Newswire :“The Black Church v. The Proud Boys.”DC pastors say racist vandalism to their churches is part of a deeper problem

By Hamil Harris
Rev. Ianther Mills puts up new sign in front of
Asbury United Methodist Church after an initial sign was destroyed.
This second sign was also destroyed. (PHOTO: Hamil Harris/Trice Edney News Wire)

(TriceEdneyWire.com) – The pastors of two Washington DC churches who had their “Black Lives Matter” signs destroyed by right wing groups; including the Trump-supporting Proud Boys, said healing racist attitudes among White believers is harder to fix than replacing signs.
In December Black Lives Matter signs were destroyed in front of the Asbury United Methodist, the Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church and two other churches.
The race tainted violence was sparked by supporters of former President Trump and Right
Wing groups that included the Proud Boys. It revealed a much deeper racial divide among people of faith.
On Super Bowl Sunday, Rev. William Lamar, pastor of the Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church and Rev. Ianther Mills, pastor of Asbury United Methodist, talked about their plight during journalist Richard Prince’s monthly Journal-isms Roundtable entitled, “The Black Church vs. the Proud Boys.”
“American Christianity is the carrier of white supremacy,” said Rev. William Lamar, whose congregation on January 4th joined the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law in filing a lawsuit in the D.C. Superior Court. The suit seeks to hold the Proud Boys, its leadership and certain of its members accountable for the vandalism.
“White supremacists like the Proud Boys, would rather see the country burn than to see it united together under justice and freedom for all,” said Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law in a statement.
“Our lawsuit aims to hold those who engage in such action accountable. We are proud to represent Metropolitan A.M.E. which has a long history of standing against bigotry and hate and whose courage and determination to fight back is a beacon of hope for the community.”
Rev. Mills said the incident has opened a discussion within her church regarding the state of race relations in their church. “We are being more than proactive. “I have really been inspired by the bishops and particularly the Southern Bishops.”
African Americans are only six percent of the demographics of the United Methodist Church in the United States,” Mills said. “But With the death of George Floyd the church really stepped up to do more than the usual do a study, have a task force or something like that.”
Mills added, “Everyone has been challenged and confronted whether you are a liberal or a conservative or a moderate in the United Methodist Church…The churches have been challenged to take more proactive steps in terms of fighting racism, at my annual conference pastors have been challenged to preach or teach about racism monthly and the people have been asked to confront their own biases.”
Susan Corke, Intelligence Project director for the 50-year-old Southern Poverty Law Center, also on the conference, said, “Hate groups became more difficult to track amid COVID.” She said they have also migrated to online networks.
“America needs to find humility and honesty right now. We need to build a better democracy,” said Susan Corke, who started her new job with the SPLC just a few days before the insurrection at the U. S. Capitol.
“What I am saying to white evangelicals is that I am clear that your God is not my God and I am clear that you have no advancement or my flourishing,” Lamar said. “I have an investment in your advancement, but I’m not going asleep with you in the room.”
Lamar said that historically, “The church baptized and gave theological language to White supremacy…What happened with the proud boys is as made in America as a Buick or a Chevrolet. It is the distinct way of viewing African-Americans as disposable and subhuman.”
Lamar said that on January 6, an older White woman was pushed by a man with her MAGA regalia to the steps of his church. “She told his Chief of Security we are here because we hate niggers.”
Lamar explained, “They dress it up with words like liberty, justice, and freedom. It doesn’t mean that…This is a purgatory language, ‘liberty, justice, freedom’, but it doesn’t mean that.”
During the 2020 Presidential election, Lamar said Black church leaders played a significant role in terms of voter turnout across the country and particularly in Georgia and South Carolina.
“There is not one or two persons speaking for the Black church, and to me, that is a healthy thing,” Lamar said. “It is more diffuse there are more people on the front line organizing, and today African-American church leaders are in constant contact.”
About 70 journalists from newspapers, television outlets, and veteran journalists took part in the roundtable. Many wanted to know about the church leaders’ plans going forward.
“I want you to help us (get rid) of the notion that there is no coordination among the Black churches,” Lamar said. “There is not one queen of the Black church; there is not one king. There [is] much leverage and much coordination.”
Among the comments, one came from educator, economist and columnist Dr. Julianne Malveaux who said the rift between the White and Black pastors is nothing néw, “It ain’t nothing but the Letter from the Birmingham Jail.
White Evangelicals are next of kin to the devil.”
Retired USA Today editor Bobbi Bowman suggested that people read Dr. King’s Letter from Birmingham that dealt with racial attitudes among white religious leaders.
 

