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SPECIAL REPORT: Millions of Malawians Vote in 2019 Presidential Elections

NNPA NEWSWIRE — With lines stretching as far as the eye can see, the overwhelmingly peaceful voting process in several parts of the country was witnessed by the European Union Elections Observer Mission, The National Initiative for Civic Education Public Trust and several other observers, including an independent African American delegation led by National Newspaper Publishers Association President and CEO Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr.

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Photo: Tish K. Bazil

Photo: Tish K. Bazil

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Correspondent
@StacyBrownMedia

LILONGWE MALAWI, AFRICA – May 21, 2019 — Long lines filled with patient and peaceful residents at polling places just about everywhere throughout Malawi today revealed democracy at its best for the 2019 Tripartite elections as Malawians went to the polls and cast their ballots to elect a president, members of parliament and local government councilors.

Malawi President Peter Mutharika is seeking re-election to another five-year term while his challengers include Vice President Saulos Chilima, and President of the Malawi Congress Party (MCP), Dr. Lazarus Chakwera.

With lines stretching as far as the eye can see, the overwhelmingly peaceful voting process in several parts of the country was witnessed by the European Union Elections Observer Mission, The National Initiative for Civic Education Public Trust and several other observers, including an independent African American delegation led by National Newspaper Publishers Association President and CEO Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr.

“In every place that we went, there were long lines of people. But what was impressive was that there was no one pushing … everybody was patient and I said to myself that this is African Democracy,” said Chavis, who appeared on several Malawian television and radio stations and has given numerous newspaper interviews since his arrival on May 19.

One Malawian who watched a broadcast with Chavis approached the civil rights icon to thank him for “putting Malawi in such a good light.”

The unidentified man approached Chavis at the President Walmont Hotel, across the street from one of the busiest polling places in Lilongwe.

“What we saw was a very orderly process and there was enthusiasm about voting,” Chavis said.

He added that, “there were some very young voters, elderly voters, and in between. From my own eyes, we’ve been very impressed.”

Bia Yassia, the head of a family of seven children who lives about five meters from one Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) polling place, said he intended to vote.

Photo: Tish K. Bazil

Photo: Tish K. Bazil

Yassia greeted many who walked along the road near his home as they made their way to the ballot box.

“Everybody participates,” Yassia said.

“Here, we have pride in our country, and we respect the process that’s in place,” he said.

This year marks the sixth presidential election since 1994 when Malawi voted for the change of government system from one party rule to multi-party democracy in June 1993.

Reportedly, more than 55 political parties have been registered in the country since the dawn of multi-party democracy.

Three of the parties: United Democratic Front (UDF), Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), and People’s Party (PP), have governed the country during the multi-party era while Malawi Congress Party (MCP) has governed the country since its independence in 1964.

MEC officials said more than 6.4 million registered voters were expected to exercise their democratic right to vote for the political parties’ representatives of their choice and a president to lead the country over the next five years.

MEC Chairperson Jane Ansah said late Tuesday that the election process appears to have run smoothly despite rumors of potential rigging.

“These claims are baseless. This is not true,” Ansah said, adding that, “MEC will not be in a hurry to announce results in order to do a thorough job.”

Having previously observed elections in Namibia, Botswana, South Africa and Angola, Chavis said this trip marks the first time an African American delegation is in Malawi to observe.

“We are impressed that multi-party dispensation has been enhanced in Africa and people have been accorded a chance to express their democratic rights to vote,” Chavis said.

“What is happening here in Africa is quite different from larger democratic countries such as the U.S. and the UK where only two major parties compete for government control.”

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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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