Lawyer Defending Racial Gerrymandering Picked For Top Civil Rights Job

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By Lee Fang for The Intercept – JOHN GORE, AN ATTORNEY who has worked to defend laws that critics say are designed to weaken the voting rights of African-Americans and other minorities, was selected by President Donald Trump to serve as a senior civil rights official at the Department of Justice. Gore’s new role as Trump’s choice for deputy assistant attorney general of the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department is notable because he will lead the division that oversees civil rights laws, including voter suppression issues. Trump and his nominee to lead the Justice Department, Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, are strong supporters of voting restrictions such as voter identification.

The Forgotten, Radical Martin Luther King Jr.

In Chicago in 1967, Martin Luther King delivers a speech calling for an end to fighting in Vietnam. (AP Photo/Charles Harrity)

By Matt Berman for National Journal. Martin Luther King Jr. was not just the safe-for-all-political-stripes civil-rights activist he is often portrayed as today. He was never just the “I Have a Dream” speech. He was an antiwar, anti-materialist activist whose views on American power would shock many of the same politicians who now scramble to sing his praises. The total spectrum of his beliefs may not be as easy as “let freedom ring,” but the full MLK was much larger than the safe-for-everyone caricature that is often presented today. King’s more radical worldview came out clearly in a speech to an overflow crowd of more than 3,000 people at Riverside Church in New York City on April 4, 1967. “The recent statement of your executive committee are the sentiments of my own heart and I found myself in full accord when I read its opening lines: ‘A time comes when silence is betrayal,’ ” he began.

Chicago Police Routinely, 'Systemically' Abused Civil Rights: DOJ

The investigation was launched after the fatal police shooting of black 17-year-old Laquan McDonald. (Photo: niXerKG/flickr/cc)

By Nadia Prupis for Common Dreams – Chicago police systematically violated people’s civil rights by routinely using excessive force, particularly against African-Americans and Latinos, according to a bombshell report (pdf) from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) released Friday. The report is the conclusion of a 13-month investigation into the Chicago Police Department (CPD), launched after the October 2014 police killing of 17-year-old black Chicago resident Laquan McDonald, whose fatal shooting was captured by the patrol car’s dashboard camera. According to the inquiry, police routinely violated the Fourth Amendment by using “unnecessary and avoidable” force, including deadly force, which investigators attributed to poor training and accountability systems.

Can North Carolina’s Moral Mondays Movement Spark New Civil Rights Fire?

Rev. William Barber, center, argues his right to enter the House Speaker's office at the North Carolina General Assembly in Raleigh, N.C. AP / Gerry Broome

By William Barber II for Ebony – Donald Trump’s triumph across the South and Midwest, which won him the Electoral College and the White House, did not extend to Governor Pat McCrory in my home state of North Carolina. After fighting his loss with false accusations of voter fraud, McCrory finally conceded in early December, becoming the only incumbent GOP governor in America to lose reelection. But partisan extremists in the North Carolina legislature called a special session last week to strip power from McCrory’s opponent, Democrat Roy Cooper.

South Korean Lawmakers Vote To Impeach Park Geun-hye

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By Zoom in Korea. Seoul, South Korea – On December 9, lawmakers of the South Korean National Assembly passed a historical motion to impeach the current president Park Geun-hye. 234 out of 300 legislators in the National Assembly voted in favor of the impeachment motion. Now that the National Assembly has passed the motion to impeach Park, it is up to the Constitutional Court to decide whether to make the impeachment final in accordance with the constitution. Park will be suspended for the time being as the Constitutional Court deliberates. During this period, the current Prime Minister, Hwang Kyo-ahn, will serve as the acting president. In order for the impeachment to go officially in effect, six out of the nine judges of the Constitutional Court must agree to rule in favor of the motion within 180 days.

Newsletter: Turn Widespread Discontent Into Mass Movement

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By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers for Popular Resistance. With the election of Donald Trump as president the struggle continues for economic, racial and environmental justice. We knew we would be in struggle no matter who was elected and have been calling for #NoHoneymoon protests for months. We also support calls made for protests in the days before the inauguration and after them. We expect to see a growing presidency of protest under Trump as the movement will grow and continue to demand justice, human rights and a people-based democracy. We need to build now, provide a vision and have conversations at the local level so when the attacks on our communities occur and false promises of Donald Trump are made obvious people know where they can turn. We can turn widespread discontent into a mass movement with the power to transform the nation.

In This Election, I Hear Echoes Of The Past

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By Michael Eisenscher for Popular Resistance. The Trump administration has no mandate. If we do our work well, the people will be with us. Our job is to help transform popular discontent into a political force – a movement that demands that the nation live up to its highest ideals. A majority of Trump voters are not reactionary ideologues, virulent racists, rabid nativists or crude sexists. They voted their pain, anger, fear and hopelessness. They voted their cynicism about an economic system that has left them behind and a corrupt political system that privileges the rich and well connected while treating them as patsies. But whatever individual motivations may have led them to vote for Trump, there can be no doubt that their votes for Trump gave racism and sexism a pass and have emboldened the most racist, xenophobic, misogynist and homophobic forces. And if the outcome of the election were not sufficient, Trump has put his personal stamp of approval on the forces of reaction by appointing Breitbart News executive Steve Bannon – a virulent racist, sexist, homophobe and anti-Semite – as his top White House counselor. Hate crimes, which increased throughout the campaign, have begun to spike following the election.

