Newswire: Bernard Simelton elected to NAACP National Board of Directors

Bernard Simelton

Bernard Simelton

The Alabama State Conference of the NAACP is proud to announce that Benard Simelton who serves as President of the Alabama State Conference was elected to serve as a member of the National Board of Directors at their annual meeting in New York on February 17, 2018.
Board member James Crowell who nominated Simelton, noted his work with the special senate election in Alabama, held on Dec 12th. Crowell also mentioned the dedication and tenacity during Simelton’s tenure as the Alabama State Conference NAACP president.
After being sworn in as a National Board member, Mr. Simelton took his seat at the board meeting! “I am excited about moving forward in this new role as a National Board member and as I take the oath of office, I look forward to furthering the mission and goals of the NAACP,” said Benard Simelton.
Simelton will also continue to serve as President of the Alabama State Conference.

Newswire: U. S. Secretary of State fired, cutting short long awaited Africa visit

Tillerson with Chadian leader
  Secretary of State Tillerson meets with Chadian foreign minister

Mar. 12, 2018 (GIN) – An extended visit to Africa this month by the U.S. Secretary of State to mend fences after the President’s crude description of African and Caribbean countries was cut short this week by the dismissal of the embattled Secretary Rex Tillerson.

It was the first tour of the continent by the ex-Secretary who was the first high level U.S. representative to visit the continent since the President’s vulgar remarks. Tillerson has been replaced by the CIA director, Mike Pompeo.

The President — who has long clashed will Tillerson— felt it was important to make the change now, as he prepares for talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, as well as upcoming trade negotiations, three White House officials said.

“(The President’s) statements shocked almost all Africans,” Chadian Foreign Minister Mahamat Zene Cherif said at a press conference seated next to Tillerson, but added, “We made efforts on either side to move ahead and look at the future with optimism.”

Quietly, however, Chadian President Idriss Déby made his anger known about his country being targeted in a Muslim travel ban despite close working relations between the two countries on anti-terrorism.

Other planned activities that were called off included the laying of a wreath at the memorial to victims of the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam, and a working luncheon with Kenyan leaders.

A full day of meetings in Nigeria was reduced to a quick chat with President Muhammadu Buhari and his foreign minister before hopping a flight home.

Among the responses to the State Department’s visit was a published piece by visiting professor of international relations at South Africa’s University of the Witwatersrand, Joseph J. Stremlau, titled Three Reasons why Africa should treat the visit with scepticism.

The Secretary was scheduled to visit just five of Africa’s 54 countries: Chad, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya and Nigeria – the so-called “arc of instability,” noted Stremlau..

“Evidently, counter terrorism is America’s main Africa concern,” he wrote. “If Trump and Tillerson were seriously interested in issues of trade, public health, and good governance, he would have at least included democratic South Africa on his agenda. Instead, Tillerson has prioritized repressive governments and ones under states of emergency.”

Stremlau’s second reason for skepticism is that the US hasn’t shown much appetite for diplomatic engagement with Africa since Trump became president.

“By contrast, the US military is already deeply engaged in the struggle against counter terrorism.”

“Neither Trump or Tillerson has announced an overarching Africa policy. No assistant secretary for Africa has been named, important embassies, including in South Africa, lack ambassadors. This is in sharp contrast to the US’s active engagement on the military front,” he pointed out.

“Finally, said Stremlau, “Tillerson has no credibility. He has been publicly criticized and even mocked by his commander-in-chief. Rumors persist that he will resign or be fired. And any claims that the government he represents means what it says is undermined by Trump’s own false or misleading statements.”

Stremlau congratulated African leaders for setting a dignified precedent when Trump compared African countries to dirty toilets.

Africans should also remind Tillerson of their appreciation of China’s increasing importance as their leading development partner, Stremlau urged.
He added: “It’s worth recalling that since the 1990s, Congress has consistently supported expanding economic and political partnerships with Africa.

