Top 4 Timeless Muhammad Ali Moments

muhammad ali (iconic pic) towering over liston*It’s been a little over a year since the boxing legend, all-time greatest Muhammad Ali departed from this world, leaving behind a legacy thousands of young athletes aspire to achieve today.

What made Muhammad Ali so influential in the history of sport wasn’t just his talent in boxing, he was a lot bigger than that.

Just in case you are unfamiliar with Ali and what makes him so great, here are some of the top timeless moments that gave us a glimpse of what he’s all about:

1. Unmatched speed
Muhammad Ali has been the quickest heavyweight boxer to ever step into the boxing ring. During the 60s, no one had ever seen heavyweights move with such agility and speed. Not only were his jabs lightening quick, but so were his reflexes, allowing him to be gracefully elusive against his opponents.

2. A never seen before return
It is next to impossible for elite level athletes to spring back into their sport after a long time of being out of the sport but Ali showed he wasn’t your usual athlete. No one would expect Tom Brady or Lebron James to be the best of the best once again after sitting out three and a half seasons. Ali however, returned to boxing after a lengthy lay off to face two of the top contenders at the time. He won against Oscar Bonavena and Jerry Quarry. He also fought the champion at the time Joe Frazier and gave him one hell of a fight.

3. Ali shows his fierce side
One of Ali’s opponents, Patterson told sports centre that it was a disgrace for sport and the nation for a black Muslim to be the word heavyweight champion. Ali brushed off Patterson’s trash talk with some of his own until he tortured Patterson, making him pay for excruciating 12 rounds.

Another opponent, Ernie Terrell would refer to Ali in the press as his previous name Cassius Clay. Ali hit him on the way to a decision and demanded “What’s my name?” repeatedly. Ali was always known for intimidating his opponents by getting under their skin.

4. Man of his words
Unlike the contemporary trash talking regimen surrounding the sport of boxing, Ali actually lived up to his words. When facing Henry Cooper, Ali predicted that he will knock him down in the fifth round. In the fourth round, Ali was caught by a big left hook and he fell flushed on the floor. He got right back up as the bell was sounded but still disoriented. But as predicted, in the fifth round, Ali unleashed a powerful blitz onto Cooper’s face and the fight was stopped.

A Survival Guide to Dealing with White Supremacy

white supremacists - kkk*If you talk about the most dangerous ideologies rampant in the world currently, white supremacy will definitely make to the list.

It is like a cancer that continues to spread and grow every passing day.

The best thing one can do, especially the people of color, is to navigate the different forms of hate in any way possible.

If you are also concerned about the growing popularity of this ideology and are looking for ways to deal with such people, here is a survival guide to help you out.

1. Acknowledge it Exists
The first step to dealing with the phenomenon is to accept its existence. Denying it at this point in time is something downright naïve to do. It is embedded in everything we do in our daily lives. The right and opportunities that the white people have cannot even be compared to the ones that are there for the people of color. As soon as you are able to acknowledge its existence, you will be able to devise ways to deal with it.

2. Educate Yourself About it
The main factor of the phenomenon still festering is that not many people are aware of the mechanisms of white supremacy. You need to start with educating yourself about it. You can search for it on Google, read essays and news about it. You can also get your hands on some books like The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin and Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates. This will allow you it understand the mechanics and history of white supremacy.

3. Take Care of Yourself
The climate of the country is getting worse day by day, especially for the people of color. The people are unkind to anyone who talks about stability, safety and equal rights for all. The best thing to do under these circumstance is to take care of yourself. Try spending time with your friends and family. Try to avoid listening to the news of these incidents and take a break from all that hatred on social media.

4. Speak Out and Protest
It is time to use your voices against the injustice done to the people of color. Speak out about it and also attend any protests or demonstration being held near you to show your support against white supremacy. Check with the local community and ask them about when the next demonstration or protest is going to take place and go and raise your voice.

While white supremacy is rampant in the US currently, it is not your responsibility as the people of color to fix the issue. Do as much as you can but know when to walk away and take a break.

What Exactly is White Supremacy?

kkk - b&w*We have lately been hearing a lot about White Supremacy.

But do you really know what it is?

Here are the important things everyone must know about white supremacy.

