Chadwick Boseman, iconic actor dies at 43

By Nsenga Burton, Ph.D., NNPA Newswire Culture and Entertainment Editor

Chadwick Boseman

The world is reeling from the loss of iconic actor Chadwick Boseman, who died Friday, August 28, after losing a private battle to colon cancer. Boseman died at home surrounded by his family.
A statement released by his family said Boseman was diagnosed with stage three colon cancer in 2016 and the disease progressed to stage 4. Boseman endured countless surgeries and treatments as he continued to make films from Marshall (directed by Reginald Hudlin), Da 5 Bloods (directed by Spike Lee) and August Wilson’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (directed by George C. Wolfe and produced by Denzel Washington).
Washington and Boseman were first introduced when Washington paid for Boseman and several other Howard University students to continue their theater studies by taking a theater course in Oxford.
The Howard University-educated thespian was the star of Marvel’s Black Panther franchise, bringing to life one of the most important and revered superheroes in American film history.
Directed by Ryan Coogler, Black Panther was the first superhero movie to be nominated for a best picture Oscar and one of the highest-grossing films of all time, bringing in over $1billion.
Black Panther became more than a movie, morphing into a celebration of Black culture, art, history, achievement and intellect in addition to highlighting the Black cultural presence and influence in comic book culture.
Boseman was no stranger to playing iconic characters, bursting onto the big screen in 2013’s 42 as baseball legend Jackie Robinson, who broke the color barrier in major league baseball. Boseman went on to star as Soul legend James Brown in 2014’s Get On Up and Thurgood Marshall in Marshall in 2017. Boseman brought a quiet dignity and powerful presence to these characters, with performances reflective of the weight they hold in world culture.
Prior to breaking into film, Boseman lived in New York, teaching at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture while cutting his teeth on small roles on shows like Law & Order, Third Watch, ER and Lie to Me, eventually landing recurring roles on Lincoln Heights and Persons Unknown.
It was Boseman’s turn as Jackie Robinson that cemented his film star status and his performance as T’Challa in Marvel’s Black Panther, that catapulted him to superstardom. Black Panther grew beyond the big screen and became a cultural phenomenon. Boseman, who hails from Anderson South Carolina, gave moviegoers a king who was stoic, powerful and captivating as he led warriors with love, intellect and strategy as they fought to maintain control of their powerful, technologically superior nation, ripe for poaching by outsiders.
Much like the Gullah culture of his home state, Boseman was able to effortlessly blend African and American culture to help create a fantastical world on screen that was inspirational and recognizable. Boseman led an all-star cast including Angela Bassett, Michael B. Jordan, Danai Gurira, Daniel Kaluuya, Letitia Wright, Sterling Brown, Winston Duke and Academy award-winning actors Lupita Nyong’o and Forrest Whitaker, holding his own and fortifying his status as a Hollywood superstar.
Boseman, who also appeared as T’Challa/Black Panther in Avengers Infinity War and Avengers: End Game, starred in and produced the films 21 Bridges, Marshall and Message from the King, which he served as Executive Producer. At the time of his death, Boseman was in pre-production as producer on Yasuke, a film about the world’s first Black Samurai in which Boseman was slated to star.
In addition to acting and producing, Boseman was also an activist and philanthropist supporting social justice initiatives like Michelle Obama’s #WhenWeAllVote and celebrating fellow Bison Kamala Harris’ history making selection as the Democratic Vice-Presidential nominee for the 2020 U.S. Presidential election, which was his last Twitter post before his death.
In 2018, the wonderkind performer delivered a powerful commencement speech at Howard University encouraging students to rise above traumatic experiences and applauding their campus activism. Boseman, who was mentored by fellow Howard University alum Phylicia Rashad and helped financially by Denzel Washington as a student donated $100,000 to #Change4Change, which supports HBCUs in November 2019.
The private public figure spent time visiting children suffering from cancer at St. Jude’s Research Center. In April 2020, the actor donated $4.2 million worth of PPE equipment to hospitals serving Black communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The youngest of four, Boseman is survived by his parents Leroy and Carolyn Boseman, siblings Kevin, Dionne and Derrick and wife Taylor Simone Ledward. Boseman was 43.

