Sunday, July 30, 2017

50 Years Ago, LBJ Signs Medicare & Medicaid Into Law

50 years ago, President Johnson signed into law, Medicare & Medicaid to provide health care to old, the young, the sick and the veterans who have served this nation.

50 years later, our elected officials want to "unsign" the health care law.

President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Medicare bill and dedicated it to Harry S. Truman, the former president who "planted the seeds of compassion".

No longer will older Americans be denied the healing miracle of modern medicine. No longer will illness crush and destroy the savings that they have so carefully put away over a lifetime so that they might enjoy dignity in their later years. No longer will young families see their own incomes, and their own hopes, eaten away simply because they are carrying out their deep moral obligations to their parents, and to their uncles, and their aunts.

And no longer will this Nation refuse the hand of justice to those who have given a lifetime of service and wisdom and labor to the progress of this progressive country.

Dean of the U.S. House of Representatives, John Conyers, Jr. has introduced Medicare For All.

Voting is beautiful, be beautiful ~ vote.©

Saturday, July 29, 2017

CONYERS renews call for end to racial profiling

Washington — U.S. Rep. John Conyers Jr. is seizing on the new film “Detroit” and the 50th anniversary of the city’s uprising to renew his call for greater accountability and training for police in an push to end racial profiling.

Conyers, portrayed in the film by actor Laz Alonso, convened a discussion Thursday evening at the U.S. Capitol with “Detroit” director Kathryn Bigelow, Alonso and others to discuss these issues and screen the movie for members of Congress, their staffs and guests.

“As we have seen from police-involved shooting incidents and Department of Justice investigations around the country, 1967 Detroit is being repeated every year still,” Conyers said.

“For this reason, I continue to pursue improving police relationships and accountability and criminal justice reform here in Congress.”

Conyers has introduced a bill to prohibit racial profiling in every Congress since 2001. It would require retraining of law-enforcement officers on how to discontinue racial profiling and would mandate data collection.

The film focuses on the incident at the Algiers Motel, set against the backdrop of the 1967 Detroit uprising – also called the 12th Street Riot.

The Algiers incident involved three black men who died during an interrogation by police officers. The officers tried for the deaths were found not guilty. Observers have drawn parallels to the recent deaths of Michael Brown, Eric Garner and Philando Castile, who were also killed by police.

Bigelow said the movie came about in the wake of Brown’s shooting in Ferguson, Missouri, when her screenwriter brought her the story of the 1967 Algiers incident.

“As I was listening to the story, I found myself thinking it didn’t feel like 50 years ago,” Bigelow said. “I thought we would benefit from seeing this story. It’s a very tragic one – an American tragedy – but in a perfect would it might stimulate a conversation.”

As the riots grew in 1967, Conyers went into the streets and tried to quell the community’s rage, directing it to more “proactive organization,” he said.

The film recreates the scene of Conyers grasping a bullhorn atop a car in the middle of the crowd, urging his neighbors and constituents to stop the destruction.

“What I felt more than anything, in the rebellion scene, was the need to be heard. Everyone needed to be heard. The citizens of Detroit were not being heard,” Alonso said.

“When Representative Conyers went up to talk to these people, he needed to be heard. …
Unfortunately, at that moment in time, the bubble had burst, and there was no listening. It was all action. All the frustrations that had built up for so long.”

Democratic Rep. Brenda Lawrence was a young girl on the east side of Detroit during the riots. She recalls her grandmother’s anxiety and television images of military tanks rolling down city streets.

In an interview, she stressed the need for community leaders around the country to provide ongoing training for police.

“We are held responsible – us in government – for the training and the accountability of our police. This movie shows where some of the failures happened,” said Lawrence, the former mayor of Southfield.

“It’s an opportunity for us to step back and say, if we don’t train, or have better accountability in collecting data, we could be right where we were. Ferguson happened just recently. I’m hoping the outcome of this film will be that it will create a sense of urgency for our local governments to train and invest in our police officers.”

