Sunday, December 29, 2019


By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

To hear Republicans tell it, U.S. District Court Judge Loretta Biggs is playing politics, legislating from the federal bench in her decision to temporarily block the state’s voter ID  law from being implemented  during the March 3, 2020 North Carolina primaries.
After all, if 34 other states can compel their citizens to show photo identification at the polls during primaries and general elections, why can’t  North Carolina, Republicans ask?
“This last-minute attempt by an activist federal judge to overturn the will of North Carolina voters must be immediately appealed by the Governor’s Board of Elections,” an outraged Rep. Tim Moore, Republican Speaker of the NC House said in a statement last Friday.
There is little doubt that Moore, and other North Carolina Republicans are beyond themselves about this latest, unexpected legal development, primarily because there is little legally they can do about it.
Judge Biggs’ action is based on the NCNAACP’s December 20, 2018 
lawsuit to stop Senate Bill 824, which, based on a state constitutional amendment voters passed a month earlier to approve voter photo identification in the state, was passed to legislatively establish it by law.
The NCNAACP alleged that SB 824 was unconstitutional and racially-biased as passed by the Republican-led NC legislature., adding that it violated Section 2 of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, and the 14th and 15th amendments to the U.S. Constitution. 
In doing so, the group alleged that the SB 824 was very similar to the 2013 voter ID law that was ultimately ruled unconstitutional  because, in the words of the federal court, it targeted African-Americans for voter suppression with “…surgical precision.’
The civil rights group sued Gov. Roy Cooper, and members of the state Board of Elections [SBOE], the officials tasked with implementing and enforcing the law.
Realizing the shrewd legal move left them with no standing, Republican legislative leaders petitioned Judge Biggs last January to become “intervenors” in the suit, but she said “no,” adding that the SBOE, which opposed the NCNAACP’s lawsuit initially, would suffice.
However, the SBOE at the time the NCNAACP lawsuit was filed was  dissolved, and Gov. Cooper had vetoed SB 824, saying that “ it was designed to suppress the rights of minority, poor and elderly voters.” The GOP-led legislature still had a super-majority then, and promptly overrode Cooper’s veto.
Thus, at press time,  if there is an appeal coming, it will be from either a Democrat-majority SBOE, or Democrat state Attorney General Josh Stein, whose office is tasked with defending the state in court.
All of this leaves Republicans trying to pressure both Stein and the SBOE to appeal Judge Biggs’ ruling, or come up with some legal maneuver that Biggs would be forced to approve of.
Meanwhile, NCNAACP Pres. Rev. Dr. T. Anthony Spearman, along with Atty. Irving Joyner, chair of the NCNAAP Legal Redress Committee, and Atty Caitlan Swain of the nonprofit legal advocacy group “Forward Together” in Durham, rejoiced during a press conference last Friday, driving home the point that, barring an appeal, voter ID is dead for the March 2020 primaries.
Judge Biggs, who sits in the Middle District Court in Winston-Salem,  sent notice of her coming ruling on the NCNAACP’s petition for a preliminary ruling last Thursday to county BOEs because it was the SBOE was planning to send information out to voters about voter ID requirements this week. Judge Biggs acted in order to stop that effort.
They expect that trial in which the lawsuit will be heard will proceed, and end in time before the November 2020 elections.
Voting rights advocates joined the NCNAACP in celebration.
“We applaud the court’s action to stop a discriminatory and poorly-implemented strict photo voter ID law that would have meant long lines at the polls, election chaos for our counties and ultimately disenfranchise eligible voters during the high-turnout 2020 Primary,” said Tomas Lopez, executive director of Democracy NC. “Now the work must immediately begin to make sure eligible voters know that the rules governing their elections have changed again, while emphasizing that what hasn’t changed is the importance of them making their voices heard in 2020.”
This is just one of two lawsuits the NCNAACP has pending against the state’s 2018 voter ID law. The other suit, this one against the legitimacy of the 2018 voter ID constitutional amendment, is pending a decision of the Republican-led state Appellate Court. A decision on that one is expected later this year.
2019 - A YEAR OF
By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

2019, a year that strong strong political upheaval and victories in the courtroom for civil rights; racism espoused from the White House and preparations for a dynamic upcoming political year.
        An, of course, for only the third time in American history, a U.S. president was impeached.
       These were the headline stories here in North Carolina that topped the Black Press.

State trooper fatally shoots an unarmed 28-year-old black man, Brandon Webster, at a Brunswick County truck stop. The Republican-led N.C. General Assembly started it’s long session, this time without the GOP super-majority that allowed it previously to override Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto. Meanwhile a three-week federal government shutdown was affecting North Carolina farmers and hurricane relief efforts. UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor Carol Felt stepped down after ordering the removal of Silent Sam pedestal. Wilmington’s black community outraged over proposal to turn Williston Middle School, once an historic all-black senior high school -  into an arts high school. A judge refused to certify the Ninth Congressional District election results from Nov. 2018 because of evidence on absentee ballot tampering. State Sen. Erica Smith and other Democrats announce their candidacies to unseat Republican incumbent U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis. Rep. Alma Adams joins Chairwoman Rep. Maxine Waters on the House Financial Services Committee. St. Augustine’s University President Dr. Everett Ward announces his retirement after five years.

Bennett College for Women raises $8.2 million to stave off the threat of  being shutdown after accreditation fight. Gov. Roy Cooper appoints NC Associate Justice Cheri Beasley to become chief justice of the NC Supreme Court, the first black female ever to do so. Virginian Gov. Ralph Northam faces withering criticism after confirming that a photo in a college yearbook is him in blackface. Former judges, law enforcement, and district attorneys petition the NC Supreme Court to rule the state’s death penalty law unconstitutional. In a victory for the NCNAACP, a Wake County Superior Court judge ruled that the voter ID amendment approved by voters in Nov. 2018 was unconstitutional because the Republican-majority that created the amendment was “illegally constituted.” The ruling was appealed. The NC State Board of Elections hold hearings into the Ninth Congressional District absentee ballot fraud case, and votes for a special do-over election.

