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President Biden Nominates First Black Woman To Serve On Federal Reserve Board Of Governors

Lisa D. Cook
Lisa D. Cook

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent

President Joe Biden on Friday announced the nominations of three individuals to serve on the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors, including Lisa D. Cook, a professor of Economics and International Relations at Michigan State University.

If confirmed, Cook would become the first African American woman to serve in that role.

A Marshall Scholar from Spelman College who received a second B.A. in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics from Oxford University, Cook earned a Ph.D. in economics from the University of California, Berkeley.

She also served as a faculty member of Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, Deputy Director for Africa Research at the Center for International Development at Harvard, and a National Fellow at Stanford University.

“[President Biden] is working to bring long-overdue diversity to the leadership of the Federal Reserve,” Erica Lowe, the White House Director of African American Media, wrote on Twitter.

“Lisa D. Cook would be the first Black woman in history to serve on the Board,” Lowe concluded.

The President also nominated Phillip Jefferson, the dean of faculty at Davidson College in North Carolina, and Sarah Bloom Raskin, a former Federal Reserve and Treasury official, for positions on the Board.

Raskin was nominated for the top regulatory post.

The Senate must approve each of the nominations.

For Cook and Jefferson, confirmation would mean joining an exclusive club – the duo would count among just five Black governors in the 108-year history of the Federal Reserve.

“This group will bring much-needed expertise, judgment, and leadership to the Federal Reserve while at the same time bringing a diversity of thought and perspective never seen before on the Board of Governors,” President Biden said in a statement.

“Together with Chair Powell and Dr. Brainard, who I renominated last month, this group will bring much-needed expertise, judgment, and leadership to the Federal Reserve while at the same time bringing a diversity of thought and perspective never seen before on the Board of Governors,” the President asserted.

“They will continue the important work of steering us on a path to a strong, sustainable recovery while making sure that price increases do not become entrenched over the long term.

“I have full confidence in the strong leadership of this group of nominees and that they have the experience, Judgment and integrity to lead the Federal Reserve and to help build our economy back better for working families.”

King Family Demands Senate Pass Voting Rights Legislation

Martin Luther King III, son of Martin Luther King, Jr. (Mandatory Credit: Pool)
Martin Luther King III, son of Martin Luther King, Jr. (Mandatory Credit: Pool)

By Chandelis Duster, CNN

(CNN) — The family of Martin Luther King Jr. on Monday demanded the Senate pass voting rights legislation and said lawmakers who truly honor the late civil rights leader’s legacy must stand on the right side of history.

“No matter what happens tomorrow, we must keep the pressure on and say no more empty words. Don’t tell us what you believe in, show us with your votes. History will be watching what happens tomorrow,” Martin Luther King III, son of Martin Luther King Jr. said in a speech in Washington, DC. “Black and brown Americans will be watching what happens tomorrow. In 50 years, students will read about what happens tomorrow and know whether our leaders had the integrity to do the right thing.”

His comments come on the federal holiday honoring the late civil rights leader and a day before the Senate is expected to take up voting rights legislation that faces uncertainty amid opposition among Democrats. The King family and activist groups have been urging President Joe Biden and Congress to act on voting rights legislation that has stalled in the Senate.

“If you can deliver an infrastructure bill for bridges, you can deliver voting rights for Americans. If you do not, there is no bridge in this nation that can hold the weight of that failure,” he continued.

On Monday morning, the King family gathered with other activist groups and marched across the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge. Their message to Biden and Congress: “You delivered for bridges, now deliver for voting rights.” They marked what would have been King Jr.’s 93rd birthday in Phoenix on Saturday, where they pushed for the President and Congress to pass the voting rights legislation.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Congressional Black Caucus Chairwoman Rep. Joyce Beatty, Alabama Rep. Terri Sewell, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser and activist groups also joined the King family at the news conference on Monday, calling for the Senate to act.

“If you really truly want to honor Dr. King, don’t dishonor him by using a congressional custom as an excuse for protecting our democracy,” Pelosi said, in reference to changing the Senate filibuster rules necessary to pass the legislation.

‘Whose side are you on?’

