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OP-ED: A SouslvilleUSA strategy for crime reduction

NEW TRI-STATE DEFENDER — Dedicated community organizations such as LeMoyne-Owen and its 160 years of educating young people; STAX Records and its historic creation of the “music of our lives” that represented an era of progress for Black people; Metropolitan Baptist Church, where Dr. King would meet and strategize; the intersection of Mississippi Boulevard and Walker Avenue, where Ida B. Wells and Peeples Grocery stood as a testament to Black business success, and the world-famous Four Way Grill were all founded on this historical ground.
The post OP-ED: A SouslvilleUSA strategy for crime reduction first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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By Jeffrey T. Higgs, New Tri-State Defender

As crime and the perception of crime explodes around our city, I am drawn to facts and theories I have developed over the years regarding crime, its causes and how best to reduce it.

Contrary to what you hear, crime has been reduced in our city, especially in areas where urban community economic development (UCED) has occurred and is led by community-engaged leaders, CDCs, nonprofits and churches, all working together to ensure our communities are safe places to live, work and play.

One such community is SoulsvilleUSA.

When we started this journey in 1999, community leaders like Marlon Foster, Andy Cates, Reginald Milton, Robert Lipscomb, Deannie Parker and others collaborated with LeMoyne-Owen College and Metropolitan Baptist Church, to create a place where residents felt safe, families could thrive, children could learn, and all were welcomed.

What we knew then was we were working on “holy ground.”

Dedicated community organizations such as LeMoyne-Owen and its 160 years of educating young people; STAX Records and its historic creation of the “music of our lives” that represented an era of progress for Black people; Metropolitan Baptist Church, where Dr. King would meet and strategize; the intersection of Mississippi Boulevard and Walker Avenue, where Ida B. Wells and Peeples Grocery stood as a testament to Black business success, and the world-famous Four Way Grill were all founded on this historical ground.

In this community, Al Green and Hi Records produced some of the greatest music of our time and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his final speech at the historic Mason Temple.

How, then, does this history relate to crime reduction in our community?

Our collective belief is that the best way to reduce crime is to create equal economic development opportunities.

We know that a working person is less likely to commit a crime than a person who lives in poverty with no prospects of attaining sustainable income.

Moreover, a house that has a family living in it is not one that is blighted; clean streets create pride in the community.

Educated residents know how to call code enforcement and report crimes, and an informed community is a community that values itself and its neighbors.

Simply stated, the roots of crime are poverty, blight, neglect and lack of educational opportunities.

We do not have to live this way.

Crime and violence, then, are a result of our environment and how we train our children, how we treat our citizens and how we respect our neighbors.

The Bible speaks eloquently about loving thy neighbor as thyself. Violence, crime, and gun abuse are destroying our families and communities.

We must fight the elements of violence mentioned above. We do this simply by creating places that are livable and inviting.

It is our responsibility, as the adults, to create and show our youth the right pathways to success. No community wants violence and crime permeating the mindsets and behavior of its citizens.

We must fight these evils with aggressive policies and funding that assist communities in this work. Programs that are effective are needed to help in the fight for crime and violence reduction.

SoulsvilleUSA has taken steps to move in this direction. We recently collaborated with residents and created a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District for South Memphis/SoulsvilleUSA that was a result of hundreds of residents working together for a common goal.

The ongoing effort of the SoulsvilleUSA Neighborhoods Development District to secure a TIF (tax-increment financing) designation for South Memphis led to this December 2021 gathering. (Photos: Gary S. Whitlow/GSW Enterprises/The New Tri-State Defender Archives)

The ongoing effort of the SoulsvilleUSA Neighborhoods Development District to secure a TIF (tax-increment financing) designation for South Memphis led to this December 2021 gathering. (Photos: Gary S. Whitlow/GSW Enterprises/The New Tri-State Defender Archives)

We believe, as a community, we are headed in the right direction. We are incorporating lessons learned from other thriving communities that have achieved success and applying them in our own neighborhoods.

We will revitalize our community using all the tools available in the toolbox.

As we enact this revitalization, our communities, hopefully, will begin to turn on the “lights of hope.”

We then can educate, inform, engage and revitalize all areas of our community, creating jobs for residents, removing blight and replacing it with positivity and hope.

While we cannot promise a “chicken in every pot,” we can promise we will work to create healthy, open inviting spaces, where crime has no place to hide.

Our dedication to this impactful work will provide jobs to those willing to work, create innovative educational technology and workforce training opportunity for those desiring to learn new skills and bring their skillsets back to the community.

