Newswire: Former Black Panther Sundiata Acoli wins parole appeal after nearly 50 years in prison

Sundiata Acoli

By Anoa Changa, NewsOne

After nearly 50 years in prison, Sundiata Acoli is finally going home to spend his remaining days with his daughter and loved ones. The New Jersey Supreme Court released its decision Tuesday morning granting Acoli’s bid for freedom.  
Setting aside any political concerns underlying Acoli’s case, the state Supreme Court determined the parole board’s continued denial was “not supported by substantial evidence in the record or by a reasonable weighing of the relevant factors in N.J.A.C. 10A:71-3.11(b) that govern parole.” 
“Even under the most deferential standard of review, the Board has failed to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that there is a substantial likelihood that, if released on parole, Acoli will commit a crime,” read the decision. “Acoli must be released because the statutory standards for granting parole have been met, without regard to extraneous factors like sympathy or passion or public opinion.”  
Advocates were pleased with court’s decision.
“We applaud the New Jersey Supreme Court in granting Mr. Acoli’s freedom and correcting the parole board’s improper application of the law by denying his petition for release after serving more than 49 years in prison,” said Soffiyah Elijah, Civil Rights attorney and one of the primary advocates for Acoli. “It’s time now for Mr. Acoli to live the rest of his life in the loving care of his family and community,” Elijah added.  
The preponderance of the evidence standard burden on the state is relatively low compared to the reasonable doubt standard present in criminal proceedings. New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy issued a statement expressing his disappointment and choosing to lionize law enforcement as “heroes” without any acknowledgment of why the parole board made its determination. The New Jersey State Police similarly expressed disappointment in a Facebook post.
But as the state Supreme Court noted personal feelings and opinions have no bearing on the determination of whether Acoli was eligible for parole based on his conviction arising out of the 1973 killing of Trooper Werner Foerster. According to the court’s majority, the applicable law is clear in the proper outcome. 
As NewsOne reported in January, Acoli’s release was backed by several groups, including Black law enforcement organizations.
“Holistic review of the parole hearing transcript from the full June 2016 hearing suggests the Parole Board does not fear Mr. Acoli has a substantial likelihood of future criminal activity,” explained the Black law enforcement groups in a brief supporting Acoli’s appeal. “Rather, the questioning by Parole Board members reveals a deep-seated discomfort with Mr. Acoli’s political affiliations and beliefs, anger and frustration at his unwillingness to accede to the facts of the crime as found by the jury which he has always maintained he does not remember, and concern that he has not been sufficiently punished even after all these years. Dissatisfaction with an old man’s contrition and memory does not equate to credible evidence of a substantial likelihood that he will commit a crime if released.”
His case also put a spotlight on the issues involved with those aging while incarcerated and the punitive approach of some state parole boards. Estimates suggest that continued incarceration of older individuals costs twice as much as a younger person, given the additional health needs with age.  
Lumumba Bandele, a coordinator with the Bring Sundiata Acoli Home Alliance and organizer with the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, challenged the arbitrary withholding of parole. 
“What we found nationally is there is a huge problem around parole, and people utilizing parole as a punitive measure,” Bandele said.  
It’s hard to believe the nature of the underlying charge and the politics surrounding his arrest and conviction had nothing to do with the continued incarceration. But as the state supreme court noted, it’s of no consequence to the statutory factors laid out for establishing whether Acoli was eligible for release. 
As news of Acoli’s pending release spread, the Release Aging People in Prison Campaign held a justice day action in Albany, New York. One speaker said that “revenge and perpetual punishment does not equal justice.” 
The group advocates for parole justice as a part of elder justice. A 2015 report by the Center for Justice at Columbia University argued that reducing elder incarceration is a part of comprehensive public safety strategies. The movement to release aging people has been widespread with recognition of how the application of state laws effectively converted some sentences to de-facto life sentences.  
While Acoli won his appeal, he still has yet to be released into the care of his daughter and loved ones. His family is one of many waiting for the return of their loved ones.
“There are, unfortunately, dozens of other incarcerated movement elders who are in similar positions, almost all of them are battling health issues and not just health issues, but life-threatening health issues,” Bandele previously explained.

