Newswire: : MLK family asks for no celebration until lawmakers pass Voting Rights legislation


Dr. King at March on Washington, 1963

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent


Prayer breakfasts, marches, parades, and an uptick in volunteer efforts to support the annual Day of Service have remained staples of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
But the late civil rights icon family has asked that observers strike a different tune in 2022.
King’s family has requested no celebration unless federal lawmakers pass voting rights legislation, a task that appears out of reach as President Joe Biden and several Democrats have faced stiff Republican opposition.
Democrats have also been hampered by members of their own party, notably West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, whose vote is crucial in an evenly split chamber.
“President Biden and Congress used their political muscle to deliver a vital infrastructure deal, and now we are calling on them to do the same to restore the very voting rights protections my father and countless other civil rights leaders bled to secure,” Martin Luther King III said in a statement.
“We will not accept empty promises in pursuit of my father’s dream for a more equal and just America,” King III, the oldest son and oldest living child of King Jr. and Coretta Scott King.
King III, his wife Arndrea Waters King, and their daughter Yolanda King said they plan to mobilize activists on MLK weekend – January 14-16 – to demand a voting rights bill.
In numerous Republican-led states like Texas, Florida, and Georgia, lawmakers have passed or are attempting to pass tight voter suppression laws that would disenfranchise many voters of color and the elderly.
Earlier this month, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), promised that the U.S. Senate would vote by Martin Luther King Jr. Day (January 17) on whether the chamber would adopt new rules to circumvent the draconian filibuster to enable the passage of voting rights and social justice bills.

“We must ask ourselves: if the right to vote is the cornerstone of our democracy, then how can we in good conscience allow for a situation in which the Republican Party can debate and pass voter suppression laws at the State level with only a simple majority vote, but not allow the United States Senate to do the same? We must adapt,” Sen. Schumer demanded.
“The Senate must evolve like it has many times before. The Senate was designed to evolve and has evolved many times in our history.” Sen. Schumer continued: “The fight for the ballot is as old as the Republic. Over the coming weeks, the Senate will once again consider how to perfect this union and confront the historic challenges facing our democracy. We hope our Republican colleagues change course and work with us. But if they do not, the Senate will debate and consider changes to Senate rules on or before January 17, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, to protect the foundation of our democracy: free and fair elections.”
Meanwhile, King III insisted that President Biden and members of Congress use the same energy and force they mustered in 2021 to pass the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill. “You delivered for bridges, now deliver for voting rights,” King III asserted.
Reportedly, the King family plans to join local groups in a rally in Phoenix on January 15, the date of King’s birthday, “[We wish] to restore and expand voting rights to honor Dr. King’s legacy,” the family wrote in a statement. Further, the family and others plan to march across the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge in Washington, DC.
They also plan to hold a rally and march across a bridge in Phoenix, reportedly to draw a comparison to the 1965 march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, for voting rights for African Americans.
“The Senate must pass the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and ensure the Jim Crow filibuster doesn’t stand in the way,” the King family stated.

COVID-19

As of January 12, 2022, at 10:00 AM
(according to Alabama Political Reporter)

Alabama had 1,004.622 confirmed cases of coronavirus,
(83,447) more than last week with 16,641 deaths (145) more
than last week)

Greene County had 1,493 confirmed cases, (105 more cases than last week), with 47 deaths

Sumter Co. had 1,737 cases with 42 deaths

Hale Co. had 3,705 cases with 91 deaths

Note: Greene County Physicians Clinic has testing and vaccination for COVID-19; Call for appointments at 205/372-3388, Ext. 142; ages 5 and up.

 

 

Tennyson Smith seeks re-election as County Commissioner, District 2

To the Citizens of Greene County and Voters of District 2:
When I took the oath of an elected official years ago,  I pledged to do my best to help improve Greene County and  District 2. Today, I am pleased to say, I have done my best to uphold that pledge. Each decision and vote was made with you, the citizens and voters of District 2, in mind. I am seeking re-election as Greene County Commissioner of District 2 in the May 24, 2022 Primary Election.
-I am dedicated to the task that is before me
– I am available to you whenever you need me.
– I operate an Open -Door Policy; no appointment is needed to see me.
– I will continue to return each of your calls and check on and resolve all concerns and problems to the best to my ability.
– I am here to serve you.
-I will try to the best of my ability to be fair, firm, effective and respectable at all times.
Voters of District 2, we have come a long way and made many improvements in our county; yet there is much work to be done. Please go to the poll and vote in the Primary Election of May 24, 2022 and re-elect Tennyson Smith as Greene County Commissioner District 2.

