John Zippert running for State Democratic Executive Committee District 72

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John Zippert is running for the State Democratic Executive Committee in District 72, which includes parts of Greene, Hale and Perry Counties. He will be on the ballot in the Democratic Primary on June 5, 2018
Zippert is currently the Co-Publisher and Editor of the Greene County Democrat weekly newspaper based in Eutaw, Alabama. He has worked in management and training capacities with the Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund based at the organization’s Rural Training and Research Center in Epes, Alabama, for the past 50 years and is semi-retired from the Federation.
Zippert serves on the Greene County Health Systems Board of Directors and the Greene County Industrial Development Authority Board.
He is a founding member of the Alabama New South Coalition and serves as its current State President. He serves on the boards of several state and national organizations including the Alabama Council on Human Relations, Rural Coalition, Rural Development Leadership Network and others.
‘I am running for the State Democratic Executive Committee because I want to help reform and revitalize the Democratic Party in Alabama. I want to build on the momentum we gained in electing Doug Jones to the United States Senate in the Special Election last December,” said Zippert.

He continued, “The Democratic Party in Alabama must be part of a fifty state strategy to elect progressive candidates committed to assisting poor and working people make changes that increase fairness, justice and inclusion of all people and share the prosperity of this economy more equitably with everyone.”
Zippert is married to Carol Prejean Zippert, Co-Publisher of the Democrat and Greene County School Board member. They have three children and eleven grandchildren.

Newswire: Experimental drug gets green light for new Ebola outbreak

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                                                            Ebola drug vaccination

May 14, 2018 (GIN) – The Ebola virus which took thousands of lives in West Africa has resurfaced in central Africa. This time, health officials are ready to put an experimental drug to the test.

The outbreak, which has caused at least 19 deaths and 39 confirmed and suspected cases, was reported in the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s (DRC) Bikoro Health Zone, Equateur Province between April 4 and May 13, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

The drug, known as rVSV-ZEBOV, was developed over a decade ago by the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg, Manitoba and is now licensed to Merck to help protect people who have not yet been infected with Ebola.

It was proven safe and effective when first used in Guinea in 2015. Some 1,510 individuals were vaccinated between March 17 and April 21. Guinea was declared Ebola virus disease-free on Dec. 29. The trial ended on Jan. 20, 2016.

Others working with WHO are Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance; Médecins Sans Frontières; and the DRC’s Ministry of Health to introduce the shot, a WHO spokesperson confirmed Monday.

A “ring vaccination” approach around the epicenter of the outbreak in the Congo, will be used. But because Merck’s Ebola shot hasn’t yet won regulatory approval, officials must obtain an importation license, plus establish a “formal agreement on the research protocols,” WHO spokesperson Tarik Jašarević told FiercePharma.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director-general of the world health body, said the WHO has a stockpile of 4,300 doses of the vaccine in Geneva; the company also has 300,000 doses of the vaccine stockpiled in the U.S.

The “ring vaccination” approach was a strategy used in 1977 to control smallpox. The idea is to vaccinate people who know someone who has been infected and the people who know those people, in an expanding “ring” around the infections.

So far, 393 people have been identified as part of the “ring” around people who are known or suspected to have been infected in the Congo.

Newswire : NAACP Statement on Santa Fe High School Shooting

By Malik Russell, Director of Communications, mrussell@naacpnet.org

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BALTIMORE, Md., May 18, 2018 /NNPANewswirePR/ The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the nation’s premier civil rights organization, issued the following statement regarding the tragic shooting at Santa Fe High School in Santa Fe, Texas:
The NAACP mourns the tragic and senseless loss of 10 lives on Friday, May 18 at Santa Fe High School in Texas. In addition to those killed, 10 individuals were also wounded. Nine of the 10 fatalities were students, studying subjects they loved and planning for their future. This is the 22nd school shooting of 2018, according to CNN.
We cannot sit back and allow gun violence to continue to take the lives of our students. The NAACP sends our sincerest condolences to the family and friends of the victims and everyone whose lives they touched. Talk alone is not enough to address the issue of gun violence in our communities and schools; sensible gun reform must become a priority among our politicians and policymakers.
Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation’s oldest and largest nonpartisan civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the word are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities. You can read more about the NAACP’s work and our six “Game Changer” issue areas here.

