SOS continues protests to demand Medicaid Expansion for Alabama

Montgomery, AL – Peaceful protestors – many in wheelchairs and walkers – gathered at the state Capitol to demand Medicaid expansion and were met by at least 32 armed law enforcement officers, not counting those in Montgomery City Police vehicles. The nearly three dozen armed police remained standing while speakers, including several young activists, continued to plea for Medicaid expansion in Alabama
Attorney and Civil Rights Activist Faya Toure said: “It is regretful that such a scene is taking place week after week at SOS events to save lives in a city with a Black Mayor and a Black police chief. Montgomery is known for its historic civil disobedience, which led to Montgomery’s having its first ever Black Mayor elected last year.”
Those present included leaders of SOS, the Save OurSelves Movement for Justice and Democracy, and other human rights and civil rights groups. They met at the historic King Memorial Dexter Avenue Baptist Church at 11:30 a.m. and marched up the street to the Alabama State Capitol facing a sea of armed city police officers for a noon press conference to continue to push for Medicaid expansion. Individuals with physical limitations participated in the march and the press conference and stressed the critical need to expand Medicaid to save lives, now more than ever with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Young leaders from across Alabama also participated in today’s events at the Church and the Capitol, including two who were previously arrested and jailed for civil disobedience misdemeanors or “good trouble” as Montgomery Mayor Steven Reed likes to quote the late Congressman John Lewis.
SOS and LGBTQ leader Judson Garner called out state leaders for finding money to build private mega prisons while refusing to move to save lives and save hospitals with Medicaid expansion. “We will be paying for these private prisons long after the Governor and other elected leaders have died. They can find billions to warehouse Alabamians in private facilities, but they can’t find a pittance to save lives, build our economy and improve every corner of our state with Medicaid expansion. This is wrong, and all young Alabamians – and all Alabamians – should be outraged.”
Kumasi Amin with Black Lives Matter and SOS said: “This movement consists of people of all ages, and we will not stop until Medicaid is expanded. We will continue to stand side by side, recognizing that the issues that affect our elders also affect us intergenerationally. Just as we watch our Black brothers and sisters being murdered at the hands and knees of law enforcement across this country, we also see people needlessly dying and suffering in Alabama because of the failure to expand Medicaid and the lack of health coverage and healthcare. I myself will lose my health coverage when I turn 26 this year. And Black people are dying throughout this city, state and nation because of policies at all levels of government.”
Alabama remains one of only 12 states in America that has taken no action to expand Medicaid. Because of the state’s ongoing failure to act, thousands of Alabamians have needlessly died in Alabama since Medicaid expansion was made available to all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. “This is unforgivable,” said Law Professor Emerita Martha Morgan.
Travis Jackson with Black Lives Matter and SOS who is also a veteran of the Iraqi War said: “How can the State of Alabama find billions of dollars for private prisons and yet can’t find a penny to expand Medicaid? How can leaders of good faith justify such actions? There is no justification, and Alabama must expand Medicaid now.”
SOS leaders John Zippert and Johnny Ford, who have been a part of the movement to expand Medicaid from day one, also made remarks as well as brought individuals with physical limitations to participate in today’s events. Eutaw resident Gus Richardson urged the state, “Expand Medicaid NOW!”
Zippert said, “More than 340,000 Alabamians fall in the gap between current Medicaid eligibility and ability to qualify for subsidized health insurance on the Affordable Care Act marketplace. These uninsured Alabamians are placing financial pressure on all hospitals and causing many smaller rural hospitals to close. Expanding Medicaid in Alabama will save 700 lives a year of people dying because they lack health insurance coverage. With the coronavirus, many more people with underlying health conditions like asthma, diabetes, hypertension, obesity and others, which go untreated because they lack insurance, are suffering higher death rates from the pandemic.”
Ford said, “We welcome persons directly affected by the lack of Medicaid Expansion in the State of Alabama, to join us in our SOS weekly protests to urge Governor Ivey to do the right thing. We want more people directly impacted by the lack of health insurance in Alabama to testify at our SOS rallies and press conferences to put more pressure on the Governor.”
Annie Pearl Avery who was on the bridge in Selma, Alabama on Bloody Sunday in 1965 said: “I have been part of the Civil Rights Movement for six decades. From Birmingham to Montgomery to Selma to Atlanta to Jackson to D.C. and more, I have been on the front lines fighting for civil and human rights. Our fights directly led to Black mayors and other Black elected officials as well as Black police officers, including the nearly three dozen lined up in front of us now. I have also been fighting for Medicaid expansion from the beginning, and I’ll be here fighting for it until Alabama leaders do the right thing and save lives instead of taking lives.”
Persons interested in joining or supporting the SOS Movement for Justice and Democracy may contact SOS through the Internet and Facebook. Support can also be sent to the SOS Survival Fund, 838 South Court Street, Montgomery, Alabama 36104; phone 205-262-9032.

