Tuesday, October 15, 2013




By Cash Michaels

            From the NC NAACP state convention in Rocky Mount last week, to the NC Legislative Black Caucus town hall meeting in Raleigh this week, the cry was the same.
            It’s time to organize to take back North Carolina.
            Civil rights leaders and Democratic officials, already weary from what they call the “repressive path” of the recent Republican-led legislative session, and even more disturbed by the dramatic shutdown of the federal government by House Republicans and likely forced default of the nation’s debt ceiling, beckoned all who would listen that strong, decisive and sustained organization and action is needed now to take back the NC General Assembly in 2014, as well as hold onto the US Senate, and take the Republican-led US House during the midterms that same year.
            It will be tough to do because so many Republicans, thanks to redistricting, were elected from virtually “bulletproof” districts, meaning their district lines are drawn to keep Democrats from winning. But leaders believe if they can at least keep pounding the issues, organizing and registering people to vote in many of those districts, they may be able to make inroads, and make the 2014 election contests closer than experts are currently predicting.
            And even though he isn’t on the ballot for reelection until 2016, Gov. Pat McCrory, still struggling to fully establish his leadership brand after a series of political missteps and snubbing by GOP leaders in the Legislature, is already being targeted as well.
            During his “State of the State” address last Saturday at the State NAACP Convention in Rocky Mount, NCNAACP Pres. Rev. William Barber, who also serve as the leader of the successful Moral Monday movement, laid out a progressive agenda for NAACP members designed to put pressure of McCrory and other state Republican leaders to backtrack on many of their controversial policies.
            Rev. Barber called on Gov. McCrory to call a “Special Redemption Session” in the coming weeks “…to persuade [state lawmakers] to rescind their decision to strip Medicaid from 500,000 North Carolina families and unemployment benefits from 170,000 North Carolina families.” Barber said the Forward Together movement would work to collect petitions during Thanksgiving and Hanukkah.
            The NCNAACP leader also called for a mass Moral Monday – Forward Together movement gathering in Raleigh on December 23rd, “…to either celebrate Gov. McCrory’s redemptive decision, or continue our protest…”            
            But Rev. Barber is just stopping with the governor and the Republican-led General Assembly. He’s going after the proverbial “power behind the throne” as well, in the person of state budget director Art Pope, the wealthy conservative businessman who bankrolled the GOP takeover of the state Legislature, and is advising Gov. McCrory on various budget cuts to state education and the social safety net.
            Barber says he is petitioning the national NAACP for permission to “…set up an informational picket campaign at Maxway and Roses stores, owned by state employee Art Pope.” Rev. Barber further states that the pickets will pass out fliers to shoppers informing them of how Pope used his family fortune to, “…finance extremist campaigns by tea party politicians, and the cuts pope made in his state budget to harm the poor and help the rich.”
            The Moral Monday movement leader also announced that the NCNAACP will support lawsuits against the state over severe budget cuts to education; will fight to defeat “the worst voter suppression bill in the country” in time for the 2014 elections; and will mount a statewide voter registration/education program in time for the November 2014 elections.
            Barber also announced the eighth annual Historic Thousands on Jones Street march and rally people’s assembly will convene on Saturday, February 8th, 2014. Last year’s event is said to have been the largest with over 15,000 attendees. Rev. Barber said people will rally in front of the Legislative Building on Jones Street, “…to protest the immoral, unconstitutional, mean spirit that has taken over the People’s House.”
            On Monday evening at Martin Street Baptist Church in Raleigh, Wake County members of the NC Legislative Black Caucus conducted what they called, “What’s Up: Taking Back Our State Town Hall Meeting.”
            Moderated by State Rep. Rosa Gill [D-Wake], a variety of state lawmakers and public policy analysts gave an overview of everything from the federal shutdown to the rollout of the Affordable Care Act, to what all of them saw was the repressive policies of the Republican-led NC General Assembly, and how all of that negatively impacted the African-American community across the state.
            Speakers like state Sen. Dan Blue [D-Wake], Rep. Yvonne Holley, Rep. Darren Jackson and state House Democratic Leader Rep. Larry Hall of Durham, all assured attendees that the GOP was roiling back the clock on hard-fought for civil rights and privileges that African-Americans had earned, like the right to cast an unfettered ballot during election time.
            The elected leaders all urged citizens to stay active and involved in the political process, and work together to bring about needed change, starting in 2014.


