Vol. 12    No. 1
January 5, 2017
Reflections/Jonathan Gramling
                                                What Do We Do Now?
Community Voices Reflect on
the 2017 Civil Rights Agenda:
Civil Rights Issues and
Actions in the Trump Era
*Dr. Eva Vivian: The Future of
*Nia Trammell: Thoughts on the
2016 Election
*Art Shegonee: A New People
*Bishop Harold Rayford: Let’s
Make History… Together
*Dr. Patty Loew: Civil Rights,
Human Rights, Dreams and
*Dr. Gloria Ladson-Billings:
“What Good Is Marching?
*Paul H. Kusuda: New Year
2017: What’s Ahead?
*Gregory Jones: The Fight for
Civil Rights
*Brandi Grayson How Trump
became President and How We
*Norman Davis: Civil Rights and
Actions in the Next Era
*Sheri Carter: Civil Rights Issues
and Actions in the Trump Era
*Salvador Carranza: A Forgotten
Civil Rights History
*Samba Baldeh: Civil Rights Issues
in the Trump Era
*Dr. Ruben Anthony Jr. : Looking

King Holiday Observance
Presented by the King Coalition
and the City of Madison and
Dane County
Civil Rights Issues and Actions
in the Trump Era
Before I get started with my column for this issue, let me first profusely thank the 14 community members who took time out of their hectic
schedules to write an essay with “Civil Rights Issues and Actions in the Trump Era.” This string of essays winds throughout the paper. Each of
them brings and interesting and unique perspective to bear. I was moved and given hope by reading them. While the thought of reading 14
essays may be daunting, it will be well worth your time to read them. They give us all food for thought and inspiration to get through the trying
times ahead.


One of my favorite movies of all time is The Verdict starring Paul Newman as a down-on-his-luck, ambulance-chasing lawyer who fell from
grace because he didn’t want to be corrupted by the system. His last hope at redemption comes in the form of a lawsuit against the major
hospital in Boston owned by the Catholic Church where a woman was improperly anesthetized and lay in a coma brain dead. In essence,
Newman must fight all of the powers-that-be in Boston and although there was negligence on the part of the doctor and hospital, one by one, the
pieces of evidence that prove his case are taken away by “the system” until he is left with no evidence and must somehow plead his case to
the jury.

And Newman gives a wonderful closing argument where he talks about the belief in justice. Even when everything is stacked against you,
when the system is rigged against you, you still have to believe in justice, that there is a higher power and a higher sense of justice that the
system cannot eliminate no matter how hard it tries. We must believe in justice.

And in the end, Newman’s client is awarded a large settlement by the jury. Justice prevailed.

And so, I can’t help but think of this movie, The Verdict, as the pending swearing in of Donald Trump as the 45th president of the United States
on January 20th.

Trump is appointing cabinet secretaries who practically own the system. He will be a xenophobic Republican president supported by
conservative Republican majorities in the House and the Senate and as soon as nominates someone to fill the vacant Supreme Court position,
he will have a conservative Supreme Court that will validate the draconian measures that he is about to propose  including possible
discriminatory actions against Muslims and immigrants.

And then these draconian federal policies will be bolstered by a conservative Wisconsin Republican governor backed up by conservative
Republican majorities in the Assembly and the State Senate whose policies are approved by a conservative State Supreme Court.

And somehow I have to believe that justice will prevail, that there is a compassionate God out there who will have mercy on the powerless. I
have to believe that those in power are not immune from the “best laid plans of mice and men” syndrome where even the best plans are
somehow derailed by fate or powers beyond our control.

I have to remember the harsh conditions that the Africans who were slaves lived under and although the system held all of the cards, and yet
they rose. These upcoming days shall pass and justice will prevail.