Under tremendous black community pressure, the New Hanover County School Board drops proposal to turn Williston Middle School into an arts high school. NHC Schools investigate “slavery game” used in a local elementary school after a black grandmother complains. NHC Chapter of the National Black Leadership Caucus asks to have local park renamed after Major General Joseph McNeil - one of the Greensboro Four.
Congresspeople Alma Adams an G. K. Butterfield join other black members of Congress in demanding the release of the Mueller Report. Dr. John Marshall Kilimanjaro, publisher of the Carolina Peacemaker in Greensboro, dies.

State Republican Party Chairman Robin Hayes is indicted by a federal grand jury for allegedly attempting to bribe the NC Insurance commissioner. A massive gas explosion rocks Durham, killing one, injuring 25, just as the Bull City celebrates it’s 150th anniversary. Gov. Cooper appoints Reuben Young to the NC Court of Appeals. Community outrage as State Attorney General Josh Stein refuses to charge state trooper with excessive force in fatal shooting of Brandon Webster. Five of seven newly-elected NC black sheriffs gather to say leadership isn’t easy.

Durham City Council passes resolution honoring Malcolm X. State Board of Elections decides Republican Jody Greene unseated incumbent Democratic Columbus County Sheriff Lewis Hatcher in November 2018 election. Republican Dan Bishop wins do-over primary in special Ninth Congressional District race. Divine Nine supporters lobby state lawmakers for increased support of HBCUs. The NCNAACP celebrates the release from prison of Dontae Sharpe, who was falsely convicted of murder 25 years ago. NC Senate budget appropriates $2.5 million for Freedom Monument on state Capitol grounds.

NC Senate joins House in passing state budget without Medicaid expansion, setting up standoff with Gov. Cooper. Former NCNAACP Pres. Rev. Dr. William Barber is convicted of trespassing at the state legislature. Rep. G. K. Butterfield calls for impeachment of Pres. Trump. Federal judge refuses to allow Republican legislative leaders to intervene in NCNAACP lawsuit to stop voter ID in 2020 elections. A report states that 60% of North Carolina’s fourth graders are not reading proficiently. Concern about HB 370, a bill that calls for the removal of a sheriff who refuses to work with ICE agents. The seven new black NC sheriffs feel the bill is directed at them. Congresspeople Alma Adams and G. K. Butterfield join call for congressional reparations study.

In a 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court allows North Carolina’s Republican gerrymandered voting districts to stand, saying that federal courts have no business deciding state legislative issues. Bennett College for Women Pres. Dr. Phyllis Worthy Dawkins steps down  after school exceeds fundraising goal. Black architect Phillip Freelon of Durham dies. Congresswoman Alma Adams calls Pres. Trump “ a rAcist who is unfit to serve.” Redistricting computer files of the late Republican mapmaker Thomas Hofeller are allowed as evidence in a state court case seeking to find the 2017 legislative redistricting map unconstitutional. Republican state Supreme Court Associate Justice Paul Newby criticizes his Democrat colleagues on the High Court a being liberal. Pres. Trump holds a raucous campaign rally in Greenville, causing the Charlotte City Council to condemn his remarks because the RNC plans to hold it’s 2020 convention there. State Election Board Chair Robert Cordle resigns after making off-color joke at a convention. A 71 year-old white woman  is taped calling a group of black women “stupid niggers” in a Raleigh restaurant, an then says afterwards she does not regret it.

Seven suspects are arraigned in Ninth District absentee ballot fraud case. Gov. Roy Cooper vetoes HB 370, the law that compels NC sheriffs to work with ICE agents. Lt. Gov. Dan Forest announces his candidacy for governor in 2020. NCNAACP concerned that Pres. Trump has nominated conservative UNC law Professor Richard Myers to become a federal judge in the Eastern District. Presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris and NC Chief Justice Cheri Beasley appear together at St. Joseph’s A.M.E. Church in Durham. After 25 years of false imprisonment, Dontae Sharpe is freed.

State Sen. Harper Peterson files complaint over possible sale of NHRMC to a private company.  Wilmington City Council approves naming Third Street after Major Gen. (ret) Joseph McNeil, one of the Greensboro Four. Three-judge panel rules the 2017 legislative redistricting maps are ‘unlawful partisan gerrymanders,” and orders them redrawn before the 2020 elections. Hurricane Dorian hits the Outer Banks hard. With pres. Trump’s help, Republicans sweep District 3, 9 congressional races. House Republicans override Gov. Cooper’s budget veto as democrats cry foul. Rep. G. K. Butterfield endorses former Vice pres. Joe Biden for president. All three NC Congressional Democrats back Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s call for an impeachment inquiry into allegations that Pres. Trump tried to bribe the president of Ukraine.

NCNAACP petitions federal court for a preliminary injunction to stop the state’s voter ID law, saying that it is racial discriminatory. Democrats file new lawsuit challenging the Republican congressional voting map, but this time in state court. Talk show hostess Oprah Winfrey surprises a Charlotte luncheon by announcing she’s donating $1.15 million to the. UNCF fundraising event. National NAACP suspends former NCNAACP officer Rev. Curtis Gatewood upon allegations of sexual harassment. A new report states that North Carolina nationally is fourth in black teen suicides. North Carolinians join the nation in mourning the death of Maryland rep. Elijah Cummings. Report confirms that black infants in North Carolina die twice as much as white. Interim ECSU chancellor resigns amid video showing him intoxicated in the street. Three judge panel orders new congressional maps be drawn before 2020 elections. Former Sen. Kay Hagan and Detroit Congressman John Conyers die.

