Greene County Schools equip classrooms to protect returning students and staff

The Greene County School System resumed face-to-face instruction at its school facilities utilizing the Phase II Hybrid Plan, beginning Monday, April 5, 2021. As shown in photos, each student desk has a three-sided plexiglass shield and masks are required for students and all school personnel. According to Superintendent Dr. Corey Jones, temperature checks are administered each morning automatically as students and staff enter the facility. Hand sanitizers are available in each classroom and throughout the facility. Air purifiers are installed in each classroom. Dr. Jones stated that he is very pleased with the conduct of students and staff on the first days back at the schools. “ I want to commend our students, teachers and staff for the outstanding cooperation they demonstrated on returning to the face-to-face academic program. Everyone wore their masks and were sensitive to keeping safe distances and just trying to keep each other safe,” he said. Superintendent Jones noted the on-site school enrollments for the initial day back: Eutaw Primary with 214 students; Robert Brown Middle School with 220 students and Greene County High School with 125 students. Virtual classes are still available. Students who are returning to on-site classes are scheduled by the beginning letter of the last name. Students with last names A to M will attend classes on Monday and Tuesday; students with last names N to Z will attend classes Wednesday and Thursday. All academic programs are virtual on Fridays.

Newswire : Attorney Yusef Jackson joins correctional technology company as Senior Advisor

Yusef Jackson

Son of Jesse Jackson to help deal with high costs of prison phone calls

By Hazel Trice Edney

TriceEdneyWire.com) – Attorney and entrepreneur Yusef Jackson is joining the executive team at Aventiv Technologies, according to a company announcement. Jackson is the son of Rainbow/PUSH founder Jesse Jackson and has been a longtime advocate for civil rights alongside his family. Jackson’s role is being described as helping to facilitate external partnerships with the civic, educational, and corporate communities and ensuring a more diverse workforce at the company. Aventiv is the parent company to Securus Technologies, which is best known for providing telecommunication services to prisons and jails around the U.S., including phones and digital tablets. The company, along with others in the industry, has come under fire in recent years for the high prices charged to family members of the incarcerated for use of their services in some jurisdictions. A number of advocacy groups have been calling for policy changes to lower the price of calls and other services for the incarcerated, including by prohibiting government agencies from collecting revenue off of these contracts. Others, including some who are currently incarcerated, argue that the opportunity that comes with these previously unavailable technologies is worth the cost of the service. Last year, Aventiv announced an effort to change some of those business practices and respond to criticism of the industry. To date, the company has provided more than 40 million free phone calls through that effort, according to company data. Jackson’s hiring is being positioned as a continuation of that effort. The company announcement said Jackson would be involved in the development of job and reintegration tools for those who are incarcerated, and partnerships focused on eliminating the post-incarceration stigma. In a release announcing Jackson’s new position, Aventiv CEO Dave Abel said that Jackson would “play a vital role not only in expanding our reform efforts, but also in broadening our view as we look both inward and outward with respect to employee, customer, and community stakeholders.” Jackson acknowledged the history of problems inherent to correctional contractors, saying “the correctional services industry provides critical technology products and services to incarcerated Americans, but the business practices employed by the industry have been rightly criticized and are long overdue for reform.” Jackson also said that his approach to this reform effort would be driven by both data and conversations with families of the incarcerated. “While I know Securus has undertaken a similar effort, it is important that I understand not only the data, but hear first-hand from affected individuals,” Jackson said. African Americans and Hispanics make up 32 percent of the U.S. but 56% of the incarcerated population, according to the NAACP. African Americans in particular are incarcerated at over than 5 times the rate of white Americans. These numbers have remained high even as overall crime has declined. Over the last two decades the rate of violent crime in the U.S. has fallen by about 20 percent, while the number of  

 

 

