Daryl George, 17, student at Texas high school suspended for hairstyle
By Chandelis Duster, CNN
CNN — A Black Texas high school student who was suspended because his loc hairstyle violated the district’s dress code was suspended again upon his return to school Monday, an attorney for the family told CNN.
Darryl George has been suspended for more than two weeks because his loc hairstyle violates the Barbers Hill Independent School District dress and grooming code, according to his family. The code states that “male students’ hair will not extend, at any time, below the eyebrows or below the ear lobes,” CNN previously reported. Allie Booker, an attorney representing the family, told CNN Tuesday that school officials have asked George and his mother to meet to discuss the continued disciplinary action over his hairstyle violations. The family has been given a Wednesday deadline to meet with school officials, the lawyer said. “What I expect for them to try to do is to put him out of school,” Booker told CNN. “But they won’t do it with our consent.” The family was previously told the teen would be placed in a Disciplinary Alternative Education Program, also known as alternative school, if he didn’t cut his hair, Booker said. In a statement shared with CNN, David Bloom, director of communications for the Barbers Hill Independent School District, said the district is “unable to provide any comment with respect to disciplinary matters involving a student.” George, a junior at Barbers Hill High School in Mont Belvieu, received multiple disciplinary action notes and was placed on in-school suspension for wearing his locs hairstyle in a ponytail, his mother, Darresha George, previously told CNN. She said Darryl was suspended the same week the state’s CROWN Act, a law prohibiting discrimination based on one’s hair texture or protective hairstyle such as locs and braids, went into effect. His mother told CNN the family is considering legal action. She also said school officials told George his loc hairstyle violated the district dress code which also states, “Male students’ hair must not extend below the top of a t-shirt collar or be gathered or worn in a style that would allow the hair to extend below the top of a t-shirt collar, below the eyebrows, or below the ear lobes when let down.” George was initially reprimanded by a school official for his locs and for wearing frayed jeans, which are also prohibited. His mother previously told CNN the school said the 17-year-old he could change his clothes but he would also have to cut his hair. When the teen did not cut his hair, he was put on in-school suspension.
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — Standing at the pulpit of the Birmingham, Alabama, church where four little girls were killed by a Ku Klux Klan bomb in 1963, Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson said the nation must remember and own the uncomfortable moments of its past in order to move forward.
Jackson, the first Black woman to serve on the nation’s highest court, spoke at the 60th anniversary of the Sept. 15, 1963 bombing at 16th Street Baptist Church. “Today we remember the toll that was paid to secure the blessings of liberty for African Americans and we grieve those four children who were senselessly taken from this earth and their families robbed of their potential,” Jackson said. She said the country should celebrate the great strides that have been made since 1963 but that there is still work to do. ”The work of our time is maintaining that hard-won freedom and to that we are going to need the truth, the whole truth about our past,” Jackson said. Jackson said she knows that atrocities “like the one we are memorializing today are difficult to remember and relive” but said it is also “dangerous to forget them.” “If we are going to continue to move forward as a nation, we cannot allow concerns about discomfort to displace knowledge, truth or history. It is certainly the case that parts of this country’s story can be hard to think about,” Jackson said. Jackson did not mention any of the efforts in Republican-led states to place parameters on how race is discussed in classrooms. Instead, Jackson, who was born in 1970, gave the example of how her own parents made sure, even at a young age, that she learned about what happened in Birmingham, Selma and other battlegrounds of the Civil Rights Movement. “Yes, our past is filled with too much violence, too much hatred, too much prejudice, but can we really say that we are not confronting those same evils now? We have to own even the darkest parts of our past, understand them and vow never to repeat them,” Jackson said. Klansmen had placed a bundle of dynamite outside the church under a set of stairs on that day in 1963. The girls were gathered in a downstairs washroom before Sunday services when the blast exploded at 10:22 am. The explosion killed 11-year-old Denise McNair, and Cynthia Wesley, Carole Robertson, and Addie Mae Collins, all 14. A fifth little girl, Sarah Collins Rudolph, the sister of Addie Mae, was in the room and was severely injured — losing an eye to the explosion— but survived. The bombing came during the height of the Civil Rights Movement, eight months after then-Gov. George Wallace pledged, “segregation forever,” and two weeks after the Rev. Martin Luther King’s “ I Have a Dream” speech at the 1963 March for Jobs and Justice in Washington, D. C.
