Sunday, September 24, 2017


By Cash Michaels

            BARBARIAN-IN-CHIEF – If you’re reading this, that means neither the dangerous nut in North Korea, nor the dangerous nut we have for a president here have  ordered their military forces to Red Alert yet. But all of us literally counting the days, hours, and maybe even minutes before mushroom clouds become as plentiful as fish in the sea (assuming any fish will be left in the sea after these two morons finish proving who is the most macho nut).
            So while we all wait for the Mother of all nuclear wars to commence, Pres. Trump, who just loves turmoil as long as he’s the one causing it, at the center of it, and ultimately gets the headlines from it, is doing his gut-level best to start a civil war here in the states, this time over black NFL football players, like former 49ners quarterback Colin Kapernick, who, during the playing of the National Anthem before a game, take a silent knee to express displeasure with this nation’s hypocrisy of preaching “freedom and justice for all, while tolerating gun-happy police officers mercilessly killing black people in the streets, and getting away with it.
            Whatever one thinks of Colin Kaepernick, you have to admit that it takes guts to take a stand on this issue to force folks to realize that there is more to life than just playing football, or watching entertainment. Kaepernick, and other black players like him who have also taken a knee in protest, are conscientiously saying, “Wake up, America!”
They want all of us to do something to stop the carnage and bloodshed. Kaepernick and Co. aren’t anti-police…they’re anti-police violence, and they want it stopped now!
            Naturally there are those who believe that police officers can do no wrong just because they wear a badge and a gun. Further, these folks believe that professional athletes shouldn’t have political opinions, or at the very least, should keep them to themselves.
            Factually and obviously, they’re very wrong on both counts.
            Forget all of the years prior. Just in recent weeks, we’ve all seen video a cop manhandling and then arresting an emergency room nurse all because she refused to break established legal procedure by taking blood from an unconscious patient without his consent. That officer was later fired, and rightly so.
            Then there’s that dashcam video from Georgia when a white officer tells a white female motorist that she doesn’t have to worry about him harming her in any way because she’s not black, and “…we only shoot black people.”
            No, I haven’t checked that officer’s employment status, but it wouldn’t surprise me if they haven’t made him chief by now!
            As for athletes expressing political opinions, please! Muhammad Ali helped turn the tide against the unjust Vietnam War because of his opposition. Tommie Smith and John Carlos, two African-American 1968 Olympic medal winners, stood before the world with raised clenched fists, symbolizing solidarity for racial justice.
            And please don’t tell me that after the assassination of Pres. Kennedy, or the terrorist attacks on 9/11, and certainly at the Boston Red Sox game            after the 2013 Boston Marathon terrorist attack, Americans of all stripes didn’t stand in solidarity before sporting events against injustice.
            But guess who doesn’t see it that way? That’s right, and given Pres. Trump’s white supremacist attitude, his line of thinking, as clearly expressed during a raucous political rally in Alabama last Friday night, was that NFL owners should “fire the son-of-a-b---es” football players who kneel during the National Anthem.” And Trump used that language too.
            Needless to say everyone from the NFL commissioner, to the players themselves lashed back at “massuh” Trump. The fact that not one white NFL player is on record for taking a knee in concert with Kaepernick, means that he was disrespecting black NFL players.
            And then, had the gall to go after NBA champion Golden State Warriors Steph Curry for saying he didn’t want to go to the White House to pose and grin with Trump. So the barbarian-in-chief disinvites the whole team. LeBron and many other players didn’t like that, with LeBrom calling Trump “U bum…” on Twitter.
            And that was our weekend here in the United States…waiting for imminent nuclear Armageddon, recovering from four hurricanes and three earthquakes, and a forest fire.
            Isn’t life here just dandy?



