LATEST ARTICLES

No, The Teachers Are Not Okay

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The system is built on the backs of teachers. And we are ready to collapse.

STEVEN SINGER, CommonDreams.org

At the staff meeting the other day, one of my fellow teachers turned to me and said he was having trouble seeing.

He rushed home and had to have his blood pressure meds adjusted.

Another co-worker was sent home because one of her students had tested positive for Covid-19 and she had gone over to his desk to help him with his assignment.

I, myself, came home on Friday and was so beat down I just collapsed into bed having to spend the next week going from one medical procedure to another to regain my health.

The teachers are not okay.

This pandemic has been particularly hard on us.

Through every twist and turn, teachers have been at the center of the storm.

When schools first closed, we were heroes for teaching on-line.

When they remained closed, we were villains for wanting to remain there—safe from infection.

Then there was a vaccine and many of us wanted to reopen our schools but only if we were prioritized to be vaccinated first. We actually had to fight for the right to be vaccinated.

When our students got sick, we sounded the alarm—only to get gas lighting from the CDC that kids don’t catch Covid and even if they do, they certainly never catch it at school.

We were asked to redo our entire curriculums on-line, then in-person for handfuls of students in funky two-day blocks, then teach BOTH on-line and in-person at the same time.

The summer was squandered with easing of precautions and not enough adults and teens getting vaccinated. Then schools reopened in August and September to debates over whether we should continue safety precautions like requiring students and staff wear masks and if we should expand them to include mandatory vaccinations for all staff and eligible students to protect kids 11 and younger who can’t take the vaccine yet. 

It’s been a rough year and a half, and I can tell you from experience—TEACHERS ARE EXHAUSTED.

As of Sept. 17, 2021, at least 1,116 active and retired K-12 educators have died of COVID-19, according to Education Week. Of that number, at least 361 were active teachers still on the job.

I’m sure the real number is much higher.

According to the Associated Press, the Covid pandemic has triggered a spike in teacher retirements and resignations not to mention a shortage of tutors and special aides.

Difficulties filling teacher openings have been reported in Tennessee, New Jersey and South Dakota. In the Mount Rushmore State, one district started the school year with 120 teacher vacancies.

In Texas, districts in Houston, Waco and other neighborhoods reported teacher vacancies in the hundreds as the school year began.

Several schools nationwide have had to shut down classrooms because there just weren’t enough teachers.

The problem didn’t start with Covid.

Educators have been quietly walking away from the profession for years now due to poor compensation, lack of respect, autonomy and support.

For instance, teachers are paid 20% less than other college-educated workers with similar experience. A 2020 survey found that 67% of teachers have or had a second job to make ends meet.

This isn’t rocket science. If people refuse to work for a certain wage, you need to increase compensation.

But it’s not just pay.

According to a survey in June of 2,690 members of the National Education Association, 32% said the pandemic was likely to make them leave the profession earlier than expected. That’s almost a third of educators—one in three—who plan to abandon teaching because of the pandemic.

Another survey by the RAND Corp. said the pandemic increased teacher attrition, burnout and stress. In fact, educators were almost twice as likely as other adult workers to have frequent job-related stress and almost three times more likely to experience depression.

The CDC Foundation in May released similar results – 27% of teachers reporting depression and 37% reporting anxiety.

However, the RAND survey went even deeper pinpointing several causes of stressful working conditions. These were (1) a mismatch between actual and preferred mode of instruction, (2) lack of administrator and technical support, (3) technical issues with remote teaching, and (4) lack of implementation of COVID-19 safety measures.

I have to admit that’s what I’m seeing in the district where I teach.

We have had several staff meetings in the four weeks since students have been back in the classroom and none of them have focused on how we are keeping students and staff safe from Covid. In fact, administration seems happy to simply ignore that a pandemic is even going on.

We’ve talked about academic standards, data driven instruction, behavior plans, lesson planning, dividing the students up based on standardized test scores but NOTHING on the spikey viral ball in the room!

We get emails and phone calls every few days from the district about how many students and staff have tested positive and if close contacts were identified. But nothing is done to stop the steady stream of illness.

