Greene County Freedom Day scheduled for July 31

Johnny Ford

Alabama Civil Rights Museum Movement, Inc. will host the 52nd Annual Greene County Freedom Day Program, Saturday, July 31, 2021 on the Rev. Thomas Gilmore Square (old courthouse). Honorable Johnny Ford, of Tuskegee, AL will serve as the keynote speaker. “On Greene County Freedom Day, July 29, 1969, a Special Election was held in the county that elected the first four Black County Commissioners and two additional Black school board members, which gave Black people control of the major agencies of government,” said Spiver W. Gordon, President of the Alabama Civil Rights Museum Movement. This special election in the summer of 1969 was ordered by the United States Supreme Court when the names of Black candidates, running on the National Democratic Party of Alabama (NDPA), were deliberately left off the November 1968 General Election ballot by the ruling white political officials of the time. “The special election of July 29, 1969 allowed Black voters, many newly registered under the 1965 Voting Rights Act, who were the majority population in Greene County to have their say in a free and democratic election” Gordon stated. COVID 19 Vaccinations will be promoted at the event. According Gordon, he is arranging for individuals to get vaccinations at the program on July 31. A limited number of gift certificates will be given to individuals getting their vaccinations on July 31. Gordon stated that more information on the gift certificates will be provided at a later time.

COVID-19

As of July 12, 2021 at 10:00 AM (according to Alabama Political Reporter) Alabama had 555,215 confirmed cases of coronavirus, (3,917) more than last week with 11,402 deaths (44 ) more than last week)

Greene County had 942 confirmed cases, (4 more cases than last week), with 35 deaths

Sumter Co. had 1,067 cases with 32 deaths

Hale Co. had 2,288 cases with 78 deaths

Note: Greene County Physicians Clinic has Johnson and Johnson, one dose vaccination for COVID-19; Call for appointments at 205/372-3388, Ext. 142; ages 18 and up.

COVID-19

As of July 2, 2021 at 10:00 AM (according to Alabama Political Reporter) Alabama had 551, 298 confirmed cases of coronavirus, (315) more than last week with 11,358 deaths (6) more than last week)

Greene County had 938 confirmed cases, (1 more cases than last week),with 35 deaths

Sumter Co. had 1,062 cases with 32 deaths

Hale Co. had 2,273 cases with 78 deaths

Note: Greene County Physicians Clinic has Johnson and Johnson, one dose vaccination for COVID-19; Call for appointments at 205/372-3388, Ext. 142; ages 18 and up.

Newswire: Malawian millennial takes on powerful plastics lobby and wins global prize

Gloria Majiga-Kamoto

June 21, 2021 (GIN) – Each year, 75,000 tons of plastic are produced in Malawi, of which 80% are single-use – the ones most likely to litter the landscape, clog waterways and drainage systems, and create breading grounds for mosquitos carrying malaria. A recent government study found that the East African nation produces more plastic waste per capita than any other country in sub-Saharan Africa — and this has greatly overwhelmed its waste disposal systems.    Concerned about the environmental harm caused by mounting plastic pollution in Malawi, 30 year old Gloria Majiga-Kamoto mobilized a grassroots movement in support of a national ban on thin plastics, a type of single-use plastic.   “It became very personal for me after interacting with farmers,” she says. “Some of them are losing their livestock because once the animals get into the field, which is so heavily polluted with single-use plastic, they consume these plastics, which kill them, thereby affecting the livelihood of their owners.”   In Mponela town, in Malawi’s Central region, Majiga-Kamoto says around 40% of slaughtered livestock in the area were found to have ingested plastic fragments.    Majiga-Kamoto’s grassroots movement scored an early victory – a national ban on the production, distribution and importation of thin plastics. But the plastics lobby wasn’t about to give up easily.    Before the ban could be realized, the Malawi Plastics Manufacturing Association appealed the policy, and the court granted a stay order halting its implementation.   Majiga-Kamoto would not be defeated. She formed a coalition of activists and NGOs to compel the government toward implementation.   With the coalition, she advocated for the plastics ban in the news media and among journalists, documented livestock killed by plastic consumption, drawing affected farmers into the campaign, and brought on a public interest lawyer to join the case.   “We organized several marches — marched to the court and in communities to document their experiences and the challenges they encountered because of the plastic problem we have in the country,” Majiga-Kamoto told CNN.   After a protracted legal battle with plastic manufacturers, the Malawi Supreme Court upheld a national ban on the production, importation, distribution, and use of thin plastics.   In early 2020, they closed operations of three companies illegally producing thin plastics. In September 2020, the government impounded the plastic-making machinery of a company violating the ban and threatened a two-year jail sentence for the company director if violations continued.   Meanwhile, Majiga-Kamoto worries about Malawi’s inability to process recycled plastic waste.”Malawi is very far behind. Recycling of waste requires technology and we do not have a lot of that technology,” she said.   Majiga-Kamoto is one of six global winners of the prestigious award for 2021, which honors grassroots environmental activists.  More information and videos about the winners can be found on the Goldman Prize website – www.goldmanprize.org  

