What happens when police violate your ‘right to remain silent’?

On June 22, the Supreme Court decided that people cannot sue police officers for failing to read them their Miranda rights before questioning. Former Department of Justice attorney and author Michelle Coles explains how this decision limits protection and connects to the Third Klu Klux Klan Act.

Rep. Jones pushes bill to extend early voting

A bill to extend early voting from seven to 10 days during presidential elections was approved unanimously by a House committee Wednesday, March 5. Rep. Frederick Jones, D-Monroe, offered his bill after the record voter turnout in the 2020 presidential election. Louisiana saw over 2.1 million people vote in November, and 986,000 of them voted … Continue reading

Don’t make another mistake, Snoop Dogg, read the ballot

Intense get-out-the-vote momentum is growing for November third, the day we Americans will cast our votes and “claim” who we want to serve as our 46th president. For first time voters like rapper Snoop Dogg who mistakenly believed he was not eligible to vote, the day has more significance than many media are reporting since many states have multiple races on their ballots. In Louisiana, each vote will critically impact city councils, judgeships, and the state constitution. First time voters will make a difference. But, do they understand that? And will they read the ballot? Organizations like the Baker-Zachary Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated, Power Coalition for Equity and Justice, and PAR Louisiana have released voter info and are hosting forums to help voters understand amendments.

School to prison pipeline can be dismantled says juvenile judge

pencils as prison bars

The statistics are clear. During the 2018-2019 school year, nearly 95% of East Baton Rouge Parish Schools students suspended out-of-school were Black as was 89.4% of students with in-school suspensions. The overwhelming majority of them are males. In a school district with a 78.1% Black student population, 92.7% of the students referred to law enforcement from … Continue reading

Separate, unequal, and dismal: Urban League rekindles leaders’ commitments to improve public schools 

The Urban League of Louisiana released an equity report examining the quality of Baton Rouge public schools and identifying gaps in outcomes, access, and excellence. Calling the findings “dismal” and “concerning,” several education stakeholders were present at the McKinley Alumni Center for a press conference and panel discussion to present data from the Advancing Educational … Continue reading

Louisiana legislators look to expand ‘Payday’ lending, harming borrowers

Legislators are voting on a bill to expand predatory lending in Louisiana by allowing payday and car title lenders to issue “installment loans” with annual interest rates of up to 167 percent. Policy analysts with the Louisiana Budget Project said the bill will considerable harm vulnerable borrowers getting loans they can not afford. The bill is scheduled for final passage in the Senate on April, 16, 2018.

Louisiana’s non-unanimous jury law: an instrument of mass incarceration

There’s evidence that non-unanimous juries contribute to wrongful convictions, mass incarceration and the marginalization of women and minorities.The impact is tantamount..and it is our collective duty, “with a force that is irresistible,” to crumble into ruin this unjust system. writes Angela Allen-Bell, JD.

Seating Black judges: Supreme Court finds intentional discrimination in Terrebonne parish

Plaintiffs filed the lawsuit to force the creation of a majority-Black single-member district that will provide them and other Black voters in Terrebonne with a chance to have a say-so as to who serves them on the 32nd JDC.

Baton Rouge Councilman’s use of slur is an attempt to intimidate, bully

” ‘Gang-bangers’ and the more common ‘thug’ are racist pejoratives for Black men, part of an attempt to deem them unworthy of Constitutional protections, human decency, or justice,”  writes Christopher Tyson, LSU law professor, “As a spokesperson for the Union of Police, (Metro Councilman John Delgado’s) actions carry the imprimatur of law enforcement.  Therefore they can only be read as a cheap attempt to intimidate and bully.” 

Movin’ on Up in Louisiana–or Not

Economic mobility is the ability for someone to go from low or no income to middle income in one lifetime, or for the next generation to earn money at a higher tax bracket. This is the essence of the American Dream. However, today it is more difficult for young adults to surpass their parent’s socioeconomic … Continue reading

Losing healthcare access, Medicaid expansion too risky for Louisiana

Many of the gains that have been made over the last few years are on the verge of being lost. In order to ensure that our state continues to move forward in providing access to healthcare for all of its residents, we must take action now prior to the U.S. Senate vote.

Dear Governor Edwards, TOPS has become an entitlement for rich Louisianans

“Dear Governor, Doling out tax dollars to students who can’t demonstrate a financial need isn’t responsible. It amounts to a tax break for upper-income parents.” writes Andre Perry, PhD.

