Superintendent addresses parents concerns on returning students to in-class instruction

The Greene County Board of Education met in regular session Monday, September 20, 2021. One of the key issues addressed related to the re-opening of face-to-face classes for students. Superintendent Dr. Corey Jones stated that various official health reports indicate that COVID positive cases are down in Greene County at this time. He also said that the data indicates that achievement rates are lower among students who are in virtual programs. “My main concerns are for the safety of our students and, just as important, my concern for the achievement of our students. We cannot allow our students to continue to fall back,” he explained.
Several parents were in attendance and were allowed an opportunity to express their concerns which related to cleaning routines at school facilities, availability of cleaning supplies, the cooling system at Robert Brown Middle School, alternate instructional programs for students with pre conditions, and the consideration of implementing the Hybrid Instructional Plan where the number of students in a class is reduced. Dr. Jones addressed these assuring all that the maintenance department worked additional hours each day for repeated cleaning of facilities. He stated that the school system will remain in full attendance at this time, but students needing alternative instructional methods will be considered on an individual basis. He added that parents can make such requests through the school principal or directly to him.
As part of the personnel items presented to the board, Superintendent Jones recommended the suspension of Corey Cockrell as teacher and coach for five days without pay. The board held a closed conference with Cockrell and when returning to open session, no action was taken on the superintendent’s recommendation.
Regarding other personnel items recommended, the board approved the following:
Employment: Marqavius King as 6th Grade Language Arts Teacher at Robert Brown Middle School. Resignation: Nyesha Watson as 1st Grade Teacher at Robert Brown Middle School; Jamar Jackson as Custodian at Robert Brown Middle School.
Supplemental Contracts: Elroy Skinner as Assistant Football Coach at RBMS; Cyonti Lewis as Assistant Football Coach at GCHS,  
The board approved the following administrative items presented by the superintendent.
* Payment of all bills, claims and payroll.
Bank reconciliations as submitted by LaVonda Blair, CSFO.
Confirmation of Interim CSFO Contract.
* Confirmation for Limited Financial Agreement.
* Memorandum of Agreement between Greene County Board and Stillman College Foundation.
* Memorandum of Agreement between Greene County Board and the University of Alabama Dual Enrollment.
* Memorandum of Understanding between Greene County Board of Education and UAB for voluntary COVID weekly testing for students, faculty and staff, pending attorney’s review and superintendent’s agreement.
* Contract between Greene County Board and Malysa Chandler for Educational Consulting Services.
* Partnership between Greene County Schools and Alabama Cooperative Extension Services for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Education Program.

Newswire: Jacob Zuma, former South African Presidentloses bid to stay out of jail

Jacob Zuma

 

Sep. 20, 2021 (GIN) – Former South African President Jacob Zuma has lost his latest bid to remain out of jail after refusing to respond to a corruption inquiry.
 “The application for rescission is dismissed,” Justice Sisi Khampepe said as she read the majority decision, which included an order for Zuma to pay court costs.
 It was the latest legal setback for the 79-year-old anti-apartheid veteran from the ruling African National Congress, whose presidency from 2009 to 2018 was marred by widespread allegations of graft and malfeasance.
 He denies wrongdoing.
 Back in June, Justice Khampepe sentenced the former president to 15 months imprisonment in a ruling called one of the most prolific Constitutional Court judgments in the history of South Africa. Many saw the case as a test of South Africa’s post-apartheid ability to enforce rule of law, particularly against the powerful.
 Zuma stayed out of jail until July 7, asking the court to revoke its sentence for contempt, arguing it was excessive and would endanger his health and life. His appeal was denied and he finally turned himself over to police. Zuma’s supporters in the port city of Durban responded with fury, setting off some of the worst riots and looting in decades. More than 300 people were killed and thousands of businesses pillaged and razed. 
 President Cyril Ramaphosa called the violence a “failed insurrection”. Fueling it was frustration among the largely Black communities still living in squalid conditions long after the ANC swept to power in South Africa’s first democratic elections in 1994.
 Zuma faces a separate corruption trial linked to his sacking as deputy president in 2005, when he was accused of taking bribes from a French arms manufacturer. 
 Mr. Zuma once said the party was more important than the nation itself, contending that it would govern South Africa until Jesus returned. And during his nearly nine-year presidency that was marred by scandal, corruption and mismanagement, ANC officials repeatedly rallied behind him as their leader.
 In the end, though, his party turned against him, asking him to step down a full year and a half before the end of his second term and the country that had inspired the world with Nelson Mandela’s idea of peaceful reconciliation, and the continent with Thabo Mbeki’s vision of an “African renaissance,” would now be known for corrupt leadership and a wide range of thorny problems. w/pix of J. Zuma
 

 

Newswire: Secretary Fudge, HUD convened African American officials to discuss the housing investments in President Biden’s Build Back Better plan

HUD Secretary, Marcia Fudge

WASHINGTON, D.C.— U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Marcia L. Fudge convened a virtual roundtable discussion with over 90 mayors, state legislators, county commissioners, and local municipal leaders on the housing investments and racial equity opportunities that would be created through President Biden’s Build Back Better plan.

