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Apology For Lynching Comes 67 Years After Event

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Chantè Russell

Carolinian Intern

More than six decades after being falsely accused and hanged by two sheriff’s deputies, 86-year-old Holly Springs resident Lynn Council met with Sheriff Gerald Baker on Thursday, June 13 and received an apology along with a key to the Wake County Sheriff’s Office inscribed with his name. 

The key was presented with a carousel inscribed with James 1:12, “Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.”

The hanging took place in 1952, at the time Council was 19. Sixty-seven years later, Council still vividly remembers the story which he mostly kept to himself as he led a quiet life in Wake County until earlier this year.

Since coming forward, Council has attended various events honoring him and recognizing the injustice he faced. At this meeting he recounted his ordeal with slow but deliberate speech and gestures. A scar remains on the back of his neck from the hanging.

Council told Sheriff Baker that he was taken from his home with his mother and father and, arrested by then Apex Police Chief Sam Bagwell for allegedly robbing a store outside of Apex. Bagwell’s racial discrimination is well documented. Council was one of eight arrested.

“This office is no longer and never will be again an office where those type of things will happen,” said Sheriff Baker. 

The crime took place outside of Bagwell’s jurisdiction, but Council was driven to Cary where he says he was beaten, and eventually hanged on a tree that stands near Kildaire Farm Road to try to force a confession. Council says at the time of the hanging “Jesus stepped in.”

“They took me out into the woods to kill me, but things didn’t happen that way,” said Council. “Jesus was there.”

It was later discovered that a store employee had stolen the money Council had been accused of taking. The deputies who hanged Council were never punished, but Sheriff Baker removed an image of the then sheriff which previously hung in the Wake County Sheriff’s Department office, and told Council that it was the least he could do.

“It’s never going to be enough,” said Sheriff Baker. “If there’s anything else that [Council] can think of to help signify what our purpose is, we’ll do it.” He later said to Council, “I promise you we will move forward doing things the right way.” 

Council also previously met with current Apex Police Chief John Lettney who said he wanted to hear Council’s story directly from him. Lettney also removed Bagwell’s brick from the Apex Walk of Honor.

“It concerns me that these stories are out there about a man that wore the same badge I’m wearing now,” said Lettney. “He failed his oath to serve Apex citizens.” 

The sheriff’s department’s attempts at atonement seemingly did give Council some peace. He thanked Sheriff Baker for the department’s apologies and for symbolically recognizing him as “officially and permanently” part of the office. 

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Leveling The Healthcare Pricing Playing Field

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By Dr. Joy Martinez

Staff Writer

If choice drives pricing by giving power to the consumer to compare, contrast, and force competition, then the President just gave more power to the people. Trump signed an Executive Order requiring hospitals and insurers to provide transparent pricing and rates, and well as an estimate of out-of-pocket costs before procedures. 

Alongside price transparency, the administration will give researchers and health care providers data to “help them develop tools to provide patients with more information about health care prices and quality,” according to the White House. There is more to the Executive Order, as it expands the benefits of Health Savings Accounts and other tax-preferred health accounts, allowing people to do more with the savings they have put aside. 

During a press briefing, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said, “This will put American patients in control and address fundamental drivers of health care costs in a way no president has done before.”

Earlier this year, the Trump administration announced new requirements for pharmaceutical companies, requiring them to disclose the price of their prescription medicines in TV ads starting in July. 

In January, new rules took effect under the new requirements that require hospitals to post online their list prices. These are prices hospitals set—the amount they would like to receive—but they are far from actual costs or what insurers actually pay. List prices don’t show the discounted rates insurers have negotiated, so they can’t be used by insured patients who want to compare prices before a procedure or visit. 

Currently a patient typically sees true pricing or the negotiated rate after medical care is provided when insured patients get an explanation of benefits, (EOB), which shows how much the hospital charged, how much of a discount their insurer received and the amount a patient may owe. 

Negotiated rates are closely guarded secrets, neither the provider or the insurer wants competitors to know the details of deals they’ve put together. Medicare pricing is publicly available, but some argue private insurers’ contractual rates are the same as trade secrets and should be private. 

However, the EOB that arrives in our mailboxes around the same week as our shockingly high medical bill spells out the list price, the negotiated price, and the out-of-pocket cost. It’s hard to accept information as trade secrets that are printing and mailed for all to see. 

