BYP Memo: Equal Protection? Race and Young People’s Attitudes Toward the Legal System


The verdicts in the Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis cases have focused increased attention on racial disparities in the American justice system, and according to The BYP’s latest memo, nearly three-quarters of Black Youth believe the legal system does not treat all groups equally, a rate considerably higher than that for white and Latino youth.

Justice Department Files Lawsuit to Block Texas Voter ID Law

The Justice Department has announced its intent to sue the state of Texas over its voter ID law.

The law was passed after the recent Supreme Court decision that threw out a key provision of the Voting Rights Act, and requires that voters present government-issued photo identification. Student IDs are not permissible.

The lawsuit will contend that the new law is an attempt to deny or restrict the right to vote to minorities, students, and the elderly.

From the Grio:

“This represents the department’s latest action to protect voting rights, but it will not be our last,” said the attorney general.

On June 25, the Supreme Court threw out the most powerful part of the Voting Rights Act, whose enactment in 1965 marked a major turning point in black Americans’ struggle for equal rights and political power. The Justice Department’s legal action in Texas is based on another provision in the law. Texas Gov. Rick Perry has called the Obama administration’s actions an “end-run around the Supreme Court.”

Intervening in the redistricting case would enable the federal government to seek a declaration that Texas’s 2011 redistricting plans for the U.S. Congress and the Texas State House of Representatives were adopted in order to deny or restrict the right to vote on account of race, color, or membership in a language minority group.

Read more at the Grio

Thoughts on Texas’ voter ID law, and the continued attacks on our right to vote?

Sound off below!

Moving Beyond November Together

Cedric Lawson will be participating in the Beyond November Movement Convening, the Black Youth Project’s inaugural convening of 100 Black youth leaders from across the country.


Coming to Chicago this weekend to attend the Beyond November Movement Convening reminds me that I’m only one person in our movement for justice. I’m doing what I can in order to close the gaps that fellow young African Americans face, whether it’s an achievement gap, a civic engagement gap, or even a self-love gap. Rare is a space that is constructed for young black activists to convene and develop blueprints in order to win victories. I’m excited to be a part of this uncommon space.

Cornel West Talks DOMA and Voting Rights; Says Blacks are Being “Pushed to the Back of the Bus”

On his radio show with Tavis Smiley, Cornel West praised the Supreme Court’s ruling striking down DOMA, but also lamented its gutting of the Voting Rights Act.


According to West, the black community is suffering from waning visibility.


From the Washington Times:


“We’re living in an age where we black folk are just being pushed to the back of the bus in terms of our visibility,” Mr. West said

Rep. Hank Johnson: Clarence Thomas is Worse Than NSA Leaker Eric Snowden for Gutting VRA

Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA) slammed Clarence Thomas in a recent interview, admonishing him for voting to essentially gut the Voting Rights Act.

According to Johnson, Thomas’ horrific vote ranks below the actions of Eric Snowden, the NSA contractor wanted by the government for leaking classified information about U.S. surveillance programs.

VA Gov. Bob McDonnell Commits to Expediting Restoration of Voting Rights for Non-Violent Felons

As NewsOne reports, Virginia’s Republican Governor Bob McDonnell raised eyebrows recently, announcing that he will make it easier for non-violent offenders to have their voting rights reinstated.

What’s more, he did even after a panel ruled that the Constitution does not allow for McDonnell to do so.


Call this a case of a politician doing right, which unfortunately is becoming out of character and unexpected these days.

North Carolina Protests Continue Against Republican Agenda to Disenfranchise Black Voters

The Republican-led North Carolina state government is doing its best to ensure that people of color, especially blacks, whose enormous turnout helped President Obama, have limited impact on elections.

Black North Carolinians are protesting measures that implicitly seek to disenfranchise them.


State lawmakers in the current legislative session are expected to pass bills that would stop same-day voter registration, reduce the early-voting period, end balloting on the Sunday before Election Day and impose a five-year wait for ex-convicts to regain the voting privilege.

1965 Voting Rights Act Being Challenged in Supreme Court

The Supreme Court’s conservative justices have expressed skepticism regarding a key element of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

Specifically, they voiced displeasure with a provision that forces states with a history of discrimination to have changes to their election process approved.

Liberal and conservative justices went back and forth for a tense 70 minutes over the provison.