Newswire : Dorothy Cotton, civil rights icon, dead At 88

Dorothy Cotton

By Sebastian Murdock, Huffington Post

Civil rights leader and icon Dorothy Cotton, who helped educateBlack Americans about their rights and worked with Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., died at the age of 88.
Cotton died at an Ithaca, New York, retirement community on Sunday afternoon, the Ithaca Journal reported. Her cause of death was not specified, but a family friend and spokesperson said she bad been battling a recent illness.
A North Carolina native, Cotton first met King in 1960 when he preached at a church she attended in Virginia. The two began working together with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, which organized peaceful protests and worked for the rights of black Americans during the civil rights era. Cotton held a leading role in the group as the educational director ― one of the few high-level positions for women in the SCLC at the time.
Cotton is described as an “unsung hero” for the civil rights movement on her eponymous institute’s website. She led the Citizenship Education Program, which worked to help “ordinary people identify what was intolerable in their circumstances, envision the change they desired, learn their civil rights [and] prepare for democratic engagement” and to help foster “the transformation of often poorly educated and disenfranchised people from ‘victims’ to full citizens.”
Cotton told NPR in a 2013 interview that during the civil rights era, her work wasn’t often publicized because it “would have been shut down [for] teaching all those old black folk that they are citizens.”
The dedicated civil servant put herself through college working as a housekeeper for the university president at Shaw University before she earned an undergraduate degree from Virginia State University and a master’s degree in speech therapy from Boston University.
“She had a beautiful voice, and when things got tense, Dorothy was the one who would start up a song to relieve the tension,” Xernona Clayton, who was King’s office manager in Atlanta and organized protest marches and fundraisers, told The Associated Press.
“She had such a calming influence in her personality,” Clayton added. “She had a personality that would lend itself to people listening to her.”

Newswire : Supreme Court rules in favor of Ohio ‘voter purge’

By Lydia Wheeler, The Hill

A sharply divided Supreme Court on Monday upheld a controversial voter purge policy in Ohio, one of several voting disputes the court is expected to settle in the coming weeks.
In a 5-4 decision, the court upheld Ohio’s “use it or lose it” policy, known as the supplemental process.
Under the state policy, voters who have not voted in two years are flagged and sent a confirmation notice. Voters who fail to respond to the notice and don’t vote within the next two years are removed from the rolls.
The process is one of two methods state officials use to identify voters who are no longer eligible to vote due to a change of residence.
Critics claimed the policy violates a federal law that bars states from removing people from the voter rolls for failing to vote. But a majority of the high court rejected that argument.
The court’s five conservative justices, led by Justice Samuel Alito, voted in the majority, with the court’s four liberals, led by Justice Stephen Breyer, dissenting.
In delivering the majority opinion, Alito said the state’s process does not violate the National Voter Registration Act’s failure-to-vote Clause or any of the law’s other provisions.
“The notice in question here warns recipients that unless they take the simple and easy step of mailing back the preaddressed, postage prepaidcard — or take the equally easy step of updating their information online—their names may be removed from the voting rolls if they do not vote during the next four years,” Alito wrote.
“It was Congress’s judgment that a reasonable person with an interest in voting is not likely to ignore notice of this sort.”
Demos and the American Civil Liberties Union, which brought the lawsuit on behalf of Ohio resident Larry Harmon and two other groups, argued the policy specifically targets minority and low-income people, two groups that traditionally have lower voter turnout.
In a fiery dissent, Justice Sonia Sotomayor agreed. She said Congress enacted the National Voter Registration Act specifically to fight state efforts to disenfranchise these communities.
“The Court errs in ignoring this history and distorting the statutory text to arrive at a conclusion that not only is contrary to the plain language of the NVRA but also contradicts the essential purposes of the statute, ultimately sanctioning the very purging that Congress expressly sought to protect against,” she said.
Justice Stephen Breyer in a separate dissent joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan and Sotomayor, argued that a voter’s failure to respond to a notice “is an irrelevant factor in terms of what it shows about whether that registrant changed his or her residence.”
“To add an irrelevant factor to a failure to vote, say, a factor like having gone on vacation or having eaten too large a meal, cannot change Ohio’s sole use of ‘failure to vote’ into something it is not,” he said.
Six other states — Georgia, Montana, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania and West Virginia — have similar practices that target voters for removal from the rolls for not voting, but Ohio’s is the most stringent.
In a statement, Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted (R), said the state’s process can now serve as a model for other jurisdictions. “Today’s decision is a victory for election integrity, and a defeat for those who use the federal court system to make election law across the country,” he said.
“This decision is validation of Ohio’s efforts to clean up the voter rolls and now with the blessing [of the] nation’s highest court, it can serve as a model for other states to use.”
But voting rights advocates warned they will fight other states that try to enact similar voter policies they see as discriminatory.
“If states take today’s decision as a sign that they can be even more reckless and kick eligible voters off the rolls, we will fight back in the courts, the legislatures, and with our community partners across the country,” Stuart Naifeh, senior counsel at Demos, said in a statement.
Naifeh argued the case on behalf of Harmon, who was removed from the rolls under the state’s process, as well as the Philip Randolph Institute and the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless.
The court has other voting issues on its docket. The justices are still grappling with two partisan gerrymandering cases challenging voter maps in Wisconsin and Maryland.

