Author: lafocus

Cal AG Rob Bonta Hits Google With Lawsuit Over “Play Store”

Tanu Henry | California Black Media

Last week, California Attorney General Rob Bonta announced the California Department of Justice (DOJ) is joining a multistate lawsuit against Google.

In the claim, California joins 35 other states and the District of Columbia in accusing the Mountain View-based company of violating national and state laws (the federal Sherman Antitrust Act and California’s Cartwright Act) with its Google Play Store’s monopolization of the smartphone app market.

“Google has violated the trust of Android phone customers by limiting consumer choice and raking in outrageous commissions on app developers. Android customers are effectively stuck using the Google Play Store for apps, where they pay a premium,” said Bonta.

Calling Google’s dominance of the Android-app market “anti-competitive,” Bonta pointed out that customers are impacted the most by Google’s actions.

“A more competitive app marketplace could open innovation, leading to more choice, better payment processing, improved customer service, and enhanced data security,” he added.

The lawsuit, filed in a U.S. District Court in San Francisco, is the second multi-state lawsuit California has joined against the tech giant. Last year, Cal DOJ joined another U.S. Department of Justice lawsuit claiming Google stifles its competition by signing exclusionary agreements with smartphone manufacturers to dominate their operating systems, blocking out its search engine and other app competitors.

“In the absence of Google’s anticompetitive conduct, there would be two main channels for consumers to obtain apps on an open Android operating system: (i) direct downloading and installation of apps or app stores; and (ii) apps or app stores pre-installed on devices by device manufacturers and/or mobile network operators,” reads the 144-page complaint in which phrases with sensitive information have been redacted.

“But Google has closed off its purportedly “open” Android operating system from competition in app distribution,” it continues. “To accomplish this, Google degraded direct distribution channels, and then cut deals to discourage and disincentivize any remaining potential competition.”

Responding to the states’ legal action, Google’s senior director of government affairs and policy Wilson White wrote in a blog post that the suit isn’t about fairness. Instead, in his view, it’s about a “handful” of developers who want access to the benefits of Google’s app store without paying for it.

“The complaint limits its definition of app marketplace to Android devices only. This completely ignores the competition we face from other platforms such as Apple’s incredibly successful app store, which accounts for the majority of mobile app store revenues, according to third party estimates,” White wrote.

White insists Google allows both developers and consumers to have options.

“Device makers and carriers can preload competing app stores alongside Google Play on their devices,” he said. “In fact, most android devices ship with two or more app stores preloaded. And popular Android devices such as the Amazon Fire tablet come preloaded with a competitive app store and no Google Play Store.”

Technically, Bonta says, consumers do have the option to install app stores they choose or to buy apps directly from developers. But he says

Google discourages this “type of sideloading through a convoluted process that forces users to click through often-misleading security warnings and multiple permission screens.”

“This burdensome series of red flags leaves consumers with the impression that alternative app stores are inferior at best and high risk at worst. Over 90 % of all Android app distribution in the United States is done through Google’s Play Store,” said the Cal DOJ in a press release.

Calif. Reps. Lee and Bass Are Pushing Bills to Probe COINTELPRO; Remove Hoover’s Name From FBI Building

Quinci LeGardye | California Black Media

California’s U.S. Congresswomen Barbara Lee (D-CA-13) and Karen Bass (D-CA-37) are backing legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives to remove former FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover’s name from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) headquarters in Washington, D.C. Another bill they are supporting calls for probing the racially motivated counterintelligence programs that Hoover organized and oversaw known as COINTELPRO. Under Hoover’s watch, the FBI often relied on extra-legal tactics to accomplish its aims.

Last month, Representatives Bobby L. Rush (D-IL-01), Barbara Lee (D-CA-13) and Steve Cohen (D-TN-09) hosted a virtual forum focused on the activities of COINTELPRO. Several African Americans with direct knowledge of COINTELPRO programs testified, including 1960s activists Akua Njeri, Bobby Seale and Ericka Huggins, testified. Fred Hampton Jr also testified.

