Newswire: The real story of Juneteenth must be told, historians and educators say  By Hazel Trice Edney 

Dr. Frank Smith, president/CEO of the African American Civil War Museum and Memorial

(TriceEdneyWire.com) – When President Joe Biden signed into law the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act last year, making Juneteenth a federal holiday, he and Vice President Kamala Harris envisioned it as a holiday mostly for the celebration of freedom.
“We are gathered here in a house built by enslaved people. We are footsteps away from where President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation,” said Harris at the White House signing ceremony alongside Black Caucus members on June 17, 2021. “We have come far, and we have far to go. But today is a day of celebration. It is not only a day of pride. It’s also a day for us to reaffirm and rededicate ourselves to action.”
But, a year later, based on interviews with historians and educators around the nation, this year’s Juneteenth public holiday, Monday, June 20, 2022, will likely turn out to be mostly a day to turn up the struggle for freedom, justice and equality that have yet to be attained.
“I had to warm up to this day like everybody else because it wasn’t on my radar as a significant holiday until Congress passed the bill,” said Dr. Frank Smith, president/CEO of the Washington, D.C.-based African American Civil War Museum and Memorial which will spend Juneteenth correcting a wrong. “We will be lifting up the names of those 200,000 Black troops” who helped defeat the Confederate Army in the Civil War,” Smith said, a story that is so often untold.
The overwhelming bipartisanship support for the Juneteenth federal holiday came last year amidst widespread protests as millions of people took to the streets against police violence in the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd and other racial traumas and inequities. It was the first federal holiday attained since Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day was established in 1983. But, African-Americans and several states had celebrated Juneteenth for decades as the day they’d been freed.
However, given the nearly 4,000 lynchings of Black people across the U. S since the end of slavery; given the August 28,1955 killing of Emmett Till; the massacre of nine Black people by Dylann Roof at a Bible study in 2016, the horrific public murder of George Floyd by police only two years ago, and the shocking murders of 10 people in a racist rampage at a grocery store in Buffalo, N.Y. on May 14 this year, many think they’d best spend Juneteenth continuing to work for freedom instead of just celebrating it.
Caroline Brewer, the author of 13 children’s books, agrees. She pointed out that Black people have long commemorated Juneteenth. Therefore, she has noticed that during the official holiday, her associates are leaning toward continuing their work to build up the Black community as she is attempting to do with Black children.
“I think with any holiday, and when it comes to Black history, where most people that I know are and where I am is that I am celebrating Black history every day. I am doing something for the liberation of our people every day. So, I am focused on promoting my children’s books,” one of which is going to be published in August.
The new book is titled, “Say Their Names”, Brewer said. “We’re having conversations about the trauma that we’ve experienced as Black people as a result of police violence and racial violence.”

Newswire: Vice President Kamala Harris talks voting rights, racism with Black press publishers By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent

