Say His Name Emmitt Till was murdered 66 years ago
The dentist was a few minutes late, so I waited by the barn, listening to a northern mockingbird in the cypress trees. His tires kicked up dust when he turned off Drew Ruleville Road and headed across the bayou toward his house. He got out of his truck still wearing his scrubs and, with a smile, extended his hand: “Jeff Andrews.”
The gravel crunched under his feet as he walked to the barn, which is long and narrow with sliding doors in the middle. Its walls are made of cypress boards, weathered gray, and it overlooks a swimming pool behind a white columned house. Jeff Andrews rolled up the garage door he’d installed.
Our eyes adjusted to the darkness of the barn where Emmett Till was tortured by a group of grown men. Christmas decorations leaned against one wall. Within reach sat a lawn mower and a Johnson 9.9-horsepower outboard motor. Dirt covered the spot where Till was beaten, and where investigators believe he was killed. Andrews thinks he was strung from the ceiling, to make the beating easier. The truth is, nobody knows exactly what happened in the barn, and any evidence is long gone. Andrews pointed to the central rafter.
“That right there is where he was hung at.”
Emmett till was killed early on the morning of August 28, 1955, one month and three days after his 14th birthday. His mother’s decision to show his body in an open casket, to allow Jet magazine to publish photos—“Let the world see what I’ve seen,” she said—became a call to action. Three months after his murder, Rosa Parks kept her seat on a Montgomery, Alabama, bus, and she later told Mamie Till that she’d been thinking of Emmett when she refused to move. Almost 60 years later, after Trayvon Martin was killed, Oprah Winfrey channeled the thoughts of many Americans in evoking the memory and the warning of Emmett Till.
Read the story on The Atlantic
More of This For the first time, a DACA recipient allowed to compete in the Olympics
Luis Grijalva finished second in the men's 5,000-meter final at the NCAA track and field championships earlier this summer, and did well enough to realize a dream of his and qualify for the Tokyo Olympics with a personal best of 13:13.14. Only it wasn't for the U.S., but his home country of Guatemala.
And after receiving his advanced reentry document on Monday, he's going to be allowed to leave the country in pursuit of his dreams, his agent announced.
Grijalva, a student at Northern Arizona University, came to the U.S. from Guatemala when he was just 1 year old, and has lived here ever since but is not a citizen or legal permanent resident. He's a DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) recipient, which complicates his Olympic eligibility.
Being a DACA recipient, Grijalva needs a special permit to leave the country and return—which presented a problem in traveling to Tokyo.
“If I don't get the permit in time, and if I do go to the Games then technically, I'll be self-deporting, which I won't go If I don't get the permit,” he told NBC Bay Area on Saturday.
Guatemala's coaches and runners traveled to Tokyo on Sunday. Grijalva and his attorney prepared for a visit to Phoenix on Monday, where he hoped to speed up the process for a permit, which usually takes 90 days. He needed the permit by Wednesday in order to compete and travel to Japan.
And sure enough, he got it.
Grijalva shared a heartfelt Instagram post Sunday and shared his story before receiving his advanced reentry document.
"I came to [the United States] as a year old, I have lived in the U.S. for more than 21 years," Grijalva wrote. "All my life all I have known is the United States. Even though my roots started in Guatemala in some ways I feel as American as anybody else who was born here."
Read the story on Sports Illustrated
More of This Too The first ever incarcerated person elected to public office
On June 15, 2021, Joel Castón became the first incarcerated person ever elected to public office in Washington, D.C. He is currently incarcerated in the Correctional Treatment Facility, part of the complex of the D.C. Jail, and serves as the advisory neighborhood commissioner (ANC) representing District 7F07. On July 13, 2021, via Zoom, he shared with Inquest his trajectory, why he decided to run for office, and how having a voice in the political process is one way to end mass incarceration. This account, as told to Premal Dharia, has been edited and condensed for clarity.
I’ve been incarcerated since 1994. I have spent my 20s, my 30s, and the mid-part of my 40s behind prison bars. Today, I turned 45 years old and am now the newly elected commissioner of a single-member district, 7F07.
