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G ☺ ☺ D BLUE: Major Anthony W. Rudolph

MajorAnthonyWRudolph 600(Just as a neighborhood should not be judged by the actions of a few bad apples, neither should law enforcement agencies. In partnership with the new Community Police Relations Project, The New Tri-State Defender's "Good Blue" column spotlights law enforcement officers who do it right. This week's focus is on Major Anthony W. Rudolph of the Memphis Police Department.)

During an event with security at its most heightened point, this week's Good Blue officer was cool as the other side of the pillow.

It was the NCAA Men's Basketball South Regional Championship at the FedExForum and nearby Beale Street was in full swing. Basketball fans packed Handy Park before the championship game between Florida University and Dayton University. Children ran in all four directions.

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Remembering Marvin Gaye

marvingay 600Twenty years ago this week R&B music suffered a great loss as singer Marvin Gaye was killed by his father in April of 1984. Never has one artist had such a profound influence on R&B music and the other artists who created it.

Amazingly, when I hear Marvin's music today, it still strikes a chord. Not only with me, but with a lot of us. It's totally mind-blowing that "What's Going On" has the same meaning and impact for me as if it was written today. Although years past and time changes, things really remain the same.

News flash: the world was not perfect back in 1971. The issues of that day have not been resolved. There's still mothers crying and senseless killings all over our country. Somewhere in the world there are still senseless wars in progress as we speak. But it took a special person to be able to put those kinds of issues in the form of a song and create something that would make a person really pay attention some 30 years later.

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Task Force of ministers to address Stand Your Ground laws

RBHolmes 600WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Rev. R.B. Holmes, a civil rights leader and pastor of the Bethel Missionary Baptist Church in Tallahassee, Fla., is heading up a task force of 40 ministers to undertake a 12-point action plan to revitalize the black community, taking on issues ranging from the repeal of controversial “Stand Your Ground” laws to supporting Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

Holmes made the announcement here last week at a news conference at the National Press Club.

“In our 12 Point Action Plan, we will take the leadership to save our boys and girls, to build schools in our own neighborhoods, to repeal and repair ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws across America, to support historically Black colleges and universities, and the importance of business ownership and the significance of marriage and the family,” said Holmes.

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New Pew poll confirms Americans ready to end war on drugs

cocaine 600A new national survey released Wednesday by the Pew Research Center reveals that a broad majority of Americans are ready to significantly reduce the role of the criminal justice system in dealing with people who use drugs.

Among the key findings of the report:

More than six in ten Americans (63 percent) say that state governments moving away from mandatory prison terms for drug law violations is a good thing, while just 32 percent say these policy changes are a bad thing. This is a substantial shift from 2001 when the public was evenly divided (47 percent good thing vs. 45 percent bad thing). The majority of all demographic groups, including Republicans and Americans over 65 years old, support this shift.

 

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CFPB turns its attention to payday lending

CharleneCrowell 600Last week, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) focused on those little loans that come with triple-digit lending rates – payday loans.

The CFPB's public forum in Nashville coincided with the Bureau's release of a new research report. After analyzing 11 months of borrowing at 12 million storefront locations, CFPB's findings again confirm that the industry relies not on individual borrowers' ability to quickly repay, but on their inability to repay, resulting in individual borrowers taking out many loans each year.

In other words, the business model for payday lending is a debt trap. With numerous storefronts often concentrated in communities of color, many consumers are drawn in by convenient locations and promises of quick cash with no credit checks. All too often, borrowers discover that the terms of the small dollar loan cause even more financial stress and deepening debt.

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