The Gantt Report: Black Community Cornerstones

By Lucius Gantt

     I hope Gantt Report readers enjoyed the Juneteenth and July 4th holidays. I hope my people did more than eat, drink and act happy!

     The people in power in the United States are quick to give you a day off work, a commendation, a medal, a certificate, a trophy or a holiday but they are slow to give you equal rights, equal votes, justice, peace, access to money and capital, freedom or 40 acres and a mule!

     I know you and your children will never be taught what our ancestors thought about the July holiday because of opposition to Critical Race Theory but go on the internet, find and read Frederick Douglass’ message about “What to the slave (or ex-slave) is the Fourth of July?”.

     I’ve written about that famous speech before.

     Today, I want to talk about our most elusive freedom, economic freedom!

     I grew up on the tough streets of Atlanta, Georgia. My early years were spent in one of the city’s most famous housing projects, old “Carver Homes.” Later, I lived in my grandmother’s neighborhood, Fourth Ward.

     Everyday I would walk through “Butter Milk Bottom” to get to C.W. Hill Elementary School.

     Once I got to David T. Howard High School I started spending time on Auburn Avenue, that’s where the hustlers and pimps used to be. That’s where my paternal grandmother lived just two houses from Daddy King and MLK Jr.

     No, I didn’t know Martin but I went to a different high school, Grady High, with King’s daughter Yolanda.

     Back to Auburn Avenue, more than pimps, pick pockets, puppets, pirates and panhandlers frequented “Sweet” Auburn, there was two of Atlanta’s most famous Black Churches, there was Atlanta Life Insurance Company, The Atlanta World was a Black newspaper that was published daily and the Brunswick stew was the best in the world served at The Auburn Avenue Rib Shack.

     In other words, back in the day, Black people in Atlanta, in Harlem, in Tulsa and in other cities had jobs, businesses, banks, insurance companies, schools, hospitals, hotels, restaurants and more.

     What do we have today? We have holidays and a so-called called Negro History Month.

     I knew at a very early age to be successful in a capitalist society you had to have capital!

     At age 19, I was married and had a wife and child I needed to support. I’m single now but you never stop being supportive of your children. 

     I’ve come a long way from the housing project and the pocket of Fourth Ward once called “Bucket of Blood”.

     As you would expect, not many believed I would amount to anything. Growing up in a poor neighborhood, getting arrested multiple times, being shot and stabbed before and clapping back and shooting at people that shot at me.

     But I believed in myself. I believed in my Black friends and neighbors. I believed in my education and my training and I believed in God’s plan for Lucius!

     Year after year, I would hear people say “Lucius ain’t gon’ be nothing, all of his friends are drug addicts and criminals”. They also said my company, All World Consultants would never make any money.

     Well, in my opinion, naysayers were terribly wrong! I think I’ve done some things in my life that the politicians, imperialist press members and so-called Black community leaders can’t go to sleep and dream about doing.

     I make and take my own holidays, I’ve managed to make significant amounts of money and I talked about the beast while I was doing good things for my people and my community!

     I encourage Gantt Report readers to believe in your God, believe in yourselves and to follow your dreams. 

     The black stones that the builders refused will one day be Black community cornerstones!ReplyForwardEdit as new

Shopping for a Generator: Things to Know

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Increasingly, consumers are turning to generators for power in emergency situations, because the world is unpredictable. Year-round weather challenges are now the norm with snow, ice, wind, tornadoes, hurricanes and record-breaking rain and flooding occurring throughout the year and no longer just confined to a season.

“Consumers want and need reliable power. When the electricity goes out, generators keep your home or business humming with light and power,” said Kris Kiser, President and CEO of the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI)

“Today’s generators offer a variety of features, and there is a product for every need,” said Kiser. “While shopping for your generator, consider other equipment that could be useful in cleaning up after challenging weather such as a water pump, chain saw or pole pruner. And don’t forget outdoor-rated extension cords and fuel cans.”
 
