Primary Runoff Election set for next Tuesday July 17

Jeremy Rancher and Roshanda Summerville

Next Tuesday, July 17, 2018, the Democratic and Republican parties in Alabama are holding a Primary Runoff Election to decide political contests where one candidate did not get a 50% majority in the First Primary, held on June 5, 2018.
In Greene County, in the Democratic Party, we have two important political races to be decided in the runoff.
For Greene County Probate Judge, the race is between Jeremy Rancher and Rolonda Wedgeworth. In the first primary, Rancher, Chief Deputy with the Sheriff’s Department, led with 1091 votes (32.76%) to Wedgeworth’s 813 votes (24.41%). Wedgeworth currently is on leave from her position as Chief Clerk in the Probate Judge’s office. Four other candidates split the remaining votes.
For Greene County Commissioner District 5, there will be a runoff between Marvin Childs, a former commissioner who polled 203 votes to Roshanda Summerville, a political newcomer, who works at the Greene County Physicians Clinic, who polled 135 votes. Three other candidates, including incumbent commissioner, Michael Williams split the remaining votes.

In the first primary, four incumbent commissioners: Lester ‘Bop’ Brown, District 1; Tennyson Smith, District 2; Corey Cockrell, District 3 and Allen Turner Jr., District 4 were returned for another term. The Greene County Commission will face important decisions on the future direction of the county including road and bridge repair, recreation for young people, assisting the Greene County Health System to maintain hospital services in the county and many other issues facing the lives of Greene County residents.
Sheriff Joe Benison was re-nominated in the first primary. Veronica Morton Jones was nominated as Circuit Clerk and Ronald Kent Smith was re-nominated as County Coroner. All of these candidates will face the General Election on November 6, 2018 but local Democratic candidates are unopposed and will be elected pending any write-in campaigns.
On July 17, Republican voters will decide several statewide nominations for Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, Agriculture Commissioner and several Supreme Court Justice positions.
All Democratic statewide candidates were decided in the first primary: Walt Maddox will be running for Governor, Will Boyd for Lieutenant Governor, Joe Siegelman for Attorney General, and many others will be on the November 6, 2018 General Election ballot.
On July 18, 2018, the general Election campaigns will begin in earnest with 110 days left until the November 6 General Election. People who have not registered will have another chance to register or change their voting address for the General Election.
Please remember to vote in the July 17 Runoff Election. Too many died and suffered to win the right to vote for all!

Newswire : Ethiopian dam threatens destruction of World Heritage Site

 

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Hippopotamuses – among the many species affected by the threat to Lake Turkana, says the UN.

(TriceEdneyWire.com/GIN) – Lake Turkana, the reputed birthplace of mankind, has been designated an endangered environmental hotspot by a UNESCO panel.
Currently designated a World Heritage Site, Kenya’s Lake Turkana stands among such treasures as the Taj Mahal, the Grand Canyon and the Great Wall of China.

It’s the world’s largest desert lake, a spectacular site whose fossil finds have contributed more to the understanding of human ancestry than any other site in the world.

But the environmental group International Rivers warns that Ethiopia’s Gibe III Dam and expansion of large, irrigated plantations in the Lower Omo basin threaten food security and local economies that support more than half a million people in southwest Ethiopia and along the shores of Kenya’s Lake Turkana.

“Construction on the dam began in 2006 with flagrant violations of Ethiopia’s own laws on environmental protection and procurement practices, and the national constitution,” the Oakland, California-based group wrote. “The project’s US$1.7 billion contract was awarded without competition to Italian construction giant Salini, raising serious questions about the project’s integrity.”

In February 2015, the filling of the dam’s reservoir began. The same year in October, Gibe III began generating electricity.

The Rivers group continued: “Project impact assessments were published long after construction began and disregard the project’s most serious consequences. Despite the huge impacts on vulnerable people and ecosystems, NGOs and academics in Ethiopia familiar with the region and the project don’t dare speak out for fear they will be shut down by the government.”

The Committee mentioned other changes affecting the hydrology of the Lake Turkana Basin, namely the Kuraz Sugar Development Project, and the Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia Transport (LAPSETT) Corridor Project.

The List of World Heritage in Danger is designed to inform the international community of conditions threatening the very characteristics for which a property has been inscribed on the World Heritage List and to encourage corrective measures.

The 42nd session of the World Heritage Committee continues until July 4.

