Realizing the Dream celebration activities set

Danny-Glover_Mary-Mary-800x450The annual Realizing the Dream celebration at the University of Alabama will feature award-winner gospel duo Mary Mary and actor and community activist Danny Glover.
The celebration will be from Jan. 12-15 and include a concert, banquet, speakers and a unity day. This year’s theme is Realizing the Dream Through Service to Others. The event, which celebrated the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr., is hosted by UA, Stillman College, Shelton State Community College and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.
Glover will be the Legacy Awards Banquet speaker. The banquet will be at 6 p.m. Jan. 12 in the Bryant Conference Center’s Sellers Auditorium. Tickets are $25 for individuals or $200 for a table of 10. Dress is semiformal.

Among Glover’s film credits are “The Color Purple,” the “Lethal Weapon” and “Dreamgirls.” Glover’s wide-reaching community activism and philanthropic efforts focus on economic justice, access to healthcare and education programs.During the banquet, the Rev. Frank Dukes will receive the Mountaintop Award, a lifetime achievement award, for his work during the civil rights movement and as an educator in Alabama. UA associate professor Ellen Griffith Spears, author of “Baptized in PCBs: Race, Pollution, and Justice in an All-American Town,” will receive the Call to Conscience Award recognizing leadership and courage that helps to establish social justice, equality and peace. UA junior Marissa Navarro, who founded the Hispanic-Latino Association as a freshman, will receive the Horizon Award recognizing a young adult demonstrating outstanding vision and hope that promotes social justice, equality and peace.
Mary Mary, featuring the Grammy Award-winning sisters Erica and Tina Campbell, will perform during the 2018 Realizing the Dream Concert at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 14 at UA’s Moody Music Concert Hall. Tickets are $15.
The events will continue Jan. 15, with Unity Day. The events, sponsored by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference begin at 7 a.m. with the Unity Breakfast at Beulah Baptist Church featuring speaker Joseph Scrivner, pastor at Brown Memorial Presbyterian Church. The Unity Day march begins at noon at Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School and will travel to Beulah Baptist Church. The Rev. Tyshawn Gardner, SCLC president and pastor of Plum Grove Baptist Church, will be the speaker. The annual rally begins at 6 p.m. at First African Baptist Church and will feature speaker Bishop L. Spenser Smith, pastor of Impact Nation.
Tickets for both events will go on sale through the Moody Music Building Music Services Office Jan. 3. Office hours are 8 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday.

 Dr. M.L. King, Jr. Birthday
Commemoration schedule for
Greene County

 

47th Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Birthday Celebration
January 12-15, 2018

January 12,10:00 a.m – Student
Educational Seminar
at New Peace Baptist Church
Keynote Speaker,
Mrs. Katie Jones Powell
Former School Superintendent, Sumter County

January 14, 4:00 p.m. – Freedom Gospel Concert
New Generation Church

January 15, 8:30 a.m –
Unity Freedom Breakfast
Eutaw Activity Center
Keynote Speaker,
Rev. Joe Webb Pastor
New Generation Church

January 15,10:15 – Freedom March to
William M. Branch Courthouse

January 15,10:30 a.m. – Godly Women of West Alabama Religious Rally 
William M. Branch Courthouse
Keynote Speaker, Dr. Cynthia Warrick,
President, Stillman College, Tuscaloosa, AL.

 

Sponsored by
Alabama Civil Right Freedom Museum Inc.
Greene County ANSC
Greene County Supportive
Elected Officials
Greene County Brotherhood, Inc.