These opportunities will be for those who would rather work than rob, cheat, or steal from their neighbor.

We are our neighbors’ keeper, and we will work to revitalize our community, thus bringing everyone along with opportunities to become engaged in the process of this revitalization movement.

Please plan to walk with us at 10 a.m. April 9, starting and ending at the corner of Walker Ave. and Dr. Hollis F Price Boulevard (Metropolitan Baptist Church), as the Memphis Crime Commission, FFUN- Stop the Killing, Memphis Police Department, City of Memphis, community partners, students, residents and your neighbors walk through SoulsvilleUSA and College Park to bring awareness to gun violence in our community.

Registration begins at 9 a.m. Resource partners will be available to provide private services and assistance for residents, as well as answers and connections for the community’s needs.

(Jeffrey T. Higgs is an executive committee member of the Memphis and Shelby County Crime Commission, a founding member of the SoulsvilleUSA Neighborhoods Development District, and CEO of LeMoyne-Owen College CDC and has worked since 1999 on revitalizing communities and creating economic development opportunities for residents of Memphis.)

This article originally appeared in the New Tri-State Defender

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PRESS ROOM: Revolutionizing Economic Equality: Our Money United to Launch the Black Wall Street Spending Ticker, Transforming Consumer Spending and Corporate Accountability

NNPA NEWSWIRE — Our Money United is a pledged-based grassroots campaign led by Friends of the Movement and the nation’s top civil and civic rights organizations to educate consumers on the power of their spending, giving, and investing. The campaign will highlight and reward Corporations that have become friends of the movement and measure their progress on eliminating barriers to economic inclusion. Visit www.ourmoneyunited.com for more information about Our Money United.
The post PRESS ROOM: Revolutionizing Economic Equality: Our Money United to Launch the Black Wall Street Spending Ticker, Transforming Consumer Spending and Corporate Accountability first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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Our Money United Will Unveil Revolutionary Technology to Reshape Consumer Spending and Foster Economic Equality

Atlanta, GA — On Tuesday, March 12, 2024, Our Money United will unveil the Black Wall Street Spending Ticker, a pioneering technology driving a consumer spending transformation with corporate accountability. The highly anticipated reveal of the Conscious Spending Platform is led by Friends of the Movement (FotM) Global, the Atlanta Black Chambers Foundation, the Russell Innovation Center for Entrepreneurship, and the Original Black Wall Street (Greenwood-Tulsa Chamber), in collaboration with civil rights and social justice organizations nationwide. The Russell Innovation Center for Entrepreneurship (RICE), the largest Black incubator in the nation, will house the Black Wall Street Ticker. Pioneering as the pilot launch city, Atlanta is a conscious city and supporter of FotM.

The Black Wall Street Spending Ticker is the first of the various conscious tickers representing ethnic groups visually showcasing the collective spending influence of conscious spending groups, casting a vigilant eye on global citizens while holding corporations accountable. Similar to the Nasdaq, The Black Wall Street Ticker, signifies a new era of transparency and responsibility, visually encapsulating the collective impact of consumers in the marketplace. The Black Wall Street Spending Ticker will meticulously monitor spending within the Black community and its allies, rewarding those actively contributing to closing the wealth gap.

“As we unveil the Black Wall Street Spending Ticker, we’re not just tracking dollars, we’re tracking the heartbeat of economic justice,” says Dr. Charles Champ Walker, Chief Economic Empowerment Officer of FotM Global. “This transformative initiative signals a shift where every conscious purchase becomes a vote for a more equitable and prosperous future. Together, through the power of our wallets, we are rewriting the narrative of economic empowerment and leaving an indelible mark on the path toward true equality.”

Powering the Black Wall Street Ticker is the Voter Wallet, a tool that empowers consumers to align spending with their values and exercise their economic voting power. The Voter Wallet connects consumers with a network of aligned conscious groups and merchants reporting aggregate spending data to the ticker. Seamlessly integrating spending, giving, and investments within each group, the Voter Wallet provides a real-time window into the tangible impact of contributions within one’s community. The Voter Wallet will support Black and ally businesses while helping to close the wealth gap.

The unveiling of the first Black Wall Street Ticker will be on Tuesday, March 12, 2024, at 11:30 a.m. at the Russell Innovation Center for Entrepreneurship (RICE). RICE is located in the heart of the Atlanta University Center at 504 Fair St SW, Atlanta, GA 30313. For more information on Friends of the Movement, Our Money United, the Black Wall Street Spending Ticker, or the Voter Wallet, visit http://www.ourmoneyunited.com or contact press@ourmoneyunited.com. Ready to become a Friend of the Movement? Visit www.FotMGlobal.com to take the pledge.