            [GREENSBORO] Under blistering criticism last week, the NC Dept. of Health and Human Services found funding, in spite of the federal government shutdown in Washington, DC, and resumed its Women, Infants and Children program, otherwise known as WIC. North Carolina was the only state in the nation to stop its WIC program when the federal government shutdown, refusing, at first, to supplement it. Poor families in the state will now continue to have their WIC vouchers honored by designated vendors.
            But no sooner did DHHS announce the resumption of WIC, that it then announced the suspension of its federally funded Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, saying that no more applications would be accepted. A DHHS spokesperson said it would not be able to make any TANF programs until the federal shutdown ended. Almost 21,000 North Carolina residents are served by the TANF program, with over 13,000 of them dependent children. The state is directing those needing food to check with their local food banks for assistance. Thus far, North Carolina is, again, the only state that has not temporarily used state funding to supplement the absence of federal funds during the shutdown.

            [DURHAM] In North Carolina, federally funded childcare programs, programs that assist needy families and the elderly, and even state employees who jobs are partially funded through federal funds, are feeling the increasing pressure of the shutoff of federal funding during the now three-week-old federal shutdown. County governments are making emergency supplemental funding to social service programs that normally receive federal aid. But that local funding will only last until the end of October, thus leaving programs that help seniors and the handicapped in desperate trouble. State government agencies are feeling the pinch as well, furloughing employees for hours, and even days, to make up for the shortfall of federal dollars.
            [RALEIGH] Is the state of North Carolina obligated to provide thousands of children living in poverty across the state a pre-kindergarten education? The North Carolina State Supreme Court heard arguments pro and con Tuesday in a 19-year-old case that started when five low-wealth counties sued the state, alleging that it had failed to adequately fund their local public school districts, and thus denied their poor children a constitutionally guaranteed “sound, basic education.” In 2011, the GOP-led state Legislature cut funding to the state’s pre-K program for at-risk children, and changed the eligibility requirements so that less poor children could be served. The state argues that it should be obligated to serve only Hoke County’s children because it was the originally complainant, and that there is no constitutional right to a pre-kindergarten education. Attorneys for the plaintiff school districts countered that the state decided to make the remedy to the original court case statewide because of the constitutional guarantee, and that has been upheld by the court ever since. A decision is expected by the state High Court in a few months.


            Knightdale police say the son of the late state Sen. John Winters is a in the weekend murder of his sister, Seanne Winters Barnette, 55. Ms. Barnette’s body was found in her Knightdale home Saturday morning, authorities say. Her brother, John W. Winters Jr., 70, was arrested two days earlier in Prince William County, Va. driving his sister’s 2008 PT cruiser. He was charged with stealing Barnette’s vehicle, and hospitalized with an unspecified illness. Winters has not been charged with her murder, though Knightdale investigators say that thus far, he is their only suspect. Barnette’s vehicle has been returned to North Carolina for evidence gathering. Ms. Barnette had served as a teacher at Holt Elementary School in Durham for several years. Winters Jr. reportedly was homeless recently. Their father, state Sen. John Winters, had served as the first black Raleigh City councilman in 1961. At presstime there was no word on funeral arrangements.

