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Monday,  Nov.,  3, 2014
In This Issue
The 2014 Elections: What's at stake for African Americans
Paul Krugman: In Defense of Obama
40,000 Voter Registrations Have Mysteriously Vanished
In South, a Racial Divide Shapes Midterm
The Enormous, Secretive Effort To Purge Thousands Of Minorities From 27 States' Voter Rolls.
National Coalition on Black Civic Participation Launches 10-Day Voter Education and Mobilization Countdown
The New Orleans Agenda: Mary Landrieu is the right choice for us
Analysis of Constitutional Amendments and Orleans Parish Propositions...The Public Affairs Research .


Liberty Bank & Trust



The 2014 Elections: What's at stake for African Americans



By Norman Hill and Velma Murphy Hill, Pittsburgh Courier



PITTSBURGH  -  The 2014 elections are almost here, and the focus is whether the Republicans can gain control of the U.S. Senate, a first since 2006.


Thirty-six seats are being contested, and Republicans need only six gains to win a majority.

The stakes are extraordinarily high for the nation. But for African Americans in particular, the outcome of the midterm elections next month may not only be a game changer, but also a game ender.


First off, Republicans consistently oppose civil rights legislation. A GOP majority in the Senate would also likely put in jeopardy measures that help moderate and low-income Americans, including one essential initiative: an increase in the national minimum wage.


The current rate is a poverty wage of $7.25 an hour.


President Obama wants to increase it to $10.10 in three stages. We believe a living minimum wage of $15 is needed. But if the Republicans control both houses of Congress, the outlook for any significant increase will be grim.


Velma Murphy Hill
Velma Murphy Hill

Further, last June, the U.S. Supreme Court eliminated section 4 of the Voting Rights Act. This means that states and localities with a history of voting discrimination against minorities no longer have to submit proposed changes in voting rules to the U.S. Department of Justice. Clearly, this makes it much easier for Republicans to erode the Black vote, which, by the way, is overwhelmingly Democratic.


Since the Supreme Court's decision, eight of the fifteen states released from the submission requirement have made voting harder by establishing photo ID requirements, cutting voting hours, purging voting roles, or ending same-day registration. The Supreme Court's decision can be reversed by legislative action, but that won't happen if the Republicans recapture the Senate.


Equally alarming are the likely consequences on the health of many African Americans and modest- and low-income American workers if the Republicans win. The President's Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, will be more vulnerable to the Republicans' efforts to erode or eliminate it if there is a GOP Senate.


Similarly disruptive will be a Republican Senate's power to block Obama judicial nominations. Such a majority is certain to force Obama to compromise and propose more conservative judges than otherwise. The ripple effect would mean more federal rulings adversely affecting racial and ethnic minorities, women, workers, organized labor, and all of society's more vulnerable.


Lastly, since the 1960s, the number of Blacks attending college has increased dramatically. But so has its soaring costs. Most students leave undergraduate schools with debts in the tens of thousands of dollars from borrowing to pay for tuition and fees. Obama has taken executive action to cap monthly payments, in many cases, at a low percentage rate based on the graduate's income. But legislative action for further relief would be much more difficult with Republicans ruling Congress.



Fortunately, there is something that Black voters can do. In many close Senate races, Blacks constitute a significant proportion of the population: 32% in Louisiana; 31% in Georgia; 22% in North Carolina; 16% in Arkansas; 14% in Michigan; and 8% percent in Kentucky.


In 2012, Black voter turnout was higher than that for Whites - a first. Translation: A higher proportion of registered Black voters (66.2%) cast ballots than the proportion of White voters (64.1%). This was also true for the great majority of the southern states where Blacks are most concentrated.


That year, Black turnout was 1.7 million votes greater than in 2008, an increase of nearly 10%. But caution is advised. The African-American vote has typically dipped dramatically during off-year elections. Reversing this tendency is made more difficult by the new strategic voting restrictions.


More than ever, organizations like the NAACP, the A. Philip Randolph Institute and the AFL-CIO and its affiliated unions need to rise to the task. Without strong voter education, and get-out-vote programs, Blacks, workers, and all ordinary Americans will be shoved backward like no other time in the modern era.


This year, more Democratic than Republican Senate seats are up for grabs. In 2016, that ratio will be reversed. And if the GOP gains the Senate, Republicans will have a good chance to grab the White House and the full Congress. That would be a trifecta of bad bets.


In this race for a bright, inclusive American future of racial equality and economic justice, we have to do more than cheer for winners, we must on Nov. 4 show up, stand up and be counted. Vote.


Norman and Velma Hill have spent a lifetime in the trenches and high offices of the American civil rights and modern labor movements. Norman was the staff coordinator of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, initiated by A. Philip Randolph and organized by Bayard Rustin, is presently President Emeritus of the A. Philip Randolph Institute. Velma is a former Vice President of the American Federation of Teachers and the former Civil Rights and International Affairs Director of the Service Employees International Union. They are currently in the process of writing a memoir titled Climbing Up the Rough Side of the Mountain, due for publication in early 2014. The memoir reflects the importance of A. Philip Randolph and Bayard Rustin in our lives, particularly their role as our mentors and as leaders in the continuing struggle for racial equality and economic justice.








In Defense of Obama


The Nobel Prize-winning economist, once one of the president's most notable critics, on why Obama is a historic success

by Paul Krugman, October 8, 2014


Photo: Sean Gallup/Getty
Photo: Sean Gallup/Getty

ROLLING STONE  - When it comes to Barack Obama, I've always been out of sync. Back in 2008, when many liberals were wildly enthusiastic about his candidacy and his press was strongly favorable, I was skeptical. I worried that he was naive, that his talk about transcending the political divide was a dangerous illusion given the unyielding extremism of the modern American right. Furthermore, it seemed clear to me that, far from being the transformational figure his supporters imagined, he was rather conventional-minded: Even before taking office, he showed signs of paying far too much attention to what some of us would later take to calling Very Serious People, people who regarded cutting budget deficits and a willingness to slash Social Security as the very essence of political virtue. 


And I wasn't wrong. Obama was indeed naive: He faced scorched-earth Republican opposition from Day One, and it took him years to start dealing with that opposition realistically. Furthermore, he came perilously close to doing terrible things to the U.S. safety net in pursuit of a budget Grand Bargain; we were saved from significant cuts to Social Security and a rise in the Medicare age only by Republican greed, the GOP's unwillingness to make even token concessions.


But now the shoe is on the other foot: Obama faces trash talk left, right and center - literally - and doesn't deserve it. Despite bitter opposition, despite having come close to self-inflicted disaster, Obama has emerged as one of the most consequential and, yes, successful presidents in American history. His health reform is imperfect but still a huge step forward - and it's working better than anyone expected. Financial reform fell far short of what should have happened, but it's much more effective than you'd think. Economic management has been half-crippled by Republican obstruction, but has nonetheless been much better than in other advanced countries. And environmental policy is starting to look like it could be a major legacy.


I'll go through those achievements shortly. First, however, let's take a moment to talk about the current wave of Obama-bashing. All Obama-bashing can be divided into three types. One, a constant of his time in office, is the onslaught from the right, which has never stopped portraying him as an Islamic atheist Marxist Kenyan. Nothing has changed on that front, and nothing will.


There's a different story on the left, where you now find a significant number of critics decrying Obama as, to quote Cornel West, someone who ''posed as a progressive and turned out to be counterfeit.'' They're outraged that Wall Street hasn't been punished, that income inequality remains so high, that ''neoliberal'' economic policies are still in place. All of this seems to rest on the belief that if only Obama had put his eloquence behind a radical economic agenda, he could somehow have gotten that agenda past all the political barriers that have con- strained even his much more modest efforts. It's hard to take such claims seriously.


Finally, there's the constant belittling of Obama from mainstream pundits and talking heads. Turn on cable news (although I wouldn't advise it) and you'll hear endless talk about a rudderless, stalled administration, maybe even about a failed presidency. Such talk is often buttressed by polls showing that Obama does, indeed, have an approval rating that is very low by historical standards.


But this bashing is misguided even in its own terms - and in any case, it's focused on the wrong thing. 


Yes, Obama has a low approval rating compared with earlier presidents. But there are a number of reasons to believe that presidential approval doesn't mean the same thing that it used to: There is much more party-sorting (in which Republicans never, ever have a good word for a Democratic president, and vice versa), the public is negative on politicians in general, and so on. Obviously the midterm election hasn't happened yet, but in a year when Republicans have a huge structural advantage - Democrats are defending a disproportionate number of Senate seats in deep-red states - most analyses suggest that control of the Senate is in doubt, with Democrats doing considerably better than they were supposed to. This isn't what you'd expect to see if a failing president were dragging his party down.


More important, however, polls - or even elections - are not the measure of a president. High office shouldn't be about putting points on the electoral scoreboard, it should be about changing the country for the better. Has Obama done that? Do his achievements look likely to endure? The answer to both questions is yes.




When Obama signed the Affordable Care Act, an excited Joe Biden whispered audibly, ''This is a big fucking deal!'' He was right. 


The enactment and implementation of the Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare, has been a perils-of-Pauline experience. When an upset in the special election to replace Ted Kennedy cost Democrats their 60-vote Senate majority, health reform had to be rescued with fancy legislative footwork. Then it survived a Supreme Court challenge only thanks to a surprise display of conscience by John Roberts, who nonetheless opened a loophole that has allowed Republican-controlled states to deny coverage to millions of Americans. Then technical difficulties with the website seemed to threaten disaster. But here we are, most of the way through the first full year of reform's implementation, and it's working better than even the optimists expected.


We won't have the full data on 2014 until next year's census report, but multiple independent surveys show a sharp drop in the number of Americans without health insurance, probably around 10 million, a number certain to grow greatly over the next two years as more people realize that the program is available and penalties for failure to sign up increase.


