Monday, August 30, 2021







By Cash Michaels

Contributing writer

U.S Rep. Alma Adams (D-NC-12) joined a letter last week written by 

Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07) to Congressional leadership criticizing the U.S. Supreme Court for recently voting to end eviction moratorium imposed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) at the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Many renters in North Carolina  as Rep. Adams noted in an adjoining statement, and across the nation, are being kicked out of their apartments because they are unable to pay their rents because of the pandemic since 2020, and the CDC imposed a moratorium to stop landlords. The U.S. Supreme Court effectively ended that eviction moratorium on August 27th, and now Congresswoman Pressley, along with Rep. Adams and several other congresspeople, have lobbied both U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to come up with a legislative solution that would extend the eviction moratorium, especially with the new COVID-19 Delta variant sweeping the nation.”

“I am disappointed in the Supreme Court’s decision because it willfully ignores the 6.4 million households across the country that are behind on rent,” said Congresswoman Alma Adams. “In my district, over 20,000 Mecklenburg County households are behind on rent - the highest number of households in the state of North Carolina.”

In North Carolina, counties with their own rental assistance programs not affected by the Supreme Court decision include Guilford, New Hanover, Buncombe and Mecklenburg. Renters behind in their payments are encouraged to contact their local agencies.

        Still, there are many North Carolina renters impacted by the U.S. Supreme Court decision.

        Adams' colleague, Rep. Pressley, further made the point.

The impending eviction crisis is a matter of public health and safety that demands an urgent legislative solution to prevent further harm and needless loss of human life,” wrote Pressley. “Allowing an eviction crisis to take hold will only erase the gains we’ve made and put our recovery further out of reach.”

Rep. Pressley continued, “Long before the pandemic, evictions have been a systemic form of violence that disproportionately impacted Black and brown communities, especially Black women. Following decades of stagnant wages, skyrocketing costs of housing, health care and education, these same communities continue to bear the unequal burden of the compounding health and economic crises. Data collected from the Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey shows that Black, Latino, Asian, and Indigenous households are more likely to report being behind on their rental payments.”

“Currently, nearly 600,00 seniors and nearly 20 percent of seniors and senior renters who are people of color are behind on rent,” Pressley noted. “What’s more, communities with lower vaccination rates and higher COVID-19 cases tend to be the same as those with renters at heightened risk of eviction without an eviction moratorium.”

Rep. Pressley concluded, “If we do not act, this will undoubtedly lead to the increased spread of COVID-19, more deaths, and community wide trauma. We implore you to act with the urgency this moment demands and include an ambitious legislative solution to extend the eviction moratorium in a must-pass legislative vehicle.” 







By Cash Michaels

Contributing writer 

The Democratic leader of the NC Senate has blasted Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson’s Task Force on Accountability in the Classroom Report as displaying “anger and intolerance in the hearts of the people that submitted comments to the Task Force.”

Senate Democratic Leader Dan Blue offered that assessment shortly before House Bill 324, the measure that would outlaw so-called racial indoctrination by teachers in North Carolina public schools, was passed last week in the state Senate by the Republican majority.

The bill was then sent back to the North Carolina House where Senate changes were reviewed and passed on Wednesday. The NC House had previously passed its own version of the “anti-critical race theory” bill before sending it on to the Senate.

Most observers expect Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat, to veto the final version ratified by the NC General Assembly..

Still, prior to the measure’s Senate passage last week, Lt. Gov. Robinson, a black Republican, held a press conference touting public submissions to his task force, alleging racial indoctrination by NC teachers.

Robinson alleged that the task force received “500+” submissions of “fear of retaliation, the sexualization of kids, critical race theory (CRT), white shaming, biased news media/or lesson plans, and shaming of certain political beliefs.”

Robinson posted two pages for his task force report on Facebook highlighting some of the comments submitted complaining about alleged “indoctrination” by teachers.

“These are only some of the submissions we received, but the evidence is clear, the Republican lieutenant governor wrote. There is no doubt that indoctrination is taking place in our children’s education, and this report proves just that,” Robinson wrote at the end of the report.

But some in the press, and now, Sen. Blue, who have seen the full report, counter Robinson’s characterization as mostly false, noting that of the hundreds of submissions, only a handful actually offer any evidence of what he’s been alleging.