Newswire : Cameroon reconsiders plan to strip last intact forest in central Africa

Tool using monkey in the forest

Aug. 17, 2020 (GIN) – Good news is rare for those toiling to save the environment, but this week environmentalists could finally share the excitement of a hard-won success.

The government of Cameroon just announced it was canceling plans to log some 170,000 acres of the Ebo Forest, home to hundreds of rare plant and animal species, including the tool-using Nigeria-Cameroon chimpanzee, the western gorilla and giant frogs.

The decision to save the forests followed organized pressure from indigenous communities, conservation groups and scientists.

In addition to its rich biodiversity, the Ebo Forest, located in southwestern Cameroon, is culturally and societally important for the Banen Indigenous people, who consider it their sacred ancestral home.

The Banen were ousted from the forest in the 1960s, but settled just a few miles from its borders and still rely on it for food and medicine. The community has fought for decades to return to their native villages.

“We have always lived in harmony with this forest and its diversity, but people just want to make money,” Chief Victor Yetina, a ruler among the Banen, told The Guardian newspaper. “Much of our history can still be found [in the forest]. You can still find our cocoa plantations, even after 60 years. Our dead are buried there.”

The clock to save Ebo began to tick in July, when Cameroon Prime Minister Joseph Dion Ngute signed a decree that turned half of the Ebo Forest into a “forest management unit,” allowing the government to sell logging concessions.

But on August 11, Ngute, at the direction of President Paul Biya, withdrew the decree, suspending any logging plans, according to the news site Afrik21. President Biya also ordered a delay to reclassify an additional 160,000 acres of the Ebo, which could have potentially opened up even more forest for logging.

The government’s “intervention to halt the imminent destruction of this unique forest is hugely welcome,” said Bethan Morgan, head of the San Diego Zoo’s Global Central Africa Program who has worked to protect the forest’s great apes, in a statement.

“We hope that the international community will seize this opportunity to work with the government of Cameroon to make Ebo a showcase for long-term conservation in harmony with very challenged communities.”

Newswire: ‘Uncle Tom’ trends on Twitter after RNC trots out Black men to deny Trump’s racism

By Bruce C.T. Wright, NEWSONE

Of the three Black speakers at the Republican convention Black people at RNC From left: Georgia State Rep. Vernon Jones, Herschel Walker and Sen. Tim Scott. | Source: Getty Images / Getty

Whether through sheer coincidence — or not — “Uncle Tom” was one of the top trending topics on Twitter Tuesday morning following the opening night of the Republican National Convention (RNC) that featured several Black men making the case for Donald Trump to be re-elected.
More than 6,000 “Uncle Tom” tweets were posted following speeches from Democratic Georgia State Rep. Vernon Jones, former professional football star Herschel Walker and South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott. They each took turns trying to dispel any notion of racism in America or among its leadership despite Trump’s repeated personal demonstrations to the contrary.
“The Democratic Party does not want Black people to leave their mental plantation,” Jones, who has been called an “embarrassment” to Democrats, said Monday night at the RNC. “We’ve been forced to be there for decades and generations. But I have news for Joe Biden: We are free. We are free people with free minds.”
Walker, who was one of Trump’s employees when he played in the USFL — another of Trump’s failed business ventures — said his “soul” was hurt when he learned people called the president racist.
“I take it as a personal insult that people think I would have a 37-year friendship with a racist,” Walker said Monday night with a straight face during his official endorsement of Trump’s re-election.
Not to be outdone, though, Scott, the sitting U.S. senator who has previously dared to broach the topic of race with his commander-in-chief, said that Trump gives citizens the best chance “to live the American dream.”
For brevity’s sake, here’s the Cliff’s Notes version of Trump’s treatment of Black people in America: a decades’ long streak of discrimination that pre-dates his White House stint; repeated attacks against Black women, in particular; and referring to white supremacists in part as “fine people.” The president is racist by the very definition of the word, making the speeches from Jones, Walker and Scott both predictable in the context of Black Republicans and disingenuous whether they truly believe the words they told America or not.
If that’s not proof enough, Vox created a whole comprehensive timeline of Trump’s racism for readers to refer to in case there is still any confusion.
To be clear, the term “Uncle Tom” comes from a fictional slave in the novel “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” written by abolitionist Harriet Beecher Stowe in 1852. Over the years, the character became synonymous with subservient African Americans who sell out their people to curry favor with white folks.
Republicans on Twitter took it upon themselves to try to change the “Uncle Tom” narrative on social media Tuesday morning.
You, the reader, can decide whether Jones, Walker and Scott fit the criteria for such a designation.
Prior to the RNC’s start, Scott was the only Black person who was listed on the convention’s official schedule of speakers. However, what might be more telling than the RNC’s overtures to Black voters was its invitations to people who have been accused of having a racist agenda.
That includes: Nick Sandmann, the MAGA hat-wearing teenager who found himself at the center of a racially charged confrontation with a Native American elder and Black Hebrew Israelites at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., last year; and Mark and Patricia McCloskey, the married couple of lawyers who brandished and aimed guns at nonviolent Black Lives Matter protesters marching peacefully past their home in St. Louis in June.

