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Biden’s world reacts to Morehouse’s response, signaling that the president may raise his concerns in the speech

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“What he has done and will continue to do leading up to the speech is to listen very carefully to all the concerns that are raised and make sure that he raises them in the speech or separately and beyond the speech,” said Stephen Benjamin, senior adviser to President Biden and director of the Office of Engagement Public White House. He added: “The war is clearly a very important topic of dialogue… across the country. This is maybe most evident on college campuses now.

Because Morehouse President David A. Thomas announced President Biden as keynote speaker at the all-male college’s a hundred and fortieth commencement on May 19, many students, faculty and alumni expressed opposition to the Biden administration’s policy of supporting Israel’s military operation in Gaza against Hamas, a U.S.-designated organization terrorist attack that killed over 34,000 Palestinians.

Outrage at the war and Biden’s role in it was expressed at a campus town hall between Morehouse students and President Thomas, and a letter was circulated amongst Morehouse graduates calling the president’s invitation “a moral disaster and an embarrassment to the university.” “

Pro-Palestinian demonstrators wave a Palestinian flag, calling for a ceasefire in Gaza during a “White House People’s Ceasefire Iftar” protest outside the White House in Washington, April 2, 2024. President Joe Biden downsized during the traditional Ramadan at the White House amid tensions related to his support for Israel’s offensive in Gaza, officials said on April 2, 2024. (Photo: SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

“The president is also concerned about civilian casualties, the Palestinian people and their safety,” added Richmond, who noted that the president has “criticized” the way Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is conducting the ground operation in Gaza and has “dedicated significant resources” to Palestinians in Gaza.

A former Biden White House adviser said the president will “continue efforts” for a “long-lasting peace and two-state solution” between Israel and Palestine.

Despite the Biden administration’s actions and campaigns to bring a few peaceful resolution in the Middle East, some alumni see the president’s visit as a direct conflict with the legacy of Morehouse’s most enlightened alumnus: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

“Dr. King was famous not only for his leadership in the Civil Rights Movement, but also for risking his reputation (and) relationships to speak out against the Vietnam War at the end of his life,” said Edward Mitchell, Morehouse alumnus and deputy director nationally at the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). “The legacy of speaking out against an unjust war is one that students across the country are living today.”

Mitchell, who signed the letter sent to Morehouse graduates, said that while he understands why the university would normally welcome the president of the United States to deliver the commencement address, the timing is “horrible.”

“When I was at Morehouse, there was no way they would have invited George W. Bush to speak after Hurricane Katrina or at the height of the Iraq War,” he explained. “So why is this acceptable?”

Mitchell said the Biden administration is “living in an alternate reality if it thinks it can speak out” at Morehouse and is “not facing serious criticism from young black men who overwhelmingly oppose the genocide ongoing in Gaza.”

He said that until Biden stops “enabling an unjust, genocidal war,” Morehouse “is not the place he should be,” adding: “His presence is an actual distraction from what ought to be a student- and parent-centered celebration, without the specter of protest or disruption.”

Morehouse College graduates attend Morehouse College’s 139th 2023 Commencement Ceremony on May 21, 2023 in Atlanta. (Photo: Paras Griffin/Getty Images)

He added: “I know students are angry and frustrated and may decide that speaking up is more important than a peaceful ceremony. The decision is theirs alone.”

Controversy aside, Benjamin and Richmond, two of the most distinguished Black men advising Biden in the White House and on the campaign, say the president selected to attend Morehouse’s graduation ceremony to honor HBCUs’ wealthy history in developing Black male leaders.

“When a president agrees to speak at a school, he is recognizing the value of the school, the value of the students, and in Morehouse’s case, the impact and legacy that the school has had on the history of this country,” said Richmond, an authority on former U.S. congressman from New Orleans, Louisiana.

“Whether it’s being a teacher, an engineer, a lawyer, a doctor, or being Secretary of Homeland Security like Jeh Johnson. At school, we educate people who change communities and the world.”

When President Biden delivers his speech on the Morehouse campus in the heart of Atlanta, he’ll develop into the second sitting U.S. president to accomplish that. The first was President Barack Obama, the country’s first black commander-in-chief, for whom Biden was his vice president.

“I think it raises the profile of Morehouse again,” Richmond said of President Biden’s upcoming visit.

While some critics dismissed the president’s Morehouse speech as a campaign stoppage intended to shore up Black voters in the battleground, Biden officials rejected that suggestion. Instead, they argue that the president has a real relationship with the campus and understands its legacy.

