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COMMENTARY: Who Gains When Democracy is Destroyed?

NNPA NEWSWIRE — “Why are so many so silent, though? These are people who say they love democracy, but their truth is that they love it only when it works for them. So, while they cringe privately, they cower publicly, understanding full well that they work for a racist, crook, and tyrant who will suppress democracy at any cost. What do they gain?”

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By Julianne Malveaux, NNPA Newswire Contributor

Democracy is defined as the government “of the people, by the people, and for the people.” Who are the people who support our contemporary status quo? And how, in marginalizing the will of the people, is democracy destroyed?

The long-anticipated Mueller report is a scathing exposé of at least ten ways the man who calls himself the President of the United States bent or broke the rules and actively interfered in an investigation of his wrongdoings. The Attorney General who auditioned for his role by sending a memo that indicated that a sitting President could not be charged by the In-Justice Department edited, obfuscated, and then prevaricated about the many ways Mr. 45 simply did the wrong thing. His wrongdoings ranged from perjury (which he often couched as “I don’t remember”) to intimidation, to near, if not outright collusion. After the release of the Mueller Report, many Democrats have called for investigation or impeachment, but few Republicans have raised their voices to censure the rogue they selected as their leader.

As of this writing, Utah Senator Mitt Romney (R) has been the most vocal detractor of Mr. 45, but he was that before the Mueller Report was issued. George Conway, the bold husband of the equally fearless Kelleyanne Conway, has called for 45’s impeachment even as his spouse maintains her position as the 45 handmaiden. I don’t even want to wonder what their pillow talk sounds like, but George Conway gets mad props for speaking his truth even as he sleeps with the devil.

Why are so many so silent, though? These are people who say they love democracy, but their truth is that they love it only when it works for them. So, while they cringe privately, they cower publicly, understanding full well that they work for a racist, crook, and tyrant who will suppress democracy at any cost. What do they gain?

Most importantly they gain the courts. While Senate Majority Leader, the Tennessee Turtle Mitch McConnell built a wall between President Barack Obama’s constitutional right to appoint judges by blocking appointment whenever he could — most notably a Supreme Court appointment that should have gone to Merrick Garland. He has never met an inexperienced Republican ideologue that he would not rush to confirm. Lifetime appointments to 39-year-olds (consider Florida’s Robert J. Luck) who have practiced law less than a decade but proven their worth with harsh partisan positions, will have an impact on public policy for decades. If McConnell rules the Senate and 45 stays in office, so many of our rights will be eroded, including voting rights, the right to choose, labor rights and more.

Voting rights are on the chopping block in jurisdiction after jurisdiction. The judicial repeal of the Voting Rights Act with the reversal of Section 5 has been a setback, but aggressive state legislatures who have sought to restrict the right to vote have posed an equally challenging problem. In Florida, despite a successful initiative to restore the rights of convicted felons, the legislature has attempted to reverse the will of the people by imposing financial requirements to these returning citizens. There will undoubtedly be a court challenge, but will it be resolved in time to have 1.4 million people participate in the 2020 Florida election? In Tennessee, the state legislature proposes to impose fines on organizations that register voters who make minor mistakes on their registration forms, mistakes as insignificant as middle initial or hyphen. Republican state legislatures are passing new rules to restrict the vote in anticipation of a 2020 surge of new voters. Florida and Tennessee aren’t the only states that would suppress the vote. But voter suppression is what Mr. 45’s sycophants gain when they fail to call him out on his perfidy.

Those who support 45 gain profit maximization opportunities – he is the triumph of predatory capitalism.

From a tax cut that disproportionately advantages the wealthy, to a massive corporate tax cut that places a tax burden on the rest of the economy, 45’s economic policies have been an unapologetic transfer of income from people at the bottom to people at the top. While he talked populist trash to white folks who had racial issues, he offered public policy that contributed nothing to his core constituency. Meanwhile, through his appointments to, as an example, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CPFB), he eroded consumer rights. Instead of draining the swamp, he fed his personal alligators the raw meat of consumer protection; shredding the many ways CFPB protected the little people.

