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Early HIV Drug Therapy 'Significantly Reduces' Transmission to Partners

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By Rod McCullom, Special to the NNPA–

Recently the AIDS world received the stunningly encouraging results of the HPTN 052, a randomized, phase 3 clinical trial, which confirmed what many public health experts have long believed: that early HIV treatment not only benefits the person infected but also reduces the likelihood that he or she will transmit the virus to sexual partners.

Termed "treatment as prevention," this approach adds to the rapidly expanding range of prevention and treatment options that, used in concert, many believe, could help break the back of the worldwide HIV/AIDS epidemic. While the HPTN 052 trial results have been widely reported in the mainstream media--from the New York Times to Wall Street Journal--here we examine their implications for Black America.

The HPTN 052 clinical trial's findings have dramatic implications for the HIV epidemic in the United States, whose epicenter now sits in Black America.

Blacks represent only 13 percent of the U.S. population but account for 45 percent of new HIV infections, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. African Americans are eight times more likely to be diagnosed with HIV than Whites and experience the highest rate of AIDS and AIDS deaths. They also suffer far more HIV-related health disparities than the population at large.

So might Black Americans benefit disproportionately from the more aggressive antiretroviral (ARV) therapy suggested by the HPTN 052?

"That is exactly what we have been talking about for some time," said Anthony Fauci, M.D., director of that National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, in a telebriefing with reporters. "There is a great disparity in the African American community. This is a good scientific reason why we should do this."

Proof That Treatment's Benefits Transcend the Individual

Compared with the rest of the world, American doctors often initiate antiretroviral treatment early--when an individual's CD4 count, a measure of immune system strength, falls below 500 per cubic millimeter. That's a higher threshold than the World Health Organization's international guidelines of 350.

Yet, large numbers of Black people are not diagnosed HIV positive until after they've been HIV positive for years. African Americans make up some 56 percent of all so-called late testers--people who are diagnosed with AIDS within one year of their HIV diagnosis. Not only do late testers have less chance to benefit from lifesaving ARVs, but they are "considered extremely infectious, because they typically have massive amounts of the virus" in their bodies, the Wall Street Journal notes. The sooner the person is treated after diagnosis, the less likely he or she is to infect others.

And, whether or not they are tested late, many PLWHA elect to delay treatment until their CD4 count drops below 350 or they experience symptoms of an AIDS-related disease.

The HTPN 052 trial's finding that early treatment reduced HIV transmission by 96 percent strongly suggests that treatment's benefits transcend the well-being of the infected individual. "This tells us that the decision [about when to start treatment] has less to do with what is good for [the HIV-positive person] and [more] with what is the extra benefit concerning transmissibility" to others, said Dr. Fauci.

Aggressive testing is key to neutralizing some of the HIV-related health disparities that Black people experience, Dr. Fauci added: "Get out there, find out who is infected with voluntary testing, and link them to care and therapy as soon as possible."

The HIV-Prevention Toolbox Explodes

The HPTN 052 results become the latest HIV-prevention technology to make headlines in recent months--from the landmark microbicide research announced at the 2010 International AIDS Conference to the recent data on the potential of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) to help protect gay and bisexual men. Several key advances toward discovering a preventive HIV vaccine have also occurred in recent weeks.

"The prevention toolbox has just exploded," says Phill Wilson, president and CEO of the Black AIDS Institute. "This study definitively ends the debate of prevention versus treatment. Prevention and treatment are inextricably connected: Treatment is prevention."

"These data must serve as a clarion call to funders, policy makers, civil society and implementers," Mitchell Warren, executive director of New York City-based AVAC, formerly known as the AIDS Vaccine Advocacy Coalition, said in a statement. "If deployed effectively, efficiently and ethically, early initiation of treatment will be fundamental to turning the tide of the epidemic."

ADAP, Disclosure and Stigma: Front and Center

Bambi W. Gaddist, DrPH, founder and executive director of the South Carolina HIV/AIDS Council, which serves a largely African American and low-income client base, endorses the HPTN 052 findings--with a proviso. "I am elated that the NIAID study officially confirms what we already knew," says Dr. Gaddist. The findings will serve as the "premise for our position as HIV/AIDS activists when we interface with congressional and state leadership who fail to support ADAP," she adds.

The AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) is the federal-state partnership that helps low-income people living with HIV/AIDS pay for their expensive, lifesaving medications. Recently a number of states have slashed funding for ADAP, whose participants are disproportionately Black.

But, testing and treatment are only one part of the equation. "The discussion of disclosure will become a greater imperative in light of these supportive findings," says Dr. Gaddist, who worries that the HPTN 052 results could lead some to develop a false sense of security.

"These outcomes should accompany a national discussion of reducing HIV/AIDS stigma--so that the community will uphold the ideals of prevention," adds Dr. Gaddist. "If we move to this mind-set, these medicines will not be needed in the first place."

Wilson believes that the AIDS movement has reached "a deciding moment" in the pandemic's 30-year history. "We have the tools to end the AIDS epidemic," he says. "The question is whether we have the political will and compassion to make the investment necessary to use them."

Rod McCullom, a writer and television news producer, blogs on Black gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender news and pop culture at rod20.com.

Panic, Ignorance Mark U.S. Debt Ceiling Debate

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By Charles D. Ellison, Special to the NNPA from The Philadelphia Tribune –

WASHINGTON — It may not have showed up in a reality show and it certainly wasn’t the pick of the week on “American Idol,” but it was important enough to further rattle ravenous market speculators and red-eared lawmakers on Capitol Hill still playing chicken: On May 16, the national debt hit its ceiling — then kept on moving past $14.3 trillion.

At occasional briefings, press conferences and lectures, U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner appeared as batty as a heartbroken mad scientist.

"I have written to Congress on previous occasions regarding the importance of timely action to increase the debt limit in order to protect the full faith and credit of the United States and avoid catastrophic economic consequences for citizens," said Geithner, last week. in yet another letter to Congress, looking as grim-faced and aged as Professor Lime in the hit sci-fi series “Fringe.” "I again urge Congress to act to increase the statutory debt limit as soon as possible."

But, as with most political and economic crises these days, life goes on. While the Treasury made dramatic moves on the day the debt peaked by temporarily divesting itself from two major government pension funds, the news didn’t seem to hit the American public that hard.

It wasn’t being bantered about on” The Michael Baisden Show” nor teased on TMZ. The Black blogosphere was, instead, lit up over Japanese evolutionary psychologist Satori Kanzawa’s ill-founded conclusions on Black females, while tabloids were circling over the outing of former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s love child.

It all added to what observers lament is a severe lack of awareness surrounding the debt ceiling and what it is. While Washington wonks can pick, probe, and pontificate on every aspect of the national debt standing on their hands, after drowning in Tuesday happy hour alcohol, the average American simply sees it as yet another example of government spending beyond its means — and that’s if they even know there is a debt problem.

“Miseducation is a big problem,” admitted one Republican House, describing the electorate’s collective intelligence on the issue in not so flattering terms. “One reason Members [of Congress] are playing games with it is because it’s not a sexy topic. Most people are like ‘debt what?,’ literally looking up to see if a piano is going to fall on them. So, we can get away with playing chicken or going to the edge of the cliff because most people don’t know what this is about.”

This explains the sense of urgency Geithner and other Obama Administration officials are having in pushing the subject. The Treasury’s Web site is freshly updated with Geithner missives to Congress urging action — like now. The home page is making certain few miss the big-as-day primer titled “Get the Facts: Raising the Debt Ceiling.”

And, while everyone from the President to his Treasury Secretary on down to the White House cooks are warning of a “financial meltdown” that will make the recent recession look like toddler potty training should Congress decide to vote against raising the debt ceiling, signs suggest the American public either doesn’t care or is too mad to be bothered.

Recent polls show the reality of the above-quoted aide’s blithering assessment combined with disturbing political schizophrenia on the topic. Princeton, N.J.-based Gallup, titan of weekly polls, showed a majority of respondents actually wanting Congress to vote against the debt ceiling — despite the Book of Revelation-style outcome, as warned by Obama Administration officials, if such a vote were to occur.

Forty-seven percent of poll respondents didn’t want the debt ceiling raised, while 34 percent were “unsure” and 19 percent “favored it” (Perhaps this later group, a clear minority, were those who momentarily turned their heads away from “Celebrity Apprentice” and Donald Trump’s ugly public demise?)

