No Action by Selma Police Multiple death threats made to Attorney Faya Rose Toure

Attorney
Faya Rose Toure

Senator Hank Sanders of Selma held a press conference, Friday, January 25, 2019 to protest the inaction of the Selma police regarding repeated death threats to his wife Attorney Faya Rose Toure. Faya Rose is a nationally recognized civil rights and voting rights activist, who has organized the Bridge Crossing Jubilee in Selma for decades.
Faya Rose Toure, the 73-year-old grandmother, attorney at law and wife of former state Senator Hank Sanders, has received multiple and ongoing death threats.  Her husband, Hank Sanders, said at a Selma news conference today:  “These death threats started last summer.  A person started calling our Law Offices of Chestnut, Sanders and Sanders threatening “to kill Rose Sanders” (Faya Rose Toure).  These threats were reported to the Selma Police Department, and nothing was done. 
“Subsequently, the person started calling Z105.3 FM Radio Station on multiple occasions with threats to “kill Rose Sanders” (Faya Rose Toure).  These threats were reported to the Selma Police Department by a radio personality who heard them firsthand.  Attorney Faya Rose Toure also personally went to the Selma Police Chief.  The phone number of the person calling the radio station repeatedly with death threats for Faya Toure was also provided to the Selma Police.  Nothing has been done.
Hank Sanders said that his wife was also threatened by a white man in Orville, a Dallas County rural community south of Selma, on December 12, 2017 at the conclusion of the General Election to confirm Doug Jones for U. S. Senator. “Faya Rose was driving my car and checking the voting polls in Dallas County. This man ripped the ‘Vote or Die’ signs off the car, threw the signs on the ground, started hitting on the car and said someone is going to die tonight.”
This attack and threat was reported to Dallas County law enforcement authorities. A cell photo of the man was given to the proper authorities. “We recently learned that after a year and a half, the Dallas County Grand Jury indicted the man for the misdemeanor charge of harassment, ignoring the death threat,” said Hank Sanders.
Sanders added:  “Selma has the terrible distinction of being the most dangerous city in Alabama and the eighth most dangerous city in America.  In the last year there have been 16 murders in Selma, a city of fewer than 18,000.  Some young men who have also been threatened have told us that when they are threatened, they know that the police will not do anything about it.  They believe that is why too many take matters into their own hands, resulting in injuries and deaths.”
Sanders said:  “I am sick and tired of these death threats.  I am sick and tired of the Selma Police not doing anything about these death threats. “If something is not done, we will have to take some steps.”

400 Ways to Celebrate the Bicentennial

By Dave Helms –
January 24, 2019

MoonPie over Mobile New Year’s Eve Celebration. Photo courtesy of mobile.org
Mobile’s MoonPie has dropped, New Year’s Eve tradition that it is, but there are still hundreds of other events planned in 225 cities and towns to mark Alabama’s bicentennial year.
Some of the events are quiet and humble; others will blare through the streets. One happens Feb. 23 on the state’s highest land, when bands and choirs will mark the release of a U.S. Postal Service Bicentennial stamp on Mount Cheaha. Shortly after that, the party moves to Constitution Village, where legislators crafted Alabama’s first constitution.
“From small towns to big cities, the bicentennial is going to have an enormous impact during 2019,” says Jay Lamar, executive director of the Alabama Bicentennial Commission.
On March 30, Tuscaloosa will hold The Bicentennial Bash, a celebration in the heart of downtown, featuring Alabama entertainers, food trucks, fireworks and a kids’ zone.
President James Monroe, who signed a congressional resolution in December 1819 admitting Alabama as the 22nd state, made a surprise visit to Alabama months earlier. There will be a re-enactment of Monroe’s visit to Huntsville on June 1 at Constitution Village.
From July 15-20, Huntsville and the U.S. Space and Rocket Center will host a celebration of the 50th anniversary of Alabama’s role in landing a man on the moon with a variety of events, including a July 16 attempt to break the Guinness World Record by launching 5,000 model rockets simultaneously at 8:32 a.m. — the exact time of the launch of Apollo 11 on July 16, 1969. In addition there will be a July 16 celebration dinner featuring Apollo astronauts and a July 20 concert.
From Sept. 11-15, there will be a Ride Alabama 200 “Civil Rights Ride.” In all there will be three designated cycling routes that will take riders to historic sites throughout the state, including this four-day Civil Rights Trail ride spanning 200 miles and more than 50 historic sites.
Dec. 13-15 will mark the culmination of the bicentennial in Montgomery with parades, fireworks, music and the dedication of Bicentennial Park.
A complete schedule of events is available at ALABAMA200.org.

