Monday, September 17, 2018



by Cash Michaels
contributing writer

            Saying. “We’ve always had to fight to maintain a proper sense of self,” Rev. Dr. William Barber, president of Repairers of the Breach, and co-chairman of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call to Revival, called on all elected officials, activists an people of good conscious, to stand strong for the poor and powerless, against the mounting oppression they have top face everyday.
“What we do has been baptized in blood,” the former president of the NCNAACP told hundreds gathered in Washington, D.C. Saturday for the 48thAnnual Congressional Black Caucus Foundation 2018 Phoenix Awards Dinner.
“So we are here, my sisters and brothers, to cry out on behalf of those who have not yet been heard…because America ha always struggled with who she is.”            
The event has gained notoriety in recent years when the keynoters were President Barack Obama, and his wife, First Lady Michelle Obama.
Barber recounted how historically, poor white people have been given a steady diet of “Jim Crow” rhetoric by powerful whites, having them to believe that as downtrodden as they were, “at least they weren’t black.” Poor whites “fed” that to their children through the years.
The result – poor whites being exploited by the powerful, so much so that they vote against their own interests, and do not realize that they should be partnering with African-Americans and other communities of color in coalition “fusion” politics, in order to electorally seize control of the nation’s direction.
Rev. Barber warned that to “focus on [Pres.] Trump alone, is to miss what’s happening in America.”
Don’t you think that if Trump were gone, and [Vice Pres.] Pence got in, that things would be better,” Barber admonished.
The civil rights leaders also noted that systematic racism is rarely discussed or examined during election year debates, and yet it is at the root of what keeps America divided.
“Racism and white supremacy is not just about hate; it’s about power,” Rev. Barber exclaimed. “White nationalism is about policies, like voter suppression.”
And when we see US Supreme Court-nominee Brett Kavanaugh “breeze through his Senate Judiciary Committee hearings, that’s racism,” Barber continued. “When we see Trump get away with doing and saying things that Obama couldn’t get away with even half of, that’s racism!”
Given the stark economic and racial disparities in the areas of health care, education, affordable housing and environmental justice, Barber said. “Our problem in America isn’t that we don’t have enough money. Our problem is we don’t have enough moral capacity.”
“Until we change the moral narrative [of America], we’re subject to get a Trump over and over again.”
Rev. Barber, pastor of Greenleaf Christian Church in Goldsboro, also criticized “religionist” ministers who have rallied around Pres. Trump, saying that he was sent by God.
“We face a challenge that is more fundamental, and more potentially transformative than either party has yet recognized,” Barber said. “This moment is not about whether a [political] party is possible. This moment is about “Is America possible?!!!”
“America needs a national moral revival. [African-Americans] are once again being called upon to be the conscience of this nation.”
Rev. Barber called for a multi-racial coalition, similar to what he created as NCNAACP president with Moral Mondays.
“It’s movement time,” Barber declared.            
            When he began his remarks, Rev. Barber told those gathered that he was coming “…fresh from the hurricane,” indicating that he drove from his home in Goldsboro, North Carolina to deliver the keynote address, as Hurricane Florence was pummeling the North Carolina coast and eastern region.
            “I ask that we keep people in your prayers who are under water, fighting to survive in North and South Carolina.”

