Monday, December 24, 2012

Happy Holidays from Cuenca, Ecuador

Happy Holidays. Please enjoy this video of the annual Children's Parade in Cuenca, Ecuador.
Susan Klopfer

Saturday, December 1, 2012

A Woman To Remember - Rosa Parks. Time to Free Her From the Bus!

Rosa Parks

There is a wonderful CNN article to read on Rosa Parks today, the anniversary of her famous ride at the front of a Montgomery, Ala. bus. I like this article because it tells the true history of this great social advocate. She planned her move, it was not something that just happened one day, as many of us were taught in our white history classes. She had planned to do this, and when Emmett Till was murdered in Mississippi, this was the spark that ignited her decision. The time was now. What a wonderful, brave civil rights hero. We must demand that history books tell the truth. This is just one more example of white privilege.

Here's the article. It's Time To Free Rosa Parks From the Bus!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Civil Rights Era Murder Cold Cases Remain Open, Active


Wharlest Jackson -- case to remain open and active
Four civil rights-era murder investigations in the greater Central Louisiana area are among the 20 cases that will remain open and active, according to a U.S. Department of Justice report.
The report was made to Congress outlining progress of cases the FBI was authorized to investigate under the Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Act of 2007.
Congress authorized the Justice Department to reopened 112 cold cases involving 125 victims from the 1950s and '60s, giving the FBI authority to investigate these 40- to 50-year-old hate crimes. The report indicates that 11 of the 112 cold cases were closed in 2012, bringing the total number of closed cases to 92. The 20 remaining cases account for 27 victims.
Cases remaining open from the geater Central Louisiana area include the following victims::
» Joseph Edwards who died on July 12, 1964, in Vidalia, Miss.
» Wharlest Jackson who died on Feb. 27, 1967, in Natchez, Miss.
» Frank Morris who died on Dec. 14, 1964, in Ferriday.
» William Piercefield who died on July 24, 1965, in Concordia Parish.
Also remaining open are investigations into the deaths of Louisiana residents Carrie Brumfield, who died on Sept. 12, 1967, in Franklinton and O'Neal Moore who died on June 2, 1965, in Varnado.
A team of student journalists from LSU began investigating these cold case murders in 2010, gaining access through the Freedom of Information Act to more than 35,000 pages of declassified FBI documents from the original investigations.
Convictions for these decades-old crimes are hard to achieve as witnesses and suspects die. The report states that only six convictions, some which preceded the Till Act, have been obtained in the last decade.
When a case is closed, primarily because suspects are dead or it is felt the death was not racially motivated, a letter from the Justice Department is hand-delivered to the surviving next-of-kin, if they can be located, explaining what the FBI found.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Lawrence Guyot, long time civil rights advocate, dies


Lawrence Guyot (July 17, 1939 – November 23, 2012) was a civil rights activist who was the head of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party from 1964


(Publisher's note: This story just came in. Lawrence Guyot was a longtime fighter for civil rights. I had the pleasure of meeting him in Philadelphia, Miss., on the steps of that infamous courthouse. He will be missed by many who care about civil rights and freedoms in this country. He was a person who followed his passions and dreams. SK)

Civil rights leader and D.C. statehood activist Lawrence Guyot died today at the age of 73, reports the Afro:
Guyot died at home after a long battle with diabetes and heart disease. Friends who had spoken with him in recent weeks said he was elated at having seen the reelection of President Obama, of whom he was an ardent supporter. He told the AFRO he voted early because he wanted to make sure his vote was counted as his health failed.
Guyot was born in Pass Christian, Miss., on July 17, 1939. He grew up in atmosphere where Blacks had more freedom than they did in other areas of Mississippi, however after enrolling in Tougaloo College at age 17, he discovered the depth of the discrimination that other Blacks suffered in terms of voting and exercising their full citizenship rights. He was one of the early volunteers for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.
Working closely with activists like Medgar Evers, Fannie Lou Hamer, Bob Moses and Dorie Ladner, Guyot was among the students, Black and White, who put forth their energy and risked their lives to register voters and protest discriminatory policies in everything from business to education.
He was jailed at the infamous Mississippi State Penitentiary, known as Parchman Farm. more than once, suffered several brutal beatings at the hands of corrupt law enforcement officials and faced down death several times. But that did not reduce his resolve to help his people.
Guyot was also active in local politics, serving as a Ward 1 Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner and allying himself with a number of local campaigns.
During the fight for same-sex marriage in D.C., Guyot also bucked many from his own generation to argue that marriage equality was a matter of civil rights: "This is a fight whose time has come. There is no middle road on this. You either want liberty for everyone, or you want liberty for non-gays," he was quoted as saying in the Post.
Contact the author of this article or email tips@dcist.com with further questions, comments or tips.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Today on  Thanksgiving, I am taking time to reflect back to the fall of 1963 and the murder of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy, this country’s first Catholic president. 
We simply cannot forget this tragic event. Do you remember where you were when the news came out of Dallas?  I was in an Eastern Oregon school, in a conservative community (Lakeview) where some people cheered.

