As of September 16, 2020 at 10:20 AM
(according to Alabama Political Reporter)
Alabama had 141,087 confirmed cases of coronavirus,
(6,670 more than last week) with 2,392 deaths (107 more
than last week)
Greene County had 283 confirmed cases, (4 more cases
than last week), with 16 deaths
Sumter Co. had 405 cases with 19 deaths
Hale Co. had 565 cases with 27 deaths

You can vote today, in the November 3 election, by walking in the Circuit Clerk’s office

‘Alabama deadline is
October 19, 2020 to register’

If you are registered and have a photo-id, you can walk into the Circuit Clerk’s office in the William M. Branch County Courthouse, or any other Circuit Clerk’s office in the state, and vote absentee now, early, without putting your ballot in the mail, for the November 3, 2020 General Election.
Since September 9 and until October 29, 2020, you can apply for an absentee ballot to vote in the critical November 3rd Presidential election. You have 43 days left to secure an absentee ballot. Secretary of State John Merrill and other state and national officials are urging that you apply for your absentee ballot and vote as soon as possible to avoid mail delays, which are likely to increase as we get closer to election day.
The absentee ballot process provides a way for you to walk-in to the Circuit Clerk’s office and fill out an application, specifying that you intend to be out of town on election day or you may check the SECOND box (that you cannot vote in person because of an illness) as your reason, if you fear contracting COVID-19 if you vote in person. You do not have to be ill at the time.Once you fill out the application and check the appropriate box, for the reason you need an absentee ballot, the Circuit Clerk will issue you a ballot. You can vote then and sign your outside mailing envelop and the Circuit Clerk or her designated staff will notarize your absentee ballot, and place it in the ballot box to be counted on election day. This is an easy process to vote early, vote now, and make sure your vote is counted!
If you are sick, injured, incapacitated, bedridden, staying home due to COVID-19, or are student away at a college campus, or out of town on business, you can contact the Circuit Clerk or go on-line to the Secretary of State’s website and request an absentee ballot. Make this request, as soon as possible, but certainly before the October 29th deadline.
Return your signed request to the Circuit Clerk, together with a copy of your photo-id and the clerk will send you an absentee ballot. If you are over 65 years old and give illness as your reason for needing an absentee ballot, you do not need to send in a photo-id with your application.
When you receive your absentee ballot, vote and send it in as soon as possible. It must be postmarked by November 3, 2020 or hand delivered by you, and only you, by November 2, 2020, to count in the election.
After you have voted, place your ballot in the secrecy envelop and place this envelop in the mailing envelop. The mailing envelop has an affidavit, printed on the back, which you, the voter, must sign and have witnessed by two persons or signed and sealed by a Notary Public. Your children or other relatives and friends can help you vote absentee and make sure your ballot envelop affidavit is properly completed, so your vote will be counted.
This is a complicated process and some voters mail in their ballots without signing them and having them witnessed by two people or notarized. If the affidavit envelop is not properly filled out the Absentee Ballot polling officials can disqualify the ballot and it will not be counted.
Veronica Morton-Jones Greene County Circuit Clerk says, “I am here to help you vote absentee. I will come out to your car to give you an application or take your ballot, just call me. I am willing to extend my hours and work on some Saturdays to help more Greene Countians to vote. I am working out the security for the courthouse and will let you know the additional times and dates that I will be available.”
When you vote in the November 3rd election be sure to vote for all the races down the ballot not just in the presidential race between Trump-Pence against Biden-Harris. In Alabama, there is an important contest between incumbent Democrat Doug Jones and challenger Tommy Tubberville for a U. S. Senate seat. All Congress seats in the state are on the ballot. There are judgeships, seats on the State Board of Education, a seat on the Public Service Commission, local school board members and other races are on the ballot, across the state.
There are also six statewide Constitutional Amendments to vote on at the back of the ballot. In Greene County, we also have Local Referendum No. 1 on the back of the ballot, which gives voters the chance to decide for or against, a 4 mil increase in ad valorem property tax, to support the Greene County Hospital and Health System.

