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Student Freedom Initiative Launches Inaugural Program at HBCUs Across U.S.

Inspired by Robert F. Smith’s 2019 ‘Morehouse Gift,’ Initiative will provide STEM majors  at nine HBCUs a more equitable alternative to fund their education

WASHINGTON, Sept. 7, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — The Student Freedom Initiative (SFI), an organization that provides science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) majors income-contingent funding in lieu of traditional college loans that have long wreaked havoc on their financial futures, launched today on nine HBCU campuses across the country.

The inaugural list of institutions includes: Claflin University, Clark Atlanta University, Florida A&M University, Hampton University, Morehouse College, Prairie View A&M University, Tougaloo College, Tuskegee University, and Xavier University of Louisiana.

Inspired by the 2019 gift by Robert F. Smith to Morehouse College graduates that erased 100 percent of student loan debt for them and their parents, the Student Freedom Initiative was created by Smith to further alleviate the longstanding financial burdens Black students face, disproportionate to their white counterparts.

“Through the Student Freedom Initiative, we hope to give Black students access to the education they need to move forward in this economy without the burden of student loan debt stopping them from realizing their fullest potential,” said Robert F. Smith, Chairman of the Student Freedom Initiative. “While our community continues to face inequities that too often bar young students of color from accessing quality higher education, the Student Freedom Initiative aims to empower our students with the tools they need to control their financial futures.”

To address the unequal financial burden faced by these students, the Student Freedom Initiative created its Student Freedom Agreement, an income-contingent funding agreement based on a ‘pay it forward’ concept, meaning payments are only made when the individual is working. SFI has begun dispersing Student Freedom Agreement funds to eligible junior and senior STEM majors attending one of its nine inaugural partner schools.

On average, Black students who graduate with bachelor’s degrees accrue $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. This gap only widens across the gender divide, with Black women carrying roughly 20 percent more student debt than white women, owing an estimated $41,466 in undergraduate loans compared to the $33,851 white women owe.

HBCU students have traditionally been more likely than non-HBCU students to turn to Parent PLUS or private loans for additional funding to cover remaining costs for their education. On average, 63 percent of students at HBCUs rely on Parent Plus loans. The resulting default rate is five times as high in the Black community when compared to their white counterparts, and the average debt is twice as high in the Black community as long as four years after graduation.

“We are taking a holistic approach to support and empower our students,” notes Mark Brown, Executive Director of the Student Freedom Initiative. “Not only are we providing our students financing to pursue their education, but the Student Freedom Initiative is also providing them with career development opportunities established through partnerships with Fortune 100 companies. Eligible students receive paid internship opportunities during their college careers to prepare them for post-graduate life. We’re betting on them that given the right investment, these students will go out and do well.”

Additionally, with the help of tech partners including Cisco and AVC Technologies, the Student Freedom Initiative is also visiting HBCU campuses throughout the 2021-22 academic year to provide free mission critical technology infrastructure upgrades. SFI and its partners will work directly with HBCUs to identify gaps between their existing infrastructure and the requirements identified by the Department of Education Federal Student Aid (FSA) program and install the necessary solutions to address these gaps and become cybersecure. To date, over 22 HBCUs have signed agreements to achieve campus cyber security through infrastructure upgrades, with additional schools signing up daily.

Together with Cisco’s contribution of $150 million, the Student Freedom Initiative has received over $250 million in pledges, including a generous contribution from the Walmart Foundation as part of its first round of grants for The Walmart.org Center for Racial Equity, and support from the United Negro College Fund. In addition, the program has been acknowledged and supported by the Business Roundtable’s Racial Equity & Justice Subcommittee on Education.

About Student Freedom Initiative

The Student Freedom Initiative (SFI) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring freedom in professional and life choices for junior and senior students pursuing science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) degrees. Initially focused on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), SFI is a student-centered, evidence-based, and holistic initiative featuring four transformative components: (1) an income contingent alternative to fixed payment obligations used to finance college, (2) immersive work experiences through paid internships (3) executive mentoring, tutoring, and other student services and (4) mission-critical technology infrastructure upgrades at participating HBCUs. SFI collaborates with community-based organizations, businesses and governmental entities through public-private partnerships to make sustainable, systemic changes to support the entire HBCU ecosystem. To learn more, visit StudentFreedomInitiative.org.