It's true that the Affordable Care Act will still leave millions of people in America uninsured. For one thing, it was never intended to cover undocumented immigrants, who are counted in standard measures of the uninsured. Furthermore, millions of low-income Americans will slip into the loophole Roberts created: They were supposed to be covered by a federally funded expansion of Medicaid, but some states are blocking that expansion out of sheer spite. Finally, unlike Social Security and Medicare, for which almost everyone is automatically eligible, Obamacare requires beneficiaries to prove their eligibility for Medicaid or choose and then pay for a subsidized private plan. Inevitably, some people will fall through the cracks.


Still, Obamacare means a huge improvement in the quality of life for tens of millions of Americans - not just better care, but greater financial security. And even those who were already insured have gained both security and freedom, because they now have a guarantee of coverage if they lose or change jobs.


What about the costs? Here, too, the news is better than anyone expected. In 2014, premiums on the insurance policies offered through the Obamacare exchanges were well below those originally projected by the Congressional Budget Office, and the available data indicates a mix of modest increases and actual reductions for 2015 - which is very good in a sector where premiums normally increase five percent or more each year. More broadly, overall health spending has slowed substantially, with the cost-control features of the ACA probably deserving some of the credit.


In other words, health reform is looking like a major policy success story. It's a program that is coming in ahead of schedule - and below budget - costing less, and doing more to reduce overall health costs than even its supporters predicted.


Of course, this success story makes nonsense of right-wing predictions of catastrophe. Beyond that, the good news on health costs refutes conservative orthodoxy. It's a fixed idea on the right, sometimes echoed by ''centrist'' commentators, that the only way to limit health costs is to dismantle guarantees of adequate care - for example, that the only way to control Medicare costs is to replace Medicare as we know it, a program that covers major medical expenditures, with vouchers that may or may not be enough to buy adequate insurance. But what we're actually seeing is what looks like significant cost control via a laundry list of small changes to how we pay for care, with the basic guarantee of adequate coverage not only intact but widened to include Americans of all ages... (Click link below for full story)









40,000 Voter Registrations Have Mysteriously Vanished  


The Vanished Voter Registrations Could Determine Control of the Senate


by Alice Ollstein, Think Progress


Vote Here ATLANTA, GA - A court could decide any day now whether tens of thousands of Georgia voters can cast a ballot this November, a choice that could sway the outcome of the state's neck-and-neck races for Governor and Senator.


Earlier this year, organizers fanned out across nearly every one of Georgia's 159 counties and registered nearly 90 thousand people who have never voted in their lives, most of them people of color, many of them under 25 years old. But when the groups checked back in late August, comparing their registration database to the state's public one, they noticed about 50,000 of the registrations had vanished, nearly all of them belonging to people of color in the Democratic-leaning regions around Atlanta, Savannah and Columbus.


Georgia's state minority leader Stacy Abrams (D), whose group The New Georgia Project led the massive registration drive in March and April, told ThinkProgress what happened next was "deeply disturbing."


"We asked the Secretary of State to meet with us. We wanted to understand if we were doing something wrong, or if there was another database we didn't have access to. But he refused to meet with us," she said.


Joined by the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and the Georgia NAACP, the organizers asked twice more for a meeting about the missing registrations. When early voting began across the state and they still had not heard from the Secretary of State, the New Georgia Project took them to court. In arguments on Friday, Francys Johnson, president of the Georgia NAACP, asked Fulton County Superior Court Judge Christopher Brasher to compel the state to process every valid registration.


"In 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012, we were only able to know there were problems when it was too late, when people started showing up to the polls and they were not on the voter rolls, and folks were already disenfranchised," Johnson explained to ThinkProgress over the phone. "We must catch that disenfranchisement before it takes place."


Lawyers for Republican Secretary of State Brian Kemp and three counties who are also the target of the suit countered that state law sets no deadlines for processing voter registrations, and emphasized that any voter unsure of their registration status can always cast a provisional ballot. Those who do so must return within three days to present additional documentation or otherwise cure any problem with the system. But the NAACP and New Georgia Project called this remedy "unacceptable."


"I cannot tell you what little return we actually see in terms of provisional ballots," Johnson said. "The election is decided the night of the election. It's not really a ballot at all."

Even if every one of the registrations in limbo does get processed and added to the voter rolls by Election Day, Johnson says the uncertainty has still been "problematic." Because the 40,000-odd voters have not yet received their registration cards in the mail that tells them which precinct they're assigned to, "this ambiguity may discourage people from going to out to vote, and those who do go won't know where to go, and they'll be shuffled around from polling place to polling place."


Amidst this chaos, the Secretary of State publicly accused the New Georgia Project in September of submitting fraudulent registration forms. A subsequent investigation found just 25 confirmed forgeries out of more than 85,000 forms-a fraud rate of about 3/100ths of 1 percent.


Abrams explained to ThinkProgress that all other third party registration groups must submit every form they get no matter if it's incomplete or forged. She characterized the subpoena and accusations as an attempt to intimidate and discredit her efforts.


"If you accuse people of fraud, the public will believe there is fraud, just like if you yell 'fire,' people run," she said. "The problem is, if there is no fire, you're causing damage, and if there is no fraud, you've damaged reputations."


Dr. Francys Johnson agreed, but ThinkProgress the accusations have not worked as the state may have intended.


"If they thought it would have a chilling effect on voter registration efforts, they were mistaken. It has emboldened our efforts. It has awakened the consciousness of people that the right to vote is still precariously endangered."


The legal battle comes at a pivotal time for the state of Georgia. The state's African-American, Latino, Asian and Native American populations have grown extensively, as has their share of the electorate. The growth is dramatic enough that many political analysts predict the state's political identity could swing from red to blue over the next few years.


At the same time these changes were taking place, the state enacted measures courts have found to disproportionately impact voters of color. In 2006, Georgia enacted a "strict" voter ID law. Five years later the state cut the number of days of early voting. In 2012, the Secretary of State purged thousands of voters from the rolls a few months before the presidential election. Just last month, the same Secretary of State lamented before an audience of Republican activists that the registration of more voters of color would mean a win for Democrats.


Abrams told ThinkProgress she launched the registration effort to make sure the officials in local, state and national office actually represented the people of the state.


"We are facing a new Georgia: demographically, politically, economically, and socially," she said. "We should all be engaged in a process to bring them into the civic conversation. It is dangerous, no matter your party, to have large swaths of your population disengaged and disaffected."


A ruling from Judge Brasher could come at any time, and based on his remarks during Friday's hearing, Abrams says she is not optimistic for a ruling in her favor. The New Georgia Project can appeal, but with the election less than two weeks away, the window is getting narrow for forcing the state to process the registrations.


Even as she vowed to continue reaching out over the coming years to the hundreds of thousands of remaining unregistered voters in Georgia, Abrams said her "deepest fear" is that many of the newly registered young voters will by turned off voting for life if they can't cast a regular ballot this November.


"Fast-forward ten years, and you'll have a majority-minority population that has even less power than it has right now, because they'll have become so disengaged, " she warned. "And the people with power will solidify that power and put up barriers to any possible change."


One concrete way this could happen is the next time the state revises its voting maps, in 2020. The governor elected in 2018 will have the final say on those maps, which could be gerrymandered to benefit one political party for many years to come.


Alice Ollstein is a Political Reporter at ThinkProgress. She graduated from Oberlin College in 2010 and has been reporting in DC ever since, covering the Supreme Court, Congress and national elections. Her work has aired on Free Speech Radio News, All Things Considered and Telesur. Alice is originally from Santa Monica, California.









In South, a Racial Divide Shapes Midterm 


By Perry Bacon, Jr.,    NBC NEWS


Georgia Voters
Alvin Dollar, of Decatur, right, carries a sign proclaiming he voted early as he talks with Dianna Green, of Atlanta at a Democratic rally encouraging early voting before U.S. Senate candidate Michelle Nunn takes the stage, Monday, Oct. 27, 2014, in Decatur, Ga.

NATIONAL  -  Local black leaders in four key Southern states are taking dramatic steps to mobilize African-American voters as Democrats fret that minority turnout will be too tepid to boost white Democratic candidates to victory next Tuesday.


Their efforts include extending voting hours in their counties, leading voter registration efforts and attacking Republicans in blunt and at times racialized language on behalf of white Democratic hopefuls, even as those candidates at times shun President Barack Obama and seek to distance themselves from his administration. 


Jason Carter in Georgia and Charlie Crist of Florida, both gubernatorial candidates, along with U.S. Senate candidates Kay Hagan (North Carolina), Mary Landrieu (Louisiana) and Michelle Nunn (Georgia), all need a very high turnout among blacks to win elections next week. But except for Crist, none of these candidates want to appear alongside the president, who is unpopular among the white voters they must also court. 


But black leaders in these states say they are determined to elect these Democrats, no matter how often they criticize the first black president. Lee May, the black county executive of DeKalb County in the Atlanta area, used his power to allow early voting in the county on Sunday, a first for Georgia, and a move that allows black churches to easily turn out their members. Leaders in other parts of Georgia with large black populations then followed suit, and angry Republicans in the state have suggested they will change election law next year to bar counties from acting on their own to establish new early voting days. 


Looking to fire up voters in North Carolina, William Barber, the president of the state's NAACP, said at a rally earlier this month that Republican-imposed measures like voter ID laws were akin to "wading through the blood of the martyrs." In a video message for the Landrieu campaign, Louisiana state representative Ted James, who is black, refers to the need to re-elect the Democratic senator "to protect our president."


I'm With Mary - LA State Rep. Ted James
I'm With Mary - LA State Rep. Ted James



"If the Republicans take control of the U.S. Senate, our president will indeed face impeachment proceedings," James warns in the video. (In fact, GOP leaders have repeatedly ruled out pushing for impeachment, which is a power of the House of Representatives, not the Senate.)


This fiery and pro-Obama language has marked a contrast from the candidates these black leaders are supporting. Landrieu has highlighted her disagreements with Obama in her television commercials, while Nunn has emphasized the president only has two more years in office. 



"I'm not bothered by it," James said in an interview when asked about Landrieu's criticisms of the president. "Folks know where she stands."