Tips from OPEI for safe generator use:
 
•    Consider what you need. When purchasing a generator, determine how many kilowatts are needed for essential items (charging family cell phones, a refrigerator, etc.) during an emergency.
•    Research generators online before you buy. Talk with the staff at the store or ask questions online. Discuss safety features and ask about manufacturer fueling and care instructions. Generators offer a variety of features. Circuit-breaker-protected outlets will guard against generator overload. A larger fuel tank will provide extra running time. Integrated fuel gauges will help keep tabs on fuel levels and prevent power interruptions. Low tone mufflers make for quieter operation. Fold-down handles and wheels can make it easier to move your generator.
•    Keep an outdoor-rated extension cord on hand. Be sure it is long enough to place the generator a safe distance from your home, and is certified to carry the generator’s power load. 
•    Identify where you will put the generator. Place the generator outside and away from windows, doors, and vents that could allow carbon monoxide to come indoors. Never put a generator in your home, garage, porch or breezeway. Give portable generators plenty of room for ventilation. Determine now how you will secure the generator.
•    Install a carbon monoxide detector.  Add this safety device to your home and be sure to keep extra batteries on hand for it.
•    Keep generators dry. Before a storm hits, identify how to cover and vent the generator. Buy model-specific tents or generator covers online, at home centers or a hardware store.
•    Have the right fuel on hand before a storm hits. Use an appropriate container designed to hold fuel that seals well. 
•    Store fuel in a safe place away from heat sources and out of the reach of children. Label the can with the date of purchase and the ethanol content. Check filled cans regularly and replenish them if needed. Remember fuel more than 30 days old should not be used in any outdoor power equipment and can phase separate.
•    Use the type of fuel recommended by the generator manufacturer. It is illegal to use any fuel with more than 10% ethanol in outdoor power equipment (for more information on proper fueling for outdoor power equipment visit www.LookBeforeYouPump.com).
For safety information and to find out which manufacturers make various outdoor power equipment products, go to www.opei.org
 
About OPEI

OPEI is an international trade association representing manufacturers and suppliers of outdoor power equipment, small engines, battery power systems, portable generators, utility and personal transport vehicles, and golf cars.

Quitting IMF Program Not Possible Now: Pakistan Finance Minister

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ISLAMABAD — Pakistan has indicated the nation cannot come out of the International Monetary Fund program and agreed to review the Federal Board of Revenue’s powers of arresting taxpayers in consultation with senators.

“It is not possible to get out of the International Monetary Fund program at this time,” Pakistan Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin said.

“We were forced to go to the International Monetary Fund. This time, the International Monetary Fund was not friendly with us, and the program was front-loaded and tough.”

International Monetary Fund and Pakistani authorities have agreed to continue talks to narrow down differences. Still, the International Monetary Fund-sponsored program has been put on halt as the international moneylender conveyed that the sixth review under the Extended Fund Facility will be accomplished in September instead of July 2021.

Tarin’s comment came during his discussion with the Senate Standing Committee on Finance in Parliament House. The meeting was held under the committee’s head, Senator Talha Mehmood’s, chairmanship.

Tarin assured that the government would change the language of the proposed Income Tax Ordinance Article 203-A on the powers of taxpayers to make arrests and remove all objections. Earlier, the committee unanimously denied the Federal Board of Revenue the powers of arrest.

The minister informed the committee that the government estimates the economy to grow by 7 percent by 2023 when the country goes for new elections with a 5-5.5 percent projection for the upcoming 2021-22.

As per reports by the International Monetary Fund, the Executive Board completed the Second, Third, Fourth, and Fifth Reviews of the Extended Fund Facility for Pakistan in March. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

The opposition party blames the Imran Khan-led government and says the 2021-2021 budget was filled with the International Monetary Fund-recommended tax measures against the poor and will increase consumer inflation.

Earlier this week, Tarin presented the budget for 2021-2022.

