By: Gerren Keith Gaynor, The Grio
New York City lost a political giant as its first Black mayor, David Dinkins, has died, the New York Times reports.
Dinkins, 93, died at his home on Monday night in the Upper East Side in the city where he served as its 106th mayor for one term from 1990 to 1993. A home health aide discovered Dinkins was not breathing and called 911, sources told the New York Post.
Dinkins’s death comes just over a month after his wife, Joyce Dinkins, died at their home. She was 89.
New York City elected Dinkins, a Democrat who unseated three-term Mayor Ed Koch, over Republican candidate Rudy Giuliani. Dinkins inherited a city with huge deficits and high levels of crime, and yet has been credited for improving housing in Brooklyn, Harlem and the Bronx.
Still, his mayoral career was marred by what many saw as an inability to grapple with rising racial tension in the city following the 1991 Crown Heights riots, which were sparked by acts of violence between Black and Jewish residents in the Brooklyn neighborhood.
Years after his tenure as the Big Apple’s leader, Dinkins became an elder statesman beloved by New Yorkers and fellow politicians. He also consulted for former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg and other former mayors, even those who sought to occupy the office.
“I extend my deepest condolences to the family of Mayor David Dinkins, and to the many New Yorkers who loved and supported him,” Giuliani wrote on Twitt“He gave a great deal of his life in service to our great City. That service is respected and honored by all.”
Dinkins was a graduate of Howard University and Brooklyn Law School and was a member of the historically Black fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. He leaves behind two children.
By: Blackman’s Street Today
Last year, the heath care industry employed 18.6 million workers.
The majority of those employed were White, but many were Blacks, Hispanic and Asian.
The startling news is that the pandemic is taking a disproportionate toll on health care workers, especially Black workers and their families, reports the Kaiser Family Foundation.
Black adults are more likely than White adults to know someone who has died from the coronavirus.The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 26 percent of Blacks were either infected, hospitalized or died from the corornavirus.
Pharmaceutical giants Pfizer and Moderna have recently approved vaccines to treat the coronavirus. Many Blacks, however, said they would not take it.
A study reported that if the treatment were given away, many Black adults would refuse to accept the vaccine.
It is not clear why they would not take the vaccines.
Historically, Blacks are suspicious of medicines and the the medical community and are fearful that they will be harmed rather than helped. Blacks have been subjects in medical experiemnts that have had disastrous health consequences, like the 1932 Tuskegee Syphilis Study. Black male subjects were inoculated with syphilis by United States Public Health Service physicians in order to study the course of the disease. The subjects were told that they were to be given free health care.
The number of people have have died in the U.S. from the coronarvirus reached 248,824 and it continues rise.
By: Bruce C.T. Wright, Newsone
President-elect Joe Biden is already making good on his vow to have a presidential cabinet that “looks like America” by naming several people to key leadership positions within his upcoming administration. And while he’s being applauded for the racially diverse mix of choices, perhaps none was greeted as warmly as Linda Thomas-Greenfield, who was tapped to be the ambassador to the United Nations.
Biden’s announcement also made her the first Black person he selected to add to his cabinet. If her nomination is confirmed, Thomas-Greenfield would become just the second Black woman to ever be ambassador to the United Nations.
Thomas-Greenfield was among five other people who Biden signaled would lead his foreign policy and national security team: Antony Blinken for the U.S. Department of State; Alejandro Mayorkas, a Latino, for the Department of Homeland Security; Avril Haines as Director of National Intelligence; Jake Sullivan as National Security Adviser; and John Kerry as special presidential envoy for climate, a new cabinet position.
Thomas-Greenfield tweeted Monday that she was “privileged” and “blessed” to have been selected by Biden.
“I’ve had the privilege to build relationships with leaders around the world for the past thirty-five years,” she tweeted. “As U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, I’ll work to restore America’s standing in the world and renew relationships with our allies. Blessed for this opportunity.”
Her tweet garnered more than 9,000 likes within the first hour that it was posted.
Thomas-Greenfield and the other people named Monday stand in stark contrast to the people Donald Trump nominated to lead his cabinet. She, like the others, has a wealth of experience in the fields of their respective departments.
She is a career diplomat who has held comparably lofty posts in the U.S. government, including serving as ambassador to Liberia, as director-general of the Foreign Service and assistant secretary for African affairs. Much of her time in leadership positions in the State Department was during President Barack Obama‘s administration.