Newswire: The National Park Foundation brings iconic civil rights site into the National Parks system

The home where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. raised his family with Coretta Scott King will be made accessible to the public for the first time as part of Martin Luther King Jr. National Historical Park, a part of the National Park System. (Katie Bricker Photography for the National Park Foundation)

By PR Newswire
The National Park Foundation, National Park Service, and King family have announced that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s home in the historic Vine City neighborhood of Atlanta, Georgia, will be made accessible to the public for the first time as part of Martin Luther King Jr. National Historical Park, a part of the National Park System.
The addition of the home helps to tell a more complete story about the King family’s experiences and contributions to our nation’s history. The National Park Foundation purchased the home, via private philanthropy, from the estate of Coretta Scott King on January 8, 2019, and immediately transferred it to the National Park Service. This follows the National Park Foundation’s purchase and transfer of Dr. King’s birth home in late 2018.
“African American history is U.S. history, and the family home of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Mrs. Coretta Scott King is a touchstone for us all to better understand our shared heritage,” said Will Shafroth, president of the National Park Foundation. “The acquisition of both Dr. King’s birth home and the family home he shared with Coretta Scott King and their children advances the National Park Foundation’s commitment to telling a more comprehensive American story through national parks. With greater access to Dr. King’s life and legacy, we can learn more about this country’s past and how his work continues to echo through time.”
“The National Park Service’s dedication to preserving historic properties is unmatched,” said Dr. Bernice A. King, daughter of Martin Luther King Jr., on behalf of the King family. “We are very pleased to have worked with the National Park Foundation to ensure that the family home that my siblings and I grew up in will be open and available to the public. My brothers and I are honored to have fulfilled my mother’s wish to allow future generations to know the story of our dad as a father, a husband, a minister, and a civil rights leader.”
“The addition of the homes where Dr. King was born and where he raised his family with Coretta Scott King provides the National Park Service sacred spaces to more fully tell the story of Dr. King’s life and legacy,” said National Park Service Deputy Director P. Daniel Smith. “Thanks to the efforts of the National Park Foundation and the generosity of the King family, these areas are now among the many civil rights sites that are preserved as part of the National Park System and will be accessible to the American people in perpetuity.”
This article originally appeared in the Charleston Chronicle.

Newswire : Donors attempt to save Bennett College by Friday’s deadline

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Correspondent
@StacyBrownMedia

