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James Wright

Stories by James

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Norton Fights D.C. Pot Decriminalization Amendment

D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D) is fighting to stop an amendment to a House appropriation bill that would block the District from decriminalizing marijuana.

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NAACP Calls for New Voting Rights Act

The NAACP told members of the Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday that key provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 struck down last year by the Supreme Court need to be reactivated to ensure citizens will be allowed to vote freely.

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'Yoga Tax' Stays in D.C. Budget Proposal

The District of Columbia 2015 budget proposal to be submitted to Mayor Vincent Gray (D) contains the controversial "yoga tax" that will extend the city's sales tax to include gym and fitness services.

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Kenyan McDuffie Honored by Legal Organization

D.C. Council member Kenyan McDuffie was recently recognized by the National Bar Association, the leading organization for African-American legal professionals.

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Howard U. Names Holley-Walker as Law School Dean

Danielle R. Holley-Walker, the associate dean for academic affairs and a law professor at the University of South Carolina Law School, is the new dean of the Howard University School of Law, the school announced Monday.

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Sharpton Commends Central Park Five Settlement



The Rev. Al Sharpton said Thursday's announcement of a $40 million settlement in the controversial Central Park Five case was a "monumental victory" for five young men of color who were unjustly imprisoned for a crime they didn't commit.


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Schwartz Rejects LLC Funding for Mayoral Campaign

Former D.C. Council member and independent mayoral candidate Carol Schwartz said she will not accept campaign contributions from limited liability companies (LLCs) that are a part of any corporation that has already given the legal maximum.

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D.C. Political Roundup: Perdomo Wants to Improve Schools

Lillian Perdomo, who spent years in the trenches of District grassroots politics and community activism, says she is ready to represent Ward 1 on the D.C. State Board of Education.

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Gray Launches Joint Housing Effort with Faith Community

Mayor Vincent Gray launched the "One Congregation, One Family" initiative Wednesday at the New Bethel Baptist Church in Northwest to address the increasing need for secure housing and other social services.

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CBC to Lead Civil Rights Act Anniversary on June 24

Reps. Marcia Fudge, chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, and John Lewis will join the bipartisan leadership of both houses of Congress in a ceremony marking the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

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NAACP Praises Senate for June 25 Voting Rights Hearing

The US Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on restoring sections of the landmark 1965 Voting Rights Act on June 25, and leaders of the NAACP could not be happier.

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UCC Branch Calls for Boycott of Washington Redskins

The United Church of Christ's Mid-Atlantic sector passed a resolution Saturday calling for a boycott of the Washington Redskins until the team changes its name, which it deems offensive to Native Americans.

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Edwards Co-Sponsors Women's Heart Health Resolution

Maryland Rep. Donna Edwards, along with Republican colleague Shelley Capito, recently introduced a resolution which recognizes the risks of cardiovascular disease and promotes preventive heart screenings for women.

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Schwartz Signs Rival Catania's Mayoral Petition

Carol Schwartz, the former D.C. Council stalwart who recently launched an unexpected bid for mayor, made another somewhat surprising move Saturday when she announced that she signed a petition to put Council member David Catania, one of her chief competitors, on the Nov. 4 general election mayoral ballot.

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D.C. in Contention for 2024 Olympic Games

D.C. is vying for the U.S. bid for the 2024 Olympics, the top official of the U.S. Olympic Committee said.

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D.C. Political Roundup: Grosso Practices Politics His Way

D.C. Council member David Grosso, who joined the council in 2013, aspires to be a good legislator but has a tendency to do things his way.

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Virginia Rep. Scott Laments Loss of Cantor, State's Seniority

While most Democrats in Virginia cheered Don Beyer's primary victory in his bid to replace Rep. Jim Moran (D) in the House and the defeat of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Rep. Bobby Scott said that the changes will come at a price.

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Norton's Racial-Profiling Amendment Passed by House

D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton scored a major political victory Monday when she shepherded through the House an amendment to a transportation bill that prevents racial profiling of motorists by law enforcement officials.

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Holder Endorses Shorter Terms of Imprisoned Drug Offenders

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said Tuesday that the Justice Department supports a proposal to allow some people serving time in federal prison for nonviolent drug offenses to be eligible for reduced sentences.


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Obama's Executive Order Pushes to Lower Student Loan Debt

President Obama signed an executive order Monday mandating that borrowers of student loans can pay at only 10 percent of their monthly income, part of his attempt to ease the increasing burden of student loan debt.

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Morant Tabbed as Dean at GW Law School

Blake D. Morant has been selected as the George Washington University's next dean of law, the university announced Monday.

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Six Cities in Contention for DNC 2016

Six cities are in the running to host the 2016 Democratic National Convention, the Democratic National Committee announced Saturday.

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Koch Brothers Donate $25 Million to UNCF

The Koch brothers, known in political circles as generous supporters of conservative causes and opponents of President Obama, recently donated $25 million to the United Negro College Fund.

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Returning-Citizen Activists Warily Back Anti-Discrimination Bill

Leading District advocates for returning citizens say a bill authored by D.C. Council member Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6) will remove barriers to gaining employment in the city, despite their trepidation about the legislation.

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P.G. County Council Condemns Nigerian Abductions

The Prince George's County Council voted unanimously to adopt a resolution condemning African military group, Boko Haram, which has claimed responsibility for the abduction of 276 Nigerian girls from a boarding school in April.

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Ellerbe Stepping Down as D.C. Fire Chief

D.C. Fire and Emergency Management Services Chief Kenneth Ellerbe announced Wednesday that he will resign in July, putting an end to months of speculation about his job security and repeated calls for him to step aside.