I remember how my parents supported his campaign – something so different for these staunch Eisenhower followers who until then always voted Republicans (just like their parents).
I remember my mother making small  net hats for my sister and me to wearto church, hats like Jackie wore. She sewed me a sleeveless shift dress,also like Jackie’s. We were not Catholics, but the new look worked just fine for the Episcopal Church.
I remember earlier watching the marchers in Montgomery on television as the civil rights movement progressed, and how these brave men and women made my grandmother (with southern roots) so angry, and not really understanding what was happening or why.
And I remember when our president was shot and killed in Dallas, Texas and learning immediately from the Dean of News, Walter Cronkite  the name of the man who took our president's life.
Case closed.
* * *
Keep up with all assassination news at The Plan News, with new stories added daily
* * *
Friday November 22, 1963 news bulletins hit the airwaves as rifle shots interrupted President John F. Kennedy's Dallas motorcade. The resulting three-day news marathon concluded only after our young president was buried.
Reporter smoved on to the investigative phase of JFK's assassination but finally left the topic for fresh news. Yet Kennedy assassination researchers ("conspiracy" theorists) and others have kept the debate alive over what happened forty-two years ago, who was involved, and why.
Thank God for their efforts, and interestingly,there are numerous asides to Mississippi's civil rights story but perhaps none quite so compelling (and less known) as this: Seven years before JFK was assassinated, the magnolia state's Sen. James O. Eastland met for the first time with Guy Banister, a controversial CIA operative and retired FBI agent ic harge of the Chicago bureau.
Banister-- remember him as the man who "pistol-whipped" David Ferrie in Oliver Stone's film "JFK" -- was later linked to Lee Harvey Oswaldand Mississippi's senator through Eastland's Senate Internal SecuritySubcommittee or SISS (sometimes called "SISSY").
The NewOrleans Times-Picayune on March 23, 1956, reported that RobertMorrison, a former chief counsel for Sen. Joseph McCarthy's House UnamericanActivities Committee or HUAC, and Banister traveled to Greenwood, Mississippi,to confer personally with Senator Eastland for more than three hours.Describing the conference as "completely satisfactory," Morrison toldthe reporter that "Mr. Banister has complete liaison with the committee'sstaff which was the main object of our trip."
Apparentlycozying up to Eastland and "SISSY" was Banister's goal. And it may have worked.
Knownas a notorious political extremist who was later described as the impetus forJames Garrison's 1967-1970 Kennedy assassination probe, Banister earlier becamea brief focus of Mississippi's secret spy agency, the Sovereignty Commission,when it was suggested Banister should be hired to set up an "eventighter" domestic spying system throughout the state.
Asecond Eastland operative, private investigator John D. Sullivan of Vicksburg,made this suggestion to the commission just months after the JFK assassination,according to released Sovereignty Commission records.
FormerFBI agent Sullivan had worked under Banister (both inside the FBI andprivately) and as a private self-employed investigator who often did work forhire for the Mississippi Sovereignty Commission; the private white CitizensCouncils, of which he was an active member; and for SISS, as had Banister andLee Harvey Oswald.
WhenSullivan reportedly committed suicide following the assassination (by accidentally shooting himself in the groin with his own hunting rifle while cleaning it after a hunting trip), SovereigntyCommission investigators tried to acquire his library and files, but most ofhis confidential files were either reportedly burned by his widow or they hadbeen lent out, and she "could not remember" who had them, SovereigntyCommission files disclose.
Thensome twenty-nine years later, in testimony before the Kennedy AssassinationRecords Review Board during a Dallas hearing on November 18, 1994, the lateSenator Eastland was directly implicated in the president's assassination byone of the author/theorists invited to testify.
"LeeHarvey Oswald was quite possibly an agent of the Senate Internal SecuritySubcommittee and he was doing the bidding of [Sen. Thomas J.] Dodd and Eastlandand Morrison," author John McLaughlin swore.
Pretty damned interesting stuff, even if this testimony never got anywhere.
* * *
Keep up with all assassination news at The Plan News, with new stories added daily
* * *

