The maternal mortality rate in the United States is 23.8 deaths per 100,000 births — the highest of any developed country. The U.S. is also the only developed country where maternal mortality rates are rising. The crisis is especially dire in the South. As of 2018, Louisiana had the highest maternal mortality rate of any state with 58.1 deaths per 100,000 births — over three times the national rate. It was followed by Georgia with 48.4 maternal deaths per 100,000 births. Of the 10 states with the highest maternal mortality rates, six were in the South. Besides Louisiana and Georgia, they are Arkansas (37.5), Alabama (36.4), Texas (34.5), and South Carolina (27.9). The rates are even higher for Black and indigenous women.
Jacksonville, FL - Throughout the months of January and February, there were over 20 bomb threats directed towards historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and Black churches, most of which were in the South. These concentrated actions over the last few months are a microcosm of the extensive history of racism and national oppression that Black people have faced within the United States, particularly its southern region. In general, all Black communities within the United States face systemic racism. The evidence is in the economically depressed ghettos of every city (big and small), riddled with deprived schools and social organizations, and lacking any significant political power. But racism alone cannot explain the particular violence that Black people face within the United States.
The mismanaged integration of the United States into the global economy has devastated U.S. manufacturing workers and their communities. Globalization of our economy, driven by unfair trade, failed trade and investment deals, and, most importantly, currency manipulation and systematic overvaluation of the U.S. dollar over the past two decades has resulted in growing trade deficits—the U.S. importing more than we export—that have eliminated more than five million U.S. manufacturing jobs and nearly 70,000 factories. These losses were accompanied by a shift toward lower-wage service-sector jobs with fewer benefits and lower rates of unionization than manufacturing jobs.
The Iranian government vowed today to impose sanctions on the United States over racial and policing issues. Secretary-General of Iran's Human Rights Office Kazem Gharibabadi said the Islamic Republic will publish a list of American entities and individuals involved in human rights abuses. They will then be subject to sanctions from Iran, the official Islamic Republic News Agency reported. Gharibabadi did not offer specifics on what the sanctions will entail, but said the move relates to policing issues in the United States, particularly in regard to Black Americans. “Human rights experts confirmed that police brutality in the US against people of color especially, African-Americans, should be considered systemic racism,” he said.
The poet Dwayne Betts for a long time hid the fact that he had been incarcerated from the ages of 16 to 24 for a carjacking. Betts, a lawyer who was sworn into the Connecticut bar two years ago, is finishing up his PhD at Yale University, where he also earned his law degree. He currently works as a public defender. In his book ‘A Question of Freedom: A Memoir of Learning, Survival, and Coming of Age in Prison,’ and in his poems, including his third book of poems ‘Felon,’ he grapples with the degradation, humiliation, and trauma of prison life. Betts, like Virgil in Dante’s ‘Inferno,’ leads his readers into the dark and frightening labyrinth of the American prison system, where, as he writes, “Black men go to become Lazarus.” Confronting evil has a cost.
Biden rescinded the Trump executive order that threatened efforts to address racial disparities in the workplace under the implausible guise of “combating anti-American race and sex stereotyping.” But just because the push to stop people from talking or learning about racism, sexism, heterosexism or this country’s history of oppression has moved off the front page does not mean that it’s gone away. Legislators in some 27 states are trying to require teachers to avoid what are termed “divisive concepts” in classrooms and curricula, an extremely thinly veiled effort to force teachers to propagandize about US history rather than teach it, and to punish those that don’t toe the line. It’s deeply disturbing. But it turns out teachers don’t take kindly to being told to underserve their students by distorting historical and present reality.
Even the most transit-rich cities in America are failing to connect people without cars — who tend to be disproportionately low-income or people of color — to job opportunities, a new analysis finds. Analysts at TransitCenter comprehensively measured disparities in public transportation access among demographic groups in six major cities between February 2020 and February 2021, a period during which some of society’s most enduring inequities were only magnified by the COVID-19 pandemic. All six of the cities analyzed in the group’s new Transit Equity Dashboard — Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, the San Francisco Bay Area, and Washington — rank in the top 10 largest transit systems in the United States by ridership (a seventh portal for the Boston region is forthcoming).
Just past midnight on December 14, 2020, Osamah Alsaidi walked near a police cruiser on a dark city street of Paterson, New Jersey’s third-largest city just outside New York City. Shortly thereafter, that very same police car cut off Alsaidi’s path and out jumped officers Kevin Patino and Kendry Tineo-Restituyo. They immediately accosted the 19-year-old, striking him numerous times and dropping him to the ground where they continued their assault. The police report they filed described Alsaidi as “acting belligerent” and “screaming profanities.” That report would remain the only evidence of the incident until surveillance footage surfaced from a store just across from where the beating took place. That footage, vindicating Alsaidi’s claims, would ultimately go viral at the beginning of 2021.