Newswire : Stacey Abrams wins Democratic Primary for Georgia Governor

If elected, the former party leader in the state legislature would be the nation’s first Black female governor.

By Daniel Marans, Huffington Post

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Stacey Abrams, Democratic nominee for Governor of Georgia

Stacey Abrams won the Democratic nomination for governor of Georgia on Tuesday, delivering a victory for the national liberal groups and elected officials who backed her historic bid.
If elected in November, the 44-year-old Abrams would be Georgia’s first woman governor and the nation’s first black woman at the helm of a state. She previously served 10 years in the Georgia House, and for much of that time was her party’s leader in the chamber.
Her primary win reflects the increasingly diverse makeup of the state’s Democratic voters, as well as the party’s turn toward a more base-centric strategy.
The landmark nature of her candidacy attracted a surge of national attention and resources that helped her clinch the nomination, according to Kerwin Swint, a Georgia politics expert at Kennesaw State University.
Her nomination “energizes the Democratic Party in Georgia to a large degree,” Swint said.
Abrams defeated former state Rep. Stacey Evans, 40, who ran as a champion of the HOPE scholarship ― a greatly-diminished free public college program from which she benefited.
In the general election, Abrams will face either Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle or Secretary of State Brian Kemp. Cagle and Kemp were the top two vote-getters, but neither won an outright majority, so they proceed to a July 24 runoff. to the Politics administration impact you?
A key premise of Abrams’ bid is that in Georgia the Democratic Party no longer needs to cater to moderate white “swing” voters in the state’s suburban and rural areas who have increasingly migrated to the GOP since the 1990s.
It’s a strategy promoted by Californian Steve Phillips, author of Brown is the New White, which argues that Democrats can win with the help of a “new American majority” ― progressive whites, Latinos, Asian Americans and black voters, especially black women.
Seeing a prime opportunity to vindicate his theory, Phillips, whose wife Susan Sandler is heir to a mortgage banking fortune, has boosted Abrams’ bid both with his checkbook and his platform. PowerPAC Georgia, which is associated with Phillips’ nonprofit Democracy in Color, spent $1.5 million on Abrams’ behalf.
That money supplemented Abrams’ own considerable campaign haul of $3 million.
Abrams also benefited from an all-out bombardment of support from major progressive groups, including Democracy for America, the Working Families Party, MoveOn, NARAL Pro-Choice America and EMILY’s List.Sens. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.) campaigned for her on the stump, and both Hillary Clinton and her 2016 presidential primary rival, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), endorsed Abrams’ bid.
Abrams also enjoyed the support of nearly every labor union in Georgia, three of its four Democratic U.S. House members and almost every civil rights leader in the state.
She has run on protecting voting rights, expanding Medicaid using Affordable Care Act funds, raising the minimum wage, eliminating cash bail and allocating more needs-based college aid, among other liberal priorities.
But Abrams will need all the help she can get in a state that has not elected a Democrat as governor since 1998. And Republicans do not lack for ammunition to use against her.
For example, they are likely to seize on Abrams having more than $200,000 in personal debt, including $50,000 in back taxes owed to the IRS.
“Georgia is turning purple but it is still a red state and I think she would do very poorly outside metro Atlanta,” Swint said.
“It really depends on how big the blue wave is this year,” he added. “If it’s a tidal wave it could help her chances. If it’s a ripple, probably not.”

