Additional relocation meetings for displaced Shreveport residents

May 22, 2024
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by Madison Beam, KTBS 3

SHREVEPORT, La. – It’s a story KTBS 3 has been covering for weeks, water is to be shut off at the end of the month at the Pines, Villa Norte, and The Jolie apartments due to unpaid water bills, leaving hundreds of residents in search of a new home.

Recently the city scheduled additional meetings for relocation assistance.

Many residents came for relocation help with 9 days left to move out, leaving many still desperate for help.

“I recommend nobody will have to ever, ever live like this. You know, do the things that we’re going through. We are trying to do better. We just in a situation to what we cannot do better right now. We all have a cry right now for help,” said Tracey Collins, resident of The Jolie Apartments.

Around 60 people showed up to Friday’s relocation meetings, 30 of them have found new homes.

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City, Power Coalition and Providence House offer support to displaced residents of 3 apartment complexes

May 22, 2024
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Jasmine Franklin, KSLA 12

SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) — Displaced residents of three Shreveport apartment complexes met with city officials during emergency relocation assistance meetings Tuesday (May 21) evening.

In just 10 days, water service will be discontinued at The Jolie, Villa Norte and Pines apartments. That has hundreds of residents searching for a place to live.

“We’re asking for help. We’re needing help tremendously right now. We’re needing help bad,” said Tracey Collins, a resident of The Jolie Apartments.

Dozens of Shreveport families are searching for a new place to call home after receiving notice that their utilities would be disconnected at the end of the month. 

“So now I have no air in my apartment unit; I have no running water in my apartment unit,” Collins said.

But for some residents at The Jolie, they were given no notice and already are experiencing utility shutoffs.

“I have four kids in my apartment that are in heat. My thermostat is on 81º,” Collins said. “I have no running water. I have to get out and Doordash every day to make sure I can get enough water to flush.”

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Residents look forward to more comfortable living conditions after forced moves

May 22, 2024
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by Ya'Lisha Gatewood, KTAL 6

SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) – An emergency program has been announced to assist residents who will be displaced when utilities are cut off at two apartment complexes in Shreveport.

On May 15, the City of Shreveport announced an Emergency Apartment Relocation Assistance Program for the residents of two apartments, Jolie and Villa Norte. The program has been introduced following the announcement that utilities will be cut off at both apartment complexes on May 31 due to unpaid bills.

Multiple apartment complexes will soon have their water turned off due to lack of payments.

The program aims to provide necessary aid and resources to support the residents.

Both meetings regarding the program will be held on May 17.

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Supreme Court, for Now, Allows Louisiana Voting Map to Move Forward

May 16, 2024
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Abbie VanSickle, The New York Times

The Supreme Court on Wednesday temporarily reinstated a congressional map in Louisiana that includes a second majority-Black district, increasing the likelihood that Democrats could gain a House seat from the state in the November election.

The move could be particularly significant in an election cycle in which the balance of power in the House is likely to be determined by a handful of races.

The order was unsigned, as is the Supreme Court’s custom in ruling on emergency applications. It came in response to a challenge to a lower-court decision that had blocked the map drawn by Louisiana’s Republican-controlled Legislature, deeming it a racial gerrymander.

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Supreme Court allows Louisiana to use congressional map with second majority-Black district

May 15, 2024
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Lawrence Hurley, NBC News

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Wednesday paved the way for Louisiana to use a congressional map in this year’s election that includes two majority-Black districts.

The court granted emergency requests filed by an unlikely alliance of Republican state officials and civil rights groups, who were united in asking the high court to block a lower court ruling that invalidated the most recently drawn map. State officials had said they needed to have the map finalized by Wednesday to meet bureaucratic deadlines and avoid “disarray.”

The court’s three liberal justices dissented, with Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson writing that the state still had time to draw a map that would address the various legal questions that have been raised. The court has a 6-3 conservative majority.

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Emergency Apartment Relocation Assistance Program announced for Jolie, Villa Norte apartments

May 15, 2024
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Rick Rojas, The New York Times

SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) – An emergency program has been announced to assist residents who will be displaced when utilities are cut off at two apartment complexes in Shreveport.

On May 15, the City of Shreveport announced an Emergency Apartment Relocation Assistance Program for the residents of two apartments, Jolie and Villa Norte. The program has been introduced following the announcement that utilities will be cut off at both apartment complexes on May 31 due to unpaid bills.

Multiple apartment complexes will soon have their water turned off due to lack of payments.

The program aims to provide necessary aid and resources to support the residents.

Both meetings regarding the program will be held on May 17.

...
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Federal Judges Block Newly Drawn Louisiana Congressional Map

May 3, 2024
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Rick Rojas, The New York Times

A newly drawn congressional map in Louisiana was struck down on Tuesday by a panel of federal judges who found that the new boundaries, which form a second majority Black district in the state, amounted to an “impermissible racial gerrymander” that violated the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

The 2-to-1 ruling now leaves uncertain which boundaries will be used in the November elections, which are just six months away and could play a critical role in determining the balance of power in the House of Representatives.

Critics warned that the decision could have broader implications on voting rights. Eric H. Holder Jr., the former U.S. attorney general and current chairman of the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, said the “ideological nature of the decision could not be more clear.”

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Ida B. Wells Was a Pathbreaking Data Storyteller

April 30, 2024
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State Voices
In our movement for a just democracy, we often affirm that data and technology, in the hands of oppressed communities, can help liberate us. The life and legacy of Ida B. Wells-Barnett provides compelling evidence of this truth.  Born Ida Bell Wells in Holly Springs, Mississippi in 1862 and often writing under the pseudonym, “Lola” throughout her career, Wells’ legacy as a courageous reporter and activist has made her a symbol of justice journalism, Black resistance, and Black feminist organizing.  Her work also proved that data is more accurate when collected and driven by communities, making her a trailblazing data specialist and storyteller. ...
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Power Coalition rep discusses Shreveport’s 3 bond proposals

April 24, 2024
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KSLA News
BIlly Anderson, North Louisiana Organizer for the Power Coalition for Equity and Justice discusses the 3 Bond Proposals before Shreveport Voters. Election Day is Saturday, April 27....
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Louisiana Congressional map debate continues in federal court

April 10, 2024
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by Myriam Samake, KTAL News

SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS)—The recently passed Louisiana Congressional district map is being debated in federal court after opponents filed a lawsuit calling it unconstitutional.

