Connect with us

U.S.

Environmental Racism Is Poisoning America’s Waters

Published

on

Environmental Racism Is Poisoning America’s Waters
President-elect Joe Biden leaves at The Queen Theater after announcing his climate and energy team nominees and appointees in Wilmington Del., Saturday, Dec. 19, 2020. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Thousands of people in U.S. cities have been left without access to clean water. Communities say institutional racism is to blame.

The United Nations General Assembly recognized “the right to safe and clean drinking water and sanitation as a human right that is essential for the full enjoyment of life and all human rights” on July 28, 2010. Yet, 12 years later, this human right is still out of reach for millions across the globe, particularly in the Global South. Even in the United States, which has the largest gross domestic product globally, poor and working-class people, and in particular Black and Brown people, are denied this fundamental right. In several cities across the United States, residents struggle with system-wide neglect of water systems and the failure of the government to provide access to what is arguably the most essential resource.

The Struggle for Water Is a Struggle Against Racism

Dennis Diaz, a resident of the public housing project Jacob Riis Houses in the East Village, New York City, said that after he experienced nausea, diarrhea, dizziness, and migraine headaches around late August and early September, he took preliminary tests that revealed he had been exposed to arsenic.

As early as August 4, the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) was alerted about cloudy water conditions at the Jacob Riis public housing complex. After apparently testing the water for E. coli and chlorine more than a week later, on August 16, NYCHA announced that the water was safe to drink. But after 11 p.m. on September 2, NYCHA revealed that there was arsenic in the water supply. According to an article in City and State, the city said that officials had known about the arsenic two weeks prior.

Diaz called New York “the greatest city in the world” and explained his frustration with the double standard that he feels local politicians allow to persist when it comes to quality-of-life issues between majority-minority neighborhoods like his own and wealthier, predominantly white residential areas. “Imagine if,” he said, arsenic was found in the water by residents in Manhattan’s “Fifth Avenue or Soho, or Williamsburg,” Brooklyn. “Maybe the outcomes would have been different for them. But for minorities in my community, we’re next to nothing to the politicians.” According to the 2016 data provided by NYCHA, 40 percent of the heads of the households living in public housing under the Housing Choice Voucher Program were Black, while 48 percent had Latin American ancestry.

The city of New York is now denying that there ever was arsenic in the water at Jacob Riis, claiming that the testing method “introduced trace levels of arsenic” to the sample they collected. But Dennis Diaz, who recently received his bloodwork results showing low levels of arsenic, is not convinced. “They’re lying,” he said while referring to the latest statement by the city officials. “They did it in Flint, Michigan, where they lied to them [the residents] for years. You can’t believe these people.”

Since NYCHA’s inception in 1934, New York City’s public housing has fallen into disrepair as the federal government drastically reduced funding for public housing in the 2000s. In 2018, 400,000 tenants sued NYCHA for squalid conditions. Also in 2018, then-U.S. Federal Attorney for the Southern District of New York Geoffrey Berman sued NYCHA for health and safety violations, exposing children to lead paint, and training NYCHA workers to “deceive” federal inspectors.

In Baltimore, water in the western part of the city tested positive for E. coli on September 5. Affected neighborhoods included the area of Harlem Park/Sandtown-Winchester. Authorities advised residents in these areas to boil water before use due to the contamination.

By September 6, the “boil water advisory” stretched across West Baltimore and into the surrounding southwestern Baltimore County. The neighborhood of Sandtown-Winchester/Harlem Park is 96.7 percent Black, within the 62.8 percent Black city of Baltimore. This neighborhood also has a history of police brutality. In 2015, Freddie Gray died due to injuries sustained while in police custody after he was arrested in the area. A medical examiner ruled that his death was a homicidebecause officers failed to follow safety guidelines.” In 2017, Harlem Park was locked down by police for nearly a week after a detective was murdered before testifying at a trial against other police officers. Some organizations questioned whether this action by the police was lawful.