Newswire: Kim Janey running for Mayor of Boston

Kim M. Janey, Mayor of Boston

Kim M. Janey was named acting Mayor of Boston, on March 24th , the first Black person to hold the position.  Janey has been a member of the Boston City Council since January 2018. She represents Roxbury, South End, Dorchester, and Fenway. When President Biden named Boston Mayor Marty Walsh as the nominee for Secretary of Labor, Janey moved up to replace him in the position of Mayor.  Janey announced this week she will run for mayor later this year, making official what most expected ever since it was clear she’d take over duties when Marty Walsh left for Washington.  “I am leading Boston through a lens of equity, justice, and love — but I know the challenges we face will take longer than a few months to overcome,” Janey said in a tweet. “I am running for a full term as Mayor to ensure a better, stronger city for every Bostonian.” Janey was city council president when Walsh resigned ten days ago after joining President Biden’s administration as labor secretary. She’s been on the job two weeks. The power of the incumbency could prove vital. When Ray Flynn resigned in 1993, Thomas Menino took over as acting mayor. He then ran for the open seat in a crowded field and easily won). Menino was mayor until 2014. “My life’s work, from education advocacy to leading the city council, has been centered around making sure every child has the opportunity to learn and succeed in a more just city than the one I grew up in,” Janey said in her video released Tuesday. “See, I was part of desegregation busing. Eleven years old, having rocks and racial slurs thrown at me. I’ve been at the center of Boston’s history. The bad and the good.” Janey, 56, will continue to serve during the remainder of Walsh’s term, which ends in January 2022. She is Boston’s 55th mayor. It was also announced that Dennis White, an African American, was named that city’s chief of police.

Newswire : 77% of Americans support Bessemer Alabama Amazon union drive in new poll

(Washington, D.C., April 5, 2021)—Today, the AFL-CIO and GBAO released a nationwide poll of registered voters that found more than three-quarters of Americans support workers’ efforts to organize a union at the Amazon warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama. The findings come days after voting closed in the organizing drive and demonstrate a significant rise in public support. In February, Data for Progress found that 69% of likely voters supported the unionization effort.  “In every corner of the country, working people are crying out for change,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. “We aren’t just bearing the brunt of this pandemic. For decades, we’ve been bled dry by a rigged, corporate-first economy. Amazon workers in Bessemer are tearing down that system, and America is standing with them.” “This is what solidarity looks like,” said Stuart Appelbaum, president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU). “America is standing shoulder to shoulder with Amazon workers in Bessemer. People across the country and of all backgrounds recognize the systematic injustice that Amazon is inflicting on its own workers. This fight is universal—it’s a struggle for the fundamental rights and dignities that all working people deserve.” The nationwide poll surveyed 600 registered voters from March 28–30. The survey carries a margin of error of +/-4.0 percentage points. Q: As you may know, some workers at an Amazon warehouse in Alabama are proposing to form a union to negotiate with the company on working conditions. Do you support or oppose these Amazon workers forming a union to negotiate on working conditions? AFL-CIO CONTACT: John Weber, 202-637-5018 or jweber@aflcio.org RWDSU CONTACT: Chelsea Connor, 347-866-6259 or cconnor@rwdsu.org 

Newswire: Nation of Islam clarifies U. S. Capitol attacker not a member and condemns violence

