SOUTHERN REGION RAINBOW PUSH COALTION
In 2012, the Atlanta office of RPC convened elected officials from the Southeast to confront the challenge of ALEC, the Tea party and other extreme groups. The conclave produced regional legislative priorities. RPC also organized a People’s Court trial of the Voting Rights Act.
Civil and Criminal Justice System
Robert Patillo, legal consultant to RPC, is planning a legal challenge to the constitutionality of Georgia’s discriminatory Stand Your Ground law. RPC n commented to the United Nations Commission to Eliminate Racial Discrimination (CERD). The comments were in response to a report on progress toward racial justice issued in May by the U.S. Department of State. The Southern Region urged support for regional adoption of North Carolina’s Racial Justice Act, which recently resulted in changing a death sentence to life without parole, due to extensive evidence of systematic exclusion of blacks from juries. Janice Mathis traveled to Sanford, FL twice in support of Trayvon Martin’s family. Davida Mathis traveled attended the Supreme Court oral arguments in Shelby v. Holder, the case that struck down portions of the VRA.
Robert Patillo led RPC’s effort to investigate claims of discrimination by Paula Deen Enterprises, resulting in a report of the findings and recommendations for improvement. So far, Paula Deen Enterprises has failed to respond. RPC also actively educated citizens, particularly students, about the inequities of the lottery as a funding mechanism for public pre-school and higher education. Lottery-funded scholarships tend to benefit wealthier families at the expense of lower-income frequent lottery players. RPC attended meetings of MARTA and the Georgia Lottery to urge diversity and inclusion. It also hosted a Town Hall Meeting on the Affordable Care Act in October at Mount Ephraim with WAOK host Lorraine Jacq White.
Trade Bureau – Business Development Director Randolyn “Tina” Jones is focusing the Trade Bureau monthly meetings on promoting new enterprise among minority and female-owned firms, as well as increased access to capital. TB also specializes in identifying and connecting TB members with public and private contracting opportunities. As a result of TB advocacy a major hotel chain has adopted energy-saving products distributed by one TB member firm. RPC formed an Opportunity Consortium of TB members in the Advertising, Marketing and PR space to maximize opportunity.
International Affairs - Southern Region Director Joseph Beasley continues to lead delegations to various African nations and Haiti to investigate human rights abuses. He is currently negotiating a new pact with a major U.S. based firm to support NGO’s in Brazil.
Legislative Affairs – RPC protested the government shutdown with a picket in front of Atlanta’ Centers for Disease Control. RPC successfully fought Georgia Packing – a pro-gun lobby that sought to lower the gun carry age from 21 to 18. RPC successfully lobbied the U.S. Department of Justice to strengthen enforcement of Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, or national origin in programs and activities receiving Federal financial assistance. It also supported the Obama administration’s national adoption of Georgia Works, a training program for unemployment assistance recipients.
Coalition Partnerships – RPC participated in the National Association of Black Journalists Conference, the SCLC National Convention, the National Association of Black Aviation Employees annual legislative conference, and the Georgia Legislative Black Caucus annual legislative caucus and the Congressional Black Caucus Annual Legislative Conference.
The Atlanta office spearheaded a strategic alliance among several advocacy organizations, including Georgia Black Chamber of Commerce, Georgia Black Constructors Association, GABEO and the Georgia Conference of Black Mayors to promote equal contracting and supplier opportunities. It met with Home Depot Burger in search of broader opportunity for black and minority vendors and employees.
CITIZENSHIP EDUCATION FUND, INC.
CEF and RPC co-hosted three Town Hall meetings in Washington, D.C. during the commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington. Poverty Town Hall speakers included Dr. Otis Moss, Dr. Freddie Haynes and Judge Penny Brown Reynolds. Members of Congress who participated in the Voting Rights Town Hall included John Conyers, Shelia Jackson Lee, Corrine Brown and Hank Johnson. The poverty and voting sessions aired live on C-SPAN.
VOTING RIGHTS TOWN HALL MEETING ACTION STEPS
VOTING IS FUNDAMENTAL
MARCHING FOR LEGISLATION AND APPROPRIATION
- Educate family, friends, youth and ourselves about the issues that affect the right to vote
- Get agitated – have a sense of urgency
- Create alliances
- Read Justice Ginsburg’s dissent to Shelby v. Holder
- Get inspired
- Study state and local elections laws, rules and procedures
- Volunteer to be a poll watcher or poll worker
- Register to vote and encourage others to register
- Report voting changes to the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division
- Protest restrictions on voting
- Attend local board of elections meetings
- Join and support RPC, SCLC, NAACP, NAN and other civil and human rights organizations working to protect and expand the right to vote.
The Rainbow PUSH Coalition recommends a CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT to provide an individualized, affirmative right to vote. For more information on how you can get involved, call 773 373 3366 or visit www.rainbowpush.org.
One Thousand Churches Connected
Axel Adams makes sure this non-sectarian, non-denominational self-help alliance of nearly 2000 congregations is at the heart of CEF. OTCC focuses on helping congregations and individuals recover from the economic downturn by systematically teaching Hands on Banking and other financial literacy classes across the nation as part of its partnership with Wells Fargo and Bank of America. Many new congregations joined the alliance. OTCC also conducted seminars on end of life care with VITAS and participated in numerous fairs, seminars and other educational events.
Based in Atlanta, Trina Heathington and CEF counseled hundreds of families facing foreclosure and escalating mortgage payments. CEF made applications for payment forbearance, modification, principal reduction, refinance and other foreclosure prevention measures. Axel Adams and the CEF staff conducted financial literacy workshops in more than 20 cities including Charlotte, Augusta, Columbia, Greensboro, N.C. and Greenville, S.C., as well as New York, Chicago and San Francisco.
CEF formed a new partnership with Wells Fargo to put churches in the pipeline to purchase or receive donations of REO property. The aim of the partnership is to stabilize neighborhoods by reducing blight, increase occupancy and steady property values.
In August, CEF participated in a Back-to-School expo at Stonecrest Mall. More than 200 families signed the parent and student pledges for excellence.
PUSH-ing for Safety
As a result of discovering that the leading cause of teen deaths in the South is auto collisions, UPS and The Peachtree Street Project continue their partnership with public schools to teach safe driving techniques to approximately 10,000 Georgia youth, using UPS’ Five Seeing Eye Habits interactive curriculum and other tools. Dextor Clinkscale delivered the classes.
Research – The Peachtree Street Project is currently reviewing data on bank lending to small business owners and plans to issue a report by Spring 2014. CEF also periodically examines the extent to which Fortune 500 corporations in the Southeast practice diversity and inclusion.
Shareholder Activism - The Peachtree Street Project attended annual shareholder meetings at Synovus, Equifax, Cracker Barrel and Yum! Brands in an ongoing effort to promote diversity and inclusion.