Supporting Mr. 45 also supports the triumph of white supremacy. After Heather Heyer was killed in Charlottesville by a now-convicted white supremacist, our nation’s leader opined that there are “good people on both sides.” His rhetoric is a signal to racists that it’s okay to attack those who have been historically marginalized in our nation. While we are in the middle of a cultural realignment, with pointed questions being raised about the corrosiveness of confederate culture, we have a national leader who disgustingly cleaves to the past and elevates white supremacy. Republicans who fail to censure an out of control president often do so because, while they abhor his behavior, they embrace his white supremacist enthusiasm.

Democracy dies when tyrants prevail, and when we have seen a prevaricator, a provocateur, a philistine, and a panderer occupy the Oval Office. Why? Because predatory capitalists gain from the elevation of a braggadocios tyrant who, while feeding their bottom line, is behaviorally uncontrollable. We have attempted to impose democracy all over the world. Why are we willing to support its demise in these United States?

Julianne Malveaux is an author and economist. Her latest project MALVEAUX! On UDCTV is available on youtube.com. For booking, wholesale inquiries or for more info visit www.juliannemalveaux.com

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IN MEMORIAM: Cheryl Hickmon: National President of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Dies

NNPA NEWSWIRE — THE BURTON WIRE — Hickmon, a beloved and celebrated member, served the organization for 39 years. The Connecticut native was initiated into the Alpha Xi Chapter at South Carolina State University in 1982 and was an active member of the Hartford (Conn.) Alumnae Chapter. The national office of the sorority released a statement announcing Hickmon’s  death which reads as follows, in part: “It is with great sorrow that Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. shares the passing of our beloved National President and Chair of the National Board of Directors, Cheryl A. Hickmon. President Hickmon transitioned peacefully on January 20, 2022 after a recent illness.

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Cheryl Hickmon, national president of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated, the nation’s largest African-American sorority.

By Nsenga K. Burton, Ph.D, NNPA Newswire Culture and Entertainment Editor

The nation is mourning the passing of Cheryl Hickmon, national president of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated, the nation’s largest African-American sorority. Hickmon was elected president of the organization dedicated to sisterhood, scholarship and service  November 21, 2021 at the 55th national convention held in Atlanta, GA.

Hickmon, a beloved and celebrated member, served the organization for 39 years. The Connecticut native was initiated into the Alpha Xi Chapter at South Carolina State University in 1982 and was an active member of the Hartford (Conn.) Alumnae Chapter. The national office of the sorority released a statement announcing Hickmon’s  death which reads as follows:

“It is with great sorrow that Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. shares the passing of our beloved National President and Chair of the National Board of Directors, Cheryl A. Hickmon. President Hickmon transitioned peacefully on January 20, 2022 after a recent illness.

President Hickmon was a devoted member of Delta Sigma Theta since 1982 and served in various capacities at the chapter, region, and national level before being elected National President. She is remembered not only for her role as a leader but for being a colleague, friend, and most of all, sister.

The entire sisterhood of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated mourns the loss of President Hickmon. During this difficult time, we ask that you respect her family’s privacy and keep them in your prayers.”

In addition to serving as the national president of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Cheryl was employed at Montefiore’s Institute for Reproductive Medicine and Health in Hartsdale, NY where she supervised the In Vitro Fertilization Laboratories for Andrology and Endocrinology. A licensed Clinical Laboratory Technologist, Hickmon worked in the Reproductive Medical Laboratory for more than 30 years.
Members and supporters have been offering remembrances and calling for prayers in response to Hickmon’s death. Florida representative Val Demings,  who is a member of the sorority, shared her thoughts via Twitter:
Organizations including the NAACP and fellow Black Greek Letter Organizations like Omega Psi Phi, Phi Beta Sigma and Alpha Kappa Alpha have issued statements about Hickmon’s passing.