Commissioner Turner places item on agenda to advertise for legal representation

The Greene County Commission held its regular monthly meeting Monday, September 14, 2020 at 3:30 pm. Prior to any action taken on the agenda, Commissioner Lester Brown raised concerns about item 11 on the agenda which had not been proposed and discussed in the commission’s work session held the previous Wednesday. Agenda Item 11 called for advertising for legal representation for the commission.
In the course of the discussion, it was revealed that only Commissioner Roshanda Summerville had received a call, prior to the meeting, from Commission Chairperson Allen Turner, Jr. informing her that item 11 would be on the agenda. Commissioner Corey Cockrell stated that he had not been told the item would be on the agenda, but he could recall other instances when items, not discussed in a work session were placed on the following agenda.
According to Commissioner Brown, the Commission’s Policies and Procedures require that there must be a unanimous decision by the commission before an item can be added to the agenda. This can be substantiated by statements contained in the Commission’s Rules of Order document:
Rules of Procedure, Section V
Order of Business
“A. There shall be an official agenda for every meeting of the Commission, including special and emergency meetings. …The agenda for the regularly scheduled meetings shall identify the items to be considered and determine the order of business to be conducted at the meeting.
…The agenda shall be established prior to each meeting under procedures to be adopted by the County Commission.
J. Any departure from the order of business set forth in the official agenda shall be made only upon affirmative vote of all the members of the Commission present at the meeting.
L. Additions to the agenda shall only be made by affirmative vote of all the members of the Commission present at the meeting.”Both Commissioners Lester Brown and Tennyson Smith stated that Turner had disrespected them in placing an item on the agenda without contacting them for their input.
The agenda was eventually approved with three votes.
Following an executive session, the commission approved all the items on the agenda, with little clarity as to how item 11 would be executed. According to Commissioner Lester Brown, he offered a motion to put a contract in place with the commission’s current legal representative, Attorney Hank Sanders. “My motion was to replace what was presented in Item 11, with a contract for the attorney” Brown stated. Brown’s motion was approved, however, a spokesperson in the commission’s office stated that the commission agreed to put a contract in place and advertise for legal representation.
Commissioner Turner stated in a later conversation that the commission voted to approve Agenda Item 11 to advertise for legal representative and include providing a contract. “Our current attorney is not under contract with the commission. He can show up or not show up. His contract expired years ago and was not dealt with,” he said. Turner also acknowledged that Attorney Sanders was not notified that the commission intended to advertise for legal representation.
When asked if he had someone in mind to bring in as legal counsel for the commission, Turner responded: “ That is something the commission will decide.”
Other actions taken by the commission included the following:
Approved the 2019-2020 School Resource Officers (SRO) Contract. Reportedly, the commission had not received the 2019-2020 contract from the Sheriff’s office during that school term.
Approved the Errors Report as presented by Revenue Commissioner’s office.
Approved the transfer of 2014 Dodge Ram truck from Road Department to Maintenance Department.
*Approved agreement with Terracon for aquifer testing at landfill for cost of #3,500.
Approved option to close unused landfill at cost of $30,245.
Approved renewing CIMS agreement for period of October 1, 2020 – September 30, 2021.
Approved engineering soliciting proposals for bridge replacement for STR#30032-265, bridge on County Road 60.
Approved ratifying removal of a tree on a building at Robert Brown Middle School.
With the county’s fiscal year ending, September 30, the finance department reported the budget balances for the various departments. As of September, the commission had 8% of budget remaining; Circuit Court Judge had 19%; District Judge had 19%; Circuit Clerk had 9%; District Attorney had 5%; Court Reported had 3%; Probate Judge had1%;Appraisal Office had 29%; Revenue Commission had 6%; Elections had -7%; Board of Registrars had 8%; Maintenance had 0%; Sheriff had 0%; Jail had 9%; EMA had 8%;Coroner had 41%; Youth Services had 0%; E911 had 0%; Library had 27%; and Board of Education had 0

