By Rosetta Miller Perry
For over 25 years the Tennessee Tribune has proudly chronicled the good things happening in North Nashville and across our city, region and state. Over that time we’ve not ignored or tried to pretend that ugly, vile things weren’t also occurring, and when necessary we stood up and identified them. But we’ve always spent a lot more time emphasizing the good things, celebrating the accomplishments, and noting the firsts and breakthroughs than we have reporting about the negative and backward elements that remain in our midst.
But sometimes we have to stand up and say there are certain things that must be eradicated and eliminated if Nashville is ever going to truly be the kind of place that deserves to be branded the “It City.” It has be the kind of place where people both in and out of power publicly let it be known certain views are not welcome in our midst, and that any and all forms of bigotry and hatred will not be tolerated. Whatever you may think as a private citizen is your business, but if you espouse hatred, racism, sexism, any form of religious bigotry or homophobia, you speak for yourself, and do not represent the Nashville that we want to see and celebrate.
Some of the reaction last week to Zulfat Suara’s candidacy for Metro Council should be an embarrassment to any and all Nashville citizens who claim they believe in human dignity, equal justice and Civil Rights. The fact that a Nigerian woman who also happens to be a Muslim has decided to run for public office is apparently too much for the bigots, racists, and just plain morons to handle. Never mind she has the perfect legal right to run for public office,. or that she’s entitled to do so as a citizen of this city. The bigots are out in force, with comments like “You will never, ever be on Metro Nashville Council. I am on a personal mission to stop it and make sure it does not happen. I will make sure of it. I’ve got your picture. I’ve got your face. and everyone is going to know to not vote for you.”
Or this piece of brilliant advocacy from another enlightened soul who says “Just like Christian’s (sic) in your home country, Muslims are not welcome here.” Suara’s home nation of Nigeria has more Christians than any other African nation, but of course this idiot either doesn’t know or doesn’t care about that fact. Suara is also dealing with people stealing or damaging her campaign signs. While she’s alerted law enforcement about these threats, she’s going to continue her campaign, and the Tennessee Tribune says to her “don’t let the racists and bigots drive you out.”
Stephanie Teatro, who co-directs the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition and its political arm — TIRRC Votes, which recently endorsed Suara — said in a Nashville Scene article that Muslims, immigrants and Black women face a backlash when they decide to step up and run for public office. “Zulfat happens to be all three,” she said. So she wasn’t surprised that Suara is facing major harassment as she seeks one of five at-large Metro Council seats. “The only way we’re going to get to the other side of this political moment where people feel emboldened to be so hateful is to have effective and capable leaders like Zulfat,” Teatro added. “The most powerful rebuke to any of these xenophobic activists is for her to win a countywide election.”
The Tribune commends Suara for trying to remain positive. “For every bad comment, there’s 1,000 positive comments,: she has said. “For every nasty encounter — someone looking at me funny — there’s 100 more that have embraced me.” “I truly want to give back to this city, and I believe I have the means to do that. Nashville has been very welcoming. I hope that those that have never met me will not let a few people make them unwelcoming. I hope people will stand up and say, ‘This is not our Nashville.’ ”
We stand solidly behind her, and defend her right to run for Metro Council, and we also ask where is the public condemnation of these actions by those in power? Silence by implication is agreement, and while we don’t think the vast majority of people in power in Nashville back this type of vicious hatred, there should be unanimous and widespread response to it. Don’t let the voices of hatred and bigotry seem to be consensus by not responding. You don’t have to be a supporter of Suara to condemn the ignorant and bigoted response she’s gotten from that segment of the population that hates anyone who isn’t white, male, and fits their definition of an American.
The Tribune doesn’t think those comments represent the Nashville we know and love. But they represent voices in Nashville we’ve been battling against throughout our existence. These are people who repeatedly try to marginalize the voices of women, of Blacks and other people of color as well as the poor. They want to keep things the way they were centuries ago. These people know that in 2019 their views aren’t considered tolerable, so they mostly keep them to themselves, at least until something or someone comes along that brings them out of the sewers where they normally reside. This time it’s the Metro Council candidacy of Zulfat Suara. Tomorrow it may be something else.
