DETROIT BRANCH NAACP REMEMBERS WINNIE MANDELA
Detroit, MI – Detroit Branch President Rev. Dr. Wendell Anthony issued this statement in regard to the recent death of Winnie Mandela. The passing of Winnie Mandela marks a significant point in the life of those who sacrificed so much to obtain justice, freedom, and dignity. Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, known as “Nomzamo” (the mother of the nation), was the reason that many of us in the west were well acquainted with Nelson Mandela. For 27 years, from 1963-1990, while Nelson Mandela was in prison, it was Winnie Mandela who was the face of the Anti-Apartheid Movement.
Winnie Mandela was tortured and politically attacked. She spent 18-months in solitary-confinement in Central Prison in Pretoria, South Africa. It was apartheid that separated Nelson and Winnie Mandela. It was apartheid at the root of it all, creating a schism in the movement and in the marriage between Nelson and Winnie Mandela. Ultimately, it is the apartheid systems of the world that separate good people who simply want to live freely with dignity and respect that one day must be eliminated for causing such pain and agony.
The 1990 visit of Nelson and Winnie Mandela to Tiger Stadium in the city of Detroit, during the International Freedom Tour, was one of the high points of our city and this nation. Those of us who were at Tiger Stadium remember with great historic pride the feeling of triumph and comradery on that 28th day of June. It was indeed a blessing to pay tribute to those who had been beaten down by the system of human degradation, now standing up in triumph and celebration. While Winnie Mandela may no longer be among us, her work, her words, and her sacrifice will always inspire us. There is an old African proverb which says, “Those who we love die only in the physical sense. Their spirit continues to live on in the will and determination of those whom they leave behind.” The spirit of Winnie and Nelson Mandela will always live on within each and every one of us.
MIAMI GARDENS & OTHERS, SUE STATE OFFICIALS OVER GUN REGULATIONS LAW
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Elected officials from 10 Florida cities are suing state officials over a law that prohibits local governments from enacting their own gun regulations. The lawsuit filed Monday in Leon County Circuit Court against Gov. Rick Scott, Attorney General Pam Bondi and others says the law is invalid and unconstitutional. A state law to pre-empt local gun regulations was passed in 1987, but changes made in 2011 threatened local officials with removal from office and fines of up to $5,000. The participating cities are Weston, Miramar, Pompano Beach, Lauderhill, Miami Gardens, South Miami, Pinecrest, Cutler Bay, Miami Beach and Coral Gables. It comes after a South Florida school shooting in February that killed 17 people. A Scott spokesman says they’re reviewing the lawsuit. A Bondi spokesman says they haven’t received it yet.
FEDERAL JUDGE ORDERS FLORIDA TO MAKE VOTING RIGHTS CHANGES
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – A federal judge on Tuesday ordered Florida to devise a new way to decide when and how former prisoners can get their voting rights restored, saying Gov. Rick Scott and state officials can no longer rely on “whims, passing emotions, or perceptions” in that process. U.S. District Judge Mark Walker also blocked the state’s current system of forcing most ex-felons to wait at least five years before they can ask to have their voting rights restored. The system was put in place back in 2011 at the urging of Scott and Attorney General Pam Bondi. Walker did not specify what rules the state should put in place but instead gave Scott and state officials _ who act as the state’s clemency board _ until April 26 to come up with a new process. Florida was sued on behalf of ex-felons whose requests for voting rights were turned down. “This court is not the vote restoration czar,” wrote Walker, who was appointed by President Barack Obama. “It does not pick and choose who may receive the right to vote and who may not. Nor does it write the rules and regulations for the executive clemency board.” But he said the court possesses the established duty to “say what the law is.” John Tupps, a spokesman for Scott, did not say if the governor’s office would appeal Walker’s decision.
But Tupps defended the process now in place. “The governor continues to stand with victims of crime,” said Tupps. “He believes that people who have been convicted of felony offenses including crimes like murder, violence against children and domestic violence, should demonstrate that they can live a life free of crime while being accountable to our communities.”