Newswire: AME Church and Black banks launch new partnership for Black wealth

By Hazel Trice Edney

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AME Church Bishops pose with Black bankers and business leaders after announcing historic partnership. PHOTO: Klarque Garrison/Trice Edney News Wire

(TriceEdneyWire.com) – The Black church, among the most prosperous institutions in America, has long led movements for the spiritual, social and civic uplift of Black people. When the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated on April 4, 1968, he had just launched the Poor People’s Movement, which quickly fizzled after his death.
With this historic backdrop, the African Methodist Episcopal Church – with a legacy of leadership in its own right – has announced an innovative economic partnership with Black-owned banks across the country. The partnership aims to be a catalyst to spur business development, homeownership and wealth in the Black community.
“We are now pleased to announce a partnership with the presidents of the nineteen (19) Black banks in the United States, with the goal of increasing Black wealth,” said Bishop Reginald T. Jackson, president of the Council of AME Bishops. “This initiative will strengthen Black banks across the United States and increase their capacity to lend to small businesses, to secure mortgages, to provide personal lines of credit, and to offer other forms of credit to AME churches and our members. This, of course, includes enabling members and their families to become homeowners.”
Bishop Jackson made the announcement during a press conference held during the 2018 Council of Bishops and General Board Meeting in Atlanta June 26. The specific details of a memorandum of understanding are being formulated and will be announced this summer. But the goals are as follows:
· Increase deposits and loans with Black banks;
· Increase Black homeownership to over 50 percent nationwide. This means 2,000,000 more Black homeowners than now exist; and
· Grow the number of Black businesses from 2.6 million to 4 million and total gross receipts from an average of $72,500.00 to $150,000.00.
“The spirit in which you all have shared the commitment to the community, to the banks and to what we can do together is outstanding,” responded Preston Pinkett, III, chairman and CEO of the City National Bank of New Jersey and chairman of the National Bankers Association. “Thank you for your willingness to step outside of the norm to do something that I would say is extraordinary here in America and extraordinary in the world.”
Pinkett says the church-bank partnerships are already beginning around the nation. “It is safe to say that this kind of commitment; this kind of demonstration will go a long way in supporting our banks and the banks to be able to support the community…With God’s blessings, we will accomplish great things.”
Amidst an atmosphere of excitement, the bankers, bishops and supporters of the movement packed into a meeting room in a Downtown Atlanta hotel. Jackson was surrounded by all 20 Bishops of the 231-year-old denomination as well as supporters of the movement. They included principals of the growing economic movement, Black Wealth 2020, which Jackson credited as inspiration for the idea.
“This partnership grows out of an initiative formed in Washington, DC in 2015, called Black Wealth 2020 which is providing an economic blueprint for Black America,” Jackson said.
Michael Grant, one of the founders of Black Wealth 2020, presided at the press conference. He connected the new partnership directly with the movement begun by Dr. King.
“The great civil rights movement led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and others has now morphed into a full-fledged movement for economic empowerment,” Grant said. “The offspring of African slaves and their unrewarded labor have catapulted a small Colonial outpost into the greatest industrial giant the world has ever known. Now, as a people, we are turning our efforts toward our own enrichment. We must now create those economic opportunities for ourselves.”
Opening the press conference, Grant underscored the historicity of the moment. “For those of you who are students of history, you would not be surprised that the Church of Richard Allen would be leading an effort to close the wealth gap across the United States of America.” Allen, among America’s most influential Black leaders, founded the AME church in 1794. It was the first independent Black denomination in the U. S. “And we do this with malice towards none,” stressed Grant.
Bishop James L. Davis, of the Second Episcopal District, likened the partnership to a marriage – a marriage between a church and its community. “It is a marriage that says a church that is concerned about its people, concerned about the good and the bad, all of the things our people have had to go through.”