Hundreds of people, Black and white, filled the church Friday for the remembrance. The church bell tolled four times as the names of the girls were read. The crowd also stood to honor Rudolph, the “fifth little girl” in the room that day. U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell said they were standing on solemn ground where the senseless deaths “awakened a slumbering consciousness of America and galvanized the Civil Rights Movement.” For many, Jackson’s presence at the church was a poignant moment. Sewell and other speakers on Friday said the lives of the four slain Black girls are in a way intertwined with Jackson’s. They said she is the embodiment of what civil rights foot soldiers in the 1960s dreamed would be possible, and the Voting Rights Act and other gains that followed paved the way for the first Black woman on the Supreme Court. “It has been 60 years in the making. Dr. Martin Luther King said that these girls would not have died in vain and our speaker, Ketanji Brown Jackson, is the personification of that today. She is that hope,” former U.S. Sen. Doug Jones said.
The Greene County Board of Education met at its Central Office for its scheduled Budget Hearing #2, on Monday September 11, 2023, at 3:00 pm, which was followed by a special call board session at 4:00 pm. The Budget Hearing #2 provided FY 2023 Wrap-Up, Investments, Key Factors Affecting Budget Process and FY 2024 Budget Objectives and Highlights. The FY 2023 Wrap-Up indicated the supplemental appropriations funded totaled $935,656. Investments balance, as of September 30, 2022, was $2,369,225.75 at a 0.10% rate, however, CSFO Marquita Lennon indicated a new rate of 5% on investments has been negotiated for FY 2024.
The board’s proposed budget revenues for FY 2024, including the remaining the $5 million in ESSER III Funds, (Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief) total $20,405,939. Expenditures are indicated at $20,308,588.14, with a projected FY 2024 ending General Fund Balance of $4,746,747.09. The FY 2024 budget components reflect State Funds at 36% – $7,357,509; Federal Funds at 37% – $7,564,055 and Local Funds at 27% – $5,484,375. ESSER III Funds must be obligated by September 30, 2024.
Budgetary Highlights include the following:
* The System’s Average Daily Membership decreased by 30.65 (Pre-School class counts not included in the ADM); Funded teacher units decreased by 2.07; Foundation Program net increase by $140,631; Transportation funding increase by $46,041; Capitol funding decreased by $5,853; Millage local match increased by $249,870. (CSFO noted that the State Department will contribute $99,148 which can be applied to millage match).
* The system has 161 employees this year, a decrease of 3 from prior year. Current school enrollment is 858 students: Eutaw Primary – 271; Robert Brown Middle – 333; Greene County High – 254. The Budget #2 Report stated the following: “Out of the $1.82 million of local salaries budgeted, approximately $800,000 is budgeted for teacher salaries and benefits over the number of units that we have earned. This is equivalent to 10.96 (11) teachers…the system must streamline and operate within our earned units, due to ending of ESSER III Funds and possible reduction in gaming funds.” As of now the Greene County Board of Education is not receiving gaming funds.
* Major local funding for the system includes County Ad Valorem at $695,000; 4 Act 1999 at $600,000; Sales tax 2% at $500,000; Motor vehicles at $35,000; Helping Schools at $4,000;
Indirect Cost at $392,000. Totaling $2,261,000.
* The CSFO noted that plans are already in process for streamlining FY 2025 Budget.
Board’s Special Call Meeting
In its special call meeting, the school board approved the following personnel items recommended by Superintendent Dr. Corey Jones.
