05-22-2018  5:00 am      •     
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NEWS BRIEFS

Raina Croff to Speak at Architectural Heritage Center

'When the Landmarks are Gone: Older African Americans, Place, and Change in N/NE Portland’ describes SHARP Walking Program ...

Portland Playhouse Presents August Wilson’s ‘Fences’ Through June 10

May 20 performance will include discussion on mental health; June 10 performance will be followed by discussion of fatherhood ...

Peggy Houston-Shivers Presents Benefit Concert for Allen Temple CME

Concert to take place May 20 at Maranatha Church ...

Family Friendly Talent Show, May 18

Family Fun Night series continues at Matt Dishman Community Center ...

3 killed in Vancouver vehicle crash identified

VANCOUVER, Wash. (AP) — The Clark County Medical's Examiner's Office has identified three men killed in a vehicle crash in Vancouver.The Oregonian/OregonLive reports 24-year-old Tabo Naveta, 27-year-old Akiki Kintin and 27-year-old Kenson Cheipot, all from Vancouver, died from injuries...

Springfield settles lawsuit with fired dispatcher for K

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — The city of Springfield has agreed to pay ,000 to settle a 2014 lawsuit by a dispatcher who said she was wrongly fired after accusing officers of inappropriate conduct.The Register-Guard reported Sunday that a joint statement from the city and the former dispatcher,...

3 killed in Vancouver vehicle crash identified

VANCOUVER, Wash. (AP) — The Clark County Medical's Examiner's Office has identified three men killed in a vehicle crash in Vancouver.The Oregonian/OregonLive reports 24-year-old Tabo Naveta, 27-year-old Akiki Kintin and 27-year-old Kenson Cheipot, all from Vancouver, died from injuries...

Seattle, family reach M settlement for deadly crash

SEATTLE (AP) — The family of a couple killed in 2013 by a drunk driver has settled with the city of Seattle for million.KOMO-TV reported Monday that the family of Dennis and Judy Schulte settled with the city last month.Prosecutors say Mark Mullan was drunk when his pickup hit the...

OPINION

Golfing While Black Is Not a Crime

Grandview Golf Club asks five Black women to leave for golfing too slow ...

Discovering the Best of Black America in 2018

Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis discusses the DTU Journalism Fellowship & Scholarship Program ...

Will Israel’s Likud Party Ever Respect the Rights of Palestinians?

Bill Fletcher weighs in on the precarious future of the two-state solution between the Israeli government and the Palestinian people ...

The Future of Medicinal Marijuana in Pets

Dr. Jasmine Streeter says CBD-derived products show beneficial therapeutic benefits for pets ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Black man ordered to pay [scripts/homepage/home.php],000 for racist campus graffiti

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — A former Eastern Michigan University student who admitted to painting racist graffiti on campus has been ordered to pay more than [scripts/homepage/home.php],000 in restitution.The Ann Arbor News reports 29-year-old Eddie Curlin learned his punishment Monday after earlier pleading guilty to...

China sentences Tibetan activist to 5 years for separatism

BEIJING (AP) — A Chinese judge sentenced a Tibetan shopkeeper to five years in prison on Tuesday for inciting separatism, based on his comments in a New York Times documentary in which the man talked about the erosion of his culture and language in the tightly secured region.Tashi Wangchuk's...

Voters choose nominees in Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Texas

ATLANTA (AP) — Four states will cast ballots Tuesday as the 2018 midterm elections take shape. Voters in Arkansas, Georgia and Kentucky hold primaries, while Texans settle several primary runoffs after their first round of voting in March. Some noteworthy story lines:IN THIS #METOO MIDTERM,...

ENTERTAINMENT

Sony buys most of EMI Music, to spend B on image sensors

TOKYO (AP) — Electronics and entertainment company Sony Corp. said Tuesday it plans to spend [scripts/homepage/home.php].3 billion acquiring an additional 60 percent stake in EMI Music Publishing, home to the Motown catalog and contemporary artists like Kanye West, Alicia Keys and Pharrell Williams.Sony already owns...

At Cannes, a #MeToo upheaval up and down the Croisette

CANNES, France (AP) — Fifty years after filmmakers shut down the Cannes Film Festival, the prestigious Cote d'Azur extravaganza was again shook by upheaval.From the start to the finish, the 71st Cannes was dominated by protest and petition for gender equality, culminating in the...

Despite Spotify change, R. Kelly's streams still intact

NEW YORK (AP) — Streaming numbers for R. Kelly have remained intact a week after Spotify announced it had removed the R&B singer's music from its playlists, citing its new policy on hate content and hateful conduct.Spotify made the bold declaration on May 10, but R. Kelly's streaming...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

All tied up: LeBron's 44 helps Cavs even series with Celtics

CLEVELAND (AP) — LeBron James knows the path to the NBA Finals better than anyone in today's game.And...

Experts disclose new details about 300-year-old shipwreck

BOSTON (AP) — A Spanish galleon laden with gold that sank to the bottom of the Caribbean off the coast of...

Palestinians ask ICC for 'immediate' probe against Israel

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — The Palestinian foreign minister asked the International Criminal Court on...

