TRIANGLE NEWS BRIEFS
CHILDREN’S HEALTH WORKSHOP JAN. 25 AND 26TH
Voices into Action: The Families, Food, and Health Project is holding a special workshop for valued partners on January 25th and 26th. This workshop explores the issue of children’s health through assets and networks available in Southeast Raleigh around food access and access to places to be active. There will be input from community members, community leaders, and organizations that serve the community, and a chance to develop action plans and partnerships. It starts Friday, Jan. 25th, 8:30 a.m. to 12 noon at Martin Street Baptist Church – the Johnson Building, 101 East Martin Street in Raleigh.
LIGHTNER RETIRES AS HEAD OF MLK HOLIDAY ACTIVITIES
Local businessman Bruce Lightner has announced that after leading the Martin Luther King Celebration Committee since its inception over 30 years ago, he is officially stepping down. Lightner will be honored during this Monday’s King Day festivities, both at the prayer breakfast, and at the noon service. No word on who will succeed Lightner.
RALEIGH CITY COUNCIL LOOKING TO SLOW DOWN SPEEDERS
The Raleigh City Council has decided to tackle the problem of speeding drivers through residential neighborhoods. The decision came after a UNC –Chapel Hill public relations class conducted a survey, which indicated 34 percent of the city’s residents consider speeding a major problem on the streets. Apparently speeding tickets are doing the job, so the council has decided to mount an anti-speeding campaign throughout the city.
STATE NEWS BRIEFS
DMV REVOKES DRIVER’S LICENSES FOR YOUNG IMMIGRANTS
[GREENSBORO] North Carolina’s Division of Motor Vehicles has sent letters to young illegal immigrants who qualify for a federal amnesty program, revoking their driver’s licenses. Immigrants who came to America as children, and are still under 30, were given a two-year deportation reprieve under a federal program. But North Carolina authorities say that doesn’t qualify them to have driver licenses in the state, and sent letters to those who had received them revoking their privileges until their residency status is legal. The state Attorney General’s Office is supposed to issue a ruling soon.
GOV. MCCRORY’S APPROVAL RATING TAKES A HIT
[CHARLOTTE] Looks like honeymoon between new Gov. Pat McCrory and the public is wearing off fast. According to Public Policy Polling, McCrory is down already by eight points, and he just took office Jan. 5th. Part of the reason may be some of the controversial official he’s appointed to his administration, like conservative businessman Art Pope as assistant budget director, and former Wake Schools Supt. Anthony Tata as secretary of Transportation. McCrory’s polling is a 45 percent, two points higher than former Gov. Beverly Perdue when she took office in Jan. 2009.
CHAPEL HILL COUNCIL REFUSES TO REPEAL CELLPHONE BAN
Despite the efforts of Councilmember Matt Czajkowski, the Chapel Hill Town Council this week, by a 5-2 vote, refused to repeal its controversial cellphone ban. A Superior Court judge has already voided the ban in answer to a lawsuit from a tow truck company that said it would hurt its business. The town has appealed the ruling. The ban would prohibit the use of cellphones while driving through the town. Critics says the ban was unconstitutional.
The President’s Plan to Protect our Children and our Communities by Reducing Gun Violence
Special to The Carolinian from the White House
Our nation has suffered too much at the hands of dangerous people who use guns to commit horrific acts of violence. As President Obama said following the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy, “We won’t be able to stop every violent act, but if there is even one thing that we can do to prevent any of these events, we have a deep obligation, all of us, to try.”
Most gun owners are responsible and law-abiding, and they use their guns safely. The President strongly believes that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to bear arms. But to better protect our children and our communities from tragic mass shootings like those in Newtown, Aurora, Oak Creek, and Tucson, there are four common-sense steps we can take right now.
