Newswire: CBCF Phoenix Awards Dinner revives political titans of Black America

By Hamil R. Harris

Rev. William Barber, keynote speaker and Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. and his wife, Jacqueline, receives the Phoenix Award for Lifetime Achievement from CBCF Board Chair Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas); U. S. Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) and U. S. Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill) PHOTO: Roy Lewis/Trice Edney News Wire

 

(TriceEdneyWire.com) – The Congressional Black Caucus Annual Legislative Conference concluded with the 48th Annual Phoenix Awards Saturday night. But, before the night ended, the event felt more like a political revival meeting where the titans of Black America challenged to pick up the baton of service and sacrifice. “So this is not the time for us to not know who we are,” preached the Rev. William Barber, co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign, in his keynote speech to the applauding audience of thousands. “James Baldwin said it like this: We made the world and we are the ones who are going to have to make it over. We don’t belong to a people who shrink back when times get tough. America needs a conscious. We need it in the streets. We need it in the Congress. We need it at the ballot box!” At the end of his speech, Barber responded to the oft-heard use of the word, “socialism” in describing the beliefs of politicians and rights leaders who believe in helping the poor. He said, “If caring for people is socialism than the constitution is a socialist document…Jesus was a socialist…If caring for people is socialism then bailing out businesses is wreckless social behavior. We must be the conscious of this nation otherwise the soul of this nation will be fatally wounded…Our vision must be bigger than Trump, our vision must be to save this nation.” Recalling the rolls of historic civil rights patriots, Barber concluded, “Fannie Lou hammer is not coming back…Martin is not coming back….Malcolm is not coming back….It’s our time.” The dinner, themed “The Dream Demands,” was hosted by actress /producer Vivica A. Fox and actor/activist Lamman Rucker who narrated the program that honored Civil Rights veterans, the icons of Black America and the new members of Congress who are people of color. The glitzy, black-tie event, held at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, is the political equivalent to the Oscars with the political, civic and social stars of the Black community. But the dinner was transformed into church with Rev. Barber’s speech, titled “Knowing Who We Are In Times Like These.” Barber began with advice on Black America’s response to President Donald Trump. He said, “Whatever Donald Trump’s mental status, don’t just focus on him. America has never had the ability to talk about racism and White supremacy.” Reflecting on Dr. Martin Luther Kings’s April 3, 1968 “I Have Been to the Mountain Top” speech that took place in Memphis on the eve of the assassination, Barber said many people focus on the hoop and not the “gravy,” in what King said. “Dr. King looked at the sickness of our society and he said nothing would be more tragic than to turn back now.” Early in the program, the Caucus had a video tribute to some of the icons of Black America who died in the last year. The list included: former Congressman Ronald Dellums, former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, Winnie Mandela, Rev. Wyatt T. Walker, Roger Wilson, Joe Jackson, Journalist Les Payne, Ebony Magazine Editor Lerone Bennett and Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul. Speaking of Dellums, Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Ca.) told the gathering, “Ron embodied service. He was a former Marine, a psychiatric social worker. He loved the CBC with all of his heart.” The Awards included: Georgia Gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, former minority leader (Georgia House of Representatives) received the Adam Clayton Powell Award for her “groundbreaking accomplishments as a legislator at the local and national levels.” Bryan Stevenson, lawyer, social justice activist, founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative, and a clinical professor at New York University School of Law received the ALC Co-Chair’s Award. Lee Porter, executive director of the Fair Housing Council, received the ALC Co-Chair’s Award for her “exemplary leadership in community advocacy.” Aretha Franklin received the John R. Lewis Award of Courage for setting the highest standard of dedication, ability and creativity. Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) and Rep. Brenda Lawrence (D-Mi.) honored Franklin and the niece and nephew of the Queen of Soul accepted the award. Lewis said “Aretha Franklin was one of a kind, without her the Civil Rights movement would have been a bird without wings.” Rev. Jesse Jackson, Sr. and his wife, Jacqueline, received the CBCF Chair’s Lifetime Achievement Award. During the Jackson presentation, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) said “I don’t care how many times we have done it before, we are going to honor him again and again because he deserves it.” Rep. Shelia Jackson, chair of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, said “For me, Rev. Jackson and Sister Jackson are American and International Heroes.” Rep. Bobby Rush said, “Thank you Rev. Jackson for saving my life.” Rush added that had it not been for Jackson running for President in 1984 and 1988, there would not have been a Chicago Mayor Harold Washington nor a President Barack Obama. Jackson told the audience “Our best days are ahead,” and “Let nothing break your spirit.” Mrs. Jackson offered practical advice that included, “Leave room in your life for God to manage all of your shortcomings.” \