SOS continues protests to demand Medicaid Expansion for Alabama

Montgomery, AL – Peaceful protestors – many in wheelchairs and walkers – gathered at the state Capitol to demand Medicaid expansion and were met by at least 32 armed law enforcement officers, not counting those in Montgomery City Police vehicles. The nearly three dozen armed police remained standing while speakers, including several young activists, continued to plea for Medicaid expansion in Alabama
Attorney and Civil Rights Activist Faya Toure said: “It is regretful that such a scene is taking place week after week at SOS events to save lives in a city with a Black Mayor and a Black police chief. Montgomery is known for its historic civil disobedience, which led to Montgomery’s having its first ever Black Mayor elected last year.”
Those present included leaders of SOS, the Save OurSelves Movement for Justice and Democracy, and other human rights and civil rights groups. They met at the historic King Memorial Dexter Avenue Baptist Church at 11:30 a.m. and marched up the street to the Alabama State Capitol facing a sea of armed city police officers for a noon press conference to continue to push for Medicaid expansion. Individuals with physical limitations participated in the march and the press conference and stressed the critical need to expand Medicaid to save lives, now more than ever with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Young leaders from across Alabama also participated in today’s events at the Church and the Capitol, including two who were previously arrested and jailed for civil disobedience misdemeanors or “good trouble” as Montgomery Mayor Steven Reed likes to quote the late Congressman John Lewis.
SOS and LGBTQ leader Judson Garner called out state leaders for finding money to build private mega prisons while refusing to move to save lives and save hospitals with Medicaid expansion. “We will be paying for these private prisons long after the Governor and other elected leaders have died. They can find billions to warehouse Alabamians in private facilities, but they can’t find a pittance to save lives, build our economy and improve every corner of our state with Medicaid expansion. This is wrong, and all young Alabamians – and all Alabamians – should be outraged.”
Kumasi Amin with Black Lives Matter and SOS said: “This movement consists of people of all ages, and we will not stop until Medicaid is expanded. We will continue to stand side by side, recognizing that the issues that affect our elders also affect us intergenerationally. Just as we watch our Black brothers and sisters being murdered at the hands and knees of law enforcement across this country, we also see people needlessly dying and suffering in Alabama because of the failure to expand Medicaid and the lack of health coverage and healthcare. I myself will lose my health coverage when I turn 26 this year. And Black people are dying throughout this city, state and nation because of policies at all levels of government.”
Alabama remains one of only 12 states in America that has taken no action to expand Medicaid. Because of the state’s ongoing failure to act, thousands of Alabamians have needlessly died in Alabama since Medicaid expansion was made available to all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. “This is unforgivable,” said Law Professor Emerita Martha Morgan.
Travis Jackson with Black Lives Matter and SOS who is also a veteran of the Iraqi War said: “How can the State of Alabama find billions of dollars for private prisons and yet can’t find a penny to expand Medicaid? How can leaders of good faith justify such actions? There is no justification, and Alabama must expand Medicaid now.”
SOS leaders John Zippert and Johnny Ford, who have been a part of the movement to expand Medicaid from day one, also made remarks as well as brought individuals with physical limitations to participate in today’s events. Eutaw resident Gus Richardson urged the state, “Expand Medicaid NOW!”
Zippert said, “More than 340,000 Alabamians fall in the gap between current Medicaid eligibility and ability to qualify for subsidized health insurance on the Affordable Care Act marketplace. These uninsured Alabamians are placing financial pressure on all hospitals and causing many smaller rural hospitals to close. Expanding Medicaid in Alabama will save 700 lives a year of people dying because they lack health insurance coverage. With the coronavirus, many more people with underlying health conditions like asthma, diabetes, hypertension, obesity and others, which go untreated because they lack insurance, are suffering higher death rates from the pandemic.”
Ford said, “We welcome persons directly affected by the lack of Medicaid Expansion in the State of Alabama, to join us in our SOS weekly protests to urge Governor Ivey to do the right thing. We want more people directly impacted by the lack of health insurance in Alabama to testify at our SOS rallies and press conferences to put more pressure on the Governor.”
Annie Pearl Avery who was on the bridge in Selma, Alabama on Bloody Sunday in 1965 said: “I have been part of the Civil Rights Movement for six decades. From Birmingham to Montgomery to Selma to Atlanta to Jackson to D.C. and more, I have been on the front lines fighting for civil and human rights. Our fights directly led to Black mayors and other Black elected officials as well as Black police officers, including the nearly three dozen lined up in front of us now. I have also been fighting for Medicaid expansion from the beginning, and I’ll be here fighting for it until Alabama leaders do the right thing and save lives instead of taking lives.”
Persons interested in joining or supporting the SOS Movement for Justice and Democracy may contact SOS through the Internet and Facebook. Support can also be sent to the SOS Survival Fund, 838 South Court Street, Montgomery, Alabama 36104; phone 205-262-9032.