1. What is White Supremacy?
It is a complex social phenomenon. It was invented to make the process of colonization by Europe and its determination to conquer and rule the world a natural process. The concept was that the white races are superior and they are meant to dominate the non-whites, who were considered inferior.

In the US, the concept of white supremacy came to the forefront in the 17th century when white and black servants fought for their rights and freedom together. The white elites devised a system of racial classification to get rid of the rebellion, and the blacks were made into a permanent class of slaves. The white servants, on the other hand, were given land and guns on the completion of their services.

2. It is a Belief
White supremacy combines beliefs, actions and habits. It lies in the subconscious of the people and does not necessarily rely on the intentions of the beneficiaries, practitioners and actors. When it comes to white people, they are seen as individuals where the actions of one person do not reflect on the merits of the entire group. On the other hand, when it comes to people of color, the actions of one person are generalized for the entire group. Whiteness is directly linked to being American and the people of color need to do a lot to prove their loyalty to the country.

3. It is a System
To know it in its most basic sense, it is material, philosophical, ethical, religious, scientific, political and an economic system that aims to maintain that the whites are superior to the people of color. It is a systemic and philosophical umbrella for white racism.

4. White Supremacy Today
White supremacists today are broken into various groups that share similar ideologies. From the neo-Nazis to the mainstream white nationalists, and then the modern alt-right group, there are many forms and types of white supremacy and white nationalism. There have been increasing cases involving the phenomenon of white supremacy today in the US where the people of color are sidelined and targeted in a number of ways and cases. The incident of Charlottesville recently brought attention to the increasing issue of white supremacy and this needs to be taken seriously before things get really bad.

4 Male African American Role Models to Look Up to

barack obama & family - serving thanksgiving meals

*We have had the pleasure of having an African American president recently for eight years, which has instilled in all of us a ray of hope, courage and inspiration that we can achieve whatever we want.

We can achieve great heights through perseverance, determination and courage. There are a number of African-American role models that have taught us that we can achieve our dreams by pursuing them wholeheartedly.

For all the young men out there who are looking for African-American role models, below are the ones you can count on for courage, inspiration and determination.

1. Barack Obama
This name will never go out from the list of black role models. The name is here to stay because of the achievements associated with it. The former and the first black president of the United States set the path for the future generations to follow. He led by example that nothing can come in your way if you decide to pursue your dreams wholeheartedly.

2. Charles Hamilton Houston
Well-known in the US as the “Man who Killed Jim Crow,” he was a major player when it came to the dismantling of the laws set forth by Jim Crow. He was a lawyer by profession and has played the role of inspiration for many young African-American lawyers.

3. Neil deGrasse Tyson
A popular cosmologist and astrophysicist, he served as the 5th head of the Hayden Planetarium located in the New York City. He is a master in astronomy and is familiar with everything related to it, one way or the other. He is a role model for all the young black men and women out there who want to achieve academic excellence and make a mark in their field of study. He currently hosts a talk show on NatGeo by the name “Star Talk”

4. Muhammed Ali
There is only one Muhammad Ali in the world and he was and is still an inspiration and a role model for all black people. He might not be perfect in everything, but he taught us all about how important it is to stand for what you believe in and don’t let it go no matter what. He is still hailed as one of the best boxers the world has ever produced.

5 Common Problems Faced by African-Americans Today

black woman - white women background*“Where slavery is there liberty cannot be, and where liberty is there, slavery cannot be.”

The great Abraham Lincoln tried putting liberty and slavery into a simple and asynchronous relationship for us, but how far have we really progressed in achieving the liberty we Americans like to speak so proudly about?

Did you know that the imprisonment rate for African American women is twice that of white women?

Additionally, African Americans are incarcerated at a rate that is about 6 times that of white Americans. We may not have digressed too far from older times as these statistics depict a reminiscent of a culturally honed racial prejudice that is a part of the social construct of the modern America we find ourselves in today.

Here are the four common problems faced by African Americans today:

1. Lack of family structure: According to a 2002 study, 70% of all African American children were illegitimate and that number rose from 23.6% back in 1963 because that was the year when welfare became a right according to the constitution, which made having husbands redundant. Too many African American families grow up without a father figure in the house which often leads to psychological issues later in life.