The lack of information in health care is a widespread problem. Trump has called for additional legislation that would ban “surprise medical bills,” when patients receive care from a doctor in a hospital who isn’t covered by their insurance. 

According to the President, “We’re taking power away from bureaucrats, we’re taking it away from insurance companies and away from special interests, we’re giving that power back to the patients… [bringing costs] way, way down.” 

There are those that push back against the idea that choice and competition drive prices. Some argue health care is different as an industry and if word gets out about negotiated rates, companies will simply raise their currently discounted prices to match the highest rates. 

They say healthcare as an industry has a “sticky ceiling” and prices will go up as consumers know more about their back room dealings and secret contracts. 

In 2017, President Trump signed Executive Order 13813, directing the Administration, to the extent consistent with the law, to “facilitate the development and operation of a health care system that provides high-quality care at affordable prices for the American people by promoting choice and competition.” 

This looks like one more step in a long journey toward health care that keeps us living longer without breaking our budgets and our banks.

Fayetteville Outreach Center Facing Foreclosure

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Charlotte Robinson stands at the building site of the TJR Outreach Center

By Chantè Russell

Carolinian Intern

The founders of the TJ Robinson Life Center in Hope Mills envisioned the center as a place for youth to participate in sports while finding mentorship and a host facility for regional athletic tournaments. However, the center may now be facing foreclosure before ever even opening. 

The massive center, meant to boast five basketball courts, two football fields and classroom/meeting spaces, was the idea of Charlotte and Thuston Robinson, known by many as Coach Rob. The retired veteran couple decided to open the center after finding they didn’t have the space to house Coach Rob’s basketball coaching and mentoring efforts. 

The Robsinons invested over $1 million from their savings to start the project, but have been unable to come up with the rest. Their contractors have now told them that they will be seeking foreclosure on July 1 if they are unable to pay the remainder of the $700,000 owed. Charlotte Robinson said that what continues to give her faith is knowing that this is a “Jesus project.”

“Even though it’s been seven years of struggle, there’s been strategic things that [Jesus] has done so I know it was him Him,” said Robsinson. 

Once opened, the center is meant to have an emphasis on serving at-risk youth. Robinson noted that any child could be at-risk, not just those growing up facing economic hardships.

“Our experience is that a lot of these kids are doing what they saw done,” said Robsinson. “The kids are our future so we have to start with them.”

The center is also slated to have a special needs athletic program which Robinson says is important because both she and her husband have had special needs friends and there aren’t many athletic opportunities for Cumberland County’s special needs community. 

“Those kids are left out of the sports circuit. They get the Special Olympics in Raleigh and that’s it,” said Robinson. “They don’t have leagues, so we wanted to open up an opportunity for special needs kids to have their own sports leagues. 

The center would also have programs geared toward the senior community. However, Robinson says despite positive impact she and her husband believe the center would have on the surrounding area, they have not received their anticipated community support. 

“We cannot get community buy-in,” said Robinson. “I’ve spoken to county commissioners, we’ve written letters, I’ve even had the mayor of the town of Hope Mills say he doesn’t want to meet with us anymore.”

According to Robinson, they’ve lost grants because they’ve been unable to partner with a municipality. The Robinsons believe that the TJ Robinson Life Center has the potential to serve as an economic stimulus in their community through hosting tournaments and have begun to question if racial discrimination is why they haven’t received their expected support.

“I wish someone would ask them ‘Why won’t you support this project?’ because only one thing comes to mind for me,” said Robinson. “Because they have not been able to produce anything, I’m saying it’s because we’re African-American and in their mind we’re not supposed to be doing what we’re doing. I can’t think of anything else.”

Robinson says that organizations who have agreed to partner with them are ready to help once the center is open, but until then the majority of their support comes from the parents of children being mentored and coached by the Robinsons. Charlotte Robinson also believes that even more opportunities for partnerships will come once the building is completed. 

For the time being the center’s goals include grant writing and fundraising. Once construction is completed, the Robinsons hope to help many kids find a path for a bright future. 

“Almost all of our kids have made a decision to go to the military, go to college, get a job or go to trade school, so we feel we’ve been very successful,” said Robinson. 

“Our long-term goal would be to have thousands of kids come through and have the tools they need to be successful placed right in front of them, no matter what environment they come from.”

