Archive for the ‘Justice’ Category

Posted: March 15, 2012 in Education, Justice, Legal, Race, Social

Like President Obama, I too believe education is the most important civil rights issue of our generation. I totally agree, as he stated at the 2009 NAACP convention, “there’s a reason the story of the civil rights movement was written in our schools….It’s because there is no stronger weapon against inequality and no better path to opportunity than an education that can unlock a child’s God-given potential.” It is especially important that members of our African-American communities receive and clearly understand this important information.

What is so refreshing is that under the direction President Obama’s and Education Sec. Arnie Duncan, Attorney Russlynn Ali as Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Education has substantially increased the enforcement of all anti-discrimination laws that relate to education — including the unprecedented step of proactively opening 60 investigations based on the agency’s own research, utilized and made accessible specific data to highlight areas of concern, and allowed individual states to be rewarded for innovation and accountability by receiving federal grants through the President’s Race to the Top program.

In other words, President Obama put his “money where his mouth was.” I applaud him and his staff, including Russlynn Ali and do not believe this administration is getting enough positive attention for their steadfast protection of the right to quality education in this nation.

In America

Editor’s note: Russlynn Ali is the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education.  She was a teacher, an attorney and worked at the Children’s Defense Fund, and she has also taught law at the University of Southern California Law Center.  Ali was appointed to the Department of Education by President Barack Obama in 2009.

By Russlynn Ali, Special to CNN

(CNN) — If a society based on the ideal of fundamental equality is to fulfill its promise, it cannot afford to look away when confronted with stark inequity.  Last week, the Department of Education released a trove of data from Part II of the Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC), a self-reported survey of more than 72,000 schools that serve 85 percent of the nation’s students.

The findings demand our attention.

This survey quantified how school resources are distributed in schools and districts; whether in…

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Looking forward to presenting Friday February 10, 2012 at 2pm at the Black Law Student Rocky Mountain Conference at the Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Renaissance Hotel.  My goal is to inform, inspire, and empower these law students from Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas, Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming that they can  start and run a successful legal practice. 

Mia you inspire me with you passion and compassion, and I thanks you for showing the rest of us that the truest measure of wealth is not in dollars and cents, but in lives touch and helped!

http://www.tulsapeople.com/Tulsa-People/February-2012/Cause-for-change/

Had a blessed time last night giving the keynote for Oklahoma City University’s annual MLK Celebration.  The lively crowd included former United States 10th Circuit Court of Appeals Chief Judge and current Oklahoma City University president Robert Henry, hip-hop star Kanye West’s grandfather (pictured right and who participated in the nation’s first ever sit-in), and prominent Oklahoma City attorney/CPA Jeff Trevillion.

I was especially blessed with the impressive young people that performed and attended.   Without a doubt, they were extremely talented, but it was their sincere humility and willingness to serve the community and their passion for seeing the true legacy of Dr. King that pleased me most.    I truly believe that for many of them they will move truly move “Beyond the Dream” and truly get to know and work toward Dr. King’s vision and desire for a nation that has a “radical redistribution of wealth and economic power” so that everyone has access to adequate food, water, shelter, education, health, and opportunities!

On thursday  it was reported that, 1 in 2 Americans live in poverty or is considered low income.  It’s sad and frankly unbelievable that the United States of America is quickly becoming a country of extreme haves and have-nots.

 Our country must get serious about creating and implementing policies that create a more just, equitable, and prosperous society for EVERYONE.

This is the only way that we will be able to continue to be the beacon of hope and opportunity that has  been an essential element in the development of our nation.  Further, if our citizens lose their belief in the ability to achieve  their American dream our society will quickly lose the relative stability it has enjoyed for so long.

The economic reality is that every year Big Time D-1 football and basketball programs continue to earn more and more revenue.   Without a doubt, the more the revenue increases, the more egregious the exploitation of the on-field participants becomes.  Worse as the universities and the NCAA continue to reap  increased revenue (in 2008  the NCAA’s March Madness  alone brought the NCAA $636.2 million in revenue in 2008.).  The so-called student athletes whose labor generates the billions of dollars in revenue continue to get poorer and poorer.

In fact according to the seminal study “The Price of Poverty in Big Time College Sports” (Huma and Staurowsky) the average D-1 “full ride scholarship” student-athletes actually owe $3222.00 annually to the university to their university.   In fact, Huma and Staurowsky further explained that 85% on D-1 “full scholarship” student-athletes live below the U.S. poverty line.  For those athletes that actually stay off campus the numbers actually increases to 86%” that have the so-called “full ride scholarships.”  C’mon, how can 8 out 10 student-athletes live below the poverty line, while the average D-1 football and basketball coach easily makes more than 1 million dollars!

How does the NCAA respond to this fact of poverty and average $3220.00 annual scholarship deficit?  The NCAA authorizes universities to provide scholarship athletes up to $2000.00 additional dollars a year to cover the $3222.00  average deficit. This so-called reform is a joke and  absurdly stupid on two fronts: 1) it does not cover the known deficit; and 2) the additional $2000.00 is optional at the Universities discretion.  In other words, the NCAA ha made it clear the that the sharecropping punk-feast system is still in play for Universities (although i believe that most BCS schools would gladly pay their players just compensation, but that’s for another time to discuss) and the NCAA

The good news is the veil of secrecy is rapidly being stripped away from the NCAA’s oppressive and exploitative system, and just like every other oppressive regime it will have to substantially  reform or be swept away completely.

Last night  Xavier’s Kenny Frease (#32), was sucker punched by Cincinnati’s   Yancy Gates (#34) and then stomped in the head while he was on the ground by #13 Cheikh Mbodj.  Both Gates and Mbodj have been suspended for six (6) games, and both of their actions are regrettable.  However, I believe that Mbodj’s actions were much more egregious than Gates. In fact,  I consider Mbodj’s kicking Frease in the head as he lay defenseless on the ground thug like behavior and  has absolutely NO place in college athletics.  Due to the attacks, Frease (pictured below) sustained a badly bloodied black-eye. 

Now please know that i have been involved with on-field fights and brawls during my time playing at Univ. of Oklahoma (like the infamous  1998 TCU v. OU), and understand how emotions can get the best of you quickly during high level competition.  This is why  eventhough I think he deserves more, I can live with six (6) games for Gates since he was actually on the court when the fight started. However, for Mbodji to unnecessarily come off the bench to commit an intentional battery (unlawful touching of another) has to be strongly condemned and punished to send a message of strict  intolerance for such behavior.

Therefore, I believe Mbodji’s actions actually warrants a full season’s suspension, mandatory anger management training, and he should be found civilly liable (ordered to pay the medical bills and pain and suffering) for injuring Xavier’s Kenny Frease (#32).

Lastly, just because this attack occurred in the context of a college basketball game,  make no mistake about it, Mbodji’s actions were criminal.  However, I do not  advocate for criminal charges against Mbodj because I think he could learn from this mistake without the “scarlett letter” and prevention of life opportunities  that a criminal record brings.  But, once Mbodji is reinstated he should be on a very “short lease.”