Newswire : Zimbabwe grants coal mining rights to Chinese company in its biggest wild game park

Lion resting in game Park


Sept. 7, 2020 (GIN) – Wildlife and the environment will be at risk in Zimbabwe’s biggest game park now that the government has given the green light to several Chinese companies seeking to launch polluting coal-mining activities in the fragile animal preserve.
 
Zimbabwe is already on the hook to explain the deaths of 22 elephants just as the mining concessions were awarded to several Chinese companies in Hwange National Park.
 
Environmentalists now fear the mining activities will harm the environment and worsen human-wildlife conflict as animals move to get away from disturbances to their habitats.
 
Zimbabwe uses hydro-generated electricity but recent droughts, worsened by climate change, have meant less capacity for the country as well as neighboring Zambia from the Kariba Dam.
 
Even as China’s investment in renewable energy projects has soared, making them one of the world’s leaders in solar, for example, Chinese companies have been building hundreds of coal plants abroad, some in countries that currently burn little or no coal.
 
Last year, Kenyan judges stopped a Chinese-backed scheme to build Kenya and East Africa’s first coal plant because the owners had failed to conduct a thorough assessment of the plant’s impact on Lamu, an idyllic archipelago in the country’s northeast.
 
The Hwange National Park is home to elephants, rhinos, lions, cheetahs, giraffes and other rare species. Zhongxin Coal Mining Group and Afrochine Smelting received permission from the government to begin environmental impact assessments for drilling, land clearance, road building and geological surveys at two proposed sites inside the park, which is home to almost 10% of Africa’s remaining wild elephants.
 
It could devastate safari tourism, which is a vital source of income for local people.
 
The mysterious deaths of the elephants in Zimbabwe appear similar to the deaths last month of more than 275 elephants in neighboring Botswana. Scientists are still investigating the deaths of the elephants in Botswana’s Okavango Delta area and poaching, poisoning and anthrax have been ruled out.
 
Botswana has the world’s largest elephant population, estimated at 156,000 and Zimbabwe has the second largest, estimated at 85,000. Last year about 200 elephants in Zimbabwe died of starvation as a result of the country’s drought.
 

