10-19-2019  4:50 am   •   PDX Weather    •   SEA weather  
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Washington State to Vote on Affirmative Action Referendum

More than two decades after voters banned affirmative action, the question of whether one's minority status should be considered in state employment, contracting, colleges admissions is back on the ballot

Merkley Introduces Legislation that Protects Access to Health Care for Those Who Cannot Afford Bail

Under current law, individuals in custody who have not been convicted of a crime are denied Medicare, Medicaid, and veterans’ benefits

New County Hire Aims to Build Trust, Transparency Between Community and Public Safety Officials

Leneice Rice will serve as a liaison focused on documenting and reporting feedback from a community whose faith in law enforcement has been tested

Hank Willis Thomas Exhibit Opens at Portland Art Museum

One of the most important conceptual artists of our time, his works examine the representation of race and the politics of visual culture


GFO Offers African Americans Help in Solving Family Mysteries

The Genealogical Forum of Oregon is holding an African American Special Interest Group Saturday, Oct. 19 ...

Third Annual NAMC-WA Gala Features Leader on Minority Business Development

The topic of the Washington Chapter of the National Association of Minority Contractors' event was 'Community and Collaboration' ...

Building Bridges Event Aims to Strengthen Trust Between Communities

The 4th Annual Building Bridges of Understanding in Our Communities: Confronting Hate will be held in Tigard on...

The Black Man Project Kicks Off National Tour in Seattle

The first in a series of interactive conversations focused on Black men and vulnerability takes place in Seattle on October 25 ...

Protesters Rally in Ashland to Demand 'Impeach Trump Now'

Activists are rallying in Ashland Sunday Oct, 13 to demand impeachment proceedings ...

Oregon panel recommends barring ICE from courthouse arrests

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Seeking to halt federal agents from arresting people in courthouses for immigration violations, a panel of judges in Oregon has asked the state's Supreme Court chief justice to impose a rule stating that no one should be subjected to arrest without a warrant.Several judges...

Washington state to vote on affirmative action referendum

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — More than two decades after Washington state voters banned affirmative action, the question of whether one's minority status should be considered as a contributing factor in state employment, contracting and admission to public colleges and universities is back on the...

No. 22 Missouri heads to Vandy, 1st road trip since opener

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Missouri coach Barry Odom knows only too well the dangers of going on the road and how a few mistakes can prove very costly.While some of his players my not remember that stunning loss at Wyoming to open this season, Odom hasn't forgotten."We're going to treat it just...

No. 22 Missouri ready to test road skills at Vanderbilt

No. 22 Missouri (5-1, 2-0 SEC) at Vanderbilt (1-5, 0-3), Saturday at 4 p.m. EDT (SEC Network).Line: Missouri by 20 1/2.Series record: Missouri 7-3-1.WHAT'S AT STAKE?Missouri can show they play as well on the road as at home coming off a five-game home stand. A win keeps them atop the SEC East....


Atatiana Jefferson, Killed by Police Officer in Her Own Home

Atatiana Jefferson, a biology graduate who worked in the pharmaceutical industry and was contemplating becoming a doctor, lived a life of purpose that mattered ...

“Hell No!” That Is My Message to Those Who Would Divide Us 

Upon release from the South African jail, Nelson Mandela told UAW Local 600 members “It is you who have made the United States of America a superpower, a leader of the world" ...

Rep. Janelle Bynum Issues Response to the Latest Statement from Clackamas Town Center

State legislator questions official response after daughter questioned for ‘loitering’ in parking lot ...

Why Would HUD Gut Its Own Disparate Impact Rule?

"You can’t expand housing rights by limiting civil protections. The ’D’ in HUD doesn’t stand for ‘Discrimination’" ...


Sharpton searches for the words to eulogize _ and galvanize

A life taken at the hands of police. A grieving family. A divided nation. A stirring eulogy by the Rev. Al Sharpton.The 65-year-old civil rights activist has become a constant of the Black Lives Matter era with his presence in the pulpit after police shootings of African Americans, showing up in...

Buttigieg removes attorney from fundraiser after backlash

WASHINGTON (AP) — Pete Buttigieg is returning campaign contributions from a former Chicago city attorney who led a vigorous effort to block the release of a video depicting the shooting of Laquan McDonald , a black teenager whose death at the hands of police stirred months of protest and...

Wisconsin students walk out to protest racial slur firing

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Students at a Wisconsin high school skipped class Friday and marched through the streets of the state capital to protest the firing of a black security guard who was terminated for repeating a racial slur while telling a student not to call him that word.Scores of...


Adam Lambert: Happy to see more LGBTQ artists find success

NEW YORK (AP) — Adam Lambert, who rose on the music scene as the runner-up on "America Idol" in 2009, says he's happy to see more mainstream LGBTQ artists find major success."I think it's less taboo to be queer in the music industry now because there's so many cases you can point to like,...

Jane Fonda returns to civil disobedience for climate change

WASHINGTON (AP) — Inspired by the climate activism of a Swedish teenager, Jane Fonda said Friday that she is returning to civil disobedience nearly a half-century after she was last arrested at a protest.Fonda, known for her opposition to the Vietnam War, was one of 17 climate protesters...

