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More than 800 faith leaders demand Biden, Senate pass Voting Rights Bill

Rev. Al Sharpton, Martin Luther King III, and more than 800 faith leaders from various religions are demanding that President Joe Biden and Senate Democrats immediately push through voting rights legislation. “We cannot be clearer: you must act now to protect every American’s freedom to vote without interference and with confidence that their ballot will be counted and honored,” the faith leaders wrote in the letter released on Thursday, December 23, 2021. “Passing comprehensive voting rights legislation must be the number-one priority of the administration and Congress,” they wrote. In addition to Sharpton and King, those signing the letter included a mix of Christian, Muslim, and Jewish faith leaders. Rev. Aaron Frank of Horseheads, New York, Rabbi Abby Cohen of Portland, Oregon, Rabbi Abby Michaleski of the Beth Israel Congregation, Rev. Abhi Janamanchi of Bethesda, Maryland, Rabbi Abram Goodstein of the Congregation Beth Sholom, and Rev. Adam Russell Taylor. King and his wife, Arndrea Waters King, organized the leaders and wrote the letter. The African American Christian Clergy Coalition joined them, Bend the Arc: Jewish Action and Faith in Public Life, and others joined. The Congressional Black Caucus has pushed legislation, including two voting rights bills blocked by the GOP. “This year, American democracy faced extraordinary challenges, from the violent insurrection on the U.S. Capitol to over 30 anti-voting bills pushed through state legislatures, intentionally designed to silence Black, Brown, Indigenous, immigrant, low-income, LGBTQIA+, people with disabilities, and elderly and young voters,” the faith leaders wrote. “During this season of giving and community, we are painfully aware that the promise of American democracy is thwarted by systemic racism and a system that works for the few at the expense of the public good.” The letter continued: “It will continue on this path without prompt, substantive federal action. During the Civil Rights era, prominent leaders were driven by their faith to fight for equality. This is why we continue the push for voting rights today – our faith teaches us that each one of us deserves dignity and freedom. “We cannot be clearer: you must act now to protect every American’s freedom …

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U.S. House votes to end sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine

By: Lauren Victoria Burke, NNPA Newswire Contributor In March U.S. House Democrats Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) and Bobby Scott (D-VA) joined Republican Reps. Kelly Armstrong (R-ND) and Don Bacon (R-NE) to introduce a bill called the “Eliminating a Quantifiably Unjust Application of the Law (EQUAL) Act.” The mandates that the federal crack and powder cocaine sentencing disparity would end. It would also retroactively apply the change to those already convicted or sentenced. On September 28, the U.S. House passed the bill by a vote of 361-66. Now the U.S. Senate has an opportunity to pass the bill and send it to President Biden’s desk. Doing so would put an end to one of the worst legacies of the war on drugs. In 2009, Congressman Bobby Scott led an effort in the U.S. House to eliminate the crack/cocaine disparity in the Fairness in Cocaine Sentencing Act. That effort eventually led to the 2010 passage of the Fair Sentencing Act, which reduced the crack cocaine disparity from 100:1 to 18:1. “For years, we have known that harsh drug sentencing disparities between crack and powder cocaine have created a racially disparate impact on Black communities. The bipartisan EQUAL Act is the next step on the long road toward eliminating this unfair sentencing disparity,” Rep. Scott said in a statement. “Eliminating the crack-powder cocaine sentencing disparity is a step toward applying equal justice under the law. I will continue to work with Representative Jeffries and advocate for it in the Senate so this long overdue legislation can get to the president’s desk and signed into law,” said Congressman Armstrong, a Republican from North Dakota. “The EQUAL Act will help reverse engineer the tragic legacy of the failed war on drugs which has devastated lives, families and communities. Crack cocaine has historically been used in inner-city communities and powder cocaine in affluent neighborhoods and the suburbs. That does not justify the wide disparity in sentencing. I thank the tremendous leadership of Rep. Armstrong and all my colleagues in the House who supported this legislation and are committed to burying the failed war on drugs and making the …

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Martin Luther King III and wife talk voting rights, abolishing filibuster