Newswire: Ending Virtual-School Oppression: Black students disproportionately punished for harmless behavior at home during zoom classes

Special to the Trice Edney News Wire from the Southern Poverty Law Center

(TriceEdneyWire.com) – Isaiah Elliott was suspended from seventh grade for holding a toy gun in an online art class. Ka’Mauri Harrison, 9, faced nearly two weeks of suspension for picking up a BB gun in his own bedroom – after his brother had tripped over it. A 15-year-old girl was incarcerated for not doing her homework, which violated parole. All three students have at least three things in common: They were punished for normal childhood behavior, they were in their own homes at the time of their petty offenses, and they are all Black. As Black students shifted from the classroom to online learning during the COVID-19 pandemic, harsher disciplinary measures that had been carried out against them at school followed them home. “Zoom suspensions followed similar patterns to in-person classroom management tactics that feed Black students into the school-to-prison pipeline,” Cory Collins, a senior writer for the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Learning for Justice program, points out in his story “It Was Always About Control.” The story is featured in the latest edition of Teaching Tolerance magazine, a publication of Learning for Justice. Prisons and schools have much in common, says Dr. David Stovall, a professor of Black studies, criminology, law and justice at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Hallway protocols, restrictive bathroom policies, surveillance cameras and metal detectors can be found in both places. “It’s something a little more insidious” than the school-to-prison pipeline, Stovall says, arguing that students “are reminded based on the discipline and curriculum policies that they’re in a de facto prison in those spaces.” It’s a particularly acute problem for Black students. Nationally, Black students are nearly four times as likely to face suspension as white students, according to an analysis of public data by ProPublica. In Wisconsin, they are 7.5 times as likely as white students to face suspension, and roughly six times as likely in Minnesota and Connecticut. In fact, Black students were overrepresented in every punishment measure that was evaluated in a 2018 analysis by the U.S. Government Accountability Office, regardless of poverty level or type of school. Whether students are learning at a distance or in person, punitive policies are harming them, Collins writes, citing academic experts and civil rights advocates. Instead, schools across the country should take a systematic approach to undoing structures that rely on compliance and punitive discipline rather than students’ learning and overall well-being. “It’s a pathway that is sadly well-worn and very visible,” says Miriam Rollin, the director of the Education Civil Rights Alliance, which was convened by the National Center for Youth Law. “Our system is failing kids, and we need to hold that system accountable.” Dr. Nataki Gregory, CEO of CT3, an organization that provides training focused on relationship building and student engagement with a view to higher achievement, instructs school leaders to consider who benefits from a policy and who is harmed by it. “Because the truth is there are some of these policies that just make zero sense and have nothing to do with learning,” she says. “It’s really just about compliance or oppression. And if that’s what you’re trying to bring into the school, then you have the wrong focus.” Collins wrote: “Before a Colorado school suspended Isaiah Elliott for holding a toy gun, they sent a police officer to his home. ‘You put his life in jeopardy,’ his mother said to the school – a school that had followed its systems and policies exactly as designed.”