The committee strongly opposed the government’s decision to increase the sales tax on gold, diamonds, and gemstones, as well as on dairy, bricks, aircraft, plants, and machinery, import of aircraft and spare parts, removal of the exemption from LED lamps, cotton seeds, soybean meal, soybean seeds, raw cotton, cotton gin, plant, machinery, packaged flavored milk, cream, yogurt, poultry machinery, and many other items.

Member Policy Federal Board of Revenue informed the committee that the government had abolished all reduced sales tax rates on non-essential and luxury items, taking undue advantage of the concessionary sales tax regime.

As per reports by the International Monetary Fund, the Executive Board completed the Second, Third, Fourth, and Fifth Reviews of the Extended Fund Facility for Pakistan in March.

Pakistan’s 39-month Extended Fund Facility arrangement was approved by the Executive Board on July 3, 2019, for about $6 billion at the time of approval of the agreement, or 210 percent of quota.

“The program aims to support Pakistan’s policies to help the economy and save lives and livelihoods amid the still unfolding Covid-19 pandemic, ensure macroeconomic and debt sustainability, and advance structural reforms to lay the foundations for strong, job-rich, and long-lasting growth that benefits all Pakistanis,” states the report.

“The Pakistani authorities have continued to make satisfactory progress under the Fund-supported program, which has been an important policy anchor during an unprecedented period. While the Covid-19 pandemic continues to pose challenges, the authorities’ policies have been critical in supporting the economy and saving lives and livelihoods.”

(With Inputs from ANI)

(Edited by Saptak Datta and Amrita Das)



The post Quitting IMF Program Not Possible Now: Pakistan Finance Minister appeared first on Zenger News.

Survivors of 1921 Tulsa Oklahoma Massacre to make new memories in Ghana

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Two surviving elders of the Tulsa Oklahoma Massacre of 1921 will make ‘The Journey of a Lifetime’ to Ghana, West Africa, later this year.  The journey of a lifetime celebrates two elders, both of whom are survivors of the Black Wall Street Massacre that took place from May 30 to June 1, 1921. This year marks the centennial of that horrific event that left the community burned to the ground and an estimated 3,000 people, men, women and children killed over two tragic days.

The sponsoring organization, Our Black Truth, the new social media platform created by brothers Michael and Eric Thompson with the company’s COO, Dr. Toni Luck, says this historic journey, called, “Coming Home” was especially created to replace bad memories with good ones…

On the evening of May 31st, 1921, a white mob from the neighboring town of Tulsa, Oklahoma, descended on the prosperous Black neighborhood of Greenwood, intent on burning that community to the ground. In the aftermath of the nightmare that unfolded for Greenwood’s Black residents, homes and businesses were destroyed, and an estimated 3,000 innocent people, including women and children, were gunned down in the streets, many of the dead dumped in mass, unmarked graves.

Two of those children, Viola Fletcher, age 7, and her newly born brother, Hughes Van Ellis, now 107 and 100, respectively, are both survivors of those two terrible days. Viola, who witnessed the violence of that terrible night in 1921, has been haunted throughout her long life by memories of all that she saw 100 years ago. “On that night, in 1921, I went to bed in my family’s home in Greenwood, a community that was rich, not only in terms of wealth, but in culture, community, and heritage,” said Mother Fletcher. “My family had a beautiful home. We had great neighbors, and I had friends to play with. I felt safe. I had everything a child could need. I had a bright future ahead of me. Greenwood could have given me the chance to truly make a good life in this country. But within a few horrible hours, all of that was gone….”

The night of the Massacre, a young Viola Fletcher, affectionately known today as “Mother Fletcher,” was roused by her parents, Lucinda Ellis and John Wesley Ford, along with her five siblings, and told they had to leave their home immediately. When the family came out into the street they were greeted with images of unspeakable violence, smelled acrid smoke from burning homes, businesses and buildings, and Black bodies lying dead in the street as the white mob made its way through Greenwood.

“I will never forget the violence of the white mob as we made our escape, and to this day I still see Black men being shot, still smell smoke and everything around us on fire.

