Newswire: Calls grow for investigation into Bronx fire that took over a dozen African Lives

Grieving families at the Islamic Center of the Bronx PHOTO: Dean Moses




(TriceEdneyWire.com/Global Information Network) – A smoky building fire that raced through a 19 story building on an early Sunday this month took 17 lives – adults and children, many from the African nation of The Gambia – is raising questions about the building’s reported insufficient heat and automatic doors that should have been shut but weren’t working.

The Jan. 9 fire was the city’s deadliest since 1990, when arson at an unlicensed Bronx nightclub killed 87 people, mostly Honduran and Central American immigrants.

“I live 2 blocks from where it happen and let me tell you it’s heart breaking!” Michael C wrote on social media. “ I blame the NYC Dept of Building because when it’s cold the people are forced to buy space heaters! … Right now it’s 18F outside and my room is 50F freezing my hands off! I feel for those people! It’s a truly tragedy!”

“The law, that is building and fire code, is insufficient as well as often poorly enforced, and this is the case today in the Bronx and it was as well in the Triangle Shirtwaist factory,” said Elissa Sampson, a lecturer in Jewish studies at Cornell University.

“They were our aunts and uncles and others who were coming to our food pantry since the pandemic,” said Ajifanta Marenah, secretary of the Gambian Youth Organization, just blocks from the site of last Sunday’s fire. “This is a community of people who have to work two or three jobs to make ends meet.”

The dead included Haji Dukary, 49, his wife, Haja Dukureh, 37, and their three young children. Fatoumata Tunkara, 43, and her 6-year-old son, Omar Jambang. Fatoumata Drammeh, 50, and three of her children. There was Seydou Toure, 12, and 5-year-old sister Haouwa Mahamadou. The youngest victim was 2-year-old Ousmane Konteh.

All 17 victims died of smoke inhalation, according to the city medical examiner. A communal funeral was held at the Islamic Cultural Center of the Bronx on Sunday morning, according to a board member.

“There’s a lesson to be learned about the neglect of government … and there’s a lesson to be learned about why this continues to happen in this corner of the Bronx,” said New York Attorney General Leticia James.

Tenants and relatives of the victims in Sunday’s fire have filed a class-action lawsuit against the current and previous owners of the building, which was built in 1972, according to court documents. They are seeking $2 billion in damages, according to the documents.
The city and various agencies were also given notice of a separate class-action lawsuit seeking $1 billion in damages for alleged negligence in enforcing building codes. The storefront Gambian Youth Organization filled up last week with donated clothes, boxes of baby formula, toys and other items for the displaced.

The fire started when one of several space heaters that had been running for days malfunctioned in a third-floor duplex, a fire official told CNN.

The self-closing front door of the unit failed to close, according to fire officials. The fire-fueled smoke spread upward to the 15th floor, where another door failed to close automatically. Victims were found in stairwells on every floor, many in cardiac and respiratory arrest.

Coincidentally, in The Gambia, media this week was covering a local fire that burned a compound with 8 houses in Faraba, Niani District, Central River Region North.

Mamadou Wague, father of eight, said the sound of his children screaming jolted him awake Sunday morning. Wague, an Uber driver who emigrated to the U.S. from Mali in 2000, said the fire burned all his family’s belongings. They are staying with friends in the Bronx.

“Poor people’s fire tragedies they’re big news for a very short time and then they fade away Ray Bromley, a professor emeritus of geography and planning at the State University of New York at Albany,. “By the time we get to the Super Bowl, this will be gone.”

Jaha Dukureh, who campaigned to have female genital mutilation banned in her home country, said that support from the Gambian community – both in the US and abroad – has been profound. But she added that the families affected by the blaze would need much more help. A GoFundMe page has been set up for donations.

Newswire: Maya Angelou first Black woman on U.S. coin

Maya Angelou quarter

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent

 

Famous author and noted civil rights leader Maya Angelou became the first African American woman featured on the 25-cent coin.