African American candidate Kevin Spears will be the new face on the Wilmington City Council next term after coming in second in a ten-candidate field. Wilmington Mayor Bill Safe won a sixth term. Fortieth anniversary of Greensboro massacre observed. Rep. Alma Adams supports black media baron Byron Allen in his U.S. Supreme Court case against Comcast Corp. Chatham County commissioners order Pittsboro confederate statue taken down, despite Elon poll showing most North Carolinians want them up. State Supreme Court declines review of new legislative maps. National group headed by former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder challenges new North Carolina congressional maps. NCNAACP again petitions federal court to stop voter ID for the 2020 elections. A lawsuit is filed to overturn law that stops ex-felons from voting.

Wilmington police chief to retire Feb. 2020. Congressional candidates get greenlight to join others filing for office. 16 and 17 year-olds not longer charged as adults  under new Raise the Age” law. Sen. Kamala Harris exits presidential due to lack of money. Mayor Pete Buttigieg speaks at Rev. Dr. William Barber’s church. All school in the UNC System now have acceptable forms of voter photo ID. UNC pays $2.5 million for Silent Sam confederate statue to go to confederate group. Democrats in Congress vote to reauthorize 1965 Voting Rights Act. UNC law Prof. Richard yes confirmed as federal judge of North Carolina’s Eastern District. Republican former Gov. Pat McCrory and Rep. Mark Walker announce that they will run for the U.S. Senate in 2020. Congress makes Rep. Adams’ FUTURE Act permanent. Trump administration announces it is cutting food stamps for the poor. Former state Supreme Court Justice Patricia Timmons-Goodson files for House seat. Gov. Cooper seeks more black teachers. All three NC democratic congresspeople vote to impeach Pres. Donald Trump.

By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

As 2019 ended last weekend, came the sad word that civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) is in the process of battling Stage 4 pancreatic cancer.
“I have been in some kind of fight – for freedom, equality, basic human rights – for nearly my entire life. I have never faced a fight quite like the one I have now,” Lewis, call by some a “true American hero”  and the ‘conscience of the Congress” said in a statement.
““While I am clear-eyed about the prognosis, doctors have told me that recent medical advances have made this type of cancer treatable in many cases, that treatment options are no longer as debilitating as they once were, and that I have a fighting chance.”
“So I have decided to do what I know to do and do what I have always done: I am going to fight it and keep fighting for the Beloved Community. We still have many bridges to cross.”
Noting Rep. Lewis’ work with Dr. Martin Luther king, Jr. during the ’60s civil rights movement, and his continued battles for equal and voting rights after being elected to Congress, many dignitaries took time to pay tribute to John Lewis.
Congressman John Lewis has been a fighter his entire life - fighting for the equality and civil rights of all people with unwavering faith and wisdom, said Rep. Alma Adams. (D-NC-12)
"We are all praying for you following this diagnosis. John, know that generations of Americans have you in their thoughts & prayers as you face this fight." She said in a statement. "We are all praying that you are comfortable. We know that you will be well,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
If there’s one thing I love about @RepJohnLewis, it’s his incomparable will to fight. I know he’s got a lot more of that left in him. Praying for you, my friend, said former Pres. Barack Obama.
If there’s anyone with the strength and courage to fight this, it’s you, John”  said former Pres. Bill Clinton. “Hillary and I love you, and we join with millions of other Americans in praying for you and your family.”
According to Rep. Lewis’ congressional website, “ He was born the son of sharecroppers on February 21, 1940, outside of Troy, Alabama.  He grew up on his family's farm and attended segregated public schools in Pike County, Alabama.  As a young boy, he was inspired by the activism surrounding the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the words of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., which he heard on radio broadcasts.
As a student at Fisk University, John Lewis organized sit-in demonstrations at segregated lunch counters in Nashville, Tennessee.  In 1961, he volunteered to participate in the Freedom Rides, which challenged segregation at interstate bus terminals across the South. Lewis risked his life on those Rides many times by simply sitting in seats reserved for white patrons.  He was also beaten severely by angry mobs and arrested by police for challenging the injustice of Jim Crow segregation in the South.
While still a young man, John Lewis became a nationally recognized leader. By 1963, he was dubbed one of the Big Six leaders of the Civil Rights Movement. At the age of 23, he was an architect of and a keynote speaker at the historic March on Washington in August 1963.
In 1964, John Lewis coordinated SNCC efforts to organize voter registration drives and community action programs during the Mississippi Freedom Summer. The following year, Lewis helped spearhead one of the most seminal moments of the Civil Rights Movement.   Hosea Williams, another notable Civil Rights leader, and John Lewis led over 600 peaceful, orderly protestors across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama on March 7, 1965.  They intended to march from Selma to Montgomery to demonstrate the need for voting rights in the state.  The marchers were attacked by Alabama state troopers in a brutal confrontation that became known as "Bloody Sunday."   News broadcasts and photographs revealing the senseless cruelty of the segregated South helped hasten the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
He was elected to Congress in November 1986 and has served as U.S. Representative of Georgia's Fifth Congressional District since then. He is Senior Chief Deputy Whip for the Democratic Party in leadership in the House, a member of the House Ways & Means Committee, and Chairman of its Subcommittee on Oversight.


Sunday, December 22, 2019



[RALEIGH] The decrease was only 0.2 of a percentage from the previous month of October, but the helped to drop November’s North Carolina’s unemployment rate  to 3.8 percent. However, that is still 0.1 percent higher than a year ago. The NC Dept. of Commerce says 7,892 more people were employed in November than in October.

