Civil Rights

  • 01.17.17

    Senator Bernie Sanders' MLK Address

    On MLK day 2017 Senator Sanders gave a speech recognizing the work done by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. including issues that he fought for that are still relevant to politics today. The Senator addresses the vision that many people have of MLK and talks about some of his less well known, but still important, initia...

    On MLK day 2017 Senator Sanders gave a speech recognizing the work done by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. including issues that he fought for that are still relevant to politics today.

    The Senator addresses the vision that many people have of MLK and talks about some of his less well known, but still important, initiatives. "It is easy for us today in the year 2017 as the whole country celebrates Dr. King to forget that in the last few years of his life if you think that Governors and Senators and Mayors were standing up saying what a great man Dr. King was, read history because you are sorely mistaken." Senator Sanders specifically looks at Dr. Martin Luther King's commitment to poor people and protests against the Vietnam war in the last years of his life.

  • 01.14.17

    Senator Nina Turner At The We Will Not Be Moved Rally

    On Saturday January 14th, 2017, former Ohio State Senator Nina Turner delivered a speech in front of the Martin Luther King Jr. memorial in Washington D.C. at National Action Network's We Will Not Be Moved rally. She calls on the crowd to not be discouraged by the situation that they find themselves in. Rather, t...

    On Saturday January 14th, 2017, former Ohio State Senator Nina Turner delivered a speech in front of the Martin Luther King Jr. memorial in Washington D.C. at National Action Network's We Will Not Be Moved rally. 

    She calls on the crowd to not be discouraged by the situation that they find themselves in. Rather, they should look back at where they and their ancestors have come from and gain courage from that struggle and many of the successes that have led to a better (but not yet perfect) world. 

    Senator Turner also mentions other groups including the LGBTQ community as well as the hispanic and latino community that are with the African American community fighting for "social, economic, and political justice." She states that: “We may not have gotten here on the same ship but we are in the same boat right now.” 

    Tags: Civil Rights
  • 10.31.16

    Beyond Berets: The Black Panthers as Health Activists

    This article from the American Journal of Public Medicine describes a little-known aspect of the Black Panthers: Their dedication to health as a human right. "The Party took up the right to health... its vision hewed closely to the fundamentally radical idea that achieving health for all demands a more just and eq...Read More

  • 09.30.16

    Harry Belafonte: Movements Don't Die

    Harry Belafonte has been an activist for his entire life. He grew up in Harlem surrounded by activist leaders and went on to be a critical part of the Civil Rights Movement. This article describes his thinking about the continuation of activism and movements in the US and around the world. Belafonte has not stop...

    Harry Belafonte has been an activist for his entire life. He grew up in Harlem surrounded by activist leaders and went on to be a critical part of the Civil Rights Movement.

    This article describes his thinking about the continuation of activism and movements in the US and around the world. 

    Belafonte has not stopped being an activist, even with 90 years under his belt. In fact he recently led a music festival to support his charity Sankofa.org and encourage young artists to speak out about current issues. Belafonte believes that while there is an increasing number of black artists and athletes, they have a duty to speak out about the issues in the black community. 

    Ultimately, Belafonte will never stop being an activist and galvanizing people to speak about issues that are important to them and their communities.: "The same things needed now are the same things needed before,” he went on. “Movements don’t die because struggle doesn’t die.”

  • 09.01.16

    Harry Belafonte On Kaepernick's National Anthem Protest

    In this interview, Harry Belafonte describes his reaction to the Kaepernick National Anthem Protest - where Kaepernick took a knee during the national anthem in protest against the treatment of African Americans in the United States. Belafonte states that he thinks that Kaepernick was not only right in doing it b...

    In this interview, Harry Belafonte describes his reaction to the Kaepernick National Anthem Protest - where Kaepernick took a knee during the national anthem in protest against the treatment of African Americans in the United States. 

    Belafonte states that he thinks that Kaepernick was not only right in doing it but that it was a "noble and courageous act." He states, "It takes a lot of courage to stand up in the face of that onslaught and not bend to the wind."

    The backlash that Kaepernick has received due to his protest is very similar to situations that Belafonte found himself in during the height of his career. Belafonte describes that during his most successful years, "The machinery of oppression was always trying to discredit me" by attempting to portray him as a communist and anti-American.

    Belafonte ends the interview by describing his disappointment that other black athletes and celebrities have not joined Kaepernick in his protest and brought to light more African American issues. 

    Tags: NFL, Civil Rights
  • 07.14.16

    Ben Jealous On Race Relations In The U.S. Today

    In this interview with CBSN, Ben Jealous reacts to some of the prominent events and issues around race relations in the United States. First, he is questioned about a recent poll that indicates that almost seven-in-ten Americans think that race relations in this country are bad. Jealous points to the unprecedented...

    In this interview with CBSN, Ben Jealous reacts to some of the prominent events and issues around race relations in the United States.

    First, he is questioned about a recent poll that indicates that almost seven-in-ten Americans think that race relations in this country are bad. Jealous points to the unprecedented sadness and rawness that characterized the 2016 presidential debate. 

    Next, Jealous addresses the Black Lives Matter movement. He sees BLM as a continuation of many of the early civil rights movements - with a tradition of truth telling and shedding light on localities that are not performing morally in order to "take our country to a higher and better place." When asked why BLM does not have a unified message, Jealous points out, that when you step back from the individual protestors and individual tweets, the BLM movement has a very strong message: that "Black Lives Matter" and that the police killings have to stop. 

    When asked about celebrities talking about this issue, Jealous supports their actions. Many people, especially children, look to athletes and celebrities as their heroes. Jealous states that for these "heroes" to come out and say "I am afraid too" can help galvanize people who look up to them - "I am your hero and now I need you to be my hero and join with all of us to help move this country forward."

  • 10.17.15

    No More Fear: It’s Time To Reform Policing In Baltimore

    In this article, Ben Jealous looks at a specific encounter that an African American woman, Ashley Overbey, had with the police in Baltimore. He uses it as an example of why the police system in this country, and particularly in Baltimore, needs to be changed. Jealous points to a report released by grassroots acti...

    In this article, Ben Jealous looks at a specific encounter that an African American woman, Ashley Overbey, had with the police in Baltimore. He uses it as an example of why the police system in this country, and particularly in Baltimore, needs to be changed. 

    Jealous points to a report released by grassroots activists and community organizations in Baltimore that suggests six reforms for policing in Baltimore:

    1) Fire police officers who have demonstrated corruption or unnecessary violence

    2) Remove the “gag order” on victims of police misconduct that silenced Ashley Overbey

    3) Speed up the distribution of body cameras

    4) Promote community policing; publish all police department policies online

    5) Improve de-escalation training

    Jealous uses Cincinnati as an example that this sort of reform can happen. "In response to community demands, the department shifted to a community-policing model, encouraged officers to interact more with community members, started tracking officers who received an abnormal number of complaints and took steps to improve transparency." He states that "Over the next 15 years, Cincinnati saw a 69 percent drop in police use-of-force incidents, a 42 percent drop in citizen complaints and a 56 percent drop in injuries experienced by citizens during encounters with police. Importantly, violent crime dropped from a high of 4,137 incidents in the year after Timothy Thomas’ death to 2,352 incidents in 2014."

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