Historic building on Bennett College campus
A drive to help raise $5 million and save the accreditation of Bennett College received a boost this week as donations began to pour in ahead of the Friday, Feb. 1 deadline.
The Papa John’s Foundation and the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation of Winston-Salem, each pledged a $500,000 donation to the school, and each said they will recruit additional donors.
The pledges increased the overall total raised to date to $2.7 million– a little more than half of the $5 million needed.
“Bennett College has an outstanding tradition of academic excellence for African American women,” said Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr., president and CEO of the National Newspaper Publishers Association, the trade organization that represents 215 African American-owned newspapers and media companies around the country with more than 21 million weekly subscribers.
“The college is funded by the Presbyterian Church and my great-great-great grandfather, the Rev. John Chavis, was the first ordained African American Presbyterian minister in the United States, and so I appeal to all Presbyterians, to all Episcopalians, to all Methodists, to all Baptists, and to those of all faiths, to help save Bennett College,” Chavis said.
The privately-owned four-year historically black liberal arts college for women that’s located in Greensboro, was founded in 1873 as a school to educate recently freed slaves and train both men and women as teachers. An integral part of its community since its founding in 1873, Bennett transitioned into a women’s school in 1926.
Reduced enrollment levels in recent years have sapped the college’s coffers, resulting in budget shortfalls and placing Bennett at risk of permanently losing its accreditation.
Students, alumni and others associated with Bennett have developed a websitewhere donations can be made and information about the college can be found.
Using the tagline and hashtag, “Stand with Bennett,” the group also presents evidence that Bennett has made significant gains in addressing its financial stability over the past two years.
Some of the significant strides made by Bennett to achieve sustainability include:
· Bennett generated a surplus of $461,038 and had no audit findings.
· Bennett was approved for a capital loan deferment over a six-year period with a financial benefit of nearly $9 million.
· Bennett has steadily increased its fundraising from $3.47 million to $4.25 million over a 3-year period.
· Bennett’s enrollment has been trending upward for 2 years from 409 in 2017 to 471 in 2018.
· The college’s retention rate is significantly up from 44 percent in the Fall of 2017 to 53 percent in the Fall of 2018.
· The average GPA of new freshwomen increased from 2.8 in 2017 to 3.2 in 2018.
· Bennett continues to support mission activities, and academic and student programs.
·
The Editorial Board of the college’s local newspaper, the Greensboro News & Record,said Bennett is raising the money as a show of good faith to an accrediting agency that the college is working, urgently, to address its fragile finances.
That agency – the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges – has threatened to revoke Bennett’s accreditation because of the college’s tenuous fiscal footing.
Bennett plans to appeal that ruling in mid-February and began the quick-strike campaign to help make its case, according to the Greensboro News & Record.
Without accreditation, Bennett would lose eligibility for federal grants and student loans and could be forced to close.
“We have made the case before for Bennett,” the editorial board wrote. “It is one of only two colleges for African-American women in the nation and it has been an integral part of this community since it was founded in 1873.”
To donate, visit http://www.bennett.edu/standwithbennett/

Newswire: Civil rights museum reoffers honor to Angela Davis

Angela Davis

By The Associated Press


        BIRMINGHAM — An Alabama civil rights museum reversed course after a public outcry and reinstated a human rights award to activist Angela Davis that it had previously rescinded, the organization announced Friday, January 25, 2019.
        The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute (BCRI) said in a statement that its board has voted to reaffirm Davis, a Birmingham native, as the recipient of the award and has invited her to personally receive it. The statement said the board has not heard if Davis will accept.
        “Dr. Angela Davis, a daughter of Birmingham, is highly regarded throughout the world as a human rights activist,” Institute President Andrea L. Taylor said in a statement.
        The Birmingham museum sparked protests and criticism earlier this month when it announced that it was abruptly canceling the award to Davis that was supposed to be given at a February gala.
        The board withdrew her award after a local Holocaust education group asked it to reconsider. Davis is an outspoken supporter of a movement criticizing Israel’s treatment of Palestinians.
        Davis, who turns 75 on Saturday, has spent decades fighting for civil rights. She was an active member of the Black Panther Party, Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and Communist Party USA.
        Board members on Jan. 14 issued a public apology for the discord that resulted from its decision to rescind the award. They said there said there should have been more conversation with diverse points of view before making the decision.
        In Friday’s statement, the board said its decision to give Davis the award is “in keeping with its commitment to learning from its mistakes.”
        The award is called the Fred L. Shuttlesworth Human Rights Award. It is named for the late minister and prominent civil rights activist who led demonstrations in Birmingham and across the South.
        Civil rights and community groups were arranging an “alternative award celebration” for Ms. Davis in Birmingham on February 16, after the BCRI withdrew its award. Ms. Davis has not commented on whether she will accept the Museum’s apology and receive the award as originally planned.

Greene County celebrates Dr. King’s 90th birthday with March and programs

Rev. Michael Lavender, Pastor of St. John Baptist Church in Clinton, served as keynote speaker at the Freedom Unity Breakfast held Monday, January 21, 2019 in Eutaw commemorating Dr. Martin L. King’s birthday. Mr. Spiver Gordon presents him with a Certificate of Appreciation for his inspiring message
Rev. Millicent Owens (center) is shown with her husband, John Owens at the Godly Women of West Alabama Religious Rally in Eutaw, January 21, 2019. Mr. Spiver Gordon, organizer of the event presents Rev. Owens with Certificate of Appreciation for her inspiring message as guest speaker.

