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Melvin B. Miller

Stories by Melvin B.

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A break with the past

John Henry petitions for name change of Yawkey Way

Petitions to change the name of a public way in Boston are usually perfunctory matters. According to a report in the Boston Globe there have been only six petitions since 2011. However, the petition initiated by John Henry, the principal owner of the Boston Red Sox, to change the name of Yawkey Way outside Fenway Park, has stimulated considerable controversy.

Another GOP move to undermine democracy

The problem with artificially reducing a state’s population today is that it will deprive the state of deserved federal funds. About $600 billion in federal spending is allocated according to population. Accurate census data determine who gets what benefits. That is an issue that does not rank very high on the Republican agenda.

Where’s the outrage?

Few protest slogans irritate whites more than “Black Lives Matter!” In the wake of numerous police shootings of unarmed blacks, this slogan is in defiance of the unlawful police assault on black men. How can whites assert that it is inappropriate?

Stuck in a hard place

Many citizens who are irate with the performance of Donald Trump as president have been calling for impeachment. However, under Article II, Section 4 of the Constitution, Trump would have to be convicted of treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors. Since the U.S. is not technically at war, the charge of treason cannot apply, so the case would have to be made against bribery and high crimes.

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A crisis of faith?

Holy Week has slipped by this year with little public notice or celebration. The days following Palm Sunday usually generate great solemnity among Christians as they prepare for Easter. The evangelicals are usually among the most ardent Christians, but publicity about the sexual rampages of Donald Trump seems to have stifled their open Christian ardor.

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Quality education key to Massachusetts success

Equal access to quality education is a civil rights issue, but the availability of well-educated citizens is critical for the economic prominence of the nation. It is time to reconsider some of the assumptions about public education in order to meet the needs of a more technologically complex economy.

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The complexities of cultural appropriation

The late Malik Abdal-Khallaq was a highly regarded member of the Roxbury community. According to his granddaughter, Alenor Larisa Abdal-Khallaq Williams, he had a great interest in the Nubian civilization and he travelled to Africa on several occasions to learn more. His identification with the Nubians induced him to name the business he founded in Dudley Square “A Nubian Notion.”

Snowstorms, city place burdens on residents

The recent snow storm raised the question once again of the rights and duties of those who live in the path of the nor’easter. Do those who shovel out the parking space at their expense, or with their exertion, have priority access? Are homeowners required to keep the sidewalk in front of their homes free of snow?

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A failure to protect minority leadership

Community residents are responsible for backing those whom they elect to public office. The failure to “get their back” renders them less effective. The lack of a public protest over the ouster of Carlos Henriquez has had unfortunate consequences. It was much easier for Mayor Marty Walsh to oust Felix Arroyo.

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Student protests can diminish the power of the NRA brand

All Americans will benefit from the establishment of reasonable firearms controls and the removal from society of the excessive number of guns. This is a worthwhile cause for the nation’s youth. Who knows what good can develop? An unanticipated boon from the Montgomery Bus Boycott was the emergence of Martin Luther King to become the most prominent leader of the Civil Rights Movement.

With racial inclusion, we all win

Is the primary purpose of Black History Month to provide an opportunity to applaud the achievements of black heroes, or does it stand for more than that? Is it also appropriate to extol the benefits of the successful elimination of racial discrimination in historically significant events? The answer to that question will determine whether the Boston Police recognition of Red Auerbach’s non-racial policy for the Boston Celtics complies with Black History Month protocol.

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A challenge to black voting power

Many American citizens were disturbed to learn that the Russians had infiltrated the last presidential election, and plans are underway to continue to disrupt the nation’s democratic process. The indictment of 13 Russians and three companies settled the assertion that stories over Russian meddling were “fake news.” The issue for African Americans is whether the vitiation of the black vote was also part of the plan.

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Different strategies for different times

The primary strategy has been to procure civil rights. Going forward, greater consideration should be given to entrepreneurial development.

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A dream deferred: Progress elusive on Parcel P3

Boston is rebuilding. Cranes are everywhere, but they are missing from the section of Roxbury where development has been long awaited. The ill-fated “Southwest Expressway” plan that was launched in Lower Roxbury in the 1960s has left an 8 acre parcel called P-3, stripped of houses and greenery. The undeveloped lot across from Ruggles Station seemed to be a desirable development site.

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An effort to cure a common malady

For years, every February is Black History Month in America. Indeed, not every state embraces with enthusiasm the annual dedication to the achievements of African Americans. Nonetheless, it is generally agreed that this celebration has become part of the nation’s culture. Every president since 1976 has designated February as Black History Month. With such a consistent commitment to improve interracial understanding, one wonders why racial conflict has not dissipated even more over the past 42 years.