•Retroactively placing Ms. Barbara Martin on the salary matrix as Instructional Coordinator as of 8/29/2023 according to education and years of experience.
Administrative items approved by the board are the following:
*Approve Annual Budget for Fiscal Year October 1, 2023, through September 30, 2024.
*Lowest bid in the amount of $824,500 from Stateline Mechanical LLC to provide HVAC equipment for the Robert Brown Middle School HVAC project.
* Educational Consultant Agreement between Dr. Lucretia Prince and Greene County Board of Education for consulting and coaching services for building administrators.
* Deposit of $50,000 to Synovus Bank CD.
*Contract between Greene County Board of Education and Greene County Sheriff Department for Resource Offices for the 2023 – 2024 school year.
The Alabama Association of School Boards awarded each school board member a Certificate of Completion for meeting all training requirements for the 2022-2023 school year. AASB also awarded the board a Certificate as a Member in Good Standing. Shown L to R: Superintendent Dr. Corey Jones, Board Members Carrie Dancy, Leo Branch, Veronica Richardson, Robert Davis, and Brandon Merriweather.
The Greene County Board of Education met in regular session on August 28, 2023 with all members in attendance. Prior to beginning the official business, Board President Leo Branch called attention to an omission in the minutes of July 17, 2023. A personnel item recommended by Superintendent Dr. Corey Jones at the July meeting did not indicate how the board had acted on the item. Mr. Branch and Attorney Hank Sanders recalled that the vote was two for, two against and one abstention, thus the item failed. On a motion by Board Member Robert Davis and second by Board member Brandon Merriweather, the minutes were approved with the necessary corrections. In the personnel items recommended by Superintendent Jones, the board approved the following Resignations: Dalajah Bryant-Kemp, 6th grade teacher, Robert Brown Middle, effective July 18, 2023; Tyesha Weeks, Parent Engagement Facilitator and Homeless Liaison, effective August 1, 2023; Chandra Toney, 3rd grade teacher, Eutaw Primary School, effective August 7, 2023; Siegfried Williams, Music/Choral teacher, Greene County High and Robert Brown Middle, effective August 2, 2023; Breshayla Hoskins, 4th grade teacher, Robert Brown Middle, effective August 24, 2023; Denetria Ruffin, 7th and 8th Grade teacher, Robert Brown Middle School, effective immediately; Marshae Pelt, At-Risk Coordinator, effective September 30, 2023 and to remain on administrative leave until September 30, 2023 The board approved the following employment items recommended by Superintendent Jones: Eutaw Primary School: Tabitha Smith – Secretary/Bookkeeper; Angela Jones – 3rd grade teacher; Canesha Ray – Long-term sub (3rd grade) and to include retroactive pay from February 2023. Robert Brown Middle School-Retroactive Approval: Breshayla Hoskins – 4th grade teacher, effective August 2, 2023; Jordan Pelt – 6th grade ELA teacher; Howard Crawford – PE teacher; Tyneshia Fulgham – 6th grade Teacher; Denzel Davis – In School Suspension; Dorthea Smith – Long-term Substitute Teacher (5th grade); Cillia Morrow – Long-term Substitute (6th grade); Sharon Jones – Cook; Glenda Hodges – Long-term Substitute Behavioral Aide; Lakesha Pelt Long-T Substitute Teacher at Robert Brown Middle School. Transportation: Carla Russell – Vocational Driver (This route will transport CTE students to RBMS for Modern Manufacturing and REHVAC courses). Greene County High School: Patricia Coleman, Long-term Substitute (Biology); Khadijah Hunter Long-term Substitute (In School Suspension). Non-Acceptance of employment: Monica Watkins, Science teacher Greene County High School; Janice Jeames-Askew, Assistant Volleyball Coach. The