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HISTORIC COURT RULING: LAST LIVING SURVIVORS OF 1921 TULSA RACE MASSACRE ENTITLED TO PROVE PUBLIC NUISANCE

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TULSA, Okla. and NEW YORK /PRNewswire/ — Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP, Attorney Damario Solomon-Simmons and a team of civil rights lawyers today announced that Tulsa County Judge Caroline Wall released her 13-page order late on August 3 denying the defendants’ efforts to entirely dismiss plaintiffs’ claim that the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre was a public nuisance under Oklahoma law and finding that plaintiffs 106-year-old Lessie Benningfield “Mother” Randle, 107-year-old Viola “Mother” Fletcher, and 101-year-old Hughes Van Ellis are entitled to proceed to discovery and prove that the Tulsa Race Massacre was a public nuisance that continues to impact Black Tulsans today. 

From May 31 through June 1, 1921, a large white mob completely decimated Tulsa’s thriving, all-Black community of Greenwood.  The mob, which included members of the Tulsa Police Department, the Tulsa Chamber of Commerce, the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Department and the Oklahoma National Guard, as well as other city and county leaders, overwhelmed the approximately 40-square-block community, killing hundreds of Black residents, injuring thousands more, burning down over one thousand homes and businesses and stealing residents’ personal property.

The damage caused during the Massacre is estimated to be approximately $200 million in today’s dollars.

“The Court’s ruling is historic,” said Sara Solfanelli, special counsel for pro bono initiatives at Schulte Roth & Zabel.  “This victory not only recognizes that the Massacre was a devastating attack on the Black community 100 years ago, but clears the path for our clients to prove that it was also a public nuisance that continues to harm the community today.”   

“The Massacre deprived Black Tulsans of our sense of security, hard-won economic power and vibrant community,” says Solomon-Simmons, a Tulsa native, “and created a nuisance that continues to this day.  The nuisance has led to the continued destruction of life and property in Greenwood in every quality of life metric—life expectancy, health, unemployment, education level, and financial security.” 

“For the first time in over 100 years, the last three living survivors of the Tulsa Race Massacre will finally have an opportunity to hold accountable the institutions that instigated and facilitated one of the worst acts of domestic terrorism in this country’s history. While we are excited about the Court’s historic ruling, this case is by no means over,” commented Michael Swartz, co-head of Schulte Roth & Zabel’s litigation group.  “We believe that discovery will unearth more facts of what truly happened at the Massacre; the plaintiffs and the public deserve a deeper understanding of the events and their aftermath, and a more accurate historical record.” 

“We look forward to proving our case around the Massacre’s ongoing catastrophic effects and demonstrating the actions that defendants must take to repair and rebuild the Greenwood community during our clients’ lifetimes,” added Solomon-Simmons. 

The Court dismissed certain plaintiffs and defendants, as well as the unjust enrichment claims, and further allowed plaintiffs to amend the petition to cure potential deficiencies that would strengthen their claims.

In addition to Solomon-Simmons, Swartz, and Solfanelli, the Plaintiffs are represented by attorneys J. Spencer Bryan and Steven Terrill of Bryan & Terrill Law, PLLC, Professor Eric Miller of Loyola Marymount College of Law, Maynard M. Henry, Sr., Lashandra Peoples-Johnson and Cordal Cephas of Johnson Cephas Law PLLC,  Kymberli J. M. Heckenkemper of SolomonSimmonsLaw, and Randall T. Adams, McKenzie Haynes, Ekenedilichukwu (Keni) E. Ukabiala, Angela Garcia, Alex Wharton, Erika L. Simonson, Vincent W. Moccio, and  Melanie S. Collins of SRZ.

SOURCE Schulte Roth & Zabel

Rod: A creative force, blending words, images, and flavors. Blogger, writer, filmmaker, and photographer. Cooking enthusiast with a sci-fi vision. Passionate about his upcoming series and dedicated to TNC Network. Partnered with Rebecca Washington for a shared journey of love and art.

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LCDA Releases New Report Detailing Lack of Latino Representation on Illinois Corporate Boards

Latinos constitute nearly 20% of the US population and wield significant economic influence, while Latinos in Illinois contribute approximately 10% of the Gross Domestic Income (GDI) or nearly $93 billion.