Orlando Watson, a spokesman for Republican National Committee, noted that Republicans too are courting the black vote, having opened outreach offices in states like North Carolina over the last year.


"Democrats are relying on recycled racial rhetoric to distract from talking about their policies that have failed black communities," he said. 


African-Americans historically vote Democratic, so it's not a surprise that their leaders are backing these candidates. But the intensity of their support comes in part from the tense divide between the black community and white Republican leaders in these Southern states.


The 2014 election, both in these states and in others around the country, is something of a grudge match for black leaders, who say the Republicans elected in the Tea Party-fueled wave of 2010 have been in particular hostile to African-Americans. In Georgia, incumbent Republican Gov. Nathan Deal signed into law a provision that requires people who receive welfare benefits to pass drug tests, a measure that angered black leaders. North Carolina GOP Senate hopeful Thom Tillis, as speaker of the Republican-led state House, helped push through a measure to bar same-day voter registration, which civil rights leaders say is an attempt to reduce the number of black voters. Florida Republican Gov. Rick Scott backed a provision that put new restrictions on voter registration drives. 


All three of these figures helped block the expansion of Medicaid through Obamacare in these states, which would have disproportionately enrolled blacks, who tend to have lower incomes.

"I'm not focused on the office Thom Tillis is aspiring to. I'm focused on what he's done in the office he has," said Barber. He added, "There is so much anger at this regressive legislature."

In Florida, "it's a lot of negativity toward Rick Scott" that is driving black activists in the state, said Chris Smith, the Democratic leader of the Florida State Senate. Smith is organizing a get-out-the vote campaign in Broward County to boost Crist. 


In all four states, voting and politics are polarized along racial lines. A voter registration group started by Stacey Abrams, a black woman who is the minority leader of the Democrats in the Georgia House, says it registered thousands of African-Americans, but is now under investigation by the office of Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp, a white Republican, for voter fraud. Black Democrats in Georgia have accused Kemp of trying to stop Abrams' operation for political reasons, while his office says "he has worked hard to make voter registration as easy as possible." 


Polls suggest Landrieu, Nunn and Carter are winning less than 30% of the white vote (Obama won 39 percent nationally in 2012) in their races, but getting about 90 percent of African-Americans. Blacks are more than a third of the population in Louisiana and Georgia.

Obama spent relatively little time courting black pastors and leaders in states during his presidential runs, with both he and his wife forging a personal connection with the African-American community.


But these candidates are trying to win over large numbers of blacks from a much weaker place. Carter and Nunn, despite their families' legacies in politics, have never run for statewide office before. Crist needed few black votes in his previous campaigns as a Republican, and Hagan won in 2008, when Obama himself was on the ballot too.


"His not being on the ballot, you get a little less excitement," said Smith. 


To gin up enthusiasm, Nunn has appeared at black churches in the Atlanta area and campaigned alongside Michelle Obama. Hagan spoke at an NAACP event organized by Barber last week. Democrats in these four states are running ads on black radio, and President Obama has done interviews that will air on African-American stations in these areas.


Victory though may come down to these surrogates. In a Republican primary earlier this year in Mississippi, incumbent Republican Thad Cochran won a very close contest with the help of an under-the-radar effort by black leaders in the state, who cast his opponent Chris McDaniel as a radical Tea Party activist and highlighted work Cochran had done to boost historically black colleges. Black voters there opted to vote in the GOP primary and support the less conservative Cochran.


There are already signs of such an informal campaign, to castigate Republicans in ways the candidates themselves would never do in public. James in his video message also invoked the Tea Party, which African-Americans believe unfairly targets Obama. A mailer from the Georgia Democratic Party that was sent to some black voters urges them to vote to "prevent another Ferguson."



Florida black leaders are reminding African-Americans of controversial "Stand Your Ground" laws that were much discussed in the wake of the killing of black teenager Trayvon Martin in 2012. African-American leaders in both Georgia and North Carolina regularly use terms like "Jim Crow" and "voter suppression" as they look to fire up black voters. 


Perry Bacon Jr. is a senior political reporter for NBC News. Prior to joining the site in 2014, Bacon 














The Enormous, Secretive Effort To Purge Thousands Of Minorities From 27 States' Voter Rolls


by  Ian Millhiser 

CREDIT: AP Photo/Bill Hudson
CREDIT: AP Photo/Bill Hudson

ThinkProgress Justice, October 31, 2014 -  In a story that has grownalltoocommon as an election draws near, election officials across the country are engaged in an ambitious effort to purge voters from state voter rolls. Moreover, voters from racial minority groups are especially likely to be targeted by this purge. As Al Jazeera America reports, after examining the purge lists from 3 of the 27 states participating in the purge, the purge lists "are heavily weighted with names such as Jackson, Garcia, Patel and Kim - ones common among minorities, who vote overwhelmingly Democratic."


White voters are not immune from the purge, although they are less likely to be caught in it than voters of color. According to Al Jazeera, "fully 1 in 7 African-Americans" in the 27 states are listed as suspect voters. The same applies to 1 in 8 Asian American voters, 1 in 8 Hispanic voters, and 1 in 11 white voters. Moreover, "officials have begun the process of removing names from the rolls - beginning with 41,637 in Virginia alone." The purge works by asking voters targeted by it to return a postcard mailed to voters on the purge list. In practice, however, according to one direct-mail expert, "4 percent to 20 percent of any mailing goes astray," and lower income families are more likely not to receive the card because they tend to move addresses more frequently. 


The premise of the purge, which is the "pet project" of Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach (R), is that a list of almost 7 million voters are suspected of casting a ballot during the same election in two different states. Thus, to accept this list as plausible, one has to believe that a massive chunk of voters, potentially amounting to nearly 6 percent of the voters who cast a ballot in the 2012 presidential race, cast two votes in a past election. If true, this would be voter fraud on a truly epic scale.


The reality, however, is that the purge list appears to be massively over-inclusive - if it identifies any legitimate cases of voter fraud at all. In many cases, "all it takes to become a suspect is sharing a first and last name with a voter in another state." The list matches a voter named Kevin Antonio Hayes of Durham, North Carolina with another named Kevin Thomas Hayes from Alexandria, Virginia, for example, suggesting that both men may be the same voter who voted twice. The same is true of John Paul Williams of Virginia and John R. Williams of Atlanta, as well as Robert Dewey Cox of Georgia and Robert Glen Cox of Virginia. 


If the Voting Rights Act were still fully operational - that is, if five conservative justices had not struck down one of its key provisions in 2013, then any new election rules in Virginia, Georgia or much of North Carolina would have needed to be "precleared" through the Justice Department or a federal court before it could take effect. It is unlikely that an unreliable purge that disproportionately targets racial minorities could have survived this preclearance process.

Without this process, voting rights advocates and the voters themselves could still file a lawsuit under the surviving provisions of the Voting Rights Act, but this is a much more difficult road to travel. Assembling the record to prove a violation of the Voting Rights Act can take months or more, meaning that, by the time a lawsuit succeeds, the next election will have already happened. And even if a voting rights plaintiff can convince a court to suspend the purge before Election Day next Tuesday, recent Supreme Court decisions suggest that the justices will halt any effort to alter a state's election procedures this close to an election.









by Charles E. "Chuck" Siler, Guest Columnist 



Chuck Siler - 50 YEARS AGO-VOTING by Chuck Siler




NEW ORLEANS - In 1964, I registered to vote.

I had an unfriendly audience as I entered the courthouse in Baton Rouge to register and vote.  The audience and the folk in that office knew me from two years before when I ran the Voter Registration project for the Baton Rouge NAACP.  Mine was a familiar, though unwanted, face and they knew that I was going to breeze through their "test" which was no more than an application form that had a tricky date response which was good for intimidating older voters.  The birthdate had to be given in years, days and all but - hours, minutes and seconds.


This date is important to me because of the path that I had taken to make that walk to take the "test" which was "administered" at the will of the registrar or clerk that waited on you and was, sometimes, dependent on how they felt and or the depth of their racism.


Previously, I had spent the Christmas Holidays of 1961 in the Black line atop the Baton Rouge courthouse after having been arrested in the December 1961student protests. I was one of the students that had been arrested for "illegal picketing".  There were 13 of us.


The day after we were locked up, 5000 students from Southern and citizens marched on downtown Baton Rouge.  They assembled at the courthouse where we were incarcerated in cellblocks atop the building.  They sang, "We Shall Overcome", we responded from upstairs, the police panicked and rioted firing tear gas into the crowd and releasing their dog.  The smell of tear gas wafted upstairs to where we were incarcerated.  It was, in terms of protest, the best and worst of times.


We spent the holidays in the jail and were released on January 2nd, when I first laid eyes on the trio of attorneys Lolis Elie, Bob Collins and Nils Douglas who "sprung" us.  I will always remember the sight of Elie walking through a cordon of Deputy Sheriffs who parted like the Red Sea before Moses.  Elie withered deputies with his unwavering glare. Later, when I got to know him my feelings approached hero worship.


We were, eventually, sent forth from Southern to pacify the school's president and appease the "masters" who pulled the strings.  I was out of school and had little chance of being hired.  Family members and some of the friendly white folk suggested I leave and go elsewhere.  Anywhere.


I was a member of the local NAACP and Rev. Arthur Jelks, then president talked to the local organization and offered me a job directing the voter registration project. It paid $50 a week, which wasn't bad for a 18 year old in 1962.   I celebrated my 19th birthday walking the streets of Baton Rouge trying to convince black people to register and vote. The experiences were interesting and varied, ranging from just plain "NO" to one not-so-gentlemanly brother who chased me out of his yard with a hoe.  The funniest was a mixed breed bulldog who welcomed me into his yard but wouldn't allow me to leave.  When his owner returned home, he told me that the dog "just liked to play".  I was cool, sat on the steps and petted "Spike" while talking his owner into voting.


