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Beyond the Verdict: What Black America Must Do Now

By Casey Thomas

I’m not a writer, I just have something to say. Unfortunately, a few weekends ago, I was speechless and stunned by the verdict in the George Zimmerman trial. After hearing the makeup of the jury and the remarks of juror B-37, I should not have been. Like most of those in black America, I went through a grieving process as I questioned the thought process of this jury. The jury was made up of all women, in which five of the six were white women who share more of life experiences with George Zimmerman than Trayvon Martin.

It was obvious from her comments that she lived in a different reality from Trayvon Martin. From the affectionate way in which she referred to George Zimmerman as “George,” to the way that she referred to Trayvon Martin as “that boy.” When she shared in her interview that five out of the six jurors believed that Zimmerman was the person yelling for help on the 911 call, I knew that he would probably get off.

I believe it lifted the spirits of black Americans throughout the country to see President Barack Obama, step to the podium at his press briefing and share before the nation he how knows what it feels like to be racially profiled. How as recently as nine years ago, even though he was chair of the Harvard Law Review, an Illinois State Senator, and a well-respected leader in the Chicago community, he had people follow him as he went into a department store. He eloquently stated that Trayvon Martin could have been him 35 years ago, and how it was important for us as a nation to check our personal biases. The fact that now is the time to create opportunities of success for young black boys and men, and how we need to look in the mirror and address black-on-black crime.

These remarks came on the eve of the call for rallies in over 100 cities throughout the United States by the National Action Network (NAN), led by the Rev. Al Sharpton. Here in Dallas, the Rev. Dr. Frederick Haynes, III, Pastor of Friendship West Baptist Church and head of Dallas NAN called a rally at Dallas City Hall to address issues that affect black men beyond the verdict in the trial.

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Will the Supreme Court Dismantle the Voting Rights Act of 1965?

February 27, 2013 Front Page, Politics, Power No Comments
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The Election is Over. Now what?

November 13, 2012 Politics, Power 1 Comment

By Casey Thomas

The election that we thought would never get here has come and gone. President Barack Obama has been re-elected and it will be January 20, 2017 before he leaves. Many people not only went out and voted, but they used every tool available to get the word out to make sure their family, friend, foe or associate went out and voted. Some people used blogs, others sent tweets out on their Twitter account, and still others posted pictures of the president and articles about the now infamous “47 percent” video on their newsfeed on Facebook. Still others use more traditional methods such as email and their cell phones to call and remind people to go out and vote.

As the data now shows, the African-American turnout in 2012 was as high as it was in 2008, especially in swing states like Florida and Ohio. The election is officially over, now what?

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Top 5 Reasons People Under 40 Should Vote

No matter what side of the aisle your on, these issues affect us more than we may think.

  1. Jobs, Jobs, Jobs. The question continues to be asked, has your economic situation improved? Have you found a job? For people just entering the job market, the stakes are high. Most entry-level positions are based on minimum wage rates which very from state to state. Higher paying jobs, may no longer come with the security our parents once had in insurance, and social security, and additional job planning will be necessary. Your vote could decide if we have a return to menial factory jobs from the 20th century, or if we will create new industries and support independent entrepreneurs in new markets.
  1. National Health. What good is a job, if you can’t see a doctor when you need to? Nationalized health care has been a huge issue since 2008, and the implications of this are real. People under 26 remained covered under their parents. People with pre-conditions can still receive coverage, waste and fraud have been reduced, and people who need medical attention can not simply be fired from their jobs. The thing about health care, is we all need it, we just might not know when. While you may not agree with every aspect of national health care, your vote could determine if some of our countries most vulnerable citizens are denied medical care, simply because they can’t afford them.
  1. War and Peace. If you are like me, you have noticed a lot of discussion about war and insurgents in the Middle East. The candidates keep speaking about ‘getting tough on Iran.’ But what does that mean? War is expensive and deadly for both sides. Will our country enter into yet another long, arduous war? Your vote could help decide if we, not only as a county, but as individual service people, are going to war, or working toward peace.
  1. Reproductive rights. While the media has portrayed this as a ‘women’s issue.’ reproductive rights are a human issue. Both men and women will be affected by access to adequate reproductive services. While millions of women and men are trying to have children, there are also many women and men actively planning and postponing reproduction. Currently, women and men both have the right to buy contraceptives and use birth control. Women also have the legal right to terminate pregnancy according to their state laws. However, laws are changing, and your vote this election could determine how we plan our families from now on.
  1. Public Education. Now this is a topic that the national candidates have hardly covered, if at all. But the future of public education hangs in the balance nationwide. Across the country the public school system remains greatly underfunded to deal with issues unique to each community. While some districts are in large urban areas, others are in small rural and suburban areas. For too long, public education has tried to use a ‘one size fits all’ approach, but not all educational problems are created equal. To deal with this issue, it will be important to elect local officials that support your ideals. If you have children now, or plan to in the future, the state of public education is going to have a huge effect on other issues like jobs, poverty, and crime; get involved now.

No matter what party you are with, it is now time to get involved and cast your vote. Voting locally is just as important as voting nationally, so get out there and make your voice known in your community. See you at the polls!

Text VOTE to 69866 if you have any questions about voting!

 

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The Great Debate: Obama vs. Romney #Ignite2012

One of the most anticipated days in broadcast history has finally arrived and it will be aired on YoungVoterLive.com tomorrow.

For the very FIRST TIME: President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney will go head-to-head about what they think is best for our country and why they are the best choice for the  2013- 2017 commander and chief  role. To raise awareness  about this national debate, The League of Young Voters Education Fund has announced a special #Ignite2012 tour stop in NYC. Millennials are being encouraged to watch this debate and contribute to the #Ignite2012 conversation with provocative changemakers, BET host Rocsi Diaz, legendary DJ Jay Smooth, hip-hop historian Davey D, social media scholar Dr. Goddess, and many more.

Join us tomorrow, Wednesday, October 3, 2012, 8 p.m.-11:30 p.m. ET for #Ignite2012: Debate Edition

During the first presidential debate, Americans can expect to hear about failed economic policies, healthcare disparities, wavering unemployment rates and general strategies to combat America’s current state of oppression. But Rocsi wants to know: “What else would you like the candidates to address?”

Send her and any of the panelists your questions, thoughts and concerns to @TheLeague99 before and during the livestream using the hashtag #Ignite2012. 

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