Newswire : Decades-old case revives African demand for stolen lands

Chagos protestors Sept. 3, 2018 (GIN) – When colonial powers redrew borders in Africa and picked choice lands for themselves and less desirable land for everyone else, some of those deals remained through this century. Few were undone. This week, a case before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) will decide if colonial deals that redrew African borders can be declared illegal and, if so, if islands taken by the United Kingdom from the nation of Mauritius can be rejoined to Mauritius as before. Mauritius says it was illegally stripped by Britain of the Chagos Islands, now home to a major U.S. air base. The British decision to separate Mauritius from the archipelago in 1965 was a bargaining chip that forced Mauritius to choose – accept the deal or never obtain independence. The deal was in breach of UN resolution 1514, passed in 1960, which specifically banned the breakup of colonies before independence, according to the Mauritian government arguing before the UN-backed court which specializes in territorial and border disputes between states. The four-day session will hear from representatives of 22 countries in a dispute over the rights of exiled islanders to return. The United States has leased the Chagos Islands’ biggest island, Diego Garcia, since 1966 and has built an air base there, while the entire population of around 1,500 people was forced to leave. Although ICJ opinions are not binding, they carry weight under international law. Arguing for Mauritius is elder statesman Anerood Jugnauth, 88, who served for nearly 30 years during four stints as prime minister or president of Mauritius from 1982-2017. “The choice we were faced with was no choice at all: it was independence with detachment (of the Chagos archipelago) or no independence with detachment anyway,” Jugnauth told the 14-judge panel. Olivier Bancoult, leader of the “Chagos Refugees Group said “What we are asking for our right to live on our island as sons of the soil.” UK solicitor general Robert Buckland accepted that the removal of the Chagossians and their treatment thereafter “was shameful and wrong and Britain deeply regrets that fact.” Still, he claims, in 1982, a treaty was signed between the countries that reached “full and final settlement” of Mauritian claims to the archipelago. That deal has since been recognized by the European court of human rights. No date has been set for a decision.

Newswire :Trump’s ongoing scandals mask a radical agenda that hurts everyday people