About Our Money United

Our Money United is a pledged-based grassroots campaign led by Friends of the Movement and the nation’s top civil and civic rights organizations to educate consumers on the power of their spending, giving, and investing. The campaign will highlight and reward Corporations that have become friends of the movement and measure their progress on eliminating barriers to economic inclusion. Visit http://www.ourmoneyunited.com for more information about Our Money United.

About Friends of the Movement (FotM) Global

Friends of the Movement Global (FotM), is a conscious spending platform where conscious spending converges with cutting-edge technology to usher in a social and economic change like never before. In an era where every dollar wields the potential to shape our collective future, FotM is at the forefront of revolutionizing how we spend, give, and invest. FotM’s mission is to empower individuals and groups to make a lasting impact by voting with their wallets at the cash register and endorsing policymakers aligned with their values through donation votes. FotM proudly introduces the World’s first Conscious Spending Platform – the Voter Wallet, a groundbreaking concept that sets us apart as pioneers in the field. FotM believes money should be a force for good, not just a transaction.

Step into a new era of conscious spending, where every purchase or donation becomes a potent instrument for positive transformation. FotM lives by the principle that what gets measured gets done. Tracking spending and giving, FotM will display it on the Black Wall Street Spending Tickers throughout the country fostering accountability for ourselves and corporations alike. FotM helps turn financial choices into a brighter future. Together, we redefine the possibilities of conscious consumerism, one transaction at a time. Visit http://www.fotmglobal.com for more information about Friends of the Movement Global.

The post PRESS ROOM: Revolutionizing Economic Equality: Our Money United to Launch the Black Wall Street Spending Ticker, Transforming Consumer Spending and Corporate Accountability first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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Federal Prosecutors Seek Death Penalty for White Man Who Fatally Shot 10 Black People in Buffalo Grocery Store

Gendron is already serving a life sentence without parole after pleading guilty to New York state murder charges in November 2022.
The post Federal Prosecutors Seek Death Penalty for White Man Who Fatally Shot 10 Black People in Buffalo Grocery Store first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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By Stacy M. Brown

NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
@StacyBrownMedia

Federal prosecutors announced on Friday, Jan. 12, their intention to pursue the death penalty for Payton Gendron, a 20-year-old white man responsible for a racist rampage that claimed the lives of 10 Black shoppers at a Buffalo grocery store in May 2022. Prosecutors revealed the decision in a court filing before a scheduled status conference hearing at the Robert H. Jackson Federal Courthouse in Buffalo.

Gendron is already serving a life sentence without parole after pleading guilty to New York state murder charges in November 2022. Defense attorneys have expressed Gendron’s willingness to plead guilty to federal hate crimes and weapons violations if prosecutors choose not to pursue the death penalty.

“Today’s decision by the Department of Justice provides a pathway to both relief and a measure of closure for the victims and their families,” said civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump. “They have been pleading for full justice for nearly two years, and today they are one step closer. We thank the DOJ for its diligence and for fighting for those whose lives were so tragically affected by this atrocity. We ask that you continue to keep the victims, their families, and the entire Buffalo community in your prayers as they continue to grieve and pursue full justice for those who were stolen from them.”

The announcement follows a nearly 20-month Justice Department case review, marking the first time Attorney General Merrick Garland has authorized a new capital prosecution. President Joe Biden, who campaigned against the death penalty, faced criticism from civil rights groups, arguing that the death penalty historically and disproportionately affects racial minorities and the poor. Garland issued a moratorium on federal executions in 2021, which remains in place but does not prevent prosecutors from seeking a death sentence.

In 2023, emotions ran high at a sentencing hearing as the sister of one of the victims confronted Gendron. Chaos erupted when an enraged man charged at the defendant, leading to authorities rushing Gendron out of the courtroom. After returning, Judge Susan Egan acknowledged the pain experienced by the victims’ families but emphasized the need for appropriate conduct.

Gendron, who had targeted a specific predominantly Black Buffalo zip code, admitted to the racially charged massacre. He said he regretted his actions, attributing them to online hate and the belief in the “replacement theory.” Gendron was sentenced to life in prison by Judge Egan, who condemned his ideologies as “ignorant, hateful, and evil.”

