STATE NEWS BRIEFS FOR 08-02-18
HIGH SCHOOL PROBING STUDENT ATHLETE’S RACIST VIDEO
[DURHAM] Officials with the Durham Public School System, and Jordan High School
are investigating a student-athlete’s racist video found online. Published reports say the unnamed student plays football and lacrosse at the school, and also is seen making sexist remarks about women, as well as uttering a racist slur. The student also makes references to Pres. Trump. Students at Jordan high are demanding that he not be allowed to play for the school’s teams. Principal Susan Taylor assured those concerned that she is working to address the matter, and that intolerance is not something that will be allowed at Jordan High.
REPUBLICAN ON AMENDMENTS PANEL REFUSES TO PARTICIPATE
[RALEIGH] First Republican-legislative leaders called a surprise special session last week to two ensure that a Democrat-led commission was not allowed to alter any of the language of the six proposed constitutional amendments that they passed during the. Regular session that ended in June. Now, the sole Republican member of that panel, Paul Coble, the General Assembly’s Legislative Services Director, sent a letter to Secretary of State Elaine Marshall, chair of the three-member Constitutional Amendment Publication Commission, telling her that he would not attend any meetings with her or state Attorney General Josh Stein until after state lawmakers override Gov. Cooper’s veto of their measure, which is apparently expected to take place on Saturday. A livid Sec. Marshall now accuses Coble of “politicizing” the situation, saying that he’s now deliberately holding up their work.
WORK OF BLACK ARTIST ERNIE BARNES ON DISPLAY A NC MUSEUM OF HISTORY
[RALEIGH]His most famous work of art, “The Sugar Shack” became famous when featured on the 1970’s black sitcom, “Good Times,” and a Marvin Gaye album cover. His name was Ernie Barnes, a Durham native who played NFL football for five seasons before retiring to pursue his first love – art. A collection of Barnes’ work, artifacts and memorabilia are now on display at the NC Museum of History from now until March 3rd, 2019. Barnes died in 2009 at the age of 70, but many who grew up admiring his artistry agree that his legacy, through art, lives on.
DR. BARBER PREPARING
FOR MIDTERMS BATTLE
By Cash Michaels
He may not be president of the NCNAACP anymore, but that doesn’t mean Rev. Dr. William Barber II is far from the bedrock, grassroots freedom - fighting that has become his trademark.
Having completed his national 40-day “Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for moral Revival” – where his new organization, Repairers of the Breach, picked up the mantle from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s original 1968 Poor People’s Campaign highlighting the battle against poverty, racism, and militarism, Dr. Barber has made it clear that all efforts now must be directed toward empowering people, especially the poor, to be heard at the ballot box come Nov. 6th for the midterm elections.
“The electorate can be inspired and organized to vote for higher ground,” Barber told Time Magazine last November. “Voting rights and voter suppression still must be challenged. Deeper organizing with intentional goals must be engaged in the black and brown community to broaden the base. There must be an effort to organize in the so-called red counties around moral and justice agenda.”
But above all, the nation’s rampant poverty must be addressed, Dr. Barber continued, noting that the states with the highest poverty rates and working poor in the nation are in the South.
“As the original Poor People’s Campaign proposed, the Reconstruction we need now must be the work of rejected stones — a fusion coalition of those directly impacted by racism, poverty, environmental degradation and the war economy,” Barber continued. “Only by linking up and asserting our moral authority as children of God can we shift the moral narrative in this nation and build a movement that will challenge whoever is in power to become the “more perfect union” we aspire to be.”
Dr. Barber’s leadership continues to be recognized not just across the country, but around the world.
Last year, he was invited to Vatican City, with other global social activists, to meet the Pope.
In June of this year, Dr. Barber addressed 2000 trade union delegates from 130 nations at the UNI World Congress in Liverpool, England. During that visit, he was honored with a place on the International Slavery Museum’s Black Achievers Wall.
Dr. Barber’s portrait was placed alongside previous honorees actor Paul Robeson and author James Baldwin.
Barber accepted the high honor on behalf of the social justice movement.
NC JUSTICE BARBARA JACKSON
GOP DOING EVERYTHING TO STOP
ANITA EARLS’ CANDIDACY
By Cash Michaels
Make no mistake, political observers say, North Carolina Republican legislative leaders have no intention of allowing another Democrat on the state Supreme Court again, without doing everything within their power to stop it.
The GOP is still kicking itself for the 2016 debacle that led to the election of Associate Justice Michael Morgan to the state’s High Court in 2016, leading to 4-3 Democrat majority on the seven-member court when justice Morgan replaced a Republican justice.
Now Republican Associate Justice Barbara Jackson is running for re-election in November against Democrat challenger Anita Earls, a renowned civil rights attorney.
Fearing a much anticipated “blue wave” of Democrat votes November 6th, the Republican-led legislature passed a law which mandated that the Republican candidate’s name appears first on voter’s ballots, apparently believing that most voters don’t know who the judicial candidates are, and will automatically choose the first name listed that they see.
This, in concert with ending the long-held practice of making judicial races nonpartisan several years ago, so that “R” and “D” appear right after the candidates’ respective names, gave the Republicans, they apparently felt, an advantage on Election Day.
Atty. Earls was not impressed.
“I think the games the General Assembly has been playing with the name order on the ballot …I don’t think that’s going to get them what they need,” she said during a recent telephone interview. “I do think it’s going to be so important for voters to be informed about the candidates.”
But about those “R’s” and “D’s” behind candidates names – GOP lawmakers became alarmed when a former Democrat switched political parties to run for the state Supreme Court as a Republican, thus possibly splitting the GOP vote, and allowing Democrat Earls to win.
Determined that that could not be allowed, during the special session held just last week, the Republican majority passed a measure disallowing the second Republican candidate from being identified as a Republican on the ballot, saying that he changed party affiliation less than ninety days prior to the registration deadline.
So now, though Justice Jackson and atty. Earls will be identified as Republican and Democrat respectively on the November ballot, the second Republican candidate, Chris Anglin – who insists he’s not a Democrat plant in the Supreme Court race – will not be identified by party. Indeed, so suspicious of Anglin was the GOP, that they openly called him “the enemy.”
Justice Jackson denied knowing anything, or having anything to do with the Republican effort to help her win reelection, but atty. Earls blasted yet another GOP attempt to thwart her candidacy.
“For over 30 years, I have worked in our legal system to ensure all voters have fair representation and equal justice under the law,” Earls said in a written statement. “The politicians in the legislature continue to attack the independence of our courts and try to rig the system so they can stay in power. North Carolinians deserve a fair election free from partisan games and meddling.”
But there is one more card that Republican legislative leaders are rumored to plotting to play.
The NC Constitution allows the legislature to expand the state Supreme Court from seven to nine seats, all serving eight-year terms. Democrats currently hold four of those seats on the seven=member court, but if Justice Jackson should win her re-election over Democrat Earls, the GOP-led legislature, which has scheduled itself to return on November 27thafter the November 6thelection, could very easily add those two High Court seats. And if the public approves the constitutional amendment allowing lawmakers to take over the governor’s judicial appointment powers, they could appoint two Republicans to the state Supreme Court, observers say, automatically giving the GOP a 5-4 majority, and assuring a friendlier High Court when controversial partisan cases come before it.
Gov. Cooper can’t veto this or any other the five other constitutional amendments on the fall ballot, but he did veto the law disallowing Chris Anglin’s party affiliation on the ballot.
At press time, legislative Republicans were prepared to override that veto when they reconvene in First Extra Special Session Thursday morning.