Weekly Reemployment Assistance Update – March 24

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Today, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) issued its weekly Reemployment Assistance updates. Daily updates can be found on the Reemployment Assistance (RA) Claims Dashboard

As of March 23, DEO has paid 2,320,167 claimants more than $24.6 billion ($24,684,743,717). Nearly 5.3 million (5,292,979) unique claims have been processed, representing 99.2 percent of unique claims submitted. 97.6 percent of all eligible benefits requested prior to March 5, 2021, for state Reemployment Assistance, Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), or Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) have been paid to claimants. Additionally, 99.9 percent of all eligible benefits requested by claimants for weeks of unemployment prior to July 25, 2020, have also received their corresponding Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) benefits for that week. If a claimant has not received benefits or all of the benefits they believe they are entitled to, they should:Check that they have requested benefits; Check that the weeks they are requesting are eligible weeks; and Check that their account information in CONNECT is up-to-date and accurate. If a claimant needs additional assistance, they should call the Reemployment Assistance Customer Service Center at 1-833-FL-APPLY. The Department would like to remind claimants that it is important to continue requesting benefits to receive payment. This video and guide may be helpful. 

CONNECT HoursDEO will be conducting nightly maintenance to the CONNECT system to process claims and payments. CONNECT’s regularly scheduled hours are from 8 a.m. to 7:59 p.m. daily, Monday – Friday.However, CONNECT may be unavailable to claimants either Friday, March 26, or Monday, March 29, to provide additional weeks for PUA claimants made available through the American Rescue Plan of 2021. The Department will communicate plans as they become available, but the Department recommends claimants take any needed action in CONNECT, such as requesting benefit payments, prior to the system’s potential unavailability. If you miss the deadline to request your benefit payments on Friday or Monday, you will have the opportunity to request your benefit payments when the system becomes available. Beginning Saturday, March 27, through Sunday, March 28, CONNECT will be unavailable to claimants while the Department works to continue efforts to implement the Continued Assistance Act, process payments, and send necessary correspondence to claimants. If the system is unavailable on Friday, March 26, CONNECT will be available Monday, March 29, at 8:00 a.m.This schedule does not affect individuals who wish to file a new claim. Individuals can file a new claim 24 hours a day, seven days per week at www.FloridaJobs.organd select “File a Claim.”  

American Rescue Plan Act of 2021
The Department is working diligently to fully implement program extensions provided under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.This week, claimants receiving PEUC benefits should begin seeing additional weeks available in their CONNECT account to reflect new program extensions. Extensions for claimants receiving PUA benefits should be available soon. As a result of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, which was signed into law on March 11, 2021, Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) benefit programs have been extended to September 6, 2021. Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC), which provides an additional $300 for eligible claimants, has also been extended to September 6, 2021. Claimants should continue to request their benefit payments as weeks become available in their CONNECT account if they remain unemployed. The Department encourages individuals to continue checking their CONNECT account every 48 hours for additional updates or notifications from the Department.

Mixed Earner Unemployment Compensation
Mixed Earner Unemployment Compensation (MEUC) is a federally funded program that provides an additional $100 per week to eligible individuals in addition to the benefits they are currently receiving. MEUC is not available to claimants who are currently receiving Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) benefits.Claimants may be eligible for MEUC if they have received at least $5,000 in net income from self-employment for the tax year prior to their initial claim.MEUC benefits are in addition to the $300 supplemental Federal Pandemic Unemployment Benefits (FPUC) benefit programs, which expires on September 6, 2021.Florida is one of the few states to fully implement MEUC benefits for eligible claimants.Eligible claimants can apply for MEUC benefits here. For information on how to apply for MEUC, click here.

Reemployment Assistance 
The Department has recently provided claimants the option to verify their identity through ID.me, if they have a “locked” claim status.If the claimant has a “locked” claim status, the link to verify their identity can be found on their CONNECT homepage. For more information about ID.me, click here.

