Bipartisan Senate 2018 Farm Bill turns the tide for historically underserved Farmers and Ranchers

The Rural Coalition and the National Latino Farmers and Ranchers Trade Association see strong progress for this nation’s African American, Asian Pacific, Latino, and Tribal Farmers and Ranchers and rural communities in the strongly bipartisan Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018, which passed the U. S. Senate in late June by a vote of 86-11. The bill preserves nutrition programs, leaves largely intact conservation and other key programs, and preserves clean water protections. Of great significance to our communities, it makes critical investments in tribal farmers and food systems and programs supporting the nation’s historically underserved, veteran and young farmers and ranchers, improves transparency in credit programs and removes barriers to cultivation of industrial hemp.
“The Agricultural Improvement Act passed yesterday is a huge step forward,” said Rural Coalition Board Member Rudy Arredondo, President of the National Latino Farmers and Ranchers Trade Association. “We are extremely happy that the Senate Agriculture Committee leaders were able to stay focused on the essentials of as good a bipartisan farm bill as we can get in this political climate.”
“This bill turns the tide for African American and all other historically underserved farmers and ranchers,” said Rural Coalition Vice Chairperson Georgia Good, Executive Director of the Rural Advancement Fund of the National Sharecroppers Fund, which has worked since 1937 to improve the quality of life in rural communities in the South. We are grateful to Senator Tim Scott (SC) and Doug Jones (AL) for opening a critical new door to allow families of multiple generations operating on inherited land to be allowed in to the programs of USDA that all farmers need to thrive with their bill, S. 3117.

We further thank Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts (KA) and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow (MI) for their patient and persistent leadership to work with us all to include these bills in a landmark package that values all rural communities and peoples.”
According to Rural Coalition Chairperson John Zippert of the Alabama Association of Cooperatives, “The Federation of Southern Cooperatives estimates more than 40% of black owned land is in heirs property status ; including the Fair Access Act in this bill enables people in states that have the Uniform Partition of Heirs Property laws to access USDA programs more directly with less red tape.”
On behalf of our entire Coalition, we also thank Senators Robert and Stabenow, and also Senators Chris Van Hollen (MD), Tina Smith (MN), as well as Senator Jones for their diligent efforts to not only protect but improve the Outreach for Socially Disadvantaged and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers Program (OASDVFR), which has struggled for funding since first authorized in 1990, and since military veteran farmers and ranchers were added in 2014. The Senate bill links OASDVFR with the Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Development Program and strengthens and provides permanent authority to both programs. Under the new bill, the programs would equally share permanent direct funding of $50 million and will be improved with strong peer review processes.”
“We have been working hard for decades to bring equity to the farm bill in terms of treatment for Black farmers and other farmers of color to build cooperatives and to uplift low-wealth communities. The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 addresses continuing inequities and supports the quality hands-on assistance needed to make sure the 2018 farm bill reaches everyone,” said Rural Coalition Chairperson John Zippert, based in rural Alabama.
“The passage of the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018 out of the Senate with strong bipartisan support shows opportunity for young people to shape the future of their tribal, urban, and rural communities,” said Marc Grignon, Co-Director of Hempstead Project Heart, a Rural Coalition member group. “There are numerous provisions in the legislation passed which open the door for revitalization of the hemp industry to thrive in the United States again. We look forward to the House and Senate producing a conference bill that upholds tribal sovereignty, provides permanent support to beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers, and lifts the barriers for the American Hemp Industry.”
“Everyone in our nation, who cares about a future for farmers, ranchers and rural communities needs to contact your Congressional delegations- and your Representative in particular – to rally behind the much stronger Senate bill as a solid base for a final 2018 Farm Bill.”
The next step is for the U. S. Senate and House of Representatives to hold a Conference Committee to merge and reconcile differences in the two bills. The Conference Committee is likely to convene in August to produce a final bill for passage in both houses before the end of September when the prior Farm Bill provisions expire.

Newswire : After stunning Soccer World Cup victory migrants also rejoice

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Mbappe – son of African immigrants played on French team

July 16, 2018 (GIN) – There’s a festive spirit in France following its second World Cup final in 20 years. For the decisive game, fans had been glued to their sets, including at a Salvation Army shelter where several dozen migrants had watched the match.

