Monday, January 25, 2016


NNPA STORIES - [PLEASE NOTE - we need to have this op-ed from jesse jackson on the Flint water crisis in our papers. I going to dig up what the michigan papers are reporting too]


By Cash Michaels

            SNOWSTORM -  It seems like a long ago memory by now,  but last week’s monster snowstorm that paralyzed the east coast, and certainly North Carolina, was one for the history books. Certainly the loss of life during these storms is always regrettable, and businesses not being able to open for days is also something we wish didn’t happen.
            But snowstorms teach us important lessons, like how to survive if our car gets stuck or our electricity goes out. It also teaches us to depend on each other, and to look out for the elderly our communities as well to make sure that they have all they need to weather the storm.
            Valuable lessons are learned when you and your family are stuck together in a snowstorm. Hopefully those lessons slow us all down, and bring us all closer together.
NEW BERN – Many, many special thanks to Ms. Sharon Bryant and her fine staff at the Tryon Palace/NC History Center in New Bern down east. On Thursday, Jan. 21st, the center hosted a screening of our award-winning documentary, “Pardons of Innocence: The Wilmington Ten” at 7 p.m. that evening.
Given the numerous weather warnings of a coming storm on top of the bone-chilling temperatures since we were right at the riverfront, I was convinced that if we had two people attend, we’d be lucky. Instead, over 200 showed up, all ready for a great documentary about an important piece of North Carolina history.
I was simply amazed.
Ms. Bryant told me afterwards that the African-American community in New Bern literally hungers for as much black history as they can get. I will certainly be a witness to that. In fact, there was a healthy mix of  blacks and whites in the audience, in addition with many young people.
This is who the film was made for two years ago, and I’m so happy and grateful to be screening it in various places this year so that as many different audiences as possible can learn this history of the Wilmington Ten, and realize that many of the issues concerning race that we’re dealing with today are not new, and that we’re all still striving for answers.
Thank you New Bern for your great attendance, even in threatening weather, and your great questions afterwards.
I’ll never forget you, and hope to come back one day.
Besides, y’all serve one of the best fried trout, shrimp and scallops combo plates I’ve ever had!
NC MUSEUM OF HISTORY –  Super Bowl Sunday, Feb. 7th, right after church from 2 to 5 p.m, the next screening of “Pardons of Innocence: The Wilmington Ten” will be at the NC Museum of History, and admission is free.
I am both excited and honored to finally have the film screen there, for that codifies it as solid piece of North Carolina history, the seal of approval as it were. As I said, it’s happening Feb. 7th, Super Bowl Sunday, but don’t worry, the film starts at 2  p.m., and that plus the panel discussion featuring Dr. Benjamin Chavis, defense attorney Irv Joyner and myself after the film will end at 5, which means there will still be plenty of time to get home for the big game which starts at 6:30 p.m.. So unless there’s another massive snowstorm (Oh GOD, please no), you have no excuse for missing this free screening Sunday, Feb. 7th at the NC Museum of History.
By the way the next screening after that will be at North Carolina State University on Wednesday, Feb. 10th. More about that later.
NC DEMOCRATS DEBATE – This Friday night, Jan. 29th, I’ll be co-moderating the African-American and Hispanic Caucuses of the NC Democratic Party debate at the Goodwin House at 220 Hillsborough Street in downtown Raleigh starting at 7 p.m.. The candidates running for governor and the US Senate are expected to participate.
AND NEXT SATURDAY – Yeah, yeah, I know, for a guy who is still recovering from a serious stroke a year ago, I’m a bit busy of late, aren’t I? Nonetheless, the 15th Annual African-American Cultural Festival is on this Saturday, Jan. 30th at the NC Museum of History from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. There will be art, drama, dance, displays and special presentations…definitely something for the entire family, and it’s free for all.
I get busy at 12:30p.m. in the Dogwood Room moderating a panel titled, The Impact of Black Newspapers, featuring to outstanding black publishers – my boss at The Carolinian, Mr. Paul Jervay Jr., and Kenneth Edmonds of Durham’s Carolina Times.
Then, from 1:30 -2:15, I’ll be moderating a second panel in the Dogwood Room titled Advocates for Change: NC Student Interns and Community Organizers of the 1960s. Finally at 2:30, I’ll be introducing the staff from the State Library who will be conducting a session entitled Researching African American Ancestors. That session, also in the Dogwood Room, ends at 3:15 p.m.
So for the next two weekends, I’ll be spending a lot of time at the NC Museum of History. As always, please feel free to drop by any of these sessions to say hello, and get some of the great  knowledge we’ll be dropping for you. And by all means please tell a friend.
THE NEW "JACK BAUER" - When the Fox TV show, "24" returns, star Kiefer Sutherland will not return with it. Instead, there will be a new "Jack Bauer", in the person of black actor Corey Hawkins, who currently stars in AMC's hit, "The Walking Dead," and also in the hit film, "Straight Outta Compton." Hawkins will portray ex-military man Eric Carter, who has to deal with people trying to kill him and an emerging terrorist plot. A pilot episode is being shot for a possible 12-episode series, which should start airing sometime next year.
Let's see if y'all can deal with a black superhero now.
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 And read more about my thoughts and opinions exclusively at my blog, ‘The Cash Roc” (
           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.