Baltimore resident Rachel Viqueira was located in the boil water advisory zone. “While facing decades of underinvestment and neglect, these neighborhoods have simultaneously faced increasing racist police violence and surveillance,” she said. In 2020, Baltimore responded to the massive public protests surrounding George Floyd’s death by defunding the police budget by $22 million. But in 2021, Baltimore City increased police funding by $28 million. This not only canceled out the 2020 decrease but also tacked on an additional $8 million to the police budget.

“In Baltimore, and many other cities, the police budgets have ballooned at the expense of public investment in infrastructure, health, jobs, housing, and education,” Viqueira said.

Jackson, Mississippi, was under a boil water notice from July 29 to September 15. And from August 30 to September 5, the water stopped running for many of Jackson’s more than 150,000 residents, leaving public spaces like schools without running sinks or working toilets. Although water pressure has now been restored, the water remains contaminated.

Derykah Watts, who distributed water to Jackson residents as part of her student group Jackson Water Crisis Advocacy Team, said, “This is a reality that Jackson has faced for a very long time. I know growing up, I remember always hearing my mother say, ‘Oh, we’re on boil water notice this week, don’t use the water [straight from the tap].'”

Jackson is 82.5 percent Black, and this water crisis is only the latest in a chain of failures in the city’s underfunded water system. The roots of the water crisis originate in the era immediately following the racial desegregation of schools in Jackson in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Following desegregation, white residents left the city en masse. From 1960 to 1990, the white population residing in Jackson shrunk by 6,000. White departure meant that white residents, historically more well-off than descendants of Black people who were enslaved, would no longer constitute a large portion of the tax base for city funding.

Instead of finding concrete solutions to address the water crisis resulting from systemic racism, both the city of Jackson and the state of Mississippi have been considering privatizing the city’s water supply following the crisis. “We’ve already seen how privatization of Texas’ electrical grid meant massive shut-offs of heat in the middle of a winter storm,” said local activist Bezal Jupiter. “People lost their power, people froze, and some people even died [as many as 246]. Do we want the same future for Jackson’s water system?”

A Water Crisis That Never Ended

The majority-Black city of Flint, Michigan, made headlines in 2016 when it was revealed that for two years, the state government had been covering up the fact that residents were actively being poisoned by lead in their water supply. Six years later, the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy said that the amount of lead in the water complies with state and federal standards, yet scientists insist that no amount of lead in water is safe. And as of April of 2022, the government was yet to replace 1,800 lead pipes.

“[Governments] will fund rich white communities for infrastructure upgrades, but they absolutely won’t do it for cities like Flint, Baltimore, and Jackson,” said Mitchell Bonga, a law clerk at Goodman, Hurwitz and James, a law firm that filed a class action lawsuit against former Michigan Governor Rick Snyder for his role in the Flint crisis.

‘They Could Have Done It All Along’

In the neighboring city of Detroit, which also has a majority-Black, low-income population, residents who cannot pay their water bills have been struggling against water shut-offs. “People can’t afford the water bill [in Detroit],” said local activist and Detroit resident Tharron Combs. “People sometimes owe hundreds of dollars in debt to the city for their water bill and when it gets shut off, obviously it’s a public health crisis.”

The city imposed a moratorium on water shut-offs for the pandemic, extending it through 2022. But although the mayor announced his intention to end water shutoffs “once and for all,” the moratorium will expire at the end of the year. “They actually put [shut-offs] on pause for the pandemic, which kind of exposed one of the contradictions of capitalism,” said Combs. “They could have done it all along, and just let people have access to clean water.

“[People] can’t afford their water, or their water is unclean when they can afford it. They don’t have access to food. And this is not a condition that’s really unique to Detroit. This is the case in really any major Black city in the country… Clearly, it’s environmental racism all the way down,” said Combs.

Globetrotter_________________________

Natalia Marques is a writer at Peoples Dispatch, an organizer, and a graphic designer based in New York City.

Advertisement
Click to comment

U.S.

