SOS holds Juneteenth march across the bridge in Selma

Some of the speakers at the rally in Voting Rights Memorial Park after march across the bridge
Marchers on Juneteenth, cross the Pettus Bridge, asking that its name be changed

The Save Ourselves Movement for Justice and Democracy, the NAACP, ANSC, and other organizations sponsored a Juneteenth celebration in Selma, Alabama which culminated in a march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge and rally in the Voting Rights Memorial Park at the foot of the bridge on the Eastern side.
The June 19 – Juneteenth celebration honors the end of slavery in the United States when the Union Army reached Galveston, Texas in 1865, four months after the Confederate surrender in Virginia. Union forces brought the news that enslaved Black people were free under the Emancipation Proclamation.
The SOS march across the bridge had several purposes including calling for a change in the name of the Pettus Bridge because it is named for a Confederate general and grand dragon of the Klu Klux Klan.
Other purposes of the march were to support the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, for criminal justice reform to end police brutality; Expansion of Medicaid in Alabama and an end to healthcare disparities in the treatment of Black and other people of color, especially during the coronavirus pandemic; and support for the ‘Vote or Die Campaign’ to increase voter participation and end voter suppression.
The SOS march supported the demand to change the name of the bridge from Edmund Pettus to the ‘Freedom Bridge’. “We are aware that there is a national petition drive to rename the bridge for Congressman John Lewis, who was beaten on the bridge on March 7, 1965 – Bloody Sunday. We feel that it should not be re-named for one person, since there were so many leaders and grassroots foot-soldiers involved over many decades, in a movement for voting rights. It would be better to have a generic name,” said Hank Sanders, SOS Steering Committee member and local leader.
Earlier in the week on Monday night, June 15, 2020, SOS supported a march and rally in Tuskegee to call for the removal of the Confederate statue in the center of town. Former Mayor Johnny Ford of Tuskegee said, “We have been trying for more than thirty years to remove this statue and vestige of white supremacy from the town.”
At the end of the rally, the Selma chapter of SOS distributed Afrocentric and Black History books to children. This was to kickoff of a special reading program that ultimately will lead to the presentation of scholarships to youth participating in the reading program.

Bingo distribution totals $65.065.32 Sheriff Benison says new bingo operation to open in Greene County

On Monday, June 23, following the regular distribution of bingo funds to designated entities, Greene County Sheriff Jonathan Benison announced that a new bingo operation will begin soon in Greene County. Benison later clarified that he was referring to the Raymond Austin Memorial Foundation for Rural Advancement & Development, Inc., a bingo charity licensed by Sheriff Benison in August 2019.
The sheriff also noted that this bingo operation will be located in the former South Fork Restaurant on County Road 208. The expected date to open is July 1.
The Greene County Sheriff’s Department reported a total distribution of $65,065.32 (8 days of operation ) for the month of May, 2020 from three licensed bingo gaming operations in the county. The bingo distributions were contributed by Frontier, River’s Edge and Palace.
The recipients of the May distributions from bingo gaming include the Greene County Commission, Greene County Sheriff’s Department, the cities of Eutaw, Forkland, Union, Boligee, the Greene County Board of Education and the Greene County Hospital (Health System).
Sub charities include Children Policy Council, Fire Department, Greene County Golf Course, Branch Heights Housing Authority, Department of Human Resources and the Greene County Library.
Frontier (Dream, Inc.) gave a total of $28,280.33 to the following: Greene County Commission, $6,888.42; Greene County Sheriff’s Department, $8,708.81; City of Eutaw, $2,386.26; and the Towns of Forkland, Union and Boligee each, $1,000; Greene County Board of Education, $3,018.48; Greene County Health System, $3,225.48. Sub Charities each, $175.48.
River’s Edge (Next Level Leaders and Tishabee Community Center Tutorial Program) gave a total of $17,768.59 to the following: Greene County Commission, $4,723.56; Greene County Sheriff’s $5,214.92; City of Eutaw, $1,429.27; and the Towns of Forkland, Union and Boligee each, $598.75; Greene County Board of Education, $1,622.42, and the Greene County Health System, $1,931.45. Sub Charities, each $175.12.
Palace (TS Police Support League) gave a total of $19,016.40 to the following: Greene County Commission, $5,055.28; Greene County Sheriff’s Department, $5,581.10; City of Eutaw, $1,529.65; and the Towns of Forkland, Union and Boligee each, $640.80; Greene County Board of Education, $1,736.36 and the Greene County Health System, $2,067.09; Sub Charities each, 538.02.