Vice President Harris stepping off helicopter

Vice President Kamala Harris held an exclusive discussion with publishers from the National Newspaper Publishers Association, which represents the Black Press of America, to discuss various issues from voting rights to Roe v. Wade and racism in the United States.“The Black Press has been very special,” Harris told the publishers in a 30-minute conversation moderated by NNPA President and CEO Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr.“[The administration] doesn’t expect special treatment, just fair treatment to cover the accomplishments because they are significant and will have, in many cases, a generational impact on families and communities,” Harris remarked.With a record number of women of color representing the administration in various capacities, Harris asserted that “when people hold office reflect those impacted, we can effect change.”“At the top, as vice president, I am humbled and honored to hold this position,” she insisted.“I’ll say that I think this administration and President Joe Biden have been exceptional. For example, I recently gave a speech in South Carolina, and it was in South Carolina that President Biden, then a candidate, said he was going to put a Black woman on the United States Supreme Court.”In April, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson earned Senate confirmation as the first Black woman to the nation’s high court. “This president, our administration, has appointed more Black women to the federal court than, I believe, any administration in the history of this country,” Harris demanded.Also, she noted the appointment of former Congressional Black Caucus Chair Marcia Fudge as secretary of Housing and Urban Development. “One of the big issues affecting our country right now is affordable housing, and one of the accomplishments of our administration is the work we’ve been doing on home appraisals and how Black families’ homes get appraised for less than white people,” Harris said. “We have confronted that issue of biased appraisals,” she added.Harris said the administration understands the vital issue of voting rights, despite the Senate failing to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and the suppression laws that Republican-led states have adopted.She acknowledged how the large voter turnout in the 2020 election and the special Senate election in Georgia in January 2021 helped catapult Democrats to the White House and control both chambers of Congress.“We need to pass legislation. But, short of that, we’re going to have to keep uplifting states that are doing good work around the right to vote every election cycle,” Harris offered.“If we help people to understand when they turned out in record numbers in 2020, what we were able to accomplish. We must remind people of what they get when they vote; that’s the reality we face, but we must speak up and keep fighting.”The vice president noted that many states with voter suppression laws also have statutes restricting other rights. “There’s an overlap that I think we should be aware of,” Harris insisted.Additionally, Harris offered concern about racism within politics. “I’m very concerned about elected officials around the country who won’t put a name on white supremacists,” Harris stated.She said part of the solution lies in communities. “One of the strongest tools is to build coalitions around communities that are targeted, to speak up and be informed so that nobody would be made to stand alone,” Harris said.“I believe in many ways [students] are entering an increasingly unsettled world. The things we took for granted as being settled are not settled.“Foreign policy, the concept of the sovereignty of a nation and its territorial integrity, the right to not be invaded by force … and you see what’s happened in Ukraine. For 70 years, Europe went without war, and now there is war.“Domestically, 70 years ago, we thought voting rights was settled. Shelby v. Holder gutted the Voting Rights Act in 2013, and now we’re seeing laws sprout up all over the country denying people the ability to receive food and water if they are standing in line to vote. Unsettled is the woman’s ability to decide about her own body.“We’re not asking anyone to change their beliefs; just let everybody have what they believe and not have the government tell them what to do.”Harris concluded by sharing her planned celebration of Juneteenth. She said she would open the Vice President’s official residence, not to celebrities or politicians but to families and individuals from the various wards in the District of Columbia.“When you look at the epidemic of hate, all that says is that we as leaders have to make sure that we use our platform,” Harris said.“We have to speak the truth and speak with the spirit of trying to unify our communities.”

Newswire: Jan 6 hearings expose serious threat to Democracy – and it’s not over By Hamil R. Harris

U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson, chairman of the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the US Capitol

(TriceEdneyWire.com) – Testimony before the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the US Capitol says President Trump refused to believe that he lost the election despite election results, advisors and family members telling him the contrary.
Instead, according to testimony, Trump listened to former New York Mayor Rudolph Guliani, who on election night appeared drunk, continue to push a false narrative that the election had been stolen by operatives loyal to President Biden. At the close of the last hearing June 13, Former Attorney General William Barr had become the star witness for the committee.
In a closed-door session last year Barr said Trump became “detached from reality” and had chosen to believe unsubstantiated theories.
“I told him that it was crazy stuff and they were wasting their time, and it was doing a grave disservice to the country,” Barr told the nine member panel in a video that was aired by the committee. The committee also aired video from Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, and her husband and Whitehouse adviser Jarad Kustner who painfully disputed Trumps claims.
Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss), chairman of the House committee, made it clear from the start that there was a need for the hearing.
“We can’t sweep what happened under the rug. The American people deserve answers. So I come before you this evening not as a Democrat but as an American who swore an oath to defend the Constitution,” Thompson said. “The Constitution doesn’t protect just Democrats or just Republicans. It protects all of us: ‘We the People.’ And this scheme was an attempt to undermine the will of the people. So tonight, and over the next few weeks, we’ll remind you of the reality of what happened that day.”
Rep Lynn Cheney (R-Wy), daughter of former Vice-President Cheney, has been President Trump’s leading Republican critic. In her opening comments, she said, “President Trump summoned the mob, assembled the mob, and lit the flame of this attack. You will also hear about plots to commit seditious conspiracies on Jan. 6, a crime defined in our laws as conspiring to overthrow, put down or destroy the government of the United States.” Another significant moment during the hearing was the video of Ivanka Trump interviewed by committee members. In terms of Barr saying that he didn’t find fraud in the election, she said, “I accepted what he was saying.”

African Union head finds common ground
with Putin regarding sanctions

 

June. 13, 2022 (GIN) – African Union chair Macky Sall, after a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, addressed his western and European “partners” with a plea to remove their sanctions hurting African economies.
 
