Category Archives: National

Black Women Most Affected by Student Loan Crisis

Black women are more heavily saddled by student loan debt than any other group.

Black women are more heavily saddled by student loan debt than any other group.

By Free Radical

Studies have shown that Black women are the most educated demographic in the country. A recent report by the American Association of University Women has shown that that distinction has come at a steep price. “Deeper in Debt: Women and Student Loans,” illuminates that Black women have the most outstanding student loan debt and the most difficulty in paying their loans back.

Black women take out student loans in greater amounts than other groups. The typical Black woman who graduated in 2012 had $29,000 worth of debt upon graduation while White women had $20,210. Asian and White men had the lowest amounts of student debt with $10,868 and $18,394 respectively.

There are a couple of factors at play. While the cost of education has increased, salaries in the US have only grown at a snail’s pace. This shift took place as the economy tilted towards service and technology industries that require college degrees more than in the past.

However, Black families, because of past discrimination and exclusion from the economy, have less to contribute to their children’s tuition. Thus young students have to borrow more often and in greater amounts to complete a degree.

Yet even after graduating, Black professionals are paid less and have a much harder time gaining promotions.

This mismatch of Black women’s remarkable educational  attainment and a stubbornly discriminatory job market has made paying off loans particularly difficult. By 2012, Black women experienced the most difficulty in repaying loans and managing other household bills. Black men suffer as well as they had the highest rate of non-repayment among all groups.

The study makes current calls from radical voices to abolish student loans more urgent. Millions of people in the US are saddled with debt, some of whom have no chance to pay it off. This puts enormous strains on the economy and makes existing chasms of wealth, gender, and race even larger. It also shows that student debt does not operate within a bubble. It is impacted by larger societal problems such as wage stagnation, gender and race inequality, and the outrageously high price of education. The status quo is not just costly, it will soon prove to be untenable.

Black Women Come to Waters’s Defense

Elder stateswoman Maxine Waters has been defended by Black women in the storm of controversy.

Elder stateswoman Maxine Waters has been defended by Black women while in the storm of controversy.

By Free Radical

In a letter that includes nearly 200 signatures, Black women have expressed their “profound indignation” of how the Democratic Party has treated California Congresswoman Maxine Waters. Addressed to Senator Minority Leader, Charles Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Peolosi, they accuse both party leaders of failing to protect Waters after she made statements that encouraged people to protest members of the Trump cabinet who have orchestrated and promoted the separation of immigrant families.

Waters has been the target of Trump attacks for more than a year, but Schumer and Pelosi both condemned Waters remarks at a recent Los Angeles rally. Waters urged opponents of Trump’s immigration policies to “get out and you create a crowd and you push back on them [Trump cabinet members], and you tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere.” Her speech came in the wake of crowds that heckled Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders while they dined in D.C. area restaurants.

The letter was authored by “Black Women Leaders and Allies,” primarily women who are non-Congressional politicians, academics, organizers, and a handful of Black men who have pledged their support.

The letter asked that Waters be issued an apology and a promise to protect her as she has been the target of death threats and even had to cancel two speaking engagements in Texas and Alabama last week. Calling on the examples of political foremothers Shirley Chisolm, Barbara Jordan, Dorothy Height among others for the sake of posterity, the letter also reminded Democrats that it is in their own interest to support Black women as they will soon face a competitive midterm election cycle. Black women have been the Democratic Party’s most reliable voting bloc and the petition wants to ensure that this support is warranted.

Since the release of the petition, Pelosi has responded in a prepared statement that read, “Congresswoman Maxine Waters is a valued leader whose passionate call for family reunification should be heard without any threats to her safety.” She continued, by insisting that “Donald Trump should stop his attacks on Congresswoman Waters and all Members of Congress, the free press, and all Americans who have the right and the responsibility to speak their minds.”

It looks like Pelosi and other members of the Democratic Party have heard the clarion call loud and clear.

Black Woman Climbs Liberty Statue in Protest of Immigration Policy

By Malcolm Speaks

Therese Patricia Okoumou protested US immigration policy by scaling the Statue of Liberty.

Therese Patricia Okoumou protested US immigration policy by scaling the Statue of Liberty.

Therese Patricia Okoumou, a 44 year-old Staten Island activist who is a member of an organization called Rise and Resist, protested Trump’s immigration policy by climbing the Statue of Liberty on the Fourth of July. She is an immigrant from the Democratic Republic of Congo but has lived in New York for at least the last 10 years, according to the New York Daily News.

Miss Okoumou reportedly told police she wasn’t coming down until all the migrant children separated from their parents at the border were released.

Miss Okoumou is a personal trainer, therefore she was undoubtably up to the task.

Miss Okoumou was arrested and charged with federal trespassing, disorderly conduct and other charges. She was arraigned in a Manhattan Federal Court last Thursday and stated that she was inspired by a famous quote from the former First Lady, Michelle Obama which expresses “When they go low, we go high.”

This same aerial message was taken to heart by Bree Newsome, a resident of North Carolina who drew national attention in 2015, when she climbed the flagpole at the South Carolina Capitol building and lowered the confederate flag. She also praised Therese Okoumou for her direct action.

“Protesting at the Statue of Liberty demanding an end to state violence & the inhumane detention of children seems a fitting way to spend a holiday that’s purportedly about celebrating the end of tyranny. Happy July 4th to #TheresePatriciaOkoumou,” Bree Newsome tweeted.

She continued: “Reminder: whatever rights and freedoms we enjoy today were gained through struggle by people who openly challenged oppressive power structures and unjust laws, often acting in violation of the laws of their time. The American Revolution was exactly that. That’s why protests at Statue of Liberty today were brilliant. They drew attention to central hypocrisy of US policy: annually celebrating the revolution of the white founders while annually denying freedom & humanity to the descendants of Africans & Indigenous Americans.”

Locally, Percy Green, a St. Louis Resident, climbed the St. Louis Arch in 1964 to protest the barring of Black workers and contractors from the Arch project. He climbed 125 feet up a ladder that was meant for the workers then remained at that height for five hours.

Toddler Awarded $2.5 Million for Police Holding Gun to Her Chest

By Malcolm Speaksindex

Chicago’s City Council approved a $2.5 million settlement in an excessive-force lawsuit last Wednesday that accused the city’s police of traumatizing a 3-year-old girl by pointing a gun at her chest and striking her handcuffed mother in her presence, according to national sources.

Attorney Al Hofeld Jr, who is representing Aretha Simmons, the toddler’s mother, stated that the newest Chicago Police Department reforms, that haven’t yet been enacted, do not address the manner in which officers treat children during arrests. He stated that “it is not even on CPD’s radar.”

These reforms are in response to a 2017 Justice Department report that cited the frequent use of excessive force by Chicago police, even against children.

When the council’s finance committee approved the settlement earlier, a city lawyer even agreed with a number of the lawsuit claims. The attorney also advised the council that the toddler is traumatized and it is more than likely that she will require psychiatric treatment even into adulthood.

The Chicago Police Department is also in the news for awarding Jacques Rivera more than $17 million for his wrongful conviction for a 1988 murder.  Mr. Rivera spent 21 years in prison and sued Chicago police detective Reynaldo Guevara as well as the City of Chicago for framing him. The city already has already been on the hook for $20 million to settle other wrongful conviction lawsuits involving Detective Guevara.