NEWS ANALYSIS

By Rev. Jesse Jackson

 (TriceEdneyWire.com) – Trump’s serial scandals — Stormy Daniels, the Russia investigation, the Paul Manafort verdict, the Cohen guilty plea, the juvenile tweets — fill the headlines. Beneath the noise, however, Trump’s appointees and the Republican Congress are relentlessly pursuing a radical right-wing agenda that is gutting basic protections for workers, consumers and the environment. This is often characterized as Trump’s fixation on erasing everything Obama, but it goes far beyond that. Trump’s administration and Congress are not only rolling back President Obama’s policies, but weakening the advances of the Great Society, the Civil Rights Movement, and even pillars of the New Deal. Consider: Eviscerating the Voting Rights Act The Department of Justice has essentially abandoned enforcement of voting rights. The signal was sent when DOJ lawyers withdrew from the Texas voter-ID case in which the Obama Justice Department was co-counsel, arguing that the Texas act was intentionally designed to discriminate against people of color. Combined with the Supreme Court’s right-wing gang of five weakening the act in Shelby County v. Holder, there is now a virtual vacuum of voting rights enforcement. Savaging Enforcement of Civil Rights While Attorney General Jeff Sessions has dramatically weakened enforcement of basic civil rights in the Justice Department, the same is true across the government. The Labor Department disbanded its civil rights division. The Department of Education gutted the budget of its Office of Civil Rights. The Environmental Protection Agency targeted the Environmental Justice program for elimination. For immigrants, basic civil rights have been trampled — from the travel-ban orders affecting predominantly Muslim countries, upending the DACA program for the young people who were born here and know no other country, to the grotesque policy that separated children from their parents at the border. Under Sessions, the Justice Department has also essentially abandoned what was a bipartisan effort to bring about criminal justice reform, with Sessions ordering a review of the consent decrees that were addressing systematic racial discrimination and police brutality. Climate Change Denial Trump famously has announced he will pull the U.S. from the Paris Climate Agreement, while his appointees have sought to scrub any mention of climate change from government websites. EPA Director Andrew Wheeler, a former coal lobbyist, replaced the Obama administration Clean Power Plan that limited the release of greenhouse gases from power plants. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has abandoned efforts to end the 30-year ripoff of government by fossil fuel companies mining public lands. At a time when even the Pentagon recognizes climate change as real and present threat to national security, the Trump administration remains in denial. Undermining Public Education Under Betsy DeVos, the Department of Education has become the vessel of for-profit plunder. Her budgets seek to use public funds for private school vouchers. Stunningly, the DOE is pushing plans to make it harder for students to repay their college debts, ending or weakening various plans to limit the burden. Now DeVos is jettisoning rules that require for-profit colleges to provide an education that actually prepares graduates for decent jobs, opening the door for rip-offs like Trump’s own notorious university. Savaging Worker Rights In one of his first votes, Trump’s Supreme Court pick Neil Gorsuch provided the determining vote in the Janus decision that weakened the ability of public employees to organize and bargain collectively. Trump’s Labor Department repealed the Fair Pay and Safe Workplace Rule that required companies with federal contracts to disclose and correct labor and safety violations. It also announced it would not defend Obama’s order that increased the number of employees eligible for overtime pay, effectively depriving tens of thousands of workers of a raise. Tax Cuts for the Rich, Cuts in Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security for the Rest Trump’s one main legislative victory — the Republican tax cut — lavishes its benefits on the rich and the corporations. Trump and Republicans are using the deficits they created to push for deep cuts in Medicaid, Medicare and — watch for it if they survive the November election — Social Security. Trump’s budgets call for deep cuts in virtually every program for the vulnerable, including food stamps, affordable housing and more. We can’t allow ourselves to be distracted by the circus which is the Trump presidency. Under the chaos, Trump’s appointees and the Republican Congress are pursuing a radical and very destructive agenda. These measures are incredibly unpopular, or would be if Americans knew about them. They are done by executive order, by administrative rulings, by judicial decisions, by budget cuts. Their effect is masked by the good economy. But they are incredibly destructive, systematically making America more unequal, undermining equal justice under law and elevating corporate rights over worker rights. They must be exposed and stopped. The elections this fall will be the first chance to curb this misrule.

Newswire: NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson issued the following statement on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to U.S. Supreme Court

Derrick Johnson, NAACP “This Senate hearing on Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the U. S. Supreme Court should not go forward. The President is in personal legal jeopardy and only a fraction of Kavanaugh’s record has been produced. To proceed now threatens the legitimacy of the Senate’s constitutional review and the Supreme Court itself. What we do know of Judge Kavanaugh’s civil rights record is deeply troubling. His views on voting rights, affirmative action, equal employment, fair housing, and criminal justice could shut the courthouse door on justice for a generation. Senators need to fight this nomination with everything they have. There is simply too much at stake.” · Read findings on Kavanaugh’s Civil Rights record · Learn more about NAACP’s fight for fair judicial appointments · Watch President Johnson speak out on the importance of fair courts Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation’s oldest and largest nonpartisan civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities. You can read more about the NAACP’s work and our six “Game Changer” issue areas at www.naacp.org.

‘BlacKkKlansman’ delivers critical and powerful message

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Contributor

Director Spike Lee talks with Denzell Washington, Jr. actor in film.

Even though “BlacKkKlansman” is set in the 1970s, the themes in the film are just as relevant today as they were back then, Anita Bennett, the managing editor and creator of Urban Hollywood 411, told NNPA Newswire. “We have a president who constantly attacks Black athletes, newscasters and politicians, and white nationalists marching in the streets,” she said.

