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Black Women Face Devastating Losses If Obamacare Is Repealed

Bianca Adams worked part-time jobs as a spa professional, sometimes juggling two or three at a time, for years. But none of them offered her insurance, which meant that the 47-year-old with diabetes often went to the emergency room for care.

“I was one of those people that had to go to the emergency when my blood sugar got too high and I needed fluids,” Adams told The Huffington Post. “There was really no one managing my health at that point.”

When her Medicaid coverage through the Affordable Care Act began in 2014, Adams, who has been disabled with severe knee problems for 25 years, underwent three major surgeries in six months: a partial hysterectomy to remove a large tumor in June, a total right knee replacement in September and a left knee replacement in November.

“It was brutal, but everything needed to be done. I was very, very sick — and had I not done it then, I’d probably be on a walker right now,” she said.

But that wasn’t her only concern. “I felt like once Republicans got back into office, it would be repealed,” she said. “That was literally the first thing on my mind — to get everything done as soon as possible.”

Black women stand to lose the most if the Affordable Care Act is repealed.

Read the entire piece here.

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Malcolm X Told Us Everything We Need To Know About Donald Trump’s Meetings With Black Celebrities

Human rights activist Malcolm X knew better than most how white supremacy and racism operate ― and he broke it down clearly in a 1964 speech entitled “The Ballot or the Bullet.”

The address, which he delivered in Detroit, was meant to dissuade black folks from blindly following white politicians who only wanted their vote and to instead start looking out for their own interests. It also included a chilling critique of black people who allow white politicians to use them as props to gain trust from other black Americans.

“The first thing the cracker does when he comes in power, he takes all the Negro leaders and invites them for coffee. To show that he’s all right,” Malcolm X said. “And those Uncle Toms can’t pass up the coffee. They come away from the coffee table telling you and me that this man is all right.”

While he was likely referencing meetings between Martin Luther King Jr., Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) and other civil rights leaders with President Lyndon B. Johnson, his insight into the power dynamic is relevant today as prominent black folks meet with President-elect Donald Trump.

Read the entire piece here.

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Nana, Are You Proud To Be Black?

My Nana is not one to joke around. Like many black women her age, Virginia Louise Evans is usually quite stern and, at times, blunt to the point of cruelty. At 69, she has earned the right to say whatever she pleases.

But she was cheerful last Thursday evening, when I sat down with her to talk about the election, and about politics and blackness more broadly. We’d been laughing and chatting over pasta salad and Cheerwine for a few hours when she looked at me from across her big wooden kitchen table, which is crowded into her small kitchen. Her large brown eyes ― the eyes she passed on to my mother and me  ― dulled a bit as she asked, “You ready?”

“Let’s start with what you think about Donald Trump,” I said.

Nana was born in 1947 in Lexington, North Carolina. She never attended an integrated school and graduated from the segregated Dunbar High, named after black poet Paul Laurence Dunbar, in 1965. Her experiences as a black woman born and raised in the Jim Crow South shaped her political identity. She learned to see the smallest of blessings, saying that life as a black woman in Lexington wasn’t as bad as it was in Birmingham, Alabama.

Nana, like many elders, is a living link to the past. She’s wise and prides herself on knowing what she’s talking about. The first thing she noted about Trump was his lack of political experience and personal honesty.

“He’s talking about Hillary Clinton with the emails, but he never said anything about his taxes. He never said anything about messing with these young girls ― he never brought any of that up,” Nana said, her voice rising. “But he always brought up everything that everybody else had done. But nothing on him. So I don’t think he’s fit to be president. If you gon’ talk about somebody else’s deal, talk about yo’ deal.”

“I hope that he will be able to run the country without being prejudiced about anything. Because he said all through his campaigning about the Mexicans, the blacks ― and he’s racist to me.”

Read the entire piece here.

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Charlotte Protests Expose A Deep Racial Divide In This Thriving Southern City

CHARLOTTE, N.C. ―The banking capital of the South is a bustling metropolitan area, with a solid economy and a thriving black middle class.

Fostoria Pierson, who has lived in the city for eight years, describes Charlotte as “one of the lands of opportunity in the south” and a great place to raise children, with an abundance of charter schools. It’s one of the few southern cities that has professional basketball and football teams, along with NASCAR.

