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Southern Poverty Law Center Files Federal Lawsuit
Southern Poverty Law Center Files Federal Lawsuit Targeting Use of Mace on Birmingham Schoolchildren
Congressional Civil Rights Scorecard Released

Congressional Civil Rights Scorecard Released: How Did Your Member of Congress Measure Up?

For Immediate Release
Contact: Scott Westbrook Simpson, 202.466.2061,
October 28, 2010

civil rigthts report cardWASHINGTON  – The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights today released vote ratings for every member of the 111th Congress. The Voting Record, which has been published for every Congress since 1969, reflects positions taken by every senator and representative on the legislative priorities of The Leadership Conference and its 200 coalition members.

Members of Congress were graded on forty House and Senate votes addressing hate crimes, economic recovery, fair pay for women, the repeal of "don't ask ,don't tell", health care, fair sentencing, DC voting rights, key judicial confirmations, and other coalition priorities.

Overall, the ratings show that 217 House members and 50 senators – or 48 percent of Congress – supported The Leadership Conference's priorities on 90 percent or more of the votes. The ratings also show that 136 House members and 32 senators – or 35 percent of Congress – supported The Leadership Conference's position on only 10 percent or fewer of the votes. The Leadership Conference's Voting Record is neither an endorsement nor condemnation of any member of Congress.

The publication of the Voting Record is accompanied by the Fall 2010 edition of the Civil Rights Monitor, a narrative and journalistic review of the year's civil and human rights developments. This edition reviews the state of play on immigration reform, crack and powder cocaine sentencing disparities, LGBT civil rights, the jobs crisis, and other significant issues.

"This is a Congress that will be remembered for making tremendous progress on a number of issues important to the civil and human rights community, but also one that could have accomplished so much more, were it not for an unprecedented increase in the use of filibusters and other tactics to stop important legislation and highly qualified executive and judicial nominees," said Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.

"When Congress returns to work in November, we are hopeful that senators and representatives will seize the opportunity to build a positive legacy by filling dozens of critical federal judgeships, passing the Paycheck Fairness Act and the DREAM Act, and strengthening our military by repealing the discriminatory and counterproductive 'don't ask, don't tell' policy," Henderson said.

To find out how your Representative and Senator voted, view the Voting Record on The Leadership Conference's website at

The Civil Rights Monitor can be downloaded from The Leadership Conference's website at

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 200 national organizations to promote and protect the rights of all persons in the United States. The Leadership Conference works toward an America as good as its ideals. For more information on The Leadership Conference and its 200-plus member organizations, visit

Time Magazine Names NAACP President to “40 Under 40” List
Time Magazine Names NAACP President to “40 Under 40” List

Ben_Jealous( - NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous has been selected as one of TIME’s “40 Under 40 - Rising Stars of U.S. Politics.” Here’s what they had to say:

The youngest-ever leader of the civil rights organization, Jealous, 37, is steering the NAACP through an era marked by both the election of the first African-American President and rising racial tension, including a spat between the Tea Party movement and Jealous himself. He helped organize a Washington rally this month for a coalition of progressive groups he calls "the antidote" to the Tea Party.

To read Time's interview with President Jealous, please visit this link.

View the full list here:



Tobacco Giants in Push to Increase Cigarette Sales to Africans
Special to the Trice Edney Wire from GIN

Smoking_Child(GIN) -  As anti-smoking campaigns backed by higher taxes take hold in U.S. cities and around the world, “big tobacco” has turned its eye toward Africa.
Tobacco consumption will double in the next 12 to 13 years in sub-Saharan Africa, predicts Evan Blecher, a South African economist with the American Cancer Society, without major policy interventions.
“As income rises, so does tobacco consumption (nearly on a one-to-one basis) and developing countries are growing rapidly, China and India are growing at more than 8 percent a year and the average economic growth in Africa is 5 percent a year.”
Still, an anti-smoking movement is pushing back. Kenya and Niger have enforced national smoke-free policies, and South Africa, which has had smoke-free laws on the books since March 2007, “continues to play an important role in the region, demonstrating that smoke-free laws can work in Africa”, notes the  report:  Global Voices: Rebutting the Tobacco Industry, Winning Smokefree Air.
This week, activists with the Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria plan to release a report from the tobacco industry watchdog-Corporate Accountability International - presenting new evidence of persistent efforts by the tobacco industry to obstruct the FCTC on the African continent.
‘Protecting Against Tobacco Industry Interference’ will be released at this week’s World Health Organization's Convention on Tobacco Control in Punta del Este, Uruguay.
Meanwhile, a lawsuit is set to go to trial in a Boston court, accusing Lorillard Tobacco Co. of enticing black children to become smokers by handing out free samples in urban neighborhoods.
The plaintiff, Willie Evans, alleges that the firm used an illegal marketing strategy to get his mother to begin smoking Newport cigarettes at age 9, which led to a lifelong addiction and her death to cancer.
The giveaways in urban neighborhoods were "designed to attract African-American children and teenagers and to place cigarettes in their hands," the lawsuit states. The company admits to the free handouts but denies it ever offered them to children in a playground.
Alabama Case Threatens ‘Heart’ of Voting Rights Act
NAACP LDF Prepares to Fight Constitutional Challenge
Special to Trice Edney Wire from the Defenders Online

Voting_Rights_Sign(New York) – Yesterday the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF filed a brief in Shelby County, Alabama v. Holder, a case challenging the constitutionality of two core provisions of the Voting Rights Act. The law requires jurisdictions with a history of discrimination to have voting changes reviewed by the U.S. Department of Justice or D.C. District Court to ensure they are free from discrimination.
LDF’s brief asks the District Court for the District of Columbia to deny Alabama’s motion for summary judgment –which seeks to have the Section 5 preclearance provision declared unconstitutional based on recycled arguments that have been rejected previously. Instead, LDF asks the court to grant its motion for summary judgment on the grounds that a detailed Congressional record demonstrates that ongoing discrimination remains pervasive in those states and jurisdictions around the country where Section 5 applies.
Denny's/Magic Johnson Foundation Scholarships
Denny’s Partners with the Magic Johnson Foundation
to Provide Scholarships to Minority College Students

AprilMagicEarvin “Magic” Johnson, chairman and founder of the Magic Johnson Foundation, poses with April Kelly-Drummond, director of Corporate Diversity for Denny’s, at the12th Annual Taylor Michael’s Scholarship Program Conference in Los Angeles, hosted by the Magic Johnson Foundation. Under the theme the “Executive in You,” this year’s four-day program provided an opportunity to celebrate, educate, entertain and empower 100 students from around the country. Denny’s Corporation donated $20,000 towards student scholarships and hosted fundraising events at local restaurants.

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