Donald Trump Will Never Change

Published

on

Donald Trump Will Never Change
Former President Donald Trump holds a copy of The Washington Post as he speaks in the East Room of the White House one day after the Senate acquitted him of two articles of impeachment, February 6, 2020 in Washington, DC. Drew Angerer | Getty Images

It was right at 9 p.m. eastern time, when I heard Kellyanne Conway on Fox News previewing Donald Trump’s victory speech in the New Hampshire primary, that I knew we were in for it. She said, “I think Trump will be gracious, he’s been incredibly gracious to Ron DeSantis,” and at that moment the thought simply appeared in my brain as if there was no other possible answer: “Okay, so now he’s going to come out vomiting bile all over the front row.” Why? Because I’ve lived too long and seen too much when it comes to Trump: He’s the world’s greatest rug-puller, subverting expectations like Rian Johnson on a spree. He lives to sandbag those who attempt to speak for him in advance by blurting out some intemperate and highly public nonsense — and usually almost immediately, because when you orbit Trump’s professional or political sphere, karma usually gets you instantly. He is a chaos agent.

Minutes later I was proven correct as Trump, forever calling audibles only in his own head, went out and delivered what was a victory speech in name only and, more accurately, a protracted fulmination about the audacity of Nikki Haley, who dares to persist in her campaign against him. (Sample: “Who the hell was the imposter that went up on the stage before and, like, claimed a victory? She did very poorly, actually.”) It was a completely unfocused rant that said nothing about Biden or the 2024 election but focused exclusively on Haley’s refusal to drop out. Trump talked trash about her outfit (!) and then later hinted darkly that she would be under investigation if she ever overtook him. It was so tonally inappropriate and bizarre that only someone with Trump’s long history of similar speeches could have made it feel predictable — imagine a 20-minute-long hip-hop diss track during which Trump hands the mic off to DJ Vivvy Viv midway through for “one minute or less” of crowd-hyping. (Folks, it was a weird scene.)

It was hard to say who came away worse: Trump (who, after all, started from the position of having no discernible shame and few virtues left to lose) or poor South Carolina senator Tim Scott. After having terminated his own unimpressive campaign a month ago, Scott recently endorsed Trump over Haley, the governor who had appointed him to South Carolina’s open senate seat a decade ago. Some affect to be deeply offended by this, but for me it is just a predictable tacking to Trumpian political winds, however objectively cowardly. Trump is not going to forgive those who didn’t endorse him in a timely fashion, so you can choose your career or your political loyalty to a transparently lost cause. (Are you at all surprised that the vast majority of professional politicians choose option A?)

But, of course, Donald Trump is also going to humiliate you every chance he can get once you’ve bent the knee to him. So, enraged as he was at Haley’s defiance and her preempting of his speech, he attacked her and gelded Scott simultaneously in a two-for-one deal. After positioning Scott onstage prominently behind him and inviting him to speak briefly (sending a clear message that “South Carolina is not up for grabs” — fair enough, as far as political theatrics go), he then riffed on how hilarious it was that Scott had betrayed Haley. “Did you ever think that she actually appointed you, Tim? And think of it — you’re the senator from her state, and you endorsed me! You must really hate her.” Scott’s response to this was to nervously laugh and say, “I just love you!”

It was an utterly humiliating moment for Scott, who had the spotlight shone on his abandonment of his onetime ally and was forced into the role of laughing, smiling bootlicker in order to change the subject. And it’s nothing new for Trump. Rather, it’s the sort of public dominance ritual he notoriously seeks to engage in with all in his circle. He has no allies, only servile retainers. (Trump’s fanatics, especially the Extremely Online ones, notice this well and openly thrill to it; suburban women amenable to voting Republican, on the other hand, react to it like arsenic. Which is the larger voting demographic?)