Notice of Fictitious Name Registration – Quick Mobile Home Cash 4 U

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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 Quick Mobile Home Cash 4 U, with its principal office or place of business at 15701 State Rd 50, Ste 204, Clermont, FL 34711, in Orange, Lake, Osceola, Seminole County.

The names and addresses, including street and number, if any, of all persons who are parties to the registration is/are: Ray Kennard, 1419 Hunterman Lane, Winter Garden, FL 34787, who, being (an) owner(s) in the above fictitious name, certif(y)ies that the information contained herein is true and accurate.

Bi-partisan Infrastructure Deal Brings Long-Awaited Justice to Black America, White House Says

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date: August 4, 2021 pauthor=Hazel Trice Edney
By Hazel Trice Edney
  
 
(TriceEdneyWire.com) – As America continues to await the signage of President Biden’s $1.2 trillion Bi-partisan Infrastructure deal, White House officials say African-Americans and other people of color will benefit vastly from the bill which is set to pour billions of dollars into urban and rural communities.
“The infrastructure bill is a bill for all Americans. It’s about better roads and bridges; it’s about expansion of commuter rail and public transportation. That’s one area that lots of communities of color are cut away from – the job centers of their states and their areas,” said U. S. Department of Labor Secretary Martin J. Walsh in an interview with the Trice Edney News Wire. “So, it’s an opportunity for us to do better connectivity there.”
In addition to years of neglect in Black communities, Walsh said the bill will intentionally work to help undo much of the recent economic, educational, and quality of life damages to communities resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“During the pandemic; particularly communities of color; the Black community; when kids were learning from home, they weren’t connected to the internet; they weren’t connected to WIFI,” Walsh said.
The President’s infrastructure bill will bring “broadband to all of America – rural America, urban America, poorer communities in our country,” he said. “And it tackles the environment – [bringing] new buses, clean buses. Many of the buses that go through our communities of color now in our country are diesel buses. Pollution is higher, the asthma rates are higher. This is no secret; we know that.”
Walsh concludes, “There’s lots of great investment in this bill for the Black community in this country; but also, for the entire community quite honestly.”
Meanwhile, as 10 senators who negotiated the bi-partisan bill are jointly protecting it from sabotage before Biden gets to sign it, the White House has listed a string of benefits and opportunities that the bill will provide to African-Americans and other communities of color. A White-house issued document; titled, “Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal: Advancing Economic and Public Health Opportunities for Communities of Color”, says “The bipartisan infrastructure agreement will grow the economy, enhance our competitiveness, and make our economy more sustainable, resilient, and just.”
It continues, “The agreement will also create good-paying, union jobs. With the remainder of the President’s Build Back Better Agenda, these investments will add, on average, around 2 million jobs per year over the course of the decade, while accelerating America’s path to full employment and increasing labor force participation.”
According to the White House document, the bipartisan infrastructure deal:
“Addresses economic disparities in our economy and the consequences of decades of disinvestment in America’s infrastructure that have fallen most heavily on communities of color. Through critical investments, the Bipartisan Infrastructure deal increases access to good-paying jobs, affordable high-speed internet, reliable public transit, clean drinking water and other resources to ensure communities of color get a fair shot at the American dream…These critical investments are first steps in advancing equity and racial justice throughout our economy. The President believes additional investments are needed in our nation’s caregiving infrastructure, housing supply, regional development, and workforce development programs to ensure that communities of color and other underserved communities can access economic opportunity and justice…And, earlier this summer in Tulsa, OK, President Biden announced a whole-of-government effort to increase the share of federal contracts going to small, disadvantaged businesses by 50 percent over the next five years, leveraging the government’s purchasing power to help more Americans realize their entrepreneurial dreams.”
“Delivers high speed internet to every American household. There is a digital divide in America. Black families are 9% less likely to have high-speed internet than their white peers, and Latino Americans are 15% less likely.”
