Monday, April 26, 2021


                                                CHERI L. BEASLEY




By Cash Michaels

Contributing writer

U.S. Senate candidate Cheri Lynn Beasley says she’s “deeply concerned” about Republican voter suppression efforts across the nation.

“It is so important that people can vote, and can have access to voting,…and to think otherwise is unAmerican.”

“ We need uniformed voting rights across this nation,…and all of us must be committed to that now. And that’s what I would fight for in Washington.”

After months of speculation, former NC Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley formally announced her candidacy in the 2022 U.S. Senate race for the seat currently held by Republican incumbent Richard Burr, who is leaving office at the end of his third, and current term.

Beasley, a Democrat, made her announcement via a produced video titled “No Closed Doors” on social media Tuesday morning, followed by brief interviews with the press.

The history-maker joins a crowded field of both Democrats and Republicans, which includes former state Sen. Erica Smith, state Sen. Jeff Jackson, Beaufort Mayor Rett Newton an virologist Richard Watkins on the Democratic side, and former NC Gov. Pat McCrory, former U.S. Congressman Mark Walker and Jen Banwart.

Lara Trump, former Pres. Donald Trump’s daughter-in-law, is said to be considering a run on the Republican side.

If elected in November 2022, Beasley, 55, would make history again becoming the first African-American, and African-American female from North Carolina to be elected to the U.S. Senate.

She already enjoys the distinction of serving as the first African-American female chief justice of the N.C. Supreme Court after Gov. Roy Cooper appointed her in Feb. 2019. Beasley lost a razor sharp statewide race to retain her seat last year by just 401 votes.

Shortly after losing that race, Beasley became a partner in the Raleigh  law firm of McGuireWoods.

Hers is a story of inspiration and accomplishment. 

Born in Tennessee in 1966, Cheri Lynn Beasley, the daughter of William James Beasley and Dr. Lou Beasley, earned her B.A. degree in Political Science and Economics from Rutgers University/Douglass College in 1988. She also earned six credits at the Summer Program in Law at the University  of Tennessee College of Law in 1991. 

In 1993, she served as a Volunteer Attorney in Fayetteville, and from 1994 - 1999, as an assistant public defender in the 12th Judicial District (Cumberland County).

In 1995, Beasley also served as a Business Law instructor at Fayetteville Technical Community College.

In 1999, Gov. Jim Hunt appointed Atty. Cheri Beasley to be a District Court Judge in the 12th Judicial District. She was elected to that seat in 2002, and then reelected in 2006.

In 2008, Judge Beasley was elected to the NC Court of Appeals.

In December 2012, Gov. Beverly Perdue appointed Judge Beasley to the state Supreme Court to finish the unexpired term of Justice Patricia Timmons - Goodson. Beasley was elected to a full-term in November 2014.

It was Feb. 2019 who Gov. Roy Cooper appointed Associate Justice Cheri Beasley to become the Chief Justice of the NC Supreme Court. She lost in her bid to be elected to the post in a stunningly close election with Associate Justice Paul Newby in Nov. 2020.

Now a candidate for the U.S. Senate, Beasley called for “equity in voting rights in North Carolina and across this country,” as well as good jobs, and making sure that people are treated fairly.

“People want a good advocate to fight for them in Washington, and folks want to be able to take care of their families.”

“I’m so thankful for the opportunity to offer myself to be able to fight for the people of North Carolina in Washington,” she says.

Cheri Beasley is married to Curtis Owens. They are the parents of twin sons, and are members of First Baptist Church in Raleigh.



                by Prof. Irving Joyner, NCCU School of Law

For communities around the country and particularly for African Americans and people of color, the conviction of Derek Chauvin was a time to exhale. These reaffirming convictions represent another step toward restoring faith in our people that police officers can be held accountable for the abuse of their police powers. The promise to the community and expectation that police officers will protect and serve its citizens is based on faith that those who are employed in those positions will always act in the best interest of the people. Particularly in African American communities, that faith has been eroded by past “lack-luster” efforts to hold police accountable for their misconduct and has created an “us’ versus “them” relationship.