What comes across the most in Trump’s churlish speech — and get used to this style, you’ll be hearing more of it during the general election from him and his online minions — is his personal outrage over Haley’s refusal to drop out. He is angry about what it represents: An entire segment of the Republican Party is now, during his third go-round, fundamentally unreconcilable to him. There aren’t enough votes out there for him to survive the loss of the slice of the GOP electorate that Haley’s vote share represents — a minority now, for sure, but a determinative one. And yet he cannot control his worst instincts, for outbursts like these are the worst possible way to win them over. They will not merely fall in line once threatened with four more years of Joe Biden and/or Kamala Harris. Negative polarization only goes so far.

We are all agreed — empirical evidence suggests that the current Republican primary electorate is in love with Trump and cannot be made to stop loving him. But here is the reverse of the medal: You can never make those in your own coalition who hate Trump love him, either, and as last night’s victory speech demonstrated, demands for a completely unreciprocated loyalty will fall on the pitilessly deaf ears of those he has already repelled. He cannot win them. Because Trump forever remains, undisguisably, who he is.

_______

Jeffrey Blehar is a National Review writer living in Chicago. He is also the co-host of National Review’s Political Beats podcast, which explores the great music of the modern era with guests from the political world happy to find something non-political to talk about.

 

 

Continue Reading

U.S.

Biden Needs a New Approach to Black Voters Based on Georgia and Michigan, Group of Strategists Says

Published

on

Biden Needs a New Approach to Black Voters Based on Georgia and Michigan, Group of Strategists Says
A man wearing a mask gathers with a group in support of Black Voters Matter at the Graham Civic Center polling site in Graham, N.C., Nov. 3, 2020. Some top Democrats are worried that a dip in Black voter turnout, along with other challenges, could doom President Joe Biden and his party in 2024. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome, File)

Some top Democrats are worried that a dip in Black voter turnout, along with other challenges, could doom President Joe Biden and his party in 2024.

A group of Democrats is offering a new analysis of the most recent campaigns in Georgia and Michigan, pitching those battlegrounds as models for drawing in more Black voters next year and beyond. They argue that Democratic power players need to think — and spend money — in new ways, going beyond efforts that can be last-minute or superficial as they try to reassemble Biden’s 2020 coalition.

“The days of the symbolic fish fry and one-time church visit are over,” wrote the authors of the analysis by strategists widely credited for helping flip Georgia and Michigan to Biden. “Black voters have always required an approach to voter engagement as diverse as the Black voting coalition.”

Biden has long depended on Black voters — first as a Delaware senator and most notably in the 2020 South Carolina primary, which delivered him a decisive win that led much of the Democratic field to consolidate behind him.

But just 50% of Black adults said they approve of Biden in a December poll by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs. That is compared with 86% in July 2021, with the gap fueling concerns about his reelection prospects.

The new report, shared exclusively with The Associated Press and being presented privately to Democratic power players, contends as part of several recommendations that the left must regularly engage all Black voters, including the most reluctant, while amplifying arguments about abortion rights in Black communities.

Said Lauren Groh-Wargo, a leader of the push and longtime adviser to Georgia Democrat Stacey Abrams: “People need to see something different; they need to see you coming to them and asking for their vote in their cultural spaces.”

The authors include veterans of Abrams’ operation and Michigan’s efforts to approve an abortion-rights referendum and re-elect Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. Abrams lost her second bid against Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, but Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock beat Herschel Walker to retain his Senate seat, bolstered in part by years of work by Abrams and other organizers.

The report explores why the two states’ 2022 electorates differed from other racially diverse battlegrounds. The contributors want to share their conclusions with the party’s biggest donors and top strategists, including those running Biden’s 2024 campaign. One of Biden’s top campaign aides managed Warnock’s campaign.

Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin are the seven states that will be critical in deciding the Electoral College next year. Across those states in 2022, Black turnout dropped, on average, about 22% from the 2018 midterms, according to multiple Democratic firms’ data analysis. Lagging Black support for Biden in any three of those states next fall could cut off his path to the required 270 electoral votes.

