Reverend Al Sharpton will deliver the eulogy on Tuesday at the funeral of Tyre Nichols, the Memphis man who was beaten and killed by five police officers following a traffic stop.
Earlier this week, prosecutors announced that the police officers would be charged with murder. They were previously fired from their jobs.
“The charges against the police officers who brutally killed Tyre Nichols in Memphis are a necessary first step in delivering justice for Tyre and his family, although nothing will ever be enough to fill the void that his loss has left,” said Reverend Sharpton. “There is no point to putting a body camera on a cop if you aren’t going to hold them accountable when the footage shows them relentlessly beating a man to death. Firings are not enough. Indictments and arrests are not convictions. As we’ve done in the past—with George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and others –we will stand by this family until justice is done. A conviction sends a message that to the nation that cops cannot hide behind their badge after committing a heinous action like this.”
The funeral will be held at Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church, located at 70 N Bellevue Boulevard in Memphis on Wednesday, Feb. 1 at 10:30 a.m.
In addition to Reverend Sharpton, civil rights attorney Ben Crump will also be in attendance to deliver a call to action.
Reverend Sharpton Speaks at African American Faith Leader’s Summit
Reverend Sharpton joined scores of clergy leaders on Thursday for the African American Faith Leaders convened by U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand.
“In such a milestone year for civil rights, it is tempting to celebrate the progress we have seen in the past six decades. But the truth of the matter is that we cannot afford to be so caught up with celebrations that we do not seize the opportunity to act upon the reality: that the threats to our democracy and civil liberties are at historic levels, and Black Americans continue to bear the weight of,” said Reverend Sharpton during his remarks. “It is in this spirit that the African American Faith Leaders Summit has been convened. In 2023, it is quintessential that as Black faith leaders and justice advocates, we have the support of our elected officials to continue the work of dismantling structures that stand in the way of equity, safety, and wellbeing for all Americans.”
In addition to Reverend Sharpton, Reverend A.R. Bernard, pastor of the Christian Cultural Center was a speaker among others, including Senator Raphael Warnock and Senator Chuck Schumer.
“The African American Faith Leaders Summit was an incredible event that brought together national and New York faith leaders to foster deep lasting partnerships that will strengthen our communities,” said Senator Gillibrand.“I’m proud that inspiring leaders like Senator Schumer, Senator Warnock and Reverend Sharpton can meet with many of New York’s most important faith leaders.Houses of worship form the backbones of our communities and I was excited to hear directly from local leaders about how I can best serve them as we enter the new Congress.”
“Loudmouth” Now Streaming on Apple TV and Amazon
Amazon and Apple TV has started streaming “Loudmouth: The Life and Battles of Al Sharpton” on its platform. Join National Action Network in support of this documentary that chronicles Reverend Sharpton’s activism. Consider hosting a watch party for our national 2023 kickoff tour.
How did the iconic civil rights advocate who became famous for his outspoken rhetoric become one of the nation’s most prominent leaders of the movement? Loudmouth cuts through the clichés and assumptions surrounding the track-suit-wearing crusader to investigate the roots of his political engagement and his transformation into a media-savvy activist. Playing into the tabloid journalism of the Jerry Springers and Phil Donahues of his heyday, Sharpton effectively raised awareness about the systemic injustice, racism, and white supremacy that has persisted in America. As he once famously declared, “Critics would say that all Al Sharpton wants is publicity. Well, that’s exactly what I want.”
Join Reverend Sharpton at Chicago International Film Festival
LOUDMOUTH,the documentary that focuses on Reverend Al Sharpton’s activism, will premier at the 58thChicago International Film Festival onMonday, October 17, 2022.The film chronicles Reverend Sharpton’s activism across the years.
Reverend Sharptonwill be in attendance and will be joined by local political, business and religious leaders. If you’re in the Chicagoland area, there is still time for you to purchase your tickethere.
