Steny H. Hoyer

Marc Morial

Marion Wright Edelman

 


Maryland Congressional Delegation Urges Governor Hogan to Take Necessary Steps to Secure State Election Security

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Congressman Steny H. Hoyer (MD-05) today joined Senators Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), along with Congressmen John Sarbanes (MD-03), Elijah E. Cummings (MD-07), C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger (MD-02), John Delaney (MD-06), Anthony Brown (MD-04) and Jamie Raskin (MD-08), in sending a letter to Governor Larry Hogan, pressing him to allocate the required state matching funds to improve Maryland’s election infrastructure ahead of the 2018 midterms.

“As you know, the Maryland State election system was the target of an attempted intrusion by hostile actors during the 2016 election,” the Members wrote. “While there is no indication the perpetrators were successful in breaching the state election network, federal officials have made clear they expect continued assaults on our election infrastructure in 2018 and beyond. In response, we in Congress have acted swiftly to better understand the threat and to appropriate the resources needed to harden our election systems.”

The Members continued:”With the 2018 midterm elections fast approaching, we hope you work quickly and collaboratively with the Maryland State Board of Elections to ensure Maryland has access to this critical federal funding.”

The Members requested a response from Governor Hogan by April 20, 2018.

Full text of the letter follows.

April 9, 2018

The Hon. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. Governor

State of Maryland

100 State Circle

Annapolis, Maryland

Dear Governor Hogan:

We write to encourage you to quickly take the necessary steps to access the $7,063,699 in federal resources recently made available to the Maryland State Board of Elections by Congress for the purposes of enhancing election technology and instituting election security improvements.

As you know, the Maryland State election system was the target of an attempted intrusion by hostile actors during the 2016 election.[1] While there is no indication the perpetrators were successful in breaching the state election network, federal officials have made clear they expect continued assaults on our election infrastructure in 2018 and beyond.[2] In response, we in Congress have acted swiftly to better understand the threat[3] and to appropriate the resources needed to harden our election systems.[4]

Specifically, Congress—as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018 (P.L. 115-141) - directed an additional $380,000,000 in Election Security Grant funds to be dispersed to state election officials immediately. Maryland is entitled to receive $7,063,699 based on the grant formula. To access these funds, Maryland is obligated to allocate a modest 5 percent state-provided match—or $353,185—to be provided within two years of receiving the federal funds. We urge you to dedicate the requisite state matching funds promptly.

The federal funds must be deployed for purposes of election security and are to be used consistent with the requirements of Title III of the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (P.L. 107-252) (HAVA). As you know, the State Administrator of Elections is responsible for the deployment of HAVA funds. Recognizing that the State Administration ultimately has the clearest insight into the election-related security needs, we are hopeful these funds be used for the following much needed security upgrades and investments to the Maryland State election system:

• Creation of Chief Information Security Office for the Maryland State Board of Elections to oversee all cybersecurity efforts, liaise with appropriate officials to monitor and respond to credible threats and to maintain information security and technology for the Maryland State Board of Elections;

• Implementation of comprehensive post-election audit and recovery systems;

• Expansion of two-step security verification for all state and local election systems; and

• Comprehensive best practices and ongoing security training for state and local election officials to harden election system defenses.

We are confident that the State Administrator will, as she has done with prior HAVA funding, create a short-term and long-term plan to prioritize the needs of the State to enhance election technology and institute election security improvements.

With the 2018 midterm elections fast approaching, we hope you work quickly and collaboratively with the Maryland State Board of Elections to ensure Maryland has access to this critical federal funding. To that end, we request a response from your office by April 20, 2018 detailing the State’s plan to allocate the required matching funds.

We appreciate your attention to this matter.

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10,000 Small Businesses Has Potential to Close the Racial Wealth Gap

“Investing to support the launch and growth of Black-owned businesses could build wealth for individuals and their families, assist with closing the wealth gap, revitalize communities, and contribute to an overall healthier economy, which benefits us all. To do so, thoughtful and innovative approaches are required to overcome the exponential effects of the interplay among the wealth gap, the credit gap, and the trust gap. While challenging, this is worth striving for so that we can move one step closer to an inclusive economy.”
—Association of Entperprise Opportunity,
“The Tapestry of Black Business Ownership In America”

 

Applications Are Being Accepted for Goldman Sachs Entrepreneurship Program through Babson College

If every Black-owned business with employees added two Black workers and 15% of those with no employees hired just one Black worker, the racial unemployment gap in the United States would be virtually eliminated.