Newswire : Diverse rural farmer and community groups praise bipartisan Senate Agriculture Committee Farm Bill

Two national organizations representing thousands of rural farmers and communities today commended the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018 released by the Senate Agriculture Committee on Friday. The Rural Coalition and National Family Farm Coalition (NFFC) applaud the Committee, Chairman Pat Roberts, and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow for the bipartisan bill. While the bill stops short of fundamental changes to provide a fair price to all producers, it contains important provisions to address the dairy crisis; protects and expands equity for tribal, historically underserved, veteran, and beginning farmers and ranchers; and preserves the integrity of nutrition programs. The bill also makes two critical updates to farm credit programs to benefit family farmers.

At a moment when dairy farmers are receiving prices as low as 30 percent below the cost of production, the Senate farm bill takes an important first step towards improving those prices for by establishing a Class 1 Fluid Milk donation program. The program will provide $5 billion per year to reimburse dairy farmers who make donations to non-profit feeding programs.

Wisconsin dairy farmer and NFFC board president Jim Goodman noted, “The inclusion of a fluid milk donation program in the Senate farm bill will help two groups of people in need: dairy farmers who have been trying to survive on milk prices that are well below cost of production and people who cannot afford to put food on the table. Many people struggling with food insecurity are working, many are children – and some are farmers themselves. The dairy donation program will provide significant relief to all of these populations.”

Two credit provisions in the Senate bill will bring further relief to farmers facing today’s credit crisis. The provisions offer new favorable loan servicing options to help farm families preserve farmland and avoid foreclosure, as well as expanding eligibility for emergency loans following a catastrophe such as a drought or flood.

“NFFC and Rural Coalition have fought for equitable farm credit since our work on the 1987 Agricultural Credit Act, which slowed the 1980s farm crisis,” said Savonala Horne, Executive Director of the North Carolina Association of Black Farmers Land Loss Prevention Project, a board member of both organizations. “These critical but common sense changes to the law will keep more family farmers on the land through the challenges rural America is again facing today.”

The bill also strengthens equity for tribal farmers and food systems and invests in programs supporting the nation’s historically underserved, veteran and young farmers and ranchers. It is notable for measures to strengthen and fund programs to assist small farmers and grow local food and farm systems. Among these is the Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers Program (OASDVFR), which has struggled for funding since it was first authorized in 1990, and since military veteran farmers and ranchers were added in 2014. The Senate bill links OASDVFR with the Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Development Program and strengthens and provides permanent authority to both programs. Under the new bill, the programs would equally share permanent direct funding of $50 million.

