Hoyer Floor Remarks in Memory of Daryl Ann Pennington
WASHINGTON (September 15, 2020)—Congressman Steny H. Hoyer (MD-05) spoke on the House Floor this morning in memory of Daryl Ann Pennington, a longtime caseworker in his district office who passed away over the weekend. Below is a transcript of his remarks.
“Madam Speaker, it is with profound sadness that I share the news that a great friend and public servant has passed away. Daryl Ann Pennington was a dear friend, trusted member of my staff, and a tireless advocate for Maryland’s Fifth District. For the past twelve years, Daryl served as a caseworker in my office in Greenbelt, Maryland, serving Prince George’s, Calvert, and Anne Arundel counties. Earlier, she had worked for former Maryland State Senator Ulysses Currie. She knew the Fifth District and its communities better than almost anyone.
“And she cared deeply about the people who called, emailed, and wrote to us asking for assistance with federal agencies and help accessing government services. In particular, Daryl was a fierce advocate for our district’s seniors. But she was also a mentor to countless young people, including interns who came to our district office and learned lessons from Daryl not only about serving our constituents but how to approach life through perseverance, faith, and positivity.
“Daryl drew heavily on her personal faith as a member of the Evangel Cathedral Church in Upper Marlboro for more than a quarter century and as a partner with Dr. Corinthia Ridgely Boone of the International Christian Host Coalition organizing the National Capital Region’s Day Of Prayer for many years. She believed strongly that prayer was a powerful tool—not only to connect with her Creator but to connect with others here on Earth, to communicate her love for others, and to spread peace and joy to those around her.
“Her sense of humor, her wit, and her warmth will all be sorely missed. I—and all of us who worked so closely with Daryl—will miss her very much. Daryl had so many spiritual daughters in the many young women who looked up to her over the years as a mentor and friend. But her pride and joy were her five children—Laura, Christie, Toi, Peter, and Lenny—as well as her grandchildren, to whom she was devoted.
“A native of Rochester, New York, Daryl made her final journey home in July, when she was diagnosed with multiple myeloma and departed Maryland to seek treatment closer to family at the University Of Rochester Medical Center. We had all hoped to welcome her back soon, but sadly Daryl’s condition worsened quickly last week, and she passed away on Saturday morning, with her family by her side.
“Daryl was a true friend and partner in service to the people of Maryland’s Fifth District. She will long be remembered by those she helped and by those of us who worked closely with her. Her passing is a great loss to my constituents, to our office, to this House, and to our country.
“I hope my colleagues will join me in offering her family the condolences of the whole house and the thanks of a nation grateful for patriotic Americans like Daryl Ann Pennington who serve their country and communities so dutifully. Now, Daryl rests in peace with God, whom she served so faithfully throughout her life.”
Prince George’s County Planning Board Schedules Annual Budget Forums
2020 Budget Forums to be Held Virtually
UPPER MARLBORO, Md. (September 21, 2020)—The Prince George’s County Planning Board of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC) announces it will hold its 2020 Budget Forums virtually this fall, to solicit comments on the Commission’s budget for planning, parks, and recreation in Prince George’s County for the next fiscal year, which begins July 1, 2021.
The virtual public forums will be held from 7–9 p.m. on:
• Tuesday, September 29, 2020
• Tuesday, October 13, 2020
Public participation is encouraged either through a phone bridge or by using GoTo Meeting (online video meeting software). The forums can be viewed live through the Planning Board’s streaming service http://mncppc.iqm2.com and a video recording will be available for review after the hearing. Individuals or representatives of community organizations who wish to speak at this year’s Budget Forum must register online, by nNoon, the Monday before the forum. To register, visit www.pgplanningboard.org, select “Testify at a Hearing,” select a meeting date, complete the form in its entirety, and submit. Following the registration submission, an email will be sent with the GoTo Meeting information by 3 p.m. the Monday before the forum, including the phone number and a web address to connect to the meeting. To submit documentation as a part of the forum, email information to PublicAffairs@ppd.mncppc.org.
Written comments will also be accepted until close of business, Tuesday, October 27, 2020. Comments may be addressed to Elizabeth M. Hewlett, Chairman, Prince George’s County Planning Board, 14741 Governor Oden Bowie Drive, Upper Marlboro, Maryland 20772. Comments may also be faxed to Chairman Hewlett at 301-952-5074 or transmitted via email to PublicAffairs@ppd.mncppc.org.
To Be Equal: National Black Voter Day Is National Urban League’s Answer to Voter Suppression, Misinformation, and Division
“Too many people struggled, suffered and died to make it possible for every American to exercise their right to vote. And we have come too far together to ever turn back. So we must not be silent. We must stand up, speak up and speak out. We must march to the polls like never before. We must come together and exercise our sacred right.”
—Congressman John Lewis
In April of 2019, the Associated Press released an analysis of census data and exit polling that reached a remarkable conclusion: the Black voter turnout rate in the 2012 presidential election exceeded the white rate for the first time in history. A census report in May confirmed the AP’s findings.
Some researchers disputed the findings, contending that the milestone actually had occurred in 2008.
The Supreme Court’s 2013 decision in Shelby v Holder slammed the brakes on nearly five decades of progress on narrowing the gap between white and Black voter participation rates. By eliminating a requirement that the federal government approve election law changes in jurisdictions with a history of racial discrimination, Shelby unleashed a deluge of restricting voting laws throughout the United States.
National Black Voter Day is our answer to voter suppression. It’s our answer to misinformation campaigns. It’s our answer to efforts to stoke racial division and diminish the voices of Black and brown Americans.
The National Urban League, in partnership with BET and other advocacy groups, designated September 18 National Black Voter day as part of our voter engagement and education campaign, #ReclaimYourVote.