Newswire: More police shooting of Black Men sparks protests as “Knee Off Our Necks” March is scheduled for Saturday

By Hazel Trice Edney

Jacob Blake, 29, was shot seven times in the back in front of his children. (Credit: family photo.)

( – A 29- year-old Black man remains in stable condition today after being shot seven times in the back by a White police officer for unknown reasons on Monday, Aug. 24.
Jacob Blake, shot by a Kenosha, Wisconsin policeman, was reportedly leaving the scene of an altercation between two women as police followed him on foot, one holding a gun to his back. Blake had reportedly broken up the fight between the two women.
When Blake attempted to get into the driver’s seat of the car where his 8, 5, and 3-year-old sons were seated, the officer with the gun grabbed the back of his t-shirt; then opened fire, appearing to shoot Blake seven times in the back.
According to reports, Blake was paralyzed from the waste down after undergoing several surgeries but remained in stable condition. Two of the officers involved have been placed on administrative leave pending investigations.
In Lafayette, Louisiana, Trayford Pellerin, was shot to death by police at a gas station on the Evangeline Thruway, on Friday August 21, 2020. Peaceful protestors returned to the same gas station over the weekend, Some of the protestors continued to march to block the major highway through Lafayette. Police in riot gear then attacked the demonstrators with tear gas and rubber bullets.
Wisconsin’s governor called on the National Guard in anticipation of possible violent protests. This incident comes after a summer of heated protests after the killings of George Floyd and Brianna Taylor both killed by police. It also comes just before the Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network’s “Get Your Knee Off Our Necks” march this Saturday, August 28, “citing racial climate as the urgent need to still mobilize.”
Sharpton and Martin Luther King III, along with Attorney Benjamin Crump and the Families of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Eric Garner and others will convene with NAN, NAACP and others for the march on Washington in protest of police brutality. For more information on this march, go to
Protestors quickly hit streets around the country as the Blake family pleaded for peaceful demonstrations only. Despite their pleas, buildings were set afire in Kenosha. Nothing was mentioned of the shooting by President Donald Trump during the first day of the Republican National Convention. Democratic Presidential Candidate Joseph Biden issued a statement.
“This morning, the nation wakes up yet again with grief and outrage that yet another Black American is a victim of excessive force,” Biden said. “This calls for an immediate, full and transparent investigation and the officers must be held accountable.”
DNC Chairman Tom Perez concluded, “A bullet in the back. A knee on the neck. When will it end? Yet again, our nation is hurting. Yet again, Black communities are hurting. Our hearts go out to Jacob Blake and his family as we pray for his recovery. Sadly, we know he is not the first to be viciously gunned down by law enforcement. He is one of countless Black Americans who have suffered at the hands of bigotry with a badge.

