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White House builds bridges with one of Black community’s most powerful groups

To successfully enact new voting rights and police reform laws, President Joe Biden may need some divine intervention. But if he can’t get that, at least he’s working to get some help from the Divine Nine.

Formally known as the National Pan-Hellenic Council, the Divine Nine represents nine historically Black fraternities and sororities and their alumni. It is arguably the most powerful organization in the Black community. And, until now, they’ve largely been an untapped resource for administrations looking to connect with Black voters.

The Biden White House is trying to change that, intensifying its outreach to the group as it scrambles to reassure a crucial voting bloc that is growing increasingly unhappy with the lack of progress on its core issues.

The Divine Nine boasts 2.5 million members worldwide, including some of the most influential and powerful Black people in the country and...

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Black Wall Street Market opening in DeKalb County

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — The new Black Wall Street Market in South DeKalb County is set to open on Oct. 30.

The marketplace is the first of its kind for the City of Stonecrest and is a nod to the original Black Wall Street in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

In the 1900′s Tulsa’s Black community formed the Greenwood District.

It was there where Black people owned land and businesses.

But, in 1921 an angry White mob burned Black Wall Street down and slaughtered a number of its residents in what was later known as the Tulsa Race Massacre.

Matthew Hampton is the director of the new Black Wall Street.

“This will be a real cultural experience,” said Hampton.

Channel 2′s Audrey Washington got a special tour of the 125,000 square foot marketplace.

Hampton said the New Black Wall Street Market aims to change the way people access and showcase Black-owned businesses.

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The space is designed to look like a downtown shopping area...

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Why many Black employees don't want to return to the office

BY KHRISTOPHER J. BROOKS

Tennessee mom Ashley Brooks enjoys working in tech support at a Nashville firm, in large part because the job has been remote since the coronavirus pandemic erupted. But with her employer likely to summon employees back to the office in 2022, she is nervous: Like many Black Americans, Brooks finds the thought of returning to work discomfiting. 

Indeed, while polls suggest some employees are content to be back at their desks, Black workers told CBS MoneyWatch that being in a predominantly White workplaces often exacts an emotional toll. Working from home offers a measure of inner peace and even helps them do their jobs better, they said.

"It definitely feels more comfortable at home," said Brooks, who was commuting to work before COVID-19 struck last year. "I don't have to worry so much about my hair and the way I dress — you don't have to answer dumb questions about your hair."

Such sentiments are common among people of...

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Civil rights groups raise concerns over police reform bill talks

BY MYCHAEL SCHNELL 

A group of 29 civil rights organizations penned a letter to top-ranking lawmakers on Wednesday to raise concerns about the talks surrounding a police reform bill, zeroing in on the qualified immunity doctrine.

The three chief negotiators on police reform, Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.), Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) and Sen Cory Booker (D-N.J.), announced last month that the bipartisan group “reached an agreement on a framework addressing the major issues for bipartisan police reform.”

They noted that “There is still more work to be done on the final bill, and nothing is agreed to until everything is agreed to,” adding that the group would continue working toward finalizing a proposal in the coming weeks.

The fate of qualified immunity, however, remains unknown. It has been a main sticking point throughout negotiations.

Democrats want to nix qualified immunity, the...

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US Supreme Court hits a home run for civil rights

BY BENJAMIN F. CHAVIS JR

On July 1, the Supreme Court ruled in Americans for Prosperity Foundation v. Bonta the government cannot force nonprofit organizations to disclose the names of their supporters. As a former executive director and CEO of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and a statewide youth assistant to Martin Luther King Jr. in the 1960s, I believe this ruling presents one of the most significant wins for civil rights in decades. 

It is important to note that even though the majority conservative Supreme Court has restricted Americans' voting rights, that same highest court in the nation just ruled in favor of protecting the freedom of Americans to support civil rights organizations and other social justice nonprofits. 

In taking the side of AFPF, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and many other nonprofit organizations, the high court invalidated the State...