“We have been working hard for decades to bring equity to the farm bill in terms of treatment for Black farmers and other farmers of color to build cooperatives and to uplift low-wealth communities. The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 addresses continuing inequities and supports the quality hands-on assistance needed to make sure the 2018 farm bill reaches everyone,” said Rural Coalition Chairperson John Zippert, based in rural Alabama.

Rural Coalition and NFFC further commend Senators Roberts and Stabenow for a farm bill package that, unlike its counterpart in the House of Representatives, takes a strong bipartisan stance on ensuring food access for all communities, by retaining funding and authority for the crucial Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. It also increases support for the Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentives program and related initiative to strengthen local food systems.

For additional commentary and analysis on the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018, visit www.nffc.net and https://www.ruralco.org/.

The Rural Coalition/Coalición Rural is an alliance of farmers, farmworkers, indigenous, migrant, and working people from the United States, Mexico, Canada, and beyond working together toward a new society that values unity, hope, people, and land.

NFFC unites and strengthens the voices and actions of its diverse grassroots member organizations in 30 states to demand viable livelihoods for family farmers, safe and healthy food for everyone, and economically and environmentally sound rural communities.

Statewide: Walt Maddox for Governor; Joe Siegelman for AG In Greene County: Sheriff and 4 incumbent commissioners re-elected; Runoff set for Probate Judge and District 5 Commissioner

 

Sheriff Jonathan Joe Benison (1)

Shown above L to R: Sheriff Jonathan Benison, Veronica Morton-Jones and Ronald Kent Smith

In yesterday’s Democratic primary elections, Sheriff Jonathan “Joe” Benison was re-elected to his third four-year term. Benison received 2013 votes (60%) to 681 for Jimmie Benison, 381 for Lorenzo French, and 282 for Beverly Spencer.
In Greene County, the Republican party did not nominate candidates for local offices, so the Democratic nomination is tantamount to election, although these candidates will be officially confirmed as elected after the November 6, General Election.
Veronica Morton-Jones was elected Circuit Clerk of Greene County by a vote of 1911 (60%) to 1290 for her opponent Debra D. Blackmon.
Ronald Kent Smith was re-elected Coroner over Finest Gandy, Jr. by a vote of 1998 to 1186.
In the race for Greene County Probate Judge, there will be a countywide Runoff Election on July 17, 2018, between the top two finishers, Jeremy Rancher with 1091 votes (32.76%) and Rolonda M. Wedgeworth with 813 votes (24.41%). Four other participants in the race: James Carter with 303, John Kennard with 306. Rashon Smith with 518 and Grace Belton Stanford with 299 votes were eliminated.

Four of the incumbent County Commissioners were re-elected. In District 1, Lester ‘Bop” Brown defeated Union Mayor James Gaines, Jr. by 415 to 229 votes. In District 2, Tennyson Smith did not draw any opponents and will be re-elected after the November General Election.
In District 3, Corey Cockrell was chosen over Elzora Fluker by a vote of 609 to 244. In District 4, Allen Turner, Jr. scored 491 votes to defeat John H. Vester with 178 votes.
In District 5, there will be a runoff on July 17 between Marvin Childs 203 votes and Rashonda Summerville with 135 votes. Three other challengers including incumbent Michael Williams with 101, Marvin K. Walton with 77 and Grace Atkins Lavender with 54 votes.
In the contest for State Democratic Executive Committee member for District 72 (Female), in Greene County Carrie B. McFadden had 433, Jerildine Melton 329 and Johnnie Mae Scott with 1052. Including results from Greene, Hale, Perry and Marengo counties, there will be a runoff between Carrie B. McFadden with 3378 and Johnnie Mae Scott 2676. Jerildine Melton finished with 2571, just five votes less than needed for second place.
In the contest for State Democratic Executive Committee for District 72 (Male), in Greene County, Arthur Crawford had 659, James F. May 219 and John Zippert 1222. For the full four county district, there will be a runoff between Arthur Crawford 4216 and James F. May, 2725. John Zippert finished third with 2286 votes.
In statewide races, Greene County set the trend for Walt Maddox and Joe Siegelman to win the Democratic nomination without a runoff. In Greene County, Maddox received 2779 (86.33%) of the votes. The other candidates: Sue Bell Cobb with 159, Christopher Countryman with 37, James C. Fields with 96, Doug ‘New Blue’ Smith 107 and Anthony White 41 votes, did not break 5% of the votes.
In the State Attorney General’s race, Joe Siegelman received 2076 votes (71.81%) to 815 votes (28.19) for Chris Christie in Greene County. For Secretary of State, Heather Milan 1359 defeated Lula Albert with 970 votes in Greene County and also won statewide.
In the Republican Primary in Greene County, there were only 249 votes cast or 6.83 of the total. In the Governor’s race, Kay Ivey led in Greene County with 184 votes (73.9%). She was followed by Tommy Battle with 30 votes, Scott Dawson with 26, Bill Hightower with 8 and Michael McAllister 1.
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Seven moral witnesses arrested in fourth week of Poor Peoples Campaign demonstrations in Montgomery at the State Capitol