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82 Arrested In Child Exploitation Operation

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Raleigh, NC – A total of 82 people were arrested and 17 children were rescued or identified as victims during a mutually coordinated operation between eight southeastern states.  Seven of those arrested traveled for the purpose of meeting and having sex with a minor.  The joint proactive operation, Operation Southern Impact III, was coordinated by 10 Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Forces in those eight states and focused on persons who possess and distribute child pornography and those who are sexually exploiting children in other ways using technology and the internet.  The planning for Operation Southern Impact III began approximately four months ago and culminated in three days of investigative actions to include search warrant executions, undercover operations, arrests and sex offender compliance verification visits in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia. A total of 171 law enforcement and prosecutorial agencies participated in the operation.

The arrestees’ range in age from 20 to 70 years old.  Some of their occupations included restaurant employee, firefighter, shipping company employee, small business owner, railroad company employee, store clerk, IT specialist, youth minister, construction worker, graphic designer and students.  During the operation, 134 search warrants were executed, and 215 knock and talks were conducted in those eight (8) states. During those search warrants and knock and talks, 861 digital devices were previewed and 1,613 digital devices were seized.  Of those devices seized, 203 were mobile phones.  

These investigative actions resulted from both reactive cases such as cybertips received by each ICAC Task Force from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), and proactive cases such as peer-to-peer investigations and proactive, online undercover investigations.  Daily each task force receives numerous cybertips from NCMEC related to online child exploitation.  During Operation Southern Impact III, the investigations related to 248 cybertips were advanced through the execution of these search warrants and knock and talks, and through the seizure of digital devices which will be forensically processed in the coming weeks.  There were 22 internet safety presentations or related events held during the operation, and 13 new task force officer training courses geared towards complex digital investigations.

North Carolina ICAC Task Force Commander Alan K. Flora stated, “Much of what the ICAC Task Force does happens quietly, with little or no information about our work released to the press because of the sensitive investigations of crimes against young children.  It’s often impossible to tell our stories without revealing the identities of minors who have already been through traumatic events.  This three-day operation provides a snapshot of the work that the ICAC Task Force is doing round the clock, seven days per week.  Predators are real, and they walk among us.  The ICAC Task Force works diligently every day to stop those who prey on our most innocent citizens.”  

North Carolina agencies participating in the operation were the NC SBI, Homeland Security Investigations (Charlotte, Winston-Salem, and Cary offices), United States Probation, United States Marshals Service, United States Attorney’s Office – Middle District NC, Cary Police Department, Rowan County Sheriff’s Office, Guilford County Sheriff’s Office, Randolph County Sheriff’s Office, Gaston County Sheriff’s Office, Avery County Sheriff’s Office, Gastonia Police Department, Forest City Police Department, Transylvania Police Department, Mayodan Police Department, Catawba County Sheriff’s Office, Winston-Salem Police Department, Henderson County Sheriff’s Office, Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office, Stokes County Sheriff’s Office, Carolina Beach Police Department, Greensboro Police Department, Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office, Waynesville Police Department and the Alamance County Sheriff’s Office.  

North Carolina officers executed nine search warrants and conducted 38 knock and talks during the three-day operation.  This resulted in six arrests on charges pertaining to the sexual exploitation of minors.  Investigations in those cases are ongoing, details of the arrests will be made at the local level by the agencies directly involved.  

The continued collaboration among the national network of ICAC Task Forces is one of the most successful partnerships in the history of law enforcement.  The 61 ICAC Task Forces across the country are working cases and conducting investigative actions like these every day. The Commanders of the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Forces in these states want to reinforce to those who exploit children that the ICAC Task Forces will work tirelessly together to make an impact in their respective states and the region as a whole.  The cooperation among agencies and among states illustrates their level of commitment to detect, arrest and prosecute child predators. Cooperation is always important in law enforcement, but it is never more important than when the common goal is the protection of children. Operation Southern Impact III has given law enforcement an opportunity to share experience, information and resources across units, agencies, and state lines to make sure there is no safe place for criminals to hide who would victimize the most vulnerable among us.  

The National ICAC Task Force Program consists of over 4,000 local, state and federal law enforcement agencies, other related criminal justice agencies and prosecutor’s offices.  The mission of the ICAC Task Force, created by the U. S. Department of Justice, is to assist state and local law enforcement agencies in developing an effective response to cyber enticement and child pornography cases. This support encompasses forensic and investigative components, training and technical assistance, victim services, prevention and community education. The ICAC Program was developed in response to the increasing number of children and teenagers using the internet, the proliferation of child pornography, and the heightened online activity by predators searching for unsupervised contact with underage victims. By helping state and local law enforcement agencies develop effective and sustainable responses to online child victimization and child pornography, the ICAC program delivers national resources at the local level.

