Bush Continues Opposition to Affirmative Action on MLK Day
President Bush is scheduled to attend a congregation today at a primarily African-American Baptist church in Glenarden, MD. Just yesterday, the church's Rev. John K. Jenkins preached at four services to more than 6,000 people that he hoped that “God will change [Bush's] heart" about affirmative action, according to the Washington Post. On Thursday, Martin Luther King, Jr.’s actual birthday, the Bush administration announced its decision to file an amicus brief in the Supreme Court supporting the lawsuit of white students against the University of Michigan’s admission policy, which considers race, along with geography, test scores, grades, and a host of other personal achievements. The Post points out that the congregation at the First Baptist Church of Glenarden is likely to be filled with African-American professionals, some of whom benefited from affirmative action in their schooling and careers.
Secretary of State Colin Powell, the highest-ranking African-American in the Bush Administration, stated Sunday that he disagrees with President Bush’s position on the Supreme Court case, according to the Associated Press. National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice agrees with the President’s decision, though she supports using race as one factor among many in university admissions if race-neutral policies to achieve diversity are not working, Fox News reports. Rice, an African-American, admits that she benefited from affirmative action during her career at Stanford University, according to AP. Civil rights activist and entertainer Harry Belafonte said in a speech on Sunday that while he was somewhat pleased that Rice supports race in admissions policies some of the time, he believes that under Bush, “Affirmative action is the next to go, and a woman’s right to [choose] is the next to go,” according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
“Coming right after the Trent Lott debacle,” Feminist Majority Foundation President Eleanor Smeal stated, “this decision clearly shows exactly where the Bush administration stands on issues of race. Women have made gains in employment and education because of affirmative action. If we lose affirmation action on the basis of race, we will eventually lose it on the basis of gender. Remember, the administration is also attacking Title IX, the law that guarantees women equality in federally funded education. A Bush-appointed commission currently reviewing Title IX is scheduled to vote at the end of the month to reduce sports opportunities for girls.
8/31/2015 Chicago Activists Continue Hunger Strike to Save Predominately Black Public High School - Chicago residents have entered the second week of their hunger strike protesting the closure of Dyett High School, in the predominately African-American Bronzeville neighborhood located on the South Side of Chicago.
Parents and community members are calling on the Chicago Board of Education to keep Dyett - the only open-enrollment, neighborhood school in its area - open and accept a community plan to revitalize the school with a focus on science and green technology. . . .
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .