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Biden will deliver his commencement address at Morehouse amid turmoil on US college campuses



ATLANTA (AP) — President Joe Biden will deliver the commencement address at Morehouse College on Sunday, a key election-year opportunity to talk before a black audience but could also directly expose him to the anger that a few of these and other students across the country have expressed its strong support for Israel in its war against Hamas militants in Gaza.

The White House suggested Biden would address concerns from students and college at the all-male, historically black college about his approach to the war. Press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said “stay tuned” when asked whether the Democratic president would address concerns which have sparked weeks of student protests on college campuses across the country.

The speech, a separate one which Biden will deliver later Sunday within the Midwest, is a component of a flurry of outreach to Black voters by the president, who has seen his support amongst those voters wane since their strong support helped put him within the Oval Office in 2020.

After speaking at Morehouse in Atlanta, Biden will travel to Detroit to talk at an NAACP dinner.

Georgia and Michigan are amongst a handful of states that will help resolve the expected November rematch between Biden and former Republican President Donald Trump. Biden narrowly won Georgia and Michigan in 2020 and must accomplish that again — because of strong Black voter turnout in each cities.

President Joe Biden, third from right, poses with Morehouse College graduates including Montgomery, Alaska Mayor Steven Reed, from left Birmingham, Alabama Mayor Randall Woodfin, Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., Marlon Kimpson, member of the policy advisory committee trade and negotiations within the office of the U.S. Trade Representative, Rep. Sanford Bishop, D-Ga., and John Eaves, former chairman of the Fulton County Board of Commissioners, upon arrival at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Saturday, May 18, 2024, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Jean-Pierre said Biden was looking forward to Morehouse’s speech, as he did to all of his inaugural addresses. She added that he wrote the remarks himself together with senior advisers.

“When it comes to this difficult moment that we are in, when we talk about protests, he understands that it involves a lot of pain,” Jean-Pierre said. “He understands that people have many opinions and he respects the fact that people have many opinions.”

Biden spent a part of Saturday warming up for a significant speech. At the Atlanta airport, he was greeted by a gaggle of former Morehouse graduates and playfully put their arm around one in every of them. He later stopped at Mary Mac’s Tea Room, a Black-owned restaurant that opened nearly 80 years ago, to briefly address about 50 supporters. It was presented by a 2024 Morehouse graduate.

The president joked that he was surrounded by “Morehouse Men.”

Biden spent late last week reaching out to black voters. He met with plaintiffs and relatives of those involved in Brown v. Board of Education, the landmark 1954 Supreme Court decision that banned racial segregation in public schools. He also met with members of the Black “Divine Nine” fraternities and sororities and spoke with members of the Little Rock Nine who helped integrate a public school in Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1957.

Morehouse’s announcement that Biden will be the inaugural speaker has sparked a backlash amongst faculty and supporters who oppose Biden’s handling of the war between Israel and Hamas. Some Morehouse graduates circulated a letter online condemning school administrators for inviting Biden and collecting signatures so as to pressure Morehouse President David Thomas to revoke him.

The letter said Biden’s approach to Israel is tantamount to supporting the Gaza genocide and is inconsistent with the pacifism expressed by Martin Luther King Jr., Morehouse’s most famous alumnus.

Hamas’ attack on southern Israel on October 7 killed 1,200 people. According to local health officials, greater than 35,000 Palestinians in Gaza have been killed within the Israeli offensive.

In a lengthy interview with the Associated Press, Thomas sought to downplay the prospect of student protests throughout the ceremony. He saw the all-male campus as a spot that, like other historically black colleges and universities, could balance social justice and political activism with a way of order and decency befitting a commencement and presidential address.

“I think you’ll find representatives of both sides on the spectrum – those who are adamantly opposed to the president coming to the speech, and those who, on the other hand, think it’s a great thing… and who see no contradiction between their feelings about what’s happening in Gaza and about the president’s arrival,” he said.

However, some students at Morehouse and the adjoining campuses that make up the Atlanta University Center (AUC) are staunchly against Biden’s appearance. They accuse Thomas and Morehouse trustees of prioritizing status and political alliances over the college’s values.

AUC students, faculty and alumni staged a rally and death row against Biden on Friday.

“If our brilliant HBCUs and administrators truly loved the activism they claimed to serve and used as a marketing tool, then… they would stand with us as we pray to God: ‘From the West End to the West Bank,’” the Morehouse junior said Lonnie White of Atlanta was amongst students who took part in two AUC demonstrations in recent weeks.

Student protest leaders said they didn’t know of plans for organized protests at the place to begin itself.

“I don’t even have a ticket,” said Anwar Karim, a Morehouse sophomore who spearheaded a petition calling on Thomas to withdraw Biden’s invitation.

Karim said he expected some students to attend nearby gatherings previously planned to have fun the birthday of Malcolm X, the black leader often credited with promoting the Black Power philosophy as a civil rights-era alternative to King’s practice of civil disobedience.

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Thomas said in an interview that quiet, non-disruptive protests can be tolerated, but reiterated that he promised to halt the ceremony if disruptions worsened.

Former U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond, a Morehouse graduate and co-chair of Biden’s campaign who helped broker the president’s speech, called the graduation ceremony a “solemn event” and said the gravity of the moment should give potential protesters pause.

“I hope people won’t interrupt a once-in-a-lifetime moment like this for the students and parents and grandparents who are there to see these young men walk across that stage,” Richmond said.

In Detroit, Biden was scheduled to go to a small Black-owned business before delivering the keynote speech at a dinner hosted by the NAACP Freedom Fund, which traditionally draws hundreds of attendees. The speech gives Biden a probability to succeed in hundreds of individuals in Wayne County, an area that has voted overwhelmingly Democratic previously but has shown signs of resistance to his re-election bid.

Wayne County also has one in every of the most important Arab-American populations within the country, primarily in town of Dearborn. Leaders there spearheaded a “non-aligned” initiative that won greater than 100,000 votes within the state’s Democratic primary and spread across the country.

A protest rally and march against Biden’s visit is planned for Sunday afternoon in Dearborn. Another protest rally is predicted later that evening outside Huntington Place, the venue for the dinner.

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National No Child Care Day: DC should not balance its budget at the expense of our children




As a mother and community organizer, I look to my children and others to see the hopes and guarantees for his or her future. I’m also keenly aware of the importance of systems that promote the health and well-being of our children, which makes DC Budget cuts proposed by Mayor Muriel Bowser to the child welfare system, which is the cornerstone of every child’s well-being at an early stage of development, which is deeply disturbing to me and other parents and social activists.

The work of child care providers has been economically devalued since: the days when enslaved African women forcibly raised white children. Bowser’s budget cuts reinforce the slavery-era belief that black and brown child care employees do not deserve fair wages. These women are the invisible backbone of American communities and economies. They deserve a salary that can provide them with an honest standard of living. The DC Mayor and Council should put money into our children the same way they put money into millionaires. That’s why we’re working tirelessly to stop this from happening again.

May 13 is National Day Without Child Care (DWOCC), a day for child care providers to advocate for our government systems to create cheaper and accessible child care. As proud members of the Raising Child Care Fund, we are going to focus our efforts today on urging Mayor Bowser to say no to harmful cuts to the child care budget.

On April 3, Mayor Bowser proposed a budget for fiscal 12 months 2025 that eliminates it entirely Early Childhood Education Equalization Fund. The Pay Equality Fund (PEF) was established in 2021 under birth law for 3 years for all DC residents enacted in 2018. This program proposed everlasting funding to assist offer direct payments to child care professionals and employers to bring child care employees’ wages and advantages in step with their colleagues in the DC public school system.

In 2019, before the National Federation of Feedbackers DC Average Income was $15.36 for a babysitter in comparison with $33.10 for a preschool teacher and $44.16 per hour for an elementary school teacher. The implementation of the Pay Equity Fund in 2022 and 2023 has helped fill this gap paying $80 million to over 4,000 preschool teachers and their facilities to extend wages and salaries. DC relatively expensive standard of living implies that any potential fall in childcare wages to the minimum wage will force many employees to search out alternative employment.