Turner seeks re-election to County Commission seat District 4

Allen Turner, Jr.

 


Citizens of Greene County AL, especially the residents of Dollarhide, Forkland, and Tishabee (District 4), this is Greene County Commission Chairman Allen Turner, Jr seeking your prayers, support, and vote in the May 24, 2022 upcoming Primary Election. Our plan is simple but profound to continue representing and serving you with integrity and experience.
As you know, I am a lifelong citizen of Greene County; Deacon at Springhill Baptist Church; graduate of PHS, AAMU, Alabama Government Institute, Shelton State, and attended UWA graduate program.
Even though the last few years have been a challenge for us, we are grateful for God’s grace and mercy on our Nation as a whole. As current County Commission Chairman, I am committed to maintaining and continuing to provide a professional service to all our citizens, while keeping our county employees, staff and facilities at the highest level of safety possible.
Since 2010, I assisted in many accomplishments in the county and in my District:
Resolved the County’s financial issues and balanced the budget every year; created policies to give all our essential employees incentives and bonuses for their services, especially during this pandemic; spent millions on infrastructure throughout the entire county, especially county roads 148 in Dollarhide, 72 in Tishabee, and 41 (Lloyd Chapel Road) in Forkland.
I approved the installation of storm shelters at the Forkland Town Hall, Steamplant Road Fire Department, and soon to come Tishabee Fire Department.
We have also given more than 150 scholarships to high school and college graduates from District 4; created additional senior citizens programs at the Tishabee and Steamplant Road areas and developed youth summer feeding programs in Forkland and Tishabee.
Since 2017, we have provided outreach services throughout the District, repairing or replacing more than 200 roofs, wheelchair ramps, handicap accessible bathrooms and kitchens, also replaced essential appliances for our disabled and senior citizens.
Our Plan is to continue providing these current services while establishing more programs to better support the unity and growth in our communities. On May 24, 2022 Vote Allen Turner, Jr. Greene County Commissioner District 4, God Bless you.

Newswire: Tutu’s Last wishes shed light on ‘aquamation’ or ‘green burial’

Anglican priest carry Tutu’s plain pine coffin into funeral service

 


Jan. 3, 2022 (GIN) – Over the course of his 90 years, Archbishop Desmond Mpilo Tutu gave voice to his beloved nation in its struggle for change and reconciliation under Black majority rule. His last wishes for a green burial have sparked a tweet storm on the mostly unfamiliar practice among devoted followers of “the Arch”.
 
Archbishop Tutu was a key figure telling the world of the grievances of South African’s exploited Black majority. He did not mince words in a meeting with Pres. Ronald Reagan. American policy toward South Africa, he said, known as “constructive engagement,” was “evil, immoral and un-Christian.” 
 
To the foreign investors still reaping profits, he urged “persuasive pressure” for racial change but if that failed, “pressure must become punitive, that is, economic sanctions should be imposed.”
 
He even took on his countrymen, faulting the new political rulers for seeking their own advancement before that of the poor. “What is Black empowerment when it seems to benefit not the vast majority but a small elite that tends to be recycled? We are sitting on a powder keg.”
 
The former teacher, cleric and activist was fearlessly outspoken across a range of topics, from Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories to gay rights, climate change and assisted death.
 
His last request, befitting a man who scorned ostentation and defended the environment, was that there be no “lavish spending” for his funeral and that his casket be simple, made of pine with only a bouquet of carnations from his family. He directed his remains to undergo alkaline hydrolysis, also known as aquamation, an eco-friendly alternative to traditional cremation that uses water rather than fire.
 
Aquamation is part of a growing “green burial” movement that avoids non-biodegradable materials and promotes natural decomposition. Advocates say it’s an environmentally friendly alternative to ornate caskets and cremation by fire, which emits greenhouse gases. The process uses an alkaline solution, heated under pressure to breakdown the human body, leaving behind bones, which are grown into ashes, similar to cremation.
 
