Covid-19

As of September 18, 2022, at 10:00 AM
(According to Alabama Political Reporter)

Alabama had 1,512,134 confirmed cases of coronavirus,
(7,954) more than last week with 20,322 deaths (83) more
than last week.

Greene County had 2,109 confirmed cases, no more cases than last week), with 51 deaths

Sumter Co. had 2,922 cases with 52 deaths

Hale Co. had 5,336 cases with 109 deaths

Note: Greene County Physicians Clinic has testing and vaccination for COVID-19;
Call for appointments at 205/372-3388, Ext. 142; ages 5 and up.

Coronavirus Box as of August 6, 2022

As of August 6, 2022, at 10:00 AM
(According to Alabama Political Reporter)

Alabama had 1,436,450 confirmed cases of coronavirus,
(14,690) more than last week with 19,974 deaths (84) more
than last week)

Greene County had 2,056 confirmed cases, 13 more cases than last week), with 51 deaths

Sumter Co. had 2,826 cases with 52 deaths

Hale Co. had 5,190 cases with 109 deaths

Note: Greene County Physicians Clinic has testing and vaccination for COVID-19;
Call for appointments at 205/372-3388, Ext. 142; ages 5 and up.

Newswire: Basketball legend Bill Russell dies at 88

Bill Russell showing some of his championship rings

 

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
 

Boston Celtics Legend Bill Russell, one of professional basketball’s greatest players and the sport’s most crowned champion, has died at the age of 88.
Russell, who won 11 NBA titles as a player and two as a player-coach, died “peacefully” with his wife, Jeannine, at his side, a statement on social media said.
Jeannine said funeral arrangements are pending.
“But for all the winning, Bill’s understanding of the struggle is what illuminated his life. From boycotting a 1961 exhibition game to unmask too-long-tolerated discrimination, to leading Mississippi’s first integrated basketball camp in the combustible wake of Medgar Evans’ assassination, to decades of activism ultimately recognized by his receipt of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, Bill called out injustice with an unforgiving candor that he intended would disrupt the status quo, and with a powerful example that, though never his humble intention, will forever inspire teamwork, selflessness, and thoughtful change,” the statement read.
It continued:
“Bill’s wife, Jeannine, and his many friends and family thank you for keeping Bill in your prayers. Perhaps you’ll relive one or two of the golden moments he gave us or recall his trademark laugh as he delighted in explaining the real story behind how those moments unfolded.
“And we hope each of us can find a new way to act or speak up with Bill’s uncompromising, dignified, and always constructive commitment to principle. That would be one last and lasting win for our beloved #6.”
President Barack Obama presented the Medal of Freedom in 2011, and Russell won five NBA Most Valuable Player awards.
He made the All-Star team in 12 of the 13 years he played in the league. The prolific big man finished his career in 1969 with 21,620 career rebounds, an average of 22.5 per game, and led the league in rebounding four times.
He grabbed 51 rebounds in one game, 49 in two others, and a dozen consecutive seasons of 1,000 or more rebounds.
Many viewed Russell as the greatest player in history until Michael Jordan arrived in the 1980s and 1990s and Lebron James in the 2000s.
Born in Monroe, Louisiana, in 1934, Russell’s family moved to the San Francisco area, where he attended McClymonds High School in Oakland.
He earned a scholarship to play at the University of San Francisco and helped lead the basketball school to an astounding 56 straight wins and back-to-back NCAA titles.
In 1974, Russell earned election to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. In 1980, he was voted Greatest Player in the History of the NBA by the Professional Basketball Writers Association of America. He was part of the 75th Anniversary Team announced by the NBA in October 2021.