Tribe Says Police Are Violating Civil Rights Of Dakota Access Pipeline Opponents

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Dakota Access Pipeline protesters square off against police between the Standing Rock Reservation and the pipeline route outside the town of Saint Anthony, North Dakota, on Oct. 5, 2016.

By Michael McLaughlin for The Huffington Post – This week, the Standing Rock Sioux called on the Department of Justice to investigate state and local authorities for civil rights violations during protests over the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline. But North Dakota authorities are refuting the tribe’s accusations, saying they’ve been patient and accommodating with protesters. “We keep getting portrayed as the jackbooted thugs coming down for a confrontation,”

Civil Rights Group Sues Federal Gov Over Surveillance Of Black Activists

A woman holds up a sign reading Black Lives Matter in the street in Ferguson, Missouri, on the anniversary of Michael Brown’s death. Photograph: Jim Vondruska/Xinhua Press/Corbis

By Aaron Morrison for Identities Mic – It’s no longer a secret that police have conducted surveillance on activists involved in the Movement for Black Lives. Increasingly, these activists say they want to know exactly what’s in the files the government may be keeping on them. Color of Change, a national racial justice group, filed a lawsuit in federal court in New York on Thursday, over the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s rejection of its request for surveillance information on Black Lives Matter activists.

Civil Rights Agency Blasts EPA For Weak Environmental Justice Record

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy testifies during a Congressional hearing on February 11, 2016. The EPA has come under fire for how it handles environmental discrimination concerns. Credit:Mark Wilson/Getty Images

By Zahra Hirji for Inside Climate News – A new report by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights charges the Environmental Protection Agency with doing too little about environmental discrimination against low-income and minority communities, with one commissioner calling the agency “practically toothless” in dealing with the issue. The Commission on Civil Rights, an independent, bipartisan agency, focused on the EPA in its annual statutory enforcement report that is sent to Congress and the White House.

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

New Film 'Love and Solidarity', Non-violence For Systemic Change

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By Will Jones and Mike Honey for Portside. Non-violence is NOT passive, but is militant and effective theory and practice. Portside Moderator Will Jones interviews Honey about the film and highly respected, long time RELIGIOUS LEADER, organizer, and educator James Lawson. Will Jones: Why this film now? Mike Honey: James Lawson’s theory and practice, ranging from the early civil rights and anti-war movements until now, offers us on the left, in the streets, a long term view based on his experience of teaching and organizing since the 1950s. He never claims to have all of the answers but provides a framework that challenges us to not just protest but to transform situations and systems, to build coalitions, to win people over to sanity. The Black Lives Matter movement’s evolution from impressive protests in Ferguson and elsewhere to a platform and call for continued action is an example of both the power and challenges faced by us here in USA and globally.

Boycotts Won’t Change Mississippi—But Civil Rights History Shows Us How We Can

Bob Dylan plays on the back porch of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee office in Greenwood, Mississippi, in 1963. Photo by Danny Lyon / Magnum Photos.

By Jake McGraw for Yes Magazine – On May 13, the U.S. Department of Education sent a letter to school districts across the country clarifying that Title IX, which prohibits sex discrimination in schools, applies to transgender students—most notably, their right to use the bathroom that matches their gender identity. The letter brought backlash from many quarters. But some of the harshest came from my home state of Mississippi, which has a long and brutal tradition of fighting the expansion of civil rights. Declaring his opposition on Facebook, Governor Phil Bryant chose language that evoked the ugliest ghosts of the state’s past…

UCLA's Kent Wong On Life And Legacy Of A Longtime Civil Rights Activist

The Rev. James Lawson Jr. (left) speaks to UCLA students attending a graduate seminar he co-led with Kent Wong (right), director of the UCLA Labor Center. Among the civil rights leaders they invited to participate is well-known social activist Dolores Huerta (middle), who co-founded the union that later became the United Farm Workers of America. Huerta received the UCLA Medal, the highest award given by the university, for her work.

By Stefanie Ritoper for UCLA News Room – I have been teaching nonviolence and social movements with Rev. Lawson for the past 15 years. He has had a huge impact in articulating a historic framework in the use of nonviolence in the United States. He’s been a leading scholar who has enlightened many about nonviolence– not only college students, but also those in social justice movements nationwide. Major civil rights books have been written about him throughout the decades, and he was extremely influential in counseling Dr. King and key civil rights leaders on the necessity and power of nonviolence.

Federal Prosecutors Declined Police Prosecutions 96% Of The Time

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By Brian Bowling and Andrew Conte for Trib Live – Federal prosecutors declined to pursue civil rights allegations against law enforcement officers 96 percent of the time since 1995, a Tribune-Review investigation found. The Trib spent six months analyzing nearly 3 million federal records on how the Justice Department and its 94 U.S. Attorney offices handled criminal complaints against law enforcement officers from 1995 through 2015. The records include matters referred to Justice by the FBI and other agencies and those it opened on its own.