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NOW IN RACIAL JUSTICE

Internet Advocates Unveil Declaration of Internet Freedom‎

Internet Advocates Unveil Declaration of Internet Freedom‎

Free Press and a large coalition of over 100 advocacy groups, human rights organizations and technology companies launched the “Declaration of Internet Freedom,” a set of principles providing a positive vision to preserve the Internet as a platform for speech, innovation and creativity.

“Earlier this year, a big-tent, post-partisan coalition came together to fight against SOPA and PIPA, two bills that threatened to cause irreparable harm to the open Internet. Now members of this same group are fighting not just to stop bad legislation, but to secure and protect our universal freedom to connect online,” Free Press Internet Campaign Director Josh Levy said in a statement.

The Declaration has already been signed by organizations around the world, including the American Civil Liberties Union, Amnesty International, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Mozilla and ColorOfChange.org, as well as individual open Internet advocates like Yochai Benkler, danah boyd, Deanna Zandt and Baratunde Thurston, as well as reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian.

“It’s easy to forget that the Internet is a fairly new platform. Its relative youth has opened the door to innovation and made it possible for communities of color to carve out our own unique spaces where we can represent ourselves and truthfully talk about the issues that matter — think Colorlines.com or ‘Awkward Black Girl.’ But that youth has also made the Internet ripe for corporate intervention,’” said Jamilah King, news editor and media reporter at Colorlines.com. “Companies stand to make a lot of money by offering consumers fewer choices in what they can and can’t do online. This Declaration of Internet Freedom is a crucial step in the fight to keep the Internet a free and creative space.”

You can sign on to declaration by visiting Internetdeclaration.org/freedom.

#NoShameDay and the Fight to Eradicate the Stigma of Mental Illness

#NoShameDay and the Fight to Eradicate the Stigma of Mental Illness

Mental illness is a leading cause of disability, yet nearly two-thirds of people with a diagnosable mental illness do not seek treatment and people of color in the U.S. are even less likely to get help, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).

The Siwe Project, a group that works to promote mental health awareness in the global black community, is organizing the first annual No Shame Day today and giving people around the world a neutral forum to discuss mental health.

The SIWE Project describes No Shame Day: >The Siwe Project, a global non-profit dedicated to promoting mental health awareness throughout the international black community is launching a campaign that focuses on stigma reduction through storytelling and community building. The first annual No Shame Day is an opportunity for people around the world to rally around mental health care. The Siwe Project website will host candid discussions about mental illness stigma, diagnoses, and treatment options. The purpose of No Shame Day is to encourage more people to seek treatment without shame.

Siwe Monsanto, The Siwe Project’s namesake, would have been sixteen on March 8th of this year. Instead, she chose to take her own life on June 29, 2011. It was Siwe’s suicide that prompted Bassey Ikpi, a family friend, to found the non-profit. As a mental health advocate and a noted writer, Ikpi has maintained a transparent look into her own life with Bipolar II Disorder. “The aim is to create community. People with illness forging with those who support or have loved ones with an illness,” says Ikpi. The Siwe Project believes that sharing stories not only fosters individual healing, but community transformation. The Siwe Project strategically uses new media to cultivate safe spaces to share new stories. Additionally, the organization works to widen the public dialogue regarding the experiences of people of African descent living with mental illness.

No Shame Day will be held on July 2, the first Monday of National Minority Mental Health Month. We are asking people to publicly share their mental health journeys or speak as allies for loved ones in their lives. Individuals can log on to The Siwe Project website and participate in the ongoing conversation about self-care and mental health options.”We’re encouraging people to tend to their mental health that day without shame,” Ikpi explains. On No Shame Day people are encouraged to unabashedly seek out community in order to empower their quest for mental health wellness.

For more information visit SIWE Project.

Black Gymnast Gabby Douglas Grabs Top Spot on U.S. Gymnastics Team

Black Gymnast Gabby Douglas Grabs Top Spot on U.S. Gymnastics Team

On Sunday, Gabrielle Douglas earned the guaranteed Olympic women’s gymnastics spot by winning the U.S. Olympic Gymnastics Team Trials over reigning world champion Jordyn Wieber. Douglas has also earned the nickname “Flying Squirrel” because of her height-defying gymnastics skills.

“Everyone was telling me you have this great potential and you can be on top,” Douglas told ESPN. “I didn’t believe that, but everyone was just telling me to believe in myself. I did and I’m kind of up on top and it’s amazing.”

