Dear White America…

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By: M. K. Williams

… is actually a book.  Yes, seriously. There is a book titled Dear White America and the author’s name is Tim Wise.

I reluctantly picked it up at a Barnes and Noble that was going out of business a few years ago.  I initially thought that it was another “angry black person” book, yelling at white people (which is probably what you’re thinking this article is right now).  But I went ahead and picked it up anyway.  My mental shelves were already packed with a wealth of non-fictional information that could inspire me to yell at all the white people I wanted to my own dang self.  That particular day I didn’t need anybody else yelling the same thing that I could have been yelling at white folks for.

To my utter disbelief, a young looking white man appeared inside the book’s back cover. I couldn’t even claim him as lightskinned.  This man was straight up white.  So I checked to make sure that I picked up the right book, but it still said Dear White America.  When I decided to catch the book being tricky, I read a few pages.  The next thing I remember was that the receipt functioned as my bookmark while I consumed the first 3 chapters sitting in my parked car.

I’ve since followed Wise’s growing influence.  From videos of lectures and panel discussions to appearances on CNN, Wise is one of the boldest white men I have ever heard speak the raw truth about the American mindset.

The only way that I can describe Tim Wise is to ask you to imagine that a black nobel laureate rode a time machine back to the 60’s, got filled with the holy ghost in Nashville, Tennessee, then had his brain squeezed into Wise as a toddler – who apparently has been walking around with it ever since.  Believe me. 

Which brings us now to Donald Trump.  If you’re not wealthy and are even thinking about voting for Donald Trump – don’t let that man make a fool out of you.

You obviously have good sense if you can sit through reading this.  I’m not trying to be funny this time.  You are interested in varying views and I can bet, you’re the type of person that believes in due diligence.  It doesn’t hurt that you also A) read beyond a fourth grade level – which our failing public school systems say is a major accomplishment in this country;  B)  seek out facts TO read which; C) demonstrates that you don’t blindly follow the crowd.  It’s the same innate intelligence that’s been giving you pause over and over again about Donald Trump.

I don’t know if you’re tired of establishment politics or if you agree that the economy is a hot mess.  I don’t even care if you’re just sick and tired of not getting to see white people everywhere you go.  Some things and people can’t  be wished away if we tried, and trust me, I’ve tried.

I’m keeping it real with you and hope that you can too.  Regardless of how your search has landed you on this page, it doesn’t matter as long as you remember this –  Donald Trump and the republican agenda is NOT the answer to improve the quality of your life or that of the “middle class”.

Thanks to the heartless, dog-eat-dog business practices  of this country’s largest corporations / employers, THERE IS NO middle class majority anymore.  There are the poor, the working poor, the small group of folks who are clinging on to high paying jobs or nest eggs that they earned or inherited, and then of course there are the wealthy.

By the way, the same greed driven cut-throat business tactics mentioned above are exactly what Donald Trump is famous for.

The comfortable job stability of an abundantly thriving middle class has gone bye-bye. From the working poor to the “middle class”, everyone  is constantly watching their back, praying that they don’t lose their jobs or nest eggs.  Those with the latter are constantly trying to find ways to hold on to their money, which lands many on Wall Street’s front porch of volatility.  Both know that they’re one month’s earnings away from a potential financial catastrophe.  We watched as major corporate facilities closed down.  We read and lived through countless layoffs and furloughs across the country.  To add insult to injury we saw in three decades time, hundreds of the nation’s largest corporations pull branches of their operations completely OUT of the country while eagerly GIVING OUR OLD JOBS AWAY to people overseas.

What is not as easy to see is how the wealthy have been playing the majority of Americans like a fiddle.  President L.B. Johnson advised his White House Aid, Bill Moyers in 1960,

“I’ll tell you what’s at the bottom of it,” he said. “If you can convince the lowest white man he’s better than the best colored man, he won’t notice you’re picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he’ll empty his pockets for you.”  L.B. Johnson to White House Aid, William Moyers  

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Tell me this – how in God’s good name are Mexicans (and the silent nod including black folks for that matter) responsible for the fact that 10% of people in this country, WHOM ARE PRIMARILY WHITE, earn an average of 9 times more than the entire remaining 90% do?  There aren’t enough illegal immigrants in the world that could pull off such a coup against the United States.   And how are illegal immigrants supposed to take over the country when so many are busy doing work that we’re either too lazy or unskilled to do?

There’s only one way to pull this old trick off: To exploit the majority..regardless of color, gender or faith.  First tactic: don’t let the majority get along with one another.  If they do, they will unite and take over.  To do this, the power structure must create theories and practices to wedge a division between them.  To effectively do this, there must some form of “reward system” for one group while imposing a “penalty” for another. Sound familiar?  It should. Poor whites and slaves were getting along just fine in America back in the day.  While slaves were being beaten and killed into destitution, poor whites just had no other choice.  For neither could read or write, so both had to do the same manual labor to eat.  So, when the wealthy/educated class saw these folks uniting and having babies and parties and rebellions, they knew they had to do something quick.   So, they offered poor whites land and a small taste of power in the form of jobs…as “overseers” of slaves.  Division complete  The rest is history.