The mayors and state and local elected leaders make up the executive teams and memberships of the National League of Cities- National Black Caucus for Local Elected Officials, National Organization of Black County Officials, African American Mayors Association, and National Black Conference of State Legislators.

Speakers included Georgia State Rep. and President of the National Black Conference of State Legislators Billy Mitchell, African American Mayors Association President and Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, Harris County Commissioner and National Organization of Black County Officials President Rodney Ellis, and Akron City Councilman and National League of Cities- National Black Caucus for Elected Officials President Russell C. Neal, Jr.

Secretary Fudge underscored the Biden-Harris Administration’s Build Back Better plan and its investments in housing construction and rehabilitation, economic development, and community revitalization.

She noted that even before the pandemic, nearly 11 million households spent more than half their incomes on rent – and that people of color represent a disproportionate number of these households.

Secretary Fudge reiterated President Biden’s commitment to addressing the affordable housing crisis through the Build Back Better plan, which calls for historic investments in our nation’s housing.

Further, the group discussed how the federal government will continue to work with local officials to protect renters through quickly delivering assistance to stop evictions during the pandemic.

The local officials raised their priorities to ensure communities of color receive investments to build more affordable housing and break down barriers that drive up costs.

Newswire: Warnock, McEachin introduce legislation establishing voucher program to help close Digital Divide

Young people using a computer laptop

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent


In the increasingly digital world, internet services and the devices to access them have quickly become essential to participate in the 21st-century economy. The COVID-19 pandemic has further demonstrated this need and underscored the stark disparities that currently exist in our country.

Against that backdrop, Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.) and Congressman Donald McEachin (D-Va.) have introduced the Device Access for Every American Act to ensure more Americans can afford connected devices.

The bicameral legislation would authorize the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to establish a program to administer up to $400 vouchers for low-income Americans to purchase laptops, tablets, and desktop computers.

“It is nearly impossible to get by without access to a laptop or tablet—especially after a year of adjusting to virtual learning, working, and more,” Sen. Warnock stated.

“For that, I am incredibly proud to introduce the Device Access for Every American Act, which ensures that every American – regardless of income or zip code – can participate and thrive in our increasingly digital economy.”
Sen. Warnock continued: “This legislation also ensures students stay on track, especially following a year of learning loss, with the necessary devices at their disposal.”

Sen. Warnock and Congressman McEachin said more than 11 percent of American households are without computers. They noted that millions of Americans migrated to virtual learning and teleworking since the outbreak of the pandemic. Still, many households struggled to connect because of a lack of or an insufficient number of connected devices.

Further, while computer access is nearly ubiquitous for high-income households, 40 percent of those making under $30,000 a year lack a desktop or laptop computer. Statistics show that 1 in 3 African American and Hispanic households lack access to a computer in their homes – twice the number of white families.

Most concerning, the lawmakers said 4.4 million households with students lack consistent access to a computer at home, with more than 9 million schoolchildren struggling to participate in class and complete schoolwork.

“Laptops, tablets, and other connected devices are indispensable in our increasingly digital world. Many students’ homework assignments now require laptops, more employers are exploring telework models, and more doctors’ offices are migrating toward telehealth services as the new standard of care,” Congressman McEachin explained.

The Device Access for Every American Act would:
• Allocate $2 billion in federal funding for the establishment and implementation of the voucher program
• Authorize the FCC to administer up to $400 vouchers for eligible individuals and families to purchase a connected device
• Permit up to two low-income individuals per household to receive a voucher so that families can receive multiple devices
• Direct the FCC to collaborate with connected device retailers, promote the program to eligible Americans, and provide individualized technical assistance to assist in enrollment

“The COVID-19 pandemic has further demonstrated this need and underscored the stark disparities that currently exist in our country. Unfortunately, for too many low-income Americans, prohibitive costs pose unnecessary challenges and hardships for them and their families,” McEachin concluded.