 

For more information please contact
Spiver W. Gordon 205-372-3446

 

Local DST Chapter fulfills Christmas lists for children of two families

 

Delta Theta Sigma.jpg

The Greene County Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. presented Christmas gifts for the children of two families selected through the Greene County Department of Human Resources Adopt-A- Family Program.
The Sorority Chapter members gave toys, including bicycles, electronic games, books and board games, as well as items of clothing for the children. All the gifts were selected in attempts to fulfill the Christmas wishes of each child in the respective families. The various lists of the children’s wishes were provided by the staff of DHR.
Mr. Wilson Morgan serves as Director of the Greene County DHR office.
Ms. Jacqueline Allen is Chairperson of the DST Chapter’s Adopt-A-Family Committee. Ms. Andrea Perry serves as Chapter President. The Christmas gifts were presented to DHR on Wednesday, December 20, 2017

 

Black voters and organizations express concerns about Senator-elect Doug Jones on staffing, sexual harassment and critical issues

Alabama Senate Race

News Analysis
by: John Zippert, Co-Publisher

Alabama Senator-elect Doug Jones, whose election will not be officially certified until the end of the week, is already experiencing concerns and questioning from Black voters about his positions on critical issues, staffing of his Washington D. C. and local offices and remarks he made on a Sunday news show seeming to excuse President Trump’s sexual misconduct with numerous women.
“Black voters, who delivered Jones’ victory want him to be accountable on the issues he will face as Senator and the staffing of his offices. There is nothing wrong with Black voters feeling this way. We need to be awake and aware – after an election and hold candidates that we supported accountable for their promises and statements during the election.” said Attorney Faya Rose Toure, Co-Chair of the ‘Vote or Die Movement’.
Twenty-three community based organizations signed and sent an open letter last week congratulating Jones on his win and calling on him to fulfill specific commitments to the constituents who put him in office on issues of voting rights, health care, criminal justice, ending mass incarceration, living wages and environmental justice.

“The ticker tape for the Jones victory has barely been swept from the floor and we are already seeing him pandering to the right and stepping away from the interests of the people who elected him,” said Latosha Brown, co-founder with Cliff Albright of the Black Voters Matter Fund.
Cliff Albright said, “We are here to let Doug Jones know that the voters in Alabama did not turn out in mass numbers for his personal gain. He was elected to represent the needs of his constituents. Organizers worked hard to galvanize the Black community, and we have every intention to hold him accountable.”
The open letter to Doug Jones has been signed by 20 Alabama organizations serving the Black community and other people of color, including the Alabama Coalition for Immigrant Justice, Alabama Coalition on Black Civic Participation, Black Belt Citizens Fighting for Health and Justice, Center for Fair Housing, Inc (Mobile), The Ordinary People’s Society (TOPS), The Greene County Democrat (this newspaper) and the NAACP chapters of Tuskegee-Macon and Dothan, Alabama.
The letter calls on Jones to adopt intentional methods to hear directly from his constituents like listening sessions, town halls, and people assemblies.
National Civil Rights Groups push Jones for fair staffing

The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank for Black elected officials, has signed a letter with other organizations encouraging Jones to hire a diverse Senate staff, which is sadly lacking among Democratic-elected officials.
“The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies and 16 other leading civil rights groups sent a letter urging Senator-elect Doug Jones to commit to hiring a staff that reflects his constituents’ racial diversity,” said the letter dated December 19th. “In Alabama, Blacks account for more than 26 percent of the state’s population.
The Joint Center noted that people of color accounted for more 36 percent of the U.S. population but only 7.1 percent of top Senate staffers in Washington, D.C. African Americans account for just over 1 percent of top Democratic U.S. Senate staff in Washington, D.C. and just over 2 percent of top Republican U.S. Senate staff. Senior Staff in these studies is defined as chief of staff, legislative director, communications director, and committee staff director.
Top Senate staffers manage the Senate’s legislative agenda and shape the $3.9 trillion U.S. federal budget. They also oversee the Senate confirmation process for federal judges, cabinet secretaries and U.S. ambassadors.
“Senator-elect Doug Jones has an incredible opportunity to increase diversity among U.S. Senate staff,” said Spencer Overton, president of the Joint Center.  “The Joint Center and many of our partners stand ready to work with Senator-elect Jones to identify a deep and broad pool of diverse candidates.”
Some of groups that signed the letter include the NAACP, Lawyers for Civil Rights Under Law, the South Asian Fund for Education, Scholarship and Training and the National Action Network.
The letter reminded Jones of the so-called “Rooney Rule”, a National Football League policy initiated by Pittsburgh Steelers patriarch Dan Rooney. The rule requires NFL teams to interview racial minority candidates for senior jobs. “As you may know, earlier this year the Senate Democratic Caucus adopted the Rooney Rule, a commitment to interviewing at least one person of color for senior staff positions. We ask that you embrace this caucus rule and interview people of color for senior positions in your respective offices,” the letter states.