Voting is beautiful, be beautiful ~ vote.©

CONYERS, BEYERS, House Democrats Introduce Security Clearance Review Act

Would authorize the FBI Director to revoke the security clearance of Senior White House staff

July 28, 2017 (Washington, D.C.) – Reps. John Conyers (D-MI) and Don Beyer (D-VA), Ranking Member of the House Committee on the Judiciary, today introduced the Security Clearance Review Act. The bill would authorize the Director of the FBI to revoke the security clearance of an employee of the Executive Office of the President if the Director deems such actions necessary to national security. Their legislation was cosponsored by 19 additional Representatives.

Dean of the U.S. House
of Representatives
John Conyers, Jr.
“The Trump Administration has a very poor track record when it comes to their handling of classified information—and those are only incidents we know about,” said Rep. Conyers.  “Given that several senior officials appear to have failed to disclose their contacts with foreign governments on their applications for a security clearance, given that President Trump is related by marriage to at least one of these officials, and given that the President himself appears to have played fast and loose with sensitive intelligence, it is imperative that the authority to revoke these clearances extend beyond the President, to include the Director of the FBI.”

“Donald Trump’s refusal to hold his senior staff accountable for their deceptions on Russia have sadly made this legislation necessary,” said Rep. Beyer. “Despite all we have learned about his secret meetings with Russians, Jared Kushner apparently continues to hold his clearance.  Jared Kushner’s case and that of disgraced former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn make it clear that we need further protections when it comes to security clearances for the President’s family and closest advisers. I thank my colleague, Ranking Member Conyers, for working with me to craft legislation to protect our national security.”

The cosponsors of the bill are Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Steve Cohen (D-TN), Donald Payne Jr. (D-NJ), Hank Johnson (D-GA), Norma Torres (D-CA), Betty McCollum (D-MN), Ted Lieu (D-CA), Jamie Raskin (D-MD), Peter Welch (D-VT), David Cicilline (D-RI), Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH), Kathleen Rice (D-NY), Dwight Evans (D-PA), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Grace Napolitano (D-CA), Brendan Boyle (D-PA), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), Jim McGovern (D-MA) and Pramila Jayapal (D-WA).

The bill is, below.

Rep. Beyer has led congressional attempts to hold Jared Kushner accountable for “omitted” meetings with Russian officials from his SF-86 form since Kushner’s failure to disclose those meetings was revealed. In April, Beyer and four other Representatives asked the Administration to suspend Jared Kushner’s security clearance.

The FBI’s response to that letter alerted the Representatives to the surprising fact that the President alone holds final authority to suspend or revoke employees of the Executive Office of the President.

Beyer subsequently led over 50 Members of Congress in calling for immediate revocation of Kushner’s security clearance following revelations that the Special Prosecutor was investigating Kushner’s meetings with Russian officials. 

Earlier this month, Beyer led nearly two dozen Representatives seeking FBI scrutiny of White House adviser Ivanka Trump over possible omissions on her SF-86.
Voting is beautiful, be beautiful ~ vote.©

Thursday, July 27, 2017

U.S. House Judiciary Committee Calls For Special Investigation of Loretta Lynch, James Comey & Hillary Clinton

Letter of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to appoint a second special counsel to investigate a plethora of matters connected to the 2016 election and its aftermath, including actions taken by previously public figures like Attorney General Loretta Lynch, FBI Director James Comey, and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Voting is beautiful, be beautiful ~ vote.©

CONYERS Statement On Senator Daines Using Medicare For All As A Pawn

Washington, D.C. – Congressman John Conyers, Jr. (MI-13) today released the following statement on Republican Senator Steve Daines using Rep. Conyers’ H.R. 676, Medicare for All legislation as a pawn in his scheme to force a vote on Senate Democrats:

Dean of the U.S. House
of Representatives
John Conyers, Jr.
“The process by which the Senate is considering changes to our nation’s healthcare plan is a sham, and Senate Democrats are right not to take part in it. We’ve said all along that Republicans should be holding hearings, soliciting input from the public, and carefully weighing analysis from the Congressional Budget Office. My proposal is no different. In fact, Medicare for All is far more popular than the status quo or anything Republicans have put forward, with about 60% of Americans in support, so it’s even more deserving of hearings and a CBO score.