By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

            The upcoming NC NAACP 74th Annual Convention in Raleigh Oct. 5-7, will be the last for Bishop Dr. William J. Barber II as the civil rights organization’s president.
            “Anytime you have given a life’s commitment to something, your emotions are mixed,” he admitted during a phone interview recently. “ I started out as the president of the Youth branch of the Washington County NAACP when I was a high school student.”
            “A lot has happened [since then], and I think about those moments,” Barber said, reflecting. “I never dreamed that I would have the opportunity, as an adult, to serve this particular state conference that has had such a storied history, and such an important role in the cause of civil rights.”
            For 12 controversial, yet dynamic and productive years in terms of social change in the state, Dr. Barber, who is also the pastor of Greenleaf Christian Church in Goldsboro, has led what once was considered, by some, a group that meandered after the 1985 death of legendary leader, state President (and later national board chairman) Kelly Alexander, Sr. of Charlotte.
            “It had become a dormant and ineffective organization which had the label of being the defender of civil and constitutional rights in North Carolina for African-Americans, but had lost its will and ability to fight the critical battles which needed to be fought,” says attorney Irving Joyner, chair of the NC NAACP Legal Redress Committee.
            But when Rev. “Billie” Barber, as some once knew him, took over as president in 2005, he brought with him a non-nonsense brand of leadership, challenging the political and social power structure statewide to heed the cries of the disenfranchised for justice and equality.
            Barber ultimately created, and then led, a multi-racial, multi-generational coalition of social activists from every corner of the state, building the largest state NAACP conference in the South, making him a force to be seriously reckoned with by every political leader in North Carolina.
            And he also challenged the state’s NAACP membership to be more accountable to the needs of the respective communities they serve, and not be afraid to speak truth to power by filling the streets, churches and local government meetings with a defiant energy that ultimately became a powerful, and potent political force to be reckoned with by both Democrats and Republicans.
            “He was fearless because he had faith, and because he had faith, he was able to energize a mass movement that was dedicated to challenging the powerful and ruthless political leadership in North Carolina,” Joyner, also a professor at NCCU School of Law in Durham adds.
            With an impressive history behind him of Historic Thousands on Jones Street marches and rallies; Forward Together/Moral Monday Movement demonstrations; Wake School Board protests (where he was handcuffed by police and jailed for disrupting  proceedings); several Million Voters March registration campaigns; lobbying for One Stop/Early Voting ( which ultimately helped Barack Obama win North Carolina, and the White House in 2008); the Truth and Hope statewide poverty tour; countless sermons and speeches (including at the 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia); numerous court victories against the Republican-led NC General Assembly to defeat voter suppression laws and schemes; and so many other accomplishments, in an exclusive interview with the Black Press, Dr. Barber now looks back with great pride, and a little regret in some cases, at a social justice record that many say has propelled him firmly to the national, and even international stage, as he prepares to fully join the national Poor People’s campaign.
            But Barber’s legacy is both sustaining, and daunting, especially for the two hopefuls vying to be elected to succeed him next week.
“Bishop Barber is a teacher,” Rev. Dr. Portia Rochelle, president of the Raleigh-Apex NAACP Branch, says. “He is one that has a vision, makes sure that you understand that vision, makes sure that you understand that vision and your place, your role and your value in making the vision come forth. So I believe that whoever succeeds …follows that role model, will do great.”
Rev. Dr. T. Anthony Spearman, NCNAACP Third Vice President, and senior pastor of St. Phillips AME Zion Church in Greensboro, who also seeks Dr. Barber’s seat, concurs.
“I’ve seen a great deal of merit in the work of Dr. William J. Barber II,” Rev. Spearman says, “ and want to see this movement continue [as] over the course of the 12 years that he [has] served in leadership.”
For his part, Dr. Barber, 54, born two days after the historic 1963 March on Washington in Indianapolis, Ind., says leading the fight just to “hold on” to the many civil rights gains his parents, and many others before him fought to make, has “been very sobering.”
“It’s been challenging, extraordinarily humbling, it’s been rewarding to work with the people in the state conference, and I can’t say that I won’t miss serving. I love serving, I’ve learned serving, and my greatest prayer [for] the state conference, is that if I’ve done anything that has been beneficial to this state moving forward, and helped to bring people together, that those things that were done well will be continued.”


By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

            When the 74th Annual NC NAACP Convention opens at the Raleigh Convention Center, Thursday, October 5th through Saturday, Oct. 7th, it’s theme will be a familiar, yet defiant one: “Forward Together, Not One Step Back…For Justice We Never Sound Retreat!”
             “We have an exciting convention for you,” said Daphne Holmes Johnson, NCNAACP Convention Planning Chair, during a recent press conference in Raleigh. “This is a civil rights convention for you to learn, to be entertained, to be prayed for, to continue the movement.” We will bring you many, many speakers, many plenary workshops, and you will get to have fellowship with the greater area of Raleigh, and othe members that join us from across the nation.”
            With Bishop Dr. William Barber stepping down as state NCNAACP president during the convention after 12 years at the helm, the Executive Committee voted to officially designate him as state president emeritus of the conference and a permanent member of the committee.
            The NCNAACP Convention will kick-off on Thursday, Oct. 5th with Religious Emphasis Day, and will start the day with a remembrance of all of the now deceased NAACP members of the past year.
            Per the luncheon, Rev. Julie Peeples of Congregational United Church of Christ Greensboro will be the luncheon speaker.
            After lunch, a special “Forward Justice” session featuring veteran civil rights leader, the Rev. Jesse Jackson and others to talk about the next phases in the fight for voting rights, including automatic voter registration.
            Also speaking on Religious Emphasis Day, Rev. Liz Theoharris, co-chair of the revived Poor People’s Campaign that Bishop Barber has committed to after he leaves as NCNAACP president.
            During that Thursday night mass meeting, the first time NC NAACP history when a Jewish rabbi, Rabbi Jonah Pesner, director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, will be the keynoter, scheduled for Martin Street Baptist Church, 1001 East Martin Street in Raleigh.
            Other events during the course of the NCNAACP’s 74th Annual Convention include workshops on voting rights, and an overview of what the Republican-led NC General Assembly has done regarding redistricting (the legislature coincidentally reconvenes in Special Session on Wednesday, Oct. 4th, where it is expected, among other issues, to take up judicial redistricting).
            Friday morning, Oct. 6th at 9:30 a.m., the convention will feature “The Great Debate” presented by the NCNAACP Education Committee, and moderated by Dr. Terrence Ruth, Ph.D, the new executive director of the state conference. The topic: how should charter and /or traditional schools help low-performing students?
            On Saturday morning, October 7th, at 10:30, the last day of the convention, Bishop Barber will deliver his final State of the State address on civil rights, as president. Barber said he will not say farewell, but “thank you,” and talk about the road ahead in the struggle for freedom, justice and equality.
            Other notables invited to appear at the 74th NCNAACP Convention include new interim NAACP national Pres./CEO Derrick Johnson, U.S. Sen. Corey Booker (D-NJ) and prominent black journalist Roland Martin, who will be the keynote speaker for the Saturday evening Freedom Fund Banquet.
            For more information go to

            [WILMINGTON] – The latest FBI Crime Report is out and Wilmington’s overall crime totals and rates for 2016 improved over the previous year. The violent crime rate per 100,000 population dropped by 16% in 2016. The ranking also showed that Wilmington had lower crime totals than cities like High Point and Fayetteville. “I believe these numbers are a reflection of our efforts to focus on gang violence as well as our joint efforts with partnering law enforcement agencies,” says Ralph Evangelous, Chief of Police. “None of this would be possible without our community and those who go the extra mile to support us in the fight against crime .”