(A great lesson about power by former Parliament member, Tony Benn)

If you’re super rich and back Trump, I can almost understand because you probably want to stay super rich and get even richer – regardless if you’re democrat, republican, green, purple, or independent.  I would imagine that you think Trump will definitely protect your interests because you have money.  However, this fundamental question remains:  Why should 90 % of us suffer to make you rich?

I don’t know about you, but I believe Trump could care less if half the planet had to drop dead in order for him to stay rich.  As a matter of fact, I don’t think that he would care if half of us got blown off the map by a Putin or North Korean nuclear attack judging by the way he talks.

I digress.

Let’s take a look at  the striking comparison between the Great Depression leading into the 1930’s and the Great Recession of the early 2000’s.

1.  In 1928 and 2007 the earnings of those who made the highest 10% peaked.  Also during those years, this same group paid historically low tax rates.

2.  The stock market crashed in 1929 ushering in the Great Depression.  The most devastating Recession since the Great Depression tore in with a crash in 2008.

When the largest share of the country’s money stays in the hands of a few, the many can’t afford to buy goods and services.  Without enough money, the companies who employ people to provide goods and services can no longer afford to pay them.  Wala! The companies cut jobs or worse, go out of business like those which brought lawsuits against Donald Trump.

Don’t just take my word about it.  See the hard facts below from the Economic Policy Institute  (their text is in blue).  You can find my recommendations in the conclusion.

 

Income Inequality

Download Chart PackIncome includes the revenue streams from wages, salaries, interest on a savings account, dividends from shares of stock, rent, and profits from selling something for more than you paid for it. Income inequality refers to the extent to which income is distributed in an uneven manner among a population. In the United States, income inequality, or the gap between the rich and everyone else, has been growing markedly, by every major statistical measure, for some 30 years.

Household and Family Income

Source: Emmanuel Saez, Center for Equitable Growth, June 2015

Income disparities have become so pronounced that America’s top 10 percent now average nearly nine times as much income as the bottom 90 percent. Americans in the top 1 percent tower stunningly higher. They average over 38 times more income than the bottom 90 percent. But that gap pales in comparison to the divide between the nation’s top 0.1 percent and everyone else. Americans at this lofty level are taking in over 184 times the income of the bottom 90 percent.

 

Source: Striking it Richer: The Evolution of Top Incomes in the United States, Emmanuel Saez, June 2015

 

The top 1 percent of America’s income earners have more than doubled their share of the nation’s income since the middle of the 20th century. American top 1 percent incomes peaked in the late 1920s, right before the onset of the Great Depression.

 

Source: Striking it Richer: The Evolution of Top Incomes in the United States, Emmanuel Saez, June 2015

 

Inequality in America is growing, even at the top. The nation’s highest 0.1 percent of income-earners have, over recent decades, seen their incomes rise much faster than the rest of the top 1 percent. Incomes in this top 0.1 percent increased 7.5 times between 1973 and 2007, from 0.8 percent to an all-time high of 6 percent. The Great Recession in 2008 did dampen this top 0.1 percent share, but only momentarily. The upward surge of the top 0.1 percent has resumed.

 

Source: Statistics of Income Division, Research, Anlaysis and Statistics, Internal Revenue Service, Table 1, December 2015

 

The 1990s saw the annual incomes of the ultra rich explode in size. Between 1992 and 2002, the 400 highest incomes reported to the Internal Revenue Service more than doubled, even after the collapse of the dot.com bubble in 2000. In the early 21st century, the economic boom driven by the real estate bubble would more than triple top 400 average incomes before the 2008 economic collapse.

 

 

High levels of income concentration are pervasive across the country, but there are important differences among states. Connecticut has the highest threshold for entry into the top 1 percent. At least $677,608 in annual income is needed to be a member of this elite group in that state. That’s three times the minimum needed to be among the top 1 percent in bottom-ranking Arkansas. (place cursor on each state for detailed data)

 

Sources: Household income shares for the 0-99 percent, U.S. Census Bureau. Top 1 percent data, the World Top Incomes Database. Analysis by NPR, January 2015

 

Before the 1980s, lower-income earners owned a far larger portion of total U.S. income than they do today. How much more income would these earners be making today if the United States had the same distribution of income as the nation displayed in 1979? NPR found that Americans would experience income increases of at least $3,000 across all quintile levels, with the highest quintile owed an additional $17,311. The top 1 percent of earners would see a dramatic fall in their income, losing more than just $824,844.

 

Source: Congressional Budget Office, The Distribution of Household Income and Federal Taxes, Table 3, November 2014

 

The Congressional Budget Office defines before-tax income as “market income plus government transfers,” or, quite simply, how much income a person makes counting government social assistance. Analysts have a number of ways to define income. But they all tell the same story: The top 1 percent of U.S. earners take home a disproportionate amount of income compared to even the nation’s highest fifth of earners.