What I also saw in that report were teachers trying their best to reach kids and to do their jobs under tremendous stress and difficult circumstances,” Sen. Blue wrote. “It sounds like those teachers were well intentioned. It sounds like some of the parents were well-intentioned too.”

“It seems that both sides — even the task force itself —need to educate themselves a little. New experiences, and new ideas are meant to challenge our perceptions. That’s learning,” Blue continued.

“While I see anger, and distrust in this task force report; I don’t see indoctrination. And I see Republicans trying to capitalize on that. Senate Leader, Phil Berger said that HB 324 is a response to the thousands of parents showing up at school board meetings.” 

“This is a case of selective hearing, as Republicans have turned a deaf ear to the thousands of educators and parents also calling for adequate funding of our schools,” Sen. Blue continued.

“I don’t see indoctrination in our classrooms.”

“I do see dilapidated buildings, overcrowded classrooms, outdated textbooks, teacher shortages, and underpaid staff.”

“And the unfulfilled court order in the Leandro case to fund our public schools so that every child can have a sound basic education, regardless of their zip code.”

Sen. Blue continued, “Republicans haven’t uncovered indoctrination in our schools.What they have done with this bill is distract the public, and ourselves, from the real work that we should be doing to improve our public schools.”




[WILMINGTON] 28.2% of Wilmington’s communities of color, and 26.9% of its children, live in poverty, according to Self, an online credit building company. Overall, 20.3% of Wilmington’s total population live in poverty, or 24, 076. 9,877 people of color live below the poverty level, and  5,791 children overall are considered poor. Self used the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey to determine these figures.


[WILMINGTON] A New Hanover High School student was shot Monday, but authorities say his injuries were not life threatening and he is expected to make a recovery. Chance Diablo, 15, is charged with bringing a weapon onto school grounds, assault with a deadly weapon, discharging a weapon on school grounds, assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill or inflict serious injury and attempted 1st degree murder. He initially ran away from the scene, but was later captured.


[MACON COUNTY] Conservative Republican Congressman Madison Cawthorne told a gathering last Sunday that future elections could bring “bloodshed” as he maintained that the Nov. 2020 presidential elections were fraudulent. “As much as I am willing to defend our liberty at all costs, there's nothing that I would dread doing more than having to pick up arms against a fellow American. And the way that we can have recourse against that is if we all passionately demand that we have election security in all 50 states,” a since deleted video showed Cawthorne telling the Macon County Republican Party during an event last Sunday. Cawthorne also stated that he was “actively working” to plan another rally at the U.S. Capitol in Washington.


Sunday, August 22, 2021



                                                               REV. JESSE JACKSON


                                                    TEXAS LT. GOV. DAN PATRICK



By Cash Michaels

Contributing writer

As of August 15th, blacks comprised 22% (201,614) of all known COVID-19 cases in North Carolina, compared to whites, who were reportedly 61% (565,444) of all coronavirus cases across our state, according to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.

So here in the Old North State - where Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat, strongly encourages citizens to wear protective masks - there’s little evidence that African-Americans are the drivers of the new surge in COVID - 19 cases, especially with the more contagious Delta variant being a prominent factor.

That doesn’t mean that unvaccinated blacks are out of the woods, but only that they, like other population groups, are still subject to infection, especially if unvaccinated.

Indeed, in 46 states, the rates of new COVID-19 cases are higher than in previous weeks, according to John Hopkins University.

And yet, there are Republican politicians who are more than willing to blame African-Americans for any rise in coronavirus cases.

“When I looked at that drone view of [Los Angeles], where it was almost a mile-long shoulder-to-shoulder of people and they’re expressing, they’re vocal ... and now we’re finding that’s the easiest way to transmit to one another, the long periods of time next to one another,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy told CNBC last year after a massive Black Lives Matter California protest of the George Floyd killing.

Later research proved McCarthy to be wrong in his assertion.

In July 2020, then Pres. Donald Trump blamed black and brown people for a rise in cases in the nation’s Sun Belt.

“There are likely a number of causes for the spike in infections,” he said. “Cases started to rise among young Americans shortly after demonstrations, which you know very well about, “ Trump said after the BLM demonstrations. “We’re also sharing a 2,000-mile border with Mexico, as we know very well, and cases are surging in Mexico, unfortunately.”