President Biden signs Juneteenth Holiday into law

 Nancy Pelosi with Congressional Black Caucus members at signing

By Stacy M.Brown NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent

Beginning on Friday, June 18, federal employees enjoyed the country’s 12th – and perhaps most significant – paid holiday. President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris held a signing ceremony, officially marking Juneteenth as a federal holiday. Because Juneteenth falls on a Saturday this year, workers are enjoying the new holiday one day early. “Black history is American history, and I am proud to stand alongside President Biden and my fellow congressional colleagues in reaffirming that sacred principle,” Congressional Black Caucus Chair Joyce Beatty (D-Ohio) stated. “While we rightfully celebrate this momentous moment today, the Congressional Black Caucus recognizes that the work to build a brighter tomorrow for Black Americans is far from over. ‘Our Power, Our Message’ remains the same: equity, equality, and justice for all people.” Before attending the White House signing ceremony, Congresswoman Beatty witnessed the bill’s engrossment while flanked by CBC members and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. President Biden and Vice President Harris had made it a mission of their administration to undo as much systemic racism and defeat White supremacy. With a diverse cabinet and staff, and policies that aim to level the playing field for African Americans and other people of color, the administration has worked diligently in living up to its mission. Juneteenth was established on June 19, 1865, more than two years after the issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation. Union soldiers – led by General Gordon Granger – arrived in Galveston, Texas, with the news that the Civil War was over and all previously enslaved people were free. President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation in September 1862 to free enslaved people in Confederate states. However, it wasn’t until nearly three years later that news of the proclamation reached Black people in Texas. The fight to formally recognize Juneteenth has been a decades-long effort culminating in the broad bipartisan passage of the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act. Before the U.S. House of Representatives’ historic vote, Congresswoman Beatty called on her colleagues to support the measure. “You can’t change the future if you can’t acknowledge the past,” she proclaimed. Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), Chairwoman of the House Committee on Financial Services, applauded signage of the bill. However, Congresswoman Waters said recognition comes 156 years late. “While this is certainly welcomed, it comes 156 years late, and after legislation to protect voting rights and address police abuse sits idle because of Republican Senators who refuse to understand the need to protect our communities and our right to participate in this democracy,” the congresswoman asserted. “To put this moment into perspective, the establishment of Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a federal holiday happened in 1986, and we are still fighting for our civil rights,” she stated. Congresswoman Waters continued: “We are still waiting for Senate passage of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. We are still waiting for lynching to be classified as a federal hate crime. We are still waiting for the terrorists who destroyed Black Wall Street during the Tulsa Race Massacre to be held accountable, and we are still waiting for Black history to be accurately taught in our schools.” The congresswoman insisted further that “as we celebrate the passage of this legislation, let us be clear that we will not be distracted or appeased.” “We will not simply accept Juneteenth as a federal holiday in exchange for real action that honors our history and our place in this country and moves us closer to achieving justice,” Congresswoman Waters remarked. She said she fully expects her colleagues to join her urgent calls for the passage of the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and the Senate passage of the For the People Act. “In the final analysis, it will be shown that platitudes and niceties are one thing but having the courage and taking real action on this issue is another,” Congresswoman Waters demanded. “Let us honor this day by working toward a nation in which Black lives and Black votes are protected and respected.”