 

Source: Congressional Budget Office, The Distribution of Household Income and Federal Taxes, Figure 11, November 2014

 

Since 1979, the before-tax incomes of the top 1 percent of America’s households have increased more than four times faster than bottom 20 percent incomes.

 

Source: Congressional Budget Office, The Distribution of Household Income and Federal Taxes, Figure 13, November 2014

 

The Congressional Budget Office defines after-tax income as “before-tax income minus federal taxes.” After taxes, top 1 percent incomes are increasing even faster than before taxes. Before-tax income growth for the top 1 percent has averaged 174.5 percent since 1979. The after-tax increase: 200.2 percent. A progressive tax system should function to narrow income gaps between the affluent and everyone else. Over recent decades, America’s tax system has done no narrowing.

 

CEO Pay

Source: Institute for Policy Studies and AFL-CIO analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics average hourly earnings data and corporate proxy statements, 2015

 

In the United States today, unions have a much smaller economic presence than they did decades ago. With unions playing a smaller economic role, the gap between worker and CEO pay was nine times larger in 2013 than in 1980.

 

Wages

Source: A look at pay at the top, the bottom, and in between, Spotlight on Statistics, Page 2, U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2015

 

Wages in the United States, after taking inflation into account, have been stagnating for more than three decades. Typical American workers and the nation’s lowest-wage workers have seen little or no growth in their real weekly wages.

 

Source: Economic Policy Institute analysis of Kopczuk, Saez and Song (2010) and Social Security Administration wage statistics, November 2015

 

Between 1979 and 2007, paycheck income of the top 1 percent of U.S. earners exploded by over 256 percent. Meanwhile, the bottom 90 percent of earners have seen little change in their average income, with just a 16.7 percent increase from 1979 to 2014.

 

Source: Economic Policy Institute analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics and Bureau of Economic Analysis data, January 2015

 

Productivity has increased at a relatively consistent rate since 1948. But the wages of American workers have not, since the 1970s, kept up with this rising productivity. Worker hourly compensation has flat-lined since the mid-1970s, increasing just 15.5 percent from 1979 to 2013, while worker productivity has increased 132.8 percent over the same time period.

 

Source: Economic Policy Institute analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics and Bureau of Economic Analysis data, January 2015

Nobody has to be an economist to see what’s right in from of their faces.  Greed at the top has sucked a lion’s share of money directly away from the majority and into their own pockets.  And the top earners in this country WANT the majority of Americans to remain broke and dumb so that they can continue to rob us blind.

The top 10% of earners are the very ones who are making the corporate decisions to slash thousands of American jobs at a time with a stroke of a pen which represent billions in American wages . They then hire cheaper employees abroad. Despite popular belief, overseas employees are NOT just laborers in the manufacturing sector. They are also giving our jobs to cheaper highly skilled professionals ranging from engineers and scientists to construction workers and MBA’s. 

To slap a “STUPID” sticker on the brows of Americans, they promote a big fat lie that of all people – it’s the Mexicans who are taking over.  Then, they get all the stupid-sticker folks riled up to VOLUNTARILY pay for a 2,000 mile long x 30 feet high  Trump billboard.

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If you’re not rich and are looking to improve your quality of life i.e.,. the very possibility of higher wages, lower taxes, and guaranteed healthcare in the event that you get ill, vote for Hillary Clinton.  On the other hand, if you want to lose any chance of keeping affordable/ guaranteed healthcare as you continue to work at a job which pays you less than you made 10, 15, and even 20 years ago,  while watching the  rich pay less in taxes than you do – vote for Donald Trump.  That’s just the bottom line.  Check their records.  Oh, Darnit!  I almost forgot…one won’t release them.

To Those Who Think Louis Farrakhan Preaches Hate….

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To those who think that Louis Farrakhan preaches hate, he does not.  Let me make that clear first.

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A friend of mine recently questioned why I didn’t feel that Louis Farrakhan was a racist.  This is someone whom I have not known very long, however I have spent enough time with them for them to know that I am passionate about the civil and human rights of ALL PEOPLE, not just Black people.  I will not shy from saying that I can relate to the violations of civil rights against Blacks more so than someone who themselves are not Black.

This question was posed to me by an African American, Christian brother who attended a PWI and has a very different background than I.  It marked the second time he asked me the question.  It dawned on me that if someone who has had the opportunity to get to know me is still confused by my answer, then it probably puts all kinds of question marks in the minds of others who only know me via social media.

To the brother’s question, in which he took the time to read a definition of racism as a concept consisting of. “… the superiority of one race over another….the preaching of division and separation of the races….” and a few more things that I can’t recall – my answer was no.

I do not consider Louis Farrakhan to be a racist.  I consider Louis Farrakhan to be one of the most effective leaders and orators of our time.