And these communiques willfully hide the extent of these outbreaks. For example, here’s an announcement from Sept. 13:

“We have learned that a Middle School staff member has tested positive for COVID-19. There were no close contacts associated with that case. We also have learned that a Middle School student has tested positive. Close contacts for this case have been identified and notified. Thank you.”

This announcement failed to disclose that contacts for the student were the entire middle school girl’s volleyball team. That’s 16-17 students who were all quarantined as a result.

Teachers are tired of this.

And I don’t mean palm-on-my-head, woe-is-me tired.

I mean collapsing-in-a-heap tired.

We are getting physically ill—even when it isn’t directly attributed to Covid, it’s from the stress.

At my district, the school board even refused to mandate masks. It took action from the governor to require this simplest of safety precautions. Do you know how much these kind of senseless shenanigans drain educators who just want to make it through the day without catching a potentially fatal illness!?

There are so many teachers absent every day. We know because there aren’t enough subs, either, so those of us who do show up usually have to cover missing teachers classes between teaching our own classes and fulfilling our other duties.

Things cannot continue this way.

We need help and support.

We can’t be the only people responsible for dealing with society’s problems anymore.

You can’t just put us in a room with kids and tell us to work it all out.

You can’t refuse to listen to us but blame us when things go wrong.

No one’s going to stay for that—not even for the kids.

We are literally falling apart here.

We want to be there for our students, to give as much as we can, but many of us are running out of things to give.

The system is built on the backs of teachers.

And we are ready to collapse.

A Gift of Love: Celebration of Hope Virtual Gala Aims to Build Homes for Kitis, Haiti

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COCONUT CREEK, Fla. (Sept. 27, 2021) – Everyone needs a safe place to call home. For families in Kitis, Haiti, home is held together by rocks, mud and sticks.

Roofs are thatched together or covered with rusted metal sheets or old tarps, offering no protection when it rains.

Home built with tarpaulin sheets

But supporters of Food For The Poor’s 22nd Annual Celebration of Hope Virtual Gala hope to change that for 25 families by raising funds to put them in safe, well-built homes.

The event will be livestreamed on the charity’s Facebook and YouTube channels at 8 p.m. Saturday, October 2. Award-winning singer Glacia Robinson, who will debut new music from her upcoming FFTP album, is the featured performer.

Dr. Lynne Nasrallah, who has served as the gala’s Committee Chair for more than two decades, has witnessed firsthand on many occasions the transformation that can occur when someone living in extreme poverty receives the gift of a home.

“This is a God-given opportunity for us to show our love through service to families living in poverty,” Nasrallah said. “It doesn’t matter what we have in life, what title or how much money we have in the bank. If we don’t serve with love, then we’re not serving at all.”

Dr. Lynne and Filiana
Dr. Lynne and Filiana: Dr. Lynne Nasrallah, Chair of Food For The Poor’s Celebration of Hope Virtual Gala, hugs Filiana, a young woman in Haiti who received the gift of a home from the charity. Filiana suffered from leprosy for years and died on Palm Sunday earlier this year. Photo courtesy Dr. Lynne Nasrallah

Nasrallah shared the story of Filiana, a young woman with leprosy whom she first met almost 20 years ago on a trip with the charity to Haiti.

For her whole adult life, Filiana had lived with her brother and sister-in-law but never had a home for herself and her three children. Thanks to the charity’s donors, Filiana received a new home.

While Filiana had to undergo several surgeries over the years that led to removal of her fingers, her toes, her foot and eventually her leg, she never lost her faith in God or her love for her family. Last Palm Sunday, Filiana succumbed to her illness and died in a hospital.

“The last time I saw her alive, she was so happy and vibrant. That memory rests on my heart in a special way,” Nasrallah said.

“We have honored the memory of Filiana and her motherly commitment to leave her children her only earthly possession, her Food For The Poor home,” Nasrallah added. “I believe if Filiana could send me a message from heaven, she would encourage me to build more homes in Haiti because just one home for one needy family becomes a never-ending miracle.”

Over the last 20 years, more than 1,000 homes in Haiti have been funded directly by the generosity of Orlando-area donors, the Celebration of Hope gala and matching gifts from the charity.