Board meeting delayed over non-approval of agenda; board selects personnel for 2nd year 21st Century Community Learning Centers

At the regular meeting of the Greene County Board of Education, Monday, September 17, 2018, there was an unexpected delay in implementing the formal meeting. Following the usual protocol of the Call to Order, Invocation, Roll Call and Welcome to Visitors, Board President Leo Branch asked for a motion for adoption of the Agenda. Carol P. Zippert, Board Vice President, moved that the agenda be adopted as presented. With four of the board members present, there was no second offered for that motion. Board Attorney Hank Sanders advised that the meeting could not continue without an agenda. Board Member Carrie Dancy remarked that she did not agree with everything on the agenda. Zippert responded that the agenda is only a guide for the meeting. All recommended items have to be voted on. Board member William Morgan stated that he was told that there would be a new agenda. Superintendent Carter responded that he did not speak with Morgan or anyone about providing a new agenda. Morgan would not disclose who advised him that a new agenda would be provided. Board Member Kashaya Cockrell arrived for the meeting during the discussion of the agenda. President Branch brought her up to date and noted that we needed a second on the motion for adoption of the agenda. Zippert offered another motion for adoption and board member Cockrell seconded. The motion passed on a 3 to 2 vote. The meeting continued in an orderly manner. Following an executive session, the full board approved the following personnel items recommended by Superintendent Carter, except for three set-aside items which passed on a vote 4 to1. * For the 21st Century Extended Day Program, Robert Brown Middle School: Andrea Perry, Director; Drenda Morton, Lead Teacher; Miakka Taylor, Teacher; Raven Bryant, Teacher; Felecia Smith, Teacher; Vanessa Bryant, Teacher; Twelia Morris, Teacher Assistant. * For 21st Century Extended Day Program, Eutaw Primary School: Keisha Williams, Lead Teacher; Pamela Pasteur, Teacher; Temeshia Abrams, Teacher; Rachael Nickson, Teacher Assistant. Other personnel items approved by the board included the following: * Resignation – Ms. Dorothy Powell as Bus Aide, effective August 21, 2018. * Employment – Ms. Katrina Sprinkle, Pre-K Teacher, Eutaw Primary School. * Supplemental Contract – Fentress Means, B-Team Basketball Coach, Greene County High School. Administrative Services recommended by Superintendent Carter and approved by the board are as follows: * Approval of Capital Plan for 2019 school year. * Contract between Greene County School System and Coded by Me LLC. * Contract between Greene County School and Power School. * Approval for Greene County High School Debate Team to travel to Nashville Tennessee. * Approval for Greene County High School to travel to Great Wolf Lodge Atlanta for Mu Alpha Theta student’s success. * Payment of all bills, claims, and payroll., Bank reconciliations as submitted by Ms LaVonda Blair, CSFO and Mr. Marvin Taylor, Consultant. The financial reports presented by CSFO Consultant Marvin Taylor included General Fund Bank Reconciliation; Summary Cash Report; Check Register Accountability Report; Monthly Financial Reports, including the Combined Balance Sheet and Combined Statement of Revenues, Expenditures and Changes in Fund Balances. Ms. Blair also presented a Financial Snapshot of board funds as of July 31, 2018. * Combined Fund Balance totaled $3.5 Million. * General Fund Balance totaled $1.474 Million. * A/P Check Register Accountability Report totaled $202,024.82. Payroll Register totaled $861,684.82. In his report to the board, Dr. James Carter indicated that the school system will institute a coding program for grades 1st through 3rd at Eutaw Primary and will continue to enhance coding for grades 4th through 12th. Carter introduced the idea of opening a Washateria Service for students for them to laundry uniforms and other school clothing. He explained this could be set up at the Perter J. Kirksey school property. Dr. Carter stated that the school system will develop a partnership with churches and other organizations in Greene County to provide mentors and tutors for students. He also announced a students’ attendance initiative to encourage students to be in attendance every day. This will be promoted through newspaper ads, social media, television ads and SchoolCast, the school communication system.