Yet, it must be remembered that these convictions are narrowly focused on this trial, this evidence, this set of facts and an outstanding prosecution which was enabled by more video tapes than has ever been presented in any trial in history. Those factors have not existed in past cases and probably will not be duplicated in future cases.


Standing alone, the volume of video presented in the Floyd/Chauvin trial made everyone, who saw them, an on-site eye witness to this murder. This video was replayed so often before and during the trial that it was impossible to erase those images from the jurors’ minds and the minds of any of us who saw them. That level of video will not be present in most instances of police misconduct in the future.


The video also enhanced the testimony of the original eyewitnesses who were able to review their observations repeatedly and, as a result, did not have to recall their observations from raw, but fading, memory. In addition, the video aided the several expert witnesses who were able to provide a more thorough evaluation and analysis because of what they were able to actually observe. Typically, this ability to observe these facts which occurred on the ground are not available for expert observations and analysis.


So, while we celebrate these guilty verdicts, we must be cautious moving forward. We can emphasize the power and necessity of eye-witnesses to these incidents to use their cell phone to record future incidents and to promote the expansion of the use of body cameras by officers. At the same time, we must not abandon the need to aggressively push for reforms in the policing process, to educate our people about their rights and how to avoid adverse confrontations with police officers and to elect people to office who will guarantee that police officers are held accountable for their misconduct..

                                                             ANDREW BROWN, JR.



By Cash Michaels

Contributing writer

It’s been over a week since a Minnesota jury convicted former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin of murdering Fayetteville native George Floyd, but the reverberations continue to be felt even here in North Carolina.

While both the sister of Floyd, and the brother of the prosecutor who pursued Floyd’s cop murderer - both North Carolinians - react to the conviction, citizens across the state continue to express outrage in the aftermath of the controversial police killing of Andrew Brown in Elizabeth City a day after the Chauvin conviction, casting a cloud over whatever hope many had that the Floyd verdict would be a turning point in police abuse of Black people.

“Justice would be for Derek [Chauvin] to get the maximum sentence for each charge,” Bridgett Floyd, sister of George Floyd, told CNN’s Anderson Cooper last week from Fayetteville. Chauvin, found guilty of second-degree unintentional murder (maximum 40 years in prison); guilty of third-degree murder (maximum 25 years) and second-degree manslaughter (maximum 10 years). Observers note that under Minnesota’s sentencing guidelines, the convicted police officer could get far less time behind bars from the judge when he is sentenced June 16th, but there are aggravating circumstances to when Chauvin maintained his knee on George Floyd’s neck for nine minutes and twenty-nine seconds, and those factors can push his sentence towards the maximum.

“I do believe my brother(’s death) has made an impact on the world going forward,” Bridgett Floyd added.

Winston-Salem  criminal defense attorney Eric Ellison is proud of his older brother, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, a former U.S. congressman who took the prosecution of Derek Chavin and the three other officers involved in George Floyd’s death out of the hands of the local Minneapolis district attorney, and successfully led his team to one of the rare times in American history that a police officer was convicted for the murder of an African-American citizen.

Ellison told CBS’ “60 Minutes” Sunday that he wasn’t sure his team would win the case, but Eric Ellison says he had faith that his brother could find justice for the Floyd family.

“When we let these local prosecutors prosecute these police officers who they work with, have meetings with and have relationships with everyday, justice gets skewed because this officers are their friends’’ Eric Ellison, the former chair of the Forsyth County Democratic Party said, making clear that he was “very proud” of his brother.

“And that’s one of the reasons why justice has been so many times in these type of situations. So, we can learn a lesson from this that you have to take the power out of the local prosecutor’s hands. They cannot be unbiased and objective in these type of situations. They cannot…it’s impossible.”

Eric Ellison went to suggest that laws be passed that require either state attorneys general or federal prosecutors take on police brutality cases. Ellison added that the successful Chauvin conviction could be just the “stimulus” needed for further police reform across the country.

He said he did not know whether his brother would prosecute the police officer charged with second-degree manslaughter in the April 11th traffic stop slaying of 20-year-old Daunte Wright, but Ellison added that he would not be surprised if he did.