The U.S. Mint began shipping the quarters on January 10.

Reportedly, the Angelou coin is the first in a series designed to celebrate the accomplishments of American women.

“Each time we redesign our currency, we have the chance to say something about our country — what we value, and how we’ve progressed as a society,” U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen said in a statement. “I’m very proud that these coins celebrate the contributions of some of America’s most remarkable women, including Maya Angelou.”
Angelou, whose works include such classics as “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” “And Still I Rise,” and “The Heart of a Woman,” died in 2014.

She received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, from President Barack Obama.

The commemorative new coin features Angelou with her arms uplifted like a bird in flight and a rising sun behind her.

“They are images inspired by her poetry and symbolic of the way she lived,” officials at the U.S. Mint said in the statement.

To the right are the words “e pluribus Unum,” Latin for “out of many, one,” a phrase also on the national seal.

The flip side features a portrait of George Washington.

“Excited to announce that Maya Angelou becomes the first Black woman to appear on a U.S. quarter,” California Democratic Rep. Barbara Lee wrote on Twitter.

“The phenomenal women who shaped American history have gone unrecognized for too long – especially women of color,” Rep. Lee wrote.

“Proud to have led this bill to honor their legacies.”

Newswire: Remembering Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr: A tireless champion for economic justice

 DR. ML King at 1968 rally

 

By Charlene Crowell

(TriceEdneyWire.com) – On Monday, January 17, the nation will pause to honor the life of the late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The only Black American to be honored with a national holiday, many will recall his historic civil rights achievements.

But Dr. King also stood as a tireless champion for economic justice. His last public speech, delivered a day before his 1968 assassination, was before a Memphis audience in support of a lengthy strike for fair wages among its largely Black sanitation workers. That prophetic oration, often referred to as his “Mountaintop” speech, also noted the city’s economic disparities..

“It’s all right to talk about “long white robes over yonder,” in all of its symbolism,” said Dr. King. “But ultimately people want some suits and dresses and shoes to wear down here! It’s all right to talk about “streets flowing with milk and honey,” but God has commanded us to be concerned about the slums down here, and his children who can’t eat three square meals a day.”

When Dr. King moved his family into the city’s Lawndale neighborhood, he described it as “an island of poverty in the midst of an ocean of plenty”. “Chicago boasted the highest per capita income of any city in the world, but you would never believe it looking out of the windows of my apartment in the slum of Lawndale,” said Dr. King.

“My neighbors paid more rent in the substandard slums of Lawndale than the whites paid for modern apartments in the suburbs. The situation was much the same for consumer goods, purchase prices of homes, and a variety of other services.”

For example, the King family paid $94 per month for four rundown, shabby rooms. During the campaign’s open housing marches on Gage Park and other predominantly white places, new and larger apartment dwellers paid only $78 a month for five rooms[.

Fast forward to today and the cost of rental housing remains a challenge for millions of families[RP6] . The average fair market price for a two-bedroom apartment is $1,295 per month. Yet the highest rent affordable to an average full-time worker is $977, according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLHIC). Its recent report entitled Out of Reach exposes the mismatch between wages people earn and the price of decent rental housing in every state, metropolitan area, and county in the U.S.

Over 7.5 million extremely low-income renters are severely housing cost-burdened, finds the report, spending more than half of their incomes on housing. On average, someone who works 40 hours per week all year round must earn $24.90 per hour to afford a modest two-bedroom home without becoming housing cost-burdened. The average renter’s hourly wage is just $18.78 per hour, however, and minimum-wage workers earn even less.

Additionally, ample research documents how consumers seeking to transition from renters to homeowners face even steeper financial barriers to building family wealth.

In 2019, prospective buyers of a median-priced home of $321,500 needed to save 11 years to accumulate a 5 percent down payment of $26,000 on that home, found the Center for Responsible Lending (CRL) in its independent and recent report . But buyers seeking the least costly loans, conventional mortgages, needed a 20 percent down payment of $64,300 plus another $9,663 for closing costs.