Greenetrack, Inc. sponsors First Juneteenth celebration in Greene County

Greene County can boast of extraordinary and consistent efforts to celebrate and commemorate significant social, political, and cultural change events that had positive impacts on all of Greene County and beyond, but Greene County has never celebrated Juneteenth. Through the efforts of Spiver Gordon, the county celebrates Greene County Freedom Day, July 29, 1969, when the 80% + Black population won a sweep of county political offices. Gordon also leads annual celebrations and commemorations of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s, birthday, January 15, 1929 and assassination, April 4, 1968. But Greene County has never celebrated Juneteenth. We have celebrated Kwanzaa in Greene County over 30 years and the Black Belt Folk Roots Festival for 45 years. But Greene County has never celebrated Juneteenth. We have Boligee Day and Maydays in Forkland and Union. But Greene County has never celebrated Juneteenth. Juneteenth (a contraction of June and nineteenth) also known as Freedom Day, Jubilee Day, Liberation Day, and Emancipation Day – is a holiday celebrating the emancipation of Black people enslaved in the United States. June 19, 1865 is the date Texas was forced to free enslaved Black people in the state, nearly three years after the initial Emancipation Proclamation of President Abraham Lincoln. Juneteenth is now coming to Greene County. According to President and CEO, Luther Winn, Greenetrack is sponsoring the First Juneteenth Celebration in Greene County. The events, scheduled for Saturday, June 19, 2021 on the grounds of Greenetrack gaming, County Road 208, will feature a Car and Bike Show at 2:00 p.m, garnering $500 to the winner in each category; Ms. Juneteenth Pageant at 4:00 pm, awarding cash prizes starting at $2,500 along with a Smart TV; and a free concert featuring Steve Perry and Ms. Jodi, beginning at 7:00 p.m. On June 19, 1865, Federal Troops forced Texas to free enslaved Black people, who should have been set free at the official close of the Civil War. The Battle of Appomattox Court House, fought in Appomattox County, Virginia, on the morning of April 9, 1865, was one of the last battles of the American Civil War (1861–1865). It was the final engagement of Confederate General in Chief, Robert E. Lee, and his Army of Northern Virginia before it surrendered to the Union Army of the Potomac under the Commanding General of the United States, Ulysses S. Grant. Abraham Lincoln issued the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation on September 22, 1862. It stipulated that if the Southern states did not cease their rebellion by January 1, 1863, then Proclamation would go into effect. When the Confederacy did not yield, Lincoln issued the final Emancipation Proclamation on January 1st, 1863. The Emancipation Proclamation only applied to the states in rebellion. The Civil War and enslavement of Blacks continued until Lee’s surrender on April 9, 1865. Enforcement of the Proclamation generally relied on the advance of Union troops. Texas, as the most remote of the slave states, had a low presence of Union troops as the American Civil War ended; thus enforcement there had been slow and inconsistent before Granger’s announcement. Juneteenth is thus commemorated on the anniversary date of the June 19, 1865, announcement of General Order No. 3 by Union Army General Gordon Granger, proclaiming freedom from slavery in Texas. Originating in Galveston, Texas, Juneteenth is now celebrated annually on June 19 throughout the United States, with increasing official recognition.

Letter to the Editor

Letter to the Editor

United Mine Workers Food Pantry requests assistance

Editor’s Note: The Women’s Auxiliary of the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) has written a letter for help with their Food Pantry, which is providing food and essential items to the 1,100 coal mining families, north of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, who have been on strike for two months, against Warrior Met. The company, which was formed by Wall Street hedge funds, took the company out of bankruptcy, more than five years ago, by getting wage and benefit concessions from the workers. The company promised to restore the cuts once they became profitable but they have refused to follow through on their promises leading to this strike.

This letter was originally sent to Ryan Haney, Teamsters Local 745 in Texas, who traveled to Alabama to support the strike.

Dear Editor: We have been on strike at Warrior Met Coal LLC. in Brookwood, Alabama since April 1st, 2021. Currently the UMWA local members are picketing 24 hours a day seven days a week. For many families the strike has stopped their only source of income, this is a battle that has to be fought. With solidarity and support from our brothers and sisters across the nation we are doing our part to keep the strike moving forward one day longer. At the beginning of May we saw that the need was growing for families to receive assistance in the form of food, hygiene, and baby products so I spoke with [UMWA local officer] Larry Spencer and we set up a PayPal account for donations to help provide these families with essential items. Our Auxiliary for Locals #2245 and #2368 is newly formed while Auxiliary #2397 has been established for 31 years. We are working side by side in this venture. Each week we make and distribute 200 bags to families. As the strike continues the number of families will grow. We know this unfair labor practices strike will not be won quickly as one of the company negotiators has stated several times, “We will starve them out”. The UMWA auxiliary members are doing everything we can to make sure no union family goes hungry or without basic needs. We are also planning ahead in how we can help relieve some of the financial burden from families when school starts back in August. We are planning bookbags with socks and school supplies to make sure the children of the UMWA will have what they need to be successful in the classroom. We know the result of our contract negotiations at Warrior Met will set a precedent for all unions who have contract negotiations in the future. We are not only fighting for our own families but for all union families.    Thank you for your support, 