“Ensures every American has access to reliable high-speed internet with an historic investment in broadband infrastructure deployment, just as the federal government made a historic effort to provide electricity to every American nearly one hundred years ago. This includes a $2 billion investment in broadband in Tribal communities which were hit particularly hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.”
“Helps lower prices for internet service by requiring funding recipients to offer a low-cost affordable plan, by creating price transparency and helping families comparison shop, and by boosting competition in areas where existing providers aren’t providing adequate service.”
“Helps close the digital divide by passing the Digital Equity Act, ending digital redlining, creating a permanent program to help more low-income households access the internet, and establishing a new program to help low-income households obtain the devices required to access the internet.”
“Makes the largest investment in clean drinking water in American history, replacing all of the nation’s lead pipes and service lines. From rural towns to struggling cities, the deal invests in water infrastructure across America, including in Tribal Nations and disadvantaged communities that need it most.”
“Invests in more public transit options and addressing the backlog of repairs. Asian American and African American workers commute by public transit at nearly 4 times the rate of white workers. For example, low-wage Black residents in Chicago spend 70 additional minutes commuting to work than their white peers. In New York City, the average Black resident spends 110 minutes more per week commuting to work than the average white resident. The Framework’s historic investment in public transit – the largest federal investment in history – will reduce commute times and create more economic opportunities in communities of color.”
“Creates a first-ever program to reconnect communities divided by inequitable transportation infrastructure.Significant portions of the interstate highway system were built through Black neighborhoods, destroying homes, schools, churches, and parks, and causing lasting disconnection and disinvestment for residents who stayed. More broadly, historic investments in transportation infrastructure, especially highway construction, cut too many Americans off from opportunity, dividing and demolishing communities, and perpetuating economic and racial injustices.”
“Electrifies school buses, improving the air quality for children. The deal will make a critical down payment on helping the more than 25 million children and thousands of bus drivers who breathe polluted air on their rides to and from school. Diesel air pollution is linked to asthma and other health problems that hurt our communities and cause students to miss school, particularly in communities of color and Tribal communities.”
“Remediates brownfield and superfund sites. Across America, 26% of Black Americans and 29% of Hispanic Americans live within 3 miles of a Superfund site, a higher percentage than for the overall population. Proximity to a Superfund site can lead to elevated levels of lead in children’s blood. Recent studies demonstrate that cleaning up these sites can lead to a decrease in blood levels by approximately 13-26%.”
Provides the full American Jobs Plan funding level — $21 billion – to create good-paying union jobs plugging orphan oil and gas wells, cleaning up abandoned mines, and remediating Brownfield and Superfund sites. As we transition to a clean energy future, the bipartisan Infrastructure deal will begin to remedy economic injustice for communities across the country that have relied on the fossil fuel industry and have been affected most by the impacts of climate change and pollution, including rural communities and communities of color.”
“Safeguards communities of color from climate crises and extreme weather risks. People of color are more likely to live in areas most vulnerable to flooding and other climate change-related weather events. For example, in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, Black and Hispanic residents were twice as likely to report lost income. Tribal lands are significantly at risk to the effects of climate change and Alaska Natives are particularly vulnerable, as they face multiple climate impacts.”
“Invests in clean energy grid to mitigate the disparate impacts of pollution on communities of color. Black, Latino, Asian American and Pacific Islander, and Native communities are more likely to be burdened by pollution. Black people are almost three times more likely to die from asthma related causes than their white counterparts. And more than one in three — or over 23 million — Latinos in the U.S. live in counties where the air doesn’t meet EPA public health standards for smog.”

