Charges dropped against Alabama mom whose unborn child died during shooting

An Alabama district attorney dismissed all charges against a mother who was charged with manslaughter following a shooting that resulted in her unborn child’s death. Jones’ attorney Mark White said in a statement that the case was “neither reasonable nor just.”

In regards to her decision to dismiss, Jefferson County District Attorney Lynneice Washington said, “The members of the grand jury took to heart that the life of an unborn child was violently ended and believed someone should be held accountable. But in the interests of all concerned, we are not prosecuting the case.”

The case highlights the ongoing issue of legal “fetal personhood.” This concept treats unborn children as individuals with Constitutional protection. Alabama is one out of almost 40 states where charges can be filed when a fetus dies under a fetal homicide law.

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P&G’s new ad addresses implicit racial bias against Black men

P&G continues to address uncomfortable conversations with, “The Look,” a new ad confronting implicit racial bias against black men. This is not the first time P&G has tackled racism through its marketing campaigns. ‘The Look’ follows ‘The Talk’ which shows the tough conversation that most Black parents must have with their children about being safe in America.

The new ad is meant to address negative stereotypes that were inadvertently perpetuated by ‘The Talk’. Geoff Edwards, a co-founder of Saturday Morning said to P&G exec Randall Smith that the original ad didn’t accurately depict the African-American father figure.

“Our goal with this film is to urge people to have an honest conversation and not pretend that unconscious bias doesn’t exist,” added Edwards. “The film ends with the line ‘Let’s talk about the look so we can see beyond it.’ This is really a call to action for dialogue.”

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ABA Men of Color Project hosts first summit

More than 100 men from all racial backgrounds came together at the first-ever summit held by the American Bar Association dealing with the experience of being a minority in the legal profession. David Morrow, co-founder of the Men of Color Project, described being pleased with the amount of support and the sense of belonging that was displayed at the summit.

Barkari Sellers, the youngest African American to ever be elected to a state house spoke at the summit, encouraging attendees to do two things: take risks early in their careers and have confidence in knowing that they have a right to be there

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New bill requires felons to pay fees before they can vote

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill that would make people with felonies pay all of their fines before they are allowed to vote again. The amendment officially went into effect in January of 2019 and allows people convicted of a felony, except for sexual crimes and murder to vote once they “complete all terms of their sentence including parole or probation.”

So far, due to the legislation, an estimated 840,000 people would be eligible to register. However, the bill has been criticized by civil rights groups stating that it is similar to a poll tax and that many people convicted of felonies have fines that they could never repay, thus they wouldn’t be able to vote.

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Are clients with ‘Black-sounding’ names underserved?

A study conducted by Yale University lecturer Brian Libgober revealed that clients with Black-sounding names are less likely to get a response from lawyers in states with less legal competition.

Libgober’s California study found that clients with white-sounding names received 50 percent more replies than those with Black-sounding names. However, in a follow-up study conducted in Florida, Libgober found no evidence that lawyers were considering perceived race to determine whether or not to return calls.

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Where are the Black partners in big law?

According to The American Lawyer’s recently released Diversity Scorecard, the firm with the highest percentage of minority attorneys and partners — 32.5% and 23.9%, respectively — also has zero Black partners. Let that marinate.

Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy is a 371-lawyer immigration firm with its primary office in New York. Its top prize in the diversity ranking is a step in the right direction, but I must ask, where are the Black partners?

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New bill seeks penalty for placing racially motivated 911 calls

Oregon could adopt a new bill which would allow victims of racially motivated 911 calls to sue callers for up to $250. The catch is that victims of these calls would have to “prove the caller had racist intent, and that the caller summoned a police officer to purposefully discriminate or damage a person’s reputation.”

The measure, which was approved by the House on Monday, was created by Oregon’s three Black lawmakers in response to a wave of publicized incidents where predominately white civilians across the country have called the police to investigate Black people for simply existing in public while Black. 

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The National Black Lawyers Top 100 Names New Executive Director

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The National Black Lawyers Top 100 is pleased to announce that Annamaria Steward of Washington, D.C. has been named as its first Executive Director. She joins the organization with nearly 20 years of experience and a reputation for providing exceptional leadership.

Before joining The National Black Lawyers, Steward served as Director of Leadership and Strategic Development for the D.C. Bar and Associate Dean of Students at the University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law. She is also a former president of the D.C. Bar, the largest unified bar in the country, and was the first African-American woman elected president of the voluntary Bar Association of the District of Columbia, a 148-year-old institution.

In her new role, Steward will be responsible for fostering organizational development which will include expanding the membership base, improving the breadth of membership benefits, and ultimately re-energizing the organization.

“It is important to me to recognize and celebrate African-American legal excellence,” Steward said. “I hope to harness the knowledge of these stalwarts of our profession to create a legal brain trust for our membership.”

As an attorney highly skilled in program design and implementation, strategic planning, and leadership development, Steward’s appointment will enable the organization to fulfill its mission for top tier African-American attorneys.

The National Black Lawyers is an honorary membership organization dedicated to promoting legal excellence. The organization’s membership is comprised of the nation’s most successful  African-American attorneys including legal giants like Willie Gary, Karen Evans, Ben Crump, and James Montgomery.

For more information about The National Black Lawyers, visit NBLtop100.org or follow The National Black Lawyers on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

New bill combats maternal mortality rates among black mothers

 

The Maximizing Outcomes for Moms through Medicaid Improvement and Enhancement of Services (MOMMIES) Act was introduced by Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) as a way of battling maternal mortality, which disproportionately impacts Black mothers in America.

Medicaid covers nearly half of all births in the United States, and coverage for postpartum women is limited to 60 days after giving birth. The MOMMIES Act seeks to expand Medicaid coverage to include up to one full year after giving birth

“Black women are nearly four times as likely to die from complications related to pregnancy than white women,” Sen. Booker said. “By expanding Medicaid coverage for pregnant women, we can begin to stem the rising tide of maternal mortality and close the egregious racial gaps that exist in maternal and infant health outcomes.”

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‘Not Reaching’ pouch designed to save Black lives during traffic stops

 

When she heard the story of how 32-year-old Philando Castile was shot and killed by police in 2016, Jackie Carter decided that enough was enough.

Castile was driving with his girlfriend and her child when he was pulled over by Minnesota police officer Jeronimo Yanez who claimed to see Castile reaching for his gun and fired several shots into the vehicle, killing Castile. In a video recording of the shooting, Castile can be heard saying he “wasn’t reaching” for his gun.

Carter’s device called “Not Reaching!” is a clear card-carrying pouch that clips onto the driver-side air vent. The pouch is designed to be a safe location for drivers to store the important documents that officers typically ask to see during routine traffic stops.

With more than 1,000 units sold, and even more given away, the “Not Reaching!” pouch could be the difference between life and death for Black drivers across the country.

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