Documentationthat could support or even discredit such assertions could perhaps be presentin the Eastland archives at the University of Mississippi, but (perhaps) until very recently no objectivescholar has been allowed to search these archives since the day they arrived oncampus. Instead, Eastland's records were managed on site for years by a formerassociate and devoté who followed the papers from Washington, D.C. to tiny Oxford, Mississippi.
Finallyin 2005, after an unsuccessful Freedom of Information Act or FOIA request bythis author, a historian was hired to organize the archives based in the JamesO. Eastland School of Law at Ole Miss. But there would still be a waitingperiod before any of the files could be viewed, according to the school's dean. And the good ones had already walked away...
Theplan was to release first all press releases, according to the historian whoalso confirmed that"many important files" were probably missing --that the files looked "cleaned out."
(TheDean of the law school, when presented a FOIA for access to Eastland archives,asked while laughing if he could "just show the rejection letter writtento the last person who asked for this information." Later it came back tothis author that "people at Ole Miss were really angry" over the FOIArequest.)
--------
Notes
[1]"Banister, FBI Chief Since February, to Leave Post Nov. 30," ChicagoDaily Tribune, Nov 19, 1954, Part 2, Page 12.
[2]Citation for this newspaper article ("NOTP, March 23, 1956, p. 1")comes from the online Jerry P. Shinley Archive "Re: Jim Garrison and theSCEF Raids."
[3]William Davy, "Let Justice Be Done," (Jordan Publication, May 12,1999), 1. On the weekend of the assassination, Banister pistol-whipped hisemployee Jack Martin, after Martin accused him of killing Kennedy. Martineventually spoke to authorities.
[4]Sovereignty Commission documents SCR ID # 7-0-8-89-1-1-1 and SCR ID #2-56-1-20-1-1-1.
[5]Sovereignty Commission documents SCR ID # 99-36-0-2-1-1-1 SCR ID #1-16-1-21-1-1-1, SCR ID # 1-26-0-5-2-1-1, SCR ID # 2-2-0-19-1-1-1, SCR ID #1-24-0-11-1-1-1
[6]After the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, A. J. Weberman, a"Dylanologist," "garbologist" and Kennedy conspiracistwrote that he received this communication from Sullivan's grandson, JeremySullivan: "I was told that he committed suicide but my dad didn't thinkso. He told me there was an investigation and the FBI was involved. They deemedit suicide. The story I heard had changed depending on who told it, I believethat they had been out fishing all day and John Daniel had been drinking. Afterthey got home, he was alone in his room and there was a gunshot and he wasfound dead." Also, Weberman stated that Jim Garrison had an undisclosedcase against Sullivan in 1961. Per a "Memo for the Director" by BetsyPalmer on April 19, 1978, regarding the "HSCA." From A.J. ajwebermanand Michael Canfield, "Coup D'Etat in America, The CIA and theAssassination of John Kennedy," (New York City, The Third Press, 1975)Nodule II.
[7]Online minutes of testimony before the Assassination Records Review Board,November 18, 1994. Dallas, Texas. Testimony of John McLaughlin aka JohnBevilaqua, Harvard University graduate and systems analyst, also a Kennedyassassination theorist. McLaughlin was testifying why he needed to seedocuments from HUAC and SISS. He had also requested military records of WycliffP. Draper, head of the Draper Committees and Pioneer Fund. Mississippi had beenthe benefactor of Draper money in its fight against the Civil Rights Act of1965 and in funding of private white academies per Sovereignty Commissionreports.
[8]Eastland's name has also been associated with the murder of civil rightsleaders Medgar Evers, Dr. Martin Luther King, U. S. Senator Robert Kennedy andwith the mass murder at a U. S. Army base located in Mississippi of potentially1,000 black soldiers during World War II.
[9] Theformer Eastland aid has since retired.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/92769

* * *
Keep up with all assassination news at The Plan News, with new stories added daily
* * *

 Susan Klopfer is the author of Who Killed Emmett Till? and other books on the history of the modern civil rights movement in the Mississippi Delta. Her new book, The Plan, is a historical fiction novel based on the murders of John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, and other less known civil rights heroes. Readers are taken on a journey that starts in Montgomery, Ala. and weaves through the Delta south to Ecuador and back. Publication is set for the summer of 2013 in honor of the 50th anniversary of the murder of President John F. Kennedy. Click HERE for more information on this author.


Today on  Thanksgiving, I am taking time to reflect back to the fall of 1963 and the murder of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy, this country’s first Catholic president. 
We simply cannot forget this tragic event. Do you remember where you were when the news came out of Dallas?  I was in an Eastern Oregon school, in a conservative community (Lakeview) where some people cheered.