Meanwhile, as North Carolina and the nation contemplate what will happen next in the Chauvin case and Daunte Wright fatal police shooting, all eyes are on Columbus, Ohio in the police shooting death of 16 year-old

Ma’Khia Bryant, which happened just before the Chauvin trial verdict was reached, and the April 21st police shooting death of Andrew Brown, Jr. in Elizabeth City .

Brown was allegedly shot in the back as he drove away from several law enforcement officers serving an arrest warrant on him. He reportedly did not have a gun. As a result, three Pasquotank County Sheriff’s deputies have resigned from the force, and seven other officers involved in the shooting have been relieved of duty. Peaceful demonstrations have taken place each day as citizens, local officials, and even the mayor and Gov. Cooper, called for release of body cam video to reveal what exactly happen. 

Brown’s family and attorney saw 20 seconds of the video Monday, calling what they saw an “execution,” and that Brown had both hands on the steering wheel of his vehicle at all times while officers around him fired their weapons.

Brown’s vehicle hit a tree, where he was pronounced dead at the scene.

        An autopsy commissioned by the family on the body of Andrew Brown, Jr. revealed that he was hit five times by police bullets - four Tims in the right arm, and one shot to the base of his skull, what family attorney Ben Crump calls “the kill shot.”

Elizabeth City has a declared a state of emergency in anticipation of unrest in the aftermath of the video’s release.

         Tuesday afternoon. Gov. Roy Cooper called for a special prosecutor to probe the Andrew Brown Jr. police killing, saying that “This would help assure the community and Mr. Brown’s family that a decision on pursuing criminal charges is conducting without bias.”

Meanwhile the FBI announced that it was launching a civil rights investigation into the Brown shooting, and civil rights leaders Rev. William Barber and NCNAACP Pres. Rev T. Anthony Spearman called for  state Attorney Gen. Josh Stein to take over the case from the local district attorney, whom he called, “inept, incompetent and incapable.

Under state law, the local D.A. must ask the state attorney general and SBI to come in.

        On Wednesday, a Superior Court judge ruled a son of Andrew Brown, Jr. could receive edited bodycam video of the police shooting within ten days, but the media would have to wait 30-45 days until authorities completed their investigation.

During Wednesday’s hearing, Pasquotank District Attorney Andrew Womble alleged that Andrew Brown Jr. hit at least one sheriff’s deputy with his vehicle in trying to make his getaway.  One of the family’s attorneys disputed that she saw that happen during the 20 seconds of video that she was shown on Monday. 

        It was also established that there are at least five police body cam videos of the incident.


                                                         LT. GOV. MARK ROBINSON





By Cash Michaels

Contributing writer

When controversial Black Republican NC Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson testified before the Congressional Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights an Civil Liberties on Thursday, April 22, from his opening statement, he could not pass up alleging that Democrats were dishonest and no good.

“Just a few days ago, the Vice President [Kamala Harris]…went to the Woolworth counter in Greensboro,” Robinson told the panel. “Do you know who wasn’t there? Do you know who wasn’t invited? My good friend Clarence Henderson, who was a civil rights icon. He sat at that counter, and endured suffering and pain to make sure that Black voices were heard. And why was he left out? Because he is of a different political persuasion.”

First of all, by all accounts, Vice Pres. Harris’ visit to the historic 1960 Woolworth lunch counter held in the International Civil Rights Museum in downtown Greensboro on Monday, April 19th was not an official part of her visit to the Triad, but rather an impromptu visit, so the only people with her were those part of the welcoming committee, namely Melvin “Skip” Alston, chair of the Guilford County Board of Commissioners and co-founder of the civil rights museum, and Rev. Dr. T. Anthony Spearman, president of the NC NAACP and old friend of VP Harris.

Clarence Henderson is a conservative Black Republican who sat at the infamous Woolworth counter on Feb. 2, 1960,  one full day after Ezell Blair Jr. (who now goes by Jibreel Khazan), Joseph McNeil, Franklin McCain and David Richmond - the four Black students from N.C. A&T University - sat there on Feb. 1st, 1960, to protest racial segregation then.

