• Politics
    The Daily Beast

    Why Joe Biden Should Pick One of These Two Black Women as His Vice President

    Now that Bernie Sanders has dropped out of the 2020 presidential race, the heat is on Joe Biden to select his running mate soon, so that he can generate some much needed media attention and fundraising in the middle of this global pandemic. In my opinion, as a black woman, Biden’s choice, without question, should be a black woman. Here is why: When Barack Obama secured the nomination for president of the United States of America in 2008, he chose the older, wiser, gray-haired, white male senior senator from Delaware, Joe Biden. Although Biden was not the exciting choice, he was the right choice for the young, black nominee. Obama was going to be the nation’s first black executive. He needed to reassure those nervous about history’s choice, that he would have someone “safe” and known to the public by his side.  Now, Biden needs to send the opposite signal: that it is time for America to trust a woman who represents the backbone of the Democratic Party with the vice presidency, one who is ready on day one, if need be, to serve as president.What Obama Saw in BidenThe entire history of America starts with white men of power owning everything, including slaves, running the government, owning the wealth, and calling all the shots.Then once that power was finally shared in the late 1860s after slavery, it was shared first with black men. Followed by white women, then finally, black women and women of color. It started with the 15th Amendment, approved by Congress on Feb. 26, 1869, and ratified Feb. 3, 1870, granting black men the right to vote. Not black women. And not white women.  The first blacks elected to Congress, during Reconstruction, were all men, of course. It was not until 1920 that white women got the right to vote, with the first white woman elected to the House of Representatives in 1916 and to the U.S. Senate in 1922. It was not until Shirley Chisholm’s election to the House in 1968 that a black woman served in Congress.Chisholm’s historic win came one year after the first non-white Supreme Court justice, Thurgood Marshall, joined the highest court in 1967. It wasn't until Sandra Day O’Connor reached the Supreme Court in 1981 that a woman served on the world’s most elite bench. Sonia Sotomayor became the first Latina justice in 2009. It is 2020 and no black woman has been nominated to the high court. It was Bill Clinton who appointed the first women to serve as secretary of state and attorney general. It took George W. Bush, a Republican, to appoint the first black secretary of state, Colin Powell, followed by Condoleezza Rice, a black woman. Biden Commits to Selecting Female VPJoe Biden now has a chance to buck history’s tide. Two white women have been nominated for vice president, Geraldine Ferraro in 1984 and Sarah Palin in 2008. If I were advising Biden strictly along electoral guidelines, I would tell him the governor of Michigan, Gretchen Whitmer, or Sen. Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin would make great choices. They both would likely bring key electoral states that Trump carried in 2016 into his column on Election Day.But Sen. Kamala Harris, who wouldn’t get him anything electorally, would deliver something Biden must have in 2020: the intense and energized black vote that eluded Hillary Clinton in 2016. She is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. (which is also my sorority and we have a powerful army of more than 300,000 members worldwide to help her raise money and be foot soldiers on the ground). Another strong choice electorally and along color lines is Florida Rep. Val Demings, who served as a House impeachment manager during the Trump impeachment. She too could produce that excitement, and help Biden compete for Florida, a state that Trump can’t afford to lose. Some may ask why I don’t include Stacey Abrams here. One big reason: She has not been vetted nationally by a nosy, aggressive and often rough national press corps. Harris, Demings, and other possible candidates mentioned are federal office holders. They have been vetted. Biden has made clear he wants no hiccups or surprises. And a 43-year-old woman of color, who currently holds no public office and lost her only statewide race, would be a big leap for the country to accept as someone ready for the presidency on day one. In 2016, Hillary Clinton was ahead in the national polls, and yet she did not turn out the Obama coalition in sufficient numbers in part because black turnout in key states like Michigan and Pennsylvania wasn’t strong enough. Biden, who has pledged to nominate a woman as his running mate and a black woman as a justice, knows there is no path to the White House for a Democrat without strong black turnout. He needs a black woman as his running mate. Why? Because black women are the core of the Democratic base, the party’s most loyal voters. And as Harris made clear in her final debate performance this year, the Democratic Party must stop taking black women voters for granted. Whether it’s Harris or Demings, Biden needs a smart, strong, loyal, and tough sister by his side. It is the Obama 2008 ticket in reverse. Only this time Biden will be at the top, and he has a chance to change history’s trajectory by putting a tested and trusted black woman in his No. 2 slot—thus setting her up for the best shot a woman has ever had of becoming president in either 2024 if Biden does not run again or in 2028 after two terms.  Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.

