ENDING POVERTY: America’s Silent Spaces

The divide between the top income earners and those on the lower rungs of the earnings ladder is the greatest it's been in almost 100 years. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the beginning of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s "War on Poverty"—a perfect time to refocus America's attention on the millions of Americans who are struggling to make ends meet.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 46 million Americans are under the poverty line. That's more than 15% of all Americans—the second year in a row that more than 15% of Americans are struggling in poverty—and, increasingly, many of those affected by poverty are the so-called "working poor."

African Americans and Latinos are disproportionately affected, but millions of white Americans are also struggling to survive in the "new normal" that sees economic opportunity distributed exclusively to the top 1%.

The Tavis Smiley Foundation has partnered with a number of foundations and nonprofits to address this issue. ENDING POVERTY: America’s Silent Spaces is a $3 million, four-year national initiative to examine barriers and identify solutions to alleviate poverty in the U.S. The initiative will help advance action against poverty by engaging and mobilizing individuals, communities and organizations to identify innovative and community-based solutions that will inform a meaningful path out of poverty for fellow citizens.

Become one of the poverty fighters who are willing to stand up and commit to taking action steps to alleviate poverty. This is America’s movement.

Learn more about our partners by clicking on any of the links below, and click here to learn more about the initiative.

ENDING POVERTY: America’s Silent Spaces partners
American Federation of Teachers
The California Endowment
The Annie E. Casey Foundation
Marguerite Casey Foundation
Wyncote Foundation


Make Some Noise!

Government shutdown...Syria…the continuing high rate of unemployment…immigration reform…the looming debt ceiling that has some legislators, again, threatening to hold health coverage hostage. These are all serious issues facing the U.S. Congress. So often, as citizens, we complain about the work that our reps are—or are not—doing, but, just as often, we only complain to each other.

As Rep. John Lewis candidly put it during the activities surrounding the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom: "We have an obligation, a mission, and a mandate to make some noise."

Make some noise!

Contact information for the U.S. Senate

Contact information for the U.S. House of Representatives


Race Is Still Real

The verdict in the Zimmerman case has put the issue of race front and center and spawned demonstrations over whether justice was done. It's also evidence that the U.S. has a long road ahead before it can be described as post-racial.

Was the trial a referendum on race?

For the most part, calm prevailed after the verdict, as people hit the streets and bombarded social media to vent their frustration.

Fifty years ago, Dr. King said that we should be judged by the content of our character not the color of our skin. But, race is still real, and it seems color can get you killed.

There is now an effort to get the Justice Department to file charges under the Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009. The chief U.S. prosecutor, Eric Holder, has said his department shares community concerns. Activists and leaders have encouraged members of the community to sign petitions urging Holder to file civil rights charges against Zimmerman.

Click on a link below to learn more about these efforts…and let your voice be heard.


In addition, Essence magazine has launched #HeIsNotASuspect, a social media campaign and movement aimed at stopping racial profiling of African American males. Click here to learn more about this counter-stereotyping campaign.


For the Four Little Girls

Nearly 50 years ago, a bomb planted by white supremacists killed four little girls in Birmingham's 16th Street Baptist Church. Twenty-two others, mostly children, were injured in the blast just weeks after the historic "March on Washington" where Dr. Martin L. King, Jr. delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech.

There is now a bipartisan effort to posthumously award the Congressional Gold Medal to these precious young girls. The Congressional Gold Medal is the highest civilian honor our government can bestow. There is no doubt that these "martyred children" have earned this recognition, but even when Congress is pushed, it does nothing with alacrity. If we are going to appropriately acknowledge these four little girls 50 years later on September 15, 2013, we need to start niggling members of Congress now. Right now.

Let us demand that Congress move swiftly, so that come September 15, alongside the families of these four little girls, we will know that we played our parts exceedingly well to ensure that, although these beautiful children of God are gone, they are not forgotten.

Time is of the essence. Check out The Huffington Post for an expanded version of this post. And, however you communicate—Black radio, the blogosphere, Twitter, Facebook—spread the word!

Why Can't DC Get It Together?