 

Poor Peoples Campaign ‘moral witnesses’ at Jefferson Davis statue in front of State Capitol. (Photo by K.C. Bailey)

The fourth week of civil disobedience by the Poor Peoples Campaign, A National Call for Moral Revival came to the Alabama State Capitol in Montgomery on Monday June 4, 2018. This week the Poor Peoples Campaign focused on issues of health care, expanding Medicaid and environmental justice.
Seven moral witnesses were arrested for throwing a shroud over the statute of Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederacy, which stands inn front of the Alabama State Capitol. The witness wrote “Traitor” and “Shame” on the shroud.

They were arrested when they squirted ketchup on the shroud and statute to symbolize the blood that has been shed by poor and Black people from slavery until today because of white supremacy and inequitable public policies.
Coincidentally, Monday June 4 was the official state observance of Jefferson Davis’ Birthday (actually on June 3) as a state holiday. Alabama is the only state left in the nation that still celebrates this day as a holiday for state workers.
The arrests came at the end of a rally attended by 150 people who were concerned about issues of health and environmental degradation in Alabama that affect poor people. The failure of the State of Alabama to expand Medicaid to those, whose incomes are up to 138% of poverty, means that 300,000 mostly working people are excluded from the insurance benefits of the Affordable Care Act.
Alabama’s decision not to extend Medicaid means a loss of billions of dollars to the state in health care, the failure to create 30,000 new jobs in health care fields and the intensification of pressure on rural hospitals who must serve people who do not have insurance without a source of payment. Many rural hospitals have closed and others are in danger of closing because of the resources they are losing because Medicaid has not been expanded to help pay the health care costs of the poor.
Several persons testified at the rally about their own personal experiences with the health care system in Alabama and the difficulties they face in securing critically needed health care and medicines in the state. Some testified that their relatives had died because they could not afford health care under the present circumstances.
At the conclusion of the rally, a smaller group of the moral witnesses surrounded the statute of Jefferson Davis, to help celebrate his birthday by bringing attention to the connections between slavery, traitorous acts of the Confederacy, Jim Crow laws, the current problems of massive incarceration of Black youth, police brutality and the public policies of neglect, highlighted by the unwillingness of states like Alabama to extend Medicaid.
Seven of the moral witnesses: William Gaston, Dana Ellis, Rev. James Rutledge Jr., Tony Algood, Jimmie ILachild, Rev. Kenneth Tyrone King and John Zippert (Co-Publisher of the Greene County Democrat), were arrested, handcuffed and sent to the Montgomery County Jail for processing. They were charged with Criminal Tampering – 2nd Degree, a misdemeanor offense, for pouring ketchup on the statue. The Poor Peoples Campaign bailed the seven out of jail by 9:30 PM.
These seven moral witnesses join hundreds of other people from around the country who have been arrested since the revival of the Poor People Campaign in mid-May. The Campaign is led by Rev. William Barber of North Carolina, who is working to focus attention on the unfinished business of ending poverty and inequity in our nation. The civil disobedience campaign will continue for two more weeks and then the Poor Peoples Campaign will decide on its next moves and strategy to generate a movement to end poverty and injustice.
For more information go to www.poorpeoplescampaign.org.