I am an African-American, Christian woman and mother – blessed with a college education from not one, but two of this nation’s finest Universities:  Fisk University and Lincoln University.  At the time of my birth, the assassinations of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., John F. Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, and Malcolm X were still vivid, recent memories to every adult around me.

Like many others, my grandmother’s house prominently displayed 8×10 portraits of three men who were not related to us:  John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Jesus Christ.  Of course Kennedy and King were featured in duplicates of actual photographs, so their images were etched in my memory from childhood.  The picture of Jesus was artistically drawn.  He was a white, angelic looking man with blond hair and blue eyes.  This was also impressed upon my memory from childhood.  It really didn’t matter to me back then because our historic Methodist Church in West Philadelphia had a completely Black congregation.  Even in Church, the same images of Jesus were there.  I never questioned the color of Jesus because by the age of two I learned that, “Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so…”      Jesus’ love was the fluid of life from my grandparents and parents.  We all knew that Jesus loved us and that we loved him.  I still know this with all my mind, heart and soul.

However, what I learned over the years that I didn’t know then is that Jesus was far from White with blond hair and blue eyes.    I didn’t learn this from Louis Farrakhan either, although he has certainly taught thousands of people the same.  I simply read the Bible and started asking questions. Sure enough, my parents were already abreast on the topic and talked with me about it.  Later in life I posed the same question to theologians having direct origins from Europe to Africa, and they too believed that Jesus could not have been as he is depicted in America, because firstly, the Bible describes him as having hair as lamb’s wool and bronzed feet.  They also pointed out that people of the region and time in which Jesus lived were rarely if ever described with features of the American version of Jesus. Then, when you combine that with the scientific evolutionary facts that, to this day cannot be refuted, and is also proven in the very strings of our own DNA which span across the globe and links all of us back to the remains of “the original humans” on earth, found in Africa…its a wrap.

Did that make me love Jesus any less?  Of course not.  Did it make me question why the dominant images of Jesus Christ and all that was/is described as “good” in America was White?  Yes.  Did I begin to understand why Black people talked about light skin sometimes more favorably than dark skin;  “good” long hair more desirable than “nappy” hair?  Actually, I had no choice but to learn the truth behind these mental contortions because of my beautifully Christian, loving mother who – like my Dad was (and she still is) a civil rights advocate.  (They pursued their law degrees for this purpose, by the way.)  My mother is light skinned with straight hair.  As a child I said something like I wished my hair was as straight and as “good” as hers.  With her gentle spirit, she sternly told me flat out that, “there is no such thing as good hair”.  At the age of 5 or 6, I proceeded to absorb a history lesson that I will never forget.  Lighter skin never means better, straighter hair never is “good”, and natural African hair is the last thing from “bad or nappy”.  She went on to explain how slavery basically screwed Black folks’ minds completely up.

Now, back to the issue of Brother Minister Louis Farrakhan:

I have followed the ministry AND MISSION of the Nation of Islam and Minister Louis Farrakhan for 30 years now.  Both have evolved, as we all do if we are blessed with years in which to do so.

I do recall a time when he made strong statements nearly 30 years ago about Jewish people.  STOP RIGHT HERE

Had any Black man EVER, prior to the remote controlled 1980’s of constantly live, network and cable TV, EVER spoken on LIVE TV openly and directly about the practices of a group of Jewish people in a derogatory manner?  I’m not even sure if any White man had ever done that prior to Farrakhan.

You have to keep in mind that this was prior to the internet and YouTube.  Had I only been able to see the small clips which were provided by the news like most of America did, without hearing the entire speeches or interviews – the view of those who immediately felt that he was an anti-Semite is not far fetched for me to understand.  But, I did hear his entire speeches and interviews because back then, people in the Black community had sense enough to purchase cassettes of speeches (prior to the internet, how did your families listen to Dr. King’s speeches?  More than likely from a vinyl record, an audio or video tape.)  Farrakhan’s core messages were deleted from mass media exposure.  Then…BOOM, immediately Farrakhan was labeled by the media as an anti-Semite and one who “was inciting White hate” on national television.

Minister Farrakhan is what I call “an equal opportunity slayer”, meaning one who speaks truth to power to and about anyone or any group.  I have never heard Louis Farrakhan say that all White People, European people, Jewish people, etc. are bad or evil.  Neither have I ever heard Minister Farrakhan ever say that all Black people, Muslims or Christians are completely good.  On the contrary, Farrakhan has taught others for years that the Prophet Fard Muhammad, referenced as Elijah Muhammad’s (the founder of the Nation of Islam) teacher, looked like a White man.

One can clearly see from the history listed below by https://www.alislam.org/holyprophet/quran_verses.html, that the religion of Islam is one which professes that there is One God.

“The Prophet was born in Mecca in August 570 AD. He was given the name Muhammad, which means, the praised one. When the Prophet was over thirty years of age, love of God began to possess him more and more. Revolting against the polytheism and the many vices of the people of Mecca, he chose regularly to meditate in a cave two or three miles away. When he was forty years of age he received his first revelation. In these, the first verses of the Qur’an (96:2- 6), he was commanded to proclaim the name of One God, Who has made man and sowed the seed of His own love and that of fellow man in his nature; and it was foretold that the world would be taught all kind of knowledge through the pen. These verses constitute an epitome of the Qur’an.”