I still see airplanes flying overhead dropping firebombs. and still hear the screams of terrified people. I relive the Massacre every day…” Mother Fletcher began. “When my family was forced to leave Tulsa, I lost my chance at an education. I never finished school past the fourth grade. I never made much money. My country, the state of Oklahoma, and Tulsa took a lot from me and from so many others.

Despite this, I spent time supporting the country during the Second World War, working in California’s shipyards.” Mother Fletcher added.

“But for most of my life, I was a domestic worker serving white families, but to this day I can barely afford my everyday needs, while the City of Tulsa has unjustly used the names and stories of victims like me to enrich itself while I continue to live in poverty…”

Recently, after years of being relegated as hidden history, the Tulsa Oklahoma/Black Wall Street Massacre has finally begun to gain its rightful place in the history of the United States of America, with news media interviews and entertainment programs (most notably 60 Minutes on CBS, and HBO’s The Watchmen series), and documentary films retelling the story of the events that took place so long ago in Tulsa, events most people in the United States, until now, had very little knowledge of, and when and if it was spoken of, was classified as a “race riot” which has very different connotations than a massacre.

“Imagine a long life where you saw men walk on the moon, and every conceivable accomplishment of this nation, including the Civil Rights Movement, and even the election of a Black President,” said Dr. Toni Luck, Chief Operating Officer of Our Black Truth, Inc.,

“And then you have people like Mother Viola Fletcher, who lived to see all of that, but who has also been haunted for 100 years by painful memories of what she and others in the Greenwood community suffered that night in Tulsa, Oklahoma!

It’s for this reason that my organization and our sponsors are taking Mother Fletcher and Uncle Redd to Africa, fulfilling a personal dream that Mother Fletcher has had for decades, that will, at long last, replace those hurtful memories with good ones…”

Mother Fletcher and her brother, Hughes Van Ellis, known in the community as “Uncle Redd,” was originally scheduled to travel to Accra, Ghana, West Africa from July 30th through August 7th, 2021, but now has been changed and will be announced closer to the actual travel dates. When there, they will enjoy a spectacular itinerary and the great hospitality of the Ghanaian people, government officials, tribal chiefs and Nanas, tour Cape Coast to see the dungeons at the slave castles there, and stand in the ‘Door of No Return.’

They will also be greeted upon arrival by Our Black Truth’s on-ground partner, H.E. Ambassador Erika Bennett, the Head of Mission for the Diaspora Africa Forum, the only embassy for the African Diaspora, located at the historic W.E.B Dubois Center in Accra, be feted by His Majesty Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, the Asantehene, King of the Ashanti people at his palace in Kumasi, Ghana.

They will also place names of their ancestors on the Sankofa Wall, a memorial established on the Diaspora Africa Forum’s grounds, and they will be welcomed at Jubilee House by the President and Vice President of the Nation.

“We believe every African American, in their heart of hearts, has a desire to see the Motherland!” said Ike Howard, grandson of Mother Fletcher.

“My Grandmother wants to see where she believes our history originated and at 107 years old has made visiting Africa a priority to be realized during her remaining years…”

Along with Our Black Truth social media, some of the other sponsoring organizations on both sides of the Atlantic of this historic undertaking include The Diaspora Africa Forum, The African Communications Agency, and The Africa Legacy Fund.

This story first appeared in the Chicago Crusader.

House Passes $715 Billion Water and Transportation Infrastructure Bill

The INVEST in America Act, said lead sponsor Rep. Peter DeFazio, would help steer the nation “toward our clean energy future.”

Andrea Germanos, Staff Writer, CommonDreams.com

A number of progressive advocacy groups welcomed as a critical step forward the U.S. House’s Thursday approval of a water and transportation infrastructure bill, the INVEST in America Act.

“This act is the real clean transportation and water plan people in our country deserve,” said Deron Lovaas, a senior policy advocate in NRDC’s Healthy People & Thriving Communities program, calling the bill “what we need to tackle the crises of crumbling roads and bridges, unsafe water, racial inequality, and climate change.”