            [CHARLOTTE] In the aftermath of Pres. Trump calling any National Football League player who protests during the National Anthem “a son of a b---h” who should be fired by his team owner, Rep. Alma Adams (D-NC-12) released the following statement:
“NFL protests are not about patriotism, our flag, or the anthem – they’re about systematic inequity and we must not lose sight of that,” said Congresswoman Adams. “Throughout history, American athletes have been at the forefront of the fight for social justice.  Today, over 70 percent of NFL players are African American, some of whom have been subjected to the same racial profiling and police misconduct that they are speaking out against on game day. In a city that has been personally touched by this very issue, we should all listen and learn from their advocacy.”

            [RALEIGH] Approximately one million drivers in North Carolina have had their driver’s licenses suspended because either they owe money to a court, and haven’t paid up, or they failed to show up for a court proceeding. Experts say that amounts to one in nine drivers statewide. The result – many of these drivers are behind the wheel illegally, and may or may not get caught. Experts add that North Carolina law, though more lenient that many other states, still delays the process of suspended licenses being returned in a timely fashion. These findings are in a new report issued this week by the Legal Aid Justice Center. The report adds that many drivers barely earn enough money to pay the outstanding fees associated with losing their licenses.


Tuesday, September 19, 2017


By Cash Michaels

            As you may know by now, former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the 2016 Democratic candidate for president, has written a book titled, “What Happened,” released this week.
            As to be expected, Ms. Clinton is doing a heavy round of media interviews to promote (read that as “sell”) her book, giving personal insight into what it felt like to lose to controversial Republican candidate Donald Trump, putting up with all of his nastiness and sexism, and how she felt the presidency was finally hers…until the very last minute.
            I know that’s what many of us thought, given how routinely Trump seemed to be self-destructing leading up to Election night.
            But, as we all know (and still lament), Clinton lost the presidency in the electoral college, losing key states like Pennsylvania and Wisconsin that normally went Democrat.
            And as you may also know, there’s currently a federal investigation underway to determine exactly how much the Russian government influenced the 2016 presidential election so that Clinton would lose, making Trump the victor, and whether or not they did so in collusion with the Trump campaign. There has been plenty of smoke  by way of evidence, according to the New York Times and the Washington Post, and it seems it’s just a matter of time before Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller issues a report outlining what he’s found per his investigation.
            It should be no surprise that Hillary Clinton has been following the Mueller probe very intently, especially since she was on the receiving end of shenanigans Trump and the Russians were allegedly up to. But it certainly was a surprise to read that Ms. Clinton is willing, eager and able to officially challenge Trump’s 2016 victory of Mueller’s evidence is compelling enough to warrant so in her mind.
            Let’s remember something….Hillary Clinton is NOT Al Gore, who graciously decided after the US Supreme Court effectively gave the 200 election to Republican rival George W. Bush, and with it, the presidency, not to contest it for the good of the nation.
Gore knew then that doing so would literally tear the nation apart, and he didn’t want to go down in history as a sore loser.
            But Hillary Clinton’s case is way different.
            The United States, thanks to the unqualified madman we have in the Oval Office, is already at civil war. People are more at each other’s throats than ever before, with most of us simply not believing that anyone in their right mind would want Donald Trump for president. His style and behavior have proven to be clearly beneath the dignity of the high office that he holds. Trump is an embarrassment to the American people, and before the world. He is an apologist for white supremacists and warmongers. He is steadily inching our nation towards a nuclear war with North Korea, another emerging nuclear power with a certified nut for a national leader.
            So those who warn that we would see civil war in the streets if Trump is perp-walked out of the White House in handcuffs after he’s impeached, hey, what would you suggest? Let him stay and ruin our children’s future some more? Please don’t tell me you’re afraid of people being more at each other’s throats than they are now, because, just like a bad marriage, the real problems right under the surface will always bubble up in the end.
            We can’t escape what’s coming.
            And if Hillary can legally get a court, based on compelling evidence, to rule that the 2016 presidential election was a fraud thanks to the Russians and Trump campaign scheming together to make it so, then I’m all for it.
            The last nine months have been frightful under Trump, and there’s more to come the longer he stays.
            None of this is over by a longshot, folks. So strap yourselves in, because the we are in for a REAL rough ride!


By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

            According to new data from the US Census Bureau released on Sept. 14th, more than 1.5 million of 10,146,788 North Carolinians still languish in poverty with lack of access to good well-paying employment, inadequate education or skills training, affordable and decent housing, limited access to public transportation, and other important resources to lift themselves and their families out of their dire condition.
            Though, according to analysts, there have been small improvements to their condition between 2015 and 2016, 15.4 percent of North Carolinians lived in poverty in 2016, making less than $24, 600 a year for a family of four.
            Specific numbers of North Carolinians living in poverty by race were not available at press time Tuesday, though it is known that 23.5 percent of African-Americans statewide live below the official poverty line of $24,600 for a family of four.
            In Forsyth County, according to those US Census Bureau statistics, 18.1 percent of its 371,511 residents were living in poverty as of July 1, 2016. Blacks are 27.4 percent of the county’s total population.
            The median household income between 2011 and 2015 was $45,471, per capita income per the last 12 months was just $26,674 by 2015 standard.
            Guilford County, by comparison, had 15.7 percent of its 521,330 residents living in poverty as of July 1, 2016. Approximately 34.6 percent of Guilford’s population is African-American, compared to 22.2 percent statewide.
            Median household income (in 2015 dollars) in Guilford County between 2011-2015 was  $45,651. Per capita income in the prior 12 months was $26,762.
            On the coast, New Hanover County saw 17.3 percent of its 223.483 population in poverty by July, 2016. African-Americans comprised just 14.2 percent.
            Median household income (in 2015 dollars) between 2011-2015 was $50,088, and per capita income in the 12 months prior $29,880.
            Finally, in Durham County, 17.1 percent of its 306,212 residents were in poverty by July 1, 2016. Blacks were 38.3 percent of the total population.
In 2015 dollars, median household income between 2011-2015 in Durham County was $52,503, and per capita per the preceding 12 months was $30,268.
According to the NC Budget and Tax Center, a progressive arm of the nonpartisan NC Justice Center in Raleigh, North Carolina’s poverty rate is 1.4 percentage point higher than the national, and has the 13th highest in the nation; North Carolina’s poverty rate did decline by one point over the past year, but is 1.1 percent higher than when the Great recession hit in 2007; 6.7 percent of North Carolinians live in extreme poverty, below less than half the poverty line of bout $12,300 a year for a family of four.
In order to grow a stronger and more inclusive economy for all of u in North Carolina, lawmakers must boost public investments to connect people to good-paying jobs, health care and education from early childhood to throughout their careers, said Alexandra Sirota, director of the NC Budget and Tax Center.