Madam Mayor: Meet the Black female mayors of Louisiana

“This class of Black women mayors represents the single largest group to serve the state simultaneously,” said Vernon “Step” Martin, president of the Louisiana Municipal Black Caucus Association.

COMMENTARY: Has the Electoral College outlived its usefulness?

Has the Electoral College outlived its usefulness? “No!”  The Electoral College was one of many foresighted policies that the Founding Fathers established though the U.S. Constitution..  How to choose a president through a delicate balance of the individual states and the federal government and between the Executive and Legislative branches of government was the challenge.  … Continue reading

General Honore’ says ‘Do a gut check’, Louisiana deserves better leaders

Throughout the 2015 legislative session you could find U.S Army Retired Lt. General Russel L. Honore in the political trenches explaining to legislators and citizens the results of environmental policies on the state. In his most aggressive stance, Honore started the GREENArmy, an alliance of citizend and groups focused on environmental policies. Today, (July 1) … Continue reading

Called to fight, serve, and minister

When the issues of the Black community arise, so do the clergy.  Whether they don the title of pastor, reverend, bishop, apostle, prophet or evangelist, they all play a significant role in the culture of Black leadership.  The most recognized in Louisiana are the Rev. Ted Jameson, Rev. CS Gordon, Rev. Joe Green, and more … Continue reading

Louisiana NAACP sends call to action: ‘Baton Rouge, Show up Thursday, July 17’

While the Baton Rouge parent group One Community One School District is encouraging residents to attend a discussion on the harmful effects of School Board Redistricting at 6:30 tonight in the Goodwood Library’s large conference room, the state’s NAACP has a CALL TO ACTION for the community to show up tomorrow at 4:15pm at the school board … Continue reading

Jackson’s anti-abortion bill to become law

Governor Jindal recently went to social media to show support for HB388 by State Representative Katrina Jackson (D-Monroe). HB388, called the anti-abortion bill, received overwhelming support. The bill could result in effectively shut down four of the state’s five abortion clinics by requiring physicians who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals–among other … Continue reading

Bishop wins House Appropriations seat

State Representative Wesley Bishop (D-New Orleans) has won election to the House Appropriations Committee to represent the 2nd Congressional District.   Bishop, who serves as First Vice Chair of the Louisiana Legislative Black Caucus,  takes the seat vacated by former Rep. Jared Brossett (D-New Orleans), who resigned his seat in the House following his election … Continue reading

Speak up! Change La. education laws

BRAC seeks public input  With three weeks left to file new legislation for this year’s session, the Baton Rouge Area Chamber of  Commerce is seeking community input to help develop a new governance structure for the East Baton Rouge Public School System. The Chamber is planning to write education legislation that would primarily shift governing … Continue reading

NAACP applauds Obama decision to commute drug sentences

Statement from Sherrilyn A. Ifill, President and Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. “The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. applauds President Obama’s decision Dec. 19th to commute the sentences of eight people currently serving extraordinarily inflated prison terms for nonviolent crack cocaine offenses. The President’s ability to commute sentences is an extraordinary … Continue reading

Food stamp cuts to hit 920,000 Louisianans

Women need to speak up on state policies by Nov. 1

An Open Letter from State Representative Karen St. Germain In a recent report released by the Center for American Progress titled “The State of Women in America,” Louisiana was given an “F” and ranked 50th (dead last) among all states in an overall ranking on issues regarding economics, leadership and health for women based on … Continue reading

Voter registration deadline Sept. 18

Secretary of State Tom Schedler is reminding Louisianians that the deadline to register to vote in the upcoming Oct. 19 municipal and 5th Congressional District elections is fast approaching. Wednesday, Sept. 18 is the last day to register for citizens who have never registered to vote as well as voters who would like to make … Continue reading

Rep. Richmond, others call for investigation into Angola, Wade, Hunt prison facilities

In a July 12, 2013, letter to the US Department of Justice, Congressmen Cedric Richmond, John Conyers Jr., Jerrold Nadler, and Bobby Scott called for investigation into several Louisiana prison facilities. They express deep concern that the Louisiana Department of Corrections has, “engaged in a pattern or practice of violations of the United States Constitution … Continue reading

Who are you nominating for the Drum Newspaper’s Five Under 35 Leadership Award?