Thomas-Greenfield was all but forced to retire in 2017 after Trump’s first Secretary of State Rex Tillerson began scaling back career diplomats at an alarming rate, firing most of the department’s senior African American diplomats in the process.
At the time, Thomas-Greenfield said she felt targeted just because she had valuable experience as a member of the State Department. “I don’t feel targeted as an African American. I feel targeted as a professional,” Thomas-Greenfield said.
There have already been four Black people to serve as ambassador to the United Nations. If Thomas-Greenfield is confirmed by a Republican-led Senate, she would become only the second Black woman to do so.
Susan Rice, who is reportedly being considered by Biden to lead the State Department, served as the ambassador to the United Nations from 2009 to 2013 before she became the national security adviser from 2013-2017.
Nov. 16, 2020 (GIN) – Foreign investors who plied African countries with huge loans despite obvious difficulties for repayment got some bad news this week.
The government of Zambia announced it will miss a Nov. 13 deadline to repay $42.5 million in interest to Eurobond holders after the investors rejected a six month delay sought by Zambia to pay up. This could set a precedent, lenders fear.
Zambia has been struggling to come up with money at a time when the risk of COVID-19 infection is high and prices for their commodities, especially oil, are low.
Should indebted countries default, they could find themselves unable to borrow money from international capital markets for years.
This year, rich nations belonging to the so-called Group of 20 or G20 devised a “Debt Service Suspension Initiative” to help the world’s poorest countries cope with the fallout of the COVID-19 crisis until the middle of next year.
The ‘DSSI’ offers a temporary suspension of “official sector” or government-to-government debt payment, and 43 countries have signed up so far. However, it does not cover private loans such as the Eurobonds coming due for Zambia.
Last month, the China Development Bank agreed to reschedule Zambia’s interest payments until April 2021. Zambia owed the bank roughly $391 million at the end of last year – about a tenth of the $3 billion it owes Chinese entities – according to the finance ministry. It was not clear whether the loan in question covers all of this debt or a fraction of it.
In 2018, China took possession of a valuable port in Sri Lanka and 15,000 acres when that country was unable to reschedule its debt.
Zambia is one of the world’s top copper producers but foreign companies own 80% of Zambia’s annual copper production. They are MCM, which is 73.1% owned by the Anglo-Swiss multinational Glencore, First Quantum Minerals of Canada which owns 16.9%, and Zambia’s mining investment arm ZCCM-IH which owns 10%.
By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
Midshipman 1st Class Sydney Barber, a mechanical engineering major from Illinois, has been named brigade commander for the spring semester at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.
Barber, a track star with a stated desire to work as a Marine Corps ground officer, becomes the first Black woman to lead the Naval Academy’s student body.
The brigade commander heads the Academy’s day-to-day activities and trains the class of approximately 4,500 midshipmen. Barber becomes the 16th woman to serve in that role.
“Earning the title of brigade commander speaks volumes, but the title itself is not nearly as significant as the opportunity it brings to lead a team in doing something I believe will be truly special,” Barber said in a news release. “I am humbled to play a small role in this momentous season of American history.”
As a walk-on sprinter and hurdler of the Navy Women’s Varsity Track and Field team, Barber has lettered all three years of competing and is an Academy record holder for the outdoor 4x400m relay, according to her biography.
She is the co-president of the Navy Fellowship of Christian Athletes Club, secretary for the National Society of Black Engineers, and a USNA Gospel Choir and Midshipman Black Studies Club member.
Barber served as the 13th company’s executive officer and currently serves as the Brigade’s 1st regiment executive officer.
She also initiated a STEM outreach program that leverages mentoring, literature, and service lessons to serve middle school-aged girls of color.
Barber led a team to organize the inaugural U.S. Naval Academy Black Female Network Breakfast to bridge the generational gap between current black midshipmen and alumni.
Barber is recently credited with mobilizing a team of more than 180 midshipmen, faculty, and alumni to develop the Midshipman Diversity Team to promote greater diversity, inclusivity, and equity within the Brigade.
“Sydney stands out amongst her peers, for not only her exemplary record but for her clear vision of how she intends to make the world a better place and her accompanying bias for action,” said Lt. Commander Darby Yeager, a member of the U.S. Navy Academy’s Truman Scholarship Selection Committee.
“We were incredibly proud to have Sydney represent the Naval Academy in her Truman Scholarship interview this year,” Yeager added.
