Bishop Talbert Swan Speaks On Kanye, Stacy Abrams, Brian Kemp And Much More

Talbert Wesley Swan II (born April 24, 1965) is an American prelate of the Church Of God In Christ serving as the Bishop of the Nova Scotia Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction, in Canada. The Church Of God In Christ (COGIC) is...

Talbert Wesley Swan II (born April 24, 1965) is an American prelate of the Church Of God In Christ serving as the Bishop of the Nova Scotia Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction, in Canada. The Church Of God In Christ (COGIC) is a PentecostalHoliness Christian denomination with a predominantly African-Americanmembership with more than 12,000 churches and over 6.5 million members in the United States.[1] The National Council of Churches ranks it as the fifth largest Christian denomination in the U.S.[2] Swan is the fourth leader of the Jurisdiction and oversees COGIC congregations in the province. He serves the denomination as Assistant General Secretary and Senior Advisor to Charles Edward Blake, Sr., the Presiding Bishop.

Swan is also the National Chaplain of Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc. and the host of his s radio talk show, The Spoken Word. He is a civil rights activist and the president of the Greater Springfield NAACP. Criticized by some as a “rabble rouser” or “race baiter,”[3] Valley Advocate journalist Maureen Turner wrote, “If Springfield has moved one inch towards rectifying its racial problems in the past year, it is fair to say a full three quarters of that inch is the result of sustained efforts by the Rev. Talbert Swan II.”[4]

Bishop Swan was the lead plaintiff in a 1996 federal lawsuit against the city of Springfield, MA seeking to declare the at large representation system unconstitutional on the grounds that it diluted the votes of African Americans, Latinos, and other communities of color. The lawsuit sought to change the all at-large election of the city council to one including ward representatives. It also sought an injunction against the current voting scheme.[53] Refereeing to Springfield’s at-large city council a “bastion of privilege that systematically excludes residents from Springfield’s poor and nonwhite neighborhoods,” the Boston Globe brought national attention to Swan’s efforts to replace the voting system in a featured article picturing Swan in front of his church.[54]

A successful signature drive placed the question for ward representation on the November 1997 ballot. On election day, 58 percent of the voters were in favor of the question, which called for eight ward seats and three at-large seats.[55] Although the ballot question received a majority vote, it fell short by 15,000 votes of the required number to become law. Swan, on behalf of the plaintiffs, offered to drop the lawsuit if city councilors agree to honor the will of the electorate and implement the ward system.[55]

In January 1998 Mayor Michael Albano> again filed legislation with the city council to change to a ward system but it twice rejected the proposal.[56] Swan then contacted the U.S. Department of Justice who assigned an investigator to consider if voting rights laws were being violated.[57]

Eventually, Mayor Charles V. Ryan and City Councilor Jose Tosado proposed a home-rule amendment that would expand the council to thirteen members including eight ward and five at large seats. The home-rule petition was adopted by the City Council 7–2, and was later passed by the State Senate and House and signed by the Governor. On election day, November 6, 2007, city residents voted 72% in favor of changing the all at large election of the City Council and School Committee to one including ward representation.[58] On November 3, 2009, Springfield held its first ward elections in 50 years.

In October 2011, Bishop Swan joined with the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights, the ACLU and City Councilor Zaida Luna to send an urgent request to the US Department of Justice for intervention in the City of Springfield regarding widespread voter rights violations.[59] The group cited multiple incidents and areas of noncompliance with the Federal Voting Rights Act and the Department of Justice’s 2006 settlement order with the City of Springfield. Teams from the US Department of Justice and the US Attorney General’s office arrived in Springfield on November 8, 2011.[60]

Unresolved murders of black women

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