Newswire: Lou Brock, Cardinals Hall of Famer, dead at 81

Lou Brock stealing a base and Lou Brock signed baseball card

By Associated Press
Hall of Famer Lou Brock, one of baseball’s signature leadoff hitters and base stealers who helped the St. Louis Cardinals win three pennants and two World Series in the 1960s, has died. He was 81.
Dick Zitzmann, Brock’s longtime agent and friend, confirmed Brock’s death Sunday, but he said he couldn’t provide any details. The Cardinals and Cubs also observed a moment of silence in the outfielder’s memory before their game at Wrigley Field.
Brock lost a leg from diabetes in recent years and was diagnosed with cancer in 2017.
“Lou Brock was one of the most revered members of the St. Louis Cardinals organization and one of the very best to ever wear the Birds on the Bat,” Cardinals chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. said in a release.
“He will be deeply missed and forever remembered.”
The man later nicknamed the Running Redbird and the Base Burglar arrived in St. Louis in June 1964, swapped from the Cubs for pitcher Ernie Broglio in what became one of baseball’s most lopsided trades.
Brock stole 938 bases in his career, including 118 in 1974 — both of those were big league records until they were broken by Rickey Henderson.
“Lou was an outstanding representative of our national pastime and he will be deeply missed,” baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a release.
Brock’s death came after Hall of Fame pitcher Tom Seaver died Monday. Brock and Seaver faced each other 157 times, the most prolific matchup for both of them in their careers.
The Cards were World Series champions in 1964 and 1967 and lost to the Detroit Tigers in seven games in 1968. Opposing teams were warned to keep Brock off base, especially in the low-scoring years of 1967-68 when a single run often could win a game. But the speedy left fielder with the popup slide was a consistent base-stealing champion and run producer.
A lifetime .293 hitter, he led the league in steals eight times, scored 100 or more runs seven times and amassed 3,023 hits.
He was so synonymous with base stealing that in 1978 he became the first major leaguer to have an award named for him while still active — the Lou Brock Award, for the National League’s leader in steals. For Brock, base stealing was an art form and a kind of warfare. He was among the first players to study films of opposing pitchers and, once on base, relied on skill and psychology.

Newswire: Breonna Taylor’s family to receive $12 million settlement from Louisville; no police charged yet

Breonna Taylor

by Derek Major, Black Enterprise News Service

Six months after the night Breonna Taylor was killed by Louisville police officers, city officials have agreed to pay her family $12 million as part of a wrongful death settlement.
The settlement of the lawsuit brought by Taylor’s family was announced Tuesday by the family’s legal team and city officials. In addition to the multi-million-dollar settlement, the city of Louisville has agreed to institute a number of reforms to the city’s policing tactics.
The changes include imposing more scrutiny on officers during the execution of search warrants. The settlement will also make safeguards that should have been followed by officers, mandatory.
Taylor and her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, were asleep the night of March 13 when Louisville Metro Police barged into her home with a no-knock warrant in relation to a drug investigation. The noise woke Taylor, who believed someone was trying to break-in. Walker, who is a registered gun owner, fired a shot toward their bedroom door.
The police responded, firing a bevy of shots toward the couple and hitting Taylor five times. One of the three officers who fired shots at Taylor has been fired for displaying “an extreme indifference to the value of human life” when he “wantonly and blindly fired 10 rounds into the apartment of Breonna Taylor,” according to the officer’s termination letter, which was posted to the Louisville Metro Police Department’s Twitter account.
Taylor’s death and George Floyd’s, who was killed by Minneapolis police in May, kicked off a summer of nationwide protests supporting the Black Lives Matter movement as well calls to defund the police in many states and reallocate funds into social services.
Both the former first lady Michelle Obama and vice-presidential nominee Kamala Harris called out Taylor’s name at the Democratic National Convention last month. Oprah Winfrey erected dozens of billboards demanding justice,  WNBA players have placed her name on their jerseys, and 2020 U.S. Open Champion Naomi Osaka wore the name of Taylor and other Black victims of police brutality on her face masks in her pre- and post-match interviews.
Many are still waiting to see if charges will be brought against the three officers who shot Taylor.
Attorney General Daniel Cameron announced last week that he will present Taylor’s case before a Louisville grand jury at an undisclosed location. According to the Times, however, since the officers were fired upon first, legal experts say their actions may be protected under a state statute allowing officers to use lethal force as self-defense.
Once the grand jury decides if the case will go forward, Cameron will make a public announcement to share his office’s investigative findings and the grand jury’s decision on possible indictments for the three officers who fired their weapons that night.
Ben Jealous, president of People For the American Way said the settlement was pertinent but that does not mean the issue has been finalized. “Today’s civil settlement between the city of Louisville, Kentucky, and Breonna Taylor’s family is appropriate and necessary in the pursuit of justice, but no amount of money can replace the life of a loved one. While police reforms are included in the settlement, justice has not been fully served because the police officers who killed Breonna remain free. Those officers must be criminally charged and banned from law enforcement. We believe all communities deserve to be safe and Breonna Taylor deserves justice.”