“The racial climate in this country is toxic, [so] if Spike Lee can open just one person’s eyes to the systematic racism that African Americans face every day, then he accomplished what he set out to do,” Bennett said. The longtime entertainment journalist joined a chorus of other experts who noted that Lee’s latest film continues to receive positive reviews, with critics and fans alike celebrating it for sparking a much-needed conversation about the current political climate and the complex relationship between law enforcement and the Black community. Several critics and actors told NNPA Newswire that Lee has deftly used his platform to expose systemic injustice while advocating for African-Americans and other minorities. Bennett said it’s important that the Black Press continues to spotlight films like “BlacKkKlansman,” “Sorry to Bother You,” and “Blindspotting.” “The Black Press champions and helps spread the word about films from African-American directors and writers, as well as movies that focus on issues important to the black community,” Bennett said. “The Black Press – and I’m not talking about gossip websites – but industry-focused outlets like EUR Web, Blackfilm.com, and Urban Hollywood 411, write stories about these films and post interviews with the people behind him. We talk about the movies on social media and encourage Black audiences to go see them,” Bennett said. Actor, director and film producer Shiek Mahmud-Bey said the Black Press enables filmmakers like himself, Tyler Perry and Spike Lee, to remain relevant and provides a platform to tell the untold stories that are meaningful to African-Americans. “It’s a one-hand-washes-the-other thing,” said Mahmud-Bey, the CEO of 25th Frame Films. “Only the Black Press can tell our story the way it needs to be told and only Black filmmakers can put that story in perspective and deliver it to a wide audience on screen,” he said. “BlacKkKlansman” earned about $11 million during its opening weekend, making it Lee’s third best box office debut. Based on a true story, the film tells of undercover Black detective, Ron Stallworth, who manages to infiltrate the Ku Klux Klan. It has earned positive reviews from audiences and critics with an A-rating on CinemaScore and a 97 percent “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes. “Spike Lee has always been socially consciously aware as a filmmaker, going back to ‘Do The Right Thing,’” said actress turned film critic, Carla Renata, who’s known for her website, “The Curvy Film Critic.” “As a filmmaker he uses the art of dialogue, the lens and his actor’s performances to illustrate his point of view on any given subject allowing the film to do the talking for him,” Renata said. “Given that ‘BlacKkKlansman’ is adapted from Ron Stallworth’s novel, Lee amplifies this former detective’s experience and puts his spin on it as only a Spike Lee Joint can do. ‘BlacKkKlansman,’ along with ‘Blindspotting’ and ‘Sorry To Bother You’ are the perfect films for the perfect climate that have infiltrated hate and Neo-Nazi behavior into our daily existence via our current administration,” said Renata, a graduate of the Howard University School of Communications. She added: “It’s no coincidence the film was dedicated and released on the anniversary of the Charlottesville attack and rally where Heather Hoyer was mowed down like a dog and murdered. It’s also no coincidence that the last image you see is the American flag fading to Black and White turned upside down. Perfect image analogy for where we are as a society.” Renata said also that she believes Black Hollywood has a love/hate relationship with Black Press. Most artists, actors, studios, publicists and films reach out to the Black Press at the start in order to get that word of mouth buzz happening, she said. “Once the artist, actor or film has been accepted by mainstream media, their marketing/publicity teams abandon the same Black media that helped them gain acceptance in some of those arenas,” Renata said. “We are almost treated like the ‘black sheep’ of the family that no one likes to talk about or acknowledge.  It’s sad…but true,” she said. Diarah N’Daw-Spech, the co-founder of ArtMattan Productions and the annual African Diaspora International Film Festival, said a number of Black filmmakers have used films to make social commentaries directly tied to serious issues in their communities. She cited Senegalese filmmaker Ousmane Sembene whose film, “Molade,” served to denounce the mistreatment of women in his native country, particularly the practice of sexual mutilation, N’Daw-Spech said. “Film is a powerful social media and a powerful source and tool for change. It is important for filmmakers in general and Black filmmakers in particular to realize and use their power through their film making the way Spike Lee and Ousmane Sembene do and did it,” she said. N’Daw-Spech said the Black Press has always been a “natural ally” to Black filmmakers. “Black Hollywood is one of the important platforms available to Black talent. Black Hollywood can use its influence to tell meaningful stories the way Spike Lee does it. When it does, the Black Press should support and celebrate it,” she said. While “BlacKkKlansman” isn’t perfect, it’s insightful, timely and entertaining, Bennett concluded. “The movie raises some important issues about racism, police brutality and stereotypes in classic Hollywood films like D.W. Griffith’s ‘The Birth of a Nation,’” she said. “Spike Lee touches on a lot of hot-button issues, but he smartly sprinkles the film with humor, so that it’s not too heavy-handed. Can we talk about the ending of the film? It’s powerful, heartbreaking and will make you leave the theater thinking. I’ve encouraged everyone I know to go see this important film,” Bennett said.

