Newswire: On NAACP phone conference, Surgeon General appeals for trust

By Hazel Trice Edney

Dr. Jerome Adams, U. S. Surgeon General



(TriceEdneyWire.com) – American life as usual has drastically come to a halt around the nation and world due to the Corona virus that has infected approximately 4,900 in 49 states and the District of Columbia at this writing. Churches, schools, sports events; even graduations and other large and even small gatherings are being postponed to abate the spread of the virus.
There have been 95 deaths reported (1.9 percent) with the hardest hit states being Washington State, New York and California. West Virginia is the only state that had not reported any infections as of March 17. Washington and New York are the hardest hit states, both with more than 900 cases each. California follows with 450 cases.
According to the World Health Organization, symptoms may include runny nose, sore throat, cough, fever, pneumonia, and difficulty breathing in the most severe cases.
But none of these facts are any good unless the people hearing them trust the people stating them. That’s the reason the NAACP held a Sunday evening teleconference that engaged more than 21,000 people March 15. What the listeners may not have expected was the matter-of-fact, straight to the point introduction of himself by U. S. Attorney General Dr. Jerome Adams:
“Many of you don’t know me and frankly some of you don’t have a lot of trust in me or this administration. So, I’m going to take just a quick moment to give you some background,” he began.
“I personally grew up in a rural mostly white Southern community. I benefitted from WIC, reduced lunch and other government assistance. All four of my grandparents died prematurely from chronic disease, my brother’s incarcerated due to his problems with and struggles with substance misuse; my mother had a major stroke last year and I’m currently on eight different medications myself.”
Adams continued, “I know what it’s like growing up poor, Black and with minimal access to health care. And I’m personally experiencing the life-long impacts that stem from that. I want you all to know I don’t affiliate with a party and I didn’t take my current job, which pays a whole lot less than being an anesthesiologist does, for political reasons. I’m a Christian and I believe God doesn’t put you where you’ll be comfortable. He puts you where he needs you to be.”
He concluded, “Our issue as people of color are too important to go four years without representation in the highest levels of government. And I have personally had faith that I am put where I am most needed. That said, I spent my life fighting and will keep fighting for the poor, the disadvantaged, the people of color, and I – along with the other health officials on the coronavirus task force…but I want you to hear it from me. I hope I can earn your trust.”
Adams’ words were quite timely given that President Donald Trump who appointed him had, early in the coronavirus spread, publicly dismissed it as a “Democratic hoax.” The now pandemic, which Trump has described as “bad”, has resulted in Trump and top federal medical experts, including Adams, standing front and center on almost a daily basis giving updates on the spread, now declared a “National Emergency” by Trump.
The key now is mitigation, Adams said. “Mitigation means limiting the impact within our communities by social distancing and also protecting the most vulnerable,” Adams said.
According to Coronavirus.gov, the following are the strongest ways to protect yourself:
Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
Avoid close contact with people who are sick
Put distance between yourself and other people if COVID-19 is spreading in your community. This is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.
Stay home if you are sick, except to get medical care. Learn what to do if you are sick.
Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow.
Throw used tissues in the trash; then immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, clean your hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
If you are sick: You should wear a facemask when you are around other people (e.g., sharing a room or vehicle) and before you enter a healthcare provider’s office. If you are not able to wear a facemask (for example, because it causes trouble breathing), then you should do your best to cover your coughs and sneezes, and people who are caring for you should wear a facemask if they enter your room. Learn what to do if you are sick.
Adams also suggested connecting with each other through Facetime and skype in order to continue social connections and “establish buddy systems” and check in on elderly and vulnerable people by phone to make sure they are alright.
“Connections can give people strength to keep up and fight a national threat. There are resources for managing stress and anxiety at CDC.gov or Coronavirus.gov and the Hotline number 1-800-985-5990.”
According to his official bio, Adams, the 20th surgeon general of the U. S. called, the “Nation’s Doctor”, has a bachelor’s degrees in both biochemistry and psychology from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, a master of public health degree from the University of California at Berkeley, and a medical degree from Indiana University School of Medicine.

