Congressional Black Caucus meeting
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Congressional Black Caucus Sees Historic Increase In Newly Sworn In Members

Time to do the work. 

There are more and more brown faces balancing out the lack of diversity and representation within the political realm, and the recent swearing-in ceremony of the Congressional Black Caucus is the proof in the pudding. On Thursday (Jan. 3), the political organization broke their own history record by swearing in 55 people, making it the highest amount of people sworn in at one time since its inception in 1971.

According to Diverse Education, Rep. Karen Bass, chair of the CBC, noted how pivotal this induction cycle is to the current political climate. “[This] marks the beginning of a course correction [needed to] correct the daily trauma we have suffered over the last two years,” she said.

This occurred at the same time the 116th Congress swore in their newest members to their new roles, some of whom include Ayanna Pressley, Ilhan Omar, Marcia L. Fudge, Sharice Davids, Deb Haaland and more.

Time to do the work.

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Alex Wong

Donald Trump Refuses To Apologize To The Exonerated Five

Despite Ava DuVernay's successful series, When They See Us – which tells the story of the Central Park Five case from the perspective of the now-grown men – Donald Trump still refuses to apologize for his 1989 call to execute the five teenagers.

"You have people on both sides of that," Trump told reporters outside the White House on Tuesday (June 18) when asked if he would apologize to the exonerated men. "They admitted their guilt."

The president also noted Linda Fairstein's part in the case, stating that she and others still believe the men are guilty. "If you look at Linda Fairstein and look at some of the prosecutors," he continued. "They think that the city should never have settled that case. So we’ll leave it at that."

As previously reported, Trump took out an $85,000 ad in New York City newspapers in 1989 calling for the reinstatement of the death penalty in New York following the arrest of five teens in connection to the rape of a white jogger in Central Park.

All five teens were convicted based on coerced confessions and little evidence. They were exonerated in 2002 due to DNA evidence, which proved their innocence, and testimony from the real rapist.

When They See Us renewed attention surrounding the case when it debuted in May 2019. The series touched on Trump's involvement, noting how he incited the community to turn against the five boys.

"The statements that he made and the ads that he took out, he took out two weeks after they were arrested, before their trial, calling for the deaths of the minors,” DuVernay told People of Trump's past actions.

Holy shit -- years after DNA evidence exonerated them, Trump suggests the Central Park 5 are guilty and refuses to apologize for saying they should be executed.

"You have people on both sides of that. They admitted their guilt." pic.twitter.com/Tb8ENrBJ1I

— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) June 18, 2019

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Danny Glover To Testify On Capitol Hill During Slave Reparations Hearing

Danny Glover and author Ta-Nehisi Coates are heading to Capitol Hill next week to testify at a hearing on slavery reparations. The hearing, which will be held by the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties on June 19, is set to explore the “legacy of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, its continuing impact on the community and the path to restorative justice,” according to NBC News.

Coates broached the issue in The Case for Reparations, a 2014 essay published in The Atlantic, and Glover has long supported reparations. The reparations hearing is the first to be held in the House in over a decade and coincides with Juneteenth, the annual celebration marking the abolition of slavery in the U.S.

Michigan’s former Democratic Rep. John Conyers originally introduced a measure to study reparations in 1989, and reintroduced House Resolution 40 in 2017. The bill “establishes a commission to study and develop reparation proposals for African-Americans to examine slavery and discrimination in the colonies and the United States from 1619 to the present.” The resolution also seeks to “recommend appropriate remedies.”

Paying out reparations to the descendants of slaves has been an ongoing topic in the 2020 presidential campaign, though many have fallen short of clearly stating whether they stand for, or against, reparations.

Sen. Corey Booker introduced a bill to study reparations earlier in the year. Sen. Kamala Harris has said that she is open to studying the “effects” of systematic “discrimination and institutional racism” and to “determine what can be done.” Fellow Democratic presidential candidates Sen. Bernie Sanders doesn’t support reparations for slave descendants, while Sen. Elizabeth Warren supports reparations.

Meanwhile, former vice president Joe Biden has been catching heat  for opposing reparations and desegregation in 1975 comments that recently resurfaced. “I do not buy the concept, popular in the ‘60s, which said, ‘We have suppressed the black man for 300 years and the white man is now far ahead in the race for everything our society offers. In order to even the score, we must now give the black man a head start, or even hold the white man back, to even the race.’ I don’t buy that,” Biden said at the time.  “I don’t feel responsible for the sins of my father and grandfather.”

In February, Democratic presidential candidate and author, Marianne Williamson called for the U.S. to shell out $100 billion for reparations.

Williamson touted the plan as a much needed “moral and spiritual awakening” for America. “Nothing short of that is adequate to fundamentally change the patters of our political dysfunction,” Williamson said.

 

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Chip Somodevilla

Sarah Huckabee Sanders To Exit As White House Press Secretary

Sarah Sanders will exit her position as theWhite House Press Secretary at the end of the month, according to the Associated Press.

Donald Trump broke the news on Twitter Thursday (June 13) stating Sanders, 36, will return to her home state of Arkansas. It has not yet been revealed what her new occupation will be.

Trump continued his praise of Sanders by calling her "a very special person with extraordinary talents."

....She is a very special person with extraordinary talents, who has done an incredible job! I hope she decides to run for Governor of Arkansas - she would be fantastic. Sarah, thank you for a job well done!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 13, 2019

Sanders--who is one of Trump's closest aides--was one of the few remaining cabinet members in Trump's administration who worked on his 2016 campaign.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders will leave her position at the end of the month https://t.co/LN3GQUFWMW pic.twitter.com/bA5CKLt2or

— CNN (@CNN) June 13, 2019

Sanders is the second press secretary to leave the White House, following Sean Spices in June 2017. While Spicer was more of an emotional secretary--sometimes yelling at reporters--Sanders often remained straightfaced during the briefings.

Her relationship with the media has been tenuous. She was once quoted as saying her probability “probably higher than the media’s" and alleged the press was "purposefully misleading the American people."

“I think that if you spent a little bit more of your time reporting the news than trying to tear me down, you might actually see that we’re working hard to provide you good information,” Sanders told reporters during a tense briefing.

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