I remember how my parents supported his campaign – something so different for these staunch Eisenhower followers who until then always voted Republicans (just like their parents).
I remember my mother making small  net hats for my sister and me to wearto church, hats like Jackie wore. She sewed me a sleeveless shift dress,also like Jackie’s. We were not Catholics, but the new look worked just fine for the Episcopal Church.
I remember earlier watching the marchers in Montgomery on television as the civil rights movement progressed, and how these brave men and women made my grandmother (with southern roots) so angry, and not really understanding what was happening or why.
And I remember when our president was shot and killed in Dallas, Texas and learning immediately from the Dean of News, Walter Cronkite  the name of the man who took our president's life.
Case closed.
* * *
Keep up with all assassination news at The Plan News, with new stories added daily
* * *
Friday November 22, 1963 news bulletins hit the airwaves as rifle shots interrupted President John F. Kennedy's Dallas motorcade. The resulting three-day news marathon concluded only after our young president was buried.
Reporter smoved on to the investigative phase of JFK's assassination but finally left the topic for fresh news. Yet Kennedy assassination researchers ("conspiracy" theorists) and others have kept the debate alive over what happened forty-two years ago, who was involved, and why.
Thank God for their efforts, and interestingly,there are numerous asides to Mississippi's civil rights story but perhaps none quite so compelling (and less known) as this: Seven years before JFK was assassinated, the magnolia state's Sen. James O. Eastland met for the first time with Guy Banister, a controversial CIA operative and retired FBI agent ic harge of the Chicago bureau.
Banister-- remember him as the man who "pistol-whipped" David Ferrie in Oliver Stone's film "JFK" -- was later linked to Lee Harvey Oswaldand Mississippi's senator through Eastland's Senate Internal SecuritySubcommittee or SISS (sometimes called "SISSY").
The NewOrleans Times-Picayune on March 23, 1956, reported that RobertMorrison, a former chief counsel for Sen. Joseph McCarthy's House UnamericanActivities Committee or HUAC, and Banister traveled to Greenwood, Mississippi,to confer personally with Senator Eastland for more than three hours.Describing the conference as "completely satisfactory," Morrison toldthe reporter that "Mr. Banister has complete liaison with the committee'sstaff which was the main object of our trip."
Apparentlycozying up to Eastland and "SISSY" was Banister's goal. And it may have worked.
Knownas a notorious political extremist who was later described as the impetus forJames Garrison's 1967-1970 Kennedy assassination probe, Banister earlier becamea brief focus of Mississippi's secret spy agency, the Sovereignty Commission,when it was suggested Banister should be hired to set up an "eventighter" domestic spying system throughout the state.
Asecond Eastland operative, private investigator John D. Sullivan of Vicksburg,made this suggestion to the commission just months after the JFK assassination,according to released Sovereignty Commission records.
FormerFBI agent Sullivan had worked under Banister (both inside the FBI andprivately) and as a private self-employed investigator who often did work forhire for the Mississippi Sovereignty Commission; the private white CitizensCouncils, of which he was an active member; and for SISS, as had Banister andLee Harvey Oswald.
WhenSullivan reportedly committed suicide following the assassination (by accidentally shooting himself in the groin with his own hunting rifle while cleaning it after a hunting trip), SovereigntyCommission investigators tried to acquire his library and files, but most ofhis confidential files were either reportedly burned by his widow or they hadbeen lent out, and she "could not remember" who had them, SovereigntyCommission files disclose.
Thensome twenty-nine years later, in testimony before the Kennedy AssassinationRecords Review Board during a Dallas hearing on November 18, 1994, the lateSenator Eastland was directly implicated in the president's assassination byone of the author/theorists invited to testify.
"LeeHarvey Oswald was quite possibly an agent of the Senate Internal SecuritySubcommittee and he was doing the bidding of [Sen. Thomas J.] Dodd and Eastlandand Morrison," author John McLaughlin swore.
Pretty damned interesting stuff, even if this testimony never got anywhere.
* * *
Keep up with all assassination news at The Plan News, with new stories added daily
* * *