board approved the following supplemental contracts for the 2023-2024 school term. Robert Brown Middle School: Henry Miles, Head Football Coach; Quentin Walton, Assistant Football; Greene County High School: Victoria Moore, Volleyball Coach; Torethia Mitchell, Assistant Volleyball Coach; Rodney Wesley, Varsity Basketball Boys; Halven Carodine, Assistant Varsity Basketball Boys; Shafontaye Myers, Varsity Basketball Girls; Torethia Mitchell, Assistant Varsity Basketball Girls; Ashley Moody, Assistant Varsity Basketball Girls; Quentin Walton, Boys Baseball Coach; Torethia Mitchell, Girls Softball Coach; Victoria Moore, Assistant Girl’s Softball; Howard Crawford, Track Coach, Boys; Rodney Wesley, Assistant Track Coach, Boys; Denzel Davis, Assistant Football Coach. The board approved the following personnel to work athletic events at Greene County High School for 2023-2024 school year: Latanya Cockrell, Sarah Brewer, Mary Henderson, Tracey Hunter, Twelia Morris, Wanda Gaitor, Sharon Washington. The board approved a supplement for Barbara Martin to serve as At-Risk/Testing/Accountability Coordinator for the system, effective August 29, 2023. In its personnel items, the board approved the re-enrollment of student J.T. at Greene County High School for the 2023-2024 school year. The board approved the following administrative items recommended by the superintendent. * Contract between Greene County Board and Uniti Fiber to upgrade server for 2023-2024 school term. * Agreement between Greene County Board and Greene County Ambulance Services for 2023 football game season. * Agreement between Greene County Board and West Central Volleyball Officials for 2023 volleyball season. * Approval of Gosa’s Mobile Car Wash & Detailing to detailing 20 school buses. * Approval of Greene County High School Debate Team to travel to Washington DC June 9-17, 2024. * Greene County Board Transportation Department to transport students to and from Stillman College for Upward Bound Program. •Approval of McKee and Associates as Architect for Window Replacements at Robert Brown Middle School. •NNC Morgan Construction Company to replace windows at Robert Brown Middle School. * Quote from Little’s Trucking 1 LLC for Brush cut undergrowth and Bush Haul area at Greene County High School. * Quote from Little’s Trucking 1 LLC for removal of trees and grinding of additional stumps that are present. * Clear Winds Technologies for 1yr Renewal Device Repair Services. * Quote from Riverside Technology Inc. to purchase Chrome books. * Quote from Extreme Patio to replace storm damage covers and install new awning at Eutaw Primary School. * Reynolds Electric and Refrigeration Inc. to repair AC System at Central Office. * Revision of terms for CD with Synovus Bank. * Contract between Greene County Board and Southern Regional Education Board/School Improvement for Career Tech professional Development. * Contract between Greene County Board of Education and Cynthia Crawford to serve as Technology Assistant and provide Technical Support for Greene County Schools District. * Contractual agreement between Greene County Board and BSOM to provide school consultation services for special needs students. * Purchase and Subscription Service agreement between Greene County Board and RAPTOR Technologies for visitors management system. * Purchase of parts from Reynolds Electric and Refrigeration, Inc for Welding Shop at Career Tech Center. * Renewal of Class-wallet Software for 2023-2024 school term. * Payment of all bills, claims, and payroll. * Bank reconciliations as submitted by Mrs. Marquita Lennon, CSFO. * Purchase of HVAC equipment and supplies from Source Well via Mingledorff’s for Robert Brown Middle. * Agreement between Greene County Board AND West Central Officials Associations for football officials at Robert Brown