Joshua Hall, Guilford County Sheriff’s Office, charged with indecent liberties with a minor

Christopher John Authement, arrested in Nash County by SBI, charged with 2nd degree sexual exploitation of a minor (limited information, part of an ongoing investigation)

George Beall, Homeland Security Investigations – Charlotte, charged with federal probation violations, possession of child pornography

David Kimball, Cary Police Department, charged with sexual exploitation of a minor 

Paul Sullivan, Cary Police Department, charged with sexual exploitation of a minor

HBCU’s Are Not Your Dog Park

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By Nicholas A. Curry,Staff Writer

It is obvious that some American citizens are not aware of the significance of Historically Black Colleges and Universities. This is okay, but I feel it is my duty to enlighten the uninformed. 

Historically Black Colleges and Universities were founded for African-American people, to give them the opportunity to receive a college education at a time when they were considered unequal. Actually, African-Americans were treated as property and cattle during the emergence of black colleges. 

Our ancestors were raped, beaten, and fed scraps on a daily basis for over two hundred years. Before the creation of historically black colleges, black people were not granted the opportunity to receive an education. 

If an ancestor was caught reading or practicing their penmanship they would be severely beaten. Slave masters had one ultimate goal, to ensure the Negro felt less than a human being at all times. 

This harsh treatment did not discourage black folk from educating themselves. They attended secret, underground schools where they learned how to read and write; this was kept secret from their oppressors. The hate of the oppressor could never overcome the Negro’s desire for seeking knowledge. 

Many abolitionists or anti-slavery advocates decided to invest in the educational advancement of African-Americans. These abolitionists decided to open institutions of higher education for black people to give them a chance at gaining knowledge. 

Cheyney University of Pennsylvania was the first HBCU that opened on the behalf of African-Americans, eighteen years before slavery was abolished. The campuses of HBCUs are extremely sacred and have historical significance for many reasons. 

So many of our ancestors were hanged and killed throughout the period of slavery. They prayed to see better days, but unfortunately many were unable to. Though they did not live to see these “better” days, they prayed they would come for future generations. Our people died so one day we could walk freely through our college campuses. The grass in particular is considered “hallowed ground” on many HBCU campuses. 

For those who are uninformed, a college campus is for the students that attend the institution. Yes, visitors are welcomed, however, visitors are expected to show respect to the campus while on campus.  Some people believe the community should have full access to their neighborhood’s college campuses at all times. In fact, they believe their dogs should have full access too.

Tensions have been high in the Shaw neighborhood of Washington D.C. over the past few weeks. Newly-moved residents of the neighborhood have been walking their dogs throughout Howard University’s campus, even in the areas that are known to students, faculty, and staff as “off limits.” 

One resident was interviewed last week regarding the tension between community members and Howard students. He was on record saying “if students have a problem with people walking their dogs, just move the campus.” Move the campus? Move the campus of a 152-year-old institution that represents black culture and excellence? Move the campus of an institution that has been producing black professionals for over a century? Move the campus so you can walk your dog?

Howard’s President released a statement to community members and asks them to please respect the campus. 

“Dear Howard University Family, Our campus is a beautiful, sacred space that provides comfort and, in many ways, sanctuary in a place that feels more like a second home than merely an academic institution.

‘‘The Upper Quadrangle, commonly referred to as the Yard, is a treasured site of many auspicious occasions. Our Commencement Ceremony is the ultimate long walk that symbolizes a sacred tradition, symbolic of every student’s matriculation. The Howard University community wants to see this area remain pristine and symbolic of all that Howard University represents.

‘‘We are aware of the concerns regarding dog walking across campus. Howard is a private institution nestled in the heart of an urban city and we’ve shared a long-standing positive relationship with our evolving community for more than 150 years, which we look forward to continuing in the future.

‘‘We can relate to the Nation wanting to visit and witness the Howard mystique. The institution has a tradition of opening our doors for everyone to observe the best that Howard University has to offer. We’ve shared many symposiums, workshops and concerts with our neighbors. Our annual parade proudly wraps through the surrounding streets and our students walk safely through the neighborhood.