Newswire: Civil Rights Leaders call on Congress to address disproportionate impact of Coronavirus on Black Americans

Derrick Johnson, NAACP President


(TriceEdneyWire.com) – The NAACP has requested an urgent meeting with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer regarding racial equity in the coronavirus response proposal.
According to a release, “Marc H. Morial, President and CEO of the National Urban League; Melanie Campbell, President and CEO of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation and Convener of the Black Women’s Roundtable; NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson and Rev. Al Sharpton, Founder and President of the National Action Network, insisted that coronavirus response legislation must take racial equity into account.”
“As we often say, when white America catches a cold, Black America gets pneumonia, and never has that metaphor been more apt,” Morial said in a statement. “Urban communities of color are likely to suffer the brunt of the health and economic impacts of the coronavirus crisis and any legislative response must contain targeted relief.”
“We’re concerned about the impact it will have on children who are out of school and don’t have the broadband internet access they need for digital learning at home,” Campbell added, “And comprehensive paid family leave for all is needed now more than ever.”
“Low-income workers, who are disproportionately African-American, are the least likely to have paid sick leave,” said Johnson, NAACP president. “Black workers are more likely to face short-term layoffs or total loss of employment. How is the country going to address their plight?”
Sharpton noted in the release that urban neighborhoods and communities of color often lack access to quality health care facilities.
“What efforts will be made to make testing freely available in urban and poor communities?” Sharpton asked. “We need to make sure that the relief offered in any coronavirus response plan does not bypass the communities most in need.”

Greene County Alumnae Chapter presents plans for Census at Delta Day at County Commission

County Commissioners seated L to R: Tennyson Smith, Lester Brown, Allen Turner and Rashandra Summerville. Deltas standing L to R: Evelyn James, Glenda Hodges, Johnni Morning, Miriam Leftwich, Jacqueline Allen, Shirley Stewart, Alfretta Crawford, Vibertha Coleman, Isaac Atkins, Carolyn Young, Nancy Cole, Phillis Belcher, Marva Smith, Florence Williams, Loydleetta Wabbington and Carol Zippert.

During the March 9, 2020, meeting of the Greene County Commission, the Greene County Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. shared their plans to tackle the 2020 Census. As part of their Political Involvement and Social Action activities, the chapter voiced its commitment to do their part to ensure Greene County and all of their service area are counted correctly on the Census. Along with other community partners and leaders, the chapter will host a Be Counted: 2020 Census Forum on Tuesday, March 24 at 5:30p.m. as well as volunteer at multiple sites on April 1st, National Census Day.
The County Commissioners were open and receptive to the chapters plans.
Isaac Atkins is Chapter President; Florence Williams is Political Involvement and Social Action Committee Chairperson.

Newswire: Zimbabwe tries fine or jail to keep children in school

Children in school in Zimbabwe

Mar. 9, 2020 (GIN) – Zimbabwe is experimenting with a bold attempt to make parents prioritize education and bring down drop-out rates.
 
Harare has amended its laws to make the first 12 years of schooling compulsory. Children are now required by law to stay in school for an extra five years to 16 years of age.
 
It is also now an offence to expel children on the grounds of pregnancy or non-payment of fees.
 
If parents fail to send children to school, they now face up two years in jail, or a $260 fine if they can afford it.
 
Last year at least 60% of the children in primary school were sent home for failing to pay fees, according to the state’s Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee (ZimVac).
 
As the economy sputters, parents have less to spend on education as they struggle to buy food. National research shows drop out in some areas are as high as 20%.
 
The high drop-out rate has also been blamed on pregnancy, early marriages, the distance from school and a lack of interest.
 
Zimbabwe’s first leader Robert Mugabe, a former teacher who died last year, was praised for the education policies he adopted after independence in 1980.
 
The school system he established gave black Zimbabwean greater access to education as hundreds of state schools were opened, leading to Zimbabweans enjoying among the highest literacy rates in Africa.
 
However, free education ended in the 1990s and in the following decade the education system began to crumble.
 
Some parents, however, believe the government is shirking its responsibilities amidst broken promises to provide free basic education and a chronic shortage of state schools.
 