Fundraiser for Haiti scheduled for October 2
Supporters of Food For The Poor’s 22nd Annual Celebration of Hope Virtual Gala on Saturday, October 2, are raising funds to build homes for 25 families in Kitis, Haiti. The event will be livestreamed by the charity on its Facebook and YouTube channels. Photo/Food For The Poor

This year’s virtual event is dedicated to raising funds to build 25 homes in Kitis, located in Petit-Goâves, Haiti. More than 10 years after the 2010 earthquake, many poverty-stricken families continue to live in makeshift homes built from scraps.

The new two-room homes will include sanitation, a rain harvesting system for collecting water, furnishings and solar-powered light kits.

FFTP President/CEO Ed Raine said Haiti has suffered a devastating year with the earthquake and Tropical Storm Grace occurring within days of each other. Even before both disasters, he added, many families were already in crisis, in need of safe shelter.

“We are so blessed to have the support of generous donors from the Celebration of Hope that continue to help us provide homes and long-lasting positive transformation,” Raine added. “It is our desire to bring the true message of hope to these vulnerable children and families.”

The event committee includes Chair Dr. Lynne Nasrallah, Linda Bonnewitz, Bruny and Paula Compas, George and Kim del Campo, Ben and Nicole del Campo, Mike and Dr. Desirae Friend, Cynthia Hawkins, Dr. Anis Khalaf, Nicole Nasrallah, George and Joanne Olson, Lisa Padilla Ortiz, Nancy Padilla, Dwight and Lisa Saathoff, Liliane Santana, Tom and Jean Wilkes, Jean and Donna Wilson, Holly Wilson and Liz Zeitler.

Register for the free virtual event and participate in the silent auction at www.FoodForThePoor.org/celebration.

The silent auction opens at 6 p.m. Wednesday, September 29, and closes on the night of the event at 9 p.m. Saturday, October 2.

Food For The Poor, one of the largest international relief and development organizations in the nation, does much more than feed millions of hungry children and families living in poverty primarily in 17 countries of the Caribbean and Latin America. This interdenominational Christian ministry provides emergency relief assistance, clean water, medicine, educational materials, homes, support for vulnerable children, care for the aged, skills training and micro-enterprise development assistance. For more information, please visit www.FoodForThePoor.org.

Hi-tech: Hustle Unveils Resources To Help Nonprofits Leverage Personalized Text Messaging & Video

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Two new resources unveiled today by Hustle will empower nonprofits to jumpstart the integration of text messaging and video messaging into their peer-to-peer fundraising programs.SAN FRANCISCO, Aug. 11, 2021 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ — Two new resources unveiled today by Hustle will empower nonprofits to jumpstart the integration of text messaging and video messaging into their peer-to-peer fundraising programs.Available now via Hustle’s website, “Leveraging Personalized Text Messaging To Enhance Peer-To-Peer Fundraising” provides valuable guidance on strategies to prosper from the power of texting. (Studies find that more than 95 percent of all text messages are opened, a large multiple of email open rates.)The white paper suggests five ways in which nonprofits can strengthen their peer-to-peer fundraising efforts such as recruiting past participants, promoting rewards and incentives, coaching team captains and incorporating video.The report was produced in partnership with the Peer-to-Peer Professional Forum, the leading information source for nonprofits seeking to more effectively move supporters to rally their networks to donate money.Visit https://go.hustle.com/LeveragingP2PforFundraising for a free copy of the white paper.This valuable guidance and more will be brought to life in a webinar on September 9 sponsored by Hustle.”The Advantages Of Conversational Text: 5 Actions That Increase Fundraising Engagement” will start by providing listeners with an essential grounding in the effective use of personalized text messaging to enhance peer-to-peer fundraising. Then speakers from the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network and Hustle will share real world examples and answer questions from attendees.Registration for the one-hour webinar presentation is free. A recording of the session will be available at no charge soon after the live event via http://www.peertopeerforum.com/webinars.To register for the free webinar on September 9 from 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm ET, please visit https://www.peertopeerforum.com/the-advantages-of-conversational-text-5-actions-that-increase-fundraising-engagement-sponsored/