“You can dream in France,” Youssef, a 25 year old from Darfur, Sudan, told the France24 news agency. “If you’re the best, you can be on the team. That’s not true everywhere.” He was referring to the 17 players on the French team who are sons of immigrants. “(Kylian) Mbappé’s dad is from Cameroon and his mother is Algerian.”

In the second half after Paul Pogba (parents from Guinea) and Mbappé score in quick succession, the room goes wild – up and dancing, hugging, turning over their seats.

A group of women on one side of the room start up a chant of, “Thank you, Pogba! Thank you, Mbappé!”

“We are all refugees from somewhere,” reflects Habib from Afghanistan, “but we live here. We’re for the place where we live.”

Close links between French and African soccer go back some 80 years. Senegalese Raoul Diagne played in the 1938 World Cup and later became a deputy in the French assembly, as well as the first coach of independent Senegal.

Just Fontaine, whose tally of 13 goals in the 1958 finals remains a World Cup record, came from Morocco and Zinedine Zidane, arguably the greatest French soccer player, was born in Marseille to Algerian parents.

He was the hero of France’s World Cup-winning team 20 years ago whose success was hailed as a powerful and inspiring rejection of racism in French society.

Peniel Joseph, founding director of the Center for the Study of Race and Democracy at the University of Texas in Austin, said the French 4 to 2 win over Croatia was “a victory for Africa and immigrants everywhere.”

Khaled Beydoun, author of the book “American Islamophobia,” took a less forgiving view, however, in an open letter to France on Twitter.

“Dear France,” he began. “Congratulations on winning the World Cup. 80% of your team is African (so) cut out the racism and xenophobia. 50% of your team is Muslim (so) cut out the Islamophobia. Africans and Muslims delivered you a second World Cup. Now deliver them justice.”

“You can’t celebrate and cheer immigrants and minorities on the football field and vilify them everywhere else off of it,” he added.

Newswire : Rep. Barbara Lee considers run for Chair of the Democratic Caucus

By Freddie Allen (Editor-in-Chief, NNPA Newswire and BlackPressUSA.com)
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Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) said that she’s seriously considering running for Chairman of the Democratic Caucus, the fourth-highest ranking position in Democratic leadership in the United States House of Representatives.
“Given where our party is and the direction that it needs to go in…my history and experience demonstrate that I really can help unify the Democratic Party,” Lee said.
As an example, Lee noted her work leading up to the 2016 Democratic presidential primary. Lee said that she didn’t endorse former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton or Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. And it wasn’t because of ideological differences; Lee said that she wanted to help craft the party’s agenda.
“I helped negotiate a very progressive, very inclusive Democratic Party platform and both sides—the Clinton delegates and the Sanders delegates—thanked me for that,” Lee said, adding that, bringing people together from diverse backgrounds to accomplish common goals is a role that she has played her entire life.
When it comes to her political career in the U.S. Congress, Lee was instrumental in authoring or co-authoring “every major piece of HIV/AIDS legislation including the legislative frameworks for the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria,” during President George W. Bush’s administration.
According to her official biography, in 2007, Congresswoman Lee worked with a diverse coalition of members to create the “Out of Poverty Caucus” and she has long advocated for legislative action to end poverty.
As the chair of the Democratic Whip Task Force on Poverty, Income, Inequality and Opportunity, Congresswoman Lee guides more than 100 members of Congress in crafting and advancing legislation to lift millions of American families out of poverty and into the middle class.
“As a Black woman who has been on public assistance and who has also owned and run a business creating jobs for about 350 people…I think that I can bring a unique perspective to Democratic leadership that can help strengthen the Democratic caucus,” Lee said. “I’m considering running, because I would like to have that perspective at the leadership table to represent a broader and deeper perspective within the country, as chair of the Democratic caucus.”
Lee said that the Democratic Party must focus on “all of the issues that people care about” including challenges facing low-income and working-class families, racial and economic justice, and criminal justice reform.
Congresswoman Lee currently serves on the Budget Committee and the Appropriations Committee, which oversees all federal government spending, according to her congressional website.
“She serves on three subcommittees (State and Foreign Operations; Labor, Health and Human Services, Education; and Military Construction and Veterans Affairs) of the Appropriations Committee and she currently serves as Co-Chair of the Pro-Choice Caucus,” Lee’s biography said.
As a priority, Lee said that she’s focused on wresting control of the House from the Republican Party during the 2018 midterm elections. The New York Times reported that, “Democrats, who have been sidelined as the House minority party since 2010, need to flip 24 Republican seats while keeping the 194 seats they currently hold.”
To regain control of the House, Democrats will rely heavily on increasing voter turnout, especially Black voter turnout, during the midterm elections.
Historically, voter turnout in the U.S. is lower during midterm elections compared to presidential elections. Black voter turnout decreased significantly during the 2016 presidential election.
According to an NPR article on voting trends in the U.S., “Many analysts say a natural drop-off was expected in the post-Barack Obama era. But the 2016 voter turnout for African-Americans was not just lower than the Obama years, it was even slightly lower than the 2004 election between George W. Bush and John Kerry.”
Despite the challenges associated with mobilizing voters in a post-Barack Obama era, political analysis shows that energizing Black voters remains critical to the Democratic success at the polls.
NPR reported that Black voters, particularly Black women, were key to Democratic victories in both the Virginia gubernatorial race and the Alabama senate race in 2017.
“Black women are the most loyal and the most consistent Democratic voters and we have never been at the leadership table in the history of Congress,” Lee said.
For many Black voters, that dynamic must change in order for the Democratic Party to remain viable and credible in the Black community.