‘‘At the beginning of my presidency we held regular meetings that included students, faculty and members of the Advisory Neighborhood Committees to cultivate a town and gown relationship. I recently reached out to our local ANC and Councilwoman to engage in a dialogue. We recognize that service animals are a necessary aspect of modern-day life and we will accommodate them as needed. We appreciate pet owners respecting our campus by not bringing pets onto the private areas.

‘‘Thank you for your emails and expressive thoughts surrounding this matter. I will always work in the best interest of the Howard University community.

‘‘Excellence in Truth and Service,

‘‘Wayne A. I. Frederick, M.D., MBA

President”

Our schools are not dog parks. 

Analysis: No Compensation If Police Kill You

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By Dr. Kim Muktarian

Cases throughout North Carolina that involve officers and fatalities, rarely get settled with financial compensation for the victims. The dead can’t talk and usually don’t have any evidence to present. 

One such case involves two young black men, two police cars and an early morning encounter.

On June 5, 2013, at 3 a.m., Maurice Harden and Trindell Thomas were riding together on a motor scooter, heading to a friend’s house in Southeast Raleigh. The 20- and 21-year-olds were mere feet from their destination when they were struck and killed by a speeding police car.

The police car was traveling 77 miles per hour, over a blind hill, with a speed limit of one-third of what the officer was going. According to the police reports, the impact launched the boy 180 feet in the air and the police car only stopped because the scooter was wedged under it.

The officer that hit and killed the two men stated that he did not see them until he was 5 feet away from them and there was no time to stop. His reason for racing over the hill was that he was chasing a speeding car. 

The officer had no lights on, nor did he have his siren operating. He approached the peak of a steep hill, in the middle of the night, in complete darkness, with no lights on and in complete silence. The officer was never charged with negligence or any wrongdoing.

In North Carolina there is a law that states that if you contribute even 1 percent to an incident as a result of an encounter with law enforcement, then you have no grounds to sue, and the officer cannot be held liable. 

In the case of these two young men, the officer claimed that the scooter’s lights were dim, thus contributing to the incident. For this reason their deaths, or should I say their lives had no value.

Another incident that happened in 2016, and also in Raleigh, was an attack on a 16-year-old girl by a law enforcement dog.  Sade Tomlinson was attacked after she and her friends left a car that they were riding in, on the side of the road, in a ditch. 

The young man that was driving the car made a turn that was too wide onto a side street and ran into the ditch. Unable to get the car back onto the road the kids ran away and left the car. 

There were no drugs, no alcohol and no weapons found either in the car nor on their person, but because they were afraid of getting in trouble with their parents, they left the scene. Police officers came to the scene and started searching for the teens that were in the car.

According to reports, one of the officers had a dog and his handler lost control of the animal. He said that the dog broke off of his leash after sniffing some articles from the car and ran into the neighborhood and attacked Tomlinson. The first officer on the scene of the attack did nothing to get the dog off of young woman. He stated that it was not his dog. 

Bystanders pleaded with the officer to shoot the dog, but he would not. Apparently the dog’s life was worth more than Ms. Tomlinson’s life. To date local government has not made any effort to compensate Tomlinson for her life-altering injuries. Though there was an officer that witnessed the attack on the young woman, no “human” fault has been assigned in this case.

Last January, Curtis Mangum was pulled from the back seat of a vehicle by Raleigh police. They suspected him of having drugs on his person. Once he was wrestled out of the car the officers tried to get Mangum to spit out whatever he had in his mouth. Even though the officers suspected that Mangum had swallowed narcotics, they did not take him to the hospital to have his stomach pumped. Instead they took him to the police precinct to have him strip searched. Mangum died the next day. 

It is not clear what transpired inside the precinct. Released to the public was video footage of Mangum entering and leaving the police precinct, but nothing at all of the events that happened inside of the walls of the jail. This case was closed with no charges filed and no compensation to his family.

In Alamance County, Courtney Jermaine Watlington was in a high-speed chase in the rural portion of Burlington when he lost control of his car, rear ended another car and hit a light pole. The sound of the crash brought people out of nearby homes and businesses. 

According to witnesses, a few people tried to go to the aid of Watlington when a State Trooper pulled a gun out and ordered them to back up and not help Watlington as he yelled for help from the passenger seat. A few minutes later Watlington’s car burst into flames. The next day he was dead. There have been no charges filed in this case and no compensation for his family.

