Prince George’s County Council Declares Support for D.C. Statehood
The Prince George’s County Council, during session on Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020, voted unanimously to adopt Council-Resolution 004-2020, formally declaring support for admitting the District of Columbia as the 51st State of the United States of America.
The County Council’s declaration comes as the House Committee on Oversight and Reform committee considers HR-51, a bill introduced by Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC). The proposed legislation, if passed, would make the District of Columbia the nation’s 51st state, and provide its residents full voting representation in Congress—two senators and one house member.
Council Chair Todd M. Turner says the Council strongly supports a full voting voice for the District of Columbia.
“The County Council is pleased to support the enduring statehood quest by our sister jurisdiction, the District of Columbia, to have its residents enjoy the full rights and privileges of statehood. We commend Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes-Norton for the introduction of this critical legislation advancing the principles of democracy, under consideration in the U.S. House of Representatives.”
The Council resolution, expressing the sentiments of the Prince George’s County Council and urging Congress to use its powers to admit the District of Columbia as the 51st State of the Union, will be shared with the Maryland Congressional Delegation, the District of Columbia Delegate to the United States House of Representatives, the Prince George’s County Delegation to the Maryland General Assembly, the Mayor of the District of Columbia, and the Chairman of the Council of the District of Columbia.
Cardin, Van Hollen Introduce Legislation to Achieve Net-Zero Greenhouse Gas Emissions in the U.S. by no Later Than 2050
WASHINGTON (Feb. 11, 2020)—Today, U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen (both D-Md.) introduced the Clean Economy Act with Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.) and 30 of their colleagues. This legislation would put the United States on a path to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by no later than 2050.
“As the climate crisis, which threatens the health and well-being of my constituents in Maryland and Americans across the nation, becomes increasingly apparent, people are rightfully demanding action from their federal government,” said Senator Cardin. “The Clean Economy Act recognizes that the EPA lies at the center of America’s climate future and empowers it to address climate change proactively. Making the necessary investments to reach net-zero will strengthen our economy, create good-paying jobs, and protect public health and national security. The most expensive and unrealistic course of action is to ignore the mounting costs of climate change and fail to respond.”
“The success of our economy is directly linked to our ability to develop innovative clean energy technologies and avoid the escalating costs of climate change. From addressing the threat of sea level rise, to preventing pollution that could harm the Chesapeake Bay, a plan for a clean economy is crucial to the prosperity of our communities and our country. This legislation provides EPA with important tools to confront carbon pollution change while promoting economic growth. I’m proud to join my colleagues in introducing this bill, and I urge the Congress to take action on this issue immediately,” said Senator Van Hollen.
The world’s leading scientists have warned that humanity must limit global warming to no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius to avoid the most catastrophic impacts of climate change. According to the United Nations annual Emissions Gap Report released last month, collective global efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are not yet substantial enough to reach that temperature goal.
The Clean Economy Act heeds the call for bold climate action and at the same time boosts American competitiveness, promotes healthier frontline communities and fosters a growing economy that works for everyone. The Clean Economy Act directs the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to use existing authorities to put our country on a pathway to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by no later than 2050.
By providing clear direction from Congress, the Clean Economy Act mandates EPA and other federal agencies to use authorities and tools already available to them to rapidly achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions while fostering a stronger, fairer economy for all Americans.
Any plan developed by the EPA must achieve rapid reductions at minimal costs, prioritize public health, and support a strong labor workforce. EPA is also required to build upon existing state, local and private climate programs and set greenhouse gas emission reduction targets for 2025, 2030 and 2040. Other federal agencies would be required to do their part to help the nation meet the net-zero goal and help enhance America’s global competitiveness through investments in research and development, innovation and equitable access to worker training.
This net-zero legislation is supported collectively by major environmental groups, business groups and organized labor.
ChildWatch: To Set All the Children Free
Black leaders and the Children’s Defense Fund co-convened with distinguished historians John Hope Franklin and Dorothy I. Height in 1990 and again in 1992 for five days each at the Rockefeller Foundation conference center in Bellagio, Italy, to discuss the plight of Black children and what we could do about one of the worst crises that the Black family has faced since slavery. Agreeing that the Black community had to take the lead in addressing the crisis and in reweaving the rich fabric of community that historically fostered children's healthy development, we decided to launch the Black Community Crusade for Children (BCCC) to “Leave No Child Behind®” and to ensure every child a Healthy Start, a Head Start, a Fair Start, a Safe Start, and a Moral Start in life.
Each day our meetings began with a meditation and the joyful rendition of the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel’s Messiah, from the album A Soulful Celebration conducted by Quincy Jones. As a result, we endured amazingly little organizational or personal bickering as we came together to save our children.
Rev. James Forbes, a founding member of BCCC, offered the following prayer during one of our meditations:
To Set All the Children Free
“We shall overcome” has got to be more than a frame of mind
It’s working hard in our own backyard—to leave no child behind
“We shall overcome” has got to be more than a children’s prayer
It’s sacrifice, at any price, to show them that we care
“We shall overcome” has got to be more than a memory
It’s a new resolve, to get involved in building community
“We shall overcome” has got to be more than a distant dream
And a place on the freedom team
“We shall overcome” has got to be more than a protest song
It’s a loving vow, to show somehow, we all can get along
“We shall overcome” has got to be more than a melody
It’s a one-by-one till the job is done to set all the children free
“We shall overcome” has got to be more than a freedom song
It’s confidence, being convinced that right will conquer wrong
“We shallovercome” has got to be more than a song we sing
It’s the will to fight, to make things right, so the freedom bell can ring
For the children, ring
For the children, ring
Through the power of the Spirit, let’s empower each other to go out with power to set all the children free.