During the National Action Network’s annual breakfast honoring King on Monday, Biden echoed the same message he delivered in Georgia last week where he said lawmakers must choose to stand on the side of civil rights leaders such as King or on the side of segregationists like former Alabama Gov. George Wallace.

“The attack on our democracy is real, from the January 6th insurrection to the onslaught of Republican’s anti-voting laws in a number of states,” Biden said in pre-recorded remarks. “It’s no longer just about who gets to vote. It’s about who gets to count the vote and whether your vote counts at all. It’s about two insidious things: voter suppression and election subversion.”

The President continued, “We’re in another moment right now where the mirror is being held up to America, being held up again. The question being asked again: Where do we stand? Whose side are we on?”

Vice President Kamala Harris also called on the Senate to pass voting rights legislation, saying during the Martin Luther King Jr. Beloved Community Commemorative Service at Ebenezer Baptist Church to truly honor King Jr.’s legacy, “We must continue to fight for the freedom to vote, for freedom for all.”

“Today, our freedom to vote is under assault,” Harris said in virtual remarks on Monday. “It is time for the United States Senate to do its job. … The Senate must pass this bill, now.”

Pressure on two Democrats

Democrats have been searching for a way to pass voting rights legislation amid the pressure and pushback from members of their own party.

Influential moderate Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, two Democrats who have long expressed opposition to changing filibuster rules — necessary to get voting legislation over the finish line — remain unmoved.

“Senator Sinema and Senator Manchin want a supermajority. Well, a supermajority of citizens support this legislation,” Arndrea Waters King, wife of Martin Luther King III, said Monday, adding that if both senators maintain their positions they will “extend White supremacy’s chokehold on our democracy.”

Martin Luther King III also criticized both senators and said, “History will not remember them kindly.”

CNN reached out to Sinema’s and Manchin’s offices for comment.

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Antonio Brown And The Dehumanizing Of Black Athletes’ Bodies

(All-Pro Reels Photography)
(All-Pro Reels Photography)

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent

The recent public meltdown of former Tampa Bucs wide receiver Antonio Brown during a game in New York have many questioning whether the NFL and other professional sports league show enough care and concern for athletes.

And many others have expressed disappointment – if not anger – when pointing out that athletes of color especially are mistreated and treated less than human.

During a January 2, 2022, game against the New York Jets, Brown removed his shirt, shoulder pads, and gloves and tossed them into the stands at MetLife Stadium.

Then, he ran through the end zone, raised his arms toward the crowd, and gave high-fives to stadium personnel as he exited.

Tampa Bay Coach Bruce Arians immediately declared that Brown was “no longer a Buc.” Brown said an ankle injury prevented him from performing.

The team formally released Brown later, and the National Football League Players Association announced it would investigate findings that the Bucs injected Brown with a “powerful and sometimes dangerous painkiller that the players association has warned against using.”

“As a clinician, my initial reaction was one of curiosity,” Dr. Tammy Lewis Wilborn, a board-certified licensed professional counselor who’s known as America’s No. 1 mental health and wellness expert, said during an appearance on the NNPA’s Let It Be Known live breaking news program.

“Unfortunately, when we’re talking about Black pain, it’s often minimized, scrutinized, and when it’s on display, penalized,” Dr. Wilborn asserted.

“One of the things concerning is that if Brown’s refusal to continue to play was his awareness of his pain and his need to advocate for himself, and the team didn’t respect and honor his concerns. I think that reflects a larger issue of how Black folks and how Black pain tends to be minimized,” Dr. Wilborn continued.

“If Antonio Brown refused to play because he was hurting and didn’t want to cause further hurt, then good for him for recognizing his own worth and not buying into the dollar signs that are often dangled to help keep Black people in pain and suffering.”

The treatment of Black athletes has remained a heated debate.

A 1995 white paper from Stanford University asked, “Does the stereotype of Black athletes as superphysical beings encourage racial violence in America?”

The Rev. Floyd Thompkins, who served as associate dean of Stanford’s Memorial Church, and ran programs for African American adolescent boys, said he worried that the “glorification” of professional Black athletes as “people who are stronger, faster and bigger than everybody else” gives everyone more permission to be fearful of, or more violent against, Black males in general.

“It seems innocuous, but it’s profoundly dangerous not to challenge the stereotype of the superhuman Black athlete,” Rev. Thompkins stated.

