Birmingham: Smiling man with short dark hair, beard, mustache in beige jacket, checked shirt in office with painting, bookcase behind him.

Birmingham Mayor Says Peace is Everyone’s Responsibility

Mayor Randall Woodfin says Birmingham is ready for peace.

With a call for communitywide investment, the mayor says it’s time for solutions — “not programs” — for a city long plagued by violence.

Federal Appeals Court to Hear Birmingham School Pepper Spray Case

A case that alleges chemical spray is overused in Birmingham, Ala., schools is headed to federal appeals court and will probably not re-emerge for at least a year. Attorneys for the school officials, resource officers and city police officers named as defendants have asked the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit to hear two questions. First, if the case go forward as a class action; and second, if they have any official immunity. If the court decides to hear the questions, no ruling is likely for at least a year, said Ebony Howard, an attorney with the Montgomery-based Southern Poverty Law Center. She is lead attorney representing six youths who say officers on campus sprayed them with a chemical called Freeze+P for minor school-based infractions, including in one case, uncontrollable crying over being bullied.

NAACP Blasts Mace in Birmingham Schools

The NAACP launched an online petition this week, inviting people to lend their names to a campaign to end the use of pepper spray on students in Birmingham, Al. public schools. “As long as we continue to treat students like criminals, they will grow up to become criminals,” said NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous, in a written statement. The NAACP argues that Mace and pepper spray may be legitimate parts of an adult or crowd policing strategy, but are not acceptable for use on school children. Birmingham’s public school population is overwhelmingly African-American.

Immigrant Voices: Young, Ambitious, Proud of the Nation and Illegal

Immigration is an explosive topic in this nation. It has deep implications for the economy and the social and cultural landscape of the country. It has and will continue to have a huge impact on politics, especially for the presidential election. We know all that, of course. Anyone who follows the news the least bit, knows that.

U.S. Immigration System is Broken, Says Latino Community Leader

The U.S. immigration system is broken and not in line with the nation’s values, said Jerry Gonzalez, executive director of the Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials (GALEO), at an event Wednesday night. GALEO is a nonprofit organization seeking to increase Latino civic engagement. “We need to have a workable system that moves us forward and upholds our values,” he said. Addressing a small crowd of mostly Latino students at Kennesaw State University near Atlanta, Gonzalez said a top priority should be keeping families together. Under the current immigration system “some families have to wait 20 years to be reunited,” he said.

Leonard Witt

Show Me Your Papers, It’s Not Kids Play, It’s UnAmerican

Martin Castro, chairman of the United States Commission on Civil Rights, while giving a talk recently in Lawrenceville, Ga., made a little joke. He said one in six Americans is a Latino — he paused and then added that the other five out of six Americans soon will be related to that one. He is correct. Your neighbors and co-workers today will likely become your in-laws tomorrow. Hence, I, and lots of others folks, would argue that any political group that angers the Latino community does so at its own peril.