But we say enough, and we also say let everyone who’s sick of this kind of bigoted nonsense speak out against it, and let these people know they not only don’t run anything, but they can’t decide who can run for political office based on their bigoted reading of the law. It’s just a matter of simple justice and fairness. Best wishes to Zulfat Suara, and be strong. There are lots of good people out here behind you.
This article originally appeared in The Tennessee Tribune.
By Rep. Edolphus Towns
In my three decades representing parts of New York City in the House of Representatives, expanding economic opportunities for underserved communities was a top priority. That’s why, after I retired from public service, I joined the Board of World Business Lenders, an alternative business lender that provides desperately needed financing for businesses who want to grow or expand, leading to so many ancillary benefits to their local communities.
Unfortunately, not all alternative business lenders are created equal. In an industry that is not regulated, many of them are engaged in predatory practices, preying on the very customers they are committed to serving. Unlike World Business Lenders, which has voluntarily self-regulated by implementing a “best practices” lending program committed to offering fair and transparent loan terms to its borrowers, other alternative business lenders engage in opaque and occasionally destructive behavior that can lead to bankruptcy or worse for their own customers.
A critical tool for these predatory lenders has been the use of our state’s court system to seize the assets of small businesses whether located in New York or in any other state by employing legal instruments called “confessions of judgement.” These lenders have been requiring their small business borrowers, as a condition of receiving any short-term loans from them, to sign confessions of judgement that waive borrowers’ legal rights in any dispute with the lenders. Small business borrowers in other states have no right of notice if their assets are seized in New York under confessions of judgement and may not even realize if a New York judgement has been entered against them until their banks have seized their assets.
Alternative business lenders should make every loan transparent for their borrowers by clearly disclosing repayment terms, including interest rates, prepayment charges and by outlining clear payment schedules. Borrowers must be made aware of all fees and costs associated with their loans. Brokers and employees of alternative business lenders should be subject to background checks and continuing education requirements. Importantly, alternative business lenders should be required to offer each borrower terms not worse than the most favorable loan product for which he or she qualifies.
Alternative business lenders have nothing to fear from additional regulation. World Business Lenders is a successful company that profits even as we voluntarily abide by these terms, which protect customers. Unfortunately, in the political environment in Washington, it is unlikely that Congress will act to prevent predatory lenders from driving small business owners into bankruptcy. In the absence of leadership in Washington, it is time for Albany to act.
Rep. Edolphus Towns is a board member of World Business Lenders. He represented the 10th and 11th congressional districts in New York from 1983-2013.
By Roger Caldwell, NNPA Newswire Contributor
In 2019, most Blacks and people of color would like to believe that, “There is Not a Racist Bone in My Body” was an accurate statement in America. With the first African American President, Black businesses in every major city, and Black political officials in federal, state, and local municipalities, diversity is a reality. With all these achievements in one of the greatest countries in the world, there is a major divide.
This major divide is based on the color of an individuals’ skin, which makes no sense, until you study economics, politics, and business. Power is based on what you own and control, and if you close your eyes, power may also be based on what you take by force.
Last week, President Trump attacked four freshmen federal Congresswomen by claiming they are un-American, they should go back to their country, and everyone is asking the question, “why?”
This started as a tweet-storm on that weekend, and it has turned into a nasty battle of words, where the majority of the media is calling President Trump a “racist.” This tweet-storm appeared to be racist and personal, very little was discussed by the president about the ladies’ policies.
“In America, if you hate our Country, you are free to leave. The simple fact of the matter is, the four Congresswomen think America is even more wicked now, that we are all racist and evil. They’re entitled to their opinion, they’re Americans. Now I’m entitled to my opinion, & I just think they’re left wing cranks,” says President Trump.
It is obvious, that the first thing the President thinks comes out of his mouth, and it does not matter if it makes any sense. The president is not fit or mentally stable to manage America as Commander-in chief, but over 40% think he is doing a good job.