 

 

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day to be observed on Friday, June 15, 2018 Alabama’s reponse to Elder Abuse

 

Judge Judy

Shown above Judge of Probate, Judy Spree signing a proclamation for the Greene County DHR Service Staff Wilson Morgan, Director, Jacqueline Hughes- Family & Children Services Supervisor, Beverly Vester– Q.A Coordinator, Kimberly Tyree, CA/N investigator not pictured: Latonya Wooley, Foster Care Worker

The elderly population and disabled adults in our state and communities have the right to feel safe and to be treated with dignity and respect. Unfortunately, this is not the case for every elderly individual and disabled adult in our state. Based upon reports from previous years, thousands of elderly individuals and disabled adults have been and are being abused, neglected and exploited in Alabama every year.
In an effort to promote elder abuse awareness, agencies, organizations, communities and professionals around the world will unite on June 15th to observe World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. The following activities are scheduled to take place in Greene County in observance of World Elder Abuse Awareness.

Greene County DHR employees will wear Purple Ribbons all month. Employees will wear Purple on June 15, 2018. Greene County DHR will host an Event to promote Elder Abuse Awareness on June 27, 2018 at the Eutaw Activity Center starting at 1:30 p.m. to discuss issues regarding the elderly and disabled adults.
The national theme for this year’s observance is “Building Strong Support for Elders”. The nationally recognized color to represent elder abuse awareness is purple. We are asking each community member to please wear purple throughout the month of June, particularly on the 15th.
“Greene County Department of Human Resources (DHR) Director, Mr. Wilson Morgan stated community partners can help by reporting suspected abuse, neglect, and exploitation and by assisting DHR with arranging services to protect those individuals that cannot protect themselves. Our community partners are essential to assisting DHR in providing for the safety of the elderly population and disabled adults”.
The Department of Human Resources (DHR) is responsible for investigating reports of abuse, neglect, and exploitation regarding the elderly and disabled adults. In FY 2017, DHR investigated approximately 9,700 reports of suspected abuse, neglect and exploitation of vulnerable adults statewide, which included elderly individuals and disabled adults.
DHR is requesting the assistance of all community members to help with protecting our vulnerable citizens as they have contributed so much to society. If you suspect an elderly person or an adult with disabilities is being mistreated please contact Greene County DHR at (205) 372-5000 to make a report.
Reports may also be made toll free to Adult Abuse Hotline 1-800-458-7214, and via online at aps@dhr.alabama.gov.   All reports are confidential and may be made anonymously.

Newswire : South African conservationist tapped to head U. N. panel on biodiversity for World Environmental Day

South African school childfren for Environment Day

South African school children supporting World Environmental Day

June 4, 2018 (GIN) – U.N. activities for World Environment Day on June 6 will be focused this year on plastic pollution. Marked every year since 1974, the day is celebrated in over 100 countries.

Dr. Luthando Dziba, managing executive for conservation services at South African National Parks (SANParks) has been appointed to the UN body on biodiversity and ecosystems.

Dr Dziba, who studied at Utah State University and Fort Hare University in the U.S., says he’s looking forward to engaging with people worldwide in finding solutions for the sustainability of the world’s natural assets.

In a video marking the June 5 event, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres warned that “our world is swamped by harmful plastic waste. Every year, more than eight million tons end up in the oceans.” That leaves virtually nowhere on earth untouched, with the potential that by 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in the world’s oceans.