We chose September 18 because it is the first day for early in-person voting in the country. Although “Election Day” is more than six weeks away, voting has already begun. Thousands of North Carolinians have already returned their absentee ballots.
We’re asking Black Americans to make a plan. Will you vote in person, or by mail? If your state allows early in-person voting, what day will you vote? Where is your polling place? If you plan to vote by mail, what are the rules in your state? Do you need a witness when you sign your ballot, like the voters in North Carolina, opportunity to get voters registered, demystify the voting process, provide guidance on voting rights restoration for eligible voters, and help voters create their voting plan to plot a clear path to the ballot box.
We’ve broken the process down into five steps:
• Step 1: Register to Vote
By federal law, no state can set its voter registration deadline any earlier than 30 days before Election Day. That means the earliest deadlines this year are October 5—which is right around the corner.
• Step 2: Check Your Voting Options
From in-person early voting to no-excuse voting by mail, voters in most states have more options in 2020 than in years past.
• Step 3: Find Your Polling Location
The coronavirus pandemic has led many jurisdictions to consolidate polling locations. Voters shouldn’t assume they’ll be able to vote where they’ve voted in the past.
• Step 4: Know The Candidates and Issues
Our vote is a powerful tool for effecting change, but only if we use it in an informed way.
• Step 5: VOTE, VOTE, VOTE!
Between the time of the Shelby v. Holder decision and the 2016 presidential election, 9 out of the 15 jurisdictions previously covered by Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act had new restrictions in place. Texas announced within 24 hours of the decision that it would implement a strict photo ID law, and Mississippi and Alabama, began to enforce photo ID laws that had previously been barred because of federal preclearance.
Black voter turnout fell from more than 67% in 2012—more than 5 points above the white rate —to just over 51% in 2016—almost 4 points below the white rate.
We will not be defeated. The National Urban League continues to advocate for the restoration of the Voting Rights Act, and is committed to safeguarding the right of every American to fully participate in our democracy and civic processes.
Commenting on efforts to suppress the Black vote, the late Congressman John Lewis said, “I’ve seen this before. I’ve lived this before.” Prior to the Voting Rights Act, he said, “People stood in unmovable lines. They had to pass a so-called literacy test, pay a poll tax. On one occasion, a man was asked to count the number of bubbles in a bar of soap. On another occasion, one was asked to count the jelly beans in a jar—all to keep them from casting their ballots.
“Brothers and sisters, do you want to go back? Or do you want to keep America moving forward?”
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ChildWatch: Nick Kotz: Great Pulitzer Prize-Winning Journalist With a Passion for Justice and a Much Beloved Friend
I am deeply grateful for the extraordinary life and brilliant reporting of Nick Kotz who died in a tragic accident at the beautiful Virginia farm he and his wonderful wife Mary Lynn and son Jack shared so generously with so many friends. I met Nick in 1967 when he came to Mississippi to cover Senators Joseph Clark, Robert Kennedy, Jacob Javits, and George Murphy’s transforming visit to see first-hand the shocking levels of poverty, hunger, and nearly starving Black children and adults in the Mississippi Delta.
I was practicing law in that harsh segregated state where many thousands of adults and children were going hungry and on the edge of starvation while its powerful Jim Crow Senators and Representatives and state officials did nothing. They were eager to have poor Black citizens leave the state. They dragged their feet on getting federal food commodities and other federal programs to help the hungry and other needy poor people, especially Black people. Nick’s coverage for the Des Moines Register and his 1969 book “Let Them Eat Promises: The Politics of Hunger” helped put hunger on the national agenda which led to major reforms in federal food programs that benefit many millions of Americans today.
“Let Them Eat Promises”, with a preface by Senator George McGovern, followed up Senators Robert Kennedy and Joseph Clark’s visits to the shacks of hungry and extremely poor children with bloated stomachs and their despondent parents, and chronicled their struggles to get food to the desperately poor and hungry in that state and across our nation. Nick’s book helped spur the federal response not only to the huge problem in poor Mississippi but in rural and urban areas across the country and was a turning point revealing the fundamental inadequacies of federal, state, and local nutrition safety nets for the invisible poor of all races. Advocacy groups and Congressional hearings led to follow up actions by the Nixon administration to strengthen our nation’s food safety net and stave off widespread hunger in the richest nation on earth. A network of anti-hunger groups formed in this era which continue today to monitor and protect funding for these programs which benefit millions of people, who all owe Nick Kotz’s extraordinary reporting a huge debt of gratitude.
Nick had already earned a national reputation for brilliant investigative reporting through his revelations of horrifying conditions and weak regulations in meatpacking plants which led Congress to pass new legislation to protect consumers and won him a much deserved Pulitzer Prize in 1968. Throughout his life Nick wrote about dangerous threats to American life, values, and well-being, paying special attention to all those left behind in our nation. He was a conservationist who was passionate about preserving the history and culture of the rural Piedmont communities around his farm, including several historically Black communities, where he and his beautiful and talented Mississippi born wife Mary Lynn and son Jack extended warm hospitality to friends. He also was a leader of the group that helped persuade the Disney Corporation to abandon plans to build a theme park in the region. Nick believed in equal justice under the law and equal rights to pursue happiness for all in our economically rich but still too spiritually and morally anemic nation which continues to tolerate 10.5 million children living in poverty.
My family was blessed to share Nick, Mary Lynn, and Jack’s treasured friendship and hospitality for about 50 years. Happily they were members of the nearby Washington Hebrew Congregation and had an apartment in our neighborhood. My prayers and love go out to Mary Lynn, Jack, and their grandson Nathan. How my family and so many friends and others across our nation are blessed to have known this justice warrior, gifted writer and friend. Let’s follow his example. Let’s honor him by carrying on his passion for justice for those left behind.
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