Plaintiffs said they brought the lawsuit because they believe the map was drawn unconstitutionally, with race being a prominent factor.

The newly drawn map passed in the 2024 Special Legislative Session, created a second Black majority out of Louisiana’s six districts to comply with the Voting Rights Act. Because 1/3 of voters in Louisiana are Black, the Act requires that the district be drawn to reflect that representation.

Jared Evans, Senior Policy counsel for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, argues that the goal of the plaintiffs is to “have a district with one majority Black district and five majority White that elect White republicans.”

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Hearing underway on attempt to overthrow La.’s congressional map

April 10, 2024
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By Curtis Heyen, Donna Keeya and Jasmine Franklin for KSLA News 12

SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) — The trial over a lawsuit attempting to overthrow Louisiana’s new congressional map will continue Wednesday (April 10).

The hearing before a three-judge panel is being held in Shreveport. It began Monday and could last at least one more day.

Earlier this year, Louisiana lawmakers were tasked with making the map after a judge said a previous one violated the Voting Rights Act. The judge said Louisiana must have two majority-minority districts since one-third of its population is African-American. The previous map had one such district.

Under the latest map, the new 6th Congressional District extends from southern Caddo Parish through Natchitoches and Alexandria to Baton Rouge. The new boundaries jeopardize Republican Congressman Garret Graves’ place in Congress.

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Jeff Landry targeted Garret Graves in redrawing district map, LA lawmaker testifies

April 9, 2024
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by Brendan Heffernan, Shreveport-Bossier City Advocate

The trial to decide the fate of Louisiana’s congressional representation continued in Shreveport on Tuesday, as the court heard further testimony from elected officials and demographics experts.

The trial is the result of a federal lawsuit filed by a group of Louisiana residents that argued that the congressional map supported by Gov. Jeff Landry and approved by the state Legislature in January amounted to an unconstitutional “racial gerrymander.” The map, introduced in Senate Bill 8, created a new majority Black congressional district stretching diagonally across the state to encompass the large Black communities in and around Shreveport, Alexandria, Lafayette and Baton Rouge. 

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Environmental Protection Agency Gives $20 Billion in ‘Green Bank’ Grants

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by Lisa Friedman for The New York Times
When Marcus Jones and his business partner, Akunna Olumba, set out to open a pizzeria in Detroit, they spoke with banks about their green vision: solar panels on the roof, an energy-efficient tankless water heater and a rooftop system to capture storm water. “The lenders thought we were crazy,” Mr. Jones said. Traditional banks were skeptical that such investments would yield a return, and few had ever issued loans for clean energy or efficiency measures. They told the restaurateurs that it simply was not done. Instead, the pair connected with a so-called green bank, one of a growing number of entities that loan money to businesses and individuals for equipment or technology that reduces the pollution driving climate change....
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Winning Women

March 27, 2024
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Hive Fund for Climate and Gender Justice
Women of color leaders across the US South are bringing in wins big and small that propel us toward cleaner energy, build health and wealth in disinvested communities, and protect democratic rights for Black, Brown, Indigenous, Asian American and Pacific Islander, and other marginalized populations. These are just a few of the wins and the women behind them we’re celebrating this women’s month....
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Shining a Light On: Ashley Shelton

March 27, 2024
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Foundation for Louisiana Newletter
This month, we are shining a light on Ashley Shelton, the Founder, President & CEO of the Power Coalition, a statewide 501c3 table in Louisiana. The Power Coalition uses a broad-based strategy that combines community organizing, issue advocacy, and civic action, all while increasing the capacity of community organizations throughout the state to sustain and hold the work. Prior to founding the Power Coalition, Ashley was the Vice President of Programs at the Louisiana Disaster Recovery Foundation (LDRF), now known as the Foundation for Louisiana. ...
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Beauty, Barbers, and Ballots event stresses voting, civic engagement

March 14, 2024
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by Ya'Lisha Gatewood, KTAL News
SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS)—Local hair salon owners are partnered to host a Beauty, Barbers, and Ballots mixer. The event kicked off at Haze on Texas Street at 8 pm and went on until midnight. The event creators aimed to unite beauty professionals and enthusiasts to promote voter registration and participation and to get people out to party with a purpose....
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Louisiana legislation targets mail-in absentee voting as it gains in popularity

March 12, 2024
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by Wesley Muller, Louisiana Illuminator
Louisiana lawmakers have filed legislation that would make it harder to vote by mail, particularly for elderly shut-ins and people with disabilities, just as record numbers cast ballots Saturday on the first day of early voting in the state’s March 23 presidential primary election. Since Louisiana adopted early voting almost 20 years ago, it has steadily grown in popularity. The coronavirus pandemic created a surge in mail-in voting that continues to increase, according to Baton Rouge pollster John Couvillon.  Saturday saw a 17% increase in mail-in voting for the first day of early voting compared with the 2020 presidential primary. There was an even greater spike for In-person early voting, which was up 89% relative to four years ago, with six days remaining to cast a ballot ahead of time. ...
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Early voting begins in Shreveport

March 9, 2024
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By Henrietta Wildsmith, Shreveport Times
Early voting began Saturday morning, March 9, 2024, at Caddo Parish Registrar of Voters located at 525 Marshall Street in downtown Shreveport....
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Baton Rouge Bike N Vote gets community involved with early voting

March 7, 2024
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By Vannia Joseph, WVLA Baton Rouge
BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — The Presidential Preference Primary and Municipal Primary Election is set for Saturday, March 23 and while the voter registration deadline has passed, local organizations are working to get the community to take advantage of early voting. The Power Coalition of Equity and Justice in partnership with Geaux Ride Baton Rouge and Bike N Vote is making it their mission to get people to the polls with one of their signature events, biking to the polls....
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Black Louisianans Enter a New Political Era