Deceiver in chief

There have always been deceptive leaders, but who would have thought that so many Americans could be so gullible for so long?

A job well done!

State Senator Linda Dorcena Forry, the state’s highest ranking black elected official, is leaving the Legislature to take a job as a vice president at Suffolk Construction.

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Another national embarrassment

Trump’s derogatory description of African countries, Haiti and El Salvador is contradicted by the histories and high levels of educational attainment of the people hailing from those nations.

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Private enterprise approach imperils American health care

Every European nation has some form of universal health care for its citizens. This was not true of the United States until so-called Obamacare was enacted. However, it cannot be said that the ardent critics of the Affordable Care Act are simply driven by a spirit of inhumanity. One wonders what provokes the callous disregard in the United States for the welfare of fellow citizens.

A leadership vacuum

The Civil Rights Movement launched a number of black heroes who will be long remembered. Leading the list is Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., who demonstrated great courage as well as extraordinary diplomatic and political skills. Also well recognized during this period was Malcolm X. While both men had different philosophical perspectives, they nonetheless had much in common.

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The historical myth of white supremacy

Bigoted protesters at the pro-confederate rally in Charlottesville, Va. last September openly espoused support for the concept of white supremacy. They were equally disparaging of Jews. In support of racial and religious equality, fair minded Americans opposed the violence and bigotry of the Richmond protesters. However, there was no assertion that the concept of white supremacy is historically invalid.

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An executive approach to New Year’s resolutions

The best course is to start with a small list of improvements, be specific about the required conduct, and schedule regular periods to evaluate your progress. Everyone really knows what changes in performance will ultimately lead to success.

A threat to consumer protection

America is becoming a predatory nation. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau which was established with the effort of Sen. Elizabeth Warren provides the primary oversight for small investors and the working class. Donald Trump plans to vitiate the effectiveness of the bureau. Everyone must resolve to prevent that from happening.

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Blacks well-served by Boston hospitals

America suffers from the chronic malady of racial prejudice. Consequently, whenever African Americans are involved in unpleasantness or an incident of inequality, there is an assumption that racial discrimination is involved. The Boston Globe series on racism in Boston asserts that racial discrimination denies blacks adequate medical attention in Boston. However, the evidence in the article fails to establish that point of view persuasively.America suffers from the chronic malady of racial prejudice. Consequently, whenever African Americans are involved in unpleasantness or an incident of inequality, there is an assumption that racial discrimination is involved. The Boston Globe series on racism in Boston asserts that racial discrimination denies blacks adequate medical attention in Boston. However, the evidence in the article fails to establish that point of view persuasively.

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We can win together

Clearly, Democrats will be unable to win in many states without the full support of the black electorate. It is not enough to expect support at the polls by doing little more than running election ads. Blacks as well as whites have to be involved in a political process that is mutually beneficial.

Economic diversity is inevitable in Roxbury

It was just a matter of time before astute realtors would discover the beauty and convenient location of Roxbury. It is inevitable for Roxbury to become the home of economically as well as racially diverse residents. Those opposed to the change can protest, but they will be unable to prevent a natural process from occurring.

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The moral imperative of the Christmas season

It is easy for all but the devout to forget the message of Christmas. According to St. Luke (2:14) the heavenly host appeared to announce the birth of the Christ child and deliver the message that is often repeated at this time of year: “Peace on Earth, good will to men.”

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Facilitating consumer fraud

Trump administration working to undo consumer protections

Working-class Americans should be concerned that Trump and his cronies are unwilling to support an organization to protect consumers against being cheated in financial transactions.

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America is accustomed to war

After 16 years, U.S. still waging war in Afghanistan

Is America at war?

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Harmful blowback from white supremacy

The time for whites to fantasize about the white supremacy is long gone, and no effort will be able to resurrect it. The more significant issue is the common interests beyond race that affect everyone’s economic status. The privileged who deny everyone affordable health care and a livable minimum wage, among other interests, insist that out of white solidarity, white American citizens should support policies that are detrimental even to their own interests.

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Strategic voting builds power

If there is to be political cohesion among African Americans in the future, the establishment of standards of commitment to the community must be established. The alternative is everybody just going it alone.

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No compromise on freedom

Gen. John Kelly’s remarks on Civil War distort history

Gen. John Kelly has to understand that there can be no compromise on the fundamental issue of freedom.

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A losing strategy

America has waged a war on drugs since 1970 that has cost almost $1 trillion. The cost for law enforcement in 2015 was $36 billion. Another estimated $40 billion is spent each year for incarcerating persons convicted of drug related crimes. Together that totals $76 billion, not including the social cost of imprisoning a family’s bread winner.