“Poll after poll shows that Americans agree that we have a collective obligation to guarantee healthcare coverage to everyone through a government financed healthcare system. A majority of my Democratic colleagues in the House are cosponsors of my Medicare for All bill. Republicans are right: thanks to its overwhelming popularity, Medicare for All has become the alternative to Trumpcare. So let’s have a real debate, including hearings, independent analysis, and input from doctors, patients, and hospitals. What we shouldn’t be doing is holding disingenuous 11th-hour votes on any ideas that haven’t be subjected to the normal legislative process.”

Voting is beautiful, be beautiful ~ vote.©

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

CONYERS: House Judiciary Committee To Consider Sessions' Recusal and Comey Firing Resolution

Washington, DC – On Wednesday, July 26, 2017, the House Judiciary Committee will consider Representatives Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) and David Cicilline’s (RI-01) resolution of inquiry requesting the Trump Administration to release any and all information pertaining to Attorney General Sessions’ involvement in the firing of FBI Director James Comey in violation of his recusal and related matters. The full text of the Resolution of Inquiry can be found, below.

Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr., issued the following statement:
Dean of the U.S. House
of Representatives
John Conyers, Jr.
“The Majority has shown itself to be in complete lockstep with President Trump.  Rather than talk about a crisis at the Department of Justice, our colleagues would rather re-litigate the 2016 election and question the credibility of a long list of public servants who no longer work for the government.

“There is simply no excuse for our Committee’s failure to hold a single oversight hearing on these matters.  Their attempt to hide behind stale conspiracy theories is both tone deaf and counterproductive.  It makes the Majority complicit in the actions of President Trump and his associates.

“I am disappointed that the Republicans denied us an opportunity to debate our resolution, but we will not be deterred.  Whether the crisis comes to the Committee or the Committee comes to the crisis, we will conduct oversight of the Trump Administration.”

BACKGROUND:  A resolution of inquiry is a legislative tool that has privileged parliamentary status, meaning it can be brought to the floor if the relevant committee hasn’t reported it within 14 legislative days, even if the Majority leadership has not scheduled it for a vote.

House Judiciary Committee Democrats have long been calling for House Judiciary Republicans to provide proper oversight over Trump and his Administration. Democrats have written to Chairman Goodlatte four times to request hearings on Russian interference with the 2016 election, potential collusion with Russia, the firing of James Comey and Attorney General Sessions’ recusal. 

 Democrats have also sent several letters to Speaker Paul Ryan, the Department of Justice and the White House requesting related information. 

Despite Judiciary Republicans’ attempts to block Democratic efforts, resolutions of inquiry should be the proper next step in the Committee’s oversight of the Trump Administration.  House Judiciary Republicans have so far blocked Rep. Jerrold Nadler’s (D-NY) resolution of inquiry and Reps. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) and Ted Lieu’s (D-CA) resolution of inquiryfrom reaching the House floor.  

Voting is beautiful, be beautiful ~ vote.©

CONYERS Condemns Senate Vote To Start Obamacare Repeal Process

Washington, D.C. – Congressman John Conyers, Jr. (MI-13) released the following statement after Senate Republicans voted to start debate on repealing the Affordable Care Act:

Dean of the U.S. House
of Representatives
John Conyers, Jr.
“I’m horrified by what today’s vote means for poor and working people in this country. The Affordable Care Act is not perfect and I have said this many times. However, in Detroit alone, the uninsured rate has dropped from 22% to 7.4% over the last 3 years. That progress will be undone by today’s vote.