The Department recently provided an identity theft toolkit which details what Floridians should do if they are a victim of identity theft and steps they should take to mitigate fraudulent activity on their account. To view the identity theft toolkit, click here

DEO launched a Reemployment Assistance Help Center, an online portal where claimants or employers can receive and provide additional information to the Department regarding Reemployment Assistance. Individuals can also notify the Department of suspected Reemployment Assistance fraud or identity theft. To access this new online portal, click here.

The Department published an independent study of the Reemployment Assistance system which provides recommendations to improve the delivery of benefits to eligible claimants and proposes a roadmap for the implementation of an integrated modular cloud-based system.

In addition, the Department has proposed creating the Office of Economic Accountability and Transparency and the Reemployment Assistance Modernization Strategic Planning Office to drive continuous modernization efforts. For more information about the Roadmap and proposed Legislation click here

DEO launched an online fraud form providing Floridians the opportunity to report instances of Reemployment Assistance fraud or identity theft. If someone is aware of any instance of Reemployment Assistance fraud or believes they are a victim of Reemployment Assistance identity theft, please click here and select the “Online Fraud Form” to provide the Department with additional information about fraudulent claims. In 2020, the Department partnered with ID.me, a trusted technology partner, assisting claimants who were locked out of their accounts.

The Department has recently expanded that partnership to help keep Floridians’ identities secure from fraudulent activity and bolster current fraud prevention measures. Any new claimant filing for Reemployment Assistance will need to verify their identity through ID.me. For more information about ID.me visit the claimant resource page, here.

Any new state Reemployment Assistance claims filed January 1, 2021, and forward are eligible for up to 19 weeks of benefits instead of 12 weeks of benefits.

Claimant 1099-G Tax Form and Filing Federal Income Taxes
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recommends claimants should file their income taxes and only include income they actually received. Claimants should not wait to receive a corrected 1099-G Tax Form to file annual income taxes. The IRS also requests that claimants do not report incorrect 1099-G income on their tax return.If you are a victim of Reemployment Assistance fraud or identity theft, the processing of your tax return should not be delayed while your report of unemployment identity theft is under investigation.For more information about 1099-G and filing your income taxes, click here. The Department completed electronically processing 1099-G Tax Forms for all claimants on January 17, 2021. All claimants should have access to their 1099-G Tax Form in their CONNECT account. Claimants who opted to receive communication from the Department through U.S. Mail should have received their 1099-G tax form no later than January 31, 2021.

When viewing your 1099-G Tax Form in CONNECT, be sure to enable pop-ups on your web browser. Pop-up blockers restrict you from viewing your 1099-G Tax Forms and other important documents from the Department.If a claimant did not receive their 1099-G tax form, they received a 1099-G Tax Form by mistake, their 1099-G Tax Form is incorrect, or they cannot access their 1099-G Tax Form, visit 1099grequest.myflorida.com.The Department has created Frequently Asked Questions to provide more information about the 1099-G Tax Form.

Quarter Change
On a quarterly basis, pursuant to Federal guidance, DEO must determine whether individuals who are currently receiving Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) or Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) are instead eligible for state Reemployment Assistance benefits.Claimants who are currently receiving PUA or PEUC may need to take specific actions on their claim when they log-in to CONNECT after April 1, 2021, when the new quarter comes into effect.Claimants will receive an additional notification with specific instructions regarding their claim. For more information about Quarter Change, click here. The Department encourages all individuals to log-in to CONNECT and ensure their contact information is accurate and up-to-date.

Governor Ron DeSantis has directed DEO to continue waiving the waiting week requirements, work search, and work registration requirements through April 24, 2021

Continued Assistance Act
Due to recent federal requirements, claimants receiving PUA benefits are now required to upload employment documentation to CONNECT. Please see the Department’s fact sheet for more information and directions for uploading your proof of employment documentation.Since the beginning of January 2021, the Department has added additional weeks of benefits, as authorized by the Continued Assistance Act, for eligible claimants. This includes PUA, PEUC, and FPUC benefit payments. Claimants that remain unemployed should continue requesting benefit payments to continue receiving benefits. Claimants who will soon exhaust their state Reemployment Assistance benefits and remain unemployed should continue to request any Reemployment Assistance benefit weeks available in CONNECT. Not requesting benefit payments when weeks are available will delay payments on their claimClaimants who are on PEUC or PUA can view this step-by-step guide to learn how to request weekly benefits. 

Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation 
The Department is currently processing Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) payments which were extended and modified by the Continued Assistance Act.Beginning the week ending January 2, 2021, claimants who are eligible for at least $1 of their original unemployment benefit amount, will be eligible to receive an additional $300 FPUC payment supplementing their weekly benefit amount. No additional action is required to receive the FPUC payment, but claimants should continue to request their weekly benefits to receive any benefit payments. 
Claimant CommunicationClaimants are asked to continue checking their CONNECT account for additional changes and updates. The Department will be sending important emails to claimants, including actions that may need to be taken on their CONNECT account. The Department sends emails from Do-Not-Reply email addresses, which are official notifications from the Department.

Customer Service Centers
Reemployment Assistance Customer Service Centers are available this week Monday – Friday from 7:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. for all account inquiries and questions. On Saturday, March 27, through Sunday, March 28, staff resources will be dedicated to processing claims and payments. The Reemployment Assistance Customer Service Center will reopen Monday, March 29, at 7:30 a.m.If the CONNECT system is offline on Friday, March 26 or Monday, March 29, customer service staff will not be available to assist claimants when the system is unavailable to claimants. Claimants can now communicate online with a live Reemployment Assistance Customer Service Representative for assistance with their Reemployment Assistance claim. Claimants can visit the claimant homepage and select the chat icon to begin talking with a Representative.

The Department has shifted priorities for 200 Customer Service Representatives to assist claimants by utilizing the new online chat feature. Claimants may experience some wait time, but a representative will assist as soon as they become available.
Job Opportunities
The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity is hiring across the state. To view a list of vacant opportunities, visit here.  

Employer Updates
The Department has developed additional guides for employers to better understand how to navigate the CONNECT system. To view these guides, click here.

Facebook Users Union Calls on Zuckerberg to “Flip the Switch on Hate and Lies

San Francisco, CA –This Thursday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg will join Jack Dorsey of Twitter and Sundar Pichai of Google to testify at a Congressional hearing on Social Media’s Role in Promoting Extremism and Misinformation

The Facebook Users Union has a message for him about what he should pledge to do to stem the flow of hate and lies: Facebook should create a circuit breaker to help prevent dangerous disinformation and incitements to violence from ever reaching a mass audience.

A simple circuit breaker could have stopped disinformation about the pandemic and about the 2020 elections from reaching millions of people.

“By the time millions of people have shared false information, it’s already too late,” said Charlie Wang, an activist with the Facebook Users Union. “If social media companies had used a circuit breaker when the Plandemic video went into circulation, they would have stopped the verifiably false information in the video from spreading to 8 million people before the video was taken down.”

Circuit breakers are used in stock exchanges when there’s a dramatic drop, to pause trading and allow traders to assimilate new information and make better-informed choices. Social media circuit breaking would work the same way, pausing the most high-volume posts for fact-checking before they reach millions of people. Learn more here.

The circuit breaker would automatically be flipped when a superspreading post is heading to tens of thousands of people’s newsfeeds at an unsafe speed. Some researchers have suggested a trigger for posts with 100,000 Facebook interactions in 12 hours, which would mean roughly the top 0.01 percent of Facebook posts from public pages within the period. (See Social media platforms need to flatten the curve of dangerous misinformation.)

Others have suggested that Facebook implement a circuit breaker that would be flipped under any of the following circumstances:

A post reaches a certain number of direct interactions and its reach is growing exponentially A certain number of reports or complaints have been made about a post.A certain number of pages with large audiences are pushing the post in a coordinated way.