I began in my neighborhood and worked through South Baton Rouge.  My route, which covered a broad swatch of Baton Rouge, included areas that we called "The Lake" and further out to "The Park" (Eden Park) burning shoe leather eastward as far as 49th Street (for those familiar with Baton Rouge).  I knocked on a thousand doors with, I must admit, little success.


Most of the people were afraid.  There were voter's leagues and the like.  The north end of town near Southern University had a strong voters' league led by a tough brother named Acie Belton. There was a group in downtown Baton Rouge that had been effective and, nine years before Willis V. Reed, their leader, had initiated the Baton Rouge bus boycott.  A former insurance man and, later, newspaper publisher, Reed was one of the unsung heroes of the civil rights effort in Baton Rouge continuing until his transition in his late nineties.  Early on, he was one of those who understood that we needed unity in a community that was divided by fear.  Mr. Reed and Belton and a quiet lady named, for the sake of this article, Mrs. Williams.


Mrs. Williams, an 84-year old widow who lived in the area near the current location of Capitol High School on 26th street decided that she was going to vote.  Her parents had been enslaved and one of her dreams was to be able to vote.  "I'm too old to be afraid" was her attitude. She "flunked" the test twice but was determined to return.  We went over that form again and again until she was certain that nothing would stop her.


During that time, my uncle Gene in Lafayette and the brothers Siler in California had determined that I needed protection and had provided me with a few items to take care of myself after a few threatening calls to the office.  They bolstered my courage and provided me with an escape plan if drastic action had to be taken.  It may be noted that I had forgone nonviolence in favor of aggressive self-defense.  I had a chance to shake hands with Dr. King at the NAACP Convention and felt his warmth and sincerity but was already leaning toward Malcolm X's point of view when it came to self-defense. Religion, in my personal life was being replaced by a search for something else.


I mention the philosophical shift because I accompanied Mrs. Williams down to the courthouse to make her third try.  She closely resembled Mary McCloud Bethune physically, dark skinned with silver hair.  Dressed in a dark suit and white blouse with ruffles, the hint of a confident smile played on her face when she told me that everything was going to be all right.  I didn't tell her that I was prepared to be violent if necessary. One of those items of protection was clipped to my pants at the small of my back beneath my coat.  If anyone had done wrong I would have been a part of the evening news that day.


They knew we were coming.  There was a gauntlet of sheriff deputies (the cooler heads in local law enforcement) lining both side of the hallway.  I'm certain that everybody wasn't on break.  I have rarely witnessed the level of dignity that she exuded that day.  Head held high, purse in hand, face firmed against the obvious efforts of intimidation she smiled at me and entered. I was told to wait outside. I stood against a wall across from the door where I could see inside.  She breezed through the form and was smiling when she came out of the office.  She had correctly completed the form and was a newly registered voter.  She had intimidated the cops and those in the Registrar's office.  We walked out of the door and to the car awaiting our return.


I was ready to dance.


I had a few more minor incidents after she was registered but had been bolstered by her display of courage.  The attempt to get me for violation of a federal injunction happened a few months later when I took some children to a local elementary school where its principal, who called me a communist, outside agitator and the like before the cameras, was embarrassed when I explained that I had grown up less than a mile away and his face turned redder than his neck.


I returned to Southern and managed to break every rule of the "social probation" that I was suppose to observe in order to remain in school.  I was allowed to return to the newspaper and yearbook staff where I managed to fluff the President's powder.  I was allowed to edit the Southern University Digest during my final summer.  I later found that one administrator, thought to be an enemy, had quietly helped keep me in school.  That information came when I worked at the university for two years following my return from the military.


The point of all this conversation is to underscore how I learned to value the need for African Americans to exercise their right (I'm not going to b.s. about privilege - rights, to me, trump privilege) to vote.  I cite my wife on our need to register, educate and become active in exerting these rights.


The day that I walked into that office I had Ms. Williams' spirit with me and the spirits of all of those who had sacrificed to try to gain those rights that we were just beginning to gain via the legislation pushed thru by the Johnson administration.  I was newly twenty-one, defiant, proud of what I had attempted to do when walking the streets knocking on doors two years before and still warmed by the experience with a dignified 84 year old who refused to be denied her right to vote and accomplished that before her life ended.


It has been 50 years since I registered to vote.  I have called folk who refuse to use that right by a variety of names, none appropriate for publication.  I refuse to hear from folk who have given up thinking that the fight is over or who have become so enamored of their Eurocentric indoctrination that they have forgotten that the battle continues.  That is even, more so, true of what the tea potty, Republicrats and others who call themselves conservative and hawk religion as if some Deity prefers them to the rest of humanity.  Those who have inculcated themselves into government and are seeking to destroy democracy while creating a Corporatocracy that bodes ill will to all of those who are not a part of the minority percentage whose theft and ruthless behavior has made them wealthy.


If you don't believe that your vote counts you may know that there's one person out her - me - who is going to call you one of those cowardly (to use a Lou Rawls euphemism) Maryland farmers who deserve the ills that will continue to befall you.  I don't have to curse you.  You are cursed by your actions or lack thereof.


Thank you to all of those who had the courage to stand up and be counted.  My fall partners, Bill Bradford, Thomas Peete, Ronnie Moore, Theda Ambrose, Janetta Gilliam, Dave Dennis, Jerome Smith, Morris "Skipper" Rowe, Weldon Rougeau, Roger Banks, Dennis Stewart, and too many more to name who are still in the fight.


I also have to thank the folk who have given me space to express my feelings as the 50th anniversary of a significant moment in our history has arrived.  If you are "for real" when it comes to the exercise of your rights.  If you want to have an impact on history, exercise that right to VOTE.










National Coalition on Black Civic Participation Launches 10-Day Voter Education and Mobilization Countdown


 NCBCP's youth initiative,
NCBCP's youth initiative,

WASHINGTON, DC - Washington, DC - In an effort to increase Black voter turnout for the Nov. 4 election, this past Saturday the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation (NCBCP) kicked-off an aggressive 10-day voter mobilization countdown to close out its #Vote4Justice Campaign focused on motivating Black women and youth voters to seize the voting power they have to impact the outcome of the 2014 Midterm Elections and effect issues they care about in their local communities.


"Because of the lagging economy in Black communities, each candidate's position on issues like jobs with livable wages, equal pay for women, retirement security, and student loan relief is motivating people to vote," said Melanie L. Campbell, president and CEO, NCBCP and convener, Black Women's Roundtable (BWR). "But, all politics is local, so for this countdown period we have neighbors talking to neighbors via personal phone calls, robo calls, door-to-door canvassing, and social media, to remind them they have the power to make change in their community ."


Affiliates of the NCBCP's youth initiative, Black Youth Vote!, and their women's empowerment program, Black Women's Roundtable, are leading the mobilizing efforts on the ground in AL, FL, GA, MI, NC, OH, PA. Volunteers are disseminating non-partisan information about state and local ballot initiatives that will determine whether medical marijuana use should be legal, if the governor should have the power to appoint certain judges, or if they need public transportation in a predominately Black county with a 9.4 percent unemployment rate.


"Throughout Florida we've hosted a BWR Don't Count Us Out statewide tour, town hall meetings on college campuses, , and partnered with the AME Church for a march to the polls for early voting," said Salandra Benton, convener Florida BWR. "We are making personal contact to remind voters that in Florida this election will give voters an opportunity to send a message about the 15 million Black Floridians without health care."


Helen Butler, convener of Georgia BWR, adds, "Early voting already started and we're busy giving rides to the polls. What's driving a lot of voters in Georgia is their rejection of attempts to suppress the Black vote. Also, Black voters are excited about the fact that five Black women are running for state offices at one time for the first time in history."


The myriad of get-out-the-vote (GOTV) activities include: hosting rallies, festivals, #PoweroftheSisterVote events, twitter townhalls, and other social media events to motivate voters. Volunteers are providing rides to the polls and coordinating marches from churches and college campuses for early voting. Celebrity voices enlisted to urge Black women to vote include TV Judge Glenda Hatchett and actress, Janet Hubert (The Fresh Prince of Bel Air).


"In Michigan, access to good jobs with good wages, childcare and the shifting of the tax burden to the poor and middle class are key issues," says Danielle Atkinson, convener, Detroit BWR. "Black mothers are also worried about the lack of school programs and high expulsion rates for Black children."

According to Black Youth Vote fellow, Sherman Justice, young voters are still motivated by the Michael Brown killing in Ferguson and other police brutality and criminal justice issues so they are getting a lot of students volunteering for the final push on college campuses.


According to Black Youth Vote fellow, Sherman Justice, young voters are still motivated by the Michael Brown killing in Ferguson and other police brutality and criminal justice issues so they are getting a lot of students volunteering for the final push on college campuses.


On Election Day, in addition to the local mobilizing efforts in the states, in Washington, DC the NCBCP will host a national war room - The Ronald H. Walters Election Day Command Center - monitoring voter turnout and potential problems at the polls. This year the command center will be co-hosted by Howard University's Ronald W. Walters Leadership and Public Policy Center on Howard's campus.


For anyone interested in volunteering or participating in any of the state events, NCBCP has a detailed schedule of GOTV activities and local contact information on their website at or call the national office at (202) 659-4988(202) 659-4988.



Founded in 1976, NCBCP is a 501c3, non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to increasing civic engagement and voter participation in Black and underserved communities. The women's initiative, BWR stays at the forefront of championing just and equitable public policy on behalf of Black women and girls. Established in 1996 to address the chronic decline in Black youth voter participation, Black Youth Vote! has served as one of the leading youth-led movements focused on training the next generation of civic leaders and organizers, and increasing Black youth voter participation and engagement.







The New Orleans Agenda: Mary Landrieu is the right choice for us  

By the Editorial Board of The New Orleans Agenda  


Mary Landrieu -


 NEW ORLEANS  (October 20, 1994) - Beginning on Tuesday, October 21 through Tuesday, October 28, 2014 registered voters of Louisiana will have the opportunity to cast their ballots for the November 4, 2014 Elections.  Among others races and ballot initiatives is the race for the United States Senate.  The New Orleans Agenda wholeheartedly recommends the re-election of United States Senator Mary Landrieu.



