Charleston and Donald Trump
By Lisa Brock, Senior Editor and Academic Director, Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership
Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina (Darryl Brooks/ Shutterstock.com)
Like many, my heart was broken upon hearing that 21 year-old Dylann Roof staked out the historic Emanuel AME Church in Charleston and after sitting in prayer with the elderly and welcoming parishioners, yelled, “You rape our women and you’re taking over our country, and you have to go.” On that tragic day, June 17, 2015, he methodically murdered nine people with the intent to kill more.
Because Roof was seen in photos linking his racist beliefs to the Confederate flag, because he slaughtered people in a church and because he killed a known and respected member of South Carolina’s State House of Representatives, the state’s politicians were finally shamed into heeding the four decades old call by black and progressive residents to remove the flag from the capitol grounds. After two days of emotional debate in the State House the flag was brought down on July 10, 2015 at 10 am.
State Representative Jenny Anderson Horne, a descendant of Jefferson Davis, leader of the Confederacy, said this in a raw and tearful plea as she pointed to black state representatives in the House Chambers:
“This flag offends my friend Mia McCloud, my friend John King, my friend Rev. Neal. I cannot believe that we do not have the heart in this body to do something meaningful, such as take a symbol of hate off these grounds on Friday.”
And she continued in her appeal, if this “is not done now, one is telling the widow of Senator Pickney and his two children that they do not matter…” Continue reading →
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Rethinking Truth-In-Sentencing in Illinois
By Joseph Dole
We are all aware of the dire fiscal state that Illinois currently finds itself in. One of the main causes of this has been years of passing laws without any consideration of the financial costs of their enactment: one of the most egregious examples of this being the Truth-In-Sentencing (TIS) law.
Truth-In-Sentencing in Illinois requires that nearly all violent offenders serve 85% to 100% of their sentences. Prior to TIS being enacted here in 1998, offenders served, on average, 44% of their sentences. Continue reading →
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Urban Planning in the Era of New Jim Crow
By Ryan Lugalia-Hollon | Next City
1996, the year the War on Poverty was to be won, nearly one of every three young black men in America was under correctional supervision, whether in prison, on probation or on parole.
Starting in the early 1980s, the War on Poverty had begun to be overshadowed by the War on Drugs. Instead of attacking the causes of concentrated disadvantage, the White House began waging a parallel battle on the people most visibly affected by it: black Americans in cities.
Rather than viewing poverty as the destructive force holding back many communities, the War on Drugs blamed illegal narcotics and those who distribute them. In the eyes of D.C. policymakers, drugs had torn apart neighborhoods — not concentrated unemployment, housing discrimination or struggling schools.
Though largely unaddressed by urban planners, this shift had huge implications for the practice of planning. Continue reading →
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