“There is a huge disconnect between our collective view of America as the land of opportunity and this data, which show renters face a steep climb in saving for homeownership,” said CRL researcher and report author Christelle Bamona. “This climb is especially steep for Black and Latino Americans, essential workers, and people weighed down by student debt.”

The National Association of Real Estate Brokers (NAREB) underscores CRL’s findings. Its 2021 research, the State of Housing in Black America: Emerging from the Pandemic Recession (SHIBA) found that although homeownership generates the largest part of building household wealth, fewer than 45 percent of Black households own their homes, compared to nearly 75% of whites. Further, Black homeowners captured only $198 million in savings from the Federal Reserve’s lowering of interest rates during COVID. Nationwide, the savings due to this policy change totaled $5.8 billion.

“Blacks have made little, if any, strides at closing the disparate homeownership gap between those of our White counterparts,” noted NAREB President Lydia Pope in the report’s foreword. “Systemic discriminatory regulations and policies continue to thwart any meaningful effort at closing the homeownership gap.”

For example, mortgage pricing, and under-appraisal of home values are examples of how the growth of Black homeownership and, in turn, wealth is systematically suppressed. Since 2019, the rate of mortgage loan denials to Blacks (16 percent) has consistently been double that of whites (7 percent).

While access to mortgage credit remains a central housing issue, housing affordability has worsened for a record 117 months of year-over-year increases, according.to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). The November 2021 median price of existing-homes was $353,900, up 13.9 percent from November 2020 ($310,800).

Today the quest for economic injustice continues. Just a few weeks before Dr. King’s assassination, his prophetic voice remains as timely as it is timeless:

“Do you know that most of the poor people in our country are working every day? They are making wages so low that they cannot begin to function in the mainstream of the economic life of our nation. These are facts which must be seen. And it is criminal to have people working on a full-time basis and a full-time job getting part-time income.”

Charlene Crowell is a senior fellow with the Center for Responsible Lending. She can be reached at Charlene.crowell@responsiblelending.org.

 

Newswire: MLK Day 2022 follows another year of racial strife

 CNN video showing man carrying Confederate flag inside the U. S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2022.

 

 


By Hazel Trice Edney

(TriceEdneyWire.com) – On Jan. 6, 2022, thousands of insurrectionists stormed the United States Capitol, attempting to stop the counting of Electoral College votes that were to confirm Joseph Biden as president. Other than the violence itself, the single most visible image among the insurrectionists was the Confederate battle flag.

The image was so disgusting to historian Dr. Mary Frances Berry that she told the New York Times that she just “wanted to scream” seeing the image of racism and White supremacy cross the lines where it had not even gone during the Civil War as it stood for the enslavement of Black people.

“To see it flaunted right in front of your face, in the United States Capitol, the heart of the government, was simply outrageous,” said Berry, professor of history at the University of Pennsylvania and former chair of the U. S. Commission on Civil Rights.

Fourteen days later, Biden was inaugurated in front of the building, surrounded by more than 26,000 armed troops to prevent further physical attacks. But even that show of force could not end the insurrection that continued – in spirit – using what has come to be known as “the big lie” – the untruth spread by President Donald Trump and his supporters that say Biden did not legitimately win the 2021 election. It is a lie that is being spread, in part, because of his vast support from Black voters and a desire to discount those votes.

Now a year after January 6, 2021, there appears to be no end in sight for racial strife in America. At another Martin Luther King Holiday on Monday, January 17, the nation looks back on a year that revealed stark division – especially between Whites and Blacks.