Sculptured bust of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. decorates the table where you’ll be able to see the redesigned Oval Office awaiting President Joseph Biden’s visit to the White House in Washington. (Photo by Bill O’Leary/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

“He considers Dr. King his personal hero … and his bust is only on display with a few other people in the Oval Office,” said Benjamin, who also noted that “several” Morehouse graduates work in the White House executive office, in the one in the West Wing. He added: “He considers the Morehouse connection to be genuine.”

Richmond, who remembers talking about Morehouse with Biden during his 2020 campaign, said the Biden-Harris administration “respects” Morehouse and the larger Atlanta University Center, which incorporates Spelman College, Clark Atlanta University and Morris Brown. Richmond said that’s why the president delivered one among “his most important civil rights and voting rights speeches” on campus in 2022, and why Vice President Kamala Harris last yr invited Morehouse to her “Fighting for Our Freedoms” campus tour.

A Biden campaign official said the president saw the inaugural address as a chance to remind 2024 graduates of “all the things he accomplished specifically for the Black community” because “(they) were involved” in the last presidential election.

“It’s more about making sure they understand the impact that they have had, that they will have and that we need,” Richmond noted, “and not necessarily in a political context, but in a community context, a national context.”

Benjamin said President Biden’s upcoming address to a whole lot of Black male graduates will give attention to students and their families.

“When the president speaks, it will be a memory for a lifetime,” he said. “I have the impression that he will talk about what unites us rather than what divides us.”

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This article was originally published on : thegrio.com
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Politics and Current

We need Black women in office, now more than ever

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Juneteenth is a time to rejoice Black freedom across America and a reminder that freedom have to be continually earned. It was a Black woman, Opal Lee, who organized June 16 as a federal holiday. You may not know her name or the story that, on the age of 89, she walked across 14 states – 2,500 km – from her home in Fort Worth, Texas, to Washington, D.C., advocating for June 16 to be a national holiday. Carrying out work while remaining unrecognized is a well-known challenge for Black women in America.

Every election we hear that Black women are the “backbone of the Democratic Party,” its most loyal voting group, having polled with higher turnout than every other group over the past five presidential election cycles.

In 2020, Black women voters pushed President Joe Biden into the White House. In fact, 90% black women voted for the Democratic presidential candidate, giving him ultimate victory over Donald Trump, especially in key battleground states like Georgia and Pennsylvania.

However, our voting power has not translated into our own electoral success and we remain significantly underrepresented in elected office.

Even as Black women gained representation and Kamala Harris became the primary Black vp of the United States in 2020, America lost its only Black female senator on her option to higher office. When Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson was confirmed to the Supreme Court in 2022, there have been still no Black women in the Senate. Laphonza Butler has since been appointed to switch the late Dianne Feinstein in California, making her only the third black woman to ever serve in the upper legislative house.

June

Although record numbers of Black women now hold congressional, statewide and legislative positions, they proceed to enrich less than 6% of elected offices though it comprises 7.8% of the US population. The disparities are most dramatic in states like Mississippi, where Black people make up the biggest share of the population in any state – 38% – say Black women only 10 of the 174 seats in the state legislature — still less than 6%.

It’s time to make Black women the face of the Democratic Party, not only its backbone. We deserve the tools and resources we need to not only win, but thrive.

This yr, Black women have candidates on the ballot to make that occur. Everyone must do the whole lot they’ll to support and support them.

Just take a look at Angela Alsobrooks in Maryland and Lisa Blunt Rochester in Delaware, who’re on the verge of becoming the primary two black women to serve concurrently in the U.S. Senate.

Look at Lateefah Simon, who ran in nine primaries with 56% of the vote in her bid to switch Rep. Barbara Lee in California’s twelfth Congressional District (she’s going to face one other Democrat in November). AND Janelle Bynumwho won the first as a candidate endorsed by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and sought to flip Oregon’s Fifth Congressional District from red to blue.

Advancing Black women in political office is at the guts of Emerge’s work as we head into the warmth of the 2024 election. Our Sitting Together program is the nation’s first advanced leadership candidate program designed specifically for Black women who aspire to pursue higher-level positions.

And it really works in any respect levels of presidency. Cohort members have already been successful in the rise of Ohio Rep. Emilia Sykes to Congress, currently representing Ohio-13, Pennsylvania Rep. Joanna McClinton to Speaker of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, and Tennessee Rep. London Lamar to the Tennessee Senate.