A post is being amplified by pages that have previously been penalized by Facebook for spreading misinformation.Only Facebook has real-time data about what the right trigger point would be to prevent lies and hate from reaching a mass audience. Once the circuit breaker is triggered, the post would be “paused” until it’s reviewed by a human being. It would remain on the user’s profile page but not be eligible for amplification. The Working Group on Infodemics Policy Framework recommends that the circuit breaker would temporarily prevent the content from algorithmic amplification in newsfeeds, appearing in trending topics, or via other algorithmically aggregated and promoted avenues. Individual posting or message sharing could still occur. (See Working Group on Infodemics Policy Framework, page 80.)

Using a circuit breaker would restore free speech to the real meaning of the expression, which never included the right to viral or algorithmic amplification. It would allow superspreader social media posts to remain posted on an individual’s profile but would prevent them from being algorithmically amplified until they are fact checked by a human being. 

“Facebook users deserve a platform that’s free from attacks on our elections, free from pandemic misinformation, and free from threats to our physical safety,” said Corey Hill, a board member with the human rights organization Global Exchange. “A circuit breaker on its own won’t eliminate all of the mis- and disinformation that Facebook has allowed to overwhelm its platform, but it’s a critical first step.”

Black Women’s Voices Take Center Stage at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women


By BlackPressUSA

NNPA NEWSWIRE — In the United States, there are more than 600,000 to 800,000 people being trafficked annually across international borders and 40% percent of sex trafficking victims are Black women and girls. The panelists discussed the vulnerabilities of Black female trafficking victims, gaps in services and public policy, and the historical context of the oversexualization of Black females dating back to the Transatlantic Slave Trade.

Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Inc. and the International Black Women in Public Policy Institute Raise Concerns About the Epidemic of Black Female Trafficking Victims

(Atlanta, GA) — Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Inc. and the International Black Women’s Public Policy Institute (IBWPPI) hosted the panel discussion “Promoting the Safety and Security of Women of African Descent” on Thursday, March 16th. The virtual session was held during the 65th session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women.

The panel convened experts and world leaders to speak on the exploitation of Black women and girls in the underground human trafficking world and other forms of violence. Speakers included: Rasheeda S. Liberty, International President, Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Inc; Barbara A. Perkins, IBWPPI President and CEO; the Honorable Paula Cox, Former Premier of Bermuda; Dr. Deirdre Cooper Owens, historian and professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln; Michellene Davis, Health Equity Strategist/President & CEO of M.D. Clarida Drew, LLC; Ouleye Ndoye, human rights activist; and Teresa Stafford, Chief Programs Officer, Cleveland Rape Crisis Center.IBWPPI President Barbara A. Perkins

IBWPPI President Barbara A. Perkins

In the United States, there are more than 600,000 to 800,000 people being trafficked annually across international borders and 40% percent of sex trafficking victims are Black women and girls. The panelists discussed the vulnerabilities of Black female trafficking victims, gaps in services and public policy, and the historical context of the oversexualization of Black females dating back to the Transatlantic Slave Trade. These elements coupled with poverty, racism, and a wide array of social determinants feed into the vicious cycle of human trafficking.

International leaders and activists promoted strategies for grassroots action to inform, prevent, and address violence against women including intimate partner-based violence, physical and mental abuse. IBWPPI shared with attendees their position paper “Slavery by Another Name: The Epidemic of Black Female Trafficking Victims in the US and Abroad.”IPWPPI Panelists

IPWPPI Panelists

“Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. is proud to be a part of such powerful work to amplify the importance of protecting women and youth for nearly 100 years. As we amplify, our sisterhood acts to ensure that women of African descent are protected in healthcare, education and financial equity policies,” said Rasheeda S. Liberty.