COINTELPRO is the moniker used to describe a series of covert projects the FBI coordinated between 1956-1971. They were aimed at surveilling, infiltrating and disrupting several domestic political movements and individuals that the agency deemed subversive or critical of the United States. Targeted groups and individuals included the Communist Party USA, the Black Panther Party, the Nation of Islam, anti-Vietnam war organizers, feminist organizations and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The 2021 Oscar-nominated film “Judas and the Black Messiah” depicted the strategy COINTELPRO used to infiltrate the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party, which led to the assassination of Black Panther Party leader the late Fred Hampton Sr.

The lawmakers hosting the virtual forum condemned the COINTELPRO programs and J. Edgar Hoover’s leadership over the operation and, more broadly, the FBI. Hoover was the first and founding director of the FBI and he ran the agency from 1935 until his death in 1972. Hoover was also the head of the Bureau of Investigation, a government agency founded in 1924 and the forerunner to the FBI.

They are also calling for the uncovering of the still-classified history of COINTELPRO.

Rush, the co-founder of the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party, introduced his COINTELPRO Full Disclosure Act on May 4, which would require federal government agencies to publicly release all counterintelligence files related to COINTELPRO, and remove J. Edgar Hoover’s name from the FBI building in Washington, D.C. Representatives Cohen, Rush and Lee are also co-sponsoring a separate bill aimed at removing Hoover’s name from the FBI headquarters.

“I know the damages of J. Edgar Hoover’s COINTELPRO firsthand. I was put in the middle of their aggressive surveillance and counterintelligence activities after becoming involved with the Black Panther Party as a community worker,” said Lee. “As a community worker, I used my organizational and fundraising skills to help implement the Ten Point Program, which made programs like Free Breakfast for Children possible and paved the way for our own government’s free breakfast plan for low-income children.”

Calling the FBI’s activities and methods under Hoover “government-sponsored harassment,” Cohen said “COINTELPRO was not just violent and illegal. What made it so pernicious is it undermined our Constitution and democracy.”

“The United States was born of dissent, and alternative perspectives should be welcomed, not ‘neutralized.’ We may disagree, but every American has the right and freedom to speak their mind, to petition their government, to protest, to be engaged and active in civic life, and to contribute their energy and efforts in pursuit of our ‘more perfect union,’” he said. he FBI, attempted to snuff out minorities and minority viewpoints.”

The forum featured both activists with deep knowledge of COINTELPRO’s efforts and former members of the Black Panther Party. Akua Njeri, Fred Hampton Sr.’s partner, shared a harrowing account of the Black Panther Party leader’s death. Her son, Fred Hampton Jr., also spoke about his own experience with COINTELPRO.

According to Njeri and Hampton Jr., the majority of COINTELPRO’s subversive activities involving Black nationalist groups was directed at the Black Panther Party.

While the forum was mostly focused on testimonies, Lee stressed the need to learn about the past COINTELPRO operations in case similar efforts are used again in the future. She cited the FBI’s “Black identity extremism” report, which was written by the FBI’s Domestic Terrorism Analysis Unit in 2017, and claimed that “perceptions of police brutality against African Americans” had spurred“ an increase in premeditated, retaliatory lethal violence against law enforcement.” Lee criticized the idea of a “Black identity extremist,” saying that such a thing “did not exist.”

“This was another way for the FBI to surveil the Black community. So, we must be vigilant now, this briefing is so important, because we all have to understand what a COINTELPRO 2 looks like now,” Lee said.

Haitian American Artist Brings His Vision, Gift to State’s COVID Campaign

Bo Tefu | California Black Media

California’s “Your Actions Save Lives” art campaign recently unveiled two “Safety First” murals in San Francisco. The artworks, created by the Grammy-nominated visual artist Serge Gay Jr, were commissioned to encourage people to continue to take safety precautions against COVID-19 even though the state reopened last month, according to the governor’s office.

