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Tribune lauds History Makers at awards luncheon

NNPA NEWSWIRE — In a packed upstairs dining room in the Union League in Center City, the Rev. Calvin O. Butts III of the historic Abyssinian Baptist Church in New York City, delivered a powerful keynote speech on Thursday at The Philadelphia Tribune Christopher J. Perry/Carter G. Woodson Black History Awards Luncheon.

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By John N. Mitchell, Tribune Staff Writer, Philadelphia Tribune

Genius Child This is a song for the genius child. Sing it softly, for the song is wild. Sing it softly as ever you can – Lest the song get out of hand. Nobody loves a genius child. Can you love an eagle, Tame or wild? Can you love an eagle, Wild or tame? Can you love a monster Of frightening name? Nobody loves a genius child. Kill him — and let his soul run wild. — Langston Hughes

In a packed upstairs dining room in the Union League in Center City, the Rev. Calvin O. Butts III of the historic Abyssinian Baptist Church in New York City, delivered a powerful keynote speech on Thursday at The Philadelphia Tribune Christopher J. Perry/Carter G. Woodson Black History Awards Luncheon.

Butts held the attention of more than 400 people as he paid homage to The Tribune’s honorees — advertising giant George Beach, retired television broadcaster Vernon Odom, and local pastor the Rev. William J. Shaw, this year’s recipients of the History Maker Award — and charged those in attendance to press on to make history for future generations coming behind them.

“We have developed into a nation of strong and powerful people who have achieved much and have so much more to achieve,” Butts said. “In our efforts to achieve and grow as Americans, we have met every obstacle that has been placed in our path. And we thank God for men and women who have risen to that rarified place where they do not see color and judge people by the content of their character so that all of us might be able to make America great.

“But I am concerned about people who are content to sit back and say, ‘that’s enough, I’m done.’ I’m happy to be in Philadelphia asking the question, ‘where would would this nation be without Richard Allen? Where would we be without Cecil B. Moore? Where would we be without Octavius Catto? Where would our nation be without a man who won freedoms for his people and then was shot to death for having done so. It is with that spirit that Black people must continue to move ahead to make sure that the future of young people can be pulled into the NBCs and the CBSs and the Wells Fargos.”

Butts’ speech made allusions to Black Wall Street, the thriving Black business district in Tulsa, Oklahoma, that was burned to the ground by angry white mobs in 1921. He compared this to the gentrification of formerly downtrodden Black neighborhoods in cities like Philadelphia, Chicago and New York, where Black are being priced out of their former neighborhoods.

He deftly wove his keynote around the Langston Hughes poem “Genius Child,” which describes a the death of a prodigy. Butts closed his speech by asking the luncheon attendees if they could afford to let the next generation die.

Butts’ words earned a standing ovation.

Emmy award-winning NBC10 anchor Jacqueline London guided the program. Attendees were welcomed by Robert W. Bogle, president and CEO of the Philadelphia Tribune.

Mayor Jim Kenney spoke briefly, as did a small group of others before the honorees were acknowledged.

Beach is regarded as Philadelphia’s “dean” of African-American advertising executives. For more than four decades, his company, Beach Creative Communications, has been the advertising agency of choice for entities such as Campbell Soup Company, The Hershey Company and the Philadelphia Convention Center.

Shaw, the pastor at White Rock Baptist Church in West Philadelphia since 1956, is a religious leader who has served at the local, state and national levels as president of the Baptist Ministers’ Conference of Philadelphia and Vicinity, president of the Pennsylvania Baptist State Convention, Inc., and president of the National Baptist Convention, USA. Inc.

However, it was Odom, who recently retired from WPVI-TV/6abc in Philadelphia, who told the most poignant story about what inspired him to work toward a career as a television broadcaster.

Odom’s great-grandfather, B.T. Harvey Sr., launched the nation’s second African American-owned newspaper, The Columbus (Georgia) Messenger. Harvey wrote stories condemning lynching, and as a result, the paper eventually was burned to the ground.

Odom, who comes from a long line of journalists — his sister, Maida, was a reporter at The Boston Globe and The Philadelphia Inquirer and now teaches at Temple University — said he was proud to be a torch bearer.

“It’s a tremendous honor to be honored by the Tribune,” he said. “Journalism has been in my family for a long time. This is an honor that in huge part honors those who helped an inspired me. I’m very proud of that.”

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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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