Thursday, August 27, 2015

In Wake of Federal Updates, Maryland Becomes First State to Issue Profiling Guidance

Surrounded by a national conversation about police brutality and law enforcement’s treatment of minorities, Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh on August 25 issued guidance designed to ban discriminatory profiling by law enforcement on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability or gender identity.
“Police do a dangerous, difficult job, and they do it well. But experience shows us that improper profiling by police does terrible damage,” Frosh said. “The memorandum we are issuing today is meant to put an end to profiling of all kinds, which will help repair the frayed relationships between police and many in the community by making mutual respect the norm in everyday police encounters.”

Maryland is now the first state to issue guidance since the U.S. Department of Justice issued its own updated profiling guidance in December 2014. Like Maryland’s, the federal guidance expanded the ban on profiling to include additional identity categories beyond just race and ethnicity – an expansion that Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference, said would “make law enforcement both more effective and reflective of our national commitment to fairness and diversity.”

That federal guidance, however, maintained troubling exceptions and loopholes, such as not applying to state and local law enforcement. That’s why – though it doesn’t create enforceable rights – it’s up to states to issue their own version of the federal guidelines.

The Leadership Conference and 80 other national, state, and local organizations in February 2015 sent a letter to President Obama expressing their concerns with the administration’s guidance, including the exception for state and local law enforcement.
“State and local law enforcement agencies like the NYPD, the Ferguson Police Department, and the Cleveland Police Department have encounters with community members every day that raise serious concerns about discriminatory policing,” the letter stated.

In April 2015, Sen. Ben Cardin, D. Md., and Rep. John Conyers, D. Mich., reintroduced the End Racial Profiling Act (ERPA), which would prohibit profiling by federal, state, local, and Indian tribal law enforcement on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, gender identity, or sexual orientation – the same categories as the DOJ’s federal guidance. That legislation, which is stalled in both chambers of Congress, would apply to state and local agencies exempted by federal guidelines.

In Wake of Federal Updates, Maryland Becomes First State to Issue Profiling Guidance - See more at: http://www.civilrights.org/archives/2015/1535-maryland-profiling-guidance.html?referrer=https://www.google.com/#sthash.2ulTumcV.dpuf

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Conyers: Why I Strongly Support the Iran Nuclear Deal

Conyers: Why I Strongly Support the Iran Nuclear Deal

DETROIT – Congressman John Conyers, Jr. (MI-13) released the following statement expressing his support of the Obama Administration’s agreement to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon:

Dean of the U.S. House
of Representatives
John Conyers, Jr.
“The Obama Administration’s determined diplomatic efforts have yielded one of the most important international agreements in memory: a verifiable deal to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

“While there are numerous arguments for the deal, there's one underlying point that's essential to understand: the deal accomplishes the core objective that the United States set out to accomplish in entering the negotiations in the first place.  It eliminates two-thirds of Iran’s centrifuges, removes 98 percent of its enriched-uranium, and establishes the strictest inspection regime in history.  This vastly reduces the potential for a successful secret nuclear program.  Should Iran violate the terms of the agreement, we and our allies will have sufficient time to discover the violation, and all our current options to stop it—including the re-imposition of multilateral sanctions—remain on the table.  

“While some claim that Congress rejecting the hard-won agreement will result in a ‘better deal,’ the far likelier outcome is that our international coalition would splinter and the sanctions regime would collapse as our foreign partners come to believe that the United States is incapable of accepting ‘yes’ for an answer.  Rather than bolstering our bargaining position, a Congressional rejection of the deal would empower Iran’s hardliners, enable the resumption of unmonitored nuclear fuel enrichment, and increase the likelihood of conflict. 

“Nothing would endanger American and Israeli security and economic interests more than a war that would unleash terrorism around the world and result in the blockage of the crucial Strait of Hormuz.  Such a war might delay an Iranian nuclear program by two years at most while discrediting US diplomacy in the eyes of our allies around the world.

