November 24, 2016 


President-elect Donald Trump protests that he isn’t really the racist, sexist, anti-immigrant Islamaphobe that his rhetorical excesses in the presidential campaign suggested he was.


Then he appoints as his “chief strategist” a firebrand who published white supremacist, anti-Semitic and misogynist provocations on his media platform. He appoints as national security adviser a retired general who calls Islam an ideology rather than a religion. And now he seems intent on nominating Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama to be attorney general, despite racist views that led Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee to reject him for a federal judicial appointment during the Reagan years.


The appointment of Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III can only be a calculated insult to people of color and people of conscience. It shows that Trump is itching for a fight with the civil rights community. During his Senate hearing in 1986 it was revealed that Sessions told a Civil Rights Division attorney that he thought the Ku Klux Klan was “OK” until he learned they smoked pot. Sessions said he was joking. Sessions also called a black assistant U.S. attorney — the only black assistant A.G. in his office — “boy.” He dismissed the NAACP, Martin Luther King’s SCLC and PUSH as “un-American” and “communist in­spired.”


After his rejection, Sessions curbed his tongue a bit. He voted to confirm Eric Holder as the country’s first black attorney general. He co-sponsored the Fair Sentencing Act that aims at reducing the stark disparities in sentencing for black and white drug offenders.


Yet Sessions continues to stand in the doorway against progress toward equal rights. He dismissed the Voting Rights Act as a “piece of intrusive legislation.” As senator, he peddled nonsense about voter fraud and voter intimidation. He’s defended state voter ID laws, part of the voter suppression package that Republican governors have pushed in states across the country.


He opposed hate-crime laws and supported the effort to end affirmative action programs. Even after the murder of nine parishioners at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C., led to removal of the Confederate flag across much of the South, Sessions called the criticism of this symbol of slavery and secession an effort by the “left” to “delegitimize the fabulous accomplishments of our country.”


Sessions has also been — no surprise — a venomous advocate for a crackdown on undocumented workers. He opposes any easing of immigration laws, denounces President Barack Obama’s decision to defer deportation of the families of children who have been born here, and even opposed the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to the U.S. Supreme Court.


This appointment comes with the Trump administration threatening a rollback of basic rights — women’s right to control their bodies, gay rights, voting rights, immigration enforcement, drug legalization and the escalating effort to challenge systemic racism in our criminal justice system. Sessions would lead a reactionary assault seeking to reverse or weaken all of these rights.


“If you have nostalgia for the days when blacks kept quiet, gays were in the closet, immigrants were invisible and women stayed in the kitchen, Sen. Jefferson Beauregard Sessions is your man,” Rep. Luis Gutierrez said in a news release.


But Trump is about to discover this country has changed. We aren’t going back. African Americans won’t accept a criminal justice system that puts the lives of their children at risk. Latinos and Asian-Americans won’t huddle, frightened that ICE agents may invade their homes. Women and the LGBT community won’t give up their push for equal rights.


If Trump goes ahead with the Sessions nomination, the Senate Judiciary Committee should hold extensive public hearings on his views and his record. His nomination is more than a disgrace. It is a provocation, a declaration that the Trump administration wants to rollback rights that were won after decades of struggle. The president isn’t picking a fight with minorities. He is picking a fight with the vast majority of America — and we won’t go back.

Category: Opinion

November 17, 2016 

Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis 

Nobody said that the road to freedom, justice and equality would be easy.  In the wake of the results of the national elections across the United States, it is crystal clear that the aspirations, hopes and dreams of 47 million Black Americans are neither in vain or hopeless.  We have been disappointed before.  We have been joyous before. But today we are all called to be vigilant, persistent and resilient.


As one of our sacred freedom songs refrains in an upbeat, “Woke up this morning with my mind stayed on freedom….. ain’t gonna let nobody turn us around…… Got a keep my mind, spirit and soul focused on freedom….. no matter what happens… we gonna keep on marching….we gonna keep on shouting……… we gonna keep on marching  down freedom’s road.”


You have heard me affirm before within the printed and digital contours of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) that our collective sense of righteous optimism and moral imperatives were really never based exclusively on one event or one defeat or even one victory.  Ours is a long protracted struggle for freedom and equality.


Our brother freedom fighter writer and author, James Baldwin, once told me, “We have to look at the future without a moment to blink with our heads unbowed with a transcendent determination always to rise above the cynicism of the day and never let giving-in to wrong creep into our souls…… for nobody knows or even cares about our suffering if we ever stoop to be silent or indifferent after the bloody lash of history has once again hit out bare backs.”


On election night, November 8, 2016, the entire world waited for the election results into the wee hours of the next morning. Black Repub­licans were overjoyed and repurposed.  Black Democrats were dismayed and disappointed.  Black Independents were challenged and confused.  But interestingly some of our elders as well as many of ouryoung activists that night and morning gained renewed strength to fight on for another day and era of progress.