            The wife of the suspect in a series of armed robberies actually called Raleigh police last Friday to tell them there was evidence “all over the house,” but she couldn’t find “the damn gun.” The tape of a 911 call from the wife of the suspect, Walter Kevin Johnson, has her telling Raleigh police that she suspected him of the crimes, that he had been acting “weird”, that she had a newborn in the house, and there were things there she knew didn’t belong to them. Raleigh police later arrested Johnson during a traffic stop near his home. He was arrested, charged with the robberies, and jailed under  $4 million bond. Johnson’s family reportedly was having financial problems. Police say several of the robberies happened near Johnson’s home.

            As of Tuesday this week, the two-lane stretch of road in Wake County that had been named “New Falls of the Neuse Road” was changed to simply “Falls of the Neuse Road.” The Wake County Commission Board made the change to the portion of the road that started in Raleigh, and ran to through the unincorporated part of the county. A new section with a bridge over the Neuse River had been constructed in recent years.

Wake Leadership Academies to partner with Saint Augustine’s University to provide students with college-level curriculum
The Wake County Board of Education took its first formal step on October 15 to secure Saint Augustine’s University of Raleigh as the college partner for the Wake Leadership Academies.
"This partnership creates an exciting and rare opportunity for our high school students to attend college-level courses on campus, where they will be exposed to the rigor and academic culture of a four-year university," WCPSS Superintendent Jim Merrill said. "This collaboration will allow our school system and Saint Augustine's to fulfill a mutual mission to provide students with the skills, leadership development, and pathways for academic and personal success."
The partnership will allow Leadership Academy students to enroll in university courses to pursue the Early College portion of their rigorous academy experience, through which they may earn a high school diploma while also earning transferable college credit.
“Traditionally, Saint Augustine’s University has provided access to education, opportunities and programs for a widely diverse population of young people. This partnership is a perfect fit for our long range goals as an institution," said Dr. Dianne Boardley Suber, president of Saint Augustine’s University. “Historically black colleges and universities will continue to play a critical role in the education of a significant percentage of the population who are both positioned and postured to become effective leaders and change agents in this rapidly changing world."

Beginning as early as their sophomore year, students will participate in the Saint Augustine’s Transformative Education Program, a four-year, competency-based curriculum that spans all academic programs at the university.

“As an Early College partner, Saint Augustine’s has an inclusive vision for our students and our schools,” said Teresa Pierrie, principal of the Wake Young Women’s Leadership Academy. “I believe they see the academies becoming a part of the university and this will translate into even greater opportunities for our students.”

Representatives from WCPSS and Saint Augustine’s University have been working together since March to develop the partnership and establish the Wake Leadership Academies as an Early College High School.

“In working with the team from Saint Augustine's for the past six months, I can say without equivocation that this institution is the perfect fit for the Early College component for our school,” said Ian Solomon, principal of the Wake Young Men’s Leadership Academy.

The partnership with Saint Augustine’s University will also allow the academies to add a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) focus to the curriculum beginning in 2014-15. To enhance the STEM curriculum, the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences will create learning opportunities for students and professional development for faculty at the leadership academies.

Schools will be providing updates to academy parents as the Wake County Board of Education and Saint Augustine’s University Board of Trustees work together in the coming months to finalize the formal partnership.
By Cash Michaels