Newswire: Rep. Sewell invites U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley to Alabama to confirm UN study findings on U.S. Poverty

Rep. Sewell responds to Ambassador Haley’s dismissal of U.S. poverty

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Tuesday, Congresswoman Terri A. Sewell (D-AL) sent a letter to United Nations (UN) Ambassador Nikki Haley, calling on Ambassador Haley to visit Alabama and confirm the findings of a recent study conducted by the UN Special Rapporteur for Extreme Poverty. Rep. Sewell’s letter is in response to Ambassador Haley’s claim that it was “patently ridiculous” for the United Nations to examine poverty in America.

“It is not ‘patently ridiculous’ to call attention to extreme poverty in America, but it is ridiculous and shameful to disregard it and do nothing,” said Rep. Terri Sewell. “Every day, millions of American families struggle to put food on the table for their families or afford basic necessities like a working wastewater system or primary health and dental care.

Before Ambassador Haley dismisses the realities of severe poverty in America or families living in extreme distress, she should see for herself the economically marginalized and forgotten communities that struggle under the weight of generational poverty. In Alabama’s 7th Congressional District, the failure of wastewater infrastructure in some rural communities has created a health crisis that should not exist in modern-day America. I invite Ambassador Haley to my district to see firsthand the suffering that I have seen, and the issues that my constituents confront every day.”

The full text of Rep. Sewell’s letter to Ambassador Haley is available on her website.

The letter follows a response from Ambassador Haley after Rep. Sewell and Sen. Sanders wrote to the Ambassador urging a plan of action from the Trump Administration for addressing poverty in the wake of the U.N. report exposing poverty in the United States. Rep. Sewell met with Philip Alston, the UN Special Rapporteur for Extreme Poverty during his visit to the United States last year to investigate extreme poverty and make recommendations.

Newswire : Alabama Senator Doug Jones introduces legislation to mandate release of Civil Rights Cold Case Records

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Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senator Doug Jones (D-Ala.) introduced legislation on July 10 mandating the review, declassification, and release of government records related to unsolved criminal civil rights cases. Legislation is necessary because the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), as implemented, has prevented the timely and adequate disclosure of executive branch records, and congressional records are not subject to public disclosure under FOIA.

In addition, some of these records, although almost 50 years old, remain classified unnecessarily or shielded from public view. The Civil Rights Cold Case Records Collection Act of 2018 remedies this problem by requiring the National Archives and Records Administration to create a collection of government documents related to civil rights cold cases and to make those documents available to the public. U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) is an original co-sponsor of the legislation.

“Having prosecuted two civil rights cold cases in Alabama, I know firsthand the importance of having every available piece of information at your disposal,” said Senator Jones, a former U.S. Attorney. “This bill will ensure public access to records relating to these cases and will expand the universe of people who can help investigate these crimes, including journalists, historians, private investigators, local law enforcement, and others. We might not solve every one of these cold cases, but my hope is that this legislation will help us find some long-overdue healing and understanding of the truth in the more than 100 unsolved civil rights criminal cases that exist today.”

Jones, who successfully prosecuted two of the former KKK members responsible for the bombing of the 16thStreet Baptist Church, has long been an advocate for greater access to civil rights cold case records. In 2007, he testified to the House Judiciary Committee in support of the Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crimes Act that established a special initiative in the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate civil rights cold cases. He spoke about the difficulty of prosecuting these cases so many years after the crimes were committed and pointed to the importance of sharing information in order to find the truth.