“It could give permission for police to be more violent or to again lynch [Blacks] because there is a Michael Jordan and an L.T. Taylor.”

In a 1988 interview, the then-popular CBS Sports commentator Jimmy “The Greek” Snyder remarked that Black athletes are better than whites because “they have been bred to be that way.”

“Because of his high thighs and big thighs that go up into his back,” Snyder said. “And they can jump higher and run faster because of their bigger thighs.”

He then took it further.

“I’m telling you that the Black is the better athlete, and he practices to be the better athlete, and he’s bred to be the better athlete because this goes all the way to the Civil War when, during the slave trading, the owner, the slave owner, would breed his big woman so that he would have a big Black kid, see. That’s where it all started,” an unchecked Snyder concluded.

While the comments caused a firestorm of controversy and led to Snyder’s termination, many responded that the proverbial genie was out of the bottle.

That Snyder spoke what many others believed but was too afraid.

In the case of Brown, the Bucs former star, his latest episode has many wondering how badly several teams may have used him.

In 2018, as a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers, the team benched Brown because of a fierce disagreement he had with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

A year later, Brown was found guilty of driving recklessly, and the Steelers traded him to the Oakland Raiders.

Oakland released Brown after he objected to a team-issued helmet and demanded separate gear. After signing with the New England Patriots, the NFL suspended him for eight games for violating its personal conduct policy.

The All-Pro helped the Bucs with the 2020 Super Bowl, but the league suspended him earlier this season for allegedly providing the team with a fake COVID-19 vaccination card.

“It’s speculative to say what happened to Antonio Brown, but there are concerns over whether it’s mental or physical,” said Faye McCray, a Howard University graduate and editor in chief of Psych Central, Healthline Media’s site devoted to mental health and wellness.

“What comes with this is the judgment. We think pro athletes make a lot of money so they can handle all of this, but it’s more to it than that,” McCray insisted.

“The idea of Black people owing people our bodies is not new, and we know that it’s rooted in racism and misogyny. And when someone speaks out and is condemned, it shouldn’t be surprising. But, whether it’s prioritizing mental health or acknowledging that Black lives matter, the sports industry has been behind the ball in confronting the humanity of our athletes.”

Officials Struggle To Regulate Pop-Up Covid Testing Sites — And Warn Patients To Beware

Covid-19 testing tents located across New York City. (Elisabeth Rosenthal / KHN)
Covid-19 testing tents located across New York City. (Elisabeth Rosenthal / KHN)

By Michelle Andrews and Chaseedaw Giles, KHN

NEW YORK — In recent months, mobile covid-19 testing tents and vans have sprouted on urban sidewalks and street curbs as demand has skyrocketed in response to the rapid spread of the omicron variant.

Some of the sites run by private companies offer legitimate, timely and reliable results, but others are more like weeds.

High demand and scarce supply opened the door to bad actors, and officials in some states are having a hard time keeping up their oversight amid the proliferation. And they are sounding the alarm that by visiting the pop-up industry’s sometimes makeshift tents, desperate patients could be putting their health, wallets and personal data at risk.

“These conditions change so rapidly,” said Gigi Gronvall, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security who leads the COVID-19 Testing Toolkit, which provides guidance to employers and others. “It’s not a surprise that these conditions were totally ripe for consumers to be gouged and to get fraudulent tests.”

Consumers seeking testing — either a rapid antigen test that provides results in under an hour or a polymerase chain reaction, or PCR, test that generally takes longer but is more accurate — may think all testing sites are created equal, but they’re not. Unfortunately, telling the good from the bad is not always easy.

Consumers at testing sites in the Chicago area have encountered employees who aren’t wearing masks or gloves or have been asked to provide a Social Security or credit card number before a test is provided, said Dr. Eve Bloomgarden, who co-founded Illinois Medical Professionals Action Collaborative Team, an advocacy group. 

Fake testing sites put consumers at risk for identity theft, inaccurate or missing test results, and financial losses if they’re charged for the tests, which are typically free to consumers.

“I don’t think we can put this on the public to know” which sites are legitimate, Bloomgarden said. “Guidance needs to be coming from the state and regulated at the public health level.”

