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The American protest paradox: Celebrated and condemned



NEW YORK (AP) – These are the hallmarks of American history: protests, rallies, sit-ins, marches, riots. They date from the early days of what became the United States, to the sights and sounds echoing across the landscapes of the nation’s colleges and universities during this activist spring.

And equally an element of American history? These same events are met with irritation, condemnation, anger, calls to stop, and sometimes using law enforcement and aggressive tactics to make it occur.

“Dissent is essential to democracy. But dissent must never lead to disorder” – President Joe Biden he said Thursday, a summary of the continuing national paradox.

Americans value the appropriate to assemble, speak out, and petition for redress of grievances. This is included in the primary amendment to the structure. They praise the social actions of the past and appreciate the progress towards equality that previous generations have made, often in danger with life and limb. However, these same actions can create anger and outright opposition when routine life activities are disrupted, in addition to fear that those speaking out are outsiders seeking to sow chaos and influence impressionable minds.

“The public didn’t like civil rights protesters. The general public disliked protesters in the course of the Vietnam War. And most of the people didn’t just like the women’s movement protesters… and all of the protests that mainly happened in the long run,” says Robert Shapiro, a professor of political science on the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University and a public affairs expert on American politics.

This doesn’t mean, nonetheless, that the protests haven’t had results, even in the event that they aren’t immediate. “Public opinion is changing on this issue because of the effectiveness of protests, which do one very important thing and that is raise the visibility and importance of issues.”

A bunch of demonstrators stop in front of the White House to wish, June 14, 1963. (AP Photo/Henry Burroughs, file)

Take, for instance, the Occupy Wall Street protest of 2011. “It drew attention to economic inequality in the United States,” he says. “After that, people paid more attention to the conversation. The problem of economic inequality in the United States has become and remains more visible.”

The protests are growing in intensity, as is the opposition to them

Over the past few weeks, protest camps have been established and destroyed in reference to the Israel-Hamas war, which has been ongoing since early October.

The Israeli government began military operations within the Gaza Strip after Hamas militants killed roughly 1,200 people and took one other 250 hostage in an October 7 attack in southern Israel. According to the Gaza Ministry of Health, the Israeli offensive killed greater than 34,500 Palestinians and caused widespread damage to infrastructure.

Pro-Palestinian demonstrators in U.S. schools are calling on their administrations to chop economic and other ties with Israel or firms they imagine support the war. Protest camps began on April 17 at Columbia University and spread across the country.

There was also opposition to the demonstrations. Administrators, under pressure to revive order and normal operations around commencement, said they supported the appropriate to talk out but to not disrupt the lives of other students or violate the foundations of conduct. Police were called in to clear encampments on campuses across the country; over 2,300 people were arrested.

But in terms of protest activity, it’s about disruption, says Celeste Faison, co-national director of the Movement for Black Lives network, a coalition of organizations that united after the 2014 Black Lives Matter protests that were catalyzed by the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri .

“Change is always possible in those uncomfortable moments and uncomfortable impulses,” he says. “What has historically created change in the United States are those who are willing to put their bodies on the line, their voices on the line, their communities on the line.”

People pass by tents arrange in front of Sproul Hall on the University of California, Berkeley in Berkeley, California, Thursday, May 2, 2024. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, file)

That resonates with Andrew Basta, a fourth-year undergraduate student on the University of Chicago who frolicked at the varsity’s camp on Tuesday. Basta, 21, said: “Not only is it fair, but I think it is our duty to disrupt the order, change our lives accordingly and resist.”

Where is the road drawn?

Rabbi Moshe Hauer would disagree that disruption is essential. He points to demonstrations and rallies which have taken place over time with permits and required consents, during which individuals expressed their voices without blocking roads or disrupting life.

People’s right to talk out is a right that “we absolutely recognize as part of being an American, as part of being serious people who know that no one has a monopoly on the truth,” says Hauer, executive vp of the Orthodox Union, a Jewish organization. “We must allow ourselves to listen to other voices and people raising their voices, clearly expressing their opinion – whether we like that opinion or not.”

However, he’s one in all those terrified by the present wave of protests on campus. He says they’ve descended into anti-Semitism and created an environment that’s dangerous for Jewish students and the community. He says it is a cause for concern when there is a movement that “chooses to define its tactics based on things… that are intimidating, threatening, that clearly, clearly, clearly lead to violence.”

Calls for orderly protests have been common throughout American history, sometimes accompanied by nostalgia for previous eras that might be lost.

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“It’s a romanticization of the past where it’s not actually true. For example, the media portrays Martin Luther King with great love and respect. But we know: back then, he was portrayed in the media as this anarchist destroyer,” Faison says. “Ultimately, we have a really bad pattern of defaming protesters when they get into a fight and then celebrating protesters when they win or when they take a risk.”

It’s a type of “ideological appropriation” when individuals who were considered radicals or crazy on the time of the protests are later considered “on the right side of history,” says Charles McKinney, an associate professor of history at Rhodes College who studies the Civil Rights Movement . “The role of the state is therefore to embody these values ​​while being ambivalent about the process by which these values ​​were implemented in the nation.”

This reinforces the concept that the facility of protest isn’t necessarily about persuading people in the current, but about influencing conversations within the culture. The strongest protest in American history – from the Boston Tea Party of 1773 onwards – resonated far beyond its time and became successful due to its enduring fame.

“It works, right?” says Robert Widell Jr., a history professor on the University of Rhode Island who has studied political movements. “It is effective at least in changing the terms of the debate and changing the way people think about a particular issue or set of issues, or just drilling into people’s brains that something is going on here.”

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Politics and Current

We need Black women in office, now more than ever




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.


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.

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Politics and Current

Black voters are not happy with the vote between Biden and Trump




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.”

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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




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.”

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