As this new social media and campaign rally from the President attacked the four Congresswomen escalates to a higher level of insanity, everyone in America is picking a side. The four Congresswomen at the beginning of the week called a press conference to denounce the President and asked for a draft to be drawn up to condemn President Trump’s racist language and tweets. The resolution was passed in the House last week to condemn the President.
The amazing issue about this battle is that over 40% of Americans believe that the President is correct, and at a campaign rally during the week, a packed house with the majority being White Republicans chanted, “Send her back.”
With the media claiming that President Trump initiated and supported the yelling, the President is being forced by the Vice President and some of his consultants to distance himself from the chant. “After smearing Rep. IIhan Omar (D-MN) as anti-Semitic – and letting the crowd at his Greenville, North Carolina rally roar “send her back” for more than 10 seconds – President Trump has falsely claimed he continued his speech immediately after the crowd started yelling,” says Tana Ganervo –reporter at Raw Story.
Send her back is a turning point, “With Trump’s naked hatred and cruelty captured on live television, and along with it, so was the seething anger of the hard-core Trump base. The whole nation saw in dramatic fashion that Trump voters understood his meaning perfectly well and watched them not just agree with it but also amplify it, with as ugly and hate-curdled a chant as one could imagine.”
Racism in 2019 is out in the open, with the election of President Trump leading the way. It is easy to argue what constitutes the act, and whether someone is a racist sometimes. But President Trump does not care what Blacks and people of color think.
He is only concerned with his base, and he feeds them red meat on a daily basis. There is something fundamentally wrong when the president does not care about values and inappropriate statements, because his goal is to only make America White again.
By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Correspondent
In a world with an ultra-competitive, 24-hour news cycle, journalists are often urged by their editors and publishers to be first with the story.
Unfortunately, in doing so, some have traded accuracy for sensationalism.
Being first to break a story might provide accolades and even financial rewards, but whether printed, published online, or broadcast, a journalist’s words can have serious repercussions for both the accuser and the accused.
A 2018 Pew Research survey found that about two-thirds of American adults (68 percent) say they at least occasionally get news on social media. About the same percentage share the news and information that they find on social channels.
While Pew notes that many of these consumers are skeptical about the information they see there, noting that a majority (57%) say they find information on social media to be inaccurate, the pervasiveness of social channels makes it more imperative than ever for the press to present facts and stray from innuendo.
In some cases, mainstream media has failed to adequately report or focus on stories that would benefit the public.
For example, FBI statistics indicate that more than 424,000 girls have gone missing since the beginning of 2018, yet many say the media hasn’t done enough to shine a light on the crisis, which includes a large number of African Americans.
News reporting is a key witness in the court of public opinion
Author Michael Oby noted that the Black Press shed light on Emmett Till’s brutal murder and continued to press the case for decades afterwards. Though Emmett’s killers never spent a day in prison, in the APMreports series, “In the Dark: Acquitting Emmett Till’s killers,” Peter Vesco notes, “Pictues of Till’s battered, unrecognizable face were printed in JET magazine and publications across the country. News of his hideous lynching led to outrage around the world.”
Oby said news coverage by the Black Press proved to be crucial in the mobilization of African Americans at that time because it ignited the civil rights movement of the mid-1950s.
In a 2007 interview with historian Timothy Tyson, Carolyn Bryant, wife of Roy Bryant, one of the two men who faced trial for the killing, and Emmett’s false accuser, admitted that she lied, and in 2018 federal prosecutors reopened the case.
Today, it may be difficult for some to maintain high journalistic standards, especially since so many ‘citizen reporters’ are using cell phones and other handheld devices to chronicle criminal activity and expose wrongdoing that would have otherwise never been seen – or believed.
Diamond Reynolds filmed the police shooting of her fiancée, Philando Castile, who was pulled over by an officer because his car’s break light wasn’t working.
While the officer claimed he feared for his life because Castile was reaching for a gun, Reynold’s video showed that Castile informed the officer that he had a firearm and was licensed to carry it. It also showed that he never reached for it.
In July 2014, video captured by a citizen reporter shows police questioning Eric Garner of Staten Island, New York, after he allegedly sold loose cigarettes. Officer Daniel Pantaleo then used a chokehold on Garner, who heard repeatedly telling police “I can’t breathe!”
