With Liberty and Justice for…Some?
In what world does one who defrauds the IRS by millions get less prison time than someone who sells $20 worth of weed? The U.S. criminal justice system, that’s where. Last week, Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort was sentenced to 47 months in prison for tax and bank fraud charges stemming from Robert Mueller’s investigation on Russian collusion. With sentencing guidelines suggesting 20 years, the judge’s claim that Manafort has lived an otherwise “blameless” life points out the gross injustices faced by people of color when compared to their white (collar) counterparts. On Wednesday, Manafort will appear in court again for sentencing on illegal lobbying charges. It is widely expected that this judge, Amy Berman Jackson, will have him check his privilege at the door and then give him upwards of 10 years in jail.
This sentence is the longest for all of those charged by the special counsel’s investigation so far. Finding it difficult to keep up with all the action? Check out this timeline of what’s happened over the last 2 years.
The Most Disrespected Person in America is…
The Black woman. Malcolm’s words have never been truer. Ilhan Omar, the first Somali-American elected to Congress, has already had a rough March and we’re only 11 days in. After being portrayed as a 9/11 terrorist in West Virginia’s state capitol building, the Minnesota Representative is again at the center of controversy for remarks that many claimed were anti-Semitic. Though not always using the best choice of words, Omar has sought to bring light to the human rights violations that Israel inflicts on Palestinians. In the process of doing so, she has also called out the United States’ complicity and questioned whether the government’s support is tied to money received from Jewish lobbyists. For many Israel backers on both ends of the political spectrum, supporting Israel often translates to hearing, speaking, and seeing no evil when it comes to the Middle Eastern nation. Omar’s remarks hit nerves so badly that the House attempted to pass a thinly veiled rebuke against her, condemning all anti-Semitic and anti-Israel speech. Thankfully, our Bronx homegirl Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez stepped in, making sure the resolution that passed included all hate speech, including those made by other House reps in regard to President Obama.
Different Shades of Blue
Considering the number of fatal shootings Black men and women have endured at the hands of police, it finally appears that the time may fit the crime…with a catch. In 2015, Florida police officer Nouman Raja killed Corey Jones, a legally armed Black man who was waiting on roadside help after his car broke down. With the evidence mounted against him, Raja was convicted of manslaughter and attempted murder. What’s clearly different about Raja’s case? He’s of Pakistani descent. Having been found guilty by an all white jury, he’ll be sentenced to 25 years to life in April. Let’s hope that this will set a precedent for other officer-involved shootings and not just further confirmation that blind support for police officers is there only for certain hues of blue.
Oh, We Talking Reparations for 2020?
Reparations are getting their fair share of attention from 2020 candidates and the discussion seems messy and confusing. Kamala seems open to some form of compensation, but Bernie says he’s good, luv and Elizabeth now appears to plead the fifth. How do you feel on the topic? Are you requiring the candidate that gets your support to take a strong stance on reparations for Black people?
Around the Diaspora…
An Ethiopian Airlines plane headed for Kenya crashed on Sunday, killing all on board. Let’s keep the impacted families in our prayers.
Venezuela is still embroiled in crisis as their government and opposition forces go at it for power. The U.S. is leaving intervention options on the table, but the chances of them making matters worse for every day Venezuelans is high.
The OkayAfrica 100 Women List was released for 2019 and it’s filled with African women making waves socially, politically, and economically. Get into their Black Girl Magic.
Guyana recently beat out Mexico, Cambodia and Ecuador to be listed as the world’s best destination for ecotourism.
Culture that Pops…
An Arkansas State Senator goes viral as she challenges her colleagues on the state’s Stand Your Ground legislation. Watch to see how she got her colleagues all the way together on a law that affects Black men disproportionately.
21 Savage expands his financial literacy program by promising jobs for 150 at-risk youth in Atlanta.
The lineup for the 2019 Essence Fest was released recently and it’s sure to please the aunties, uncles, and barely legal babies alike. Will you be there?
If you’re familiar with HBCU marching band culture, you probably know all about the Alabama State Honeybeez, a dance troupe for full-figured women. Nike did a feature on them for their Dream Crazier campaign. Check it out.