Newswire : Black households earned 61 cents for every dollar of White median incomes; Police violence linked to segregated housing   

By Charlene Crowell, Senior Fellow with the Center for Responsible Lending

Housing Segregation


The August 23 police shooting of an unarmed Black man in Kenosha, WI, triggered yet another round of community protests and national news coverage of a Black man. A series of multiple gunshots fired by a local police officer, were not fatal for 29-year old Jacob Blake; but may have permanently paralyzed him from the waist down.
Days later on August 28, the National Action Network served as a major organizer for a Commitment March, rededicating the yet unaddressed dreams of the historic 1963 March on Washington. Assembled again at Washington’s Lincoln Memorial, the day’s speakers spanned nationally-known leaders like Rev. Al Sharpton, Martin Luther King III, and Attorney Ben Crump to the family members of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Jacob Blake and others.
The irony is that despite the passage of nearly 60 years between the original march and its 2020 recommitment, many of the issues that have plagued Black America remain the same. Black America and other people of color still cry for justice, equality, and freedom. Yet noticeably, what formerly focused national attention on events in Selma, Montgomery, and Birmingham have now emanated from Ferguson, to Kenosha, Minneapolis, Portland and other locales.
Why measurable forward strides in policing, or economic progress have remained elusive after decades of calls for reforms may partly be explained by the findings of a new policy analysis by the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank in St. Louis. Using U.S. Census Bureau data, Ana Hernandez Kent, a policy analyst with the St. Louis Fed, found that America’s racial poverty gap continues to suppress social and economic justice. Moreover, Wisconsin, not a southern state, claims the dubious distinction of having the largest poverty gap in the nation.
Nationally the St. Louis Fed found that in 2018, Black households earned 61 cents for every $1 of White household median income. Further, the Black/White median household income gaps ranged from 87 cents per dollar in Maine and Hawaii, down to 32 cents per dollar in the District of Columbia. The disparity in median translates into 22% of all Black Americans living in poverty, a gap of 13% compared to Whites who are poor. Wisconsin’s gap is 23%.
“In noting the socioeconomic indicators of median income, poverty rates and health insurance rates, I found that White people had more favorable outcomes than Black people in every state,” wrote Hernandez Kent.
Poverty’s racial disparity extends to other key measures such as median incomes, homeownership and retirement.
Even with the enactment of the Fair Housing Act more than 50 years ago, today’s Black homeownership rate is dwindling. According to Ohio State University professor, Trevon Logan, “The homeownership gap between Blacks and whites is higher today in percentage terms than it was in 1900.”
Prof. Logan’s position is bolstered by findings from a 2020 report by the National Association of Realtors, A Snapshot of Race and Homebuying in America that found:
• 62% of Black mortgage applicants were rejected because of their debt to income ratio, compared to only 5% of whites; and
• 51% of Blacks are first-time homeowners, compared to only 30% of Whites.
Moreover, since the Great Recession that heavily hit Black homeowners a decade ago, today’s Black homeownership rate has yet to return to pre-recession levels.
With lower and life-long disparities in median income earnings, the ability to prepare for retirement is hindered as well. Social Security figures each worker’s retirement benefit on the basis of a taxpayer’s 35 highest-earning years. With lower incomes and a corresponding lack of monies available for savings or retirement, Black Americans rely on Social Security more than other races and/or ethnicities. Now, for much of Black America, Social Security is a financial lifeline and often the major retirement benefit.
In sum, it seems that in 2020, historic ills remain virtually unchanged. A key component of what continues is police violence against Black America.
In 1963, escalating racial tensions that worsened with growing numbers of peaceful protests that became violent by counter-protesters and led to multiple arrests, prompted President John F. Kennedy to deliver a nationally televised address on America’s racial reckoning.
“One hundred years of delay have passed since President Lincoln freed the slaves, yet their heirs, their grandsons, are not fully free”, he continued. “They are not free from the bonds of injustice. They are not yet freed from social and economic oppression. And this Nation, for all its hopes and all its boasts, will not be fully free until all its citizens are free.”
Fast forward and it is nearly inconceivable that the current president would deliver such an address. In fact, President Trump and HUD Secretary Ben Carson co-authored a recent op ed in the Wall Street Journal that portrayed mixed income neighborhoods as “social engineering.” The redlining of Black communities, racial covenants, real estate steering and restrictive zoning laws that together perpetuated segregated housing were never acknowledged in the guest column.
In response, Nikitra Bailey of the Center for Responsible Lending recently spoke with ABC News saying that the suburbs “intentionally created opportunities for White families while holding back opportunities for families of color…What we are really talking about is opportunity in our nation.”
With escalated violence in a growing number of cities occurring just months before an election, everyday citizens and scholars are echoing community and national leaders on the connection between key policies like housing segregation to violent eruptions.
Last December, the Journal of the National Medical Association, the professional organization of Black physicians, published an article titled, The Relationship between Racial Residential Segregation and Black-White Disparities in Fatal Police Shootings at the City Level, 2013–2017.  
The authors concluded that “Racial residential segregation is a significant predictor of the magnitude of the Black-White disparity in fatal police shootings at the city level. Efforts to ameliorate the problem of fatal police violence must move beyond the individual level and consider the interaction between law enforcement officers and the neighborhoods that they police.”
Before the thousands gathered this August, Rev. Sharpton also spoke to this same concern.
“It’s time we have a conversation with America. We need to have a conversation about your racism, about your bigotry, about your hate, about how you would put your knee on our neck while we cry our lives. We need a new conversation…You act like it’s no trouble to shoot us in the back. You act like it’s no trouble to put a choke hold on us while we scream, ‘I can’t breathe,’ 11 times. You act like it’s no trouble to hold a man down on the ground until you squeeze the life out of him.”
“Our vote is dipped in blood,” he continued. “Our vote is dipped in those that went to their grave. We don’t care how long the line, we don’t care what you do, we’re going to vote, not for one candidate or the other, but we going to vote for a nation that’ll stop the George Floyds, that’ll stop the Breonna Taylors.”
Let the church say Amen.