Job Hunting? Job Fair today

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 Addition Financial Arena to Host Part-Time Job Fair on August 31st

Addition Financial Arena – Black and Gold Club

Addition Financial Arena is seeking individuals with the desire to be a part of the sports and entertainment industry to work concerts, sporting events, and family shows at the arena on the University of Central Florida’s (UCF) campus. Addition Financial Arena is gearing up for a busy Fall schedule of shows along with the start of UCF Men’s and Women’s Basketball and UCF Volleyball.

job fair

Part-time job openings are currently available in guest services, changeover, cleaning, and administrative assistant roles. Spectra Food Services & Hospitality will also be hiring concessions positions for both Addition Financial Arena and Exploria Stadium. Same day interviews will be conducted on-site and applicants are encouraged to bring their resumes.

It all happens on August 31, at the Addition Financial Arena – Black and Gold Club, from 5:00pm-7:00pm.  Click Here to see Addition Financial Arena’s parking and entrance map. Free parking will be available in Garage F. Once parked, please enter Addition Financial Arena through its VIP entrance on East Plaza Drive, located across the street from Burger U.

About Addition Financial Arena

The Spectra-managed Addition Financial Arena is home to the UCF Men’s and Women’s basketball programs, as well as concerts, family shows and other attractions for the Central Florida area. Visit www.AdditionFiArena.com for more information on upcoming events. 

About Spectra

Spectra is an industry leader in hosting and entertainment, partnering with clients to create memorable experiences for millions of visitors every year. Spectra’s unmatched blend of integrated services delivers incremental value for clients through several primary areas of expertise: Venue Management, Food Services & Hospitality, and Partnerships. Learn more at SpectraExperiences.com.

Florida Department of Economic Opportunity Announces $92 Million Available through the Community Development Block Grant – CV Small Cities and Entitlement Programs

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Today, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) announced that the application cycle is now open for eligible units of local governments to apply for more than $92 million in funding through the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG-CV) Small Cities and Entitlement programs.
 
Administered by DEO, CDBG-CV funds are federally awarded by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and designed to help local governments prepare for, prevent, or respond to the health and economic impacts of the pandemic. The activities must be critical to their locality and primarily for the benefit of low- and moderate-income residents. Local governments are encouraged to include activities that benefit workforce housing, training, and sustainability, as well as broadband infrastructure and planning.
 
“The Department remains focused on ensuring the state is able to fully recover from the effects of the pandemic,” said Secretary Dane Eagle of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity. “I encourage all eligible local governments to apply and utilize this relief funding to assist in the recovery process.”
 
Nearly $42 million is available through the CDBG-CV Small Cities program. Eligible communities include municipalities and counties that participate in the Small Cities CDBG program. Communities may submit one application requesting a minimum of $200,000 and a maximum of $5 million in grant funding for one program or project through the competitive application cycle. To provide communities with specific program requirements and guidance on the completion and submission of the application, DEO will host a CDBG-CV Small Cities application webinar on September 9, 2021, from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., Eastern Time.

A total of $51 million is available through the CDBG-CV Entitlement program. Eligible communities include municipalities and counties that participate in the HUD entitlement program. Entitlement communities are encouraged to coordinate with local governments and subrecipient agencies within their jurisdiction and may apply for funding up to the amount allocated to the local government through a funding formula. To provide communities with specific program requirements and guidance on the completion and submission of the application, DEO will host a CDBG-CV Entitlement application webinar on September 9, 2021, from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., Eastern Time.

To be considered for funding, applications for the CDBG-CV Small Cities and Entitlement programs must be submitted by November 1, 2021.

For more information about the CDBG-CV program, the application webinars, and how to apply, click here. 

About DEO

The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity combines the state’s economic, workforce and community development efforts, expediting economic development projects to fuel job creation in competitive communities and promote economic resiliency. For more information, including valuable resources for employers and job seekers, please visit www.FloridaJobs.org.

Op-Ed: President Biden, You Must Do More to Protect Voting Rights

by Ben Jealous

I was proud to work hard for the election of President Joe Biden. And I was proud to protest outside the Biden White House on Aug. 24. Along with other voting rights activists, including our co-organizers at the League of Women Voters, I called on President Biden to do more to protect voting rights under attack from Republican state legislators all across the country.