“Charlotte is a beautiful place,”  she told The Huffington Post. “Right now we’re just at a civil unrest. But, you know what, our mayor and our governor ― they will get it back to where it used to be.”

Pierson was referring to the perceived resilience of the city following the fatal shooting of 43-year-old Keith Lamont Scott on Sept. 20. His death sparked six consecutive nights of protests, including a stint outside of the Bank of America stadium. North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory (R) mobilized the state National Guard, putting troops in charge of helping protect buildings and bridges and highways, and also provided state troopers to help with traffic control in the city.

But the protests have highlighted a wide gap between perceptions of the Queen City that many in Charlotte have and the reality facing many of its residents. Despite the city’s anti-racism programs, Charlotte, often referred to as “The New South,” isn’t as progressive as some of its residents like to think. It has many of the same issues facing other American cities.

Read the entire piece here.

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Rakeyia Scott’s Slip Of The Tongue Is A Window Into The Poignancy Of Police Shootings

CHARLOTTE, N.C. ― When Rakeyia Scott saw cops surrounding her husband, Keith Scott, she immediately worried they might shoot him. She pulled out her cell phone camera.

The horrifying video she captured has now been seen millions of times. One poignant moment, however, stands out.

As officers huddle around her dying husband, she shouts out: “Did y’all call the police?”

Call the police. It’s what one does, or is supposed to do, when a crime has been committed, when someone is in need of help. The idea that the police exist to protect and serve is so powerful that it broke through the reality of what she had just witnessed: police shooting her husband to death.

She quickly caught her mistake. “I mean, did y’all call the ambulance?”

Given the nonchalant attitude officers betrayed as Keith Scott lay on the pavement bleeding, she didn’t wait for an answer and took it upon herself to call 911.

The reaction of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg officers to a man dying at their feet was strikingly familiar. The ubiquity of cellphone, dashcam and surveillance video has transformed the way the public understands police violence. But as scene after scene unfolds on shaky screens and in grainy contours, another element of the violence is beginning to come into focus: the pattern of officers seeming to show no concern for the person they have shot, often fatally.

The nonchalance around the injured and the dying is stunning in its own way.

Read the entire piece here.

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Here’s What It’s Like To Walk Through The First National Black History Museum

WASHINGTON ― When you step into the elevator on the top floor of the David M. Rubenstein History Galleries, there’s a timeline to your right. It begins with the word “Today.”

Pay attention to it.

As you descend, the timeline will lead you back into history, past President Barack Obama’s 2008 election, through the civil rights movement and Jim Crow. You’ll glide past Reconstruction, the Civil War and the height of African enslavement in the New World. Soon, the elevator will reach its destination: the belly of the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Read the entire piece here.

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We Absolutely Could Give Reparations To Black People. Here’s How.

Let’s say you’re driving down the street and someone rear-ends you. You get out of your car to assess the damage. The person who hit your vehicle gets out of his car, apologizes for the damage and calls his insurance company. Eventually, you receive a check for the harm done.

Now, let’s say that for years, if not generations, your family and families like yours have been damaged by your country’s political and economic system — by law and widespread practice, with the intent of benefiting families not like yours — then the checks for the harm done would be called reparations.

Beginning with more than two centuries of slavery, black Americans have been deliberately abused by their own nation. It’s time to pay restitution.

Read the entire piece here

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Violence and Arrests At Trump Rallies Are Way More Common Than You May Think

WASHINGTON — More than 50 people, mostly protesters, have been charged in connection with GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump’s campaign rallies since Feb. 29, according to a HuffPost survey of police departments. During the same period, more than 20 separate physical altercations were reported at Trump events.

Videotaped shoves, punches and scuffling at Trump rallies have attracted world attention. But a count of the actual number of violent incidents and arrests is elusive, because they are inconsistently reported, or don’t get reported at all.

Read more here.

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Landscapes Of Murder: Photos Show The Emptiness Left Behind After Baltimore Killings

On Dec. 28, 2015, a few blocks from where Freddie Gray was arrested, 22-year-old Dominique Harris was gunned down in the middle of Baker Street’s 1900 block around 4:25 p.m.