Newswire : Zimbabwe grants coal mining rights to Chinese company in its biggest wild game park

Lion resting in game Park

Sept. 7, 2020 (GIN) – Wildlife and the environment will be at risk in Zimbabwe’s biggest game park now that the government has given the green light to several Chinese companies seeking to launch polluting coal-mining activities in the fragile animal preserve.
Zimbabwe is already on the hook to explain the deaths of 22 elephants just as the mining concessions were awarded to several Chinese companies in Hwange National Park.
Environmentalists now fear the mining activities will harm the environment and worsen human-wildlife conflict as animals move to get away from disturbances to their habitats.
Zimbabwe uses hydro-generated electricity but recent droughts, worsened by climate change, have meant less capacity for the country as well as neighboring Zambia from the Kariba Dam.
Even as China’s investment in renewable energy projects has soared, making them one of the world’s leaders in solar, for example, Chinese companies have been building hundreds of coal plants abroad, some in countries that currently burn little or no coal.
Last year, Kenyan judges stopped a Chinese-backed scheme to build Kenya and East Africa’s first coal plant because the owners had failed to conduct a thorough assessment of the plant’s impact on Lamu, an idyllic archipelago in the country’s northeast.
The Hwange National Park is home to elephants, rhinos, lions, cheetahs, giraffes and other rare species. Zhongxin Coal Mining Group and Afrochine Smelting received permission from the government to begin environmental impact assessments for drilling, land clearance, road building and geological surveys at two proposed sites inside the park, which is home to almost 10% of Africa’s remaining wild elephants.
It could devastate safari tourism, which is a vital source of income for local people.
The mysterious deaths of the elephants in Zimbabwe appear similar to the deaths last month of more than 275 elephants in neighboring Botswana. Scientists are still investigating the deaths of the elephants in Botswana’s Okavango Delta area and poaching, poisoning and anthrax have been ruled out.
Botswana has the world’s largest elephant population, estimated at 156,000 and Zimbabwe has the second largest, estimated at 85,000. Last year about 200 elephants in Zimbabwe died of starvation as a result of the country’s drought.

Newswire: Lou Brock, Cardinals Hall of Famer, dead at 81

Lou Brock stealing a base and Lou Brock signed baseball card

By Associated Press
Hall of Famer Lou Brock, one of baseball’s signature leadoff hitters and base stealers who helped the St. Louis Cardinals win three pennants and two World Series in the 1960s, has died. He was 81.
Dick Zitzmann, Brock’s longtime agent and friend, confirmed Brock’s death Sunday, but he said he couldn’t provide any details. The Cardinals and Cubs also observed a moment of silence in the outfielder’s memory before their game at Wrigley Field.
Brock lost a leg from diabetes in recent years and was diagnosed with cancer in 2017.
“Lou Brock was one of the most revered members of the St. Louis Cardinals organization and one of the very best to ever wear the Birds on the Bat,” Cardinals chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. said in a release.
“He will be deeply missed and forever remembered.”
The man later nicknamed the Running Redbird and the Base Burglar arrived in St. Louis in June 1964, swapped from the Cubs for pitcher Ernie Broglio in what became one of baseball’s most lopsided trades.
Brock stole 938 bases in his career, including 118 in 1974 — both of those were big league records until they were broken by Rickey Henderson.
“Lou was an outstanding representative of our national pastime and he will be deeply missed,” baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a release.
Brock’s death came after Hall of Fame pitcher Tom Seaver died Monday. Brock and Seaver faced each other 157 times, the most prolific matchup for both of them in their careers.
The Cards were World Series champions in 1964 and 1967 and lost to the Detroit Tigers in seven games in 1968. Opposing teams were warned to keep Brock off base, especially in the low-scoring years of 1967-68 when a single run often could win a game. But the speedy left fielder with the popup slide was a consistent base-stealing champion and run producer.
A lifetime .293 hitter, he led the league in steals eight times, scored 100 or more runs seven times and amassed 3,023 hits.
He was so synonymous with base stealing that in 1978 he became the first major leaguer to have an award named for him while still active — the Lou Brock Award, for the National League’s leader in steals. For Brock, base stealing was an art form and a kind of warfare. He was among the first players to study films of opposing pitchers and, once on base, relied on skill and psychology.