Research shows that when black women run for office, they win at a better level than their white and/or male counterparts. I imagine it’s because they not only understand the problems facing on a regular basis Americans from all walks of life, but they live these issues – from economic insecurity, access to health care, and problems with equity and equality.

Therefore, we would not have to sacrifice progress for excellence if the appropriate candidates are on the ballot. While the presidential races will get essentially the most attention, the races for local mayors, state legislatures, governors and congresses can have a much greater impact on Americans’ day by day lives – that is where Black women candidates are working to generate energy and a spotlight.

That’s why I take a look at November with such optimism. I even have seen the keenness and influence of Black women leaders who’ve been lifted up by our organization and pushed to turn out to be a part of the American political system. This inspires me and I hope it inspires more women of color to vote or run for office themselves.

As we rejoice Black resilience and achievements this June, we must move the fight into November and vote for candidates who will defend equality and freedom for all people.


This article was originally published on : thegrio.com
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Black voters are not happy with the vote between Biden and Trump

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Black Voters, Biden, Trump, 2024 Presidential Election


A brand new poll of Black voters in Michigan and Pennsylvania shows how dissatisfied many individuals are in having to decide on between current President Joe Biden and former commander-in-chief Donald Trump in the upcoming presidential election.

New discoveries from the University of Suffolk reveal like supporting Biden amongst black voters who helped him take office 4 years ago is declining ahead of the November election. Polls of Black voters in two swing states have Biden ranked first or second because most would still prefer to vote for him to avoid one other Trump administration.

Pew Center research revealed that 92% of Black voters supported Biden during the 2020 election. But now, lower than five months before the 2024 presidential election, Biden’s support amongst black voters is dramatically lower than it was 4 years ago.

Take your sisters. Olivia and Macayla Jones. “I’m not voting for Trump, but I’m not enthusiastic about voting for Biden. None of my close friends are thrilled with either candidate. It’s a universal feeling,” said Olivia Jones, 22, a senior at Central Michigan University

Macayla Jones, 23, a communications coordinator at a youth center in Bellville, Michigan, plans to vote for Biden as “the lesser of two evils, which still worries me a little.”

While Trump was in Detroit, working judge black votersa recent poll shows how unpopular the forty fifth president is amongst African American voters. Those planning to vote in November still favor Biden over Trump or third-party candidates like Cornel West or Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

The poll was conducted June 9-13 via telephone survey of 500 African-Americans registered in Pennsylvania and an equal number in Michigan. Inflation and the economy are the biggest issues Black voters want to deal with.

Moreover, 14% remain undecided who and whether they may vote in November.

“I honestly don’t know what I’m going to do this time,” said Howie, an accountant and longtime registered Democrat. “I don’t necessarily believe in any of them at this point.”

Macayla and Olivia Jones represent a younger group of voters who desire a candidate who makes them feel like their concerns are being heard. Key issues they wish to resolve include a ceasefire in Israel’s war in Gaza, protecting reproductive rights, eliminating student loan debt and gun reform.

“I prefer candidates who better represent our generation and what we want this country to look like,” Macayla said. “Someone who listens to us.”


This article was originally published on : www.blackenterprise.com
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Politics and Current

Undeterred Clarence Thomas under fire after reports revealing more undisclosed trips aboard the GOP billionaire’s private jet and nearly $4.2 million in gifts

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Clarence Thomas Claims Critics Have Plotted to

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas is under fire again over his repeated acceptance of luxury gifts and free travel after Senate Democrats released a series of documents showing the veteran lawyer didn’t disclose three private flights he took with billionaire Republican Party donor Harlan Crow in 2017–2021.

As detailed in a document provided by Crow’s lawyers to the Senate Judiciary Committee, two of the flights were round trips and one included multiple destinations.

The latest revelation in the case follows a shocking ProPublica report last yr that exposed Judge Thomas usually accepted gifts from multiple billionaire Republican megadonors, including former Berkshire Hathaway executive David Sokol, former Miami Dolphins owner H. Wayne Huizenga and Crow, a Dallas real estate mogul, amongst others.

Clarence Thomas claims critics planned to 'bombard' his reputation amid calls for his resignation
Associate Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas speaks at the Heritage Foundation on October 21, 2021 in Washington, DC. Clarence Thomas has served on the Supreme Court for 30 years. He was nominated by former President George H. W. Bush in 1991 and is the second African American to serve on the Supreme Court, after Justice Thurgood Marshall. (Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Judge Thomas never mentioned it in his annual financial reports, regardless that he received very expensive gifts for over 20 years.

