Rosa Parks being fingerprinted after her arrest in Montgomery, AL
By: NNPA Newswire
WASHINGTON, D.C.—In coordination with Reps. Jim Cooper (TN-05) and Terri Sewell (AL-07), U.S. Congresswoman and Congressional Black Caucus Chair Joyce Beatty (OH-03) introduced legislation to establish Rosa Parks Day as a Federal Holiday. “Through her willingness to sit, Rosa Parks stood up for what she believed in,” Beatty said. “As a state legislator, I was proud to lead the push to make the Buckeye State the first state to officially recognize Rosa Parks Day. It’s now time for us to come together as a nation to honor this American hero through a new national holiday.” In 2005, Beatty, then-Member of the Ohio General Assembly, spearheaded legislation to designate December 1st as “Rosa Parks Day” in the State of Ohio – making the Buckeye State the first in the nation to formally recognize the Civil Rights icon. December 1, 1955 was the day that Ms. Parks was arrested for refusing to move from a seat in the front of a Montgomery bus to a seat designated for “colored” people in the back of the bus. Her act of non-violent civil disobedience started the Montgomery Bus Boycott, which was one of the key events of the modern Civil Rights Movement. Ohio’s annual Rosa Park tribute has engaged thousands of children and community leaders across the state to celebrate Mrs. Parks’ legacy and example. “Rosa Parks is a hero to countless Americans and to me,” Beatty said. “Her life and actions on that historic December day more than 50 years ago have inspired people across the country and around the world to stand up against discrimination and work peacefully to create a more just and fair society,” Beatty continued. “I was honored to have led the charge in the State of Ohio to recognize Rosa Parks, and I’m proud to push to get her the national recognition she deserves.
The Covid-19 death toll in the US has now surpassed 700,000, despite the Covid-19 vaccines’ wide availability, in what one expert called a “tragic and completely avoidable milestone”. Data from Johns Hopkins University shows that the US went just past 700,000 deaths on Friday; the US had previously reached 600,000 deaths in June. The country has had a total of 43.6m confirmed cases of Covid-19 since the start of the pandemic, according to Johns Hopkins. In Alabama, there have been 801,428 cases and 14,471 deaths as of Monday. Over the last few months, the overwhelming majority of people who died from Covid were unvaccinated. A study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published last month found that after the Delta variant became the most common variant in the US over the summer, unvaccinated Americans were 10 times more likely to be hospitalized and die because of the virus compared with vaccinated Americans. In a statement on Saturday, Joe Biden said: “To heal we must remember, and as our nation mourns the painful milestone of 700,000 American deaths … we must not become numb to the sorrow. On this day, and every day, we remember all those we have lost to this pandemic and we pray for their loved ones left behind who are missing a piece of their soul. “As we do, the astonishing death toll is yet another reminder of just how important it is to get vaccinated.” Recent deaths have primarily been in southern states that have lagging vaccine rates, including Florida, Texas, Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana. Nationally, about 65% of people 12 and older who are eligible to receive the vaccine have been fully vaccinated, according to the CDC. With a slight majority of the population fully vaccinated, the Covid death rate has significantly decreased compared with the death rate during previous surges of the virus, when the vaccine was unavailable. Following the surge in cases seen last winter, 100,000 people died in a 34-day period between January and February. Comparatively, it took over three months for the US to see another 100,000 deaths this summer. Public health experts attribute the slowed death rate to the effectiveness of the vaccine but say that the milestone could have been avoided altogether with a higher vaccination rate. “Reaching 700,000 deaths is a tragic and completely avoidable milestone. We had the knowledge and the tools to prevent this from happening, and unfortunately politics, lack of urgency and mistrust in science got us here,” John Brownstein, an epidemiologist at Boston children’s hospital, told ABC News. Experts are hoping that hospitalizations and deaths will decrease as the surge in cases due to the Delta variant seems to be decreasing and vaccine mandates are starting to roll out. Without a winter surge, which experts say is still possible, statistical modeling has shown that the Covid-19 cases can continue to decline into 2022, providing some much-needed relief to hospital systems across the country that have been overwhelmed by Covid-19 cases. In an effort to get more people inoculated, vaccine mandates have been rolling out across the country, to some success. Major health systems in California, where healthcare workers have been required to get vaccinated, have reported an uptick in vaccination rates among staff members. New York, which has a similar mandate, has seen similar results with thousands of healthcare workers getting vaccinated before the state’s vaccination deadline. United Airlines had said it would fire the nearly 600 employees out of its workforce of about 67,000 employees who refused to be vaccinated. On Thursday, the company said that nearly 250 of those employees ultimately decided to get vaccinated. “Our vaccine policy continues to prove requirements work – in less than 48 hours, the number of unvaccinated employees who began the process of being separated from the company has been cut almost in half, dropping from 592 to 320,” the company said in a statement.
