COVID-19

As of November 24, 2020 at 1:24 PM
(according to Alabama Political Reporter)
Alabama had 236,865 confirmed cases of coronavirus,
(13,379 more than last week) with 3,427 deaths (125 more than last week)
Greene County had 413 confirmed cases, (31 more cases than last week),
with 17 deaths
Sumter Co. had 562 cases with 22 deaths
Hale Co. had 932 cases with 31 deaths

Justice for Black Farmers Act introduced in Congress

National Family Farm Coalition (NFFC), Rural Coalition and Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund applauded the introduction of the Justice for Black Farmers Act in the Senate Thursday, November 19, 2020 by Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY).
The landmark bill provides long-overdue measures to support Black farmers and other socially disadvantaged producers who have faced discrimination and disenfranchisement, often from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) itself. In a sweeping initiative to restore farmland to the Black community following centuries of land theft, the bill establishes a program of land grants of up to 160 acres to eligible individuals, along with training programs and apprenticeships. The bill also makes structural reforms within USDA, expands funding to a variety of agricultural programs, and protects contract livestock farmers from abuse by meatpacking companies.
Monica Rainge, Director of Land Retention and Advocacy of the Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund and NFFC Treasurer, said, “The Justice for Black Farmers Act would make real strides in correcting many of the wrongs that Black farming communities have faced for centuries. Growing the number of Black farmers and landowners through land grants, training, and credit will strengthen all of our communities.”
NFFC President and retired Wisconsin dairy farmer Jim Goodman said, “National Family Farm Coalition and our member organizations have worked for decades to address structural inequities and systemic racism that have, in many cases, made it impossible for Black farmers to maintain ownership of their land, or in the case of beginning farmers, to gain access to land. The wide-reaching measures of this new bill from Senators Booker and Warren will provide long-overdue equity and justice for Black farmers.”
Lorette Picciano, Executive Director of the Rural Coalition stated,”This is a strong proposal to redress the decades of historic discrimination and neglect by USDA agencies, commercial lenders and others against Black farmers. The Rural Coalition has been engaged in moving forward these issues on behalf of all people of color farmers and family farmers in general since 1985. We see passage of this legislation as an extension and intensification of work over the years to promote outreach, education, set-asides and other measures in Farm Bills to serve farmers who have faced racial discrimination at the hands of USDA.”
According to the 2017 Ag Census, 3.4 million U.S. farmers, only 1.3%, or 45,500, are Black, down from a peak of nearly one million in 1920. Black farmers own just one-half of one percent of U.S. farmland, and make an average of $40,000 annually. Following a brief period of post-Civil War Reconstruction and Black landownership, a white supremacist campaign of land grabs and terrorism towards Black farmers and landowners across the South drove many off of land and out of the region. In this context, the trend of corporations increasingly buying up U.S. farmland since the 2008 financial crisis, particularly in regions such as the Mississippi Delta, presents additional land access barriers for new and beginning farmers of color. As U.S. land consolidation continues, NFFC has been a vocal critic of corporate farmland ownership and long called for legislative efforts to keep land in the hands of family-scale producers.
NFFC board member Savi Horne, Executive Director of the Land Loss Prevention Project, said, “This comprehensive legislation addresses many levels of obstacles faced by Black and other socially disadvantaged farmers. From introducing large-scale programs like land grants to Black farmers to meaningful reforms clarifying important heirs property provisions, the bill levels the playing field to diversify and strengthen the farming sector and our rural communities.”
The Justice for Black Farmers Act has five components:
• USDA civil rights reforms. Establishes an independent board to oversee civil rights at USDA and an equity commission to investigate USDA’s legacy of discrimination.
• Public land grants to Black farmers. Grants 20,000 160-acre plots to eligible individuals annually from 2021 to 2031. A Farm Conservation Corps will be established to train young people from socially disadvantaged groups in agricultural skills and apprentice with socially disadvantaged, beginning, and organic farmers and ranchers.
• Increased funding for historically Black colleges and universities. Provides $500 million per year to support agricultural study as well as research on regenerative agriculture and market opportunities for socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers.
• Land retention protections and credit assistance. Establishes further safeguards to keep minority farmers on their land, and expands access to credit and a pandemic foreclosure moratorium.
• Reforms to USDA and the farm system. These include common-sense provisions to protect contract livestock growers from unfair practices by meatpacking companies; increased funding for the Local Agriculture Market Program; and expansion of conservation and rural energy programs to help farmers and ranchers adopt new practices and respond to climate change.
More detailed information on the legislation is available from Senator Cory Booker’s office and the organizations listed in the story.