The Children’s Defense Fund continues to train young servant leaders in the faith movement of all races.
I hope you will join us and support us going forward.
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To Be Equal: Rev. William Barber’s Poor People’s Assembly and Moral March in June Will Be “Generationally Transformative”
“There’s no way we can inspire people to move with the normal politics that doesn’t fully address poverty. When you can work a full-time job at minimum wage and still not be able to afford a two-bedroom apartment anywhere in this country, that’s poor. And if we can’t see that and if we don’t acknowledge that poverty then we are refusing to call upon these witnesses among us.”
—Rev. Dr. William Barber II, Co-Chair, The Poor People’s Campaign
In the richest country in the world, 140 million people struggle with poverty and low wealth.
Over the last 50 years, the U.S. economy has grown 18-fold. Yet wealth inequality has exploded. The top 1 percent’s share of the economy has nearly doubled, to more than 20 percent of our national income.
In 2017, the 400 wealthiest Americans owned more wealth than more than two-thirds of the entire U.S. population, and three individuals possessed a combined wealth equal to the wealth of 50 percent of the country.
The Poor People’s Campaign, led by the Rev. Dr. William Barber II, is a national call for a moral revival. It is a continuation of the work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who was just beginning to build the campaign when he was assassinated in 1968.
On June 20, the campaign will lead the Mass Poor People’s Assembly and Moral March on Washington, a “generationally transformative” gathering to demand that both major political parties address the “interlocking injustices of systemic racism, poverty, ecological devastation, militarism and the distorted moral narrative of religious nationalism.”
At the National Urban League’s 2017 Conference in St. Louis, Rev. Barber delivered a powerful and inspirational message of justice, drawing parallels between Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, and modern political figures.
“They were former slaves, and he was oppressing them in this historical moment because they were growing in power and influence and he saw this as the last chance to stop a growing diversity,” Barber said of the Hebrew people. “He wanted to control their influence. He wanted to control their wealth. He wanted to control their faith. He even wanted to control their health.”
He suggested that the nation is in a third reconstruction.
“The first reconstruction was from 1868–1880. The second reconstruction was from 1954–1968, when Black and brown and white people came together—particularly in the South,” he said. “And when we broke through the Southern Strategy and elected President Obama, that represented the possibility of a third reconstruction. What we see happening is a Nebuchadnezzar spirit that is trying to block the transformation of America. Nebuchadnezzar might be dead, but the spirit—that narcissistic stuff still lives.”
That “Nebuchadnezzar spirit,” he said, is evident in the massive voter suppression effort that has swept the nation since the gutting of the Voting Rights Act in 2013.
In addition to the Poor People’s Campaign, Rev. Barber is President of the faith-based social justice organization Repairers of the Breach; Bishop with the College of Affirming Bishops and Faith Leaders; Visiting Professor at Union Theological Seminary; and Pastor of Greenleaf Christian Church, Disciples of Christ in Goldsboro, North Carolina.
He came to national attention in 2015 when, as president of the North Carolina NAACP, he organized weekly protests at the State Legislative Building that were known as “Moral Mondays.”
“Some ask the question, why don’t they be quiet?” Barber wrote of the Moral Mondays protests. “Well, I must remind you, that it has been our collective silence that has quietly opened the city gates to these undemocratic violators of our rights. If we must pray forgiveness for anything today, it will be the silence with which we have allowed this to happen in the dark. Thoreau said in his famous essay, ‘Civil Disobedience,’ that if he had to repent of anything, it would be his good behavior. What possessed me, he asked himself, that I behaved so well in the face of such evil?
“As people of faith, we understand that we have been called to be the voice of the voiceless and the shepherd of God’s beloved community. What we do here today is only what any responsible shepherd does to alert God’s flock to the presence of the predators of democracy.”
The Urban League Movement is proud to support the Poor People’s Campaign and count ourselves as allies of Rev. Barber. We look forward to the Assembly and March in June.
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Hoyer Statement on Selection of the Next President of UMD
WASHINGTON (Feb. 12, 2020)—Congressman Steny H. Hoyer (MD-05) released the following statement today after it was announced that Darryll Pines has been selected to serve as the next President of the University of Maryland, College Park. Pines is the current Dean of the Clark School of Engineering at the University of Maryland, College Park:
“I join in congratulating Dean Darryll Pines on his selection to serve as the next President of the University of Maryland. He is an outstanding choice. His extensive experience serving as the Dean of the Clark School of Engineering has undoubtedly prepared him for this new role. While there was previously an African American Chancellor of the University, which served the same functional role as President, I am proud to see him make history as the first African American President of the University.
“I want to thank outgoing President Dr. Wallace Loh for his 10 years of service to the Terp family. His leadership has been instrumental to the success of the University, and he will be greatly missed.
“I am confident Dean Pines’ decades of service to the University of Maryland makes him the best fit for this position, and I look forward to working with him in the coming years to support students and ensure the University of Maryland remains a top university in our nation.”
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