Newswire: Coalition pressuring Twitter to shut down White Supremacist accounts

By Barrington M. Salmon

(Official White House Photo by Tia Dufour)

White House with flag at half staff to honor victim of racially motivated violence

(TriceEdneyWire.com) – A coalition of racial justice and civil rights organizations, based in Charlottesville, Va., has launched a campaign to force Twitter to respond to widespread concerns that Twitter allows White supremacists to flourish on its platform.
The Change the Terms Coalition was deliberate in timing the launch on the eve of the second anniversary of the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville that led to the murder of activist Heather Heyer on August 12, 2017. The 32-year-old paralegal civil rights activist, was struck and killed by 22-year-old James Fields, a Neo-Nazi White supremacist who drove a car into a crowd of counter-protesters. Fields is serving a life sentence plus 419 years for the murder.
The announcement also comes on the heels of two mass shootings that killed at least 31 people in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio August 3rd and 4th respectively. The massacres have exacerbated the group’s concerns about racially motivated attacks fueled by inflammatory online hate. They say President Donald Trump is fueling the violence and called for an uprising against it.
“Donald Trump has legitimized violence and it’s time for people to stand up,” said Jessica J. González, co-founder of Change the Terms and vice president of Strategy and Senior Counsel at Free Press.
The coalition, which held a press conference by phone August 7, is demanding that Twitter ban White supremacists and adopt model corporate policies.
“White supremacists fundraise, recruit and normalize the murder of marginalized people,” said González. “We’ve been working with Big Tech to accept our demands. But Twitter is slow to change. It’s the only platform that has failed to commit to banning White supremacists. David Duke, a former grand wizard of the KKK, is one there as is Richard Spencer and key organizers.”
Richard Spencer is a widely known neo-Nazi and president of the National Policy Institute, a White Supremacist Think Tank. Spencer was the leader of the torch-lit march in Charlottesville the evening before the death of Heather Heyer.
The Change the Terms Coalition includes more than 55 human-rights, civil-rights and digital-rights groups. They include Free Press, the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Center for American Progress, Color of Change, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, MediaJustice, Muslim Advocates and the National Hispanic Media Coalition. It has called on Twitter and other online companies to develop more comprehensive policies to disrupt hate and racism on their platforms and has also urged these platforms to adopt the model corporate policies that Change the Terms has developed.
“When Twitter gives well-known White supremacists a platform, even after they have been deemed too extreme by Facebook and YouTube, their company becomes complicit in normalizing racism and the hateful acts inspired by it,” said González, vice president of strategy and senior counsel at Free Press and co-founder of Change the Terms. “Twitter must tell White supremacists they cannot rely on the platform to espouse harmful rhetoric, intimidate, and plan more attacks.”
Brandi Collins-Dexter, senior campaign director of Color of Change, agreed.
“From Charlottesville two years ago to El Paso this week, we’ve seen the tragic outcomes of White nationalism spreading on Twitter, made even more dangerous every time Trump is allowed to tweet his bigoted rhetoric,” she said. “White nationalists use Twitter every day to harass Black people and users from marginalized communities, to build power and organizational strength, and to amplify violent ideologies in this country. It’s time for Jack Dorsey and Twitter’s leadership to get over their fear of conservative backlash and fully stamp out discrimination on the platform. Our civil rights should not be negotiable.”
Dr. Avis Jones-DeWeever, president of the diversity consultant firm, Incite Unlimited, cites statistics which illustrate the danger White extremism poses:
According to the most recent FBI data, the number of hate crimes in America has increased three years in a row, jumping about 17 percent in one year alone.
The number of White supremacist groups in America has soared 30 percent in the last four years.
White supremacists account for nearly three out of four murderous terrorist acts in the U.S.
Counties that hosted a Trump rally during his run for president in 2016 have subsequently experienced a 226 percent jump in hate crimes.
“It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see the correlation between the political rise of Trump (his campaign run in the primaries, the general election and his time in office), his specific policy negligence around white terrorism, the white supremacist language he infuses in his rhetoric on a daily basis, and the rise in white nationalist violence that has ensued,” Jones-DeWeever said. “When we refuse to speak this truth, we fuel white terrorism. We not only allow it to exist, we also allow it to thrive.”
González, who moderated the August 7 conference call, said Twitter is a space that allows key White nationalist influencers to operate. Reportedly, there are at least 100,000 verified accounts of racists and White extremists who are sophisticated and organized.
“There are 173,000 tweets, 4,000 per white supremacist account and twitter has not removed them,” González said. “Twitter talks a good game while vile, racist extremists continue to spew hate. Latinos have been targeted because of Donald Trump. People are scared to go to school, grocery store, other places because of the color of our skins.”
González said Latino communities including where she lives have been profoundly affected by the shooting in El Paso on August 3. Patrick Crusius, a 21-year-old White man drove more than six hours from Dallas to El Paso “to kill Mexicans.”
González said fear has increased exponentially among her friends, family and neighbors and in Latino communities since the killer, who admitted that he is an anti-immigrant white nationalist and Trump supporter, opened fire in a Walmart, killing 22 people and wounded dozens of others.
The coalition notes that a range of Unite the Right organizers and associated White-nationalist influencers continue to benefit from their presence on Twitter. This includes key rally organizers like Richard Spencer, Evan McLaren and Tony Hovater; so-called alt-right podcasters and YouTubers who broadcast live from the rally like Faith Goldy and Mike Peinovich; and figureheads of hate like former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke, who attended and broadcast from the deadly rally, and continue to enjoy unfettered use of their Twitter accounts.
Twitter, for its part, released a statement last week saying that it is researching whether white supremacists should be banned or allowed to continue operating on its platform. Vijaya Gadde, Twitter’s head of trust and safety, legal and public policy said in published reports that the research aims to understand the effectiveness of both removing such individuals, as well as allowing them to remain online to be debated by others.
Gadde said in an interview with Motherboard that Twitter is working with academics to see if it can be confirmed that “counter-speech and conversation are a force for good” and “can act as a basis for de-radicalization,” which is Twitter’s current position. She also added that Twitter has seen evidence on other platforms that radical viewpoints can change through an exchange of ideas.

