CINCINNATI: No more empty promises

Offering “love” instead of public money for jobs, health care and education, President Bush visited this city for four hours June 21 to grab campaign checks totaling $2.5 million. But Bush also heard Ohioans demanding peace in Iraq and more funding for human needs. As the 24-car presidential motorcade rolled from Corryville to Indian Hill, those who lined the route included many protesters shouting their demands and holding up handmade signs.

Hard public dollars invested in the people instead of soft religious platitudes was on the mind of Hamilton County (Cincinnati) AFL-CIO Executive Secretary-Treasurer Dan Radford. “Bush’s visit to Cincinnati today to promote a program that he says is supposed to emphasize ‘family values’ is misguided,” he said in a statement. “Nothing is better for families than the stability provided by good jobs and affordable health care.”

Ironically, Indian Hill, one of the most affluent suburbs of Cincinnati and home to Bush host Bill DeWitt, owner of the St. Louis Cardinals, is under investigation by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency over excessive levels of mercury in the drinking water. Recently, Bush ignited a storm of controversy for easing mercury standards. Mercury causes birth defects.

Sen. John Kerry, the expected Democratic nominee to face off against Bush Nov. 2, visited Cincinnati the previous week and raised $1 million for the campaign.

HARTFORD, Conn.: Corrupt Republican governor resigns

With impeachment proceedings under way and a federal investigation looming, Republican Connecticut Gov. John Rowland resigned, June 21. Rowland, 47, a rising star in the Republican Party now serving his third term, is from Waterbury, a town rocked by recent scandals.

Republican Lt. Gov. Jodi Rell will step into the governor’s office.

Rowland is the first governor to resign since Arizona’s Fife Symington resigned in 1997, leaving office under pressure and corruption investigations.

AUSTIN, Texas: Juneteenth parade and new lawsuit on police brutality

In the largest celebration of freedom in its 10-year history, over 15,000 people marched in a parade and held a picnic here to mark Juneteenth – the anniversary of June 19, 1865 – the day enslaved African Americans in Galveston heard the news that Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation. Bands from around the South, floats and elected officials honored African American struggles and achievements.

The parade is a festival and a wake up call, said spectator Sabrina Bradford, 33. “I see a lot of us not realizing the opportunities that we have,” she said. “I just don’t see us prospering as a generation. We’ve come this far; we can go further.”

Bringing Bradford’s words to life, two days later, the NAACP filed in federal court charging the Austin Police Department with using “excessive force against minorities and abusing their search powers.” The suit seeks to block the city from receiving $3.5 million from the federal government because “the federal government does not give you money to beat up people,” said Jim Harrington of the Texas Civil Rights Project. The mountain of evidence cited by the suit included the killing of Jesse Owens and Sophia King and other minority residents by white police officers. (See related story, page 16.)

PHILADELPHIA, Miss.: Honoring civil rights workers

Over 1,500 residents, Black and white, recognized the 40th anniversary of the Ku Klux Klan murder of civil rights workers James Chaney, 21, of Mississippi, and Andrew Goodman, 20, and Michael Schwerner, 24, both of New York City, at a memorial service June 20. The Philadelphia Coalition, organizers of the memorial, and state Attorney General Jim Hood are pressuring the federal Justice Department to reopen the investigation into the slayings.

Speakers included Georgia Congressman John Lewis (D), a former civil rights worker.

Mississippi never brought charges against anyone for the murders in Neshoba County. The U.S. Justice Department, as depicted in the film “Mississippi Burning,” subsquently convicted seven Klansmen. None served more than six years for the brutal slayings.

James Chaney’s surviving brother, Ben, following his brother’s footsteps, is leading a caravan of 29 volunteers on a two-week voter registration drive in the South.

National Clips are compiled by Denise Winebrenner Edwards (dwinebr696@aol.com).

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