After 43 years, annual festival still draws huge crowd celebrating culture and tradition

Mr. Clarence Davis, Union, AL, in keeping with a longtime tradition, opened the 43rd annual Black Belt Folk Roots Festival, Saturday, August 25 in Eutaw, (Greene County) AL. Davis was accompanied in his Ole Timey Blues renditions by Jock Webb on harmonica, Jontavious Willis on guitar and other bluesmen in back up. In the realm of Ole Timey Gospel on Sunday August 26, Ms.Eddie Mae Brown is joined by Glory to Glory Gospel Singers, Loretta Wilson, Kinya Isaac Turner and Kimberly Isaac Burrell as they touched the soul and spirit of the audience, lifting them to their feet in hallelujah praising. Mrs. Meloneal Hobson, of Sawyerville, AL, dazzled everyone with intricately sown quilts. Ms. Kiesha Parham made her debut at the festival with her originally designed candy apples and flavored popcorn.Jasmine Coleman, newcomer to the festival, draws attention to her original works of art. Greene County schools superintendent Dr. James Carter waits to sample the down home cooking of Ms. Rita Sands Mahoney. Mynecia Steele, second from left, with her sister DeShayla, displays t-shirts with her original designs celebrating her hometown, Eutaw. Rev. Joe N. Webb of New Generation Church leads the Men of Promise Gospel Group at the Festival’s Ole Timey Gospel Program.

Eutaw City Council accepts $372,425 grant from DRA for sewage connection for truck stop site

By: John Zippert, Co-Publisher

At its regular meeting on Tuesday, August 28, 2018, the Eutaw City Council approved a resolution accepting a $372,425 grant from the Delta Regional Authority for a project to extend the city sewage to a site at Exit 40 on Interstate 59/20. Love’s Truck Stop has agreed to construct a full service truck stop with parking for 87 trucks, a convenience store and two fast-food franchises at the site. Love’s Truck Stop estimates that the facility will provide 43 jobs when it is in full operation. The City of Eutaw agreed to extend sewage to the site as a condition for Love’s to bring its facility to the city. The sewage line is estimated to cost $900,000 including required lift stations. Thus far, the City of Eutaw has secured a $400,000 grant from the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA) and this grant of $372,425 from DRA, A Federal-State compact serving the Mississippi Delta and Alabama Black Belt region. This is a total of $772,425 in grants pledged towards the cost of the sewage project. The Greene County Industrial Development Authority has pledged to raise or provide as a loan the balance of the funds needed to complete the sewage line extension and secure location and development of the truck stop at Exit 40 on the Interstate. “We have been trying to get this project for a long time and I am pleased that we have secured the funds necessary to bring City sewage services to the site. We appreciate the confidence of the Love’s Truck Stop organization in the City of Eutaw and Greene County. WE feel this is only the beginning of the development of the Exit 40 Interstate exit,” said Mayor Raymond Steele. The City Council also passed a resolution to set up a bank account for the Love’s Project with the Mayor, Councilmen Joe Lee Powell and LaJeffrey Carpenter as signatories. In other actions, the Eutaw City Council:

• approved a name change to Eutaw Quick Food Mart from West End Grocery for an off-premises beer and wine permit; • approved travel for Council members Joe Powell and Sheila H. Smith to attend the 2018 Municipal Leadership Institute and Graduation in Prattville on October 4, 2018; • agreed to review and make changes to the City Personnel Handbook beginning at the next City Council work session; • changed signatories on the City Operating Account by removing Mayor Steele and the Water Clerk, leaving Councilman Joe Lee Powell and adding Councilman LaJeffrey Carpenter; • required all city vehicles to have municipal tags by September 11, 2018 or be parked; several city vehicles including an SUV driven by the Mayor currently have ‘undercover tags’.