Sunday, September 9, 2018


By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

            Even though the Trump Administration says it will not legally require voting records from North Carolina until next year, all three of the state’s Democrat congresspersons have expressed outrage, and promise to fight the request.
            North Carolina Congressional members Alma Adams (D-NC-12), David Price (D-NC-4) and G.K. Butterfield (D-NC-1) – the only Democrats in the state’s thirteen-member congressional delegation – say they see political shenanigans in the federal subpoenas from the US Dept. of Justice [DOJ], and specifically from U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District Robert Higdon, demanding voting records from 44 Eastern North Carolina counties and the State Board of Elections.
            Many of those counties have significant black voter populations.
            The records would cover an eight-year period and literally millions of pieces of documented voter data, state election officials say. The federal subpoenas, reportedly part of an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, in association with a Wilmington grand jury probe that recently charged 19 foreign nationals with voter fraud in the 2016 elections.
            Nine of the defendants were charged with falsely claiming U.S. citizenship in order to register to vote.
            Those records were originally required to be turned over from the State Board of Elections by Sept. 25th, but after a major uproar from North Carolina officials, especially given that the Nov. 6thmidterm elections are less that 60 days away, DOJ backed off of that date, later saying that compliance with the federal subpoenas could wait until January 2019.
            DOJ added that it is not interested in who North Carolinians voted for on their ballots, and in fact, may not need completed ballots for its probe.
            Still, the federal request is not going over very well.
“These subpoenas are overly broad, request private voter information, and appear to target voters of color,” a letter last week from Congressional members Butterfield, Price, and Adams, along with other Democrat House members, to the inspector general of the U.S. Dept. of Justice, stated.  “Accordingly, we respectfully request that you undertake an investigation to examine the circumstances by which these subpoenas were issued, the scope of the subpoenas, and the seemingly political motivations behind them.”
The letter continued, “It is no surprise that the subpoenas target North Carolina’s voter rolls, as the state has a history of voter suppression.  In 2016, a federal appeals court struck down North Carolina’s voter identification law, finding that the law “target[ed] African-Americans with almost surgical precision” in order to lower turnout among African-Americans.  Despite this decisive ruling, Republicans in North Carolina are continuing to push a constitutional amendment that would require photo identification at the polls.”
“At a time when DOJ should be investigating voter suppression, it appears that the Department is instead supporting it,” the Congressional missive maintained. “ In the subpoenas issued here, there is again an obvious targeting of minority voters.  The 44 counties that received subpoenas account for approximately 46% of the state’s registered black voters, 39% of the state’s registered Hispanic voters, and 36% of the state’s registered white voters.[6]  This appears to be an effort designed to disproportionately target minority voters and depress voter turnout.  At a minimum, this apparent disproportionate targeting of minority voters may raise potential equal protection and due process concerns.”
“The subpoenas may have additional legal implications.  Under the National Voter Registration Act, each state must “ensure that the identity of the voter registration agency through which any particular voter is registered is not disclosed to the public.  Presumably, the massive data set requested by DOJ would reveal the agency where a voter was registered.  Moreover, the request for absentee ballots, which are potentially traceable to the specific voter who cast the ballot, is a violation of every voter’s right to cast a secret ballot.”
“Though DOJ has delayed the production deadline until after the November election, the subpoenas still raise many questions about their legality and true motivations.”
The letter concluded, “Given what we know about the scope of the subpoenas, and the counties that were targeted, we are concerned that this could be part of the Trump Administration’s dangerous and anti-democratic strategy of voter suppression and intimidation to limit equal access to the ballot box. 
“We hope that you will promptly launch an investigation to determine the legal implications of and rationale for these subpoenas.”

(courtesy of the Farmers’ Almanac)

If a hurricane is likely in your area, you should: 
·       Stay informed by monitoring the storm via radio, TV, and internet.
·       Secure your home, close storm shutters, and secure outdoor objects or bring them indoors. Objects such as lawn furniture, trash barrels, hanging plants, toys, and even awnings can be broken and picked up by strong winds and potentially become a projectile.
·       Turn off utilities if instructed by authorities to do so. Otherwise, turn the refrigerator thermostat to its coldest setting and keep its doors closed.
·       Turn off propane tanks.
·       Avoid using the phone, except for serious emergencies.
·       Have a certain amount of cash available. If power is lost, ATMs may not be working.
·       Moor your boat if time permits.
·       Ensure a supply of water for sanitary purposes such as cleaning and flushing toilets. Fill the bathtub and other large containers with water.
You should evacuate under the following conditions: 
·       If you are directed by local authorities to do so. Be sure to follow their instructions.
·       If you live in a mobile home or temporary structure—such shelters are particularly hazardous during hurricanes—no matter how well fastened to the ground.
·       If you live in a high-rise building—hurricane winds are stronger at higher elevations.
·       If you live on the coast, on a floodplain, near a river, or on an inland waterway.
·       If you feel that you are in danger.
If you are unable to evacuate, go to your safe room. If you do not have one, follow these guidelines: 
·       Stay indoors and away from windows and glass doors.
·       Close all interior doors—secure and brace external doors.
·       Keep curtains and blinds closed. Do not be fooled if there is a lull; it could be the eye of the storm—winds will pick up again.
·       Take refuge in a small interior room, closet, or hallway on the lowest level.
·       Lie on the floor under a table or another sturdy object.  
Recovering from Disaster

Recovering from a disaster is usually a gradual process. Safety is a primary issue, as are mental and physical well-being. For specific health, safety, and rebuilding guidelines regarding recovery, please see the FEMA Web site. 