We will continue to pick up our pens to write and speak truth to power. We will continue to publish in the grand tradition of motivating and informing the masses to be ever aware of what’s happening now. Every day brings teachable moments and lessons.  The National Black Voter Poll, done by Howard University’s interdisciplinary group of faculty and student scholars and the NNPA turned out to be the most accurate when it came to the Black American vote across America.


Voting in our communities is not just a right, it is a historic and contemporary responsibility. As we prepare to enter 2017 with a new political regime in the White House, each of us should ask, What can I do to help improve the quality of life of my family and community?


How can I and those who I trust in the solidarity of the struggle for freedom and empowerment work together to increase the economic development of the communities in which we reside?  How can I contribute to ensuring that our children receive the highest quality education pre-K-12 to college and post graduate? How can I help raise awareness about the healthcare issues that specifically impact our communities?  How can I make a positive difference to make our world a better place?


We have come too far to even contemplate resigning, giving up or throwing-in the towel.  President-Elect Donald Trump has been given the opportunity and responsibility of a lifetime. Will the United States go forward?  Or will the nation go backward?  The answers to these critical questions will not be limited to what President Trump will do or not do.  Each of us will also contribute to what the future holds.


From my perspective, Black America must do what we have always done.  Speak out.  Stand up. Keep fighting for freedom, justice and equality with renewed vigor, faith and energy.  Resilience is in our DNA.


My optimism is based on the enormous progress that we have made in our long movement for freedom in the U.S. and throughout the world.  I refuse to join the chorus of the cynics who think erroneously that we are at that apocalyptic time when the world is about to end as a result of the elections last week. That is not the truth.  We must keep struggling forward.  As Maya Angelou reminded us, “We shall rise…. and we shall continue to rise”…again and again.


Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis Jr. is President and CEO of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) and can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Category: Opinion

November 10, 2016 

Last night, I congratulated Donald Trump and offered to work with him on behalf of our country. I hope that he will be a successful president for all Americans.


This is not the outcome we wanted or we worked so hard for, and I'm sorry we did not win this election for the values we share and the vision we hold for our country.


But I feel pride and gratitude for this wonderful campaign that we built together — this vast, diverse, creative, unruly, energized campaign. You represent the best of America, and being your candidate has been one of the greatest honors of my life.


I know how disappointed you feel, because I feel it too. And so do tens of millions of Americans who invested their hopes and dreams in this effort. This is painful, and it will be for a long time. But I want you to remember this: Our campaign was never about one person or even one election. It was about the country we love — and about building an America that's hopeful, inclusive, and big-hearted.


We have seen that our nation is more deeply divided than we thought. But I still believe in America — and I always will. And if you do, too, then we must accept this result — and then look to the future.


Donald Trump is going to be our president. We owe him an open mind and the chance to lead.


Our constitutional democracy enshrines the peaceful transfer of power, and we don’t just respect that, we cherish it. It also enshrines other things — the rule of law, the principle that we’re all equal in rights and dignity, and the freedom of worship and expression. We respect and cherish these things too — and we must defend them.


And let me add: Our constitutional democracy demands our participation, not just every four years, but all the time. So let's do all we can to keep advancing the causes and values we all hold dear: making our economy work for everyone, not just those at the top; protecting our country and protecting our planet; and breaking down all the barriers that hold anyone back from achieving their dreams.


We’ve spent a year and a half bringing together millions of people from every corner of our country to say with one voice that we believe that the American Dream is big enough for everyone — for people of all races and religions, for men and women, for immigrants, for LGBT people, and people with disabilities.


Our responsibility as citizens is to keep doing our part to build that better, stronger, fairer America we seek. And I know you will.


I am so grateful to stand with all of you.


I want to thank Tim Kaine and Anne Holton for being our partners on this journey. It gives me great hope and comfort to know that Tim will remain on the front-lines of our democracy, representing Virginia in the Senate.


To Barack and Michelle Obama: Our country owes you an enormous debt of gratitude for your graceful, determined leadership, and so do I.


To Bill, Chelsea, Marc, Charlotte, Aidan, our brothers, and our entire family, my love for you means more than I can ever express.


You crisscrossed this country on my behalf and lifted me up when I needed it most — even four-month old Aidan traveling with his mom.


I will always be grateful to the creative, talented, dedicated men and women at our headquarters in Brooklyn and across our country who poured their hearts into this campaign. For you veterans, this was a campaign after a campaign — for some of you, this was your first campaign ever. I want each of you to know that you were the best campaign anyone has had.


To all the volunteers, community leaders, activists, and union organizers who knocked on doors, talked to neighbors, posted on Facebook — even in secret or in private: Thank you.


To everyone who sent in contributions as small as $5 and kept us going, thank you.


And to all the young people in particular, I want you to hear this. I've spent my entire adult life fighting for what I believe in. I’ve had successes and I’ve had setbacks — sometimes really painful ones. Many of you are at the beginning of your careers. You will have successes and setbacks, too.


This loss hurts. But please, please never stop believing that fighting for what’s right is worth it. It's always worth it. And we need you keep up these fights now and for the rest of your lives.