[RALEIGH] When the filing period for 2020 legislative elections closed on Friday, Dec. 20th, one of the most surprising was in the race for House District 8 between Republican incumbent Rep. Richard Hudson of Concord, and former NC Supreme Court Associate Justice Patricia Timmons-Goodson, a Democrat from Fayetteville. Justice Timmons-Goodson was nominated by Pres. Barack Obama to be a federal judge in the Eastern District in 2016. Previously she has served as an appellate judge of the state Court of Appeals; a district court judge in the 12th District, and an assistant detract attorney.

[CHARLOTTE] Even though he was leading at least one poll to run again for governor, former Gov. Pat McCrory has announced that  he is preparing himself to run for the U.S. Senate in 2022 to takeover the seat currently held by the outgoing fellow Republican Sen. Richard Burr. That means McCrory will mot likely face-off against outgoing Sixth District Congressman Mark Walker, who recently announced that he, too, will seek Burr’s seat in 2022. No Democrats have announced their candidacy for en. Burr’s seat as of press time.

                                                               GOV. ROY COOPER

By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

It’s an age-old question still seeking a viable answer, and recently, Gov. Roy Cooper said he intends to help in the search.
On December 10th, Gov. Cooper issued Executive Order #113 “…that establishes a Task Force focused on matters of equity and inclusion in education.”
Cooper also wants North Carolina’s Teaching Fellows program expanded to every HBCU (historically black college and university) in North Carolina in order at help cultivate more black teachers.
“Diversity at the front of the classroom improves student success across the board and helps our state fill a significant gap in the number of qualified teachers we have versus how many we need,” Gov. Cooper told those gathered at the DRIVE Summit: Developing a Representative and Inclusive Vision for Education, co-hosted by the Office of the Governor, the North Carolina Business Committee on Education (NCBCE), and The Hunt Institute at N.C. State University.
According to Executive Order 113, “…for the 2017-2018 school year, 48% of the public school student population in North Carolina was White, 25% Black, 18% Hispanic/Latino…[and] during the 2017-2018 school year, only 20% of the public school educator workforce was comprised of educators of color…”
Meaning that 80% of public school teachers in North Carolina are white.
EO #113 goes on to talk about the need for a “diverse educator pool” for “..improving student learning, assessment outcomes and quality of life, particularly in school and school districts with majority-minority student populations, and thus, the need for the creation of a task force”…in pursuit of making North Carolina a top ten educated state by 2025…,” and thus, the DRIVE Task Force was established, charged with advising the Office of the Governor on strategies that would address matters of equity and inclusion within education.
As recent reports have found, it is possible for a black NC public school student in the state to go from kindergarten to 12th grade, and never have a teacher who looks like them.
Research also shows that black teachers can and do make a difference in the lives of African-American students academically. The state’s Teaching Fellows program was a key instrument in recruiting candidates of color to become tomorrow’s educators, but the Republican-led state legislature shut the program down in 2011, only to bring it back in 2017 at just five North Carolina campuses, none of them an HBCU.
According to published reports, for the past two years, 80 percent of students selected for the program were white (most were white women).
Gov. Cooper says he’s pushing state lawmakers to expand the program to HBCUs (asking for $1.8 million to fund a pilot project to increase recruitment) , and is encouraging chancellors at HBCUs to aggressively pursue application.
The DRIVE Task Force is required to submit a report on it’s progress by January 1, 2021. The task force expires on December 31, 2021.

                                                               REP. BUTTERFIELD
                                                                   REP. MURPHY
                                                     REP. ALMA ADAMS

By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

It is no surprise that only three out of North Carolina’s thirteen-member congressional delegation voted two impeach Republican Pres. Donald John Trump December 18th.
And it is also no surprise that those three were Democrats - First District Rep. G. K. Butterfield; Fourth District Congressman David Price and Twelfth District Congresswoman Alma Adams.
No Republicans in Congress voted to impeach the president.
History will record that all but three House Democrats in Congress voted to impeach Trump on two articles - one on abuse of power, the second on obstruction of Congress - both related to the president’s July 2019 phone conversation with the president of Ukraine, and Trump’s alleged attempt to bribe the official to announce an investigation into likely political rival former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden over unfounded charges of corruption.
All three North Carolina Democrats voted in the affirmative for both articles of impeachment along with the majority of their Democratic colleagues - 230 versus 197 to ratify abuse of power, and 229 versus 197 on obstruction of Congress.
North Carolina’s two black congresspeople - Adams and Butterfield - explained why their historic votes were so important.
“After reviewing hours of testimony, countless pieces of evidence, and the Administration’s own words and actions, I believe the case has been made that the President abused his power and obstructed Congress from fulfilling it’s constitutional duty,” Adams said in a statement prior to her “yes’ vote.
“The evidence shows that the President put his interests above those of the country,” she continued. “We must act quickly because President Trump’s behavior poses a clear and present danger to our democracy. His words and actions show that he is actively looking to interfere in next year’s election by any means necessary. We cannot stand for that kind of misconduct in our country’s Chief Executive.”
Adam’s North Carolina Democrat colleague, Rep. G. K. Butterfield, was just as resolute.
“Since taking office nearly three years ago, President Donald J. Trump has consistently and intentionally divided this country. President Trump has repeatedly solicited foreign interference into our elections. In the case of Ukraine, he attempted to condition military aid and a White House meeting with the President of Ukraine in exchange for then announcement of investigations that would benefit President Trump’s reelection. When Congress is presented with evidence such as this, blatantly undermining our elections and putting the security of the Americn people at risk, it is our Constitutional duty o act. No one is above then law - not even the President,” Rep. Butterfield said, concluding, “ “Based on the evidence before us, I voted in favor of both Articles of Impeachment against Donald J. Trump. No one is above the law.”
Some NC Republicans, like Rep. Greg Murphy, decried the democrats impeaching Trump, saying, “This is a tragic day in our nation’s history. We have individuals that hate this president more than they love this country. Our country needs prayer, and not this destructive partisanship.”
But Rep. John Lewis, Democrat of Georgia, captured the spirit of House Democrats when he spoke on the House floor in favor of impeachment, saying, ““For some, this vote may be hard. But we have a mission and a mandate to be on the right side of history.”