A recent study on Black entrepreneurship concluded that Black-owned businesses could be a key to closing the racial wealth gap. While white adults have 13 times the wealth of Black adults, the gap between white and Black business owners is only three to one. The median net worth for Black business owners is 12 times higher than Black nonbusiness owners.

That’s why supporting and nurturing small business growth is one of the National Urban League’s top priorities, and Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses is one of our most important partnerships. Through greater access to education, capital and business support services, 10,000 Small Businesses graduates are able to grow their revenues and create jobs at rates that outperform the economy in general.

In 2016, 47 percent of businesses grew their revenues. But 30 months after graduation, nearly 78 percent of 10,000 Small Businesses alumni increased revenues. About 25 percent of businesses added jobs. But, at 30 months, more than 56 percent of 10,000 Small Businesses alumni created jobs.

In this 50th anniversary year of examining racial progress since the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., the enormous role of Black-owned businesses in the Civil Rights Movement cannot be overstated. As Boston University historian Louis Ferleger notes, the success of the Montgomery bus boycott depended upon Montgomery’s 18 black-owned taxi companies, operating more than 200 cabs.

“Histories of the civil rights movement that emphasize the glory and successes of charismatic leaders only tell part of the story,” Ferleger writes. “Small Black-owned businesses were critical because they were empowered to engage in civic participation. These businesses were uniquely situated to support the civil rights movement and also parted the waters.”

Today’s Black entrepreneurs, supported and empowered by partnerships like 10,000 Small Businesses, are a continuation of that civil rights legacy.

About 700 of the more than 7,200 graduates of the program have received their training through the Babson College cohort - a blended online and face-to-face program that delivers intensive entrepreneurship training and practical training from Babson’s business experts and peers, alongside educational teams who teach the 10,000 Small Businesses program at community colleges across the country.

For 11 weeks, these small business owners connect with peers and work together through practical business education delivered through a blend of online and in-person sessions.

To apply for the 10,000 Small Businesses business and management education program, please visit www.10KSBapply.com.

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Remembering Dr. King

I first heard Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. speak in person on April 19, 1960 at Spelman College’s Sisters Chapel during my senior year in college. Dr. King was just 31 but he had already gained a national reputation during the successful Montgomery Bus Boycott five years earlier. The profound impact on me of hearing Dr. King that first time is evident in my diary where I repeated long portions of his speech that had vibrated the chords of my freedom- and justice-hungry soul. It is not often that great leaders and great turning points in history converge and sweep us up in a movement.

Dr. King became a mentor and friend. Many children today have come to see him as a history book hero—a larger-than-life, mythical figure. But it’s crucial for them to understand Dr. King wasn’t a superhuman with magical powers, but a real person—just like all the other ministers, parents, teachers, neighbors, and other familiar adults in their lives today. Although I do remember him as a great leader and a hero, I also remember him as someone able to admit how often he was afraid and unsure about his next step. But faith prevailed over fear, uncertainty, fatigue, and sometimes depression. It was his human vulnerability and ability to rise above it that I most remember. “If I Can Help Somebody Along the Way” was his favorite song.

Dr. King’s greatness lay in his willingness to struggle to hear and see the truth; to not give into fear, uncertainty and despair; to continue to grow and to never lose hope, despite every discouragement from his government and even his closest friends and advisers. He would say: “Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” That first time I heard him at Spelman he told us to always keep going: “If you cannot fly, run; if you cannot run, walk; if you cannot walk, crawl. But keep moving. Keep moving forward.”

Ten years ago I wrote a letter to Dr. King in my book The Sea Is So Wide and My Boat Is So Small: Charting a Course for the Next Generation. I rewrite just a small part of it here:

Although you have been gone fifty years, you are with me every day. We have made much but far from enough progress in overcoming the tenacious national demons of racism, poverty, materialism, and militarism you repeatedly warned could destroy America and all of God’s creation. So I wanted to write you a letter on what we have done and still have to do to realize your and America’s dream. What a privilege it was to know, work with, and learn from you in the struggle to end racial segregation, discrimination, and poverty in our land.

