All Articles Tagged "Texas"

They Don’t Really Care About Us: No Charges After Girl Suffers Rope Burn To Her Neck

July 26th, 2016 - By Veronica Wells
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No Charges After Girl Suffers Rope Burn To Her Neck

Source: YouTube

Last month, we wrote about a young girl being called KP in the media. After a class trip to Germer Ranch with the Live Oak Classical School, 12-year-old KP returned to her mother with a severe rope burn around her neck.

KP, who had been bullied repeatedly even before the trip, told her mother that several of her peers found a swing with a long rope attached to it. According to a lawsuit, her classmates pulled the rope back and wrapped it around her neck. Then the boys violently jerked to the ground, leaving the abrasions on her neck.

Her mother sued the school.

But today, The Associated Press reports that investigators say no one will be charged criminally for the rope burns found around KP’s neck. Ben Ablon, of the Blanco County Sheriff’s Department said there was no evidence to support allegations that the injuries were intentional or racially motivated.

Still, there is hope that KP might get justice. The family has already filed a lawsuit claiming that the school was negligent during the time when she sustained her injuries at the hands of her peers. They are seeking $3 million in damages from the Live Oak Classical School and the ranch owner in Waco.

The school maintains that the girl was hurt accidentally.

The Daily Show Misses The Mark With Abortion Tweet

June 29th, 2016 - By Lauren R.D. Fox
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Image Source: Peter Yang/Comedy Central

Image Source: Peter Yang/Comedy Central

On Monday, the Supreme Court deemed that Texas’ HB2 law was unconstitutional for restricting reproductive services in their state. While others celebrated the news with victory, The Daily Show tweeted a questionable message that deserved a bit of a side eye.

Seen below, many viewed the tweet as “vile” and misogynistic, asserting it made light of the fact that women who live in Texas were not afforded accessible reproductive health care in recent years.

It also suggests that women are objects men can “knock up” and easily dispose the evidence of any sexual encounter.

Despite the vehement backlash, The Daily Show  tweeted a lukewarm apology  for their insensitive remarks and was faced with even more heat, with some tweeters asking if Jon Stewart can host the show again.

Did you find yourself laughing with The Daily Show or cringing?

What Would You Do If Your Daughter Came Home From School With Rope Burns Around Her Neck?

June 14th, 2016 - By Veronica Wells
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Source: YouTube

As parents, it’s natural for us to want the best for our children. And a large part of that is hoping they get the proper education. It was with this dream in mind that this mother sent her daughter, known in the media as KP, to a private, mostly White school in Waco, Texas called Live Oak Classical School.

According to The Daily Beast, KP’s mother was looking for a “better education” and “wholesome learning environment.”

But that’s not what she found. Instead, her daughter was being bullied at school. And not only was she being picked on, those who did so often went unpunished.

In the lawsuit she’s now filing against the school, she wrote that back in November a boy repeatedly pushed and shoved her daughter.

She wrote, “This is not the first time this has happened. During the Tempest play rehearsal he was pushing and kicking her in the line that they were in.”

The school’s principal, Allison Buras, responded saying, that she “…would never want children hurting one another” and that she spoke to the boys about the incident.

She later excused the action.

“It sounds like he may have pushed on the back of her leg to make her leg buckle, which is something the kids sometimes do,” Buras wrote. “Rarely is that done out of meanness but more out of a desire for sport.”

And while Live Oak’s attorney alleges that the allegations made in the mother’s petition were false, that was not even the worst of it.

During an April field trip to Germer Ranch in Blanco County, Texas, KP and several other children found a swing with a long rope attached to it. According to the lawsuit, KP was standing next to the swing when three white boys, including one who had allegedly bullied her in the past, pulled the rope back and wrapped it around her neck. The boys then violently jerked to the ground, leaving abrasions on her neck.

A school board member told the Dallas Morning News that “Live Oak takes the safety of its students seriously and is saddened that one of its family suffered an unfortunate accident and injury.”

The school’s attorneys conducted interviews with the students, chaperones and teachers afterward and determined that the injuries were the result of an accident.

Meanwhile, the family’s attorney, Levi McCathern, who also represents the Dallas Cowboys, referred to the incident as an attack and called it “racially motivated.”

