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Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax Joins Black Women in Governor’s Race

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Virginia Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax is joined by his family as he sets to kick-off his campaign for governor Saturday morning at the Old Court House in Fairfax, Va. (ABC7/Justin Hinton)
Virginia Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax is joined by his family as he sets to kick-off his campaign for governor Saturday morning at the Old Court House in Fairfax, Va. (ABC7/Justin Hinton)

Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax announced last Thursday that he formally kicked off his campaign for governor and events over the past weekend. This comes only a year after facing two high profile allegations of sexual assault.

What We Know:

  • Fairfax delivered a campaign speech at the Old Court House in Fairfax, Virginia, and has been encouraging his followers to head to early voting. There are currently three Black Democrats seeking the party’s 2021 nomination to the governor’s house, which includes Fairfax. The other two are Jennifer McClellan, an experienced Black politician who is serving her first term in the state Senate, and Jennifer Carroll Foy, another Black woman serving her second term in the state House.

  • With this roster of candidates in the mix for the nomination, it should be interesting to see who ultimately wins the gubernatorial race in November 2021. Regardless of who wins, that candidate will be the second Black governor in Virginia’s history.
  • The person would also be the third Black person ever elected governor in U.S. history, a title Stacey Abrams could have held years earlier but lost to the current governor of Georgia Brian Kemp. Should Foy or McClellan win in Virginia, they would be the first Black woman to do so in American history.
  • Historically, the two previous governors were Douglas Wilder, a Democrat elected as Virginia’s first Black governor in 1989, and Deval Patrick, another Democrat elected as Massachusetts Black governor in 2006.
  • Moreover, other instances where a Black person held the position was Democrat David Patterson taking over as New York state governor in 2018 following the resignation of Gov. Eliot Spitzer. During the Reconstruction Era, Republican P. B. S. Pinchback was sworn in as the first Black governor in U.S. history to serve the remainder of the previously impeached Louisiana Gov. Henry Warmoth‘s term.
  • Fairfax received heavy backlash from other Democrats earlier last year when two women, Meredith Watson and Vanessa Tyson, came out to accuse him of sexual assault. Watson attended Duke University with Fairfax and claimed he raped her in 2000. California professor Tyson, on the other hand, said that Fairfax forced her to perform oral sex at the Democratic National Convention (DNC) in Boston in 2004.

Fairfax has since denied any and all allegations. He referred to these claims as a part of an attempt at ending his political career. He told the Associated Pressed that “the voters are incredibly smart. They see through this kind of destructive, politically motivated kind of politics. And they are ready to move to higher ground.”

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Javier Garay is Media & News SVCS Intern at UnmutedCo. He is currently enrolled in the University of North Georgia seeking a bachelor's degree in Film/Digital Media with a concentration in Media Studies. Javier writes for Black News Alerts (BNA) along with social media management for both BNA and BossFM, and is a part of the BNA Daily Podcast Team.

Headlines

Breonna Taylor Grand Jurors Say Police Actions were ‘Negligent’ and ‘Criminal’

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Memorial for Breonna Taylor in downtown Louisville. (Image via Jason Armond/Los Angeles Times)
Memorial for Breonna Taylor in downtown Louisville. (Image via Jason Armond/Los Angeles Times)

Ever since the death of Breonna Taylor last March, calls for justice continue to be heard in a country plagued by social unrest. This week, two Kentucky jurors have finally spoken on the decision to not charge the three police officers involved in the raid. They described their actions that night as “criminal” and “negligent”.

What We Know:

  • During an interview on CBS This Morning with Gayle King, two jurors were asked their thoughts of “the police behavior and actions” on March 13th. The jurors’ faces were blurred to hide identities and they are the first of a dozen people from the grand jury to speak. This is the first time the jurors broke their silence since the September 23rd ruling.
  • This development comes amid the increasing call to release grand jury records to the public after jurors disputed how Attorney General Daniel Cameron handled the case.
  • A majority of the interview focused on King and the two jurors, referred to as No. 1 and No. 2, sharing their honest thoughts on how they would assess the police’s actions in the incident of Taylor’s Louisville home, where she was shot five times after a mishandled no-knock raid.

  • “Negligent,” stated the first of the jurors. “They couldn’t even provide a risk assessment and it sounded like they hadn’t done one. So their organization leading up to this was lacking. That’s what I mean by they were negligent in the operation.”
  • Grand juror No. 2 did not hesitate to back up the first juror’s remarks. They said the officers were “criminal” for their actions. “They were criminal leading up to this in everything that they [did],” the juror said. “The way they moved forward on it, including the warrant, was deception.”
  • The two grand jurors previously called out Cameron for stating that the reason the officers couldn’t be charged before for their actions was that they claimed it was in self-defense after Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, opened fire. The jurors now bring up the point that they were in fact not given a proper opportunity to discuss murder-related charges.
  • As we previously reported, former officer Brett Hankison was eventually fired from duty. Cameron also served as a special prosecutor in his case. The grand jury has since charged him with three counts of wanton endangerment, of which he pleaded not guilty.