The SaveOurselves Movement for Justice and Democracy held a caravan to “Vaccinate before it’s too late and Expand Medicaid” in Montgomery, Alabama on Saturday, October 2, 2021. This is the beginning of a statewide effort to encourage unvaccinated people in Alabama to get the shot and encourage the state to expand Medicaid as the best way to protect people’s health during this and future pandemics.
The caravan started at the Alabama New South Office and went down the street to the Urban Fine Arts Dream Center at 3860 South Court Street. Vaccinations were provided with help from UAB Medical Services.
Bill Harrison, SOS coordinator of the event said, “We leafleted the surrounding communities and had a good turnout. About 30 people were vaccinated, including some who received boosters. We served hot dogs and had a live band, all of which added to the attention in the community.”
“We were also able to register some people to vote at the event,” said Harrison which is the first of a series of similar events that SOS will be sponsoring around the state.
At a press conference to kickoff SOS’s statewide caravan for vaccinations and Medicaid Expansion held at Noon Thursday on the steps of the State House, SOS and Black Lives Matter activists promoted the caravan.
Attorney and Civil Rights Activist Faya Toure said: “Alabama learned this past week that more than 1,000 additional people in our state have died of COVID, which maintained Alabama as one of the deadliest states for COVID in the nation. This is avoidable, and this has to stop. Vaccinations save lives. All medical and scientific evidence supports this, and Alabamians must get vaccinated to save their own lives, those they love, and others.”
As State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris said: “These aren’t numbers or stats. These are our families and friends and loved ones dying of COVID. . . At least 90 percent of these deaths are completely preventable with vaccination.”
Greene County Health System Board Chair and SOS Steering Committee member John Zippert said: “This caravan will take place in all corners of Alabama, starting this Saturday in Montgomery. Between Alabamian’s deadly low rate of vaccinated citizens and Alabama leaders’ ongoing failure to expand Medicaid, people in Alabama have died and are dying who should be alive and people will needlessly suffer with ongoing and long-term health issues.
“Also, hospitals across Alabama have closed while others are on the brink of closure with virtually every hospital across our state overrun with COVID cases, making them often unable to treat and save people with other health issues. This is deadly wrong on every level.”
Law Professor Emerita Martha Morgan said: “In the year 2020, more people died than were born in Alabama. This hasn’t happened since World War II, and so many of these people did not have to die. With vaccinations and Medicaid expansion, Alabama can save lives.”
Members of SOS, BLM, and other human rights groups will begin a Statewide Caravan this Saturday To Vaccinate Before It Is Too Late and To Expand Medicaid to Save Lives and Hospitals. This caravan will hold events over the coming weeks and months in cities, towns and counties in every corner of Alabama.
Arnelia “Shay” Johnson (center) being sworn-in as Revenue Commissioner, by Circuit Clerk, Veronica Morton-Jones; Ariyanna Johnson holds Bible for her mother.
On Thursday, September 30, 2021, Arnelia “Shay” Johnson was sworn-in as Revenue Commissioner for Greene County, a position over the appraisal, assessment and collection of ad valorem property taxes for the county.
Johnson was elected to the position in the November 2020 General Election but her four-year term does not begin until October 1, 2021, to coincide with the fiscal/tax year. She succeeds Barbara McShan, who held the position for the past six years.
Johnson worked in the appraisal and assessment part of the office for many years, so she is knowledgeable and familiar with the role she will play as Revenue Commissioner, heading the office which brings in a substantial part of the tax revenues coming to Greene County.
At the inauguration ceremony, Marilyn Sanford was the Mistress of Order, Roshonda Summerville, Chair of the Greene County Commission offered a welcome and Rev. Kevin L. Cockrell gave an invocation. Rev. John Kennard, a former Greene County Tax Assessor, before the positions of Assessor and Collector, were merged into one position as Revenue Commissioner, introduced the new Revenue Commissioner.
Circuit Clerk, Veronica Morton Jones, administered the oath of office to Arnelia “Shay” Johnson. Ariyanna Johnson, the new Commissioner’s 15 year- old daughter held the Bible, which was used to swear in her mother.
