,  and  others from the two respective parties who hold no political office,  are chosen by the Governor and legislative leaders.

Cannon said in Virginia, supporters of such  a commission envision at least a five to seven-member panel.

Also, if the outcome of the panel’s work is deemed unfair or flawed, there will be an option for “vetoing”  it and seeking corrections via legislative or judicial revision.

Delegate Plum said supporters of redistricting reform  are optimistic that Republican party  leaders will heed to bipartisan pressure.

He said if the legislation is not adopted, then the courts may step in and force the hand of Republican party leaders.

In 1981, an election year, Virginia Democrats controlled the redistricting process.  They shut out Republicans and Blacks in the process until the federal court  and the Department of Justice ordered them to draw districts to increase the number of Blacks (12) and Republican seats in the House.

By Jim Clingman

One of the post-election highlights for me was the meeting between Donald Trump and Bob Johnson.  Billionaire to billionaire, Democrat to Republican, Black to White, businessman to businessman, capitalist to capitalist, meeting on a relatively even playing field to discuss some of the “what now issues” was intriguing to say the least.  After the meeting, Mr. Johnson wrote a press release and did several interviews to disclose the particulars of that meeting.

Mr. Johnson graciously agreed to allow me to interview him. And during our nearly one-hour conversation he spoke openly about his political position vis-à-vis the election of Donald Trump, and his thoughts, recommendations, and reflections on a Black strategy moving forward. The following are excerpts from that interview:

Bob: I think when we talk about where Black American voters, and therefore where Black Americans are today, we have to look at it in terms of the politics of a divided nation; we have become stagnant. You have two parties, Republican and Democrat, who get re-elected each year in terms of congressional districts because of the way district lines are drawn, where both parties have safe districts, so there’s no likelihood of being defeated in most cases.


Bob: For a while we supported Republicans because of the role they played all the way back to the civil war and probably up to Richard Nixon we were a block in the Republican Party.  That started to change with John F. Kennedy where we began to move closer to the Democratic Party, and since that time we pretty much have become locked-in as an appendage of the Democratic Party.

The long term problem with that is in a divided nation, where you are locked into one party in a two-party system, and you face a rising minority class that divides its vote across party lines, you ultimately will become marginalized in your voting power.

So the Black vote is going to be locked into the Democratic vote and therefore ignored by the Republicans; their argument is, ‘We can’t get them anyway so why try to contest for them, in fact ignore them or even actively oppose them.’


Bob: We are marginalized in our power, and as other minority groups increase, that marginalization becomes more significant. And so I’m taking the position that the election of Donald Trump basically created what I called a seismic shift in the political situation in the U.S., that we take stock now and see how we can redefine our role in this divided nation.

And I say it’s time that we return to the Congressional Black Caucus’ founding principle when those 13 members came together back in 1971: Enshrined in a philosophy and ideology by William Clay of Missouri, “Black people should have no permanent friends no permanent enemies, just permanent interests.”

And my position today is that we should begin to focus on our permanent interests and under that [the] rationale you talk to Trump, you to talk to the Democrats, but you talk to them from a vantage point of I’m not your friend, I’m not your enemy.  I’m talking to you about my permanent interests and I will then vote and engage you accordingly. That is the essence of why I am where I am today.


Bob: It starts with taking the position that we have the ability to effect the outcome of elections. One obvious way is to concentrate on maximizing your voter turnout, which is critical in a democracy.  There’s only two ways to change power in any country, either you do it through ballots or do it through bullets. Well, we aren’t going to do it through bullets in this country.


Bob: I think it’s time that we manifest that voting power by nominating and running our own candidates.  And you, Jim, you and I are about the same age, you remember this when, when people, when organizations, political organizations, would run something called “Favorite Son”?

Jim: Right, yeah I do remember that.

Bob: We need to think about this in all elections – primaries and generals. We should run favorite sons, since we vote as a bloc anyway. Jesse Jackson did this when he ran at the Democratic convention in the Democratic Party. We should run a favorite son in the primary and we don’t have to run nationwide.  We don’t have to file a candidate in Utah.  We don’t have a file a candidate in Maine.  But we do need to file a candidate, a favorite son candidate in the states where we have significant voting power.