“The issue of human trafficking as it pertains to Black women and girls is largely an issue of not being seen, heard or valued. The International Black Women’s Public Policy Institute’s goal is to change that,” said Barbara A. Perkins. “Humanizing and centering the voices of Black women is our collective call to action, regardless of where they are because Black women matter.”Health Equity Strategist Michellene Davis

Health Equity Strategist Michellene Davis

The 65th session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women will be open to the public until March 26th. Attendees can register for the virtual event, which features over 700 sessions, at https://ngocsw.org/event/ngo-csw65-forum.Attendees Participate in Forum

Attendees Participate in Forum

International Black Women’s Public Policy Institute

The International Black Women’s Public Policy Institute (IBWPPI) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization led by a collective of 17 inter-generational women leaders representing the interests of women and girls in countries throughout the African diaspora. Its board includes women from North America, Bahamas, Belize, Bermuda, Cuba, Haiti, and countries throughout the continent of Africa. Our vision is to connect and advocate for Black Women globally through acts of kindness and public policy. The mission of the organization is to be the convener of hearings and discussions that evaluate the impact of current public policies, and to advocate for new policies and legislative remedies that address major threats to the well-being of Black Women, their families, and their communities. IBWPPI supports, trains and places women in internships and fellowships that give voice to and prioritize the agenda for Black Women in the public policy arena. Learn more at http://www.ibwppi.org

About Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Inc.
Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. was founded by seven educators on November 12, 1922, at Butler University in Indianapolis, Indiana. The sorority has more than 500 chapters in the United States, Bahamas, Bermuda, Canada, Germany, Korea, and the U. S. Virgin Islands. Members aim to enhance the quality of life within the community through public service, leadership development, and education of youth. Sigma Gamma Rho addresses concerns that impact society educationally, civically, and economically. Learn more at 

Rise in Anti-Asian Violence Troubling for U.N.


UN Spokesman Farhan Haq issued a statement on behalf of the UN this past Monday, March 22, decrying the global rise of violence against Asians and people of Asian descent during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The statement stops short of singling out any specific country, but comes after the Atlanta shooting that left eight people dead, six of them Asian-American women.

That shooting rekindled fears within the Asian-American community, which was already coping with a rise in hate crimes after then-President Trump began repeatedly referring to COVID-19 as the “China virus” back in March of 2020.

“The world has witnessed horrific deadly attacks, verbal and physical harassment, bullying in schools, workplace discrimination, incitement to hatred in the media and on social media platforms, and incendiary language by those in positions of power,” Haq said. “In some countries, Asian women have been specifically targeted for attack, adding misogyny to the toxic mix of hatred.”

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Haq says, personally deplores the intolerance and stands in solidarity with all people facing racism and violent assaults on their human rights.

“We want all such violence to cease,” he said.

On Friday, during a visit to Atlanta, President Joe Biden noted the alarming uptick in anti-Asian violence and called on all Americans to stand together against all forms of hate, wherever directed.

Wife’s spending out of control


Dear Alma,

I love my wife and we have a great marriage. She’s beautiful, funny, spontaneous and easy to get along with. I can handle her good and her bad except for one thing. She spends like crazy! Her clothes fill up two closets in our home and extends to the basement, depending on the season. She has shoes she’s never worn and clothes that still have the tags on them. At some point we need to save towards our retirement and other obligations. I’m tired of living paycheck to paycheck to vacation back to paycheck. I’ve talked to her about it and she promised she’d stop her outrageous spending, but lately I’ve found bags of clothes in the guest room closet and the trunk of her car. Obviously, she’s still spending. I can also see the charges that continue to pop up on our credit card statement. I can’t believe she’s trying to hide what she’s buying now. How can I insist that she stop spending short of threatening a divorce? I love my wife and I don’t want a divorce, be we can’t go on this way. Any suggestions?

Name withheld

For the Love of Money ~ you know I’m pattin’ my feet humming the O’Jays, right! It’s helping me get my mind fixed and ready to answer your question, LOL. Some say it’s the root of all evil, money that is, I’m not sure if I agree. I think people are the root of all evil and money is an accessory. What I also know foshow is, couples have a hard time collaborating when it comes to money…. and sex….sex and money, Honey, the more you get the more you want, that’s what a preacher once told me. But I digress, LMBO.

An addiction to spending is a tough place to be. If she’s hiding bags as you say, I see it safe to assume, she’s lost control or she thinks you really don’t mind her spending.