Melaney Arnold, a spokesperson for the Illinois Department of Public Health, said state officials “are aware of complaints for various testing locations across the state” and are investigating. She said consumers should contact Attorney General Kwame Raoul’s office if they are concerned about fraud or criminal activity at testing sites.

In Philadelphia, workers at a sidewalk covid testing tent falsely claimed to be working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, said James Garrow, communications director for the Philadelphia Department of Public Health, in an emailed response to questions. But FEMA told the department it wasn’t funding any testing centers in the city at the time.

“Currently, there are no quick markers to help folks know if a site is legitimate or not,” Garrow said. “That’s why we’re investigating if it is possible to provide a placard to demonstrate that a site is legitimate.”

It’s hard to walk down a street in some parts of Manhattan without running into at least one or two of the pop-up sites. Leading up to the holidays, people stood in long lines in the cold waiting to be swabbed. Some vans and tents are clearly marked with company names, while others are operating out of what appear to be rental vans.

The sites were also ubiquitous in Los Angeles. In some places, testing sites run by the same company were clustered within easy walking distance of one another. In the pre-holiday rush, the operator at a Crestview Clinical Laboratory site on Wilshire Boulevard, who wouldn’t give her name to a reporter, said she also provided a VIP service from another testing company for people willing to pay extra for rapid PCR tests.

Public health experts say they hope that concerns about a mobile test site’s legitimacy won’t deter people from getting tested.

Testing outdoors has advantages, too.

“If I had the choice between two options while there was a surge happening, one being completely outdoors and one indoors, I would choose the outdoor testing site,” said Denis Nash, a professor of epidemiology at the City University of New York. “And I would choose affordable home testing over both of those.”

In general, more testing is better than less.

“I tend not to care why people are testing,” Nash said. “If they are doing it to be safer at a party, great. But I do care if access is inequitable.”

Some testing operators are more prominent in neighborhoods where large shares of residents likely have health insurance rather than those where people are more likely to be without. For example, a map of testing locations for LabQ, a company that offers mobile covid testing in the New York City area, shows dozens of spots in Manhattan but only a handful in the Bronx.

One weak spot in the system is that although city and state health departments keep close regulatory tabs on the labs that process covid tests, they typically don’t regulate the site operators that administer the tests.

In Philadelphia, Garrow said, the only licensing requirement for covid testing sites is that the lab they use have a license from the state health department showing that it meets federal standards under the law known as Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments. CLIA sets lab testing standards for accuracy, reliability and timeliness.

In Maryland, covid testing sites must have a CLIA “waiver” from the federal government allowing them to perform the tests, said Andy Owen, deputy media relations director for the Maryland Department of Health.

In general, labs in the U.S. must have CLIA licenses, and requiring waivers for point-of-care testing is also standard.

In December 2020, Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh issued a news release warning consumers about unauthorized covid testing operations that could collect people’s personal identifying information and use it to steal their identity.

Since then, the department hasn’t received any complaints about pop-up testing sites, according to Aleithea Warmack, deputy director of communications in the consumer protection division of the attorney general’s office.

In general, a test site operator seeking payment from a health plan for administering a covid test must have a national provider identifier, which comes from the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, said Kristine Grow, a spokesperson for AHIP, a trade group for health plans.

Although test operators routinely ask consumers for health insurance information, asking for credit card numbers is not routine. Individual consumers typically don’t have to pay out-of-pocket for a covid test because it is covered by insurance or by the federal government for people who are uninsured. However, some people are charged if the test isn’t ordered by their doctor, is a rush service or is performed by an out-of-network provider, where “we do continue to see price gouging through the course of the public health emergency,” Grow said.

One way to identify a legitimate testing operator is to check lists maintained by states and cities of the testing operators they work with or fund. But many legitimate testing operators are not in the official databases, Bloomgarden said.

Some independent test site operators are “highly qualified,” said Scott Becker, CEO of the Association of Public Health Laboratories. Becker went to a drive-through testing site in his neighborhood in Montgomery County, Maryland. The test operator told him which lab they used, and he received results with the name of the lab on them.

“They’re not all bad,” Becker said. “It’s just hard for Joe Consumer to figure it out.”

As demand for covid testing grows, even legitimate test operators may not meet their commitments.