Newswire: Death of Chadwick Boseman puts focus on colon cancer and African Americans

By Lauren Victoria Burke, NNPA Newswire Contributor



The death of actor Chadwick Boseman from colon cancer at age 43 has brought new attention on the disease and how it disproportionately impacts African Americans.
Boseman was diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer at 38. It later advanced to stage 4. Boseman was filming movies that included completing his own stunts while undergoing cancer treatment that included chemotherapy. The actor died on August 30. His death caught many who worked closely with him by surprise.
Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer in both men and women in America. It is the second most common cause of death related to the disease. African Americans are disproportionately impacted with a 20 percent greater rate than whites and an even greater degree of mortality.
Every year on average 140,000 Americans are diagnosed with colon cancer with about 50,000 succumbing to the disease. For African Americans the death rates are higher.  Diets high in animal fat and low in fiber are associated with the development of colon cancer.  Cigarette smoking, obesity, lack of exercise and vitamins C and E deficiency are also contributing factors tied to colon cancer.
Dr. Wayne Frederick, who is the President of Howard University and a medical doctor, where Boseman graduated in 2000, commented on Boseman’s trip to Howard University’s commencement in 2018 as the featured graduation speaker. Frederick focused on the importance of knowing what one’s family history is and knowing what close relatives died of. He instructed that if you’re unclear how a close relative died you should investigate and find out.
“When I was in medical school, we got screening guidelines that it should start at 50. What we are seeing now is individuals getting colon cancer now is much younger. It is something for us to watch,” said Dr. Frederick on Roland Martin Unfiltered on August 31. Martin broadcast a two-hour tribute in honor of Boseman on his daily show.
“African Americans are much less likely to get the generic screening,” he added. Dr. Frederick also mentioned that popular historian Dr. Ibram X. Kendi was diagnosed with colon cancer at 36.
In January 2018, Kendi learned he had colon cancer after a colonoscopy. Though the cancer spread to his liver, further tests revealed that Kendi was cancer free after six months of chemotherapy and surgery. In January 2019, Kendi wrote “What I Learned From Cancer,” in The Atlantic. Kendi was trying to complete another epic work “How to Be an Antiracist,” as he was being treated for colon cancer.
“In the hours of each day when I managed to submerge myself inside the writing zone, the metastatic cancer was an afterthought. The symptoms from the six months of chemotherapy, from January to June last year, were an afterthought: my marathons of tiredness, the bubbling nausea, my hands and feet tingling and darkening and drying and blistering, making them unusable at times,” Kendi wrote regarding this cancer battle.