The prophetic voices of Black church leaders not only articulate ideas, but strategies.
“In the next decade in the global church and in the AME church and in Black banking, we will see both evolution and revolution. Banks must reinvent themselves, not just to respond to the pressures of the day, but to be flexible enough to adapt to the world of tomorrow. The ecclesia, the church, must also evolve its business knowledge, educational platform, and its missional thrust without losing its stance in the Word of God,” said General Board Chair Bishop Vashti Murphy Mckenzie. “Both of our institutions are dealing with increasing assertive governmental intrusion, higher membership and customer demands along with increasing change in the wider world.”
The announcement of the new partnership was met with applause from national civil rights leaders.
“Thank you and your fellow bishops for making economic development a priority of your denomination,” wrote civil rights icon Georgia Congressman John Lewis in a letter to Bishop Jackson. “Hopefully, your visionary leadership will inspire other denominations to replicate your efforts nationwide.”
National Urban League President/CEO Marc Morial also weighed in with a letter: “I want to express the support of the National Urban League for your leadership and initiative in addressing the challenges of Black homeownership and the need to increase the support, viability and profitability of our African-American businesses,” he wrote.
Morial is among economic leaders who have determined that among the reasons homeownership among African-Americans is disparately low is, in part, because of discriminatory lending practices.
Mortgage Banker Lois Johnson, president/CEO of Salt Lake City-based United Security Financial, said she takes “great pride in our HUD designation as a fair practice lender. We provide loans to all who meet the minimum criteria, especially people of color who have been denied the opportunity to have their own homes.”
Johnson, who is licensed to operate in 49 states, says she intends to travel to each of the AME church’s episcopal districts to “create hope and opportunities.”
The principals agreed that the key to the success of the partnership must be mutual respect for Black spending power and mutual support of Black businesses.
“We hear about Black folks have a trillion dollars in spending power,” said Ron Busby, president/CEO of the U. S. Black Chamber, Inc. and co-founder of Black Wealth 2020. “But that’s usually White folk talking about our dollar sand how can they get their share of it. We came together to say how can we deal with the Black wealth, the gap of it and really to move our agenda forward inside our own community.”
Busby pointed to the USBC’s new AP called the USBC Mobile Directory with 109,000 Black-owned businesses in order to help consumers make targeted purchases inside the Black business community.
Robert James, CEO of the Carver State Bank in Savannah discussed how the movement will be sustained. “There was a time that no church got financed in Savannah Georgia unless we financed them at Carver State Bank,” James said to applause. “This program will get us back on the path.”
James says he knows the relationship can be sustained because the bishops have authority to oversee and encourage AME church leaders to do business with Black-owned banks. “We can talk to the Bishops about those local churches. And you can talk to your elders and your preachers,” he said.
Bishop Jackson underscored the fact that the U. S. partnership is only the beginning. He indicated that the movement will also expand abroad. “The possibilities extend throughout the Diaspora. The African Methodist Episcopal Church has over 4,000 churches in Africa, the Caribbean, West Indies and Europe. These churches and members can also benefit from this partnership,” he said.
To augment this expansion, Her Excellency Dr. Arikana Chihombori-Quao, ambassador for the African Union, spoke to the Bishops the day before the press conference, promising to encourage Africans in America to also put their deposits in Black banks. She stressed the need for Black-owned institutions to unify, cooperate and not turn on one another.
“I hope we will all come together and support the idea of putting all of our money in Black banks. I have already taken the initiative and listed all of the Black banks in the country on our website. I’m already encouraging all Black people when I do presentations to say we’ve been stupid for too long. We drive past Black banks to give our money to people who don’t give a hoot about us. And they take our money so they can get rich; not only here, but in Africa. We’ve got to change this.”