Janie Mines, who became the first Black woman to graduate from the Naval Academy in 1980, expressed her excitement for Barber on Twitter. “This bought me to tears. This young woman, Midshipman Sydney Barber, will be the first Black Female Brigade Commander at the U.S. Naval Academy. 40 years later. Thank you, Sydney! Love you!” Mines tweeted.
By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
News that Pfizer and BioNTech’s announcement that their coronavirus vaccine was more than 90 percent effective in preventing COVID-19 among those without previous infection arrives as the United States continues to realize record-breaking new cases.
For the first time on Thursday, November 12, the country surpassed 150,000 new coronavirus cases in a single day. The total number of cases soared past 10.5 million, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Both California and Texas have recorded more than 1 million total cases, while states like Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey have seen significant rises in COVID infections.
The most recent available statistics show that the District of Columbia has more than 18,500 total positive cases and 657 deaths. Washington, DC health officials have administered nearly 572,000 COVID tests to roughly 272,000 residents.
More than 242,000 people have died in the United States since the declaration of the outbreak of the pandemic in March. Health officials have expressed that the new vaccine offers real hope for the future.
“It is a great day for science and humanity. The first set of results from our Phase 3 COVID-19 vaccine trial provides the initial evidence of our vaccine’s ability to prevent COVID-19,” Dr. Albert Bourla, Pfizer Chairman and CEO, offered in a news release.
“We are reaching this critical milestone in our vaccine development program at a time when the world needs it most, with infection rates setting new records, hospitals nearing over-capacity, and economies struggling to reopen,” Dr. Bourla remarked.
He continued: “We are a significant step closer to providing people around the world with a much-needed breakthrough to help bring an end to this global health crisis. We look forward to sharing additional efficacy and safety data generated from thousands of participants in the coming weeks.”
Pfizer has maintained a strategic partnership with the National Newspaper Publishers Association, offering insight on various rare diseases like sickle cell that disproportionately affect the African American community.
Dr. Kevin Williams, the Chief Medical Officer for Pfizer’s Rare Disease unit, periodically writes a column in the Black Press to help keep the African American community informed.
According to information posted on the CDC’s website, clinical development is a three-phase process. During Phase I, small groups of people receive the trial vaccine. In Phase II, the clinical study is expanded, and vaccine is given to people who have characteristics (such as age and physical health) similar to those for whom the new vaccine is intended. In Phase III, the vaccine is given to thousands of people and tested for efficacy and safety.
Pfizer’s vaccine is the first in the United States to generate late-stage data. An analysis of individuals that received two injections of the vaccine, spaced three weeks apart, revealed more than 90 percent fewer cases of symptomatic COVID-19 when compared to those who received the placebo.
The results are significant because health and science experts have stated that they expected a vaccine to yield an effective rate of no more than 70 percent.
In spite of this good news, many in the African American community continue to take a wait-and-see approach. “Somehow, scientific, education and community leaders must reassure a skeptical community of color that the vaccine will help and protect them,” said Gina Harper.
She created an urban garden in New York after growing up on a farm in Oklahoma. “Perhaps the best way would be to prove the point by exemplifying members of the Black community who have taken the vaccine and remained healthy,” Harper remarked.
The Pfizer vaccine clinical trial “went out of its way in their recruitment and enlarged their initial population of 30,000 to almost 44,000 to recruit more people of color,” stated Dale Yuzuki, a biotech executive and author of “COVID-19: From Chaos to Cure. The Biology Behind the Fight Against the Novel Coronavirus.”
“It is certainly a focus within the National Institutes of Health, where they are sensitized to the acute needs of minority populations and their justified suspicion of government-sponsored public health programs.”
Dr. James E.K. Hildreth, one of the world’s foremost immunologists and president and CEO of Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tenn., is a recent appointee to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s commission that will ultimately approve the Pfizer vaccine and any others.
Hildreth, an African American, insists that any vaccine must have the confidence of Black people. “I’ve made the decision that I’m going to participate in one of the vaccine trials. The trust issue cannot be overstated,” Dr. Hildreth said.
“We have to have more trusted messengers and more trusted opinion leaders to make this work.”
By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
Juan Williams posited that he’s a Black man born in a Latin country and grew up in a Spanish-speaking family. The author and Fox News political analyst then stated a head-scratching fact that many still find difficult to rationalize.