Newswre: Obamas sign picture deal with Netflix

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Former President Barack Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama

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Former President Barack Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama have signed a multi-year, multi-million agreement to produce films and a series with Netflix, the world’s leading internet-service company.
The Obamas will produce a diverse mix of content, including the potential for scripted series, unscripted series, docu-series, documentaries and features for the couple’s newly established Higher Ground Productions, Netflix said in a news release.
“One of the simple joys of our time in public service was getting to meet so many fascinating people from all walks of life and to help share their experiences with a wider audience,” said President Obama.
Michelle Obama said, “Barack and I have always believed in the power of storytelling to inspire us, to make us think differently about the world around us, and to help us open our minds and hearts to others.”
Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos said the company is happy the Obamas have chosen to make Netflix home for their storytelling abilities. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
Netflix has 125 million members in 190 countries.

Newswire : Religious leaders arrested in Capitol while demanding restoration of Voting Rights Act

It’s the second week of the six-week revival of the Poor People’s Campaign.

By Kira Lerner, Think Progress

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 Rev. Barber and Rev. Jackson in protest.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Revs. Jesse Jackson, William Barber, and other prominent religious leaders were arrested for demonstrating in the U.S. Capitol on Monday, demanding the restoration of the Voting Rights Act and the end of racial gerrymandering.
Dozens of others were also arrested across the country as part of the second week of protests organized by the revival of the Poor People’s Campaign, a movement that originated in 1968 with Martin Luther King Jr. at the helm. The campaign, a coalition of progressives and faith-based organizations, plans to hold demonstrations and risk arrest every Monday for six weeks.
At a rally ahead of the demonstration in the Capitol Rotunda, Barber drew a connection between systemic racism and policies that suppress voters of color.
“America’s democracy was under attack long before the 2016 election by racist voter suppression and gerrymandering, which are tools of white supremacy designed to perpetuate systemic racism,” he said. “These laws target people of color but hurt Americans of all races by allowing politicians to get elected who block living wages, deny union rights, roll back Medicaid, attack immigrants, and underfund public education.”
Throughout the six weeks, Barber and the other organizers hope to draw attention to the policies and laws that keep 140 million Americans trapped in poverty. On Monday, voting advocates highlighted how racial gerrymandering, voter ID laws, an other suppressive voting measures keep people of color from gaining political power.
Since 2010, 23 states have passed voter suppression laws, the Poor People’s Campaign noted, including redistricting laws and measures that block certain voters from the polls, like cuts to early voting days and opportunities, voter ID laws, and purges of the voter rolls.
Jimmie Hawkins, a pastor with North Carolina’s only African American Presbyterian church, testified in court hearings in 2015 against North Carolina’s voting law that an appeals court later found targeted black voters with “almost surgical precision.” On Monday, he joined the demonstration to argue that lifting Americans out of poverty involves eliminating voting laws like the one overturned in his state.
“Those who have the most to lose when they are not unable to vote should not have barriers placed before them when they try to vote,” he said.
David Goodman, whose brother Andrew was murdered by the KKK 54 years ago next month while he was participating in the Freedom Summer, also spoke at the rally about the voter intimidation and suppression his brother was fighting.
“Here we are, again, dealing with the same issue,” he said, pointing to the Supreme Court which gutted the Voting Rights Act in 2013. “The struggle for which my brother died for is not over.”
As they marched, two by two, from the Capitol lawn into the rotunda, the demonstrators held signs reading, “Voter Suppression = The True Hacking of Our Democracy” and remained silent because, as Barber and Jackson noted, people in power want them to be silenced.

Eutaw Chief Coleman explains curfew law

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With classes in the county schools ending Tuesday, May 24, 2018, Eutaw Police Chief Derick Coleman expressed a concern that parents need to get more involved with their children. “Now that schools are closing for the summer, all parents should be mindful of their child /children’s whereabouts,” he said.
Chief Coleman explained that curfew laws will be strictly enforced. Juvenile curfew laws are local ordinances that prohibit people of a certain age (usually under 18) from being in public or in a business establishment during certain hours (such as between 11:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m.).

