Newswire: Biden imposes new Russia sanctions,
decries ‘beginning invasion’

Map of Ukraine showing disputed areas

From Aljazeera News Service

US President Joe Biden has announced a new sanctions package against Russia, calling Moscow’s recognition of two breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine as independent the “beginning of a Russian invasion” of its neighbor.
In a brief speech on Tuesday, Biden condemned his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin’s decision to recognize the independence of Luhansk and Donetsk and to authorize the deployment of Russian troops to “maintain peace” in the regions.
“If Russia goes further with this invasion, we stand prepared to go further as with sanctions,” Biden said. “Who in the Lord’s name does Putin think gives him the right to declare new so-called countries on territory that belongs to his neighbors? This is a flagrant violation of international law and demands a firm response from the international community.”
The sanctions target Russia’s sovereign debt as well as two large Russian financial institutions, including the country’s military bank, Biden said.
“That means we’ve cut off Russia’s government from Western financing. It can no longer raise money from the West and cannot trade in its new debt on our markets or European markets either,” the US president added.
On Monday, Putin recognized the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) and Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR) – areas that have seen fighting between Moscow-backed separatists and the Ukrainian government since 2014. Moscow then signed agreements with the territories that would allow it to establish a military presence in eastern Ukraine.
The Biden administration initially responded with sanctions targeting trade in the two regions specifically, but Tuesday’s measures go after Russia itself. “We’ll also impose sanctions on Russia’s elites and their family members. They share the corrupt gains of the Kremlin policies and should share in the pain as well,” Biden said.
“This is the beginning of a Russian invasion of Ukraine, as he [Putin] indicated and asked permission to be able to do from his Duma.” US and European officials have said in recent weeks that they believe Russia is planning a large-scale incursion into Ukraine.
“Every indication is that Russia is continuing to plan for a full-scale attack of Ukraine,” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Tuesday. Biden echoed that assessment later in the day, saying that Russia “poised to go much further in launching a massive military attack against Ukraine”.
The United States and its allies were quick to denounce Putin’s decision on Monday, with several European countries imposing sanctions on Russia.
Germany halted the approval of Nord Stream 2, the Russian-owned $11bn gas pipeline across the Baltic Sea. The United Kingdom announced sanctions on three Russian billionaires and five banks, and Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Russia will have “pariah status” if it continues to invade Ukraine.
Western powers have been warning for months that Russia, which they say has been amassing troops near the Ukrainian border, may be getting ready to invade its neighbor.
Russia previously denied it is planning to invade, but it has vehemently opposed Ukraine’s efforts to join NATO. Moscow also wants security guarantees that the US-led alliance will stop its expansion into former Soviet republics, but Washington and NATO have rejected the demand as a “non-starter”.
Several rounds of talks between Western and Russian leaders and diplomats have failed to resolve the crisis.
Biden also said the door remains open for diplomacy. “There is still time to avert the worst-case scenario that will bring untold suffering to millions of people if they move as suggested,” the US president said. “The United States and our allies and partners remain open to diplomacy – if it is serious.

Newswire : With her Speedskating Gold Medal, Erin Jackson hopes to inspire more Black girls in winter sports

2022 Beijing Olympics – Speed Skating – Women’s 500m – National Speed Skating Oval, Beijing, China – February 13, 2022. Gold Medallist Erin Jackson of the United States celebrates on the podium during the flower ceremony. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch

 

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent

 

While the Super Bowl expectedly received all the attention in the sports world on Sunday, February 13, the Winter Olympics provided a most historical moment. Erin Jackson became the first Black woman to win a speedskating medal when she took home the Gold during the 500 meters speedskating event.

Jackson’s time of 37.04 seconds gave the American speedskating program its first medal at the Games in Beijing. It marked the first individual medal by an American in a dozen years.

“Hopefully, this has an effect. Hopefully, we’ll see more minorities, especially in the USA, getting out and trying these winter sports,” Jackson, 29, declared.

A day after her historic medal victory, Jackson reflected on how she received her golden opportunity. She noted that Team USA flag bearer Brittany Bowe, a childhood friend, surrendered her spot in the 500-meter so Jackson could take her place.

“She was just saying she’s so proud of me,” Jackson said of Bowe during a nationally televised interview. “We did it,” she exclaimed. “Yeah, it was pretty wild.” Bowe declared that Jackson had earned the right to compete. “She’s ranked No. 1 in the world,” Bowe told NBC News.
“No one is more deserving than [Jackson] to get an opportunity to bring Team USA home a medal.”