Michigan’s Black turnout in 2022 was about 90% of its 2018 totals, according to the analysis. But among Black voters under 35, the 2022 turnout was 96% of 2018 levels — notably outpacing other battlegrounds, Georgia included. That bolstered Whitmer’s nearly 11-point victory and the abortion rights referendum, which passed by 13 points. The analysis found Michigan’s Black voters supported the initiative by a higher proportion than any other race or ethnicity; that finding was repeated recently in Ohio’s abortion referendum, authors said.

“We were open to the research that showed us just how much this would resonate in Black communities,” said Michigan Democratic Chairwoman Lavora Barnes, the first Black woman to hold her post and a co-author of the report.

“We made it part of a broader message about rights and freedom,” she added, saying Black Americans, because of their historical experience with oppression, are especially attuned to “having our rights taken away.”

Whitmer, who embraced the nonpartisan abortion-rights campaign, said the lessons must carry forward as some Republicans propose national abortion restrictions.

“My generation assumed that these rights would always be intact for us and our children,” the governor, 52, said recently. “Lo and behold, here we are having to fight over and over again to protect these rights.”

Black turnout in Georgia, meanwhile, was about 92% of 2018 levels; Black voters over 50 exceeded their 2018 marks.

If Georgia’s Black turnout had tracked the 2022 battleground average, the analysis calculates that about 175,000 fewer voters would have cast November ballots. With Warnock winning more than 9 out of 10 Black votes, that shortfall almost certainly would have meant his defeat to Walker, the only GOP statewide nominee who lost in Georgia last year.

And if Black turnout in other 2022 battlegrounds reflected Georgia’s, Democrats almost certainly would have defeated Republican Sen. Ron Johnson in Wisconsin and may have won a North Carolina Senate seat, expanding their narrow majority, the authors argue.

Some recommendations from Georgia are challenging and expensive. Abrams’ operation began a decade ago trying to expand voter participation in Georgia, focusing on Black and other nonwhite residents who rarely or never voted. Now Georgia’s political footprint involves hundreds of paid canvassers, sophisticated digital outreach, voter registration drives and door-knocking campaigns even in non-campaign years.

The report argues that the investment over time creates so-called “super voters” who make the Democratic investment worth it. The document details tactics Georgia and Michigan Democrats have used and that the authors say can be scaled in other states.

The authors note that in 2018, when Abrams first ran for governor, Georgia had more than 1.1 million Black voters deemed “low propensity” and unlikely to vote. After the 2022 election, that has dropped to between 700,000 and 800,000.

Conversely, the “super voter” measure — defined as people who have cast three consecutive general election ballots — has climbed from about 525,000 Black Georgians after 2016 to more than 850,000 after 2022.

Donors and most campaigns, though, still gravitate to traditional turnout models aimed at regular or semi-regular voters. They see the Abrams approach as costing too much money per vote.

“We need other groups out there making contacts with inactive voters because most campaigns just aren’t cut out to do that,” said Preston Elliot, Whitmer’s 2022 campaign manager, who was not involved in the analysis. He complimented figures like Groh-Wargo, Abrams and Barnes but cautioned that the latest effort comes down to resources.

“There are enough tasks out there for everyone to play their parts,” Elliot said. “But ultimately we’re talking about finite money here.”

___

Associated Press

Continue Reading

U.S.

Biden tackles Trump and touts economic progress in Milwaukee visit

Published

on

Biden tackles Trump and touts economic progress in Milwaukee visit
President Joe Biden. Getty Images

President Joe Biden touted his administration’s support for minority-owned businesses and the replacement of lead pipes during a visit here on Wednesday while also swiping at Donald Trump’s rhetoric toward migrants and his ongoing lies about his election loss.

The trip showed how Biden is trying to juggle multiple political priorities in the critical battleground state of Wisconsin. Democrats want to generate excitement among nonwhite voters who are an important part of their coalition while also keeping the focus on Trump’s extremism, heightening a contrast that the White House hopes will secure a second term for Biden.