These are only a few examples of injustices, but there are so many more that happen across the state everyday. From hangings in Bladen County to the shootings of unarmed black men in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina has a long way to go to close the social injustice gap. 

Rapper’s Death Leaves Void

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From Carolinian Staff Reports

It’s a story we’ve heard before.

In broad daylight, on a public street, shots ring out and a young black man lies dead in the street.

In spite of photos of the crime and the man who did it, nobody saw, heard or knows anything.

But not this time.

When rapper, entrepreneur and philanthropist Nipsey Hussle was gunned down Sunday in the Crenshaw neighborhood of Los Angeles, tips began pouring in to the police—on social media, over the phone and in person.

It was such an unusual turn of events that Los Angeles Police Chief Michael Moore tweeted, ‘‘Thank you to both our community for the heightened awareness/vigilance, and our partners at @LASDHQ,’’ where many of the tips came in.

Everybody in the community knew Hussle, and they knew his assailant as well. And before many minutes had passed, the police knew it too: Eric Holder. They knew what kind of car he was in, what its license number was and that the girl driving was his girlfriend.

It only took until Tuesday before Holder was in police custody, charged with murder and attempted murder.

What makes this case different? The man that was killed was not just a Grammy-nominated rapper, but a hero in the community. He was loved, admired and thanked by thousands in the community that he never left.

Yes, he was a gang banger. Not ‘‘former,’’ as many in the rap and hip-hop industry are. He was a member of the Rollin 60s Neighborhood Crips, which made his investment in the place he called home and his efforts to end the violence that had taken so many of his peers all the more authentic.

Street cred aside, there was something different about this rapper. While many give to foundations and attempt to help their former communities, Hussle never left.

His efforts in the area were many and legendary.

•He renovated a roller-skating rink, as well as basketball courts and playgrounds in the community.

•He bought shoes for local kids who couldn’t afford them.

•He paid for funerals of people in the community when their families couldn’t afford them.

•He provided shelter for the homeless and jobs for many, many others.

Then there were his cultural, educational and business investments there.

Vitally concerned with getting local kids involved in STEM subjects, he opened Vector 90, a space that gave inner-city students a chance to be exposed to science and technology.

A famous quote: ‘‘In our culture, there’s a narrative that says, ‘Follow the athletes, follow the entertainers.’ That’s cool, but there should be something that says, ‘Follow Elon Musk, Follow Zuckerberg.’’’

In addition to his Destination Crenshaw initiative, celebrating black history and achievements in Crenshaw through art and culture, he put his money where his mouth was with concrete investments in his home neighborhood.

First it was Marathon Clothing, located in a strip mall at Crenshaw and Slauson. Then a soul food restaurant. Then a barber shop and a convenience store. Before long, he owned all of the strip mall, with plans for a commercial plaza and multi-story residential space.

But that wasn’t all. He insisted that local people who needed jobs were employed at all of his businesses.

This resulted in an uncounted number of jobs in an otherwise depressed area of South Los Angeles.

He brokered peace with warring factions in the city and offered them a better way. He was even planning a meeting with Jay-Z’s Roc Nation and L.A. Police Commissioner Steve Soboroff, set on the day after his death.

But that came to a halt shortly after 3:30 p.m. on Sunday when a man, identified by everybody in the neighborhood as Holder, approached Hussle and two friends outside of Marathon Clothing. Words were exchanged, and he left, only to come back with a handgun and open fire.

The two men standing with Hussle were wounded, but he was dead, from a bullet to the head.

His assailant ran to a waiting car driven by a woman and drove off.

Police said that it was a personal beef between the two men,  not gang related, even though Holder was also a member of the Crips, but they declined to say what it was.

Whatever the excuse, this latest, cruelly ironic example of violence left a community deprived of a bright light of hope.

That was underlined Tuesday, when a vigil for him was sent into chaos by a person with a gun. There were several injuries, but no shootings reported

It also left a girlfriend, actress  Lauren London, and two children, Kross and Emani.

London doubtless spoke for many in the community on Tuesday when she said, in an Instagram post:

‘‘I am completely lost. I’ve lost my best friend, my sanctuary, my protector, my soul.

‘‘I’m lost without you. We are lost without you, babe. I have no words.’’ 

Funeral arrangements were still pending at press time.