Newswire : Black leaders call out big insurance over surprise medical billing

By Hazel Trice Edney

Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, CEO -NNPA

(TriceEdneyWire.com) – Prominent figures in the African-American community are calling on Congress to rein in large insurance companies as lawmakers look to address an increasingly urgent problem in the health care market that falls especially hard on working families, including African-Americans.
The problem is known as surprise medical billing, a situation that occurs when a patient is hospitalized and then receives a hefty bill from a doctor who turns out to be outside of his or her insurer’s network.
The practice is costing American patients tens of millions of dollars in unforeseen medical fees, at a time when many are already burdened by higher premiums and rising co-payments. Nearly half of Americans say they have avoided going to the doctor despite being sick or injured for financial reasons.
Eliminating surprise billing has long been a priority for leaders of both parties. But it is now emerging as a key issue in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary, as candidates and other leading Democrats make the case around the country for broader health care reform. Former Vice President Joe Biden invoked the need to end surprise billing in his victory speech on Super Tuesday.
As the issue comes into greater focus, prominent African-American leaders are urging candidates and lawmakers to find a solution that holds health insurers accountable for limited coverage networks and inadequate access to health insurance for minority communities – two forces, they say, that have helped create the surprise billing problem.
Addressing a group of Black ministers in South Carolina recently, Reverend Al Sharpton said solving health care issues disproportionately impacting communities of color must be atop the progressive agenda. Fixing the problem of surprise billing, Sharpton said, needs to go hand in hand with better protection of uninsured and underinsured populations.
Sharpton, who heads the National Action Network, an influential civil rights organization with roots in Harlem and chapters throughout the country, warned about a proposed bill in Congress that would potentially deepen the problem of costs being passed onto patients by giving insurers even more control over the prices they pay out-of-network doctors working in emergency hospital settings.
He said the proposed bill must be defeated because it fails to protect the underinsured and the uninsured. Dealing these specific policies that affect the disadvantaged is what is necessary in the 2020 election, Sharpton said in a recent speech at the Missionary Baptist Church in North Charleston, S.C., according to the Post and Courier.
Sharpton referred to a current bill before Congress aimed at addressing a practice known as “surprise billing,” which leaves patients on the hook for medical expenses even if they have insurance. The legislation needs to be defeated and replaced with something that would protect the underinsured and those with no insurance at all, he said,
describing it as one of those “issues that’s for the good of the people.”
Dr. Benjamin Chavis, President and CEO of the National Newspaper Publishers Association and former Executive Director of the NAACP, directed even sharper criticism at insurance companies. In a piece published by Black Press USA, Chavis  derided insurance executives for putting profits above patients.
“This outrageous situation benefits one group and one group alone: powerful insurance executives, who have managed to get off the financial hook for such bills, even as insurers shrink insurance coverage networks to wring more and more profits out of the system,” Chavis wrote.
Chavis expressed strong opposition to any legislation that would give insurers more control over health care prices.
Experts say surprise medical billing is most common after emergency treatment on nonsurgical hospital visits, when doctors and specialists often work together in teams to provide the care patients need. For example, in the case of an emergency procedure, a patient’s primary surgeon might be in her insurance network, but other clinicians who assist the surgeon, such as the anesthesiologist, might be out of network. In certain instances, the patients are left to foot the bill for out-of-network services.
Doctors have said that years of harmful cost-cutting measures taken by insurers are to blame. Many patients have been unwittingly pushed into highly restricted and increasingly narrow coverage networks, they say, leaving them with unanticipated costs insurers refuse to cover in full or at all. Doctors say insurance companies should be required to pay fair out-of-network rates, as determined by an independent arbitrator, for emergency care.
Insurers vehemently oppose that approach, instead calling for new rules that would enable them
to limit how much they pay for emergency care provided by physicians who do not contract with them. They favor a system in which they would automatically pay median in-network rates for out-of-network services.
The dispute between doctors and insurers reached a boiling point last year, when it appeared that insurers were going to get their way. A bill modeled on legislation passed in California in 2016 would have put in place the type of benchmarking system insurance companies want.
Doctors and hospitals, for their part, raised concerns about ceding too much power to insurers to control rates. If only required to pay median in-network rates for out-of-network emergency services, the doctors and hospitals said, insurers could artificially drive down those rates by further restricting coverage networks.
Apparently, those concerns were shared by at least some members of Congress. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is reported to have expressed serious concerns in private, saying “we are not going to give a handout to big insurance companies.” The bill was ultimately defeated.
Now, as Congress returns to the issue early into the 2020 legislative session, it appears as though the debate could be layered into a larger conversation among progressives about the future of the nation’s health care system.
The insistence of influential Black leaders that surprise bills are a symptom of a coverage accessibility problem for communities of color seems to open up a new front for Democrats looking to curtail the power of major insurance companies.