Newswire: Biden, Harris have experiences needed to heal country’s wounds, Bishop Barber says in inaugural prayer service 

By NNPA Press Room

Rev. William Barber


Both the new president and vice president have the personal experiences with the breaches in America that will help them heal the country’s wounds, Bishop William J. Barber II said in the sermon he delivered as part of the Presidential Inaugural Prayer Service.
“The breach is when we say ‘one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all’ with our lips while we see the rich and the poor living in two very different Americas.
And every now and then, a nation needs breach repairers to take us forward,” Bishop Barber, co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival, said during the recorded sermon.
President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris invited Bishop Barber, president and senior lecturer of Repairers of the Breach and minister of Greenleaf Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Goldsboro, North Carolina, to deliver the homily during the interfaith service hosted by the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C.
President Biden knew the breach of economic struggle in his childhood and the breach of a broken heart, while Vice President Harris has known the political and social breach of racism, which tried to place a breach between her intelligence and the school she could attend, Bishop Barber said.
Bishop Barber, who also is a visiting professor at Union Theological Seminary in New York City, noted prophet Isaiah’s conviction that “We don’t have to put up with things as they are. We can contradict the breach with every prayer, every policy, every sermon from every pulpit, and every call to the people.”
“No, America has never yet been all that she has hoped to be. But right here, right now, a Third Reconstruction is possible if we choose,” he said.
The Poor People’s Campaign is a movement of people who also know the nation’s breaches with state activists and leaders who organize around an agenda that includes a living wage, health care for all, union rights, paid sick leave, housing and just COVID relief.
When then-candidate Joe Biden joined the Moral Monday Mass Assembly on the voting power of poor and low-income people in September front of over 1 million viewers, he vowed that, “ending poverty will not just be an aspiration, it will be a theory of change — to build a new economy that includes everyone, where we reward hard work, we care for the most vulnerable among us, we release the potential of all our children, and protect the planet.”
In December, more than 30 leaders of the Poor People’s Campaign, including poor and low-income people, economists, public health officials, clergy, organizational partners representing millions across the country, met online with members of the Biden-Harris domestic policy team.
The Poor People’s Campaign also released 14 policy priorities for the first 50 to 100 days of the Biden-Harris administration, including the establishment of a permanent president council to advocate for its agenda.
In his sermon, Bishop Barber said the nation cannot accept that 140 million Americans were poor or low-income even before the pandemic. “We must address the five interconnecting injustices of systemic racism, poverty, ecological devastation, war economy, and the false distorted moral narrative of religious nationalism,” he said.
“These are breaches that must be addressed, and, according to the text, repairing the breaches will bring revival,” Bishop Barber said. “If we the people, with God’s help, repair the breach, revival and renewal will come. Weeping and mourning may endure in this night of our discontent, but joy will come in the morning.”