Their attorney said, “Based on the injuries KP sustained, it’s nearly impossible to argue that this was somehow an accident that could of happened to any child that day, regardless of race. The severity and the specificity of the injury certainly point to this incident being racial.”

When KP told adult chaperones what happened, they gave her Vaseline and Motrin for the pain. When the children returned from the trip, no one informed KP’s mother about the incident.

McCathern said, ““Even if this incident was unintentional,” McCathern wrote, “the school’s lack of supervision to let this happen, dismissive and tone deaf response after it happened, and refusal to investigate until legally prompted to, showed an utter disregard for one of the only African American children in the school.”

When KP’s mother saw the severity of the injury, she took her to the emergency room. Doctors at the hospital, noting the injury, notified police. A crime scene unit took pictures for an investigation.

Afterward, KP was immediately removed from the school. She is now receiving treatment and counseling for the injuries she sustained.

Check out our newest series Curls Run The World featuring poet, Aja Monet!

Dear White People: We Are Not Here To Teach You A Lesson

December 9th, 2015 - By Charing Ball
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Ahmed Mohamed


Dear White Santa,

I have been very good this year.

And since you never got me that Easy-Bake Oven that I wanted, but rather, the message through my mother that you sent telling me that the reason you wouldn’t bring it was because it was too much money and I’ll burn the house down, I am strongly requesting that you consider this year’s request.

In short, this Christmas, I would like for you to tell your people that people of color around the entire world are not here for their benefit.

That includes financial as well as personal enlightenment.


A Black woman.

P.S., I ran out of cookies, but there’s a slice of Patti’s pie in the fridge. Help yourself.

Unfortunately, Megyn Kelly, there is no White Santa. So the odds of White folks magically having an awakening on Christmas morning about their casual racism are not very good.

Case in point, Jonathan Rampton, who is a contributing writer at Entrepreneur. Yesterday, he penned an editorial entitled, “How the Kid With the Clock Disappointed Us.”

As the titled suggests, Rampton is not very happy with Ahmed Mohamed, the 14-year-old kid who was arrested after folks in the small town of Irving, Texas decided to act racist towards him.

I know what you’re thinking, but Rampton assures us it isn’t about the clock. Oh, God no! That type of bigotry is just classless.

Instead, he’s upset because Mohamed’s traumatic incident was a very important part of Rampton’s personal growth. Not only did the occurrence teach him to question “just how evolved we could be for turning on children” but he also got to learn that lesson while engaging in good discussions. As that is what happens to the pain of people of color; it becomes fodder for White people’s pointless debates around water coolers and on Facebook.

However, all of his spiritual enlightenment and cool ally points have been ruined now that Mohamed’s family is demanding compensation by way of apology letters and $15 million dollars from the city of Irving.  Rampton – in his infinite White man’s approval power – does say that the letters are a reasonable request (phew, that was close). But he also said that by asking for compensation for his pain and suffering, Mohamed and his people have proved all of those (White) people right who felt that what happened to Mohamed was just a race card play for money.

Therefore, Mohamed doesn’t deserve a red cent of taxpayer money. After all, not every White person owned slaves. Or more relevant, not every White person in Irving was racist to Mohamed. There were good White people in Irving who stood with Ahmed too.


More specifically, he writes:

While the child and his family should receive an apology, money does not solve racial issues, it exacerbates the problem. In this case, it only further inflames the suspicions and hatred that is reaching a boiling point, especially as more terrorist attacks occur like the recent one in Paris. Ahmed Mohamed and his family’s reputation as heroes not only has diminished to zero, but this behavior by him and his family have now furthered the level of suspicion toward Muslims in this country. He truly went from Hero to Zero in a matter of one statement.

None of us like to be duped like this student and his family have done. Despite the fact that this type of situation can easily harden our hearts against another group of people, the fact is that we cannot assume that a whole demographic is bad based on the actions of a few. We need to be aware their are fakepreneurs everywhere that can steal our hears and then crush them weeks later.