Senator Landrieu has earned the vote of our readers and deserves our support for many reasons. 


Each time the Voting Rights Act of 1965 has been challenged by Bill Cassidy's Republican supporters, Mary Landrieu has stood firm with us to make certain that we not lose the gains of 50 years ago.  In 2006, she co-sponsored legislation to reauthorize the landmark civil rights law adopted to ensure that no person shall be denied the right to vote because of their race.  She again demonstrated that commitment in 2013 by strongly criticizing the Supreme Court's ruling that invalidated parts of the Voting Rights Act.


And when the Tea Party talks about impeaching our President, we know that we can count on Senator Landrieu to stand with us.


Senator Landrieu has not been fearful of including every segment of Americas to participate fully in the leadership of government.  She is the only U.S. Senator with an African American Chief of Staff, former Louisiana State Senator Donald Cravins serves in that capacity.  She has made more nominations of African Americans for federal judges and U.S. Attorneys than any other senator, those includes; U.S. Attorney Nannette Jolivette Brown, the first African American female to hold that post for the Eastern District of Louisiana; U.S. Attorney Brian Anthony Jackson of the Middle District of Louisiana; U.S. Attorney Kenneth Allen Polite of the Eastern District of Louisiana; and U.S. Attorney Stephanie A. Finely, the first African American female U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Louisiana. 


Several of her other nominations have also been historical first for African Americans; Henry Lee Whitehorn, U.S. Marshall for the Western District of Louisiana; Clarence Hawkins, Louisiana State Director for Rural Development; and U.S. Fire Administration Kelvin Chochran.


When our farmers needed someone to fight for them, it was Senator Landrieu who help secure over $1 billion for African-American farmers; just compensation for our hard working men and women who keep this nation fed.


When Congress threatened to shut the doors to higher education, Senator Landrieu fought back and secured billions for our schools; including nearly $800 million for HBCUs like Southern, Grambling, Dillard and Xavier universities while also fighting to increase the maximum Pell Grant amount available for all students. 


When the Tea Party endangered the security of our seniors, it was Mary Landrieu who protected Social Security and Medicare programs by opposing an increase of the retirement age to 70 which would be most devastating to our elders.


Mary Landrieu has done a remarkable job in fighting for our State, including leading the way to recovery from the wake of hurricanes' Katrina and Rita by securing more than $120 billion in recovery dollars for the Gulf Coast.  She led the effort to pass the RESTORE Act which dictates that 80 percent of the fines from the BP disaster is allocated to the Gulf Coast states for environmental and economic recovery.   As the first woman ever to chair the Senate Energy Committee Mary Landrieu will continue to bring good jobs to Louisiana.


As a mother and wife Mary brings a sense of compassion to the male dominated Senate, fighting for passage of the "Violence Against Women Act". Her Republican opponent opposed the legislation. Mary fought for equal pay for women, her opponent voted against the bill.  Mary's support for Affordable Healthcare gives women unprecedented access to medical procedures and medicines that prolong and sustain lives.


These are but a few of the reasons why we recommend the re-election of Mary Landrieu for Senate.  


We are with Mary and urge you to join us!











Analysis of Constitutional Amendments and Orleans Parish Propositions   




 The Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana  (PAR) Guide to the 2014 Constitutional Amendments is now available! The Guide explains the potential impact of the 14 constitutional amendments that the public will consider on the Nov. 4 ballot. This objective review will help voters understand the issues and the potential changes so they may develop their own positions on each proposition.



Proposed Constitutional Amendments on the Ballot


Proposed Amendment No. 1 Do you support an amendment to authorize the legislature to create the Louisiana Medical Assistance Trust Fund, for the payment of Medicaid reimbursement to the health care provider groups paying fees into the fund? (Adds Article VII, Section 10.14)


Proposed Amendment No. 2 Do you support an amendment to create the Hospital Stabilization Fund to stabilize and protect Medicaid reimbursements for health care services by depositing assessments paid by hospitals, as authorized by the legislature, into a fund to support Louisiana hospital reimbursement? (Adds Article VII, Section 10.13)


Proposed Amendment No. 3 Do you support an amendment allowing an authorized agent of a tax collector to assist in the tax sale process, including the sale of property for delinquent taxes and that the fee charged by the authorized agent be included within the costs that the collector can recover in the tax sale? (Amends Article VII, Section 25(A)(1) and (E))


Proposed Amendment No. 4 Do you support an amendment to authorize the investment of public funds to capitalize a state infrastructure bank and the loan, pledge, guarantee, or donation of public funds by a state infrastructure bank for eligible transportation projects? (Amends Article VII, Section 14(B))


Proposed Amendment No. 5 Do you support an amendment to remove the constitutional requirement that a judge retire upon attaining the age of seventy or, if his seventieth birthday occurs during his term, that he retire upon completion of that term? (Amends Article V, Section 23)


Proposed Amendment No. 6 Do you support an amendment to authorize the governing authority of Orleans Parish to increase the annual millage rate levied for fire and police protection, to require that the revenue from the fire and police millages be used for fire and police protection service enhancements, and to require that any increase be approved by the voters of Orleans Parish? (Amends Article VI, Section 26(E))


Proposed Amendment No. 7 Do you support an amendment to provide that the homesteads of veterans with a service-connected disability rating of one hundred percent unemployability or totally disabled by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, and their surviving spouses, shall be exempt from ad valorem taxation for up to one hundred fifty thousand dollars, and that a parishwide vote shall not be required to implement this change in qualification for the exemption? (Amends Article VII, Section 21(K)(1) and (3))


Proposed Amendment No. 8 Do you support an amendment to establish the Artificial Reef Development Fund in the state treasury by depositing in to the fund monies that have been received by the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries in the form of grants, donations, or other assistance to provide funding for programs dedicated to managing an artificial reef system, the wild seafood certification program, and inshore fisheries habitat enhancement projects? (Adds Article VII, Section 10.11)


Proposed Amendment No. 9 Do you support an amendment to exclude owners who are permanently totally disabled from the requirement that they annually certify to the assessor the amount of their adjusted gross income in order to receive the Special Assessment Level on their residences for property tax purposes? (Amends Article VII, Section 18(G)(1)(a)(iv))


Proposed Amendment No. 10 Do you support an amendment providing for an eighteen-month redemption period in any parish other than Orleans, for vacant property sold at tax sale which is blighted or abandoned? (Effective January 1, 2015) (Adds Article VII, Section 25(B)(3))


Proposed Amendment No. 11 Do you support an amendment to change the maximum number of departments in the executive branch of state government from twenty to twenty-one? (Amends Article IV, Section 1(B))


Proposed Amendment No. 12 Do you support an amendment to require that two members of the Wildlife and Fisheries Commission be electors from parishes located north of the parishes of Beauregard, Allen, Evangeline, Avoyelles, and Pointe Coupee? (Amends Article IX, Section 7(A))


Proposed Amendment No. 13 Do you support an amendment to authorize the governing authority of the city of New Orleans to sell at a price fixed by the legislature property located in the Lower Ninth Ward of the city of New Orleans? (Amends Article VII, Section (14)(B))


Proposed Amendment No. 14 Do you support an amendment to provide that legislation relative to tax rebates, tax incentives, and tax abatements may not be introduced or considered by the legislature in a regular session held in an even-numbered year? (Amends Article III, Section 2(A)(3)(b) and (4)(b)(introductory paragraph)) 


Click Here for in depth analysis of constitutional amendments by Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana (PAR).



Orleans Parish Local Propositions



In addition to the state constitutional amendments, voters in New Orleans should familiarize themselves with two proposed amendments to the Home Rule Charter of the City of New Orleans and one Orleans Parish tax proposition.




Orleans Parish Law Enforcement District Millage - 2.9 Mills - Sheriff - 10 Years
Currently, the Orleans Parish Law Enforcement District levies a 2.9 mill property tax that is dedicated to debt service. This proposition would rededicate a portion of the existing millage that is no longer needed for debt service to pay for jail other purposes, such as operations and maintenance.
Home Rule Charter Amendment Sec. 3 - CC - Sec. 3-102 & 4-201: Inauguration Date
This proposition would move the inauguration date of the mayor and members of the City Council from the first Monday in May to the second Monday in January. This gives the mayor and council members more control over city finances by aligning the inauguration date with the beginning of the fiscal year.  
Home Rule Charter Amendment Sec. 6 - CC - Sec. 6-308(1) & 6-308(5)(b): Contracting
This proposition would incorporate into the Home Rule Charter a set of executive orders that Mayor Mitch Landrieu instituted in 2010 regarding executive branch professional service contracts and the city's Disadvantaged Business Enterprise program.  
For more information about the local propositions on the 2014 Orleans Parish ballot, please click here to view the Bureau of Governmental Research's report "On the Ballot: November 4, 2014." The report contains a detailed analysis of each local proposition on the Orleans Parish ballot.

Geaux Vote Where Do I Vote?



Click to review SAMPLE BALLOT








by Edwin Buggage, Louisiana Data News Weekly 


 "We as a community must scrutinize those who choose to run more carefully and not just vote for someone who looks good on paper; because once they are elected unfortunately what the communities oftentimes get is paper leadership."  Vincent Sylvain



Data News Weekly - Voting Matters NEW ORLEANS - As we approach the November 4th Primary Election we at Data News Weekly in the name of promoting civic engagement and voting; in this issue we will focus on early voting. In this election early voting begins on October 21st  and runs thru October 28th for the Primary Election that will be held on November 4th and on November 22nd  thru 29th for General Election that is on December 6th... 


Getting Out the Vote


There are many groups that are working to promote early voting especially during this election since the primary will be held on Tuesday and not the normal Saturday when elections are normally held in Louisiana.  "One of the things we try to stress is the importance of early voting because there are things sometimes that can get happen that may prevent someone from voting. And since this election is on a Tuesday, there are more factors that may prevent some from getting to the polls to cast a ballot, so I am encouraging people to take advantage of early voting," says Vincent Sylvain, who serves as the Louisiana coordinator of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, an organization that does outreach to promote voting.