Mayor Raymond Steele announces groundbreaking for Love’s Truckstop on October 15

At the regular Eutaw City Council meeting on September 11, 2018, Mayor Raymond Steele announced that the groundbreaking for the Love’s Truckstop, at Exit 40 off Interstate 59/20 has been scheduled for 11:30 AM on Monday, October 15, 2018. Alabama Governor Kay Ivey is scheduled to attend the groundbreaking along with representatives of state and Federal agencies that have facilitated the project coming to Greene County. After construction of the truckstop, with parking for 87 trucks, a convenience store and other services, Love’s will employ 43 people on an on-going operational basis. The Mayor indicated that the City of Eutaw has received a $400,000 grant from the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA) and a $372,425 grant from the Delta Regional Authority towards a $900,000 project to extend and connect the City Sewage to the truckstop site. The Greene County Industrial Development Authority has agreed to loan the City of Eutaw the balance needed to complete the sewage extension. Mayor Steele said, “We hope other businesses like motels and restaurants, will recognize the value of locating at the Interstate exit and we welcome their interest and support. The Mayor also reported that the City had determined that a large number of the new self-reporting water meters have been installed incorrectly and that in some cases the meter numbers were incorrectly listed on the master list, which meant that they were not properly communicating water usage for billing purposes. “We are working with the project engineers and contractor to correct these problems and bring our water billing procedures up-to-date,” said the Mayor. The Mayor also thanked Ms. Lovie Burrell Parks and the Greene County Extension Service for assistance in beautification of the city and the City Park area with shrubs, flowers, fences and other support. The Extension Service has also provided 40 round tables and 320 chairs for use at the City Park and two rooms with weights and exercise equipment for former Carver School property for use by the residents of the city. In other actions, the Eutaw City Council, approved closing Highway 14, at the junction with County Road 170, for repair of the Colonial Pipeline, which crosses Highway 14 at this point, about a mile from the Interstate Exit. The repairs are to begin September 17, 2018 and last for up to two weeks, which will mean rerouting traffic to and from the Interstate. Councilwoman LaTasha Johnson made a motion to re-name Carver School, which the City is in the process of acquiring from the Board of Education, for use as a recreation center, to be named the Robert H. Young Civic Center, in honor of the deceased long-time Principal of the school. The motion was approved. The Eutaw City Council approved Danny Cooper and Billy Mingus to serve on the Airport Authority Board charged with administrating and operating the city’s airstrip. The Council tabled the issue of securing municipal license tags for all city vehicles since Council members Sheila H. Smith and LaJeffrey Carpenter, the main proponents of this issue, were absent from the meeting. This Eutaw City Council meeting was well attended with every seat in the audience filled. A group of mostly white residents came out to support the Eutaw Police Department against what they claimed were efforts by Council members to interfere with police efforts to fight crime and drugs. A Tuscaloosa TV station was also present video-tapping the meeting. One resident who said she lived across the street from the National Guard Armory said parties at the facility on weekends were still ending too late and disturbing the neighborhood. Jacky Davis, a Black resident responded, “The police must give respect to the people if they expect to get respect from the people.” Spiver W. Gordon said, “Respect is a two way street. Mutual respect is needed between the police and young people in the streets. We must teach and train our children to respect the police and the police must respect us and our children in the streets.”

Greene County Commission agrees to assist E-911 with parking lot

Highway 14 in Eutaw to be closed starting Monday, September 17, 2018 for maintenance work on Colonial Pipeline The Eutaw City Council approved closing of Highway 14 (Mesopotamia Avenue) where the Colonial Pipeline crosses, at the junction with Greene County Road 170, about a mile from the Interstate 20/59 Exit (Mile Marker 40). This closing will begin on Monday, September 17, 2018 to allow for maintenance and removal of a covering on Colonial Pipeline. The closing will last for ten (10) days. Eutaw Police Department will reroute traffic around this closure. This will require using Highway 11 to go to Boligee or to Highway 208 (Union) to reach Interstate 59/20. Traffic coming North from Meridian, will have to exit at Boligee (Exit 32) or Union (Exit 45) and make their way into the city.

