Doug Jones meets with ANSC delegation to discuss plans and priorities

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ANSC delegation members who met with Senator Doug Jones are left to right: Dr. Carol P. Zippert; John Zippert, ANSC State President; Gus Townes; Senator Doug Jones; Karen Jones; Attorney Everett Wess; Robert Avery; Attorney Faya Rose Toure; Attorney Sharon Wheeler; Senator Hank Sanders.

Special to the Democrat
By John Zippert, Co-Publisher

Doug Jones, Alabama’s newly elected Senator, met with a delegation of Alabama New South Coalition members on Saturday, January 6, 2018, in Birmingham. All of ANSC delegation members played an active role in the ‘Vote or Die Campaign’ to register, educate, mobilize and turnout voters in the December 12, 2017 Special Election, in which Jones defeated Judge Roy Moore.

Jones was coming off his first week in Washington D. C. where he was sworn-in to his new position. Jones was accompanied to the swearing-in ceremony by former Vice President, Joe Biden. Jones was sworn-in along side Tina Smith, a new Senator from Minnesota, who will fill the un-expired term of Senator Al Franken who resigned. Smith was accompanied to the swearing-in by former Vice President Walter Mondale, from Minnesota.
Jones thanked the ANSC and the Vote or Die Campaign for their support and help in winning a closely fought contest with Judge Roy Moore. He said he appreciated “the early and continuing efforts of ANSC, ANSA and Vote or Die from the beginning of the race, starting at the first primary and continuing all the way through.”
Members of the ANSC delegation expressed congratulations and support to Senator Jones and indicated that they realized that “ a movement orientation was needed not just an ordinary political campaign, to create the excitement and interest, to generate the kind of turnout that was required to win this election.”
Jones said that he would work to represent all of the people of Alabama and he was looking for priority issues to work on that would unite voters – Black and white, urban and rural – in the state.
Jones said he was definitely going to push for reauthorization of CHIP – Children’s Health Insurance Program, which serves 150,000 children in Alabama and 9 million nationwide.
Another priority was working to keep rural hospitals open, which would help places in north Alabama, as well as the Alabama Black Belt, from losing their hospital and having to travel long distances for medical services. Jones said he would work with Congresswomen Terri Sewell, who has proposed adjustments to raise the low reimbursement rates paid to rural hospitals under Medicare and Medicaid.
Jones said building, repairing and improving infrastructure, including more than roads and bridges, and extending to water and waste water systems, broadband communication services and other community facilities. He said that he was trying to get assigned on Senate committees that dealt with these issues.
Jones indicated that he does not support cuts to “entitlement programs” like Medicare, Medicaid and Food Stamps which help low income people to balance the budget.
On Monday, it was announced by Minority Leader Chuck Schumer that Senator Jones would serve on the: Housing, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP), Banking, Homeland Security and Government Affairs (HSGAC) and Aging Committees.
Senator Jones assured the ANSC delegation that he would have an active and robust staff around the state to provide information and constituent services to people in Alabama. He was still staffing his offices and was still receiving resumes from persons interested in serving on his staff in the state and in Washington. As reported last week, he has chosen Dana Gresham, an African-American, to serve as Chief of Staff. Jones indicated that he might develop a mobile office to travel to rural and more remote communities to provide services to constituents that cannot easily travel to offices in larger cities.
Senator Jones said that he would continue to communicate on a regular basis with the delegation about the upcoming state elections in 2018 and his own re-election campaign in 2020. Jones said that he would participate in the upcoming Bridge Crossing Jubilee in Selma, the first weekend in March, and other activities related to supporting voting rights.

Newswire : H&M apologizes for ad showing black child model wearing ‘monkey’ hoodie

By Zlati Meyer, USA TODAY

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Woman walking past H & M logo

