Newswire : Nigeria seeks identity of traffickers who let 26 Nigerian women drown at sea

Saving Nigerians lost at sea
Nigerians trying to get rescued at sea

Nov. 13, 2017 (GIN) – Nigeria’s National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), is calling for an international inquiry to identify and prosecute the traffickers behind the recent deaths of 26 Nigerian women on the Italian coast city of Salerno.

According to NAPTIP, the number of deaths of Nigerians on the Mediterranean Sea runs into thousands.

There should be “a high level investigation by the United Nations (into) this incident and others along the Mediterranean region”, the agency said. “We need to know the identities of the owners of the rickety boats as well as their owners, so they can be prosecuted.”

The central Mediterranean route from the coast of Libya to Italy is currently the principle route of undocumented migrants, most of whom are Nigerians. Numbers have increased because of unemployment and recession in Nigeria.

Meanwhile, 13 European and African ministers met this week and pledged steps to ease the migrant crisis around the Mediterranean, vowing especially to improve conditions for migrants held in Libya.

Mali’s Minister for African Integration, Abdramane Sylla, welcomed the joint efforts to stop the humanitarian tragedy. Illegal migration and human trafficking must be tackled, he said, but in the long run European countries must offer more visas to allow for legal paths of migration.

Swiss human rights organizations, however, were unconvinced by the proposals. Solidarity Without Borders, for one, dismissed the conference as a talk shop, pointing out that European countries cooperate with regimes guilty of crimes against human rights.

“The main problem (with current migration policy) is that it fights the symptoms rather than the causes,” said Dr. Lutz Oette, director of the Center for Human Rights Law at SOAS, University of London. “It does so by partnering with governments in a region that has serious governance and human rights problems. So it’s very unlikely that you can actually combat trafficking and smuggling, as long as the actual root causes are still in place.”

Vote Or Die Campaign moving across state : ANSC Convention discusses youth involvement in voting and creating excitement in the build-up to Dec. 12 election


Youth involvement panel at ANSC Convention includes William Scott, Moderator and panelists (l to R) Jasmine Walker, Jamia Jackson, Terri Wiggins and Azali Fortier

The Alabama New South Coalition met for its Fall Convention at the Montgomery Windcreek Casino on Saturday, November 2, 2017. The convention was well attended with over 200 delegates from twenty active chapters around the state.
The ANSC Convention was dedicated to creating interest and excitement in the December 12, Special Election for the U. S. Senate seat, vacated by Jeff Sessions. Democrat Doug Jones is running against Republican Roy Moore in a contest with state and national implications that is five weeks away.