Juvenile Curfew Laws and Exempted Activities

Almost all juvenile curfew laws identify exempted activities or exceptions under which juveniles may lawfully be out after curfew. These exceptions will vary by jurisdiction, but typically include the following:
* Minors accompanied by a parent or guardian
*Minors traveling to or from work.
*Minors attending official school or religious events
* Minors running errands under an adult’s instruction
*Emergencies

Punishment for Juvenile Curfew Violations

Punishment for juvenile curfew law violations also varies among jurisdictions, but can often include one or more of the following options:
* Fines (usually increasing for subsequent violations)
* Imposition of community service or required enrollment in after-school programs
* Restriction of driver’s license privileges
* Possible detention in jail or juvenile hall.
* Parents who knowingly allow their children to violate curfew laws may also be subject to fines and other punishment.

SOS calls on State of Alabama to remove memorial to Dr. J. Marion Sims on Capitol grounds

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Jon Broadway addresses SOS press conference calling for removal of statue

Montgomery, AL – SOS, the Save Our Selves Movement for Justice and Democracy, is asking the State of Alabama to remove the statue of Dr. J. Marion Sims from the Capitol grounds.  SOS is also asking that the charges be dropped against Jon Broadway, who has been charged with Criminal Tampering in Montgomery County.

The press conference was held at 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday, May 9, 2018 on the grounds of the Alabama Capitol. SOS is a grassroots movement of more than 40 Alabama statewide organizations working for social change and to promote justice and democracy in the state.
Standing on the grounds of the Alabama Capitol, state Senator Hank Sanders said: “The reason this memorial must be removed is because Dr. J. Marion Sims operated on a number of enslaved Black women without their consent and without anesthesia of any sort.
“Dr. Sims lived in Montgomery before moving to New York City.  Between 1845 and 1849, Sims performed numerous operations on multiple Black women in Montgomery, all without anesthesia or consent and sometimes with other doctors looking on.  Some of these women endured torturous surgeries repeated times. Alabama cannot have a statue of Dr. J. Marion Sims, a man who committed repeated atrocities against Black women in Alabama, on public grounds.”
Johnny Ford said: “Dr. Sims is widely known as the father of gynecology because, in large part, of these horrible medical experiments he conducted on enslaved Black women in Alabama.  Like the infamous Tuskegee Syphilis Experiments on Black men that took place in Alabama in the 20th Century, these atrocious actions that took place in Alabama in the 19th Century against Black women should, at the very least, result in an apology and the removal of this statue.  Memorials to Dr. Sims have been removed in New York and other states once Sims’ atrocities were brought to public and officials’ attentions. That has sadly not been the case in Alabama. This must change.”
Attorney Faya Rose Toure said: “The charges against Jon Broadway must be dismissed because he has done nothing wrong. In fact, he has done something right by calling attention to the memorial of a man who openly abused and tortured enslaved Black women.  From the facts I know, Mr. Broadway simply helped perform a skit about Dr. Sims’ actions and a little ketchup may have gotten on the statue during a performance given to draw attention to the torture and abuse that powerless Black women suffered at the hands of Sims.”
Ketchup was used in the skit on Confederate Memorial Day to symbolize the bloodshed that Dr. Sims caused to Black women. A small amount of ketchup was smeared on the pedestal of the statue as part of the protest.
Attorney Toure said, “It was also terrible that Mr. Jon Broadway was forced to leave jail in his underwear.  They took the clothes off his back because enforcement claimed they needed his clothes for evidence. Some observers pointed out that there were traces of ketchup on his clothes, which prompted the arresting officers to retain his clothes. The police did not offer any replacement clothing when they released Broadway.  All of this is connected to the recently passed state law to protect Confederate memorials.”
Law Professor Emerita Martha Morgan said: “This happened the same day that other people were hanging wreaths on the Capitol grounds for Confederate Memorial Day, and none of those people were arrested for Criminal Tampering or for anything else.  Yet the actions of a man who was trying to present a full picture behind the history of another monument were seen as tampering, and Mr. Broadway was arrested based on the content of his message.  This press conference today is the initial step in a series of efforts to bring peace and justice to this spot where this memorial now sits and to provide the full picture of the history of these memorials and monuments.”

