Monday, November 23, 2020




[GREENVILLE] A white North Carolina man was sentenced to 28 months in prison for threatening a Black family who rented a dwelling because of their race. Douglas Matthew Gurkins, 34, pled guilty to one count of criminal interference with the Fair Housing Act. According to a release from the U.S. Justice Dept., “Gurkins admitted that in December 2014, he drove to the home of an African American family and yelled racial slurs at the family. The defendant told the family that they did not belong in their home and then threatened to shoot the family, including four minor children, and any other African American that came onto the property. After making this threat, the defendant brandished a metal rod in a threatening manner. The family moved out of the neighborhood a few days after this incident. Within the next four years, the defendant engaged in similar criminal conduct toward two other African American families living in the same neighborhood.”


[DURHAM] North Carolina Central University Math and Physics Dept researchers received $3 million from the National Nuclear Security Administration “….to develop better materials and sensors for early detection of defects in nuclear facilities as they age.” NCCU will lead a consortium of research teams in the project involving faculty and students from NCCU, Elizabeth City State University and Southern University at Baton Rouge.


[GREENSBORO] The State Highway Patrol is gearing up for the holiday season and for the increased number of roadway users expected across our state.  Prior to traveling, the SHP strongly encourages the public to visit the NC Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) for the latest to help slow the spread of COVID-19.  Best practices during the holiday season and information on our state’s current response to COVID-19 can be found by visiting the DHHS website

 According to the American Automobile Association (AAA), more than 47 million people will travel by automobile across our nation representing a reduction from last year’s predictions.  AAA relates this decrease in travelers to our country’s current public health landscape.  Nonetheless, members of the State Highway Patrol will increase visibility on highly traveled corridors in an effort to promote safe driving habits. 





By Cash Michaels

Contributing writer

As Black families come together to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday, they do so in the shadow of extreme risk.

The number of coronavirus cases has risen across the state, according to the NC Dept. of Health and Human Services, and in the words of Gov. Roy Cooper Monday during a press conference, “We are in danger.”

All of the telltale signs of COVID-19 approaching critical mass statewide are now present, says NCDHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen.

North Carolina’s syndromic surveillance trend for COVID - like illness is increasing; the trajectory of confirmed cases over 14 days is increasing; trajectory in percent of tests returning positive is increasing slightly; the number of hospitalizations is increasing.

Dr. Cohen assured the public that currently, the state has the capacity to manage the pandemic, just as long as citizens continue to do their part to stem the spread. 

However, now 20 counties across the state are considered “red” on the color-coded alert system chart - up from nine counties when the system was introduced just last week.

Guilford County is one of the new eleven counties added to the red alert list, indicating that it has 200 cases per 100,000 people over a 14-day period; a positive test rte of 10% or higher, and local hospitals reaching COVID-19 treatment capacity.

As a result, by Executive Order 180, which is now in effect until December 11th, “…the Order tightens the existing statewide mask requirement – making it clear that everyone needs to wear a mask whenever they are with someone who is not from the same household. The Order also adds the mask requirement to several additional settings including any public indoor space even when maintaining 6 feet of distance; gyms even when exercising; all schools public and private; and all public or private transportation when traveling with people outside of the household.”

“The Order also requires large retail businesses with more than 15,000 square feet to have an employee stationed near entrances ensuring mask wearing and implementing occupancy limits for patrons who enter.”

"I have a stark warning for North Carolinians today: We are in danger," Governor Cooper said. "This is a pivotal moment in our fight against the coronavirus. Our actions now will determine the fate of many."

As of Monday, NCDHHS reported that there were over 339,194 COVID-19 cases in North Carolina, with over 5,000 deaths (almost 1,000 just in the past month).


                                                           REV. WILLIAM BARBER



By Cash Michaels

Contributing writer

The election of 2020 may be over, but the deep healing needed to recover from the past four tumultuous years is set to begin, says Rev. Dr.  William J. Barber II, president and senior lecturer of the nonprofit social justice organization Repairers of the Breach.

While Rev. Barber is pleased that President-elect Joe Biden and Vice Pres.-elect Kamala Harris won the election - feeling the they would be much more sensitive to the needs of the poor than Pres. Trump was - with the holiday season now upon Americans, Barber says the tremendous pain caused by Trump should not forgotten.

“Donald Trump’s refusal to concede is not just him alone, and owe should stop saying it is,” the former president of the NCNAACP said in a recent release.. “It’s Mitch McConnell and the entire (virtually all-white) Republican power structure placing the nation at risk, following the lead of the narcissistic racist they’ve chosen to line up with and follow.”

