Tag: America

Remembering Elijah Cummings (1951-2019)

The Baltimore-area Democrat who chaired the powerful House Oversight Committee and drew the ire of President Donald Trump — died early Thursday at Johns Hopkins Hospital due to complications from longstanding health challenges, his office said in a statement. He was 68.

Cummings had represented Maryland’s 7th Congressional District for 23 years before ascending in January to his perch atop the Oversight panel, from which he oversaw several investigations into the current administration. 

Cummings was a force inside the Democratic caucus who earned the trust of Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to take on some of the toughest and most politically sensitive assignments. Known for his booming oratory and poetic delivery, Cummings quickly emerged as one of Democrats’ most effective critics.

“When the history books are written about this tumultuous era, I want them to show that I was among those in the House of Representatives who stood up to lawlessness and tyranny,” he said in a Sept. 24 statement.

“Those in the highest levels of the government must stop invoking fear, using racist language and encouraging reprehensible behavior. It only creates more division among us,” Cummings said in his speech in early August. Despite his central role in some of the most politically explosive investigations in recent years, Cummings was a rare figure who forged friendships and bonds across the aisle.

Cummings was the beloved son of Baltimore, born in the city on January 18, 1951, and could often be seen walking the streets of the inner-city district, an area where he lived in the same house for more than three decades. “He worked until his last breath because he believed our democracy was the highest and best expression of our collective humanity and that our nation’s diversity was our promise, not our problem.”

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Introducing: Mayor LaToya Cantrell!

Mayor Cantrell’s life has been steeped in community service. As a little girl, her grandmother would bring her to neighborhood meetings, and by the age of 13, she was serving as secretary for her local chamber of commerce.

“My soul found its home in New Orleans,” is how Mayor Cantrell describes her arrival in 1990 as a student at Xavier University. After graduation, she and her husband, Jason, bought a home in the Broadmoor neighborhood, and Cantrell became an active member of her new community.

As the President of the Broadmoor Improvement Association, Cantrell led the neighborhood’s redevelopment following Hurricane Katrina and the levee failures. Flooding decimated Broadmoor, but through citizen engagement and Cantrell’s leadership, Broadmoor is now considered an international model for disaster recovery.

Elected to the City Council in 2012, Cantrell has prioritized improving people’s lives.

On May 7, 2018, Mayor Cantrell was sworn in as the first female Mayor of New Orleans, just in time to celebrate the city’s tricentennial, or 300th anniversary.

She is a dedicated wife to her husband, Jason, proud mother of her daughter, RayAnn, and a parishioner at Blessed Trinity Catholic Church.

Mayor Cantrell pledges to produce results that will create a more equitable and safe New Orleans for all residents.

Introducing: Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley!

Ayanna Pressley is the first African American woman that Massachusetts elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.

Ayanna Pressley is an advocate, a policy-maker, an activist, and survivor. Her election to the Boston City Council in 2009 marked the first time a woman of color was elected to the Council in its 100-year history. This laid the foundation for Ayanna’s groundbreaking work, with which she has consistently strived to improve the lives of people that have too often been left behind.

Raised in Chicago as the only child of an activist mother who instilled in her the value of civic participation, Ayanna understands the role that government should play in helping to lift up communities that are in need of the most help. After her election to the Council in 2009, she successfully pursued the establishment of the Committee on Healthy Women, Families, and Communities. The Committee addresses causes that Ayanna has always been most devoted to: stabilizing families and communities, reducing and preventing violence and trauma, combating poverty, and addressing issues that disproportionately impact women and girls.

Ayanna is intentional about engaging community voices in leading and informing policy by making sure they have a seat at the table.

Ayanna’s legislative achievements resulted in her being the top vote-getter in three consecutive elections, making her the first woman in 30 years to achieve this distinction and the first person of color to top the ticket.

In 2016, Ayanna was named one of The New York Times 14 Young Democrats to Watch. In 2015, she earned the EMILY’s List Rising Star Award and was named one of Boston Magazine’s 50 Most Powerful People. In 2014, the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce named her as one of their Ten Outstanding Young Leaders, and the Victim Rights Law Center presented her with their Leadership Award. She is also an Aspen-Rodel Fellow in Public Leadership, Class of 2012.

Ayanna lives in the Ashmont/Adams neighborhood of Dorchester with her husband Conan Harris, nine-year-old stepdaughter Cora, and cat Sojourner Truth.

Introducing: Lieutenant Governor Sheila Y. Oliver!

Sheila Y. Oliver took the oath of office as New Jersey’s 2nd Lieutenant Governor on January 16, 2018. She is the first woman of color to serve in statewide elected office in New Jersey history. She was appointed Commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs by Governor Phil Murphy.