The Alabama Civil Rights Museum of Eutaw, Alabama sponsored several programs and a march this past week to honor the 90th birthday of civil and human rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
On Tuesday, January 15, 2019 the Museum held a program at New Peace Baptist Church for young people on the actual date of Dr. King’s birthday. Students from the 11th and 12th grades were bused to the program to learn more about the life of Dr. King and his connection to the development of the civil rights and voting rights struggle in Greene County.
On Sunday, January 20, 2019 there was an evening program at Pine Grove CME Church in Dollarhide to honor the life and legacy of Dr. King. Rev. Joe Webb of New Generation Church in Eutaw gave a stirring message. Rick Sexton of Dayton, Ohio gave a performance on his saxophone and also did a pantomime to a religious song. The Greene County Community Choir sang several rousing songs.
On Monday morning, January 21, 2019, the day of the national holiday for Dr. King, the Museum held its Annual Freedom Unity Breakfast with more than a hundred participants in very cold weather.
Rev. Michael Lavender, Pastor of St. John’s Baptist Church in Clinton gave the message, Rick Saxton played a musical tribute on his saxophone accompanied by a young guitar player from the Christ Temple Church of Eutaw, and many others gave greetings and remarks.
After the breakfast, a group marched from the Eutaw Activity Center to the William M. Branch Courthouse in Eutaw to symbolize that the struggle and direct action by people marching has not ended.
At the Courthouse, the Museum held a women’s program in honor of Dr. King. Rev. Millicent Owens of Greensboro gave the message and various groups sang, spoke and gave greetings.
At each of the programs, Spiver W. Gordon, President of the Alabama Civil Rights Museum recognized a list of “movement foot soldiers” that passed on in the previous two years. He also distributed certificates to ‘Godly Men and Women of West Alabama” at each of the programs. The Democrat will include more photos of the honorees in the coming weeks as space allows.

Alabama Civil Rights Museum announces Greene Co. programs to honor Dr. Martin Luther King’s Birthday

Spiver Gordon, President of the Alabama Civil Rights Museum announced several programs to honor the life and commemorate the birthday of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. will be held this month in Greene County.
“It is important for people in Greene County and around the nation to celebrate Dr. King’s birthday and to recognize the principles and ideals that he stood for and supported,” said Gordon. “ We should not take a day off but rather a day ‘on’ to study, understand and put into action the teachings of Dr. King,” he added.
On Tuesday, January 15, 2019, the actual day of Dr. King’s Birthday there will be a youth seminar at New Peace Baptist Church in Eutaw, at 10:00 AM, for students at Eutaw High School and people in the community. Kendrick Office, Sumter County football coach will be the keynote speaker. He will be joined by members of the Greene County School Board and other public officials in bringing a special message to youth on the continuing lessons of Dr. King’s life and teachings.
On Sunday, January 20, 2019 at 4:00 PM there will be a “Community Freedom Rally’ at Pine Grove CMC Church in Dollarhide to praise and recognize ‘Godly Men and Women of West Alabama’ counties, including Greene, Sumter, Pickens, Hale, Marengo and Tuscaloosa. Rev. Joe Webb of New Generation Church in Eutaw will be the keynote speaker for this mass meeting.
Monday, January 21, 2019, the official Dr. King National Holiday, will begin with a ‘Freedom Unity Breakfast’ at the Eutaw Activity Center at 8:30 AM. Keynote Speaker will be Rev. Dr. Michael Lavender, Pastor of St. John’s Baptist Church in Clinton, AL. Additional awards and recognitions to ‘Godly Men of West Alabama’ will be presented.
After a march from the Eutaw Activity Center to the William M. Branch Courthouse, the ‘West Alabama Godly Women Program’ will be held, starting at 10:30 AM at the Courthouse. Rev. Dr. Millicent Owens of Greensboro, Alabama will be the guest speaker for this program. Rev. Owens is a radio personality and wife of John Owens, former Mayor of Greensboro.
Gordon also announced that saxophonist and musician Ric Sexton of Detroit, Michigan will be playing and speaking at some of the programs to honor Dr, King. The Greene County Community Choir and the Tishabee Male Chorus will sing and participate in some of the events. The Greene County Chapter of the Alabama New South Coalition will be co-sponsoring these events.
“We have been celebrating Dr. King’s Birthday in Greene County, for over forty years because of his contributions to civil rights and voting rights that made a direct and meaningful change in the lives of Black and poor people, here in Alabama, and around the world. We were part of the protests and movement that led to the declaration of Dr. King’s Birthday as a National Holiday,” said Gordon.