The Freedom Ride for Voting Rights reaches Washington, D. C. on 54th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act

The Alabama New South Coalition and the SaveOurselves (SOS) Coalition for Justice and Democracy sponsored the ‘Freedom Ride for Voting Rights’ starting from Selma on Saturday, August 3 and going through five states to reach Washington, D. C. on August 6, 2019, the 54th anniversary of the signing of the 1965 Voting Rights Act (VRA).
The bus ride by sixty people joined by two additional carloads of people was coordinated with the national LiftOurVote Campaign to increase awareness of voter suppression and the fight to restore the pre-clearance sections of the VRA as well as support a national effort for voter registration, education and mobilization for the upcoming 2020 elections.

The Freedom Ride made stops in each state along the way holding rallies and meetings with local groups to promote voting rights and support the Voting Rights Advancement Act (HR4) which will restore the preclearance provisions of Sections 4 and 5 of the VRA which were stripped from the act by the Supreme Court in the Shelby vs. Holder case of six years ago.
The Freedom Ride stopped in Montgomery, Alabama on Saturday morning for a rally in front of the Alabama State Capitol. Later in the afternoon, a rally was held at the Beulah Baptist Church in Decatur, Georgia because the Georgia state officials wanted a high price for police protection for a rally at the Courthouse. The group spent the night in Columbia, South Carolina.
On Sunday morning, the freedom riders visited a memorial on the SC State College at Orangeburg to three Black students who were killed by State Troopers in the 1980’s while conducting a non-violent protest trying to desegregate a bowling alley. The memorial honors Henry E. Smith, Samuel Hammond Jr. and Delano B. Middleton.
The riders attended a church service at the Charity Missionary Baptist Church in North Charleston, SC pastored by Rev. Nelson B. Rivers III. The church congregation welcomed the freedom riders and applauded the group. The next stop was the Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC where the nine parishioners were shot down during a prayer meeting.
The group spent the night in Raleigh, North Carolina and held a morning rally at the State Capitol. From Raleigh the bus traveled to Jamestown, Virginia to see the place where slavery was initiated in North America in 1619, 400 years ago. From Jamestown, the freedom bus made its way to Richmond, Virginia for another state Capitol rally. From Richmond, VA the bus traveled to Washington D. C.
On Tuesday, August6, 2019 in Washington, D. C., to commemorate the 54th anniversary of passage of the VRA, the freedom riders held two rallies, one at the U. S. Supreme Court and one in front of the nation’s Capitol to dramatize the demands of the trip and to support the theme of the ride that “every issue is a voting issue”. On Wednesday, the freedom riders will participate in a National Planning and Strategy Conference on Voting Rights before returning home to Alabama.