School board approves personnel transfers, non-renewals and resignations

At its regular meeting held Monday, May 14, 2018, the Greene County Board of Education approved a variety of changes regarding the school system’s personnel as recommended by Superintendent, Dr. James Carter. Transfers among the central office personnel effective for the 2018-2019 school year include the following: Robert Stewart from Technology Coordinator to Truancy Officer; Cindy Taylor from Truancy Officer to Attendance Supervisor; Makane Morrow from Child Nutrition Program Director to Technology Coordinator.
Other transfers from the various school facilities effective for the next school year, include the following.
* Garry Rice from Principal at Greene County High School to Principal at Robert Brown Middle School;
* Fredrick Square, from Principal at Robert Brown Middle to Assistant Principal at RBM;
* Toice Goodson, from Principal of 9th Grade Academy at GCHS to Principal at Greene County Learning Academy;
* Barbara Martin, from Principal at Robert Brown Middle to Principal at Eutaw Primary School;
* Teresa Atkins from teacher to CNP Director;
* Patricia Rhone from Business Education Teacher at Robert Brown Middle School to Teacher at Greene County Career Center;
* Nathaniel Webb from Transportation Department to Maintenance Department;
*David Peterson from Maintenance Department to Transportation Department.
The board approved the following non-renewals recommended by the Superintendent Carter. It should be noted that individuals approved for non-renewal at the close of a school term may be called back to the school system, for the next term, on an as-needed basis.
* Eutaw Primary School Non-Renewals: Johnnie Lee, 1st Grade Teacher; Kendra Payne; 1st Grade Teacher; Fentress Means, Physical Education Teacher; Tweila Morris, Secretary; Katlin Whittle, Art Teacher; Jacqueline Allen, Reading Intervention Teacher.

* Robert Brown Middle School Non-Renewals: Teresa Atkins, Consumer Science Teacher; Justin Booth, Agro-Science Teacher; Danielle Edison, Special Education Teacher; Fredrick Holmes, Music / Band Teacher; Shunetta Kirkman, 6th Grade Teacher; Ashley Moore, 5th Grade Teacher; Cardelia Page, 5th Grade Teacher; Deborah Summerville, 7th Grade Teacher; Miakka Taylor, 8th Grade Teacher; Katlin Whittle, Art Teacher; Jacqueline Edwards, Part-Time Janitor.
*Greene County High School Non-Renewals: Justin Booth, Part-Time Physical Education/Agro-Science Teacher; Wanda Gaitor, Part-Time Secretary; Fredrick Holmes Music / Band Teacher; Fentress Means, Driver Education Teacher; Demilia Snyder, Science Teacher.
* Greene County Career Center Non-Renewals: Sondra Green, Health Science Teacher; Mary Henderson, Part-Time Secretary.
* Greene County Learning Academy, Non-Renewal: Dr. Bennie Pennington, Lead Teacher.
* Maintenance Department Non-Renewal: Carl Oliver.
* Transportation Department Non-Renewal: Gerald Holloway, Bus Driver.
The board approved the following resignations: Shennell Spears, Business Management Administration, Greene County Career Center, effective May 312, 2018; Diana Bowden, Lab Aide, RBM, effective May 26, 2018; Dr. Sharon Jennings, Principal Eutaw Primary School, effective May 31, 2018; Marsha Powell, Bus Aide, Department of Transportation, effective March 16, 2018; and Dora Hardy, Cook at Greene County High School.
The Superintendent recommended and the board approved sending letters of termination to the following personnel for Additional Service Contracts (Separate Contracts).
* Robert Brown Middle School: Corey Cockrell as Head Football Coach, B-Team Basketball Coach and Athletic Director; Henry Miles as Assistant Football Coach; Dorris Robinson as Cheerleader Sponsor; Jeffery Wesley as Head Basketball Coach.
*Greene County High School: Rodney Wesley as Head Basketball Coach & Assistant Football Coach; Kendra Payne as Head Basketball Coach (Girls); Karon Colman as Head Football Coach & Track Team Coach; Jacob Sullivan as Assistant Football Coach; Janice Jeames as Girls’ Volleyball Coach and Girls’ Basketball Coach; Frederick Holmes as Band Director; Fentress Means as Head Baseball Coach; Justin Booth as Assistant Baseball Coach; Su’Kovia Hicks as Head Softball Coach (Girls); Drenda Morton as Cheerleader Sponsor.
The board approved the following recommendations for employment as bus drivers for the Summer Enrichment Program: Felecia Davis; Marcus Steele; Teresa Hill; Eddie Coats; Ayanna Crawford; Michael Bolden; Verna Nickson.
The board also approved hiring Walter Taylor of Montgomery, AL as Interim CSFO.
In Administrative Services, the board approved Robert Brown Middle School request to travel to Six Flags Over Georgia for Math and Science Day; and payment of all bills, claims and payroll.
In other business, the board approved the 4-day work week, each day from 7:30 am to 4:45 pm, beginning the week of June 4-8, 2018 and ending the week of July 23-27, 2018. Any and all schedules that differ from the one stated above must be submitted and approved by the superintendent prior to the start date of June 4, 2018.