Nearly every African country, including the island nations sensitive to the impact of plastics on their ecosystems, has events marking the day. There are beach cleanups in Cape Verde, student plastic-bag pickups in Burkina Faso, a university campus cleanup in Angola, and educational workshops in South Africa.

Volunteers in Djibouti will head out to clean up the coastline along the Gulf of Aden, while across the continent their counterparts in Sierra Leone will focus on cleaning up their Atlantic Ocean shores.

“Today provides an opportunity for each of us to embrace the many ways that we can combat plastic pollution around the world,” said Dr. Richard Munang, an Africa climate change and development policy expert for the UN Environmental Program based in Kenya.

UNEP chief Erik Solheim called plastic pollution a form of violence against the planet.

In Nigeria, community partners are offering free bus rides in exchange for turning in a single-use plastic item for recycling as part of the #waste4ride campaign. And in Malawi, participants will learn how to build benches out of bricks made from the plastics.

For more information about World Environment Day and how to participate, visit the website: worldenvironmentday.global/en/get-involved/find-event

Newswire : Black woman says she was forced to expose herself at Target to prove she didn’t steal

From reports by Huffington Post
Target.jpg
Ashanae Davis with Atty. Jasmine Rand

In an incident characterized as racial profiling by her attorneys, a black Michigan woman says she was forced to expose her body to employees at a Detroit-area Target after being falsely accused of stealing a bikini from the store.
Ashanae Davis, 20, said she had been walking out of a Target in Southfield on May 22 when a male security worker, who was black, grabbed her by the arm and prevented her from leaving.
According to Davis’ lawyer Jasmine Rand, a second security worker, who was white, then handcuffed her client and “dragged” her through the store while yelling loudly that Davis was wearing “stolen bikini panties … underneath her clothing.”
“He said that over and over. Loud enough for other customers to hear and loud enough to publicly humiliate our client,” Rand, a prominent civil rights attorney who has also represented the families of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown, said at a news conference on Monday.
Davis’ lawyers called this humiliating practice the “Target Walk of Shame,” which they described as a “de facto policy” at Target stores nationwide aimed at embarrassing would-be shoplifters. In 2015, the retailer was sued by a California woman after her 22-year-old son died by suicide after allegedly being subjected to the so-called shame walk.
According to Davis’ attorneys, their client was then escorted to a room, where she was told to lift her shirt and pull down her pants. A white female manager was in the room at the time, as were the two male security workers. The trio found nothing stolen on Davis’ person and eventually allowed her to leave the store.
“At first I was in shock, of course, and it was just very humiliating,” Davis told WXYZ-TV of the ordeal. “I felt degraded. It was sad. I was very upset.”
On Tuesday, Target apologized for the incident and said it had fired one of its employees over what happened. The retailer later told NBC News that it was the black security worker who’d lost his job.
“We want everyone who shops at Target to feel welcomed and respected and take any allegations of mistreatment seriously,” the company said in a statement. “We’re sorry for the actions of our former team member, who created an experience we don’t want any guest to have at Target. Upon reviewing our team’s actions, we terminated the team member who was directly involved and are addressing the situation with the security team at the store.”
Target added that Davis had been stopped because a new bikini with tags still attached was allegedly spotted in her bag. The swimsuit had been purchased from a different store and not from Target, NBC reported.
Reacting to Target’s response to the situation, Rand expressed dismay. “If only one employee was held accountable for the incident, and that employee was fired on the day we held the press conference, I find Target’s efforts disingenuous. If Target fired only the African American male employee, I find the effort a compounding act of racial discrimination. Hate can’t drive out hate from corporate culture,” she told HuffPost in a Tuesday statement.
“[Target’s] corporate officers need to take a page out of Starbucks’ book and close their stores to do racial and gender sensitivity trainings,” she added.
According to the Detroit Free Press, Davis and her attorneys are planning to take legal action against Target but have yet to file suit.
Rand said her office had received multiple calls from other African American women who have had “eerily similar experiences at Target.”
“One of the women had a similar experience at the same exact location,” Rand said. “The nation will hear their voices very soon.”
A man in Minnesota accused Target in February of racially profiling him after he was told by a store employee that he couldn’t touch a pair of headphones before buying them.
“You racial profiled me?” James Edward Wright III asked the employee in a cellphone video he captured. “Sure,” the employee responded.
In April, Target agreed to pay $3.7 million to settle a lawsuit that alleged the company’s criminal background check process was biased against Latinos and African Americans.