January 25, 2024
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By Brandon Tensley, Capital B
With a fair congressional map signed into law, advocates shift to making sure that residents understand the stakes of this year’s elections. Baton Rouge resident Ashley Shelton was overjoyed when she learned that, after a years-long legal battle, Black Louisianans have secured greater political representation. On Monday, Republican Gov. Jeff Landry signed into law a map that follows the math by adding a second majority-Black congressional district. Previously, Black Louisianans had a fair shot at electing their preferred candidate in only one of the Bayou State’s six congressional districts, even though Louisiana is 33% Black. “This whole story has been about the judges, the U.S. Supreme Court, the legislators, the governors. But, ultimately, the people are who got us here,” Shelton, the president and founder of the New Orleans-based nonprofit Power Coalition for Equity and Justice, which was a plaintiff in the case, told Capital B. “People power made this happen —...
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Deep investments in energy savings approved today!

January 24, 2024
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By Alliance for Affordable Energy
After a 13 year process, the Louisiana Public Service Commission voted 3-2 to approve a Final Rule with a Third-Party Administrator (TPA) model to administer robust statewide energy efficiency programs.  Louisiana residents use at least 30% more electricity than the average American household, wasting millions of dollars a year on high utility bills. This is due in part to leaky, inefficient housing across the state. Now, after more than 13-years of regulatory proceedings, the Louisiana Public Service Commission (LPSC) has approved long-term energy efficiency programs for Louisianans that will scale up over the coming decade to save energy and money, improve health and safety, and invest millions of dollars in homes and small businesses.  Since 2009, The Alliance has participated in LPSC proceedings, advocating for strong efficiency programs that reduce costs for residents by increasing funding options that allow Louisianans to make home improvements to safeguard their homes from extreme weather. ​...
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Entergy Louisiana receives approval for additional renewable power facilities

January 24, 2024
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By P. James for Entergy
BATON ROUGE, La. – To meet customers’ needs for renewable energy, the Louisiana Public Service Commission approved the construction of facilities that would add approximately 225 megawatts of solar power to Entergy Louisiana’s generation portfolio. In 2023, the company sought Commission approval of two projects to source more solar energy – one in Iberville Parish that would account for approximately 175 megawatts, the other in Ouachita Parish that would be referred to as the Sterlington Solar Facility and account for an additional 49 megawatts. The Sterlington Solar Facility will be constructed adjacent to the site of one of Entergy Louisiana’s oldest power plants, symbolizing the modernization of the company’s generation fleet to more efficient, cleaner sources of power. The Sterlington Power Station was built and placed into operation in the 1920’s and initially produced around 25 megawatts of power....
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Louisiana makes history with new Black congressional district that includes Shreveport

January 22, 2024
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By Greg Hilburn, Shreveport Times, in Daily World
Louisiana has a second majority Black congressional district for the first time in decades after Republican Gov. Jeff Landry signed off on a new map Monday passed by the Legislature during a Special Session last week. Lawmakers dismantled Republican U.S. Rep. Garret Graves’ 6th Congressional District to create the new majority Black district that includes parts of Shreveport, Alexandria, and Baton Rouge as the population centers, putting Graves’ political future in danger....
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Louisiana Lawmakers Approve Map That Empowers More Black Voters

January 19, 2024
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By Emily Cochrane for the New York Times
The Legislature passed a congressional map that creates a second majority-Black district while shielding the state’s most powerful conservatives in Washington from political jeopardy. Louisiana lawmakers on Friday approved a new congressional map that would create a second district with a majority of Black voters, after a federal court found that the existing map appeared to illegally undercut the power of Black voters in the state. Given that Black voters often back Democratic candidates in the state, the new map also increases the possibility of Democrats’ taking control of a second congressional seat in Louisiana....
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How Phase III came to be

January 2, 2024
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By Nick Chrastil for NOLA Lens
Though they once applauded the jail’s ambitious, federally overseen reforms, community groups and political leaders in New Orleans united in opposition to a key mandate stemming from those efforts: the construction of a $109 million mental health jail. Mayors agreed to it, opposed it, agreed to it again, and opposed it again. Multiple working groups met to produce lengthy reports on it, and possible alternatives. Advocates tried to stop its construction by blocking zoning permits, funding allocations, and attempting to influence FEMA environmental-impact statements. They camped out in front of City Hall, organized a letter-writing campaign to a federal judge and held rallies and second lines in opposition. A reform candidate ran for sheriff touting her disapproval of it — and won. ...
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Activists who engage with voters of color are looking for messages that will resonate in 2024

December 30, 2023
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By Ayanna Alexander and Gary Fields for AP News
WASHINGTON (AP) — This year’s elections in Louisiana didn’t go the way that voting rights advocate Ashley Shelton had hoped, with the far-right conservative attorney general replacing a term-limited Democratic governor and consolidating Republican control in the state. Turnout was just 37%, despite the efforts of activists like her. “Even when you work hard and you do all the things you’re supposed to, you get an unfortunate outcome, which was these statewide elections,” said Shelton, the executive director of Power Coalition for Equity & Justice in Louisiana....
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It Takes A Village: New Orleans Group Partners With Others To Get Out The Vote

December 29, 2023
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Rachel Thomas, KSLA News 12
At a recent listening session, Ashley Shelton, founder and executive director of the New Orleans-based nonprofit Power Coalition for Equity and Justice, learned something about why Louisiana’s Black vote in November’s statewide general elections was the lowest in more than a decade. “Nothing is changed in my life,” a Black, middle-aged contractor told the group, beginning an exchange with Shelton about how the 2024 elections will affect his life....
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Judge makes ruling in Caddo Parish sheriff recount lawsuit

