November 7, 2015
ISSUE | ELECTION DAY The right to vote is priceless If the ancestors of the vast majority of Philadelphians were alive today, they'd be ashamed that a city company gave a $10,000 prize to some "lucky voter" on Tuesday ("South Philly woman gets $10k prize for voting," Philly.com, Wednesday). Most Philadelphians fall into at least one of these categories: a woman, an African American, a Catholic, a Jew, someone age 18 to 21, a tenant, or a descendant of someone not allowed a vote in his or her native country.
August 10, 2015 |
In the context of events outside professional football, accusations that racism played a role in Eagles coach Chip Kelly's decisions to trade several black players are understandable, though not believable. In recent months, this country has seen evidence of the unequal treatment African Americans face at the hands of police, at times resulting in death. It has heard charged rhetoric in defense of an odious emblem embraced by racist groups, the Confederate battle flag. Meanwhile, schemes persist to further erode protections provided to blacks by the Voting Rights Act. With such evidence of racial discord playing in the background, Kelly traded running back LeSean McCoy in March and cornerback Brandon Boykin last week, only to have them echo wide receiver DeSean Jackson, who suggested after being traded last year that race played a role in Kelly's decision.
July 16, 2015 |
IF PRESIDENT OBAMA had been on time to the NAACP Convention in Philly yesterday, you might've heard some thoughts on voting rights from a few Texas folks who helped strike down the state's voter-ID law. A panel discussion on such laws and the group's voting-rights initiatives was cut to a short speech from Texas NAACP President Gary Bledsoe on the same stage where Obama appeared about an hour later. The commander in chief was tied up with calls related to the Iran nuclear deal, announced yesterday.
July 15, 2015 |
The NAACP's national leader said Monday that the group was strong as ever and vowed that it would fight with renewed intensity on behalf of African Americans to defend freedoms under attack decades after the height of the civil rights movement. In a rousing keynote speech at the NAACP's national convention in Philadelphia, Cornell William Brooks urged members to emulate the bravery of previous generations who risked their lives with demonstrations and marches to bring about change.
July 10, 2015 |
WHAT A DIFFERENCE 11 years makes. The last time the NAACP held its national convention in Philadelphia, in 2004, then-President George W. Bush turned down an invitation to speak - a spokesman complained of "rather hostile political comments" - and one of the highlights was a speech by Bill Cosby, hailed as "a philanthropist and a role model. " As the leading civil-rights organization returns tomorrow to the Pennsylvania Convention Center to launch its five-day 106th annual convention, the NAACP is making plans to welcome President Obama - as the nation's first black president sees rising approval numbers near the end of his second term - but it's highly doubtful that the scandal-scarred Cosby name will even come up. There will be plenty of other things to talk about.
April 11, 2015 |
Cornell Brooks is small of stature and slight of build, but there was nothing slight about the NAACP president's voice once he began addressing the crowd. His fists shaking and his voice bellowing, he delivered his speech before the Cabrini College audience as though it were a Sunday sermon. "Fifty years," he roared, referencing the recent anniversary of the historic march in Selma, Ala., that helped lead to the 1965 Voting Rights Act. And yet, he thundered, "for every act of justice, there seems to be an equal and opposite action of injustice.
January 21, 2015 |
FOR THE MOTHER of Brandon Tate Brown, a young man gunned down by police last month, yesterday's re-creation of Martin Luther King Jr.'s March on Washington was especially meaningful. Brown, 26, was shot dead Dec. 15 during a traffic stop in the city's Mayfair section after a scuffle with police. Tanya Brown was one of almost a dozen speakers who took to the microphone to address about 6,000 people on Independence Mall and call for change. "I am extremely grateful to be part of an imitation of Martin Luther King's walk," Brown said.
November 17, 2014 |
THE SUPREME Court's surprising decision last week to hear a new challenge to the Affordable Care Act has once again focused attention on Chief Justice John Roberts, who cast the deciding vote in a 2012 decision that saved Obamacare from being declared unconstitutional. Many court watchers expect that he will once again be the swing vote in deciding a case crucial to the health-care law, this one involving questions about who qualifies for subsidies under the law. But Roberts' vote in a recent voting-rights case suggests he might not step in to save the health law this time.
July 15, 2014 |
THOUGH it may not have made national headlines, last week a Senate committee voted on a resolution that could have major ramifications for our democracy. From where I sit, our democracy could certainly use some support. It seems to me that it's getting harder and harder for real people to vote, and easier and easier for corporations to buy elections. One of the main offenders pushing us in this direction has been the Supreme Court. From their 2010 Citizens United decision, which opened the door to unlimited corporate political spending, to their Shelby ruling last year, which gutted a key provision of the Voting Rights Act, to their McCutcheon decision in April, which said yes, the super-rich can put even more money directly into political campaigns, the Supreme Court's conservative majority doesn't exactly seem to be on the side of "We, the People.
April 25, 2014
AFTER Tuesday's Supreme Court decision on affirmative action, we have a better idea why "Mad Men" is such a popular TV show. The series, set in the '60s, doesn't strike a note of nostalgia for the fashions, the glamour or the incessant smoking, but for the period in the country when actual progress was being made. Consider some of the milestones of the '60s: the court's Brown v. Board of Education decision, which prohibited segregated schools; the Civil Rights Act that outlawed discrimination; the enforcement of affirmative action for the first time; the Voting Rights Act; and the war on poverty, to name just a few. It was a time of high ideals and strong leaders who pushed the country to reach for racial, social, civic and financial equality.