Lauren Victoria Burke is an independent journalist for NNPA and the host of the podcast BURKEFILE. She is also a political strategist as Principal of Win Digital Media LLC. She may be contacted at LBurke007@gmail.com and on twitter at @LVBurke

Newswire : Civil Rights icon Benjamin Chavis to host weekly Black Talk Show on PBS

Benjamin Chavis

By Hazel Trice Edney

TriceEdneyWire.com) – Civil rights icon Dr. Benjamin Chavis, former NAACP executive director and current president/CEO of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA), will become host of a weekly Black-oriented public affairs talk show on PBS (Public Broadcasting System) in October.
As racial tensions and disparities have skyrocketed in almost every category of American life, Chavis and the show’s producer Clara Wilkerson says it’s time for a program that challenges the mind and focuses on solutions. They believe the show, Chavis Chronicles, is among the answers. PBS apparently agrees.
“Our nation is polarized by race; polarized by politics; polarized by economics; polarized by health disparities; polarized by the pursuit of education and the education gap; culturally polarized; ethnically polarized; religiously polarized,” Chavis said in an interview with the Trice Edney News Wire. “And so, with all of these multiple polarizations that are undergirded by systemic racism, having a national one-half hour in depth discussion about these issues – particularly from an African-American perspective – which the main stream media has not really chosen to focus on, will be crucial.”
American Public Television (APT), the leading syndicator of high-quality, top-rated programming to the nation’s public television stations, has confirmed that Chavis Chronicles is set to air in top markets across the nation, starting Oct. 1.
“We have reviewed the materials and are pleased to confirm it has been accepted for release in October, 2020 to the nation’s public television stations,” said a letter to Wilkerson from Judy Barlow, APT vice president for business development. “We are honored to work with you and Dr. Chavis on this fine series which will bring important conversations to the American people. Thank you for bringing it to us.”
Wilkerson, an award-winning independent producer, has worked with PBS for more than 25 years. Her company, CRW Worldwide, Inc., has produced more than 25 documentaries and video productions held in over 300 libraries internationally. Wilkerson says she created the Chronicles format specifically with Chavis in mind.
“I first and foremost see this show as one that touches the mind, body and soul. PBS is intellectual,” Wilkerson describes her vision for the show. “We’re bringing this program to those who want to see something more introspective – deep thinkers, change makers, leaders – but then we’re not snobs. We’re not saying we just want to do it for those who are highly educated. We want people who are into social justice and what’s good for the masses.”
Chavis Chronicles will be rare programming as there are currently no weekly talk shows on network television specifically from a Black perspective. Also, unlike cable television, PBS is still free of charge, which makes it accessible to people of all income levels, Wilkerson points out. “That’s why PBS is a great place for this. There’s no better place because we can reach the masses.”
PBS is a non-profit corporation established by Congress in 1967. It is funded by multiple resources, including private donations, foundations, federal funds, and dues from member stations. Chavis Chronicles will be self-funded, including through advertising sales, “so we can be more autonomous,” Wilkerson said.
An APT “Fact Sheet” describing the programming of Chavis Chronicles in its first year calls it “a thought-provoking half-hour weekly series with an urban American flair, featuring interviews with famous leaders and politicians, doctors and scientists, cultural leaders and influencers from around the globe…The Chavis Chronicles goes beyond the headlines offering insights on matters that impact the public and provides a unique perspective from a renowned living legend of the African American community.”
More than 62 million homes will have access to the show in 100 markets. They include top
Nielson-rated markets: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Houston, Boston and Atlanta.
Chavis says the first episode will feature an interview with U. S. Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) in his home office in Columbia, S.C. It will not only spotlight Clyburn as the nation’s highest-ranking Black lawmaker in his role as House majority whip; but also his family roots and civil rights background.
A social justice activist of more than 60 years, Chavis says his experiences have given him an appeal to people from all walks of life. He started his civil rights career as a youth coordinator for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He earned his Master of Divinity degree from Duke University while serving an unjust 34-year prison sentence as a member of the Wilmington 10, who Amnesty International declared political prisoners. The Wilmington 10 case garnered international attention and was pardoned 40 years later. He also received a Doctor of Ministry degree from Howard University. He believes Chavis Chronicles will draw a vastly diverse audience despite it being from an African-American perspective.
“The problem of systemic racism is not just a Black problem. It’s a White problem. It’s a Latino problem. It’s an Asian problem; a native American problem. So, this is a program for all audiences from all racial backgrounds. It’s also intergenerational. While I’ve had a longevity in the civil rights movement; I still have an appeal to millennials. I still have an appeal to the Hip Hop generation. I still have an appeal to the environmental justice movement which I helped to initiate 30 or 40 years ago,” Chavis says. “So, it’s very broad in terms of the scope of the program, but it comes from an African-American perspective.”
As president/CEO of NNPA, the Black Press of America, Chavis already has a broad weekly audience as a columnist. He also serves as board chairman of the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education (NAFEO) and is a regular contributor on the Black News Channel. However, he stresses that his new role as a PBS talk show host will be independent of all of his various other positions and responsibilities.
“And so, we have an unprecedented opportunity to present an in depth discussion; an in depth analysis and also to talk about some solutions to the problems that beset America and that beset people of color throughout the world; particularly those of African descent,” Chavis concludes. “My whole career is about freedom, justice and equality. But, overarching, the struggle for freedom, justice and equality is to stand for what’s true. Speaking truth to power, publishing truth to power, distributing truth to power. Now I have an opportunity to broadcast truth to power. If the Chavis Chronicles is going to represent anything, it’s going to represent the truth.”