Newswire : Unexpected struggles in the fight against Ebola

By Global Information Network

Health educator shows Ebola fighter

The battle to knock out the Ebola virus should have its eyes on the goal. Instead, politics and a divisive struggle between two drug makers has interfered. A key health minister in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has resigned in protest.
In his resignation letter, Health Minister Oly Ilunga Kalenga condemned President Felix Tshisekedi ‘s takeover of the country’s Ebola response, removing him as head of the Ebola response team.
He also criticized what he described as outside pressure to roll out a second experimental Ebola vaccine.
Oly Ilunga Kalenga defended the work of his ministry, saying it had communicated daily on the situation in the ongoing outbreak “to reassure and show the world that the country is managing this epidemic.”
But on Saturday, Tshisekedi’s administration announced that direct supervision of the Ebola response was being placed with a team of experts under the direction of Jean Jacques Muyembe Tamfum, director-general of the DRC’s National Institute for Biomedical Research (NIBR) and a microbiologist at the University of Kinshasa’s medical school. Tamfum has studied Ebola and responded to outbreaks for more than 40 years.
The change in leadership came days after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the Ebola outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. “There is no sign of this epidemic slowing down. We therefore welcome the DRC President’s bold decision to change strategy and bring the Ebola response under his direct supervision,” Peter Piot, director of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, said in a statement.
Since August 2018, the DRC has recorded more than 2,500 cases of Ebola and, among them, more than 1,700 deaths.
In his resignation letter, Kalenga attacked efforts to launch trials of an experimental vaccine made by Johnson & Johnson (J&J) in the country. A Merck & Co. vaccine is already in use there.
Groups backing the use of the J&J vaccine include the Wellcome Trust, Doctors Without Borders, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), WHO, J&J, and NIBR.
But there are important differences from Merck’s vaccine that have to be taken into account, he said. Made from a live, replicating virus, Merck’s vaccine mounts protection against Ebola in about 10 days. While the J&J immunization appears to raise the body’s defenses for the long-term, it’s administered in two shots, about two months apart.
“We have developed a vaccine for a time of peace,” said Paul Stoffels, J&J’s chief scientific officer. He worked in clinics in poor African communities in Congo and elsewhere for years before coming to the company.
How much, if any, protection a person gets from the first shot before getting the second isn’t clear. Ensuring people are fully vaccinated with the two-shot regimen would be challenging among mobile populations, especially in people fleeing conflict, and could stoke suspicions.

Newswire: Homes of Harriet Tubman, Langston Hughes among sites to be reserved by 1.6 million grant

By The Oakland Post

Harriet Tubman’s home in Auburn, NY


The National Trust for His­toric Preservation recently announced that $1.6 million in grants will go towards its African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund to pro­tect 22 Black sites and orga­nizations.
The grants—which were provided by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation—will financially support the orga­nization’s African American fund which was designed to bring unsung narratives about the Black experience to the forefront by protecting and restoring places that are embedded in the fabric of Af­rican American history. The funds will go towards project planning, capacity building and programming.
The non-profit trust has been dedicated to preserving Black sites throughout the country and the organization is furthering its mission to ensure that these landmarks are conserved.
Amongst the 22 sites that were selected are the African Meeting House in Boston which is known to be the old­est Black church in Amer­ica; Mississippi’s Emmett and Mamie Till Interpretive Center which was created in memoriam of the teen who was tragically murdered; Harriet Tubman’s former home in Auburn, New York; Langston Hughes’ former house in Harlem; the home of Negro League Baseball star Satchel Paige in Kansas City, MO; the Wright Build­ing in Florida which was a grocery and general store for African Americans that featured Black vendors and The Emanuel African Meth­odist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C., which was the site of the racially moti­vated 2015 shooting of nine black parishioners.
“The recipients of this funding shine a light on once lived stories and Black cul­ture, some familiar and some yet untold, that weave togeth­er the complex story of Amer­ican history in the United States,” Brent Leggs, Execu­tive Director of the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund, said in a state­ment.
“Beyond saving important African American heritage sites, the Action Fund is help­ing Americans understand more deeply who we are as a nation,” said Mellon Foun­dation President Elizabeth Alexander. “We applaud the ongoing work of the Action Fund in calling greater atten­tion to the diversity of Ameri­can history and lifting up narratives that have been too long neglected or forgotten.”
The Action Fund has grant­ed a total of $2.7 million since its launch in November 2017.
News about the grants comes shortly after the orga­nization launched a campaign to preserve songstress Nina Simone’s childhood home. The campaign was backed by Issa Rae, Talib Kweli, Maher­shala Ali, John Legend and other stars.
Aside from its work to protect historical Black land­marks, the nonprofit has been focused on diversifying the preservation industry. In an effort to develop career path­ways for the next generation of aspiring preservationists of color, the organization creat­ed a program that gives young African Americans first-hand experience with the restora­tion of landmarks.