Garner later died.
During that same year, cellphone video captured the tragic moment when 12-year-old Tamir Rice was shot and killed by police, just seconds after exiting their patrol car, while he was playing in a park in Cleveland with a toy gun.
A police dispatcher had alerted Timothy Loehmann, the officer that fatally shot the boy, that Tamir had a fake gun when she sent authorities to the scene, but Loehman still got out of his car and shot the young boy to death.
Ava DuVernay’s recent documentary, “When They See Us,” has brought attention to the “Central Park Five,” a group of young men who spent eight years in prison after being falsely accused of raping a woman in New York’s Central Park in 1989.
Much has been made about Donald Trump’s position on that case, including when he took out full-page ads in several New York newspapers calling for the death penalty after the incident.
But very little attention was given to the failure of the press to accurately report that story. Instead, the media sensationalized. For his part, Trump continues to refuse to acknowledge that he was mistaken and apologize to the young men who were ultimately exonerated.
When asked by a reporter in mid-June whether he would apologize, Trump replied, “Why do you bring that question up now? It’s an interesting time to bring it up. You have people on both sides of that. They admitted their guilt. If you look at Linda Fairstein and you look at some of the prosecutors, they think that the city should have never settled that case, so we’ll leave it at that.”
Recently, the recurring challenge for journalists has been demonstrating fairness and objectivity in the wake of the #MeToo movement, founded by Tarana Burke in 2006 to help survivors of sexual violence.
Because there are often no other fact witnesses to the allegations levelled by accusers or corroborators that support the denials made by the accused, #MeToo’s gray areas have proven to be the places where the media fails to adequately practice journalistic standards or exercise caution. Many accusations associated with #MeToo have been substantiated. However, others were proven false.
It Matters if You’re Black or White
The National Organization of Women – or NOW – noted that, for African American women, sexual assault and violence are “incredibly pervasive issues that routinely go unreported and under-addressed.”
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission reported that, between 2012 and 2016, black women filed sexual harassment charges at nearly three times the rate of white and non-Hispanic women.
Data shows this is true regardless of the type of industry.
“Black people in the United States have never been given a presumption of innocence in the criminal justice system. Their entire relationship to justice is not a standard of ‘not guilty’ but one of ‘not guilty, yet,’” said Innocence Project Senior Staff Attorney Karen Thompson, who released a report earlier this year that revealed that more than 220 black men have been exonerated by DNA while on death row after they were falsely convicted of various serious crimes.
“The statistics confirm that sexual harassment is alive and well across all industries and women of color working low-wage jobs are facing the brunt of this abuse,” Emily Martin, the vice president of Education & Workplace Justice at the National Women’s Law Center, said in response to those statistics.
Sexual assaults and harassments are serious charges and false accusations can be devastating and career-ending, especially when amplified by news reports.
For example, in 2018, multi-talented actor, singer and songwriter Jamie Foxx was accused of assaulting a woman after she allegedly refused to perform a sex act.
The woman reported the 2002 incident to Las Vegas police and the media seized upon it, threatening Foxx’s career.
Foxx’s attorney said his client didn’t even know the woman, but reporters still swarmed to get her story.
“Jamie emphatically denies that this incident ever occurred,” Allison Hart, Foxx’s attorney said in a statement.
“The first time [Foxx] became aware of this woman’s absurd claims about an incident that supposedly occurred 16 years ago was when [celebrity website] TMZ contacted his representatives about this story,” Hart said.
Eventually, Foxx was cleared of any wrongdoing, but little was written about his innocence.
Even in instances where the truth is not immediately evident – a he said/she said scenario – like that faced by entertainment mogul Russell Simmons, the press has an obligation to objectively present the facts when reporting the story.
Simmons, who maintains that he’s never been violent with a woman or forced any to have sex, said aspects of the #MeToo movement will help ensure that his own daughters will have a better future.
“I see no benefit in getting in the mud with my accusers or the media,” Simmons said. “I’m certain that my truth will come out sooner or later.”