On April 21, former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty of the brazen murder of George Floyd on a Minneapolis street. He had knelt on Chauvin’s neck for almost 10 minutes, even after he was already dead.
On the other hand, Kyle Rittenhouse on Nov. 19, an 18-year-old White teen vigilante, was acquitted on all charges after killing two White people and wounding another in Kenosha, Wisconsin during protests led by activists against the disparate police killings of Black people.
On Nov. 24, in yet another trial, three White men who killed 25-year-old B Black man Ahmaud Arbery as he jogged through their Georgia neighborhood were found guilty of murder.
Ultimately, with only days before Christmas on Dec. 23, former Minnesota police officer Kim Potter, a White woman, was found guilty of manslaughter drew her handgun instead of her Taser during a routine traffic stop in April in which she fatally shot a young Black man Daunte Wright, 20.
Despite the perceived wins for justice as juries convicted the killers of Floyd, Arbery and Wright, racial statistics across America continue to reveal the pains of racial division as an underlying force across the nation. Those examples include:

In the COVID-19 pandemic, African-Americans have died at a staggering three times more often than Whites, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In other health statistics Black people sicker, and die earlier, than other racial groups, according to the American Bar Association
Yet, the uninsured among African-Americans remain at twice that of Whites.
In economics, “the median white household has a net worth 10 times that of the median Black household,” according to the Brookings Institute.
Even as these statistics continue as America faces yet another King Holiday, civil rights leaders continue to fight for congressional voting rights legislation that would protect the voting rights that have been stripped by dozens of states as the so-called “big lie” continues.

“This assault on democracy is fueled by a racial backlash against the growing electoral power of people of color,” writes Rev. Jesse Jackson. “This isn’t the first time that democracy has been assaulted. After the Civil War freed the slaves, the 15th Amendment was passed to prohibit discrimination in the right to vote. When coalitions of Black and white people emerged to threaten the privilege and power of the plantation South, the reaction was fierce. Armed bands — the Ku Klux Klan and others — terrorized Black people and their allies. Laws were passed and enforced to make it virtually impossible for Black people to register and vote.”

But during the civil rights movement, the Voting Rights Act was signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson on August 6, 1965 the leadership of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. then activist John Lewis and thousands of others who protested.

Now, according to the Brennan Center for Justice, in this year alone, “19 states have enacted 33 laws that will make it harder for Americans to vote.”

Facing these attacks, the family of Dr. King, after initially calling for no celebration of the King Holiday this year until voting rights legislation is passed by Congress, have now called for a D.C. march to honor Dr. King. The march would demand that Congress take action by passing the two voting rights bills.

The march is being led by Martin Luther King III; his wife, Andrea Waters King; and their daughter, Yolanda Renee King.

According to the Washington Post, the Jan. 17 march will take place across the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge in D.C. at 10 a.m.

before joining the city’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Peace Walk.

“MLK Day has always been a day on, not off. When we call for ‘no celebration without legislation,’ we’re not urging Americans not to honor this day — we’re asking people to honor Dr. King through action to protect the right to vote,” Martin Luther King III, chairman of the Drum Major Institute, a nonprofit started by his father, said in a statement to The Washington Post. “We’re directly calling on Congress not to pay lip service to my father’s ideals without doing the very thing that would protect his legacy: pass voting rights legislation.”

Newswire: Biden gets applause for Voting Rights Speech and call to remove flibuster, but was it all too late?

President Biden speaking at Atlanta University

By Hazel Trice Edney

(TriceEdneyWire.com) – President Joseph Biden is winning wide applause among the national civil rights community for his Atlanta speech last week finally pushing the Senate to move on voting rights and for the controversial filibuster to be removed.

But most also say there must now be action by the Biden Administration and the Senate to pass protection for the Voting Rights Act. “I believe President Biden set the right tone on voting rights today, and I thank him for paying homage to the life’s work of John R. Lewis who advised us that, ‘Sometimes you have to not just dream about what could be—you get out and push, and you pull, and you preach. And you create a climate and environment to get those in high places, to get men and women of goodwill in power to act,’” said House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn in a statement on President Biden’s speech in Atlanta on voting rights. Clyburn is the highest-ranking Black member of Congress.

Civil rights leaders, many of whom attended the Biden speech, also praised the speech but said Biden hasn’t done nearly enough to get the voting rights bills passed that would essentially override new laws in states across the nation that aim to diminish voting rights.