Hailing from Ocala, Florida, Jackson said she’s roller skated for as long as she could remember. She pursued inline speedskating in 2002, roller derby in 2012, and long-track speedskating in 2017.

A 2015 cum laude graduate of the University of Florida Honors Program, Jackson earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Materials Science & Engineering.

Just two years later, Jackson transitioned from inline skating to speedskating on ice, where she quickly qualified for the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

She also earned an AS in Computer Science from Salt Lake Community College in 2020 and continues her work toward an AS in Exercise Science/Kinesiology.

Jackson said she wants to inspire other African American girls. “I just hope [her gold medal win] sparks something,” Jackson stated. “Maybe a young Black girl saw my race or something, and she’s like, ‘Oh. Maybe I should try this.’ That would be amazing, even if it’s just one person.”

Newswire: Justice Breyer retiring, opening way for first Black woman to serve on Supreme Court

Ketanji Brown Jackson, Leondra Kruger, Michelle Childs, Sherrilyn Ifill

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent


When President Joe Biden campaigned for office in 2020, one of his most profound pledges included naming a Black woman to the United States Supreme Court. He now has an exceptional opportunity to fulfill that promise.

Justice Stephen G. Breyer, the senior liberal wing member, announced his retirement, standing beside President Biden at the White House last Thursday. The oldest member of the court, Justice Breyer, 83, was appointed in 1994 by President Bill Clinton.

Following two appointees by former President Donald Trump, the court spun into conservative control, making President Biden’s upcoming pick more vital.

But Democrats must act fast with the midterm elections fast approaching, and Republicans could seize control of the Senate and block a Biden appointment.

“I’m looking forward to making sure there’s a Black woman on the Supreme Court, to make sure we, in fact, get every representation,” President Biden declared early in 2021. Out of the 115 U.S. Supreme Court Justices in history, there have been just two African Americans, one Latina, and only five women.

“This is a big moment in the making,” Ben Jealous, the former NAACP leader and current president of People for the American Way, said recently. “The presumption is that whomever Biden nominates, the first Black woman to the Supreme Court would be filling both the shoes of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Thurgood Marshall,” Jealous asserted.

Earlier, Aimee Allison, the founder of She the People, an activist group that aims to elevate women of color, called President Biden’s pledge “a step in the right direction.”
“Appointing a Black woman to the Supreme Court may be his attempt to right past wrongs,” Allison insisted.

Daniel L Goldberg, legal director of the progressive Alliance for Justice, has said a Black woman on the Supreme Court was long overdue. “It is stunning that in the entire history of the republic, that no African American woman has sat on the highest court in the country,” Goldberg said. “For way too long in our nation’s history, the only people who were considered suitable and qualified for the court happened to be white males.”

In a statement, the White House said “multiple individuals” are under consideration among them: Judge Michelle Childs of the South Carolina District Court, DC Circuit Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, California Supreme Court Justice Leondra Kruger, and civil rights attorney Sherrilyn Ifill.

Others reportedly being considered include 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Holly A. Thomas, federal Circuit Court Judge Tiffany P. Cunningham, civil rights attorney and 11th Circuit Court candidate Nancy G. Abudu, 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals nominee Arianna J. Freeman, NYU law professor Melissa Murray, 7th Circuit Judge Candace Jackson-Akiwumi, District Judge Wilhelmina “Mimi” Wright, North Carolina Supreme Court Justice Anita Earls, and 2nd Circuit Judge Eunice Lee.

COVID-19

As of February 1, 2022, at 10:00 AM
(according to Alabama Political Reporter)

Alabama had 1,223,896 confirmed cases of coronavirus,
(51,236) more than last week with 17,146 deaths (198) more
than last week)

Greene County had 1,736 confirmed cases, (71 more cases than last week), with 47 deaths

Sumter Co. had 2,273 cases with 43 deaths

Hale Co. had 4,407 cases with 95 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.

Family Members and Authorities Desperately Search for two Alabama men missing in California