Newswire: Pickens County Medical Center in Carrollton closes March 6, 2020

A rural community hospital in west Alabama is being forced to close this week, less than a year after administrators warned they were struggling to make ends meet.
Pickens County Medical Center in Carrollton closed this past Friday, according to a press release that cited reduced federal funding, lower reimbursement from private payers, a high percentage of uninsured patients as well as too few patients and physicians.
“Health Care Authority officials have worked diligently to explore every option for keeping the hospital open, but the hospital’s financial condition has become unsustainable. As a result, closure can no longer be avoided,” the release said.
Existing patients were discharged or relocated by Friday.
Administrators warned in May that declining numbers of patients and doctors had made the 56-bed facility vulnerable to closure. The hospital employed 156 workers when it opened in 1979, which was down to 118 last year.
At one time, there were nine primary physicians who worked out of the hospital, which had dropped to just four in May.
The shutdown is only the latest in a wave of hospital closings nationwide. The Alabama Hospital Association said 17 privately run hospitals have closed in the state over the last decade, and only one of those reopened.
A new report by the Chartis Center for Rural Health said 2019 was the worst year for rural hospital closures this decade, with 19 closures nationwide marking a record high for a 12-month period.
“Our analysis shows that hospitals located in states that have not adopted Medicaid expansion have lower median operating margin and have a higher percentage of rural hospitals operating with a negative operating margin,” the report by University of North Carolina researchers said.
“The closure of Pickens County Medical Center is symptomatic of a tragic national trend,” the press release said. “Over the last 10 years, over 120 rural hospitals have closed across our nation.”
“We appreciate the opportunity to have been of service for so many years to the citizens of our community. We are working with state and federal regulators on our closure plan and will coordinate with other medical providers to assist our patients with a smooth transition.
“We wish to commend our dedicated staff members for their service to the hospital and the community. For our staff members, we will be working with other employers to facilitate access to potential employment opportunities.

Newswire: Black voters bring landslide for Biden on Super Tuesday

By Hamil R. Harris

Joe Biden


(TriceEdneyWire.com) – African-Americans across the South went to the polls on Super Tuesday and gave former Vice-President Joe Biden front runner status in what is now a two man race between him and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).
“Just a few days ago, the press and the pundits had declared the campaign dead, and then came South Carolina and they had something to say about it. We were told “Well, when you got to Super Tuesday, it would be over.” Well, it may be over for the other guy. Tell that to the folks in Virginia, North Carolina, Alabama, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Minnesota, and maybe even Massachusetts.”
By daybreak Biden would win in Texas and loose California, but by Wednesday afternoon Elizabeth Warren, who was once a front runner, and Michael Bloomberg would be out of the race joining South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, billionaire Tom Steyer and Senator Amy Klobuchar. Though Warren and Steyer have not endorsed yet, Bloomberg, Buttigieg, and Klobuchar all endorsed Biden as well as former candidate Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), joining the powerful voice of U. S. Rep. Jim Clyburn, whose endorsement prompted a landslide for Biden in South Carolina. 
But the war for delegates continues. On Sunday, two days before the all important Michigan primary, Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. endorsed Bernie Sanders for President and in a tweet Jackson wrote, “We look to our youth for energy, expansion and inclusion which leads to growth. The youth that come to these rallies represent hope, healing and promise for our nation. It’s a joy to ‘feel the Bern’ with Bernie. Keep hope alive!”
Prominent voices in the Black community are encouraging African-Americans to go to the polls in record numbers as the contests continue across the nation as Biden and Sanders make their cases.
“This was a tremendously important event. Presidential campaigns spoke directly to African-Americans about how they would improve our quality of life, create racial equity and provide opportunities for our communities to succeed,” said Dr. Charles Steele, Jr. the President and CEO of the SCLC which hosted a forum in South Carolina. 
Trey Baker, director of African-American Engagement for Vice President Biden, told the audience that, as president, Biden would aggressively use executive orders to counter policies and practices enacted by President Trump.
Noting that Biden would “protect the absolute right to vote,’’ Baker said Biden would “turn back some of the damage that Donald Trump has done to our government, to our bureaucracy and to the Constitution. He will do this through executive orders.”
Moreover, Baker said that Biden’s history demonstrates that he gets things done. “People are confused,” he said. “Being progressive isn’t so much about being liberal; being progressive is getting things done.’’
Baker took direct aim at the 2010 Citizens United Supreme Court decision determining that during elections, government cannot restrict independent expenditures by corporations, associations, nonprofits and labor unions. “What Citizens United did was bring all this flow of money into campaigns,” said Baker, adding that Biden would seek a Constitutional Amendment to overturn the ruling.
The African-American vote will be critical in the 2020 race.
On March 10th voters in six states were set to go to the polls to elect 406 delegates. Those states included Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, Idaho and Washington state. Michigan is the biggest prize with 125 delegates.
Biden currently has 664 delegates, Sanders has 573 delegates. In order to secure the Democratic nomination the candidate must have 1,979 delegates.
For context, there are 3,979 pledged delegates in the Democratic contest, and 1,499 will have been allotted after Super Tuesday, with 2,480 remaining.
Both Biden and Sanders still have a ways to go.
Of the 4,765 total Democratic delegates, 714 (approximately 15 percent) are superdelegates, which are mostly Democratic members of Congress, governors, former presidents, and other party leaders and elected officials. In 2018, Democratic party officials changed the rules that prevent superdelegates from voting on the first ballot unless neither candidate had enough votes.
Though Sanders won Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and California, he said, “Of course I am disappointed” after Biden swept Super Tuesday. But he and his dedicated followers are fighting on and anything is possible.
 