Newswire : Struggle seen in Belgium over racist historical statues

Statue of King Leopold II in Belgium

Jun 15, 2020 (GIN) – Some of the largest anti-racism protests in Europe have taken place in Belgium, the birthplace of King Léopold II, whose brutal rule of Congo from 1885 to 1908 caused an estimated 10 million Congolese deaths through murder, starvation and disease.
This past week, close to 12,000 people gathered in central Brussels. They were targeting the King Leopold statue outside the royal palace and more than a dozen others. The most egregious one depicts a group of Congolese people kneeling below Leopold in “gratitude”.
Many of these statues were built in the 1930s when the Belgian government created a mythology around Leopold II, erasing the public memory of the Congo atrocities and replacing it with a narrative of a benevolent king who brought glory to Belgium.
But as calls for the statue’s removal grow louder, Belgian’s political class is raising objections to the dismay of Afro-Belgians and other citizens.
“You should see what Leopold II has done for Belgium!” Prince Laurent, younger brother of the current Belgian King Philippe, was quoted to say. “He had parks built in Brussels and many other things.”
“I don’t see how he could have made people (in the Congo) suffer,” Laurent said. “There were many people that worked for Leopold II, and they were really abusive — but that does not mean that Leopold II was abusive.”
“You won’t erase the history by removing statues,” said District Mayor Koen Palinckx of Antwerp. “You won’t turn back the clock.” He scolded activists destroying objects that are public property saying: “That’s a line you do not cross.”
“This is not how we proceed in a democracy,” added Auderghem Mayor Didier Gosuin. “This is not how we put history back on the right track.”
In 2010, former Belgian foreign minister Louis Michel, the father of future prime minister and present EU Council president Charles Michel, called Leopold “a hero with ambitions for a small country like Belgium” and described the Congo stories as “exaggerations”.
Belgians have been unwilling to confront colonialism, said Idesbald Goddeeris, a professor of history at Leuven Catholic University. When he was a student in the 1990s, instructors spent only one or two minutes on the country’s role in Congo, he recalled.
“Slavery is still very real history for black people – we are still living with the consequences of it, with a racial hierarchy that puts black people at the bottom,” said Mary Ononokpono, who is doing a PhD at the University of Cambridge on the British-Biafran slave trade.
“Britain, Europe and America – and Africa – have to confront their history,” said Ononokpono. “We urgently need to have a long-overdue and honest discussion about the history of slavery and its legacy of impoverishment.”

Newswire : Aunt Jemima to change name, remove image ‘based on racial stereotype’