DEADLINE: AUGUST 31, 2013 The Drum Newspaper’s most prestigious Five Under 35 recognition awards is now taking nominations for Baton Rouge’s and Ponchatoula’s five, up-and-coming industry leaders under the age of 35. This award celebrates the depth of talent within the Black community including rising stars of entertainment to successful non-profit leaders. In order to … Continue reading

An Open Letter from Louisiana Clergy to Governor Bobby Jindal

Dear Governor Jindal, We, the undersigned members of the Louisiana Clergy, are writing to express our deep concern about the tax proposal you are proposing for the upcoming legislative session. We serve in many different faith traditions, across a broad spectrum of people and communities in this State. As diverse as these traditions may be, … Continue reading

Ivey, Stokes receive committee assignments

The House of Representatives announced that newly elected representatives Julie Stokes, R-Kenner, representing district 79, and Barry Ivey, R-Central, representing district 65, have received their House committee assignments.    Stokes has been appointed to the House Ways and Means committee, the Health and Welfare Committee, and the Labor and Industrial Relations Committee.    Ivey has … Continue reading

Do voting rights ‘perpetuate racial entitlement’; Justice said yes

Open Letter from the NAACP I’m trying to keep my cool here. It no longer surprises me when extremist state legislators try to restrict our voting rights. I don’t like it and we fight against it, but I’m no longer surprised by it. What surprises and outrages me is that yesterday a Supreme Court Justice … Continue reading

Barrow’s bus ride, walk demonstrate citizens’ struggle to access healthcare

State Representative Regina Barrow, D-Baton Rouge, took her opinion on access to healthcare to the streets of North Baton Rouge. Earlier today, Barrow stood outside the Earl K. Long Medical Center, 5825 Airline Highway, in 40degree weather and waited to catch the Capital Area Transit System bus. She head to the new Women’s Hospital, 9637 Jefferson Highway,  … Continue reading

With Cleve Dunn Jr., it’s a Done Deal

For those who have had Cleve as part of their political or business team, two things are certain: when he’s in, he’s all in; and when he’s in, it’s a Dunn deal.

Melissa Harris-Perry to Bobby Jindal: ‘You Don’t Seem To Give A Damn’

Tulane Professor and Weekend Host Melissa Harris Perry Calls Out Jindal in MSNBC ‘Letter’ (Melissa Harris-Perry is host of MSNBC’s “Melissa Harris-Perry.” The show airs on Saturdays and Sundays from 9 AM to 11 AM Central Time. Harris-Perry is also professor of political science at Tulane University, where she is founding director of the Anna … Continue reading

Parents, public invited to Glen Oaks High 6:30pm tonight

Superintendent Taylor Seeks Input for Region Changes Community leaders, parents, faculty, and students of East Baton Rouge schools met this week to offer suggestions on Superintendent Bernard Taylor’s plans to provide public school choice options. Taylor held meetings with residents in the neighborhoods surrounding Capitol High and Scotlandville High and Woodlawn High School. In short, … Continue reading

Excessive Phone Fees Cost SPLC $3,000 to Communicate with Clients

NEW ORLEANS – The director of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s (SPLC) Louisiana office, Katie Schwartzmann, will testify before the Louisiana Public Service Commission Thursday about the excessive phone call fees telephone companies charge to communicate with Louisiana inmates – fees that are 15 times higher than charges for similar calls made outside of jails … Continue reading

BESE’s Carolyn Hill on quest to mend school reform efforts

When Carolyn Hill ran to become a member of the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, she championed school reform. Last year, while campaigning to replace Linda Johnson, Hill told Swagher Magazine she had the combination needed to make a difference. “We need strong voices on BESE to champion the needs of the children, … Continue reading

Black leadership lost in minimal work; we need more

It’s election season again and it’s our duty as American citizens to choose our leaders wisely; therefore, we must all ask ourselves “what makes a true leader?” Defining a leader is a difficult task nowadays. From my personal observation, it seems our current leaders are only celebrities that attend or organize community service events. What … Continue reading

Johnson prevails to become first black chief justice

Amid push back by Gov. Jindal, other justices, court rules NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The Louisiana Supreme Court resolved a racially-tinged power struggle inside its own ranks, ruling today that Bernette Johnson should be the state’s first Black chief justice. The court said its ruling was based strictly on the law. “Although commentators have loudly … Continue reading

Popular blogger and social justice advocate will speak at SU, Oct. 18

Michael Skolnik, co-founder and editor-in-chief of GlobalGrind.com and political director for hip-hop pioneer Russell Simmons, will speak at Southern University. The popular blogger, activist, and social justice advocate will bring his message of structural racism and insight on current topics to SU October 18, 2012, in the Global Communications Room, T. T. Allain Hall, in … Continue reading