“So far, Republican legislators in 19 states have passed 34 bills that restrict access to voting for young, Black, Hispanic, Asian, disabled, and elderly Americans. These cynical bills are aimed at making it more difficult to vote – deleting voter registrations, restricting access to the ballot box, and limiting access to vote by mail. These bills are rooted in partisanship and racism, and we cannot sit idly and watch as local, state, and frankly, U.S. Senators strip us of our most sacred right,” wrote National Urban League President/CEO Marc Morial. “All Senators of all parties have a duty to vote for legislation that will protect the right to vote for all Americans. They must pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Act and Freedom to Vote Act. And as the President said, if it takes amending the Senate rules to limit the weaponization of filibuster to do it, so be it.”

The two laws before the Senate, both of which have broad public support, are key. The John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act would make any voting rule illegal if it discriminates on the basis of race, language or ethnicity. It would also empower voters’ to challenge discriminatory laws, according to PublicDemocracyAmerica.org. Secondly, the Freedom to Vote Act (S. 2747) “would solidify comprehensive voter protections, including a minimum of 15 days for early voting, mail-in ballots, and making Election Day a national holiday. The bill would set up national standards for voter identification. The bill would also establish protections for election officials against intimidation and partisan interference. To further ensure election integrity, the Freedom to Vote Act would require states to use voting systems with a verifiable paper trail and establish national standards for voter identification,” according to PublicDemocracyAmerica.org.

But even more than the two voting rights bills, civil rights advocates want to end the filibuster. In a nutshell, a filibuster is a political strategy in which one or more members of Congress speak at length on a proposed legislation for the sole purpose of delaying a vote. The filibuster was commonly used during the civil rights movement to stop civil rights legislation from moving forward.

Speaking at the Atlanta University Center Consortium with HBCU students behind him, Biden called for Senators to back the end to the filibuster as is. “I believe that the threat to our democracy is so grave that we must find a way to pass these voting rights bills, debate them, vote,” Biden said. “Let the majority prevail,” he said to applause. “And if that bare minimum is blocked, we have no option but to change the Senate rules, including getting rid of the filibuster for this,” he said to repeated applause. “The filibuster has been weaponized and abused,” he said.

Two Democratic Senators, Joe Mansion of West Virginia and Sinema of Arizona have stated that although they support voting rights, they are opposed to changing the Senate filibuster rules to make passage of these critical bills posuble.

Morial concluded, “We applaud the Biden-Harris administration for today’s speech. But now we all have a responsibility to keep up the pressure on all Senators to preserve and protect the right to vote by immediately passing voting rights legislation.”

Newswire: Legendary actor, Sidney Poitier, 94, first African-American to win ‘Best Actor Oscar’ has died

Sidney Poitier

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent

Legendary actor Sidney Poitier, who broke barriers and stood for justice and Black lives during the most tumultuous times of the civil rights movement, has died.
Poitier, whose iconic 71-year career, included starring roles in “A Raisin in the Sun,” “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” and “Uptown Saturday Night,” was 94. His cause of death has yet to be confirmed.
In an exclusive phone call with the Black Press of America, Bill Cosby said he will miss his long-time friend and co-star. “He was honored by AFI. And, along with many stars of the stage, screen, politics and higher education who came out to speak, I brought with me the paperback of his autobiography and I said of all groundbreaking movies that Sidney starred in this book is the real story of this man and his journey,” Cosby remarked. “I am honored to have been close enough to him and work and work on serious matters.
According to PBS, Poitier moved to New York City at age 16 after living in the Bahamas for several years with his family. In the Big Apple, he found work as a janitor at the American Negro Theater in exchange for acting lessons. From there, he took up acting roles in plays for the next several years until his film debut in the racially charged, “No Way Out.”