Newswire: Black publishers come together in Norfolk to challenge ‘Fake News’

By Lauren Poteat (NNPA Newswire Washington Correspondent)

 

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Panelists discuss the affects of “fake news” on the Black community during the NNPA’s 2018 annual convention in Norfolk, Va. (Freddie Allen/AMG/NNPA)

As Donald Trump’s persistent “fake news” rhetoric continues to fester in the media, Black publishers across the nation, recently took charge of the conversation, giving way to a special forum entitled “Black Press vs. Fake News.”
The forum took place during the National Newspaper Publishers Association’s (NNPA) annual convention. Dorothy Leavell, the chairman of NNPA and publisher of the Chicago Crusader, the Gary Crusader and the Chicago Reader, moderated the dialogue about misinformation in mainstream media.
“What do we do in this age of fake news?” Leavell said. “Our struggles and our truths have been at the forefront of battling fake news throughout history.”
Leavell continued: “In 1827, we battled the lie that we were nothing more than three-fifths of a human, spearheaded by the Freedom’s Journal, the nation’s first Black-owned and operated newspaper, which stepped in and showed us different. In 1895, activist Ida B. Wells, who established the ‘Memphis Free Speech’ refuted the fake news of her day—concerning the mythical rape of a White woman.”
Leavell said that, throughout history, Black people have been victimized by the proliferation of fake news and misinformation, including some of our most profound Black leaders like Marcus Garvey, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., leaders of the Black Panther Party and even today’s Black Lives Matter.
“All these obstacles are nothing new to us,” Leavell said. “So, while Donald Trump has been credited for popularizing the term ‘fake news’ we know this too is ‘fake news.’”
Joining in on the dialogue, additional speakers included Sarah Glover, the president of the National Association of Black Journalists; Deborah Gray-Young, the managing partner of D. Gray-Young, Inc. Consulting; Dr. Julianne Malveaux, an economist and sociopolitical commentator; and A. Scott Bolden, the managing partner of the Washington, D.C., office of the global law firm Reed Smith. The panelists challenged Black publishers and their teams to not only report real stories, but to also report them right.
“I’m not so much concerned about what is being said, as I am with what isn’t,” Malveaux said. “We [Black people] can define what news is…For example, ‘45’ is running around bragging about how low the Black unemployment rate is, but if you research the statistics and labor market correctly, you’ll see that a large number of Black people, have actually left the labor market altogether.”
Malveaux continued: “This is the real story that needs to be told and not 45’s ‘fake news.’ This year alone over 150,000 Black women left the labor market, which represent the stories that nobody is telling.”
According to a report by CNBC, nearly 70 percent of all American citizens are concerned about “fake news” being used as a weapon.
What’s more, in a recent report by NBC, “fake news” or just overall lies, were shown to spread faster on social media than the actual truth.
Examining the critical role of Black media, which has long been the beacon of light in the Black community, alongside the new age of technology, Deborah Gray-Young, placed emphasis on millennials and their role in escaping the idea of “fake news.”
“Black media is being dismissed and not being regarded for its true worth,” Gray-Young said. “It’s time we take a page out of Donald Trump’s book and reinvigorate our bases. Then we need to take a step back and reestablish trust, particularly among young people. We’re in a time now, where millennials are asking, ‘What’s the source of true information?’ That source is the Black Press and we need to do a better job explaining that.”
Gray-Young continued: “And don’t forget about your social media. This is what young people are plugged into. It’s not just about what’s happening in the present moment anymore. Every time we report something we are participating in the documentation of history, and what comes up in Google searches are items with the highest ratings, which is what the public comes to know to be the whole truth.”
This is why the presence of the Black Press on social media is so pivotal, Gray-Young added. “Increase your SEO’s, tell your own stories and get plugged in,” Gray-Young said. Bolden said that in America, right now, “we don’t struggle with the ideals of what is right and what is wrong, but what is the truth.”
Closing out the discussion, Chairman Leavell called on mainstream media and the general public to denounce the idea of “fake news” and its message, while encouraging all Americans to support the Black Press.
“NNPA has served as a vanguard and a honest look into the lives and struggles of Black Americans for over forty years,” Leavell said. “The Black Press has been around for over 191 years. To say that there is no real news or reporting, just isn’t factual as history shows us different. Leavell continued: “As members of the Black Press it is our job to be that torch of insight and lead other generations on.”

Newswire : All eyes on US Supreme Court: Fiery nomination battle expected

 