Again, there was no subsequent supporting evidence.

Fast forward to just last week, when the political racial COVID-19 accusations continued.

“The biggest group in most states are African Americans who have not been vaccinated,” Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, a Republican, falsely told Laura Ingraham on Fox News August 19th, attempting to explain the Lone Star state’s recent dramatic surge in coronavirus cases. “The last time I checked, over  90 percent of them vote for Democrats in their major cities and major counties, so it's up to the Democrats to get, just as it's up to Republicans to try to get, as many people vaccinated."

However, according to the Texas Dept. of State Health Services, blacks there comprise 16.4% of coronavirus cases, as opposed to whites accounting for 34.9%, and Hispanics at 35.8%. 

Blacks may be among the significantly unvaccinated in Texas, but they are not the highest, as lt. Gov. Patrick contends.“There are likely a number of causes for the spike in infections. Cases started to rise among young Americans shortly after demonstrations, which you know very well about.”

He went on, “We’re also sharing a 2,000-mile border with Mexico, as we know very well, and cases are surging in Mexico, unfortunately.”

Plus, U.S. Census figures from July show white unvaccinated Texans outnumber black unvaccinated three to one.

Only 44% of Texans have been fully vaccinated, even in the midst of Gov. Gregg Abbott’s ban on mask wearing. And according to The Texas Tribune, unvaccinated status is higher among white Republicans  in the state than African-Americans.

Despite the political, and some say “racist” and inaccurate remarks about blacks comprising most new COVID-19 cases by Republican politicians, the fact remains that those who remain unvaccinated in the African-American community run the risk of becoming infected, and suffering dearly for it.

The unvaccinated point to recent news that civil rights leader Rev. Jesse Jackson, 79,  and his wife, Jacqueline, 77, reportedly having contracted COVID-19 despite having been vaccinated. They have been hospitalized. 

But most doctors agree that contracting COVID-19 while vaccinated minimizes the most severe affects of the virus, unless there are other mitigating factors compromising one’s immune system.





By Cash Michaels

Contributing writer

The North Carolina State House last week voted to make changes to the state’s controversial police video cam and dash cam law, but did little to make police videos of alleged brutality incidents more readily available to the public.

The changes are part of the large Senate Bill 300, which passed in the state Senate in May, and having been debated, modified and passed in the House last week.

The modified bill awaits passage by the Senate.

If it becomes law, police body cam video footage would still classified as not be part of the public record, or personnel record.

In order for  part or the entire video to be disclosed to a family member, or NC licensed attorney representing the family of a police brutality victim, a notarized form has to be submitted to the health of the law enforcement agency involved. And then, only by order of a court could it be disclosed.

However, the person to whom the video is disclosed to shall not record or copy the video, the proposed law says. And the relevant portion regarding either death or injury shall not be edited or redacted.

No more than three business days after the law enforcement agency has received the notarized request form, it should file a petition in a superior court where the video was made for its release to the family member or authorized representative.

The superior court has seven business days to issue an order of disclosure.

The law would become effective December 1st of this year.


                                                                  DENNIS GADDY

                                                   REV. DR. T. ANTHONY SPEARMAN



By Cash Michaels

Contributing writer

It was an elated Rev. Dr. T. Anthony Spearman who shared the news in a statement Monday about a major voting rights court victory:

         “A three-judge Superior Court panel modified its preliminary injunction today in CSI v. Moore, the lawsuit challenging North Carolina’s disenfranchisement of people living in communities across the State on felony probation, parole, or post-release supervision,” Rev. Spearman said. 

“Today’s ruling allows all North Carolinians on community supervision for felony convictions to begin to register to vote and vote in North Carolina elections immediately,” he continued. “During the trial last week, plaintiffs argued that the law discriminates against Black people in both its historical intent and its effect today, excluding them from full participation in our democracy. This ruling represents the largest expansion of voting rights in North Carolina since the Voting Rights Act of 1965 -- restoring voting rights to over 56,000 North Carolinians living in communities across the state.”

The immediate reaction was overwhelming from social justice advocates, especially in the Black community.