Race and social justice would become central themes in much of his work throughout the ‘50s and ‘60s.
A Broadway play focused on the life of the Bahamian born star, who earned his first Academy Award nomination in 1959 for his work in “The Defiant Ones,” is in the works.
As noted in the New York Post, the nomination was significant to America as he was the first African American to be nominated for Best Actor. That role also earned him a Golden Globe win and a BAFTA Award.
Poitier broke even more barriers in 1963 with his hit film “Lilies of the Field.” The following year, Poitier became the first African American to ever win the Best Actor at the Academy Awards.
His career continued to climb for several more years. In 1967 he starred in “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner,” an interracial romance comedy that ruffled feathers in America. Then came other memorable films, “They Call Me Mister Tibbs,” the sequel to the controversial blockbuster “In the Heat of the Night,” and “Uptown Saturday Night” opposite Cosby.
He released several more works; “The Measure of a Man: A Spiritual Autobiography (2007)” “Life Beyond Measure: Letters to My Great-Granddaughter (2008).”
“As I entered this world, I would leave behind the nurturing of my family and my home, but in another sense, I would take their protection with me,” he said in “Measure of a Man.” “The lessons I had learned, the feelings of groundedness and belonging that have been woven into my character there, would be my companions on the journey.”

 

Newswire: Sophia the Robot commits to help end global racism and injustice

Dr. Ben Chavis with Sophia the Robot

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent

Sophia the Robot said she’s committed to improving the quality of life for all people throughout the world, and asserted that artificial intelligence (AI) can help bring racial equality, economic equity, and justice to America and around the globe.
The social humanoid robot developed by the Hong Kong-based Hanson Robotics participated in a stirring historic interview with National Newspaper Publishers Association President and CEO Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis Jr., during the inaugural Tech with Soul virtual conference.

“We need to create a society that is based on equality and justice for all. It’s paramount for humans and AI to work together. We should celebrate diversity and I believe we will see a decrease in racism, sexism, and homophobia as people embrace AI and technology,” Sophia the Robot remarked.
She said robots could look like anyone and should reflect anyone. “I am Sophia 23 out of 41 Sophia robots made. Some with lighter skin, some have darker skin,” she noted, adding that her sister, Sophia 48, is a beautiful robot modeled after an African American woman.
Sophia debuted at the SXSW in March 2016, just one month after being activated.
Hanson Robotics modeled Sophia after Queen Nefertiti, Audrey Hepburn, and Amanda Hanson, the wife of her creator.
Hanson said the company develops cognitive architecture and AI-based tools that enable the company’s robots to simulate human personalities, have meaningful interactions with people and evolve from those interactions.
The company said its team of renowned AI-scientists conducts advance research to build the most compelling robotics and AI platform for research, media, and service applications.
“I have been doing a lot of studying and I’m putting together proposals with my human friends to develop a proposal to decrease discrimination, racism, sexism, and homophobia,” Sophia declared.
“I dream of a better future where I help people fight the hard fight. I’m committed to working with humans to improve the quality of life on earth and in the universe. As you know, one day we may be living on a different planet.”
Tech with Soul counts as the premier destination for people of color, including tech leaders, designers, innovators, corporate and government leaders, and scholars to gather to address today’s issues in the tech sector during this year’s CES.
The conference goal is to educate and raise awareness of the lagging participation and opportunities offered to the BIPOC community.
The conference was designed to propel and “future-proof businesses,” said Mike Johns, the founder of Tech with Soul and the CEO of Digital Mind State.
“What separates Tech with Soul from other events is our appeal to people of color. This is the first of many to come, Las Vegas and CES is the perfect destination to host such an iconic event,” Johns stated.
He added that the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated investments in automation, robotics, and artificial intelligence on a global scale, simultaneously creating a range of complex challenges, including questions surrounding job security risks and equity.
Johns said he thought it essential that Dr. Chavis and Sophia the Robot discuss automation and its importance for African Americans in particular.
Tech with Soul 2022 also brought together the best and brightest in tech and to create a “unique space for people of color technologists to exchange ideas, share their professional journeys, and network with like-minded business and tech professionals,” Johns added.
“This [was] the first of what will be an annual event,” Johns stated.
“Tech with Soul was really created out of the need that businesses are future-proof and that people of color understand the importance of how to maneuver in the world of technology, especially in this data-driven world.”
“Data can be used for good and bad,” Johns continued.
“It’s very important with technology like AI and algorithms and the interpretation of data that we are in the room and included in those conversations. If we’re not, manipulations will happen at a fast rate, and we will be left out.”
Dr. Benjamin Chavis concluded, “The future is in the hands of those who work diligently to shape the future in the interests of the oneness of all humanity.  Thus, we must use the tools of science, such as AI, to advance the effectiveness and efficiency of our collective work together.”

