Hatred Doesn’t Belong in Milford

Anti-Hate Photo

CTPost:

Local clegy and parishioners display signs protesting the recent neighborhood watch leaflets left by the United Klans of America, in front of Milford Town Hall in downtown Milford, Conn. on Wednesday July 10, 2013. From left to right is Rev. Gary Witte, Rev. Adam Eckhart, Frank Lyons and his with Lynn Lyons. Gov. Dannel Malloy was on hand to denouce the hate group saying it has no place in the community. Photo: Christian Abraham

GOV. MALLOY, MAYOR BLAKE HOLD NEWS CONFERENCE TO DENOUNCE KLAN FLIERS IN MILFORD

Today, July 10, 2013, at 2:30 p.m., Governor Dannel P. Malloy and Milford Mayor Benjamin G. Blake will hold a news conference in Milford to denounce the distribution of “Neighborhood Watch” fliers from the white supremacist group United Klans of America.

WHO: Governor Malloy, Mayor Blake
WHAT: News conference on the distribution of Klan fliers in Milford
WHEN: TODAY – Wednesday, July 10, 2013; 2:30 p.m.
WHERE: Front steps of Milford City Hall; 110 River Street, Milford

White Supremacist Fliers Surface in Milford

Rise of Hate Groups
U.S. Hate And Extremist Groups Hit Record Levels, New Report Says

Denis J. O’Malley and Michael P. Mayko of CTPost.com:

MILFORD — Early risers in the city’s northern section got a surprise Monday upon walking down their driveways to get the morning newspaper.

Lying nearby, for many, was a sandwich-size plastic bag weighted down by white rocks. Inside each bag was a folded letter bearing the logo of the United Klans of America, the largest functioning Ku Klux Klan operation in the nation.

The letter announced the group’s efforts as a neighborhood watch organization.

“You can sleep well tonight knowing the UKA is awake,” read the note. It contained a contact phone number in Alabama and the UKA’s website.

The bags landed in driveways on Wheelers Farms Road, Herbert Street and Coram Lane — mostly white, middle-class neighborhoods leading to the Great River Golf Course. However, residents also include Catholics, minorities and Jews — all Klan targets.

SNIP

Greta Stanford, one of three Milford aldermen who represents the city’s First District, was surprised at being told of the flier, and said she intends to contact Police Chief Keith Mello and Mayor Ben Blake, neither of whom could be reached for comment Monday.

“I’m concerned that these people seem to think they need to protect our citizens,” Stanford said. “We don’t need their protection. We have a wonderful police department.”

Read the entire article.

UPDATE
By Neal McNamara @ NHRegister.com

Isolated Racist Incidents Part of Milford’s Past

AND

Klan Advertising in Milford Called ‘Wannabe,’ Weak Hate Group

Police spokesman Jeffrey Nielsen said the leaflets appeared on lawns along Wolf Harbor Road, Wheelers Farm Road, Todd Road, North Street, Orange Avenue and Plymouth Place, and said police are monitoring the situation. The group also leafleted on Herbert Street.

Mayor Ben Blake condemned the leafleting, saying, “Any time a hate group rears its head it’s disturbing. Milford is a community where we teach, we live, we promote respect. We don’t accept intolerance.”

Nielsen said the Police Department does not consider the UKA’s neighborhood watch group “legitimate.” He urged any resident wishing to create a neighborhood watch to do so through the Police Department.

Your Right to Vote in America

VOTING RIGHTS ACT MUST BE RESTORED

Voting Rights Act

Letter to the Editor from Devon Pfeifer of Weston Connecticut

Posted in full below:

The Voting Rights Act, frequently hailed as the single most effective civil rights legislation, was gutted recently by the Supreme Court in a 5-4 decision.

Writing for the majority, Chief Justice John Roberts cited voter registration in Mississippi had grown from 7 percent in 1965 to 76 percent of the African-American population. He shared additional anecdotal information by citing the fact that Selma, Ala., where future Congressman John Lewis was brutally beaten in 1965, has a black mayor. The chief justice also wrote “African-American voter turnout exceeded white voter turnout in five of the six states originally covered by Section 5.” Ultimately, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) tossed the Voting Rights Act back to the polarized Congress, telling legislators to fix it. Roberts wrote, “Congress must ensure that the legislation it passes to remedy that problem speaks to current conditions.” The decision declared Section 4 unconstitutional because it was based on old voting data that had not been updated since 1975.

The Voting Rights Act was passed by Congress in 1965. It was enacted to restore and protect the right to vote as provided in the 14th and 15th Amendments and was signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson.

SCOTUS struck down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act, which had identified nine states: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia, in addition to counties and municipalities including Manhattan, the Bronx and Brooklyn.

These states, counties and municipalities were required under Section 5 (which remains intact, but toothless because of the court’s finding on Section 4) “preclearance” by the Department of Justice or a federal court for any/all changes to election law.

In reference to the case of Selma having a black mayor, Southern Poverty Law Center President Richard Cohen points out: “In the history of voting in Alabama, not a single black candidate has been able to defeat a white incumbent or win an open seat in a statewide race. Black office holders in Alabama are confined almost exclusively to minority districts.” He added, “While 40 percent of the white voting public cast their ballots for a black president nationwide, only 15 percent of white voters did so in Alabama … There are still Alabama legislators who talk openly about suppressing the black vote and refer to black voters as `aborigines.'”

Congress passed the Voting Rights Act in 1965, renewed it in 1975 and in 1982, and adopted a new standard for 1985 that provided a way for jurisdictions to get out from under Section 4. In 2006, Congress eliminated the provision for voting examiners. That year Congress held 20 hearings and accumulated 15,000 pages of documents supporting Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. In 2006, “Congress voted nearly unanimously to reauthorize the Voting Rights Act for another 25 years. The vote in the U.S. Senate was 98 to 0 and 390 to 33 in the House of Representatives.” — The Christian Science Monitor.

Between 1999 and 2005, 153 proposed voting changes were withdrawn when the Department of Justice questioned them.
The Voting Rights Act was repeatedly challenged and upheld by the Supreme Court of the United States, until this year.
According to the Brennan Center for Justice (and most news sources) the very same day that the SCOTUS decision was handed down Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott said his state would go forward with its plan to redistrict because it no longer needed federal approval. In addition, Texas would implement a voter identification law that had been blocked because it did not meet federal approval. North Carolina announced it would go ahead with a photo ID requirement for voting and eliminate early voting.

A study in 2011 by Paul Gronke of Reed College and Charles Stewart of Massachusetts Institute of Technology titled “Early Voting in Florida” showed that a reduction in the number of early hours for voting lessened the turnout of black voters.

Teaching Tolerance graphed data from The Brennan Center for Justice depicting the percentage of people who lack a government-issued photo ID; the data revealed:

•11 percent of all citizens lack a government issued photo ID;
•15 percent of low-income voters lack a government issued photo ID;
•18 percent of young voters lack a government issued photo ID; and
•25 percent of African-American voters lack a government issued photo ID.

The court decision was best summarized by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who took the unusual step of dissenting not just in writing, but from the bench, espousing “For a half century, a concerted effort has been made to end racial discrimination in voting. Thanks to the Voting Rights Act, progress once the subject of a dream has been achieved and continues to be made. The court errs egregiously, by overriding Congress’s decision.”
The Voting Right Act must be restored. It is the cornerstone to the home in which our democracy resides.

I look to our delegation of federal legislators, Sens. Blumenthal and Murphy, Reps. Himes, DeLauro and the rest of the Connecticut delegation to champion reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act and bury Jim Crow once more.