Newswire: German offer of $12 million for genocide reparations is rejected as “unacceptable” by Namibian leader

U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, German military forces, called Schutztruppe,

Aug. 17, 2020 (GIN) – The Namibian government has turned thumbs down to a German offer of US$11.8 million ($10 million Euros) as reparations for Germany’s genocidal extermination of indigenous Herero and Nama people from 1904-1908.
The reparations offer for mass killings by Germany in the colony known as German South West Africa were “not acceptable”, declared President Hage Geingob, adding that the figure was “an insult to Namibia.”
Geingob’s retort was affirmed by Claus Stacker, editor at the German news service DW. “The figure is so shameful and ridiculously low that it in no way resembles a serious offer of reparations,” Stacker said. “Ten million euros can in no way be the result of five years of interrupted negotiations over the mass murder of the Herero and Nama people exactly 116 years ago.”
“One thing remains clear and cannot be glossed over,” he continued. “The negotiations must be concluded and an official German apology is long overdue.”
According to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, German military forces, called Schutztruppe, exterminated hundreds of thousands of indigenous people in present-day Namibia through starvation and thirst in the Omaheke Desert, through forced labor, sexual violence, medical experiments and disease in concentration camps. The goal was to rid the colony of people viewed as expendable and thus gain access to their land.
“This genocide, the first of the twentieth century, was a prelude to the Holocaust in both the ideology of racial hierarchy that justified the genocide and in the methods employed,” the Museum entry reads.
“Historians estimate that approximately 80,000 indigenous people were killed in the genocide. While these numbers are difficult to confirm, this figure represents about 80 percent of the Herero people and 50 percent of the Nama people. “
In 1985, the U.N.’s Whitaker Report on the crime of genocide concluded that the German massacre of the Hereros qualified as genocide and was one of the earliest attempts at genocide in the 20th century.
In July 2015, the German government and the speaker of the Bundestag officially called the events “genocide” but refused to consider reparations.
A half century after Germany’s war on the Herero, the all-white government of South Africa extended its brutal policies of segregation to Namibia. Decades after the country gained independence, the Herero are still fighting to regain what they once had.
This week, in a related development, the East African nation of Burundi announced it will seek reparations from both Germany and Belgium in the sum of $42.6 billion for damages done during colonialism and for the return of historical artifacts and archive material believed stolen by the two European countries.
From 1890, Germany colonized Burundi, which became part of German East Africa. After WWI, the country was ruled by Belgium, until it gained its independence in 1962.

Newswire: Fair housing still a distant journey for Black America

       By Charlene Crowell, Center for Responsible Learning
Map of African-American homeownership in the U. S.

( – Public pressure to restore a key HUD rule has united civil rights, public and private sector stakeholders in a swelling and nearly daily drumbeat of concern calling for fair housing to be supported and HUD’s replacement rule be rescinded.

On July 23 the rule known as Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) HUD Secretary Ben Carson termed the rule as “a ruse for social engineering under the guise of desegregation”.

“The worst thing we can do in a major health pandemic is increase housing instability, homelessness, and overcrowding — which is what will happen if the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing provision is significantly weakened,” noted Lisa Rice, President and CEO of the National Fair Housing Alliance. “Taking away strong fair housing tools makes all of our communities less safe and increases housing instability. We have learned that lesson and we should not repeat that mistake. We will not allow Trump to take away tools to fight discrimination or make our neighborhoods less safe.”

“The government helped create entrenched, pernicious residential segregation and has an obligation to undo it,” said Nikitra Bailey, an Executive Vice President with the Center for Responsible Lending. “By rejecting the Fair Housing Act’s mission to dismantle segregation and the inequity it created, this Administration is eschewing its responsibility and will be on the wrong side of history.”

Initially promulgated under the Obama Administration AFFH required local jurisdictions receiving HUD funds to take meaningful actions to halt decades of discriminatory policies and practices that perpetuated racially segregated communities. Under the Trump Administration the rule was suspended and then replaced by a new one termed, Preserving Community and Neighborhood Choice. Under the new rule HUD grantees are no longer required to actively pursue local plans to eliminate segregated housing.

Across the nation, civil rights and housing advocates agree that historical segregation is largely responsible for the nagging inequity that Black America still confronts today.

Additionally, it is also particularly noteworthy that HUD finalized its new rule without providing an opportunity for public comment – a serious departure from the regular federal rulemaking process.

For the nation’s estimated 70 largest and oldest public housing authorities that together serve more than one million low-income households who live in federally-assisted housing, the rule is an affront to fair housing advocates across the country.