Most people don’t realize that Islam / Muslims also believe that Moses, Buddha, and Jesus Christ indeed were sent from God, and refer to the Torah and Bible often. (See https://www.alislam.org/books/study-of-islam/prophets.html)

Farrakhan recently talked about Jews, to a Jewish rabbi who attended one of his press conferences in Rosemont, IL.  You should watch it.   The point he made was: Of course not all Jews are bad, just as not all Christians or Muslims are bad. However, there are those in every faction which abuse their influence and control.  He talked about the basic sins of the flesh that all humankind are guilty of:  Greed, Power, Dishonesty, Lust, Sloth, Envy, and immoral behavior period.

Interestingly, what Farrakhan discussed with the Rabbi was that Jewish people in America, although a minority, are the most powerful group of people who have control of the entertainment industry.  A majority of film production, television production and music production behemoths are owned and/or controlled by Jewish people.  What Farrakhan also stated was, just like it is wrong for Christians and Muslims to sit idly by and watch other Christians or Muslims do harm to others, the same rule applies to Jewish people.   Again, BOOM….in the news Farrakhan is racist…an anti-Semite…is preaching White hate.  (Hmmm….interesting parallel isn’t it?  The media is predominantly owned and/or controlled by Jewish people)

As one who studied the media very recently at Lincoln University, I have confirmed that it is true that the majority of the largest media companies are owned and /or controlled by Jewish people.   Does this mean that I like Jewish people or dislike them more or less because of this fact?  No.  As Farrakhan describes far more brilliantly than I is this:  he who controls the media has the power to control minds.  I also firmly believe that this is true.

Brother Minister Louis Farrakhan is an African American born Black man, now 82 years young (although he still looks like he’s in his 50’s).  The man is absolutely brilliant with an IQ probably hovering way past the genius mark.  He speaks several languages, is a proven scholar of many topics, and shook a fully composed symphony and theater to its feet just a couple of years ago after expertly playing a violin solo of Mozart or Beethoven, or one of the other greats.

Farrakhan converted to Islam in young adulthood and has seen, lived and studied the generational mental, physical, biological, institutional, and socioeconomic oppression and degeneration of African Americans – which are direct results from the enslavement of Africans/Blacks for 400 years in the “New World”, which includes the United States.  The Trans Atlantic Slave Trade by the way, was declared by the United Nations years ago as a “crime against humanity”, meaning that it merits reparations / the act of repairing the harm which was done – by the guilty nation(s).

Farrakhan is also a fiery, bold, outspoken, thought-provoking, fearless Black man.  He says what many Blacks, Hispanics, Native Americans, Caribbean Americans, and many other cultural groups want to say, but haven’t the platform, voice, or courage to  say.  And if you take the time to listen to him fully, you’ll get it.  Furthermore, you will understand what “Justice or Else” really means.  It’s the fulfillment of Dr. King’s “Poor People’s Campaign”..

Blessings,

M. Kita Williams – http://www.civilrightsagenda.com

New Congressional Black Caucus Chairman: ‘Black America Is in a State of Emergency’ – CQ

By Matt Fuller Posted at noon Feb. 23

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Butterfield said the Congressional Black Caucus needs to become “more aggressive.” (Tom Williams/Roll Call File Photo)

The Congressional Black Caucus is still getting up and running for the 114th Congress — it announced its staff Monday — but its new chairman sees an urgency for an organization that has long been known to represent the interests of minorities and the poor.

“We have a traditional role and that is to be the conscience of the Congress,” Rep. G.K. Butterfield, D-N.C., told CQ Roll Call on Feb. 20. “We’ve been using ‘conscience of the Congress’ as our brand, if you will, since our founding. But we’ve got to do more than that because black America is in a state of emergency right now.”

Butterfield noted that 1 in 4 black families — and 1 in 3 black children — live in poverty, while the unemployment rate for African-Americans is roughly double that for whites.

“We cannot continue down this path,” the North Carolina Democrat said. “We have to be assertive. We have to be more aggressive.”

Asked about the Democratic Party’s new messaging focus on the middle class, Butterfield said that was a concern he had raised with Democratic leadership.

“We cannot forget that so many of our families are not middle class,” he said.

That new focus — obsession almost — on the middle class has many in the CBC concerned that their constituencies may be left behind.

During the Democratic retreat in Philadelphia at the end of January, Butterfield’s predecessor at the CBC, Marcia Fudge of Ohio, told CQ Roll Call she had some apprehension about the party’s new message.

“I’ve always said that, as a party, we don’t talk enough about the poor,” Fudge said. “I do believe we need to talk more about how we lift people out of poverty.”

