When will Congress call domestic terrorism by its name?

I can’t imagine how Garnell Whitfield Jr. did it, how he appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee to demand some sort of action from the country’s leaders on gun violence and on the domestic terrorism wrought by white supremacy. But as I was riveted by his testimony, I realized the strength and courage he must have drawn from the memory of the mother he will never stop grieving.

Ruth Whitfield, at 86, was the oldest victim in a shooting at a Buffalo supermarket that left 10 people, all African Americans, dead. It was May 14, not even a month ago. Yet there have been so many shootings since, it sometimes seems as if the rest of the world has forgotten. An 18-year-old white man is accused of carrying out the racist attack, accused of driving hours to hunt and murder as many Black people as possible.

“I would ask every senator to imagine the faces of your mothers as you look at the face of my mother, Mrs. Ruth Whitfield,” Garnell Whitfield testified on Tuesday.

Would they be able to do that?

“Ask yourself,” he said, “is there nothing we can do?”

The track record isn’t great.

I’m not sure what Whitfield was expecting from lawmakers who have a hard time even naming what happened. How, then, could they put themselves in his shoes?

Garnell Whitfield is far ahead of our elected representatives, many of whom want, have always wanted, to distract and downplay, to accuse others of bad intentions, to look everywhere but into the eyes and the broken heart of a man whose life has been forever changed.

Whitfield’s plainspoken speech must have startled those reluctant to call out “domestic terrorism” and “white supremacy” for the dangers they are, despite the warnings from FBI Director Christopher Wray’s March 2021 testimony before the same committee about the connection between the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol and right-wing “domestic terrorism.”

They would rather, as Republicans such as Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas have done and continue to do, point to acts of violence by those on the left and accuse Democrats of using any effort to counter domestic threats as an excuse to go after political opponents.

Equal Time: Why universal pre-K may help stem crime

 

As Congress deliberates this week on what should be included in the reconciliation bill, child care and specifically universal pre-K is being debated. Educators, parents and doctors have long advocated for pre-K. Another group has added its voice to the chorus: law enforcement.

Mary C. Curtis sits down with Sheriff Vernon Stanforth, the president of the National Sheriffs’ Association, to discuss how early education helps develop life skills.

Explaining reconciliation and the social issues at stake, with Mary C. Curtis

Congress will be back in earnest next week with a lot on the to-do list, including two infrastructure bills.

The first, a bipartisan, Senate-passed infrastructure package, would spend billions of dollars to improve roads, bridges, waterways — but it’s yet to be passed by the House. And then there’s the partisan “human” infrastructure bill that would provide sweeping funds for President Joe Biden’s social agenda, including subsidies for child care, education, paid leave, health care, clean energy programs and more.

Democrats’ only chance at passing such a bold measure without GOP support? A process called budget reconciliation.

Mary C. Curtis, Roll Call columnist and host of the Equal Time podcast, sat down with Norm Ornstein, senior fellow emeritus at the American Enterprise Institute, to better understand reconciliation. She also talked with Democratic National Committee Chairman Jaime Harrison to understand more about what’s at stake for the party with the bold social priorities.

POLITICAL WRAP: Biden Address to Joint Session of Congress Happening Wednesday

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Nearly 100 days after taking office, President Joe Biden is finally set to give his first formal address to a joint session of Congress.

Wednesday’s speech will give the President an opportunity to make the case for his $2 trillion infrastructure plan and other legislative priorities.

Mary C. Curtis: What’s Included in the COVID Relief Bill

CHARLOTTE, NC — Congress is on the verge of passing the one point nine trillion dollar COVID-19 relief bill.

The historic legislation proposes to give relief to millions of Americans affected during the year long pandemic.

So what’s in the bill and how will it affect you? WCCB Political Contributor Mary C. Curtis breaks it all down.

You can catch Mary C. Curtis on Sunday nights at 6:30 PM on WCCB Charlotte’s CW discussing the biggest issues in local and national politics and also giving us a look at what’s ahead for the week.

‘If racism is a lie, how has it been sustained, institutionalized and structured in America?’

Racial equity is front and center for the Biden administration. That said, how does the nation begin to dismantle centuries of ingrained policies?

Mary C. Curtis talks to award-winning social change agent Dr. Gail C. Christopher in this episode. Christopher has some compelling ideas and is working with Congress to try to change policies that enable racism and inequity to flourish, and transform a belief system that values some lives over others.

POLITICAL WRAP: Stimulus on Hold as President Trump Pushes for $2,000 Checks

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The stimulus bill remains unsigned as President Trump digs in on his demand to increase direct payments to Americans.

“I am asking Congress to amend this bill and increase the ridiculously low $600 dollars to $2,000 dollars or $4,000 dollars for a couple. I’m also asking Congress to immediately get rid of the wasteful and unnecessary items from this legislation,” the President said last week.

Mary C. Curtis: Differences Between Democrat and GOP Stimulus Bills

CHARLOTTE, NC — Lawmakers are debating the next round of coronavirus relief to help struggling Americans.

The senate republicans $1 trillion dollar proposal was released Monday, but how does it differ from what the democrats are seeking.

Here’s our political contributor Mary C. Curtis with a look at the key differences.

Mary C. Curtis: Calls for Police Reform

CHARLOTTE, NC — Calls for police reform continue to grow in the wake of George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis two weeks ago.

WCCB political contributor Mary C. Curtis discusses the changes happening on the local level and across the country.

Mary C. Curtis: President Trump Threatens to Pull WHO Funding

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — President Trump is threatening to permanently pull funding from The World Health Organization because of its early response to the coronavirus crisis. The president says the organization needs to “commit to substantive improvements in the next 30 days.” In a letter to the WHO Director-General, Trump says the organization’s mishandling of the pandemic has been costly for the world. Last month, Trump temporarily halted funding to the agency.

WCCB Political Contributor, Mary C. Curtis is breaking down President Trump’s latest criticism of WHO and the potential impacts of cutting funding.