Top 5 News You Can Use - July12, 2016

Tuesday, July 12, 2016



National Urban League 10-Point Justice Plan

The National Urban League has developed the following 10-Point Justice Plan for Police Reform and Accountability.  We believe that these action steps will be a major step forward in helping to repair police-community relations in cities across America, in significantly reducing inappropriate use of excessive force by law enforcement, particularly against unarmed citizens and in holding police accountable for misconduct:

  1. Widespread Use of Body Cameras and Dashboard Cameras
  2. Broken Windows Reform and Implementation of 21st Century Community Policing Model
  3. Review and Revision of Police Use of Deadly Force Policies
  4. Comprehensive Retraining of All Police Officers
  5. Comprehensive Review and Strengthening of Police Hiring Standards
  6. Appointment of Special Prosecutors to Investigate Police Misconduct
  7. Mandatory, Uniform FBI Reporting and Audit of Lethal Force Incidents Involving All Law Enforcement
  8. Creation and Audit of National Database of Citizen Complaints against Police
  9. Revision of National Police Accreditation System for Mandatory Use by Law Enforcement to Be Eligible for Federal Funds
  10. National Comprehensive Anti-Racial Profiling Law

To learn our specific policy recommendations for each of the items above, visit NUL's criminal justice policy plan

U.S. Department of Justice Announced Agency-Wide Implicit Bias Training

Just days before the two police shooting of Alton Sterling and Philand Castile, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that it will train its law enforcement agents and prosecutors to identify and address how their own implicit bias affects their decisions in the workplace. The training will be agency-wide and will involve more than 23,000 agents and 5,800 lawyers in the 94 U.S. Attorney’s offices. Implicit bias is the bias in judgment and/or behavior that often operate at a level below conscious awareness and without intentional control.  It is the hidden biases, stereotypes and judgments we unconsciously make about people of a different race or gender than our own.  In law enforcement, implicit bias usually results in discriminatory policing practices like racial profiling, which was proven to be ineffective and deadly for many people of color.

Although much work remains to mend the relationship between law enforcement and community, this announcement is a good first step for the Movement and addresses one of the key points of the National Urban League’s 10-Point Justice Plan, which calls for training of all police officers including a comprehensive review and redesign of basic training curriculum to integrate implicit and explicit racial bias training at all ranks of law enforcement.  To see the U.S. Department of Justice full announcement, click here.

House GOP indefinitely delays gun control votes

House Republican infighting has forced GOP leaders to indefinitely postpone a vote on an "anti-terrorism package," leaving Congress with no legislative response to last month's massacre in Orlando.  As Democrats are pushing Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) for votes on their gun control proposals, taking to the House floor Thursday to read the names of victims of gun violence, Republicans can’t agree among themselves on what they will support in a gun package.  While some in House leadership hold out hope for a vote before the July 15 recess, sources cautioned that much work remains to get there.  Read more at Politico.

Black Businesses Receive Lowest Percentage of Loans

Of the 29.6 million small businesses in the country, African American owned small businesses make up nearly 9 percent of small businesses, or 2.5 million.  However, when comes to smal business loans, Black businesses receive the lowest total lending amount relative to their nationwide ownership.  According to the U.S. Small Business Administration and Milken Institute, SBA guaranteed loan approvals for African American small busibesses decreased by 91percent from 2009 to 2012.  Although, African Americans are roughly 9 percent of small businesses, they only receive 2.1 percent of small business loans--the least of their proportional share of SBA guaranteed lending. These numbers have a lot to do with unemployment and other economic problems facing urban communities. To learn next steps, take a look at the small business column under the Inside the Bureau section of this newsletter.

Election Day and Voting Rights

We are less than four months away from the first presidential election in 50 years that voters will not have the full protections of the Voting Rights Act.  While civil and voting rights advocates continue to put public pressure on Congress to pass a bill that makes VRA whole, it is important that voters know the voting requirements and restrictions in their respective states to ensure that they are prepared and will be able to vote on Tuesday, November 8.  Check with the local Elections Division in your state.