Middle for 2023 football season. •Agreement between Greene County Board and West Central Officials Associations for football officials at Greene County High for 2023 football season. All personnel and administrative items recommended by the superintendent were approved with four board members voting in the affirmative and only board member Carrie Dancy abstaining on all items. In his report to the board superintendent Dr. Corey Jones indicated the following: * COVID positive cases August 21-27: Eutaw Primary School. – 2; Robert Brown Middle School – 6; Greene County High School – 5. He stated that these numbers represented students and personnel at the schools. Dr. Jones also advised all principals to recommend wearing masks in the facilities at this stage. •Enrollment to date: EPS – 277; RBMS – 326; GCHS – 249. Total – 852 reflects four less than last year’s enrollment. “We expect the enrollment to increase after Labor Day; that usually happens,” Jones stated. •EPS has purchased a BookVending Machine. Scholars will be awarded with tokens to purchase books. After-school enrollment totals 150 scholars. Educators are now in process of completing the Beginning-of-Year Benchmark Assessment (Aimsweb/Reading, i-Ready/Math). •RBMS welcomed community stakeholders who joined opening school rally, including members of Alpha Kappa Alpha, Alpha Phi Alpha, Zeta Phi Beta, Pastor Willie Lang and daughter Willesha Land, Mt. Zoar Baptist church. RBMS scheduled for window repair bids. Concession roof, ticket booth roof and football field fence are all completed. Temporary press box will be utilized. Bleachers received on Friday. Scoreboard arrived on Thursday. Stadium seats will be pressure washed. Mold areas in the facility were cleaned and treated. •GCHS will have roof leaked repaired this week. Mold areas in the facility were cleaned and treated. Career Center is also scheduled for roof leak repairs this week. CSFO, Ms. Marquita Lennon gave the following financial snapshot for the period ending July 31, 2023. Operating Reserve: $5.34M combined general fund reserve; $3.38M cash reserve. All bank accounts have been reconciled. General fund Balance totaled $4,051,747.75. (Reconciles to the Summary Cash Report). Accounts payable Check Register totaled $338,532.51. Payroll Register totaled $907,118.66. Combined Ending Fund Balance totaled $6,561,059.16. Local Revenue sources totaled $122,853. There was no revenue from Bingo for the month of July. The first of two scheduled Budget Hearings for fiscal year 2023-2024 was held Monday, August 28, 2023 at 3:00 pm at the Board’s Central Office. Special note was made that the remaining $5 million in ESSER III funds must be allocated by September 30, 2023. The next Budget Hearing is scheduled for Monday September 11, 2023 in the Central Office at 3:00 pm.
The 48th Black Belt Folk Roots Festival, produced by the Society of Folk Arts & Culture, featured myriad of hand crafts, soul foods, Blues Stage on Saturday and Gospel Stage on Sunday. The Kids Tent offered hands-on art activities for youth led by artists Mynecia Steele. A special feature for the youth was pottery making led by artists Kaitlin Whittle. A drum line closing was led by artists Lavondia Smith of the Nathifa Dance Company.
Shown above are L to R : Fred Hughes of the Mantua Volunteer Fire Department and County Commissioner (District 1), Garria Spencer reviewing the construction that solved the problem of a ditch hindering access to the storm shelter.
Materials and labor for the project were provided by the Greene County Commission, Mantua Volunteer Fire Department and Greene County Sheriff, Jonathan Benison.
A conduit pipe was placed in the ditch and a road way concreted over the ditch. “Now our shelter is wheelchair accessible and that,’ solved our greatest concern,” stated Hughes.