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WASHINGTON /PRNewswire/ — The Latino Corporate Directors Association (LCDA) announces the release of its groundbreaking report, “Latino Board Monitor: Latino Representation on Illinois Corporate Boards.” This report sheds light on the critical issue of Latino representation in Illinois corporate boardrooms, revealing nearly 80% of Illinois-based public companies lack Latino representation.

Latinos constitute nearly 20% of the US population and wield significant economic influence, while Latinos in Illinois contribute approximately 10% of the Gross Domestic Income (GDI) or nearly $93 billion. It is a business imperative that corporations actively incorporate the Hispanic/Latino perspective within corporate boardrooms and the C-suite.

Latino board seat representation on Illinois-based public company boards stands at only 3.1%.

However, recent trends in board representation have brought to light a troubling reality. Hispanic/Latino directors continue to be significantly underrepresented in Illinois corporate boardrooms. Although Latinos currently constitute 18% of the Illinois population, their representation on Illinois-based public company boards falls far short of reflecting this demographic holding just 45 of 1,437 available board seats.

Key findings from the report include:

  • Nearly 80% of Illinois-based public companies lack Latino representation.
  • Latino board seat representation on Illinois-based public company boards stands at only 3.1%.

With Latinos accounting for $660 billion dollars of unlocked and untapped spend, the Hispanic/Latino perspective is invaluable for gaining insights into the evolving mainstream economy and ensuring that businesses remain competitive and relevant. Yet, despite some progress, Latino representation on Illinois boards still lags behind that of other racial and ethnic groups. Furthermore, Latinos and Latinas face the greatest underrepresentation when it comes to access and visibility to the tremendous amount of Latino board talent, further exacerbating the existing disparity.

LCDA Acting President and CEO, Ozzie Gromada Meza, stated, “The release of LCDA’s ‘Latino Board Monitor: Latino Representation on Illinois Corporate Boards’ report serves as a clarion call for change in Illinois corporate boardrooms. It is time for companies to acknowledge the multicultural business perspectives that Latino directors can provide. By embracing inclusivity as a competitive strategy at the highest levels of decision-making, businesses can thrive in an increasingly dynamic and global economy.”

LCDA serves as a solution, offering access to board-proven and board-ready Latino talent. Visit LCDA’s Member Directory.

For more information on the “Latino Board Monitor: Latino Representation on Illinois Corporate Boards” report and LCDA’s mission, please visit latinocorporatedirectors.org.

About the Latino Corporate Directors Association (LCDA): The Latino Corporate Directors Association (LCDA) brings together accomplished and respected Hispanics/Latinos in corporate leadership and corporate governance committed to paying it forward. Our mission is to develop, support, and increase the number of Hispanics/Latinos on corporate boards. LCDA’s strategy to accelerate Hispanic/Latino placements on corporate boards is focused on three areas: grow demand, grow supply, and raise awareness. LCDA serves as an advocate and resource to corporate boards, search firms, private equity, and institutional investors interested in gaining access to exceptional Hispanic/Latino board talent. Together with our foundation (LCDEF), our program areas also focus on growing the supply of high-caliber boardroom candidates and providing quality corporate governance programming for experienced and aspiring directors.

SOURCE LATINO CORPORATE DIRECTORS ASSOCIATION

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United States Commission on Civil Rights Releases Report: The Federal Response to Anti-Asian Racism in the United States

Based on extensive research, expert and public testimony, the report assesses the rise in anti-Asian hate crimes in the U.S. from 2019 through 2021

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WASHINGTON /PRNewswire/ — Today, the United States Commission on Civil Rights releases the reportThe Federal Response to Anti-Asian Racism in the United States.  Based on extensive research, expert and public testimony, the report assesses the rise in anti-Asian hate crimes in the U.S. from 2019 through 2021, and the federal role in preventing and enforcing federal hate crime laws.

This report examines three main areas: 1) national trends and data regarding the rise of hate incidents and hate crimes against members of Asian communities; 2) local and state law enforcement’s prevention and reporting practices regarding hate crimes; and 3) federal efforts and policies that encourage greater participation in reporting hate crime incidents, as well as prosecution and enforcement efforts to prevent hate crimes.