Douglas is quickly becoming one of this year’s favorite Olympic athletes. Just take a look at how the Associated Press describes the 16-year-old Olympian: “With cover girl looks, a personality that leaps through the TV set and a nickname you won’t soon forget, Douglas has all the makings of the next Mary Lou or Shawn.”

“I could never have imagined this scenario,” Natalie Hawkins, Douglas’ mother told the AP. Douglas has been living away from her mother in Virginia Beach, VA for the past two years so she could train with her coach in Iowa.

“I knew the talent was there because everybody, anybody who came in contact with me, coaches, other gym parents, always told me how talented she was. So I knew that. And I knew if she had the right pieces of the puzzle that she would have the potential. But all of this? No, I never saw that,” Douglas’ mother went on to say.

Douglas is the first African American since Dominique Dawes in 2000 to join the women’s U.S. Olympic Gymnastics Team. Douglas hopes to be only the second African American woman (women’s gymnastics) to win an individual medal. Dawes won a floor exercise bronze in 1996.

Cullen Jones to Swim in Three Events at London Olympics

Cullen Jones to Swim in Three Events at London Olympics

After only swimming a relay in the 2008 Summer Olympics, Cullen Jones will be returning to the games in London to compete in the 4x100 relay and individually in the men’s 50 and 100 freestyle. Jones is the third African-American to make the US Olympic swimming team after Anthony Ervin and Maritza Correia.

“I’ve been dreaming of this forever, of qualifying for two individual events in the Olympics,” Jones said at a press conference. “The only thing different is that, in my dream, I’m giving better answers.”

In 2008 Jones became the second African-American in history to win an Olympic Gold medal in swimming.

According to Jones’ biography one of his goals is to shatter stereotypes one lap at a time, eager to spread his message that, “yeah, black kids can swim, too.”

Whitney Houston, Donna Summer, Rodney King and Trayvon Martin Remembered at BET Awards

Kanye West, Jay-Z, Nicki Minaj and Beyoncé were all present at the BET Awards ceremony Sunday but the highlight of the show everyone is talking about today came from Cissy Houston.

The most emotional moment of the evening came as Houston’s mother Cissy Houston sang “Bridge Over Troubled Waters,” as part of a 20-minute tribute to the late singer that included performances by Monica, Brandy and Houston’s brother Gary Houston.

The night also included tributes to other notables that left us in the past year. Chante Moore performed a medley of Donna Summer’s hits and Valerie Simpson sang a song in honor of her husband and writing partner Nick Ashford. Don Cornelius, Dick Clark and Hal Jackson were remembered. Also, right at the end of Kanye West’s performance, he name-dropped Rodney King and Whitney Houston.

Actor Jamie Foxx also wore a red shirt featuring a black-and-white photo of Trayvon Martin to the awards ceremony Sunday.

Jamie Foxx Wears Trayvon Martin T-Shirt to BET Awards

Jamie Foxx Wears Trayvon Martin T-Shirt to BET Awards

Actor Jamie Foxx wore a red shirt featuring a black-and-white photo of Trayvon Martin to the BET Awards on Sunday.

Foxx was one of the first celebrities to show support for Trayvon Martin’s family after the 17-year-old was shot and killed by George Zimmerman in February. On March 23, 2012 Foxx released a picture of him wearing a hoodie in support of Martin. “My hoodie will be on forever,” he wrote on his blog when he shared the picture.

Mitt Romney May Have Just Changed His DREAM Act Position

Mitt Romney May Have Just Changed His DREAM Act Position

Mitt Romney has said dozens of times he would veto the DREAM Act dozens of times but in a recent interview with the conservative site Newsmax on Friday, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee suggested he favored a path to permanent status for young undocumented immigrants through higher education.

“For those that are here as the children of those who came here illegally, I want to make sure they have a permanent answer to what their status will be,” Romney told Newsmax.

“I’ve indicated in my view that those who serve in the military and have advanced degrees would certainly qualify for that kind of permanent status,” Romney went on to say.

Benjy Sarlin at Talking Points Memo points out this a major departure from Romney’s previous stance that only military service should be considered as a valid path to permanent status.

Talking Points Memo contacted Romney reps and report the following: 

A spokeswoman for Romney, Andrea Saul and Ryan Williams, referred TPM to Romney’s longtime position that legal immigrants who obtain advanced degrees in the United States should have a green card stapled to their diploma. A second Romney spokesman pointed to the same legal immigration position. But Romney states quite clearly in the latest interview that he’s referring to the children of illegal immigrants — meaning that he either misstated his own position on who should qualify for the DREAM Act, or came up with a new one entirely. They did not immediately respond to follow up questions regarding the apparent inconsistency.