“Together this unpatriotic allegiance has done more to hurt American progress than any other group in recent history,” Rev. Barber continued. “It is currently putting at risk the nation’s response to addressing the COVID pandemic, which has now claimed the lives of more than 250,000 people. “We can’t just pass over that!”

Rev. Barber goes on to condemn Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for adjourning the US Senate last week, not planning to come back until November 30th, as “…millions of Americans continue to suffer, facing unemployment, financial devastation, and mass evictions (because of the pandemic), because Congress has once again failed to pass another COVID relief bill.”

Barber virtually led “National Memorial Service Moral Monday” caravans across the country in memory of the 250,000 who died because of COVID-19, and later that evening, delivered a sermon titled, “In Their Remembrance: From Mourning to a Moral Mandate.”

Regarding the way forward with the new Biden-Harris administration, Dr. Barber maintains that even though he was pleased that they won, pressure must continue to bring about much needed action to help the poor and end systematic racism.”

“If his administration can answer the cries of mourning people with real, transformative policy that addresses systematic racism, poverty, ecological devastation and the denial healthcare, it will indeed be a new day in America,” Rev. Barber said in a statement.


Tuesday, November 17, 2020



[BOLIVIA] The Brunswick County Board of Commissioners has voted 4-1 recently to rename their county courthouse in memory of the late African-American Judge Ola Lewis, who died almost one year ago after suffering with liver cancer. Her husband, Reginald Holley, issued a statement afterwards saying, “As the youngest appointed judge in the state’s history, who served the longest of any female judge in North Carolina, her life was committed to serving the people of Brunswick County. My family and I are humbled by the decision of the Brunswick County Commissioners. We will never cease to remember her ability to recognize the potential and humanity of each person, and how that ability changed so many lives.”


[RALEIGH] Two weeks after the Nov. 3rd election, NC Attorney General Josh Stein, a Democrat, was unofficially declared the winner over Republican challenger Forsyth County District Attorney Jim O’Neill by The Associated Press. Stein defeated O’Neill by over 13,000 votes, putting the results beyond any recount requirement. This will be Stein’s second term.


[GREENSBORO] In hopes that counties will do an even better job of enforcing COVID-19 rich mandates, Gov. Roy Cooper and state health authorities this week unveil a new system of determining  where the virus is spreading rapidly. The alert system is necessary because in recent weeks, the state has been setting new records for spread of infection, hospitalizations and deaths. The counties with the highest amount of infection on a monthly basis will be color-coded red (or critical), second highest orange, and the least critical are colored yellow.


                                                      BEASLEY.                     NEWBY




By Cash Michaels

Contributing writer

Tuesday morning, NC Chief Justice of the NC Supreme Court Cheri Beasley officially asked for a statewide recount against challenger Justice Paul Newby in their neck-and-neck election battle.

By noon Tuesday, Beasley was trailing by 366 out of 5.4 million votes cast.   The recount must begin by today and b completed by Nov. 25th.

Beasley campaign manager Benjamin Woods issued a statement Tuesday saying, ““The race for Chief Justice will not be over until every single vote has been counted. Our team has officially requested a statewide recount and will be filing protest petitions across the state to ensure over 2,000 absentee and provisional ballots that were wrongfully rejected are included in the final tally. This race is far from decided, and we look forward to ensuring the counting process continues so that every voice is heard.”

All votes cast in all contests are finalized and certified by Nov. 26th.

It was last Friday when it became clear that the Beasley-Newby race would not be ending anytime soon because of the lead continuously flip-flopping back and forth, that Woods issued a statement saying that the chief justice “… is honored and grateful for the trust voters across North Carolina have placed in her. While there is likely a longer process ahead of us, one that requires patience and faith in our election process, we are confident Chief Justice Beasley will remain the Chief Justice of North Carolina Supreme Court in January.”

Prior to that statement, Justice Newby came out of Election Night leading by some 4,000 votes. By the time of Woods’ statement, Beasley had not only eaten away at Newby’s considerable lead, by had taken the lead by just 35 votes. But all of the counties had not reported in.

Indeed, two counties had problem with their final counts.

Washington County counted its mail-in ballots twice, while Robeson County neglected to count ballots from one of it’s early voting sites. Both problems amounted to roughly 1900 ballots outstanding that needed to be corrected before final counts could be assigned to the tight Beasley-Newby contest.

Beasley, a Democrat,  is the first Black woman ever to serve as Chief Justice of the NC Supreme Court. She was appointed to the post by Gov. Roy Cooper on February 2019 after having been appointed to the High Court in 2012 by former Gov. Beverly Perdue. Beasley began her career in 1999 in District Court.