Prayer Vigil at the Old Greene County Courthouse Square
LaDexter Pelt and John DuBose Jr.,
Police in California and the Black and Missing Foundation seek assistance in locating two African American men from Alabama who went missing after they arrived in Sacramento on Friday, November 5.
Authorities said LaDexter Pelt, 25, of Greene County, Alabama, and John DuBose Jr., 20, of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, boarded a flight after Pelt celebrated his birthday. LaDexter is the son of Eutaw City Councilwoman Tracy Hunter  who also works at Greene County High School as secretary.  
Sunday, November 14, 2021 a prayer vigil was held, drawing a large crowd.
Authorities said they know that the men arrived in California, but their whereabouts remain a mystery. Heightening the tension, a hunter found a cell phone that belongs to Dubose, and police said it last pinged in the Sutter Bypass Wildlife Area, an approximately 3,200-acre region that includes two long, narrow parcels on each side.
Police have searched the area and have reportedly questioned the hunter but have not developed any new leads.
“This is a case that we’re very much watching,” said Derrica Wilson, the co-founder of the Black and Missing Foundation, which has spotlighted the plight of missing people of color for 14 years.
Pelt’s mother, Tracy Hunter, has expressed her fears and pleaded for her son’s safe return.
“I have every reason to be concerned because my child would’ve called me by now,” a shaken Hunter told reporters.
“He let me know that he made it to Sacramento, California, and we said goodbye for now. And that was it,” Hunter said, adding that both her son’s and DuBose’s phones are now disconnected.
“This is totally out of the ordinary,” she asserted.
Authorities said Pelt has short, black hair. He has brown eyes, stands six feet tall, and weighs 220 pounds.
DuBose is 5’6 inches and weighs 140 pounds. He has black hair and brown eyes.
“LaDexter and John, if you are out there, please contact your family members,” Hunter said. “We are distraught; we are mentally exhausted. And as a mother, I am mentally torn and heartbroken.”
Anyone with information should contact the Sacramento Police Department at 916-808-5471 or the Greene County Sheriff’s Department at 205-372-3152.
Individuals can also call the Selma Police Department at 334-874-2137 or contact the Black and Missing Foundation at http://www.BAMFI.org.

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.”

Superintendent Jones says schools will remain in Phase I with remote learning

In his report to the Greene County Board of Education at its regular monthly meeting, Monday, October 19, 2020, Superintendent Dr. Corey Jones announced that Greene County schools will continue with remote student learning for the second nine weeks. Jones stated that he has kept a daily vigil on the COVID-19 positive reports for the county as well as state-wide to assist him is making the most prudent decision for students, their families and the community.
“ I want our students back in the classroom, but I also want them and their families to be safe,” he said.
Dr. Jones explained that he conducted a survey with parents and with the instructional staff to get their input on whether students should return to the classrooms. He reported that in the parents’ survey, 56% were for students returning to the classrooms while 44% wanted to remain with remote learning. According to Jones, there was a big difference in the teachers’ survey: 85% wanted to remain with remote classes, while 15% favored returning to the classroom.
The superintendent said that he is aware that some students are struggling with the remote process. “I realize that for some students remote classes may not be the best approach for them individually; there are distractions in the home; there may be insufficient home support for students while parents are at work; some students are not logging in on a consistent basis; however, protecting lives still is the highest consideration at this time,” he said.
Jones also stated that once progress reports are issued, failing students will be brought back to the classroom for on-site instruction. “This will only be carried out with the greatest of precaution for a smaller number of students. Every safety measure will be in place,” he emphasized.
According to the superintendent, if COVID-19 factors decrease significantly, Phase II, which includes a hybrid instructional approach with a blend of remote and face-to-face classes, will be implemented for the entire school system.
Jones reported that his staff continues to sanitize all school facilities, including fogging. ‘We are expecting plexiglass for our facilities to arrive this week,” he said.
In other business, the board approved the following recommendations of the superintendent:
Employment: Marilyn Finch, Bus Driver, Department of Transportation; Latasha Lewis, Bus Driver, Department of Transportation.
Voluntary Transfer: David Peterson, from Maintenance Helper to Mechanic Helper, Department of Transportation.
•Resignation: LaToya Consentine, Bus Driver, Department of Transportation, effective September 30, 2020.
Administrative Service Items:
•Contract between Greene County Board and Criterion Consulting, Formative Administrator Evaluation Support Services.
•Contract between Greene County Board of Education and Woods Therapeutic Services, Inc.
•Payment of all bills, claims, and payroll
Dr. Jones presented a plaque of appreciation to Board member William Morgan for his service to the Greene County School System. Morgan’s term of office ends in November. Morgan also received a plaque of achievement from the Alabama Association of School Boards for reaching the Master’s level in board training.
Board member Carrie Dancy received a plaque of achievement from AASB for meeting all requirements for school board training for 2020.