“The proposals that Republicans have on the table will result in more than 50,000 people in my district losing coverage. Nationwide, premiums will skyrocket for those lucky enough to have insurance and Medicaid will be cut by 1/3 - meaning that people will likely die. I don’t say that to be hyperbolic; it’s simply a fact that lack of access to care results in preventable deaths.

“Today’s vote makes clear what I’ve been saying for decades: the only way forward is through a single, national insurance plan: Medicare for All. Virtually every other advanced country on earth uses a government guaranteed model rather than relying on employer-sponsored care through a for-profit insurance industry. These countries spend 30-60% less than we do, with longer life-expectancy and lower infant and maternal mortality rates. We are the richest country on earth. It is a moral failure that we lag so far behind the rest of the world on healthcare. When Democrats regain control of Congress and the White House, it is essential that we invest in Medicare expansion and extend it to every American.”

Voting is beautiful, be beautiful ~ vote.©

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

CONYERS: An unchecked presidency is a danger to the Republic

By: Reps. John Conyers and Elijah Cummings 

Dean of the U.S. House
of Representatives
John Conyers, Jr.
On Saturday, Oct. 20, 1973, President Richard Nixon fired Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox because he refused to back down from his pursuit of the Watergate tapes.

Nearly a half century later, President Donald Trump fired FBI Director James Comey because of, in the president’s own words, “this Russia thing with Trump and Russia.”

And Wednesday, the president complained about Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ decision to recuse himself from the Russia investigation; Mr. Trump said he “would have picked someone else” to run the Department of Justice had he known that was coming.

 How Congress responds to moments like these matters.

The differences between Congress’ response in 1973 and our response today are stark — and, frankly, disappointing.

In 1973, the House Judiciary Committee had a serious and bipartisan response, subpoenaing and eventually releasing the Watergate tapes.

The current Republican response has been tepid at best; they have not issued a single subpoena to the White House, and Speaker Paul Ryan defended Mr. Trump’s interference in the Russia investigation by assuring us that “he’s just new to this.”

 As the senior Democrats on the House Judiciary and Oversight and Government Reform committees, we believe it is critical that Special Counsel Robert Mueller be given the independence, time and resources to conduct a thorough investigation and report his findings to Congress.

At the same time, as a co-equal branch of government, Congress must fulfill its constitutional duty to investigate the full range of Trump administration and Trump campaign actions.

 Successful congressional investigations develop a comprehensive, fact-based record to form the basis for further action.

The House and Senate Watergate investigations led to Nixon’s resignation and adoption of the Ethics in Government Act. It was serious, deliberative, bipartisan, transparent and operated in parallel to law enforcement investigations. In the absence of any meaningful investigation by House Republicans, Democratic members have sent requests for information on our own.

Our efforts have been met with months of stonewalling.

The Trump White House recently told government agencies “not to cooperate [with any oversight] requests from Democrats,” and issued a contrived Justice Department legal opinion that such queries are “not properly considered to be oversight requests.”

 We will continue to press for answers because the information we seek goes to the central question of the Trump presidency: Is the administration acting in the public interest, or merely to benefit the private interests of President Trump?

 And because our requests have been largely ignored by the administration and the GOP — including the chairs of our own committees — we have been forced to utilize alternative means of accountability.

 For example, more than 200 members of Congress have filed a lawsuit to force the president to comply with the Constitution’s Foreign Emoluments Clause. Oversight Committee Democrats are attempting to use their special statutory authority to obtain information from the General Services Administration about the lease of the Trump International Hotel to the president.

Together, our committee Democrats have asked the inspector general of the Department of Justice to investigate whether Attorney General Jeff Sessions violated the terms of his recusal when he participated in the decision to fire Director Comey.

 Democrats have also demanded up or down votes where critical oversight requests have been denied.

The House has voted on 10 privileged resolutions — each one defeated by the Republicans — to obtain copies of the president’s tax returns.

Democrats are introducing 12 separate resolutions of inquiry in six committees seeking information on matters ranging from possible obstruction of justice, to the president’s foreign entanglements, to abuse of power.