Public Comment Period yields discussions on disagreement in the City

In the public comments section of the meeting, numerous citizens of the Cityof Eutaw urged the Mayor and City Council members to work together. Sarah Duncan, long time civil rights and community worker said, “I am tired of reading in the papers and seeing here today that the Mayor and the City Council are not in agreement. I urge you to work together in the interest of the people of Eutaw.” Matthew Williams urged, “The Mayor and the City Council to communicate with each other and work together.” Monty White of Fishburne Avenue raised some issues of drainage saying he had been trying to get resolved since July. The Mayor said that some of the problem was on private property and that the City was not responsible for all problems. Sarah Nickson asked, “Why did I get a water bill with zero usage and then have to pay $70. Something is wrong in the water department. Do you have a budget? Can you explain where the town’s money is going? The Council and the Mayor must work together to solve these urgent problems.” Five members of the City of Eutaw Police Department, in full uniforms and armed said they were concerned about crimes in the city of illegal guns and drugs. “ We want to do our jobs to protect the citizens but when we arrest someone for illegal acts, they said that they will raise a complaint with the City Council and sometimes they say Council members are their relatives. We want to do our jobs but the Mayor and the Council must back us up.” The Mayor said he supported the police and that “It is very serious when the City Council interferes in the day-to-day work of the police and the Mayor.” Councilwoman Latasha Johnson said, “There are two sides to every story including this issue with the police. We need to hear both sides.” The meeting ended without real clarity on how to resolve these issues and how the Mayor, the Council and the residents will come together to solve these festering problems. Our newspaper invites your comments and letters on how we resolve this difference and move forward in a positive and progressive manner.

Newswire : Land fever sweeps Southern Africa, pressing governments to act

 

Aug. 27, 2018 (GIN) – The day of reckoning is arriving in Southern Africa for the hundreds of thousands of Blacks whose lands were taken forcibly by white settlers – a crime that goes unpunished despite promises for land reform year after year. Pressure is growing on governments to take action and return ancestral lands to their original owners. But government leaders have been cautiously backing away from some of their early militant calls for justice. ‘It’s true whites stole the land, but they also have Namibian blood’, said Namibian President Hage Geingob. “Whites are also Namibian,” he said diplomatically at a Heroes Day commemoration in northern Namibia. Geingob was the country’s first prime minister and was one of the drafters of the Namibian constitution which protected property rights of people who owned land prior to independence. At the time of independence, nearly all commercial land was owned by the white minority, which constituted less than 0.5 percent of the population, while 70 percent of the population lived on what is now classified as communal land. More than 17 million hectares of land are still in the hands of whites in that country. This week, President Geingob admitted that national efforts to restore lands to black farmers over the years had flopped. In response, he is planning a “national land conference” from Oct 1 to 5 to discuss ways to speed up “peaceful and sustainable solutions to the challenges of inequality, landlessness and the pains of genocide – whether voluntary or uncompensated.” Meanwhile, in South Africa, President Cyril Ramaphosa pledged to speed up land reform in order to undo “a grave historical injustice” against the black majority during colonialism and the apartheid era. It was a reference to the 1913 Natives Land Act that reserved almost 93 percent of the land for the white minority and legalized the historical dispossession of the African population. At a gathering of more than 350 farmers this week on a game farm in Bela-Bela‚ Limpopo‚ to discuss land reform, they were caught by surprise by a tweet from President Donald Trump reading: “‘South African Government is now seizing land from white farmers’,” It infuriated many of the attendees for its misinformation. “I’m worried about the politicians and the politics in our country if they don’t get (land reform) right,” said Andre Smith, 49, who grows pecans and other crops on 100 acres in the Northern Cape. “We don’t love Donald Trump and his outspokenness.”