Newswire: Black women in the South have been bracing for Roe’s fall for decades

Abortion protest march in Atlanta

By Char Adams and Bracey Harris, NBCBLK

Tight restrictions on abortion have already placed the procedure out of reach for many Black women in America — obstacles that will grow even more daunting if the landmark Roe v. Wade is overturned. 
Across the Black Belt — the Southern states where the echoes of slavery reverberate in legislation that perpetuates political and social inequities — women have long confronted overwhelming costs and logistical obstacles in seeking reproductive health care.
Earlier this week a leaked draft of a Supreme Court opinion signaled the end of abortion rights nationally, which would leave an already marginalized group, who seek abortion care at a higher rate, with less access to family planning services, resulting in poor health, education and economic outcomes, according to researchers, experts in family planning and advocates for reproductive justice.
“Women are going to die,” said Dalton Johnson, who owns an abortion clinic in Huntsville, Alabama. “It might not be as many as it was in the ’70s because we have medication abortions. There are groups that are going to have access to those — whether legally or illegally. But everybody’s not going to be able to do that and women are going to die.”
If Roe falls, many women in the South will turn to a network of grassroots organizations and advocacy groups led by Black women that has emerged out of necessity to fill gaps in health care coverage and the social safety net. These groups have already been helping women who struggle to compile the cash — and coordinate the time away from work, child care and transportation — that are necessary to get the procedure.
Laurie Bertram Roberts, the executive director of the Yellowhammer Fund, an Alabama-based nonprofit that offers funding and support for women who have abortions, recalls a woman who received financial aid after having to choose between paying her electric bill and paying for her abortion.
“One time, it was bailing somebody out of jail to get their abortion,” she said. Roberts and other reproductive rights advocates and leaders of small abortion funds across the South said that while they’re not ready for the challenge of Roe being overturned, they are as prepared as they can be.
“We’ve been planning for this possibility for several years,” Roberts said. “This isn’t a new threat, but it’s a larger threat. So many states could lose abortion access at once. Like 2,300 to 3,000 people get abortions at the clinic in Jackson, Mississippi, a year. How do you reroute 3,000 people out of state?”
Nearly two dozen states are likely to ban or severely restrict abortion access if Roe is overturned, and 13 have “trigger laws” to ban abortion immediately, according to an NBC News analysis of data from the Center for Reproductive Rights, which support abortion access. Advocates, organizers and experts all agree that Black women in the South will bear the brunt of these restrictions. 
Black people make up about 38 percent of Mississippi’s population, according to recent Census data, but they accounted for 74 percent of abortions in the state in 2019, according to the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation. Alabama’s figures are similar, with Black people accounting for about 27 percent of the state’s population but 62 percent of abortions. 
Johnson pointed out that low-income patients and people of color already have to navigate a health care system that can be inattentive and discriminatory. But people with work obligations, financial struggles and lack of transportation also simply have a more difficult time getting to abortion providers in other states. This, organizers said, means they would be even less likely to get an abortion if Roe is overturned — worsening a cycle that perpetuates poverty for Black people. 
Research shows that unintended pregnancies hold people back from completing their education and getting and keeping jobs and can lead to poor health and economic outcomes for their children. People denied abortions are more likely to live in poverty, with economic instability and poor physical health. “It’s people who have been pushed to the margins,” said Monica Simpson, the executive director of SisterSong, a Georgia-based reproductive justice organization that serves people of color. “It’s those living in states where access has been completely obliterated, they’re going to be impacted most — that’s people of color, low-income folks, queer, trans and gender-nonconforming folks.”
Black organizers have argued that Roe has always been “insufficient” for Black people who lack resources. So, they have resolved that the work after Roe will look a lot like the work they’ve been doing to fight for reproductive justice for decades — but intensified. 