By Barrington M. Salmon

Supreme Court
(TriceEdneyWire.com) – President Donald Trump has announced his choice for the next U. S. Supreme Court justice. He is U. S. Circuit Judge Brett Kavanaugh of Washington, D.C., a nominee who has already drawn fire from Democratic leader Chuck Schumer and the NAACP.
“Brett Kavanaugh is a dangerous ideologue whose extreme views on civil rights would solidify a far right majority on the Supreme Court,” the NAACP issued a statement within hours after Trump’s prime time announcement July 9. “Coming after Neil Gorsuch’s appointment, a Kavanaugh confirmation would re-make the Court in President Trump’s own image. This prospect is unacceptable to the American people, and the NAACP is ready to lead the fight of a generation.”
The statement continued, “The NAACP knows Judge Kavanaugh well. We opposed his confirmation to the D.C. Circuit for good reason.  In his 12 years on the bench, he has proven us correct. He has been a strong and consistent voice for the wealthy and the powerful. Over and over again, he has ruled against civil rights, workers’ rights, consumer rights, and women’s rights.
With a Justice Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court, we could see reversals of hard-won gains securing equal opportunity in education, employment and housing.  We could see further exclusion of communities of color from participation in our democracy.  We could see racism continue to flourish within the criminal justice system.  We could see the elimination of effective tools for proving discrimination.  We could see the overturning of Roe v. Wade and the guarantee to accessible health care for millions.”
The nomination is only the beginning. After lengthy hearings before the U. S. Senate Judiciary Committee, he will only be confirmed if he receives a majority of the Senate.
“President Trump with the nomination of Judge Kavanaugh has fulfilled two of his campaign promises — first to undo women’s reproductive freedom and second to undo the ACA (Affordable Care Act),” says Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer in a CBS News interview. “So, I will oppose him with everything I’ve got.”
Kavanaugh would replace retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy, whose decision to leave the highest court caught many by surprise and has ignited emotions ranging from alarm to panic to concern among civil rights, human rights, and women’s rights advocates, centrists and progressives.
Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, agrees there’s much at stake with this Supreme Court vacancy.
“Justice Kennedy has been the swing vote on a number of core Civil Rights issues. This could transform African American life for years to come,” said Clarke. “There’s no doubt about the impact – in voting rights, criminal justice and women’s issues. The Senate must do its job of vetting to ensure that the nominee is fair, unbiased and faithful to applying and interpreting the law.”
Clarke says every senator has an obligation to properly vet the nominee. “It’s their duty,” Clarke said. “This should not be a partisan battle, but we’ll see. We must fight to preserve the integrity of the court and not allow it to fall victim to the political gamesmanship that sometimes takes over politics.”
Clarke warns the importance of this appointment cannot be underestimated.
“This is a huge issue,” Clarke explained. “There are 140 vacancies in federal courts. The judiciary has always mattered to Black people because it is a place of last resort. Ninety-nine percent of cases are heard in federal and district courts. Ninety-one percent of those Trump is putting forward are White and male and they are the fringe. He’s turning back the clock to the Jim Crow era.”
Trump has been packing the lower courts since taking office and he has been aided by McConnell, who blocked Obama nominees and left them open for Trump to fill. McConnell refused to even consider or meet with Obama pick Merritt Garland and held that seat open for Trump to nominate Neil Gorsuch. In the past 15 months, the administration has retreated from the US government’s legal positions on voting rights and election law, on how workplace disputes are settled, and eroded labor union power, cast off provisions and protections for gay and transgender people.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions has overseen restrictions and other limits on affirmative action and other legal remedies, advanced a hard line on immigration, and has pushed to reduce or eliminate women’s reproductive rights, and promoted sharp cutbacks on regulations.
The NAACP, the nation’s oldest civil rights organization, says the reason for the fight is clear:
“The rights of African Americans to fully participate in democracy and in every facet of social and economic life, on an equal basis, lie in the balance. The next Supreme Court justice will play an outsized role in determining whether African Americans move forward in our journey toward achieving full equality, whether we simply tread water for the next three decades, or whether we slide backward toward our former status as second-class citizens. To each and every Senator, we say: This is THE civil rights vote of your career. We will be watching closely. Make no mistake – we are in the fight of our lives, and we hope you are prepared for battle.”

Annual Black Belt Folk Roots Festival, time for reunions, good food and music

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Lemon Harper of Sumter County shows off his dance routine at Annual Festival.  and John Kennedy Byrd prepares his famous Barbecue ribs at annual festival

Where else can you smile and sway to ole timey blues, enjoy the delicacies of right-off-the grill barbecue and polish sausages, feast on freshly cooked country dinners with assorted pies and cakes and then top it all off with hand churned homemade ice cream.
All this and more is happening at the annual Black Belt Folk Roots Festival on Saturday, August 25 and Sunday August 26 on the Old Courthouse Square in Eutaw, AL.
The festival features down home blues music, old timey gospel, traditional foods, handmade crafts. Saturday’s events are scheduled from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. with Ole Timey Blues and dancing featuring musicians Clarence Davis, The Liberators, Jock Webb, Davey Williams, Russell Gulley, Terry “Harmonica” Bean, and others.
The handmade crafts available at the festival are traditional quilts and other needle works; baskets from white oak, pine needles and corn shucks. The assortments of down-home foods include soul food dinners, barbecue, fried fish, chicken and skins, homemade ice cream, cakes and pies; snow cones, Italian ice, and more.
Ole Timey Gospel is reserved for Sunday’s festival beginning at 2:00 p.m. and featuring the
The Echo Juniors, The Melody Kings, The Mississippi Traveling Stars, The Golden Gates, New Generation Men of Promise, Greene County Mass Choir, Glory Gospel Group, Angels of Faith, The American Gospel Singers and many others.