After the oath, Johnson thanked her family and friends for their support, including John Cockrell, her campaign manager, who passed away since the election. “I am here to give service to the people of Greene County. I will have an open-door policy, if you need to see me to ask a question or voice a concern, I will be available to assist you,” said Johnson.
At the conclusion of his introductory remarks, Rev. John Kennard said, “She will have to be tough, to fight for what is right; she will have to be tender, to love; she will be human and make mistakes; she will have the humility to admit her mistakes; and she will need resilience, to keep moving forward.”
Mr. Joe Powell, assistant city clerk, and Ms. ShaKelvia Spencer, city clerk, were sworn on September 15, 2021 as municipal court magistrates. Having additional, sworn magistrates, will allow the court to operate more efficiently in case of sickness. Mr. Joe Powell and Ms. ShaKelvia Spencer were sworn in by Municipal Court Judge Josh Swords.
Greenetrack officials with current and former employees who graduated from Miles College, pose with $20,000 check. L. to R. are: Frank Smith, Albert Turner Jr., Shemekia Little, Luther ‘Natt’ Winn, Greenetrack CEO, Bobbie Knight, President of Miles College, Johnny Coleman, Juanita T. Austin and Mary Snoddy.
On Thursday afternoon, September 23, 2021, Greenetrack announced it was establishing ‘The Greenetrack Inc. Scholarship’ at Miles College, an HBCU in Birmingham, Alabama. Greenetrack CEO, Luther ‘Natt’ Winn presented a check for $20,000 to initiate the scholarship fund to Dr. Bobbie Knight, President of Miles College. A number of current and former employees of Greenetrack, Inc, who attended Miles College attended the presentation.
“This scholarship’s purpose is to help students from western Alabama attain a degree so that they can return and help improve the quality of life in the region. This scholarship is being established with the initial contribution of $20,000 which will be generously supported by Greenetrack in the future,” said Winn.
Student must be from Greene, Sumter, Hale, Perry, Bibb, Pickens, Choctaw, Marengo, Dallas and Wilcox counties to qualify for the assistance.
Coordination of the scholarship will be managed through the Miles College Scholarship Program. To apply for the scholarship, students must complete an application through Miles College.
Dr. Bobbie Knight, Miles College President said, “We are very appreciative of this wonderful assistance from Greenetrack Inc. which will help students from the area reach their educational goals. It was also great to see so many graduates of our college here today.”
Herlecia Hampton, Greenetrack Gaming Coordinator pointed out that Miles College is the fourth college in the state to receive scholarship funds from Greenetrack. The others include: Alabama A & M University in Huntsville, Alabama State University in Montgomery, and University of West Alabama in Livingston.
(TriceEdneyWire.com) – As the global pandemic continues to take lives and infect multiple generations, virtually every dimension of life is challenged. And people with the fewest financial resources before COVID-19 are being challenged more than ever before.
It is both a challenge and an opportunity for leadership in the Biden Administration, Congress, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, along with the private sector address to effect policies and practices that reverse the nation’s still-growing racial wealth gap. Tried and true wealth-building tools like targeted homeownership and expanded small business investments together would bring sustainable and meaningful changes to those who historically have been financially marginalized.
In an effort to better understand and solve the dual sagas wrought from centuries of racial discrimination and COVID, major universities, government agencies, public policy institutes and corporations are releasing new research that analyzes the pandemic’s added challenges that exacerbate historical racial inequities.
For example, from January through March of this year, Blacks on average had 22 cents for every dollar of white family wealth, according to the St. Louis Federal Reserve’s Institute for Economic Equity These substantial gaps have remained largely unchanged since 1989 to the present, according to the Institute.
The gap’s disparities are also reflected in findings from research conducted by Harvard University. This esteemed Ivy League institution drew a key distinction between America’s income and wealth inequalities.
“Income is unequal, but wealth is even more unequal,” said Alexandra Killewald, professor of sociology at Harvard, who studies inequality in the contemporary U.S. “You can think of income as water flowing into your bathtub, whereas wealth is like the water that’s sitting in the bathtub,” she said. “If you have wealth, it can protect you if you lose your job or your house. Wealth is distinctive because it can be used as a cushion, and it can be directly passed down across generations,” providing families more choices and greater opportunity in the present and the future… white Americans are benefiting from legacies of advantage…The typical white American family has roughly 10 times as much wealth as the typical African American family and the typical Latino family.” While the issues raised by the Federal Reserve and Harvard may sound like variations on an old theme, a 150-year-old global financial firm, Goldman Sachs, urges targeted and sustained investment by both the public and private sectors to erase America’s racial wealth gap. While the report focuses on Black women, its projected outcomes would benefit Black men as well. “If the improvements benefit Black women and men alike, we estimate larger increases in U.S. employment of 1.7 million jobs and in U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of 2.1%, which corresponds to $450 billion per year.” Titled, Black Womenomics: Investing in the Underinvested, the March 2021 report calls for access to capital, education, equitable earnings, health care, and housing to lay the groundwork to reverse historical disadvantages, while creating financial independence and personal wealth. Most importantly, the report calls for the participation of Blacks – and especially Black women — to shape their own futures.