Newswire: Nearly 100 percent of Trump funds designed to help farmers went to white farmers

By Paola Rosa-Aquino

Black Farmer

President Trump has made a big deal out of his admiration for farmers, calling them “some of the most incredible people in our country,” and “patriots.” But, based on newly acquired data on federal subsidies from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, his administration may not have been thinking of all farmers — mostly just the rich, white ones.
According to Freedom of Information Act requests filed by New Food Economy, the Trump administration funneled 99.5 percent of funds from its approximately year-old Market Facilitation Program, the largest current source of federal farm subsidies, to white farm operators.
Trump announced the MFP last summer as a means of softening the blow of the ongoing trade war with China, allocating $12 billion in direct payments to growers. As of May 15 of this year, the USDA had disbursed more than $8.5 billion from program to farm operations, primarily to soy, corn, wheat, cotton, and sorghum growers, Reuters reports.
According to a Department of Agriculture census, there were around 45,000 black farmers in the U.S. in 2017; compare that to nearly 1 million black farmers in 1910. Even though most farmers today are white (3.2 million, or 95 percent of farmers), Black farms tend to be smaller and generate less income compared to white farms.
It’s not yet clear if farmers of color applied to the program at the same rate as their white counterparts, but the distribution of funds still reveals disparities between white and black farmers in certain regions. In Mississippi, for instance, where 38 percent of the state’s population is black, about 14 percent of farms have a black principal operator, according to the 2017 Census of Agriculture; however, only 1.4 percent of the $200 million in MFP funds distributed to farmers in the Magnolia state went to black operators.
The funding disparities didn’t just have to do with race: According to a new reportreleased on Tuesday by the nonprofit Environmental Working Group, the vast majority of MFP funds went to the wealthiest 10 percent of recipients — the country’s biggest and most successful farmers.
“It seems as though many have turned a deaf ear to America’s small farmers and black farmers alike,” said John Boyd, founder and president of the Black Farmers Association, when he testified before the House Committee on Financial Services earlier this month.
“Anytime the government gets involved, when they say it’s going to be a speedy payment to farmers, it’s always last for African American farmers, it’s always last for Latino farmers, for small-scale farmers, and for women farmers,” he said.
The USDA did not respond to Grist’s request for comment.
For the many U.S. farmers whose crops’ primary market is China, having access to federal subsidies to help them deal with the country’s trade wars is a make-or-break benefit. Growers already deal with a plethora of issues, such as falling farm income and commodity prices, rising debt and floods that disrupt crop growth. And suffice to say, it’s not just white farmers who are suffering.
The USDA has a long history of discrimination against farmers of color. A 1994 report commissioned by the department itself said “minorities received less than their fair share of USDA money for crop payments, disaster payments, and loans.
“For many years, the USDA systematically favored white farmers by denying or delaying loans to Black farmers,” wrote Scott Faber, senior vice president of the Environmental Working Group, in the organization’s latest report.
And as to the latest on the MFP: Last week, President Trump unveiled plans to greenlight $16 billion as part of the second year of the program. About $14.5 billion of those funds will be in the form of direct payments to growers.