The bill passed in a 221-201 vote, with just two Republicans joining Democrats in voting yes. The GOP’s near unanimous rejection came “even though it included earmarks proposed by Republican members that would explicitly help their districts,” CBS News noted.

The vote came as progressive Democrats continue to demand that the bipartisan infrastructure bill be tied to a broader reconciliation package that includes spending on safety-net programs and investments in green energy.

As CNN reported:

“House Democrats say the bill—known as the INVEST in America Act—will deliver on key priorities in President Joe Biden‘s American Jobs Plan, and they hope the legislative text can be used to negotiate with the Senate and the White House to determine what specific policy proposals can be included as part of the recently announced bipartisan infrastructure framework.

“Democratic Rep. Peter DeFazio of Oregon, the lead sponsor of the INVEST Act and chair of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, said at a news conference on Wednesday, “I’m suggesting that substantial amounts of the policy in our bill should be negotiated by the White House, and the Senate and the House to be part of that bipartisan proposal.”

DeFazio introduced the bill last month, saying at the time that it would put “a core piece of President Biden’s American Jobs Plan into legislative text—seizing this once-in-a-generation opportunity to move our transportation planning out of the 1950s and toward our clean energy future.”

According to a fact sheet, the bill puts $343 billion towards roads, bridges, and safety, including $8.3 billion “for activities targeted to reduce carbon pollution and… $6.2 billion for mitigation and resiliency improvements”; $109 billion in transit with “record investments” to increase routes and service; $95 billion for passenger and freight rail, including a tripling of Amtrak funding; $117 billion in drinking water infrastructure and assistance. Water improvements also include “fully” replacing the nation’s lead service lines and directing the Environmental Protection Agency to set national standards for PFAS and other toxins, as well as investing $51.25 million in wastewater infrastructure.

Environment America president Wendy Wendlandt called the INVEST in America Act “the approach we need to tackle today’s problems, including the greatest challenge of our time: climate change.”

She further welcomed the “bill’s investments in clean, electric, and zero-carbon transportation options such as walking and biking” as “good news for people and the planet.”

While welcoming parts of the bill, Mary Grant, the Public Water for All Campaign Director at Food & Water Watch, expressed concern that the INVEST Act’s water infrastructure funding was insufficient and that the bipartisan infrastructure deal could facilitate privatization of public services including water.

“We applaud the House for its commitment to eliminate lead service lines and provide significant household water debt relief with a five-year shutoff moratorium,” Grant said, referring to provision of the INVEST Act.  

“This legislation offers a bolder response than the Senate’s water bill,” yet, she said, “the funding levels for water improvements are still not enough.” Grant said it was crucial to “seize the opportunity provided by ongoing infrastructure negotiations and ensure the critical, transformative water funding the country really needs.”

She suggested the Water Affordability, Transparency, Equity, and Reliability (WATER) Act be included in any infrastructure package as a way to help “provide a permanent water solution and ensure stronger, more resilient and more accessible water systems.”

“Congress must reject the White House’s ill-conceived bipartisan framework that would privatize water systems through public-private partnerships and asset recycling,” she continued. “Our communities cannot afford that compromise on water.”

For now, the manner the INVEST Act advances is unclear, Politico reported following the House vote.

“A surface transportation bill, considered must-pass legislation, will eventually be enacted in some way,” the outlet noted. “But it’s looking increasingly likely to be linked to broader efforts on infrastructure, which would mean an uncharted path ahead for the legislation, which has a deadline of the end of September.”


Licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0).

NBA Icon Shaquille O’Neal Endorses Aramis Ayala for Florida Congressional Race

NNPA NEWSWIRE — “This moment in our country’s history calls for bold action and principled leadership. We need a fighter. We need an MVP. We need Aramis Ayala. I’ve known Aramis for a while, and she’s always been a fighter for justice willing to take on the status quo. I’m proud to support her campaign for Congress, and I’m asking you to join me,” O’Neal said in a statement. 

