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Civil rights organizations counter Justice Department’s attack on affirmative action

As millions of students return to school, the nation’s Justice Department (DOJ) is beginning an investigation that could potentially sue universities over affirmative action admissions policies. As first reported by the New York Times, Justice’s Civil Rights Division will carry out this effort to determine whether white applicants were discriminated against.

For Black people and other ethnic and racial minorities, this investigation seems like window-dressing to deny millions of students a quality education in the name of injustice. Such actions also signal a more subtle message is to roll back to the progress achieved in broadly affording students of all races and ethnicities the benefits that higher education derives. Among education and civil rights advocates a strong belief holds that everyone benefits when obstacles to educational opportunity are overcome.

“The American Dream offers each new generation the opportunity to build on the successes of previous ones,” wrote Nikitra Bailey, an executive vice president with the Center for Responsible Lending, in a related op-ed. “However, if you are African-American, the nation’s history of enslavement and legal bigotry consistently requires each generation to start anew.”

Bailey is correct.

Despite the vigilance of civil rights heroes over multiple generations, the heralded 1954 Supreme Court ruling in Brown v. Board of Education, or a series of 1960s laws that were enacted to guarantee full and first-class citizenship to every Black American, even more work remains to be done before everyone is afforded the promises of America.

It’s been several years since the anti-affirmation action crusade took its venomous campaign to states across the country. Beginning in California in 1996 and continuing through 2010, Ward Connerly, a former University of California Regent, led a series of statewide campaigns to constitutionally ban affirmative action in Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Washington State. Regardless of the state, the goal was always the same: make it illegal for public colleges and universities to include consideration of race or ethnicity in college admissions.

Only in Colorado was the effort turned back by voters. In all of the other locales, the measure passed with broad support, often despite many business and corporate leaders joining with civil rights advocates in opposition.

For example, prior to the November 2006 Proposal 2 ballot vote in Michigan, Paul Hillegonds, a white Republican and former Speaker of the State House, helped to lead a statewide coalition of more than 200 organizations pledged to defeat the measure.

“If it passes, we are announcing to the world that women and minorities will not be given an equal opportunity to succeed in business in our state,” said Hillegonds. “This is the wrong message to send at a time when we are trying to attract new businesses and develop a talented, multicultural workforce ready to meet the demands of the 21st Century economy.”

State approved bans on affirmative action in higher education also led to fewer Black students in the University of California system as well as at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor.

Today the real difference between then and now is that the U.S. Justice Department is resuming a fight for the preservation of white privilege that is armed with resources and personnel that taxpayers of all colors provide.

“President Trump’s Justice Department has hardly been worthy of its name,” said Sherrilynn A. Ifill, president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund. “It has retreated from meaningful police reform, argued on behalf of state laws that suppress minority voting rights, directed prosecutors to seek harsh sentences for nonviolent drug offenses, and extended the federal government’s power to seize the property of innocent Americans.”

“Each of these steps disproportionately and systematically burdens people of color, denying them their constitutional rights and widening the racial divides that this country has struggled for so long to close,” continued Ifill.

The United States Supreme Court recently affirmed the use of affirmative action in admissions decisions in Fisher v. University of Texas. In that ruling, the importance of diversity as a compelling state interest was affirmed as settled law. The decision was also a victory for equal opportunity and recognized again that it is critical for schools to create diverse and inclusive student bodies.

As the cost of higher education tends to increase every year, students of color are the ones most likely to go into debt in search of a degree that will deliver a middle class standard of living. Even four years after graduation, Black college graduates earning a bachelor’s degree owe almost double the debt of their white classmates, according to CRL research.

“The U.S. Justice Department must enforce inclusive educational policies as they open the doors of opportunity for all,” said Bailey.


State Grid Operators Prepared to Manage Power Flows During Solar Eclipse

The Southland will experience a partial solar eclipse on Aug. 21 that will affect Southern California Edison’s service territory, obscuring 58 to 76 percent of the sun’s light for about three hours in the morning (9 a.m.-noon).

That may sound like it will substantially darken the sky, but the effect will be more like a cloudy or overcast day and should not impact the daily activities of Southland residents.

But for the California Independent System Operator staff responsible for balancing the flow of power on the state’s electrical grid, planning for the event began months ago.

Grid operators, including those at SCE, are prepared to manage the effects of the eclipse on the state’s solar power production. About 10 percent of the power SCE provides to customers comes from solar and the utility has more than 230,000 customers with solar panels on their homes or business.

“One of the advantages of being a national leader in the amount of solar energy connected to the grid is that our operators are experienced with dealing with fluctuations in solar power production due to weather conditions, such as stormy or cloudy weather,” said Paul Grigaux, SCE vice president of Transmission Substations and Operations. “SCE expects no operational issues with our system due to the eclipse, and we have accounted for the anticipated reductions in solar production in our forecasts and planning for the day.”

