Newswire : ‘Unequal Realities’ hold back rural women, says U. N. on eve of Women’s Confab

international womens day.png

( – On the eve of International Women’s Day, the United Nations is renewing its call for concrete actions to address the plight of rural women who make up over a quarter of the world population yet are being left behind in every measure of development.
In an opening statement, UN Under-Secretary-General Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka applauded a new era for women displaying “a remarkable gathering of strength, speaking with one voice, calling for opportunity and accountability, drawing momentum from grassroots networks and coalitions that stretch right up to government leadership.”
But rural women, “face unequal day-to-day realities because of entrenched socio-cultural norms and practices,” noted the Office of the Special Adviser on Africa. “There is an urgent need to step up efforts with concrete actions (to) fulfil the commitments made to rural women in Africa.”
“Rural women account for a substantial proportion of the agricultural labor force,” affirmed a research and documentation center in Nigeria. “Yet they lack access to agricultural inputs and finance, they have less than 14 percent land holding rights, while culture, tradition and discriminatory laws deny women equal access to government programs at national and state levels. “
In Nigeria, over 90 percent of land is held and controlled by men while women as wives or daughters in many communities have little control over such lands, added Ms Mimido Akchapa of Women Rights to Education of Benue (Nigeria).
“They continue to suffer in silence due to discrimination on the basis of gender and not because they have less strength or intelligence to perform rural activities in the agricultural value chain,” the Benue women’s group said. “This has negative implications for basic food production and the eradication of poverty.”
U.N. Secretary General António Guterres issued a statement: “Let me be clear: this is not a favor to women. Gender equality is a human rights issue, but it is also in all our interests: men and boys, women and girls.
“Investing in women is the most effective way to lift communities, companies, and even countries. Women’s participation makes peace agreements stronger, societies more resilient and economies more vigorous.”
The high-level side event, during the 62nd Session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW 62), is scheduled to take place from March 12 to 23 at UN Headquarters .The theme for this year’s commemoration is: “Time is Now: Rural and Urban Activists Transforming Women’s Lives”.

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Mayor Steele welcomes new Court Magistrate

Matrina Henley


Eutaw Mayor Raymond Steele is shown above with the city’s newly hired Municipal Court Magistrate Martina Henley. According to Mayor Steele, the former Magistrate, Grace Stanford, resigned to devote more time to her campaign. Steele explained that he moved Henley up from an assistant to the city’s Water Clerk.
Henley, a native of Greene County, AL, is the daughter of Julia and Alexander Henley. She is a graduate of Greene County High School and Shelton State Community College, with an Associate Degree in Business Office Management and Technology.
Ms. Henley stated that she is excited about working for the City of Eutaw and looking forward to working progressively for the city.

Turner seeks re-election, County Commission District 4

Allen Turner

Citizens of Greene County, especially residents from the Forkland, Dollarhide, and Tishabee communities, once again I, Allen Turner Jr. am seeking your vote and support to represent you as Greene County Commissioner District 4
As you know I am a lifelong citizen of Greene County, a graduate of Paramount High School, Alabama A&M University, Shelton State Community College, Auburn University ALGI, and currently in the UWA Continuing Ed. Program.
I’ve been employed by Alabama Power for 28yrs, and served as County Commissioner for 8yrs. My service includes former PTA President PHS, Deacon Springhill Baptist Church, member of the TVFD, Phi Beta Sigma, Alpha Phi Omega, Master Mason, and Tishabee Community Board.
Since serving you as Commissioner our goals have been clear but profound: to Promote our Youth, Protect our Seniors, and Inform the public while bringing good government to all Greene County.