 

At its regular September meeting on Monday, the Greene County Commission approved providing assistance to the E-911 program for the parking lot at its new building site on Highway 43 in Eutaw. The Commission also appointed Dorothy Bambarger to serve on the E-911 Board of Directors. The Commission approved routine matters dealing with its finances, payment of claims and budget amendments to complete its fiscal year at the end of this month. Financial reports showed $2,463,180 in Citizens Trust Bank and $1,923,635 in Merchants and Farmers Bank. An additional $919,946 in funds are on deposit with The Bank of New York in trust accounts for bond issues. Overall in the Budget Report Recap, the Commission has spent an average of 89.7% of annual funds budgeted, which is in line with eleven of twelve months in the fiscal year budget period. Based on the budget, some departments and functions are at differing levels but all are below budget. Paula Byrd, Financial Officer presented some budget changes in shifting funds between accounts, which were approved. The Commission also approved awarding a bid to Merchants and Farmers Bank to handle CD’s related to bond maturities. The Commission adopted a resolution requiring county workers to deal with employment concerns and complaints through their direct supervisor. In other actions, the Greene County Commission: • approved an ABC license for Docs Store and Grill in the Pleasant Ridge – Sipsey Community, owned by Matthew Eric Eads; • allowed County Engineer to advertise and hire an Equipment Operator; • vacated a 1,500 foot portion of Outland Road in the Boligee Community; • approved a Traffic Safety Grant from ALDOT; • approved EMA Performance Grant from the state; • approved recommendation of the Revenue Commissioner to employ an Administrative Clerk; • supported travel by the Engineer and Assistant Engineer to various training sessions in September and October. • approved contract for School Resource Officers in conjunction with the Board of Education and the Sheriff’s Department. The Commission also agreed to allow the County Engineer to provide a report on needed resurfacing and patching of county roads for future action by the Commission.

Newswire:  CBCF prepares for 48th Legislative Conference in DC

 By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Contributor

 Senator Kamala Harris of California

Two senators: Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey and Sen. Kamala Harris of California will serve as honorary co-chairs for the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Inc.’s 48th Annual Legislative Conference scheduled Sept. 12 through Sept. 16 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in D.C. It will mark the first time that co-chairs will come from the Senate. Historically, members of the U.S. House of Representatives have served that role. The premier conference, which annually attracts nearly 10,000 people from across the world and is the only event of its kind in the United States, will have the theme, “The Dream Still Demands Courage, Resilience, Leadership and Legislation.” The five-day conference offers more than 90 forums on public policy issues affecting Black Americans. “For more than 40 years, the Annual Legislative Conference has provided an extraordinary platform for people – domestic and abroad – to come together and discuss vital issues related to social justice, leadership, economic prosperity, entrepreneurship and much more,” Texas Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, the chair of the CBCF board of directors, said in a statement. “As we continue to grow and expand the conference, we know that we must be unwavering in our approach to have the difficult conversations, elevate debates about the state of Black America, and also define new and innovative solutions.” The impact of civil and social movements over the last 50 years has played a major role in changing the trajectory of American history, CBCF officials said. This year’s theme focuses on the influence and legacy of these moments, while uplifting present-day champions in the fight for racial equality, justice and freedom., “As we approach the 48th year of hosting the Annual Legislative Conference, we find ourselves in a critical time where, now more than ever, diverse voices are imperative to the future of this nation,” said A. Shuanise Washington, president and CEO of the CBCF. During the conference, attendees will have the opportunity to delve into important conversations with industry leaders from across the globe on public health, gender equality, social mobility, LGBTQ rights and environmental sustainability, among many other topics. The conference provides a safe haven for Black Americans to contribute their experiences, knowledge, and opinions to a larger, national dialogue, Washington said. “The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s Annual Legislative Conference is among the most important annual gatherings for Black Americans, and I am honored to lead its 48th convening with Senator Harris,” Booker said. “The Conference theme, ‘The Dream Still Demands,’ presents an important opportunity for our community to lead the national dialogue on so many pressing issues, from fixing our broken criminal justice system to creating economic opportunities for communities of color,” he said. “We have so many urgent challenges that must be addressed, and I’m looking forward to hearing from all of the incredible leaders who will be participating in the conference.” The Annual Legislative Conference is also a time to network and enjoy connecting with a diverse group of individuals, officials said. Networking and special events include the Exhibit Showcase with an on-site employment fair and free health screenings; the Prayer Breakfast; National Town Hall; Gospel Extravaganza; the Annual Celebration of Leadership in the Fine Arts, which honors the contributions of individuals in the performing and visual arts who have influenced our history and inspired generations; and the culminating event, the Phoenix Awards Dinner, which supports the CBCF’s mission-critical programs including education, economic development, health and research. “The Annual Legislative Conference, over nearly five decades, has brought together some of the country’s greatest leaders, innovators, and job creators to address the most pressing issues facing black America,” Harris said. “This year is no exception. The conference will provide a platform to advocate for the voiceless, the vulnerable, and all who believe in fulfilling the American promise of equality and justice for all. I look forward to confronting these issues head on and working to create solutions that will lead to lasting change.”