By Biba Adams, The Grio

Current updated Aunt Jemima label

After 130 years, Quaker is finally changing the name of their popular pancake brand, Aunt Jemima. Acknowledging that the brand was based on a racial stereotype, the name of the product will change and the imagery removed.
Introduced on Nov. 1, 1889, the inspiration for the product was a minstrel song, “Old Aunt Jemima,” NBC News reports, based on the mammy archetype. With her large, smiling face and headkerchief, the character was centered in the ideal of Black women as domestic caretakers for whites.
The original logo was based on a woman named Nancy Green who was a “storyteller and missionary worker.” Green was born enslaved.
In 1989, the image was updated to show Aunt Jemima in pearl earrings and a newly-coiffed hairstyle. However, the name and her mammy-oriented personality remained.
Kristin Kroepfl, vice president and chief marketing officer of Quaker Foods said that the company acknowledges that attempts to update the brand have proven insufficient.
PepsiCo, which owns the Quaker brand, released a statement stating that they are retiring the brand image. “As we work to make progress toward racial equality through several initiatives, we also must take a hard look at our portfolio of brands and ensure they reflect our values and meet our consumers’ expectations,” the company said.
Riché Richardson, an associate professor at Cornell University, told the TODAY show on Wednesday. “It’s an image that harkens back to the antebellum plantation … Aunt Jemima is that kind of stereotype premised on this idea of Black inferiority and otherness,” Richardson said.
“It is urgent to expunge our public spaces of a lot of these symbols that for some people are triggering and represent terror and abuse.”
Quaker Foods has not yet released the new name for the product but stated that the new packaging will appear in stores later this year. They also committed to spending $5 million over the next five years “to create meaningful, ongoing support and engagement in the Black community.”

Newswire: FBI investigating noose left in NASCAR stall of Black driver

By: Jenna Fryer, Associated Press

Bubba Wallace’s car being escorted on to the track at Talladega by other NASCAR drivers in an act of solidarity;

Bubba Wallace in an “I Can’t Breathe” T-shirt

Federal authorities on Monday confirmed they are investigating the discovery of a noose found in the Talladega Superspeedway garage stall of Bubba Wallace, NASCAR’s only Black full-time driver who successfully pushed the stock car series to ban the Confederate flag at its venues earlier this month.

U.S. Attorney Jay Town said his office, the FBI and the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division were reviewing the situation. “Regardless of whether federal charges can be brought, this type of action has no place in our society,” Town said.

The stock car series, founded in the South more than 70 years ago, has tried to distance itself from the flag for years at the risk of alienating a core group of its fan base. At Wallace’s urging, it went ahead with the ban as the nation grapples with social unrest largely tied to George Floyd, an unarmed Black man who died in the custody of Minneapolis police.

NASCAR has not outlined how it will enforce the restriction and this week’s race at Talladega, in the heart of the South, presented the series with its biggest test in the early going. Disgruntled fans with Confederate flags drove past the main entrance to the Alabama race track prior to Sunday’s race, while a plane flew above the track pulling a banner of the flag that read “Defund NASCAR.”

Hours after the race was postponed by rain, NASCAR said the noose had been found. The sanctioning body vowed to do everything possible to find who was responsible and “eliminate them from the sport.”

“We are angry and outraged, and cannot state strongly enough how seriously we take this heinous act,” the series said in a statement. “As we have stated unequivocally, there is no place for racism in NASCAR, and this act only strengthens our resolve to make the sport open and welcoming to all.”

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey said she was “shocked and appalled” by the “vile act” against Wallace, an Alabama native.

“There is no place for this disgusting display of hatred in our state,” Ivey said. “Bubba Wallace is one of us; he is a native of Mobile and on behalf of all Alabamians, I apologize to Bubba Wallace as well as to his family and friends for the hurt this has caused and regret the mark this leaves on our state.”

Richard Petty, seven-time NASCAR champion and owner of Wallace’s famed No. 43, was headed to Talladega to support his driver. Petty, who turns 83 next month, has not attended a race during the coronavirus pandemic and said in a statement he was “enraged by the act of someone placing a noose in the garage stall of my race team.”

“There’s absolutely no place in our sport or society for racism,” wrote the Hall of Famer known simply as “The King.” “This filthy act serves as a reminder of how far we still have to go to eradicate racial prejudice and it galvanizes my resolve to use the resources of Richard Petty Motorsports to create change. This sick person who perpetrated this act must be found, exposed and swiftly and immediately expelled from NASCAR.

“I believe in my heart this despicable act is not representative of the competitors I see each day in the NASCAR garage area. I stand shoulder to shoulder with Bubba, yesterday, today, tomorrow and every day forward.”