To accuse someone who was doing the kind of work Simmons was doing – “using his money and fame to raise more [money] to help those who needed it, you have to wonder why?” said Barbara Mealer, author of the novels “The Jillian Factor” and “Abilene: No Place to Hide.”
“The media must ask these questions before running with a one-sided story: Did he reject them? Were they just trying to get even with him for some slight? Were they just jumping on the bandwagon so they could get notoriety?” Mealer said.
Dr. Jonathan David Farley, a visiting professor of Mathematics at California Institute of Technology, a Science Fellow at Stanford University’s Center for International Security, and a vising scholar in the Department of Mathematics at Harvard University, said the case against Simmons is a travesty.
“There can be no proof after 31 years,” Farley said.
“Further, if we believed in gender equality, we would not allow women to make anonymous accusations, and we would not pretend that women don’t make accusations based on how much money the man has or whether or not the women felt scorned,” Farley said.
“A woman’s history with men, for example, as a prostitute, as was the case with at least one of Bill Cosby’s accusers, should be fair game for the media and for the defense,” Farley said.
Although Cosby was convicted of aggravated indecent assault, media reports have routinely falsely claimed that his charges included rape.
One high-profile individual who requested anonymity for this article, told NNPA Newswire that, “There’s a case pending against me, which my lawyers said will probably be dismissed shortly and the court has indicated it will be.”
“I’m lucky, right? But, why do I have to spend $600,000 or whatever the number is, to defend myself against a woman who said I did something not her 31 years ago and I don’t ever remember meeting her and she couldn’t produce one friend who she ever told she knew me or one photo or one thing to prove that she ever met me,” the individual said.
The media has been guilty of exacerbating claims, including those of Jackie Coakley, who provided an unsubstantiated story to Rolling Stone magazine that formed the basis of 2015’s “A Rape on Campus,” saying that she had been gang-raped by fraternity members at the University of Virginia.
The story went viral, making headlines in newspapers and television news broadcasts throughout the country, until it was discovered that Coakley made up the story. Even using fake text messages to support her false claims.
Rolling Stone reporter Sabrina Rubin Erdely failed to verify Coakley’s story and the magazine ultimately settled the lawsuits with the fraternity and its members.
In 2013, blogger Susan Shannon accused Col. David “Wil” Riggins of sexually assaulting her in 1986 while they were both cadets at West Point. The allegations caused Riggins to lose a promotion to general, leading him to retire. A jury heard both sides and sided with Riggins, awarding him $8.4 million in damages.
A July 2019 Forbes Magazine article referenced an earlier story in The New Yorker. Jane Mayer’s piece is highly critical of the frenzy that led to the forced resignation of Al Franken from the Senate.
“Mayer described Franken’s fall as ‘stunningly swift’—so swift that it left far too little time to sort the facts,” Forbes reported.
“Every accuser should be heard, but their rights should be no more substantial than the accused, a fact that separates the United States from every other country,” New York-based marketing strategist Tracey Campbell said. “The press must be above that and must recognize that the burden of proof can’t be found in one corner or the other, even when a reporter is convinced the accuser is telling the truth,” Campbell said.
“Believe women,” a slogan that gained popularity during the Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Brett Kavanaugh, refers to the need to accept women’s allegations of sexual harassment or sexual assault at face value. Don’t assume women as a gender are especially deceptive or vindictive and recognize that false allegations are less common than real ones, says Elle Magazine’s Sadie Doyle.
The professional press has an obligation to do as much as possible to “get it right,” present a fair and balanced summary of the facts to its readers and resist the urge to encourage a presumption of guilt.
By Gwen McKinney
“The people must know before they can act, and there is no educator to compare with the press.”
So proclaimed Ida B. Wells-Barnett, who fearlessly shined a light with words on the abominable dark days after slavery and into the 20th century.
Journalist, publisher, author, activist, and suffragist leader, Ida B.’s spirit soars. July 16 marks the 157th anniversary of her birth. Blood, sweat, and ink sealed her legacy and the future of a nation still struggling to be whole.
Ida B. revered the Black press as an organizing tool. Though her newspaper The Memphis Free Speech was destroyed by racist mobs, she was never silenced. During her life, she would publish three newspapers and authored “Southern Horrors: Lynch Law in All Its Phases” and “The Red Record,” investigative reports that remain definitive sources on racist violence more than 100 years later.
