REP. ALMA ADAMS
AS CONGRESS DOES NOTHING
REP. ADAMS SPEAKS OUT ON
GUN VIOLENCE ACROSS NATION
By Cash Michaels
On April 18th, Rep. Alma Adams (D-NC-12) decided that she’d seen enough.
The four-term North Carolina congresswoman took to the U.S. House floor, and unloaded her frustration with the inaction of her legislative colleagues not doing more to quell the tide of indiscriminate gun violence sweeping the nation.
“Today I rise because too often in our schools the sound of students talking and lockers clanking in hallways is giving way to silence, and violence. Today I rise because desks that should be covered in gum are too often covered in blood: the blood of students and their teachers,”Adams said grimly.
Adams then shared how three Democrats of the Tennessee House, wanted to bring attention to the need to do more about gun violence after the March 27th shooting massacre at a Nashville, Tenn. church school that left three children and three adults murdered.
“From the floor of the TN House, they led the public gallery in chants of “no more silence”, “we have to do better”, and “gun reform now,” Rep. Adams said. “Tennessee Republicans were so afraid of this message that they expelled Justin Jones and Justin Pearson, the two Black representatives, for their actions.”
Noting that since the Nashville massacre, “…over 900 additional people were killed by gun violence in our country… .” Adams then expressed further outrage and disgust.
“It makes me sick,” she continued. “It makes me livid that we continue to accept the status quo. That we are comfortable living in a country where at any time, our friends, family, and neighbors, even our children and our grandchildren, can die a horrible death because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time where the wrong person had a gun.”
Without question, Rep. Adams was expressing the deep-felt thoughts and views of many Americans, let alone many North Carolinians, who wince every time they hear of yet another incident of firearm abuse.
And yet, there is little happening to give Rep. Adams and her minions hope.
Just a few weeks before her Congressional remarks, the North Carolina legislature was able to override Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto, and allow the legal purchase of a pistol in the state without a permit.
On March 26th, a 27-year-old man was arrested at NC A&T University in Greensboro with more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition, two handguns, two shotguns, a rifle, a crossbow, a machete, hatchets, a stun gun, brass knuckles, and a blow dart gun,
Two days after Adams remarks, a six-year-old girl and her parents were shot by a neighbor when her basketball rolled into his yard.
In incidents outside of the state, an 84-year-old white Missouri homeowner is facing two felony charges after shooting a black teen who rang his doorbell by mistake looking to pickup his younger twin brothers.
Meanwhile, a teenage girl was fatally shot by a 65-year-old homeowner after the car she was a passenger in mistakenly drove into the wrong driveway in upstate New York.
In the Texas town of Elgin, four cheerleaders stopped at a supermarket around midnight on April 18th, when one of them mistakenly tried to get into the wrong car. An armed man inside got out and fire his weapon five times, striking two of the girls.
On April 12th, a teenage pool party in Goldsboro ended when a 15-year-old girl was fatally shot.
And last Saturday night at Winston-Salem’s Happy Hill Park, a 21-year-old woman was killed and four others were injured after police say several people opened fire at a party of at least 200.
As shocking as these incidents are, observers say expect more of them.
In spite of North Carolina’s new law, “The number of both state and national instant criminal background checks – required before one can purchase a gun and a rough indicator of how many people are either purchasing or possibly being issued a gun permit – surged during the pandemic from under 30 million to nearly 40 million, according to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System,” reports CNN.
According to the Pew Research Center, in 2020, the most recent year when figures are available, 45,222 people died from gun-related injuries in the U.S., with suicides accounting for more than half of U.S. gun deaths.
Four-in-ten U.S. adults say they live in a household with a gun. Three-in-ten say they personally own a firearm.
Whites are more likely to own a gun than blacks or Hispanics. Men more likely than women. And conservatives more likely than liberals.
It is a hot political issue where Republicans cite rising crime rates to justify staying hands-off of any gun control reforms, even off of assault weapons.
Top Democrats, like Vice Pres. Kamala Harris, disagree, saying there is “…no reason for assault weapons to be available for anyone to buy.”
She added that when she visits schools across the country, young students tell her they’re being taught how to hide from a gunman, and they prefer certain classrooms because they have closets for them to hide in if needed.
“We will be judged if we don’t act,” Rep. Alma Adams warned her congressional colleagues during her April 18th remarks at the Capitol. “Not only by history, not only by our God, but by our children who will inherit our country with this metastasized gun cancer still attached.”
“I am a Christian, and as someone who knows and reads and lives Scripture, I can tell you, beyond a doubt, that the AR-15, the assault rifle, is the Golden Calf of Washington, D.C.,” Adams continued. “Too many people in the People’s House worship this idol and treat it with reverence; however, just like in Scripture, if we continue to worship this idol, the result will be physical and spiritual death.”
"No more silence!" Rep. Adams chided. "We have to do better!"