Henderson also touts that he did not vote for Barack Obama for president even though Lt. Gov. Robinson holds Obama’s historic election as the first Black president as one of the reasons why he is “proud” that Black people have accomplished much despite the systematic racism  he says is now a thing of the past.

Which is why Robinson says he’s a strong advocate for voter ID.

“Today, we hear Georgia law being compared to Jim Crow, that Black voices are being silenced, and Black voices are being kept out,” Robinson alleged to  “the Congressional subcommittee from prepared notes. 

“How?…by requiring free ID to secure the vote….who absolutely preposterous. Am I to believe that Black Americans who have overcome the atrocities of slavery….cannot figure out how to get a free ID to secure their votes? That they need to be coddled by politicians because they believe we can’t figure out ho to make our voices heard. Are you kidding me?”

The lt. governor went to say that the notion that Black people “…must be protected from a free ID to secure their votes is not only insane, it is insulting.”

Lt. Gov. Robinson’s portrayal of “free ID” as something African-Americans should embrace as positive is nothing new, but the facts aren’t on his side.

Outside of Republican protestations that voter ID should be required to prevent against massive voter fraud, none has ever been manifested per in-person voting. Especially after the Nov. 2020 presidential elections  when then Pres. Donald Trump and the Republican Party charged that he lost re-election because of unfounded voter fraud.

Studies show that low-income voting-age Americans are least likely to have legal, government-issued voter identification, even if it’s free, because many don’t have the documents required to secure them, like birth certificates for elderly Black citizens.

Per the federal courts, Republicans in North Carolina knew this when they passed voter ID legislation in 2013. Federal courts cited Republicans with targeting African-Americans “with surgical precision” when it came to voter suppression laws like photo ID requirements.

Also, in recent years, Republicans have admitted that they seek to shrink the number of people voting in order to guarantee their elections. That is part of the Georgia Republican voting legislation strategy after losing two U.S. Senate seats to Democrats, and the state to Pres. Joe Biden. That is all why over 40 other states are considering voter suppression legislation in the aftermath of the Nov. 2020 election, officially called “election integrity laws.”

Here in North Carolina, a trial continues in state court regarding the 2018 voter ID law is constitutional because, again, it is alleged, it seeks to disenfranchise Black and other voters of color who normal would not vote to elect Republicans.




[RALEIGH] In the wake of the Andrew Brown Jr. fall police shooting in Elizabeth City last week, and his family’s frustration that non3 of the police bodycam video has been released, a bill to have future police videos released within 48 hours is gaining steam in the state legislature. Currently, thanks to a 2016 law, bodycam video cannot be released without approval of a judge. But, as the Brown situation currently shows, that could take days or weeks, limiting law enforcement transparency. At press time, Republicans were against changing the law.


[DURHAM] Apple, manufacturer of the iPhone an Mac computers, announced earlier this week that it will build a new billion dollar campus in the Research Triangle Park over the next five years. The move will bring thousands of  high-paying technical jobs to North Carolina. In addition, Apple promises to invest $100 million to support schools and community initiatives, and $110 million to improve infrastructure in 80 counties. Political leaders welcomed the news, saying that it will attract new talent from across the nation and the world to North Carolina.


[GREENSBORO] The results of the 2020 Census were released earlier this week, and North Carolina gained a new congressional seat, based on population growth since the 2010 Census. The 2020 Census  recorded a 10, 439, 388 population, a 9.5 percent increase from 2010.

The increase will give North Carolina a 14th congressional seat. Five other states also gained congressional seats due to population growth - Texas, Colorado, Florida, Montana and Oregon. Texas gained two, the rest just one.




Monday, April 19, 2021



[DURHAM] After five years, Durham Police Chief Cerelyn “CJ” Davis has decided to move to Memphis, Tenn. to take the top cop post there. The mayor there says Chief Davis is the “right person” to lead  this department here in Memphis. The first Black woman to lead Durham’s police department, observers note that Davis has had a mixed record while here, including 2020 being a record year for gun violence, with 318 people shot. In Memphis, she will police a city twice the size of durham, with four times as many officers.