Tuesday, September 4, 2018


By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

            Two months from now, voters across North Carolina will go to the polls and cast their ballots.
            Thanks to two key court rulings Tuesday, long delayed ballots can now be printed.
            Several cases in litigation over balloting and redistricting issues had cast a pall over the state’s scheduled elections, causing considerable confusion amidst a backdrop of political rhetoric and high stakes posturing.
            But now, all six controversial NC constitutional amendments are scheduled to be on the Nov. 6thballots referendums.
            Both the NCNAACP and Gov. Roy Cooper sued the legislature over two proposed constitutional amendments they alleged were written deceitfully to fool voters as to their true intent. The amendments essentially took the power of appointment to boards and commissions, and filling judicial vacancies away from the governor, giving those powers to the legislature. A three-judge panel ruled in Cooper and the NCNAACP’s favor at first, but Republican legislative leaders called lawmakers back into yet another special session last week, rewriting the original two amendments in question.
            Cooper challenged the rewritten referendums claiming that they are just as misleading as the originals, but the same three-judge panel denied his argument. The governor appealed straight to the state Supreme Court.
            A three-judge panel denied the NCNAACP lawsuit to stop two other proposed constitutional amendments – one that would ask voters’ support for a new voter ID law; another capping the state income tax just over seven percent. The state’s High Court on Tuesday declined to take up the NCNAACP’s suit per the two proposed amendments restricting gubernatorial powers, and then ruled against Gov. Cooper’s appeal.
            So those four amendments will be on the ballot Nov. 6th, along with two that were not challenged in court.
            Meanwhile, all parties in the combined cases of NC League of Women Voters versus Rucho, and Common Cause of North Carolina versus Rucho agree that there wasn’t enough time before the November elections to redraw all thirteen Congressional  districts that now have been ruled unconstitutional due to partisan gerrymandering.
            A three-judge federal panel had offered the option of holding primaries in November under newly drawn maps, with elections taking place in January 2019, right before the new Congress is seated, but both plaintiffs and defendants filed briefs last week nixing that idea, saying that it would cause too much disruption and confusion this close to Election Day. 
            At press time Tuesday, that same three-judge federal panel agreed.
            “We conclude that there is insufficient time for this Court to approve a new districting plan and for the State to conduct an election using that plan prior to the seating of the new Congress in January 2019, “ the panel ruled in it’s four-page order.”And we further find that imposing a new schedule for North Carolina’s congressional elections would, at this late juncture, unduly interfere with the State’s electoral machinery and likely confuse voters and depress turnout.”
            The current congressional districts, as drawn in 2016, cannot be used past the 2018 elections, the court maintained.