Theo Servedio stood in line with a handful of other people at the sliding door of a LabQ mobile testing van near Columbia University in New York in December. The 19-year-old sophomore planned to attend a fraternity party, but with the uptick in covid cases, he wanted to get tested first. A sign at the registration table promised a 24-hour turnaround on its PCR tests.

“They’re both free, but turnaround for testing at the school has been 48 to 72 hours in the past,” Servedio said.

He got his results in 24 hours. But others weren’t so lucky. According to a warning letter sent to LabQ in December by New York Attorney General Letitia James, some consumers had waited more than 96 hours for their covid test results despite the company’s promise of a 48-hour turnaround. LabQ was one of several covid test companies that received the warnings in late December and early January.

LabQ didn’t respond to a request for comment.

KHN (Kaiser Health News) is a national newsroom that produces in-depth journalism about health issues. Together with Policy Analysis and Polling, KHN is one of the three major operating programs at KFF (Kaiser Family Foundation). KFF is an endowed nonprofit organization providing information on health issues to the nation.

Justices Block Broad Worker Vaccine Requirement, Allow Health Worker Mandate To Proceed

(Moment / Getty Images)
(Moment / Getty Images)

By Julie Rovner, KHN

The Supreme Court on Thursday blocked a key Biden administration covid-19 initiative — putting a stop, for now, to a rule requiring businesses with more than 100 workers to either mandate that employees be vaccinated against covid or wear masks and undergo weekly testing. The rule, which covers an estimated 80 million workers, took effect earlier this week.

At the same time, however, the justices said that a separate rule requiring covid vaccines for an estimated 10 million health workers at facilities that receive funding from Medicare and Medicaid could go forward. The justices removed a temporary halt imposed by a lower court late last year that affected health care facilities in half the states.

In emergency oral arguments held Jan. 7, a majority of the justices seemed dubious that the federal government, through the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, had broad enough authority to require vaccines or tests for the bulk of the nation’s private workforce, particularly for a threat that is not job-specific.

Said the unsigned majority opinion: “A vaccine mandate is strikingly unlike the workplace regulations that OSHA has typically imposed. A vaccination, after all, ‘cannot be undone at the end of the workday.’”

Three of the court’s conservatives — Justices Neil Gorsuch, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito — concurred with the decision in a signed opinion that laid out their concerns about OSHA’s authority. “The agency claims the power to force 84 million Americans to receive a vaccine or undergo regular testing,” they wrote. “By any measure, that is a claim of power to resolve a question of vast national significance. Yet Congress has nowhere clearly assigned so much power to OSHA.”

Liberals on the court — where anti-covid policies are even stricter than those up for debate in the case — were outraged at the majority decision, arguing that just because a threat exists outside the workplace as well as inside, that should not prevent the federal safety agency from regulating it.

Justices Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor wrote in a signed opinion, “When we are wise, we know not to displace the judgments of experts, acting within the sphere Congress marked out and under Presidential control, to deal with emergency conditions. Today, we are not wise.”

In the second pair of cases also argued Jan. 7, the justices weighed whether the federal government could place conditions on payments for Medicare and Medicaid to help ensure the safety of the patients whose care is being underwritten.

The health worker rule, said the opinion, also unsigned, “fits neatly within the language of the statute. After all, ensuring that providers take steps to avoid transmitting a dangerous virus to their patients is consistent with the fundamental principle of the medical profession: first, do no harm.”

Four conservative justices — Thomas, Alito, Gorsuch and Amy Coney Barrett — dissented in the health worker case, arguing in a signed opinion that “to the extent the rule has any connection to the management of Medicare, and Medicaid, it is at most a ‘tangential’ one.”

President Joe Biden lamented the court’s decision on the rule for large workplaces. “As a result of the Court’s decision, it is now up to States and individual employers to determine whether to make their workplaces as safe as possible for employees, and whether their businesses will be safe for consumers during this pandemic by requiring employees to take the simple and effective step of getting vaccinated,” he said in a statement.

The OSHA rules are opposed by many business groups, led by the small business advocacy organization the National Federation of Independent Business. It argued that allowing the rules to take effect would leave businesses “irreparably harmed,” both by the costs of compliance and the possibility that workers would quit rather than accept the vaccine.