Nation of Islam Flag

By Stacy M. Brown, 

NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent

 The Nation of Islam has clarified and contradicted mainstream media reports that erroneously identified the individual who recently attacked the U.S. Capitol as one of its members. In a statement to the National Newspaper Publishers Association, the trade association of the 230-member Black Press of America, officials at the Nation of Islam said Noah Green, who killed a police officer in the attack and died from injuries sustained during his action, was not a member of the Nation of Islam. The organization also denounced the violent attack, noting that its members and leaders are appalled by violence that occurred at the U.S. Capitol last week. Here is the full statement from the Nation of Islam on April 6, 2021. Brothers and Sisters of the Black Community, members of the press, and the American People: We have prepared this statement to answer some of the many inquiries that we have had over the last few days about Mr. Noah Green. Naturally, we, like most of you, were disturbed watching the news of an assault on the U.S. Capitol where one police officer was killed, one was injured, and Mr. Green was killed. We speak on behalf of the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, the members of his family, all of the registered Muslim members of the Nation of Islam, and all people of good will everywhere, in that, we are in sympathy with the victims of this tragedy. And we are in sympathy with the families of these victims. And we, like you, can only offer them condolences and our deepest sympathy for their loss.  Our prayers are for the full recovery of the officer who was injured. The Nation of Islam has no history of violence against the government. Federal, state, and local law enforcement are all well aware of our history. We have held four national marches, including the Historic 1995 Million Man March, which we know to be one of the largest gatherings in the history of the United States of America and the most peaceful on the U.S. Capitol grounds. We had a good working relationship with the U.S. Capitol police during each of these historic events. It is being reported that Noah Green was a “follower” of the Nation of Islam. This young man, Noah Green, we believe may have attended our Saviours’ Day convention in Detroit, MI in February 2020. In March of 2020, due to the COVID 19 pandemic, we closed our Mosques, and began conducting meetings and classes remotely. A search of our records indicates Noah Green was not a registered member of the Nation of Islam.  It appears that in late summer (August-September) of 2020, he started the process to begin his study to become a member, but he did not complete the process. He did make a donation to the Saviours’ Day Gift. Every year, the followers and supporters make a charitable donation to the Nation of Islam’s Saviours’ Day Gift charity. Every donor who makes a donation of $1000 or more is issued a Certificate of Completion. This certificate does not establish that the donor is a member in good standing in the Nation of Islam. Mr. Noah Green’s alleged use of an automobile as a weapon and the alleged possession of a knife as reported, violates our teachings.  We absolutely disavow this act that resulted in the senseless loss of life. It is shocking for us to learn that someone who was attempting to be a part of our ranks may have been involved in something as tragic as this. But, we respectfully say to the members of the media and to the American people, Timothy McVeigh confessed that he was a Christian, but nobody blames the church for his misconduct. No one would blame Jesus or their pastor for unlawful and immoral behavior that is contrary to the teachings of Jesus.  You have criminals, people that do horrific things, but we never know their religion. It’s not important because religion does not teach criminal behavior. Criminal behavior is an aberration. Criminal behavior is a violation. Criminal behavior is absolute rebellion toward what God teaches through the mouth of His prophets. When thousands of American citizens engaged in an attempted insurrection, attacking the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, resulting in the deaths of five persons and injuring many, the news media did not question what their religion was. Nowhere in the teachings of Islam, nowhere in the teachings of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, could we countenance any man taking the life of an innocent human being. For us, human life is sacred. And the violation of human life is a violation of God, Himself, because He’s the giver of life and He’s the ultimate cause of death. But He doesn’t give us the right to kill innocent people. That is against our law. We are taught “to never be the aggressor in word or in deed”, for Allah (God) hates aggression and is not with the aggressor. This is our teaching. In fact, all of us who are members of the Nation of Islam have been instructed not to carry any weapons—not so much as a penknife—not on our persons and not in our homes. We do not rely on weapons of war to defend us. We rely on our belief and our faith in Allah (God). We condemn the wicked mischaracterization of some media reports trying to tie this tragic incident to the teachings of the Nation of Islam and the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, and all people of good will should do the same as well. So, most of us, like you, are questioning why would this young man allegedly do such an act? If he did, what happened to him? What caused this? The family released a statement published in the Washington Post saying of Noah Green, he “was not a terrorist by any means.” He had been studying for his master’s degree in business administration but had also suffered from “depression and potential mental illness.” It has also been reported in an article from CNN, that he shared on social media, “I have suffered multiple home break-ins, food poisoning, assaults, unauthorized operations in the hospital, mind control.” This young man had struggled in his early life but overcame much as a student to graduate with a degree in finance. He had a wonderful, noble idea to help the black and brown people through his knowledge of finance. “I am sure,” Minister Farrakhan states, “had he been blessed to come through the crisis that he was going through, he would have been a star in the mission of the resurrection of our people. We need to know what happened to our brother.” So, our research is continuing into what happened to this young man and we cannot rest until we find out what caused him to take a turn like this. We are saddened by the loss of this brother with such great potential. With heavy hearts we offer sympathy and condolences to his mother, father, family and friends.

Greene County High School Graduating Senior, 2021

NOTICE

The Greene County Democrat staff invites all Greene County High School graduating seniors, 2021, to come to the Democrat’s office, with white shirts/tops, to get their graduation photos taken for the newspaper.  The deadline for the photos is Friday, May 14, 2021. 