By Cash Michaels

            Fresh from his much-applauded eulogy at singer Aretha Franklin’s funeral tribute in Detroit last Friday, North Carolina’s Rev. Dr. William Barber, president of Repairers of the Breach, and co-chairman of “the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for a Moral Revival,” is now slated to further build his growing national profile by keynoting the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Inc. (CBCF) 48thAnnual Legislative Conference Phoenix Awards Dinner on Saturday, Sept. 15that the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C.
            That special occasion, the culmination of a five-day conference  - from Sept. 12 – 16th- of issue forums, professional development seminars, exhibits and national town halls for policymakers and emerging leaders, became popular in recent years when both President Barack Obama, and First Lady Michelle Obama keynoted.
This year’s theme is “The Dream Still Demands.”
On its website, the CBCF defines its mission as “…to advance the global black community by developing leaders, informing policy, and educating the public.”
It was 1970 when black members of Congress held their first Annual Legislative Conference. A year later, the Congressional Black Caucus was established by 13 members in the 92ndCongress. In 1976, the CBC Foundation was established as a nonprofit, nonpartisan public policy research and educational institute.
CBCF later began a scholarship fund for deserving college students.
Dr. Barber, the immediate former president of the NC NAACP, has been in the national spotlight ever since he led the massive “Moral Monday” demonstrations for several years , challenging what he called the “repressive” policies of the Republican-led NC General Assembly against the poor and people of color. Nearly 1,000 protesters were arrested during the first demonstration, spawning similar demonstrations across the country.
In 2016, Dr. Barber addressed the Democratic National Convention in support of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, which is where Aretha Franklin saw him, contacted barber, and invited him to come preach at a community service for her church.
The two maintained a long distance friendship until the “Queen of Soul” died a few weeks ago.
Dr. Barber was one of the many religious and celebrity luminaries invited to speak in tribute at the large public eight -hour funeral for Ms. Franklin held in Detroit last week, along with other North Carolina notables Pastor Shirley Caesar of Durham, and singer Fantasia Barrino of Winston-Salem.
The event was televised across the country and around the world.
When Dr. Barber returned to his home church of Greenleaf Christian in Goldsboro last Sunday. He quipped that his congregation should never again complain about how long their churches are, given how long the Aretha Franklin star-studded funeral service ran.


            [CARRBORO] In the wake of the controversy over the dethroning of the silent Sam statue at UNC-Chapel Hill, some residents next door in the town of Carrboro are petitioning to have that moniker dethroned too. The town is named after Julian Carr, the white supremacist who originally dedicated the Silent Sam statue in 1903, boasting that it was symbol of the white South. The Carrboro Board of Aldermen decided against changing the name, citing the costs and complications associated, but did agree to a “Truth Plaque,” acknowledging Carr’s racist history, but also committing the town to the spirit and work of social justice. The local NAACP will play a role in writing that plaque. 
            Meanwhile UNC – Chapel Hill Chancellor Carol Holt said last week that she would like to see the Silent Sam statue relocated elsewhere on campus. The UNC Board of Trustees have given Folt and the UNC-Chapel Hill board until November to decide what to do with the fallen statue.

            [HILLBOROUGH] In reaction to the Nike Show company’s new “Just do it” ad campaign featuring controversial ex-NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick – the first to take a knee during the National Anthem in protest to police brutality - sports fans across the nation are defiantly burning and destroying their Nike shoes, socks, etc. in protest. But the Hillsborough Police Dept. is asking that instead of destroying Mike shoes, why not just donate them top a worthy cause for someone else to wear. Kaepernick is currently a free agent who hasn’t played pro ball since 2016. He is currently suing the NFL.

            [FAYETTEVILLE] Tyrone Antoine Williams, who was forced to resign from the Fayetteville City Council in May under allegations of corruption, has now been charged with taking indecent liberties with minor. Williams was arrested and charged Tuesday, He was released on $100,000 unsecured bond and released. The incident allegedly occurred last December when Williams was still serving on the council. Police say he did know the victim.

Monday, August 27, 2018



            [DURHAM] Officials at Duke University are investigating who wrote a “heinous racial epithet” on a sign to the campus Center for Black Culture. The racial slur, which officials reveal was the n-word, was discovered Saturday on a sign on the Flowers Building on the West Campus. Officials say the vandalized sign will be repainted. Duke University President Vincent Price said,  “Such a cowardly and hateful act has no place on our campus.” 

            [CHAPEL HILL] After a two-hour closed door meeting Tuesday, the UNC Board of Governors mandated that UNC Chancellor Carol Folt and the UNC – Chapel Hill Board of Trustees must have a “lawful and lasting” solution to the future of the controversial Silent Sam Confederate statue that was torn down August 20thby demonstrators, by Nov. 15th. The plan must spell out the “disposition and preservation” of the statue. Folt told reporters afterwards that she is looking at “all options” as to the future of Silent Sam. She indicated, however, that the public safety of students on campus was paramount.