The Election Is Over, Time To Make Policy

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The Election Is Over, Time To Make Policy

Dani Ross, Columnist with The Carolinian

Social responsibility did not end on November 6th. The election was only the beginning.

It is time to get some stuff done that is going to benefit people other than the wealthy and well-connected. No more armchair activism. Let’s put those lessons that were learned in high school civics class to work. Let’s test this democracy.

For years now we have watched lower-income neighborhoods be erased and replaced with newer, bigger, more expensive housing. And there is the problem. We have watched this happen. 

Some of the people that opened the doors to the gentrification floodgates look just like you. Capitalism has no conscience and no color other than green. So, while thousands of families across the state are being priced out of their homes, somebody is getting rich. People are getting displaced and there are no affordable housing options available for them.

This mass murder of minority neighborhoods began in 2010 with the U.S. Census. Based on the surveys, the census determined what areas were deemed low-income. These areas got a rating based on multiple factors such as crime and household income. Once a rating was determined, maps were drawn and the data was released to the public.

So, how did we get from a census rating to gentrification? That’s were the banks come in.

In 1977, the federal government passed the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) which ‘‘is intended to encourage depository institutions to help meet the credit needs of the communities in which they operate.’’ In theory this was a great idea. But, as with many federal guidelines, there were loopholes.

Instead of lending money to the people that lived in the low-income census tract to improve their homes and neighborhoods, financial institutions and developers began buying up these properties for pennies, building shiny new homes with hefty price tags, and pushing out the people that, in some cases, had lived their whole lives there.

In all fairness, there has been a good deal of reinvestment into these low-income neighborhoods. Unfortunately, along with all of this reinvestment comes a complete cultural change and additional costs for the long-term inhabitants. In short, people are getting priced out of their homes.

This is where you come in.

There is a solution that should be agreeable to everyone across the board. We call it Rainey’s Law, named after 40-year housing advocate and activist Octavia Rainey.

Rainey’s Law would state that any homeowner within a low-income census tract, that has owned their home for at least 10 years, will have the increased amount of their property taxes subsidized by CRA funds for the duration of their ownership. This law is for all people that are being bullied out of their homes.

What is happening is that the larger, more expensive homes are driving up the property taxes and forcing low-income residents, many on fixed incomes, to leave due to the increased cost. These taxes can be as high as five times what they were just one year previous.

Rainey’s Law would allow the low-income residents to stay in their homes and pay the typical amount in taxes that they would have paid had their neighborhood not been gentrified.

The money for the subsidy would come from the banks. Banks are federally mandated to contribute to the CRA fund, and it has hundreds of millions of dollars in it. This subsidy would not even wrinkle a sheet on the ledger. Also, this law would not stop redevelopment in any way. There are still plenty of folks that will want to sell their homes. Rainey’s Law is for that very small percentage that does not. 

If you support the idea of Rainey’s Law please contact your state representative. Tell them to be a champion of this kind of legislation, and introduce it on the floor. 

To find out who your representative is visit www.ncleg.net

Just one phone call or email can make a huge difference, but we need to start now. The 2020 census is right around the corner. We may not have another opportunity to get this right.

Though this policy may not effect you directly, it does, or will effect someone you know. When we stop caring about other people we no longer have a democracy.

Contact your legislator. Your vote is your voice, and they are your megaphone. Remember, our governement works for you and not the other way around.

The proposed verbiage for Rainey’s Law will be on The Carolinian’s website, www.CARO.news for you to share. Make your voice heard. Save our democracy!

Polio-Like Virus Spreads Fear

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By Dr. Joy Martinez, Contributing Carolinian Columnist

To a generation of people, this sickness seems familiar, the sudden appearance of weakness in the arms or legs, loss of muscle tone and reflexes, paralysis. 

Symptoms including pain, drooping face and eyelids, difficulty moving eyes and swallowing, and slurred speech. In severe cases, patients have trouble breathing because of muscle weakness and their lives end with the onset of respiratory failure. 

Ninety percent of cases are affecting children, with the average age of four. It almost seems polio has made a resurgence. What is this disease potentially affecting over 250 people in 29 states, including North Carolina?

Acute Flaccid Myelitis (AFM) is a rare but serious condition experiencing an uptick or increase in incidents this year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention began tracking the disease in the U.S. in 2014, when a large number of cases were reported.

The number of AFM cases appears to rise every other year. Last year there were just 33 confirmed cases in 16 states, while 2015 saw just 22 confirmed cases in 17 states. The number of confirmed cases has risen by 60 since the first week of November.