After the private aquamation ceremony Archbishop Tutu was interred behind the pulpit from where he once denounced bigotry and racial tyranny.
 
The California-based Green Burial Council tweeted: “Even in death, Desmond Tutu remains a vigilant protector of the environment. He chose a green alternative to cremation — #aquamation — as his final act to nurture the Earth.”
 
“There is a more eco-friendly way of (cremation) and that is aquamation. It’s a process involving water and is more environment-friendly which is what he aspired to as an eco-warrior,” said the Rev. Michael Weeder of Cape Town.

Newswire: African American entrepreneurs head SPAC in $126.5 Million IPO to acquire Black-owned firms

Shawn Rochester and Robin Watkins

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent


Shawn Rochester, who authored the spellbinding book “The Black Tax: The Cost of Being Black in America,” and Robin Watkins, a highly regarded financial and operations accountant, have made Wall Street history.
And the two are poised to break through more barriers in the financial world. Their latest venture, Minority Equality Opportunities Acquisitions Inc. (MEOA), has raised $126.5 million they’ve earmarked to help minority businesses and enterprises grow and prosper through mergers and acquisitions.
“It’s amazing to be a part of this,” Watkins, a Drexel University graduate, stated. While Rochester serves as CEO of MEOA, Watkins counts as the company’s CFO.
“I come from a family of entrepreneurs,” Watkins remarked during an appearance on PBS-TV and PBS-World’s The Chavis Chronicles with National Newspapers Publishers Association (NNPA) President and CEO Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr.
The interview took place inside the new state-of-the-art NNPA television studios in Washington, D.C.
Because her grandfather owned a trucking company and café in Lawrenceville, Virginia, and her father and other family members were entrepreneurs, Watkins leaped at this latest opportunity.
MEOA raised the money after its initial public offering in August and now counts as the first special purpose acquisition company – or SPAC – headed by African Americans.
“We are trading now on the Nasdaq under MEOAU,” Rochester, who earned a master’s degree in Business Administration from The University of Chicago Booth School of Business with a focus in Accounting, Finance, and Entrepreneurship.
MEOA will target MBEs and Black-owned businesses nationwide. “We’re really a blank check company that’s funded through an IPO,” Watkins remarked.
“The funds are held in trust to acquire another company. In this case, we are looking at minority business enterprises to take them public through our IPO. We are the only SPAC that is targeting minority business enterprises.”
According to financial experts, SPACs generally have two years to complete an acquisition. If they fail, the company must return the money raised to its investors.
For Rochester and Watkins, failure isn’t an option. Rochester said they are looking at companies with enterprise values between $250 million and $500 million with recurring and predictable revenues. The criteria include having a history of being able to generate sustainable free-cash-flow.
“There is unprecedented demand for diverse suppliers, but many minority firms don’t have the resources to meet the demand,” Rochester said. “That’s where MEOA, and the decades of combined experience that our team has in operations, strategy, business development, and acquisitions enter the picture for the right business, to help accelerate growth,” he continued.
Further demonstrating a commitment to racial equity and economic inclusion, MEOA engaged the Industrial Bank of Washington, one of the country’s preeminent Black-owned institutions, for its working capital banking needs during the SPAC and IPO process.
The company’s directors are majority-minority including, Dr. Julianne Malveaux, MIT economist and Dean, College of Ethnic Studies, Cal State Los Angeles, Mr. Ronald Busby, Sr., President and CEO, US Black Chamber, Inc., and Mr. Patrick Linehan, Partner, Steptoe & Johnson.
“The mission and purpose of MEOA will help to catapult minority enterprise in this country,” Rochester asserted. “As a SPAC, we have the opportunity to not only help drive significant change and unleash superior performance but to also signal to the broader marketplace that there is tremendous value in companies and teams that have long been ignored.”