            [CHARLOTTE] President Trump is scheduled to appear at Central Piedmont Community College on Friday to sign an executive order on retirement security, and attend a luncheon for two Republican congressmen. However, if you’re traveling from or two the Queen City area, especially near the airport, expect delays on the road and in the air. Anytime the president of the United States travels to an area, air traffic is halted for at least a mile from the airport, and the route he must travel by motorcade is shutdown to all vehicular traffic. With Friday kicking off the heavy traveled Labor Day weekend, the added delays are going to wreak havoc as long as Trump remains in the area.


                                         REV. DR. WILLIAM BARBER AT "SPEAK OUT RALLY"

By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

            [CHAPEL HILL]  Lauding the demonstrators Saturday who five days earlier pulled down the controversial Confederate monument of “Silent Sam” on UNC – Chapel Hill campus, Rev. Dr. William Barber, president of Repairers of the Breach, and co-chairman of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Revival,” insisted that that was not enough.
            He urged those same protesters, and indeed the UNC students who support their actions, to also register to vote, and then “…if you’re going to pull a statue down, you better pull a voting lever in November” during the upcoming midterm elections.
            “It’s not just about statues, but about the statutes,” Dr. Barber added during a “Speak Out” rally in front of First Baptist Church on W. Rosemary Street.
            As he spoke, some of the 200 anti-white supremacy protesters and a few dozen pro-Silent Sam  supporters carrying Confederate flags, clashed where the statue once stood off Franklin Street a half mile away. Police arrested seven people on various charges, including assault. Barricades were erected, along with stationed police officers, to protect the base where Silent Sam once stood.
            Protesters defended that the 103-year-old statue had to come down because it was really a monument to white supremacy, not to the South’s Civil War dead, as supporters maintain.
            A Durham attorney indicted that he has prepared a lawsuit against the state if the UNC Board attempts to put the statue back up, alleging that it’s very presence creates a “hostile” atmosphere, especially for UNC students of color who have to walk by it every day.
            Barber then warned that if the UNC Board of Governors did put the Silent Sam statue back up in 90 days, as prescribed by law, that that then becomes a “political question.”
            “Because they are appointed by legislators and the governor, so if you want a more progressive board of [UNC] governors, we better have a massive turnout to the polls in November.”
            Barber, the former president of the NCNAACP, said that fighting racism as to be about more than “…somebody calling you the n-word. I’m more concerned about the folk who don’t call me the n-word, but then they vote to suppress the vote, or vote to deny or dismantle health care in poor minority communities. These are the kind of issues [we must fight]…policy-based racism!”
            “You can’t change policy-based racism by merely changing language. You have to change laws. And you can’t change laws if you’re not engaged in the electoral process!”
Rev. Barber was in Chapel Hill and Stokes County Saturday promoting the Poor People’s Campaign’s “massive” voter registration, canvassing and mobilization of poor and low-wealth communities there, and in 26 states across the nation. Barber said the campaign now has coordinating committees in 41 states and Washington, D.C.
The estimated two million poor people in North Carolina, alone, could make a huge difference in the direction of this state’s government, Barber assured.
He announced that the campaign will be registering and canvassing people to vote from now until the November 6thelections, and every month thereafter, presumably towards the 2020 presidential election.
“This is not about Trump alone,” Dr. Barber insisted. “Now Trump is a problem, but our moral political analysis is extremists who call themselves Republicans, and Democrats who too often act as if they are scared when they have power, created a context to allow a Trump to be elected.”
            That “context” was the deliberate splintering of various groups from each other by the very same politicians nationally and in state legislatures who are scurrying to distance themselves from the embattled president now that several federal investigations and court cases are zeroing on past alleged crimes.
            “Extremists, under the guise as Republicans, who got in office, and attacked voting laws, and suppressed the vote, and denied health care, or attacked immigrants…and denied living wages,” Dr. Barber continued. “Our movement is saying, ‘No longer will we be divided. We’re going to be together.”
            “We can change America!”
By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