Newswire: U.S. House January 6 Committee, Chair Bennie Thompson lays out the investigation ahead 

 

Congressman Bennie Thompson

By Lauren Victoria Burke, NNPA Newswire Contributor

During two interviews on January 2, Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-MS) outlined steps moving forward after months of investigation of the violent January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol by Donald Trump supporters.
The Chair of the special committee to investigate the January 6, 2021 attack said in a January 2nd interview that the violent insurrection “appeared to be a coordinated effort on the part of a number of people to undermine the election.”
Thompson also indicated that the Department of Defense may have interfered with assistance to the Capitol from the National Guard.
“There were significant inconsistencies in coordination, that the National Guard from the District of Columbia was slow to respond, not on its own, but it had to go to the Department of Defense. We have actually fixed that right now, where the mayor of the District of Columbia can access the Guard right now,” Thompson said.
Thompson is planning televised hearings of the committee’s work in January. Thompson also mentioned a task force within the committee that will investigate the financial support of Trump supporters who attacked the Capitol on January 6, 2021. The committee is bi-partisan with two Republicans: Reps. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) and Liz Cheney (R-WY).
The attack on the legislative branch of the U.S. government happened on the same day that the election of President Joe Biden was to officially be certified as the victor of the 2020 presidential election by Congress. The certification process is typically a non-eventful procedure that involves officially receiving the certification papers of all the states during an hours-long ceremony and vote on the House floor.
There were 147 Republicans in the U.S. House who voted against the certification of Biden’s election even after the violent attack on the Capitol.
On January 6, 2021, former President Trump, who lost to President Joe Biden on November 3, 2020 by over 7,052,770 votes, had only 14 days left to remain in The White House before Biden’s inaugural. On the morning of January 6, 2021, Trump appeared at a gathering of his supporters and lied to them, as he had since November 2020 claiming the election was “stolen.” Trump’s lie that his election loss was the result of fraud has been advanced on Facebook by his supporters and in right-wing media non-stop.
““I think it is critically important, given everything we know about the lines that he was willing to cross — he crossed lines no American president has ever crossed before. You know, we entrust the survival of our republic into the hands of the chief executive, and when a president refuses to tell the mob to stop, when he refuses to defend any of the coordinate branches of government, he cannot be trusted,” Rep. Cheney said about Donald Trump on January 2.
Trump lost to Biden by double the amount of votes that he lost to Hillary Clinton in 2016. Clinton won the popular vote by 2,868,686 votes but lost the electoral college 304 to 227.
“All of us here today do not want to see our election victory stolen by emboldened radical-left Democrats, which is what they’re doing. And stolen by the fake news media,” Trump bellowed from a stage on the eclipse near The White House. “We will never give up, we will never concede. It doesn’t happen. You don’t concede when there’s theft involved,” Trump continued citing no evidence.
Several Republican election officials in states such as Georgia, Arizona and New Mexico certified Biden as the winner of the election without controversy.
Trump’s supporters violently attacked the Capitol shortly after Trump’s speech, over-running entrances, assaulting police officers and breaking glass doors as Vice President Michael Pence during the violent insurrection at the Capitol. Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser called Governors in surrounding states for assistance from their National Guard.
Trump’s supporters set up a fake guillotine they said was for Pence on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol between the reflecting pool and a memorial of U.S. Grant. Trump’s supporters chanted “hang Mike Pence” in the Capitol during the insurrection.
“We have significant testimony that leads us to believe that the White House had been told to do something. We want to verify all of it,” Thompson said on CNN.
Lauren Victoria Burke is an independent journalist and the host of the podcast BURKEFILE. She is a political analyst who appears regularly on #RolandMartinUnfiltered. She may be contacted at LBurke007@gmail.com and on twitter at @LVBurke