December 5, 2023
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Rachel Thomas, KSLA News 12
CADDO PARISH, La. (KSLA) – Retired Louisiana Supreme Court Justice E. Joseph Bleich has made a ruling in the election lawsuit filed by Caddo Parish sheriff candidate, John Nickelson. That ruling came down Tuesday, Dec. 5. The judge ruled the results of the Nov. 18 runoff election, in which Henry Whitehorn defeated Nickelson by one vote, are declared void. It was further ordered a new runoff election shall be conducted. It’s expected that Whitehorn’s team will appeal this decision. They have until 9:56 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 8 to do so. The ruling states “it was proven beyond any doubt that there were at least 11 illegal votes cast and counted” and that it is “legally impossible to know what the true vote should have been.”...
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Democrats Held Off the GOP in Legislative Races This Year, Again Bucking Expectations

November 21, 2023
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Daniel Nichanian, BOLTS
“When you gerrymander people’s power away, you can’t elect candidates of choice,” says Ashley Shelton, executive director of Power Coalition for Equity and Justice, a Louisiana organization that focuses on voter outreach. “We understand the power of gerrymandering: It’s not that Black people don’t care or don’t want to vote, it’s that the power of their vote has been lessened....
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To Have Hope, We Need Joy

November 15, 2023
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Hive Fund for Climate and Gender Justice
“If you can’t figure it out in Louisiana, you can’t figure it out anywhere,” says Ashley Shelton, Executive Director of Power Coalition for Equity and Justice. As leader of one of the state’s most powerful civic engagement tables, she sees the abysmally low voter turnout in last month’s gubernatorial election — just 36 percent, the lowest in a decade — and the hard right state government it portends as a call to action, not a time to throw in the towel....
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Who will draw new congressional map for Louisiana? Edwards, Landry debate who calls the session

November 13, 2023
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Shannon Heckt for BRProud
“At every step of the redistricting process, Black Louisianans have fought hard for our communities’ right to be fully represented,” said Ashley Shelton, president and CEO of the Power Coalition for Equity and Justice. “The people of Louisiana deserve to be a part of a fair political process that works for all, not just some. We look forward to continuing to advocate for voters as they push for a fair map.”...
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Power Coalition for Equity and Justice offering rides to the polls

November 13, 2023
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by Reggi Marion for BRProud
The voter turnout for the October 14th primary was called “historically bad” by Governor John Bel Edwards, The Power Coalition for Equity & Justice is stepping up efforts to educate voters on the importance of casting their ballots and making it easier for voters to get to the polls....
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Organizers aim to get out the vote with rally at SULSA

November 10, 2023
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by Emma Discher for The Advocate
As early voting continues across Louisiana, The Power Coalition for Equity and Justice brought together Shreveport students and community members to rally in celebration and head to the polls. It is part of PCEJ’s expansive get out the vote efforts. The SULSA rally featured local speakers and information to mobilize voters....
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Grambling State University students rally to raise awareness to vote

October 3, 2023
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by Destiny Beasley for KNOE8
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Three Generations Of Black Climate Change Activists Share Why They Dedicate Their Lives Trying To Save The World

September 27, 2023
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by Jasmine Browley
Barry Keim, Louisiana’s state climatologist, has shared that the location is the most vulnerable in the country, and global boiling is the culprit.  The state’s geographic positioning makes it prone to significant damage from sea level rising, flooding and droughts.  The United States Environmental Protection Agency declared in 2017 that in just a few decades, Louisiana will become hotter and less habitable—soils have already become drier, annual rainfall has increased, more rain arrives in heavy downpours, and sea level is rising, the organization states....
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New Orleans collaborative helps child care providers access more resources with help from JPMorgan Chase investment

September 15, 2023
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By Amanda Mcelfresh for Nola.com
A dozen local partners are working to reshape early childhood care and education in New Orleans as a viable pathway toward long-term wealth-building, equity and economic stability, thanks to a $5 million investment from JPMorgan Chase....
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Civil rights groups host voter registration event for minority residents

September 15, 2023
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by Khalil Gillon for Verite News
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Louisiana Fights To Keep Kids At Angola After Judge’s Removal Order

September 12, 2023
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by Elizabeth Weill-Greenberg, The Appeal
The state argues there would be a “near certainty” of “serious bodily injury” to children, staff, and the public if kids are transferred out of the prison....
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Mark Ballard: Congressional redistricting court fight will likely prove consequential

August 25, 2023
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by Mark Ballard for NOLA.com
The indelible tableau of the Civil Rights Movement included people in their Sunday best being beaten at the foot the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, and the inspirational words delivered by Martin Luther King at the foot of Abraham Lincoln’s statue in Washington....
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Request for federal grant approved as wildfires keep burning in Louisiana

August 24, 2023
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The governor says FEMA has approved a request for a federal grant to help fight wildfires in Beauregard Parish.  Crews are currently working to detain fires in Tiger Island. The request was approved due to the threat fires are posing to lives, homes, property and critical facilities and infrastructure near Merryville and nearby areas, the governor’s office said....
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Photos: New mural unveiled featuring Shreveport civil rights leader C.O. Simpkins

August 17, 2023
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by Jill Picket for The Shreveport Bossier City Advocate
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Voting rights advocates welcome the Supreme Court’s ruling related to La’s redistricting

June 26, 2023
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by Sabrina Wilson for Fox 8 Live
NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) – Voting rights advocates and Democratic officials in Louisiana are applauding a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that they believe will lead to the state getting a second majority-African American congressional district. Ashley Shelton leads the Power Coalition for Equity and Justice. The organization is a litigant fighting the congressional map approved by the GOP-controlled legislature in 2022. On Monday (June 26) the Supreme Court lifted its hold on the Louisiana case....
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New majority-Black congressional district in Louisiana closer to reality; see why

June 26, 2023
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by Sam Karlin for NOLA.com
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday brought Louisiana one step closer to having a second majority-Black congressional district — a move that would mark a dramatic reversal of fortunes for Democrats — by refusing to take up a closely watched challenge to the state’s congressional districts. The court rejected a request by Attorney General Jeff Landry to hear the case, and instead sent it back down to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, where the state will seek to overturn a ruling that required the Republican-led Legislature to add another majority-Black district....
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US Supreme Court tosses race-based dispute over Louisiana electoral map