[GREENSBORO] Vice Pres. Kamala Harris visited central North Carolina earlier this week, pushing Pres. Joe Biden’s  $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan.saying that it will create thousands of jobs. She spoke at Guilford technical Community College, saying, “The president and I are ready to keep going and we are not going to take it slow. And we are not going to take it one step at a time — nope. We are going to take a giant leap into the future.” The Biden Administration is still negotiating the size of the plan in order to get favorable passage through Congress.

[RALEIGH] Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson has decided not to join the race for the U.S. Senate to replace the outgoing incumbent Sen. Richard Burr. Robinson, a Black Republican who has taken the political world by storm with his meteoric rise in just two years, threatened to overshadow other Republican candidates for the U.S. Senate like former Gov. Pat McCrory and former Congressman Mark Walker.

                                       GEORGE FLOYD    DEREK CHAUVIN


By Cash Michaels
Contributing writer

With George Floyd being a native of Fayetteville; his sister, Bridget currently living in Hoke County; and Floyd family attorney Benjamin Crump hailing from Robeson County, there was no question that leaders here were both delighted, and encouraged by Tuesday’s dramatic verdict from Minnesota.
After over three weeks of testimony, a Minneapolis jury Tuesday took just ten hours over two days this week to find that former police officer Derek Chauvin guilty of one count of second-degree unintentional murder (which carries up to 40 years in prison), third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
Chauvin, who was led away in handcuffs, will be sentenced in a few weeks.
The unanimous decision by the 12 jurors of guilty on all three counts is a  sign,” said a spokesperson for the NC NAACP. “It is a sign that justice requires each of us to keep the faith.  George Floyd, a child of Fayetteville, N.C…..gave his life to send a sign all over the world, that the American system of justice can work.”
NC NAACP Pres. Ev. Dr. T. Anthony Spearman later added, “Justice itself was on trial and we watched a rarity occur. A courageous jury opposed the blue code, bad policing and refused to be intimidated by white supremacy. I pray the ripple effects of the verdict reached in Minnesota today reverberate across America in a consistent causal sequence that transforms all future verdicts. Let justice roll on like a river and let justice breathe.”
Rev. Spearman’s predecessor, Rev. Dr. William Barber, co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign, said I’m reaction, “Today's three guilty verdicts in the trial of Derek Chauvin are an important public act of accountability. But any verdict on a charge of less than first-degree murder -- a charge that Chauvin did not face -- is a sign that we still have work to do. Before the entire nation, fellow officers took the stand in this trial and testified that their colleague did not protect and serve but abused power and killed George Floyd. We must meet this public act of justice and accountability with federal legislation that will hold officers of the law accountable in every state, and we must continue to work in every community to shift public investment from over-policing poor, Black and brown communities to ensuring restorative justice and equity for all people."
From Capitol Hill, Congresswoman Alma Adams (D-NC-12) weighed in.
Justice was served today, and while that will not bring back George Floyd or the countless thousands lost to state-sanctioned violence, it means the millions of Americans struggling, fighting to breathe free are closer to living in a just, beloved community,” Adams said. “However, in spite of today’s verdict, our work continues. The Senate must pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act to ensure that no other father, mother, son, daughter, aunt, uncle, sister, brother or loved one again dies at the hands of the police without accountability. Without passing the bill that bears his name, true justice for George Floyd and countless other victims still remains to be served.”
Rep. Adams’s Democratic colleague, Rep. Kathy Manning (NC-6) of Greensboro, echoed the sentiment.
“George Floyd’s murder is a devastating tragedy that sparked a national movement, with millions of Americans demanding justice. George Floyd can never return home to his family and loved ones, so justice can never fully be done, but today’s guilty verdict is a measure of accountability,” Manning said in a statement.
“Next, the Senate must pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act to make meaningful changes to policing in America and to reaffirm that Black Lives Matter.”
And former NC Sen. Erica Smith, currently a Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate in 2022, also joined the many in voicing her support.
I’m thinking about the literal millions of Black men and women who've been murdered, who were lynched and slaughtered with disregard, and never had their day in court, let alone a just ruling,” said Smith in a statement. “I’m thankful for accountability and I'm still mourning the death of George Floyd. For him and his family, there can never be true justice.”
Remarks of praise for the Chauvin verdict also came from former Pres. Barack Obama, Pres. Joe Biden and Vice Pres. Kamala Harris, national NAACP President Derrick Coleman, and civil rights leaders Rev. Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson.
Editor’s note - next week , Winston-Salem a.ttorney Eric Ellison, younger brother of Keith Ellison, the Minnesota Attorney General who oversaw the prosecution of Derek Chauvin, gives his thoughts about the job his brother did.