The sequester…automatic budget cuts…furloughs…reduced payments to Medicare providers. These are just a few results of the inability of Congress to compromise on much of anything, which has frustrated many people. But often, these same people forget that they're responsible for sending reps to DC—to represent their interests. It's up to you to make your voice heard.  

Do you vote? Do you remain silent? Speak out!

Contact information for the U.S. Senate

Contact information for the U.S. House of Representatives

Numbers Don’t Lie

The phrase "numbers don’t lie" is a sad and sober reality when it comes to poverty in the U.S.

Recent Census Bureau numbers on poverty are staggering: Nearly 50 million Americans live in poverty, which means that more than 16% of our fellow citizens are struggling to survive. For children, that number is 20%. And, for African Americans, the figure is nearly 26%. 

Help send a message to our leaders in Washington. Sign our petition asking that a White House Conference on the Eradication of Poverty be convened to deal with one of America's most troubling, but ultimately solvable social issues.

With 1 in 2 Americans living in or near poverty, we must move from denial to game-changing action. It’s time to imagine an America without poverty, and do the requisite work to make the future conform.

Are We Ready to Do Something About Guns?

A Connecticut elementary school…a movie theater in Colorado…a public meeting in Arizona…Virginia Tech…Columbine. At what point will we be ready to do something about gun violence? It is out of control in America. How many more of our precious children do we have to lose before we say, "Enough is enough"?

This is a bipartisan issue that crosses socio-economic lines.

The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence is one of the efforts in the fight for sensible gun laws. Learn about it, and, most importantly, let your voice be heard on the subject.

Contact information for the U.S. Senate
Contact information for the U.S. House of Representatives

Now What?

Congrats to President Obama on winning a hard-fought reelection campaign.

The election is over, but if the numbers tell us anything, it's that the U.S. is still a divided country and that much work is needed. The balance of power in the House of Representatives and the Senate remains split. Will this mean continuation of gridlock in DC—particularly with the fiscal cliff looming? Who knows? But, what we know for sure is that we have to keep open the lines of communication with our elected representatives. We have to make sure we know about—and weigh in on—the legislation on which our reps are voting. We have to make sure that our voices are heard!!

Contact information for the U.S. Senate
Contact information for the U.S. House of Representatives


Your Voice Is Your Vote

Now is the time…your polling station is the place!! Some of you may have taken advantage of early voting. Others may have already mailed in your absentee ballot. The rest of you REALLY need to make it to your polling place on Tuesday, November 6.

It's more important than ever that you vote and encourage everyone you know to do the same.

IMPORTANT: This year, many states have passed laws that go beyond the federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA) and require additional identification either at registration or voting. The National Conference of State Legislatures' site has a chart of Voter ID Requirements by state.

Make sure you're a part of the process. VOTE!!!!!!

Voting – More Important than Ever

It's more important than ever that you vote and encourage everyone you know to do the same. Voter registration deadlines are looming—some as early as October 6. PLEASE make sure you're registered.

IMPORTANT: This year, many states have passed laws that go beyond the federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA) and require additional identification either at registration or voting. The National Conference of State Legislatures' site has a chart of Voter ID Requirements by state.

Make sure you're a part of the process. REGISTER TO VOTE. Following are just a few online resources that can help in that effort.

Can I Vote?
Check the registration deadline in your state, as well as verify if you're already registered and where to cast your ballot on Election Day.

This Is My Vote
Register to vote and get other useful information at this NAACP site

National Association of Secretaries of State
View early voting timeframes and absentee voting request deadlines for the 2012 election

Federal Voter Assistance Program
Get absentee ballot information for active-duty members of the Armed Forces, Merchant Marine, Public Health Service, NOAA, and their family members and for U.S. citizens who are living outside the U.S. for work, school, or other reasons.


Would Gun Control Make a Difference?

The tragic massacre at the movie theater in Aurora, CO has re-awakened "a debate about the debate." The issue of gun control has reared its head again. Would more stringent controls have prevented the senseless killings? What about the 2nd Amendment?

But, in an election year, the subject—or the debate around it—may never be raised. It may very well be too hot a potato to handle until after the election.

