2012 Year in Review - National

WI Staff | 12/26/2012, 9:26 a.m.

George Zimmerman has been released on bond for the second time in the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.

Dems Roll Up Their Sleeves to Re-elect Obama - Blanche Drakeford and Cora Floyd each addressed a small group of Obama supporters gathered in a meeting room at San Antonio Grill in Brookland last Thursday to watch the last evening of the Democratic National Convention.Their message to the listeners was unvarnished and blunt. Register, vote and encourage friends, family and all who they come in contact with to go to the polls.

Smiley, West Kick Off Poverty Tour 2.0 - Talk Show Host Tavis Smiley will be at T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria, Va., today as a part of the "Poverty Tour 2.0: A Call to Conscience." Virginia is one of four presidential battleground states that Smiley and Princeton University Professor Emeritus Cornel West will make stops in, to build on what Smiley calls "the continuing moral crusade to make the eradication of poverty a top priority in America."

Religious Leaders Chastise Politicians; Call Lack of Attention to Poverty a Moral Outrage - No more excuses. That's the message that a group of spiritual leaders had for political leaders who they say have ignored the crushing poverty that is decimating more than 46 million Americans. The faith leaders, at a September 12 press conference, promised to hold candidates accountable before, during and after the November 6 election. Now, they said, is the time to stop ignoring the issue of poverty.

Panelists Decry GOP Voter Suppression Efforts - A panel discussion on voter suppression, sponsored by the Congressional Black Caucus [CBC], produced more than 90 minutes of pointed conversation, fireworks, verbal sparring - all a microcosm of the contentious nature of the issue playing out on the national stage. The Rev. Al Sharpton and conservative commentator Crystal Wright wrangled most frequently during the town hall at the 42nd Annual Legislative Conference, each sparring, jostling to make their point, battling for verbal supremacy, dismissing the other's comments.

First Lady Galvanizes Crowd at Phoenix Awards Dinner - The wife of the president of the United States, during an historic occasion, urged guests at an elite and extremely chic dinner to focus their efforts on re-electing her husband and to get involved in the political process. First Lady Michelle Obama told thousands of guests and honorees at the Phoenix Awards Dinner of the 42nd Annual Legislative Conference on Sept. 22 that even though legal racial segregation has ended, "our journey is far from over."

AT&T Initiative Aims to Combat Texting While Driving - In the past, traffic officials have urged drivers not to drink and drive. Today, they're cautioning young drivers not to text and drive. In 2010, distracted driving - which includes texting while driving - claimed the lives of more than 3,000 people nationally and transportation and other officials say those numbers are likely to increase as the number of cellphones people own recently surpassed the population of the United States - at 311 million. As a result, officials are ramping up awareness efforts.

Voter Suppression Foes Lay Foundation for Nov. 6 - When a Republican-dominated U.S. Supreme Court selected George W. Bush as president in 2000, experts, political pundits and others said they hoped the debacle of hanging chads, ineligible ballots and purported electoral improprieties would not be repeated. But 12 years later, there are growing fears that the Nov. 6 elections might be fraught with similar issues and problems that could throw the result of the race between President Barack Obama and GOP challenger Mitt Romney into doubt for weeks after balloting is completed.