Newswire: Breonna Taylor’s family to receive $12 million settlement from Louisville; no police charged yet

Breonna Taylor

by Derek Major, Black Enterprise News Service

Six months after the night Breonna Taylor was killed by Louisville police officers, city officials have agreed to pay her family $12 million as part of a wrongful death settlement.
The settlement of the lawsuit brought by Taylor’s family was announced Tuesday by the family’s legal team and city officials. In addition to the multi-million-dollar settlement, the city of Louisville has agreed to institute a number of reforms to the city’s policing tactics.
The changes include imposing more scrutiny on officers during the execution of search warrants. The settlement will also make safeguards that should have been followed by officers, mandatory.
Taylor and her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, were asleep the night of March 13 when Louisville Metro Police barged into her home with a no-knock warrant in relation to a drug investigation. The noise woke Taylor, who believed someone was trying to break-in. Walker, who is a registered gun owner, fired a shot toward their bedroom door.
The police responded, firing a bevy of shots toward the couple and hitting Taylor five times. One of the three officers who fired shots at Taylor has been fired for displaying “an extreme indifference to the value of human life” when he “wantonly and blindly fired 10 rounds into the apartment of Breonna Taylor,” according to the officer’s termination letter, which was posted to the Louisville Metro Police Department’s Twitter account.
Taylor’s death and George Floyd’s, who was killed by Minneapolis police in May, kicked off a summer of nationwide protests supporting the Black Lives Matter movement as well calls to defund the police in many states and reallocate funds into social services.
Both the former first lady Michelle Obama and vice-presidential nominee Kamala Harris called out Taylor’s name at the Democratic National Convention last month. Oprah Winfrey erected dozens of billboards demanding justice,  WNBA players have placed her name on their jerseys, and 2020 U.S. Open Champion Naomi Osaka wore the name of Taylor and other Black victims of police brutality on her face masks in her pre- and post-match interviews.
Many are still waiting to see if charges will be brought against the three officers who shot Taylor.
Attorney General Daniel Cameron announced last week that he will present Taylor’s case before a Louisville grand jury at an undisclosed location. According to the Times, however, since the officers were fired upon first, legal experts say their actions may be protected under a state statute allowing officers to use lethal force as self-defense.
Once the grand jury decides if the case will go forward, Cameron will make a public announcement to share his office’s investigative findings and the grand jury’s decision on possible indictments for the three officers who fired their weapons that night.
Ben Jealous, president of People For the American Way said the settlement was pertinent but that does not mean the issue has been finalized. “Today’s civil settlement between the city of Louisville, Kentucky, and Breonna Taylor’s family is appropriate and necessary in the pursuit of justice, but no amount of money can replace the life of a loved one. While police reforms are included in the settlement, justice has not been fully served because the police officers who killed Breonna remain free. Those officers must be criminally charged and banned from law enforcement. We believe all communities deserve to be safe and Breonna Taylor deserves justice.”