Reaction from Wallace’s fellow drivers was immediate as they prepared for the rescheduled race Monday afternoon. Retired four-time champion Jeff Gordon called it a “cowardly” act and Ryan Blaney, one of Wallace’s closest friends, tweeted: “You’re my brother and always will be. Don’t let the people who are lower than life to try and bring you down.”

In an act of solidarity, all the NASCAR drivers escorted Wallace’s No. 43 car on to the track at Talladega on Monday for the race that was postponed by rain on Sunday.

The 26-year-old Wallace has not commented since a statement on social media late Sunday in which he said the “the despicable act of racism and hatred leaves me incredibly saddened and serves as a painful reminder of how much further we have to go as a society and how persistent we must be in the fight against racism.”

“As my mother told me today, ‘They are just trying to scare you,’” he wrote. “ This will not break me, I will not give in nor will I back down. I will continue to proudly stand for what I believe in.”

Wallace has worn a shirt that says “I Can’t Breathe” over his firesuit and sported a Black Lives Matter paint scheme in a race last month in Martinsville, Virginia. Wallace has said NASCAR assigned him two sheriff’s deputies for security at Martinsville after he called for the ban.

Wallace said he has found support among fellow drivers for his stance on the flag. He noted that in his tweet after the noose announcement.

“Over the last several weeks, I have been overwhelmed by the support from people across the NASCAR industry including other drivers and team members in the garage,” he said. “Together, our sport has made a commitment to driving real change and championing a community that is accepting and welcoming of everyone. Nothing is more important and we will not be deterred by the reprehensible actions of those who seek to spread hate.”

Five years ago, former NASCAR chairman Brian France tried to ban flying the flags at tracks, a proposal that was not enforced and largely ignored.

This year was different and it was Wallace who led the charge. Wallace, whose father is white, was not always outspoken about racism; even after Floyd was killed last month, he was not the first driver to speak out for racial equality. He has said he began to find his public voice on racism after watching video in May of Ahmaud Arbery’s fatal shooting in Georgia. He said he now recognizes he must not let his platform as a prominent driver go to waste.

Talladega is one of the more raucous stops on the NASCAR schedule, but the pandemic prompted the series, like all sports, to ban or sharply limit fans for months. With only 5,000 fans allowed in, the scene this week was a dramatic departure from the Talladega norm with plenty of room for social distancing and fans asked to wear masks.

Fans were not granted access to the infield or the restricted area of the Cup Series garage. Under strict new health guidelines, a very limited number of people can access the garage where the cars are kept. That would include crew members for each of the 40 teams, NASCAR employees, Talladega staff members and any contracted safety crews or security guards.

Drivers are not even permitted to enter the garage, instead of going directly from their motorhomes to the race cars to drive. They were never called to the cars Sunday because of rain.

Newswire: Racism is a Public Health Issue

Special to the Trice Edney News Wire from
– Several leading medical organizations have said racism is a public health issue and that police brutality must stop.
The American Academy of Pediatrics, American Medical Association and the American College of Physicians made their comments in the wake of the May 25 murder of Floyd George, who was murdered while in the custody of the Minneapolis, Minnesota, police.
The American Academy of Pediatrics posted on its Twitter feed Sunday night linking the impact of racism on child and adolescent health.
“AAP condemns violence, especially when perpetrated by authorities, and calls for a deep examination of how to improve the role of policing,” the academy tweeted. Systemic violence requires a systemic response.”
The American Medical Association also released a joint statement from Dr. Jesse Ehrenfeld, its board chair, and Dr. Patrice Harris, the organization’s president.
“AMA policy recognizes that physical or verbal violence between law enforcement officers and the public, particularly among black and brown communities where these incidents are more prevalent and pervasive, is a critical determinant of health and supports research into public health consequences of these violent interactions,” Harris and Ehrenfeld said in a joint statement.
The two added: “Racism as a driver of health equity is particularly evident in findings from a 2018 study showing that law enforcement-involved deaths of unarmed black individuals were associated with adverse mental health among black American adults—a spillover effect on the population, regardless of whether the individual affected had a personal relationship with the victim or the incidents was experience vicariously.”
The American College of Physicians wrote that it is gravely concerned about discrimination and violence against communities of color, whether by the police or private individuals.”
Several studies suggest that racism or discrimination raise the risk of emotional and physical health problems, including depression, cardiovascular disease, hypertension —more than 40 percent of black adults have high blood pressure—and even death.
Floyd suffered from coronary artery disease and hypertensive heart disease, according to the Hennepin County Medical Examiner.