Newswire : Tennessee Governor grants full clemency to Cyntoia Brown, sets August 7 release from prison

By Adam Tamburin and Anita Wadhwani, The Nashville Tennessean

Cyntoia Brown with her attorneys

     Gov. Bill Haslam ordered an early release for Cyntoia Brown, a Tennessee woman and alleged sex trafficking victim serving a life sentence in prison for killing a man when she was 16.

Haslam granted Brown a full commutation to parole on Monday. Brown will be eligible for release Aug. 7 on time served and will stay on parole for 10 years.

“Cyntoia Brown committed, by her own admission, a horrific crime at the age of 16,” Haslam said in a statement. “Yet, imposing a life sentence on a juvenile that would require her to serve at least 51 yearsbefore even being eligible for parole consideration is too harsh, especially in light of the extraordinary steps Ms. Brown has taken to rebuild her life.

“Transformation should be accompanied by hope. So, I am commuting Ms. Brown’s sentence, subject to certain conditions.”

Brown will be required to participate in regular counseling sessions and to perform at least 50 hours of community service, including working with at-risk youth. She also will be required to get a job.
In a statement released by her lawyers, Brown thanked Haslam “for your act of mercy in giving me a second chance. I will do everything I can to justify your faith in me.”

“With God’s help, I am committed to live the rest of my life helping others, especially young people. My hope is to help other young girls avoid ending up where I have been.”

The governor’s long-awaited decision, handed down during his last days in office, brought a dramatic conclusion to Brown’s plea for mercy, which burst onto the national stage as celebrities and criminal justice reform advocates discovered her case.

In his commutation, the governor called Brown’s case one that “appears to me to be a proper one for the exercise of executive clemency.”
“Over her more than fourteen years of incarceration, Ms. Brown has demonstrated extraordinary growth and rehabilitation,” the commutation said.

It was a remarkable victory for Brown after years of legal setbacks.
Brown said she was forced into prostitution and was scared for her life when she shot 43-year-old Johnny Allen in the back of the head while they were in bed together.

Allen, a local real estate agent, had picked her up at an East Nashville Sonic restaurant and taken her to his home.

Brown, now 30, was tried as an adult and convicted of first-degree murder in 2006. She was given a life sentence. Had Haslam declined to intervene, Brown would not have been eligible for parole until she was 69.

The state parole board, which considered Brown’s case in 2018, gave the governor a split recommendation, with some recommending early release and some recommending she stay in prison.

Lawyers for Brown applauded the governor’s decision. “This is truly a joyful moment — for Cyntoia and for all of us who have worked to help her,” the statement from Charles Bone and J.Houston Gordon, Brown’s lead attorneys.”The governor’s decision is proof that our justice system works and it marks the beginning” of a new chapter for Cyntoia.

In recent years, celebrities have highlighted her case, fueling intense interest and a renewed legal fight to get her out of prison.
Activists, lawmakers and celebrities, including Rihanna and Kim Kardashian West, have cited Brown’s case as an illustration of a broken justice system. Brown was a victim herself, they said, and didn’t deserve her punishment.

Her impending release sets the stage for her to join their ranks.
During her time in prison, Brown completed her GED and got a college degree from Lipscomb University. Her allies say she hopes to apply her education by supporting social justice issues through her own nonprofit.