2. Dangerous cities have high African American Populations: Dangerous cities like Oakland, Cleveland, Baltimore and Detroit where gang violence and crime is an everyday occurrence has a high population of African American people who live under the government of democrats.

3. High abortion rates: It is estimated that 30% of all abortions in the country are done by African American women. This heightened loss of uncounted lives percolates to reduce respect for life and has played its role in decreasing civility with which people treat each other.

4. The victim mindset: Nothing holds an African American back more than seeing themselves as a victim who sees everything as someone else’s fault without taking the deserved responsibility to such a significant degree that their victim status becomes their collective identity.

5. African Americans make a sizable portion of prisoners: Studies infer that 52% of homicides are committed by African American individuals. Due to this high incarceration rate, every 1 in 9 African American children you pass on the sidewalk may have or might have had a parent in prison. Due to the greater likelihood of African Americans being incarcerated, their social upbringing and family support has taken the toll.

James Madison University Course Explores ‘Media Dismissal of Black Lives Matter’

black lives matter1

Students attending James Madison University will soon study “black rage” and “media dismissal of Black Lives Matter” as part of a Special Topics in Women’s and Gender Studies class. … of a New Jim Crow?” Other topics covered will include intersectional queer-led politics and “the relationship between the Black Lives Matter movement and the U.S. civil rights movement of the 1950s-1970s … Continue reading

3 Things You Might Not Know About the Civil Rights Act of 1964

the civil rights movementThe Civil Rights Act of 1964 was a piece of civil rights legislation that outlawed discrimination in schools and public facilities. More than that, this landmark legislation was one of the most important moments in America’s complicated history. The Act was passed by the 88th congress and banned discrimination on race, religion, sex, color, or national origin. The passing of the bill was one of the most important dates in civil rights history and a key factor in the civil rights movement. Many people may know of this legislation, but here are a few facts that you might not know.

  1. President Kennedy, who proudly supported the civil rights movement, submitted his bill on civil rights to Congress on June 19. First, the bill was referred to the Judiciary Committee. Then, in November 1963, it was passed to the Rules Committee. The chairman on the Rules Committee was Howard W. Smith. Smith was an devoted segregationist and completely against the civil rights movement. He made it clear he intended to keep the legislation from coming to a vote on the House Floor.

    After the assassination of President Kennedy, President Lyndon Johnson began pressuring the Rules Committee to release the stalled legislation. Finally, on January 30, Smith allowed the bill to be passed to the full House. In fact, two days before the House vote, Smith asked for the word “sex” to be added after the word “religion”, as he was a supporter of women’s rights.
  2. Two black students, Vivian Malone Jones and James Hood, arrived to the University of Alabama with the intention to sign up for classes on June 11. Governor George Wallace, accompanied by a group of Alabama state troupers, prevented the students from entering. Deputy Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach then asked President Kennedy for help. Kennedy federalized the Alabama National Guard that same day. Malone and Hood were escorted by 100 guardsmen to the university to enroll as students.
  3. The legislation was passed by the House on February 10, 1964. The final vote was 290-130. When the bill was passed to the Senate for debate, the “Southern Bloc” of 18 senators began a filibuster to prevent its passage. The filibuster, which allowed the group of senators to speak for as long as they wish on any topic, lasted for 54 days. On June 19, the filibuster was cut off and a version of the bill was passed by the Senate.

The civil rights movement was about fighting for equality in basic human rights. It was a time of motivational speeches and protests lead by civil rights leaders like Martin Luther King Jr. It was, and still is, an important part of history and the passing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was just a fraction of the steps taken towards equality.

Civil and Human Rights Coalition Raises Serious Concerns About Attorney General Sessions’ Job Performance on Eve of Oversight Hearing

jeff sessions

Attorney General Jeff Sessions

*WASHINGTON – Today, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights sent a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee on the eve of the oversight hearing of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, raising serious concerns about the Justice Department’s record on issues that are critically important to the civil and human rights community. The hearing marks the first appearance by Attorney General Sessions before that committee.