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.

Greene County High students show noted progress in ACT scores

The Greene County Board of Education held its regular meeting on Monday, June 15, 2020, as a Virtual Zoom meeting in keeping with safety measures relative to COVID-19 Pandemic. All board members were participants as well as Superintendent Corey Jones, Attorney Hank Sanders and CSFO LaVanda Blair.
In his report to the board, Superintendent Jones provided an overview of the ACT Data Analysis for 11th graders. The participating students were engaged in an eight-week mathematics test prep course. They were given a mock pre-test, quizzes and test-taking tips. The consultants met with students one day per week for 8 weeks from January to March.
Dr. Jones noted that during this time the Mastery Works Team provided the students with instruction in mathematics based on the previous formative and summative assessments to ensure mastery skills. “Collaboration between Mastery Works Test Prep, Marimac Academy, GCHS Administrative Team, counselors, teachers and students made possible the progress in raising our ACT scores,” he said. Jones stated that more details will be provided at the next board meeting.
In his update on maintenance, Superintendent Jones stated that air conditioners at all locations have been cleaned; all buildings are being pressure washed; foam sanitizers are purchased for all school facilities; and there is a grounds beautification project in progress.
According to Dr. Jones, due to the COVID-19 Pandemic and the postponement of state evaluations, the State Department of Education (SDE) has advised that all school systems will maintain their academic status from the previous year. He also noted that the SDE is advising school system to consider opening schools after August 20. Specific guidelines will be forthcoming.
The board approved in its personnel items a listing of retirements, resignations, hirings and re-calls and salary adjustments.
*Resignations: Brittany January, Math Teacher, Robert Brown Middle School, effective May 22, 2020; Toice Goodson, Principal, Greene County Alternative School, effective May 31, 2020.
*Retirements: Verna Nickson, Bus Driver, Department of Transportation, effective June 1, 2020; Brenda Washington, 3rd Grade Teacher, Eutaw Primary School, effective July 1, 2020.
*Employment: Nicole Henley, Health Science Instructor, Greene County Career Center; Caaliyah Nelson, 4th Grade Teacher, Robert Brown Middle School; Cecil Cunningham 5th Grade Teacher, Robert Brown Middle School; Franklin Ball, 7th & 8th Grade Math Teacher, Robert Brown Middle School; Samantha Jones, 6th Grade Social Studies Teacher, Robert Brown Middle School; Demilla Snyder 7th & 8th Grade Science Teacher, (Star Academy); Sherita Abrams Pickens, 3rd Grade Teacher, Eutaw Primary School
*Re-Call the following employees, Eutaw Primary School: Gwendolyn Webb, PreK Instructional Assistant; LaKeisha D. Johnson, PreK Instructional Assistant; Danielle Sanders, Elementary Teacher; Lurena A. Smith, Elementary Teacher; Chandra M. Toney, Elementary Teacher; Domonique McDaniels, Elementary Teacher; Valerie Moore, PE Teacher; Quenterica White, Elementary Teacher; Tara Thomas, Elementary Teacher.
*Re-Call the following employees, Greene County High School: Josef Stancer, Band Instructor; Tyler Mitchell, Social Science Teacher; Jacqueline Edwards, full-time Janitor.
*Re-Call the following employees, Robert Brown Middle School: NKenge Reynolds, Social Science Teacher; Alisa A. Ward, Elementary Teacher; Leanita R. Hunt, Elementary Teacher; Starr D. Christian, English Teacher; Ashley Moody, English Teacher.
*Renewal of contracted employees: Cynthia Crawford, Technology Assistant, Central Office; Jacqueline Allen, Reading Coach, Eutaw Primary School.
*Approved salary adjustment: James Gaines, Interim Transportation Supervisor.
*Approved a one-time signing bonus of $1,500.00: for all new and current bus drivers that sign a two-year contract with the school system. In the event that a bus driver does not fulfill the two-year commitment, they must pay back the $1,500.00 bonus.
*Approved: Angela Harkness, Virtual Summer School Instructor, for Odyssey Ware.
The board approved the following admin istrative services:
Contract with Curriculum Consultant Malysa Chandler, to Develop and Implement Curriculum; 21st Century Grant for FY 2020-2021; Payment of all bills, claims, and payroll.