Newby, a Republican, has served on the State Supreme Court since 2004, the longest serving. He was angry when Gov. Cooper chose Beasley to serve in the Chief Justice’s seat, feeling that he had the appropriate seniority for the post.

Prior to this election, Newby was the only Republican on the seven-member state Supreme Court.

Now he may be one of three Republicans on the court, given the victories by justices-elect Tamara Barringer and Phil Berger Jr.




By Cash Michaels

Contributing writer

It made headlines last summer when the City Council of Asheville voted to adopt a resolution to provide $1 million in reparations funding to it’s African-American residents in various nondirect forms to address indignities and economic inequalities, past and present.

Now the western North Carolina city of 93,000  - 12% of which is black - has made headlines again, as that same City Council recently decided to postpone a vote on how best to implement that funding resolution.

According to Mayor Esther  Manheimer, the council is still committed to the reparations resolution and it’s intent, and this isn’t a stall, but rather a move “…to schedule a council work session with the new council to develop a road map for how to proceed with the implementation of the already adopted reparations resolutions.”

Mayor Manheimer maintained that the council “…remains unanimously supportive” of the reparations resolution, and that “funding would be taken up soon.”

One of the outgoing members of the Asheville City Council who won’t be part of those ongoing discussions is Councilman Keith Young, the original primary sponsor of the resolution. 

It was his vision, and the council agreed, that city investment was needed to help African-Americans who were descendants of slaves who settled in Asheville, to  foster generational wealth and other economic advancements, who previously faced funding disparities, and thus, were denied housing because of redlining and denial of mortgages. 

The state and federal governments would also serve as partners.

No direct cash settlements or deposits would be involved in the reparations program.

The only requirements to qualify for grants were bing a resident of Asheville for at least five years; be a registered voter and have a high school diploma or GED.

The new City Council is expected to take up the reparations resolution at it’s coming work session.



Tuesday, November 10, 2020




 [WILMINGTON] On Nov. 10th - one week after the contentious 2020 elections, the port city commemorated the 122nd anniversary of the event that will forever define Wilmington - the 1898 race massacre, the only recorded coup de’tat in American history. It was just after Election Day 122 years ago that armed white supremacists began slaughtering African -Americans throughout the city, chasing out of their homes and businesses, confiscating property. White supremacists then took over Wilmington City government at gunpoint. This past week, a series of events and commemorations took place to note that important date in the community’s history. There are many who wonder, given the current uncertain atmosphere in the nation, whether the 1898 race massacre could happen again, this time with followers of Donald Trump, angry with his losing the election? And if it could be more widespread. 


[RALEIGH]  Today was the last day that all 100 North Carolina county boards of elections and to collect mail-in absentee ballots postmarked by or before Nov. 3rd to finalize the totals per race. Per last counts, there were 27, 500 absentee ballots accepted after Election Day, and 23, 091 provisional ballots that have qualified to be counted. The race margins from Nov. 3rd are expected to tighten for several races, especially the tight contest for NC Supreme Court Chief Justice. On Tuesday, Democratic challenger Cal Cunningham formally conceded his race to incumbent Senator Thomas Tillis after those numbers were clarified.


[RALEIGH] The GOP is demanding that the state Board of Election release data on how many people requested an absentee ballot that actually voted in person. County boards of election are slow to respond because they are required by law to monitor the process cautiously. Certifying election results begin Nov. 13th.





By Cash Michaels

Contributing writer

A veteran political analyst says while African-Americans have much to celebrate in the electoral defeat of Donald Trump, there is still much to be accomplished.

“After we have concluded our celebrations of the election of  [Democrats] Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, African-Americans should pay some serious attention to the political position in which we find ourselves,” says Prof. Irving Joyner of the North Carolina Central University School of Law. “The Biden-Harris election was monumental and offers a promise for legal protections and support at the national level, but we cannot forget that the same people who controlled the US Senate are still in place in Washington and are poised to continue to legislate in the same manner that they did in the past. This reality must be impressed on the minds of everyone.”

Last Saturday, former Vice Pres. Joe Biden clinched the 270 Electoral College threshold, and with it, his tentative claim to be come the 46th president-elect of the United States, defeating Republican incumbent Donald Trump.

The victory made history when Biden’s running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) became the vice president-elect.

But as Prof. Joyner noted, Democratic victories elsewhere were few and far between. Democrats barely held on to their majority in the US House, and the final count in the US Senate has to wait for two Jan. 5th runoffs.