Senegalese president Sall underscored the pain resulting from the barrage of international sanctions on Russia which have disrupted supplies of fertilizer, wheat and other commodities, pushing up prices for food and fuel. 
 
“We no longer have access to grain from Russia and especially fertilizer” that is crucial for Africa’s “already deficient agriculture,” Sall said at the meeting of the leaders at Putin’s Black Sea residence in Sochi on the 100th day of Moscow’s offensive in Ukraine.
 
Sall was joined by the AU Commission Chairman, Moussa Faki Mahamat at the confab.
 
African countries are “victims” of the Ukraine conflict, Sall was quoted to say by the French news agency, adding that food supplies should be “outside” of Western sanctions imposed on Moscow over Ukraine.
 
Neither the U.S. nor the EU has sanctioned Russian fertilizers or wheat, but the African Union is concerned that sanctions on Russia’s financial system will make it harder for countries to buy them.
Putin blames the West for the global food and energy crises and repeated his government’s offers of safe passage for ships exporting grain from Ukraine, one of the world’s leading exporters of wheat and corn.
 
“We will facilitate the peaceful passage and guarantee the safety of arrivals to these ports, as well as the entry of foreign ships and their movement through the Azov and Black seas, in any direction,” Putin pledged, in remarks carried on Russian state TV after his meeting with the African heads of state.
 
African countries are especially hard hit by the food shortages and price increases. They imported 44% of their wheat from Russia and Ukraine between 2018 and 2020, according to U.N. figures, and wheat prices have soared around 45% as a result of the supply disruption, according to the African Development Bank.
 
“The fact that this crisis brought the cessation of exports from Ukraine, but also from Russia because of sanctions, we have found ourselves in between these two,” Sall told reporters. “It’s of absolute necessity that they (Western partners) help to facilitate the export of Ukrainian grains, but also that Russia is able to export fertilizers, food products, but mainly cereals.”
 
After initially citing Russian propaganda, Sall’s message is now strikingly similar to Moscow’s line, observes the news site Politico, by driving a wedge in international support for sanctions.. 
 
Senegal was one of 17 African nations that abstained from voting on the U.N. resolution condemning Russia’s military action in Ukraine. Sall reportedly told Putin many African countries didn’t condemn Moscow despite what he described as strong pressure to do so.
 
Meanwhile, the United Nations has warned that 18 million people are facing severe hunger in the Sahel, the part of Africa just below the Sahara Desert where farmers are facing their worst agricultural production in more than a decade. About 13 million more people face severe hunger in the Horn of Africa region as a result of a persistent drought.
 

 

New poll shows Black voters back
effort to expand the Supreme Court

By Anoa Changa, NewsOne

According to a new poll, Black voters are more open to expanding the Supreme Court. Overall, 64 percent of Black voters surveyed at least somewhat supported the idea of adding more justices to the Supreme Court.
The poll conducted by Navigator found that support for expanding the Court grew 19 points among Black voters. According to the findings, support for Court expansion increased after the leak of the draft SCOTUS decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.
Organizations like Demand Justice see the new poll as welcome news. In an interview with NewsOne Demand Justice’s Senior Advisor for Engagement and Outreach, Tamara Brummer called the Court’s conservative supermajority an “existential threat” to Black people.
“People often pay more attention to the president and the Congress, but many of the most important decisions about how our lives look end up being made by the Supreme Court,” Brummed explained. “Republicans worked for decades to install far-right justices who would roll back voting and civil rights protections. Unless we make a change, people like Clarence Thomas, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett will be making many of the most important policy decisions about how we all get to live our lives for decades to come.”
According to Brummer, many issues impacting people’s daily lives were at risk, including reproductive freedom, voting rights, civil rights, environment, health and safety. She said expanding the Court was needed to break the “chokehold” the ultra-conservative supermajority has over the future.
“Right now, Republicans control 6 of the nine seats on the Supreme Court,” Brummer said. “Time and time again, this super conservative majority rules in favor of Republicans instead of the people or even the Constitution. Justice Jackson’s confirmation was historical, but as the leaked draft overturning Roe v. Wade reminds us, unless we change the math at the Supreme Court, we haven’t changed the fundamental dynamics.”
As previously reported, adding more justices to the Supreme Court is within the purview of Congress. The current nine-justice formation was reached in 1869 when there were only nine judicial circuits. The proposed Judiciary Act of 2021 would expand the Court to 13 justices. The legislation is supported by a mix of legislators in the Senate and House.
“The Constitution actually doesn’t say how many people sit on the Supreme Court; that’s a decision for Congress to make,” Brummer said. “Congress can decide to add justices to the Supreme Court and let the president add new justices who will help restore balance. That’s why we’re supporting the Judiciary Act, a bill in Congress with more than 50 supporters in the House.”
In light of the current Court’s handling of voting rights, and the anticipated decision in Dobbs, Brummer said that expanding the Supreme Court is the only way to stop the assault on people’s fundamental rights.
“Recent news about Republican justices voting to overturn abortion rights has rightly brought a lot of attention to the need to restore balance to the Court, but if you look at voting rights, you can see that the radical, anti-rights approach is nothing new,” she said. “The lesson from how the Court has treated the voting and civil rights of Black Americans is that they’re not going for half-measures, they’re coming for everything — unless we stop them by expanding the Court.