Newswire: Brittney Griner pleads guilty to drug charge in Russian court

By Stacy M. Brown,NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent

WNBA Superstar Brittney Griner told a Russian court Thursday that she didn’t intend to commit a crime, but in her rush to pack her luggage, she accidentally carried a small amount of cannabis oil.
The Phoenix Mercury standout then pleaded guilty to drug smuggling, which could land her as much as ten years in prison. She has been detained since February, and officials scheduled a July 14 court appearance for the now-convicted basketball player.
U.S. officials didn’t immediately comment. Recently, there’s been a growing call for her release. Many observers have opined that Russia is using the 31-year-old as a political pawn.
It’s believed Russian President Vladimir Putin would free Griner if the United States did likewise for convicted arms dealer Victor Bout.
It’s unknown whether Griner’s guilty plea is part of an overall strategy to bring her home, with the thought of not dragging out the court case and lessening the spotlight.
On July 4, President Joe Biden received a letter from Griner pleading for his help getting her home. A day later, Cherelle Griner, the WNBA player’s wife, went on national television to express frustration that she hadn’t been in touch with the White House about Brittney.
On July 6, Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris spoke with Cherelle Griner via telephone and reassured her that the administration is continuing to work to bring her loved one home.
“While I will remain concerned and outspoken until she is back home, I am hopeful in knowing that the President read my wife’s letter and took the time to respond,” Cherelle Griner said. “I know BG will be able to find comfort in knowing she has not been forgotten.” Biden shared with Cherelle Griner a letter he planned to send to Brittney.

Newswire: 17 receive Presidential Medal of Freedom at White House ceremony

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent

Fred Gray, Tuskegee Civil Rights attorney receives medal
Diane Nash, founder of SNNC receives medal

A reporter reported about Covid kept actor Denzel Washington from attending the Presidential Medal of Freedom ceremony at the White House on Thursday, but 16 others, including Olympic Champion Simone Biles, U.S. soccer player Megan Rapinoe, and Khazir Khan, joined President Joe Biden to accept their respective honors.
Washington, Khan, Rapinoe, and Sandra Lindsay, the Black nurse from New York who received the first shot of COVID vaccine and served on the front lines of the pandemic, each received the medals – the country’s highest civilian honor.
“The Fourth of July week reminds us of what brought us together long ago and still binds us – binds us at our best, what we strive for,” Biden remarked during the ceremony.
“We the people, doing what we can to ensure that the idea of America, the cause of freedom, shines like the sun to light up the future of the world,” Biden stated.
McCain, who served alongside Biden in the U.S. House and Senate, received his award posthumously, as did Apple Founder Steve Jobs and AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka.
Other medal recipients were former Sen. Alan Simpson, R-Wyo., an advocate of campaign finance reform and marriage equality; Sister Simone Campbell, an advocate for progressive issues; Julieta García, the first Hispanic woman to serve as President of a U.S. college; Fred Gray, one of the first Black members of the Alabama Legislature since Reconstruction and attorney for Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks; the Rev. Alexander Karloutsos, former vicar-general of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.
Diane Nash, a founding member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee who worked with Martin Luther King Jr.; Wilma Vaught, an Air Force brigadier general and one of the most decorated women in the history of the U.S. military; and Raúl Yzaguirre, a civil rights advocate who was the CEO and President of the National Council of La Raza for 30 years.

The White House said the President presents medals to individuals who have had significant cultural impacts or made significant contributions to the country or the world.

Newswire: AARP and NNPA reveal concerns of older Black women voters

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent

The pandemic has accelerated an economic crisis that has disproportionately impacted older women.
Their concerns could shape the election, as this voter group has had one of the highest turnout rates for decades, especially for Black women.

AARP and the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) have highlighted new findings from a national poll and focus group that explored the priorities and concerns of Black women aged 50 and over.

Researchers said the findings highlight how older Black women plan to vote in the all-important 2022 midterm elections.
The findings also revealed what Black women over 50 views as the country’s top issues, including inflation, the economy, and the increasingly polarized political environment.

Researchers also noted that the findings show that candidates should not take these voters for granted – most haven’t decided which candidates to support yet. Their votes will likely determine the balance of power in Congress.

“At AARP, our mission is to make sure that the most important issues facing older adults get the attention and action they deserve. We know that voters aged 50 and older are the largest voting bloc in the country and that women aged 50 and up are a particularly critical cohort in elections,” stated Lisa Simpson, multicultural engagement, disparities, and equity director, at AARP.