International retail giant H&M has apologized for an ad featuring a Black child model wearing a hoodie emblazoned with the phrase “coolest monkey in the jungle.”
Social media blew up over the photo of a young boy wearing the green hooded sweatshirt, which had racist undertones. The online advertisement for the top was for sale in the U.K.
“We sincerely apologize for offending people with this image of a printed hooded top,” H&M said in a statement. “The image has been removed from all online channels and the product will not be for sale in the United States.We believe in diversity and inclusion in all that we do and will be reviewing all our internal policies accordingly to avoid any future issues.”
Everyone from celebrities to social-justice experts to comedians chimed in. Tweets ranged form GIFs of head-shaking to adding the letters S, A and E to the retailer’s name to spell “Shame”.
“It was a horribly insensitive combination of memes,” said Bruce Turkel, executive creative director of Miami-based firm Turkel Brands. “People will forget. Trouble will happen if they don’t fix their approval process and something like this happens again, because each time it does, this issue will be brought up again.”
This isn’t the first time the Sweden-based retail chain’s has been criticized for racial and ethnic insensitivity. In 2015, it drew fire after its South Africa division featured no black models. When questioned about the lack of diversity, H&M’s tweeted response suggested that white models conveyed more positivity. And in 2013, H&M pulled feathered headdresses from its stores after Canadian customers complained it made fun of First Nation tribal customs.
Nor is H&M the only company to blunder. In October, Kellogg’s pledged to replace a racially insensitive drawing on its Corn Pops box after an uproar on Twitter. The sole brown Corn Pop in the artwork was depicted as a janitor. That month, Dove, a Unilever brand, apologized for a Facebook ad it ran for Dove Body Wash, which showed a black woman taking off a brown T-shirt, revealing a while woman. It prompted calls to boycott the company.
And one week in April saw Pepsi pulling a Kendall Jenner Pepsi commercial that some people viewed as belittling the Black Lives movement, while skincare company Nivea pulled an ad for Invisible For Black & White deodorant, which included the tag line “White is purity.”
Founded in Sweden in 1947, the company now known H&M has more than 4,100 stores worldwide. The initials stand for Hennes & Mauritz.

Newswire : Essence Magazine, once again, Black-owned after purchase by Sundial Brands Founder Richelieu Dennis

 

By Stacy M. Brown (NNPA Newswire Contributor)
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Richelieu Dennis

In a deal that reestablishes Essence magazine as a totally, Black and independently-owned entity, Sundial Brands founder Richelieu Dennis recently announced the purchase of Essence Communications from Time Inc.
The Essence Communications deal also comes a week after Dennis was knighted in his native Liberia by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who admitted him into the Most Venerable Order of the Knighthood of the Pioneer with the Grade of Knight Commander. Sirleaf reportedly described Dennis as an “Awesome Hero.”
“Talk about surreal,” Dennis said in an interview with NNPA Newswire. “I can’t even bring myself to say [knighthood]. It’s been a phenomenal week.”
Dennis said that the purchase of Essence Communications comes with a deep-seated passion and commitment to making sure that, “we are doing everything we can to leverage the power of the business to impact our community in a positive way and to demonstrate that we can run highly-profitable organizations.”
Dennis continued: “We can also leverage the impact and the resources that those businesses generate to drive economic empowerment and social justice in our communities for ourselves and by ourselves.”
Dorothy Leavell, the chairman of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) and the publisher of the Crusader Newspaper Group, said that it was good news to hear that ownership of Essence magazine has returned to the Black community.
“I hope it’s a trend,” said Leavell. “We do need strong Black ownership in our industry, even as I’m expecting that our Black newspapers will prosper in 2018.”
Leavell also said that she hopes that Black entrepreneurs will see the work and products of the Black Press and “seek to restore some light.” Leavell added: “We need more and more publications that depict us in a positive way and that’s certainly what ‘Essence’ has done in the past and I hope they will continue.”
While financial terms of the Essence Communications purchase weren’t disclosed, Dennis said he’s not only retaining Essence President Michelle Ebanks, who will continue to run the company, but Ebanks will also join the organization’s board of directors and lead an all-Black executive team at Essence, who will have equity stakes in the business.
“I’m overwhelmed with gratitude,” Ebanks told the NNPA Newswire. “The ‘Essence’ brand…has always had a special place in the hearts and minds of Black women and entrepreneurs and leaders like [Dennis] recognized ‘Essence’ and its importance and wants to restore it. This has allowed a dream to come true and we couldn’t be happier.”
Ebanks said that it was an extraordinary and special privilege to be part of an organization that would be responsible for elevating Black women in the industry.
Dennis said the deal to purchase Essence came together rather quickly after reading an article in the Wall Street Journal about Time Inc.’s intention to sell the company.
“The stars aligned. We started to think about the implications of what this would mean if ‘Essence’ were truly bought back into the community and the impact it could have on the audience and on the industry to be able to create our content and to monetize our own content,” said Dennis. “There was never a waiver in the commitment on what ‘Essence’ means to our community.”
Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr., the president and CEO of the NNPA, congratulated Richelieu Dennis for purchasing Essence magazine and for returning this iconic publication to 100 percent Black ownership.
“This is a very timely and an important milestone for the Black Press in America and throughout the world,” said Chavis. “Essence magazine, under the able leadership of Michelle Ebanks, is a valued treasure of Black America and the NNPA acknowledges, with supportive gratitude, Richelieu Dennis for this significant Black-owned business transaction.