By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

            As the three-judge federal panel reviews the newly redrawn NC redistricting maps it ordered from the NC legislature, opponents aren’t waiting to weigh-in on what the court’s next move should be.
            Anita Earls of the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, and Edwin Speas, Jr. of Poyner & Spruill LLP, attorneys for plaintiffs who originally sued the state ultimately proving that 28 of 170 legislative districts in the 2011 NC redistricting map were illegal racial gerrymanders, filed a legal brief in federal court last Friday alleging that at least 12 of the redrawn state House and Senate districts resubmitted to the court are now either racial gerrymanders, or are in violation of the state’s Constitution.
            At the top of the list for racial gerrymandering is Senate District 28, which state Sen. Gladys Robinson (D-Guilford), an African-American, represents. The three other districts are Senate District 21 in Cumberland and Hoke counties; House District 21 in Wayne and Sampson counties and House District 57 represented by Rep. Pricey Harrison, again in Guilford County.
            “Race predominated in the drawing of these districts lines, and Defendants (legislature) offer no compelling governmental interest to justify those districts,” the plaintiffs’ Sept. 15th brief to the court contended.
Two weeks earlier, Sen. Robinson of District 28 said, “The courts specifically looked at my District 28 and commented on its composition.  Republicans are intent on protecting Senator Trudy Wade (R-Guilford) for whom they created a district by packing 28.  I expect that the only remedy will be in the courts.”
Rep. Harrison, a white Democrat representing House District 57, was equally as resolute that the continued racial gerrymandering would not stand.
I believe the maps will be challenged and may have a hard time passing muster with the federal court. I do not know if that will affect the 2018 elections, but we will be spending more taxpayer money defending the indefensible.”
If the federal judicial panel agrees with the plaintiffs, Rep. Harrison and Sen. Robinson may now get their wish.
            In addition, several other legislative districts were found by plaintiffs to be unconstitutionally redrawn, in that “…the plain language of the state constitution prohibits mid-decade redistricting.” The Constitution also prohibited violation of its Whole County Provision, and plaintiffs contend that several House districts are drawn crossing county boundaries.
            Plaintiffs recommended to the court that the redrawn maps by GOP lawmakers be thrown out, and replaced with proposed legislative maps the plaintiffs have submitted for the 2018 mid-term elections.
            If the court disagrees, plaintiffs ask that a court –appointed special master be employed to “…redraw the districts in these limited county groupings.”
            “We are asking the court to step up and do what the legislature has continually failed to do — give North Carolinians fair districts that do not discriminate or violate the state constitution,” attorney Earls said in a statement.
            On that same day, the NCNAACP filed an amicus brief to the court supporting the plaintiffs’ position that the legislative redraws should be thrown out because they “…remain tainted with race discrimination…,” and a special master be secured to do the job properly.
            In its brief, the civil rights organization faults the Republican decision not to use race as part of its criteria in redrawing legislative districts as a primary reason why they’re still unconstitutional, as earlier determined by the US Supreme Court.
            The Legislative Defendants have thus returned to the court following a “remedial” process that never directly addressed the race discrimination that infected its prior maps, indicating once again that, as this Court has noted, it “does not appreciate the need to move promptly to cure the unconstitutional racial gerrymanders in the 2011 districting plans,”” the NCNAACP brief stated.
            The General Assembly cannot sufficiently demonstrate to this Court that the enacted plans cure their egregious purposeful racial gerrymander through the bare assertion that, by prohibiting any consideration of race data, they have created color-blind remedial maps with no explanation of how these maps actually cure the violations. The NC NAACP thus respectfully requests that the Court reject the General Assembly’s proposed maps and appoint an independent special master to draw fair remedial maps that properly consider race and fully remedy the violation in accordance with federal and state law.”
            Republican legislative leaders have a week to respond to both the plaintiffs and NCNAACP briefs.
        Meanwhile on Tuesday, NC Congressman G. K. Butterfield and Congressional Black Caucus Chairman Cedric Richmond (D-LA) sent a letter to heads of US Senate Judiciary Committee, urging them to “reject” Pres. Donald Trump’s nomination of North Carolina  Republican attorney Thomas Farr to a lifetime appointment as federal judge for the Eastern District ,”… because of his dismal record in opposition to voting rights and workers’ rights.
            Farr's hearing was scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 20th. 