The Senate Finance Committee can also be investigating Thomas’s financial dealings over the past 20 years amid increased calls for stricter ethics rules and Thomas’ resignation.

Recent documents show that Judge Thomas traveled across the country at will, which indicates that in May 2017 he flew on a Crow private jet from St. Louis to Kalispell, Montana, and then went to Dallas. Then, in March 2019, the conservative justice took the billionaire’s private jet from Washington, D.C. to Savannah, Georgia, and back. In June 2021, Thomas secretly flew from Washington, D.C., to San Jose, California, and back, in line with logs obtained by the Judiciary Committee.

The most notable discovery is that Thomas made three journeys that had not been previously disclosed.

The news got here shortly after a report by the group Fix the Court found that Thomas had received more gifts than every other Supreme Court justice in history, with the total value of those gifts since 1981 exceeding $5.87 million, including nearly .2 million dollars were received in just the last 20 years, in line with the commission’s reading.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin, an Illinois Democrat, criticized Thomas for what he called a transparent violation of ethics and decency.

“Nearly $4.2 million in gifts, and even that was not enough for Judge Thomas, with at least three additional trips that the Commission has not disclosed to date, the Commission found,” Durbin said in a press release. press release. “The Senate Judiciary Committee’s investigation into the Supreme Court’s ethics crisis provides new information – like the one we released today – and makes clear that the high court needs an enforceable code of conduct as its members continue to choose not to meet for the moment.”

Thomas previously admitted that he received only 27 gifts on federal disclosure forms before Fix the Court released its research, while his lack of transparency led to ongoing discussions on Capitol Hill about judicial ethics.

Legal experts suggested that failing to reveal the trips would likely not result in any penalty for Thomas.

The Code of Conduct for Judges, established in November 2023, has no provisions on consequences in the event of breaches, nor does it provide a mechanism for determining whether such breaches have occurred.

The code, devoid of any real enforcement power, has come under increasing criticism in the wake of the various ethics scandals which have engulfed the Supreme Court over the past yr.

More recently, the controversy surrounding Justice Samuel Alito and the display of far-right flags at two of his residences in reference to the January 6 attack only highlighted the ineffectiveness of the code.

Last June, Alito also sought to dispel a ProPublica report alleging that he went on a luxury fishing trip to Alaska 15 years ago with a billionaire Republican donor whose hedge fund was the subject of several Supreme Court decisions that Alito never he didn’t withdraw.

Meanwhile, a few of the gifts Thomas received helped cover various living expenses, including private school tuition for his grandson, automobile batteries and tires for the family vehicle, ProPublica reports.

But Crow was the one who really raised the lifestyle for the conservative justice after a few of the financial difficulties Thomas had in his early years on the Supreme Court.

According to ProPublica, Crow paid for Thomas’ extravagant around-the-world vacation on a private jet, and also financed exotic cruises on a luxury yacht and the purchase of a luxury RV with a $267,000 loan that Thomas didn’t should repay.

The reasons for the largesse towards Thomas remain unclear, raising concerns about potential attempts to influence and corrupt the highest court in the land.

Crow previously insisted that he and Thomas were close friends and that Thomas had not adjudicated on any matters involving his estate.

Yale Law School professor George Priest, who has spent summers with Thomas and Crow in the past, told ProPublica that he believed Crow’s generosity was geared toward improving Thomas’s quality of life fairly than attempting to influence his legal opinions.

Lawmakers use every ethics controversy as a platform to call for a code of conduct that imposes real consequences for actions perceived as undermining confidence in the Supreme Court.

“As a result of our investigation and subpoena authorization, we are providing the American public with greater clarity about the scope of Supreme Court justices’ ethical lapses and the need for ethics reform,” Durbin also noted in his statement. “Despite his lowest ever approval rating and endless self-made scandals, Chief Justice Roberts continues to refuse to use his current powers to implement an enforceable code of conduct.”

As with all revelations about Thomas, the latest report sparked criticism of the Supreme Court justice and calls for his removal or resignation.

“Stop framing it as, ‘Thomas must resign’ – he won’t ever, ever, ever try this – start pushing for impeachment. With each revelation about Clarence Thomas’ gifts from billionaire donor Harlan Crow, it becomes more and more clear: Congress must impeach Thomas,” one X user wrote.

“Accepting money shows he has no integrity. It would take honesty to resign. He has served the far right throughout his career,” wrote one other user. “This man is an embarrassment to every bar card holder and has no shame in bringing the same to SCOTUS.”

This article was originally published on : atlantablackstar.com
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