Another PEF program, Health4CareChild care, provided teachers caring for young children with free or low-cost medical insurance. It is estimated that 16% of child care employees under the age of 65 are uninsured in comparison with 4.23% of teachers. The loss of this program will leave many employees uninsured or underinsured, which could also be the case further and disproportionately widen health disparities impact on Black communities in DC

DC has moreover proposed cutting $10 million from the child care subsidy program, which has helped lower child care costs for low-income families. Only current DC child care offers serve 71% of demand. Lower wages combined with subsidy cuts will result in an excellent greater lack of child care available to DC families.


These cuts to the child care budget are a profound betrayal of the guarantees made by the DC mayor and council members to early childhood educators, especially provided that DC has increased education requirements and regulations for child care employees.

In December 2023, DC it required all its manpower in little children have child development credentials or an educational degree. Relatively, only five other states require similar minimum credentials. Increasing educational requirements while abandoning guarantees of increased pay for this predominantly black workforce is deeply damaging to the economic and mental well-being of our child care employees.

The DC government justified these budget cuts by stating that DC needed to search out funds to replenish its reserve funds. Bowser’s budget though attached $3.1 million for juvenile justice centers, $32 million for tourism and marketing subsidies and $551 million for downtown Chinatown revitalization.

Additionally, Tazra Mitchell, director of policy and strategy at the DC Fiscal Policy Institutehe wrote on Twitter “In 2021, the CFO’s office told me that DC had only spent about 75% of its cash flow reserve at any given time.”

The DC government decides to chop child care teaching programs that positively impact Black communities in favor of programs that impact corporate profits to be able to solve the money flow problem. This is an unjust act of democracy that we cannot allow to prevail.

As community members who consider in moving DC toward a caring economy, we’re dedicating our time, attention and resources to urging the DC Mayor and Council not to show their backs on child care employees.

On May 13, we plan to host caregivers and fogeys in the Wilson Building, which houses the mayor’s and council members’ offices. We will probably be hosting office hours and meetings with council members Phil Mendelson, Jeneese Lewis George, Kenyan McDuffee, Christina Henderson and others supporting the restoration of the pay equity fund. SPACE in Action may also host automotive brigades and display banners calling on the DC Council to maintain its promise to child care providers.

Proposed budget cuts to the child care system will threaten the physical and economic health of greater than 4,000 child care employees, mostly Black and Brown. This will worsen an already deepening child care crisis that has left so many families unable to search out inexpensive and accessible take care of their children. The tangible consequences of cutting child care will outweigh the imagined advantages gained from increasing DC’s rainy day fund.

At DWOCC, join us in urging the DC mayor and council members to guard our children’s future by protecting our early childhood educators in the present. No child’s educational development or caregivers’ livelihood should be limited to be able to balance the budget.


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The mother-daughter duo graduated from Rutgers School of Social Work together




Is Rutgers a good school for social work?

Congratulations are to ensure that one mother-daughter duo.

Latonya Johnson, 43, and Laila Birchett, 21, graduated together from the School of Social Work at Rutgers University on Sunday. the institution made available.

“I took my first college course in 1999.” said Johnson, a divorced mother of six whose children range in age from 4 to 26. “From 1999 to the present, I have tried to go back in time six times, but to no avail. I couldn’t manage my time properly because I was a wife, mother and worked full-time.”

In addition to being a full-time mother before enrolling at Rutgers, Johnson worked full-time and took classes part-time. Birchett suggested that they attend school together, prompting her mother to cut back her working hours and enroll at university in September 2022.

“Her journey has been truly inspiring,” Birchett said of her mother. “It encouraged me to work harder in college.”

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The former Montclair State student knew she desired to pursue a field that may allow her to assist others, especially the homeless and the elderly. Johnson previously worked as an authorized alcohol and drug counselor.

