New Peace and Justice group to launch African Liberation Day May 25

 

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M. Lamin Saidykha

(TriceEdneyWire.com/GIN) – The former head of Greenpeace Africa took the opportunity of the climate march in Washington last weekend to announce that “Africans Rising for Justice, Peace and Dignity”- a new Africa-wide social movement focused on climate change – will be officially launched on African Liberation Day – May 25.
“It’s a terrible injustice that even though we the people of Africa collectively contributed the least to emissions, we are the ones that are paying the first and most brutal price,” said Kumi Naidoo, adding “we’ve got climate refugees, land that’s drying up, water sources that are disappearing and so on, which is already creating a quite a catastrophic situation.”
“We feel extremely hurt that the countries that carry the biggest responsibility continue to deny their responsibility, but also deny the very fact that the science is absolutely clear that we have to get off dirty energy,” he said in an interview with the news show Democracy Now.
Some 200,000 took part in the DC event, which included spontaneous music and informal speeches. The new group lists “Actions & Events” on their webpage for May 25.
“We chose that day so that we can remind ourselves, our leaders and the world that we are tired of waiting for that liberation to be delivered. And to show them that we are prepared to take action and hold political and business leaders accountable and reinvigorate the journey to that better life for all.”
It continues: “We are one of the youngest continents in terms of our demographic profile but we have some of the oldest leaders. If political leaders were honest with themselves many would acknowledge that they’ve been in power for far too long. They’ve run out of fresh ideas. We need to make way for younger people who have new perspectives on the problems facing the world.
Africans Rising is about deepening solidarity across the continent. We must step up and be the first to speak out against human rights violations.
The group’s coordinator is Muhammed Lamin Saidykhan, a 32-year-old Gambian human rights activist who organized widespread protests leading to the resignation of former Gambian head of state Yahya Jammeh..
The Kilimanjaro Declaration, the movement’s founding charter, the Kilimanjaro Declaration, reads: “Africa is a rich continent. That wealth belongs to all our People, not to a narrow political and economic elite. We need to fight for economic development that is just and embraces social inclusion and environmental care. We have a right to the ‘better life’ our governments have promised.”
For more information, visit the webpage at http://www.africans-rising.org/
GLOBAL INFORMATION NETWORK creates and distributes news and feature articles on current affairs in Africa to media outlets, scholars, students and activists in the U.S. and Canada. Our goal is to introduce important new voices on topics relevant to Americans, to increase the perspectives available to readers in North America and to bring into their view information about global issues that are overlooked or under-reported by mainstream media.


 

Thurgood Marshall’s widow keeps his legacy alive; On Brown v. Board of Education, 63rd anniversary “Cissy” Marshall laments lack of progress

By Stacy M. Brown (NNPA Newswire Contributor)

Cissy Marshall
CISSYMARSHALL1 Cecilia Marshall, Justice Thurgood Marshall’s widow, keeps his legacy alive. (Thurgood Marshall Center for Service and Heritage)

Thurgood Marshall with family.jpgTHURGOODMARSHALL1 Cecilia Marshall (2nd from left) and Justice Thurgood Marshall (right) and their two sons. (Thurgood Marshall Center for Service and Heritage)

Cecilia Marshall never imagined that the battle for equal rights in schools and elsewhere would still be as vital today as it was six decades ago when her husband, United States Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, fought to end legal segregation as a civil rights lawyer with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.

“We haven’t made too much progress,” said Cecilia Marshall, 88. “Sixty-three years later, we’re still fighting in the courts for equal treatment and that’s not what my husband, nor I would have imagined would be going on today.”

There’s little argument that one of the greatest achievements in the long and illustrious career of the late-Justice Thurgood Marshall, who died in 1993 at the age of 84, was the landmark decision in the 1954 Supreme Court case Brown v. Board of Education.

According to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, in 1940, “Marshall became the key strategist in the effort to end racial segregation, in particular, meticulously challenging Plessy v. Ferguson, the Court-sanctioned legal doctrine that called for ‘separate but equal’ structures for Whites and Blacks.”

The Brown v. Board of Education lawsuit began as five separate cases filed in South Carolina, Delaware, Virginia, Washington, D.C. and Kansas. The plaintiffs in all of the cases alleged that the civil rights of their children under the 14th Amendment had been violated.

A biography about Justice Marshall that appears on The Legal Defense Fund’s website said that, “Marshall won a series of court decisions that gradually struck down [‘separate, but equal’], ultimately leading to Brown v. Board of Education, which he argued before the Supreme Court in 1952 and 1953,” finally overturning the doctrine and acknowledging that segregation greatly diminished students’ self-esteem.”