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Leafly Launches New Report to Score Legalized Cannabis Markets on Social Justice

SEATTLE--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jun 24, 2021--

Today, Leafly, the world’s leading cannabis marketplace and resource, released Seeds of ChangeStrategies to create an equitable cannabis industry, a first-of-its-kind report that measures states’ efforts in making social equity a foundational part of cannabis legalization.

The Seeds of Change report ranks states according to social justice, equity, and inclusion (SJEI) criteria and also identifies eight distinct SJEI strategies for lawmakers to incorporate within cannabis legalization. This comes on the 50th anniversary of the beginning of the War on Drugs, and at a crucial time when only 2% of America’s estimated 30,000 cannabis companies are Black-owned.

Building on Leafly’s 2021 Cannabis Jobs ReportSeeds of Change examines the legislation of all 18 adult-use cannabis states and Washington, DC, and assigns a Leafly Equity Score based on the incorporation of eight...

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Educators condemn $1M 'Dismantling Racism in Mathematics' program

By BRIAN STIEGLITZ FOR DAILYMAIL.COM

Educators around the country have come out to condemn a 'Dismantling Racism in Mathematics' program which tells teachers not to push students to find the correct answers to math problems because doing so promotes white supremacy.  

The program is centered around a workbook for teachers entitled 'A Pathway to Equitable Math Instruction' which asserts that America's education system – even mathematics instruction – reinforces the dominant power structures of white colonizers. 

Grading students, asking them to show their work, requiring participation and even pushing them to get the right answer are depicted in the workbook as harmful to minorities.  

The workbook was created by Oakland, California-based advocacy group The Education Trust-West under its 'Dismantling Racism in Mathematics Instruction' initiative, which is funded through a $1million grant from The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

So far, the...

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Brooklyn Nets owners will use character, not credit scores, for $2.5 million loan program that helps Black businesses

 

Brooklyn Nets owners Joe Tsai and Clara Wu Tsai are taking the next steps to distribute money from a $50 million commitment to help minority communities.

The sports owners created a $2.5 million loan program that targets Black-owned businesses impacted by Covid-19. The money derives from the Tsai foundation’s Social Justice Fund, which was established last year, and aims to combat economic inequality in Black communities.

 

The new loans are part of the “EXCELerate” program and catered to owners with credit scores 620 or below. But though applicants will not be judged on the scores, business owners need to be “character-based” eligible. Hence, they’ll need to have good references to secure their loan.

There are two loan types. The “rapid recovery” loan offers immediate funds up to $15,000 and no interest attached. These loans are for businesses that stayed open during the pandemic but need...

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Civil rights leaders announce another March on Washington after voting rights bill fails in Senate

By Nicquel Terry Ellis

(CNN) A group of civil rights organizations will host another March on Washington in August to demand that Congress pass sweeping voting rights legislation and that state lawmakers halt efforts to enact bills that restrict voting access.

The announcement of the march comes one day after Senate Republicans blocked the For the People Act -- a signature voting and election bill that Democrats had pitched to counter state-level efforts. Republicans denounced the bill as a partisan power grab and a federal overreach into state voting and election systems.
The march, set for Aug. 28 with the theme "March On for Voting Rights," will mark the 58th anniversary of the historic March on Washington where Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his famous "I Have a Dream" speech. Marches are set to be held in Washington DC, Atlanta, Miami, Phoenix and Houston.
 
Martin Luther King III, the eldest son of Martin Luther King Jr., will lead the...
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Civil Rights Groups Demand Congress Pass Federal Marijuana Legalization Bill This Month

By  

A coalition of major advocacy groups including the ACLU and NAACP is urging congressional leaders to hold a vote on a House bill to federally legalize marijuana by the end of this month.

In a letter sent to House leadership on Friday, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights (LCCHR)—a coalition that represents more than 220 national organizations—said that it’s imperative to promptly pass the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act, which cleared the chamber last year and was recently refiled.

Since the House approved the legislation last year, “the circumstances of this past year have made the War on Drugs even more untenable and amplified the voices of those demanding transformation in our criminal-legal system,” the groups wrote.

“In the face of a growing national dialogue on discriminatory law enforcement practices, including the disproportionate policing of drug use in...

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