Lt. Governor Oliver is a 40-year resident of East Orange, and a native of Newark.

First elected to the General Assembly in 2003, she became Speaker in 2010 – the first African-American woman in state history to serve as such, and just the second in the nation’s history to lead a state legislative house.

She has chaired the Assembly Human Services Committee, and served on the Labor, Higher Education, Women and Children, Commerce and Economic Development, and Transportation and Independent Authorities committees. She also sat on the Joint Committee on the Public Schools and the Joint Committee on Economic Justice and Equal Employment Opportunity.

Prior to her election to the General Assembly, she served as an Essex County Freeholder, from 1996 to 1999, and was a member of the East Orange Board of Education.  She also served as an Assistant County Administrator for Essex County from 2000 until 2018.

An alumna of Newark’s Weequahic High School, she went on to graduate cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Lincoln University in Pennsylvania. She also holds a Master of Science Degree in Community Organization, Planning and Administration from Columbia University.

Lt. Governor Oliver began her career in public service as the Director of the Office of Youth Services and Special Projects for the City of Newark, where she focused on preparing young people ages 14 to 21 for post-secondary education and entry into the workforce. She later became the Development Director for The Newark Literacy Campaign while working at Caldwell College as the Coordinator of Career Guidance within the Educational Opportunity Fund Program.

She has taught college courses in Achievement Motivation, Non-Profit Management, and Pre-College Preparation, served as a consultant to a variety of non-profit organizations, and spent several years as the Director of the Essex County Division of Community Action, an anti-poverty initiative.

Lt. Governor Oliver has served on the boards of numerous non-profit organizations, including the East Orange General Hospital Board of Trustees, the United Way, the Newark Coalition for Neighborhoods, the Newark Collaboration Group, the Rutgers-Newark Educational Opportunity Fund Advisory Council, the Global Women’s Leadership Collaborative of NJ, the Essex County and East Orange Committees on the Status of Women, Programs for Parents, and a number of other community-based entities. She has held memberships in the Women’s Political Caucus of NJ, the NAACP, and the Urban League.

Jehovah’s Witnesses Have Been Declining To Salute The Flag Forever, So What’s The Big Deal About Colin Kaepernick?

Long before NFL quarterback #Colin Kaepernick parked on his rump during a preseason NFL game, sparking a nationwide debate surrounding the right of a black man to sit during the National Anthem, Jehovah’s Witnesses have been silently standing and declining to pledge their allegiance to any flag, nation or country. But unlike the San Francisco QB, the actions of the Witnesses don’t spark jersey sales, media coverage, CBS polls or support from music’s biggest artists.

Colin’s continued protests

In a move to protest racial inequality, police brutality and fatal shootings leading to the formation of the Black Lives Matter movement, Kaepernick opted to sit down during the singing of the National Anthem. The 49ers organization and the NFL both released statements essentially saying the same thing – we wished he would have stood, but we respect his right not to.

In the final preseason game, Kaepernick split the difference, electing to get on one knee in a traditional will-you-marry-me pose. Since then, he has been the recipient of both public backlash and support while he continues to kneel before games. He’s become a figurehead for a swelling movement that seeks to highlight social injustices and First Amendment rights, but he’s hardly the first.

Supreme Court ruling

Its been over seven decades since the Supreme Court ruled that children in schools cannot be mandated to pledge their allegiance to the American flag or be forced to participate in patriotic demonstrations. Long before that, Jehovah’s Witness children have been standing respectfully – their hands at their side – during the morning pledge while their student counterparts mindlessly mouth the words with hands over hearts. At sporting events, Jehovah’s Witnesses may choose to sit while the anthem is played.

Many nations claim to have the support of God

The Pledge of Allegiance asks young ones to swear their loyalty to flag and country – “one nation under God.” As if God favors one group of people, one nation, one tribe, one kingdom over another. Many who say the pledge do not even believe that God exists; those who do have widely differing opinions on who or what he is. Ironically, you won’t find a better citizen than a Jehovah’s Witness. They are a peaceful, law-abiding group. They pay their taxes, keep out of trouble and follow the laws of the land – except when they conflict with God’s laws.

First Century Christians

In that way, they follow the example of the First Century Christians. Historical records show that followers of Jesus Christ did not get involved in politics or take up military service. Even Christ withdrew from a crowd that was seeking to make him king. Like Jesus, they gave exclusive worship to God and God alone.

Jehovah’s Witnesses worship God, whose name is Jehovah. As their name suggests, they are “witnesses” to him and his sovereignty – and no nation, flag, piece of cloth or NFL quarterback can take away their determination to remain politically neutral. #News #Jehovahs Witnesses

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*Article originally published on Blasting News.