            LYNNETTE’S MAHALIA JACKSON CONCERT – We are still in production of the CashWorks HD Productions documentary presentation of “Pardons of Innocence: The Wilmington Ten”, which will make its world premiere in Wilmington next February. Thus far, though it’s hard work, I’m enjoying the experience immensely, and can’t wait for the world to see and experience this historic film.
            The documentary opens with an original song we wrote exclusively for the film titled “That Freedom”, and it is sung by one of the finest singers I’ve ever heard – Ms. Lynnette Barber.
            I’ve known Lynnette since she was a student at St. Augustine’s College (now known as St. Augustine’s University). She is a member of Lincoln Park Holiness Church in Raleigh, and as strong a Christian as Lynnette is, she is just as powerful a  singer, which is why we asked her to sing for the documentary.
            If you want to both see and hear just how great Lynnette is, mark down Sunday, Oct. 27th, 4 p.m. at Lincoln Park Holiness Church. She will once again don a costume, and perform as gospel legend Mahalia Jackson, in concert. I’ve seen Lynnette’s performance as Mahalia, and I’m hear to tell you, it is more than a treat.
            It is an experience!
            So if you want a true gospel singing experience, in addition to a real good time, make sure you and your family come to Lincoln Park Holiness Church, 13 Heath Street in Raleigh, Sunday, Oct. 27th at 4 p.m.. Lynnette Barber sings Mahalia Jackson In Concert. For more information call 919-673-6392 or contact Lynnette at lynbarber@yahoo.com.
            Trust me, you won’t regret it. And next February, get ready to hear Lynnette sing the heck out of the theme to “Pardons of Innocence: The Wilmington Ten.” That, will be unforgettable as well!
            SPIELBERG TAPS BERRY FOR CBS SERIES – Academy Award winning actress Halle Berry is set to return to television next season as an astronaut in new TV series produced by master filmmaker Steven Spielberg called “Extant.”
            Berry’s character returns to Earth after a year on a solo mission to find out that things have changed, and she doesn’t know why.
            Normally, given the stated plotline, I’d say this may or may not work. But with Spielberg at the helm a producer and Berry in the starring role on TV’s Number One broadcast network, and I think it has a shot. How long the series lasts depends on the strength of the scripts, and of course, cast performance.
            But at least “Extant” will have the star-power to give us something to look forward too.
            ANDERSON ABC COMEDY ABOUT BLACK LIFE – Word is that a major broadcast television network, in this case ABC, is considering a new situation comedy that explores what it means to be black in America today. I raise this because it is a poorly kept secret that ABC, NBC and CBS got out of the black situation comedy business some time ago, leaving that fare to BET and the now defunct UPN network, where the popular show “Girlfriends” held roost.
            The show ABC is considering is titled “Black-ish” and it stars Anthony Anderson, the roly-poly black actor we’ve seen star in TV shows like  “Law and Order”, and in movies like “Barbershop.”
            According to published reports, “…Black-ish centers on an upper-middle-class black man who struggles to raise his children with some sense of cultural identity despite constant contradictions and obstacles coming from his liberal wife, old-school father, and his own assimilated, color-blind kids.”
            We’ll see if the pilot for the show makes it to first base.
            What makes this notable is that unlike our black sitcoms of the past, like “Good Times”, “The Jeffersons” and “Sanford and Son”, “Black-ish” is produced by African-Americans – Kenya Barris, who brought us BET’s “The Game”, and actor Lawrence Fishburne’s production company Cinema Gypsy.
            So let’s see what transpires, shall we?
            BREAKING BAD – I know that a few weeks ago, a long-running, very popular  TV series called “Breaking Bad” ended on the AMC cable channel. It won an Emmy Award, and critics that it was addictive television. Even veteran thespian Sir Anthony Hopkins, one of my favorite actors from “Silence of the Lambs” and “The Mask of Zorro”, sent a fan letter to lead actor Bryan Cranston, who stars as “Walter White”, the chemistry teacher who learns he has cancer, and becomes a meth manufacturer, telling Cranston that the series had some of the best acting he’d ever seen.
            That’s high praise, indeed, coming from a master actor like Hopkins.
            So why am I writing about all of this? Because a popular as this series was, and apparently still is (they’re talking about a sequel), I’ve never seen one episode.
            As hyped up as I get about good TV shows and movies, this one, I must admit, never flew onto my radar. So I guess I’ll have to one day do what Sir Anthony Hopkins did – get the complete 62-episode set, and watch the series over a two-week period.
            This way, then, I’ll be the last person on Earth to know whether “Breaking Bad” was really that good or not.