Fudge added that, while the middle class is important, she wouldn’t call it the middle class. “You’re talking about working families. I don’t believe in classes,” she said. “But I certainly do believe that we need to spend some time and attention on getting people out of poverty.”

That was a message Butterfield seemed to echo on Friday.

“I think most Americans would want to provide a safety net for those in poverty,” Butterfield said. “I think most Americans want to support their communities.”

Butterfield said that meant not cutting food stamps — “food security leads to national security” — and he mentioned raising the minimum wage. Butterfield praised Wal-Mart’s recent decision to bring their minimum wage to $10 per hour, saying he hoped other sectors of the economy would follow suit, and he noted that the economy’s recovery had not touched many Americans.

“So many people that we represent have been left behind,” Butterfield said.

On the topic of his new staff, Butterfield said he wished he had 16 staff members for the CBC, not just four. He noted that before Newt Gingrich became speaker in 1994, caucuses used to receive public funding for staff. Now individual members contribute money to individual organizations to pay personnel salary.

While Butterfield said it would be nice if congressional leaders made changes to how caucuses were funded — “and I know some Republicans who feel the same way” — he said that was not “foremost” on the CBC agenda.

“We can make it with the budget we have,” he said. “We could do more if we had more.”

Overall, Butterfield said his vision for the CBC was one of working with other Democratic caucuses — such as the Progressive Caucus and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus — and with Republicans. He specifically cited a criminal justice overhaul as an area of common ground with Republicans.

Butterfield also said he wanted to work with the White House to redirect federal dollars into what he called “persistent poverty communities.”

“We’ve got to become very active, and we’ve got to have no permanent friends, no permanent enemies,” he said. “Only our interests are permanent.”

Related:

Democrats Unite Around Middle-Class Message, Israel Says

New Congressional Black Caucus Staffers Announced

CBC Rallies to Defend Brown, Democrats’ Seniority System

CBC Members Call for Full DOJ Investigation Into Ferguson Shooting (Updated)

CBC Chastises Ryan Remarks on Poverty (Updated)

The 114th: CQ Roll Call’s Guide to the New Congress

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Rosa Parks’ archive opening to public at Library of Congress – Montgomery Advertiser

Rosa Parks’ archive opening to public at Library of Congress

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WASHINGTON— Rosa Parks, who refused to give up her seat on a segregated bus, reflected later on how it felt to be treated less than equal and once feistily wrote of how tired she was of being “pushed around” — parts of her history long hidden away.

Beginning today at the Library of Congress, researchers and the public will have full access to Parks’ archive of letters, writings, personal notes and photographs for the first time. The collection will provide what experts call a more complex view of a woman long recalled in history for one iconic image — that of a nonviolent seamstress who inspired others to act at the dawning of the civil rights era.

A protracted legal battle between her heirs and friends had kept the collection from public view for years. But in 2014, philanthropist Howard Buffett bought the collection and placed it on long-term loan at the national library. The Associated Press has previously reported on the legal wrangling that kept Parks’ archive warehoused for years. Until now, scholars have had very limited, if any, access to the materials.

“I think it’s one of the first times we’re actually able to read her voice, and it just totally goes against this image of the quiet seamstress,” said Margaret McAleer, an archivist at the library. “Her writings are phenomenally powerful.”

Parks, who died in 2005 at 92, is beloved in American history for her civil disobedience on a Montgomery, Alabama bus. That defining moment in 1955 triggered a yearlong bus boycott that helped dismantle a system of segregation.

“I had been pushed around all my life and felt at this moment that I couldn’t take it anymore,” she wrote. “When I asked the policeman why we had to be pushed around, he said he didn’t know. ‘The law is the law. You are under arrest.’ I didn’t resist.”

Parks also wrote of feeling lonely and lost living through the struggle with segregation.

After her arrest, Parks lost her job as a tailor at Montgomery’s largest department store because of her activism. Her husband, Raymond, lost his job, too, and the couple sank into deep poverty. They moved to Detroit but continued to struggle.

She traveled with the NAACP, pressing for civil rights, and eventually landed a job at the Hampton Institute in Virginia earning $3,700 a year — enough to send some money home to her husband and mother. It wasn’t until 1965 when Parks was hired for the district office of Michigan Rep. John Conyers that she finally earned a steady, living wage, archivists said.

Parks’ archive provides scholars and the public with a fuller sense of her life and faith, her personality and her pain, said library historian Adrienne Cannon.

“It’s important because we see Rosa Parks in a kind of almost frozen, iconic image — a hero that is not really real flesh and blood,” Cannon said. “Here we get a sense of a woman that is really full flesh and blood.”

The collection may surprise people by revealing Parks had an aggressive edge and supported more radical actions seeking equality over the years, archivists said. She used her symbolic status to support Malcolm X, Black Panther gatherings and the Wilmington 10 in North Carolina.

“She was so deeply opposed to segregation that as the younger generation came along, she didn’t hold back from them. She was in the fight,” said Helena Zinkham, the library’s collections director.