The ANSC Convention featured a panel on youth involvement in politics and voting, a play about counteracting voter apathy, a report from county chapters on activities in the ‘Vote Or Die Campaign’ and luncheon speeches from two 2018 gubernatorial hopefuls – Sue Bell Cobb and Walt Maddox- and introduction of other candidates for next year.
The youth panel spoke about ways to motivate voters 18 to 40 to more actively participate in elections by utilizing social media like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to reach out to millennials on issues of concern to them. William Scott, panel moderator said he was working as the webmaster for the Vote Or Die Campaign Facebook account and for members and chapters to mail in reports and photos of activities that they want posted to this Facebook account.
Several ANSC chapters gave short reports on their work in the ‘Vote Or Die Campaign’ across the state.
• Sam Walker from Dallas County reported that they meet once a week on Thursdays and hold rallies holding ‘Vote Or Die’ signs as human billboards at the bridge in Selma and other sites around the city. We ask motorists to honk their horns in support of the campaign.
• Billy Billingsley of Gadsden is using voter lists from several organizations to do phone banking and door to door canvassing.
• Rebecca Marion of Tallapoosa County said her group was busy putting out Vote Or Die signs and canvassing for absentee voters.
• John Harris of Lee County said his chapter was meeting with ministers to help get out the vote. The chapter is also going into the jail, visiting barbershops, and going door-to-door for registration and absentee ballots.
• Esther Brown said her Project Hope death row prisoners were contacting family and friends to urge them to register and vote in this upcoming Special Election.
• Herman Mixon and Beulah Toney of Madison County reported on efforts to register people at community centers and A & M University. They are using social media to reach and motivate high school and college youth.
• Matilda Hamilton of Tallapoosa County had registered 153 new voters through the school system and was participating in rallies together with Lee County.
• Gus Townes reported that Montgomery County was working on voter registration; also focusing on ex-felons and working with churches to reach and register 1,000 new voters before the November 27, 2017 closing date before the Special Election.
• Rev. Hugh Morris from Talladega County said ANSC, ADC, NAACP, fraternities and sororities were working together to canvas, register and turn out voters. Michael Scales, ANSC Talladega County Chapter President said they were working with Talladega College, pastors and others on the campaign.
• Everett Wess of Jefferson County said the ANSC Chapter was partnering with other groups, had participated in the tailgating leading up to the Magic City Classic football game and other community gatherings to register voters and spread the ‘Vote Or Die Campaign’.
• Carol P. Zippert reported for Greene County that 50 high school students were registered and assisted with proper photo ID’s. A large community meeting was held to explore community issues like the future of the hospital and healthcare, recreational programs for youth and voting. U. S. Senate Candidate Doug Jones listened to the discussion and made remarks at the end. Greene County is now concentrating on absentee ballots and walk-in early voters for the next four weeks.
• A Macon County representative spoke on involving Tuskegee University Students in doing voter registration and canvassing leading up to the special election.
• Senator Hank Sanders reported that he has cut radio and TV ads promoting the importance of voting that are available to be sent to stations around the state. He said he participated in human billboards in Selma to promote the “Vote Or Die Campaign’.
Faya Rose Toure and a group from Selma and other counties did a role-play skit about voter apathy and reasons people give for not voting and how to counteract those concerns. The play was well received by ANSC members.
At the closing luncheon, ANSC members heard from two Democratic candidates who are planning to run in the June 2018 primary. Sue Bell Cobb, former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court said she proposes an Alabama lottery to generate funds for childcare, K-12 public education and closing the gap between Pell Grants and the cost of college tuition.
Walt Maddox, Mayor of Tuscaloosa said he was running for Governor, “to build a brighter future for Alabama and make Alabama a better state for everyone.” He highlighted his record of rebuilding Tuscaloosa after the April 2011 tornadoes and making it the ninth fastest growing city in America.
Rev. Will Boyd of Florence announced that he was planning to run for Lieutenant Governor in 2018. Audri Scott Williams indicated that she was running for U. S. House of Representatives for District 2 against incumbent Martha Roby. Everett Wess stated he was running for Jefferson County Probate Judge – Place 1.

Auburn Extension provides playground equipment for Eutaw City Park


New Parkjpg.jpg


Shown above at the Eutaw City Park L to R: Mt. Hebron Coalition Members Severe Strode, and Johnni Morning, Eutaw Mayor Raymond Steele, Extension Secretary Mary Beck, Extension Coordinator Lovie Parks and Expanded Food and Nutrition Educational Program Director Mary Henley.

The Eutaw City Park on Lock 7 Road now has state-of-the-art playground equipment, secured with an AlProHealth grant through Auburn University Extension Program coordinated by Greene County Extension Coordinator Mrs. Lovie Parks. The grant also provides fencing around the park grounds. “The total investment in the park by Auburn Extension exceeds $40,000,” stated Ms. Parks.
According to Eutaw Mayor Raymond Steele, this project has been in the works for some time.
“We are also committed to adding a concession stand and a large pavilion with restrooms to make the park comparable to other state-of-the art parks in the state,” he said.