The President’s plan includes:
1. Closing background check loopholes to keep guns out of dangerous hands;
2. Banning military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, and taking other common-sense steps to reduce gun violence;
3. Making schools safer; and
4. Increasing access to mental health services.
While no law or set of laws will end gun violence, it is clear that the American people want action. If even one child’s life can be saved, then we need to act. Now is the time to do the right thing for our children, our communities, and the country we love.
Gun Violence Reduction Executive Actions
On January 16th, Pres. Barack Obama, in an effort to curb the onslaught of gun violence in the nation, announced that he and the Administration will:
1. Issue a Presidential Memorandum to require federal agencies to make relevant data available to the federal background check system.
2. Address unnecessary legal barriers, particularly relating to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, that may prevent states from making information available to the background check system.
3. Improve incentives for states to share information with the background check system.
4. Direct the Attorney General to review categories of individuals prohibited from having a gun to make sure dangerous people are not slipping through the cracks.
5. Propose rulemaking to give law enforcement the ability to run a full background check on an individual before returning a seized gun.
6. Publish a letter from ATF to federally licensed gun dealers providing guidance on how to run background checks for private sellers.
7. Launch a national safe and responsible gun ownership campaign.
8. Review safety standards for gun locks and gun safes (Consumer Product Safety Commission).
9. Issue a Presidential Memorandum to require federal law enforcement to trace guns recovered in criminal investigations.
10. Release a DOJ report analyzing information on lost and stolen guns and make it widely available to law enforcement.
11. Nominate an ATF director.
12. Provide law enforcement, first responders, and school officials with proper training for active shooter situations.
13. Maximize enforcement efforts to prevent gun violence and prosecute gun crime.
14. Issue a Presidential Memorandum directing the Centers for Disease Control to research the causes and prevention of gun violence.
15. Direct the Attorney General to issue a report on the availability and most effective use of new gun safety technologies and challenge the private sector to develop innovative technologies.
16. Clarify that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) does not prohibit doctors asking their patients about guns in their homes.
17. Release a letter to health care providers clarifying that no federal law prohibits them from reporting threats of violence to law enforcement authorities.
18. Provide incentives for schools to hire school resource officers.
19. Develop model emergency response plans for schools, houses of worship and institutions of higher education.
20. Release a letter to state health officials clarifying the scope of mental health services that Medicaid plans must cover.
21. Finalize regulations clarifying essential health benefits and parity requirements within ACA exchanges.
22. Commit to finalizing mental health parity regulations.
23. Launch a national dialogue led by Secretaries Sebelius and Duncan on mental health.
2013 KING HOLIDAY EVENTS SPONSORED BY MLK CELEBRATION COMMITTEE
All events are free and open to the public
NCNAACP CHALLENGES GENERAL ASSEMBLY
TO FOCUS ON NC POVERTY
By Cash Michaels
Invoking the mission of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for economic and social justice, the NCNAACP Tuesday challenged Republican Gov. Pat McCrory and the GOP-led Legislature to address issues of poverty in North Carolina as the long session of the NC General Assembly begins.
“Dr. King always understood poverty as a moral, economic and civil rights issue,” Rev. Dr. William Barber, president of the NCNAACP, told reporters at the Legislative Building. Rev. Barber used Jan. 15th, Dr. King’s actually birth date prior to Monday’s national holiday, to bring NAACP members and activists with the Historic Thousands on Jones Street to the legislature to lobby lawmakers.
“The Bible they put their hands on (when they were sworn-in last week) says ‘Woe unto those who make unjust laws that steal and destroy the rights of the poor,’ Rev. Barber said, adding that the constitutional oath state lawmakers took obligates them to ensure that the poor also benefit from policy decisions that are made.
Poverty, according to federal standards, is a family of four surviving on just over $22,000 a year.
Rev. Barber said over 1.7 million North Carolinians live in poverty – a full 25 percent of the state’s population. Forty-four percent of that 1.7 million are African-Americans.
Over 700,000 are in “deep” poverty in North Carolina, Rev. Barber continued, and 600,000 children statewide are considered poor. Over 10 counties in North Carolina where poverty has been over 20 percent for 30 years.