Weigh in…your voice is important. Learn as much as you can about the issue and contact your congressional representative regarding whether you think an airing of the issues around gun control should occur.

Contact information for the U.S. Senate
Contact information for the U.S. House of Representatives


After Trayvon Martin, Who Will Be Next?

With the increased attention to the Trayvon Martin case in Sanford, FL and social media helping to lead the way to a justice investigation, this issue will no doubt be “news” for a while to come. A column entitled “Walking While Black”, by Children's Defense Fund president Marian Wright Edelman, poignantly makes the case for why it’s important that the frustration and anger being expressed over the tragic event are translated into action that protects children.


Did You Know that HBCUs Are at Risk?

Now that the congressional "supercommittee" has failed to meet its deadline to present Congress with a list of federal budget cuts that address the deficit, as much as $1.2 trillion in across-the-board cuts are supposed to kick in. These cuts include support to HBCUs provided by section IIIB of the Higher Education Act.

Learn more about the potential impact and what you can do to make your voice heard at the new HBCU Advocacy website. It includes a tool kit of facts, talking points and templated letters that you can personalize or send-as-is directly to members of Congress.

HBCU Advocacy website


Too Important to Fail

In September, the episode of Tavis Smiley Reports addressed the crisis in educating African American teenage males. Entitled "Too Important to Fail," young people spoke frankly about their lives: growing up in challenging communities and, too often, single-parent homes, relegated to underserved schools and coping with peer group pressure that often doesn’t support the need for education.

If you missed this very candid special, click here to watch the full broadcast online.

This episode also launched an initiative to bring together a broad array of community stakeholders to build engagement and drive rich discussion around this most important topic.

Visit www.tooimportanttofail.com and join the discussion. Share your ideas and solutions to address the high dropout rate among young Black men.


The Future of Medicare and Social Security

It appears that the 2011 federal budget compromise includes funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), which distributes federal funds to public radio and television stations. CPB was funded at $445 million for two years, about the same as the amount received in the last appropriation.

["NPR, public television won’t get budget ax"]

Now, you need to let your voice be heard as Congress considers the future of Medicare and/or Social Security.

Following are some links that offer more information and contact information for your representative, so that you can make your voice heard.

"To Cut the Deficit, Look to Social Security"
"Keep Social Security Strong"
"What Do The Histories Of Social Security And Medicare Say About Their Future?"
"Medicare campaign takes shape"
Alliance for Retired Americans
"Poll: Most Americans say Medicare is worth the cost"
Contact information for the U.S. Senate
Contact information for the U.S. House of Representatives

House Votes to Kill Funding for Public Broadcasting

The House recently voted to eliminate funding for local public television and radio stations. By a vote of 235-189, HR1 was approved and includes other cuts. The bill now goes on to a vote in the Senate, and debate may take place on a companion bill there, rather than on this particular bill.

Following are some links that offer more information about the bill, as well as contact information for your representative, so that you can make your voice heard on the subject.

170 Million Americans for Public Broadcasting
Democracy Now – "House OKs $61 Billion in Cuts; Planned Parenthood, CPB Targeted"
SFGate.com – "Public broadcasting cuts would hurt rural areas"
The Hill – "Public broadcasting is critical to our democracy (Rep. Earl Blumenauer)"
Corporation for Public Broadcasting
Govtrack.us – Bill Summary and Status
Bill Text – H.R.1 Making appropriations for the Department of Defense and the other departments and agencies of the Government for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2011, and for other purposes [PDF]
Contact information for the U.S. Senate
Contact information for the U.S. House of Representatives

Help Find a Cure

Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in the U.S. and the second leading cause of cancer death in women.
One of the most aggressive is triple negative breast cancer. According to the Triple Negative Breast Cancer Foundation, "It is only in the last few years that professionals studying breast cancer have concluded that breast cancer is not one disease, but many different forms of cancer all originating in the breast. Depending on the stage of its diagnosis, triple negative breast cancer can be particularly aggressive, and more likely to recur than other subtypes of breast cancer."
Find out more about this insidious disease and become an advocate for finding a cure. And, in the spirit of the season, think about making a financial gift to help support research or raise awareness through educational efforts.