Newswire: Kamala Harris speaks with Jacob Blake, paralyzed in police shooting

By: Nick Visser, Huffington Post

Kamala Harris, Democratic Vice-Presidential nominee

Sen. Kamala Harris spoke privately with Jacob Blake the Black man shot in the back seven times by a police officer in Kenosha, Wisconsin and his family on Monday, her campaign said.
The Democratic vice presidential nominee was in Wisconsin for her first campaign visit since joining former Vice President Joe Biden in his bid to unseat President Donald Trump this November. Harris said she wanted to speak with Blake’s family “to express concern for their well-being and, of course, for their brother and their son’s well-being and to let them know that they have support.”
“They’re an incredible family and what they’ve endured and they just do it with such dignity and grace,” Harris told reporters after the meeting. “And you know they’re carrying the weight of a lot of voices on their shoulders.”
Several members of Blake’s immediate family, including his parents and two sisters, met with Harris. Blake joined by phone for about an hour. Blake’s attorney, Ben Crump, said the discussion was “inspirational.”
“In a moving moment, Jacob Jr. told Sen. Harris that he was proud of her, and the senator told Jacob that she was also proud of him and how he is working through his pain. Jacob Jr. assured her that he would not give up on life for the sake of his children,” Crump said in a statement. “She encouraged them to continue to use their voices even through their pain to help America make progress to end systematic racism.”
Harris’ visit follows Biden’s own trip to Wisconsin last week, during which he also met with Blake’s family and spoke with Blake via phone.
Trump went to Wisconsin last week as well, but the president did not meet with or mention Blake during the trip. Earlier he said that the parties could not agree on a way to meet.
A cellphone video of Blake’s Aug. 23 shooting by Officer Rusten Sheskey spread around the internet, sparking more calls for an end to police brutality in America and spawning additional protests in Wisconsin and across the nation three months after the death of George Floyd.
All of the officers involved in the encounter with Blake have been suspended. State and federal authorities are investigating the matter, but no charges have been filed.
Blake’s attorney shared a video on Saturday in which the 29-year-old gave his first comments on his injuries. Speaking from a hospital bed, Blake, who is paralyzed from the waist down, said his experience was “nothing but pain.”
“Your life and not only just your life, your legs something that you need to move around and move forward in life could be taken from you like this,” he said in the video. “You do not want to have to deal with this shit, man. … It hurts to breathe. It hurts to sleep. It hurts to move from side to side. It hurts to eat.”