Women’s’ issues also raised with Jones

Karen Jones an active member of the Save Ourselves Movement for Democracy and Justice expressed outrage after hearing comments made by Senator-elect Doug Jones on the Sunday morning CNN State of the Union program. Jones in answer to a question from Jake Tapper said he did not support calls by other Democratic Senators that President Trump resign because of sexual harassment allegations made by numerous women and corroborated by Trump’s own “Access Hollywood” tape.
Karen Jones said, “I felt violated. We had worked for Doug Jones, brought him into our churches and community meetings, voted for him in overwhelming numbers and now five days after the Dec. 12 election, he is on TV exonerating President Trump for sexual harassment before he even gets sworn-in as a Senator.”
Jones said she was working with other Alabama women, who supported Doug Jones, to write him a letter asking for a retraction of his statements on sexual misconduct by the President and a clarification of his stand on other critical issues. “After all 98% of Black women voted for Doug Jones and 98% can take him back out if he doesn’t do or act right,” said Karen Jones.

Newswire : #MeToo creator, Tarana Burke will push button to drop New Year’s Eve Ball In Times Square

By Alanna Vagianos, Huffington Post

Tarana Burke
Activist Tarana Burke created the #MeToo movement 10 years ago (Getty images)

Someone very special will drop this year’s New Year’s Eve Ball in Times Square.
Tarana Burke, who founded the #MeToo movement, will push the ceremonial Waterford Crystal button that will begin the 60-second countdown and release the iconic ball in New York City on Dec. 31.
Burke, a 44-year-old youth organizer who founded Just Be Inc., created the “Me Too” campaign in 2007, long before hashtags even existed.
“I am delighted to be participating in this momentous occasion,” Burke said in a press release. “I think it’s fitting to honor the Me Too movement as we close a historic year and set our intentions for 2018. With the new year comes new momentum to fuel this work and we won’t stop anytime soon.”
The #MeToo movement helped lead to the recent wave of sexual harassment and assault allegations against powerful men like Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, Roy Moore and Louis C.K. The campaign sparked a public reckoning of how we handle sexual violence in our culture.
Time Magazine named “The Silence Breakers” its “2018 Person of the Year,” citing change-makers like Burke along with actresses Ashley Judd and Alyssa Milano.
“New Year’s is a time when we look at the most significant cultural and political moments of the last year, when we look for inspiration by honoring and giving a global platform to those who have made a difference,” Tim Tompkins, the president of the Times Square Alliance, said in the press release. “Tarana Burke’s courage and foresight have changed the world this year, and, we hope, forever. We are honored to have her be part of the 2018 New Year’s celebration.”
Tarana Burke has a connection to the Alabama Black Belt where she served as a participant and later staff member of the 21st Century Youth Leadership Movement, based in Selma during the 1990’s.

Newswire : Mammoth diamond brings Kono miners a share in $6.5 million auction sale

diamond
‘Peace Diamond’

(TriceEdneyWire.com/GIN) – When a Sierra Leonean pastor looked at the shiny stony that came from the ground, it didn’t look like much of a rock. It was orange with red speckles and the diggers at the Kono mining district almost tossed it aside.

But the lumpy stone was unusual enough to bring to a local diamond dealer who recognized a thing of great value. “The look on his face when he saw the rock made me believe we had discovered something extraordinary,” the pastor Emmanuel Momoh recalled in an interview with the NY Times.

The hockey puck-shaped sparkly thing turned out to be a 709-carat diamond – one of the world’s largest diamonds and the largest one ever found in Sierra Leone.

After much thought and debate, Pastor Momoh turned the gem over to the government, instead of selling it to middlemen and pocketing the cash. The community stands to lose, he said, if middlemen were involved.