AFRICAN-AMERICAN HISTORY MUSEUM OFFERS ‘WALK-UP WEDNESDAYS’
PHOTO COURTESY OF LONELY PLANET
WASHINGTON (AP) – The National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. is testing a pilot program that allows individuals to enter with timed-entry passes on Wednesdays next month. News outlets reported Wednesday that “Walk-Up Wednesdays”
will allow museum officials to test a no-pass-required entry to the Smithsonian museum. On April 4, 11, 18, and 25, individuals who walk up without timed-entry passes may enter the museum on a first-come, first-serve basis. The museum’s founding director, Lonnie G. Bunch III, said in a statement that the goal of the pilot program is to provide greater access for the public while maintaining the safety and security of our visitors. The museum will still require advance timed passes for groups of 10 or more.
SPEECHES, MARCHES MARK MARTIN LUTHER KING ANNIVERSARY
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Fifty years after the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, the civil rights leader’s family and admirers were marking the anniversary of his death with marches, speeches and quiet reflection Wednesday. The commemorations stretched from his hometown of Atlanta to Memphis, where he died, and points beyond. Hundreds of people bundled in hats and coats gathered early in Memphis for a march led by the same sanitation workers union whose low pay King had come to protest when he was shot. Others were assembling in Atlanta, where King’s daughter the Rev. Bernice A. King was set to moderate an awards ceremony in his honor. The Memphis events are scheduled to feature King’s contemporaries, including the Rev. Jesse Jackson, the Rev. Al Sharpton and U.S. Rep. John Lewis, along with celebrities such as the rapper Common. In the evening, the Atlanta events culminate with a bell-ringing and wreath-laying at his crypt to mark the moment when he was gunned down on the balcony of the old Lorraine Motel on April 4, 1968. He was 39. Wednesday’s events followed a rousing celebration the night before of King’s “I’ve Been To the Mountaintop” speech at Memphis’ Mason Temple Church of God in Christ. He delivered this speech the night before he was assassinated. Inside the church, Bernice King called her older brother, Martin Luther King III, to join her in the pulpit, and she discussed the difficulty of publicly mourning their father — a man hated during his lifetime, now beloved around the world. “It’s important to see two of the children who lost their daddy 50 years ago to an assassin’s bullet,” said Bernice King, now 55. “But we kept going. Keep all of us in prayer as we continue the grieving process for a parent that we’ve had yet to bury.” The anniversary coincides with a resurgence of white supremacy, the continued shootings of unarmed black men and a parade of discouraging statistics on the lack of progress among black Americans on issues from housing to education to wealth. But rather than despair, the resounding message repeated at the church was one of resilience, resolve, and a renewed commitment to King’s legacy and unfinished work.
MEXICO STARTS GIVING CARAVAN MIGRANTS TRANSIT VISAS
MATIAS ROMERO, Mexico (AP) — The Mexican government began handing out transit or humanitarian visas to people in a caravan of Central American migrants, and said the procession of 1,000 or so migrants that drew criticism from President Donald Trump had begun to disperse. Some migrants who awoke at the camp Wednesday said they would try their luck at requesting asylum in the United States, others in Mexico. Elmer Gomez, 38, from eastern El Salvador, has been sleeping with his wife and three children aged 7, 13 and 14 on the soccer field under blankets as they wait for temporary transit visas from Mexico to continue to the US border. He hopes to request asylum and join relatives in New York. “We didn’t leave our countries just because we wanted to,” Gomez said. “It’s for the safety of our children.”
Like many, he had joined the caravan — which was never expected to be so big, and never planned to go all the way to the border — because there was safety in numbers. Now, the family faces the prospect of travelling solo; the caravan is scheduled to make its last stops this week at a migrants rights symposium in the central city of Puebla, and end in Mexico City.