On May 17, 1954, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that separate educational facilities were “inherently unequal” and that racial segregation of public schools violated the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

The Brown v. Board of Education decision came more than a decade before Marshall’s appointment to the Supreme Court. The decision has been credited with inspiring the Civil Rights Movement that unfolded over the next decade and it also led to Marshall being recognized as one of the most successful lawyers in America.

“He accomplished so much and worked so hard, but I thought by now we would have come so much further. He would have thought that, too,” said Marshall, whom loved ones and others affectionately call “Cissy.”

Her work continues in her husband’s memory. On the 63rd anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education, Marshall and the Thurgood Marshall Center Trust plan to host a fundraising gala to observe the historic decision and to announce a call to action, which she’s titled, “Equal Education for All Based on the Brown Decision.”

The event will be held at the Thurgood Marshall Center for Service and Heritage in Northwest, Washington, D.C. “The problems remain and this event, this anniversary, comes against the backdrop of a significantly troubling retrenchment of access to education for African-Americans, Latinos and other children,” Marshall said.

She cited a Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights report that said there are numerous factors that appear to have combined to cause the rapid re-segregation of schools since 1991, the year her husband retired from the bench.

The courts began turning against desegregation plans in the 1980s—denying new petitions to desegregate schools, ending previous court imposed plans and even striking down voluntary plans created by local school districts, according to the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, a diverse collective of more than 200 national civil and human rights groups.

Further, executive branch agencies topped the aggressive campaign to enforce the Brown decision and the Civil Rights Act that proved successful in the 1960s and 1970s, the Leadership Conference reported.

In a statement about the report, the Leadership Conference said that the rapid growth of the Hispanic and African-American populations and growing income disparities have increased the concentration of minorities living in high poverty districts.

Leaders from the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) and others plan to join Marshall at the historic event to celebrate the life and legacy of Justice Thurgood Marshall. “The NNPA reaffirms the living legacy of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall,” said Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr., the president and CEO of the NNPA. “We note this month the 63rd anniversary of the landmark 1954 Supreme Court decision. Marshall utilized his legal genius and courage to win that case.”

Chavis continued: “Today, it’s important to reassert the critical importance of continuing to demand equal, high-quality education for Black American students and all students across the nation.”

Marshall, she said that, she still gathers with the wives of former and current Supreme Court Justices. “We’re a big family, we call ourselves ‘sisters,’” she said.

Those get-togethers, as well as the success of her two sons—Thurgood, Jr., and John W. —serve to further validate her husband’s legacy. “Seeing his sons grow up to become adults—Thurgood, Jr. a lawyer; and John serving in civil service—has been a great joy,” said Marshall. “My husband gave me and all of us a great life and his favorite slogan was something we’ve always lived by and I still live by today, especially when I think of the state of things in this country.” She said that slogan is, “Never give up.”

Months after meeting with HBCU Presidents, Trump still giving mixed messages on Black colleges

By Jane Kennedy
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Dr. Lesli Baskerville,CEO National Association for Equal Opportunity