By Cash Michaels

Contributing writer

Prominent civil rights attorney Irving Joyner has taken note of the deluge of proposed anti-transgender laws currently being considered by the NC General Assembly, and warns the many of them violate basic civil rights that all American citizens should abide by and respect.

I don’t know how anyone can think that our state or federal constitutions can allow the enactment of legislation which would deny medical appropriate health care and the right to participate in state sponsored activities based upon a person’s identification or suspicion of being a member of the LGBTQ community,” Joyner, chair of the NCNAACP Legal Redress Committee, said in a statement. 

One particularly egregious proposed law - Senate Bill 514 -  would prevent doctors from performing gender confirmation surgery on transgender patients under 21. The bill is controversial because it would classify adults between 18 and 21 as minors, the only state in the nation to do so.

Young people age 18 and over are normally, and legally, considered in North Carolina to be adults, able to join the military, vote, and even marry.

SB 514 would also force state employees to notify parents in writing if their children under 21 display “gender nonconformity” or expresses desires to be treated in a manner different from what their apparent gender at birth was.

That means school staffers and administrators would be under pressure to expose young people they feel are not behaving like their apparent genders.  

The bill - formally called the Youth Health Protection Act -  is sponsored by three Republican state senators, and one of at least over 192 anti-LGBTQ bills that have been filed across the country in GOP-majority state legislatures.

Here in North Carolina, the subject of legislating against gay, lesbian and transgender citizens- many of whom are Black - is particularly sensitive, given the episode of HB 2 - a controversial law passed by the Republican-led NC General Assembly which restricted public bathroom use by LGBTQ citizens.

Major corporations threatened not to do business in North Carolina as a result, and soon, after much pressure, lawmakers backed down and rescinded much of the law.

Attorney Irving Joyner, who has led many of the NC NAACP’s recent civil rights court battles, feels that NC Republican lawmakers may be heading down that slippery gender legal slope again.

No matter how one feels about the LGBTQ community, they are American citizens, Joyner says, and thus, they do have constitutional rights.

“These legislative proposals represent “garden variety” acts of discrimination which are being promoted as the unfortunate thinking of the people of North Carolina,” Atty Joyner says. “Even if this thinking exists, to act on it in this manner is forbidden by our constitutions and it is embarrassing that these measures are even being considered by members of the North Carolina General Assembly.”


                                                        REP. BROWN




By Cash Michaels

Contributing writer

Many African-Americans employed in the state of North Carolina are considered public employees, meaning they either work for the city, county or state as teachers, law enforcement, or office personnel.

But for many years, they’ve been denied the right to collectively bargain for wages and benefits like their counterparts in the private sector do.

There are lawmakers who want to change that.

Once again, a bill has been introduce in the NC General Assembly to permit collective bargaining by the over 600,000 public employees in North Carolina, and this time it’s sponsored by Rep. Terry M. Brown Jr. of (D - Mecklenburg).

The measure is HB 586 - Allow Public Employee Collective Bargaining, and has been referred to the House Rules, Calendar and Operations Committee, where previous bills of this nature have languished.

If passed and enacted by the legislature, the proposed bill would repeal “…the prohibition on public employee collective bargaining afford public employees the same rights as Private sector employees.”

It would also repeal Article 12 of Chapter 95 of the NC General Statutes, which mandates that any contracts between any “…city, town, county or other municipality [or agency of the state],” and any labor union, trade union, or labor organization as a bargaining agent for any public employees..., is hereby declared to be against the public policy of the State, illegal, unlawful, void and of no effect.”

It would also repeal a prohibition on strikes by public employees.

If passed, HB 586 would also amend North Carolina’s “right to work” policy.