Newswire : Decades-old case revives African demand for stolen lands

Chagos protestors Sept. 3, 2018 (GIN) – When colonial powers redrew borders in Africa and picked choice lands for themselves and less desirable land for everyone else, some of those deals remained through this century. Few were undone. This week, a case before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) will decide if colonial deals that redrew African borders can be declared illegal and, if so, if islands taken by the United Kingdom from the nation of Mauritius can be rejoined to Mauritius as before. Mauritius says it was illegally stripped by Britain of the Chagos Islands, now home to a major U.S. air base. The British decision to separate Mauritius from the archipelago in 1965 was a bargaining chip that forced Mauritius to choose – accept the deal or never obtain independence. The deal was in breach of UN resolution 1514, passed in 1960, which specifically banned the breakup of colonies before independence, according to the Mauritian government arguing before the UN-backed court which specializes in territorial and border disputes between states. The four-day session will hear from representatives of 22 countries in a dispute over the rights of exiled islanders to return. The United States has leased the Chagos Islands’ biggest island, Diego Garcia, since 1966 and has built an air base there, while the entire population of around 1,500 people was forced to leave. Although ICJ opinions are not binding, they carry weight under international law. Arguing for Mauritius is elder statesman Anerood Jugnauth, 88, who served for nearly 30 years during four stints as prime minister or president of Mauritius from 1982-2017. “The choice we were faced with was no choice at all: it was independence with detachment (of the Chagos archipelago) or no independence with detachment anyway,” Jugnauth told the 14-judge panel. Olivier Bancoult, leader of the “Chagos Refugees Group said “What we are asking for our right to live on our island as sons of the soil.” UK solicitor general Robert Buckland accepted that the removal of the Chagossians and their treatment thereafter “was shameful and wrong and Britain deeply regrets that fact.” Still, he claims, in 1982, a treaty was signed between the countries that reached “full and final settlement” of Mauritian claims to the archipelago. That deal has since been recognized by the European court of human rights. No date has been set for a decision.

ANSC to hold Fall Convention in Montgomery on September 22; increasing Black voter turnout in November is major focus

The Alabama New South Coalition will be holding its Fall Convention on Saturday, September 22, 2018 at the Maggie Street Center in Montgomery, Alabama. The theme of the convention is “Lift every vote; Make our voices sing!” “Our goal is to increase Black voter registration, education, organization and enthusiasm leading up to the November 6 General Election. We want to see a statewide turnout that exceeds the turnout in last December’s Special Election for Doug Jones to elect progressive candidates around the state,” said John Zippert, President of ANSC. “We are encouraging all Alabama residents who will turn 18 before the November election to register to vote by October 22, 2018 which is the deadline – 15 days before the election. We are especially interested in helping the thousands of Alabama residents, who previously were incarcerated for a crime, unless it involves ‘moral turpitude’ to restore their voting rights before the October deadline,” said Shelley Fearson, ANSC Staff Secretary.