Tuesday, December 17, 2019



[HENDERSON] A former Vance County deputy recently fired for twice slamming a middle school student to the grown twice on video will only be charged with three misdemeanors - assault on a child under 12; misdemeanor child abuse and failure to discharge duties. The former officer, Warren Durham, faces ninety days in jail. The Vance county district Attorney announced Tuesday that he will not charge Durham with felonies because the injuries to the child did not warrant such. According to state law, the child’s injuries did not bing about the risk of death, extreme pain or disfigurement. The child’s parents are not pleased with the light sentence.

[GREENSBORO] Sixth District Congressman Mark Walker has decided he will not challenge U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) for re-election in 2020, and will instead wait until 2022 to run for U.S. Sen. Richard Burr’s seat when its becomes open. Burr has announced that he is not running for reelection. Walker, is decided not to run for re-election when his Sixth District was redrawn to lean Democrat, says he has secured a 2022 endorsement from Pres. Trump.

[CHARLOTTE] Former Gov. Pat McCrory has until this Friday at 12 noon to decide if he’ll run to unseat current NC Gov. Roy Cooper, the man who unseated him four years ago. McCrory has made no announcement about his political future, but is expected to say something before the close of candidate filing Friday, especially since he is leading in the Civitas poll for the seat. McCrory served one term before Cooper unseated him.

                                      REP. ALMA ADAMS (D-NC-12)

By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

For almost two months, it looked the U.S. Senate was going to allow Rep. Alma Adams’ FUTURE Act bill  - established in 2008,  which reauthorizes “…$255 million in critical funding for “Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) for the next two years, including $85 million for HBCUs -  to go the way of other measures passed by the U.S. House this term that crossed over to the Senate.
Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn), chairman of the Senate Education Committee, stopped the measure from proceeding after it crossed over from the , saying that he preferred “a long-term solution.”
At first, Rep. Adams, who is co-chair of the Congressional Bi-partisan HBCU Caucus and cosponsor of the bill along with Rep. Mark Walker (R-NC-6) , expressed concern over Sen. Alexander’s action. But ultimately, the Republican was able to garner enough support for the long-term solution he originally sought, passing a stronger version in the Senate, and sending it back to the House, where Rep. Adams and others gladly ratified it last week, changes and all.
The amended FUTURE Act has been now sent over to the White House for Pres. Trump’s approval.
“Know that when Congress makes a promise for [our students’] future, we mean what we say, “ Rep. Adams said on the House floor before it ratified FUTURE Act 2.0., 319 -96.
After the House passed the new measure, Rep. Adams thanked , “…all of the HBCU advocates who help3d pass this bill; HBCU students, graduates, faculty, and staff; Divine nine members….” and those “who sent tens of thousands of letters to Congress….”
Rep. Adams also thanked several Democratic candidates for president, who have “…released the most ambitious campaign plans for HBCUs in history.”
"I’m glad the House passed Rep. Adams' FUTURE Act to permanently fund historically black colleges and universities, and other minority-serving institutions. As president, I’ll invest $70 billion in these institutions to improve affordability, build new facilities, and support student success,” said former Vice President Joe Biden.
“Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Minority Serving Institutions play a central role in creating pathways to opportunity and empowering Black communities, it’s because of their power that I’m here today,” said Senator Cory Booker. “I’m proud to be working with Congresswoman Adams and my colleagues in the Senate to pass the FUTURE Act to ensure that these institutions are well-funded, affordable, and continue uplifting Black and Brown Americans.”
"I applaud the tireless efforts of Congresswoman Alma Adams as well as her co-sponsors in leading the House in passing the FUTURE Act, which provides dedicated funding to our nation’s historically Black colleges and universities," said Mayor Pete Buttigieg. "For too long, HBCUs have built the Black middle class in this country with little support from our federal government. They deserve to be supported, and it starts with critical legislation like the FUTURE Act. When I’m president, my administration will invest $50 billion in historically Black colleges and universities to end disparities in critical professions and work to connect graduates with opportunities to serve in areas that need it most. It’s not just the right thing to do. It’s the smart thing to do to ensure a brighter, stronger future for this country."
Rep. Walker - whose wife got her nursing degree from Winston-Salem State University - also applauded the heard-fought for victory.
The legislation reauthorizes minority-serving institution (MSI) funding – including for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) like North Carolina A&T State University – within the Higher Education Act permanently,” his office said in a press release.
“In North Carolina, HBCUs are 16 percent of the four-year institutions but enroll 45 percent of all black undergraduates and award 43 percent of all black bachelor’s degrees in the state. North Carolina’s ten HBCUs generate $1.7 billion in total economic impact and 15,663 jobs for our local and regional economy.”
Rep. Adams, in thanking her supporters, concluded by saying, “This is one of the proudest days of my career as your Congresswoman, and I'm honored to have you on my team.”