By Cash Michaels

The plaintiffs’ pre-trial brief in the voter identification lawsuit being heard in federal court in Winston–Salem this week, alleges that Republican lawmakers amended the strict 2013 voter ID law last summer just prior to the first federal trial because “…the State recognized that …there was no evidence of in-person voter fraud in North Carolina, thus undermining the purported justification for the law.”
The lawsuit goes on to charge that “…the statute stood to impose enormous and disproportionate burdens on minorities once it went into effect in violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act and the 14th and 15th Amendments of the Constitution.”
That lawsuit, NCNAACP v. Gov. Pat McCrory, challenges the Republican governor and the GOP-led state Legislature over passage of the 2013 voter photo identification law, which originally only required a government-issued photo ID to vote in the state.  It also seeks to stop implementation before the upcoming March 15th primaries.
            Because of last minute changes to the law last June, voters will be required to show a government-issued photo identification at the polls to cast a ballot, unless they have a “reasonable impediment declaration” for not having one, which didn’t exist before. In that case, they would be required to fill out a form, then show some form of identification like a utility bill, verifying their name and address, in order to then cast a provisional or substitute ballot.
            What has not widely been reported is that that declaration can be challenged by another voter in that county, and the county board of elections can disallow the provisional ballot cast as a result if it determines the excuse for not having a photo ID to be false.
            Attorneys for the plaintiffs  - the NCNAACP, the League of Women Voters of North Carolina, and the US Justice Dept. - maintain in their brief that, “The rationale for North Carolina  originally enacting a photo ID requirement was to deter in-person voter fraud. But allowing those without such ID to vote simply by signing a “reasonable impediment” affidavit would seem to undermine that justification, particularly against an evidentiary background of no in-person voter fraud in North Carolina and the increased tax dollars that North Carolina taxpayers will need to spend implementing this law. Against that background, one must question what North Carolina’s real motivation is in continuing to insist on imposing a photo ID law at all.”
The brief goes on to allege that the reasonable impediment requirement effectively creates a barrier for African-Americans and Hispanics to constitutionally exercise their right to vote, because they’re more likely than whites not to have a government-issued identification, like a driver’s license. That, plaintiffs’ attorneys say, is a violation of Section 2 of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which prohibits the state from “imposing or applying any electoral practice which results in a denial or abridgement…” of the right of any citizen to vote based on race or color.
            Moreover, the North Carolina legislature’s knowledge of the photo ID requirement’s disproportionate burdens on African Americans, its elimination of forms of ID originally included in the bill, and the absence of any credible (much less substantial) legislative rationale, all show that the legislature enacted the statute—at least in part—to make it harder to vote and to deter minority voters in violation of the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments,” the brief maintains. “The law’s subsequent amendment does not ameliorate its prohibited intent. And even if this Court concludes that the legislature lacked discriminatory intent in enacting [the statute] the requirement remains unlawful because it produces discriminatory results and burdens the right to vote in ways that, as has been established in the record, are not outweighed by any substantial State purpose.”
            As evidence of the law’s discriminatory effect, the brief  presents statistics showing that blacks are more likely not to have photo ID than whites, and they also have more trouble obtaining that identification as well.
            In their defense, attorneys for Gov. McCrory and the state Legislature maintain that the reasonable impediment declaration requirement they adopted for North Carolina is very similar to the one which they say passed muster in South Carolina. Plaintiffs attorneys disagree, saying that North Carolina’s provision is based on Section 2 of the VRA, and not Section 5, as is South Carolina’s.
            Plaintiffs also alleged that state lawmakers knew that the voter ID law would have a disproportionately discriminatory affect on African-American voters, but went ahead and enacted it anyway. That is a violation of the 14th and 15th amendments to the US Constitution.
            “The evidence in this case supports a finding of discriminatory purpose,” the brief says. “The record demonstrates that in enacting [the statute], the North Carolina General Assembly was responding to increased political power among African American and Latino voters by making changes in the State’s election law to limit that power and prevent minority voters from threatening the prospects of the political party then in control of the General Assembly.”
This week’s trial is expected to last 5-7 days, depending on the amount of testimony from both sides. Thus far, witnesses for the plaintiffs have testified as to how they've had trouble securing documented evidence to qualify for  photo ID, and how blacks are least likely to have the required ID.


