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Opinion: Mayor Bottoms, Atlanta demands action

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EDITORIAL NOTE: Black News Alerts is committed to advancing the culture and causes of Black people globally.  We feel that it is our innate responsibility to provide accurate, informative and vetted coverage to our readers, subscribers and viewers.  After an internal review of this content and unanimous agreement, we’ve agreed to publish this opinion and stand firm against any criticism.

Demands for an Embattled Mayor

Dr. Vonnetta L. West, Pastor, Our Neighbor’s House
I know the death of Rayshard Brooks is hitting hard right now. It is a devastating blow in the midst of mourning for and protests fueled by 400+ years of trauma and the taking of other Black lives.
Join me in putting a demand on Mayor of Atlanta, Keisha Lance Bottoms.

We, the people of Atlanta, demand:

  1. Immediate disciplinary action and arrest of any officer who shoots an unarmed human being, beginning with the officers who shot Rayshard as he was fleeing.
  2. A clear peace plan for officers engaging people who are intoxicated, asleep, homeless, unarmed, mentally ill, etc.
  3. A strategic plan to reallocate an agreed upon percentage of APD funds to ensuring equity in education, housing, environmental health, etc.
  4. Funding for training communities on how to deescalate conflict and how to resolve grievances without police involvement
  5. Demilitarization of the Atlanta Police Department.
These are my thoughts based on conversations I’ve had and my understanding of what is preceding tragedy/police brutality against Black people.  If you agree with this list of demands, join us in signing this petition for the Mayor of Atlanta to respond to these demands by 2:00 pm ET on June 14, 2020.

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Coronavirus

Schools Are Disciplining Kids With Virtual Classes, Advocates Say That Could Violate Their Rights

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Advocates are calling these actions the “new face of denial of access to public education”.

What We Know:

  • A six-year-old named Raynardo Antonio Ocasio has been banned from his classroom since September. Raynardo was banned from in-person learning for failing to wear a mask. The school, Zeta Charter School in Manhattan, has stated that pushing Raynardo out was necessary to keep teachers and students safe during the pandemic. Administrators and other schools across the country made similar decisions during the reopening process.
  • Raynardo has a speech and language impairment that makes it challenging for him to comply with instructions. He had difficulty expressing himself while wearing a mask. A psychologist was brought to the school in order to support Raynardo, but after numerous efforts, his school decided to send him home for virtual classes. The decision to send Raynardo home wasn’t intended to be permanent.
  • Student advocates in six states informed NBC News that they’re working with students impacted by these actions. Critics argue that removing students because of their behavior is a violation of students’ rights. Federal law requires public schools to provide all students with the support they need to succeed. This could entail bringing in a counselor or working with parents to improve a child’s behavior.
  • Advocates argue that the students they’ve seen removed from in-person classes are the same ones who’ve traditionally been more likely to be removed from class. These kinds of students include children with disabilities, those with a hard time following some rules, and Black or Latino children who are more likely to be punished for their behavior than their white classmates. Those students were already more likely to struggle in school than their peers according to civil rights and educational justice advocate, Lorraine Wright.

Raynardo has been attending school virtually for more than seven months and advocates say what happened amounts to an informal removal.

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Minnesota AG Keith Ellison Requests Aggravated Sentence for Chauvin

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The state’s attorney general has requested the former Minneapolis police officer receive a harsher sentence for his role in the death of George Floyd.

What We Know:

  • According to a legal brief filed on Friday, Attorney General Keith Ellison asked Hennepin County Judge to hand Chauvin a harsher sentence. Ellison based his request on “five aggravating factors” that justify a longer sentence.
  • The brief states that Floyd was a “vulnerable victim” and “treated with particular cruelty.” The filing states that Floyd was already restrained on the ground when most of Chauvin’s actions took place and that he ignored Floyd’s calls for help as he could not breathe. Ellison went on to say, “[the] Defendant’s actions inflicted gratuitous pain, and caused psychological distress to Mr. Floyd and to the bystanders.”
  • In addition, the brief states Chauvin “abused his position of authority” by violating the “sanctity of life” and public responsibility standards that police officers are held to. The final two factors Ellison says, are that Chauvin committed the crime as part of a group of officers and in the presence of children.
  • Chauvin was charged with second and third-degree murder along with second-degree manslaughter. On April 20th, the former officer was found guilty on all charges after a deliberation process that lasted several weeks. However, due to Minnesota state law, Chauvin will only be sentenced according to the most serious charge–second-degree murder.

The death of George Floyd last year sparked nationwide protests that lasted for several months. Chauvin’s sentencing hearing has been scheduled for June 25th.

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Coronavirus

National Pharmacy Chains Have Wasted Hundreds of Thousands of Covid Vaccine Doses

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Two nationwide pharmacy chains trusted with handling vaccinations are largely responsible for the majority of wasted doses.

What We Know:

  • According to the CDC, there were 182,874 wasted doses of the covid vaccine as of late March. The pharmacy chains CVS and Walgreens are responsible for 128,500 wasted shots. According to Kaiser Health News, CVS accounted for nearly half of those, with Walgreens representing 21%.
  •  The CDC data indicates that the two companies wasted more shots of the vaccine than all of the states, territories, and federal agencies combined. The data, however, does not indicate how the pharmacies were able to waste so many of the vaccine doses. Many critics cited the disorganized rollout of the vaccine as the primary factor contributing to the waste.
  • The Trump administration heavily leaned on the two pharmacies to vaccinate those long-term care facilities during the early phase. A CVS representative stated “nearly all” of its wasted vials came during this period.
  • The report found that freezer malfunctions were the most common source of wasted vials. The Pfizer was the first to be distributed in December. The vaccine initially required that it be kept in ultra-cold storage, making it difficult to transport and store properly. The report found that the Pfizer vaccine made up 60% of all lost doses.
  • In a statement, CDC spokesperson Kate Fowlie said, “though every effort is made to reduce the volume of wastage in a vaccination program, sometimes it’s necessary to identify doses as ‘waste’ to ensure anyone wanting a vaccine can receive it, as well as to ensure patient safety and vaccine effectiveness.”

According to the CDC, nearly 250 million doses of the covid vaccine have been administered. Over 100 million Americans have been fully vaccinated so far, which amounts to about 32% of the population.

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