The playground unit will be available to children, ages 12 and under, from 7:00 a.m. until sundown. He noted that the park is also available to the community for special events such as reunions, birthday parties and more, by contacting the city for reservations.
Other benefits to Greene County by the Auburn Extension Program include providing the benches on the old courthouse square in Eutaw.
The Mt. Hebron Coalition has also benefited from an ALProHealth grant. The SCORE Center, originally organized by Betsy and Reola Bizzell, received funds for exercise equipment and other related live well programs. The SCORE Center is open to the community, serving seniors as well as youth. Johnni Morning, a Mt. Hebron Coalition Member, stated that along with the exercise equipment, internet service is also available at the Score Center. She noted that the public is invited to join the exercise program on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, at the SCORE Center (old Mt. Hebron Pre-School) from 4:30 – 6:30 p.m. ages 18 and older. Marvin Childs serves a president of the Mt. Hebron Coalition.
Mrs. Parks emphasized that a big component of the Auburn Extension program is building unity, bringing families and the community together. “The goal of ALProHealth includes increasing physical activity, improving nutrition, reducing obesity, and preventing and controlling diabetes, heart disease, and stroke by promoting community wellness,” she stated.
The Extension Program also sponsors after school programs, community gardens and various live well programs, partnering with churches and community groups.

Judge Judy Spree signs proclamation: November is National Adoption Month

Judge DHR parents.jpg

Shown above center Probate Judge Judy Spree, Jacqueline Woods,Service /APS supervisor, Beverly Vester, AP Work/Q.A/ Coordinator: Latonya Wooley Foster Care/Adoption Worker, Kimberly Tyree, CA/N Investigator and Jimmie Zoppi, Fannie Smith, Mattie Gray, Minnie Knox all Adoptive Parents

Greene County Probate Judge Judy Spree signs annual proclamation, in presence of Department of Human Services staff and several adoptive parents, citing November as National Adoption Month. The following is the statement submitted by DHR
As a nation that believes all children deserve the chance to reach their full potential, we have a fundamental responsibility to ensure each of them grows up knowing the love and protection of a permanent family. During National Adoption Month, we give voice to the children who are still waiting for that opportunity, celebrate the bond that unites adoptive parents with their sons and daughters, and recommit to providing every child with care and security that will nurture their development and well being.
All young people deserve a safe place to live, and with each passing year, more children know the warmth and comfort of a loving family thanks to adoptive parents.

People who adopt do so for a variety of reasons, but they are united in the kindness and devotion they show toward children- the people who need it most. During National Adoption Month, we recognize the selflessness of adoptive families, and we thank them for opening their hearts and their doors to young people in need of a safe, stable place to call home.
Thousand of children living in America hope for the comfort an safety of a loving family. This month, we pay tribute to the dedicated professional who help make those children’s dreams a reality, sharpen our resolve to find a permanent home for every child, and celebrate the stories of all whose live have been touched by adoption.
When people adopt, they open up a world of promise and possibility by providing a steady supportive environment for youth to live in. The month of November marks National Adoption Month, when we unite as families, advocates, and communities, and as a country, to raise awareness of the barriers to adoption and recommit ourselves to moving more of our young people into permanent homes.
As we come together to give thanks and show our appreciation for professional who work tirelessly to ensure the adoption process runs smoothly and efficiently, we celebrate the stories of those who have been permanently and positively affected by adoption. During National Adoption Month, let use embrace the unique place adoptive families have in American, and let us extend our fullest gratitude to all those who have welcomed home a child in need.

Newswire : Democrats win governor’s races in Virginia, New Jersey; provide hope for Alabama special election – Dec. 12

By: John Whitesides, Reuters-Thompson

Fairfax and Northam
Justin Fairfax and Ralph Northam Celebrate Victory

16 WASHINGTON, Nov 7 (Reuters) – Democrat Ralph Northam won a bitter race for Virginia governor on Tuesday, beating a Republican who embraced some of President Donald Trump’s combative tactics and issues in a potential preview of next year’s midterm election battles.

