06-18-2018  8:28 am      •     
The Skanner Report
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NEWS BRIEFS

The Honorable Willie L. Brown to Receive NAACP Spingarn Medal

The award recognizes Brown’s lifelong commitment to the community, equality and civil rights ...

Watching Oprah: The Oprah Winfrey Show and American Culture

New Smithsonian exhibit looks at how Oprah Winfrey shaped American culture and vice versa ...

Oregon Historical Society, Oregon Black Pioneers Host ‘Celebrate History and Make a Difference Now!’ Event June 9

Representatives from local organizations will talk about how individuals can get involved in promoting social change ...

Genealogical Forum of Oregon Hosts ‘Starting Your Genealogy’ Workshop

Free forum offers assistance for those just getting started ...

Literary Arts Offers Writers of Color Fellowship

Deadline to apply is July 9, 2018 ...

Oregon dog that survived 2 gunshot wounds finds new home

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A dog that was shot twice and left for dead in a rugged area of northeast Oregon has been given a new home.KATU-TV reports the dog named Rez was found in the mountains near Pendleton, Oregon, in February covered in blood from two bullet wounds in the head, causing him...

Man found shot to death at high school track in Portland

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Portland police say a man was found shot to death on a high school track.Officers responded before 5 a.m. Sunday to the temporary site of Grant High School. The school is using the former Marshall High School campus as it undergoes a renovation.Authorities did not...

Old farm warehouse may be saved as part of Hanford history

RICHLAND, Wash. (AP) — One of Washington state's most endangered historic places is located on the Hanford Nuclear Reservation near Richland. That's according to the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation.The long warehouse along the Columbia River was once owned by farmers Paul and Mary...

Oregon dog that survived 2 gunshot wounds finds new home

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A dog that was shot twice and left for dead in a rugged area of northeast Oregon has been given a new home.KATU-TV reports the dog named Rez was found in the mountains near Pendleton, Oregon, in February covered in blood from two bullet wounds in the head, causing him...

OPINION

Redlining Settlement Fails to Provide Strong Penalties

A recent settlement of a federal redlining lawsuit is yet another sign that justice is still being denied ...

5 Lessons on Peace I Learned from My Cat Soleil

Dr. Jasmine Streeter takes some cues on comfort from her cat ...

Research Suggests Suicides By Racial and Ethnic Minorities are Undercounted

Sociologist Dr. Kimya Dennis describes barriers to culturally-specific suicide research and treatment ...

Black Women Are Changing the Tide of American Politics

Black women voters will make the difference in the midterm elections and the future of American politics ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Celeb chef Samuelsson to open restaurant in Miami's Overtown

OVERTOWN, Fla. (AP) — Chef Marcus Samuelsson has bought a former pool hall in Overtown, a historic black neighborhood in Miami, with plans to open a restaurant.He hopes his project will contribute to a multimillion-dollar revitalization effort already under way.Samuelsson, a James Beard...

The Latest: Top teams have trouble winning at World Cup

MOSCOW (AP) — The Latest on Sunday at the World Cup (all times local):11:35 p.m.Parity has come to the World Cup.Five of the top six nations in the FIFA rankings have played, and none has won. Only two of the top dozen teams have victories.Top-ranked Germany lost to No. 15 Mexico,...

Maryland Democratic primary has 2 black candidates leading

BALTIMORE (AP) — With two leading candidates who have a shot at becoming Maryland's first black governor, the crowded Democratic gubernatorial primary reflects the state's changing demographics and the party's efforts to harness the energy of an increasingly diverse electorate around the...

ENTERTAINMENT

Warner Bros. crackdown puts Dark Mark over Potter festivals

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Warner Bros. is cracking down on local Harry Potter fan festivals around the country, saying it's necessary to halt unauthorized commercial activity. Fans, however, liken the move to Dementors sucking the joy out of homegrown fun, while festival directors say they'll...

Cornell's daughter pays tribute to late rocker with duet

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Chris Cornell's daughter has released a recording of a duet with her late father as part of an emotional tribute to the late rocker on Father's Day.Toni Cornell released the duet of Prince's "Nothing Compares 2 U" on Sunday along with a note thanking her dad for his...

Jay-Z, Beyonce release surprise album 'Everything Is Love'

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Jay-Z and Beyonce are keeping up a family tradition, dropping a surprise album before anyone knew it was coming.The couple released a joint album that touches on the rapper's disgust at this year's Grammy Awards and features a shout out from their daughter Blue Ivy to her...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Thomas Markle says Prince Harry said to give Trump a chance

LONDON (AP) — The father of the former Meghan Markle says he talked politics with Prince Harry over the...

Global warming cooks up 'a different world' over 3 decades

SALIDA, Colo. (AP) — We were warned.On June 23, 1988, a sultry day in Washington, James Hansen told...

Trump adviser Roger Stone reveals new meeting with Russian

WASHINGTON (AP) — Special counsel Robert Mueller is examining a previously undisclosed meeting between...

