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The Leadership Conference on Civil Rights and Americans for a Fair Chance are spearheading a letter (or email) writing campaign to Michigan political officials to oppose Ward Connerly’s proposed Michigan Ballot Initiative to remove the use of race in higher education admissions. An outward political statement of repudiation of Connerly’s initiative could really aid in mobilizing “fence sitters” and the uninformed. Don’t be fooled by other petitions (trust me, they’re glorified email lists). Take some action!!!!

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Discussions about Affirmative Action continue at the NAACP convention. Unfortunately, the NY Times managed to find one of the only people who is against race as a factor . . . go figure!

A new study of the Census data finds that Latinos that identify themselves as Black Latinos have lower economic standing, higher unemployment, and poor marks on a number of other social indicators. This simply points to the continuing significance of skin color, whether African-Americans or Latinos are the largest “minority” group.

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The Times ran a piece on the Black middle class and unemployment. In case you didn’t notice, our rate of unemployment is increasing faster than other groups!

Bush’s recent visit to Africa has also stirred up discussion of a possible apology for slavery, I’m not holding my breath!

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In New Haven, my neighboring hometown, police brutality was dealt a blow. In 1997 Malik Jones was gunned down by an East Haven officer at a traffic stop. Malik Jones’ mother, Emma Jones, took the city of East Haven and the officer to court and last week the court found Officer Flodquist used excessive force. Flodquist was not held liable (in testimony he recounted he couldn’t remember the details of the event!), but East Haven was ordered to pay 2.5 million to Emma Jones. On Saturday, a victory rally was filled with ugly racial tensions. This is a must read if you still want to know about race, the police, and the Northeast!

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Today at noon, Ward Connerly delivered this speech to announce the “Michigan Civil Rights Act.” The ballot intiative is a strategy to locally overturn federal legislation. Ward Connerly is also recieving heat from the FCPP for not properly disclosing funders for the 1.5 million dollar intiative racial privacy initiative in California.

Michigan Republicans has actually stepped up and said they will not support Connerly on the “Michigan Civil Rights Act.” Don’t get too happy though, organized party statements do not mean individuals will not support it!

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Well it’s official now! Ward Connerly is coming to U of M on July 8th to announce his next steps in producing a ballot intitiative to eliminate race in Michigan. Though I hate to link to them, the co-sponsors of the press conference are the Michigan Review. The press release is available on their site. In case you forgot, back in 1999, Connerly also discussed pushing a ballot in Michigan that was like Prop 209 in Cali.

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Black Commentator was certainly not pleased with the Supreme Court’s ruling about Affirmative Action. This piece makes a lot of good points about Affirmative Action’s origins and where it is at now. What do you think?

BBC has a funny(?) story up about Colin Powell and the folks in Zimbabwe calling him an “Uncle Tom” for his remarks regarding the land seizures and Mugabe. But are we really glad to see name calling as part of our legacy to the diaspora?

And New Jersey has successfully ended Amiri Baraka’s tenure as Poet Laurette. Baraka caught tremendous flack for his poem about September 11th that indicted Jewish people. Glad to see free speech is still on everyone’s mind as we approach the fourth of July.

Lastly, four men are going to trial for their role in the Benton Harbor uprisings. Dang.

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Strom Thurmond has passed away at 100 years old. Well, the last death mentioned was Maynard Jackson, a great civil rights advocate. Strom was the kind of folk that Maynard had to be active against.

Also, not all victories in Court this week have been on the side of civil rights. In a first ammendment victory to some, loss to myself (and anyone else with their head screwed on), a firefighter and police officer were found to have been wrongfully fired for participating in a float that mocked the James Byrd dragging in Texas.

And in one of his scariest, yet smart, political moves thus far Ward Connerly has vowed to come to Michigan and host a ballot initiative to remove race as a factor in higher education admissions. This is a pretty savy move because a local ballot initiative can block “the law of the land.”

And lastly, the hip-hop generation is finally getting some props for its intellectual depth. No, you probably won’t ever see these folks on the BET awards, but it’s a beginning!

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For comic relief, you can look at Bush’s reaction to today’s Supreme Court Decision. But we all know what he is really thinking ;)

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Today, we have also lost one of our African American political pioneers Maynard Jackson. Maynard Jackson has passed away at the age of 65 and was the first Black mayor of Atlanta.

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