“This is especially true for Black women, who are one of the most active voting blocs in the U.S. electorate,” Simpson said.
While women aged 50 and over make up a quarter of the voting-age population, they cast 30% of all ballots in the 2020 election.

In addition, more than eight in ten (83%) registered women voters in this age group voted.
Meanwhile, Black women are only about 7% of the population but have voted at or above 60% in the past five presidential cycles.

Black women have had tremendous influence in critical swing states like Wisconsin, Texas, and Florida.
They led the way for women of color in Georgia during the 2020 presidential election, representing almost 17% of the state’s electorate and 84% of turnout by women of color.
And in a recent election survey for AARP Pennsylvania, 79% of older Black women said they are “extremely motivated to vote” in the upcoming midterm election. “Despite all this, their votes are often taken for granted, and their concerns are ignored or not really understood,” Simpson noted.

AARP’s survey found that Black women aged 50 and over are more optimistic about the economy than women of other races and ethnicities. The majority (56%) say the economy is working well for them, compared to 52% of 50-plus women who say the economy is not working well for them.

In Pennsylvania, the AARP survey yielded similar results: 46% of Black women aged 50 and over said the economy is working well for them, compared to just 33% of 50-plus women overall.
However, they still have financial worries.

“This is truly some fascinating research,” said NNPA President and CEO Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis Jr.
“It’s critical that we, as journalists, do our part to ensure elected leaders are listening by spreading the word on what truly matters to older Black women voters because we know they’ll be at the polls in November.”


Newswire: Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson sworn-in as first Black woman on U.S. Supreme Court

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent

Ketanji Brown Jackson sworn-in by Chief Justice John Roberts,
her husband Richard Jackson is holding Bibles

Last Thursday, June 30, 2022, Associate Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson officially joined the U.S. Supreme Court, marking a historic first for an African American woman.
After receiving the required two oaths – Chief Justice John Roberts administered the constitutional oath, and outgoing Justice Stephen Breyer, provided the judicial oath – Jackson joined a court in turmoil.
Protests have erupted with the recent overturning of Roe v. Wade, and other controversial decisions by the high court, including expanded gun rights at a time where the nation has witnessed nearly a deadly mass shooting each day.
Judge Jackson’s ascent to the bench still provides hope, she remarked.
“It took just one generation to go from segregation to the Supreme Court of the United States,” Jackson asserted earlier.
“It is an honor of a lifetime to have this chance to join the court, to promote the rule of law at the highest level, and to do my part to carry out shared project of democracy and equal justice under law forward, into the future.”
The court’s new term begins in September and Jackson immediately will help decide momentous opinions like the federal government’s jurisdiction over wetlands; an Alabama voter suppression law, and affirmative action cases that challenge admission policies at the University of North Carolina and Harvard.
Jackson has stated she’ll recuse herself from the Harvard case because she served on the school’s board of overseers.

Newswire: People for the American Way offers plan to reform police departments, law enforcement