The two of you obviously need to start a household budget. You also need to discuss who will oversee it and how it will be determined. Will you put everything in one account, or will you opt for a mine-yours and ours bundle? There is no right or wrong way to do it. As long as you’re in agreement on what’s best for the two of you. Also agree to allow for spending money and you both have to stay within those allocated funds. That part requires a commitment, a bond of trust that can’t be broken.

It won’t be easy, you two need a serious sit down. Lay all your facts and concerns on the table. This is not a scolding regarding her spending, but a joint discussion about your future. Figure out and be honest where she lands between overspending and compulsion. If she’s a shopaholic, please, seek professional help. If she’s overspending because she thinks you guys have money to burn, it’s time to come up with a financial strategy.

There’s an amazingly thorough money management column, written by Rodney Brooks for USA Today. He also has a book on Amazon titled, Is a Million Dollars Enough? It would benefit you guys to check it out. Again, agree to write down your financial goals and commit to them. I love that you stressed the love you have for your wife. Take a lesson from Rodney and learn new ways and methods, together, on how to manage your money. Good luck!


Alma Gill’s newsroom experience spans more than 25 years, including various roles at USA Today, Newsday and the Washington Post. Email questions to: alwaysaskalma@gmail.com. Follow her on Facebook at “Ask Alma” and twitter @almaaskalma.



     Nobody loves you like your mother and nobody loved their mother the way that I loved mine.

     Mama was small in size but she never ran from a fight. She said that anyone in her house had to adhere to her rules. I saw her swing on people that were twice her size and weight.

     At the same time, she was caring and supportive. Almost all of my friends would follow me home, not to be with me, but to get a plate of Thelma’s food. They loved her collard greens.

     They called her everything, Mama Black, Miss Gantt (even though my parents divorced and she remarried), Mama World (after my company All World Consultants) and more and she answered to everything.

      One day, at a family gathering there was a discussion about college tuition money for a nephew of mine. 

     Angrily, I told my mother she and the family never gave me a dime to go to college and mama said, “We had it for you but you never asked us for it.”

     Daddy taught me the street game and how to survive but mama taught me how to be a man, a husband and a father.

      I used to laugh when my mother talked to her friends about my job. Mama would say, “My baby works at the TV station.”  She had no clue about the work I did because I never discussed it.   

      When I published my first book of Gantt Report columns, I autographed a copy and gave it to her. She glanced at a few pages and put it down.

      She said the crackers in Florida will string you up if you keep on writing like that but she never, ever told me to stop writing. She said my writing was “hard’ for her to read. I guess the truth really does hurt sometimes.

      She could care less about The Gantt Report but she was the number one supporter of Lucius Gantt!

      No job was too big or too good for her baby, no woman was the right woman for her baby and no situation or circumstance was too large for her baby to handle!

     When mom passed away in her sleep one night, part of me died in her bed with her.

     No mom is perfect but most moms are more perfect than imperfect.

     I don’t usually drink alcohol but Christmas time was her favorite time of the year so every year during the Christmas holiday I try to have a sip or two of her favorite beverage, gin and grapefruit juice.

     My mother’s spirit, and your mother’s spirit if you loved her, will live forever in me, you and others that loved and cared about them.

     I also want to give a shout out to my surrogate moms who took me under their wings when Thelma took her final journey to the Land of the Plenty, Altermese Allen in Tallahassee, Ruby Ellison in Enterprise Alabama, Julia Cherry in Daytona Beach and Juanita Gray in Fort Lauderdale.ReplyForwardEdit as new

NAN’s Rev. Al Sharpton and Billionaire Robert F. Smith to headline April 11th New Jersey Economic Justice Town Hall


To close out Black History Month, nationally syndicated talk show host Roland S. Martin hosted one of several economic justice town hall meetings focused on solutions to the State’s economic, health and educational disparities. The virtual event was viewed by over 22,000 people and today has recorded over 50,000 views on multiple digital platforms. The link is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hv-RXPjMUPMMr.