And Democrats have filed a discharge petition asking every Member of the House to go on record as to whether they support an independent bipartisan commission to examine foreign intervention in our elections.

 An unchecked presidency — such as that of Richard Nixon or Donald Trump — represents a clear and present danger to the Republic.

We have taken this series of steps in an attempt to provide at least a measure of independent scrutiny and to mark how Republicans in Congress have repeatedly failed in this responsibility.

We do not have the right to remain silent.

Our investigations must continue separate from, and in addition to, the special counsel’s work.

 The next constitutional crisis — the firing of Special Counsel Mueller, perhaps — is not hard to envision.

Mr. Trump has already characterized the Russia investigation as “the single greatest witch hunt in American history,” being “led by some very bad and conflicted people,” and warned Mr. Mueller not to expand the investigation into his family’s finances beyond Russia.

 In recent days, we have seen evidence of the willingness by Donald Trump Jr. and others in the Trump campaign to obtain information damaging to Hillary Clinton from the Russian government — information that is as probative to Mr. Mueller’s investigation as it is threatening to the president.

Congress must ensure that Mr. Mueller can continue his investigation independently, effectively, and steadfastly.

Should Mr. Mueller be fired, the current majority must understand they have a duty to enforce our system of checks and balances — as we did in 1973. c

If Republicans cannot appreciate that obligation, then the American people will be forced to decide whether they really want a Congress that continues to ignore its responsibility.

Voting is beautiful, be beautiful ~ vote.©

CONYERS: Statement for the Hearing on H.R. 2887, the No Regulation Without Representation Act of 2017

Dean of the U.S. House
of Representatives
John Conyers, Jr.
Before I begin my remarks, I’d like to take a moment to recognize Joseph Ehrenkrantz for his dedicated service to the House of Representatives.

Over the past two years, he has diligently served the House Judiciary Committee as a Professional Staff Member.

Joe began his career with the House Judiciary Committee Democrats shortly after graduation, and has worked tirelessly on issues of civil rights, state and local taxation, and voting rights ever since.

Joe has served the Members and staff of the Committee with great energy and enthusiasm, working to ensure the smooth functioning of Committee business by coordinating briefings, staffing hearings, and clerking markups.

We thank Joe for his many outstanding contributions to the House Judiciary Committee and the U.S. House of Representatives, and wish him well as he begins law school at Georgetown University this fall.

He will surely be missed.

Turning to today’s hearing, which focuses on H.R. 2887, the “No Regulation Without Representation Act of 2017,” it appears that supporters of this legislation intend to address the apparent problem of states regulating beyond their borders.

Twenty-five years ago, the Supreme Court in Quill held that a state may require a business to remit a sales tax only if such business had a physical presence in the state where the goods or services are provided. 

In an effort to respond to this holding, various legislative responses have been introduced over the years, including two of which I strongly supported, namely, The Remote Transactions Parity Act and the Marketplace Fairness Act. 

Although one of these bipartisan measures overwhelmingly passed the Senate in 2013, our Committee has unfortunately failed to consider either of these bills. 

Instead, we are focusing today on H.R. 2887, a highly-flawed measure. 

Among its many flaws, this bill would eviscerate the 10th Amendment and override the powers of all 50 states by expanding the physical presence standard to all taxes and all regulations.

H.R. 2887 represents an extreme rethinking of the constitutional role of states in our Nation and would strip essential consumer protection powers and taxing authority from all 50 states.

To quote the bipartisan National Governors Association and the National Conference of State Legislatures, this legislation “is a direct threat to representative self-government.”

Simply put, H.R. 2887 would preempt tens of thousands of state laws and saddle these states with untenable budget constraints by reducing their ability to collect tax revenues.
Second, this bill appears to ignore the real problems that main street retailers face today.