In an August 3 letter to HUD’s Carson, The Council of Large Public Housing Authorities (“CLPHA”) and Reno & Cavanaugh, PLLC wrote in part, “[R]ather than enforce an act of Congress, which they are obligated to do, HUD and the Administration endeavor to demonstrate Congressional support for the New AFFH Rule simply by relying on statements by individual members of Congress that “every community should be free to zone its neighborhoods and compete for new residents according to its distinct values.”

“As HUD is fully aware,” CLPHA continued, “phrases like “distinct values” have historically been used to justify segregation, discrimination, and overt suppression of the economic advancement of minority communities and communities of color. As HUD is also fully aware, public housing was often intentionally developed in segregated neighborhoods of high poverty and historically has been chronically underfunded because of these same “distinct values.”

Days earlier on July 27, three U.S. House leaders: Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Chairwoman of the House Financial Services Committee; Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Chairman of the House Committee on the Judiciary; and Congressman William. Lacy Clay (D-MO), Chair of the Subcommittee on Housing, Community Development and Insurance issued a joint statement.

“The Fair Housing Act makes housing discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status and disability illegal,” wrote the lawmakers. “The law includes a requirement that recipients of federal housing funding and the agencies of the federal government must “affirmatively further fair housing,” meaning that they must administer funds and programs in ways that actively undo and do not perpetuate patterns of historic residential segregation and systemic disinvestment…This senseless and misguided decision to roll back that important progress comes as the President peddles racist rhetoric that is reminiscent of the fearmongering tactics of those who supported racial segregation prior to the Fair Housing Act.”

The House Members also announced in their statement, that legislation to reinstate the AFFH rule would be introduced.

Also adding its voice and collective influence to preserve fair housing is the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the nation’s largest trade association, representing more than 1.4 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.
According to its President, Vince Malta, “NAR maintains that a strong, affirmative fair housing rule is vital to advancing our nation’s progress toward thriving and inclusive communities. With the pandemic’s disproportionate impact on people of color reminding us of the costs of the failure to address barriers to housing opportunity, NAR remains committed to ensuring no American is unfairly denied this fundamental right in the future.”

NAR’s Malta makes a timely point. With federal stimulus funds expired, not only has $600 weekly unemployment aid ended; but one in five of the 110 million renters face the looming prospect of eviction by the end of September, according to an Aspen Institute research report entitled Strong Foundations: Financial Security Starts with Affordable, Stable Housing. The report also found that nearly all very low-income renters, half or more of their monthly income is spent on housing.

This housing unaffordability finding is also held by the National Low-Income Housing Coalition that measures affordable housing as no more than 30% of monthly income. In its 2020 report, however, America’s housing affordability challenges were widespread even before the pandemic:

11 million extremely low-income households are priced out of local market rate apartments;
Minimum wage employees need to work an average of 79 hours – just shy of two full weeks – to afford a one-bedroom apartment. That same minimum wage worker would need to work 97 hours to afford a two-bedroom dwelling; and
A full-time employee needs an hourly wage of $19.56 to afford a one-bedroom apartment, or $23.96 an hour to afford a two-bedroom unit.

According to an early July U.S. Census Bureau survey nearly 43.4 million Americans – or 25.3% of the adult population – either missed last month’s rent or mortgage payment, or have little to no confidence that they can pay next month’s rent or mortgage on time.

These and other societal ills were the focus of a recent op-ed authored by 27 U.S. mayors representing 13 states. Published by the Washington Post, mayors from large cities like Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Houston and Philadelphia joined with mid-sized cities including Durham (NC), Eugene (OR), Lansing (MI), and Ithaca (NY), made a public plea for housing.

“Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, housing has always been the primary contributor to this country’s massive racial wealth gap,” wrote the mayors. “Systemic racism created a society where white households have 10 times the wealth of Black households. We are at risk of history repeating itself if federal COVID -19 relief measures primarily benefit white households…After decades of disinvestment and denial, now is the time for Congress to show its commitment to housing programs that support the stability and mobility of people of color.”

How much longer must Black America and other people of color wait for fair housing?