Office hours are Monday – Friday 8:30 am to 5:00 pm. 

Students may also  make individual appointments with 

Mrs. Barbara Amerson Hunter at 205-372-3373, or submit a photo to bamerson1345@bellsouth.net

 
 

Alabama to receive $940 million incentive payments, over two years, if the state expands Medicaid under the American Rescue Plan

The State of Alabama is eligible to receive $940 million in incentive payments, over two years, if it expands Medicaid to serve people making up to 138% of poverty wages, under provisions of the $1.9 Trillion American Rescue Plan, passed by Congress and signed by President Biden on March 11. The American Rescue Plan contains funding for $1,400 stimulus checks, $300 weekly supplementary unemployment benefits, child tax credits, and many other provisions to help people deal with the health and financial crisis brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. The Plan also contains a financial incentive for the 12 states, mostly in the South, that have not agreed to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. The incentive comes in the form of a five (5%) increase in the Federal matching assistance percentage (FMAP) paid by HHS for all current Medicaid recipients for two years. Alabama currently receives a FMAP of 78% which would rise to 83%, if the state expands Medicaid for 300,000 or more working poor people who make too much to qualify for Medicaid and too little to purchase insurance on the ACA exchanges. The 5% increase in FMAP would yield the State of Alabama, $940 million in increased government healthcare support for all current Medicaid recipients, e.g., children, seniors in nursing homes, pregnant women, the disabled and others over the next two years. This $940 million could be used by the State of Alabama to cover the initial cost of initiating healthcare coverage for the working poor, people who make below 138% of the poverty level. The State of Alabama would receive 90% reimbursement for all people covered by Medicaid expansion. The State would be able to shift some expenses it is currently paying for the disabled, prisoners and others to the Medicaid Expansion Program, saving more in the state budget toward the cost of healthcare for the people of the state. Medicaid expansion also creates an estimated 30,000 new jobs, mostly in healthcare fields and generates additional sales and income tax revenues to help the state maintain the program after the two years of incentives are reduced. In most states that have adopted Medicaid Expansion, the program has paid for and sustained itself. Jane Adams, Executive Director of Cover Alabama, a coalition of organizations supporting Medicaid Expansion says, “This is the very best time for Alabama to expand Medicaid because the Federal government is offering incentives to expand the program and because the state has been limited by the coronavirus pandemic from removing people from the Medicaid rolls. The State is carrying over a million people on its Medicaid rolls and will be receiving the 5% incentive payment for anyone treated that is covered by Medicaid.” “In Alabama, the decision to expand Medicaid falls to Governor Kay Ivey. She can expand Medicaid as soon as she decides it is beneficial to the state to do so. She does not need action by the State Legislature and she can develop an amended state budget based on the promised revenues and incentives,” said Adams. Johnny Ford of Tuskegee, the Co-chair of the SOS Movement for Justice and Democracy Health Committee said, “Now is the time to get Medicaid Expansion. I do not care if we call it ‘Iveycare’ or whatever but the Governor must agree and help the working poor to get health insurance coverage, as we work our way out of this pandemic. The program creates jobs, helps keep hospitals open and it will pay for itself plus President Biden is giving incentives for the state to adopt the program.” “Governor Ivey’s objection to expanding Medicaid was that funds were not available to start the program but the funds are there now. There should be no more excuses. Call, write or email Governor Ivey and let her know you support Medicaid Expansion,” said John Zippert, SOS Health Committee Co-chair.