By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

The Trump Administration made it final on Dec. 5th.
As of April 2020, if you are a non-disabled food stamp recipient without children, and not gainfully employed even part-time, you will eventually be disqualified from receiving government aid.
Nearly 700,000 low-income American citizens are scheduled to be hit with the first of an oncoming three-stage reality for the nearly 4 million who currently qualify for the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
Right now, able-bodied, childless adults between 18 - 49 can only receive three months of SNAP benefits out of a 36-month period if they’re not working at least 20 hours a week. States currently have the option to waive that requirement.
But as of April 2020, states could only wave the work requirement if a city or county has a 6% unemployment rate or higher, and those waivers, with the governor’s support,  are only good for one year.
The Trump Administration insists  that the new program will move low-income SNAP recipients “from welfare to work.”
Critics counter that the change will simply impoverish more people and tighten the poverty vise around them.
So what will the impact here in North Carolina?
Across the state, SNAP benefits are available to North Carolina families with incomes up to 200 percent of the federal poverty level, or roughly 1.2 million citizens as of last August.
According to the online publication, The Center Square, as of last August, the number of North Carolinians not receiving food assistance has dropped over 5.6%, or 70,000 recipients, since August 2018. The Trump Administration had already warned that a 9% cut was forthcoming to the SNAP program by that time. 
A report released in September by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation projected approximately 150,000 North Carolina SNAP recipients could lose benefits, with about nine percent of those being children, and 15 percent being elderly.
The cut in SNAP benefits could amount to approximately $59.00 a month, the report added.
According to, eleven percent of 750,493 SNAP households in North Carolina, or 79,260, would lose benefits. 
In terms of placing restrictions on low-income, unemployed North Carolinians when it comes to granting work waivers, former Gov. Pat McCrory and the Republican-led NC General Assembly jumped the gun when 2015, they passed House Bill 318 , which “…Except for waivers for the Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program sought for an area that has received a Presidential disaster declaration of Individual Assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Department [of Health and Human Services]  shall not seek waivers to time limits established by federal law for food and nutrition benefits for able-bodied adults without dependents required to fulfill work requirements to qualify for those benefits." 
It is estimated that at leas 100,000 eligible North Carolinians lost their SNAP benefits as a result.
NC Attorney General Josh Stein joined AGs from other affected states in a protest letter to U.S. Agriculture Dept. Secretary Sonny Perdue saying, ““Hunger makes doing the most basic things harder – it’s harder for kids to learn, harder for adults to work, harder for seniors to stay healthy. These changes to our SNAP program would harm some of our most vulnerable neighbors. I urge the federal government to rescind this proposed rule, which is cruel and unnecessary.”
According to Lindsay Haynes-Maslow, PhD, an assistant professor and Extension Specialist at NC State University’s Dept. of Agricultural and Human Sciences, “Some barriers include people whose disability applications have not been approved yet, veterans seeking jobs, youth aging out of the foster care system, and underemployed workers who want to work, but cannot find more hours.”
The Trump Administration says it will save over $5 billion over the next five years with the planned cuts.

Monday, December 9, 2019



After ten years of overseeing the project, Assistant Wilmington Police Chief Donny Williams proudly led the community in the grand opening of the new 30,000-square-foot Haynes/Lacewell Police and Fire Training Facility on Dec. 2nd. 
The city-owned building, named in honor of Sgt. Edward Haynes of the Wilmington Police Department and Capt. Eric Lacewell of the Wilmington Fire Department, is located on a portion of a 46-acre tract in the Hurst Street/Princess Place Drive area near Maides Park. It includes a 10-lane firing range, running man targets, and other state-of-the-art training features to keep local law enforcement appropriately ready to protect the citizenry.
A native of Wilmington, Asst. Chief Williams is credited with not just overseeing the development of the facility, but the design as well. With 26 years on the force, the special grand opening was just the latest accomplishment in the career of a successful and dedicated hometown son.
Williams began with the Wilmington Police Department in his teens as a summer youth worker, going on in 1990 to be hired as a police cadet, later becoming a patrol officer. During the next two-and-a-half decades, Williams gained valuable experience in all phases of public safety, including Crime Prevention, DARE, and Housing.
It wasn’t long before he became a police captain managing the Support Services Division for several years- the largest patrol division in the department, and it’s $24 million budget.
With more than 500 youths participating each year, Asst. Chief Williams also expanded the Police Activities League (PAL) to include four sports, basketball, soccer, Olympic Wrestling, cheer and dance.
Asst. Chief Williams is married to his wife, Victoria, and is the proud father of two sons.