Northam, the state’s lieutenant governor and a pediatrician, overcame a barrage of attack ads by Republican Ed Gillespie that hit the soft-spoken Democrat on divisive issues such as immigration, gang crime and Confederate statues. Justin Fairfax, an African-American, was elected as Lieutenant Governor in Virginia.
The Northam victory in a state that Democrat Hillary Clinton won by 5 percentage points in the 2016 presidential election was a boost for national Democrats who were desperate to turn grassroots enthusiasm to resist Trump into election victories.
Tom Perez, Chair of the Democratic National Committee, said, “We invested more in boots on the ground and grassroots and digital organizing than in any “off-year” before. Good old-fashioned organizing paired with the latest technology and tools helped put our candidates over the top.

“I am so proud of the campaigns run by Virginia’s Ralph Northam, Justin Fairfax, and Mark Herring, New Jersey’s Phil Murphy and Sheila Oliver, and Democrats all over the country, up and down the ballot. These candidates worked hard day in and day out fighting to represent their states, and I know that they will take that same spirit and fight into their terms.

“We are going to keep investing in state parties and supporting Democrats from the school board to the Oval Office. And if we continue to channel our energy into powering this movement, there’s no doubt in my mind that we will see wins like this in 2018, 2020, and beyond.”

Perez and other Democratic leaders pointed to the upcoming Special Election in Alabama on December 12, as another race that can be won by Democratic candidate, Doug Jones, with strong grassroots support.
While Democrats had already lost four special congressional elections earlier this year, Tuesday’s results seem to signal a change in the national political mood.
In a sign of the high stakes, Trump took a break from his Asia visit to send tweets and record messages on behalf of Gillespie, a former chairman of the national party. Trump had endorsed Gillespie but did not campaigned with him.
The Virginia race highlighted a slate of state and local elections that also included a governor’s race in New Jersey, where Democrat Phil Murphy, a former investment banker and ambassador to Germany, defeated Republican Kim Guadagno for the right to succeed Republican Chris Christie.
Murphy had promised to be a check on Trump in Democratic-leaning New Jersey, and Guadagno, the lieutenant governor, was hampered by her association with the unpopular Christie.
In Virginia, Democrats had worried that if Gillespie won, Republicans would see it as a green light to emphasize cultural issues in their campaigns for next year’s elections, when all 435 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and 33 of the U.S. Senate’s 100 seats come up for election. Republicans now control both chambers.
In Virginia on Tuesday, grassroots campaigners fueled the victory of Justin Fairfax in his historic race for Lieutenant Governor — only the second Black candidate ever elected to statewide office in Virginia. Justin’s huge win was driven by a multiracial grassroots coalition, including DFA and Indivisible volunteers on the ground and on DFA Dialer — the largest national volunteer-led calling program in the country focused on mobilizing sporadic Democratic voters to the polls.
In a significant shift in power in Virginia’s House of Delegates, as of right now 14 out of 16 DFA-endorsed candidates — including progressive fighters like Jennifer Carroll Foy, Donte Tanner, Chris Hurst, Jennifer Boysko, and Hala Ayala — have defeated NRA-backed candidates in several critical races, setting the stage for Democrats potentially taking back control of the chamber.

Of particular note in Virginia are the history-making victories of Danica Roem, who will be the nation’s first transgender state legislator, and Elizabeth Guzman, who will be the first Latina and one of the first first-generation immigrants to serve in the Virginia General Assembly.

Newswire : Rep. Sewell statement on start of 45 day open enrollment period for healthcare insurance

WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Wednesday, November 1, the national health care open enrollment period began, enabling people who buy health insurance through the individual marketplace to shop for coverage for 2018. The federal open enrollment period runs from November 1 through December 15. During this time, constituents have the opportunity to enroll in or change their health care plan.

Alabama residents can visit for more information or call (844) 248-7698 for free assistance. A full list of Alabama’s local navigators, who can provide fre­­e guidance on signing up for health care through the individual marketplace is available at that website.