This latest iteration of establishing public employee collective bargaining rights for North Carolina workers, however, is expected, once again, to be rejected by the Republican legislative majorities in both chambers of the state General Assembly.

In it’s simplest form, collective bargaining “…is a process of negotiation between employers and a group of employees aimed at agreements to regulate working salaries, working conditions, benefits, and other aspects of workers' compensation and rights for workers. The interests of the employees are commonly presented by representatives of a trade union to which the employees belong,” according to Wikipedia.

But in Southern states like North Carolina, historically, the interests of the employer have always superseded the interests of the workers. Thus, any kind of unionization of workers to assure a common standard in terms of wages, benefits and working conditions has always been frowned upon since the 1950s in North Carolina.

Republicans say defanging unions in North Carolina make it a more attractive state in which to do business.

 North Carolina General Statute 95-98 prohibits state and local governments from entering into collective bargaining agreements with their employers,” says UE local 150, the North Carolina Public Service Workers Union. “NCGA 95-98 was signed into law in 1959 by an all-white legislature during the time of Jim Crow segregation and major human rights violations in the United States. The NAACP has deemed NCGS 95-98 to be North Carolina’s last Jim Crow law.”

As a result, government worker wages are set by either the state legislature, or local governments. Employees are forced to lobby those bodies for their wages and benefits.

In 2019, when proponents introduced two bills in the General Assembly to bring about collective bargaining, they noted that public employees in other states with it received 10-13% better pay, and a narrowing of the racial and gender pay gaps.

Democratic lawmakers held a press conference to announce their intention of marshaling their measure through then, which ultimately failed. At press time, there has been no announcement from Rep. Brown or his co-sponsors as to why they feel this attempt to repeal North Carolina’s collective bargaining ban will be any different.


Monday, April 12, 2021


                                                                   RONNIE LONG




Contributing writer

After 44 long years in prison serving time for  a crime he didn’t commit, Ronnie Long finally got his freedom, and finally got his pardon of innocence.

What he didn’t get, he now says, is anywhere near the money the state of North Carolina owes him for wrongly depriving him of his freedom and liberty for those 44 years, and he wants the world to know it.

"North Carolina intentionally put me in the penitentiary and you tell me $750,000 is worth 44 years of my life? Long, 65, opined to  WCNC-TV recently.

It was 1976, when a then young Ronnie Long was convicted for allegedly raping a white woman in Concord, and sentenced to 80 years in prison. It wasn’t until August 2020 when local prosecutors determined that exculpatory evidence that proved Long was innocent had been covered up during his original trial, and he was finally released from prison.

Gov. Cooper gave Long a pardon of innocence in December.

By law, the state is obligated to compensate wrongly convicted people $50,000 for every year that they are wrongly incarcerated. However, that amount is capped at $750,000.

That means either Long was compensated for only 15 of the 44 years he spent in prison, or the state of North Carolina only compensated him just over $17,000 per year for the 44 it kept him behind bars.

Either way, neither Long nor his attorney like it.

"You took my 20s, my 30s, my 40s and my 50s and you still talking about this is worth that?" Long told USA TODAY. 

Long’s parents died while he was in prison, and he had no savings when he was convicted, his attorney, Jamie Law says.

"He entered prison healthy and left broken,” Lau said.”His ongoing financial security is the least he deserves after so much was taken over those 44 years.”

But that likely is not about to happen.

Readers will recall it is was 2012 when the surviving members of the Wilmington Ten were granted pardons of innocence by then-Gov. Beverly Perdue after over 40 years of falsely being charged with felonies stemming from the 1971 firebombing of a white-owned grocery store in Wilmington during racial unrest there.

The Ten were falsely convicted in 1972, and collectively sentenced to over 282 years in prison. Ultimately, none of them ever served their full sentences, but because the state of North Carolina never legally cleared them until 2012, all ten were still considered convicted felons for at least 40 years.

That meant while some were able to find small jobs, any hopes of meaningful careers were dashed because the felony convictions were still on their records for at least 40 years.

And when Gov. Perdue granted the pardons of innocence, the families of those Wilmington Ten members who were deceased were denied compensation for the many years that the state took from them.

Now, in the Ronnie Long case, the state’s legally instituted unfairness rears it’s head again.