One quarter of Greene County’s adults have received one vaccination

Vaccination at Greenetrack parking lot conducted by the National Guard

According to the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH), 25% or more of Greene county’s adults, over the age of 16 have received one or more doses of coronavirus vaccine. The ADPH Coronavirus Dashboard, on the state’s website, shows that as of March 30, 2021 there were 2,927 does of vaccine administered to Greene County adults. This includes 2,081 who received one shot and 874 who are fully vaccinated with two shots of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or one shot of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine. In a press release yesterday, the ADPH says 25% of adult residents of 35 Alabama counties including: Greene, Marengo, Hale, Wilcox, Perry, Lowndes, Dallas, Sumter, Choctaw, Monroe, Washington, Macon and Bullock in the Black Belt, have received at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine. Last Wednesday, March 24, a total of 396 people were vaccinated at the Health Department in downtown Eutaw and a special vaccination site administered by the National Guard at the Greenetrack parking lot. In all, the National Guard has administered 3,738 shots in 24 Alabama rural counties as part of a targeted effort that began last week. The ADPH says in its press release that, “Successful public health efforts to achieve vaccine equity have resulted in higher vaccine uptake among African American residents of Black Belt counties.” This comes after an initial period where immunization of African-Americans, who are more vulnerable to the disease, lagged behind in vaccinations. 64% of the most vulnerable populations above the age of 75 have received one dose or more in Alabama as of yesterday. ADPH says. “People in this age group are at high risk of hospitalization, illness, and death from COVID-19. As we age, our immune cells become more difficult to activate. ADPH maximized our limited vaccine resources to help protect these Alabama residents. Regrettably, 78.8 percent of Alabamians who have died due to COVID-19 are age 65 and older. Vulnerable older residents have been prioritized in our Vaccine Allocation Plan for that reason.” ADPH says that supply remains an issue, as there is not yet enough vaccine available for everyone who would like to be vaccinated. The state continues to receive more vaccine distribution from the Federal government and hopes to make shots available to all who want the by the end of April 2021. ADPH encourages the use of facial coverings after the state mandate ends on April 9, 2021. Masks or other facial coverings will no longer be a mandate after April 9, but ADPH reminds everyone that masks remain one of the most successful tools to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. Many businesses and healthcare facilities will continue to require facial coverings in their facilities. Hospitals and nursing homes are under federal guidance that supports the use of facial coverings, and we anticipate the requirement for facial coverings to remain in place at those facilities.

Newswire : New wave of coronavirus in Africa linked to relaxed public health measures

Dr. John Kkengasong, Head of Africa’s CDC

Mar. 29, 2021 (GIN) – Africa is experiencing a second coronavirus wave more severe than the first, according to a worrying new study published on March 24 by the medical journal The Lancet. The Lancet said one reason for the rise was that some countries were implementing fewer public health measures such as mask wearing and social distancing, probably from adherence fatigue and economic necessity.   The first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic progressed more slowly in Africa than the rest of the world, but by December 2020, the second wave appeared to be much more aggressive with many more cases, the medical journal found.   To date, the pandemic situation in all 55 African Union (AU) Member States has not been comprehensively reviewed, the panels of doctors said. “With further waves of COVID-19 infections expected in Africa, the authors wrote, “we are calling for continued monitoring of COVID-19 data, improvements to testing capacity, and renewed efforts to adhere to public health measures.”   The report is the first-ever continent-wide analysis.   “These insights also reveal a need to improve testing capacity and reinvigorate public health campaigns, to re-emphasize the importance of abiding by measures that aim to strike a fine balance between controlling the spread of COVID-19 and sustaining economies and people’s livelihoods,” said Dr John Nkengasong, from the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC).   Out of the 55 African Union countries the most coronavirus-related deaths occurred in South Africa, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria.   Meanwhile, more African countries have received the long-awaited first deliveries of COVID-19 vaccines, with Kenya, Rwanda, Senegal and Lesotho benefiting from a global initiative called COVAX that aims to ensure doses for the world’s low-and middle-income nations.   African and other health officials have been frustrated by the sight of a handful of rich countries rolling out vaccines after snapping up large amounts for themselves.   “We will be known as the continent of COVID” if Africa doesn’t quickly reach its target of vaccinating 60% of its population of 1.3 billion people, Dr. Nkengasong said.   So far Ghana, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Angola, Gambia and Congo also have received their first vaccine doses via COVAX, with several other countries including Mali, Senegal, Malawi and Uganda set to receive them this week.   The numbers are still disappointing the World Health Organization which this week called the African continent “lagging” in the race to vaccinate its people against the deadly coronavirus. Africa needs far greater access to COVID-19 vaccines to reach its goal of vaccinating 60 percent of the population by June 2022, the world health body said.