“[A]ny efforts to effectively address the issues can only be successful if Black women are actively engaged in formulating the strategies and framing the outcomes. Moreover, addressing discrimination and bias will be fundamental to real and sustainable progress…The large wealth gap faced by single Black women is particularly important because Black women are more and increasingly likely to be single and breadwinner mothers…Among Black mothers, more than 80% are breadwinners compared to 50% of white mothers,” states the report. How existing financial disparities leave Black women more financially vulnerable is found in the report’s data points: • Black women face a 90% wealth gap; • The wage gap of Black women widens through their whole work-life, and especially rapidly between ages 20 and 35; • Black women are five times more likely than white men to rely on expensive payday loans; • Black women are nearly three times more likely to forego prescription medicine, and also much more likely than white men not to see a doctor because they cannot afford it; and • The median single Black woman does not own a home, and single Black women are 24 times less likely than single white men to own a business. Additionally, the nation’s shortage of affordable housing translates into 85% of Black women with families facing housing costs ranging from more than 30% to 50% of their incomes. Once the monthly rent is paid, these housing-burdened households have little left to cover utilities, food, childcare or other household needs.
Even Black families earning a median income will need 14 years just to save a 5% home down payment, according to a recent analysis by the Center for Responsible Lending (CRL).
A legacy of historically modest incomes and little inter-generational wealth available to be passed down by families leaves most Black Americans without the comparable financial advantages enjoyed by other races and ethnicities.
These and other circumstances lead many women – especially women of color — to turn to high-cost loans of only a few hundred dollars. Although the typical payday loan of $350 is marketed as a short-term fix to an unexpected expense, the reality for many with modest incomes is that the high-cost loan – which can come with interest as high as 400% — becomes yet another long-term financial burden that worsens financial strains with[every renewal.
“Predatory, high-interest lenders pull people down into financial quicksand, making them more likely to experience a range of harms, such as losing their bank account, defaulting on their bills, losing their car, and declaring bankruptcy. It is low-income consumers, and disproportionately communities of color – whom the lenders target – that are being harmed,” said Ashley Harrington, of CRL in testimony this summer before the U.S. Senate Banking Committee.
The harms of wealth inequality also extend to the broader U.S. economy, according to the Goldman Sachs report. In its view, expanding opportunities for Black women who are often on the bottom rung of the economic ladder can create a pathway to individual and national prosperity. “Overcoming these adverse economic trends would make for not only a fairer, but also a richer society. We estimate that confronting the earnings gap for Black women could create 1.2-1.7 million U.S. jobs and raise the level of annual U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) by 1.4-2.1% each year, or $300-450 billion in current dollars.”
It is time for this nation to make good on its age-old promises. Creating neighborhoods of opportunity from poverty pockets would strengthen cities and suburbs alike. If corporate leadership would join with the Administration and Congress to ensure that Black America and other people of color share in the nation’s prosperity, everyone would be better off.
Charlene Crowell is a senior fellow with the Center for Responsible Lending. She can be reached at Charlene.email@example.com.