Data News Weekly - Cover Story


Voter registration drives have been going on all over the City with the goal of getting more people civically active. Herbert McGuin, is a Librarian at Xavier University and has partnered with Dr. Pamela Moore who teaches Political Science at Xavier to get more young people signed up to vote. "It has been a mostly positive experience" says McGuin. "I have gotten a cross section of kids' information about voting in addition to some registering. But I realize this is only the first step, voter education is also important so I talk to them about learning the issues so they can become informed voters."


While it is encouraging during election season to see so many outreach efforts to get people involved in voting, but there are some that feel voting registration and education should be a year round affair. For it is the thing that can empower the community, "At Ashé, we use art and culture for community and economic development.  Therefore to stay true to our mission, it is imperative that we connect with community.  Voting gives us a voice, so we can never be disconnected from politics.  We have to engage, use our collective power to make change.  We can't grow our communities, our cities, etc., without being a part of the process," says Viola Johnson, Communications Director for the Ashe Cultural Center. Continuing on the importance of voting she says, "So Voter Registration is of paramount importance.  Because we know that, we don't do periodic drives here at Ashé.  Our executive director, Carol Bebelle, wants us registering folks daily.  Any member of the community can come in and fill out an application to vote, all year long.  It's that simple."


What is at Stake?


As mentioned in my last piece regarding voting, African Americans voted at a higher percentage than whites during the last Presidential Election. But closer to home many continue to be absent from the polls must realize that every election is important. "Some feel mid-term elections as not being important, it does not have the cache of when the President or Mayor's race. But we try to let people know that there are just as important because in these elections they determine whether or not the president is going to be able to carry out their agenda, says Vincent Sylvain. "In the case of President Obama in his first term we saw the Democrats lose several seats in the House of Representatives and as a consequence the majority is now Republican(s) and the result is stagnation taking place in the government. The House is going one way and the Senate the other has hampered some of the initiatives President Obama has tried to move forward."


The level of gridlock on Capitol Hill is unprecedented leaving the people of the U.S. frustrated with U.S. Congressional approval ratings at record lows. This is something that motivated many to get involved. Herbert McGuin says he has become frustrated with the way things are going in Washington D.C. and realize that it affects what is also going on at the local and state level, "Part of why I became incensed and wanted to get involved was sparked by a radio show hosted by Joe Madison, he was saying that if Republicans take the U.S. Senate they would try to make an impeachment run on President Obama and try to make that part of his legacy. And while I am not pleased with everything he's done it is better than many of his predecessors particularly George W. Bush."


Vincent Sylvain cannot stress enough how important he feels this election is, and one race in particular for him that is of great concern is the re-election battle Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu finds herself in, "The Battle for the Senate is a race I am looking at and feel is the most important one on the ballot in November. She is being challenged by several candidates with one being a Republican and considered a major challenger. This seat for Louisiana could change the balance of power in the U.S. Senate. What's at stake is the direction of governmental policies that can affect the voters. If Landrieu is defeated what you are going to see is the progressive agenda challenged. We will see an effort to block voting, a more aggressive stance around putting policies in place around immigration; also an attack on entitlement programs and the list goes on and on. That why it is important to participate because your way of life is going to be affected by the outcome of what happens November 4th; we are looking at the balance of power of this country being determined based on who gets elected or re-elected."


Voting and the Voice of Generation Next


Cameron Mims is a sophomore at Xavier University and has been involved in the community since a very young age. His father is well known community advocate and former member of the Louisiana Parole Board Al "Brother" Mims.  Saying of young people, "We are politically engaged but the sad thing is that our voices are not usually heard. I sometimes go to town hall meetings and we are overlooked. There is a misconception that young people are not concerned that is not the case, it is just that some are not listening."

While this generation is not heard through traditional means their voices are heard very prominent in social media and on the web. "Many in my generation get there voices out through blogs and other forms where they have conversations about issues that affects them. It is our way to be engaged and have conversations and expand on what we feel is important," says Mims. "A lot of people take some of the negative things and run with that and very often do not take the time to see there are many more young people who are either doing the right things or want to be involved in something of meaning but they must be given a lane to have their voices heard by older people because I feel we have a lot to offer on these conversations regarding some of the issues directly affect us."

He feels that there are many issues young people care about, but most importantly they want to have a voice that is respected. "The biggest thing my generation wants is getting our voices heard. Also we want to see politicians getting things done. We want more mentoring programs, opportunities to gain job skills for young people, and, better educational opportunities. What we want to see is elected officials more engaged in everyday life; not engaging us as if they are above us. I feel they can be more effective and connected to the issues that are important by being accessible and not only come through for special occasions or when they are running for office or re-election."


Voting is Only One Piece of the Puzzle that is Civic Engagement


While Vincent Sylvain feels voting is the most important form of civic engagement he feels it is only a piece of what one must do to be civically engaged. "You have to do more than simply vote. To be fully engaged that may mean joining civic organizations and being on the frontline of issues that affect you inside your community." He feels that those who are chosen to lead must be held to a higher standard from day one after they are elected and sworn in.  "We have to hold our elected officials accountable and you don't have to wait until they are up for re-election to critique them; you can work to hold them accountable and make sure they are doing the things that you elected them to do.  That process begins when they get in office and it never ends."

Over the last few years post Katrina some would say that there has been a lack of dynamic leadership in the African American community. There was a time when leaders were organic coming from the community when African Americans first began to have political power. Today that is not the case where sometimes there is a disconnect. Recently, one election bucked this trend with Latoya Cantrell beating a well-funded highly connected white candidate in Dana Kaplan for a seat on the New Orleans City Council with a wide range of support. On this election Sylvain says of the factors leading to her victory, "Cantrell was victorious because she did not have to pass out a résumé to say who she was. Her resume was herself and the work she's been doing. Her resume was her involvement prior to running for office and the people rewarded her with a victory because of her past participation as a civic leader." Continuing he says, "We don't see enough examples like this, while I am an advocate of education I find what we see as of late are individuals who are well educated and have impressive resumes but little to no involvement in the community prior to running for elected office. And this is one of the reasons I think we see some of our elected officials not connected to the issues of that are important to the people they represent. We as a community must scrutinize those who choose to run more carefully and not just vote for someone who looks good on paper; because once they are elected unfortunately what the communities oftentimes get is paper leadership."


As we are coming to the beginning of early voting and the primaries that may decide who hold some of these elected offices it is important to know that the power lies in you the voter. A point made by Cameron Mims. "I think the important thing is to know is that the power is not in the politician, but in us because we are the ones that select the leaders and it is responsibility not just to vote but to make them responsive to our needs and stay involved in the things that go on in our community because at the end of it all it is us not the politicians that will be key to coming up with solutions to the things that negatively impact our City." 


NOTE: This story is written as part of the voting rights fellowship with New America Media.



Stephanie Jordan performs at Xavier's Homecoming Tribute honoring Dr. Norman C. Francis 

Special guest appearance by John Boutte, Wanda Rouzan, James Andrews 


Thank You Tribute honoring Dr. Norman C. Francis



Xavier University Scholarship Benefit  

Friday, November 21 @ 7:30 p.m

Xavier University Convocation Center 



Stephanie Jordan - Back to the Wall
Jazz Vocalist Stephanie Jordan

NEW ORLEANS - The Stephanie Jordan Big Band is the featured entertainer for Xavier University Homecoming Tribute honoring retiring President Dr. Norman C. Francis.  The "Thank You Tribute" benefit takes place on Friday, November 21, 2014 at 7:00 p.m. at the Xavier University Convocation Center.  


Dr. Francis is the nation's longest serving university president and has announced his retirement effective June 30, 2015.  In addition to Jordan's performance, the benefit includes a special video tribute presentation reflecting on the legacy of Dr. Francis.

Jordan will also invite Xavier alums John Boutte and Wanda Rouzan, as well as James Andrews to join her in a special tribute to Dr. Francis. 


Tickets range from $100 - $250 per person and may be purchased at  Proceeds benefit Xavier University Student Scholarships. 


Stephanie Jordan is consistently praised for her poise, elegance, and soulful articulation. She draws frequent comparisons to her mentor-the legendary jazz chanteuse Shirley Horn-as well as Abbey Lincoln, and Carmen McRae. Critics have also likened Ms. Jordan to jazz stars Diana Krall and Nancy Wilson.

As a late minute replacement for Grammy Award-winning singer Leis, leading Chicago Tribune's leading art critic Howard Reich to proclaim, "The woman can sing ... bringing heft to music of the Gershwin's and Cole Porter without pushing volume levels. Clearly she values plush sound and knows how to produce it."  Music critic James Walker added, "Stephanie Jordan . . . stepped in and simply mesmerized the near capacity Harris Theater crowd with a sparkling performance."

Jordan whose musical career began in the DC area has performed on such stellar stages as the Kennedy Center, Jazz at Lincoln Center, the NBA All-Star Game, Chicago's Harris Theater, the Marians Jazzroom in Bern, Switzerland, the inaugural International Jazz Day which was celebrated by millions worldwide during an all-star sunrise concert in New Orleans' Congo Square that included jazz luminaries Herbie Hancock, Terence Blanchard, Ellis Marsalis, and others.  

Stephanie Jordan had the honor of performing as featured singer during the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Gala which included the presence of President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama; she sang before Vice President Joe Biden, as well as having sang to Stevie Wonder during the National Urban League's 2012 National Conference. Jordan also sang at the private celebration 'Oprah Winfrey and Friends of Susan Taylor' at New York City's ESPACE in honor of Susan Taylor's years of service to Essence magazine, and performed the National Anthem for the NBA All-Star Game.  Jordan and her brother Marlon served as US Jazz Ambassadors on a European Tour to Bucharest, Germany, Lithuania and Ukraine on behalf of the U.S. Department of State and Jazz at Lincoln Center.