Newswire: African Americans die more frequently from Covid-19, but MIT researchers say poverty isn’t why

By Donna Fuscaldo, Zenger News Service

Black Americans are dying from Covid-19 more frequently than white people. But two researchers found it’s not because of obesity or poverty.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology Sloan School of Management professor Christopher Knittel and graduate research assistant Bora Ozaltun analyzed daily Covid-19 death rates for a nearly two-month period, at the beginning of the pandemic, for counties and states to understand the correlation between Covid-19 deaths and patients’ typical commutes, exposure to pollution, race and other factors.
While African Americans are dying at higher rates than white people, the researchers found obesity, poverty and smoking weren’t correlated to those deaths. Diabetes was ruled out, too.
“Why, for instance, are African Americans more likely to die from the virus than other races? Our study controls for patients’ income, weight, diabetic status, and whether or not they’re smokers,” wrote Knittel in the study. “We must examine other possibilities, such as systemic racism that impacts African Americans’ quality of insurance, hospitals, and healthcare, or other underlying health conditions
that are not in the model, and then urge policymakers to look at other ways to solve the problem.”
The MIT researchers’ work comes as Covid-19 cases are on the rise in several states and in African American communities. According to data compiled by the COVID Tracking Project and Boston University for the COVID Racial Data tracker, black people represent 13% of the U.S. population but account for 23% of the known deaths from the disease caused by the new coronavirus.
As of early July, more than 26,708 black people have died in the U.S. pandemic, and four of the five counties with the highest death rates from Covid-19 are predominantly black. In counties where black people are the majority, MIT found they’re dying at rates close to 10 times higher than white counties. Other at-risk groups include the elderly and Hispanics, although healthy, young people, have also died from Covid-19.
The difference isn’t because of income disparities or that white people have a larger net worth on average than African Americans and therefore access to better care, although Knittel said in an interview that’s where policymakers often look to lay blame.
“The reason why African Americans face higher death rates is not because they have higher rates of uninsured, poverty, diabetes,” said Knittel. “It could be because the quality of their insurance is lower, the quality of their hospitals is lower, or some other systemic reason. Our analysis can hopefully allow policymakers to focus on a narrower set of potential causal links.”
Public transit usage is one potential link. The MIT researchers found people who use public transit to commute to work are at a higher risk of dying from Covid-19. People who rely on buses, trains and subways had higher death rates than those who drove to work or telecommuted. Essential workers, many of whom are black and Hispanic, often have no choice but to take public transportation and once at work, aren’t always equipped with proper protections. Paid sick leave isn’t a typical benefit for many hourly jobs, which means many people go to work sick.
“Black Americans and Hispanic Americans are more likely to be employed in service sector jobs that may be considered essential,” said Laurie Zephyrin, who oversees the Commonwealth Fund’s efforts to help vulnerable populations. The Commonwealth Fund is a nonprofit foundation focused on improving access to healthcare.
While the MIT professors weren’t able to pinpoint one direct cause for the higher death rates, Dr. Georges Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association, pointed to an inability to retreat during the pandemic, a high propensity for chronic diseases among African Americans and poverty as possible causes. He also said misinformation during the early days of the pandemic and a lack of proper testing put black lives at risk.
Lackluster testing in the early days of the pandemic hurt the medical community’s ability to find and quarantine people to slow the spread of Covid-19. Even if a community had a testing site, it was often not easily accessible, said Benjamin.
Zephyrin said better messaging on social distancing and increased access to healthcare could make a difference, among other measures.
“We need to make sure the people who drive our buses, deliver our groceries, and are critical for day to day functions have the protective gear required to keep them safe.”

Newswire : Trump Administration ramps up efforts to dismantle post office

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent

Truck hauling away mailboxes in Oregon and U. S. Mail truck delivering mail

President Donald Trump has made no secret of his desire to dismantle the United States Postal Service or revamp the agency in a way that has angered Democrats and others who said it’s a tactic to prevent mail-in voting for the upcoming election.
The CARES Act passed in April authorized the postal service to borrow up to $10 billion from the Treasury Department for operating expenses if it’s determines that, due to the COVID-19 emergency, the post office would not fund operating expenses without borrowing money.
“They have withheld that money. They have broken the law,” Congressional Black Caucus Chair Karen Bass told BlackPressUSA during a livestream interview last month. Other Democratic lawmakers, including Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.), and Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.), also told BlackPressUSA that the president is trying to dismantle the postal service.