“The reason for this is that congressmen have been pressed to do so by African-Americans as well as other sympathetic elements in America’s diverse civil society, business, and philanthropic sectors.

“Networks such as these, as well as close ties at state and local government level that stretch throughout Africa may indeed be more important in the long run.”

Gaines qualifies for County Commission District 1

James Gaines

I, James Gaines, Jr., am announcing my candidacy for Greene County Commissioner, District 1. I am a member of the First Baptist Church Union and I am currently serving as the Mayor of the Town of Union. I feel that I have made a difference in the town and want to broaden my horizons by making a positive impact on our county as well as working to unify our county. Through prayer and great consideration I have given much thought in seeking this office. Here in our county, we have led our communities in many ways and I believe that by working together in unity we can continue to move our county forward. Now is not the time for thinking small. Now is not the time for the same old established politics and ideas. Now is the time for us to come together to become unified and move this great county to higher heights.
My campaign is not based on individuals but instead on what is best for the county and I hope all of my constituents feel the same way. With your support, I believe we can become unified. My pledge is “Unity” Starts With Us. Thanking all of you in advance for your vote and support in the upcoming June 5th Election.

Walton running for County Commission District 5

Marvin Walton.jpg

Marvin Walton, Sr. is announcing his candidacy for District 5 County Commission. Walton was born and raised in Eutaw and is a United  State Navy Veteran.  He and his wife, Valerie, have been married for 29 years and have reared two amazing children – Marvin Walton, Jr. a graduate of Alabama A & M University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Construction Management and Raven a student at the University of Alabama at Birmingham majoring in Health Management. Although a novice to the political arena, Walton understands the needs of his district and possess the knowledge, dedication and initiative to accomplish what is needed for progress, opportunities and new beginnings. He has a heart to see young people succeed and will consult with educators in the district to plan activities for youth during the summer months. In addition, he has a humble spirit when it comes to assisting people in his community and will be devoted to their needs once elected.
District 5 deserves a Commissioner who is Capable, Honest, Attentive, Noble, Generous and Efficient. Marvin Walton, Sr. is not a perfect man, but he is the perfect “Choice for Change!”

Debate Team at Mississippi State 2018; Everyone a Winner

by Larry E. Burnette,
M. A. Social Studies  Educator Greene County High School


Debate 2018 MS.jpg

February 22-23, five members of the Greene County High School Debate Team travelled to Mississippi State University to compete against over 150 students from schools across Mississippi in the annual Mississippi State Model Security Council.
In this competition students are in two-person teams, referred to as “delegations” representing countries that are in the United Nations. Each student is required to write a resolution, based upon the views of their assigned countries and submit it to the university before being accepted and will have to defend that resolution in the competition.
Upon arrival at the university, the 150 plus students were divided into seven “panels” for competition. Each panel is equivalent to the others with students of all experience levels, grades 9-12 competing against all others in their panel. The only awards presented are for “Outstanding Delegate”, “Most Improved” (which is awarded to one inexperienced delegation in each panel that is playing a dominant role by the end of the competition) and an award based upon the written resolutions.