Newswire : Congress moves George Floyd Justice in Policing Act measure forward

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior Correspondent

U. S. Capitol


The House Judiciary Committee has introduced the George Floyd Justice In Policing Act, the first-ever bold, comprehensive approach to hold police accountable, end racial profiling, change the law enforcement culture, empower communities, and build trust between law enforcement and minority communities by addressing systemic racism and bias.
In a conference call with the Black Press of America just before voting on the measure, members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) said the bill should help save lives.
“This is a real historic day here in the capital as last week we introduced the Justice in Policing Act, and today we amend the bill,” CBC Chair Karen Bass (D-Calif.) said during the conference call.
“We call it the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, and I call it historic because this is the first time in many years that Congress has taken up a bill dealing with policing and I’m sure it is the first time that Congress has introduced such a bold transformative piece of legislation,” Bass stated.
The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act would establish a national standard for the operation of police departments and mandate data collection on police encounters.
If it becomes law, the bill would reprogram existing funds to invest in transformative community-based policing programs and streamline federal law to prosecute excessive force and establish independent prosecutors for police investigations. It would also eliminate no-knock warrants and ban chokeholds.
“The idea that a chokehold is legal in one city and not the other, the idea that no-knock warrants are okay in one jurisdiction and not in another is very important. That must end,” Bass proclaimed.
A bill crafted by Republican South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, and an executive order issued by President Donald Trump, ask only for studies to be done on matters like no-knock warrants and chokehold bans, and have little bite, Bass and her CBC colleagues noted.
“In essence, their bills take the teeth out of this bill. This is not the time for superficial action,” Bass warned. “This is the time for us to demonstrate our ability to address the people who are peacefully in the street every day with comprehensive legislation.”
The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2020:
• Prohibits federal, state, and local law enforcement from racial, religious, and discriminatory profiling.
• Mandates training on racial, religious, and discriminatory profiling for all law enforcement.
• Requires law enforcement to collect data on all investigatory activities. saves lives by banning chokeholds and no-knock warrants.
• Bans chokeholds and carotid holds at the federal level and conditions law enforcement funding for state and local governments banning chokeholds.
• Bans no-knock warrants in drug cases at the federal level and conditions law enforcement funding for state and local governments banning no-knock warrants at the local and state level.
• Requires that deadly force be used only as a last resort and requires officers to employ de-escalation techniques first.
• Changes the standard to evaluate whether law enforcement use of force was justified from whether the force was “reasonable” to whether the force was “necessary.”
• Condition grants on state and local law enforcement agencies’ establishing the same use of force standard.
• Limits military equipment on American streets, requires body cameras.
• Limits the transfer of military-grade equipment to state and local law enforcement.
• Requires federal uniformed police officers to wear body cameras and requires state and local law enforcement to use existing federal funds to ensure the use of police body cameras.
• Requires marked federal police vehicles to have dashboard cameras.
• Hold Police Accountable in Court.
• Makes it easier to prosecute offending officers by amending the federal criminal statute to prosecute police misconduct. The mens rea requirement in 18 U.S.C. Section 242 will be amended from “willfulness” to a “recklessness” standard.
• Enables individuals to recover damages in civil court when law enforcement officers violate their constitutional rights by eliminating qualified immunity for law enforcement.
• Improves the use of pattern and practice investigations at the federal level by granting the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division subpoena power and creates a grant program for state attorneys general to develop authority to conduct independent investigations into problematic police departments.
Empower Our Communities to re-imagine Public Safety in an Equitable and Just Way.
This bill reinvests in our communities by supporting critical community-based programs to change the culture of law enforcement and empower our communities to reimagine public safety in an equitable and just way.
It establishes public safety innovation grants for community-based organizations to create local commissions and task forces to help communities to re-imagine and develop concrete, just, and equitable public safety approaches. These local commissions would operate similar to President Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing.
• Changes the Culture of Law Enforcement with Training to Build Integrity and Trust.
• Requires the creation of law enforcement accreditation standard recommendations based on President Obama’s Taskforce on 21st Century policing.
• Creates law enforcement development and training programs to develop best practices.
• Studies the impact of laws or rules that allow a law enforcement officer to delay answers to questions posed by investigators of law enforcement misconduct.
• Enhances funding for pattern and practice discrimination investigations and programs managed by the DOJ Community Relations Service.
•Requires the Attorney General to collect data on investigatory actions and detentions by federal law enforcement agencies; the racial distribution of drug charges; the use of deadly force by and against law enforcement officers; as well as traffic and pedestrian stops and detentions.
•Establishes a DOJ task force to coordinate the investigation, prosecution and enforcement efforts of federal, state, and local governments in cases related to law enforcement misconduct.
Improve Transparency by Collecting Data on Police Misconduct and Use-of-Force.
• Creates a nationwide police misconduct registry to prevent problematic officers who are fired or leave one agency, from moving to another jurisdiction without any accountability.
Mandates state and local law enforcement agencies to report use of force data, disaggregated by race, sex, disability, religion, age.
• Make Lynching a Federal Crime.
• Makes it a federal crime to conspire to violate existing federal hate crimes laws.