Mr. Martin will be back again to host his second virtual event on Sunday April 11 at 3pm featuring:

  • The Reverend Al Sharpton – Television Personality on MSNBC Politics Nation, Author and Founder of the National Action Network
  • Billionaire Robert F. Smith of Vista Equity Partners and the Forbes Wealthiest Americans List
  • Jennifer Jones Austin – Author, NAN Board Member and Host of WBLS Open Line
  • John Rogers, The Nation’s First Black Money Manager and Founder of Ariel Capital
  • Rev. Dr. David Jefferson Sr., Esq. – Pastor of Newark’s Metropolitan Baptist Church and President of NAN New Jersey

This will be a powerful exchange of ideas. This is the third town hall which grew out of public hearings initiated by Senate President Stephen Sweeney and Senator Ronald Rice focused on supporting black communities and black businesses.

The event is sponsored in part by the National Action Network for New Jersey, Wells Fargo Bank and The Positive Community

ASK ALMA: Bad Butt Kid


Dear Alma,

I know this may sound mean, but I can’t stand my sister’s son. He’s three years old and he talks back and never listens to what I tell him to do. He comes to my house and breaks up my stuff, and she just sits there like nothing is happening. She doesn’t even say stop. When I try to correct him, she says, “Don’t talk to my son like that.” No, I don’t have any kids, but I have friends who have kids, and they are not as bad as he is. I don’t want her to bring him to my house anymore. What do you think?

   Angie, Baltimore

Omgoodness Angie

You’ve got me scrolaurin! (Screaming, laughing and hollerin’ all at the same time) Come on, Auntie; he’s only three. You can’t be hatin on him like that. I’m ready to revoke your “Auntie” card. 

Don’t you know we aunties are the best thing next to moms. My nephew Corey and I have such a special relationship. I can’t wait for you to have this experience.

Honestly, I think you are barking up the wrong tree. What’s up with your sister? You should be putting her on blast. Why isn’t she correcting and teaching her son? That’s her responsibility. Somewhere along the way we evolved into this “mama-is-your-friend” revolution.

I can remember, back in the day, my mama didn’t want to be my friend. How do I know? She told me so, LOL. If I showed out, she would discipline me and not have a second thought about it.

Let me clarify: I didn’t get whoopins, but I was aware of them. I had a clear understanding that she was in charge. Her look, voice and firm tone let me know she was not to be challenged. 

Carol, my mother, (God rest her soul) could talk, teeth clenched tight, only her lips moving, and you understood every word she said. LOL. Old skool Mamas are the best!

Look, future favorite Auntie of his: Instead of cutting him off, try a new approach—help him. Give your sister a copy of Ain’t Misbehavin: Tactics for Tantrums, Meltdown, Bedtime Blues and Other Perfectly Normal Kid Behaviors by Alyson Schafer. She’s authored a few great books on motherhood. 

Also suggest that she goes online and check out some new mom blogs. Maybe she’s overwhelmed and unsure where to start.

Don’t give up on him from the start. Give him a road-map to becoming the best that he can be. He’ll strive to make you proud.

In Support of Black Votes Matter


By John E. Warren, Publisher, The San Diego Voice & Viewpoint

By now all of America, and Blacks in particular, are aware of the “Voter Suppression” legislation introduced in more than 28 states with more than 108 and legislative proposals introduced to restrict voter participation aimed at African Americans in particular. These legislative proposals introduced and passed already in some states are the products of Republican controlled state legislative bodies. The New York Times has already said that these efforts represent the worst attack on voter participation since Reconstruction and Jim Crow. Those measures led to the Voting Rights Act of 1965 which was gutted in part by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2013.

It appears that the call for action against these efforts is coming out of the State of Georgia, just as it gave us the two U.S. Senators needed to give control of the U.S. Senate to President Biden and Vice President Harris as the tie breaking vote in the senate. The answers appear, in part, to rest with the newly created “Black Voters Matter” campaign. This effort is placing pressure on some of the largest corporations in America to stop funding those members of the legislature backing these measures and to use their collective lobbying influence nationwide to withdraw support from those legislators who support voter suppression laws. The companies so far identified include: Coca Cola, UPS, Home Depot, just to name a few, with others being added to the list. Black Voters Matter organizers believe that these and other Fortune 500 companies can force change by withholding financial support and lobbying against such laws.