Newswire : Trump World finally crumbling

By Hazel Trice Edney (TriceEdneyWire.com) – For the first time since his election, the world of President Donald Trump appears to be actually crumbling. In one day, Thursday, August 21, his former lawyer Michael Cohen confessed that he conspired “in coordination” with Trump to pay two women to keep quiet about their affairs with Trump. In the plea, entered at the Manhattan federal courthouse, said Trump directed him to break the law in order to influence the 2016 election. Cohen says he did so, “in coordination and at the direction of a candidate for federal office,” meaning Donald Trump. Cohen also pled guilty to violating eight laws pertaining to bank, tax evasion and campaign finance, including the payoffs of the women. Meanwhile, in a Northern Virginia federal courthouse, after a jury deliberated the fourth day, former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort was found guilty of eight of 18 charges against him. The eight convictions include filing five false tax returns; not disclosing a foreign bank account; and two instances of bank fraud in order to obtain a combined 4.4 million in loans from two banks. The jury was deadlocked on 10 other counts. U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III, prosecutors and defense lawyers will discuss the possibility of a retrial on those counts. The Manafort verdict was announced just before the Cohen plea deal. At Trice Edney deadline, the double news blasts, along with analysis, had only begun to permeate the airwaves and social media. The news stories appear to represent the undoing of an administration that has heretofore seemed immune to political damage regardless of how egregious the offense – including Trump’s constant racial insults and dog whistles to White supremacists. Two Trump confidants, Elliot Weisselberg, CFO of the Trump Organization and Foundation, and George Pecker, Publisher of the Enquirer Magazine have been granted immunity by prosecutors in exchange for their testimony in the cases against Trump in the Southern District of New York. So far, Trump’s responses to the announcements of the two felony convictions have leaned toward his reframe that the investigation by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III has still not turned up any Russian collusion, the basis for the original investigation. But the investigation now continues as members of Congress watch closely. As mid-term elections draw closer, a Democratic majority in the House could spell certain impeachment for the President if there is sufficient evidence of criminal activity on his part. Trump said, “This is a witch hunt that ends in disgrace.”

Newswire :  National prison strike sheds light on harsh inmate treatment

By Barrington M. Salmon

 

 