Newswire : Madison County fighting $25,000 fine over removing Confederate monument

Madison County Confederate monument removal
by The Associated Press


In court documents filed last month, Madison County made clear it will fight the $25,000 fine imposed by the state of Alabama for removing a Confederate monument from courthouse grounds.
Responding to a lawsuit brought by Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall, Madison County said the 2017 monument protection law is “unconstitutionally vague” and the fine outlined in the law is “unconstitutionally excessive.”
Madison County, which removed its monument from downtown Huntsville on Oct. 23, has joined the city of Birmingham in opposing paying the fine. A judge last year ordered Birmingham to pay the fine after it constructed a plywood barrier in 2017 around the base of a Confederate monument in Linn Park.
The Madison County monument has been relocated nearby to a Confederate cemetery within historic Maple Hill Cemetery which is owned by the city of Huntsville.
In the answer to Marshall’s lawsuit, Madison County listed 12 “defenses” of its actions – ranging from the Madison County Commission’s effort to receive a waiver to remove the monument to points of law, such as “the complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.”
The response was filed by Huntsville attorneys George Royer and David Canupp along with Jeff Rich, the inhouse attorney for Madison County. The AGs office had no comment on Madison County’s response to the law

Newswire: Drug companies scooping super profits from the ‘people’s vaccine’

Moderna drug company headquarters


Feb. 1, 2021 (TriceEdneyWire.com/GIN) – Protected by undisclosed trade secrets and exclusive patents, a small group of drug companies has ensured that rich countries can lay claim to most of their miracle drugs while limiting the number of companies that can also produce the vital vaccines.
 
Now, opposition is building to the patent holders who use taxpayer dollars to fund research and development (R&D) but refuse to share their drug formulas with manufacturers in developing countries that could make their vaccines free and available to all.
 
Moderna, for example, through its COVID-19 vaccine partnership with the U.S. government, scored $2.48 billion in R&D (research and development) and supply funding from taxpayers for its program, sparking outcry from consumer watchdogs and others.
 
“This is the people’s vaccine,” objected consumer advocate Public Citizen. “It is not merely Moderna’s. Federal scientists helped invent it and taxpayers are funding its development. We all have played a role. It should belong to humanity.”
 
“We paid for the drugs,” echoed Dean Baker, senior economist at the Center for Economic and Policy Research, “and one of the things we would have liked is full transparency on all of the research results.”
 
“There’s no good argument for keeping (test) data secret,” he said. “But most of the drug companies insist on that. Maybe they want to misrepresent the safety or effectiveness of their drugs,” he surmised.
 
Finally, in an open letter to major drug companies from Doctors without Borders, the group wrote in part: “Clearly neither yours nor any other company can produce all the doses needed to vaccinate the whole world’s population.
 
“Your company faces a choice. Either you can defend business as usual and deny hundreds of millions rapid access to the vaccine in defense of your monopoly power. Or you can instead rise to the challenge and commit to a Peoples Vaccine, by pledging to do what is right for all people in all countries.”
 
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Newswire: Biden signs executive orders aimed at tackling racism in America

President Joe Biden

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent


President Joe Biden signed a series of executive orders that his less than two-week-old administration hopes will be a catalyst to tackling America’s long-standing race problem. Biden’s action focused on equity and included police and prison reform and public housing.
“America has never lived up to its founding promise of equality for all, but we’ve never stopped trying,” President Biden wrote on Twitter just before signing the executive orders.
“I’ll take action to advance racial equity and push us closer to that more perfect union we’ve always strived to be,” the President proclaimed.
Within hours of taking the oath of office on Jan. 20, President Biden signed 17 executive orders to reverse damaging policy put forth by the previous administration. Throughout his campaign, President Biden pledged to do his part in the fight against systemic racism in America.
One of the Jan. 20 executive orders charged all federal agencies with reviewing equity in their programs and actions. President Biden demanded that the Office of Management and Budget analyze whether federal dollars are equitably distributed in communities of color.
On Tuesday, Jan. 26, the President reinstated a policy from the Barack Obama administration that prohibited military equipment transfer to local police departments. The President noted the disturbing trends he and the rest of the country reckoned with in the aftermath of the police killing of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and others.
The order prevents federal agencies from providing local police with military-grade equipment, which was used by Ferguson, Missouri officers after police shot and killed an unarmed Michael Brown.
The previous administration reinstated the policy to allow federal agencies to provide military-style equipment to local police.
Like Obama, President Biden has said he also would attempt to eliminate the government’s use of private prisons where unspeakable abuses of inmates – mostly those of color – reportedly occur almost daily.
President Biden also issued a memo that directs the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to promote equitable housing policies with the executive orders. He also signed an order to establish a commission on policing.