The Democratic president’s first stop upon arriving in Milwaukee was Hero Plumbing, which has replaced hundreds of lead pipes around the city. The work is part of a $15 billion nationwide initiative funded through bipartisan infrastructure legislation.

“Not only has our business grown, but we’re helping to save our community,” said the company’s owner, Rashawn Spivey.

Spivey rode with Biden to the Wisconsin Black Chamber of Commerce, where the president highlighted the pipe replacement program. He’s described it as a generation-changing opportunity to create good-paying union jobs while reducing brain-damaging exposure to lead in schools, childcare centers and more than 9 million U.S. homes that draw water from lead pipes.

“This is the United States of America, for God’s sake,” Biden said. “Everyone should be able to turn on a faucet and know whatever they drink is clean and pure and not have to worry about it.”

Biden also focused on his administration’s surge in federal assistance for minority-owned businesses and distressed communities, saying, “We’re leaving no one behind.”

The Small Business Administration in the last fiscal year backed 4,700 loans valued at $1.5 billion to Black-owned businesses. Under Biden, the SBA said it has more than doubled the number and total dollar amount of loans to Black-owned small businesses. The share of the SBA’s loans going to minority-owned businesses has increased from 23% to over 32% since 2020.

Under Trump, Biden said “minority-owned businesses found themselves last in line,” and he accused political opponents of a “full-on attack on Black economic opportunity”

Biden also criticized Trump for his recent comments that migrants were “poisoning the blood” of the country.

“I don’t believe, as the former president said again yesterday, that immigrants are polluting our blood,” Biden said. “The economy and our nation are stronger when we tap into the full range of talents in this nation.”

The trip to Wisconsin came one day after the Colorado Supreme Court ruled that Trump was ineligible for the ballot there. The decision, the first of its kind in U.S. history, will likely be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Biden said it was “self-evident” that Trump is an insurrectionist. However, he did not comment on the ruling itself.

“Whether the 14th Amendment applies or not, we’ll let the court make that decision,” Biden told reporters on the tarmac after stepping off Air Force One in Milwaukee. “But he certainly supported an insurrection. There’s no question about it. None. Zero. And he seems to be doubling down on it.”

Trump has refused to back down from his lies that voter fraud cost him the 2020 election, and he’s pledged to pardon Jan. 6 rioters.

Biden’s campaign was circumspect when asked about the Colorado ruling in a call with reporters.

“What I will say is that the president looks forward to defeating Donald Trump or whoever else emerges from the Republican primary on the ballot box in November 2024,” said Brooke Goren, the campaign’s deputy communications director.

Wisconsin was among the most competitive states in Biden’s 2020 election win over Trump Trump and will likely be key to his reelection hopes in 2024. Trump is the leading contender for the Republican presidential nomination, and the party is hosting its national convention in Milwaukee next year.

In Wisconsin and beyond, Biden is trying to pep up American voters at a time when polls show people are largely dour about his handling of the economy. The president is struggling with poor approval ratings on the economy even as the unemployment rate hovers near historic lows and as inflation has plummeted in little over a year from 9.1% to 3.2%.

Biden announced that the Grow Milwaukee Coalition is one of 22 finalists for the Commerce Department’s “Recompete” pilot program. The program is funded by Biden’s CHIPS and Science Act, and is focused on investing $190 million in federal funding in job creation and small business growth in hard-hit U.S. communities.

The Grow Milwaukee Coalition proposal is centered on revitalizing Milwaukee’s 30th Street Industrial Corridor.

____

Associated Press

Continue Reading

U.S.

Boston mayor apologizes to Black men wrongly accused in 1989 murder that shone spotlight on racism

Published

on

Boston mayor apologizes to Black men wrongly accused in 1989 murder that shone spotlight on racism
Boston Mayor Michelle Wu speaks during a campaign rally in support of the statewide Massachusetts Democratic ticket, Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2022, in Boston. Wu, the city’s first mayor of Asian-American descent, is defending her decision to host a holiday party for elected officials of color. Mary Schwalm/AP

Boston Mayor Michelle Wu issued a formal apology Wednesday to two Black men who were wrongly accused in a 1989 murder of a white woman, a case that coarsened divisions in a city long split along racial lines and renewed suspicion and anger directed at the police department by the city’s Black community.