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent @StacyBrownMedia In 1963, more than 250,000 people marched on Washington, D.C., for jobs and freedom with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Nearly 60 years later, Martin Luther King III helped lead a massive march on the nation’s capital. This time the objective focused on voting rights. “John Lewis told us that the most powerful nonviolent tool we have is voting rights,” King told the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) during an exclusive interview broadcast over the social media channels of the Black Press of America. The NNPA is the trade association that represents the Black Press of America. “We are in a battle to protect our most sacred right,” King continued. The oldest son of the late civil rights leader called the more than 400 voter suppression bills in GOP-led states a reaction to the massive voter turnout in Georgia and other places that helped Democrats gain control of both chambers of Congress and the White House. King and his wife, Arndrea, said part of their mission is to register new voters and fight suppression laws. “The 400 pieces of legislation introduced since January are a reaction to the massive voter turnout, we saw last year and is a preparation for 2022,” said Arndrea King, a national merit scholar who studied psychology at Emory University. “If people come out and make themselves heard and press for federal protection, for the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, we can stop this,” Arndrea King insisted. In addition to the August 28 march, the King family set a goal of registering 2 million new voters ahead of 2022. The couple insisted that the Black Press of America remains the most prominent and trusted vehicle. The King family and other civil rights activists have gotten out vital messaging using the Black Press. “All of us greatly appreciate the Black Press because none of what we are doing, none of what my father did, and so many others would be known without the Black Press,” Martin Luther King III asserted. “The Black Press is so important. We …

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October 16, 2023, HOUSTON, TX – Congressional Candidate Amanda Edwards has raised over $1 million in less than 4 months, a substantial sum that helps bolster the frontrunner status of the former At-Large Houston City Council Member in her bid for U.S. Congress. Edwards raised over $433,000 in Q3 of 2023. This strong Q3 report expands on a successful Q2 where Edwards announced just 11 days after declaring her candidacy that she had raised over $600,000. With over $829,000 in cash-on-hand at the end of the September 30th financial reporting period, Edwards proves again that she is the clear frontrunner in the race. “I am beyond grateful for the strong outpouring of support that will help me to win this race and serve the incredible people of the 18th Congressional District,” said Edwards. “We are at a critical juncture in our nation’s trajectory, and we need to send servant leaders to Congress who can deliver the results the community deserves. The strong support from our supporters will help us to cultivate an 18th Congressional District where everyone in it can thrive.” Edwards said. “Amanda understands the challenges that the hard-working folks of the 18th Congressional District face because she has never lost sight of who she is or where she comes from; she was born and raised right here in the 18th Congressional District of Houston,” said Kathryn McNiel, spokesperson for Edwards’ campaign. Edwards has been endorsed by Higher Heights PAC, Collective PAC, Krimson PAC, and the Brady PAC. She has also been supported by Beto O’Rourke, among many others. About Amanda: Amanda is a native Houstonian, attorney and former At-Large Houston City Council Member. Amanda is a graduate of Eisenhower High School in Aldine ISD. Edwards earned a B.A. from Emory University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. Edwards practiced law at Vinson & Elkins LLP and Bracewell LLP before entering public service. Edwards is a life-long member of St. Monica Catholic Church in Acres Homes. For more information, please visit www.edwardsforhouston.com

As September 13th rolls around, we extend our warmest birthday wishes to the creative powerhouse, Tyler Perry, a man whose indomitable spirit and groundbreaking work have left an indelible mark on the world of entertainment. With his multifaceted talents as an actor, playwright, screenwriter, producer, and director, Tyler Perry has not only entertained but also inspired audiences worldwide, particularly within the African-American community, where his influence and role have been nothing short of powerful. Born in New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1969, Tyler Perry’s journey to stardom was a path riddled with adversity. Raised in a turbulent household, he found refuge in writing, using it as a therapeutic outlet. This period of introspection gave rise to one of his most iconic creations, Madea, a vivacious, no-nonsense grandmother who would later become a beloved figure in Perry’s works, offering a unique blend of humor and profound life lessons. Despite facing numerous challenges, including rejection and financial struggles, Perry’s determination and unwavering belief in his abilities propelled him forward. In 1992, he staged his first play, “I Know I’ve Been Changed,” which, although met with limited success, was a pivotal moment in his career. Unfazed by initial setbacks, Perry continued to hone his craft, and by 1998, he had successfully produced a string of stage plays that showcased his storytelling prowess.

Calling all teenage student-athletes! If you have dreams of playing college soccer and wish to represent an HBCU, the HBCU ID Camp is your golden opportunity. From 8 am to 5 pm on November 11-12, Houston Sports Park will transform into a hub for aspiring male and female soccer players. Coaches from HBCUs across the nation will be present to evaluate, scout, and offer valuable feedback. Moreover, they might even spot the next soccer prodigy to join their collegiate soccer programs. This camp is not just about honing your soccer skills but also a chance to connect with the HBCU soccer community. You’ll learn the ins and outs of what it takes to excel on the field and in the classroom, which is crucial for a college athlete. The HBCU ID Camp is an excellent platform to network with coaches, learn from experienced athletes, and take the first steps toward your college soccer journey. To secure your spot at this incredible event, don’t forget to register [here](insert registration link). Space is limited to 120 participants, so make sure to reserve your place before it’s too late. It’s time to turn your dreams of playing college soccer into a reality.

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