This is an outstanding victory for those individuals, all citizens and mostly African Americans and other racial minorities, who have been prevented from voting for decades as a result of  an unconstitutional application of the law,” remarked Atty Irv Joyner, chairman of the nc NAACP’s Legal Redress Committee. 

‘The racial impact to this voter suppression is obvious and now, a significant segment of our population has been empowered to begin a full-measure of political participation.”

  Atty. Joyner continued, “I expect the State to appeal this decision, but pray that they decide not to do so. North Carolina ought to be a state where we can have pride in the fact that all of our citizens can vote and fully participate in the political franchise.”

As a former felon, Dennis Gaddy, the founder and executive director of Community Success Initiative, a nonprofit program for the formerly incarcerated and plaintiff in the case, shared what it felt like not to have the right to vote, not to have a voice at the ballot box when he sorely wanted one.

Fifty-six thousand people are now reinfranchised...where they will have a vote, and a say in their own lives,” Gaddy told reporters during a Zoom press conference Monday, later adding that at least 22,000 more former felons are expected to be released in the coming year, and will have the right to vote the moment the moment that they are released.

Gaddy went on to tell how after his release in 2005, he was unable to vote for seven years because he was on probation, meaning he was legally prohibited from voting for the nation’s first Black president, Barack Obama, in 2008.

“I…was…devastated,” Gaddy expressed, noting that from this day forth, CSI can counsel its formerly incarcerated clients that they automatically have the right to vote if they choose to exercise it.

Diana Powell, executive director of Justice Served, another Raleigh-based nonprofit community advocate, was also elated.

“I’m just so excited…can’t wait to start spreading the good news, that history has been made in North Carolina,” Ms. Powell said smiling.




[RALEIGH] Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson released a report Tuesday claiming that some educator “are abusing” their positions by indoctrinating students with ideas derived from critical race theory. The report comes months after the black Republican formed a task force on the issue, and the state Senate is moving forward in passing a law, HB 324, against the teaching of critical race theory in North Carolina public schools. Democrats are confident that if the anti-CRT law is passed, Gov. Roy Cooper would veto it.


[CHICAGO] NC A&T alumnus Rev. Jesse Jackson says that he’s  doing “fairly well” in a Chicago hospital after it was reported earlier this week that the 79-year-old civil rights leaders contracted a breakthrough coronavirus infection, even after being fully vaccinated in January.

Reports say that Jacqueline Jackson, 77, who is also hospitalized separately. had not been vaccinated. She reportedly is on oxygen. Family members say she didn’t get the shot because of a preexisting condition, though they would not disclose what it is. Most doctors say people with diabetes, cancer or high blood pressure should get the COVID-19 shot.


The U.S House on Tuesday passed the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, though its future in the U.S. Senate isn’t assured. Congressman G. K. Butterfield (D-NC-1), who voted for it, issued the following statement, in part - “Today, the House joins those generations of Americans who fought to secure a Voting Rights Act that protects the fundamental right to vote for all Americans.  H.R. 4’s new preclearance formula will restore the heart of the Voting Rights Act, protect standards for voting access, and make the promise of democracy real for us all.”



Sunday, August 15, 2021



                                                        SEN. BEN CLARK (CUMBERLAND)



By Cash Michaels

Contributing writer

Now that results from the 2020 U.S. Census are in, redistricting committees in the NC General Assembly have once again begun the process of redrawing the district population lines for the next decade to determine voting strength throughout North Carolina for local, legislative and congressional elections.

Dramatic changes are already in the offing, as North Carolina’s 13 congressional districts will be redrawn to make room for a 14th, especially since eleven of the current 13 are overpopulated beyond the required 746, 711.

One of the most overpopulated voting districts is the 12th in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg area, and is represented by Congresswoman Alma Adams (D-NC) at 899, 779, one of only two black congresspeople from North Carolina.

Ironically, the population count in the other black congressional district, the 1st, is short by 59,355. That district is represented by G. K. Butterfield.

North Carolina’s population in the past ten years has grown 9.5%, especially in the six county areas surrounding Raleigh and Charlotte respectively.

North Carolina currently has eight Republican congresspeople, and five Democrats. 

The use of past election results and party registration is disallowed, according to the new rules governing the process, as is any information about the racial composition of a proposed voting district.

