Category Archives: National

California Can Make Police Killings Harder to Justify

By Free Radical

Protests after Stephon Clark's helped lead to.

Protests sparked after the killing of Stephon Clark helped lead to California Assembly Bill 392.

California is poised to pass one of the nation’s toughest laws for police to justify deadly force. On Monday, the California Senate passed Assembly Bill 392 which would change the standard for police to use their weapons from “reasonable” to “necessary.” Cops would have to use deescalation tactics such as talking to suspects to determine if suspects are truly a threat or not.

To become law, California Governor Gavin Newsom will have to sign the legislation. He is expected to do just that as he has said that it could “help restore community trust in our criminal justice system.”

The bill is a compromise as law enforcement lobbyists successfully removed a provision that would make police criminally liable if their conduct did not meet the law’s standard of “necessary.”

The legislation comes amid a report that California has had fewer officer related killings in 2018. In this year there were 146 such deaths according to the California state attorney general’s office. In 2017 there were 172 and in 2016 there were 157.

Nonetheless, the state has still had highly publicized police killings. On March 18, 2018 police killed Stephon Clark in the Sacramento backyard of his grandmother. He was shot seven times, with three entry wounds in the back. The officers who killed Clark claim that they believe that he had a gun though no weapon was found on the scene. They were not indicted for Clark’s murder.

California also consistently has some of the highest numbers of police killings across the country.

Report: Blacks More Likely Denied for Home Loans

Yet another study further proves housing discrimination.

Yet another study further proves housing discrimination. In some cases, the gap was 42%.

By Free Radical

A new study by Clever, an online real estate service provider, recently released a report showing that African Americans are more likely to be denied a home loan than Whites. The study uses data from the Federal Financial Institution’s Examination Council from the ear 2016 which is the most recent period where there is evidence. It is yet another damning report showing a two tiered lending market in the US, one for Blacks and another for everyone else.

Clever found that in total, 26 percent of Black home lending candidates were denied a loan in the US in 2016 while only 10 percent of Whites were.

Even when controlling for income, and Black and Whites has similar earnings, Black applicants were denied 19 percent of the time as compared to 9 percent for Whites.

Banks in southern states such as South Carolina, Mississippi, and Louisiana were some of the worst offenders, having the highest disparity rates among the races. In South Carolina for example, 49 percent of Black applicants were denied as compared to 8 percent of Whites.

States with much smaller Black populations were less likely to discriminate. In fact, Whites were more likely to be denied home loans than Blacks in states such as Montana, Idaho, Vermont, and Hawaii. In these states, African Americans are more likely to come into a more surfeit job market as opposed to the social benefits of an established Black community. In Hawaii, for example, the large military presence likely make Black servicemen and women more favorable candidates for home loans.

Clever’s report did not account for factors such as credit history, credit scores, size of down payment,etc. This information remains shrouded in history as lenders, with great success, have been able to keep this information from federal entities that don’t require this data.

Black people are also kept in the dark. More than half (52 percent) of Black applicants who were denied never received any justification.

These trends put Blacks at a much greater risk to be pushed into more high risk, expensive home loans, which puts them in greater danger to face foreclosure.

California to Ban Hair Discrimination

California State Senator Holly Mitchell introduced the Crown Act.

California State Senator Holly Mitchell introduced the Crown Act which will ban hair discrimination in the state.

By Free Radical

On Thursday, the California State Assembly passes the C.R.O.W.N. Act by a vote of 69-0. The law which means “Create a Respectful and Open Workplace for Natural Hair” will effectively ban discrimination of African American hairstyles when it is expected to be signed by governor Gavin Newsom.

The law will update the state’s current anti discrimination law so race will also include  “traits historically associated with race, including, but not limited to, hair texture and protective hairstyles.”

California State Senator Holly Mitchell, who introduced the bill expressed “The sheer volume of women and men and parents of students who have been sent home because someone deems their braids, twists or locks were inappropriate for workplace settings, the sheer volume of people, suggests this clearly is a law whose time has come.”

Mitchell likened the law to those that protect religious groups who wear headdresses or have particular hairstyles. Yet she notes there are few protections for Black people. She noted “there are still far too many cases of black employees and applicants denied employment or promotion — even terminated — because of the way they choose to wear their hair,” she said. “I have heard far too many reports of black children humiliated and sent home from school because their natural hair was deemed unruly or a distraction to others.”

The issue came to national attention when New Jersey High School wrestler Andrew Johnson was forced to cut his hair to participate in a match.

Similarly, in 2010 Chastity Jones had a job offer rescinded by the Mobile, Alabama company Catastrophe Management Solutions because she has locs. In May 2018, the Supreme Court refused to hear Jones’s case, making the original ban on her hair stand.

By signing the Crown Act, California will be the first state to pass an anti hair discrimination law. New York City passed a similar citywide ordinance in February. The states of New York and New Jersey are considering passing their own laws banning hair discrimination.

Juneteenth Now a State Holiday In Pennsylvania

PA rep Stephen Kinsey ardently supported the Juneteenth bill.

Pennsylvania rep Stephen Kinsey ardently championed the Juneteenth legislation.

By Malcolm Speaks

Earlier this month, Pennsylvania governor Tom Wolf declared Juneteenth a holiday in the state.

The state House unanimously passed the bill in May the state’s Senate passed it unanimously the following month.

This declaration took place on the 154th anniversary of the ending of the US Civil War. In St. Louis, Missouri, Juneteenth is also spoken of as “Freedom by our own hands,” in reference to the substantial participation of Black people in the Union army who enabled it to defeat the Confederacy. Rep. Stephen Kinsey reflected on his own ancestry when remarking on the legislation.

“To those who lived aflame, our past African-American leaders who served right here in these very chambers and from this day forward, the people of Pennsylvania can stand proud and recognize Juneteenth National Freedom Day as a special day of observance every year throughout the Commonwealth of Philadelphia,” Kinsey said.

Juneteenth has also been declared a state holiday in in 45 other states across the nation as well as the District of Columbia. According to The Hill, the only US states that don’t recognize Juneteenth as a holiday are Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota and Hawaii.