            Republican NC legislative leaders are petitioning the US Supreme Court to stay an order from a three-judge federal court Monday that ruled the state’s congressional districts unconstitutional, and that new redistricting maps be drawn.
            The 2-1 ruling in the US District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina, found that the congressional districts were skewed because of partisan gerrymandering, and cannot be used beyond the 2018 midterm elections.
            In fact, the judges offered a choice – either draw new redistricting maps before the November elections, or hold primaries in November based on new maps, and hold elections in January just before the new Congress is sworn-in.
            According to the court decision, led by Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals Judge James A. Wynn, Jr., the Republican-led NC General Assembly deliberately used “political data” from past elections when it drew its 2016 redistricting maps “…  specifying whether, and to what extent, particular voting precincts had favored Republican or Democratic candidates, and therefore were likely to do so in the future — to draw a districting plan that would ensure Republican candidates would prevail in the vast majority of the State’s congressional districts, and would continue to do so in future elections.”
            The result, the court said were thirteen North Carolina congressional districts – ten of which elected Republicans, three Democrats, in a state where Democrat and Republican numbers are virtually even.
            Irving Joyner, chair of the NCNAACP Legal Redress Committee, and law professor at North Carolina Central University School of Law, applauded the court ruling.
This is a great consideration and determination by the Court which demonstrate, once again, how extreme this General Assembly has been in its misguided efforts to illegally retain political power for ultra-right wing zealots in our legislature,” Joyner said in a statement. “The Court recognized the unconstitutionality of what the General Assembly did with this partisan restricting and, once again, the people of North Carolina have had to suffer for this misconduct. At the same time, this General Assembly continues to do everything possible to corrupt and diminish the separation of powers in this State and it requires resort to the Court to resist this uncontrolled quest for power by this group of legislators.
The nonpartisan group, Common Cause of North Carolina, a litigant in the case, also hailed the ruling.
“We are pleased that a North Carolina federal court has once again state what we hve long believed, that partisan gerrymandering is unconstitutional,” said Bob Phillips, Common Cause NC executive director.
“This is an historic win for voters, and a significant step towards finally ending gerrymandering.”
On January 9thearlier this year, the federal court initially struck down the 2016 maps drawn by the NC legislature as unconstitutional. Republicans filed an emergency stay after the court ruled then that remedial maps should be drawn, hoping that the uS Supreme Court would take up the matter. But the High Court didn’t. The case was eventually remanded to the District Court.
At press time, NC Republican lawmakers asked the US Supreme Court to stay the federal court order, saying what was being mandated was “simply impossible.”


Monday, August 20, 2018



                                                        REV. DR. SPEARMAN

By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

            Calling it “wild west maneuvering,” the president of the NCNAACP blasted reports that that the executive director of the North Carolina Republican Party “…proposed the impeachment of N.C. Supreme Court justices, in the event they agree with some of our challenges…” to the four of the Republican-led General Assembly’s “ill-advised” six constitutional amendments to be placed on ballots this November.
            Rev. Dr. T. Anthony Spearman, president of the NCNAACP, said in a statement that the civil rights group is currently in litigation, having filed suit against the legislature, challenging four of the amendments, “…including a constitutional amendment to require photo voter ID, on grounds that they have been proposed by an unconstitutional legislature that came to power through one of the largest-scale illegal racially-gerrymanders in recent history, and that the amendments themselves are so misleading as to deny voters an opportunity to fairly vote on them.”
            In an August 17, 2018 story published by The Raleigh News and Observer, NC Republican Party Executive Director Dallas Woodhouse made his proposal during an event at a Free Enterprise Foundation.
            Later that afternoon, Woodhouse issued a statement on Facebook saying in part, “Today I suggested that should the democrats on the NC Supreme Court block citizens from voting on constitutional amendments, a Constitutional crisis would be upon us. I believe there will be a very visceral reaction from voters and our activists to having their right to vote on amendments blocked. That reaction could be re-amending the Constitution, censure, adding positions to the court and/or impeachment. I did state this morning (a Constitutional fact)That it takes 61 in the house to impeach and 33 to remove in the Senate. Nobody wants that.” 
             Most political observers interpret Woodhouse's remarks to be directed towards the High Court's Democratic majority, which consists of two African-Americans - Associate Justices Michael Morgan and Cheri Beasley.
            Wayne Goodwin, chairman of the NC Democratic Party, was at that same Free Enterprise Foundation event, and immediately took Woodhouse to task for his remarks, saying what he proposed was “offensive and wrong and improper.”
            Rev. Spearman of the NCNAACP, agreed.
            “This threat of punitive actions against the judiciary by the [executive director] of the North Carolina Republican Party is wild west maneuvering that demonstrates this party’s continued willingness to go to any lengths to consolidate and maintain political power in this State –without regard to the will of the people— and represents the erosion of fundamental principles of our democracy,” Rev. Spearman said in a terse statement. “To shoot from the hip with a blatant attempt to intimidate a panel of supreme court justices is a mockery of justice and overreach of political power.”
            “The courts serve as an independent arbiter of justifiable legal concerns,” the NCNAACP president continued. “That judicial independence, for all people of good will, is morally and constitutionally sacrosanct. The people must not stand for these intimidation tactics.” 
“ The NC NAACP has stood with integrity for 109 years,” Spearman concluded. “Whatever the outcome, we will continue to use our well tested methods of litigation, legislation, direct action and political action to resist in power and succeed over adversity.”

