#BrooklynGirlCode #NationalNews🇺🇸: #Amendment4 Giving Convicted Felons The Right to Vote Has Been Passed!

Florida Rights Restoration Coalition President Desmond Meade. Photo courtesy of Florida Rights Restoration Coalition Instagram page @FLRightsRestore

This past Election Day 2018, History was made in the state of Florida. Amendment 4 which will restore the voting rights of convicted felons was passed. Although this amendment had no major impact on this past Tuesday’s election, this will be huge for the state of Florida and the U.S. for future elections including the upcoming Presidential Election in 2020.

In the United States, more than six million convicted felons have lost their voting rights due to their criminal records. Of this six million, over 1.5 million reside right in the state of Florida. Amendment 4 which will go into effect on January 8, 2019 was a long hard fight fought mostly by a 51 year old man by the name of Desmond Meade who is the President of the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition.

Meade who was born in St. Croix and relocated to Miami, Florida at the young age of five with his family experienced a bit of trouble during his childhood. This trouble would eventually lead him to being convicted of felony cocaine possession amongst other things. After serving his time and being released in 2004, Meade chose to do better in life and decided to go back to school and successfully obtained his law degree from Florida International University. However, because of his past felonies, Meade was not allowed to sit for the bar exam. This is when Meade began his hard fight to get the voting rights of convicted felons restored.

Desmond Meade photographed by Natalie Keyssar for The New York Times Magazine

In 2011 Meade became the head of the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition. In a quote given to the NY Times for a feature story published on September 26th, 2018 by Emily Bazelon titled Will Florida Ex-Felons finally Regain The Right To Vote?, Meade stated:

This amazing work that we’re doing, it’s shiny and bright now, and there’s a lot of people that want to attach to it. But there was a time when it wasn’t that shiny. There was a time when I was knocking on doors and nobody wanted to answer.” 

Well this last Tuesday, November 6th, all of Meade’s hard work paid off when Amendment 4 was passed! Thank goodness Meade made a decision several years ago after being released from prison to do something more positive with his life. Now millions of reformed criminals will have the right to vote because of Meade’s decision! Thank you Desmond Meade for your courage and bravery and congratulations on this huge victory! -xoxo #BrooklynGirlCode 🖤

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Photo of the Provost Guard of the 107th Colored Infantry, Fort Corcoran, Washington D.C., 1863 courtesy of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture

#HappyMemorialDay 🇺🇸 from #BrooklynGirlCode! 🖤

Photo of the Provost Guard of the 107th Colored Infantry, Fort Corcoran, Washington D.C., 1863 courtesy of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture
Photo of the Provost Guard of the 107th Colored Infantry, Fort Corcoran, Washington D.C., 1863 courtesy of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Another Memorial Day is upon us! And with all the events going on in the world, it’s hard to take a moment to relax and reflect on what Memorial Day really means to us as American citizens. For some, it’s (paid) time off of work and a well deserved break. For others, it’s all about the family gatherings and cookouts and celebrating another season of summer. All of these traditions are well accepted. However, many might not know that the origin of Memorial Day actually started in Charleston, S.C. (a place where most of my family is from) in the 1800’s and the holiday began to commemorate 200+ Union soldiers that died due to the result of poor conditions at the Confederate Prison Camps in Charleston during the Civil War. The Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture posted a great photo on Instagram of a group of African-American soldiers from the war to educate readers on the origin of Memorial Day. NMAAHC stated in their caption:

“Today is the day that our nation takes pause to celebrate the service and sacrifice of our military heroes that gave their lives to secure our freedoms. The earliest commemoration of what would later become Memorial Day, was organized in a former Confederate Prison Camp in Charleston, S.C. on May 1, 1865. The celebration was established by over 1,000 newly freed African Americans, in addition to U.S. Colored Troops regiments and a small group of white Charlestonians. This group came together to honor the 257 Union soldiers that died as a result of the poor conditions of the Confederate Prison Camp during the war. They removed the soldiers from a mass grave that the Confederates made and created proper burial grounds for Union soldiers. Together they sang hymns, set flowers, and gave readings in honor of the soldiers’ sacrifice. #MemorialDay #MilitaryAppreciationMonth #APeoplesJourney #ANationsStory”

Author Sewell Chan also wrote a great piece for the New York Times titled The Unofficial History of Memorial Day. In the article, Chan gets more in depth about the holiday. A great article to check out when you get a free moment from stuffing your face with cheeseburgers. Salute to all of the soldiers who lost their lives fighting to keep us free so that we can all have the opportunity to celebrate these holidays in peace! -xoxo #BrooklynGirlCode ❤

The Unofficial History of Memorial Day via The New York Times

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#HappyBirthday #JamesBaldwin !

Today is a real American Icon’s birthday! American essayist, playwright and novelist James Baldwin who was born in 1924 in Harlem, New York City would’ve turned ninety-three years old today. For writers everywhere, Baldwin was a saint. However, during his sixty-three years on this earth, he was a friend to many. In honor of the icon’s birthday, #BrooklynGirlCode has collected some of Baldwin’s best photos with his friends via the internet! No need to write a huge paragraph about how great James Baldwin was. All I’ll say is… if you’re over thirty years old and have never read a piece of Baldwin’s literature (i.e. The Devil Finds Work; The Fire Next Time, Remember This House, etc.!!) then you’re just missing out on life my friend! Check out some of Baldwin’s coolest photos with his friends below and Happy Born Day again to a great one!

James Baldwin and Brother David Baldwin
James Baldwin and his Brother David Baldwin in the 80’s. Photo courtesy of the bostonreview.net.
James Baldwin and Lorraine Hansberry
James Baldwin getting down with famed Playwright Lorraine Hansberry. Photo courtesy of kentakepage.com.
James Baldwin holding an abandoned young boy in Durham, North Carolina. Photo courtesy of Steve Schapiro.
James Baldwin holding an abandoned young boy in Durham, North Carolina circa 1957. Photo courtesy of Steve Schapiro.
James Baldwin with good friend Medgar Evers reading the news. Photo Courtesy of Steve Schapiro via the New York Times.
James Baldwin with good friend Medgar Evers reading the news. Photo Courtesy of Steve Schapiro via The New York Times.
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James Baldwin sharing a moment with Maya Angelou. Photo courtesy of Maya Angelou’s Wikipedia page.
Nina Simone and James Baldwin bumpinh heads! Photo courtesy of blogs.baruch.cuny.edu.
Nina Simone and James Baldwin bumping heads! Photo courtesy of blogs.baruch.cuny.edu.
Medgar Evers at home with James Baldwin and his two sons.
Medgar Evers at home with James Baldwin and his two sons. Photo courtesy of scoopnest.com.
James Baldwin with his younger Paula in 1953
James Baldwin with his younger sister Paula in 1953. Photo courtesy of pinterest.com.
James Baldwin and Lena Horne embracing during a meeting in New York in 1963.
James Baldwin and Lena Horne embracing during a meeting in New York in 1963. Photo courtesy of abagond.wordpress.com.
James Baldwin talking with friends in Chicago, Illinois 1984. Photo taken by Michelle Agins and courtesy of MFON.
James Baldwin talking with friends in Chicago, Illinois 1984. Photo taken by Michelle Agins and courtesy of MFON.
James Baldwin pictured with friends Odetta, Ralph Ellison, Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee. Photo courtesy of pinterest.com.
James Baldwin pictured with friends, singer Odetta Holmes, American novelist Ralph Ellison and actors Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee. Photo courtesy of peakblackness.tumblr.com.