Special to the Trice Edney News Wire from Ethnic Media Services
By Sunita Sohrabji
(TriceEdneyWire.com) – The US is experiencing a summer swell of infections, though hospitalization rates remain relatively stable. Three eminent experts conclude that Covid-19 will continue to pose a health threat over many years, as it continues its evolution. But updated vaccines are expected to mitigate the severity of infections. Covid-19 cases are rising once again, possibly fueled by the emergence of the EG.5 variant. Hospitalization rates jumped by 12.5% nationwide in July, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This uptick comes even as the public health emergency has ended, taking with it free testing and therapeutics. And Covid fatigue has set in. People no longer wear masks in public, and a study has determined that the majority of Americans will forego new boosters, which will be available this fall. At an Aug. 11 panel discussion organized by Ethnic Media Services, three eminent Covid experts examined the rise in cases, the new variant, and the new monovalent vaccine which will be available this fall. Panelists included: ● Dr. Peter Chin-Hong, Associate Dean for Regional Campuses, University of California, San Francisco and Medical Educator, specializing in treating infectious diseases ● Dr. Benjamin Neuman, Professor of Biology and Chief Virologist, Global Health Research Complex, Texas A&M University ● Dr. William Schaffner, Professor of Preventive Medicine and Infectious Diseases, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine What are the origins of the EG.5 variant? Does it differ substantially from its predecessors? Dr. Neuman: EG.5 is one of the variants that’s spreading the fastest right now. It is a child of a thing called XBB 1.9. Basically, it’s another version of Omicron. And everything that is circulating in the world right now has about 100 to 110 differences from the original version. This variant is spreading because it has a lot of changes at the receptor binding site that is the target of most of the vaccines and of some of the most useful parts of the immune system. Will the new vaccines recognize the new variant and be effective against it? Dr. Neuman: When the target changes, you have to change your aim. It has been over a year since we have had an updated version of the vaccine. It’s coming slowly, but uptake has not been great. The total uptake in the US for the bivalent vaccine is only 17%. The formulation of the new booster is supposed to be a monovalent against the XBB variant. From the studies that we have now, it looks like new variants like EG.5 are close enough that a vaccine against XBB seems to work against it pretty well. So I think it’s a good move, and I wish they’d hurry up to release it. Hospitalization rates remain relatively stable despite the summer surge of infections. Do you expect that hospitalization rates are going to rise at some point? Dr. Chin-Hong: There has been a slight uptick in hospitalizations, not a tsunami, not even a surge. The way I think about it is a swell. It’s kind of like a general wave coming. It doesn’t overwhelm you. You don’t get submerged into it, but you kind of ride it until it goes to the shore. So if you look at California, for example, one year ago, we had about 4700 people hospitalized at one point. And right now we have about 890 people hospitalized. So in perspective, it’s nothing compared to even one year ago when it was 4700. Paxlovid and Remdesivir are currently the only therapeutics we have in our arsenal to battle. But they are problematic. Dr. Schaffner: We know that if you administer Paxlovid — particularly to people at high risk — very shortly after they are infected, we can reduce their risk of developing severe disease. But Paxlovid has limitations, as any therapy does. There are drug interactions. So if you’re taking certain medications, you have to be careful about taking Paxlovid. Or you may not be able to get it if you have kidney failure. Remdesivir we now use very quickly once the patient is admitted to the hospital. But wouldn’t it be better if we had more therapeutic agents aimed at keeping people out of the hospital? Minority populations and low-income communities have always been at a higher risk for hospitalization and death from Covid. With the end of the Public Health Emergency, how can we ensure that everyone gets the tests, vaccines, and therapeutics they need to stay healthy? Dr. Chin-Hong: Throughout the pandemic, we’ve seen a lot of disparities, including and particularly amongst the African American communities, both in terms of who is dying first of all and who is being hospitalized. But then we began to address some of the root causes, which were related to access to testing and related to probably a lot of structural racism. Of course, politics played a role, but even after the new administration, those disparities still persisted. I think one silver lining was that vaccinations increased uptake in all communities, probably given the advocacy of a lot of grassroots organizations and community-based organizations. So what is still free, after the Public Health Emergency ended May 11? Vaccines are still free. There’s a bridge program that’s going to probably come into effect nationally that allows people — without demonstrating ability to pay — to get them at least until the end of the year in California, and probably extended with a national bridge program. And then if you have insurance or MediCal or MediCare, people are obligated to give you the vaccine for free without a copay because of the Affordable Care Act.
