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What’s Going On

The Asheville, North Carolina unanimously passed a resolution on July 14 which supports reparations for its Black residents, encouraging the state to follow suit.
The resolution officially apologized for slavery and segregation; however there will not be any direct monies paid to local Blacks.

The City Council will invest in and allocate monies to address local Black disparities in health care, education, employment, salaries and the criminal justice system under this reparations initiative.
Asheville’s population is close to 94,000, which is 83% white and 12% Black.

George Floyd

SUMMERTIME IN AMERICA
As the nation battles COVID19, the decades-long Black-on-Black violence is re-emerging. The July 4th gun violence afflicting Black America from coast to coast, continues in NYC: during the July 11/12 weekend, fifteen people were shot. The following Monday (13), seventeen people were shot in the city, ten of them in Brooklyn where there were seven fatalities, including a one-year-old boy. The USA is a nation with many moving parts and subcultures – education, business, rich and poor, unions, and race/ethnicities – who, ipso facto, must comingle. In June/July, the US Supreme Court ruled in favor of the rights and protections for: DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or DREAMers); Native Americans, and for abortions. It confirmed that the President was not above the law, denying Congress access to his tax files, but allowing the Manhattan DA to move forward with its request for same.

Add to the above, the “WHO-WOULD-HAVE-THOUGHT” matters unfolding in America since the George Floyd assassination, the COVID19 July surge in the Sunbelt states and beyond; American businesses revisiting and revoking their re-opening practices and viewing Corporate responsibility through a new lens; Kanye West running in the 2020 Presidential race; The National Football Association’s plan to present TWO songs, the National Anthem and “Lift Every Voice and Sing” — the Black Anthem — before each game; The NFL Washington Redskins franchise acknowledging an imminent name change. And so much more.

Most people understand now that defunding the police is not akin to the elimination of police departments. In Minneapolis, scene of the George Floyd murder, the City Council will disband the Police Department and replace it with a community-based public safety program. Perhaps something akin to the Camden, NJ police reform model.
America’s new mantra is race equality. Will that race agitator POTUS 45 get the message before surrendering his office – and the US Senate – to Democrats?

Vauhxx Rush

But is this new Black Lives Matter consciousness all-pervasive – and fully embraced – in America? The DEMOCRACY NOW interview (www.democracynow.com) with — and YouTube video of – African American Vauhxx Rush Booker who was almost lynched by a mob of white men near Lake Monroe in Indiana, during the July 4, 2020 weekend are reality checks.

COVID19 UPDATES
NYC: While the COVID19 curve has flattened, problems like hunger, unemployment, rent and evictions, persist in underserved communities. Rent arrears and evictions are new NYC epidemics. Food pantry stations are set up weekly at NYCHA buildings and local churches. The $600 weekly unemployment bonus by the Feds expires 7/31. A new Stimulus Program is inevitable … with a reduced weekly bonus of $200-$400.

Judith Harrison

NYPD CULTURE
Judith Harrison, 52, is the first woman to run the NYPD’s Brooklyn North Command, which encompasses 10 precincts that run from East NY to Brooklyn Heights, and which includes some of the city’s “most violence-prone neighborhoods.” She is one of four Black women to ascend to the NYPD’s chief rank. A 23-year NYPD veteran, Harrison holds a MS degree from John Jay and headed the NYPD Special Victims Division.
Read Maya Wiley’s NY Daily News OpEd “Dermot Shea’s Time is Up.” Shea is NYPD Commissioner. She is referencing standoff between Shea and Hizzoner in the post George Floyd protest era. MSNBC legal consultant Wiley, currently teaches at the New School University. She served as NYC Civilian Complaint Review Board Chair and Counsel to Mayor de Blasio. Rumors persist about her interest in the 2021 NYC mayoral race.
The 7/13 NY TFimes editorial, “NYPD Has Rejected Reform for Decades. It Can’t Anymore,” is a good Wiley companion piece.

ECO DEVELOPMENT
Note some new movements towards Black community-based economic empowerment. NETFLIX, the worldwide streaming giant, plans to move $100 million or two percent of its $5.2 billion cash assets to Black banks and related institutions that directly support Black communities. The Netflix film production portfolio includes “When They See Us,” about the Central Park 5; “13th,” the documentary about the amendment which abolished US slavery, which later ushered in a long period of racial inequality, Jim Crow and mass incarceration; and “SELF MADE”, a biopic about Black millionaire entrepreneur Madame C. J. Walker.
Billionaire George Soros’ Open Society Foundation will invest $220 million into efforts towards racial equality in America. The initiative has supported Black Lives Matter and will support other Black-led racial justice groups, including a $150 million investment in 5-year grants for organizations such as the Equal Justice Initiative, Black Voters Matter Fund and Repairers of the Breach, founded by Rev. Dr. William Barber II of the Poor Peoples Campaign.

Gregg Bishop

NEWSMAKERS
Gregg Bishop, NYC Commissioner of Small Business Services, during the de Blasio Administration, was recently named Interim Executive Director of Coro New York, a civic leadership organization purposed with achieving change through collaboration and identifying creative solutions to strengthen American democracy. Bishop’s CV includes senior management stints at NPower, Oxygen Media, and TheStreet.com.
RIP: Zindziswa Mandela, 59, youngest daughter of South Africa’s most prominent anti-Apartheid advocates, Winnie and Nelson Mandela, died on Monday, July 13.

Michael V. Drake

EDUCATION UPDATES
Michael V. Drake, 70, was named the 21st President of the University of California, the sprawling 10- campus public university which includes UCLA, Berkeley, Irvine, Davis and boasts a 285,000 student body, five medical centers and three nationally affiliated labs. UC is the world’s leading public research university system. Dr. Drake is UC’s first African- American president in its 152-year history. A UC medical school graduate, Drake led Ohio State University and the UC Irvine campus.
While COVID19 is spreading all over America, the US President has threatened to cut off funds to K-12 school systems which do not have in-school classroom settings this fall. That is not his jurisdiction. California Governor Newsom announced that Los Angeles and San Diego will hold remote classes in September. NY Governor Cuomo said that schools can open that have met stage 4 criteria. He will confirm school policy by 7/31.
Trump also planned to deport all international college students who are not taking on-campus classes in September. He quickly changed his mind after Harvard and MIT threatened lawsuits and perhaps after learning more about the 1 million foreign students he was poised to push out of the class; they are major revenue sources for nation’s economy.
As a related footnote, The Center for World University Rankings is an annual list of the 100 top schools based on quality of education, alum employment, quality of faculty and research performance. The top universities this year include Harvard, which ranked #1 for first 9 years, MIT, Stanford, University of Cambridge, University of Oxford, Columbia, Princeton, University of Pennsylvania, University of Chicago and Yale.

The get-back-to-school threats to the states come on the heels of his America-back-to-business “vision”. That outcome… a nationwide surge of COVID19 infections.
So why does Trump politicize everything? Hasn’t he figured out: Economic recovery requires a healthy workforce, and by extension, healthy students, the “future” of America?

A Harlem –based media/branding specialist, Victoria is reachable at Victoria.horsford@gmail.com

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