FOGCE Federal Credit Union plans Drop-By Membership Meeting

FOGCE Federal Credit Union, based in Eutaw, AL, has scheduled its annual membership meeting, as a Drop-By Meeting, for Friday, December 11, 2020, from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm. Members are invited and encouraged to drop by the credit union’s office during that time period to sign-in and receive a gift bag with annual operational reports on the credit union, as well as various holiday treats. The members sign-in roster will also serve as the basis of selection for awarding door prizes.
The credit union is obligated to hold an annual membership meeting, but the board of directors and staff recognize the responsibility to maintain a safe environment for the credit union’s continued service to members.
FOGCE manager, Mrs. Joyce Pham, has secured various equipment on the premises as safety measures for staff and members. These include sanitation stations and plexiglass dividers in the lobby area, clerk and manager’s office and in the boardroom. The mask requirement is also in place, and routine cleaning and sanitizing are conducted throughout the operational hours.
Board members have scheduled individual volunteer time to meet and greet members to assist in maintaining the safe distance as members participate in the Drop-By Annual Membership Meeting.
The FOGCE Federal Credit Union is located at 112 Prairie Avenue, Eutaw, AL, across from the Thomas E. Gilmore Courthouse Square.

Medicaid Expansion, COVID death rates and John Merrill’s racist tweets SOS joins in protests with other organizations at the Alabama State Capitol

The SaveOurselves Movement for Justice and Democracy (SOS) has been protesting at the State Capitol in Montgomery, every other week, since mid-March when the coronavirus pandemic began in Alabama.
The focus of the SOS demonstrations has been to persuade Governor Ivey and the Alabama Legislature to expand Medicaid to cover 300,000 or more people, caught in the gap between Medicaid eligibility and coverage on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplace. The expansion would assist people whose family income was up to 138% of the poverty level, with Federally subsidized health insurance coverage.
SOS also highlighted the issue of the disproportionate impact of the coronavirus on Black and Brown communities, especially the Alabama Black Belt; high coronavirus rates in Alabama’s jails and prisons; and the overall inequities of the treatment of Black, Brown and poor people by the health care system.
During most of October and into November, SOS members suspended protests to concentrate on the General Election on November 3 in local communities. SOS is also working to help in the Georgia Senatorial races with funds, phone banking and possible trips to assist people with canvassing and poll watching.
In the last few weeks SOS has joined with other organizations in Alabama to continue protests for issues related to its general mission and objectives. On September 10, 2020, SOS sponsored a march and demonstration from Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, up to the Capitol Steps in Montgomery, with six people in wheelchairs and several more on walkers from around the state.
September 22, 2020, SOS joined with the Poor Peoples Campaign of Alabama in a demonstration on the steps of the State Capitol to take a pledge to join the “National Non-violent Army for Medicaid Expansion”. The Alabama protestors joined those in Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Vermont, and Pennsylvania, where people are coming together in “Medicaid Marches” to demand their right to health and healthcare.
These Medicaid Marches are being led by the uninsured and underinsured, unhoused people, low-wage, essential and undocumented workers, healthcare workers, clergy, and others. The marches are the first coordinated nationwide push of the Nonviolent Medicaid Army, a vehicle to build the power of poor and dispossessed people, led by those on or excluded from Medicaid, which remains the only public healthcare option for the 140 million poor and low-income people in the country. This emerging new force is modeled after what Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. envisioned as a “multi-racial, intergenerational, nonviolent army of the poor.”
In 2018, there were 87 million people who were uninsured or underinsured. This year, close to 12 million people have already lost their employer-sponsored healthcare. Millions fall into a coverage gap where private insurance is too expensive but their income is above the Medicaid cutoff.
Approximately 22,000-27,000 die every year from being uninsured. And state legislatures around the country are making it clear that they will seek to fill the budget holes created by the pandemic-triggered global economic crisis by cutting life-saving public programs like Medicaid.
In Alabama, 500 to 700 people a year are dying because Governor Ivey has been unwilling to expand Medicaid coverage under the ACA. This prompted John Zippert, SOS leader and Chair of the Greene County Health System Board to charge that “Gov. Ivey is a mass murderer for not expanding Medicaid.”
Rev. Liz Theoharis, Co-Chair of the Poor Peoples Campaign says, “Fully funding Medicaid, and expanding it to all U.S. residents, is not beyond our means. Just one military contract could cover the cost of expanding Medicaid in 14 states. Although we are constantly sold the lie of scarcity, we have the money to fully fund universal single-payer healthcare, if only our government wanted to.”
On this Monday, November 23, SOS joined with the Poor Peoples Campaign in a caravan to surround the State Capitol in Montgomery to memorialize the more than 250,000 people nationally, who have died from COVID-19. Of the dead, 3,500 are Alabamians.
On Tuesday, November 24, members of SOS joined with Project Say Something (PSS) which is committed to confronting racial injustice in Alabama, demanding accountability from the Alabama Secretary of State. In recent weeks, Mr. John Merrill has used his personal Twitter account – where he describes himself as “Representing the People of Alabama as their 53rd Secretary of State” – to retweet and promote hate speech and harsh language designed to divide and intimidate Alabamians.
As community voices and trusted leaders, PSS believes it imperative to hold elected officials accountable for their public behavior and use of racist, anti-Black rhetoric in public forums. John Merrill’s actions reflect poorly on the office he holds and disrespects the vast majority of constituents he has been entrusted to serve. SOS worked with PSS to demonstrate on the steps of the Capitol.
For more information contact SOS through its website and Facebook pages as well as contacting ANSC at 838 South Court Street in Montgomery; phone 205/262-0932.