SOS holds ‘Peoples Tribunal’ at Federal Courthouse in Montgomery, finds Tuberville and six Alabama Republican Congressmen guilty of seditious conspiracy

The Save Ourselves Movement for Justice and Democracy (SOS) held a “Peoples Tribunal” on the sidewalk in front of the Frank M. Johnson Jr. Federal Courthouse in Montgomery on Tuesday, January 26, 2021 at Noon.
The ‘Peoples Tribunal’ found that U. S. Senator Tommy Tuberville and six Republican Alabama Congressmen: Mo Brooks (5th District), Barry Moore (2nd District – Montgomery area), Mike Rogers (3rd District – Wiregrass), Robert Aderholt (4th District – central Alabama) and Gary Palmer (6th District – Birmingham) were guilty of undemocratic, criminal and racist acts when they voted on January 6, 2021 against certification of the votes of the Electoral College for President and Vice President.
Their votes came after an insurrectionist attack on the U. S. Capitol by a rightwing mob, inspired by President Trump, Mo Brooks and other Congressional leaders. Senator Tuberville and the Alabama Congressmen were challenging the votes of primarily African-Americans in the large cities, like Atlanta, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Milwaukee, Detroit and Phoenix, of the swing states of Arizona, Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Georgia.
The “Peoples Tribunal” indicted Senator Tuberville, Mo Brooks and the other Congresspeople for:•Seditious conspiracy – to interfere in the central functioning of our government – in this case the certification of the votes of the Electoral College for President Biden and Vice-President Harris.
•Solicitation of others to commit crimes to defeat democracy.
•Voter suppression and intimidation.
•Racism toward denying the legitimate rights of Black, Brown and poor people.
•Assault and Homicide against the Capitol police, District of
Columbia police and other innocent people caught up in the mobs murderous rage, which resulted in the death of five people and the serious injury of hundreds of others.
•Unlawful Possession of Firearms, Explosives and other Weapons.
•Interstate travel in the interest of racketeering and conspiracy.

•Vandalism, trespassing, and violations of restricted area provisions of Federal and local laws.
SOS, ANSC and Black Lives Matter leaders played the roles of judge, prosecutor and witnesses for the “Peoples Tribunal” to expose and condemn the actions of Tuberville and the six Congressmen. Witnesses present testimony and photographic exhibits of the crimes, including photos of a hangman noose erected by rioters outside the Capitol, demonstrators carrying Confederate flags in the Capitol and other images of the insurrection.
Members of SOS, ANSC and the public who attended the Tuesday protest served as the jury, which voted to convict these Alabama officials.
Faya Rose Toure, attorney, activist and SOS leader said, “Trump, Tuberville, Mo Brooks and one hundred congresspersons are guilty of attempted murder of democracy and the Constitution of the United States of America. Their efforts to disqualify the votes of Black and Brown people underlie their racist approach to the changing conditions and demographics of our nation. There must be consequences for their action.”
John Zippert, SOS Steering Committee member said, “The undemocratic and unacceptable actions of Trump, Tuberville and the six Congressmen has impact on many issues facing us going forward to contain the coronavirus, to achieve jobs and economic equity, to Expand Medicaid and other issues are dependent on responsive and responsible Congresspersons, not reckless insurrectionists”
Persons interested in learning more about or to support the protest may contact the SOS Survival Fund at 838 South Court Street, Montgomery, Alabama 36104; or call 334-262-0932; or visit on Facebook.