Bob: So you run that candidate in those states and you get enough votes in the primary to be part of the discussion. If you want to run in the Democratic primary, you run in the Democratic primary.  If you want to run in the Republican primary, you run in a Republican primary but you run as a favorite son party and you have a discussion or dialog there, where you’re not going to win in the two dominant parties, you already know that, so what do you do?  You run again in the general in those same states.

Under that scenario it’s even likely that no one gets the requisite votes to give them the Electoral College, if you still have the Electoral College.  Under that scenario it throws it into the House of Representatives.  Whatever party has the majority, they will vote according to their party loyalty, but we will have demonstrated that our power is going be used to cause a change in the way presidents are elected.  And pretty soon both parties will get the message.

… Continued next week

National Action Network (NAN), led by civil rights leader Rev. Al Sharpton, announced the route for a rally and march on MLK weekend, just six days before the presidential inauguration.

The 2017 march on Washington will take place on Jan. 14 and will start at the National Sylvan Theater and lead to West Potomac Park via Independence Ave. SW and end with a rally across from the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial.

Participants will demand accountability not just from President-elect Trump but from Senate and Congress members who are charged with overseeing the Criminal Justice Reform Act, the Voting Rights Bill, Supreme Court nominations and other Trump political appointments.

The movement, #WeShallNotBeMoved, aims to send a clear message to elected officials about the continuing fight for equal rights and justice.

The top concerns are: police reform and mass incarceration for low-level, nonviolent crimes; keeping the Affordable Care Act; and addressing climate change.

“We are calling on the Democrats and moderate Republicans to stand up and block and filibuster and do whatever to stop a retreat in those areas,” Sharpton said in an interview. “These things should be totally and unequivocally non-negotiable.”

Sharpton said he opted to hold the rally on Saturday Jan. 14 – the first day of Martin Luther King Jr. weekend – to honor the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. and “set the tone” of inauguration. He hopes that if people see a massive group rallying for civil rights, they will question the president-elect on his stance on these issues.

“The 2017 march will bring all people together to insist on change and accountability,” said Sharpton. “Martin Luther King Jr.’s struggle for civil rights didn’t end with his death, it’s a fight we take on each day. The political players may change but our goals stay the same. Donald Trump and his administration need to hear our voice and our concerns.”

(Compiled from press and news reports)
President Obama is leaving office on a high point, according to a new poll.

In the latest Allstate/Atlantic Media Heartland Monitor Poll, 56 percent of adults said they approved of Obama’s job performance, an increase of five percentage points just since June and his highest rating in the survey since July 2009.

Obama’s approval rating right now is among the highest Election-Day approval ratings in recent history, according to Charles Franklin,

He’s viewed more positively now than Ronald Reagan was at the end of his second term, but not as positively as was Bill Clinton at the end of his.

In October, a CNN/ORC showed his approval rating stood at 55 percent, the highest mark of his second term, and matching his best at any time since his first year in office. One year earlier, in October, Obama’s approval rating was about 10 points lower. The improvement in his numbers has cut across age groups and gender lines, and come from all geographic regions.

Presidents’ approval ratings tend to go up once they reach lame-duck status, after their successor is picked but before Inauguration Day. So it’s possible that Obama’s approval ratings, already pretty decent, will tick up several points before he officially leaves office.

By Lauren Victoria Burke
(NNPA Newswire Contributor)

Reality star billionaire Donald Trump won the presidency in shocking fashion, but African-American candidates also made history on November 8.

There will be a record number of African-Americans in Congress during the time Trump is in the White House. That number will rise from 48 to 52. There have never been more African-Americans elected to Congress in American history.

Kamala Harris of California will be the second African-American woman to serve in the U.S. Senate. Former Maryland Lt. Governor Anthony Brown will serve in the U.S. House of Representatives. Both Republicans in the House, Mia Love (R-Utah) and Will Hurd (R-Texas) won re-election, as did the only Black Republican in the Senate, Tim Scott (R-S.C.).

