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COMMENTARY: Faith and Leadership

NNPA NEWSWIRE — This upcoming weekend Laverne Whitehead Reed will be installed as the senior pastor at Warren Avenue Christian Church in Dallas, TX. I’m excited for her, the church, and the community for starters, because she clearly has taken the necessary steps for this opportunity, for a time such as this. In her words, she is “grateful that God has given me this opportunity to serve.”

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Laverne Whitehead Reed will be installed as the senior pastor at Warren Avenue Christian Church in Dallas, TX.

“My Truth”

By Cheryl Smith, Publisher of I Messenger Media, Texas Metro News

Don’t you just love seeing women in positions of power, influence and leadership? In answering her question recently during the 2019 Miss Universe Pageant, Miss South Africa Zozibini Tunzi of Eastern Cape, talked about women in leadership. The very favorable response to her statement was encouraging and impressive.

She ended up victorious, winning the title of Miss Universe! Now, too often women are discouraged or either sometimes we discourage ourselves from pursuing leadership roles because we are too young, too old, too big, too small, uneducated, over educated, we don’t have the look and I could go on and on. Sadly, some of us think that only men should hold certain positions of leadership.

I love seeing the responses I get from women, young ladies, and girls when I compliment them. Maybe if we affirmed one another more the world would be a much better place. Someone said, if women were running the world, we’d have fewer wars. Someone also said, if the woman of the house is not happy, nary a soul in the house will be either!

I’ve seen, on numerous occasions, the marginalization of women. If we are absolutely truthful, there were men AND WOMEN who didn’t have a legitimate reason for not voting for Hillary Clinton for President of the U.S. Sadly, deep in their hearts, they couldn’t bring themselves to vote for a woman. There are still those who want to keep women out of the boardrooms, pulpits, locker rooms, and yes, the White House. Women deserve leadership roles.

We don’t want to hear about “flaws,” because that hasn’t stopped men from serving. Women have shown up and shown out, time and time again. Women have always been the sounding board and the voice of reason. I am so grateful to have so many dynamic women who, some I have never met, but know their works, paved the way for me.

Which brings me to my truth. This upcoming weekend Laverne Whitehead Reed will be installed as the senior pastor at Warren Avenue Christian Church in Dallas, TX. I’m excited for her, the church, and the community for starters, because she clearly has taken the necessary steps for this opportunity, for a time such as this. In her words, she is “grateful that God has given me this opportunity to serve.”

Actually, she has lived a life of service, living “God’s Plan versus Reed’s Plan.”

She’s been a nurse, an educator and eventually she became a Chaplain, before serving in various clergy positions at hospitals and churches. Currently serving as Southwest Regional Chaplain for Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Dr. Reed has a number of firsts in her portfolio, including becoming the first African Methodist Episcopal Board Certified Chaplain (BCC) in the state of Texas by the Association of Professional Chaplains (APC), first African American to serve as Secretary of the Brite Divinity School Student Government, and first professional female and African American Chaplain at Baylor Carrollton Medical Center where she was responsible for the development of the Pastoral Care Department.

Hailing from Memphis, TN, Dr. Reed actually marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Once she moved to Texas she earned an Associate of Arts, Bachelor of Science, Master of Divinity and Doctorate of Ministry degrees. Add a Diploma of Vocational Nursing and completing further studies at The Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, GA; clearly she was building a solid foundation. A past president of the Community Ministers’ Fellowship, the Texas Christian University alum said you must “always be open and available to what God has planned for you.”

She has served as Interim Pastor of Romine Avenue Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). A retired Healthcare Chaplain and retired Ordained Itinerant Elder of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. She has also served as Minister of Counseling and Life Support at Smith Chapel AME Church, Dallas. Her Pastoral appointments included Dean of Richard Allen Chapel at Paul Quinn College and Senior Pastor of St. James A.M.E. Church, Denton, TX, the oldest African American congregation in Denton County.

She is a member of several professional and civic organizations. A certified crisis intervention counselor, she is a life member of the NAACP and the immediate past Texas/ New Mexico State Chaplain for Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. It is important to note that as she prepares for her installation and looks forward to the Church celebrating 150 years in existence, Dr. Reed realizes that Church is not just the building, it’s a place where they will address the whole individual and have a presence throughout the community.

It’s an exciting time as she invites everyone to come out for the new beginnings and new works as Warren Avenue Christian Church looks at the needs of the people and the community. Pastoral Installation Celebration: December 14, 2019 at 7:08 p.m. a Pre-Installation Celebratory Musical with Mrs. Gladys Facen, Minister of Music and Dr. Glenn Nixon, Guest Musician. December 15, 2019 at 10:30 a.m. Morning Service with Rev. Dr. Marshall Hobbs Sr. and 3:08 p.m. Afternoon Service with Rev. Dr. Ouida E. Lee Come out and see what women do when given the opportunity!

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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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