Lauryn Hill Pleads Guilty in Income Tax Case, Could Face Prison Time

Lauryn Hill Pleads Guilty in Income Tax Case, Could Face Prison Time

Lauryn Hill, the Grammy-winning singer, has pleaded guilty in New Jersey to charges that she did not pay income taxes for three years running, The Associated Press reported.

More details, via the Associated Press:

Appearing in U.S. District Court in Newark, Hill admitted failing to file tax returns from 2005 to 2007. She faces a maximum one-year sentence on each of the three counts. She was charged three weeks ago. … After the charges were brought, Hill posted a long statement on her Tumblr page that decried pop culture’s “climate of hostility, false entitlement, manipulation, racial prejudice, sexism and ageism.” She explained that she hasn’t paid taxes since she withdrew from society to guarantee the safety and well-being of herself and her family.

Hill hinted Friday that she might expand on those comments at her sentencing. When Shipp asked her if anyone had directly or indirectly influenced her decision to plead guilty, she replied, “Indirectly, I’ve been advised my ability to speak out directly is for another time, at sentencing.”

Dwyane Wade Tells Oprah Maturity Helped Him Step Back and let LeBron James Be the Best Player in the World

Dwyane Wade Tells Oprah Maturity Helped Him Step Back and let LeBron James Be the Best Player in the World

Dwyane Wade, the Miami Heat’s All-Star shooting guard, says maturity helped him step back and give LeBron James enough space to “move back a little bit and let this guy, who is the best player in the world become the best player in the world.”

Oprah’s full interview with Miami Heat stars LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh airs Sunday, July 1 on OWN.

House Passes Bill That Will Keep Student Loans Interests From Rising

On Friday the House voted 373 to 52 to approve a $120 billion, 27-month bill to fund highway projects. Attached to that bill was the student loan extension, which prevented rates from doubling from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent on July 1.

The bill would spend more than $100 billion on highway and transit programs over two years. And it would also prevent a doubling of interest rates on new student loans, which was scheduled to go into effect Sunday, the Washington Post reports.

“Student aid is essential for students of color,” Julianne Hing, Colorlines.com’s education reporter wrote in an archived story that looked at financial aid reform. Below is an excerpt from Hing’s story titled “The Student Aid Reform Victory Is A Win for Students of Color:”

Studies have shown that Blacks and Latinos are especially debt-averse, who will not enter into student loans to pay for school because they are either unwilling or unable to take on more debt. Instead, students of color take time off from school, alternating semesters in school with months away from campus so they can work and save enough to re-register. And students of color are more likely to drop out of school because of the unbearably high costs of college. Sixty-nine percent of Black students who don’t graduate say they left because of high student loan debt, compared to 43 percent of white students.

And even though 86 percent of Latinos say getting a college education is a high priority for them, 49 percent of Latino students delay or don’t attend because of the high cost of student loans. Latino students are more likely to attend a cheaper school, choosing a community college over a state school, or a state university over a private school, for instance, because of the high costs. The findings were ironically released by a study conducted by Sallie Mae.

Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson to Speak at Rodney King’s Funeral

Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson to Speak at Rodney King's Funeral

The Revs. Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson will be attending a public memorial for Rodney King on Saturday, a King family spokeswoman has confirmed with the LA Times.

LA Times reports:

They are expected to speak after a 2 p.m. service and dedication ceremony at the Forest Lawn Hall of Liberty in Hollywood Hills, spokeswoman Kali Bowyer said. King’s family and friends also will make remarks, along with screenwriter and producer Deidra Wayans and radio host Margaret Prescod.

“Rodney’s death creates a great measure of sadness,” Jackson said in a statement after King’s death. “He had become a fixture in our lives through both the tragedy and triumphs of his life.”

Kings’ three daughters have established the Rodney Glen King Memorial Fund through Bank of America in Los Angeles County, and Bowyer said interested donors may contribute by calling or stopping at a branch

Bowyer said the family has “the majority” of funeral costs covered but still seeks donations to help cover flowers, programs, unpaid bills and other costs.

Texas GOP Adopts Platform to Oppose ‘Critical Thinking’ in Schools

Texas GOP Adopts Platform to Oppose 'Critical Thinking' in Schools

First it was the Ethnic Studies ban in Tucson, now the Republican Party of Texas has adopted a 2012 platform that flat out opposes the teaching of “critical thinking skills” in schools. The party now says it was all a mistake… a mistake they’ll have to live with until the next state convention in 2014.