Standing With Black Contractors
Earlier this week, Reverend Sharpton joined Black contractors in Cleveland who have been locked in a two-year battle with Sherwin-Williams over the development of the company’s global headquarters. The group of contractors are protesting the paint company’s promise that it would have a Black-owned contracting firm in place as a key partner in the project. That has not happened. Reverend Sharpton has called on Cleveland’s mayor, Justin Bibb, to get involved in the dispute.
“I think that they to make sure that anytime taxpayers’ dollars are used that they listen to all segments of the community and make sure people are genuinely the businesses are given part of the general contract,” Reverend Sharpton said.
Civil rights leaders who met with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell called for the League to establish specific recruiting and hiring procedures for executive and coaching positions, with meaningful consequences for teams that do not abide by the rules.
The Rooney Rule, a policy established in 2003 that requires teams to interview candidates of color for head coaching and senior football operation positions, must be replaced, the leaders said.
National Urban League President and CEO Marc H. Morial, National Action Network Founder and President Rev. Al Sharpton, National Coalition on Black Civic Participation President and CEO Melanie Campbell, NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson, and National African American Clergy Network co-convener Dr. Barbara Williams-Skinner requested the meeting after former Miami Dolphins coach Brian Flores accused the NFL and three of its teams of racial discrimination in a proposed class-action lawsuit filed last week.
“However well-intentioned, the effect of the Rooney Rule has been for team decision-makers to regard interviews with candidates of color as an extraneous step, rather than an integral part of the hiring process,” Morial said, noting that the NFL currently has only one Black head coach, two fewer than when the Rule was established. “The gravity of the situation is long past the crisis point.”
“The Rooney Rule has been proven to be something the owners used to deceptively appear to be seeking real diversity,” Sharpton said. “We must have firm targets and timetables.”
Sharpton said the National Action Network will be approaching states and municipalities to stop public funding and tax incentives to NFL stadiums until these firm commitments on timetables and goals are solid and public.
“NAN also has begun talking to members of Congress about Congressional hearings since public funds are being used to uphold this biased enterprise,” Sharpton said. “Lastly, we will be going to major advertisers telling them they cannot continue to use our dollars in this unacceptable economic arrangement.”
The leaders, who have long advocated for an investigation into the NFL’s hiring practices, said they welcomed Goodell’s announcement of an independent review of the NFL’s diversity, equity, and inclusion policies and initiatives, and emphasized that the civil rights and racial justice community must be part of that review.
“It’s simply not enough for the League to declare its good intentions,” Johnson said. “This is a long-standing crisis that must be confronted with diligence and rigor.”
The influence of professional football on the national culture lends a heightened urgency to the diversity issue, the leaders said.
“While the NFL has begun making strides with regard to social justice and racial equity, it’s clear that voices of color are not being entirely heard in the executive suites,” Sharpton said. “Good intentions are not enough.”
The leaders also reiterated their wholehearted support for Flores.
“Coach Flores has taken a principled stand for justice, at no small risk to himself and to his career,” Campbell said. “He has risen to meet a crucial moment in history.”
Williams-Skinner added, “We agree that Coach Flores’ lawsuit presents the League with an opportunity to engage in substantive change and we will do everything in our power to make sure that opportunity is not squandered.”
The leaders and Commissioner Goodell agreed to continue working together to achieve diversity, equity, and inclusion at every level of the NFL and its member teams.
Today, November 11, through the trial of the killing of Ahmaud Arbery, William Bryan’s lawyer Kevin Gough shared some objections and concerns to the judge. Gough’s objection came from the presence of civil rights leader Reverend Al Sharpton being in the courtroom. He expressed to the judge, Judge Timothy Walmsley, that the presence of such civil rights leaders is “intimidation.” Reverend Al Sharpton was in attendance of the trial for the killing of Ahmaud Arbery on Wednesday, November 10, 2021. While in attendance at the trial, Reverend Al Sharpton organized a prayer vigil with his parents outside of the courthouse in Brunswick, Georgia. Reverend Al Sharpton has since released this statement following the accusations of his presence being used for intimidation:
“The arrogant insensitivity of attorney Kevin Gough in asking a judge to bar me or any minister of the family’s choice underscores the disregard for the value of the human life lost and the grieving of a family in need spiritual and community support.