Newswire: Video of US Border Patrol mistreating Haitian migrants continues to draw outrage

Border Patrol agent confronts Haitian migrants

By: Biba Adams, The Grio

The world was shocked to see recent images of U.S. Border Patrol agents on horseback with whips wrangling Haitian migrants. The imagery, all too reminiscent of American slavery, has infuriated many both stateside and in other nations. 
A recently released video shows a border officer yelling, “This is why your country’s s**t” at Haitians attempting to migrate to U.S. soil. 

The video, shared on Al Jazeera Monday, showed Haitians trying to get back into a migrant camp in Texas after sneaking into Mexico to buy food because there wasn’t enough for them in the camp. The unidentified border patrol agent accused the Haitians, saying, “You use your women? This is why your country’s s**t because you use your women for this.” 
The disturbing video shows horses coming close to trampling children and the agents harassing the migrants, who are soon to be returned to Haiti on flights out of Del Rio in the Lone Star State. 
Thousands of Haitians have been sheltering under the Del Rio International Bridge, which crosses the Rio Grande from Mexico to the U.S. President Joe Biden‘s administration is ramping up the deportation of Haitians to their home country. Associated Press is reporting up to eight flights a day will depart to send migrants back to the Caribbean nation.

Massachusetts Rep. Ayanna Pressley recently said, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Will Bunch, “That ICE [the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement] would continue to carry out the mass deportations of our Haitian neighbors — with Haiti in the midst of its worst political, public health and economic crises yet — is cruel and callous.”

When asked by the Grio‘s White House Correspondent April Ryan about public criticisms that the administration appears to have different policy responses to Haitian migrants versus Afghans or Mexicans, Psaki said, “our immigration policy is not about one country or discriminating against one country over another. We want to put an end to that and what we saw over the last four years.”
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas told CNN’s Brianna Keilar he “was horrified by what I saw. I’m going to let the investigation run its course,” he said Tuesday morning on New Day. “But the pictures that I observed troubled me profoundly. That defies all of the values that we seek to instill in our people.”

Still, he wouldn’t characterize the situation as a “crisis”. “I, by no means, diminish the humane issue that it presents,” he said, “but I want to be clear that we do have a plan to address it, respecting the needs of the individuals. And we are executing on that plan.”
As the Biden administration attempts to differentiate between thousands of Afghans being settled here after the victory of the Taliban in that country and thousands of Haitians attempting to flee natural disasters and political turmoil in theirs, Psaki has repeatedly noted they are focused on deporting migrants, adding “Our message continues to be now is not the time to come to the U.S.”

Newswire: President Biden calls for end to systemic racism during CBCF Conference

By: Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent

President Joe Biden applauded the work of the Congressional Black Caucus and called for ending systemic racism during the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s Phoenix Awards.
The awards closed out the week-long Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s Annual Legislative Conference.

“I got here just a year after the Black Caucus started, 50 years, and the Black Caucus has gotten stronger every year with a powerhouse of ideas and a training ground for a lot of great leaders,” President Biden remarked.

“The CBC has made a difference, and as we emerge from this pandemic, the time is right to root out systemic racism. The time is now for a moral response to heal the soul of this nation and to ensure that Black Americans are fully dealt into the economy, and to this society, they have built and shaped for centuries.”

Hosted by actress Angela Bassett, the Phoenix Awards recognizes extraordinary contributions to the Black community and featured Stacey Abrams, Ledisi, and others. Singer Chaka Khan closed out the awards with her hit song, “I’m Every Woman.”

The conference also acknowledged the largest Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) class to date.
“The conference programming reflect[ed] our charge for 2021 and beyond to a continued commitment to uplifting, empowering and mobilizing Black communities through the theme of ‘Black Excellence Unparalleled: Pressing Onward in Power,’” CBCF officials noted.

The conference featured thought leaders, legislators, and concerned citizens who engage in economic development, civil and social justice, public health, and education.

CBC Chair Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-Ohio) opened the conference with honorary co-chairs Rep. Anthony Brown (D-Maryland) and Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-Delaware), CBCF Chair Lori George Billingsley, and CBCF President Tonya Veasey.

Sessions included “Re-envisioning Liberation for the Global Black Diaspora” and “Real Talk: Conversations about Family Caregiving in the Black Community,” featuring Melanie Campbell, president, and CEO of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, and convener of the Black Women’s Roundtable.

The conference also tackled “The Impact of Covid-19 on Black Businesses: One Year Later,” where panelists discussed the racial wealth divide. “Black businesses continue to experience the downside of navigating a pandemic and dramatically reduced access to resources especially customers and contracts,” conference officials stated.