“We’ve made progress ensuring these heinous acts of violence and hatred are able to be brought to justice—but we have more work to do,” said Senator Claire McCaskill, former Jackson County Prosecutor. “Helping families and advocates get access to these documents could help their push towards justice for these long unsolved cold cases.”

“It is hard to overstate the positive impact that Sen. Doug Jones’s proposed Civil Rights Cold Case Records Collection Act would have on thousands of families who, 40 to 60 years later, have no idea how a father, grandfather, aunt or brother came to a violent death in the modern civil rights era,” said Hank Klibanoff, Director, Georgia Civil Rights Cold Cases Project at Emory University. “As a journalist and historian who relies on government-held records in these civil rights cold cases, it’s important to know that our purposes are simple: To learn the truth, to seek justice where there may be a living perpetrator, to tell the untold stories, and to bring closure to families of victims, and find opportunities for racial reconciliation.”

The Civil Rights Cold Case Records Collection Act of 2018 will:

· Require the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) to establish a collection of cold case records about unsolved criminal civil rights cases that government offices must publicly disclose in the collection without redaction or withholding.

· Establish a Civil Rights Cold Case Records Review Board as an independent agency of impartial private citizens to facilitate the review, transmission to NARA, and public disclosure of government records related to such cases.

Senator Jones’ bill was modeled after the President John F. Kennedy, Jr. Assassination Records Collection Act of 1992, which created an orderly and effective process for reviewing, declassifying, and releasing thousands of documents related to the assassination of President Kennedy. Read a detailed overview of the legislation here.

The legislation Senator Jones introduced was originally envisioned by students from Hightstown High School in Hightstown, New Jersey, and their teacher, Stuart Wexler.

Newswire: ‘Treasonous’ and ‘disgraceful’: critics slam Trump’s performance at Summit with Putin

By Igor Bobic, Huffington Post

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Trump and Putin, at joint news conference at end of summit in Helsinki, Finland

President Donald Trump’s performance during a press conference after a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki on Monday left critics of all stripes howling.
Trump refused to blame Putin for Moscow’s interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and told reporters that “both countries” were responsible for the poor state of their relations.
“I think we’ve all been foolish. I think we’re all to blame,” Trump said.
He reiterated that there was no collusion between his presidential campaign and Russia, slammed special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference in the election as a “disaster” and shared conspiracy theories about why it’s important for the FBI to take the Democratic National Committee’s computer server.
Putin agreed with Trump on many points, and Trump’s comments drew fierce criticism from Republicans and Democrats alike.
John Brennan, a CIA director under Barack Obama, called Trump’s performance “treasonous”. In a tweet, Brennen said,
“Donald Trump’s press conference performance in Helsinki rises to & exceeds the threshold of “high crimes & misdemeanors.” It was nothing short of treasonous. Not only were Trump’s comments imbecilic, he is wholly in the pocket of Putin. Republican Patriots: Where are you ? “

Moments after the press conference, CNN’s Anderson Cooper said it was “one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president at a summit in front of a Russian leader.”
On Fox Business Network, several guests reacted by saying that Putin
outmaneuvered Trump at the Summit. On the channel, the network’s Neil Cavuto termed Trump’s performance “disgusting.”
Ari Fleisher, President George W. Bush’s Press Secretary, who often justifies Trump’s statements indicated in a tweet that he understood how Democrats could feel that Putin and the Russians must have some damning information about him.

Meghan McCain, a co-host of ABC’s “The View” and a daughter of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), tweeted that she was “horrified” by the press conference.
Former Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, a Republican, said Trump
“failed America today.”“It’s a sad day for America,” Hagel said Monday during an appearance on CNN. “It’s a sad day for the world.”

Newswire : Ethiopian dam threatens destruction of World Heritage Site

 

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Hippopotamuses – among the many species affected by the threat to Lake Turkana, says the UN.

(TriceEdneyWire.com/GIN) – Lake Turkana, the reputed birthplace of mankind, has been designated an endangered environmental hotspot by a UNESCO panel.
Currently designated a World Heritage Site, Kenya’s Lake Turkana stands among such treasures as the Taj Mahal, the Grand Canyon and the Great Wall of China.

It’s the world’s largest desert lake, a spectacular site whose fossil finds have contributed more to the understanding of human ancestry than any other site in the world.