Aside from Hankison, the other two officers involved, Jonathan Mattingly and Myles Cosgrove, remain in the police force. According to ballistics tests, Cameron was able to conclude that it was Cosgrove who fired both a shot into Walker’s leg and the fatal shot that unfortunately ended Taylor’s life. It was later revealed that the same officer tried to raise money to retire shortly after the incident.

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Election 2020

Lil Wayne Meets With President Trump

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According to Judd Deere, White House Deputy Press Secretary, on Thursday, October 29, 2020, rapper Lil Wayne met with President Trump at one of Trump’s Miami resorts. The rapper took to Twitter after their meeting to praise the president for the ‘Platinum Plan’.

What We Know:

  • Lil Wayne stated the Platinum Plan would help Black America with ownership within the community. Lil Wayne also said the meeting went great. However, the Louisiana rapper did not detail what aspects of the plan he found most favorable. He simply stated the program would be good for the Black community. Lil Wayne did say President Trump had done an excellent job with prison reform since being elected to office.
  • The Platinum Plan includes President Trump’s vision to bring more jobs and business ownership opportunities to the Black community, better educational opportunities, and safer streets. The project has four fundamental pillars, which include security, fairness, opportunity, and prosperity. The plan is also supposed to make Juneteenth a national holiday.
  • President Donald Trump is running for his second term in office on Tuesday, November 3, 2020, against former Vice President Joe Biden. The two men have clashing views as to what this country needs.
  • Lil Wayne has received backlash in the past from the Black community for supporting President Trump in the 2016 Election. Although, Lil Wayne did not say who he was voting for this time around.

The Platinum Plan is a great idea, but it comes late on this election year’s cusp. President Trump stated the Black Lives Matter movement is “a symbol of hate” after a Black Lives Matter mural was commissioned outside Trump Towers in New York in July 2020. Since then, the completed Black Lives Matter mural has been vandalized numerous times outside Trump Tower. It is great that he is finally working on a plan for the inclusion of minorities.

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9.9 Million Americans are behind on their rent or mortgage

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There’s no hiding the fallout from the way the COVID-19 pandemic has ravaged the United States.  It’s shuttering to think about, considering the response from the government has been less than favorable.  We now know that over 9.9 million Americans are behind on their rent or mortgage.

What We Know:

  • Data from the US Census Household Pulse Survey shows that at the end of October, 9.9 million Americans were not current on their rent or mortgage payments and had little to no confidence or hope that their household would be able to pay next month’s rent or mortgage on time.

“To be able to understand the eviction crisis that we’re facing today, we have to recognize where we were before Covid-19 came to our country –and that was in the midst of a severe affordable housing crisis,” said Diane Yentel, president and CEO of the National Low-Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC).

  • Black America is plagued with several struggles right now, including but not limited to a sudden economic downturn, a grip of the population experiencing long-term homelessness, job loss, and now scrambling to figure out how to obtain or sustain a place they call home.  The economic toll Covid-19 has had on families and individuals across the country is unprecedented, and there has been little light at the end of the tunnel.
  • Few resources are available for those unable to pay their bills or rent, and the United States Senate has continued to stall on instant relief measures, including additional stimulus payments and extension of unemployment insurance (UI benefits) proposed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and house democrats.  Political pundits cite the heated election and partisan nature of current government leaders as an additional reason for the delay.
  • At one point, President Donald Trump reversed course on offering relief, but the House and Senate failed to come to terms that would be acceptable to both parties.  While leaders dispute, the trouble at home lingers on.
  • Despite a recent eviction moratorium that has been issued by the CDC, hundreds of thousands of eviction actions have been filed according to data compiled by the Private Equity Stakeholders Project.

Relief

  • The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an order that bans evictions between September 4 and December 31, 2020, estimating up to 40 million people could lose their homes if it were not in place.  To be eligible and covered by this, you will need to fill out a declaration form affirming that you meet several requirements, including applying for government assistance for rent or housing.  If you meet all of the stringent conditions, you sign the declaration form and give a copy to your landlord.  The NLIHC has the declaration form translated into 15 different languages.

The NLHIC has compiled a database of local resources to help citizens find local relief.  The CDC is encouraging families in need to search for local relief in addition to completing the declaration form.  A Justice Department listing of pro bono legal service provides may also provide relief for families already in litigation.

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