June 26, 2023
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by Andrew Chung for Reuters
June 26 (Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday dismissed a Republican bid to defend a Louisiana electoral map that was challenged as discriminatory in a case that could lead to the creation of a second majority-Black congressional district in the state....
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Supreme Court allows for Louisiana congressional map to be redrawn to add another majority-Black district

June 26, 2023
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by Tierney Sneed for CNN
CNN — The Supreme Court on Monday allowed the Louisiana congressional map to be redrawn to add another majority-Black district. The justices reversed plans to hear the case themselves and lifted a hold they placed on a lower court’s order for a reworked redistricting regime. There were no noted dissents....
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Mark Ballard: Louisiana poised to draw a majority-Black congressional district

June 12, 2023
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by Mark Ballard for The Advocate
WASHINGTON – Within hours of Thursday’s stunning U.S. Supreme Court decision that effectively requires Alabama to draw a second majority-Black congressional district, The Cook Report, a respected political handicapper, changed its 2024 election prognosis for two Louisiana Republicans – U.S. Reps Julia Letlow, of Start, and Garret Graves, of Baton Rouge – from “Solid GOP” to “Toss Up.” Cook could have easily included U.S. Rep. Mike Johnson – the Benton Republican who ranks fifth in the House majority leadership – because his northwest Louisiana seat also could have a bull’s eye on it once the Louisiana Legislature sits back down to decide where a second majority-Black congressional district will go in this state....
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Surprise US supreme court ruling could help Democrats take House in 2024

June 9, 2023
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by Alice Herman and Sam Levine for the Guardian
The supreme court’s decision on Thursday upholding a critical provision of the Voting Rights Act could upend congressional maps across several southern US states, a change that is likely to boost Democrats’ chances in 2024 House races and give Black voters more opportunities to elect candidates of their choice....
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SCOTUS ruling on Alabama’s congressional maps could change voting in Louisiana

June 8, 2023
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by by: John Walton, Trinity Velazquez, Shannon Heckt for KLFY
BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – The U.S. Supreme Court ruling that Alabama’s congressional maps violated Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act could lead to a second majority-Black district in Louisiana. State leaders are praising the decision, saying the change is necessary. The ruling came on Thursday, June 8, and affirmed that Alabama needs to create a new map with an additional majority-Black district because 27% of the state’s population is Black....
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Supreme Court ruling could lead to new Louisiana congressional maps — with 2nd Black district

June 8, 2023
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by Sam Karlin for The Advocate
Opponents of Louisiana’s Republican-drawn political maps are optimistic the state could soon have new mapsthat include a second majority-Black congressional district, after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of Black voters in a similar Alabama case. The Alabama decision, which ordered that state to create another district with a large Black population, upheld decades of legal jurisprudence in the Voting Rights Act that determine whether redistricting plans are racially discriminatory....
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In Supreme Court’s Alabama ruling, Black voter advocates see roadmap to new maps in Louisiana

June 8, 2023
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by Sam Karlin for NOLA.com
Opponents of Louisiana’s Republican-drawn political maps are optimistic the state could soon have new mapsthat include another majority-Black congressional district, after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of Black voters in a similar Alabama case. The Alabama decision, which ordered that state to create another district with a large Black population, upheld decades of legal jurisprudence in the Voting Rights Act that determine whether redistricting plans are racially discriminatory....
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Additional early voting locations rejected in La. House committee

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by Greg Larose, Louisiana Illuminator
Legislation that would have allowed — but not required — parishes to add early voting locations failed Tuesday in a Louisiana House committee, with opponents concerned about its cost and local election staffing. House Bill 538 from Rep. Sam Jenkins, D-Shreveport, includes guidelines that set out the minimum number of early voting locations a parish should have based on its population and area. Lawmakers on the House and Governmental Affairs Committee discussed how population shifts in their parishes show a need for new polling sites, and how some rural parish residents have to cover long distances to reach an early voting location. ...
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Racism is at the center of high Black maternal mortality rate, experts say

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by Lottie L. Joiner for Verite
Black women are dying — during pregnancy, delivery and the postpartum period after childbirth. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Black women are three times more likely to die from pregnancy complications than white women. Frankie Robertson of Baton Rouge could have been one of the statistics....
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Abortion rights advocates meet at Louisiana State Capitol

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by Michael Scheidt for BRProud
BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – Abortion rights advocates came together to talk about how the ban on abortions in Louisiana has affected their lives. Speakers came together at the Louisiana State Capitol for “We Have a Vision: Louisiana Reproductive Justice Day at the Capitol.” The event started at 9:20 a.m. and some of the speakers who were scheduled to attend included those listed below: https://d-12833587732725203327.ampproject.net/2304132133000/frame.html...
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Advocacy groups push voting rights, resources for incarcerated people at legislature

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by Shannon Hecht for BRProud
BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – The legislative session kicks off the second week with advocates pushing against legislators to pass voting access and to offer more support to incarcerated people. As the fiscal session ramps up, advocacy groups want to make sure the state is investing in bills that will expand voting access, criminal justice reform and community resources. The Power Coalition for Equity and Justice is partnering with the Voice of the Experienced to push bills that create access to mental health services for incarcerated people, as well as create more early voting locations in each parish....
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After redistricting, here’s how progressive groups still aim to change Louisiana voting

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by James Finn for NOLA.com
A special session of the Louisiana Legislature ended last June with lawmakers failing to sign off on a new congressional map for the state that included a second majority-Black district. Almost a year later, a group of progressive activists gathered at the State Capitol Monday to decry that outcome, advocating for various measures they said would increase voting access for disabled Louisianans and people of color — access they say has not improved enough in recent years....
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Anti-Protest Laws Are Not About Safety, They Are About Silencing Dissent