(TriceEdneyWire.com) – In an extraordinary display of defiance, inmates from penal institutions in 17 states and Canada have gone on strike to protest treatment by prison guards and rejection of a system they condemn as brutal and abusive. Prison reform advocates say the 19-day strike is the biggest of its type in history. Among the protestors’ 10 demands are that they be treated like human beings, that the arbitrary use of force and punitive measures by guards be scaled back and that prison officials put in place measures that will give them a greater say in affairs that concern and affect them. The strike began on August 21 and is slated to end on Sept 9. The 19 days of peaceful protest was organized largely by prisoners themselves, said a spokesman for Jailhouse Lawyers Speak (JLS), steered by an abolitionist coalition that includes Jailhouse Lawyers Speak, the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee (IWOC), the Fire Inside Collective, Millions for Prisoners and the Free Alabama Movement. JLS activists began preparing the action in April after prison officials in South Carolina put rival gangs in the same dormitory which ignited an outbreak of violence leaving seven inmates dead. Representatives of the largely Black population of striking prisoners said inmates are refusing to work in prison buildings, kitchens, laundries and on prison grounds. Palestinian inmates have expressed solidarity and about 300 prisoners in Nova Scotia, Canada also joined the strike. Nicole Porter, director of Advocacy for The Sentencing Project, called the strike unprecedented, saying that it’s a cry by inmates to be seen and heard. “We’ve had strikes and prison actions in the past, but the scale of this strike is new. We’ve seen incidents of in-prison activism and organized acts of resistance but we’re in new territory for this,” she said. “This strike is important to look at because it is a response to clashes in a South Carolina prison and severely inhumane conditions there and elsewhere. We need to recognize that people don’t lose humanity when they’re behind bars. Resistance is a part of US history. They carry history and the history of activism. It’s important for officials to listen to these activists and seriously consider some of their recommendations.” A JLS statement released before the strike, said, “Fundamentally, it’s a human rights issue… Prisoners understand they are being treated as animals. Prisons in America are a warzone. Every day prisoners are harmed due to conditions of confinement. For some of us, it’s as if we are already dead, so what do we have to lose?” Bill Fletcher, Jr., a veteran labor union organizer, said the strike highlights the problem of widespread abuses in the prison system that generally go unnoticed by the larger society, which he believes harbors a deep-seated bias against people behind bars. “I think this is really quite phenomenal,” he said of the strike action. “The problem is that it has gotten so little attention but the attention it has gotten is significant. The larger problem is that we are a society that believes in vengeance, not justice. People’s general position is, ‘Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time.’” Fletcher adds, “A related issue is that the prisoners, because they are for the most part people of color, they are denied their human rights and humanity.” Fletcher, a talk show host, author and racial justice, labor and international activist, said there has been a slow erosion of prisoner rights since the 1970s and the emergence of the belief that rehabilitation is a waste of time and unfair to those who aren’t in prison. In an August 22 press conference, media representatives of the striking inmates said information about the scope of the strike would trickle in slowly. “We want to note that although there aren’t widespread reports of actions coming out of prisons, people need to understand that the tactics being used in this strike are not always visible,” said Jared Ware a freelance journalist who was asked to be part of team that coordinated with the press. “Prisoners are boycotting commissaries, they are engaging in hunger strikes which can take days for the state to acknowledge, and they will be engaging in sit-ins and work strikes which are not always reported to the outside. As we saw in 2016, Departments of Corrections are not reliable sources of information for these actions and will deny them and seek to repress those who are engaged in them.” Ware said, “We have spoken with family members who have suggested that cell phone lines may be jammed at multiple prisons in South Carolina. And New Mexico had a statewide lockdown yesterday. The departments of corrections in this country are working overtime to try and prevent strike action and to try and prevent word from getting out about actions that are taking place.” Although the United States represents one-fifth of the world’s population, 2.3 million people are incarcerated, the highest in the world. Estimates are that about 60 percent of that population is African-American or Latino. Those numbers could ratchet up with Attorney General Jeff Sessions, at the behest of President Donald Trump, relaunching the failed War on Drugs and giving state attorneys and law enforcement the green light to crack down on criminal suspects even for non-violent crimes, critics believe. The Prison-Industrial Complex is a sprawling entity that relies heavily on inmates’ labor to produce goods and services for an assortment of companies, including major businesses and corporations such as Whole Foods, Starbucks, McDonalds, Wal Mart, Victoria’s Secret and AT&T. While it is a more than $2 billion enterprise, many inmates literally work for pennies and others labor for free, said Dr. Kim Wilson. “Exploitation of prison labor is at the heart of this strike,” said Dr. Wilson, a prison abolitionist and co-host of the podcast, ‘Beyond Prisons.’ I don’t want people to get the idea that this is an at-will job. It isn’t a system where people have a choice to work. Some people are making zero and nearer to the release date, you are expected and required to work.” Courtney Stewart, a prison reform advocate released from prison in 1985 and chair of the National Reentry Network for Returning Citizens in Washington, DC, said the prisoners who went on strike had no choice. “The thing is that these people, the corporations who make up the Prison-Industrial Complex, have been getting away with murder for a long time,” Stewart said. “They’ve been able to sustain the Prison-Industrial Complex and they have ruined generations and generations of the Black community. It’s been so devastating and we still haven’t recovered.” “Using the school-to-prison pipeline and the War on Drugs, these people are criminalizing and have imprisoned Black men, women and children. It’s profit over people and power and money in this capitalist, white-privileged society we live in. They don’t see any value in the black family or Black people. They always throw pennies when it comes to fixing the African American community. We have to address this with force and radicalism. There has to be a radical revolution in how to address this.” Dr. Wilson agreed. “I’m a prison abolitionist. I see prisons as part and parcel of problem,” said Dr. Wilson, who has two of her sons serving life sentences at Vaughn Correctional Facility in Delaware. “I don’t know how they (prison guards) sleep at night. But those individual people are part of a larger system. I’m more concerned with the system as a whole.” “We want an end to the physical places we call prisons and conditions that make it possible in our society. But we can’t do that without addressing the underlying issues of racism, anti-blackness, capitalism, gender violence, ableism and other issues deeply implicated in the broader prison system. We must take seriously the things the prisoners are saying.”

Bingo facilities contribute $368,655 to local entities for July

 

Shown above: Rhonda French representing the Greene County Commission, Forkland Mayor Charlie McCalpine, Sharon Washington representing the Greene County Board of Education, Chief Derick Coleman representing the City of Eutaw, Officer McKinley representing Greene County Sheriff Jonathan Benison, Union City Councilwoman Louise Harkness, JoAnn Cameron representing the Greene County Health System and Bingo Clerk Emma Jackson.

On Tuesday, August 14, 2018, Greene County Sheriff Department reported a total distribution of $368,655 for the month of June 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 July 2018. Greenetrack, Inc. gave a total of $60,000 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. 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 $74,325 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, $14,325. 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.