That’s a problem towards not constituting the districts fairly, say black lawmakers like state Sen. Dan Blue (D-Wake) and state Sen. Ben Clark of Fayetteville. Concerned about complying with the 1965 Voting Rights Act, and its mandate to not dilute black voting rights, Democrats proposed guidelines for the use of black population data per the districts, but were essentially shot down by the GOP majority.

Since 2011, Republicans have been in the control of both Houses of the legislature, and thus, have been in control of the redistricting process.  As a result, the fruit of their efforts - namely  racially and partisan gerrymandering voting district maps - have been challenged in state and federal courts, with the majority of rulings catching the GOP trying to gain unconstitutional advantage more times than not by rigging the racial voting numbers.

Democrats maintain that the courts have ruled out the use of race as the primary factor in redrawing voting districts, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be a factor.

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled in the past that while racial gerrymandering - or “stacking and packing” blacks into  districts - but unconstitutional, partisan gerrymandering is not. Democrats, not trusting their Republican colleagues,  are challenging their GOP colleagues on every aspect of developing the process now, in order to get the best outcome of what normally turns out to be a one-sided affair where the ruling party (Republicans) use redistricting to gain even more political advantage for the next ten years, and ultimately, retain power.

Republicans, however, now vow to change that behavior.

“North Carolina has been the epicenter of redistricting lawsuits for decades,” said Sen. Warren Daniel, R-Burke,  co-chair of the Senate Redistricting Committee, in a statement. “It’s time to put the last 30 years of litigation behind us and begin a new era of nonpartisan map drawing.”

Even though Republicans rejected Democratic recommendations about the rules for drawing the maps, they insisted that the process will be “transparent,” as maps will be drawn out in the open during committee sessions with a video camera streaming the process for the state snd world to see. 

The deep concern among Democrats is that Republicans across the nation are well-positioned with redistricting to takeover the majority in the U.S. House during the 2022 midterm elections.

North Carolina is considered one of the key states to watch in that GOP effort.



                                           DANIEL GREEN                     JAMES JORDAN




By Cash Michaels

Contributing writer

The president of the NC NAACP believes that the convicted killer of James Jordan, father of NBA basketball legend and Wilmington native Michael Jordan, may, in fact, be innocent, and is supporting a filed petition for an evidentiary review by the NC Court of Appeals in order to secure a new trial.

Rev. Dr. T. Anthony Spearman, president of the civil rights group, says he’s convinced that Daniel Green - convicted in 1996 for the July 1993 murder of the elder Jordan -  did not get a fair trial.

Green, who has been in prison for the past 28 years serving life plus ten years, confessed to helping dispose of the body of James Jordan in a South Carolina river in July 1993, but has always denied fatally shooting Jordan, even though police said they found the alleged murder weapon, and the NBA championship ring that Michael Jordan gave to his father at the home where then 18-year-old Green lived in Lumberton.

A subsequent look at the evidence in the Green case has raised serious questions about his conviction, like the lack of blood evidence in the car that Jordan was supposedly shot in, or linkage between the .38 caliber gun found, and the bullet that killed Jordan.

Both pieces of evidence were inconclusive. Green was primarily convicted by the testimony of his childhood friend, codefendant Larry Demery. 

Demery, who was also convicted for the Jordan murder,  reportedly now says that Green was not the one who pulled the trigger.

Green and his attorney Chris Mumma, executive director of the North Carolina Center on Actual Innocence, filed his latest appeal with the court on July 30th. 

“I’m hopeful about the appeal,” Green told WRAL-TV, which produced  a documentary titled Moment of Truth questioning the original 1993 investigation that charged Green, and the subsequent trial that convicted and sentenced him.

The Raleigh television station also produced an accompanying podcast titled Follow the Truth about the case. 

It was upon viewing the documentary, and then speaking to people he knew about the Green case, that NC NAACP Pres. Spearman decided to publicly get behind the effort to help Daniel Green petition for an evidentiary appellate hearing, in hopes of securing a new trial.

“The NC NAACP has closely monitored developments in Mr. Green’s case, and supports his efforts to obtain an evidentiary hearing to review the issues raised in his petition,” Rev. Dr. Spearman said. “These claims, and the lower courts’ failure to to review them have seriously undermined public confidence in the investigation  that identified Mr. Green as the person who shot Mr. Jordan.”