Let this be a lesson to both young and old. If something like this happens to you or someone you know and love, use it to better the world. When Ahmed Mohamed started he was a cry for those in this country who are oppressed. He was a voice for those whose aren’t heard. Become that person, not the person who uses it for gain.

While it can be difficult to regain trust after an incident like this one, let’s keep the dialogue open and take the time to understand what the real face of evil looks like before we assume, accuse and judge.

The absolute nerve.

Yet it is not surprising. The White masses have always felt entitled to get a pass on pain caused by their dominance just because they learned something from it.

Let’s consider the Magical Negro, which has long been a popular trope in film, television, literature and politics. Black people’s sole purpose on this earth is for White people’s self-discovery. We are here to not only make them understand race but to teach them about empathy. It’s how they get closer to God (who is always played by Morgan Freeman) and His absolution.

Usually, we do this through our song, dance and folksy God-fearing wisdom. But sometimes we do it by putting our physical selves in harm’s way. As was the case of a brother who used himself as a test dummy in a social experiment meant to show the difference in police response between a White and Black person openly carrying a gun. When his brave yet dumb behind does it, needless to say, he almost gets himself killed.

I mean, even when we are just minding our business and yet find ourselves on the end of some racial aggression, some White people fully expect how they feel to be central to what is happening to us.

Never mind all the humiliation, death threats, and pure f–kery that comes with living through the age of xenophobia and flat-out anti-Blackness (even when it is Brown), the bright side here is that Rampton got to learn something about himself. And isn’t that more important?

Hell no, it ain’t!

Our pain has value. And if society doesn’t want folks “profiting” off of the discrimination, harassment and aggression they face, society needs to learn how not to be bigoted.

Besides, no one has time to be Rampton’s Bagger Vance, or worse, Oda Mae Brown talking about, “Molly, you in danger girl…” just so he can feel less guilty about White supremacy in America. Not when Donald Trump is pledging to ban all Muslims if he becomes president (and tons of folks are cheering him on for that). Not when folks are using Trump’s dangerous dog whistle as a call to arms and tossing dead pig heads in front of Islamic religious institutions. Not when little kids are getting bullied at school and called “ISIS” just because religiously they are different.

If Rampton and others like him are looking for enlightenment, go to yoga, drink some lemongrass infused asparagus water from Whole Foods or watch I Heart Huckabees. But leave us out of it.

Fake allies bent on molding our pain to fit their comfort levels are not wanted or needed.


Texas Police Officers Channel Aggravation Regarding Current Events With “His Life Matters”

August 16th, 2015 - By Ashley Monaé
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Back in May, Chief Steven Jones (right) and Officer Donald Givens (left) of the Trinity Police Department in Texas took a photo to channel their aggravation with the currents events regarding both police and race relations. It garnered a bit of attention with 400 favorites and retweets. Today, the photo has officially gone viral with 115,000 shares and 25,000 likes thanks to the American Conservatives of Color Facebook group.

A response to the #AllLivesMatter and #BlackLivesMatter movements, the two police wanted to peacefully share their own point of view and “His Life Matters” was birthed. Givens told CBS that he didn’t “expect the photo to go viral or start a movement, but he’s glad it did.” The now viral photo shows the two men posed together with one hand up with the motto written in black ink on their palms. Recently, Jones and Givens told Fox and Friends that the photo was a joint idea. Chief Jones explained why they took the photo:

“I don’t want to put down law enforcement all together, but there’s so many things that are happening these days that sometimes we can’t stand behind officers that do bad things,” he said. “However, the community and the nation can’t condemn every single officer based on the actions of a few.”

Watch Chief Jones and Officer Givens discuss their “aggravation” with current events regarding the police force.  

In Which Majority-Minority State Are Blacks Doing The Best? California, New Mexico, Texas or Hawaii?

June 22nd, 2015 - By Kimberly Gedeon
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By 2044, experts say the United States will become a “majority-minority” nation — the share of Whites will dip down to 49.7 percent. Currently, four states model this theory: California, Hawaii, New Mexico, and Texas. And it’s Hawaii, according to Forbes, where Black Americans are doing the best financially.

According to the Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM) rate, which analyzed American wellness from 2011 to 2013, the national poverty rate sits at 15.9 percent: Whites have an average SPM rate of 10.7 percent while Blacks have an average SPM rate of 24.7 percent.

