At this point, some of us are still trying to digest the events from Charlottesville, VA. If you are still trying to piece together what happened, here is the CNN Story to catch you up. I believe now is the perfect time to confront the reality of things: the racist past some thought or assumed was gone, is still with us in our present life. And if certain citizens in this country have their way, it will be here to stay with us in the future. Let me make two valid points.
Let’s go back to 2013. Do you remember Shelby County v. Holder? The case where the SCOTUS struck down Section 5 and Section 4(b) of the Voting Rights Act of 1965? This pretty much allows certain states and local governments to set voting laws as they see fit. The Supreme Court saw fit to say these provisions were unconstitutional because they were punishing states for past sins. The provisions were no longer needed in this day and age.
Let’s think about the involvement of the police. The protests in the cities of Baltimore and Ferguson had heavy police presence. Officers showed up in riot gear with force to stop the protests. It was same down in Baton Rouge after the Alton Sterling shooting. I witness police in riot gear pull one individual of the steps of a house to be arrested. Another individual had several officers, again in riot gear, tackle him before he was carried off to jail. The police in Charlottesville played a passive role to stop the rally and its after-effects.
There are some people that still can not believe that something of this magnitude can happen on the campus of the University of Virginia. This is a campus with a rich history that was founded by President Thomas Jefferson. But let us also remember that Thomas Jefferson believed that "inferior to the whites in the endowments of body and mind.”
We are being reminded of the current ideals that many in America still hold on to from the past.
Johnny King is the current Attorney General for SWBLSA and a current 3L at Southern University Law Center in Baton Rouge, LA. If you have any comments or would like to make a suggestion on topics you would like to see explored, he can reached at SWBLSA.AG@nblsa.org.