Spearman added, “…the circumstances surrounding [Green’s}conviction are concerning - eve bizarre - and warrant a closer look. The NC NAACP supports Daniel Green’s efforts to seek appellate review of this most recent order denying him an evidentiary hearing.”



[RALEIGH] Citing that his four-year-old trespassing conviction violated his First Amendment rights, Rev. Dr. William Barber, co-chair of the national Poor People’s Campaign and former president of the NC NAACP, went before the NC Court of Appeals last week, along with his attorney,  defending his right to protest when he led a 2017 demonstration on the NC General Assembly. Rev. Barber was indicted in May 2018.


[WILMINGTON] Reportedly, North Carolina is one of only seven states in the nation that doesn’t fingerprint school staff in order to determine which may have a history of sexually abusing minors. That may change now in NHC Public Schools as it is reportedly working with the NHC Sheriff’s Dept. to implement the process. NHC Public Schools already doe background checks on staff and teachers.


[GREENSBORO]  Even though North Carolina’s licensor’s ed teachers’ shortage remarkably held stable during the year-long pandemic, the state still has a shortfall of educators, primarily because of low pay and lack respect, they say. The shortage is particularly bad in the state’s rural areas, where school systems aren’t able to afford the signing bonuses and supplements the larger urban systems can.


Monday, August 9, 2021


                                                       LT. GOV. MARK ROBINSON



By Cash Michaels

Contributing writer

It is rare, but on this issue, North Carolina Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson, a Republican, is on the opposite side of several of his party’s top leadership.

Saying that “individual liberty” is how North Carolinians should navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, Robinson, during his August 2nd weekly videoed “Monday Monologue”  on Facebook,  and in earlier public appearances, maintained that “it should be left up to individuals if they want to wear masks,” or receive the COVID-19 vaccines.

“It is not my job, as an elected official, to convince anyone to take the  vaccine, coerce anyone to take the vaccine, or dissuade anyone from taking the vaccine,” he said.

Robinson’s controversial remarks are in direct contradiction to the efforts of Gov. Roy Cooper and state health officials to convince as many of the unvaccinated as possible to “get the shot” in an effort to stem further spread of the new Delta variant amongst those who have chosen not to be vaccinated.

The black Republican lt. governor then virtually capped his remarks by saying that his only role is to provide the necessary information about the vaccine to North Carolinians ‘…to make that informed decision, along with your health care provider, and then make sure that if you want the vaccine, you can get the vaccine…”

Robinson won plenty of plaudits and kudos from Facebook followers of his video post. But what they didn’t hear there is what he told the conservative Wake County Taxpayers Association during their July 29th monthly meeting at NC State’s McKimmon Center in Raleigh, where Robinson indeed tried to dissuade the audience from considering taking the vaccine, telling them he’s spoken with medical personnel who are against it.

“I know cardiologists, neurologists, …I know podiatrists, I know urologists…none of them want the vaccine” a video of Robinson’s remarks show him saying. 

“The highest ranking Republican in North Carolina state government is irresponsibly endangering human lives and needs to stop,” wrote columnist Rob Schofield in the August 6th edition of NC Policywatch about Robinson’s hypocritical remarks..

What really riled the black conservative’s critics was his declaration that any elected official who pushes people “…to take the vaccine, should be voted out of office! “It is not your job to convince anybody to take that vaccine. That’s not your job!,” he added.

Lt. Gov. Robinson’s admonishment to fellow elected officials that “It’s not your job to convince anybody to take that [COVD-19] vaccine” flies in the face of documented , and disturbing numbers showing that North Carolina’s coronavirus virus cases are dramatically going back up, primarily in counties across the state that are the least vaccinated.

His remarks also fly in the face of top Republicans in the state, and the nation, who have recently been urging their constituencies to get the shot to be better protected against serious coronavirus infection, and possibly death.

“As you know, the Delta variant of COVID-19 is more contagious than earlier strains, and it’s important to make sure we all take care of ourselves and others,” U.S Sen.Thom Tillis (R-NC) said in an August 2nd statement.

“If you have any questions or concerns, please talk with your doctor about the vaccine….It is safe and effective, and our best tool at beating this virus.”