Rep. Jackson has ‘serious concerns’ about changes to school grading system, mid-year implementation

MONROE, LA–At the beginning of the school year this August, the Louisiana Department of Education proposed changes to the formula used to grade our public schools. These changes are scheduled to be approved by the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education during its October 15-17, 2012, meeting. The changes, if approved, will not be delayed … Continue reading

Candidates retain EBR council seats

East Baton Rouge metro council members Trae Welch, District 1, and Ronnie Edwards, District 5, will retain their seats another term following their opponents’ decision to withdraw from the race. Metro Council candidate Twahna Harris agreed to withdraw from the District 1 race as part of a settlement reached in state District Court with Welch … Continue reading

President Obama’s Remarks to the 2012 Democratic National Convention

The choice you face won’t be just between two candidates or two parties. It will be a choice between two different paths for America. 

State NAACP leaders hear economic, education concerns

The Louisiana NAACP held a statewide meeting in Baton Rouge, Saturday, August 18, in Baton Rouge. Chapter leaders representing nearly two dozen parishes voiced their support for Louisiana Supreme Court Justice Bernette Johnson to become the new Chief Justice and the importance for voter registration for the upcoming presidential election. State Representative Pat Smith and … Continue reading

Community writer experiences Jackson-Jefferson dinner

By Mada McDonald NEW ORLEANS—Nearly 2,500 people gathered at the Hyatt Regency Hotel here for the Louisiana Democrats 2012 Jefferson-Jackson and Lifetime Achievement Awards Dinner, Saturday, August 4, 2012.  There were about twenty-five hundred people in attendance.   Party chair Senator Karen Carter Peterson gave the welcome followed by prayer and pledge.  Mayor Mitch Landrieu, … Continue reading

President signs executive order to improve educational outcomes for African Americans

Less than 24 hours after he announced it at the National Urban League conference in New Orleans, President Obama has signed an Executive Order today aimed at improving outcomes and advance educational opportunities for African Americans. The President has made providing a complete and competitive education for all Americans – from cradle to career – … Continue reading

Guidry to run for Louisiana Supreme Court District 5

Appellate Court Judge John Michael Guidry has announced his candidacy for District 5 Seat on the Louisiana Supreme Court, which is being vacated due to the impending retirement of Chief Justice Kitty Kimball. District 5 includes five parishes: East and West Baton Rouge, East and West Feliciana, Pointe Coupee, Iberville, Ascension, and Livingston. For 15 … Continue reading

Johnson is rightful chief justice of La. Supreme Court, Urban League says

By The New Orleans Tribune NEW YORK—–National Urban League President and CEO Marc H. Morial today said that the seniority of Louisiana Supreme Court Associate Justice Bernette Johnson is clear, and any effort to deny her the position of Chief justice would violate a federal consent decree, the Voting Rights Act and the civil rights … Continue reading

June 29 deadline to apply for private school vochures

As part of the Louisiana Believes plan for increased student achievement, the Louisiana Department of Education announced the list of nonpublic and high-performing public schools that applied for and are approved to participate in the Louisiana Scholarship Program during the 2012-2013 school year. Parents can apply for their children to receive vochures to attend nonpublic … Continue reading

Councilwoman to host District 6 Community Meeting, June 7

Councilwoman Donna Collins-Lewis will host a District 6 Community Meeting on Thursday, June 7, 6pm at Gloryland Baptist Church original location at 2575 Michelli Drive. All District 6 constituents and community stakeholders are invited to attend. District 6 is roughly bounded by North Foster Dr. to the west, North Flannery Road to the east, Choctaw … Continue reading

Officials say budget cuts ‘detrimental’ to SU System

The Southern University and A&M College System–America’s only historically Black college and university system, an asset vital to the state of Louisiana and to the nation–will be devastated by the proposed budget cuts currently being considered by the Louisiana Legislature. The Southern University System would be cut nearly $19 million dollars in state funds, almost … Continue reading

What is the purpose of Jindal’s education reform agenda?

What exactly is the purpose of public education? Gov. Bobby Jindal’s sweeping education package has introduced a litany of policy initiatives, slogans, and ideas that have flown over the public’s head faster than it did through the House and Senate education committees. As the general public literally waits for whatever falls in our collective laps, … Continue reading