My attendance yesterday and in the days to come is not disruptive in any way and was at the invitation of the family of Ahmaud Arbery who have stated that publicly.
The only way I could have been identified as a member of the ministry is if I was recognized for my public position and leadership. How else would the defense attorney know who was a “black pastor” or not?
This objection was clearly pointed at me and a disregard to the fact that a mother father sitting in a courtroom with 3 men that murdered their son do not deserve the right to have someone present to give spiritual strength to bear this pain. This is pouring salt into their wounds.
I respect the defense attorney doing his job but this is beyond defending your client, it is insulting the family of the victim.”
Judge Timothy Walmsley who is overseeing the case indicated that he would not make blanket rules over attendance of the public and acknowledged that the company of Reverend Sharpton would not be a distraction.
Background on the Case
Sunday, February 23, 2020, the unarmed, Black twenty-five year old Ahmaud Arbery was chased and killed by three armed white men in a neighborhood in South Georgia and was killed. The National Action Network has continuously stood by the family of the victim in their quest for justice and continues to criticize the range of the jury for the case. The jury consists of eleven white women, three white men and one Black man in a county that is predominately Black. Though Judge Timothy Walmsley acknowledges the presence of “intentional discrimination” in the range of the jury, he states that the trial over the killing of Arbery will proceed.
The organizers for the March On For Voting Rights announced legendary R&B singer and radio host Al B. Sure! and national radio host and activist Joe Madison will serve as co-MC’s for the August 28 event in Washington, DC. The two hosts will lead a day-long march through Washington, DC and the speaker’s program which will include human and civil rights leaders like Rev. Al Sharpton, Martin Luther King III, and many others who will issue a call to action to pass federal voting rights legislation.
Al B. Sure! is a singer, songwriter, record producer, radio host and former record executive who exploded onto the scene from Boston in 1988 with the best-selling single Nite and Day, and has been a force within the music industry since. As a writer and producer, he introduced to the music industry such multi-platinum acts as Jodeci and teen R&B performer Tevin Campbell, as well as Faith Evans, Dave Hollister, Case and Usher. Al B. Sure!’s work as a change agent finds him intersecting his role as the host of a leading nationally syndicated radio program, Love and R&B, to becoming a mouthpiece for the amplification of social justice and civil rights issues. In the current climate, he utilizes his platforms to highlight the needs for racial justice, education equity, voter education, criminal justice reform, mentorship and much more.
Al B. Sure! commented, “It is an honor to help mark this urgent moment by sending a message to the country that our votes will not be suppressed! Our voting rights are under attack all over America, and the people of D.C. are still being denied the full representation they deserve in Congress. I am looking forward to a great day of peaceful collective action and a clear message that the time is now for Congress to act in defense of our rights.”
Joe Madison is a groundbreaking radio personality and civil rights activist who has devoted his career to raising awareness about issues around the world, encouraging dialogue among people of different backgrounds, and raising money to support multicultural education and institutions. Known as “The Black Eagle,” Joe can be heard weekday mornings on SiriusXM’s Urban View.
Joe Madison added, “My radio audience cares deeply about the issue of voting rights, so I look forward to using this opportunity to give voices to the millions of Americans who demand action from Congress to protect our voting rights, and seek full representation for the 700,000 residents of Washington D.C., most of whom are Black and Brown. This march will bring together leading civil rights advocates and every day people fighting the good fight at the grassroots level. We will put democracy into action.”
About March On For Voting Rights
March On for Washington and Voting Rights is a mass mobilization to demand that elected officials protect democracy, denounce voter suppression, make D.C. a state, and ensure fair, easy access to the vote. On August 28, the 58th anniversary of the historic March on Washington, we will march on cities across America to demand that the vision of MLK’s “I Have a Dream” speech be deferred no longer. That means passing the For the People Act, the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, and the Washington, D.C. Admission Act. The march is led by Drum Major Institute, March On, the National Action Network, Future Coalition, SEIU, and 51 for 51, and is joined by over 140 other partners. The march is funded through the #ForJohn campaign, a grassroots effort co-founded by Martin Luther King III and Arndrea King to fight voter suppression.
