Pairing leadership with justice: Is that so hard, Washington?

It was an example of leadership and justice. California Gov. Gavin Newsom, fresh off surviving a recall vote, was not laying low but standing in front of cameras, signing a bill that would return prime property in Manhattan Beach — known as Bruce’s Beach — to descendants of the Black couple who had been run off the land they owned close to a century ago.

It turns out the very white Manhattan Beach was not always that way; the transformation was not by coincidence, but by design.

“As governor of California, let me do what apparently Manhattan Beach is unwilling to do: I want to apologize to the Bruce family,” said Newsom, as reported in the Los Angeles Times. He then handed the signing pen to Anthony Bruce, whose great-great-grandparents, Willa and Charles Bruce, had once turned the lovely stretch along the water into a needed getaway for African Americans, complete with lodge, cafe and dance hall.

Newsom wasn’t standing alone, literally or otherwise. Behind stood activists with organizations such as Where Is My Land, co-founded by Kavon Ward and Ashanti Martin, who have worked hard and know that the meaning of the word “reparations,” so feared in some circles, is merely “the making of amends for a wrong one has done.”

‘The intrinsic value of whiteness’

The country’s history of redlining, racially restrictive covenants, zoning regulations and more has embedded racism in its housing policies. Simply put, Black communities have been devalued through these policies. Untangling that legacy has proved difficult, especially when some politicians have resisted progress. Mary C. Curtis sits down with Andre M. Perry, author of “Know Your Price: Valuing Black Lives and Property in America’s Black Cities,” to discuss how we got here, what the Biden administration is trying to change and what can be done to dismantle housing discrimination.

Reporters’ Roundtable

We’re at the Reporters’ Roundtable with a look at some of the top stories of the week.  On deck tonight… a pedestrian bridge collapse in dc,  President Biden announces a crack down crime and illegal guns.  Capitol Hill politics, voting rights, DC statehood, Loudoun County schools and an active NFL player comes out.

POLITICAL WRAP: President Biden to Meet with Russian President Putin

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Wednesday, President Biden will wrap up his first international trip as president, with a highly anticipated meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Sunday, Biden said he agrees with Putin that relations between the U.S. and Russia are at a “low point.”

Why do Black American women die having babies?

The United States has the highest — yes the highest — maternal mortality rates in the developed world. Black women are three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related issues than white women. That is in keeping with other sobering statistics of racial health inequities revealed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Mary C. Curtis sits down with Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith, President Biden’s pick to lead the task force on health equity. They discuss why Black people suffer disproportionately and what is being done to change the equation.

Mary C. Curtis: Businesses Struggling with Staff Shortages

CHARLOTTE, NC — As the economy opens back up businesses in our area and across the country are struggling to find help.

WCCB Political Contributor Mary C. Curtis talks about what’s leading to the shortage and if it will get better.

Righting economic wrongs of the past

Cecilia Rouse is the first Black woman to chair the Council of Economic Advisers, a White House think tank of sorts on economic policy. Yes, she has an impressive background — dean of the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs and a member of President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers.

But her mandate seems near impossible. She’s been charged by President Biden to steer the nation out of the economic wreckage from the pandemic with equitable policies for all races — all at a time when the Black community has been hit harder than most. Mary C. Curtis speaks one-on-one with Rouse.

POLITICAL WRAP: Biden Address to Joint Session of Congress Happening Wednesday

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Nearly 100 days after taking office, President Joe Biden is finally set to give his first formal address to a joint session of Congress.

Wednesday’s speech will give the President an opportunity to make the case for his $2 trillion infrastructure plan and other legislative priorities.

One Black life mattered, this time

Remember when three Black women proclaimed that Black Lives Matter? It was in 2013 after a jury found George Zimmerman not guilty in the fatal shooting of unarmed Black teen Trayvon Martin in Florida. It seemed so essential and overdue for Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi to found a movement to defiantly claim what America had too often denied.

Yet it was controversial. The willfully blind countered with “All Lives Matter,” as though saying that would make it so. Then, there were suggestions: “Don’t you think it would be less divisive if the signs read ‘Black Lives Matter, Too?’”

In all honesty, anyone who did not get it was not going to with the addition of one three-letter word. But then the world witnessed Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin press his knee on the neck of George Floyd for nine minutes and 29 seconds. That the doubters needed video evidence was infuriating, when Black and brown Americans had been bearing witness for hundreds of years. But communities craving visibility and justice welcomed the opened eyes and protests by all ages and races.

It was certainly never a sure thing that Chauvin would be found guilty on all murder and manslaughter charges, as he was. There was also video of the killings of Philando Castile in Minnesota in 2016 and Walter Scott in North Charleston, S.C., in 2015. Yet in Castile’s case, police officer Jeronimo Yanez was found not guilty. And in Scott’s case, after the first prosecution ended in a hung jury, it took a federal prosecution to gain a plea from former police officer Michael Slager — despite the evidence a brave citizen recorded of Slager shooting Scott in the back, taking aim while standing 15 to 20 feet away, and then throwing his Taser down to concoct a false story for his department to swallow and regurgitate as truth. (Another bit of mild relief this week as Slager’s 20-year sentence was upheld.)

No wonder so many were holding our collective breath.

Unique circumstances

The Chauvin Trial: A Black Issues Forum Special

A jury convicted ex-police officer Derek Chauvin of murder on three counts. A special panel weighs in on what this decision means for Black communities, policing, and the future of equal justice. Deborah Noel is joined by journalist Mary C. Curtis, UNC-CH scholar Erica Wilson, and community activist Greear Webb.