But the environmental group International Rivers warns that Ethiopia’s Gibe III Dam and expansion of large, irrigated plantations in the Lower Omo basin threaten food security and local economies that support more than half a million people in southwest Ethiopia and along the shores of Kenya’s Lake Turkana.

“Construction on the dam began in 2006 with flagrant violations of Ethiopia’s own laws on environmental protection and procurement practices, and the national constitution,” the Oakland, California-based group wrote. “The project’s US$1.7 billion contract was awarded without competition to Italian construction giant Salini, raising serious questions about the project’s integrity.”

In February 2015, the filling of the dam’s reservoir began. The same year in October, Gibe III began generating electricity.

The Rivers group continued: “Project impact assessments were published long after construction began and disregard the project’s most serious consequences. Despite the huge impacts on vulnerable people and ecosystems, NGOs and academics in Ethiopia familiar with the region and the project don’t dare speak out for fear they will be shut down by the government.”

The Committee mentioned other changes affecting the hydrology of the Lake Turkana Basin, namely the Kuraz Sugar Development Project, and the Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia Transport (LAPSETT) Corridor Project.

The List of World Heritage in Danger is designed to inform the international community of conditions threatening the very characteristics for which a property has been inscribed on the World Heritage List and to encourage corrective measures.

The 42nd session of the World Heritage Committee continues until July 4.

Newswire: AME Church and Black banks launch new partnership for Black wealth

By Hazel Trice Edney

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AME Church Bishops pose with Black bankers and business leaders after announcing historic partnership. PHOTO: Klarque Garrison/Trice Edney News Wire

