September 24, 2020

By Bertram Keller

Contributing Writer

 

Tuesday, September 22, 2020—The Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) put forward the Job and Justice Act of 2020. The bill is a comprehensive piece of legislation addressing two major categories: the need to increase employment and the search for law enforcement accountability within the black community.

U.S. Representative for California's 37th congressional district and CBC chairman, Karen Bass, steered the conference on Tuesday. Each panelist shared their thoughts regarding the outline of the bill’s intentions.

Congresswoman Bass has been very vocal on black voters becoming engaged, as well as making it a priority to vote this year—2020. She stated, “This election is about life and death,” with reference to the outstanding 200,000 Americans who have died from COVID-19 in a matter of a few months.

Congresswoman Bass said, “With over 200 pieces of legislation, covering many issues that are vital to African Americans, [the Jobs and Justice Act of 2020] is a perfect example of what you get when you go out and vote.”

Bass noted that, “We cannot deliver the change and correct the atrocities of the last 3 ½ years if we spend have to another 4 years with the [Trump] administration.”

If passed, the Jobs and Justice Act of 2020 will “increase the upward social and economic mobility for African Americans, and ensure their equal protection under the law” stated in the CBC ‘s legislation.

The first part of the bill includes several provisions with an objective to advance economic opportunity black neighborhoods.

The panel suggested that government officials directly prioritize funds to infrastructure investment, workforce development, small business support, housing, and education.

U.S. Representative for Nevada's 4th congressional district and CBC Rep. Steven Horsford said, “Black owned companies will benefit with greater access to capital, contracts, and markets to help grow black owned firms.” Congressman Horsford claims the bill “Will provided incentives to support small businesses with tax credits, training and newly formed direct loans through the small business administration as an alternative to the private lending market.”

The latter half addressed bold reform of the U.S. criminal justice system, in which demand a healthy interaction between the judicial system, law enforcement, the people of color they serve.

Further, the bill pledges to expand access to social services among low-income communities and provide resources to those who have “served time” for better reintegration to society.

Congressional Black Caucus members further addressed the bill’s stance on poverty alleviation, in which would involve reallocating the wealth in the U.S.  Representative for California's 13th congressional district Barbara Lee specified regulating the trading stocks, bonds and derivatives at higher rate taxation.

Basically, disputing the current Wall Street Tax Act of 2019, which imposes a 0.1% tax on certain financial transactions, such as, the purchase of stocks, bonds, and derivatives.

 

Congresswoman Barbara Lee said, “It would generate up to 2.4 trillion in public revenue from this tax…

 

It is past time to make sure that Wall Street pays their fair share, so that we can provide funding for the creation of jobs, housing, infrastructure, and college education.”

Further, Congresswoman Lee discussed the importance of the End Diaper Need Act, in which would produce a $100,000,000 demonstration project distributing free diapers and diapering products in communities and non-profits around the nation.

 

With considerate vision to help reduce the diaper need for low income households.

Congresswoman Lee stated, “1 and 3 families experience diaper needs which often lead to negative health outcomes for vulnerable children.”

U.S. Representative for Ohio's 3rd congressional district Joyce Beatty, U.S. Representative A. Donald McEachin from Virginia's 4th congressional district, and Representative for Texas's 9th congressional district Alexander N. Green delivered speeches that were full of life.

They each discussed concerning topics like the wealth gap between black and white families, the greatest importance of environmental change, and the everlasting policies that ingrain systemic racism within America’s fabric.

 

It is more or less 40 days away from our nation’s next election before the window for political change is closed.

The Congressional Black Caucus have ambitiously dedicated the Jobs and Justice Act of 2020 by implementing a considerable number of laws to put an end to the controversial topics, which intend to ultimately facilitate structural change for future generations.

Category: News

September 17, 2020

By City News Service

 

A coalition of 64 media organizations called on the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department today to withdraw a citation against KPCC and LAist reporter Josie Huang, who was pinned to the ground and handcuffed while covering the arrest of a demonstrator following the shooting of two deputies in Compton.

The letter from the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press echoes other media groups that have disputed the sheriff's version of the arrest, and calls on the department “to take immediate steps to prevent another incident like the arrest of (Huang).”

A spokesman for the sheriff's department told City News Service the case is still under investigation and the department had no further comment.

Huang was arrested Saturday night as she was covering a confrontation involving a handful of protesters at the emergency room entrance of St. Francis Medical Center in Lynwood, where the wounded deputies were brought for treatment.

Video from the scene showed deputies pinning Huang to the ground and arresting her.

The sheriff's department claimed she didn't have proper media credentials, failed to properly identify herself as a reporter and was ``interfering with a lawful arrest''of one of the protesters. Sheriff Alex Villanueva later doubled down on that contention, saying Huang got “right up on the shoulder” of a deputy trying to make an arrest, and saying her actions were more “activism” than journalism.