Small in stature but huge in courage, Wells, an emancipated slave, joined a cadre of Black contemporaries – scholars, activists, and thought leaders – who pledged to change the trajectory of bondage and demand that Black women have a voice.
They defy the clichés and caricatures planted in popular culture with their searing voices. Their cadence would not be paraphrased or translated into the often quoted “Ain’t I A Woman” reprise. But forever burdened by their womanhood and Blackness, their path – then and now – is littered with obstacles.
Educator and writer Mary Church Terrell observed, “Nobody wants to know a colored woman’s opinion about her own status [or] that of her group. When she dares express it, no matter how mild or tactful…, it is called ‘propaganda,’ or is labeled ‘controversial.’”
Poet, teacher, and Baltimore abolitionist Frances Ellen Harper was among the suffragists who pleaded the case for linked fate unity. “We are all bound up together in one great bundle of humanity,” she said. “Society cannot trample on the weakest and feeblest of its members without receiving the curse in its own soul.”
These Founding Sisters forged civil rights organizations with Black men, sororities, and service clubs with their women peers, and joined “woke” White women against lynching and disenfranchisement and for education and economic development.
It was Ida B. and a coterie of Black women publishers, writers, and teachers of the era who led the movement for universal suffrage even when Black women were shunned and excluded.
Nonetheless, women’s suffrage, deeply rooted in abolitionism, is depicted in a single dimension as the jumpstart for the white feminist/voting rights movement.
Regarded as social reformers, White suffragist – many of them supporters of abolition – confronted a fork in the road, conflicted between the “Negro question” and universal suffrage.
With passage of the 15th Amendment in 1870 granting Black men voting rights, universal suffrage would be sacrificed on the altar of patriarchy and white supremacy. Defended or oversimplified, the words of Susan B. Anthony, crowned the mother of women’s suffrage, illustrate the entrenched stranglehold of whiteness.
Though she counted abolitionist Frederick Douglas as an admired cohort, Anthony’s contradictions can only be measured today in the context of racism and exclusion.
“I would sooner cut off this right arm of mine before I would ever work for or demand the ballot for the black man and not the woman,” she said. One might conclude that she was seduced by the divide-and-conquer tactics of the male proponents of the 15th Amendment. But Anthony’s view was widely embraced by the White women’s suffrage movement.
Her friend and suffrage leader Elizabeth Cady Stanton, arguing against the 15th Amendment, protested: “It’s better to be the slave of an educated white man than of a degraded black one.”
One year away from the centennial of the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote, how much ground have we gained as women and a nation? How much of the conversation about gender equality denies the overlapping impact of white nationalism, patriarchy, and privilege? Where and when do the voices of Black and Brown women enter?
But first and foremost, when do Black women get the recognition that they have earned in their unbroken march to freedom?
Our compass should be guided by that path forged by Ida B. Wells and other courageous Black women whose intersectional quest to make America stand upright changed the world.
This opening salvo embraces Suffrage. Race. Power. Spurred by my collaboration with a small collective of women that is Black-led, cross-generational, and supported by “woke” White women, we’ve named ourselves “Founding Sisters.” This space will offer regular installments that honor our Founding Sisters of the last centuries and spotlight the unfinished business of Suffrage. Race. Power.
To kick it off: Happy birthday Ida B.!
Gwen McKinney is President and Founder of McKinney & Associates Public Relations, for which she is responsible for translating the vision of “public relations with a conscience” into a sustained, bold and tested suite of communications services and activities. She is also the founder and lead collaborator for Suffrage.Race.Power.
Life as we know it is about to change in less than a nanosecond when 5G comes to neighborhoods in D.C. and across the U.S., and for some, it may be coming sooner than later. There’s good news and bad news.
The bad news surrounds the real concern that the rollout of the latest and fastest high-speed Internet technology providing wide-ranging capabilities and cellular adaptations could bypass communities of color, specifically Black people. We know the Digital Divide is real, and we implore the Black community not to ignore what’s coming, fail to prepare for it or remain ill-equipped to ask the right questions.