Lisa Blunt Rochester was elected to the U.S. House in Delaware. Former Orlando Police Chief Val Demings will also serve in the House. Virginia State Senator Don McEachin was elected to the House in a newly configured seat in Virginia that covers Richmond.

Though there will be more African-American members serving in Congress, the dilemma they find themselves in is obvious: All but three are Democrats who will be serving in the minority in the House and Senate.

Being a member of the minority party in the House is one of the most powerless positions in Congress. It’s the majority that sets the agenda, the hearing schedules, the floor schedule and when the Congress will be in recess.

The Senate is different. The two African-American Democrats who will serve next year, Senator-elect Harris and Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) could have some opportunities to influence the agenda moving forward. The Senate will be a narrower 52-48, and the rules allow for some disruption from members of the minority party.

But it won’t be easy. Currently members of the Democratic leadership in both the House and the Senate are in a period stunned silence and are not even harping on the fact that Hillary Clinton won more votes than Trump and therefore no Trump has no real mandate.

The Democratic Party in recent years has not been anywhere as militant as the rightwing, who created the so-called Tea Party movement and the “alt-right” to deal with the growing influence of African-Americans and Latinos at the ballot box. Democrats in Congress are primed for a new set of younger leaders to take the place of those who are in their mid-70s and who have failed strategically to win over voters in a country where Democrats are in the majority.

That the Democrats had two candidates over the age of 68 running for the presidency as Republicans fielded a candidate in his mid-40s is a sign it’s time for younger and more dynamic leadership on the left side of the aisle. One of those young leaders could come out of the Congressional Black Caucus, who is soon to elect a new caucus chair.

Lauren Victoria Burke is a political analyst who speaks on politics and African-American leadership. She can be contacted at and on Twitter at @LVBurke.

By Frederick H. Lowe
Special to the Trice Edney News Wire from

On September, 18, 1960, when Fidel Castro led a Cuban delegation to New York City to speak before the United Nations, they stayed at the Hotel Theresa in Harlem, where they met with Malcolm X, poet Langston Hughes and other African-American leaders.

The meetings and their location caused an immediate sensation, although details of the conversations are not known. Two Black reporters and a Black photographer attended the meetings, according to the book “Memories of a Meeting Between Fidel and Malcolm X,”  published by Black Classic Press. Castro and Malcolm X spoke to each other through interpreters.

Castro also walked Harlem’s streets, shaking hands and talking with residents while drinking orange juice, according to Pan African News Wire.

Thousands of Harlem residents gave Castro a rousing reception.  They stood in the pouring rain outside his balcony window to cheer him.

They were unphased by the government’s red baiting. U.S. Vice President Richard Nixon believed Castro was leaning towards Communism. But Castro did not declare himself a Communist until late 1961.

Cuba’s leader angered the American government and the American Mafia by nationalizing U.S. companies and investments in Cuba and closing Mafia-owned casinos and bordellos, according to T. J. English’s book “Havana Nocturne: How the Mob Owned Cuba … And Then Lost It to the Revolution.”

Castro, who had overthrown the corrupt U.S.–backed government of Cuban dictator Fulgenico Batista in 1959, delivered on September 26, 1960, a scathing more than four-hour speech at the United Nations concerning U.S. aggression and imperialism.

Castro, Cuba’s Maximum Leader, who launched his revolutionary overthrow of Cuba’s government in November 1956 with an army of 82 recruits, died after a long illness Friday in Havana, Cuba’s capital. He was 90.

Castro led the country for 50 years, defying the power of 10 U.S. presidents and numerous attempts to assassinate or overthrow him, including the failed Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961, ordered by President John F. Kennedy.

The announcement of Castro’s death sparked celebrations in Miami’s Little Havana and days of mourning in Cuba.

President Barack Obama visited Cuba in May and met with Raul Castro, Fidel’s brother. Raul succeeded Fidel in 2008 because of his brother’s illness. President Obama extended his condolences to the Castro family.

“Today, we offer condolences to Fidel Castro’s family, and our thoughts and prayers are with the Cuban people. In the days ahead, they will recall the past and also look to the future. As they do, the Cuban people must know that they have a friend and partner in the United States of America,” said President Obama.

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