Documentationthat could support or even discredit such assertions could perhaps be presentin the Eastland archives at the University of Mississippi, but (perhaps) until very recently no objectivescholar has been allowed to search these archives since the day they arrived oncampus. Instead, Eastland's records were managed on site for years by a formerassociate and devoté who followed the papers from Washington, D.C. to tiny Oxford, Mississippi.
Finallyin 2005, after an unsuccessful Freedom of Information Act or FOIA request bythis author, a historian was hired to organize the archives based in the JamesO. Eastland School of Law at Ole Miss. But there would still be a waitingperiod before any of the files could be viewed, according to the school's dean. And the good ones had already walked away...
Theplan was to release first all press releases, according to the historian whoalso confirmed that"many important files" were probably missing --that the files looked "cleaned out."
(TheDean of the law school, when presented a FOIA for access to Eastland archives,asked while laughing if he could "just show the rejection letter writtento the last person who asked for this information." Later it came back tothis author that "people at Ole Miss were really angry" over the FOIArequest.)
--------
Notes
[1]"Banister, FBI Chief Since February, to Leave Post Nov. 30," ChicagoDaily Tribune, Nov 19, 1954, Part 2, Page 12.
[2]Citation for this newspaper article ("NOTP, March 23, 1956, p. 1")comes from the online Jerry P. Shinley Archive "Re: Jim Garrison and theSCEF Raids."
[3]William Davy, "Let Justice Be Done," (Jordan Publication, May 12,1999), 1. On the weekend of the assassination, Banister pistol-whipped hisemployee Jack Martin, after Martin accused him of killing Kennedy. Martineventually spoke to authorities.
[4]Sovereignty Commission documents SCR ID # 7-0-8-89-1-1-1 and SCR ID #2-56-1-20-1-1-1.
[5]Sovereignty Commission documents SCR ID # 99-36-0-2-1-1-1 SCR ID #1-16-1-21-1-1-1, SCR ID # 1-26-0-5-2-1-1, SCR ID # 2-2-0-19-1-1-1, SCR ID #1-24-0-11-1-1-1
[6]After the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, A. J. Weberman, a"Dylanologist," "garbologist" and Kennedy conspiracistwrote that he received this communication from Sullivan's grandson, JeremySullivan: "I was told that he committed suicide but my dad didn't thinkso. He told me there was an investigation and the FBI was involved. They deemedit suicide. The story I heard had changed depending on who told it, I believethat they had been out fishing all day and John Daniel had been drinking. Afterthey got home, he was alone in his room and there was a gunshot and he wasfound dead." Also, Weberman stated that Jim Garrison had an undisclosedcase against Sullivan in 1961. Per a "Memo for the Director" by BetsyPalmer on April 19, 1978, regarding the "HSCA." From A.J. ajwebermanand Michael Canfield, "Coup D'Etat in America, The CIA and theAssassination of John Kennedy," (New York City, The Third Press, 1975)Nodule II.
[7]Online minutes of testimony before the Assassination Records Review Board,November 18, 1994. Dallas, Texas. Testimony of John McLaughlin aka JohnBevilaqua, Harvard University graduate and systems analyst, also a Kennedyassassination theorist. McLaughlin was testifying why he needed to seedocuments from HUAC and SISS. He had also requested military records of WycliffP. Draper, head of the Draper Committees and Pioneer Fund. Mississippi had beenthe benefactor of Draper money in its fight against the Civil Rights Act of1965 and in funding of private white academies per Sovereignty Commissionreports.
[8]Eastland's name has also been associated with the murder of civil rightsleaders Medgar Evers, Dr. Martin Luther King, U. S. Senator Robert Kennedy andwith the mass murder at a U. S. Army base located in Mississippi of potentially1,000 black soldiers during World War II.
[9] Theformer Eastland aid has since retired.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/92769

* * *
Keep up with all assassination news at The Plan News, with new stories added daily
* * *

 Susan Klopfer is the author of Who Killed Emmett Till? and other books on the history of the modern civil rights movement in the Mississippi Delta. Her new book, The Plan, is a historical fiction novel based on the murders of John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, and other less known civil rights heroes. Readers are taken on a journey that starts in Montgomery, Ala. and weaves through the Delta south to Ecuador and back. Publication is set for the summer of 2013 in honor of the 50th anniversary of the murder of President John F. Kennedy. Click HERE for more information on this author.


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network: Main Stream Media Did Not 'Catch' all Election News