Despite apathy, activists and strategists urge
Black voters not to sit out 2022 midterms

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent

Sign-to-encourage-voting

The failure of Congress to pass legislation like the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act have frustrated African Americans.
With new voter suppression laws, the leaked Roe V. Wade opinion, and the assault on many other rights, some question whether the voting bloc that allowed Democrats to take the White House and control both houses of Congress will abandon the polls during the midterm election.
“Black voters are understandably frustrated with the lack of reform around voter rights, but the lack of success with this is due to actions by Republicans, not Democrats,” insisted Dr. Michal Strahilevitz, the director of the Elfenworks Center for Responsible Business and marketing professor at Saint Mary’s College of California.
“Black voters are far more pragmatic than most segments of the Democratic voter base. I expect them to show up not so much to reward Democrats for their lackluster success as to limit the power Republicans have to stop the necessary reforms,” Strahilevitz continued.
“In short, black voters are not just a loyal part of the Democratic base, and they are a very practical one too.” Daniel Chan, chief technology officer at Marketplace Fairness, added that Black voters have several concerns that Democrats haven’t addressed adequately.
“These include police reform, voting rights, and economic inequality. If they do not turn out to vote in the midterms, the Democrats could lose control of Congress,” Chan offered.
“The party has plans to address some of these concerns, but more needs to be done. Black voters are an essential part of the Democratic coalition, and it is important that the party does more to address their concerns,” he concluded.
The Black Lives Matter co-founder who now leads Black Futures Lab, Alicia Garza, observed the strict voter requirements that include restrictions for returning mail-in ballots.
Noting the unique challenges faced by Black voters, Black Futures Lab partnered with other groups to look closer at vote-by-mail in three states, Alabama, Nevada, and Texas.
“The first solution and probably the only solution to turn the tide of the ongoing and multiple assaults on our rights is to build independent progressive Black political power,” Garza asserted. “We must equip Black voters with the tools necessary to be powerful. Unfortunately, black voters are targeted by misinformation and disinformation every day,” she determined.
“In 2020, Black voters were getting messages online telling them not to go to the polls, so we must make sure that our people can get to the polls and challenge the laws and policies that keep us from making important decisions. Black voters are kept from being powerful on purpose, by policies and the conservative movement has designed.”
Krystal Leaphart of Black Girls Vote said her organization begins engaging young girls as early as middle school with the mantra that “our vote is our voice.”
“We target all age groups and communities of Black girls, and we seek to educate and empower Black girls. However, we must make sure that those on the margins are fully engaged,” Leaphart stated.
“Many young people are shocked at the amount of power that we collectively have,” Leaphart continued. “When we engage young Black girls, they are excited to vote, and the earlier we get to people and get them excited about the process and get them civically engaged, the better we will be.”
Leaphart noted that issues affecting adults also bother the young.
“They are dealing with many the same issues that are not restricted to adults,” Leaphart asserted.
“They are dealing with reproductive justice issues, Black girl pushout, and overcriminalization. But hearing that those issues can be dealt with at the polls and talking to elected officials have them excited.”
In a radio interview, Democratic Strategist Karen Finney implored all to understand what was at stake during the 2022 midterms. “It’s very clear in terms of the GOP candidates who emerged – one of the big things we saw is that people who were peddlers of The Big Lie, deniers of the 2020 election, seem to do pretty well, regardless of Donald Trump,” Finney told radio personality Charles Ellison on his Reality Check show.
“That tells you a lot about what their agenda would be if they win. Voters came out in record numbers in 2020, and we did something extraordinary,” Finney recounted.
“We’re going to have to do it again in 2022 if we want to keep America moving away from what I saw as a very divisive destruction of the Trump years.”