(TriceEdneyWire.com) – The Black church, among the most prosperous institutions in America, has long led movements for the spiritual, social and civic uplift of Black people. When the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated on April 4, 1968, he had just launched the Poor People’s Movement, which quickly fizzled after his death.
With this historic backdrop, the African Methodist Episcopal Church – with a legacy of leadership in its own right – has announced an innovative economic partnership with Black-owned banks across the country. The partnership aims to be a catalyst to spur business development, homeownership and wealth in the Black community.
“We are now pleased to announce a partnership with the presidents of the nineteen (19) Black banks in the United States, with the goal of increasing Black wealth,” said Bishop Reginald T. Jackson, president of the Council of AME Bishops. “This initiative will strengthen Black banks across the United States and increase their capacity to lend to small businesses, to secure mortgages, to provide personal lines of credit, and to offer other forms of credit to AME churches and our members. This, of course, includes enabling members and their families to become homeowners.”
Bishop Jackson made the announcement during a press conference held during the 2018 Council of Bishops and General Board Meeting in Atlanta June 26. The specific details of a memorandum of understanding are being formulated and will be announced this summer. But the goals are as follows:
· Increase deposits and loans with Black banks;
· Increase Black homeownership to over 50 percent nationwide. This means 2,000,000 more Black homeowners than now exist; and
· Grow the number of Black businesses from 2.6 million to 4 million and total gross receipts from an average of $72,500.00 to $150,000.00.
“The spirit in which you all have shared the commitment to the community, to the banks and to what we can do together is outstanding,” responded Preston Pinkett, III, chairman and CEO of the City National Bank of New Jersey and chairman of the National Bankers Association. “Thank you for your willingness to step outside of the norm to do something that I would say is extraordinary here in America and extraordinary in the world.”
Pinkett says the church-bank partnerships are already beginning around the nation. “It is safe to say that this kind of commitment; this kind of demonstration will go a long way in supporting our banks and the banks to be able to support the community…With God’s blessings, we will accomplish great things.”
Amidst an atmosphere of excitement, the bankers, bishops and supporters of the movement packed into a meeting room in a Downtown Atlanta hotel. Jackson was surrounded by all 20 Bishops of the 231-year-old denomination as well as supporters of the movement. They included principals of the growing economic movement, Black Wealth 2020, which Jackson credited as inspiration for the idea.
“This partnership grows out of an initiative formed in Washington, DC in 2015, called Black Wealth 2020 which is providing an economic blueprint for Black America,” Jackson said.
Michael Grant, one of the founders of Black Wealth 2020, presided at the press conference. He connected the new partnership directly with the movement begun by Dr. King.
“The great civil rights movement led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and others has now morphed into a full-fledged movement for economic empowerment,” Grant said. “The offspring of African slaves and their unrewarded labor have catapulted a small Colonial outpost into the greatest industrial giant the world has ever known. Now, as a people, we are turning our efforts toward our own enrichment. We must now create those economic opportunities for ourselves.”
Opening the press conference, Grant underscored the historicity of the moment. “For those of you who are students of history, you would not be surprised that the Church of Richard Allen would be leading an effort to close the wealth gap across the United States of America.” Allen, among America’s most influential Black leaders, founded the AME church in 1794. It was the first independent Black denomination in the U. S. “And we do this with malice towards none,” stressed Grant.
Bishop James L. Davis, of the Second Episcopal District, likened the partnership to a marriage – a marriage between a church and its community. “It is a marriage that says a church that is concerned about its people, concerned about the good and the bad, all of the things our people have had to go through.”
The prophetic voices of Black church leaders not only articulate ideas, but strategies.
“In the next decade in the global church and in the AME church and in Black banking, we will see both evolution and revolution. Banks must reinvent themselves, not just to respond to the pressures of the day, but to be flexible enough to adapt to the world of tomorrow. The ecclesia, the church, must also evolve its business knowledge, educational platform, and its missional thrust without losing its stance in the Word of God,” said General Board Chair Bishop Vashti Murphy Mckenzie. “Both of our institutions are dealing with increasing assertive governmental intrusion, higher membership and customer demands along with increasing change in the wider world.”
The announcement of the new partnership was met with applause from national civil rights leaders.
“Thank you and your fellow bishops for making economic development a priority of your denomination,” wrote civil rights icon Georgia Congressman John Lewis in a letter to Bishop Jackson. “Hopefully, your visionary leadership will inspire other denominations to replicate your efforts nationwide.”
National Urban League President/CEO Marc Morial also weighed in with a letter: “I want to express the support of the National Urban League for your leadership and initiative in addressing the challenges of Black homeownership and the need to increase the support, viability and profitability of our African-American businesses,” he wrote.
Morial is among economic leaders who have determined that among the reasons homeownership among African-Americans is disparately low is, in part, because of discriminatory lending practices.
Mortgage Banker Lois Johnson, president/CEO of Salt Lake City-based United Security Financial, said she takes “great pride in our HUD designation as a fair practice lender. We provide loans to all who meet the minimum criteria, especially people of color who have been denied the opportunity to have their own homes.”
Johnson, who is licensed to operate in 49 states, says she intends to travel to each of the AME church’s episcopal districts to “create hope and opportunities.”
The principals agreed that the key to the success of the partnership must be mutual respect for Black spending power and mutual support of Black businesses.
“We hear about Black folks have a trillion dollars in spending power,” said Ron Busby, president/CEO of the U. S. Black Chamber, Inc. and co-founder of Black Wealth 2020. “But that’s usually White folk talking about our dollar sand how can they get their share of it. We came together to say how can we deal with the Black wealth, the gap of it and really to move our agenda forward inside our own community.”
Busby pointed to the USBC’s new AP called the USBC Mobile Directory with 109,000 Black-owned businesses in order to help consumers make targeted purchases inside the Black business community.
Robert James, CEO of the Carver State Bank in Savannah discussed how the movement will be sustained. “There was a time that no church got financed in Savannah Georgia unless we financed them at Carver State Bank,” James said to applause. “This program will get us back on the path.”
James says he knows the relationship can be sustained because the bishops have authority to oversee and encourage AME church leaders to do business with Black-owned banks. “We can talk to the Bishops about those local churches. And you can talk to your elders and your preachers,” he said.
Bishop Jackson underscored the fact that the U. S. partnership is only the beginning. He indicated that the movement will also expand abroad. “The possibilities extend throughout the Diaspora. The African Methodist Episcopal Church has over 4,000 churches in Africa, the Caribbean, West Indies and Europe. These churches and members can also benefit from this partnership,” he said.
To augment this expansion, Her Excellency Dr. Arikana Chihombori-Quao, ambassador for the African Union, spoke to the Bishops the day before the press conference, promising to encourage Africans in America to also put their deposits in Black banks. She stressed the need for Black-owned institutions to unify, cooperate and not turn on one another.
“I hope we will all come together and support the idea of putting all of our money in Black banks. I have already taken the initiative and listed all of the Black banks in the country on our website. I’m already encouraging all Black people when I do presentations to say we’ve been stupid for too long. We drive past Black banks to give our money to people who don’t give a hoot about us. And they take our money so they can get rich; not only here, but in Africa. We’ve got to change this.”