“The Black Belt Folk Roots Festival is home coming time in the region. Many families, class reunions and social clubs plan their annual activities to coincide with the festival’s schedule,” stated Dr. Carol P. Zippert, festival coordinator. “The festival brings together musicians, craftspersons, storytellers, food specialists, community workers – all who are considered bearers of the traditions and folkways of the West Alabama region,” she explained. “This is a festival where people truly celebrate themselves – their joys and struggles and especially ‘How we made it over,’” Zippert states.
According to Dr. Zippert, the two day festival is open to the public free of charge. The hours are Saturday, August 25, 11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. and Sunday August 26, 2:00 p.m.- 7:00 p.m.
The Black Belt Folk Roots Festival is supported in part by the Black Belt Community Foundation, Alabama Power Foundation, Alabama Department of Tourism and other local contributors.
The festival is produced by the Society of Folk Arts & Culture.
There is no admission fee for the Festival events.
For more information contact Carol P. Zippert at 205-372-0525;
Email: carolxzippert@aol.com

Birmingham ‘Families Belong Together Rally’ attracts 2000 to protest Trump’s immigration policies

Poor Peoples Camp

The ‘Families Belong Together Rally’ in Birmingham was held Saturday afternoon, June 23, 2018, in historic Kelly Ingram Park, where most of the Civil Rights demonstrations were staged in the 1960’s. The rally attracted over 2000 people and was organized to protest President Trump’s immigration policies separating and detaining families seeking asylum on our southern border.
The Birmingham rally was one of 700 held nationwide to show the widespread scope and depth of opposition to the President’s unjust immigration policies. Larger rallies were held throughout the day in major cities. Several other rallies were held in Alabama as well on Saturday.
The Birmingham rally was sponsored by Move-on, Hispanic Interest Coalition of Alabama (HICA), Alabama Coalition for Immigrant Justice (ACIJ), Adelante Worker Center, Council of American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), Children’s Policy Council of Alabama and other groups.
Carlos Aleman, Deputy Director of HICA, moderated the program and said, “We must use our voices and our votes to counteract the inhumane immigration policies of the Trump Administration on our borders but also here in Alabama. This past week, Hispanic workers in Alabaster were detained on their way to work.”
Fernanda Herra, a DACA recipient, spoke for AICJ saying,
“There are more than 2000 lost children, separated from their parents. There is no plan to re-unite these children with their families. We must make a change and have a better immigration system. We need a fair system of immigration for all colors, faiths and wealth status of people wanting to come to this country.”

Dr. Morissa Ladinsky, a pediatrician with UAB Children’s Hospital, said, “ As a doctor serving children, I must speak out against these policies which separate children from their parents. These policies will have adverse effects lasting beyond childhood. Seeking asylum is not a crime but inducing toxic fears of deportation seems criminal.”
“As a pediatrician and one of 250,000 members of the American Academy of Pediatrics, there are several things, we must say: 1. All of our children need to be united with their parents; 2. Families need to heal in a community based setting not a detention center; and 3. it costs $36 a day to provide lawyers to assist asylum seekers in a community setting and $360/day to keep them in detention, so it is more economical and beneficial to keep families together in a humane community setting,” said Dr. Ladinsky.
Ali Massoud of Birmingham CAIR spoke out against the Muslim travel ban that Trump is imposing on several mid-eastern Muslim countries. “This is a Muslim ban, this is a ban against people of a specific religious faith. We must resist this Administration with our ballots, bodies and beliefs. We all of us – Muslims, people of color, immigrants, LBGTQ – must remain visible and fighting to counter Trump.”
Massoud concluded with a verse from the Koran, “ When I have fear, I do not have God, and when I have God, I do not have fear,.”
One man in the crowd held a sign that said, “Keep the kids – Deport the racists! “
Carlos Ramos of the ‘Shut-down Etowah Detention Center’ Organization testified that his group was working to close the notorious detention center in Etowah County, near Gadsden, which is a privately run center to house undocumented immigrants.
Ramos said the food at the center is so bad, many of the detainees are starving and lack proper nutrition and health care causing some of the inmates to die. Ramos called for people of good will from all around the state to come to Etowah County and help close down the detention center.
Aleman closed the program with a rousing call for people to register to vote and to vote on July 17 in the runoff and again on November 6, 2018 in the General Election to bring changes to Alabama and Washington, D. C.