ATTEMPT TO SLIP ANTI-BLACK
HISTORY CURRICULUM INTO
By Cash Michaels
This is how what should have been nothing more than an innocent local bill in the Republican-led NC House, purported to change “the manner in which appointments are made to the Washington-Warren Airport Authority…,” almost became a backdoor, surreptious way to introduce an anti-black history social studies lesson plan into a school system’s curriculum without even that local school board knowing it.
The attempt to pull this off was ultimately aborted, but it shows how the current focus of the conservative right-wing isn’t just how to outlaw the proper and accurate teaching of American and North Carolina racial history in the state’s classrooms, but also begin to replace it .
And now that Republicans can override Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto, there’s nothing to stop them from mandating this sanitized social studies curriculum for every school across the state, observers warn.
In an April 20th, 2023 story by Greg Childress in NC Newsline, he reported how the Beaufort County School Board was “surprised” by “a lawmaker’s attempt to authorize [their] use of a controversial social studies curriculum developed by conservative Hillsdale College in Michigan…”
Beaufort County Schools Supt. Matthew Cheeseman told how he had received a call April 19th “…alerting him that the provision was tucked inside House Bill 464…,” which originally dealt with changing how members of the Washington-Warren Airport Authority are appointed."
According to Cheeseman, the full Beaufort County School Board “…had never discussed it, never once voted on it, never once asked for it.”
A review of the history of the bill online shows it was filed March 23rd by Republican House Deputy Majority Whip Rep. Keith Kidwell, who represents Beaufort, Dare, Hyde and Pamlico counties.
Neither the original version of HB 464, nor its first edition, published on March 27th, mentioned anything about what’s formally known as “the Hillsdale 1776 Curriculum”.
That controversial plan of study - currently not approved by the NC Dept. of Public Instruction - evolved out of former Pres. Donald Trump’s 1776 Commission, which was created to counter Nikole Hannah-Jones’ 1619 Project about the history of American slavery.
Released in 2021, the Hillsdale College 1776 Curriculum touts itself as teaching “…the truth of American history and to cultivate in students the knowledge and virtue necessary to live good lives as citizens.”
“Our curriculum was created by teachers and professors—not activists, not journalists, not bureaucrats,” says Dr. Kathleen O’Toole, assistant provost for K-12 education at Hillsdale College. “It comes from years of studying America, its history, and its founding principles, not some slap-dash journalistic scheme to achieve a partisan political end through students. It is a truly American education.”
Greg Childress’ story states, however, that the Hillsdale 1776 Curriculum “…teaches that civil rights laws outlawing discrimination in public places may violate the U.S. Constitution. It also downplays the extent to which the nation’s founders supported slavery."
Childress’story continued that “…there was a conversation about the curriculum between a board member and bill sponsor Rep. Keith Kidwell, [who] said there’s a group in the district that has lobbied the board to adopt the curriculum.”
According to the 2020 U.S. Census, over 22 percent of Beaufort County's population is black.
An examination of the second edition of HB 464 shows the Hillsdale 1776 provision was added on March 27th, changing the measure to “ An act to alter the manner in which appointments are made to the Washington-Warren Airport Authority and to authorize the Beaufort County Schools to teach the Hillsdale College Curriculum.”
At the end of the bill’s language in Section 2 is the language, ‘The local board of education of Beaufort County Schools is authorized to use the Hillsdale College K-12 Curriculum in lieu of requirements of Part 1 of Article 8 of Chapter 115C of the General Statues.”
The very last sentence of the bill is Section 3 stated, “This act is effective when it becomes law,”which meant that as soon as the NC General Assembly ratified the measure, Hillsdale’s 1776 anti-black history curriculum would be legal to teach in Beaufort County Schools,
But something happened.
Apparently the Beaufort County Education Board didn’t appreciate being used as a guinea pig, and Rep. Kidwell ultimately removed the Hillsdale 1776 curriculum provision before it went to the state Senate.
That’s where Childress’ story reveals that Kidwell “…said authorization for Beaufort County Schools and other districts to use the curriculum would be revisited later.”
“I thought it was going to be a pretty straightforward thing, but I’ve had a bunch of other counties express interest and we’ll be readdressing that at a future date,” Kidwell said during [the April 19th] House session,” Childress reported.
By law, it is the job of the NC State Board of Education to “… adopt a plan of education and a standard course of study as provided in G.S. 115C-12(9c) for the public schools of the State.” It is the job of the state superintendent to carry out that mandate.
But North Carolina’s current state superintendent is a Republican, Catherine Truitt, and she has already demonstrated resistance to following the state Board of Education’s mandates she disagrees with.
According to Justin Parameter, a Charlotte educator and the author of the Notes from a Chalkboard blog, “…there’s a good chance this Trump-inspired, whitewashed version of American history will end up on desks in Beaufort County, and there’s no reason to think other counties won’t follow suit.”