A CNN poll was a bit more caustic: 60 percent were firmly against raising the deby ceiling compared to 37 percent who wanted it raised. Not surprisingly, seven out of 10 Republicans “rejected” the notion of raising it, while a small majority of Democrats reluctantly went along with the whole idea of kicking the can. Independents, however, are dead set against it across the board. That includes an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, similar to the Gallup results, which reflects 46 percent were against, 38 percent unsure, and 16 percent for it.

Yet, in an inexplicable roundabout that, perhaps, suggests lack of understanding, the CNN poll showed 58 percent agreeing with Geithner, and company, that financial Armageddon will ensue, if the ceiling wasn’t raised.

Meanwhile, budget expert Tad DeHaven, from the libertarian Cato Institute, sees an opportunity in all of this.

“I don’t put a lot of stock in public polling, especially when it comes to budgetary issues,” quips DeHaven. But, he sees a trend where most people paying attention to the issue are probably a bit more aware than Washington insiders would like to admit. “For most people polled, I’m guessing that their thought process goes something like this: Debt equals bad…ceiling on debt equals good…therefore, debt above ceiling equals bad.”

“The public’s intuition that raising the debt ceiling is ‘bad’ is spot on,” DeHaven added. “Therefore, it’s an opportunity to educate the public on why runaway debt is a problem and what can be done to solve it. Unfortunately, too many politicians want to continue promising voters a free lunch to be paid for by their neighbor. But, their neighbor doesn’t have enough money to pay for all the free lunches the politicians are promising.”

That dynamic created a bit of surrealism in American politics last week. Congress, for their part, seemed transfixed in a bizarre mix of both poker-face and chill mode. Most Members on both sides of the aisle seem uncomfortable talking about what their constituents do or don’t know about the debt ceiling debate — in fact, some Republican Members are even suggesting that the federal government begin selling off property and other assets to pay down its debt.

Philadelphia-area Rep. Chaka Fattah (D-PA), attempting to best the best of political predictions on the issue, was still promoting his very own why-didn’t-I-think-of-that “transaction tax” concept — in which obscenely wealthy Wall Street and hedge fund transactions would be hit with a 1% tax that could wipe out the federal deficit in short time.

“I’m still pushing that,” said Fattah, when asked about the ongoing budget wars. “I believe that when we get to the revenue side of things, it will be heavily considered. If we have a better mousetrap, this is the one.”

Vice President Joe Biden, known for his keep-it-realism, was upbeat with thumbs-up outside Washington, D.C.’s historic Blair House, after working on the dreary details of a deal as de-facto mediator in conversations between Democrats and Republicans on the debt ceiling.

Described by some on Capitol Hill as “the only game in town,” Biden seemed happy to push it along, managing his own raucous Washington Insider “Gang of Six,” an interesting swirl of the Hill’s legislative elite: the Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-AZ), Sen. Max Baucus (D-MO.), Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-HA), House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), House Assistant Democratic Leader James Clyburn (D-S.C.), and Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD).

Experts seemed relieved to find out that the Blair House gang, kicking it over the budget like an old school frat party, was —at least — making some progress with $200 billion in proposed cuts, tentatively agreed to as a condition of a vote on raising the debt ceiling.

Meanwhile, budget talks within another “Gang of Six” on Capitol Hill broke down like an old Cadillac on the side of the road after outgoing Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) pulled out over details of a deal that were still unclear. As Senators go back to the drawing board, Hill staffers are stuffing parachutes.

Malcolm X Grandson Decries Allegations of Homosexuality, Infidelity in New Biography

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By Nayaba Arinde, Special to the NNPA from the New York Amsterdam News –

Throwing a book at the book, “Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention,” Malcolm Shabazz, grandson of Malcolm X, is unimpressed with Manning Marable’s hefty tome written about his world famous relative.

Marable’s book stirred up a virtual hornet’s nest when he noted that although there was no evidence, there was a rumor Malcolm X was involved in homosexual acts during the years he hustled on the streets before gaining knowledge of self. Marable went further and mentioned talk of infidelity by both Malcolm and his wife, Betty.