Christmas Parade

NOTICE

The Annual Christmas Parade in Eutaw, AL, sponsored by the Eutaw Area Chamber of Commerce will not be held this year, due to the coronavirus.  The Eutaw parade is usually held the first Thursday in December, and involves the entire Greene County community.  Chamber President, Ms. Beverly Gordon is asking the municipalities, local businesses, service agencies and residents to continue to display holiday decorations to lift and share the spirit of the season.

Newswire : New wave of migration out of Africa with tragic results

Barge with immigrants aboard
Nov. 9, 2020 (GIN) – Migrants around the world are continuing their desperate flights for survival even though rescue efforts have slowed and rich countries are building higher walls against the asylum seekers.
 
The deadliest shipwreck of the year occurred most recently off the coast of Senegal where at least 140 people drowned after a boat carrying around 200 migrants sank, according to the UN migration agency (IOM).
 
We are “deeply saddened by this tragedy, which follows four shipwrecks recorded in the central Mediterranean off Libya as well as another in the English Channel” the IOM said in mid October.
 
Senegalese authorities had previously said that some 10 people had died while 60 had been rescued.
 
EU Foreign Affairs chief Josep Borrell Fontelles expressed his anguish on Twitter at the turn of events, writing: “Another tragedy at sea. Human traffickers taking advantage of despair are a scourge that we have to fight harder.”
 
The government in Senegal has warned of a “resurgence” in migrants attempting to reach Europe via a perilous crossing to Spain’s Canary Islands.
 
IOM announced it had arranged a mission with the Senegalese government to assess the needs of survivors and provide “immediate psychosocial assistance.”
 
An estimated 11,000 migrants have reached the Canary Islands so far this year, compared to 2,557 arrivals during the same period last year, according to IOM data.
 
Meanwhile, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) at its recent executive board meeting, identified the central Sahel – a band of countries running from Mauritania to Eritrea – as one of the most worrying situations – a political, security and humanitarian crisis which has displaced millions.
 
“Few situations have shocked me as much,” confessed Filippo Grandi, UNHCR commissioner, “the violence, the brutality, including horrifying stories of gruesome murders of parents in front of their children. Most abominable of all, thousands of women are raped as part of the dynamics of violence.”
 
“Obviously, some (border) restrictions are needed… but these must be temporary and non-discriminatory, and respect non-derogable international human rights obligations.”
 
He cited the work of the Ugandan government which assists more than 1.4 million refugees, allowing them to set up businesses, find employment, and move freely around the country.
 