By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

In 1970, 1975, 1982 and 2006, the 1965 Voting Rights Act  (VRA) - a federal law mandating that  “…the right of citizens to vote shall not be denied or abridged on account of race, color, or previous servitude” - has been amended and reauthorized by a healthy bipartisan Congressional vote - Democrats and Republicans - to ensure that every eligible American, especially African-Americans, had the right to vote.
At least that’s what it looked like on the surface.
Jesse H. Rhodes, an associate professor of political science at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and author of the 2017 book, “Ballot Blocked: The Political Erosion of the Voting Rights Act (Stanford University Press)”, chronicles how behind-the-scenes, Republican presidents from Richard M. Nixon to present day Donald Trump have worked hard to weaken and undermine the VRA.
Republicans have a long history of trying to limit federal enforcement of minority voting rights. Trump is following in his predecessors’ footsteps,” Rhodes wrote in The Washington Post in 2018.
Indeed, it was a conservative-majority U.S. Supreme Court in 2013 that struck down Section 5 of the VRA - the provisional heart of the law that mandated federal election oversight.
“In 2013, the Supreme Court struck a devastating blow to protections for minority voters across America when it invalidated a key provision of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) of 1965 in its Shelby County v. Holder decision.,’ said Congressman G. K. Butterfield (D-NC-1).
“The Court struck down the “preclearance” formula that gave power to Section 5 of the VRA and prohibited certain jurisdictions with histories of racial discrimination in voting from implementing election or redistricting changes that would negatively impact minority voters.  Since that decision, the right to vote has been under coordinated attack in North Carolina and across the country, with at least 23 states enacting voter suppression laws, including voter purges, strict ID requirements, poll closures and curtailing of early voting hours.”
“Over the past year, as a member of the House Committee on Administration’s Subcommittee on Elections, I traveled across the country to participate in Congressional field hearings, including one in Weldon, North Carolina, to hear from witnesses about election administration and fair access to the ballot box,” Congressman Butterfield continued. “In a recently released report on these hearings, the Subcommittee confirmed the persistence of voter suppression and discrimination in voting across the country.”
Our democracy works best when all people have equal access to the ballot box! Congress has a responsibility to #RestoreTheVOTE! #HR4,” tweeted Congresswoman Alma Adams (D-NC-12).
Last week, when the Democratic majority in the U.S. House voted to once again reauthorize the VRA , known this time as “The Voting Rights Advancement Act, or HR 4, and reinstate federal oversight, only one Republican, a former FBI agent, voted along with them.
The 187 other House Republicans voted against.
Now the bill stands little to no chance of even being taken up in the GOP-majority U.S. Senate. In fact, the Trump White House has threatened to veto the bill if, by some magic, the Senate did pass it.
Republicans say states, not the federal government, should be in charge of enforcing election laws, and the federal protections would be abused when there is no evidence of “discriminatory behavior.”
Democrats, happy to have passed the measure, still lamented that Republicans would not join them in ensuring that all Americans had the unfettered right to cast their ballots.
“The Republican Party used to support the unfettered right to vote,” said House Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries of New York. “The party of Lincoln is gone. The party of Reagan is gone. The party of McCain is gone.”
“In the greatest democracy on earth, the path to the ballot box must be unfettered for all voters,” Rep. Butterfield says.  “Congress has an obligation to address discrimination in voting and the need to restore the protections of the Voting Rights Act are clear.  I am proud I helped pass the Voting Rights Advancement Act and strongly urge the Senate to take it up immediately and get it to the desk of President.”

                                               UNC LAW PROFESSOR RICHARD MYERS

By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

Not since 2006 has a permanent judge presided over U.S. District Court in North Carolina’s Eastern District. Three presidents of the United States have tried to fill the vacancy since then, including President Obama, who nominated two African-American female jurists. That effort was stopped by North Carolina U.S. Republican Sen. Richard Burr.
But now, President Trump’s conservative nominee - UNC Law Professor Richard Myers - was confirmed on Dec. 5th to fill the vacancy by the U.S. Senate, and civil rights leaders aren’t pleased.
Especially the NC NAACP, which has lobbied hard to keep jurists with questionable right-wing histories from being conformed for that seat.
Led by senators Mitch McConnell, Richard Burr and Thomas Tillis, the United States Senate, for race based reasons, refused to confirm the nominations of two highly qualified African Americans to serve as Circuit Court Judges on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina,” says Atty. Irving Joyner, law professor at North Carolina Central University School of Law, and chairman of the NC NAACP Legal Redress Committee. “This District Court has never had an African American confirmed to serve as a judge, even though more than 50% of the residents of this District are racial minorities. This exclusion has been purposeful and is yet another sign that racial bias and discrimination continues to be a present reality among those members of the U.S. Senate who were in a position to correct this long-standing  history of racial discrimination.” 
Prof. Joyner continued, “Since 2014, the U.S. Senate has had two opportunities to confirm the appointment of an African American jurist and an outstanding federal prosecutor, both who possessed outstanding professional credentials, but refused to do so because of the race of the candidates. These were shameful decisions and the persons responsible should be held accountable. Even though this judicial seat has now been filled, African Americans should never forget those senators who are directly responsible for the continuing racial exclusion which exists on the federal bench in North Carolina.”
Prof. Myers is a native of Kingston, Jamaica who once worked for a Wilmington newspaper, the attended law school at UNC - Chapel Hill in 1995. After graduating, Myers served as a law clerk for the ultra-conservative David Sentelle, chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia,  close friend of North Carolina U.S. Senator Jesse Helms.
Myers later would serve as assistant U.S. Attorney in California and the Eastern District of North Carolina, where he prosecuted white collar crime. He began teaching at the UNC School of Law in 2004. He has maintained his conservative credentials as a faculty adviser to both the Christian Legal Society and the Federalist Society.
Rev. Dr. T. Anthony Spearman, president of the NC NAACP, is quite leery of now federal Judge-confirmed Richard Myers, and his right-wing connections.
“At the center of a secret network working assiduously to “Make America Great Again” is a man named Leonard Leo. Leo is identified as the Executive Vice President of the Federalist Society. It appears that he has been on leave from the Federalist Society to assist [President Trump] to push his anti-black and minority, anti-LGBTQ and anti-woman agenda in filling lifetime seats to the federal courts with extreme conservatives.,” Dr. Spearman alleges. 
“The NC NAACP fought valiantly and successfully to abort one such confirmation; that of Thomas Farr to the Eastern District. Make no mistake about it, Farr was among those on Leo's list and Myers, who now fills the seat, was as well. The 14-year racially-fueled vacancy [ on that court] now filled certainly demands our attention for in a majority-minority district, one cannot help but wonder what ulterior motives lie beneath the logic of an African-American or other minority jurist never being considered. This has been all about race.”
As of December 5th, the Republican-led U.S. Senate has confirmed 185 of Pres. Trump’s nominations to the federal bench at all levels. Prof. Myers, who is slated to serve for the rest of his life, is one of them.
North Carolinians are lucky to have someone like Professor Myers with his caliber and his sense of duty to represent us,” Sen. Thom Tillis told colleagues last week while introducing Prof. Myers.
“Professor Myers embodies a work ethic and diligence that we deserve in all our judges,” maintained Sen. Richard Burr.“I have faith in his ability to do the right thing every day.”
No doubt that the civil rights community, led by the NC NAACP, will keep a close eye on federal Judge Ricard Myers  from now on.