One is located in the Castro, the city’s renowned historical “gayborhood,” as it is affectionately called by some locals, and the other in the Tenderloin, near downtown — two well-known districts steeped in the Golden Gate City’s famous history of Leftist political organizing and the visibility of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ+) people.

The Tenderloin mural, which he dedicates to the city’s transgender community, was inspired by the idea of, “breaking free because during the pandemic, we were all just home and kind of stuck there,” said Gay.

The mural, he explains, emphasizes the feeling of being free, “once you get vaccinated you have that experience back again, that freedom of moseying around the city,” said Gay.

Gay’s second artwork is located at 2390 Market Street in the Castro.

Gay says he chose the Castro district strategically since the area has a history that is committed to the safety and protection of the LGBTQ+ community.

The state says the “Your Actions Save Lives” campaign equips Californians with information about what they can do to help stem the spread of COVID-19. To get the word out, it partnered with The Center at the Sierra Health Foundation and 20 local artists across the state to reach communities that have been hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The project engages Latino, Black/African American, Asian American/Pacific Islander, Native American/Indigenous and LGBTQ artists and communities,” according to a press release from the governor’s office.

The arts initiative, organizers say, is designed to raise awareness of critical actions Californians have taken to help stop the spread of COVID-19, such as wearing a mask, washing hands, physical distancing and getting vaccinated.

“These accomplished artists are tapping into their culture and creativity to share empowering messages with communities that have been hard hit by COVID-19. Art has incredible power, and we believe these works will spark important conversations, connections and inspiration throughout the state,” said Chet P. Hewitt, president and CEO of The Center at Sierra Health Foundation.

According to Gay, he celebrates the Tenderloin for its inclusion of Black and Brown people. The message behind the mural places an emphasis on freedom of movement following the COVID-19 pandemic and encourages the public to get vaccinated, says the artist whose collaboration with film director Matt Stawski clinched him a Grammy nomination for “Best Short Form Video.”

“I wanted to really kind of also showcase our trends visibility,” said Gay.

The work that Gay produced for the statewide art project captures the diversity of Black and Brown people in San Francisco’s LBGTQ+ community. Gay says, because of his own personal experiences, he realizes that it is important to represent Black and Brown people in his work. He remembers feeling unwanted and invisible when he first moved to San Francisco from Miami.

“Being part of the LGBT community is just wanting to kind of have the opportunity to show diversity on everything,” said Gay.

As a third-generation artist, Gay wants Black people to recognize themselves in his artwork. When he sees artwork centered around Black people, Gay says, he often thinks to himself, “This is me, it resonates with me when I see another artist painting something that I can relate to.”

The fine artist attributes his artistic style (some critics have described it as graphic realism) — as well as his personal flair — to his Haitian culture and heritage as well as his upbringing in Miami, which taught him life lessons about the importance of community. As a Haitian American artist, Gay wants his work to indicate that Blackness is not a monolith. Gay pays homage to his Haitian roots through his artwork which celebrates various Black communities in the Bay Area — African Americans as well as African and Caribbean immigrants, he explains.

“I have this sense that everything is like a celebration of our culture, identity, and roots. So, I tend to put down a lot in my work, bringing the fresh immigrant story, almost like an outsider perspective,” said Gay.

Although there is misinformation and disinformation, Gay wants his work to reassure people that the vaccine is safe. Racial disparities in the healthcare system had a devastating impact on Black communities across the nation. Gay stressed that the number of lives lost due to

COVID-19 in Black and Brown communities indicates that people need to get vaccinated.

An award-winning artist, Gay says the COVID-19 pandemic pushed various Black communities to, “come together to fight for a cause.”

He said it important for Black and Brown communities to “remember what we have learned through this and figure out how we move forward and how we deal with it the next time.”

