Housing Mobility Is Destabilizing Baltimore’s Black Communities

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By Lawrence Brown for Medium – In many ways, the Thompson vs. HUD housing mobility strategy should be celebrated. Indeed, for the Black families that move, research shows improved health, labor, and educational trajectories for many Black children. This certainly deserves great acclaim and applause. But the more I think about the spatial and economic impacts of housing mobility as a fair housing strategy, the more I am troubled by its effects in Baltimore City. Housing mobility via Thompson vs. HUD has given nearly 3,500 Black public housing families the opportunity to move from Baltimore City to surrounding counties. But in the process of doing so, many Black children are leaving the city. Because these children lived in segregated Black communities, many Black public schools were and continue to be disproportionately affected by the declining student population as these schools lose the per pupil funding dollars that go with each student. So Black public schools are negatively impacted. Then on top of that, Black public schools are targeted for permanent closure based on small and declining enrollment. This means Black neighborhoods lose a critical community institution and often a cultural legacy and memory associated with schools named after Black historical figures (i.e. W.E.B. Du Bois and Langston Hughes). In this way, desegregation policy furthers racism through divesting resources in Black schools and neighborhoods.

Raising Up Black Immigrants In The DACA Debate

Flickr/ Molly Adams

By Sarah Anderson for Inequality – By canceling a program that grants work permits and deportation protection for undocumented immigrants, the Trump administration has upended the lives of roughly 800,000 young people who came to the United States as children. Mexicans make up the vast majority of these Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) program recipients. But thousands of young black immigrants also stand to lose their protected status — and the challenges they face are often overlooked in the immigration debate. The Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI) has been working since 2006 to shine a spotlight on the black undocumented population and to fight the structural racism that sucks them into the criminal justice system in disproportionate numbers. According to BAJI, black immigrants make up just 5 percent of the overall immigrant population, but 21 percent of those who are deported as a result of criminal contact. This level of racial targeting gives young black undocumented immigrants particular cause for concern about their insecure status. BAJI estimates that 12,000 DACA recipients are black. The three top countries of origin: Jamaica (5,302 approved applicants), Trinidad and Tobago (4,077 approved), and Nigeria (2,095 approved).

Crumbling Pipes, Tainted Water Plague Black Communities

Troy Lowe, 4, sleeps under the arm of his father, Tory Lowe, in Milwaukee. Troy tested positive for lead poisoning after ingesting the tap water in their home. (Michael M. Santiago/News21)

By William Taylor Potter, Brandon Kitchin and Alexis Reese for Troubled Water – CAMPTI, La. – Deep in the winding mass of crumbling back streets in Campti, Leroy Hayes sets a glass of water from his faucet in a patch of sunlight on the railing of his porch and watches specks of sediment float to the top. Hayes said the town’s water system has been bad for years, with water often coming out brown and smelling like bleach. The family uses bottled water for drinking and cooking and often has to drive to the city of Natchitoches, 11 miles away, to wash their clothes. The Campti water leaves their clothes with a yellowish tint. “Don’t nobody drink that mess,” Hayes said. Like many poor African-American communities, Campti’s poverty is a significant impediment to making crucial improvements to the town’s infrastructure – including its old water system. Hayes is a lifelong resident of the town, where according to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than half of the predominantly African-American population lives in poverty. Campti’s median household income is only $15,428.

The Body Count Rises In The U.S. War Against Black People

Photo by Ryan Vaarsi | CC BY 2.0

By Ajamu Baraka for Counter Punch – Again, there is anger, confusion and calls for justice from the black community of Seattle, where the latest killing took place. Many might remember that it was in Seattle where two members of the local black community attempted to call out the racist and hypocritical liberal white community during a visit by Bernie Sanders. The black activists were subsequently shouted down by a majority of Bernie’s supporters. One of the issues that the activists wanted to raise was the repressive, heavy-handed tactics of the Seattle Police Department. Some have argued that this rash of killings of black people caught on video or reported by dozens of witnesses is nothing new, that the images of police chocking, shooting and beating poor black and working-class people is now more visible because of technological innovations that make it easier to capture these images. They are partially right. As an internal colony in what some refer to as a prison house of nations that characterizes the U.S. nation state, black communities are separated into enclaves of economic exploitation and social degradation by visible and often invisible social and economic processes.

Mississippi County Cops Engage In ‘Systematic Targeting Of Black Residents’

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By Nick Wing for The Huffington Post – The sheriff’s department of Madison County, Mississippi, methodically and often brutally targets black residents with a coordinated system of checkpoints and unconstitutional searches, the American Civil Liberties Union alleged in a federal lawsuit filed Monday. These alleged tactics have left the black community of Madison “under a permanent state of siege,” the suit says. In an 86-page complaint, the ACLU of Mississippi and the law firm Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP accuse the Madison County Sheriff’s Department of abusing its power to uphold racial segregation and oppression in Mississippi’s wealthiest county. “For Black residents, Madison County is a Constitution-free zone where their right to equal protection under the law and against unreasonable searches and seizures is nonexistent,” Jennifer Riley-Collins, executive director of the ACLU of Mississippi, said in a statement. Madison County is approximately 57 percent white and 38 percent black, according to the 2010 Census. The population remains starkly divided along both racial and economic lines, however, with “predominantly Black towns, neighborhoods, and business districts and predominantly white towns, neighborhoods, and business districts,” according to the suit.