Newswire : Obama calls for gun control: ‘We are not helpless’ to stop attacks

CASEY DARNELL, Yahoo News

Former President Barack Obama

Former President Barack Obama called for stricter gun control laws in a Monday statement after two mass shootings over the weekend left more than 30 people dead in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio.
“We are not helpless here,” Obama said in a statement posted on Twitter. “And until all of us stand up and insist on holding public officials accountable for changing our gun laws, these tragedies will keep happening.”
Obama said the El Paso shooting followed a “dangerous trend” of violence motivated by racist ideologies. He compared white supremacist websites to terrorist groups like ISIS and called on law enforcement and internet platforms to reduce the influence of hate groups.
The El Paso shooting is being investigated as a possible hate crime after an anti-immigrant “manifesto” posted online was connected to the alleged gunman. Posts on 8chan, an online messaging board used by right-wing extremists, have also been connected to the alleged gunman. Law enforcement officials said on Saturday that the suspect told them he wanted to shoot as many Mexicans as possible.
Obama also called on Americans to “soundly reject language coming out of the mouths of any of our leaders that feeds a climate of fear and hatred or normalizes racist sentiments.” He didn’t specify which leaders he was talking about. President Trump is known for anti-immigrant rhetoric, repeatedly referring to a migrant caravan at the U.S.-Mexico border as an “invasion.”
Obama noted that hateful rhetoric and language that demonizes others isn’t new but has been at the “root of most human tragedy.”
“It has no place in our politics and our public life,” he wrote. “And it’s time for the overwhelming majority of Americans of goodwill, of every race and faith and political party, to say as much — clearly and unequivocally.”
Obama also called on Americans to “soundly reject language coming out of the mouths of any of our leaders that feeds a climate of fear and hatred or normalizes racist sentiments.” He didn’t specify which leaders he was talking about. President Trump is known for anti-immigrant rhetoric, repeatedly referring to a migrant caravan at the U.S.-Mexico border as an “invasion.”
Obama noted that hateful rhetoric and language that demonizes others isn’t new but has been at the “root of most human tragedy.”
“It has no place in our politics and our public life,” he wrote. “And it’s time for the overwhelming majority of Americans of goodwill, of every race and faith and political party, to say as much — clearly and unequivocally.”
Trump delivered remarks at the White House on Monday morning, condemning the attacks as “evil” and “wicked.” While he cited “racist hate” in the manifesto, he blamed the shootings on mental illness, violent video games and the internet.
“We must recognize that the internet has provided a dangerous avenue to radicalize disturbed minds and perform demented acts,“ Trump said. “We must shine light on the dark recesses of the internet and stop mass murders before they start.”

Newswire : After hate-filled massacres: NAACP blames Trump for fueling ‘racism, bigotry and white Supremacy’

Dayton, Ohio victims. Credit: CBS News

(TriceEdneyWire.com) – President Donald Trump, in the wake of mass shootings that killed at least 31 people over the weekend, called for a unified condemnation of “racism, bigotry, and white supremacy” while he, himself has consistently promoted and supported racism, bigotry and White supremacy.

At least 22 were killed and more than 20 injured at a Walmart in El Paso Texas on Saturday as parents and children ventured out for back to school shopping. Dallas resident, Patrick Crusius, 21, was arrested in the shootings. According to authorities and widespread reports, Crusius wrote a manifesto claiming responsibility for the attack and railing against what he described as a “Hispanic invasion of Texas,” using language mirroring Trump’s language describing “invasion” immigrants.
Crusius also reportedly told authorities that he had intended to kill as many Mexicans as he could. At least 18 Mexican nationals were shot. Nine died, reports say.

Federal investigators, including the FBI, have classified the case as domestic terrorism.
Less than 15 hours later, another White male opened fire at a bar in Dayton, Ohio, killing nine people, six of them Black. Twenty-seven others were injured in Dayton. The shooter, Connor Betts, 24,
was shot dead by responding officers.

“The shooter in El Paso posted a manifesto online consumed by racist hate. In one voice, our nation must condemn racism, bigotry, and white supremacy,” Trump said in a televised speech from the White House Monday morning. “These sinister ideologies must be defeated. Hate has no place in America. Hatred warps the mind, ravages the heart, and devours the soul. We have asked the FBI to identify all further resources they need to investigate and disrupt hate crimes and domestic terrorism – whatever they need.”