Compulsive video-game playing could be mental health problem

GENEVA (AP) — Obsessive video gamers know how to anticipate dangers in virtual worlds. The World Health...

Peek at the future: Electric plane cruises skies over Norway

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — Norway's transportation minister and the head of the Scandinavian country's...

2 Koreas agree to march together at Asian Games

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Athletes from the rival Koreas will march together under a single flag in the...

Zion Small at the Selma to Montgomery March
Marian Wright Edelman, NNPA Columnist

Zion Small, 9, carries the American Flag while leading a five day march on Wednesday, March 11, 2015, from Selma to Montgomery organized by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. The march started on Monday and is scheduled to finish at the Alabama Capitol in Montgomery, Ala., on Friday. (AP Photo/Montgomery Advertiser/Albert Cesare)

Fifty years ago I traveled from Mississippi to Selma, Ala. on March 21, 1965 to join Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and thousands of fellow citizens marching the 54 miles to the steps of the state’s capitol in Montgomery.

Millions of Americans now know about this march thanks to the movie “Selma” and the recent 50th anniversary celebration. Selma was the site of a courageous voting rights campaign by Black citizens that was met by brutal Southern Jim Crow law enforcement and citizen violence.

The nation was shocked two weeks earlier when John Lewis and Hosea Williams set out on a nonviolent march with a group of 600 people toward Montgomery to demand their right to vote and were brutally attacked by lawless state and local law enforcement officials at the Edmund Pettus Bridge.

The televised images of “Bloody Sunday” and the savage beatings of the marchers – including Congressman Lewis whose skull was fractured – were a pivotal moment in the Civil Rights Movement and in America’s struggle to become America.

It provoked the thousands of us (ultimately about 25,000) who came together later to finish the march, safer thanks to U.S. District Court Judge Frank M. Johnson, Jr.’s order that we had a right to peaceful protest and with federalized Alabama National Guard protection. And we were buoyed by President Johnson’s March 15, 1965 address calling on Congress to pass what became the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

In that speech –   “The American Promise” – President Johnson said: “This was the first nation in the history of the world to be founded with a purpose. The great phrases of that purpose still sound in every American heart, North and South: ‘All men are created equal’—‘government by consent of the governed’—‘give me liberty or give me death.’”

President Johnson also said: “Should we defeat every enemy, should we double our wealth and conquer the stars, and still be unequal to this issue, then we will have failed as a people and as a nation.”

Fifty years later, speaking at the Edmund Pettus Bridge, President Obama echoed the same themes: “[Selma is] the manifestation of a creed written into our founding documents… These are not just words. They’re a living thing, a call to action, a roadmap for citizenship and an insistence in the capacity of free men and women to shape our own destiny.”

The first Selma march was planned not only to gain the right to vote but to protest the tragic death of Jimmie Lee Jackson, a 26-year-old Black church deacon and Vietnam veteran killed in Marion, Ala. when he, his mother, sister, and 82-year-old grandfather attended another nonviolent voting rights demonstration where marchers were brutally attacked by racist Alabama law enforcement officials who broke it up.

Jimmie Lee Jackson was shot and beaten trying to shield his grandfather from a police nightstick. What a terrible irony that in this year of celebration of the Selma marches we are witnessing the resurgence of overt law enforcement brutality and injustice in Ferguson, Cleveland, New York City, and elsewhere, reminding us how far we still have to go.

Each of us has a responsibility to root it out and stop it in its tracks. Each American must remember and help America remember that the fellowship of human beings is more important than the fellowship of race and class and gender in a democratic society. Each of us has a personal responsibility to be decent and fair and insist that others be so in our presence.

Don’t tell, laugh at, or tolerate racial, ethnic, religious, or gender jokes—or any practices intended to demean rather than enhance another human being. Walk away from them. Stare them down. Make them unacceptable in our presence and in our institutions.

Through daily moral consciousness each of us has a responsibility to counter the proliferating voices of racial and moral and ethnic and religious division that are regaining respectability over our land. Let’s face up to rather than ignore our growing racial problems that are America’s historical and future Achilles’ heel unless addressed firmly and courageously.

Let us all stand up right now to all those in our Congress, statehouses, and across our country who are trying to take away and suppress the right to vote and who are refusing to honor the sacrifice of all those who died to gain this fundamental American right. Shame on them and shame on us if we don’t act to insist that Congress renew the Voting Rights Act without a minute’s more delay.

And shame on us if we do not stand up to all those who seek to turn the clock of racial progress backwards by denying equal justice under the law for all. We still have so far to go in our march to make America America—but we must march forward and never backwards.

 

Marian Wright Edelman is president of the Children’s Defense Fund whose Leave No Child Behind® mission is to ensure every child a Healthy Start, a Head Start, a Fair Start, a Safe Start and a Moral Start in life and successful passage to adulthood with the help of caring families and communities. For more information go to www.childrensdefense.org

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