Through his artwork, Gay takes on the responsibility of, “educating people to go back to what happened in the past and to learn from the past,” he said.

New Strain of Covid Proving Fatal to Unvaccinated People

Manny Otiko | California Black Media 

Don’t put away that mask. While the American public might be celebrating the lifting of the tightest COVID-19 restrictions in most parts of the United States, the coronavirus pandemic is far from over.

According to medical doctors, the United States is currently dealing with a new strain of the virus, the Delta variant, which is more lethal and virulent than previous strains. The Delta variant originated in India towards the end of last year and was first identified in America in March. The Los Angeles County Health Department is so worried about a new outbreak, its told residents to mask up again. “Since the Delta variant is more infectious than other variants, Public Health recommends wearing a mask around others in indoor spaces, regardless of vaccination status,” said the LA County Department of Health in a tweet. Dr. Jerry Abraham, director of Kedren Vaccines at Kedren Health in Los Angeles, has already seen signs of the new strain in the Los Angeles community. He said medical professionals are already gearing up for what he called the “5th wave” of the coronavirus pandemic. “

It’s already in LA,” he said. “We assume the rates will go back up.” Like other viruses, Covid-19 is constantly mutating. When the virus encounters new hosts (particularly unvaccinated bodies,) it changes and gets stronger. The best way to eliminate the disease is to vaccinate about 70 % of residents in a community (herd immunity,) so the virus doesn’t have any places to grow and survive. Dr. Eric Feigl-Ding, an epidemiologist and health economist and a senior fellow at the Federation of American Scientists in Washington, D.C., emphasized this point during a recent Ethnic Media Services virtual briefing on the efficacy of continued mask use. “The more warm bodies the virus has, the more opportunity it will have to mutate,” said Feigl-Deing, who is also the Chief Health Economist for Microclinic International, a San Francisco-based non-profit that bills itself as an organization that “revolutionize how deadly diseases are prevented and managed worldwide.”

“If you let it spread, it will mutate,” he warned. Feigl-Ding added, at this stage, reaching herd immunity is not realistic, and we need to look at alternative solutions to contain the virus, such as continued mask usage, ventilation, hand washing, disinfecting surfaces and air purification devices. But over the last year, the debate about vaccinations became political. A large number of people who supported former President Donald Trump downplayed the virus and accused Democrats of overstating the severity of the pandemic. A lot of those skeptics even refused to take the vaccines.

Some say they don’t trust the science. Others do it to resist what they see as pressure coming from liberals.

But health experts say, refusing to take one of the three vaccines approved to fight COVID-19 in the United States is dangerous and only allows the virus to thrive.

Data is beginning to show the effects of politicizing public health. Deaths and infections are going up in red states, while the numbers have been steadily declining in blue states. “A study from the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, Maryland, finds that states with Republican governors have experienced the highest number of COVID-19 cases and deaths during the COVID-19 pandemic,” according to Medical News Today. Medical data shows that 99 % of recent Covid 19 deaths were unvaccinated people, according to Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading virologist and director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Abraham is a big proponent of vaccination and estimates his clinic has given about 300,000 inoculations to people in the South Los Angeles area. But he still sees worrying trends. According to Abraham, only about 40% of Black Men in the area are vaccinated. He is also troubled by the attitude he sees in a demographic he calls “the Invincibles” (young people in their late teens and early 20s who don’t think they’ll ever get sick.) Many of them, Abraham says, ar reluctant to take the vaccination, even though they’re eligible. Abraham said he encountered many “Invincibles” at the recent Juneteenth celebration in Los Angeles, and many of them had a nonchalant attitude towards Covid-19. He said many young people he encouraged to get vaccinated said, “I’ll get over it.” They think if they eat right and are healthy, they’ll survive Covid, he said. But Abraham said healthy people can get sick and still need to get vaccinated. “You’re never going to exercise or eat your way off a ventilator,” said Abraham. Abraham also warned the situation would worsen during the fall when it gets colder, and people spend more time inside. “It’s not a matter of if,” said Abraham. He also said that pandemic diseases are becoming more common. There are several reasons why this could be occurring, such as overpopulation, children growing up in sterilized environments, poor nutrition, global warming, poor health and poor sanitation in the developing world. And we live in an increasingly globalized world, so it’s easy for a disease that originated on the other side of the world to end up in the West. “What happens in South Asia will affect us in L.A.,” said Abraham.