“I am so sorry for what you endured,” the mayor said during a news conference. “I am so sorry for the pain that you have carried for so many years.”

Alan Swanson and Willie Bennett were wrongly named as suspects in the Oct. 23, 1989, death of Carol Stuart, whose husband, Charles Stuart, had orchestrated her killing.

Stuart, who was also white, blamed his wife’s killing – and his own shooting during what he portrayed as an attempted carjacking — on an unidentified Black gunman, leading to a crackdown by police in one of the city’s traditionally Black neighborhoods in pursuit of a phantom assailant.

“We are here today to acknowledge the tremendous pain that the city of Boston inflicted on Black residents throughout our neighborhoods 34 years ago,” Wu said, handing both families a written apology.

“The mayor’s office, city officials and the Boston Police Department took actions that directly harmed these families and continue to impact the larger community, reopening a wound that has gone untended for decades,” she added.

Wu said that in response to the killing of Carol Stuart and her unborn baby “and acting on a false racist claim framing a Black man for her death,” the city launched a systemic campaign targeting Black men in Mission Hill neighborhood and across the city.

Wu said there was no evidence a Black man committed the crime, but that did not matter to many because the story was one that confirmed and exposed the beliefs so many shared.

Boston Police Commissioner Michael Cox also acknowledged the failings of police at the time.

“As commissioner I apologize for the hurt, pain and suffering experienced by everyone affected by the Boston Police Department, for their poor investigation, overzealous behavior and more than likely unconstitutional behavior,” Cox said.

Willie Bennett’s nephew Joey Bennett accepted Wu’s apology Wednesday on behalf of his uncle and family and Alan Swanson.

“We are truly humbled to finally be receiving this apology,” he said. “Most importantly, we would like to acknowledge our family patriarch, Willie Bennett, who has shown resilience and strength throughout his entire life no matter what anyone said.”

“This moment is not just a personal triumph for our family, but a testament to the incredible support we received from the Mission Hill community and friends alike,” he added.

Joey Bennett said it took courage on Wu’s part to issue the apology for the actions of earlier city leaders.

“Your apology is accepted,” he said, embracing Wu.

Members of Bennett’s family and Swanson both called for some kind of payment for their suffering. Swanson told reporters after the news conference that he was broke.

“I just need some financial compensation for all the trouble and pain I’m still going through,” he said, adding he was “glad this is happening today.”

Charles Stuart said a Black man forced his way into their car as the couple left a birthing class at a city hospital in 1989. The man ordered them to drive to the city’s Mission Hill neighborhood and robbed them before shooting Carol Stuart in the head and Charles in the chest, according to Charles.

Carol Stuart, 29, died the following morning at the same hospital where the couple had attended birthing classes. The baby, delivered by cesarean section, survived just 17 days.

Charles Stuart survived the shooting, with his description of a Black attacker eventually sparking a widespread Boston police “stop and frisk” crackdown of Black men in the neighborhood, even as some investigators had already come to doubt his story.

“What was done to you was unjust, unfair, racist and wrong,” Wu said Wednesday.

During the crackdown, police first arrested Swanson before ruling him out, and then took Bennett into custody. Stuart would later identify Bennett in late December. But by then, Stuart’s story had already begun to fall apart.

Swanson and Bennett denied having any involvement in Carol Stuart’s death. Neither were formally charged. Charles Stuart’s brother, Matthew, eventually confessed to helping him hide the gun.

On Jan. 4, 1990, Charles Stuart parked his car on the Tobin Bridge that leads in and out of Boston and jumped, plunging to his death. His body was recovered later that day.

The Boston Globe and an HBO documentary series has cast a new spotlight on the case.

Wu said the apology is “just the beginning of a much longer journey of accountability and action.”