April 9, 2023
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We must not allow our movements for justice to be silenced by laws that criminalize dissent. At least 42 people who have protested the building of an 85-acre, $90 million police training facility in Atlanta, Georgia, have been charged with domestic terrorism. While demonstrators always fear being criminalized for exercising their constitutional right to stage protests, being charged with domestic terrorism has a particularly chilling effect. The move to charge protesters with domestic terrorism comes months after one protester, Manuel Paez Terán (who went by the name Tortuguita), was killed by police. Across the United States, we are seeing a rise in laws that seek to squelch and criminalize protests. Since 2017, North Dakota has considered a series of anti-protest laws, including one that allows the state attorney general to bring police from out of town to respond to protests. In South Dakota, one law allows the state to prohibit protests of 20 people or more...
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Meet 7 Black Women Making History Today

March 8, 2023
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by Jennifer R. Farmer for NewsOne
Ashley K. Shelton is the founder and president of the Power Coalition for Equity and Justice in Louisiana. She is an advocate for climate justice, traveling to COP27 in Egypt to discuss the needs of Black communities and the ways in which they are harmed by climate injustice. Shelton is also a passionate advocate for environmental justice, voting rights and equitable redistricting processes. She is a member of the Black Southern Women’s Collaborative. She has traveled the world advocating for justice and encouraging organizers not to be weary in their activism, understanding that our communities will prevail if we refuse to relent. Learn more here and here....
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Some New Orleans absentee voters receive incomplete ballots for March 25 election

March 8, 2023
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By David Jones for Fox 8 Live
NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) – With a March 25 municipal primary election fast approaching, voters who requested them have begun receiving absentee ballots in the mail. But for some, the ballots they received are incomplete. There should be two judicial races on the ballot, and voters living in House District 93 also should have a runoff decision for the state representative seat vacated by now-State Sen. Royce Duplessis. But according to some voters who reached out to Fox 8, the absentee ballots they received only had the judicial races, even though they live in House District 93. “If people saw this and didn’t realize (the House race) wasn’t on the ballot and don’t think about it, they just send it back in,” said one voter who asked not to be identified....
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Louisiana House 93 race heads to March runoff after low-turnout affair

February 18, 2023
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by Matt Sledge for NOLA.com
A crowded race to replace Royce Duplessis in the state House of Representatives will go to a runoff after none of the six candidates secured a majority of the vote, in an election held on a busy day in the Carnival calendar that drew few voters to the polls....
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New state utility regulator wants to reduce rates, introduce renewable mandatesqaws

February 17, 2023
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by Terry L. Jones for the Louisiana Illumintator
After defying the odds to become the first openly LGBTQ person elected to a statewide office, Davante Lewis intends to use the momentum to take on utility giants such as Entergy and move the state toward more renewable energy in his first six-year term on Louisiana’s Public Service Commission.  Many see Lewis’ victory as a sign of shifting politics around renewable energy in a state where, traditionally, fossil fuels have ruled.  “If you were to look on the surface, someone like Davante Lewis shouldn’t have had a prayer of a chance because he was taking on a long-term incumbent who had not demonstrated any electoral weakness in the past,” said John Couvillion, a Baton Rouge-based political pollster and president of JMC Analytics and Polling. ...
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Second Annual Early Ed Month Focuses on Need for Investment

February 2, 2023
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by Site Staff, Biz New Orleans
BATON ROUGE — From the Louisiana Policy Institute for Children: Feb. 1 marked the start of the second annual Early Ed Month, which is a month-long initiative to educate local and national policymakers, business leaders, parents and advocates on the need for robust investments in high-quality early care and education to support a strong workforce and economy in Louisiana.   Created by the Louisiana Policy Institute for Children, a nonprofit working to ensure all Louisiana’s young children are ready for success in school and life, Early Ed Month will consist of 12 in-person and virtual events across the state that provide opportunities to learn more about critical issues surrounding early care and education that impact children and families. ...
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The Re-Up event allows students to refill school supplies for free

February 1, 2023
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by Daffney Dawson for KSLA
SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) – At this point in the school year, kids may be running out of supplies. To help with this issue, a Shreveport teacher is helping replenish those supplies. Marvkevea’s Learning Center is hosting The Re-Up at Sci-Port. Parents and students have the chance to tour the new exhibits, get free school supplies and enjoy an evening dance party! Marvkevea Campbell says he hosts a summer school supply giveaway and was inspired to replenish those items this winter. ...
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HousingLOUISIANA President Andreanecia Morris Speaks on Extraordinary Special Session

January 31, 2023
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Andreanecia Morris, HousingLouisiana Podcast
This week, in an Extraordinary Special Session, the Louisiana Legislature is discussing the authorization of $45 million in funding to entice insurance companies to return to the Louisiana markets. We think that this is a misguided approach that will lead to more harm than good. Read HousingLOUISIANA’s full statement here: puthousingfirst.wordpress.com/2023/01/31…l-session/...
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Special session begins in effort to ease the mass exodus of insurance companies from the state

January 31, 2023
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by Andrea Robinson for KPLC News
Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) – State lawmakers are back at the capitol to deal with the issue that’s costing many lots of money. There’s only one thing on the agenda at the special session and that’s dealing with the state’s homeowners insurance crisis. The session started at noon Monday, with the one bill being assigned to the appropriations committee to take up on Tuesday. Lawmakers will have 7 days to come up with a plan on how to divvy up $45 million in state money. According to insurance commissioner Jim Donolen, that should be enough money to entice some companies to do business here in Louisiana....
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‘1619 Project’ docuseries  gives voice to untold history

January 27, 2023
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by Lottie L. Joiner for Verite
In the trailer for the new Hulu docuseries on the groundbreaking “1619 Project,” creator and host Nikole Hannah-Jones notes that, “No part of America’s story has been untouched by the legacy of slavery.” It was that viewpoint, reframing American history by exploring the impact of slavery and the contributions of African Americans to our nation, that underpinned the project and produced both controversy and revelation.   ...
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ACLU At Liberty Podcast: The 50th Anniversary of Roe That We’ll Never See