Received from GLSEN
Nov, 7, 2012


For those invested in equality for LGBT people, last night's election had several primary story lines – races and issues that loomed large on Twitter and our personal networks but that were not always front and center in the mainstream coverage. We bit our nails and sought out the latest returns until the historic results became clear:
  • Tammy Baldwin became the first out Senator ever;
  • Marriage equality won popular votes in Maine and Maryland, and is currently leading in Washington state, the first time ever that same-sex couples won the right to marry at the polls;
  • An effort to ban same-sex marriage in Minnesota was defeated at the polls;
  • A pro-marriage equality Justice of the Iowa Courts was reelected despite being targeted by anti-LGBT forces;
  • The nation reelected a President who endorsed marriage equality, LGBT students' rights, and LGBT-inclusive bullying-prevention legislation; repealed Don't Ask, Don't Tell and refused to defend the "Defense of Marriage Act"; led federal agencies that have sought to act in the interest of LGBT people, particularly youth; and appointed LGBT people, including GLSEN's founding Executive Director Kevin Jennings, to a remarkable number of positions in his administration.
These victories for equality – whatever one thinks of the results of the Presidential election – underscore changing attitudes toward LGBT issues in our society that are the result of decades of hard work to change laws, to reach hearts and minds, and to integrate the lives and needs of LGBT people into policy and practice in this country wherever possible.
And all of that change was possible only because of coalition-building and years of effort to build strong partnerships for equality and justice across communities and lines of difference.
If you've made it this far, I ask you to pause for a moment and reread that previous sentence. That idea can become a cliché, stripped of meaning from overuse. But this election and the internal debates now looming for the Republican Party underscore powerfully what those concepts – coalition-building and partnership – really mean.
This was brought home for me powerfully this morning when I heard a conservative commentator respond to the suggestion that the Republican Party might need to rethink its approach to an increasingly diverse electorate in order to build a new majority. Current Republican strategy has its roots in the late 1960s, when a young Pat Buchanan suggested to Richard Nixon that the party could divide the country in half and win by retaining the "larger half." In other words, no need to broaden your base, just create a sharp, dividing line, and motivate those who agree with you by any means necessary.
Asked if the party might need to do more to bring new communities into its base, the commentator replied: "Ideas trump all. When you broaden the base, you weaken the foundation. You begin to lose sight of what you stand for." His comment efficiently killed a discussion of alternative Republican approaches to advancing conservative ideas.
In a way, he succinctly articulated the polar opposite of a coalition and partnership-based approach: a commitment to ideological purity over the kind of strategic clarity that powers great coalitions and effective partnerships. An approach that says "This is what you must each believe and act on" rather than "this is what we intend to accomplish together and let's agree on how we will work together to achieve that goal."
For twenty years, GLSEN has stood firmly for a coalition and partnership based approach to the long, hard work of change. Sometimes we have sought power from others in alliance, sometimes we brought our own power to bear on a common goal. Always, we have tried to do the listening and thinking and negotiating required to bring people and organizations together on common ground for a common purpose. Our mission statement articulates GLSEN's commitment to valuing difference itself for the contribution it makes to a diverse and healthy society. Last night we saw the incredible power of difference assembled for a common purpose to drive victories for equality and justice. The power to bring us closer to the day when each member of every school community learns to respect and accept all people regardless of sexual orientation, gender expression or gender identity.
It is our youth who still struggle, in the hallways and classrooms where they spend their days, for the very basic tenet of equality – respect. That is why GLSEN has made passage of the Safe Schools Improvement Act and Student Non-Discrimination Act a priority. I am hopeful that the historic nature of yesterday’s election will help bring passage of these important bills closer to reality, and help ensure safe environments for every student to thrive.
Sincerely,

Eliza Byard
Executive Director

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Why ethics and diversity matter: The case of Trayvon Martin coverage | Poynter.



This is a good article on the problems faced by mostly white media -- it is dying through lack of diversity, as it should. No organization can remain un-diversified and survive. Business knows this, and the U.S. Supreme Court hears its message (something I find particularly interesting, coming from this conservative group). Any way...

Take a look, and then please share your comments.

Thanks,
Susan

Why ethics and diversity matter: The case of Trayvon Martin coverage | Poynter.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Sunday, October 14, 2012

New Book Announcement: The Plan: An eNovel



The Plan: A Historical eNovel By Susan Klopfer 

Set For June 2013 Release



From a church in the Mississippi Delta...


To Esmeraldas Ecuador

The Plot:

Jamie Sullivan, a private Vicksburg detective, fatally shoots himself in the groin while perched on the corner of his bed cleaning his favorite hunting rifle. Suicide, concludes the Mississippi state pathologist, a man nationally known for his amazingly quick (and frequently galling) reports. Sullivan’s death occurs six months after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, and twenty-five years before Clint McDoo gives a damn. 

McDoo, a quiet, gay Delta civil rights lawyer, has never thought about the former FBI agent’s fishy death report until  now; he hated the man. But hearing of his Alabama colleague's sudden death, McDoo sets Delta speed records heading for Montgomery where his friend’s widow insists her husband killed himself, and will not let McDoo view the body. She demands a closed casket funeral, but McDoo, adept at quiet murder investigations from years of brave work in Mississippi, sneaks into the funeral parlor basement to find his friend’s tortured body. 

Not surprised at what he discovers, and figuring he could be the next target because they were co-investigating a colossal crime, McDoo flees to a quiet fishing town in Ecuador, a little known village with relevant African history, to spend out the rest of his life. He meets retired CIA expat, Barney Fry, who faces possible deportation over a CIA retirement office paperwork screw-up. The intrigued old spy fleshes out the lawyer’s story and comes up with an idea that just might save them both, and solve two murders!

