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Comcast Pushing Program Offering Free Internet Service for Millions of Households

NNPA NEWSWIRE — The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), created under the historic bipartisan infrastructure bill, has allowed Comcast to offer free and discounted internet service to customers in its Beltway Region – Maryland, Virginia, Washington, D.C., and parts of Delaware, North Carolina, and West Virginia.
The post Comcast Pushing Program Offering Free Internet Service for Millions of Households first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
@StacyBrownMedia

After the White House announced a plan to expand access to affordable high-speed internet for millions of Americans, particularly low-income families, it didn’t take long for Comcast to ensure its customers took advantage.

The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), created under the historic bipartisan infrastructure bill, has allowed Comcast to offer free and discounted internet service to customers in its Beltway Region – Maryland, Virginia, Washington, D.C., and parts of Delaware, North Carolina, and West Virginia.

The program provides $30 per month toward the cost of internet or mobile service to eligible low-income households.

Maryland has agreed to provide an additional $15 per month.

“The impact means for eligible households, there’s no reason anyone should have to pay for internet service,” said Misty Allen, the vice president of government affairs for Comcast’s Beltway Region.

“In Baltimore, eligible households can get $30 applied through the federal government, and the state of Maryland is providing an additional $15, so that’s up to $45 each month,” Allen remarked.

“So, when you talk about impact, we know that there are three major barriers to internet subscription. One is relevancy, where people ask, ‘why do I need internet service when I have a phone?’

“Do I have the skills? Maybe I don’t have a computer. The third is affordability. This takes affordability off the table because internet service effectively can be free for Maryland residents.”

According to a release from Comcast, Customers who qualify also can apply ACP credits to any tier of Xfinity Internet, including Internet Essentials or Xfinity Mobile.

Comcast and its community partners in the Beltway Region – including Montgomery Housing Partnership, The Green Beret Project, and The Senior Zone – are hosting ACP awareness events throughout the summer where residents can learn about eligibility, benefits, and how to sign up.

The ACP program should help households of color where government officials provided statistics that show Latino Americans are 15% less likely to have high-speed internet than their white peers, while Black families are 9% less likely.

Additionally, about 35% of all people living on Tribal lands lack access to broadband services.

The Biden-Harris administration estimated that 48 million households qualify for the ACP, accounting for about 40% of all households in the U.S.

Qualifying households either earn below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level or have a member who receives other government benefits such as SNAP, Medicaid, or Supplemental Security Income.

“The success of the program is highly depended upon people being aware that’s it available,” Allen stated.

“We are emailing our customers, running television commercials, and doing everything we can as providers, but we’re working with community leaders, elected officials, and nonprofits.

“We’re getting that information out to them and asking them to help us spread the word. We are working with the Y’s, the Boys & Girls Clubs, Catholic Charities of Baltimore, Fight Back, and the Baltimore Digital Equity Coalition has a hotline to help people who call in looking for resources. “

Allen continued:

“We are working the social fabric of these communities to help get the word out because these are the folks doing it every day to help their communities.”

For more information or to sign up for the ACP program, visit www.Xfinity.com/ACP.

The post Comcast Pushing Program Offering Free Internet Service for Millions of Households first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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Fighting an Unjust System, The Bail Project Helps People Get Out of Jail and Reunites Families

In addition to posting bail at no cost to the person or their family, The Bail Project works to connect its clients to social services and community resources based on an individual’s identified needs, including substance use treatment, mental health support, stable housing and employment.

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Adrienne Johnson, the regional director for The Bail Project, told NNPA’s Let It Be Known that the organization seeks to accomplish its mission one person at a time.
Adrienne Johnson, the regional director for The Bail Project, told NNPA’s Let It Be Known that the organization seeks to accomplish its mission one person at a time.

Hundreds of thousands of individuals locked up in jails almost daily — many find it challenging to pay bail

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
@StacyBrownMedia

As public support for criminal justice reform continues to build — and as the pandemic raises the stakes higher — advocates remain adamant that it’s more important than ever that the facts are straight, and everyone understands the bigger picture.

“The U.S. doesn’t have one ‘criminal justice system;’ instead, we have thousands of federal, state, local, and tribal systems,” Wendy Sawyer and Peter Wagner found in a study released by the nonprofit Prison Policy Initiative.

Together, these systems hold almost 2 million people in 1,566 state prisons, 102 federal prisons, 2,850 local jails, 1,510 juvenile correctional facilities, 186 immigration detention facilities, and 82 Indian country jails, as well as in military prisons, civil commitment centers, state psychiatric hospitals, and prisons in the U.S. territories,” the study authors said in a press release.

With hundreds of thousands of individuals locked up in jails almost daily, many find it challenging to pay bail.

Recognizing America’s ongoing mass incarceration problem and the difficulties families have in bailing out their loved ones, a new organization began in 2018 to offer some relief.

The Bail Project, a nationwide charitable fund for pretrial defendants, started with a vision of combating mass incarceration by disrupting the money bail system.