January 20, 2023
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ACLU
January 22nd marks the 50th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court case that codified the right to an abortion. But this year on January 22nd, we’ll largely remember this anniversary as the one that wasn’t. For 49 years, Roe helped to allow people who could become pregnant decide what was best for them and their families, but on June 24th, 2022, the Supreme Court overturned Roe in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health. Since then, bans on abortion have taken effect in 13 states, and courts have blocked abortion bans in 9 others, according to the New York Times abortion ban tracker, though this is constantly changing....
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State leaders reconsider early learning standards after pushback on social, emotional learning

January 17, 2023
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by Will Sentell for The Advocate
In an about face, Louisiana’s top school board Tuesday voted to take another look at new learning standards for the state’s youngest students amid controversy on whether the benchmarks would allow politicized instruction. The state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education had twice approved the revised guidelines, including on Dec. 13....
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This Louisiana trend helped a progressive challenger steamroll a 17-year incumbent

December 13, 2022
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By Sam Karlin and Matt Sledge for NOLA.com
Public Service Commissioner Lambert Boissiere of New Orleans started his re-election bid with a respectable warchest, three terms under his belt and the backing of some of the state’s most powerful Democrats. It ended in a rout. Boissiere got crushed by nearly 20 points by Davante Lewis, a 30-year-old progressive who lives in Baton Rouge and works for a left-leaning nonprofit advocacy group. Lewis will be the first openly LGBTQ person elected to state office in Louisiana....
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State Voices Showed Up For The Critical Runoff Elections In Georgia And Louisiana

December 7, 2022
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By State Voices
In November, our network educated voters, drove turnout in BIPOC communities, and ensured voters could cast their ballots free from interference and intimidation. Now we’re bringing the same energy and relentless focus on fair representation to Georgia and Louisiana as we did to our entire network in November. ...
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Lambert Boissiere, Davante Lewis square off ahead of Public Service Commission runoff

November 30, 2022
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By Sam Karlin for NOLA.com
The two candidates for the Public Service Commission district that represents New Orleans and parts of Baton Rouge sought to distance themselves from one another Wednesday in a testy debate ahead of the Dec. 10 runoff election. Commissioner Lambert Boissiere, who is facing a rare runoff for an incumbent, defended the commission’s record, touting Louisiana’s relatively low electric rates. He said the PSC is “moving in the right direction” with recent deals for renewables and competitive energy....
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What Louisiana needs to know about 3 constitutional amendments on Dec. 10 runoff ballot

November 30, 2022
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by Paul Braun, WKRF Baton Rouge
In New Orleans, all eyes are on the Public Service Commission runoff on Dec. 10, but in many parts of the state, three proposed constitutional amendments will be the only thing on Louisiana voters’ ballots. If passed, the amendments would clarify who can vote in state and local elections and would give the state Senate the opportunity to weigh in on the governor’s appointment to certain state oversight panels....
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Head of Louisiana’s Office of Juvenile Justice resigns amid crisis in state’s youth jails

November 18, 2022
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By James Finn for The Advocate
The head of Louisiana’s Office of Juvenile Justice has resigned amid a deepening crisis inside the state’s youth lockups including escapes, riots and a capacity shortfall that the agency recently said had forced it to stop accepting youth into its custody....
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Louisiana voters rejected an antislavery ballot measure. The reasons are complicated

November 17, 2022
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By Kaitlyn Radde for NPR
Out of five states that put measures to voters on the subject, Louisiana voters were the only ones to vote against banning slavery and involuntary servitude in the state constitution, according to calls by The Associated Press. This year, in Vermont, Oregon, Alabama and Tennessee, voters decided to ban slavery and involuntary servitude....
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Four States Voted to End Slavery — But Not Louisiana. Here’s Why.

November 10, 2022
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By Mike Ludwig, Truthout
Voters in Vermont, Tennessee, Oregon and Alabama amended their state constitutions to abolish slavery and indentured servitude this week — but a similar initiative failed in Louisiana, garnering embarrassing headlines for a former slave state that remains infamous for modern mass incarceration and forced prison labor....
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Where do the Louisiana Senate candidates stand on economic development?

November 8, 2022
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By Christa Swanson, myarklamiss.com
SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – With inflation and the costs of oil and goods skyrocketing, the economy is a hot topic in the 2022 election. Where do the candidates for Senator in Louisiana stand?...
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Mark Ballard: Nation is apprehensive going into Tuesday’s midterm elections

November 5, 2022
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By Mark Ballard, Nola.com
WASHINGTON — Anxiety is the best description as the nation’s voters approach the Tuesday election that will decide which party controls Congress for the next two years....
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In Louisiana, Democrats seize on abortion to motivate voters

November 2, 2022
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By Roby Chavez for PBS News Hour
NEW ORLEANS – As early voting began in Louisiana last week, Taetrece Harrison and her mother waited for the polls to open. Most of the people in line with them were women. Harrison and her mother were both galvanized by this summer’s overturning of Roe v. Wade, which triggered Louisiana’s near-total ban on abortion. More than 363,000 votes have been cast during the early voting period, which ended November 1....
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Members of Divine Nine organizations ‘Stroll to the Polls’ as early voting nears an end

October 28, 2022
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By Carmen Lofton for KTBS3
SHREVEPORT, La.-In partnership with the Power Coalition for Equity and Justice, members of the Divine Nine, a collective of Black Greek-lettered organizations, gathered in the parking lot of Remington College for a “Stroll to the Polls” event aimed at encouraging early voting in Shreveport.  The event featured food, entertainment and fellowship as a way to highlight the secondary early voting location at Shreve Memorial Library. ...
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Ahead of election, Louisiana activists know abortion ban is staying; but they’re still fighting

