06-24-2018  1:32 pm      •     
The Skanner Report
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NEWS BRIEFS

AG Rosenblum Seeks Info from Oregonians

Oregon Attorney General seeks information on children separated from families at border ...

Community Forum: How Does Law Enforcement Interact With Vulnerable Populations?

Forum will focus on public safety and examine mental health and addiction issues ...

King County Council Recognizes Juneteenth

The Metropolitan King County Council recognizes a true 'freedom day' in the United States ...

Unite Oregon Hosts ‘Mourn Pray Love, and Take Action’ June 20

Community is invited to gather at Terry Schrunk Plaza at 6 p.m. on World Refugee Day ...

MRG Foundation Announces Spring 2018 Grantees

Recipients include Oregon DACA Coalition, Kúkátónón Children’s African Dance Troupe, Komemma Cultural Protection Association ...

18-year-old driver dies after colliding with log truck

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Oregon State Police say an 18-year-old girl has died after colliding with a log truck on Highway 101 near Beaver.Law enforcement officials say Mikayla Michelle Howard was driving a 2003 Saab when it crossed into the other lane for an unknown reason on Friday morning....

Marion County deputies investigating suspicious death

LYONS, Ore. (AP) — Law enforcement officials are investigating after a man was found dead in a pond near his home in Lyons.The Marion County Sheriff's Office says deputies were called to the scene Saturday afternoon after the body was found. Detectives also responded to the scene because the...

New Mexico residents to testify on atomic bomb fallout

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Residents of a New Mexico Hispanic village near the site of the world's first atomic bomb test say they were long ignored about the lingering health effects and were expected to share their stories with Congress.The Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium plans to...

Small plane hits car after missing runway near Snohomish

SNOHOMISH, Wash. (AP) — A small plane hit a car after overshooting the runway at an airfield near Snohomish.The Seattle Times reports that three people, including a child, were in a single-engine plane when it was approaching the Harvey Air Field on Saturday.Lt. Rick Hawkins of the Snohomish...

OPINION

How Washington’s 'School Achievement Index' Became School Spending Index

New assessment categorizes schools not by quality of education, but level of funding officials believe they should receive ...

Black Mamas Are Dying. We Can Stop It.

Congresswoman Robin Kelly plans to improve access to culturally-competent care with the MOMMA Act ...

Hey, Elected Officials: No More Chicken Dinners...We Need Policy

Jeffrey Boney says many elected officials who visit the Black community only during the election season get a pass for doing nothing ...

Juneteenth: Freedom's Promise Still Denied

Juneteenth is a celebration of the de facto end of slavery, but the proliferation of incarceration keeps liberation unfulfilled ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Authorities investigating fatal Minneapolis police shooting

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minnesota state authorities are investigating after Minneapolis police shot and killed a black man they say was firing a handgun as he walked outside.A demonstration was planned for Sunday afternoon at a police precinct headquarters and a vigil near the north Minneapolis...

Jews, Muslims in Berlin team up on bike rides against hatred

BERLIN (AP) — Some 25 Jews and Muslims rode tandem bicycles through the German capital on Sunday in a protest against growing anti-Semitism and attacks on Muslims in the country.Some were rabbis and imams, others included women in headscarves and Jewish community members donning skullcaps...

Association removes Laura Ingalls Wilder's name from award

CHICAGO (AP) — A division of the American Library Association has voted to remove Laura Ingalls Wilder's name from a major children's book award over concerns with how the early-to-mid 20th century author portrayed blacks and Native Americans.The Association for Library Service to Children's...

ENTERTAINMENT

Brigitte Nielsen, 54, has given birth to her fifth child

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Brigitte Nielsen says she has given birth at age 54.The model, actress and reality star and her 39-year-old husband Mattia Dessi released a statement to People magazine Saturday saying their daughter Frida was born Friday in Los Angeles and weighed 5 pounds, 9 ounces (2.3...

Association removes Laura Ingalls Wilder's name from award

CHICAGO (AP) — A division of the American Library Association has voted to remove Laura Ingalls Wilder's name from a major children's book award over concerns with how the early-to-mid 20th century author portrayed blacks and Native Americans.The Association for Library Service to Children's...