Newswire : Rev. Jesse Jackson endorses Bernie Sanders for President

By Annie Grayer and Devan Cole, CNN

Rev. Jesse Jackson with Bernie Sanders at rally; Bernie Sanders consults Rev. Jackson
Civil rights leader and former presidential candidate Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. on Sunday endorsed Sen. Bernie Sanders for the Democratic presidential nomination.
“With the exception of Native Americans, African Americans are the people who are most behind socially and economically in the United States and our needs are not moderate. A people far behind cannot catch up choosing the most moderate path. The most progressive social and economic path gives us the best chance to catch up and Senator Bernie Sanders represents the most progressive path. That’s why I choose to endorse him today,” Jackson said in a statement.
“The Biden campaign has not reached out to me or asked for my support,” he added. “The Sanders campaign has, and they responded to the issues I raised.”
The Sanders campaign said Jackson plans to speak alongside the senator at an event in Grand Rapids, Michigan, on Sunday. The state will hold its Democratic primary on Tuesday — a key state for both former Vice President Joe Biden and the Vermont senator.
Jackson, a longtime civil rights leader and clergyman, launched campaigns for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1983 and 1987. He won Michigan during his presidential bid in 1988 when it was still a caucus.
In an interview Sunday with CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union,” Sanders said he’s “proud” of the endorsement, and lauded Jackson as “one of the great civil rights leaders in our country.”
“What Rev. Jackson understands is that we have to move aggressively to wipe out all forms of racism in this country and we need an economic agenda that speaks to the needs of working people, not just the billionaire class,” he said. “I think with Rev. Jackson — I think we got a real boost in our campaign.”
Jackson said the Sanders campaign made a series of commitments to him, including the senator pushing for a right to vote constitutional amendment in Congress, supporting a wealth tax and allocating $50 billion to historically black colleges and universities. He also said Sanders committed to nominating an African American woman to the Supreme Court and endorsing a two-state solution in the Middle East.
Additionally, Jackson also cited Sanders’ support for a single-payer health care plan as a key factor for his endorsement.
The relationship between Sanders and Jackson dates back to 1988 when then-Burlington Mayor Bernie Sanders endorsed Jesse Jackson for president at the Burlington Democratic presidential caucus.
Sanders, in a five minute speech at the time, praised Jackson as “a candidate for president who has done more than any other candidate in living memory to bring together the disenfranchised,” “a candidate who is creating a historic coalition, of working people, of poor people, of women, of minorities, of students, of farmers, of peace advocates, of environmentalists” and “a man who has waged the most courageous and exciting political campaign in the modern history of our nation.”
Sanders still talks about his support for Jackson’s 1988 presidential bid on the campaign trail.
“I am proud to tell you that in 1988, a long time ago, I was one of the few white elected officials I was mayor of the city of Burlington who endorsed Jessie Jackson, who brought him to Vermont and we won Vermont for Jessie Jackson,” Sanders told the crowd late last month at the National Action Network ministers breakfast in North Charleston.
“I think Jesse Jackson has never gotten his full due,” Sanders said on The Nation podcast “Next Left” in November, calling Jackson “absolutely” an inspiration.