Newswire : Meghan Markle’s marriage opens the door to a discussion of England’s first Black Queen

By Frederick H. Lowe

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Queen Charlotte ruler of England and Ireland

Meghan Markle’s wedding Saturday in London to Prince Harry, sixth in line for the British Throne, will make her the first black person to marry into the House of Windsor, which was founded in 1910, but the not the first black Royal.
That distinction is held by Queen Charlotte of England, who ruled England and Ireland with her husband King George III during the American Revolution. They were members of the House of Hanover, which ruled England and Ireland from 1714 until the death of Queen Victoria in 1901.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announced their engagement on November 27, 2017, 199 years and 10 days after Queen Charlotte died. She died November 17, 1818. Queen Charlotte was born on May 19, 1744.
Princess Sophie Charlotte descended directly from the African branch of the Portuguese Royal House, Margarita de Castro y Sousa, according to the African American Registry.
Sophie Charlotte and King George III married the day they met, which was September 8, 1761. The wedding took place in the Chapel Royal, in St. James’s Palace in London. Sophie Charlotte was crowned England’s first black queen when she was only 17. She gave birth to 15 children. Thirteen of the 15 children lived and became adults. Her son Prince Edward, the Fourth Duke of Kent, was Queen Victoria’s father.
Her African bloodline was downplayed. “Portraits of the Queen had been reduced to fiction of the Black Magi, until two art historians suggested definite African features of the paintings derived from actual subjects, not just the minds of painters,” according to African-American Registry.
As part of her marriage agreement, Sophie Charlotte stayed out of politics, although she was interested in the Revolutionary War in America which was waged by King George III who was portrayed in the 1994 feature film “The Madness of King George.” King George went mad and blind. He was placed in the guardianship of his wife.
In keeping with Filmdom’s tradition of not accurately portraying blacks, Helen Mirren, a white actress, played Queen Charlotte in the film.
Queen Charlotte was educated and well- read and is said to have written an estimated 400 letters. Only a few still exist.
Unlike the black queen who is always portrayed as evil in Disney cartoons, Queen Charlotte was known for her good works.
She established the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, also known as Kew Gardens, near London. And in 1800, she was the first person in England to introduce a Christmas tree. It was decorated with sweetmeats, almonds, toys and raisins in paper packets.
Queen Charlotte also established in London the Queen Charlotte Maternity Hospital in London. The city of Charlotte, N.C. is named in her honor. And Queen Charlotte supported and taught music by Johann Christian Bach. Wolfang Amadeus Mozart dedicated Opus 3 to the Queen.
She is the great, great-great grandmother of Queen Elizabeth II, England’s current monarch.
This story first was published in November 2018.