                                               REV. DR. T. ANTHONY SPEARMAN

By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

            Editor’s note: During the upcoming 74th Annual NC NAACP Convention in Raleigh, current president, Bishop Dr. William Barber will be stepping down after 12 years, and a new president will be elected between Rev. Dr. Portia Rochelle, president of the Raleigh-Apex NAACP Chapter, and Rev. Dr. T. Anthony Spearman, Third Vice President of the NCNAACP.
            During separate interviews, both candidates were asked the same six questions about their respective visions for the state conference if either is elected to lead. For a final question, they were asked to determine what they want rank-and-file NCNAACP members to further know about them that they feel is relevant.
            When necessary, both candidates’ answers have been truncated for conciseness.
            Last week we interviewed Rev. Dr. Portia Rochelle. Today, we continue with Rev. Dr. T. Anthony Spearman. Next week we talk with outgoing NCNAACP Pres. Bishop Dr. William Barber II.
            Rev. Dr. T. Anthony Spearman, Third Vice President of the NC NAACP; senior pastor of St. Phillip AME Zion Church in Greensboro; and president of the NC Council of Churches, has been a member of the NAACP for 53 years. As a young man, his father got memberships he and his sisters, telling them to keep them up because “you will be fighting for justice for the remainder of your years.”
During that time, Rev. Spearman, 66, has also served as chairman of the NCNAACP Religious Affairs Committee, and president of the Hickory Branch of the NAACP.
            Now he says it’s time to vie for the presidency of the civil rights organization he’s given most of his life to, and lead it towards further establishing the values and justice he’s sworn to uphold. Rev. Spearman is married with three adult children, five grandchildren, and one great grandchild.
Why should you be elected as the next president to lead the North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP?
            “I find the NAACP continues to be a very relevant organization in which I’m glad I have cast my energies towards. I have been a staunch supporter of the Forward Together/Moral Monday movement, and the second arrestee of the [first] Moral Monday. I’ve been involved in civil disobedience on three separate occasions. And so I’m very invested in the NCNAACP and the work thereof, and I’ve seen a great deal of merit in the work of Dr. William J. Barber II, and want to see this movement continue that has been started over the course of the 12 years that he [has] served in leadership.”

What do you think of Bishop Dr. William Barber’s leadership of the NCNAACP over the past 12 years, and, if elected, how do you intend to build on it?
“I’ve been very much a part of Bishop Barber’s leadership during that time, and it began with the HK on J Movement…I was there at the inception of that, and then as it kind of grew into the Forward Together/Moral Monday Movement, I was very much a part of that movement. Candidly, Dr. Barber and I have become very collegial, and have really held one another up in many of the things that have come before us as the twelve years have unfolded.”
 “My ideology is very, very similar to the ideology of Bishop Barber, and what the NAACP lifts up as what they call “game-changers,” I lift up as a five-point justice vision. When we talk about pro-labor, anti-poverty policies that ensure economic sustainability, and educational equality that ensures that every child receives an appropriate education, and health care, and fairness in the criminal justice system, and protection of all kinds of rights – voting rights, women’s rights, LGBT rights, immigrant rights…all of those are right at the cutting edge of the things I would think we need to continue in terms of having the kind of ideology that’s going to help us to make some ground so that we can continue to move forward together and not take one step back.”

As NCNAACP president, how will you continue the fight for voting rights?
            “ One of the things that have been in the forefront of my mind is how to frame doing what I hope to achieve once I’m elected, should I be elected. I’ve been kind of obsessed with the thought of what I call a transforming and understanding of “R.I.P.” which is the acronym we generally use for “rest in peace.””
“I’m plagued with why do we wait until someone dies to say or think that we want them now to rest in peace. So I’ve been toying with the idea of how do we transform our understanding of R.I.P., and help to translate it from a death wish to a justice gift.”
“Three of the points that I am very, very bent on achieving or working on as we do the work come forth with the acronym R.I.P. :
1.                    Respecting our vote –everything we face as a people is predicated on the right to place ballots in the ballot box. Like watchmen on the wall, we have to continue to be vigilant and make sure that we hold back all that the [NC] General Assembly seeks to do to continue to suppress our vote. And I genuinely believe that they will continue to throw forth some monkey wrenches to do just that.
2.                    Inspecting the root cause of poverty – The NCNAACP went around the state in 2011-2012 putting a face on poverty. For me, that was the cutting edge of what we need to do. You’ll recall that during the 2016 elections, there was no talk, no conversation, no debate whatsoever about poverty, no talk about racism, and I believe that we as a people must be very intentional about talking about poverty, bringing it onto the radar, and then keeping it on the radar so that people are talking about it. And if no one else is talking about it, then we need to be talking about it as a people, and strategize on how we are going to be dealing with it to make sure that others understand how important it is to us as a people.
3.                    Protecting our youth – We’re dealing with the militarization that Dr. King has always talked about, and always have in the forefronts of our minds the things that this so-called democracy is supposed to stand for.

How will you work to get more young people involved in the NC NAACP?
“I have developed two nonprofits – one I established back in 2006 when I was pastoring in Hickory, NC. Now we’re doing business here in Greensboro as “The B.R.I.D.G.E. Program” which is “balancing relationships, instilling dignity, growth and empathy.” The formation of that nonprofit happened while I was the education chair of the Hickory branch of the NAACP, and a teacher contacted us about five African-American students who were failing. I built a program around these young men – Students Moving A Step Ahead -  and took them to Detroit, Michigan for a weekend, and immerse them in higher education…and came away from that experience with these young men now thinking about going to college, as opposed to prior to that, they didn’t think about it at all.”
“There were some successes that were done, and we did that for about three years, but I came to terms with the fact that it seemed to me to be a little too late.  So I started another program,…and we were able to partner with the Hickory Housing unit, use this curriculum, and had some major successes on gathering young people together, giving them some cultural awareness, and helping them develop a love for their culture. By leaps and bounds, there were improvements in their lives.”
“I would use that same kind of practice in trying to get young people involved in the NCNAACP. I’ve been working on ways to be able to present them with something we can intergenerationally involve these young people. The Scriptures tell us we are to impress upon the children, spend time with the children, we’re going to make sure that we interact with the children on  24/7 basis, thereby we will not be afraid of our children. I think the fear that we have in engaging with our children prevents us from keeping the children around us.
Next week, Bishop Dr. William J. Barber II, president of the NCNAACP, exclusively looks back over his 12-year tenure as he prepares to step down.


