Topeka JUMP maintains its goals with meeting held online

April 30, 2020. WIBW.

Though the coronavirus pandemic caused the Topeka Justice Unity and Ministry Project to hold its biggest meeting of the year online this week, rather than in person, group leaders say the organization is going strong, advocating for affordable housing, public transportation and a reduction in gun violence in the capital city.

The group’s Nehemiah Action meeting, which last year attracted a crowd of 1,200 people, took place online, with a number of local officials expressing their support for JUMP and its mission.

Topeka JUMP pushes for affordable housing

April 27, 2020. KSNT.COM

The Topeka Justice, Unity, and Ministry Project held its 2020 Nehemiah Action virtually on Monday evening. Affordable housing was a key topic on the agenda.

With the economic impact coronavirus is having on working families more demand is expected for affordable housing. The 2019 Topeka housing study found that renters need to earn at least $16 an hour to afford a decent two-bedroom apartment.

Fearing wave of evictions, advocates press Richmond City Council to up investment in affordable housing

April 27, 2020. Richmond Times-Dispatch.

In the middle of a pandemic many fear will cost families their homes, advocates on Monday pressed the Richmond City Council to steer more dollars to affordable housing for residents.

In normal times, Richmond landlords evicted tenants at the second-highest rate of any like-sized city in the country, Princeton University researchers found. Advocates expect that trend to worsen with jobless claims mounting and the COVID-19 crisis increasing the economic strain on families that were already just getting by.

“COVID-19 has turned Richmond’s eviction and affordable housing crisis into a public health calamity,” said Marty Wegbreit, an attorney with the Central Virginia Legal Aid Society.

“Human lives and dignity are at stake,” said Aubrey Jones, a board member of Richmonders Involved to Strengthen Our Communities, or RISC.

Why did Kansas officials threaten opponents of jail expansion with a $3 million bond?

April 3, 2020. The Kansas City Star Editorial Board.

Douglas County Commissioners want to expand the jail in Lawrence, and they apparently won’t let anything stand in their way — not even opposition from the public.

And if citizens dare protest, they’ll be threatened with a $3 million surety bond.

In January, the county’s board of commissioners voted to add 112 beds to the Douglas County Jail, which currently has a capacity of 186.

A month later, attorneys for Justice Matters, a Lawrence-based activist group, submitted legal arguments requesting that Douglas County officials place the $30 million jail expansion in front of voters. Kansas law spells out a process to allow for a petition and ultimately force a public vote on projects involving the issuance of general obligation bonds.

Commentary: North Charleston Police Department still needs a racial bias audit

March 31, 2020. The Post and Courier.

In his recent op-ed, North Charleston City Councilman Ron Brinson said the city’s police department had a “mind-numbing wake-up call” nearly five years ago after the murder of Walter Scott by then-Officer Michael Slager.

For many black residents, the killing of Walter Scott was not a wake-up call but rather another example of their continued lived experience. And had a video of the shooting been held a few days longer, we likely would have witnessed yet another police department declaring as justified the shooting of another black man.