Ironically, Trump also called the Internet “a dangerous avenue to radicalize disturbed minds and perform demented acts” and described it as a place with “dark recesses”.

But some – including the NAACP – believe it has been clearly Trump himself who has used social media – mainly Twitter – to fuel racism, White supremacy and bigotry throughout the nation and around the world through his attacks on people of color, portraying them as less than human.

Following the recent shootings, NAACP President Derrick Johnson
called out Trump’s own hate-filled behavior on the Internet over past
years, months, weeks and days.

“These tragic shootings are stark reminders of the dangers that plague our communities under the resurgence of white nationalism, domestic terrorism, intolerance, and racial hatred germinating from the White House,” wrote Johnson in a statement.

Other civil rights leaders chimed in, appearing to be at a loss for answers.
“When is Enough, enough?” asked Melanie Campbell, president/CEO of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation (NCBCP) and Convener of the Black Women’s Roundtable (BWR). “Gun violence in America must end, and it must end now. How many more lives must be lost by senseless gun violence for
elected officials to step up and lead?”

Campbell issued the following statistics on gun violence to date in 2019:
• There have been 253 mass shootings in America in 216 days of this year. That is more than one mass shooting per day for 2019. And we still have five more months to go this year.
• According to the Gun Violence Archive, to date, the total number of gun-related incidents in this country now stands at 33,076, resulting in 8,744 deaths and 17,366 injuries.
• The number of youths killed, ages 1 to 17, now stands at 2,197.

“This is absolute insanity for a so-called ‘civilized’ nation. The shootings in El Paso and Dayton were senseless acts of hate that could possibly have been prevented had there been laws in place to control access to high powered, rapid-fire, military grade weapons. The National Coalition on Black Civic Participation and the Black Women’s Roundtable strongly urges the U. S. Senate to come off of vacation and deal with this crisis by passing a
national common sense gun safety law now.”

In Trump’s speech, he mentioned mental illness that leads to gun violence, but said nothing about his own hateful tweets.
He said, “We must reform our mental health laws to better identify mentally disturbed individuals who may commit acts of violence and make sure those people not only get treatment, but, when necessary, involuntary confinement.”
He said he is directing the Department of Justice to work in “partnership with local, state, and federal agencies, as well as social media companies, to develop tools that can detect mass shooters before
they strike.”

He said the “glorification of violence in our society” through “gruesome and grisly video games” must end.
He added,“We must make sure that those judged to pose a grave risk to public safety do not have access to firearms, and that, if they do, those firearms can be taken through rapid due process. That is why I have called for red flag laws, also known as extreme risk protection orders.”

Finally, Trump said he was “directing the Department of Justice to propose legislation ensuring that those who commit hate crimes and mass murders face the death penalty, and that this capital punishment be delivered quickly, decisively, and without years of needless delay.”

Still civil rights leaders lay blame for the El Paso and Dayton massacres squarely at Trump’s feet:
Johnson wrote: “The NAACP is calling on the Trump administration to cease its use of divisive and discriminatory rhetoric which fuel these unconscionable attacks and allot resources to combat the rise of domestic terrorism and hate crimes.”

Aged and rotted tree on courthouse square removed; annual festival will go on

The organizers of the annual Black Belt Folk Roots Festival, which is in its 44th year of community celebration, had a moment of concern when they were informed that an aged tree on the old courthouse square posed a potential danger to anyone on the grounds. The downtown square has been the site for the festival for most of those 44 years. The Eutaw Area Chamber of Commerce, which supervises use of the old courthouse square, posted yellow caution tape barring the two largest trees on the grounds from close access. This action raised concern among many in the community. The constant questions became: What about our festival? Will we still have our festival in August on the old courthouse square with the blues and gospel stage, assorted handcrafts, and a variety of foods?
The Black Belt Folk Roots Festival is scheduled for Saturday, August 24 and Sunday August 25, 2019 and the festival will go on.
Chamber President, Beverly Gordon, was very diligent in seeking solutions to the tree dilemma. The huge oak tree situated behind the former office of the county circuit clerk on the square was visibly rotted and a hazard that needed to be removed. Ms. Gordon consulted with city and county officials including the Greene County Cooperative Extension Office for input and assistance. Subsequently, an arrangement was worked out with Mrs. Lovie Burrell Parks, County Extension Coordinator to secure resources through an AlPro Health Obesity Grant, funded through Auburn University.
According to Mrs. Parks, Greene is one of 13 counties, with adult obesity rates greater than 40%, funded through local community coalitions in support of initiatives to reduce obesity by providing increase access to healthy foods and places for physical activity. She explained that the Eutaw Community Coalition readily applied some of its ALPro Health grant funds to defray the cost to remove the rotted tree, since the sidewalk around the old courthouse square is utilized for healthy walks by many in the community. The benches on the square, also provided by the project, serve the needs of individuals walking for better health.
“ The cutting of the tree will allow community citizens to walk around the square for more physical activity in greater safety,” Parks said. She extended a special thank you to the Eutaw Community Coalition for allowing this project to take place in the Eutaw city square.