Biden wins in Greene Co and statewide; Arnelia ‘Shay’ Johnson wins Revenue Commissioner; Richardson and Dancy win School Board races

Joe Biden
Arnelia ‘Shay’ Johnson
Veronica Richardson
Carrie Dancy

Joe Biden won the support of 1,782 (72.38%) Democratic voters in Greene County for the nomination to run for President.
Mike Bloomberg came in second with 406 votes (16.49) and Bernie Sanders was third with 191 (7.76%).
Statewide in Alabama Biden won with 63% of the votes, with Sanders finishing second and Bloomberg was third. Biden also won in other southern states on Super Tuesday including Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Arkansas and Texas.
The three races for local positions in Greene County were very close and decided by margins of less than one percent. Arnelia ‘Shay’ Johnson was nominated for the position of Greene County Revenue Commissioner by a vote of 1,154 (50.17%) to 1,146 (49.83%), a difference of 8 votes out of 2,300 cast in this race.
For Greene County Board of Education, District No. 3, Veronica Richardson with 292 (51.05) votes defeated William (Coach) Morgan, the incumbent school board member, with 280 votes, a margin of 12 votes.
For Greene County Board of Education, District No. 5, incumbent, Carrie Dancy with 233 votes (50.65%) defeated challenger Mary Edwards Otieno with 227 (49.35%) votes, a difference of just 6 votes.
Greene County voters, leading a statewide trend, defeated Statewide Amendment No. One by a vote of 2,312 (85.69%) to 386 (14.31%). This amendment would have transferred the power to select the Alabama State School Board from the voters to the Governor. This amendment lost statewide by two-thirds and was not supported by a majority of the voters in any county in the state.
In the Republican Primary, Trump was supported by 419 to 4 for Bill Weld. In the Senate race, in Greene County, Bradley Byrne received 103 votes, to 24 for Roy Moore, 140 for Jeff Sessions and 145 for Tommy Tuberville.
Statewide there will be a Republican run-off election on March 31, between Jeff Sessions and Tommy Tuberville for the Republican nomination to the U. S. Senate seat. The winner of this primary will face incumbent Senator Doug Jones, the Democratic nominee. Jones is considered among the most vulnerable Democratic candidates in the nation for the U. S. Senate. Doug Jones must win his re-election campaign, to help the Democratic effort to take control of the Senate and oust Sen. Mitch McConnel from his leadership position, which has blocked progressive legislation passed by the Democratically controlled House of Representatives.
Turnout in Greene County of 3,038 total votes was down from previous elections. The turnout was below 50% of the eligible registered voters in the county and reflected both the bad weather and the limited number of contested local elections in the county.
“Turnout must increase for the November General Election or Democrats will have a hard time winning statewide elections, like the Doug Jones, U. S. Senate race,” said an official of the local Alabama New South Coalition chapter.

Bridge Crossing Jubilee draws thousands to Selma including Presidential candidates

Members of the Harambe Community Youth Organization at Martin & Coretta King Unity Breakfast in Selma. L to R: Krislynn Black, Ivan Peebles, Brinae Black, Justin Morton and Alphonzo Morton, IV.

Participants in Friday’s Community Conversation at the Dallas County Court House. L. to R. Rev. Otis Tolliver, Tabernacle Baptist Church, Angelina Butler, veteran of the Nashville sit-in movement, Anthony Browder, historian of ancient Africa, Dr. Raymond Winbush, Reparation’s advocate, Johansse Gregory, Dick Gregory’s 10th child, Dr. Ben Chavis, NNPA, standing are Mark Thompson and Faya Rose Toure, moderators of the conversation.
Attorney Stacey Abrams, Georgia voting rights advocate receives 2020 National Unity Award from Faya Rose Toure at Unity Breakfast.
Leymah Gbowee, Nobel Prize Laureate from Liberia receives the 2020 International Peace and Justice Award from Ainka Jackson at Unity Breakfast.
Columba Toure of Senagal, West Africa receiving 2020 International Unity Award from Hank Sanders at the Unity Breakfast.

Thousands of people came to Selma, Alabama this past weekend for the Bridge Crossing Jubilee to commemorate the 55th anniversary of the ‘Bloody Sunday’ in 1965, which led to the passage of the Voting Rights Act.
More than 20,000 people participated in Sunday’s march reenactment crossing the Edmund Pettus Bridge including a number of candidates for the Democratic nomination for President.
The Bridge Crossing Jubilee, featuring 50 different events over four days, make it the largest celebration of civil rights and voting rights in America.
In addition to a street festival, parade, golf tournament and other related events there were many important workshops on issues relating to voting rights, reparations, African history, education and many other issues.
On Friday evening there was a mock trail and a public conversation to discuss important issues. On Saturday morning there was a Foot Soldiers Breakfast to honor the 650 ordinary people who participated in the original march and were beaten on the bridge.
On Sunday morning there was the Martin and Coretta Scott King Unity Breakfast to honor persons who have contributed to the civil rights and voting rights movement.
The photos above show some of the honorees and workshop participants.