Sheriff announces $485,968.83 distribution for December from bingo gaming

On Wednesday January 27, 2021, Greene County Sheriff’s Department reported a total distribution of $485,968.83 from four licensed bingo gaming operations in the county. The bingo distributions were contributed by Frontier, River’s Edge, Palace and Bama Bingo. Greenetrack distributed an additional $71,000 separately as reported previously.
The recipients of the December distributions from bingo gaming include the Greene County Commission, Greene County Sheriff’s Department, the cities of Eutaw, Forkland, Union, Boligee, the Greene County Board of Education and the Greene County Hospital (Health System).
Sub charities include Children’s Policy Council, Guadalupan Multicultural Services, Greene County Golf Course, Branch Heights Housing Authority, Department of Human Resources and the Greene County Library.
Bama Bingo gave a total of $114,994.98 to the following: Greene County Commission, $30,570; Greene County Sheriff’s $33,750; City of Eutaw, $9,250; and the Towns of Forkland, Union and Boligee each, $3,875; Greene County Board of Education, $10,500, and the Greene County Health System, $12,500. Sub Charities, each received $1,133.33.
Frontier (Dream, Inc.) gave a total of $114,994.98 to the following: Greene County Commission, $30,570; Greene County Sheriff’s Department, $33,750; City of Eutaw, $9,250; and the Towns of Forkland, Union and Boligee each, $3,875; Greene County Board of Education, $10,500; Greene County Health System, $12,500. Sub Charities each, $1,333.33.
River’s Edge (Next Level Leaders and Tishabee Community Center Tutorial Program) gave a total of $114,994.98 to the following: Greene County Commission, $30,570; Greene County Sheriff’s Department, $33,750; City of Eutaw, $9,250; and the Towns of Forkland, Union and Boligee each, $3,875; Greene County Board of Education, $10,500; Greene County Health System, $12,500. Sub Charities each, $1,333.33.
Palace (TS Police Support League) gave a total of $140,983.89 to the following: Greene County Commission, $37,478.82; Greene County Sheriff’s Department, $41,377.50; City of Eutaw, $11,340.50; and the Towns of Forkland, Union and Boligee each, $4,750.75; Greene County Board of Education, $12,873 and the Greene County Health System, $15,325; Sub Charities each, 1,389.47.

Legislators face decisions on lottery, casinos after Alabama gambling report

by Carol Robinson (The Associated Press)


