Sunday, September 16, 2007

Clinton Hails Appeals Court Decision in Jena Six Case

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Hat Tip to Zimbel!

At an NAACP banquet in North Charleston, SC today, Hillary Clinton made many of the policy promises and provided advocacy support that it will take to solidly cement her status as the leader for African America's primary votes in 2008. She spoke forcefully against the injustice in Jena Louisiana just for days before the Jena Six Justice March:
She applauded the Friday decision by an appeals court in Louisiana tossing out the aggravated battery conviction that could have sent a black teenager to prison for 15 years in last year's beating of a white classmate in the racially tense town of Jena.

The teenager, 16 at the time of the December beating of a white youth, should not have been tried as an adult, the appeals court ruled. He is one of six black students charged in the attack and one of five originally charged as adults with attempted second-degree murder.

The charges have brought criticism that blacks are treated more harshly than whites after racial confrontations.

"There is no excuse for the way the legal system treated those young people," she said. Yahoo News
Unveiling her agenda to promote civil rights, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton told the NAACP banquet Saturday that the "scales of justice are seriously out of balance" for black Americans," according to Yahoo News.
"We have had an attorney general who doesn't respect the rule of law or enforce the civil rights laws on the books," she told about 900 people at the annual Freedom Fund Banquet of the Charleston National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

Earlier Saturday, the New York senator issued a release in which she said she will focus on the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division, including adding to its budget, as part of an effort to "undo the damage done under President Bush."

Clinton said during her speech that too many people are invisible to the nation's leaders.

"You're invisible to the president even when you are on CNN," she said, referring to the survivors of Hurricane Katrina two years ago.

Clinton, rival Barack Obama and other presidential candidates are heavily courting the black vote as they trek through this early voting state. Nearly half the voters in the 2004 Democratic presidential primary here were black.

Clinton said her administration would seek to rebuild the Justice Department's traditional role in defending civil rights and to review charges of improper, politically motivated hiring to determine whether any laws were broken.

"We have to believe justice is blind in America," she told the audience.

The earlier campaign statement accused the Bush administration of driving the Civil Rights Division "toward an agenda driven by partisanship, cronyism and ideology" and cited media reports that state political appointees have dominated the hiring process under Bush.

Last month, Assistant Attorney General Wan J. Kim, the Justice Department's top civil rights enforcer, resigned after more than a year of criticism that his office filled its ranks with conservative loyalists instead of experienced attorneys. The Justice Department said his office had set record levels of civil rights enforcement. Yahoo News

Clinton addressed a series of other issues of fundamental importance to Blacks, and her substantive commitments on voting rights, accessibility, and DC statehood are sure to cement her role as front-runnner for the support of Black Americans.
Clinton's other proposals include combatting voter ID laws, letting ex-felons who have completed their sentences regain their right to vote and making Election Day a federal holiday to make voting easier. She said she would press for Washington, D.C., to get a seat in the House of Representatives.

Clinton also is proposing an expansion of federal hate crimes legislation to include crimes committed against people based on their gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability. Yahoo News
This comes at a time when Blacks are concluding that Barack Obama, while a very compelling candidate and one whom Blacks would like to support, still simply doesn't have the experience, the political chops or offer a sufficient rationale to unseat Clinton's front-runner status for Black votes and win the general election in 2008. Field Negro and Comments to Field Negro's diary: "I have to leave the bandwagon: But I could be back."


Anonymous said...

What good is her condemnation when she hasnt shown any will to do anything concrete about this right now? Did she at least form a fact gathering group to help assist the Jena 6 and help prosecute the racist DA?

Francis L. Holland Blog said...

I imagine an appropriate role for her would be in starting Senate hearings into the case. But, with so much color-aroused antagonism in America, that might doom her electoral chances.

You know who should and could start the Senate hearing? Joseph Biden, who's on the Senate Judiciary Committee, if memory serves correctly. He could certainly gain some attention, although not votes, from Black people by starting an investigation into Jena.

Anonymous said...

Come on brother. Pleeeeease, Hillary is part of the same status quo. She is friendly with us, but will she stick her neck out?? None of the Democrats issued condemnations for a year. White folks of all parties fucked up. White women are not any better than white men when it comes to race.

Francis L. Holland Blog said...

There is some truth to what you say, but it's not the whole story. There is no candidate running for the Democratic nomination who will fundamentally change the capitalist nature of the US economy or review for fairness all of the sentences of Black people now in prison. No candidate could be elected in this country while running on such a platform, nor would it be politically possible to implement these programs once in office.

Ending the 43-term white male monopoly of the presidency represents incremental change in America, since the founding principle of the nation was that only white men were fit for leadership. Once a white woman has held office, the white male myth will be broken, widening the concept of who can be a leader. A Black male or female president will not be far behind.

Color and gender alone do not a revolution make. But, programmatically, an expansion of health coverage to cover everyone is one of the few things that Black people and white people seem to agree upon. And that's something I think can be accomplished over the first four years of the next presidential term.

First, our candidate has to convince the electorate that she doesn't fit any of the convenient stereotypes that Republicans have used to make our candidates seem unacceptable to the American electorate.

White wommen are not necessarily better than white men on questions of skin color, but Bill Clinton was better than George H.W. Bush and Hillary Clinton will be far better than Rudolph Giuliana would have been. Far better. I'm afraid that's all we can really hope for in 2008.