President Biden knows what the problem is. He needs to do more to solve it.
We all know how Republicans have responded to President Biden beating former President Donald Trump: by trying to rig future elections in Republicans’ favor. In state after state, they have used Trump’s false claims of voter fraud to justify new laws that make it harder for some people to vote. President Biden has correctly called this a threat to our democracy.

President Biden has called on Congress to pass the For the People Act, which would overturn many of the new restrictions and keep billionaires from buying our elections. And he has called on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, which would give the Justice Department the power to prevent future discriminatory voting changes from taking effect.
President Biden now needs to back up those words with stronger actions. Senate Republicans have already used filibuster rules to block the For the People Act. Now Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is getting ready to use the filibuster to block the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act as well.
Senators using filibusters to protect state voter suppression laws takes us back 60 years. In fact, I just saw a guy who works for a big right-wing think tank complain that these federal voting rights bills are “an invasion of state sovereignty.”
Well.
Early in my career, I worked for a crusading Black community newspaper in Mississippi. A paper that survived multiple fire bombings. I think about that ugly history when I hear the phrase “state sovereignty” used to defend restrictions on voting.

As I told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow after the White House protest, I fear that President Biden believes he is called to be an FDR for this moment, when he is actually called to be the LBJ of this moment. When President Johnson was faced with intense opposition to federal civil rights and voting rights laws, he used every bit of his persuasive power and knowledge of the Senate to overcome those obstacles.

Like President Johnson, President Biden is a master of the Senate. We have seen him build support for an infrastructure bill. Rebuilding roads and bridges is important. But not as important as saving our democracy.

When they had the power, Senate Republicans changed filibuster rules so that Trump could pack the Supreme Court. Those rules are not sacred. They are not in the Constitution. They can be changed, and they must be changed to prevent Republicans from doing Trump’s bidding once more and blocking voting rights protections. Senate leaders have not yet built the support to make that change happen.

President Biden must publicly call on Senate Democrats to do what they need to do—remove the filibuster as an obstacle to voting rights protections. That is why I stood at the White House fence with League of Women Voters CEO Virginia Kase-Solomon and all of the organization heads, faith leaders and young elected officials o demand that Biden do his job.

At the White House we were blessed by the presence of prophetic religious voices who reminded us that we are part of an honorable history and sacred struggle for voting rights.

Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner of the Religious Action Center for Reform Judaism invoked the names of murdered civil rights activists Andrew Goodman, James Chaney, and Michael Schwerner, “two young white Jewish men and a young Black Christian man who gave their lives for the right to vote.”

Rev. Timothy McDonald, co-chair of People For the American Way’s board, also grounded our protest in the history of voting rights struggles. “This fight is not a new fight,” he said. Rev. McDonald promised, “We will come back again and again and again, until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.”

Amen.

We and our allies across the country are building a broad direct-action campaign with a profoundly moral purpose. Mr. President, it is time to show faith with the voters who put you in office. It is time to lead.

Ben Jealous serves as president of People For the American Way. Jealous has decades of experience as a leader, coalition builder, campaigner for social justice and seasoned nonprofit executive. In 2008, he was chosen as the youngest-ever president and CEO of the NAACP. He is a graduate of Columbia University and Oxford, where he was a Rhodes Scholar, and he has taught at Princeton and the University of Pennsylvania.

Ida storms ashore, power to nearly all of Louisiana now out; more deaths feared

NEW ORLEANS, Aug 30 (Reuters) – This same weekend 16 years ago the catastrophic storm named Katrina slammed into the Gulf Coast, killing over 1,800 people and causing massive damage along the coast.

This weekend, Ida showed up, with every bit of potential to be just as deadly.

At least one person has died and power is out across Louisiana and Mississippi on Monday as officials warned residents against venturing out on roads littered with downed power lines and debris. Sustained winds have reached a staggering 170 mph, causing authorities to issue alerts that even first responders will be hard pressed to venture outside. New Orleans Police issued a warning nevertheless, that police will on duty, working 12-hour shifts, and that looting will not be tolerated. The National Guard has been mobilized for rescue and recovery efforts after the storm passes, and to assist NOPD should criminal activity suddenly spike.

