ADAMS, BUTTERFIELD, BLACK
LAWMAKERS DEMAND RELEASE
OF MUELLER REPORT
By Cash Michaels
African-American members of Congress – many of whom are leaning strongly for the impeachment of President Donald Trump – have joined their Democratic colleagues in demanding the release of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on alleged Russian interference into the 2016 presidential campaign, and the Trump campaign’s suspected collusion with Russian operatives to do so.
Both of North Carolina’s African-American congresspeople – Rep. Alma Adams (D-NC-12) and Rep. G. K. Butterfield (D-NC-1) - have added their voices to the growing Democratic Congressional chorus to U.S. Attorney General William Barr (a Trump appointee) to release the entire Mueller Report immediately, or face legal subpoenas.
“This is about trust and transparency,” tweeted Rep. Adams Monday, a day after Barr released a four-page summary conclusion of Mueller’s findings, determining that no evidence of collusion was found, and that Trump, arguably, did obstruct justice during Mueller’s 22-month investigation.
“AG Barr must listen to the American people,” Rep. Adams continued, “…and #ReleaseTheReport.”
Her North Carolina colleague agreed.
“Now that Special Counsel Robert Mueller has completed his investigation, transparency is paramount,” Congressman G. K. Butterfield tweeted. “It is absolutely imperative AG Barr expeditiously release the report to Congress and the American people.”
Indeed, Butterfield and Adams were among the 420 U.S. House members, both Democrat and Republican, who unanimously voted March 21stfor the full Mueller Report to be released.
Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blocked the U.S. Senate from even considering a similar measure, even though Pres. Trump told reporters he had no problem releasing the report.
Two powerful African-American House Democrats – Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), chairwoman of the House Finance Committee, and Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Maryland), chairman of the House Oversight Committee – joined four other House Democratic committee chairs in a March 25thletter to Attorney General Barr, demanding that he turn over the Mueller Report, and all supporting documentation, by April 2nd.
“Those of us who chair these committees have the responsibility to continue with our oversight,” Rep. Waters told MSNBC Sunday.
House Democrats are also planning to call Barr and Mueller to testify in congressional hearings to ask key questions they feel have not been satisfied by Barr’s initial summary.
Even the national NAACP is formally calling for the Mueller Report to be released, saying , “The people of this nation deserve transparency. The integrity of our democracy is at stake. Our country cannot afford anything less than the unvarnished and unedited truth.”
Republicans, in response to the Democratic clamor for release of the full report, say that can’t happen as long as it contains grand jury testimony and classified information. The GOP charges that Democrats are angry because the report “exonerates” Trump on charges of collusion, and that Democrats and the media should be ashamed for “falsely” alleging that the president was guilty of colluding with the Russians.
STATE NEWS BRIEFS FOR 03-28-19
DR. JOHN MARSHALL KILIMANJARO, PUBLISHER OF THE
CAROLINA PEACEMAKER, DIES
[GREENSBORO] Dr. John Marshall Kilimanjaro, publisher of the Carolina Peacemaker, died Wednesday morning after a long illness. He was 88.
Dr. Kilimanjaro, along with his wife, Vicki, started the Peacemaker in 1967, determined to give Greensboro’s black community a voice in the midst of the civil rights movement, and tremendous change in the South. For 52 years, the Peacemaker has served the Greensboro community. Dr. Kilimanjaro has received many honors throughout the years, including the prestigious Order of the long Leaf Pine.
Funeral services for Dr. John Marshall Kilimanjaro will be held Friday, 11 a.m. at Temple Emmanuel in Greensboro.
US SUPREME COURT HEARS ARGUMENTS ON NC PARTISAN GERRYMANDERING
[WASHINGTON, D.C.] Attorneys for both Republican legislative leaders, and plaintiffs against partisan gerrymandering in drawing voting districts in North Carolina, made their arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court Tuesday. The High Court must decide whether GOP-leaning congressional voting districts, as the NC legislature have been drawing them since 2011, are indeed legal and constitutional, even though they have given Republican 10 of 13 congressional districts; or if having such lop-sided voting districts will always deny Democratic voters there their constitutional right to choose their representation in Congress. A ruling is expected by late summer.