Dominique, shot multiple times, was the day’s second homicide. He was also Baltimore’s 341stlast year. In 2015, 344 Baltimoreans were murdered — the deadliest year on record for Charm City since 1993, when 353 people were killed. The homicide rate is roughly 55 per 100,000residents, which is quite jarring for a city that is now home to just over 621,000.

Outside of the city, however, no one knows Dominique’s name — and Wil Sands, a writer and photojournalist with Fractures, a small collective of journalists, is aiming to change that.

Read the entire piece here.

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Baltimore School Cops’ Abuse Of Kids Is Rooted In City’s Racist History

Baltimore police officers violated the Constitution by disproportionately stopping, frisking and arresting black residents, according to a damning report from the U.S. Justice Department released last week.

But lost in the resulting criticism of the Baltimore Police Department was another, equally concerning aspect of the report: It revealed that the city “has essentially used the Baltimore School Police as an auxiliary force to BPD.” School police can “exercise full police power anywhere within the jurisdiction of the City of Baltimore,” according to the report. This includes making arrests, aiding Baltimore Police officers in investigations and following up on criminal cases.

So if Baltimore city cops are systematically violating the rights of black adults in the city, how are their buddies in the school police force treating black kids?

They’re arresting them ― a lot.

Read the entire piece here

32 Blue Lives Matter Bills Have Been Introduced Across 14 States This Year

WASHINGTON ― Lawmakers in 14 states have introduced at least 32 bills proposing that members of law enforcement be included in hate crime protections ― like those received by people of color, religious minorities and members of the LGBTQ community ― since the beginning of the year, according to an analysis of state legislatures by The Huffington Post.

Last year, Louisiana became the first state to loop law enforcement into its state hate crime statue, with it’s so-called “Blue Lives Matter” bill. Several states soon followed. The Mississippi state Senate advanced a similar bill on Jan. 26, and the Kentucky House of Representatives advanced its own version on Feb. 13.

Most of the bills aren’t that successful. At least 20 of the bills introduced over the past year died by vote or at the end of the congressional session after being referred to a state legislative committee. Twenty-two are currently sitting in a committee for review, including in South Carolina, which doesn’t even have a hate crime statute on the books. A bill in Tennessee was withdrawn.

The wave of legislation exposes an appetite to provide political sanctuary to an already protected class. Including police officers in hate crime statutes is legally redundant, or even counterproductive, creating deeper divisions between police and the communities they serve. All 50 states, according to the Anti-Defamation League, have statutes that automatically increase the penalties for violent attacks on police.

And, unlike hate crime laws, they don’t require prosecutors to prove motive.

“In the vast majority of states, you will get life or considerably less in prison for murder; but if you murder a police officer, you are almost certain to get death,” said Mark Potok, a senior fellow at the Southern Poverty Law Center. “So the truth is that including police in hate crime laws is merely a political statement ― and an unnecessary one at that.”

Read the entire piece here.

Thanksgiving Ritual

I visit her once a year.

I come with my pain, my grief — grief I pass onto her, grief she coaches me through, grief she silently bears.

I come with gifts — the flowers she wanted three years ago, the flowers I couldn’t afford.

I walk up to her, afraid. I haven’t seen her in a year. I feel her everyday but I haven’t knelt before her in a year.

This seems blasphemous. I stand before her afraid.

I drop to my knees, my hands reach out for her but touch the large, ornate stone that adorns her final resting place.

A sigh escapes me. I apologize for my sins, then silence.

I wait for a response I know I will not receive.

Another sigh.

My hand slides over her date of birth, over the day she left me.

I apologize for more sins — all of the things I’ve done, the things she wouldn’t approve of.

I want forgiveness for my mistakes, redemption for my humanity as I kneel before a flawed woman who was, somehow, the closest I’ve ever been to god

I cry. I ask for her approval. It’s been three years. I still need her approval.

Say something, I need a sign.

Let me know you’re proud of me. Tell me you’re okay with who I have become, who I am becoming.

Nothing. Silence.

She’s not here.

Then, the wind blows a little harder. The sun becomes brighter.

Her arms wrap around me. I am warmed by her light.

Her hands blow across my face. My eyes are dried.

She brushes my hair back, she cups my chin in her hand.

She’s here.

I rise. She sends me on my way.

See you next year.