Healthclick Expands Its All Access Online Continuing Education Subscription

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: startOnline learning is growing at 21 % per year and will be a trillion-dollar market by 2027. Online Medical Continuing Education will be fueled by engaging content that advances the knowledge and career trajectory of the medical professional.FRANKLIN, Tenn., Aug. 11, 2021 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ — Healthclick unique approach to online continuing education combines evidence-based continuing education with custom high quality film, medical illustrations, 3D animations, real-life patient testimonials, and contributions from the top medical experts worldwide. This approach delivers a comprehensive course that meets a professional’s continuing education requirements and gives them a competitive edge amongst their colleagues.Using the latest film technology, the healthclick team travels worldwide to seek out and create an education course focused upon the most current clinical issues facing its professional medical customers. Medical professionals from over 30 countries can now access the complete online library for $189 USD. Healthclick’s subscription expansion meets the demand for higher quality online content that goes beyond just meeting a licensing requirement for education. Medical professionals in the EU, India, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Brazil and the Philippines can now access the Healthclick Learning System on any internet-connected device with a subscription. Much like entertainment streaming services, the success of online education will be defined by the quality of content and the ability to deliver worldwide.Healthclick is actively seeking partnerships to help grow it educational offerings and services. Watch a promotional video of an online course included in the subscription as an example of the quality of the online learning experience.

Opinion — Black Lives Matter and The Color of Your Skin

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By Roger Caldwell There is a pervasive sickness in America, and it is called White supremacy, and systemic racism. These ideologies are invisible, and many Americans now believe that success has nothing to do with the color of an individual’s skin. Discrimination does no longer exist, and everyone has the same opportunities. It is very easy to get caught in this frame of mind, because you can look at the millions of people of color, who are a success in one generation. Instead of challenging and fighting racism, they put the blame on the person. On many different levels people of color are advancing, and there is much to be proud of. There are now more children of color being born, than White children each year, and White people are concerned with their existence. “White supremacy or White supremacism is the belief that White people are superior to those of other races and thus should dominate them. The belief favors the maintenance and defense of White power and privilege. White supremacy has roots in the now discredited doctrine of scientific racism, and was a key justification for colonialism,” states Wikipedia. The Democrats would want Americans to think that in 2021, Republicans are the only party that is racist, but racism is systemic and institutionalized. When White folks get together, there are always the Black jokes, and the jokes about how fast Black men can run. Many would think that Black jokes are harmless, and they would never say them in front of their Black friends, but sometimes other words slip out. There is something fundamentally different about being born White, and more doors are opened [to them] from the start. Some call it “White privilege” and it is a benefit that is enjoyed by all White folks, and it does not matter if you are a Democrat or Republican. There is a cultural thread that runs through the society, and Whites take advantage of all these benefits. White privilege is an aspect of White power, and all White people have the ability to pull out their White power card. History in America has demonstrated that White citizens will make war, and justify horrific atrocities against Black people, including lynching. Even after slavery was abolished, there was still lynching, and many today believe police brutality is still connected to the history of lynching. There were 3436 people lynched from 1889 to 1932, and the majority were Black people, according to publisher Ida B. Wells. As Black Americans look to the past for answers, Ida Wells was always very vocal in her campaigns to stop lynching and racial violence against her community. When her newspaper was published, she risked being lynched, and her office was burned to the ground.She was determined to make a change, and in 2021, Black Americans must agree on a Black Agenda to make significant change. When White supremacy and racism shows its ugly face, it is important that the community is prepared to fight. In 16 states, White supremacy is fighting to disenfranchise Blacks and people of color. Everyone and it does not matter your color, should be fighting to uphold voting rights. All these organizations should take a page from Ida Wells, and become the loudest voice in the room. We must be more vocal, and racial justice and change must be a part of every conversation. Intimidation never stopped Ida Wells from getting up in the morning, to do what is right, and it cannot stop us from winning in 2021. Our ancestors have shown us the way, and it is time to come together and start a Black, people of color movement for change. The color of your skin makes you Black, and All Black Lives Matter, and we must change America, and next the world.