Below is an excerpt from the “2012 Republican Party of Texas Report of Platform Committee” that describes the danger of critical thinking.

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Talking Points Memo points out the platform stipulates that “[e]very Republican is responsible for implementing this platform.”

“[The chairman of the Education Subcommittee] indicated that it was an oversight of the committee, that the plank should not have included ‘critical thinking skills’ after ‘values clarification,’” Republican Party of Texas (RPT) Communications Director Chris Elam told TPM on Thursday. “And it was not the intent of the subcommittee to present a plank that would have indicated that the RPT in any way opposed the development of critical thinking skills.”

Elam said the members of the subcommittee “regret” the oversight, but because the mistake was part of the platform approved by the convention, “it cannot be corrected until the next state convention in 2014.”

In other news, the Texas GOP also appose Early Childhood Development programs, unfortunately, that isn’t a mistake. They are for real.

Democrats Walk Out to Protest House Contempt Vote Against Holder

Democrats Walk Out to Protest House Contempt Vote Against Holder

As the Republican-led House voted to hold Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. in contempt on Thursday, Democrats led by the Congressional Black Caucus walked out in protest. Democrats walked off the House floor and out of the chamber chanting, “shame on you” directed at their colleagues. The motion passed 255-67.

“This is not about oversight, this is about overkill,” Rep. James E. Clyburn (D-S.C.) said. “There is something evil about using the processes of the House to further political aims.”

Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco), the minority leader, said that “what is happening on the floor of the House is a misuse of power” and a distraction from her preferred focus of “jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs.”

Previously Pelosi declared that House Republicans are charging Holder with contempt of Congress in order to weaken his ability to prevent voter suppression. Aura Bogado, Colorlines.com’s voting rights blogger covered this story earlier this week in a post titled “Eric Holder’s New Role as Right Wing Boogeyman.”

Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.) said she was proud of participating in the walk out.

A Satirical Step-by-Step Guide to How to be a Reverse Racist

A Satirical Step-by-Step Guide to How to be a Reverse Racist

A.D Song and Mia McKenzie over at the “Black Girl Dangerous” Tumblr have written an actual step by step list for oppressing white people, in fact that’s the title of their post: “How To Be A Reverse-Racist: An Actual Step by Step List For Oppressing White People.”

Here’s how they start their ten-point list:

White people who are confronted with their white privilege and the white supremacist acts they perpetuate have been known to cry, “You’re being a reverse-racist!” That is completely true: people of color have the power and control to create, perpetuate, and maintain brutal systematic reverse-racism that oppresses white people every day. As such, we have created this handy list on how to continue this oppression.

1976 McDonald’s Ad Shows Long Courtship of Black Customers

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There aren’t too many details available regarding this 1976 McDonald’s ad—Buzzfeed published the image Tuesday and it’s making the rounds on the internet now.

All we know is that it’s a 1976 and the copywriter thought black people don’t like to dress up or tip?

(h/t Buzzfeed)

Anti-Choice Groups: Health Care Gives Biggest Boost to Abortion Since Roe v. Wade

Anti-Choice Groups: Health Care Gives Biggest Boost to Abortion Since Roe v. Wade

Anti-Choice website LifeNews.com published a story Thursday quoting several anti-choice group leaders who claim the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is “biggest expansion of abortion and abortion funding since Roe v. Wade.” The anti-choice group leaders included in the story say they’re moving their fight to the ballot box this November.

“All voters who care about the value and dignity of human life must do everything they can to elect Mitt Romney and a Congress who are committed to repeal of ObamaCare,” National Right to Life President Carol Tobias told LifeNews.com. “If President Obama wins re-election, it will mean massive abortion subsidies and it will put the lives of millions at risk through systematic government-imposed rationing of lifesaving medical care.”

Father Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, told LifeNews, “The Supreme Court today officially declared that our current government pays no heed to the Constitution. Neither the President, nor Congress, nor the Supreme Court appears willing to protect life or liberty. If ever there were a time in history when the American people needed to be informed voters on Election Day, this is it.”

“Well-funded anti-choice sources are claiming that the Affordable Care Act represents a federally funded abortion free-for-all because it doesn’t flat-out outlaw private insurance coverage for this legal procedure. But if they truly care about the lives of all children and their mothers, I would encourage a more holistic approach,” said Akiba Solomon, Colorlines.com’s Gender Matters blogger.

