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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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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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