Black lawmaker announces exits from U.S. Senate race
DENVER — Colorado state Sen. Angela Williams is ending her campaign for the Democratic nomination to face U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner next year.
The Denver Post reported Williams, who represents northeast Denver, announced her decision Wednesday and said she would focus focus on winning re-election to the statehouse in 2020.
Williams failed to gain significant traction in a nine-candidate primary led by former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper and former Colorado House Speaker Andrew Romanoff.
Hickenlooper, who dropped his presidential bid in August to run for the nomination to face Gardner, is expected to have an enormous financial advantage going into the primary. Gardner is seen as the most vulnerable GOP senator in the country because Colorado has become reliably Democratic terrain in the age of Trump.
Virginia capital to be home of ‘Rumors of War’ statue
RICHMOND, Va. — A monumental bronze statue that mimics one of Virginia’s most prominent Confederate monuments will soon have a new home in Richmond.
The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported artist Kehinde Wiley’s “Rumors of War” would be permanently installed Dec. 10 at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.
The statue depicts a young Black male dressed in streetwear mounted atop a horse and has been on display in Times Square since its unveiling there in September.
The 29-foot-high work originated when Wiley saw Confederate Gen. J.E.B. Stuart’s statue on Monument Avenue. Wiley is known for his paintings of Black Americans and his commissioned portrait of President Barack Obama, displayed at the National Portrait Gallery.
The newspaper says “Rumors of War” is the most expensive acquisition of a sculpture the VMFA has ever made.
Pardon program for pot possession set in motion
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Mayor Randall L. Woodfin recently announced an initiative that will allow individuals previously convicted of unlawful possession of marijuana to apply for a pardon.
The Pardons for Progress initiative is designed to remove barriers to employment for individuals who have been convicted of misdemeanor marijuana possession.
“It is my firm belief that many men and women who have been convicted, deserve a second chance in order to secure a job that may be blocked due to a one-time possession conviction,” Woodfin said. “In the spirit of reconciliation, the Pardons for Progress initiative will establish a process for individuals convicted of one marijuana possession charge to receive a pardon if the individual meets certain requirements.”
Any person previously convicted in Birmingham Municipal Court of second-degree unlawful possession of marijuana can apply for a pardon.
The initiative aims to provide a pardon to an individual whose case has been closed by the Birmingham Municipal Court after the individual has completed all of the requirements of his or her conviction.
Housing Authority adopts new name and look in N.C.
CHARLOTTE — The city’s housing authority has a new name, Inlivian, reflecting an overhaul of its messaging and operations. In addition to the name change, a new logo, website and social media were unveiled.
The Charlotte Housing Authority, which supports 10,000 Mecklenburg County households, was established in 1939 to assist low-income families after the Great Depression. As federal funding for housing declines while home prices and rents continue to rise, the organization is evolving into an agency that focuses on addressing the current challenges.
“This is an extremely exciting time for our organization,” CEO Fulton Meachem Jr. said. “Our new name, Inlivian, better reflects the agency we are today.”
The authority’s new name is inspired by the word “enliven,” meaning “to restore or give life to.” Its mission is to deliver a range of price points for people who would normally be priced out of the workforce housing market, including senior citizens and the disabled.
The rebranding initiative included more than a year of research, interviews and focus groups with residents, community leaders, elected officials and employees.
Marker honors 200-year-old Black church in Mississippi
PASCAGOULA, Miss. — A new historical marker is honoring the oldest continuously operating African-American church in Mississippi.
Members of St. Peter Baptist Church in Pascagoula gathered recently to celebrate the unveiling of a marker that was placed by the Mississippi Department of Archives and History.
The coastal church was founded in 1819 by a freed slave named Dudley Brooks. It originally was called First Free Mission Baptist Church.
Congregants buried a time capsule with church programs and other items. The plan is to dig it up in 20 years.
Family of missing Black man blasts police efforts
OAKLAND, Calif. — Jonathan Bandabaila, a 19-year-old Black man from Oakland, has been missing since May, and his family is expressing disappointment with police efforts.
Family members said police managed to send out a search notice about a missing dog within two days, but it took almost four months to issue a similar search notice for Bandabaila.
Bandabaila was reportedly last seen on May 3 after he left his home to attend a soccer tournament. His car was found the next day parked in the westbound direction of the San Mateo Bridge.
Police also recovered some of his belongings inside the car, such as his soccer uniform, gears, and clothes he planned to wear to an upcoming formal event.
“I don’t think he ran away. There were no signs of depression or mental illness. He was happy,” his brother, Harrison, told East Bay Times.
Meanwhile, Harrison claimed the police seemed not to show concern about his brother’s vanishing.
“One of my family’s complaints was that the Oakland Police Department put out a memo that there’s a dog missing — two days after it went missing — yet it took them 149 days to put out that Jonathan was missing,” Harrison said in a recent interview on Sirius XM’s The Clay Cane Show. “Like, it’s very frustrating.”
The family is offering a $2,500 reward for information on the whereabouts of Bandabaila.
Black studies professor makes blistering claims
PORTLAND, Ore. — Ethan Johnson, who has served in the Black Studies Department for the past 15 years and who became chair of the department in September, has accused Portland State University of failing to support the Black studies curriculum.
He also says officials have failed to listen to the concerns of minority students and faculty at the school, a result that is disastrous to their well-being.
In a blistering four-page letter, Johnson accounts for the dismal support PSU gives his department and Black students on campus. He noted several areas of concern from the arming of campus security with guns to not supporting Black professors and administrators in hiring and promotion.
The allegations come on the 50th anniversary of the formation of the Black Studies Department at PSU.
Washington legislature has new deputy leader in House
SEATTLE, Wash. — State Rep. Melanie Morgan was recently elected by her colleagues to serve as deputy majority floor leader.
A first-term legislator who belongs to the most diverse cohort of incoming freshmen in state history, Morgan will serve alongside fellow Democrat, Majority Floor Leader Monica Stonier, in coordinating House floor debate and passage of bills.
The position involves working with the Republican caucus in order to ensure bipartisan cooperation and fairness in the floor debate process.
Morgan is the first African American to be elected to the position. She replaces fellow Pierce County lawmaker Rep. Christine Kilduff, who was recently chosen to chair the House Civil Rights & Judiciary Committee.
Ky. lieutenant governor says she voted for Libertarian
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Kentucky Lt. Gov. Jenean Hampton, who was kicked off Republican Gov. Matt Bevin’s ticket when he unsuccessfully sought reelection this year, says she didn’t vote for him.
Hampton told WDRB-TV in Louisville that it was a hard decision but she voted for Libertarian candidate John Hicks. Democrat Andy Beshear won the race.
Bevin replaced Hampton on the ticket with state Sen. Ralph Alvarado. Hampton was the first African-American to win statewide office in Kentucky. She said she’s sad Bevin won’t have another term because “he got a lot of things done” but added “how you treat people matters.”