‘Every dollar counts so much’ 

For two weeks in April, the New Orleans Abortion Fund, which primarily assists patients in Southern states, had to inform callers and clinics that it was out of money for the month.
Although the fund is back up and running, A.J. Haynes, the board chair, expressed concerns last month that the nonprofit would be unable to raise enough money to help every caller in need. 
Many of the callers the fund supports live in states where the choice to have an abortion is more fatiguing than workable. Mississippi and Louisiana have the nation’s highest poverty rates, and residents make deep sacrifices to scrape up enough for their appointments. 
In 2021, most of the nonprofit’s callers were Black. More than half asking for help already had at least one child and received health insurance through Medicaid. Under the Hyde Amendment, people on Medicaid cannot access federal funding for abortion care.  
“Every dollar counts so much here,” Haynes said. “Every dollar is gas in someone’s tank. Every dollar is literal food in someone’s mouth.”
Across the Deep South, access to abortion care is already buckling, said Johnson, the Alabama clinic owner. The fallout from a Texas law banning abortions after six weeks of pregnancy has spilled over into surrounding states as clinics like Johnson’s serve an influx of new patients. Women in Mississippi, where the only abortion clinic in the state provides treatment up to 16 weeks of pregnancy, might travel hundreds of miles to the Alabama Women’s Center if they need a procedure further into their second trimester.
In 2020, abortion funds gave more than $10 million to support more than 400,000 people, according to the National Network of Abortion Funds, which includes Yellowhammer along with some 88 funds across the country — a majority of them in the South — and three international funds. 
But the locally run funds — many launched by Black organizers — can face an uphill battle in securing resources, even as donations flood Planned Parenthood and other national groups. 
“They will have to raise more money,” said Marcela Howell, president and CEO of the National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda. “This will intensify their work. They will need more money to actually achieve what they’re trying to do. They’ll have to build their existing systems up to higher levels.” 
For more information and to donate, contact: YellowhammerFund.org or call 205/582-4950.

Newswire : Germans fail to pay up for sacking Namibia’s indigenous lands

Protest of Germany’s action toward Africa

 

May, 2, 2022 (GIN) – Reparations—a system of redress for egregious injustices—are not a foreign idea imposed from the outside on the United States. On the contrary, the U.S. has given lands to Native Americans, paid $1.5 billion to Japanese Americans interned in the U.S. during World War II, and helped Jews receive reparations for the Holocaust, including making various investments over time. 
But the U.S. has yet to compensate descendants of Black Americans enslaved for their labor nor has it atoned for the lost equity from segregated housing, transportation and business policy. And no one will forget that American slavery was particularly brutal. 
Calls for justice are now resounding ever more loudly in the U.S. and around the world. European countries which benefited greatly from wealth stolen in the colonial era are struggling to respond. While several are taking initial steps to return some of what was seized, much more needs to be done.
One country that has managed to dodge financial restitution is Germany. Last year, Europe’s biggest economy offered just over $1 billion over 30 years for what Berlin said “from today’s perspective, would be called genocide” of indigenous communities. 
Much of the stolen wealth is in art and artifacts. More than 90 percent of the most prominent sub-Saharan African pieces of art are currently outside of the continent, writes Rokhaya Diallo in the Washington Post. To keep such pieces of art on French soil, she noted, France made them untransferable. Pressure from African countries made France acknowledge the unfairness, passing a law to return cultural goods to Benin and Senegal.
Madagascar was given back the crown of Queen Ranavalona III – one of the most precious symbols of Malagasy national pride.
Last but not least, more than a century after the horrendous genocide perpetrated in Namibia that killed 80 percent of the Herero and 50 percent of the Nama population, Germany started a discussion with the Namibian government in 2015 to “heal the wounds” caused by the historical cruelty.
A token amount was promised to the Namibian people, after years of activism from Namibian and Black German organizations. But the declaration failed to mention “reparations” or “compensation,” and Germany avoided any direct discussion with the Herero and the Nama. Parliamentarian Inna Hengari called this “insulting.”
While Namibian President Hage Geingob’s government accepted the offer, parliament did not, calling it insufficient. The deal is now on hold.
“That deal was never about us,” said Nandi Mazeingo, chair of the Ovaherero Genocide Foundation. “You kill 80 percent of a community and offer a billion dollars spread over 30 years?” Germany, he said, must talk to communities directly.
According to the Namibia Statistics Agency, white farmers own 70 percent of commercial farmland, while “previously disadvantaged” groups own 16 percent. “Land is what made (Germans) rich,” Mbakumua Hengari told the Financial Times. “For the Herero and Nama, it was the start of trans-generational impoverishment.”
Meanwhile, Uganda has been ordered to pay the Democratic Republic of Congo $325 million for the occupation and plundering of its Eastern province more than 20 years ago – the largest reparation award by an international court for gross violations of human rights and for violations of international humanitarian law. 