Voice Your Opinion

Now that the U.S. will have a new Congress, make sure you let your representatives—Senators and House Representative—know your thoughts. Click on the links below to find contact information.

Your vote is one way to make your voice heard. Another way is to stay on point with pending legislation and weigh in on issues that are important to you.

The Library of Congress THOMAS Web site provides many options for finding legislation and information about legislation.

Contact information for the U.S. Senate

Contact information for the U.S. House of Representatives


Black Farmers Fight Back

John Boyd, Jr., founder and president of the National Black Farmers Association, spoke to Smiley about the hold-up on finalizing a $1.25 billion settlement for African American farmers. In March of this year, the Obama administration reached an historic settlement in a lawsuit claiming decades of racial discrimination against African American farmers by the U.S.D.A. However, Republicans in Congress have continually blocked the required approval.
In addition to trying to raise awareness about what's going on with Black farmers, Boyd is urging people to reach out to their U.S. senators and say, "Pass the Black farmers bill."
Click on any of the links below to learn more about the Association's position.

Healthy School Meals Act, H.R. 4870

Today, children are increasingly afflicted with adult diseases, including obesity, Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure. This is a direct result of their unhealthy diet and lifestyle. The foods and beverages young people eat in schools have a tremendous impact on their health, since that is where they spend much of their time and establish many lifelong habits.
The Healthy School Meals Act aims to provide healthy school lunches—more vegetables, fruits, vegetarian foods, and healthful nondairy beverages.

Click on the links below to learn more about the Healthy School Meals Act, H.R. 4870, and then reach out to your elected representatives.

Contact information for the U.S. House of Representatives

Healthy Media for Youth Act, H.R. 4925

Bipartisan legislation has been introduced which would establish a national task force that would develop voluntary guidelines and other measures to promote positive images of girls and women. The bill is H.R. 4925 and titled the Healthy Media for Youth Act.
Endorsed by a number of organizations, including the National Council of Negro Women, Black Women's Health Imperative, and Girl Scouts of the USA, it has been referred to committee (the House Committee on Energy and Commerce).
The following links provide information on the bill
The links below provide information that helps you make your voice heard.
Climate Justice

From December 7-18 of this year, political leaders from nearly 190 states will gather in Copenhagen for the 2009 United Nations Climate Conference, where the next big international climate change agreement will be decided, before the expiration of the current Kyoto Protocol in 2012.

Since 1995, there have been numerous conferences and a lot of talk about global warming, but very little real action: so climate change just keeps getting worse, more intense, more destructive.

Climate change isn't just something to worry about in the future. For many of the world’s poorest people, those without a voice to protest, climate change is a problem now, even though their countries have contributed almost nothing to global greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change.

The Tck Tck Tck: Time for Climate Justice Campaign is trying to spread the word about everything that’s at stake. It is focused on mobilizing people from around the world to raise awareness about the issues of “climate justice.”

To learn more about the campaign and what you can do, visit the Time for Climate Justice Website.

Healthcare Reform

Study the issues involved in the current debate on healthcare reform. Then, make your voice heard by contacting your congressional representatives.

Breast Cancer Awareness

The Breast Cancer site is having trouble getting enough people to click on its site daily to meet its quota of donating at least one free mammogram a day to an underprivileged woman. It takes less than a minute to go to their site and use the "Click Here to Give - it's FREE!" button. You can even request a daily reminder email.

This doesn't cost you a thing. The site’s corporate sponsors/advertisers use the number of daily visits to donate mammograms in exchange for advertising.
Please tell ten friends to tell ten today!


D.C. House Voting Rights Act

You've probably heard that the U.S. Senate has voted to give the citizens of the District of Columbia a vote in the House of Representatives. Next for the D.C. House Voting Rights Act is a vote in the House. There are, however, some battles ahead when the bill is reconciled in a conference committee. Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, the district's nonvoting delegate, has asked that supporters across the country call their representatives to show support for this bill.