“The lack of equitable access to capital and shrinking reserves continues to hinder sustainability. Clearly, COVID-19 has impacted our society in more ways than one, and Black entrepreneurs are fighting a pandemic within a pandemic.”

Sessions also included an “Environmental Justice Braintrust,” which focused on the connection between environmental justice and health disparities. The COVID-19 pandemic laid bare the significant impact both environmental and health disparities have on communities of color. This year’s program delivered discussions on the intersections of these two areas and what must occur to address these disparities.

Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.) led a voting rights brain trust titled, “Winning the Fight for Voting Rights,” where panelists will discuss the urgency of the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, Alabama Congresswoman Terri Sewell’s legislation to restore and strengthen the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and address modern-day barriers to the ballot box.

COVID-19

As of September 21, 2021 at 10:00 AM
(according to Alabama Political Reporter)

Alabama had 775,531 confirmed cases of coronavirus,
(21,289) more than last week with 13,460 deaths (742) more
than last week)

Greene County had 1,198 confirmed cases, (21 more cases than last week), with 42 deaths

Sumter Co. had 1,238 cases with 35 deaths

Hale Co. had 2,877 cases with 81 deaths

Note: Greene County Physicians Clinic has Johnson and Johnson, one dose vaccination for COVID-19; Call for appointments at 205/372-3388, Ext. 142; ages 18 and up.

Five bingo facilities distribute $614,266.48 for August; Greenetrack distributes additional $71,000

On Friday, September 10, Greene County Sheriff Department issued a listing of the distributions for August, 2021, totaling $614,266.48 from five licensed bingo gaming facilities. The August distribution reported by the sheriff does not include the additional $71,000 from Greenetrack, Inc. distributed to the same recipients, independent of the sheriff.
The bingo facilities distributing through the sheriff include Frontier, River’s Edge, Palace, Bama Bingo and Marvel City. The recipients of the August distributions from bingo gaming include the Greene County Commission, Greene County Sheriff’s Department, the cities of Eutaw, Forkland, Union, and Boligee, the Greene County Board of Education and the Greene County Hospital (Health System).
Sub charities include Children’s Policy Council, Guadalupan Multicultural Services, Greene County Golf Course, Branch Heights Housing Authority, Department of Human Resources, the Greene County Library and newly added Eutaw Housing Authority.
Bama Bingo gave a total of $114,990 to the following: Greene County Commission, $30,570; Greene County Sheriff’s $33,750; City of Eutaw, $9,250; and the Towns of Forkland, Union and Boligee each, $3,875; Greene County Board of Education, $10,500, and the Greene County Health System, $12,500. Sub Charities, each received $1,132.50.
Frontier (Dream, Inc.) gave a total of $114,990 to the following: Greene County Commission, $30,570; Greene County Sheriff’s Department, $33,750; City of Eutaw, $9,250; and the Towns of Forkland, Union and Boligee each, $3,875; Greene County Board of Education, $10,500; Greene County Health System, $12,500. Sub Charities each, $1,132.50.
River’s Edge (Next Level Leaders and Tishabee Community Center Tutorial Program) gave a total of $114,994.98 to the following: Greene County Commission, $30,570; Greene County Sheriff’s Department, $33,750; City of Eutaw, $9,250; and the Towns of Forkland, Union and Boligee each, $3,875; Greene County Board of Education, $10,500; Greene County Health System, $12,500. Sub Charities each, $1,133.33.
Palace (TS Police Support League) gave a total of $157,301.50 to the following: Greene County Commission, $41,358; Greene County Sheriff’s Department, $45,765; City of Eutaw, $12,543; and the Towns of Forkland, Union and Boligee each, $5,254.50; Greene County Board of Education, $14,238 and the Greene County Health System, $16,950; Sub Charities each, 1,536.80.
Marvel City gave a total of $114,990 to the following: Greene County Commission, $30,570; Greene County Sheriff’s $33,750; City of Eutaw, $9,250; and the Towns of Forkland, Union and Boligee each, $3,875; Greene County Board of Education, $10,500, and the Greene County Health System, $12,500. Sub Charities, each received $1,132.50.