            [RALEIGH] A Wake County Democrat who came ran twice for lieutenant governor but fell short, has announced that she will now make a run for the US Congress. Former NC Rep. Linda Coleman says she has filed paperwork to challenge three-term Republican incumbent Congressman George Holding in the 2nd Congressional District in 2018. Holding is known for his ultra-conservative views, and support of Pres. Trump. Coleman is also a former educator, Wake County commissioner and once led the Office of State Personnel. She lost her bid for lieutenant governor to Dan Forest in 2012 and 2016. She will face businessman Sam Searcy and veteran Wendy Ella May in the Democratic primary.

            [RALEIGH] “Slow down” was the admonition from judges and attorneys Tuesday during a second judicial redistricting hearing conducted by Republican House member Justin Barr (R-Stanly). Burr has filed House Bill 717, which calls for lawmakers to redraw judicial and prosecutorial district lines, most likely during the upcoming special session beginning Oct. 4th. Many judges have expressed concern that the process will be more political than remedial. Democrats charge that Republicans are pushing this now in order to elect more Republicans as judges. Meanwhile the state Senate is leaning towards appointing more judges, as opposed to electing more.

            [RALEIGH] According to the website Glassdoor, among the 25 top, the fourth best city in the United States to find employment is Raleigh, and Charlotte is ranked #24. Glassdoor ranks the number of job openings, median base salaries, median home values and overall job satisfaction, according to local employers.


Tuesday, September 12, 2017


                                                     REV. DR. PORTIA ROCHELLE

By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

            Editor’s note: During the upcoming 74th Annual NC NAACP Convention in Raleigh, current president, Bishop Dr. William Barber will be stepping down after 12 years, and a new president will be elected between Rev. Dr. Portia Rochelle, president of the Raleigh-Apex NAACP Chapter, and Rev. Dr. T. Anthony Spearman, Third Vice President of the NCNAACP.
            During separate interviews, both candidates were asked the same six questions about their respective visions for the state conference if either is elected to lead. For a final question, they were asked to determine what they want rank-and-file NCNAACP members to further know about them that they feel is relevant.
            When necessary, both candidates’ answers have been truncated for conciseness.
            Today we begin with Rev. Dr. Portia Rochelle. Next week, Rev. Dr. T. Anthony Spearman.

She celebrated her 65th birthday on Sept. 5th, but as far as Rev. Dr. Portia Rochelle, president of the Raleigh-Apex NAACP is concerned, she has plenty of fire and commitment in her to lead the over one hundred branches of the NC NAACP as it’s next president, if elected. And she’s working hard to make that happen. Having served as branch president for the past nine years, and having worked for North Carolina state government for the previous 30, Rev. Rochelle says she’s fully prepared to lead North Carolina’s most prominent civil rights organization.
A widow since 1993, Rev. Rochelle has two children.

Why should you be elected as the next president to lead the North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP?
“Because of the firsthand experience that I have had in working with the [Raleigh-Apex] branch here in Wake County. We’ve had to tackle numerous issues, and we are at the forefront of most issues that occur here in North Carolina, whether we desire to be or not. The general public calls on us, and that has given me a vast amount of experience as far as working through civil rights issues with the community, and the people injustices are being done to. I’ve had nine years of experience, and I feel that I can do it on the state level.”

What do you think of Bishop Dr. William Barber’s leadership of the NCNAACP over the past 12 years, and, if elected, how do you intend to build on it?
“He’s set a great example. Bishop Barber is a teacher. He is one that has a vision, makes sure that you understand that vision, makes sure that you understand that vision and your place, your role and your value in making the vision come forth. So I believe that whoever succeeds …follows that role model, will do great.”
“Some people are kind of shy as far a doing what they should be doing at the branch level, and I think that if we keep that model that he has set, to teach others, to let them know that they’re valuable in the movement, that they’re necessary in the movement…we need key players in the movement. Everyone needs to be able to a justice movement. Bishop Barber has set a good example of that, and I plan to build on that, build on the infrastructure. There are some branches that need more training, they don’t always have the opportunity to come to the state convention or attend the national. But I’ve been fortunate enough to be exposed to all of the training at all of the levels.
Plus, quality time with Dr. Barber, with him teaching me, and him answering all sorts of questions that I had when I first started. So the next successor has to be patient, and be willing to teach those that are prepared to lead this organization.

As NCNAACP president, how will you continue the fight for voting rights?
“We should never stop. It’s been a continuous fight and does get frustrating for the citizens we are working with, but in the movement we cannot get tire, we cannot get frustrated. We must continue to encourage our people to not keep silent and to not stay home and get mad because they don’t like the way elections are finished.”
“If you’re mad, fight back. How do you fight back? Become informed voters. Teach your family, your neighbors, how to become informed voters. Know what you’re voting on, know the issues, know the people that we’re voting for, know what they stand for. Don’t just wait and show up on voting days for someone to give you a list, and you go in and mark those names. Know who’s running. Know what they have to say about issues that are affecting your life.”
“So voter education is what I’ll be concentrating on. Teaching our people to learn …you know, it’s more than just marking a ballot.”