Black Californians Are the Number One Target of Hate Crimes

Aldon Thomas Stiles | California Black Media

Miya Ponsetto, the Piru, California woman who falsely accused a Black teenager of stealing her phone at a New York City Hotel in December 2020, has been charged with a hate crime.

Two Californian men have been charged with a hate crime in Oregon for allegedly assaulting a Black gas station attendant.

A Berkeley woman was charged with a hate crime after she allegedly harassed a Black Amazon delivery driver, shouting racial slurs at him and physically stopping his attempts to escape the confrontation.

Hate crime incidents in California shot up by 31% in 2020, the highest since 2008. And According to the state attorney general’s annual report, this surge can be attributed to a massive spike in anti-Black hate crimes in major California cities.

Last year, Black people accounted for 6.5% of California’s population but were the targets of 30% of total hate crimes, an 87% increase from 2019.

California Attorney General Rob Bonta, who held a press conference to address the hate crime epidemic, promised to attack this issue head on.

“We need to be more victim-centered with how we address hate crime by providing care and healing in language and with cultural competence,” Bonta told Sacramento’s ABC10. “We need to strengthen our reporting and tracking system so that we can really get a handle on the full depth of the challenge.”

When it comes to hate crimes, Black Americans are the most targeted racial group in the country, with Anti-Black hate crimes making up 47.1% of all racially motivated hate crimes in 2018 and 48.5% in 2019.

According to the Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations 2019 Hate Crime Report, 2019 also saw a 64% increase in hate crimes targeting trans people, many of which were Black or Brown, according to the Human Rights Campaign.

“Yet another year with alarming levels of bias-motivated crimes underscores just how urgent it is to address this hate crimes epidemic,” said Alphonso David, the Human Rights Campaign’s first Black president. “This year, we saw a tragic new record of fatal violence against transgender and gender non-conforming people in this country, particularly against Black and Brown transgender women.”

2020 also saw a 107% increase in anti-Asian hate crime in California as racially motivated civil unrest ravished the country.

Major League Baseball Commits up to $150 Million to Get More Blacks Into the Game

In what has been the largest financial commitment in its history, Major League Baseball has pledged $150 million to the Players Alliance to improve its investment in Black players and professionals across the game over a ten year period.

The money will go to a variety of programs built around participation in baseball, mentorship and professional baseball employee development. In addition, the funding will include initiatives that celebrate Black baseball history and culture, educational grants and service opportunities to communities.

“Major League Baseball’s commitment to support the Players Alliance is a monumental turning point in the history of our game, establishing a pathway to progress for equity and access for the Black community,”

said former All-Star Curtis Granderson, who now serves as president of the Players Alliance.

“Major League Baseball is thrilled to expand our commitment to the Players Alliance, which will include joint efforts to strengthen our sport’s engagement with Black communities,” said MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred.

“The relationship grew because we were united behind two really fundamental goals. First of all, we all wanted to see more young people of color playing our game. We want young people period playing the game, but particularly young people of color. Secondly, we all know that we need more diversity in our game. Not just on the field, but everywhere — front offices, Commissioners Office, everywhere. Those two goals continue to bring these two groups together.”

To that end, starting in 2023, MLB will provide $10 million annually—with an additional $5 million in matching contributions from external Players Alliance fundraising— to programs aimed at increasing the participation of Black youth and young adults in baseball as well as programs designed to attempt to increase the number of Black employees and contractors in all positions and at all levels associated with professional baseball. 

