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Scam, kidnap by South African police

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Scam, kidnap by South African police

Scam, kidnap by South African police

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We must stop permitting racial profiling

Grieving Trayvon Martin, calling for an end to racial profiling. Yvette D Clarke (Democrat-NY). MJoTA 2013 v7n2 p0728

Reprinted from the Congressional Record, July 22, 2013

For more than a year, many people have tried to give
voice to Trayvon Martin and to present his perspective into the debate concerning the injustice of the criminal justice system in Black males. With his remarks on Friday, President Obama provided Trayvon Martin a voice. By sharing his experiences, he offered America a perspective on the experiences of other African American men, women, boys, and girls, and he gave voice to millions of Americans who felt the pain of the Martin-Fulton Family as their own.


When President Obama introduced racial profiling into the conversation, he held up a mirror to the faces of all of us as Americans--to a truth that some commentators have tried to ignore and that many more are in deep denial of--for, despite the promises of equality in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, our practices have been inadequate to our ideals. Our beliefs, the best traditions of our Nation, have not become a reality for millions of Americans of African descent. The tragic death of our young man Trayvon Martin, followed by the acquittal of the man who pursued him and killed him, has reminded us that, although it may seem as if African Americans and other minorities have achieved full equality in our civil society, we are still victims of racial profiling--in violation of our laws and our morals.

The lives of Black men and women are not accorded the same value as the lives of White Americans. This is the reality for far too many Black Americans. Compounding the 21st century's divisive racial tone is the reality of knowing that our lives have been devalued, our exercise of the liberties to which Americans have been entitled have been devalued and diminished, such as the right to vote. With millions of Americans, I was deeply disappointed with the Supreme Court's decision to prevent the enforcement of the Voting Rights Act. We cannot forget that prior to the enactment of voting rights that democracy did not exist in many parts of the Nation, with the deliberate denial of the right to vote to Black people.


Mr. Speaker, while the Supreme Court's recent decision and the Trayvon Martin case are crucial to this conversation, they cannot fully address the problem of racial inequality without a discussion of racial profiling, the structural discrimination of our judicial system, the disintegration of the educational system, and the lack of jobs and economic opportunity, especially for the African American community.

Tonight I want to just quickly hit on the issue of racial profiling and our justice system. In a June 2013 report from the ACLU, "The War on Marijuana in Black and White'' demonstrated that even as rates of marijuana usage between Blacks and Whites are comparable, Blacks are nearly 4 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession.


In my district in Brooklyn, and all over New York City, African American young men are harassed simply because of the color of their skin. The excessive use of Stop-and-Frisk, known in New York City as the Stop-and-Frisk program, it has been proven that this program disproportionately targets African Americans and Latinos, these two groups comprising 87% of all stops while only about 50% of the City's population.

According to the New York City Civil Liberties Union, the number of stops of young Black men neared the entire population of young Black men, 133,119, as compared to 158,406 in the population in the year 2012. That means that there were some young men that were getting stopped more than once Commissioner Kelly increased the number of stops 600% since 2002 when he became Commissioner, reaching a peak of almost 700,000 stops in the year 2011.

They have almost a 90% fail rate. Only 12% of the number of massive stops result in an arrest or a summons and have been less effective in getting guns off the street than random searches of all New Yorkers would. It is a clear violation of civil rights and civil liberties of African American and Latino men.

So where do we going from here?

Well, members of the Congressional Black Caucus have introduced and sponsored legislation on racial profiling, and that will represent a comprehensive Federal commitment to healing the rift caused by racial profiling and restoring public confidence in the criminal justice system at large.

I want to encourage my colleagues to take a look at this legislation, because this is where the conversation can begin, and this is where the healing should start. This can be done through the changing of policies and procedures underlying the practice of racial profiling and through, like the President said, working with the State and local governments on training that helps enforcement officials become more aware of potential racial and ethnic bias.

I urge my colleagues to go back to their districts and to hold town hall meetings and discussions on race. Speak to your constituents. Speak to your families and friends. Have conversations at home and in your neighborhoods.

We must not sit back and watch the progress gained by those who came before us who worked diligently and often made the ultimate sacrifice for freedom and the rights that we all enjoy today, we cannot permit their sacrifices to be forgotten or erased from history. Today we must take a stand against further racial injustice of all kinds. Enough is enough.

You know, it's ironic, because when I think about my age and having come of age in the 1970s in the United States of America, there was just a lot more optimism about us becoming a more perfect Union. And to arrive in the House of Representatives in the 21st century and see the type of digression that is taking place in our Nation, to know that my nephews that are millennials are going through some of the same issues that young men in the 1950s and 1960s were facing in a desegregated Nation is extraordinarily painful.

We are an enlightened civil society, and we have an obligation to do what we can to make sure that all Americans are worthy of all that this Nation has to offer. And that means that we have to have an honest conversation about the inequities, the racial injustices that continue to persist. While not as blatant as they were in the 1950s and sixties, they still fester and continue to be a blight on a Nation that is poised for greatness.

Pictures: top, Congresswoman Clarke congratulates CACCI CEO Roy A Hastick sr on his birthday in his house in Brooklyn July 20, 2013.

Above, Congresswoman Clarke July 20, 2013

Right, Congresswoman Clarke addresses a forum on immigration in Brooklyn, July 27, 2013.

Below, the congresswoman speaks during the forum and listening is Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, Democrat-Brooklyn and the moderator of the forum, Stefani Zinerman.