Alabama passed a law in 2017, which lists 43 categories of crimes that involve moral turpitude, so it is easier to determine if a previously incarcerated person can get their voting rights restored said Fearson. “ If you need help in registering or restoring your rights contact our ANSC State Office in Montgomery, Alabama at 334-262- 0933,” stated Ferason. “We will have workshops at our Fall Convention to discuss all aspects of the voting process and encouraging more people to participate in grassroots canvasing and campaigning. Speakers include people who were elected to office and others who participated in last year’s ‘Vote-or-Die Campaign’ to gain insight into how best to increase turnout,” said Zippert. ANSC will recess its Fall Convention, to hold a candidate endorsement session by the Alabama New South Alliance (ANSA) its sister organization that endorses candidates. The ANSA will endorse candidates for statewide, Congressional and multi-district positions. Candidates for statewide office have been invited to attend this statewide screening. Statewide Democratic candidates like Walt Maddox for Governor, Will Boyd for Lieutenant Governor, Joe Siegelman for Attorney General, Heather Milam for Secretary of State, Miranda K. Joseph for State Auditor, Bob Vance Jr. for Alabama State Supreme Court Chief Justice and others will be present to seek endorsement for the November 6 General Election. “We must be awoke, excited and involved in this election. We need to canvass our neighborhoods and communities. We need to put the word out about this election on social media. We must talk to our relatives, friends and neighbors about the importance of turning out to vote in this critical election. Every vote counts and every vote should be cast in November,” said Faya Rose Toure, Selma activist and Vote-or-Die campaign leader.

‘BlacKkKlansman’ delivers critical and powerful message

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Contributor

Director Spike Lee talks with Denzell Washington, Jr. actor in film.

Even though “BlacKkKlansman” is set in the 1970s, the themes in the film are just as relevant today as they were back then, Anita Bennett, the managing editor and creator of Urban Hollywood 411, told NNPA Newswire. “We have a president who constantly attacks Black athletes, newscasters and politicians, and white nationalists marching in the streets,” she said.