About March On
March On is a political organization composed of women-led political activist groups that grew out of the women’s marches of January 21, 2017. They have come together as a united force to take concrete, coordinated actions at the federal, state and local levels to impact elections and move the country in a progressive direction. For more information, click HERE.
About the Drum Major Institute
The Drum Major Institute advances the core mission of our founder, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., to assure that the arc of the moral universe continues to bend toward justice. Dr. King’s legacy and voice are as important today as they were upon our founding 60 years ago. To meet this historic moment, we are lending our unique ability to facilitate dialogue and collaboration to support the countless courageous acts of individuals and organizations across the nation and the world to ensure that the vital conversations that are now starting will sustain and advance far beyond this moment in time—and lead to tangible lasting outcomes. We encourage all people to embrace their role in the King legacy, take action in their community and strive to build the Beloved Community. Learn more HERE.
Service Employees International Union is an organization of 2 million members united by the belief in the dignity and worth of workers and the services they provide, and dedicated to improving the lives of workers and their families and creating a more just and humane society. For more information, click HERE.
About National Action Network
National Action Network is one of the leading civil rights organizations in the Nation with chapters throughout the entire United States. Founded in 1991 by Reverend Al Sharpton, NAN works within the spirit and tradition of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to promote a modern civil rights agenda that includes the fight for one standard of justice, decency and equal opportunities for all people regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, citizenship, criminal record, economic status, gender, gender expression, or sexuality. For more information, click HERE.
About Future Coalition
Founded by youth activists for youth activists, Future Coalition is a network and community for youth-led organizations and Gen Z and young millennial leaders from across the country that came into being as a project of March On in the fall of 2018. Future Coalition works collaboratively to provide young people with the resources, tools, and support they need to create the change they want to see in their communities and in this country. For more information, click HERE.
About 51 for 51
51 for 51 is a coalition of D.C.-based and national groups committed to equal representation for the over 700,000 D.C. residents who remain locked out of our democracy. The coalition of 20 progressive groups believe American citizens living in the District deserve a voice in Congress and control over their own local laws. Already, President Biden, Vice President Harris, and Senators Warren, Markey, Gillibrand and Hickenlooper have endorsed 51 for 51’s proposed path to statehood.
On Friday, August 28, 2020, tens of thousands of Americans from all racial, religious and geographic backgrounds gathered in Washington, D.C. on the 57th anniversary of the historic March on Washington to recommit themselves to the fight for justice; a fight that calls for the eradication of systemic racism, police reform and full and open access to the ballot box in November’s presidential election and beyond.
Others joined virtually from cities and states across the world to show their solidarity and to call for longstanding change. You can watch the complete coverage here on C-Span.
The day was empowering. Reverend Al Sharpton issued a clarion call for the next steps. Between now and November, National Action Network will organize voting education brigades and train poll workers to work the polls on Election Day. Our vote will not be suppressed.
According to CBS News, “Sharpton first announced plans for the march during a memorial service for George Floyd, the 46-year-old father who died at the hands of police in Minneapolis in May.” After the unjust killing of Floyd at the hands of police, cases of police brutality against the black community gained media attention, sparking protests across the world.
Many of those families who had been dismantled because of this violence epidemic had the opportunity to speak at this year’s march, coined the “Get Your Knee Off Our Necks” Commitment March on Washington. Philonise Floyd, George Floyds brother, and Tamika Miller, mother of Broenna Taylor who was killed in her home by police, both took the podium to speak to the crowd. NPR reported that Floyd told the crowd, “My brother, George, he’s looking down right now. He’s thankful for everything that everybody is doing right now. Our leaders, they need to follow us while we’re marching to enact laws to protect us.”