  • Celebrity
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  • U.S.
    The New York Times

    86-Year-Old Is Killed in ER Over Social Distancing

    NEW YORK -- One Saturday afternoon in late March, as the coronavirus pandemic flooded hospitals across New York City with desperately ill people, an 86-year-old lost her bearings and started wandering the emergency room at Woodhull Medical and Mental Health Center in Brooklyn.The woman, Janie Marshall, who had dementia, grabbed onto another patient's IV pole to regain her balance and orient herself, police said.The patient, Cassandra Lundy, 32, had apparently become irate that Marshall had broken the 6 feet of personal space recommended to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus, law enforcement officials said. Lundy shoved the older woman, knocking her to the floor. Marshall struck her head and died three hours later.Marshall's death underscored how hospital officials are struggling to keep order in health care facilities overrun by the pandemic, as crowding generates a new level of fear and anxiety.Initially, hospital officials handed Lundy a summons for disorderly conduct. But a week later, after the medical examiner ruled Marshall's death a homicide, police charged Lundy with manslaughter and assault."How do you put your hands on a 86-year-old woman?" said Marshall's grandniece, Antoinette Leonard Jean Charles, 41, a medical student in Tennessee. "I also understand the fear level of every person in New York has. There is a notion of every man for themselves. But attacking an elderly person? That went too far."A spokesman for Brooklyn Defender Services, which is representing Lundy, declined to comment.New York officials imposed social-distancing rules -- maintaining space between people to stop the spread of the highly contagious coronavirus virus -- in mid-March, shortly after the metropolis became the epicenter of the outbreak in the United States. The virus has claimed the lives of thousands of New Yorkers in a little more than a month.In a statement, Woodhull hospital officials said they were cooperating with investigators."We are terribly saddened by this death," the hospital said in a statement. "We are committed to ensuring a safe, health-focused environment in these very demanding times so our heroic health care workers can continue to deliver the quality, compassionate care New Yorkers need more than ever."The events that led to Marshall's death began March 27, when she told her niece she had a piercing stomachache. The niece, Eleanor Leonard, 72, called an ambulance, which took Marshall to Woodhull, where she had been treated for similar symptoms earlier in the week.In the crowded emergency room, Marshall was diagnosed with a blocked bowel, and doctors said they would admit her, Leonard said.But the hospital, in an effort to limit the spread of the coronavirus, did not allow Leonard or other family members to stay with her in the emergency room. Leonard said she could do nothing but wait by the phone for updates.The next day about 2 p.m., Marshall, disoriented, began walking around the emergency room, police said. She crossed paths with Lundy, and the women -- both from Brooklyn -- got into an argument before the younger woman pushed her to the ground.Marshall hit her head on the floor, lost consciousness and died hours later, investigators said. Lundy told detectives she had shoved Marshall because she "got into the defendant's space," according to a criminal complaint. The attack was captured on surveillance video, the complaint said.Unaware of Marshall's injury, Leonard kept calling the hospital that day. She finally reached someone shortly after 5 p.m. who told her that Marshall was with a nurse receiving medical care."I thought, 'That's great. She's being tended to,' " Leonard recalled. "I didn't know she was dead already."Leonard went to sleep feeling hopeful. Her phone rang at 3:30 the next morning. A doctor told her that Marshall had gone into cardiac arrest. "Are you telling me she's dead?" Leonard recalled saying. "What happened?"Leonard said she went to the hospital later that morning but after several hours of waiting was sent home without an explanation."We thought it was weird, cardiac arrest?" Jean Charles, the grandniece, said. "She had gone in for something completely different. She suffered from dementia, bowel blockage, not heart problems that we knew of."Then a cousin on Long Island called Leonard with troubling news. He had seen a news report online. "Did you know your aunt was murdered?" the cousin asked.Leonard then searched her aunt's name on Google and saw news accounts. "I was so stunned," she said. "It just tore at my gut that something like this would happen."Leonard wonders why hospital officials did not inform her about the incident when it happened. "I understand we are in the middle of a pandemic," she said, "but to say nothing?"Lundy has previous arrests, including charges of drug possession in 2018 and 2019, according to court records. It remained unclear why she had visited the hospital that night.Marshall was born in Abbeville, South Carolina, in 1934, the youngest of 12 children. Her parents died when she was young, and she followed some of her siblings to New York City, settling in Williamsburg, family members said."She arrived with big dreams and wide eyes, ready to take on the world," Jean Charles said.She became a successful accountant at a time when few black women practiced the profession, eventually working for the Social Security Administration and earning a bachelor's degree from Queens College. She never married or had children, but she was a role model to her numerous nieces and nephews, her relatives said."We don't want to remember her as a victim," Jean Charles said. "She always told us, there is no shame in being the first African American in any field. She was a leader."As it has become customary during the coronavirus pandemic, Marshall's relatives and members of her church, Concord Baptist Church of Christ in Brooklyn, were planning to attend a virtual funeral service Tuesday to abide by social-distancing rules, her family said.Leonard said she planned to ride in a limousine by herself to Pinelawn Memorial Park on Long Island and bid her one last farewell from inside the vehicle."We want to obey social-distancing rules, and yet she died because of these social-distancing rules," Jean-Charles said. "It's ironic in a very sad way."This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2020 The New York Times Company

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