October 27, 2022
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By Rosemary Westwood for WWNO
A group of four phone-bankers sat around a conference table at the offices of Women With A Vision in New Orleans, a group that advocates for abortion rights, about a month before the midterm elections, dialing up voters across Louisiana to ask them about reproductive rights. They didn’t use the word abortion — it tends to make people hang up on them. Instead, they said they were calling about “Louisiana’s statewide decision in regards to family planning” and “women’s reproductive rights,” euphemisms for Louisiana’s near-total abortion ban in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade....
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‘Bike N Vote’ getting young NOLA voters to the polls for early voting

October 26, 2022
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By Kenny Lopez for WGNO
NEW ORLEANS (WGNO)— The organization, Young People Vote, is hosting a “Bike N Vote” initiative, which provides free bikes for the community to use during early voting for local elections. The initiative is especially geared toward getting people of color out to the polls to vote.  “Voting is a part of our right as humans and our ancestors fought for years to uphold the integrity and equity of the vote. We must continue those efforts throughout the years,” Morgan Walker, Young People Vote and Bike N Vote Founder said....
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Bike N Vote being held to inspire minorities to vote

October 26, 2022
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By Jessica Knox for BRProud
SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) – Young People Vote invites the public to bike through downtown Shreveport to go vote when the early voting is open. On Oct. 29, the nonpartisan state-based civic engagement and movement-building organization, Young People Vote is hosting Bike N Vote across the state of Louisiana with a focus on getting Black and brown people, especially gen Z, gen X, and millenials energies up for the upcoming election....
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Voting Rights Activists Look Beyond Supreme Court To People Power

October 19, 2022
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by Khalil Abdullah for The Seattle Medium
WASHINGTON, DC — Shortly ahead of arguing before the Supreme Court on a voting rights lawsuit that bears his name, Alabama attorney Evan Milligan was already looking forward to what needs to be done to secure permanent voting rights protections for all Americans. “My hope is not based on the court,” Milligan said at a recent news conference. “My hope is based on the agency of my people and our allies.”...
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Power Coalition for Equity & Justice President says ‘Every vote counts’

October 16, 2022
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By Jessica Knox for BRProud
BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – If you missed the deadline to register to vote in person you still have a chance to register to vote online. The Power Coalition for Equity & Justice explains why it’s important you make your voice heard.  “We must make sure that we are participating in this process, that we are voting and having our voices heard,” said Ashley Kennedy Shelton, Founder & President of Power Coalition for Equity & Justice....
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Vote Your Voice: In Louisiana, Power Coalition pursues justice at the polls

October 12, 2022
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By Ronda Sonnenberg, Senior Staff Writer, SPLC
Power Coalition for Equity and Justice, a 2022 Vote Your Voice grantee, represents Louisianans like Deborah, who has a partial disability and walks with a cane. Deborah is one of the countless Black residents who, for over a century of Black voter suppression, have been forced to wage herculean efforts just to cast their ballots. Deborah was living in Red Cross evacuee housing in New Orleans, three hours’ drive from her home in Calcasieu Parish, after two mighty hurricanes struck in late summer 2020. When early voting began in October and she was instructed by her home parish board of elections official to vote in New Orleans, she tried one, and then a second polling location where the line was shorter. She never anticipated what happened next....
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Ashley K. Shelton on the #PutHousingFirst Radio Show

October 11, 2022
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With Lurie Daniel Favors and Ashley K. Shelton
No excerpt...
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How we fight gerrymandering in the South

October 11, 2022
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By Anoa Changa for Scalawag
As The South Votes, Episode 2. What gerrymandering looks like in the South—and what we can do about it before it’s too late....
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Tech issues keep public out of Disability Voting Task Force meeting

October 10, 2022
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By Wesley Muller for the Louisiana Illuminator
Technical difficulties at the Claiborne Building plagued Louisiana’s Disability Voting Task Force meeting Monday, preventing nearly 20 people from attending via its virtual live stream — a critical means of access for some disabled people.  Louisiana Secretary of State spokesman John Tobler said in a phone interview that the task force had experienced technical problems with YouTube’s live stream function and could not fix it without disconnecting others who attended via the Zoom platform. ...
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Here’s how to reduce power costs, help coastal communities

October 7, 2022
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By Drew Broach for Nola.com
Competition in the electric utility industry, and more solar, nuclear and wind power, represent the best ways to reduce power costs for customers, according to The Times-Picayune Power Poll. Louisiana historically gives power utilities a monopoly in their geographic markets, but the Public Service Commission is considering competition, which was the No. 1 choice of Power Poll respondents. Here are the weighted rankings:...
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Ashley K. Shelton on The Lurie Daniel Favors Show

October 6, 2022
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With Lurie Daniel Favors and Ashley K. Shelton
No excerpt...
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SCOTUS takes on voting rights case

October 4, 2022
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By KMVU FOX 26
WASHINGTON, D.C. (NBC) – With midterms just over a month away, the Supreme Court is hearing oral arguments on a case involving the Alabama electoral map and redistricting that could negatively impact Black voters in the state. Tuesday’s arguments present a test for the conservative-leaning court with more voting rights cases to come. This case could ultimately weaken the landmark Voting Rights Act by making it easier for states to defend against claims of racial gerrymandering....
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Campus political groups seek to increase voter turnout

October 4, 2022
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By Aidan McCahill for the Tulane Hullabaloo
With midterm elections only a few weeks away, political groups on and off campus are working to mobilize student voters — a demographic that saw historic levels of voter turnout in the 2020 election.  Margaret Easley, vice president of Tulane College Democrats, said the group aims to get people registered to vote for upcoming elections and make sure they have all the resources they need. Additionally, College Democrats President Darcy Schleifsteinsaid the group strategizes as to where student votes will count the most.  ...
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Do Louisiana’s Congressional districts discriminate? Supreme Court hears a related case

October 4, 2022
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By Mark Ballard for Nola.com
WASHINGTON — About 100 Louisiana students gathered Tuesday in the plaza in front of the U.S. Supreme Court as the nine justices considered whether Alabama’s congressional election maps meet the standards of the Voting Rights Act — a case that’s nearly identical to one from Louisiana....
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