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Vibestreet’s Chief Financial Officer, Josh Echols Makes it Happen

BIRMINGHAM TIMES — Joshua Echols, 24, is chief financial officer of Vibestreet Photography and Recording Studios, a rental space near Five Points South that opened this year and hosts a broad range of photo shoots, videography, art shows, meetings, and even served as a site for a local reality show. He recently spoke to the Birmingham Times about the multipurpose location for creatives in the Magic City.

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Joshua Echols (Photo by: birminghamtimes.com)

By Ameera Steward

Joshua Echols, 24, is chief financial officer of Vibestreet Photography and Recording Studios, a rental space near Five Points South that opened this year and hosts a broad range of photo shoots, videography, art shows, meetings, and even served as a site for a local reality show. He recently spoke to the Birmingham Times about the multipurpose location for creatives in the Magic City.

Birmingham Times: What do you like most about Birmingham?

Echols: I like the accessibility Birmingham provides to different areas. I’ve lived in different parts of the city throughout different phases of my young life: Collegeville through elementary school; South Roebuck through middle and high school, and recently Hoover. Living in each of these neighborhoods for some time, I was able to learn a lot of back roads.

If you had someone visit from out of town, what’s the one place you have to take them?

Probably fishing at one of the lakes in or near Birmingham. Fishing is something I recently took up, and I find that some of the lakes provide great views and are relaxing for me. My favorite lake that I have fished at is probably Lake Purdy.

What’s your favorite movie?

Either of the “John Wick” series; I wasn’t much of a movie person until the first one came out. The first “John Wick” had a really good story line: the dude went crazy about someone killing his dog. I’m a guy who watches a movie, and if I’m not interested in the first five minutes, I’m just not going to watch it. “John Wick” started off with action, a man killing people for a dog. I have to respect him.

Who’s your favorite musical artist?

Ask anyone this question about me and they would say Gucci Mane. I’ve been supporting this brother since “Bird Flu Part 2.” At one point in time in my life, I have been listening to this brother speak facts exclusively, but I have recently expanded the artists I listen to.

What’s a food dish you can never get tired of?

Any dish with salmon. I could literally eat salmon all day for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I think my love of salmon came from the salmon patties my mom used to make for breakfast when I was younger.

What are you most passionate about professionally? Personally?

Professionally, I am most passionate about software development. Currently, I am working specifically with web-development technologies but looking to expand to other disciplines soon. Personally, I’m most passionate about making the most sensible financial decisions now so I’m able to work less in the near future.

Who is someone you admire, and why?

Probably not a good answer to the question, but I currently don’t have anyone I admire. Personally, for me, I try to acknowledge what others have done for their own success and the success of the community, but I can’t say I take inspiration from what anyone has done. In short, I like to pave my own way in life.

What are three pet peeves?

Chewing with your mouth open. That’s just so disrespectful. No one wants to hear you smack; that’s, like, unnecessary sound. You can chew with your mouth closed. Squeezing the middle of the toothpaste tube. You’ll miss toothpaste trying to squeeze the middle of the toothpaste tube. Why not start at the bottom and work your way up? Talking to me while I’m playing video games. Don’t talk to me while I’m playing games—I’m in the zone. Usually, when I’m playing games it’s been a long day at work. After a long day at work, I don’t talk to anybody, so I come home, and I play games. And if I have my surround-sound headphones on, do not try to get my attention. It’s not that important. Nothing is more important than my games when I’ve had a long day.

How do you want to be remembered?

I’d want people to remember me as someone who always tried to make others smile. I’m a very social person, mostly asking strangers how their day is going. Anyone I come in contact with, I try to put a smile on their face because you never know what someone is going through.

What do you want to do before you die?

Spear fishing. I watched shows like the “Survivor” series growing up and always thought it was pretty interesting that people could be stranded on an island surrounded by an ocean and still provide food with little tools. I currently go fishing often but have yet to actually get in the water and see what the ocean has to offer.

What publications or websites do you regularly read?

Currently, I don’t have any reading material. I often visit The Verge and TechCrunch [websites]; both kind of give updates on things that relate to technology. I also have Bing set as my homepage, as it gives updates on events that have recently happened.

What would be your personal motto?

“Make it happen, Captain!” I believe that no one can put a ceiling on your personal goals and aspirations—and for that reason I say, “By all means, achieve everything you set out to do! And let no person or thing stand in your way.”

Click here to read about Vibestreet’s founder, Micah Lewis.

Click here to read about Vibestreet’s operations coordinator, Jerrod Drukes. 

This article originally appeared in The Birmingham Times.

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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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