Adrienne Johnson, the regional director for The Bail Project, told NNPA’s Let It Be Known that the organization seeks to accomplish its mission one person at a time.

“We have a mission of doing exactly what we hope our criminal system would do: protect the presumption of innocence, reunite families, and challenge a system that we know can criminalize poverty,” Johnson stated.

“Our mission is to end cash bail and create a more just, equitable, and humane pretrial system,” she insisted.

Johnson said The Bronx Freedom Fund, at the time a new revolving bail fund that launched in New York, planted the seed for The Bail Project more than a decade ago.

“Because bail is returned at the end of a case, we can build a sustainable revolving fund where philanthropic dollars can be used several times per year, maximizing the impact of every contribution,” Johnson stated.

In addition to posting bail at no cost to the person or their family, The Bail Project works to connect its clients to social services and community resources based on an individual’s identified needs, including substance use treatment, mental health support, stable housing and employment.

Johnson noted that officials created cash bail to incentivize people to return to court.

Instead, she said, judges routinely set cash bail well beyond most people’s ability to afford it, resulting in thousands of legally innocent people incarcerated while they await court dates.

According to The Bail Project, Black Americans are disproportionately impacted by cash bail, and of all Black Americans in jail in the U.S., nearly half are from southern prisons.

“There is no way to do the work of advancing pretrial reform without addressing the harmful effects of cash bail in the South,” said Robin Steinberg, Founder, and CEO of The Bail Project.

“Cash bail fuels racial and economic disparities in our legal system, and we look forward to supporting the community in Greenville as we work to eliminate cash bail and put ourselves out of business.”

Since its launch, The Bail Project has stationed teams in more than 25 cities, posting bail for more than 18,000 people nationwide.

Johnson said the organization uses its national revolving bail fund, powered by individual donations, to pay bail.

The Bail Project has spent over $47 million on bail.

“When we post bail for a person, we post the full cash amount at court,” Johnson stated.

“Upon resolution of the case, the money returns to whoever posted. So, if I posted $5,000 to bail someone out, we then help the person get back to court and resolve the case,” she continued.

“The money then comes back to us, and we can use that money to help someone else. So, we recycle that.”

Johnson said eliminating cash bail and the need for bail funds remains the goal.

“It’s the just thing to do. It restores the presumption of innocence, and it restores families,” Johnson asserted.

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PRESS ROOM: EPA Administrator Regan to Join Leaders of Civil Rights, Environmental Justice Movement for Significant Announcement in Warren County, North Carolina

NNPA NEWSWIRE — U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael S. Regan will be joined by significant figures from the civil rights and environmental justice movements, including Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis Jr., president and CEO of the National Newspaper Publishers Association and other participants from the original Warren County protests for the event.
The post PRESS ROOM: EPA Administrator Regan to Join Leaders of Civil Rights, Environmental Justice Movement for Significant Announcement in Warren County, North Carolina first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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Administrator to honor legacy of environmental justice and civil rights at event in Warren County, site of protests that launched the movement 40 years ago

WASHINGTON (September 22, 2022) – On Saturday, September 24, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael S. Regan will travel to Warren County, North Carolina to deliver remarks on EPA’s environmental justice and civil rights priorities and the progress we’ve achieved since the first protest and march that launched the movement 40 years ago this week. Administrator Regan will make a significant announcement on President Biden’s commitment to elevate environmental justice and civil rights enforcement at EPA and across the federal government and ensure the work to support our most vulnerable communities continues for years to come.

Administrator Regan will be joined by significant figures from the civil rights and environmental justice movements, including participants from the original Warren County protests for the event.

Who:
EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan
Congressman G. K. Butterfield (NC-01)
Environmental Justice and Civil Rights Leaders
Warren County residents and community leaders
Additional stakeholders

What: Remarks on EPA environmental justice and civil rights priorities and honoring the legacy of the environmental justice and civil rights movement
When: Saturday, September 24, 2022,
Doors Open: 11:30 AM ET
Program: 12:45 PM ET
;
Where: Warren County Courthouse
109 S Main Street
Warrenton, NC 27589
Livestream: A livestream of this event will be available at epa.gov/live.

The post PRESS ROOM: EPA Administrator Regan to Join Leaders of Civil Rights, Environmental Justice Movement for Significant Announcement in Warren County, North Carolina first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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September 26 | Governance at the Local Level | The Conversation with Al McFarlane

Join Al McFarlane (Host), Brenda Lyle-Gray (Co-Host) and Special Guest Co-Host Diana Hawkins, Executive Director for …
The post September 26 | Governance at the Local Level | The Conversation with Al McFarlane first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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Join Al McFarlane (Host), Brenda Lyle-Gray (Co-Host) and Special Guest Co-Host Diana Hawkins, Executive Director for …

The post September 26 | Governance at the Local Level | The Conversation with Al McFarlane first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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