Tag Archives: Civil Rights

Before The Supreme Court Considers Gay Marriage, An American Change Of Heart

It’s going to be a big week in the news for Gay Marriage as the Supreme Court begins to hear arguments on the issue.

Let’s just hope they realize how far public opinion in favor of Gay Marriage has come and how fast…

Not that public opinion should matter when discussing Civil Rights, but anything that might sway the conservative majority on the Court helps….

It’s time all Americans have equal rights to love and happiness- not to mention financial security…..

Marriage is not a religious institution, but rather a legal right to protect all families equally….

I just hope at least 5 members of the Court realize it….

From the Huffington Post:

In just the last decade, millions of Americans, from former Vice President Dick Cheney to President Barack Obama, have changed their positions on the rights of gay people. On same-sex marriage in particular, there’s been a shift of opinion so dramatic that it leaves political historians grasping for comparisons. As the Supreme Court prepares to hear two historic cases that could shape the future of same-sex marriage in America, some activists privately worry that the country and its highest court still aren’t ready. They point to the millions of Americans who would still deny gays the right to the marry, the 32 states where same-sex marriage is still banned, and the fear of a backlash like the one that followed Roe v. Wade and froze progress in the pro-choice movement for decades.

But others say the time is right. In 2004, just 30 percent of Americans told pollsters that they supported legalizing same sex marriage. Less than a decade later, as one recent poll showed, that percentage has climbed to nearly 60. For the first time in history, the majority of Americans support gay rights

via Before The Supreme Court Considers Gay Marriage, An American Change Of Heart.

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Young Boy With Two Gay Dads Will Be Allowed In Swimming Pool

It’s nice to see some positive news from Virginia…

And for people to see just how the Private Sector tries to use anti-Gay Republican legislation to discriminate, not just against Gay people, but their children…

The good news is that, thanks to a Change.org petition with over 80,000 signatures-multiplying by the moment- they can also be persuaded to change.  But it seems they only change once there is enough Public Pressure to do so…

Wouldn’t it be nice if they did the right thing to begin with?

From the NewCivilRightsMovement.org:


A young boy with two gay dads will now be allowed to swim in a Virginia health club pool after a Change.org petition went viral, garnering as of this writing almost 80,000 signatures in a few days — and escalating by the thousands every few minutes. As The New Civil Rights Movement reported Tuesday, a same-sex couple who have a two-year old son had been denied access to the Roanoke Athletic Club‘s swimming pool, which is owned by the regional Virginia medical provider, Carilion Clinic, which revoked the membership of the family after they realized the family was headed by two gay dads.

The petition, by LGBT activist Mark Lynn Ferguson, noted that two men, Will Trinkle and his “partner Juan Granados wanted to take their 2-yeard-old son [sic] Oliver Trinkle-Granados to the gym’s outdoor pool during the summer months.”

Only children on family memberships are allowed to use the pool, so Trinkle signed up for a family plan. His application was accepted and processed, clearly listing him, his same sex partner, and their child as members.

Nine days later, a representative from the gym contacted Trinkle and told him that his application was processed by mistake. According to Trinkle, the representative said that the company was “‘tightening policies’ so no families like us would ever ‘get as far’ as we had.” The representative went on to claim that Roanoke Athletic Club is following Virginia state law, which does not recognize same sex marriage.

Now, just moments ago, Change.org wrote via Twitter that “The Carilion Clinic announced they will change their family policy so children with gay parents can swim in the pool!”

More:   Success! Young Boy With Two Gay Dads Will Be Allowed In Swimming Pool! | The New Civil Rights Movement.

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Filed under Gay, Social Justice, The South, Uncategorized, Virginia

Defend Occupy Wall Street From Eviction

I’m on the phone right now.

Please call and sign the petitions to support Occupy Wall Street!

From Van Jones at the Huffington Post:


New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is making a cowardly attempt to end Occupy Wall Street, the anchor of a movement that has captured the hearts and minds of the country in just four weeks. Tomorrow at 7 a.m., under Bloomberg’s orders, the NYPD will evict the 99%.

Unless we stop that from happening.

We have very little time to act. There are at least three things you can do right now:

SIGN THIS PETITION now. MoveOn.org has started a major petition drive to tell Mayor Bloomberg: “Respect the protesters’ First Amendment rights. Don’t try to evict Occupy Wall Street.” The petition will be put in the hands of the occupiers TONIGHT, and then delivered to the mayor. A massive stack of signatures will show Occupy Wall Street and Bloomberg that the nation stands with the 99%, not the 1%.

Tell everyone you know in the New York area that they should head to Zuccotti Park at 6:00 AM tomorrow (Friday Oct 14) to prevent Bloomberg from evicting the protesters. If enough people literally stand with the protesters, Bloomberg could back down.

Call 311 (if you live in New York City) or 212-NEW-YORK (if you live elsewhere in the US) and demand that Bloomberg back down from interfering with the occupiers’ brave stand on behalf of the 99% of us.

The mayor’s justification for this eviction is a ruse. Bloomberg says authorities need to “clean” the park. Meanwhile, he refuses to acknowledge that Occupy Wall Street has a functioning sanitation detail, just as they’ve self-organized every other aspect of their dignified, intentional community (including a working library).