S. 160: District of Columbia House Voting Rights Act of 2009
HR 157: District of Columbia House Voting Rights Act of 2009
Statement from Congresswoman Norton
Contact your House Representative
Contact your Senator

DTV Transition

On Feb. 17, 2009, the way television broadcasting is transmitted over the air will change. On that date, TV stations will stop broadcasting analog signals, which are the current predominant method of transmitting TV signals throughout the U.S. The new method of TV broadcasting will be digital television (DTV).

Some 21 million households rely solely on free, over-the-air TV. And, if not prepared, they may lose access to critical emergency, news, weather, and community information.
Learn more about what can be done to prepare and even help others in the community prepare for this change at the sites below. Spread the word.

Get Ready for the DTV Transition
Transition to Digital TV
FCC – The Digital TV Transition
National Telecommunications and Information Administration

NO on Campaign Paraphernalia

When you go to the polls to cast your vote in this historic 2008 general election, make sure that you're NOT wearing campaign paraphernalia! It's being reported that, in some states, voters may run into problems if they're wearing T-shirts, hats, pins, or other items in support of their candidate. Unless you're looking for drama, it's better to be safe.
"What not to wear to the polls on Election Day"
"Leave political t-shirts at home Nov. 4, voting rights experts advise"

The following article is also informative: "Your legal right to vote, don't let it be stolen from you."

Make Sure Your Voting Voice Is Heard

The deadline for registering to vote has passed for people in most states. The issue now is to turn those registrations into actual votes. According to the Associated Press, about a third of the electorate nationwide is expected to vote early this year, thanks to expanded early voting provisions and fewer restrictions on absentee voting.
Get information on whether you can vote early in your state, how to vote by absentee ballot, or how to vote if you live overseas at the resources links below.
The National Conference of State Legislatures – Absentee and Early Voting
Overseas Vote Foundation
Long Distance Voter

Rock The Vote

Register to Vote: Rock the Vote, powered by Credo Mobile

Voting – More Important than Ever

Voter registration deadlines are looming—some as early as October 4. PLEASE make sure you're registered. The sites below will help you. In particular, "Can I Vote?" allows you to check the registration deadline in your state, as well as verify if you're already registered and where.
In this historical presidential election, it's more important than ever that you vote and encourage everyone you know to do the same. Check out these links that can help get people registered.

Can I Vote?– A nonpartisan site created by state election officials to help eligible voters figure out how and where to go vote.
Black Youth Vote – A national grassroots coalition of organizations and individuals committed to increasing political and civic involvement among Black men and women aged 18-35.
Declare Yourself – A campaign to energize and empower a new movement of young voters.
New Voters Project – A non-partisan effort to register young people to vote and get them to the polls on Election Day.

Relay For Life

The American Cancer Society Relay For Life represents the hope that those lost to cancer will never be forgotten, that those who face cancer will be supported, and that one day cancer will be eliminated.
Relay For Life is a life-changing event that brings together more than 3.5 million people to...
Celebrate the lives of those who have battled cancer.
Remember loved ones lost to the disease.
Fight Back against a disease that takes too much.
Events are being held all across the country.
Click here to learn ways you can get involved and fight back

Anti-Affirmative Action Initiatives

Ward Connerly and the American Civil Rights Institute are at it again. They're trying to get anti-affirmative action initiatives on the November ballot in no less than five states: Arizona, Colorado, Missouri, Nebraska, and Oklahoma. According to some, these initiatives may also be an effective means of combating the surging rolls of potential Democratic voters.
Learn more about these initiatives by clicking on the following links.
"Anti-Affirmative Action Initiative Faces Charges of Fraud"
"Affirmative Action Under Attack"
"Groups Consider Challenging Anti-Affirmative Action Initiative"
"Affirmative Action Foes Push Ballot Initiatives"
American Association for Affirmative Action
American Civil Rights Institute