AFM has no known cause. The enterovirus D68 along with other viruses that cause respiratory and diarrheal illness has been linked to the disease. In most cases, patients had a mild respiratory illness before developing the disease.

AFM can be difficult to diagnose because it shares many of the same symptoms as other neurologic diseases, like traverse myelitis and Guillain-Barre syndrome. 

With the help of testing and examinations, doctors can distinguish between AFM and other neurologic conditions. MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) to look at a patient’s brain and spinal cord, lab tests on the cerebrospinal fluid (the fluid around the brain and spinal cord), and tests of nerve conduction (impulses sent along a nerve fiber) and response have helped in diagnosis.

As with other types of brain and spinal cord injury, the best results often come with early mobilization, so rehabilitation begins early, sometimes even while a child with AFM is in the intensive care unit. Pediatric physical therapists are trained to make children with weak limbs feel like they are champions, whether they are infants, toddlers, or older children.

And the CDC recently announced a new task force on acute flaccid myelitis. 

“This task force will ensure that the full capacity of the scientific community is engaged and working together to provide important answers and solutions to actively detect, more effectively treat, and ultimately prevent AFM and its consequences,” said CDC director Robert Redfield, M.D., in a statement. The first public report is expected in early December. 

How do you protect your children (and yourself) against AFM? Since physicians and providers don’t know the cause of most of these AFM cases or what triggers this condition, there is no specific action to take to prevent AFM.

The first line of defense is to stay up to date on vaccinations. Polio vaccine contains inactivated (not live) virus, and protects against poliovirus, a known precursor to AFM along with the enteroviruses, enterovirus A71 (EV-A71), and West Nile virus.

Encourage frequent hand-washing and ensure children are wearing mosquito repellant. Finally, avoid close contact with people who are sick, and clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces, including toys.

Boomers Are Proud, Poor and Pretending

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Boomers Are Proud, Poor and Pretending

Dani Ross, Columnist with The Carolinian

“You know me. I am in your friendship circle hidden in plain sight. My clothes are still impeccable; bought in the good years when I was still making money. To look at me you would not know that my electricity was cut off last week for nonpayment, or that I meet the eligibility requirements for food stamps,” says Elizabeth White in a talk on the personal finance crisis.

White was speaking about an entire generation of proud African-Americans whose pride is walking them straight into poverty.

The last wave of Baby Boomers was the first wave of financially liable retirees. Many of them did not belong to the pension group. They were the corporate guinea pigs of the 401k experiment. Financial responsibility was shifted from the companies that benefitted from decades of hard work to the workforce that were novices in financial planning.

During the working years many couples were enjoying having two incomes and plenty of money to party, vacation and send their children to college. Squirreling away 15 percent–20 percent of their earnings, to maintain your standard of living in retirements, was not a common practice in our culture.

For many families there was also money coming in from the government for military service in the Vietnam War, which some folks thought would last their lifetime. They followed the principles of the three-legged retirement income stool. You were supposed to have your savings, pension and Social Security to live your retired life comfortably.

When that stool became wobbly, rock bottom became a scary reality. Many boomers are just a job loss, medical diagnosis or divorce away from insolvency. It doesn’t take much. Most households in America only have enough savings to replace one month of income. Half of American households do not have a retirement account of any kind.

Out of shame many folks get good a faking normal.

The financial burdens later in life manifest into physical burdens. Weight gain, heart disease and other stress related illnesses are causing African-Americans, especially women, to die relatively young at high rates.

Every day in America 137 black women die of a preventable disease. That’s more than gun violence, cigarettes and HIV combined. The past few decades of flat wages, disappearing pensions, the skyrocketing cost of housing and healthcare has caused a hardship that no one in this country planned for.

For veterans, or their widows, the burden is coupled with disrespect. Many Vietnam veterans still cannot get benefits based on failing health caused by chemical exposure to things such as ‘‘agent orange.’’ Records have been lost, departmental responsibility has been shifted or veterans have simply died while waiting for an answer on financial compensation.
The widows of veterans are in an even worse position, because they may not have all of the information that is being requested. Thus, yielding them a denial of benefits from a situation theirs spouse have died from, that was caused by our government.

The bottom line is, it is okay to say that you are not okay. It is often hard to be the first to say it, but you will soon find that you are not the last.

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