I am the author of a book, The Color of Law, that disproves the myth of de facto segregation. In truth, we are residentially segregated, not naturally or from private bigotry, but primarily by racially explicit policies of federal, state, and local governments designed to prevent African Americans and whites from living as neighbors; these 20th-century policies were so powerful that they determine much of today’s residential, social, and economic inequality. Because powerful government policy segregated us, racial boundaries violate the fifth, 13th, and 14th amendments. Our nation thus has a positive constitutional obligation to redress segregation with policies as intentional as those that segregated us. The federal government made housing and homeownership critical to families’ economic stability and upward mobility.
Not so long ago, business was business. The vast majority of corporations happily functioned according to the doctrine of economist Milton Freidman, who believed a company’s sole responsibility was to make gobs of money for its shareholders to roll around in. And, whether due to ideology or cynicism, few expected anything more from the business world. Today, corporate executives have taken to substituting the word shareholder with "stakeholder," a buzzword for the broader group that also includes customers, employees, even neighboring communities. But companies that espouse the "interests of all stakeholders" best take care to follow their words with action, especially when it comes to social and environmental justice.
Over thirty years ago, James Baldwin was the subject of a PBS documentary The Price of the Ticket (1989) in which he reflected on what he considered a lack of progress in combatting racism in America: “What is it that you wanted me to reconcile myself to. I was born here more than 60 years ago. I’m not going to live another 60 years. You always told me that it’s going to take time. It’s taken my father’s time, my mother’s time, my uncle’s time, my brothers’ and my sisters’ time, my nieces and my nephew’s time. How much time do you want for your progress?” Sadly, his comment remains vital today. On April 21, 2021, a jury found Minneapolis police officer Derrick Chauvin guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the death of George Floyd. There has been much written regarding whether the verdict represents justice for Floyd...
On March 29, Eric, the most prominent lay leader at my church in Cambridge, Massachusetts, perished from COVID-19. He was one of 685 people across the United States and one of 15 in Massachusetts to die from the disease that day. On April 6, Eric’s mother Elmo also died from the coronavirus, one of 907 in the US and one of 12 in Massachusetts. Both were likely casualties of a nation and state that betrayed them more than once during the pandemic: First by failing to quell the virus last year; secondly by allowing people like them to fall behind in getting vaccines; and thirdly by relaxing coronavirus restrictions while the nation remains riddled with racial vaccine disparities.
The fix was in. The U.S. state was determined to demonstrate to the world that its system was able to render “justice” to its captive African/Black population. So, unlike in the handful of cases where charges were brought against police officers for killing a Black or Brown person, the prosecutors this time did not pretend to follow the demands of the ill-informed public to bring charges of first degree or second-degree murder that would set a bar for conviction so high, it could not be met. That is a favorite strategy of prosecutors when conviction is not what they are looking for. The prosecutors in the Derek Chauvin case did the opposite. They stacked the charges in a way that would make it impossible to escape a conviction. And everyone fell in line because the stakes were so high. Could the Shining City on the Hill, whose leadership was now associated with the “decent” Democrats, render justice for the killer of George Floyd?
Pennsylvania - Why did 7,000 Black Pittsburgh residents leave the city between 2014 and 2018? The answer depends on who’s talking. Community activist Randall Taylor, a former Pittsburgh Public Schools board member and city council candidate, calls it a “crisis of forced mass displacement” of Black residents. City councilmen Ricky Burgess and R. Daniel Lavelle say the issue is more nuanced and that most of the 7% of the Black population that left during that time period did so by choice. Taylor and 31 other city residents on Tuesday petitioned Pittsburgh City Council for a public hearing on the issue and to begin a discussion about what to do about it.
Watch a live broadcast from central Paris where people are gathering on Saturday 20 March to march against "systemic racism and police brutality." Organised by several activist groups to mark the International Day Against Police Brutality (15 March) and the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (21 March), people are demanding the creation of an independent entity to monitor the use of force by police officers and reparation for victims of police brutality. One of the organisers is Assa Traore, whose brother Adama, 24, died in police custody in 2016 after he was stopped for an ID check. According to a 2018 medical assessment, Traore died of asphyxiation after officers pinned him to the ground.