Unfortunately, the week before the competition, Kiah Armour became ill. On short notice, her sister Miah, who had competed at UA last year, stepped in writing and submitting a paper at the last moment that it would have been accepted. Then, with less than forty-eight hours notice, two team members dropped out. Due to the short notice, their entry fees were forfeited and their teammates left without partners. The two students without partners, Ivan Peebles and team captain Gabriel Turner could not be combined into a single team because they represented different countries. Likewise, Haley Noland, due to her previous performances had been assigned as a lone competitor but was to have a ninth-grade understudy who also failed to attend.
After two days of competition, the results were as follows:
Panel 1: Miah Armour & Alanna Robinson (9th grade) arguing the role of France; Most Improved Delegation
Panel 5: Gabriel Turner, arguing the role of the U. S., competing without a partner in a team competition, finished second in a split decision. One judge has scored her first.
Panel 5: Haley Noland (10th grade) arguing the role of the United Kingdom, received the Most Debated Resolution award for her resolution paper which she so aptly defended.
Panel 7: Ivan Peebles (10th grade) competing without a partner in a team competition, arguing the role of China; Most Improved Delegation
This concludes the Debate Team’s competition year. Gabriel Turner, Ivan Peebles, Haley Noland and Alanna Robinson participated in every single event during this school year and each attended almost all of the practice sessions and completed the required research and writing. I would like to comment that in all of the years that I have been coaching the Debate Team, I have never before worked with a core group of dedicated competitors that exceeded this one in terms of perseverance, professional manner, team work and just being a very pleasant group with which to travel.
A final note on our Debate Team’s history and impact: While we were at MS State, former debater and 2016 GCHS Alumnae Olivara Hutton joined us for lunch. Olivara came to MS State with us for this same competition in 2016 and fell in love with the university. She is now two months from completing her sophomore year with better than a 3.0 gpa, majoring in Criminal Justice.
It occurred to me to look at our past seniors who earned their chords in Debate over the past three years. There have been a total of 12. By the last word that I have received from them, each is now a successful college student. Of course, there are other factors that contributed to their success. However, through the hours of research and writing, the exposure to universities, the rigors of debate competition against the best and brightest of more affluent schools, and the self confidence that each earns as she or he realizes that they can compete at this level, their perspective is changed. In the words of former debater Philip Harmon, “There they were in their fancy suits and socks that matched. And, we were as good as they were.”
I hope to be able to schedule more events for our team next year. Your contribution would help. You may donate through the front office of Greene County High School.

Thousands attend Bridge Crossing Commemoration and Jubilee in Selma

Special to the Democrat by: John Zippert,  Co-Publisher


Pictured above : 21st Century Youth join thousands in Commemorative March over Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma at the 53rd Anniversary of the 1965 Selma to Montgomery March on Sunday, March 4, 2018. Shown L to R: Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Senator Kamala Harris, Congresswoman Terri Sewell and Senator Doug Jones brought greetings at the Unity Breakfast; Rev. William Barber of the Poor’s People Campaign with Rev. Liz Theoharris at the Commemorative March in Selma.; Jamia Jackson, Greene County High Senior, brought greetings at the Unity Breakfast on behalf of 21st Century Youth Leadership Movement.


The Bridge Crossing Jubilee lived up to its billing as the largest continuing commemoration of civil rights activities in the nation. More than 20,000 people marched across the Edmund Pettus Bridge to celebrate the 53rd. anniversary of the 1965 ‘Bloody Sunday March’ which crystallized the voting rights movement and led to the passage of the Voting Rights Act.
Faya Rose Toure, major organizer of the Jubilee said, “We did not come just to celebrate but to rededicate ourselves to the struggle for voting rights, civil rights and human rights in 2018 in our nation.