Just as many Old and New Testament prophets in the Bible were rejected, scorned, and dishonored in their own land in their times, so were you by many when you walked among us. Now that you are dead, many Americans remember you warmly but have sanitized and trivialized your message and life. They remember Dr. King the great orator but not Dr. King the disturber of unjust peace. They applaud the Dr. King who opposed violence but not the Dr. King who called for massive nonviolent demonstrations to end war and poverty in our national and world house.

They applaud your great 1963 “I Have a Dream” speech but ignore the promissory note still bouncing at America’s bank of justice, waiting to be cashed by millions who are poor and non-White. And they forget your repeated nightmares: the deaths of the four little girls in the Birmingham church and of three young civil rights workers in Mississippi’s Freedom Summer and others across the South; the cries for Black Power begun during James Meredith’s March Against Fear that you and others completed after he was shot; the growing violence in urban ghettos in southern and northern cities; the horrible, relentless violations of your human rights by FBI director J. Edgar Hoover; the storm of criticism that greeted your opposition to the Vietnam War, which you saw was stealing the hopes and lives of the poor at home and in that poor country; the outbreak of violence in a Memphis march you led in support of garbage workers; and the resistance to your call for a Poor People’s Campaign to end the poverty then afflicting 25.4 million Americans, including 11 million children. We now have more than 40 million people who are poor in America including more than 13.2 million children although our gross domestic product (GDP) is more than three times larger than in 1968. And the income gap between rich and poor in the United States continues at historically high levels and higher than in every other wealthy industrialized nation.

But you struggled on as the civil rights leadership splintered, as White Americans tired of Black demands, and as the country became preoccupied with Vietnam. I marveled every night during the long Meredith March from Memphis to Jackson at your patient discussions with Stokely Carmichael and Willie Ricks and other SNCC leaders who wanted to exclude Whites from the movement and push you to endorse all necessary means for change, including violence. You listened as they vented their justified frustrations about the slow pace of racial progress and you tried to reason with them, repudiating their proposed “Black Power” slogan and strategies without repudiating them. You taught me and others of your followers how to parse out the good from the not so good, and to always seek common ground. And when you had no immediate solution you gave others the courtesy of a respectful hearing.

In the years between Montgomery and Memphis, you listened, learned, grew, and spoke the truth about what you discerned, and resisted those who sought to ghettoize your concern for social justice and peace. After your opposition to the Vietnam War provoked a firestorm of criticism by Whites, Blacks, friends, and foes, you correctly asserted that “nothing in the commandments you believed in set any national boundaries around the neighbors you were called to love.” Black people told you to be quiet, not anger President Johnson and jeopardize his support for civil rights and antipoverty efforts. White people told you to be quiet because you were not an expert on foreign policy, as if Black leaders and citizens had no stake in a war tearing our nation apart and taking disproportionate numbers of Black children’s lives, forgetting it was the “experts” that got us into this ill-fated war in the first place. Some contributors deserted you as you called not only for an end to the Vietnam War but for a fairer distribution of our country’s vast resources between the rich and the poor. Why, they asked, were you pushing the nation to do more on the tail of the greatest civil rights strides ever and challenging a president who already had declared a war on poverty? You understood that our nation’s ills went deeper …

You blessed America with your rich faith, spiritual traditions, and prophetic preaching. You gave us your deep and abiding love and lifelong commitment to nonviolence. You shared your moral clarity and courageous truth telling. You left us your unrelenting commitment to justice for the poor and every one of God’s children. You showed us the way through your example and call for massive nonviolent action in the service of justice and peace. And you gave us your life.

Thank you. We will carry on.

 

Marian Wright Edelman is President of the Children’s Defense Fund whose Leave No Child Behind® mission is to ensure every child a Healthy Start, a Head Start, a Fair Start, a Safe Start and a Moral Start in life and successful passage to adulthood with the help of caring families and communities. For more information go to www.childrensdefense.org.

Mrs. Edelman’s Child Watch Column also appears each week on The Huffington Post.

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