The library now holds about 7,500 manuscript items and 2,500 photographs from Parks, including the Bible she kept in her pocket, letters from admirers and her Presidential Medal of Freedom. A small exhibit is planned for March. All the items will be digitized and posted online.

Artifacts such as Parks’ clothing, furniture and a pillbox hat she may have worn on the Montgomery bus, will find homes elsewhere. The library plans to place them with other museums or institutions that can conserve and display Parks’ belongings. The library already is in talks with the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African-American History and Culture, now under construction on the National Mall, to possibly house some items.

Rosa Parks’ archive opening to public at Library of Congress.

House Passes Anti-Abortion Bill On Anniversary Of Roe v. Wade – Huff Post

JOHN BOEHNER

On the 42nd anniversary of the Supreme Court’s landmark abortion rights decision in Roe v. Wade, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 242-179 to pass a bill that would codify a ban on federal funding for abortions.

The bill would prevent women from having their abortions covered by Medicaid; restrict a woman’s ability to buy private insurance plans that include abortion coverage; and deny small businesses a tax credit, which they currently receive through the Affordable Care Act, if they include abortion care in their health insurance plans. It would also prevent the District of Columbia from using its own local funds to subsidize abortion care.

Democrats tried to use a procedural move Thursday to sink the bill or send it back to committee. Rep. Gwen Moore (D-Wis.) submitted a motion to recommit the bill, asking that it be amended to “prohibit any violation of the medical privacy of a woman regarding her personal choice of health insurance coverage, including victims of rape and incest.” But Republicans rejected the motion and passed the bill.

Social conservatives celebrated the move. “This is another victory for taxpayers, women, and their unborn children,” the Family Research Council said in a statement.

Republicans skipped the committee process and brought the bill to the floor as a substitute for the bill they were supposed to vote on Thursday, a ban on abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. The latter bill was tabled after some Republicans took issue with the narrow rape exception, which would require women to have reported the rape to the police in order to qualify.

Before the taxpayer funding bill passed on Thursday, over a dozen Democratic lawmakers, one after the other, gave the same statement on the House floor in protest. “The House should vote for bigger paychecks and better infrastructure instead of attacking women’s access to health care,” they said.

The White House said Thursday that if the bill passes the Senate, President Barack Obama will veto it.

“The Administration strongly opposes H.R. 7,” the Statement of Administration Policy reads. “The legislation would intrude on women’s reproductive freedom and access to health care; increase the financial burden on many Americans; unnecessarily restrict the private insurance choices that consumers have today; and restrict the District of Columbia’s use of local funds, which undermines home rule.”

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National Urban League on “Selma” and Dr. King

January 15, 2015 View e-mail online.
THIS ISSUE
• ReMARCs  • To Be Equal  • Events  • Financial Empowerment Series 
• Washington Bureau  • Jobs  • Partner Spotlight   • Affiliates
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Opening ReMARCs

With the release and success of the Ava DuVernay-directed and Oscar-nominated film Selma, millions of Americans have been fittingly reacquainted with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. – the man, his mission and his message. 

As we mark what would have been his 86th birthday today and prepare to celebrate the 30th national observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday, I wanted to also focus on the meaning of the King holiday.

In the timeless words of Coretta Scott King:

“The Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday celebrates the life and legacy of a man who brought hope and healing to America…

We commemorate Dr. King’s inspiring words, because his voice and his vision filled a great void in our nation, and answered our collective longing to become a country that truly lived by its noblest principles. Yet, Dr. King knew that it wasn’t enough just to talk the talk, that he had to walk the walk for his words to be credible. And so we commemorate on this holiday the man of action, who put his life on the line for freedom and justice every day, the man who braved threats and jail and beatings and who ultimately paid the highest price to make democracy a reality for all Americans.

Read more of Coretta Scott King’s reflection here.

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To Be Equal
“The good news is that in 2014 people were increasingly finding jobs. The bad news is that we are still digging our way out of the recession, and wage growth remains stagnant and untouched by recovery.” – Elise Gould, Economic Policy Institute, Senior Economist
More Credit and More Challenges on Jobs for Obama

The country’s most popular monthly economic scorecard was released last week with promising results – and mixed messages.

On Friday, January 9, the Department of Labor released the latest jobs report, which showed that the U.S. economy added 252,000 jobs in December. This surpassed analyst projections of 240,000 and brought the nation’s unemployment rate down to 5.6% – now at its lowest level since 2008 after 11 straight months of job growth.

Overall, the nation’s economy is in its best shape – with consumer confidence at a high – since the 2009 recession, and December marked the best year for the U.S. labor market since 1999. Expectedly, politicians have been quick to take note – and to also attempt to take credit. Before the release of the jobs report, in a pitch for the influence of the new Republican majority in Congress on the nation’s improving economy, Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said, “After so many years of sluggish growth, we’re finally starting to see some economic data that can provide a glimmer of hope. The uptick appears to coincide with the biggest political change of the Obama Administration’s long tenure in Washington: the expectation of a new Republican Congress.”