Newswire: Black publishers come together in Norfolk to challenge ‘Fake News’

By Lauren Poteat (NNPA Newswire Washington Correspondent)

 

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Panelists discuss the affects of “fake news” on the Black community during the NNPA’s 2018 annual convention in Norfolk, Va. (Freddie Allen/AMG/NNPA)

As Donald Trump’s persistent “fake news” rhetoric continues to fester in the media, Black publishers across the nation, recently took charge of the conversation, giving way to a special forum entitled “Black Press vs. Fake News.”
The forum took place during the National Newspaper Publishers Association’s (NNPA) annual convention. Dorothy Leavell, the chairman of NNPA and publisher of the Chicago Crusader, the Gary Crusader and the Chicago Reader, moderated the dialogue about misinformation in mainstream media.
“What do we do in this age of fake news?” Leavell said. “Our struggles and our truths have been at the forefront of battling fake news throughout history.”
Leavell continued: “In 1827, we battled the lie that we were nothing more than three-fifths of a human, spearheaded by the Freedom’s Journal, the nation’s first Black-owned and operated newspaper, which stepped in and showed us different. In 1895, activist Ida B. Wells, who established the ‘Memphis Free Speech’ refuted the fake news of her day—concerning the mythical rape of a White woman.”
Leavell said that, throughout history, Black people have been victimized by the proliferation of fake news and misinformation, including some of our most profound Black leaders like Marcus Garvey, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., leaders of the Black Panther Party and even today’s Black Lives Matter.
“All these obstacles are nothing new to us,” Leavell said. “So, while Donald Trump has been credited for popularizing the term ‘fake news’ we know this too is ‘fake news.’”
Joining in on the dialogue, additional speakers included Sarah Glover, the president of the National Association of Black Journalists; Deborah Gray-Young, the managing partner of D. Gray-Young, Inc. Consulting; Dr. Julianne Malveaux, an economist and sociopolitical commentator; and A. Scott Bolden, the managing partner of the Washington, D.C., office of the global law firm Reed Smith. The panelists challenged Black publishers and their teams to not only report real stories, but to also report them right.
“I’m not so much concerned about what is being said, as I am with what isn’t,” Malveaux said. “We [Black people] can define what news is…For example, ‘45’ is running around bragging about how low the Black unemployment rate is, but if you research the statistics and labor market correctly, you’ll see that a large number of Black people, have actually left the labor market altogether.”
Malveaux continued: “This is the real story that needs to be told and not 45’s ‘fake news.’ This year alone over 150,000 Black women left the labor market, which represent the stories that nobody is telling.”
According to a report by CNBC, nearly 70 percent of all American citizens are concerned about “fake news” being used as a weapon.
What’s more, in a recent report by NBC, “fake news” or just overall lies, were shown to spread faster on social media than the actual truth.
Examining the critical role of Black media, which has long been the beacon of light in the Black community, alongside the new age of technology, Deborah Gray-Young, placed emphasis on millennials and their role in escaping the idea of “fake news.”
“Black media is being dismissed and not being regarded for its true worth,” Gray-Young said. “It’s time we take a page out of Donald Trump’s book and reinvigorate our bases. Then we need to take a step back and reestablish trust, particularly among young people. We’re in a time now, where millennials are asking, ‘What’s the source of true information?’ That source is the Black Press and we need to do a better job explaining that.”
Gray-Young continued: “And don’t forget about your social media. This is what young people are plugged into. It’s not just about what’s happening in the present moment anymore. Every time we report something we are participating in the documentation of history, and what comes up in Google searches are items with the highest ratings, which is what the public comes to know to be the whole truth.”
This is why the presence of the Black Press on social media is so pivotal, Gray-Young added. “Increase your SEO’s, tell your own stories and get plugged in,” Gray-Young said. Bolden said that in America, right now, “we don’t struggle with the ideals of what is right and what is wrong, but what is the truth.”
Closing out the discussion, Chairman Leavell called on mainstream media and the general public to denounce the idea of “fake news” and its message, while encouraging all Americans to support the Black Press.
“NNPA has served as a vanguard and a honest look into the lives and struggles of Black Americans for over forty years,” Leavell said. “The Black Press has been around for over 191 years. To say that there is no real news or reporting, just isn’t factual as history shows us different. Leavell continued: “As members of the Black Press it is our job to be that torch of insight and lead other generations on.”