Only 40.7% of Greene County households have completed the Census Greene County’s Census response rate lags behind state and national rates

By John Zippert,
Greene County Democrat

According to the U.S. Census2020 website as of today, only 40.7% of the households in Greene County have responded to the Census, which counts the population of the entire country every ten years. The 40.7% rate for Greene County lags behind the national rate of 61.4% and the State of Alabama’s rate of 59.8%.
Marilyn Stephens, Assistant Regional Manager of the Atlanta Region, which includes the State of Alabama, said “ Take ten minutes today to help ensure benefits to your community for the next ten years!”
Stephens indicated that the coronavirus pandemic had delayed and interfered with some of the schedule for the Census, including house-to-house visits, but that the Census takers would soon be coming around.
In the meantime, Stephens suggested that those households that have not completed the 2020 Census, can call the toll free number: 1-844-330-2020 and answer the questions by phone. She said you can also use your cell phone, tablet or computer and go to:, and complete the Census online.
Those persons who never received, lost or misplaced the original communication from the Census, which had an identification number, can call in or report online based on their address. Stephens said, “Don’t worry about a deadline, for you the deadline is today, to complete your Census.”
Stephens said there are two main reasons, why Greene County residents should complete the Census, “First, the population count in the Census is used to determine the apportionment of districts for U. S. Congress, the state legislature and local electoral districts. So if you do not participate in the Census, your state, county and city may lose representation and a voice in making important policy decisions that will affect your life.

“Second, the Census count is used in distributing $675 Billion or more in Federal and state dollars each year for programs for healthcare, rural hospitals, school lunch programs, senior citizens meals, Headstart, Community Development Block Grants, SNAP, WIC and highway funds. If you do not report in the Census, you are shortchanging your community and your household from receiving a fair and adequate share of these benefits.”
Rev. Chris Spencer, with the Black Belt Community Foundation, says, “We must work to get every resident counted in the Census to assure that we get the benefits we need from Federal and state programs. Every church, housing development, and community organization needs to check its membership and help make sure that we get one hundred percent completion of the Census. 40% is a good start but we need to finish the job, we need everyone’s help.”
Carrie Fulghum, Manager of the Eutaw Elderly Village, a thirty unit elderly housing development in the city, with the help of Miriam Leftwitch, a board member, went door to door and helped every resident to complete the Census. “We gave each person, who completed the Census, a ticket in a raffle, and awarded a prize basket of supplies and snacks to the winner. This was a small incentive to help ensure that everyone in our housing community completed the Census. We challenge every other housing development in our city and county to do the same.”
Kinya Isaac, who is the Census Coordinator for Greene County, said, “When you talk with your friends and neighbors ask them if they have completed the Census and ask if you can assist them if they need help to call or get online.”
Marilyn Stephens, completed her interview by saying,” I want people to know that the Census is safe. By law, you are protected from any of your personal information being released or used against you. We do not publish any information on individuals just aggregated data for an area”