(TriceEdneyWire.com) – Repeatedly during his first 100 days, President Donald J. Trump signaled to the leaders and supporters of historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) that the federal support on which HBCUs depend would remain a priority under his administration.
One sign of hope was an executive order that the president signed in February to move the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities from the Education Department to the White House, which some believed was an indication that HBCUs would indeed continue to be a priority under the new administration that had been expressed by the President.
But, doubts surfaced just weeks later after dozens of HBCU presidents and leaders met with the President in the Oval Office Feb. 27 for a meeting that was widely panned as little more than a photo op. That same month, Education Secretary Betsey DeVos was heavily criticized for a statement in which she praised HBCUs as “real pioneers when it comes to school choice”.
HBCUs were actually birthed from legalized racial segregation when African-Americans had no choice but to attend Black schools. It was, in part, the aftermath of that statement that caused graduates at Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach to boo and turn their backs on DeVos in protest as she began their commencement speech May 10.
Still, the Trump administration has sent yet another troubling message concerning HBCUs, contained in a signing statement connected to a temporary federal spending measure. The statement said, “Historically Black College and University Capital Financing Program Account” among other funds, the order said, “My Administration shall treat provisions that allocate benefits on the basis of race, ethnicity, and gender…in a manner consistent with the requirement to afford equal protection of the laws under the Due Process Clause of the Constitution’s Fifth Amendment.”
This HBCU Capital Financing Program Account, which provides HBCUs with funding at reasonable rates to build new and renovate infrastructure on their aging campuses, was created in 1992 as part of the Higher Education Act passed by Congress. According to Black lawmakers and other HBCU advocates, race is not a criteria and to qualify for the loans the schools must meet standards based on mission, accreditation status and the year an institution was established.
Hours after the White House released the signing statement, Michigan Rep. John Conyers, who is the ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, and Congressional Black Caucus Chairman Cedric Richmond (D-Louisiana) issued a joint response that questioned both Trump’s understanding of the Capital Financing Program and his commitment to HBCUs.
“Trump’s statement is not only misinformed factually, it is not grounded in any serious constitutional analysis,” it read. “For a president who pledged to reach out to African-American and other minorities, this statement is stunningly careless and divisive. We urge him to reconsider immediately.”
Dr. Lezli Baskerville, president/CEO of the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education (NAFEO), in a lengthy statement noted that HBCUs serve diverse student bodies. “Since their founding, HBCUs have been open to, welcoming and supportive of persons from all races, ethnicities, religions, and both genders except for the gender-specific HBCUs,” she said. “HBCUs enroll roughly 30% of non-African American students. Their faculty is more than 40% non African American. Today 5 HBCUs are more than 50% non-African American. At least one is majority Hispanic serving. One is being shepherded by a white female president.”
If the administration were to withdraw from the program, she added, it would be “devastating to these equal opportunity institutions to whose presidents and chancellors President Trump pledged the largest investments in their history.”
The President has hastened to clarify the signing statement and assuage his critics, stating that the signing statement “does not affect my unwavering support for HBCUs and their critical education missions.” Noting the executive order he signed in February to strengthen their capacity, he said his commitment “remains unchanged.”
On that, Baskerville is willing to give Trump the benefit of doubt and told the Trice Edney News Wire that DeVos’ decision to deliver her first commencement speech at an HBCU “is an important indication that this administration understands the centrality of HBCUs to the realization of many of its priority goals, including its education, workforce, economic stimulus, urban and rural revitalization, and infrastructure development goals.” Baskerville also said that the experience will help DeVos become an “even more potent voice” for HBCUs.
But, Conyers and Richmond aren’t buying it: “Sadly and shamefully, HBCUs, including the schools that President Trump met with, are left to wonder whether he wants to help or hurt them,” they said in the joint statement. “If President Trump really wants to help HBCUs, he’ll implement the proposals the CBC has suggested to him in several letters, including the letter we sent him on April 27, calling for robust funding for a host of programs that support students served by these schools.”

Obama Presidential Center envisioned as economic engine to revitalize Chicago’s South Side

By Frederick H. Lowe
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Architect’s drawing of the Obama Presidential Center

(TriceEdneyWire.com) – Former President Barack Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama on Wednesday showed off a model of the Obama Presidential Center, which will honor the nation’s first African-American president as well as help to revitalize neighborhoods on Chicago South Side where the center will call home.
The $500 million, 200,000 square-foot center is scheduled to open in 2021 in Jackson Park, near Lake Michigan, announced the Obama Foundation, which is raising money for the presidential center. The Foundation said it will strengthen its neighborhoods’ economic climate by bringing hundreds and thousands visitors to Chicago every year and creating new jobs on the South Side.
The foundation also hopes the center will revitalize historic Jackson Park.”We believe the center will restore the promise of Jackson Park as the people’s park, building on its history as a recreational destination for gathering on the South Side for families, community members and visitors,” the Obama Foundation said in a statement.
During a presentation yesterday at the South Shore Cultural Center, the Obamas said they are building the presidential center on the South Side to give back to the community, which has given them so much.
The Obama Foundation is working with other institutions in the area, including the DuSable Museum of African-American History, the Museum of Science and Industry, the University of Chicago and the City of Chicago.
The presidential center will consist of three buildings. The multi-story museum, the tallest structure on the site, will serve as a beacon for the Obama Center. The other two structures will be a library and a forum. They will be one-story structures with landscaped roofs that offer views of Jackson Park Lagoon and Lake Michigan.
The campus will be open to the public and the center will include indoor and outdoor spaces for events, trainings and other gatherings. The presidential center will have interactive displays to attract children and adults.
Tod Williams+Billie Tsien Architects partnered with Interactive Design Architects to design the Obama Presidential Center.

Local DST Alumnae Chapter awards college scholarships

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Shown above Scholarship Recipients: Jasmine Williams, Greene County High School; Darrylvoceya Campbell, Greensboro High School; Yasmeen Amerson and Lauren Smith, Greene County High School. Recipients not shown include: Sabrina French Greene County High School and Nahia Constant, Greensboro High School.

The Greene County Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. awarded scholarships to graduates of Greene County High, Eutaw, AL and Greensboro High, Greensboro, AL. Greene and Hale Counties are within the Chapter’s service area. Each recipient will receive a $500 award once he or she has confirmed enrollment in a postsecondary institution.
The Sorority Chapter held a reception for the recipients and their guests on Thursday, May 18, 2017 at Ruby’s in Eutaw. Mrs. Nancy Cole, shared an inspirational meditation. Dr. Carol P. Zippert, the Chapter’s 2nd Vice President, brought words of encouragement. Chapter President Andrea Perry greeted the assembly and Isaac Atkins introduced the DST Chapter members present. Mrs. Nancy Cole served as Mistress of Ceremony.