At Rutgers, the mother-daughter duo attended different classes but had the identical teacher. They relied on one another for support, from computer technology to real-life experiences.

“There were times when I struggled to cope in school,” Birchett said. People Magazine reported. “But I always thought if my mom could do it, I could do it.”

Johnson and Birchett will enroll within the Rutgers Master of Social Work program this fall.

“My family — my kids, my mom and dad — they’re all proud because it’s two generations going to college together,” Johnson said, in keeping with Rutgers. “I never thought that in one million years I’d go to high school with my daughter and graduate from the identical university and the identical field. It’s a bit of surreal, but it surely has brought us closer together because we’ve got connected on a level I never thought I’d have the option to attach with my children.

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A Virginia school board voted to restore Confederate names at two schools. I bet even Robert E. Lee is confused.




Panama Jackson

Many years ago, I took my wife on her first trip to the Deep South, during which we made an 11-hour trip from Washington, D.C. to Huntsville, Alabama, to visit my parents. My wife, who is from Ghana and moved to New Jersey at age 11 before attending Howard University, had never been to the South before. Sure, she was in Miami, but I think we will all agree that Miami and anywhere in Alabama should not the identical.

Like many individuals from, well, anywhere else, she was very anxious in regards to the trip. Between all of the documentaries in regards to the Civil Rights Movement, history, racist white people, and the final notion that “the South is a place where racism thrives,” she was quite concerned about being kicked with the n-word, potentially kidnapped, and was an ancestor just crossing the imaginary border to the “South”. I assured her that wasn’t the case, but we soon had our first (humorous) encounter with racism.

No greater than two hours outside of DC, we stopped for a rest stop so my kids could use the restroom. We were just outside the border of Northern Virginia, which is not an independent state, but anyone who lives within the DC area knows the difference between “Virginia” and “Northern Virginia,” which is just like the difference between Atlanta and Georgia. A whole group of motorcyclists with Confederate flags on their shirts were parked at the facilities. I talked to one in all the bikers in regards to the weather and we each went our separate ways, but she felt justified. Racism was waiting for us as soon as we hit Virginia. I laughed it off, but I couldn’t disagree with it either.


This memory is the very first thing I considered when I read the recent news in regards to the all-white school board in Shenandoah County, Virginia, voting againwrite down the names of the two schools originally named after racists and losers – Stonewall Jackson, Robert E. Lee and Turner Ashby. The two schools in query, now Mountain View High School and Honey Run Elementary School, were renamed within the wake of George Floyd’s murder in 2020, when people made the historically correct decision to remove Confederate symbols and rename schools named after LOSERS CIVIL WAR.

I cannot emphasize enough how idiotic I think it is to honor the losers of the war that tore the country apart, but white people will likely be white people, you recognize? I bet even Stonewall Jackson and Nem will likely be like, “Really??? Wow… what a bunch of idiots. We lost. If we had won, we certainly wouldn’t have had any schools named after Union generals!” Robert E. Lee even against monuments after every little thing was said and done. Why? Because putting up monuments and stuff like that it could be too divisive. What are we even doing here?

Despite what number of community members didn’t want to change the names back to Stonewall Jackson High School and Ashby Lee Elementary, the conservative school board stated, “Yes, we definitely need to put these racists back on the field! LEGACY, NOT HATE!” Forget what message this sends to students of color in these schools; it is more vital to honor the LOSERS of the Civil War because clearly the defenders of slavery and racism were people of high moral standing and character, more so than the school board that modified names after the 2020 murder of George Floyd.

My God.

It’s bad enough that racists have gained momentum through the years with “critical race theory” bans and reversing diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives, but now districts are actively bringing racists into schools? Deliberately? White people never stop to amaze me with their boldness and audacity. Especially since everyone knows what happens from here; the proven fact that something like this happened on this case signifies that other school districts may follow suit, not for a very good reason, but to make some extent. The proven fact that I hate it here really doesn’t describe how I feel.

The aliens (and Robert E. Lee) have to be very confused.

Panama Jackson

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