Jordan appears in a singing role in Lee Daniels' production of "The Paperboy" singing a featured tune, the movie co-stars Matthew McConaughey, Nicole Kidman, Zac Efron, and John Cusack among others.  Jordan also recorded a tune for the 2013 remake of the film "Heat" which stars Jason Statham and Sofia Vergara.  In 1995 Stephanie Jordan performed the title soundtrack "Season's Start" in the Tribecca Film release of Café Society staring Lara Flynn Boyle and Peter Gallagher.

Her self-produced debut CD; "Stephanie Jordan Sings A Tribute to the Fabulous Lena Horne; Yesterday When I Was Young" which honors the legendary Grammy Award winner is her most current album.  The "Christmas with the New Orleans Ladies of Jazz" CD produced by her sister Rachel Jordan features New Orleans' renowned jazz divas; Germaine Bazzle, Leah Chase, and Stephanie Jordan performing their favorite holiday tunes with the Music Alive Ensemble.  Stephanie's silky vocals are also featured on Marlon Jordan's "You Don't Know What Love Is" album and Kent Jordan's "Out of This World" CD.


Recognized internationally, the Sud Quest French publication calls her "unbelievably superb."  The Washingtonian Magazine labeled her "JAZZHOT."








For Seventh Consecutive Year, Entergy Named as National Leader in Economic Development   


 Company's efforts help attract nearly $21 billion in projects to Gulf South,  potentially creating more than 9,200 jobs


Site Selection
NEW ORLEANS -  Entergy has been named one of the nation's Top 10 utilities in economic development for 2013 by Site Selection magazine. The company was chosen for its efforts to help attract nearly $21 billion in projects, which could result in as many as 9,200 jobs across its four-state service territory of Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.


The ranking may be viewed in the September 2014 edition and online at


"We've dramatically stepped up our economic development efforts through the formation of a corporate business and economic development department that reinforces and supports the efforts our local economic development employees are making in attracting new business, retaining existing companies and helping them grow," said Ed Jimenez, Entergy's director of business and economic development in Louisiana.


"We're in a unique position here along the Gulf Coast," Jimenez added, "and we continue to play an integral role in the ongoing industrial renaissance taking place in Louisiana. Not only will attracting business and industry help grow our business, it also will provide increased employment and economic opportunities for the citizens we serve."


Site Selection chose the top utilities based in part on jobs created and investments made in their respective service areas. While other Entergy operating companies saw successes contributing to the recognition by the magazine, Entergy's Louisiana companies led in corporate capital investment activity with more than $17 billion planned.


Some of the Louisiana team's recent wins include providing 200 megawatts of additional power to Sempra Energy's proposed Cameron LNG liquefaction project in Hackberry, La., supplying up to 30 megawatts of electric power to Methanex USA's new methanol facility in Geismar, La., and supplying up to 200 megawatts of electric power for Sasol North America's proposed ethane cracker and derivatives project  in Westlake, La. In addition, the team recently negotiated an agreement with PennTex North Louisiana  to supply up to 25 megawatts of electric power to its Lincoln Parish plant near Arcadia, La.


The magazine recognized Entergy for its major system-level initiatives, which include its Strategic Sites Initiative, its Certified Sites Program, and a planned rebuild and redesign of the Entergy Site Selection Center - the company's GIS buildings and sites database. To help customer speed-to-market, a team of engineering project managers also was created.


More information on Entergy's economic development efforts can be found at             





Will Ferguson Be a Tipping Point for National Black Youth Voter Turnout?

by Khalil Abdullah


New America Media NEW AMERICA MEDIA  - A week before National Voter Registration Day Tuesday, September 23, civil rights leaders hope to increase African American youth voter turnout by citing the police shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., a city where only 12 percent of registered voters turned out to vote in the last city council elections.


Community organizers in New Orleans and Houston - two cities with a long history of confrontations between African-Americans and the police - have mixed views on whether outrage over Ferguson will translate into voter participation.


Ferguson may be a rallying call in New Orleans, but it won't be the dominant theme for staff and volunteers as they work voter registration tables around the city on Sept. 23, says Erica Buher of VAYLA-New Orleans, a multi-ethnic community organization focused on youth empowerment. Big Easy youth are attuned and empathetic to Brown's killing on August 9, but, according to Buher "what happened in Ferguson happens frequently in New Orleans."


Young people have their own Michael Browns to focus on. Their names, Buher says, are virtually unknown outside the city.


Buher remembers when the police officer - convicted of shooting Ronald Madison on Danziger Bridge in Hurricane Katrina's wake - was freed after a court upheld his appeal in September of 2013. James Brissette, 17 years old, also died on the bridge from police gunfire. Henry Glover was killed in a separate Katrina incident. The police officer charged in his death was also acquitted on appeal last year in December. "The court's reversal hit the community hard," Buher says of the Glover case.


Just weeks ago, Armand Bennett, a 26-year-old African-American man, was shot twice in the head during a NOPD traffic stop by an officer who allegedly turned off her camera before the confrontation. The incident initially went unreported to the public by the police superintendent's office. Buher says it reminds people all over again of the NOPD's lack of transparency.


"We will work to register voters through National Voter Registration Day up untilOctober 6 which is the last day for us," Buher says. Some 23 sites include college and university campuses as well as organizations like Covenant House and Liberty's Kitchen, which offer services to the homeless and formerly incarcerated juveniles, respectively.


"We work hard to reach that 18 to 24-year-old transitional age group because they're such a critical age and they're the hardest to reach," Buher explains, adding that In Louisiana, "you can actually register to vote when you're 16. A lot of that under-18 age group is pushing back on the concept that voting is the only way you can be civically engaged."


Yet, in Houston, Christina Sanders, the director of the Texas League of Young Voters Education Fund, is convinced that Ferguson has been an "aha moment" for some of her city's youth and a catalyst that may yield an increase in voter registration rolls.


"This is a time when I've seen more young people connect to the power of the ballot," Sanders said. She attributes increased interest to social media. "Social media, like Facebook, and the ability to connect with people around the country who are saying the same thing, feeling the same way, that changes the conservation."


Sanders concurs with Buher that voter registration is not a panacea or silver bullet to foster change, but the Houston native sees voter registration as the gateway for young people to become more involved in determining how to define and address critical concerns within their communities.


"Youth should not expect everything to happen overnight, because things didn't get the way they are overnight," Sanders said. "Voter registration isn't sexy, but if you connect with young people about Ferguson and how it affects people's lives on so many different levels, you have the capacity to build on the fire in people's bellies. You can build these small fires into a firestorm. What I say to young people is that voting is an opportunity, but your job is to constantly participate."


Sanders maintains that Ferguson has brought out a higher level of interest among African American youth in Houston than any single recent incident, an observation about other cities that is shared by Hazel Trice Edney, former Editor-in-Chief of the National Newspaper Publishers Association and current president of the Capital Press Club in the District of Columbia.


After a visit to Ferguson before the funeral of Brown, Edney says she had intense discussions with the media writing class she occasionally teaches at Howard University as an adjunct professor.


"The students are extremely interested in what's going on in Ferguson. They wanted to know about the disposition of the people, about the next steps the community plans to take. Even more than the Trayvon Martin shooting almost two years ago, Michael Brown's death has been a wake-up call to many communities."


Edney found the stories Ferguson residents told her about police abuse to be appalling, but Brown's death seems to be a tipping point. "People are in a mood for action. They feel it's time to do something."










Marc Morial - November 4th - Vote with a Vengeance  



Marc Morial - President & CEO, National Urban League

To Be Equal #43
October 29, 2014


Marc H. Morial
President and CEO

National Urban League  



"If we're going to try to say that the system has to be corrected for us to receive justice, we have to do everything that we can to be part of the system. Until we have people in office, it will never be better. Not just presidents - mayors, county executives, the governor." 26-year old Demarkus Madyun of St. Louis speaking to a New York Times reporter during a recent voter registration drive in Ferguson, Missouri



NEW YORK, NY - For months, you have been hearing all the reasons why you won't vote on November 4th. They include a turnout gap, an enthusiasm gap, and discriminatory voter ID laws. Now it's time to make your voice heard and prove all these reasons wrong. With so much at stake in this election, the reasons to vote far outweigh any reason or excuse to stay home.

If you want to close the income and achievement gaps - vote. If you want to end police killings of unarmed Black men and see a real commitment to community policing - vote. If you want to live in a democracy that encourages more, not fewer, people to go to the polls - vote. If you believe in quality health care and quality education for all - vote. If you want to shutdown the school to prison pipeline - vote. If you want justice in the courts and are determined that not one more innocent child will die because of easy access to guns - vote.


In less than one week, the power for change will rest solely in our hands. Don't let that power slip away.


In fact, Black Americans have a chance to again make history as in 2012 when we were the most powerful swing vote in the country. With majority control of the U.S. Senate hanging in the balance, the African American vote could tip the scales. According to a New York Times analysis, "African-Americans could help swing elections in Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina and possibly Arkansas, but only if they turn out at higher-than-forecast rates."


In case you hadn't noticed, there are a record number of Black candidates running for office this year. As Jesse Holland of the Associated Press reports, "More than 100 Black candidates will be on the ballot in state-wide and congressional races, a post Reconstruction record..." Citing statistics compiled by David Bositis, who has tracked Black electoral politics for years, Holland reports that 83 Black Republicans and Democrats are vying for seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, and at least 25 African Americans are running for state-wide offices. They include Anthony Brown, who would be Maryland's first African American governor and only the third elected Black governor in our nation's history. New Jersey Democrat Cory Booker and South Carolina Republican Tim Scott are running to retain their seats as the only two African Americans in the United States Senate.


The tragic death of Michael Brown, the disrespect shown to citizens of Ferguson and the paucity of Black elected officials in a city that is 67 percent Black also remind us that change must begin in the voting booth. Congressional Black Caucus Chairwoman Marcia Fudge recently said, "The 2014 elections were important before Ferguson. We've always treated it that way. The unrest has raised the awareness that our vote is our voice and that leadership in our communities and our country matters."