Local retailers—that have to collect sales taxes—are desperately struggling to compete with the reduced prices and conveniences offered by remote Internet sellers, whose online prices are generally lower because many consumers do not pay any sales taxes and thereby can save upwards of 10% or more on the purchase price of these items.

Technological advancements have made it easier for consumers to take advantage of this disparity and the consequences of this loophole are becoming increasingly more apparent.

Since October, at least 10 major, nationwide brick and mortar retailers have filed for bankruptcy and more than 90,000 workers have been laid off. 

Retail sector growth is at its weakest since the Great Recession, and recent projections estimate that a quarter of all U.S. shopping malls will close in the next five years.

Without question, I am a strong supporter of competition, especially when it benefits consumers and encourages innovation. Nevertheless, competitors should compete on things other than sales tax policy.

We should ensure parity at the point of sale among retailers and level the playing field.

Finally, H.R. 2887, by codifying Quill, would effectively prevent states and local governments from accessing a substantial part of their tax base.

State governments rely on sales and use taxes for nearly one third of their total tax revenue. Yet, as more Americans purchase more of their goods on the internet, the states receive less in sales tax revenue.

We owe it to our local communities and local retailers, as well as state and local governments, to take up helpful legislation rather than considering such flawed measures as H.R. 2887.  Accordingly, I urge Committee Chairman Goodlatte and Subcommittee Chairman Marino to instead consider H.R. 2193, the “Remote Transaction Parity Act,” bipartisan legislation introduced by Representative Kristi Noem earlier this year.

In closing, I look forward to hearing the testimony from our witnesses today and yield back the balance of my time.

Voting is beautiful, be beautiful ~ vote.©

CONYERS, SANFORD & COHEN Host Bipartisan Forum On Press Freedom

Forum on “The State of Press Freedom in 21st Century America”

Washington, D.C. – On Monday, July 24, 2017 at 3:00 p.m., House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI), Representatives Steve Cohen (D-TN) and Mark Sanford (R-SC), hosted a bipartisan forum on freedom of the press entitled, “The State of Press Freedom in 21st Century America.”

The First Amendment to the United States Constitution provides, among other things, that “Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom . . . of the press . . . .”  A free press is a critical check on the power of government institutions and public officials, yet press freedom may be under threat from various sources. 

The forum will explore, among other topics, the following:

         President Donald Trump’s repeated attempts to seemingly de-legitimize mainstream news outlets by calling them “fake news” and “the enemy of the American people;”
         Threats by President Trump to change libel laws to make it easier to pursue lawsuits against the press;
         Aggressive efforts by the Administrations of Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush to prosecute or pressure journalists;
         The potential epidemic of misinformation being presented to the public as “news” that may threaten to undermine the credibility of legitimate journalism;
         Restrictions on access to press briefings; and
         Physical threats to journalists.

                    Members of Congress

         Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice Ranking Member Steve Cohen (D-TN)
         Representative Mark Sanford (R-SC)
         House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI)
         Additional Members of Congress


         Jeff Ballou, President, National Press Club
         Jennifer Rubin, Writer of the “Right Turn” Blog, Washington Post
         Kyle Pope, Editor-in-Chief, Columbia Journalism Review
         Alicia Shepard, Media ethics expert and contributing writer for USA Today
         Floyd Abrams, Senior Counsel, Cahill, Gordon & Reindel LLP
         Rick Blum, Executive Director, News Media for Open Government
         Marvin Kalb, Senior Adviser, Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, Harvard Professor Emeritus, and Senior Fellow at Brookings Institution

Voting is beautiful, be beautiful ~ vote.©

Saturday, July 22, 2017

CONYERS: After Trump Attacks DOJ, All 17 Judiciary Democrats Demand Immediate Hearings

Judiciary Dems: Failing to Act Now Will Allow Others to Inflict Lasting Damage to the Department of Justice

Washington, D.C. – Yesterday, in an interview with the New York Times, President Donald Trump indicated his contempt for the leadership of the Department of Justice.  The President directly attacked the credibility and fairness of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, and Special Counsel Robert Mueller.  President Trump also warned Special Counsel Mueller that there would be “a violation” if his investigators attempt to scrutinize his family’s finances.