'Jurassic World' sequel stomps its way to 0 million debut

NEW YORK (AP) — The dinosaurs still rule the box office."Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom" surpassed expectations to open with 0 million in ticket sales in U.S. and Canada theaters over the weekend, according to studio estimates Sunday. While that total didn't approach the record-breaking...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Saudi women in driver's seat as longstanding ban is lifted

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — Saudi women steered their way through busy city streets on Sunday, driving to...

Trump officials pledge to reunite families amid border chaos

Trump administration officials say the U.S. government knows the location of all children in its custody after...

Trump tweets, hard-right voters hamper GOP immigration push

WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican apprehension over President Donald Trump's next tweet and fear of riling...

Kushner rips Abbas, says Mideast peace plan due 'soon'

JERUSALEM (AP) — President Donald Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser said in an interview published...

US Defense chief to visit China amid S. China Sea tensions

BEIJING (AP) — U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, who has accused China of "intimidation and coercion" in...

Libyan coast guard intercepts 450 migrants bound for Europe

CAIRO (AP) — Libya's coast guard intercepted Sunday some 460 African migrants, including dozens of children...

Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr. NNPA Columnist

Whenever the president of the United States speaks to a national convention of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), millions of people pay attention. As a former Executive Director and CEO of the NAACP, I listened very carefully last week to President Barack Obama’s historic keynote address to the organization’s 106th annual convention in Philadelphia.

There was a noticeable deliberate “freedom of expression” style and substance in President Obama’s speech to the NAACP. He was confident, candid and clear. Obama was unrestrained, passionate and focused. In other words, the president went straight to his main subject matter: The urgency and mandate today for criminal justice reform in the United States.

President Obama stated, “But today, I want to focus on one aspect of American life that remains particularly skewed by race and by wealth, a source of inequity that has ripple effects on families and on communities and ultimately on our nation – and that is our criminal justice system.”

Obama’s remarks were timely and welcomed by millions of families that have been devastated as a result of the injustice of the current court and prison system. It was full of analysis and statistics that went beyond typical political rhetoric. He cited the following facts to stress that now was the time for bipartisan corrective action by all levels of government:

  • The population of the U.S. has only 5 percent of the world’s population, but holds 25 percent of the world’s prisoners;
  • In 1980, there were 500,000 people in prison in the U.S., but today there are 2.2 million, a disproportionate number of them African American and Latino;
  • The U.S. spends $80 billion per year on keeping people in prison, about the same amount of money it would take to make tuition free at all public universities and colleges across the nation;
  • One third of the entire budget of the U.S. Justice Department is spent on incarceration;
  • While African Americans and Latino Americans combined make up about 30 percent of the U.S. population, we make up 60 percent of the prison inmates in the U.S.;
  • One in every 35 African American men is imprisoned, compared to one in every 88 Latino men as compared and one in every 214 White men; and
  • Research studies have confirmed that African Americans are more likely to stopped by the police, frisked, questioned, charged and arrested than any other racial group in the U.S.’s

We all should be willing to join and support the emerging criminal justice reform movement in America. Hopefully, President Obama’s address to the NAACP will stimulate the passage of bipartisan legislation that will stop racial profiling and other legislative measures that will help to dramatically reduce the prison population in the United States. In the absence of real reform, the issues surrounding mass incarceration will not be adequately resolved

President Obama made reference to the fact that on reaching the ultimate goal of criminal justice reform, there are today converging interests between the NAACP and the politically conservative Koch brothers, as well as between the ACLU and Americans for Tax Reform and among other divergent groups who have not worked together on social justice issues in the past. That is a good sign of what might be possible going forward.

Frederick Douglass said it best, “If there is no struggle, there is no progress.” But the struggle to reform the criminal justice system must move beyond just a momentary national news cycle event response to whenever President Obama makes an outstanding speech. I wish social change was that easy to achieve. It is not. The work has begun, but we still have a lot of hard work and coalition building to do to make real reform happen.

I believe we in the African American community has to take more responsibility to end mass incarceration and to challenge all the inequities of our society. Ending poverty and injustice, first and foremost, is our demand and it also has to be our responsible leadership to keep pushing forward. The government has its role, but we should not solely rely on the government. I believe in self-development and self-improvement. Our struggle for freedom, justice, equality and empowerment must continue with renewed energy and determination.

 

Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr. is the President and CEO of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) and can be reached for national advertisement sales and partnership proposals at: dr.bchavis@nnpa.org; and for lectures and other professional consultations at: http://drbenjaminfchavisjr.wix.com/drbfc

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