- Created on 02 April 2013
The top Black Republicans in the country recently joined Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus as he honored “Black Republican Trailblazers” in his latest attempt to make inroads into the Black community. During the event at the National Republican Club of Capitol Hill, Priebus put the party’s strong suit on parade.
In saluting “Black Enterprise” Priebus paid homage to Republican role models William T. Coleman and Robert J. Brown, chairman and CEO of B&C Associates, Inc. Coleman is a former U.S. Secretary of Transportation under Gerald Ford and Brown is a former presidential aide to Richard Nixon. Both trailblazers have made immeasurable contributions toward Blacks doing business in America. When it comes to the business of America, the GOP has no political peer. Capitalism is a key Republican Party pillar and these trailblazers made great marks on Black Americans’ businesses and opportunities.
During President Richard Nixon’s tenure in office, Brown served as the White House’s liaison in Black communities. In ways not occurring today, Brown dealt with issues related to civil rights legislation, funding for jobs, Black colleges and inner-city housing. As Blacks became frustrated with economic conditions that didn’t improve despite advancements in civil rights, the Nixon administration addressed economic empowerment by sponsoring strong minority business initiatives. Before and after his stint at the White House, Brown retained his standing as a successful businessman. He founded B&C in 1960.
During the 1950s, Coleman helped President Dwight D. Eisenhower increase minority hiring in the government, something he also did while serving as Secretary of Transportation. He co-authored the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund’s brief on Brown vs. Topeka Board of Education. He successfully argued cases that compelled the admission of Blacks into segregated universities.
The event’s keynote speaker happened to be the owner of the country’s largest African-American-owned business. David L. Steward, is chairman and founder of World Wide Technology, Inc. (WWT), a top Black Enterprise business. WWT is a systems integration company based in St. Louis. The company employs more than 1,700 people and operates more than 2,000,000-square-feet of warehousing, distribution and integration space in 21 facilities throughout the world. WWT’s 2011 revenue was $4.1 billion. Former President George H.W. Bush said Steward’s “story of success epitomizes the American Dream and … an inspiration to us all.”
Chairman Priebus is set on “taking the Republican message to the streets.” The question is: How receptive will Blacks be? Republicans like and applaud entrepreneurs. The GOP hierarchy appreciates job generators and creators. Historically, the Republicans believe in personal responsibility and actions, and that all material things are earned, not owed. They believe private spending is usually more efficient than public spending and that the private sector and/or the individual are better suited to control their own lives. There should be a way for African Americans and the Republicans to get together.
Black party members want Priebus to change the party’s performance with minority voters. African-American RNC National Committeeman Glenn McCall of South Carolina told the gathering of Black Baby Boomers and Millennials that, “The Republican Party must compete in every state and every region, building relationships with communities we haven’t before … as we must stop talking about ‘reaching out’ and start ‘welcoming in.’” North Carolina’s Black RNC National Committeewoman Ada Fisher said: “Republicans must be willing to go into local minority communities and hold town hall meetings and banter. … It’s time to advocate for issues and causes that directly affect minority populations … and staff to tout and pursue Blacks.”
A Black Republican in personal and political ascent is conservative commentator and entrepreneur, Armstrong Williams. A protégée of Brown, Williams emphasized that GOP values mirror those of many enterprising Blacks in America who support: “safe families, good education and economic empowerment.” Williams commented that “There are many conservative Blacks … disgruntled with President Obama … We need to hook up with them to initiate business principles and practices that work.” Williams used the occasion to announce the acquisition of two television stations: WEYI-TV in the Flint/Saginaw/Michigan and WWMB-TV in the Myrtle Beach/Florence, S.C. area.
William Reed is head of the Business Exchange Network and available for speaking/seminar projects through the Bailey Group.org.
- Created on 02 April 2013
Why is the National Rifle Association so afraid of the truth? There are many misconceptions about guns and gun violence swirling around in Americans’ minds —and in many cases, this misinformation is no accident.
For years the NRA has blocked the truth and actively fought against and prevented research in the causes and costs of gun violence because they don’t want Americans to know the truth about guns, how to prevent gun violence, and how to make themselves and their children safer. Why else would they have Congress pull gun injury prevention research funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health?
Why have we put up so long with efforts to block all research on a huge public health threat that injures and kills tens of thousands of Americans every year?
As Drs. Arthur Kellermann and Frederick Rivara wrote an article titled, “Silencing the Science on Gun Research” in the February 2013 Journal of the American Medical Association. They wrote, “What can be done to reduce the number of US residents who die each year from firearms, currently more than 31,000 annually? . . . The nation might be in a better position to act if medical and public health researchers had continued to study these issues as diligently as some of us did between 1985 and 1997.”
Instead, they note that beginning in 1996, pro-gun members of Congress began mounting an all-out effort to eliminate any funding for research connected to gun injury prevention. And as Drs. Kellermann and Rivara explain, this continued refusal to fund any research isn’t just an academic matter. “Injury prevention research can have real and lasting effects. Over the last 20 years, the number of Americans dying in motor vehicle crashes has decreased by 31 percent. Deaths from fires and drowning have been reduced even more, by 38 percent and 52 percent, respectively. This progress was achieved without banning automobiles, swimming pools, or matches. Instead, it came from translating research findings into effective interventions. Given the chance, could researchers achieve similar progress with firearm violence? It will not be possible to find out unless Congress rescinds its moratorium on firearm injury prevention research.”
Why is the NRA afraid of seeking the truth and having citizens make informed decisions about how best to ensure their and their children’s safety? Their concerted campaign to hide the truth and block research is finally facing new scrutiny and opposition. President Obama’s proposed gun safety package would end the freeze on gun injury prevention research although the amounts requested are inadequate. Ignorance is not bliss or sensible or sound policy, and in the case of our national gun violence epidemic, ignorance is actually fatal. We need to make decisions based on the truth and counter the NRA misinformation that has been infecting our nation.