“The rapper M1 stated that we are all human beings, and as human beings, we do have flaws and contradictions, but we can’t apply homosexuality to my grandfather,” Shabazz told the New York Amsterdam News. “Homosexuality is against human nature. This is an assassination of his character. Slander. There is no evidence, no facts. They put these claims out there to sell books and to discredit him.”

On Thursday, May 19, the world observed what would have been the 86th birthday of El Hajj Malik El Shabazz, Malcolm X. The annual motorcade of cars and buses traveled from in front of the Adam Clayton Powell Jr. State Office Building to the Fern Cliff Cemetery to the gravesite shared by Malcolm X and Betty.

In town for “Malcolm X Week,” Malcolm Shabazz was scheduled to speak at City College at the Guillermo Morales-Assata Shakur Center.

“I haven’t read the entire book; I have read excerpts,” Shabazz said of Marable’s controversial biography, which was released last month, mere days before Marable’s passing.

“This book is about making money,” Shabazz charged, “but I had known the man personally since I was about 16 years old. The three main things that stick out in the book to me is how he emphasized the homosexual acts that [he implied] my grandfather was engaged in with a rich white man during his hustling days; how my grandparents had a loveless relationship and were unfaithful to each other; and how my grandfather may have embellished his criminal lifestyle.

“They can’t apply homosexuality to my grandfather at all. To try and do so does not humanize him, it dehumanizes him. You know, J. Edgar Hoover, the FBI, and the CIA were monitoring my grandfather to put out dirt about him. If they couldn’t find anything, what makes anyone think Manning Marable has? Manning Marable is a better researcher and investigator than the FBI and the CIA? The FBI and the CIA put out tapes on Dr. Martin Luther King’s indiscretions and other leaders. They couldn’t find anything on my grandfather, so we don’t try to create something that wasn’t there.”

Shabazz’s No. 2 point: “My grandparents had a very unique relationship. It was a model for us as a people. They had six children together, so they were obviously intimate and they were mating. I have one daughter, and she is a blessing. Unfortunately, her mother and I don’t have the best relationship. I wish I would have more children with one woman, but to have six children to one woman—that shows the love right there.”

The young man further said, “As for my grandmother, after my grandfather passed, she didn’t get remarried a year or two years later or somewhere down the line. You could raise the question, but how could he even know that? My grandmother never got remarried. No one could ever fill that void, fill those shoes. No one out there can ever claim that they had a relationship with my grandmother other than my grandfather. No one can make the claim.”

And, his third point, Shabazz assserted, “To say that he embellished his criminal lifestyle…if anything, he downplayed his criminal lifestyle. If anybody is writing about themselves, they are not going to tell all the dirt they did.

“My grandfather spoke out against the social ills that led to situations that produced criminal lifestyles. One thing is though, people from all walks of life, from pimps to a drug addict, drug dealer, convicts, they all can all look at him and think, ‘He’s been in my shoes and look where he is now.’ What did he represent to our people? He is an inspiration. He’s a perfect example of the epitome of change.”

While the 27-year-old father of one said he has not spoken to anyone from Marable’s group, “This is the first time I’m speaking about it. There are way more important things to talk about than the Manning Marable book, which is about making money at the end of the day.”

He questioned why the author “hasn’t relied on any information from the Shabazz family, the Little family, personal family friends, supporters or associates—people who are alive today like Earl Grant, [who is] living in California. He was a member of the OAAU. He was right by my grandfather’s second in command. Or A. Peter Bailey, who was also in the OAAU with my grandfather. Where did this information come from? A third or fourth party?”

Citing the Bible and how it has been revised so many times, Shabazz said sometimes with powerful books, “The truth is there to attract you. And, there are falsehoods there to entrap you—and that’s not scholarly.”

“I’ve spoken to Manning Marable several times since I was 16,” Shabazz noted, adding that he never thought Marable would write such a book about his grandfather. In a world where there is sometimes a state of “education versus certification,” Shabazz said “it’s unfortunate” that there are certain “intellectual leaders” who are able to position themselves to be authorities on issues that they have little or no personal knowledge. “Sometimes we have these people who are raised with a silver spoon in their mouths their whole life, but take the position of being a spokesperson for the people or talk about shared experiences that they just haven’t been through,” said Shabazz.

