Message to our Sons

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In light of George Zimmerman’s acquittal in the killing of Trayvon Martin, and after her own 17-year-old son—on his way to his father’s house—was stopped by a police officer, Jones-DeWeever questioned what we can do to protect our children. Her answer: Arm young African-Americans with the difficult truth of why they may be viewed with undeserved and potentially lethal suspicion simply because of the color of their skin. This, she says, at least provides them with a contextual framework to help them understand why their mere presence may be met with hostile and irrational reactions.

What’s Past is Present

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When the Supreme Court struck down Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, the majority did so with an eye toward the past and a distinctly blurred view of the present, says Jones-DeWeever. As she explains in this commentary, we don’t need to scour history books for instances of voting rights infringements when in the most recent presidential election long lines and proliferating voter ID laws threatened ballot access.

Beyond Paula Deen

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Though much of America has become distracted by the Paula Deen case, we still have a significant problem when it comes to speaking openly and honestly about the issue of race. Racism, says Jones-DeWeever, is bigger than the use of ugly words, deadlier than the loss of a sponsor, and more tragic than a few days of embarrassment endured by a millionaire. Here, she raises a few examples of why we shouldn’t be too enthralled with caricatures of racism while ignoring its everyday occurrence.

Don’t Mess with Texas (Women)

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The saying goes, “don’t mess with Texas,” but Jones-DeWeever says, “Don’t mess with the women of Texas.” When the male-dominated Texas legislature was poised to pass a bill that would have essentially shut down each of the state’s remaining clinics offering access to abortion, the women of Texas, specifically State Senator Wendy Davis, had enough. With a filibuster that thwarted passage of the bill, Davis inspired women across the country in a fight that, Jones-DeWeever predicts, is just beginning.

Understanding SCOTUS Decision on Voting Rights

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The U.S. Supreme Court recently handed down a decision that essentially eliminated Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. The provision meant that jurisdictions with a history of discrimination had to show the Department of Justice or federal courts that any proposed changes to voting in the state had no discriminatory purpose or effect. Jones-DeWeever speaks with Jon Greenbaum, chief counsel and senior deputy director of the Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, to find out what the decision means for voters in affected states.

SCOTUS Decision on Affirmative Action

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In its recent hearing of Fisher v. University of Texas, the U.S. Supreme Court remanded the case back to the Fifth Circuit for further consideration. In doing so, however, the court preserved its precedent in Grutter v. Bollinger, which recognized the constitutionality of admissions policies that consider race among other factors. Jones-DeWeever speaks with Jon Greenbaum, chief counsel and senior deputy director of the Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, to learn more about the implications of the decision.

Despite Civil Rights Celebrations, More Work to Do

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This summer we will recognize the 50th anniversary of the historic March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Though much has changed since Martin Luther King Jr. articulated his dream of equality, Jones-DeWeever says, some battles remain, and we continue to fight some of the civil rights battles won decades ago.

Immigration Reform: What Do Black Folk Have to Do With It?

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When most of us think about immigration reform, we often have an image of a Latino face. But, says Julian Kiganda, president of African Diaspora for Change, that’s an inaccurate depiction. While Latinos have done a good job of making their voices heard in the debate around immigration reform, we’re missing a significant part of the conversation if we leave out African, Afro-Caribbean, and Afro-Latino voices.

America's Problem with Children

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America talks a good game about loving and valuing its children, but do we walk the walk? Do we offer those tools and implement the practices for every girl and boy to live healthy lives abundant with opportunity and overflowing with promise? Jones-DeWeever says that after a harsh look at our practices and an honest assessment of our outcomes, the answer, sadly, is no.

Black Women Recovery

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Quiet as it’s kept, no one group has found it more difficult to rebound from the country’s recent recession than black women. Although the rest of the nation has started on its way to a slow recovery, unemployment among black women has remained stubbornly high. Jones-DeWeever explores the reasons why, and explains how one economic sector in particular must recover before this group can begin to regain traction.

Introducing: Focus Point

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Widely revered as an expert in the fields of race, gender, politics, and policy, Avis Jones- DeWeever, Ph.D., merges her interests to examine how they intersect within the larger culture. Focus Point’s weekly three-to-five-minute vignettes feature interviews with thought leaders and insightful commentary on the day’s most compelling issues, as Jones-DeWeever hones in on and shares a perspective rarely heard in public media.

   

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