“We cannot ignore this issue. We cannot just say (poverty) is just someone’s moral failings that they are not willing to work. Many of the poor are white women and working,” Barber maintained.
The civil rights leader added that lawmakers took oaths not to be good Democrats or Republicans, but servants of the people.
Five necessary components need to be addressed in order at adequately eradicate poverty, Rev. Barber said – economic sustainability, educational equality, affordable healthcare for all, inequalities in the criminal justice system, and protect and expand voting rights for all people.
Rev. Barber told reporters that after his legislative briefing, the NCNAACP/HK on J anti-poverty agenda would be delivered to the offices of Gov. Pat McCrory, and legislators in the both the state House and Senate.
He added that preparations are underway for the February 9th Seventh Annual HK on J People’s Assembly, where people and activists from all over the state come to the Capital City to further raise the issues of social justice.
Barber said he found it disturbing that one of the first issues the General Assembly will address is voter ID, disturbing because with the economy still struggling and North Carolinians needing jobs, there are other, more important issues that should be addressed now.
“We are ever hopeful that the leaders of our state will hear our pleas,” Rev. Barber said,” and ever vigilant to see this cause through.”
CASH IN THE APPLE
By Cash Michaels
DR. KING’S DAY – As always this time of year, all of us are preparing to honor the work and legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on his national holiday this Monday, Jan. 21st.
During these pivotal and historic times in our nation and world, keeping Dr. King’s prophetic voice of freedom, justice and equality ringing true, and ringing strong, is essential to upholding the values that have blessed us as a people, and should bless us as a society.
So we thank Dr. King, once again, for his wisdom, strength, love and ultimate sacrifice. Personally, he is one of my greatest examples. He continues to inspire me, and I pray that he always will.
THE SECOND TIME AROUND – History will be made again as President Barack Obama is inaugurated for a second time on Monday.
It is clear that the president has been embraced by the American people, and that he is working hard to get our economy, and quality of life back on track.
We have lived through a lot of history with this president through his election, his re-election, and now his second inauguration. We pray that GOD continues to bless our president, and his beautiful family.
And of course, our nation, ‘cause Lord knows we need all of the blessings that we can get.
THE GUN VIOLENCE DEBATE – There’s no question, especially in the aftermath of the Newtown, Conn. tragedy that saw 26 people shot to death – 20 of whom were school children – that our nation must do something to curb gun violence.
The president made it clear that his administration, without waiting for Congress, is doing something to restrict the scourge of semi-automatic weapons and the ammo those weapons of mass destruction use. Specifically, cutting that number bullets in a clip from 30 to ten, and implementing stronger gun background checks to keep dangerous firearms out of the hands of the deranged.
There should be no argument about the need to have this done.
But there does seems to be some argument about the influence of Hollywood violence on our society. Folks from Samuel L. Jackson to Quentin Tarantino (director of “Django Unchained”) to Arnold Schwarzenegger, all say that the blood and guts shoot ‘em’ gore that we see, even on our TV screens, is in no way connected to the carnage that we’re witnessing in real life.
Why are they saying this? Because if government begins to clamp down on entertainment violence, moviemakers will lose an awful lot of money, and they, quite frankly, don’t want that.
So they deny it.
But what they won’t admit is that the plethora of violent acts we see and hear portrayed creates the toxic atmosphere in our nation that allows us to be more tolerant of violence as a way of life. Our entertainment has turned scenes of violence into candy. We attend certain movies and watch certain shows, not because we enjoy great performances, but because we expect to see spectacular acts of violence which give us a thrill.
Yes, I confess, I’m a junkie for it too, so I speak with some authority.
I love action movies and shows. I love to see the bad guys beat up. I love to see explosions rock.