By Cash Michaels

            Editor’s note – There are a large number of African-American candidates running for office in North Carolina during the 2016 election, certainly one of the largest ever. During this campaign season, we will focus on several of the campaigns so that our readers know more about them.

            Spring Lake Mayor Chris Rey sees what the impact of Washington, D.C. policies have on families and citizens in his town everyday. That’s why he wants to become North Carolina’s next U.S. senator, so that he can go to Congress, and be a voice for those families, and advocate for policies that help them move forward, he says.
            “There’s a specific perspective that’s missing from Washington, DC,” says Mayor Rey, one of four Democratic candidates competing in the March 15th US senatorial primary to face Republican incumbent Sen. Richard Burr in the Nov. 8th general election.
            Rey says that many of the senators there currently may indeed be committed to fighting for the little guy, but they don’t know what it means to live paycheck-to-paycheck, or be threatened with the prospect of having their utilities turned off. He says he can dutifully represent that perspective there, because average North Carolinians deserve a fighter.
            “I get it, because I see it everyday as a mayor,” he says.
            Rey was first elected mayor in 2011 after defeating a 30-year incumbent that many said was unbeatable. But “with a new vision,” Rey won the seat with 76 percent of the vote. And he won reelection unopposed.
            Mayor Rey takes pride in leading Spring Lake ahead of the national curve, making one of the first municipalities after he was elected to adopt the “Ban the Box” policy, which allows fair consideration of ex-felons who apply for jobs during the initial application process without revealing their criminal history until a later interview. Rey is also proud of the fact that Spring Lake was one of the first municipalities to secure body cameras for its police officers, some thing very much in the news now amid many controversial police shootings nationwide.
            These are just some of the examples of how, as a public servant, Chris Rey says he’s stayed in touch with the needs of the people who have elected him, and “what’s happening on the ground.” He vows to take that same dedication, and “everyday perspective” with him when he’s elected to the US Senate.
            Rey says he sees the two top issues that must be dealt with effectively in Congress as being national security and generating more jobs. Rey touts his fifteen years in the military, primarily working in the area of cyber-security, as an advantage that no other senator will have. He spent over four years after graduating law school writing cyber-security policy for the US Defense Dept, he says, so keeping America safe against cyber-terrorism would be a priority.
            But then working diligently to help create more jobs for average Americans who deserve the opportunity to earn a decent wage and feed their families is also a key focus, the mayor says. It’s seeing the struggles every day of Spring Lake citizens, and what they must do to make ends meet, that inspires Rey, he says, to fight for them. That’s why, if elected senator, Rey says he would be perhaps the only voice bringing that “every day perspective” and “innovative spirit” to the office, and the Senate floor.
            Mayor Rey also wants to address veterans’ issues, especially with many military personnel coming back from war. He says he wants to make sure that the proper services and resources are there for them and their families.
            The environment and women’s health are also key issues Rey says he sees are priorities.
            All of those things are important to me as I move forward with this Democratic nomination,” he says.
Rey was born in the US Virgin Islands, raised by his grandmother, a special education teacher who took him in when he was one year-old. At the urging of Rey’s uncle, a military man who was also a father-figure for young Chris, the family moved to Spring Lake when he was nine, where he attended school.
            “My grandmother was the person who poured into me the values of hard work. She told me, “No one is going to give you anything…it’s going to be up to you to bear down and make it happen.”
            Rey became a track and field All-American, attended East Carolina University, and later joined the military.
Rey is happily married with three children.
“I believe that I am better prepared than my current three Democratic opponents, “Mayor Rey said, “and would serve the people of North Carolina a lot better than [Sen. Burr] is because when I become senator, I want to be able to serve all of the people of North Carolina, not just the privileged few.”
 “I want to be able to represent all of the people, and make sure that the laws that are coming down out of Washington, DC impact us all positively.”