The challenge to the Medicare and Medicaid rules, by contrast, came mostly from states, rather than the hospitals, nursing homes and other facilities most directly affected. State officials charge that the rules would jeopardize the ability of health care providers, particularly those in rural areas, to retain enough staffers to care for patients.

The cases on the OSHA rule are National Federation of Independent Business v. Department of Labor and Ohio v. Department of Labor. The cases involving the CMS rule are Biden v. Missouri and Becerra v. Louisiana.

KHN (Kaiser Health News) is a national newsroom that produces in-depth journalism about health issues. Together with Policy Analysis and Polling, KHN is one of the three major operating programs at KFF (Kaiser Family Foundation). KFF is an endowed nonprofit organization providing information on health issues to the nation.

The Maladjusted Madness Of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Dr. Julianne Malveaux
Dr. Julianne Malveaux

By Julianne Malveaux

(Trice Edney Wire) – From the third Monday of January, the federal holiday commemorating Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, through the end of February, Black History Month, Dr. King will be quoted, lionized, referenced, and deified by the kleptomaniacs who sample Dr. King as blatantly as hip-hop artists sample classic Motown. He will be taken out of context, a moral giant whose words are often distorted by the moral midgets who can only quote one or two lines from his “I Have A Dream” speech. As the battle around voting rights rages in the United States Senate, there are likely those who have forgotten how dedicated King was to voting rights and how often he risked his life for the right to vote.

As people celebrated Dr. King’s birthday on January 17, few will remember how long it took for the day to become a holiday. Thousands thronged to Washington, DC every cold January from King’s death until Stevie Wonder’s Happy Birthday song propelled the federal holiday from a concept to a reality in 1983. How many remember the warrior Congressman John Conyers, the indefatigable leader who rallied folks to advocate for a holiday, also tirelessly introducing reparations legislation every congressional session from 1989 until his 2017 retirement from the House of Representatives?

Many now view the King holiday as a day off work, not a moment of civic reflection. Some retail establishments even make a sale date out of it. On January 17, the King holiday, USA Today listed “the 48 best MLK Day sales to shop right now.” Turning the King holiday into the ultimate capitalistic playground captures our nation’s ambivalence with King. While he struggled to free people from the predatory capitalistic bondage of the “thingification” of life, many in our country have embraced his legacy as another shopping opportunity.

As long as we embrace only the surface King, we can smooth out his edges, ignore his passionate opposition to the Vietnam war, forget his searing criticism of poverty, and turn him into a kumbaya King. King elevated the “creative maladjustment of a nonconforming minority in a country that encourages conformity.” He spoke of this maladjustment, often, in his speeches, about preferring to be a “drum major for justice” than a follower of consumer trends. He spoke of the “audacity,” the temerity, the nerve, the sheer madness of believing that in a capitalist economy, people could eat, learn and thrive.

King’s commitment to maladjustment was partly his dissatisfaction with the status quo, but some psychiatrists suggest that his embracing maladjustment may also have had to do with the several depressive episodes he had. It takes nothing from his legacy but instead elevates it when we speak of the depression that King may have experienced. He attempted suicide twice as a teen and was occasionally hospitalized for nervous exhaustion, which Tuft University Professor of Psychiatry Nassir Ghaemi suggests is evidence of manic depressive tendencies. He explores King and other leaders in his book, A First-Rate Madness: Uncovering the Link Between Leadership and Mental Illness (Penguin Books, 2012).

In 1967, some of his inner circle spoke to Dr. King about his depression and suggested he seek help. But with the FBI racist psychopath J. Edgar Hoover bugging his offices and bedrooms, King could not be sure of confidentiality, even from a trusted therapist.

Further, there was such stigma about mental illness that vice presidential candidate Thomas Eagleton was dropped from the McGovern ticket when his bouts with depression were made public.

Imagine the derision King might have encountered when, at the nadir of his popularity (with 72 percent of whites and 55 percent of Blacks disapproving of him), he sought help for mental health. Today, mental health professionals estimate that as many as 5 million Black men experience depression. Most do not seek help. We need to see Dr. King as brilliantly accomplished and marvelously human, with all the imperfections that come with humanity.

