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When the New York City Council voted earlier this week to require the New York police and schools to issue reports on the suspensions, arrests and summonses of New York students, it represented a victory for the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund. The uneven application of school discipline, and its effects on the educations of African-American students, is rapidly becoming a hot topic, as parent groups and even human rights groups are questioning whether zero tolerance behavioral policies disproportionately harm black students.
When Kemba Smith Pradia spoke this fall to a gathering of students at South Carolina State University, her candid talk about violence against women and the campus “hype” over drugs, sex and money resonated with students and faculty alike.
“By having enough courage to stand up and share her story, she empowered a lot of young men and women,” says Tiffany McMillian, a social work major at SCSU who was in the audience. “She was really real. (She) didn’t keep any secrets.”
Kemba Smith Pradia knows of what she speaks.
In one of its last acts of the current session, on December 22, 2010, the U.S. Senate confirmed the nominations of Jacqueline A. Berrien to be Chair of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission; Chai R. Feldblum ( a long-time lesbian activist ) and Victoria A. Lipnic to be Commissioners; and P. David Lopez to be the General Counsel. All four were nominated to their positions by President Barack Obama and had been serving under recess appointments since April, 2010.
The Senate confirmed by Jacqueline A. Berrien, the former Associate Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund (LDF), as Chair of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commision (EEOC) by unanimous consent on December 22, 2010. Berrien was nominated for the position by President Obama on July 16, 2009. Due to the Senate inaction on her appointment, the President had signed a recess appointment for her on March 27, 2010. The Senate confirmed her fellow commissioners, Chai Feldblum and Victoria Lipnik as well.
Paul J. Browne, the Police Department’s chief spokesman, said the judge’s decision was “not a setback” because it was consistent with new housing vertical patrol, procedures and training curriculum put in place this year.
Before making a trespass arrest, Mr. Browne said, officers are trained to ask a person: Do you live in the building? Are you visiting someone? Do you have business there? Based on the answers, and on follow-up questions, an officer might establish probable cause for an arrest, or might tell the person to leave or become satisfied that he or she can stay.