Trump has steadfastly opposed funding the postal service. Despite recently voting with his wife by mail in a Florida primary election, the president said he’s against mail-in voting.
“Trump is not stupid. He knows if there is a decent-sized turnout in this election, he loses,” Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) wrote on Twitter. “He and his friends believe they can suppress the vote by destroying the post office. We aren’t going to allow that to happen.”
Several postal workers have reported the removal of sorting machines at postal facilities and the removal of sidewalk mailboxes. Postal officials reported that in the last week, the agency had removed letter collection boxes in at least four states: New York, Oregon, Montana, and Indiana.
Postal workers in at least three states – West Virginia, Florida, and Missouri – have received notification that retail operating hours also face reduction.
Removing mailboxes had become a practice along marathon and parade routes since the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, however, the latest removals are believed intentional and strategically coordinated to impact the election.
In response to the removal of mailboxes and a slowdown in the delivery of mail, the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) sent a letter to the Postmaster General on Aug. 7. New Mexico Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver (D), Louisiana Secretary of State R. Kyle Ardoin (R), Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson (D) and Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose (R) joined in signing the letter.
“State and local election officials are busy planning for the November general election, and many expect an increase in the use of absentee and mail ballots, along with other election-related mailings,” the state officials wrote.
“We view the [United States Postal Service] as a vital partner in administering a safe, successful election and would like to learn more about any planned changes around USPS service due to COVID-19, preparations for increased election-related mail, USPS staffing levels and processing times, and other pertinent issues.”
The postal service has sent letters to warn 46 states that it could not guarantee all mail-in ballots cast for the November election would arrive in time to be counted. Some states, like Maryland and Virginia, received a “heightened warning” that the postal service could not meet state-mandated deadlines.
In response, a large group of protesters staged a “noise demonstration” on Saturday, Aug. 15, outside of Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s home in Washington, D.C. The demonstration was organized by the direct-action group “Shut Down D.C.”
The organization said they believe DeJoy is “dismantling” the U.S. Postal Service in favor of President Donald Trump’s re-election. They said his actions contribute to voter suppression.
“DeJoy has fired or reassigned much of the existing USPS leadership and ordered the removal of mail sorting machines that are fundamental to the functioning of the postal service. Meanwhile, mail delivery is slowing down under other decisions made by DeJoy, such as eliminating overtime for postal workers,” the organization wrote in a statement.
This week, the U.S. Inspector General opened an investigation into DeJoy’s policy changes at the post office.
According to some lawmakers, those changes are reportedly taking a toll on military veterans who are experiencing much longer wait times to receive mail-order prescription drugs.
Slowdowns at the post office have reportedly also resulted in seniors receiving their medications late and other important mail like social security checks.
It has also angered those who work for the agency. Postal workers throughout the country have reported low morale, and many have cited the actions of Dejoy, who was appointed by Trump. On Friday, Aug. 14, the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC), a union that boasts nearly 300,000 active and retired postal workers, endorsed Presumptive Democratic Presidential Nominee Joe Biden.
The U.S. Postmaster General announced Tuesday that he is suspending some recent operational changes until after the presidential election. “To avoid even the appearance of any impact on election mail, I am suspending these initiatives until after the election is concluded,” U.S. Postal Service head Louis DeJoy said of the changes, which included removing mail processing equipment and collection boxes.
Additionally, he promised, USPS retail hours will not change, processing facilities will not be closed and overtime for postal workers will be approved as needed.
“The Postal Service is ready today to handle whatever volume of election mail it receives this fall,” DeJoy said. “Even with the challenges of keeping our employees and customers safe and healthy as they operate amid a pandemic, we will deliver the nation’s election mail on time and within our well-established service standards.”
The promise expands on one DeJoy made earlier this week to stop removing mailboxes for the next 90 days.