Cheryl Hickmon is the daughter of the late Dr. Ned Hickmon of Hartford, CT and Bishopville, South Carolina and the late Consuella Anderson Hickmon of Hartford, CT and Cincinnati, Ohio. She is survived by her two older brothers Ned and David Hickmon.

Hickmon’s bio reads, “Cheryl lives her life by the motto … ‘Don’t measure life by the number of breaths you take but by the number of moments that take your breath away.’” She was 60.

This obituary was written by Nsenga K. Burton, Ph.D., founder & editor-in-chief of The Burton Wire. Follow Nsenga on Twitter @Ntellectual.

Follow The Burton Wire on Instagram or Twitter @TheBurtonWire. 

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Parents Raise the Alarm About Violence in Schools, Say Their Votes Depends on Improvement

NNPA NEWSWIRE — “Parents have very legitimate concerns about violence in schools, increased bullying, and a lack of mental health resources,” Keri Rodrigues, co-founder, and President of the National Parents Union, said in a statement.

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NNPA NEWSWIRE — “Parents have very legitimate concerns about violence in schools, increased bullying, and a lack of mental health resources,” Keri Rodrigues, co-founder, and President of the National Parents Union, said in a statement.
About 52 percent said student mental health after coping with the pandemic is a significant issue, as well.

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

A new poll revealed that parents continue to express “legitimate concerns” about violence in schools, increased bullying, and a lack of mental health resources.

Alarmingly, the poll released by the National Parents Union found that 59 percent of parents are very or extremely concerned about how schools are teaching race and diversity.

“Many Black parents are worried that schools are being harsher on students of color compared to white students,” researchers noted in the poll.

The National Parents Union counts as a network of parent organizations and grassroots activists committed to improving the quality of life for children and families in the United States.

Conducted from November 19 to November 23, the survey included 1,233 parents who also count as registered voters.

Researchers found that 84 percent of parents are concerned about how schools address the threat of violence, and 59 percent identified increased bullying or violence in school as a significant issue.

About 52 percent said student mental health after coping with the pandemic is a significant issue, as well.

“Parents have very legitimate concerns about violence in schools, increased bullying, and a lack of mental health resources,” Keri Rodrigues, co-founder, and President of the National Parents Union, said in a statement.

“Now, it is incumbent on schools to do something about these issues, especially given the federal funds available. It’s not rocket science. Rather than repaint a football field, first, make sure that there are enough counselors to help students cope with mental health issues,” Rodrigues asserted.

The poll also asked the parents who responded that they were concerned about the threat of violence, which worries them the most.

The top three most pressing concerns remain:

  • 44 percent: schools not having enough counselors, psychologists, or social workers to work with students
  • 42 percent: schools not having resources to keep weapons out of schools
  • 39 percent: schools not having school resource officers or police accessible on campus
  • 59 percent of parents are extremely or very concerned about how schools are teaching about race and diversity; Among Black parents, 69 percent share this sentiment, which drops slightly to 67 percent among Hispanic parents.

Of the overall number of parents who are at least somewhat concerned (79 percent):

  • 48 percent say what concerns them the most is schools are not teaching accurate information about the issue of race.
  • 42 percent are most concerned about schools pushing a progressive agenda onto students
  • 56 percent of GOP parents who are concerned say this is their top concern
  • 32 percent are most concerned that schools aren’t focused on the issue enough
  • 46 percent of Black parents who are concerned say this is their top concern
  • 78 percent of parents are concerned about how schools are handling disciplinary issues
  • Nearly half (46 percent) of Black parents who said they are concerned about how schools are handling disciplinary issues are worried that schools are harsher on students of color compared to white students
  • 38 percent of parents trust Democrats to do a better job of handling education; 31 percent trust Republicans; 14 percent trust both equally; 11 percent trust neither

Among parents who identify as Independents, 28 percent trust Republicans and 20 percent trust Democrats.