Greene County schools staff, administrators, parents, community leaders and supporters arrived early Tuesday morning at local schools to give students a most robust welcome and enthusiastic encouragement for a successful year. The greeters flashed smiles, offered hugs and waved pom poms as the young people promenaded from the school buses to the classrooms. The first day of this school year delivered on a promise of welcome, warmth and care that surely can continue throughout the term.
By Stacy M. Brown NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
The oldest historically Black collegiate fraternity in the United States, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, has announced that it will move its planned 2025 convention from Florida to an alternate location. The decision comes as a response to what the fraternity describes as “harmful, racist, and insensitive” policies implemented by Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration towards African Americans. The convention, which typically draws between 4,000 and 6,000 attendees and reportedly has an economic impact of $4.6 million, has been a significant event for the fraternity. However, the recent travel advisory for Florida issued by the NAACP and other civil rights organizations has raised concerns about the state’s stance towards African Americans, people of color, and the LGBTQ+ community. In a statement, Willis Lonzer, the fraternity’s general president, said that part of their motivation for relocating the convention is Florida’s new education standards. The new standards mandate that middle school teachers instruct students on the idea that enslaved people developed skills for their benefit. The fraternity strongly disagrees, viewing it as an attempt to downplay the horrors of slavery and its enduring impact on African Americans. “Although we are moving our convention from Florida, Alpha Phi Alpha will continue to support the strong advocacy of Alpha Brothers and other advocates fighting against the continued assault on our communities in Florida by Governor Ron DeSantis,” Lonzer explained. DeSantis, vying for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination, has faced criticism from various quarters, including a fellow Republican, U.S. Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina, the sole Black Republican in the Senate. In response, DeSantis defended Florida, stating that he was countering “false accusations and lies” and pledging to uphold the truth. In May, the NAACP, along with the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) and Equality Florida, issued travel advisories for Florida, pointing to the state’s recent laws and policies that they deemed hostile to marginalized communities. Among these laws were restrictions on diversity, equity, and inclusion programs in state colleges, bans on critical race theory, and implementing the Stop WOKE Act, which limited specific race-based conversations and analysis in schools and businesses. Concerns were also raised over laws impacting immigrants in Florida and restricting discussions on LGBTQ topics in schools. At least nine other organizations or associations have canceled their conventions in Orlando and Fort Lauderdale, two of Florida’s major convention cities, citing concerns over the state’s political climate. Florida remains a popular tourist destination, and tourism is a vital industry for the state, providing 1.6 million full-time and part-time jobs. Despite facing challenges during the pandemic, Florida’s tourism sector bounced back, with over 137.5 million visitors in the last year, contributing $98.8 billion to the state’s economy in 201
Ghana’s parliament has voted to abolish the death penalty, joining a long list of African countries that have done so in recent years.
The country currently has 170 men and six women on death row, whose sentences will now be replaced by life imprisonment. The last execution took place in 1993.
Execution has been the mandatory sentence for murder in Ghana. Opinion surveys suggest that most Ghanaians approve abolition.
Last year seven people were sentenced to death in Ghana – but none were executed. Treason has also been punishable by death in Ghana. The bill to amend the Criminal Offences Act was put forward by MP Francis-Xavier Sosu and had the backing of the parliament’s Committee on Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs.
A London-based campaign organization, the Death Penalty Project (DPP), had worked with Mr Sosu to get the law changed.
A statement from DPP says Ghana is the 29th African country to abolish the death penalty, and the 124th globally.
In recent years many African states have abolished the death penalty, including Benin, Central African Republic, Chad, Equatorial Guinea, Sierra Leone and Zambia.
Mr Sosu said that “on death row, prisoners woke up thinking this could be their last day on earth. They were like the living dead: psychologically, they had ceased to be humans. “Abolishing the death penalty shows that we are determined as a society not to be inhumane, uncivil, closed, retrogressive and dark.”
He added this would pave the way to a free and progressive society reflecting “our common belief that the sanctity of life is inviolable”.