How will you work to get more young people involved in the NC NAACP?
“That’s a good question, because I’m dealing with that now. Many of the young people are raising families, many of them are feeling that the NAACP is irrelevant. So we have to constantly teach them the history, and how the NAACP is relevant to them.”
“Some say we’re outdated, we’re not functioning, but they don’t know what we’re doing. They need to take time to get to know us. Let us introduce ourselves to you, so you’ll know what we’re about, how we got started, and what we’re doing. We’re doing more than marching and protesting because we don’t like a particular law. That’s very important to do, but you have to fight back by showing up at meetings, and know what’s going in your community.”
“I plan to do a social justice school to teach people how to be involved in the social justices issues in your community. I plan to do the same thing with churches. We need to have people in place where community meetings are going on – the school board, Board of Elections, county commissioners. All of these things affect our lives, and if we’re not there to give our input, then we’re going to be left out. And it’s going to be too late, so we have to get involved. That’s what I want to teach the millennials – you have to get involved! You can’t just sit back and pass judgment, and say that our rules are too stringent, or we take too long to do something. You’ve got to understand whey we don’t just run and jump and do something. You’ve got to learn not to just jump out there and be ignorant. You have to investigate, then see if you need to make a stand, see if you need to make a statement. And you’ve got to learn how to be patient. Learn the importance of strategy, and why that strategy is there to protect you and the community.”

Next week – interview with NCNAACP presidential candidate Rev. Dr. T. Anthony Spearman.

By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

            When the Republican-led NC General Assembly reconvenes for it’s second Special Session of the year on Wednesday, October 4th at 12 noon, expect judicial redistricting to be front in center. That point was made clear this week when the House Select Committee of Judicial Redistricting gaveled in Tuesday to begin the process of determining how North Carolina’s District and Superior Court maps will be changed.
            Because Republicans are pushing for this, Democrats are naturally concerned as to why, and why now.
            “I am extremely concerned about the HB 717 judicial maps that force District Court judges of the same political [party] to compete in a primary,” state Rep. Evelyn Terry (D-Forsyth) recently said. “That equates to worse. It’s called double bunking.”
            Also on the redistricting chopping block, prosecutorial districts, from where local district attorneys are elected, and serve.
            All of this is the result of a surprise bill, HB 717, introduced in June right before the end of the regular long session by Rep. Justin Barr (R-Stanly). Because there wasn’t much time to properly hold hearings or debate the measure, it was put on hold until either the planned August or October Special Sessions. Given that the August session was mostly taken up with redrawing the legislative districts maps because of unconstitutional racial gerrymandering, the upcoming October Special Session is the chosen time for judicial redistricting to come front and center.
            According to the proposed judicial/prosecutorial redistricting maps released Tuesday, among the Superior Court district splits are Forsyth, Guilford, Wake, Durham, New Hanover, Mecklenburg, and Pender, among others. Some observers say they look very similar to the racially gerrymandered legislative maps that were ultimately thrown out but the federal courts.
            Burr readily admits that the maps were done in secret, as to protect them, ironically enough, from judicial scrutiny.
            “They would have fought me,” Burr told WRAL-TV in July. He added that the reason for redistricting the judicial districts is because of a “longstanding imbalance” of Democrat judges to Republicans historically. “This is about making good policy, he said.
            Democrats in the legislature counter that this is about redrawing the district lines in order to elect more Republican judges to the bench, increasing the likelihood of winning more court decisions for GOP policies, especially with Democrats now holding the majority on the state Supreme Court.
            Rep. Burr has called it “correcting gerrymandered districts.”
No one from the judiciary or state conference of District attorneys in North Carolina was consulted in the drawing of the maps, Burr confirms. However, under constant pressure, Rep. Burr did travel throughout the state, speaking with judges and district attorneys about the need for the redistricting.
            Burr has said that race was not considered among the criteria used to redraw the judicial maps. Only geography, caseload, population, and resources.
The last time judicial districts were changed was 62 years ago, and most experts agree that the time to refresh them is long overdue. But they caution that the process should be handled by an established nonpartisan body to ensure that all North Carolinians have equal access to the state’s court system, regardless of where they live in the state, not for partisan advantage.
Unlike congressional and legislative redistricting maps, there is no ten-year mandate to redraw judicial districts. congressional and legislative redistricting is predicated on the change in US Census population figures, which are taken every ten years.
            Constitutionally, those districts are also governed by the “one-man-one vote” principal which seeks to make every congressional and legislative district equal in population, + or minus five percent.
            But with judicial districts, there is a question as to whether any constitutional mandate exists. And there is also question as to whether the 1965 Voting Rights Act applies to judicial redistricting as well.
         According to Judge Marion Warren, director of the NC Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC), said during Tuesday’s select committee hearing that he’s had some Superior Court judges who were “incredibly upset” complaining to him about the proposed judicial “gerrymandering.” Judge Warren did maintain that the AOC did not draw the proposed maps.
            Rep. Marcia Morey (D-Durham), a former Durham District Court judge for 18 years, said during the hearing that she talked to 20 District Court judges, and “…not one agreed with the maps.”
            And some Superior Court judges have generally said they are willing to allow the redistricting process to “play out,” but others are “very upset” with what they see the maps do, like double-bunking sitting judges.
The House Select Committee on Judicial Redistricting is expected  to meet again on Thursday, Sept. 21st. There is no word as to when the state Senate will address this matter.