Some have called the situation in Haiti “a forgotten disaster.” That’s because it appears that much of the western world hasn’t bothered to call to mind what residents in the Caribbean nation have experienced. In August, the 7.2 magnitude earthquake that tore through the island nation left more than 2,200 people dead and at least 30,000 homeless. Further exacerbating the country’s need, Haiti hadn’t fully recovered from the 2010 quake that officials there put death estimates at more than 300,000. Today, over one month since the August 2021 quake, half of the Haitians affected still need humanitarian assistance – about 400,000 people, according to the District-based nonprofit Project Hope. “To get medical care, some people are walking for hours. Some come on the back of motorcycles. One man with severe crush injuries to his limbs was carried down the mountainside by a family member and then brought in the back of a pickup truck,” said Project HOPE’s Director of Emergency Response & Preparedness Tom Cotter, who led our team in Haiti in the initial days after the quake. “When people do get to a clinic, they hope that it is not one of the 32 health facilities that were completely damaged or destroyed,” Carter remarked in a news release. “If the clinic is operational, they still may have to face shortages of medical supplies and personnel to treat them. If it isn’t, they are being tended to outside amidst challenging weather, heat, mosquitoes, and potential violence from crowds,” he stated. Project HOPE has worked in Haiti since the 1980s and deployed an Emergency Response Team after the earthquake to conduct rapid assessments of the situation and most urgent needs on the ground. The organization now helps the country’s health system recover for the long term. “While the urgent medical needs from houses falling on people have passed, there are other more deadly medical needs that will continue to emerge in the next few months, due to the disruption to the healthcare system and supply chain for Haiti,” Cotter added. “People are at risk of infectious diseases like cholera, acute respiratory infection, diarrhea, and malaria.” Cotter continued: “Over 119,000 people are in need of clean drinking water, while 130,000 are trying to figure out where they will sleep with their children since their homes were destroyed. With so many people gathering in temporary camps and shelters, concerns about the potential spread of coronavirus are yet another source of stress for these communities. On top of the physical trauma being attended to, only a few doctors in Haiti are trained to provide mental health support.” “We must remain committed to supporting recovery and rebuilding the capacity of this country beyond when the cameras leave and the news coverage ends.”
Natalie and Derrica Wilson (left) founded the Black & Missing Foundation to raise awareness about people of color who have disappeared./ Allison Keyes / WAMU
By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire
It’s been 13 years since Natalie Wilson and her sister-in-law Derrica Wilson founded the Black and Missing Foundation to help bring attention and closure to the ever-growing number of cases in minority communities. As incomplete and cringe-worthy, the number of the missing – one count suggests that of the more than 600,000 individuals currently reported missing, more than 200,000 are individuals of color – Wilson forges ahead. The recent case of the disappearance and death of Gabbi Petito, who was white and blone, has focused more attention on the missing people of color, including indigenous people, who go missing every year without similar press attention. She does so, even 13 years and some success stories later, emotionally. “We’ve come a long way,” Wilson declared during a recent visit to the new, state-of-the-art National Newspaper Publishers Association’s (NNPA) television studios in Washington, D.C. During a conversation with NNPA President and CEO Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr., Wilson punctuated the need for the Black and Missing Foundation with the story of Phoenix Coldena young African American woman who went in 2011 missing near St. Louis, Missouri. “I called every media outlet, and no one covered that story,” Wilson recalled. “Finally, an assignment editor got tired of me calling and asked me to send Colden’s profile.” In her interview with Dr. Chavis, which will air on PBS-TV and PBS-World as a special on The Chavis Chronicles, Wilson reflected on how the news media and even law enforcement fail to highlight missing people of color – notably missing Black girls. “I’m so grateful for the Black Press,” Wilson remarked. “They have used their platform to showcase [these stories]. Media coverage is important. It could speed up the recovery and add pressure on law enforcement to add resources to these cases, and that’s vital.” Wilson proclaimed that laws are needed to protect children, particularly victims of sex trafficking. She said she had witnessed young boys and girls arrested after becoming sex trafficking victims. “They need rehabilitation,” she exclaimed. Wilson recalled a case in Virginia of a young Black woman who went missing. “She was too old for an Amber Alert and too young for a Silver Alert,” Wilson stated. Ashanti Billie, 19, was kidnapped while heading to work in 2017. Authorities recovered her body 11 days later in North Carolina. Because she didn’t qualify for either an Amber or Silver alert – which notifies the public about missing children and senior citizens – family and authorities lost precious time. Virginia has now enacted The Ashanti Alert, which bridges the age gap. “This needs to be on the national level because so many of our missing are slipping under the radar,” Wilson stated. She pointed out that since the beginning of the pandemic, there’s been an uptick in sex trafficking, and children are more exposed to online predators than ever before. “They are tapping into our children,” Wilson said. “There was a young lady who went missing. She was a gamer, and she was talking to a man online. So, when she went missing, her family was so surprised that she was talking to someone online.” Wilson continued: “You’ve got to be nosey with your children. Have them sit in an open area so you can see what’s going on. Create a fictitious account and see if you can befriend your child online and share information to save their lives. Unfortunately, once they go missing, we don’t have any intelligence to help save them.” For more information about the Black and Missing Foundation, visit http://www.bamfi.org.