Black Voters Matter should spread across this country just as Black Lives Matter did. The idea is not one of calling for “boycotts” but rather the support of those who support voter inclusion and the passage of the John Lewis Voting Rights Act. The Black Press can play a major role in this movement by helping our communities know who are the legislative members supporting the proposed voter suppression laws. Many of these laws, as proposed in Georgia, would: limit voting to the hours of 9am to 5pm daily; eliminate Sunday voting, reduce polling sites in black and communities of color, reduce ballot collection boxes and require State voter identification cards, which many seniors would not be able to obtain since they don’t always have access to birth records.

We the Black Press, who have told our story for 194 years, can once again tell the story of those who are proposing and support such legislation in each of the states in which we live and vote; we can encourage voter registration such as that which defeated Donald Trump in November 2020; and we can ensure by doing so that with the 2022 elections the Republicans, White Nationalists and the likes of those who stormed the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021 are once again defeated at the ballot box. Let’s get involved if we are not already and let’s stay involved.

The American Rescue Plan Provides Relief for Small Businesses

NNPA NEWSWIRE — The American Rescue Plan will “devote $1 trillion toward building a bridge to economic recovery for working families, including those who work for small businesses; and provide critical support to communities that are struggling in the wake of the pandemic.”

By Stacy M. Brown

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent

The White House on Tuesday released a fact sheet on President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, noting that millions of main street small businesses are struggling to make ends meet in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic crisis.

The American Rescue Plan will change the course of the pandemic, deliver immediate relief for small businesses and American workers, and build a bridge towards economic recovery.

Many Americans already have received a $1,400 stimulus check, making good on President Biden’s pre-inaugural promise of $2,000 payments – Americans received $600 in the weeks prior to the new administration.

The White House fact sheet noted full support for small businesses through the current crisis. “Since the beginning of this pandemic, 400,000 small businesses have closed and millions more are hanging by a thread,” the administration offered in the fact sheet.

“President Biden’s plan will provide emergency grants, lending, and investment to hard-hit small businesses so they can rehire and retain workers and purchase the health and sanitation equipment they need to keep workers safe,” the statement continued.

Further, the American Rescue Plan will:

  • Deploy community navigators to increase awareness of the participation in COVID-19 relief programs for small business owners who currently lack access, especially underserved entrepreneurs without banking relationships, lawyers, accountants, and consultants.
  • Allocate $15 billion in flexible grants to help the smallest, most severely impacted businesses persevere through the pandemic.
  • Provide $28 billion for a new grant program to support hard-hit small restaurants and other food and drinking establishments.
  • Bolster the Paycheck Protection Program with an additional $7.25 billion in funding to support small businesses and nonprofits that were previously excluded.
  • Devote an additional $1.25 billion in funding to support live venue operators, theatrical producers, live performing arts organization operators, museum operators, motion picture theatre operators, and talent representatives that are struggling to make ends meet.
  • Invest $10 billion in successful state, local, and tribal small business financing programs to help small businesses innovate, create and maintain jobs, and provide the essential goods and services that communities depend on.
  • Help small businesses rehire and retain workers by extending the employee retention credit through the end of 2021.

In addition to providing direct relief to hard hit small businesses, the American Rescue Plan will bolster a whole-of-government COVID-19 response that will change the course of the public health crisis, administration officials wrote in the fact sheet.

The American Rescue Plan will “devote $1 trillion toward building a bridge to economic recovery for working families, including those who work for small businesses; and provide critical support to communities that are struggling in the wake of the pandemic.”

The White House concluded:

“The American Rescue Plan will address the immediate crises facing small businesses. In the coming weeks, President Biden will lay out his economic recovery plan to invest in America, create millions of additional good-paying jobs, and build back better than before.”