Newswire: Black workers lag behind whites in the energy sector

By Freddie Allen (Editor-in-Chief, NNPA Newswire and BlackPressUSA.com)

 

Workers install solar panels.jpg

 Workers install solar panels
Energy jobs are growing faster than the national average and energy-related sectors are less diverse than the national workforce, according to the 2018 U.S. Energy and Employment Report (USEER).
“The nation’s energy sector employed 6.5 million Americans in 2017, up 133,000 jobs from the year prior,” a press release about the report noted. “This two percent growth rate exceeded the national average of 1.7 percent. Jobs in the energy sectors accounted for nearly 7 percent of all new jobs nationwide in 2017.”
National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO) and the Energy Futures Initiative (EFI) released the report last week. NASEO is the only national non-profit association for the governor-designated energy officials from each of the 56 states and territories, according to the group’s website. EFI provides policymakers, industry leaders, NGOs with data driven, unbiased policy recommendations, “to advance a cleaner, safer, more affordable and more secure energy future.” The report said that the companies surveyed anticipate roughly 6.2 percent employment growth for 2018.

Despite the positive growth trends, ethnic and racial minorities account for a smaller share of the workforce in the energy-related sectors than their corresponding national averages, the report said. Hispanic or Latino workers account for 10-19 percent of the labor force in energy-related sectors, compared to 17 percent in the overall economy. Black workers hold 5-9 percent of the jobs in energy-related sectors and account for 12 percent of the national workforce.
The USEER examines four sectors of the energy economy: Electric Power Generation and Fuels; Transmission, Distribution, and Storage; Energy Efficiency; and Motor Vehicles.
According to the report, Electric Power Generation covers all utility and non-utility employment across electric generating technologies including fossil fuels, nuclear, and renewable energy technologies.
“Energy Efficiency employers project the highest growth rate over 2018 (9 percent), followed by Electric Power Generation (8 percent); Motor Vehicles (almost 7 percent, including a 6 percent increase in manufacturing), Transmission, Distribution, and Storage (3 percent), and the Fuels sector (2 percent),” the report said.
According to the report, Electric Power Generation covers all utility and non-utility employment across electric generating technologies including fossil fuels, nuclear, and renewable energy technologies. Employment totals for any firms engaged in facility construction, turbine and other generation equipment manufacturing, as well as wholesale parts distribution of all electric generation technologies are also included in that metric, the report said.
The Electric Power Generation sector included 883,842 jobs in 2017, up nearly 2 percent from the previous year’s 867,434 workers, and employers report a projected 8 percent growth over 2018, the report said.
Blacks account for 9 percent of the electric power generation workforce (76,985) compared to White workers who hold 70 percent of the electric power generation jobs (615,696).
Fuels employment includes all work related to fuel extraction and mining, including petroleum refineries and firms that support coal mining, oil, and gas field machinery manufacturing, the report said. The Fuels sector employed 1,074,935 workers in 2017, compared to the previous year’s level of over 1,081,000 jobs, according to the report.
“Workers across both the forestry and agriculture industries that support fuel production with corn ethanol, biodiesels, and fuel wood are also included in the fuel employment estimates,” the report said.
Blacks workers account for 5 percent of the Fuels workforce (53,488) and Whites account for 84 percent of the Fuels workforce (903,045).
According to the USEER, Energy Efficiency employment covers both the production of energy-saving products and the provision of services that reduce end-use energy consumption. “However, the USEER only captures employment with certified energy efficiency products or those installed according to ENERGY STAR guidelines, as well as advanced building materials such as insulation,” the report said. African Americans account for 8 percent of the energy efficiency workforce (176,303) compared to White workers that hold 78 percent of the jobs in that sector (1,748,399).
The U.S. Motor Vehicles sector employed roughly 2.46 million Americans in 2017, increasing by nearly 29,000 employees over 2016. The Motor Vehicles jobs measure doesn’t include dealerships and retailers. According to the report, 39.7 percent of employment in that sector consists of manufacturing and 37.8 percent involves vehicle repair and maintenance. Nearly 20 percent of workers are involved in direct transport of motor vehicle parts and supplies via air, rail, water, or truck, as well as merchant wholesalers for motor vehicle parts and supplies, the report said.
Blacks hold 180,031 of the jobs in the Motor Vehicles sector accounting for 8 percent of the workforce compared to White workers who hold 1,832,239 of the jobs and 78 percent of the Motor Vehicles workforce.
The Electric Power Transmission, Distribution, and Storage sector encompasses the jobs associated with constructing, operating, and maintaining this infrastructure. It also includes workers associated with the entire network of power lines that transmit electricity from generating stations to customers as well as activities that support power and pipeline construction, fuel distribution and transport, and the manufacture of electrical transmission equipment, the USEER said. Like the Motor Vehicles sector, Black workers account for 8 percent of the Electric Power Transmission, Distribution, and Storage sector labor force and 97,084 of the jobs. Whites make up 71 percent of the workforce in that sector and hold 854,224 of the jobs.
“The USEER has proven to be an important tool for state energy officials, who will use this unique set of ‘all of the above’ energy jobs data to inform policy development and planning,” said David Terry, the executive director of the National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO).
During a presentation about the report on Capitol Hill, Ernest J. Moniz, the former Energy Secretary under President Barack Obama, called the report a foundation for state governments, non-profit organizations and businesses to analyze the data and develop policy proposals.