Orange County News Conference – 9/27/21

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Key Takeaways from today’s news conference: COVID-19 BY THE NUMBERSAs of Sunday, September 26, 2021, the Florida Department of Health is reporting that Orange County’s 14-day rolling positivity rate is 9.31 percent. Additional County statistics include:CDC level of community transmission: HIGHEligible residents (12+) who have one vaccine dose: 73 percentEligible residents (12+) who have completed their vaccination series: 63 percentTotal positive cases for Orange County residents: 225,988Total deaths in Orange County: 1,968COVID-19 BOOSTERSBeginning Tuesday, September 28, 2021, Orange County Health Services Department will begin administering Pfizer booster shots at Camping World Stadium. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that the following groups should receive a booster shot of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at least 6 months after completing their 2-dose series:Individuals 65+ years oldThose with underlying medical conditionsWorkers with increased risk for COVID-19 exposure (ex. first responders)Individuals are encouraged to speak with their healthcare provider about whether receiving a booster shot is appropriate for them. For more information about Pfizer booster shots, visit the CDC’s website.It is important to note, Camping World Stadium will continue to administer first and second doses of the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.COVID-19 TESTINGResidents who are interested in receiving a COVID-19 test are recommended to arrive early to Orange County’s free drive-thru testing sites, as sites may close early due to reaching its daily capacity or severe afternoon weather. Testing will take place seven days a week at all sites unless otherwise noted.Econ Soccer Complex8035 Yates Road, Orlando, FL 32807Open daily from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m., or until capacity is reachedNo walk-ups, only four (4) persons per vehicleFormer site of Clarcona Elementary School3607 Damon Rd, Apopka, FL 32703Open daily from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., or until capacity is reachedNo walk-ups, only four (4) persons per vehicleBarnett Park4801 W Colonial Drive, Orlando, FL 32808Open daily from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., or until capacity is reachedNo walk-ups, only four (4) persons per vehicleFor additional COVID-19 testing locations, please visit ocfl.net/Testing.

Paxton’s Human Traf­fick­ing Divi­sion Announces 99-Year Sen­tence in Hunt Coun­ty Human Traf­fick­ing Trial

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Attorney General Ken Paxton announced that Barbara Barrett, of Greenville, has been found guilty of Continuous Trafficking of a Child in Hunt County and received a sentence of 99 years in jail. Barrett and her husband, Jeffery Barrett, were accused of abusing and neglecting their adopted children while forcing them to work in a puppy mill attached to their home. Both were charged with Continuous Trafficking of Persons. Paxton’s Human Trafficking and Transnational Organized Crime Division assisted the Hunt County District Attorney in prosecution of Barrett. “It is heartbreaking to know this horrid abuse was happening in our state, and it is unfathomable that a person could be so heartless to abuse the foster care system and use children in need of a loving, safe home as slave labor,” Attorney General Paxton said. “There is no excuse for this evil behavior, and it will not be tolerated in our state. We can only hope this successful prosecution will bring some degree of justice to the children that were robbed of the love and care they deserved. I will never stop fighting against human trafficking.” 

NOTICE OF ACTION TO ESTABLISH PATERNITY

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IN THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE NINTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT, 

IN AND FOR ORANGE COUNTY, FLORIDA
No: 2021-DR-11249-O

HANADY NABUT, Petitioner
and
ABED AL JABAR NABUT, Respondent

TO: ABED AL JABAR NABUT
00970 Al Ribeh
Ramallah, West Bank

YOU ARE NOTIFIED that an action to establish paternity and for other relief has been filed against you and that you are required to serve a copy of your written defenses, if any, to it on HANADY NABUT, whose address is CONFIDENTIAL, on or before November 18, 2021, and file the original with the Clerk of this Court at 425 North Orange Avenue, Orlando FL 32802, before service on the Petitioner or immediately thereafter. IF YOU FAIL TO DO SO, A DEFAULT MAY BE ENTERED AGAINST YOU FOR THE RELIEF DEMANDED IN THE PETITION.

Copies of all court documents in this case, including orders, are available at the Clerk of the Circuit Court’s office. You may review these documents upon request.

You must keep the Clerk of the Circuit Courts office notified of our current address. (You may file Designation of Current Mailing and E-Mail Address, Florida Supreme Court Approved Family Law Form 12.915.) Future papers in this lawsuit will be mailed or emailed to the address(es) on record at the clerks office.

WARNING: Rule 12.285, Florida Family Law Rules of Procedure, requires certain automatic disclosure of documents and information. Failure to comply can result in sanctions, including dismissal or striking of pleadings.