The March also hoped to bring attention to the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. According to the New York Times the bill would, “overhaul law enforcement training and conduct rules to try to limit police misconduct and racial bias.” Which comes after months of protest demanding the defunding of police departments and more education for those pursuing a career in law enforcement.
We will work tireless to push for the passage of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2020 and the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act of 2020, named in honor of our beloved Congressman who recently passed away after a heroic battle with cancer. You can read more about these proposed pieces of legislation below.
More importantly, if you are not registered to vote, please do so today. Most states are offering mail-in and early voting. The 2020 presidential election may be the most significant election of our lifetime. Key issues that impact the civil rights community will be on the ballot. Additionally, you will want to make your voice known in your local elections, particularly on issues relating to education.
• Click here to find out deadlines for registering to vote.
• Call your Senators and urge them to support the John Lewis Voting Rights Act and the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2020.
Organizers originally estimated that there would be 100,000 protestors, according to the Washington Post; however, following a permit from the National Park Service that number was decreased to an allowed 50,000.. Organizers urged protesters to abide by COVID regulations by keeping social distance, causing some to step out into the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting pool in efforts to keep a six-foot distance.
Even with this cut, the immense power of the crowd was still felt. Protestors filled the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Park holding signs painted with the faces of those who have been murder by police, calls voter registration and the dauntless reminder of the 8 minutes and 46 second George Floyd was pinned at the neck by an officer.
Martin Luther King III, King Jr’s son, spoke at the rally on the 57th anniversary of his father’s historical speech. CNN reported King III said, “If you’re looking for a savior, get up and find a mirror. We must be (our own) hero.” He reminded the crowd that quoting his father who died for this movement was not enough. King III stressed the importance of this generation of protestors to continue their activism and to vote in this upcoming election.
2020 has been a historical year engulfed by the flames of a pandemic and police brutality which both disproportionately affect black Americans. This years march served as a reminder that 57 years later, King’s dream has a long way to go and the fight for racial equality is still emanating through out America.
The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act
The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act is the first-ever bold, comprehensive approach to hold police accountable, end racial profiling, change the culture of law enforcement, empower our communities, and build trust between law enforcement and our communities by addressing systemic racism and bias to help save lives. This bill addresses a wide range of policies and issues regarding policing practices and law enforcement accountability. It includes measures to increase accountability for law enforcement misconduct, to enhance transparency and data collection, and to eliminate discriminatory policing practices. The bill facilitates federal enforcement of constitutional violations (e.g., excessive use of force) by state and local law enforcement. Among other things, it does the following:
• lowers the criminal intent standard—from willful to knowing or reckless—to convict a law enforcement officer for misconduct in a federal prosecution,
• limits qualified immunity as a defense to liability in a private civil action against a law enforcement officer or state correctional officer, and
• authorizes the Department of Justice to issue subpoenas in investigations of police departments for a pattern or practice of discrimination.
The bill also creates a national registry—the National Police Misconduct Registry—to compile data on complaints and records of police misconduct. It establishes a framework to prohibit racial profiling at the federal, state, and local levels. The bill establishes new requirements for law enforcement officers and agencies, including to report data on use-of-force incidents, to obtain training on implicit bias and racial profiling, and to wear body cameras.
The John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act
This bill establishes new criteria for determining which states and political subdivisions must obtain preclearance before changes to voting practices in these areas may take effect. (Preclearance is the process of receiving preapproval from the Department of Justice or the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia before making legal changes that would affect voting rights.)
A state and all of its political subdivisions shall be subject to preclearance of voting practice changes for a 10-year period if (1) 15 or more voting rights violations occurred in the state during the previous 25 years; or (2) 10 or more violations occurred during the previous 25 years, at least one of which was committed by the state itself. A political subdivision as a separate unit shall also be subject to preclearance for a 10-year period if three or more voting rights violations occurred there during the previous 25 years.