Newswire: Alabama Black Belt unemployment rates consistently high

A new study brief issued by the Educational Policy Center of the University of Alabama, showed that the unemployment rate in the Alabama Black Belt Counties was consistently higher than for the state as a whole. This brief was one of a series issued by the Center on conditions in the Black Belt counties.
Chart 1 shows that the Black Belt’s unemployment rate closely parallels that of Alabama, but is often two, three, or even four percentage points higher—and this does not include discouraged workers.
The 18 Alabama counties with the highest unemployment rates were all in the Black Belt. The three counties with the highest unemployment rates—Wilcox, Clarke, and Greene counties, at 6.9 percent, 5.9 percent, and 5.8 percent, respectively—were all in the Black Belt, and had unemployment rates double the statewide rate of 2.7 percent.
While every county in Alabama saw improved unemployment rates in 2019 compared to 2018, Black Belt counties had a very different and higher starting point, as Chart 3 (on the following page) shows. Nationally, Alabama saw the largest percentage decline in its unemployment rate among all fifty states from November 2018 to November 2019 (-1.2 percent compared to -0.4 percent). The Alabama statewide unemployment rate of 2.7 percent rate was tenth lowest in the United States. This sparkling performance has not fully extended to the Black Belt region, however.
So much of the country’s economy—indeed the world’s—is reeling from the coronavirus pandemic and related lockdown measures. Following a period of extended low unemployment across the country, and historically low unemployment in Alabama, unemployment rose to over 14 percent nationally. As Chart 1 showed, there has existed a considerable chasm between the Black Belt and Alabama as a whole in terms of unemployment. Another chart in the report, shows the June 2020 unemployment rates by county. Nine of the 10 counties with the highest rate of unemployment are in the Black Belt, while 17 of the 24 Black Belt counties are above the Alabama average of 8.2 percent. These figures suggest a long recovery ahead for Alabama’s Black Belt, a region that—despite significant growth—was behind the rest of the state going into the pandemic recession.
From Issue Brief No. 45, by Hunter D. Whann, Noel E. Keeney, Stephen G. Katsinas, and Emily Jacobs of the Educational Policy Center at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa.

Newswire : Black households earned 61 cents for every dollar of White median incomes; Police violence linked to segregated housing   