“Approval of the deal would not only obstruct Iranian nuclear ambitions and promote stability in the Middle East.  It would strengthen US diplomatic authority in the world and, potentially, set forth a wave of reformist energies within Iran.  President Obama fought successfully for the strong multilateral sanctions that have crippled Iran's economy.  By conditionally lifting some sanctions in exchange for a verifiable freezing of nuclear activities, this deal demonstrates to the Iranian people that constructive engagement with the United States is the path to the prosperity.
  

“The American people have been clear—they strongly prefer a negotiated agreement to the alternative of war and bloodshed.  Congressional approval of this deal would be crucial win for peace.”

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Monday, August 24, 2015

Iran diplomacy: History is on Obama’s side

By John Conyers, Jr.
Dean of the U.S. House
of Representatives
John Conyers, Jr.
An American president, approaching the end of his second term, stands up to foreign policy hawks to defend his legacy-defining efforts toward nuclear disarmament. Exacerbated by relentless criticism from the right, he makes his case bluntly: “Some of the people who are objecting the most ... whether they realize it or not, those people basically down in their deepest thoughts have accepted that war is inevitable.”
The year was 1987. The president was Ronald Reagan.
While I was often at odds with President Reagan during his time in office, I’m grateful for his dedicated pursuit of nuclear arms reductions with the Soviet Union. This tenacious work made the world safer and helped to create the political space for reformers to eventually dismantle old dictatorial structures. 
Today, with his historic Iran agreement, President Obama is on track to do the same. 
Of all the arguments on the Iran deal, there's one key point that's essential to understand: The deal accomplishes the core objective that the United States set out to accomplish in entering the negotiations in the first place. It eliminates two-thirds of Iran’s centrifuges, removes 98 percent of its enriched uranium, and establishes the strictest inspection regime in history. This vastly reduces the possibility of a successful secret nuclear program. Should Iran violate the terms of the agreement, we will have sufficient time to discover the violation, and all our current options to stop it — including the re-imposition of multilateral sanctions — remain on the table.  
Just as in Reagan’s day, the critics of this nuclear negotiation are all but assuming the inevitability of military conflict. While some claim that Congress rejecting the hard-won agreement will result in a “better deal,” the far likelier outcome is that our international coalition would splinter and the sanctions regime would collapse as our foreign partners come to believe that the United States is incapable of accepting “yes” for an answer.  Rather than bolstering our bargaining position, a Congressional rejection of the deal would empower Iran’s hardliners, enable the resumption of unmonitored nuclear fuel enrichment and increase the likelihood of conflict.  
Nothing would endanger American and Israeli security and economic interests more than a war that would unleash terrorism around the world and result in the blockage of the crucial Strait of Hormuz. Such a war might delay an Iranian nuclear program by two years at most while irrevocably discrediting U.S. diplomacy in the eyes of allies. The only winner in such a destructive conflict would be the enemy that the United States and Iran share: ISIS.
Approving the deal would not only inhibit Iranian nuclear ambitions and promote stability in the Middle East. It would bolster U.S. diplomatic authority in the world and, potentially, set forth a wave of reformist energies within Iran. Obama fought successfully for the strong multilateral sanctions that have crippled Iran's economy. By conditionally lifting some sanctions in exchange for a verifiable freezing of nuclear activities, this deal demonstrates to the Iranian people that constructive engagement with the United States — not reversion to the ideology of the ayatollahs — is the path to the prosperity they desire.
Just over half a century ago, another American president, John F. Kennedy, in another era of difficult engagement with the Soviets, provided a piece of enduring wisdom for American diplomats and for our nation as a whole: “Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate.” Obama’s diplomacy with Iran is grounded in strength and realism. But it’s also animated by something all too rare in foreign relations: Hope.

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Friday, August 21, 2015

Conyers Hails $3.1 Million in Grants to Wayne State University


Medical Grants Will Protect Adolescents, Infants, and Others

Detroit – U.S. Rep. John Conyers, Jr. (MI-13) released the following statement about recent grants by the Department of Health and Human Services:

Dean of teh U.S. House
of Representatives
John Conyers, Jr.
“In the fight for jobs, justice, and peace, the provision of adequate healthcare for all communities is a vital tool.  As Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, ‘Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane.’