“The racial climate in this country is toxic, [so] if Spike Lee can open just one person’s eyes to the systematic racism that African Americans face every day, then he accomplished what he set out to do,” Bennett said. The longtime entertainment journalist joined a chorus of other experts who noted that Lee’s latest film continues to receive positive reviews, with critics and fans alike celebrating it for sparking a much-needed conversation about the current political climate and the complex relationship between law enforcement and the Black community. Several critics and actors told NNPA Newswire that Lee has deftly used his platform to expose systemic injustice while advocating for African-Americans and other minorities. Bennett said it’s important that the Black Press continues to spotlight films like “BlacKkKlansman,” “Sorry to Bother You,” and “Blindspotting.” “The Black Press champions and helps spread the word about films from African-American directors and writers, as well as movies that focus on issues important to the black community,” Bennett said. “The Black Press – and I’m not talking about gossip websites – but industry-focused outlets like EUR Web, Blackfilm.com, and Urban Hollywood 411, write stories about these films and post interviews with the people behind him. We talk about the movies on social media and encourage Black audiences to go see them,” Bennett said. Actor, director and film producer Shiek Mahmud-Bey said the Black Press enables filmmakers like himself, Tyler Perry and Spike Lee, to remain relevant and provides a platform to tell the untold stories that are meaningful to African-Americans. “It’s a one-hand-washes-the-other thing,” said Mahmud-Bey, the CEO of 25th Frame Films. “Only the Black Press can tell our story the way it needs to be told and only Black filmmakers can put that story in perspective and deliver it to a wide audience on screen,” he said. “BlacKkKlansman” earned about $11 million during its opening weekend, making it Lee’s third best box office debut. Based on a true story, the film tells of undercover Black detective, Ron Stallworth, who manages to infiltrate the Ku Klux Klan. It has earned positive reviews from audiences and critics with an A-rating on CinemaScore and a 97 percent “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes. “Spike Lee has always been socially consciously aware as a filmmaker, going back to ‘Do The Right Thing,’” said actress turned film critic, Carla Renata, who’s known for her website, “The Curvy Film Critic.” “As a filmmaker he uses the art of dialogue, the lens and his actor’s performances to illustrate his point of view on any given subject allowing the film to do the talking for him,” Renata said. “Given that ‘BlacKkKlansman’ is adapted from Ron Stallworth’s novel, Lee amplifies this former detective’s experience and puts his spin on it as only a Spike Lee Joint can do. ‘BlacKkKlansman,’ along with ‘Blindspotting’ and ‘Sorry To Bother You’ are the perfect films for the perfect climate that have infiltrated hate and Neo-Nazi behavior into our daily existence via our current administration,” said Renata, a graduate of the Howard University School of Communications. She added: “It’s no coincidence the film was dedicated and released on the anniversary of the Charlottesville attack and rally where Heather Hoyer was mowed down like a dog and murdered. It’s also no coincidence that the last image you see is the American flag fading to Black and White turned upside down. Perfect image analogy for where we are as a society.” Renata said also that she believes Black Hollywood has a love/hate relationship with Black Press. Most artists, actors, studios, publicists and films reach out to the Black Press at the start in order to get that word of mouth buzz happening, she said. “Once the artist, actor or film has been accepted by mainstream media, their marketing/publicity teams abandon the same Black media that helped them gain acceptance in some of those arenas,” Renata said. “We are almost treated like the ‘black sheep’ of the family that no one likes to talk about or acknowledge.  It’s sad…but true,” she said. Diarah N’Daw-Spech, the co-founder of ArtMattan Productions and the annual African Diaspora International Film Festival, said a number of Black filmmakers have used films to make social commentaries directly tied to serious issues in their communities. She cited Senegalese filmmaker Ousmane Sembene whose film, “Molade,” served to denounce the mistreatment of women in his native country, particularly the practice of sexual mutilation, N’Daw-Spech said. “Film is a powerful social media and a powerful source and tool for change. It is important for filmmakers in general and Black filmmakers in particular to realize and use their power through their film making the way Spike Lee and Ousmane Sembene do and did it,” she said. N’Daw-Spech said the Black Press has always been a “natural ally” to Black filmmakers. “Black Hollywood is one of the important platforms available to Black talent. Black Hollywood can use its influence to tell meaningful stories the way Spike Lee does it. When it does, the Black Press should support and celebrate it,” she said. While “BlacKkKlansman” isn’t perfect, it’s insightful, timely and entertaining, Bennett concluded. “The movie raises some important issues about racism, police brutality and stereotypes in classic Hollywood films like D.W. Griffith’s ‘The Birth of a Nation,’” she said. “Spike Lee touches on a lot of hot-button issues, but he smartly sprinkles the film with humor, so that it’s not too heavy-handed. Can we talk about the ending of the film? It’s powerful, heartbreaking and will make you leave the theater thinking. I’ve encouraged everyone I know to go see this important film,” Bennett said.

After 43 years, annual festival still draws huge crowd celebrating culture and tradition

Mr. Clarence Davis, Union, AL, in keeping with a longtime tradition, opened the 43rd annual Black Belt Folk Roots Festival, Saturday, August 25 in Eutaw, (Greene County) AL. Davis was accompanied in his Ole Timey Blues renditions by Jock Webb on harmonica, Jontavious Willis on guitar and other bluesmen in back up. In the realm of Ole Timey Gospel on Sunday August 26, Ms.Eddie Mae Brown is joined by Glory to Glory Gospel Singers, Loretta Wilson, Kinya Isaac Turner and Kimberly Isaac Burrell as they touched the soul and spirit of the audience, lifting them to their feet in hallelujah praising. Mrs. Meloneal Hobson, of Sawyerville, AL, dazzled everyone with intricately sown quilts. Ms. Kiesha Parham made her debut at the festival with her originally designed candy apples and flavored popcorn.Jasmine Coleman, newcomer to the festival, draws attention to her original works of art. Greene County schools superintendent Dr. James Carter waits to sample the down home cooking of Ms. Rita Sands Mahoney. Mynecia Steele, second from left, with her sister DeShayla, displays t-shirts with her original designs celebrating her hometown, Eutaw. Rev. Joe N. Webb of New Generation Church leads the Men of Promise Gospel Group at the Festival’s Ole Timey Gospel Program.