The COVID-19 pandemic stopped any chance for legislation to propose a lottery in Alabama in 2020, but decisions about that and other forms of gambling await lawmakers in the new year.
Gov. Kay Ivey’s Study Group on Gambling Policy issued an 800 page report Dec. 18 estimating the state would net up to $300 million a year from a lottery, up to $400 million from casinos, and $10 million or more from sports betting. The report said gambling could create up to 19,000 jobs.
The study group said the current patchwork of gambling in Alabama wastes time and money on political fights, court cases, and law enforcement with little, if any, benefit for the state.
The group recommended a single regulatory authority over all gambling. Alabama’s Constitution prohibits lotteries and most forms of gambling, so the Legislature has to approve a constitutional amendment to make major changes, such as allowing a lottery or casinos. Voters have the last word.
According to the report, Alabama has three casinos with electronic bingo run by the Poarch Band of Creek Indians on tribal lands, bingo in 16 counties where voters approved constitutional amendments, and betting on dog and horse racing in Jefferson, Mobile, Macon, and Greene counties.
Legislators and others in the debates over gambling praised the study group for being thorough. The report spells out the history and legal issues that frustrate efforts for a uniform policy in Alabama. It outlines policies in other states and makes recommendations based on what has worked best.
Some said the report did not reveal much that is new about the stalemate that has blocked legislation to allow a statewide vote on a lottery since 1999. That’s when voters rejected Gov. Don Siegelman’s proposed lottery by 54% to 46%.
House Speaker Mac McCutcheon and Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh have said they want discussions about gambling legislation to include a lottery, the local bingo operations, and the Poarch Creek Indian casinos.
The pandemic could put those discussions on hold. It will limit access to the State House for meetings and hearings on an issue the public cares about. The legislative session starts Feb. 2, months before vaccines will be widely available.
Rep. Steve Clouse, R-Ozark, who chairs the General Fund committee in the House, sponsored a lottery bill in 2020 that had about 70 co-sponsors in the 105-seat House. It takes three-fifths of the House and Senate, 63 representatives and 21 senators, to pass a constitutional amendment to send to the ballot for voters.
Despite the support, Clouse’s bill had no chance after the pandemic interrupted the session in March. Ivey’s appointment of the study group might have put it on hold anyway.
Clouse said he has not decided if he will sponsor a lottery bill in 2021. He said a key reason for proposing it in 2020 was to try to get it on the ballot in November and take advantage of the high voter turnout.
“I think that’s the best time to vote on it, during a general election,” Clouse said. “But we don’t have another one until November of ’22. So this year is not as time-sensitive. We could do it in the ’22 session.” Clouse said the 70-plus cosponsors to the 2020 bill shows a lottery bill would pass the House.
As for the comprehensive approach to include casinos, sports betting, and a compact with the Poarch Band of Creek Indians, Clouse said that’s worth considering.
“It’s not a bad idea to try to do something comprehensive,” Clouse said. “The problem is the votes start falling off in the Legislature when you start talking about the comprehensive part. So, that becomes an issue then. I’m not saying you can’t get 63 in the House and you can’t get 21 in the Senate. I think it’s a possibility, but it gets close.”
State Senator Bobby Singleton’s position
Senate Minority Leader Bobby Singleton, D-Greensboro, who represents Greene and surrounding counties, praised the report and supports the comprehensive approach. Singleton is optimistic about a breakthrough this year unless the pandemic disrupts the session.
“I would like to see the solution be lottery, gaming, and sports gambling,” Singleton said. “That’s what I would like to see as a solution. What the bill is, how much taxes we are going to pay, all of that is going to be a legislative function and we’re all going to sit down as men and women together and hopefully we’ll put our input in and see can we make it all work. What’s best for the state of Alabama?”
Singleton represents one of the key factions in the debate. His district includes Greene County, a small county where electronic bingo helps support public schools, ($750,000 a year), the county hospital and nursing home ($600,000 a year), the County Commission ($1.4 million a year), the sheriff’s department and jail ($700,000 a year), plus funding for municipal governments, volunteer fire departments, meals on wheels, and other programs. Greene County bingo representatives presented those numbers to the study group during a meeting in June.
From 1980 to 2004, voters in Greene County and 15 other counties approved constitutional amendments allowing bingo, creating part of the gambling patchwork the study group described.
State attorneys general have tried to shut down electronic bingo, played on machines that look like slot machines. The Alabama Supreme Court has ruled they don’t fit the definition of bingo and are illegal. But advocates in Greene and Macon counties point out that they are the same as the games at the Poarch Creek casinos. Federal law allows tribes to offer electronic bingo in states that allow bingo in any form.
Singleton and other lawmakers have sought protection for the gambling revenue in their counties as a condition of their support for lottery bills. That has made it harder for advocates of a stand-alone lottery to round up the three fifths vote they need. Singleton said the pandemic has drawn attention to needs in Alabama that will require more funding, such as expansion of broadband internet access. He said that could help build support for a plan that includes a lottery, casinos, and sports betting. “As we move closer to the session, I think you’re going to start to hear conversations about it and then we’ll look at how we lay it out, how many licenses they give out, where will the casinos be, if in fact they’re going to be in the state,” Singleton said. “And so, all those things are legislative questions that we have to answer. And I think now that this task force has brought back some answers to some questions that we’re ready to tackle those questions.”
“I feel very optimistic about it and I’m going to utilize as much energy as necessary to try to make it happen,” Singleton said.
Senator Greg Albritton’s view on gambling
Sen. Greg Albritton, R-Atmore, sponsored a lottery bill that passed the Senate in 2019 but stalled in the House. Albritton, chairman of the Senate’s General Fund committee, does not see any reason to be more optimistic about lottery or gambling legislation than before.
“I don’t know why that would be so,” Albritton said. ” We’ve been fighting it for 20 years. And like I said, the study group the governor put together confirmed we have all the information that’s out there.
“I don’t see that there’s been any changes from the past two, three, five years. We’ve still got the same people that want to do it. We’ve got the same controversies that’s out there. We’ve still got the gaming that’s going on without regulation. And to many people, that’s what they want. So, I am just not optimistic that we will be able to put together a plan that will pass.”
During the 2020 session, Albritton introduced a bill making the Poarch Band of Creek Indians’ proposal to the state, one that the tribe had promoted in television ads. The tribe’s reservation is in Albritton’s district.
The “Winning for Alabama” plan would have expanded what the Poarch Creeks offer at their casinos, giving them exclusive rights to full-fledged casino games — slot machines and table games such as blackjack and craps. They would operate those games at their three locations on tribal lands in Atmore, Wetumpka, and Montgomery, plus new locations in Birmingham and northeast Alabama. They would pay the state $250 million license fees on the two new resorts, good for 25 years, plus a 25% tax on net revenue from the games at the two new resorts.
The tribe’s plan included a lottery to benefit education and an Alabama Gaming Commission to regulate all gambling. It would have required a constitutional amendment approved by voters and a compact between the Poarch Creeks and the governor.
The Legislature took no action on Albritton’s bill in 2020.
Robert McGhee, vice chairman of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians Tribal Council, said the tribe has withdrawn that proposal. “Right now we have nothing on the table because that was last year of course and it was one of those things that didn’t go anywhere,” McGhee said.

