Free Your Mind

“Before you can read me you’ve got to learn how to see me.”

This week’s “Say It In Song“ pick is “Free Your Mind” by En Vogue.

If you’re paying attention at all to the current political climate, it is as it has been for at last the past 5 years: stuck. Stuck in a place of so much negativity that the nation is unable to truly move forward and, in fact, the actions of many appear to have the intention of taking the country backwards.… [Read more]

On this day in 1963: 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington

It has been 50 years since Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his historic “I Have a Dream” speech in front of the Lincoln Memorial. All of the preparation leading up to the march for jobs and freedom, and Dr. King’s speech, mark a pivotal period in time that changed the nation’s course.

Today, at 11:00 am ET, a ceremony begins honouring the day.… [Read more]

‘Stop and Frisk’ update

Finally. Thanks to the perseverance of the New York Civil Liberties Union, the City of New York will clear the records of  thousands of innocent people who were stopped under the city’s controversial “stop and frisk” program.

To give some background, under Mayor Bloomberg the NY Police Department (NYPD) has conducted more stop-and-frisk encounters than the combined populations of Baltimore, Boston, Denver, Seattle, Detroit, San Francisco, Washington D.C.… [Read more]

It hasn’t been that long: Loving vs. Virginia #MarriageEquality

As the US Supreme Court prepares to decide on marriage equality cases, taking a look back to one of the first cases fighting for the right to marry becomes all the more important.

In 1967, not even 50 years ago, the Supreme Court handed down its decision in the Loving v. Virginia case. For those who don’t know, the aptly named Loving couple, Richard and Mildred, committed what was then considered an unlawful act; the couple — a white man and a black woman — fell in love and married.… [Read more]

Terror in Tiny Town

The human rights maestro

You can always count on Canada to provide black comedic relief when it comes to how terrorist threats ought to be blunted. We – unerringly – take an American legislative excess and give that delightful, north of the 49th insouciance to make it our own. Remember ‘extraordinary rendition’ in the wake of 9/11, a dark Rumsfledian Star Chamber vision administered by charming Syrian prison officials?… [Read more]

Keep talking, Rand Paul…We’re Listening

Rand Paul (R-KY) wants to be President of the United States. He also wants African-Americans to believe that he is not a bigot. During his recent outreach visit to Howard University he  relayed to the students of the elite, predominantly African-American institution that he has never been against the 1964 Civil Rights Act and that he does not have a bigoted bone in his body or a racist feeling in his heart.… [Read more]

On this day in history: Letter from a Birmingham Jail

What follows is an open letter written on April 16, 1963, by the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., American civil rights leader. At the time, King was being held in a Birmingham, Alabama jail after being arrested for a planned non-violent protest by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. This letter should be required reading for all to have more of an understanding of this nation’s history, and perhaps what we can do to move forward.… [Read more]

When will we be paid?

This week’s “Say It In Song” pick feels appropriate in light of recent news about the continued battle for fairness for workers. Though “When Will We Be Paid, by the Staple Singers, was released shortly after the Civil Rights Movement, the lyrics are just as applicable today – especially when taken in the context of the ongoing fight for workers’ rights.… [Read more]

LGBT Rights and the Supreme Court

Much progress towards full LGBT rights was achieved last year; marriage equality was won in several states, bringing the total to nine (Maryland, Iowa, Maine, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Washington — as well as the District of Columbia). Additionally, a hate crimes law was enacted, “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” ended and, for the first time ever, a sitting President stated his full support for marriage equality and instructed the Department of Justice to stop defending the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) which was enacted in 1996.… [Read more]

Stop-and-Frisk Milestone Reached and it’s Nothing to be Proud Of

With approximately 34,500 uniformed officers and 51,000 employees overall – even more than the Federal Bureau of Investigation – the New York City Police Department is the largest police force in the country. It’s a powerful army in its own right and it has been expanding its global presence as it continues to fight the global war on terror.… [Read more]

‘Special Powers’ Allows for Trampling on Women’s and Civil Rights

Before the sequestered budget cuts redirected attention to our elected officials’ inability to work towards a goal beneficial to most Americans, the news cycle contained stories about other items of importance, such as foreign policy and even issues such as the right to privacy. Many of these issues have something in common: the potential for governmental overreach of its authority.… [Read more]

Voting Rights and the SCOTUS

Election day is months behind us but the issue of voting rights has once again become a ‘hot topic’. Tomorrow, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the Voting Rights Act case, Shelby County v. Holder. At issue in this case is whether the decision made by Congress in 2006 to reauthorise one portion of the Act in particular, Section 5, has exceeded its authority under the 14th and 15th amendments (equal protection and voting privileges), thereby violating the 10th amendment (state sovereignty) of the U.S.… [Read more]

How it feels to be free…

This week’s “Say It In Song” pick was performed in 1976 by the inimitable singer and activist Nina Simone. In honour of Black History Month, we’d like you to have a listen:… [Read more]

Richard Hodo Equates Gay Rights Groups With The KKK

When individuals attempt to talk about politically charged topics like Civil Rights with people who do not share their point of view, they may encounter a style of argument that very much resembles the classic Lucy/Harpo mirror routine, but with a generally abysmally small amount of ensuing hilarity.  This is true whether one is “watching” the old, original black vs.… [Read more]

Remembering Lyndon B. Johnson Amidst Today’s GOP

On this day in 1908, Lyndon Baines Johnson was born. With all of the GOP’s documented anti-democratic voter suppression efforts underway across the country, this quote from President Johnson came to mind:

A man without a vote is a man without protection.

Reading this quote, on his birthday, made me think about Johnson’s legacy and how far we as a nation have come since his presidency.… [Read more]

In Remembrance of JFK

Today would have been John F. Kennedy’s 95th birthday. Given that his term as the 35th President of the United States was cut short by an assassin’s bullet, we will never know what this nation would have been during, and could have been after, his presidency.

Much took place during his shortened time in office. Among other issues, the nation came face to face with a serious nuclear threat from the (then) Soviet Union during the Cuban Missile Crisis.… [Read more]

Lift Every Voice

All tyranny needs to gain a foothold, is for people of good conscience to remain silent.

~ Thomas Jefferson 1821

What did we learn from his words?

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out– Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out– Because I was not a Trade Unionist.[Read more]

An Open Letter To The Black Church

*Editor’s Note: We believe that this article, written by Ryan C. Mack* is fitting in honour of Black History Month. Effective education and economic empowerment have been described by some as the last Civil Rights frontiers.

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We need you to step up!

The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Expenditure Survey in the year of 2008 calculated the average annual contribution of Black households to religious organizations was $683. … [Read more]