To be maladjusted is to be discontent. Activists are, by nature, discontent. They want our nation to be better, to be the democracy it pretends to be. They want our country to be fairer, to provide opportunities for everyone, not just the wealthy. Dr. King’s dear friend, Rev. Joe Lowery, said, “to achieve social change, you have to be maladjusted. All of the leaders of the movement were a little crazy, including Martin.”

We must embrace Dr. King and his maladjusted madness in all of its complexity. We must examine the burden of leadership, the mental health challenges so many leaders face, and the ways we must prioritize self-care even as we struggle for social and economic justice. It is not the kumbaya King, but the brilliantly imperfect one, that ought to be our role model.

MLK Shares View On The Filibuster In 60-Year-Old Interview Clip

In a video from a 1963 news conference, civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. expressed that he was against the use of the filibuster because he believed a “minority of misguided senators” would use it to keep people from voting.

Why The Future Of Sports Training Could Be Wearable

Elite sports teams and athletes across the globe are using wearable technology to collect data and improve their performance.

Eddie Rye, Jr. Adds A “Touch Of King” To Everything He Can In Seattle

By Aaron Allen, The Seattle Medium

What motivates African Americans to continue to fight for their rights and to promote the legacies and contributions of their most prominent of leaders.

As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s holiday approaches, The Seattle Medium sat down with longtime community activist Eddie Rye, Jr., a local civil rights leader who has been fighting for justice and equality in the state of Washington since the 1960s, to talk about his years of advocacy.

When it comes to preserving the legacy of Dr. King, Rye has been in the center of or played a role in every effort to honor Dr. King in the state. From the naming of a Seattle Public School, which was the first monumental thing to be named after Dr. King in the state, to the naming of a street, the naming of a park, to having Dr. King’s image be part of the official logo of King County, Rye has successfully played the role of agitator, initiator, negotiator, protestor, connector and diplomat in the quest to properly honor Dr. King and instill his principles of freedom, justice and equality into the fiber of Seattle’s culture.

As a symbol of Black consciousness, struggle and triumph, Rye’s name and image seem to be a perfect fit to represent the mindset and goals of African Americans in Seattle and King County. But the success of his efforts did not come without a fight, or the help of others.

When asked about his legacy of activism, Rye says that his life experiences — especially at a young age growing up in Shreveport, Louisiana, where he saw racism and segregation “up close and personal” — are what fuels his passion for change.

“Having the experiences of only being able to drink out of a colored water fountain, discrimination in the military and on the job here in Seattle, and seeing Dr. King at Garfield in 1961 inspired me to overcome obstacles in my activism,” says Rye. “Overcoming racial injustices in America is all that the descendants of Africans have had to do.”

Over the years, Rye was instrumental — along with other Black leaders like Dr. Samuel McKinney, former pastor of the Mt Zion Baptist Church; civil rights activist Charlie James; former King County Councilmember Larry Gossett; Freddie Mae Gautier, civil rights activist, and local Black Media outlets like The Seattle Medium and it’s publisher Chris H. Bennett — in making sure that this part of the country was well aware of the contributions and intentions of the iconic civil rights leader.

Born in Louisiana, Rye’s family migrated to the Pacific Northwest when he was 10. After graduating from high school, Rye went into the military where he became one of the first and youngest Black men to be promoted to the Officer’s Candidate School in Texas.

Rye recalls a couple of experiences that fueled his desire to wake up every morning to speak up for and fight for the dignity and freedom of Black folks.

“[One day while stationed in Texas] I had on my military uniform, and I went up to pay for the movie,” recalls Rye. “As I attempted to pay for the movie, the attendant told me, ‘Hey boy, that uniform don’t make you white and told me to go to the negro window to pay.”

The incident prompted Rye to leave the South. But, even after moving back to Seattle, Rye found himself moved to action due to the insensitivity of America toward Black America’s fallen martyrs.

“I was offered a supervisor in production position during the time of segregation at Boeing,” says Rye. “Even there, after I left the South, I continued to experience racism. The day that Dr. King was murdered a co-worker stated and I quote, ‘M.L. Coon got what he deserved.’ And it took everything I had in me not to come across the desk.”

While Rye was offended by the comment, he was not deterred and chose more meaningful pathways to funnel his energies towards progress and change.