Newswire : All eyes on US Supreme Court: Fiery nomination battle expected

 

By Barrington M. Salmon

Supreme Court
(TriceEdneyWire.com) – President Donald Trump has announced his choice for the next U. S. Supreme Court justice. He is U. S. Circuit Judge Brett Kavanaugh of Washington, D.C., a nominee who has already drawn fire from Democratic leader Chuck Schumer and the NAACP.
“Brett Kavanaugh is a dangerous ideologue whose extreme views on civil rights would solidify a far right majority on the Supreme Court,” the NAACP issued a statement within hours after Trump’s prime time announcement July 9. “Coming after Neil Gorsuch’s appointment, a Kavanaugh confirmation would re-make the Court in President Trump’s own image. This prospect is unacceptable to the American people, and the NAACP is ready to lead the fight of a generation.”
The statement continued, “The NAACP knows Judge Kavanaugh well. We opposed his confirmation to the D.C. Circuit for good reason.  In his 12 years on the bench, he has proven us correct. He has been a strong and consistent voice for the wealthy and the powerful. Over and over again, he has ruled against civil rights, workers’ rights, consumer rights, and women’s rights.
With a Justice Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court, we could see reversals of hard-won gains securing equal opportunity in education, employment and housing.  We could see further exclusion of communities of color from participation in our democracy.  We could see racism continue to flourish within the criminal justice system.  We could see the elimination of effective tools for proving discrimination.  We could see the overturning of Roe v. Wade and the guarantee to accessible health care for millions.”
The nomination is only the beginning. After lengthy hearings before the U. S. Senate Judiciary Committee, he will only be confirmed if he receives a majority of the Senate.
“President Trump with the nomination of Judge Kavanaugh has fulfilled two of his campaign promises — first to undo women’s reproductive freedom and second to undo the ACA (Affordable Care Act),” says Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer in a CBS News interview. “So, I will oppose him with everything I’ve got.”
Kavanaugh would replace retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy, whose decision to leave the highest court caught many by surprise and has ignited emotions ranging from alarm to panic to concern among civil rights, human rights, and women’s rights advocates, centrists and progressives.
Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, agrees there’s much at stake with this Supreme Court vacancy.
“Justice Kennedy has been the swing vote on a number of core Civil Rights issues. This could transform African American life for years to come,” said Clarke. “There’s no doubt about the impact – in voting rights, criminal justice and women’s issues. The Senate must do its job of vetting to ensure that the nominee is fair, unbiased and faithful to applying and interpreting the law.”
Clarke says every senator has an obligation to properly vet the nominee. “It’s their duty,” Clarke said. “This should not be a partisan battle, but we’ll see. We must fight to preserve the integrity of the court and not allow it to fall victim to the political gamesmanship that sometimes takes over politics.”
Clarke warns the importance of this appointment cannot be underestimated.
“This is a huge issue,” Clarke explained. “There are 140 vacancies in federal courts. The judiciary has always mattered to Black people because it is a place of last resort. Ninety-nine percent of cases are heard in federal and district courts. Ninety-one percent of those Trump is putting forward are White and male and they are the fringe. He’s turning back the clock to the Jim Crow era.”
Trump has been packing the lower courts since taking office and he has been aided by McConnell, who blocked Obama nominees and left them open for Trump to fill. McConnell refused to even consider or meet with Obama pick Merritt Garland and held that seat open for Trump to nominate Neil Gorsuch. In the past 15 months, the administration has retreated from the US government’s legal positions on voting rights and election law, on how workplace disputes are settled, and eroded labor union power, cast off provisions and protections for gay and transgender people.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions has overseen restrictions and other limits on affirmative action and other legal remedies, advanced a hard line on immigration, and has pushed to reduce or eliminate women’s reproductive rights, and promoted sharp cutbacks on regulations.
The NAACP, the nation’s oldest civil rights organization, says the reason for the fight is clear:
“The rights of African Americans to fully participate in democracy and in every facet of social and economic life, on an equal basis, lie in the balance. The next Supreme Court justice will play an outsized role in determining whether African Americans move forward in our journey toward achieving full equality, whether we simply tread water for the next three decades, or whether we slide backward toward our former status as second-class citizens. To each and every Senator, we say: This is THE civil rights vote of your career. We will be watching closely. Make no mistake – we are in the fight of our lives, and we hope you are prepared for battle.”