“This week, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced more than $3.1 million dollars in research grants will be awarded to the distinguished Wayne State University to address AIDs in adolescents, protect young infants from fevers, increase the effectiveness of medical treatment, and improve the delivery and efficiency of healthcare services at a major urban hospital caring for under-served populations. I commend the HHS for their support of these crucial priorities, and am proud to see Wayne State’s outstanding faculty and staff recognized for their outstanding research.”
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Thursday, August 20, 2015

Conyers Grieves The Loss of CBC Co-Founder, Louis B. Stokes


DETROIT – Today, U.S. Rep. John Conyers, Jr. (MI-13) released the following statement on the passing of former Congressional Black Caucus founding member former Rep. Louis B. Stokes (D-OH):

“Today we have lost one of the greatest trailblazers of public service, a co-founder of the Congressional Black Caucus, and I am proud to say – my good friend, Louis B. Stokes.”

“Louis was the true embodiment of a dedicated public servant who broke barriers throughout his distinguished career.  Having served as a public servant on the local and state levels, in 1969 Louis became the first African American to represent Ohio in Congress.  He served for 30 years in the House of Representatives and was the first African American to have a seat on the Appropriations Committee and chaired the Intelligence Committee.”

“During his tenure as a Representative, he knew that there was much more that could be done to enhance the quality of life for all African Americans. In 1971, I joined Louis and several other African American colleagues in forming the Congressional Black Caucus – the conscience of the Congress – to bring more awareness to issues impacting the advancement of black Americans.  Most notably,  he founded the Congressional Black Caucus Health Braintrust, which focused on increasing access to quality health care and raising awareness of the health disparities affecting African Americans.  To this day, the CBC Health Braintrust remains one of the most active elements of the annual legislative conference.”

“As a former Army veteran, he was a voice for the voiceless.  His extraordinary career resulted in positive changes for thousands of Americans, one of the greatest accomplishments a public servant can achieve.  I extend my sympathies to his wife, Jay, and children, Shelley, Angela, Chuck, and Lori, and their entire family at this difficult time.”
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Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Portrait Unveiling Ceremony for Representative John Conyers

http://www.c-span.org/video/?323618-1/portrait-unveiling-ceremony-representative-john-conyers-dmi Voting is beautiful, be beautiful ~ vote.©

Monday, August 17, 2015

John Conyers Mourns the Passing of Ex- State Senator Julian Bond of Atlanta, Ga.


Dean of the U.S. House
of Representatives
John Conyers, Jr.
DETROIT – Today, U.S. Rep. John Conyers, Jr. (MI-13) released the following statement in the wake of the death of Civil Rights Leader, Julian Bond:

“I was very saddened to hear about the loss of my friend, Julian Bond.  Julian was a legendary, nationally-recognized life-long activist, who dedicated his career to securing and defending racial equality.”

“Julian, like myself, believed in peace and nonviolence.  A poet, an activist, a teacher and a writer – he used every outlet possible to underscore his message of achieving racial equality and voting rights in America.”

“One of the original leaders of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, Julian learned early on that peaceful demonstration and political activism could lead to positive change.  He continued to be a leader throughout his life going on to be the founding president of the Southern Poverty Law Center from 1971 until 1979 and later, in 1998, served as Chairman of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People for over a decade.”

“He was a dutiful and impactful public servant for 20 years in the Georgia State Legislature, having served as both a House Representative and State Senator.  He later on became a talented educator and lecturer at distinguished academic institutions such as Harvard University, American University, Drexel University and the University of Virginia - further advancing his commitment to justice through education.”

“His leadership and ardent devotion to freeing this country of discrimination leaves a lasting impact on this and generations of Americans to come.  Julian's legacy as an impassioned fighter for equal justice will serve as a model in the continued fight for civil rights.  My sympathies go out to his wife, Pamela, and their family.  America has lost one of its greatest civil rights heroes.”

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