Since 2010 I have provided more than 80 scholarships to high school graduates from District 4, promoted after school tutorials and summer enrichment programs in Tishabee and Forkland, established computer training, nutritional, wellness, and activity programs for seniors and young adults from the district. We also assisted in the renovation and purchasing of playground equipment for Forkland and Tishabee parks.
Since taking office our county has operated in the black while continuing to provide matching funds for ATRIP, Federal aid, and local road projects. We are blessed to finally be able to purchase new dump trucks, paving equipment, mowers, pick up trucks, and build a new maintenance shop to better serve our county and municipal citizens
Fellow Citizens we can not afford to bump the brakes or change directions, for experience, leadership, and commitment. On June 5, let’s go back to the polls in record numbers and Re Elect Allen Turner Jr. Greene County Commissioner District 4, “Moving Forward with the Plan.”

Cockrell seeks re-election, District 3 Commission Seat


Corey Cockrell

I, Corey Cockrell, am the best candidate for County Commission District 3, because I possess all the qualities it takes to be a great commissioner. I have a desire to help build up the community and work with the citizens to move them toward a great future. I am a hardworking, dependable, dedicated, and devoted young man who is ready to help Greene County achieve the goals the have been set before us. I want to give the citizens of District 3 and Greene County an opportunity to have better jobs, more activities for the children and senior citizens, and a chance for all citizens to have a great future. I believe that District 3 and the entire county can be the most vibrant county in America. With God and us standing together, we can move this county forward.
I am a graduate of Greene County High School and Jacksonville State University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Physical Education; currently a physical education teacher at Robert Brown Middle School;; a member of the Business Association Program, Jacksonville State University; member of Jacksonville State University Hyper Club; an active member of Ezekiel Baptist Church.

Newswire : New EPI study shows no Black economic progress in 50 years

By Lauren Victoria Burke (NNPA Newswire Contributor)


Late last year, “The Washington Post” wrote that African Americans were the only group that showed no economic improvement since 2000. They based their conclusions on Census data. This year, there was even more sobering news in a report by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI). The new study issued found “no progress” for African Americans on homeownership, unemployment and incarceration in 50 years.
Much of what was included in the EPI study was stunning data on African American economic progress. Fifty years after the famous and controversial Kerner Commission Report that identified “white racism” as the driver of “pervasive discrimination in employment and education” for African Americans, EPI concluded that not much has changed.
The EPI study stated the obvious and pointed to glaring statistics.
Regarding the justice system, the share of incarcerated African Americans has close to tripled between 1968 and 2016, as Blacks are 6.4 times more likely than Whites to be jailed or imprisoned. Homeownership rates have remained unchanged for African Americans, over the last 50 years. Black homeownership is about 40 percent, which is 30 percent behind the rate for Whites.
Regarding income, perhaps the most important economic metric, the average income for an African American household was $39,490 in 2017, a decrease from $41,363 in 2000.
A press release about the report said that, “Black workers still make only 82.5 cents on every dollar earned by white workers, African Americans are 2.5 times more likely to be in poverty than Whites, and the median White family has almost ten times as much wealth as the median Black family.”
In 2017, the Black unemployment rate was 7.5 percent, up from 6.7 percent in 1968, and still roughly twice the White unemployment rate. In 2015, the Black homeownership rate was just over 40 percent, virtually unchanged since 1968 and trailing a full 30 points behind the White homeownership rate, which saw modest gains over the same period.
President Trump has bragged about the Black unemployment rate has reached record lows and homeownership has reached record highs under his presidency. What Trump leaves out is the overall statistical data over many years.
Much of what the data shows is connected to systemic policy problems that have been persistent for decades. In the press release about the EPI report, EPI economic analyst Janelle Jones said that it’s clear that structural racism is the root cause of the economic inequality between Blacks and Whites.
“Solutions must be bold and to scale, which means we need structural change that eliminates the barriers that have stymied economic progress for generations of African American workers,” said Jones.
Lauren Victoria Burke is a congressional correspondent for the NNPA Newswire. Lauren also works independently as a political analyst and communications strategist. You can reach Lauren by email at and on Twitter at @LVBurke.

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.”

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.