“It stuns me to see that President Trump set a record last week by attracting the highest percentage of the non-white vote of any Republican presidential candidate in the last 60 years,” Williams wrote in an editorial for The Hill.
Perhaps must stunning, lamented Williams, “How did 12 percent of Black men vote for Trump?”
Although an overwhelming majority of Black men, 80%, voted for President-elect Joe Biden, support for the Democratic presidential ticket reached a new low among Black men in 2020, according to the NBC News poll of early and Election Day voters.
In the same poll, 8% of Black male voters were reported to have cast their ballots for alternative candidates.
In Barack Obama’s first presidential campaign, of all Blacks casting ballots, 95 percent of Black men and 96 percent of Black women chose him, NBC News reported. Four years later, Black women’s support remained at 96 percent for Obama’s 2012 re-election. However, the black male vote decreased to 87 percent.
In 2016, when the nominee was Hillary Clinton, Black men dropped even further to 82 percent, while Black women’s support for Clinton remained high at 94 percent. Biden came close to matching that this year, garnering the support of 91 percent of Black women.
“It’s a trust issue. I view the Black community’s relationship with the Democratic Party, for example, as sort of like a domestic violence relationship,” Demetre Coles, a 25-year-old African American who lives in Waterbury, Conn., told NPR.
Coles told the outlet he voted for Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins because Coles couldn’t connect with Democrats or Republicans. “We’ve been giving our vote to them loyally for 55, 60 years, and we have got nothing in return,” Coles remarked. And as for the Republican Party, I don’t feel as if they care about me at all. It’s just more blatant.”
While Coles expressed a reason for casting his ballot for an alternative candidate who had virtually no chance to win, his declaration didn’t explain why so many other Black men voted for Trump.
“Black men are hurting. Political parties mostly forget them, and then there’s this anger — whether it’s right or misguided — towards Biden for the 1994 Crime Bill,” said Unique Tolliver, a New York-based mathematician.
The 1994 Crime Bill, which was authored by then Senator Biden, and signed by President Bill Clinton, was crafted to address rising crime in the United States. The law contained numerous crime prevention provisions, including the controversial “three strikes” mandatory life sentences for repeat violent offenders.
The law, which also called for funding community policing and prisons, disproportionately punished African American men, and most observers said it caused mass incarceration.
“But, what Black people [today] fail to understand is that, at the time, there were all of these Black people, including the clergy, who supported the bill,” said Lenora Turner, a California-based psychologist.
“So, with Black men still smarting over that bill and holding it against Biden, and Trump repeatedly spreading the falsehood of how much he’s done for the Black community, you had quite the storm brewing among Black male voters,” Turner offered.
“You also had respected strong Black men like Ice Cube — even though he said he didn’t endorse Trump — swaying Black men. I know that makes it sound like Black men don’t have a mind of their own, but think about what Ice Cube came out and said. He said the Democrats told him we’d talk later while Trump ‘listened’ and agreed to institute some of Cube’s initiatives in the President’s overall plan.”
Still, as Juan Williams noted in his editorial, Trump’s racism toward Blacks and Latinos is so well-established. “It’s sad to say, but a lot of Black and Latino voters, especially the men, got distracted by Trump’s boasts and bling,” said Williams.
Half of all Americans in a June 2020 YouGov/Yahoo News poll said outright that he is a racist, and another 13 percent could only say they are “not sure” whether he is a racist or not.
A Quinnipiac University poll in July 2019, found that 80 percent of Black people and 55 percent of Latinos said Trump is a racist. A Fox News poll in July 2019 found 57 percent of Americans agreed that Trump has no respect for racial minorities.
By John Zippert,
The new Mayor and City Council of Eutaw met for its first regular meeting on November 10, 2020 at the Carver School Community Center gymnasium. The City Council held an Organizational Meeting on November 2nd after they were sworn-in to handle procedures and appointments.
Mayor Latasha Johnson said that she had spent most of the past week learning about the operation of the City’s water system and securing a needed permit from the Alabama Department of Environmental Management, which had expired in the Spring of the year.
Mayor Johnson indicated that she had received help from Kathie Horne of Rural Water Management, a consulting firm, that the previous mayor had barred from working at the City Hall. “We worked most of last week and weekend with ADEM to secure the permit to operate our water system. We were about to incur fines of $10,000 a day for being out of compliance but we have resolved this issue,” said Johnson.