Newswire: Tornado victims still suffering

Robert Daniel, 47, was supervising seven inmates working at a candle factory that was destroyed by a tornado in Mayfield, Ky. Daniel died protecting the inmates.
Army National Guardsmen with the 301st Chemical Battalion and Air Guardsmen with the 123rd Airlift Wing continue searching and rescuing in Mayfield, KY, on December 12th, 2021. PHOTO: Spc. Brett Hornback, 133rd, Mobile Public Affairs Detachment


By Hamil R. Harris

(TriceEdneyWire.com) – Robert Daniel was more than a supervisor at Graves County Jail. He was a father of seven who enjoyed rehabilitating inmates at a work-release at a Candle Factory in Mayfield, Ky.
Daniel was working on Dec. 10th when a mammoth tornado rumbled through his Western, Kentucky town destroying property and killing more than 80 people. Daniel was one of eight victims of a series of more than 80 tornados. 
“The last thing he did was make sure [the inmates] were taken care of, even at his own peril,” said, George Workman, a co-worker at the jail who described Daniel to reporters on the scene as a hero.
Nearly 100 people have been confirmed dead along the 250-mile path of destruction in Kentucky and across the south central U.S. 
President Joe Biden toured neighborhoods where homes had been reduced to piles of rubble, including bricks, personal belongings, cars flipped upside down, and trees mangled with insulation and other parts of houses and buildings. Biden has promised all federal resources available for survivors of the tragedy.
Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear has established the Team Western Kentucky Tornado Relief Fund to assist those impacted by the tornados and the severe weather system that hit only a few weeks before Christmas.
According to reports, when Daniel’s friends saw news reports of the destruction at the candle factory they rushed to the scene. Jason Blair and A.J. Ferguson said they found Daniel crushed by a big wall that fell on him. One of the inmates was found under Daniel, but survived. Blain and Ferguson said they believed it was Daniel’s large frame that saved the inmate.
Daniel’s daughter, Jenna, told CBS News that her father died saving lives, and for that, “he deserves all the honor.” She also said, “He did his job and he did it well because all of his inmates survived.”
Reported deaths: 21 in Graves County; 17 in Hopkins County; 15 in Warren County; 11 in Muhlenberg County; 4 in Caldwell County; 2 in Marshall County; and one each in Franklin, Fulton, Lyon and Taylor counties. The age range of those killed now ranges from 2 months old to 98 years old. Twelve of those killed were children.
There currently are approximately 122 Kentuckians unaccounted for as local, state and federal crews continue rescue and recovery efforts.
About 568 Kentucky National Guardsmen continue to support the storm relief. Seventy-nine soldiers and airmen completed search and extraction and fatality search and retrieval at the factory site in Mayfield, with two chaplain​s serving for spiritual support.
Those wanting to donate can make checks to the Kentucky State Treasurer. In the memo line please note the donation is for the “Team Western Kentucky Tornado Relief Fund.”
To help the tornado victims and their families, the checks can be sent to Public Protection Cabinet, 500 Mero Street, 218 NC, Frankfort, KY 40601.
At Daniel’s funeral, the  sanctuary was packed with people – Black and White – for the burly man who had a big sense of humor and was nicknamed, “Harp,” according to the Louisville Courier journal.
“You know it’s true whenever you hear it from the inmates,” said George Workman, a Graves County jailer in the Courier Journal. “They said that he was taking care of them, telling them to get to the wall, which is the safe place. They were headed that way, and that was the last that they saw of him. He was pushing the last one of them in.”
Yvonne Coleman Bach, associate publisher, and the staff at the Louisville Defender Newspaper contributed to this story.

 

Newswire : Sen. Schumer says Senate will vote on changes to filibuster by MLK Day