“Drive-Through” Mastectomies

Several attempts have been made to get Congress to pass a bill that allows a woman and her doctor to decide if she is best off going home or staying in the hospital for at least 48 hours after having a mastectomy. So far, several bills have been introduced but have not been passed.
Learn more about what's being called the practice of “drive-through” mastectomies and the bills that have been introduced. Urge your congressional representative to take action.
Susan G. Komen for the Cure: Access to Quality Care
S. 459: Breast Cancer Patient Protection Act of 2007 - Last Action: Oct 4, 2007: Committee on the Judiciary. Hearings held.
H.R. 758: Breast Cancer Patient Protection Act of 2007 - Last Action: May 18, 2007: House Education and Labor: Referred to the Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions
H.R. 119: Breast Cancer Patient Protection Act of 2007 - Last Action: May 9, 2007: House Education and Labor: Referred to the Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions.
Breast Cancer Petition

Ensure Your Voice Is Heard

The 2008 presidential election is shaping up to be one of the most wide open races in recent history. Make sure you're a part of the process. REGISTER TO VOTE. Following are just a few resources that can help in that effort.
Can I Vote?  Find out if you are registered to vote and where to cast your ballot on Election Day.
NAACP Register to Vote  Download the National Voter's Registration form and get information about elections in your state.
Vote411  Voter information, including where to vote, candidate information, and registration information, presented by the League of Women Voters.

HIV/AIDS in Black America

The problem of AIDS in Black America is worsening.

  • 67% of newly infected women are Black
  • 43% of newly infected men are Black
  • 70% of newly infected teens are Black
  • 55% new AIDS cases in Black America are in the South
  • As of 2004, 38% of all Americans who have died of AIDS were Black

The statistics on reported cases are sobering, and we need to be unsettled by the numbers.

In conjunction with the release of a national report by the Black AIDS Institute—We're the Ones We've been waiting for: The State of AIDS in Black America and what we are doing about it!—members of the Congressional Black Caucus released an open letter calling for a mass Black mobilization to end the AIDS epidemic in Black America and the development of a national AIDS plan in the U.S.

Use the resource links below to learn more about this devastating disease. Find out where to get tested.

Our history shows that when we come together and make any issue our priority, we can work it out. We have to start protecting our babies and ourselves. This has to be important to everyone. We’ve got to stop TALKING and take ACTION.

Black AIDS Institute
The Balm In Gilead
National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS

Southwick Confirmation

Outrage has been expressed over the Senate Judiciary Committee vote, in the last week before recess, confirming the long-stalled nomination of Leslie Southwick to a seat on the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Southwick’s critics have raised issue with some of his decisions as a Mississippi appeals judge.
Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA) helped persuade enough moderate Democrats to join her in voting to defeat a filibuster of the nomination and send it to the floor for a vote.
The Leadership Conference on Civil Rights president, Wade Henderson, said the confirmation “is a slap in the face to African Americans and people of good will.”
>Learn more about the vote:
“Controversial Judge Confirmed by Senate”
“Bush wins Senate confirmation of judicial nominee”
Leadership Conference on Civil Rights

If so inclined, call the Senate’s main switchboard—(202) 224-3121—and let Sen. Feinstein and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) know that the Black community “saw what you did and isn’t going to forget it.”

Reauthorization of the State Child Health Insurance Program

Over 180,000 e-mails and more than 1,000 calls have been made to members of Congress urging them to provide health coverage for all of America's children. The State Child Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) expires on September 30. However, President Bush has vowed to veto a reauthorization of the SCHIP bill negotiated by the House and Senate.
Learn more about the bill and let your representatives know how you feel.
Portal for SCHIP information
President Bush's Stance on SCHIP Reauthorization
President Bush Vows To Veto SCHIP Expansion Legislation, Says Bill Puts Children's Health Coverage 'at Risk'
Children’s Defense Fund - “Your Elected Officials Need to Hear From You TODAY!”