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D.C. Court Overturns Council's Delay of AG Election

In a surprising move, the D.C. Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday that the city must hold an election for the office of attorney general as soon as possible.

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Norton Nominee Receives Senate Confirmation for Federal Judgeship

Tanya Chutkan, an Eleanor Holmes Norton-recommended nominee for judge on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, received confirmation Wednesday from the U.S. Senate, becoming just the second black woman to serve on the court in 32 years.

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D.C. Political Roundup: Alexander Decides Against At-Large Bid

D.C. Council member Yvette Alexander (D-Ward 7) used her better judgment and has decided not to run as an independent at-large candidate in the upcoming general election, and her constituents agree that she made the right decision.

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Environmentalists Chide McDuffie, Gray for McMillan Park Plans

D.C. Council member Kenyan McDuffie (D-Ward 5) is being criticized by leaders of a group who wants the new McMillan Park project in Northwest to be an environmentally-friendly, historically-relevant entity.

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Construction Company Donates to D.C.-Area Charities

PC Construction, a national employee-owned company with a location in Arlington, Virginia, announced that it has donated $15,000 to three D.C. charities as part of its "Building Communities: PC Gives Back" campaign.

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'Arsenio' Cancelled after One Season

"The Arsenio Hall Show" has been canceled after one season due to low ratings.

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D.C. Council Members Support Bowser at Fundraiser

Hundreds of D.C. Democrats, including several members of the city council, attended a fundraiser Saturday at the Capitale in Northwest for D.C. Council member Muriel Bowser, the party's nominee for mayor.

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Jackson Praises Google for Releasing Equal-Employment Data

The Rev. Jesse Jackson said Internet search engine giant Google has done the right thing by releasing data of how many minorities and women it employs.

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NAACP Praises Initial 'Brother's Keeper' Report

The NAACP lauded the initial task force report for "My Brother's Keeper" — President Obama's initiative to help young black males succeed in America — as a sign that the program is on the right track.

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D.C. Council Passes Tax-Cutting Budget

The D.C. Council's tax-relief plan and budget for fiscal 2015 may leave many residents smiling — particularly at their lower income tax bills — but will undoubtedly chafe others who feel the wrath of sharp budget cuts.


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Gray Thanks Outgoing Economic Deputy Mayor for Service


D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray praised the work of Victor Hoskins, the outgoing deputy mayor for planning and economic development, for his tenure and his work to keep the city economically viable.

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Apple Buys Dr. Dre's Beats for $3B


Make room, Oprah — another black billionaire in the U.S. could be on the way.


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NAACP Legal Team Blasts Alabama Voting Rules

The NAACP Legal Defense Fund is protesting Alabama election rules that require voters without photo identification to either prove their identities or have election officials vouch for them.

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D.C. Political Roundup: 
Bowser Talks Election, Agenda to Ward 3 Democrats

D.C. Council member Muriel Bowser (Ward 4), the Democratic nominee for mayor, knows the campaign leading up to the November general election will be nothing less than acrimonious.

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Sharpton Backs Obama's HUD Nomination of Castro

The Rev. Al Sharpton's National Action Network complimented President Obama's nomination of Julian Castro to lead the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

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Gray Lauds Digital Animation Studio's Relocation to D.C.

D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray, who has long expressed his desire to attract entertainment companies to the city, got his wish Tuesday when a Los Angeles-based digital animation studio announced its relocation to the District.

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DC Vote Lauds Senators' Commitment to Redskins Name, Wants Same for Statehood

The executive director of an organization pushing for D.C. voting representatives in both houses of Congress lauded the 50 U.S. senators who want NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to remove the name Redskins from Washington's professional football franchise, but prodded those lawmakers to also commit to the issue of D.C. statehood.

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NAACP Praises New Mass. Voting Law

NAACP leaders enthusiastically backed Massachusetts' new law that allows voters to cast their ballots up to 11 days before Election Day in 2016 and lets 16- and 17-year-olds pre-register to vote.

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Mich. Rep. Conyers Back on Aug. 5 Ballot

Rep. John Conyers, a founder of the Congressional Black Caucus and longtime member of the U.S. House of Representatives, is now on the ballot for the Aug. 5 Democratic primary, U.S. District Judge Matthew Leitman ruled Friday.

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Cummings to Lead Democrats on Benghazi Committee

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi reluctantly appointed Wednesday five of her party members — including Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings — to a select committee to investigate what happened in the 2012 terrorist attack at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

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Wendell Scott, First Black NASCAR Driver, Posthumously Inducted into Hall of Fame

Wendell Scott, the late African-American race car legend who broke NASCAR's color barrier during the civil rights era, was posthumously inducted Wednesday into the racing association's Hall of Fame in Charlotte.

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D.C. Council to Appeal Court Ruling on Budget Autonomy

The D.C. Council said it will appeal the decision of U.S. District Court Judge Emmett Sullivan to invalidate the results of a April 2013 referendum that would grant budget autonomy to the District.

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D.C. Political Roundup: Lockridge, in a Surprise Move, Supports Pannell

Wanda Lockridge, the widow of the late William Lockridge and a former chairman of the D.C. Democratic State Committee, wants Philip Pannell, who at times she has had a contentious relationship with, to be the next Ward 8 District of Columbia State Board of Education member.

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Gray, Norton: Court Ruling on D.C. Budget Autonomy 'Bittersweet'

D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray and Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton technically defeated the D.C. Council and advocates of a 2013 budget referendum in federal court Monday — but they're far from happy about it.