“The report indicates that language barriers are impeding the reporting of incidents and that many incidents that do not meet the legal criteria for hate crimes, such as racial slurs or being spat on, still evoke fear but go unaccounted for in official statistics,” said Commission Chair, Rochelle Mercedes Garza. “Ultimately, the absence of adequate performance metrics poses a significant challenge in assessing the federal government’s effectiveness in combating the surge in hate crimes against the Asian community. While these barriers continue to exist, the Commission has outlined a holistic strategy to combat anti-Asian hate incidents, ranging from data collection improvements and legal enforcement to community support and education initiatives.”

“I am proud to have worked on the United States of America’s official, congressionally authorized, report on what’s been happening to our community since the dubbing of COVID-19 as the ‘China Virus’ inflicting people with the ‘Kung Flu’. Words matter, as this report shows,” said Commissioner Glenn Magpantay.

Agreed upon by a bi-partisan majority of Commissioners, the report contains the following Commission specific findings and recommendations – a first since 2019:

Findings

Data collection & reporting:

  • A major impediment to understanding the severity and magnitude of hate crimes against persons of Asian descent is the lack of comprehensive data.
  • The transition to the NIBRS data collection has been slow for some agencies: for 2021, the number of participating agencies within the FBI hate crime database was 11,834, compared to the 15,138 participating agencies for 2020 data, and many of the agencies that have not submitted 2021 data are the largest jurisdictions.

Recommendations

Training & Partnerships:

  • Prosecutors and law enforcement should vigorously investigate and prosecute hate crimes and harassment against Asian Americans.
  • First responders should be provided with training aimed at teaching a clear understanding of what constitutes a hate crime in their jurisdiction.

Language access:

  • Federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies and victim services need to identify critical deficiencies in Limited English Proficient (LEP) programs for individuals who need language assistance.

As part of the examination, the Commission held a public briefing on March 24, 2023, where Commissioners and Commission staff heard from subject matter experts such as government officials, academics, policy experts, law enforcement professionals, advocates, and impacted persons. The Commission also accepted written materials from the public for consideration in the final report.

The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights is the only independent, bipartisan agency charged with advising the President and Congress on civil rights and reporting annually on federal civil rights enforcement. Our 56 state and territory Advisory Committees offer a broad perspective on civil rights concerns at state and local levels. For more information about the Commission, please visit www.usccr.gov and follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

Contact: Angelia Rorison
publicaffairs@usccr.gov

SOURCE U.S. Commission on Civil Rights

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Statement by Minister Khera for International Day for People of African Descent

The Honourable Kamal Khera, Minister of Diversity, Inclusion and Persons with Disabilities, issues a statement marking the International Day for People of African Descent.

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OTTAWA, ON /CNW/ – On the International Day for People of African Descent, we celebrate and recognize the exceptional contributions of people of African descent, both in Canada and around the world. This day is also an opportunity for us to renew our determination to promote equality and inclusion as well as fighting discrimination in all its forms.

People of African descent have helped shape our country’s history and identity. African Canadians have played an important role in the development of our society for generations, making contributions in all fields including science, politics, art and literature. The vibrant cultures and accomplishments of African Canadians continue to enrich our communities from coast to coast to coast to this day.

This day is also a time to reflect and recognize the unique challenges people of African descent face. Despite the progress made, much remains to be done to fight the systemic discrimination and racism that persist in our society. As Minister of Diversity, Inclusion and Persons with Disabilities, I’m committed to fighting these inequalities, promoting fair policies that remove barriers and promoting equal opportunities for everyone.

In fact, the Government of Canada has launched several initiatives in this direction, including the Black Entrepreneurship Program, the Black Canadian Communities Initiative, as well as the Black-led Philanthropic Endowment Fund. All of these initiatives share the common goal of helping, supporting and investing in Black communities across the country.

On this International Day for People of African Descent, my colleagues and I renew our commitment to the elimination of all forms of discrimination. Diversity is a fact, but inclusion is a choice. Together they represent our country’s greatest strength. Let’s continue to build a fairer, more equitable and inclusive Canada for all.

I wish you an excellent International Day for People of African Descent!

SOURCE Canadian Heritage

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