Almost no one in the state has electricity and many water systems are also out, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards said. Hospitals are affected by the power outages, but have backup generators lined up for use as needed. Residents are being asked to conserve water, because of the possible impact the storm could have on the available driving water supplies.

President Joe Biden declared the state a major disaster area and ordered federal assistance to help with recovery efforts.

The storm comes at a particularly bad time. Louisiana was already reeling from a resurgence of COVID-19 infections that put a strain the state’s healthcare system, with an estimated 2,450 COVID-19 patients hospitalized statewide, many in intensive care units.

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) administrator Deanne Criswell said the full impact of the storm would become clear later in the day.

Continue reading on Reuters>

U.S. Banking Giant Wells Fargo Files for a Bitcoin Fund

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One of the oldest and top banks in the United States, Wells Fargo, intends to start offering exposure to Bitcoin soon to its customers.

The bank has filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to have its designated Bitcoin (BTC) fund. 

According to the filing with the SEC, the banking giant has partnered with FS Investments and New York Digital Investment Group (NYDIG) for the initiative.

Based on the notice, Wells Fargo Clearing Services will get placement and servicing fees for all the clients that it refers to the fund. 

The fund’s first sale is yet to take place. However, they anticipate the offering to last for more than a year. 

Wealthy clients of Wells Fargo will enjoy indirect exposure to Bitcoin via this fund that will be issued in partnership with NYDIG and FS Investments.

Overall, Wells Fargo’s filing with the SEC reconfirms the growing adoption rate from US banking organizations like Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, among others. 

Wealthy clients of Wells Fargo will enjoy indirect exposure to Bitcoin via this fund that will be issued in partnership with NYDIG and FS Investments.

To Labor Day and Labor Days Ahead

NNPA NEWSWIRE — This is a time of tremendous evolution in our industries. We are on the cusp of a complete transition in mobility. A transition to clean energy and clean vehicles. At the UAW, we have been heavily involved in the national discussion on how we can successfully navigate this transition.

#img1#
#img1 caption=’“Whether or not the jobs to build these vehicles and batteries are good-paying union jobs — jobs with benefits, jobs that are going to sustain continued growth of the middle class. They have to be. They have to be made here in America.” — President Joe Biden’

By UAW President Ray Curry
In 1882, a union man, Peter J. McGuire, founder of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners and an early supporter of the creation of the American Federation of Labor, suggested setting aside a day for a “general holiday for the laboring classes.”
Almost 130 years later, Labor Day continues to celebrate those who did the work and the magnificent job they have done in building what I will always believe to be, the greatest nation on Earth. One hundred and thirty years later, America will again thank those who figured it out; those who pitched in; those who rolled up their sleeves and made this country work. But if this day is a statement about achievement, it is perhaps most importantly a testament to the U.S. worker’s ability to meet change, to adapt to its challenges, and to embrace that change and forge a better America.
Moving it forward