 

The post Federal Prosecutors Seek Death Penalty for White Man Who Fatally Shot 10 Black People in Buffalo Grocery Store first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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The Unchecked Path: Trump’s Victory in Iowa Sparks Concerns Over Accountability

Just one day before his second sexual assault civil trial was to begin, Trump cruised to a landslide victory in the Iowa caucuses, solidifying his front-runner status for the Republican presidential nomination.
The post The Unchecked Path: Trump’s Victory in Iowa Sparks Concerns Over Accountability first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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By Stacy M. Brown

NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent

@StacyBrownMedia

A good parent usually chastises and punishes their child when they’ve egregiously misbehaved. Jaywalkers get tickets, and murderers have received the death penalty. Generally, no one goes unpunished for breaking the law. Not in the United States. Not unless you are of a particular social and financial status, and the crime, for the most part, isn’t much more than white collar.

But that’s not the case with Donald J. Trump. Undoubtedly, Trump is the kid who has never been chastised or punished. And, as a grown-up, and certainly since his false election claim in 2020 and his egging on a deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol, the twice-impeached and four-times indicted former president hasn’t seen a scintilla of punishment. One could argue that America, or his parents, have rewarded his unprecedented bad behavior.

Just one day before his second sexual assault civil trial was to begin, Trump cruised to a landslide victory in the Iowa caucuses, solidifying his front-runner status for the Republican presidential nomination. As several outlets reported, losing one-term presidents rarely mount subsequent successful primary campaigns, much less pull off landslides that demonstrate utter dominance of their party.

Trump transformed the GOP in 2016. By claiming 50% of the vote in the biggest win in caucus history, putting him on course for his third consecutive nomination, Trump showed that the current GOP is now entirely his party.

President Joe Biden beat Trump in the 2020 general election, 81 million popular votes to 75 million. And while both numbers were stunning, Trump’s was more telling, as it demonstrated that 75 million could vote for a man who single-handedly destroyed American Democracy, who championed white supremacy, caged babies, mocked the disabled, and called cowards American troops whom the enemy captured. Not all Trump followers are racist, but there’s no doubt that you must be a racist to be a Trump follower.

Biden’s victory over Trump came in part because his slogan, his message, “saving the soul of America,” resonated. It was the first time since President Obama’s “Yes We Can” that Dems had a message folks could understand and get behind. Mainly a message that the ultimate swing voters, African Americans, could embrace. During the current campaign, when Biden says there’s a need to “save Democracy,” the message falls flat particularly to African Americans who have come to a reckoning that Democracy today, like the Confederacy of decades ago, doesn’t work for Black people.

So, what are they saving? A system that fosters outright racism from politicians, the emphatic truth that Black Lives really don’t matter, and more than 75 million, including a few who were born Black (Ben Carson, Clarence Thomas, Candace Owens, Jason Whitlock, etc.) show the worst of African Americans with their allegiance to slavery and their slave master Trump.

It indeed says a whole lot that Trump is the clear front-runner to return to office, where he promises that “on day one,” he’ll be a dictator. He’ll have people – read Black people — shot by police on the spot if they are deemed to have participated in shoplifting or any minor crime. Trump will get rid of the Affordable Care Act, which provides otherwise uninsured Black and poor people with life-saving healthcare coverage. He’ll release the seditious, murderous January 6 inmates whom he calls hostages.

Having already banned just about any book with a Black author or one that reveals true American history, Trump will ensure that publishing houses that produce such work will be shut down. That could also mean the Black Press of America, founded in New York 197 years ago before slavery ended in America.

Trump once proudly proclaimed that he could shoot someone on New York’s Fifth Avenue and get away with it. He also exclaimed on national television that he and other celebrities are allowed to grab a woman, any woman, by their private parts without permission, and it’s okay. Subsequently, a jury found him civilly responsible for sexual assault, and he currently has 91 felony charges pending against him.

And with a favorable U.S. Supreme Court and three of the justices he put there, Trump is on his way to proving the accuracy of his declarations of committing crimes and getting away with them. America has been good lately about canceling sexual predators, even those who were only accused of sexual assault. America has been good of late with jailing some of the January 6 perpetrators. A judge ordered Trump to pay $5 million after being found guilty of sexual assault, another judge is on the verge of ordering Trump to pay more than $250 million for massive business fraud, and evidence recently emerged that Trump probably sold U.S. secrets to foreign entities while in office. Yet, he swept to victory in Iowa and may easily defeat Biden in November. To Trump, there’s no better parent, none more lenient, than America.

The post The Unchecked Path: Trump’s Victory in Iowa Sparks Concerns Over Accountability first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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