ISBN: 978-0-9826049-7-7
Publication Date: June 30, 2013

Susan Klopfer is the author of The Emmett Till Book, Who Killed Emmett Till?, and Where Rebels Roost; Mississippi Civil Rights Revisited


Saturday, October 13, 2012

Monitor Our Election, Civil Rights Groups Demand


Press Release - The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

Civil Rights Groups Request International Election Monitoring in Response to Voter Restriction Efforts

For Immediate Release
Contact: Scott Westbrook Simpson,
202.466.2061simpson@civilrights.org
October 12, 2012


WASHINGTON, DC – Civil rights groups are requesting that the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) provide targeted election monitoring to states most impacted by voter restriction efforts.
In a letter sent by The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the NAACP, and six other civil rights organizations, the groups cite new restrictions on voting periods, voter ID laws, and registration as “a coordinated political effort to disenfranchise millions of Americans—particularly traditionally disenfranchised groups like minorities, low-income people, women, young people, persons with disabilities, and the elderly.”  The letter was sent in advance of a meeting between the organizations and the OSCE scheduled for October 16.
In addition to monitoring elections throughout the world, the OSCE has monitored U.S. presidential elections in 2004 and 2008, and it intends to do so for the upcoming election in November.
The letter acknowledged progress made by the Department of Justice and non-governmental organizations in litigating and pressuring states to restore voting rights, but notes that “the proliferation of litigation and the back-and-forth of the appeals process add the element of voter (and poll worker) confusion as to what laws are and are not in effect.”
They urge the OSCE “to deploy its limited election monitors in those states where restrictions on voting have been most extensive—Pennsylvania, Ohio, Florida, Texas and Wisconsin. Poll monitors should be particularly vigilant about requests for, and acceptance of, identification of those seeking to vote, particularly if certain groups, such as racial minorities and young voters, are being targeted.”
“Our response must be commensurate with the sophistication and resilience of these voter suppression efforts,” said Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. “We’ve fought back through litigation, ballot initiatives, voter education, and public pressure. Adding an experienced and independent monitor to the polls would go even further to ensure the integrity of this election.”
The full text of the letter, including a full list of signers, is below.
//
October 09, 2012
The Honorable Daan Everts, Ambassador
Limited Election Observation Mission to the United States
Office of Democratic Institutions and Human Rights/
Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe
Warsaw, Poland
Dear Ambassador Everts:
On behalf of the undersigned organizations committed to supporting and expanding the civil and human rights of all Americans, including the right to vote, we write regarding the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe’s plans to monitor the upcoming presidential election, and to follow up on a meeting you conducted in April with representatives from the NAACP, League of Women Voters, and others, where concerns were raised about recent efforts to suppress the vote of many Americans in the upcoming election in November 2012. Election observation is an important function of our democratic process and serves as an additional means of protecting the rights of those who are most likely to be disenfranchised and least able to advocate for their right to vote. To that end, we believe it is particularly important that safeguards, including election monitoring, are in place in key areas around the country, and believe your presence would be particularly critical in districts in Colorado, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin.
We were pleased to learn that the OSCE would be observing the 2012 presidential election in the United States, as it has done in the previous two presidential elections. The valuable work of an impartial body like the OSCE in validating the reliability and fairness of our nation’s election systems has proven indispensable over the years. In particular, the OSCE’s recommendations outlined in the 2008 Election Observation Mission final report have been an important resource as our respective non-governmental organizations seek to reform our election system through voter registration modernization, automatic restoration of voting rights for formerly incarcerated persons, and integration of voluntary voting system guidelines as adopted by the Election Assistance Commission into state regulations.
In your most recent Needs Assessment Mission report published subsequent to that April meeting, you identified a number of barriers to exercising the right to vote—voter ID, restricted early voting, and limitations on community-based registration drives, to name a few. We would like to underscore the impact of these restrictions on particular communities. We believe that in this hyper-partisan climate, it is more important than ever that we maintain the integrity of our elections and take the necessary steps to ensure that the right to vote is protected for all Americans—a right for which many have given their lives.
In less than 30 days, Americans will go to the polls to elect our next president, determining the fate and direction of our country for years to come. We believe that every eligible voter should be able to cast his or her vote. But sadly, efforts to thwart voters from exercising their right to vote have swept across this country. While, thankfully, the days of poll taxes, literacy tests, property requirements, and brutal physical intimidation are behind us, today’s efforts at disenfranchisement, while more subtle, are no less pernicious.
