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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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Happy Belated Kwanzaa, Senator Grothman

Photo Courtesy of TheContributor.com

“Almost no black people today care about Kwanzaa,” stated WI State Senator Glenn Grothman.

It’s clear he understands nothing about Umoja, one of the seven principles of Kwanzaa that means unity. His press release denouncing Kwanzaa in the new year was not supported by any valid or reliable research. His assertions were conjured up by his lack of cultural sensitivity toward people who share different beliefs than him.

Since State Senator Grothman doesn’t know what the tradition is all about, we’ve decided to brighten his day with a belated Kwanzaa card. Let’s uphold the seven principles of Kwanzaa – unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity, and faith – by sending him a special card today. Maybe our greeting card will inspire him to have a change of heart!

Sign the card today: bit.ly/HappyKwanzaa

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Students Re-enact Chris Brown Beating Rihanna Wearing Blackface?!

Wait…They Did What?

So in the midst of everything going on with the election, it’s really hard for things, non-election related, to really catch my attention. And when I say really, I mean like shockingly catch my attention. But the other day while surfing the World Wide Web, my attention was stolen from the election and shifted to an article about white high school students, who wore blackface and re-enacted Chris Brown beating Rihanna at their school’s pep rally, while other students looked on laughing and parents, administrators, and community leaders watched and did nothing to stop them.

Yes, you read that right… Students, WHITE students, from Waverly, NY put on brown paint (black face in 2012) and re-enacted one of entertainment’s most talked about domestic disturbances. And to make matters worse the skit was approved by school officials. Now students are defending what happen, by saying it wasn’t racist and nothing was wrong with reenacting a domestic disturbance, because we all already knew about it.

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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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The Tipping Point: Chicago Teachers Strike

Today in Chicago, teachers are on STRIKE! Just the other day, nearly 29,000 Chicago Public School teachers marched through downtown Chicago setting off the first teacher’s union strike in 25 years. Chicago Public School system is the third largest school system in America, with nearly 400,000 enrolled students.

But what are teachers striking for? And what will happen to the students?

I spoke with Bethenia Price, a recently retired CPS teacher of 37 years. She spoke with me about why teachers are striking and what the country can learn from Chicago teachers. Ms. Price was a teacher the last time CPS went on strike in ’87.

Read the exclusive interview inside

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