We need to revitalize Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, which the U. S. Supreme Count ruled unconstitutional. We need to reverse the many steps taken by states to roll back voting rights and institute voter suppression. We need to redirect the national agenda to be more concerned about Black, Brown and poor people.”
Every one of the more than forty events that made up the Bridge Crossing Jubilee, were crowded with people who came to learn from history and to make new history going forward. All of the mass meetings, breakfasts, panels, dinners, the street festival and other activities were well attended.
Rev. William Barber Jr., and his staff with the ‘Poor Peoples Campaign – A National Moral Revival’ participated in a number of events and used the Jubilee to recruit participants in the revival of the Poor People Campaign. The group is planning forty days of massive civil disobedience, around the issues of poverty, beginning on Mother’s Day, May 13 and continuing into June, to refocus the nation’s attention on the problems and issues facing poor people in our country.
At a mass meeting on Saturday evening at First Baptist Church, Rev. Barber pointed out that due to racialized gerrymandering, Republicans controlled 23 states with 46 U. S. Senators and 170 electoral votes.
“They have a good start to win any national election and they put up extremist candidates who win by cheating through gerrymandering and suppressing the vote. There was no discussion by Republicans or Democrats in the 2016 Presidential campaign of voter suppression, the need to restore Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act or the continuing problems of persistent poverty in urban and rural areas. The Poor Peoples Campaign is designed to bring these issues forward into the national consciousness for discussion and resolution,” said Barber.
At the Martin and Coretta Scott King Unity Breakfast on Sunday, at Wallace Community College many speakers discussed the importance of reviving and revitalizing the Voting Rights Act to prevent voter suppression.
Senator Kamala Harris of California was the breakfast keynote speaker. She is also considered a possible Democratic candidate for President in 2020. Harris said that the people who marched in Selma in 1965 were “patriots fighting for the ideals of the America we love. They laid the foundation for us to follow. Selma laid a blueprint when they crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge and paved the way for the bridges we must build to the future.
“We must address adversity and inequalities of our time. We need inspiration from the DACA children, from reports that show continuing problems of home-ownership, employment and poverty in America, and actions of the NRA promoting gun violence among our children. We must fight for justice and against injustice in each generation. Do not despair – roll up our sleeves and go to work,” she said.
Senator Doug Jones in his talk said that the lessons of Selma, show the best of America. “We must continue to work for stronger public education for all of our children, health care for all people, keeping our rural hospitals open and other steps that will unify our people.” Congresswoman Terry Sewell of Alabama made similar comments.
Congresswoman Maxine Waters of California called for the impeachment of President Trump in her remarks. “ I come to Selma, almost every year for the Jubilee, it keeps me grounded. I will not be intimidated by the person in the White House. It is clear from what he says and what he does that he has a mental illness and is unstable. He mocked a disabled journalist, he called Carly Fiorina ugly, he said to grab women by their private parts. He is unfit to be President by temperament and policy. Get ready for Impeachment No. 45,” she shouted.
Rev. Jesse Jackson said that we cannot allow voter suppression and voter apathy to hold us back. “We must register every high school student, when they turn 18; we must register the 4 million Black voters in the South who are still unregistered; we must get the 2.5 million Black voters in the South, who are registered but did not vote in the last election to wake up and vote.”
More on the Bridge Crossing Jubilee events and program next week.

Newswire : ‘Help Wanted’ at the White House as employment opportunities abound with nonstop resignations, firings

Written By Bruce C.T. Wright, Newsone

With all the bragging the president has done about how many people in the country have jobs, he may need to pay more attention closer to home as the White House resignation floodgates just can’t seem to stay shut.
Yet another key White House insider was reportedly set to leave the Trump administration just hours after the president proudly proclaimed that he liked the “conflict” that has routinely led to the departure of dozens of others. The Tuesday afternoon announcement that Gary Cohn, the president’s top economic adviser, has apparently had enough of the madness followed the revelation that another Trump adviser had violated a rule surrounding Alabama’s special election, casting doubt on her future in the White House, too.
The developments unfolded after the president hosted the Swedish prime minister in the White House and discussed the revolving door when it came to his staff.
“It’s tough, I like conflict, I like having two people with different points of view – and I certainly have that – and then I make a decision,” Yahoo News reported the president said.
Famous last words.
Soon afterward, it was reported that White House senior counselor Kellyanne Conway has violated an election law known as the Hatch Act that says, according to CNN, “that with the exception of the president and the vice president, employees of the executive branch cannot engage in any sort of conduct or speech that might be construed as endorsing one party or one candidate over another.”

She apparently crossed the line pushing the senate candidacy of accused pedophile Roy Moore.
While the White House was licking those wounds with a steady stream of denials over the announcement by the Office of Special Counsel, Cohn was apparently plotting his escape over a disagreement – or, “conflict” – with the president’s plans to impose a controversial tax on steel and aluminum imports, according to the Associated Press.
The White House has lost at least 32 key staffers either through firings or resignations. A full list of those people follow, according to MSNBC’s Kyle Griffin. Conway could make it 33, depending on the consequences for her alleged violation.