Monies will also fund programs in support of Jackie Robinson Day; appreciation days for the Negro Leagues; Black participation in the business of baseball; programs to support baseball in city schools; and programs designed to eliminate barriers to participation in the sport for Black youth.

Educational grants, scholarships and additional community services to the Black community are also being incorporated into the program.

JT Torbit

White Farmers Thwart Plan to Provide Relief to Black Farmers


The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s plan to redress decades of loan discrimination by handing out $4 billion in payments to an estimated 16,000 Black farmers has been thwarted by a group of white farmers who have sued the USDA claiming its reverse discrimination.

Last week, a U.S. District court issued a temporary restraining order on the program—which is funded as part of the American Rescue Plan—as it determines whether or not white farmers are being discriminated against. Further, it was ruled that the federal government had failed to prove that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has discriminated against people of color.

The injunction is the third to result from litigation filed in seven states, including Tennessee, on behalf of white farmers in the past month, according to court records.

In yet another surprise move, in a letter to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Visack, the American Bankers Association, the Independent Community Bankers of America, and the National Rural Lenders Association, threatened to withhold credit from farmers of color if the USDA moved forward with the program.   

The program —initially introduced by Georgia Senator Raphael Warnock— would benefit Black farmers in a way no legislation has since the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In addition to debt relief, the funds would provide other forms of assistance in acquiring land including grants, training and education.

Due to systemic racism, Black farmers in the nation have lost more than 12 million acres of farmland over the past century, and while blacks represented 14% of the nation’s farmers a century ago, they stand at fewer than 2% today.

Justice department lawyers maintain the government can employ race-based exclusions if they are “narrowly tailored” to address a specific wrong and that the USDA initiative for farmers of color meets that constitutional threshold

“Congress considered strong evidence that discriminatory loan practices at USDA have placed minority farmers at a significant disadvantage today: these farmers generally own smaller farms, have disproportionately higher delinquency rates, and are at a significantly higher risk of foreclosure than non-minority farmers,” the lawyers argued.

“Congress found that minority farmers’ diminished position was only made worse by a global pandemic that disproportionately burdened them and the general failure of recent agricultural and pandemic relief to reach them,” the response continued.

The Justice Department will almost surely seek an appeal.

Millions of Californians Set to Receive $600 Stimulus Checks

Providing immediate relief to Californians hit hardest by the pandemic is one of the hallmarks of the Governors’ California Comeback Plan which will roll out $600 stimulus checks to millions of Californians this fall.

It is estimated that two out of every three Californians will receive the stimulus checks in what is the biggest economic recovery package in the state’s history. The Plan creates the biggest state tax rebate in American history, expanding direct payments to middle class families for a total of $12 billion in stimulus payments that will go directly to middle class Californians and families.

Those earning between $30,000 and $75,000 a year qualify for the one-time checks. Qualified families with kids will receive an additional $500 regardless of their immigration status.

“Harnessing the largest surplus in state history, we’re making transformative investments across the board that will help bring all our communities roaring back from the pandemic – and pay dividends for generations to come,” said Governor Newsom. “Through this comprehensive plan, the state is taking on the inequities laid bare by the pandemic, expanding our support for Californians facing the greatest hardships, increasing opportunity for every child, confronting homelessness head-on and doubling down on our work to build resilience against the climate change impacts that threaten California’s future. I thank Pro Tem Atkins, Speaker Rendon and both houses of the Legislature for their incredible partnership in meeting the unprecedented challenge and opportunity of this moment.”

The payments are tentatively scheduled to be issued in September. Residents earning less than $30,000 who already received one-time $600 stimulus checks earlier this year are not eligible for a second $600 check. 

Haitian Americans Fear What Comes Next As Assassination of Jovenel Moïse Casts Nation into Political Crisis

Haitian Americans and immigrants are expressing alarm following the shocking midnight assassination of President Jovenel Moïse and the attack on his wife, first lady Martine Moïse at his home near Port-au-Prince.