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It’s time to forge political unity

The goal now for blacks must be to go to the polls on Tuesday, Nov. 7, and establish such a strong black vote that future politicians will be more reluctant to disrespect the interests of the community. Then win or lose in this election, the people will have begun to establish a political bloc of considerable value.

Much at stake in council races

It is likely that the four at-large Boston city councilors will all be re-elected. However, there is greater status for the councilor with the greatest number of votes. African American voters should be certain to vote for Ayanna Pressley. She deserves a strong turnout in order to become an even stronger voice on important issues.

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An American con job

Donald Trump’s demeanor and mendacity caused blacks to view him as a huckster. Only 9 percent of blacks who voted in the 2016 election voted for Trump. What will it take for the majority of the electorate to come to that awareness

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Blacks must fight to defend democratic rights

Arroyo and other department heads of Walsh’s administration are employees at will. The mayor has the right to fire them, even without cause. After an internal investigation which did not include cross examination of the complainant, Walsh decided to fire Arroyo. The hearing before the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination has not yet been held.

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Voters of color must flex political muscle

Much at stake in Nov. 7 election

Fortunately there are two competent candidates for mayor. Black voters have to begin to think strategically. It would be disastrous with the Trump attitudes so influencing public policy to have a powerless black and Latino electorate. Those not registered to vote should do so and go to the polls on Tuesday, Nov. 7.

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White supremacy: the oligarchic con-job

Thinking Americans should soon become tired of having their pockets picked by greedy oligarchs who keep them inflamed with racial antagonism. The people should remember how haughty peers in Europe oppressed their grandparents or others and they will see a similarity.

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An efficient government is essential

Former President Ronald Reagan endeared himself to conservatives with his belittling assessment of the role of government. He once stated, “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are ‘I'm from the government, and I'm here to help.’” After hurricanes Harvey and Irma, residents of Houston and Florida do not likely support that point of view. Very often the government is the only reliable refuge when natural or personal crises afflict U.S. citizens.

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Higher education now more necessary than ever

The cost of education is now so expensive that some have concluded that it makes economic sense to get a job right after high school. The problem with that conclusion is that by 2020, it is projected that 65 percent of available jobs will require postsecondary education.

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The poor are entitled to justice

With his peremptory pardon of Joe Arpaio, the former sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona, Donald Trump has demonstrated that the principle “no man is above the law” is a fraud.

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Slavery can’t be edited out of U.S. history

After the organized racist and anti-Semitic violence in Charlottesville, many Americans became aware for the first time of the dynamic influence of the Confederacy that initiated America’s Civil War. Reliable journalistic reports established that there are an estimated 1500 statues, monuments and plaques as tributes to those who were prominent figures in the Confederate states and the Civil War against the U.S. government.

A complex, universal problem

At the time of the Declaration of Independence in 1776, 41 of the 56 delegates owned slaves. As a consequence, it would be an obliteration of the nation’s history if there was a decision to remove any record of or memorial to a slave-holding Founding Father.

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White nationalism: an economic dead-end

The spirit of America rests in the credo of the Declaration of Independence. The white nationalists reject that standard. Americans who abide by the vision of national unity must be prepared to oppose those who bring nothing more than their racial and religious hate and hostility.

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Psychiatrists gone mute

Political opponents are often harshly critical of one another. It is not uncommon for one to assert that the policy proposals of the other are crazy. But with Donald Trump in the White House the criticism has become more personal. Some believe that Trump is psychologically deranged, but strangely enough competently trained psychiatrists are unwilling to speak openly on the matter.

And the children shall lead them ...

Teens with the Hyde Square Task Force have demonstrated to us all the advantage of vigilance and persistence.

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Trump power grab imperils democracy

The intrigue at the White House might seem to be beyond the concern of the average voter, but indeed it is not. There is definitely a move to expand the powers of the president beyond the normal limits of our democracy. Voters should not be indifferent about the ability of a president to oppress racial minorities more readily.

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A new concept of reparations

Unequal school funding, federally-sanctioned housing discrimination, false imprisonment, police abuse and other government-sanctioned policies make a more compelling case for reparations than slavery, a practice that became illegal in 1865.

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Trump and the Russians: An unholy alliance

Clearly, Trump’s connection with Russia is not philosophical. He has already demonstrated a willingness to desecrate a major economic principle of the presidency, that the office will operate for the benefit of the republic and not to increase the president’s wealth. But given Reagan’s legacy, why have conservatives also abandoned that principle?