Continue Reading

U.S.

Kamala Harris Says Trump’s Xenophobic Immigrant Comments Have ‘Rightly’ Been Compared To Hitler

Published

on

Kamala Harris Says Trump’s Xenophobic Immigrant Comments Have ‘Rightly’ Been Compared To Hitler
U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris gestures as she speaks during an interview with the Associated Press on the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit in Jakarta, Indonesia, Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2023. (AP Photo/Dita Alangkara)

Vice President Kamala Harris said on Tuesday that former President Donald Trump’s recent xenophobic remarks on immigration have “rightly” been compared to the language of Adolf Hitler.

Trump came under fire this week after a campaign rally in New Hampshire on Saturday, where he told the crowd that immigrants are “pouring” into the U.S. and “poisoning the blood of our country.”

“It is language that is meant to divide. It is language that I think people have rightly found similar to the language of Hitler,” Harris said, referencing criticisms brought up by President Joe Biden’s campaign this week. “I think it’s just critically important that we remind each other, including our children, that the true measure of the strength of a leader is based on who they beat down, but who they lift up.”

She continued: “Sadly, I think that there’s something perverse that has happened in our country over the last many years, which is to suggest that strength looks like a bully when in fact, the real character of a leader is someone who has empathy, who has some level of concern and care for the suffering of other people and then does something to alleviate that suffering.”

Harris also reflected on what her late mother — an immigrant who was active during the Civil Rights Movement — would have said in response to Trump’s comments: “There’s no question in my mind that her response to that kind of language would be … We’ve seen this before, we know where this could go, so stand up and fight for what is right.”

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) described Trump as “disgusting” to CNN’s Jake Tapper on Sunday, adding that “what he’s doing is dog-whistling to Americans who feel absolutely under stress and strain from the economy and from the conflicts around the world. And he’s dog-whistling to blame it on people from areas that don’t look like us.”

President Joe Biden’s campaign also slammed Trump for his comments for “parroting Hitler,” specifically a phrase used in the Nazi leader’s manifesto, “Mein Kampf.”

Huffpost___

Continue Reading

U.S.

Poll: U.S. Voters Sympathetic To Israel, But Skeptical Of Its Military Campaign

Published

on

Poll: U.S. Voters Sympathetic To Israel, But Skeptical Of Its Military Campaign
US President Joe Biden shakes hands with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as they meet on the sidelines of the 78th United Nations General Assembly in New York City on September 20, 2023. (Photo by JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)

A plurality of U.S. voters believe that Israel should stop its military campaign in the Gaza Strip, according to a New York Times/Siena College poll released Tuesday, even as many remain broadly sympathetic to the foreign nation.

Forty-four percent of American voters say that Israel should stop the military campaign, while only 39% believe it should continue. The poll also found that just 30% of voters believe Israel is “taking enough precautions to avoid civilian casualties,” while 48% believe the country is not taking enough steps.

The results show how the military campaign in Gaza — launched in response to an Oct. 7 attack by the militant group Hamas, which killed over 1,000 people in Israel — has strained typically steadfast American support for the country, especially among demographics core to the success of the Democratic Party.

Israel’s military campaign has killed more than 20,000 people, and caused widespread shortages of food and power in Gaza — the small piece of land ruled by Hamas, which itself was propped up by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government to decrease chances for a two-state solution in the region.

Three-fifths of Democratic voters believe that Israel’s military campaign should end, compared with 48% of independent voters and 24% of Republicans. One of the biggest divisions is by age: Just 33% of voters over 65 want the campaign to end, compared with two-third of voters ages 18 to 29. Majorities of Black and Hispanic voters also believe that Israel should end the campaign.

At the same time, the poll shows that a majority of American voters still broadly support the Israeli cause: 47% say they are relatively more sympathetic to Israel, while just 20% sympathize more with the Palestinians. A 54% majority supports sending more military and economic aid to Israel, while 38% oppose.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

/Recent Post/

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

/Other Articles/

close