Bloomberg says the protestors may return after the “cleaning,” but this also is less than honest. Upon returning to the park, occupiers must follow rules that make the occupation impossible: no camping; no sleeping bags; no tents; no lying down; no storage of personal property.

Make no mistake — this is an eviction. Winter is coming, and the occupiers cannot continue without the ability to stay safe, warm, and dry.

via Van Jones: Defend Occupy Wall Street From Eviction.

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Filed under New York, Occupy Wall Street, Politics

The Ghost of Jesse Helms

The Ghost of Jesse Helms visited the North Carolina legislature this week.  I guess we were moving too far along the Progressive path and he feared his legacy was about to be forgotten, so he had to come back for a visit.

Jesse Helms- or at least his memory and his followers- are still alive and well and living in North Carolina.  I forget that sometimes….

I remember when I moved here from Virginia years ago.  I didn’t change the tags on my car for as long as possible as I couldn’t stand the thought of North Carolina tags on my car and people seeing them and linking me to Jesse Helms.  In those days, he was a universal symbol of all that was hateful, judgmental, mean and petty.  Back then, Virginia seemed the more reasonable state.

In more recent years, the loonies have taken over again in Virginia and North Carolina seemed to be becoming a bastion of sanity.  Or at least a Purple State.  It seemed the old ways and the old days were about to be forgotten and a new era was coming.  North Carolina voters supported a Black man in the last presidential election and elected a woman as governor.  We have openly gay mayors and legislators.  We seemed to have finally put the past behind us and been ready to lead the way into the 21st Century of tolerance and peaceful, non-judgmental coexistence.

I guess it was too much for old Jesse.  We all knew he was spinning in his grave and secretly feared something would unleash his ghost.

And it did….

The Ghost of Jesse Helms visited the North Carolina Legislature this week where the remaining followers of Jesse are trying to roll back the clock and bring back legalized discrimination.

By pushing a ballot initiative to ban any sort of recognition for Gay Relationships- not just marriage, but Domestic Partnerships or Civil Unions- the legislature has taken a giant step backwards.

They are showing they are behind the times and fighting a battle that was lost long ago.  But in a region that is still fighting the Civil War, how can we expect an easy surrender to Civil Marriage.

Let’s be clear:  Marriage is a civil, legal contract.  No matter how much the Religious Right carries on, Religion has nothing to do with it.  Churches can choose who they marry, but legislators should not choose who to discriminate against.  This amendment denies equal protection under the law.

Today, North Carolina moved past a decade of healing and pulled the scab off an old, hateful wound.

My hope is that the people of North Carolina prove that they have moved on, even if their “representatives” have not.

My hope is that they will vote down this mean-spirited attempt to legislate hate, divide people and deny basic legal protection to a class of people.

My hope is the people of North Carolina truly turn out to be the open-minded and open-hearted people I have come to know and love over the past 20 years.

I think they really might surprise those legislators in Raleigh and send Jesse’s ghost away for good.

I hope so….

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Filed under Gay, North Carolina, Scott's Commentary, Uncategorized

Bill Clinton: GOP Voting Crackdown Worst Since Jim Crow

Another thing people should be paying attention to instead of the Casey Anthony Verdict…

From TalkingPointsMemo.com:

Former President Bill Clinton weighed in on Republican efforts in several states to pass new restrictions on voting, comparing the measures to the Jim Crow laws of the past.

“There has never been in my lifetime, since we got rid of the poll tax and all the Jim Crow burdens on voting, the determined effort to limit the franchise that we see today,” Clinton said in a speech at a Campus Progress conference in Washington.

He specifically called out Florida Governor Rick Scott (R) for trying to reverse past precedent and prevent convicted felons from voting even after they’ve completed their sentence.

“Why should we disenfranchise people forever once they’ve paid their price?” Clinton said. “Because most of them in Florida were African Americans and Hispanics who tended to vote for Democrats. That’s why.”

Clinton is hardly the first Democrat to raise the alarm over a wave of Republican-proposed laws purportedly aimed at combating voter fraud. The Democratic Governor Association is raising money for a new voter protection project to counter the proposals, which they say violate minority voters’ civil rights.

Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz recently made similar comparisons to Jim Crow over the Florida policy as well as new voter ID laws in other states that civil rights activists have likened to a poll tax.

“You have the Republicans, who want to literally drag us all the way back to Jim Crow laws and literally — and very transparently — block access to the polls to voters who are more likely to vote for Democratic candidates than Republican candidates,” she said. The Florida Congresswoman later walked back her remarks, saying the JIm Crow reference was the “wrong analogy.”

via Bill Clinton: GOP Voting Crackdown Worst Since Jim Crow | TPMDC.

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Why Do the Police Have Tanks? The Strange and Dangerous Militarization of the US Police Force

This is the type of thing people ought to be focusing on instead of the Casey Anthony case…

Very disturbing article from AlterNet.com:

Just after midnight on May 16, 2010, a SWAT team threw a flash-bang grenade through the window of a 25-year-old man while his 7-year-old daughter slept on the couch as her grandmother watched television. The grenade landed so close to the child that it burned her blanket. The SWAT team leader then burst into the house and fired a single shot which struck the child in the throat, killing her. The police were there to apprehend a man suspected of murdering a teenage boy days earlier. The man they were after lived in the unit above the girl’s family.