“Senators must take seriously their oversight responsibility and publicly explore his troubling record of rolling back the civil and human rights of our nation’s most vulnerable communities,” said Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference, in her letter. “Based on his anti-civil rights record, our coalition opposed Sessions’ nomination to be Attorney General. Unfortunately, our concerns have been realized. Since his confirmation in February, Sessions has advanced an anti-civil rights agenda and has failed to be an Attorney General for all people and communities.”

The full text of the letter is below and is also available here.

Dear Senate Judiciary Committee Member,
On behalf of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Hum¬¬¬¬an Rights, a coalition of more than 200 national organizations committed to promoting and protecting the civil and human rights of all persons in the United States, I am writing in advance of tomorrow’s U.S. Department of Justice oversight hearing to raise serious concerns about the department’s record under President Trump on issues that are critically important to the civil and human rights community.

More than seven months ago, members of this committee narrowly voted to advance the nomination of Senator Jeff Sessions to be the nation’s 84th Attorney General. Tomorrow marks the first time this Attorney General will testify before this committee, and he must be held accountable for the actions he has taken since his confirmation in February. Senators must take seriously their oversight responsibility and publicly explore his troubling record of rolling back the civil and human rights of our nation’s most vulnerable communities.

Sessions’ hostility to civil rights is longstanding. Over three decades ago, when he was nominated for a federal judgeship in Alabama, Coretta Scott King sent a letter to this committee about the damage Sessions would do if confirmed to the federal bench. “I believe his confirmation would have a devastating effect on not only the judicial system in Alabama, but also on the progress we have made everywhere toward fulfilling my husband’s dream that he envisioned over twenty years ago.” As a senator for two decades, Sessions had a record of consistently opposing civil and human rights legislation, bearing out the concerns expressed by Mrs. King.

Based on his anti-civil rights record, our coalition opposed Sessions’ nomination to be Attorney General. Unfortunately, our concerns have been realized. Since his confirmation in February, Sessions has advanced an anti-civil rights agenda and has failed to be an Attorney General for all people and communities.
Despite testifying during his confirmation hearing that “We must continue to move forward and never back,” Sessions has stood on the wrong side of history and has moved our nation backward on a number of core civil and human rights issues. In particular, we are concerned about his actions to undermine voting rights, sentencing reform, policing, and LGBTQ rights. On these issues, some of the department’s most egregious actions have included:

Voting rights
• On February 27, the Department of Justice dropped the federal government’s claim that a Texas voter ID law under legal challenge was intentionally racially discriminatory, despite having successfully advanced that argument in multiple federal courts. The district court subsequently rejected the position of the Sessions Justice Department and concluded the law was passed with discriminatory intent.

• On June 28, the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division sent a letter to 44 states demanding extensive information on how they maintain their voter rolls. This request was made on the same day that President Trump’s so-called Commission on Election Integrity sent letters to all 50 states demanding intrusive and highly sensitive personal data about all registered voters.

• On August 7, the Justice Department filed a brief in the Supreme Court in Husted v. A. Philip Randolph Institute arguing that it should be easier for states to purge registered voters from their rolls – reversing not only its longstanding legal interpretation, but also the position it had taken in the lower courts in that case.

Criminal justice
• On February 23, Sessions withdrew an earlier Justice Department memo that set a goal of reducing and ultimately ending the department’s use of private prisons.
• In a March 31 memo, Sessions ordered a sweeping review of consent decrees with law enforcement agencies relating to police conduct – a crucial tool in the Justice Department’s efforts to ensure constitutional and accountable policing. The department also tried – unsuccessfully – to block a federal court in Baltimore from approving the department’s own proposed consent decree with the city on police practices, arguing that there were “grave concerns” with an agreement that the department itself had negotiated over a multi-year period.
• On May 12, Sessions announced in a two-page memo that the Department of Justice was abandoning its Smart on Crime initiative by overturning the criminal charging policy put in place by the previous administration.
• On August 28, Sessions lifted the Obama administration’s ban on the transfer of some military surplus items to domestic law enforcement. The guidelines rescinded by Sessions were created in the wake of Ferguson.
• On September 15, the department ended the Community Oriented Policing Services’ Collaborative Reform Initiative, a Justice Department program that aimed to help build trust between police officers and the communities they serve.