ADECA awards $400,000 grant to City of Eutaw for sewage connection to Love’s Truck Stop site at Exit 40 on Interstate 20/59

The Alabama Department Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA) has awarded a $400,000 grant that will help bring a new rest-stop option to travelers along Interstate 20/59 in Greene County and create new jobs in the process.
The City of Eutaw will use the Community Development Block Grant to extend sewer service to an area on Alabama Highway 14 at exit 40 off Interstate 20/59. The sewer extension will provide the groundwork for a new location of Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores. Love’s expects the new location to create 43 jobs.
“Job creation continues to be a priority of my administration, especially in rural Alabama,” said Governor Ivey in making the grant. “I am pleased to support this project which will bring additional jobs and economic growth to the city of Eutaw and the surrounding area.”
The project will include installation of about 6,000 feet of sewer line, eight manholes and related sewer components. The total project cost is $872,425. Along with the CDBG award, the city is providing $100,000 in local funding and $372,425 in funding from the Delta Regional Authority to supplement the grant.
The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs is administering the grant from funds made available by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. ADECA also manages the Delta Regional Authority program in Alabama.
Mayor Raymond Steele of Eutaw, said, “ We are grateful to ADECA for supporting an extension of our sewage line to Exit 40. This will bring us another step closer to opening a Love’s Truck Stop in our community to provide jobs and revenues for our city.”
“The Governor understands the importance of economic growth to our state, especially job-growth impact in rural areas,” ADECA Director Kenneth Boswell said. “ADECA is pleased to join this partnership to create new economic activity in the city of Eutaw.”
ADECA administers a wide range of programs that support law enforcement, economic development, water resource management, energy conservation and recreation development.

Newswire: Ralph Paige, former Executive Director of the Federation of Southern Cooperatives, dies at 75

Ralph Paige

Ralph Paige, former Executive Director of the Federation of Southern Cooperatives/and Assistance Fund, died Thursday at 74.
He served as Executive Director for 30 years from 1985 to 2015. He began working for the Federation in 1969 and served the organization for 46 years.
A native of LaGrange, Georgia, he was the seventh of twelve children. Ralph attended local public schools and graduated with a BA degree in Education from Fort Valley State College, an HBCU, in 1967. He was active in sports of football and swimming during college.