“The ACA intends to expand access to contraceptives that would prevent unwanted pregnancies. It mandates annual screenings for chlamydia, an STI that can lead to infertility. The ACA also provides folic acid supplements for women who plan to become pregnant and provides co-pay free breastfeeding support—a win for poor moms and their babies. The ACA rightfully identifies domestic violence screening and counseling as preventative health care. And the list goes on,” Solomon went on to say.

“If you’re pro-life, for all lives, how can you ignore these key provisions?”

Pew Study: 65% of Latinos in the U.S. Self-Identify as Being of Mexican Origin

Pew Study: 65% of Latinos in the U.S. Self-Identify as Being of Mexican Origin

Sixty-five percent of the Nation’s 50.7 million Latinos self-identify as being of Mexican origin, according to tabulations of the 2010 American Community Survey (ACS) released Wednesday by the Pew Hispanic Center. No other Latino subgroup rivals the size of the Mexican-origin population, according to the report. Puerto Ricans, the nation’s second largest Hispanic origin group, make up just 9% of the total Hispanic population in the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, Cubans, Salvadorans, Dominicans, Guatemalans, Colombians, Hondurans, Ecuadorians and Peruvians make up 92% of the U.S. Latino population.

TAGS: Census Latinos

Groundbreaking ‘Today’ Co-Host Ann Curry Bids Emotional Farewell

Groundbreaking 'Today' Co-Host Ann Curry Bids Emotional Farewell

When Ann Curry first appeared on NBC’s “Today Show” 15 years ago, there weren’t many faces like hers on morning television.

Curry was born in Guam to Bob Curry, from Pueblo, Colorado who is of Cherokee, French, German, Scottish and Irish descent, and Hiroe Nagase, who is from Japan, according to Marie Claire. Her childhood followed her father’s military career, and she was raised in San Diego and Alameda, California, Japan, Virginia Beach, Virginia and Oregon.

“For all of you, who saw me as a groundbreaker, I’m sorry I couldn’t carry the ball over the finish line,” an emotional Curry said this Thursday morning as she said her goodbye.

She quickly moved on to discuss her next step.

“They’re giving me some fancy new titles, which essentially mean I get tickets to every big story we want to cover with a terrific team of my choosing,” Curry went on to say.

USA Today reported this morning Curry’s new multiyear contract with NBC has her “leading a seven-person unit with a ticket to cover the world’s biggest stories, from the civil uprising in Syria to the plight of the poor in America.” According to reports, Curry will produce network specials and pieces for NBC Nightly News, Dateline, Rock Center— and Today— and she’ll “occasionally fill in as anchor on Nightly News and elsewhere.”

Curry declined to discuss her salary with USA Today but said reports of a $10 million or $20 million payout are wrong. “I can say that I’d love to earn that much,” she said.

There are also dozens of rumors speculating why Curry was forced to leave the show, The NY Times’ Mike Hale, who is of Asian descent himself, alluded to her race as a factor that may have contributed to audiences not being able to connect with her.

“I don’t know what personal factors might come into play in creating an on-screen distance. You could speculate about certain things. Ms. Curry is biracial (Japanese-American) and spent part of her early childhood living overseas, a situation that has been known to generate self-reliance and reserve,” Hale wrote in a story titled “Morning TV’s Stepsister Feels the Ratings Heat.”

The New York Times reports that “Today” correspondent Savannah Guthrie is in negotiations to fill the her spot alongside Lauer.

In 1978, Curry began an internship at KTVL in Medford, Oregon, eventually becoming the station’s first female news reporter.

What Today’s Ruling Means for the Health of People of Color

What Today's Ruling Means for the Health of People of Color

The Supreme Court ruled this morning that President Obama’s health care reform can move forward, with some complicated caveats around the expansion of Medicaid. The take home point of the ruling: The controversial “individual mandate” to buy health insurance is constitutional, because the penalty for not doing so is a tax and the feds have the power to tax you.

Colorlines.com’s economic justice contributor Imara Jones will have an in-depth analysis of the ruling and its impact tomorrow. In the meantime, here’s some quick context on one of the stakes: the number of people who don’t have access to health insurance.

As of the 2010 Census, 49.9* million people were living in the United States without health coverage. People of color have long been grossly overrepresented among those millions, particularly Latinos.

Percentage of race/ethnic group uninsured in 2010

Hispanic origin — 30.7 percent
Black — 20.8 percent
Asian — 18.1 percent
White, not Hispanic — 11.7 percent

[Note: Colorlines.com reports official data on “Asians” when available, but it’s important to recognize the significant concerns about the accuracy of that data, because it clumps widely disparate Asian immigrant communities.]