“These findings underscore the importance of the very thing we have been imploring school leaders across the country to do – listen to the parents in your community,” Rodrigues stated.

“It also reinforces the need for those running for office to take the concerns of parents very seriously or risk losing elections.”

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COMMENTARY: Telling Our Family Stories Keeps Black History Alive

We grew up hearing family stories about life in the Carolinas from our parents and grandparents. My sister, Gwen Fortune-Blakely, has written her first children’s book, Rex and the Band, inspired by one of our favorite stories our grandma used to tell about my dad, Dr. Rex Fortune, who is now a retired public school superintendent.

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Dr. Margaret Fortune, Fortune School, University of Southern California (USC), football, USC marching band, marching bands, drumline, public charter school, Rex and Margaret Fortune Early College High School, family stories, life in the Carolinas, parents, grandparents, Gwen Fortune-Blakely, children’s book, Rex and the Band, grandma, Dr. Rex Fortune, retired public school superintendent, little Rex, spirited young boy, high-energy marching band, North Carolina A&T football games, sister’s beautifully illustrated book, Telling our family stories, African Americans, history, Griots, storytellers, grandparents, ancestors, passed on, Black press, clearinghouse, many stories, Black community, Ebony Jr., elementary school student, high school, Sacramento Observer newspaper, Cocoa Kids Books, engaging, authentic, uplifting, inspiring
Dr. Margaret Fortune is the president/CEO of Fortune School, a system of nine, K-12 public charter schools with over 2,300 students focused on closing the Black achievement gap by preparing students for college.

Let’s Talk Black Education

By Dr. Margaret Fortune, President/CEO Fortune School

When we were kids, my dad would take us to football games at the University of Southern California (USC). I didn’t care much for football, but I loved it when we’d stay after the game to hear the USC marching band play. His love for marching bands is why we have a drumline at the public charter school I founded and named after my parents — Rex and Margaret Fortune Early College High School.

We grew up hearing family stories about life in the Carolinas from our parents and grandparents. My sister, Gwen Fortune-Blakely, has written her first children’s book, Rex and the Band, inspired by one of ourfavorite stories our grandma used to tell about my dad, Dr. Rex Fortune, who is now a retired public school superintendent.

As the story goes, one day back in 1947, my grandma sent little Rex to the corner store to get some eggs so she could bake a cake. My dad bought the eggs and put them in his pockets. On the walk home, he encountered a marching band high-steppin’ down the dusty road to his mother’s house. Little Rex got so excited that he followed the band, beating on his legs like drums all the way home and, yes, breaking all the eggs.

“Rex and the Band” explores a day in the life of Rex, a spirited young boy who dreams of one day playing in a high-energy marching band like the ones he enjoys watching with his father during North Carolina A&T football games.

Reading my sister’s beautifully illustrated book, I cried tears of joy. Telling our family stories is such an important way for African Americans to keep our history alive. Griots, or storytellers, are the reason why we know the truths that we do know about our family history and ancestors.

I believe all of us can think back to when our grandparents would tell us stories about our ancestors who may have passed on before we were born. It was their way of making sure our stories were not only told but preserved.

The Black press has been the clearinghouse for many stories that have impacted the Black community over time. My sister published her first poem in Ebony Jr. as an elementary school student and then in high school she interned at the Sacramento Observer newspaper.

Gwen founded Cocoa Kids Books to publish books like “Rex and the Band” that encourage Black children to dream, aspire for more, and soar because they see themselves reflected in stories that are engaging, authentic, uplifting, and inspiring. I’m so proud of my big sis! You can buy Gwen’s book at https://store.bookbaby.com/book/rex-and-the-band.

Dr. Margaret Fortune is the president/CEO of Fortune School, a system of nine, K-12 public charter schools with over 2,300 students focused on closing the Black achievement gap by preparing students for college.

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