Civil rights groups raise concerns over police reform bill talks


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


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


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


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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Our New Postracial Myth

By Ibram X. Kendi

The signposts of racism are staring back at us in big, bold racial inequities. But some Americans are ignoring the signposts, walking on by racial inequity, riding on by the evidence, and proclaiming their belief with religious fervor. “America is not a racist country,” Senator Tim Scott said in April.

Black babies die at twice the rate of white babies. Roughly a fifth of Native Americans and Latino Americans are medically uninsured, almost triple the rate of white Americans and Asian Americans (7.8 and 7.2 percent, respectively). Native people (24.2 percent) are nearly three times as likely as white people (9 percent) to be impoverished. The life expectancy of Black Americans (74.5 years) is much lower than that of white Americans (78.6 years). White Americans account for 77 percent of the voting members of the 117th Congress, even though they represent 60 percent of the U.S....

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Cresco Labs Launches Social Justice Campaign on 50th Anniversary of War on Drugs

CHICAGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Today, on the 50th anniversary of when America started its longest war—the War on Drugs—Cresco Labs (CSE:CL) (OTCQX:CRLBF) (“Cresco” or “the Company”), a vertically integrated multistate operator and the number one U.S. wholesaler of branded cannabis products, announced the launch of a summer-long social justice campaign supported by its Sunnyside retail brand and flagship cannabis brand, Cresco. Through community expungement events, employee volunteerism, a film documenting the impact of unjust prosecution, and financial contributions from the Company and our third-party vendors, the “Summer of Social Justice” campaign aims to influence reform to help shape a future cannabis industry with limitless opportunities for everyone. The campaign will amplify the ongoing restorative justice, community business incubator and education and workforce development programming facilitated by the...

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An altar call for action on racial justice at CTSA convention

racial justice theology Jun 16, 2021

Noting that she was not only dissatisfied but angry with Catholic theology, M. Shawn Copeland put out an "altar call" for action on issues of inclusion and racial justice on the part of fellow theologians at the Catholic Theological Society of America's virtual conference.

"What kind of Catholic theologians are we, if even the mildest forms of advocacy for racial justice are considered optional in following Jesus?" asked Copeland, professor emerita at Boston College.

"As the world's largest professional association of Catholic scholars, have we done enough to grapple with the systemic white racism that permeates our nation, our church, our parishes, our colleges and universities and seminaries? I think not," she said. "We must do something now!"

Copeland was part of a June 11 panel that examined the 75-year history of the association, which met virtually June 10-13.

She noted that after a year that included the coronavirus pandemic, which disproportionately hit communities of color,...

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