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IN MEMORIAM: The Rev. Ralph White – A ‘servant’ to the end

NNPA NEWSWIRE — Bloomfield Baptist Church at 123 South Parkway West is a fixture in South Memphis. So was Pastor White, who had served there 33 years…and still was doing the work. Rev. White viewed Bloomfield as an outreach post, having founded the GOD SO LOVED Prayer and Outreach Ministry there.

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By Karanja A. Ajanaku, The New Tri-State Defender

God, love and ministry was a trinity embodied by the life of the Rev. Ralph White, the servant-oriented pastor of Bloomfield Full Gospel Baptist Church in South Memphis. Rev. White was officiating a funeral when he passed away Saturday.

“So very sorry to hear. He was my friend and brother beloved,” posted the Rev. Dr. Alvin O’Neal Jackson upon getting the word. “Well done, good and faithful Servant!”

Jackson was among the many reflecting and flowing “blessings and love” to Rev. White’s family.

“Rev. Ralph White was a religious leader, community activist, and a friend,” said NAACP Memphis Branch President Deidre Malone. “I will miss our conversations on the challenges facing our communities. I will continue to work on, and fight for those solutions that we discussed are needed. … Rest in Peace, my friend.”

Bloomfield Baptist Church at 123 South Parkway West is a fixture in South Memphis. So was Pastor White, who had served there 33 years…and still was doing the work. Rev. White viewed Bloomfield as an outreach post, having founded the GOD SO LOVED Prayer and Outreach Ministry there.

Roll the clock back and there are multiple points from which to view Rev. White in outreach-ministry mode, speaking about the need to do better and be better. Take the evening of Nov. 20, 2017 for example.

“We must do better individually, so we can be better together, said Rev. White in the wake of the fatal, drive-by shooting of a 10-year-old boy. He had opened the church for a community meeting that served as a summons to join the “God So Loved Initiative.”

“It’s time that we actually go in these communities to see what their needs are, and what we can do to help. Remember, we’re all in this fight together.”

A few months earlier, a two-year-old girl had been killed in a road-rage shooting, fueling a root-level push for a sustained and comprehensive plan of action involving coordination with churches in various neighborhoods, and having volunteers take a hands-on approach in Memphis’ most crime-ridded areas.

Said Rev. White at the time, “We can’t just deal with crime. …We are dealing with education, we’re dealing with jobs, training … a whole package. The crime is just an aftereffect of a greater cause.”

Rev. White was not shy about sharing his views about how to make Memphis better.

“I’ve know him for 25 years and always enjoyed visiting with, and getting advise from him,” tweeted mayor Jim Strickland, recalling Rev. White as “a good man who leaves a strong legacy for Memphis.”

State Rep. Antonio Parkinson’s Twitter post spoke to that legacy.

“We have lost a true soldier in the fight for equality, dignity and truth in Reverend Ralph White.”

A native Memphian, Rev. White was a Memphis City Schools product. He built upon that base at the University of Arkansas, Memphis State University (now the University of Memphis) and Mid-South Bible College. He received an Honorary Doctorate of Divinity from Detroit (Mich.) Bible College.

A long-time member of the Civilian Law Enforcement Review Board, Rev. White’s service through community organizations also included: Board member of Citizens for Community Values of Memphis, Memphis church relations leader for Convoy of Hope, political and social action leader for the Baptist Ministerial Association, board member of the Religious Alliance Against Pornography (RAAP), member of Shelby County Domestic Violence Task Force, former West Tennessee field representative for Promise Keepers International.

Rev. White also founded the Annual Martin Luther King Park Fishing Rodeo event sponsored and offered by Bloomfield to children of all ages.

On Sunday morning, Brandy Hall posted this Facebook reflection:

“2 words come to my mind this morning. They are perseverance and regret. Pastor Ralph White was persistent! He never let illness, age, people’s criticism, thoughts or opinions STOP him from living his purpose filled life! He has done some truly remarkable things for this city! Things some thought he would not be able to do. When he faced health issues he went on to finish his race like nothing happened!! To his very last breath he LIVED doing what he loved…SERVING!!! He lived a life without regret! It didn’t seem real until this morning.”

At Rev. White’s side as his wife for the last 39 years was Janet White, also a minister. She was in the pulpit Sunday as Bloomfield held its regular Sunday services.

Also left to celebrate Rev. White’s legacy are three children and seven grandchildren.

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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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