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent

The U.S. Senate will vote by January 17 on whether the chamber will adopt new rules to circumvent the draconian filibuster to enable voting rights and social justice bills, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced on Monday, January 3.
“The Senate was designed to protect the political rights of the minority in the chamber, through the promise of debate and the opportunity to amend. But over the years, those rights have been warped and contorted to obstruct and embarrass the will of the majority – something our Founders explicitly opposed,”  Senator Schumer wrote in a letter to colleagues.
“The constitution specified what measures demanded a supermajority – including impeachment or the ratification of treaties. But they explicitly rejected supermajority requirements for legislation, having learned firsthand of such a requirement’s defects under the Articles of Confederation,” he continued.
Although the Senate is evenly split with 50 Democrats and 50 Republicans, Sen. Schumer’s party controls the majority, with Vice President Kamala Harris positioned to cast any tie-breaking vote.
Still, a significant hurdle remains in the senator’s own party. West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin has remained steadfast in opposition to any changes to the filibuster, a centuries-old rule rooted in racism.
Sen. Manchin has shot down a swath of his party’s agenda, making it difficult for President Joe Biden and others to fulfill campaign promises to faithful voters, particularly in the African American community.
Recent history showed that when Republicans controlled the Senate, they bent tradition and rules to push through the party’s agenda, including two controversial Supreme Court nominations.
With GOP-led voter suppression laws in states across the country and the continued police killings of unarmed African Americans, many have pushed for legislation like the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and the George Floyd Justice and Policing bill.
Both measures would supersede laws already on the books and make it easier for people of color to vote, and hold law enforcement accountable for their actions.
“The weaponization of rules once meant to short-circuit obstruction have been hijacked to guarantee obstruction. We must ask ourselves: if the right to vote is the cornerstone of our democracy, then how can we in good conscience allow for a situation in which the Republican Party can debate and pass voter suppression laws at the State level with only a simple majority vote, but not allow the United States Senate to do the same? We must adapt,” Sen. Schumer demanded.
“The Senate must evolve like it has many times before. The Senate was designed to evolve and has evolved many times in our history.”
Sen. Schumer continued:
“The fight for the ballot is as old as the Republic. Over the coming weeks, the Senate will once again consider how to perfect this union and confront the historic challenges facing our democracy. We hope our Republican colleagues change course and work with us. But if they do not, the Senate will debate and consider changes to Senate rules on or before January 17, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, to protect the foundation of our democracy: free and fair elections.”

COVID-19

As of January 4, 2022, at 10:00 AM
(according to Alabama Political Reporter)

Alabama had 921,175 confirmed cases of coronavirus,
(36,843) more than last week with 16,496 deaths (60) more
than last week)

Greene County had 1,388 confirmed cases, (57 more cases than last week), with 45 deaths

Sumter Co. had 1,498 cases with 42 deaths

Hale Co. had 3,408 cases with 91 deaths

Note: Greene County Physicians Clinic has testing and vaccination for COVID-19; Call for appointments at 205/372-3388, Ext. 142; ages 5 and up.

FOGCE Credit Union holds annual Drop-By Membership Meeting

The Federation of Greene County Employees Federal Credit Union (FOGCE Federal Credit Union), based in Eutaw, AL, held its annual membership gathering as a Drop-By Meeting, on Thursday, December 16, 2021, from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm. Members visited the credit union’s office during that time period to sign-in and receive a gift bag with annual operational reports on the credit union, as well as various holiday treats.
Forty-nine members participated in the Drop-By Meeting and were able to cast their ballots for board and credit committee elections. Ms. Darlene Robinson, Ms. Mollie Rowe and Mr. Rodney Pham were re-elected to the FOGCE Federal Credit Union Board of Directors and Ms. Arnelia Johnson and Mr. James Powell were re-elected to the Credit Committee.
The members’ sign-in roster also served as the basis of selection for awarding door prizes.
Board members scheduled individual volunteer time to meet and greet members assisting in maintaining the safe distance as members participated in the Drop-By Annual Membership Meeting.
The credit union is obligated to hold an annual membership meeting, but the board of directors and staff recognized the responsibility of maintaining a safe environment for the credit union’s continued service to members.
FOGCE manager, Mrs. Joyce Pham, secured various equipment on the premises as safety measures for staff and members. These include sanitation stations and plexiglass dividers in the lobby area, clerk and manager’s offices and in the boardroom. The mask requirement is also in place, and routine cleaning and sanitizing are conducted throughout the operational hours.
The December FOGCE Board of Directors meeting followed at 4:00 p.m. at which time the board conducted its reorganization of officers. By acclamation, the body retained all its presiding officers: Carol P. Zippert as President; Darlene Robinson as Vice President; Mollie Rowe as Secretary and Jimmie Paster as Treasurer.
The FOGCE Federal Credit Union is located at 112 Prairie Avenue, Eutaw, AL, across from the Thomas E. Gilmore Courthouse Square. Any one residing or working in Greene County can be eligible for membership.