The Save OurSelves Movement for Justice and Democracy: Standing Six Feet Apart so Alabamians Will Not Be Lying Six Feet Under

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, March 25, 2020
Montgomery, AL – We, leaders in the SaveOurSelves Movement for Justice and Democracy, are here on the steps of the Alabama Capitol standing up six feet apart so Alabamians will not have to be lying six feet under. We are profoundly concerned about the coronavirus pandemic here in Alabama.
We are deeply concerned that people who need tests cannot get tests. We are strongly concerned that rural hospitals have closed with even more on the verge of closing, and those that are there will not be able to be provide all the services that this coronavirus will require. We are deeply concerned for the health care – or profound lack of health care – for the working poor in our state. We were strongly concerned and vocal long before the coronavirus pandemic. We believe that the lack of health care for too many in Alabama will be exacerbated, not only during this pandemic but long after the pandemic.
We are in the biggest crisis this country has seen in a long time. Alabama is in its biggest crisis in a long time, and it is incumbent upon each of us to do what we can to deal with this crisis and the crisis that will follow. A data analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation found Alabama ranks among the top six most at-risk states for its adult population. Forty-six percent of Alabama adults are at risk. If we do not address this head on now, many more Alabamians will get the coronavirus and too many will die when we could take steps now to prevent that. Therefore, we are here, standing six feet apart so fewer Alabamians will not be lying six feet under. We know we take a risk by being here, even with all of our precautions, but the risk of not standing up and speaking out now and not expanding Medicaid now is profoundly greater. That is why we are here.
Attorney Faya Toure said: “I have a friend who had all of the symptoms of the coronavirus but could not get a test because, after being in line for hours, they told her a doctor had to refer her. People without health insurance have a hard time getting a doctor who will refer them. We must have tests for every person who needs a test in every county in the state. If we expanded Medicaid, Alabamians would have a much greater chance of getting tests and saving lives. In addition, the Black Belt has been ignored throughout the coronavirus pandemic, and that has not changed. There are no reported cases in the Black Belt because there is no testing in the Black Belt. We can and must do better.”
John Zippert said: “I am Chair of the Board of the Greene County Hospital System. Rural hospitals in Alabama are struggling mightily just to exist. Too many have closed and more will be closing. Rural hospitals need to be able to provide these services while the coronavirus is raging but also be able to provide necessary services after the coronavirus pandemic has subsided. And it will only subside if we take action now. Medicaid expansion would protect rural hospitals and citizens in rural hospitals, and it cannot wait. In fact, it is long overdue in Alabama. There are 340,000 human beings in Alabama, most of them working poor, who would benefit from Medicaid expansion. We must do something immediately.”
Law Professor Emerita Martha Morgan said: “There are so many Alabamians at risk because they have compromised immune systems, autoimmune disorders, are mentally ill, have dementia, are in foster care, are in prison or jail or detention and more. There are already plans to triage these Alabamians when it comes to treatment of the coronavirus, which means they very well would not receive any treatment and many will die if Governor Ivey fails to take action. We must do what we can do in Alabama. And we can expand Medicaid now.”
Founder of the World Conference of Mayors and former State Representative and Mayor Johnny Ford said: “Too many people’s heath is at risk. Some people are even at risk for death. The coronavirus pandemic is increasing the risks to health and the risk of death. Fifty-five years ago today, on the last day of the Selma-to-Montgomery March, leaders spoke powerfully at this Capitol demanding voting rights. We are here today demanding that health care be a right as is it in all other developed countries. We begin with Medicaid expansion. I want to also add that it is has been the mayors of our state who have stepped up and taken the lead in protecting Alabamians during this coronavirus pandemic, and we thank them for their leadership, courage and wisdom.”
Attorney and former State Senator Hank Sanders said: “I was here 55 years ago today when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. asked the question, “How Long?” about voting rights and other rights. I and the rest of the massive crowd responded, “Not Long!” We are here today standing six feet apart so that Alabamians will not be lying six feet under. Dr. King asked, “How Long?” 55 years ago, and today we are asking, “How Long” will it be until Alabama expands Medicaid so that the working poor can have health insurance and health care so they can stand a chance to be tested and treated, not only during the coronavirus pandemic but afterwards? I hope and pray the answer to “How Long? is “Not Long!”