By Lauren Victoria Burke, NNPA Newswire Contributor 

Lauren Victoria Burke

On June 29, former Florida prosecutor Aramis Ayala, was endorsed by NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal. Ayala is running for the congressional seat to be vacated by Rep. Val Demings whose seat will be vacated as she runs in 2022 for the U.S. Senate against incumbent Republican Marco Rubio. Ayala was the state attorney for the Ninth Judicial Circuit Court in Florida.

“This moment in our country’s history calls for bold action and principled leadership. We need a fighter. We need an MVP. We need Aramis Ayala. I’ve known Aramis for a while, and she’s always been a fighter for justice willing to take on the status quo. I’m proud to support her campaign for Congress, and I’m asking you to join me,” O’Neal said in a statement. 

A June 2017 video of Aramis Ayala being stopped by police went viral. At the time of the police stop, Ayala was the only Black prosecutor in Florida. In the video Ayala calmly asks why she was being stopped and informs the officer that she is the state’s attorney. The video of the stop was viewed on the internet over 800,000 times.

In accepting the endorsement, Aramis Ayala noted, “Shaq is a longtime advocate whose journey has inspired millions of Americans for decades. I don’t take his decision to get off of the sidelines lightly and am excited that he continues to lend his voice for the people who for too long haven’t had one.”

Ayala, 46, is a civil rights advocate, cancer survivor, as well as Florida’s first Black State Attorney. Because of historic trends and redistricting controlled by Republicans, Democrats are expected to lose seats in the U.S. House next year. Democrats currently hold only a four-seat advantage in the House. 

Lauren Victoria Burke is an independent journalist for NNPA and the host of the podcast BURKEFILE. She is also a political strategist as Principal of Win Digital Media LLC. She may be contacted at LBurke007@gmail.com and on twitter at @LVBurke

Orange County Solar Co-op one step closer to bringing solar to community

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Orange County Solar Co-op one step closer to bringing solar to communityCo-op members select Florida Power Management to serve groupOrlando, FL – The Orange County Solar Co-op has selected Florida Power Management to install solar panels for the 131-member group. Co-op members selected Florida Power Management through a competitive bidding process over six other firms. “Millions of Americans are realizing that solar power is not only environmentally friendly, but a smart financial decision for their family,” said Matt LeStarge, Owner of Florida Power Management.The nonprofit Solar United Neighbors, which runs the co-op, expands access to solar by educating Florida residents about the benefits of distributed solar energy, helping them organize group solar installations, and strengthening Florida solar policies and its community of solar supporters. Co-op members selected Florida Power Management because of their high-efficiency equipment, industry-leading warranties and competitive pricing. “I was especially daunted by the selection process, but from answering all my questions to that sheet that broke all the options down so clearly — SUN made it so easy, it was just so SIMPLE!” said Sonal Shanker, a member of the co-op. “I was not expecting it to be this easy. After years of considering solar, I’m really excited about finally being able to go forward with it.”The co-op is open to new members until July 30. Orange County residents interested in joining the co-op can sign up at www.solarunitedneighbors.org/orange. The solar co-op is free to join and joining the co-op is not a commitment to purchase panels. Florida Power Management will provide each co-op member with an individualized proposal based on the group rate. By going solar as a group and choosing a single installer, members can save on the cost of going solar and have the support of fellow group members and solar experts at Solar United Neighbors. The group will hold a virtual public information session on Wednesday, July 14th at 6:00 pm to educate the community about solar and the co-op process. RSVP for this free virtual session here.  Solar Co-op Partners: Orange County; City of Winter Park; City of Maitland; City of Apopka; City of Orlando; Green Works Orlando; League of Women Voters of Orange County; Solar and Energy Loan Fund (SELF); First Unitarian Church of Orlando; Orange Audubon Society; Sierra Club Central Florida Group; IDEAS For Us; Environmental Defense Fund About Solar United NeighborsSolar United Neighbors is a nonprofit organization that works in Florida and nationwide to represent the needs and interests of solar owners and supporters. Solar co-ops are part of the organization’s mission to create a new energy system with rooftop solar at the cornerstone. Solar United Neighbors holds events and education programs to help people become informed solar consumers, maximize the value of their solar investment, and advocate for fair solar policies.