Community Had Duty To Shut Down Montgomery County Hearing On The Bethesda African Burial Ground

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By Marsha Adebayo for Black Agenda Report – Black community members attempting to preserve an ancestral burial ground charge they were “deceived, misled and ambushed” by officials in suburban Montgomery County, Maryland. The Bethesda African Cemetery was already buried under a parking lot. Now the county has assigned an all-white team to determine if there are bodies in the cemetery – after booting two renowned Black experts off the case. Activists call the county’s conduct “criminal.” The Community Had a Duty to Shut Down the Montgomery County Hearing on the Bethesda African Burial Ground “An all-white cultural resource management firm was awarded the contract to investigate the Bethesda African cemetery.”

Baltimore’s Mayor Rejects $15 Minimum Wage Bill

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By Danny Haiphong for Black Agenda Report – Black Agenda Report (BAR) has been the only media outlet in the United States to criticize and condemn mainstream Black political leadership. BAR anointed such leadership a well-deserved new title: the Black misleadership class. The Black misleadership class occupies the halls of local, state, and federal office. Members of this class have been traditionally nurtured from the bowels of the Democratic Party, with few notable exceptions. The rise of this class has correlated with an increase in representation of Black entertainers, athletes, and media pundits to ensure the most progressive polity in the US, Black America, is kept in the ideological thrall of the ruling system. Baltimore’s Democratic Party mayor Catherine Pugh showed off her lock-step allegiance to the Black misleadership class with her veto of a bill that would have raised the local minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2022.

Donald Trump’s Old Deal For Black America

Donald Trump meeting with the Republican Leadership Initiative in New York, Aug. 25, 2016. Dr. Ben Carson is seated next to Trump at center. Source: Grandmother Africa.

By Jessica Levy for Black Perspectives – On January 20, 2017, the world watched—many in horror—as Donald Trump was officially sworn in as the forty-fifth president of the United States of America. The president’s inaugural address, delivered in front of the whitest Inauguration Day audience in decades, bore the distinct mark of a man whose campaign played on the racist, sexist, Islamophobic, homophobic, and transphobic fears of white America. The moment included the President making thinly veiled references to “the civilized world” and “a new national pride.” Still, when confronted with charges of bigotry, Trump and his allies have insisted this revolution will serve all Americans.

8 Cities Have New Co-op-Style Black Worker Centers

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By Melissa Hellmann for Yes Magazine – Delonte Wilkins was looking for a fresh start when he was released from Pennsylvania’s Schuylkill Federal Correctional Institution in February. He polished his resume and applied to several jobs in his hometown of Washington, D.C. But when he was turned down for three job offers once those employers learned of his criminal background, Wilkins soon realized he couldn’t easily leave his felony behind.

Laura Flanders Show: African American Cooperatives & Civil Rights

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By Staff of TRNN – This week, Laura Flanders interviews Jessica Gordon Nembhard on the role that economic cooperation played in the civil rights movement

Whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling On American Dream & Breaking Black Body

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By Jeffrey Sterling for The Huffington Post – I am in a federal prison in Colorado. While here, I have read Ta-Nahesi Coates’ award-winning book Between the World and Me. Though my background is different from Coates’ (I did not grow up in the mean streets of a large city), I enjoyed reading Between the World and Me because I identify with so much of it. It is also those commonalities which make it rather difficult for me to read. Between the World and Me serves as a reminder and a warning.

Corporation Sues Poor, Black Community Fighting Environmental Racism

The Arrowhead landfill in Uniontown, Ala., has drawn complaints from residents since it opened in 2007, and more since it started accepting coal ash in 2008. Photo courtesy of Michael D. Smith

By Kendra Pierre-Louis for Inside Climate News – “My dream,” said Ben Eaton, one of the roughly 3,000 people who live in the working-class, mostly African-American hamlet of Uniontown, Alabama, “was to grow up, get married, build my own home, and just live life comfortably.” It all worked out—except for the comfort. That part of his dream, says Eaton, was buried by a landfill. His dream home is now less than three miles from the Arrowhead landfill, which has filled his life with noise, an acrid smell and now, a lawsuit that followed when he complained about it.

Fighting To Live Free Of Police Violence While Black

Hundreds gathered to protest outside the Chicago Police Department headquarters on November 24, 2014, in solidarity with Marissa Alexander and in response to a grand jury's non-indictment of Darren Wilson, the Ferguson police officer who shot and killed Michael Brown. (Photo: Sarah-ji)

By Alicia Garza for Truthout – 2010 marked the beginning of a historic period of Black resistance to police terrorism and state-sanctioned violence. Beginning with the murder of Oscar Grant in January 2010 by then-BART police officer Johannes Mehserle, and continuing with the high-profile cases of Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis, Renisha McBride, Michael Brown, Rekia Boyd, Tamir Rice and too many others, police violence, particularly in poor and Black communities, has taken center stage nationwide.

Being Black Still Barrier To Rural Cooperative Board Membership

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By John Farrell for ILSR – In 32 years, little has changed for electric cooperatives in the South. A recent study published by The Rural Power Project shared results of a similar survey (of 313 cooperative boards) and found just 90 blacks among the 3,000 board members. This 4% proportion of African American board leadership is in states where the black population represents more than 22% of the total. The disparity is even higher between men and women, with men representing 90% of board members but only half the population.

Not Much Difference In Recent Years, But Over 40 Years Blacks Make Progress

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By Jesse J. Holland for Associated Press – African-Americans are doing about the same as they have in previous years as the nation rises out of the Great Recession, and much better than they did when its first “State of Black America” report came out 40 years ago, the National Urban League said Tuesday. The new report, “Locked Out: Education, Jobs & Justice,” looks at how blacks and Hispanics have been doing in the United States over the last few years and how they were doing in 1976, the year the National Urban League began issuing its annual report.