Naomi Wolf and publisher part ways amid delay of new book

NEW YORK (AP) — Naomi Wolf and her U.S. publisher have split up amid a dispute over her latest book, "Outrages."Wolf and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt announced separately Friday that they had "mutually and amicably agreed to part company" and that Houghton would not be releasing "Outrages."...


LeMahieu, Hicks lift Yanks over Astros, close to 3-2 in ALCS

NEW YORK (AP) — James Paxton was filled with nerves, and so were New York Yankees fans, worried the season...

Asylum-seeking Mexicans are more prominent at US border

CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico (AP) — Lizbeth Garcia tended to her 3-year-old son outside a tent pitched on a...

Trump outstripping Obama on pace of executive orders

WASHINGTON (AP) — It wasn't too long ago that Donald Trump derided presidential executive orders as "power...

Millions march in Iraq in annual Arbaeen Shiite pilgrimage

KARBALA, Iraq (AP) — Millions of pilgrims made their way on foot to the Iraqi city of Karbala on Saturday...

Officials: Blast at Afghan mosque kills 62 during prayers

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — An explosion rocked a mosque in eastern Afghanistan as dozens of people gathered...

Failed raid against El Chapo's son leaves 8 dead in Mexico

CULIACAN, Mexico (AP) — Mexican security forces aborted an attempt to capture a son of imprisoned drug lord...

Alanne Orjoux CNN

(CNN) -- Kemba Smith Pradia voted for the first time in her life in Indianapolis city elections last fall.

This year, she moved from Indiana to Virginia, a few months ahead of the November presidential election, in which she'd very much like to cast her ballot.

But she can't. Pradia is a former felon, and in Virginia, people convicted of violent felonies, drug crimes, and certain other offenses must wait for five years before even applying for a gubernatorial restoration of voting rights. That's five years after serving your sentence, finishing supervised probation and paying all fines and restitution. And those five years have to be clean -- no misdemeanors or pending convictions, or the application is void.

Such laws -- which exist in various forms in 11 other states besides Virginia -- mean that an estimated 5.8 million people do not have the right to vote, according to ProCon.org, a non-partisan group that researches and tracks controversial issues.

The NAACP launched a nationwide campaign Tuesday to restore voting rights for ex-felons, saying that state efforts to block such rights are thinly veiled attempts to suppress the black vote.

NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Jealous kicked off the campaign in Florida, which has the highest level of disenfranchisement in the country.

"What this comes down to really is, do you think voting is a right or is it a privilege? Because if voting is a right, people who have paid their debt to society should be allowed to vote," Jealous said earlier Tuesday on "CNN Newsroom."

In 2007, then-Gov. Charlie Crist of Florida, a Republican at the time, signed reforms to allow former felons who'd completed their sentences to more easily get their voting rights restored. Four years later, Republican Gov. Rick Scott reversed those reforms, imposing a five- to seven-year waiting period and a complicated application process to get civil rights restored.

In issuing the new rules for voting rights for ex-felons, Scott said the changes "are intended to emphasize public safety and ensure that all applicants desire clemency, deserve clemency, and demonstrate they are unlikely to reoffend."

"It stands to reason that individuals who have committed serious violence or sexual offenses; abused the privilege of holding public office; endangered society with poisonous drugs; or carried a firearm after they have been convicted should be required to attend a hearing and explain why their rights should be restored," Scott said in a statement in March of 2011.

According to a study of state data by the Miami Herald and Tampa Bay Times, 7,000 people were removed from Florida's voter rolls in the first four months of this year for recent felony convictions. Among those removed, 51% are Democrats and 17% are Republicans.

Nationally, 38% of the people disenfrachised due to felony convictions are African-American, according to the Sentencing Project. The American Civil Liberties Union said Florida has the nation's largest share of disenfranchised voters, where nearly one out of every five black men overall is ineligible to vote.

Every vote counts in Florida, a heavily contested battleground in the 2012 elections and the pivotal player in the result of the 2000 elections, which was decided by 537 votes in favor of George Bush.

Another swing state crucial to the elections this year is Virginia, where former felons who have served their sentences and paid all fines and restitution must wait "a minimum of two years for a non-violent offense or five years for a violent felony or drug distribution, drug manufacturing offense, any crimes against a minor, or an election law offense" before applying to have their voting rights restored.

Pradia was sentenced to 24 years in prison in 1994 for a crack cocaine conviction that she says was the result of her abusive relationship with a drug dealer. In 2000, then-President Bill Clinton commuted her sentence to time served.

But that wasn't the end of her punishment.

"One of the collateral consequences of having been incarcerated is losing my right to vote," she told a United Nations Human Rights Council panel in Geneva last week. An NAACP delegation urged the U.N.'s special rapporteur on racism to investigate what it said were racially discriminatory election laws in the United States.

Not being able to vote "makes one feel inferior," Pradia told CNN Tuesday.

"You don't want people that are trying to reintegrate, trying to live a better lifestyle, to feel this way," she added. "It's hard for me to be able to explain to my children why I'm not able to vote when I pay taxes, and they see me working hard and doing things I should be doing as a citizen."

Pradia said she applied in August for her voting rights to be restored in Virginia. She has not yet received a response to her request.


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