California has long been a leader in solar production and the system operator expects the reduction in the sun’s light to reduce the output of commercial solar power plants in the state and create a roughly 6,000-megawatt shortfall relative to a normal day — an amount that could power a large city.

To compensate, the independent system operator and utilities will balance the state’s energy needs by adding power generated by hydroelectric and natural gas plants and customers should not notice any effect during the eclipse. SCE operators will complement the effort within its system in Southern California.'

Balancing the system can be approached both by adding power and reducing electricity demand, and conservation always benefits the system and customers. The state grid operator has not asked customers to conserve in anticipation of the eclipse, but to be prepared for circumstances that may require a Flex Alert. Flex Alerts ask customers to voluntarily conserve energy to help ease pressure on the system.

We expect that the eclipse will have a minimal impact on the SCE transmission and distribution systems and that the CAISO will have adequate resources available, so this is an event we can both manage,” said Grigaux. “Most importantly, customers should not notice any difference in their service. Providing safe, clean, reliable energy is what we strive for every day in managing the grid.”


Family of Perry Galloway Jr. of Wheeling Files Lawsuit Against Ohio Highway Patrol

Publishers Corner - Clifton Harris - Publisher of The San Bernardino AMERICAN News - Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

WHEELING — On March 31, 2015, Perry Galloway Jr. was traveling home to Wheeling after visiting his fiancée in Columbus when Ohio Highway Patrol Trooper Stephen Roe pulled him over on Interstate 70 in Guernsey County for a sudden lane change.

During the traffic stop, which is documented in its entirety from Roe’s dashcam video, Galloway informed the trooper he was not feeling well. Roe insisted Galloway was in possession of illegal drugs, and called for back-up to help him search the vehicle.

Galloway, who informed troopers he was diabetic and had heart stents in place, was put in the back of Roe’s cruiser while Roe and troopers Scott W. Bayless and Gregory A. Mamula searched his vehicle. About two hours later, Galloway had a seizure while still in the back of the cruiser and died shortly thereafter.

Those details and others are outlined in a federal lawsuit filed earlier this month by Galloway’s family against Roe, Bayless and Mamula in federal court in Columbus. The family alleges the troopers failed to provide proper care for Galloway during a medical emergency.

Galloway was a former president of the Wheeling NAACP who spent much of his adult life working for the betterment of the Wheeling area.

According to police records, Roe said Galloway provided his brother’s name rather than his own when stopped that day and that there was a warrant for him on file from Belmont County.

Wheeling attorney Jeffrey Grove, who is representing the Galloway family, said when Roe stopped Galloway’s vehicle, the trooper insisted Galloway was in possession of illegal drugs. Despite Galloway’s insistence he did not have illegal drugs and that he was not feeling well, Grove said officers placed Galloway in the cruiser while using a drug dog to search his vehicle.

Grove said he believes Galloway was confused when being questioned and the dash video shows he had slurred speech.

Galloway told troopers he was a diabetic and had heart stents in place. They asked him if he was OK or if he needed a snack. They allowed him to have his bag that contained his medication. Galloway reportedly administered insulin and nitro glycerin tablets while in the cruiser. A short time later, Roe opened the cruiser door and asked Galloway if he was feeling better. Galloway responded: “Yes, lots better.”

However, Grove said Galloway was in the back of the cruiser for several more minutes when he began to suffer a seizure. He said when troopers turned their attention back to the cruiser, Galloway was sweating and complaining of pain. The video shows Bayless approaching the cruiser, saying, “We’ll get you a squad and then you go to jail after you have the squad, but you’re not going to get out of that, OK?” he said.

Perry, we have a warrant for your arrest out of Belmont County,” Roe said. It was for failure to appear in a traffic case.

Galloway then appeared to be unconscious. Officers removed him from the cruiser, placed him on the ground and called an ambulance. Roe is shown tapping Galloway on the face and saying, “Perry. C’mon buddy, don’t do this” when he was on the ground and unresponsive.

When medical personnel arrived on the scene, Roe told them Galloway may have ingested illegal drugs. The ambulance arrived at 12:04 p.m. and left 10 minutes later for the Southeastern Ohio Regional Medical Center in Cambridge, where Galloway was pronounced dead at 12:27 p.m.

Grove said troopers are trained in CPR and other basic first aid, yet they did not render any physical assistance to Galloway. “When you watch the video and see the failure of those officers to provide any aid to Perry, it’s totally unacceptable,” Grove said. “They did not find any illegal drugs in his car or in his system after the autopsy. They were so wrapped up in finding drugs that they failed to pay attention to Perry when he needed medical attention.”

Grove said Galloway’s children were extremely angry after viewing the video and wanted to make sure the same thing doesn’t happen to someone else.

Some family members still cannot bring themselves to view the video. Galloway’s daughter, Chaundraya Goodwin, filed the lawsuit on behalf of the family.

The Ohio Attorney General’s office said it had not yet received a copy of the lawsuit and had no comment.

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