Newswire: McDonald’s sued for racial discrimination by 52 Black former franchisees

By: Dee-Ann Durbin, AP

McDonald’s restaurant

More than 50 Black former McDonald’s franchise owners are suing the burger chain, saying the company steered them to less-profitable restaurants and didn’t give them the same support and opportunities given white franchisees.
The 52 plaintiffs, who owned around 200 U.S. stores before being forced to sell them over the last decade, are seeking compensation of $4 million to $5 million per store, according to the lawsuit. The suit was filed Tuesday in federal court in Chicago, where McDonald’s is based.
According to the lawsuit, McDonald’s steered Black franchisees to stores in inner-city neighborhoods with lower sales volumes and higher security and insurance costs. The company would provide them with misleading financial information or push them to decide quickly when a store became available, the lawsuit says.

Once Black franchisees owned a store, they would be asked to rebuild or remodel within a shorter period of time than white franchisees without the rent relief and other financial support given to white franchisees, the lawsuit says. Black franchise owners were also denied the chance to buy more profitable stores in better neighborhoods, it says.

As a result, the plaintiffs averaged sales of $2 million per year. By comparison, McDonald’s average U.S. store brought in $2.7 million annually between 2011 and 2016 and $2.9 million in 2019, the lawsuit says.

“Revenue is determined by one thing and one thing only: location,” said James Ferraro, the Miami-based attorney representing the plaintiffs. “It’s a Big Mac. They’re the same everywhere.”

Ferraro also noted that the number of Black McDonald’s franchisees has fallen by half over the last two decades. The chain had 377 Black franchisees in 1998; it has 186 now. At the same time, the number of franchised restaurants has more than doubled to 36,000.

McDonald’s Corp. denied the allegation and defended its history with Black franchisees.

“These allegations fly in the face of everything we stand for as an organization and as a partner to communities and small business owners around the world,” the company said. “Not only do we categorically deny the allegations that these franchisees were unable to succeed because of any form of discrimination by McDonald’s, we are confident that the facts will show how committed we are to the diversity and equal opportunity of the McDonald’s System, including across our franchisees, suppliers and employees.”

McDonald’s has a troubled history with Black franchisees. In 1969, activists boycotted four McDonald’s in Cleveland until the company sold them to Black owners. In 1983, a Black franchise owner from Los Angeles sued the company for discrimination; McDonald’s eventually paid him $4.5 million.

In 1996, McDonald’s leadership acknowledged that Black franchisees weren’t achieving parity with their white counterparts and resolved to make changes. Don Thompson, the company’s first Black president and CEO, served from 2012 to 2015.

But charges of discrimination continued. In January, two Black McDonald’s executives sued the company. They claimed McDonald’s shifted advertising away from Black customers, graded Black-owned stores more harshly than white ones and implemented business plans that had a discriminatory impact on Black franchisees.

At the time, McDonald’s said it disagreed with the characterization of its actions. It noted that 45% of its corporate officers and all of its field vice presidents are people of color.