Focusing on the majority-minority states, the SPM rate for California, Hawaii, and New Mexico is above the national average at 23.4 percent, 18.4 percent, and 16 percent, respectively.

The steep costs of housing, especially in Hawaii and California, drove the poverty rate right up, Forbes said.

Texas is the only one that pulled a 15.9 percent poverty rating, right at the national average:

“Texas is the only majority-minority state where America’s four largest racial or ethnic groups all enjoy a Supplemental Poverty rate that’s below the national average [of their own racial cohort],” Forbes said.

As aforementioned, the national poverty rate for Blacks hovers at around a quarter of the population. In Texas, that number dips down to 19.9 percent. The Latino national SPM is 26 percent, but slumps to 22.7 percent in Texas. For Asians, their national SPM is 16.4 percent, but falls to 14.1 percent in the Lone Star state.

Still, zooming in on Blacks, Texas isn’t the best state for African-Americans financially, according to Forbes. It’s Hawaii.

The Aloha state has the lowest SPM rate for Blacks, out of the four majority-minority states, at 17.9 percent. This is 6.8 percentage points lower than the Black national average.

Forbes said that it is important to examine the poverty rate of the four majority-minority states because, with the U.S. on track for Whites to lose its majority status by 2044, it’s useful to analyze California, New Mexico, Hawaii, and Texas for “applicable lessons in governance.”

“The Texas model of governance—low taxes, less regulation, and lawsuit reform—results in more prosperity and less poverty for all,”Forbes concludes.

Why The McKinney, Texas Incident Is About More Than Police Brutality

June 9th, 2015 - By Charing Ball
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I don’t know if irony is a strong enough word to describe how a district, which in the last presidential election voted overwhelmingly Republican, can suddenly say, “Forget the debt crisis, let’s use big government’s tax-paying dollars to intervene in our lives and save us from being ‘invaded’ by a bunch of pool-partying Black kids.”

And I’m talking about McKinney, Texas, an area that is around 70 percent white and 10 percent Black. A place where a fight at a pool party and subsequent police assault took place. And all this happened after a grown woman who is supposed to know better curses at children, telling them that they don’t belong in her neighborhood and need to go back to their Section 8 homes. McKinney is a place where just last year, more than a 100 residents attended a city council meeting to speak out against a 167-unit affordable housing and Section 8 apartment complex slated to be constructed in their backyards. According to the McKinney Courier-Gazette, “Many expressed concerned [sic] with the Section 8 vouchers being permissible for each of the developments, saying they would bring down property values, increase crime in the area and negatively affect nearby schools.”

And I’m willing to bet that those developments would also increase the presence of Black and brown kids at their community pools…

What is at issue here is more than the misconduct of a single overzealous cop who did a tuck-and-roll before attacking children and slamming one girl to the ground. Believe it or not, he and the other officers who were summoned to the scene were just responding to orders. The orders of a paranoid community of people who use the police to maintain their borders and basically keep us out.

Long gone are the days of sundown towns that used to post signs at city limits warning Blacks, Jews, and other undesirables that they were not welcome in their town, particularly after the sun had set. That sort of outward hostile discrimination was made illegal by the Civil Rights Act of 1968. And by today’s standard, being blatantly racist is simply not polite form. Instead, more contemporary, and yet subtle versions of these sundown towns have surfaced. They manifest themselves in public bus routes, which limit travel to and from mostly White suburban enclaves (with the exception of suburban shopping centers, because somebody has to flip the burgers at the neighborhood Outback Steakhouse). Or this discrimination rears its ugly head in the always popular white middle-class concern about maintaining high property values. Complaining about this ensures that those low-wage workers who ride those limited bus routes never own property in the communities in which they work. This discrimination is also hidden behind gated communities and homeowner associations who rule by an alleged democratic process to determine through a system of coded rules, regulations and language, who is and who is not suitable for their neighborhood. And when all of that fails to keep us out, that’s when they use the police to do the enforcing for them.