According to a report by the Brennan Center for Justice,[1] photo ID requirements, shortened early voting periods, limits on poll worker assistance, proof of citizenship requirements, restrictions on same day and community-based registration, and disenfranchisement of former felons, may result in the disenfranchisement of more than five million Americans in this election. These efforts are nothing less than an all-out assault on the progress of the last century—indeed, on the very legacy of the civil and human rights movement. They are part of a coordinated political effort to disenfranchise millions of Americans—particularly traditionally disenfranchised groups like minorities, low-income people, women, young people, persons with disabilities, and the elderly.
Since the onslaught of these voter suppression laws, both the Department of Justice and private litigants have challenged many of these restrictions in state and federal court. Challenges to voter ID laws, as well as to laws restricting early voting and third-party registration in Ohio, Texas, Florida, and Wisconsin have resulted in court decisions preventing states from implementing these changes in the voting rules for the upcoming election. Additional cases challenging voter list purges, provisional ballot rules, and other voting rights changes are still pending in courts in Colorado, Pennsylvania, and Iowa, among other states. With the 2012 presidential election season well underway, the outcomes of these pending cases and the implementation of the laws that will be in effect on Election Day could have a significant impact on the ability of thousands of citizens to vote. Needless to say, the proliferation of litigation and the back-and-forth of the appeals process add the element of voter (and poll worker) confusion as to what laws are and are not in effect.
In addition to these litigation efforts, the nonpartisan Election Protection coalition provides information on the voting process and collects data on voting issues through its website, www.866ourvote.org, and hotline,  1-866-OUR-VOTE, both of which are administered by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. The ACLU also provides information on the voting process in individual states.  See www.ACLU.org/know-your-voting-rights-state-state-voter-information.
The election observation role of the OSCE buttresses the activities of the federal government and non-governmental organizations and is essential to continuing the effort to make sure that all Americans can exercise their right to vote “privately and independently.” Further, election observation helps to improve our citizens’ trust and confidence in election results. Accordingly, we urge the OSCE to deploy its limited election monitors in those states where restrictions on voting have been most extensive—Pennsylvania, Ohio, Florida, Texas and Wisconsin. Poll monitors should be particularly vigilant about requests for, and acceptance of, identification of those seeking to vote, particularly if certain groups, such as racial minorities and young voters, are being targeted. Reports that organizations like True the Vote and others are training poll monitors to go into low-income and minority communities to intimidate voters make such monitoring critically important.[2] Many of our organizations are working with local non-governmental organizations in these and other states and will be documenting instances of voter suppression. The presence of OSCE monitors would serve to underscore the importance of protecting voters in these key states.
We welcome the opportunity to work with the OSCE Election Observation Mission and its international monitors to assure a free and fair election in the United States and look forward to continuing this discussion in person at our meeting.
Cc: Douglas Wake, First Deputy Director, Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR)
       Nicola Schmidt, Deputy Head of the ODIHR Elections Mission
       Richard Lappin, Election Advisor, ODIHR/OSCE
Sincerely,
Wade Henderson, President, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
Benjamin Todd Jealous, President, NAACP
Barbara R. Arnwine, President and Executive Director, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
Michael W. Macleod-Ball, Acting Director, ACLU Washington Legislative Office
Elisabeth MacNamara, President, League of Women Voters of the United States
Mee Moua, President and Executive Director, Asian American Justice Center, Member of Asian American Center for Advancing Justice
Miles Rapoport, President, Demos
Michael Slater, Executive Director, Project Vote

Monday, July 23, 2012

Mississippi trial -- back to square-1? (flawed case against Curtis Flowers goes on and on and on...)


A crumbling cover-up: Mississippi prosecutor hides the truth about his star witness


Troubled prosecutor Doug Evans
By Alan Bean, Friends of Justice
If you want to understand just how flawed the case against Curtis Flowers is, consider the state’s failed conspiracy to conceal the sad truth about its star witness.
The defense attorneys representing Curtis Flowers have filed a supplemental motion for a new trial.  As previously reported on this blog, Patricia Sullivan, the state’s key witness against Mr. Flowers was convicted on eight counts of income tax fraud in early 2011 and sentenced to 36 months in federal prison.  But Ms. Sullivan was indicted on February 17, a full four months before Curtis Flowers was convicted in Winona, and therein lies the problem.
At a pre-trial hearing in the Flowers case, defense counsel filed a standard request for updated criminal histories on all state witnesses.  District Attorney Doug Evans gave assurances that he had turned over all the information in his possession.
Read the rest of Dr. Bean's story here -- 

https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/?tab=wm#inbox/138aab1f1aaabb5a