The good news is that those who are aware and focused on the potential of the new technology, will know what questions to ask to either welcome 5G with high expectations, or resist it until issues of safety, security, opportunities and equity are thoroughly vetted.
At a recent 5G and Communities of Color Town Hall sponsored by The Washington Informer and Washington Informer Charities, organizers were satisfied that their mission was accomplished when attendees announced they were leaving with more questions than answers about 5G to be later explored. It is imperative that all communities take a hard look at the impending deployment of the fifth-generation of cellular technology and assess for themselves the policy decisions being made about 5G before it reaches their front door.
D.C. Council member Mary Cheh (D-Ward 3), who chairs the Committee on Transportation and the Environment, said at a roundtable on 5G in November 2018 that lasted nearly seven hours, “This is an exciting time in the District’s technological evolution.”
But, she acknowledged that District leaders, including advisory neighborhood commissioners, are limited in their ability to approve or disapprove aspects of 5G deployment, and she referred to the “FCC’s ruling [that] gives the federal government the power to decide how these local issues will play out, not the District” as an additional obstacle.
That’s why Montgomery County and other jurisdictions across the country are petitioning the federal courts to halt the national deployment of 5G and order the Federal Communications Commission to provide data on the safety of radio frequency emissions and its impact on human health. The FCC, according to the petition, has refused requests and is relying on 25-year-old R.F. exposure standards to determine the safety of 5G. The petitioners are concerned that these 1996 scientific standards may not adequately protect public health and safety today.
The fact is, the U.S. government has proclaimed it is in a “race to 5G” and it is determined to win against such countries as China, South Korea and Japan. To maintain its leadership position, the Trump administration has welcomed private sector technology companies to deploy 5G across the country with billions of dollars already having been invested in life-changing innovations enabling greater use of artificial intelligence, digital health, emergency communications, self-driving vehicles and smart cities.
There is no doubt that 5G is on its way. Thus, we encourage everyone to keep a watchful eye on its deployment, and explore the tremendous opportunities 5G presents, as well as generational consequences it could have.
This article originally appeared in the Washington Informer.
By Derrick Johnson, NAACP President and CEO
On June 19, 1865, Texan slaves found out they were freed by the Emancipation Proclamation, two and a half years after it was issued by President Abraham Lincoln. Since then, annual celebrations of the emancipation have been referred to as Juneteenth, commemorating the end of slavery in the United States and honoring African American freedom and liberation.
As we have for years, we celebrate Juneteenth through food, prayer and festivities honoring a rich tradition that continues to promote education and self-improvement. We’ve seen this holiday take root within communities and organizations throughout the country, taking on a national and even global presence with a mission to promote African American culture and respect for all cultures.
But as we continue to cultivate knowledge and appreciation of our history and reflect upon the monumental challenges that our ancestors faced in fighting for freedom from bondage, we must also consider the ways in which the Black community continues to be under the threat of hate, xenophobia, and bigotry.
The NAACP stands at a significant moment in time when racial subordination and racial hierarchy is being reinforced at the highest level of leadership in this country. The recent accounts of domestic terrorism at black churches, images of Blackface populating the airwaves, the increase in hate crimes, and Black lives senselessly taken at the hands of over policing and brutality, shows that we are living in a world that often devalues us as people who have the right to live freely.
However, what we saw during the historic wave of grassroots activism that swept across the country during the 2018 midterms — with women and people of color leading the way — was an overwhelming rebuke of these heinous acts, and a show of support for an America with a bold, forward-looking and inclusive vision.
As the nation’s foremost civil rights organization, the NAACP has been a leader in the struggle to improve the lives of Black people in America. However, the historic importance and impending impact of the 2018 midterm elections, have propelled us to bring our activist roots to the forefront.
Many diverse groups, including NAACP units throughout the country, are rising up to advocate for policies that ensure that we empower communities of color to make our voices heard and implement effective strategies to address the growing impact of the rise of white nationalism and emboldened racial rhetoric.
As we celebrate Black liberation, let us continue to unite and fight together to confront the challenges we face today.