Johnson, City Clerk Kathy Bir and Assistant Clerk Joe Lee Powell have worked with Rural Water Management, the computer softwear company that handles the water billing and others to begin to unravel the billing and water loss problems of the Eutaw Water System.
Powell said, “By January 2021, we should have a pretty good handle on the water meters, billing and revenues; in November, we billed for over $90,000 water, sewer and garbage bills. We are also enforcing a “no cash policy” which means residents must pay their bills with checks or money orders.”
Johnson presented a proposal from former City Council member, attorney and financial management consultant to York and Livingston, Ralph Liverman, to provide financial management services to the Eutaw City Council including preparing a budget for the 2020-2021 fiscal year, monthly financial reports, a four-year capital and infrastructure improvement plan and budget. Council approved this agreement with Liverman, which will cost no more than $1,500 a month.
The Council appointed Mayor Latasha Johnson as “City Water Superintendent” for a compensation of $800 month in addition to her salary as Mayor. When asked, how the City was going to pay for all these expenses, Mayor Johnson said, “We have found and deposited over $30,000 in checks and cash this week, that was casually lying around in the office, in drawers and cabinets. Also, we are expecting better revenues from the Water Department, as we straighten it out and there are some positions we discontinued and will not fill, until we are sure we can afford them.”
In other actions, the Eutaw City Council:
• Received a proclamation from Alabama Governor Kay Ivy extending the state “Safer at Home” health order, which includes mandatory mask wearing, from November 8, 2020 to January 7, 2021. Councilwoman Tracie Hunter suggested that the City check with local businesses and urge them to enforce the mask mandate because some are not requiring mask wearing.
• Agreed to advertise available city positions for 3 weeks in both local newspapers. The positions include: Utility Clerk, Assistant Utility Clerk, UCR Clerk and Assistant Clerk, Water/Sewer Workers and Street/Garbage Workers.
• Approved a new City employee pay scale which will raise wages for most employees.
• Approved purchase of an overnight deposit bag for Merchants and Farmers Bank.
• Agreed to celebrate Veterans Day (November 11) as a paid holiday for city employees.
Chief of Police, Tommy Johnson introduced has staff of new officers and said all would wear unforms rather than other forms of dress.
Mayor Johnson asked Council members with resident’s complaints about streets, drainage and other concerns, to put them in writing and submit them, so she and the city staff can be sure to respond and correct any problems.
Councilwoman Jacqueline Stewart asked that the City Council members be informed between meetings of any new hires for city positions so that they would know before their constituents questioned them about new people.
Councilwoman Valerie Watkins asked for a training in Robert’s Rules of Order, so they would know the proper way to make motions and conduct city business.
Councilwoman Tracie Hunter asked the audience “To pray with us and for us and be patient as we learn how to be a good City Council.”
At its regular monthly meeting, held Nov. 9, 2020, the Greene County Commission selected Commissioner Roshanda Summerville as Chairperson for 2020-2021 fiscal year and Commissioner Allen Turner as Vice-Chairperson as part of its annual re-organizational process. The vote was three-two with only Commissioners Turner, Cockrell and Summerville voting for the nominees.
The organizational process also requires the commission to set its meeting schedule. The body unanimously agreed to keep the same schedule of second Monday of the month at 3:30 pm. The commission will continue to govern its operations under the Rules of Procedures of the Association of County Commissions of Alabama (ACCA). The body also approved utilizing the Fund Balance Policy in accordance with GASB 54 (Governmental Accounting Standards).
The commission will also maintain the same signatories for its banking operations, including check signing.
The commission chairperson has the obligation of appointing commissioners to head various committees related to its operations. This duty was tabled. The commission approved a budget revision which includes a 3% salary increase for county employees under the General Fund.. This goes into effect with next pay period. At the commission’s work session the previous week it was noted that elected officials are not included in the 3% raise.
In his financial report for October, CFO Macaroy Underwood reported claims paid for the month totaled $530,381.46. This included payroll at $220,413.8; other accounts payable at $231,993.16; fiduciary at $77,974.50. Claims paid electronically totaled $68,609.93. Bank totals are as follows: Citizen Trust Bank – $3,893,208.48; Merchant & Farmers Bank – $2,664,274.46; total investments – $1,074,695.32. No report was available for Bank of New York.
In other business, the commission approved the proposal from Dynamic Civil Solution for surveying and engineering services for bridge replacement on County Road 60 over Little Creek.