 

 

 

COVID-19

As of September 14, 2021 at 10:00 AM
(according to Alabama Political Reporter)

Alabama had 754,242 confirmed cases of coronavirus,
(29,554) more than last week with 12,718 deaths (302)

more than last week)

Greene County had 1,177 confirmed cases, (33 more cases than last week), with 41 deaths

Sumter Co. had 1,225 cases with 35 deaths

Hale Co. had 2,815 cases with 81 deaths

Note: Greene County Physicians Clinic has Johnson and Johnson, one dose vaccination for COVID-19; Call for appointments at 205/372-3388, Ext. 142; ages 18 and up.

Dallas County Courthouse Annex named and dedicated to Attorneys J. L. Chestnut and Bruce Carver Boynton

By: John Zippert, Co-Publisher

On Tuesday, September 14, 2021 there was a ceremony held in Selma, Alabama, to dedicate and name the Dallas County Courthouse Annex for two civil rights attorneys who were born and worked much of their lives in Selma and the Alabama Black Belt.

The dedication was attended by more than 200 people from the area and others whose lives were touched by the two men. This program culminated a ten-year effort by Black community groups and leaders to name the judicial building for the two pioneering attorneys, who paved the way for many other Black lawyers, judges and clients to be successful in their life endeavors.

The Dallas County Commission, elected in November 2020, which had a Black majority for the first time in modern history, agreed to the naming of the Courthouse Annex for the two attorneys, at their first meeting. It took an additional nine months to complete the task and hold the unveiling ceremony. 

The five Commission members, including Chairperson, Jimmy Nunn, the Probate Judge, and Commissioners Connel Towns, Vivian Rogers, Curtis Williams and Jan Justice (the only white member) were all present and along with family members from the Chestnut and Boynton families, pulled a plastic covering off the naming lettering on the Courthouse wall, to unveil the shining new name of the facility.

Attorney J. L. Chestnut returned to Selma in 1958, from Howard University Law School, to practice law for half a century in his home town.
During the 1960’s Chestnut represented many civil rights and voting rights leaders who were involved with and arrested as part of the Civil Rights Movement.

4th. District Circuit Judge Collins Pettaway Jr. noted in his remarks that 

“Attorney Chestnut sued to have Blacks seated on juries, in this very building, where we now hold jury trials, which is now named for him.” At one point in the program there were fifteen Black judges in robes, from around Alabama, who stood up to honor the two attorneys for whom the building is now named. Chestnut headed the largest Black law-firm in the state of Alabama, Chestnut, Sanders, Sanders and Pettaway in the 1990’s and paved the way for many Black lawyers to practice in the state.

J. L. Chestnut was the lead attorney in the Pigford I and II class action cases by Black farmers against the U. S. Department of Agriculture for discrimination in agricultural lending. He won this largest discrimination settlement against the Federal government of over $2.5 Billion, for thousands of Black farmers. His work on the Pigford cases inspired Native Americans, Hispanics and Women farmers to sue and reach settlements with the Federal government.

Bruce Carver Boynton also attended Howard Law School. On his way home at Christmas 1958, he went to the white-only lunch counter, because it was cleaner, in the segregated Richmond, Virginia bus station to get a snack. He was arrested and convicted for trespassing. Attorney Thurgood Marshall appealed his case to the U. S.  Supreme Court and won a judgement in 1960 which opened the way to desegregate bus stations and other facilities linked to interstate travel. It took the Freedom Rides of the 1960’s to enforce the decision that Boynton had won from the Supreme Court.

After Boynton graduated from Howard Law School, he returned to Alabama, but the State Bar denied him a license for six years, while they supposedly investigated his case. He practiced in Chattanooga, Tennessee,

Washington, D. C. and Selma, Alabama.

Many speakers and dignitaries who had worked with both attorneys spoke on the program, including Selma Mayor James Perkins, retired Judge John H. England, who was master of ceremonies for the program, former Governor Don Siegleman, Melinda Williams, Chief of Staff for Congresswoman Terri Sewell and many others. Attorney Fay Rose Toure, a partner of Attorney J. L. Chestnut, led a litany to honor both, which involved the audience in praising their character and accomplishments.

The Freedom Riders Museum in Montgomery and the Alabama Historical Commission presented framed resolutions to the Boynton family for his working in integrating public accommodations. The Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund presented a framed resolution to the Chestnut family for his work on behalf of Black farmers.

Senator Malika Sanders-Fortier of Selma was the final speaker. She thanked everyone for coming to honor the two attorneys and then said, “Today we celebrate making the impossible possible! It was a miracle from God that enabled these lawyers to do what they did and make the changes they made. Little Black girls and boys today still need miracles. Their work and our work is not yet done. Despite every obstacle put in our path, we must keep working to make the impossible possible.”