Newswire: Oprah’s O Magazine puts up billboards all over Louisville demanding action in the Breonna Taylor case

Billboards around Louisville, Kentucky, calling for justice for Breonna Taylor

By David Williams, CNN

(CNN) Oprah Winfrey’s O Magazine is putting up billboards around Louisville, Kentucky, calling for the officers involved in the killing of Breonna Taylor to be arrested and charged.
Taylor, a 26-year-old EMT, was shot multiple times in March by police forcing their way into her apartment while executing a no-knock warrant. O Magazine is putting up 26 billboards around the city — one for each year of Taylor’s life to amplify her story and the fight for justice in her name.
The billboard features the portrait of Taylor that will be on the cover of the September issue of O. It will be the first time that anyone other than Winfrey is on the cover in the magazine’s 20-year history.
“We have to use whatever megaphone we have to cry for justice,” Winfrey said in an article in her magazine announcing the billboards. “And that is why Breonna Taylor is on the cover of O magazine. I cry for justice in her name. The September issue honors her and every other Black woman whose life has been taken too soon.”
The billboards urge people to “Demand that the police involved in killing Breonna Taylor be arrested and charged” and points them to the website for Until Freedom, a social justice organization that recently moved to Louisville to focus on Taylor’s case.
CNN affiliate WLKY reports that the group organized a sit-in last month on Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron’s front lawn. Cameron has promised a thorough investigation into Taylor’s death.
Until Freedom thanked O Magazine on social media for placing the 26 billboards and vowed to get justice for Taylor.
In a statement to CNN last month, Winfrey said she would be marching for Taylor if it wasn’t for the coronavirus pandemic.She said she would continue her fight until the people responsible for her death are prosecuted.
“It is my hope that if we continue to say her name, write her name, and let no one forget her life, the people who are responsible for killing her and those who remain complicit by doing nothing shall be brought to justice,” she said.
Taylor’s family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the three police officers involved in the shooting. None of the officers have been charged and only one was fired by the Louisville Metro Police Department.

Newswire: Legislative Black Caucus works to end racism in Alabama

By Communications Director Kirsten J. Barnes

Sen. Vivian Figures and Sen. Bobby Singleton

In June 2020, members of the Alabama Legislative Black Caucus (ALBC) met with Governor Kay Ivey to express concern over a number of issues in the State of Alabama related to systemic racism.
With Governor Ivey’s assistance, subsequent meetings were held with her, law enforcement officials from Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA), Alabama Sheriffs Association, Alabama Association of Police Chiefs, A-Post Training; Katie Britt, President/CEO of Business Council of Alabama along with BCA’s Executive Leadership Committee; and Chancellor Finis St. John of The University of Alabama System and Dr. Jay Gogue of Auburn University. Meetings with other officials, including presidents of other colleges, are pending.
“We are very appreciative of Governor Ivey and all of the officials with whom we have met thus far,” said Senator Vivian Davis Figures, Chairwoman of the ALBC. “Our dialogues have been very substantive and productive as the Caucus presented our concerns and recommendations. Our goal is to get to the root of and eradicate racism and anything that communicates hatred, bigotry or divisiveness within the State of Alabama. The tragic and senseless death of George Floyd caused us all to take a closer look at the systemic racism at work here in Alabama.”
The Caucus commends the University of Alabama’s Board of Trustees for voting unanimously to remove the name of Josiah Nott and renaming it Honors Hall on UA’s main campus. Rep. A.J. McCampbell, Vice Chairman of ALBC, said, “The University of Alabama had already started this endeavor before our meeting with them this past Tuesday. That was a great first step and strong leadership was shown. We are looking forward to the other institutions of higher learning in Alabama to do the same as well. The Caucus also hopes that all members of the Alabama Legislature have been inspired to adopt and make meaningful changes in legislation that governs our state.”
This group of elected Senators and Representatives are holding these talks, with plans for others, “so that people will stop focusing on Alabama’s sordid past, and instead see a beautiful Alabama present, and the makings of a bright future for all Alabamians,” Figures said.
“During each of these meetings, our members have had the opportunity to voice what we feel the necessary changes should be. I just hope this openness to positive change continues throughout the upcoming 2021 Alabama Legislative Session,” said Senate Minority Leader, Senator Bobby Singleton.