Newswire: Nigerian claims to defeating Boko Haram are ‘far from true reality’

Nigerian armed forces

July 29, 2019 (GIN) – In Borno State, one of Nigeria’s most conflicted states in the Northeast, few would be celebrating the anniversary of the first outbreak of violence by the Boko Haram fighters whose trail of heartbreak and tragedy weave through the region’s many small towns.

It might have seemed foolhardy for a small village to take on the Boko Haram fighters with knives and hunting guns. But two weeks ago, villagers of the Nganzai area attempted just that. Some 11 Boko Haram fighters reportedly died in the scuffle and 10 AK-47 rifles were captured.

“These people have been stealing from us so we decided to come together because we could no longer wait for an eternity for soldiers to defend us,” said Aji Gaji Mallam, who said he lost four brothers in previous attacks.

But it wasn’t long before Boko Haram fighters came on a reprisal mission in the form of armed men on motorbikes who, witnesses said, roared into the area and attacked a funeral procession, killing at least 65 people, many of them mourners.

In a region devastated by violence, displacement, climate change and the resulting widespread malnutrition, the insurgency has led to tens of thousands of deaths and the displacement of about two million people.

Yet Nigeria’s government and military claim repeatedly that Boko Haram is being subdued, even on the brink of defeat, its hiding places decimated. Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari said he received assurances from the armed forces that the terrorists who committed these killings “will pay a big price for their action”.

“This administration is determined to end the menace of terrorism,” the president said in the statement issued by his spokesman Garba Shehu.

Human rights groups, aid organizations and local Nigerians have long disputed such claims, and attacks have persisted. “People like us who have been operating in the field, we know that what the government is saying is far from the true reality on the ground,” said Ms. Hamsatu Allamin, a human rights advocate who has worked with foreign aid groups.

Meanwhile, spokesman Shehu acknowledged the difficulties faced by Nigeria’s military to defeat Boko Haram. “The honest truth is lack of capacity,” he said.

“I’m not saying a lack of fighting capacity, but lack of capacity In terms of personnel, equipment, in terms of mobility access to react quickly,” he added.

“The Nigerian army, air force and the navy are all evolved in this operation; they are thinly spread on the ground. We do not have enough boots on the ground to pull that area.”

Newswire: Donald Trump views people of color as ‘infestations’

He uses the word again in attack on Baltimore and its Black Congressman
By Hazel Trice Edney