After serving briefly as a school teacher and coach, Ralph became a cooperative organizer with the Federation in west Georgia in 1969. He assisted the Harris County Farmers Co-op to grow and expand its scope and services to become the West Georgia Farmers Co-op. He later headed the Federation’s Business Development Office in LaGrange, Georgia giving advice and loan packaging services to cooperatives and small businesses in the area.
In 1977, he directed the Federation’s National VISTA program providing 110 volunteer staff at 60 locations from South Carolina to Texas. In this role, he traveled and met with the membership and leadership of the Federation throughout the South.
In 1985, when Charles Prejean, the Federation’s first Executive Director stepped aside, the organization’s Board of Directors chose Ralph Paige to succeed him.
During his thirty years as Executive Director, he built the Federation into the premier organization representing Black farmers and low-income rural people in the South. He helped to organize 70 cooperatives and 18 community development credit unions during his tenure as Executive Director. He supported the development of the Federation’s unique Rural Training and Research Center in Epes, Alabama, including an agroforestry component and forestry demonstrations.
He led the Federation in a 1992 Black Farmers Caravan to Washington, D.C. to highlight the discriminatory policies of the United States Department of Agriculture. The Caravan ended with a protest in front of USDA by several hundred Black farmers who brought a pig to show their distain for USDA policies.
He spearheaded efforts from the mid-1990’s forward to file suit against USDA for discrimination in credit, conservation and rural development. These efforts led to the historic Pigford I and Pigford II class action cases, which became the largest successful discrimination lawsuits against the U. S. Federal government and yielded $2.5 billion in payments to thousands of Black farm families. He also supported discrimination settlements for Native American, Hispanic and Women farmers who were also subjected to discrimination by USDA.
He worked on legislation to reform farm and rural policies to allow for the formation of the National Co-op Bank, creation of the Section 2501 Outreach and Technical Assistance Program for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers, expansion of farm credit to include Micro-loans, appropriate to family-size farming operations; and the creation of the Rural Cooperative Development Program to support cooperative development and training centers, like the Federation’s at Epes.
In the wake of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the Federation of Southern Cooperatives implemented a comprehensive Relief and Recovery Project (RRP), which focused on both short and long term assistance to thousands of farmers, fishers, families and individuals displaced and affected by the hurricanes. The RRP has enabled a significant number of victims and affected communities to receive the resources and assistance necessary for them to cope with their immediate situation while developing concrete plans for the future.
Despite obstacles, financial problems, and many times a hostile and racially charged environment, Ralph maintained the Federation, an annual budget of $3 million, and a staff of 30 or more trained specialists around the South. He mentored and trained, Cornelius Blanding, to take over his position as Executive Director. In 2015, Ralph retired to take care of his health. His greatest legacy is that the Federation has continued and flourished, celebrating its 50th anniversary in August 2017. A succession plan that he initiated has replaced the ‘founding generation of core staff’ with a new generation of capable leadership to guide the organization for the next generation and into the future.
Ralph served on many boards and received many honors in his lifetime. Among the Boards were: Nationwide Insurance Company, National Cooperative Business Association, Cooperative Development Foundation, Cooperative Business International, the President’s (George Bush) Twenty-first Century Agriculture Commission, Rural Policy Advisory Committee to President Barack Obama and many more.
He received numerous awards including induction in to the Cooperative Hall of Fame in 2004, Martin Luther King Humanitarian Award from SCLC, George Washington Carver Hall of Fame at Tuskegee, Congressional Black Caucus Leadership Award, NCBA Co-op Month Leadership Award and many others.
Ralph leaves to cherish his memory, a wife of 51 years, Bernice, two children, Bernard and Kenyatta, five grand children and many relatives and friends. His funeral services will be held in LaGrange, Georgia on Friday July 6, 2018.

Newswire : Commemorative events panned for Mandela Centenary

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June 25, 2018 (GIN) – It is easy to break down and destroy. The heroes are those who make peace and build.

Those were the prophetic words of President Nelson Mandela whose role in the long struggle waged against the racist system of apartheid is recalled on the anniversary of his birth on July 18, 1918.

This year, the theme of the birthday Centenary is world peace. Events will take place worldwide to commemorate the former leader.

A “Nelson Mandela Peace Summit” will take place at the U.N. with speeches by top UN officials, the chair of the African Union Commission and member staIn Johannesburg, the Mandela Concerts have pledged to raise money for literacy projects including 100 new library units for schools in South Africa and a digital library.

On July 17, former president Barack Obama will deliver the Nelson Mandela lecture, whose theme of renewing the Mandela legacy and promoting active citizenship in a changing world was developed after the passing of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.

Former Obama speechwriter Ben Rhodes commented: “The choice of Mandela and South Africa are freighted with symbolism for Obama at a time when his political legacy is being dismantled by his successor, Donald Trump, who has crudely disparaged African countries.”

At press time, however, two South African organizations disputed the invite to Obama for “cultivating a new kind of colonialism in the name of the ‘War on Terror’, spreading fear, violence and destruction, in particular among Muslim communities, rubber-stamping over 100 military actions a day throughout Africa, and many more in the Middle East.”

“US foreign policy has left destruction, division and suffering in its wake, and led to the rise of violent groups,” said Feroze Boda, spokesperson for CAGE Africa – an organization that opposes the so-called War on Terror.

Palestine Solidarity Alliance spokesperson Naazim Adam also objected to the decision to invite Obama, recalling the thousands of civilian casualties in Somalia, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Syria that continued under Obama’s presidency.

Mandela Foundation chairperson Professor Njabulo Ndebele defended the decision to invite Obama, noting that Madiba had great respect for the first Black U.S. President.

“In an era defined by worsening tensions between people, in which the spectre of exclusion and intolerance across the world seems to become normalized, the messages of President Obama, like those of Madiba, must be given space,” Ndebele said.

“Furthermore, the foundation’s key focus areas, including the eradication of poverty and inequality and the dismantling of anti-black racism, are causes that are close to President Obama’s heart. His historic election as the first black president of the United States does have resonance in South Africa, as do many of his pro-poor policies, such as universal healthcare.”