Haeden Wright Auxiliary President Locals #2245/2368

Amy Kelly Auxiliary Financial Secretary Locals #2245/2368

Cheri Goodwin Auxiliary Committee Member Local #2397

Connie Jones Auxiliary Committee Member Locals #2245/2368

 

You can support this effort by sending funds to: https://www.paypal.com/paypalme/UMWAStrikePantry or UMWA Strike Aid Fund, P. O. Box 513, Dumfries, VA 22026

Newswire: Biden unveils efforts to eliminate racial wealth gap during Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial speech

Ruins of Greenwood District after Race Riots, Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA, American National Red Cross Photograph Collection, June 1921. (Photo by: GHI/Universal History Archive/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

Aftermath of the 1921 Tulsa massacre (Universal Archive/Getty)

By: Charise Frazier, Newsone

President Joe Biden  layed out a series of ventures aimed towards reversing the wealth gap between Black and white Americans on Tuesday during a speech to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre. He is also visited the historic site and spent time with survivors and descendants. Biden is the first sitting president to visit the Greenwood, Oklahoma, neighborhood, home to the descendants of Black Americans who were slaughtered in one of the largest race-fueled hate crimes, claiming the lives of over 300 Black community members while also abolishing a prosperous economic Black business district. The Tulsa Race Massacre is the greatest act of racial terror committed by whites in a United States city against an African descended community. It is a stark example of the failure of the U.S. democracy to provide justice for race-based terroristic violence – to require reparative justice – thus, condoning it. It is one of many instances where state, local and federal governments failed to acknowledge and repair the injuries wrought by terroristic violence against Black people. The failure to repair these historic injuries that have present-day consequences increases the urgency for passage of H.R. 40, the Commission to Study and Develop Reparations Proposals for African-Americans Act, and like state bills. Passage of H.R. 40 is one of the policy demands from the Movement for Black Lives’ Vision for Black Lives policy platform. The Tulsa Race Massacre was promulgated by an angry, white mob that included city police and aided by the Oklahoma National Guard that flattened much of the Greenwood District, an all-Black community. The result was the death of at least 300 Greenwood residents, the exile of many including leaders of the community and the loss and destruction of real and personal property. Estimates of the total property damage have amounted to approximately $4 million at 1921 rates; $58 million at 2020 rates. On Tuesday Biden’s address covered several initiatives which include redirecting federal purchasing power to distribute aid to minority-owned businesses, allocating $10 billion to help rebuild disenfranchised communities which often house majority Black populations. Biden also plans to direct $15 billion to help boost transportation in areas that have historically faced difficulty with access to public transit. In 2019, the median wealth gap of Black households in the United States amounted to $24,100, compared with $189,100 for white households, according to a report by the Center for American Progress. “The average Black household had $142,330 in 2019 compared with $980,549 for the average white household.” One last initiative Biden plans to take is to target the detrimental effects of the housing appraisal market which routinely assigns low-cost values to Black-owned homes. By establishing an interagency to address the inequality, along with the assistance of the Office of Housing and Urban Development, the Biden-Harris administration hopes to counter these harmful practices which in totality aid in maintaining the disparities found in the national wealth gap “The Federal Government must reckon with and acknowledge the role that it has played in stripping wealth and opportunity from Black communities,” Biden stated in a proclamation released on Memorial Day. “The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to acknowledging the role Federal policy played in Greenwood and other Black communities and addressing longstanding racial inequities through historic investments in the economic security of children and families, programs to provide capital for small businesses in economically disadvantaged areas, including minority-owned businesses, and ensuring that infrastructure projects increase opportunity, advance racial equity and environmental justice, and promote affordable access.” However, Biden still faces criticism over his refusal to set forth a comprehensive effort to eliminate the student debt, an important tenant in reversing the wealth gap for millions of Black Americans. Lawmakers have urged Biden to cancel $50,000 worth of student debt for individuals saddled with burdensome loans. On the campaign trail Biden voiced he supported the number but voiced that through executive order, $10,000 would be the likely target. “Components of the plan are encouraging, but it fails to address the student loan debt crisis that disproportionately affects African Americans,” said Derrick Johnson, president of the NAACP during a call with administration officials regarding Biden’s appearance in Tulsa. “You cannot begin to address the racial wealth gap without addressing the student loan debt crisis.”