By Cash Michaels

            GOOD HEALTH! – Let’s cut right to the chase. Am I in good health?
            Well, the question is relative. I’m certainly in better health. A little about my health history, and no, I’m not ashamed that I probably should have died before now because of the careless and reckless way I’ve been treating my body all of these years.
            First the good part – I’ve never smoked ANYTHING (I have absolutely no idea what it feels like to deliberately inhale smoke through my nose or mouth). I still remember being a child in the crib, and seeing my mother’s fancy 1950s cigarette box with built-in lighter on her dresser (never saw her smoke in person, however), and how, once she realized that the cigarette box caught my attention, she put it out of sight, and made sure that she never smoked in front of me in life.
            And I also remember years later hanging in Ditmas Park in Brooklyn, NY with my friends, and all they did was smoke and drink, and I never did. In fact, when we would all be sitting on the park bench watching the girls in hot pants walk by, and my boys would pass the reefer joint down the bench so that everybody on the crew could get a “blow” (it was more like a suck though), I would always say “no thanks,” and let the “brotha” on my left pass it straight to the “brotha” on my right.
            And when I would get a dirty look about it, I learned to immediately say, “Nah, man, …more for you, more for you!”
            Both “brothas” always like hearing that.
            Hard liquor? Never! Now when we went out to the clubs on Friday and Saturday nights, we always stopped by liquor store and got some sweet MD20/20 or Fuki Japanese plum wine! I never drank “Mad Dog” (is what we called it), but I’ll never forget being at a club in Queens, having met this nice girl named Martha (I called her “Marti”), an making the mistake that night of drinking too much Fuki, and saying some dangerous things to her that would have gotten any other guy shot!
            But Marti could tell that I wasn’t a drinker, and that I was kinda cute, and decided she wanted to meet the “real” Cash, and so we dated for a couple of years after that. And no, I NEVER drank Fuki or anything else around Marti, or anybody, ever again. That whole bit ended my drinking career. But at least it got me Marti…for a while.
            So to this day, never drank hard liquor, never smoked a cigarette or weed, and have never, EVER taken illegal drugs! I’ll never forget when I moved from Brooklyn to Durham, NC in August 1981, folks were so amazed that I was from New York and didn’t have any of those vices, they weren’t sure what to make of me.
            But I did have other health vices for sure. I loved sugar, loved cakes with all the icing I could muster, loved fried foods… jut loved food PERIOD, and didn’t care how much of it I ate. I was an emotional eater. That caused my weight to yo-yo like crazy. One day I was Denzel Washington; the next I was worse than Mo’nique (before she lost all of that weight, but kept all of her mouth).
            I’ll never forget after Hurricane Fran in 1996 after the power went out, I was drinking so many sweet fruit drinks, my girlfriend at the time forced me to go to Duke Health Clinic in Durham to get tested because I was sick to my stomach, but didn’t want to see a doctor. That’s when I found out that my blood sugar was 830! Doctor told me to my face I should be dead, and told me straight that I will be by the weekend because my high sugar was breaking down the organs in my body. She sent me immediately to Duke Hospital to have them bring my sugar down through IV. I cried and cried, and cried, but I thanked my girlfriend for loving me enough to fuss me to the doctor’s office.
            Since then my health has been up and down, highlighted recently by the stroke in my left leg in November 2014 (still rehabbing from that), and of course the acute leukemia diagnosis in March 2016 (I’m in remission now, and hope to stay that way).
            In the past few months, I prayed and prayed, realized that I was killing myself, and decided, with GOD’s blessing and grace, to change my attitude about life, my future, and me. Thus far, I’ve lost over thirty pounds; I no longer eat breads, sweets (except fruits): eat a romaine salad a day with a protein (fish or chicken), and plenty of water.
            I exercise at the gym Monday through Saturday to build muscle in my legs, and improve my walking. I attend church every Sunday and Wednesday now without fail. And I work hard to be happy, ridding myself of all of the dark things that made me succumb to the negative.
            So yes, I’m healthier now in more ways than one, but6 am I in good health. No. I’m still morbidly obese, but I working on it. I am under 290 pounds for the first time in years, and I’m headed towards 270. Once I get there, I’ll see how I feel, and then go to 250. Ideally, I’ll stop at 220 pounds.
            The bottom line is at age 61, I owe this physical, spiritual and emotional transformation to myself, and two my children. I want to see my youngest daughter graduate from the high school she just started. I want to see my oldest daughter make it big in television production as she’s striving to do.
            I need to be alive and well and SEE IT ALL, and with GOD’s blessing, I will!
            COUNT ON IT!


            [WILMINGTON] The State Attorney General’s Office and Chemours, the plant that has been discharging the chemical GenX into the Cape Fear River for years, apparently polluting the drinking supply for the New Hanover county region, entered into a consent order agreement in Bladen county Superior Court last week. The deal compels Chemours to officially cease the discharge of GenX and byproducts of another chemical, Nafion, into the Cape Fear. Chemours also agreed to provide the state with confidential documents about its chemicals. The company moved quickly to comply because there was evidence that it misled the NC Dept. of Environmental Quality per its discharge permits as to what it was releasing into the Cape Fear. Local officials consider the consent order a “positive development.”

            [CHARLOTTE] In a primary election surprise Mayor pro tem Vi Lyles defeated incumbent Mayor Jennifer Roberts in Tuesday’s Democratic primary. With only an eight-percent citywide turnout, Lyles, a former city budget director and assistant city manager, won in every section of the Queen City. She will now face Republican Kenny Smith in November.

            [RALEIGH] Based on information released this week by the US Census Bureau, the rate of North Carolinians without health insurance dropped to an historic low of just 10.4 percent in 2016. Ironically, that rate would have been even lower had the Republican-led NC General Assembly had extended Medicaid coverage to over 500,000 of the more than one million North Carolinians who don’t have health coverage. The Affordable Care Act, which went into effect in 2014, has dropped the number of uninsured in North Carolina from a high of 15.6 percent.