The Affordable Care Act is based on the premise that system-wide health care costs are driven up by the fact that uninsured people inevitably enter the health system at some point, and their care is significantly more expensive as a consequence of having been locked out of it until crisis. Put differently, the idea is that a system that ignores the needs of 50 million residents will collapse upon itself.

*This post initially cited an incorrect overall number for people without health coverage in the U.S.

Federal Judge Denies US Request to Stop Florida Voter Purge

A federal judge today refused the Department of Justice’s attempt to block a Florida voter purging initiative that has already proved to strip hundreds of eligible citizens of their right to vote.

Last month, the Justice Department sued the state of Florida to stop a voter purge program which aims to systematically takes “non-citizens” off of voter rolls weeks before the August 14 federal primary election. Using a highly dubious methodology, the state appeared to find 2,600 people they suspected were not citizens, but might potentially vote.

The grand majority of the people on that list were people of color and Democrats, while over half were Latino-Americans. DOJ claimed that Florida’s program runs afoul of the National Voter Registration Act, which says voters can’t be removed in a massive program within 90 days of a federal election — a law put in place mostly in response to Florida’s history of removing eligible voters in massive programs right before elections.

Judge Hinkle did not see it that way, though and has allowed Florida’s program to continue. His ruling states that federal laws say nothing about removing ineligible voters within 90 days of an election, even though the purge program has already produced hundreds of names of people who are eligible to vote.

“We’re disappointed with the judge’s decision,” said Advancement Project Co-Director Penda Hair, whom Colorlines just interviewed last week about a lawsuit they also filed against Florida over the voter purge program.

“This threatens the voting rights of thousands of U.S. citizens. The right to vote is the fundamental pillar of our democracy and targeting a particular group of voters is simply wrong.”

“Florida is is imposing a two-tiered system of voting, one for citizens who were born here and one for those who have been naturalized, with thousands of U.S.-born citizens being unfairly caught up in this anti-democratic purge,” said Advancement Project Co-Director Judith Browne-Dianis. “Voting illegally already carries with it a threat of substantial fines, jail sentences, and—in the case of non-citizens—deportation. What Florida is actually doing is trying to disenfranchise American citizen for partisan gain. It is against the basic values of fairness and American democracy, which is why we have filed suit to stop it.”

Speaking with Advancement Project’s director of voter protection, Katherine Culliton-Gonzalez, she said this ruling against DOJ should not affect their lawsuit, which was filed in a different court, and has a different focus. While DOJ’s case targets National Voter Registration Act violations, for starting voter list maintenance within the 90-day “quiet period,” Advancement’s case focuses on the discriminatory impact of the purge program, as a violation of the Voting Rights Act. Of 562 people in Miami-Dade county who were accused by the state of being non-citizens, 98% are U.S. citizens, said Culliton-Gonzalez. Two of their clients, a Nicaraguan American and a Haitian American, are naturalized citizens whose voting rights have been infringed upon by Florida’s voter purge program, according to the lawsuit.

“We don’t agree with today’s ruling because it seems to be about purging people — not people who are ineligible to vote, but thousands of people who are elgible, many people who are naturalized citizens, and the great majority of whom are people of color,” said Culliton-Gonzalez.

There are also other lawsuits pending against Florida over the purge program.

This is the same judge, Robert Hinkle, who just blocked Florida’s onerous voter registration laws, because they made it harder for citizens to vote.

Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner had this to say:

“We are pleased with today’s decision because it is further confirmation that we are doing the right thing and following the law. The court agreed that identifying ineligible voters who have never had a right to vote will help prevent the votes of eligible citizens from being neutralized.”

Florida Gov. Rick Scott said, “The court made a common-sense decision consistent with what I’ve been saying all along: that irreparable harm will result if non-citizens are allowed to vote. … We know from just a small sample that an alarming number of non-citizens are on the voter rolls and many of them have illegally voted in past elections.”

There are not “alarming” numbers of non-citizens on voter rolls, and both Gov. Scott and Sec. Detzner have admitted their program is flawed. The purge program is, in fact, suspended not because of the lawsuits, but because the state’s own county election supervisors have refused to comply due to alarming numbers of inaccuracies.

[This post has been updated: A correction was made to incorrect statement that the Department of Justice’s lawsuit centered on the Voting Rights Act; also, additional content was added after an interview with Advancement Project director of voter protection Katherine Culliton-Gonzalez]

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