A new study by a North Carolina law school is said to prove racial bias in jury selection. The study, by the Wake Forest School of Law, shows that prosecutors remove about 20 percent of African-Americans from jury pools, compared to 10 percent of whites. Meanwhile, defense attorneys skew the other way, removing 22 percent of white jurors and 10 percent of African-Americans. In The New York Times, Wake Forest law professor Ronald Wright breaks down the study:
When the dust settles at the close of jury selection, defense attorneys’ actions in the last leg of the process do not cancel out the combined skewed actions from prosecutors and judges. The consistent result is African-Americans occupying a much smaller percentage of seats in the jury box than they did in the original jury pool.
Wright also offers two “simple solutions” to the issue. You can read his analysis in The Times.
CNN reports that residents of a Rialto, California neighborhood called the police on four women who were checking out of their Airbnb rental property. Rialto police detained Kelly Fyffe-Marshall and her three friends — two of them African-American like her — for 45 minutes while the police attempted to determine whether or not a crime had been committed. This is one of several recent incidents in which people of color across the country have been either arrested or detained by police for innocuous acts.
With the opening of the National Memorial for Peace and Justice, the country is now forced to acknowledge the unfathomable atrocities that form the foundation of our nation. The New York Times reports that the Montgomery Advertiser was forced to admit to reporting lynchings over many decades in a way that portrayed Black victims as criminals who deserved to be lynched. The Advertiser ran an editorial on the day of the memorial’s opening stating that the newspaper was “careless in how it covered mob violence and the terror foisted upon African-Americans from Reconstruction through the 1950s.”
CNN reports that even though federal law outlaws discrimination in public restaurants and cafes, there are still incidents in which black customers wait longer to be served, are asked to pay before a meal or sometimes subjected to arrest. In response to the unnecessary arrests of two Black men who visited a Starbucks location in Philadelphia, the company will close its almost 8,000 company-owned stores in the United States for the afternoon on May 29 to teach employees about racial bias. However, Starbucks is just one of the many restaurant chains that have faced accusations of racial discrimination recently. Read the full article from CNN.
CNN reports that lawmakers in the Tennessee House of Representatives passed an amendment to a state appropriations bill in April that strips $250,000 in funding that the city of Memphis was to receive for its upcoming bicentennial celebration. State Rep. Steve McDaniel said on the House floor, “If you recall back in December, Memphis did something that removed historical markers in the city. It was the city of Memphis that did this and it was full knowing that it was not the will of the legislature.” The city of Memphis removed public statues of Ku Klux Klan leader Nathan Bedford Forrest and Confederate leader Jefferson Davis in December 2017.
National Black Lawyers member Ayanna Jenkins-Toney, founder and senior partner at the Law Offices of Ayanna Jenkins-Toney, has been recongnized by the California Association of Black Lawyers as the “Solo Practitioner of the Year” in 2018.
A highly decorated award recipient, Ayanna was recently recognized by Marquis’ Who Who as a Marquis’ Who’s Who in America. The California Association of Black Lawyers (CABL) recognized Ayanna as the ‘Solo Practitioner of The Year” in 2018. She is also rated in the top 10% in the USA in Civil Litigation from Lawyers of Distinction. Since 2016, Ayanna has continuously been awarded the prestigious ’10 Best Attorneys in California’ by the American Institute of Family Law Attorneys. As an industry leader, she is consistently recognized by her peers as a preeminent innovative achiever in her practice.
The Million Dollar Advocates Forum has named her as one of the Top Trial Lawyers in America. In 2018, The National Bar Association (NBA) awarded Ayanna with an ‘Outstanding Service Award’ for her continued participation and generous contributions to the community. In 2011, Ayanna founded the North Bay Minority Bar Coalition. In 2013, she founded the National Justice Network, a 501- C-3 non-profit corporation where she resides as current President. Ayanna was recently honored as a ‘Resilient Woman in our Community’ by The Peninsula Bay Chapter, of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated and she continues to thrive as a beacon of strength and perseverance and a role model to her peers and mother of her two children.
As a two term past President of the Marin Trial Lawyers and Past President of the Marin County Women Lawyers, Ayanna is steadfast in her involvement with protecting the rights of justice including women’s civil rights in the workplace. She holds a Lifetime membership with the following: Charles Houston Bar Association, California Association of Black Lawyers, Power Attorneys of California and the Northern California Association of Black Women Lawyers where she previously served as a board member.
A coalition of civil rights groups have filed a law suit against the city of Birmingham that links a three-year battle to raise the city’s minimum wage with the Alabama’s racist heritage. CNN reports that Birmingham became the first city in the South to try to raise the minimum wage for anyone employed within its city limits. Alabama lawmakers responded by passing a law that abolished the wage increase. Every Alabama lawmaker who voted against the raise was white, according to the lawsuit.
Washington, DC council member Trayvon White Sr. issued an apology after receiving public backlash for comments he made in a video he posted on social media implying that the DC weather was controlled by the Rothschilds, a European Jewish banking family who have been linked to anti-Semitic conspiracy theories for years. Read more about the story at CNN.
Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson says the arrest of two black men at a Philadelphia Starbucks was “wrong” and “reprehensible,” and says he hopes to meet with the men soon, The Washington Post reports. The manager of the Starbucks no longer works there, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer. Johnson told ABC News that he hopes to personally apologize for what happened and says he wants to make sure it never happens again. The Inquirer and The Daily Beast report that about 40 people protested the arrest at the store where it happened on Monday. A video of the arrests has been posted on YouTube.
Zachary Anderson realized too late he was not actually the owner of the Atlanta home that he thought he purchased. Records showed the owner as Harbour Portfolio VII LP. It turned out that Anderson had entered into a “contract-for-deed,” a type of transaction that was widespread in the 1950s and 60s when African Americans couldn’t always get conventional home loans. The Atlantic has more on these rent-to-own deals that leaves buyers without ownership of their homes:
In a contract for deed, the buyer purchases an agreement for the deed rather than buying the deed itself. The tenant has to fulfill the conditions of the agreement in order to get the deed, conditions that usually include making a series of timely payments over decades, paying for home repairs and general maintenance of the home, and paying taxes and insurance on the property. If he misses one payment, thus violating the agreement, he can be evicted, losing all the equity he put into the home.
A lawsuit alleges these deals are racially discriminatory and violate the Fair Housing Act. Read more about the lawsuit at The Atlantic.