Rye would go on to work with the Central Area Motivation Program, and the Black Student Unions of the local universities and colleges to implement the Great Society Programs initiated by former President Lyndon B. Johnson, that were designed to elevate the Black community. However, former U.S. President Ronald Reagan defunded these initiatives during his administration in a move that once again re-ignited Rye’s passion for activism.

Coinciding with national efforts to make Dr. King’s birthday a national holiday, Rye set his sights on changing the name of Empire Way in Seattle to Martin Luther King, Jr. Way. Despite many challenges, Rye and his colleagues were able to prevail after a two-year battle that included two lawsuits, numerous protests, demonstrations and countless life-threatening phone calls. Finally in 1983, the Washington State Supreme Court ruled that the City of Seattle had the authority to change the name of the street, which paved the way for the official renaming of the street to Martin Luther King, Jr. Way.

A few years later, the King County council approved a motion to rename the county in honor of Dr. King. However, this was not a formal name change and Rye, motivated by former King County councilmembers Ron Sims and Larry Gossett, began forging ahead on formally changing the name of the County, which would take an act of legislation from the State. The journey took six years, but their grassroots efforts finally resulted in Gov. Christine Gregoire signing legislation to formally change the county’s name in honor of Dr. King.

After making headway with naming of the street, Rye and local leaders thought it would be a good idea to have a park named in honor of Dr. King. And in Rye’s mind it would only be appropriate to rename a park located on the same street that carries Dr. King’s name.

“A park should be named after him on the street named after him,” Rye recalls discussing with other community leaders. “With the leadership of Charlie James, other Black leaders as well as advocacy by Morris Alhadeff, Longacres Racetrack former General Manager and Chairman of the Board, the grassy null on the corner of MLK Jr. Way S. and S. Walker St. was transformed into a memorial park in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.”

While he is adamant about acknowledging the contributions of others, Rye is that sturdy branch of our cultural tree that is deeply rooted in the community. His ongoing efforts in producing tangible results that help make Seattle a better place for everyone is something that he can’t shy away from.

So, what’s next on the agenda for this tireless Civil Rights warrior?

“Voting rights,” proclaims Rye. “If there is going to be a means in which we continue the legacy of Dr. King, not only through memorializing his name, but through action, today’s fight for voting rights is at the top of the priority list.”            

“Without voting rights there is no democracy,” continued Rye. “Without voting rights we do not have a voice. The right to vote is the most important legacy left to us by Dr. King.”

King’s Daughter Slams Twisting Of Critical Race Theory

By Sudwin Thanawala, Associated Press

ATLANTA (AP) – Martin Luther King Jr.’s daughter used an address Monday to push for federal voting rights legislation and slam the twisting of critical race theory to create what she called “false narratives.”

Rev. Bernice King said there is a “very urgent need” for voting legislation, and that it is “crucial to humanity across the globe that the United States of America stands as a democratic nation.” Her remarks came ahead of a scheduled visit Tuesday to Georgia by President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris to talk about voting rights.

“I also know that there are many people who are not as urgently concerned about that unfortunately,” King said during the address at The King Center in Atlanta to announce events for the upcoming holiday in honor of her father. “There’s a wind of discontent for some and a wave of apathy for others that has settled into the hearts and minds of not only an increasing number of people in the United States, but throughout the world.”

Voting legislation backed by Democrats is currently stalled in the U.S. Senate in the face of Republican opposition, and the party is mounting an effort to change the chamber’s rules to get it passed. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., has set the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday on Jan. 17 as the deadline to either pass the voting legislation or consider revising the rules. King said she was frustrated by the lack of progress on voting rights, but she believed legislation would pass and urged dialogue with Republicans.

“This is not just a Black issue,” she said. “This is an issue about democracy.”

King also addressed critical race theory, a way of thinking about America’s history that centers on the idea that racism is systemic in the nation’s institutions and that they function to maintain the dominance of white people in society. Republican-controlled states have invoked it in legislation restricting how race can be taught in public schools, and it’s become a lightning rod for the GOP.

She said the nation needed a shift in priorities that “helps us understand we can’t commemorate my father on the one hand while also promoting false narratives under the banner of critical race theory.”

She added: “CRT is not the problem. Racism is the problem, poverty or extreme materialism is the problem and militarism, war is the problem.”