Newswire: Algerians renew demand for French apology for colonial era crimes

Algerian protests for French apology


 
Jan. 25, 2021 (GIN) – Time marches on but murderous crimes committed during war may demand an apology regardless of the number of years that elapsed since the crimes took place.
 
Such is the current case presented by Algerians who have renewed their demand for an apology for colonialization and the crimes against humanity that took place during Algeria’s war of independence from 1954-1962. This follows the much-anticipated release of a government-sponsored report by the historian Benjamin Stora.
 
Stora, an Algerian-born historian and expert on North Africa, is considered one of the world’s leading authorities on Algerian history.
 
The forgetting of the Algerian war that left at least 400,000 Algerians and 35,000 French dead began well before the fighting ended in 1962. The French made routine use of torture, for instance — but censors hid much of it from the populace, seizing newspapers, books and films deemed dangerous to national morale.
 
Only in 1999 did France officially recognize the fighting as a war at all, and only since then has the conflict entered school textbooks here.
 
French President Emmanuel Macron has gone further than his predecessors in recognizing the scale of abuses by France in the North African country, notes news service France24. While campaigning for president in 2017, for example, he called the colonization of Algeria a “crime against humanity.”
 
A year later, he acknowledged that France had instigated a system that facilitated torture during the 8-year long liberation war, which ended 132 years of French rule.
 
It was a startling admission in a country where the colonization of Algeria is seen as benign and many are opposed to the idea of repentance.
 
President Macron has offered to take symbolic acts to reconcile the two countries, but not the Algerian request for an apology – a decision which disappointed and angered Algerian nationals.
 
“We still haven’t taken the full measure of how much this war, this history, this French presence in Algeria, has marked and traumatized French society like a bitter family secret,” Stora said. “Everything — everything — stems from Algeria.”
 
Algerians and North African Arabs constitute France’s largest immigrant population by far, making a confrontation with the past all the more uncomfortable and pressing, he said.
 