Ending Virtual-School Oppression: Black students disproportionately punished for harmless behavior at home during zoom classes

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THE GREENE COUNTY DEMOCRAT – Prisons and schools have much in common, says Dr. David Stovall, a professor of Black studies, criminology, law and justice at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Hallway protocols, restrictive bathroom policies, surveillance cameras and metal detectors can be found in both places.

Special to the Trice Edney News Wire from the Southern Poverty Law Center (TriceEdneyWire.com) – Isaiah Elliott was suspended from seventh grade for holding a toy gun in an online art class. Ka’Mauri Harrison, 9, faced nearly two weeks of suspension for picking up a BB gun in his own bedroom – after his brother had tripped over it. A 15-year-old girl was incarcerated for not doing her homework, which violated parole. All three students have at least three things in common: They were punished for normal childhood behavior, they were in their own homes at the time of their petty offenses, and they are all Black.
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As Black students shifted from the classroom to online learning during the COVID-19 pandemic, harsher disciplinary measures that had been carried out against them at school followed them home. “Zoom suspensions followed similar patterns to in-person classroom management tactics that feed Black students into the school-to-prison pipeline,” Cory Collins, a senior writer for the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Learning for Justice program, points out in his story “It Was Always About Control.” The story is featured in the latest edition of Teaching Tolerance magazine, a publication of Learning for Justice.
Prisons and schools have much in common, says Dr. David Stovall, a professor of Black studies, criminology, law and justice at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Hallway protocols, restrictive bathroom policies, surveillance cameras and metal detectors can be found in both places. “It’s something a little more insidious” than the school-to-prison pipeline, Stovall says, arguing that students “are reminded based on the discipline and curriculum policies that they’re in a de facto prison in those spaces.” It’s a particularly acute problem for Black students. Nationally, Black students are nearly four times as likely to face suspension as white students, according to an analysis of public data by ProPublica.
In Wisconsin, they are 7.5 times as likely as white students to face suspension, and roughly six times as likely in Minnesota and Connecticut. In fact, Black students were overrepresented in every punishment measure that was evaluated in a 2018 analysis by the U.S. Government Accountability Office, regardless of poverty level or type of school. Whether students are learning at a distance or in person, punitive policies are harming them, Collins writes, citing academic experts and civil rights advocates.
Instead, schools across the country should take a systematic approach to undoing structures that rely on compliance and punitive discipline rather than students’ learning and overall well-being. “It’s a pathway that is sadly well-worn and very visible,” says Miriam Rollin, the director of the Education Civil Rights Alliance, which was convened by the National Center for Youth Law. “Our system is failing kids, and we need to hold that system accountable.” Dr. Nataki Gregory, CEO of CT3, an organization that provides training focused on relationship building and student engagement with a view to higher achievement, instructs school leaders to consider who benefits from a policy and who is harmed by it.
“Because the truth is there are some of these policies that just make zero sense and have nothing to do with learning,” she says. “It’s really just about compliance or oppression. And if that’s what you’re trying to bring into the school, then you have the wrong focus.” Collins wrote: “Before a Colorado school suspended Isaiah Elliott for holding a toy gun, they sent a police officer to his home. ‘You put his life in jeopardy,’ his mother said to the school – a school that had followed its systems and policies exactly as designed.”
This article originally appeared in https://greenecodemocrat.com/2021/06/24/newswire-ending-virtual-school-oppression-black-students-disproportionately-punished-for-harmless-behavior-at-home-during-zoom-classes/.

Georgia Grand Jury Declines to Indict Former Trooper in Shooting Death of Julian Lewis

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NNPA NEWSWIRE — Police video of the shooting was shown to the Grand Jury. The shooting death of Julian Lewis by Georgia State Trooper Jacob Thompson took place on August 7, 2020 and has still not been released publicly. Lewis’ family is pushing for the release of the video. 