Newsire: Congresswoman Maxine Waters makes history: First Black, First Woman to Chair House Financial Services Committee

By Charlene Crowell

Congresswoman Maxoine Waters

(TriceEdneyWire.com) – As 2019 begins, there is also a new Congress with leadership in the House of Representatives that makes history for people of color and women alike.

Long-time California Representative Nancy Pelosi returns as Speaker of the House – the first time in 50 years that a Member of Congress has achieved this feat. On a gender note, Speaker Pelosi becomes the most powerful woman on Capitol Hill and the only female in the nation’s history to do so.

There’s also another key woman and legislator that is making history. Congresswoman Maxine Waters is now the first Black and the first woman to chair the powerful House Financial Services Committee. Having served on this committee since 1995, and its Ranking Member in the previous Congress, Waters will set the committee’s agenda in key areas affecting the economy, banking, housing, insurance and securities.

The House Financial Services Committee oversees the activities and responsibilities for major financial regulators, agencies, and the nation’s central bank, the Federal Reserve. These agencies include but are not limited to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation – that insures monies in depository institutions, as well as the Securities and Exchange Commission that is charged with maintaining fair and efficient investment markets.

In other words, the fiery and bold Black lawmaker who earned a reputation for challenging Wall Street and major lenders during the housing crisis will now set the direction for a range of financial players, regulators, and institutions. From monetary policy to the production and distribution of currency, and expanding financial access to affordable housing options, a progressive and principled committee chair is running the show. She is also expected to set standards of performance that level the financial playing field and hold lenders accountable when they take advantage of consumers or discriminate in their lending.

With the right kind of regulation and committee oversight, the nation may be able to change financial trends that have worsened both racial and gender wealth gaps.

For example, a December 2018 report by the Asset Funder’s Network analyzed racial and gender disparities in wealth and found that Black and Latina women have “lost substantial amounts of wealth in the last two decades”.

From 2007 to 2016, Black women ages 45-65 had a 74 percent drop in median wealth, compared to that of White women who experienced a 28 percent drop. Further, the Asset Funders Network concluded the median “quasi-liquid” savings for single Black and Latina women aged 45-50 was $0.
Earlier in 2017 the Federal Reserve found that nearly 1 in 5 black families have zero or negative net worth — twice the rate of white families. Additionally the median net worth of Black families was one-tenth of that held by White families.

These wealth disparities continue to plague communities of color in large part because of disparities in home ownership that enable consumers to build wealth. Year after year, the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) report has consistently found that consumers of color are denied access to mortgages, especially private conventional loans that remain the most sustainable and affordable loans.

Last year, the Center for Investigative Reporting published its analysis of the most recent HMDA report. “It found a pattern of troubling denials for people of color across the country, including in major metropolitan areas such as Atlanta, Detroit, Philadelphia, St. Louis and San Antonio,” states the report. “African Americans faced the most resistance in Southern cities – Mobile, Alabama; Greenville, North Carolina; and Gainesville, Florida – and Latinos in Iowa City, Iowa.”

A second but equally harmful trend is predatory lending that targets these same consumers with high-cost credit that creates debt traps. When consumers find themselves short of cash before paydays, overdraft fees, payday and car title loans are among the most predatory due to their extremely high interest rates and failure to consider whether borrowers have the financial capacity to repay the loans without taking on additional debt.

For all of Black America, as well as consumer advocates and others who believe financial fairness should be the nation’s watchword, an expectation of a new era of accountability, access and transparency is hoped to soon unfold.

“She is a tough and savvy defender of consumer protection and holds the feet of the banks and the Trump administration regulators to the fire,” said Mike Calhoun, president of the Center for Responsible Lending in a recent interview.

Should anyone doubt the resolve of Congresswoman Waters, consider her reaction last fall when she and other prominent progressives faced a series of bomb threats and other violence.

“We have to keep doing what we’re doing in order to make this country right,” Waters told the Washington Post. “That’s what I intend to do. And as the young people say, ‘I ain’t scared.’”

Charlene Crowell is the Center for Responsible Lending’s Communications Deputy Director. She can be reached atCharlene.crowell@responsiblelending.org.