An analysis
By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

At one time during the 2020 Democratic presidential race, Sen. Kamala Harris ranked as fourth out of seventeen candidates, calculating early on that a direct attack on frontrunner Joe Biden, Pres. Obama’s vice president, would soften his sentimental grip on African-American Obama supporters, and along with progressive to moderate whites, give her a strong base to eventually claim the party’s nomination.
But as campaign dollars grew scarce, and media scrutiny became more than she could handle, Sen. Harris’ dreams of becoming the first black woman to be elected president of the United States, went up in smoke last week just before Thanksgiving.
“My campaign for president simply doesn’t have the financial resources we need to continue,” she told supporters in an open letter announcing her pulling out. “I’m not a billionaire. I can’t fund my own campaign. And as the campaign has gone on, it’s become harder and harder to raise the money we need to compete.”
Black supporters, including here in North Carolina, became concerned with Harris’ departure from the race.
"Sen. Harris ran an outstanding race for president,” said Rev. Jay Augustine, pastor of historic St. Joseph’s A.M.E. Church in Durham. 
“Pastor Jay,” as he’s better known, knows Sen. Harris personally, having worked for her campaign for state attorney general in California several years ago. The friendship led to Rev. Augustine hosting Harris at his church last August when she was still the talk of the nation. 
“She was never running just to run,” he recalls.  “She offered herself for service because she believed she was the best person to beat the incumbent and help put America back on track. She made an honest assessment that resources would not allow her pursuit to continue,” Pastor Jy added. 
“She has been honest and forthright and we are all thankful for her integrity."
So now, who is left in the race for the White House who can even come close to representing African-American interests? U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) has never registered beyond single-digits in any of the polling of presidential wannabes, and the fact that he’s still in the hunt (though barely at 1 to 2 percent in the polls) is a novelty to those wondering where is his campaign getting the money to qualify for the debate stage.
Sen. Booker has touted strong financial support for historically black colleges and universities if elected, and recently, sponsored a bill protecting ethnic hairstyles in the workplace. But beyond once being the mayor of majority-black Newark, NJ, Booker has failed to generate any real excitement in either the African-American of white communities.
Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick is generally seen as a party moderate in the mode of his close friend former Pres. Barack Obama. But his late entry into the race, thus far, has not assured him any strong standing once the Iowa caucuses and Democratic primaries begin in January.
And that’s where the Democratic rank-and-file will decide once and for all who their party standard-bearer will be in November 2020 to face incumbent Republican Pres. Donald Trump - the upcoming primaries. The key contest to watch for black voting strength is South Carolina, where fifty percent of registered Democrats are African American.
The current top four Democratic contenders - Joe Biden,;U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA); U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I - NH); and South Bend Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg - all-white - have made repeated appearances in the Palmetto State trying to convince black voters there that they will have their best interests at heart if elected. 
With North Carolina’s primaries now moved up to March 3rd, all four frontrunners have also been conspicuous in North Carolina too in recent months. Buttigieg visited Greenleaf Christian Church in Goldsboro, where former NC NAACP Pres. Rev. William Barber is the pastor , two weeks ago not only top worship, but discuss what he would do about poverty, affordable health care and protecting voting rights, if elected.
So while African-American voters still have at least two black candidates in the large Democratic presidential field to choose from, Sen. Booker and former Gov. Deval Patrick are not considered true contenders for the nomination.
And the addition of white billionaire Michael Bloomberg to the race just in the past two weeks further complicates the Democratic landscape.
With Joe Biden enjoying strong, steady support among black millennials and older - accounting for a significant portion of his front-running status - coupled with many in the black community believing that Biden is the only candidate who can beat Donald Trump, it is shaping up that the next Democratic presidential nominee is going to be white, and his main mission, in the minds of African-Americans, is the he be able to show Pres. Trump the door.
“[Trump’s] disapproval rating among African Americans was 84 percent in a late-April YouGov poll, compared with only 9 percent approval,” reported The Washington Post last May. In a CNN/SSRS poll taken around the same time that grouped together all voters of color, 96 percent of nonwhite Democratic or Democratic-leaning voters reported that defeating Trump was extremely or very important to them in determining whom to support in the primary race; in a contemporaneous Quinnipiac poll, 61 percent of nonwhite Democrats said they believed that Biden had the best chance of doing so. Next best was Sanders, at 10 percent.” 
         “Voters of color, including black voters, are squarely focused on getting Trump out of office,” The Post concluded. “Biden, for now, is the beneficiary.”


[WILMINGTON] After more than 15 years of service to the City of Wilmington, Police Chief Ralph Evangelous will officially retire from his post on February 1, 2020. Evangelous’ retirement comes after setting a number of career milestones in his nearly 50 years of service as a law enforcement officer. Evangelous is credited with numerous accomplishments and contributions to this community. Among those include completing the state of the art Police Training Facility to include an indoor shooting range, the downtown Police Headquarters, establishing the southeast Division Headquarters on S. College Road. Chief Evangelous is also responsible for leading the agency’s efforts in reducing Part 1 crime for several consecutive years to include historic lows in 2018 and 2019.
“I have been truly honored to serve this great community and hope that my service has helped to make our community better in some way,” he says.

[WILMINGTON] New Hanover County parents will soon be able to track their children’s school bus with a new school bus tracking app. Expect the Parent Portal Bus Tracking Application to officially go online January 2, though a “soft rollout will happen beforehand to give parents a feel of what to expect. Parents will be able to track a bus’s current location so they can gauge distance and time to pickup. The app will be available for free for download from iTunes and Google Play store. Wake, Charlotte-Mecklenburg and Pender county school systems already have similar technology at work.