Five bingo facilities contribute $358,626.66 for distribution in Greene County

BingoShown L to R: Bingo Clerks, Emma Jackson and Minnie Byrd; Forkland City Councilman, John Tuck; Greene County Board of Education CFO, Katrina Sewell; Sheriff Jonathan Benison; Rhonda French, representing Greene Co. Commission; Geraldine Thompson, representing Town of Union; Shirley Edwards, representing the Greene Co. Health Systems and  Boligee Councilwoman, Earnestine Wade.

On Tuesday, May 16, 2017, Greene County Sheriff Department distributed $358,626.66 in monthly bingo allocations from the five licensed gaming operations in the county. The Palace, located on US Hwy. 11, Knoxville, is the latest bingo facility to become licensed by Sheriff Jonathan Benison.
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, Greene County Board of Education and the Greene County Hospital. Assessments are for the month of April 2017.
Greenetrack, Inc. gave a total of $86,226,66 to the following: Greene County Commission, $34,490.67; Greene County Sheriff’s Department, $12,934; City of Eutaw, $6,467; Towns of Forkland, Union and Boligee each, $4,311.33; Greene County Board of Education, $19,401.00.
Green Charity (Center for Rural Family Development) 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.

Frontier (Dream, 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.
River’s Edge (TennTom Community Outreach) 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.
Palace (Tom Summerville Police Support) gave a total of $92.400 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 Hospital $4,620.

Alabama Legislature completes rancorous session with unfinished business

1200px-Alabama_State_Capitol,_Montgomery,_West_view_20160713_1.jpgSpecial to the Democrat by: John Zippert, Co-Publisher

On Friday, May 19, 2017, the Alabama Legislature completed its annual regular session with continuing arguments on redistricting, a Monuments Bill to preserve Confederate sites, streets, schools and other public markers, childcare center licensing and prison construction.
Before the session began, two major leaders lost their positions. Speaker of the House Hubbard was convicted and jailed for corruption. Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore was suspended and then removed for urging Alabama official to disregard and oppose the U. S. Supreme Court decision sanctioning same-sex marriage. During the session, Governor Robert Bentley resigned over an alleged affair with a female staffer rather than face impeachment. Lieutenant Governor Kay Ivey became Governor.
The Legislature approved an Education and General Fund budget without many changes from previous years. A proposal to finance four new prisons, to respond to serious overcrowding in current corrections facilities was left stranded at the end of the session. Governor Kay Ivey may call a special session to deal with building new prisons. A proposal to increase the gas tax by 6 cents to bring Alabama in line with other states passed out of a House Committee but never reached a floor vote. The revenues are needed to support construction and improvement of roads and bridges in all Alabama counties.

The bill for a state lottery for education and other gaming reforms died when Governor Bentley gave up his office. The lottery and other revenue raising measures like the gas tax will be coming up again in the next regular session or special sessions.
The Legislature passed a bill that no monuments on public property for more than 40 years could be moved. The bill sets up a Historical Landmarks Commission to decide on monuments built during the period from 40 to 20 years ago. This bill was passed in reaction to the actions of other places in the South, like New Orleans, that moved monuments and statutes of Confederate leaders and generals from public places to private museums.
This legislation would prevent cities and counties from re-naming schools, streets, bridges and other facilities named for Confederates who fought the nation to maintain slavery in the Civil War. This legislation was passed by Republican super-majorities in both houses and is now siting on Governor Kay Ivey’s desk. If she does not sign it in ten days it will quietly die. Alabama New South Coalition (ANSC) and other civil rights and social justice organizations are urging the Governor not to sign this flawed and backwards moving bill. ANSC is urging its members to write or email Governor Ivey to urge her not to sign the Monuments Bill.
The Legislature failed to pass bills that would have regulated all day care centers and removed the waiver for centers connected to religious organizations. They did pass a law protecting faith based adoption agencies from placing children with same-sex couples, which Gov. Ivey signed. They did not pass a bill to allow carry of concealed weapons in all public places, which makes the state a little safer, although many in the Republican majority were pushing for this expansion of gun laws.
At the end of the session, the Legislature passed slightly modified redistricting plans for the Legislative Districts for the 2018 elections. The Federal courts found that the current plan was “stacking and pacing” Black voters in certain districts and some counties were divided in the process of formulating districts. The new plans drawn by the Republican majority, without input from Black and Democratic legislators, is not very different from the current plan. The Black Legislative Caucus leadership are planning to go back to court to fight these new plans.
During the legislative procedures and maneuvers to pass the redistricting plan, one House member, Lynn Greer, circulated an email with a story about “disciplining monkeys who were trying to eat bananas”. Many of the Black legislators felt this was a racist commentary about them and demanded an apology. Greer made a half-hearted apology before the session ended.