FEDERAL JUDGE STRIKES DOWN NC’S ABORTION LAW
[GREENSBORO] North Carolina’s ban on abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy was struck down Monday by a federal judge, saying that the restriction was arbitrary, and denied a woman her constitutional to end an pregnancy before the fetus was viable. The judge, however, stayed his ruling for 60 days to give state lawmakers a chance to either appeal his ruling, or change the law. “"[N]o matter what the state’s legitimate interest in restricting abortion, this interest can never support an outright ban prior to viability," U.S. District Court Judge William Osteen ruled.
“SLAVERY GAME” PROBE CONCLUDED;
NEW VETTING RULES ADOPTED NOW
By Cash Michaels
[WILMINGTON] New Hanover Public Schools Supt. Tim Markley’s investigation into how a controversial “Monopoly-like role-playing slavery game,” used by fourth grade teachers in their classrooms is reportedly complete, and while none will lose their jobs because of it, new policies have been put in place to prevent “culturally insensitive” teaching materials from third-party vendors from being used again without carefully review, says a NHC Public Schools spokesperson.
Controversy erupted over two weeks ago when it was revealed that fourth-grade teachers at majority-white Codington Elementary School used a game titled “Escaping Slavery,” and according to materials that come with the activity, most notably a “Freedom Punch Card,” students indeed assume the role of runaway slaves during the Underground Railroad, and are told on the card, “ …If your group runs into trouble four times, you will be severely punished and sent back to the plantation to work as a slave. Write your name on the back of this card.”
Among the materials with the game, were illustrations of shackles, and black slave families.
A black grandmother complained to a local television about the game, concerned that he grandchild was not being taught appropriately about perhaps the most painful historical period in the lives of most African-Americans.
She called it “horrifying.”
NHC School Board Chair Lisa Estep, in a letter to the community, countered an early statement of support for the game by Codington Elementary Principal Graham Elmore, saying that use of the game was not appropriate, and promised that Supt. Markley and his staff would immediately look into it.
After a March 22ndrequest for comment, NHC Public Schools Chief Communications Officer Ms. Valita Quattlebaum, responded to questions Monday.
“Dr. Markley’s investigation into the situation has concluded,” she wrote, confirming that the slavery games was only used in the fourth grade at Codington. “The district determined there was no ill will on the part of the teachers, but they did fail to show the cultural competence and sensitivity needed to effectively instruct on the topic of slavery in the U.S. As a result, there are some diversity and equity training programs that will happen throughout the district.”
“Also, principals are now required to review all third-party teaching materials before they can be used. The NHCS Instructional Services Department is reviewing guidelines for the use of outside materials in the classroom. NHCS Human Resources is reviewing policies and practices related to onboarding for new staff to ensure that the district is providing the necessary training regarding implicit bias and diversity.”
Who approved the use of the slavery game in the first place?
“This activity was purchased by teachers from a [popular] third-party website and at the time not vetted or approved by the administration,” Ms. Quattlebaumsaid. “The use of the activity was a part of a larger scope of related instruction connected to the Civil War. Going forward, all materials from this third-party website and others must be vetted and approved by the administration of the school.”
Quattlebaum maintains, “…there was no intent to belittle or trivialize this topic…” adding that “The district intends to improve overall in the teaching methods that are being used in presenting sensitive subject matters…” She also confirmed that schools normally “have flexibility in determining materials to include as a part of their curriculum…”
No rules were broken, but again, new vetting policies are now in place for third-party instructional materials.
And while no one will be disciplined or terminated for their role in the “slavery game” episode, Ms. Quattlebaum says, “…the district intends to provide cultural competency training for all teachers and staff.”
The NHC NAACP chapter did call for “…a timeline of when the implicit bias and cultural competency training will be implemented,” and also recommended that members of Wilmington’s African-American community be involved.