Dean of the U.S. House
of Representatives
John Conyers, Jr.
Led by Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr., all seventeen Democrats on the House Committee on the Judiciary wrote to Chairman Bob Goodlatte to demand oversight hearings as soon as practicable, below. 

Although the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, and the Senate Committee on the Judiciary all continue to do work in this space, the House Committee on the Judiciary has not held a single oversight hearing related to the Russia investigation, allegations of obstruction of justice, or the President’s treatment of Department of Justice personnel.

The House Judiciary Committee has jurisdiction over the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It also has jurisdiction over the Foreign Agents Registration Act and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

Voting is beautiful, be beautiful ~ vote.©

CONYERS Celebrates Mandela Day

"I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear." - Nelson Mandela

Voting is beautiful, be beautiful ~ vote.©

CONYERS: Commemoration" Detroit Rebellion 50th Anniversary

This year marks 50 years since the Detroit Rebellion. During the summer of 1967, the city of Detroit was marred by a civil disturbance that erupted in response to acts of police brutality at an unlicensed bar.

The events to follow those acts of injustice left the city in turmoil for several days. Police officers and civilians were injured; buildings, homes, and businesses destroyed; and many citizens and community members were arrested, injured or killed.

President Lyndon B. Johnson called me to verify these reports were true.

During that time, I was in the midst of my second Congressional term. I took to the streets in hopes of redirecting the people’s rage into more proactive actions. I grabbed a bullhorn and climbed on top of a car in the middle of the crowd and I began to urge my friends and neighbors to stop the destruction and the violence.

My argument was that we as a community could not achieve anything through violence.

Unfortunately, this series of events stemmed not only from what happened at that 12th Street and Clairmont Avenue speak easy – but from years of built up frustration with segregation, discrimination and police brutality as well as oppressive and seemingly unbreakable poverty.

The Detroit Uprising lasted for five days before order was restored to the city. More than 7,000 people were arrested and more than 40 died.

For some, the uprising was a turning point for the city of Detroit. The city saw a massive growth in activism and community engagement. Following the rebellion, Detroiters elected its first black mayor, Coleman A. Young.

Fifty years later, I’ve witnessed drastic transformation at home and across the nation. However, the frustration that Detroiters felt is still very much alive for African Americans and people across this nation.

More can and must be done to prevent this from ever happening again.

As I did in Detroit during the time of the rebellion – I will continue to urge people to fight for equality and justice through strategic, meaningful and peaceful action.

As the Ranking Member for the Judiciary Committee, I’ve worked with my Republican Chairman to form a bipartisan Congressional working group with a focus on finding common ground between police and the communities they are sworn to protect and serve.

We have a long way to go. But history shows us we have and will continue to overcome these challenges.

Voting is beautiful, be beautiful ~ vote.©

CONYERS Weekly CBC Message To America: Understanding The Roots Of Crime & Poverty

Congressman John Conyers, Jr. addresses the deeply rooted issues of crime and persistent poverty in urban communities from a criminal justice perspective. Rep. Conyers serves as the Ranking Member on the House Judiciary Committee and serves as the Dean (longest serving Member) of the House of Representatives.

Voting is beautiful, be beautiful ~ vote.©

CONYERS Weekly CBC Message To America: Understanding The Roots Of Crime & Poverty

Congressman John Conyers, Jr. addresses the deeply rooted issues of crime and persistent poverty in urban communities from a criminal justice perspective. Rep. Conyers serves as the Ranking Member on the House Judiciary Committee and serves as the Dean (longest serving Member) of the House of Representatives.

Voting is beautiful, be beautiful ~ vote.©

CONYERS & SANDERS Announces Introduction Of The Employ Young Americans Now Act

Image may contain: 3 people, people smiling, people sittingU.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) held a roundtable discussion at a Sasha Bruce Youthwork center and announced the introduction of the Employ Young Americans Now Act—which would provide $5.5 billion in immediate funding to employ one million young Americans.