The Georgia Department of Public Safety stated that Thompson, 27, was fired for “negligence or inefficiency in performing assigned duties; or commission of a felony.” 

Lauren Victoria Burke

By Lauren Victoria Burke, NNPA Newswire Contributor

A grand jury has declined to indict a former Georgia State Trooper who shot and killed a Black man in 2020 after a stop over a broken taillight.

The victim, Julian Lewis, 60, died at the scene and the trooper, Jacob Thompson, 27, was later fired, arrested and charged with felony murder. But on June 29 a 22-person Grand Jury declined to indict Thompson. Lewis was on an errand on a rural road to get a soda for his wife on the night of the shooting. Ex-Trooper Thompson claimed that Lewis attempted to hit him with his vehicle.

Police video of the shooting was shown to the Grand Jury. The shooting death of Lewis by Thompson took place on August 7, 2020 and the video has still not been released publicly. Lewis’ family is pushing for the release of the video.

Lewis family attorney, Francys Johnson, commented on the video saying, “the public deserves it — they paid for it… it’s been shown now to 22 citizens in Screven County, but it has not been shown to Julian’s mother or his wife or his attorney.” Johnson was referring to members of the grand jury being shown the video.

The Georgia Department of Public Safety stated that Thompson, 27, was fired for “negligence or inefficiency in performing assigned duties; or commission of a felony.”

Lewis’ shooting occurred in August 2020 two months after the killing of Rayshard Brooks at a Wendy’s by an Atlanta police officer. One of the officer’s involved in the Brooks shooting was charged with murder. In March 2020, police in Louisville, Kentucky killed 26-year-old EMT Breonna Taylor. The city of Louisville paid a settlement to the family.

Lauren Victoria Burke is an independent journalist for NNPA and the host of the podcast BURKEFILE. She is also a political strategist as Principal of Win Digital Media LLC. She may be contacted at LBurke007@gmail.com and on twitter at @LVBurke

Cosby Conviction Overturned!

Attorney says, “We Are on Our Way Now to the Prison to Pick Him Up”

NNPA NEWSWIRE — The state Supreme Court ruled that Cosby’s deal with former prosecutor Bruce Castor should have been honored. In a phone call with Cosby attorney Jennifer Bonjean, she states, “I am thrilled! I haven’t made my way through the entire opinion yet, but it seems that the court agrees with what we knew all along, that Mr. Cosby never should have been prosecuted in the first place. If a prosecutor’s word is not his bond, then we as a society — and the entire criminal justice system — is in trouble.”

By Stacy M Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
@StacyBrownMedia

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has overturned comedian Bill Cosby’s 2018 sexual assault conviction.

The state Supreme Court ruled that Cosby’s deal with former prosecutor Bruce Castor should have been honored. In a phone call with Cosby attorney Jennifer Bonjean, she states, “I am thrilled! I haven’t made my way through the entire opinion yet, but it seems that the court agrees with what we knew all along, that Mr. Cosby never should have been prosecuted in the first place. If a prosecutor’s word is not his bond, then we as a society — and the entire criminal justice system — is in trouble.”

When asked, when we could expect him to be released, she responded, “We are on our way to the prison now to pick him up.

He had also cast doubt on alleged victim Andrea Constand’s credibility. Castor told the Black Press that the trials against Cosby were “a miscarriage of justice.”

Cosby has served nearly three years of a 3-to-10 year-prison sentenced following his 2018 conviction on charges of indecent aggravated assault.

He had repeatedly maintained his innocence.

“When an unconditional charging decision is made publicly and with the intent to induce action and reliance by the defendant, and when the defendant does so to his detriment (and in some instances upon the advice of counsel), denying the defendant the benefit of that decision is an affront to fundamental fairness, particularly when it results in a criminal prosecution that was foregone for more than a decade,” according to the high court opinion.

“For these reasons, Cosby’s convictions and judgment of sentence are vacated, and he is discharged.”