So why don’t I grab a gun and kill everybody if my love for fake violence is so real? Because, thanks to a good upbringing by the best Mom in the world, I’m able to put that stuff in its proper prospective. I was brought up that morality plays with good guys and bad guys will always display some degree of violence, so understand what it all means.
But not everyone was brought up the same way. They were never given a balance for understanding, never taught that violence should never be the automatic answer in real life.
Indeed, many folks today were the victims of violence when they were young, so that’s, unfortunately, what they respond to. It’s all they know.
Violence, just like sex, is cheap entertainment, which is why there’s so much of it. And we teach our children, from the moment we purchase that G.I. Joe to allowing them to play their first wartime video game, that killing and destruction is cool, without any balance to keep it all in prospective.
So there is a connection. Whether it be a young, ignorant mind; or someone who loves the “power” he feels imitating Sylvester Stallone wiping out a complete village singlehanded, the environment we’re in, one where we’re all two seconds from threatening to kick each other’s behind over something stupid, is triggered by the fake violence we all CONSUME, but don’t know how to manage.
So Hollywood, come off it. You have your share of blame in all of this too.
COLIN POWELL – Why can’t there be more Republicans, let alone more black Republicans like Colin Powell? The former Secretary of State and head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff once again got on NBC’s “Meet the Press” last Sunday, and called his own party out for it racism, accusing it of a “vein of intolerance.” Clowns like Rush Limbaugh and Newt Gingrich don’t like that kind of truth.
I’ll stand with Colin Powell and Republicans of any stripe like him any day!
ZERO DARK THIRTY – After all the hub-bub, I finally saw “Zero Dark Thirty,” the acclaimed film by director Kathryn Bigelow about the ten-year hunt for terrorist Osama bin Laden.
Actress Jessica Chastain plays “Maya,” the CIA intelligence officer whose work is credited with tracking down bin Laden to his stronghold in Pakistan, where he was killed May 1, 2011. Chastain’s Golden Globe-winning performance is strong, and she definitely deserves her Oscar Best Actress nomination.
It’s a long flick, but it’s well made. And the actor who absolutely deserved an Oscar nomination, though he didn’t get one, is the actor who is being tortured at the beginning of the film. He had me believing, I’ll tell you that.
CAN’T STOP SMILING – It’s been two weeks now since Gov. Beverly Perdue granted pardons of innocence to the Wilmington Ten. Folks want to know how are the surviving members doing now?
Willie Earl Vereen and his wife, Gail, tell me that he can’t stop smiling now. Well to GOD be the glory! After forty years of struggle and pain, if that smile just loves its new home, there’s nothing wrong with that! Smile on, Willie Earl, smile on.
AT NNPA CONVENTION IN FLORIDA NEXT WEEK – I’ll be in Fort Lauderdale, Florida next week for the National Newspaper Publishers Association’s Mid-Winter Conference. Along with attorney Irv Joyner, attorney James Ferguson and Dr. Benjamin Chavis, we’ll be talking about our recent success with the Wilmington Ten Pardons of Innocence Project.
NNPA and the Wilmington Journal sponsored the effort, so it will be a pleasure to share our stories and insights with black newspaper publishers from across the nation who supported us.
We’ll give you a report next week.
Make sure you tune in every Thursday afternoon at 4 p.m. for my talk radio show, ''Make It Happen'' on Power 750 WAUG-AM, or online at www.myWAUG.com. And read more about my thoughts and opinions exclusively at my blog, ‘The Cash Roc” (http://thecashroc.blogspot.com/2011/01/cash-roc-begins.html). I promise it will be interesting.
Cash in the Apple - honored as the Best Column Writing of 2006 by the National Newspaper Publishers Association. Columnist Cash Michaels was also honored by the NNPA for Best Feature Story Journalist of 2009, and was the recipient of the Raleigh-Apex NAACP’s President’s Award for Media Excellence in Sept. 2011.
Until next week, keep a smile on your face, GOD in your heart, and The Carolinian in your life. Bye, bye.