            [RALEIGH] The African-American and Hispanic Caucuses of the North Carolina Democratic Party will be sponsoring a candidates forum Friday, Jan. 29th, 78 p.m. at the Goodwin House, 220 Hillsborough Street in downtown Raleigh. Democratic candidates for governor and US Senate have been invited to participate. Cash Michaels of The Carolinian will serve a co-moderator along with a member of the Latino press.

[GREENSBORO]The Young Lawyers Division of the North Carolina Bar Association is pleased to provide free legal advice to citizens through the annual Ask-A-Lawyer Day, which will take place Saturday, Feb. 6, at 10 locations across the state. This is a public service event at which volunteer attorneys provide free legal advice to North Carolina citizens. No business relationship may be established between the volunteer attorneys and the citizens. It’s all completely free.
Attorneys will be on hand to answer questions in Asheville, Burlington, Burnsville, Chapel Hill, Charlotte, Durham, Greensboro, Raleigh, Wilmington and Winston-Salem.
Location: Cameron Village Regional Library, 1930 Clark Avenue, Raleigh, NC 27605 Time: 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Location: The Cookery—1101 West Chapel Hill Street, Durham, NC 27701
Time: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Location: Independence Mall, 3500 Oleander Drive, Wilmington, NC 28403
Time: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.


            Thanks to last week’s snowstorm, which canceled classes Friday, and residual ice that cancelled Wake County schools Monday, makeup days have now bee announced for traditional calendar students for Monday, Feb. 15th, and March 24th. For Wake year-round students in tracks 1 and 3, they can plan to go to school this Saturday, Jan. 30th, and April 2nd. Track 3 students will also have class on April 2nd, and Track 4 pupils will also be attending  this Saturday, Jan. 30th.

            The Durham County Sheriff’s Dept. is investigating the death of an inmate found in his cell at the county jail last week. The body of Matthew Lamont McCain, 29, was found unresponsive. Efforts to revive him failed and he was pronounced dead at the scene. He had been held in jail since August for allegedly assaulting a female with a deadly weapon, among other charges. Cause of death at press time was unknown.

            A former employee of the old Hargett Street YWCA is calling for a community meeting to discuss reestablishing the Y at a new location in Southeast Raleigh on Friday, Feb. 5 at 6;30 p.m. at the former location at 554 East Hargett Street, which is currently Treasuring Christ Church. Olivia Mudd, the former economic empowerment program manager at the Y hopes to be licensed by the YWCA USA to get the process started. The Hargett Street Y closed in 2012 amid controversy about financial difficulty.