“His life was stolen from him,” AshLeigh Long, Ronnie’s wife, told the News and Observer. “His parents are dead. Who knows what we would have done if he had those 44 years back.”

Attorney Law assures that he and his client are seeking to hold others responsible for Long’s false conviction and imprisonment accountable. ““whatever remedies are available for holding those responsible for his wrongful incarceration accountable, and to ensure that he is financially secure in the future.”

To say that Ronnie Long is bitter about the situation is an understatement.

I got a dead mother and father in the ground,” he said. “You tell me what’s fair.”


                                           REV. DR. WILLIAM BARBER





By Cash Michaels

Contributing writer

In 2013, when the Republican-led NC General Assembly passed massive legislation restricting voting rights, then-NC NAACP Pres. Rev. William Barber took to the streets in constant protest, and the courts to expose the injustice, and warn the rest of the nation than one day, it would face the same challenge.

Well that day, arguably, is here, as according to the Brennan Center for Justice, lawmakers in 47 out of 50 states in the nation have introduced 361 bills with restrictive voting provisions. 

Count North Carolina, once again, as one of them, as restrictive bills have already been filed in the legislature to deal with mail-in absentee balloting, mandating that Election Day be the deadline for mail-in ballots, and not allowing the state attorney general to enter into any legal agreements affecting the election process without the Republican House and Senate leadership approval.

Now add to that the trial that commenced this week over the constitutionality of the 2018 voter ID law, and the contention that the law was passed by the NC General Assembly to, once again, inhibit African-Americans’ right to vote.

Rev. Dr. Barber says in order to combat the ever-growing threat to voting rights nationally and in North Carolina today, the same strategy as in 2013 should be employed - exert pressure in the streets and in the courts.

NC was where much of this started in 2013 and we took them to task and created the formula for beating them,” Rev. Barber says. “There must be protest.  You can’t comply with the laws and give in.  You must build a interracial push back. You must do serious legal work and prove intentional racism you can’t just say it is you must prove that it is.   Corporate boycotts alone are not going to stop voter suppression. Because voter suppression  is not just about race it’s about control of the economic levers of our society. Dr King noted this at the end of the Selma to Montgomery March when he said, “ The threat of free exercise of the ballot by the Negro and white masses is what created a segregated society. This is what happened when the Negro and white masses of the South threatened to unite and build a great society, a society where greed and poverty would be done away with. The battle to suppress the vote and the battle to suppress labor rights has been the tactic used by the Southern white aristocracy to hold on to their money.”

Rev. Dr. Barber continued, “I suspect the GOP will try again in NC.  They know the demographics are such that they can’t win especially statewide at large in a fair election. They know the victories they have in the legislature are primarily due to bad redistributing maps.  So they have to try and we have to fight back in protest at the ballot box and in the courts.”




[KINSTON] Kinston police and city officials are investigating a disturbing video of one of their officers punching a Black man on the ground at least four times Monday evening in front of. Little Caesar’s restaurant. Local media report that employees inside called police when a man identified as David Bruton Jr., 36, began to make threats. Police caught Bruton as he tried to run outside, and held him down, while one officer is seen in a video punching him on the ground. Reportedly, Bruton suffers from mental illness and has had police encounters before. The local NAACP is demanding a full investigation.


[DURHAM] Local health clinics across the state are switching to the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines in the aftermath of reports that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine has caused some rare heart problems in some of its recipients. Earlier this week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned local clinics to stop administering the single-dose J&J vaccine “out of an abundance of caution” after reports of several women recipients experiencing serious blood-clot afterwards, with one of the women dying. Officials caution that the problem has happened very, very rarely, and should not dissuade anyone who hasn’t gotten their shot from getting one, especially given that there have been no reported problems with the Pfizer or modern two-shot vaccines.


[RALEIGH] A bill making daylight saving permanent in North Carolina is making it’s way through a House committee. If it makes it to the House floor and passes, it would bring North Carolina closer to joining 

fifteen other states in the nation that have passed laws or resolutions seeking to move clocks up one hour ahead permanently. Those laws can only go into effect if Congress approves.