“In addition, in North Carolina, the same legislative leaders, who sought to suppress  the African American vote and to deny us some equities in the provision of governmental benefits, are still in control,” Joyner added, referring to how Republicans maintained their dominance in both houses of the NC General Assembly.

  “Of major concern is that this right-wing leadership cadre will be in charge of re-districting of the General Assembly which will likely mean another series of protracted legal battles to protect our voting rights. This means that efforts to expand Medicaid, to improve the quality and availability of education, to increase in the minimum wage, to expand opportunities for low-cost housing and to address other needs which seek to improve the quality of life for African Americans will be ignored or limited.”

“We also lost important judicial positions in the NC Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals, and missed out on critical opportunities to add African Americans to the Council of State,” Joyner added.

  “So, while it is great to celebrate whatever we can,” Joyner continued,  “we must have a realistic understanding of the present political “tea-leaves” and develop coordinated strategies to counter the continuing attacks and apathy which will be directed toward the African American community during the coming years.”





By Cash Michaels

an analysis

If the final numbers hold up after they’re counted and certified on Friday, Pres. Donald Trump should still enjoy a slim but sturdy election victory in North Carolina over now projected President-elect Joe Biden, no doubt due to the numerous campaign visits Trump made to the Tar Heel state as late as the night before Election Day.

Trump and his campaign surrogates flooded North Carolina in the weeks leading up to the big day, and was rewarded with strong voter support in the 75 mostly rural counties, giving him an edge over Biden’s dominance in just 25 mostly urban North Carolina counties, analysis shows.

Ultimately, Trump won 58 counties with between 1,000 and 20,000 votes.What put the icing on the cake for the Republican president and the rest of his down ballot candidates was the GOP  turnout-the-vote campaign, where volunteers, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, canvassed neighborhoods, knocking door-to door, asking voters to show at the polls for their candidates.

Fearing COVID-19, Democrats didn’t do that until very late in the campaign. Dems did push, especially in communities of color, mail-in absentee ballots, but African-Americans were unfamiliar with them, and returned many that were not legally complete in terms of required signatures from voters and witnesses, thus spoiling and eliminating them from predominating counts.

When the smoke cleared nationally for Democrat Biden, he benefitted from a strong Black vote (especially from women) and strong support from new voters. Mail-in ballots proved to be a blessing in battleground states like Pennsylvania which put Biden over the top electorally.

But Democrats nationally also lost seats in Congress, and did not take back the Senate as promised (a Jan. 5, 2021 duel runoff in Georgia is expected to decide the Senate majority.

Here in North Carolina, however, Democrats did not take back the General Assembly a hoped for, did poorly in the Council of State and judicial races, are waiting see if they’ve held onto the state Supreme Court chef justice’s seat, and lost the lt. governor’s seat that seemed all but assured.

In addition, Republicans, not Democrats, will once again be in charge of redrawing the voting districts for the next ten years.

         There are a lot of lessons to be learned from Election 2020 for Democrats. The question is, can they meet the challenge?


Wednesday, November 4, 2020



                                                       REP. YVONNE LEWIS HOLLEY
                                                        JUDGE LORA CUBBAGE
                                                        COMMISSIONER JESSICA HOLMES
                                                 CHIEF JUSTUCE CHERI BEASLEY




By Cash Michaels

Contributing writer

Several Black Democratic North Carolina candidates fell short in their respective races Election Day in unofficial results. For many, their only hope for victory is the number of mail-in absentee ballots postmarked by Election Day that can be counted up to November 12th.

All votes are scheduled to be officially certified on Nov. 13th. 

With 100% of voting precincts statewide reporting in Tuesday night, NC Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley was outpointed by Republican conservative Associate State Supreme Court Justice Paul Newby by just 3,475 votes, locking both candidates in a 50-50 deadbeat.

Without knowing how many mail-in absentee ballots are yet to be counted at press time, if the race remains deadlocked, Chief Justice Beasley could call for a recount.

That will most likely not be the case in the historic race for lieutenant governor between Democrat Rep. Yvonne Lewis Holley of Raleigh, and Republican conservative Mark Robinson of Greensboro. Both are African-Americans, but Robinson defeated Holley in unofficial numbers 52% to 48% percent.

Another Black Democrat who fell short of her electoral goal was Wake County Commissioner Jessica Holmes, who failed in her bid to be elected NC Labor Commissioner 51% to 49% against Republican Josh Dobson. Holmes promised to make the office more accountable to workers if elected.

Per the NC Court of Appeals, Black Democratic candidate Lora Cubbage fell to Black Republican Fred Gore, and incumbent Black Democratic Appellate Judge Ruben Young failed to hold off Republican challenger Jeff Carpenter.