The shooting death of Aiyana Mo’Nay Stanley-Jones sounds like it happened in a war zone. But the tragic SWAT team raid took place in Detroit.

Shockingly, paramilitary raids that mirror the tactics of US soldiers in combat are not uncommon in America. According to an investigation carried out by the Huffington Post’s Radley Balko, America has seen a disturbing militarization of its civilian law enforcement over the last 30 years, along with a dramatic and unsettling rise in the use of paramilitary police units for routine police work. In fact, the most common use of SWAT teams today is to serve narcotics warrants, usually with forced, unannounced entry into the home.

Some 40,000 of these raids take place every year, and are needlessly subjecting nonviolent drug offenders, bystanders and wrongly targeted civilians to the terror of having their homes invaded while they’re sleeping, usually by teams of heavily armed paramilitary units dressed not as police officers but as soldiers. And as demonstrated by the case of Aiyana Mo’nay Stanley-Jones, these raids have resulted in dozens of needless deaths and injuries.

via Why Do the Police Have Tanks? The Strange and Dangerous Militarization of the US Police Force | | AlterNet.


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Leonard Pitts: How two busloads of kids changed America

I’m really looking forward to this documentary…

As usual, a great column from Leonard Pitts:

WASHINGTON — Fifty years later.

This morning, if all goes according to plan, a group of college students will board a bus here, bound for New Orleans. The young people in the group represent diverse heritages — a Mexican-American guy born in Yucatan, a white girl from Santa Monica, a black girl studying journalism in Tallahassee. The fact of them traveling together will be unremarkable.

Fifty years ago.

A group of college students boarded two buses here, bound for New Orleans. They were joined by members of the African-American press, and officials of the Congress of Racial Equality, including its national director, James Farmer, who had organized the journey. Six of the riders were white, 12, black. The fact of their traveling together would prove incendiary.

Fifty years later.

There will be 40 students on this commemorative ride, chosen from more than a thousand applicants. They will spend a little over a week rolling across an America vastly different from the America of 1961. In the new America, mom ‘n’ pop have gone out of business, driven into retirement by Subway and Wal-Mart, telephones are portable, computers are ubiquitous and the son of an African from Kenya is president of the United States.

The students are traveling in part to publicize Freedom Riders, a documentary that will air on PBS’ American Experience program beginning May 16. They will go where a bus was burned, people were beaten and the guilty imprisoned the innocent. They will share the journey with many of the original Freedom Riders, men and women now well into their 70s and 80s, and absorb lessons in the nonviolent tactics and philosophies that helped make the old America into the new.

You wonder what that will be like. It is always difficult for young people to imagine old people young, to look upon aged faces and experienced eyes and glimpse there any kinship of spirit or reflection of themselves. It is perhaps more difficult, having come of age in the new America, to envision the old, to gaze upon a landscape of Subways and Wal-Marts and see just beneath it the ghost of the Eat-A-Bite diner or Hardwick’s Hardware, and the metal sign creaking gently in the Dixie breeze, an arrow pointing to the back of the building, beneath the single damning word, Colored.

MORE:   Leonard Pitts: How two busloads of kids changed America – Leonard Pitts Jr. – MiamiHerald.com.

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Chapter 45: The Help | My Southern Gothic Life

Yet another new post is up on my other blog.

Here is the beginning and a link to the full post:

I can’t encourage you enough to read the book “The Help” by Kathryn Stockett.  If you haven’t read it, put it on your Christmas Wish List.  If you have read it, give it to your friends.

I’ve never read a truer book about the interaction between black women who worked as Maids in the early 1960′s and their “white ladies.”

Although the book is set in Mississippi, it could very well have been set in Danville, Virginia.  I remember those days too well.

People seem to already be forgetting that the South in those days, from Richmond to Mobile, was like South Africa under Apartheid.  I was in South Africa in 1997 and felt just like I did in Virginia in 1965.

Everyone had a place and stayed in it.  But the times were beginning to change…

In the 1960′s, the bus line ran near our house.  The corner of Brook Drive and Lansbury Drive was a major stop for the Maids.  Six or seven women would get off the bus around 7:30 or 8:00 a.m. and walk back down there to go home around 6:00 or so.  Some of them wore their bedroom shoes to work as their feet were so tired and broken down from standing all day, all they could wear were scuffs.

Most of the White Ladies in Temple Terrace had maids.  They didn’t have jobs, but they had Maids.  I remember our “car pool” for Miss Touchstone’s Kindergarten, our Mothers would throw a London Fog all-weather coat over their pajamas to take us to “school” and only get dressed and made up around 4:30 before our Fathers came home from work.  I don’t know what they did in the meantime…

MORE:   Chapter 45: The Help | My Southern Gothic Life.

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Filed under Danville, History, Politics, Social Commentary, Style, The South, Virginia