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Documenting History: Rep. John Lewis Leads 55th Anniversary Selma March

NNPA NEWSWIRE — “Fifty-five years ago, a few of our children attempted to march across this bridge. We were beaten, we were tear gassed. I thought I was going to die on this bridge, but somehow and someway, God almighty helped me here,” Lewis offered while several people held the 80-year-old icon up to make sure the large crowd in attendance could see him and hear his encouraging words.

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Rep. John Lewis, Supreme Court news conference to call for the reversal of President Trump’s travel ban on refugees and immigrants from several Middle East countries. (Photo: Lorie Shaull / Wikimedia Commons)

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

 

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Yesterday our President (@derricknaacp) got into #GoodTrouble marching across the #edmundpettusbridge with #footsoldiers, Presidential candidates and #civilrights icons to commemorate the 55th anniversary of #BloodSunday.

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Legendary Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) made an inspiring return to the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, on March 1 to help commemorate the 55th anniversary of “Bloody Sunday.”

“Fifty-five years ago, a few of our children attempted to march across this bridge. We were beaten, we were tear gassed. I thought I was going to die on this bridge, but somehow and someway, God almighty helped me here,” Lewis offered while several people held the 80-year-old icon up to make sure the large crowd in attendance could see him and hear his encouraging words.

During the original march in 1965, Lewis suffered a broken skull after white police officers attacked him and others in an attempt to stop the civil rights activists.

Diagnosed late last year with stage 4 pancreatic cancer, Lewis implored everyone to cast their vote in the 2020 election.

“We must go out and vote like we never, ever voted before. I’m not going to give up. I’m not going to give in. We’re going to continue to fight,” he said.

“We need your prayers now more than ever before. We must use the vote as a nonviolent instrument or tool to redeem the soul of America.”

With the Revs. William Barber, Jesse Jackson, and Al Sharpton, and former Georgia Rep. Stacey Abrams among the many participating, the commemorative march paid tribute to civil rights protests that pushed for voting rights.

In the 1965 march, Lewis, who was part of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and the Rev. Hosea Williams of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), led participants in an attempt to walk from Selma to Montgomery.

Alabama state police and other authorities intervened, violently beating Lewis, Williams, and other protestors, which led to dozens of injuries.

The anniversary also paid tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., traveled to Selma where King attempted another march but, to the dismay of some demonstrators, turned back when troopers again blocked the highway at the Pettus Bridge.

After a federal court order permitted the protest, the voting rights marchers left Selma on March 21, under the protection of federalized National Guard troops.

Four days later, they reached Montgomery with the crowd growing to 25,000 by the time they reached the capitol steps, according to the History Channel.

To document the 55th anniversary of “Bloody Sunday,” newspaper personnel from the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA), including reporters and photographers from the Birmingham Times, Green County Democrat, and NNPA President and CEO Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr.

While in Selma, Chavis earned induction into the Voting Rights Museum Hall of Fame for Ministers.

Located at the foot of the Pettus Bridge, the National Voting Rights Museum & Institute counts as the cornerstone of the contemporary struggle for voting rights and human dignity.

“The Black Press of America, represented by NNPA, retook steps along with thousands of people, to walk across the Edmund Pettus Bridge to commemorate Bloody Sunday in 1965 in Selma, Alabama, in our long struggle for voting rights in America,” Chavis stated.

“On the eve of the 2020 Super Tuesday primary elections in 12 states across the nation, our commemorative march this year in Selma had critical relevance to our demand for full restoration of the 1965 Voting Rights Act that has been diluted,” he noted.

Chavis continued:

“The Black vote is 2020 will determine the next President of the United States and the makeup of the U. S. Congress. We cannot afford to allow anyone or anything to keep us from voting. The Black Press has always been on the frontlines of the Civil Rights Movement and we remain there today. Black Votes Matter, and the Black Press Matters.”

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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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