Newswire : Activist Erica Garner remembered for her relentless campaign for justice

By Stacy M. Brown (NNPA Newswire Contributor)

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Erica Garner
Erica Garner, who became an activist for all who were wronged by the American justice system, died on Saturday, December 30. She was 27.
Twitter account associated with Erica Garner spoke of her compassion for humanity. CNN reported that her family is controlling the account. “When you report this you remember she was human: mother, daughter, sister, Garner’s account tweeted. “Her heart was bigger than the world. It really, really was. She cared when most people wouldn’t have. She was good. She only pursued right, no matter what. No one gave her justice.”
Garner famously and fiercely sought justice for her father, Eric Garner, who died from a police chokehold in Staten Island, New York on July 17, 2014.
She led marches and demonstrations in New York City and other places, and even appeared on national television imploring the Department of Justice to review the circumstances that led up to her father’s death.
Erica Garner’s mother, Esaw Snipes, said, “She was a fighter, she was a warrior and she lost the battle. She never recovered from when her father died,” according to CNN. Snipes said that Garner suffered from the effects of an enlarged heart after giving birth to her son three months ago, CNN reported.
“I warned her everyday, you have to slow down, you have to relax and slow down,” Snipes said.
According to Erica Garner’s Twitter account, the activist went into cardiac arrest and suffered major brain damage from a lack of oxygen.

In a statement about Erica Garner’s work as an advocate for criminal justice reform, Rev. Al Sharpton called her a warrior. Sharpton famously joined the Garner family in their push for justice against the New York City Police Department.
“Many will say that Erica died of a heart attack, but that’s only partially true because her heart was already broken when she couldn’t get justice for her father,” Sharpton said. “Her heart was attacked by a system that would choke her dad and not hold accountable those that did it.”
On a summer day in July 2014, officers approached Eric Garner whom they said was selling loose cigarettes near a store in Staten Island.
A video released showed Officer Daniel Pantaleo grabbing Garner from behind and applying a chokehold while other officers helped tackle Garner, whom family members said had asthma. On the video, in a plea that has resonated around the world, Garner is heard saying, “I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe,” repeatedly. He died shortly after the incident. A grand jury failed to indict Pantaleo and, in 2015, the city settled a civil claim by Garner’s family against New York for nearly $6 million.

Before and despite the settlement, Erica Garner pushed for justice and, with a national platform, her voice became as big as any in the fight for freedom, justice and equality.
“I had the honor of getting to know Erica and I was inspired by the commitment she made working towards a more just world for her children and future generations,” Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders tweeted. “She was a fighter for justice and will not be forgotten.” Erica Garner supported Sanders’ 2016 campaign for president, even appearing in an ad for his campaign.
“Though Erica didn’t ask to be an activist, she responded to the personal tragedy of seeing her father die while being arrested in New York City by becoming a leading proponent for criminal justice reform and for an end to police brutality,” Sanders said.
The police “killed her unarmed, nonviolent father with an illegal chokehold and got off with nary a word,” activist Brittany Packnett wrote in a Twitter post. “Erica had to fight for justice. Then for her own life…she didn’t deserve this, her father didn’t deserve this. Her family doesn’t deserve this. All this for being Black in America. I can’t.”
In a March 2015 interview on NBC News, Erica Garner spoke passionately about the Black Lives Matter movement and other protests that sought justice. She recalled the August 2014 shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., and how it wasn’t until months later, when the video of her father’s death was released, that the Eric Garner incident received national attention.
Garner described seeing her father die via a cellphone video “a thousand-million times,” and when a grand jury failed to indict police officers, she said it was time to take her fight for justice to the streets. “To me, it was just saying, ‘you know what? I’m just going to march,” she told NBC News.
Even when there weren’t television news cameras, Garner said she was determined to keep marching, to keep fighting. “That’s the most annoying question I get. People ask, ‘when will you stop marching? What do you want from marching?’ He was my father,” Erica Garner said during the interview. “I will always march.”

