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October 2011

A Teacher's Lesson in Voter Suppression in Florida

The reality of the suppressive nature of Florida's voting laws became painfully clear recently to Palm Beach County high school civics teacher Jill Cicciarelli.

What did she do? Well, for starters, she registered 50 of her students to vote without first registering with the state as a "third-party voter registration organization," and the completed registration forms were not turned in within 48 hours.

Such are the obstacles the Republican-dominated Florida Legislature put in place to suppress new voter registration --- and prevent the re-election of President Barack Obama but let me not go there just yet.

Ms. Cicciarelli's name was forwarded to the Florida Secretary of State's Office for engaging in unlawful voter registration. She's also subject to a $50 fine for each late registration, up to $1,000.

Hmmm...What an incredible teaching and learning moment for Jill Cicciarelli and her students. I wonder what they think about our government in action. What say you?

A Teacher's Lesson in Voter Suppression in Florida

Harry Belafonte on King's Dream, Leadership and President Obama

Belafonte on piers morganI like Harry Belafonte. I admired him first as an entertainer. When I was a young child, I recall him as one of the few blacks on television. Of course I loved to hear him sing that infectious song, “Day-O” and watch how it caused folks to get up and dance. Harry Belafonte was my introduction to calypso music which I found out later was actually Jamaican mento music but let me not digress.

Unfortunately, I did not appreciate Harry Belafonte, the humanitarian and civil rights activist, until much later in my life. I really like Harry Belafonte; well, as much as one can from afar as I’ve never actually met the man. His recent interview on Piers Morgan shows the activist, humanitarian and gentleman he continues to be. You see, in his interview with Morgan he voices doubt and concern about President Obama’s motivation in office. It's important to know that opinion is preceded by a question from Morgan that I’ve asked myself several times when it comes to leadership in this country. Fearlessness in our so-called leaders and elected officials and motivation to just do the right thing because it’s the right thing, appear to have been replaced with political strategy and “playing the game”.

I’m not doing a good job of framing Belafonte’s position so you just have to see it for yourself. I was most impressed by Belafonte’s comments and his obvious concern for President Obama. Juxtaposed against the vitriolic public discourse spewed by Dr. Cornel West and Tavis Smiley, Belafonte’s comments elicit a much different reaction and prayerfully consideration by the President and his circle of advisors.