He quoted the eulogy that actor Ossie Davis delivered at his grandfather’s funeral, in which he called Malcolm X “our Black shining prince, our Black shining manhood.” “They took that and put homosexual on top of that,” said Shabazz. “They want to promote homosexuality at the end of the day. When I was at school, people were not openly gay; today, people are saying they are gay in the first grade. It’s really acceptable today. They want to promote that today to our people with one of our greatest leaders. But, there is no proof. There’s no basis, no facts.”

Asked if this is the consensus with the Shabazz family, he replied, “My aunts and my mother are probably more emotional about it than I am. I just want to protect them. That’s their father. They watched him get murdered. They remember that. Everything their father represents is real personal.”

As he finishes his own book, a coming-of-age memoir packed with social political commentary, the man who was 12-years-old when he was charged with setting the fire that killed his grandmother in 1996, said his book will touch on many issues, including previously undisclosed facts.

Shabazz, the father of Ilyasah, his 4-year-old daughter, is about to return to John Jay College to study international criminal justice and government. During his visit to New York last week, he was also scheduled to visit political prisoner Sekou Odinga, who is currently being held at the Shawangunk Correctional Facility.

Accompanying Shabazz will be journalist J.R. Valrey. The Bay Area–based scribe, creative force and producer of “Operation Small Ax,” an Oscar Grant documentary, is coming to the city to promote his fascinating tome, “Block Reportin.” He has assembled a series of his interviews with a host of notable Black figures, ranging from Malcolm Shabazz to former U.S. Congresswoman and former presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney, Mumia Abu Jamal, Ericka Huggins, and Freeway Ricky Ross.

Citing what happened with Denmark Vesey, Shabazz said that when the leader of a would-be revolt among enslaved Africans was killed by white enslavers, “nobody could mourn. Nobody could wear black, nobody could cry, nobody could know where he was buried, because they didn’t want that place to become a place of homage. So, it is important that we visit the gravesites of people, my grandfather,” he said regarding the May 19 annual pilgrimage to the cemetery, which is located half an hour outside of New York City.

“It’s important that we visit the gravesites and honor and keep [our leaders’] legacies alive. It honors their spirits, their sacrifices, and their contributions. It helps us to honor their memory, but always we keep God first.”

“Malcolm X fought for the freedom of African people worldwide,” said Viola Plummer, co-founder of the December 13th Movement. “He taught us to take our struggle to the international arena and strengthen Pan-African unity.”

Announcing an evening presentation, Plummer declared, “The current imperialist attack on Africans at home and abroad must be beaten back politically and economically. Hands off, Libya and Zimbabwe!...”

Surgeon General Benjamin Urges Med School Graduates to be Socially Conscious

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By Ayana Jones, Special to the NNPA from The Philadelphia Tribune –

When Dr. Regina M. Benjamin, Surgeon General of the U.S., addressed more than 400 Drexel University College of Medicine graduates, she encouraged them to make a difference.

Benjamin shared some of her personal experiences during the commencement ceremony held last week at the Kimmel Center for Performing Arts.

While an intern fresh out of medical school, Benjamin was instrumental in getting a resolution passed in the Georgia delegation of the American Medical Association that encouraged medical schools across the country to include sexually transmitted diseases in their core curriculum.

“I learned that one person can make a difference, whether it’s in medical policy or in medical practice,” said Benjamin, who received an honorary doctorate of science during the ceremony.

Prior to becoming surgeon general, Benjamin practiced medicine at the Bayou La Batre Clinic in a small, poor Alabama fishing village, where her patients had problems that went beyond the prescription pad. With that in mind, she became more involved in the community organizations in an effort to obtain services for her patients.

She shared the story of “Donna,” a young mother of two small children, whose seizures returned because the pharmacy switched her brand-name prescription to a generic drug. Donna, who could not read, did not realize that the generic medication had caused her seizures to return.

“You’re going to have patients like Donna and others that will need you to be their voice. They will need you to advocate for them,” Benjamin told the graduates.

With that in mind, she encouraged the graduates to become active in their respective communities.

As surgeon general, Benjamin provides the public with information available on improving their health and oversees the operational command of 6,500 uniformed health officers. Her priorities include childhood obesity, breastfeeding support, smoking, HIV/AIDS, youth violence, behavior health, medicine adherence, and health disparities.