In this capacity as commissioner, my constituents consist of those residents inside the Central Treatment Facility and the Central Detention Facility, as well as the residents inside the Park Kennedy apartment complex in front of the institution, as well as women who are housed inside the Harriet Tubman Women’s Shelter. I am the liaison between my constituents and the government.
ANC representatives are the lower-level government in the District of Columbia. When anything is being done, particularly when measures are being considered by our D.C. councilmember, as ANC representatives, we have to see that document first. I have to access that information. I have an official email account. And through that email account I receive government documents about everything that’s happening not just in my single-member district, but also in the District of Columbia. That allows me to be informed. So when my opinion is being sought by policymakers, councilmembers, or the mayor, they first distribute that information to us. We get to weigh in on it, and whatever recommendations that we give, it must be given greater weight. That’s the power that we have as ANC commissioners.
This has been a seat that has been vacant since it was created in 2013. So I’m the first to occupy this seat. Hence the historical nature of my election. It was explained to me that many of my predecessors — former men and women who have since transitioned from the prison world to the free world — they had been clamoring for representation for this demographic. And I’d be the first to admit that if it wasn’t for them who had been advocating for restoring the vote, which allowed incarcerated people to get to vote while we are currently incarcerated, I would not have this seat.
So I’m actually standing on the shoulders of so many men and women who have made this city become a democracy for this marginalized group that I represent. The mayor of this city and the District of Columbia councilmembers had said, “No, wait a minute. We want all Washingtonians to have a voice. And we’re not just saying this with lip service. Let’s make this a law.” And they made it a law. And once that law was enacted the first thing I wanted to do was to go vote. Whenever we enfranchise the incarcerated population or someone who was once justice-involved, once that individual is fully enfranchised then they can obtain true citizenship. This is why I think that what the District of Columbia is doing is on the right side of history.
Read the story on Inquest
Driving While Black Lawyer and activist is held at gunpoint by police
Zach Norris is the Executive Director of Ella Baker Center for Human Rights. He has spoken at various ChangeLawyers events, most recently How to Dismantle Mass Incarceration.
Combine old-style racism with new surveillance technology such as automatic license-plate readers and the results can be terrifying, if not deadly. Especially if you’re driving while Black in the Bay Area.
As the director of a racial justice organization, I knew the dismal statistics. But one Saturday early last year, my family became another link in the story: My wife and I, along with our two daughters and a friend, were returning from a hike on Mt. Diablo when we were stopped on the road and surrounded by a slew of gun-wielding police.
What we didn’t know was that, while we were hiking, someone had swiped our license plate and substituted theirs; we pulled out of the parking area with a plate that had recently been involved in an armed robbery in San Francisco. As we drove through downtown Walnut Creek, we saw flashing blue and red lights in the rearview mirror.
I pulled over and heard a loudspeaker blasting at us, ordering me out of the car: “Get down on your knees and place your hands on your head.”
As I got down on my knees, I saw one of many guns pointed at me. Seven cop cars. I heard and felt handcuffs being put around my wrists.
And right there with me were all those other victims of ill-conceived and unequally applied models of policing. Jacob Blake, who was shot and nearly killed by a police officer in front of his children. Philando Castile, who was shot and killed by a police officer as he sat in the passenger seat. Brittany Giliam, a Black mother who, along with her children and nieces — the youngest just 6 years old — were arrested at gunpoint, handcuffed and forced to lay on the pavement for nearly two hours. The police said they thought the car was stolen but never allowed Brittany to show them her car’s registration.
Our experience ended better than many. The police were able to confirm that our license plate had been stolen. We were sent on our way. And no one was killed. But the trauma has lingered.
Read the story on Easy Bay Times
So you want to go to law school but you are feeling a bit lost?
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How to become a Federal Judge
This event will discuss the federal judicial appointment process. Featuring California Supreme Court Justice Mariano-Florentino Cuellar.
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2021 Judicial Diversity Summit
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