COVID-19

As of May 2, 2022, at 10:00 AM
(According to Alabama Political Reporter)

Alabama had 1,301,171 confirmed cases of coronavirus,
(2,034) more than last week with 19,570 deaths (29) more
than last week)

Greene County had 1,875 confirmed cases, (2) more cases than last week), with 48 deaths

Sumter Co. had 2,586 cases with 51 deaths

Hale Co. had 4,731 cases with 106 deaths

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

Eutaw City Council seeks new engineer, passes zoning ordinance for Courthouse Square, plans for next round of ARPA funding

By: John Zippert, Co-Publisher and Editor

The Eutaw City Council met for two regular meetings on April 12 and 26, 2022 to carry out city business and deal with the physical and financial health of the city.

At the April 12th meeting, the City Council approved a motion, originated by Councilman LaJeffrey Carpenter and approved by all the members to terminate the contract of Babbs Engineering and request return of unspent funds on a $40,000 contract for a mapping the city’s utility systems. Carpenter said, Babbs took too long in generating the promised maps.

Torris Babbs of Babbs Engineering, an African-American firm, in an interview with the Democrat said he had completed the mapping paid for by the $40,000 contract. “We located more than 10,000 points of digital information to construct our maps. The city did not have the computer software until recently to read and display our maps, that was part of the delay,” said Babbs.

Babbs said he continued to work on coordinating the map he developed of above ground and underground utilities with the Google Earth Maps to insure they were congruent, up-to-date and showed the proper location and elevations of properties in the city. “There is a misunderstanding of the engineering work I did and the work I continued to do, under my monthly retainer. I will still give this information to the city, but I do not think the Council understands or appreciates the task we were doing and the complex map we were developing, which would help the city with planning and projects into the future.”

The Mayor said the City of Eutaw was advertising for a new engineering firm. At the April 12 meeting, the Council authorized the Stan Nelson and Jonathan R, Bonner of Insite Engineering of Tuscaloosa, to pursue two $30,000 grants from USDA Rural Development to evaluate the city’s water and sewer systems. To this reporter, the work that these engineers were seeking to do was very similar to the work that Babbs says he has already done.

These engineers said they did not charge a fee but would be paid out of the grants if they were obtained. These engineers said that the city needed to get audited financial statements to enhance the chances for government grant assistance going forward.

At the April 26, 2022 Council meeting an agenda item: “Approve Engineer Services Agreement between the City of Eutaw and Craig P. Williams, P. E.” was tabled because council members said they wanted to meet and speak to this engineer before he was employed. Mayor Latasha Johnson said she would arrange the meeting and that it may require a special called meeting because an engineer was needed to help with the many grant applications that the City planned to submit.

Zoning Ordinance change

At the April 12 meeting, the City Council approved a recommendation from the Eutaw Planning Commission on an Ordinance amending Chapter 98, Section 98-5 and Section 98-87 of the Code of the City of Eutaw. This ordinance would amend the zoning of the business area of the Thomas E. Gilmore Square (old Courthouse Square) to prohibit businesses that derived more than 50% of their revenues from the sale of alcoholic beverages from locating in this downtown area, adjacent to the William M. Branch Courthouse and Eutaw City Hall.

This ordinance raised some controversy, because the REACH Inc. church related corporation, has purchased a number of vacant properties on the Courthouse Square and around Eutaw, for the purpose of rehabilitating the properties and leasing them to businesses. REACH purchased three adjoining buildings of the Square including the ‘John’s Bar Building’, which they were planning to lease to some people to open a “sports bar”.

Sandra Walker of REACH says, “We feel this ordinance was adopted to prevent us from using the properties we purchased, to help the city’s growth and development, be used for its best purposes.” Mayor Johnson said that the John’s Bar property had never been issued an alcoholic beverage license.
However, the Greene County Democrat newspaper reported that the Eutaw City Council voted at its February 27, 2018 meeting to grant Raymond Steele, former mayor, a “liquor license for John’s Bar”.

At the 12th.meeting, in the Public Comments section, Fanny Granthum also of REACH, read a December 7, 2020 letter on City of Eutaw stationery, signed by Mayor Latasha Johnson, confirming that Steele had been granted a liquor license for John’s Bar and Grill in Eutaw. The Democrat has received a copy of this letter. Steele never utilized the permission to get a liquor license or opened John’s as a bar for the public.