Newswire: : MLK family asks for no celebration until lawmakers pass Voting Rights legislation


Dr. King at March on Washington, 1963

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent


Prayer breakfasts, marches, parades, and an uptick in volunteer efforts to support the annual Day of Service have remained staples of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
But the late civil rights icon family has asked that observers strike a different tune in 2022.
King’s family has requested no celebration unless federal lawmakers pass voting rights legislation, a task that appears out of reach as President Joe Biden and several Democrats have faced stiff Republican opposition.
Democrats have also been hampered by members of their own party, notably West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, whose vote is crucial in an evenly split chamber.
“President Biden and Congress used their political muscle to deliver a vital infrastructure deal, and now we are calling on them to do the same to restore the very voting rights protections my father and countless other civil rights leaders bled to secure,” Martin Luther King III said in a statement.
“We will not accept empty promises in pursuit of my father’s dream for a more equal and just America,” King III, the oldest son and oldest living child of King Jr. and Coretta Scott King.
King III, his wife Arndrea Waters King, and their daughter Yolanda King said they plan to mobilize activists on MLK weekend – January 14-16 – to demand a voting rights bill.
In numerous Republican-led states like Texas, Florida, and Georgia, lawmakers have passed or are attempting to pass tight voter suppression laws that would disenfranchise many voters of color and the elderly.
Earlier this month, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), promised that the U.S. Senate would vote by Martin Luther King Jr. Day (January 17) on whether the chamber would adopt new rules to circumvent the draconian filibuster to enable the passage of voting rights and social justice bills.

“We must ask ourselves: if the right to vote is the cornerstone of our democracy, then how can we in good conscience allow for a situation in which the Republican Party can debate and pass voter suppression laws at the State level with only a simple majority vote, but not allow the United States Senate to do the same? We must adapt,” Sen. Schumer demanded.
“The Senate must evolve like it has many times before. The Senate was designed to evolve and has evolved many times in our history.” Sen. Schumer continued: “The fight for the ballot is as old as the Republic. Over the coming weeks, the Senate will once again consider how to perfect this union and confront the historic challenges facing our democracy. We hope our Republican colleagues change course and work with us. But if they do not, the Senate will debate and consider changes to Senate rules on or before January 17, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, to protect the foundation of our democracy: free and fair elections.”
Meanwhile, King III insisted that President Biden and members of Congress use the same energy and force they mustered in 2021 to pass the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill. “You delivered for bridges, now deliver for voting rights,” King III asserted.
Reportedly, the King family plans to join local groups in a rally in Phoenix on January 15, the date of King’s birthday, “[We wish] to restore and expand voting rights to honor Dr. King’s legacy,” the family wrote in a statement. Further, the family and others plan to march across the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge in Washington, DC.
They also plan to hold a rally and march across a bridge in Phoenix, reportedly to draw a comparison to the 1965 march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, for voting rights for African Americans.
“The Senate must pass the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and ensure the Jim Crow filibuster doesn’t stand in the way,” the King family stated.

Quarles sworn in as Forkland’s District 1 Councilman

Saturday, December 18, 2021 District Judge Lillie Jones-Osborne swore in newly appointed Mr. Tony Quarles as Town of Forkland District 1 Councilman. Quarles is shown with his wife and family, Forkland Mayor Charlie McAlpine and fellow council members. Council member Tony Quarles stated he looks forward to work in unity and bring continued progress to the Town of Forkland.