By Charlene Crowell, Senior Fellow with the Center for Responsible Lending

Housing Segregation

The August 23 police shooting of an unarmed Black man in Kenosha, WI, triggered yet another round of community protests and national news coverage of a Black man. A series of multiple gunshots fired by a local police officer, were not fatal for 29-year old Jacob Blake; but may have permanently paralyzed him from the waist down.
Days later on August 28, the National Action Network served as a major organizer for a Commitment March, rededicating the yet unaddressed dreams of the historic 1963 March on Washington. Assembled again at Washington’s Lincoln Memorial, the day’s speakers spanned nationally-known leaders like Rev. Al Sharpton, Martin Luther King III, and Attorney Ben Crump to the family members of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Jacob Blake and others.
The irony is that despite the passage of nearly 60 years between the original march and its 2020 recommitment, many of the issues that have plagued Black America remain the same. Black America and other people of color still cry for justice, equality, and freedom. Yet noticeably, what formerly focused national attention on events in Selma, Montgomery, and Birmingham have now emanated from Ferguson, to Kenosha, Minneapolis, Portland and other locales.
Why measurable forward strides in policing, or economic progress have remained elusive after decades of calls for reforms may partly be explained by the findings of a new policy analysis by the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank in St. Louis. Using U.S. Census Bureau data, Ana Hernandez Kent, a policy analyst with the St. Louis Fed, found that America’s racial poverty gap continues to suppress social and economic justice. Moreover, Wisconsin, not a southern state, claims the dubious distinction of having the largest poverty gap in the nation.
Nationally the St. Louis Fed found that in 2018, Black households earned 61 cents for every $1 of White household median income. Further, the Black/White median household income gaps ranged from 87 cents per dollar in Maine and Hawaii, down to 32 cents per dollar in the District of Columbia. The disparity in median translates into 22% of all Black Americans living in poverty, a gap of 13% compared to Whites who are poor. Wisconsin’s gap is 23%.
“In noting the socioeconomic indicators of median income, poverty rates and health insurance rates, I found that White people had more favorable outcomes than Black people in every state,” wrote Hernandez Kent.
Poverty’s racial disparity extends to other key measures such as median incomes, homeownership and retirement.
Even with the enactment of the Fair Housing Act more than 50 years ago, today’s Black homeownership rate is dwindling. According to Ohio State University professor, Trevon Logan, “The homeownership gap between Blacks and whites is higher today in percentage terms than it was in 1900.”
Prof. Logan’s position is bolstered by findings from a 2020 report by the National Association of Realtors, A Snapshot of Race and Homebuying in America that found:
• 62% of Black mortgage applicants were rejected because of their debt to income ratio, compared to only 5% of whites; and
• 51% of Blacks are first-time homeowners, compared to only 30% of Whites.
Moreover, since the Great Recession that heavily hit Black homeowners a decade ago, today’s Black homeownership rate has yet to return to pre-recession levels.
With lower and life-long disparities in median income earnings, the ability to prepare for retirement is hindered as well. Social Security figures each worker’s retirement benefit on the basis of a taxpayer’s 35 highest-earning years. With lower incomes and a corresponding lack of monies available for savings or retirement, Black Americans rely on Social Security more than other races and/or ethnicities. Now, for much of Black America, Social Security is a financial lifeline and often the major retirement benefit.
In sum, it seems that in 2020, historic ills remain virtually unchanged. A key component of what continues is police violence against Black America.
In 1963, escalating racial tensions that worsened with growing numbers of peaceful protests that became violent by counter-protesters and led to multiple arrests, prompted President John F. Kennedy to deliver a nationally televised address on America’s racial reckoning.
“One hundred years of delay have passed since President Lincoln freed the slaves, yet their heirs, their grandsons, are not fully free”, he continued. “They are not free from the bonds of injustice. They are not yet freed from social and economic oppression. And this Nation, for all its hopes and all its boasts, will not be fully free until all its citizens are free.”
Fast forward and it is nearly inconceivable that the current president would deliver such an address. In fact, President Trump and HUD Secretary Ben Carson co-authored a recent op ed in the Wall Street Journal that portrayed mixed income neighborhoods as “social engineering.” The redlining of Black communities, racial covenants, real estate steering and restrictive zoning laws that together perpetuated segregated housing were never acknowledged in the guest column.
In response, Nikitra Bailey of the Center for Responsible Lending recently spoke with ABC News saying that the suburbs “intentionally created opportunities for White families while holding back opportunities for families of color…What we are really talking about is opportunity in our nation.”
With escalated violence in a growing number of cities occurring just months before an election, everyday citizens and scholars are echoing community and national leaders on the connection between key policies like housing segregation to violent eruptions.
Last December, the Journal of the National Medical Association, the professional organization of Black physicians, published an article titled, The Relationship between Racial Residential Segregation and Black-White Disparities in Fatal Police Shootings at the City Level, 2013–2017.  
The authors concluded that “Racial residential segregation is a significant predictor of the magnitude of the Black-White disparity in fatal police shootings at the city level. Efforts to ameliorate the problem of fatal police violence must move beyond the individual level and consider the interaction between law enforcement officers and the neighborhoods that they police.”
Before the thousands gathered this August, Rev. Sharpton also spoke to this same concern.
“It’s time we have a conversation with America. We need to have a conversation about your racism, about your bigotry, about your hate, about how you would put your knee on our neck while we cry our lives. We need a new conversation…You act like it’s no trouble to shoot us in the back. You act like it’s no trouble to put a choke hold on us while we scream, ‘I can’t breathe,’ 11 times. You act like it’s no trouble to hold a man down on the ground until you squeeze the life out of him.”
“Our vote is dipped in blood,” he continued. “Our vote is dipped in those that went to their grave. We don’t care how long the line, we don’t care what you do, we’re going to vote, not for one candidate or the other, but we going to vote for a nation that’ll stop the George Floyds, that’ll stop the Breonna Taylors.”
Let the church say Amen.