*The superintendent of the Virginia Military Institute, retired Army Gen. J.H. Binford Peay III, resigned Monday following reports of ongoing systemic racism at the military college.
The 80-year-old stepped down days after the Washington Post documented “relentless racism” suffered by the Black cadets at the state-sponsored school. The retired four-star general wrote in a public resignation letter that Gov. Ralph Northam and other state politicians had “lost confidence in my leadership” and “desired my resignation.”
One 2019 graduate, Keniya Lee, told the Post that a professor “reminisced” about her father’s membership in the Ku Klux Klan. Another Black student claimed a white classmate told him he was going to “lynch” him and use his “dead corpse as a punching bag.”
At the time, Peay said any allegation of racism or discrimination would be “investigated and appropriately punished, if substantiated.”
Northam, who graduated from VMI in 1981, launched a formal investigation and third-party review in an order signed by Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, Attorney General Mark Herring and the chair of the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus.
Peay’s letter said that VMI cadets “continue to be educated in a physical environment that honors the Confederacy and celebrates an inaccurate and dangerous ‘Lost Cause’ version of Virginia’s history. It is long past time to consign these relics to the dustbin of history.”
Watch a report on the investigation of VMI’s systemic racism from WSLS 10 below:
Obama Responds to His Critics Who Say He Didn’t Do Enough for Blacks / WATCH
*(Via UrbanHollywood411) – Former President Barack Obama continued his book tour Wednesday (11-25-20) with a conversation on The Breakfast Club about his record on supporting the Black Community, Joe Biden winning the election and Latinos who voted for President Donald Trump.
While discussing his record-selling memoir “A Promised Land” with hosts Charlamagne Tha God, Angela Yee, and DJ Envy, Obama addressed criticism that he didn’t do enough for African Americans while he was in the White House.
“I understand it because when I got elected, there was so much excitement and hope. And I also think that we generally view the presidency as almost like a monarchy. In the sense of, ‘once the President is there he can just do whatever he needs to get done and if he’s not doing it then it must be because he didn’t want to do it,’” he told the three radio hosts.
He then said he “had the statistics” to prove his accomplishments.
“By the time I left office, you had seen three million African Americans have health care that didn’t have it before. You had seen the incarceration rate, the number of Black folks in prison, drop for the first time in years… You had seen Black poverty drop to its lowest level since 1968. You had seen Black businesses rise, you had seen Black income go up,” Obama said, adding that “millions of Black folks were better off” when he left office.
Get the rest of this story at UrbanHollywood411.com.
Virginia State Worker Put on Leave Days After Complaining about Systemic Racism (Watch)
*A man who works for the Virginia Department of Corrections says he was placed on leave just days after raising concerns about systemic racism at his job.
“The timing is very suspicious,” said DOC employee Michael Murphy. He tells 8News he’s worked in corrections for 30 years, eight of which, with the Virginia DOC.
He says that while working as a unit manager at State Farm Correctional Center in Powhatan County, he noticed a pattern within the department: hard-working, qualified Black employees getting passed over for promotions.
“There’s been a practice, I noticed of African Americans being laterally moved involuntarily, several hours from their workplace,” Murphy said. “In one case, it was five hours away from her workplace.”
Murphy believes it’s designed to make them quit.
“It is happening very disproportionately to Blacks. I find it to be incredibly unfair and very discriminatory,” Murphy said.
So, as a manager, he decided to speak up. He first filed an EEOC complaint with the State of Virginia. Then, on Sept. 24, he filed a formal grievance with his immediate supervisor.
He says he alleged, “systemic racism within the department.”
Then, five days later, Murphy said, “I was put on administrative leave for lack of civility.”
Watch his story below:
27 More Black Ex-Franchisees Join Racial Discrimination Lawsuit Against McDonald’s
*MIAMI – Twenty-seven new plaintiffs, all former Black McDonald’s franchisees, joined an ongoing federal lawsuit against the fast-food chain claiming the company engaged in systemic discrimination and denied them the same opportunities as White franchisees.
The new amended complaint now has 77 named plaintiffs in the lawsuit originally filed by 52 Black former franchisees on Sept. 1, 2020.
The claims now include nearly 300 stores with compensatory damages that average between
$4 million and $5 million per store, exclusive of punitive damages.
The plaintiffs allege McDonald’s sold itself as a recruiter and developer of Black talent, profited from its Black consumer base and maintained a two-tier system that pigeonholed unsuspecting Black owners and assigned them horrible locations guaranteed to fail.
This suit comes on the heels of a federal class action lawsuit filed October 29 by current Black franchisees.
“McDonald’s is now fighting a four-front legal war. They are being sued by current and former Black operators, Black employees and senior executives,” said James L. Ferraro, the lead attorney for both the current and former franchisee lawsuits. “As the pool of plaintiffs grow, there will be more pressure on the company to dispense with the public relations ploys and focus on how it can help its Black employees and franchisees.”
At the same time there are calls for state pension funds to drop McDonald’s stock. States like New York, California, Ohio and Florida have massive investments in McDonald’s. In Tennessee, Rep. Joe Towns has requested Treasurer David H. Lillard to divest the state’s holdings and reallocate the money toward companies “practicing good corporate citizenship.”
Ferraro said all these challenges are coming together because the company has turned a blind eye to obvious racial problems while promoting its public image.
McDonald’s once boasted a high of 377 Black franchisees in 1998. That number now stands at 186 even though McDonald’s has increased its stores from 15,086 to 36,059. The cash flow gap for Black franchisees more than tripled from 2010 to 2019, per National Black McDonald’s
Operators Association (“NBMOA”) data.
Plaintiffs’ average annual sales of $2 million was more than $700,000 under McDonald’s national average of $2.7 million between 2011 and 2016 and $900,000 under the national average of $2.9 million in 2019.
The lawsuit claims McDonald’s was ruthless in steering Black operators toward the oldest, most decrepit stores in the toughest neighborhoods routinely rejected by Whites franchisees. This severely limited opportunities for expansion and growth, and far too often set in place a chain of events – low cash flow, decreased equity, debt and bankruptcy – that led to financial ruin.
The plaintiffs argue McDonald’s violated federal civil rights laws by:
- Excluding Black franchisees from the same growth opportunities found at safer, higher- volume, lower-cost stores offered to Whites.
- Retaliating against Black franchisees for rejecting strong-arm offers to continue operations in crime-ridden
- Denying Black franchisees meaningful assistance during financial hardships while White franchisees were routinely given such
- Failing to provide any legitimate business reasons for repeated denials of franchise opportunities over many
- Unfairly grading the operations of Black restaurants, which resulted in poor internal reviews, effectively pushing Black franchisees out of the McDonald’s system by denying them the eligibility for growth and favorable franchise
- Providing misleading projections which induced Black franchisees to purchase undesirable franchises.
The amended complaint was filed with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois Eastern Division. To download the complaint, click here.
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