As some members of law enforcement recently pointed out in a Reddit ProtectAndServe forum, some police officers are tired of white people, in particular, wasting government resources by calling 911 to report every allegedly suspicious Black person in their neighborhood. As one officer, in particular, noted:

“So I’m working last week and get dispatched to a call of ‘Suspicious Activity.’ Ya’ll wanna know what the suspicious activity was? Someone walking around in the dark with a flashlight and crow bar? Nope. Someone walking into a bank with a full face mask on? Nope. ‘It was two black males who were jump starting a car at 930 in the morning. That was it. Nothing else. Someone called it in. People. People. People. If you’re going to be a racist, stereotypical jerk… keep it to yourself.”

It was a call to the police about a suspicious black person who did not belong in the Walmart with a gun in an open carry state, which resulted in John Crawford II being gunned down. It was a call to police about a suspicious Black kid playing with a gun – made suspicious because obviously he did not belong – that led to Tamir Rice being shot down only seconds after police arrived on the scene. In the weeks before fatally shooting Trayvon Martin, George Zimmerman made 46 calls to the Sanford Police Department, mostly about suspicious Black people who did not belong. And it was several calls by so-called concerned neighbors about the suspicious Black pool partygoers who did not belong in their community, which is most at fault for the incident in McKinney, Texas.

What we are seeing in Texas, and around America for that matter, is more than an issue of a few bad apples on the police force. What we are seeing are communities of predominantly white people using whatever resource is available to them to ensure that they stay predominantly white. What we saw in Texas was about more than Officer Eric Casebolt slamming a child into the ground and putting his knees in her back. It’s about the adults who made the decision that certain people were not welcome in their community and then stood around and watched – and in some cases aided – the police as they enforced their preferences. When we make this an issue just about what the police did in this particular incident, we fail to get at the heart of what is really going on here.

A similar incident happened in 2009 in my home state of Pennsylvania. Right outside of Philadelphia, a bunch of Black kids from Northeast Philly were denied access to a predominantly white private swimming club because they felt that the presence of these teens might change the complexion of the pool. In response, hundreds of families from diverse backgrounds throughout Philly drove out to that swimming club and protested every single day until they got the message that such exclusionary treatment had no place in modern society. Similar measures need to be taken for this Texas town to understand the same.

Update: Texas Governor Signs Bill Deregulating Hair-Braiding Laws

June 8th, 2015 - By Lauren R.D. Fox
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 Hair-Braiding Laws


Update #2- 6/8/2015: 

Today, Texas Governor Abbott will sign the HB 2717 bill that deregulates natural hair braiders from having to complete an arduous process in order to obtain and keep their hair braiding licenses. Attorney Arif Panju who works with the Institute for Justice’s Texas office said of the victory:

“This marks a final victory for natural hair braiders across Texas. It also serves as recognition that occupational licensing has gone too far when 1 in 3 Texans are forced to obtain a government license to simply go to work each morning.”

The HB 2717 bill was authored by Texas Representative Craig Goldman and sponsored by Senator Royce West in the Texas Senate.

Update #1- 4/24/2015: Yesterday, the Texas House of Representatives voted unanimously to pass the HB 2717 bill that will deregulate the legislation imposed on the natural hair braiding business.

Previously, hair braiding trainers and beauticians had to complete barber, cosmetology and a 35-hour government-approved hair braiding course in order to teach or practice hair braiding  in salons. Hair braiding stylists also had to earn a state license. If they failed to do so, their salon or hair braiding teaching session would be raided by law enforcement, resulting in arrest. The effort to deregulate natural hair braiding has been a decade-long fight.

Isis Brantley who has been arrested several times for braiding hair without the Texas state government license says of the new bill:

“I fought for my economic liberty because I believe there is a lot of hope for young people who seek to earn an honest living. This vote by the Texas House means aspiring hair braiders from across the state are one step closer to being able to practice an ancestral art that dates back centuries, and do so without a government permission slip.”


Original Report-1/11/2015:

A federal judge in Texas ruled the laws on how hair-braiding stylists teach students how to braid were unconstitutional. The ruling was set in motion by salon owner Isis Brantley who filed a federal lawsuit against the state of Texas with the help of Institute For Justice in 2013. In the suit, The Associated Press reports, Brantley argued she was forced to take classes and exams that were unnecessary in order to receive a state-mandated license to teach hair-braiding.