To all the women, and especially the young women, who put their faith in this campaign and in me, I want you to know that nothing has made me prouder than to be your champion.


I know that we still have not shattered that highest glass ceiling. But some day someone will — hopefully sooner than we might think right now.


And to all the little girls watching right now, never doubt that you are valuable and powerful and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world.


Finally, I am grateful to our country for all it has given me.


I count my blessings every day that I am an American. And I still believe, as deeply as I ever have, that if we stand together and work together, with respect for our differences, strength in our convictions, and love for this nation — our best days are still ahead of us.


You know I believe we are stronger together and will go forward together. And you should never be sorry that you fought for that.


Scripture tells us: “Let us not grow weary in doing good, for in due season, we shall reap, if we do not lose heart.”


My friends, let us have faith in each other. Let us not grow weary. Let us not lose heart. For there are more seasons to come and there is more work to do.


I am incredibly honored and grateful to have had this chance to represent all of you in this consequential election. May God bless you and God bless the United States of America.



Category: Opinion

November 03, 2016 

By Danny J. Bakewell, Jr. 

Executive Editor 

Measure M is a chance to bring new resources, new jobs and new opportunities to our community. Without Measure M, the future is bleak with no real opportunity for growth. The Los Angeles County population is projected to increase by 2.3 million people. Voting yes on Measure M ensures that we will add transit, improve freeways and fix our local roads to ease the congestion they will cause. The alternative is 2.3 million people on our roads, freeways, buses and trains who will grind our transportation system to a halt because we did not take action when we had the chance.


Measure M has been independently analyzed by non-partisan experts, by community advocates and by political leaders and the results are impressive and will have a deep impact on our lives and will be a true benefit to our community. Measure M's improvements to our transportation system will reduce the time we are stuck in traffic by 15 percent and the measure will drive the creation of 465,000 jobs across our region. And we are confident, because of Metro’s new CEO Phillip Washington and because of the allies we have on the like Metro Board Member Jackie Dupont Walker, we have a great opportunity to insure that an equitable portion of these jobs will be filled by residents from our community, and those people will in turn spend their paychecks into our community when they eat out, get their oil changed and buy clothes for their kids.


Many of those jobs will be middle class jobs -- career jobs with health care and retirement benefits that have the potential to bring us back to the days when Los Angeles County's economy was more robust and there were opportunities for everyone. An economy anchored by a core middle class working in the building trades, manufacturing and related services.


South L.A. and surrounding neighborhoods have long suffered amidst crumbling roads, sidewalks and other infrastructure. Measure M would immediately deliver funding to our communities and all 88 L.A. County Cities and 134 unincorporated areas to fill potholes, repave roads, and fix sidewalks and intersections. Measure M will also provide earthquake retrofits for our aging bridges and overpasses which are in desperate need of repair and retrofitting.


Right outside our offices, the Crenshaw/LAX line is being built, and is currently planned to run from the airport to Exposition Boulevard. Measure M would extend the line north into Hollywood, providing connectivity to the complete Measure-M transit system that will run from Claremont to Chatsworth; Artesia to Westwood; Torrance to Whittier; and everywhere in between.


Measure M would also improve freeway traffic flow on the 105, the 110, and the 405, and it in fact fixes interchanges and add lanes across the breadth of our freeway network. We all know that from the day the 105 was opened it was to narrow and desperately needs improvement. Measure M is not just about what is in our community. We cannot continue to have an isolated transit system which only connects us to the neighborhoods inside of our community, but we need to be connected to the entire county and the entire county needs to be connected to us — Measure M is about where we’re going, and research shows that 50 percent of L.A. County residents travel to another part of the County every day for work or play.


Importantly, Measure M also commits Metro to keeping senior, disabled and student fares low, and invests in van and other services, to assure that transit-dependent populations can live more independently and go wherever they want to go in Los Angeles County.


Measure M is not about politics or a particular philosophy. It is about traffic congestion, it’s about economic development, it is about economic opportunity it’s about our daily lives. That’s why Bakewell Media, The Los Angeles Sentinel and The LA Watts Times all support and endorse Measure M and we encourage everyone to VOTE YES ON MEASURE M! Community Leaders, Community Organizations and organizations inside and outside of our community like AARP, the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, the New Frontier Democratic Club, The Crenshaw Chamber of Commerce, political leaders like Mark Ridley-Thomas, Senator Isadore Hall, Assemblymember Mike Gipson, Inglewood Mayor James Butts, Council President Herb Wesson, Councilmember Marquis Harris-Dawson, LAUSD Board Member George McKenna all support Measure M.


Measure M gives us and our children a future that gives us more time to spend with our families and less time wasted in traffic. It gives us the chance to have real economic growth and provides the opportunity for real economic empowerment. Measure M means a brighter economic future, a future that helps our seniors, disabled and young people, and it means a future where our infrastructure is in good shape and built to last.



Category: Opinion

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