Image may contain: 10 people, people smiling, people standing, suit and outdoor

Image may contain: 3 people, people smiling, outdoorImage may contain: 4 people, people standing

Voting is beautiful, be beautiful ~ vote.©

CONYERS on ’67: ‘They just couldn’t take it any longer’

The sound of a ringing phone was heard inside the Dexter Avenue home of U.S. Rep. John Conyers Jr. around 9 a.m. on July 23, 1967.

The Detroit Democrat’s field representative, Arthur Featherstone, took the call. Conyers, then 38, was needed at the corner of 12th and Clairmount, where a crowd of hundreds had gathered.

“There was an ugly crowd there and would the congressman be kind enough to come?” asked Detroit Deputy Police Chief Hubert Locke to Featherstone.

It was the start of a fateful day for Conyers, who at the time was serving his second term in Congress. And while it’s been 50 years since that summer, Conyers, now 88, says there are some things one can never forget.

The angry faces of the men looking back at him as he stood atop a car on 12th. The rumble of military tanks rolling down the street outside his home on Dexter. The site of police riding around the city in Ford police cruisers in pairs of four.

“And I will never forget the sound of tanks going down Dexter Avenue, which is not that wide of a street to begin with. The sound of the tanks just ... it was exacerbated. The streets were so narrow that the sound kept coming. It looked like it was a military invasion,” said Conyers, the longest-serving current member of the House of Representatives, from his office inside Detroit’s federal courthouse last month.

Seeing the mayhem and destruction around him on 12th, Conyers — with the help of Featherstone and others — climbed atop a parked car, megaphone in hand, shirt-sleeves rolled above his elbows, and faced the rage head on.

‘They listened to him’

Conyers said he was attempting to quell the looting and violence that had erupted.
“I was trying — as a supporter of Dr. (Martin Luther) King and one who worked on nonviolence and community order — I was trying to discourage that,” he said.


It was a critical moment in the 1967 riots captured by photographers: Conyers standing on top of a car surrounded on all sides by a crowd. Images of the congressman talking to a group of mostly black men were published in newspapers in Detroit and around the nation.

Many of the men looked like Conyers, dressed in button-up shirts. Many donned fedoras and other hats of the time, such as a trilby or newsboy. They appeared to be working-class, blue-collar people gathered on the street.

None appeared armed. For a moment, most stood with hands on hips and their heads up, looking at Conyers and listening.

Voting is beautiful, be beautiful ~ vote.©

CONYERS Convenes Forum on Kobach Voter Commission, Calls for Kobach to Step Down

Ahead of Trump’s  voter commission’s first meeting, House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. convened a forum with the Congressional Black Caucus, Congressional Hispanic Caucus, Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus and  House Judiciary Committee Democrats to examine voting rights and privacy concerns related to recent requests made by the commission’s co-chair, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, to obtain detailed voter-roll information.

During the forum, Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan-Grimes, Connecticut Secretary of State Denise Merrill, Wade Henderson of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, Marc Rotenberg of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, Kristen Clarke of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and Janai Nelson of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund spoke out against the commission’s requests for sensitive voter data and raised concerns about the commission’s motives.

In addition to the forum, Conyers joined Reps. Elijah E. Cummings, Bennie G. Thompson, and Robert A. Brady in sending a letter to Vice President Michael Pence to request that he ask for the resignation of Kris Kobach from his position as the Vice Chair of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, and that he rescind Mr. Kobach’s unprecedented request for sensitive voter information.

In June, the Congressional Black Caucus sent letters to the National Association of Secretaries of State and the National Association of State Election Directors raising concerns that these requests may lead to voter suppression and privacy violations.  The Congressional Hispanic Caucus also sent a letter to the Secretaries of State to raise concerns.

Voting is beautiful, be beautiful ~ vote.©