According to reports, the president was assassinated at his private residence at around 1am in an assault by unknown gunmen dressed commando-style who spoke English and Spanish; had nine new Nissan pickup trucks; falsely identified themselves as agents of the DEA; and appeared to know the layout of the home. 

First lady Martine Moïse, who survived the attack was said to be stable but in critical condition and at press, had been flown to Miami for treatment.  

“People are being stressed with economic uncertainty, COVID and now this,” said a local Los Angeles man of Haitian descent who for more than two decades has been doing mission work in Haiti at a clinic he helped to build from the ground up. 

“There’s so much political unrest,” he continued. “I’m told they have gangs controlling the roads so it’s not safe and if you’re a foreigner you’re subject to kidnapping. 

“Our people are located in the more remote areas, but in terms of where the urban centers like Port-au-Prince are, there is a lot of concern about what will happen to people. It’s a very bleak outlook.”

“I’m just worried for my family,” said another Haitian immigrant. “I’m unable to reach them and to see what’s happening and to know that it’s a dangerous situation you can do nothing about is difficult. You just don’t know what’s next.”

“We condemn this heinous act,” U.S. President Joe Biden said in a statement. “The United States offers condolences to the people of Haiti, and we stand ready to assist as we continue to work for a safe and secure Haiti.”

Haiti’s Interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph announced the news—while stating that he was now in charge of the country and urged citizens to remain calm. Moise’s assassination has sparked concern for the stabilization of the country already experiencing political unrest. Earlier this year, Haitian security forces arrested nearly two dozen people in a suspected coup attempt. 

Due to the ongoing security situation, the U.S. Embassy was closed and flights in and out of Haiti’s main airport in the capital Port-au-Prince were cancelled or delayed until further notice. U.S. personnel were urged to stay at home.

Moise’s death marks a horrific end to a presidency marked by controversy, bloody protests against his rule, chronic poverty, accusations of corruption and dictatorial governance, escalating gang violence and an alarming surge in murders and kidnappings. Just last month, the U.S. State Department issued a “do not travel” warning to U.S. citizens for Haiti because of risk of kidnapping, crime and civil unrest.

Moise first ran for president in 2015, but following accusations of widespread fraud, his victory was annulled. New elections were delayed for more than one year and the 53-year old former entrepreneur subsequently took office in February 2017, but a dispute ensued over whether or not his term expired in 2021 or 2022 and if his stay in office beyond 2021 was even legal, leading to calls for him to step down.

For the widely unpopular president to postpone elections in the wake of widespread protests only fueled mistrust and contributed to the political turmoil that was engulfing the nation, prompting the UN Security Council, the U.S. and Europe to call for free and transparent legislative and presidential elections to be held by the end of this year.

“I extend my thoughts and prayers to the people of Haiti. The unfortunate assassination of Jovenel Moïse, the president of Haiti, further exacerbates the ongoing political and constitutional crisis plaguing the country,” said Congresswoman Maxine Waters. “Jovenel Moïse had been ruling Haiti by decree, and as of late, I have been very concerned about the increase in violence across the country under his rule. I am hopeful that the United States can be helpful during this critical time by cooperating with the people of Haiti to manage this crisis and assisting them as they try to move forward and establish a just, peaceful, and democratic government.”

The United Nations Security Council is moving to meet quickly to address the assassination in what is being characterized as “a critical moment” in the nation, ranked as the poorest country in the Americas. Joseph has called on the “international community to launch an investigation into the assassination”.

Ironically, while Joseph—who took office in April as Interim Prime Minister—has declared himself to be the acting president, Moise had just days ago announced the appointment of a new prime minister, Ariel Henry, who was scheduled to be sworn in today. Given that no official swearing in took place, it is uncertain who will take over and even greater fears that the fight to replace Moise will cast the nation deeper into crisis.