“We lack a lot of things,” Momoh told the BBC. “We don’t have a good road network, we don’t have better schools or drinking water.”

Sierra Leone allows miners to sell diamonds up to a certain size, but requires them to turn over larger stones to the government to sell, with the proceeds, in theory, going to the ones who found them, minus an unspecified government tax.

Often, diamonds — both large and small — are sold on the black market, depriving the government of sorely needed revenue.

President Ernest Bai Koroma thanked the cleric for not smuggling the diamond out of the country and allowing the government to sell the historic stone in a set bidding process.

An early sealed bid offer involving five buyers for the stone produced a bid of $7.7 million which the government said was too low. Some estimates put the value at $50 million.

This week, the stone sold at a New York auction for a lower-than-expected price of $6.5 million. The buyer was reportedly British billionaire and jeweler, Laurence Graff.

According to the Rapaport auction house that handled the bidding, half the sale proceeds are to be used to fund clean water, electricity, school, medical facilities, bridges and roads, none of which are currently available in the village of Koryardu where the diamond was found.

The auction house is reported not to be charging its usual fees for the sale.

Solidarity meeting held to support electronic bingo in Greene County

Nat WinnGreenetrack CEO Luther “Nat” Winn addresses Solidarity meeting

 

On Tuesday, November 21, the Black-Belt Solidarity Committee held a meeting at the Eutaw National Guard Armory in support of Greene County Constitutional Amendment 743 authorizing electronic bingo in Greene County. The Solidarity Meeting Committee consisting of Val Goodson, Beverly Gordon and Patricia Edmonds sponsored the meeting.
Two hundred supporters of bingo attended and heard statements from community political and organizational leaders in support of electronic bingo and its benefits to the community.
The meeting was held in response to a recent lawsuit filed by Alabama Attorney General Mike Marshall to stop bingo in five counties around the state including Greene, Lowndes, Macon, Morgan and Houston where bingo has been authorized by voter support of Constitutional amendments.

Sheriff Joe Benison spoke and said he enjoys serving the people of Greene County with his staff of 34 employees and encouraged unity in the face of the attack on bingo by the Attorney General.
Hodges Smith speaking on behalf of the Greene County Volunteer Fire Associations said, “ Before bingo, we had to raise money for fire trucks and other equipment selling hot dogs and hamburgers. It was very difficult and we could not get all of the up to date equipment we needed. We do not want to be pushed backwards into the dark ages again. We need to stand together for bingo.”
Johnny Isaac, Chair of the E-911 Board also spoke in favor of bingo and the need for unity in view of the attack on Amendment 743.
John Zippert, Chair of the Greene County Health Systems Board of Directors said, “We received a distribution of $39,375, for the month of October, from four of the five bingo establishment this week which helped the hospital to meet payroll and expenses to continue to provide health services in Greene County to people who do not have any insurance.”
Mayor Raymond Steele spoke of the benefits of gaming to the City of Eutaw and other municipalities in the county that receive bingo funds. County Commissioner Allen Turner reported that the County Commission used bingo funds to match Federal funds for road and bridge repairs, which stretched the funds and made them to further to help the people of Greene County.
Luther ‘Nat’ Winn, CEO of Greenetrack said he was pleased to see people standing together to protect what we have. “I hope this sends a message to AG Marshall not to come to disrupt the jobs and economic progress we have made through electronic bingo.” Winn continued, “ I want you to know that we are not going to close our operations this time. If the state comes, I for one am going to stand in the doorway of Greenetrack and stop the State of Alabama from disrupting a gaming industry that employs hundreds and supports the county agencies and schools of Greene County. This is a part of our voting rights and civil rights and we are not giving up without a fight.”
Commissioner Marcus Campbell of Sumter County and Probate Judge Crawford of Hale County also spoke in support of unity to keep Greene County bingo working because it provides employment and other benefits to residents of their adjoining counties.
The Solidarity meeting was adjourned and a monthly Greene County Fire Association meeting went forward.