Finally, in the Eighth Congressional District, former Associate NC Supreme Court Justice Patricia Timmons-Goodson, a Democrat, failed to unseat Republican incumbent Congressman Richard Hudson 53% to 47%.

Again, all races are scheduled to be certified on Nov. 13th.




By Cash Michaels

Contributing writer

NC Democrats felt that Election 2020 Tuesday was their best chance to take back the General Assembly from the Republicans, who’ve had it since 2011.

They were wrong.

Republicans in both the NC Senate and state House staunchly held their majorities, and with it, the right, once again, to redraw the voting districts that will govern the next ten years, thus maintaining the GOP dominance in how Congressional and legislative voting lines are drawn.

This means that Democrats will remain the minority party in the NC General Assembly until 2030. The prospect will determine how much Black Democratic representation will be allowed to be elected to the legislature.

They needed a gain of six House and five Senate seats to have attained majorities, but failed to do so.

“Voters returning a strong Republican majority to the North Carolina House of Representatives tonight reflects the powerful momentum behind policies that promote economic prosperity, educational achievement, and safety for families,”said a jubilant Republican House Speaker Tim Moore in a statement.

GOP Senate Pro Tem Pres.Phil Berger concurred. “For the sixth consecutive election, voters made a clear choice in support of the Republican platform of low taxes, expanded school choice, and large investments in education and teacher pay.”

Fortunately for Democrats, Gov. Roy Cooper was reelected for a second term Tuesday, defeating Lt. Gov. Dan Forest handily. And even though Republicans maintained control of the legislature, they did not do so with veto-proof majorities.

The GOP will have 28 Republicans to 22 Democrats in the Senate chamber, and 69 GOP’ers to 51 Democrats in the House next January. Cooper’s official pen can still veto any legislation he’s not pleased with.

However, the Democratic governor will also have the same difficulty he’s had in recent times convincing Republicans to expand Medicare coverage for low-income citizens.





By Cash Michaels

Contributing writer

The ACLU of North Carolina and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law out of Washington, D.C. filed a federal lawsuit earlier Nov. 2nd, suing Alamance County Sheriff Terry Johnson, and Graham Police Chief Mary Kristy Cole for the pepper-spray attack on 200 peaceful  marchers Oct. 31st who were headed to cast they ballots on the last day of early voting.

According to published reports, the attack by sheriff’s deputies and Graham police officers targeted the marchers, including several young children and elderly participants - at least one in a wheelchair.

Twenty-three people were arrested , including at least one reporter.

Rev. Greg Drumwright of Greensboro, the leader of Justice for the Next Generation, the sponsor of the event, maintains that the march had a permit which included demonstrators stopping at a confederate statue to kneel for eight minutes and 42 seconds, in memory of the police killing of North Carolina native George Floyd last May, and then holding a rally in front of the Alamance Courthouse.

The Alamance sheriff and Graham police chief counter that the marchers did not have permission to walk in the street or block traffic, and that once their salute to George Floyd reached the nine minute mark, officers began using the pepper spray  to move participants.

Still photos show some officers aimed the spray at the ground in front of marchers, while other aimed above marchers’ heads. Video shows participants struggling to breathe as they were being moved.

Authorities allege that at least one officer was assaulted by a marcher.

“The police violence in Graham, North Carolina perpetrated against a group of peaceful and primarily Black protestors over the weekend is yet another clear violation of the right to free speech and the right to vote," said the Lawyers' Committee in a press release. "We will not stand back and let the voices of voters continue to be suppressed just hours before Election Day. Racially motivated attacks on peaceful demonstrators is a form of grotesque voter intimidation and we cannot continue to let these acts of violence continue.”

The federal lawsuit alleges that the Alamance Sheriff’s Dept. and Graham Police Dept. violated the First, Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution by restricting freedom of speech and stopping the marchers from voting.

Rev. Drumwright is named as one of the plaintiffs.

Top state officials, including Gov. Roy Cooper and State Attorney General Josh Stein, condemned the incident, with Cooper saying the law enforcement behavior was “unacceptable.”

North Carolina’s three Democratic congresspeople - G.K. Butterfield, David Price and Alma Adams - also condemned the incident, calling for a U.S. Justice Dept. probe.

"What took place in Alamance County on Saturday is one of the ugliest instances of voter intimidation and voter suppression I have ever seen,”  Rep. Adams said in a press release. “Chemical agents should never be used on people exercising their First Amendment rights and they should never be used on people going to vote."