A state or political subdivision that obtains a declaratory judgment that it has not used a voting practice to deny or abridge the right to vote shall be exempt from preclearance. All jurisdictions must preclear changes to requirements for documentation to vote that make the requirements more stringent than federal requirements for voters who register by mail or state law. The bill specifies practices jurisdictions meeting certain thresholds regarding racial minority groups, language minority groups, or minority groups on Indian land, must preclear before implementing. These practices include changes to methods of election, changes to jurisdiction boundaries, redistricting, changes to voting locations and opportunities, and changes to voter registration list maintenance.
The bill expands the circumstances under which (1) a court may retain the authority to preclear voting changes made by a state or political subdivision, or (2) the Department of Justice may assign election observers. States and political subdivisions must notify the public of changes to voting practices.
The bill revises the circumstances under which a court must grant preliminary injunctive relief in a challenge to voting practices.
Earlier this month, 360 had the opportunity to sit down with the award-winning community activist William Anthony Allen. After many years of serving Harlem as a community leader and on its District Council, Allen is exploring the possibility of running for City Council serving the 9th District.
Harlem has long been a beacon of Black culture, community, and heritage since the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s. Growing up in the 70s and 80s, the Harlem that William Anthony Allen knew was one of unity, familiarity, and freedom. According to Allen, “Crack cocaine came and killed all that. It stopped people from going to the community. It created mistrust. It changed how people participated politically and how they saw themselves. A great number of the working class and middle class of Harlem began to look at other options.” Allen describes his childhood in Harlem as poor but centered in the community, “people were so loving like they were aunts and uncles, but they really were not a blood relationship. The way they treated you, felt like family.” He watched as crack cocaine and the crisis that followed attack the infrastructure of Harlem and divided its community, giving way to gentrification. “Black people don’t own the businesses in their own neighborhood anymore and young people say that can’t afford to come back to Harlem,” he says. Allen has completed housing and community development efforts in New York, as well as health care and social services proposals on a local, state and federal level. His efforts have always been lead by a desire to uplift the community and uphold the “great legacy” of Harlem, “particularly for African Americans.”
But what are his plans? How does Allen intend to use his experience in the community to serve them at a City Council level? He told 360 he would begin by “sitting down with parent leaders, senior citizen leaders, youth leaders, and really talk about mapping it out in terms of how do they see the future of this community, what do they want from it, and make that the blueprint.” He calls for the people of Harlem to define their own community and make their own decisions, with himself as a representative of their interests. “I’m going to be fighting very hard to address the housing inequities and disparities, helping to lower the cost of housing,” he told 360, “making sure that folks that really want to make a contribution to the life of this city can afford to be here.”
Allen lamented that a particular program that had been around for nearly fifty years, the Addicts Rehabilitation Center (ARC), has closed; “without those services, gentrification moves us all out.” Allen is fighting to get these programs reestablished, but he specifies that black and brown people should be running these programs for the community, “I want to make sure that the people that are running the program are culturally correct.”
In his youth, William Anthony Allen attended Fordham University in the Bronx where he was the first non-white person to serve as Vice President of the Student Council. Later, he transferred to CUNY where he was the Editor-in-Chief of the school newspaper. Now, he is the founding member of a local charter elementary school. He recognizes that education is of the utmost importance. In the City Council, Allen plans to create a network through Historically Black Colleges. “We need to make learning and knowledge sexy,” he says, so everyone, regardless of their circumstance can step up and participate in the betterment of their community.” Of his current efforts, he says, “I’m organizing a network of black influencers to address crisis issues that affect black people across the country.” These crisis issues include police relations, employment discrimination, gentrification, and inadequate schools.
For himself, Allen’s goal is, “to be known as the guy who brings everybody together to have dialogue and then create action.” He says to not only the Black community, but to the youth of Harlem and the LGBTQ+ community, “Tell me how I can support you to have a strong voice.”
“Harlem represents a great legacy, particularly for African Americans. And our entry, not only here into the city but what we have done for the nation,” says Allen, “We need to leverage that.”
Harlem Democratic District Leader William Allen encourages others to take a knee during a march in honor of George Floyd. Black men march through Harlem, pick up hundreds of others along the way to insure justice by claiming power.
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