Walker said, “REACH is disappointed by the actions and statements of the Mayor and Council. It seems that they adopted the ordinance to prevent us from opening a sports bar on the Square. They went to the Planning Commission not the Zoning Commission to get the recommendation for the ordinance. They never really officially had a hearing where the public could make its views known. The Mayor denied that a license had been issued but we have a letter from her saying the City did approve the license and placed it in its official minutes.”

“REACH has been trying to help revitalize the city by buying up vacant properties, rehabilitating them and leasing the buildings to attract new businesses to Eutaw. We will locate the sports bar in one of our other buildings or we will open a combination restaurant and sports bar that will comply with the new zoning requirements,” said Walker.

At the April 26th meeting the Council approved a budget for $309,000 of city improvement projects to be paid for with the city’s second installment of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) COVID relief funds from the Federal government. The budget proposal may be revised based on the most pressing needs. The City also adopted a list of nine storm sewer and street repair and improvement projects to recommend for infrastructure funding from ALDOT, ADECA and ADEM state agencies. Before the council meeting ended, other needed road and street projects were recommended for the list.

In other actions, The Eutaw City Council:

• Opening of bids and sale of surplus items, with some exceptions where the bids were too low.
• Authorized the Mayor and City attorney to negotiate contract with the Town of Boligee on water and sewer services; and a water/sewer billing with Consolidated Catfish Company.
• Approved Lease-purchase with John Deere Sun South for 4 mowers, tractor, bushhog and accessories.
• Approved quote to repair/replace values for Armory Water Tank.
• Approved payment of claims for Anthony Taylor and Earl Purse Jr.
• Approved “Strength in Numbers”, A Black Belt Gathering for Sexual Assault Victims, on Saturday, April 30 at Carver School, starting at 11:00 AM until 2:00 PM.
• Approved 2022 “Back-to-School” sales tax holiday.
• Approved 2022 Spring Clean-up Day for Saturday, April 30, 2022 from 8:00AM until Noon.
• Set May 17, 2022 at 4:00 PM for City Handbook Work Session.
• Approved payment of all bills.

FOGCE Federal Credit Union dedicates board room to former manager, Willie Carpenter, Mr. Credit Union

Shown Lot R standing before the photo and plaques honoring Mr. Willie Lee Carpenter:
Mrs. Bobbie L. Carpenter, wife; Mr. Cheyenne Moore, friend; Ms. Kimberly Carpenter, daughter; Carol P. Zippert, FOGCE Board President.
Mrs. Joyce Pham, FOGCE Credit Union Manager and Mr. Rodney Pham are shown unveiling the photo and plaques at the dedication of the credit union’s board room to Mr. Willie Lee Carpenter.

The Federation of Greene County Federal Credit Union (FOGCE) dedicated its board Room to the late Mr. Willie Lee Carpenter, who served as manager and board treasurer of the credit union for over thirty years. Mr. Carpenter’s wife Bobbie J. Carpenter, his daughter Kimberly and friend Cheyenne Moore were present for the dedication held Thursday, April 21, 2022. Members of the credit union’s board, supervisory committee and credit committee, who worked very closely with Carpenter over the years, were also present.
The signage on the wall of the Willie Lee Carpenter Board Room displays a photo of Mr.
Carpenter; a circular plaque identifying the room as well as a photo plaque depicting the credit union’s office and a summary of Carpenter’s contributions.
During the dedication, credit union officials extended their deepest appreciation to Willie’s family for their sacrifices relative to the long hours of service in those 30+ years he gave to the credit union.
The dedication was followed by a reception which afforded all present more time to share
personal stories of how Willie affected their lives and participation in the credit union.
During Willie Carpenter’s managerial tenure, the FOGCE Federal Credit Union became a
Million Dollar Credit Union, with current assets of $1.4+ million. He also witnessed the credit union securing its own facility, after borrowing space to operate with various local organizations during its first 20 years of operation.
Mr. Carpenter’s remarkable service to the credit union and the community was evident during the more than thirty years he led the organization as Manager. He was active in recruiting individuals to join the credit union from his place of employment, Winchester Carton (now West Rock), as well as from the various institutions and businesses in the county, including the county government, the county school system, the county hospital and Greenetrack,. Inc.
In the 1990’s, Mr. Carpenter was a lead organizer in developing a Youth Credit Union Project in Greene County. The young people involved were trained in operating a credit union, including forming their own board of directors, credit committee and supervisory committee. They learned the value of saving by pooling their resources together and depositing as a group in the FOGCE credit union. He accompanied the members of the youth group to various workshop trainings to enhance their understanding and appreciation of a community based credit union.
Willie Lee Carpenter was known as the man who operated the FOGCE Federal Credit Union from his pocket. He carried membership cards with him, (and some say loan applications as well) always ready to enroll new members and serve them. In the county where he was loved so well, he was affectionately referred to as Mr. Credit Union.