Newswire: Harvard Study: Black men sentenced to longer prison terms than whites convicted of the same crimes

By Frederick H. Lowe
Special to the Trice Edney News Wire from NorthStarNewsToday.com

(TriceEdneyWire.com) – Republican-appointed judges to the federal bench sentence Black men to longer prison terms compared with White men convicted of the same crime, according to a study by the Harvard Law School.
The report also found that Black judges impose shorter sentences on average than non-Black judges. However, in Chicago there hasn’t been a Black man on the federal bench since 2012, Crain’s Chicago Business reported in January 2016.
The study “Judicial Politics and Sentencing Decisions,” reported that the racial disparity in sentencing decisions contributes to the fact that Black defendants comprise a disproportionate fraction of the prison population relative to their percentage of the overall population,” the study found. The Federal Bureau of Prisons reported Saturday, May 26, that Blacks comprised 37.8 percent of the prison population or 69,324 inmates.
Over 95 percent of criminal convictions are the result of guilty pleas. Once a plea deal is reached and accepted by the judge, the judge schedules sentencing.
Black offenders were sentenced to 4.8 months more in prison compared to similar non-black offenders, the study reported.
Prison sentences have grown for federal inmates from 17.9 months in 1988 to 37.5 months in 2012 for violent, property, drug, public order, weapon and immigration crimes, according to Pew Research Center.
In comparison, women offenders receive 12.1 fewer months in prison compared to male offenders. Defendants with children are sentenced to longer terms in prison than defendants with fewer dependents.
To arrive at its findings, researchers at Harvard Law School studied the sentencing data of more than 546,916 federal defendants linked to federal judges. Harvard studied defendants sentenced between 1999 and 2015 and they observed the sentencing practices of approximately 1,400 unique judges.
“Male defendants are sentenced to substantially longer time in prison than female defendants even after accounting for arrest offense and criminal history,” the report said.
There are 677 authorized federal judgeships in 94 district courts as of 2017, Harvard reported. Most of the districts have between two and seven authorized judgeships.