Indeed, Sen. Tillis, himself, contracted the coronavirus last last year.

        Unlike his former state House colleague, Republican NC House Speaker Tim Moore straddled the fence in his recommendation.

“I have personally been vaccinated against COVID-19, and I have done my best to help educate the public and urge others to get vaccinated if they choose to do so,” Moore said in a July 27th Facebook post. “But at the end of the day, the decision whether or not to vaccinate is a personal one and should be made between a doctor and patient.”

Powerful Republican U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina is reportedly battling a coronavirus infection right now, and has said he is lucky to have taken the vaccine before he did, and urges former President Donald Trump  to push more of his followers to get the shot, like he did in January before leaving office.

Trump infamously contracted the virus late last year, and received special treatment from government doctors to overcome the illness.

On the flip side, there are still Republican leaders who side with Lt. Robinson in sowing doubt about the vital need for the COVID-19 vaccines and protection, to stem the growing spread.

State Senate President Pro tem Phil Berger, also a Republican, in a recent campaign letter, told supporters that guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on the continued wearing of protwctivw masks was “guidance to ignore,” because all it boiled down to was a way for White House Chief Medical Advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci, the media and liberals “to control the American people.”

A spokesman for Sen. Berger later tried to clean up  his inflammatory language.

And then there is Congressman Madison Cawthorn (R-NC-11), who spoke at a recent Buncombe County School Board meeting, telling officials there that “forcing our children to wear a mask is nothing short of psychological child abuse… period.”

Cawthorne made his remarks after the board voted to require students and school staffs to wear protective masks during the upcoming school year.

Fact is, a recent national poll by Monmouth University shows that  31% of self-identified Republicans say they “will likely never get vaccinated  against COVID-19,” despite growing evidence that the new Delta variant is more dangerous.

In recent weeks local schools boards, depending on the level of vaccinations in their respective county, either have mandated masks for students and personnel for the upcoming school year, or not. Many local governments have mandated protective masks for anyone entering their government buildings.

Many large businesses have also required not only masks again for customers to enter, but some are leaning towards people showing proof of vaccination as well, something civil libertarians cringe at.

And amid a recent protest in Raleigh by over 100 health care workers last week, over fifty Republican state House lawmakers, in a letter to the CEOs of major health care systems across North Carolina like Novant Health and Atrium Health, asked that they reconsider their respective decisions to require all employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 infection “in order to keep their jobs.”

In his recent remarks, Lt. Gov. Robinson made it clear that he was against vaccination mandates, regardless of the stated goals of Gov. Roy Cooper and other state officials to lower North Carolina’s growing rate of infection. The fact that he is actively working against the best efforts of the state government to save lives that he was elected to serve, is alarming many. 



                                          STATE SEN. JOHN TORBETT [R-GASTON]



By Cash Michaels

Contributing writer

Is House Bill 324, the “Ensuring Dignity and Nondiscrimination [in] Schools” Act, better known as the “anti-Critical Race Theory” bill, really about protecting students from “radical” racial distortions of American history, and preventing “an individual solely by virtue of his or her race or sex, [from feeling] discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress” from what they learn or discuss?

Or is the measure really a Republican attempt to officially rewrite American and North Carolina history so that the truth about slavery; the ’60’s civil rights movement; the Wilmington 1898 Race Massacre, and even, eventually, the January 6th siege of the U.S. Capitol, be whitewashed and covered up?

Several students, teachers and state lawmakers took part in last Friday’s special statewide webinar, Digging Deeper: A Conversation on the Impact of HB 324 on Students, Educators and Classrooms.

  Sponsored by the nonpartisan Public Schools Forum of NC, the 90-minute virtual discussion focused on the controversial bill that is currently being debated in the NC General Assembly, and it’s ramifications if passed.

Participants offered their perspectives, and for the most part, made it clear that restricting what social studies and literature teachers can instruct about fact-based American history, in addition to openly and freely discussing that knowledge, only hurts students, not “protect” them.

KaLa Keaton, is an 18-year-old African-American student who graduated from Wake County’s Middle Creek High School in June, and will be attending Yale University in the fall.