As she addressed the graduates, Benjamin underscored the trust that people hold in physicians.

“There is nothing like the look on a mother’s face when you tell her, her baby is going to be okay – whether her baby is three or 33. Our patients truly trust us. If a woman is being physically abused, she will tell you her deepest, darkest secrets before she tells her family, her priest, her minister or her rabbi – because she trusts you,” Benjamin said.

“A mother will put her baby in your hands – a perfect stranger – because she trusts you. Your hands are often the first hands an infant feels when it enters this earth and sometimes your hands will be the last hands that an elderly person feels when they exit this earth.”

As leaders, Benjamin reminded the graduates they never know who’s watching them. She recalled receiving an envelope of letters from second graders who were inspired to become doctors, after they read a news article about her.

Benjamin is the former chair of the Federation of State Medical Boards of the United States. In 1995, she became the first physician under age 40 and the first African American woman to be elected to the American Medical Association board of trustees. In 2002, she was named president of the Medical Association of the State of Alabama – the first African American female president of a state medical society.

During the ceremony, former U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter was presented with an honorary doctorate of Humane Letters for his advocacy on behalf of the people of Pennsylvania and his contribution to the advancement of biomedical research and the improvement of the health of the nation. As ranking member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health, and Human Services and Education, Specter was instrumental in doubling the budget for the National Institutes of Health and increasing funding for education.

Specter encouraged the graduates to become political advocates around healthcare issues.

“In order to be successful at delivering healthcare, you must be engaged not only on the bench in the laboratory or at the bedside with the patient, but you must also engage in the political process,” said Specter. “To be successful we have to maintain great programs - Medicare, Medicaid, embryonic stem cell research, NIH funding and that requires political activism.”

With a total of 443 students, the commencement marked the graduation of the largest class of medical students in Drexel’s history. According to Drexel officials, the university has the largest medical student enrollment of any private medical school in the U.S., educating one in every 71 new doctors in the nation.

Contact Tribune Staff Writer Ayana Jones at (215) 893-5747 or AJones@phillytrib.com.

Fight for Justice Continues for African-American, Hispanic Public School Custodians in NYC

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Special to the NNPA from thedefendersonline.com –

New York, NY – Last week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit issued an order requiring a federal trial court to further review an agreement that settled an employment discrimination lawsuit against the New York City Board of Education. The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) represents 10 African-American and Hispanic public school custodians who were adversely affected by the board’s discrimination and benefited from the settlement agreement.

This lawsuit, United States v. Board of Education, began in 1996, when the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) sued the board for employment discrimination in recruiting and selecting school custodians. African Americans, Hispanics, Asian Americans, and women were disproportionately excluded by the Board’s hiring process for permanent positions. As a result, most could only obtain provisional employment. Provisional custodians do the same work as permanent custodians and are similarly qualified, but they lack many of the job benefits that permanent custodians enjoy. For instance, they can be fired at any time and have no ability to obtain transfers and promotions.

In 1999, during President Clinton’s Administration, DOJ entered into a settlement with the board, which agreed to give permanent positions with retroactive seniority to those minority and female provisional custodians affected by the discriminatory hiring practices. After a group of white male custodians challenged the lawfulness of the settlement, DOJ proposed revisions, during President George W. Bush’s Administration, that would have dramatically limited the remedies it previously negotiated. LDF intervened at the request of African-American and Hispanic custodians, whose remedies would have been reduced by DOJ’s change in position.

A federal trial court upheld most of the relief awarded to LDF’s custodian clients under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. In its recent ruling, the Court of Appeals sent the case back to the trial court and directed it to apply the Supreme Court’s 2009 decision in Ricci v. DeStefano to determine the lawfulness of the settlement. In Ricci, a narrow majority of the Supreme Court created a new legal standard that places additional hurdles in front of employers seeking to fulfill their obligations under this nation’s core antidiscrimination law.

“We are disappointed that the Court of Appeals did not see fit to bring this long-running dispute to an end,” said John Payton, LDF President and Director-Counsel. “Nevertheless, we are confident that the trial court will ultimately uphold the discrimination remedies for African-American and Hispanic employees who were unfairly denied key job benefits.”

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