It’s time to challenge and deflate NRA misinformation and recognize that it does not speak for most American gun owners or even the majority of its membership. For example, polling data shows that 85 percent of gun owners and 74 percent of NRA members support universal background checks—a policy position the NRA vehemently opposes.
The NRA argues that background checks don’t work. The reality is that criminal background checks do work and making them universal at the federal level would make them far more effective. Since its implementation in 1994, the Brady Law, which instituted a federal background check requirement for sales through licensed dealers, has denied 2.1 million applications to purchase a firearm. But its impact has been limited by the ability of criminals to access firearms through private sales, since only sales by federally licensed dealers require a background check; unlicensed dealers, including those at gun shows and on the Internet and other private sales do not.
An analysis by Mayors Against Illegal Guns reveals that states that don’t require background checks for handgun sales at gun shows export guns used to commit crimes 2.5 times more often than states that do. As much as 40 percent of gun sales may be occurring through these private sales, a loophole that common sense and the vast majority of Americans demand we fix.
Another bit of misinformation from the NRA is that universal background checks will lead to a registry of gun owners. The Brady Law explicitly bans the creation of a gun owner registry, and under that law instant criminal background checks have been made on more than 100 million gun sales in the last decade without leading to the formation of a gun registry.
Here again, misinformation has paralyzed effective gun safety protections. The vast majority of responsible gun owners support background checks because they know that the only people who will be negatively impacted are criminals and those who sell them firearms.
Please do your homework and decide for yourself. Educate yourself on what the NRA wants you to believe by reading the Children’s Defense Fund’s updated fact sheet “The Truth About Guns.” During this Easter recess, go to your members of Congress’ town hall meetings and let your members know that the time to be held hostage to the NRA lobby is over. Let’s break the NRA lock on the research door to learn and share the truth about the human, economic and public safety costs of gun violence in our nation. I believe the truth will set us free.
Marian Wright Edelman is president of the Children’s Defense Fund whose Leave No Child Behind® mission is to ensure every child a Healthy Start, a Head Start, a Fair Start, a Safe Start and a Moral Start in life and successful passage to adulthood with the help of caring families and communities. For more information go to www.childrensdefense.org.
- Created on 02 April 2013
“No voting qualification or prerequisite to voting, or standard, practice or procedure shall be imposed or applied by any State or political subdivision to deny or abridge the right of any citizen of the United States to vote on account of race or color.”
– Voting Rights Act of 1965
During recent Supreme Court oral arguments in Shelby County v. Holder, Justice Antonin Scalia called a key part of the Voting Rights Act – Section 5 – a “racial entitlement.” Section 5 requires that the Justice Department or a federal court “pre-clear” any changes made to voting procedures by covered jurisdictions to ensure they do not “deny or abridge the right to vote on account of race or color.”
This act was established to fix a broken system, and it remains relevant today. As long as blatant voter suppression measures such as voter ID laws and district gerrymandering are being used to keep certain groups from the polls, the Voting Rights Act – in its entirety – remains necessary. And to clear up any confusion that Justice Scalia has or anyone who found merit in his argument: Voting “rights” are indeed that – a right guaranteed to every citizen of the United States. They are not a special privilege. They are not a gift. And they certainly don’t constitute a “racial entitlement.”
Justice Scalia’s comments are a shameful reiteration of a right-wing political interpretation of the Constitution. The Voting Rights Act was a response to an inarguably unjust and unfair system for voting in this country.
Prior to the Voting Rights Act, millions of African Americans, primarily in the South, were forced to run a gauntlet of “voting qualifications or prerequisites,” including ludicrous literacy tests, discriminatory poll taxes, and other bureaucratic restrictions. And when those measures failed, Blacks were routinely subjected to intimidation, economic sanctions, beatings and even murder. The 1964 murders of three voting rights activists at the hands of Mississippi Klansmen and the March 7, 1965 Bloody Sunday beating of peaceful voting rights marchers in Selma by Alabama State troopers are horrific examples.
While there has been undeniable progress since 1965, voting rights abuses are still sadly a part of the American electoral landscape. In fact, every presidential election of this new century has been plagued by voting problems – from “hanging chads,” to Tea Party-backed campaigns of Election Day intimidation to new voter ID restrictions. Cut backs in early voting even led to a Florida woman, 102-year-old Desiline Victor, having to stand in line for three hours to vote in November’s presidential election.
The Voting Rights Act, and specifically its Section 5 preclearance provisions, is still needed to protect against such abuses. While Justice Scalia is either confused or misguided in his characterization of the right to vote as a racial entitlement, Congress upheld this basic right in 2006 by overwhelmingly reauthorizing the Voting Rights Act for another 25 years. House Speaker, John Boehner said at the time, “The Voting Rights Act has been an effective tool in protecting a right that is fundamental to our democracy and renewing this landmark law will ensure that each and every citizen can continue to exercise their right to vote without the threat of intimidation or harassment.” We intend to hold Speaker Boehner to those words. If the Supreme Court declares any part of the Voting Rights Act unconstitutional, Congress will have a final chance to keep Section 5 alive.
Marc H. Morial, former mayor of New Orleans, is president and CEO of the National Urban League.
- Created on 01 April 2013
(YourBlackWorld.com)--I’ve always loved Chris Rock. I don’t respect him because he’s funny, rich or famous, everyone notices that. I respect him because he is also intelligent, progressive and courageous. He doesn’t just give Black people something to laugh about. He also gives them something to THINK about.