LGBTQ rights
• On February 22, the Civil Rights Division and the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights jointly rescinded Title IX guidance clarifying protections under the law for transgender students.
• On July 26, the Department of Justice filed a legal brief arguing that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 does not prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation – a decision that contravened recent court decisions and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission guidance.
• On September 7, the Department of Justice filed a brief with the Supreme Court in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission arguing that businesses have a right to discriminate against LGBTQ customers.
• On October 4, the Department of Justice filed a brief in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia asking the court to dismiss a lawsuit against the president’s transgender military ban.
• On October 5, Sessions reversed a Justice Department policy which clarified that transgender workers are protected from discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
• On October 6, the Department of Justice issued sweeping religious liberty guidance to federal agencies, which will create a license to discriminate against LGBTQ individuals and others.

In addition to these concrete actions, the department in May published a revised list of priorities for the Civil Rights Division that excluded all mention of the need for constitutional policing, combatting discrimination against the LGBTQ community, or protecting people with disabilities. The same budget document called for cutting 121 positions from the Civil Rights Division. This is especially troubling as this year marks the 60th anniversary of the Civil Rights Division, which was created by passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1957.

In August, The New York Times reported that the “Trump administration is preparing to redirect resources of the Justice Department’s civil rights division toward investigating and suing universities over affirmative action admissions policies deemed to discriminate against white applicants.” This investigation and enforcement effort was planned to be run out of the Civil Rights Division’s front office by political appointees, instead of by experienced career staff in the division’s educational opportunities section.

Sessions testified at his confirmation hearing that “The Department of Justice must never falter in its obligation to protect the civil rights of every American, particularly those who are most vulnerable.” The Leadership Conference agrees with that statement but – time and again – Sessions’ actions as Attorney General, as outlined above, have failed to live up to that rhetoric.

Today, two months after horrifying acts of white supremacy, violent extremism, and domestic terrorism in Charlottesville, Va. – at a time when the United States has a leader whose presidency has emboldened and enabled forces of hate and division in this country – our nation deserves an Attorney General who will vigorously enforce federal civil rights laws and stand with our most vulnerable communities. Sessions is failing in that regard, and I urge you to hold him accountable during tomorrow’s Department of Justice oversight hearing

Sincerely,
Vanita Gupta
President & CEO

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 200 national organizations to promote and protect the rights of all persons in the United States. The Leadership Conference works toward an America as good as its ideals. For more information on The Leadership Conference and its member organizations, visit www.civilrights.org.

5 Facts You Might Not Know About Martin Luther King Jr

civil rights leaderMartin Luther King Jr. was a historic civil rights leader who played a key role in the civil rights movement and continues to inspire the movement for equality today. While MLK is famous for his “I Have A Dream” speech, there are many facts you might not know about the famous civil rights leader. Read on to explore five fascinating facts about Martin Luther King Jr.

  1. In 1983, President Ronald Reagan signed a bill to create a federal holiday in recognition of King. The first Martin Luther King Jr holiday was celebrated on the third Monday in January in 1986. The holiday is celebrated close to MLK’s birthday, January 15th, and George Washington is the only other American to have his birthday observed as a national holiday.
  2. According to the King Center, the civil rights leader went to jail 29 times in his life. He was arrested for things like civil disobedience and driving 30 miles per hour in a 25 mph zone.
  3. Before his death, King escaped a previous assassination attempt. In 1958, a woman named Izola Ware Curry approached King at a book signing. After confirming it was King, Curry said, “I’ve been looking for you for five years” and stabbed a seven-inch letter opener into his chest. The blade narrowly missed his aorta and King was in emergency surgery for hours. During his recovery, King issued a statement saying he felt no ill will toward his attacker.
  4. In 1968, the night before his assassination, King was in Memphis giving a speech to support the strike of the city’s black garbage workers. He told the audience, “Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now … I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land. And I’m happy tonight. I’m not worried about anything. I’m not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.” After his assassination, it was thought that in this last public speech King foresaw his own death.
  5. At the age of 15, King enrolled in Morehouse College in 1944. In doing this, he skipped grades nine and 12. Not only was he an extremely gifted individual, he was ordained before graduating with a Sociology degree.

Martin Luther King was an extremely talented, passionate civil rights leader who was instrumental to the civil rights movement. He completed many great things during his lifetime and is still learned about in schools today.