By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

            Since the death last week of the “undisputed Queen of Soul,” Aretha Franklin at the age of 76, the glowing, heartfelt tributes have come from all over the world.
            But here in North Carolina, the Rev. Dr. William Barber, former president of the NCNAACP, and currently president of Repairers of the Breach, and co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for a Moral Revival,” has a special memory of the music icon.
            “I will never forget receiving a call from Aretha after I had spoken at the Democratic National Convention [in 2016],” he recalled. “Thinking that it was a joke or prank, I asked, “Is this really Aretha Franklin?”
            “She asked, ‘Is this really Rev. Barber?’
            “When I realized that it was her, I shouted like a kid!’ Dr. Barber said. “She asked , ‘Will you come and preach for a community service that I’m having at my father’s church?’
Immediately my answer was, ‘Yes!’
            Dr. Barber adds that from time to time, he had the opportunity to call her and send texts, and recorded messages of encouragement and prayer. “Every call began with , ‘Is this really Aretha Franklin?,” [and she’d respond,] ‘is this really Rev. Barber?,’ “…a playful exchange that occurred as though we had known each other a long time when in actuality, we had only recently met.”
            “Our deep prayers and love are with the family as Sister Aretha sings and dances on the rhythms of grace, into the Glory of God’s presence, where she joins the heavenly choir,” Rev. Barber concluded.
            Ms. Franklin’s funeral will be held August 31stin Detroit, the hometown that she loved deeply and would not move from, according to her publicist.
            A service for family and friends will be held at 10 a.m. that morning at Greater Grace Temple.
            Public viewings will be held August 28 and 29 from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit. 
Franklin will be entombed at Woodlawn Cemetery in Detroit.


         [RALEIGH] A three-judge panel has ruled in favor of Gov. Roy Cooper’s argument that two of six constitutional amendments that Republican lawmakers voted to have placed on the November ballots, are so poorly written, that voters could not accurately determine their meaning. The two amendments in question would roll back gubernatorial powers. Cooper contended that because they were written “deceptively,” they did not conform with state statute requiring them to be fair and nondiscriminatory. Republican legislative leaders are expected to appeal the ruling.

         [CHAPEL HILL] Officials with UNC – Chapel Hill, and the UNC System Board of Governors say they will investigate how demonstrators Monday night were able to yank down the confederate statue of “Silent Sam” from its pedestal, especially while the structure was being guarded. Protesters had long decried what they called a symbol of white supremacy on the UNC campus, and had repeated demanded of the school to remove it, to no avail. Many UNC students say they are glad to see Silent Sam gone, adding that it should not have been eected in the first place.

         [RALEIGH] Tom Hofeller, the Republican redistricting maker responsible for the racially gerrymandered voting maps in 2011 that were ultimately ruled unconstitutional by the US Supreme Court, has died. He was 75.
         Hofeller’s maps helped NC Republicans maintain their majority in the state legislature, as well as their NC congressional majority.