He also congratulated President-elect Joe Biden and VP-elect Kamala Harris for their election win. “We look forward to working with your administration on global and domestic refugee issues. U.S. leadership is more crucial than ever for the world’s most vulnerable
 
 

Newswire: David Dinkins, NYC’s first Black mayor, is dead at 93

By: Gerren Keith Gaynor, The Grio

David Dinkins

New York City lost a political giant as its first Black mayor, David Dinkins, has died, the New York Times reports.
Dinkins, 93, died at his home on Monday night in the Upper East Side in the city where he served as its 106th mayor for one term from 1990 to 1993. A home health aide discovered Dinkins was not breathing and called 911, sources told the New York Post.
Dinkins’s death comes just over a month after his wife, Joyce Dinkins, died at their home. She was 89.
New York City elected Dinkins, a Democrat who unseated three-term Mayor Ed Koch, over Republican candidate Rudy Giuliani. Dinkins inherited a city with huge deficits and high levels of crime, and yet has been credited for improving housing in Brooklyn, Harlem and the Bronx.
Still, his mayoral career was marred by what many saw as an inability to grapple with rising racial tension in the city following the 1991 Crown Heights riots, which were sparked by acts of violence between Black and Jewish residents in the Brooklyn neighborhood.

Years after his tenure as the Big Apple’s leader, Dinkins became an elder statesman beloved by New Yorkers and fellow politicians. He also consulted for former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg and other former mayors, even those who sought to occupy the office.
“I extend my deepest condolences to the family of Mayor David Dinkins, and to the many New Yorkers who loved and supported him,” Giuliani wrote on Twitt“He gave a great deal of his life in service to our great City. That service is respected and honored by all.”
Dinkins was a graduate of Howard University and Brooklyn Law School and was a member of the historically Black fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. He leaves behind two children.

Newswire: Black health care workers suffer high rates of COVID-19 infection

By: Blackman’s Street Today

Medical team

Last year, the heath care industry employed 18.6 million workers.

The majority of those employed were White, but many were Blacks, Hispanic and Asian.

The startling news is that the pandemic is taking a disproportionate toll on health care workers, especially Black workers and their families, reports the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Black adults are more likely than White adults to know someone who has died from the coronavirus.The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 26 percent of Blacks were either infected, hospitalized or died from the corornavirus.

Pharmaceutical giants Pfizer and Moderna have recently approved vaccines to treat the coronavirus. Many Blacks, however, said they would not take it.

A study reported that if the treatment were given away, many Black adults would refuse to accept the vaccine.

It is not clear why they would not take the vaccines.

Historically, Blacks are suspicious of medicines and the the medical community and are fearful that they will be harmed rather than helped. Blacks have been subjects in medical experiemnts that have had disastrous health consequences, like the 1932 Tuskegee Syphilis Study. Black male subjects were inoculated with syphilis by United States Public Health Service physicians in order to study the course of the disease. The subjects were told that they were to be given free health care.

The number of people have have died in the U.S. from the coronarvirus reached 248,824 and it continues rise.

Newswire” ‘Blessed’: Linda Thomas-Greenfield would be just second Black woman Ambassador to United Nations

Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Linda Thomas-Greenfield, right, accompanied by U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Assistant Administrator for Bureau for Democracy Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance (DCHA) Nancy Lindborg, testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014, before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on situation in South Sudan. Thomas-Greenfield said ethnic atrocities are being committed on both sides and the government and rebel leaders need to solve their disputes through dialogue, and not fighting. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

By: Bruce C.T. Wright, Newsone


President-elect Joe Biden is already making good on his vow to have a presidential cabinet that “looks like America” by naming several people to key leadership positions within his upcoming administration. And while he’s being applauded for the racially diverse mix of choices, perhaps none was greeted as warmly as Linda Thomas-Greenfield, who was tapped to be the ambassador to the United Nations.
Biden’s announcement also made her the first Black person he selected to add to his cabinet. If her nomination is confirmed, Thomas-Greenfield would become just the second Black woman to ever be ambassador to the United Nations.
Thomas-Greenfield was among five other people who Biden signaled would lead his foreign policy and national security team: Antony Blinken for the U.S. Department of State; Alejandro Mayorkas, a Latino, for the Department of Homeland Security; Avril Haines as Director of National Intelligence; Jake Sullivan as National Security Adviser; and John Kerry as special presidential envoy for climate, a new cabinet position.
Thomas-Greenfield tweeted Monday that she was “privileged” and “blessed” to have been selected by Biden.
“I’ve had the privilege to build relationships with leaders around the world for the past thirty-five years,” she tweeted. “As U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, I’ll work to restore America’s standing in the world and renew relationships with our allies. Blessed for this opportunity.”
Her tweet garnered more than 9,000 likes within the first hour that it was posted.
Thomas-Greenfield and the other people named Monday stand in stark contrast to the people Donald Trump nominated to lead his cabinet. She, like the others, has a wealth of experience in the fields of their respective departments.
She is a career diplomat who has held comparably lofty posts in the U.S. government, including serving as ambassador to Liberia, as director-general of the Foreign Service and assistant secretary for African affairs. Much of her time in leadership positions in the State Department was during President Barack Obama‘s administration.
Thomas-Greenfield was all but forced to retire in 2017 after Trump’s first Secretary of State Rex Tillerson began scaling back career diplomats at an alarming rate, firing most of the department’s senior African American diplomats in the process.
At the time, Thomas-Greenfield said she felt targeted just because she had valuable experience as a member of the State Department. “I don’t feel targeted as an African American. I feel targeted as a professional,” Thomas-Greenfield said.
There have already been four Black people to serve as ambassador to the United Nations. If Thomas-Greenfield is confirmed by a Republican-led Senate, she would become only the second Black woman to do so.
Susan Rice, who is reportedly being considered by Biden to lead the State Department, served as the ambassador to the United Nations from 2009 to 2013 before she became the national security adviser from 2013-2017.