By Barrington M. Salmo

(TriceEdneyWire.com) – The continued scourge of police violence against African-Americans is one of the most contentious issues in this country. According to statistics provided by People for the American Way (PFAW), in 2021 alone, police officers killed at least 1,134 people, with African Americans making up at least 23 percent of those killed, despite being only 13 percent of the US population. Racism is at the core of policing in this country, from colonial-era slave patrols to the post-Reconstruction vigilantism of the Ku Klux Klan to “order maintenance” policing of the late 20th century, Ben Jealous and his research colleague Dr. Niaz Kasravi contend.
In the aftermath of national and global protests following the murder of George Floyd by a quartet of Minneapolis police officers in 2020, Jealous said PFAW partnered with Covington & Burling LLP, and the Avalan Institute for Applied Research and consulted closely with law enforcement and policing experts, social justice activists, elected officials, community leaders produce a blueprint for reducing police violence titled, “All Safe: Transforming Public Safety.”
“We are very proud to unveil All Safe: Transforming Public Safety as a guide for local communities to take solutions to our public safety crisis into their own hands. Let’s face it: the federal government has failed to act on meaningful public safety legislation,” Jealous, president of People For the American Way and former president and CEO of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People said in an exclusive press briefing for African American journalists. “Meanwhile Black and brown people are dying at the hands of police officers. This has to stop. We can seed true, nationwide change by putting the right tools into the hands of communities now and building on their success, to create an unstoppable movement for public safety transformation.”
Jealous and Kasravi announced release of the report. Kasravi – founder and director of the Avalan Institute and editor-in- chief of All Safe – said the report provides concrete policy proposals for the transformation and implementation of public safety programs at the local level.
“We know that this. We know that it’s time for a change because the tradition approach just hasn’t worked. Right? For centuries, this country has relied on “tough on crime,” over-policing, and law and order policies,” Kasravi explained. “And more moderate reforms around training and recruitment, of course are necessary and needed, but they are not the answer, the foundational answer to a long-term change that we need. We are in America, the #1 incarcerator in the world with roughly five percent of the world’s population but we have 25% of its prisoners because of centuries on overreliance on police and systems of incarceration …”
Jealous, echoed Kasravi’s comments that described the report as “the most comprehensive vision for transformation of public safety in our country.” He credited Ithaca, New York’s three-term Mayor Svante Myrick with embracing the report’s provisions and implementing many of the proposals on the ground and in real life.
“We have to build the criminal reform movement from the bottom up,” said Jealous, a trained criminologist who grew up in a family in law enforcement.
He described the challenge of achieving meaningful change with America’s mélange of police departments – 16,000 local individualized police departments – each agency with its own rules and regulations.

“I figured out when I was at the NAACP that about 85 percent of African Americans live in 500 of these jurisdictions which means when it comes to saving Black lives, we really have to reform 3-5 percent of law enforcement agencies in the US,” Jealous said.
Among the report’s proposals is changing police departments to public safety departments led by civilians with half the department comprised of typically armed officer and the other half made up of unarmed officers who are social work experts catering to the needs of the drug-addicted, homeless and mentally ill.
“We don’t train these folks because that’s not what they’re supposed to be doing,” he said, referring to police officers ill-equipped to handle non-crime issues. “It’s shoot to kill and everything else. It would mean 60 percent of the officers we have now, radically less numbers carrying guns.”
Kasravi elaborated. “This report is the most comprehensive report that we’ve been involved with or seen produced. It’s a handbook for elected officials with a large range of policy options to respond to the public demand from police reform,” she said. “There are two co-equal teams of armed and unarmed individuals. The public safety model is a win on all fronts: it reduces the risk of harm and armed encounters; people are treated more humanely; this addresses medical and psychological needs; puts less stress on officers; and increased trust in the community.”
Kasravi said the model also saves communities more money and increases efficiency and effectiveness as communities move towards “the vision we all want.”
“It’s a local fight in every jurisdiction, a fight police must take up. No size fits all. There are different models and ways to respond,” Kasravi said.
The report presents facts and statistics which illustrate the current states of affairs and the challenges of effecting police reform:

• Police violence disproportionately affects communities of color. In 2021, while Black people accounted for only 13 percent of the US population, 28 percent of people killed by the police were Black. Another 19 percent were Latinx.
• Of the estimated 240 million calls made to 911 each year, studies have found that 90 percent of calls involve situations that are nonviolent before police are called.
• Police unions have erected barriers to prevent removal for those officers accused of misconduct. At the state level, unions have passed police officer “bills of rights,” which provide broad protections for officers which are not provided to other people in similar situations.
In addition, the report’s researchers showed that over-policing is encouraged as police brass demand that officers meet quotas which is one evaluation tool. And also that police recruitment strategies attract aggressive men and women.
“A comprehensive study analyzing the recruiting materials used by the 200 largest police departments in the United States found that: 42.7 percent contained some display of drawn firearms; 34 percent portrayed military-style weapons; 32 percent showed officers in tactical vests; and 27.7 percent depicted paramilitary policing units,” the report said.
Key tenets of the report are to remove police officers from schools; eliminate unnecessary misdemeanors and fines and fees; and ending the use of “excess” military equipment by law enforcement.
Jealous said PFAW focused on small college towns, like Ithaca, New York, where supporters and those connected to or affiliated with PFAW coalesced around the police reform policy proposals. The bedrock of the report is to restructure, hold responsible, remove, and recruit as a means of change, all the while addressing “the underlying issues and concerns that shape the organization’s public safety programs and make specific suggestions for transforming both how we think of public safety and our public safety programs.”
Their focus, Kasravi and Jealous said, has been at the local level because they contend that while a system overhaul will only come when state and federal officials move on it, “at the local level, executive, legislative, and judicial authorities can take steps immediately to reduce police violence.”
But as it has in the past, the post-Floyd effort to secure meaningful reform fizzled because of the lack of political will, raw, hyper-partisan politics and an unwillingness of national politicians to accede to the real demands of African Americans. Yet Jealous and Kasravi argue that even in the face of these and other challenges, it is imperative for the Black and brown communities most affected to devise new ways to confront, address and change the status quo as it relates to policing in America.
“It’s time for a fresh approach to the delivery of public safety in this country, because the hard truth is that what we have been doing hasn’t worked,” Kasravi said. “We have some of the most highly armed police forces and the greatest rates of incarceration in the world. If those strategies worked, we should be the safest nation in the world. But we all know that’s not the case. It’s time to transform our approach, and this report offers a range of options for communities to do that – and to improve and save lives, starting now.”
The release of the report coincides with People For the American Way kicking off it’s “Big Ideas” Summit in Atlanta this week. Civil Rights leaders, grassroots activists, elected officials and faith leaders will gather from around the US and mayors and other local officials have the option of taking All Safe recommendations back to their own communities to implement them.

Newswire: African abortion rights based on Roe vs Wade now at risk after Supreme Court decision

Maternal care in Senegal

June 27, 2022 (GIN) – In Africa, where the risk of dying from an unsafe abortion is the highest in the world, Roe v Wade has long been an important weapon in the arsenal of those fighting to liberalize abortion laws and make the procedure safer for women and girls despite it rarely being invoked by name. 

Human rights lawyer Stephanie Musho, a Kenyan, pointed to the case of Tunisia which liberalized their law limiting abortions just nine months after the Roe v Wade ruling – allowing women to access the service on demand.

Cape Verde allowed for abortion on request prior to 12 weeks gestation which aligns with Roe v Wade holding of the same.

“US policies on abortion,” she wrote in Al Jazeera, “whether we like it or not, significantly influence how seriously governments around the world take the issue of unsafe abortions.”

A surprising number of decisions reveal African courts referencing the Roe v Wade ruling. In a recent decision by the High Court of Kenya in Malindi, abortion care was called a fundamental right under the Kenyan Constitution and arbitrary arrests and prosecution of patients and healthcare providers for seeking or offering such services were outlawed.

The court relied upon the principles set out in previous SCOTUS (Supreme Court of The United States) decisions including Roe v Wade; Griswold v Connecticut; Eisenstadt v Baird; and Rochin v California among others. 

“Thus the move by SCOTUS overturning Roe v Wade will also put the right to abortion in further jeopardy in my own country,” warned Musho.

Still, Kenya’s High Court’s ruling was greeted with applause from Evelyn Opondo, senior regional director for Africa at the Center for Reproductive Rights, who called it “a victory for all women, girls, and health care providers who have been treated as criminals for seeking and providing abortion care… The Court has vindicated our position by affirming that forcing a woman to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term or to seek out an unsafe.”

Now, some 30 years after Roe v Wade, the African Union has finally adopted the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, known as the Maputo Protocol, Musho wrote in the CommonDreams news site. 

The protocol explicitly requires countries to authorize medical abortions in cases of sexual assault, rape, incest, or where the continued pregnancy endangers the health of the mother – a provision that draws from the UN’s Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women which based its argument on access to safe abortion on Roe v Wade.

Today, of the 55 member countries in the AU, 49 have signed the protocol and 43 have ratified it.

Since South Africa’s legalization of abortion on demand been a decrease in deaths from clandestine abortions (those provided outside of designated facilities), but the number of deaths following abortions are still quite high according to statistics gathered in Gauteng province—5% of maternal deaths following childbirth are abortion related, and 57% of these are related to illegal abortions. w/pix of Senegalese teen mom