            DON LEMON SAYS SO – Was at BlackAmericaWeb.com the other day, and saw an interesting op-ed piece by CNN weekend anchor Don Lemon titled, GOP “Stop Drinking the [Obama] Hater-aid.” In the piece, Lemon talked about the disgraceful display by Tea Partiers last weekend when they marched to the White House, and throw barricades in front of it.
            One moron (and yes, I’m calling people names here), had the disgraceful gall to grab a microphone, act as if he were talking to President Obama, and tell the Confederate flag waving Tea Party revelers, “ Take your hand off the Quran, come out with your hands up.”
            And then, guess who shows up to further enflame the crowd? Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz – man who has led the way to the federal government shutdown for the past two weeks.
            Both Palin and Sen. Cruz hail from the extreme right-right-wing of the Republican Party, the part that the rabid Tea Partiers lay claim to, and Don Lemon, after some careful analysis, made something very clear.
            “They’re only thinking about to stop a President they hate for whatever reason.”
            Then Lemon posits an extraordinary prediction. “For that reason, and [the Republicans’] inability to embrace the winds of change sweeping through our country, there will never be another Republican President in our generation. In our lifetime.”
            “Republicans, here’s the bottom line…you are blinded by the Obama hate trees, fighting amongst yourselves, in a death spiral,” Lemon continues. “Get on the same message…and stop drinking the hater-aid. It is leaving a bad taste in your mouths and the majority of Americans is recoiling from your bad breath.”
            Wow! That’s powerful stuff, Don. But more importantly, it is true as gold.
            The Republicans hate this black president so much, they are even willing to destroy this nation just to sully and tarnish the legacy of Barack Obama.
            The bad part about it is, innocent people, the poor, furloughed federal and state employees, families and small businesses are the ones suffering as a result. The federal government has been shutdown for three weeks now, and at presstime, while talks were ongoing about salvaging the federal debt ceiling, the House Republicans looked like they were not interested.
            Yes, hold tight to your Bibles or Q’urans or Torahs, for Lord knows we need strength. But then just don’t sit there. Get involved in taking your country back.
            For if you don’t, our children will be denied that which our ancestors fought and died for.
            And make sure during this struggle, that you support this black newspaper. We were born in struggle. We report truth to power. We are owned by our community, therefore we will always stand for and with our community.
            But only if you stand for and with us. Subscribe to us, get advertising with us, and be there for us.
            Don’t let our voice disappear!
            FREDERICK DOUGLASS ON OBAMA - This was sent to me. I double-checked it. I think you should read it too:
             Many people wonder why Republican legislators are so unrelenting on President Obama.Frederick Douglass gave us the answer many years ago. 
             "Though the colored man is no longer subject to barter and sale, he is surrounded by an adverse settlement which fetters all his movements. In his downward course he meets with no resistance, but his course upward is resented and resisted at every step of his progress. If he comes in ignorance, rags and wretchedness he conforms to the popular belief of his character, and in that character he is welcome; but if he shall come as a gentleman, a scholar and a statesman, he is hailed as a contradiction to the national faith concerning his race, and his coming is resented as impudence. In one case he may provoke contempt and derision, but in the other he is an affront to pride and provokes malice."  Frederick Douglass September 25, 1883

               So true, so true! 
              NO SHAME - By the way, and I may start a fight here, but many of you online are saying how "ashamed" you are of North Carolina and America because of what the Republicans are doing. I'm not! I'm proud, VERY proud, to stand with those of you of all stripes who KNOW better, do better, and are planning to DO your very BEST to take back our state and nation. I'm not ashamed of the wrongdoing of others, because they are not doing GOD's will, nor do they represent me. Why should I be ashamed of what they’re doing, when they are NOT ashamed of it? I pity them, because the shame is ALL theirs, and I refuse to share it with them. Instead, I am committed to sharing the mission of fighting for our state and nation, and ALL of our children...even theirs...so that we can put this country back on the right track, and be the kind of America the election of our first black president showed us we can be. So feel free to continue to be "ashamed" of someone else's demented tomfoolery if you will, but for me and mine, we're DAMN proud to STAND UP to evil, and fight it with EVERYTHING we have! 'nuff said.

            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.

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