She said that thanks to her African-American Literature class instructor, Mr. Matthew Scialdone, she not only learned about North Carolina’s history of lynching - a word she said she’d never heard in prior classes, despite North Carolina being one of the top 12 states in the country for it - the state’s eugenics program, the Wilmington 1898 Race Massacre and other important episodes of state history, but was intrigued enough to followup on her own, and learn more.

That junior year class was optional, she noted, but she considers it “essential” learning.

“I learned historical points in those classes I never heard in other classrooms,” Ms. Keaton continued. “The point of these classes and culturally responsive curricula is not to sit and wallow in oppression, struggle and negative energy, and then we’re off to second period math.”

“There was never a day when I felt the weight of the world was on my shoulders,” concluded Keaton, who added tat as a result, activism has become a critical part of her life because what she learned was “solution-oriented.”

In other words, having been taught that history usually repeats itself, Ms. Keaton believes knowing the problems and conflicts of history better, helps to make sure that those problems and conflicts are better addressed in the future before they manifest themselves.

Keaton later shared  the experience of being the target of racism as sometime the only black student in her predominately white classes, and wondered why no one ever thought to pass a law to protect students like her from the hurtful racism that she faced.

Abby Rogers, another former Middle Creek High School who will be attending UNC at Chapel Hill in the fall, talked about the value of being a white student who took an African-American history class, being in the minority in the class, and “…being allowed to understand perspectives that I otherwise would never have been exposed to."

Matthew Scialdone, KaLa Keaton’s teacher from Middle Creek High, made the point that if students of color are experiencing racism in the classroom, then white students are certainly emotionally strong enough learn about it, and why it happens.

“The concept that discomfort should be removed from the educational process, to me, that is the moment where the most educational growth happens,” Scialdone, a white teacher who has ben in the classroom for twenty years, said, dispelling the stated Republican belief that white students would be emotionally crushed learning the truth about this nation’ racial history.

Rodney Pierce, a Black social studies teacher from Nash County, offered that if HB 324 is passed, then it might become against the law for him to share actual historical documents with his students where white leaders spoke out against the rights of “the negro,” let alone lead movements against them.

Pierce explained that such historical documents and speeches are key to understanding what prompted the Civil War, or the Confederacy.

HB324 did have at least one defender doing the webinar.

        State Sen. John Torbett (R-Gaston County), a primary sponsor of the bill on the Senate side, said “…I support almost everything I’m hearing.”

Sen. Torbett, who is actually from Tennessee,  added that contrary to the problem teacher Rodney Pierce presented, the bill would not prohibit the use of historical documents or quotes  in the classroom that deal with racial statements made by historical figures.

“Don’t read past the language of the law,” Torbett cautioned. “We’re simply [against] promoting things the are bad for the future of the state and the future this country,” Torbett said, later adding that he had no problem teaching about the bad things of the past, as long as the good things were also taught.

Thus, Torbett said, he had no problem with school children learning about the 1961 Greensboro lunch counter sit-ins, remarking that the closer that history was for students to learn about, the better.

Critics note that HB324 is so broadly written, that if white parents wanted to challenge a teacher for focusing on the issues surrounding the Greensboro sit-ins, they could legally do so if they felt their children were negatively affected by that instruction and subsequent discussion.

Editor’s Note - You can view view video of the webinar at

KaLa Keaton, one of the students who took part in the Public Forum NC webinar , is related to the writer of this article.




[WILMINGTON] UNC at Wilmington will begin weekly testing of all unvaccinated students, faculty and staff for COVID-19 starting August 23rd. Chancellor Jose Santatelli made announcement Tuesday via a release from his office. With classes scheduled to begin August 18th, failure to comply will result in loss of on-campus housing.


[WILMINGTON] New Hanover County employees have until Sept 1st to verify their COVID-19 vaccination status through the county health clinic by Sept. 1st. All unvaccinated NHC employees will be required to be tested once a week at no cost to them. New county hires will be required to be vaccinated, except for those with federally-approved medical or religious exemptions.


[RALEIGH] What a difference $100.00 makes, especially to the unvaccinated in North Carolina. According to published reports, ever since Gov. Roy Cooper announced that in an effort to stem the surge of COVID-19 cases among the unvaccinated in the state, the amount of money offered by the state would increase from $25 to $100, there has been a 269% increase in the number of $100 page load incentives per the month of July.