Divided We Fail

AARP, Business Roundtable, and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), have partnered on the Divided We Fail campaign. The partners are also monitoring the number of health and financial security questions being asked during the Presidential debates.
To learn more about this campaign, and the partners, click on the links below.
San Francisco Examiner, "Divided We Fail: Debates Fall Short in Addressing Health Care and Financial Security Issues"
Divided We Fail
Business Roundtable

In case you thought the new millennium represented a new day in race relations, read about the cry for justice in the rural Louisiana town of Jena. Six Black youth—dubbed “The Jena 6”—at a predominantly white high school were arrested after a white student was injured during a fight. The altercation was a culmination of several events that began with the hanging of nooses from a tree.
To learn more and or find out what you can do, click on the links below.
Background information:
All-white jury likely to hear racial fight case in Louisiana
Racism and Resistance: The Struggle to Free The Jena Six
Injustice in Jena, Louisiana as Nooses Hang from the White Tree

To take action:
The Jena 6 online petition
The Jena 6 defense fund

The Gulf Coast Civic Works Project

The Gulf Coast Civic Works Project would hire 100,000 Gulf Coast residents to rebuild New Orleans and the surrounding region. Residents would build and repair houses, schools, hospitals, parks, roads, and bridges. The civic work jobs would be in areas that include construction, plumbing, electrical, brick building, and air conditioning. If workers do not have these skills, paid apprenticeships would be provided.
The Project is similar to the WPA projects of the 1930s and early 1940s, which helped the U.S. recover from the Great Depression by employing more than 8 million Americans to build roads, parks, and other public works.
To learn more about this project, click on the links below.
The Gulf Coast Civic Works Project
Color of Change

D.C. Voting Rights

The DC Voting Rights Act (HR 1905 and S 1257) would upgrade the status of the District of Columbia’s non-voting delegate in the House to a Representative with full voting privileges. The nearly 600,000 residents pay federal income taxes and serve in the military but have never had full representation in Congress.
Click on the links below to learn more about the D.C. Voting Rights Act and how you can voice your opinion.
DC Vote
About the Senate bill
Common Cause
The Hill article

Nomination of Judge Southwick

Questioning some of his rulings, a number of civil and human rights groups are urging Democratic and GOP senators to oppose the nomination of retired Mississippi Court of Appeals Judge Leslie Southwick for a seat on the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. People For the American Way cites Southwick’s troubling record on the rights of African Americans, gays and lesbians, and workers. The court for which he’s been nominated hears cases from Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas.
Click on the links below to learn more about this nomination and how you can weigh in.
The White House nomination announcement
People For the American Way article
NAACP position on the nomination

The Genarlow Wilson Case

On June 13, 2007, Georgia Superior Court Judge Thomas Wilson ordered the release of Genarlow Wilson, convicted of aggravated child molestation for a consensual sexual act with another teen. Judge Wilson (no relation) called the sentence a “miscarriage of justice” and also ordered that Wilson will not be placed on the Georgia sex offender registry.
However, within hours of that decision, Georgia Attorney General Thurbert Baker filed for an appeal, meaning that the Georgia Supreme Court will now determine Wilson’s fate. Baker declined to agree to bond. A hearing has been scheduled for July.
Find out more about this case and what you can do at the links below.
Mr. Wilson's mother and attorney talk to Tavis
ABC News story: “Man Waits in Prison Despite Court's Release”
Genarlow Wilson's Legal Defense Fund

Immigration Reform

Debate continues over the bipartisan immigration proposal negotiated with the White House. Make sure your voice is heard. Learn as much as you can about both the House and Senate bills. Then, contact your congressional representatives—in the House and Senate.
Click on the following links to learn more and for contact information.
Senate bill information
House bill information
Background information on both bills
General information on writing to your representatives
Contact information for the U.S. Senate
Contact information for the U.S. House of Representatives

All Healthy Children Act

It's time for our communities to "concentrate on us." Congressman Bobbie Scott (D-VA) has sponsored a bill, HR 1688, which would guarantee the 9,000,000 uninsured children and pregnant women access to the health care they need.
Click on the following links to learn more about the All Healthy Children Act and what you can do to make America better.
Children's Defense Fund
Gov Track
Black America Web

Divest for Darfur

Divestment has been identified as a critical strategy to work for change in Darfur. Specifically, a campaign is being waged to force the companies Fidelity and Berkshire Hathaway to withdraw investments from Sudan over the humanitarian crisis in Darfur.
Click on the following links to learn more about the Divest for Darfur strategy, the launch of the campaign, and what you can do to help.
Divest for Darfur
Fidelity Out of Sudan!
Sudan Divestment Task Force

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