Video from Huang's cell phone has since surfaced, showing her repeatedly identifying herself as a reporter, shouting “KPCC,” and saying,

“You're hurting me” and crying out in apparent pain.

Inspector General Max Huntsman – who has clashed with Villanueva over previous investigations involving the LASD – has opened an investigation into Huang's arrest, and is scheduled to appear before the Civilian Oversight Commission on Thursday morning to discuss his probe into Huang's arrest.

Huang, who was released after about five hours in custody, was cited and could face charges under California Penal Code Section 148 for obstructing a law enforcement officer from performing his or her lawful duties.

The coalition's letter accuses deputies of violating her constitutional rights.

“The right to record police activity in public is clearly established, and an officer who violates that First Amendment freedom – especially through the use of force – enjoys no legal immunity,” the group contends in the letter. “Based on multiple recordings of the incident, it appears that the Department's arrest of Ms. Huang violated these clearly established First Amendment rights.”

The Los Angeles Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists wrote a letter to Huntsman on Wednesday asking that his office make public all information it gathers in the investigation.

“The department's treatment of Huang threatens to have a chilling effect on journalists across the county. We cannot overstate the importance of a thorough investigation by your office,” chapter president David Zahniser wrote.

Meanwhile, Villanueva apologized Wednesday for a separate incident involving one of his deputies, who shined his flashlight at a television camera operated by a Fox11 crew that was documenting the arrest of a suspect at a fire.

“Unbelievable. Look at this LA County Sheriff's Deputy shining his flashlight directly into our @foxla camera, trying to prevent us from recording an arrest made at fire,” reporter Gigi Graciette tweeted. “Said we weren't allowed to videotape. What? We are standing on sidewalk where law clearly allows us to be.”

Villanueva responded soon after with his own tweet.

“I have personally spoken to @GigiGraciette and apologized on behalf of @LASDHQ for the wrongful actions of one of our personnel while she and @FoxLA were reporting on an arrest,” the sheriff said.

Category: News

September 17, 2020

By Tanu Henry

California Black Media 

 

The California Democratic Party African American Caucus (CDPAAC) is calling on all elected officials in California at the local, state and national levels to take a firm stand against racism.  

By signing the Emmett Till Anti-Racism Pledge, the CDPAAC says politicians, who are the most important decision makers in California, can demonstrate in a public and symbolic way that they denounce racism and support a society for all Californians that is fair, just and safe. 

“The Democratic party and the people of California must never forget about the murder of Emmett Till. It ignited the first civil rights movement.

He was that generation's George Floyd and Breonna Taylor,” said Taisha Brown, chair of the CDPAAC.  

Brown, who lives in San Diego and was elected last year to lead the statewide group that represents Black registered Democrats across California, said standing up against Racism in all of its forms is one of the top priorities of the caucus.  

“The Black Caucus continues to serve in its historic role as the conscious of the California Democratic Party,” Brown told California Black Media. “Many in this country and around the state of California are trying to find out what they can do to contribute to this historic time in our nation's history. The caucus wanted to assist individuals and elected officials in doing their part to fight against racism. It is a public health crisis.” 

In California, about 73% of all likely Black Voters are registered Democrats, according to the Public Policy Institute of California.  

Named for the 14-year-old African American boy who was brutally lynched in Mississippi in 1955 after being accused of offending a White woman, the Emmitt Till Pledge calls on elected officials to direct their “energies to combat bigotry and hate in our great state.” 

“We are committed to standing up for equality, safety, and justice for ALL of the citizens of California,” the pledge continues, before asking the politicos to sign. “We pledge to take the bold and aggressive steps to combat bigotry and racism throughout our state to ensure that every individual is able to claim their ‘unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness’ as our Declaration of Independence states.” 

“The cruelness, barbarism, and brutality of his murder were heartbreaking,” a statement the CDPAAC released said of Till’s murder. 

 In 2017, Till’s accuser, Carolyn Bryant Donham, told Timothy B. Tyson, an author and Duke University professor, that she lied when she reported that Till of assaulted her 65 years ago.  

After a five-day trial, a jury in Sumner, Miss., acquitted Till’s killers.  

The CDPAAC pledge asks elected officials to make seven affirmations, which include not allowing racist conversation in their presence; protecting all people who face discrimination; contracting with Black-owned businesses and vendors for campaign and government-related events; enacting policies that promote all Californians; among other positive actions.  

“The Black Caucus will work with the Democratic party to email the petition to elected officials and encourage our members to request that their elected representatives at all levels sign it,” said Brown.

Category: News

September 17, 2020

Levi H. Thornhill passed away at the Community Living Center, Veterans Hospital, Wilshire campus Wednesday, September 9, 2020, just short of his 98th birthday. He was the first child born to parents, Levi M. and Arrie M. Thornhill. His grandparents were Richard and Mattie Trent, who lived on a farm in Appomattox County, Virginia where Levi was born.

