Tuesday, May 30, 2006

The Conscience of Saline County - May 30, 2006



THE ISSUE: The NAACP Washington Bureau is calling on all NAACP members and friends to contact their federal legislators next week while they are in their home districts to urge them to pass the NAACP-supported version of the Voting Rights Act reauthorization as soon as possible. Specifically, we would like the House of Representatives to bring the bill up for consideration by the full House and pass it without weakening amendments upon immediate return to Washington. We also need to encourage the Senate to work hard to conclude their hearings, pass the bill out of Committee and bring the bill before the full Senate AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.

On May 10, 2006, the House Judiciary Committee passed, by a margin of 33 yeas to 1 nay, H.R. 9, the NAACP-supported Fannie Lou Hammer, Rosa Parks and Coretta Scott King Voting Rights Act Reauthorization and Amendments Act of 2006. This legislation, which has been introduced in both the US House and the US Senate (H.R. 9 / S. 2703), would reauthorize and restore expiring portions of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

Despite the fact that African Americans and other racial and ethnic minority Americans are guaranteed the right to vote b15thth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which was passed just after the Civil War in 1870, states and local municipalities continued to use tactics such as poll taxes, literacy tests and outright intimidation to stop people from casting free and unfettered ballots. Thus the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was enacted to insure that no federal, state or local government may in any way impede people from registering to vote or voting because of their race or ethnicity. Most provisions in the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and specifically the portions that guarantee that no one may be denied the right to vote because of his or her race or color, are permanent.

There are, however, 3 key enforcement-related provisions of the Voting Rights Act that will expire in August 2007 unlesreauthorizeded. Hearings held in 2005 and 2006 have found a new generation of tactics, including some at-large elections, annexations, last minute poll place changes and disenfranchising redistricting practices which have had a discriminatory impact on voters, especially racial and ethnic minority American voters. H.R. reauthorizeses the portions of the VRA that will expire next year restoring the Congress's original intent and allowing the federal government to address these new challenges.
To view the entire Acton Alert click here!

THANK YOU FOR YOUR ATTENTION TO THIS IMPORTANT MATTER!!! If you have any questions, call Hilary Shelton at the Washington Bureau at (202) 463-2940.

MEMBERSHIP IS POWER! JOIN THE NAACP TODAY. For more information, call your local NAACP branch or visit http//:www.naacpmarshallmo.org


World Wide Technology Inc. Named Nation's Largest Black-owned Firm According to Black Enterprise magazine's annual survey,

World Wide Technology Inc. has been recognized as the nation's top-grossing black-owned business. World Wide Technology Inc., based in St. Louis, has an estimated 620 employees and $1.85 billion in revenue. Read more...


Missouri State Conference Calls On Law Enforcement To Quit Gambling With
The Rights Of African Americans

Too often many in the African American and other communities of color as well as the poor are made to feel less than human by the treatment they receive from those who are charged with upholding the law. Consider for a moment the April 2005 US Department of Justice Report on Contacts between
Police and the Public concluded:
• Compared to Black, Hispanic and other races, Whites were more likely to be issued a warning during a traffic stop.

  • Police were more likely to use force against a Black or Hispanic driver than a White driver.
  • Police were more likely to search a vehicle driven by a Black or Hispanic than a White.
  • Searches of Black drivers were more likely to be without consent than searches of White drivers.
  • Searches of Black drivers or their vehicles were less likely to find criminal evidence than searches of White drivers.

According to the 2005 Missouri Racial Profiling Report issued by the Attorney General:

  • African-Americans were 42% more likely to be stopped than Whites.
  • African-Americans were more likely to be searched than Whites.
  • Searches of African-Americans and Hispanics are less likely than searches of Whites to produce contraband.

Mary Ratliff, President of the Missouri State Conference of the NAACP stated, we expect law enforcement to enforce the law, not gamble away the rights of African Americans and others. These numbers, unfortunately prove that many of the traffic stops are not being carried out with the belief that African Americans are guilty, rather than based on reasonable suspicion or probable cause as the law dictates.

Collecting the data and providing annual reports will not address or correct the injustice of violating citizens Fourth Amendment Constitutional Rights. The Missouri State Conference is calling on Missouri Attorney General Jay Nixon to first advocate the enactment of additional legislation to penalize law enforcement agencies who fail or refuse to provide the required information. It is hypocritical for any agency charged with enforcing the law to intentionally violate it.

Secondly, we are requesting that the Missouri Peace Officers Standards and Training (POST) Board be charged with investigating complaints filed by citizens, under their “moral turpitude” standard, and that law enforcement officers be required to articulate and explain why they initiated the stop. While we applaud those in law enforcement who demonstrate professionalism everyday, we must also aggressively deal with those who gamble and violate the Constitutional rights of Missourians.

Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people oWilla will.”
- - Rev. Martin Luther King, Letter from the Birmingham Jail - -

Contact: Mary Ratliff, President State Conference 573 445-3231


Missouri NAACP State Conference urges Blunt to not err again

In an email to Gov, Blunt, Mary Ratliff, President of the Missouri NAACP State Conference writes to Gov. Blunt in regards upcoming Confederate Day, June 3, 2006'

Dear Gov. Blunt,

In reviewing the announcement for upcoming titled MO Div. Events, I noted the flying of the Confederate Flag along side the U.S & State Flag. This is an affront to African Americans in the State of Missouri. I hope this picture is a picture from past events which drew so much negative National attention to the State of Missouri. If that is the case then I would strongly urge the Pictorial display be replaced with current a display removing the Confederate Flag. Please advise me of whether there has been an executive order or decision to allow the flying of the Confederate Flag on June 3rd, 2006 or any other Day.

Please respond by close of business Friday May 26, 2006.

Respectfully Submitted,

Mary A. Ratliff, President Missouri NAACP


Lawmakers say 'No Child' law not going anywhere By the Associated Press

Lawmakers said Thursday they were willing to make the No Child Left Behind law more flexible, but warned there won't be a lot of extra federal money to help pay for it. And don't expect the law to go away, members of the House Education & the Workforce Committee said as they kicked off a series of hearings in preparation for renewing the sweeping education law next year. Since it was passed in 2001, teachers, parents and state education officials have complained about various aspects of the law, which requires schools to meet goals for student performance or face a variety of penalties. CNN.com