Congressman Elijah Cummings

(TriceEdneyWire.com) – President Donald Trump has repeatedly used a form of the word “infested” as he refers to Black and brown people, clearly expressing his view of them as something less than human.
This was the observation of an emotional CNN anchor, who happens to be a Baltimore native, as well as activists, civil rights leaders and the general public in response to Trump’s latest racial insult. This time he was referring to Baltimore Rep. Elijah Cummings, chair of the House Oversight Committee, which has heavily monitored Trump and his administration, including on their treatment of immigrants.
“Cumming’s District is a disgusting rat and rodent infested mess. If he spent more time in Baltimore maybe he could clean up this very dangerous and filthy place…No human being would want to live there,” Trump ranted in an angry tweet Monday morning.
Baltimore-born CNN anchor Victor Blackwell, clearly fed up with Trump’s insults of people of color, issued a live, on the air rebuke, quoting the times the president has used a form of the word, “infested” in descriptions of people of color or where they live:
“Infested: That’s usually reserved for references to rodents and insects, but we’ve seen the president invoke infestation to criticize law makers before. Do you see a pattern here? Just two weeks ago, president Trump attacked four minority Congresswomen: ‘Why don’t they go back to the totally broken and crime-infested places from which they came?’ Reminder: Three of them were born here. All of them are American.’”
Blackwell continued, ‘“Infested’. A week before his inauguration, January 2017, Congressman John Lewis should spend more time fixing and helping his district which is in horrible shape and falling apart; not to mention crime infested. Donald Trump has tweeted more than 43,000 times. He’s insulted thousands of people. Many different types of people. But when he tweets about infestation, it’s about Black and Brown people.
He continued, “Sept. 2014 at the height of an urgent health emergency: ‘Why are we sending thousands of ill-trained soldiers into Ebola-infested areas of Africa. Bring the plague to the U. S.? Obama is so stupid.’”
Finally, “There’s a revolution going on in California. So many sanctuary areas want out to this ridiculous crime-infested and breeding concept,” Blackwell quotes before speaking directly to Trump from his anchors chair.
“The president says about Congressman Cummings’ district (emotional pause) ‘That no human would want to live there. You know who did, Mr. President? I did. From the day I was brought home from the hospital to the day I left for college. And a lot of people I care about still do. There are challenges, no doubt. But people are proud of their community. I don’t want to sound self-righteous, but people get up and go to work there. They care for their families there. They love their children who pledge allegiance to the flag just like people who live in districts of Congressmen who support you, sir. They are Americans too.”
Blackwell wasn’t alone by a long stretch. The President’s latest racist remarks drew ire from Black Republicans and Democrats alike. Trump’s latest tweets comes on the heels of the U. S. House of Representatives’ condemnation of his Twitter attacks on four Congresswomen of color as ‘racist’.
National Action Network’s Al Sharpton, Trump’s fellow New Yorker, in Baltimore for a meeting and press conference that had been planned weeks earlier, blistered the president for his attacks on Cummings and Baltimore.
“Little did I know that Mr. Trump was going to, on the eve of this, attack the Congressman from this city. And not only the congressman, but the people of this city in the most bigoted and racist way,” said Sharpton at the early morning press conference. “He attacked everybody. I know Donald Trump. He is not mature enough to take criticism. He can’t help it. He’s like a child. Somebody says something, he reacts. He’s thin-skinned and not really matured that well.”
Sharpton concluded, “But he has a particular venom for Black and people of color. He doesn’t refer to other opponents or critics as infested. He does not attack their districts. He attacks Nancy Pelosi, he attacks Chuck Schumer, he attacks other Whites. But he never said that their districts or their states are places that no human being wants to live.”
Republican businessman and political operative Elroy Sailor, co-founder, CEO and Managing Partner of the Watts Partners, named for former Republican Congressman J. C. Watts, opened the press conference by describing a partnership in which Sharpton had reached out to the Bank of America to begin discussions on ways to develop Baltimore; especially its housing stock in the wake of the demise of Black homeownership across America. Jimmy Kemp, the son of former Housing Secretary Jack Kemp, also at the press conference, is a leader in the project.
Also, at the press conference, former chair of the Republican National Committee and former Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele, called Baltimore a “wonderful city” and was highly critical of Trump’s remarks.
“Mr. President, your reprehensible comments are like water rolling off of a duck’s back when it comes to this community. It just washes over them. It doesn’t stick to them. It doesn’t stain them,” Steele said. “Let’s walk this community sir. Let’s talk to them face to face. And you’ll begin to realize and appreciate the hard work and the commitment they have made. The resources that they need, you can help with. The energy that they have, you will benefit from.”
Steele pointed out that three million people lost their homes in the 2008 housing crisis and a million were evicted. Their Baltimore meeting had intended on fixing issues that still stem from that crisis. He urged the public to keep their eyes on the potentially powerful outcome of the project and not on Trump’s tweets.
“We got side-tracked, but we should not be distracted,” Steele said. “Because the work that need to be done that will then benefit and flow out in education, in business and health and other things, it matters. It is the time now to do this. That’s why we were gathered here…Don’t get distracted by the Tweet. Don’t get blinded by the noise…You do that, and this all gets lost.”