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.
(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.
Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA), Sen Tim Scott (R-SC) and Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) who were the main negotiators working on this legislation
By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
Talks to enact the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act were halted on Wednesday after a bipartisan Senate negotiations team announced it failed to reach a deal. Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Sen. Tim Scott (R-South Carolina) called off the talks. No further discussions are in the works. “Unfortunately, even with this law enforcement support and further compromises we offered, there was still too wide a gulf with our negotiating partners, and we faced significant obstacles to securing a bipartisan deal,” Sen. Booker stated. “The effort from the very beginning was to get police reform that would raise professional standards, police reform that would create a lot more transparency, and then police reform that would create accountability, and we’re not able to come to agreements on those three big areas,” the senator remarked. Lawmakers had worked toward a measure following the police murder of George Floyd in May 2020. Optimism about a deal peaked in April when a jury convicted former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin of Floyd’s murder. Floyd’s killing led to global protests and corporate awareness of the call that Black lives matter. Introduced by California Democratic Congresswoman Karen Bass, the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act addressed a range of policies and issues surrounding police practices and accountability. The bill sought to lower the criminal intent standard to convict a law enforcement officer for misconduct in a federal prosecution. In addition, the measure would limit qualified immunity as a defense to liability in a private civil action against an officer, and it would grant administrative subpoena power to the Department of Justice in pattern-or-practice investigations. Notably, the measure establishes a framework to prevent and cure racial profiling by law enforcement at the federal, state, and local levels. It restricts the use of no-knock warrants, chokeholds, and carotid holds. “On behalf of the families of George Floyd and so many others who have been impacted by police violence, we express our extreme disappointment in Senate leaders’ inability to reach a reasonable solution for federal police reform,” Civil Rights Attorney Ben Crump wrote in a statement. “In the last year and a half, we have witnessed hundreds of thousands of Americans urging lawmakers to bring desperately needed change to policing in this country so there can be greater accountability, transparency, and ultimately trust in policing,” Crump continued. “People – including many police leaders – have raised their voices for something to change, and partisan politics once again prevents common-sense reform. We cannot let this be a tragic, lost opportunity to regain trust between citizens and police. “We strongly urge Democratic senators to bring the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act to the floor for a vote so Americans can see who is looking out for their communities’ best interests and who is ready to listen to their constituents so we can together put the country on a better, more equitable path for all.”
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.