His father was a Buffalo Soldier, stationed at Fort Benning, Georgia. In 1927, they moved back to Virginia where a new world opened. His Mom was the first of her ten siblings, five brothers and four sisters, to graduate from college. She got a job teaching at a one room school. The great part of it all was the fact that he got to go with her every day.

They moved to Lynchburg the summer of 1931. His elementary school years were very boring because he had already had all of what was being taught. High school was much better. He played football, position center at six feet 140 pounds, basketball, and played saxophone with a group he and his buddies put together.

The experience made him realize this was not going to be his vocation. Short order cook was not his favorite either. At the end of summer, he got notice from Uncle Sam, so he volunteered. His dad informed him that volunteering would give him a better chance of getting to where he wanted to go. This was the Air Corp at Tuskegee, Alabama. The next stop was aircraft mechanic school in Lincoln, Nebraska and specialty school at Chanute Field in Illinois. The next stop was Selfridge, Michigan. His group learned that if they stayed in 302nd Squadron, they could all become crew chiefs. All 13 guys stayed.

 

His assignments were aircraft mechanic school, Chanute Field, IL, Selfridge, MI; 332FG, Toronto, Italy, Monti Corvino, Naples, Ramitelli, Italy: 447th Composite Group’s 617t Squadron, Lockbourne, OH; Pilot Training, Randolph AFB, TX; 85th FTR Group, 526 fighter Squadron, Dover, DE, Pilot P-47s; 1737 Ferry Squadron, Dover, DE, Ferry single engine aircraft; Squadron Officers School, Luke AFB, AZ, Instructor Pilot/Safety Officer; Nellis, AFB, NV, Squadron Maintenance officer, field Maintenance officer, flight test pilot. Levi retired from the Air Force in 1965.

Civilian Occupations included Bonanza Airlines as a factory representative and assistant to the VP of maintenance engineering. Hughes Air West/Republic as an aircraft engineer. Retired November 1981.

A Pan Am team of eight mostly retired airline engineers started work in 1982, at Rockwell International plant in Downey, CA. This entailed an independent analysis to determine the adequacy or inadequacy of the space shuttle systems checkout program. Levi was a key member of the team. His extensive knowledge of aircraft hydraulic, air conditioning, cabin pressurization and landing gear systems made him the ideal person to analyze those systems on the Orbiter.

In 1987, Levi married Dottie, and this 33-year marriage remained until his death. They loved each other so much and consumed their lives with travel to many places outside the United States as well as in the states. They bowled, played golf, danced, attended plays, they were season ticket holders to the Raiders and Lakers. Levi loved movies, so movie dates were a must. They especially enjoyed music and the Playboy Jazz Festival. When there was time, they played games and Dottie was the winner most of the time. They spent time at their time-share properties with many friends. They looked forward to meetings with the Tuskegee Airmen of Los Angeles and going to the conventions each year. This gave us a chance to see and enjoy old friends from all over the country. The Travel Club which started with 20 members was great fun. They attended church together at West Angeles Church of God in Christ.

He was honored to be presented the Congressional Gold Medal by President Bush in 2007, and thrilled to attend the inauguration of President Barrack Obama on January 18, 2009.

Levi volunteered at Tomorrow’s Aeronautical Museum (TAM), founded by Robin Petgrave, mentoring young boys and girls interested in aviation. At the age of 86, Levi flew in the seat behind fifteen-year-old Kimberly Anyadike in a Cessna 172 from Compton, CA to Virginia in tribute to the Tuskegee Airmen. They made several stops going and returning, Tuskegee being one of the stops.

Levi has visited many schools including elementary, middle, high schools, and colleges to speak about his experiences as a Tuskegee Airman.

He was one of the airmen who interviewed with George Lucas on the movie “Red Tails” about the Tuskegee Airmen.

Roger and Margaret Starner of Miami, Florida, deserve special recognition. They have named a scholarship in Levi H. Thornhill’s name to The State University of Iowa Foundation. It is the Donor’s desire that preference be given to a student who is of African American descent. First preference will be given to students majoring in biomedical engineering and second preference given to students majoring in environmental engineering. I received an email from Roger and his words touched me deeply. “Somewhere in the past five years, I began to realize that Levi was very special to me. He is the only guy I have ever thought of as a dear friend.”

Levi Leaves to cherish his memory his loving wife, Dorothy (Dottie), son, Bruce, daughter, Lisa (Scott) brother, Albert Brown (Janice), sister, Talma (Pat) Sullivan, sister, Gladys Cobb, niece, Jeanie Rose (James), surrogate grand kids, Nolan and Nia Marshall, and many relatives and friends.

Category: News

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