Greene County High School -Hair Show

Are you ready to be WOWED and AMAZED?  Well if so come out and support the cosmetology department as they present Hair Show 2022.  This show will consist of three categories: candyland, the 90’s, and fantasy as well as other entertainment. This event will be held Friday, May 6th at 5p.m, at Greene County High School.  The admission is $10.  There will also be a silent auction for a barbeque grill constructed by the welding department under the instruction of Mr. Zachary Rutledge.
Bidding will start at $100.00 and the grill will be on display in the foyer of Greene County High School from May 4th – 6th for bidding.
The winner will be announced at the end of the hair show.
Thank you for your support.
Ms. Paula Calligan, Cosmetology Instructor
Greene County Career Center
14223 US Hwy 11 South
Eutaw, Al 35462

Superintendent presents spotlight on Career Center programs; highlights positive news in school system

At the Greene County Board of Education’s monthly meeting, held Monday, April 18, 2022, Superintendent Dr. Corey Jones, as part of his report, called on Ms. Teresa Atkins, Greene County Career Center Director, to present a comprehensive report on the various courses and programs available to students at the Career Center. Ms. Atkins noted that the most effective message of the Career Center is Preparation for the Real World. The overall goal is to prepare well-rounded students for college, careers or the military.
In her presentation, Ms. Atkins spotlighted the following offerings: Health Science, Cosmetology, Industrial Maintenance, Business, Career Preparedness, and JROTC. In addition to these, the Career Center offers Dual Enrollment courses in HVAC and Welding, through an arrangement with Wallace Community College Selma. She explained that the dual enrollment program gives students the opportunity “…to gain a jump start on the college experience.” This affords students the opportunity to receive the Associate Degree as well as High School Graduation certification.
The preparations at the Career Center emphasize real-world skills, mentoring, and internships. This includes a focus on preparing students to earn national credentials in various career areas.
Career Tech Student Organizations include active chapters in HOSA, Skills USA, FBLA and DECA.
Continuing his report, Dr. Jones highlighted more positive news in the school system. These are featured below.
The Technology Department has launched a new Mass Notification system with Blackboard. This system provides a more personalized way of communicating by sending messages to specific audiences. Stakeholders can receive messages simultaneously via phone calls, email, text messages and social media. The system also includes a feature to notify a parent once his/her child receives an unexcused absence in Power School.
The Special Education Department attended and participated in Noah J 2nd Annual Autism Awareness Festival, Saturday, April 16, 2022.
Eutaw Primary School completed ACAP testing on April 14, 2022. AIMSWEB-Scholars will be tested in various domains related to reading and math beginning April 25, 2022. May Day Celebration is tentatively set for the week of May 16, 2022. Scholars will be celebrated for their accomplishments during the 4th Nine Weeks.
Robert Brown Middle School (P.A.W.S.) Parents Always Willing To Support nominees will be highlighted in newspapers and will receive certificates and gifts. On April 18, Greene County High School scholars spoke to RBMS students to stress importance of the ACAP test. Test Taking Pep Rally Scranton Scholars and ACAP All-Stars will be recognized and GCH band will participate. RBMS P.T.A. meeting is scheduled for April 28.
Greene County High School Debate Team completed its final competition in Fairhope, AL. Jaila Brooks finishes her senior year with a total of four awards, three in first place. The GCHS Track Team is back. The boys competed at Central High School and performed well. The next track meet is April21, 2022. The Athletic Banquet was held April 14. Praise report from Program Manager from ACCESS: 30 students from GCH have a score of 70 or higher and is actively working in their ACCESS course. On April 15, Mu Alpha Theta (18 students ) traveled to Georgia to visit Great Wolf Lodge and Dave and Buster. Individual conferences have been scheduled with students to select courses for 2022-2023 school year. Eleventh grade students participated in ACT on March 29-31, 2022, with only two make-ups for 100% completion.
Dr. Jones also announced that the Alabama Legislature has passed a 4% pay raise for all employees, effective October 1, 2022. This is combined with a new salary schedule which will affect most school employees.
Superintendent Jones noted that the school system is coordinating efforts to assist the students whose families were affected by the recent tornado that hit the William M. Branch Heights community. He said buses will be re-routed to accommodate students who have been placed with their families in local hotels and other locations. Uniform dress requirements for those students have been suspended for the remainder of this school year. Other assistance that the school system can provide will be forthcoming.
The board approved the following personnel items recommended by the superintendent.
One-time supplemental payment for Janice Jeames Askew for additional duties Greene County High School.
One-time supplemental payment for Rosalyn Robinson for additional duties at Robert Brown Middle School.
The board approved the following administrative items:
* Payment of all bills, claims, and payroll.
* Bank reconciliations as submitted by Ms. Marquita Lennon, CSFO.
* Memorandum of Agreement between Greene County Board of Education and Community Service Program of West Alabama, Inc. Head Start/Early Head Start.
* Resolution for Conveyance of Birdine Property to Town of Forkland.