In a statement issued this week, President Macron’s office said he would create a Memories and Truth Commission as recommended. In addition, three ceremonies to be organized by the French government in 2021 and 2022 will pay tribute to Algerians who fought on opposite sides of the war and to the agreement that led to Algeria’s independence in 1962.
 
In 2022, the country will mark the 60th anniversary of its independence from France.
 

Newswire: Baseball icon Henry ‘Hank’ Aaron dies at 86

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent

Hank Aaron


Baseball’s recognized home run king and an African American hero, Henry “Hank” Aaron, has died at the age of 86.
Aaron, who broke Babe Ruth’s all-time home run record on April 8, 1974, was not just a baseball legend but a hero to superstars. “He’s the one man that I idolize more than myself,” the late boxing legend Muhammad Ali once said about Aaron.
While with the Atlanta Braves, Aaron tied Ruth’s mark of 714 homers on April 7. A day later, he slugged No. 715 against the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Al Downing.
Before and throughout his chase of Ruth’s longstanding record, Aaron was subjected to racism and hate. Death threats were common, and even some teammates and those throughout baseball despised Aaron as he approached their white hero’s record.
Despite beefed up security at Atlanta’s Fulton County Stadium, some fans breached the outfield walls as Aaron trotted around the bases following his record-setting dinger.
“A Black man is getting a standing ovation in the Deep South for breaking a record of an all-time baseball idol,” Dodgers announcer Vin Scully, who called the game, proclaimed as Aaron’s mother, family, and teammates greeted him at home plate.
Born Henry Louis Aaron on February 5, 1934, in a poor Black section of Mobile, Alabama, called “Down the Bay,” Hank Aaron was the third of eight children born to Estella and Herbert Aaron. Aaron’s father made his living as a tavern owner and a dry dock boilermaker’s assistant. Aaron and his family moved to the middle-class Toulminville neighborhood when he was eight years old.
Aaron, who became known as “Hammering Hank,” developed a strong affinity for baseball and football at a young age and focused more heavily on sports than his studies. During his freshman and sophomore years, he attended Central High School, a segregated high school in Mobile, where he excelled at football and baseball.
Aaron first starred in the Negro Leagues in 1952 and again in 1953, batting .366, with five home runs and 33 RBIs in 26 official games. He began his Major League Baseball career in 1954 with the Milwaukee Braves and spent 23 seasons as an outfielder with Milwaukee – the franchise eventually moved to Atlanta.
Aaron finished his career with 755 home runs, a record topped by Barry Bonds of the San Francisco Giants in 2007. However, many baseball purists recognize Aaron as the true record holder, alleging that Bonds used performance enhancing drugs to bolster his power.Bonds has denied those allegations.
Aaron’s biography at the Baseball Hall of Fame, where he earned induction in 1982, noted that he was “a consistent producer both at the plate and in the field, reaching the .300 mark in batting 14 times, 30 home runs 15 times, 90 RBI 16 times and captured three Gold Glove Awards enroute to 25 All-Star Game selections.” He also had over 3,000 hits during his MLBaseball career.
On the 25th anniversary of Aaron’s 715th home run, Major League Baseball created the Hank Aaron Award, given annually to the players with the best overall offensive performances in each league.
Aaron received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award, from President George W. Bush in 2002.
According to the New York Times, the Baseball Hall of Fame opened a permanent exhibit in 2009 chronicling Aaron’s life. His childhood home was moved on a flatbed truck to the grounds of Hank Aaron Stadium, which was the home of the Mobile BayBears, a former minor league team, and opened as a museum in 2010.
“Through his long career, Hank Aaron has been a model of humility, dignity, and quiet competence,” former Atlanta Mayor and U.S. Ambassador Andrew Young noted in a statement. “He did not seek the adoration that is accorded to other national athletic heroes, yet he has now earned it. ”