This correlation may be politically expedient, but as it adds to good political theater, it also lacks fair acknowledgment of the actions and policies that have helped contribute to the recovery. With less than a week of legislating under the collective belts of the new Republican majority in Congress, and the track record of its predecessors as the second least productive Congress in modern history, who can take credit for this “glimmer of hope”?

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UPCOMING EVENTS
 

This Weekend: Join NUL Young Professionals for LEAD [YP] Conference

LEAD[YP] Conference
January 15 – 18, 2015
Birmingham, Alabama

Are you a leader in the workplace who seeks additional training to move your career to the next level? Is your business idea ready to be shared with the world? Are you ready to make a career change, but unsure about what’s next for you? Are you a change agent who needs skills to continue to affect change in your community? Are you graduating from college and need a blueprint for your first year out of school? If you answered YES to any of these questions, then the LEAD[YP] conference is for you.

Learn, grow, and network with diverse Millennials and Gen-Xers from across the country as you continue to LEAD in your community. Join the National Urban League Young Professionals in Birmingham, AL on January 15-18 and kick off 2015 with a renewed determination to LEAD!

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Financial Empowerment Series
 
Top New Year’s Resolutions: Lose Weight and Save Money

Whether your 2015 resolution is to save money, lose weight, or both, there is good news. When you resolve to lose weight, you can also grow your savings. In other words, getting fit and healthy is a good way to improve the health of your finances. Initially, one may think that it’s about cutting back on food and, therefore, grocery costs, but improving your health and shaving inches can help you save money in many ways. Check out the 9 ways you can improve your physical and financial health in 2015!

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Washington Bureau

National Urban League Leads Discussion on Reauthorization of ESEA and Joins Coalition in Release of ESEA Principles

Nearly 20 civil rights groups and education advocates released shared civil rights principles for the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).

In the principles, the groups highlight the important and historic role the federal government has played during the 50 years since the ESEA was originally passed in promoting educational opportunity and protecting the rights and interests of students disadvantaged by discrimination, poverty, and other conditions that may limit their educational attainment. The groups say that this role must be maintained in any bill to reauthorize the ESEA, along with ensuring that each state adopts college and career-ready state standards, aligned statewide annual assessments, and a state accountability system to improve instruction and learning for students in low-performing schools.

The full text of the principles can be found here.

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Register Today – Next Level Resume: How to Leverage Your Best Resume 

Wednesday, January 21, 2015
12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. EST
Webinar

Are you tired of not hearing back from HR recruiters or simply not even getting an automated response when you send your resume? Are you ready to change that – GOOD! The only person in charge of your success is you. If you’re feeling trapped by a job you hate, a bad boss, insulting pay, or all of the above, it’s time you take ownership of your career and create a resume that truly brands YOU. Join us for resume strategies to find out how to get your resume to the top of the list and to the interview. Sandi Webster, Principal at Consultants 2 Go, has helped thousands of people land contract, part-time and full-time positions, and will share how to take your resume and career to the next level. Webinar sponsored by Phillips 66. REGISTER TODAY!

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PARTNER SPOTLIGHT
 
Apply for the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Program

Take ActionSince 2010, the National Urban League (NUL) has served as a national partner of Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses. Through this partnership, our participating Affiliates continue to successfully recruit hundreds of minority businesses to this unique business education program, which also provides access to capital. Benefits to program alumni include increased efficiency in operations; increases in revenue; improvements in daily operations and long-term goals. But, more importantly, these businesses fuel our nation’s economy by creating jobs and adding to the economy in underserved U.S. markets. In 2014, a national cohort was introduced at Babson College in effort to expand the program to businesses in cities where there is not a locally run program.

This phenomenal program has graduated more than 3,500 business owners. NUL and Goldman Sachs know that small businesses are a major contributor to local economies in the US, and therefore, wish to encourage all qualified, eligible business owners to apply. For more information about a program in your city and the national cohort, please visit www.10ksbapply.com for complete information on how to apply and read personal testimonies of alumni.

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Affiliate Newswire
‘Know Your Rights’ Forum Held for Youth in Fort Lauderdale

Broward County youth were encouraged Friday, January 9, to “know your rights” when interacting with law enforcement.

The Urban League of Broward County (Ft. Lauderdale, FL) and the National Bar Association conducted the workshop as a response to recent incidents involving law enforcement and members of the minority communities, such as the Michael Brown case in Ferguson, Mo., and the Eric Garner case in New York City.

“Our response as an organization is to have an impact on the nation by making sure that members of the African American community and other minority communities know their rights and how to survive police officer and citizen encounters,” said Terry Wiley, chair of the National Bar Associations’ criminal law section.

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What Do You Think
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

How do you plan to spend the day on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (Monday, January 19)?

A. Volunteer or participate in community service activity.

B. Learn about his life and work via books, articles, videos, etc.

C. Visit an MLK memorial site in my town/city.

Vote A Vote B Vote C
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