Dated September 21, 2021
TIFFANY MOORE RUSSELL
Orange County Clerk of the Court
By: Ebony Wiggins, Deputy Clerk

1st publication date: September 24, 2021

Notice of Fictitious Name Registration – EarthZone Boutique and Plants

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fictitious name
fictitious name / doing business as

NOTICE is hereby given pursuant to the provisions of the Fictitious Names Registration Act of Florida (Chapter 50, Florida Statutes) that an application for registration of a fictitious name will be filed in the office of the Florida Department of State, for the conduct of a business under the fictitious name of EarthZone Boutique and Plants, with its principal office or place of business at 5150 Eastwinds Drive Orlando Florida 32819, in orange County.

The names and addresses, including street and number, if any, of all persons who are parties to the registration is/are: Michale Melville, 5150 Eastwinds Drive Orlando Florida 32819, who, being (an) owner(s) in the above fictitious name, certif(y)ies that the information contained herein is true and accurate. 

OP-ED: The Division in Black Thought

 THE GANTT REPORT, By Lucius Gantt

As a boy growing up in Atlanta, Georgia, the people I looked up to and admired could be seen on the streets. There were the respectable business owners, the holy rolling preachers and there were also a handful of pimps, prostitutes, pick pockets, panhandlers, gamblers and other assorted neighborhood hustlers.

      When I visited grandmama’s house on Auburn Avenue, I played in her yard that was two doors away from the King family home. I never interacted with Martin Luther King, Jr. during my days in Atlanta’s Fourth Ward but I’m sure I saw Junior and other King family members coming and going in the ‘hood.

       There are all kinds of people in every Black neighborhood in every nation on every continent in the world.

      And all of us have a role to play in our struggles for justice, equality, liberation, financial progress, security and peace.

      Well, it appears as though Black political, financial, intellectual and other kinds of unity is akin to a fleeting illusion that is pursued but can never be attained.

       Too many so-called Black leaders have a “my way or the highway” attitude. 

      When two or more “Black leaders” have good but different ideas about how Black men and women can improve their lot, instead of having a peaceful and positive conversation together, oftentimes they resort to arguing and attacking their community adversaries.

       This type of leadership behavior has been going on since the Black man and Black woman and so-called Black leaders have been on earth!

      Don’t act like you don’t know about ideological and philosophical differences between the thoughts of W.E.B. Dubois and the thoughts of Booker T. Washington. Marcus, Martin, Malcolm, Stokely, Huey, Angela and others all had some difference of opinion about when, where and how to attack Black exploitation and oppression.

      Today, Black religious leaders get most of the attention on the pages of “major” newspapers and much of the airtime on television and radio. They are cordial with each other, most of the time, but they all say, “God, Allah, Oludumare, Jehovah and other Godly names called them into their ministry. If they don’t know God communicates with all of His children but no God speaks to any human by picking up an I-phone and “calling you”.

     I believe God can and does send us signs but most people can’t recognize or interpret Heavenly messages like, “Your ass is in the trauma center, emergency room or ICU because you refused to take care of yourself”!

     We don’t all have to walk hand in hand, mind in mind in locked steps. All we have to do is be willing to communicate with each other and work together on things that we all are comfortable with.

     The idea that Christianity and Islam are our only choices for religious and spiritual guidance must be discredited. We all have to reach our God in our own way.

     There are too many divisions in Black communities for me to list in this column. Stop being afraid to discuss ideas about Black progress because of your fear that your good ideas will be unacceptable or your bad ideas will be exposed. 

     It is not unusual for the masses of Black people to treat you like you treat them. For instance, if you don’t want to talk to the people, the people will not want to talk to you.

     I want Gantt Report readers and supporters to know you can line your Black “leaders” up and I’ll talk to any of them or all of them. If you think a Black bank that is merely a white bank dipped in chocolate is the key to Black financial progress, holler at me.

     If you think no Democrat could be a Dixiecrat, give me a call.

     And if you think that snuggling and cuddling up with Americans that hate you is a way to improve your long-term status, after reading this column go see your mental health doctor!

     Your so-called Black leaders are who you think they are. They do not want Black people around the world to be united! 

     Suspicious Black minds perpetrate the division in Black thought and that division results in our lack of Black progress.