Newswire: Everyone is counting on Black women again to go the distance in Georgia’s Senate Runoff Race

Stacey Abrams campaigning

By: Charise Frazier, Newsone

Black women have done it before and are being asked to do it again in the state of Georgia.
The ask? To help deliver votes ensuring progressive leaders win in a highly contentious Senate runoff race. On Jan. 5, Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler and Rev. Raphael Warnock, a Democrat, will face off, as will GOP Sen. David Perdue and his Democratic challenger Jon Ossoff.
The highly watched race will determine the future of the Senate and Joe Biden administration’s ability to deliver on its vow to restore the “soul of the nation,” one of the president-elect’s rallying calls during his presidential run.
“The senate race in Georgia is the difference between Kamala Harris casting tie-breaking votes in the senate or Mitch McConnell continuing to hold the country hostage,” Maurice Mitchell, national director of the Working Families Party, told NewsOne during a phone conversation Monday.
For Black Americans, that would mean a concerted effort to reform a multitude of systems that have disproportionately hindered their advancements economically, in education as well as in health, especially amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Two weeks ago, white mainstream media finally began to recognize the work and achievements of Black women organizers in Georgia like Stacey Abrams, founder of Fair Fight, Nse Ufot, leader of The New Georgia Project and LaTosha Brown, founder of Black Voters Matter. The brainpower and organized efforts among them as well as scores of unnamed on-the-ground workers helped register thousands of Black voters, contributing to a total of 1.2 million Black voters casting ballots in the Nov. 3 election. According to exit polls, 92 percent of Black women in Georgia voted for Biden.
Due to COVID-19, organizers will again rely on unconventional mobilizing efforts to build on the momentum of the last election cycle, organizing text banks, virtual events and even going door-to-door in the pandemic.
“Amazing Black women organizers are risking their lives to save our communities in a global pandemic that has killed one in one thousand Black people in America. From the pandemic or politics, Black women have consistently been on the right side and the rest of us need to follow,” Mitchell added.
Glynda Carr, the president of Higher Heights for America, the only national organization dedicated to harnessing Black women’s political power, said she had no reason to doubt history would not repeat itself.
“The creativity of Black women organizers was on full display this cycle and created a lot of innovative ways to do contact lists, voter mobilization as well as being able to gather voters virtually and I certainly anticipate that that innovation will continue to grow and stretch,” Carr told NewsOne. “They’re not only inspired by the moments of electing Warnock and Ossoff but they also have been inspired by the leadership of these activists.
But, Black women can’t continue to function as the sail on a weathered ship.  As the most reliable voting bloc, Black women invested in this election with the promise that their votes would finally warrant a return and produce action towards legislation eradicating blocked accessways to wellness without the threat of patriarchy and misogynoir, bridled under the umbrella of white supremacy.
“Democracy is a participatory activity and should not fall on one particular constituency to overperform,” Carr continued. “And I certainly believe that Black women will not only prepare to be an informed voter going into the January 5 runoff, they will also organize their networks. But I also think we’re going to be calling on our neighbors to participate in this runoff and you’re going to hear Black women going ‘Hey neighbor!’”
But Carr cautioned walk cannot be had alone.
“I certainly think that here’s another opportunity coming out of the general election where there’s obviously discussions around the participation of white women, the participation of Latinx and the participation of Black men,” Carr said. “This is definitely sparking a conversation around shared values and how we can show up for one another. I’ve seen those conversations happening and I certainly think in Georgia people will continue to create virtual spaces for those to continue as they go to not only elect the one but two senators, which is unique in itself.”