Total of $375,580 disbursed to all agencies : All county bingo facilities contribute to Greene County Health System for November

 

 

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Shown above: Bingo Clerks Minnie Byrd and Emma Jackson; Mayor of Union Jams Gaines; Greene County Board of Education, CSFO Katrina Sewell; Sheriff Jonathan Benison; Kinya Isaac Turner representing the Town of Forkland; Brenda Burke representing the County Commission, Assist Chief Walter Beck, Shirley Edwards Greene County Hospital Board member, and Boligee Mayor Louis Harper.

On Friday, December 15, 2017, Greene County Sheriff Department distributed $ 375,580 in monthly bingo allocations from the five licensed gaming operations in the county. The recipients of the monthly distributions from bingo gaming designated by Sheriff Benison in his Bingo Rules and Regulations include the Greene County Commission, the Greene County Sheriff’s Department, the cities of Eutaw, Forkland, Union, Boligee, the Greene County Board of Education and the Greene County Hospital (Health System).
The following assessments are for the month of November 2017.
Greenetrack, Inc. gave a total of $67,500 to the following: Greene County Commission, $24,000; Greene County Sheriff’s Department, $9,000; City of Eutaw, $4,500; and the Towns of Forkland, Union and Boligee each, $3,000; Greene County Board of Education, $13,500 and the Greene County Health System, $7,500.

Green Charity (Center for Rural Family Development) gave a total of $67,500 to the following: Greene County Commission, $24,000; Greene County Sheriff’s Department, $9,000; City of Eutaw, $4,500; and the Towns of Forkland, Union and Boligee each, $3,000; Greene County Board of Education, $13,500, the Greene County Health System, $7,500.
Frontier (Dream, Inc.) gave a total of $67,500 to the following: Greene County Commission, $24,000; Greene County Sheriff’s Department, $9,000; City of Eutaw, $4,500; and the Towns of Forkland, Union and Boligee each, $3,000; Greene County Board of Education, $13,500, Greene County Health System, $7,500.
River’s Edge (NNL – Next Level Leaders and TCCTP – Tishabee Community Center Tutorial Program) gave a total of $73,750 to the following: Greene County Commission, $24,000; Greene County Sheriff’s Department, $9,000; City of Eutaw, $4,500; and the Towns of Forkland, Union and Boligee each, $3,000; Greene County Board of Education, $13,500, and the Greene County Health System, $13,750.
Palace (Tommy Summerville Police Support League) gave a total of $99,330 to the following: Greene County Commission, $4,620; Greene County Sheriff’s Department, $36,960; City of Eutaw, $27,720; and the Towns of Forkland, Union and Boligee each, $4,620; Greene County Board of Education, $4,620 and the Greene County Health System, $11,550.