Newswire: UN chief joins Rwandese to denounce ‘deliberate, systematic’ use of genocide

Poster on genocide in Rwanda

Apr. 11, 2022 (GIN) – Speaking by video on the International Day of Reflection on the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged the world community to choose humanity over hatred; compassion over cruelty; courage over complacency and reconciliation over rage.
 
If anyone missed the underlying message, the U.N. chief had quietly linked the horror of the genocide of one million Rwandans to the “sickening violence” now taking place in the Ukraine. While we honor the memory of those who died, he said poignantly, “we must reflect on our failures as an international community.”
 
As the Secretary-General spoke, Rwandan President Paul Kagame on April 7 laid a wreath at a memorial site in the capital, Kigali, where more than 800,000 Tutsi and moderate Hutu were killed. The ceremony marked the beginning of a week of somber events.
 
“Imagine people being hunted down day and night for who they are,” the President said. “Also imagine if those of us who were carrying arms, if we had allowed ourselves to pursue those who were killing our people indiscriminately.”
 
“First of all, we would be right to do so. But we didn’t. We spared them. Some of them are still living today, in their homes, villages. Others are in government and business.”
 
The Secretary-General drew attention to the principle of Responsibility to Protect; his Call to Action, which puts human rights at the heart of the organization. “I have placed the agenda of prevention at the center of our work”.
 
Yet, he added, “much more could have – and should have – been done. A generation after the events, the stain of shame endures.”
 
“Rwanda today stands as a powerful testament of the human spirit’s ability to heal even the deepest wounds and emerge from the darkest depths to rebuild a stronger society”, he continued. After having suffered “unspeakable gender-based violence”, women in Rwanda now hold 60 percent of parliamentary seats.
 
And Rwanda is the fourth largest UN peacekeeping contributor, which Mr. Guterres said was helping to spare others, “the pain they themselves have known.”
 
Meanwhile, Ukraine is in flames; old and new conflicts are festering in the Middle East, Africa and beyond – while the Security Council is agreeing “mostly to disagree”.
 
While looking back with remorse, the Secretary-General urged everyone to look ahead “with resolve” and commit to “be ever vigilant” and never forget.
 
“Let us pay meaningful tribute to the Rwandans who perished by building a future of dignity, tolerance, and human rights for all,” he concluded.
 
“We always have a choice,” he said, “and perpetrators can no longer assume impunity.”
 

COVID-19

As of April 11, 2022, at 10:00 AM
(According to Alabama Political Reporter)

Alabama had 1,297,091 confirmed cases of coronavirus,
(1,623) more than last week with 19,379 deaths (89) more
than last week)

Greene County had 1,869 confirmed cases, (1) more cases than last week), with 48 deaths

Sumter Co. had 2,575 cases with 51 deaths

Hale Co. had 4,714 cases with 105 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.