Not only was the curriculum Brantley needed to study geared towards barbers when she wasn’t seeking certification for that profession, Texas also required her to convert her small hair-braiding business into a barber college and have 10 student workstations that recline, plus install a sink behind every two workstations. This meant Brantley would have to install plumbing in her salon although clientele is expected to have their hair pre-washed before braiding. The Root also notes Brantley had to spend “2,250 hours in barber school, pass four exams, and spend thousands of dollars on tuition.”

On Monday, U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks from Austin ruled the state regulations the excluded Brantley from receiving a certification in hair-braiding were unconstitutional and “absent ‘a rational connection with fitness or capacity to engage in’ hair braiding instruction.”

In a statement, Brantley said:

“I fought for my economic liberty because I believe there is a lot of hope for young people who seek to earn an honest living. This decision means that I will now be able to teach the next generation of African hair braiders at my own school.”

A spokeswoman from the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation said she respects the judge’s decision.

Cook-Out Approved: Texas – Barbecue Baked Beans!

July 4th, 2014 - By Kay Hudson
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The fourth of July is (mostly) dedicated to American cuisines, entrees, and meals. Today we are taking you to Texas to make sure you make the best baked beans possible. This time around no one will pass on the beans, Texas! Salute: Texas Barbecue Baked Beans, courtesy of Texas Cooking!


2 cups dried Navy or pinto beans
8 slices bacon — diced
1/2 cup onion — chopped
2 tablespoons corn syrup
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 small hot red chile pepper
3/4 cup tomato catsup
2 tablespoons prepared mustard
1 teaspoon salt
1 generous dash hot pepper sauce

Soak beans overnight in cold water to cover. Fry bacon until crisp. Drain drippings from bacon into baking dish or small bean pot. Add all remaining ingredients to fat and blend. Drain beans and add to mixture. Blend. Crumble the crisp bacon over top. Add water just to cover beans. Cover dish or bean pot and bake at 325 degrees F. for 2 hours. Add more hot water if needed. Uncover beans during last 20 to 30 minutes. Serve from baking dish.

A slice of smoky bacon rind used instead of the sliced bacon will give a more decidedly country flavor. Brown sugar to taste may replace the corn syrup. And canned tomatoes may take the place of the catsup — but if so, correct the seasoning as necessary with a little sugar, salt, cayenne and a pinch of ground allspice.

Source: Texas Cooking

Oops! Texas Board Mistakenly Passes Resolution On Reparations

June 19th, 2014 - By Ann Brown
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No doubt this is one for the history books… and just in time for Juneteenth! Without realizing it, politicians in a North Texas county approved a resolution this week in support of reparations to African-Americans for slavery.

A Juneteenth resolution was passed unanimously by Dallas County commissioners on Tuesday but they thought it was a routine proclamation commemorating the end of slavery in the United States. The commissioners didn’t read close enough. The resolution also included a list of injustices suffered by black Americans, and also stated in the last paragraph that blacks’ suffering should be “satisfied with monetary and substantial reparations.”

Commissioners later confessed they hadn’t read the resolution before voting, according to The Dallas Morning News. “About an hour after their vote, commissioners complained they hadn’t received copies of the resolution beforehand,” says The Huffington Post.

But they should have heard what the resolution said as it was read aloud by John Wiley Price, who introduced the measure and is the commission’s only black member.  Price noted that American Indians and Japanese-Americans are among those who have received compensation for past mistreatment.

“We are the only people who haven’t been compensated,” Price said.

While this may seem like a real move toward reparations,  the vote is non-binding, so there will be no reparations made. Still some of the leaders have noted the significance of the move.

“I am leaving my vote the way it is,” County Judge Clay Jenkins said. “This is the body’s expression of support for unity towards people, a recognition of Juneteenth.”

He later added, “I want to encourage staff to make sure that all of the commissioners have the opportunity to actually read what they are voting on before that vote in the future.”

Separately but related, if you haven’t read Ta-Nehisi Coates’ massive article in The Atlantic called “The Case for Reparations,” get on that.