So, with the holiday upon us, this is what I would like to hold up in these complicated times: America is retooling. Climate change and a pandemic have rerouted directions and pathways. But America’s workers — union workers — are ready to meet these new directions and traverse those roads. America’s Labor Day thanks workers for the job they have done. At the same time, we must thank workers for the job they are about to do.
This is a time of tremendous evolution in our industries. We are on the cusp of a complete transition in mobility. A transition to clean energy and clean vehicles. At the UAW, we have been heavily involved in the national discussion on how we can successfully navigate this transition.
It can be done. We know that our workers are the best in the world and as we transition to electric and hybrid vehicles, we must protect our American workforce.
These vehicles and components must be built here by American workers and these jobs must be good paying union jobs. And we all know that it is the working men and women of this nation that are the engine that drives our economy. And any momentous change in our industry must not lose sight of that undeniable truth.
America’s strength
I can tell you that there are no greater consumers of what gets built here than by hard working Americans who put their work into building these products. Let me pause a bit to share some of the comments of President Joe Biden at a recent White House event on clean energy and the clean vehicles that will power us responsibly forward in the decades to come.
Biden, who has always been a friend to labor and to the UAW since his earliest days in government, put it this way.
“Whether or not the jobs to build these vehicles and batteries are good-paying union jobs — jobs with benefits, jobs that are going to sustain continued growth of the middle class. They have to be. They have to be made here in America.”
My brothers and sisters in the UAW are more than ready to build America’s future. This past May we saw the amazing rollout of the all-electric Ford F-150 Lightning — America’s best-selling vehicle built by America’s best workers at the iconic Rouge facility in Dearborn, Michigan.
This is how it must be.
To this end, I want to make mention of Senator Debbie Stabenow’s measure that works to tie key consumer rebates for EVs to union auto jobs made here. The Stabenow Made in America Provision included in the Clean for America Act, would continue a $7,500 consumer credit for EVs and add for the next five years, a $2,500 bonus for autos assembled in the United States and another $2,500 for meeting certain worker focused labor standards.
What’s more, after five years, a vehicle must be assembled in the U.S. for consumers to be eligible to receive a $10,000 base credit and an additional $2,500 bonus credit for vehicles that are union made or apply worker focused labor standards. We at the UAW are committed to passing these provisions into law.
So, I’d like to ask that as you celebrate this Labor Day, take a moment to remember all those generations of Americans that this day was created to recognize. All those workers who have delved into and carved out a country that remains a beacon of accomplishments and as importantly, all those ready for the next big job as we move America forward. As Joe Biden has said, “I believe that the middle class built America, but I know who built the middle class; unions. Unions built the middle class.”
Yes, they did.
And yes, the work goes on.

Op-Ed: Mask Wearing is an African Tradition

THE GANTT REPORT, by Lucius Gantt

     Before I begin this week’s column, I want to acknowledge the many Gantt Report readers that have contacted me recently to inquire why sometimes the column is not published.

     Your best bet for that information is to contact the newspapers. I will say when an individual newspaper makes me feel The Gantt Report, or Lucius Gantt, has no value, nobody reads the column and that I don’t generate more advertising for Black media than any other writer and more than most Black ad agencies, I get concerned and upset and I might not write a column for a period of time.

      Anyway, I will never deny my readers and supporters. So here we go for this week.

      I’ve already written about Black anti-vaxers but I need to educate African Americans about masks.

      If you don’t know, the first people, the first schools, the first religions and the first civilizations originated in Africa.

     When so-called Black leaders choose to parrot white supremacists that oppose the best protections currently available to protect us from death by Covid 19 it is putting Black people around the world in danger. Mask hatred is akin to hating Black culture.

     You see, Africans were also the first to wear masks. Masks are commonly used in African religious ceremonies but the devil doesn’t want you to know that.

     Satan wants you to be medically ignorant. He wants your community infected and ultimately dead and gone!

     Masks are also worn in weddings, funerals and many other events that take place in the Motherland.

     If nationalists and supremacists are happy to mask up at ku klux klan cross burnings why would you let them convince you not to use a mask to protect yourself?

     The government you distrust has lied to Black patients and Black people on occasions but I monitor my own health care and I trust my own doctors and health care providers. 

    I don’t want Gantt Report readers to think they can pick and choose the health care suggested by uninformed Black charlatans. Choose life and choose the best health plan for you and your family.

     I have, and perhaps you have, taken all kinds of government vaccines such as polio vaccines, influenza vaccines, shingles vaccines, mumps, measles, chicken pox and other government sponsored and ordered vaccines and treatments. I imagine children still have to have shots and vaccinations before they enter school like I did when I was a child.

    Black doctors and health scientists were instrumental in the development of Covid 19 vaccines. If you don’t trust the government at least try and trust the Black health professionals when they tell you a Covid vaccine can possibly save your life and a proper mask can help you stay alive too.

     Your African ancestors are wondering in heaven why you continue to oppose wearing protective masks and so do I.

     Mask wearing is an African tradition that the devil can’t understand!