We agree. Whether you cast an early ballot or stand in line on election day...whether you live in Texas with the most restrictive voter ID law in the nation or in Wisconsin where a similar law was struck down... whether you Rock the Vote or Occupy the Vote - on November 4th, make sure you show up at the polls - and vote.







Najee performs at the Saegner Theatre, November 28

"Evening of Elegance" 
featuring Lalah Hathaway, Najee, and Kindred The Family Soul


Nov 28, 2014 7:30 PM

Saegner Theatre New Orleans, LA






Two-time Grammy nominated saxophonist and flautist, Najee has made a career following his heart and keen musical intuition by pushing musical boundaries, all of which have made him an international pioneer in the music industry. Having collaborated with everyone in the music business from Prince, Quincy Jones to Stevie Wonder, Chaka Khan and Herbie Hancock, Najee's technical agility, grace, compositional prowess, unbridled passion and fearless genre bending have made him one of the most sought after musicians of his generation. 

He recently received a 2014 Soul Train Awards nomination for "Best Contemporary Jazz Performance" for his song, "In The Mood To Take It Slow" which features R&B singer, Meli'sa Morgan.

With two Platinum and four Gold albums under his belt, Najee is an icon whose musical vision spawned an entire new genre by fusing the music close to his heart (R&B and jazz). 

Get your tickets today for  "Evening of Elegance".




Kemberley Washington:  3 Ways to Hurricane-proof your finances!




Thursday's Financial Tips
 by Kemberley Washington, CPA 


3 Ways to Hurricane-proof your finances!


Kemberley's interview with Fox 8 News.
Check out Kemberley's interview with Fox 8 News.
 Click here to view

NEW ORLEANS AGENDA - On August 29, 2005, who knew an evacuation order would be the last time I would see New Orleans as I knew it. A "hurricane trip" as I referred to it happened frequently, so why would this time be anything different? My "hurricane trips" would usually turn out to be short vacations and time off from work.  So, to be honest, I actually looked forward to it!  But this time would be different. Hurricane Katrina destroyed my home, my personal belongings and left me homeless. More importantly, I was now faced with many financial uncertainties.


With the start of hurricane season, how can you protect yourself financially?


Make a "To Go" System


Using a simple accordion folder, create tabs  using a checklist for important financial documents that may be necessary in case of an evacuation order.  Your folder should include the following items:


*    Insurance documents

*    Titles and deeds

*    Birth certificates and social security cards

*    Photographs of personal property

*    Tax returns

*    Irreplaceable items (pictures, rare coins or currency, etc.)

*    Wills


Oftentimes after a disaster, many government agencies and organizations require these documents.  Therefore, it is a great idea to have them on hand.


Review your insurance


Depending where you reside, it is important to make certain you insure against all risks that can affect your area. During Hurricane Katrina, many residents did not have adequate insurance because they only carried homeowners insurance but neglected to carry additional flood insurance policies. Take time to visit with an insurance agent to determine whether you should carry additional insurance beyond your basic homeowner's policy.


Keep Cash on Hand


Quite often you may hear, save some cash in case of a disaster. But, I am here to tell you not only save cash, but keep cash on hand. I can recall during Hurricane Katrina how difficult it was to access funds from ATMs.


Since I banked locally, not only was I out of pocket, but my financial institution was as well! So make certain you take some cash when you evacuate. It can go a mighty long way.



Remember: your choice, your future!


Kemberley Washington is a professor at Dillard University and certified public accountant. Check out her eBook Let your budget inspire you! 


Follow her on Twitter or connect with her on  FaceBook!













GoToInterview is an online employment service that gives employers the ability to view a candidate's job interview prior to scheduling an in-person interview. Employers simply post their interview questionnaire, and potential candidates can record their video responses. GoToInterview saves candidates and hiring employers time and money. 


Benefits to the Candidate is more than just a resume or phone call. It allows a candidate's personality to be viewed by employers via video

  • Saves candidate time and money. There is no lost time and no lost transportation cost.
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  • Provides insight on the employer's work environment via video
  • Prepares candidates for the future of talent management.






"N-formed About the N-word"


by CeLillianne Green; Guest Columnist  

Copyright © 2014  


"CeLillianne Green's That Word is an informative and inspirational masterpiece and a must read for anybody grappling with the true nature and ugliness of the N-word. This outstanding book has inspired the FPA to stand strong as to why That Word should be eliminated from the NFL playing fields." - John Wooten, Chairman  

That Word
"That Word" is an inspired work of poetry.
WASHINGTON, DC  - I commend the Fritz Pollard Alliance Foundation ('FPAF") for its call to past, present, and future National Football League ("NFL") players to "respect the dignity of your teammates, fellow players, officials, coaches, fans, and yourselves," by not using the 'n-word'. I hope the NFL appreciates the wisdom of the FPAF and joins in their call for action. To do so, recognizes human dignity and is a reminder of good sportsmanship. Moreover, it would be a sound business practice to minimize hostile work environment claims, particularly since hate speech is not protected by the First Amendment. This is a moment for education and for the maturation of our nation. Indeed, the NFL is in a position to serve as an example for the nation and the world by educating its players and making known that hate speech, in all its forms, has no place in athletics.



The n-word is a word of absolute hate. Those who claim otherwise are misinformed about a word steeped in a history of pain and degradation inflicted upon Africans, who were forcibly transported to America to be enslaved due to the color of their skin. Institutionalized enslavement of Africans and their descendants in America spanned nearly two and half centuries, plus a century more of de facto enslavement in the form of legalized discrimination and racism. These facts must be understood as the reality for millions of people who were forced to live and die with indignity of the n-word hurled at them. In some instances, these people used their oppressors' words to denigrate themselves. An elementary understanding of the Stockholm syndrome helps to explain why traumatized and oppressed people accept the words of their oppressor to identify themselves. 


The generations of trauma from institutionalized slavery has yet to be fully addressed, let alone healed in the psyche of our nation. Of course, I applaud how the film, "12 Years a Slave" shed light on slavery in America. Yet, this Oscar-winning film only focused on the life of one man, Solomon Northup. He was born a free man, educated, and was able to write about his capture and enslavement. Northup's enslavement and that of millions of others, who were legally banned from learning to read or write, was a nightmare. Their nightmare cannot be converted into a dream by a contemporary notion of changing definitions. To claim otherwise, is to disrespect them and the collective history of America. 


While everyone may not share a deep connection to the history and legacy of enslaved people and their enslavers in America, the fact and impact of slavery must not be minimized. Education allowed Northup to write his 1853 memoir about the horrors of slavery. In 2014, more education is needed about the pain inflicted from the n-word. I have had the opportunity to contribute to that education in That Word, an inspired work of epic poetry, in which the "Council of Elders" in the "Circle of Truth" reminds some and teaches others why the n-word is profane. From the spirit realm, the Elders in That Word lament to their descendants: 


"We knew who created that word and why 
That word was to perpetuate the lie


The lie of our inferiority 
To promote our oppressors' lie of superiority


Now we're compelled to leave our graves 
As we hear you saying it like you're slaves


That word was created to denigrate us and our descendants too 
Under no circumstances, should we hear it from you" 



Like the Elders in the Circle of Truth, I implore those who do not know history, to learn, to heal, and to respect the pain and legacy of those who were enslaved and their descendants.  Continued use of the n-word and variations of it represent the back door referred to in The Miseducation of the Negro by Carter G. Woodson. Mis-educated people build back doors to use even after signs directing them to do so have been removed. It is time to remove those signs from our minds. It is time to stop building back doors.


CeLillianne Green
CeLillianne Green



CeLillianne Green is a poet, an attorney and a freelance writer. She is the author of That Word, the e-book Marching Orders & She Rose, and other poetry.















Liberty Bank & Trust




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The Classy Lady of Jazz! 





Marlon Jordan - Jazz Trumpeter
"Marlon's trumpeting, chameleon-like, assumes the colors of the music he plays ..."







Rodney & Etter, LLC maintains a practice focused primarily on the defense of commercial and environmental litigation and all aspects of intellectual property law. We are a firm of creative and energetic trial lawyers adept in all matters pertaining to jury trials in urban courts across the United States. 


Rodney & Etter LLC








"21st Century Campaigning requires a balance of experience, technology and the art of persuasion."  

POLICAMP is an integrated political consulting entity which provides campaign services for ballot initiatives and candidates seeking elective office. Specializing in developing effective Political Game Plans with proven results.
POLICAMP offers multidimensional guidance which includes GOTV (Get-Out-The-Vote), E-campaign, voter contact, voter data analysis, targeted direct mail, legal research, grassroots mobilization, message development and image building . . .





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Vincent T. Sylvain


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Marc Morial - President & CEO, National Urban League
Marc Morial, President & CEO, National Urban League

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You Don't Know What Love Is
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Dr. Gayla Sylvain, MD
Dr. Gayla Sylvain, MD

Dr. Gayla Sylvain, MD is board-certified in internal medicine and anti-aging medicine and has dedicated her practice at Eagle's Landing Longevity Center to helping you to age healthfully and to live your life to the fullest.


Dr. Sylvain received her Medical Degree from Harvard Medical School...


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Eagle's Landing Longevity Center Staff
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Sylvain Solutions is a full-service media and public relations consulting entity headed by Vincent Sylvain practicing in the areas in governmental relations, community outreach, alternative media, political consulting, corporate communications, faith-based groups, and arts and cultural affairs.  



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Contributing Writers


 Kemberley Washington, CPA and former IRS Special Agent
Kemberley Washington
Thursday's Financial Tips
 by Kemberley Washington, CPA 




Yolanda Rodriguez
Yolanda Rodriguez

Land Use & Planning; 

Zoning Information from The Allied Planning Group 







CeLillianne Green
CeLillianne Green

Poet, attorney, writer, teacher, and mediator