Newswire : For many across the nation, the dream of a Black Christmas brings joy

By Alanté Millow

jesus diverse.jpgThis collage, published by Christianity, illustrates some of the different depictions of Jesus. Theologians say the darker hue is most accurate.
(TriceEdneyWire.com) – As the holiday season approaches, so do the wave of images representing St. Nicholas and the nativity scene. However, just a quick Google search of either image reveals an array of white representations.
The fact that people of European descent aren’t the only ones celebrating Christmas is being increasingly recognized and celebrated as an industry is growing for festive products to which Black consumers can relate. Although displaying a Black Santa may seem like a small, meaningless gesture to some, the effect it can have on the mindsets of Black children can be quite remarkable. Multiple studies have shown that whitewashed media images have negative effects on the self-esteem of Black children.
A famous 1940’s study conducted by psychologists Kenneth and Mamie Clark presented Black children with both White and Black dolls. When asked which they preferred, 65 percent of the participating Black children showed a preference for the White doll.
The Clark study, duplicated in 2006, netted similar results. Kiri Davis, then a 17-year-old film student of Manhattan’s Urban Academy produced a similar study with children at a Harlem Day Care Center. Fifteen of the 21 children surveyed preferred the White doll over the Black one.
Psychologists such as Dr. Julia Hare, argue that – even today – these attitudes among children are because of the abundance of White images and lack of Black ones. At Christmas time, these images can exacerbate low self esteem unless they are reversed.
“[Black] children are bombarded with images every day that they see on television screens and on coffee tables; either the light-skinned female that everybody is pushing, or they give preference to the closest white images,” Hare told BlackEnterprise.com.
Rev. Orin Boyd Jr. of the Mt. Zion Pentecostal Church agrees that displaying Black holiday images could be beneficial to Black children. “Most people relate the Christmas holiday to a time of joy, good things, positive things. So if none of the images look like [Black children], that association or connection is not made,” Boyd said. “But if they’re able to see themselves within it, it reinforces that people of African descent contribute to joyous positive experiences and that’s not always displayed in other areas of life.”
Mother of two, Adrienne Lynette, said she raised her children seeing positive Black images for this exact reason.“If Black kids don’t see that their black princesses, superheroes and powerful [images] like Jesus, I think they’ll start to think that it’s not possible for them,” Lynette said. “I always tried my best to give my daughters Black dolls because I think it’s just important for their self-esteem.”
Theologians have pointed out that images of White biblical characters, such as the nativity scene and Jesus, aren’t even accurate. “After one of my recent lectures, a Christian college student approached me and asked if black people are uncomfortable with the fact that Jesus is white. I responded, ‘Jesus is not white. The Jesus of history likely looked more like me, a Black woman, than you, a white woman,” writes Christena Cleveland in a Christianity Today article titled, “Why Jesus’ Skin Color Matters.”
She adds, “Not only is white Jesus inaccurate, he also can inhibit our ability to honor the image of God in people who aren’t white…Jesus of Nazareth likely had a darker complexion than we imagine, not unlike the olive skin common among Middle Easterners today. Princeton biblical scholar James Charlesworth goes so far as to say Jesus was ‘most likely dark brown and sun-tanned.'”
Regardless of how people spend the holidays, Rev. Boyd reminds, remember the true reason for the season.“We always have to keep in mind when we discuss the ethnicity of Jesus…that we keep in perspective that it’s not as important as the central fame and purpose of Jesus Christ,” Boyd said. “It’s important that we understand it’s the divinity of Christ – not necessarily the natural ethnicity of him – that makes him a unique figure to all of humanity.”

Newswire : #MeToo creator, Tarana Burke will push button to drop New Year’s Eve Ball In Times Square

By Alanna Vagianos, Huffington Post

Tarana Burke
Activist Tarana Burke created the #MeToo movement 10 years ago (Getty images)

Someone very special will drop this year’s New Year’s Eve Ball in Times Square.
Tarana Burke, who founded the #MeToo movement, will push the ceremonial Waterford Crystal button that will begin the 60-second countdown and release the iconic ball in New York City on Dec. 31.
Burke, a 44-year-old youth organizer who founded Just Be Inc., created the “Me Too” campaign in 2007, long before hashtags even existed.
“I am delighted to be participating in this momentous occasion,” Burke said in a press release. “I think it’s fitting to honor the Me Too movement as we close a historic year and set our intentions for 2018. With the new year comes new momentum to fuel this work and we won’t stop anytime soon.”
The #MeToo movement helped lead to the recent wave of sexual harassment and assault allegations against powerful men like Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, Roy Moore and Louis C.K. The campaign sparked a public reckoning of how we handle sexual violence in our culture.
Time Magazine named “The Silence Breakers” its “2018 Person of the Year,” citing change-makers like Burke along with actresses Ashley Judd and Alyssa Milano.
“New Year’s is a time when we look at the most significant cultural and political moments of the last year, when we look for inspiration by honoring and giving a global platform to those who have made a difference,” Tim Tompkins, the president of the Times Square Alliance, said in the press release. “Tarana Burke’s courage and foresight have changed the world this year, and, we hope, forever. We are honored to have her be part of the 2018 New Year’s celebration.”
Tarana Burke has a connection to the Alabama Black Belt where she served as a participant and later staff member of the 21st Century Youth Leadership Movement, based in Selma during the 1990’s.