Already there are reports of armed groups calling for revolution against the system in Haiti. 

Cal Woman Quits Powerful Biz Org; Alleges Anti-Black Comments, Actions

Quinci LeGardye | California Black Media

A California-based member of the Washington, DC-based National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) resigned last month, accusing the group’s leadership of racist actions and statements.

She was an elected official of the organization that advocates on behalf of more than 10 million women-owned businesses around the United States.

Charlotta Carter, President-CEO of GRI Technology Solutions and president-elect of the NAWBO-San Francisco Chapter, resigned her position in a letter to the NAWBO membership last month. Carter’s resignation was soon followed by by another Black woman, Vikita Poindexter, stepping down from a NAWBO leadership role.

Poindexter is CEO of Poindexter Consulting Group and president of NAWBO-California.

In her resignation letter, Carter recounted incidents during her onboarding and work as president-elect when NAWBO showed reluctance to support Black women business owners.

Carter wrote, “I’m humbled to be asked to join but find that there is a true disconnect with the overall NAWBO set of mission and goals and what I believe and need as a Black business owner to be part of the organization. NAWBO’s strategy and vision IMHO (in my honest opinion) does not value diversity and cannot see the uniqueness of Black-owned businesses — challenges that are far beyond other demographics.”

The women’s resignations — and Carter’s condemning allegations — come nearly a year after the George Floyd protests last summer, a time when corporations and non-profits took symbolic and substantive steps to promote diversity, promote racial equity and support Black individuals and institutions.

Carter shared details of a racist incident she said happened April 30.

“In bringing that draft legislation to NAWBO National and the incoming president, she was very offended that we included language in that draft bill to help address African American women-owned small businesses earning $50,000 or less. She was very offended, and said, ‘If we’re going to just focus on African American women, we can’t support this. Besides members of NAWBO, we’re tired of focusing on African American women’s issues. So, needless to say, the meeting went downhill from there,” Carter told California Black Media (CBM).

Carter also alleged that, at an onboarding meeting, she spoke with another Black woman who was president of a different NAWBO chapter, who said she was “afraid” to reach out to the NAWBO national board for a statement about George Floyd’s death.

Carter said, “My take to that is why — in an organization that’s supposed to be supportive of you and your community and your issues — would you be afraid to call the headquarters and ask them to make a statement on something so critical in our history. Why would you be afraid? You’re gonna get blackballed or something? And if that’s the case, why would you want to be a part of an organization like that?”

In an email to NAWBO members obtained by CBM, NAWBO National leadership said that they were taking Carter’s allegations seriously, and that they had convened a special task force to investigate her claims. The letter reads, “As a national organization with local footprints, we must in principle and in practice, be inclusive, diverse, respectful and equitable to all members.”

Carter also told CBM that she is still confident in her decision to leave the organization, and that she was skeptical of the organization’s future regarding their diversity and inclusion initiatives.

“The incoming president Susan Dawson’s first statement that ‘members of NAWBO are tired of supporting African American women’s issues,’ was her truth. And anything that came after that was total BS. So, any apology would ring hollow to me because she really wouldn’t have meant it So, I’m happy if they do something about it and they do some soul searching and realize that they’re more of a racist organization than they think they are, that would be great. And if they don’t do anything then I know I made the right decision by distancing myself from them,” Carter said.

NAWBO ’s leadership said in a statement to CBM that they have appointed a special task force to investigate the accusations, and that they cannot publicly comment on the matter until the investigation, which is currently underway, is complete. They also said that four BIPOC women currently serve on NAWBO’s national board.

“In principle and in practice, NAWBO values and seeks a diverse and inclusive membership. We seek full participation in the organization by all business owners who support our mission to empower women entrepreneurs, regardless of race, religion, age, sexual orientation, national origin or disability. Our goal is to effectively represent the full diversity of the women business owner community and to expand access to leadership opportunities across the full spectrum of our membership,” the statement reads.

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