“The Affordable Care Act is still the law of the land,” said Rep. Terri Sewell. “The open enrollment period is a great opportunity for my constituents to shop for new coverage with the help of premium assistance. Enroll Alabama and the free support provided by Alabama’s local health care navigators makes it easy for families to find insurance that fits their needs. Whether you already have coverage through the individual marketplace or you are looking to get covered next year, I encourage everyone to check out their health care options during the open enrollment period.”

“As hospitals in my district face financial challenges and families struggle to afford doctor’s visits, I am deeply disappointed by the Trump Administration’s decision to cut advertising for the open enrollment period. Too many Americans do not know how to navigate the insurance enrollment process and I believe we have a responsibility to raise public awareness about how to sign up for affordable health insurance. We must do everything in our power to increase coverage, reduce costs, and stabilize the insurance marketplace for all Americans.”

The Trump Administration has purposefully taken actions to undermine the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The Administration has made sharp cuts to advertising for the ACA’s open enrollment period and funding for health care navigators who help Alabamians enroll.

The enrollment period for the federal marketplace has also been cut in half, to 45 days, with little publicity by federal officials. In addition, the Administration’s announced plan to cut cost-sharing subsidies for low-income families has created confusion among many Americans enrolled in the insurance marketplace and millions more who remain uninsured.

Newswire : Dems renew calls for gun control in wake of Texas church shooting


Democrats are renewing their calls for gun reform after reports of a mass shooting at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, on Sunday.
Multiple people are dead after gunfire erupted at the church, which is not far outside San Antonio, according to reports. The shooter used an AR-15, semi-automatic military style rifle and multiple clips of ammunition to kill 26 parishioners and wounded 20 more.
Sens. Bob Casey Jr. (Pa.), Dick Durbin(Ill.) and Kamala Harris (Calif.) were among the Democrats who urged Congress to act in response to the latest deadly shooting.
“I’m thinking of and praying for all those impacted by the shooting in Texas. In addition to offering my prayers and thoughts I also believe Congress must take action on gun violence,” Casey wrote in two separate tweets.
“The shooter turned his gun on people — kids — in a place of worship. America is in the grips of a gun violence crisis. Congress must act,” Durbin tweeted.
Harris, a possible 2020 presidential contender, also condemned “senseless gun violence” after the shooting.
“Enough is enough,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) said in a series of tweets. “Now is the time for commonsense gun violence prevention steps. Congressional complicity must end.”
Sens. Dianne Feinstein (Calif.) and Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) also joined their colleagues in condemning the lack of action.
“When will this end? When will we decide that we can’t accept massacres in our places of worship, schools, or at concerts? When will we actually do something about it?” Feinstein wrote in a statement.
“Thoughts & prayers are not enough, GOP. We must end this violence. We must stop these tragedies. People are dying while you wait,” Warren wrote in one tweet.
Rep. Mike Thompson (D-Calif.), chairman of the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, called on his Congressional colleagues to show “courage” and take a stand against gun violence.
Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), meanwhile, released a lengthy statement in which he called on his colleagues in Congress to hold themselves accountable.
“Ask yourself – how can you claim that you respect human life while choosing fealty to weapons-makers over support for measures favored by the vast majority of your constituents,” Murphy wrote.
Witnesses said an armed man walked into the First Baptist Church around 11:30 a.m. and opened fire.
The attack comes more than a month after the nation’s deadliest mass shooting in modern history, in which a gunman opened fire on a country music festival in Las Vegas, killing 58 people and injuring hundreds more.
President Trump, who’s embarking on a 12-day trip to Asia, tweeted shortly after reports of the shooting surfaced. “May God be w/ the people of Sutherland Springs, Texas. The FBI & law enforcement are on the scene. I am monitoring the situation from Japan,” Trump wrote. Trump did not condemn gun violence instead he attributed the shooting to “mental illness of the perpetrator”.