Eutaw City Council accepts $372,425 grant from DRA for sewage connection for truck stop site

By: John Zippert, Co-Publisher

At its regular meeting on Tuesday, August 28, 2018, the Eutaw City Council approved a resolution accepting a $372,425 grant from the Delta Regional Authority for a project to extend the city sewage to a site at Exit 40 on Interstate 59/20. Love’s Truck Stop has agreed to construct a full service truck stop with parking for 87 trucks, a convenience store and two fast-food franchises at the site. Love’s Truck Stop estimates that the facility will provide 43 jobs when it is in full operation. The City of Eutaw agreed to extend sewage to the site as a condition for Love’s to bring its facility to the city. The sewage line is estimated to cost $900,000 including required lift stations. Thus far, the City of Eutaw has secured a $400,000 grant from the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA) and this grant of $372,425 from DRA, A Federal-State compact serving the Mississippi Delta and Alabama Black Belt region. This is a total of $772,425 in grants pledged towards the cost of the sewage project. The Greene County Industrial Development Authority has pledged to raise or provide as a loan the balance of the funds needed to complete the sewage line extension and secure location and development of the truck stop at Exit 40 on the Interstate. “We have been trying to get this project for a long time and I am pleased that we have secured the funds necessary to bring City sewage services to the site. We appreciate the confidence of the Love’s Truck Stop organization in the City of Eutaw and Greene County. WE feel this is only the beginning of the development of the Exit 40 Interstate exit,” said Mayor Raymond Steele. The City Council also passed a resolution to set up a bank account for the Love’s Project with the Mayor, Councilmen Joe Lee Powell and LaJeffrey Carpenter as signatories. In other actions, the Eutaw City Council:

• approved a name change to Eutaw Quick Food Mart from West End Grocery for an off-premises beer and wine permit; • approved travel for Council members Joe Powell and Sheila H. Smith to attend the 2018 Municipal Leadership Institute and Graduation in Prattville on October 4, 2018; • agreed to review and make changes to the City Personnel Handbook beginning at the next City Council work session; • changed signatories on the City Operating Account by removing Mayor Steele and the Water Clerk, leaving Councilman Joe Lee Powell and adding Councilman LaJeffrey Carpenter; • required all city vehicles to have municipal tags by September 11, 2018 or be parked; several city vehicles including an SUV driven by the Mayor currently have ‘undercover tags’.

Public Comment Period yields discussions on disagreement in the City

In the public comments section of the meeting, numerous citizens of the Cityof Eutaw urged the Mayor and City Council members to work together. Sarah Duncan, long time civil rights and community worker said, “I am tired of reading in the papers and seeing here today that the Mayor and the City Council are not in agreement. I urge you to work together in the interest of the people of Eutaw.” Matthew Williams urged, “The Mayor and the City Council to communicate with each other and work together.” Monty White of Fishburne Avenue raised some issues of drainage saying he had been trying to get resolved since July. The Mayor said that some of the problem was on private property and that the City was not responsible for all problems. Sarah Nickson asked, “Why did I get a water bill with zero usage and then have to pay $70. Something is wrong in the water department. Do you have a budget? Can you explain where the town’s money is going? The Council and the Mayor must work together to solve these urgent problems.” Five members of the City of Eutaw Police Department, in full uniforms and armed said they were concerned about crimes in the city of illegal guns and drugs. “ We want to do our jobs to protect the citizens but when we arrest someone for illegal acts, they said that they will raise a complaint with the City Council and sometimes they say Council members are their relatives. We want to do our jobs but the Mayor and the Council must back us up.” The Mayor said he supported the police and that “It is very serious when the City Council interferes in the day-to-day work of the police and the Mayor.” Councilwoman Latasha Johnson said, “There are two sides to every story including this issue with the police. We need to hear both sides.” The meeting ended without real clarity on how to resolve these issues and how the Mayor, the Council and the residents will come together to solve these festering problems. Our newspaper invites your comments and letters on how we resolve this difference and move forward in a positive and progressive manner.