Economists see potential nightmare in new Italian government

MILAN (AP) — The prospect of a populist government in Italy, the eurozone's third-largest economy, has...

The Latest: Explosion kills 16 in Afghan city of Kandahar

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The Latest on developments in Afghanistan (all times local):4 p.m.An Afghan...

Syrian army, police celebrate recapturing all of Damascus

BEIRUT (AP) — Syrian government forces raised their flag over the Yarmouk Palestinian camp in Damascus on...

President Obama visits a prison
By Damon C. Williams Special to the NNPA from the Philadelphia Tribune

PHILADELPHIA – Hours after announcing his administration had secured a multinational pact with Iran to limit their nuclear program, President Barack Obama told the NAACP national convention that race has always played an outsized role in incarceration. 

"There is a long history of inequity in the justice system in America," Obama said in Philadelphia. "It's important for us to realize that violence in our communities is serious and that historically has effected the African-American community, which many times has been under-policed, rather than over-policed. 

"Folks were very interested in containing the African-American community, which led to segregated areas, but within those areas, there wasn't enough police presence. But here's the thing, over the last few decades, we have also locked up more and more non-violent drug offenders than ever before for longer than ever before, and that is the real reason our prison population is so high."

Obama said there has been a prison explosion in the U.S. over the past 35 years.

"The United States is home to 5 percent of the world's population, but 25 percent of the world's prisoners. Think about that. Our incarceration rate is four times higher than China's. We keep more people behind bars than the top 35 European countries combined. And it hasn't always been the case – this huge explosion in incarceration rates. In 1980, there were 500,000 people behind bars in America – half a million people in 1980... Today there are 2.2 million. It has quadrupled since 1980. Our prison population has doubled in the last two decades alone."

He added that some people should be in jail, including murderers, predators, rapists, gang leaders, drug kingpins. But some low-level, first-time, non-violent drug offenders should not be among those incarcerated, the president said.

"Over the last few decades, we've also locked up more and more nonviolent drug offenders than ever before, for longer than ever before. And that is the real reason our prison population is so high," he explained. "In far too many cases, the punishment simply does not fit the crime. If you're a low-level drug dealer, or you violate your parole, you owe some debt to society.

You have to be held accountable and make amends. But you don't owe 20 years. You don't owe a life sentence. That's disproportionate to the price that should be paid."
And people of color are paying a higher price than anyone else, the president stated.

"African Americans and Latinos make up 30 percent of our population; they make up 60 percent of our inmates. About one in every 35 African American men, one in every 88 Latino men is serving time right now. Among White men, that number is one in 214.

The bottom line is that in too many places, Black boys and Black men, Latino boys and Latino men experience being treated differently under the law."
Obama said he is in favor of reducing or eliminating mandatory minimum sentencing, and said he was hopeful of a bipartisan plan in Washington to address sentencing guidelines. Last week he became the first sitting president to visit a prison. 

"Today, back in Washington, Republican senators from Utah and Texas are joining Democratic senators from New Jersey and Rhode Island to talk about how Congress can pass meaningful criminal-justice reform this year," Obama said. "That is very good news. This is a cause that is bringing people in both houses of Congress together and created some unlikely bedfellows."

The president named unlikely alliances such as the Rand Corporation and Newt Gingrich, Americans for Tax Reform and the ACLU, and the NAACP and the ultra-conservative Koch Brothers as examples of organizations and individuals that may have philosophical and ideological differences coming together over criminal justice reform.

Saying that Americans can't close their eyes anymore, Obama called for bipartisan action to revamp a criminal justice system riddled with inequities that result in unduly harsh prison sentences, particularly for minorities, and cost the federal government $80 billion a year for unwarranted mass incarceration.

"In far too many cases, the punishment simply does not fit the crime," Obama said. "Mass incarceration makes our country worse off and we need to do something about it."
He spoke one day after he commuted the sentences of 46 drug offenders, 14 of whom had been sentenced to life.
Despite the new interest among Republicans in criminal justice legislation, not all GOP legislators saw the president's commutations as a positive step.

"Commuting the sentences of a few drug offenders is a move designed to spur headlines, not meaningful reform," said Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin, a member of the House Judiciary Committee who has proposed bipartisan legislation.

In his address to the NAACP, President Obama acknowledged that racial inequality remains a fact of life in the U.S.

"We made progress, but our work is not done," he said. "By just about every measure, the life chances for Black and Hispanic youth still lag far behind those of their White peers. Our kids, America's children, so often are isolated, without hope, less likely to graduate from high school, less likely to earn a college degree, less likely to be employed, less likely to have health insurance, less likely to own a home."

And part of that is by design, he said.

"Part of this is a legacy of hundreds of years of slavery and segregation, and structural inequalities that compounded over generations. It did not happen by accident," he explained. "Partly it's a result of continuing, if sometimes more subtle, bigotry – whether in who gets called back for a job interview, or who gets suspended from school, or what neighborhood you are able to rent an apartment in – which, by the way, is why our recent initiative to strengthen the awareness and effectiveness of fair housing laws is so important. So we can't be satisfied or not satisfied until the opportunity gap is closed for everybody in America. Everybody."

(The NNPA News Service provided additional reporting for this story)

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