A stunning Jan. 6 hearing removes any doubt
about Trump’s role in the deadly insurrection

U.S. Capitol under violent attack on Jan. 6, 2021

The stunning revelations broadcast during the House Select Committee investigation of the January 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol included the laying out of a scheme by former President Donald Trump to retain power.
While many have long understood that Trump did nothing to stop the deadly riots, the Committee laid bare his scheme that led to the death of at least nine people – including five law enforcement members – and left more than 150 officers injured.

“It was a sophisticated seven-part plan to overturn the presidential election and prevent the transfer of presidential power,” Republican Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the chair of the House committee, remarked during the presentation.
Further, Cheney noted that several GOP members of Congress pressed Trump for pardons during the insurrection – the inference could explain why many Republicans have remained loyal to the former President and have shown a reluctance to participate in the hearings.

Cheney also reminded the Committee of a Tweet sent by Trump encouraging the attack. “Be there, will be wild!” Trump tweeted. Trump’s supporters responded, including the extremist groups Proud Boys and Oath Keepers.

One of the rioters read Trump’s tweet on a megaphone at the Capitol, and others, including one that criticized Vice President Mike Pence for denying a request to overturn the election loss to Joe Biden.

“Hang Mike Pence,” the supporters chanted. “Maybe he deserves it,” Trump allegedly said in response. Committee officials then displayed a photo of noose and gallows erected near the Capitol by the insurrectionists.

Capitol Police officer Caroline Edwards emerged during the June 9 public hearings and recounted for the first time her trauma. “It was something like I’ve seen in the movies,” the officer stated. “I couldn’t believe my eyes; there were officers on the ground. They were bleeding,” Edwards recounted. “I was slipping in people’s blood. It was carnage. It was chaos.”

Further, documentarian Nick Quested described his interaction with the Proud Boys, whose leader, Enrique Tarrio, recently was hit with sedition charges related to the attack. Quested had been embedded with the Proud Boys and shared never-before-seen footage of the members, including Tarrio’s meeting with the Oath Keepers.
Additionally, a new video of the deposition by the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Mark Milley, revealed that Pence gave the orders to send National Guard troops to the Capitol. However, Milley said administration officials told Pence to falsely state that Trump gave those orders.

Testimony also came from Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, who served as an adviser for the Trump administration. Ivanka Trump testified that she accepted then-Attorney General William Barr’s declaration that Biden had defeated Trump in the 2020 election.

Several former White House officials from the Trump administration said the President refused to stop the insurrection and ignored his team of advisers who urged him to intervene.

“Our democracy remains in danger,” Committee Chair Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) declared during the hearing. “The conspiracy to thwart the will of the people is not over. Unfortunately, there are those in this country who thirst for power but have no love or respect for what makes America great: devotion to the Constitution, allegiance to the rule of law, our shared journey to build a more perfect Union.”

 

King is candidate for school board District 2 seat in runoff

I, Tameka King, am soliciting your vote on Tuesday, June 21, 2022, to become your next District 2 Board of Education Representative of the Greene County School System. I will represent this district with interaction, communication, and gratitude to help our students prosper in their educational studies. I will be an asset to students, parents, and teachers by bridging the parent-teacher relationship gap that exists in the school system today. I am a 1996 graduate of Paramount High School, 2001 graduate of Alabama A&M University (BS), and 2004 graduate of The University of West Alabama (MS).  I am employed at Greenetrack Bingo, a member of St. Matthew Baptist Church, Clinton, AL and a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Again, I am the one you need to represent you, to have a voice for you and your children. Please elect me when you go to the polls and vote on Tuesday, June 21, 2022. 

Merriweather seeks school board District 2 seat in runoff

I, Brandon Merriweather, a candidate for Greene County District 2 School Board, am asking for your support during our Runoff Election on June 21, 2022.  As a native of Boligee, AL, I have educated our youth as a teacher at Greene County High School, volunteered a number of years as a coach for our high school football program, worked several years with the Center for Rural Family Development Enrichment Program/after school tutorial, and volunteered many years at the James C. Poole Jr. Library serving our youth. I hope to receive your support on June 21 and help me fight to improve our school system.